+
upworthy
Pop Culture

Kevin Smith receives a flood of support after sharing how childhood trauma affected his identity

Fans are applauding his honesty and calling for destigmatization of mental health conversations.

kevin smith
People/Youtube

Let's normalize talking about our mental health.

For many of us, the impacts of childhood trauma linger on insidiously. Aspects of our adult identity become shaped by those terrible chapters in our early years without us even realizing it. And because this happens at such a young age, it can take years of soul searching, not to mention professional support, before a person can sift through those painful memories to recover a real sense of self.

Yes, it’s a taxing and scary process, with perhaps the most daunting aspect being the fact that you once again have to bring that trauma to light by talking about it. But as we have seen many times over, being open and honest about our struggles often results in the support, healing and transformation needed to improve our mental health. In other words—the rewards outweigh the discomfort.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is a celebrity pretty well known for being candid about his personal challenges, especially when it comes to health and well-being. After suffering from a heart attack back in Feb 2018, the “Clerks” director has made his weight loss journey and the insights from it a major part of his presence online. You’d be hard pressed to find a fan that didn’t know about this part of his life.

However, in an exclusive with People, Kevin Smith revealed for the first time that the root cause of his previous weight struggles had been related to sexual abuse he experienced at 6 years old, when an older boy forced him to perform sexual acts with a young girl in the neighborhood.

As Smith told People, he always denied the gravity of the incident, telling himself that "we were just playing doctor in an alleyway." It wouldn’t be until the age of 52, after checking into Arizona's Sierra Tucson treatment center and dedicating a month to intensive therapy, that Smith would learn the event was indeed severe and left him with an untreated psychological wound.

It took suffering from a "complete break from reality" and being stuck in a “weird, dark place,” but Smith did finally get help. After talking with a therapist, he learned that the incident, along with being made fun of for his weight by a teacher in grade school, led him to create a "larger-than-life" public persona he calls "the other guy.”

"I felt disgusting, like I didn't matter. That's when 'the other guy' started to appear. I decided to be entertaining and make people love me before they noticed I was fat,” he told People.

As we all know from “Jay and Silent Bob” alone, this strategy has worked. Perhaps for Smith more than most, it would seem disastrous to throw away an alter-ego which has brought such great commercial success.

And yet, Smith has still decided to not only take steps towards finding his "authentic self," which include discontinuing smoking pot and incorporating a more relaxed work schedule, but to share his story with fans in an effort to spread the message of the importance of self-acceptance.

Smith posted a link to the People article on his own Twitter account, writing, “Having been a creature of the Internet for 28 years now, I fully expect to get trolled for this. But if it can help some folks, it’ll be worth it. So here goes…A few months back I went through a mental health crisis. This is some of the stuff I learned.”

Take a look at what folks had to say:

“The more we talk about our mental health, the less stigma there will be around it. It’s ok to not be ok. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Kevin!”

“Kev, I don't know you well, but we've met a few times over the years and I've always had a ton of respect for you. And I respect you even more for having the courage to face your demons publicly in a way that will surely help others do the same. Much love, brother.”

“Dude I related to this hard especially struggling with people commenting on my body when I was much heavier growing up and how I processed it. I minimized a lot of the comments going through life. Glad you talked about it Kevin.”

“Sending you all the love, Kev. You are worthy. In every way. You are helping people every day, but most importantly you're also taking time to help yourself and that's equally as important. I've been on a similar journey and I'm just happy to hear about your healing journey.”

“Thank you so much for this Kevin, being able to actually see the real authentic you is truly amazing, and I hope others get so much positive energy and healing from this, mental health is important and our happiness.”

“This was so beautiful. I can't thank you enough for sharing all your wisdom these last few years especially. I'm so happy you're finding yourself, cos that's who we love. You always shine past the other guy. Much love and godspeed in your continued growth.”

You certainly don’t have to be a popular celebrity to talk about your struggles. If anything, this is a beautiful example of what can happen when we normalize having these types of conversations. It might not look like an interview with People, but opening up to our loved ones, community or a therapist can still work wonders for recovering our sense of self. In fact, it might be the only way for us to truly do it.

You can watch Smith’s full video interview with People below:

Sponsored

From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

True

Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

TikTokker Brielle Asero, 21, a recent college graduate, went viral on TikTok in October for her emotional reaction to the first day at a 9-to-5 job. The video, which received 3.4 million views, captured the public’s attention because it was like a cultural Rorschach test.

Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Therapist shares science-backed phrases that parents can use to gently defuse a meltdown

It's perfectly natural to want to raise your voice when a toddler is having a tantrum. But experts say there is a better way.

Canva

Finger pointing is actually NOT one of the suggested strategies

When your toddler has a meltdown, it's perfectly natural to want to fly off the handle.

There's nothing more infuriating than a small human repeatedly demanding something that's physically impossible for you to give them, or wailing because you had to punish them after repeatedly telling them to knock it off.

"I CREATED YOU, YOU LITTLE MONSTER. I CAN DESTROY YOU," you might want to say (though you never would). You love your kids — of course you do — but damn if they aren't the best at pushing you to your breaking point.

Keep ReadingShow less
@lindseyswagmom/TikTok

This daughter knew exactly what to get her dad for Secret Santa

Many people dream of somehow being able to pay their parents back for the sacrifices made for them during childhood. Whether that’s something physical, like paying off their mortgage, or simply being the best version of ourselves to make them absolutely proud.

For Lindsay Moore, it was finding a “prized possession” her dad once gave up to help the family, and returning it to him once again.

Moore still vividly remembers being only seven years old when she saw her father walk into a comic book store to sell a Dan Marino rookie football card from his first season with the Miami Dolphins.
Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Understand consent with the help of stick figures and a cup of tea

You'll never look at a cup of oolong the same way again.

It’s more than just tea.

In this hilarious and enlightening new animated video from Blue Seat Studios, consensual sex is explained in a way that everyone can understand.

By replacing sex with a cup of tea, this crudely drawn short offers a clear picture of what "saying yes" looks like.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Baby meets his dad's twin brother in an adorable viral video

Parenting is hard. Adult twins interacting with a baby? Hilarious.


Adult twins interacting with babies is pretty hilarious.

I know firsthand because I am a dad and a twin.

On my list of regrets as a dad, I'll place "not rolling video when our babies interacted with me and my identical twin" near the top of the list.

Thankfully, a dad shot some footage of his young son meeting his twin, and our lives are better because of it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Innovation

A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years

"This thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it’s still going." ⚡️⚡️

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.

Keep ReadingShow less