Sep 202017
 

some•day

adverb

at some time in the future. one of these days, at a future date, sooner or later

 

What if you wake up tomorrow and it is SOMEDAY?  What do you want to do?  Who do you want to call?  Who do you want to write? What do you want to eat?  Where do you want to go? What do you want to say?

The last thing my very dear childhood friend Michael said to me was, “Maybe someday I will just drop by…Hee Hee” He passed away shortly after that message to me 2 years ago.  I still fantasize that he will just drop by.  I still look for him everywhere I go.  I still check my messenger to see if maybe, just maybe, he has read my messages back to him and he isn’t really gone.

Facebook is notorious for reminding you of the “somedays” you have missed.  Facebook still reminds me to ask another friend of mine, who passed away a couple of years ago, to play a particular game with me.  Or it will say, “your friend Bob plays this game” Really?  He’s playing a game on FB?! Why hasn’t he called?! I want to play ALL of these games with him.  I want to call him and talk about games like we used to.  I want to talk to him about everything!  But I can’t.

Then, the other day, Cat Oake, who I had met in person only a handful of times but had her in my sphere of life for close to 20 years, and considered her a friend, passed away suddenly.  (Isn’t that an odd term…saying someone “passed away suddenly”  Isn’t it always “sudden”?  Even when it’s “expected” it’s still sudden.  It’s just the end.) I am reminded of all the things I didn’t say to her but wanted to.  I am reminded of all the times I won’t have with her.  I am reminded of all the times she won’t have.  I am reminded of how much she meant to so many.  I am also reminded of her remarkable legacy and the difference she made in so many people’s lives – the difference she will continue to make!

Think about it.  What are you waiting for?  Who do you want to call?  What are you putting off doing?  Who needs to hear from you?  What’s on your “someday” list?  Who do you need to forgive? Who needs an apology? Don’t wait – because SOMEDAY is always RIGHT NOW and so is SUDDENLY.

Not a Headless Fatty

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on Not a Headless Fatty
Jul 012015
 

not_headless

Why is it still okay to make fun of fat people?  And, why am I shocked that it is still so prevalent?

A father of a friend of mine, who happens to be a Facebook friend, posted a scathing article about flying next to a fat person.  He then commented about the horror of sitting in your seat watching a fat person approach and that feeling of pleading that they don’t sit next to him.  It was a terrible article and an even nastier comment.  Rather than call him out publicly, I sent him a private message.  In that message, I explained that I am that person.  I am the fat woman squeezing down the aisle of the plane.  I am the person who is nervous that I am not going to have enough room and more importantly, I am the person who is concerned about disturbing someone else.  I wanted to let him know that the person walking towards him has feelings and underneath their size has a heart that’s breaking.  I wanted to give the headless fat person a face.

The other day, I was figuratively punched in the gut when, I was poking around Facebook.  Someone had posted a video of a fat woman wriggling into a pair of jeans.  She was, of course, headless and faceless (as most fat people are when they are being “exposed” like they are on the news or in the “don’t” section of fashion magazines.)  As I watched the video a couple of things came to mind.  First, I thought it was amazing how she was able to maneuver herself into pants that were clearly too small.  Second, I thought, “that could almost be me…but I think I may be larger…”  Then, mistakenly, I read the comments.  Why was I shocked at how heartless and cruel the comments were? me_pool

The comments section, on most posts, is for people who don’t have the courage to say things in life.  The comment section tends to bring out the absolute worst in people.

So, here I am sitting in my house reading that my “friend” finds this woman disgusting and is laughing about it and saying, “Ewwww.”   I am left with two questions, “Is she disgusted by me? “ and “Why am I friends with this person?!”

I personally have been oinked at while walking in a mall.  I have had people yell pejoratives to me out of car windows.  Often times, in stores and in restaurants I will find people staring at me and giving me the up and down look as if I can’t see them.

Statistics show that of overweight teens (and I loathe the term overweight as it implies a correct weight and someone is over that weight…) 24% of boys and 30% of girls are subject to some sort of bullying because of their size.  I have seen some statistics that show upwards of 60% of elementary school kids are more likely to be teased because of their size.  There have also been an alarming number of childhood suicides because of this horrible practice.  How many fat kids have to kill themselves before we stop?

Why do we continue to tell fat people that they need to change when we don’t tell the bullies to?

Maybe instead of the War on Obesity we should have a War on Hate.  Maybe we should just stop waging war altogether.

Unlike what the news portrays, people of size do have heads and faces and hearts.  So, stop making fun of us.  Stop judging us.  Just stop it!!

Jul 252011
 

I have tried to write a blog about this a couple of times over the past couple of months.  What I ended up with was a bunch of half finished ramblings that I just couldn’t complete.  (Honestly, this one has been sitting in my drafts for weeks…)

I have been having a bit of an identity crisis.  It started at the end of last summer.  My husband and I both came to the same conclusion at the same time that we needed to overhaul how we were eating.  For me, it wasn’t about weight loss.  As you know, or most of you know, or those who have read my blog or have seen me on TV etc. etc. know, I am perfectly happy being a big woman.  However, how we were eating wasn’t nurturing or providing good fuel for our bodies.  It was, “yummy, this tastes great…why do I feel so crappy food…”  We had done low-carb in the past and had felt great.  Like my doctor has said to me about low-carb eating,  and I’m paraphrasing, “It’s a great way to eat but it’s hard to sustain as a lifestyle.”  And, he’s right!

