Have you ever admired somebody so much that you’ve literally mapped out what you would say to them if your paths ever crossed and you had to balls to approach them for a conversation, even though you know that your balls are far too tiny and if by some freak chance you could muster the courage in that moment, all that would come out of your mouth is, “HOLY FUCK! YOU’RE YOU! I LOVE YOU! OH MY GOD!” and they would give you some strange, fearful, perturbed look in response before briskly passing you by, which would completely crush your soul if you were self aware enough to clock that reaction but you wouldn’t because your mind would be far too blown so you would ultimately just be left standing alone with a wide eyed, slack jawed expression while your friends who were once walking with you, wander off pretending not to know you?
Well I have. I currently do. That somebody is Pamela Adlon.
Have you ever been super emotional about something with somebody and actually listened to your mom’s advice to write an e-mail/letter that you DO NOT SEND to avoid having a manic outburst over the phone or in person with that somebody that is full of overreactions and impulsive word vomit that can never be erased from memory?
This post is kind of like that. Except, I’m not angry, upset or particularly emotional at all. And nothing happened with this somebody because we’ve never met. Fingers crossed we never do because she’d probably be horrified by my fangirl-dom. But nevertheless, I need to get it off my chest and into the universe so I can purge myself of this nauseating admiration I have for the aforementioned somebody. Here goes…
Dear Pamela Motherfuckin’ Adlon,
You are a gem and a beast rolled into one. I’m not sure if pride is an applicable term or even counts if you have no personal connection to somebody but I feel completely, in my gut and heart, near tears of joy proud of you for what you have accomplished with your brilliant series, Better Things. I have no concept of how factual your character or story is to you as an individual but from the little I can gather from momentarily cyber stalking you (not to a creepy extent… I assure you, it’s just a term…although, I’m certain that’s hard to believe at this point in time), you are a single mama of three beautiful, wild girls and an actor with an IMDB page littered with the widest variety of work. Buddy, you are a bonafide hustler… not as defined by Urban Dictionary.
Actor to actor… It’s hard to make money as an actor, period. It’s even harder to make enough to sustain a nice life. It’s exponentially harder to make enough to sustain a nice life for an entire family. And it is damn near impossible to do any of those things for decades on end. Fuck “making the right choices” and “being selective” so you have some glamorous, fabulous life that your family can brag about to their friends and your highschool nemeses can be jealous of. If you’re earning enough to live as an actor, you’re already the one percent so kudos the 0.00000001% who actually have the option to solely take multi-million-dollar-paying, award-winning jobs. If you’re name isn’t Jennifer Lawrence, shared with an affluential entertainer you call mom or dad or Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover aka one third of the Derrick Comedy supergroup, then get over yourself, take the damn job and thank your lucky stars there’s one to take. I love that you are a shining example of the hustler that’s spent her career taking the damn job for all the right reasons (#Supermom) and are now writing, directing and starring in your own hit network series whilst laughing at it all and getting Emmy nominations for it. It’s fucking poetic. For a scrappy, raspy-voiced, potty-mouthed, tough-as-nails broad, you sure are graceful. While I’ll never know if you actually voiced an advertisement for boner pills that cause diarrhea, bonus points for that scene because shit man, the hustle is real. Poor pun intended.
Not-a-mom to a Supermom… I’m 100 years too old to have been your daughter. And I wouldn’t trade my mom for the world because she’s my best friend and absolutely nailed it with the motherhood (and sometimes fatherhood) thing. But, if I could Benjamin Button myself and have two moms, you’d totally be my pick. If the day ever comes that I finally sack up and get blessed with a kid of my own, you’ve given me hope that I can probably, maybe, possibly do it. My friend texted me the other night and said, “Every time I watch Better Things I think, that’s going to be Shenae when she has kids” and it made me smile because when I watch Better Things, I think that too and before seeing the show, it was always if, not when. The picture you paint of parenting is the first one I’ve seen that makes it look remotely appealing and somewhat doable. It looks hard and messy and exhausting and frustrating and so far from perfect it makes you cringe a lot of the time and to me, that’s the shit dreams of motherhood are made of. Every mom I’ve ever talked to says it’s the most amazing job in the world; so fulfilling; the most pure and powerful love you’ll ever know; fudging magical. If they didn’t lose me at fudging (not discriminating against fudge, I love all desserts, I just think I love swearing more), then they definitely lost me at magical, period. Full stop. That’s it. It’s just fudging magical and that’s the end of their spiel. I’m not arguing those things but it’s a lot more than that and the people who finish there are just straight up lying to my face (or themselves). They’re the people that say labor wasn’t “that bad”. HA! Thank you for stepping up and telling the truth because for me and a lot of other people, the ugly truth is far more beautiful than the perfect lie.
PS. I know this is a borderline nutty letter but I’m actually good. Can’t help it if we’re tilted.
Thank you for letting me get that out folks. It was necessary. If you’ve seen the show and are anything like me, you understand. If you haven’t seen Better Things then do that immediately. I urge you to write a love letter to someone you may or may not know. It feels good to celebrate the people you admire for your sake, not theirs!
Here’s an extra special treat that won’t spoil any of the show, the brilliant scene that wrapped up Season 2 of Better Things:
P.S. If your mom’s never given you the advice I mentioned in the beginning of this post or she has but you’ve never actually listened to her, you should definitely try that too.
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.