Jan 232010

I wasn’t a particularly fat child.   Although, I felt huge compared to my friends.   I was a “normal” size baby.   I was an average sized toddler and so on.   Then around 6 I started to gain weight.   Not massive amounts but I started to become a chubby child.   At 9 I weighed 112.   I remember that was an embarrassing day when the entire 4th grade class got weighed and I weighed so much more than the other kids.   Of course, when I look back on pictures I just don’t look that big.   Yes, definitely bigger than most but not “grossly obese.”   Wow, I don’t like that term.

Growing up I was always a gamer though.   Sure my weight stopped me from some things.   I sucked at PE.   I hated the Presidential Fitness BS we had to do every year.   The stupid long jump was cruel for me.   I was short and fat and there wasn’t a chance I was going to get anywhere close to where the President said I should be able to jump at my age.   (Have I just aged myself by mentioning Presidential Fitness?   Do they even still do that?   Ack, maybe I should check before people think I went to school while we were doing our homework on stone tablets.)   By High School I gave up on PE.   I hated it.   I hated the stupid shorts.   I hated running around the field feeling so much bigger than the other girls.   I didn’t feel coached by the coach in the, “come on you can do it kind of way.”   I felt like he felt I was just taking up space…which I was.

As a child I wanted to be an entertainer.   I loved being on stage.   When I was young I took ballet and loved it!   It was so freeing.   There was an unfortunate incident with my tights splitting during a recital that definitely marked me for life.   At that point I knew I was too fat to be a ballerina.   One thing was checked off the list.   Then in elementary school I loved being in the little plays we did.   But as I got older I had the feeling that because I was fat no one would want to see me so I decided to become a marine biologist when I got older because the whales and dolphins wouldn’t care about my size.   (I hadn’t factored in getting a wet suit over my copious body nor did I imagine the anchor I would have to wear to actually submerge myself…)

There certainly have been times in my life when my weight has stopped me.   But I always am willing to try.   Save for the embarrassment of not fitting I am always willing to give it a shot.   I don’t often try to fit into restaurant booths anymore.   Not that I won’t necessarily fit but I had an experience at a great diner in Chicago where I ruined a shirt from sitting in a booth.   I slid into the booth and then sat there for hours with friends drinking coffee and having a great time.   When I slid back out my shirt was covered in gum.   Yes, gum.   The warmth of my belly had melted the gum that people had stuck up under the table leaving me covered in strands of sticky chewed gum.

I remember years ago some friends and I got the opportunity to fly over to Catalina Island.   I was ready to do it.   Sure I had some apprehension about getting into an aluminum can and flying 26 miles over the Pacific to a tiny island but it sounded like a blast.   Then the question came, “How much do you weigh?”   Uh, really!?   Because of my weight I counted as two people so, I could go if someone else didn’t.   I didn’t go.

I don’t have those experiences often in life.   You would think that after living as a large person most of my life I would be prepared.   But it still is always a surprise to me.   Maybe, in part, because I just don’t think of myself as “that” big.   I see BIG people living life all the time…people much bigger than I am.   At least, I think they are bigger.   They say your body image is established in your teen years.   Clearly my body image is skewed.

