Ms. Foster’s Regrets

You’ve probably seen it already, but Jodie Foster burned the house down last night at the Golden Globes by coming out. She had, really, already, back in 2007, and before that – well, anyone who cared has known for a long, long while.

But she was under tremendous pressure to come out for a very long time. She’s been mocked, criticized, and accused of being self-hating because she didn’t come out in a big public way. But she has been out to her friends and family – and, as I said, everyone else pretty much knew too. She’s been raising two children with her (now former) partner for the past two decades.

And while this coming out has also been criticized – some people are never happy – I thought she was fucking amazing & actually broke the goddamn rules and told everyone to go fuck themselves. & She did it totally seriously, without conceding anything emotionally. Unbelievable strength is what I saw, wrapped in barbs and spoken through pounds of fear.

While people concede the whole “but she’s an actor, she doesn’t get a private life” in some conjunction with the whole Hinckley Jr. trauma – I can’t imagine she experienced it as anything less than that – I’ve chosen a pretty non-private life too, and either you get to do what you want to do or you don’t. & To do some things, you don’t get to be private. So is that really a choice? I guess. But that doesn’t make it easier, to be honest.

The rage in her speech I understand entirely. Her friendship with Mel Gibson is utterly baffling – except for this: she probably understands better than most what it’s like to be so publicly & thoroughly hated for being angry and unpopular. I’ve rewatched this clip about half a dozen times, & I am still struck by the awesome amount of gratitude she expresses – that is in her voice, and her face, and her body – and that barely keeps in check the disgust and frustration with feeling forced to say something publicly.

Anyway, there was just something about this that struck a nerve – something that resonated with what Iggy Pop had to say about turning 50, something that I am beginning to understand deep in my bone marrow. Something in me has changed, too, hardened with anger, exhausted with pettiness while simultaneously overwhelmed by how deeply I can still feel. I am pretty sure this is not something I would have understood when I was younger or at a different time in my life, but I do now.

Thank you, Ms. Foster, for being unpleasant, hard as nails, and inimitably gracious and full of as much integrity as you could be.

Oh, and anyone who has never had to come out about something like sexual orientation or the like? STFU, please. Just do. You really don’t know what you’re talking about.