Unalome Chronicles: Mattie Larson, Former US National Team Gymnast & Sexual Assault Prevention Activist

Mattie Larson was a consistent star in the world of gymnastics over the course of her athletic career, qualifying and competing for the most prestigious teams around the world at the highest levels. In 2018, along with 156 other women, Mattie courageously testified against Larry Nassar, her former US National Team Gymnastics doctor and serial sexual assaulter. As a result of this trial, which was one of the largest sexual assault investigations in US history, Nassar was sent to prison on account of hundreds of sex crimes. After the trial, Mattie went on to pass and amend bills with the US Congress in Washington, DC, to increase the protections of children from sexual assault. Testifying face-to-face with her abuser in court was one of the most difficult things Mattie has had to face, however, speaking her truth re-instilled her sense of self-worth and confidence that had been lacking for so long.

Facts & Backstory…

Mattie’s Gymnastics Career History:
In 2006, at age 14, Mattie qualified for the Junior International Elite Team, and in 2007 she became a member the US National Team, where she would remain competing through 2011. At the international elite competition, she made a name for herself as she won the gold in the Vault exercise and bronze in the All-Around (all four exercises combined). In 2007, she also competed on the international stage at the Pan American Games, where she won gold on the Floor exercise, with a show-stopping performance, as well as won the gold in the All-Around. After this competition, she was named the United States Olympic Committee Athlete of the Month. In 2008, still on the National Team, Mattie joined the US Olympic training squad, but due to a severe leg injury, she could not join the team. Competing with a double-sprained ankle at the Gymnix World Cup in 2009, Mattie still took home gold medals on both the Floor and Beam exercises. In 2009, Mattie had to sit out the World Championships due to injuries, but came back in 2010 to win the all-around title at the Cover Girl Classic, still competing on the National Team. That same year, she won the gold on Floor, the bronze on the Uneven Bars and the silver in the All-Around at the US National Championships and was selected to be a member of the US Team for the World Championships. In 2012, Mattie joined the UCLA gymnastics team where she competed through 2014 and received her BA degree in Psychology.

Sexual Assault Case & Bills Passed in Washington, DC: 
On January 24th, 2018, Larry Nassar, the former physician for the US National Gymnastics Team, was sentenced to 40–175 years in prison for hundreds of sex crimes that he committed with impunity over the course of decades. 156 brave women, including Mattie Larson, testified against the serial child molester for the sexual assault crimes committed against them. After the trial, Mattie went on to speak publicly about her experience, being interviewed on Good Morning America, Vice News, Megyn Kelly NBC News, CNN with Michaela Pereira, and Sports Illustrated. Mattie also, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, passed a new bill in Washington DC, with Senator Dianne Feinstein, called “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017” and amended the “Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act,” further protecting young athletes from sexual abuse.

Let’s hear from Mattie about speaking her truth…

It took an incredible amount of courage and strength to speak your truth about your sexual assault story and to confront your assaulter face-to-face in court. Describe your journey coming to this place within yourself to be able to accomplish something so courageous, not just for yourself, but for the other victims.
It’s been a very windy journey. Growing up, I was a kid who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. However, as I started spending more time in the gym than anywhere else, I started to lose my sense of voice. I was often verbally punished by my coaches and was often not believed if I had a serious physical injury. Gymnastics is a sport where the average peak point for athletes is pretty young, especially for females — most female gymnasts retire between the ages of 18 and 21. I first starting competing at the age of 5 and at 10, I was leaving school early to train. In middle school, I was spending more time with my coaches than with my parents, so they inevitably had a huge influence on my character at that time. Unfortunately, this influence was a negative one. It wasn’t until I left for college at 19 that I realized how quiet and closed off I had become, as a result of being silenced by my coaches for so many years. Testifying against my abuser in court and talking about my past to people who make positive changes in the world, has really made me feel like I have my power back. I am no longer that little girl who’s afraid to ask my coaches to even use the restroom. I thought that if I could find the courage within myself to speak up for what is right, it may inspire others to do the same for themselves.

How has speaking your truth changed you internally?
Testifying a year ago was the first time I was proud of myself in a reeeeally long time. Being a professional athlete my whole life, I have always based my self-worth on my outward achievements — I was proud of myself if I learned a new gymnastics skill or if I won a competition. When I stopped competing about five years ago, that sense of self-worth was stripped away. Testifying in front of my abuser was one of the first times since I retired from gymnastics that I was genuinely so proud of myself and it had nothing to do with winning a medal. That was huge for me.

Talk about what speaking your truth has accomplished on a larger scale and about the bill you were instrumental in passing in Washington?
Around January of 2017 I, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, met with Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, DC. We shared our sexual assault stories with her and about two months later, a group of fifteen Senators introduced a bipartisan bill after hearing our stories. The bill was passed and requires amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department. (It’s insane how that wasn’t already a law, right?!) The bill also amends the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse, and also mandates oversight of member gymnasiums, to ensure that strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. For example, USA Gymnastics would implement and enforce policies to ensure hired coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention. It was a really incredible feeling to not only be listened to and believed, but to work with people in a position of power make concrete changes to prevent what happened to me, happening to other young athletes.

What can a girl who has suffered similar trauma do to feel more empowered and in control of her future?
Everyone’s experience with trauma and sexual assault is different and I can only speak from my own experience. In my case, I felt dirty, disposable, and less-than after my traumas. I started to heal slowly by setting small goals for myself, working alongside a therapist that I trusted. And when I say I started out slowly, I mean it! Things such as simply leaving my apartment, turning to healthier outlets such as exercise or art instead of booze when I felt down, and the biggest one for me…reaching out for help when I needed it. I had to get out of the mindset that I was a burden to my friends and family if I reached out for help. That’s why our loved ones are here for us — to be with us through the good and bad. Sometimes I think, “Shit, if I made it through those traumatic experiences, I can make it through (insert challenge at hand).” I remind myself that however horrific those experiences were, I have had and will continue to have so many more positive experiences in my life. We can always find small ways to empower ourselves every day. Although I felt so much stronger after confronting my abuser in court, it doesn’t have to take something that big to make you feel powerful. Unalome hit the nail on the head…authentic self-expression really IS a superpower. I think it’s important for women to share stories of their tribulations and accomplishments because I know from my own experience, other women’s stories have inspired me to keep pushing forward. I love how Unalome inspires female artisans and entrepreneurs to work with one another to create something beautiful. After all, us gals gotta stick together! 🙂

Connect with Mattie: @MATTLARZ

Photos 1 by @CAMBRIA_FODEN

March 7, 2019

(Original article from UNALOME)

Dolores Claiborne

Ho scoperto che esiste una patologia che si chiama narcisismo perverso. L’ho scoperto dopo mesi di violenze psicologiche: non ricordo neanche come sia accaduto, forse per caso, forse perché stavo cercando spiegazioni a quello che stavo vivendo.
All’inizio era tutto normale. Forse sì, c’erano piccoli segnali anomali, ma niente che non potesse essere giustificato con un: “nessuno è perfetto”. Sembrava una persona buona, persino mite, a tratti remissiva.

