MEET EDWARD MISKIENewly published author of Cancer, Musical Theatre, & Other Chronic Illnesses, NYC-based author, actor, and digital creator Edward Miskie is celebrating his 10-year cancer-free anniversary of a rare, aggressive Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Visit Edward Miskie's website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
IN THIS PODCAST
- Diet culture in theatre
- Edward’s journey through cancer
- It takes time
- “It’s all a lie”
Diet culture in theatreThe false and damaging beliefs of diet culture are pervading different aspects of society.
There’s a huge expectation on these kids to perform but then also look a particular way and it’s almost like, God, you can’t have both and be healthy at the same time. (Edward Miskie)Dancers and performers are expected to perform their hearts out at multiple shows a week while not eating a lot to look a certain way. Over time, it damages their body, as well as their mental and emotional well-being.
Edward’s journey through cancerWhen he was 24, he found a lump under his arm. It was misdiagnosed, and later it further developed into a bigger issue.
At that point at 25, looking back, of course, I was in the best shape of my life, I looked great … and going to the hospital and having that completely ironed out … really screws with you. (Edward Miskie)The cancer treatment and subsequent recovery had massive changes in Edward’s physical health.
I never, in my entire life, received more compliments on the way that I looked than when I did when I was fresh out of the hospital [after cancer]. (Edward Miskie)By diet culture beauty standards, Edward looked “great”, but he had been suffering near death for a year and was just getting his life back together again.
It takes timeIf you have struggled with an eating disorder – or you currently are – recovery is possible and you can reach full recovery. However, sometimes those thoughts will be present. They may come up occasionally, but they hold no power over you. Notice them, and let them go.
“It’s all a lie”Diet culture and the modeling industry are all lies. They are a collection of false beliefs and twisted science that are geared toward brewing insecurities in you so that you purchase their products and buy into their systems. They are not real, and they are not true, and you do not have to live your life by their standards – at all!
I worked in the fashion industry for like four seconds and those models look absolutely nothing like that without makeup on. Most of them are kind of not that pretty without being completely done up, and it’s all a lie. All of it. (Edward Miskie)Do not let how you look become more important than your health, because that is backward. Do what makes you happy. As long as you’re healthy, it doesn’t matter how it looks, just that you are fulfilled, capable, and healthy.
- BOOK | Edward Miskie – Cancer, Musical Theatre & Other Chronic Illnesses: 10-Year Cancer Survivorship Anniversary Edition
- Visit Edward Miskie's website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
- OVERCOME YOUR PERFECTIONISM IN 2023 WITH DR MENIJE BODURYAN-TURNER | EP 118
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- Sign up for the free Behind The Bite Course
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- Email Dr. Cristina Castagnini: firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINII am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!
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[DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at practiceofthepractice.com/network. Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real-life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Well, hello everyone. Welcome to the show. I was standing in line the other day at a store, and honestly, I was minding my own business. I don't know about you, but when I'm in line somewhere, I am pretty close to other people whether I want to be or not. If those people near to me happen to be conversing with each other quite loudly as the two I was particularly close to that day, then I really don't count that as eavesdropping or being nosy. If you were out in public having a loud conversation amongst strangers, then your conversation is just, it's not private. So there I was and I happened to be standing in line with the two people conversing loudly, and my head almost spun around when I heard one of them say this. They said, "Hey, when I saw you today, I was so jealous. I know you just had the flu, but you look amazing. I wish I could have come over when you had it so I could have gotten it and lost just as much weight as you. The flu's awful but it would've been so worth it. That would've been the best diet ever." Now, I know I've heard ridiculous things like this before, but even so, each and every time I hear something like this or someone say something so ludicrous as to wish that they could be ill so that they could lose weight, or they praise someone who has just been sick and lost weight on how great they look, my head spins. I have so many thoughts and feelings like shock, frustration, anger. I mean, I could just go on. I could say so many things and none of them would be positive or good. Honestly, what is wrong with our society, that there are people out there that would actually want to be