Sept. 20, 2021

E112 Healing grief after death with comedy Chelsea London Lloyd | Trauma Healing Coach

In this episode, I speak with Chelsea London Lloyd, and talk about healing grief through comedy and not only her journey, through losing her parents, by stepping into comedy, as this way to heal and to learn to cope with a massive and devastating loss.

I believe that this is going to be a really powerful episode for those of you listening. If you're dealing with death, if you're struggling, please reach out, please ask for support, please join a group or a grieving group or find a therapist, join an online therapist, find help and support in this process and know, of course, my friends that you are not alone.

Learn more at https://www.ThinkUnbrokenPodcast.com


In this episode, I speak with Chelsea London Lloyd, and talk about healing grief through comedy and not only her journey, through losing her parents, by stepping into comedy, as this way to heal and to learn to cope with a massive and devastating loss.

I believe that this is going to be a really powerful episode for those of you listening. If you're dealing with death, if you're struggling, please reach out, please ask for support, please join a group or a grieving group or find a therapist, join an online therapist, find help and support in this process and know, of course, my friends that you are not alone.

Learn more at https://www.ThinkUnbrokenPodcast.com

 

 

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Learn more about coaching at www.HealTraumaCoach.com

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Transcript

Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. Super excited to be back with another episode today, my guest is Chelsea London Lloyd, who is a comedian and grief activist who uses humor to help people cope with their pain, which I am a huge proponent of, Chelsea, my friend, how are you today? What is going on in your world?

Chelsea: Great intro. No stuttering. Doing it live, making it work. Love that. I am good. I'm excited to do this without any editing. I feel like I'm up to a challenge, I feel like this is podcast plus like this is like a podcast with a little boom, like a little extra thing going on. So I'm into that.

 Michael: Bring your A-game. I'm super excited to talk with you because I found you on the grams and I was just love the way that you use humor and talking about some dark shit. And I think for one, I love stand-up comedy, it's been a part of my life since I was a child so much so that I used to get in trouble for quoting Richard Pryor. And so, anyway, neither here, nor there, before we jump in, I'd love to have you create a little context here. Tell the audience a little bit about high-level your journey, how you got to where you are, and where you're at with your life today.

Chelsea: Great! Just a quick moment of you sharing your whole life. No pressure. No, I'm from the Bay, I've been in L.A. a long time now, from USC theater school, and beyond, and I've been pursuing comedy for many years. Now, I do stand up a couple of shows I've done as an actress are Barry and schooled on ABC, and they certainly have a lot of tales about the things that I almost was on, and then wasn't and the whiplash of what that looks like. And I host the comedic reef podcast dying of laughter where every week, we interview Comedians and wellness experts, it's about the losses of their parents and siblings. So I'm super excited to speak with you on my show soon enough, and I'm also volunteering as a grief counselor and mentoring a nine-year-old through her grief in a one-on-one mentorship program, and I just got back from a week-long grief camp where I was grief counseling there. So I have the comedy aspect of my life, the grief aspect of my life, very different things, and then the podcast is the intersection, but happy to talk about both neither all of them, none of them, all of the things.

Michael: Yeah. Well, if talking about none then the show would be over.

Chelsea: But thank you so much for having me. This was truly a blast.

Michael: We appreciate you. I think that where I'd like to start because I believe that it's very important is to look at and discuss and talk about what grief actually is, and means. I found that throughout my own journey, that's been something I've had to wrap my head around, having multiple losses in my life, and it's a part of the human experience, and for whatever reason because of the social structures of the world that we live in today. It's almost as if at times, there's no space to have grief to not mourn. It's kind of like, all right, under the next thing, keep your life going, you know, we'll light a candle every now and again. Talk to us about what is grief? How do you define it, and what does that mean?