Un giorno l’ho visto prendere a calci un cartello stradale. E non mi è piaciuto. Ma si è scusato quasi piangendo, era stata una reazione nervosa.
Poi sono iniziate le critiche a tutto quello che apparteneva al mio mondo. I miei amici, la mia famiglia, la casa in cui vivevo (l’unica che potessi permettermi all’epoca), le mie passioni. Persino i miei vestiti, a volte non andavano bene. Se indossavo le scarpe basse o non mi mettevo in mostra per i suoi amici diventavo “un cesso”.

Una sera litigammo, non so nemmeno perché, e mi si scagliò addosso come una furia. Mi picchiò e mi sputò in faccia, insultandomi. Io ero piegata a terra e non potevo reagire perché non capivo come potesse essersi trasformato così: chi era quella persona dagli occhi vitrei che mi faceva quelle cose? Da lì iniziò il periodo peggiore.

Per un anno ho sopportato di essere picchiata ogni volta che i litigi si inasprivano: una volta, mi ruppi il dito del piede. Un’altra, mi picchiò con una tavoletta di legno. Io dimagrivo, mi disperavo e non potevo reagire: non potevo credere che quella persona fosse lui.
In quel periodo capii che la violenza sulle donne non è cosa da retorica televisiva e che non capita solo nelle situazioni di estremo degrado: anzi, più una persona ha capacità introspettive, più rischia di scivolare nella trappola di un manipolatore.

Il narcisista perverso ti fa credere che sia tu a sbagliare, a costringerlo a comportarsi come un animale perché tu e solo tu hai le colpe di tutto. Se tu non fossi quella che sei, lui non sarebbe disumano. Oppure, e fa ancora più male delle botte, minimizza: “non è successo niente, ti stai inventando tutto, ti ho solo dato uno spintone”.

Ti porta a pensare di essere pazza, ti convince che ti stai inventando le cose, altera la tua realtà: si chiama gaslighting. Ti ritrovi a vivere un mondo che non ti appartiene, non ha senso, eppure pensi di meritartelo, inizi a credere di essere davvero pazza.

Ogni giorno ti svegli con il petto oppresso da una morsa, con l’angoscia di sentire squillare il telefono perché dall’altra parte c’è lui e potresti farlo arrabbiare, con il tuo essere sbagliata, dicendo una frase che non vuole sentire, usando un tono che non gli piace.
E quando si arrabbia riversa su di te le cose peggiori, le parole più affilate, le cattiverie più terribili: salvo poi dirti che tu esageri, che non era nulla, che era solo un momento di nervosismo. E comunque hai sbagliato tu.

Smetti di essere te stessa e vorresti solo dormire per sempre: per evitarlo.
Il narcisista perverso NON GUARISCE: prima di tutto, perché è ancora più difficile per lui riconoscere di avere dei problemi, essendo convinto di essere sempre nel giusto e INCAPACE DI AUTOCRITICA.
Se pensate di essere in una relazione con un narcisista perverso, non sperate di cambiarlo, non sperate che le cose migliorino. Scappate e chiudete TUTTI i contatti. NO CONTACT è l’unico modo per uscirne e ricominciare a vivere.
Io ce l’ho fatta. E sono qui per aiutarvi.

3 Films Which Beautifully & Sensitively Explore Mental Illness

Per the latest statistics reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the United States’ largest grassroots mental health organization, approximately 1 in 5 adults, or roughly 18.5% of the US population, suffer from a mental illness in a given year. The NAMI also reports that about 1 in 25 adults, or roughly 4% of the population, suffer from a severe form of mental illness that causes impairment in functioning in one or more areas of life (e.g., career). Despite the prevalence of mental illness in the United States and in the world, there exists a taboo in many societies which has long plagued this subject. Unfortunately, mental illness is not always openly talked about due to the taboo associated with it.

Public perception of mental illness is often guided by how it is portrayed in the media. Some of the most vivid portrayals of mental illness can be seen in films. If one takes a minute to recall movie characters who are portrayed to suffer from mental illness, one will certainly be able to recall a hand full of these characters. A classic example of a movie character who portrays a person with mental illness is Jack Nicholson’s character Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy from the 1975 comedy-drama movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In this film, McMurphy is a recidivist criminal who is sentenced for his crimes. As he hopes to avoid hard labor and an extended sentence for the serious crimes that he has committed, McMurphy pretends to be insane. McMurphy goes to great lengths to ensure that he accurately portrays an insane person. While the film is a great one and should be seen, it has been perceived as stigmatizing mental illness; there are schoosl thought that it does a disservice to individuals suffering from mental health issues.

Only two months into 2019, several films have been released which depict characters who suffer from mental health issues. The superhero thriller film, Glass, features several characters who suffer from mental health issues. One of these characters is Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde (played by James McAvoy) is portrayed to have dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The film depicts the character to be a monster who needs to live in a mental institution when in reality, people who are diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder are able to live normal lives provided that they undergo psychotherapy and take their medication. So while a great and exciting film, it further shows the ugliness that mental illness can bring.

However! It should be noted that not all films depict mental illness in an unflattering way. There are several films that do accurately show the public what it is like to experience mental illness.

Here are three films which do a great job of portraying mental illness in a realistic manner:

  1. A Beautiful Mind

Based on the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1998 book of the samename authored by Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind does a great job of accurately portraying mental illness. Specifically, this film does a great job of capturing the challenges that people on the schizophrenia spectrum must endure daily. Released in 2001, this biographical drama film tells the story of famed American mathematician and Nobel Laureate in Economics, John Forbes Nash Jr., (played by Russell Crowe) who is faces challenges throughout his life as a result of the symptoms of schizophrenia, which a serious mental health disorder characterized by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, and emotional responsiveness. The film invites the audience to go in a journey with Nash starting with his time as a graduate student at Princeton University and culminating with his win of the Nobel Award in Economics for his contribution to the study of game theory.

