A lot of personal stuff has gone on recently… and I sort of lost the ability to decide what I wanted to keep private and what I felt comfortable sharing with the internet world. So I just sorta stopped sharing. I got some pretty intense news last night and went into a major funk (which is the worst when you’re by yourself, in Murl Beach, and it’s three AM.) I tossed and turned a lot but finally got a little sleep. And then I woke up this morning to this:
So, I made a choice. This is my personal blog. My personal space. If you are weirded out by my opinions or whatever… don’t read it. I need an outlet, even if it’s a controlled one, to put my thoughts out there. I hope to surround myself with people who are engaging and smart and who will interact with me here– but even if that doesn’t happen… this is my space. So! I’m back.
Here’s the thing: My body isn’t perfect. And that’s fine. I would like to announce publicly that I am 5’0 and a whopping 110 pounds. I have a tendency to fluctuate a little bit but that’s a pretty good, rounded, realistic number of my ACTUAL weight.
Despite being a performer, my body has never been the cause for a lot of discussion. I’ve worked with photographers who made me look nice in pictures. I’ve worked with people who dressed me up in clothes that were flattering. I’ve performed in big t-shirts and forgiving hemlines when I’ve had really bloated days.
My favorite food is birthday cake.
For me, my focus has always been on my ability to sing. I’m competitive with myself. If I want to sound a certain way– I work hard until I can make myself sound that way. I’m a capable and confident singer.
When I started my new job– there was this sudden urgency about my body. No one really put it there– but suddenly I lost control of my appearance. I am shaped differently than the other singers. I am a larger dress size than them. (Ten of that whopping 110 pounds is around my middle, so…) I was suddenly really self conscious of everything I wear and how I look. And I HATE IT. I’m not one of those lucky people who is motivated by that sort of thing… but that’s not to say I’m not affected. I started counting calories and obsessing over food. I started doing all of those really unhealthy things that lead you to HATE yourself in the mirror. And I’m not overweight! How ridiculous, right?
Everything hit a pinnacle when, a few months ago, this especially entitled regular audience member decided to come up to me and tell me that I looked fat. She used the word “pregnant” (which is especially insulting to someone who finds pregnant women incredibly beautiful) and told me I needed some costume changes. I was so flabbergasted that I just sort of nodded and let her finish up her word vomit before I just stopped talking to her. It hurt my feelings. And it especially hurt my feelings when, a week later, she came back up to me, showed me washed out, shitty cellphone pictures to “PROVE” to me how bad I looked. But this time, I was prepared. This all happened during the little meet and greet after our shows, where I am onstage and people mill about in front of us, on the floor, to say hi and take pictures. So, when she shoved her cellphone in my face I leaned down, and cut her off.
“…So how did I sound tonight?”
The lady said, “Fine but…”
I cut her off again. “Great. Anything else you have a problem with you can take to the production office.”
And I walked away.
That night she sent me a few ridiculous, misspelled Facebook messages basically calling me an overly sensitive amateur who can’t handle the truth but I just blocked her and moved on.
Handling that situation sort of inspired me. I felt empowered. My work friends were proud of me. I cut back on the cake a little bit, had a few serious talks with my bosses, and got some costumes changed.
Then this morning happened.
I have spent the last few hours asking friends who I trust if I DO, in fact, look pregnant and thankfully they have said no. Maybe they’re being nice. Maybe I have some weird body dysmorphia that convinces me I look thinner than I actually do. I don’t know. I would post pictures of myself here with my belly out…but that seems a little desperate.
I get that my career choice often leaves me a ‘product,’ kinda. Up until I started working at this theatre that ‘product’ has always been good enough. Good enough to dance to, good enough to pay money to go see, good enough to include on his/her wedding day.
Now, I get that the above message was meant as a compliment, mostly. They like me as an addition to the show. They think that I’m talented. I appreciate that.
But! Is it not safe to assume… no… is it not common sense to think that if I HAD been pregnant, if I HAD DELIVERED A BABY INTO THE WORLD, I would have posted that beautiful little thing all over the internet!? I can’t even go a day without talking about my cat. Why, in my very public career, would I not have clued everybody in on the fact that I had had a baby?
I just don’t understand.
So, in conclusion, I would like to set the record straight on some possible etiquette misunderstandings. This will apply to anyone, in any situation:
If you have not heard directly from a woman that she is pregnant–
DON’T SAY ANYTHING.
You’re lack of common sense (or purposefully hurtful mean comment) may ruin someone’s great day. It might make them sad. Self conscious. Maybe they’re having a pretty rotten morning already and they don’t need your lack of tact to make it worse. Or! worst of all! You just might become the subject of a conversation about people who should know better.
SO JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING.