YEAH NO, I’M NOT OK
Episode 3 Transcript: Dascha Polanco on her Bodyodyody
Dascha Polanco on her Bodyodyody
Fri, 3/19 10:46AM • 34:09
diane, felt, body, people, laughter, body positivity, moment, girl, life, mental health, fat, love, big, problem, speak, god, image, understand, happy, support
Diane Guerrero, Dascha Polanco
Diane Guerrero 00:00
Just a head's up that we are not clinical experts and, if you need professional support, there will be some links and resources listed in the podcast description. I can't remember a time when I wasn't deconstructing my own body and having opinions about other people's bodies too. And it always felt normal. I did it. My mom did it. My friends did it. It was on TV and movies, it was everywhere. Body image is something so many of us struggle with. How do we break that cycle? How do we find peace and liberation in our bodies instead of pursuing some bull**it ideal? I'm Diane Guerrero and, yeah, no, I'm still not okay. This week, my sister, Dascha Polanco, shares with us how she's learned to love and accept every part of herself. I met Dascha on the set of Orange Is the New Black. She was playing Dayanara. I was playing Maritza. And we were part of the Latinx gang gang gang gang gang!
Dascha Polanco 01:33
You were just chilling there. Just sitting down, and it was right by hair and makeup. I think my room, at that time, was by the staircase. And so, I looked over and I was like, "Hey, are you good?" And there was a lot going on on set that day, and the intensity was really high. So, I remember that I approached you. And after that, we just had a really intimate conversation about what was going on and so forth. And I'm like, you don't remember that, yo?
Diane Guerrero 02:05
I remember feeling really lonely and unsure of myself. I wanted to be anybody but myself, because I felt like I was all wrong. I was small. I didn't feel like I had a lot of power. I felt shrimpy. You know, back in middle school, people used to call me shrimp. [laughs] So, anyway, I was feeling like a shrimp that day. This was my first show. I was nervous and, instead of thinking of the work, I started thinking about how small I felt and was. I didn't know how to be in a room full of women that looked and felt so confident. But then again, you don't know how people are feeling. Anyway, Dascha approached me. And I remember this amazing glow that Dascha gave off from the moment I met her. She radiates confidence and positivity. She's fun and caring and she knows how to have a good ****ing time. I call our adventures together unicorn moments.
Dascha Polanco 03:17
Do you remember we went to St. Nick and we was trying on the $5 glasses? [laughter]
Diane Guerrero 03:22
St. Nick... a donde?
Dascha Polanco 03:23
St. Nick in Washington Heights. You don't remember that?
Diane Guerrero 03:27
Oh, yeah, I remember that. Yeah, I remember we were trying on the glasses on the street. And like people would stop us and like... they were like, "Oh, my god, you guys are from Orange Is The New Black," and we would just like, look at each other. And we're like, holy **it. Like, people are like recognizing us. While we had like...
Dascha Polanco 03:43
That's a beautiful thing that we have unicorn moments. We have sunglasses on. Staircases. I mean...
Diane Guerrero 03:51
It's always like that.
Dascha Polanco 03:53
Our friendship begun as, uhm, my little pony. [laughter]
Diane Guerrero 03:57
Dascha Polanco 04:00
I don't know. It was magical. What can I tell ya?
Diane Guerrero 04:03
And as her career has taken off, Dascha started speaking about a part of her life that's taught her a lot over the years, her body image.
Dascha Polanco 04:12
I, at a very young age, had, you know... I was more of a thicker girl. Everybody around me was slim. So it was like, well, why I am the bigger girl. You know? And it was like... it was more of a fat thing and a skinny thing. And so you go... forget about the... the having lighter hair and having lighter eyes. But as far as body... the fat thing and the skinny thing. Girl, you're fat. I remember I had a best friend in the third grade and I used the bathroom in front of her. Because, you know, that's what girls do. Right? And I'm like using the bathroom. She came over my house. And as I'm sitting she's like, you have a big, like, stomach. You're fat! And she was in ballet and she was really, really skinny. And I think that that was the time... that was one of the times that, uhm, or moments that I remember as me taking that extra look in the mirror and actually paying attention to something that I never paid attention to. Let alone I'm sitting on the toilet. And when we sit our stomachs always, you know... but we're not... we don't have the capacity to understand, right, the... the... the logistics of body movement and how that affects posture and how that affects how your body looks. Right?
