I remember the moment I became insecure about my body. I was in the seventh grade at Bayside Academy in Daphne, AL. The science fair was Friday, and one girl decided to conduct a survey for her project. Earlier that week she passed around a piece of paper to everyone in the class. If I remember correctly (and maybe I don’t), it had two questions with two answers, and we were to circle the answer that applied to us.
What is your gender?: BOY GIRL
Are you happy with your body?: YES NO
I didn’t think anything of it. I filled it out and went on with my day.
On Friday, I walked around to scope out my competition. “I got this.” I thought as I saw a bunch of dumbass volcanoes and other dumbass things. My project was an experiment about the thermal conductivity of different types of metals. (I ended up taking home second place. I was robbed.) Then I came upon the results of the survey I’d completed a few days before. It was arts-and-crafts-ly glued to a tri-fold display board.
I looked at the boy section. Most had answered yes. Not all. But most. Underwhelmed, I moved along to the girl section. My jaw dropped. There was only one yes. Out of the entire seventh grade, there was only one yes, and that was me.
From that moment on I became hyperaware of the “compliments” I was receiving about my body. These compliments were exclusively mentions of how skinny I was. I began equating positive self-image with thinness. I began comparing my body to other girls’.
In dance class I would analyze myself in the mirror. My legs looked skinny when I’d plié. The other girls and I would fight over a spot at the barre in front of the “skinny mirror,” which was mounted at a flattering angle. Overall, I was okay with the way I looked because other people kept calling me skinny. Then puberty hit. I was burdened with hips and thighs, and while still slender, I hated every curve.
I try not to complain. Other people still think I look good. Other people still call me skinny. On days when I am wallowing over my larger-compared-to-the-rest-of-my-body butt, my friends immediately respond to my self-pity: “No way. You are a toothpick!” But I can still look in the mirror and see a whale. One of those sad whales with a floppy fin. I’ve continued comparing myself to other people and whales, but recently it’s starting to get a little bit better.
This past January, my comedy partner and I did a sketch in which we wore our bathing suits on stage. A few people called us brave, but others argued “What’s so brave about two skinny girls wearing bikinis?”
What those people don’t know is that Abby and I stood in front of a mirror hating ourselves and building up the other for a good twenty minutes before we went on stage.
"My legs are so fat." …"No they look great!"
"My stomach is flabby." …"Are you kidding me? You look awesome!"
So on and so forth. So on and so forth. We were so self-conscious that we had even gotten spray tans earlier that day. Though part of this spray tan adventure was just for the experience and another part was because of a coupon.
Overall the sketch went over well, and when we got off stage Abby said, “I was staring at your body, thinking ‘God, I wish I had her abs,’ then I realized that we are just totally different body types.” Such a simple revelation. Why didn’t anyone tell me this when I was 14? I stopped comparing myself to other women a little less that day.
Rumor has it that there is a new Barbie coming out that is modified to have a more “average” body-type, and while I think this is great (Barbie IS oddly proportioned), there will always be girls who will never have this new doll’s thighs or arms or hair or lack of arm hair.
I hear celebrities brag that they are not Hollywood-thin, even though they are the ‘it’ girl. (I’m of course looking at you, Jennifer Lawrence. I say as if she is ever going to read this.) And while I know her intent is good, I’m worried that we are simply redefining perfection.
No one is ever going to be perfect. People are going to be small and big and a lot of us will fall somewhere in between, and that is ok. “We are just totally different body-types,” and that’s part of what makes us interesting.
That and alcohol.
The Oscars are coming up! Who gon win that little gold statues? Here are my predictions for the 2014 Oscar Winners:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Why: The old cross-dressing gag.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Why?: To give the presenters a hard time.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Why?: Because he got snubbed for Magic Mike.
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Why: Purple Aladdin
Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave
Why?: It’s probably a good movie. I don’t know. I didn’t see any of them.
What are your Oscar predictions? Tune in yesterday on ABC.
The past few weeks, I feel like I’ve been beaten over the head with the doctrines of extremist diet advocates swearing by their way of life. Eat this. Eat that. Chop this. Cook that. Celebrities, bloggers, friends, basically anyone else who has no idea what they are talking about, all condemning those with other diets to hell, or at the very least, an early grave.