Chelsea: Love that! I think that grief is the feelings that come up for you around specifically the loss of a person or individual, and yet it can also be an experience, a life change such as many of us who feel like we experienced grief last year through the covid-19 experience in the pandemic. So, it's the feelings that you have surrounding your deepest darkest tragedies and how you also move through that and move forward. So, I feel like there's a negative connotation surrounding grief and it's certainly, a taboo topic, even to this day, even with the communities doing their best, the grief world, trying to become more open about everything but I think there's a lot more work to be done so that we can take the stigma around from talking about sadness, you know, as the American way goes, how are you? I'm good. I'm fine is the default, it's almost as if you don't say that there's something wrong with you, it's almost as if something, it's almost as if someone's asking you they're hoping that you just say you're good so that you can continue to talk about positive things which is why I'm a fan of the open-ended question. How are you feeling rather than you good or how's it going that kind of elicits like a yes, or no, I'm good, or I'm not a good response. So a big fan of open-ended questions and exploring the darker as well as the comedic and lighter sides of what grief means.

 Michael: Yeah. What why do you think this is something I had a hard time wrapping my head around until I really kind of dive into understanding, I guess social structures a little bit more in-depth but to peg it if you could, why do you think that there is such an oh my gosh, the word that I want to use here is like dismay for the idea that grief or sadness is acceptable. Where does that come from? And why is it feel like it's such a part of the normative structure of our world?

Chelsea: To default, to the positive you mean like, why do we go to?

Michael: Yeah, why is sadness just like disallowed?

Chelsea: Such a good point! Hey, something, I'm still exploring but I feel that if we can't acknowledge what we see in ourselves and we're not going to see it in other people, and so if you're not necessarily comfortable exploring your own depths and sorrows, like why would you be able to hold the space for somebody else? So I think it all comes back to having deeper conversations at younger ages, exploring grief, death, and other trauma with both a capital and lowercase T's in elementary schools. For instance, what about going around the circle at age, five in kindergarten talking about your first experience with grief whether that was a goldfish or a grandparent or perhaps the parent or sibling at a younger age than it, gives people permission to say things out loud, that they currently do not, but we also kind of have a toxic positivity culture to a fall, I mean, depending who you ask. I'm sure there are some people that say, why are we always so positive? And some people would probably say, why are we all so negative as a society? When really, the middle ground is the sweet spot, but just getting more comfortable with talking about your quote-unquote secrets to strangers, I think is something that will help our world feel more connected will help deepen our listening. And that's not to say you need to spill all your tea or and share very, very personal information with people online or in-person just because but ask yourself if you're not doing it at all, you know, it is that working for you? How's that going? Because if we all knew a little bit more about each other then we understand their experiences more and have just more connection and understanding. So, there'd be hopefully less of the tension and the trauma that we see across a multitude of sections in our world, not just grief-related, right? We've seen a lot of things happened in this past year that clearly is a lack of conversation, a lack of compassion, a lack of listening. So that's what I think. What do you think? What is your submission? I wonder what you think.

Michael: Well, it's the human experience and I think natively though, I would wish that I didn't think it, I to an extent I believe that humans, we natively like to suffer. I think there's something about that is ingrained in us where we go. It just should suck all the time and I'm like, I don't know if that's necessarily true. And so, you know, I think that a huge part of it which you did touch base on is the fact that we're not having the open conversation around these things, there's no safety and talking about it and you have these experiences when you're young and there's death that is around you and people go either alike okay, it's fine for a day and a half eat this casserole, let's move on or you have the opposite of it where you just never talk about it, and my experience was very much that, you know, the murders of my best friend's, the death of my mother, my grandmother like just things I never talked about. And so, you know, one thing that I'm curious about because I know that often and I've been listening to this idea this concept within myself, after hearing it for a while that we often, either teacher or support the things that we needed to learn and I find that to be more so true every day. What was your experience to get to the place you are right now in terms of loss and grief in your life?

