Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking Forward While Keeping Your Feet In The Present

I have been very lucky in my life. I always knew what I wanted to do and I had the wherewithal to put myself into the line of fire and pray for a little buckshot to hit me.

With that said, let me just tell you right here and now that I have had a crap load of rejection during my past seventeen years in Hollywood. I can't tell you how many times I didn't get a job I tried out for, or how often I got told to lose ten pounds or bleach my hair blond and wear sexier clothes.

(Actually, the saddest part of what I just said is that even when I TRIED to change myself to please the people I was begging work from, I still didn't do it right. It seemed like no matter what I did, I was one step behind everyone else. I have very vivid memories of uncomfortable push-up bras that made me look like Boobs McBooberton and short skirts that I ripped while in the process of yanking them down to cover just a little bit more leg. I was a terrible sexpot. Frankly, it was a laughable proposition and it DID get laughed at once on the Paramount lot. While in a sexy Russian Hooker ensemble that I could barely walk in, the unwieldy heels caused me to trip in front of a group of Transpo guys and land on my Russian Hooker wannabe ass.)

Anyway, I quickly learned that no matter what you do, you can't please everyone all the time. So, I stopped trying to compete with girls that just naturally understood how to dress themselves to extol their boobalicious virtues and concentrated more on the quirkier parts that just felt more like the real me.

And it worked. I just did what made me feel good about myself–and what made me happy–and the work I wanted FOUND ME.

I didn't have an uncle in the business, I never dated anyone famous or powerful and I kept my boobs pretty much where they belonged (for me at least) in my top. I just threw myself into what I wanted–and after a bit of soul-searching–found what suited me most. Then I just persisted. I didn't take the rejection personally and I did stuff for myself. (Like making CHANCE and working with Chris Golden on the GHOSTS OF ALBION web show and books.)

I just keep putting myself out there, trying new stuff, learning from my mistakes and growing.

I think that if I can do this–and I'm just some girl from Alabama with a dream and an affinity for bathroom humor–then anyone can do it. It takes an investment in yourself and it also takes time and effort, but it can be done.

I am living proof of that.

81 comments:

  1. I'm not the most articulate person around but im gonna give this a shot:) I'm really glad you went with making your self happy and stopped trying to fit in to what other idiots perceive as sexy and the right clothing or lack of. In an ideal world brains , talent and personality would be all a person needed.... You are a gifted person and naturally SEXY, FUNNY and WITTY and from what I have heard of from fans that have meant you your also a really nice person which means you got one up on a lot of people. You miss Amber Benson basically ROCK! :)

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  2. I tried to post this earlier, but now that it's working: You are awesome and inspiring. Thank you so much for posting this and for doing what you do.

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  3. "I have very vivid memories of uncomfortable push-up bras that made me look like Boobs McBooberton. I was a terrible sexpot"

    That's it. I'm cracked up for the night. That's the most funny thing I've read in ages.

    Seriously though, it really does give me (and other people), a beam of hope that anyone can do it just being themselves. There are so many people out there in the biz that have gotten where they are by flashing god knows what and flaunting (very badly I might add) things they have. It does frighten a lot of people into thinking they're never going to make it themselves if that's what they have got to offer in order to be accepted.I personally wouldn't be proud in going home and telling people, " Oh they offered me the part. I just waltzed in with my boobs pushed up to my face whilst wearing a barely legal belt masquerading as a skirt" All that to please somebody, knowing that it's not the real you. I would much rather get somewhere being myself and keeping my personality intact. Whereas somebody like you can be proud and say, " Hell I got turned down because I couldn't be what they wanted me to be, but I persevered with being the real Amber and got somewhere"

    Somebody's individuality and personality are the things that matter most in being a good actor/writer etc.You put yourself into everything you do,not being who someone wants you to be. Just being yourself. That's what makes watching certain actors special. You just know they're themselves and bring their own individuality to everything they do.They're the people I admire most.

    I'm quite glad you were never the 'Russian Hooker' type. Not doing that has made you who you are now and made you as talented as you are now. That's the Amber that all of your fans wouldn't want to change for the world.
    Your work is amazing. You should be incredibly proud of yourself for sticking to it, and contributing such fabulous work to the industry. Being that girl with the dream is why you have as many fans as you do.