When he starts his graduate studies at Princeton University, Nash starts to exhibit early symptoms of schizophrenia. Nash experiences delusions and manifests a reduced expression of emotions. While in school, he also has difficulty maintaining social relationships and is affected by poor executive functioning. Over the course of the film, the symptoms worsen. As the symptoms worse, so does his ability to function. For example, at the peak of the delusions, Nash believes that he is being followed by Soviet spies who want to capture him. In order to be able to work and manage his life, Nash must accept that he has schizophrenia. Nash learns to deal with his delusions and is allowed to resume his teaching duties.

By analyzing the film, one can see how Nash is able to rationalize his mental illness and most importantly learn to manage it so that he can live his life.

2. Silver Linings Playbook

Also adapted from a novel, the 2012 romantic comedy-drama, Silver Linings Playbook, does an excellent job of depicting mental illness. In this film, the main character, Pat Solatano (played by Bradley Cooper) lives with bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by alternating periods of depression and periods of elevated mood that are abnormal in nature. The film details Solatano’s quest to win back his estranged wife who left him after he brutality assaulted her lover after finding him in the shower with her. After a period of treatment in a mental health hospital, Solatano is released into the care of his parents. Solatano is forced to live with them because he has no job. All the while, he experiences several of the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, mainly aggressive and violent outbursts.

It is safe to say that Solatano is obsessed with winning his estranged wife back. In one of the manic episodes (period of elevated mood that results in euphoria and delirium) that Solatano experiences, he spends a lot of his time trying to get in shape. He jogs around the neighborhood and goes to the extreme of wearing a bag over his exercise clothes so that he could sweat more. Even though his newfound friend offers to have sex with him, Solatano dismisses the offer because he truly believes that he will win back his estranged wife. Throughout the film, the audience observes how Solatano experiences periods of mania as evident by his lack of sleep, his pressured speech, and the grandiose state. Despite living with bipolar disorder, Solatano is able to cope with his mental illness. He is able to overcome his obsession with his estranged wife and establishes a new relationship with the widow that he had met, who in her own right is dealing with an unidentified mental illness that his causing her to experience distress.

Essentially, this film shows that it is possible for people suffering from bipolar disorder to live normal lives and to maintain relationships with others.

3. Rain Man

Rain Man is a 1988 comedy-drama that tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (played by Tom Cruise) quest to obtain the money left behind in his estranged father estate. Upon learning of his father’s death, Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio to settle the estate, only to find out that he will not be getting any of the money left behind in the multimillion-dollar estate. Instead, the money is going to his older brother, Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman), whom Charlie has never met. Believing that he can take the money away from Raymond, Charlie travels to meet Raymond. Charlie finds out that Raymond is autistic. In several ways, Rain Man adequately portrays autism, which is a developmental disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. This disorder affects a person’s social skills and the ability to communicate with others.

Throughout the film, the audience is able to observe how Raymond’s life is affected by the disorder that once confined him to a mental institution. For example, Raymond must adhere to the routine that he has set for himself. He has set a routine for himself for almost every aspect of his life. This includes watching The People’s Court and the game show Jeopardy at a certain time. Raymond also has a strict eating habit and bedtime (must be in bed by 11 pm) that he must always follow. If Raymond is unable to adhere to his schedules, he will experience distress. Raymond also exhibits extreme physical tantrums (e.g., head hitting & screaming) when he is faced with change or is unable to stick to his schedules. Raymond has minimal interest in meeting with people. This is evident when he first meets Charlie, whom he fails to even maintain eye contact with.

Despite being a comedy, this film gives the audience an opportunity to see how a person with autism can live his life. This is an uplifting film that exhibits a great awareness of mental illness.

Unfortunately, mental illness is generally still portrayed in a negative light and is even stigmatized and distorted in films. Poor representation of mental illness in films can ostracize people who actually have to live with mental illness and have to deal with the symptoms and challenges that are associated with their illness.

The three films featured in this article breakaway from the film industry’s historic insensitivity towards mental illness. The actors in these films who portrayed the characters with mental illness deserve to be applauded for their work as they were able to stay true to the mental illnesses that they were tasked with depicting, considering the complexities of mental health disorders. The three films merit recognition as they were able to portray mental illness accurately, and most importantly raise awareness for the subject.

Initiating Conversations About Mental Illness With a Tattoo in India

Image Credit: PInterest

As I sat in a tattoo parlor in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, staring at the sharp needle piercing through my skin creating a semicolon, I winced in pain as myriad thoughts plundered my mind. As the needle created an outline and blood oozed out in equal measure, I was awe-struck at all the internalized lessons my depression and anxiety had taught me and how this tattoo had become a symbol of my struggles for the world to witness.

Maybe a conversation starter to speak about how common depression and mental illness is? Probably.

A conversation that could give someone hope? Hopefully.

My struggle with extreme bouts of anxiety and depression were really difficult and fraught with panic attacks, isolation and extreme self-esteem issues during teenage years with no guidance whatsoever. Hence, this tattoo and the underlying meaning has signified resilient strength to me.

Within days of the tattoo healing, many friends and strangers wondered why would anyone get a semicolon tattooed on their arms instead of something more prominent. Conversations followed and the significance of the tattoo was explained. Some furrowed their brows while others were forthcoming with genuine surprise and shared their own tales of battling similar issues.

Some just laughed it off, asking me to get a question mark instead. All puns intended.

Songs that have helped people battling depression:

I’ve dealt with clinical depression since childhood and situations turned terse and extremely dangerous when at the cusp of turning 21, I spiraled downwards, unable to handle emotional turmoil and a feeling of helplessness, anger and dejection took over.

I would stay put in my room, staring at the wall and never leave the house for days altogether. Even my love for books subsided as darker thoughts took credence and a deep sinking feeling pushed me down. I shut myself down into my own pit of loathing and self-hatred. All contact with the outside world was hackneyed, jobs were quit and academic pursuits halted in a self-destructive sadness coupled with a feeling of helplessness.

