Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Both Sides Now

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed

Insecurity persists, even as I painted a rosy picture of the events of last weekend. But although I truly enjoyed getting out and being amongst the living, I'm sure that I was not a welcome addition. More of an interloper.
The problem is that I don't know, anymore, where the dim line of welcome and unwelcome really exists in everyday interactions. Is this a universal problem for humanity, or does this make me unique, different, and in an - ahem - unproductive way?

There's no question that some of my worry is for good cause. In my old spinning guild, whenever I have contact with one of the officers, at best, I'm met with either silence or waves of hostility. The last contact we had - over the author of the LA Times Article of last month wanting to contact me with additional questions, she was outright aggresive. Angry at me because the author didn't interview her too. Like that was either my intention or I had any control over it? And this was only one of several encounters this year like that... where I am perplexed whether it's something that I have done or if it's others, unable to cope with the changes in me.

Or, more likely, both.

Others in that group have also been hostile. I don't even know why! Did I do something wrong? Maybe. Probably. But what? They won't talk to me so I can understand my offenses, do my penance, and redeem myself. I've even asked directly, but have been met with evasive answers or silence.

I do know that I've changed. Thanks to Richard (and I'm unclear whether it's a positive "Thank you!" or a sarcastic "Thanks. A lot."), I put stock in my appearance, working hard to maintain my weight, putting on make-up, being more careful about what I wear. Is that what the problem is? It started out as an effort to improve my health, but became so much more over time. Overall, I'm treated better when I look better. Taken more seriously by outsiders. Helped more. Respected more. I don't want to give that up. Sue me.
But the people that I used to love and admire the most are distant now. My fault? Theirs? I do have a policy of dismissing the hostility of individuals, figuring that it's their issue. But I also believe that when it's everyone, I need to look at myself. But where do I even begin?

I miss the creative exchange. But I'm afraid of more rejection. This group recently attacked another member - a very talented and sensitive person - in an online yahoo list, even as the individual protested that the attention wasn't wanted. I truly believe that it started out as a joke, but when it wasn't taken well, it escalated into cruel ritual until that person left. Why do I even want to associate with them anymore? If I had someplace else to go, would I want anything to do with them? I don't know!

And the new circles who I am slowly meeting through my relationship and classes? They terrify me. Those people are intelligent beyond most people with whom I have associated in the past, articulate, accomplished, successful... publicly successful. In as if I named names, you'd know who they were. Do I fit in there? I doubt it. Issues of health have stunted my ability to grow, at least in ways measurable by societies standards. I am not smart enough, accomplished enough, educated enough for them, not that they've ever said or even intimated anything about it, but I know. I string beads for a "living." And am hardly able to do even that. For although the output of my efforts is very well received, when I pursue it for more than an hour or two at a time, I hurt beyond all belief (Fibromyalgia), and am fatigued to the point of being bone-weary. So what do I talk about with these new people? The weather? Hardly enough, I would think.

So what now? I don't know. Go count the number of people who have lost the amount of weight I have and kept it off. One. Me. Well Beth has lost as much and she understands more of it, but she lives in Baltimore. I live for our contact, but it's by phone and not human. The rest of the Fab 4 also get "it" to a certain degree (they didn't have to lose nearly as much weight as Beth or I - good for them! - but that means that they haven't faced nearly the same amount of social convulsion either), but they're far away too. In Los Angeles, I'm basically on my own with nobody understanding the dilemma. No wonder everyone gains back everything they lost. Obesity is not just an affliction, it's also a point of reference and a dependable one at that. Before, even as limited as my possibilities were, I "knew" who I was and where I fit in. Now I am adrift in a world that I don't understand and don't know if I'll ever "get it" again.

Where are people with whom I can feel comfortable? Do they exist? Or are my flaws so great that I won't have any meaningful social structure ever again?

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails