I moved to LA in 2002 to finish my degree. I was studying Textile Design and Apparel Management at NCSU with hopes to finish at FIDM downtown Los Angeles. I enrolled in school, drove 3,000 miles (thank you Mama), and arrived at The Met on Flower and Olympic.
Only, I didn’t go. It was $17,000 a year, much more than I had in my bank account and besides, I was a train wreck and really didn’t have the heart or the will to finish school. I was sick in my soul, sick in my body, sick in my mind, sick in my heart. It was slow suicide and I really needed help. I needed freedom from the bondage in my life.
It’s not easy to get an agent in this city, but if you’re six feet tall, its easier and I was approached often by weirdos, sort of weirdos, kind of normal people, beautiful, suspect agent people to model or act or do commercials or print work. Well, I thought, maybe I’ll make enough money for school.
One of the first ladies I met with to “discuss business” had an office across from the Beverly Center. She wanted to sign me as a model for runway and print work. She told me I’d need to lose 30 pounds or gain 30 pounds – choose between a supermodel and a plus size model. I took my in between runway and plus size butt right out the door.
I did sign with a sports agent. She gave it to me straight and her contract didn’t have a built in weight clause. She’s responsible for the photo above. Auditions started rolling in – Lucky Jeans, Old Navy, Duracell Batteries (which involved an all day soccer event), Nike, Style Network, MTV, and more. And time after time after time, I’d get a call back and rarely book, except for Australian commercials that paid crap money.
But the rejection was making me sicker – what no one knew, is I had an eating disorder that was ravishing my body, my voice, my soul. I decided money wasn’t worth it. My real job was a personal trainer, and I felt pressed to give that up also to finally stop making what I look like, what size pants I wore, and what other people thought about me define me.
At last, whatever it took to get well, I was willing to do it. I decided to stop treating the symptom (bulimia), and start healing the problem (me and my past).
I saw my 21 year-old-self in a young girl this week and my heart ached remembering the pain. With tears streaming down her face, she asked me, “How long? How long did it take? How long before your brain started working again?” I told her the truth.
“Six months before I could think clearly. Three to four years before I healed completely.”
None of us on the healing journey, like the word “years” anywhere in the answer to our questions, but that’s what it takes. We can be healed or delivered from something instantly… and then we must surrender to grace as we walk out healing from all the issues revealed in deliverance. There’s a reason we deal with life the way we do – facing that is pretty tough.
There is hope. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. This moment is not forever.