Diane Guerrero 05:22
Right. Like, we're not looking at ourselves like that unless someone is convincing...[Dascha: pointing it out] pointing it out at you. Yeah.
Dascha Polanco 05:29
You know, you pay attention to what's highlighted. And then you know, and your family also. Like, don't eat a lot because you're gonna get big. You know? Don't, don't do this. Muchacha te come mucho, or things like that. And, and I always felt like, wow, I have to really pay attention. Like, the only way I'm going to get to where I have to get is because... if I look a certain way. You know? And then you start going into different stages in your life. You know, you go from your childhood, and then you go into the, when you become a teen, and then you become an adult, and then you start getting all these... these opinions and these standards from who you have around you. Whether it's your friend, whether it's who you're dating. And I think it comes down to how much... how much or how important for you, is to love yourself first and how can we start there. How... at what point do we, like, really start having the conversation about loving yourself and making yourself first is not selfish or conceited?
Diane Guerrero 06:33
Growing up, I didn't know the difference between loving yourself and being conceited. Like for me, it always felt like you were supposed to hate on your own body so other people wouldn't think that you would, like... were too into yourself. Because then you'd be subject to people pointing out your flaws and then comparing you to a model or a video girl. Oh, you don't got this. You don't got that. Like, saying I love myself, I love the way I look, that was not a thing. And if you did, you'd probably get some mayonaise thrown at you. But, I think even more damaging, was that I never heard my mom say that she loved herself. How... How did the women in your life talk about their bodies?
Dascha Polanco 07:15
When I... my mother, when I was growing up with her, I had a really intimate conversation, uhm, and it was a lot of, like, an open book. But also, like, I was her journal. So she did a lot of in confidence and confessing a lot of things that she might necessarily didn't have with anyone else. So, that creates a lot of anxiety and a lot of like, well, what am I supposed to do, you know, because she... she didn't like her jaw and she was slim. She had a beautiful body. She was like, really slim with booty, very shapely breasts. She was this petite woman. So, on the contrary to me, I was, you know, a larger frame. So, as I got older and the conversation got more intense as far as like body wise, and like... she wasn't more so focused on the physical--she always took care of herself--she was more so putting up her shields. And like, she would like to look cute, you know, she will do her hair, she would do her makeup. No, no, no, no, no! A no te quieres cuidar? I say, yes. And I think that that was a lot of, uhm, practice of protection versus like, I really love myself. Because you put up with a lot of other behavior that necessarily didn't represent loving yourself. You know, a lot of like, just abusive behavior. So for me, body positivity has a lot to do with mental health and how much are you willing to really discover the layers and take care of what the source is. And then everything that's superficial. Whether it's like, you're not happy with... with how your lip... the size of your lips, whether you're not happy with like the fact that you're... gained weight that, you know, you have... you gained 20 pounds or whether you just can't gain weight, you know what I mean? Or you don't feel comfortable. Like, you have a smaller *ss. You know, you want to get a bigger butt, you know. Whatever that is. And there... we're living in a society now where when you look at the source and you... and you do that, you take that moment to really go back and really evaluate your childhood or where it's coming from. It's very important for you to be able to embrace and move forward. What's now body positivity.
Diane Guerrero 09:37
What is body positivity?
Dascha Polanco 09:40
Well, for me, body positivity, uhm, it's acceptance, it's inclusion, it's celebration. It's uplifting, regardless of gender. Regardless of cultural differences. I don't believe in beauty standards. I don't believe in having to belong to a certain, not cult, but group of people that...
Diane Guerrero 10:04
That look a certain way.
Dascha Polanco 10:06
Yeah, like, I think for me the definition of body positivity is the freedom of having a personal preference. Uhm, as long as you're not hurting yourself, and as long as you're doing it from a place where it's what you desire for the purpose of your competence and for the purpose of your growth, I'm all that. Now, when you're doing things to change your body physically, and you're hurting your body, then it's not something that I think is... I think it's something that we should speak about, and I think it's something that you should seek help for.
Diane Guerrero 10:40
Right. Right, because it goes hand-in-hand. Because whatever you're fixing, like you said, when you don't get to the source of what's really, really bothering you, why are you not feeling enough or why are you feeling like whatever you have isn't enough.