    Wow..that was long. Hope I didn't babble too much!! ( I've been trying to post this for aaageeees)

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  4. Quirkier is much cuter then all the boobs imo.

    luvs nix

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  5. That's very inspiring Amber. I believe it's important to always be yourself, if you try and be something you're not, it's ultimately very destructive because you're not going to be happy.

    Glad this is working now :)

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  6. I am so happy to know (or know of) someone like you, Amber, who does not apologize for his/her quirkiness.

    I am trying to be patient, but this job market absolutely sucks and I make an ass of myself at job interviews because I cannot find the energy to fake enthusiasm for a job that will suck my soul right out of my body. I would rather be a poor individual than a rich robot.
    I now have a low paying internship at a production company with amazing people and fun film projects. Hopefully, this will lead to bigger, better jobs.

    Here is to not selling out!

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  7. Yay! Thanks for fixing the comments.

    It's funny how dolling yourself up can often just lead to a great fall and disappointment. I went to a pitch meeting in Santa Monica last week - got up early, made my hair perfect, my makeup perfect, took the city bus - only to find out that it had been postponed without my knowledge! (My agent's assistant was sick the day before and didn't give me the message). *Sigh*

    Then there was the time I got caught in the rain (in slipper shoes) for 45 minutes the week before... and there's also the time I had an argument with a valet the week before. Ugh...

    The best meeting I had recently was so informal. I just sat down, told stories about my shitty week and sold them on me. Pretty surprising experience... but genuine.

    Great post, Amber.

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  8. I found out a few hours ago that I was rejected for the one job I wanted more than anything. Needless to say, I'm feeling a little down on myself right now.

    However, after reading that, I have to say that I feel a little bit better about the whole thing. Thanks for the unintended encouragement. :)

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  9. That there blog entry is all kinds of awesome. Just so you know.

    Bathroom humour always wins through in the end too.

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  10. I just read this to my daughter, but she didn't understand it yet. She's only 2 and a half. Maybe I'll read it to her every 6 months until she's 30 or so.

    Good on you.

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  11. "Boobs McBooberton"

    I lol'd! I'm calling my girlfriend that the next time I see her.

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  12. This helps me get through my boring office job day; thank you!

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  13. You go, girl! Being true to yourself always wins in the end. xoxo

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  14. LOL, I thought it was just me that had problems commenting.

    I'm glad you enjoy what you do, Amber, and that it is what you want to do.

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  15. Thanks for posting this Amber. I'm not quite there yet (nor am I trying to find a job in Hollywood) but I do try to please everyone, and I do try to fit in, although I hate to stand out. So I'm still trying to find that balance, but it is inspiring to know that even someone as talented as yourself can feel insecure next to people that are only judged BY their cleavage. (And they get saggy sooner or later!) Ew. On that note... Thank you :)

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  16. more people should realise that you don't need to dress like a slut to get noticed.

    and just for the record, i think you're hot.

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  17. ok its really scary that i've actually been called "Boob McBooberton" before, like word for word :P

    this was actually really great to read, if you read my most recent post its kinda depressing because of something i got turned down for last week but this put things in a better prospective

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  18. I'm so glad you posted this as someone who is currently trying to figure out who they want to be in this life. Everyone always wants to know what they can do to get ahead or make their dreams come true. They often look to other people as examples or what they can change to get what they want. But there are enough clones in this world and not enough unique people. In order to stand out you have to be yourself, because there's only one you. ;)

    And it takes someone else saying it to remind us of that fact. Thanks for reminding me.

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  19. It's a bit exhausting... trying to be what other's want you to be. And humans tend to put the happiness of others before the happiness of themselves because all we want to do is fit in and be accepted.

    And I say screw that. :)

    I stopped trying to fit the mold a while ago. And things have actually been a lot better. And happier. (I'm kinda still waiting to see what the big payoff will be, though).

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  20. You know I usually don't make my presence known on the various pages on the web or blogs that I follow, mostly because I'm shy, but this time I really had to comment after what you just shared...

    Where I live, well, we don't get much on the Hollywood news, celebrities, etc. unless you have cable so most of what you do I've found it on the net. It started with Buffy on Fox (that's how I "met" you) but then there was nothing else. So I started looking for things you've done, movies, interviews, shows, etc. that's mostly how I've been following your career as best as I could.

    I love your acting, your writing... well to make it short I think you are gorgeous and talented, but mostly I like you because to me you seem very real and down to earth, something that most people in your position are not and prove to that is this post and your blog overall where you show yourself just as you are and I can tell that is not just me but a lot of people that follow you for the very same reasons: You are gorgeous, smart, talented and with a great personality.

    Oh! and that thing you said about the sexy Russian Hooker ensemble to try to fit into the Hollywood standards? that's just sad, not for you but for them, they try to sell people sometimes and forget about the talent in the process just glad you realised that you are perfect just as you are and that to do what you love you don't need to sell yourself in the process, you just need to work harder and shine with your own light just like you did.

    And for someone that usually doesn't talk... well that was a huge babbling fest. I'll shut up now and go back to my corner.

    Always my best wishes.

    Solange.

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  21. Amen, chica, and rock on. Stay true to yourself.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Thank you. When I get to the point of trying to publish I will remember this.

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  24. woohoo COMMENTS WORKING.

    you know, i seem to be filling my rss blog reader with entries from geeky/geek-significant) actor/writers. AND I'M OKAY WITH THAT.

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  25. oh, wait, is it not doing any CAPTCHA-style checking at all?

    (CAPTCHA is the technical term for those "enter this word and prove you're a human" words)

    be warned -- you may get comment-spam without the captcha running.

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  26. Great post, Amber. I've always felt a little out of step too, but the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin, and I'm good with being different.

    I enjoy your work as an actor, director, and writer, and I've been lucky enough to meet you, so I have to say that I'm glad you've stayed true to yourself because we like you just the way you are. :-)

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  27. Yay for dressing and being yourself. And potty humor. ;~)

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  28. What a positive and helpful article.

    Big fan of your comics work. You're a talented writer.

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  29. People can become good by aping on what others have done, but never great. Congrats for your success, for following your own path, and showing that southerners are awesome. (Georgia-boy here.) My greatest success story has involved me going my own way, and I'm about to try and do it again and go to the next level. Inspiring to see what you've accomplished. Thank you!

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  30. I'm so glad you didn't fall into the trap of trying to be a stick-figure starlet type -- you are lovely, and talented, and that's only enhanced by the fact that you're happy with your life and your work.

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  31. Testify!
    Amber,
    I'm so glad to see that you are walking down the path of individuality even though it is a path strewn with obstacles and excruciating pain at times.
    It's taken me 41 years to be comfortable with who I am and not following the cult of mediocrity.
    My novel reflects such a twisted and warped sensibility.

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  32. I'm someone who'll probably never get to meet you, but already you've been such an inspiration. Someday you'll get too busy and blogging and 'tweeting' will lose their novelty, but know that you did a great thing here. More than anything, enjoy what you do. When you reach the pinnacle, we'll be here to cheer on you. :)

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  33. At the risk of repeating several comments above...

    ...your greatest appeal to me has always been that you seem like a Real Woman...not some plastic fembot grown in a vat somewhere in an abandoned Hollywood soundstage.

    ...as someone who himself went through several stages before I found out who I was and not who I should be to be popular and dare-I-say-it loved, I'm happy that you have decided what you want to say through your acting and writing and directing.

    I admire you.

    P.S. While I can't match the sheer whackiness of Boobs McBooberton, my neo-Victorian Lord Byron period was a definite lowlight of my social life. Frilled shirts are not my friend.

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  34. I must say that you are an amazing role model to young women. You should never have to change yourself for someone else (especially someone as gorgeous as YOU). Thank you for being yourself :) we love you just the way you are.

    PS. I was known as Tits Mcgee in high school :-P
    and then there was Betty Mcboob...

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  35. You're living proof that you can do it the right way and still do it. As an aspiring fiction writer who has no relative in the industry (and hasn't been involved in any scandal), I live for examples like the one you set.

