Should Size Matter? – Not the Same Person, but Human All the Same
Many of you who followed this blog when I was in the heyday of my weight loss also know me in real life or via social media, so we’ve continued to stay in touch, even though I haven’t been blogging here since I hit 100 pounds lost. It struck me though that there may be a few people who only followed the blog, and I thought I’d give you a brief update. My weight loss continued past the 100 pounds, and right now I maintain about a 130 pound weight loss, with my weight being anywhere between 185 and 190 on any given day. I’ve maintained in that range for almost a year now, and I’m pretty sure the lifestyle changes I made are now permanent. So it can be done!
The photos here are from a true bucket list item of mine! Amelia Island, Florida is one of the few places left in the U.S. where you can go horseback riding on the beach. We’ve been going down there since I was a kid, but I always exceeded the weight limit for the ride. This past summer, I finally did it. My horse’s name was Sky (fitting given how much I love sky blue, flight, etc.), and it was absolutely amazing! Part of the thrill was shopping for a new shirt for the ride, and finding that this size MEDIUM fit me perfectly!!! Depending on the shirt now, I’m either in a medium or a large; a far cry from the 3x I wore back in the day. I was going for a beach cowboy look, and when I tried the shirt on and asked my mom if I had gotten it right, she told me, “Yes, definitely! A GAY beach cowboy!” If the shoe fits, I guess… :-) I love my mom. Checkout my friends at Kelly Seahorse Ranch if you’d like to go for a beach ride, too.
So why would I come back to this blog today, after more than a year away, to give this update? Well I had an experience today that
reminded me that I still have a few things to say, even if I have been maintaining this weight loss for a while now. This morning, I ran across a guy I went out on a date with a few years ago. At the time, I had lost probably 65 or 70 pounds, and with the 60 or 65 pounds I’ve lost since then I know my appearance has changed pretty dramatically. This guy, after our date, wasn’t rude, but clearly wasn’t really interested in a second date. When I said hello today, he didn’t recognize me. I told him who I was, and he couldn’t have been friendlier. And all of a sudden, after quite a bit of trying on my part after our first date, to no avail, he was suggesting going out again, telling me how wonderful I looked and how proud of myself I should be, etc.
So here’s the thing – he’s not a bad guy, and I’m not even faulting him. We’re all either attracted to people or not for a whole variety of reasons, physical and otherwise. I get that. His renewed interest today was flattering, but also showed me he may be a little bit superficial for my taste. Again, I’m not faulting him, and that’s not why I’m posting. What the experience did for me, however, was to get me thinking about how people treat me now versus when I was obese.
When I weighed 315 pounds, I was almost invisible. I could walk into a store and
the most customer service I would receive without seeking it out was a smile and nod in greeting – occasionally a hello, and every now and again, a “may I help you?” Strangers rarely made eye contact walking down the street or through a mall or office building. Having been heavy almost my entire life, I didn’t take any of it as a slight at the time really – it just was…
Now, I’m greeted almost immediately when walking in most stores, sales clerks are all too willing to help, and strangers often smile, say hello, and even try to strike up conversations with me. And when I switched from glasses to contacts last summer, the attention from straight women in particular went up even more than from my weight loss – which has given me laughs on more than one occasion. It’s not right that there’s this difference in treatment, but it’s a reality.
My first reaction when I gave this some thought this morning, was that I’m the same person now as a I was back then, but it only takes a little reflection to realize I’m not. I’m more confident. I value myself and my health more than I did back then, and that shows and is reflected by others in the way they perceive me and treat me. I’ve transformed myself inside and out, and that transformation on the inside has a lot to do with how I now interact with the world. But some of the changes in how people treat you as an “average” size person as opposed to someone who is larger are clearly based on size alone, and all the judgments that go with that. And that’s where I hope people understand that for all the visible changes, there are also many things at my core that haven’t changed.
My soul is the same. It was just as worthy of being loved, acknowledged, and valued back then as it is now, and the love I offer now is the same I would have offered then. I was every bit as loyal, in need of connecting with others, eager to change the world, and as good of a friend then as I am now. My body, though smaller now, is the same one I was born with, though it has changed much through the decades – and never should it alone be used to judge me. The fact I now am a more “average” size and sometimes wear contact lenses instead of glasses really doesn’t tell you any more about who I am and my journey to get here than whether I choose to wear a purple shirt, black flip-flops, or aviator sunglasses. I had the same ability to be hurt by your stares, comments, and most commonly, your ignoring me or judging me, back then, when you would freely offer them all, as I do now, when you would consider doing any of those things rude.
So while I may not have been the same person then as I am now, I was still fully human all the same, and deserving of all the things all humans deserve. Namely respect, dignity, equality, love, and a voice. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve learned on this journey – not to judge others, and to recognize the subtle ways in which we all tend to do just that each and every day. Be open. Get to know people for who they are – not just what you see.