What it is
When I was a teenager, I got black-out drunk on green-apple vodka at Lake of the Woods and slept with a friend of a friend who was missing a front tooth. Our mutual pal said he was lonely, which was perfect, because I was lonely at the time, too.
I didn’t remember any of the encounter, but woke up in one of his brown, moustache patterned t-shirts and a few texts from a number I didn’t recognize.
A couple of months before the green-apple incident, my first boyfriend ever had broken up with me, and I was absolutely convinced I’d never find love again (I’m Italian. We’re very dramatic.)
I was destined for the life of a spinster, and had accepted my defeat in the form of frequenting Winnipeg nightclubs on weekends with decent a fake-ID from Quebec. I mean, what was a single 17-year-old to do?
I was going to die alone.
(Side note, to whoever told my parents/my friend’s parents about our fake-IDs in high school: Fuck. You.)
During the time, my self-worth was virtually non-existent, and I found comfort in the advances of the opposite sex (plus, being at an all-girl’s school didn’t help my craving for that attention.) Having a boy tell me how smokin’ hot I was took away the temporary feelings of inadequacy I felt when I compared myself to skinnier, prettier friends.
I didn’t hate how I looked, but I wasn’t confident; and being wanted by anyone helped.
And even though I was plus-size– a size 14, depending on the brand– and even though I felt grossly undateable, I never once despised my body. I told myself that my curves were attractive; cellulite, stretch-marks, and all– and I still truly believe that.
I had a small fraction of confidence. Even at my 230-pound heaviest, I still thought I was beautiful.
Which was why I felt like someone was pulling my large intestine out through my mouth when I sneakily read the texts on my friend’s phone from green-apple boy that were sent a few days before I slid my tongue between the gap in his teeth.
“Has she lost any weight?”
Was I thinner,
or was I still fat?
People tell you a lot about how you should feel after losing weight.
Some will tell you that you’ll feel more energized; not as lethargic. Others will comment that you’ll be more confident in your own skin; that clothes shopping will be ‘easier’ now that you’re not plus-size. That you’ll be happier all ’round.
That you’ll look–and therefore must feel– fantastic in your new shrunken, slender mass of epidermis.
There may be some who say things like, “Honestly, I just can’t get over how awesome you look!” or “You’re so tiny! What’s your secret?” or “I’m so happy for you!”
“I didn’t even recognize you!” others will say , which is odd because I had recognized myself earlier that morning while lining my lips in a dirty bathroom mirror.
“How much weight have you lost?!” others will ask, which is strange because I keep thinking you wouldn’t ask someone how much they gained.
Or maybe they won’t even bother to say hello. Maybe the perky little shopgirl will just jump into how you’re not fat anymore, like what happened at my old place of work a few weeks ago.
To date, I’ve lost around 60 pounds. The weight has slowly come off since September 2014 with the help of stress, soup, copious amounts of water, and an exercise routine of 50 squats and 50 sit-ups a day.
I wish I could tell you my ‘secret,’ but I don’t have one.
And I wish I could tell you that I feel like a new person– like Cella-Turbo 2.0 –but I can’t.
And I wish I could tell you that dropping 60 pounds changed every aspect of my life in the best most splendiferous ways possible, but I can’t.
And I wish I could tell you that most of my current conversations with friends and family have to do with ANYTHING besides my weight-loss, but I can’t.
And I wish I could tell you that losing weight makes everyone feel infinitely prettier/babelier/beautiful/sexier, but I honestly cant.
Do I have more confidence? Yes.
Do I have to replace my entire closet because nothing fits? Yes.
Do I think other people treat me differently because of my weight-loss? Yes.
I can’t tell you that my weight-loss experience was life-changing, but what I can do is tell you that the biggest lesson I learned from shrinking does not come from how you feel at the end of the day when you’ve shrunk,
and it does not come from how your clothes no-longer fit,
or what your scale spins to,
or how long you’ve gone without a red-velvet cupcake,
or a glass of green-apple vodka.
It comes from the voices of other people.
Which is probably why it’s so deafening to hear how “happy I am for you now!”
Because I was happy before.
But it is what it is.