Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fat, Lazy Sunday

I love lazy Sundays. Those weekends where you have nothing to do but sit in front of the television watching old 80s movies on TBS are the absolute best. On this particular lazy Sunday I ended up curling up in bed with my stuffed elephant (don’t judge) and watching The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the team.

Having grown up in Texas and being a dancer I was always fascinated by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders(DCC). I may have mentioned at some point that I was on a drill team in high school and went into college expecting to major in dance. Luckily, or unluckily depending on perspective, it turns out I am a terrible choreographer and I quickly changed my major. But anyway, becoming a DCC was the epitome in all that was dancer awesomeness and that is what I wanted to be when I grew up. Obviously, as soon as I saw a television show about the DCC I was immediately hooked.

So, here we are on a lazy Sunday and I am happily watching the DCC when suddenly I got one of those reality checks that just sucked a large portion of my good cheer right out of the day. It all started with the Bod Pod.

See, the DCC wear what amounts to a bra and panties as their uniform (with boots of course. We can’t forget to mention the boots). Since they are jumping around and shaking their money-makers’ in front of thousands upon thousands of people on a regular basis it is clearly important for them to be fit. I learned during the newest episode that the average body fat percentage for any member of the DCC is 13%. Do you have any idea how fit 13% body fat is? Bear in mind that when I learned this particular fact I was lying in my bed doing absolutely nothing that could be mistaken for exercise using even the broadest definition. My point is these girls are thin. Fit and thin. Muscular and thin. Six-pack abs thin. Except for one.

There is one girl trying out for the team who was a good enough dancer and had the right personality to get invited to training camp. That alone is huge since they have about 2000 girls try out each year and only 43 get invites to training camp. On the second day of camp she gets pulled aside to be told that her mid-section is an “issue.” This girl looks fine to me – no six-pack, but certainly not even remotely fat. She takes the news pretty well, but before she makes it out of the locker room she is in tears. This is a girl that might be a size 6 on a bloated, PMS day! I was a size six once. I was still a freshman in college and I haven’t seen single digits since. Well, except for those days when I rest my foot on the digital scale as an alternative to actually standing on it…but, I digress…

The day after being told that her mid-section is an “issue” our "chubby" little friend is put into the dreaded Bod Pod and is informed that she is the heaviest person at training camp. How demoralizing! As a grown woman watching this show I am left feeling that I need to immediately run to the store for either laxatives or krill. (Krill, in case I confused you, is what whales eat.) I can only imagine what a teenage girl watching is going to think.

Now, before I have the torch bearing mob arrive at my door let me post a disclaimer: I totally understand the DCC is a unique group of women and they can’t stay elite unless they enforce high standards and their ability to be very fit is as critical to their success as it would be to someone like a Navy Seal. I get it. Put out the torches. I just want to point out that there are better ways to deal with such topics. Why tell her it is an “issue?” Why tell her she is the biggest girl at camp? I especially liked the part where Jay, the trainer, told her she is big-boned. Big-boned compared to what? A freakin’ blue jay?

In a prior episode they showed the first day of auditions and they did a montage of all the “fat” girls that showed up to try out. They put the footage together to look like the fatties were cut from the herd and put out on the floor together. I was humiliated just watching it. I was suddenly embarrassed that I ever dreamed I could be a DCC because I would certainly have been cut from the herd myself. Again, I am not saying that I want the DCC to lower their standards and start letting Rosie O’Donnell be squad leader, but I just hate the way the producers of the show cut it all together to emphasize the need to be thin. We know you have to be thin to dance in front of a stadium full of people while wearing next to nothing. I mean…DUH…

I suppose I just really want the world order to be dramatically altered in some fundamental way so that “womanly” is no longer a synonym for “fat.” I want women to be allowed to have curves – and that is NOT my synonym for fat. There is a real difference between a woman that is fat and one that is healthy and one that is just gross thin. Let’s take Grey’s Anatomy’s cast as a quick example: Ellen Pompeo – can we take up a collection to feed her? Katherine Heigl - healthy, but still not quite to reality proportions. Sara Ramirez - gorgeous and womanly. I love the fact that my husband thinks Sara Ramirez is the bomb-diggity. (Love ya, honey!) I love the fact that he thinks the super skinny girls are gross. It gives me hope even if it doesn’t entirely cure me of the deep-seated desire to get a tape-worm. As an aside, tape-worms get a bad rap, what with being a parasite and all, but I bet it won’t be long before Hollywood makes is a chic way to lose weight and still eat. I’m just sayin’.

