The neurochemistry of a broken heart

It’s a strange thing, love. And such a cliché thing to say too. But, just think about it, switch on your conscious perception. It is the theme of every second song on the radio, so many poems, books, inspiration for sculpture, paintings. You name it. Human creation and consciousness orbit around it. No one banters about it, when it ends (unless you were born as a steel armour and your heart is a cold stone). It is either brought about in the context of some eye-opening, life-changing milestone, or as a painful, profound incidence, always associated with taking time, getting over, or moving on. Someone overly dramatic named it a “heartbreak” after all.

Why is that? What in our consciousness decides on a heartbreak being such an impactful, almost controlling force? I guess everyone has that experience of feeling – all fancy words aside – shitty and dull after a break-up. Why? What happens in your brain that makes you experience physical pain after this happens?

How many times have you heard that love is a drug? Many, right? Again, cliché. One of my favourite artists, Lana del Rey, who is mostly known for lyrics featuring cocaine, older rich men and multitude of promiscuous sexual encounters, in her “Gods and Monsters” probably unconsciously (scouse me for judging) combines heartbreak and drugs, singing:

“You’ve got that medicine I need; Dope, shoot it up straight to the heart please”.

That love and drugs have a lot in common in terms of their action on human central and peripheral nervous system is, strikingly, a scientifically valid statement. Intrigued?

So it is all about feeling happy. Isn’t it? It’s about finding certain behaviours that make us feel good and replicating them. That’s why we keep dating someone we like. Dating as a concept might seem a twenty-first century invention, however, it has an old, evolutionarily conserved history to it. As expansion of cognitive capacity of the brain progressed, a system that guided our humanoid ancestors towards survival-granting behaviours emerged. Blandly, as it may seem, all organisms, including humans, live to pass on their gene pool to their children, as proposed by George William in the 1960s and expanded brilliantly by Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene”. What this means, in a nutshell, is that the behaviours of Karen and Susan, multifaceted and complex white girls, spiritual, vegan, cruelty-free, creative deep-thinkers, are also controlled by an old (from the evolution’s point of view) machinery, encapsulated in their skulls called a reward system. Generally, the brain motivates towards behaviours that lead to Karen and Susan’s survival, such as eating (organic avocado on gluten-free paraben-free toast), drinking (organic spring water, but also mimosas, because that is, like, healthy and good for you), but also to spreading their own genetic pool to pass their precious selves onto cute pedigree. Very simple as a concept – once the hunger and thirst (both for fluids and for sexual encounters) of humans is satisfied, these behaviours (eating, drinking, etc.) are rewarded by an immediate surge of blissful happiness, that we feel in our heads. Brain is smart to work like this.

Feeling happy is encoded in an intricate biochemistry inside Karen’s brain. The way neurons communicate with each other, in order to cause the overall “feeling”, is through small molecules (elegantly called neurotransmitters, oh wow, like so smart). These are secreted (spewed out) from one neuron to another and function like sort of a text message with instructions, for example saying “umm don’t text him”, or “go to bed already”. This, generally, leads to activation, or deactivation of certain brain regions, that operate together to cause our body to make decisions (sometimes bad ones, too). The molecules primarily involved in transmission of happiness are called serotonin and dopamine, which I am sure many of you have heard of, or even seen at Coachella, tattooed on Karen’s forearm (likely with cardinal structural insults to organic chemistry). When feeling happy (or, more precisely immediately before that) both molecules flood a particular brain region called the caudate nucleus. So, to scientifically conclude, engaging in evolutionarily favoured actions, leads to activation of serotonin-dopamine-reward system and through switching on caudate nucleus in the brain underlies goal-oriented motivational behaviours.

Alright, but what does all this have to do with love? Very interestingly, first experiments on the brain in love – legitimate and decent approaches to describe what happens in our heads when we are all hearts – were conducted at the beginning of this century. A lot of these experiments used a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI), which relies on the fact that neuronal activity changes the blood flow in the brain. By measuring these changes, fMRI allows to map activated brain regions. In a simple experiment to address the impact of romantic love on the brain, the subjects who were head over heels for their significant others were asked to look at pictures of their better halves. fMRI imaging during such a viewing showed that romantic love indeed activates caudate nucleus and floods it with dopamine.