I have written about the litany of diets I had been on in my life…all stemming from the disdain I had for my body.  The difficulty I had growing up feeling like I didn’t fit in.  The pain and anguish I felt from being different and teased etc.  And, believe me, I am so fortunate!  I didn’t have it nearly as bad as so many people have and do.  There was always this feeling that there was something wrong with me that I needed to fix. I was reminded all the time by family and society that I needed to lose weight in order  to: buy clothes, have a man, have friends, be happy, get a job, etc. etc.

When I was on Oprah years ago discussing being fat the producers had asked me to gather some pictures of me from my childhood and to also go through my journals for pertinent entries (read, high rating nuggets) from growing up.  Here’s what I discovered.  First, I wasn’t that fat.  I really wasn’t.  Certainly, I was plump but I wasn’t FAT.  Secondly, from my journals, I was ALWAYS on a diet – I would talk about the diet being hard and that it was going to “work” this time or I would be beating myself up for “cheating.”  So, so sad!!  I was miserable and lonely and sad.  Oh, and I was totally in love with Scott Baio!

Not to tell the same stories over and over again.  But you know about the epiphany I had before moving to LA.  When I realized it was time to stop hating my body and punishing my body for not being how I thought it should be or rather, how society thought it should be, and start loving it.  I have talked about it in my one-woman show. I have talked about it in magazines.  It’s a story I tell.  Suffice it to say, it was like, ENOUGH!!  No more yo-yo dieting for the sake of dieting.  No more making myself wrong for being who and what I am.

Since that time there have been ups and downs in my weight.  Certainly, I lied on Oprah.  Funny, I think we all did.  There were 4 women on the show and I don’t believe any of us told the truth about our weight.  Which is funny.  At least for me it is, I can’t speak for them.  But I will happily tell you how much I weigh but please don’t ask me my age.  I hate lying 🙂

me_aug_2010

August 2010

Jump to last summer.  I had been in the dumps all summer.  It started around my birthday, June 1, 2010 and it rapidly spread throughout the summer.  So, by August I was miserable.  My husband had some family visiting from the UK and we snapped some pics the day they were leaving.  We had gone to breakfast where I had eaten every buttermilk biscuit the restaurant had slathered with butter and homemade jam and then gone outside to snap some photos before they headed to the airport.  As soon as I downloaded the pictures I was shocked.  I looked ill.  I looked like someone had inflated me and then rubbed my face until it was all shiny.  It wasn’t my size that made me look bad…it was that I clearly hadn’t been taking care of myself.  Honestly, at that point I weighed 30 pounds less than I had on Oprah years earlier and I looked awful.  Clearly it wasn’t the weight…

With that, my husband and I decided to start taking care of ourselves.  We decided to eat what was nurturing and what provided fuel.  Now, I am not going to lie.  It has been very rough for me eating low-carb.  I am not a fan of meat.  I always joke that I am one bad piece of bacon away from being a vegetarian again (I was one for 17 years…).  The joke being there is no such thing as a bad piece of bacon.  I believed that until I got really sick from a bad piece of bacon a couple of weeks ago.  I still eat meat…not thrilled about it…but I haven’t eaten bacon since.

It has been 10 months of eating low-carb.  Lots of chicken.  Lots of vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, salads.  Eggs – boiled, scrambled, poached, crustless quiche etc.  We have gone off a couple of times for a planned amount of time.  We were in San Francisco for a week where there was no limit to what we could eat.  I savored a sour dough asiago twist from Acme Bread Company like it was turkish delight.  My husband was in Florida and ate whatever he pleased.  We were in Vegas and the same was true.  But overall we have chosen to eat low-carb like a lifestyle and eating the other way, “the regular way,” as an occasion.

me_july

July 2011

The results have been astounding.  My cholesterol is SUPER good.  My blood sugar is awesome!  My blood pressure was 100/56 at the doctor a month ago.  All crazy good results.  Really!!  I have also lost, as of this morning, 70 pounds on my scale.  I keep reminding myself it isn’t about weight loss.  That is a slippery slope that can only lead to no good.  I know what it’s like to get on and off the scale looking for some kind of affirmation that I am good and have done the right thing.  But if the scale doesn’t move – which it won’t everyday.  And, if the scale moves up that’s okay because it isn’t about that.  It’s about living a healthy life.

Funny though, I have been reminded of the book Thinner by Richard Bachman aka. Stephen King.  As my clothes are getting bigger and bigger and my body is changing I keep wondering when will the weight loss end.  At some point, I would think I would stop losing.  I have no designs on being a thin person.  I know genetically I will never be thin-thin.  I will always have what my mother called “the Brounstein Curse” – Big-Ass Small-Breasts.

I know there will be people who will read this and who will congratulate me on my weight loss.  And, while that will make me crazy (yes, crazier than I already am…) I know they don’t really mean that there was something wrong with me that needed to be fixed. Right?  Gah. We’re programmed funny.

In some places in Africa I would be revered as a Goddess and people would bring me slaughtered goats and milk as offerings to sustain my amazingly beautiful and large body.  I am not heading to Africa any time soon.  So, I will stick with eating well and ignoring all the “you shoulds” and “you shouldn’ts” and the “you look so good…” with the inference being it was a shame about how I used to look but now I look better…  And, when my driver’s license comes due next year I will have to change my weight since for the first time since I got my license I actually weigh less than it says.

