Fat Chicks

Just saw an ad for the movie “Pitch Perfect”.  It features a heavy girl who is shown in one scene running to the front of the stage and ripping her blouse open.  Now, if a skinny girl does that, it’s considered sexy.  You know why they have the fat chick doing it in this movie?  For comedic effect.

Cuz makin’ fun uh fat peoples is funny.

Against my better judgement, I watched “Shallow Hal” years ago. I loathe that movie.  It’s humor is based 100% on laughing at fat people.  See fatty make a tidal wave when she jumps in the pool.  See fatty break a chair.  See fatty toss a circus tent (underwear) on Jack Black.  I know, the end of the movie, Jack Black realizes he loves her anyway, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE’S FAT.  Because being fat is a character flaw, after all, one that must be overlooked.

BULL SHITE.

I wasn’t fat growing up.  I didn’t put on weight until Josh died in 1995.  My weight has fluctuated quite a bit since then, due in part to my drinking, my ruptured disk, and a nasty sugar addiction I developed.  See, I used to drink my stress away.  When I got sober, I turned to sugar.

So, allow me to vent.

Diet pills and weight loss surgery piss me off.  Not for the morbidly obese, mind you.  If you’re health is so bad the doctor thinks you’ll be dead in six months without bariatric surgery, then, by all means, do it, provided you have a great support system in place.  But for those who think they can take a pill or have a device placed on their stomach to limit their food intake and NOT have to change how they think about food, they are asking for trouble.

People who say “just get off your butt and move” or “just quit stuffing your face” piss me off.  Yes, because it’s that easy.  I’ve seen many people close to me go on these extreme diets, cutting out all carbs or no sugar or whatever, and they have lost tons of weight…and then promptly put the pounds back on when they can no longer sustain the deprivation.  When our bodies put on weight, they go through changes, not just outward changes, like back rolls or cankles, but internal changes.  Your body chemistry changes.  Oh, and you lose your energy. Gone.  Kaput.  And, guess what, when I realized I had a drinking problem, I could quit drinking.  You can’t quit food.  Just ask Karen Carpenter.

Describing especially delicious food as “sinful” or “decadent”, or saying you were “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake…pisses me off.  The negative connotation associated with eating delicious foods has got to go.  It turns our food intake into a morality issue, when it isn’t.  Chocolate tastes damn good.  Nothing sinful or bad about it.  I had never thought of this until I started to read (note, started to…I’m terrible at finishing books) a book written by two dietitians called “Intuitive Eating”.  I won’t go into it too much, but I will say I completely agree with their assessment that when you put foods on your list of “forbidden” or “bad” foods, you make them all the more appealing and, eventually, you’ll break and overindulge.  Case in point.  You really want something sweet.  You’d really like a Snickers bar, but, you’re trying to be “good”, so instead you have chocolate flavored rice cakes.  You eat a serving, but, since you didn’t actually have any real chocolate, and probably very little fat (to satisfy your hunger), you eat another serving.  And maybe another.  Then, an hour later, because you couldn’t stop thinking about that forbidden fruit, and you STILL haven’t had any chocolate, you go ahead and eat the damn Snickers bar.  Awesome.  You just consumed 451 calories, instead of 271.

Lastly, thinking you can shame anyone into losing weight pisses me off.  I’m not saying we swing the pendulum the other way and say, “you’re perfect exactly the way you are!”, aka, “fat acceptance”.  No, considering what the excess pounds does to your hormones, your joints, your heart, etc., I’d say it’s not wise to take that extreme. But society doesn’t help the overweight when they make fun of them, call them names, or otherwise imply that they are gross and unattractive.  Trust me, overweight people know what they look like.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I know *my* self-loathing is at an all-time high right now, and I’m not even at my heaviest.  My husband, a fit, handsome young man eleven years my junior, thinks I’m hot.  He always has.  And he’s not blowing smoke.  He genuinely thinks I’m attractive.  I’m so repulsed by my weight that physical intimacy is practically unthinkable to me, and I try to avoid looking in the mirror as much as possible. It hurts.  But losing weight is HARD.  When I had my nervous breakdown, I put back on half of the weight I’d dropped in the months prior.  Those pounds are sloooowly coming off, but that’s what it takes.  Some days I just wanna break down and cry.  I so wish I could just flip a switch and be healthier, feel better about myself, and be a better wife and mother.

And then I turn on the tv and see a “let’s make fun of the fat chick” scene from a movie, and I want to scream.  Or eat a Snickers bar.

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Kick ass. Please.

