MY BODY MY CHOICE

Published May 16, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I was standing in a sea of cocktails and smiles celebrating 100 episodes of the television show I had worked on. It was an incredible accomplishment and I was feeling high on life. Then a pregnant member of our crew joined a conversation I was having with one of the male executives. The conversation shifted to her impending motherhood and he said “You will never know a love as great as the love you will have for that child. Nothing can compare to it.” Well fuck me. I guess there’s another thing that makes me a failure. There I stood, 51, childless, and once again – feeling shame and humiliation for the choices I have made. At 51 years old I will certainly not be having a baby anytime soon. Deep true love was not going to be on my life menu… order something else.

 

Having children is a choice that women get to make, but if the current administration has their way – it won’t be. In the year 2019 women are actually losing the rights over their own bodies. Just look at what’s happening in Georgia and Alabama. It is outrageous. We are having choices taken away from us. Motherhood may be a privilege but before it becomes that – it is a decision that we get to make because it happens in our bodies. Let’s put aside the arguments about when life begins – and lets take up the argument about who gets to decide what happens inside of us. Having an abortion is not an easy choice. Women don’t get up one morning and think – should I cut bangs or terminate this pregnancy? I know this because I was faced with this decision myself.

 

Mother’s day always reminds me of another box I don’t get to check in life. Sure, I’d like to think I’m a mom to my two dogs – but it’s really just something I tell myself to cover the fact that I was a Mom once – even if it was just for about 8 weeks.

 

Yes, I had an abortion. The year was 1986. The day was Yom Kippur. The place was New York City. I was 26 years old. It was a day of atonement and I was about to atone for the sin of a broken condom.

 

For me, there was no question about whether to have this baby. I was in an extremely abusive relationship with a cocaine addicted nut bag. Love really is deaf, dumb and blind. When I told him that I was pregnant he said – “get rid of it.” He offered no assistance and no support financially or emotionally. He even refused to go the clinic with me. There I was, a young woman who thought she could handle anything – forced to handle something that was way above my twenty-something pay grade. Yes, I had thought I always wanted children but no – not this with guy.

 

I found a clinic and went there ALONE. I signed in and sat in my plastic chair facing the other women trying to hide the deep shame I could see in their eyes. There was no privacy. We all knew why we were there. For one reason or another we had all come to this decision.

 

When they called my name, panic swept through my body. I changed into a robe and climbed up on a cold table in a very bright room. No one was kind. No one had a nice word to say. No drugs were given to me. The abortion itself felt like they were scraping the roof of my mouth from inside my vagina. I cried – a lot. I felt humiliation – a lot of humiliation. When it was over I had to go have Yom Kippur dinner at my parents house. I didn’t tell my mother what had happened. We didn’t have that kind of relationship.

If anyone tells you their decision to have an abortion was one they entered lightly – they are lying. For me it was a trauma that I buried so deeply I didn’t even remember it until last year.

 

I was driving up the coast from Los Angeles to Seattle to visit my sister. The top was down on my jeep, the air was crisp and clean, and the sun was shining over the Oregon Dunes. Then the song “Brick” by Ben Folds popped out from an old playlist and I the dark sad ballad burst into the airwaves – I burst into tears. It seems as many times as I had heard it – I was truly hearing it for the very first time. The song is about Ben taking his girlfriend at the time for an abortion. He describes in detail the exact thing that had happened to me. There I was driving alone this beautiful stretch of road as a full body guttural release of tears blew out of my car and scattered themselves amidst the trees. Finally after 33 years of holding that trauma in, I left it in the Pacific Northwest.

 

By the year 2020, America could be illegal in 20 states. This is unacceptable. America is not the Handmaids Tale – at least not yet. Stand up, speak up and do whatever you can to keep the things that happen to your body – your decisions to make.

The Body Whisperer

Published March 27, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

If I had a dime for every time someone said to me “You need to eat a cheeseburger” – I’d have a fuck ton of dimes.  Today however, someone said it to me and he wasn’t trying to tell me I was too skinny – he was trying to tell me that my body was waging a war on itself because I wasn’t feeding it what it needed. And it needed meat – specifically red meat.  I burst into tears. I have been vegan for two years and hadn’t had anything but chicken or fish before that for about six to eight years –  barring the occasional cheeseburger someone could always talk me into.  I grew up eating meat. I probably ate a cow a week. We ate veal when I was six. But then I had a pot bellied pig named Elvis so the pork had to go.  And then I hugged a cow so that had to go. And then someone I lived with went vegan so I thought – fuck it, I’ll go full V.   I had terrible cholesterol anyway so why not give up the cheese and dairy. I really enjoy being vegan – but it’s not an easy life to feed.

