Day 21: The Infamous Rome Story from Hell

For the final 30 days of my twenties, I am writing one personal narrative a day that has impacted my life until now.  To read more about my challenge, feel free to check out the first post.  

Also, this 30 Day challenge is also to support a wonderful charity, Zara Aina.  Please check out my fundraiser here and if you’re able, please consider throwing a few dollars toward this amazing cause.  It would mean the world!

This story does not have any related photographs…nor does it deserve any.  Good luck reading, friends.

Part 1: Murphy’s Law

If there is one thing I learned during my early years as a young traveler, it’s that listening to your body can make the difference between a disappointment and a complete disaster.  A week before traveling to Rome during my semester abroad, my body was telling me that something was wrong, and I did not listen.  Instead, I figured pushing through the impending flu-like symptoms was the smartest way to make them go away.  At 21, you think that one good night sleep and a good dose of ignoring the problem is all that it takes to carry on.

Three quarters of the way through my London semester, with one of our longer holiday breaks on the horizon, my friend Helen and I planned to head over to Rome for a few days, our second unguided trip of the semester (and our lives, really).  But that weary, woozy, heavy feeling began to hover as the trip approached.  In my head, the Ryan Air flight–which was probably only like 30 Euro–should not be wasted over a mere fever.  We were going to make this trip happen.

The night before the trip, a stabbing pain developed in the back of my throat, which was quickly followed up with a heavy resonant hack to go with it.  But no, this was going to happen.  We had Italian dreams, and again, the money shouldn’t be wasted!  I figured a solid nap once we reached Italy would push me back into Healthy Land.

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Day 16: Fundraiser THANK YOU and Silly Student Quotes

First of all, I have to send a huge thank you to Jessie and Dan Blum Gabriel for donating to my fundraiser for Zara Aina.  In the past year, they have become a huge part of our Montclair community of lovely people.  They are both generous and loving–and have two beautiful boys!!  Because of you, we are now at 64%!!

Us at Thanksgiving last year with the whole gang! (photo via Lindsey Weisman)

Us at Thanksgiving last year with the whole gang–Jess and Dan on the far right! (photo via Lindsey Weisman)

 

Second of all,  I need to keep my story short today because I have a crazy-busy afternoon.  And so I have compiled the following list, gathered from my five years as a teaching artist and summer arts teacher in NYC.  These were almost all from students between the ages of 4 and 10.  I will add more throughout the day as more come to me.

The Most Adorable Moments of Innocence/Fabulous Quotes from my Former Students

During a Q and A with 1st graders in Florida in 2009:

Student: “Miss, are you married?”

Me: “Nope!”

Student: (with a concerned face) “Oh no, it’s too late for you then!”

 

After seeing one of my brightest students sitting confused by her arts supplies during a “build your house” project with recyclable materials:

Student: “I just don’t understand yet.”

Me: “Can you explain to me which part is confusing you?”

Student: “How will we fit inside the building if we make it out of milk cartons?”

 

After I entered a room of all boys for a workshop:

Student: “You’re really lucky, you know.  Teaching all boys is much easier than teaching girls.”

Me:  “Interesting.  Any why do you feel that way?”

Student: “Because our teacher said so.”

Me: “….”

 

While we were making light-up name buttons in a shape that represented our personality:

Kindergartner: “I made a Jewish Star because I love being Jewish!  Can I make them for anyone Jewish in the class?”

*I turn around to see four students proudly wearing stick-on, yellow Jewish stars on their shirts*

Me: “Ah!”

 

After a stressful trip to a Brooklyn playground because of the heat:

Me: “And sometimes, we overcome difficult things because we are brave.  Can we think of another time we overcame something and then felt brave?”

Student, while standing up exuberantly, arms up in the air: “Yes! LIKE THAT TIME I HAD LIIIIIIICE!”

