I was running all over the stage during rehearsal one day and after we came home, I told my family, “A fatter Martha would have died doing all that I did today.” LOL
So. You may not believe that I was 513 lbs. I have proof.
This was 2010.
My daughter had just turned 7 and we were in her first drama at our old church. One of her first acting experiences.
We’re in a show together now, too. Grapes of Wrath. I’m so proud of her. She’s still adorable!
I look at this picture and I can’t believe how big I was. My husband stayed with me through thick and thin. Mostly thick. He loved me. Told me how beautiful I was. Desired me. Even at 513.
He is my hero. The love of my life. I will never forget his loyalty. Most men would have crumbled. Ran away. Divorced me.
I want to honor you all my days, Guy. You deserve so much. You stuck by my side through illness, super morbid obesity, disease, cancer, PTSD, everything. We may have wavered a few times, but we’re still standing. I’m so lucky to have you by my side.
I never thought happy-ever-after was possible. Turns out, my first serious boyfriend would be my everlasting lover, husband, best friend, champion, hero, advocate, care giver. You’re a dream. A beautiful foggy dream of hope, love and laughter. Thank you for holding my hand through the worst years of my life and loving me back to health. I don’t deserve you or such happiness. I’m so thankful for you.
I hear all the time–“Most people are good.” There’s even a country song about it. Most People Are Good
I don’t believe this. Most people aren’t good. Most people are selfish. Hurtful. Say the wrong thing. Do the wrong thing. THINK the wrong thing. Cut each other off in traffic. Scream at their kids. Act impatiently. Demand perfection, yet fall short in every single way a human can because…simply because we are not Jesus H. Christ. (the H stands for Herbert, betcha didn’t know that)
Most people are spiritually bankrupt. In fact, all people. In fact, me. I have no currency to enter heaven or even behave in a Godly way. Because I’m human. But thank God that he left us his Holy Spirit. To inhabit our lives so that we may be those good people we tell everyone we are.
I believe that most people wouldn’t murder someone. I believe most people wouldn’t steal. I believe that most people wouldn’t set a bag of poo on fire on their neighbor’s porch. If that’s what you mean by good. But come on. THAT’s the bare minimum. That doesn’t make you a good person.
An old woman came up to me last night, after the show, and poked my belly. She said, “That’s not you.” I don’t know what she meant, but I assured her THAT was all me.
I’ve lost so much weight. I have mucho excess skin. It still looks like I carry quite a few extra pounds. My legs are saggy. I basically have a saggy meat apron where my stomach should go. I don’t mind. I feel great. But to have someone poke your belly? Well, that’s just downright mean.
People have been saying all kinds of mean things to me lately. I try not to let it bother me. But this is exactly why, for years, I insulated myself with food. Extra fat. Isolated from community. Refused to love other people because I didn’t want to be hurt over and over. Protected my vulnerability and extra sensitivity. Avoided confrontation because I was ill-equipped to deal with people’s ignorance and arrogance. Unable to say completely what I wanted for fear of never stopping.
Where does some old woman get off poking me in the belly? Most people are dicks. But I don’t have to be. The only way I can be saved. The only way I can claim goodness. To accept the Holy Spirit each and every day and cling to his providence of fruits. Then my vine shall blossom.
God fill me with your holiness. The Spirit of your Son. So that I may love this depraved world. Let me complete your work. That is my purpose. That is my strength. That is my whole reason for living. For your sake. For our collective sake. Amen.
I open tonight in Grapes of Wrath. I’m nervous, excited and filled with emotion. All the things you should feel right before a debut. Except. I miss my mommy.
I chose to move to Florida. I chose to risk everything and make a new life, here in paradise. But I left behind a few things to come this far. Not possessions or a home. Friends. Most of all, my mother.
We had a beautiful day before we left. It was Mother’s Day 2017. We went to her hometown and drove around for the day. It was really special. Had lunch in a small cafe. The whole day was relaxed, yet compelling. Exciting and at the same time, comfortable. Familiar.
Perfect day for pictures. Sunny, cool and countrified. I snapped a pic of my mom and daughter at the restaurant in a very comfortable moment.
I put my own mother’s picture, the picture above in black and white, in my memory box on stage. That’s the one that gets me.
I have a box of pictures and a pair of earrings. I take the earrings and leave the pictures to burn. There’s no room on the journey for papers and keepsakes. I have to summon emotion to hold back tears to leave this precious box. So the one picture that always gets me? The one of my mother and daughter.
I ask myself, when I see the long, lonely road, “Will I travel this way again?”
I ask myself, when I look at her childhood home back in Missouri, “Will I see this place again?”
I ask myself, when I look at her picture, “Will I see you again?”
And I don’t have to do anything but that.
It’s a real concern, when you stray far from home, will I see these faces? Will I return to these places?