sick to suffer just to lose weight? What does that say about our society, that we praise people for how they look during or just after being really sick, sick, not healthy? I would love to hear what you guys have to say. If you have any thoughts or opinions about this yourself, please, please DM or message me. I would love to know what is going on in your minds when you hear things like this or just heard what I said. Now that being said, today's guest probably has many of his own personal thoughts and opinions on all of this. Newly published author of Cancer, Musical Theater and other Chronic Illnesses, New York-based, author, actor, and digital creator, Edward Miskie is celebrating his 10-year cancer free anniversary of a rare, aggressive non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is here to share his personal story about his struggles with body image, ed and surviving cancer. Well, Edward, welcome to the show. Really excited to have you here. [EDWARD MISKIE] Thank you so much for having me. [DR. CRISTINA] You have quite a story, and I know you said you're an open book, so most of the listeners here obviously, are going to relate to you for the eating disorder part of your life. I'm just wondering, would you be willing and open to talking about that part of your life and how you got, I guess, started with your issues with food and body image and all that? [EDWARD] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, how did you get started on your eating disorder? [DR. CRISTINA] Well, where did you, people ask me that. They're like, how did that happen? [EDWARD] Well, I mean, I was born in America and --- [DR. CRISTINA] That alone, right? [EDWARD] That was number one. Also my family is Italian and there tends to be a lot of really juxtaposed ideas of how much food you should be eating and what you should look like as a result. it's always like, eat, eat and then it's like, oh, but you're getting fat. So that was a lot of the narrative as a kid, which is confusing. My grandfather, my mom's dad was also in the military, so it didn't matter how in shape we were, we were never in shape. I played sports throughout my whole life and I just thought that I was a bowling ball the whole time. I look back at photos of me and like later in high school and the early years here in New York, and I just thought I was like repulsive and should have been a size 28 waist, even though I'm 6'4 and all ribcage. I look at those photos, I'm like, you look Ill, like, it's not okay. It's not good. And for, well, we can get into the cancer stuff later, but like for perspective, the least, the lowest my weight got numerically when I was in cancer treatment was still higher than my weight was when I left high school. Like that in and of itself should tell me something. [DR. CRISTINA] Wow. A lot of people listening can relate to family culture expectations, and I've heard that a lot too, as people look back at pictures and say, gosh I thought so differently about myself and look back and go, what on earth was I thinking? So that's very common. [EDWARD] Well, and also I think I mentioned before we hit record that I work in the entertainment industry. So there's another layer of expectation and scrutiny and like just what people want from you. There is always someone who is in better shape, who's skinnier, who's more muscley, who's more chiseled, who's better looking than you, ahead of you and you can't help but compare yourself, especially when they're booking jobs that you were up for. Then you look at them and you're like, well, if I just was, if I didn't have this little piece of skin right here, I would've, like, that's so made up. It's dumb shit that we make up in our heads a lot of times as far as the context of the entertainment industry goes that we put upon ourselves that we are perceiving the industry as telling us to do. In some cases, they are. Like the, I just saw TikTok the other day about cruise ship kids that are out on the sea right now who are having weekly weigh-ins. I thought that weigh-ins like went away years ago. I did a cruise ship like 11 or 12 years ago and we didn't have weigh-ins. We were supposed to, we didn't. [DR. CRISTINA] Wow, I did. So tell me a little about that because what do you say cruise ship kids? What are you talking about? [EDWARD] So like when you, I don't know if you've ever been on a cruise ship, but they have shows on the ship and their musicals or their reviews or whatever the case may be. Your costumes have to fit because you only get one and you're in the middle of the ocean and oftentimes they don't have like an in-house seamstress or wardrobe person to do any repairs or alterations. So it is in your contract that you cannot gain or lose a certain amount of weight in either direction. So they used to do, and apparently they're still doing it, Norwegian cruise lines, weigh-ins. Like why? [DR. CRISTINA] Oh, my, I knew that was going on way back in the day with stewardess on airlines, but that is shocking. [EDWARD] The fact that it's still happening is shocking. A friend of mine, and I saw that on TikTok and we were like, are you joking? Like weigh-ins, weigh-Ins? [DR. CRISTINA] Wow. So, gosh, so you had that experience yourself. Just going back in your own life, like how did you get involved with the entertainment