Dascha Polanco 10:58
And that's the thing. When you say that this is... I hear that so much like when you're not enough, but enough for what, right? And like, enough for who, because there's so much pressure on body and what you're supposed to look, but for who and for what purpose, right? And that's something that you have to ask yourself, 'cause we... it goes down a rabbit hole. We start here... let's say we get our... we get our tips done, we get our breasts done, we enlarge them, we get breast reconstruction, and then something happens, we're not happy there. So we have to adjust there. You know, now, if you don't have a big *ss, you don't have big titties and you know, then it's not... you're not the thing.
Diane Guerrero 11:42
And we're in denial about how these booty standards affect us.
Dascha Polanco 11:46
But also, this... look, Dee, this is something that I always say, right? I'm all for it also. I always try to check myself if I find that I'm judging someone and I'm not as open as I would like to be. And I continue to be and I think that for the most part, I'm free space, I'm all about free range. And this is you, this is your life, do what you... makes you happy. And if that's what makes you happy, I'm all for it. Because if I want to do something, and that's what makes me happy, and tomorrow, Dascha wants to like... you know what, I want to get my boobs done. Then I'm gonna go get my boobs done because I want to do it. The problem where I... where pos... body positivity comes in is what is the reason you're doing it for? Why are you doing it? And, uhm, if then you use that as a way of feeling as if you are the righteous, or you are superior to those that don't. Right? 'Cause there's like these little cliques that I've noticed, in my personal life, in general, and I'm not... I'm just speaking in general, we come across where you see cliques of women that prefer plastic surgery, cliques of women that are bigger in size--plus size women, you know, and so on, and the labels continue. And it becomes a thing of like, the competition, but also, "Oh, you need to go tighten that up, you need to pull this or you need to... Girl", that's said, and you like, Girl, No! You know, and it becomes a thing of that instead of a thing of like, yes, yes, yes, yes, yaaasss. Okay, we have that! We have variety, right? You want a trail mix. You don't want a honey nut, roasted cashew. You want trail mixes! You know what I mean?
Diane Guerrero 13:28
Yes, we should ****ing celebrate all of our bodies. And you know what? I'm going to take a stand right now and celebrate my small butt, formerly nicknamed no butt, and tragic, asinine comments from everybody. I now dub myself, sweet baby muffin butt. We'll be right baby's got back with Dascha after the break. When did you realize the need to prioritize your mental health?
Dascha Polanco 14:13
Well, I had my kid as a teen, my daughter Dasany. And that was, you know, I didn't get enough time--17. I didn't get enough time to allow my body, or to get used to my body, or to... for it to do its thing. And when I say thing, I mean for me to like, embrace it. It's like, you know, I was in high school one minute, and I was playing sports. And I was already feeling like I'm fat. Because I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat and that pressure of like even taking like, supplements to like, get skinny. Right? Taking, you know, all these programs. We have all these programs that, you know, especially in our communities, they're like, "oh, my god, if you take this... girl, just do this and you're hungry, you know what I mean? You're taking a pill that's making... you're like sweating under your arms, you're like, wow, I really just want to have school lunch, I really want to drink that and I'm not doing anything. And you don't realize that you don't really understand your body. And what's it going through. You're going through so many hormonal changes. Hormonal changes are so important for us to understand at different stages of our lives, so that we can understand the choices that we make, and why things are happening. So, enjoying sex but yet having this issue with my body, I kind of made choices that were contradictive to what I was doing, right? Because I didn't have a problem dating, honey! I didn't have a problem getting a little boyfriend. [Diane: right.] But I had a problem. Like, I remember that, like when I first... my first couple... you know, my... you start dating and you have your first relationship, you turn off the light because you don't want them to see you. You give an explanation as to why your body is like that. Isn't that crazy? [Diane: Yeah.] I remember thinking about this. Oh, my God! I remember, like with my first, it was about that. I want to keep the lights off, because you know, I have my... I have a little stomach and... but I really... like, when I look back, I'm like, Girl, you have... you didn't have nothing! You were like... you were perfectly fine. [Diane: Yeah.] And then it gets to a point where I go from that, to not really embracing my body and having all these restrictions. Whether it's like at the moment of like, having sex, to then becoming pregnant, and then your body changes, right? Your boobs start growing, you know, you start noticing things. Whether it's the change of pregnancy, stretch marks and the gaining of the weight, and then as soon as you give birth, you gotta lose that weight. You can't... don't let that pregnancy get you, girl, because once you're pregnant that's it! [Diane: Right.] Despues que tu vida... De poco tu para te vas a danar el cuerpo.
