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.

Jun 152010
 

When I ditched my life in San Diego to follow and pursue my dreams of being an actor, writer and comedian I had no idea what was ahead of me.   When I look back now it is hard to believe I have done all that I have done.   I am definitely grateful for the life I have lived and the opportunities I have had.   It has been quite a ride and I look forward to what’s next.   It’s also not lost on me how incredibly fortunate I am to have been able to fulfill on living this dream.   Even if the dream isn’t complete…yet.

Not long after I moved here I was driving down Santa Monica Blvd.   I was kind of freaking out.   I was all alone here.   I didn’t know many people in Los Angeles. In fact, when I moved here I had two friends who lived here and some family, who I never saw.   So, here I am driving along and there are tons of people out.   I think it was a Saturday.   I almost felt like I could hear people talking.   Not to belittle or diminish schizophrenics but I definitely felt like I was hearing voices.   It certainly was an anxiety filled moment.   I turned the radio on really loud and sang along to ease the ensuing panic. My heart was racing so I pulled into the first place I could find.   It turned out to be the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.   It’s a funny place for a cemetery.   It’s right in the heart of things behind Paramount Studios.   People like Jayne Mansfield and Rudolf Valentino are buried there.   And, so are my great-grandparents.   I am named for my great-grandfather Louis…who I never met.   But somehow it seemed appropriate that in the middle of my lonely, anxiety, fraught freak-out I would end up at their grave site.   They are interred in one of the Jewish mausoleums there.   Is it odd to say that talking to a wall filled with dead people I have never met helped my loneliness and anxiety?   Well, it did.   I drove away from there feeling much, much better.   Not to be overly dramatic and significant but it felt like the loneliness and the uncertainty lifted.

When I got home I had a message on my answering machine.   It was someone singing really loud to the song Who Will Save Your Soul by Jewel.   I listened to it over and over again.   How odd!!   While I was at a cemetery someone left a message singing Who Will Save Your Soul.   It must have been a sign.   It must have been something supernatural!   No.   It was me.   Yes, I had somehow called myself in the heat of the anxiety I was having and left myself a message of my very loud and out of tune rendition of Who Will Save Your Soul.   Looking back, those voices I was hearing while driving was probably me on my outgoing message.   It was a very funny moment in this journey.   I guess the answer to the question of “Who Will Save Your Soul” (not really yours…)   is and was ME.   That is if you believe in that whole soul saving thing.

Today, the day after a great audition, rather than sulk all day and sit by the phone, I had to run errands.   You know, life errands.   Someone has to grocery shop and someone had to pay the storage rent.   Ooh, me, let me do it!   I had a hard time getting out of the house after having a hard time getting out of bed.   Once showered and coffeed and having had a couple of long phone conversations and having checked my emails I set out for Hollywood.   It has been a while since I stopped in to see my great-grandparents and I thought today would be a good day since it is on the way to my storage unit.   Traffic was nuts so as I zipped by the cemetery I saw they were shooting Dexter there.   How do I know?   The tell-tale bright yellow signs with “Dexter” printed on them indicating that Dexter was shooting there.   After paying my storage bill I was able to pull into the cemetery on my way back.   A guard stopped me.   I explained I was going to see my great-grandparents and pointed to the mausoleum where they are interred.   It was on the opposite end of the cemetery from where they were shooting.   Truly, the last thing I wanted is to be in the way of one of the greatest shows on television.   The writing and the acting on that show is like going to school for me!   The guard told me where I could park.   As I was driving over another guard stopped me.   There was no where to park after all.   And, again, the last thing I wanted was to be in the way.   So, I told the guy, “No problem.   They’re dead…I can come back another time.”   He was very sweet saying something like “it’s the thought that counts” or something gushy.

So, now what?   Well, I continue to look for work.   I continue to write…I have some new ideas.   I heard from the producer we are doing another staged reading of the play I am in.   There is a lot to do to fill a day and I never seem to get it all done.     In the immediate future, I will cook dinner.   Really, my life is very exciting.

Jun 142010
 

lb_new07I had an audition today.   And, while I am a bit superstitious, for someone who doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff, I will say it was a great experience.   It called for someone to be rather tough.   My awesome acting coach and I broke it down on Saturday and came up with the word “menacing” to describe her.   I worked all weekend on it.   Sure, I took breaks.   It was the weekend.   (Is there really a difference between a weekend and a Monday when you are unemployed?   Yes, because my husband is home on the weekends…) I learned the lines and I really got to know the character.   So, when I got to the casting office today, 45 minutes early, I decided to stay in my car and work just a bit more.   Then I walked through the parking structure and out onto the plaza and then into the building.   I figured I had 20 minutes at this point, I should go to the restroom and freshen up and cool off a bit.   As I was in the stall reading the lines I hear someone come in and not go into a stall.   Then I hear the tell-tale clicking of an iPod wheel.   Then I hear really loud music coming from someone’s earphones.   They must be deaf.   I have to see.   I gather my things and step out to the sinks.   There before me was this TOUGH woman.   She looked like Angela Bassett.   She had a muscle shirt on and workout pants and a bandanna on her head.   She was definitely menacing.   How in the world was I, the Pillsbury dough girl, going to compete with that?   She left the restroom before I did.   Then I went into the casting room and signed in.   Scary-menacing-bandanna lady was standing and staring at her reflection in a window with an, “I fucking dare you” look.   Every once in a while she would kind of shift which made me and two other women shift in our seats.   The rest of the women were all kinds.   I was the largest and had the fairest skin compared to my dark hair.   There were red heads and tattooed girls.   There were women with long-hair and short hair.   It was definitely a slice out of almost every group.   Scary-menacing-bandanna-girl went in before me.   I could hear a bit of her audition so I walked away.   I didn’t want it to affect me.     I felt like I gave a good audition.   The casting director was BEAUTIFUL.   WOW, is she pretty.   And, she was very nice and complimentary. She even thanked me for being “so prepared.”   As they say, that and $3 will buy me a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Now what?   Well, now nothing.   I am home.   So, I wait to hear.   But I can’t really “wait.”   It is maddening to wait for a call regarding a call-back or to find out if you got the part.   You just have to think of it like a trip to the store.   Once you are home you don’t think about the trip to the store.   You don’t second guess yourself on if you bought the right eggs and if only you had then life would be better.   You don’t think about the milk or the tomatoes.   You just go on with your life.   Sure, it’s easy to say.   Certainly, every time my phone rings tomorrow I will jump and my heart will beat an extra beat harder.   Then by Wednesday when the phone rings my heart won’t beat harder or extra.   Then when my phone rings on Thursday I won’t even flinch before I answer it…unless I am napping.

