“dealing with things that impact the human experience”

Q: Can you start by describing yourself physically and emotionally?

A: Physically… um… I’m a really tall like wide dude. I used to be a lot bigger, I used to weigh 325lbs. at the start of the year last year, recently I’ve thinned it down a bit, I’m down to 205, so I’m big but not as big anymore. Emotionally I’m… [blows raspberry] I’m really emotional, I’m really in touch with my feelings, I’m a very open guy, I like to tell people what I’m thinking and doing. I’m like a dog. Like I’m really happy to always see people and I like hugs, I think that’s why I became an actor, because I like feeling emotions I guess.
A recommendation letter that an old teacher wrote for me to get into school, he talked about having experienced certain things at a really young age gave me an advantage when dealing with things that impact the human experience. That always kind of really stuck with me. It makes growing up with depression seem almost nice.

Q: Anything specifically about growing up that you think helps me in what you’re doing now?

A: I grew up in a really turbulent household. My mom had, still has, severe chronic depression, I grew up with really bad social anxiety so I had a really hard time going to school and being around people. For a long time it was just me and my mom and then my mom met my dad who adopted me, my mom is my birth mother but he adopted me as his…

I remember seeing a lot, my mom dealing with this crazy thing where she was like a different person every day, one day she would be the happy person I remember from when I was really little and we would go to the zoo and we’d play around and she’d be funny and upbeat and the house would be clean, and the next day she’d throw wedding pictures at my dad and she’d damn near light the house on fire. So from a very young age, I saw extremes of the emotional spectrum. And because I was always around it I was flip-flopping too. When things in the house were happy I was like, “yeah! this is cool.” When things weren’t I was gone. I remember I stayed at my grandparents for about a week because my mom was at a low point and she wouldn’t get help and she was hurting herself and my dad told her that she could either get help or she wasn’t going to be able to see me and my sister anymore. And that kind of pushed her over the edge.
So I guess growing up with things like that… in a way it opened me up but it also shut me off, I was kind of a loner,
and then I remember in middle school my very first girlfriend forced me to audition for a play and I loved it. It brought me back to being young and playing pretend and it felt good and it was one of the first things that I had actually been good at, one of the first things that I actually wanted to do.
I remember the first show I ever saw was Peter Pan, and it was like escapism in a way. I was sitting in the audience and I didn’t feel all the weight of everything. I wasn’t worried about my family, I wasn’t scared about being around people, I wasn’t hurting.

Q: And is that what it is for you now? Is it a kind of escape or…?

A: I don’t think so. At the time it was like “wow, that was two hours where things didn’t seem real. It was like living in a dream”, and I thought, “I wanna do that, I want to be up on a stage and I want a kid to be in my position to see that and think ‘things get better.'” so I think that’s what’s made me pursue this line of work.

Q: Tell me one thing you’ve done in your life that you’re really proud of having done.

A: My senior year of high school I got to play ___________ in ___________ and I was the first actor in [Name of State] to ever play that role because we were the first theatre to get the rights to it. We beat out another theatre by like a month, their show was a month after ours, we just slid right in. Well, me and the director hated each other he was a bastard.
I was really proud of the way that we overcame our mutual hatred of one another to create something astonishing. It was, I think, one of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve ever worked on and I guess that’s just a source of pride for me that I can say, I was this part, I was the first one to do it in this place, I left a mark a little bit and at such a young age that felt really cool…

Q: Beginning of a legacy?

A: I don’t think I’d go that far. It was a step for me because I’d just enrolled in school and I thought “this is kind of big, maybe I have a shot at this.”

Q: Ok, moving in a different direction altogether, what does hate look like to you?

A: A specific person.
a very good friend of mine, that I trusted.
because of him another friend of mine isn’t here anymore
and I will never forgive him.
When I think of hate, I see his face.

Q: Sorry I didn’t mean to…

A: No, it’s anonymous, it’s cool.
Still a touchy subject.

Q: Definitely, I mean it’s a hard question.
Ok last question, hopefully this is more of a hopeful question for you,
If you could say one thing, anonymously, to a large group of people, what would you say?

A: Chill out.
I feel like I grew up in a turbulent time in human history. I mean I remember 9/11. I don’t remember IT, but I remember my mom pulling me out of school and holding me on the couch and freaking out. And right now we’re going through this, frankly absurd, political time period. I read something recently that Had never kind of hit me before: that the reason that people look differently is because of their proximity to the equator. Like skin color. And to think that something that trivial has caused such tension and conflict bugs me. I’m in college now and hearing all of these ideas and learning all of this philosophy that I never really got growing up in my rural ass state. I’m really tired of reading on the news and seeing online about people fucking killing each other over race and greed and words and old books. and I read about this church, and an Islamic center opened right across the street from them and they were freaking out and this pastor started reading into things a bit and he put up a sign saying he welcomed those people and one of his parishioners came in and said, “what are you doing?” and he said, “go read the scriptures.” and that’s something that gave me hope was that this dude who had been a supporter of this bigoted ideal that Islam is a cancer, I mean he broke down and said, “I am the problem.” and to think that people who believe that kind of thing can change their mind, can hear and can see what’s really right in front of them, I think is really hopeful, it gives me hope.

So I guess I’d say Listen. Listen.

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