Jun 292011
 

Okay, how many blog posts am I going to start and then “Save Draft” only to never finish them?  Yeah, it’s a rhetorical question that has no answer.  I guess there is an answer – MANY. I feel like the word “interesting” is overused when describing life.  And, yet, my life has been filled with interesting events over the past couple of months since I actually posted a blog.

more_than_3I produced my one-woman show, More Than 300 Pounds, in May.  I did a staged reading.  I rented a fabulous theatre space, The Little Victory at The Victory Theatre in Burbank.  I sent out nearly 2,000 postcards to industry people.  I made a real go of it.  This was going to be it!  This was going to be the moment when someone like Judd Apatow or Kevin Smith was going to “discover” me and these last 15 years of trying to bust through were going to be a blip when Jay Leno asks me about my “overnight success.”  It sounds great doesn’t it?!  When I went to the bank and sucked out a HUGE amount of money out of my dwindling savings to produce this show I just knew I was making an investment in my future.  So, when my mom and sister showed up and a friend, who has been my friend since the second grade, and a handful of other friends it ended up being a really expensive exercise in showing my friends and family how great I am.  Out of the nearly 2,000 postcards I sent I received one RSVP from an industry guy who knows my dad.  And, that was that.  My husband has reminded me that it is and was a great thing I did.  I can tell people I did this.  I wrote this.  I produced this.  I…well, you know.  I did it.  Yay ME!  (That and $2.15 will buy me a Vente drip at Starbucks…)

more_than (1)

People say that when life is uncertain that that is the best place to be.  That when you don’t know what’s next you can create new things.  And, being in the midst of it…blah, blah, blah…it can be difficult to kick up your heels and say, “Yippeee, life is uncertain.”

It stands to reason, kind of, that if you know what’s coming then you can’t have it any different.  Of course, that doesn’t really make sense since life really is chaos and  anything can happen at any moment that can derail what you know.  But I like to think at this point in my life, with all the uncertainty and ups and downs, that something exciting and wonderful is coming.  I suppose it really is, “what you make of it.”  So, if it includes asking people if they want their non-fat latte with or without foam, then life is pretty sweet because it’s better than the alternative.

The Wheel of Death

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on The Wheel of Death
Feb 212011
 

I know, I know.   Where have I been?   A friend called me the other day and said, “Do you realize your last blog entry was October 26, 2010!?”   Yes, I know.   I know.

Wheel of DeathJohn and I used to have annual passes to Disneyland.   We would go all the time.   On our first trip we stayed down in Anaheim for a couple of days and spent a lot of time at both Disney and California Adventure.   Having an annual pass gave us the opportunity to go for a couple of hours on a Saturday night just for coffee and the parade and the fabulous people watching that you can only find at Disney, without the pressure of having to get on a ride or making every minute count like you do when you save up and go once every couple of years.   So, on our first trip to California Adventure we enjoyed everything we could together.   I am a bit of chicken when it comes to rides.   Not just because I’m afraid of the ride but because of fitting.   Yes, there are some rides that just won’t accommodate my ample rear end.   (Years ago, I had an experience at Universal Studios where I didn’t fit in the seat on a ride.   I managed to get the seatbelt around me but clearly I didn’t fit in the seat.   The ride took off and I held on for my life during the whole thing.   It scared the crap out of me.   Really, did I want to be a headline?   “Fat woman plunges to her death on a kiddy ride at Universal…Film at 11!”)   So, even if I had a desire to go on California Screamin’, the roller coaster at California Adventure, it is unlikely I would ever attempt to even get into the seat.   What if I didn’t fit?   What if the alarm didn’t go off when the belt didn’t go around me?   Did I really want to die at Disney?   Surely, if I died they would compensate John quietly as only Disney can…     I decided to be a gamer and get on the Ferris wheel at California Adventure.   How scary could it be?

I was feeling brave so I said, “let’s go in one that slides.”   Here’s how it went. We get in the bucket.   I am feeling fine.   I am sitting Lisa_scream2across from John.   I have a water bottle next to me on the seat.   We start to move…slowly.   I feel my heart starting to pound and my hands starting to sweat.   I looked around for something to hold onto.   There was nothing.   I pushed my fingers through the small holes of the cage.   My eyes were wide.   I looked at John terrified…pleading.   Then as we started to rise I said in a shrill voice, “This may not have been such a good idea!!”   Then my water bottle fell over.   John calmly said, “Honey, we are going to slide now.”   At that moment the bucket slid backwards and we started to swing. I started to shriek and scream like only someone in a horror movie could.   It was a lifetime until we finished the revolution.   They stopped the ride and let us off.   As I stepped off I said to John, “Do you think they know it was me?”   I am pretty sure they have a picture of me in the operator’s box with a big red circle with a line through my face.   For full disclosure, they have a picture like that of me over at Splash Mountain at Disneyland too.

Why bring up the Wheel of Death now?   Because lately that’s a bit how life feels.   Not bad.   Nothing that’s going to kill me.   Definitely some excitement and some fear and some joy and some uncertainty all wrapped up with a “Have Disney Day” smile.

