7/16/13

My Listen To Your Mother Video: Stuart Smalley & Free Bird

So, the videos from every 2013 Listen To Your Mother show are out! They're all up on the YouTube and now, for the rest of eternity, so am I.

If you know me, you know I am the first to jump in with criticism or a snarky comment about my chins or my linebacker physique or whatever else I can say to win the title of BEST AT SELF DEPRECATION. Like my homegirl Rebel Wilson says in Pitch Perfect (quickly becoming one of my favorite movies of all time), "I do it so twig bitches like you don't say it behind my back." Not saying that YOU GUYS are twig bitches, of course. It's a shield that a lot of people with self esteem issues lug around. "If I point out all of my flaws first, then I beat you to the punch!". That sort of thing.

I'm working on it. Baby steps, ya know? The woman who photographed our Listen To Your Mother Journey (Jennifer Liv, who kicks AAASSSSS) actually got kind of fed up with all of us Fat Amy's clucking away about extra chins and bad hair and goofy posture. She sent out an email, to all of us, asking us to knock it off. She said she saw NONE of these supposed "flaws" we were all harping about, and in so many words she reminded us that us complaining about this crap was kind of an insult.

An insult to her, of course, because she was the one taking these photos. Who are we to look at these beautiful pictures and instead of noticing how exquisitely she captured our essences, the gleams in our eyes and the wisdom behind our smiles, we only see our perceived imperfections? She was right. Not only is it belittling to someone like Jennifer, who exposes both inner and outer beauty for a living, but it's also a slap in the face to everyone who loves us and is proud of us.

So when I gingerly clicked "play" on my video, I forced myself to watch it wearing my Stuart Smalley goggles: "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. AND DOGGONE IT PEOPLE LIKE ME!". Instead of pointing out to myself the number of times I swayed back and forth I commended myself for not curling up into the fetal position and reading my essay from the floor. Instead of saying, "Could your nerves have been any more obvious?" I said to myself, "Dang girl, it's cool to watch yourself becoming comfortable up there!". Instead of thinking, "OMG did I put my makeup on in a dark closet?" I decided to love the moment in the video where I look up into the crowd and see my kids.

Folks, I am the person who feels self conscious walking through a parking lot. For me to get up on a stage, and talk in front of 500+ people, and allow myself to be recorded while doing it was HUGE. Being in this production was remarkable for so many reasons: the friends I've made, the people who talked to me after the show, learning so much about books and covers and judging..but maybe the coolest lesson of all was learning to be proud of myself.

One of my dear friends watched the video and then commented: "You look just like Karen Walker!". I stifled to urge to reply, "Um yeah, don't you mean I look like I ATE Karen Walker?" and instead I basked in the glow of that compliment. Yes, in my world that is one of the highest accolades you can give me, people. I love me some Megan Mullalley.

And where, pray tell, does Free Bird fit in here? I'll tell ya. "The Broken Bowl" is one of my favorite pieces I've written..but not my absolute favorite*. To be honest, on my list of favorites it's not even in the Top Five. I remember the morning I wrote it, I was almost late to work because it was one of those things that just demanded to be written. And I loved it. But...it has truly become my Free Bird and I bet Lynyrd Skynyrd felt kind of the same way about their beloved song. When people would come to their concerts and scream out "FREE BIRD! SING FREE BIRD" I know how they must have felt..kind of like, "Damn..yeah, that's a sweet tune but listen to some of this other stuff we sing, man. It's awesome!". Not saying that I imagine throngs of people standing in my front yard, lighters glowing and chanting "broken bowl...broken bowl" but you get the point.

Here's the video. If you find yourself with some free time, with a box of Kleenex and mayhap a Depends on hand, please peruse the entire collection of Listen To Your Mother videos. Each one is moving and special and gorgeous. Each and every one. I couldn't be more proud of myself, yes. But I'm also just as proud of all these brave and beautiful people who decided to step up on stage and tell their story.





* my most favorite post, ever? I think it's this one.

16 comments:

  1. I went and read your favorite post and then i tried to click the like button, LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! I cannot tell you how many times I look for that button on my phone, when I'm texting.

