April 5, 2007

The Gratitude Post

Let's call this the "I love my family and friends, and not just because I'm sick" post. (Also, let's call it the longest blog post in the history of time and space. Feel free to simply scroll down, scanning for your own name.)

How sick? "Coughing until I see stars, bedclothes in the laundry because I'm having trouble keeping Pedialite down" sick. Ugh! I'll spare you more details, because that's not the point. The point is, I'm feeling puny, and anxious about my upcoming stand-up debut (and everything else in life), but still okay, because I have such a great network of support around me.

Last night I called my brother feebly begging for a quick pit stop at my building on his way home from work. "Could you maybe bring me some soup, and juice, and kleenex?" He showed up an hour later with five kinds of soup, a gallon of juice, two bottles of Powerade, Pedialite, dried mangoes (which he knows I love), carrot cake (without raisins, which he knows I don't love), a little chocolate Kinder egg, tea, tons of remedies, and several more things I'm probably forgetting. Is that above and beyond the call of duty, or what?

And now, under the influence of DayQuil (I'm a lightweight) a schmoopy tally of some of my family and friends, and the generous and supportive things they've done for me lately:

Sloan, and her non-stop creative flow. She helps me realize and pursue things that would languish in my head and never become reality. She keeps me honest with myself about what I want to do, and holds me to task when I'm retreating out of fear of the unknown.

The approximately twenty members of my family, who showed up in Chicago last weekend to see my show at Second City, and then celebrate for several days afterward. Even my 95-year old great aunt, who sat front row center for all of the dirty jokes, just dipped her little head and giggled when things got racy.

Brett, who bought my stage fright and is helping me think through exactly what the hell I think I'm doing with all of this comedy and writing stuff. Him taking this ridiculousness seriously has made me take it seriously.

Mark, Northwestern's New Media guru and my comedy godfather, who was the first one to push me toward Second City, where he thrived years ago. He is unwavering in his encouragement.

Sharon, my best friend since middle school, the girl who knew me when I was just the awkward dorky girl getting kicked out of Mrs. Goffinett's English class for making everyone laugh, well before any of today's comedy stuff was anything more than a flickering spark in some dark recess of my heart. She's thousands of miles away working for Save the Children in Malawi, Africa, but has been as indispensable a support as friends who live a block away.

Ruth, one of those amazing people that fate pushes into your path at the perfect moment for both of you. She's starting a new life as a writer here in Chicago, too, and has believed in me enough to take me on as a writing partner with her new company. She's also warm and funny and lots of fun.

Karen, a beloved neighbor and friend, who has held my hand through all manner of difficult personal evolution, and who sent me this after seeing my show: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (Anais Nin)

K-Rock, my sister from another mutha, and possibly the most photogenic person in the universe. Somehow her adorableness is multiplied through the lens of any camera. The internet is a strange and wonderful place, and the way we met is proof of that. I guess I should throw my other Apiary/Bastion siblings in here, because they're pretty great, too. Hear that, Nate and Keith?

Nancy, who has steadied me through lots of self-doubt despite my very spotty attendance at her wonderful writing group, which includes the delightful Nudle. (The writing group folks were the first people who I tested the stage fright auction idea on, and they didn't kick me out or suggest anti-psychotics, for which I will be eternally grateful.)

A variety of blog friends, who have been cheerleading my various creative efforts from afar. They include (but are not limited to) Coaster Punchman, Dale, Chancelucky, and Fizzle and Pop, who unexpectedly beat me to the punch and did stand-up himself last week.

Gotta give props to a wide assortment of comedian friends, who have been encouraging of my long-delayed desire to do stand-up, and have offered to do everything from showing up at my first performance to talking me through jitters on the phone at any hour of the night and day.

Last but not least, I'd like to mention Brandi, another internet/comedy blog friend, who became a real-life friend when she moved to Chicago after a series of e-mails with me and K-Rock. Unbelievably talented and sweet, Brandi almost literally held my hand while I was listing my stage fright on eBay. Without her, I may easily have gotten frustrated with the technology, lost faith in my project, and given up.

I mention Brandi last because I want to give her a special plug. Go here to listen to a couple of her beautiful little musical nuggets. Her song "The Dinosaur" was made internet famous by Said the Gramophone, who was enchanted and speculated that The Gongs (Brandi) must be "three linguistics majors and a physics major."

Her song "I Didn't Try" may be the most beautiful and poignant song I've ever heard, and has become very meaningful to me in many ways. The sadness in that song is bearable only because it was followed up with "Gotta Take Care," which is the "Brandi found her courage and moved to Chicago after all" song. The best line: "I need to be scared sometimes to get anything done."

In summation, I'd like to make the less than original observation that nothing in life that's meaningful and worth doing can be done alone. We need each other to move through life and strive for goals. All of these people (and more) have been helping me. I hope that I'm helping them, too.

For your viewing pleasure, a rockin' video for "The Dinosaur":

...and the baby version, which is even cuter:


K-Rock said...

Oh STOP! No really, don't.

<3 you. you are amazing.


Bella Rossa said...

Aw, thanks!

I might be better. At least, I had the energy to do laundry, so at least now I'm not sitting on a puke blanket. (Ew.)

Geez, was that the longest blog post in history? What the dang?

Dale said...

You've got a great network for a reason Bella!

Is your friend Sharon actually working for the Save The Children From Madonna foundation?

Get well soon.

Bella Rossa said...

Thanks, Dale! Also, ha! Africa might need a fence to keep Madge and Angelina out.

Susie said...

I was thinking of you this morn. And look, I get some over-schmaltzed and kinda undeserved gratitude. But hey, I'll take it!


Bella Rossa said...

Oh, yeah, Susie! Feel the love.

brandi said...

holy crap, dude. you are the sweetest little thing. i am kind of embarrassed!

also, so sorry you're sick. what POOR TIMING. GET BETTER BY SUNDAY.


Bella Rossa said...

Brandi-Pandi, I have had "Gotta Take Care" in my head for a week straight now. I sang it to myself on the way to Second City last night. It's like my personal theme song these days. You rock.

Coaster Punchman said...

Aw shucks, I just wish I had time to inspire gratitude more often!

Chancelucky said...

thanks for the mention. I wouldn't be supporting you if I didn't think you were funny, though I do try to be supportive of Dale anyway. Just kidding, Dale.