Friday, October 4, 2013

Age 20

I know what it feels like. When somebody with no regard for anything makes known and publicly draws attention to how fat you are. When you’re alone it’s like a worse version of tripping when no one sees - it’s degrading and highly embarrassing, but you don’t need to share the moment with anyone and can therefore go on pretending it never happened. But when you’re not alone, when you’re with any number of people, it’s a moment that so painfully and unfairly catches you off-guard that a response cannot be conjured. How can you really respond to something so against common and decent practice? There are no understood rules for dealing with this situation because these situations have been established as too taboo for discussion and are therefore too rare for preparation.

So every time some punkass kid or drunken frat dude made a comment about the fat friend, I froze. I wouldn’t speak because what could I say, and I didn’t do anything because what could I do. It was true, after all. I wasn’t blind, I just lived as if I were. I was aware of the situation, but I could convince you I wasn’t. When someone calls your bluff on ignoring the elephant in the room, you’re vulnerably and inevitably at a loss.

Fast forward.

It’s just another day in which I exit the stall and stand in front of the full-length mirror and stare. Complete shock and awe. You would think that because these moments occur every hour of every day, the image of my physical self wouldn’t surprise me the way it still does every time I get a glimpse of it. My legs are long and my waist is even thinner in reality than I can conceptualize with my own eyes. I turn sideways and wonder where it all went and how it was just there a minute ago. Flex. Holy shit. Who am I?

I pay no attention to the fact that I’m washing my hands because now I catch myself up close. Boy do I love these collar bones. Every facial feature is narrower, but luckily still in proportion. I stand up straight and use my eyes to flirt with my reflection one last time before looking away and inhaling deeply to regroup. I conclude this tiny little bathroom chapter of today and move on back into the world outside my own mind.