Wired for Struggle

I just watched this TED talk by Brene Brown and thought it was wonderful. I love the part where she talks about parenting. She says that the point is not to take these perfect babies and keep them perfect. Rather the point is to communicate to them that they are imperfect, they are wired for struggle and they are worthy of love and belonging.

This seems particularly relevant to those of us who parent children who have had trauma, separation or other experiences that told our kids on a very deep level that they are not, in fact, worthy of love and belonging. When Brene used the phrase “wired for struggle, ” I thought it was a perfect definition of my fierce little warrior son, who survived so much and is still often fighting with every inch of his being. I wish there was some way I could communicate to him that he is safe now and he can trust now. But healing is a long and mysterious process.

The best I can do at this point is tell him over and over not that he is adorable and brilliant (true but not helpful), but rather that he is strong and that I’m proud of how hard he tries. And that he is worthy of love and belonging. Maybe in trying to impart this belief to my son, some of it will rub off on me.


Safe Travels, Jennifer Alicia Grant



My friend Jennifer died the night before last. She overdosed on Sunday night and lasted on life support until Wednesday. I think I’m still somewhat in shock because I keep catching myself feeling annoyed and thinking- why is everyone insisting on being so dramatic. This is Jennifer. She’ll pull through. She’s the original warrior. At the end of the world it will be Jennifer and Cher and the cockroaches left alive. We’ll be visiting her in yet another rehab next week.

But we won’t. They donated her organs last night. They said she had a fantastically strong heart, to have survived a massive cardiac arrest and then to keep beating on its own.

Jennifer was a study in contradictions. She was equal parts feminist and fashion victim. At her best, Jennifer was adventurous and beautiful and possessed of a wild exuberance for life. At her worst, you would have crossed the street to avoid her. But even at her worst, Jennifer was compassionate and kind.

There was a time in our friendship when Jennifer was a Sadie married lady with a condo and a job at a law firm and a kitchen full of wedding gifts. This was right about the time that I met Scott, when I barely had four dishes from the 99cent store and I still had to look up things like how long it takes to boil an egg.

I knew immediately after meeting Scott that he was it. I decided to try to bring my game up a notch and I invited him over to my tiny Hollywood studio for dinner. Now, I had never in my life cooked anyone dinner, if you don’t count reheating. Jennifer was a fantastic cook. So I went to her house and she not only taught me how to cook a gourmet meal, she also wrote out a shopping list and foolproof instructions that were so detailed they included exactly when to garnish the brownies with a sprig of mint. Then she filled up a crate with table linens and candles and dishware and everything I’d possibly need to set a beautiful table. The dinner was a fantastic success.

Now I’m the one with the monogrammed table linens. And the thing that’s been nagging me is that she had never even met my son.

Truthfully, I hadn’t seen much of Jennifer in the past few years because I hit that point beyond which I could no longer show up for our friendship. I couldn’t hang around any more for the endless attempts at recovery and the endless lies. I know the story well because it was once mine. And when I was at my lowest, Jennifer was one of the people who showed up and talked to me and offered hope. And when I was miserable and newly sober and struggling to hang in there, Jennifer became my closest ally. For years we were the kind of friends who talked on the phone every day and got matching tattoos and made up names for our imaginary band. Which was all to say- we’re the same tribe, you and I. You are not alone.

And now I face the question every friend and family member who has ever pulled away from a drug addict faces. Did I do enough? Was I a good enough friend or was I lazy and selfish? And even if there was nothing more I could have done, would it have been worth it to keep talking to her if only to have a scrap of her voice to remember better now?

When I held her hand in the hospital, I looked at her tattooed arms and thought that I was holding my own hand. One different choice and that swollen hand would have been mine. I went home and curled around my sleeping child and soaked his jammie shirt with tears.

This morning someone woke with Jennifer’s heart in her chest. I wonder if she can feel somewhere inside her that she has been given a fierce and rare gift.

Jennifer was a passionate artist and a good friend and she tried like a motherfucker. She really did.

You were glorious, my friend. Rest now.



Support the Arts (and my kid’s future bandmate)

Here’s your chance to get a signed copy of Some Girls and to support an awesome documentary project. My friend Patty has an amazing story and a great message. Check out the trailer and if you feel moved, go to their website and donate $25 or more to get my memoir as a premium. And yes, that’s Patty’s baby in the fundraising pitch. Cute, right? She’s going to be in a band with Tariku one day soon.

Here’s what their website has to say about the project:

“HIT SO HARD” chronicles the life and near-death story of a hard-hitting lesbian drummer whose talent (and friendship with struggling musician Kurt Cobain) unexpectedly led her into the darkness of addiction and betrayal. Transcending the “nevermind” generation, never-before-seen footage of Hole’s chaotic rise reveals Patty Schemel’s harrowing survival and triumph.

Back in 2007, Patty brought over 40 hours of archival footage she shot while on tour with HOLE for the LIVE THROUGH THIS tour to director P. David Ebersole. She shot the tape on hi-8 and was afraid it would disintegrate soon, so she asked Ebersole for advice. Soon, the two of them were transferring the tapes and watching the footage together and the seed of the documentary was born. Ebersole spent the next few years interviewing Patty’s band-mates, friends, fans, social critics and other women drummers to craft “HIT SO HARD: The Life & Near Death Story of Drummer Patty Schemel.”

At this stage, we have picture lock and are working with Roddy Bottum (FAITH NO MORE, IMPERIAL TEEN) on the score. We are currently fundraising in order to finish the film. What does that mean? Music, color correction, legal clearances, sound mix, etc.

That’s where you come in! Thanks for taking the time to read this & watch our trailer. We appreciate your support and we can’t wait to ROCK YOU!