January 12, 2011


One of my favorite things to do after returning to Chicago is to have dinner and/or tea with my cousin Sarah. We saw each approximately other every other summer growing up, and since my first visit to Chicago in 2005 (and my eventual relocation here) we've become quite close - she's the older sister with the wisdom that comes from real life experience that I always wanted. She's my strongest support in real life - an emotional e-mail from her was one of the catalysts of my deciding to lose weight - and so a cousins date with Sarah is always so wonderful. I always walk away feeling very confident and reassured, no matter what's on my mind.

Last Friday, we had dinner and great conversations at her place - she asked me how I am feeling these days, and it was really nice to sit back and reflect on that. A lot of people ask me, "How do you feel?", and while I don't find it offensive, it does give me pauseblue star art - there are two ways to read the question, I guess, and so I have to stop and wonder which question the person is actually asking.

Most people ask in terms of physical feeling: so many people have never had to consider losing more than half their body weight, so the idea of losing nearly a hundred pounds is mind-boggling ... especially when it has been lost so quickly. The idea of a life at 345 pounds is as unfathomable to them as a life at 135 pounds is to me.

Sarah's question, though, was more in terms of emotions - and in my opinion, it's the much tougher one to answer. Emotionally, I am in a very tough place. It's hard to describe, as it's neither high nor low. It's just ... foreign. I'm in a place I have been before but that I do not remember exactly, except that I'm generally happier now on the way down than when my weight was on its way up.

After explaining some of my conflicted emotions and feelings, we talked about how it's kind of like I'm going through puberty again. There are so many changes I am faced with, though not all of them are physical. Yes, I have this new body that can do things I never knew it could - from running miles without stopping, to turning heads. But there are also so many things I need to learn - like how to understand both the new powers and the new responsibilities.


Patsy said...

Strange, isn't it... When you've been very overweight all your life and then you lose it all, the physical 'freedom' it gives you is a real shocker. Having regained a lot of the weight I lost, I think it's the limitations an overweight life gives me that upsets me the most...

Amy said...

Being a TV junkie I obviously watch The Biggest Loser - and the newest season just started. There are a lot of "kids" on the show, people on there in their early 20s and just really have no freakin' clue who they are. They have never known anything beyond their obesity and are struggling to find out who they are.

The youngest person on the show is just 21 and started out at a weight of 400 pounds. The trainer asked him to go home and look and the mirror and see who he was, and when he came back h4 said he didn't know. He had no clue who he was, because he never went looking.

You've given yourself a wonderful opportunity to truly figure yourself out, learn to love yourself and start over. It's fresh - it's new, and you get to keep everything you love about yourself (your intelligence, creativity, amazing personality and everything else you love!) and find new things to love and admire. It's such an amazing period for growth.

So of course it's no surprise that at this point you're unclear and confused about how you feel, because there is so much positive, but at the same time it's scary because who you were is quite literally vanishing in front of you!! It's definitely the perfect analogy of puberty - because puberty is great because you're growing up, but it's awkward too.

Keep what's special and love this time while you grow and add so much more to who you are!!

Maude said...

There's some theory out there nowadays that the early 20's should be considered their own stage of development - "emerging adulthood." While I kind of think some people will use this as an excuse to avoid acting like adults, I have to say that I agree it exists. My early 20's were when I really figured out who I was and what I wanted. There's so many things happening - first steps of professional development, truly getting out there to live on your own, finding out what type of life partner you're looking for. I thought it was so much more important than adolescence because it was just ME. No parents, no real guidance. I went out there and f*cked up. And it felt really scary and freeing. Like you, I got my weight loss figured out then too. I realized I didn't want to live that way for the rest of my life and that I alone could change it. After that it was like everything started falling into place because I knew I could accomplish anything.
I'm so excited for you. You're standing on the edge of great things - the next few years are going to be amazing. I know it!