Recently I was told that I am vain. I almost laughed out loud. I didn’t bother defending myself. The person making the accusation wouldn’t have understood my way of thinking. She hasn’t in 43 years. The only thing it would have done is cause another argument.
Growing up the only person I remember saying I was pretty was my mother. Even she would add “But you would be so much prettier if you would just lose some weight”. When I started drinking and going to parties sometimes a guy would make a comment to me. I remember a popular guy in high school saying I looked good one night. My response was to turn around and look behind me to see who he was talking to. Over time as my drinking became worse, and so did the company I kept, that changed. The more I drank, the cockier I became. Alcohol on most occasions didn’t act like a depressant on me it acted like a stimulant. My brain chemistry was different. I would start at 5 p.m. and keep going until 4 a.m. or so. I did a lot of damage to myself not to mention others.
Sober, I never found anything positive in the mirror. The numbers on the scale kept going up and up until I reached 270. When medications and illness caused me to rapidly lose 135 pounds I didn’t see anything different in the mirror. Without guidance from anyone on how to dress for this new shape I found my own style and was unsure what looked right. No one would go shopping with me. My sister was now heavier than me and wasn’t dealing well with it. I was having to ask strangers and dressing room attendants if pants or shirts were the right fit. It was sometimes embarrassing.
Then came comments of the opposite nature. “You’re too thin, you look sick”. Ummm, I was and still am sick so maybe that’s why. It never ends. Even now if I am in a public place I don’t think about how I look or about bending over to put air in my tire until some idiot makes a gross comment. Even then it takes a few minutes for me realize they are talking to me. I fuss with my hair and make up constantly because that was the only thing I had control over when I was 270 pounds. I could at least make those things look good. Now it’s a nervous habit. I’m not comfortable in my own body and I’m not sure I ever will be.
There were too many years of torment physically and verbally that no matter what I do, who I talk to, just won’t go away. It’s a horrible thing to admit but the only the times I had confidence, even if it wasn’t real, is when I drank. It gets harder and harder to leave the house. It’s become too much effort just to go to the grocery store.
The peanut gallery keeps telling me there are plenty of things I can do on my own. I don’t need other people to do things with. I know that. I WANT other people to do things with. I have an extremely hard time making friends. If one more person tells me to “join a group” I might slap them. Let them join some of the “groups” they keep pushing me to join. They wouldn’t last a day. I’ve tried many of them over the years. Each one leaving me feeling more alone and more scared about how I will be in the future.