Therapy and Clan

Most of the rest of my family has a blog. My brother Steve refuses to put a talkback function on these things (which is more than okay with me, I like to write and pretend no-one is reading), he says people ought to address blogs by writing their own. So that is sort of what I am doing.

My family is really a miracle. I am sure at some point I am going to write blogs detailing each person, but the unit as a whole is something to behold. There was a time in maybe ’86 or ’87 when I thought I was entering a life that had very little to do with my immediate family, I was going to pursue my life and maybe get cards around Christmas or something. I honestly thought my life would contain uncomfortable bi-annual visits and phone calls, odd backstage cards from one of my parents. I even stopped talking to my Dad for a couple of years, thinking this would just be the way it all happened.

But we aren’t built like that. We are a clan, and despite the fact that more than a few days spent together leads to homicidal rage, we are incredibly tight knit. It could be the residual mormon nonsense, but my brothers and sisters and parents are the people I think of as my people. It’s only in talking to them that I feel like I have cleared the air and actually gotten any perspective.

It isn’t genetic. I have so little genetically in common with my nephews, and yet I get more out of hanging out with both of them than I do with my friends. And they are teenagers, notoriously unstable and retarded people, but both of them make me laugh and, there really isn’t another word for it, enrich my life.

Two people with even less genetic comparison, Tessa and Jordana, have also become part of my clan. Tessa, a wasp southern debutante and Jordana, a northern Jewish AV club geek, couldn’t have less in common, but when I look at either of them, I see my cousins. It’s the long nose and big blue eyes, maybe, but mostly it is that ineffable thing that means they are a little bit crazy mixed with a huge dose of smart, it’s that they are a little too tall to hide and they swing from self-consciousness to celebration with ease. I actually don’t know what it is, but they are my family,too.

All of us, at some point, have had to break down and meet with a therapist. When I first started going to therapists, I tried to see if I could outsmart them, and I always did. I loved going in there with stitches in my lip and a mohawk and totally deflate the counselor to the point that he would tell my mom I was fine.

But the admission that we are in therapy is, for some reason, tough. Why? Every single one of us has done it, I’ve probably done it more than anyone. But I think it’s hard because our forefathers pulled coal out of the ground in Wales and died at 32 of black lung. Our forefathers pushed carts across Wyoming. We know this. And we can’t bear to admit that something like Feeling Bad About My Life would be able to derail us. We should be able to shoulder this shit and keep digging.

Therapy has helped so many people, and God knows every single person in our family should be in it. My Dad, who I love very much, gave us the short end of the stick as kids and my mom, who I love very much, was so busy getting the short end herself she couldn’t help too much. All of us are still sabotaging ourselves in little ways. It just took me over three months to get my headshots and I still haven’t collected on promised voice lessons, not from this past Christmas, but from two Christmases ago.

So, in short, we have a clan, one that I am always aware of, and we are all a little bit crazy. We should never feel alone, and we should always be seeking help. We aren’t coal-miners, we are artists, and although a coupla hundred years might have softened us slightly, we are what we are and I think our forefathers would be proud. When I ask, ‘Where are my people?’ I remember my family, and when I say ‘Why do I need therapy?’, I do the same.