Just not feeling this love

So my mother has an acquaintance, who I shall call Mrs. M. Mrs. M’s husband works or used to work with the Old Man. She has a bad-ass kid that my mother occasionally lets come over and fight with and beat-up on Ali. Now, my mother has her own issues with Mrs. M that seem to stem from a general xenophobia I’ve noticed on my mother’s part. But her issues are not mine. I think she’s a nice woman, and that her kid may need a bit more structure in his life before he gets hit with an ADHD diagnosis and drugs in the coming years. But that’s neither here nor there.

Mrs. M and Bad-ass Kid came over last week on Ali’s birthday to give her a present and hang out for a while. Mrs. M hasn’t seen me in a year, so when I opened the door, she got something of a shock at my new look. When my mother came in the room, they did that Mother Thing, where they talk about you and around you as though you weren’t in the room. Mrs. M kept repeating that I looked good, and etc., etc. Fine, whatever, I can mentally interpret these compliments to mean that I look healthier now, or even somewhat better now. But then she started in on how I’m beautiful, and there’s where my smile became positively stilted and I had to actively avoid giving her my “What in the fuck?” look.

Now, aside from my own general issues on the word beautiful being used to describe me, how is it exactly that me shedding some pounds suddenly turns me into a beautiful person, on any level? I’ve got the same prickly personality, same nerdy interests, and a similar quirky outlook on life that I left Charlotte with nearly a year ago. This is the same mug I’ve been flashing people for the last (nearly) twenty years. My body’s just a little more “normal” appearing to those that don’t/can’t look too closely.

But I’m in the club now. You can pessimistically call it the Not-Fat/Obese Club, or, slightly more friendly-like, the More Normal-Looking Club. This is the club that gets me hit on at the gas station when I’m filling up my mother’s tank. This is also the club where people are much more likely to underestimate my seriousness when I say I want somthing or will do something. This is the club where people pay just a little more attention to you. The social dynamics have changed. It’s almost as though I became a woman, suddenly capable (worthy?) of having an interest in men I deem eligible. Or maybe I just became a person, capable of having a little bit of influence on the world around me.

For me to say something like, “How is it that I have more a face now than I ever did before?” would be ludicrous. I know overweight people are discriminated against. There’s a nice little fog surrounding you full of the stereotypes–lazy, gluttonous, weak, lacking in discipline/self-control, etc.–that you have to fight through to be as visible as someone who fits society’s idea of an acceptable size. Or, at least, that’s how it felt to me at times. Could have just been me, though.

But this More Normal-Looking Club… If I could keep my health, I’d turn back in my membership card and return to being the entity that could slip through a mall without people noticing and that people knew meant business when I said shit would be done.

(My new membership, though, along with Mrs. M’s remarks, sent me back to an old entry of mine on that centered my membership in another “club”: being black and not always answering the race question on applications. Re-reading, I find I still hold the same opinion–my race should hold just as much water with colleges/jobs as my weight and the fact that I have exactly ten toes–c’est-à-dire, none.)