Story of Us…ANYTHING GOES!
Story of Us…ANYTHING GOES!
I don’t think I had ever learned to walk confidently into a room. Although, people would never have guessed that my head was filled with all possible manner of horror stories about myself and all the ways I could humiliate myself in any given situation. I had battled inner hatred for a long time, but covered it in an outgoing and seemingly confident exterior to hide any appearances of self doubt. I had learned how to do it well by now, but this new chapter would prove to test my skills.
I realized now that I had all of my confidence rooted in the fact that Jordan saw value in me. It wasn’t his fault. It was mine. I had relinquished my own God given worth to a guy who didn’t know what to do with it. And because of it, every time I entered a room, I didn’t question whether people were thinking negatively about me… I knew it. I would swing open the door to my homeroom and a couple kids would glance up at the motion of the door. We’d catch eyes for a split second before they resumed whatever conversation they were in and I just knew they had made a judgment about me. Haley thinks I’m fat. Does this outfit look like I’m trying too hard? Why can’t I just be easy and laid-back!? I wasn’t a social leper or anything. I had friends in my own group and some of my friends were extremely popular. One of my best friends was homecoming queen two years in a row! But she was gorgeous… and skinny. She was not cursed with my thighs, or extra large derriere. Maybe if I just lost a few pounds I could regain some confidence. I knew losing a few pounds wouldn’t necessarily be noticeable or relieve the fears that I felt of public scrutiny, but every time I saw just a little bit come off I felt better. I knew I could control it.
“No Kayla! You said you wouldn’t do it again, and you won’t.” I told myself I could lose some weight the old fashioned way, but I knew I would never do that. I would start the day with the intention of eating a salad and taking more stairs…. and I would do that through about lunch. Then I would realize there was an easier way. I’m such a coward.
There was one place I did feel good though. One place where I felt happy and at ease. One place where I didn’t walk on egg shells and never felt like people were watching me. Ironically, it was the one place where they actually were watching me; where they were supposed to be watching me. I walked into the theater room everyday and felt completely comfortable. Not only comfortable but truly confident. It was my happy place and I found any excuse to be there.
Luckily, we were in the middle of rehearsals for the spring musical, so I didn’t need much of an excuse. I was there pretty much everyday. I had my first lead role in my high school career and I was so excited. I was playing Reno Sweeney in ANYTHING GOES! She was a sassy, lounge singer that falls in love with a sweet boy named Billy whose in love with a blonde ingenue named Hope. A typical classic musical comedy piece by Cole Porter. It was cheesy, but the music was fun and I was having a blast jumping into the role. Some of the material when done professionally I knew would be much more risqué, but luckily I felt protected in the safety of my theater program which allowed me to make a lot of decisions about anything I wasn’t comfortable with. One day, we were rehearsing a scene that we had already blocked early in Act I. There was a line that I was not comfortable with and the director allowed me to make a choice to play it a different way. Normally, this would not have been a big deal at all. We had made some changes previously that the director thought were too mature for our stage. But, this time there was an extra factor that was not normally there. We had a guest choreographer that had graduated from FMHS a few years earlier. She was actually in show choir with my sister and brother, so I knew her from seeing her perform with them. She was a great dancer and moved to New York after graduating to pursue a career in theater herself.
After the decision was made to keep this line more demure, I heard several kids, including our guest choreographer, talking about how they disagreed with this decision. That was fine with me. People were more than welcome to disagree with me. I had been told all of my life that people wouldn’t like some decisions I made if I chose to do things like that as I was growing up. But then something was different. I saw some of my Christian friends rally around them. Ok, maybe they didn’t rally, but I didn’t see them supporting me. They were standing around the others in one accord with those who were nearly mocking me for it. What was happening? I was making the right decision right?? Was I? Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe I should just say it. I mean who cares? Wait a second! I knew I was right. I felt good about my decision. And not only that, but my director was completely ok with it, so why was it any of their business anyway?? And then I heard it…straight from our guest choreographer…
“ If she didn’t want to do the role, she shouldn’t have auditioned for the role. It’s not like she’s great anyway.”
And with that, the only place that I felt truly safe, truly accepted and completely myself became a place that maybe I didn’t belong. Screw it! I ran to the bathroom. Losing a few pounds may only make me feel superficially better, but I’d take it.