Model Behavior and Me (Trigger warning)

I was once a model. It was super right? Right? Nope. It was horrible. I was deemed a plus sized model yet as I look at a photograph taken at that same time I see that I,  having dyed my hair to be LESS red for this opportunity, was stunning. I actually still am of course in a more mature way. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I have done the modeling, and really existed in that body. Before I knew my body was a betrayer.

Kat Fury, with her hair at her shoulders, a rich chestnut color, square glasses, blue eyes, and reflective make up. The photo was taken on a cellphoneThis was before the giant mole by my nose was removed and turned out to not be a mole. This was before I had learned food was my friend. This was long ago. I look at this picture though and I see more pain emotionally than I face now. Yes I am in pain as I write this but it is purely physical, the emotional pain is sort of numbed tonight. In that picture my jaw is dislocated so that I could escape my double chin. In my post about jaw dislocations Amanda made some comments about her own jaw issues and I realized, I have been unhinging my jaw for years. I didn’t even register it. I  just DO it.

When I was a model, work was horrible. Not only was I exhausted but I was shamed if I ate before work. I couldn’t lie either, they ask and I would say yes. The other models told me at times how AWFUL I was because I had no issue with a donut. I wasn’t aware of my allergies yet, in fact I would eat what I wanted which usually turned out to be meat anyway. I was always hungry however, and started to give in to the shaming, starving my body more and more. I’ll just eat less of this, I’ll just miss this one meal. This was dangerous territory.

It seems odd to be that people DREAM of having this job. The clothing, if it does not fit is forced to, even if it hurts. You are always warped out of shape. My breasts were almost always shopped to look less like real breasts. The shape of a real breast is forbidden in modelling. I also was told more than once at a call in that it was a shame my bosom was real and that it was the fault of my breasts that my belly was not perfectly flat. No one’s is before photoshop, a six pack is not flat unless you paint it on after all.

I was told too that my red hair was just wrong for me. I prefer it. Even in pictures where I am not looking my best I prefer that hair to dyed. Right now I am mourning it. I realize it may be three years or more before all traces of this black dye are gone.

Here is a bit of a time stream, and yes one of these pictures has a lot of cleavage. You can also watch my jaw line and you can see when I am and am not dislocating my jaw. (For those of you wondering, the headband is my fangirlism for Naruto).

Kat Fury at the age of 21. her hair is red, long and was nearly to her waist. Her shirt is pulled up really high to cover her chest.

Kat fury at the ate of 21 wearing a leaf village headband. The shirt button has popped and her very ample chest is not hidden at all. Her long red hair is nearly to her waist

Right here you can see the jaw issue, It’s exhausting to hold it in a specific place and it slipped back some on the bottom.

Kat Fury and Sprite at her wedding in December 2008. Kat's hair is a little dirty and is darker. it's only shoulder length.

In all of the above pictures my hair is red. It changes how I feel. I feel good in all of those pictures. I do not feel good in others where my hair was stripped of color. The red hair for me is a flag of identity. I am a redhead, I am gorgeous, I have glowing skin. It doesn’t glow with darker hair nearly as much. I should mention this is my favorite wedding picture and it’s candid. The photographer was supposed to be taking pictures of my niece (she of course did but she snapped this too).

I find it interesting in some ways that when modelling I was told my skin wasn’t clear enough, wasn’t good enough. My skin is actually WORSE now but it looks fine to me. I  have a surgical scar that is rarely visible but there splitting my face in half. It’s like Two Face but without the cliche and inaccurate portrayal of mental health disorders. The wedding photograph is actually of the side where the surgery was done and my face was peeled off due to a tumor. I felt so gorgeous. Sprite was a bit cranky but she always is when I am upright too long.

I was a sex symbol even if in a small way. Modelling by default means you must be sexy and gorgeous unless the ad campaign focuses on the ugly or weird. I never did any of those, though that was what I applied for. I was deemed too pretty to be ugly and weird. I remember feeling so out of place because this notion contrasted with my previous experience of being deemed too ugly and weird for society, love, food, or any semblance of an education. It shook me to my core, and I began to wonder, what if being a model meant I was about to be raped again. I was so afraid during that time.

I do not have any pictures of me modelling now, they were lost via illness, homelessness, and abuse. In some of the pictures I wore a bathing suit, and frolicked with other girls. I remember asking a model about being the only asian around and she commented that was how she got work. Being the only one around. She had to be the palest, the prettiest and the most non Asian looking in the group. I noticed too in every ad we were in even I was photoshopped to be whiter. I expected thinner but, I am so very white. There are times when I had to have reshoots done because my skin reflected the light too much. Most of my home photos have elements of this. My own photosensitivity likely plays a part.

