Weighty Matters

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Invisible or Hiding in Plain Sight

on May 1, 2012

I have what some would describe as a larger than life personality.  I’m outgoing, chatty, friendly.  I have no trouble walking up to strangers and introducing myself at business functions.  I’m a comfortable networker.  When I’m having fun, I’m prone to laughing out loud with the sheer joy of whatever I’m doing.  All of these traits serve me well in life, particularly in my job.

Because of this seeming overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it’s difficult for people to believe that I have a shy side.  I don’t need to be the life of the party and call attention to myself.  In fact, too much attention makes me really uncomfortable.  I’m most at ease in a group of my friends, all having fun together.

Okay.  Let me go back a little and really look at what I’m feeling and trying to say.  I don’t like negative attention and that’s what I usually project that I’m going to receive because of my weight.  For years, I think I assumed that when I entered a room, everybody else already there would immediately think, in unison, “Holy crap.  Look at that whale!”  Because I always entered into situations and activities constantly thinking about how my body size might be received, or how it might impact what I was doing, my assumption was that everyone else always thought about it too.

I can’t tell you how often I wished that I could be invisible or that I could somehow hide myself in plain sight.

Absolutely I know that I thought about this far more excessively than most of the people around me.  However, I’m not totally wrong about some people and their reactions.  Trust me.  If you’ve been fat, you’ve seen the fleeting (and sometimes not so fleeting) look of dismay cross someone’s face when they realize that they’re the passenger that’s going to squeeze into the middle seat next to you on an airplane or that you’re the person who’s going to take the empty seat next to them in the concert arena.

Most people are nice, but there is also a significant percentage of others who aren’t.  They’re the ones who aren’t discreet about their reactions.  In fact, some like to ramp up their disgust level past the point of blatant and throw in a heavy sigh, just in case you didn’t get the point from their expression.

I think one of the things that I am most enjoying about losing weight, aside from the health benefits I’m already seeing and the greater ease of movement, is that I’m not measuring as many things against my body size as I was four months ago.  I don’t worry about whether I’m going to fit in a seat, or whether a step is going to crack under my weight.  I’m already steadier on my feet and feeling more agile and balanced.  (The Tai Chi is helping a great deal with that balance.)

I no longer feel like the fattest person in the world.  (Yes, I know I was never the fattest person in the world, but that’s how I felt.  Feelings are not always logical, but they are no less real to the person experiencing them.)    I don’t assume that my obesity is the first thing people notice any more.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t — but that’s doesn’t matter.  I feel better about the first impression I’m making and that’s the important difference.

It isn’t important for me to be invisible or try to hide in plain sight.  I’m much, much more comfortable inside and out.


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