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Friday, March 04, 2016

'How The Muppets Saved My Life' by Kylie Zacharias

Hello guys my name is Kylie Zacharias many of you may know me as that crazy electric mayhem fan on Twitter, Instagram etc. I'm 19 and have been a fan of Jim's work especially the muppets ever since I could recall my mom would put on the 'Do the Alphabet' Sesame Street Tape just get me to shut up and wind down for a nap or bed. I can remember since I was about five years old taking such a liking to Janice and being to drawn to her thinking 'Wow she's pretty for a puppet' or 'she's so cool'. Her free spirit and spunky valley girl personality sucked me in and I started seeing her as like another mom to me along with Floyd (as a father of course).

I am diagnosed with some major anxiety disorder and PDD (Pervasive Development Disorder) or ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) meaning I have and share certain characteristics and symptoms of people with Autism that are struggle especially in the adult world which I'm still pretty new to it and the muppets have really gotten me through that and lots more.

When I was in grade four I really struggled in school being I didn't really have any close friends and was trying so hard to fit in I was lonely at the time episodes of the Muppet Show were re airing on TV along with Happy Days and I would watch it after school and it took away my feelings of feeling like a nobody and a oddball I would be renting my fav episodes from the library and watching them over and over whenever I felt down also did some research for fun on the computer and books about Jim Henson and his band of puppeteers and how the puppets worked. Around I think it was maybe spring where I started hanging around some girls after school and was happy that they wanted me to come play at the park after schools and their place. I thought for the first time that I did have friends and was fitting in. They often teased me and played little jokes on me which I thought was funny at first being it was what friends did but it escalated very quickly to brutal bullying. They would play victim and accuse me of being a jerk when I did nothing and would yell at me,threw rocks at me purposely pretending they weren't aiming at me. They pulled a prank that a man with a gun was chasing us another saying that a group of guys were waiting to beat me up if I walked to a friends place at all whom had a broken collar bone and I wanted to come with them to cheer her up. I tried many times to tell the teacher about the bullying that was happening but nothing was done being that 'it was not during school hours and to just ignore them' I couldn't. One day I remember so clearly we were playing in a forest by the playground and one of the girls the leader of the pack,I'll call her Katie in the article I won't use her real name. So Katie suggested that we play a game where I be the like the native slave like from the movie Spirit Stallion of The Cimmerian and they be the white peoples who picked on him. They saw it as an excuse to pick on me and force me to things I didn't like doing and would use the excuse as 'it's just a game it's not real' and would refuse to let me try and go home cuz I didn't want to do this later on I was stuck in a spot in the forest alone and went looking for them and found them at the playground playing in the sandbox. I went over to see what they were doing next thing I knew I was shoved in and they started burying me in the sand saying they wanted to kill me and that I was gonna die and they lied saying that they put a chemical in the sand that would kill me and started trying to bury me alive and it scared me so bad I started struggling and crying which made them stop and go all 'oh it's a joke!' I went home that day so depressed my parents wondering what was wrong and I told them nothing was. I struggled to fall asleep being I was still scared of facing those girls again and was crying my eyes off so I decided to tell my mother what happened so far with them the truth starting from the beginning and my mom said that she was going to talk to my teacher the next day being it was ridiculous how poorly handled it was getting dealt with. I begged her not to being scared she would tell those girls and that they would kill me. So the next day at school I just spent alone not wanting to engage with anyone and went home while my mom went to the school to talk with my teacher to draw and put on the muppets and cry. I went into the bathroom just very upset and feeling very hated by my peers I had grabbed my moms razor wanting and planning to run them across my thighs or legs as I held it in my hand for some confidential reason the quote from the Muppet Movie 'Life's Like a Movie Write Your Own Ending' began ringing in my head and I thought to myself 'what am I doing?' And set the razor back on on the bathtub ledge realizing that there's more to life then trying to fit in with other people and conform all that mattered was living to be yourself and happy in your own skin and that its up to you whether or not you can make your life more miserable then it is or better then it should be by seeing all the good aspects instead of the negative.i sat praying to god that one day I could help someone that was and it is in a current situation like I was to tell them it'll be okay. Eventually it did get better the bullying died down and got less and less and found who my real friends were.

Fast forward to my senior summer in high school going into grade twelve by then I had moved on from the muppets being so busy on trying to figure out what I was doing and keeping up with my relationships with my friends and family. My best friend was planning on moving a province away for college she's a year older then me. And it made me sad to think about her leaving and didn't want her to go and was praying she wouldn't leave and that she'd change her mind being we are so inseparable and I remember the last night before she had to leave the next day we hung out at my place crying and hugging knowing I wasn't gonna see her often for a long time. I lay in bed that night crying my eyes out I hadn't felt so depressed since forth grade. Later that summer I was still pretty bummed and was on the internet relooking up old shows I used to watch as a child for that nostalgic feeling and thought 'hey! I haven't watched the muppets in like forever' and YouTubed them and clicked on the John Denver special that had appeared and saw how cute Janice and Floyd were cuddling in the tent while John played Rocky Mountain High and got the feels and felt myself start to smile in a long time I hadn't been this happy since before my best friend moved. I began to realize my way of coping when I struggled and what kept me moving forward and truly happy,The Muppets! It was then I decided on watching and re watching more and more and looking in Google for pictures of Janice and Floyd and started smiling even more I came across the Muppet Central forum directly just for muppet fans and found a thread of people talking about Janice and Floyds relationship and it was so awesome to see people feeling the same as me about these guys. I had originally joined just to write my input on there but instead ending up meeting some friends who are just like me on Muppet Central and met people like my friend Leah whom was a huge electric mayhem fan like me also struggling with anxiety and less then a year ago met Miss Mandi on Instagram being she ran this epic Instagram fan page talking about how the muppets saved her life to me and that quote 'Life's like a movie write your own ending' is what keeps her going like it does for me and I thought this was no coindence that I just happened to stumble across her. She was the answer to my prayer I prayed back when I was nine. We met our other friend Kayla on Twitter and me Mandi Leah and Kayla are the best of friends. Fangirling together over the muppets and bringing eachother up when one of us is down.

My dream is to one day meet them in person and to meet my heroes Janice (David Rudman) and Floyd (Matt Vogel) I want to let them know how much they have done for me throughout my life and keeping me on my feet and for them to know how much I adore them. It may seem like stupid dream for a 19 year old Canadian girl to have but honestly it's not. I am not afraid to be public about my obsession with them being that they done so much for me and don't even Know it. I don't know they know that just by puppeteering and making shows they're not only making people smile but saving lives too. 

Thank so much Brian for letting me share with you guys and I hope I've inspired some.

Kylie Zacharias
Twitter @JaniceisMyMommy 
Instagram @ifarielwasadisneyvillian

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