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September 25, 2023 in Makeover, Ramblings

It’s My Time Now

Here it is. Another day reviewing video from the past weekend’s shows. Some of my best live vocals are on these videos. There’s great crowd interaction. The outdoor lighting was a beautiful, sunny day by the water. These videos should go up on YouTube.

I delete them.

I can’t watch them. I don’t want anyone seeing them. All I can see is my weight.

The Camera Does Not Lie

I’m dancing, but it doesn’t look like I’m really moving much because there is so much bulk on my bones. My movements look slow, more like a wave than a deliberate movement. My rolls are visible as my dress lightly drapes over me. I can see my feet starting to swell around the straps of my (orthotic) sandals from standing to sing on my poor feet for almost 4 hours in the heat.

And, where’s my neck? I have pictures of myself from my younger years. I KNOW I had a neck at one point.

Meanwhile, I’m smiling valiantly through the entire show. I was honestly loving every minute of performing. It’s literally a childhood dream come true. All except looking like a stuffed sausage in a leopard print dress.

This isn’t the first time I deleted video off my camera instead of posting to social media. Truth be told, there is a ton of video in a locked folder that will hopefully never see the light of day. I don’t even know why I am saving it, other than I lack the time to delete those automatically backed up files.

I Almost Abandoned This Site

Let’s back up a little here. I got the domain name for this site over a year ago and never posted anything. The purpose was to document a makeover and my growth as a musician.

Then, life stepped in. An aging relative needed a lot more assistance, taking up a lot more of my time. But, it is so much more complicated than that. There is a long history of narcisistic abuse with this relative that left me with C-PTSD, and decades of chronic insomnia, panic attacks, stress eating as a way of self-medicating, elevated cortisol, hair loss, etc.

This past year has been a never-ending cycle of putting myself first to putting myself last. Every boundary I put in place has been tested, stomped over, and put back again. Sometimes, I handled it well. Other times, not so much. By the end of most days, I would be in full hyper vigilance mode. Sleep was an illusive dream. Unfortunately, the most effective therapy I have found for this so far comes with a case of the munchies, which only takes me further from my goals.

Speaking of goals, what are they?

My overreaching goal is to be the best performer I can be. That has included vocal training and practice, improving my crowd interaction, and improving my stage presence. I want to increase my stamina, lung capacity, and take this enormous weight off of my feet and joints. I can certainly put on a high energy show. But, I would love to be able to do so without the added strain obesity puts on my body.

I also want to be able to sleep properly and improve my abdominal strength to help ease the strain on my voice. Being a vocalist is very different than my previous musical endeavors. There is a physicality required that was not required of me when I sat at my piano or played viola in an orchestra. As a singer, your body is your instrument. You’re belting your heart out while moving about on stage, maybe even dancing, and trying do so without getting out of breath.

I would also like to improve my posture. I have that rounded back people get from looking down at devices and/or working at a computer all day long. It’s not a good look, and it also comes with complications, like spinal misalignment, muscle strain, and pain.

My feet definitely need me to lighten the load. I have had several injuries to my feet over the years which has led to bone spurs and Achilles tendonitis. I belong to the “special shoes” club. If you haven’t had to shop for orthotic shoes that don’t look like orthotic shoes, you would be utterly shocked at the cost. I am normally very uncomfortable spending money on myself. But, mobility is kind of an important thing. It is critically important that I take as much stress off my feet as possible to avoid making these bone spurs worse. Otherwise, I would need surgery to fix the issue.

Beyond all that, I finally have my chance to live my childhood dream of being a performer, a singer and songwriter. I had to leave my previous music career playing the viola due to an injury. I’ve been lost without music, and I want as much time as possible to pursue it. I want as long of a life as possible, with as high quality of life as possible, to have as long of a career as possible.

Before You Tell Me “Don’t Worry About All That”…

Before anyone goes and says, “Hey Cat, other singers are just as big as you, and it hasn’t stopped them. You don’t need to lose weight. That’s an excuse.” Or, before anyone chimes in to tell me they are offended at my need to lose weight, let me stop you right there.

First off, give those performers an extra decade or two. Let’s see how their joints are holding up under that kind of pressure and damage then.

Second, the most famous of the larger lady stars, Lizzo, has made her brand on being a big girl. That’s simply not the avenue I want to go down. I want this to be about my music, not my size. With this in mind, my size is a distraction. It is not a marketable angle for what I want to achieve.

Third, here’s my hot take on body positivity. You should love yourself. I should love myself. Loving oneself is not size dependent. However, I believe taking care of your body is part of loving yourself. If your size is causing you ill health, pain, limiting you from your favorite activities, and getting in the way of you following your dreams, then you owe it to yourself to do something about it.

Read that again.

You owe it to yourself, no one else, to love yourself enough to show up for you and your dreams. You owe it to yourself to feed yourself well. You owe it to yourself to live as fully as you are able. And, so do I.

Sure, Diet Culture exists. And, it’s bullshit. The weight loss industry is a predatory, corporate monster. Most people fail at losing weight and/or keeping it off for any meaningful amount of time. We’re shamed into believing that being overweight means we have no value as a human being, so we must spend our money on often unhealthy weight loss programs and products in the hope of redeeming ourselves. I do not argue against any of that.

At the same time, I’d like to not have difficulty with stairs , learn to dance, and to be able to sing even higher, longer notes. I want to see myself in my videos and actually recognize myself. I’d like to feed my body with love and care. That means making healthy changes. It’s going to be difficult, especially with my mental health issues.

The Bottom Line

So, here it is. This website is me showing up for myself. I’m choosing mental health help for C-PTSD, panic attacks, insomnia, and self-medicating with food because I refuse to be a victim to my past. I’m choosing to change my relationship with food. Most importantly, I’m choosing to change my relationship with myself.

If you support me, great. Come along for the ride. If you don’t, also great. Take a hike. I promise, I won’t be offended.

This is my time.



About the author 

Cat Ellis

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