A few weeks ago, my friend Kate took me to see the sublime RadhaMUSprime at Joe's Pub. You may not have heard of her, but she is awesome. Anyone who starts their show with the line, "YO WHERE MY PERIOD AT?" is okay by me. You should definitely watch the video at the bottom of this post, but first I want to talk about RadhaMUSprime and how she is like a safety flare guiding us through the dark night of this Mother's Day holiday.
Because I see you on the other side of this screen, hate-reading Mother's Day cards and blog posts and all the tributes on your Facebook feed. And I understand that you might want to throw your computer out the window because sometimes having a dead mom can feel like someone poked a hole in your floaties right before dropping you off in the deep end. Maybe you feel like singing this:
But it doesn't have to be that way. Girl, I got you.
Because the other important thing to know about RadhaMUSprime (and excuse me if I get these details kind of wrong, because I heard them during her show while chugging a $14 glass of rosé so I may not have been listening with my most sober ears): the way I heard it, RadhaMUSprime turned 40 the year her mom passed, and it was ROUGH. So what did RadhaMUSprime decide she needed to do? She decided to launch her hip-hop career. BAD. ASS. Don't mess with daughters of dead moms, amirite?
|In RadhaMUSprime we trust.|
At the end of the show, RadhaMUSprime performed a song in front of her mother's picture. I was on my third glass of overpriced rosé, and I was feeling it. And by feeling it, I mean I was crying and clutching my sternum while trying to look hip, like oh what a poetic voice I really enjoy this fresh, provocative talent cough cough excuse me while I rip my heart from my chest and burn it to ashes. What I mean is, she got me. And because I was three drinks in I can't recall all the words except this line, which I wrote down in my iPhone during the curtain call:
Let love flow instead of leak.
There was also a bit she said about stop complaining and live all the dreams your dead moms can't. That got me too, because like I said last time, I'm just a few years out from my mom's age at diagnosis, and plenty of times I wonder how much longer I have to live out any of my dreams, or my mother's dreams. What were her dreams, anyway? I never asked her before she died. I was too busy wanting spaghetti for dinner and crushing on my music teacher's step-son.
The reason I wanted to share that line is that on Mother's Day, it's easy to want to stop up your heart, curl up inside yourself, and hoard your love so that no one else can have it. Because one of the things that sucks about having a dead mom is that you keep on loving them even after they're dead, and that hurts. What also hurts is watching other people get to lavish all their love on the people who are still alive to receive it, whereas your love just circles back around to yourself, digging in like a burr that stabs every time you worry it. It's easy, then, to plug up your love, so you won't feel the pain. That's a dangerous way to live. You could end up corroding your own heart, like the crumbling acid gathered on a dead battery. But it doesn't have to be like that. That doesn't have to be your life. Your life could include an amazing hip-hop career, or whatever your version of an amazing hip-hop career would be. You just have to make like RadhaMUSprime and turn your pain into poetry.
This Mother's Day, here's what I prescribe:
- Watch RadhaMUSprime's video below.
- Call someone else's mother. Call anyone who's mothered you, even though it wasn't their job to mother you. Call someone who just became a mother, call someone who's been a mother for decades. Wish them a very happy Mother's Day, and mean it. There's nothing like doing something nice for someone else to make you feel better about yourself. And there's nothing like reminding yourself about all the people who love you back. Let love flow instead of leak. Do yourself a favor, and don't corrode your own heart.
- Live your dreams, go out and get famous, or at least speak your truth. All the dreams we have for ourselves can only happen now, while we still have time to make them. Your dead mom will be so proud of you.
If all that fails to comfort you, write some really amazing/awful dead mom poetry, and share it here. We can't all be RadhaMUSprime, but we can still rhyme! (See what I did there? You're welcome. You are so pretty.)
fyov teaser final from Radha Blank on Vimeo.
I don't always write about dead moms. If you want to see what else I do, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.