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.

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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…)

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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.

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.

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?