Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life On The Outside

...fair warning, this entry's bound to be somewhat EMO. But I was thinking about this at work today, because of something that had happened there. Basically I've only just begun explaining to people what I am doing. I've known about it for a while, obviously, and to be honest? I was frightened of explaining it to my mother. I'd actually have waited until she went to Australia before beginning, if not for the fact I had to start within four weeks of my initial blood test. It's just...a sense of shame, I suppose. Because I am ashamed of how I look. I've been ashamed of how I look since I was...about fourteen, I think. That would be when things went downhill. And even though I've always known people have looked at me and judged me no matter what I've thought, we all know the only way you can solve a problem is by admitting you have one in the first place. Annd admitting that I'm fat, for all I've known that for years, has been very hard for me.

So. I explained a bit to a couple of my workmates yesterday and whatnot, but by no means have I told everyone. There's certainly a couple of people at work I would never feel comfortable talking to, about this. One of those people was talking to another of those people, and I wasn't part of the conversation; I was doing my own work. And the first person started talking about diets and things, and then actually started complaining about how stupid the diet I've chosen is. I believe she had no idea I'm on it, but it made me...well, angry, I suppose. Partially it's because I didn't choose it on a whim, I thought it was sensible both for my needs and on a more global sense. Certainly it's not something that would work for everyone, but as far as I'm concerned it will do what I need from it without half-killing me in the process. Admittedly the first time I heard about it my knee-jerk reaction was "You can't lose that much weight that fast and call it healthy!" Some research later, I came to the conclusion that while it may be too fast, in some respects that's what people like me need...I'm into instant gratification. And this isn't instant, of course, but thirty kilograms in about four months is very rapid. But it's not as if you go on a restrictive diet and then bounce back to normal. It's a lifestyle change, because of what they call the "refeeding programme," which lasts two to four weeks. So...yeah.

Still, what bothered me more about it, I think, was the fact that both the women in this conversation are both naturally slim. I won't deny that they do work for it, in that they'll eat better than I ever did and probably exercise, but...there's a big difference between losing three or four kilograms for a special event, and losing thirty kilograms as a permanent lifestyle choice. These women have never been fat. They've always been attractive. Men have always looked at them. And while I am not in this precisely to get male attention -- I wouldn't know what to do with it even if I had it -- I am very used to being invisible. The invisible elephant in the corner, as it were.

When I was in Mexico, I remember being at Teotihuacan and sitting with Rose very close to the Pyramid of the Moon. These sorts of areas in Mexico are teeming with roaming hawkers, and we had one approach us and hassle Rose about buying silver. The guy zeroed in and focused solely on her, and after a bit Rose tried to turn him onto me (not in a nasty way, it's just what you do when you're in Mexico). He wouldn't have a bar of it, though I was literally right next to her. She eventually turned to me while he was still standing there and said helplessly: "Why not you?" The guy admittedly had little English, but even then he didn't acknowledge my existence. And to Rose's defense, she didn't really know what was going on. But I didn't have the heart to explain to her that I've seen this before -- foreign guys look right through me. Actually, all guys do, but I've noticed it especially while travelling. I just about burst into tears several times in Paris while travelling with my sister because she's both prettier and skinnier than I am, and while the French fawned over her I was...invisible. I might as well have not existed.

Thing is, mind you, is that I haven't a clue what I will do when I get on the inside, when I become visible. I'm not exactly the most social of creatures, after all. Still...I guess when it comes down to it, all of us want to be seen. Else, why would we ever walk out of our front doors?

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