Chelsea: Yeah. Do you mean I can talk about why I started the podcast and everything and yeah, thank you for sharing your own experiences, I'm looking forward to hearing more of those stories there when we do my show because I know you've been through a lot as well, and it's also not about comparing experiences, but just like parts up for the grief squad, not that we want to be in it but here we are makes a little better to have known that other people learn it, too. But in third grade, my parents were diagnosed with ALS and breast cancer, and previously, my dad had actually had symptoms for three or four years. So they think that he probably had it closer to when I was four and just having the official diagnosis these when within that year, my sister was 6 and I was eight. I remember them talking to us about hard subjects, very young, but there was like this big convo. Hey, you know, paralysis and well, actually that's a lie, I'm not sure if they talk to us about paralysis, but I think they did say, you know, it's possible your dad's body is going to change and your mom's hair is going to change and things like that. And I became really interested, not just about what they were saying, but how they were saying it, and how it felt very unnatural than comfortable to talk to us about it, I remember that clearly. I don't fault them, these are big topics with young kids, but it became a part of my life for the rest of my life and through today.

So, my dad had less through when I was like the day after I turned 19 when I was a freshman at USC and he was paralyzed for over a decade. He moved into a care home when I was 12 and he lived there for the rest of my life, so I would travel, you know, 45 minutes to see him like once or twice a week and just seeing it all, I mean, it's really all inspired by that experience, you know, seeing someone's life, completely shift, you can't necessarily work and you can't many people's lives change for so many reasons. You can't feed yourself, you can't take a shower, I mean paralysis is a big deal, and also the interesting experience of not being paralyzed and then being paralyzed almost overnight, and yet it took a few years till he couldn't move at all. So I remember him walking around, without the use of his arms, but he could walk and he couldn't drive and it was kind of this slow, slow progression of essentially is the demise of, I watched him die very slowly.

So I think that really inspired me to search right? Like what is the meaning of life? And what is anticipatory grief and why do I feel this way? And how does he feel? And he would be very open with me about the pain that he felt with, you know he was a lawyer and giving that up and then he kind of switched careers to do real estate stuff and he was even doing some online stuff and then eventually just you can't do even that. And he wrote a book about his life with his fingers and then with his toes for a while and then he verbally communicated in someone else typed for a while and then he lost his voice, so to be trapped inside your own body, I think is one of the most tragic experiences that a human can endure. I am biased for having seen it and yet, even I haven't seen it cannot fully imagine it but your brain is not affected by ALS. So you're completely intact and yet you cannot communicate, and we're talking, you can't scratch your face, you can't blink an eye, you can't change the channel. You know, imagine being completely reliant on other human beings, especially if you're like the type of person who doesn't want to ask for help, but she wasn't which I think a lot of us might be able to relate to that, so I said goodbye to him many times. I remember being pulled from school, you know, this surgery is unlikely to have positive results. So say anything you want to say and then he would survive and that was great and yet also confusing and when he finally died, it was almost a relief to my mom who had been caring for him for such a long time. If you think about weird details, which I guess I'd rather not but I'm like, oh, yeah, they didn't have sex for the last 10 years, like their relationship was very much a friendship at that point and also very, very complicated stuff, it's messy, it's like, he would have moods, he would be depressed, he would freak out, he had anxiety medication because of the anxiety, you're feeling of not being able to work out or physically exert your body or exert your feelings. So that is the main inspiration as to why I became curious about death.

There were other things along the way of having lost all of my grandparents by 15, and I also lost a cousin when I was four and she was nine, and I mean, I will never forget that. So, I've had a lot of things along the way, and my dad was the main one, and then I'll wrap up in a second I know this is a bit of a tangent, but then my mom's breast cancer came backstage 4 metastatic. I'm a few years after my dad died, which she will then combat for the rest of her life. So when my second parent was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I figured, I have to do something about this, this has come into my life either for a reason or hasn't, I don't know what I believe, but either way I felt that it affected me enough to want to explore it further, and that's what I'm doing now.

Michael: Yeah, and thank you for sharing that. You know, I believe that so much of the human experience and moving into these places where call it healing or call it understanding or acceptance or whatever it is that we need comes through communicating about it. When I have found that in my own journey, the idea of stuffing that down just played such a pivotal role in my own self-destruction not only about death but you know, about all the things about living in this experience, and this has been my experience, there's a certain sense of freedom of being able to not necessarily only let it go but to process these things into to move through continuing your life when you're able to discuss them. And so I think that that's a huge part of the journey, and I have a vast amount of appreciation for your willingness to be able to help other people through that process, right? You know, I don't know how else the way I think about it like this, I believe we have a moral obligation to help people if we fill a calling to do so, if you don't find like whatever you don't have to do shit about anything, like that's not how the world works but if you fill it within you, I think that there's a lot of beauty and going towards it.

