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How Zac Efron Saved My Life

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Though I had heard of him, I never saw any of the High School Musicals and a lot of other work he has done. I actually thought he was Nora Efron’s son.

A few years ago, I was having a meltdown, mostly due to birthing twins, and what the doctors don’t tell you. Post Partum doubles, possible bi-polar, a laundry list of brain dysfunction, not to mention the stress alone could take you out. If you are an artist, it triples. The twins were a surprise . . . like SURPRIZE! You are having twins!! LUCKY YOU!

I secretly didn’t even want another child, and honestly didn’t think I would get pregnant. When I heard this news, I took to the bed. I knew what was coming. I had an adolescent boy, a great boy, a child I decided to have on my own at a very young age. We are very much alike. Creative, logical, and believers in science. Okay. Scattershot. Upon hearing this amazing news I stayed in bed, well, for a while.

CUT TO: as these beautiful girls grew, my big life drastically changed because I could no longer do what I did, travel the world, work for big companies, meet incredible people, spend lots of time in Europe and make a lot of money.

Having twins = two bombs landing on your house = CHAOS.

I started a twins club in my village. There happen to be fifty or so sets. In a very short time, many of the mothers were off to Betty Ford, nut houses, shooting heroin in dark alleys.

They had big lives too. It’s quite difficult to go from negotiating a 40M film deal, or being a show runner on a hit show, or producing films, or running a successful financial concern, then find yourself peeling play dough off your expensive sofa that you dumped out of anger at the Good Will. “Take this piece of crap!”

But I digress: Back to Zac. (How did I miss this guy??)

After a few years, I couldn’t do it anymore, going from high stimulation to playing Apples to Apples. Mothers rarely tell the truth, but kids are boring and tedious. In fact, one day at Starbucks where many mothers go to spit venom onto the screenwriters, a girl in front of me said: “I hate my kids. Vampires! They ruined everything I was trying to do! But I love them. Thanks for being there.”

So I had a mini nervous breakdown. It may have been a major nervous breakdown, but I still don’t know what the clinical definition is beyond my inability to function except staring out the window and daydreaming about all the stories I wanted to write, having an entirely different life or driving my car off a cliff.

To break up the day, doing mind-numbing child chores, I would talk to myself and laugh hysterically when no one was there. It was not uncommon for people to come home and say “Who’s here?”

So, off I went to this hospital (another story because these people were seriously insane. I mean they were bleeding from their ears, and talked about how they burnt their houses down.)

I called home and ask to get the hell out of there, as it was voluntary. They had me on some scary medications that make you stupid and drool.

Once home, I crawled into bed and channel flipped. Then this movie 17 Again comes on. But every time I miss the first ten minutes. I think it’s a brilliant film. Of course I had heard of it (I work in the business) but why had I not been told it should have won an Academy Award? And who is this Zac Efron!

I simply could not stop watching the film. It watched it seventeen times.

By now my family thinks I really am insane. I knew every scene and could recite all of the dialogue. I break out into crying fits in certain scenes. When Zac defends his son from that horrible bully. I am bawling.

When Zac comes to the house and sees his ex-wife going out on a date I’m bawling.

When Zac helps his son with basketball building his self-esteem, I’m bawling.

When Zac continues to fall back in love with his wife, I’m bawling and laughing.

When he gets beat up for defending his daughter from the bully I get upset and cry some more. When he follows his daughter and reprimands her for not going to college so she can stay with the bully, I am inconsolable.

This goes on and on for 17 viewings. I by now lost track of time. My family has gotten used to it. In fact on a number of the airings, they are all in bed with me, trying to understand why I am so affected by this film, but they actually love it too. However,after a couple times, they move on.

When they hear laughing or crying from my bedroom cave, “Oh, she’s watching 17 Again, again.”

My son adds: “He really is a good actor.”

By the seventeenth time, I FINALLY catch it from the very beginning. It’s like I just won a marathon! Now of course I could have TiVo’d, taped, etc., but there was some weird healing going on with my needing to keep watching Zac as I had started out. Okay, a little OCD.

Three weeks later (though I was doing other things, these viewings were primarily at night) my husband bought me the movie. I keep it with my enviable book collection; many of them signed first editions. Here is why. I love to read, it is a monstrous addiction. Certain books define me and I need them in my bedroom in case I forget who I am. So Zac has found a place in the tapestry of my life. I have since seen him in many other films. He makes me laugh, he makes me cry. He puts me at ease.

I did not need a mental institution where people scream in the night for graham crackers or ask you things like “Are you a white witch?”

I needed to watch 17 Again and have Zac breath life back into me. I am a believer great healing takes place through tears and laughter. Not so much therapy, shock treatment or drugs.

I am also an artist and the mental health community hasn’t a clue how to tap into that wiring.

I grew up on Einstein, Franklin and Keith Richards, among others. These are the people that would understand me. I am not comparing Zac Efron to anyone, but he provided the same kind of validation and healing that they had in my life. I know tons of girls think he is “hot and sexy” and he is, and he is a huge celebrity, but there is so much more. But what I see is what’s behind his eyes and the man that pulled me out of a serious clinical depression.

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