Last week was a tough week but I knew I had to try my best to make a comeback. I knew Vulnerability would be a challenge for me. I don't like to go to that “place.” I’ve always tried to deal with the cards that were dealt to me, being a bigger girl. Having to go to that vulnerable place in front of everyone watching (including 12 competitors) wasn't fun and it wasn't easy. I had a feeling I was in for a very long week.
Cory Monteith is adorable on screen, but in person, I'll admit, I got a little flustered. I thought he was a great guest mentor for this theme. Finn has that tough exterior but has had many emotional scenes that have shown his vulnerability.
I think any teenager nowadays would say that they have experienced bullying in some way, but everyone story is different. When I was younger I used to think that people didn't want to hang out with me because I was bigger. Or that people were talking about me behind my back because of my body or what I was wearing. I was constantly being influenced to lose weight. When I got to a certain age I didn't want to second guess anymore. So, instead I felt like I had to prove something.
Instead of crying in the corner or running home, I started fighting back. There was a time, I remember clearly, that a boy made a comment about my weight and I poured apple juice on his head. Things like this I look back on and can’t decide if that was a good decision or not. I still don't know. But when I got to this place in my life when I started defending myself, I thought I was untouchable.
I was "Queen Bee" in middle school. People listened to me because I was confident and outspoken. I think they were scared looking back on it now. I used to hang out with a group of girls that treated everyone at the school, and each other, terribly. I think we hung out with each other because we were all scared of each other. Best friends always know what grinds your gears, and in my case we used that against each other a lot.
The video shoot for “Everybody Hurts” was a tough one. We had to play bullies and victims at different points. During my victim scene, I had a difficult time lip-syncing. What some people might not know is that when shooting slow motion parts of the music video, they double the playback track so you have to lip-sync at double the speed. This was something I wasn't expecting and didn’t know how to handle. Everyone had a little bit of trouble with it but my struggle was more apparent. Also, when I went to go up to the camera to sing my line Mario yelled at me when I was two feet away. He said, “Lily Mae food and dudes,” which was pretty clever. I’ll give that to you, Mario. But I got distracted. It was a lot of people (Shanna, Mario and 20 other extras) all yelling pretty fowl things at me. But I liked it because it was working. I just got distracted by Mario's line. But the bottom line with the lip-syncing thing is that I didn't get the job done like they wanted me to, and that's what matters. That is something I learned from last week: excuses don’t matter to Ryan Murphy.
For the scene where I played the bully, I was so excited to wear the Cheerios costume. I did not expect how it would all play out. I was expecting to bully Aylin. Aylin and I had an intense conversation before the shoot about what triggers her to be upset and how far we wanted to take the scene. She said she wanted me to go all out. We were both on the same page, as well as Erik. I think the mentors got pretty shaken up by our scene because it was intense. It was probably the most intense scene that day. My job was to be an awful person that says awful things and I did it. It's not easy to watch and it’s not fun to do but that was our job.
Everyone was really surprised when Charlie took Mario's cane during their scene. I think the whole thing was a huge misunderstanding, and I think he dug himself into a little bit of a hole, which I certainly understand. I understand Charlie. I don't know if a lot of people can say that. We understand each other. Neither of us knows why, but we do.
When the judges announced the bottom three, at the time I was really surprised. All of the scenes I was in took a lot out of me. I thought that was enough. Ryan explained it to me best when he said I was a better bully than victim in this video. Then I realized that was the opposite of what this week was supposed to be about.
I was upset when I found out I was doing “Mercy.” It’s a great song to jam to in the car but it is so not my voice. Again, I was expecting a musical theatre song or a ballad at least, but I learned I could literally sing every genre of music on this show. It really pushed me. But I wanted something that would show another side of me. I felt like “Mercy” showed the exact same thing as “Man I Feel like a Woman” and “Anything Goes” showed. And of course that is what Ryan and the mentors said. Ryan said that he hadn't seen me be vulnerable, that he had only seen this sexy girl and nothing else.
Yeah, it's hard being a size 18. Yeah, it’s hard being considered obese since I was 10. Yeah, it sucks, but I hate to go there. I don't want to embrace the negativity, but in a situation like this when someone has to study you to make a character about you I had to let Ryan in. I'm glad that I did because until then I hadn't looked human to him. I came off as if nothing bothered me, which isn't REAL. I'm glad I got to show Ryan and the mentors that side of me because I think if I kept those walls up at that last point I would have been on the plane right home that week.
While I was waiting to look at the callback list, I heard Charlie and Mario walking down the hallway. I thought I was going home. I remember walking down the stairs on my way to the list and almost throwing up because I was so upset. When I read that we were all called back I was shocked. I didn't realize that this could even happen. Charlie and Mario ran in and we all freaked out together.
Charlie would always say before eliminations, "This is just a moment in the woods," which is a quote from a favorite musical of ours, "Into the Woods" by Stephen Sondheim. Every time I need to remind myself that everything is going to be okay I now always hear Charlie's voice saying that to me.
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