I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I was so incensed when I saw the body shaming meme about Wentworth Miller which was posted by The LAD Bible, and I didn’t want to just type out a string of expletives and hit publish!
This is the meme in question, which I am only posting to illustrate just how horrible it is…
You can see above the beginnings of Wentworth’s reply, which frankly moved me to tears. He doesn’t shy away from harsh truths.
“First and foremost, I was suicidal.”
It’s hard to read about anyone at such a low point, and made only harder by the circumstances of his post. Wentworth Miller has spoken a lot about his issues with mental health, making it yet more upsetting that The LAD Bible chose to post this meme anyway. As a platform which has evolved from a silly Facebook group into a well respected (kind of) news outlet they should know better. They employ people to write this stuff for f**ks sake! The final nail in the coffin is when you realise that 101k people have ‘liked’ or ‘reacted’ to this, and note that the little angry face isn’t there, just the laughing one! People are seemingly still really blind to the impact that social media can have, and content to ignore documented mental health problems for the sake of a cheap laugh.
Putting aside the fact that the meme should never have been posted in the first place, Wentworth Miller’s reaction to it was spot on. He faced his bullies in a calm, professional and honest way. He shamed them without resorting to petty tactics and he told a story that’s important to so many of us.
Unsurprisingly the bit that really got me is this…
“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.”
I can relate to that, not for the same reasons I’m sure, but food at one point became my only refuge. I got fat, and people were nasty. I’m sure a lot of you out there can relate. I’ve written a lot about my issues, with weight, with bulling and with coming to terms with it all.
Reading Wentworth Miller’s post made me so sad, but also made me happy. It has helped to shine a light on how much of a problem food really can be. He also pointed out that this picture was taken during a rare moment of happiness (in 2010!!!)…making it all the more sad that it’s the moment these internet bullies chose to pounce.
As he puts it… “I put on weight, big f–king deal.”
People need to move on, stop focusing on what everyone else looks like and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. It’s not big and it’s not clever to mock someone for the way they look. You never know the reason behind it, so don’t make assumptions and don’t judge until you do…and even then, don’t judge before you reflect on your own short comings. Nobody is perfect!
Mental ill health is a huge problem for so many people, and however it manifests itself can consume your life. If you haven’t experienced it, then count yourself lucky, and if you have and you’re out the other side then I applaud and congratulate you. If you’re still experiencing troubles, then seek help in those closest to you, and take a moment to love the fact that someone with a voice in this world has actually stood up for themselves!
Wentworth Miller chose to take this act of bullying and assign it his own meaning….
“The meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.”
He is a beautiful man…inside and out!
Here is his full post for those of you who want to read it:
Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time.
This one, however, stands out from the rest.
In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I was suicidal.
This is a subject I’ve since written about, spoken about, shared about.
But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.
Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.
I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.
In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.
And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.
One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. “Hunk To Chunk.” “Fit To Flab.” Etc.
My mother has one of those “friends” who’s always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.
In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.
Long story short, I survived.
So do those pictures.
Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without.
Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.
Anyway. Still. Despite.
The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.
Of myself and others.
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They’re waiting to hear from you. Much love. – W.M. #koalas #inneractivist #prisonbroken