“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

Aside

I am writing an angry blog today. I am displeased with this world and the effect I have allowed it to have on how I live.

I went into Old Navy yesterday on a mission to find a t-shirt and some shorts to wear to Pride. I have frequented Old Navy in the past for clothes that are affordable and cute, if not exactly durable, and I expected today to be a day much like any other. I picked out a few shirts to try and checked out their Pride t-shirt for the year and then headed off to look for shorts. Now, this is kind of a big deal for me because my legs haven’t been in shorts since, I don’t know, circa 2001? But I’ve been trying to reclaim my right to love my body and to wear what I want and so I was going to buy a pair of shorts. Only guess what I didn’t find on the shelves? Shorts in my size. Now that might not have been so irritating if they had other large sizes and were just out of stock in mine, even if they were out of stock in every single style. But that wasn’t the case. Old Navy just didn’t have any shorts in the store above a size 16. Well, you know what, that doesn’t include me. And I’m sick of having to feel ashamed of that. So that upset me, because I’ve always been able to find clothes I liked there. But the thing that really incensed me was that I could still find other products in my size. I could find jeans and shirts easy peasy. Just no shorts. “Sorry plus sized folks, but we’re not interested in seeing your legs. Cover those things up!” was the message I took from it loud and clear. Ironic from a company that sells Pride shirts to not encourage all kinds of positive pride. Now to be fair, you can certainly go online and buy some of their shorts in a larger size, but, sorry bigger ladies, they’re not gonna make it as easy on you as they would if you were a little smaller.

Well,l you know what, Old Navy? You can suck it. Because I am AWESOME. I am SICK of letting the world tell me that I am less than because I don’t fit inside their dainty little box. This world has been telling me that because I am fat or because I am queer or because I am a woman, I will never be enough. This crazy world started telling me to be ashamed of myself long before I had any idea that what they were feeding me with their pretty pictures was poison. Even before a girl hits puberty, she’s inundated with messages telling her she should be pretty and thin and that the ultimate goal is for Prince Charming to come and rescue her. 

I’m over it.

My Prince Charming is a woman with ideas and beliefs and curves who is so much more than just beautiful.

And I am not thin. Odds are I never will be, at least not in a way to fit the standards of a glossy magazine.

And I am a woman. If I do things like a girl, I’m not going to apologize for that because I am one and we are fucking amazing.

I have spent the majority of my life feeling like I needed to wear capris so my stretch marks don’t offend anyone. But I wore shorts to Pride this weekend (thank you, Forever 21!) and it was fantastic! And I wore a shirt that showed a little of my stomach if I stretched certain ways, a stomach that is not even slightly flat or unblemished. After spending so much time covering it up and trying to hide the imperfections, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I felt good when I put on my outfit and first looked in the mirror, but not even a minute later I could name a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t be so bold as to wear what I want. This was the first time in probably a decade that I declared myself free of other people’s expectations of what a plus size woman should wear. And it was freaking liberating. And it won’t be the last time. I bought a bathing suit this weekend, too. It comes in two pieces and it doesn’t include a modesty skirt and I am damn well going to wear it to the beach and have an awesome day.

Because I deserve to feel the sun on my skin again and if the world doesn’t like it, they can kiss my big butt.

But let me caution you, that’s so not an #endrant. Because today my country said to me, “Oh you’re a woman? You mean you think it should be up to you and your doctor as to what health care you need? Nope. Sorry. We’re gonna leave that to your employers and they now have a legal right to complete douche-baggery.”

You know what’s ridiculous? Being punished for being born with ovaries. And the punishments just keep rolling in. Equally qualified women rarely make as much money as their male counterparts. Women are much more often the victim of crimes, especially sex crimes. I’m scared when my wife comes home alone at night because I know how often we hear the jeers and catcalls when we’re together, just walking down the street. #yeseverywoman experiences sexual harassment on a near daily basis. And every single one of us can name a time when we’ve been scared to walk alone. Shame on the world for that. And shame on anyone who thinks they have a right to dictate what medical procedures I choose for my body. And shame shame SHAME on all of the victim blamers and slut shamers and misogynists that EVERY WOMAN has to deal with constantly. I am not less than because of the parts I come with. I am AWESOME. And someday the world’s not gonna be too cowardly to accept that.

And while we’re ranting, you know what else is gonna happen based on today’s Supreme Court idiocy? Lots of companies are gonna jump on the religious bandwagon and then where does it stop? Do we get to legalize the right to discriminatory hiring practices? Can employers only offer bonuses to employees who live in keeping with the boss’s moral code? Does corporate America get to decide cancer treatment is against their religion? Or hey, maybe your religion orders you to beat the crap out of gay people and, since you’re running your company that way, if it happens to someone on the clock, that’s totally fine, right?

Gay people. Female people. Fat people. People of color. Short people. Weird people. Religious people. Not so religious people.

There’s an overwhelming theme here. People. We’re all people. When it comes down to it, we all run because for some reason our hearts decide to beat. So maybe it’s time to stop acting like some people are superior to others. Maybe it’s time to start reclaiming our right to be treated as just as important as everyone else. And maybe if a few of us start now, it will catch on.

One pair of shorts at a time.

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How’m I ridin’? I’m ridin’ high… (Cole Porter, y’know)

Aside

This is one of those witching hours betwixt dark and dawn where I cannot seem to get my mind to settle enough to sleep. I feel overwhelmed. I feel thrilled. I feel blessed. I feel like I know who I am and it is who I always expected I would be, a self I have been fighting for the last year.