It’s been a really interesting two years.  The first year I never felt better. But damn this second year has been weird. I have a lot of anxiety I’m not sure I had before and I’ve had a lot of problems with my back not to mention the kidney thing and the appendix thing. If you haven’t been paying attention I celery juiced myself into a kidney infection and my appendix basically exploded in a fit of rage about six months ago. And I’m in really good shape.

Now if you know me, you know that when I get a new idea in my head I dive 100 percent into it.  Three weeks ago after I couldn’t get up off the couch without screaming,  I read a book that I believed healed my back overnight.  I even went skiing for the first time the next day.  Boom – it worked. But then the kidney thing happened and when I was done with the antibiotics – I still had weird pains in my back. I really didn’t feel – RIGHT. I knew I needed to see someone. Maybe just find out that my back was structurally sound because it just keeps getting worse.  My back is ALWAYS sore. I don’t remember the last time I woke up and felt – good.

My friend Dan had a terrible back problem that basically crippled him and he had been telling me about this magic man who fixed him,  for years.  A body therapist so to speak.  I remembered that the last time I did Ayahuasca – the therapist recommended that I get some body work done to release all the shit I had brought up.  I had completely forgotten about this. I texted Dan. “Yeah he’s amazing. Unfortunately there’s a six week wait to see him.”  But he called for me and I got a call back an hour later from his equally magical assistant who said – “I don’t know how this happened but there’s a cancellation. He can see you tomorrow.”

The minute he sat across from me and said “What are we feeling?” I burst into tears. Shit. This isn’t going well.  I pulled myself together and gave him a little bit of my history about the past year and told him that I just didn’t feel right.  It had just been one thing after another and I truly felt like I was taking all my anxiety and stress and holding onto it very deeply in my body. What am I so stressed about you ask? Honestly – I just spend too much time with myself lately. Not going to a 9-5 job will do that to you. Most people act and or write so that they can escape their crazy introverted extroverted minds. While everyone else was working all day – my mind had been spinning for two years in between small projects. And I know how to spin like a master. But – I digress.

“Okay, let’s take a look” he said moments after I arrived.  I got on the massage table and after “assessing” my back, he began to crack every single solitary bone in my body – down to every finger and every toe. He moved me around and dug into places I didn’t even know existed on my back. The entire time he was talking to my body, saying things like “You are so small but you are mighty. You don’t need to hide.”  Then I think he said, “Oh what he did to you.  But I’m going to fix you.” I’m thinking – which he? Pick one. Honestly though,  I was in a fog of emotions. He didn’t just dig into my back he got into my head. When he was done my entire body felt like it had been cracked wide open and all the garbage was spilling out onto the floor. “You are going to be fine” he said. “This, we can fix.” He told me quite a few things I needed to do to aid my back. “Drink warm water, not cold. Eat warm cooked food. Nothing cold should go in your body because you’re always cold.” Truth. “A salad is not a meal for YOU.” “You need cardio not weights and not yoga but yoga is fine mixed in. Get out there and hike.” There was a lot of information about my adrenal glands which are fighting my thyroid and affecting my sleep. Actually I wouldn’t call what I do sleep. I nod off for six hours if I’m lucky. And then he said IT. “You need to eat meat.” WTF? I told him I’m vegan and that I am for the simple reason that I can’t stand how we torture animals in this country. He told me he too used to be vegan as well and that I didn’t have to eat red meat if I didn’t want to. But he said – I recommend that you do. Fuck. I burst into tears again. I’ve become a public crier. It’s my most loved new attribute though. Everyone should cry a lot more. Especially boys and men.

But this was a big dilemma for me. I have given Veganism my all. My friend Brian said that I do everything 100 percent and that when I go for something I go all in – and while he thinks it’s me striving for perfection – (I wish I was smart enough to seek perfection but I’m actually quite lazy) I think it’s my way of always racing to some sort of finish line – some rainbow leading to that pot of life gold. If I do this workout I’ll crush life. If I eat this way I’ll be healthy forever. If I tattoo my eyebrows I’ll never have to wear makeup again. If I do this and that or this and the other thing – every thing in my life will be great. Which of course we know – isn’t the case and life isn’t about a race to an end – it’s about everyday being it’s own beginning and end of happy.   And the hardest thing we have to do is live in the happy – live in the present – and always strive to bring joy into your life. So of course – I immediately ate a burger. It was good. I feel fine. And now I’m not sure what to do. Will I eat another? I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a way that I can figure out how to feed myself without red meat and get the nutrients my body needs and deserves but it’s so very complicated it seems.

So for all of you skinny shamers who have been telling me to just eat a cheeseburger already – you’re welcome, you win – I did it. Now what do you call a vegan who eats meat? SIGH. LABELS. The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll being going back to the Body Whisperer. I’m going to do what I have to, to feel good each day in this particular casing I have chosen. Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m going for a hike and maybe have a steak smoothie.

 

 

H2OhFuck

Published March 20, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I hate drinking water.  Like… HATE. I’m never thirsty. It’s boring. I feel full. I have to pee every ten seconds… blah blah blah… water water water no thank you can i have a kombucha instead is that enough?  I know that water is good for you. It helps you sleep. (I never sleep enough) It helps your body move more fluidly. (I can hear my bones scraping against each other like sandpaper.) And yet – I don’t do it. I am a camel. My New Years resolution every single solitary year is – drink more water. Yeah, I like to keep it simple.  Every year I buy a new water bottle that will help inspire me to drink more and every year I leave that water bottle at a gym or yoga studio somewhere.  My DNA is so scattered all over Los Angeles right now I could be framed in 263 murders.

This week however – I truly learned the value of water and what happens to you if you don’t drink any. That’s right – I’m so bad at ADULTING that I  almost landed smack in the emergency room – again.

Saturday night I attended a friends engagement party.  I had this odd tender pain in  my lower left back. Back pain is nothing new to me. I’ve been experiencing some pretty bad back pain this past year but I had just read this remarkable book called HEALING BACK PAIN and found out that my pain was mostly ANGER.  And judging from the back pain I had – I am so very angry.  But the book was really helping me figure out where I was holding anxiety and anger and release it enough to release my back pain. So here I was thinking – who am I angry at? What am I angry over? I couldn’t find anything so I just figured I’d think happy thoughts and the spasms running through my back that night will be gone by morning. What a moron.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I could feel something truly aching in my back.  So I did what I normally do.  Ignore. Move on. It’s fine, says the woman whose appendix almost exploded because she doesn’t understand pain.  The thing is – I’m never sick so I never think it’s anything with my actual organs or body.  On Sunday it was fairly debilitating. On Monday, same. I pushed through. I went to yoga.  I had lunch with a friend who suggested reflexology.  “You need to find someone who can really get in there and work those knots out.” By Monday afternoon I knew something else was up. This isn’t my back. I texted my friend who’s a doctor and explained my symptoms.  Back spasms. Lower left back pain. Exhaustion. Slight nausea. Then I told him that not only had I not been drinking water but I had been drinking celery juice every morning instead.  He said two words KIDNEY INFECTION.  “Celery juice is amazing but very dehydrating.  Drink a ton of water and if you spike a fever go immediately to the hospital.” FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.  Suddenly I had chills. I started taking my temperature every ten minutes. How did I do this again? Am I so bad at taking care of myself  that I can’t even drink enough water to stay alive? I burst into tears, terrified at the thought of having to go back into the hospital. If you read my one and only experience you’ll understand why but it brings up a lot of bad feelings for me.  Among them – shitting my hospital gown. So I was not ready for an encore performance. I drank 9 liters of water. I did not sleep that night because I was peeing every ten minutes.  The next morning I went immediately to my doctors office and had it confirmed. Kidney Infection – early stages.

This is no joke. This could have gone very badly  had I not contacted a friend who was a doctor. What a ding bat. How do I not know the value of water at 58 years old?  I am currently on anti-biotics and I’m drinking lots of water. I don’t like it but I know what’s on the other side of not drinking it – an IV and a lot of ass hanging out of my hospital gown.

I am definitely on the mend and  I’m currently drinking lots of water.  Not as much as I’d like yet because I’m too busy driving around LA collecting all my water bottles to fill.

