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  • Cecily Alexandria

Death in the "Family"

I've worked in a few places since I've been an adult from, an office, to IHop and things in between. In all of those jobs I've found a friend or a few to connect with. It truly is great to be able to have friends at work you can trust and laugh with. It wasn't until I started comedy and the performing arts in general that I started recognizing people as family. Let me be clear, my friends are my family and my family is my family and the people within the arts circle are family. So no shade to my best friends and my immediate family. Honestly they wouldn't be the ones who would be offended (deep side eye towards the ones who think I'm talking about them). The arts create something much deeper and loving than any other work space I've been in. Partially because we are working together but completely separate most of the time. You do your art I'll do mine, we come together and have a good time. I'm so clever (I rolled my eyes at myself). There is something magical about the people you meet in the arts. I've found more individuals who understand me, or are willing to listen, and want what's best for me, as do I towards them. Most of us couldn't be more different than each other but somehow there's love there like family. We get frustrated and mad and cuss at each other but we also embrace, assure there's nothing in our noses and go to as many shows or events as possible to support. We may see each other everyday, monthly or years may be between us. With modern technology we still follow up on social media until we meet again, which I appreciate.

When someone in your family dies there are different reactions. Sometimes, I don't feel much because I didn't know them or know of them well. My dad often tells me who the latest family or church member who has died. Depending on my connection I'll be deeply saddened or I'll understand how it is sad but not have a gut-wrenching response. What I've noticed over the years is that I have a gut-wrenching response to fellow artist's deaths as if they were an auntie or cousin I grew up with. I truly believe that we make or find our families in the arts.

Just this past weekend a comedian friend I haven't known very long died. He was one of those people you connected with because he was so kind, caring, and supportive and the first time I hung out with him he would slide in sarcastic comments that kept us laughing when we weren't supposed to. Like I said earlier, you make your family and your heart is connected even when there is distance and time. My friend who has been like a mentor to me knew him much better than I. They were truly family. Knowing her pain was deep also added to my pain. This is the third comedian friend I've known who has died. It never gets easier. When the Facebook page turns into a memorial page, the jokes they told come back to mind at the most dumb times (seriously I laugh at this song one friend would sing at the end of her set when I'm doing normal people stuff) and you laugh then you get sad, when hundreds of people post how much they meant to them, all of these things mean they made an impact not just with their art but with themselves. So with that we must continue on with their memory and legacy and pass it on. Keep going, keep doing what you love, and keep loving and supporting your family because we're family now. Oh and stop being assholes to each other on social media. That was just a random sidebar.

I'll probably light a candle (Glade because I'm not Catholic and it smells great) and take a moment to honor my gone too soon family members with a nice glass of sparkling water, maybe pour some out on the floor for my homies. Guys I never know how to end stuff so it gets really weird. Imagine my first dates. I'm going to leave now. Peace and love and light (okay again I don't know what the light means but I think its Jewish and I like it). Bye!


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