 

Overheard in the hallway between two 2nd graders:

One girl to another: “Well we’ve been engaged since Kindergarten, so one day I’m just gonna remind him that we have to get  married.”

The other girl in reply, “That’s really smart.”

 

Overheard in the hallway

“Wait, it’s ‘paddle from other side! No ‘Hello.’  It’s a song about Adele in a boat!”

 

While performing in a playwriting assembly for elementary school students (in an audience-run improv):

Suggestion from audience:  “You’re Britney Spears!”

Castmate: “And what is her conflict?”

Suggestion from audience: “She’s slowly turning into a tree that’s catching on fire!”

Castmate: “Okay–and go!”

 

Day 14: That Terrible Time I Tried to Be a Hip-Hop Dancer

For the final 30 days of my twenties, I am writing one personal narrative a day that has impacted my life until now.  To read more about my challenge, feel free to check out the first post.  

Also, this 30 Day challenge is also to support a wonderful charity, Zara Aina.  Please check out my fundraiser here and if you’re able, please consider throwing a few dollars toward this amazing cause.  It would mean the world!

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2010 was the year of applying to everything. Every audition or job opportunity that remotely fit my abilities was a chance for me to at least give it the old college try.  Many times, this landed me in auditions and interviews that were significantly over my head.  One of these times, I was called to audition for a hip-hop flash mob to take place in Times Square for the launch of a new video game console

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am not a hip hop dancer.  Up until that that time, I had studied ballet, jazz, modern and tap on and off since childhood, and to be fair, I wasn’t half bad.  But when I tried to attempt any type of dance that required you to relax your body (as hip hop often does), I struggled. I really really struggled.  I’d look like a broken tin man trying to dance.  But hey!  This casting director called me directly to tell me about this massive cattle call.  What could go wrong?

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Day 11: That Time I Worked at Abercrombie

For the final 30 days of my twenties, I am writing one personal narrative a day that has impacted my life until now.  To read more about my challenge, feel free to check out the first post. 

Also, this 30 Day challenge is also to support a wonderful charity, Zara Aina.  Please check out my fundraiser here and if you’re able, please consider throwing a few dollars toward this amazing cause.  It would mean the world!

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By the end of high school, I cared very little about trying to mesh with the popular or stylish crowd. It was freeing really, I saw college on the horizon and had no qualms about keeping to my trusty and supportive group of theatre friends. At the end of the day, I just wanted to graduate, lay low, and get out of there.

Nevertheless, I accompanied a friend to the Rockaway Mall one afternoon so she could interview for a position at Abercrombie.  I’m pretty sure I had never bought anything from, or even walked into an Abercrombie before this, but wanted to be supportive (Abercrombie is the younger version of Abercrombie and Fitch–less shirtless models, more angsty pre-teens).  But as we entered the store that day, the manager said we were all welcome to join in on the group interview if we wanted to–even me.  And so I thought, I have nothing to lose!  Why the hell not?  I needed money and a job.

And so several young blonde girls and a manager named Fanta walked us outside the store, ponytails and an perfectly “distressed” flare jeans and all. It was relief to find respite from the overwhelming odor of men’s cologne that they spritzed around the store every half hour.  The interview consisted of several spunky questions like, “If you could be any fruit or vegetable, what would you be?”  When it came to my turn, I said that I would be a potato, because they can be cooked in so many versatile ways and have the ability to conduct electricity.  To this, the manager said, with a squeal, “Oh yes!  You can like, stick them in electrical sockets, right?”  To which I responded, “Oh, no, please don’t try that.”

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Day 5: Short Stories on the Road


Ben and I are in Pennsylvania for a wedding this weekend, and so I have little time to write out a giant narrative.  However!  Here is a good time to put a bunch of short tales into one list.  In storytelling/writing classes, I’ve often played the “one-sentence story game,” which encourages you to say just enough while leaving the audience wondering.

Here are some one-sentence stories in the theme of….