Diane Guerrero 17:07
Oh, my god, that whole idea of, like, you ruin... you ruin your body when you have children, it's like, what the... you want us to have children, but then it ruins our bodies. So then we need to... We have... we're under so much pressure. And then on top of that, we don't talk about how these distorted views of our own bodies will affect us, that are affecting us now, and will affect us down the line. So we should be doing that work. That mental health work. That... that spiritual and soul work that we need to do in order to like, live happy lives. Otherwise, we're just going to be like chasing this idea that we had when we were like kids about how we're supposed to look.
Dascha Polanco 17:52
Absolutely. I mean, I don't know what... how was it for you in school, but for me, it was like all the girls that have... that had the big tits, those were the fly girls. You know, during school I was made fun of because I had a big *ss. So, one of my closest friends, Nakia, they used to call her, uhm, her *ass is and apple and Dascha's *ss is a watermelon. And [Diane: Oh, my God!] just like, that **cks with you after a while. And your lips like, oh, lizard lips, bubble lips. And, you know, and then you start looking at the girls that, you know, they develop quicker than you do, and they are shaped differently. And then health classes about... just, like anatomy, were not really... it's not really health education. Right? Right. Right, because there's no focus on mental health. How are we gonna talk about health education, if we're not talking about mental health as well? Especially, at a time where we're really going through hormonal changes again, and we're having so many hormonal imbalances. And then we're... we have so many questions, and some of us can't have those conversation with... at home. Some of us don't have the access to have these conversations. And some of us don't know how to put this into words. We don't know how to express that. Because [Diane: We need language.] Exactly. So, those are all things that took roles in my life as to affecting how I felt and how I would go home and like, one, take a scissor and like say, Oh, I just hate being so fat, and I would do all these things to myself. Then now, I'm like, wow, if I would have just spoken to somebody that would have told me, this is normal. It's okay. It would have saved me so much time and the decisions, and I would have enjoyed things differently also, like allowing myself to understand that when I put myself first and I come across a relationship, that I have a right or a choice to say no, you're going to turn on the light and this is who I am. And you know, it is what it is. Right? [Diane: Yeah.] And not necessarily that also, but it takes time. I feel like everything takes time and every... to find true harmony and to be balanced, you have to really break things apart, prioritize, single out, face... you have to face, you have to take off the armor, you have to be vulnerable. All these things are good. All these things have to happen. We need to shed, we need to fall, we need that.
Diane Guerrero 20:18
I love what you said about understanding your body. That's so important. I know in the beginning of your career you said that you didn't feel seen or fully accepted in Hollywood. And I wonder how much mental space does that sense of belonging and take up for you?
Dascha Polanco 20:39
I've always had this sense of understanding why I haven't belonged, right? So, you are an immigrant, you come to this country, and you don't belong. Right? You just continue to not belong. And so deciding to do something you love or something that is not actually foreseen in our communities as abundantly as it should. The images that were fed into my subconscious were of those of like, Telenovelas, you know, and the Sabado Gigante, and the models, and the stuff. And so being able to be part of the industry now. I'm still, I still am learning how to take it all in because I definitely think that we're moving into a more positive direction, and we're moving into more inclusive direction. And yes, we are, but I definitely think that it's very, it's... it's very small, and there's a lot of more work to be done. And I always say, it keeps on moving forward. We're going to come across people that will shift it and move it even further than we think. And I think Orange did its job at at the time that it had to do its job, and it transcended down to the individual contribution that we all took part in and doing what we can. And again, having the ability to express these things in a safe place, I think is important. So like, now in our industry, when we look at, I just want to be included as to I am essential. I am one of a kind. There's only one me. And it's worth having me. You look at things differently. You're like, there's not another me, right? There's... yeah, we can fit this similar group or whatever, you know, wherever you want to group me in, but there's only one me. So it goes to show that body positivity starts with the inner self. So, you can have somebody like me, that looks exactly like me, but that doesn't speak or doesn't carry themselves or has just totally different energy. Right? And will that be as accepting as somebody that brings forth a different light or a different sense of soul in the industry? Now, I'm seeing them more often, qnd I'm seeing that. Look, we have to be honest. Time passes. You're hot one moment, you're not hot the other. [laughter] That's the truth. You can be poppin right now, [Diane: Right.] and tomorrow, you not, and you're in the hands of a lot of people. And so you have to make sure that for yourself and for your sanity, that you understand that what's for you is for you. How you look is of importance. It's valuable. And your differences should not be discarded.
