In less than a month, I have to be naked in front of 400 people.
Not completely naked. I get pasties. And I think my stomach will be covered. But still.
PBS gave my work some nice funding to put together a history of burlesque show in conjunction with the Ken Burns documentaries about Prohibition. I have wanted to do burlesque since I first heard of Dita von Teese and learned what the neo-burlesque movement is about, so I jumped at the chance.
Actually, I'm not that scared about being naked in front of people. The cool thing about burlesque these days is how body positive it is. And really, I don't hate my body. Not the way I did, say, this time two years ago (that was truly awful and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.) I'd say the feeling I have is closer to resentment. I resent my body for not being able to run faster. I resent my body for having cellulite. I resent my body for being hungry again an hour after I eat. But really, it is a perfectly good body. It has served me well. It lets me dance and walk and wrestle and skate and all manner of cool things.
But I realized I have this dumb fantasy of getting onstage in my skimpy clothes and everyone gasping in awe at my Greek God-like body. I know that isn't going to happen, and I definitely know it isn't going to happen in less than a month. But I can attempt to feel good about my body when I get up there. The way I traditionally do this is to diet. Can't help it- dieting is kind of fun to me. It gives my obsessive brain something to do- planning meals, shopping for the best deal, etc. I love that shit.
Recently I picked up a cookbook about whole foods. I always hear famous people talking about "well, my diet is mostly whole foods." Yeah, asshole, mine too- a whole pizza, a whole donut, a whole hamburg. But by reading this cookbook, I think I have a better grasp of it- it essentially means using less processed, pre-packaged stuff, using more veggies. I think why this sounds hard is that, as I have learned, lots of people can't cook. Not just, they aren't very good or don't know how to make many things- they just plain can't cook. They must have never been hungry enough to learn (my dad once asked me, "How did you learn to cook?" to which I replied, "One day I was hungry and all we had were ingredients." It really is that easy.)
I already cook dinner every night so I thought I'd give it a shot. For the first time in years, I'm going to cook tofu for a main dish. I'm looking forward to it. But eating whole foods isn't really my diet- counting calories is. Counting calories is really the only thing that works for me, because I can't do South Beach or any of that stuff because if I don't have ice cream and tacos I'll go crazy and murder my family. But I find that eating this way makes it a little easier to keep my calories in check- in part because I include lots of vegetables and they're low calorie, but also because I think I know I'll feel better.
At present, I'm doing the unhealthy thing and telling myself this healthy eating and calorie counting nonsense is only until I'm done being naked in front of people. But I'm doing more burlesque in January (where I will be far less naked, but still) and regardless, I'm sick of being uncomfortable with my body. My goal is to lose weight, sure. But maybe it will make me happier. Happier than ice cream, though? Maybe not.