industry? [EDWARD] I was born-ish into it. My parents are really musical and artsy and my whole family is pretty artsy. My sister's an opera singer and a teacher, my little sister sings, my dad's a singer and songwriter. My mom played piano. My grandfather, my great-grandfather founded one of the first bands in the country and there's a whole history with that, but it was just something that I naturally gravitated towards. My aunt worked on Broadway for 20 years, and so like of course, that's what I wanted to do. I'd been doing musicals or was on stage in some capacity from the time I was probably five and so it was like growing up with body dysmorphia, transitioning into like teenage years with that, despite being active and everything else. Again, comparing myself to other people like my peers and famous people, which is completely not even like a logical thing to do because they have millions of dollars in a whole team working with them. Then again, like going to New York and for real, pursuing entertainment as a profession, you really get into that idea of like, oh, well if I look like that person, I'll have that career. So it's been, it's a lifelong journey. [DR. CRISTINA] It's interesting too, I've had a handful of men on the show, and so most people have this myth that men don't have eating disorders and --- [EDWARD] Oooh, not true. [DR. CRISTINA] So I'm really grateful for you to be on here and dispel that myth. But I'm wondering your experience, did you find that being in the entertainment industry, there was a lot of men who did struggle with body image and eating disorders? [EDWARD] Oh my God, every single one of them. I mean, like you there, I have had this personal conversation with friends about this specifically, but there was an interview recently with, I think Chris Evans, Chris Evans, some famous muscle marveled junkie guy who was talking about, like, they showed a picture of him as like whatever superhero he is, and they were like, yeah, so that, do you work out regularly? He was like, no. He's like, that person is starving. That is like no food, you're barely allowed to have water, you're doing these rigorous regiments, and he goes into it. But there's a thing here in New York called Broadway Bears. It's a fundraiser for the Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS Foundation. They raise millions of dollars every year, but they have this one event called Broadway Cares Every summer that kicks off Pride Weekend, where all of the Broadway dancer boys get together with all the Broadway dancer girls and everybody else and they put on this huge spectacle of a show. It is so much fun, but everyone is mostly naked. So to get prepared for that, these kids like subside on celery water and workouts. Like it's nuts. I have so many friends that do it, and that is the most miserable week of the year for them. They look great, but they're unhappy. [DR. CRISTINA] So how does everybody know, "know what to do?" Are they, is everyone talking about, oh, this is what I do and then it's just this like known thing of oh, this is what you're doing, so I'm going to do it too? What happens there? [EDWARD] I'm sure that there is a level of that. I was never involved in that to that extent. I was only ever an observer, not a participant, so I don't know firsthand what they do exactly, but I know that there is a raging culture of eating disorders and drug use to like stay skinny. I don't mean drugs, like no one's doing meth to get skinny, although maybe they are. But there's definitely like, it's a thing that people do. You know we always joke around like, oh, you know how does the dancer get through eight shows a week on Broadway? Coke. It's terrible. There's a huge expectation on these kids to perform but then also look a particular way. It's almost like, God, you can't, you almost can't have both and be healthy at the same time. [DR. CRISTINA] So like for you, what happened? Obviously, you're, I'm Italian too, there's the cultural expectation, eat, eat, eat. So at home there was food. What happened with you? Did you start to feel like, oh, well I've got to start doing something different with my food? What did you start doing to try to alter how you looked or your weight? What did you start doing with food? [EDWARD] I think looking back there was never really an intentional question mark thing that I was doing. I know in high school I was like living off of slim fast bars. I know that for certain. That was like, I'd leave in the morning with one, I would eat like a little tiny baby bird at school and then I would come home and like maybe have half of dinner and a slim fast bar. That was me during formative years where I'm growing and should have been eating like a truck but I was so afraid of being heavy that like I was 16 and living off of slim fast like. [DR. CRISTINA] So do you remember where that came from? [EDWARD] No. Well, I mean, like we were, you mean like culturally where it came from or for me personally where it came from? [DR. CRISTINA] Either, like knowing well, thinking back to you like, okay, this is what I'm going to do or like why you started to do that. [EDWARD] Both of my parents worked and me and both of my sisters were in a ton of extracurricular activities. So the whole grab and go breakfast meal-on-the-go thing