By far, the best new show of the season is “Nashville”. This show has something for everyone. It has good music, good soap lines for the women, suspense for the men, addiction, pain, love, trucks, dogs and what else goes with all that? A good country song, of course! Seriously, however, “Nashville” has touched on many different areas in its first season. I can hardly wait to see where this show goes!
The cast is superb. Connie Britton is a woman after my own heart. I feel her pain. I understand too well the whoas of aging in a society that says ‘aging just ain’t cool’. We must age with grace! We must get this cream and that cream to fight off those pesky wrinkles! Forty is the new thirty and fifty is the new forty! Her character, Rayna Jaymes is a country superstar and legend whose sales are starting to bobble a bit. Enter one Juliette Barnes, played by the amazing Hayden Panettiere (talk about feeling old, I watched this little dynamo ‘grow up’ on my now defunct ‘One Life To Live’ when she played Sarah Roberts). Juliette is a teenage superstar and super-diva aka pain in the ‘back-side’. At first she appears superficial, however, there is much more to Juliette than meets the eye.
So what could a young teen super diva and myself have in common? We are both the children of addiction. Both Juliette and myself have/had mothers that were/are addicted to alcohol and that with Juliette’s Mother, played by Sylvia Jeffries, other drugs as well. I said this show was good. If it did not have me before, it has me now. It is spot on too. Children of addiction are notoriously hard on ourselves. We feel we do not have the right to happiness. Her character reels a young and handsome but deeply religious football player in only to leave him at the altar. I never got quite why and I really don’t think Juliette did either. We feel guilt, anxiety, confusion. We can be in a big room full of people and be as lonely as if we were the only person on earth. We are embarrassed. I used to get embarrassed because my Mom would show up at my chorus concerts and plays crocked. It was awful. The truth is, I think I was the only one who knew it. We feel angry… anger at the alcoholic for not ‘loving us enough’ to get sober and anger at the other parent for not protecting us against the addicted parent. This is a slam dunk for me. I carried this anger for many years but about eight years ago let go and wrote my Mom a letter forgiving her and forgiving my Dad who admitted he should have gotten me out of the situation. He did not know ‘how bad’ it really was and he, himself, felt great guilt over this. I reassured him that I was no longer carrying any anger and no longer living in the past. Living in the past did no one any good. Forgiveness is freeing! Living in the past is not productive. We are guaranteed only the very moment we live in and possibly the future. These are the the times we should work on. Wallowing in the blame game of what my parent did to me may explain some of my own mistakes, howbeit, it is not constructive to being a better me now or in the future. I am convinced one of the writers is the child of addiction. There is no other way to get it this spot on!
This past weekend I was home sick. So I was the ultimate couch potato and catching up on my stacked DVR. When you spend your life with a chronic condition, viruses such as the common cold or things like a tooth abscess / recovering from a pretty wicked oral surgery hit you twice as hard and twice as long. Rest is imperative. Sunday was my husband, cat cuddles, the couch, me and the ‘boob tube’. We got caught up on our “Nashville”. The most recent episode was one in which Juliette was to throw Deacon, played by the oh so fine Charles Esten… (a real good guy)… a surprise birthday party. Now they warned Juliette that Deacon did not like parties. He stays home every year on his birthday and watches “Old Yeller”. Despite this warning, Juliette proceeded with the party. She was bound and determined this man was going to have the shin dig of his life. Her Mother just got out of a successful stay in re-hab and is living with Juliette (I praise “Juliette” for this! How wonderful to be able to take this step, but much work is left to be done). The addiction counselor said it was very important for her to take part in family counseling. He said with his many tries at staying clean, it was not until his family got involved that he was able to finally beat this demon. Juliette said she signed the checks and that was proof enough she was ‘doing her part’. She proceeded with planning the party. Juliette asked her mother if she was strong enough to attend a party where alcohol would be served. Her mother said she would be able to attend…. and in fact Deacon was a long time recovering alcoholic who was helping Juliette and her mother with this go at recovery. It took him five times to get sober. Notwithstanding, he did get sober on stay number five.