Temping

By the end of the office Christmas party, a drunk executive appeared out of nowhere, having apparently fallen asleep on the couch in the kitchen.  He walked by my reception desk and blurted out, “I ate the rest of the hot pockets.”

~~~~

On the one hand, I didn’t have to wear shoes all day.  On the other, I had eight more hours left of covering this room in post-it notes.

~~~

I knew it was time to cut to cord when they used the phrase, “Just lie to your agency, you’ll be fine driving the Range Rover.”

~~~

She slammed her hands on the desk and yelled, “But you don’t believe the allegations, right?!  Don’t talk to any press!”  I left the next day.

~~~~

She looked a bit like a character out of Harry Potter, hair shooting out in all directions, with wild eyes.  I worried she hadn’t left this filing room for sunlight in quite sometime, and I suddenly feared for my own future.  “I used to work in theatre too!”

~~~

The looping Lana Del Ray music and trippy projections on the wall began to worry me even more than the shock of how many people were in the office on Christmas Eve.

~~~

“I’m just the temp!” I tentatively yelled back into the phone as they threatened to shut off the phone service if the company didn’t pay their bills.

~~~

I was in charge of answering the phone for an entire section of the hectic trading floor, and five out of the seven men were named Mike.

~~~

“Please tell John not to walk past the board room, we don’t want investors to know we have a cleaning crew.”

~~~

“We have to book them on three different flights,” she explained, “Because if the plane goes down and they’re all on it, our stock will fall.”

~~~

(During an interview) “Has anyone else told you you’re not allowed to leave the building?” She whispered.  “You can’t even leave for lunch.  And there aren’t any windows.”

~~~

Dress code: Closed-toed shoes. Women must where heels and a skirt.

~~~

I worked there for three long months, and never got a damn Girl Scout cookie.

 

Add your own below!!

The 7 Types of Online Commenters

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

I reached a nice milestone in my writing career this week–I learned to stop looking at the comments when my articles are published on mainstream websites.  This wasn’t an issue in the beginning.  I only wrote on my personal blog, which I shared with my Facebook circle–a group I feel is full of tactful, educated people.  However, when my writing made the leap to a wider audience, I hit a rough adjustment period.  Up until then, I spent my days wrapped in a safety blanket of ignorance, only occasionally receiving criticism–and if I did, it was a constructive and usually very helpful.

Jump ahead to the summer when my writing took off a bit, and the floodgates opened to not only a wider supportive crowd, but also a whole different one as well–the rest of the online commenter community.  Or, the angry mob, if you will. For a while, I had a hard time looking away from the train wreck of comments that would follow one of my articles–people who thought I was attacking them, people who thought I was lazy, or my personal favorite–people who didn’t read the article (admit they didn’t read it), but rip into the idea anyway, usually talking about an issue in their own lives.

Luckily, I have a very supportive husband and group of friends that taught me to “just say no” to reading, or giving any weight, to nonconstructive online criticism.  But as someone who writes about feelings and human interaction a whole bunch, I still can’t look away.  I’ve been watching Jon Ronson’s TED Talks , and am starting to read his book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed:A Journey Through the World of Public Humiliation.  He has a lot of good points.  In his talk last summer, he paints the picture of a time when Twitter was used to display our insecurities in order to connect with similar people. Nowadays, unfortunately, Twitter seems to be out to “get” people, ready to jump on a poorly-worded joke or a less-popular idea.  It can be about getting attention for upholding your personal ideologies, even at the writer’s expense.  What’s most fascinating, is that many of these people, usually egged-on by groupthink, genuinely think they’re fighting for some good cause.

Amidst all this seriousness though, all I can do at the moment is laugh in the face of negativity.  It isn’t right, and not funny for the people who are being attacked.  But instead of wasting my anger on them, I will celebrate their comments in the only way I know how–sarcasm.

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Bridges, Backhoes & Other Irrational Fears

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Phobia, Shmobia.”

“Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?”

