“The emotional cost alone of bringing up such memories publicly or coming forward with such recollections is pure bankruptcy. It is spiritual foreclosure.”

Amber Tamblyn had a wide lens as a child actor but it took her to become a seasoned adult, late in her twenties, before she realized the abuse she too had faced. It was during a time of self-reflections and upheaval of her personal life. This began her “era of ignition” to bring about social changes. She writes: “No longer stuck in a past we can’t outrun and a future we must outgrow, we are a nation that is actively confronting our values and agitating for change. We are in an age when activism becomes direct action, when disagreement becomes dissension, when dissatisfaction becomes protest, when accusations become accountability, and when revolts become revolutions.”

This is a conversation that needs to keep being had. Recently I heard someone say we have a “boy’s crisis.” This I would agree. While focus is on women and girl empowerment, behind the scenes, many others are giving support to the cultural changes needed, like how to raise “better boys.” It’s happening in India, in many parts of Africa and here at home. Brave men have been coming forward with their own stories of abuse. I applaud their courage.

Two such men are actors Terry Crews and Tyler Perry, both who have joined the women’s movements in support of changing the culture. No longer hiding in shame, they have started the difficult conversations with young men and boys and, in doing so, show their strengths which changes the culture. In Tyler’s recent autobiography Higher is Waiting, he writes about finding the forgiveness and thanks God that he is part of the generation who made the shift.”

“Women have a hard time telling the difference between instinct and anxiety and often confuse the latter for the former.” Women supporting other women is how Amber’s vision was realized of trying to break out of the confines of the acting career she’d forged as a child in order to become the writer and director she dreamed of being as an adult. Industry men wouldn’t give her the time of day. Although her directorial debut of Paint it Black may have fell a bit short in its ambition, she found a visionary investor who helped her realize her dream and gain the experience needed going forward.

Besides acting and direction, Amber is a writer, having published books of poetry and novels. It was in the process of writing that she was able to shed her old self, the 11-25 part of her that no longer served her. She broke free and became more.

A particularly inspirational interview was about her husband comedian David Cross. A few years ago, before racial in-sensitivities were called out, her husband made unkind racist remarks in a stand-up routine to an Asian woman actress. When Amber learned of this, she reached out and talked with the woman. Then she had a long and heartfelt conversation with her husband, explaining that even comedians need to “curb their words” and David agreed, not realizing how he too had been a victim of his own ignorance in the “boy’s club.”

This is how we raise better boys and men. This is how we become better. Honest conversations.


Amber Tamblyn – Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution
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