Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hurts & Healing

Wow, posting 2 days in a row!   Yay me!
Not that it'll happen again in the forseeable future...
I was just over at iVillage reading Leslie's post about "Sex and the City" and body image.  (Not commenting on it, since, apparently, iVillage has decided I'm not worthy.  Or maybe it's a technical glitch.  Either way, I have contacted them and am awaiting a solution. And trying to get over this taking everything personally stuff!) And it made me think about one episode, in which Charlotte tried to set Stanford (Willie Garson, whom I used to see on the treadmill next to me at the Hollywood Y, and is just as adorable in person as he is on screen.  No that I spoke to him or anything.  Hard to do when you're GASPING FOR BREATH, lol!  I also saw Jeremy Sisto there, quite handsome and VERY tall!  And they both seem very nice, as well) up on a date with Anthony (Mario Cantone, whom I've never seen in person).  Well, she introduces them, and Anthony is quite rude, making disparaging remarks about Stanford's physicality.  A year later, Stanford has a young, hot boyfriend, and tries to rub it in Anthony's face, as he's still feeling the sting of rejection.
We were still in L.A at the time, and BOY HOWDY did I relate to Stanford!  'Cause, as I've mentioned, living in L.A. is like being in high school again, except with emotionally stunted people who have the power to give you a job or reject you completely (we all know which category I fell into). 
And it isn't just in the entertainment business.  In L.A., you must meet a certain hotness quotient in order to be considered a worthy human being.  This goes for men and women, although, if you're a male, you can make up for lack of hotness with bundles of cash and a snazzy car.  Not so for women.  (See? High school.)  (The REALLY sad part is that many young men will blow all their cash to rent a sports car for the weekend.  The problem is, they meet a hot [and extremely shallow] young woman at a club, buy her drinks, impress her with the flashy car, then have to take her home to their dumpy one-bedroom apartment that they share with 6 other guys, which kinda ruins the illusion so, really, what's the point?)
In high school I went on maybe 5 dates, all of which were set up for me by well-meaning friends. I had my first 2 boyfriends in college, and they were not exactly deep, long-lasting relationships (hey, it was college!). My only REAL relationship is the one I'm in now, which is A-OK with me but made for some harrowing (and lonely) times in my teens and early 20's.  Suffice to say that for a LONG time, I did not see myself as being "worthy" of a boyfriend.  Which translated to not being "worthy" as a person once we hit L.A.  I was the one who was ignored while a guy hit on my hot friends.  The guys would literally step between us, turn their backs on me, and chat up my friends. Yes, I was already in my relationship, but STILL!  That was just plain rude and it HURT!!!!! (My friends, bless them, would step around the guys and, very nicely, send them on their way.)
Of course, it took me a long time to realize that the popular kids (whether in high school or Hollywood) acted the way they did out of their own securities.  After all, if you truly believe that people only like you because of the way you look, how neurotic and insecure will you become?  People disparage actresses all the time for their neuroses, but how can they possibly be any other way?  When you are lauded for things you have zero control over, i.e. youth and beauty, you will naturally be insecure.  Who will love you when you have a bad breakout?  When you turn (gasp!) 40?  When you get those laugh lines and worry wrinkles? When the tabloids start plastering pictures of you with less-than-perfect skin and body (like they just did to Catherine Zeta Jones, of all people!) and "entertainment news" shows do hard-hitting stories like "Stars With Cellulite" and there you are, up close and personal on TV screens all over the world?
Hollywood was once the Land of Illusion.  Now it's the Land of Delusion.  They create stars who have been nipped and tucked, photoshopped and airbrushed beyond recognition (see today's post on The Great Fitness Experiment), and we are all supposed to emulate them.  Not even the stars themselves look the way they do on screen or in magazines!

So what do we do?  For me it's getting out of L.A., focusing on my family, and doing things like going to therapy and this online retreat.  I will NEVER be Angelina Jolie and you know what?  I REALLY don't wanna be! I'm quite happy being ME, warts and all.
My hope is that we will finally be able to cut through the Hollywood/Madison Avenue/Fashion magazine crap and see it for what it really is.  Maybe we'll eventually get sick of watching the Lindseys and Britneys and Parises of the world, young women who come close to complete self-destruction.  Maybe we can teach our kids that that is NOT a role model, that fame at any cost is NOT a goal, and that being hot is not the be-all, end-all. That maybe, just maybe, kindness, intelligence (which comes in MANY forms), and generosity are qualities to strive for.
Hey, it COULD happen!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What the Hades?!?!?!?!

