“The best thing that WAGM-TV can do for business news is get Kim off the air,” one viewer emailed. “Not only does she look like a drug addict, she constantly looks like the camera is above her head.”
That encapsulates my first TV hate mail.
Previously, I simply reported on day-to-day newscasts, but the station had promoted me to delivering a weekly “business news” report.
Fudge! That feedback crushed my 20-something-year-old ego.
Still, I posted it in my cubicle for both inspiration to improve and to recognize that some critics couldn’t be pleased.
Shortly after, the news station promoted me again to morning news anchor. What the? How was I to cope?
Fixing a camera angle was easy. Curing my on-air appearance proved more difficult. The veins under my eyes that emanated black and blue under the glare of studio lights (drug-addict like) had been there since childhood.
With the help of our station manager’s wife, a Mary Kay rep, my stage makeup techniques improved. Her tips minimized my luggage-ridden eyes, but there’s only so much cosmetics can do.
Other physical descriptions of me, such as “rail thin” and “stick figure,” came to mind, but honestly, they couldn’t matter once the station named me newscaster.
Shit, I had a job to do, regardless of the criticism!
I arose everyday before the crack of dawn.
“Good morning! You’re fantastic! I’m fantastic! Here’s the news…” became my mental ritual.
After years of repetition, I like to think that I improved in both content and delivery, although the latter never emerged as a strong point.
One morning, in the early darkness, I dug into my closet and pulled a relatively unused suit from the fray. Its red fabric glowed, as if exclaiming “yes, I’ve been rediscovered.”
Coworkers commented on its greatness. “New suit!?” they asked.
“No, just one I haven’t worn in a while.” I responded. “It’s got a lot of looseness going on,” I said, grabbing the excess fabric in the front crotch area. “I wonder if I’ve gotten thinner or something? Weird?”
After successfully completing the newscast and repeatedly having similar interactions at work, I went home at noonish (my evening) and relaxed on the toilet at home.
That’s when I uncovered an unexpected discovery. The pant suit I’d worn all day was on backwards (at least partly). The looseness in my crotch area came from the pants’ “ass” being “forward,” not from weight loss.
Aghast, I couldn’t determine which was worse: the fact I was so stupid that I put on them on wrong that morning or that I was so thin, my ass so flat, that I could wear them backwards for hours without anyone noticing the difference.
Six months later, after I moved back to Florida, the people who know, love and sometimes hate me the best addressed those dilemmas during my extended 30th birthday celebration:
- I was “not a dumbass” and actually a “smart gal” despite my delusional backwards dressing decision at 3 a.m. a few months prior,
- After decades of being a stick figure, I’d spontaneously grown an actual “badonkadonk!,” as supported by an ex-boyfriend’s comment on a photo I posted on My Space (yep, I did that).
In short, I’d moved back to the Sunshine State and grown a full moon. Yipee! Screw my “your too thin” critics! The realization that my flat ass had inflated was one of the first pseudo gifts I received in my 30s.
This represents my 1st of 30 30-somethings during my weekly countdown until turning 40. Celebrate with me as I reveal other lessons or humbling experiences from the past decade.
April 16, 2014 at 2:15 am
My initial reaction was to think, “What the hell is wrong with people? Why do they always have to criticize a female’s appearance? Why can’t she be judged as a professional, dammit?”
My righteous indignation went out the window, however, when I guffawed audibly. (I’m sorry. I refuse to speak AOL.)
Personally, I’ve always had a big round bubble butt. I could never put my pants on backwards without knowing. On the other hand, falling on my ass only hurts my pride. 🙂
April 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm
Yay! I’m glad you got a good laugh out of it. My coworkers and friends certainly did the next day when I admitted my error and in years since. And now falling on my butt hurts less too! 🙂
April 16, 2014 at 9:32 am
Did anyone else notice your pants were on backwards?
April 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm
No, I don’t think so. My coworkers all seemed surprised the next day when I confessed. In my limited defense, I must say that the pants didn’t have a real waist band, button or pockets, just a zipper. And at the time about 90% of my dress pants zipped up the back, so I just apparently went on auto pilot while dressing and my body cooperated.
April 16, 2014 at 9:55 am
I love that you put your pants on backwards–that’s such a great way to illustrate the process of learning self love. I really wish I’d grown a badonkadonk myself–I’m envious, almost. But I’ll still happily cheer you on into your 40s. Great decade-countdown series!
April 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm
Thanks, Samantha. I’m just praying I don’t grow a second one in my 40s. 🙂
April 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm
I’ve always had a big enough ass to know if my pants are on the right way, but every single pair of pants I own has that stupid baggy crotch thing happening. I have spent more than one entire day with my shirt on backwards and never known the difference.
April 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm
Ahaha! I’ve worn a shirt backwards and skirt sideways too. Clearly, I have clothing issues. Perhaps that’s why the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” was slightly believable to me.
April 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm
clearly you had been doing a lot right to keep moving up the latter, regardless of your weight or your interesting style choices. 😉
April 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm
Well, I guess when you’re sitting be an anchor’s desk, it doesn’t really matter which way you put your pants on…or whether your wearing any period.
April 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm
What a cute story, but obviously you were doing something right to move so quickly up the ladder. I don’t think I’ve ever worn pants backwards but I have fished a sock out of a shirt sleeve once or twice in my life.
April 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm
Ha! Now that I haven’t done, Martha. Something to look forward to though, as I’m sure it’s bound to happen sometime.
April 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm
Hilarious! I totally love you and I just met you. Weird right?
So great that you didn’t make that horrible early criticism about your value as a person. That speaks to your healthy ego and I applaud you.
Great post! I’m a new fan.
April 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm
Thanks, Pam. That just might be the best comment ever! Truth be told, I was never really great at anchoring the news, so had his criticism been more substantive, I probably would have cried. But given his approach and my need for a paycheck, there wasn’t really an option other than to carry on. 🙂
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April 17, 2014 at 11:03 am
My ass is so big I never could have gotten away with it. But I’m laughing that you did…
April 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm
Neither could I at this point. God love, or hate, being a 20-something. 🙂
April 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm
I’m also in the camp where this could never happen due to the size of my ass, but I’ve walked around with shirts inside out, mismatched socks, and various other dressing mishaps. So funny. Great story!
April 17, 2014 at 11:16 pm
Thanks, Michelle. I think we’ve all had some wardrobe malfunction along the way. But I admit mine was stupider than other options.
April 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm
That’s too funny! I’m mad at all the people who sent you body-shaming hate mail on your behalf. What is wrong with people? Jeez.
April 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm
Meh! I’ve found most are just angry people in general. But I never discount criticism before reviewing it. Many times you can learn from it, but at a minimum, it’s a source of humor. 🙂