Diane Guerrero 23:59
And I've had to learn that. I didn't realize that my relationship with my body image had become unhealthy. It was like taking over my thoughts.
Dascha Polanco 24:12
And fearing right, I think it's fearing right? Like, we fear certain things that we don't want to say that we fear it. Right, like oh, I fear [Diane: aging] right, aging like a mother****er. You know what I mean? Like, honestly, like, because that... my mom looked mad young, and it's... I love, I love youth and I like... I enjoy taking care of myself, Yo. Like, y'all don't want to take care yourself, that's good. Like, that's you, but I enjoy taking care of myself. I like taking the time that I wasn't able to because I had dedicated myself so much for other things in my life and putting myself behind, and behind, and behind that I didn't pursue even it caused and hinders even me pursuing this at an earlier stage in my life. And I know we hear it all... but the timing is now. No, no, no, no, no, no. I get it. That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is that I didn't see myself. I didn't believe in what I felt and the love for artistry, to be an artist, to, to sing, to dance. Like, I didn't see myself because I thought that I was ugly. I thought that I was fat. I thought that was, oh, I don't look like everybody out there. And that's a problem. 'Cause you don't want to be like, everybody else.
Diane Guerrero 25:24
No, you don't.
Dascha Polanco 25:25
Do you really?
Diane Guerrero 25:26
Dascha Polanco 25:26
Like, do you really? Like, no. There's certain things that we say, "Oh, I want what she got like that Chanel bag. [laughter] But, I'll get there. Uhm, so always that, and like, I was always taught to like, don't let nobody put you down, right? But it's okay for you to put yourself down. That doesn't make sense. [Diane: That doesn't make sense.] So, uhm, so people like, "Oh, I wouldn't think that you have that issue because, you know, when you go to these events, or when you go to this carpet and all this stuff," and I'm like, because I'm not gonna look crazy. You know? When I walk into a place, I'm like, you cut the **it, you go out there, and you do what you have to do. [Diane: You're shining, baby] You know, and then when you go home, you're like, Oh, my God, look at this picture. [laughter] What the hell? And I'm like, whatever, whatever. And then you get the cri... you know, you get criticized so much and, and I think that I spoke to my friend yesterday. Simba. And he was like, yo, the moment that you start making hard decisions, your life becomes easier. It's those easy decisions that make your heart... that make your life harder. And I was like, Oh, my God. I love when people just drop a gem [Diane: Right] that I need to hear and be reminded. [Diane: Right.] You need to be reminded how beautiful you are, and that you're beautiful because of who you are, because you're just my Polly Pocket. And it's not because you're small. It's just that you've, you opened that little case, and it's like so much fun with this little... she has so much going on. [laughter]
Diane Guerrero 27:09
So tell me, like now that we're on this, you know, creative tip because I see you ****ing blooming. And I love... I love to see it.
Dascha Polanco 27:17
Yeah, so I have been doing more songwriting, and creating music, and finding other ways to express my fears. And songwriting is a beautiful thing. Poetry is a beautiful thing. And I started journaling more. And eventually my... one of my goals is to open up about body image and write a book about that. Uhm, and so I've been writing more about my experience, but actually writing about the experience of what am I doing to change emotionally, mentally and physically, to find the true moment of where I am free of this weight, that I'm in the present moment. And I'm like, you know, 'cause right now, I'm transitioning from... I, you know, I love to workout. I'm a workout girl, and I'm transitioning from that point of working out to lose weight and just working out every day, but also accepting that, oh, this is my size now. Because mentally I see myself still fat. But physically, I'm not. I'm healthy. I, I look good. My clothes fit good. What am I worried about? So you have to break from that. You have to like say, Oh, this is okay. Today I could I could be a medium, tomorrow I could be large, and it's okay. It's fine. I love... Let me tell you something that I really... I enjoy being sexy. I enjoy the feeling of being sexy. And there are certain things that make me feel that whether it's like me right out of the shower, no makeup on and smelling fantastic. Or whether it's me like working out sweating, and I see myself in the mirror and I'm like, wow. Why? Because I'm doing things that are for me. When I'm going to the spa, and I'm like, ooh, I want to get this. I want to try... yes, I want to try... next time I... next time I come I want to get a microdermabrasion, I want to get some radio frequency. And like, do anything because I want my skin. [Diane: Yes.] to look this [smacks lips] 'cause it's for me.