Warning: this post contains whining, grousing, complaining, and kvetching.
Not necessarily in that order.

Because yesterday was just one of THOSE days.  I had a horrible time in my voiceover class (one of those days when you wonder if you are on the wrong track, if you're wasting your time and money and should just quit before you completely humiliate and/or want to kill yourself), nearly got hit (with my son in the car) by an idiot truck driver who then blamed ME ('cause, yeah, I FORCED him to cut across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic and nearly plow into my minivan!) and proceeded to get into an profanity-laced shouting match with him. My pants were tight, my kids were cranky, Hubby was at school, and it's nearly June AND IT'S STILL COLD AND RAINING!!!!!!!!!!
And then Evan DIDN'T win "Dancing With the Stars!"  OK, I kinda knew Nicole would win, 'cause she's a pretty amazing dancer, but Evan is just so darn cute, and he had to take all that flak from the Russian dude when he won the Gold in Vancouver, and he was really classy about it. Plus he's REALLY tall and, unlike me, not even a little bit klutzy.

But, on a GREAT note, I signed up for Geneen Roth's online "Women Food and G-d" retreat.  Because I NEED it!!!!!!  And last night was our first meeting, which I was able to access online. I think I'm FINALLY starting to understand that it's NOT "mind over matter."  In fact, it's kinda the opposite.  For a long time I have tried to force my brain to think differently so that I could behave differently, but sometimes you just have to pay attention to what's happening from the neck down and tell the brain to hush up for a bit.
I've also started reading "A Course In Miracles" and "A Return to Love," which is a primer on "Miracles."  I think it'll be easier to read "Love" first, because "Miracles" is pretty intense.  It's like the difference between seeing a Shakespeare play and reading it. (Shakespeare never intended for his plays to be read, just seen.  And all that symbolism and hidden meaning we were taught to look for in high school?  DOESN'T EXIST!!!!)
(Favorite quote regarding "Hamlet":
Reporter (to John Barrymore): So, did Hamlet ever sleep with his mother?"
Barrymore: "Only in the Chicago company."  Heeee!) 

Anyway, there are, apparently, quite a few people taking part in this retreat (over 500, I believe), from all over the country and possibly the world.  It's pretty amazing to know that one is not alone; that I'm not the only person who has these crazy thoughts, this lifelong battle with her brain and body, or is afraid that I'll be the ONE person the program won't work for!
We also have a couple of assignments each week (laid out in the book).  Once a day, try to eat only when we're hungry.  Also once a day, look at all the things we DO have.
Some things she said that stand out for me (Not direct quotes, my brain doesn't work that way):

We are alive.  We have legs and arms and bodies.  Think of the 350,000 people who died today who DON'T have that.  They would give anything to be able to see their loved ones for just one more second; to feel and smell and touch.  We can do ALL that.

Make a commitment.  But don't berate yourself if you don't do it 100%.

We have turned to food up until now because up until know we have done the best we can.

And from Marianne Williamson:  We tend to blame our parents for everything.  But often the things our parents did "wrong" don't come close to the abuse we heap upon ourselves.

Some things to think about.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shout Out to "Ride A Wave!"

