Why I Stopped Measuring Up and Started Spiraling Up
Ever feel like you are being measured? Like all eyes are on you, sizing you up? Does it ever seem like everyone is watching you, looking you up and down, and finding you wanting?
This is my life. You see, at the age of six I stepped onto the stage and ever since that moment, performing has been my everything; a wellspring of inspiration and motivation, a source of joy, and the place where I feel most at home. Unfortunately, in order to grace the stage, one must undergo one of the most inhumane forms of torture known to man- the audition. Where the stage has been a friend, the audition process has been my arch nemesis.
I cannot count how many times my appearance has been deemed unworthy by adjudicators. I have been told numerous times by directors and casting agents that I need to ‘lose weight’, ‘slim down’, get to a size (fill in the blank), in order to get or keep a role. I have been consoled with the statement that makes all curvy girls want to dropkick everyone in sight, “You have such a pretty face, if only you’d lose some weight you could…(insert whatever you want here because obviously being skinny gives you access to anything you would ever want in life). Funny enough, my skinny friends don’t agree.
Needless to say, I have a real complex when it comes to the way I look. Back in 2008, I even wrote and performed a one-woman show entitled Measurements about my lifelong battle with body image. In my industry, I am literally always being “sized up” & “measured”.
In my early 20’s I dealt with my ‘problem’ by using substances, which would help me take off the pounds fast. I’d alternate stimulants in order to suppress my appetite and then drink alcohol so I could forget how hungry I was. I would go through periods of starving before an audition, allowing myself to eat only eggs and spinach for weeks at a time. But by my late 20’s, I was married with a child and had no access to college ‘helpers’ or the ability to binge drink every night of the week. Soooo I decided to get healthy. I started an exercise regimen, pinterested myself to a nutrition degree, and surrounded myself with some awesome women who motivated me to just be my best self. I focused on being fit and found myself a good 30lbs lighter. Finally, I had conquered my pesky body issues! Or so I thought.
In the past year, I have moved across the country (again) and started two new jobs that keep me busy 50+ hours per week. Oh, and did I mention I have a 3-year old? Along the way, my exercise regimen has gone out the window and gluten has crept its way back into my everyday diet. And guess what else started rearing its ugly head? You guessed it- my body issues. So here I am, dealing with the same old body stuff that I thought I had put behind me- shame, anxiety, fear, and sadness surrounding how I look.
This seems to be a common theme in my life. Thinking I have put something behind me, and then realizing that there is yet another layer of the onion I have to peel back and deal with. Seriously, WTF?!
A friend of mine who I refer to as my “wifey” once explained this frustrating concept to me by using the image of an upward spiral. There are certain issues that we will inevitably encounter over and over, such as the damaging stories that have been ingrained in us, our addictions, insecurities, and sometimes even relationship dynamics we find ourselves drawn to time and time again.
As we process these experiences, if we just allow ourselves to go through them instead of around them, then the next time around, we will have transcended a part of it. No doubt, we will circle back to the same old shit, but as we meet it on a higher plane than before, we approach it with more knowledge and self-awareness than the previous time. It gets easier.
I am thankful that as I deal with this same old issue once again, I am a little less hard on myself and a lot more knowledgeable about why I feel the way I do (thanks to my “wifey” and to Rooted Center). Although I have a long way to go, I am glad to be dealing with this layer of my “issue onion” with more ease and self-love.