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Big Sword, Tiny Person

September 26, 2013

I didn’t get the freshman fifteen when I came to college. I got it during sophomore year. Either way, I couldn’t fit into my prom dress anymore and body image became a thing with me.

When I was in high school, I didn’t actually pay attention to how much I weighed. I remember being mortified by my director for more than one role; she suggested that I stuff my costume for either fat or cleavage. I also had some medical issues then, so I never bothered to exercise either—I’d shrug, acknowledge that I was still skinny and go eat something if I wanted to.

Then I gained the weight right around the time that I started getting into dance, quidditch and combat and just generally became aware of my body – how it moved, how it looked, how it looked moving. It was just weird for me. Because of my classes, I would end up wearing dance clothes every day and nothing will screw with you like wearing a leotard and looking in a mirror. While I haven’t done much about food (I’m a terrible cook and a campus college diet isn’t cooked for health), I became focused on being constantly physical. I’d go out walking every day and took dance and combat classes. I was telling myself that I wanted to feel better and be more physically capable in my movement classes but I really just wanted to look better. I have a few friends who recently went on intense diet and exercise plans and lost a dozen pounds within weeks. I’d remind myself that such and such an actress has a 28 inch waist and that this is an appearance-based industry where actors will be cast to fit the costume instead of the character. Not that much different from dying my hair for a role when you think about it.

I was thinking about that until I walked into my stage combat class and tried picking up a broadsword. My professor took one look at me and said “Replace it with some muscle.”

Now, I am really doing this to feel better, not just look it. Who cares about wearing pretty costumes with teeny-tiny waists when I could be holding up a broadsword? Luckily with all my prior combat classes, I can focus on building up muscles and mastering the technique with any acquired muscles I might gain. I am not the first weakling who has tried to lift a heavy weapon; a combat friend has been giving me “big sword, tiny person” tips for using momentum and less tension to move. I’m starting to get my mind/body aligned on the right direction towards being a competent and fully certified actor-combatant! I can’t change my height or my hand size to help me wield a broadsword but I can make my body strong enough to compensate. As much fun as stage combat has been so far, it’s time for me to get stronger and better and then my fighting will be too.

College Sig

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