Sophie’s Choice

This wasn’t the original title of the blog when I started thinking about it this morning – most of my blog ideas start in one of three places: 1. The shower 2. While I am training 3. When I am waking up and not yet out of bed

But as anyone who is familiar with the movie or book knows, it is about making the most horrendous choice one would ever have to make – choosing which one of your two children must be sent to a death camp.

Luckily none of us will ever have to face such things again; but, it brings up a point and one that people agonize over: to eat that __________ (you fill in the blank with whatever is your recreational food of choice) or be healthy. And with Memorial Day weekend upon us and the inevitable parties we will be attending, we have to discuss the significance of choice.

Which makes me thing about what I was doing this weekend: I decided to try to embrace my inner GaGa. After all, she is the queen of be whoever and whatever you want to be – make your own decisions and choices and don’t let anyone get in your way – in other words, Express Yourself. Wait, that was some other diva – the last time this phenomenon happened and I am old enough to have been a part of the mania – yes, the cult of her Madgesty, Madonna.

And when I say a part of the cult, I drank the Kool-Aid – I could have taught classes.  I saw every concert – and the Who’s That Girl tour, I saw in New York, New Jersey, wait for it – London, Paris and Tokyo.  I was one of those people – well actually I made my friends do it – who used to sleep for days in line outside waiting for the chance to buy tickets to the shows.  Luckily, I can now afford a broker so while I still get front row seats, I don’t have to wait. I even introduced Like a Prayer to a discotheque in Budapest, Hungary – this was during the cold war, Iron Curtain era when this music was banned I received a live chicken as a gift for doing so from the owners of the disco.

Now, I may be biased, but Madonna was doing and saying these things “when it makes no difference if you’re black or white, or a boy or a girl” when it really meant something – when there were no gay, Asian or few people of color represented on TV; when being a woman meant you were going to get paid less and expected to work more. A lot has changed since the 1980’s but perhaps it took yet another person in a cone bra to push the envelope a little further.

So, I watched the HBO special of Lady GaGa’s concert – it literally took me days to watch it; it was slow, boring and to me incredibly self-indulgent.  She talked about herself and her fans incessantly; more about herself though. Her back-up dancers were androgenous (ho-hum), her dancing for a 25 year old was lackluster; but her costumes were fantastic in that over the top, is that really necessary type of way. But, the audience was incredibly young and dressed up in bizarre costumes – both boys and girls – a generation that doesn’t know what it’s like to not have gay, black, fat and Asian people on television.

So, then, she was the musical guest on the season finale of Saturday Night Live. I gave her another chance and this time, whether it was because it was a more intimate setting, she actually shone and I could see what people saw in her.  However, the biggest revelation came when I was driving home from the Hamptons yesterday and was listening to people who were waiting outside for days in Union Square to get a chance to have GaGa sign a copy of her CD.  Here are some comments as to what they were saying:  “she’s changed my life” “I can be the person I always wanted to be” “I am in awe of her ability to do her own thing”

So, perhaps she does serve a purpose to the younger generation giving them hope to be the person they want without fear of repercussions or reprisals. But for all of you reading this, I want to be your inspiration to be the healthiest person you can be; or at least offer you the option. I can’t be making every decision for you; but I know how hard it is to want something that will temporarily make you feel good. I have important meetings with television executives in the next few weeks and it is imperative, at least in my own mind, that I look my best.  I have also had an extremely stressful time with my business partners and also with that age-old dilemma of, now that I have what I want – it’s really scary.

So, being that overweight adolescent, I really wanted to turn to food to comfort me.  Round Swamp farm in East Hampton makes the best coconut cream pie. For me, it is one of those things I allow myself each summer. But this time, I wanted it just to comfort my feelings of insecurities, my feelings of anxiety and I didn’t want it for the right reason. It was my Sophie’s Choice all weekend.  You will be happy to know I did not cave in – meeting the president of CBS/Paramount meant so much more to me when I really examined the issue but don’t think I didn’t drive past the farm each day and almost stop. By making the healthy decision, I changed my life for the better. I allowed myself to face my demons and move on. I chose to be the person I really want to be.

So, in these blogs, and in my newsletter, I hope that I can offer you tools and perhaps insights into why we act the way we do and steps on how to avoid the pitfalls. So, I open my emails this weekend and there was one from Amazon. Do you want to guess what the best selling gluten free cereal was on their site– Fruity Pebbles.  I was shocked and appalled. Although Amazon is selling gluten free foods which a few years ago would have been unthinkable or in reality, not a worthwhile business model; look at the choice Americans make – a junk food disguised as a health food.  Maybe I need to start dressing up in outrageous costumes, grabbing my crotch, wearing kilts or maybe just artificially vomiting whenever I see things like that; record it and place on my you tube channel – which should be up soon, so keep checking.

Really, what do I have to do? I hope that I, like Madge and GaGa offer you tools and inspiration to be the best person you can be.  I really hope I don’t have to resort to such gimmicks but I’ll do whatever it takes to make this world a healthier place.

I don’t often talk about medical shows on TV; and I don’t mean Oz or the Doctors.  I mean shows like Grey’s Anatomy etc.  I find them to be too much like work. However, the one show that I do like is Nurse Jackie.  I think I like the show is because although she is a drug addict, she is an inspiration to those around her and always does what is best for the patient or the patients family – often making the tough decisions when those that need to make them can’t.  There is a lot of humanity in the show but also a lot of dry wit. It takes place in an emergency room and the only time I liked working in hospitals was either in the critical care units or the emergency room so perhaps that is why I can relate. Dr. O’Hara who is Jackie’s best friend and an inspiration to all doctors, male or female, so far has had the two greatest lines of the season: “This place really does need a bar” and “I’ve missed you and the havoc that you wreak Jackie.”

So, when you are faced this weekend, or any time really with the choice between eating healthy or eating the bun with your burger or the potato salad, or the ______; think of Sophie and the choice she had to make – your decision will seem so obvious and so easy.

As those decisions become easier and easier to make over time, only then can you begin to realize that the bigger transitions often come out at the smaller moments when we can stop and look at who we are because each time we see how far we have come, we see how far we still have to go. Life’s a journey – one must enjoy it; but you also have to learn from it.

As far as season finales go: BONES – best one ever!!!!!!

Until next time…