I remember some of the lies about food we were told, I remember girls crying. I remember always feeling in a daze from pain and working extra hard to not be lazy because pain was laziness. I remember when I was caught eating a hamburger walking in to a shoot and the photographer screamed, “We can see the burger in your stomach.” I remember too, a sense of relief when I didn’t have to model anymore. When I was done with it.

I didn’t model for long, about a year. I did model clothing for free first, and then there were ads for more clothing. I was always reminded that in every photo I must be an object, I must not be a person. A model is a hanger for the clothing and must do nothing to distract from it. Another reason my hair was de-redded was this claim. Red hair makes it harder to match clothing. Since I dislike pink, and never actually had to wear colors that would’ve clashed with my hair this seems bogus to me.

I am left to wonder, was I ever so much the ugly duckling? I have as I have aged eschewed more and more of society and it’s lies and pain. I seek outsider groups. I seek outsiders. I seek my people. I no longer feel the urge for fame just fortune, and really fortune for me is more having enough to eat, and not having to be afraid of losing my tiny income should a glitch happen in a computer. I hold my breath at times and pray.

Modeling did help me to realize that any rape I endured at the hands of the four “men” who did rape me was not because of looks, and that rape is not about sex. In fact when I was raped each time I was never near my finest appearance. I was a minor child, I was the fat kid who was in so much pain and so angry she was cutting her body apart, and I was a prisoner in my home being starved in the hopes that I would start looking like a minor child. None of this had to do with appearance. It had to do with my being vulnerable, it had to do with my being “out of control”, it had to do with my bisexuality, it had to do with my not conforming to the actions a “wife should” and instead seeking things that satisfied me, effected society and would open doors for other people with disabilities.

Modeling challenged my supposed bulimia. I am still not positive this was a misdiagnosis or was a correct one as a child. I think it was both. I do know that I have not lost a battle with it except during attacks of PTSD since I was 17.  The urge to purge is almost non existant and when it comes, it is again with PTSD. Even then I can usually stop myself from obeying the ghosts of fathers and failures past.

Modeling is not something I would ever expose a minor child to. I think with the societal body dysmorphia that is considered normal we need to be hyperactive about who models, and we need to protect our children from the dangers of photoshop and unrealistic beauty. I rememebr not even recognizing myself in a few ads. Most of them I couldn’t quite spot the Kat.

Modeling helped me find who I am, in the worst possible ways. I denied for years that I was beautiful during that time. I was not the token fat chick in so much as I was not fat. I was actually amid the thinner girls there. I was deemed a plus size model because I thought I was fat. I denied my own wants for my body. In the next few years I will obtain contacts, I will reclaim the red to my hair even if the follicles no longer add it, and I will do a sexy photoshoot for me. No photoshopping, just my body as it is. I don’t plan to shave my legs for this photoshoot either. I will model my inside with my outside.

Now you have it, my dirty little secret. I took part in mass media!

UPDATE: Forgot something, yes I got paler over time. The pictures in the middle have me with what passes for a “tan” in the summer. I haven’t let myself get that much sun in years. The only pictures with make up beyond lipstick are the wedding photo and the first model age photo.

Contentment

I just got in from another Toastmaster’s meeting. Tomorrow I am going to lead a meeting, and I am looking forward to it. Right now however I am relaxing after two days where I pushed myself a bit too far. I took three naps today, just to make it through to the end. I do love being able to nap. I am watching one of the few reality shows I enjoy. “Make me a Supermodel.” It fills me with nostalgia, and it actually entertains me.

I used to model. Not much, but, I have experience and I like to see the real talent on this show. I know, it’s not the original but this one has somethings that are unique. Just try it if you want. This was just a great day. I woke up with both the cats snuggling me with every nap, Sprite was willing to work but I made her stay home. She wanted to be cuddled, and I couldn’t cuddle her and give a speech that is similar to the essay 30 Seconds. It wouldn’t mesh well with what I needed to feel.

The evaluator’s comments are sticking with me in a good way. I also found out that I have a super power. I have super hearing. I went to the audiologist. My moderate tones, such as where people speak, are low but still with in the normal range. The super bit comes with the high pitched sounds. I can hear things most people can’t and it hurts. It turns out I am not crazy.

The doctor and I were both surprised to find I don’t have hearing loss, that the hearing issues are mostly caused by hearing every little squeak and sound. I am not sure if this is partly due to autism or if it is a side effect of the continuous and untreated ear infections. I will get my hearing tested annually as recommended but again, another bit of delicious goodness in the fact that I can hear just right. It might feel off but, I’d rather hear too much than too little.

