Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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More Ally McBeal

I’m starting my last season of Ally McThiel. Oops, I mean McBeal. The second to last season is the one with Robert Downey, Jr.. It’s so sad because the childhood love of her life (Billy) dies, and then she meets Robert Downey, Jr. (Larry) and they seem so perfect for each other. I’ve seen the series before so I knew what was coming.

Larry is planning on proposing to Ally, so he starts acting weird. Ally notices his odd behaviors and thinks it is because Larry is planning his exit. She knows that Larry is scared to death of being close to someone, so she erroneously misreads his intentions. Larry gives the engagement ring to a waiter, who stupidly puts it in the wrong dessert and delivers it to the wrong table. (Just added fun fact: that table is a couple where the guy IS trying to break up with the girl. Big oops on both counts.) Larry decides it’s an omen and then does, indeed, leave Ally.

Now, some may watch the show and criticize Ally for assuming the wrong thing. I don’t criticize her at all. She is astute to know that his behavior is noticeably off. If Larry had the ability to communicate with her, she would not have misread it. And in the end? She was correct. He did leave her. He was unable to sustain intimacy.

In an earlier episode, Ally talks on her birthday about how she has dealt with loneliness as one of her most gut-wrenching struggles throughout her life. She made a statement that struck me as I’ve heard other of my married friends say it before. She said being WITH someone and still being lonely, is much, much worse. It’s a whole other level of lonely.

In discussing the show with someone, I made the comment about Larry’s intolerance of intimacy. That really took my friend by surprise because he had never heard that expression before. Unfortunately, both professionally and personally it is a concept I am quite familiar with. Sometimes, no matter what the heart wants, a person (man or woman) finds they cannot sustain intimacy for long periods of time. You can protect yourself from intimacy in a number of ways.

Probably the easiest is to select partners (usually unconsciously) that also can’t tolerate intimacy. There might be lots of built-in ways to keep enough distance. Maybe it’s a job where you travel a lot. Maybe the person emotionally withdraws. But if you stumble upon a partner that IS capable of intimacy, in spite of thinking you have wanted that your whole life, you may sabotage the relationship because you just can’t sustain the closeness. It triggers too much fear.

Anyhow, I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this (seems to be a theme in my blogs lately) but suffice it to say that even on the second run, I still get Ally McBeal. I get what it means to be in a relationship and still be lonely. I get what it means to taste love and then watch it disappear. I understand her. She’s certainly not perfect, but I understand her sad (yet happy), quirky, clumsy self. I get it in my forties as much as I did in my thirties (or was it my twenties?).

Larry made a big mistake walking away. Just saying.


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Ally McBeal

I absolutely love Netflix. Since the summer, I have really been working at being more comfortable being alone. Truth be told, the magic answer was in putting Netflix on my phone. I can lay in my bed for hours and hours and watch stuff on my phone. I watch series that start with the very first season and watch until I’ve completed it.

First, I watched Breaking Bad. I loved and hated it. I was so disturbed by it, I can’t even watch that actor in another movie now. No amount of reality talking in my head about how he was a real human just playing a fictional character will do it. I hate that Walter dude, no matter where I see him.

I decided in order to avoid a psychotic break, I needed to switch gears. I watched Friends. Ten freaking sessions. And you remember the old days. A season was actually 26 episodes, not seven like they do now.

Currently, I am switching back and forth between two series – Criminal Minds and Ally McBeal. I am convinced now that I am in season eight of Criminal Minds, that I am an excellent profiler. Put me on a serial killer case and I could figure it out. Of course, I’m no Spencer Reid, but he is one of a kind.

Then there is Ally McBeal. I used to watch her after I was divorced and had moved back to the Buffalo area. I loved her. Now that I am re-watching her, I know why. I swear, I AM Ally McBeal. The description of her show describes her as “unlucky in love.” I can certainly wear that label proudly.

She is incredibly quirky, which makes me giggle out loud when I watch. She is also terribly klutzy, which I unfortunately am also quite good at.  I asked a friend today what I should blog about, and he said thankfulness. It reminded me of an episode that I watched recently.

It was Thanksgiving, and Ally’s roommate walked into the living room to find her kicking their expensive couch cushions across the room. Ally was on a roll, being “thankful” for all the blessings in her life. It is hard to explain, but she was clearly being sarcastic. And yet she wasn’t. Overall, she is grateful and positive, but when you are “supposed” to be thankful, and then thankfulness is supposed to be the secret key to finding happiness, you can get pretty sarcastic.

So she went on with her list of items she was grateful for, and concluded with how especially grateful she was that Christmas was around the corner. She said the word Christmas with such disdain, it sounded like a curse word.

Only people who have experienced loneliness – I mean true, gut-wrenching loneliness – will understand that disdain. Holidays completely suck when you are lonely. Christmas is one of the worst.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in being thankful. I believe thankfulness is a powerful, powerful force in our lives. But I also know that there should never been an assumption that if you are sad, lonely, or in a depression, that the anecdote is necessarily learning to be grateful for your blessings. I believe with all my heart that I have recognized many, many blessings and amazing human beings that I am heartily grateful for (pun intended) and yet still experience profound sadness, loneliness, or depression. In fact, when you know all these things, you just add guilt to your list of negative affects because you know there are plenty of people out there who have less than you do. What right do I have to feel depressed?

Anyhow, even though it’s not Thanksgiving, try to revisit Ally McBeal. You will laugh your buns off, and you will probably also understand me on a different level. By the way, I’m currently NOT experiencing a lot of loneliness or depression, which I am VERY grateful for! 🙂