Last night Pete and I had a date of sorts. We went to Stella's Fish Cafe as part of restaurant week. It's perfect for us really. For $30 we split an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. Perfect.
We had never been to Stella's before, but saw it often when we went to listen to the blues at Famous Dave's in Uptown. We walked up and up and up these stairs to get to the rooftop and were immediately seated next to the rail. It was a gorgeous night with the lingering sun and a slight breeze. I felt especially girly and summery in one of my cotton dresses. Pete looked handsome in his black slacks and stripped collar shirt.
We had wonderful food and people watched the entire time. I felt girly, like I belonged there because I looked like the other women there. If you've ever been big and not well dressed for your size, you will understand what I mean. It's a sense that you are big and only have limited clothing so you wear what is available, not what is in style. I commented about this several times to Pete and he said it's similar for men, although he admitted a little easier.
Towards the end of the meal, two women walked by. Both in jean capris with double tank tops and hair tied up in a loose knot. Only one was "normal" and one was "big". The larger of the two held her arms crossed in front of her the whole time and she looked very uncomfortable. I wanted so badly to reach out to her and tell her that I have been her...that I understand her. But the awkwardness of it all kept me from doing that. So I commented to Pete that I was her. He commented back that he was her too.
How profound. I asked Pete why we never shared this before? Why didn't we share in the awkwardness of being big and trying to cover it up and not being happy? He didn't know and at the time I didn't know. But I think now, it's because you really don't understand how unhappy you are. And this is not to say that I wasn't a happy person when I was big, because I was happy. But I certainly wasn't happy about how I didn't fit in.
And right or wrong I have to admit that I see bigger women and I compare myself to them. Not my lower weight me, my big me. I compare myself when I was big to what they look like and I try to see myself in them. I wonder if I looked that unhappy? Did I look that big? Were my hips that wide? Did my clothes fit badly/were they too tight? I'm not judging them, I'm judging the old me. When I can't tell, I ask Pete if I looked like them. Was I as heavy as them? It's as though I can't remember the old me, yet I don't know the new me very well either. I'm stuck not knowing the outside me at all any more. And it's somewhat frightening. To be 42 years old and not know myself.
I left dinner deep in thought and feeling closer to my husband than ever. We've gone through the same things, but at different times. We've seen each other big and small. And I hope soon I'll learn the new me and understand how it all fits together.