Tag Archives: George Eliot

When I Grow Up . . .

I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well, I decided officially when I was 12 that I was going to be an actor – in musical theatre, specifically. I figured out my plan. I knew what extra-curricular activities I’d have to take (I’d already been taking vocal lessons since I was 9, and had been performing in school and community theatre since my first production at age 2), decided where I was going to go to school, and knew exactly what balance of theatre/musical theatre/film/tv/commercials I intended to do. (It’s really hard to make money in theatre, so even the purists have to sell out and do film/tv/commercials if they don’t want to teach/wait tables/be a barista).

My eating disorder already had a small hold in my mind at this point, and dancing and acting and anorexia seemed to go hand in hand for me. As much as I was GOING to be an actress, I never had any confidence in my ability. Anorexia gave me an edge – the incredible thinness that goes along with success so often in “the business”. It also gave me an excuse to fail, in my mind: “Oh, yeah, I totally blew that audition, but I was barely conscious so . . . ” You can never fail if you never try, right?

In spite of myself, I started getting successful. Out of all the auditions I went on from about May to December of 2010, I only didn’t book one of them. I had to turn down roles because they conflicted with one another. I was NOWHERE near the “big times”, but it was overwhelming, nonetheless. The anxiety that surrounded that success absolutely wrecked my appetite. I started losing weight again (again). With any weight loss comes the terror of gaining it back, especially when you’re on a contract. (You often have to sign an “appearance waiver” that says you won’t change anything about your appearance. This means you can’t gain weight, because then they’d have to find you a new costume. They never seem to mind taking them in, though . . . )

In the end, though, it wasn’t (entirely) the body image pressures  that made me leave the business. A lot of things about it bothered me. I hated that the only constant was instability. Contracts lasted a few months, then you were unemployed again. You could get a call for an audition the night before and be expected to find a way to get out of your “joe job” shift the next day. I met one of the most successful Canadian musical theatre actors at my local Starbucks one day this summer. I asked him if he’d moved into the area. He was subletting . . . in the nearly 20 years he’d been a working actor, he’d never had a place of his own. He had couch-surfed and sub-letted for his entire working life. Who wants to live like that?

(I also hated the constant ass-kissing, that “friends” would only call me if they thought I could get them into an audition, and that you could be talking to a person, then someone important would walk into the room, and suddenly you’d be talking to a different person. I mean, it was the same physical person, but suddenly they were “on”. Kill me now.)

So I left “the business”. I had no clue what I was going to do, but hey, being sick was a full time job. There were times when I honestly doubted I’d live to work another job. Not having a purpose meant I didn’t really have a reason to get better. “I’m just a waste of space, leeching off of my family and the government”. Deep down, though, I had to wonder if the universe wasn’t keeping me alive for a reason. I mean, with all the crazy shit I’ve done to myself, it’s amazing I’m as whole and healthy as I am.

I started getting better, but really had no clue what I was going to do with myself. I knew I wanted to do something that made a difference, preferably in the field of eating disorders, but anything in that vein seemed to require a lot of college . . . which I didn’t have the time or money for. It was really hard to keep trying when it seemed all that lay ahead for me was working a minimum wage job and blogging occasionally (not that I’m not grateful for all my loyal readers).

This weekend, though, I found it. You’ve heard (read) me blather on about all the new stuff I’m learning about food and why it’s good for you. It kinda fascinates me. My “joe job” is also has a lot to do with natural food, etc. On Sunday, I was talking with a girl who is studying to be a holistic nutritionist. It turns out, there is a school here . . .  not far from my house . . . with a one year program . . . that isn’t too expensive. That’s pretty much all my criteria. And it just clicked in my brain and in my heart.

Holistic nutrition teaches you how to heal yourself with food. Not with calories, not with numbers . . . with REAL food. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather learn for myself at this point, and to help others. I can go into practice to help those with eating disorders, and be the nutritionist who REALLY understands the terror surrounding food, which seems to be a hard thing for the “normies”. I can help actors and dancers, most have whom haven’t got a clue in hell how to eat properly. And, I can help the “normies”, because everyone needs a little help now and then.

Having a purpose is great. Everything that has happened up to this point in my life seems to, well, point to this. It makes it so much easier to keep trying. But this wasn’t always the case. The times when it got dark, it got REALLY dark. When mediocrity seems like the only road stretching out in front of you, it’s hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t believe anyone when they tell you that it’ll get better, that you’ll find your purpose, that things will be ok. I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me I’d be going back to school, doing what I dreamed of (in a roundabout sort of way), and not ending up in the poor house to do so.

My friend Tori always says, “This is not the end of my story”. And I promise you, if you keep trying, it won’t be the end of yours either. But you have to try. Nothing will ever change if you keep doing the same things over and over. And if you’re not quoted out at this point, here’s a little more wisdom, from a girl named George:

Source: google.ca via Kelly on Pinterest

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Filed under History Lessons

Wisdom from a girl named George

After my first few days of blog blitz, my one or two readers may or may not have noticed a rather lengthy (well, half of the life of my blog) absence. It’s not that I ran out of things to rant about, because *believe me* we’re not going to get rid of the idiots that easily. No, I spent a few days fighting with my internal demons instead of the external ones. At times like that, sure I could rant my face off, but it would be coming from such a disingenuous place that I just couldn’t do it. I may call myself a shitload of nasty names, but I refuse to let “hypocrite” be one of them . . . most of the time.

Anyhow. When I get into these “funks”, it feels like nothing in the world will get me out of them. I have learned, however, that if I ignore the universe’s subtle nudges, it decides to slap me across the face. It looks much like this, in my mind.

So, having ignored many supportive messages from friends, subtle reminders of why life is good, and the unexpected cancelling of my yoga class (I would TOTALLY have been using it for un-zenlike purposes), today I got quite the metaphorical face assault. Here’s what it looks like when the universe sets out to remind me that my life doesn’t entirely suck:

A bout of “middle of the night” insomnia kept me from waking up in time to walk the entire way to my appointment today (more of a gentle nudge to take better care of myself, but walking the whole way would have sucked, nonetheless). I opened my door to find a present from my neighbor “just because” she thought I might like it. A friend I love very dearly but seldom see was working at the tea shop I visit weekly (after the appointment) and shared not only a free tea, but some wonderful news. I came home to find an email from another dear friend who I haven’t heard from in a few years. It was one of those dreaded “forward this to x number of friends” emails, but the content of it was exactly what I needed to hear (read) in that moment, and featured many sparkly butterflies. (I promise a post soon on the significance of butterflies in my recovery).

These things may not seem earth-shattering, but when you’re feeling alone and hopeless, things like these can mean the difference between making a good choice and making a really shitty one.

Oh right! It would probably be a good idea to explain the significance of the title of this post. As much as I slammed Twitter in my last post, it really can be a positive thing. I follow an account called “Great Minds Quotes“. The one that fish-slapped me today was from the writer George Eliot:

“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” ~George Eliot

Exactly what I NEVER WANT TO DO in recovery: stop waiting for someone else to save me, and take responsibility for doing what I need to do to ensure that my future is “rosy” (I never promised I wouldn’t be cheesy).

By the way, this is George. She was born Mary Anne (or Mary Ann, or Marian, depending on your source) Evans. She wanted her books taken seriously, so she used a male pen name. How lucky are we that we live in a time when women can write as themselves and be taken seriously? It is amazing how far our society has come. This gives me hope that, some day, we who suffer from eating disorders can stand proud without fearing societal repercussions. Let’s be pioneer women in our time (but with better hairstyles, yes?)

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Filed under Blatherings, History Lessons, Inspiration