I remember you, Ellen. Ellen from Ellen. That was when I first came across your contagious smile and bubbly haircut. I remember that you painted a picture of something that I felt I could relate to. Something that wasn’t limited by the glowing screen that had you trapped. I don’t know why that was. There was just something about you, an air of sorts, that radiated candid warmth, whatever that is.
Alas, this televisual relationship, as you know, wasn’t too last all that long.
I remember when you got cancelled. I remember it through a hazy field of oddly placed stepping stones and collapsed years. I remember asking my mum: “Why isn’t Ellen on anymore?” And her answering: “Because some people aren’t very nice, and can’t accept others for who they are”.
Actually, my mum did explain to me the exact reason that your show was cancelled. She told me that there were some people who weren’t comfortable with how you preferred the ladies to the mans, and so they – the Powers That Be – decided to axe your leaf from the network’s bigoted branch.
Wrapped up in a blanket of blissful childhood innocence, I couldn’t fathom why on earth your show would be cancelled because of how you preferred to share your love, with whom you preferred to share your love. I knew that some people were attracted to people of the same gender as them, even though I wasn’t really sure what this “attraction” thing entailed, but it all seemed reasonable.
When she told me that your show was cancelled precisely for this reason, because you happened to be a woman who loves other women, I was beyond baffled. “Why does that even matter?”
No answer to the question: “Why?” that my mum could give me proved satisfying. It just didn’t make sense.
I remember getting real angry, too. Partly because I really liked your show, so I felt cheated. But even more so, because even in my unripened youth, I knew the feeling that came alongside rejection. And I grasped, and grasped tightly, the stinging hurt that it could bear.
I got bullied a lot as a kid. Not for any reason other than I was a bit weird. I’d never really seemed to be able to fit into this world. I felt (and still do feel) like a square cut out among circular holes. Despite my best efforts to seamlessly blend into the social-canvass around me, I simply couldn’t. I was a duck among geese, a horse among bears, a deer among lions, an igloo among sand. And no matter how much of an effort I put into cloaking this truism, I’d be picked out and picked on accordingly – for acting the weird loner I couldn’t help but be.
Anyway, back then, I’d always imagined that adults didn’t have to face the same sort of bullying that kids face. I thought that adults, with all their age and wisdom and knowledge were able to see past the obscuring lines of division that separate us from each other; that divided us into neat little packages, stamped with superficial labels – gay v straight, black v white, weird v normal, dolphin v wizard.
But as I’ve learnt, not all of us truly grow up. We age, we develop hair, funky body odours, we go bald, we guzzle up and learn information, we learn to cut and paste this information where and when necessary, but in terms of examining our own selves, and transcending the shells in which we were born, few of us, very few of us, take that leap.
We stick to our prejudices, we wear what we think we know with credulous pride, and stroll along the path that others already paved for us.
That’s what I, and I’m fairly sure millions of others, really love about you, Ellen. You’ve put yourself out there, and faced adversity without a mask. You’ve endured the obstacles of bigotry and preconceptions and loveless thoughts and actions, and come out the other side, without having let the corners of your beautiful smile be blunted.
Of course, I don’t know you. These observations are superficial and shallow, reflective of only what I see through the platform of television. But I’ve always believed that eyes are the gateway to the soul. And your eyes, through the pain and heartache that I’m sure lives somewhere underneath them, they smile.
They beam bows of sincerity, and genuine joy.
You’ve got millions and millions of fans all over the world, so I don’t expect that this is a note you’ll read. (Though, Russell Brand’s already proved how wrong this belief, however reasonable, might be). Of course it would be splendid if you did read this letter. And not because I want to be invited onto your show and given a holiday, or a new car – I don’t want anything at all for myself (except to get published, but that’s a whole other story). But rather, and truly, and only, because… I’ve been sitting here for five minutes and I can’t finish that sentence.
I started this weeklong project of “Sharing the Love” without much thought. Mainly, I suppose, because I wanted to express feelings that I bear, with those for whom I bear them. Though ultimately, I never expected that anyone would ever read these letters. So why write them?
I don’t know. I guess deep down I do believe that, in this life, our actions shouldn’t be governed by any conjecture of reward, for the fruits we think they might bear. But instead, and I’d say to the contrary, for the love of the action itself. For the love of loving itself. And married to this motto, I also believe that love felt but not shared is love wasted. Cause love can’t be directed, or confined, or narrowed in any way. Not true love, anyway. It’s just there. Sometimes it’s received, sometimes it’s not – that’s not important. What is important is that love’s heeded to, whatever its function, whatever its target, whatever its shape. I’m a pseudo-Buddhist, if you (reader) hadn’t guessed.
So, I suppose that writing this letter is, to my mind, far more important than you actually reading this letter. But if you do by some chance read this, I just wanted to remind you that you affect and effect more people than you could possibly imagine, in the most profound and touching way possible, which is kind of ridiculous, really, considering that you have 22 million fans on Twitter.
Simply by sticking true to you, all that you are, and standing up for what you believe in, and also for the little guy, you’ve provided a flicker of hope, a flutter of light, and an unquantifiable bathtub of joy for millions of people around the world. (Especially for the weird outcasts among us). You’ve done so much to break down the walls that exist between us, filling the breaks with smiling bridges. You’ve done so much, and yet so indirectly, without any haughty imposition, in teaching the world about being open, accepting, and loving.
So thanks. Thanks for all the smiles. The laughs. The dances. And for proving that women can, indeed, if they feel so inclined, rock out a tie and sneakers like there’s only one more morrow.