On Monday I had a conversation with my boss about my experiences with the world at large since I've been losing weight.
It turned into one of those chicken or the egg type of conversations.
I expressed to her that there are people who are now noticing and speaking to me that never once acknowledged my existence before. This is pretty much an universal change in behavior - with people inside and outside of work that I've encountered.
It has puzzled me why they are now able to see me. Why was I invisible before? Was the 76 pounds of fat I used to carry around a shield through which I just couldn't be seen? I'm the same person, right? I am still just as smart, just as stubborn, just as geeky as I've always been. What has changed? Was it the fat? Or have I, in fact, changed internally as well?
Angella, my boss, told me that the biggest comment she has had about me in the past year is that I am now more open with other people. I now venture outside of my cubicle and interact with others. Okay, I will give her that. I do know that I've always shielded myself from insult and rejection by being reclusive. But is this the thing that has prevented me from being seen before? Have I, with the weight dropping off, become different? I suppose I have been more social. It is something I made a point of working on in 2008 because I was really unsatisfied with that area of my life and wanted to change it.
However, I have always written off my invisibility factor to being overweight. The unwritten law of this world is that if you are fat and you are a woman you are judged and perceived far differently than anyone else. It doesn't matter how smart, funny, moral, etc. that you are because all of those attributes are secondary to the shell that you inhabit.
I am more confident after losing weight. I bought new clothes that aren't stretch pants and tee shirts. I now wear make up. I cut my hair earlier this year and do more than throw it into a pony tail every day. I bought a flat iron for crying out loud! And even worse, I know how to use it! Who is this woman that actually cares about her appearance?
So, all of that translates into an easier time of being open to others and that draws them to me which enables me to actually be seen instead of slipping through this world unnoticed.
I think it is the chicken and the egg in this situation. I am now seen because I've lost weight, but I am also seen because I am more confident because of losing weight.