Monday, September 20, 2010

Big Impression for a Shortie

Apparently I leave big impressions. I have proof.

The first time this occurred was when I was back home visiting after I'd moved away. I'd been gone a year and had not changed anything substantially about myself in that time. However, upon my return, people kept asking, 'How did you lose ALL that weight?" They were genuine! They were flabberghasted! They were impressed and wanted the details! Or, in the case of my mother, concerned.

Now this would be very flattering had I once possessed a lot of weight and done some amazing work to lose it. But that was not the case. And although I denied it, for some reason people refused to believe me. That's where this becomes a pet peeve.

I am a very truthful person. I detest lying, subterfuge, even negotiation and sales tactics as they so often involve half truths and partial disclosure throughout the process. And I'm incredibly honest about myself and my life with people close to me. I would never lie about something like dramatically losing a lot of weight. Luckily, I've been blessed with a very consistent metabolism and my weight only fluctuates about 5lb over the years. (One single exception being when my first marriage fell apart and I lost about 15 lbs and gained it back over the following year.)

Now I would have shrugged this off and kept it as an odd, slightly flattering memory but over the years it recurrs and recurrs. Today was one of those special days.

I ran into a girl in the hall at work who has just returned from maternity leave. I said a friendly and enthusiastic, "Hi, how are you? Are you happy to be back?"

She quickly answered and then said "You look so different!"

I thought for a second, "Oh yes, the hair is streaked and shorter!"

"No," she said, "you're so small. How did you lose all that?"

"Oh, no," I said knowing what was about to happen,"I'm the same as I always am."

"No, you're not" she insisted giving me another sweeping look.

By now I know it's futile and I should just lie and say I lost 20 pounds and say thanks for noticing. But I can't! I haven't! I AM exactly the same as I always am!

"You're not alone," I say, "this often happens when I haven't seen someone in a while. People remember me bigger for some reason." My smile is slightly strained, I want to move on, drop the topic.

"Really?!?," she asks, giving me a slightly hurt, I-don't-believe-a-word-of-it, why-are-you-lying look.

"Really," I say, "I'm the same, no change."

"Oh, well..." awkward pause.

"Anyway, glad to have you back," I say and we part ways.

And she is not alone, over the years this has happened with my mother, my sister, old friends, new friends who I haven't seen in a few months, colleagues, and even the ex-husband! That was a good day... that was satisfying....until he refused to believe me. Until he insisted, "You were never in all the time we were together, (9 years) ever, even close to that skinny." And when I said rather irritatedly "I own a scale." He said 'Then it's broken."

The truth is at the end of our marriage, when things hit the fan and I was a total wreck, I was almost 20 lbs less than at the time this conversation occurred.

I believe it is a general rule in 'polite' society: Don't comment on other people's weight. And if you slip and you do, thinking it will be a compliment, let it go immediately. Just say they look good and move on. Don't persist, it becomes insulting.

I don't want to think that people remember me as being fat. That's totally depressing.

So instead I try to believe that I leave such a big impression that people actually remember me larger than I am in actual life. And since people generally don't lose inches off their height, they end up thinking I've lost inches off my a.... other areas.

We make our own reality right?

In other news, I don't know what has come over me or what has transpired to make me so happy but I have been in a good mood for over two weeks! Whoo hoo. Even cloudy cool days weren't bringing my energy down or dampening my spirit. And so I blame happiness for my blogging absence.

Will do better. Lots to write about!


  1. Well, that is interesting! Have I ever said this to you? I'm sure I sometimes forget what a height difference there is between us until we pass a mirror or window, but I always think of you as beautifully lean. Although you certainly leave a huge impression personality wise.

    For me, people always think they have met me or a relative of mine. I apparently have a completely generic face. What a girl is always going for...similar to everyone else. Sigh.

  2. Hillary, you're an exception, I don't think you've said it but I do recall specifically asking you not to before your last visit. ha ha ha