While friends and family tried reaching out to help, I lacked the courage to open up and stigma attached to mental illnesses prevented them from acknowledging the reality of the issues. One day, I just wanted to take one step to normalcy and went to a psychiatrist to seek help and counseling.

When I decided to speak openly about my issues, things turned polarizing. While friends put their stock and tried supporting me in what ever manner they could.

The medicines and their self-flagellating, sleep boosting serotonin production in my brain did elevate my spirits. But the very act of putting together building blocks of my crumbling life made me think more about my choices. I wish I had realized sooner about building a network of supportive friends. I wish I had initiated the conversations about depression and mental illness sooner, rather than veering away from the subject. I wish I could have made better choices.

And then I tried. It is years of hard work and even today, I slip back into depression but just the act of speaking up helps.

In South Asia, mental illness is viewed through the lens of stigma and spoken about in hushed tones. Many celebrated artists in India have spoken about their struggles to create conversations about the severity with which the issues need to be spoken of, some succeeding to a greater extent while others becoming the fodder of discussions for a day or two.

Nearly 10 percent of Indians suffer from depression and the numbers are alarmingly set to increase in the coming years. Yet, the stigma around mental illnesses in the country paints a dangerous picture.

Also sample these facts: As per World Health Organization estimates, 36 percent of Indians are likely to suffer from major depression at some point in their lives.

Yet as a society, the conversations haven’t been going anywhere substantial and there has been no real constructive change at the grassroots for decades while thousands of Indians live on the margins with no medical assistance.

Today, my parents know my own struggles with depression and acknowledge its implications, a fact they weren’t aware when I had refused to speak out. My tattoo is a reminder for them of the issues they may deal with and the help they must seek when in dire need.

When I tried explaining them my situation, I used a basic analogy which worked in simplifying the issues, though I believe they are anything but complicated in the longer run.

I sat down with my mother and explained: You have a fever, you visit a doctor. You have extreme feelings of helplessness and conflicting emotions, you again visit a doctor. There is no stigma whatsoever with mental illness. She smiled and a lot of things changed that day onwards — internally as well as externally.

All of us need a little bit of sunshine at the end of a long dark tunnel. And for a long period of time, depression did define my existence and choices. Hopefully, never any more.

Through difficult days, you learn some life lessons. Here’s what I offer to friends or anyone dealing with depression.
1. Do not self-diagnose yourself. Seek help. It will make all the difference.
2. Speak up. To anyone. There are tonnes of helpline numbers available. Or just parents, friends or anyone you are comfortable with.
3.Heartbreaks happen. Failures happen. Life goes on. Have faith.
4. Don’t internalize your issues. You don’t have to do this alone. Like, really.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — –

If you or someone you know needs help, visit this link or contact the numbers below:

Vandrevala Foundation Helpline
Tel (India): 1 860 266 2345 (24×7)
Email: help@vandrevalafoundation.com

iCall
Tel (Mumbai): +91 22 2556 3291 (Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Email: icall@tiss.edu

Samaritans Mumbai
Tel (Mumbai): +91 22 3247 3267 / 022 6565 3267 / 022 6464 3267 (Monday to Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Email: samaritans.helpline@gmail.com

Aasra
Tel (Mumbai): +91 22 2754 6669 (24×7)
Email: aasrahelpline@yahoo.com

What anxiety feels like

“You just worry too much”. “You have to learn to relax”. I get that a lot, so I thought you might want to know how it actually feels like.

Drawing by super talented Gemma Correll (pls check her out).
  • Did I leave the stove on?
  • Do I have my credit card in my purse?
  • Did I leave the water running?
  • Did I lock the door?
  • Are my keys inside my bag?

So, here’s a nonexhaustive list of a few of the things I have to check every day several times. Believe it or not, it’s exhausting. People say I just worry too much. I honestly cannot put into words how anxiety actually feels like, but I’d say it’s like an old song that never stops playing. Inside my head. It doesn’t really matter whether you worked all day long or whether you just stayed home and did nothing: you’re always tired. It doesn’t matter whether you slept for ten hours or only four: you’re just beat. And always will be. Because you always get asleep to your worries and wake up to a scary world, sometimes with a heavy migraine. I like to say that it’s like getting asleep to the soundtrack of your own heartbeat. Romantic, huh? No. It‘s just a way of saying that my heart races at every single intrusive thought I need to go through before falling asleep. Worries become bigger by bedtime because a brain with anxiety doesn’t stop thinking. Ever. It’s always worst-case scenario. The constant fear of just living daily life. Anxiety.

  • Will I be able to live on my own? Will I be able to pay the rent?
  • Will I be able to graduate?
  • Will I ever get a job that I like?
  • Will I be able to keep a job?
  • What will I do about my life?
  • If I do this or that, what will people think of me?

And so on. Overthinking. I’m even afraid to spend more time thinking about life than actually living. So I’m scared of being scared. I’m tired of living in the future. I’m tired of worrying about what’s to come next — things that might never even happen.

So here you are. That’s what it feels like. It actually took me over two years to publish these draft because opening up is scary, but not addressing mental health openly is even scarier.

Actually, it does not make me any less of a strong person. It does not make me weaker than you or more vulnerable just because you know how to relax and not worry so much because that’s life. And more importantly, it does not make me a weirdo, because my mental health does not define me, it’s just part of who I am whether temporarily or permanently. And same for you out there reading this piece of writing — sharing is caring, so I believe in encouraging people to share their struggles to realize we’re not all that different: that’s what makes us human. Let’s talk about it and remove the stigma.

Kind reminder: if your mental health is impacting your daily life and tasks, please consider seeking professional support.

India In Shades Of Gay: Maya The Drag Queen.

It has taken me close to a year to find the will to work on human interest stories again. The year 2016 was a hopeless, exhausting journey. It challenged me emotionally and bent me against my will.

This year though, 2017 began on a very shaky foundation. I was trying to rediscover beliefs that had propelled me forward over the years, trying to embrace them once more.

Working on human interest stories always made me feel like I’m doing something important with my life — because it didn’t directly concern me. It concerned other people, their lives and their desires. I was always drawn to people, their stories and why they did what they did.

So today, I give you something powerful. It’s a story that needs to be shared, a voice that needs to be heard. I want you to think about this story and what it means to us as a larger society and also as independent human beings.

Think about your privilege, your voice and what you can do with it for other people.

I give you, Maya The Drag Queen. You can read the original story on my page here: Humans Of Bangalore

“I was doing theater for a while and I think that was the turning point for me. It helped me realise my sexual orientation in a positive way. It taught me to be comfortable with myself. Understanding my sexual orientation was a process. I had to understand a lot of things about myself; what comforted me and didn’t. But most importantly it taught me to accept myself and then letting the world know who I was. I came out of the closet in 2014, but it wasn’t until close to a year to let others in my social circle know. It took me 6 months to draft a mail to my parents and let them know that I am gay and that I wanted to perform as a drag queen on stage. It wasn’t easy, I didn’t just wake up one day and make a decision to come out of the closet. It was a process. There were consequences to the decision I took, the road ahead was definitely not flowery. I wasn’t privileged in anyway. I lost a lot of friends and my parents didn’t speak to me for a year and we were fighting. Through the entire ordeal, I think they finally realised that there was a lot of hurt going back forth between us a family and started making attempts. My mother asked me, “Who is a drag queen?”. I had to explain the concept to her — “They’re just performances of a man dressed up as a woman on stage”. “So why don’t you get paid for it?”, I said “I will if I go abroad.” “Why are you here then? You should go there!”, my mother insisted. As much as there were consequences to coming out of the closet, there were also positives. It was a beautiful journey, I became more assured of who I was and what I wanted to do.

Whenever people see me as Maya the drag queen, they think I am a transgender or a cross dresser but in my day to day life I’m not like that. They keep misinterpreting who I am onstage and who I am in real life. They make assumptions that the person is on their way to get a sex surgery or a gender transformation. It’s not like I’m against them, I’m all for it and I fully support it. There are people who believe they are stuck in the wrong bodies, but not me. I’m very comfortable with my body, I feel like I’m born into the right body. ‘Drag’ is a performance art. It’s been there for years together in India, I don’t even have to talk about its presence in the west. The biggest examples being traditional Indian dance forms such as Kathakali and Theyyam. If you look at old Bollywood films such as Mughal-E-Azam, you will see instances of drag performances albeit the man donned a role of a eunuch. When you compare the time and nature of the environment during which Mughal-E-Azam was released in — it was a rather huge deal. However now, we’ve reached a point where toxic masculinity is bursting out in our society. It’s reached a point where it has become harmful to not just to me as a drag-queen performer but also to the entire LGBTQ community and heterosexual women. It’s a good fight to be a part of actively and participate in. I don’t let myself be let down by it because I’m a warrior. That’s my thing.

Right now I have a handful of friends, I can count them with my fingers. I think it’s a good thing because they are perfectly fine with who I am, they’ve seen me in different shades. In the beginning, they weren’t able to understand me. Questions like, “Why are you like this?” came into the picture. They had a different perception of who they thought I was and who Maya was. I created Maya, I can do whatever I want to with her persona. If you understand me for my off-stage person, as Alex, I think that’s absolutely perfect and that’s what they’re doing today.

Apart from dreaming about how I’ll be meeting RuPaul; the guy behind RuPaul’s Drag Race and building my own drag race show in India — my other long term dream has been getting my parents to watch my drag queen performance on stage. I see them cheering for me, rooting for me when I go on stage and don my role as Maya the drag queen. I want them to say and feel with pride, ‘Hey, that’ our son on stage. He’s doing something he believes and that’s what’s right!’. Right now they’re conflicted, because they’re still struggling to come to terms with me being a drag performer. They are constantly affected by the stigma that goes through them, they’re of the opinion that such a thing isn’t socially acceptable. Naturally, they are driven by the fear that it is a social problem and that society isn’t going to accept me or what I do. There have been times when they’ve been hurtful, but I’ve learnt the art of taking things with a pinch of salt and moving on. I don’t hold it against them, I just move forward with positivity. It took me 25 years to come to terms with who I am. It might take my parents longer to fully accept me or it might take them much lesser even. You know, close to two years ago there were times when my mother would scream at me and say that I am not supposed to be performing as a drag queen. But things change, she was packing make-up, some sarees and all the other accessories I needed to don my role as Maya on stage. That said a lot and meant a lot to me. She would also say, ‘Oh I know where you’re losing all your hard earned money from these drag performances. You’re buying all these expensive blouse materials, these sarees and getting them stitched at the tailor’s shop’. So you know, things happen. People can change. Recently, I was approached with an opportunity to perform internationally — I’m not sure if that’s going to come through though. When I mentioned it to my parents, they said — ‘Yeah sure, you should go for it. Sounds like a huge deal!’. I think they’re going to be happy as long as they see me financially secure. There have been many times when my mother’s nearly convinced me to give up the idea of performing as a drag queen because it wasn’t a feasible option. However, I started getting paid for a few shows and that was a big deal. My parents heaved a sigh of relief and were happy that I was slowly able to sustain.

On the subject of coming out of the closet, I wouldn’t like to equate it as it being easier for men or for women. It’s hard for both. For a man, it’s always stereotypically associated with being feminine or being a transgender. For women, it’s even harder. The patriarchal world is so unforgiving that it finds it weak when a woman falls in love with another woman. For bisexual people, let’s not even get there because they are always considered to be invisible. They’re the most discriminated of the lot and that’s a lot to deal with. When I came out to my parents, I told them I was bisexual but as time went by I realised I was purely homosexual. Also, I have started associating myself with being ‘queer’ than ‘homosexual’ because people wouldn’t understand me doing drag and being gay. They didn’t understand which box to label me under. I’m a queer man, it’s as simple as that.

My biggest struggle till date has been to make people understand the difference between Maya and Alex. Drag performance is an art, it’s what I do. My sexuality has nothing to do with it. I could be a straight man and be a drag queen, there have been lots of heterosexual men donning the personas of drag queens on stage. I know of a heterosexual man who performs as a drag queen in Rajasthan. That’s pretty huge! People often confuse the person I am on stage with the person I am in real life. Drag performance is a profession and it’s what I do, it’s a recognised art form in many countries. My sexual orientation is just who I am. The two must and should not be equated.