      Delete
  2. I don't even know who Karen Walker is. Congrats on your daring to stand up in front of all those people and allowing yourself to be videotaped doing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen W: Boozy wealthy best friend of Jack and employee of Grace on Will and Grace. Boozy I have covered but you'll have to use your imagination with the wealthy part!

      Thank you :) You know, up until a couple days prior to the show I was trying to come up with excuses to NOT do it. So glad I did.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  3. FYI - you're actually quite beautiful. Honestly, after reading your blog posts I had a mental image of what you may look like based on your descriptions. You should own your beauty.

    Like this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww anonymous. That's so kind of you to say! And I'm secretly fantasizing that you are Louis C.K. Hope that's alright with you.

      Delete
  4. Congrats to you on doing this! You look nothing like I imagined and you are very pretty! I LOVE the dark hair (I so imagined you as a darker blonde)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks lady! I was blonde once...did it for a local t.v. show. It was hideous.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations on such a worthy accomplishment! Self conscious thinking is something so hard to get over; and I get all the reasons behind it. I have them too. When I look in the mirror I recite every flaw to the person staring back at me, wishing I could be more of this or more of that - and when a compliment is given, it is so hard to take. A lot of that has to do with being, like you, the one "left behind". I've been reading your blog for quite a while (went back and read them ALL) and had a mental image of you from that - but I've got to tell you; you are a BEAUTIFUL woman. Made even more beautiful by the warrior scars you carry and the humour and attitude you convey. Keep stepping out of that box - it's amazing what we can do if we push ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! From one warrior to another, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Delete
  6. It's amazing. As a blog reader, all I've had is the description you've given for what you look like. I've sometimes wondered how you've managed to get so many dates after describing yourself, honestly. Now, I see why! You misrepresent yourself so much it's crazy! You're a very beautiful woman. Yes, you're older. Yes, you're not going to be featured in a Victoria Secret catalog. But you're not the person I've seen in my head based off how you talk about yourself. Simply amazing.

    Also...for the record, if you hadn't written about how nervous and what a wreck you were speaking publicly, I'd have never known it watching the video. You could have said that you felt relaxed and totally just rocked it, and I'd have agreed. I didn't notice any weird ticks or habits that distracted from the reading. You didn't read too fast or too slow. You did a great job. I know we tend to be really, really hard on ourselves, but gosh darn it lady. You must ease up a little. I think if you could see yourself through the eyes of strangers, you'd be truly, truly shocked by what you see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have made my day(s), anonymous. Thank you so much.

      I think what my other Anonymous friend said, in the comment above, being a woman who was left for someone else takes a pretty big chunk out of the ol' self esteem. And I'm finding it really difficult to get over THAT particular part of the betrayal/divorce thing. Everything else...the financial garbage, the single parenting thing..., starting over, etc., I think I've got a pretty good handle on those things.

      It's a lot of work to build yourself up. I'm finding it to be difficult work, indeed. But reading these lovely comments is definitely eye-opening. Thank you, so much, for taking the time to chime in. It means a lot to me.

      Delete
  7. I love this. Not only was it bad ass to watch your performance/reading but I got to put a face and a voice to the awesomeness I've been reading for years.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't know if you'll see this as it's over a year later, but wow...based on your posts I thought you'd be hideous! You say how huge you are, how you waddle, how many chins you have, how frizzy and awful your hair is, you talk about the good lighting necessary in the mancave so you can tweeze yourself to death, you talk about nothing but yoga pants and baggy tunic tops, and you say you are a slob...

    You have it all wrong. You're beautiful. Your coloring and complexion are gorgeous, you have great bone structure and a good nose (I have a bad one, so trust me, I pay great attention to noses) and despite the fact that you were looking down much of the time, I did not see a double chin--that's an amazing feat for anyone as when you look down you most people have one pop up. I know your self esteem isn't high, but please, stop making yourself out to be so gross...it's completely untrue and misleading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man. I did see this, and thank you. Thank you so much. I needed to read this tonight :)

      You are 100% right, of course. That shitty self esteem is a bitch. You are really kind, anonymous.

      Delete
  9. That was wonderful Jenny! You are beautiful! And you have got cheek bones to die for. I <3 this blog, and you.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...