Thursday 30 August 2018

My Story: Being a Child of a Mentally Ill Parent

Prior to uploading this, I felt a deep sense of fear around what people were going to say and how I'd be judged for doing this video in the first place.

Much to my surprise, I've been contacted by a number of people who completely resonated with my story and experiences, so I've decided to share it further in the hopes that anyone who needs to see this, will find their way to it.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Never Enough

I think it's probably safe to say that a vast amount of us have seen 'The Greatest Showman'.

I personally held back from watching it despite so many people raving about it, because I thought it was a 'Water for Elephants' kind of circus movie, and I couldn't get into it.

When I finally watched it (after repeatedly hearing the anthemic 'This is Me' and wanting to know the context of this glorious piece of musical history) I didn't really know what to make of it. As in, it hit me in so many different emotional places that I couldn't give an accurate summary of it without turning it into an emotional tangent the size of intricacy level of an oak tree.

Credit: Youtube

One thing that stuck of the most for me was the theme throughout the whole movie of just constantly pushing to go that one step further because nothing you've achieved ever seems to be enough.

The scene where Barnum is confronted by his in-laws who made him constantly feel like he'd never be good enough for their daughter, or seen as an acceptable member of  their level of society and yet he goes out of his way to essentially show them up, as though all of the success he achieved with the oddity circus, and all the good that had come as a result, still couldn't fill that void deep inside him.

While I still think it was a huge dick move to bar the circus members from joining in the party because he was about to make something big of himself and he didn't want them to basically ruin it for him, I can understand on some levels, the sense of shame that comes from the metaphor that they represent.

When you've got a chance to finally be that person that you always wanted to be, the last thing you want is all your proverbial skeletons to come out of the closet and deeply shame and embarrass you, despite the fact that everyone has them, to varying sizes and degrees.

The song 'Never Enough' pretty much summed up Barnum's experience, and dare I say it, mine.

Credit: Youtube

It doesn't matter how much success, fame, accolades, glory, etc that you achieve, if you've always felt like an outsider, no amount of fancy parties and the 'good life' are going to change or fix that.

On a personal note, I've been holding onto stuff for most of my life, usually beliefs that I'm not good enough or worthy of a lot of things, so Barnum's need to keep aiming higher and higher, despite his wife telling him that 'You don't need everyone to love you, just a few good people', really just doesn't seem like enough.

In a similar fashion, you've got the forbidden romance between Anne Wheeler the bi-racial trapeze artist, and Phillip Carlyle, the white male next greatest showman, in a time when interracial romance was a big no-no (although I legitimately thought their romance was frowned upon because being a circus performer wasn't a suitable profession for a woman).

Just like with Barnum needing to get the approval of all the higher society people (mainly his in-laws), Anne wasn't ashamed of who she was, but the getting looked down on by people who thought less of her on the basis on her skin colour, that was enough to break anyone.

It's funny how Barnum's wife and Carlyle seem to have the same view: why does the opinion of these people bother you/matter to you so much?


When you've come from privilege/high society, you can't possibly understand what it feels like, and why it matters so much to not have it.

(Semi-unrelated side note: I love it when Carlyle finally stands up to his uber white privilege parents and defends Anne's honour. It shows a whole other side to Zac Efron as both a person and an actor, plus he's fully clothed in the entire movie! About damn time!)

Image result for how dare you speak  the greatest showman
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So what can we take from this cinematic masterpiece of music and emotion?

I'd say to own all the parts of you that you'd happily keep outside the door of the fancy party. Easier enough to say, sooo much harder to do. But realize that we're all human, just in different shapes, sizes and packages, so no one is immune to dodgy skeletons.

I guess the greatest question is, when will it be enough?!

(I'll let you know when I've figured out the answer for myself. But in the meantime, you do you!)

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