Chelsea Handler is a drug dealer.
“I started getting so many people hooked on cannabis,” she said. “I was like wait a second… I’m good at this.”
She’s making her own weed business. Because she noticed people are afraid to try it.
There’s too much stigma.
But we need as much help as we can get.
Chelsea was 9 years old when her brother died. Her parents became ghosts. And she was left alone with grief.
“I couldn’t say, ‘I feel rejected. I’ve had this loss… I was 9 years old. I didn’t have that vocabulary,” she said.
And her parents were just as lost.
“My dad was a shell of himself. He was weeping. And I had never seen him cry. Everyone was dropping like flies.”
I wanted to know how she rose up. Because she’s had this massive career in TV and comedy.
“What happened when you found out your brother was dead?” I asked.
“I thought there was an intruder in the house. My mom looked like she had been beaten up. I had never seen her face like that. She was muddled and red. And just grief-stricken.”
Chelsea’s sister threw away the ice cream.
“I remember thinking, ‘Why do we have to get rid of our ice cream? We don’t even know what the news is yet. Maybe it’s good news.’”
Her mom said it out loud.
“Your brother is dead.”
He was 21.
Chelsea’s child brain thought,“You weren’t even careful? You went and got yourself killed?”
She thought he lied to her. Because they talked about this. About never leaving each other.
She remembers being in the kitchen with him. He just got home from work.
“And I made him a bowl of cereal, which I did all the time because I thought I was like his housewife. That’s how it felt. It felt like a crush.”
He used to take her on road trips. They bonded. He’d roll down the windows and blast Neil Young.
“My brother was the first man who cared about me more than anything.”
The death rippled.
“My mom was sweet and loving but she was in her own hell.”
It was hard to listen. I know that’s wrong to say. But I felt bad. The podcast was live. We had an audience.
Chelsea was crying.
And the room was in her grief. We could feel the current pain of an old trauma.
Then the comedian in her said, “I’m on my period.”
And everyone laughed.
“I just want everyone to know I’m still fertile,” she joked.
She gave us relief. (Thank you). And got real again.
“Death is agony. Because the crash never ends.”
Her honesty makes this episode. And it’s what made her career.
In, 2013 she wrote a book about all her one night stands. And called it, “My Horizontal Life.”
Then she wrote, “Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea.”
She had hit TV show after hit TV show.
“The Chelsea Handler Show’
And then one just called “Chelsea.”
“I just kept getting rewarded for bad behavior,” she said. “Or, I mean, for what’s considered bad behavior. I don’t give a shit.”
This new book is different. Because she got help.
She did ayahuasca in Peru.
Once with a shaman. Once without.
She went to therapy and started taking edibles.
“I take a 10 milligram gummy every night,” she said. “And then I drift off into sleep like a baby.”
“And then what?”
“Then I started giving out to people. My sister was a little on edge so I was like, ‘Why don’t you take this chocolate covered blueberry and get back to me in 20 minutes.’”
I don’t recommend drugging your family. But I like the sentiment here. She’s helping people. She’s aware of pain and wondering “What can we do about this?”
“Can I help you?”
Now she’s making a docu-series. There are four episodes. All on Netflix.
One is about marriage. Another is about racism.
She’s going out of her comfort zone. Partly because of this journey of self-care and healing.
The old Chelsea partied on yachts and thought, “I deserve this.” The new Chelsea looks at the old Chelsea and says, “You spoiled little f—ing girl. What is your issue? You can do better than this.”
(Her words. Not mine.)
Then she told me a list of things she tried to improve at.
- You can make more thoughtful decisions
- You can be present
- You can be kinder and more patient. And all of the things we all want to be… “I guess.”
Writing it down is important. Because it’s hard to know what “doing better” looks like.
And everyone’s list is different. It can even change daily.
I’ll write one now for myself:
- You can put yourself first at least once a day
- You can give yourself credit for the small wins
- If you wake up stressed and worried at 3am go back to bed. Schedule time to worry later.
My old list would’ve said:
- You can do things that don’t require a business plan (I play a lot of chess online)
- Get rid of toxic people. And surround yourself with people you love. (I still have to remind myself of this.I have a podcast episode about this coming out Thursday so I hope you subscribe to catch it.)
I’ll add one more to my list:
- Don’t be hard on yourself when things aren’t working out.
That’s one skill Chelsea mastered.
It’s the reason she can create. And reinvent. Because she never let the past stop her from living.
This is how she writes it in her new book.
“I thought I was nailing it for a really long time…
“I spent my 20s wanting people to think I was great…
“I spent my 30s thinking people thought I was great…
“And when I turned 40, I started wondering what I actually thought about me.”
Then she titled new book, “Life Will Be Death of Me.”
And her docu-series is “Chelsea Does.”
They’re both symbolic titles.
I’ve accidentally replaced “Life” with other, less meaningful words in my past.
“________ Will Be Death of Me.”
Chelsea didn’t let anything stop her from living. Not her brother’s death. Or the never-ending crash.
Links & Resources
- “Life Will Be the Death of Me: …And You Too!” by Chelsea Handler
- “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” by Chelsea Handler
- “My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands” by Chelsea Handler
- Watch he docu-series “Chelsea Does” on Netflix
- And you can watch her talk show “Chelsea” on Netflix, too
- You can see Chelsea on tour. Check her website for details: ChelseaHandler.com
- Follow Chelsea on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram