Things I Can (easily) Do – Now:
Slide between cars or in/out of some small space (much more 2D as opposed to 3D now)
Fit in an airplane seat without a seat belt extender – and be able to actually fold the table down to use/eat on
Walk 2-3 miles without even thinking about how I’ll feel (walking = my current superpower)
Get out of a chair or the car without some level of massive heave-ho activity
Buy clothing in the “normal” sized section of most stores
Borrow/share clothes with people I know (… not that this extends to accessories, necessarily)
Purge my closets and drawers of years of clothes that were purchased in an attempt (in many ways) to feel put together; I (ironically) have fewer clothes, shoes and accessories now than I ever did being far heavier
Sit on a (restaurant, office, arm or side) chair and not worry about it crumbling to bits beneath me; the same applies to massage tables, dentist chairs, picnic benches, etc.
Look at the scale (generally) without wanting to open the screen door and launch it on to Venice Boulevard
Things I Can’t Do (and, I’m sure, there will be disagreement over this… keep reading):
Show my upper arms in public – which effectively rules out tank tops, many dresses, bathing suits, etc. without the help of some kind of shrug or jacket (or nun’s habit)
“Hide” my sagging stomach; thankfully, mid-drift coverage is still the general convention in American society
Wear a skirt or shorts – that aren’t Bermuda or capri length (and I loathe capri-anything except for when I’m working out)
Make the (hundreds of) spider veins on my legs disappear in any way that doesn’t require a large amount of money
Explain, in any elevator speech-snapshot, to other people who have no IDEA why I would think I “can’t” do these things who have never seen a ridiculous shift in their body weight
Seriously, people look at me absurdly when I say I can’t do these things. Physically, yes, I can do every single thing on this list. In reality, in the already-peripheral margin I’m used to living in, I still can’t do these things. Yes, I won’t do these things. The mental energy it would take for me to ignore my arms literally flapping in the breeze as I passed someone something across a table or from a shelf, or to share the hidden (and frustrating) sadness of otherwise shapely legs riddled with (still) networks of veins or loose, dimpled skin… just isn’t worth it. I’d rather be comfortable and live in what is a world of relative confidence about my appearance (masking these things) and shape than one that forces me to contemplate them every minute of the day. To “not” think of these things is really a place of little-contemplated privilege.
This line of thinking has bubbled up because these conversations have happened in a higher volume recently. When people aren’t thinking about anything other than: “hi, you are now SO much smaller… you’re almost normal… you MUST look like me or any ‘other’ person…” they likely won’t ever understand the realities of what I’ve just shared. Really, I don’t expect them to, but if this short post illuminates some level of the constant mental negotiation that goes on with overweight people and probably many people committed to losing weight and getting in shape… then I hope it’s been helpful to someone in gaining understanding.
Footnote: I’m fortunate to have a physical shape and height that was informed by my family’s genetics – I like my body. I continue to work on loving it (the pictures here are all from May 2015).