I do not enjoy this photo.

 

Try to contain your laughter, but I have a confession to make.  A confession that many friends are aware of  and have talked me through since the beginning of college:  I’m a little terrified of construction equipment, specifically cranes and backhoes.  Yes, it’s odd, and yes, deep down I know they’re not going chase us down with their scary metal talons, but still, I cringe if I have to pass one on the street.

Over the years, I’ve realized that my fear truly stems from a larger category of items: massive metal things.  Just to clarify:

Large metal things that freak me out: Cranes, plows, backhoes, other large construction vehicles, garbage trucks, roller coasters, bridges (this one has gotten better), and creepy carnival rides.

Large metal things I’m cool with: lawnmowers, cars, old-timey computers, file cabinets, fences, copy machines.

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Lazy Sunday Recipe: Corn and Summer Veggie Beer Sauté

This week’s recipe is brought to you by lack of sleep, beer, and the letter B.  For beer!

 

Photo credit- frugal-cafe.com

Cooking when you’re tired and punchy can be tricky.  But you still have to eat.  There are plenty of days when getting in the car and safely reaching the store for any special ingredients in just not an option.  So as I said last week, start with what you have.  Or in this case, look at what you have and figure out how the heck it could become meal.

Corn and Summer Veggie Beer Sauté

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Servings: 4

Prep/Cook Time: Less than 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Corn from two fresh ears, kernels cut off before cooking
  • 3-4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Hefty handful of green beans, chopped
  • Four stalks of celery, halved and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, you guessed it, chopped
  • 1 clove of diced garlic
  • 1/8 can of lager beer- I used Yuengling
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • Sriracha to taste
  • One tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, dash of chili powder
  • 1 cup (uncooked) rice of choice
  • 1 secret ingredient (reveled below!)

Alternate Recipe List

  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Whatever veggies you have in the fridge
  • Beer
  • Spicy things

“I just want to fill my mouth with tastes”

After a three hour brunch in our college cafeteria senior year, a wise friend once announced to the group, “I’m no longer hungry, I just want to fill my mouth with tastes.”  Minus the “no longer hungry” part, this is how I approach cooking when I am tired.  I look at things and think, what is my basic human reaction for how I want all these ingredients to come together?  Often, things are pretty delicious when I take this approach.  Other times, I make hot dog lentil soup that sits in the fridge for three weeks.  Sorry, Ben.

As always, start by sautéing garlic in olive oil, it’s a very good place to start.  While you are doing this, chop the tomatoes, occasionally checking that the garlic bits are not turning too brown.  Golden is great, brown is not.  Garlic goes from delicious aromatic pieces of delight to evils burnt bits of coal in seconds, so keep your eye peeled.

Add the tomatoes and toss around.  Grab a bowl and stand each husked corn cob to slice kernels off the ear.  This way, they don’t completely fly around the kitchen.  Add corn to pan.

Chop ends off green beans and chop into small pieces.  The key to a sauté like this, is keeping everything a similar size.  Otherwise, everything will cook at different speeds.  Slice the celery in half longways and chop to similar size pieces as the beans, throw them in the pan.  Do the same thing with the zucchini.

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At this point, just add about a tablespoon of sriracha (depending how spicy you like it), along with the honey, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Toss around and allow to cook uncovered for about as long as it takes to clean up spilling half your beer behind the coffee maker and sugar tins. Let’s say, 5 minutes.  Husking corn is dangerous, friends, use caution.  After this, add the beans.

Here’s where the magic happens.  Add about a two-count of beer, and watch it do that delicious foamy pan-beer thing.  Stir gently, and cover.  Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

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Now is a good time to get your rice going.  Ben and I acquired a rice cooker  three years ago, and therefore never learned how to make rice like regular humans.  It takes almost exactly 15 minutes, a little more time than you need for the deliciousness to simmer.

