When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Friday, August 18, 2017

Obesity as a Shield

**Caution: While I do attempt to put a non-ironic, non-sarcastist positive spin on some of my tougher subjects, I fear this post may not rise to the challenge. I shall endeavor to be optimistic, yet this will be full of raw emotion as well.**

So, as I sit in the stadium during the kick-off football game at my daughter's high school, I sense something a little off with me. I want to feel the excitement of everyone around me like I did all season last year. I want to appreciate the talent and work and enthusiasm of the youth here tonight. Instead, I find myself feeling lonely in a very uncharacteristic emotional and non-pragmatic way for me. Right now I envy the other adults around me who have spouses, significant others, friends, family with whom they can share this time.

I asked myself why. Why would I feel lonely? What am I missing? What prevents me from interacting with vaguely familiar faces? This is our second year, after all. I should have gotten to know at least one other parent. And yet, here I sit, lonely in a charged crowd.

That's how I came to the conclusion that I may be using my life-long obesity as a social shield. While others jump and shout and cheer, I sit and smile and maybe clap. I tell myself that it would be too disturbing to see a big fat woman moving around with any kind of exaggerated gestures. "Fat people don't dance or cheer," I tell myself. "No one wants to see me start a localized earthquake and I don't need to give anyone any more reason to ridicule me beyond my unavoidable grotesque existence. It's okay if the fat lady (me) just sits there watching the game. Really, we don't want her (me) bringing down the stadium."

So, I sit. And I am glad that my obesity creates a valid reason to continue to sit. Very few people want to approach a fat ugly single woman, so my natural social awkwardness and introversion can remain intact, unchallenged. This means I am safe from socialization as long as I remain blimp-like. If I lose too much weight, then I might actually become visually approachable. People might no longer afford me the very large personal bubble that I encounter everywhere I go. Right now, even in a crowded room or on a standing-room-only bus, I get breathing space. I enjoy a magical bubble--created by fear, disgust, disdain, being judged as something other than human (I don't know and sometimes I don't care what the reason)--that gives me the freedom to exist without having to interact. Obesity is my ultimate shield.

I honestly think that might be why I am unconsciously reluctant to put in the endless hours of hard work needed to rid me of the weight of two other people. I know what to eat and how to eat right. I know many exercises and activities that would help. I use excuses like time & money, but I know there are ways to overcome these. I'm starting to think that deep down I am reluctant to lose the weight because I am afraid of losing my social shield. It's funny, but the fat woman (me) is much more invisible than anyone a quarter my size. I don't like being recognized. I feel incredibly awkward when someone acknowledges me for any reason. The last thing I need is anything to draw attention to me, so attractiveness is something I am blessed to be without right now.

**I speak for no one but myself. Please do not take these thoughts as representative of anyone remotely resembling me in appearance or size.**