(Full-disclosure. I started writing this post a loooong time ago. But somehow, never finished. At the urging of my bestie, Sharifa, I am picking up the torch again. So get ready, the Former Fat Girl is making a comeback! Hope you enjoy this first installment.)
By now it’s clear. I’m neurotic when it comes to my size, my weight, fat jiggle, and all things related. Having been in this town for as long as I have and knowing what I’m up against here, I was understandably nervous going into a fitting for a commercial I shot a while back.
*Morgan Freeman narrates*
I wish I could tell you those nerves were unwarranted and the fitting went perfectly. I wish I could tell you that. But if that were true, I wouldn’t be telling you this story.
When the wardrobe assistant called, I was honest with her about my sizes, even skewed up by half an inch so I would be comfortable. (Of course, the natural tendency of actresses is to lie about things like this–you know, weight, age, talent.) In general, my waist size is not something I look forward to disclosing, especially when coupled with the reality that most women in this industry are exceptionally thin. At a size 6/8, I’m almost always the heaviest actor on set or at an audition. But whatever, I swallowed my pride and gave her my accurate size information. Information that I will not be sharing here. *in my best Tamar voice* You nosey. Look, I know it might be helpful to the narrative of this blog if I actually give you guys the hard numbers…..BUT IT AIN’T GON’ HAPPEN! As for my age, I am…perpetually 27.
Back to the fitting.
The commercial was set in the 70’s, so I was pretty excited to see all the period wardrobe they had pulled for me. Sadly though, that excitement quickly turned into confusion and dismay when I looked through the rack and found that only one of the pairs of pants they had selected was my size. EVERY other pair was two to four sizes too small. Oh, dear God, not again.
Real talk, WHY ARE THEY LIKE THIS? Did she not hear me when I gave her my sizes? Did she think I was joking? Are they trying to break my spirit? Come the entire hell on, man! There I was, being handed things that I knew either wouldn’t fit at all or require that I not exhale for hours at a time. No exaggeration, I literally broke into a sweat trying to get some of those clothes on. Pushing, tucking, sucking in, squeezing. People always ask what’s wrong with me? Why am I so insecure? THIS IS WHY!!
At one point, I asked, “Sooo…were there not a lot of things in my size to choose from?” The stylist simply responded that she had sent another assistant to do the pulling and she apparently didn’t pay much attention to size. Oh, okay. So I guess that call I got earlier was just to chat. How fun!
At the end of the session, I had squeezed my way into a couple things but couldn’t fit most of it. After another brief fitting on the day of the shoot, I ended up wearing the one pair of pants that were actually my size. Go figure. But yet again, I was left feeling bad about myself despite the fact that I’d been working hard in the gym and watching what I eat…most of the time. I can only eat so much damn kale, okay?
And you know what really pulls my edges…it’s that I don’t hate my body. I think I’m in decent shape, and I am learning more and more to appreciate all that my body does for me on a daily basis. But in this freaking town, man, being a healthy weight doesn’t cut it. It’s either super thin to play a lead, plus-size to play character or comedy, (yeah, we still haven’t evolved beyond that tired trope,) or super fit to play action. Have you seen some of these women? They have less body fat than my cocker-spaniel.
(Find a way to incorporate photo of dog into blog. *check*)
And yes, I acknowledge that there is a greater variety of body types in film and television than a decade ago. But trust me when I say, the game has not changed as much as they’d like you to think. I promise, what looks like a size 6 on T.V. is almost undoubtedly a 2. MAAAAYBE a 4. I sit next to women in auditions and feel like a giant.
My point is, living in this world of extremes–extreme beauty, extreme youth, extreme bodies, extreme lifestyles–can make a regular ol’ girl from VA feel inept in a lot of ways. It’s rough sometimes. But I just keep plugging along, wondering when or if I’ll ever be completely satisfied with my body. Going to the gym, even when I’ve hit a plateau. Eating the kale even though, let’s be honest, guys, it’s not that great. Avoiding the bread…the soft-doughy-buttery bread.
In spite of all that, though, I have made a decision: fully satisfied or not, I am choosing to be grateful. I thank my body, (specific parts or sometimes as a whole,) for being healthy and capable all these years. Even on those days when I’d rather be day-drinking at my own pity party, I find something, anything to be grateful for. In fact, gratitude might honestly be the world’s greatest anti-depressant. Well…gratitude and dogs. Dogs are awesome. Cat people, I got nothing. God bless you.
So that’s my tip, gang! Find the gratitude and grab hold of that shit! (You didn’t think I would do an entire blog curse-word-free, did you? *snorts* ) It can be a task sometimes, I know. But there’s always something for which to be grateful. Even if it’s that, despite their best efforts to thwart your shine, you still ended up looking “Good Times-Tastic” in your commercial. 🙂
Former Fat Girl…Out.