When you return from NOT almost falling asleep with the cat on the couch, check out your veggies and taste how it’s doing.  Always taste!  It’s fun AND necessary.  If you want it heavier on the chili power, add more!  If it tastes too much like beer, add a tad more honey.  You got this.  If something went terribly wrong and you’re really not sure what it was, there’s always butter.

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When in doubt, add an egg

At this point, I was irrationally sad that we didn’t have cheese.  I was tired, and no, we didn’t need cheese in the dish, but it sure would make it perfect.  So I needed to substitute.

Once the mixture is the consistency and spiciness that you like, pour the mixture into a nearby bowl.  Not any bowl, preferably one you’ve set aside for this purpose.

Photo credit: properpet.com

Inappropriate bowl.

Keep the heat on low so that your pan will continue to heat.  Since it is covered in leftover amazingness, FRY AN EGG ON IT.  Grab the number of eggs for the amount of servings you are preparing and pop them in the hot pan.  I made mine sunny side up, since successful flipping seemed improbable.  If you take this path, put a lid on it.  Wait until it doesn’t look like a raw egg.

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Build a pretty plate

Here’s the fun part!  Even if you’re tired, some simple tricks can make you look oh-so-fancy.  Because it’s always more fun to eat fancy looking food.  Grab a small dish of any interesting shape, even if it’s shot glass.  This is kind of like making a small sandcastle, but with rice.  I used a small ramequin, which may I point out, is one of my favorite words.  Scoop the rice into the container and flip over onto the plate (like a sandcastle!)

Scoop veggie/corn/beer mixture onto rice castle and don’t worry if it collapses a bit.  It’s still pretty.

Pick up the egg, and lay it across the whole darn thing, like the picture of the pancake in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

pancake

Last but not least, grab your sriracha and drizzle it over the top of the egg, making it look beautiful and delicious.  Serve, enjoy, and then go get some sleep.

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If the Whole World Took an Acting Class

As an actor, I have spent my fair share of time laying on the floor and barking at the ceiling.  Okay, I’m not barking, per se, I am sending my voice through the space from the top of my head.  I have sat on the backs of classmates and been sat on by teachers, all for the sake of a vocal exercise.  I have chased fellow classmates around the room, repeating what they say, and I have run up and down a flight of stairs until I felt the “sensation of doing a line of coke” to start a monologue.  In my children’s theatre days, I’ve played princesses, fairies, puppies, teachers, moms, horses, trees, and once a shrubbery that slowly transformed into Lady Gaga.

Blanka Zizka and I in her workshop at the Wilma in 2014. Photo credit: The Wilma Theatre

On the other hand, I’ve waited in eight hour lines, spent overnight film shoots on the floor of an abandoned Brooklyn middle school, eaten dollar pizza while literally running between two jobs with four bags while dressed as a “hipster type”, and lied to several bosses about dental emergencies because I got a spot at an EPA.

As we all have, I’ve done some strange things, and no, I wouldn’t trade that for security any day.  But two nights ago, when laying on the floor of my Alexander Technique class, my teacher used the phrase “Pelvic Ears.”  I lost it.  I lost it to myself, because I deeply respect my teacher and the group in my class, but for some reason, after many years of the strange things I’ve done, I lost it at “pelvic ears.”  In the context of the exercise, she made complete sense.  Yes, I did want to listen with my pelvic ears!  But seriously, it’s truly remarkable that this is a career path.  And I wish it on everyone that is missing out.

Group exercise before a performance in college

Last night on a particularly crowded train, I sat next to a friendly man who started up a conversation.  The regular chatter began: Where do you work? Where are you from?  Why are you on NJ Transit?  All that stuff.  He was in IT, and I am an actor.  Here is what I notice about genuinely interested non-theatre people:

-They often call their own profession boring in comparison to hearing you are an actor.  Dear sir, this is not true.  If you are good at what you do and you are happy, then you go for it.