So, when I was waiting last week at Cedars-Sinai to have dye injected into my shoulder joint before an MRI I was caught off guard when the MRI tech came in and said, “I have a concern! Before we inject you I want to make sure you will fit in the tube of the MRI. I am concerned you aren’t going to fit.   Also, you aren’t claustrophobic are you?!”   He checked me out.   He had me lift the gown so he could check out my size.   He put both hands on my shoulders as if to measure my girth.   Then I took the walk of shame out of the fluoroscopy room down the hall to the elevator to the basement where they keep the MRI machines.   I asked what the weight limit was and was pleased to know I was 50 pounds lighter than the limit.   (But as my ex-boyfriend used to say, “You have the ass of a 500 pound woman.”   Yeah, EX boyfriend.) I was certainly nervous.   As I stood there looking through the window as this slight woman was being taken out of the machine I was shocked at how narrow the opening was.   “Wow!   It is a small opening,” I said to the tech.   He agreed.   I asked about larger patients and he said they either use an open MRI machine that isn’t as efficient or they don’t get one.   I told him I was surprised that the technology didn’t allow for taking care of larger patients since statistically there are so many people who are larger.   Plus with all the bariatric surgeries being done and then redone these days I was very surprised.   Of course, my surprise wasn’t going to make the opening any larger.   They got me onto the table and strapped me in.   I had to put my good arm up over my head to make me less wide at the shoulder.   They slid me in no problem.   As I found myself inside the tech yells, so I could hear him, don’t open your eyes.   Of course, I did and promptly FREAKED OUT!!   Instantly I felt claustrophobic and terrified.   I had to get out of the machine.   I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.   “Uh, you need to get me out now!!!” I yelled.   They slid me out.   I sat up.   The tech then asked me if I could do this.   They didn’t want to inject me if I wasn’t going to follow through.   I thought for a minute and thought about the pain I experience and the lack of mobility etc.   “I can do this.   I have to,” I said.   Back up I went for the injection.

I won’t bore you with the injection part.   Suffice it to say it hurt like a mother!!!   I was stunned at how much it hurt.   They had my arm outstretched with some kind of weight on it so I couldn’t move.   At one point I felt the assistants keys dangling off his neck into my hand.   The pain was bizarrely awful.   I said, “if you don’t stop I am going to yank your keys off your neck.”   It doesn’t seem as funny in the retelling.   In the moment, it’s what got me through.

Before I flew to Amsterdam, I asked my doctor for some anti-anxiety meds to get me through the flight…just in case I got nervous.   He gave me 10.   I never took them.   So, as I went back down to the basement to wait for the MRI I thought, “now would be a good time to break out the calming pills.”   I popped half of one and waited.   About a half hour later it hit and I took another 1/4 of one juat to be sure.   I was now ready for anything.   Hell, I should have taken it before the injection but who knew?   As the MRI tech started to strap me down to the table he said, “I have concern…”   “You and your concerns!!!” I said.   Turns out I was now “too relaxed.”   He was “concerned” that my breathing would be too heavy in the machine because I was so relaxed and I would move.   First, I was wearing that machine like a sausage casing or a pair of skinny jeans on, well, me.   There wasn’t a chance I was going to move.   I then asked if they would put my Glee CD in.   I figured happy goofy music would ease any lingering anxiety the meds hadn’t covered.   He then tells me he’s “concerned” about adding the cords for the headset as it will make the machine tighter etc.   Man, he needs one of those relaxing pills to calm all of his “concerns.”   I was fine.   At first I asked about the bad techno music I was hearing.   Turns out the thumps and bumps of the machine sounds like bad techno music.   It didn’t bother me at all.   45 minutes later they pulled me out.   Then they wanted me to go back in with my bad shoulder up over my head.   If I could put my right arm over my head I wouldn’t have had to do that.

My life has been amazing so far.   I would think that while my size has certainly impeded me in some ways it has made me stronger and wiser in others.   I don’t feel like I have missed out on anything.   As a child I felt like I could do anything and even though the truth of it was I had some minor limitations that were usually discovered in the moment, I have lived and continue to live an exciting and fabulous life.   Sure I’m too fat to be a ballerina and I doubt I would pass the tests to be an astronaut (not just because of my size but because if I freaked out in an MRI I doubt they would let me drug up to go into space) and I am not that keen on being a scuba diver.   I don’t feel like I am compromising by living my fantastic life at all!

