Have you ever found yourself fantasizing about going back in time, ‘Terminator-style’, to smack some sense into your younger self? Confession: I’ve been doing that all morning, instead of writing this month’s column. And it dawned on me- I should let you eavesdrop on this scene! Step into my sea salted caramel latte-fueled mind for a moment.
I’m at a weight-loss commercial audition in WeHo. A more tense than usual room where us actors just discovered that this is a ‘Group Co-Ed’ audition. In bathing suits. If you feel 100% confident about your shape, you’re thinking “big deal”, right? But this is my time machine, my anxiety in 2010 where after receiving the news, I retreated to the rest room to hyperventilate in private.
Cue the Terminator-intro.
In a flash of lightning, 2015-me arrives. After an awkward intro followed by the flashing of my Ms-in-the-Biz credentials and then having to convince her that we still need roads in the future, I finally get down to the nitty-gritty. I tell 2010-me that I only have 5 minutes, and that I’d like to record her audition experience.
She points out the obvious.
“If you’re me from the future, don’t you already know what happens?”
I look at the time on my cell phone.
“Yeah, but I forgot some details because I repressed them. I need a refresher.”
She nods and asks if I’d like to audition in her place. I mumble something about the space-time continuum, reminding her that I’m only visible to her. Tape recorder on, we uncomfortably stand before the casting director as he asks 2010-me about herself.
“How long have you been unhappy with your size?”
– “Ever since middle school. I was a curvy girl early on, so it was extremely hard for me to fit in with the thin, petite girls.”
I resist the urge to tell my younger self she doesn’t have to give them the stereotypical answer they’re coaxing out of her. I want her to say. “I’ve always been pretty happy with what I look like and who I am! My happiness doesn’t come from my size or shape. It comes from within.” But I remember that ‘A Christmas Carol’ rules are in effect, so I keep silent, scowling at casting guy.
“Do you look at thinner people and think to yourself, ‘I want their life?’”
I flash a look at me, bracing myself for the answer.
– “When I look at thin people… I definitely want their life. They truly seem like advertisements for happiness and fulfillment. They fit perfectly into all of their clothes, they get to eat whatever they want and have the best social life”.
No, no, no, dangit! When I look at thin people I just think, “Oh look! People!” Whatever size they are is IRRELEVANT. I wanted to tell ‘Little Me’ (Yes, that’s what I call her) that last week I went to a hip joint and had to share a couch with some super-thin model-types who appeared repulsed by the idea of me being so close – so I kept shifting closer to their side of the couch, until my curvaceous derriere knocked one of them to the floor. But, again…‘Butterfly Effect’. If I tell her, how do I know she won’t avoid it?
“Do you have problems being around food?”
– “Yes. I obsess about food all day. I’m really bad at portion control and I eat only unhealthy food”.
Lies, Little-me, Lies! I make daily smoothies for breakfast, eat salads for lunch and I avoid fast-food like the plague. Enough with the assumptions people make about size and diet! Casting guy hits Little-me with the man-bomb.
“Are you depressed because you find it extremely difficult to meet someone who wants to date you because of your size?”
– “Yes, I am. Because of my size, I have attracted the wrong kind of men. If I don’t look like I want to take care of myself, why would a good man want to care about me?”
Now I’m not mad. I’m just ashamed, because the truth is so much cooler. That my dilemma is the lack of time I’ve had to address the very, very, VERY long line of attractive men who’ve expressed interest over time. Cuz ya know… Dropping a #TruthBomb here– I have an empire to build. There are only so many hours in the day.
Before this punishment can go further, my alarm on my cell goes off and I’m back at the coffee shop. The rosetta in my cold latte has whirl pooled into a question mark.
I was silent because I knew what was coming next for Little-me. All the repressed memories came surging back. After the audition, one of the female monitors will offer some ‘constructive feedback’ at my expense, telling me that I smiled too much, my swimsuit was too tight and my hair was unruly. She would proceed to hold my headshot up to the room and blast me for looking nothing like it. I wish I had left a note for Little-me, saying, ‘This moment will not define you. It gets better’.
But then, I realized I needed the past to happen, as we all do. I have survived so much, and I’m proud that I’m still standing with epic proportions of confidence and positivity. Remember this: Your past can shape you but will not define you. In a flash of lightning, a woman sits across from me, clapping her hands. I didn’t even have to look up to know who this dynamic force of energy was. When I did look, she was smiling like a cat that ate the canary.
“Lemme guess. You’re 2020-me?”
“Do we still need roads in the future?”
“Yes, Little-me, we still need roads in the future. However we now have flying cars and we’re totally getting one!”
“So I guess the big question is… Does it really get better?”
“Oh, you have no idea, girl. But first, I need you to start writing that superheroine idea you just had. It’s going to change EVERYTHING.