Now, why is that exciting? Romantic love is not the only thing that activates our caudate reward system. Nicotine and cocaine follow exactly the same neurobiochemical pathway. These substances activate caudate nucleus too and induce goal-oriented motivational state – it makes you feel good, you want more. As far as brain circuitry goes, when you’re in love, you’re addicted.

From a neuroscience point of view, the most interesting conclusions were drawn, when the researchers that showed the connection between romance and caudate nucleus investigated broken hearts. Cold-heartedly, they gathered up a cohort of people that were going through a break-up (and met certain criteria to assure that they were indeed going through hell – inappropriate emails, compulsive texting, depressive-like states, we all know). These people were then subjected to a rather unpleasant experience, in parallel undergoing fMRI. They were asked to look at pictures of their ex-partners, that they have just parted with. Surprisingly (or not), the caudate nucleus still responded, still with efforts to put the brain in a goal-oriented behaviour, similarly to romantic love or the drugs. The caudate nucleus was still in love. Moreover, other brain parts, that typically fire in individuals addicted to drugs and going through withdrawal were activated too, as the motivation could not be fulfilled. Additionally, there were other parts of the brain that were responded to this unpleasant stimulus (and tried to talk caudate out of it). One of the most interesting observation was the activation of the frontal orbital cortex, a brain region known for emotional learning and behaviour control. This is why, very often during break-up, you feel the urge to text your ex, to show up at their house, to beg on your knees, but something (I hope, and if not – get yourself some friends) tells you that you will regret it later. That’s, partially, your frontal cortex talking.

What became apparent in these experiments too, is that in case of some heartbroken subjects, looking at the photo of their ex, or talking about them, elicited anger, tears, distress and an emotional state that activated the same brain region that is associated with physical pain. This implies that social rejection and physical pain use the same wiring centres in the brain. Being “in pain” when heartbroken is to a neuroscience not different from stepping onto a Lego block with your bare foot.

In fact, when researching the topic, I was surprised how many studies were conducted to unravel the neurochemistry of falling in love or breaking up. Why you might ask? The answer lies, I believe, in something I mentioned already in the second paragraph. This experience of such a depressive-like state (or actually, without the -like) is shared among the majority of humans. Some deal with it better and faster than others, but in the long run, there is only this much you can do. Wait, reflect and give it time. We live in the rushed world of deadlines, everything screams at you not to waste any precious moments of your existence, that you live only once, and that water under the bridge. No wonder then, that business minds see that as a potentially enormous market for pharma industry. If there was a pill to help you regain the powers to be happy and live your life to the fullest, lots of people would take no time hesitating. If heartbreak engages identical brain centres as physical pain and if it uses the same biochemical mechanisms as depression, or drug withdrawal, there is a very high likelihood, that it is treatable. The clinical endeavours of pharmaceutical companies to treat depression and anxiety (I feel like these two words define our generation, as a lot of people develop anxiety after a mosquito bite) have yielded a multi-million profits after developing drugs that help people ameliorate the symptoms. Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, a minor short-acting tranquilizer used to treat global anxiety disorder has entered the world of social media, memes and our (well at least mine) daily jokes for good. In fact, clinical trials of psychoactive drugs initiated by pharma industry, often require facing a catastrophic failure at the final stage of implementing, which makes millions of dollars investment die on the spot. However, once tested successful, a new drug can grant a long and happy life of the company. Eli Lilly, a global pharma company, is mostly known for manufacturing fluoxetine – or Prozac, famous for its selectivity in inhibition of serotonin reuptake, ergo, antidepressant action.

The question remains in the ethics of such an endeavour. In her “The little book of heartbreak”, Meghan Laslocky inspires with some important questions. I guess here is where I leave it at. If there was a pill to “cure” you from your feelings, would you take it? If there was a shot, for you to love, or rather unlove, would you take it? Pushing it further – if there was a potion, that made someone love you, would you use it?