Diane Guerrero 29:31
It's for you.
Dascha Polanco 29:32
For women out there that don't understand that the moment that you start, like, no, no, no, no! I'm doing this for me, boo. I know is winter, but I'm still gonna get a pedicure. Yeah. 'Cause I like seeing my toes done. Thank you. And you start doing that, there's something about that, that you're like wow, I'm actually enjoying the time that I spent in the skin that I have been blessed with.
Diane Guerrero 29:58
Like, what are... what are some of like the... the practices that, that you engage in to connect and to honor your body.
Dascha Polanco 30:08
Well, I'm all about... I'm all about if you have the means to go get a facial, if you have the means to go get a massage, you know. If not, you know there's practices you could do at home--coconut oil. Like, I take oils and I massage them into my scalp. Uhm, if I can't do that sometimes it's not doing nothing. It's not doing nothing, eating a bag of chips and ice cream.
Diane Guerrero 30:39
Dascha Polanco 30:41
Like this in your bed, like on your couch [Diane: Doing what you wanna do.] What... what I... like for me, my freedom and doing what I want to do is most sacred and what better than you to be able to like when you have your period let's say and you just don't feel like doing nothing but just like having warm compresses and, and being cozy in your bed. And just whether you want to scroll on your phone or whether you want to watch an old movie--Legally Blonde. I don't know, Coming to America, Rocky, whatever it is that... you wanna watch Casablanca. Whatever it is, that right there is such a privilege. I'm into all that. I'm into like, oh, my God, this oil is good for this? I do it. Oh, my God, eh, eh, let's go to this retreat, like a spiritual retreat, let's do that. We go, we go to a spiritual retreat. We're going to do it. It's going to be all whatever. I love a cabin and experience for myself [Diane: trying things] and the more and more I have these experiences, and the more and more I am... I have the access to it and I'm blessed enough to do what I love, first and foremost, and to connect with people, but to experience life in different ways. Yo, that allows me to walk out of wherever I'm at, walk on set, be a parent, be a girlfriend, date this one. It's just... I stand in my power.
Diane Guerrero 32:09
I love that. I love to see that. I love seeing you stand in your power 'cause it helps me stand in mine.
Dascha Polanco 32:16
And we can stand in the same power and not take from each other's power. I love you.
Diane Guerrero 32:23
Dascha Polanco 32:24
Y'all support, Dee. Alright? Y'all support, Dee. Y'all support, Dee. Let's do dis. [laughter]
Diane Guerrero 32:30
Thank you, Mama. That was great!
Dascha Polanco 32:32
Oh, my God! Yes, it was.
Diane Guerrero 32:43
Yeah, No, I'm Not Okay is a production of Laist Studios. Remember to rate and review our show. I just found out that it helps other people find it. So if you like it, share it with your friends. The more people we can get to have conversations about mental health the better. If you've got a story you want to share about how you deal with mental health issues, send it my way. Record it on your phone's voice memo app and email it to email@example.com, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest episodes with a note from me, recommendations from our listeners and our team, and listeners' stories. Sign up at laist.com/newsletters. Jessica Pilot is our talent manager and producer. Our executive producers are Leo G. and me, Diane Guerrero. Web design by Andy Cheatwood at the digital and marketing teams at Southern California Public Radio. Thanks to the team at Laist Studios, including Taylor Coffman, Kristen Hayford, Kristen Muller, Michael Consentino, Robert Jo, Mildred Langford, and Leo G. And a special thanks to Brian Crawford. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a private corporation funded by the American people. Additional support comes from the Angel Foundation, supporting transformational leaders, and by the California Health Care Foundation, dedicated to improving the mental health care system for all Californians.