I am opening Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” tomorrow night (January 27 @ 8pm) hope to see you all during the course of the run. I play a myriad of phenomenally distinct characters that range from a Korean merchant gunshot victim to a Jewish Police Commissioner. I am so honored to have this opportunity! BUY TICKETS
So I am sitting on my lovely sectional listening to J. Cole’s “2014 Forest HIlls Drive” and Jazmine Sullivan’s album “Reality Show.” Both albums are giving me so much life! Listening to these albums immediately bring me back to North Philly. These songs are such a tribute to my college experience at Temple University. Jammin’ and Dancin’ at basement party’s and swimming in a land made of Jello Shots & Jungle Juice. I have been missing those days and the people who changed my life during that time.
In those times of reckless living during my “Elaine Stritch Years” I never had a care or stress in the world. I was living in a world of endless possibilities, continuous heartbreaks and constant dreaming. Breathing heavily Go-Go beats and Wu-Tang competitions. Surviving only on the prayers of my mother and grandmother, because I was too “fearless” to pray on my own. Waking up on Ikea bed frames and $20 burlington coat factor bed-in-a-bag sets. Looking out and seeing daylight through a window with bars whilst slow dancing in a box for a room. Running late to work and sharing many a meal with best friends at restaurants who specialized in processed cooking. Those were the days.
I haven’t written a blog entry in nearly 15 days. There have been so many surprise blessings in these past 26 days of the New Year. My inside’s are overflowing with joy and anxiety all at once.
I have never been so overwhelmed and so excited for life’s possibilities. In these 26 days I have faced more fears head on than ever. Financial and Acting fears, mostly. But with all of these great things happening…I still can’t get passed what I look like in the mirror.
When we started dating….
The mirror and I used to date. She reflected the worst and best in me, but also failed to show me the greatness I had inside. Never quite happy. Sometimes madly in love. Sometimes madly depressed. The mirror and I have been dating since childhood.
I remember the first time when we met. I was wearing a Little Mermaid Bathing suit when I was eight years old. The bathing suit had criss-cross back straps with matching gelly shoes. Mirror complemented me on my eccentric fashion choice. I said thank you and blushed and the rest was history. We have had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least. When I was sixteen, mirror watched me lose over 50 pounds and kept telling me it wasn’t enough. So I stomped out and cheated on her with the scale and both partners became so volatile towards me.
So for many years I avoided mirror, scale and even camera. Refusing to let camera take pictures of me whilst sitting or making a weird pose.
In 2014 I gained weight and have been trying to lose it by going to the gym, working out and TRYING to eat better. In February, as most of you in Chicago know, I will be doing a showcase for BODY/COURAGE for producers/sponsors to attend. It will be on February 16 at 7:30pm at Greenhouse Theatre Center.
I start the show off in a swimsuit, as some of you from the past remember! I am not ready for any of this y’all! At all! I am so terrified to get in a bathing suit in front of all of these important people. I have a paralyzing fear of putting on a bathing suit. I have never cared about wearing crazy outfits on stage before, until now. I have never been this weight before, I am not adjusted to it and I do not like it so I have been working super hard to change it. The thing with weight that gets on my nerves is that I have never been happy. I have lost and gained weight for my entire life. Even though Mirror and I are no longer dating, because I’m married–of course, she still finds ways of creeping up and telling me I am not worthy.
My questions to you all are: how do you become at peace with a body that is always in transition? How do you truly accept and get peace of mind? How do you look at the body you are currently hating, with love?
My mom almost brought me to tears a couple of weeks ago. I was having a moment of weakness after coming from swim class. She said “look at everything we have been through. Everything we have survived. Stop going on the scale! You are blessed and anointed and people love this play. Keep remembering you are amazing at all sizes.”
I had to learn to look past the mirror. I had to learn to fight the mirror with love. I looked in the mirror and said: “Body I am going to love you through transition.” This is the hardest step.
Body/Courage is having the bravery and grit to move past what you look like and to relish in all of life’s possibilities. We have these thoughts of how we see ourselves and how other people view us. It takes courage to turn the constant hamster wheel of disapproval off. It takes courage to look in the mirror and say everything is going to be alright. It takes courage to hold your health accountable. It takes courage to not let your past body image demons infiltrate your future. Even in the midst of gaining weight…I am still working on being the best me. It takes courage to be unafraid.
I hope someone will see this post and know they are not alone. We are all in this together. Send up the prayers and good thoughts for me y’all as I go into this insanely amazing busy time! I am so excited for what this year has in store and I cannot wait to share all of the details : )