When preparing for my surgery I soaked up all the information I could. I read websites and blogs constantly. I talked to my surgeon and my dietitian and I thought I was prepared for everything.
But there are some things that no amount of research or talking it through can really prepare you for. No matter how ready you think you are some things will emotionally broadside you.
Intellectually I knew that after losing weight I’d be treated differently by a lot of people. People would notice me, not look past me anymore, or worse, through me. I knew this!
But this woman up there, in that photo was obese from the age of six. She was used to being overlooked, looked past, and looked through. She never had to figure out if a guy was only interested in her body because she was never that girl. She was the “you have a pretty face” girl. She was the “I love your personality” girl.
I was miserable and online dating was depressingly not productive. I couldn’t get a reply from someone that truly interested me to save my life, but I was weirdly fine with it because that was my normal. I was lonely, and unhealthy, tired all the time, and alone (which is different than lonely). But it was all my status quo.
This woman up there, she’s completely overwhelmed. People look at her, they see her. After decades of not being noticed she’s getting attention and it’s so alien to her that navigating these social situations is as awkward as trying to teach a cow to purr.
I am thirty-five and I’m negotiating dating now with all the personal experience that the average sophomore in high school had when I was going. I have no reserve of past experiences to draw on to help me figure out who is interested in me, and who just wants the new body.
I signed up a new account on one dating site and uploaded new photos to another one and my inbox exploded. Because I know what it feels like to not get a reply I feel I have to reply to all of them and don’t get me started on all the inappropriate messages. Inappropriate photos have happened when I’ve given my phone number out to some of them. It’s all exhausting.
I know, horrible problem to have right? But I’ve met some of these guys in person and a time or two I’ve let things get a little too far and then poof they vanish.
I’m grateful for a lot of things about my surgery. I’m grateful for being healthier, and having my energy. I’m even grateful for having to buy more clothes because now I have prettier options than I had before.
But in a lot of ways I’m not grateful for this part. It was easier when I didn’t have hope, when I could count on not getting noticed and was used to it. Having hope and thinking I’ve found someone, just someone to be my person (yes I watch Grey’s Anatomy), only to have it yanked away is painful; more so than the friend zone that I lived in.
I’m looking forward to when I figure out some social filters to make this all easier. Eventually this former cow is going to figure out how to purr.