Oct 262010
 

Today is October 25th, the anniversary of the day I broke up with an ex-boyfriend and tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I finally met my husband in person.  Dates are funny.  Not in a magical way.  Dates are like smells in the memories they invoke.  I remember the day I broke up with my ex-boyfriend distinctly.  It was a Sunday.  We had gone downtown to Chinatown for Dim Sum.  The place he wanted to go was closed for a private party so, we wandered around downtown trying to find a place.  By the time we found a Dim Sum place it was filled with people and there was a line.  He got upset.  Clearly, he had issues that had nothing to do with not getting a pork bao and a chicken foot.  I was upset that he was upset.  We walked back to the car in silence.  Then in the car we started arguing about something or other.  I remember taking off the silver rolling ring he had bought me on a fun trip down to Tijuana to have lunch and buy contraband freon for an old car he was working on, and I threw it at him and said, “Maybe we should just break up!!”  The words hung in the air.  A moment later he turned to me and said, “Okay.”  We drove to Canter’s where we had soup and cried.

The following year, John, my now husband, and I started talking on line and then on the phone.  He came to visit me for the first time on October 26th.  At the time I was taking part in a documentary about 4 women of size and their lives.  The camera crew came with me to pick John up at LAX.  The moment we saw each other, for the first time, in the flesh, was captured on film.  We showed that snippet of film at our wedding reception.

Today is just another day.  Days lately seem like just another day.  I lost my job with the accounting firm a little over a year ago.  It was a job, I thought I was good at. But everyday I would drive home from there deflated and sad that that was the job I was doing.  It wasn’t the people.  Okay, it was one of them.  But it wasn’t really the people or the work.  I like accounting.  It just wasn’t what I moved to LA to do.  Every day I would drive home in that ridiculous 101 commute wearing grown up clothes and feeling miserable. When I was “let go” I was sad and frustrated and yet I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and freedom.  That is, once I stopped crying.

sausageA year ago today I was in Amsterdam.  I had paid for my ticket less than a week before I got “let go.”   It was an amazing trip.  I felt inspired and alive when I was there.  When I was home, I continued to feel inspired.  It is an inspiring place.   On this day a year ago I was in a farmer’s market with my sister and brother-in-law.  The sausage guys started singing a Mamas and Papas song and called me Mama Cass.

I know it’s silly.  Nothing has changed in the year.  I weigh the same as I did last year.  My hair is a bit darker.  Financially, I know I need to work and soon.  But I read an article in the LA Times about unemployment and how a woman applied for a job where there were four openings and 2000 people had submitted applications.  It seems so bleak.  And, worse, I wouldn’t want that job.

I have had some great auditions this year.  And, in a sense, it feels like when you are looking at a slot machine and you almost win.  There is that excitement but there are no bells and no money in your pocket.

I remember a long time ago talking to a friend who was unhappy about some things in her life.  I told her, “you have shitty circumstances but you aren’t your circumstances!”  That is kind of how I feel.  Only all of my circumstances aren’t shitty.  And, all of my situations aren’t shitty either.  It really is bits and pieces.  My great husband just came home and I am cooking dinner.  I am fortunate to have a great husband and I am fortunate to have dinner to cook in my apartment.

There is part of me that just knows it isn’t time to quit yet.  I know there is a lot of acting and writing left in my future.  I know I will make money doing what I love.

Aug 302010
 

How’s that for a dramatic title? Okay, that is definitely over speak.   But WOW, it’s been an interesting couple of months.   And, yes, by interesting I mean sucky. I think it started around my birthday in June.   Sure the age thing is always a kick in the ass.   “How am I this old?!”   The television season ended without me booking anything.   Summer was on us and I had no firm plans to produce my one-woman show.   And, I was still unemployed.   So, what did I do?   Well, like all smart people I slowly stopped exercising.   I had been very regimented about walking miles daily.   But with the despair came the “fuck its.”   So, why would I continue to do the one thing that was making me feel better? It was probably the worst thing I could have done.   I think the exercise over the past months had really been keeping the doldrums at bay.   I had started walking before I lost my accounting “day job” at the end of last September.   Now it was the middle of June and I couldn’t get out bed in the morning.   I had been popping out of bed around 7ish and walking but from June until, well last week,   if I got out of bed by 8:30 it was a good day.   I forced myself to not sleep past 9a during the week and I kept my promise, mostly, about watching television during the day.

Unfortunately, what crept in with the lack of exercise was bad food choices.   I am not a dieter by nature.   I gave that up with self-loathing in the early 90’s.   (That doesn’t mean I won’t go on my version of Atkins from time to time.   Lots of good veggies and protein.   More on that another time.) I would eat well in the morning and usually well in the afternoon.   Sometimes I would skip breakfast and have a big lunch.   Then I would eat a late dinner.   I was eating fast food (not McDonald’s), which I don’t even like. But it would be an easy dinner.   Eggplant pizza.   Cookies from Trader Joe’s.   In retrospect, it wasn’t a lot of bad food.   (Except for this one Mexican place…) There is nothing like falling into a vat of Mexican food because you feel bad.   It’s the perfect vicious circle of feeling bad.   You fall in because you feel bad and then you feel bad because you fell into the crispy, cheesy, guacamole covered vat of tasty goodness. It was occasional bad food and too much good food and way, way too many carbs.   I was carb stoned most of the time.   I felt tired even after many hours of sleep.   And, I found I was hating myself a bit.   It wasn’t like it was in my past.   I am much more informed.   More than anything I was sad.

As I have said in many of blog posts, I keep looking at what’s next in my life. For the past few months, it all kind of felt like my life was at a stand still.   I feel like I need to say, that even in the depths of despair, I was feeling, I was and am incredibly grateful for my life.   I have good friends, an amazing husband, and a great family.   My health is really good.   Which for many is surprising.   I find their shock annoying.   That should be an entry in itself.

