The Mountain Goats


Rediscovering This Year by The Mountain Goats felt like the most appropriate thing that could have happened. The Mountain Goats were introduced to me by my friend Carl, someone who had a far more sophisticated taste in music than I. For that reason I couldn't allow myself to like all the music he introduced me to. When I first heard this song I thought "God, whiny and pedantic, no thank you," and without giving it a second chance dismissed it as not being for me. However many years later someone sent me the video of Stephen Colbert singing this song with The Mountain Goats, and it struck a chord. This year has been challenging and continuous to be challenging, which is probably why the song now resonates differently: hopeful with an acknowledgement of pain.

At this moment I am sitting at work with the shadow of a smile that is somewhat keeping me together. At 9:04am I found out that my mom was admitted into hospital in Washington for undetermined reasons, the second time this month. Admittedly I've had little contact with my mom and brothers over the last month, unusual for us (I'm used to talking with my mom most days). Right now the three of them are in a situation that I can do little about, which breaks my heart in more ways than one. Right now I don't know how a situation went from being ok to terrible overnight.

As a way to feel close to them I find myself wearing the jewelry that used to belong to my mom, watching the things that I know my brothers would enjoy watching. I can't be physically close, but I'm trying to stay close. I can't be their Superman, though I wish that I could. Right now they're hurting and when they let me, I'm trying to be there for them.

My dad has been dealing with his own set of problems, which has been difficult, but I've been grateful to be able to spend time with him. I get to see him at the end of the week, to say that I'm excited and overjoyed would be the biggest understatement of the century. Just a little less than 72 hours until I'm in South Carolina with some of my family.

For the first time in my life I'm learning to be vulnerable with family and friends. The irony of being an actor who can be vulnerable in front of strangers but not in life is not lost on me. I'm writing this not just because I am feeling vulnerable, but to also to say that you're not alone. Sometimes nothing seems to be working out and then life piles more on your plate. You'll probably feel like crying, you won't want to be a burden to friends so you'll try to hold it in, a faint smile on your face the clasp keeping you together--I know because that's been my tango the last couple of months. I also know that reaching out to people, however terrifying, has been, well, nice.

So why am I writing this? Because, like when I would try to hide my anxiety, it's just harder to hide something than just being honest. Also it's nice to know that we're not alone. I pray that my family will regain health and find happiness; I hope that they never forget how much I love them. I'm going to make it through this year and so are you.

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