Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts on a Tuesday

I've been doing a lot of thinking the past couple of days about this whole weight loss journey and what it might mean and who I am and how I got here and where I'm going...

It all got started with an experience I started having at work. Working with the visually impaired has been easy on me, as typically they don't have stereotypical ideas about me when I walk in the door... We all know the stereotypes of fat people--lazy, poor eaters, bad health, etc. In fact, I'm quite active, quite healthy, have a broad range of interests, see my doctor, and in general live a pretty good life.

Well, taking folks to the eye doctor so they can find devices to help them see better has become a chore. And the reason why is that for many of these people, when they put on the distance glasses, they can actually see me for the first time clearly, and many of them say, "I didn't know you'd be fat."

This bothers me on so many levels, but the main one that it bothers me on is this: Do you see the person who is trying to help you or do you see the person who is fat? And several of them have brought it up numerous times on home visits.

The fact of the matter is, I'm not so sure I know how to be unfat. I was 9 years old when I hit 100 pounds and bounced around in the low 200's throughout my teen years. After that, it was about clothing size and not weight--I roundly refused to step on a scale after a certain point and started making pledges like, "I will never wear above a size 24" until I did, and then it was "I'll never wear above a size 26." And in fact, I haven't ever worn above a size 26. But only just...

But when the numbers game stopped working, I moved into the territory of, "Well, as long as I never look like him/her!" passing people on the street who I thought I looked thinner then. But the fact of the matter was, I didn't know whether I looked better or worse, because frankly, I stopped looking at myself in the mirror a long, long time ago. I don't know when I stopped wanting to see myself or what I'd become--I remember looking at myself as a "tween" in my grandparents' mirror and being horrified and strangely fascinated at the way my body was changing as I got heavier and heavier, but I don't remember stopping looking. It must have been in high school is all I can think of. I've never worn make up, haven't messed with my hair in forever, so what did I need to look at?

And if I'm being honest, it has pissed me off in the past when people have said, "Oh, you look so much better. Have you lost weight?" Why should how I look be important in that sense? And what are you telling me? That every time we've met up or spoken, you've thought, "Man, she looks like crap!" Is that what you've noticed? Why shouldn't what's important be that over the course of my career, I've helped 100's of visually impaired people? Why shouldn't what's important be that I have a great marriage? Why shouldn't what's important be that I am a good and decent person?

But it could cut both ways. I recently read a piece by a woman who said that her fat was her way of getting rejection out of the way early. That if people rejected her because she was overweight, they couldn't reject her because of some other, much more personal reason. And I wonder if (in some small part) that isn't my own excuse? I don't deal well with people who reject me--I need people to like me. Almost pathalogically... I am a pleaser, a fixer, a helper. I will do anything, often to my own detriment, to make people like me. When in fact, perhaps all they like is my doing, not my being. Because I have definitely noticed that when I take time to step back and take care of myself, those people vanish when I can't be there for them any more.

But is my weight a barrier between me and the rest of the world? I think it's possible. I don't know if there are people out there who took a look at me and made assumptions and gave up on getting to know me. I had a friend in college who was nice to my face but ultimately behind my back did reject me due to my weight and my weight alone. But that is the sole instance I know of firsthand.

And I know that it cut the other way too. It's kind of stereotypical that gay men love to hang around with fat chicks, but honestly, I'm starting to wonder if I knew one single straight man in college. I had a lot of guy friends in college and it's seeming like perhaps 2 of them were straight. And many of you know that my husband and I met through on-line personal ads, but what you may not know is that we met through on-line personals catering to men looking for fat chicks.

So now, I'm shedding pounds and I'm starting to wonder what life is going to be like if I do push through to the ultimate goal. I was looking in my WW folder the other day, the first time I really looked in and saw the numbers 130-164, I freaked a little and tears came to my eyes. I don't remember the last time I weighed that little--possibly 6th or 7th grade. If I make--when I make it--who will I be? What will my life be like? I'm terrified to find out.

But I'm determined to find out too. That's it for tonight... Mr. is home and it's time to have dinner.

1 comment:

nettiemac said...

I know the feeling. My final goal ... well, I haven't weighed that since 7th grade. And by the time I have the surgery to take off all the extra skin (because believe me, there's plenty - yuck!) .... well, I won't have weighed that since maybe 5th grade. Ouch, indeed.

I have not been my current weight -- EVER -- in my adult life. It's fun, and uncharted territory..... a challenge and an opportunity!