I was down visiting my folks last month.   Yes, visiting my mom in the middle of this could have been a recipe for disaster.   It wasn’t.   Mostly it was really nice being with them.   There was, of course, an incident.   We were going to go to dinner.   My mother insisted we take her car.   Yes, it’s a lovely car.   I just don’t fit comfortably in it.   Which makes no freakin’ sense!   How am I bigger than some Germans?!   Anyway, we ended up taking her car.   Why?   Because even at my age, with my Mom, it’s the Golden Rule.   She wanted to take her car, so, we took her car. On the way to dinner I sat in the front and Pop sat in the back.   I told him we would switch on the way back.   I packed myself into the front seat.   Then snapped the seat belt around my body and sat motionless…kind of stuck.   After dinner, I went to get into the back seat and, well, there wasn’t a chance I was going to get into the back seat of that car! I put the seat back forward and tried to climb into the back.   I put one foot in the back and then nothing.   No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t squeeze into the back of this car.   WTF!!!   I tried moving the seat forward but it wouldn’t move.   This was it.   I stood in the parking lot imagining all the people walking to their cars watching my giant rear end hanging out of the side of this car as I tried desperately to force myself into the back seat.   All the while my mother is in the driver’s seat and Pop, well, he had the best view.   He graciously got in the back seat and I got back into the sardine can front seat and off we went.   To say that I was unhappy in that moment would be a great understatement.   It’s possible I was doing something wrong with the seat and I might actually be able to get back there.   Of course, I wonder how it will be to get out of the back seat of that car.   I suppose my mother wouldn’t be too pleased if we had to use the jaws of life to get me out.   Then again, it would be a lesson learned.

I have been thinking a lot about fitting in.   Where do I fit in?   Both literally and figuratively and here I was with my ass sticking out of the side of this Mercedes in a public parking lot.   It wasn’t my happiest moment.   Where do I fit?   Where don’t I fit?   Neither of these questions are necessarily bad things.   It’s okay if I don’t fit in the back of my mother’s car.   Now, I know.   But I would have liked to have known without having to learn the hard way.   I know I barely fit in airplane bathrooms.   Lesson learned.   I know I fit on all the rides at Disneyland but the ET ride at Universal; forget it!   Those are literal questions.   Where do I fit in life?   Do I fit in with my friends?   Do I fit in in public places?   How do people feel about me?   I had that person write derogatory comments to me after one of my entries here.   I have had mean things said to me in public.   People are fascinating.   Why do people think it’s okay to say something mean to a person of size or to anyone?   I have had strangers approach me and tell me about diets or exercise programs that could “help” me as if I need to be helped.   I have gone to the doctor for birth control only to have her “diagnose” me with obesity.   As if she were the first person to notice I was fat.   She actually wrote it on my insurance form.

The best was a couple of weeks ago.   I was in the middle of this state I have been in.   Kind of a funk.   Kind of a pity party. You know, I don’t have a job.   I don’t have money to buy things I want…a new computer, an iPad, etc. It isn’t like I need anything.   Anyway, I did a good deed and zipped to the valley for a friend.   On the way back I   stopped at Pavilion’s aka. Von’s to get some bread and sliced turkey and some of the amazing nectarines they had on sale.

IMAG0184It was 12:45 so people were trying to get sandwiches made for lunch.   The woman who helped me didn’t know what she was doing.   It was simple…one pound of Primo Taglio mesquite turkey and a half pound of havarti.   Another customer who had been there earlier in the day to buy meatloaf got the attention of the woman who was ostensibly helping me, after I had waited in line, and began helping her with her meatloaf.   The employee then told me it was going to be a while that I should go shop.   Essentially, she stopped helping me to help someone else.   Meanwhile, all the people who were in line after me were helped by other Von’s employees.

So, I decided to walk around the store even though I didn’t need much.   I grabbed a couple of small artisan flutes and a cluster of tomatoes on the vine.   Then I passed an employee who was giving samples of some kind of “brownie bites.”   She was talking to a male customer who had a backpack and a small suitcase in his basket.   (I saw him wandering the aisles later.) I hesitated to take a brownie bite at first.   Did I want a gooey bite of sweet before lunch.   Why not?!   The employee coaxed me to take one as well.   So, I did.   I jokingly said, “Well, that was enough.   Now, I don’t need to buy them.”   Then the other “customer” (and I use the term loosely) says, “People just don’t know how to lose weight properly.   They go about it all wrong…you should read this book…” I interrupted him and told him I wasn’t interested.   As I turned back to my basket, the employee was poking my artisan bread and she said to me, “That’s no good.   That’s what makes you fat.   That’s no good!”   I shook my head and walked away completely dumbfounded.

Am I so big that I am invisible?   Are people embarrassed by me?   What do you think when you see fat people?   What do you think when you see me?   I wonder.   Where do I fit?   I would love to travel the country and travel the world and find out exactly where do I fit in?

