Thursday, August 21, 2008

Closer to Pretty

The thing with having a lot of weight to lose is that it isn't an instant gratification situation. Actually, for the first year/35 pounds only people who knew I was trying to lose weight ever commented on my success. In fact, only a few months ago a concerned co worker pulled me aside to talk about how much weight she had lost and to say, "I just wanted to let you know that I'm happy to talk to ANYONE who is thinking about gastric bypass."

I was pissed! I had worked so hard and was losing weight even if it was coming off slowly. I felt like she should recognize it or at least not bully me about surgical options, so I told her I'd pass it along if anyone asked.

It wasn't until recently when, as I began to approach my 50th pound, and bought new clothes in a size 18 to compliment my shrinking bod, that people really started to notice. It was exactly what I had thought I wanted. Every day, at least one person told me how much thinner or "better" I looked and my boss constantly told me how "proud" she was of me. (Her "pride" is another post by itself).

Now, I work with a lot of women, and if there's one thing I've learned over the last year of struggling with my weight, listening and reading other blogs, it's that most women, no matter what their size at least say they want to lose weight. We live in a figure obsessed culture, so I tried to accept compliments gracefully as they came.

But for some reason, I have difficulty making the same allowances for my family. I visited my mother this weekend, and found my grandparents chillin' their as usual. I was wearing an outfit that fits and so was barraged with compliments as soon as I came in. I was actually enjoying having my head expanded until my mother said, "between the braces and the weight loss, you'll be very pretty when you're all done." *Shit*

It reminded me of the time, about a year ago, when I'd been on my diet for a few months, and was talking to my dad about kids. I said that I'd like to have kids some day, but, as I have never even been on a date before, it seems like my chances of falling in love and starting a family are limited. He said, "I don't know. You're losing weight; maybe someone will ask you out when you get thin enough."

Both times I felt my stomach lurch. I felt angry and ashamed and very sad, I think because I was glimpsing what my parents really thought of me. Not pretty yet. Too fat to date, but getting there. I wanted to cry but felt confused. They were complimenting me, right? Then why do I feel like shit? Thinking about it makes my eyes sting with tears, even now.

The truth is, I'm losing weight in an attempt to avoid the diabetes that has claimed my parents. If I do meet someone when I'm thinner, will I ever really know whether he would have loved me now or last year? Should it matter? Is physical attraction all that matters for men?

I guess I'll have to wait until I'm a little closer to pretty to find out.


Anonymous said...

First, let me tell you, I just found your blog, and I LOVE the pic of the cookie moster smokin his crack cookie!! Hilarious!!

Second, you sound like an awesome lady! No matter what your size. Love will find you, when its supposed to, not when our are thinner!

Trust me, I have been on the roller coaster of weight loss just about my whole life. And what I have learned is that confidence in yourself, is the most attractive thing to have. No matter your size.

Personally, I would tell my parents that comments like that really hurt. Tell them how you feel. you can't keep it bottled up. The feeling won't go away simply because you lose weight.

BTW- you are doing an incredible job! Keep up the amazing work & I can't wait to read more about your journey! =)

Karyn said...

qd(((((HUG))))) Girl, my heart is breaking for you! I am so sorry you have been so hurt by the ones you love the most. (this is typical, BTW) Often, as families, we are so accustomed to one another that we forget to be as “polite” with each other as we should be. I agree with Shanna – talk to your parents, tell them how what they said made you feel. In my experience, HONESTY needs to be the basis for all relationships. I’ll bet they will be horrified that the words they spoke were so thoughtless and hurtful. It sounds like they were trying to compliment and encourage you but did not take the time to consider how their wording sounded.

“If I do meet someone when I'm thinner, will I ever really know whether he would have loved me now or last year? Should it matter? Is physical attraction all that matters for men?”

You know what? Physical attraction is never enough to maintain a relationship. So, WHEN you meet someone who wants to spend time with you because he is attracted to who you ARE, you will not wonder if he would have loved you when you were fat….

For now, focus on learning to love yourself – where you are at today. The more you love the current you, the more you will enjoy the “new” you when you reach goal.