I think I'm starting to see it. Four and a half months out, closing in on 80 pounds down, and I think I'm starting to see it. I've been able to feel it for a long time—I was at a weight that was legitimately really physically uncomfortable for me, and 77 pounds lower, I've got my zip back, which is a great relief. But I haven't seen it yet. Not really. Part of that, probably, is that in all the weight-cycling I've done, right about here, or perhaps just a touch higher—260-275—is what I think of as "my" size. So when I see myself in the mirror, I see "normal," or basically normal, as opposed to "seventy-five-plus pounds smaller than I was four and a half months ago." I do know intellectually that I take up less space, but I tend to focus not on overall size, but on specific features I don't like—puffy cheeks, double chin, saggy arms, lumpy back, etc. But I'm having, now, the first moments of estrangement, of seeing something look a little different than I expect it to—a glimpse of my hand that makes me go "huh," or a quick flash of my reflection in the subway window.
I think I'm a little physically larger than I was last time I was at this weight—then, I was lifting really regularly, which may have had something to do with being a bit tighter. But still, I'm looking at the small end of my wardrobe, and now the only things that don't fit are things that I've never fit into, that I bought during my last weight loss phase but never made it to. A Proenza Schouler for Target coat that I hope to wear in the spring. The 100%-cotton Gap jeans I used as a measuring tape last time around, so I'd know when I could call myself a straight-size 20 (they're a few hip-inches away from buttoning easily). And a few things that physically contain my body but don't look quite right yet.
I was 254.8 this morning. The bottom of the ellipse is looming up at me. I made a goal to hit 252 by the end of the month but now something in me is straining for another 5 pounds instead of another 3. We'll see. My face is puffing like I'm getting ready for a period.
This morning I spent a couple hours texting with a good friend—in fact, the friend I mentioned a few entries back, the teeny woman who, lo these fourteen years ago, put me in her car and took me to my first Torrid in an act of colossal caring and completely justified impatience—about the state of things since surgery. Another dear friend, having successfully defended her dissertation yesterday, is coming to spend the weekend with me in Brooklyn this weekend, and I'm so excited to see her; we'll go to another friend's party and perhaps out dancing afterwards; we'll sit up late and talk and finally I'll get to tell her about all this stuff that I've been keeping off her plate as she's pushed hard for this massive thing she's just achieved. I feel so lucky—blessed, even, though I loathe the word—to have friends who can hold my complicated feelings around this thing that I did, this change that I made. I feel like they can hear my ambivalence, my uncertainty, and they can hold it with me and love me in it. I did not know until now, I don't think, how capable they were of doing this, or that I might be capable of letting them. Love me when I'm frail. Love me when I'm confused, afraid. Love me when I don't know the answer.
In therapy, we talk about continuity. How to shore up a sense of a stable self in the face of colossal change. These people are part of the answer. They have known me at all the sizes I have been as an adult; some of them have known me when I was an embattled, disordered teenager. They are, themselves, a kind of evident continuity, and I think I have to lean into their care. Ever more present, more honest, more real.