I think I've posted in the past about Surfer's Healing, a group of professional surfers who travel around the country and take kids with Autism out surfing for a day.  Our kids did this 4 years ago, when LG was (almost) 5 and WG was 2 1/2.  (She was so small that when they put the life jacket on her she fell over!)
Well, there's another group called Ride A Wave that does something similar, but they also throw in boogie boards and kayaks.  And yesterday WG, through her school, got to participate. So at 8:45 AM we packed WG, LG, my S-I-L, my M-I-L, and a bunch of towels, snacks, bottles of water, etc. into the van and drove for an hour down to Snata Cruz. (Hubby couldn't come because he was taking the California firefighters skills test, in which he had 10.5 minutes to drag a 160 pond person a certain number of feet, break through a wall with a sledghammer, and a bunch of other stuff while wearing a 50-pound weighted vest.  He also had to walk up and down stairs for 3 minutes with an additional 15 pounds added (this was within the 10.5 minutes). And...
HE PASSED!!!!!!   With 1.5 minutes to spare!!!!!!!
Meanwhile, back at the beach, I stayed with WG and her Beach Buddy while S-I-L and M-I-L hung out with LG.  He was LOVING IT!!!! He ran around, played in the (Freezin' Freakin' Cold!) water, and even played with some other kids a bit!
And WG? Well, she was a PRO!!!!!! She put her her wetsuit, life jacket and helmet on with no complaints (OK, yes, we put them on her), went immediately into the FFC (see above) water, and rode the boogie board (with help) like Lard Hamilton!  Then, after playing in the wet sand for a bit, she went into the ocean kayak and LOVED IT!!!! (The fellow who went with her said "She was so happy!  It made my day!"  Gotta love THAT!)
By then it was lunchtime, so we peeled off the top off her wetsuit so she could warm up.  A couple of her teachers were there, so they came by to hang out and admire her pink polka dot bikini.  She ate pizza (provided by the RAW folks), played in the sand, and then it was time to go.  We drove home, showed hubby the pictures and movies we took, bathed the kids, and hung out for the rest of the day, which included a brand new episode of "Doctor Who," as well as some Chinese take-out.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Beautiful Saturday!
Maybe I can get hubby to help me post some of the pics here.
And I just wan to say THANK YOU to all the folks at Ride A Wave!  What you do is AMAZING!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Feeling Better

I think getting all that stuff out in the last post was very helpful! You always hear that it's unhealthy to bottle up your emotions, and I think it's SO true!  Of course, that doesn't mean I should scream and yell and throw things, but there's a happy medium between the two.
Like journaling and/or blogging about it!

An interesting thing happened over the weekend.  Even though I'm still carting around 5 pounds of water weight due to That Time Of The Month ("I enjoy being a girl"  NO I DO NOT!!!!), I feel lighter.  There are a few things I can attribute this to.  On Saturday night, after a highly enjoyable day and a nice evening walk with Hubby and the kids through downtown Palo Alto (and playing with the iPad at the Apple store.  Don't laugh, it was the most crowded spot on the strip!  We're hardly the ONLY geeks!), I went to bed feeling bloated, yucky, and miserable.  And y'know what?  I told my husband about it.  I told him my fears about, well, everything I wrote in the last entry.  And he stroked my hair and told me I was beautiful and that he loved me and I felt...better.  Because he meant it.  And in the morning, the kids came into our room and snuggled with me on the bed.  They don't care what I weigh.  And I came downstairs and the dog started wagging her tail when she saw me.  SHE doesn't care what I weigh, either!
I also told myself that I was going to take care of ME.  I avoided bread and pasta yesterday, not just because I think it will help me lose weight, but to see it I would feel better.  And y'know what?  I did.  I DO! I paid very careful attention to what and how much I ate, instead of just shoveling it down.  I also went to a GREAT yoga class!  At a fairly new studio that has NO MIRRORS! I LOVE that!  Usually when I'm taking a class I'm looking at myself and disparaging my fat.  But because I can't see myself, I'm actually focused on the poses and how they FEEL.
Huh.  What a concept!
I'm also realizing that, aside from the free class I'm teaching my kids' therapists, I don't really want to teach yoga right now.  I want to be a student, to let other people, who are much more knowledgeable than I am, teach me. To really take my time and LEARN. Because I think yoga, both the physical practice and the philosophy, is going to play a huge role in my life from now on, and I don't want to just skim the surface.  People spend their lives studying and living the principles, and I want that.  I feel like I'm a preschooler when it comes to yoga.  I used to feel I wasn't ready to teach because I hadn't "mastered" the asanas.  Now I realize how much I didn't, and don't, know.
For example, what does non-violence mean?  Isn't it different for everyone?  I mean, sure, not killing people is a good start.  But does it necessarily mean veganism?  For some, yes.  For others, not so much. For me, it means trying to find basic humanity, even in people who are monsters (who DO kill and hurt others) or are simply annoying (*cough-cable news-TMZ-cough*).
And empathy.  A few weeks ago I saw an interview with Carl Rove.  Now, let me just say, I am NOT a fan. In fact,  before this interview, I was convinced that he was Evil Personified. But then he talked about his mom committing suicide, and suddenly he wasn't the Anti-Christ, he was simply a man.  One who has suffered and is deeply flawed.  And I sat for a while afterward, marveling at how I could feel so much empathy for this man, whom I see as having done so much to hurt so many. Does it make me better than him?  No.  But it makes me a better person than I had been a few minutes earlier.  It makes me start to see the kind of people that maybe G-d intends for us to be.
See, I don't think we are here simply to suffer and get into Heaven.  I think G-d wants more for and from us than that.  I believe that He loves us more than we, as puny little humans, can possibly comprehend.  Maybe if we take the love we feel for our kids and multiply it by a few billion we can get an inkling. His love and compassion are infinite. I, like many others, have asked why He lets such suffering exist.  Perhaps it's because WE let it exist!
There comes a time, as a parent, when we have to let our kids make their own mistakes.  When we have to stop running to the rescue and let them pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and discover their own strength.  And it is SO HARD! But we do it.
And if G-d is the Ultimate Parent, isn't that what He (or She!) is doing?
G-d isn't the one bringing the pain, WE are!  And we blame Him.  And because He is, well, G-d, he doesn't get all angry and defensive and start flipping tables over in restaurants.  He lets us.  He takes what we dish out.  Because He loves us, and He knows that, eventually, either in this life or the next, we will know better.

