Molly Rosen Guy on Sadness and Strength
Fearless is the word that comes most readily to mind when describing Molly Rosen Guy. Although I hesitate to draw upon a word so fraught in meaning, so burdened by its implications of invulnerability, I can think of no better way to describe the woman that Molly is. Hers is not an unflinching fearlessness in which all emotion is abandoned, but rather a wholehearted and courageous embrace of emotion: a herculean feat of feeling. In the midst of a year of pain and tragedy (she lost her father, and got divorced all at once), Molly has embraced her sadness, loneliness, and regret, allowing herself the space to venture through the spectrum of grief with remarkable bravery. Processing and documenting her experiences of love and loss through her writing, Molly has candidly – and fearlessly - shared every moment of her journey. With her openness, candor and keen sense of humor, Molly has moved us deeply, and has undoubtedly given countless readers the strength to go on in difficult times. We are thrilled to share just a bit of Molly’s incredible writing with you below. For more, follow her on Instagram, where she posts daily tributes to her father, or purchase her recent book.
Four Tips To Surviving The Worst Year Of Your Life by Molly Rosen Guy
There's no cute way to say it: I've had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year. I left my husband. My Dad died. I developed migraines, insomnia, chronic pain, and rage. Weeks went by in which I only ate mashed potatoes, peanut butter from the jar (with my finger) and hot chocolate. Sometimes I would sit in the shower and scream "why God why” and blast Nirvana and Cat Power and Led Zeppelin and brush my skin demonically, like Gwyneth Paltrow on crystal meth. Sometimes I would scream at random people on the subway for no reason (yes, I was “that” woman). Still, I managed to get my kids off to school and shave my armpits and make a paycheck. And to think I thought this would the year I'd be choosing paint samples for the family summer home in Woodstock (it was more like deciding on divorce lawyers and on what kind of coffin Dad should be buried in). You know what they say: don’t tell God your plans, or she’ll start laughing in your face. Anyway, due to a strange confluence of things (mainly my friends, antidepressants, and perspective) this past slow trudge through the dark night of the soul didn’t cause me to lose my mind completely. In fact, throughout it all, I was able to find pockets of peace, humor, and pure raw love that made it all seem sort of sweet. If there is one thing I've learned during my cosmic voyage through the depths of hell, it’s that you’ve got to treat your grief like a tender little preteen in a training bra. Speak to it calmly, don’t make it go to loud parties, and let it spend lots of time doing quiet, cozy things around people who make it feel safe. In short, when you’re sad, keep it simple. Welcome to my Four (Very Basic and Unspiritual) Tips for Surviving the Worst Year Of Your Life.
When In Doubt, Buy Flowers. One of the good things about living in New York is that there are delis on pretty much every corner. And where there are delis, there are flowers. After spending days on end with my Dad in the hospital, I was desperate for beauty and color, but lacked the time to do any meaningful sort of search. That’s where the deli flowers came in. On my way home from the hospital, I would pop into the deli and buy two bunches of red roses for 20 dollars, 24 stems in total. Then I’d disperse each bloom around my apartment in mugs and old Ball jars and vases. Flowers, flowers everywhere! Every time I stepped into my house post-hospital reeking of medicine and cracked out on sickness and fluorescent lighting it was like walking into a twenty dollar mini garden of goodness. A sense of peace and calm prevailed. Reminds me of the Camus line: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
Movies + Candy = Medicine What is there to do on a Saturday night in January after your Dad has just died and your marriage is falling apart and your kids are spending the night at your ex-husband's house and it’s dark and hellishly frigid and quiet and you’re all: “OMG am I really going to have to get through the next twelve hours in this shithole of despair all by my lonesome?” NO, silly! That’s where Good & Plenty’s, peanut butter M&M’s, green apple licorice and Sour Patch Kids come in! Create an altar of the sweet stuff on your coffee table, wrap yourself up in your most worn quilt and create a Netflix queue of every bad comedy and rom com you haven’t watched since seventh grade (I’m a big fan of all things Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, and Hugh Grant). Basic? You bet! But time will fly before your eyes. Before you know it the sun will be rising and you will be bawling because Julia Roberts is “just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” For the first time in forever, someone else’s drama will be the reason you are spilling tears and it will be TERRIFIC.
Go To Disney World Every now and then there will come a time in a grieving mother’s life when, after spending a cruel cold winter with two children keeping it together at all costs, playing with woolen blocks and wooden dolls and eating chia seed pudding for breakfast and organic buffalo meatloaf at night, practicing the art of “active listening” and “accept and reflect” and reading “Tear Soup” at bedtime and “Talking To Your Children About Where Grandpa Has Gone” she will hit a wall and hightail it to Disney with a suitcase full of old US magazines and ingest high fructose corn syrup, wear polyester princess dresses, play with all things plastic and indulge her daughters’ every heteronormative fairytale fantasies filled with unicorns and fairies and glitter and cotton candy and swirly-wirly lollipops for five fun-filled days. Hard to be depressed when you’re eating lunch with Donald Duck.
Take A Minute In The Morning My Dad used to tell his doctor that he just wanted to get well soon so he could go home and read the Chicago Tribune every morning in his favorite chair by the window. I mean, that’s not all he said. He also wanted to sleep in the same bed with my Mom, and go back to work, and play basketball, and play with his grandchildren, but one of the things he talked about most was missing his morning routine. I have to remind myself of this every morning— as I’m grumbling and bitching and kvetching around in my pajamas with a toothbrush dangling out of my mouth complaining about how rushed I am and how annoying my kids are and how tough it is being a single mom — that all of it, the rushing, the being annoyed, the grumbling, the screaming kids, all of it is extra, and it’s everything. After I get my daughters out the door, I sit on my couch with a cup of tea and remind myself: this is what Dad was fighting for. His home. His body. His breath. Before I head off into the day, I take a minute and remind myself: I am alive. Not everyone is so lucky.