Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Invisible me

This post has been floating around in my head for at least a month.  I need to finally get it written down because it's keeping me a little preoccupied.  It's a bit of a difficult post for me to write and I hope I can keep my thoughts organized enough to make sense.  Sorry if I ramble.  Here goes!

Since you all know my story from reading My Life in Pictures, Part 1 and Part 2, you know that I have spent the majority of my life obese.  Obese and invisible.  Now how does an almost 300 pound woman go through life invisible?  Well I'm actually not, nor have I ever been invisible.  I just felt that way.  People ignore you, look through or past you, smirk at you, make judgements about you.  Generally, they treat you like shit which in turn makes you feel small and invisible.

Now I've always been a pretty vocal person.  Probably because of the line of work I do.  I work with a vulnerable population and have never been shy when I need to advocate or speak up on a client's behalf.  Me on the other hand? I've rarely stuck up for myself and often ignored any snide comments made my way.  If someone made a comment about my appearance, my heart would start to race, I'd pretend I didn't hear and I'd get as far away as possible.

Once I started noticeably dropping weight, things began to change for me.  I started getting better service in stores and sales people would go out of their way to help me.  I had never truly experienced hospitality like I do now.  Complete strangers talking to me on the street, saying "hello", commenting on the weather, beginning conversations in elevators.  You get the picture. Pretty much every person I make eye contact with smiles at me.  I get this treatment from both men and women.  This is all completely foreign to me.  I had no idea that the general public is so friendly and outgoing.  But only if you are a "normal" looking person.

I don't think I will ever feel comfortable with the new found attention that I get from men.  When they make (usually) sexual comments to me (I work in the heart of downtown Toronto and there are plenty of shady characters near my work), or call me terms of endearment even though they don't know me, it makes me feel like my former fat self being called bad names because of my size. My heart starts to race, I pretend I didn't hear, and I get as far away as possible.

I am exactly the same person I was 110 pounds ago.  I'm married to a wonderful man, I'm a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. None of that has changed.  Only my appearance has changed, and although there is a noticeable difference, I still have the same values, hopes, dreams and morals.  No matter how much weight I lose, that will never change.

We all have struggles and demons  Some of us more than others.  My daily struggle is food.  Even though I have been following a healthy lifestyle for over a year now, I struggle just as much with food and the desire to binge as I did when I weighed 300 pounds.  That's the honest to God truth. People I see frequently think that I have this iron clad will power.  I do not.  Everyday is a struggle and I live with the fear that I am a hairsbreadth away from a binge that will throw me right back to where I started.  That is the scariest truth of all.  That I am thisclose to reverting back to old behaviours.  That is why, for those of you who continue to ask and wonder, I CANNOT have just one.  Phew, that wasn't as hard as I thought!