There Ought to be Clowns

Susie Sunshine after Too Much Moonshine, 1987

In eighth grade, I was voted “Most Friendly” of our graduating class.

Sophomore year of college, I got my name on a plaque for the Susie Sunshine award.

Sometime in the mid 90s, my employer gave me the “Miss Congeniality” award. (Probably a reverse-psychology trick so I would stop bitching.)

For the past 10 years, moms have been avoided eye contact with me in fear that I would start babbling when they just want to be left alone.

See a pattern here?

I swear that I am not some freaking Pollyanna, but I am a pretty outgoing jackass with a self-deprecating sense of humor that mildly amuses others. (Or at least they pretend that it does.) Thus the creation of my blog.  The goal has always been to laugh at the every day absurdities of parenting, marriage and being me. But over the past couple of weeks, I have really been struggling to post.

My husband’s friend asked if I was on strike.

In my defense, there was no time over the holidays.  (And posting Christmas cards after the 25th would just be stupid. Enough already!) My family was glued to each other while my sister and her husband were in town from Ireland. It was a wonderful visit. We moved in wolf packs as we ate, drank and stayed up way past our bedtime cramming as much time together — not knowing when that next visit will be. Trying to make the most of our bonding time without killing each other. Trying to keep the happy face and plans on track.

In the meantime, two women who are very dear to me were spending their holidays in the hospital, undergoing major surgeries. One is a long-time colleague, the other a bestie since high school. Neither has ever met, but both are hilarious, feisty, courageous, caring moms who have been through hell and back in their lives —only to find themselves battling their own bodies. Both operations went well. I believe and pray with all of my heart that they will fight, conquer and win back their health. It’s just scary and overwhelming. And an incredibly helpless feeling.

Needless to say, I am in a funk.

The last time I suffered a really good old-fashioned depression was when my daughter was eight and continuously sick with sinus and ear infections. She finally got her tonsils and adenoids removed and was good as new. Three weeks later, she contracted mono and was out for the count for almost two months including two trips to the ER because she was in excruciating pain. We couldn’t have visitors because she was so contagious.

After weeks of being on lock-down in my dirty house, working from home and comforting my daughter, I started having a hard time breathing and sleeping. My doctor prescribed some happy meds and also drew blood to run some tests. Day two of popping pills, I felt like I was losing my mind. It was a combination of drinking too much Mountain Dew and being sleep-deprived with a newborn. I would walk into a room and have no idea how I got there or what I was doing. I’d find myself in the bathroom: “Am I here to pee? Brush my teeth? Pop a zit?” I was afraid of driving because I thought for sure I would get into an accident.

After day four, I called my doctor and said that I had to get this monkey off my back. She suggested that I move onto another anti-anxiety med and I said no thanks. Maybe I’ll try that diet and exercise thing. I thought the pill route would be a lot easier because I’ve seen how well it works for others I know. Turns out that the blood work showed that I had a Vitamin D deficiency so that helped trigger the depression in addition to all the other crap. Go figure, not being in sunlight for months on end takes its toll on you!

So here I am: a humor blog writer who is a friggin’ downer. That is depressing unto itself! I have plenty of asinine material to write about, but each time I tried to formulate a comedic tale, it didn’t feel authentic. I am forcing myself to be the Funny Girl, but all I’ve got going is the Barbra Streisand shnoz.

Yesterday, my girlfriend gave me an update on our friend’s latest surgery and some additional awfulness that is also taking place behind the scenes.

I sarcastically joked that maybe I just write about all of that insanity. “Kar, you really think people want to read that stuff on your blog?”  Then she channeled her inner Bernadette Peters and started singing, “Send in the Clowns.”

I belly laughed for the first time in days.

If you have a chance, try to meet up with a friend this week.
It’s good for the soul.