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  36. A nice glimmer of positivity just as I was hitting a small bout of second-guessing myself for quitting my job and moving to this soul-sucking place known as LA. So glad to have stumbled upon this.

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  37. This is truly inspiring. Thank you so much, Amber.

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  38. I look forward to reading more posts with the "boobs" tag.

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  39. Thank you so much for posting this. :D

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  40. I am so glad you posted this yesterday I was having such a negative day I had been told no and had hegative response from my work, so I've picked myself up and today it's turned on it's head and I've got a great repsonse from the press today... I think it is a case of don't lose your passion and keep picking yourself up and fighting on...

    you are an amazing woman, really inspirational.

    Stu

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  41. The phrase "Faith makes all things possible" comes to mind. Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself first and then the rest of the world will follow.

    I hate the pressure and false importance given to appearance. I remember a while back on tv there was a blind musician (I think his name was Patrick Hughes) talking about how he didn't see his blindness as a disability. to him sight was the disability because it stopped you from really seeing people. He didn't see black or white or blonde or brunette - he got to see who people REALLY were.
    I think the world would be a much better place if people tried to see each other in the same way.

    what you were saying about trying to change to fit the wanted 'look' got me thinking. It is kind of odd to me that when it comes to the special effects they are always trying to make it look as realistic as possible. So why isn't the same true for the cast? The idea that someone could be the best person for the role but will not get the role because the picture the boss man/lady has in their head of the "visually perfect" person for the role is two inches taller/shorter/wider/thinner etc and instead the role goes to someone who visually looks 'right' is completely insane.

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  42. Good for you going with what makes you happy :)
    This was a great blog, very positive and from all the comments you have received I can see im not the only 1 that appreciated it.

    By the way you are sexy! hell you could be wearing a potato sack and still look sexy.

    @Katie_2nd

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  43. Yay for Amber Benson and women who keep thier boobs where they belong!!!

    Death to skinny models, Perfectionist Hollywood money worshipers ,and women who put animals in thier purses!

    btw, Amber , i always knew you had more than just boobalicious virtues! you perfect little Author you! (",)

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  44. The more you're true to yourself, the more you'll see things happening that otherwise seemed like such a struggle... things FIND you instead of the other way around. It's a concept I'm trying to apply but it's hard to get to the point of actually liking who you are, believing in what you do, etc. It's like it's almost easier to take the most difficult route (fitting into other people's standards) than to just be yourself. I was really happy to read this. Thanks!

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  45. Happy release day for Calliope numero uno! :)

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  46. And, this, m'dear is why you are my hero. :)

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  47. I always thought that you didn't look terribly happy in that "Stuff" photoshoot or whatever it was...

    And thanks for the words of encouragement.

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  48. Please promise us all, sweet Amber, that you'll never ever change. Three cheers (and one more for luck) for the triumph of winning personality and talent over conformity.

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  49. Ok I know this is my second post, but I just returned from a really shitty day at work and I must admit I was feeling down on myself. Then I remembered this and I felt better. You are my hero. And from looking at all the comments, you are truly an inspiration and the amazing breath of fresh air I needed. So, thank you. We all really want you to know how much we appreciate you. So, I really hope you read these because everyone is pouring their hearts out to you. Thankfully, I believe you are the kind of person that would care enough to read the comments.

    I know this is random, but could you find a way of working the word "macaroni" into your next blog post. Cuz that would be awesome. And yes, I am a sad little person that doesn't seem to receive enough validation :(

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  50. I believe,the simplest words convey the most sometimes.

    So with this in mind-Thank You Amber!

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  51. yep quirky and just a little unconventional ticks all the boxes I'm interested in. Leave the bimbo stuff to the bimbos and be yourself.