I know that not everyone believes in G-d, and that's OK!  And we certainly don't all believe in the same way, or even in the same things.  I hope that everyone who reads this will feel welcome.  Personally, I don't think there is any One True Belief.  Non-believers?  OK by me! Christian, Jewish, Muslim,Wiccan, Sikh, Bhuddist, Pagan, all A-OK in my book!
We all share this planet for the brief time we're here.  Isn't it kinda ridiculous to spend that time arguing over who is "right" and who is "wrong?"  Can't we just be good neighbors?
There is a passage by the late, great, sorely-missed Douglas Adams in one of his "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books, in which he talks about the people of Earth at a specific point in time: approximately 2,000 years after "they nailed a fellow to a tree for suggesting they be nice to one another."  In other words, us.  Now.
And sometimes, yes, it IS that simple, if we put our pride on the back-burner and see the basic humanity in all of us. 
Do I have hope that we, as the dwellers of this planet, will reach that point?  Honestly, I really don't.  If anything, we seem to be getting WORSE.  But I have hope that I can, and I am the only person I have any control over.
To quote another favorite writer, "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me."  (U2, "Rejoice.")

(Plus, I highly doubt that those who reach enlightenment worry overmuch about the size of their thighs!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tired of It

Sometimes I get so sick of analyzing everything.  When I was a kid I took drama lessons and we had to analyze our script, our feelings, create character biographies, and on and on.  This continued as I became a professional.  But it was all in service of The Art.  Eventually I got so tired of it all that I quit.
On and off throughout my life I have been in therapy.  A lot of good has come out of it.  I started therapy again a couple of years ago, and I think this may be the best of it.  I have every intention of continuing.  In fact, I recently began looking into training as a drama therapist. I'm not gonna do it right now, but maybe someday.
The thing is, sometimes I just don't WANT to look into everything all the time!!!! I don't want to know WHY I'm feeling angry, or why I started to cry this morning, or whatever.  Sometimes I wanna just BE.
And truthfully?  Right now I am sick to death of the "Love my body" idea!  Yes, I appreciate that I am alive, that I can walk and run and hug my kids and walk the dog and all of it, but y'know what?  I'm also sick and tired of buying clothes in larger and larger sizes!  I'm tired of being the Fat Pilates Teacher! I'm tired of not being able to run as far as I used to be, and of getting breathless more easily!  I'm tired of sitting down and feeling my belly roll up into my lap. I hate knowing that I can't even just suck it in anymore, 'cause it's all over my body: my arms, my legs, my belly, everything has gotten so BIG!  I feel like a stranger in my own skin!
I'm not gonna starve myself.  I'm not gonna work out 4 hours a day.  I'm not trying to get a "bikini body," whatever the hell that is.  I'm just trying to get MY body back!
This is not about hating fat people.  I don't.  In fact, this is not about ANYONE ELSE BUT ME!!!!  I have THE RIGHT to feel this way!  I am SO f&^*ing tired of trying to be so f^&%ing POSITIVE all the time!!!!!  Of trying to never offend anyone, of putting MYSELF on the back burner because EVERYONE ELSE is SO much more important!!!
Well, y'know what?  If you come upon this entry in this blog and you're offended?  TOO BAD!!!!! I'm assuming you're an adult, so you can just put on your big girl panties and deal with it!  I am so f^&%ing tired of walking around on eggshells.  This is MY blog, these are MY thoughts, and if you don't like 'em, you are free to leave.
And if you want to comment, go right ahead.  Do your worst.  I can take it, I'm a big girl.  And you have the right to feel however YOU feel!!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yoga, Disco Abs, and Feeling Angry and Superior

Everyone is an idiot except for me.  OK, everyone above the age of 15.  And even some of them.
THIS is my body on PMS without the Zoloft.  I must say it hasn't been nearly as bad as I'd expected.  Don't get me wrong, I still snarl at my fellow drivers, screech at the computer, and cry at cat food commercials, but I also have a new sense of smugness.
Yesterday I was pulling out of a parking lot when I saw a fella on a bicycle coming my way.
On the sidewalk. Which is against the municipal codes for the area we were in.
But I figured, hey, he's helping Mother Earth., why not help HIM out, so I put the car in reverse and backed up a bit so he could get by without going on to the street, which is kinda where he's SUPPOSED to be, but still.  He had been preparing to go behind my car, but I thought I'd make it easier on him.  And was feeling pretty darn good, until he gave me a nasty look and a rude hand gesture.  Then I yelled out the window "I was Trying to be NICE!"
The "a$$hole" part was implied.
See, nothing gets me madder faster than people who are rude for no reason. ESPECIALLY when others are trying to HELP THEM!!!!!!  But I also realize that we live in an area that attracts a large number of, well, whackos.  So maybe he's not all there.  Maybe he took some bad LSD in the 60's and it messed him up.  Who knows.  Either, way, I will most likely never see him again, and I get to feel superior.  Sure, I yelled at him and implied that he was no better than someone's back end, but at least I'd made an effort to begin with.
Small victories.  Sometimes you just gotta take 'em where you can.
In other news, I taught my first-ever yoga class the other night.  I was REALLY nervous, but it was fun!  It was also nice, because the three participants are people I know (including my S-I-L!).  It was at the offices of the company that gave my kids their in-home therapy, so we all know each other very well.  It was low-key and cool.
I'm also taking more classes at different studios around town.  I can try different teachers and different methods AND, for now at least, take advantage of all the new-student offers!
Finally, because of Zumba, I have been feeling brave enough to try different dance-based workouts. In the relative safety of my own home.  The other day I turned on the On Demand feature of the cable box and tried Cheryl Burke's (she of "Dancing With the Stars") "Disco Abs."  It's basically dancing to ORIGINAL disco hits, with lots of hip-swinging, gyrating, finger-pointing a la "Saturday Night Fever", and it's FUN!
Although it would have been a little easier without my six year-old on my back.
Which is why I'm doing it again , today, THIS MORNING, while the kids are in school.

Finally, I am hoping to scroungs together enough money for more Pilates teacher training.  There is a 3 month (weekends only) intensive training course coming up in the Fall, and I want to be there.  I want to re-train for Mat, but also for all the other equipment you'll find in studios, as well as anatomy, working with athletes, pre and post-natal, seniors, etc.  My goal is to work in a studio.  Not that I don't enjoy my classes at the gyms, I do!  And I will continue to teach those as long as I can. But I think, at this point, working one-on-one and in small groups will be more my speed.  I also don't want to have to obsess over how many people are in my classes, whether I will LOSE my classes, and giving people a hard sell.  I am a TERRIBLE salesperson! I figure there will (hopefully!) be less of that in a studio environment.  I'd also like to work with folks who are coming off an injury or surgery.  There's definitely less of a "go for the burn" vibe there, lol!
And maybe, someday, we can buy a house in which I could set up my own little studio!
Ya never know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In a Flash