The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl

 Life in Los Angeles, Vegas  Comments Off on The Luxor, the Celebrity Chef, the Comedian and the Fat Girl
Jul 182010
 

I admit it, I love Las Vegas.   I love to play the slots.   I love roulette.   I love the great restaurants.   I love to people watch.   It is a feast for all the senses in a most prurient way. Over the past year or so I have been spoiled by getting to stay at the Mandalay Bay.   Yes, I know there are more extravagant hotels in Las Vegas.   But there is something about the Mandalay Bay.   It smells a bit like heaven and coconuts.   Unfortunately, my great offers this time around weren’t for the Mandalay Bay.   I knew I would get 2 nights on the strip before we moved down to the South Point for my husband’s conference.   I had some GREAT offers for the MGM Properties.   So, I had to choose.   I was leery of choosing the Luxor even though in the past I have done well gambling there.   My birthday there last year was awful.   When you have to change rooms three times you just give up.   It was crazy since my husband’s birthday celebration there 3 months earlier was amazing.   Even the bed we had on his birthday was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on.   It seems that is the only bed of it’s kind in the hotel.   With that said, we did opt to stay at the Luxor for the first 2 nights of our stay and while the woman at the desk told me she looked at the print out and we were going to have a pillow top mattress, we did not.   She was adamant that we get the room with the jacuzzi jets in the tub.   That was sweet but I knew it was highly unlikely we would use it.   The mattress was old and quite bouncy.   Given that it was bizarrely comfortable.

I gambled, well, a lot.   More than I anticipated.   I got stuck at a machine.   It was crazy.   I was like a poster child for why you shouldn’t gamble.   You know, I would hit a big jackpot and then give it all back.   Then I would put my money in because, of course, I was going to hit another jackpot.   Then I would give the money back and put in more of my money.   Yes, I know that is how they built Las Vegas.   Since I visited, the Luxor can definitely afford to buy it least one more pillow top mattress.

Out of my last six visits to Las Vegas over the past year I have only stayed at one other hotel besides the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay (or THE Hotel at the Mandalay Bay) and that was New York, New York.   Every time I have been to Las Vegas over this past year,   I have walked by RM Seafood which is at the foot of the Mandalay Place as you walk out of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards the Luxor.   If I say I have walked by it 15 times I may be close to accurate.   I have read the menu a handful of times.   I even brought my husband there last August when we stayed at the Mandalay Bay.   He loves seafood.   But no, we ended up eating somewhere else.   So, this trip we had one free night together.   I asked if he wanted to try RM Seafood.   I had seen Rick Moonen a while back on Oprah where he made his signature catfish Sloppy Joe.   Not my bag of meat (as they say) but I knew my husband would be thrilled to eat seafood.   My mother was apoplectic when I told her we were probably going to go there.   “OHHH!!! I love him.   He should have won Top Chef Masters.   If you see him, tell him I said so.”   “Okay, Mom.   I will…”   As if I was going to see him.   I called over to the restaurant.   Made a reservation which was more like a, “Hey, can you seat two for dinner as soon as we can hoof it through the Luxor casino and through the Mandalay Place?”   The answer was yes.   We got there around 7:45 on a Wednesday evening.   The place was hopping.

As a woman of size, I always scope a place out to make sure I am going to fit where they are taking me to sit and to be sure that I am not going to bump into people along the way.   Once seated I always plot my way back out of the restaurant and watch as people are seated so I don’t have to say, “excuse me” as I bump into the back of someone as they are eating. The hostess took us to a perfect table.   The table moved so I was able to sit on the very comfortable bench.   My husband sat across from me.   We read the menu back and forth to each other.   You know, “Oh wow, did you see the crab cake?”   “They have barbecued macaroni and cheese.”   I don’t know who the people were sitting next to us but they were clearly “someone” when they were done their waiter came by and said, “Rick took care of it. Dinner is on him.”   Or something like that.   How nice of Rick! I didn’t even think that was “Rick” as in the “R” in RM. Our waiter was great.   John ordered the crab cake appetizer and the Cioppino for dinner.   He barely spoke to me during dinner. I ordered the macaroni and cheese as starter, and the pan roasted chicken with a side order of mashed potatoes for dinner.   Just typing it my mouth is watering.   Even though we wanted dessert we were full from the outrageous meal and didn’t order it.   We ate exactly what we wanted.   (Of course a little over a week later, writing it, I would KILL for what I left on that table.) During our meal the GM came over to our table and chatted with us a bit.   What a charmer! Then Rick, himself, came over to our table.   Yes, Rick Moonen!   It was such a wonderful surprise.   He was charming and humble.   His food is definitely a work of art and it shows.   He clearly LOVES what he does.   I look forward to going back again not just for the food but for the atmosphere of being around people doing what they love.

Then we moved down to the South Point Hotel.   My husband was going to attend TAM8 (The Amazing Meeting).   Financially, we figured next year I will attend as well.   I was so pleasantly surprised by the room at the South Point.   It was big and spacious…not a lot of furniture cluttering up the space.   But there was enough furniture to relax in different places in the room.   The two chairs at the table did not have arms.   The couch was firm and comfortable.   The bed was a bit firm but nice.   The pillows were great (even though I brought my own.) The bathroom was perfect.   One of my pet peeves as a big woman is a toilet that is crammed between two walls.   I have hips and those hips don’t need to rest against a wall while I sit on a toilet.   Sorry to paint a picture you may not be interested in, but suffice it to say, this bathroom was awesome!   Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a 4-star hotel.   The toilet seat is plastic and there wasn’t a clock in our room.   We did have a flat screen television on the wall so I was able to eat a great deli sandwich from the deli in the hotel and catch a rerun of South Park while John attended a dinner.   As someone who, admittedly, can sit at a video poker machine for hours I will say their chairs in the casino weren’t very comfortable.   It was as if the chair was pitched forward.   Or it could have been the way my large ass fit on the chair.   I don’t know.   I definitely was aware of the seat and I can say I haven’t noticed that in other casino’s.   At least I didn’t notice it at the Luxor.