Not that I aspire to become a self-centered ass, but I am going to direct my energies more towards things I can change, like myself, rather than focusing SO MUCH energy on the regretful past or the imagined future.  Living in the past/future leaves a virtually meaningless present.  That being said, my list, not of things to necessarily be done this year, per say, but to work towards in general.  In no particular order…

  • Sign up for kickboxing
  • Become kinder
  • Become kick-ass
  • Take singing lessons
  • Improve my painting skills
  • Audition for something
  • Become less cynical
  • Stop getting rabid over little things, like a printer not working or some yahoo cutting me off in traffic.  In other words, let go of the little things
  • Take dancing lessons with my husband
  • See more plays
  • Stay sober
  • Write more
  • Photograph more
  • Play with my kid more
  • Live in the moment

On the subject of acting/auditioning; Something possessed me to google “late bloomers” in terms of acting.  Even though the majority of the actors referenced in the article I found were people who had been working in the movies/theater for decades, the article focused more on when they actually “hit it big”, which was later in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s.  The article actually referenced 32 as being past your prime.  Kinda like basketball players, right?  So here I am, reading how rare it is to succeed the older you are and blah, blah, blah, when this little voice inside me asks, “why the hell are you reading this crap? what does this have to do with you?”  I then realized I was setting myself up for failure.  Without even realizing it, I had approached the idea of taking a creative leap as an impossible feat.  Like the nasty voice inside me (I call her Agnes….not a literal voice I hear, mind you, just a name I’ve given my negativity) was saying, “you want to do what?  well, let me show you how impossible that will be.  suck on that!”

I had to pull back, and remind myself that my focus should be on taking little steps.  Go on an audition. See what happens.  Don’t worry about the result, just take that leap.  If it works, great, if it doesn’t, try again.  So, to add to the list…

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones; aka, kick Agnes’ ass.  Tell the b*tch to pound sand.

Another point of view

Growing up isn’t like in a movie…where you have a realization and life changes.  In life, you have a realization and your life changes a month or so later.

So I just have to wait a month?

It depends on the realization.  Some of them you only wait a couple weeks.

Gene Hackman giving advice to Meryl Streep in “Postcards from the Edge”.

So anyone who’s ever struggled with depression knows that it’s far too easy to go deep inside oneself and therefore be unable to view yourself clearly.  This is what therapists are for.  Therapists, the good ones, anyway, are the people who are not afraid to tell you you’re full of crap when you are, and to point out your gifts when you are convinced you have none.  I’m of the opinion I have a good therapist.  What’s so funny is the times she tells me the obvious, only I have my head so far up my butt, the revelation wasn’t obvious to me.  Today was one of those days.

I’ve spoken to her at length about my depression and mid-life-crisiness.  Today she referred me to a book she says is poorly written but has some insight into the different stages we women go through.  To simplify, we go through the maiden stage, the matron stage, then the crone stage.  My therapist then stated emphatically her dislike for the term “crone”, so she replaced it with “queen”.  At 41, I’m in the matron stage.  I am a wife, a mother, a breadwinner, a mortgage-payer, etc.  The time in my life for taking grand risks is seemingly passed.  I’m long past being able to quit my job and gamble that I’ll succeed as a writer, actress, director, whatever, since it’s incumbent upon me to pay the bills and support my family – hubs is 11 years my junior and, thanks to the economy tanking, is unable at this time to make a living in his chosen field. So he’s in retail hell and I’m an insurance broker.  And the crowd rejoiced.

My therapist spoke of the risks we take, and separated them into two classes….for simplicity’s sake, risk 1 and risk 2.  With risk 1, the young man climbs mountains, performs daredevil feats, etc.  The young woman, the maiden, risks her connection with her femininity by, in my case, attempting to become a model, actress, singer, etc.  The risks taken in risk 1 offer more immediate gratification, but is often shallow and fleeting.  Risk 2 is more long term, and deeper in meaning.  Gambling on a marriage, raising a child, taking on a $300k debt via a mortgage.  I won’t go so far as to say I’ve succeeded in risk 2, because it’s never-ending, but I can say I’ve at least taken those risks and, so far, am doing well.

Where my regret comes in, and what I need to come to terms with, is the risks I didn’t take when I was a maiden.  I know, duh.  I realized today I’ve been guilty of overlooking the risks I did take that have paid off.  If I’m to come through this, I need to build on these things.  Towards that end, a list.

