Friday, September 19, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I was walking out of the Farmers Market, looking for where AM was waiting in the car. I wasn't easily spotting him in all the busyness. He hadn't waved at me or done anything to catch my attention. When I finally did make it to the car he remarked that he hadn't recognized me for several moments.

This is a strange, new milepost. AM has always recognized me even when friends, family members have done double takes upon seeing me after many months or years. I guess it is understandable since I sometimes do not recognize myself in the mirror and at times seeing my reflection go by feels as though I'm seeing the past. I more closely resemble myself at 16.

Most people at 39 would be thrilled to find that they looked so much younger would be reassuring, pleasing. It isn't that I'm not thrilled, it is rather gratifying to still be asked for identification when I purchase a bottle of wine. It is just part of the strangeness of it all, of letting go of the elaborate persona I must have started to craft from the moment I left Portland for college in Wisconsin. A bit of play-acting that become everything I was.

Online I've been been touching base with people I've not seen in years. None of them have mentioned the change so far. Maybe they think the photo isn't current or it just isn't as dramatic through an online photograph, but no one has said much. I can feel myself bracing for it, the questions.

CB and HB have both said I need to be proud of this and at times I almost think I can start to figure out how to do that. Then I run into the strangeness of not being recognized by someone who's spent a great deal of time with me these past 9 years or anticipate old friends wanting to know what happened. At those times I feel like I miss a step in embracing pride over the accomplishment.

Maybe it is the feeling of attention being called to it, to me, that leaves me a little uncomfortable. I can recall wanting to be the center of attention as a child, to be popular like my cousins. I would thrust myself into the center, yet was never quite comfortable there, the effort was always forced. By the time I was in college I was just starting to move from that kind of behavior, building the habit of staying to the sidelines that turned into kind of withdrawal.

In losing weight I never set out to be in the spotlight, to have attention drawn to me. I merely wanted to live a more healthful life. I wanted to be sure I would be here for those who love me, that I wouldn't suddenly leave due to heart problems or diabetes (two things that affect the women in my family quite a bit). Learning how to be in the center and have people truly interested in my being there feels awkward. Different from the forced quality of my youth, just awkwardness as I keep doing what I've been doing for the past few years; the behavior that has put me in the spotlight without seeking it.

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