I don’t talk about my personal stuff on here a whole lot. Sure, I’ve given updates in the past about Frankenankle, but I don’t really dive deep into what all I deal with on a daily basis. Because, really, who wants to know that?
Last night, I watched the Oscars for the first time in years. I watched the entire Oscars for the first time in decades. I watched a lot of the red carpet stuff, followed along on Twitter and Facebook, and really fell into the groove of the evening, if you know what I mean.
I’ll be honest; the only reason I actually chose to watch them last night was because Queen was opening. If y’all know me, you know at least this one thing about me: music drives me and is my passion, and Queen is at the very top of the list. They never fail to make me smile; they never fail to put on a show you’ll remember forever. So, when I heard they were opening the show, you know there’s no way I was going to miss it. And at that point, I figured, “in for a penny, in for a pound,” and decided to watch the entire night with my husband by my side. I honestly can’t remember the last time we watched the Oscars together; it’s not really our thing. But I’m glad we did last night.
I’m not going to go on and on about the winners (some I agreed with, some not so much), the dresses (holy crap, Billy Porter, you are flipping AMAZING; others… were moments of “ummm, what exactly is going on here), or the speeches (can I get a hella shout out to Olivia Colman who was obviously so shocked to have won that she either didn’t prepare an acceptance speech or completely forgot it, and ended up giving the most memorable speech of the evening?!).
No, I want to talk about the red carpet. Specifically, I want to talk about the Vanity Fair Oscar party step-and-repeat. And even more specifically, I want to talk about Selma Blair.
I’m not one who really follows Hollywood/celebrity news. I don’t follow very many celebrities on social media, and those I do follow I only see if they show up in my feed as I’m reading. I don’t seek them out. I don’t read the Enquirer (is that even still a thing?) or follow TMZ or watch E! TV. With that knowledge, it should come as no surprise to anyone that until last night, I had no idea Selma Blair was diagnosed with MS, and that she was declining (physically) rather rapidly.
I saw the pics as they came in and even commented in a Facebook Group about her dress (it’s stunning, and I LOVE the cape). But what was with the cane?
I quickly learned of her diagnosis, and then came across this video.
I watched the video and my eyes filled with tears. Happy tears, sad tears, frustration tears, impressed tears… I was completely overcome by an onslaught of emotions. Here was this woman who was in several movies and shows I loved, a woman with eyes that look as if they could pierce through steel, a woman so beautiful that she’s had several magazine spreads of just her. And this woman broke down on that step-and-repeat, her body trying to force her to give in, but no… she immediately picked herself back up. Literally and figuratively. She gathered herself—her strength, her inherent will—and wiped away the tears that threatened to ruin what I’m sure were hours in a makeup chair. She pulled her head up and not only smiled for the cameras, but winked, threw up her arms to show her cape, gave them all her signature coy eye smolder… and then she did it again. And again.
When she cried out, “It took so much to come out…” my gut clenched, taking my heart with it. Because I know that statement. I know that face. I know that whispered apology that she made right before that statement barreled out of her. I’ve been there. So many of us have been there. Not on a Hollywood press carpet, of course, but we’ve apologized to others for our bodies not cooperating. We’ve apologized to others for being so tired. We’ve apologized to others for not being “normal.” And like her, we take a deep breath, collect ourselves, and push on.
I feel like she is each and every one of us: gorgeous, strong, capable, trapped in a body that betrays but making the best of what we have.
I don’t have MS, but I do have chronic pain from a body that is betraying itself. This isn’t about MS, or what I have (CRPS), or Lupus, or any other disease or condition. It’s about us, and how we choose to approach what we deal with.
I ran through a few of Selma Blair’s photos on Instagram today, my curiosity getting the better of me. I came across this post of hers. It’s long, but it’s real and true. We don’t always have good days. Sometimes, the bad days outnumber the good days. It’s okay to grieve what we’ve lost and continue to lose. As long as we don’t lose ourselves in that grief.
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There is a truth with neurogedenerative brain disease. It is uncomfortable. It is a stadium of uncontrollable anxiety at times. Going out, being sociable holds a heavy price. My brain is on fire. I am freezing. We feel alone with it even though the loving support has been a god send and appreciated. People write me asking how I do it. I do my best. But I choke with the pain of what I have lost (riding) and what I dare hope for. and how challenging it is to walk around . But my smiles are genuine. This is ok. Life is an adventure with many shards of awakening. I can’t sleep at night but daytime I have trouble staying awake . I am a grown woman holding onto a bear that belonged to a sister type of mine. ( thank you @k.d.w.r ) we do what we can. I have a full week ahead with mothering and appointments and things to look forward to. But like many of us, I am praying. Soaking in love where I can. It’s not easy. That’s ok. I send love to you. And by the way, this #eileenfisher sweater is my go to cozy tonight in this hotel room. Thank you. And @lorrigoddard_ I can’t thank you enough for the morale boost of blonde. And to my love @mrchrismcmillan 🖤 #humancondition #strengthinvulnerablity #MS #stillanactress #always #willmakeitwork #heartwideopen ❤️ #thisisforallofus. #littlethings PS. Some outlets use quotes as clickbait of suffering. My life is not about suffering. These are moments of sharing in a way that some may find too much, but there is positivity in these posts. A face to a disease I could not get information about from people I saw succeeding. I am succeeding and love my life. It is doable to have some rough moments and express it. No?
So, thank you, Selma Blair, for being the hero I didn’t know I needed. You are stunning in every way, and I applaud your bravery. ALL of your bravery.