It’s a pointless condemnation, for as the great prophets Trey Parker and Matt Stone foresaw, only Mormons go to Heaven, and because we could all still die young. However, I understand where these fundamentalists are coming from. No one should be chastised for promoting a healthy lifestyle, but it seems to be getting out of hand.
The fact is (and as a comedian, I’m totally qualified to give nutritional facts as I read them daily on the backs of cereal boxes), everyone is different. Our bodies digest things differently. We have varying food allergies and intolerances. A plant based diet might be fantastic for someone, but for those with fruit allergies, deadly. Wheat might be a a sustainable whole grain for some, but for others it could mean diarrhea city.
It’s great that there are people out there living a healthy lifestyle and wanting to help others do the same. Just be aware of what YOUR body needs before you jump on any bandwagons. If not you could end up malnourished, and we all know what malnutrition leads to… WEIGHTLOSS!
So whether it’s gluten free, vegan, high carb, low cal, Subway all day everyday, we’re all still going to die. But in the meantime, take care of yourself in a way that is specific to you.
Anyone else craving Taco Bell?
This is probably the greatest youtube video to ever hit the internet.
Almost A Genius at Frigid New York
It’s that time of week again!
If you are in Chicago, please check out my show on Thursday, February 6th, at 9pm at The Playground Theater! Tickets are only $10. What are you waiting for??? Call now!!!!!
This past Tuesday I did a free stand up showcase. I was fifth in the line up and after the fourth comic had finished her set, the well-meaning host introduced me. “Are you guys tired of comedy yet? Because if you are, we have a little break from comedians for a musician!”
I was appalled. Horrified. I’m not a musician! Well, I am… But I’m a comedian… right? Shit. What am I?
I’ve been struggling with labels since my existential experience on America’s Got Talent. I don’t like being boxed into any genre. I just like going on stage and doing whatever the hell I feel like doing that night—written and prepared of course. Isn’t that why I moved to Chicago over New York or LA… to explore??
When I was asked to do musical comedy on this Tuesday night show I was a bit “meh” about it. For the most part, I’ve stopped doing that outside of my group Abbaria (unless, of course, I feel like doing it. I should also note that Abbaria is not just a musical comedy duo either), but I agreed because… what the heck… I’m in no position to be turning down shows.
I was already butthurt enough about being labeled the musical comedy act… but to only be considered the music act?
Then I started to think… why does it matter to me so much? It shouldn’t. The host doesn’t know I’m a comedian? Who cares? I’ll just go up there and show her that I am. The producer doesn’t know that I don’t do much musical comedy anymore? Fart it. I’ll just go up there and successfully sneak in the things I want to do.
I’m in the lucky position of being in charge of my own performance. If someone has to put it in a category or a “variety” slot that shouldn’t matter. I don’t do comedy to impress anyone, and if someone doesn’t want to book me because I might bring an accordion on stage with me then their loss.
I try my best to never let my ego interfere with my work. I know I don’t deserve any show, and it’s detrimental to think otherwise. However, I can have confidence in my act, and I know that I can hold my own in most showcases. I can’t force people to give me a chance, but I can continue to do my own thing until people start to recognize it. So that’s what I will do.
…this has been my rant about labeling people as anything other than their ethnicity.
Maria Wojciechowski is a white person who resides in Chicago’s north side. You can see her perform her one-woman-show “Almost A Genius” in Chicago on February 6th at The Playground Theater and in New York in late February/early March as part of Frigid New York.
Recently Jezebel told me that evil computer-software retouches photographs of beautiful woman to make them more beautiful. Jezebel also told me that I should be outraged by this. Being a beautiful woman, I had a feeling I’d fall victim to this monstrosity, so I quickly jumped on the internet to look at pictures of myself. What I found WILL SHOCK YOU.
Here is an unedited photo of me in an Angry Birds hat my dad gave me for Christmas. Notice my naturally red eyes from either crying all night or doing lots of drugs.
So imagine my dismay when I get online and find an edited version of this photo on INSTAGRAM, a misogynistic, woman-hating social media application site that hates women and uses “filters” to filter out “imperfections.”
