Next week on Sunday I will begin posting the pictures all my lovely friends and family have made for me (and one I made myself before getting any others). Before I begin though, I thought I should explain some things to those who don’t know why I decided to do this. One year ago today, I joined Weight Watchers. In that year, I lost close to 61 pounds, I’ve dropped from a pants size of 22 to 14. I can run up flights of stairs without grabbing for my cellphone in case I need to call for help. I can control the amount of food I eat without depriving myself of things I adore. I still can’t lift a fifty pound weight without wanting to weep openly, but I can kiss my knee, kneel and have my behind touch my feet and finally (thank the sweet stars) get into child’s pose without suggestively waving my tush in the air. A few days ago, I discovered that I now fit in clothes in the “regular people” section–you should have seen me gleefully skipping through the racks like a insane person finally let out. Until now, I never considered myself in league with the rest of the world. I was different and belonged to that small department placed in the corner of the world.
But now what? Everything is changing. I’m just about half-way to my goal weight, I fit in clothes sold in stores I never dreamed of walking into, and people are paying attention to me. The other night a guy at a bar asked me to have a drink with him. It blew my mind that another human being would single me out of a room of dozens for a drink.
Of course, the people who have given me pictures always paid attention to me, even when I was sheepishly standing by the counter at the back of the bar, smiling because that’s the only way I know how to keep people from asking me what’s wrong. These people are the wonderful, beautiful, perfect individuals who saw me when I was most invisible. And this project is meant to show me how they see me.
It’s important to me because until recently I could barely look at myself. I don’t mean to sound depressing or pathetic, because I am neither. I am merely being honest. I realized somewhere around losing baby number 8* that I am not the same person I was when I started this journey. I have to learn to live again–live like I am allowed to be happy and pretty and wanted by others. It’s an odd feeling having to relearn to be happy. Unlike me, these artists knew what I was about all along. I thought perhaps the best way to start reconstructing my own views would be to start with theirs.
And what better way to learn to live and be happy than through the people who make me live and be happy? These people whose work you will see haven’t just occupied a place in my life, they have made it brilliant. They have made me smile and laugh and dance and sing. They cuddled with me while screaming at the characters in Final Fantasy. They handed me non-alcoholic beverages, listened to my secrets, asked me to dance** and decided to hang out with me, meal with me and speak with me over far more interesting options. Just now as I realize that I am allowed to feel sexy and intelligent and desired, they’ve always thought I should feel that way.
That’s why this project is so special to me. It’s more than just showing me what I could let myself finally be. It’s showing me what I already am through the eyes of the people who matter most to me.
Thank you for sharing my life.
*If you don’t know what this means, let me explain. I started counting my weight loss in babies. I figured the average baby weighs about seven pounds. So far I’ve lost almost nine babies worth of weight.
**I vividly remember being asked to dance for the first time by a member of the opposite sex who did not know me previous to said dance. I thought my happiness would cause fireworks to shoot out of my eyes. It doesn’t beat the first time I danced with you, but it will always be one of my happiest memories.