The thing about Maya is that she is just a very expressive creature who communicates with love. As Mayamma, I call myself ‘The Queen of Love’. Only love can trump hate, I have always believed that and has been a driving principle in everything that I do. Also, I think that if I had created Maya with the sole purpose of finding fame — I think I would’ve ended up making fun of women everywhere. I’m not here to make a caricature of a woman. The reason why I continue putting up performances of Maya is because people actually tell me that I inspire them and that’s what leads me on with my life. Because it means that there are people like me, fighting the good fight and that’s what’s more important. Before I created Maya, I was a theater artist and I used to go for a lot of auditions where I would end up getting rejected. People used to reject me on the grounds that I was too feminine, they weren’t okay with the fact that I was comfortable with who i am. Male roles weren’t being given to me because they weren’t convinced I could pull it off. Another ground for rejection was the fact that I have an obvious Malayalee accent. One time, a well known theater actress pointed it out to me and said, ‘Just spend 6 months training with me and I can neutralise your Malayalee accent and diction’. People were pointing out that these were my weaknesses, so I took them in and converted them to my positives. I stopped going to theater classes, karaoke to work on myself. I started watching a lot of movies like to come up with an on stage persona. Initially, I created Maya with the intention to try something new, to just have fun and be myself on stage. I didn’t create her to inspire people. My grandmother would always tell me, take life with a pinch of salt. And you know what? She was right. That’s what drag performance is all about. You’re doing something funny. My first performance was in my mother’s saree, with minimal make-up, one inch heels. But I got better with time, I improved and it was a slow but good progress. I progressed into this glamorous woman. Being Maya taught me to love myself, there was a point where I was very conscious of the fact that I was very feminine and I wanted to change it so bad. To become more macho. But Maya, she taught me that being feminine was my song. Through Maya, I like to explore other social issues like caste discrimination and exploring marriages beyond castes, colour and religion.

The inspiration for creating Maya’s persona came from a lot of movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Chaachi 420 and obviously legendary characters like Dame Edna, RuPaul and eventually RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’ve personally spent a lot of time and effort researching, figuring out how I want Maya to be. Nobody told me what to do, it was my own sweat that got me here.

For me, doing Indian drag is of prime most importance. I want to scale it to new heights, because this is a genre of art that’s never been explored in India. There was a period where I wasn’t getting any opportunities for performances, I was out of a job and looking for a big break. It was a rather difficult time and I went into a depressive phase. I had created this entity, this powerful persona and here she was next to me but I am not able to sustain her. My art wasn’t being recognised and that was a breaking point for me. But I had this flicker of hope inside me that kept me going, I had the guts to take the plunge in the beginning. I remembered what I had in the beginning before I got here and just pushed myself to try, even if it was for the heck of it. I think I would’ve lost my mind if it wasn’t for a few friends who stuck around me. Opening up to them about how I felt really helped me deal with my issues and helped me deal with what other people were throwing at me. I had gone through a break-up earlier this year and it affected me to a point where I would keep having emotional outbursts by just watching a movie, a video or listening to music. I went to a counsellor and took her help to address my pain, it was during those sessions that I discovered that I had been dealing with a lot of things — suppressing them one after the other and it had all come crashing together. So I think that mental health is equally important, we need to have people we can up to — this applies to both the LGBTQ people and heterosexual people.

My counsellor added that I should be able to express myself as often as I can — that I should write and vent. So I started creating a life for myself outside of being Maya. I make funny videos and laugh at myself. I like to take pride in laughing at myself. I think people should do that too, people should take time out to enjoy the things that they like, just to appreciate beauty around them and to find purpose.

We live in a social media centric world, I don’t understand why people spread hate. All they want to do is think of horrible things to say to the other person online, mindlessly. I see a lot of people doing, not taking into consideration the other person’s feelings. People should just learn to love each other, accept each other.

I see myself falling in love, settling down. Why not? I see myself being with someone who is far more intellectual than I am. Someone who can give me opinions on the things I care about. In the end of the day, all I want is a caring and supportive partner. This is very hard to find in the gay world as well you know! Everyone’s focusing on sex, good looks. If someone has a towering personality but isn’t great looking — I don’t care! I don’t even have issues with caste or religion. I would be attracted to his personality, how I’m spoken and how I’m being swept away by that. I’d like to adopt a child, have a cat and a dog. These are things I’d love to have.

I do the things I do because somewhere out there, there’s a gay Indian teenage boy trying to find some inspiration in his own country, to be able to express his true self, his sexuality unabashedly. I want to be able to be that person who people can be the beacon, a guiding light to free oneself of stigma and pursue the art of drag performance openly. And to be queer openly.”

Making A New Life

I believe that millions of parents with those who were born in the 1990's or early 2000's. And these parents have lived with their own perspectives, views, mindsets, beliefs, values and priorities throughout their past years growing up and maturing.

And in which have created so many problems for the whole family due to refusing to understand their daughter’s and son’s side of the story as well as their personal life in which they want certain things to share with their own parents yet have created barrier but more of a stigma, putting shame around it because of how they have reacted when we open ourselves to them with sharing with them things that we enjoy, are passionate about, things we want to pursue including our own purpose in which everyone discovers or finds at some point in their lives.

Parents don’t see any logical or wise reasoning to listen to what their daughters or sons have to say, share or express about anything. If any of the kids in any family want anything for themselves, their parents should respect, accept, understand and support their wishes and dreams. Regardless of their thoughts, beliefs, opinions towards anything they want, they should encourage them to go after what they want and what makes them happy instead of discouraging it and ‘making’ them live a kind of life their parents want them to live.

Why should all parents not make their kids do what they (parents) want them to do in their lives overall? Because it’s not their life to control. They only are the right to control their own life and at a certain age and even before that age, they should let them do what they want but still teach them right from wrong to learn their lessons from making mistakes and more. And at some point, they should respect that their kids want to make a life of their own and be their own person and want their parents to respect, accept, understand and support that.

SCENES FROM MY LIFE: FROM THE TAKES ABOUT MY ROADSIDE BREAKDOWN

Slowly dipping a piece of calamari fritti into the romesco sauce Tarin* reminded me of why she’s been my bestie since college. “It’s your time Cal… I know you’re scared, but you’ve worked so hard! You’ve done a lot! I didn’t even realize how much until recently, but you have and it’s time for you to share your talents with the world!”

She’s right! I’m not only scared… I’m terrified!!! As a creative you tend to be sensitive. And art is VERY subjective! Work that you can put your heart and soul into could not be perceived in the way that you would hope… and then what?! Combine fear and insecurity with having a mental illness and you might hit rock bottom from any kind of rejection!