I am posting what feels like frivolity to me because I want there to be valleys between the dramatic writing and pain that I share with you. I want every reader to share with me the good as well as the bad. It is a basic bit of writing, and as my life progresses there is so much good. I have a man in my life who makes me happy, just by being there. I have two loving and soft animals who like to steal the covers. I have dreams. Can anything be more wonderful? I am sure it can but it is fathomless to me right now.

See you tomorrow after Toastmasters! I will post the better of the two videos, as I am giving the same speech. I hope you can enjoy the postings of my speeches.

Saturday Silence

I locked the cats out of my room. It was a moment of great opportunity. One was in the litter box, the other was chasing a lazer beam up the wall. The door was shut and with that I curled up, letting myself drift out on waves of exhausted sleep. I crashed early. Due to years of insomnia six hours is good, but, the peace of living in safety, with someone I love, and knowing I can shower whenever I want? I haven’t had any trouble getting to sleep here by four AM. It still bothers me when I have to be up at eight and I am staring down the clock but I can function for three days on four hours. It is nice to not have to.

I dreamed some really interesting stuff last night. I had a giant pink robot a bit like Voltron but, this one had Catnip Canons and Anti Allergy Grenades. In my dream I could destroy everything I was allergic to. I did, and became the greatest super villain ever! I kept giggling in my dream because it was just too fun to blow up cucumbers, though, eventually everyone else was just as hungry and bored with my diet as I am. That is how bored with my food I got. I dreamed of destroying your food, so you could share my boredom. In the end I re-engineered foods that we could all eat, though most of them tasted like tea and pomegranates. The Pomegranate is the one food I have no issues with.

I could live on pomegranates alone, if they were a year round fruit and not so expensive. Their rich flavour, followed by an improvement in pain level, a need to not take pain meds for two days if I eat a half, a week if I eat the entire thing, and the grand finale? No allergic reactions what so ever. This is the fruit of my dreams in my reality. I want to visit them in their native territory someday, gently petting the tree trunks, talking to my future dinners. Celebrating them in their nascent state.

It is quiet this morning. My neighbor is not vacuuming, though that is actually cause for alarm due to her constant need for clean. There are no screaming children. There are no car alarms. I did not wake up with random Batsignals on my forehead, and locking the two cats out only made them super snuggly. I like quiet. Apartments are rarely quiet. Upstairs neighbors walking, the floor/roof creaking as they do. It always sounds like they will fall through squashing me into oblivion.

I didn’t hear the whirl of technology either, just this pleasing idle. Despite the upheaval of yesterday, there is peace to be found. I also do not have to deal with any doctors or idiots today. Tomorrow I visit my mother, and although that will be exhausting, it is a day of peace. We’re eating at her house, I am picking up some gear for a speech, and I get to see my beautiful siblings. I ask permission before posting people’s faces on the net, but if I can get it I wish to show you my gorgeous sister and my super tall military minded brother.

B, my sister, is tall and graceful. She has the body for modeling, and not the plus size modeling that I did. She is the epitome of desire set by the media at this time. She is not trying and often is embarrassed and teased because she looks like a barbie doll or a porcelain doll, depending on her outfit. She has long platinum blonde hair, big hazel eyes, and will do greater things than modeling for her career. She chooses her brain over her body. “Kat, I am pretty now but what if I fall off Dixie,” Her horse,”and wind up in a wheelchair like you? They don’t want wheelchair models.”

She desires security over fame and fortune. I wish I could tell her that it could never happen to her but our mother almost broke her back falling off of a horse, and B knows all about Christopher Reeve. My grandmother screams it at her every time she finds out B has a horse. She might actually be forgetting, but with her it is hard to tell if it is just a desire to scream at B.

A is my dreamer. I am a bit possessive. They are my A and B, and I do not share well. He is nearly seven feet tall, and has recently begun to pursue his dreams by joining the ROTC. He looks good in uniform, but, for some reason when he wears the uniform he actually looks his age. He just turned 16 and has his license. Be afraid. He is prone to day dreaming and with undiagnosed medical issues, there are consequences. His father forbade diagnosis when he was younger, trapping him with a future that is bleaker than he realizes.

In my Saturday Silence, as the world drifts on, sleeping late today, I have a clear view of the future, of the past, and of the moment. I meditate on things, and I know that yesterday merely gave me something else to fix. I am no longer angry about losing out on my dancing, teaching, and other physical careers. I have something more powerful than what I would have had if I continued on the path of physicality.