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  52. Hi. Well...where to start. I want to thank you for being such an inspiration. I'm a freshman at Southern Miss as an English major right now. I'm working on becoming a writer and possibly someday an actress hence the reason you are like my role model. must admit that your work is brilliant. I just got your book on my way home from mardi gras parades today and from what I have read, it is fantastic. I love it. I'm actually working on my own book right now, but it's a long way off from finished.
    As for the post on which I am commenting. I'm glad that you are one of the celebs that is a real person that is a great role model. I love that you come from a normal background and all. It makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, there's a chance that I can make my dreams come true. I'm not exactly sure how to start, but it isn't going to keep me from trying.
    I actually wanted to my English paper on you. We had to interview someone in the field of which we are working towards and since I'm working towards being a writer/actress, my mind jumpedc to you first. So I hurried back to my dorm room and made some calls. I got in touch with your manager and he told me to eamil him the request so he could show it to you, but, unfortunately, he never recieves the emails. Somewtimes I think that maybe I set my goals to high which only sets me up for a longer and harder fall, but now, after reading this, I realize that if you don't set your goals high, then you'll never get anywhere. So, I pretty much wanted to thank you for just being you. Sorry if this seems a little long or anything, but I had to get it out there. I know you probably get thousands of people how much you mean to them, and I just wanted to add my name to that list because you are the reason that I am working towards the life that I truly want instead of settling for less.

    ~Ambere Riggs
    ambere1@hotmail.com

    P.S. I wanted to send you some Mardi Gras beads to celebrate your newest book (which is awesome). Just a little piece of the south. :D If I were to send them, where would I send them to?

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  53. Thanks Amber to be in this way! You're such gorgeous woman!!!

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  54. In the middle of the night
    I go walking in my sleep
    From the mountains of faith
    To the river so deep
    I must be lookin' for something
    Something sacred I lost
    But the river is wide
    And it's too hard to cross
    even though I know the river is wide
    I walk down every evening and stand on the shore
    I try to cross to the opposite side
    So I can finally find what I've been looking for
    In the middle of the night
    I go walking in my sleep
    Through the valley of fear
    To a river so deep
    I've been searching for something
    Taken out of my soul
    Something I'd never lose
    Something somebody stole
    I don't know why I go walking at night
    But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore
    I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life
    Until I find what it is I've been looking for
    In the middle of the night
    I go walking in my sleep
    Through the jungle of doubt
    To the river so deep
    I know I'm searching for something
    Something so undefined
    That it can only be seen
    By the eyes of the blind
    In the middle of the night
    I’m not sure about a life after this
    God knows I've never been a spiritual man
    Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
    That is runnin' to the promised land
    In the middle of the night
    I go walking in my sleep
    Through the desert of truth
    To the river so deep
    We all end in the ocean
    We all start in the streams
    We're all carried along
    By the river of dreams
    In the middle of the night

    River of dream – Billy Joel

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  55. This is one of the many reasons why you are one of my heroes, you have made your dreams reality and remained yourself. I admire you for that and I know I can make my dreams come true because you have. I might be a woman with multiple sclerosis who cannot work, but I am also a woman who loves looking after her dog and boyfriend and I am going to be the best housewife I can be

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  56. I love that you tend to remain true to who you are, whether others like it or not. I do have one question though... The Russian Hooker bit... did that have anything to do with Girl Trash! ?

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  57. QuirkyGeekGirls rule. We grow up to be overachievers, if we can remember to love ourselves and continue to take chances.
    My friends and I went to Performing Arts Schools in Alabama and even though we were picked on for being punks and art freaks then, we'd mostly all be considered overachievers now. That sounds snottier than what I mean it to be. I hope you can read my intent behind it, you know?
    It helps to get out of Alabama or any other environment where difference isn't tolerated. San Fran, Asheville, Taos, Eugene.
    I do believe everyone is weird and unique and fun and great in their own way (especially when we dig below the surface), but I also think there's a group of us (and there really are alot of us) who are even a little quirkier than that, and I consider those folks part of the tribe, you know?
    that sounds pretentious as fuck. i'm shutting up now. just wanted to let you know i can relate.

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  58. I think you just explain why so many people/fans look up to you and will always be your supporters!!
    yes for being yourself/ourselves!

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  59. Well said. Be yourself. There's only one.

    Julie

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  60. Okay, let me just check those ingredients for success again.

    Be from Alabama. (check)

    Like potty jokes. (check)

    I'm so in. ;)

    Totally true with the rejection. But doesn't it sweeten the success?

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  61. *applause applause*

    Thank you for that post. Now bookmarked under "Inspiration."

