change for a dollar

The manager at the ad agency, where I interviewed those many weeks ago, in my crazy clown outfit of colors, called me as I was walking down Union Street, window shopping, and I did not hear the phone ring.

"Just wanted to check in!" he said in his voicemail, and I thought, Oh no. He wants to make sure I am not suicidal because I didn’t get the job and now I am going to die alone and poor in a ditch, dressed in paper bags, eating cat food from a can.

I girded my loins, as one does when one is calling to receive bad news, and I found a place out of the wind, and I called him back, all chipper and pleased to hear from him. Small talk, small talk, sorry I didn’t get to see you when I was there! So nice to have been called back! You guys are so busy! and then–"Well, we’d like you to be a part of our busy team!" Chuckle, chuckle, he said, and I almost dropped the phone.

Instead, I stammered like the classy lady I am and said, "Oh! Well! Oh! I’m so excited!" I did not say "Wheeeee!" the way I wanted to, but I danced a little jig in the middle of the sidewalk, startling the people in the café next door. They want me, they want me now, they want me so bad, and they want to give me a lot of money. I am so down with a lot of money, and being wanted. It is important to be wanted, I think, and I am all startled to be important enough to be wanted.

One of the clichés about weight loss surgery patients is that after they lose all the weight, they go a little crazy. They divorce their spouses, cut off all their hair, spend a million dollars at Barneys and move to Tijuana to take up a life of luxurious hot oil massages and anal-sex-filled debauchery with a cabana boy and pen the steamy romances they’ve always wanted to write, while back home their four children cry themselves sick and their former lives and everything they used to be crumbles into ashes and blows away like it never existed, poof.

The talk shows are fond of that kind of story–see what weight loss surgery does to you? It makes you crazy! It makes you a shopaholic, an alcoholic, a maniac. It makes you throw everything up into the air and not stick around to wait for it all to fall back to earth. The theory goes that you need to find something to replace what food was in your life, and that being free of your coffin of fat makes you go a little fucking batty from all the sudden and brand-new possibilities that not being fat suddenly offers.

My life is shaking up, and in a lot of ways, I love it. I love that suddenly things are new and shiny and there are adventures and excitement and really wild things just coming down the pike. But of course it makes me sad. Do I have a new job because I’m not fat anymore? I want to think that I could have had any job in the world, no matter what size I was, and I could have taken over the world and figured out what was wrong in my life and what wasn’t working, and what I needed to change at 300 pounds, at 250, at 200. Of course I could have. I could have done everything–reorganized my apartment, paid off my bills, started getting back into the world and seeing the people I love but had shut out for so long, but why did it have to wait until I could fit into misses’ sizes? I don’t want to be a cliché. I don’t want to move to Tijuana and have anal sex with cabana boys.

But I have lost 130 pounds, and now I have a new job, and now everything in my life is entirely changed and will never be the same, ever again. It feels like I might as well cultivate a drinking problem and open a Saks Fifth Avenue credit line, and then go on Oprah. Dr. Phil is going to be so pissed at me.

My friend Karen, who is both wise and lovely, said, "No. You’re not a cliché. It’s not a cliché, and they’re looking at it all wrong, these people. Don’t you think it started to happen so long ago, this urge toward changing your life, and making things different for yourself? The day you decided to go get weight loss surgery, that was the day you decided that your life needed a new direction, that you were going to make a difference for yourself. And everything you’re doing now, it’s just a piece of the whole." And I burst into tears because when something feels true, it socks you right in the gut and there is not much else you can do.

These things have been coming a long time, these things have needed to change for a long time, and I am excited for the changes, and scared to death. I start my new job at the end of July, and I will be part of a busy team, and I think everything will be okay.

  17 comments for “change for a dollar

  1. July 10, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    ?????????? ???! russian

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch…german

    Hongera!!! swahili

    which all mean “congratulations”….but i wanted to be different bc i bet you have 30 comments that say that already…..how exciting! i wish i would get a call back form someone, anyone who wanted to hire me and pay me skads of money too!!! oh well, i will live viariously thru you. :)

  2. anon
    July 10, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Wonderful news! Congratulations!