Dear Google, Please display ads with discounts for shoes, vacations, travel, get-aways, weekend retreats, spas, wine, chocolate, salad, dinner, and yoga pants that look like really cute jeans that you can wear in public.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mom-mom-mom.com/2011/01/06/for_the_record_clowns_are_freaky/


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  1. Another Elmhurst Mom

    Hi Karen,
    Don’t worry about the funk…misery loves company and it’s actually comforting (sorry) to know we all can feel this way, especially this time of year. I just put in my 2,394,324 load of laundry (I really should have kept track , would be interesting data) and continue to question my value and worth. All while simultaneously beating myself up for not feeling happy and blessed since we all have our health and good fortune of living in a wonderful community with a roof over our heads. To cheer myself, I will go cram into a pair of pants that have a button at the top and pretend not to notice my body / face and repeat some goofy affirmation in the mirror! So to you I say, thank you… thank you for being you – you bring joy to many. We will say a prayer for your friends.

  2. beth

    I think honesty is better than funny. It is somewhat comforting to read that others go through crap and make it through to the other side. Feel better and keep smiling.

  3. Lady Estrogen

    It happens to everyone. I use to feel a bit of pressure about living up to the label of being ‘the hilarious’ one, especially at parties – I don’t have time to care anymore… but then again, I don’t do to parties anymore either. lol 😉

    I frickin’ LOVE that pic of you. Awesome!


  4. McGill

    Karen, Funk… Aah the good olde ” feeling of understandable nonsensical krap”…. SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!!! You have a wonderful family, good friends, a home, with heat and utilities, ability of speech, eyes to witness the greatness of everything, hearing( selective of course), food and clothing. The cure for “FUNK” is simple… Walk out your front door…walk into the middle of the street, all awhile looking up at the sky.. Marvel at what you have and not at what you do not… After a few minutes of pondering the goodness of your life all things will become clear and you snap right back….”FUNK” cured… And if by happenstance you get whacked by a bus while pondering all the good things you possess erstwhile standing in the midle of the street.. Well thatll cure it too…just not recommended.. You’ll put others in a ” FUNK” and then it just becomes a vicious cycle… Hope I could be helpful!!!! The McGill

  5. Donna

    Hi Karen, So sorry to hear about the blues you’re going thru. I think it’san epidemic. I hear myself talk to friends about the troubles here and I think “who the heck wants to hang around me?!” The best advice I have is; just ride with it, feelings are lifes way to let us know we are alive! It’s OK. but, sometimes it sucks too. Thanks for affirming we all go thru things. I’m a subcriber now too. Donna

  6. chris hyland

    Reading that finally got me out of bed after 3 days! Thanks Karen.


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  8. Ronnie

    I don’t know what you are talking about–there must be something wrong with you. The past 6 month after having Haydee has been nothing but glorious, and I’ve never felt down in the dumps over losing jobs, losing promotions, broken down cars, sick babies, $14,000 medical bills, and literally feeling like a cow whose sole purpose in life is to feed her piglet…then again, I do take vitamin D every day. :o)

  9. Ronnie

    LOL! You’re blog has triggered anti-depressant ads!

  10. Karen

    Thanks Mr. Spammer! Sex and weight loss are just what I need!

  11. Karen

    Who invited Dr. Phil to my Oprah Show? (Thanks for the kick in the arse, Mr. McGill.)

  12. Karen

    Thank you so much for taking the time for that thoughtful post. A good, ugly cry went down after reading your kind words. I really am blessed!

  13. Karen

    Thanks for getting it! (Yes, I was quite the Hot Mess in that pic!)

  14. Karen

    WOW! Thank you so much for all of your supportive comments and emails! I am overwhelmed and uplifted by your kindness and empathy.

    I was nervous about this downer post and ran it by my husband first. Well-meaning, he replied, “Um, maybe you should say at the end that your next post will be funny.” AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! KINDA MISSING THE POINT!

  15. Karen

    Hang in there and I am here if you ever need to unload!

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