One night at the South Point we found ourselves sitting in the bar.   John had a beer and I was sporting a killer headache.   It could have been from staring at a video poker machine all day in an uncomfortable seat with canned air.   Regardless, I had a club soda.   I noticed that Paul Provenza was sitting with a group of people.   I am a HUGE fan.   No pun intended.   I really am.   The Aristocrats is sheer genius!! He had spoken earlier at the conference.   I would have LOVED to have been there.   So, here he was sitting with some people.   I wasn’t sure if he was with those people or if they, like me, just had to meet Paul Provenza.   I didn’t want to interrupt.   As time went on he got up to leave and I had the amazing opportunity to say hello and tell him how inspiring I thought his new show the Green Room on Showtime is.   We had a great conversation about stand up comedy.   He introduced me to his friend and producer of the Green Room, Barbara Romen.   Both of them were very generous with their time and attention.   Those brief conversations spurred me to consider performing stand up again.   Maybe…we’ll see.

It was a great time.   It definitely had me look a what’s next for me and it had me take a hard look at where I fit, both literally and figuratively.

Jun 302010
 

This is not at all what I had planned on writing today.   I was all ready to start writing about my upcoming trip to Vegas and how excited I am to get away with my husband for a couple of days.   Then BAM.   I was poking around Facebook when I saw a video a friend had posted.   Now, the video in itself is appalling.   It’s about the awful wild horse round-ups being done in the name of needing the grazing land for cattle.   It’s essentially like eminent domain.   You know, the law that was passed that in essence says, if your property is worth more to someone else and will be “better” for the neighborhood as a hotel or something other than your home, someone can force you to sell it with the government as their strong arm.   It’s insane.   So, what’s happening with these wild horses is our tax payer dollars are being used to round up the horses in an inhumane and disgusting way so that cattle ranchers have more land, that doesn’t belong to them. It’s “government” land…so, it belongs to us, right?   Aren’t we the boss of the government?   Aren’t we?!   The video is really hard to watch.

Okay, so why then is Lisa Brounstein, fat actress, world traveller, writing about this?   It’s hardly my wheelhouse.   Sure I have a lot to say about the government and politics etc.   And, everyone knows I have a HUGE soft spot for animals.   I have always said, “I am one bad piece of bacon away from being a vegetarian again.”   I was a vegetarian for 17 years.   Even today I can go days without eating meat.   Hell, I apologize to bugs before I kill them, if I don’t capture them and set them free.   So, I am writing this not because of the video.   It’s because of what my friend posted before the video.   It’s because of what she said.

I am not going to post what she said verbatim for multiple reasons.   First, I don’t have her permission.   Second, I don’t think she really means what she is saying, completely.   I think that people, even people who love me, just don’t realize that fat and obesity really aren’t the source of all the ills in the world.   I really believe we have been trained and educated to believe that that is the case.   We are taught to believe that fat is ugly and wrong and if people weren’t fat than the world would be a much better place.   Wow, really?!   Okay, hear me out.

My friend started off talking about the BP oil spill and how our tax dollars are going to be used to clean up BP’s mess.   I have done some reading on the matter.   It doesn’t make me an expert. I am devastated by what is going on in the Gulf and have thought about going down to clean birds.   I read they are only allowing experienced volunteers and people to do that.   Which is probably better.   I think it would emotionally wreck me, forever.   The pictures are so upsetting.   I am not a fan of BP.   I think they have handled this whole thing POORLY.   How’s that for your understatement of the day?   But what I will say, is that we or rather, our government has allowed this to happen.   We allowed BP to drill off shore.   Those waters are federally owned and they are regulated by the Federal Government.   The law is written in such a way to protect the oil company with a punitive financial cap of $75 million.   Yes, BP really, by law, only has to pay $75 million.   However, they have given the government 20 BILLION dollars to aid in the clean up as well as to help the people who are and have lost their livelihoods.   Now it’s up to the government to dole out the money.   How’s that going?   How did the mortgage/bank bail out go?   How about that automaker bail out?   I’m just asking.

Then my friend went on to say that cattle corporations (she was saying that BP is a big corporation like the cattle corporations) are rounding up these majestic horses in order to use the land for their own cattle so they can sell the meat from said cattle and make even more money by selling to McDonald’s who will in turn sell Big Mac’s and fries. This would then effect the taxpayer because we are paying for the needless slaughter and storage of these horses all so these cattle corporations can get richer.   Okay, I can get that…mostly.   I don’t believe for a second that the government isn’t getting something out of this.   I am sure they are getting a lot.   It’s like a subsidy.   They aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their heart.   I am sure there are many sides to this sick and twisted story.   Okay, now here is what got me.   She goes on to make the correlation with the round up and eating McDonald’s with people growing more obese.   Oh man, really?

I watched the video because she mentioned BP and tax dollars and then also mentioned the obese.   As someone who is considered obese and someone who is really tired of my tax dollars being spent on things for which I disagree with, I had to look at the video.   I didn’t get the correlation completely.   Unless, she was saying that because cattle ranchers are driving the horses away so they can let their cattle graze there and then they sell their beef to McDonald’s where people buy Big Macs and, of course, only fat/obese people eat Big Macs, then it’s the fat people’s fault that the horses are being tortured.   That is only a correlative argument…you know, “correlation is not causation.”   In essence, she’d be saying it’s obese people’s fault that the wild horses are being slaughtered and tortured.

