When I was a senior in high school, I quit dance. I had danced since I was 3 and had danced competitively for the better part of ten years. I had been at a studio where I felt valued until my dad had a heart attack and needed a triple bypass. I had to stop teaching my classes for a few weeks and take time away from practice to be with and support my family. I was only 15 and this was a huge event in my life. I was terrified, shocked, lost. Once he had made it through surgery I was ready to go back to it, but instead of compassion and understanding I was benched from a competition and my classes were taken away completely. Needless to say, I left that studio...broken hearted (pardon the pun). The next fall I started somewhere new with 2 other girls form my former studio. At least I felt some solidarity, but it wasn't the right fit...so by the following year (senior year) I had decided to leave dance behind me. I was a majorette so would be dancing some still, but other than my time on the field...it was over.
I didn't really notice the difference until after the holidays...but not dancing 6 days a week took its toll on my weight. It had gone up, but I wasn't worried as track season was around the corner. Some of the weight came off during track, but then came graduation...then college. The horror stories of the "Freshman 15" weren't just stories as my weight went up 5...10...15...upwards of 25-30 pounds in that first year. I lived at home, worked at McDonalds and found ways to incorporate beer into my life. When you are BARELY 5'2" tall, every pound shows. I started to avoid cameras, wore clothes from my Dad's closet...but staying out of the spotlight was hard as a theatre major.
My low point came the summer after my freshman year. I was in a production of Bye, Bye Birdie playing the quirky and comedic Ursula Merkle. We were standing at a dress rehearsal and a girl behind me pinched my back. Trying to remain focused and professional I ignored her. Then I heard her tell someone next to her..."See, she is so fat she can't even feel me pinch her back fat." I was devastated.
When I read Kenlie's post yesterday it brought back that same feeling of shame and hurt. I wish I had known then what I know now. There will always be people that hurt you with their words. People that are so down on themselves that the only way to feel good is to put others down. Did I need to lose weight? Yes. Did I KNOW that I needed to lose weight? Yes. Did it hurt any less that she felt she could do and say those things? No.
I didn't have the option to quit. This was a production where I was an integral part, and was training for what I (thought) I wanted to do with my life. Did I do anything though to counter her cruelty? No. I stuck it out with my head held high each day, while crying on the inside. In hindsight, maybe I was a better actor than I gave myself credit for.
Have you ever gone through anything like this? How did you cope?