PART TWO: Suddenly, eyes slipped off me like I’d been coated in wax. There exists an inverse relationship between weight and invisibility: the heavier you are and the more space you take up, ironically the more invisible you become. It was crushing. I was never in a Scarlett O’Hara circle of fawning beaux (oh well) in my freshman year, but I certainly wasn’t invisible. People saw me. They checked me out. They spoke to me. Beetlejuice** flirted, and even though his head was way too small for his body and I wasn’t remotely interested, I had been noticed.
But then I got my wax coat treatment, and I stopped going to parties because why get dressed up and go somewhere to be invisible? We are so much more than our weight, but it is our weight that we are judged upon. I blew up larger and larger and became more and more unseen, and thus retreated further and further. I backed myself all the way into a very bad relationship as my very first one in my junior year, because I figured that I couldn’t do any better, and would have to take what I could get.
Last week at Whole Foods, someone saw me. Usually, I move invisibly through the store, and if I can’t find something, I’m too shy to ask. But I was feeling okay in my body, which isn’t great, but is no longer gargantuan. I put aside my shyness to speak to an employee, and he saw me. I wasn’t a wax-coated blob before him asking for roast beef. There was intensity to his look, and I realized that I have regained some of the visibility that I lost. It was startling to be seen. He eagerly walked me clear across the store to show me where it had been moved, speaking a little flirtatiously.
There’s extra panda than there should be, but it’s not a giant amount. I’ve got my snazzy purple clogs, a nice outfit, and that returns some of the little store of confidence I once had in my appearance. It may sound silly that I put such weight into my weight. But at my heaviest, I looked sloppy. To become invisible made me ashamed. I’m sorry that my reaction to this at 19 was to cheapen my value to such a discount rate that the criteria for my first relationship was just the first person who came along. That’s horrible. But that is what I did.
In the 180s, someone saw me. I wonder what will come of the 170s. It may be that I have to develop some social skills, most left abandoned half-formed at 19 when the wax encased me. I am curious what will happen at 166. Just 20.6 pounds to go.