Life as we know it has come to a screeching halt. I am living in New York City with my family. We did not run to the Hamptons or Upstate, NY. We stayed put in New York City so as not to potentially spread anything I was working at a job that I absolutely loved with people I adored. Then the pandemic struck and my husband was deployed to care for covid-19n patients in the hospital. I had to take leave from a job in tech sales that I recently got. Suddenly I found myself a stay at home mom doing things that I abhorred: cooking, cleaning and laundry. But under the given circumstances, I found caring for my children and being a mother was different and I found joy in the very things that I thought I hated. At the end of the day I was tired, but a good tired. The saying: "The obstacle is the way" is very true in my case: My children are the very thing that help sustain me mentally and physically. It's not been very easy but at the moment I've found peace. We planted seeds a few months back and now we have a full fledged veggie and garnish garden. It's very helpful to have some greens that we can pluck and eat. Two cut scallions in water sprouting new growth on top! (I saw this on Twitter) We have arugula. (Perhaps too much arugula). The taste of fresh arugula is potently spicy and so alive. Cilantro! We usually use a lot of cilantro but haven't used much of it yet. And hopefully some tomatoes. Pray for them. We also planted strawberries as well but those never came in. My husband requested some Thyme and Rosemary. I freaked out a bit because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with anything. I texted my cousin, Tonya in West Virginia who is very handy and wise: We can grow some of our own food and I sewed some masks (despite some obstacles, one of them being that I don't really sew. I take great pleasure in knowing we can do these things, with our hands. We can create and we can cultivate our own gardens and therefore our lives. Be Well, Natalie ❤
Here are some of my thoughts of the amazing show, Fleabag created by the illustrious Phoebe Waller-Bridge
WARNING SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN SEASON 1 AND 2
I thought about why Fleabag’s father, sister AND her Godmother are so hostile towards her and it’s because despite being a fuckup, she is loved, she is funny and especially because Fleabag reminds them of her dead mother.
By all accounts Fleabag’s mother was also beautiful, funny and beloved by all and it must be painful for the father to see Fleabag who reminds him of the love that he lost.
Fleabag’s resemblance to her mother is particularly disturbing to her Godmother (soon to be stepmother). Fleabag’s existence is a constant reminder to the Godmother that she will never measure up to the original mother she desperately wants to replace. The bond between Fleabag and her father irritates the future Godmother so deeply and overall, she is threatened by the unwavering love between her fiancé and his daughters.
In fact, upon further reflection – the amazing qualities of Fleabag’s mother permeate Season 2 in such a loving and gentle manner that you realize it is very possible the episode is an unspoken love letter to her mother.
The gold statue – a symbol of the mother – shows up in so many unusual ways.
The Godmother created a tiny gold (literal) bust of Fleabag’s mother with no arms or legs or head, just the body. Did she create this statue with the mother actually modeling? What drove the Godmother her to create it? To empower herself and diminish the mother’s presence in her mind? Or is the statue a tribute of love to her friend, and a token of gratitude for the new family she has acquired? While the statue is small it is made of precious material and it’s extremely valuable.
Fleabag steals it when she desperately needs financial help to keep her cafe financially afloat. Of all pieces of her Godmother’s, how could she unknowingly steal the statue of her mother?
I also thought about how the statue “saves the day” for Claire’s presentation after Fleabag accidentally destroys the impeccable glass award Claire so painstakingly chose.
And at the very end, in the dank bus stop when she loses the love of her life, she pulls the statue out and it seems to give her solace.
The statue quietly vibrates with life and her mother’s presence gives Fleabag the unconditional love she needs in a moment where she is (and we are) completely shattered.
The Significance of Fleabag’s Motherand Motherhood in General
Fleabag’s mother also quietly upends the myth of the asexual “good mother” who is dutiful and and lives for her child.
When you see paintings of mothers in the male gaze it’s usually an angelic woman “sitting with child” and fulfilling her domestic duties: giving a child a bath, breastfeeding or holding a child as if she is the Virgin Mary personified.
These images of how mothers are portrayed aren’t empowering for women who have children as these ideals subtly reinforce the sentiment that no matter how much mothers progress professionally: a “good mother” stays at home with her children and are always haplessly out of touch and ineffective.
