So the thing about Roar, is that it was a celebration of where I am at right now on my journey.
My journey started long before the four minute video that you see today.
And Roar, is a symbolic event to celebrate how far I have come.
My journey has taken me from the depths of hell – when I didn’t want to get out of bed for days, when I could down an ice cream cake before my roommate got out of the shower, when I would commisserate over beers from 11am to 11pm at night with other friends experiencing depression as well – to fucking Hawaii, where I am roaring and drinking coconut water and getting my ass kicked in Kundalini yoga and sleeping for what feels like the first time in ten years.
My journey has included ups and downs and hospital visits and black out binges and financial crisis and unlimited mimosa brunches and a lot of self-help books. Not to mention multiple packs of Marlboro Menthol Lights, shameful (and I mean SHAMEFUL) booty calls, and at one point, an absurd amount of Splenda.
My journey is only my own to know the details of. Many friends know bits and pieces, but only I know the extent of the ugliness.
And so, my journey is in the paragraphs that make up this blog, but also in the spaces between.
Because sometimes there are no words to express the pain and sorrow and guilt and anger that life can bring while you just sit there and attempt to fight back with weak, Nutella-covered fists.
And that’s when you have to dance.
In musical theatre, we were always taught that when you become too overcome to speak, the only thing left to do is start singing.
And then, when you’re too overcome to keep singing, the only thing left to do is to dance.
So Roar was my body being too overcome with emotion to sing, speak, write, or express.
All there was left to do, was fucking dance.
Dance, and celebrate everything that has happened up until this point. Because even the darkest moments can be celebrated when you finally accept that they have brought you to a point where you can party in tap shoes and a tutu like that.
So, in response to the comments that Roar is me promoting obesity, I say this:
I understand that obesity is a disease in this country.
What people need to understand, is that it’s something none of us has chosen.
Binge-eating is a disorder for over eight million Americans, and a habit for millions more. Just like the alcohol, narcotic, or sex additions people may have, food is our drug.
So while we overcome our addiction to using Oreos and Domino’s Deep Dish to fill the void and mask our feelings, we have to be okay with where we are at right here in this moment.
And although we’ve grown up being told otherwise, I’ve learned that it’s okay to find happiness in our journey along the way, instead of waiting until we are perfect to finally be happy.
You see, “happy” is part of the definition of healthy, in my book. Probably in your book too.
And so Roar was a celebration of how happy I am to be alive. To be strong. To be able to drop down in a cooter slam, even if my thighs have cellulite. And to celebrate how healthy I finally am.
My weight has fluctuated thirty pounds up and down an obscene amount of times since the age of 18. There is no possible way that that fluctuation is more healthy for me than the extra weight that I have been holding on to since May when I became aware of my serious binge-eating.
I understand that I have extra stomach fat from my poor choices when it comes to nutrition over the years.
I understand that Nutella has no nutritional value.
But I also understand, that the first step of recovering from anything, is awareness.
I am now aware of my habits. And so during my process, I’ve had to learn to look in the mirror and love what I have right now.
Even if its an extra twenty-five pounds.
Looking in the mirror and looking straight at the parts of you that you’ve avoided accepting for your entire life, is something that takes time, patience, and quite frankly, big balls.
But it will literally benefit the planet, when we all start to do it. For the sake of everyone around us, the sooner we start to accept what’s happening in our stomach region or our ass region, the sooner we can stop beating ourselves up and aquaint ourselves with this crazy concept called “self-love”.
And as soon as we find the “self-love” that we’ve been forgetting about this whole time, the sooner we can offer more love and compassion to the people that we surround ourselves every day, instead of letting our own insecurities get in the way of our relationships.
In response to the comments that I am not fat, and I made people bigger than me feel fat:
I just want to reiterate that this was a piece about how I am often too “fat” for the entertainment business.
I’ve been told that I am too heavy for roles, too big for roles, too curvy for roles, and too thick for roles.
“Fat” is just the umbrella that all those words fall under.