Notice that my eyes are no longer naturally red. And my skin has yellowed due to Instagram’s default “jaundice” filter. Most outrageously, look at the position of the bed post! What is Stanley Kubrick trying to say with that!?
I quickly got on Facebook, the lazy (wo)man’s Reddit, to escape that haunting image only to discover that my “friend” Grant Collins (a fellow Chicago comedian and hater of all things natural and woman) had further edited my photo.
Note the disappearance of my Angry Birds hat, my eye bags, and my jaw line. Note the adjustment of my eye size and placement. Note the replacement of my blonde hair with an adorable brunette haircut. Note the nose thinning, the cheeks rouging and the minor plumping of my bottom lip.
Needless to say I’ve defriended Grant (but not on Facebook or to his face just in case he becomes famous).
I’ll be the first to admit, the final product is quite an improvement. I went from looking like a bummed-out stoner to a half-Japanese sex robot. But I am OUTRAGED. What will young women who grow up with the knowledge that all professional photographs have been digitally retouched think of this?? Will they feel the need to go back and retouch all of their photos?? That would take forever!
I know this is super controversial, but I feel like maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore. Maybe we should just start hiring people for pictures who are really pretty but have a little arm fat or something.
I think this is an issue we should really spend a lot of time talking about. Saudi Arabian women can wait until tomorrow. It’s not like they’re going anywhere… they aren’t allowed to drive.
Chicago Sketchfest! It’s like the Super Bowl if 150 sketch groups got to play in it and everyone won. It’s super fun and a great way to get your sketch comedy fix.
There’s so much to see and I thought I’d share a list of what I plan on checking out tonight and tomorrow.
8pm: Cell Camp in the Thrust Theater. I’ve never seen this group, but I like their description so Imma give it a go.
9pm: Exquisite Corpse. These guys are great, great, great. You’ll become a fan if you aren’t already.
10pm: Toss up between Mrs. and Wildcard. Both groups are my pals and both are funny so we’ll see.
Friday (I’ll be out of town, but if I WERE in town, these are the groups I’d see):
7pm: Two Bunnies Eating A Flower. I’m totally bummed I won’t get to see them as I’ve heard amazing things about these guys and gal.
8pm: THUNDERDOME. God knows what to expect of this show other than it’s going to be funny, I’m sure. Carmen Christopher created this show and it’s usually a showcase for sketch with revolving performers. It’s awesome and should be supported. or Kerpatty. I met them recently and they seem like funny fellas.
9pm: Oh Theodora. If you haven’t seen them before (and WHY HAVE YOU NOT?) GO.
10pm: Late Live Show. It’s a talk show so it’s not exactly sketch but there are a few sketches in it and it would be a nice change of pace for you.
11pm: Listen Kid. They are outoftowners so it’s good to give that a go. But if you want your musical comedy fix (and why wouldn’t you) head over to the Thrust at 11pm to jam and laugh with my buds the Shock-T’s and Pop Tarts.
We need this in Chicago
Chicago Warming Center Locations.
Baltimore and Chicago readers, be aware!
Not in either city? Reblog with your locations info, too.
- Baltimore: 410-433-5175 for Baltimore Area Homeless Shelters 24-Hour Hotline
- Boston: 617-534-2526 for Friends of Boston’s Homeless or dial 311
- Chicago: 311
- Detroit: 1-800-274-3583 and 1-800-343-4427 (starting on Monday at 6 a.m.)
- Kansas City, Mo.: 816-474-4599
- New York City: 311
- Milwaukee: 211
- Minneapolis: 211
- Philadelphia: 215-232-1984 for the Project HOME Homeless Outreach Hotline
- Portland: 211
- Richmond: 211
- San Francisco: 311
- Seattle: 211
- St. Louis: 314-802-5444 for the Housing Resource Center hotline (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Mon-Friday)
- Thunder Bay, Ontario: 807-620-7678 for the SOS team (operates between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m.)
- Toronto: 311
- Washington, D.C.: 1-800-535-7252 for the Hypothermia Hotline
(Source: sofibee137, via holysharkblog)