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Double Take

CurvyMermaid

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After months of not seeing some of my colleagues, last week was the week we all gathered for a meeting.  I was nervous. Would anyone notice? Could they tell? I had lost 60+lbs and at least 4 sizes so far. I was of the opinion that no one noticing would be the greatest failure thus far and therefore put even more pressure on myself.  (unrealistic much?) I **agonized** over what to wear.  I Marco Polo’d with my fashionista friend to have her critique the outfit I had come up with.  She gave me great feedback, I tweaked the outfit, and laid it out for the ‘big day’.  I had my hair dyed professionally (something I have never done before).  I could barely sleep.  Seriously, this was worse than the first day of school somehow.  Where you tried to pick the outfit that most represented you and the message you wanted to give everyone on the first day.  Hadn’t I progressed past vanity a long time ago?  My friend and I chatted and she said that I should prepare myself for no one saying anything.  This would either be due to the unfailingly polite nature of people in this region as well as the work environment or could also be due to the fact that I was still a fat person, just less fat right now.  Both really good points.  If I was some Southern belle, this would have been my coming out party.  The big reveal.  Ugh.  Stop, just stop.

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The day dawned and I left home feeling confident that even if no one noticed, I felt good.  My clothes were fitting better than they had in years.  I was in love with my new haircut and color.  I was ready.  Then, it happened.  From the first person I saw, those that knew me commented on my hair.  They loved it and said it really suited me.  But almost everyone followed it up with the body scan and said, you look great. One colleague who I really have only met one other time, didn’t recognize me at first.  One close colleague even did a double take.  She just kept saying I looked amazing and giving me another look.  I felt comfortable in my own skin.  It is a remarkable feeling and I am so glad I made the decision to have VSG.

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Enjoy these photos, which may cause you to do a double take.

I know I shouldn’t look for external validation.  That to rely on others to fill your bucket (to use one of those cliché team building books we’ve had to read), can lead to unreasonable disappointment.  But sometimes when you are feeling good, when your insides are finally matching your outsides, you look for some validation and it’s still okay.  Lately I have been feeling pretty crappy and nauseous, I try not to let it show – the whole fake-it-til-ya-make-it mentality.  And to be honest, it has been wearing on me.  Yesterday was a win and I really needed it.  So as superficial and potentially unsustainable as it may have been, I’m going to take it. 



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So glad to hear you're feeling great about yourself! I think that the motivation of seeing colleagues after a time was positive in that it pushed you to put your best foot forward and try a new look. External validation aside, taking a little time for some self care is a good thing, and I know I can be a bit neglectful of keeping up with my losses in terms of making sure my clothes fit and my hair is done. Whatever get you there :) The positive feedback from everyone must have made you feel great. It's always hard to know what people will say! 

Superficial? Maybe, but humans are superficial creatures. Take a minute to enjoy it. 

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Thanks @Jen581791. We took a team photo and it is the first time in a very long time where I actually like how I look.  I've enjoyed shopping in my closet for new looks and I'm looking forward to doing it even more in the future. I'm not sure where you'll get your haircut at your new home - will you have an opportunity to go to a hair salon?

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@CurvyMermaid

Congratulations!! I'm so happy for you. 

We are social creatures and being a little vain about our looks is only human. It transcends cultures and civilizations. It is simply universal.

We mostly turn to surgery to get our health back but looking good is an intrinsic part of the package.

So just be happy with your achievement and the compliments that come with it.

Best of luck on your journey. Great haircut by the way! You look great!!!

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I'm so glad you love your new haircut & color and that you're getting positive feedback! I thought (and still mostly think) I prefer no one to comment on my weight changes. Aside from 2 friends and family who I have told about my surgery, I received ZERO compliments from anyone until a week ago when I hit 77 pounds lost. Yeah, I'm pretty private and don't really want to discuss it but, I must confess, I was getting pretty paranoid that the weight loss wasn't real or visible or something. Seriously, 77 pounds isn't noticeable?! Whatever. That's me taking the long way to say I can totally relate. Hooray for positive feedback!

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'Coming Out' as a bariatric patient is something I think about semi-frequently and even posted a bit about it at the beginning of my journey (even pre-surgery).  Right now I'm in the keep-the-cat-in-the-bag category but I may change my mind at some point because I see the value of sharing the good word. ;)  I spent the majority of my life 'in the closet' about being an atheist.  It was very difficult for me to speak openly with my family considering my religious beliefs are vastly different than theirs.  But after realizing that my parents are amazingly loving and caring people, who may not understand but will love me unconditionally, it was a huge relief to be open about it. I'm now even active in my local humanist group - volunteering at the food bank, growing veggies for the homeless shelter in a community garden plot, doing public outreach, etc - and it feels nice to know people are seeing that I am still a good person, even without God (which is one of the judgmental and vicious statements/stigma that have been used against atheists by some such as my extended family). 

I am also a rape survivor, something I am not as open about and which also carries stigma.  When the time is right, I have a feeling that I will be open with that as well.  I am in a unique position to influence young lives and if I can help other women or men who have also survived and need to see someone that has thrived, I think the initial discomfort will be worth it.  Being a rape survivor, an atheist, a bariatric surgery patient - its all woven into the fabric of my life.  I should not be made to feel ashamed of it.

That's me taking the long way to say I get not sharing your bariatric surgery status @Gretta and I also see the good in it.  To each their own as we navigate this journey!

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9 hours ago, CurvyMermaid said:

Thanks @Jen581791. We took a team photo and it is the first time in a very long time where I actually like how I look.  I've enjoyed shopping in my closet for new looks and I'm looking forward to doing it even more in the future. I'm not sure where you'll get your haircut at your new home - will you have an opportunity to go to a hair salon?

There's a Toni & Guy just down the street! :D Yes, no shortage of salons here. It's really a question of me pulling the trigger - I am more afraid of the hair salon than the dentist for some reason. Oh, fear of commitment plus many years of getting bad cuts by people in countries where my hair type is rare - fine blond Northern European hair not being the norm in many places I've lived. Do not come at me with the thinning shears! Nooooooooo! Language gap never helps, either.

OK, now I'm having hair salon flashbacks. :unsure:

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@CurvyMermaid great, thoughtful post. Thank you for the authenticity of your voice and your being willing to reveal things that must be painful. 

The phrase: "I felt comfortable in my own skin." From @Jen581791: the observation about how superficial external validation can be. But it is what it is. And being comfortable this way must be some kind of hard-wired primate thing. I hope everyone reading your post can glory in the superficial but delicious bath of being comfortable in themselves, or appreciate how wonderful that is. As they get to that place. 

_________________________________________

(Read @Zyia's posts from before her recent move). 

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