Sojowe latte i komórki macierzyste

Wczoraj dokonałem odkrycia wspaniałego, aż sam nie mogłem uwierzyć. Kiedy po raz pierwszy spojrzałem do mikroskopu, pomyślałem „meh, pewnie znowu pomieszałem plazmidowe DNA”. Powtórzyłem zatem i ku zdziwieniu mojemu, absolutnie to samo. Macierzyste komórki na powierzchni embrionalnego przedsionka mózgu indukują transkrypty postmitotycznych markerów neuronów zewnętrzych warstw kory. Te transkrypty siedzą sobie tam w tych komórkach, ale czekają na translację, aż do końca neurogenicznych mitoz! Więc żeby uczcić małe zwycięstwa, poszedłem dziś rano przed pracą na kawę i krułasą do café Sambobójcza Sue na Prenzlauer Berg. No i ja tu właśnie wdrażam oraz delektuję się sojowym latte oraz sukcesem niepomiernym, a tu nagle wchodzi kto? Heike Makatsch. Aktorka niemiecka, niemiecka Ewa Drzyzga, oraz – co pewnie ironicznie nawet bardziej ją definiuje przez Pudelki, czy tego pokroju prasę, była dziewczyna Daniela Craiga. No i tak sobie siedzieliśmy w jednej café, ona zamowiła pajdę chleba ze specjalnym awokadowym miszmaszem (wyłącznie u Sue!), darła się straszliwie na temat Hitlera oraz Donalda Trumpa do swojej koleżanki, a ja udawałem, że nie słucham, mieszając kawę bambusową, wegańską, plastyk-free, bezglutenową łyżeczką, chociaż cukier (biała śmierć, bo biały, nierafinowany), już dawno rozpuścił się i czyhał już na moje tętnice i żyły. I tak sobie pomyślałem, może trochę naiwinie, jak bardzo równolegle do siebie sobie żyjemy, jak bardzo blisko siebie, ale jak bardzo inne są światy każdego z osobna. Jak bardzo dalekie i nieosiągalne, no bo ja z Danielem Craigiem pewnie w życiu się nie spotkam, a Heike nie zajrzy do mikroskopu.

Why you so dramatic?

You guys know those days when you swan through the city to get to work like you just own it? I know, for me this also constitutes the exception. It is a bit like you find yourself thinking “did Susan put some MDMA in my drink, whynehell am I so motivated?”. Here I was today, cherishing my Motivation Wednesday. Struting through the hallway, totally feeling my fancy-all-black-I-am-so-Berlin-so-cool-so-fucking-cool look, feeling like an extra special scientist, giving off my usual “Come to mother dust, I will tell you how to solve all your problems”. Even singing “Rockabye”. So I enter my office and first thing I do is put the kettle on and prepare myself a big mug of coffee, then check emails and all this shindig.

To make coffee, we use this AeroPress machine. The one that has a little metal sieve on the bottom (here you put the ground coffee) and then you have to sort of press the boiling water through. So I am standing there, fidgeting like I do, and since the office door is closed, doing a little Mariah Carey turn (you guys know, the one when she just turns the chest and shoulders while having the hips still facing the opposite direction?). In that one second, my hand makes the wrong move.

Everything, I mean everything – the floor, the desk, the window, the fridge, the cupboard, the trash cans, my trousers on the spot gets covered in coffee (and milk, because I was cunning enough to pour it already in advance). Here I am, standing in the big puddle of double shot espresso, extra syrup, no foam (unavailable with AeroPress), Colombian grind, with liquid dripping from the window pane on my head, thinking which karma just came back at me. There goes my Motivation Wednesday.

I knew something was shady.

Not today, satan

I and my house music-obsessed Bulgarian bestie (accompanied by dragged into it other friends) used to come to Berlin every two weeks to indulge the best underground DJs, get wasted and prance to minimal beats until the afternoon, the next day obviously. We would stay at the shabbiest and coolest Berlin hostels at Kotti, with 16 other people (9€ per night); we had no clue, who they were, all I knew was that they had also come to Berlin to let their head down, break free, lass es krachen, as Germans would say. Once, the bed beside mine was of a dude that couldn’t find a place to live, so he would just stay at that Kotti hostel (I mean whatever works for you, babydoll). He smelled like rotten feet, but also couldn’t give less fuck about it and – apart from the killer stench  of his paws – I loved the concept. Forget of course about getting some weekend day sleep at that place, forget also about a night rest – the door would slam all the time, the others would fart and giggle or chatter all the time in fascinating Finnish nobody understood. We were young at heart and I really can’t say how on Earth we would do this. You know it, we had all the clubbing paraphernalia on point – no sleep, vodka redbull for breakfast, maybe even a short excursion to Pergamon to take in all the Egyptian hieroglyphs, seventeen beers, maybe a quick döner (ohne Zwiebel, keine scharfe Soße), maybe a several-times-interrupted nap in the hostel lounge to then wake up and frown at friends, who were already sloppily yet proudly making out with hot Israeli guys (go figure).

