April 22, 2011

If You Can't Say Something Nice

"I hate my legs."

That's the very first thing I think about myself when I see ANY picture of me that isn't from the waist up only.  I don't pay attention to the fact that I have a waist now.  I don't notice how blue my eyes look, or that my hair is AWESOMELY red.  I jump immediately to the negative.

I had a voice teacher once who used to stop me before I could even open my mouth before I came offstage from a departmental performance or even after finishing a run-through of a song in a lesson.  Before I could immediately say something like "Ugh, my phrasing was terrible there," or, "I totally cracked on the high note," she would say, "Okay! Name three things you liked about that before you say anything else."  She wouldn't offer a single constructive criticism, which, as my voice teacher, she was kind of being paid to do, until we talked about three good things about my performance.

I've found that I have kept that with me about my performing or even about my work day ("Well, today was a beating...but at least I finished A, B and C." Okay so I do it backwards, but I still mention some good things almost immediately). 

Why can't I do that about myself?  Why can't I look at a picture of me and say "My facial expression in that photo is awesome.  Look how long and pretty my hair is!  Wow, you can actually see that I have a waist! Go me!"  Instead, I let a picture of me completely ruin my evening and send me into a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing.

Will that ever stop?  Will I always be SO hard on myself?  I mentioned in the dressing room last night that I was really disappointed in myself for letting myself gain about 9-10lbs back after all the work I'd done and that I could really see it in the pictures.  One of my castmates said, "Mandy, do you know what you'd be saying to one of us if we were saying these same things?  You'd be telling us how awesome we look and to stop being so hard on ourselves." 

I don't have a problem building people around me up.  I love doing that.

So why can't I do that for myself? 

Okay, here we go...three nice things about myself:

1) I have lost over 30lbs and, with the exception of a minor setback, have kept all but the aforementioned 9-10lbs off.  I have realized this and ALREADY begun working hard to get back on the wagon.  I am making GOOD choices.  I have nowhere to go but down (on the scale, that is) if I keep it up. 

2) I am singing the crap out of my role in this show, and I love hearing more than just polite applause when I'm finished.  I get at least one "Woooooo hoo!" every night.  THAT is awesome.

3) I have really amazing hair.  It looks even better the longer it gets.  It's an awesome, natural color and it's healthy and soft and pretty. 

Maybe I should do this every day.  Maybe we all should. 

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