  • My first trip to Europe was alone.  Though I stayed with my mother’s best friend in London, I spent four days alone in Paris, speaking just three phrases in french…”I have a headache”, “my name is…”, and “do you speak english”?)  It was terrifying at times, but I did it, and those are some of the fondest memories I have in life. Watching Quincy dubbed in German (wha?) in my tiny hotel room in Montmartre, visiting the Louvre, eating a sausage served in a fresh baguette on top of La Tour Eiffel (and calling my folks back in the states just so I could tell them, “I’m calling from the freakin’ Eiffel Tower!”), standing in the room where it was decided Joan of Arc should be canonized, then going to the top of Notre Dame de Paris and making friends with the gargoyles, walking down the Champs Elysees, climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and walking through the arch, and, my favorite, walking the grounds of Père Lachaise cemetery, and visiting the graves of Oscar Wilde, George Seurat, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, and so many others.  The place was so beautiful, and I delighted in the sounds of the children playing in a nearby schoolyard.  I thought it a beautiful juxtaposition.  I spent the most time with Jim Morrison.  I sat next to his grave and wrote in my journal.  Even now, I’m still moved by my visit there.  Lastly, I recall my trip back to London.  I stood in the bar car and sipped a glass of white wine while eating the best damn chocolate croissant ever made and watching the french countryside whisk by.  While I’m so glad I went alone, I also came to appreciate why they say it’s a town for lovers.  I hope to go there with my husband some day.
  • Though I didn’t do have yet to do what I set out to do here, I did save up my money and move halfway across the country, to a place where I knew exactly one person, my brother, and build a life for myself.  Granted, it’s not entirely the life I want, but to start from almost nothing, in a strange city, is something to be proud of, I guess. Had I not done that, I wouldn’t have met my husband and I wouldn’t have my smart, beautiful and funny daughter.
  • I have a successful career.  Okay, this one is hard for me to stomach, but the fact of the matter is, as boring as my job is and as much as I despise cubicle living, I’m good at my job and well-respected by my peers and my supervisors.  I’ve gotten some very sweet notes from clients, past and present, thanking me for my expertise and guidance.
  • I’m a homeowner.  I honestly never thought I would be, especially in California.  I live in a house more than a century old, with all the charm of a craftsmen from the early 1900’s, but with updated plumbing and electrical, and three bathrooms.  THREE BATHROOMS!!!
  • I’m sober and  I quit smoking.  Though there are times I still really wish I could have a drink, I haven’t succumbed to temptation for 6 1/2 years now.  I haven’t had a cigarette in 8 years.
  • I’ve survived.  I’ve survived being sexually and or physically abused by five different people (to varying degrees) from the age of 6 to the age of 15.  I survived my boyfriend blowing his brains out.  I survived my own suicide attempt one month later.
  • Did I mention I quit drinking?  Yeah.  That’s a big one.

Maybe this list isn’t complete.  Maybe upon further reflection, I’ll find more to be proud of.  But the fact that I can even acknowledge these things when two weeks ago I was so despondent I could barely move, well, that’s something to feel good about, too, I guess.

Maybe it’s time to find a way to create new items for this list, despite the fact that I’m in “the matron phase”.

First….

…day one of vacation, and I didn’t stay in bed all day.  So victory there.

Now on to it.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been at this crossroads of Major Depression Highway (it’s a dead end) and Mid-Life Crisis Boulevard.  So I’m trying to talk my way out of my regrets.  Today on Twitter I noticed someone commented on the fact that The Beatles were rejected by record companies multiple times before being signed.  This got me thinking of other successful creative people who had to have experienced failure and kept plugging away.  Of course, this isn’t a new concept.  I’ve often spoken aloud the words, “fall down seven times, stand up eight”.  And every time I say that, I see in my head Manu Ginobili getting knocked to the ground on a drive to the basket, then getting back up.  All in slow motion, set to music, with the previous text written under it.  One of the NBA’s promo videos years ago.  But I digress.  The number of times I’ve said it to myself, for it not to have sunk it…well, that just blows.  I’m now seriously considering plastering the walls of my house with reminders to just get back up.  Sounds cheesy, I know, but perhaps the only way to beat all the negative self-talk and regrets is to literally surround myself with motivation.  I found the text below on a website that is, in my opinion, very hard to read (hate anything but white background behind text).  So, I’ll include the text below and a link to the site here.

A long read, but worth it in my opinion.

But They Did Not Give Up

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.”

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up.” (his capitals, mind you)

Socrates was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and continued to corrupt even after a sentence of death was imposed on him. He drank the hemlock and died corrupting.

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Confucius

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry.

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.

F. W. Woolworth was not allowed to wait on customers when he worked in a dry goods store because, his boss said, “he didn’t have enough sense.”

When Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the pronouncement, “What use could this company make of an electrical toy.”