I soooo admire the Issa Rae’s and the Jessica William’s’ by way of James Strouse… awkward black women have a space and a platform where people want to hear what they have to say and listen to their stories! I always felt like I was TOO awkward, TOO cerebral, TOO self-conscious, TOO eccentric, and didn’t fit… well, ANYWHERE! I was VERY social most of my life, but somewhere in the adulthood part of my life, the little bit of confidence and I do emphasize… LITTLE BIT… got slowly chipped away to where it is nonexistent! When you’re not strong enough from the beginning, it only takes someone to kick the legs away from the flimsy legs you’re standing on before you easily collapse!

“You and Casey say the same thing! And I know you’re both right! I’m always getting in my own way!” “Yeesss, we all tend to! But now is your time Cal… I can feel it!”

“You’ve always had my back Tarry! I told Casey about that time I was crying on the phone to you while I was sitting in my car after I had moved to LA and you sent me that care package!” Tarin looked up from her calamari fritti and smiled!

I had been living in LA for about a year at that point. I had gone from Jayla’s* futon in her living room to a futon in Nalika’s* second bedroom that I rented until I went on hiatus from Institution Entertainment in the Fall of 2005. I was only dark for a month until I started on my next series for Institution, a short-lived documentary show for Game Show Network entitled, ANYTHING TO WIN when I returned. I was transitioning into my researching role, while I floated between couches at my co-worker Kaya* and her sister Damia’s* apartment to my friend Kaylie’s* studio while I tried to balance rigorously searching for a place that fit my budget.

The problem with searching for a place in LA? Well… most managers or agents showed places from 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday which fell very conveniently into my work hours and even if I saw a place during any self-made lunch period that I had (I normally balanced my meals at my desk while doing work)… going back and forth between Institution* and ANY place in LA traffic would be at least a 3-hour break. Being that I was the last hired at the company, I didn’t want to be the first fired as well.

On top of the anxiety that I already have, being an African-American woman, you have to work 3 times as hard as your counterparts to be considered good at your job, so I couldn’t afford to leave every day or every other day to look at a place which added more stress.

“I’m homeless,” I cried to my mom on the phone. “No, no you’re not… you are not homeless! You are working so you have the means to obtain a place to live. You’re schedule just isn’t allowing you the time to find it. Luckily you have some people that are allowing you stay with them for the time being,” she said soothingly. Little did she know Kaya and Damia’s couch came with teasing for being a loser without a home, any guy interest that I had and well just me overall! It was tiring going from work to a place that I didn’t feel welcomed. And staying at Kaylie’s was never a guarantee. She was a trainer and her hours with clients were… WELL… fluid, so they could run late!

Between the handoffs, the johns who thought you were soliciting and the cops asking me to get out my car several times because they thought I was at the complex to buy drugs… let’s just say waiting for Kaylie to get home wasn’t always the best option!

After day 3 of sleeping in my car because Kaya and Damia went to a party the night before and I couldn’t get a hold of them to stay on the couch, and Kaylie staying at her latest boo’s house, I got to Institution around 7 that morning after sleeping on the street in front of a complex in Valley Village which felt pretty safe for the night.

I took my traveling bag of toiletries, a washcloth, towel, clean underwear, a t-shirt, khaki capris, clogs and a jacket into the Director’s Guild of America where Institution’s office was located. After getting off the elevator, I walked into the women’s bathroom and looked under the stalls to make sure no one was in there. I locked the bathroom door and then proceeded to one of the sinks. I placed my bag on the ground and took out the toiletries, washcloth and towel on the silver shelf above the sink. I started to run the hot water balancing it with the cold water from the faucet over my washcloth. I took my face soap from the plastic travel dish and ran it through the washcloth to get a good lather before washing out my eyes and ears. I then ran the water again to ring out the washcloth and ran more facial soap over the washcloth so that I could wash my entire face. After washing my face thoroughly, I lifted my shirt over my head and removed the bra I slept in my car. I then took out my body soap from its plastic dish and took out a fresh washcloth from my bag. I then ran the balanced water through that washcloth and then ran the body soap through the cloth to get a nice lather. I thoroughly scrubbed each of my armpits discovering that I was overdue for a shave! I then pulled down my pants and underwear and ran fresh water over my washcloth and then rubbed the body soap through it again. I then washed as thoroughly as I could through my legs, and then washed out the cloth one last time.

I took the fresh underwear from my bag, and took out my latest plastic laundry bag to place my dirty clothes in. I then put on my fresh underwear and pulled my deodorant from my toiletry bag. After rubbing on my deodorant, I took out my t-shirt and capris and put them on. I then took out my toothbrush and toothpaste to brush my teeth. My hair was growing out from a Halle Berry pixie, so I ran my fingers through my hair before putting on my jacket and clogs. I packed up my things, used the bathroom, and washed my hands before unlocking the bathroom door. I took the elevator back down to my car, and after I placed the bag in my backseat, my phone rang.

“Hey girlie, how are you?” “Tarry,” I said starting to breakdown. “Yeah… what’s wrong?” she asked hearing the tears breaking through my voice. “I can’t do it, I can’t do it… I just can’t do it” I said breaking down into a full-on cry. “OH NO! CAL! What happened?” “Remember how I told you I’ve been couch-surfing,” I said barely getting out the words through my cry. “Yeah,” she said listening intently. “I couldn’t get in touch with either person, so I’ve stayed in my car last night. Actually, I’ve been staying in my car the last 3 nights and washing up in the bathroom at work with these travel toiletries I’m carrying around! I am supposed to look at a place today, but I’m like what’s the point?! Maybe the bad luck I’ve had in the living department is a sign that I shouldn’t keep trying! For every step I take forward, I take several steps back, and I’m tired Tar… I’m soooo tired!”

“Oooh, Cal… I’m so sorry lady! But I think you’re right where you’re supposed to be! I know it’s tough, I know it is… but you’re one of the toughest people that I know! And you have always been really clear about what you want and weren’t afraid to go after it! I HAVE always admired that about you! A lot of people wouldn’t take the risks that you do, and all of the obstacles you’re running into now are going to be something we’re going to sit back and laugh at one day… you’ll see!” Somehow her words calmed me like a soothing cup of tea. I was still sniffling through the drying tears I tried to wipe away and the running nose, but I felt a rush of warmth flow through me as I sat back in my drivers’ seat taking in her words of encouragement.