One of the things that I really love about the aspect that you took changing the conversation about this is stepping into it with laughter, and I did that comedy, in whatever context it is, is allowed to exist within this dark space. Where does that come from for you? What is it that you were just one day? Like, you know what? Actually, maybe this could be funny and some weird-ass way, right?

Chelsea: Right. Well, thank you for saying all of that. You know, I think it went back to the time of being in elementary school with like a paralyzed dad and a mom with a bald head like it's not funny, but it is like they just physically looked so different than other people's parents, you know, you have to start laughing at some point, I think I started laughing around then, of course, I was very affected and it's not funny all the time but I think a realizing the young age like this is already bizarre and comedic if you choose to see it that way, be using laughter was a way that I felt I could make adults feel comfortable. I think that a lot of people looked at me like; hahaha, how are you feeling? How Is it going? But, you know, people don't know what to say to young kids in this situation. So if I were to make a joke, if I were to infuse humor into the situation, then we felt, okay, and I learned that pretty early on. I was also acting at a young age and doing musical theater at the time, three or four shows a year, and I was drawn to the comedic shows the comedic roles. I think also, because of my parents and their medical appointments, that was kind of like my daycare, my thing. So, finding my people there, as well as along with just realizing that I have to tell jokes to make people feel, okay, which as a lot of comedians do self-deprecation, can be to a fault, you want to make sure you're processing, your emotions in a safe way, at some point, besides just putting yourself down, like, I always say, my stand-up and my sessions in therapy or the exact same thing through a different lens. I'm processing the exact same things but in stand-up, I'm making fun of it, and then therapy I'm exploring it. So I think we all have those two sides to ourselves and also for anyone who doesn't necessarily feel like they're resonating right now with the community lens on grief. I feel you and I always say that comedy is tragedy plus time, that's a quote, I didn't come up with it, but it's true.

You know, the weekday month after someone dies. There's not a lot of room for humor and yet depending on your situation, you might find yourself in a family who does crack jokes about it, or if you don't, you might wish that you had.

So I hear a lot of good stories in my counseling, and my podcast works about like, well, actually the funeral was really funny because this like they sent the wrong casket, they did this, my grandma slipped me, a $50 bill, my uncle was high during his speech, whatever. Things that are either hilarious or be so uncomfortable bizarre or comedic that you just have to laugh out of a sheer will. So I was exploring all of that through childhood, and then again, when my mom's terminal diagnosis came and terminal it's a word, I don't like to throw out there out of fear or to be alarming, but for lack of better words, you know, she received her diagnosis as to stage 4 breast cancer. She had first, had it 17 years earlier, when we were kind of laughing out of disbelief were like, why is this happening again? And also I was a little bit older, right? So I just thought this is so painful. What can I do to make it less painful? And that was making jokes about it, with my friends, to myself, in my stand up, and through that, I've actually seen a shift in my mom who was a lot more serious, I think over the years, has kind of opened up and she'll even make light of her own situation and mortality time to time, which, of course, is not for everyone. It's not about putting yourself in a position, you don't want to be, but it's about choosing that, see things a different way. So that was the road that I took.

Michael: Yeah, I love that and I love what you said about, look at may not be for you, right? I often in my own life, have attributed a ton of humor, too. Some of the darkest experiences of abuse that I've ever been a part of, and sometimes, my people are like; Yow! Dude, that's like over the line.’ And I'm like, but it's my life, I can say what I want about it. And you're absolutely spot-on. I don't know that it's necessary for everyone, but laughter is medicine as they say. And I think that you can take that and you can take ownership over it and it can help you. In my experience, really be able to process things in a way because I feel like without jokes to a lot of the darkness, and without the challenges of my own life of putting myself on stages and learning how to be a public speaker through comedy, I don't know if I could be talking to you right now, you know what I mean? And so I think there's a lot of power in that when you're in this and you're like, okay, well maybe something about this is alluring to me in some capacity.

