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I’ve got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire

Well obviously my resolution to write more is going REALLY well.  And if I’m being honest here, I’ve written about 20 versions of this post since Christmas and nothing has come out quite right.  So here goes:

I sent 2013 out and run 2014 in with a whisper.  At the stroke of midnight, I’d been sound asleep for a solid half hour having gone to bed early with a migraine.  After the way the year went, it seemed like a fitting way to send it out.

2013 was the year of Church Basement Ladies 2, one of the cheesiest and strangest shows I’ve ever been a part of with the best group of people.  Sitting around the kitchen table in the white house running lines or having discussions about the most random topics, spying on the world through the back window, laughing until we cried on a regular basis, broadway walks, shopping trips, and the random hijinks we got into onstage.  2013 was the year more jobs than I like to count fell through and I spent the summer feeling lower than I’ve felt in a long, long, time.  It was the year I learned to play the ukulele.  It was the year I got a big-girl day job with actual vacation time.  Every time something good happened, I waited for the other shoe to drop.  And it always did, because I was waiting for it to.  It was the year I spent the end of summer and fall vacillating between incandescent happiness and sheer terror.  It was the year I opened up again for the first time in a long time.  It was the year I questioned everything and changed nothing.  It was the year of 10 year friendiversaries.  I met friends I hope to keep for the rest of my life.  I met some people who I wish the best of luck in the world, but if I never see them again it will be too soon.  It wasn’t the hardest year I’ve ever had, but it SURE AS SHIT wasn’t easy either.

With the smell of baked cookies hanging in the air, and small missed pieces of torn up wrapping paper still littering the floor of my family room in the days after Christmas, I found myself very pensive.  I started thinking about where I am in my life, what I wanted to do in the next year, and what my new years resolutions would be. Feeling particularly bored and unimaginative, I stuck to the old stand by resolutions.  I’m going to write more!  I’m going to sing every day, no excuses!  I’m going to get back into dance class!  I’m finally going to lose weight!  This is an ongoing theme for me.  Every year, I privately make these resolutions, because in my heart of hearts I know I won’t stick to them.

…Except for the part, where this year, one of them stuck.

Today I sit here exactly 25 pounds lighter than I was when I last wrote, and 29 pounds lighter than I was weighing in on a regular basis last fall.  For the first time, probably ever, I’ve (knock on wood) actually stuck to my new year’s resolution for two whole months.

Just after Christmas, I bought myself a Fitbit and an Aria scale.  Seemed logical at the time.  I am so involved with my phone.  Why not try an app, or rather things that sync with an app?  This way, I could hold myself accountable for how active, or inactive I was being.  I just wanted to pay attention.  A few people I know had them and had sung it’s praises.  It is small and unobtrusive, I can hook mine onto my bra and no one is ever the wiser; I usually forget I’m wearing it.

I committed to using everything about the support that Fitbit provides.  The food, activity, and sleep trackers, etc.  I wasn’t going to do a crash/fad diet, or some crazy workout plan designed to make me miserable.  I wasn’t going to set some unrealistic timeline for this to happen in.  All I wanted to do was pay attention, and hold myself accountable.  I started a couch to 5k program to get in my daily “active minutes.”  I was all about anything that felt like a manageable change.  Something that I could maintain even if I was in a show and crazy busy.

Now, fitbit does make you set a number for a weight loss goal.  I picked some esoteric number that put me in the “healthy BMI range.”  Something that will make a doctor stop looking at me and saying “have you thought about your weight?”  To which my mental reply is always “BITCH, OF COURSE I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I JUST GOT DONE CHATTING WITH YOU ABOUT MY ACTING CAREER.” And yes, I do yell it, mentally.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my coworkers/friends asked me why I wanted to lose weight.  Why now?  And I didn’t have a good answer for her.  I replied that it was just time.  But it made me think about what’s really held me back from doing this before and why I’ve stuck with it this time.  Being an actor, more specifically, a musical theatre actor, we are constantly told about “type.”  Are you a character or an ingenue?  Are you quirky? Are you sexy or innocent?  Are you a mom or a kid?  Are you a diva role?  Good or evil?  Where do you “fit?”  What roles would you be good for?  For my entire life I’ve been the chubby, quirky, character girl or, as I call it, the fat sassy broad type.  Often the “bad guy,” a mom (or grandmother), or diva roles.  I can belt my face and land jokes with the best of them.  I’m a great mover and I’ve got the acting training to round it all out.  That’s my package.  I’m comfortable with it.  Changing body type would mean changing character type and being in a whole different set of competition that I wasn’t sure I could hack.  It’s the same reason I dyed my hair for so long, I was afraid of what I’d find out if I stopped.  And for some reason, I’m not afraid anymore.  I keep coming back to this quote that one of my Church Basement Ladies turned me on to:

“My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Truly yours,
Albert Camus”

And that’s what I’ll leave you with today, friends.  Thanks for reading!
Maggie Leigh

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