I really like the working title of my memoir – Serenity Now. As long as Jerry Seinfeld will allow it, that is probably what I would go with if no one else along the line disapproves. It’s snappy, it has humor, and it’s got my name in it which captures both the narcissism of having written a memoir at all, and the fact that the whole book is kind of about people living up to their names – sort of. Maybe I’m the only one who will get that out of it.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking of another title lately as I’ve read over bits and pieces. My family likes to joke about “the cancer card”. That I shouldn’t be afraid to use “the cancer card” if I want sympathy or, more accurately, just need a reason to stick out in a crowd. And lately I find myself using it a LOT. But not for any of those reasons. I find myself using it on myself. All the time. I roll my eyes at me each and every time, but I keep on using it.
It’s so often so useful. And it usually begins like this, “When I was dying . . . .”
I try not to use it too much when I’m talking to the masses, because let’s face it, that could get really old. Me having all the answers and always squelching your perfectly justifiable vent because of something I learned about life “when I was dying.” Oy vey. Why don’t you just write a memoir?
But I use it on myself all the time. And usually by accident. It just creeps up – this little feeling overwhelming all the stress and drama I’m used to basking in. I can so go there to that feeling that nothing, nothing, nothing at all matters except right now. This moment. This conversation. This casual phone call with my husband, this bike ride with John Michael, this hug before bed with Jake (that’s my favorite one right now). You think you can just conjure up that reality check by knowing it’s true. You know, the whole “It’s better than the alternative” speech. I always tried that, I really did. But it’s nothing compared to actually having lived it, having been there in those really dark moments when life was literally a vapor.
And that’s the reason I mostly use it on myself. Because the alternative would be to say to someone else in their moments of stress, “Try dying. You’ll feel better about this then.” Nea. And besides, I don’t think everyone needs my dark moments in order to better relish the light. Besides the fact that they have their own dark moments, some people may actually get the hypothetical. “It’s better than the alternative” may be just as meaninful for them, just as able to focus them as my “when I was dying.” I think whatever works, you gotta do it. Otherwise, the stress of life really could run you completely over, and you’ll end up on Oprah one day trying to grab somebody else’s aha moment, and I’m convinced – that just really isn’t the same.