Even comedians cartoonishly portray their own mothers in a buffoonish “mom jeans” fashion and the Fleabag series completely throws this paradigm out the window.
Fleabag’s mother (though unseen) is portrayed as beautiful, complex woman who is not defined by a vocation, her children or other external things like status or education, but by simply being authentically herself, just as Fleabag does.
That said, it is quite clear that, despite her mother living a full life on her own terms, her unconditional love for her daughter was never sacrificed. Though Fleabag’s mother affection is never explicitly shown in the series, it is unmistakable that she loved her daughter very much and vice versa.
Her mother is one of the most reliable and purest forms of love Fleabag ultimately turns to when she faced one of her most challenging moments.
Fleabag realizes that despite being devastated by the priest choosing God over her,*she* was the one that she was looking for all along.
This feeling is so beautifully highlighted by the Alabama Shakes singing: “But it feels so nice to know I’m gonna be alright.” and you know she means it as she motions to the camera she no longer needs it’s artifice to live.
- I was raised in both Suffolk County, Long Island & Millersville, Maryland. As a child I was very tough and while not exactly a bully I was (and still not) a pushover. One of my high school classmates described me as a little tough dog who attacks big dogs. This was a derogatory jerk statement but I also weirdly felt some pride in it.
- My grandmother on my paternal side was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. We were very close.
- I love the Mets even though they make me feel a lot of pain. GARGH #LGM
- Ever since I was in 5th grade I wanted to be an actor & cartoonist. This was in a slambook where one of the questions asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.
- When I became pregnant with my son, I had strong feelings of depression during pregnancy and postpartum. I was lucky because I had excellent family support and therapy. When I see people with mental illness on the streets I know for a fact that we aren’t really different.
- I have 40 hour of mediation Training from the New York Peace Institute. I also assisted in the training of NYPD community officers to learn mediation skills.
- I really LOVE being lazy in a bookstore. I could spend hours in a bookstore.
- My mom married three husbands so my I was not enthusiastic about marriage. I was a flower girl in one wedding and her maid of honor in another.
- I got my sense of warped humor from my mom, and the blue collar neighborhood I grew up in.
- Favorite movies: The Godfather I & II, Goodfellas, On the Waterfront, The Big Sick, Dumb & Dumber, Moulin Rouge, Moonlight, Dr. Strange, Chung-King Express.
- I love writing ‘thank you’ letters. I’m a pretty grateful person. I also love picking out fun stationary and/or cards.
- I love myself & I’m totally lovable! This took me a long assed time to know this with every fiber of my being.
- I unabashedly love comedy. My last manager told me to stop doing comedy. So for a year I STOPPED and I couldn’t have been more miserable. We recently parted ways and I feel G R E A T. Lesson learned: Never give your power over to someone else.
- I ALWAYS question authority. According to author, Gretchen Rubin, I am a rebel. THAT SAID, I also am suspicious of Gretchin’s quiz and believe putting people in neat boxes is convenient but dangerous (ha ha, total REBEL quality).
- My family is THE most important thing to me. I was not raised in a very ideal family (who was?) and it took me a while to feel confident in my loving, normal family.
- I can understand a TINY bit of Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Greek & French. But very little. I also think the Russian language is beautiful (which I had to learn for a recurring role on Madame Secretary).
- I love Scotland! This country holds a very special place in my heart mostly due to my grandparents and the very loving friends I have there, especially Dumfries! (I do not speak or understand Gaelic…yet.)
- I attended multiple Buddhist meditation retreats (in NYC and Wales) where I learned about the following Koans:
“What is this?”
“Who are you?”
“What was your mother’s face before you were born?”
- FAVORITE PASTIME: I really love making people in an elevator laugh. It’s a challenge because it’s a very short snippet of time and I can usually make it happen.
- I speak my mind at ALL times.
- I’m OBSESSED with pens, pencils & paper. Kinokunoya & JetPens are my favorite places to get pens.
- I really really really wish I could surf & skateboard like a boss.
- I believe in abundance, inclusivity and love.
- I LOVE Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, hip-hop, R&B (mostly 90’s)
- NAPS are MY LIFEBLOOD. Some might call them siestas. Whatever you call them, I relish any opportunity to take a snoozy.
Sometimes my daughter requests comics. Here are some I drew for her one summer: