second chances

I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You, written by and illustrated by Yumi Sakugawa
So I wrote this book. It’s this book here, in fact (coming March 2013! Available for pre-order now! Etc!). Primarily it’s about the myth of weight loss as a magical fairy tale dream come true, and struggles with body image, and weight loss surgery. It’s about how I was fat and getting fatter, and how I thought that was what was wrong with me. It was the source of all my problems. It was the reason I was unhappy, and my relationship at the time wasn’t perfect.

I thought it was the reason I was a bad friend. I thought being fat was why I was so difficult to love, and difficult to deal with, and too deeply unhappy to manage the necessary and varied upkeeps of friendship and too sad to keep my promises. I lied a lot.

So weight loss surgery cured me of all that! Now I am a glorious glimmering beautiful blessed angel with happiness in my heart shining brighter than the sun! Except not really. I lost a ton of weight, and I found that, expectedly, it is easier to be on the skinnier side than on the fatter side, both socially and in a concrete physical sense, in terms of actually fitting in the world. But it didn’t make me a better person.

Man, was I pissed.

My friends there, in San Francisco—they are amazing women. But I was still a crappy friend, and a depressed person, and I didn’t know how to mend everything I had broken so badly. In fact, I was pretty sure I had broken everything so thoroughly and so well that it would never be fixed and they were too polite to tell me. I am fully aware that part of the reason I agreed to move to Utah, when E and I discussed who should make a break for it so we could have a relationship in the same state, was escape. Escape from having failed so badly, and having made so many mistakes with no idea how to fix them. From people I wasn’t sure how to apologize to, or if they even wanted me to because it would all just be terribly awkward and weird. I am, it should be noted, a generally awkward and weird person. It is a gift and my burden. It was not cured by weight loss surgery either.

So I fled to Utah, and I was terribly lonely for a very long time, and ashamed of all the messes I had made. I had E and his roommates and they were wonderful, but they weren’t exactly precisely my friends with whom I’d have adventures because they were all boys and they smelled kind of funny. And I was still broken and sad and weird and I still hadn’t figured out how to be the person I wanted to be, who was strong and reliable and worthwhile.

But achingly slowly, painfully gradually, things started to click. I started to really understand how and where and what I wanted to be. And I had the people that are far away but have always felt tucked behind my heart for good, who supported me hard and lovingly from a distance that the Internet makes so much smaller.

And then I started to meet people here. Emilie was my first real friend in Utah, I think, and she is lovely and smart and mature, stalwart and responsible, an amazing woman, and I was grateful for her and I knew I wanted to keep her and I thought maybe I was starting to get this friendship thing.

The incredible women of Indie Ogden and their beautiful faces and beautiful hearts, they are true friends. The amazing people I work with—I am lucky to know them. Sarecakes and cocktails and an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. Amy and all the wine and IKEA couches and ehrmergherd sci-fi feminism. They are the kind of gorgeous, astonishing, honest and true people that make you feel like you could be astonishing, honest and true. That you could be a person that works hard to make your friends always know that they are loved and cared for. That you could keep your promises, be steadfast and honest, trusting and trustworthy. Feel feelings. I am feeling feelings right now this very second. I am very lucky.

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