Breaking out of our comfort zones

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

There are times when I break out of my comfort zone and either watch or experience something I normally would not.
Through the wonders of Netflix, I discovered the television show “American Horror Story.”
Normally, I avoid anything with the word horror in it.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the concept, and I am a big fan of movie legend Jessica Lange.
Granted, there is a small amount of gore, but for the most part, the larger theme and storylines center on the characters and their psychological evolutions.
Each season is set in a different time, place and, although the actors stay the same, their characters differ from year to year. The first season featured a haunted house and ghosts, who each had a horrifying story to tell. During the second season we are introduced to the occupants of an insane asylum. The third season, which was filmed and set in New Orleans, told the story of a coven of witches and their supreme.
Last week, Netflix finally started streaming season four, “Freakshow.” Of course, we have already finished the season and I was very happy with the season, minus the killer clown scenes, during which I left the room.
Season four was set during the early 1950s and tells the story of one of the last remaining freak shows.
I was a big fan of the now-cancelled HBO show “Carnivale,” and am intrigued by the people who performed in these shows.
“Freakshow” features a myriad of characters, and four of the real-life actors were born with a disability.
Mat Fraser, who plays Paul, was born with phocomelia, causing him to have foreshortened arms.
Rose Higgins, who plays Legless Suzi, was born without the use of her legs, so doctors amputated them.
Ben Woolf, who played Meep, had pituitary dwarfism. Sadly, the actor died earlier this year after being hit by a car.
My favorite character this year was Ma Petite, played by the Indian born actress Jyoti Amge, who currently holds the Guiness World Record for the world’s smallest woman. She is two-feet three-inches tall and weighs about 11 pounds.
For the most part, we are always shocked when we see someone who looks different than what we view as “normal.”
I always make a conscious effort to control my reaction, as I want to treat them like I would anyone who looks like me.
What struck me most about these characters was not so much their disability, but their acting ability and their determination to overcome challenges.
I watched poignant interviews with these four and learned that Higgins, despite her disability, gave birth to two healthy children. They still lead happy and grateful lives.
There are some of us without disabilities that complain about the most minor things, when, in reality, we should be grateful for being blessed with good health.
I’m glad I broke out of my comfort zone and watched this program.
Even though I don’t enjoy horror movies or Halloween festivities, I still appreciate superb acting and a writer’s ability to make us feel real emotions for their characters.

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