The night of the party arrived and Deacon was surprisingly receptive to his party. Things were going well until Juliette’s Mom accepted a glass of champagne and pan to the next scene and she is passed out in a back room of the club. Deacon took Juliette back there and offered to help them home but Juliette insisted she would take care of her Mother while Deacon stayed and enjoyed his birthday party. Juliette would get her Mother home and asked made sure her Mothers addictions counselor was notified. Rayna (who is going through a divorce) proceeded to play a beautiful, longing song. While the song was playing, it panned to the different characters side stories, including Juliette getting her Mom into bed. I was not in any way, shape or form prepared for what was to come next. It hit me like a piano hurling from a high rise in New York City. Juliette’s Mom said, “I am sorry about your party baby”. I don’t remember the exact words that Juliette said. It was something to the effect of, “It’s OK Mama, Deacon is having fun….” something to basically say the party was not ruined, everyone was having fun and virtually did not notice what happened. Her mother said, “No, I don’t mean that, I mean your 9th birthday” (paraphrased).
Here is the scene! I was actually able to find it on you tube!
It caught me like a howling, freezing wind. It took the breathe out of me. It was a moment delayed, but instant at the same time. It was real. Unexpected. And it totally came out of left field. I clasped my face and from the gut it started. It was that kind of cry you cry from the depths of your soul. The kind that vibrates. It comes from so deep within, you are sure the seismic reading at VA Tech is picking it up. Paul paused it and just let me cry it out. I could not talk, all I could do was cry…. and cry….. and cry…… and cry. I cried for the little girl whose mother threw her parties but was drunk at each and every one of them. I cried for the little girl who just wanted her mother NOT to drink for that one night. I cried because I so, so got it. Part of me cries for reasons unknown. I mean this was one serious emotional reaction. I think, however, most important, I cried for the one thing I never heard; “I’m sorry”. My Mother died from her addiction to alcohol and the details surrounding her death are the saddest, most pitiful thing you would ever hear. Out of respect to her memory, I will keep those details forever to myself. There was never even an admittance that she had a problem. There was never one single go at rehab. I cried for myself and all parents who have tried and are still trying to better ourselves but it goes unnoticed by one or more of our own children. I have made huge progress in the last decade and I am still a work in progress and probably will be until God calls me Home. I am trying! For me, for my family and most important to be the child of God that He wants me to be. I just wanted my Mom to get help for her addiction…. no list of conditions. No eggshells to walk over. Just one thing; break the addiction. Juliette welcomed the addiction counselor in, explaining her Mom was ‘sleeping it off’. They spoke about her ninth birthday. She had never had a party and her Mom was going to throw her a party at a ice cream parlor. About three days before the day, her Mom spent the money on booze/drugs and there would be no party after all. She took her little nine year old self and left. When she returned, her mother was asleep with a lit cigarette still in hand. An ash had fallen on the floor and was starting to ember a bit. She thought hard about just leaving again but put it out. She told the counselor she wanted her to die. I remember wanting to be one of “The Brady Bunch” or wanting to be a sister to my friend I will call “S”. “S” was a late in life baby but her parents were some of the sweetest people I have ever known. When I spent the night over at her house it was like, “Wow”, “This is what it is like to live in a normal family”. “S” envied me because I had such a young, “fun” Mom. Little did she know underneath that fun was a bottle of chenin blanc. Juliette then asked the addiction counselor, “Do you really think you can help us?” He said, “Yes, I can.” I commend her for being receptive. It is noteworthy she sees her mothers efforts. If only real life were like a television show script.
It took nearly ten minutes for me to get that bombshell out of my system. It struck a nerve so deep. Rayna singing her new, beautiful and very powerful song really added a punch. Music has a way of transporting you to a different level. However, we finally resumed the show and watched the rest with a very lighthearted and cute ending. In any event, this episode of “Nashville” will never be erased from my memory. I am glad they have this story-line. It explains a lot about why Juliette is the diva and pain in the back-side she is. Underneath is a lost little girl. I can relate so very much. I am far from my teen years, but I am still a lost little girl in so many ways. I have many other bad things in my past I am dealing with so I have a layer of demons to slay. I am slaying them, nevertheless, one demon at a time. Thank you “Nashville” for bringing us more than “The Grand Ole Opry” meets “Days Of Our Lives”. Thank you for bringing us a show that has a layer of wonderful story-lines that are filled with fun, music and real-life struggles. TV can be a mindless wasteland or a powerful tool. I choose wisely. Until next time. K.
**** I would like to dedicate this post to all children of addiction. The walk we walk is unlike any other. It affects our life in every aspect and no other person can possibly understand. May your days be bright and your load be light. May your journey be blessed and may you find your happy place. I hope and pray we all find our way. God Bless. K.