great expectations

There is absolutely nothing to worry about. I mean, these
are people who love and adore me, contractually and by law. And people who are
inclined to be fond of me, by virtue of my excellent connections and inside
track into the inner circle. And people who will probably be extremely drunk,
and people who seem very nice, and people who love everyone even when they’re
not extremely drunk. But my brother’s wedding is still making me nervous as
fucking hell.

And it’s not even just the wedding–it’s the whole trip back
east. The whole thing is going to be spent seeing people who haven’t seen me in
years and years, and pounds and pounds and pounds. A lot of these people are
people I am extremely fond of, but with whom I don’t stay more than casually in
touch with. They have no idea I’ve lost any weight. Not only that, but they’ve
only known me as fat, and probably never considered the idea that I could be
anything close to approaching almost a little bit not too much overweight. Skinny.
That word is hard to say. They have never thought of the possibility of me
being skinny, compared to how I used to be. I think that’s what’s throwing me.

This is something I am still getting used to. I am not
skinny yet, not by a long shot. I’ve got 50 more pounds to lose before I hit
a normal BMI. I’ve got 0.5 of a
percentage point–are they percentage points? I’ve just realized I have no
idea–before I am out of the obese range and just ordinarily overweight. But my
body is so dramatically different. It is not just other people noticing. I am noticing too. I’ve been noticing all along, of
course, the way I fit in seats and between tables at a restaurant and so on and
so forth and all the wonderful things that continue to be wonderful, but it’s
just starting to be something that is really getting to me, that I really
understand. I used to be there and
now, I am here, and this is a place I
am only barely getting by in.

Every fucking day, I expect to be called out as an impostor.
That someone’s going to say, "Oh, you, going around all thinking you’re awesome.
But you’re not awesome. You are so far from awesome, and have you noticed how
fat you still are? You’re still fat. You’re not carrying around, floating
behind you all dim and scary, a picture of who you used to be so that people
can marvel at the change, the progress, the dramatic transformation as they
like to say in the reality television shows kids are always watching these
days. While it’s great and wonderful that you are feeling the dramatic
difference and it is coloring your perception of how you look right this
instant–right this instant, all you have
to work with is you.
And what you have to work with–well, it needs work."

Or maybe someone will just scream out "Hey, fatty!" And then
I’ll cry. Either or.

Obviously, no one has to. I can do it all myself! I am doing
it all this time, worrying and waiting for the wedding and our trip to New York, which will be
full of me feeling wildly self-conscious and mostly wanting to hide because my
body will be the Topic of Conversation, and I already know how crazy that makes

Here’s the thing: The thing is, I am sure everyone will tell me I look
great and wonderful and fabulous and beautiful and I’ve lost so much weight!
And I know that it will be very nice to hear and lovely and great to have my
efforts recognized and appreciated appropriately and with enthusiasm, yet will
fill me with conflicting emotions like embarrassment and shyness and maybe a
little bit of your standard "Oh, what, I was a fat ugly fuck before, huh? Thanks!" kind of rage.

That’s great. That, that’s what I expect in a trip full of
people waiting breathlessly to see how much weight I have dropped. My friend
Rod doesn’t even want a picture of me–he just wants to be totally surprised and
blown away, and I can understand that. But maybe that is also a good way to
explain to you what is filling me with dread. He is expecting to be totally
surprised and blown away and amazed and filled with wonder.

But what if he isn’t? What if I am not good enough, still?
What if I haven’t lost enough weight? What if I am a disappointment? I have
lost 123 pounds, and I am still utterly convinced that I am going to be a
wretched disappointment.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Everyone has these fantasies, right? The ones of returning
home triumphantly and transformed, tall where they used to be short and
fabulous bouncing hair where their hair used to be flat, glowing and
pink-cheeked when they used to be a zitball, and with a body like unto that of
a goddamn goddess, which will make all who gaze upon it gnash their teeth, rend
their garments, wish for it to be their own in whichever way you’d like to have
it if you know what we mean and I think you do, and regret immediately and with
great anguish every wrong committed and every slight delivered.

Everyone wants to make that grand entrance that sends
everyone to their knees, a ripple of gasps across the room, a rolling wave of
envy crashing over a gathering. But if no one knows how far I’ve come, will any
one realize how good I look? Because I only look good in retrospect. If I am
not perfect yet–and I will never be perfect, I know that, but it still sucks–will
it matter at all, this interim stage? Why does it have to be an interim stage?
Why do I have to drive myself crazy, like this? For an instant, I can enjoy it,
and then it is slipping away again.

4 Replies to “great expectations”

  1. Everything you are feeling is perfectly normal. Many of us know exactly what you are feeling.
    Here is what you need to do: step outside of yourself. (That’s a figurative move.) Now go stand in front of a mirror. (That’s literal. Go ahead; I’ll wait.) Now remove all the emotion and just take a good, hard look at what you see. Do you see it? One hundred and twenty three pounds. Gone. VERY noticeable difference. VERY hot looking mama staring you back in the mirror, right? (It’s ok, you can be honest.) THAT is what they’re all going to see. They’re going to be floored. You’re going to be both embarrassed and thrilled. It’s going to be wonderful. Enjoy it. I think I’ve told you this before: embrace everyone one of these moments. They’re priceless.

  2. you don’t have to weigh 110lbs to look amazing. i am sure you looked great at 250+ pounds (or whatever the number was – i forget!) and you will look great at 160 lbs or wherever you are at now. what will shock and amaze people is the missing 120 pounds! people will notice and most will be thrilled (i can imagine some jealous stares). and it doesn’t matter that you will look good in “retrospect” or relative to something else you once were. so what? isn’t it amazing to look better than you ever have in your great little dress (even if you were still lovely and amazing before)? enjoy it. savour it! and yes, the sad reality is that people who have never seen you before probably won’t clamor over you and tell you you look adorable, because, sadly, people don’t notice other people really, unless they are extreme-looking, like way too thin or very heavy or wearing something absurd. most of us just fade into the background. i hate to admit that, that no one notices me really, but they don’t. i put lots of effort into looking good at things and people say “you look nice” but I don’t think they care, and they don’t really notice my slick up-do or my french manicured toenails or my especially expensive shoes. you need your best girlfriends to appreciate all your little details – to strangers, we are just someone who looks nice along with all the others! so, probably no gushing from strangers, but so what?! and then again, some strangers will notice too, if they are observant and appreciate the people around them.

  3. Oddly, almost 8 years after I had surgery, I still carry my drivers license around that shows me at my highest weight. I don’t whip it out to show many people anymore, but it is almost a security blanket. Sure, I’m having a bad hair day today, but look how fat I used to be!

  4. Eh, we can always brainstorm snappy comebacks over tapas! It will be extremely fine – possibly fine with extreme prejudice – but fine notwithstanding.

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