Today feels like a step in the right direction.   Whether or not I was the menacing girl she wanted I know she will remember me.   Who knows maybe they will need me for something else or better yet, maybe I will get this part. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Couldn’t I Just Win The Lottery?

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on Couldn’t I Just Win The Lottery?
Jun 132010
 

I haven’t written in a while.   And, it isn’t that I don’t think about writing ALL the time.   I do.   It’s just life gets in the way.   I get busy.   Being unemployed and trying to figure out what’s next has been, well, interesting.   I am going to warn you in advance…I am especially crabby today.   I want to preface that with the fact that I know I am ridiculously fortunate.   That being said, wow, I am feeling angry and annoyed today.   No, it isn’t PMS.   No, it isn’t low-blood sugar.   I am WAY too young for menopause or peri-menopause (thanks Mom, that helped…)

We have had a lot of company over the past month or so.   This is the first weekend that we haven’t had company in what feels like forever.   It is also Gay Pride Weekend in LA.   Parking on our street was at a premium.   I thought aboutass_sushi moving my car to the street so I could sell the spot when people started driving around in circles looking for parking.   Luckily, no one blocked our driveway today.   Today they would have been towed.   Hell, in my mood, I could have gone out there and pushed a car out of the way.   At least I got to see some people in “assless chaps” at the parade.   That definitely helped my mood.

I have been acting in a play.   I auditioned and got the part which was very exciting.   The play is called The Donut Shop by Carl Stillitano.   It’s about 4 people (an anorexic, a bulimic, an over-eater and a guy named Mike) who get locked in a donut shop and their interactions while they try to get out.   Guess which part I play? It’s in pre-production I guess you would say.   The producers are looking for investors so we did a staged reading of the play a little over a week ago.   It was a great time.   We are going to be doing another reading in about 10 days. Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, I have a big television audition.   It’s one where I have to be “menacing.”   I went to my acting coach yesterday and he told me I need to work on not letting my “good nature” come through in my voice.   HA!   When I think I am being nice people get defensive like I am being a bitch.   And, when I am acting menacing I am told my good nature is coming through.   WTF!!!   I was thinking maybe I should video tape myself and then see how I sound.   I’m afraid that may piss me off too.

My acting coach also told me to consider doing stand-up.   I just don’t know if I can do it again.   I did it for years.   I was performing stand up when I moved to LA.   I was performing in San Diego before I moved.   But now, I just don’t know if I can do it.   I feel like I was so young then.   Funny, right?   I suppose this bitter pill I have obviously swallowed could make for great stand up.   Ack, I just don’t know.

There is this woman who walks her dog on our street.   He is a big rotty mix. She is a skinny blond with gorgeous legs. He is like a big buffoon of a dog.   He lumbers along and bounces around.   He clearly isn’t the brightest bulb in the dog house but he is definitely filled with joy.   Surprising since his owner is, well, stupid!   She walks him off the leash.   Why?   Because she can’t control him on the leash.   It’s a huge error in logic that is going to be a recipe for disaster. (I try and throw at least one cliche in every post…there you go.) Everyday he bounds across our lawn and chases the little cat who lives in our yard.   I have confronted her on numerous occasions and yet, she continues to do this.   I have confronted her on the street where she has completely ignored me.   (OHHH, I should think of her when I audition tomorrow!!)   Today I was at my kitchen table as Cujo came bounding across our lawn to chase the cat.   I yelled out to her, “Please keep your dog off our lawn!!”   To which she replied, “He pulls my arm when he wants to chase your cat…so, I can’t.”   Did I already say, STUPID?!   So, I say, “Then don’t walk here!”   So, she replies, “We just live up the street.” So, I say, “Walk on a different street!!”   I was polite…given I was trying to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent (second cliche alert) I made sure to holler after her, “It’s not his fault you walk him here!”   The dog is just being a dog…an untrained dog at that.   I am sure they will be back tomorrow around 9a.   Maybe I will set up my video camera and wait.   Plus it will help me with my audition later in the day.

A couple of weeks ago my husband said, “Maybe we should send you back to Amsterdam…”   I was lit up when I got back last time.   I think he is torn between wanting to get rid of me without burying me in the yard and truly believing sending me away would inspire me.   I feel like I still am very excited about what I want to do.   I have knocked on a few doors and either no one answered or they were slammed in my face.   I know I need to just shake this off and move forward.   Like I said, I am not giving up and I am certainly not done, yet.

Believe me, I know how ridiculous I am being.   I want to work.   I want to work at what I moved to LA to do.   I want to write.   I want to act.   I want to be able to contribute to the world both with my experiences and financially.   I want to make a difference.

What’s the answer?   Do I write a book?   Do I stick with my one-woman show and do my own staged reading?   Do I promote the reality ideas I have?   Crap, couldn’t I just win the lottery?