USA is showing a THIS IS US marathon and I find myself re-watching and feeling even more than I felt seeing this show the first time. It's got everything you've seen or wished for in a family — a Dad who's a dreamer but shows love; a reluctant mom who clearly does her best but is flawed. There's sibling rivalry, not fitting in, weight, cancer, success, fame, dying, regret, family — relationships.
I know people don't understand my deep connection to watching TV. Television is a source for me. Of company, of information, of sentiment, and vicarious emotion. When I'm feeling lonely, disconnected, sad, depressed, I find something to watch that will fix that for me.
It seems frivolous I know. But there are so many pluses for me watching TV: It's right here and it's here all the time; I've already paid for it; and between satellite and Netflix and Showtime and HBO, I can usually find something that will give me what I'm seeking. I don't have to risk that I'll seek something and it won't be gotten.
My friend Susan believes it's better to ask — even if you don't get what you're asking for — than not to ask at all. I don't feel that way. Yet. It's too disappointing and too hurtful and too — well — just "too".
But I understand that when you don't ask, you definitely have no chance of getting.
My struggle (well, one of them anyway) is to let go of the outcome. That's what a therapist tells me. Let Go of the Outcome. Let go of resentment and regret. Let go of expectations. Let it all go. I'm trying.
I understand the concept and it makes sense to me, but it's one of those easier said than done. But I'm trying. And at times, I'm succeeding. So far my best success — I think — has been with some of my friends and my daughter. Still a ways to go with the son and the once-husband.
So This Is Us allows me to see a family — across time — struggling and loving and hurting and supporting in ways that virtually never existed in my family. I get to watch how they do it and I get to momentarily feel the bonds of being with a family. I hope we managed to live that give-and-take for our kids so that they'll have a better sense of what it means to be in a relationship, to have a family.
That voyeuristic view of family life (whether it's real or not) allows me to experience what I currently lack in my life.
Right now, luckily, I'm really pretty happy.
I love my little home. It's filled with everything I absolutely love, arranged just as I like, only used by me and for the first time in I do not know how long (if ever) I'm neat. Everything is in its place. I'm no longer sloppy but I'm also not racing and juggling to manage and provide for a family of four.
It is just me.
What a change. I'm continually surprised by what can change.
I had an open house on New Year's Day. Twenty-six people came, it was wonderful, my daughter was there and saw my new place for the first time, and for the first time EVER, I didn't kill myself to have company!
I didn't have to stress about cleaning up days before everyone came because pretty much everything was already clean. I didn't go overboard on getting drinks or food and I almost cooked NOTHING. I had a great time, I was relaxed and I didn't pay for it in a horrible way. HOORAY!
I miss having a fireplace and of course the companionship of someone next to me, but all in all, I'm enjoying my life at the moment and I feel secure.
So while I may be watching This Is Us — finally, joyfully, amazingly —
I'm much more intently watching — This Is Me.