I have never been the most confident woman. Even when I was young and beautiful, my body dysmorphia made it difficult to see those things about myself. I look back and feel regret for not loving myself. I am trying to love who I am now despite not feeling attractive but it has been difficult. When I was a size 10-12 I was so self-conscience about my body that I couldn’t even go swimming without my shorts. So the Summer of 2015 I decided that all though I was the heaviest I had been I would start to accept myself so that IF I ever got back to my ideal size I would be more willing to love myself. It was the first time since I was 8 years old I didn’t go swimming in shorts. I felt self-conscience but empowered.
A couple weeks ago I put on my big girl panties and step out to audition for a theater company I had never worked with before. I was nervous and I, at times, doubt my own talent. As I auditioned for And Then There Were None, I saw I was up against about 20 beautiful girls. About 1/2 were pretty good contenders in the acting category and there are only 3 women roles. A small 4-page role (Mrs. Rogers), and old spinster woman (Miss. Brent) and the young ingenue (Vera Claythorne). I tried my best but I watched a beautifully thin girl play the role perfectly. I knew I had a good rehearsal and so I figured I would be cast as the old woman. After all, I have always been a good “character actor” especially since getting bigger. When the cast list was sent out I was in disbelief. I got the young and beautiful Vera Claythorne, who some of the men hit on.
I was excited, thrilled, and felt so happy to be cast into his role. But then my self-doubt hit me. How can I play the beauty? It’s hard for me to see myself as pretty. I mean sometimes I do, so I know that is not a far-fetched thing, but the problem is I feel too big to feel attractive… And definitely not the “that woman is so attractive I’m sure 2 handsome men will hit on her constantly and one kisses her” attractive. There are lines that feel like they sting instead of flatter. And when I have to run and panic, I feel my body fails me every time.
The book’s description of Vera Claythorne:
-The athletic type (pg. 168)
-Quite attractive but schoolmistressy (p. 5)
The play description:
-A good-looking girl in her twenties.
Pictures of actresses who have played Vera:
I try to get into character but my doubts and lack of confidence in my body cause me to doubt everything I do. I want to succeed, I want to act and I know that to be a good actress you have to throw away all abandonment but I can’t help feel like I am a stranger in my own skin.
How can I do my job and push aside my insecurities? I am working on it and I believe that there is a reason I was cast as this role and not someone else. I have made some friends in the cast already and the girl who was cast as Miss Brent, who happens to be in her 20’s, thin, and beautiful, gave me one of the nicest compliments. She said, “I’m so glad you were cast as Vera. I thought they were going to go with one of those overly young girls. Your monologue was so good! You deserved this role.”
I do deserve this role and I am not going to let my demons take that away from me. It may be a tug-of-war but I believe I will win out in the end. I have to!