worked for us because we were never around. So like being able to grab a slim fast bar or two or three and pack, throw it in my backpack and just go to school and be there all day for school and then basketball and then band and then choir and get home at nine o'clock because I still to do homework and like we were running ourselves to the brick. [DR. CRISTINA] Wow. [EDWARD] We're very active kids, but that just became part of our day-to-day and I don't think I would've identified it as an eating disorder at the time. I had a friend who was like hospitalized and sent to like a thing for an eating disorder. I looked at that and I was like, well, that's not me, so that's not what I'm doing. I'll still have a burger, but then I won't eat for a day and a half. It was just like, because I was trying to be careful like with my school uniform that I'd fit into it. Catholic school on top of all that, so that comes with its own, you know. But yeah, I don't think there was anything I ever intentionally did at least back then. I did, food's a rocky road. Like I want to eat it all the time, all day long and I could absolutely go in either direction where it's compulsive binge eating and or starvation central. And there was certainly, the late teen, early 20 years where I had just moved to the city, to New York, I couldn't afford food. So it was like the food I had in my apartment was it and so once that was gone it was like, okay, well when do I get paid next? That subconsciously fed the eating disorder without really knowing it, I think. [DR. CRISTINA] Okay, and I think that's common. A lot of people don't really know that they are disordered in their eating or have an eating disorder. I think it's looking back and thinking, oh, like if I had known then or if I'd had the knowledge right. [EDWARD] Like, oh, that's up. [DR. CRISTINA] But to your point of like even saying like, oh, I would eat a burger and not even realizing like, why wasn't I eating for a day and a half after, having that knowledge and awareness. That's why I do the podcast is say, hey, anybody who's doing that, that's disordered. [EDWARD] Seek help. [DR. CRISTINA] Yes. Like, what's going on there? But nobody was talking about it probably back then about like, that's something you need to eat, consistently throughout the day. Especially if you're an active kid, like what was going on there? [EDWARD] It's such, I mean it layers upon layers. It was like family culture, it was entertainment industry culture because I was performing back then too. So being a smart intuitive kid, it was like, oh, well if I look like this then maybe one day, so going down that path. Then like my late 20s, I swung in the opposite direction. [DR. CRISTINA] What do you mean by swing, for anyone listening going, what does that mean?? [EDWARD] Oh, I mean like, so there was like the pocket of time with cancer and that added a whole nother layer because I like whittled myself down. Well, chemo whittled me down to nothing. Then coming out of that, I had a nutritionist that told me I could eat this, I couldn't eat that, I could eat this because of like immune system stuff and just safety with food. Then once that was over and it was like, oh, cancer's gone. You can celebrate now. Like, she celebrated. I was drunk all the time, like alcohol equals food, so anytime I was drinking, I was eating. Then like, I think it was in one summer, I put on like 50 pounds, which is real hard to do, like, I'm an overachiever [DR. CRISTINA] So let's talk, go back a little bit. That must have been something. How old were you when you got diagnosed with cancer? [EDWARD] I was 25. [DR. CRISTINA] That's really young. What could, do you mind talking a little bit more about that? Because I haven't actually had anybody on the show talking about going through cancer and I know that's something that is really, obviously life changing and altering for lots of people. [EDWARD] In a lot of ways too, I mean, other than the obvious yeah, sure. I mean I was 24, I was doing a production of Hairspray. I was about to do another production of Hairspray and found a little lump under my arm, like textbook lifetime movie. Let it go, it was misdiagnosed, I went and did the other production of Hairspray and when I came back from that, the little lump under my arm had turned into like a grapefruit under my arm. There are pictures, it's ugly. It was like my third boob I always would say. So like going into that I came back and I had a biopsy and like a week later I was in chemo. [DR. CRISTINA] Wow. [EDWARD] That really, at that point at 25, looking back of course, I was in the best shape of my life. I looked great, hot and 25 and going into the hospital and just having that completely ironed out and was like really screws with you because that literally is taking how you look and getting rid of it. [DR. CRISTINA] So did you, like getting that diagnosis, what did you go through emotionally? I mean obviously physically you alluded to a lot changed with you physically, but were you still in the middle of like all your disordered eating and body image issues at that time? [EDWARD] I mean, yeah, it was, in hindsight it was ongoing. Because if I was doing a show that meant I had to fit into a costume and so that meant that I had to work out a particular amount of hours