May 13th, 2013
We just wrapped our first week of performing Expressing Motherhood to packed audiences. Thirteen moms address everything from adoption to nude photos (who could that be?) to molestation to husband’s who work too damn much to discovering their teenage son is (no, no, no) no longer a virgin.
These women are funny, fierce and unforgettable. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet you can do so Here. We have three shows left.
To watch the founders of Expressing Motherhood, Lindsay Kavet and Jessica Cribb, on the Today Show with Maria Shriver click the arrow.
Here’s the piece I performed (based on my post Walk The Walk, Naked Lady).
I entrusted my naked body to a man for the first time when I was 18. He was my first lover; my college sweetheart and we were together five years.
He did a lot of things right, but the one thing he did wrong was to pinch my thighs when I weighed a hundred and fifteen pounds dripping wet to show me that I had cellulite.
I’d never heard of cellulite before, but apparently those little divots in my pinched thigh flesh were what cellulite is. Did you know cellulite is a sin? I had no idea.
Several years later – my ex in my rear view mirror – I found myself in a photographer’s loft having nude photographs taken.
Had I been lured there by someone in the flesh trade? Was I heading down the road to becoming an adult performer?
No. I was actually paying to have nude photographs taken of myself so that I could reclaim my body. So I could see beyond the invisible divots in my thigh-flesh to the whole woman instead.
It was terrifying.
But when the photos came back it was all worth it. The girl exposed there wasn’t the damaged, fat cow I saw through my former lover’s eyes, but someone, dare I say, healthy and beautiful and strong.
Here I am today. Twenty years, two kids and thirty pounds later. That’s like a small ocelot.
I’ve had two cesareans, a dozen mammograms, sonograms, ultrasounds, eco-cardiograms, gynecological exams and I’m not even going to tell you what happened at the gastroenterologist’s office.
Just know there was a snake involved and it was the kind plumbers use.
The west L.A. moms I hang out with only eat hemp and air while I’ve been known to have wine and chocolate orgies all by myself naked in my bedroom.
I can’t help thinking if my ex could see me now he’d be mortified. I’m feeling fat and flawed all over again.
But I know the remedy!
It worked once, so it’ll work again. I’m going to take a second set of nudes! At 47! Yes, that’s a good idea!
I’ll find the right photographer. He’ll use flattering lighting. Perhaps a fan or two. I’ll pop a couple of amyl nitrite capsules even though I’ve never done drugs, but this seems like a good time to start.
And off I’ll go to self-love again.
My mom and me driving to Pasadena in the dead of night so I can get naked in front of a stranger who isn’t checking my breasts for cysts.
My mom – who is a calm, solid person — worries we’re going to be murdered since I’ve lured her into the dark under-belly of the naked pictures world.
I assure her this is all on the up-and-up as we park in front of a beautifully refurbished 1929 Craftsman home … with no lights on inside. Or outside. And a couple of the street lamps are shot out.
Either we’re at the wrong address or my photographer– who we’ll call Ansel — is storing the remains of his last photographic subject’s body parts in a sub-zero freezer in his antiseptic basement.
Girding my loins, such as they are, I ring the bell. Ansel appears. He seems – benign.
But those are the ones you gotta watch out for. They put you at ease with their round, placid faces and their flat, expressionless blue eyes and then WHACK! someone’s identifying your corpse at the morgue.
I shake it off. This bitch is happening, people! No turning back now.
I change into my robe in Ansel’s bathroom, trying to recreate the exact look I had in the photos from 20 years ago. I wet down my hair, I wear no make-up, I do a few tummy crunches and I have a hot flash.
(Deep breath) I’m ready.
Ansel and I leave my mother in the kitchen – reading his copy of The Night Stalker — and I follow him to his photographic lair!
What happens next is blood-chilling — A 47-year old woman disrobes and walks around naked.
Ansel methodically has me recreate each pose from twenty years ago. This should be my first tip that things might not turn out as expected.
I was squatting and bending over in a lot of those old photographs? When you have two children in your late 30s you don’t bend or squat anymore because your kids will use your tummy as an accordian.
I ask Ansel if I can look in his viewfinder to see how the shots are going. He demurs, telling me that it will only make me feel self-conscious. Okay, no sweat.
An hour later – my muscles spasming from attempting to get into poses I’d struck spontaneously all those years before – we are done.
I feel confident Ansel’s captured what I want. Something on a par with Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty. No make-up, no retouching, but real and pleasing.
After I’ve dressed Ansel asks my mom and me if we want to see the photos once he’s downloaded them into his computer.
Of course we do! Now I’m going to see just how hot I still am! “Coming Ansel!” I chirp. And there I am on his computer screen … so … so …
What fresh hell is this?
I see what appears to be the craven image of an elderly, cornfed woman who might’ve been an extra in The Night Of The Living Dead.
Who is that dimpled, sun-spotted, wrinkly person? That isn’t me! Those elbows can’t be mine! I could pack a suitcase in that neck!
It turns out Ansel is killing me after all!
I beg him to delete the photos. He tells me he will if I want him to. But first I have to wait three days. I tell him I don’t need to wait three days. He tells me I do. I don’t. You do. I don’t. You do and no, I won’t give you your money back.
During my three-day sentence I’m in mourning for that effortlessly limber, fresh-skinned, bright-eyed younger woman. But I want to let her go and embrace my current incarnation.
Three days go by. Then four, five, six. Slowly I begin to see the woman in those photos a little more clearly.
The cellulite kicks and fights to be acknowledged, but I try to look through or around it.
About day fifteen I begin to think that maybe that 47-year old woman in the photos is – after all – much lovelier than I’d initially thought.
Eventually I have the courage to post my nudes – both the old and the new – side by side – in The Huffington Post where I blog about beauty and aging.
Yes mom and dad there’s my ass for the world to see!
There are plenty of negative comments about my vanity and moral looseness. I’m accused of being as shallow as a contact lens.
But there’s one comment I select to be the voice in my head, replacing the voice of my first love. This person, who is kinder to me than I’ve ever been to myself, writes:
“At 27, your silhouette was quite lovely, the play of flesh and bone along your back flatteringly delicate and feminine. (which interestingly makes your shoulders seem a bit strong in contrast).
At 47, the earlier strength of shoulder now finds its inherent balance; if the silhouette is less delicate the play of flesh and bone is more suggestive of feminine strength and maternal solidity.
One is a fortunate, almost errant, flower in bloom; the other the curve of rock, the swell of earth, without which no flowers would ever bloom.
I have often considered it a trifle foolish the way that shallow youth is considered inherently beautiful.
There is such a terrible beauty which only age brings, a depth of power that only deepens the sense of mystery that utterly, completelycaptivates.”
My wish is that this voice could reside in all women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
April 16th, 2013
I’ve been Professor McGonegle. I’ve been Medusa. And now I’ve been Makeup-Artist-to-the-Stars, Gilda. I blame my myriad incarnations on my daughter Bridget because she insists upon Theme Birthdays with no extra outside help every. single. year. When she was seven Henry and I mounted a massive Harry Potter birthday party replete with sorting hats, care [...]
April 9th, 2013
My experience with badass bullies – both as a mom (when my kids were little) and as a kid: There’s a red-headed twenty-seven month-old Love Bully named Scarlet in Clare’s Toddler-and-Me class. Just our luck, she has it in for Clare. My daughter and I try to enter the classroom discreetly, keeping to the edges [...]