Truth time.

I am in love.

I am in love with my craft. I am in love with the stage. I am in love with this world that I am a part of.

It’s a heady feeling to come back into yourself. But there it is. I lost my heart to the theatre long ago and despite my scorning her for so long, she has welcomed me back with open arms and open heart.

I just wrapped a show where I played one of my dream roles. As is the case in every show I have done, this show has imparted in me some quality lessons. Just a sampling…

1. This whole sexy thing? I got this. I got this in spades. Doesn’t matter what size or shape I am. I can own it. And I do.

2. Onstage chemistry can’t be taught. It can be worked toward and improved over time, perhaps, but every once in awhile you get the chance to work with someone you just have an instant spark with and, voila, you make the magic happen. Every once in awhile you’re lucky to find someone that makes you forget you are acting. And it is a fucking headtrip of fantastic-ness to rock it out with them.

3. Sometimes it’s helpful to pick out the hardest person in the room to impress and make it your goal to get a rise out of that person before the show’s over. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t (frankly, jury’s still out on this one for me) but it gives you a focus because you know if you manage to impress this person then everyone else is going to be EATING IT UP.

4. The people who say you can’t go home again put too much stock in a geographical location. I came home again the second I stepped into that audition in December and I swear I hope I’m never silly enough to leave again.

Theatre can be a volatile mistress, but it seems safe to say that indeed “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” I don’t think there can be anymore turning my back after this. It just feels too darn good to be my own best self.

“So ring bells, sing songs, blow horns, beat gongs,
Our love, never will die. How’m I ridin’? I’m ridin’ high…”

Humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them…

Aside

I have never been a good decision maker. I can waver between mint chocolate chip and cookie dough for longer than it takes to play an inning of beginners T-ball. I can debate the merits of one brand of paper towel over another ad nauseum. I can literally take hours deciding what shirt to wear. That said, there has always been one thing I was incredibly clear on. When I grow up I am going to be an actor and live in NYC. I am going to sing and dance on Broadway.

Well, now I’m something like a grown up and the one thing I have always been certain about is the thing that is causing me more anxiety than my impending doom from my incredibly loud neighbors falling through my roof.

I have always, always, always been sure of myself on this and it has always been incredibly comforting to me to know exactly what I want. Yet it seems my path has diverged somewhere I never really expected and all of a sudden here are a million considerations I never made and a thousand new paths to consider and I have to pick one. By yesterday.

So, some of my options. Maybe if I write them out, they’ll make more sense to me.

1. Get my confidence back by doing Rocky Horror, get my butt back to dance class and voice lessons, and find a way to get back to the city and try again. The pros: I won’t feel like a sellout/quitter/loser. The cons: I want to have kids sooner than later and that makes this particular line of work even more difficult. I can’t expect a kid and a wife to want to be gypsies with me. And I don’t want to miss out on the munchkin that I KNOW I am supposed to have.

2. Move to LA. Pursue a career onscreen rather than onstage. I have traditionally been a purist about acting and the stage being the only real place to do that, but what I have realized is that any given day you can turn on a TV show or a movie and chances are you can find someone like yourself. That’s more difficult when you look at a Broadway show. So, Pros- there’s a chance I could have more opportunity on the west coast, if not to be a household name, at least to make an okay living doing something I love.Cons- it’s LaLaLand. It could do more damage to my self-esteem in a week than NYC did in several months of solid auditioning.

3. Stay working for my current company. Get promoted to permanent. Hope to get put into a position where I can train to work from home. Do community theatre. Hope like hell that that is good enough and that twenty years from now I won’t hate myself for throwing away any potential I may have had. For throwing away a gift.

4. Train for a new career. I have a couple in mind that might actually be kind of interesting, or at least might let me feel like I’ve done something good in the world.

  • First idea here- Go to law school. Either focus on entertainment law as a way to stay in the business or focus more towards human rights laws and fight for the world to suck a little less than it currently does. Pros- If I can’t have the career I want, at least I can afford to live somewhere decent in the city that I love. Also, I could do some good in the world. Cons- It’s not the theatre.
  • Second thought- go into the MA/PhD program at U Albany and come out w/ a Women’s Studies MA and a PhD in Sociology. Pros- I’ll be a freaking Dr and w/ a PhD a lot of doors will open to me. I should be able to get into pretty much any law school after that if I choose and then be crazily marketable and thoroughly prepared to turn the world on it’s head and put it back together in a way that makes more sense. Cons- grad school is expensive and I don’t want to settle for some sub par school if I go back. If I’m gonna do it, I want to do it right. Also, the apps are due asap so I’ll be stressing it like whoa if I make this decision.
  • Third educational idea- culinary school with a focus on baking and pastry. Coupled with a couple of business classes, I could put myself in a great place to open up my own little coffee shoppe. Pros- I’m really great at coffee stuff and I have a lot of fantastic ideas about ways to incorporate all of the things I love. Cons- for the first few years, I will have to devote night and day to this place, making that whole offspring idea incredibly difficult.

I just read a book about a girl who started a blog and let people vote on her life decisions because she didn’t feel capable of making them herself. I understand precisely how she felt. But, I’m the only one that can choose my path. I don’t want to be Sondheim’s Cinderella, “Then from out of the blue, and without any guide, you know what your decision is, which is not to decide.” I’d like to think I’m braver than that. (But I sure can understand where she’s coming from.)

Good luck Cinderella.