and like not have more than X amount of calories, so that was all just, like the Tetris of getting through the day with food and working out and doing the show and everything else was wild. But with cancer, I think in a way it gave me permission to let my hair down a little bit as literally as I was losing it, so literally down as in the floor. But I would order Chinese food or I would eat a whole pizza or I'd go, I had KFC for the first time ever in my life when I was in chemo because I was like, who cares? I'm going to have KFC, I'm not going to die without having KFC. I would order it and I'd have a whole bucket and I would just sit there and eat everything because I could, because it was like, this doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.. In the end, that ended up serving me for two reasons. One, it gave me more body mass to like have strength and to fight through what I needed to fight through but then it also like, on the other side of that was like, okay, you can stop eating. Your life depends on it now and like be smart about it. And it just, it, yeah, it was a weird time. Food in that context was very strange. Like, there's just certain things you shouldn't have, like a hundred dollars’ worth of sushi, but I certainly bought it and I ate it and I threw up twice while I was eating it and I kept going because it was a hundred dollars. [DR. CRISTINA] So do you think food became more like you turned to it for emotional comfort at that point? [EDWARD] Oh absolutely. [DR. CRISTINA] Okay. So why do you think you didn't eat like that before your cancer? [EDWARD] I was terrified. I was terrified. I gave up, well I didn't really give up, I don't want to say I gave up my life, but I left Pennsylvania and my family and everything else to come to New York to do theater and to be a performer. So for me to like lose any part of the way that I looked was like, don't do that. You don't want casting to look at you a particular way. You want to get typed in, you want to get hired. And so it was just this really scary and on top of that, and this is a much longer conversation for another time, there's rampant homophobia in the industry and so like, as far as casting is concerned. So not only did I have to be like skinny and pretty, but I also had to be straight and like figure out a way to be passable as straight. I took classes, I spent money on classes on how to do that. [DR. CRISTINA] Wow. I'm curious too, like how, was there discussion about how you looked in casting like, oh you need to look a certain way or were people making comments about how you looked or needing to do things to change the way you look? [EDWARD] Yes, I had a couple casting people tell me I was too big for a role, and that was both weight and height. I'm 6'4, sos people are like, you're enormous. I didn't really fit anywhere because like most of the roles that I was "right for" were like men in their forties but I was 22 and so I didn't fit with the dancers either because I wasn't a dancer. I say this but they have it so much worse, so, so, so, so much worse. [DR. CRISTINA] So were you talking to other people to figure out like what to do or did you try to just figure it out on your own and make your own like ed rules? [EDWARD] I definitely made my own ed rules. I think I was afraid to talk to other people because it would've meant like weakness or fear or like I didn't fit in or something along those lines. [DR. CRISTINA] Okay. I know from my own experience in talking to others, like once something "works," you get the positive comments and positive feedback and it feels very like good. [EDWARD] Oh, I figured it out. [DR. CRISTINA] Yes. I don't know if you had that experience and it felt like validating and like, oh, I'm just going to keep doing this. [EDWARD] I mean, so I have, I have two answers for this, one is that I always knew when I looked my best/skinniest when I was getting called back for things. So it was like, oh, people want me, I'm skinny now. I need to get skinnier. But then on the other side of that, which is even more fucked up when I was recovering from cancer, I ran into an old acting coach on the train who I had like discreetly told low-key what was going on and he said to me, I was like, "Hey, I just found out that my cancer's probably gone." He goes, "Oh, how are you ever going to get men to sleep with you now?" I was like, "What?" For those who didn't know what was going on, I never in my entire life received more compliments on the way that I looked than I did when I was fresh out of the hospital. Like my hair grew back, my beard was coming in and everyone was like, you look amazing. I'm like, thanks. I was just dying for the last year. So it was like, if that is, and I always think about that and I try to say that as many times as I can in every form I possibly can because by beauty standards, if you look at those photos of me, I look like a movie star. But I was literally dying and had nothing on me. We're talking like we're 100 to 150 days past my stem cell transplant where they literally kill your whole body and then put your back in to like make you regenerate. It was a mess and it was ugly but that is when I got the most compliments on the way that I looked ever in my whole life. [DR. CRISTINA] I, and nobody listening to this can see