I suppose none of this really has much to do with my lazy Sunday. I just felt morally obligated to take a stand for those of us who aren’t sporting six-pack abs. I would form a support group, but I was beat to the punch by Jenny Craig. Instead, I propose that we all get together and develop a plan for overthrowing the skinny bitch administration. How about Tuesday’s at Krispy Kreme?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Have guitar; will travel

There is a song that I absolutely love called "Breathe Me." I just seem to really relate to it – I have included the words for reference. It is sung by Sia and if you haven't heard it you should seriously track it down. You won't be sorry.

Help. I have done it again.
I have been here many times before.
Hurt myself again today.
And the worst part is there's no one else to blame

Be my friend. Hold me. Wrap me up. Unfold me.
I am small. And needy. Warm me up. And breathe me

Ouch. I have lost myself again.
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found.
Yeah, I think that I might break.
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe.

Be my friend. Hold me. Wrap me up. Unfold me.
I am small. And needy. Warm me up. And breathe me.

There are a lot of songs, books, movies, etc that I have related to over the years. This one, however, seems to strike a chord that I wasn't really aware existed in me. Or, maybe I did know and chose to ignore it until hearing this. Damn you Katie for making the introductions!!!

It just got me wondering about the people around us and how well the public face matches the private one. The people you think are confident and put together may, in fact, feel incredibly inept most of the time. They might just be really good fakers. I tend to let my make-up and hair do the talking. If I have my eyes done up and my hair straight and across my eye and a bit of cleavage showing then I am trying to show everyone that I am sexy and confident. What I am most likely feeling is way too old and fat to be wearing the outfit I have on while trying not to trip in my heels and have a boob jump out. If I am in jeans and my Longhorns hat then I am trying to show everyone that I am so confident that I can wear a ball cap and feel good about it because I am so cute and girl next door that everyone will love me no matter what I wear. It is probably more likely that I overslept and didn't have time to shower and still get Drew to school on time. My Longhorns hat has saved me on more than one occasion and yes; I'll admit it, sometimes there are consecutive hat days.

Notice how it all seems to revolve around showing the world how confident I feel. Well, no matter what outfit, makeup or image I put out there I am certainly not as confident as I would like everyone to think. I am a geek at heart and my self-esteem is entirely wrapped up in what other people think. Sad. I know. Sue me.

I think I just need to cut myself a little slack. Sure…I am a workaholic and I have no hobbies, but work can be a hobby, right? If you ask me what I did last night I will probably mumble something about how late nights are part of the job and then change the subject. I tend to stay in the office late and when I am not at my desk I am at home with the laptop fired up. I decided that it might be an issue when, on one of the rare days I left the laptop at the office, Drew walked up and asked me where my "homework" was. He was literally confused that I didn't have a computer in my lap. Maybe it's time to back slowly away from the computer and slow down a bit.

So…I decided that I needed a hobby. I tried cross-stich. No joy – I went cross-eyed, missed lots of squares and my dragon ended up looking like a newt. So, I thought about learning to knit, but those needles…well, they are pointy and I am fairly accident prone. I then decided that we needed a dog. I could train it and we could do dog agility (notice that it isn't owner agility…Mama didn't raise no fool) and it would be a blast. Eric asked me to list out the number of consecutive hours I am at home on any given day and then decide if I had time for a dog. We now own two cats and a lizard.

I ended up deciding to learn to play guitar.

As it turns out, Eric's friend had a guitar that he gave me. My boss just happens to have toured with a band for 10 years and is a guitarist. I decided that fate/karma/whatever had sent me a message/sign/smoke signal and I should learn guitar. Plus, my Mom learned to play when she was about my age and I just remember sitting on her bed listening to her play and sing. If I was a crier I might tear up just thinking about it so…moving on…

I start lessons on Tuesday night. I am really excited about it and hope that I don't suck at it. Actually, I don't really care if I suck at it because I am doing it for me and hopefully it will help me to find something that belongs to me. It is about more than just having a hobby. It is about having a part of ME that isn't tied to anyone else. It isn't subject to anyone's expectations of me. It has nothing to do with what someone else needs for me to do for them. It is mine and I think I really need that.

So, I'll keep you posted and I hope that before long I will be able to tell you that the Sia song, "Breathe Me" is just a really pretty song and leave it at that. Who knows, maybe I'll play it for you on my guitar.