We wouldn’t care so much about anything, but just spontaneity and having the time of our lives, cruising Berlin on the U-Bahn, getting confused at Warschauer Strasse and consistently lost at Ostkreuz. We would wear something not necessarily flattering and ridiculous, like a satin flowery t-shirt with or even a sweater (pink yarn, golden threads, you werk that outfit). We would chat with open-minded bouncers at the door of about:blank, laugh our asses off with concierge-lesbians at wilde Renate. That was the whole point, to be who you wanna be, no fucks given like the feet-smelling hostel-living dude, enjoying our belloved minimal house, making friends with weird strangers, embracing Berlin night life at its best and everything else it had to offer (including drunk döner breakfasts).

Then, almost a year ago, I moved here and have been the happiest person ever since about it. Clubbig is just 4 S-Bahn stops away. I even have a real bed now and it is only me in the room. And yes, I am a queen and need silence to sleep, coffee in the morning and all this shindig (no farting gigglers, Hhhh-ell’ todano). 

However, I don’t know what it is. Is it me who got older and started to notice things that were not obvious back then? Or is it really different now? I feel like the atmosphere around clubbing in the city of freedom, free love and 3€ drugs became tense, stressful. Sort of uncool. Everyone tells you to be yourself, embrace it, to not conform. Yet, to enjoy the music and dance your guts out at some favorite berliner places, you now have to look a certain way at the door, in front of the bouncer, give off a certain attitude, sometimes pass the exam as to which DJ is scheduled at what time. It wasn’t like that before! Not at all! Alright, it wasn’t always easy to get passed the bouncer, but it was never that pretentious. I have a feeling it became just ridiculous in an unfunny way. You are expected to be yourself, yet you are also expected to look like you don’t really wanna get in. So even if are happy to go out, don’t smile. Don’t talk to your buddies. Just stand there, look blasé, look black, black bennie, black Dr. Martens, speak perfect German, show off your neck tattoo, be drunk but also be sober. In the end, there will be some zebra-leotard wearing bitch with pierced septum, looking down on you and – unless you get all her ticks on the checklist, heute leider nicht. Oh sure, embrace your power to fuck up my Saturday night, darling. 

This is not Berlin club scene I remember and love. Maybe this is just the nostalgy for passed puppy times, or maybe I just realized it now. Maybe there is a lot of tourists that kill the vibe. Maybe the night life is becoming exclusive. No idea. Anyway, no pretentious bouncer skank will ever take away my unprecedented love for weekend rave to minimal house, so bring it on, Miss Cunt. Karma will get you. I hope, it’ll get better, happier, easier, more honest and more about what it really is about – the music. Come thru New Year’s wishes! 


Pociągowy esej o szafie.

Główny dworzec w Berlinie o tej porze roku obwieszony jest pozłacanymi bombkami, łańcuchami; choinki majestatycznie rozpościerają się pod sam wysoki sufit. Wysiadam z tramwaju i ciągnę moją wypełnioną kawą i czekoladą walizkę i trochę mnie ona wkurwia, bo jest zbyt ciężka. Jadę na święta odwiedzić stare śmieci. Już nie cieszę się jak kiedyś, już serce nie bije mi szybciej, gdy patrzę na zapowiedziany pociąg do Warszawy. Cieszę się inaczej, bardziej prawdziwie i nie tak naiwnie jak lata temu. Wsiadam i ogarnia mnie jakiś spokój, bo te wymagania do siebie samego, te 100% efektywności, to udowadnianie sobie,  zostawiam w Berlinie, ale też trochę sie obawiam od razu podróży powrotnej, bo podświadomie nie chcę być smutny, że opuszczam Polskę. Już chcę żeby Berlin był jak dom. Już chcę gdzieś ten dom mieć, chcę do czegoś tęsknić, gdzieś zakotwiczyć się.

Zajmuję przydzielone mi miejsce w pociągu, w którym pachnie jakimś zestarzałym pociągowym zmruszeniem i tanią kawą z proszku. Lubię ten zapach. Wyciągam Witkowskiego “Fynf und cfancyś”, wysyłam do ukochanego, że “I will miss you” i kilka całujących się emołdżi, każde obowiązkowo z serduszkiem, zakładam słuchawki i włączam najnowszą Gagę.

