Thank You

*Originally this piece was a lot angrier. I called people out, and it felt good, but then I realized that this is not the kind of person I desire to be. I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently being angry. Theres a lot to be angry about, but sometimes it can cause one’s soul to atrophy into a dark mass of negativity, and that’s not what I want for myself. It’s hard to stay positive in this business — hell, its hard staying positive as a human being, with the state of the world right now — but I see that even after writing this, I feel more more hopeful, and I hope it brings the same to you.

I was sitting with someone at breakfast today, and we were discussing women in film, and the lack of opportunities for us at every single level of this industry. We spoke of the infighting between women, the scarcity complex that so many of us have. The idea that one can’t rock the boat too much, for fear we might all tip over and drown. Truth be told, I have moments where I feel like I’m drowning. I can sink into the quicksand of self pity and, to borrow from Pixar’s “Inside Out”, the emotion of fear takes over the controls. Then I’m in trouble.

One of the ways I’ve learned to stop fear in its tracks is through practicing the art of gratitude (thank you Oprah).  Some days it seems like a lot of work, while other times it pours out of me easily. Today I wanted to express that gratitude by way of a thank you:

Thank you to the ones who care about women, and are willing to tell their stories. Thank you to the casting directors who champion women and care more about talent than a twitter following.  Thank you to Lexi Alexander and Maria Giese for continually fighting for women’s rights to be seen and be heard behind the camera, and for getting the ACLU to investigate discrimination. Thank you to Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan for giving women a chance to shine and for writing compelling characters that aren’t just soft focus background for the male lead. Thank you to Amy Schumer whose use of comedic genius continues to call out the insanity of the double standard, and who gives a big ol’ finger with the grace of Lucille Ball. Thank you to Merideth Walker and Amy Poehler, who created a safe haven like Smart Girls, where young women are encouraged to boast about their achievements, dream big dreams, and be reminded that they’re amazing, talented, special and can do ANYTHING that they set their mind to. Thank you to Mark Ruffalo who stands right beside us, and proudly calls himself a feminist.  Thank you to Charlize Theron, who fought for equal pay and won!!!! Thank you to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea for starting Pacific Standard, and for focusing on telling our stories. They need to be told and we need you to tell them.

We need you and I need you. I need you all in those moments of despair when I question if anything will ever change. I need you in those moments when fear is having its way with me and I wonder if I should just give up. With you in my corner, I feel hope. I feel hope that things will change, and are changing. I feel hope that I will get more opportunities to play various women who are as complex as I am. I feel hope and less alone. I feel that I am being counted, and count. You all, in your various ways, remind me that I matter in my moments of forgetfulness.

And to the ones that are afraid to speak out and take risks, I leave you with this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”- Marianne Williamson

So again, with bottomless love and gratitude, Thank You,

Heather Matarazzo

10 thoughts on “Thank You

  1. Agh, and thank you for writing this. I am not in film at all, but I read about the double standards all the time, and indeed there are double standards in most walks of life.
    You said it far more eloquently than I could have, so thank you!

  2. We always matter. For someone we are the spark that will become the thing that finally launches them from one place to another, and their gain of that space, that distance, carries us all. So thank you for what you do and for the thanks you give to others. It’s a relay that we cannot understand, but have to keep going.

  3. Brilliant.
    Your words are powerfully written and I thank you for taking the time to share them. I am empowered by the gift your writing has made and feel glad that the anger you feel is not erased from it. Anger is an important tool but when not channeled constructively and passionately it can be difficult to drive a point home. I admit I can be angry at times, livid even at the world. Hearing that important, outspoken, and influential individuals like you are angry too is incredibly wonderful. May respect and equality for all in every workplace be the norm one day sooner because of your writing.

  4. I love this post and all the people you’ve thanked, I thank as well. And thank you, Heather, for your words, your courage, your clear voice & mind.

  5. Thank you for sharing your point of view. It’s far better to share your anger and get it out in the open plus you have an audience that agrees with you This is both healthy mentally as well as physically. I think we as women have all felt your anger and disappointment at one time or another. You are becoming stronger as each disappointment arrives. Hold your head up and keep focusing on your goal. If you believe you can achieve.

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