An Open Letter To Everyone Who Has Ever Read This BlogPosted: April 28, 2014
Dear everyone who has ever read this blog,
I started writing because I needed someone out there in the world to understand me. I needed someone to write about what it’s like to be cut from dance calls because of body type. I needed someone to write about the frustrations of auditioning and the stresses of eating and the confusion over nutrition and the heartbreak of failing at another diet and the reality that every diet failure directly affected my career.
There was no one writing about this shit. And I think it’s really important to have a space where anyone who deals with these issues can relate. I really needed that, but I couldn’t find it.
So I started writing about it. Because I figured that someone has to.
Binge-eating disorder, a move to Hawaii, and my sarcastic sense of humor only added character to the blog, but I still made an effort to stay true to it’s original mission statement of shedding some bright ass light on what it’s like to live in a body controlled by the entertainment biz.
Then Roar happened.
Roar was not planned. It was a performance piece for a small but mighty gay pride burlesque fundraiser in the middle of Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was having trouble coming up with any sort of fun choreography for the burlesque show because I was in such a pensive state in my life – I wasn’t in party mode, so my choreography wasn’t very flirtacious. I was stuck, I was lost, and I was over it. So I went to the director of the fundraiser who is a knock-out burlesque performer herself, and I presented this crazy idea about ripping words off my body as part of the burlesque piece. I mumbled my way through the idea at about a thousand words a minute because I thought she would think I was so dumb. Instead, she told me that she was obsessed with the idea and art is a reflection of life. There was no reason that my burlesque piece couldn’t be a reflection of my personal journey.
So Roar was born. Kind of. I borrowed a tutu, knowing that I had these pointe shoe tap shoes and I tried to work on it in my spare time and just didn’t have the energy or inspiration. I literally considered dropping out of the fundraiser up until two days before it, but instead had a beer at dinner and showed up at the dress rehearsal with only a vague idea of what I was going to do. I told myself that this wasn’t Broadway, it wasn’t NYC, and it was a show for fun for a good cause – what was the worst that could happen.
Most of Roar was improvised. It was how I felt in the moment. My friend Rachel practiced writing “cellulite” all up and down my ass and thighs until she could step back and still read it from far away. It brought me great joy to perform the piece, and I was so thankful that someone happened to catch it on tape. I thought it would be great for my blog readers to see the piece so that they could feel a sense of pride after following my journey for so many months – and that it would inspire them to celebrate their journeys as well.
950, 891 YouTube views, a HuffPost article, a magazine interview, and a second Roar video later, I find myself covered in excema from stress, pale as fuck from staying inside to research the body love movement instead of taking beach days with my boyfriend, and too burnt out to dance with my kiddies at work.
Instead of a feeling of pride and gratitude, I merely feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
And when a doctor handed me a prescription a week ago for an excema cream with side effects that include lymphoma, cancer, vision problems, and unknown long term affects due to lack of FDA study, I had to really step back and take a look at this whole monster.
Which is why I’m writing you this letter today.
Since the beginning of Roar’s journey, people from all sides have advised me to monetize my blog, make it a “thing”, brand it, promote it, get it out there, make it something. Take advantage of this opportunity NOW. Don’t let the exposure pass me up. Use this to my advantage. A friend advised me to change the domain name from “www.trustmeivebeenthere.wordpress.com” to something more simple, assuring me that “amandatrustysays” would only be a professional domain but it wouldn’t show up in the address bar. That didn’t work out the way it was supposed to – and all of a sudden every media publication that shared Roar was directing people to my blog, amandatrustysays.com.
And here you are today, at the end of April 2014, nearly a year after the birth of Trust Me, I’ve Been There, reading a blog in the middle of a website with seven different menu options, a domain name I despise, and a slew of blog posts that were constructed to please my entire audience who I don’t know.
Excema comes out from the nervous system. It can be stress or allergy induced, and it’s probably both for me.
I have excema on my eyelids and my face is literally shedding. I feel hideous. I look like Quasimodo.
So I’m going to be 100% honest with you right now.
I am not an expert. I am 27. I have ups and I have downs and I do not even have a college degree. Even though I hate the way I have to be a size 6 to be a Broadway showgirl, I still think about trying to get back to that weight every day. I have mixed feelings about some of the things that are happening in the body love movement. I love tap dancing more than I love anything in this world. I am really interested in the benefits of chia seeds. And I do not want to mix writing with money.
I love to write. It helps me, it may help you, and I think some of the things I’m shedding light on are important.
I do believe in body love. I believe in self-acceptance. But I don’t always believe in myself.
