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Uncategorized

9 Months Widowed, Our Wedding Anniversary, and The Deadpool Effect

George and I loved telling the story of how we got engaged and married. We talked about it once on our podcast (when it was The Dirty Bits) during an AMA:

On August 22, 2016, I found a white-ish $16 dress at Target and George put on a pair of slacks and a dress shirt. We  listened to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” on repeat as we drove to the Eugene, Oregon courthouse. We were married by a judge and we snagged a couple of employees to serve as witnesses and photographers.

It felt like we were the only two people in the world as we stared into each other’s eyes in between our peals of laughter and streams of joyful tears. Afterwards, we bought a cake from a little bakery near our house and went back to celebrate with Babbs. We cuddled and watched our favorite movies and shows. It was the most magical day of my life and one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. 

I highly recommend eloping if you have the opportunity. 

But why am I writing about this here? Where’s the funny part? 

I’m not entirely sure.

It’s been a struggle to find the humor in things lately… which is a problem because it’s one of the few coping mechanisms that’s proven to be effective for me. 

It was a different story before. You know, when it was just my world that was ending. But between covid-19, civil unrest, and a facist coup, now it feels like the actual world is ending.

I knew that I would get over my personal tragedy… but could I make it through a global one?

Last night, as I was drowning my sorrows in Hulu and baked goods, I realized that a dystopian existence is something we have to endure together as a society. And for many of us, endurance is made a lot easier with dark humor that both acknowledges and lightens our reality.

I call it The Deadpool Effect.

Our experiences shape us, they’re a part of us, but they don’t dictate who we become. Like how Wade Wilson could have let his trauma, pain, and loss defeat him but instead, he chose to deconstruct everything around him with sarcastic cynicism and no fucks given. He doesn’t fear death or consequences. He just keeps surviving- and making jokes.

There’s something in DBT called “opposite action.” It’s when you do the opposite of what your emotional instinct is telling you to do. For example, when I feel overwhelming sadness, my natural response (particularly as an introvert) is to isolate. So instead of isolating, I have to force myself to reach out to friends. When I’m anxious, instead of avoiding my fear, I have to repeatedly expose myself to the offending stimulus in order to achieve a level of desensitivity (I’m still trying to visit my husband’s grave without having to manage a panic attack). 

I can’t help but wonder if Deadpool’s entire personality is based on taking the opposite action in response to a life surrounded by trauma. He doesn’t run from his reality. He accepts it, takes action, and improves his health with laughter.

So while I fully anticipated closing the blinds, diving under the covers, and crying over the aching loss of my best friend and soulmate, I instead have been doing the opposite. I’ve been hanging out with our little fur-baby, Babbs, and doing what George and I would have likely done to celebrate. Babbs and I went for a scenic drive, listened to one of our favorite playlists, stopped for breakfast, and went for a walk before it got too hot (George and I were a very simple couple, to say the least… we just liked hanging out together). 

As it’s 90 degrees today, I know we would have likely spent the rest of the day inside with the a/c, watching Bob’s Burgers. It was our favorite show, our happy place. Consequently, we watched it a lot when he was sick. We used to say that I was the Bob to his Linda, and it was easy to imagine having a child together that resembled their hellion daughter, Louise Belcher. 

I haven’t been able to watch the series since George passed away but today, I think I’ll take a lesson from Deadpool and just dive right in. 

Now if only I could regenerate my limbs…. 

XOXO,

-Tawny

Special thanks to my dear friend Hannah for this beautiful piece in memory of George.

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interview

Interview: “Widow We Do Now?” With Anita and Mel

In this episode:

“We started a podcast called “Widow We Do Now?” Because we don’t know what to do.”

In this episode, I (Tawny) chatted with Anita and Mel from the podcast Widow We Do Now?, the show that addresses topics related to grief, death, bereavement, and moving forward through the inescapable pitfalls of young widowhood. And it’s funny too! You can listen to their show now on apple podcasts

Anita, Mel, and I talked about podcasting being a great platform for teaching and healing, learning from other people’s grief, normalizing the different ways we grieve, and creating communities for people.

Mel (38) is a musician who tours around the United States and the world (she was also the associate music director for the national tour of Matilda). She married her husband Scott (who was a theater director) when she was 33. After getting surgery for a deviated septum, Scott unexpectedly passed away just days later during his recovery in November of 2017. They had been married for just one year and 11 months. Mel then found herself homeless and couch surfing for a year while mourning the loss of her husband. She went on to overcome depression, a gnarly car accident, learn about passive suicidality, attend a lot of therapy, and get a ton of dogs. Mel also shares funny stories about tacky wolf birthday cakes, Bob Ross and Kenny G board games, and unicorn vomit. 

