One of my favorite actors is the amazing Viola Davis, age 57. She is the only Black actress who has won the trifecta: academy awards, the Emmy, and the Tony (twice). She credits some of her powerful performances to her impoverished and chaotic childhood. She was frequently in trouble at school for being hungry, disheveled, and unbathed. The second to the youngest of six children, with an alcoholic father, poverty, and domestic abuse in the household, she had significant symptoms of what is now termed complex trauma. She suffered from enuresis or bedwetting well into her teens, anxiety, and depression At school, she was mocked and bullied for smelling like urine. She has stated that she did not feel worthy of complaining because she felt her voice did not matter. She received no mental health services until she was in Upward Bound, and a counselor remarked about her incredible reading range, which was at odds with her tendency to be quiet in groups.
When asked what helped her dig out, she stated people who believed in her. There were people who genuinely cared for her, cheered for her, and kept her going. Other things: reading voraciously, studying history, close girlfriends. She has stated that once you find your personal sense of worth, it no longer matters if people tell you you’re not young enough, pretty enough, smart enough.