Worlds & Time

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Letter to Colton

Hi Colton Haynes,

First, I have to say that I'm a huge fan.  I have been for years (I wrote a piece on you back in 2013) and I still am and will probably always be.  I saw San Andreas specifically because you were in it, which does not embarrass me at all.  I have a crush on you, which I hope you can forgive me for.

That said, I'm old.  Like, in my mid thirties old.  Ancient.  Those dozens and dozens of months more life experience that I have more than you have given me some wisdom which I wanted to pretend to share, in the hope that it helps you recognize how amazing you are.

One of those things that I was wrong about in that piece I wrote years ago was speculation on how easy your life has been.  Not only was I wrong, I was completely torn up to hear about your hospitalization.  When I was about your age I was hospitalized for depression, which is something I almost never talk about, and that's a luxury that I have that you don't.

My experience was pretty terrible.  It turns out that hospitals are generally the most depressing places on the planet, and so going to the hospital for depression is a really stupid thing to do.  Therapy and medication have helped, I am still alive, but I'm still depressed.  I'll probably be depressed for the rest of my life and there isn't anything that anyone can do about that.

Except for you.  You have made my life better, which I bet you think is ridiculous, but it's completely true.  Following your career, seeing fragments of your life in the news, and generally idolizing you have given me something to look forward to.  As small as that is, and as shallow as that makes me, it's something that can get me up in the morning.  For someone as ridiculously and profoundly depressed as I am, that's something that I need to hold on to.

So please be aware that your life has meant something to me, even though we've never met and likely will never meet.  You have helped me through tough times without even being aware of it, although I know that doing so has meant giving up so much of your privacy and putting yourself in public view.

I can't imagine what that's like.  I just don't have the context to understand what it's like to be a public figure like you are.  I can only imagine what it's like to know that cameras and weird fans (like me) are watching you, and the pressure that puts on you.

If I were you, and I had the chances to do what you've done, I probably would have made the same decisions.  I would have felt twisted up knowing that being gay could damage my career but hiding it would be terrible. You had to live with that for years which, again, I can't even comprehend.  I'm so sorry that you had to go through that because of people like me.

But know that you'll have at least one fan out there that isn't going to abandon you.  I wouldn't have abandoned you if you were straight, transgender or even a Republican.

I need to add something to that though: you don't have to be perfect.  You don't have to be Roy or Jackson either.  I idolize you but I also know that you're a real person, and people aren't perfect.  I'm sure as hell not perfect.  My ex isn't perfect (he's a great guy, don't get me wrong, but not perfect).  My brother the genius & businessman isn't perfect.  My best friends the lawyer and the banker aren't perfect.

People are going to tell you that you're a role model, and you will be, but don't believe anyone that tries to tell you that you shouldn't be who you are to be a role model.  Does that make sense?  People will tell you that a role model means this or that, and that you have to be that because you're famous.  Screw that.  You don't need to be anyone other than who you are to be a role model.  You're Colton Haynes, the fantastic actor, the guy with the best Halloween costumes, the guy who can pull off a salmon Marc Jacobs suit and who goes to NY Fashion Week looking boss.  You're an amazing guy just for being you.

The most important part of not being perfect means that you have to take care of yourself, physically and mentally.  If the stress means that you can't ever act again, then don't.  I would rather that you be happy and healthy even if that means that I never get to see you again.  Granted, that would suck for me, but I don't expect you to be perfect.  If you want to do something for me as a fan, then go be happy, be a good brother and uncle, be yourself.

Thank you though, for what you have given me.  If you can continue, then I thank you even more.

You're amazing, Colton.  If you ever need that said again, all of us, your fans and your friends and your family, we are all there to say it to you.



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