Anita (40) is a physical therapist, who got married at 19 and “surprise, surprise, we had an awesome marriage.” She’s also a mom to 4 kids which she admits is “crazy.” Her husband Jason, was a marathon swimmer… like he would jump in a lake and swim for 7 miles. Then, in early 2019, Anita had surgery on a thyroid nodule that was huge. The day after the surgery, Jason passed away during a swim at the pool due to an undiagnosed heart defect. A week after the funeral, she found out that the thyroid was cancerous. Anita tells us how she copes with humor, especially with fellow widow, Mel, and her sisters. 

  • “Nothing has ever been sacred, you joke about everything.” – Anita
  • “His timing of death was super stupid.” – Mel
  • “If you haven’t lived through this, your brain actually cannot process the thoughts that you learn going through something like this.” Anita
  • “The stupid doctor had an earring so I hate him forever, even though it’s not his fault…” – Anita
  • “Does this mean for Halloween I can be a black widow?” – Mel
  • “There’s a place for everyone no matter how you grieve. You grow so much as a person through grief. Loss is loss. Take care of yourself. Try to create a new you, where there’s a better you. There’s good and bad and there’s the middle – don’t lose sight when you’re in the middle. Also, eat all the sugar.” – Mel

DeathIsHilarious@gmail.com

@death_is_hilarious – Instagram

@thatdeathpod – Twitter 

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Uncategorized

“Alien” and “Wid-hoe’d:” With Tawny and Sam

Note: This was recorded a few days before Tawny was admitted to the hospital with what she thought was a kidney issue. She’s home now, doing well, and will give a happy update on next week’s episode! Thank you so much for your kind understanding. 

In this episode:

“I laid out the whole being independent thing and how I’m not resistant if I hit it off with someone in my life but I’m also not looking. And I shit you not, my therapist,  this little Russian woman, goes, “Ah, you stopped thinking with your dick. Good. ” – Tawny

“Look, I don’t know how to say this nicely, but my mom doesn’t suck. And I get that most moms suck because their moms suck. And my grandma doesn’t suck either. I don’t know who was the last matriarch in my family to suck, but somewhere down the line, someone broke the cycle.” – Sam

“I’m not here for the small talk, folks. I’m here to discuss life’s big, nihilistic-leaning questions.” – Tawny

“A wise person on tiktok once told me, “Anxiety is just conspiracy theories about yourself.” – Sam

“Like… do you know there’s a name for what I did after my husband died? It’s called Wid-hoe’d.” – Tawny

“A few of my friends were in on the alien thing too, and we had secret hand signs and a whole shared mythology and magical rituals and oh my god I was a cult leader.” – Sam

DeathIsHilarious.com

DeathIsHilarious@gmail.com

@death_is_hilarious – Instagram

@thatdeathpod – Twitter 

Categories
letters

“America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!”

In this episode:

  • ” We got a question that got some attention in one of our discussion groups. Katie M., asked, “Why do white people think they deserve peace after all we have done to people of color?” – Tawny
  • “I’ve been learning about a little something called the theory of constructed emotion in the book “how emotions are made” by Dr. Lisa Feldmen Barrett. I’m going to do my best to make summarizing neuroscience entertaining, but if I fail, you can find her Ted Talk.” – Sam
  • “While I can’t give you the answer to this question in its entirety, I can let you know what the history and research says about how those of us who are white progressives can talk to our not so progressive family and friends about racism. So this is my dirty bit of history on civil unrest and white entitlement in the United States.” – Tawny
  • “And now, for some comic relief, I invite you to laugh at the tragicomedy that is my life. The rest of this letter has a three act structure.  ACT ONE: (ANXIETY IS HILARIOUS)  So, one way to get a COVID test is to schedule a surgery. Oh yes, I got my surgery. I am super, super grateful that I got my surgery to remove my fallopian tubes and affirm my identity as someone who never wants to get pregnant. But this wouldn’t be my life if I didn’t have to go through a fucking ordeal over it. “ – Sam
  • “So that’s why a bunch of Bostonians were like, “Nope, throw that shit in the river.” But when they do this, England goes, “I’m taking away all of your privileges. Self government? Gone. Boston Commerce? Gone. Nintendo Switch? Gone.” And how did the good people of the 13 colonies respond? They went, “The actions are intolerable! They are Intolerable Acts!” and then, oh hey, they started protesting. Like, they burned down a whole damn ship that was carrying tea in Annapolis.” – Tawny
  • “I knew if I woke up convinced that I died, I probably didn’t die. I mean, I’d probably know that anyway, because I don’t believe in an afterlife, but they were going to be giving me pretty strong drugs so anything was possible.” – Sam
  • “Like, straight up, Samuel Adams said in response to the Boston Tea Party, and I quote, “Hells yes! Brew that tea in the river and serve it! This is a protest and there’s no other option when it comes to defending our constitutional rights! Suck my dick, FUCK the police!” – Tawny
  • “ACT TWO: PAINMAGGEDON – I woke up feeling great one morning, and hadn’t even taken my pain medicine yet. I thought, I’ll make myself some breakfast while my partner sleeps in. He deserved it after fetching me water, cookies, and more cookies for the last 36 hours.” – Sam
  • “So a bunch of angry white guys storm the dissecting room and see a ton of bodies in various stages of mutilation, which makes them even angrier, so they pick up these various body pieces and start holding them up to the windows to the rest of the 2000 person mob outside, like, “Look at this fucked up shit they’re doing!” – Tawny
  • “The oatmeal sat in the microwave for about 20 seconds while I finished my imaginary conversation between my anxiety and my sassy coping mechanisms. Then, I got hit with a massive cramp. I abandoned my oatmeal to crawl into bed.” – Sam
  • “Posting snarky memes and berating someone doesn’t endear that person to your message. I would know because it’s my go-to move and it’s zero percent effective.” – Tawny
  • “One, I am eating raspberry chocolate oatmeal. It’s red like blood and truly a poor choice when you’re trying not to worry about bleeding out and dying. Two, watching my partner clean up after me, I think, wow, he would make a great dad. And he’ll never be one. That’s hilarious.” – Sam
  • “This is an area enmeshed with conservative evangelical christian leaning values – which means, you can eat bacon and watch rated R movies but grandma can’t come over anymore if she has a girlfriend, and terminating a pregnancy is the equivalent to using an infant as target practice at the beloved shooting range.” – Tawny
  • “Gotta jump on that sweet sweet surgery train before it leaves the station. And because who knows what the fuck is going to happen to my Healthcare as the evil oompa loompa and his terrifying cronies continue to trample on our rights.” – Sam

