You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. (G.K. Chesterton)
Today is a difficult day for me. It marks the end of Strike Back, after four seasons and years of hard work, strong friendships, and most importantly the good fight. I love all of the shows I’ve worked on, and many of them have meant something to me personally as well, but Strike Back for me has been the ultimate journey.
This show took me from broken on the floor to breaking anything that has gotten in my way. It unlocked the opportunity for me to at least feel like, if not physically get to be, the action hero I’ve wanted to be since I could walk. And I stepped up alongside some of the best people I have ever and will ever know.
Without Strike Back, there’s no Criss Angel BeLIEve. There’s no Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and no Verizon IndyCar Series or NASCAR. There’s no going to Cancun with Cirque du Soleil and there’s obviously no Blindspot or The Player. Those things became possible not just because I improved physically, but because I found the courage to be fearless and pursue my own adventure through the years I’ve just spent as an honorary member of Section 20.
I wrote about this for Entertainment Weekly Community, but Strike Back opened my eyes to not only the amazing work that everyone involved in the show was doing, but everything that I could do. I had always assumed that I could never be an action hero because of my disability. But all of a sudden, I was working with people who were being action heroes – and actually doing it. And those people had faith in me. Even though I didn’t trust myself, they believed in me, and it was that belief that made me decide I had to fight.
I never did achieve my not-so-closet dream of being killed off the show, but I did work with the top illusionist in the world, share a car with an Indianapolis 500 winner, collaborate with two Verizon IndyCar Series champions, and end up with at least one job. I pushed myself physically and was rewarded with a whole new world that opened up to me, even if I’m not the one who’s throwing grenades around (someday).
More than that, I worked with people that I would be more than glad to actually fight alongside. I will never be able to say enough good things about my Strike Back cast and crew, who have not only taught me a tremendous amount over the years but become some of my best friends and true heroes. These are people whom it has been an honor to share space with, to enjoy discussions with, and just to be in their presence. I’m not kidding when I say they’re some of the best people I’ve ever met. I’m very lucky to have them in my life.
And I’m very lucky that as we close this chapter, our story gets to continue thanks to Blindspot and The Player. I get to keep working with Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester, just on different projects and on new adventures, and I’m loving those already for different reasons. I just spent five minutes today squealing over an ad for The Player on a bus and on Sunday I’ll be doing more press for Blindspot. I’m glad we’re still working together, because I’m not willing to think about not having these guys in my life.
I owe them for so much. I owe them for making me laugh, and all the fantastic hugs, and the courage to put on my first Halloween costume since I got out of the hospital, and the encouragement that made me become a national IndyCar reporter and be willing to not just take challenges, but actively seek them out and rise to them. I owe them for always being in my corner, and letting me be in theirs. When we met, I was barely out of the hospital and trying to get my shit together. Look at me now, and I know that’s because of Strike Back and having these great people as a part of my life.
I’ll have to hang up the Michelle Stonebridge alias, and now I’m hoping that someday I’ll wander through The Player instead of getting fake shot in Budapest. But I’ll probably shed a couple of tears tonight, and I’ll always look at the last four seasons as not just a high point of my career, but also one in my life. I might never be an action hero technically, but I can count two of them as friends and know that they made me feel like one.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cinemax