 Posted by at 9:45 am
Jan 122010

I have been meaning to write for some time.   You know, I get these ideas daily of things to write but then I think I need a picture to go with it or I don’t have enough to say to “fill” a blog.   Just silly procrastinating stuff.   Stuff I am guilty of in so much of my life.   But here I am unemployed with time on my hands.   Sure I have a million and one things to do.   I need to put my acting reel together.   I need to go to Peet’s and buy coffee.   I need to deposit my unemployment check so I don’t bounce checks.   I have plenty to do to keep busy and productive.

n663477501_2030051_1800Lately, I have been a bit obsessed with aging or getting older.   I don’t think I like either term.   Aging reminds me of cheese or wine or beef.   It is the process by which time makes something fresh better.   I certainly don’t want my skin to age.   I have a whole regimen of things I do to keep myself from aging.   I have toyed with the idea of Botox but my husband has put his foot down about it.   Funny, he is such a great man.   We have a great partnership and this is one thing that he is really serious about.   He never tells me I can’t do anything.   Except this.   This is the thing he doesn’t want me to do.   I agree in the moment and then I panic when I see a wrinkle in my forehead.   I started using Avon Reversalist products and I am really pleased with the results.   (Funny, I even sell Avon…so, I can get the discount on the amazing products.)   But then I will catch my reflection and the wrinkles seem glaring to me.   I have friends who have had Botox.   All of us running as fast as we can from “aging.”n663477501_2058466_1036

Even on Facebook, I don’t put my birth year down and I didn’t join the group from my senior class year, as if to somehow hide my age.   The funny part is that everyone on Facebook knows me.   It isn’t like my Mom doesn’t know.   Who am I hiding it from?   I think the answer is, “me.”   When someone asks me my age I actually have to think about it for a second.   Remember when we were kids and we couldn’t wait to tell people our age?   I think that stops at 21.   By 22 it’s, “sell me the beer and shut up…”

I feel like I have spent a lot of time reflecting lately.   I think I wrote about that previously, which means I am still reflecting.   Sure, it’s the holidays and the new year and all but it feels bigger than that.   Yes, I am unemployed and really eager to work as an actor and/or a writer…the reasons I moved to Los Angeles in the first place…it isn’t like you go fill out an application and then you get an acting job.   I feel positive but not in that unproductive, “Ohh, I hope it happens…” kind of way.

orchidsWhen I moved to Los Angeles I didn’t know many people.   I had a friend who worked for an executive at Warner Bros Studios.   I had the good fortune of being in her office one day when some development guys from Joel Silver’s office came by.   They offered me a “job” as an intern.   Not really a job.   It had all the parts of a job.   It had a schedule.   It had a lot of work.   I got a lot of experience.   I worked crazy hours.   And, I didn’t get paid.   I learned how to do coverage on scripts and read some great ones and some not so great ones.   I loved being on the lot.   One day, one of the producers, Dan Cracchiolo, called me into his office.   He never spoke to me.   In fact, I think that was the only day he ever spoke to me.   He told me to throw away an orchid plant, someone had given him as a gift, since the flowers had died.   Rather than throw the plant away I walked the mile to my car carrying the huge plant, in it’s pottery pot, it all the way.   I put it outside my front door.   For a year, nothing happened with it.   It just sat outside green and lush but no flowers.   Then January came and I noticed it was covered in buds that bloomed magnificently.   It has bloomed every year since.   Tragically, Dan passed away in 2004 in a motorcycle accident.   He was only 39…

In Googling Dan, I decided to look up the other producer that was working at Silver Pictures when I was there.   (I was pretty invisible there.   When referring to me, the one time he referred to me, Joel Silver called me “the pretty fat one.”)     So, just now I looked up this other guy, Alan Schechter,   and I read that he killed himself in 2005.   He was 40!   Tragic!   Sad!   Confusing!

new headshot_72Clearly, if you are reading this, you can see that I have been having a bit of a pity party.   “I’m old.”   “I want to work.” “I want more money.”   And, then I see that these two very successful (I suppose success is much like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder…) men died tragically…one at their own hand and one accidentally.   Either way, these young talented lives were snuffed out at an age when they had so much life ahead of them.   I need to kick myself in the ass.   Maybe I needed a pity party for a little while.   But now it’s time to suck it up and live.   Like they say, “this is it.”   And, I can hold off on Botox for now too.

 Posted by at 8:39 am