More Episodes

Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes Death Is Hilarious

  1. Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes
  2. "A Dirty Bit: RBG + Sarah Grimké" & "Goo:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. "Widow Jokes" and "Bi Panic:" With Tawny and Sam
Categories
Resources

Black Lives Matter

We’d like to take this opportunity to use our platform in order to encourage you to listen to and support Black voices. If you need references, we’ve made this list of resources with the kind help of Masha from the podcast, Bold Adulting.

Pride Flags

  • Pride Flag SD: Queer owned and run! All flags are made with sustainably sourced American materials by hand by a team of 7. Located in our hometown of San Diego. Follow them on Instagram too, where you can follow their progress as they donate to different queer BIPOC organizations @PrideFlagSD
  • DCHomos: Inclusive Pride Flags (The popularity and reach online has given DCHomos the ability to fundraise for many local non-profits and organizations as well as become involved in sponsoring and hosting events such as the Ask Rayceen Show, events for The DC Center, H.I.P.S., and Trans Latinx DMV, Casa Ruby, SMYAL, Whitman Walker, Time Out Youth (NC) and many more. DCHomos has made a commitment to continue to uplift and amplify marginalized voices in the DC community and beyond. DCHomos really tries to keep their prices low because visibility and accessibility is important. And they’re wonderfully helpful and responsive!)

Resources

Categories
letters

“Rats” and “Seven Year Anniversary”

In this episode:

  • “Glue traps are fucked up. Never in my childhood had my anti-pesticide, anti-poison, clean the house with vinegar, hippies-that-take-showers kind of parents ever used glue traps. The battle against the rodents must have taken a desperate turn for them to resort to this kind of weapon.” – Sam
  • “So anyway, the point is really that  my husband would be the kind of guy to have faked his own death…. and I did wonder for a couple of weeks if he was going to send me some encrypted message from Costa Rica with instructions on how to join him with Babbs.” – Tawny
  • “Now, crickets must die because they disturb my slumber, but I hate hate hate squishing them. And for some reason, killing ants is not a big deal. But I’ve never had to put down a mammal, even to end its own misery. ” – Sam
  • “I find comfort in thinking, “Well, at least, this is great material,” as I continue to observe all the chaos and drama around me. That’s not to say my life is purely dead husbands and PTSD induced flashbacks of his body on our kitchen floor…. ” – Tawny
  • “I instinctively knew that pretending to be a stand up comedian was going to keep me from having PTSD flashbacks about this.” – Sam
  • “Now, like many others who were quarantined whilst living alone, COVID has worsened my already existing case of “deprived and thirsty bitch syndrome.” So when I heard a dude’s voice go, “Hey,” you can bet your sweet socially distanced ass that I stopped to see who was talking to me.” – Tawny
  • “A bokken is a wooden practice sword. Duct tape a hammer to it, and this device of destruction is probably a remnant of my little brother, who like most little brothers, likes to make weapons.” – Sam

