Selma Blair has seen some serious highs and lows.
She’s best known for her performances in beloved films like “Legally Blonde,” “Cruel Intentions,” and the “Hellboy” movies. But now, the 50-year-old actress is opening up about the lesser known parts of her life by way of her New York Times Bestseller memoir, “Mean Baby.”
During a recent, bravely intimate interview on radio station WAMU, she plainly stated that she has long wanted to push back against the avoidant coping mechanisms she developed to handle myriad negative experiences during formative times in her life – in particular, her struggles with alcohol, which began at age 7.
Writing a memoir was her way of shaking herself free of those unhealthy habits, developed following troubles ranging from numerous sexual assualts and a complicated relationship with her mother, to divorce and a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Initially, “I … spent my life hiding from fear and pain, and wanting to please my mother,” she said.
“I think I was just holding space, waiting to grow up, until I would have some authority and power,” Blair continued, speaking of her tendency to push aside her pain. “But yet, I was never learning how to do that. I kept putting myself in reckless situations.”
Not all of those experiences were fully bad, though. In fact, Blair described learning about her multiple sclerosis as liberating. “Suddenly my world started to open up with understanding of myself,” she said at one point, adding later in the interview that she spent years struggling to figure out why she consistently felt ill. “That diagnosis changed so much.”
She’s come far – in large part by abstaining from alcohol and confronting her demons head-on. But her recovery is still a work in progress. Blair still grapples with her tendencies to harshly criticize herself and others, for example, because of the patterns she learned from relationship with her mother, she admits – even in parenting her 11-year-old son, Arthur.
In talking about her struggles to get a diagnosis in the first place, though – spotlighting the dismissal women often experience when seeking medical assistance – she voiced some overt self love, firmly noting to listeners that “I am joyous, and I am a good kid.”
And she knows her journey is far from over, succinctly stating: “I am not dead yet.”