Somewhere along the line that is my life I seem to have picked up a bit.
When I was approached to do this bit of film for ITV (I kept calling it the BBC because everyone's heard of them...they're an independent organization actually, which is why they can get away with so much) I did this thing I do, where I lowered my expectations. Not just of what would happen, but how I would be perceived by makers. While I do indulge in a lot of the fantasies that people do about being well-received, I refuse to let them drive my real life. In Real Life I am just another guy, someone who is annoying, flawed, and no more visible than anyone else.
Even now that this whole process has taken a life of its own, I still persist in thinking that I'm not a key player in this. I still plan on waiting to see the finished product once they send it to me. But the evidence that I wound up with a larger part of the spotlight keeps growing.
First, there was the fact that I was flown to LA and put up in a hotel. That turned into quite an amazing trip, talking with Teighlor (who, BTW, is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records Millennium Edition as the World's Largest Model) and seeing her for the first time in 3 years (it was SO good to see her again!) and getting a ride in stretch limo (obtained through sheer good fortune...it was only 10 dollars more than a cab ride, and just HAPPENED to be at the hotel as we were leaving).
I have always considered my physical presense to be inferior to my writing ability. Oral reports were always something I dreaded back in college, and speaking in front of groups made me feel as if I was verbally disabled, almost aphasic. Yet I always felt comfortable in front of a camera...I recall doing these video workshops back in college, and always being picked to sit in FRONT of the camera as a subject for people to work with. For some reason I was never hit with the weight of being seen remotely by countless masses of people, struck dumb with the classic "deer in headlights" effect that has become a staple of humor.
That night I flew back to SF, picking up steelmagnoliaca at the airport (after a weather delay because of fog, of course!) and heading back to Roni's. The next day we travelled to the Sheraton in Concord, where we set up for a brief photo shoot for The Boys (as I began to refer to Aleister and Rob) with Roni and Val.
The shoot went incredibly well...I snapped a few shots of the whole surreal scene which I'll probably post after the documentary airs (out of respect for the production). Roni and Val were, as always, AMAZING.
That night there was some shooting at the hotel pool and hot tub with some of the local BBW group, Big Boogie Nights. Roni had to bail early to make a trip WAY too early the next day to Sacramento for a certification class and test in food handling.
The strangest part of that segment was realizing how much I knew about the history of size acceptance, not just because I had learned it after the fact, but because, in one way or another, I had been involved with the actual events or the people who had organized them. I kept trying to bow out of the spotlight -- I *hate* looking like a know-it-all, hogging the camera or attention. But there were questions no one knew the answer to... except yours truly. It felt like I was back in school, when I was the only one who raised my hand.
The next day was the "group" interview with me and Linda, Karin, kshandra and steelmagnoliaca. The Boys wanted something sexier, which if I had KNOWN about I would have had everyone bring lingerie or something. As it was, Val stripped naked for the camera, Kshandra borrowed this gauzey lovely blouse and wore that, Karin wore an open button down shirt and underware, and Linda just showed as much hip as possible. Me? Naked as a jay bird. It wasn't like you could see much more than a leg and my chest and face, as I sat behind this incredibly lovely group of women as we all took shots at answering their questions.
Afterwards, Linda and Karin split to get ready for the Halloween party later that night, and myself, Kshandra and Val had a good snugglefest. A lot of the questions that they had asked were very thought provoking, at least for myself, leaving me VERY contemplative. Later, as we ran into the city to snag a costume for Kshandra, I posed the question "What's the opposite of rejection? Not accepted...this is different..."
To which K replied, "Welcome."
I had felt so close to everyone there, and to many who weren't... an overwhelming sensation of connection, peace, and... well, the absence of fear. Secure, perhaps.
We got the costume, picked up Roni, and headed back to the hotel. Roni was almost in tears...she had a crappy day, traffic back to he city had been dreadful, and the class had made her afraid to eat anything but food that had been cooked to death. I made certain that she knew she could choose NOT to come to the party with us (I had already promised The Boys that we would come). As it turns out, she had us go on ahead, got ready at her leisure, and called me when she felt up for coming (the dance was only 10 minutes away from the hotel). In the end she had a wonderful time...I think the good cry she had made a world of difference.
The Boys were at the dance, filming. I reprised my Nun outfit, and Roni and Val used the catholic school girl look again. Ironically, we were beat out by a pair of naughty FEMALE nuns...and a boy in catholic schoolgirl drag... for the best costume award. Figures.
ladybear was there, to my great surprise. Karin and Linda looked INCREDIBLE. The party was a LOT of fun, with an embarrassing incident involving a "Best Male Costumed Booty" contest involving two female judges and myself. Darren, the group organizer, actually called me up BY NAME. Saying "no" to those situations aren't always possible without more grief than just going through with it.
There was only one problem...after the dancing started, the ladies insisted that we each reveal our underwear to them as part of the dance. That was an issue for those of us who weren't wearing any.
Fortunately we managed to avoid causing a major scene, though later, several curious women demanded to see what I was "hiding". After letting them know they might not want to know the answer, I would discreetly show them if still interested. Apparently I still have a decent butt...nice to know.
At one point out in front of the bar, there was a bizarre incident involving one of the local vagrants and one of the other partiers. They were taking pictures of one another, and this idiot decides they're taking pictures of HIM and gets all paranoid about it, coming up on her threateningly. I get between her and him, telling him to cool off, with the help of the aforementioned male schoolgirl. I'm sure he's convinced he was hallucinating once he came down off of whatever he was on.
There's lots more... but I have one last interview to do today in an hour or so.