More Episodes

Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes Death Is Hilarious

  1. Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes
  2. "A Dirty Bit: RBG + Sarah Grimké" & "Goo:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. "Widow Jokes" and "Bi Panic:" With Tawny and Sam
Categories
letters

“My Frodo Baggins” and “The Little Mermaid”

In this episode:

  • “Or maybe I was just corrupted by the Satanic Bible on that fateful night and that’s why Laura Ingraham started to sound like an idiot to my awakening teenage brain.” – Tawny
  • “Our theme is coping with grief and trauma using humor, and, well, a lot of the trauma I have to joke about, isn’t what people want to hear. I even texted you that the rest of my trauma isn’t funny. I texted YOU, the widow. Like, your husband dying isn’t funny. What was I thinking? “ – Sam
  • “Today marks the six month anniversary of George’s death. It also marks the three years since George and I debuted the Dirty Bits Podcast, which was the show originally found on this podcast feed. We produced the show together after I used to crack him up by summarizing whatever history book or other nerd article I was reading at the time in my best southern Californian take.” – Tawny
  • “People don’t want to joke about death either! You’ve noticed that – the ways they try to tell you that you’re grieving wrong. But there are plenty of batman is an orphan jokes and far fewer touching on the fact that, you know, the Joker abused Harley. Birds of Prey was fun, by the way. But I’m slightly biased because I really like birds. Also, I was disappointed there were no birds.” – Sam
  • “I soon fell into a deep fangirl obsession with all things Peter Jackson and Tolkien but I directed a large amount of my attention to Elijah Wood’s depiction of Frodo, who was the Timothy Chalamet and Adam Driver of 2003. And by that I mean, these are the men you’re attracted to when you don’t quite yet realize you’re attracted to lesbians.” – Tawny
  • “It was the natural place to be after my Christian phase. Which was a solid move, by the way. Like, I didn’t want to keep having sex with my dickhead boyfriend, so I became Christian. Genius! Christians aren’t allowed to have sex! I just took everything my parents taught me about skepticism and progressive thought and threw it into the baptism pool so I could be a born again incel. “ – Sam

More Episodes

Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes Death Is Hilarious

  1. Interview With Comedian Mimi Hayes
  2. "A Dirty Bit: RBG + Sarah Grimké" & "Goo:" With Tawny and Sam
  3. "Widow Jokes" and "Bi Panic:" With Tawny and Sam
Categories
Uncategorized

Death Is Hilarious

Behind The Show

Tawny’s Story

I married George – my soulmate, best friend, and the love of my life – in August 2016. We then started an audio production and entertainment company together. He was the editor and I was the voice-over talent.

We released the Dirty Bits Podcast in 2017 and were transitioning into producing the show full-time by the following year.

But George was terminally ill. He was born with a congenital heart condition (he had a single ventricle anatomy similar to hypoplastic left heart syndrome). This came with multiple comorbid conditions, one of which eventually led George to contract a respiratory disease similar to tuberculosis (mycobacterium avium complex) when he was just 29. He passed away due to related complications on November 8, 2019.

In the six months leading up to his death, George was mostly homebound, on 5 liters of oxygen, and I was practicing social distancing. But we were together. It didn’t matter that I only left the house to do the grocery shopping and walk our little dog. I was with George and we were in comedy together. If he had been healthy, it would have been a pretty perfect life.

When he abruptly died in our home, I was overwhelmed by the grief and the isolation that comes with mourning the loss of your soulmate.

The only thing that’s been able to give me any relief has been comedy.

George and I shared a dark sense of humor. It’s what we used to cope with our often dark reality. Because if you can laugh at death, trauma, and tragedy you can take away much of its power.

So I started using our comedy podcast in order to cope. I began interviewing other podcasters and creatives on how they were using dark humor to get through their grief, loss, and trauma. These episodes were the beginning of what is now Death Is Hilarious.

I wasn’t able to take the time to plan out the transition of this podcast from the Dirty Bits to Death is Hilarious like I wanted to. It’s been largely experimental and my listeners have been witness to what seems like a behind the scenes look into how I navigate my grief using various art forms like writing, stand-up comedy, podcasting, and performing.

It’s taken a few months and a few different formats to find my footing. And while I’ve had many different creative partners on this journey with me, one of the most consistent partners has been my dear friend, Sam.

We went to high school together and have worked on many artistic projects together since around 2007. Sam was also the mutual friend who set up George and me!

George’s death has been really hard for Sam too and we began coping by channeling our grief into comedy… specifically by writing each other funny letters about how we’re dealing with not only death and loss, but other traumas in our lives. Those letters are something I’d like to share with you on this show, Death is Hilarious, in addition to interviews with our special guests from your favorite podcasts, YouTube channels, and more.

I hope you too can find some healing and relief in our version of radical acceptance – with stories, friendship, and lots of jokes.

Tawny Platis