-They ask if you’re on Broadway.  This is fair, I get it, why would I know the ins and outs of IT?  I don’t!  There’s no reason you would know there are shows outside of the commercial theatre world.

-But most importantly, they tend to bring up one theatre experience from their past, either from school or community theatre.  Their stories are always specific, personal, and vivid.  It’s as if you suddenly gave them the green light to say, “Yes!  I was upset that I didn’t get cast in Oklahoma in 1994!”  or, “I’ve always want to go back to it, but I’m not as brave as you are.”

Here is what I take away from these interactions:  theatre has an incredibly lasting emotional impact, and the business scares non-career performers away.  I think this is silly and needs to change.  I know there are corporate coaches that bring theatre exercises to executives, but in my tempting experience, it is not seen often, and many of the execs I’ve met look like I just threatened to sell their first born when I suggest they take an acting class.

Skills learned on the road.

What is unclear to those outside the business, is that acting classes make you better at being a human.  A human in public, a human alone, and a human who cares about their present.  Also, a human who knows their emotions are justified.

If I grabbed a selection of executives from one of the many offices I’ve temped in, and threw them into the acting business for a year, this is what they may learn (ups and downs included):

-How to find their feet, and support their body for a healthy life, perhaps correcting the computer slouch from 40 years at a desk.

-How to lay on the floor and make continuous sound, at whatever volume you like, without ever being judged or told to be quiet.

-How to trust a classmate, or essentially, a stranger, to respect your feelings and perhaps catch an imaginary ball.

-To find their true voice.  And experience an entire room of people listening with respect.

-How to be pretty fantastic at costume parties.

Mad Men New Years 2013

-How to think on their feet, and never be scared of the question “What are you doing?” ever again!

-How to ROCK at the “Questions” section of Kings.

-What it’s like to experience the difficulty of not making ridiculous faces during a photo shoot, and reveling in it when you do.

Photo credit: headshot  proof by Emily Lambert

Photo credit: Headshot proof by Emily Lambert

-To see what your body and mind is truly capable of.

-To become closer with a group of people than you ever thought you could be (after three weeks!), and to share your life story over drinks instead of bad-mouthing your coworkers.

Celebrating Opening Night at Speranza Theatre.

-How to support yourself emotionally after leaving a difficult audition, especially after hearing the dreaded words, “You’re free to go.”

-How to stretch $50 until next Friday, and become friends with your mailman, who smiles when he has your check.

-To memorize all the free places in NYC to use the bathroom, and how to kill two hours between gigs without spending a dime.

-To forgive yourself and know that not getting hired is beyond your control.

-To get up time after time, burnout after burnout, and realize you still have your feet, your voice, and even your pelvic ears.

If you are an artist reading this, let us make it our responsibility to share this incredible world that has become a normal part of our lives.  If you are not an actor, you’re always welcome.  The door is always open, and I think you’d be amazed at what you’ve been missing.

What do you think people outside the business could learn from a theatre class?  Are there other similar industries I should jump into as well?  Let me know!

The War Against Office Snacks

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A few days ago, my boss purchased a fun little candy dispenser from Costco.  We’ve been trying to make our office more welcoming for teachers to come work. So when she came across this awesome little candy machine, she went for it.  We filled it to the brim with Peanut M&M’s and mini Hershey bars and placed it by our door.

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Now overall, this office has been a million more times open minded than anywhere I’ve worked.  I genuinely enjoy the company of everyone who comes by my office, and I am always impressed by how healthy the environment this.  However.  A trend is forming that I’ve seen almost everywhere, from the most corporate hedge funds down to the most liberal middle school.  We’re terrified of snacks.  We think that if we don’t hide them in secret drawers behind the receptionist, that they will force themselves into our stomachs, making a b-line for our thighs!

Ever since we put out these candy dispensers, I’ve had a range of comments:

“You’re evil!”

“That’s so dangerous!”

“No!!  Terrible!  I can’t even be NEAR chocolate.”