Gdzieś przeczytałem, że osobowość się pod trzydziestkę stabilizuje. I że jakieś kryzysy w głowie to są normalne całkiem, i paru terapeutów mi powiedziało, że to jest jak z szafą, i że jak się starych ubrań nie przejrzy w czas, nie poukłada, to wszystko się nagle z tej szafy wypierdoli na człowieka w najmniej spodziewanym momencie. Nagle się kończy upychając te ciuchy do tej szafy; jakoś wciskając je w dramatycznym amoku, pchając raz po raz bardziej ze złości i przeklinając, ale jakoś nieświadomie płacząc wcale z innego powodu. Że to takie lustro dzieciństwa, i jeżeli się w dzieciństwie o taką szafę nie zadbało, to wkraczając w dorosłość ta szafa strasznie człowieka co chwila podkurwia, źli, mierzi i się kończy z tabsami stabilizującymi serotoniny metabolizm i inne biochemiczne ścieżki sygnałowe.

Wchodzi do pociągu matka z dzieckiem. Ciągnie chłopaczka tak jak ja rano ciągnąłem swoja walizkę i krzyczy na cały pociąg, że niegrzeczny, że nie da mu czegośtam, że niegrzeczne dzieci to za chwile ktoś porwie. Siada z tym dzieckiem, które jest jakieś zdezorientowane, dlaczego nagle taki rwetes, dlaczego hałas. Matka wyciąga telefon, ciągle na cały głos wyjąc, ale już na sąsiadkę, żeby kwiaty podlała tylko troszkę, bo dużo wody one wcale nie potrzebują, i że już jedzie, już musi na zakupy, po karpie, po rodzynki. Na konduktora też za chwilkę krzyczy, bo nie ma w pociągu kawy i krzyczy, że ona spóźnić się dzisiaj nie może, żeby on zapewnił ją, że pociąg do Poznania na 15:34 punktualnie dotrze. I znowu na dziecko krzyczy, bo rozlało coś, wysypało, że Mikołaj widzi i że za chwile ktoś porwie i nie odda.

I tak sobie myślę o tej szafie. I że może pod trzydziestkę się po prostu nagle wie, kim się nie chce być. Zdecydowanie nie tą matką, zdecydowanie nie tym dzieckiem, ani nawet tą sąsiadką. Myślę sobie, że dopiero pomału zdaję się sobie sprawę, jak bardzo innych szafy się na każdego z nas co chwila wysypują, z tymi brudnymi, nieuporządkowanymi ciuchami. Tej właśnie przykładowej pociągowej cholerycznej matki, nauczycieli w szkole, co tylko mówili, że kto nie czyta Kordiana ten głupi jest, tępy, znajomych, co swoją negatywność w jakiejś dziwnej teatralnej projekcji skupiają na nas, bo jesteśmy przyzwyczajeni, że taką śmietniczką na negatywność jesteśmy od młodości. I jak bardzo się z tego powodu człowiek jakoś w retrospekcji wkurwia i że to powoduje to trzydziestkowe emocjonalne rozchwianie. I nagle się przejrzało na oczy, że trzeba się od tej negatywności natychmiast odciąć, tej matce powiedzieć, że odpierdala cyrk w pociągu na miarę Królowej Elżbiety. Tym co tą negatywność nam ładują pokazać środkowy palec, dumnym z siebie być, że się udało i cieszyć, że jest się jakoś ponad tym szarym przyziemnym stresem od podlewania kwiatków, spóźnionego pociągu, rozlanego soku i bałaganu w szafie.


One day in Neukölln

Jeez, how weird it is to suddenly take off for holidays. Even though it is not any lusciously long leisure stay at Yukatan, just a two-day staycation in Berlin. You meticulously make plans where to go, what to do and – most importantly what to wear on that holiday body – to then find yourself on that very day frantically browsing through the work email inbox. So my self-advice:

Put your tired ass in the middle of the room, take a deep breath, take that 10 AM tequilla shot, take another one, calm down and make a trip to Neukölln!

So i charged my iPhone and took some pictures alongside Maybachufer and Graefekiez. It’s beautiful (and filtered, because it is a tad dirty, too. Besides, get a grip, everyone filters).