Dancing makes a difference for some, I could someday dance in a movie or a music video, I could have a great career. Advocacy gives me time to breathe. Even when the pressure is on and there is fear fueling my fight more than strength, when I advocate I know exactly how much power I have. All of it. I do not feel weak when I advocate, no matter how tired I get. I have a sense of purpose that is hard to match with other goals I have had. When I advocate it is with the knowledge that I am changing the world. One tip of my hip, a slight twist of my leg, a rolling display of muscles and the freedom to shake and move, that held personal power. It felt beautiful. I felt deliciously free.

One phone call to the Governor. One conversation with a reporter. One word of support offered. One person made aware. A life of passion. This too holds power but it is the power of change, the power of equality. After sleep, after finding that I am not as alone as I felt, I am empowered in my moment of silence. I play out the moments when I nearly failed out of fear, the errors others made and that I made in this fight. These are armor.

If I recollect and prepare the times when I have been threatened, I am prepared. It is oil on my armor. When I remember what words worked, that is sharpening my sword. Saturdays of silence are not silent. They are just times to reflect and prepare for the next battle in this war. I hear the birds singing, and I know that the fight will be long and hard. I also know I will win. I may cry, I may bleed, I may wish to flea, but in these moments of solitude with my peace held in my heart I know too that nothing can stop me. I am changing the world with every word, every breath, and it is too late to go back now. The world is already different because of actions that I have taken, that you have taken, and the actions of the future will just give us more strength.

Sharpen your swords, care for your armor, feed your companions. Feast and Celebrate. Enjoy the moments of peace and silence. We are at war. We are an army, an international one at that, and nothing can stop us for we have nothing to lose and only the world to gain. Lets rule the world!

Dancing with Limited Mobility

I miss dancing. It was one of my jobs, but just as writing is like breathing, it was also a part of my life that I thought I would have forever. I started dancing when I was three, my Aunt’s daughter taught Ballet and we had lessons. I remember my pride at being able to lift my leg high, and the motions, the grace. I felt like a fairy princess during every class. I never wanted it to end. It did.

My father decided that dancing was just too good for his children, so the lessons ended. The ideals and memories did not fade. I discovered Belly Dancing when I was 17, and I once again found myself moving to music. I could feel it in my blood, coursing through my veins and just as singing, it took over my soul. I could leap, I could twist, I could use my hands and my entire body to entrance someone, as I celebrated the life that is in music.

I was the healthiest I had ever been, and I finally had a job as a dancer. I was reading through the contract to sign on as a permanent dancer with a troupe when I broke my back. I knew something was wrong immediately during practice when I first lifted my arms over head and wanted to scream. I still danced, but, quickly gave up on it. I couldn’t make my body move the way it used to. I had lost the silken rhythms and was trapped in a world of pain. It was the first blow of depression. For a time I wanted to die. If I could not move, what was the point of living?

Four years, maybe more as my time line sense is skewed, and I find the music still stirring my body. Every time, if I twitch my hips slightly my spine begins to burn and I cry. I am failing to resist the lure of a simple beat. I can hear it in my head, my heart pounds and I want it. I cannot strike the poses from my modeling career, I cannot dance… or can I?

Thanks to William Shakespurr I discovered a new method for dancing. He has mastered the remote control just as Sprite has and was watching fashion shows. He has a love of the bright colors and I think it is the techno that is the latest in fashion runway modeling that draws him. I could not resist the music. Tonight after a satisfying, if exhausting Career Builders Toastmasters Meeting I flopped into bed and got comfortable. I left the TV going and reminisced.

I remembered walking on the catwalk, Striking a pose, my body in line, my face the face that the people watching wanted. My body the perfect display for clothing, to make you want to buy it. I struck a pose, laying flat. I crunched horribly but despite the protests of my frame, I felt free. It wasn’t nostalgia, my mind was not trapped in the past, it was just the giggling and playful side that I do not let out as often.

A commercial came on with music and I moved my arms, my back is supported when laying and so it doesn’t have me tipping out of my chair. I was dancing again. This is how I dance now, a fresh discovery. I can twist, I can move, without really moving. I can feel the rhythm and I am not trapped now. My limbs feel freed. I know there will be conecquenecs in the morning, there are already now with my hands refusing to respond as fluidly as normal. I am forbidden to move like this by my doctors, yet, I need it for my soul.

I will have no regrets tomarrow. I have none now, and I am free. I am dancing in the air, I am floating in the sea. Nothing can stop me, for the melody frees me. Twisting, twirling, weightless, and so alive. I burn, not with pain but with Passions that have long been starved. Model, Singer, Dancer, Teacher, Writer. Who I have been? Who I am.

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