I am too large, too heavy I should say, right now, to show my dance students how to leap, and jump, and even roll around on the floor. I developed disordered eating over the years, yet I still try to live my life as though food is not an addiction or a comfort to me. I sometimes live in denial and I throw pity-parties and I live in a jumble of emotions that involve daily tears. Every morning I attempt a gluten-free life. It doesn’t always work out, and I cramp and I bloat and I feel foggy because of it. I also have a complex that eats at me, whispering to me “if you get your shit together, or if you lose weight, or if you aren’t depressed, or if you get over your bingeing, you’ll lose the blog.”
Truth: I’m driving myself crazy.
Truth: I am interested in nutrition, but my addiction gets the best of me sometimes.
Truth: I am interested in a healthy, energetic life where I don’t feel like I need six cups of coffee to get through three hours of teaching.
Truth: I sometimes look at the body love movement and wonder if I lose weight, if I won’t be included in the body love party anymore. That I’ll be a sell out. Another health blog.
Truth: Enough is enough.
Truth: A blog is a forum where you can write about anything you want even if it doesn’t flow, doesn’t connect, doesn’t reach millions, and doesn’t make you famous.
So I’ma go back to basics here, and blog the hell out of my non-flowing, semi-connected, curse word run-on sentence thoughts.
I want to shed light on the things that I didn’t understand a year ago. And I don’t want to charge for it. I’ll leave that to Geneen Roth, who won’t even return my emails most of the time, and who charges for each and every webinar.
I want to talk about how to use chia seeds, now that I understand it, because no one was explaining that to me a year ago.
I want to shed light on emotional eating since I think this country suffers from it more than we realize, yet no one’s talking about it, because then all the fitness magazines, emotional eating authors, and diet creators would go out of business.
I want to promote self-love, but also be completely honest and say, I don’t always love the way my clothes fit and I would like to do something about it.
I want for you, what I am always too busy to make happen for myself. I want to inspire self-care, not from a book I’ve read, but from what I’ve found actually works for me.
I want to make my health nut nutrition friends understand that posting a picture of salmon and broccoli on Facebook and multiple articles about the horrific chemicals in our food gets old after a while. I want to explain to my dear holistic health coach friends that emotional eating IS a thing and it’s not something to “just get over” for the sake of living a dairy-free, corn-free, gluten-free life.
I want to do so many things, yet I don’t know where to start. I have grand ideas every day and then I forget them because I get distracted. I have the brain of an old woman and an attention span of a child. I have a body that has been through the ringer and desperately needs me to care for it, yet still stands strong underneath me when I binge on foods that inflame and torture it.
I really desire a rich, healthy, fantastic life in Hawaii, where I energetically teach kids how to dance, write daily, swim often, paddleboard more, and occasionally enjoy a Law & Order: SVU marathon while eating mushroom pizza.
And the reality is, if I just calm the fuck down and stop comparing myself to The Militant Baker and everyone else’s highlight reel on Facebook, I could live my desires fully, with an open heart and an open mind.
I have no problem sharing all of that with you. As long as it’s okay that I curse, and I don’t use enough punctuation, and I jump around on my topics. And you know what? I don’t want your money. I just want to write.
I want to let you know that my journey is unique to me, and it might be totally different than yours, and sometimes none of what I write about may help you, but I still appreciate you visiting this amandatrustysays.com domain that I am still trying to accept.
So, thank you for your amazing support. Thank you to the one person to actually submitted a picture for Roar 3.0, and I’m sorry if I never take the hours to make that project happen because I’m trying to keep my stress-induced excema at bay. Thank you for spreading Roar, and loving me even if you don’t know me at all.
Thank you in advance for enjoying the blog posts that are to come that pertain to you. If you don’t perform, or have never been scrutinized by just headshot and resume for a Broadway dance call, then you might not relate to every post. If you don’t have disordered eating or a food addiction, then you might not relate to every post. But I beg of you, if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend that could relate to one of those posts, spread the wealth and pay it forward to them. That’s why I started writing in the first place. Because I needed someone out there to pay this knowledge forward to me. And when there was no such thing to be shared with me, I just sucked it up and created it myself.
I believe in the power of Roar. I do. I believe in the aloha spirit. I believe in the power of hot coffee, neck pillows, dark chocolate, and child artwork. I think these things can change the world just as much as recycling, GMO-banning, and those ASPCA commercials that make me bawl.
But I also believe in self-care, and enjoying life, and learning something new every day, and maybe not always altering my life, or my writing, or even my wardrobe choices, to what the world needs at every moment. Sometimes, as my excema has taught me, it’s okay to make a choice that only benefits me, and me alone. In the end, I think my happiness is way more effective in any world peace movement than my depression, and so I don’t feel guilty about this.
Thank you for listening to my stream of conciousness. Thank you for joining me in Hawaii next January for the first “Restore Your Roar” workshop. (What? Did I just slip that secret out by accident?) Thank you for sharing your happiness with the world. Thank you for taking care of yourself. Thank you for inspiring me. And welcome, to the new, real, true, amandatrustysays.com. (Oh God, I will just never get over how that sounds.).
Much love and aloha,