I’m homesick. Terribly so. But honestly. I feel like I’ve found a home at theatre again.
Whenever I have been lonely. In need of care. In need of laughter. Tears. Emotion. Connection. I have found that home on stage.
It’s bizarre. I know. Most people would chalk acting up to the pinnacle of emotional cutting. It is. But I have connected with people in audiences from all walks of life.
I met a downright Marlboro Man from western Nebraska who shared his tragic life story with me after I shared my story with him on stage. He waited at the end of the receiving line after the performance of my original play Fat. He waited to be last in line, hung back, so that when everyone had left, this chiseled-and-hewn rail of a man could cry in my arms. That would have never happened without theatre.
The breeze was blowing over my legs last night as I sat on my front porch. I was relaxed and happy at the work we put in yesterday to prepare for opening night. I’ve felt the same feeling before.
Sitting outside my community college, just starting back to school in 2009, waiting for my husband to pick me up. Late at night. I looked up at the trees. The wind was swirling through the shuddering leaves. The night was cool. I was happy with my effort. And I just felt God’s overwhelming presence as I sat and meditated. It brought a smile to my face and warmness to my heart. I didn’t know where God or my feet would take me, but I had hope for what was to come. I was right to have hope.
Whenever I feel those same cool breezes, I know God is with me. I just wish my mommy was, too. Love you, Mom. This isn’t for me or for you, I’m telling this story to share God’s grace and mercy for those who have hard times and continue to rise up and labor for goodness. For simple souls who need a voice.
Thank you, God. For such an amazing opportunity to share this story. Thank you for reminding me–God is with us. Even when our loved ones are not.
i thought i shared this already. this is from 2015, originally.
i was being the door lady at Lilli’s school this morning and a car pulled up with two kids and one irate mom. i opened the door as the van pulled up to the curb. one child got out of the back and another opened the door to the passenger side front. she didn’t get out. her mother was mad. frustrated. high-pitched. irritated. annoyed. yelling.
u could tell she felt disrespected and very taken aback. did she have a right to feel that way? who knows? maybe. probably. maybe not. maybe she’s on her period, maybe she’s super demanding, maybe nothing anybody ever does pleases her and she’s just a high-riding bitch. maybe her daughter said something really nasty to her right before she opened the door and the mother had a legitimate beef with her evil, rotten spawn of a demon child.
i don’t really know either one of the people i’m describing. my limited experience with this family is that the daughter was gossiping and picking on my daughter at the beginning of the school year. in choir, the girl started a rumor that Lilli was a terrible singer and that she was single-handedly ruining the choir. i’m not exaggerating this rumor. that’s what was said. funny. because Lilli just made honor choir after auditioning for only a few moments. she thought she messed up and wanted to try again. the choir teacher said, “No need. You did just fine. I gave you a 5 out of 5.” not bragging, but i don’t think she’s ruining the choir.
so this is the girl who said bad things about my kid. she purposefully tried to hurt my daughter.
do i dislike her? no. she’s just a kid. and whatever behavior she learned is directly the responsibility of her parents. do i hold a grudge against this kid? no. she’s just a kid. i’m a xian and were supposed to forgive and forget. was i wary of this kid? yeah. i felt nervous for MY kid. mama bear has her claws out. at least.
today though. today. i had deep compassion for this kid. i am this kid. she’s tall, overweight, bully-ish and uncomfortable in most situations. she doesn’t feel like she fits in and so…lashes out. her parent is riding her and she has a bad attitude. she’s probably been pushed around by parents, other kids and other adults. i was this poor kid.
and i’m the mother. ready to be offended. i don’t yell at my kid, but i sure as shit harp on my husband. i don’t wanna be the crazy lady yelling in the car in front of everyone. but i do often feel disrespected. i wish to GOD i was not so easily offended/hurt/angered/tempted. i am an easy target for Satan when it comes to my pride. so i am the daughter. i am the mother. i am the embarrassing sideshow in front of the school. so what did i do?
i recognized my own failure in these actions. i identified with these people and i gave them grace in my heart. if not a verbal acknowledgement…a mental pass at their behavior. because so often i make constant judgments about people’s ridiculous behavior and i cut them down in my mind. kill someone in your mind with words, might as well kill them IRL. that’s what the bible says.
BUT! this morning. i made a change. i prayed for them! i prayed for them on the spot because i don’t want to be judged when i find myself in the same situation. i said, “Good morning!” with a smile to the girl who hurt my daughter. and i prayed all over her as she walked by. she doesn’t deserve it, but neither do i. and i prayed for the mom to wake up, get right, calm down and have a good day. praying that for myself too. amazing things to learn when holding the door for people and volunteering ur time at school. little lessons in the smallest examples of service. it’s humbling to have to hold the door for someone the world would tell you to hate. try washing their feet.