    And for those who sniff that those of us who lose weight are akin to “girls gone wild,” well, I have said it here before: we’re the same afterward, maybe just a little…I dunno…sassier, happier, more confident. And sometimes that has an effect on the choices we make. Usually for the better. The only ones who have a problem with that, or who hit us with the tired old “you’ve changed” line (and they don’t mean for the better), are those who were only comfortable and safe with keeping us cubbyholed in predictable (and not necessarily good for us) places.

    You’re still Anne and always will be. A sassy lass, from what I can tell. And you sold that to this company, and I bet you would have done so regardless of your weight.

    Or, you know, possibly not. And is that fair? No. But it happens and I’ll join you in railing against the inequity of it all.

    But in the end let’s look at the positive. Life is good and you got a new job and will be making more money! Wheeeee indeed!!!!!!!

  3. July 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Yippee – woohoo – fantastic news! Congratulations!

    And you’re right – Karen is very wise (and I’m sure very lovely). Sounds like you have a pretty awesome friend in Karen.

  4. July 10, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    YIPPEE! I’m thrilled for you about your new job!

  5. Kim
    July 10, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Hey-

    I hate to say it, but yes. You got the job because you are 130-lbs slimmer. You are the same you, but it is hard for “regular” people to see us when we are swathed in fat. Suddenly, we are successful and compelling. Why? because they can see us.

    A similar thing happened to me and I was a little pissed BUT you will go show them how great you are thin or big. All that hard work we learned to do as MO pays off royally when they only expect the normal amount of work because we look like normies. Go get that great job and gobs of money. You will need it for pants. Congratulations- You have deserved it for a long time.

  6. *S*
    July 11, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Mazel Tov, Anne! I’m really, really happy for you – and sent you yesterday a bentsch for better compensation for your prodigious talent (check your email!). This is great and you should bask – and forget that cabana boy – he was on the greasy side, anyway.

    Would you have gotten the job at 300lbs? Who knows? This is the right time for you to have it – it’s your fate just now.

    But, Kim, I’ve had AMAZING CEO jobs and opportunities at between 300 -400 lbs. Fortunately, not all “regular” people are blinkered to ability or talent, regardless of the shell in which it is presented. Cream rises to the top, as is the case for Ms. Anne.

  7. *S*
    July 11, 2007 at 8:34 am

    My yiddishe brain is turning to kashe. Read “brokhe” for “bentsch”. I’d just finished eating. “Blessing” is the English translation.

  8. gin
    July 11, 2007 at 10:15 am

    what will you wear your first day?!

  9. Cat
    July 11, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Blessed be! The evidence that we can actually change our lives (in ways to which weight is only tangential) is one of the (few) things that gives me real hope. Sometimes it seems so impossible, but then you see someone who’s actually doing it.

    And, to back off from this cheery note, the conflicting media messages that change is necessary, change is salvation, change is dangerous, change is terrible, and that weight loss surgery is both the One True Hope and a terrible loss of control over women’s appalling desires, are just proof that our culture really does want a permanent underclass of the fat, the brown, the poor, and the female. May the authors of such tripe get very, very heavy and have to learn first hand.

  10. July 11, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    congratulations, Anne… I am so excited for you. You SO deserve this.

    and your friend is right… you changed your life the day you made the decision to have surgery. But even more than that, I sense that you were never “one of those fat girls” who sat around waiting to lose weight until she started living her life… you’ve always been “out there,” you maybe just didn’t feel quite as good about yourself as you do now. I think the changes have more to do with the confidence that comes with the new body than they do with the new body itself.

    best,
    Jessica

  11. July 11, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Yay you! Look what you did while I was gone!! So happy for you!

  12. July 11, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Rock on, girl. New jobs are exciting and scary, and more $$ is just FUN. And now you can accomplish your “more pants” goal. You rule.

    Ooh. You know what else you can get with your new money? More ink. And unlike those treacherous pants, it always fits! ;-)

  13. July 11, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Congratulations!!! You have made so many steps to get your life where it is now, so I say just revel in it!

  14. July 12, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Great post. Amazing how life changes. this from someone who could easily hang out as a guest on Dr. Phil.

    congrats to you.

  15. July 12, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    woooohoooooooooooo! go out and do a little jig, that’s such exciting news! felicitaciones…congrats!

  16. July 13, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    congrats!!!!!!! with love, s

  17. C
    July 14, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Congrats on the new job! Fuck cliches – you’re doing what you want to do and that’s all that matters.

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