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.