And so I wrote that word on my body in order to peel it off, and prove to my industry, that I will never ask their permission to perform in a role again – no matter what adjective might describe me right now. I will forever dance, and sing, and laugh, on my own terms. I don’t know what those terms look like yet, but from where I’m standing in my newly painted rainbow tap shoes, they look pretty fucking joyful and creative.
I peeled the words “fat” and “big” off my body to prove that no adjective will ever define my state of being again.
Because for the first time in my life, my state of being, is healthy.
This was a loud and clear message to my inner self, my soul, that I am still here. I am still alive. This bitch is still kickin’.
Literally. Like, fan kicking my face.
And finally, to the hundreds of comments from people who felt inspired by this piece and who took the time out of their busy days to write me and let me know that they benefited from this story, I say this:
Thank you, from the bottom of my masking-tape covered heart, thank you.
I am so thankful to be a part of your journey, because you are now a part of mine. Just when I thought that I was just another statistic – the woman who has a problem with eating and writes about it – you all took my journey and blasted it across the web to let people know that good things are happening.
You showed your 12-year old daughter and your 9-year old son – so that they could understand that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and we can’t tease people who don’t look just like us, even if we are skinny and they are not.
You sent me emails to let me know you got out your tap shoes for the first time in thirteen years because you realized it doesn’t matter what flounces and bounces as you shuffle ball change – it only matters that you are doing something your body finds joyful and inspiring.
You sent me messages on Facebook to let me know that you stood in front of the mirror in your underwear and looked at your stretch marks on your stomach for the first time since your baby was born, and you learned to love them because the little person who caused them is coloring you a picture right now at the kitchen table.
And yes, you sent me messages to let me know that you, beautiful YOU, are not going to give up on your performing career just because you are not tiny. And you are not going to leave New York City, or the theatre world, until you figure out how to make your career yours, instead of molding yourself into the career.
To you, my performing family, I must quote a very wise YouTube commenter from about a week and a half ago:
“You are beautiful and by the way, good job for taking your own career in your hands. You tell people who you are, not the other way around.”
Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of you who have shared this journey with your friends and your family. We have reached a million people in just over two weeks, and I feel that this positive body image celebration has the potential to change everyone’s mind, eventually. Let the self-love and the body confidence spread like the plague. We will continually change ourselves, and the next generation, for the better.
If you are new to this blog, let me remind you of my mantra:
None of us have to go from zero to hero today. None of us have to give up Nutella cold-turkey today. Awareness is the first step to everything. And so let it be celebrated, that a million of us are aware, today.
Whether you come to the conclusion that you will start looking at your legs each morning, accepting them despite their imperfections, and thanking them for what they actually do – carry you through your day every single day – or you decide that you are going to listen to your feelings just once this week instead of drowning them in a bag of Reese’s Pieces, you are aware of your personal journey and that’s all that matters today.
So I just want to say thank you to all of you, and encourage you to remember the mantra baby steps. It’s the least overwhelming mantra that there is, and I’ve also found that it’s a fabulous key to happiness along the way.
As the whole of us take these baby steps together, since my dearies, we are literally all in this together, let us open our mouths and hearts and continually make a loud and raucous sound of celebration from here on out.
I don’t know what the sound is that is louder than a “roar”, but I know it’s the sound that we are all about to make together.
And to that I say, mahalo, mahalo, mahalo, for your time.
I’ve written two blog posts in the past month about forgiving my career, and New York City, for the bruising I’ve allowed both to cause me. This 20th blog post, is the wrap up for those two posts.
About three weeks ago, I performed a burlesque piece in a fundraiser for Hawaii Gay Pride.
While I literally peeled the words “cellulite” and “suck it in” off my body, as a part of the piece I created in order to share my journey, I thought to myself, “This is Broadway to me.”
I think this video speaks a million words for my journey, and no more explanation is needed, other than explaining that burlesque is an art form where clothing is removed. So you will see skin. You will see all of my passion. And you will hear screams from over 200 people who have shared part of my journey with me, and have probably been on some version of it themselves.
#Roar, and, mahalo for your time.