Before you make fun of me, I assure you there is a story behind this.
I’ll admit it. I think Bradley Cooper is a hottie. I know I’m not alone in that. The first few movies I saw him in – Wedding Crashers, He’s Just Not That Into You, the original Hangover – I was crushing hard. It’s the blue eyes and the whiskers.
In 2013, I was a first year teacher in a sleepy northern Arizona town called Sedona. My teaching license was in Wisconsin, and I applied to just about every job opening in the entire state. I then branched out and applied to school districts in every state in the nation. Every state. Sedona offered me the job and I took it happily.
Being a first year teacher is ridiculously stressful. I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants every day of my life. And while some people enjoy that type of adrenaline rush, it was detrimental to my mental health. Day by day I suppressed the anxiety and the emotions until I could barely function.
I was in Target one day and saw Silver Linings Playbook on sale by the registers. I hadn’t seen it in theaters, but I had heard it was amazing. I decided to add it to my purchases.
Some time later, I was laying in my dark bedroom in silence. The only light that was on in my place was my attached bathroom. I felt everything and nothing all at once. It’s really hard to describe but it’s a dizzying feeling. I distinctly remember glancing over to my bathroom light, wondering if I had enough pills to swallow that would end it all. It was only the third time in my life that I had really come to that breaking point. I then looked at my blank TV; Silver Linings Playbook was still unopened and leaning against my TV. I decided to watch that instead.
Now, keep in mind I was still basically on my own in terms of my mental illnesses at this point. I did have anti depressants by then, but they didn’t work, and I wasn’t yet in therapy. I would say their depiction of people with mental illness in the film might not be the best, but for the purpose of this post, I am setting my review of the actual film aside. You can tell me what you think about it in the comments if you wish!
This film changed my life. Bradley Cooper’s character made me feel, for the first time in maybe my entire life, like I wasn’t alone. For someone like me, that was a huge revelation. I felt like I wasn’t alone and his spirit, Pat’s in the movie, gave me hope. His motto, for those who haven’t seen or read it or might not remember, is “excelsior”, or “forever optimism”. That word stuck out to me and meant so much going forward that I got it tattooed on my wrist.
Ever since that movie ended that first time, I was changed, and so was my affection for Bradley Cooper. I call him my sunshine, because watching him or even hearing his voice on something can literally calm my anxiety. Not only that, but he makes me feel a happiness that’s hard to come by for me.
In 2014, I was extremely blessed enough to be able to see his performance as Joseph Merrick in Elephant Man on Broadway in New York City. Seeing him in the flesh, acting in his favorite role, was overwhelming in the best way. I was only three rows away! I knew he usually took selfies with fans after his performances. He was sick after mine but he came out the following day. Bradley Cooper took my freaking phone and took THIS picture.
How I was smiling I have no idea. Honest to god I blacked out. My brain nearly exploded. I had a letter I had written him including much of what I talked about here; he walked by me too fast for me to remember to hand it to him. His security detail took it and even told me a few minutes later that he’d not only give it to him, but Bradley always read fan letters in his dressing room and loved doing so (what an angel).
The fact that at some point in time Bradley Cooper knew how much he means to me is pretty unbelievable. This life is certainly crazy. In the letter, I told him that he should never just consider himself an actor, director, or a performer. His decision to play Pat in SLP changed my life. Because of that movie, and his performance, I’ll always have a huge soft spot for Bradley Cooper. My sunshine. xo
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