lucky

What is the word? Trepidatious is a good word. Trepidatious, while possibly
not a real word, is still the word I will use to describe the feelings that I
had deep inside when it came time to tell my friends about what I wanted to do
to myself, with the cutting and the slashing and the hacking up inside my body.
The weight-loss surgery. But it wasn’t the cutting and the slashing–I mean, I’d
like to believe I’d have no problem sharing with my friends the need to undergo
an appendectomy, or an amputation after I had rescued a child from a burning
building but got caught in the inferno as the structure collapsed around me. As
happens all the time.

And if I told them that–I mean, when I tell them that–they totally support
me and go, "Wow! That’s so interesting!" and nod and wait for me to
finish my sentences and are, in their secret hearts, very proud of me for my
awesomeness, and their own awesomeness in choosing friends who do not suck and
also buy them pretty good birthday presents. That is the thing that was so hard
to remember, though, when it came time to tell them about the weight-loss
surgery–they would be proud of me. How could I remember that, when I spent most
of my time being anything but proud, and everything up to and including
completely ashamed?

I realize now that I had cut myself off from my friends as I started to
gain weight, because getting dressed was a chore, and looking at myself in the
mirror was a chore, and digging up out of the creeping depression enough
just to function was a chore, without having to
deal with being social. Being social began to sound like a terrible, horrible
nightmare, and the more depressed I got, the more convinced I became that my
friends hated me because I never hung out and hated me because I was lame and
hated me because I was fat. It seems like a leap of logic to you, sitting out
there in Internet land, with your rational brains and your logical thinking. At
the time, for me, my mind was clear as crystal, and twice as breakable.

I think I wanted to tell people–the people who I kept pushing away from me,
who still meant so much to me except I couldn’t explain it because that would
take effort and I had to use all that energy to breathe in and then back out
again–that I was fixing myself. That I knew I was hard to love right that
second, being all awful and distant and especially being so fat, but it would
be better soon. I was going to make everything okay, and then you would be okay
with liking me again.

I didn’t want to tell people because it was embarrassing. It felt
humiliating, like I was standing in the middle of the town square with a gong and a
mallet, howling and beating an invitation to citizens both young and old to
come and see the giant fat girl who was so giant and so fat. It was admitting that I was so enormous that
I needed something like weight-loss surgery. Ordinarily fat people could just
diet, do some walking, and emerge from their chrysalis like an "after" in a
fucking Jenny Craig commercial. I was admitting that what worked for every
other person in the whole world wouldn’t work for me, and I was a big, fat
freak. Awesome!

But, you know, you can’t disappear from the world entirely for a couple of
months, re-emerge breathing heavily after every effort, turning down all food
offered to you, drinking only tepid water and halving your size in a miracle
number of months without arousing some suspicions in the breasts of the more
alert of the people in your life, even those who you’ve tried to hide away
from. They always find you, and they always figure that shit out.

It would make a better story if I could set the scene and make it so
dramatic and filled with a terrible beauty and a deep emotional resonance, my
coming out to the people in my life. Except it really wasn’t. I think I kind of
squeaked "weight-loss surgery!" at them, and they said,
"What?" and then I had to explain slowly and with blushes and most
everyone I told was kind of startled, but mostly glad for me, because I seemed
excited by it, or happy because I was doing something for myself. As far as I
can tell, nobody was quietly gleeful, hoping I would die on the table and they
could have my stuff, so that was a relief.

We talked about it, and they were curious, and helpful and concerned. And because
this is how things work in my head, I made them all promise that things would
be okay and nothing would change between us, just because I got skinny and they
stayed–well, as gorgeous as they ever were.

"You promise?" I said anxiously. "Of course we promise!" they said. "It’ll be
okay." Or, they said, "You could just get new friends. Better friends. Your skinny-Anne friends who like you better now
that you’re skinny, and you can leave us all behind. When are you going to
start auditioning new friends? Are you going to replace us all at once, or one
by one? Should we start preparing? Do your new friends think that your puns are
funny?"

"My new friends will never, ever be mean to me like you people," I said, and I knew that we would be okay, and that I was
very lucky.

So far I have not had to go out and get new friends who don’t hate me
for–whatever it is I thought they’d hate me for, because that is how my brain
works. They’d hate me for being fat, they’d hate me when I got skinny. They’d
hate whatever I’d become, as I worked toward whoever I was going to be, at the
end of this.

I keep hoping that I am not going to change, and that my life will stay the
same as ever and as safe as ever, and yet over and over I realize that
everything is going to change, that as the contours of my body change the
contours of my life and my personality emerge shaped differently and so brand-new,
so hard to parse and so hard to control. But the landmarks, those monuments,
those people I love, stay the same.

  3 comments for “lucky

  1. anon
    May 24, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Beautiful post.
    Yeah, you DO change. It is inevitable. But, I promise you, it’s not a bad thing. Embrace it. You will love the new things that emerge, but you will still be the same you at your core, puns and all ;-)
    But the friends who matter, who know you, who love you unconditionally, they DON’T change. Those lucky enough to have tried and true, rock-solid folks in our lives (and it sounds like you do) don’t lose them.
    Others WILL change toward you. But then you’ll realize who counts in your life.

  2. May 24, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    This line, “At the time, for me, my mind was clear as crystal, and twice as breakable.” is perfect. What a beautiful way of saying it.
    And yes, your logic made perfect sense to me. I’ve been there too.

  3. Tiffany
    May 25, 2007 at 6:28 am

    I love reading your blog. I was very hesitate to tell my best friend who is skinny as a stick. When I finally told her, she was so encouraging and happy for me. I wish I would have told her sooner. Thanks for sharing about your journey.

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