You Can Tell Everybody, This Is Your Song

Some months ago, right after the election results were rolling in, that horrible horrible Tuesday night, I made a decision. I had been dragged to Ohio to help Election Protection by my wife, after spending years being dragged to acting classes and auditions and away from the daily intake of alcohol and tobacco, and I decided I had had enough. I didn’t want to be dragged anymore.

There are really two options when you look at your life and you realize that you simply have not been living up to your mates hopes for you. You can end the relationship with that mate and stay true to who you always have been, or you can give in and try to change stuff about yourself. There is also the third option, which is to be dragged along to all the stuff you pretend to care about while secretly telling yourself a long story about how no-one really understands you, about how your secret rebellion is going to continue while you do *just enough* to keep your partner at bay while still maintaining your identity.

I had, for the first few years of our relationship, been doing this third option.

Yeah, I was trying to quit smoking, I cut *way down* for a long time.

I was trying to get a job, it was just really complicated, there is something fundamental about me that made it harder for me than for anyone else. But sure, I would give it a shot. I sent out some resumes, y’know, I went to some auditions.

I got up first thing in the morning, before she did, and made sure she had some breakfast before going to work. I wasn’t “sleeping in”, I was getting up! I was starting my day!

I hosted dinner parties and did all the cooking and cleaning, and my friends who came over had a ball. My wife surely would watch me doing this and understand that a large and impressive patriarch was beginning to emerge, how could she deny it?

Then, that horrible Tuesday night. More horrible, for me, than September 11th, because we knew it was coming and we tried to stop it. We organized, we put our best foot forward, we went to the polls and yet when the people spoke, they spoke out of fear and laziness. When asked, they basically said, “we sort of want things to change for the better… but actually we don’t want things to change at all. We want to be able to *say* we want a better life, but we really just want to continue in our lazy, unexamined ways”

So, I made a decision as I watched her sleep that night. She had been dragging me for years, never complaining, never pointing out my *obvious overwhelming bullshit*. She had been asking for years for me, simply, to be a man. And I spent all that time being a boy pretending to be a man. So, the next morning it all changed. I announced that, not only was I not going to be dragged, but for the forseeable future, I was gonna try to carry her. I decided I was going to be her hero.

I did a bunch of things that have changed the day to day of my life. Every day, I spend a few hours in the morning checking the breakdowns, checking the job listings, and every day that there are available jobs I send out resumes. I also do it for her. I am continuing to try to find her opportunities.

Every day, she goes to her job. Every day, she gets phone calls from old friends, seeking advice. Every day, she is the bedrock on which so many of us stand. She’s the voice of reason, the voice of maturity, and, above all else, a source for maternity for so many of our friends. She’s a kid, in so many ways, but she’s also the woman that we all know we can talk to about our happiness or our struggles, because she will rejoice to the heavens your happiness, and she will fight along side you in your struggles. Not just me, anyone. You.

And I pretend that I am being heroic.

By that fateful Tuesday, I had had enough being dragged, I was going to put on my snow shoes and try to blaze a trail. But I am years and years from becoming the man she deserves, and, to her credit, she doesn’t care. She loved me, genuinely, when I was being dragged, any changes I make just mean less work for her, but they don’t mean she loves me more. She carries the weight of her family, her girlfriends, her guy friends and me on those little tiny bird shoulders of hers. If her load is lighter, her smile will be broader, but she won’t love me anymore.

I keep moving forward, because I live for that big smile.

Yesterday, I watched her sleep for half an hour in the morning. Her big eyes sealed, her puffy mouth closed, her fist tucked under her chin and a piece of errant hair across her face. While asleep, her fist uncurled and her long spider fingers took thirty strokes at that piece of hair until it was teased into a ball that stayed off her face. Later that day, we were making cookies with filling, and Jordana stood next to me spooning jelly into dough, grinning from ear to ear. When I had another batch ready, I said “do you wanna put the jelly in” and she yelled “YES!” and came running into the kitchen. “We’re making cookies, isn’t this so *wonderful*?”

I don’t want her to ever carry me, although when I am sick she sort of has to. She has been the bedrock, a blessing every single day, every single conversation. I don’t know what marriages are supposed to be, my parents had a horrible one and my first one was basically both of us exercising the third option of being dragged and pretending to work hard. But I look at my life and I count each one of my friends as a blessing. I realize that if I had three less friends than I do, I would still be thrilled with the rest, if I had even less time for fun and fraternization, I would still feel like my life were full of joy.

And that is entirely because of her. She’s changed the colours of my life, she’s put a new lense in my snorkel mask that makes all the fish brighter orange. She pulls a sled with a sign that says “hop on!” and for years I felt fortunate to get to walk next to her, without ever realizing I should help her pull the sled.

Six years ago, today, I was sitting in my bedroom in Los Angeles, looking over the script to a short film and checking my email. She was on the email list, she had spoken to me, and I knew she was coming, but I had no idea how great it would be. She was coming and the six years that have followed, the best six years of my life, were about to start. Some of you went to college and then graduate school and then got a job, I spent the first 28 years of my life preparing for her arrival, preparing for her to come off the plane at LAX wearing that little red T-shirt with the Egyptian writing on it.

I’ve always said I never had a mentor, I never had anyone take me under their wing and help me. I’ve never had an older man look at my work and try to give me the life I thought I deserved. I just *love* describing my life as if there was some cosmic game set up where I was singled out and hated. Jesus, just look at my last post. But, while it’s true that I never had a mentor, I was given something a thousand times better. I was given an angel.