Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Learn To Live Without

You learn to live without.

Ah yes.

How I have learned.

I learned at a young age. But most recently, I spent ten years absent from the ties that bound me most in this world and there was not a day that went by where I was not without struggle.

You learn to live without.

What did I learn:

I learned to be alone in my grief. 
I learned that I could quickly recognize it another.
I learned that I don’t know how to stop loving.
I learned that everything and every day reminds me of what was lost.
I learned that most people leave you.
I learned that I barely take deep breaths and when I do, everyone around me hears them.
I learned that my first tendency is not to lean on people.
I learned that I muscle through my pain when I am really near collapse.
I learned that I can be alone on every single holiday, and my birthday.
I learned that I can endure surgeries without the touchstone of my biology.
I learned that I can forgive people who have betrayed me.
I learned that I have the potential to be just like the people who have left me in an ocean of silence.
I learned what it means not to be afraid of myself.
I learned that I know profound gratitude.
I learned that the truth matters to me more than anything. Hearing it. Saying it.
I learned that I want to feel joy again.
I learned that I love myself and I lost myself.
I learned that I know who I am.

You learn to live without.


Being a great thespian, I had the tremendous fortune of seeing Idina perform many times and it was always an enriching and exciting and truly spectacular experience which I could barely put into words. I have shared her music with people who have never heard certain songs and they have watched me focused and flooded with tears. Her voice, for me, is simply great medicine. But it couldn’t possibly be, if it weren’t fed by something rich, and raw and authentic.

I always wanted to meet her, but with the 43 billion others who feel precisely the same way, well, “you [just] learn to live without.”

I thought about waiting at the stage door many-a-time, but it just never felt right to me to be in the wild vortex of energy. I’ve always felt protective of her, like I wanted to “cloak” her from the “grabbers” and “screamers” knowing how much she had just given of herself. It just never felt right to ask more of her. Not to me.


A few days ago, I stepped out of a building in New York and I was talking with a friend when I saw a woman sauntering slowly up the street in my direction. I stopped speaking mid-sentence and focused solely on the figure coming towards me, knowing instantly that it was her.

I simply opened my arms and began speaking to her.

I recognized something in her which I know lives inside of me. And of course, I wanted to spend the rest of the day with her. Well, maybe more than just the day.

When I saw “Elaine Stritch At Liberty” she spoke about the few times in her life which somehow changed her so deeply, she can source them at any moment.

This is now one of those times for me. I wasn’t certain why, at first. But I see now, that it opened something in me which I have been living without for a long time. 

Anyone who meets Idina will undoubtedly report that she is funny, and kind and generous, smart, insightful, powerful, authentic, and her talent is in a category unto itself!!! 


After seeing her perform at Radio City Music Hall last night, which was unstoppable brilliance, I began thinking more about If/Then and how candidly she spoke about her personal transitions. I was struck by the fact that she has a beautiful theatre family, whom she referred to as such. And I started to think that healing and resilience really happens in a force field of love. 

I learned to live without that with few exceptions for a long time. And I think that was one of the reasons meeting her went so deeply inside of my cells. Recognition, whether you go without it, or whether you are offering it, can be so deeply healing.

Yes, I adore her. And her music, and her spirit and her talent. But I am talking about an experience. And I am interested in integrating the experience so that I stop the experience of learning to live without.

In John Guare’s play, “Six Degree’s of Separation,” during one of my favorite scenes, Ouisa says the following:

“But it was an experience. I will not turn him into an anecdote. How do we fit what happened to us into life without turning it into an anecdote with no teeth and a punch line you’ll mouth over and over for years to come.- How do we keep the experience?”


I think I am beginning to see that the way to do this may be through the integration of learning to live without while allowing some good peeps around you through the process.

Thank you, Idina. Just thank you.


Jill Bacharach

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