my humps

When you’re losing weight, there is a long, long period of
time where you think you are trapped in a bubble of your own fat, surrounded by
walls that are perfectly opaque while inside you are withering away, where no
one can see you and no one cares and you think that you will be all alone, for
all time, and then probably die, alone. I mean, everyone dies alone, anyway.
But your death will be the most spectacularly alone of all deaths, and the most
tragic of all tragedies, and you will look so
in your coffin, you skinny little thing.

You feel very sorry for yourself when you’re doing so well,
and being so brave and perfect and plugging along like a chubby little engine
that totally could, and no one notices at all. You look at your body and you
think you see the changes and you think you see a difference, and you wonder if
you’re completely crazy and out of your mind and maybe you are being
ridiculous, imagining that you could look any different or make any difference
at all, and every time you get on the scale, it’s some kind of a cruel joke
perpetrated by cruel people with a lot of time on their hands. But then things

Things change with a quickness. One day, you are round, and the next day, your
body has remolded itself around your bones and tendons, has reshaped and
shifted like you are some kind of bizarre mutant creature, and suddenly,
everything you’ve done for all those months bravely in silence and personal
fortitude come screamingly, roaringly into the spotlight and everyone notices.
Everyone in the world notices. Your postman and your handyman, your dry
cleaner, the guy at the corner store, the boyfriend of your neighbor, the dude
on the corner who wears his pants backwards–they all notice, and in a chorus of
voices, they descend upon you, and it is overwhelming and crazy and
out-of-control, and awesome, and maybe you kind of wish they’d all shut the
hell up.

These are the ways people–practical strangers, good friends,
co-workers, bartenders and bus drivers–have noticed I’ve lost weight.

"Holy Jesus Christ in hell, woman! What the fuck!"

"Whoa! Whoa, whoa whoa! I mean, I knew you lost weight,
but whoa!"

"So are you going to join the lacrosse team now?"

"You are wee! You are tiny, and wee. I could pick you
up with one hand."

 Slapping my ass: "This is way smaller than it used to

"You’re looking…" Long, long pause. "Good!
Really, really good!" Pause. "I mean, really good!" Pause.
"So good! Did I tell you that?"

 "So, uh. You okay? I mean, is everything okay? With
you? Are you doing okay?"

"You’re looking very shapely, Anne."

"Hey hey hey! Look at the skinny young thing!"

"Can I ask? How much have you lost? No, really. Really? Wow.

A discussion between three friends, at a bar. As if I
weren’t even there:
"Wowie Zowie, Captain Maui!"
"What the fuck does that mean?"
"She looks like a hula girl?"

"You’ve got to have been lifting weights or something,

"I was looking at you today, and I was thinking you just went boom! Just,
boom! Like that! You know?"

"You weigh, like, 150, 160 now,
right? 170? There’s no way you weigh more than that…seriously?

Leaning in very, very close, in a conspiratorial whisper:
"I have to tell you. You look fantastic."

"You’re looking so trim and fit!"

"What the hell have you done to yourself? No,

"At least you’ve still got your ass. I mean, look at
that thing."

Suddenly, everyone is commenting on my body, and I am
wondering why I ever wanted anyone to notice my body, or think about my body,
or have an opinion about the current state of my body and the previous, clearly
inferior state of my body. What was I thinking, and how fucking weird was that
to want? It was so weird. Please stop examining my tits. I feel suddenly
public, and you have to know that it is, in so many ways, extremely enjoyable–I
mean, who doesn’t want to be told how awesome you look? I don’t want to be told
how awesome I look. And of course, when it stops–because eventually it will–I
will miss it. There is no happy medium.

7 Replies to “my humps”

  1. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

    Except you haven’t even experienced the next step, which is even more precious! (Not!)

    Enjoy this one, by the way, even though it is freakin’ weird and you do feel like suddenly everyone is examining you, staring at you, dissecting you…and even though they then say lovely things about how hot you look and how small your ass got, they are still staring and examining and dissecting and it’s just, well, weird.

    But, oh yeah, the next step: “You’re getting too skinny!” Oh, trust me, Anne, you’ll hear it. And it will be long before you would ever have to worry about malnourishment, you know what I mean? You’ll be trim and looking great but people will look at you and with real concern express their (non-medical) opinion that You! Are! Just! Fading! Away! And it’s kind of amusing at first because, my goodness, how ridiculous, you’re still over the recommended weight for your height, you’re far from fading away. But then they start getting maternal with you, wanting you to detail what you eat every day, and they comment when you’re eating lunch, and they talk about you as if you’re not there, exclaiming to each other that, my goodness, is she just fading away?!

    Ah, oops, I got sidetracked. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, when you write THAT post (and it’ll happen soon! I’m guessing you are only about ten or fifteen pounds away from it), I want credit, lol.

    Anyway, yeah, it’s weird, how you lose pound after pound after pound, and no one seems to be able to tell, and then suddenly, overnight, POOF! Everyone and his mailman has to comment on your weight loss. For those of us who tried to slip steathily under the visual radar screens of others when we were really heavy and uncomfortable in our own skin, to suddenly be so OUT THERE is really, really wild.

  2. I think it’s similar when women are pregnant and strangers feel it’s OK to make comments or touch their stomach. Of course these are all meant as compliments, but it IS something to get used… positive attention.

  3. It’s the bizarre concept that your body is now public property, like the newest television show, and everyone who sees it has a right, if not an obligation, to comment on it. The Sopranos is over? No need to worry! Comment on the Continuing Saga of Anne’s Shrinking Body! Posts welcome!

  4. Yep, been there, done that, undergrew the T-shirt. I’ve had a few people tell me that I can stop losing weight now. I’ve told them that they can stop growing now, they’re tall enough. Equally stupid. Whatever.

  5. I totally agree with Jenny – the speculation and unsolicited commentary from the Great Unwashed – and particularly its male phalange – is probably the closest I ever want to get to pregnancy and its presumed public ownership of body and looks endured by my expectant sisters. That said, Anne, I’m sincerely glad you enjoy the attention. Do you want some of mine? Sometimes it’s ok, mostly it just pisses me off.

    My general, smartass answer to “how did you lose it?” or “what’s your secret?” is either: 1) “”You know, it’s amazing what a new moisturizer will do for you.” or 2) “Let me tell you about Amway/The Watchtower/The Lubavitcher Rebbe (l’havdil).”

  6. Ohh anne, what a cracker of a post. i totally hear ya. Every time someone said to me “wow, you’re so SKINNY!” it felt like they saying, “MY GOD you were so hideous before! what a relief to see you now!” yet i would squirm and blush at the compliments. it must be so intense having so many people commenting all at once…

  7. I am only in the beginning phases of weight loss….13 weeks out, but your post rings so true. Sometimes the comments of other people on my body, or weight loss can be unnerving. I never took compliments that well, and it is not any easier as I lose.

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