What I find really captivating about Berlin, is that every district feels like a different planet. Here, at Neukölln (oh did I already mention I am here?!), I am getting a party-Middle East kind of vibe, cool just-left-Berghain kind of people invariably with their septum pierced, everyone looking like they just finished a salutation of the Sun yoga routine spontaneously heading for a gluten-free matcha bio salmon bagel with a chia salad (but totally not in a pretentious Prenzlauer Berg way). Time passes slowly, but it is intense and vibrant at the Wochenmarkt at Landwehrskanal. It is friendlier than Mauerpark, where everyone seems chilled but somewhat tense. The fruitstalls are filled with mangos  this time of the year:

Mango for a beautiful girl, it will keep you young and skinny!

screams the oriental trader. Hipsters are chilling down around the water, listening to some live music, smoking weed and just being über-cool. I have been forever wondering what they do for a living?! Like how do you get around doing nothing, looking like you just had your hair styled in some expensive ass salon, being all calm and not worried about life! Anyone?! There are blocks of fabric everywhere and yet again I am regretting not being a seamstress. How cool would that be to knit this black tank top, cut a trouser and make a woolen black beannie and just proudly judge Zara! Reality check though.

Next, I am headed to the retro-vintage almost gluten-free boutiques, I was recommended by Hoping for some true style-katharsis moment, I am forever lost in the cement jungle, persistent, unfaltered, invincible (Google Maps). OK-so finally I am facing a tiny retro store, I come in.

The idyllic feeling of coolness rapidly takes a twist. Awkwardly squeezed in a 2 square meters space with an attentive owner thinking “I am so uncomfortable right now”, I turn to the clothes rack, to touch just a grey boring sweater. It is grey and boring. Like all the other sweaters on the rack. So I look up the price. 100 euros, straight up. Bye vintage store, i am off to Zara, black section. 

Vintage stores fail. But I like Neukölln anyway!

(And yes, I am planning that New York trip, in case you haven’t noticed. Gasp!)

My Personal Queen

Heat. Hard to stand, overbearing sultriness accompanied by anxiogenic strands of hair sticking to the scalp. All you can imagine doing is starfishing with a pile of ice cubes nearby tantalizing with soothing cold. I, however, was at the Waldorff Schule, performing our jazz choreography in front of actual human audience. People that consciously decided to pay money and leave the house risking fatal dehydration, sit and watch dancers-to-be (not) failing at the series of wobbly grand pliés and screaming for a face whip, crooked arabesques. We got to be there the entire day, as everything had to be absolutely perfect. The school quickly filled up with frantically moving ballerinas in flashy green tutus, swarms of joyfully blabbering little girls in tiaras and tacky (but hey) pink hairpins and people looking like they really regret having said yes to the whole thing. Here I was, I thought, the sole representation of the ballet school’s male fraction, soon to be proven wrong and inspired to write this entry in my hipster online oh-my-god-so-cool-so-fucking-cool blog.

Three cutest boys, 6 years of age, as I quickly became aware of from their interrogation-like Q&A session, also happened to be performing. Because we were all trapped backstage, waiting for never-ending warm-ups or other rehearsals (arms higher and higher, legs in a split and stretch that bo-o-ody, breathe in and out, now FALL TO THE GROUND LIKE A BAG OF STONES, FEEL IT, FEEL THE GROUND UNDERNEATH YOU), I got to chat and make friends with all the ballerinas, especially with the remaining male representation (girls decided to fight over crayons and make squeaky sounds over a bag of unidentified snacks – ‘no, you already had one, Sarah, I’ll tell mommy’). So I – unwillingly – got to know pretty much everything about the habits of Francis’ guinea pig, his favourite TV show, favourite shoes, that I am really old, that next year I’ll inevitably turn twenty-nine and the type of drawings he is really good at right now at school. Suddenly I notice, that the queen-to-be is wearing a pink nail polish, pretty explicitly and is being absolutely shameless and fierce about it. So (as a grown up queen) I get to ask Francis: ‘Hey so why are you wearing nail polish?’.

He looks me in the eyes, clearly taken aback (what-are-you-stupid-or-something) and answers ‘Duh, because I want to?’.

This is a shout out to all the queens out there. Wear your nail polish like this kiddo. DO grown up and yeah, it gets better. And if it doesn’t – make it better. But it all has to start in you. Can now can I get an amen up in here?

(PS: After the bows at the end of fantastic show, the choreographers were giving out roses to people that helped with organization of the event. Naturally, Francis was very explicit about getting one too).