John Garcia, who eventually was honored for his fundamental psychological discoveries, was once told by a reviewer of his often-rejected manuscripts that one is no more likely to find the phenomenon he discovered than to find bird droppings in a cuckoo clock. (sort of a cute critique actually)

Rocket scientist Robert Goddard found his ideas bitterly rejected by his scientific peers on the grounds that rocket propulsion would not work in the rarefied atmosphere of outer space.

Daniel Boone was once asked by a reporter if he had ever been lost in the wilderness. Boone thought for a moment and replied, “No, but I was once bewildered for about three days.”

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

An expert said of Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy were each cut from their high school basketball teams. Jordan once observed, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.”

Babe Ruth is famous for his past home run record, but for decades he also held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career (about which he said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”). And didn’tMark McGwire break that strikeout record? (John Wooden once explained that winners make the most errors.)

Hank Aaron went 0 for 5 his first time at bat with the Milwakee Braves.

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too awkward and clumsy.” He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the U. S. Open. And eight Davis Cups.

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history – they didn’t win a single game.

Johnny Unitas’s first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana’s first pass was also intercepted. And while we’re on quarterbacks, during his first season Troy Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn’t win a single game. You think there’s a lesson here?

After Carl Lewis won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games, he was asked to what he attributed his longevity, having competed for almost 20 years. He said, “Remembering that you have both wins and losses along the way. I don’t take either one too seriously.”

“Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements, and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end result of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.” ~ Eric Hoffer

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Charles Schultz had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Oh, and Walt Disney wouldn’t hire him.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home. Astaire once observed that “when you’re experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, that you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion.” And here is the reward for perseverance: “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.”

After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

When Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through “a minute-and a half” of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married.” I’m sure you know that Norma Jean was Marilyn Monroe. Now . . . who was Emmeline Snively?

At the age of 21, French acting legend Jeanne Moreau was told by a casting director that her head was too crooked, she wasn’t beautiful enough, and she wasn’t photogenic enough to make it in films. She took a deep breath and said to herself, “Alright, then, I guess I will have to make it my own way.” After making nearly 100 films her own way, in 1997 she received the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Flops are a part of life’s menu and I’ve never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses.” ~ Rosalind Russell

After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were spossed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid , you ain’t got it … now get out of here.”

Michael Caine’s headmaster told him, “You will be a laborer all your life.”

Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered “nonsense.”

Enrico Caruso’s music teacher said he had no voice at all and could not sing. His parents wanted him to become an engineer.

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the unprophetic evaluation, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.” And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

“No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.” ~ Baudjuin

The Impressionists had to arrange their own art exhibitions because their works were routinely rejected by the Paris Salon. How many of you have heard of the Paris Salon?

A Paris art dealer refused Picasso shelter when he asked if he could bring in his paintings from out of the rain. One hopes that there is justice in this world and that the art dealer eventually went broke.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. And this to the sister of one of his friends for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn’t stop him from completing over 800 paintings.

John Constable’s luminous painting Watermeadows at Salisbury was dismissed in 1830 by a judge at the Royal Academy as “a nasty green thing.” Name of the judge, anyone? Anyone?

Rodin’s father once said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school, he was rejected three times admittance to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His uncle called him uneducable. Perhaps this gave him food for thought.

Stravinsky was run out of town by an enraged audience and critics after the first performance of the Rite of Spring.

When Pablo Casals reached 95, a young reporter asked him “Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?” Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” ~ Washington Irving

Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. He was described as both “unable and unwilling to learn.” No doubt a slow developer.

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family.

Emily Dickinson had only seven poems published in her lifetime.

15 publishers rejected a manuscript by e. e. cummings. When he finally got it published by his mother, the dedication, printed in uppercase letters, read WITH NO THANKS TO . . . followed by the list of publishers who had rejected his prized offering. Nice going Eddie. Thanks for illustrating that nobody loses all the time.

18 publishers turned down Richard Bach’s story about a “soaring eagle.” Macmillan finally published Jonathan Livingston Seagull in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

21 publishers rejected Richard Hooker’s humorous war novel, M*A*S*H. He had worked on it for seven years.

22 publishers rejected James Joyce’s The Dubliners.

27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

English crime novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

William Saroyan accumulated more than a thousand rejections before he had his first literary piece published. Way to not take a hint, Bill!

Gertrude Stein submitted poems to editors for nearly 20 years before one was finally accepted. See . . . a rose is a rose.

There is a professor at MIT who offers a course on failure. He does that, he says, because failure is a far more common experience than success. An interviewer once asked him if anybody ever failed the course on failure. He thought a moment and replied, “No, but there were two Incompletes.”

Let’s end with Woody Allen: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

A long list, I know, but surely there’s something for everyone there, right?