How do you kind of figure out the best way to handle grief in your life? Because while some people will hear this and go. Yeah, okay. So I can entertain the idea of this comedy thing. Other people are like; this is the worst thing that's ever happened on the planet fucking Earth. So how do you kind of start to navigate the approach of working through this?

Chelsea: Right. Right. And let me be clear. I too think it is the worst thing on planet Earth and it is never to take away from that, and hopefully by even listening to what I'm saying now like it's clear that you know, it's a very serious thing and even my podcast episodes’ people don't what to expect and some are really funny and I had comedians on and we're shooting the shit and some people are sobbing hysterically like not all the episodes are funny. It's just that in every interview, I had minimum ask them about a comedic element of their journey or things like asking their person's name and it's just kind of to show, it's a lens to show people that like, hey, this is a safe space for you, this isn't like an ancient, were a 50-plus grief group, and we're talking to angels and finding meaning through rainbows or Bibles and there's nothing wrong with that and there are powerful elements that as well, but I think it's also just a way for people to be like when they're searching through grief things, and then they come across my stuff like; Oh! that's different, or oh! Like I am from a funnier family. So this resonates, so that's kind of just the way that the dots are connected there. In terms of advice for processing grief yourself. Again, comedy equals tragedy plus time, so it is very possible. You don't find things funny right away, some recommendations, I would of our the dinner party is a virtual grief group that used to be in person and perhaps we'll come back and person, I leave virtual grief groups through there and there's plenty of tables that you can join and people in their 20s, through 40s who are exploring grief and there's table specific to parent, specific to siblings, specific to friends, specific to buy POC, individuals, and what have you my mind is exploring humor, excuse me, - exploring grief through humor. So there are things like that, but I would say find an individual that you can talk to about your experience, and if you don't have one, there are things like these virtual grief groups, which I always think even if you do have a best friend or family member that you feel comfortable talking to, there's something really powerful and badass, but opening up to a group of strangers, but what you're going through and just, you know, they don't know you, so there's not that inherent judgment or thought process.

So, finding a group like that, the dinner party is completely free, there's also a buddy system on there. So if you do prefer one on one, they can match you with someone who lost someone in a similar way to your own. I also recommend virtual therapy, I've been in Virtual therapy for a year, or of course, in-person therapy is lovely too. I use the platform to better help, there are many out there and they're popular for a reason, they're also more affordable. And if you are bedridden or disabled in some way, like my dad was then there are possibilities for you to access therapy from your own home, which is really beautiful as well.

I would also say just start to explore how you're feeling now, and yet marking your calendar. I mean, it sounds bizarre, but it's common to push your grief aside and figure riding the momentum of life is something that we do. Like in college, I just rode the momentum of the busyness and craziness of college. I don't feel that I really started processing my grave till about 5 years later and even marking your calendar with something as bizarre as like, check-in with self, check-in with feelings, check in with grave, whatever you want to call it. You can also just put on your calendar butterfly and not tell anyone what you're doing and really take an hour, a month, an hour a week, whatever you can do and say, how am I really feeling about this? I'm a fan of the be right journal. I resisted this for years, people say this but it's true. Writing everything down, literally, as much as you can, setting a timer, they say for 10-15 minutes and just going for it. I feel bizarre. I feel crazy. I don't know how I feel. I feel sad, I missed my person. I know to say this exercise is fucking stupid, someone told me to do it, like you just have to get what you're you have to get it out, you know, and some people use exercise, some people use journaling, some people use like venting on the phone to their friend or whatever, whatever your thing is for you, you got to get it out because it will be trapped inside of you and it and it will come out years later. So, the dinner party journaling, there's a book called Modern Loss can have conversations about grief, beginners welcome, I think that's a good beginners guide to exploring grief.

You can also my podcast has a lot of episodes of young people grieving. So if you just want to listen to other people's stories as a way to process your own, that's why I love podcasts. I know you love podcasts; you have a podcast. You can learn so much about yourself from being into someone else without having to cross the awkward barrier of like; ‘Hey! I'm so, and so and my mom died, and I saw your mom died.’  So like, let's chat. It's just like you can listen to this person, talk about their grief and learn what you know, hear what they have to say and you can benefit tremendously from that way as well.

Michael: Yeah, there's so much power in human connection. I really want to go into that for a moment because I think that we often come from this thought process that we have to go through this process alone or that we can only have this process when something happens. And I'm such a big proponent of community because I look at and I understand the truth that no one has ever been able to really navigate this thing we call life on their own, its is seemingly impossible, and so there is just a tremendous amount of value that comes from being in these groups.

And I've shared with The Unbroken Nation before, I've been in S.A in NAA... NAA and all the A's. And I'm going to all the things and done all the stuff and been an immense help group in men support screw, and you know, adult survivors of childhood trauma groups and all the groups, right?

Just trying to make meaning and understand shit, like trying to figure out, like, what is going on. And I'll say this because I know there are people listening and they're going to be like, yeah, I thought about that. I looked at the day, I wrote it down. I put it on my calendar. I drove there. I got in the parking lot. I didn't go in the door.

One of the most important things is just going in the door, right? And the fear that comes along with that. You know, I recognize that I understand it, I would imagine that you would agree as well. We all have that fear of judgment, the shame of the guilt, but I have found walking in and being in those rooms or picking up that phone or writing that text has been the difference between a lot of success and failure in my life.

Chelsea: I love that. Thanks for sharing that about just getting in the door. It is in some ways, the hardest part but since it's the best part and you should be really proud of yourself if you do make that move, so, I'm glad that you shared about the experience is getting in those doors, too.

Michael: Yeah, I agree and people in those rooms are there to support you. That's why they're called support groups.

Chelsea: Shocking! I know it's like why, how they did that.

Michael: So one of the things I'm curious about and I have found that a lot of benefits comes from this idea of giving to people when you are at your lowest, giving to people when you're suffering, giving to people to help them even while you're through the process of helping yourself, and I know that you mentioned when we first began that you're helping this nine-year-old child, go through this grieving process right now during this pandemic. What is the importance of giving for you? And what kind of role does that play in your life?

Chelsea: Oh, I'm so glad you asked that. That's a strong question. It's so complicated. My mentor relationship is in the best way, but I will just say Wow, I have so much I could say about this. When you can't take anymore, give. I love that so much, you know, in this busy world when we're trying to make our next move or figure out what's next, and I know you're entrepreneurial of course and I am too. And so, especially people trying to make their own way and now online or whatever else. It's like, so much of putting yourself out there and when you can't take anymore, give. I think is really some of the best advice I've ever received. So, I'll summarize what it's been like, please cut me off at any time.

So, last year, was a hard year. I was working for BuzzFeed at the time. I had just started their talent program. It was a talent residency 10 of us after some screen test and fun, things like were selected to do this thing, it's a program where we were being mentored to essentially become viral buzz feed people, no pressure, but I was so excited because like, it was cool, right? I was like, wow, this is such a great opportunity and everything that I'm doing. I'm doing like with grief, like maybe, BuzzFeed, who knows what can happen to be super exciting like two days into that everything closed. So we shifted to a virtual program, so we're making a lot of videos. During the pandemic, I was making three to five videos a day for the first, I don't know how many months three or four and it was really awesome. It was also exhausting and we had cool mentorship from like Instagram and like cool people like helping us to try and succeed online, and I felt this juxtaposition, this the entire time which is kind of the summary of my personality of like this is so amazing and the world is crumbling before our eyes and there's such a bigger picture here, the grind of like wanting to succeed but then knowing it's not the most important thing right now. All of my other acting and comedy, you know, experiences had been canceled. I was on a veil for a big commercial shot. My stand-up shows shot, my festivals, everything shot. I was supposed to MC the young survival coalition, the first stand-up show for breast cancer survivors. It was like 800 people at the book the Comedians. I was like hosting it, it was so cool. And for a good cause and the whole conference was canceled, like, all of these things was really challenging for me. My mental health took a big dive; it was kind of the worst I've ever felt, not about myself. I will say, but just about the world and kind of my place in it since my dad had died which has been, 10, 11 years at this point.