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  62. Followed a link from "The Swivet" and I'm glad I did. Thank you for sharing this with us. It's a good reminder to be who you are.

    And congratulations on the release of "Death's Daughter."

    I wish you all the best.

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  63. Nice post, Amber. I might add this to my list of things to read when I'm feeling low.

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  64. Amber, I was really impressed with Chance and just picked up Death's Daughter when I noticed your name on the book. As someone who recently decided to take the leap and put my writing dream first in my life, I was moved what you said about investing in yourself. You help show people like me that such an investment pays off.

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  65. This is an amazing and encouraging thing to read. Thank you, Amber!

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  66. My rack is 100% cotton, so I've been spared the to-flash-or-not-to-flash-my-McBoobertons quandry. Viva la Wonderbra!

    I'm always tempted to exploit something, tho, but what I've got at my disposal ain't what I want to use. I found this post via Colleen Lindsay's blog. I'm a fan. So delighted to discover you're insightful and self-celebrating. Rock.

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  67. Ah Amber, how nice to finally meet you through swivet!

    Back in my own brief Hollywood days, I, for some reason, only ran into you on crutches. You on crutches, not me. In 2004, while I was getting unnecessary check-ups for a car accident at some doc's office near La Cienega and the annoying part of town, you were also there for some busted knee or some other. All I remember thinking is, "Wow, she's wearing overalls in L.A. Nice."

    Then there you were again, hobbling through Spider - remember that club within a club? - a few months later, still on crutches. I hope everything turned out alright with your leg!

    Sophia
    of 52 Faces

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  68. I always felt you come off as articulate, intelligent and personable in your writing and acting. I think you have really come into your own and found yourself.

    That said, I also think you are beautiful and sexy as hell.

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  69. Hi Amber!

    I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm such a huge fan and I always wanted to tell you how much I admire you. I'm not one of those people who say I know what kind of a person you are or that I totally love you.

    The fact is, I don't know you. But I know your work, I see your talent and everytime I see a picture of you somewhere or read something from you, I just think how gifted you are. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to see "Chance" yet (I'm from Austria), but I have the movie you did with Leo DiCaprio on DVD (you were sooo great at that!!) at home and I know all the other work you did and I whish I was as talented as you are.

    Currently I'm finishing my studies on university in Vienna. It's called "Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft" and it's all about theater, media, film and TV. I wrote my diploma thesis on "Buffy", it's called "Queer Reading: Deconstruction of Heteronormativity on Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and it's about homoerotic subtext on "buffy" (and boy, there's a lot!). Of course, a huge part of the thesis is about the erotic metaphoric between Tara and Willow at the beginning of their relationship. I just want to tell you as a young gay man how grateful I am for your portrayal of Tara. You gave me hope that someday everything will turn out right and that there is someone outthere who is really your soulmate and that it is worth to wait for him/her. I don't even have the words to describe what your participation on "Buffy" means to me and how much you give me strength with your work and obviously for just being who you are.

    This post proofs just that. I'm going to graduate in October and after that I want to work as a journalist (some day, maybe even as a writer). I know it's a different from what you do but I know how it is not getting a lot of jobs (I don't have any relatives or friends in that business either) or how it is when you sometimes think the decisions you made in your life were all wrong. I even know how it is when you want to change yourself for others.
    You really are the living proof that you can do and be whatever you want to do or be. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep going! Thank you for letting me say all this.

    I just posted a pic of you on my blog www.boulevardofliving.blogspot.com. It would be great if you could maybe wrote a few words back. It would mean the world to me.

    Yours, Manuel

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  70. "Boobs McBooberton?"

    Uh...huh. Speaking as a man with the same kind of body(i.e. fat and probably stuck that way...not quite as bad as some of the people on "Biggest Loser," but close enough)as those anorexia-fetishists they call producers (as for the boobie fetishists...well, if they behave themselves), all I can say is that you are 100% entitled to be yourself and not a cookie-cutter...cookie (an old term, but what the heck).

    Oh, and remember that, even if you never do a (real) nude scene, always remember that your body, like all bodies, is a glorious thing. However, in cases like my own, it's probably best to remain a closet nudist (I apologize for the mental image)...

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