It always intrigues me to listen to an interview of a well-known comedian or film star. A few of my favorites have either had the most challenging childhood or battling something pretty major in their lives in general. Just like anyone else, there are two paths to take from struggle; being humbled and learn from it, or hide behind their public face. The transparency of the bitterness usually reveals itself no matter what.
I’ve seen hundreds of terrific interviews with many terrific actors/comedians, hosted by James Lipton on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” It’s a raw yet natural setting with good questions and atypical responses. I have learned a lot from these individuals; their philosophies, triumphs, tragedies, and the take-away is always a rare nugget each and every time.
The individuals I most admire, who have no problem airing their foibles, struggles and dirty laundry; Steven Wright, Ellen, and Jim Carey. They are authentic because their intelligence, humor and humility allows them to be. It’s what most of us can relate to. Who among us doesn’t appreciate honesty?
What Is True For Me: Being a caregiver has taught me to give people a chance, especially if they seem to be having a difficult time, era, day, year, whatever. Had anyone met me during the roughest times in taking care of Mom, they would have walked away shaking their heads, thinking I need high doses of Prozac, Valium, a stronger cocktail, or a combination of all three – something, anything to be softer around the edges towards others. It might take a little prodding to find good underneath someone’s hard shell, but what better gift to give them and yourself.
It’s why one of my favorite pass-times is to watch something like “Inside The Actor’s Studio,” or read A Man Called Ove, a good book with a tough, pessimistic, cynical character. Matter of fact, I almost stopped reading “Ove” after the first 45-50 pages because he was such a curmudgeon, but was encouraged by the friend who recommended the book to keep reading. I’m glad I did. I learned to understand why Ove was the way he was, and come to absolutely adore him.
Soul Messenger, another good book which is a true story, has a main character (other than Dr. Annette Childs herself) named Don Borwhat. I learned very quickly to understand and admire Don’s cynical disposition. Don’s contiguous humor made me laugh out loud, while relating to everything he was up against with his belief system being broken down and rebuilt with different brick and mortar.
There’s always more to a person than what we see, whether they have dementia or not. Be kind. Be patient. Have compassion.
*The book, Soul Messenger, by Dr. Annette Childs, can be found in the (sample and) Resource section of this website, or you can go to Amazon.com.
*The book, A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman, can be found in the (sample and) Resource section of this website, or you can go to Amazon.com