So the first thing I did was go in there, get into there be so yeah, therapy, another plug for that, but I knew that there was more that I could do in the fast-forward timeline. I ended up being let go from the program early for not going viral. I wrote this essay about that experience if anyone's interested because it's kind of hard to explain, I'm in the process of getting that published right now, but I was like, I'm cut from this thing, I was the oldest one, even though I was still 29. I was like you didn't go viral and your cut and it was like such a horrible feeling. I mean, I felt horrible about myself because I was making videos about grief and stuff I was proud of but I mean, I have a lot to say about numbers and social media, which I kind of am saying and I'll kind of table at the same time. Okay, cut from the program then I ended up applying for a job at BuzzFeed as a producer got the job a few weeks later, which was both amazing and weird because some of the people that had let me go or like oh now you work here again, and now you're like in charge of some things which was really awkward but cool.

I pitched myself as I want to be a grief producer and produce viral content around grief. I wasn't necessarily in that content. I made really cool videos, like losing a loved one to covid-19, Mom's without children, talk to children without moms like stuff I was like super passionate about and I wasn't being looked at for like views, it was less personal and yet, it was still, it so it ends up being really beautiful, that said all in all social media. I'm obsessed with it, but it's not fully for me as my mental health. I can't, I realize I can't work in it every day. I lose my happiness around it, and so, ultimately, after a year, I decided to move on and in the depths of my depression around, what am I going to do, I had these cool opportunities and virility and weird, but like, it was about grave but like it was still superficial because of all because sometimes, I don't know. Sometimes, I don't know how it's super social media, just decided to enter a one-on-one mentorship relationship through Walk with Sally. It's the equivalent of big sisters, but for families impacted by cancer. They said we have a nine-year-old child, whose mom has stage four breast cancer. My mom has stage 4 breast cancer, I thought this is rough, but I'm inspired and they put us together and we started meeting every week on zoom and then once a month in person at the time now, we do more person but when it was all raising McGee and we would go for walks and we would go to the beach and now since then, we've done some more interesting things we do, like childhood yoga and art therapy and like shopping and beach days, and all these cute things and I became really close to her mom during the pandemic. It was the best thing I ever decided to do. I found so much more meaning than that in my job. Of course, you have to have jobs, too. So, I understand that the balance of it all, and I thought this is what I meant to do.

This is so rewarding and it just you know, I could like live what I was doing, what I was talking about grief online but like I wanted more, I guess impact or when you can't take anymore, give and I felt like I had taken such a weird experience and I wanted to give and so I just thought, why me? But if not me who, and if not now, when? Now, unfortunately, a few months later, her mom, didn't make it, and that was a really, really challenging experience because even someone who is prepared for these things such as myself, it was still a shock and she went into the hospital Christmas weekend and she didn't come out and we're talking single mom, you know, we do Kamila's dad is you know, actually, yeah. I don't want to talk too much about it, but the dad's not in the picture, right? And Underprivileged Communities, not necessarily have the financial resources that my mom has, and I mean, I just was heartbreaking to watch.

So I knew we were going to be matched to talk about breast cancer. I didn't necessarily know we're going to be matched to talk about grief so soon, and yet here we were during a pandemic. Also, navigating that and long story short, it's the best thing that I've long story long actually, cuz that was long, but it's the best thing I've ever done. It's one of the most rewarding things of my life, we're still actively in touch, we get together all the time, we talk all the time and everyone's like she needs a therapist like, oh my God! This is wild. Well, guess what? I'm the therapist. Guess what? Not everyone has access to Mental Health Resources, and there's so much that, you know, cultural differences, like so many things standing in people's way and it's not their fault, but just to even understanding what that could look like. So I felt like I had to really step up and I just did she called me when her mom died, and I was there the next day and we did a beach ceremony and processed and we continue to process, she's ten now. And so that's a very long-winded answer but that’s what I'm doing right now.