It’s that seven deadly sin scenario.   Greed, gluttony, extravagance, sloth…doesn’t that describe me?   You know, I just sit around all day and eat Big Macs and fries on my gold plated couch with my 60 inch flat screen TV.   No, I don’t.   None of that is true.   I honestly don’t think I have ever eaten a Big Mac.   Maybe as a child but I don’t have a recollection of it.   What is my reason for writing about this today?   My reason is this.   I am fat…and I say that with no malice or degradation.   I am definitely a BIG woman.   In medical terms I am obese.   So, I write this to give a face to all of those faceless and headless fat and obese people out there who are consistently being called forth as the cause of so much of the worlds ills today.   Especially in the United States and in Britain.

I honestly believe she probably didn’t think twice (or once) about me when she wrote what she wrote.   I understand that she is angry and frustrated.   Clearly she is angry about the horses and the horrific fate they are meeting.   And, she is a very intelligent person.   There isn’t a chance she isn’t upset about what is going on with our country in general.   As a human being and as a fat person I feel like it is my responsibility to remind people that fat people aren’t faceless or headless like they show on the news.   We have feelings.   We are human beings.   I am sure many of us care about the plight of the horses and the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico too.

Jun 222010
 

a piece of meThat is the killer line that a lot of fat women get.   Even the ones that don’t have a pretty face hear that.   It’s always said with the inference being, “but it’s a damn shame about the rest of you!”   But that is never said.   Okay, it’s rarely said.   You can hear it though, “You have such a pretty face…but it’s a damn shame about the rest of you.”   Ahh, it makes me curse.

Speaking of cursing.   I got into an argument recently with someone I care very much about.   I don’t often have those kinds of confrontations.   Which isn’t to say, I don’t have confrontations.   I seem to have more and more of those as I get older.   Just ask the manager at the Verizon store here in West Hollywood.   That poor excuse for a manager in customer service knows I don’t shy away from confrontation.   But this other interaction I had I was most calm even though I raised my voice.   I should say that everything is really good between us now.   However, this person did tell me I used obscenities.   Fuck, I don’t even think of them as obscenities.   Sure, I try not to use them when I speak to my step father.   He is awesome and very old school and doesn’t like to hear “obscenities” coming from my mouth.   So, in deference to him, I don’t use those words. For most other people, get over it.   They are words.   Of course, I don’t curse like I have something wrong with me that requires a seratonin reuptake inhibitor.   Sometimes it’s just called for. And, most of the time it just shouldn’t matter.

People are so funny about words.   I was talking to someone yesterday and I called myself “fat.”   He tripped all over himself, “don’t call yourself that!” he stammered.   Really?!   I explained that it’s just a descriptor.   I wasn’t saying anything bad about myself.   It wasn’t like I was calling myself ugly or unfortunate in any way.   I told him as long as he didn’t yell it at me I was fine.

I was talking to a girlfriend this morning about that exchange from yesterday.   She agreed with me about it being a descriptor.   At least she mostly agreed.   When I told her some guys had walked behind me and oinked, in a shopping mall outside Chicago a couple of years ago, she couldn’t understand why I didn’t confront them.   It wasn’t like I was going to make a difference for those boys in that moment.   They were young and ignorant.   Plus I think they probably thought I was hot.

I have a theory.   It’s a theory I have had for a while.   It started when I discovered there was a whole world of men who actually preferred big women.   Yes, just like there are men who prefer brunettes and men who prefer blonds or big breasts or small breasts etc. there are men who like big women.   Yes, like a preference!   What I also discovered was there are men who have an overwhelming desire to try a big woman.   Sure there are the men in between.   There are those men who are afraid they will be ostracized if they let people know they have a preference for big women.   They are afraid of what society or their mother’s or their buddies will think.   Wimps and cowards, I say!   Those are the men who are the ones who oink when they see a fat woman or yell out of the car, “Hey Fatty!”   They are the ones who protest the most.   Which leads me to my theory that the ones who are the most vocal about it are the ones who are dying to get into those size 3x panties.

Here’s a thought.   Maybe when I say the word, “fat”, people cringe because to them it is awful.   Not just the word but what it’s describing.   Maybe we have been so trained, especially in our current culture, to believe that fat intrinsically is bad that when we here the word we cringe as if someone said something stupendously awful.   That guy I was speaking to was talking about an actress who he feels “needs to lose 10 pounds in order to be a star.”   She is maybe a size 6 on fat day during her period.   Maybe the word “fat” isn’t just an ugly word to people but maybe it also describes something that is beyond ugly.   I had a friend growing up whose mother was afraid of having me play with her after school for fear that her daughter would get fat too.   Like it was contagious.

I am ridiculously fortunate to be living the life I live.   I am happy.   I am healthy.   I have a great husband. I live in Los Angeles.   I have a wonderful family.   I have fabulous friends.   I am pursuing what gets me out of bed in the morning.   Our bills are paid this month.   I have health care.   I have a twenty in my wallet.   I love my body. And, I am FAT.   I know there are A LOT of people out there who, thin and fat alike, can’t say most of that.   Maybe it’s my mission to make a difference.   Maybe I should challenge people to stop looking at what they perceive as wrong with themselves and stop trying to fix themselves and start loving themselves and nurturing themselves and stop wanting and hoping and start making a difference for themselves.   When I told Oprah I loved my body she cringed and said, “You love your body?!”   Clearly, she has issues with being fat.   Maybe I should start with her.