53. Baby Got Back to Basics

53. Baby Got Back to Basics

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Baby Got Back to Basics

Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.

~Robert Collier

When I was a young theater student in college, I auditioned for a production of a one-act play about dating in the modern world. I got the part of a sarcastic, bookish woman at a bar who shoots down a man’s cheesy pick-up lines and throws a glass of water in his face.

It was great fun, but the most interesting part was how the director wanted us to bow at the end. He wanted us to do something unique. On a dare, the cast decided it would be a grand idea to arrive onstage at the end of the play wearing only our underwear and dance to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” the ultimate ode to curvy women.

Just shy of 5’9” with measurements of 36-27-36 — I had a near perfect hourglass figure, taller and built more solidly than most women. My legs looked great too, and I had a pretty face. I was a “knockout” by traditional beauty standards, but I didn’t know it.

I thought my body was too large to be shown in public. I wanted to hide it.

Opening night approached for the play. Everyone was readying their costumes, perfecting their lines, and memorizing the choreography for the final bow sequence. I figured it was only two nights of my life, and the underwear set I’d chosen was more modest than many a swimsuit I’d worn, so not too much harm could be done.

The play went off without a hitch. The audience laughed uproariously when I threw the glass of water in my suitor’s face, and at the end, I stood tallest in the center of the dance line, in my underwear, waiting for the final curtain. I breathed deeply and reassured myself that this moment could not kill me; I would survive it, even if I had to pick rotten tomatoes out of my hair afterward.

As the rap song played and we danced in unison, the audience rolled with laughter. It was an unexpected celebration of comedy and confidence in a world of dating disasters. We’d won the night, and I’d kept my promise to my director and myself.

I stood tallest in the center of the dance line, in my underwear, waiting for the final curtain.

After the show, the cast dressed and waited in the lobby to meet the audience. I was unprepared for the flood of emotions that followed. We’d just put on a light-hearted comedy about finding love in a crazy world, and as audience members came to greet me, one by one, they shook my hand or hugged me tight. Not so much for my performance, but for my bravery to go onstage in my underwear.

Women of all sizes couldn’t wait to tell me how my costume choice had emboldened them to be themselves. In tears, some told me they were going to go home and pull out the lingerie or bathing suit they never wore or had stuffed in the back of their closet, explaining that they now felt beautiful enough to put them on.

I’d simply kept my word on a dare, in the name of comedy — and somehow, I’d brought these women love of their own beauty. There is no better reward in acting than to empower the members of your audience to go forth and love themselves.

Especially when it takes you by surprise because you were simply being your vulnerable, imperfect self.

~A. Kay Wyatt

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