Before she became a Broadway great, Audra McDonald survived a suicide attempt.

Content warning: discussion of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Audra McDonald is one of the greatest performers of our time. Full stop.

A venerated actress, spellbinding singer, and consummate performer, McDonald is a six-time Tony Award winner, the most of any individual, and the only person to earn the coveted trophy in all four acting categories. To say nothing of her television and film roles and her resistance-ready Twitter account, this is a woman with some serious talent.

But like many great performers, McDonald's path to success wasn't easy.


McDonald, center, and the cast of "Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed" perform onstage during the Tony Awards. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

The Broadway great joined Alec Baldwin on his podcast, "Here's The Thing," to talk about her rise to fame and the detour that almost ended it all.

McDonald grew up in Fresno, California, and started college at Juilliard, a world-renowned performing arts school, in New York in 1988. She chose to study classical music and operatic singing, hoping to also take classes in dance and drama too, but soon learned her intense course of study wouldn't allow for it.

"I felt lost, completely lost," she told Baldwin.

Her lack of fulfillment coupled with the pressure of being the young woman from her hometown who was supposed to "make it" weighed heavily on her. One night, it was all too much.

In the winter of her third year, McDonald slit her wrists. She quickly called the Student Affairs Director, who helped get her to Gracie Square Hospital, a psychiatric facility in the city. She noticed a few other Juilliard students there too.

"I was [at the hospital] for a month," she said. "They evaluated me and said, 'You're not going any time soon.'"

McDonald took a year off school to recuperate and later took on a role in "The Secret Garden." She returned to Juilliard and graduated in 1993. The rest, as they say, is history ... and awards from the president.

McDonald received the 2015 National Medal of Arts in September 2016. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

McDonald's story reminds us depression is a monster that can be tamed, but not one that easily goes away.

Baldwin seemed surprised to learn of McDonald's depression, given the strength and confidence she has onstage. She credits that experience and her passion for art for helping her find joy and strength in dark moments.

"I realized I'm someone who suffers from depression but I learned in the years: A. how to deal with it, B. to find my joy, and C. to realize that like alcoholism, it's something you wake up every day and you say, 'Yeah that's still something I have to deal with.'"

McDonald and Neil Patrick Harris perform onstage at the Tony Awards. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

That's why she's so transparent about her experience with suicide and living with mental illness.

She speaks freely about that time now, knowing it could save someone else's life. "I'm open about it because I think I'm a case of 'it gets better,'" she said.

In a fitting epilogue, Gracie Square Hospital stands right next to the OB-GYN practice McDonald attended while pregnant with her now-10-month-old daughter. The full-circle moment wasn't lost on her.

"Every time I passed it, there was a part of me just, you know, waddling down the street pregnant as can be some 29 years later. I felt such relief and joy and a sense of 'Yes, I get the big picture now.'"

McDonald and Norm Lewis join the cast to take a bow during the curtain call at "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" on opening night. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.

Depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns can affect anyone, at any time. But there is hope.

If you or someone you care about is having a difficult time, it's OK to ask for help from a trusted friend, teacher, counselor, or your doctor. In an emergency, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255. There is help. There is hope.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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