Monday, July 18, 2011

Reactions, Reactions, Reactions

All my life it has been extremely hard to lose weight and keep lost weight off for various reasons I had no control over at the time. (See post.) Each time I took off about 1/4 side of beef ( fat, no muscle) I was jubilant, ecstatic. I was "WALKING ON SUNSHINE!" My body looked and felt great; I was proud of my accomplishment and didn't feel soo punk getting on the scale. The more weight I lost, the more enraptured I felt, the more exuberant I became. I guess it showed.

AND THAT WAS MY PROBLEM! If I had toured the countryside (translate various family, friends and colleagues) with my head in the sand and blues and tragedy written all over my face and posture, it would have been OK. They would have been settled, comfortable to see me downcast. They would have ignored my thinner appearance, stepped off the curb of physical comparison and offered me sympathy. But no! I had to go and blow it! I showed my enthusiasm. I enjoyed my self-satisfaction and new found confidence right in front of them. AND THAT WAS MY SIN!!!

Am I imbuing this situation with moral and religious overtones? YES! For the friend/family member/colleague who considered themselves superior because of my fatness...(they were the alpha in my relationship with them) my thinner happiness was sacrilege. In fact, I would go so far in hyperbole to say it was tantamount to "the abomination of desolation"!! I was the abomination in their holy temple of self-satisfied self-worship. I had been fatter, looked older, exhibited less self-discipline, appeared lazier, was less attractive to men, wore a huger size, etc. and their value was greater than mine. My inferiority bowed to their shining light;  they were  the thinner, the more youthful looking, the prettier, the more disciplined, the more intelligent, the fill it in. On some level that I was not even aware of, my non-threatening presence made them feel comfortable and assured with themselves! They weren't as "bad off" as I was. They were "IN"! They had "IT!" And I was, well...I was FAT! These Puritans were sacrosanct and righteous IN their physical appearance.

So when I lost weight, I began to upend their world, unwittingly shattering their egos. The more I lost, the more confident I became, the more deflated and unnerved they were. As long as I was still chubby and overweight, they felt they had a stranglehold of control over me which they were damned well going to maintain. And so whether unconsciously or consciously, with deceit and subterfuge, comments and behaviors they sabotaged my attempts to lose weight, a dangerous weight which would rival their body size and beautify me at their expense. My weight loss had to be stopped or they would lose the comfort I gave them; their dominance over me had to stay in tact. In some instances, I was almost put in an either or situation. Either I submit to BAU, or there was hell in the form of argument and alienation to pay.

Call me canny. Call me experienced in the "subtleties" of feminine appearance, politics and friend selection (mine and theirs) gradually, I became aware of the nature of the sabotage (usually after they got their way and I gained weight and eventually gained most of the weight back). By that point, with some, the relationship was over. Somehow, I had given them what they wanted and destroyed myself in the process. And the end result was I terminated the friendship, not consciously understanding why, but I allowed the friendship to die a death that I never regretted. Their dominance and superiority was over and not over. I was fat again. By that point it didn't matter to either of us.

What's that I "hear" you say? Friends should be happy at another friend's weight loss? It depends. Women relate differently to body issues, weight, appearance. And in many cases, it's "Mirror, mirror on the wall!" Because I've Yo-yoed  12 times, I've become hyper vigilant about the nature of the types of responses to my weight loss. Over the years they've oscillated along a continuum from gladness to indifference, to smarmy compliments, to annoyance, to anger and also to totally unhinged lunacy. Ironic how something so purposeful and healthful could cause such distress in other women, especially those ONCE thinner than I and those fatter than I.

So this week will be a time for expurgation, if you will. My posts will deal with some of the finer, more humorous reactions to my appearance and weight loss fitting into a size 2 Ralph Lauren jeans. I will also be canvassing anyone reading this to see if you can identify with my experiences of others' reactions to your weight loss or enhancing your appearance in any way. I must say, though, men have been marvelous and solicitous. The women who are my true friends have been glad for me. And then there are those whose real colors manifested. And it wasn't a RAINBOW! The scene was more reminiscent of  swarming dust clouds over a cracked-dry, yellow, chidden prairie.

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