 

 

 

I’m Vintage Bitch

Published March 5, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I’m not sure at what age the chanting and ranting starts – but the words “I can’t wait until I’m old” have probably popped out of every child’s mouth in America at least once and most likely between the ages of 1-10. This is ironic of course because America seems to have the least amount of respect for it’s elderly, especially women, out of every other country. Now, I am of course as usual, making grand generalizations here, so please don’t send me facts disputing my remarkable and highly scientific theory. I will not check them, or read them or in fact pay any attention to them. I personally like to fact check my bold statements in my head where I hold all information to be true and valid. I am only reporting what my eyes and ears – see and hear. And what that is, is an ageist mother fucking country that would like to ship every woman over 60 to some sort of camp. Maybe not one where we get shoved into a people sized pizza oven or forced to take a lovely hot steamy death shower but maybe they are just slowly convincing us to all go away quietly somewhere to some sort of island or state like I don’t know, FLORIDA?

AS I CAREEN INTO 60 – I’m noticing the invisibility more. It’s way worse for women because if your power was tied to your sexuality you’re fucked – or actually not fucked. And for me – it’s become a kind of ‘Zero Fucks Given’ super power. If i know that no one is really looking at me or paying attention to me, well then I’ll just say whatever I want, wear whatever I want and do whatever I want. My friends are reading this saying “Uh, so like always?” But now the difference is – I REALLY DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. I’m no longer saying it for effect , I’m saying it for FACT.  Rather than fading into the fabric of our older female hating culture – I’m going to get louder and put my shit on blast. I’m going to do the things that are totally taboo. And first up – I’m going grey.

I announced this to an old hairdresser friend of mine who said “why would you do that you will look so old?!” I could hear the horror in her text. But I didn’t listen. It’s been a difficult process quite frankly. I don’t even know what my real hair color is anymore. Currently it’s grey and red and pink and brown. It’s a skittle kaleidoscope of growing out the grey. It seems even my body’s DNA isn’t on my side either and it’s decided to make the growing out process – longer than a game of RISK.  But I’ll get there – even if it’s just to piss everyone off.  Even if I take one look at it and think – whoops – that was a bad idea. That’s my prerogative. That’s my choice. And the color shouldn’t come with a bunch of statements you think to be true of me based on that color. Just like my tattoos.

And so the question I’ve begun to ponder based on my going grey is  – what’s wrong with looking old? Why is OLD such a bad word with women and such a good word with everything else just by switching it to VINTAGE. Oh these shoes are vintage – they’re priceless. Oh this wine is a vintage blend and it’s priceless. So – how does an actual human being who racked up actual years of life and knowledge and love and lessons suddenly become less important than the patchwork jeans I bought from Crossroads? Why is a life lived longer less cool than a pair of wedge heels from 1960? I’m from 1960 too people.

What if – like most things in life – you were respected and loved and honored as you aged. What if we treated humans like a beautiful Valentino dress that was made in 1932. We protected it.  Went to a museum to visit it.  Why don’t we give older people permission to look back, take stock, make some tweaks, and get back out there for round two. Why do we define them by where they are now?

Getting older isn’t the end of things. It’s the next chapter. It’s a new beginning. Life isn’t – grow up – work – then die. At least – it shouldn’t be. And my grey hair shouldn’t define who I am. Neither should my age. I happen to be at the very beginning of a new career… and I’m ready to head into it with grey hair.

Life is a very long compilation reel. Let’s keep watching.

Luke Perry Lives Here?

Published March 4, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

Everyone has their person – that famous someone that they adore from a distance and think – “one day – I’m going to meet him/her and they will be my best friend forever.”  For me, that person was Luke Perry – and I was a full grown adult when he became that 90210 heartthrob Dylan McKay.  But that’s not even why  he was my person.

In September of 1996 I was living in New York City and had just quit my job at a fairly new CBS Newsmagazine called “Day and Date.”  I had 5 thousand dollars in the bank – and no prospects for a new job.  Then I got a call from a friend of mine who was working at a new show called Access Hollywood.  They were the first show to attempt to take on the all mighty Entertainment Tonight and they  needed a writer.  I had no current intentions of ever moving to Los Angeles but it had been something I had flirted with in the past.  I thought – well why not accept a free weekend in LA.  I did have one friend who lived there.  So – off I went.

