Social Butterflies

Photo Credit: Hugo von Schreck via Compfight cc
When you are an obese person, frequently the company you like best is your own. Though advertising would have us believe that beautiful and trendy people are out partying it up, the fact remains that, when you are uncomfortable due to your size, you would just as soon stay home and eat a pizza while binge-watching “Orange Is The New Black.”
Eating the whole pizza, that is.
“Fat” is just not real conducive to social gatherings, ya know? You are sure everyone is watching (and judging) you all the time, so you sit in the corner. You sweat like crazy, thanks to a combination of your obesity and your nervousness, which you are positive makes you smell horrible. You gaze at everyone else’s figures and assume that, since they are not obese, their lives must be better than your own. So, you just stay home instead.
It has been tough breaking out of that mindset. Lor has always been more social than I am, and has been instrumental in getting me out of the house recently. A couple of weekends ago we attended a birthday party. This last weekend we had dinner with some friends that we haven’t seen in months, and also went to a weekly gathering we have been invited to for years and have just never gone to because, you know, fat.
The weird part is that I still suffer from those same social fears, just with a slightly different emphasis. I still think everyone is looking at me, but now I am convinced that they are wondering why I haven’t lost more weight. While dining in public I now worry that our friends are silently judging us for how little we are eating. I am finding other reasons to assume that people’s lives are better than my own, no longer based on weight.
Sigh. At least I am no longer sweating so much. So there is that.
Despite my battle with my private neuroses, it has been wonderful getting to hang around people I haven’t seen in years, in some cases over a decade. I find myself surrounded by people that are genuinely interested in Lor and I, wondering where we’ve  been and how we have been doing. In many cases, the weight loss and surgery don’t even come up as a topic of conversation – our friends are interested in the people we are no matter how much or how little we might weigh. That has been amazingly gratifying.
Also interesting is the number of people who have gone through, or know someone who has gone through, bariatric surgery. It is becoming less and less a taboo subject, a demonstration of failure or laziness, but is instead being viewed as a standard treatment for a real illness. This is amazing, and I hope it continues. Once obesity is no longer viewed as a simple failure of willpower, we as a country will get a whole lot healthier.
I am very grateful for the friends that have been patiently waiting for us to rejoin their lives, and I find that I have really missed social interaction more than I thought I did. Thanks to Lor, I am sure that we will be expanding our social circles even wider as time goes on. She is determined to re-enter the world that I have been hiding us from for years now.
Not that there is anything wrong with staying home and binge-watching “Sons of Anarchy” for entertainment every once in a while.
Stretching My Fragile Socialite Wings,
– Hawkwind

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