“I saw that, did you see that?  Where did it come from?”

Back, snacks, back!

Back, snacks, back!

Yes, I know these are playful comments, I’m not trying to be uptight here.  But let’s back it up a bit.  When I worked at a similar school in the city, the tension between my coworkers and sweets became an outright war.  Someone would buy cupcakes for someone’s birthday and with each bite the room would scream, “Oh I shouldn’t!  Oh this is awful!  Why am I do this?!”  For Christ’s sake eat the cupcake.  Now on top of the processed sugar, that yes, it not excellent when eaten in giant quantities, you are stressed.  So now your body is not only working to break down the sugar, but also releasing all sorts of angry stress chemicals.  All over a birthday cupcake.  If you have chosen to cut back on sweets, or simply don’t like them, that is totally fine.  A simple “No, thank you” will suffice.

The Skinny Myth

high school

At a theatre competition in 2004

Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve gotten passive aggressive comments about being thin.  I didn’t break 110 pounds until I was about 18.  I got a lot of, “Oh be quiet, you can eat whatever you want.”  But did being thin make me healthy?  I think I drank 2 glasses of coke with each meal until high school.  I went through my teenage years making an ice cream sundae a night.  No, I do not have some super-human ability to expel all that sugar from my body, it just didn’t hang around as fat yet.  But that doesn’t mean it didn’t negatively affect my body.  Strangely enough, it wasn’t until I became more in touch with my actual hunger and started eating better that I reached a healthy weight (by gaining some).

But I am literally sitting here eating a brownie as I write this, and happily.  I will not spend the whole day guzzling soda or beer and will not have five more brownies after this.  I am just enjoying the damn brownie.  The problem about these casual comments is the dread and body shaming that lie underneath them.

Awareness vs. Body shaming

The sweets in an office are “dangerous” because eating them (apparently against our own control) will lead to something “terrible”, like weight gain. Heavens forbid!  My “beach body” will  apparently not be up to par with those only drinking milk shakes this month.  Our relationship with food often seems like a direct relationship with our physical awareness.  If we took the energy we put into fighting back the evils of chocolate and the need to complete a certain amount of squats in a day, and used it instead to figure out what our body actually needs and how it works, then we may be able to stop fearing everything we consume.  We may even figure out why we eat and what we truly want to eat.

If there is one main theme I have learned from studying Alexander Technique, it’s that our body knows how to take care of itself if we get out of its way.  Once you do, you will know when you need cardio, or to eat some protein, or to stretch.  Forcing a regimen on yourself that is perfect for someone else is like buying a size 10 shoe when you’re a size 7, just because you liked how that specific shoe looked on someone else.  It doesn’t work.

sailing

How I felt when I stopped worrying about my “beach body”

So I will say now, with complete respect to my Beach Body friend representatives, please stop sending me Beach Body invitations.  Without realizing it, you are inferring that I need to alter my body to go to the beach.  And frankly, I am doing plenty to try and get in touch with my best diet and exercise patterns, but I am not going to do them in the name of a bathing suit.  I am not going to go for a run and check my calves when I get home.   I am not going to chart out my calories every time I take a bite.  I am going to continue educating myself on how my specific body responds to sugars and chemicals, and I will continue to find the best way to keep my energy high and fabulous through whatever exercise I damn well please.  But that is up to me, and it is a timely process to find the balance.  So please cool it.

SO!  Snacks!

Let’s begin by cutting back the snack shaming.  Saying that something is “dangerous” infers that no one else around you should eat it either.  And that isn’t your business.  The snacks can exist in your presence, and if you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat them.  So until you find that happy place and know what your body needs to feel good, cut down on the accusations.  That poor plate of brownies did nothing wrong, and neither did you by eating one of them.

Feelin' good about my recent ability to run a full mile AND drinking that glass of wine.

Feelin’ good about my recent ability to run a full mile AND drinking that glass of wine.