“Thank you Tarry. I REALLY appreciate it lady! I can’t tell you how much it means to me for you to listen to my breakdown and for your words of encouragement!” “Of course, lady, what are BEST FRIENDS for?! You know I’m always going to be here for you… to support you, to listen to you, to encourage you… whenever you need! And I mean that Cal, I know how you like to be strong, be everyone’s rock and not let people in! There are people that love you, support you and believe in you!” “Awww thanks Tarry,” I said blowing my nose in a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf napkin. “Let me know how the apartment looks that you’re going to see today… okay?” “I will, thank you so much Tarry!” “Always lady! Love you!” “Love you too lady!”

At the top of the next week, Amy our receptionist at Institution walked over to my desk with a big brown mailing box as I debated with Galvin over a research request. “This just came for you girlie,” Amy said as she placed the box down and swept her blonde locks off her shoulders. “Oh my gosh, thank you!” I said confusingly looking at the box. “Hey Amy, what are you doing for lunch?” Galvin asked flirtatiously as Amy began to walk away from the desk. “I don’t know why what are you and Bry doing?” Amy asked looking over her shoulder just as flirtatious as Galvin knowing that she was the office desirable to most of the younger guys there.

After they walked away giggling and flirting, I looked at the mailing slip on the top of the box and saw that it came from Tarin. I grabbed my car keys off of my desk and ran it across the tape on the top and sides of the box. After I opened it, I found a car on top of tissue paper with my name on the envelope. I opened the envelope and on the inside of the decorative card it read:

Cali,

I know thinks feel hopeless right now but know that you have people who love and care about you! I always said I’ll be the Gayle to your Oprah, because I know that all of your hard work is going to pay off! You just have to believe in yourself just as we all believe in you! I’m ALWAYS here when you need me!

Love,

Tar

As I wiped away the welling tears in my eyes, I laid the card down and pulled back the tissue paper to see fresh bars of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloth and towels and body sprays. And some gift cards for Starbucks and restaurants. Outside of my family, at that time, it was the nicest thing ANYONE had done for me! Tarin and I were always close, but our friendship came with an argument or two, but nothing that we didn’t survive! Like Casey, she always loved me despite my never-ending lists of flaws and insecurities that sometimes manifested in me lashing out at her that caused our very few arguments! But despite all of that, her belief in me and undying support has always been there! That care package was so much more than a box of toiletries, it was box saying that she had my back and always would!

TO BE CONTINUED…

*This series is based on true stories from a variety of women who work in television production. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those within these stories. Cali is not based on one person, but a collection of women who have struggled with mental illness and want to share their journey with the hope that they can help those whom are battling themselves.

Why the Fuck Should I Watch: SHAZAM! (2019)?

Why the fuck should you watch “Shazam!”?
• The favourite part of a movie “Ant-Man” was the part when that guy turned himself big and small.
• You have wondered what would a boy do when he suddenly acquires an adult’s body — explore the new…equipment (muscles), or ask people shoot him to the head?
• You enjoy your movies with a lot of cheesiness, goofyness and camp, which are all very intentional but extremely forgettable.
• You would like to know what kind of movie would Deadpool be if it would have been made for 11–13 year olds.
• Safe-words are for the weak, you are into magic words instead.

Source: https://78.media.tumblr.com

So, apparently there is one more superhero, who haven’t had enough screen time in today’s oversaturated superhero movie business. Once he was called Captain Marvel, but after some copyright shit back in the day he turned into Shazam, which sounds like something your goofy father said, while trying to entertain 1 year old you when your mother went out for shopping for way too long. And now amidst the overcrowded superhero movie season Shazam appears magically in our movie theatre’ screens.

Source: https://giphy.com

In short, Shazam (Zachary Levi) is an orphan teenage boy called Billy (Asher Angel), who is seeking her biological mother. After dealing with some bureaucracy that puts him into a new foster home, he meets a hobo lookin’ but massively powerful wizard, who turns him into a superhero, and basically does nothing else, because he was sitting in one place for too long and decided to die. The boy turns into a hero with a body and skills of a god, but a mind of a boy (that is basically every other ripped alpha male in his 20s-30s out there). And the story is about him exploring his new abilities with his nerdy and funny foster home roommate, while some adult villain, who was traumatized in his childhood, tries to kill him with the help of some demonic deadly sin characters. You’ll see clearly what happenes with you, if you don’t deal with your childhood issues. Time to go to the shrink!

Source: https://66.media.tumblr.com

Anyways, this is not the best superhero movie, it’s not the funniest, not the most creative, not the scariest, not for children entirely, and it has not the best CGI. BUT it’s not a bad movie, it definitely has it’s entertaining moments. How can a movie, that does not have so many things, be OK? Well, difficult to explain, I guess you have to see yourself.

Source: https://i.pinimg.com

Why the fuck you shouldn’t watch “Shazam!”?
• You think that superhero movies should be about death, pain, grandiose heroism, saving the world, and pain again. Also some soul-suffering would be great.
• You hate those bloody teenagers goofin around with their iphones and blocking the sidewalk.
• You got your “generic final fight” -needs fulfilled with the Justice League movie.
• You know how cars work and that they move faster than running boys. If that’s the case, you’ll in for a quite a plothole…
• DC, all we need at this point is Ben Afflek. Give him whatever he asks, and maybe there’s still hope! He’s not what you deserve, but what you need.
• You believe that DC’s Mother-theme had it’s peak in “Batman vs. Superman” and no DC movie after that should ever try to do anything with even slightly connected to that narrative. That was an untoppable masterpiece.

Hitting My Head Against A Wall!

“red pavement bricked wall” by Deepal Pallav Suthar on Unsplash

It makes me crazy,

To see some so lazy…

Trying to keep my head,

Feels like I’m turning to lead…

So sad to see one so selfish,

Other’s pain, they seem to relish…

So many high hopes,

Now I feel like such a dope…

So much promise and potential,

What ails them,

Is kept highly confidential…

Why, Oh why, can’t they see what we see?

Why is life so scary?

Can we still help their souls to nourish?

Only then, will we see them flourish?

Is is too late?

Or have they sealed their fate?

“grayscale photography of opened door” by Denny Müller on Unsplash