What I Can’t See

I lost weight recently. Which still feels like an odd thing to say, even though I’ve been losing weight for some time. I don’t know when it started exactly. I’ve never owned a scale, so it wasn’t until Christmas that my Grandmother made a comment and then immediately bought me a scale to prove her point. I was losing weight.

This came as a surprise to me. It wasn’t until it became apparent what was happening that I started to realize how much of a surprise. Evidently some part of me never thought it would happen.

Now, this would probably be where I tell you about some revolutionary new diet/exercise/life program that is responsible for my success. And I really wish I could. But the truth is that I wasn’t really trying. It just sort of happened. And I swear I’m not bragging, even though that fact has infuriated more than a few of my friends, co-workers, and family.

I guess I’ve been eating less. I guess I’ve been walking more, getting outside. Both products of my living alone and occasionally just being plain sick of that fact. But I don’t know what “it” is that has made me shed more than 50 pounds in the last year. I almost wish there was something. Maybe that would help.

Because the problem is, as much as people have been telling me that I appear thinner, I can’t see it. Oh, the numbers on the scale don’t lie. And the fact that I’ve had to buy new pants twice in the past six months is certainly an indicator. But I can’t see it.

When I look in the mirror, the person who looks back looks a lot like me, like how I’ve always looked. Same face, same body. And I don’t know what I would’ve expected. Like I wouldn’t recognize me? But somehow I expected something else. Maybe it’s just been too gradual, going on longer that I was even paying attention to it, so I just never noticed. Maybe I’m just being crazy. Or maybe it’s something else.

Because when people compliment me, stop me in shock and swear I’m wasting away, as much as I am flattered, my first response is a shrug and a furrowed brow. A sort of startled shock of my own, as if I’m not convinced. As if to say “are you sure? Look closer.”

I’ve never been really good at taking compliments, but something tells me this runs deeper. Something tells me this is about self-image. Because I’ve been fat for as long as I can remember, and that has shaped how I see myself. So much so that I didn’t believe I’d ever be different. So it’s hard to see myself as anything else, and thus hard for me to believe anyone else could. Because I’ve been one way for so long I can’t stand that people would see me as anything else.

As much as losing weight is a good thing, it’s brought with it something unexpectedly difficult. It still feels weird to say I’ve lost weight, even though I have. And as much as the numbers don’t lie, I still find myself doubtful at my own accomplishment.

But I wonder if I should just take the compliment. When people tell me they can see it, maybe I should trust them. Maybe there is a time to take someone else’s opinion over my own. Because maybe I’m too close to see it.

And maybe if I do, I’ll start to see it. Maybe I’ll start to realize that I can change, that I have changed. That I don’t have to think of myself a certain way, and there are people in my life who know that and will tell me so.

As much as we shouldn’t let other people define us, maybe there is a time we can let them help. Maybe they’re not flattering us or lying to us. Maybe they really can see something we can’t. Whether it’s our talents, our personalities, our achievements, that, for whatever reason, we ourselves can’t see, the people who really care about us can. And maybe we should let them tell us.

And maybe we should believe them.

About the Author

Douglas Humphries is, more or less, a writer with a day job. He likes C.S. Lewis, marathoning TV series on Netflix, and one of these days he might work up the courage to edit that novel of his. Twitter: @Douglas_AmongUs Tumblr: http://douglasamongus.tumblr.com/

5 thoughts on “What I Can’t See

  1. Douglas, this is written with so much honesty. You make great points— sometimes it is so hard to understand what others see in us because we are too busy doubting ourselves.

    Beautiful post. :)