Michael: Yeah, it's powerful. And you know, I think that there's first off in there's something beautiful when it so there I'm proud of you for being willing to step into that because we're faced with the opportunity to impact change in people's lives. And I think often it's lost on us, the reality that a single person being impacted by what we can give them will pay dividends and ways that we can never fully understand. And so many people are like, yeah, but if it's not 10,000 people, why bother? And I'm like, well, maybe one person, right? Maybe one person, and I'm not saying, don't help 10,000 people, like, for sure do that to, right? But that's if you're called to it, that's a few, if it bothers you, if it keeps you awake at night, if you're like, I know I need to do this then at some point because I'm going to assume you had fear and stepping into this. You just have to be like fuck it. I'm going to do it anyway, because the difference between your decisions in life, they play a huge role.

One of the things, as we start to tell off here that I'm really curious about, as you step into what's next in your life. What's your mission around grief in this conversation? What is it that you want to try to accomplish with this?

Chelsea: Wow! Big question. Hey, no, no pressure there. What is your life's Mission? And thank you for saying those nice things. I mean, I hope to continue elevating the mission of exploring pre through comedy specifically and hopefully doing more I talk about, I have two different things that I do. I talk about it in my stand-up and that's strictly jokes, but also would hope to continue the mission with exploring this in schools, like being book to help kids in schools, being booked in a personal speaking engagement, some continuing to explore this like for fatherless, Father's Day this year. I did not an online workshop, exploring the grave through comedy. And that was just one of my favorite things I've ever done.

So continuing that and continuing to show up each week on the podcast, much like yourself and above all else, continuing the conversation on the other side of thing I would love to play a role in a scripted dark comedy about death, you know, on my actress side, which is a different mission than my personal life, but from a career point of view like I want to make and be a part of all content talking about dark comedy in pertaining to grieve over there but that's a little bit more up to other people. You don't have quite as much control as an actress as to when and how that happens and it is and it will and it does, and yet these are the things that bring me joy. You get to make your own mission; you get to put yourself out there. So that's what I'm continuing to do.

Michael: Yeah, I love that. There's always space for the parley. You can chase their dreams and build the career that you want. Understanding everything that you just said and still spend all of your time over here, trying to fulfill your soul and hopefully, you do both at the same time in my experience I think it's possible, you know, as I always tell everyone, we'll patients, right? Before I ask you my last question. Can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Chelsea: Sure! Yes, I'm on Instagram @chelswhoelse, you can also google Chelsea London Lloyd, and then my podcast account is the @dyingoflaughter_podcast on Instagram or the dying of laughter podcast on all the podcast places, or on Facebook I'm starting to blog more and I actually just got verified on Facebook yesterday. So that was kind of exciting.

Michael: Cool, awesome. And I will say this for the people listening right now, because I know I'm talking to you, the person listening, who's like, none of that was funny. Yeah, go listen to the podcast. So my last question for you, my friend is, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Chelsea: I love that! Yeah, you like, I thought this was supposed to be funny. Yeah, you can also Google-like Chelsea Lloyd stand, like, you can see the other side of it and then maybe it'll make more sense but I like to keep it real on the, on the interviews.

What does it mean to be unbroken?

To be unbroken means to rise up with resilience and continue forward through the face of adversity and dark times.

Michael: I love it! Poignant simple, beautiful. Chelsea, my friend, thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation! Thank you for listening.

Please like subscribe, comment, leave a review, tell a friend.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

-I'll see you.

 

Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Chelsea London Lloyd

Actress & Grief Gal

Chelsea London Lloyd is a comedian & grief activist who uses humor to help people cope with their pain. Lloyd grew up with two sick parents; at age 8 her parents were diagnosed with ALS and breast cancer. Her dad died of ALS when she was 19 and her mom -- who lost her own mother to leukemia at 19 -- currently combats stage 4 metastatic breast cancer which returned after 17 years in remission.

Lloyd volunteers / hosts peer-lead grief groups via The Dinner Party, mentors a 9 year-old girl (whose mom has stage 4 BC) via Walk With Sally, and volunteers at OUR HOUSE: Grief Support via their grief camps and groups.

She is currently producing viral short-form comedic & grief content for BuzzFeed. @_ChelsWhoElse_