This Girl’s Life Eating Grapes in Marvin’s Room While Writing in Her Basketball Diaries.
A few life friends of mine can vouch for the obsession and constant acting boner I have for Leo DiCaprio.
My mom can vouch for the endless VHS search of his lesser known roles (This Boy’s Life was the hardest to find, followed by Marvin’s Room).
My walls still linger with the ghosts of his Teen Bop posters.
I cried when I didn’t get to do my 6th grade power point presentation on him and I didn’t cry when my boyfriend at the time broke up with me because I loved Leo more (that boyfriend recently robbed a pizza hut with a gas tank or something… So I won.)
I was a girl and loved Leo, he’s adorbs.. I mean seriously. But beyond the teeny bop obsession is the first person who told me I was an actress. And what it meant to balance so many feelings and experiences in one person.
Not to my face, no. But through every role he played.
I was way too young watching Basketball Diaries in my Pine’s Apartment home. I wasn’t supposed to be learning about excessive drug use, prostitutes or skipping class. And for reasons of my own, secrets of my own, that movie helped me understand a part of my journey at a crucial time in my life.
Around that same too young of age, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape fell into my lap and carved its way into my heart. I’ve always been sensitive, I’ve always balanced the deep sadness of witnessing a life that wasn’t given as wholly as mine and the joy you can still give them even if they don’t think or live like you do. And while I related too seriously to Depp’s character (way too young), it was Leo who showed me the power of living someone else’s life. The vulnerability of absorbing yourself around those that aren’t like you and taking their experience and wearing the mask so seamlessly. I can barely write about this movie without crying, the impact it had on me will always shine bright.
Anyone who knows me understands the dynamic I have with my family. And if you’re close, you know what my grandmother meant to me…means to me. Marvin’s Room was a window into that teenage life of battling the emotions that come with growing up. I was given a glimpse into what my mom was possibly thinking and feeling, being a single mom with kids and struggling with who she was as her own person. And it gave me the hardest peek at what it meant to lose someone, to watch them deteriorate. I was given the gift of not watching my own grandma wither away before she left us, but when I think of Marvin in the room…watching those colors on the wall…I think of the love I have for her and the constant, cold ache her absence leaves me with.
And lastly, even though I’ve seen every one of his movies and it kills me to cut this list off here, This Boy’s Life prepared me for a moment I didn’t think I would live… The story centers on a boy and his mom, how she found someone to take care of them, and that man turned out to be an abusive asshole. As I watched someone I admire take on the role of a young kid, a teenager, who is suddenly responsible for getting his mother out of an abusive situation I had no clue it would put a spark in my soul that would lend itself to quick thinking to help someone I loved in the same situation.
Leo doesn’t know me, probably won’t ever know me… But he should know what each of his choice in roles did for my life growing up. I giggled and blushed at his looks…but I grew as a person as he grew in his career and he supplied me with the emotional range I would need to conquer many aspects of my life.
Last night was a long time coming for him. But in my world, he didn’t get an Oscar for The Revenant… he got an Oscar for giving me invaluable strength, not only in my actress soul but in my real life.