The show put me up at the Universal Hilton.  I felt very celebby.  I was also terrified. Hollywood was a whole other beast and Entertainment Tonight was the mother of all shows to try and take on. Did I know enough about celebrity culture for this job?  I mean – I was trained at A Current Affair – the biggest tabloid show in the world.  How hard could writing about a bunch of celebrities be?

The Executive Producer of the show interviewed me for an hour or so and I wasn’t convinced this was the right move for me.  In fact – there was no way I was leaving Manhattan for this weird sunshine filled place. But then he invited me to lunch in the NBC Cafeteria!!  OHMIGOD THERE’S A STUDIO CAFETERIA? !!  Were all those movie images of studios filled with stars milling about eating tuna sandwiches with regular people – real?  I wasn’t buying it and I certainly wasn’t going to move three thousand miles just for a nice cup of chili.

And then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye – in full on slow motion – Luke Perry glided into the Cafeteria like a totally normal breathing human – and sat down with someone right near me for lunch.  My heart exploded.  “Is that Luke Perry? Does he like – live here?”  “Yeah of course. Lots of celebrities do” said the Exec producer.  “And they just walk around with the rest of us?” I asked?  “Uh yeah.” I can’t believe he wanted to hire me after this exchange – but he did.

Now I’m a New Yorker and sure I saw a star here and there growing up – but it was never in this kind of situation.  They were never just – walking around. But Luke was right there – in my same space – breathing my same air – eating off of my same plastic tray.  And that was all I needed.  I reached across the table and shook that Exec Producers hand and never went back to New York City. If I could live in a place where giant stars were in my orbit – then maybe I could become a giant star or at least work with them. And that my friends is what the lure of Hollywood is all about.

In all my years here I have met hundreds of celebrities.  I never met Luke Perry. His career started and stalled a few times while I was busy trashing other celebrities for my job –  but I was so happy he was working steadily again.   My friend Dana had worked with him recently and when I told her my story and how much I loved him – she promised to introduce us.  Sadly that never happened.

When I heard the news today from my friend Jeremy – I was in Target – and I cried.

Thank you Luke Perry for giving me Los Angeles. You’ll never know how grateful I am.

My Dogue Tulip

Published February 11, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

She was 6 weeks old the day I brought her home, and feisty as fuck.  I’ll never forget how she sat at my feet screaming for days.  Peaches and I were perplexed. Lift me, Feed me, Love me. Yo dog, chill. I knew she was going to be a tough little thing. I didn’t know she was going to be the dog love of my life.

If you met her – and there were many who did – you instantly knew she was 105 pounds of pure sweetness – after she knocked you down for a greeting.  She shed the amount of a small dog each day, released death farts that would peel the paint off the walls, slobbered an entire bowl of water on whatever clean outfit you were wearing and always took the seat on the couch you were about to plop down on. She had a crusty nose, barely any bottom teeth, and in one lick could clean your whole face. She loved belly rubs – I’ve witnessed some very serious standoffs. She loved barking at every single person who walked by, she loved hugs, chewing bones, licking humans, and oh so many more things. She was the world’s best couch potato and a girl’s best listener.

But it is the way she died that continues to fuel the sobbing – because it was so perfect it feels like she orchestrated it herself – even making sure my best friend was here so her mom didn’t suffer too much. “I’m just going to lie down here by the couch in the sun and take a nap.” She was wrong, but man did she try. And I break down thinking about just how incredibly sweet and in tune with me she was.

Tulip was handpicked and named for me by my friends Nick and Brian. She had a brothr Lou who she loved. And a new sister she wasn’t quite sure what to do with. She bounded through life for 8 and a half glorious years – hair and slobber flying.

Yes – she was a dog and everyone’s dog is the best dog – and everyone has a very unique bond with their dog that others don’t and cant, but I wasn’t the only who really loved Tulip and yesterday I got to witness that first hand. My house is filled with love and tulips and beautiful cards and reminders of how much she will be missed. So  many friends stopped by. My friend Chelsea – who’s nickname is also Tulip – literally wrote her a card – promising to take care of me as Tulip 2.  It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.   And then, after everyone left and the house was once again filled with the silence of a Tulipless world, Jean Luc – the young man who got to live with her during one of the most challenging times of his life looked at me and said  “She was my Tulip too.”  Cue the tears.

We’re gonna mss you Tu-Rip