my face, but I'm just like, what? I'm just in shock, like this makes me sick. What? Like what's wrong with people? I mean, I probably shouldn't be shocked and surprised after all, everything I've heard, but that is awful. [EDWARD] It's not great. It's something that sticks with me now and like even still, even now that I even like beyond all the work that I've done to try and help myself out of this and I'm certainly not out of it and I'm certainly not perfect, but I still look at photos of me back then and I'm like, oh maybe I'll fit into those jeans again someday. I, maybe three quarters of the way joke with people like, oh if I could just do one more round of chemo to lose this last 20 pounds. [DR. CRISTINA] Oh my God. So ed's still like lingering back there? [EDWARD] Yes, and I think it always will. I don't think it ever will go away just because it was such a big part of my life and it was, like things people said and I experienced were so impactful. I don't think it ever will go away. I think what will help, what is helping me and what will help down the road is to one, make light of it and understand how ridiculous it is, just the fact that people are complimenting me about how great I looked when I was dying, like is hilarious in and of itself, like what is wrong with you? [DR. CRISTINA] Yeah. [EDWARD] I also have a dark sense of humor. When they were showing the pope being laid out in the state and everything this past week, I was like, oh, he looks so skinny. That's just my stupid sense of humor, but like relatable because that's what I look like. People were like, you look hot. [DR. CRISTINA] But that speaks volumes. That's exactly the point, is like people give these compliments and people get, they get that dopamine, which is pleasure when they're getting those compliments, when they're at their most ill or they're doing the most eating disordered behavior and then that's what keeps it perpetuating and going and they're thinking, I've got to get back to that. I got to keep doing this. It's so validating. I often hear that, like I said before, it's like that's what oftentimes starts the eating disorder getting rampant is like, oh, I'm dieting. I'm working so hard and people are saying such great positive things. I'm getting attention. It's "working." And when the compliments stop or you're not getting as much attention, it's like, oh I'm doing wrong. I got to get back to that. That makes me so sad to hear these things. It's like for you saying like, I don't think that'll ever go away. Part of why I do this podcast it's because I was there myself and I never thought it would go away. I was like, nope, never, ed's going to be here forever and I want to just promote for people to break that myth that it doesn't ever go away. Ed does go away eventually so if I could instill that anew, it will hopefully. It doesn't feel like ed will ever go away because it is so impactful. It feels so good. It had such an impact for you. And I get that, it feels like, well, how could I ever not feel that way? How could I ever not believe whatever I was told? I get that. It does have huge --- [EDWARD] Yes, well and I think certainly elements of like social media reinforce all of that too, because people are manipulating themselves with filters or different ways of like moving their body around or like angles and lighting and it's like no one looks like that in person. I worked in the fashion industry for like four seconds and those models look absolutely nothing like that with makeup on. In fact, most of them are like not pretty when they're not completely done up and it's all a lie, all of it. [DR. CRISTINA] Listen, people, listen to him. [EDWARD] It's all a lie. When you pull back the curtain, it's all a lie. It's the Wizard of Oz, like pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. But it's just like models aren't, the runway models, without the makeup and thing, they're not commercially or conventionally "pretty" because that's not what the industry is looking for. They're looking for close hangers with heads that could walk and it's not fair. It's not fair. I know some of them and they're lovely people and I'm not trying to disparage any of them. It's just like the industry's the problem. They aren't [DR. CRISTINA] I don't know if people know the history behind supermodels. Like literally that's how it started. They used to put the clothes on hangers going down a runway, but they get started to get bunched up. So they said, find me people that look as close to hangers as possible. This is true. They didn't want the attention to be on the supermodels. They wanted it to be on the closest find me very plain-looking people that are as close to hangers as possible. That's how supermodels became to be known as like find me the thinnest people possible but [EDWARD] Like the thinnest, most uninteresting whatever. Then it morphed into its own whole different thing. [DR. CRISTINA] Right. So when you said that it's true, like you said, clothes hangers [EDWARD] With a head that can walk. [DR. CRISTINA] You know people, a lot of people don't know that. They don't know the history behind it and why a lot of supermodels are tall and thin just like that. The standard, I mean it's very toxic. [EDWARD] It's, I mean, and the fact that we have a standard of beauty in the first place, is like, even that phrase standard of beauty is just so gross. Like who came up with that? [DR. CRISTINA] I mean beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, forms. [EDWARD] Totally. I always joke like, can we go back to the days when like being heavy meant that you had money to feed yourself and you didn't have to do manual labor and it meant that you had your shit together and that was appealing? Can we go back to that because like I'm prime real estate, let's go back to those days. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, you bring up a good point, when you're actually giving yourself your body what it needs to stay alive, to function. It's not going to look like it's dying, your body when it's dying and not healthy. Really, that's a problem. When people are giving you compliments saying you look great when you're literally on the score, that's very scary to me. [EDWARD] It was alarming and still to this day, 10 years out from being told I was cancer-free, that's the one thing that sticks with me the most, is like that's the thing that happened. It just, it blows my mind. So you have to laugh at it. As up fucked up as it is you have to laugh at it because it's not you, it's nothing you did. It's just the way that the world as a whole perceives beauty and thinness and all kinds of shit and like I could just go on and on about body positivity all day and like there's toxicity within that community as well. But for the most part I get it and like I want to support it because my weight fluctuates. I go from the same 50 pound bracket up and down all the time and so it's just like becoming accustomed to the way that you look and being okay with it. [DR. CRISTINA] So where would you say you're at now with your health, I mean in terms of your cancer, in terms of your body image, in terms of your relationship with food? How are things now for you? [EDWARD] Well, I mean, cancer's gone so it's like, not even, yeah. I mean it's been gone for 10 years, it's not even really a conversation, but there's a lot of like, there's a lot of like, I would say PTSD stuff that sticks with you. Like if I have pain somewhere that lasts a little bit too long, I will go on a full downward spiral, that there's some tumor growing in me that I can't see, which doesn't happen often. I actually just had that happen in the last two weeks and that's the first time it's happened in years. So it gets better. [DR. CRISTINA] So obviously, you had this whole trajectory of things. You sound like you're in a much like more stable place emotionally, physically, everything. Thank goodness, in terms of 10 years out with the cancer, that's awesome. Do you have any, like, if anyone listening can like reap some wisdom from you, do you have any final words for anybody that's listening? [EDWARD] Do I have wisdom? That feels like a loaded question. Do I have wisdom? I would say at least in regards to food and your relationship to it, whether that is disorderly or otherwise, do what you enjoy. Do what makes you happy because in the end it doesn't matter. As long as you're healthy, the rest of it doesn't matter. As what we've gone through the last couple years, like what I've gone through in the last 10 years, like, if you don't have your health, you have nothing. So whatever you can do to get yourself to a happy place, if that affects the way that you look, learn to love it because if you looking any other particular way means that you are less healthy and you are suffering in that way, then it's just, it's not worth it. Cut it out. Cut it down.. [DR. CRISTINA] Good. Now you shared with me you've written a book, is this correct? [EDWARD] Yes, I did. [DR. CRISTINA] Okay. So if anyone wants to read it, know more about you and your story, how can they find you and read your book? [EDWARD] Sure. I will give you a little visual here if that's okay. It's called Cancer, Musical Theater and other Chronic Illnesses. I can't see it because of my stupid ring light, there we go, Cancer, Musical Theater and other chronic illnesses. It's on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, if you're in Canada, it's on Indigo. If you're in Australia, it's in Booktopia, it's in like, it's everywhere. It's on like 30 different retailers. This is like my digital book tour, but yeah, I mean it's, I'm really proud of it. It's my 10-year cancer anniversary survivorship celebration, swans, not swan song that means I'm dying, but like that thing that I'm proud of that I'm getting behind fully right now. It's a funny read. I try to describe it as like a fantasy, non-fiction, dark comedy, musical, theater-based, funny as cancer can be autobiographical, adjacent piece. [DR. CRISTINA] Awesome. Alright. [EDWARD] It's its own genre right now. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, that's fantastic. So if anyone's listening, I want to put all of the links and everything on the show notes, you're okay with that? [EDWARD] Yeah, please. [DR. CRISTINA] I really appreciate you sharing your story and being here. I'd love people when, like I said before, we recorded being real and being open and willing to share what they've been through. So thank you. Thank you so much. [EDWARD] Thank you, anytime. [DR. CRISTINA] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.