By now I'm sure you've heard the amazing story that happened in these parts yesterday: Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game, only the 19th player ever to do so in Major League baseball.  We were listening to it on the radio as we drove to Golden Gate Park.
What makes it even more special is that it could not have happened for a nicer guy, in better circumstances.  He is from Stockton, an are in the East Bay that is about an hour's drive from Oakland.  He grew up there.  It's not a easy place to live; there is poverty, there's intense heat, and there's crime.  But there are also many families, dogs, neighborhood stores, and parks.  It took a huge hit when the housing market crashed, and another when the job market followed.  There a re a lot of unemployed folks there now, many who have already lost their homes.  Dallas Braden could have moved away, but he didn't.  He stayed, and he organizes things like food drives to help people in the community.  And yesterday, for the first time, they had a "209 Special" at the Oakland Coliseum: 209 is the area code for Stockton.  Anyone from Stockton who came to the game got 1/2-price tickets and was seated in section 209 to cheer on their hometown guy.
Mother's Day has been difficult for Braden; his own mom passed away from cancer while he was in high school.  His grandmother took over from there, and she was at the game yesterday.  After he pitched the no-hitter, he ran over to her, kissed his mother's wedding ring (which he wears on a chain around his neck), and held his grandmother while they both cried.  Then he looked at her and said "Let's go eat!"
How can you not love a guy like that?

You may also have heard some tragic news from Friday, when a rock climber in Yosemite fell 300 feet and died.  Unfortunately, he did not die instantly.
My husband and our friend often travel to Yosemite to climb Well, our friend went this weekend, and he was the second person on the scene after the climber fell. He performed CPR until the rangers and a nurse arrived, but they were unable to sane the man, whose name is Brian Ellis.  He is from Santa Monica, CA (near L.A) and was 35 years old. Apparently he was rappelling down the cliff when the knot he'd tied slipped through the carabiner, which led to his fall.
Our friend was scoping out the area he wanted to climb when he heard a scream and a crash.  Brian was still conscious when he arrived, but barely. I won't go into details, but obviously there was massive trauma, and our friend and the others had to move him from where he'd fallen onto flat ground. There was a lot of blood, and our friend is pretty traumatized.  And my husband is trying to help him any way he can.
I can only send out prayers for everyone involved.  For Brian's family, especially his mom, and his friends.  For all the people who tried to help.  For our friend, and his wife and their kids.  Everyone in he climbing community has been touched by this, of course.  I understand that this Saturday there will be a vigil near where it happened.

It kind of puts things into perspective, too.  It's harder to get upset by little things when we remember that we are so fragile.  Whether it's a huge tragedy, like 911, or a smaller one, like this one, or a triumph tinged with sadness, like Dallas Braden's perfect game. I suppose we can get caught up in the what-ifs and the worries, but we can also remember to love, to hug, to sit quietly, and to laugh or cry, whichever feels right.

Rest in peace, Brian.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Lightbulbs, and Stuff to Geek Out Over (You might want to get a snack and some water, this is a long one!)

Yesterday in my voiceover class I had a lightbulb moment, or an "A-ha" moment, or whatever you want to call it.  I made a BIG discovery about myself.
Despite the fact that I was a stage actor for so many years, took hundreds of dance and movement and stage combat classes, have been working out regularly since high school (thank you, Jane Fonda!  Yes, we've already established that I'm old, shut up), do yoga on a regular basis and freakin' teach Pilates, I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, DISCONNECTED FROM MY BODY. Not as much as, say, a programmer at Apple (you have to wonder why those guys and gals don't have heads that are 3 times bigger than the rest of their bodies), but enough that is may well be one of the root causes of all my distress.
I went up to practice a voiceover at the mic.  As usual, once I got out of my brain, released my death grip on the podium, and started moving around a bit (in this case, wiggling my hips around and, yes, it absolutely works), I started relaxing and HAVING FUN with the material!
And it made me realize that the times on stage when I enjoyed what I was doing were the times when I could just let go, be physical, and relax.  The times when I DREADED going on stage were when I was stiff, unsure, self-conscious.  And, not coincidentally, I also sucked eggs in those roles. ( Not literally.)  For a long time I thought that I could only get really physical in roles that demanded it, usually comedic ones that had me sprinting all over the stage (and gulping down huge quantities of water backstage, which led to much having to pee during my offstage time, as well.  But that's another post.)  But what of the roles that required me to be still?  To dig in and find the "quieter" emotions?  I had trouble with those.  But not always, as sometimes being still is the fastest route to accessing said emotions.  And being connected physically DOESN'T necessarily mean running around like a maniac, climbing trees (yes, literally; the stage was outdoors), jumping up and down, enunciating to the back row.  Sometimes you stand right in front of a microphone, feet planted, practically whispering.  But you still need to be IN your body!
And it hit me like, as my friend Tom would say, a Cosmic "Duh!"  Maybe all that discomfort wasn't just about being unsure onstage.  Maybe-HELLO!- that discomfort came from the place deep inside that was constantly ashamed.  Because, as I've written before, I can barely remember a time when I wasn't ashamed of my body.  When I didn't have huge, crippling body issues. Maybe the reason I was drawn to drama and dance classes as a kid was because a part of me and/or someone, somewhere Up There was trying to help me tap into those insecurities and overcome them. But I never recognized it.  Because when your a kid, especially a teen, and you have a less-than-perfect body (even if that's just your perception), there is even more shame and more self-consciousness. And being a woman in Hollywood?!?! FORGET IT!!!!  Having a single extra ounce of fat on your body is cause for the kind of punishment and derision usually reserved for suntanned women in Iran. (Huh.  No wonder there are so many earthquakes in southern California:  It's all those scantily-clad women!)  In fact, our entire culture ENCOURAGES us to be disconnected!  We see the body, especially a woman's body, as a commodity, something that does not belong to her but to everyone else.  Something to be used to sell all kinds of stuff, or to be picked apart and criticized or envied, to be used to attract a provider, etc. We also see bodies as the messengers of evil thoughts and feelings: Stomach growling?  Ignore it!  It wants you to EAT SOMETHING, and if you do, you'll get FAT and no man will ever want you! You'll die alone, in the gutter, surrounded by cats! Wait, you're full?  But you still  have food on your plate!  Think of all the starving people in the world and finish up, you spoiled brat!  Are you feeling aroused?!?! Shame on you!  That's only for MEN!  Are you feeling PROUD of yourself?  You evil, conceited bitch!

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Even as teach my classes or, heck, TAKE classes, I find myself comparing my body to others'.  Sometimes I wonder if people passing by as I teach cannot possibly believe that I'M the instructor.  How could I be?  I'm WAAAAY too fat!  What could I know about fitness?
And then we wonder why so many fitness instructors have EDs and over-exercise.  (Um, 'cause their jobs depend on it?)

Who was it who said "The unexamined life isn't worth living?"  Was it Kierkegaard? No, sorry, Socrates.  Well, he must be spinning in his grave these days, 'cause not only are we living unexamined lives, we're being REWARDED for it!  The more unexamined, the better!  (Yes, I'm talking to you, Real Housewives of wherever you live, folks in "The Hills," etc. etc.  And no, self-involved is NOT the same as self-aware!)
Well, I choose to NOT be unaware and disconnected anymore.  This morning I practiced mindful eating over a bowl of Cheerios.  This is something I've avoided for YEARS. (Mindful eating, not Cheerios.  As far as I know, I have no Cheerio-related issues.  Well, except for the fact that Chocolate Cheerios look disgusting and I don't believe that they are actually healthy.) But it's something I realized last night, as I was reading one of my yoga books, that I NEED to do. Not just for my weight but for my sanity.  After all, THIS is what Intuitive Eating, non-dieing, all of it boils down to; being at peace with MYSELF.  I think Geneen Roth is ABSOLUTELY spot-on when she says that our food issues are NOT the actual issues, but can light a path to the REAL ones.  So, after years of futile resistance, and with the help of a great therapist, I am finally ready to face them. (Sometimes literally: she has an exercise where I imagine I'm seated opposite one of my issues and we have a conversation.  It's effective and kinda fun, too!)
And you know what?  I don't think I would have had any of these insights if it weren't for the weight gain!  That is what got me started on all of this to begin with.  Some say there is a reason for everything; I don't know if I believe the EVERYTHING part, but there are definitely reasons for MUCH of what occurs in our lives, and now I actually think I'm grateful for the weight.  Because it has opened my eyes to so much!!!!!!!
WOW!  Talk about a light bulb!  And an energy-saving, environmentally-friendly one at that!

And just to wrap up (finally!), What am I geeking out over?  Well, the gym where I work has ordered Pilates jump boards and towers!  I've been hoping for a long time to get the jump boards!  You can add cardio to reformer classes, and it SO FUN!!!!!!  It's like jumping on a trampoline while lying down!  You can jump around, get your heart rate up, and do ZERO damage to your joints.  And the tower just adds more variety.  I'm SO EXCITED!!!!!!!  I haven't been this psyched since the new season of "Doctor Who" started!  (Although I miss David Tennant, Matt Smith Rocks!)

And, oh man, I'm even more of a geek that I realized.