Dietgirl visitors were curious about the reactions I got back in Australia. I was approximately 20 kilos lighter and three sizes smaller than when I left in 2003, so it was a decent difference. Everyone was really sweet about it. I got a few "Oh my god look at YOU, you're so SKINNY!" kind of reactions which are always fun. I also got a lot of incredulous shaking of the heads and little smiles, "You're looking great, you know. Really really really great!" Which is a really polite way of saying, "Holy CRAP you were fat before. I didn't want to say anything at the time but I was worried you might explode! So what a relief to see you somewhat deflated!"
I was reunited with my precious gang of high school buddies at the Aussie wedding. It's now ten years since we left school, and we're scattered all over the countryside. It was incredible to hear what everyone's been up to, some of them have some really interesting careers. I hadn't seen many of them for five years or more so they didn't know what I really did for a living. I just sprouted some self-deprecating jokes about my glittering secretarial career. But then one of my closer friends piped up, "What about your writing? What about the Cosmo story?".
"Oh yeah," I mumbled, "That."
"You wrote a story for Cosmo?" said one of my mates, "Wow!"
"So what was it about?"
Here's the thing. In the first five years after I left high school, I soared from a sturdy size 18 to bursting out of a size 26. During those five years I was one depressed/ depressing anti-social mofo, outwardly happy and jolly for awhile but then descending into full hermit-mode. I kept in touch via email and phone, but for the most part managed to physically avoid my old friends during my very fattest days. I hid away until a wedding in 2002, and by then I'd shrunk back into a size 18/20, was off my pills and was once again a functioning member of society. It was like the Dark Days™ never happened!
"Welllllll, this will be news to you all, but after we left school I got really honking hugely overweight!" I blurted. "And then I lost a shitload of it, wrote about it for a book, then Cosmo picked it up and asked me to write an article, and that's about it really!"
"Cool! That's fantastic!"
That little incident has been stuck in my mind ever since. I can't stop thinking about the past ten years – all the things my friends and I had done, and the fact that my decade was dominated by my goddamn fat. I spent the first five years accumulating ridiculous amounts of it, then the next five obsessed with making it go away. Sure I had some interesting travels, and even had a decent career back in Australia — but when it came time to summarise a decade of achievements, the overwhelming theme was my bloody weight.
Then there's the writing thing. I've know since I was in kindergarten that all I wanted to do was write. And this year I amazingly got paid to write and saw my name in print a few times – the most incredible rush you can imagine. But again, it was about the fat. I am proud as punch to be published, but there's part of me that is both amused, frustrated and embarrassed that I had to become obese in order to find something to write about. That I had to lose half my body weight in order to write something publishable.
It feels so awkward when old pals ask, "Are you still writing? Have you got anything published yet?" and I have to explain this whole stupid saga about how I got fat and blogged ("What's a blog?") and blah blah blah. It doesn't feel like a legitimate achievement. I mean, I've always been uncomfortable to class losing weight as one of my "achievements". It only reminds me that as a pampered Westerner I had the luxury of being able to "achieve" obesity in the first place. And to earn some cash by writing about it somehow feels even more ridiculous.
Most of all it just makes me think, what the hell have I been doing for ten years? And all the years before that, even when I was six years old, when everything I said or did I was tainted by my weight.
All these questions are churning in my head.
What do I want to write about besides fat?
What are my hobbies aside from losing weight?
What do I want to do with my life?
What do I want to be able to say I've achieved when my friends meet up in another ten years?
Even though I moved to Scotland and had adventures, I still feel like my life has been too much about my weight. I must have buried my personality in the food I binged on, but I don't seem to have found it again as I've lost weight. While my husband is madly into his music and motorbikes and whatnot, I struggle to list any true hobbies of my own. Blogging? Body Pump?
What's most annoying is that while I am so fucking sick of my life being about my fat, I am still overweight and my jeans may just slice me in half today. Almost five years and I've not finished the job.
The glaring absence of Dietgirl entries since I returned from Oz is due to me wallowing in this minor identity crisis; and generally being a sullen, dejected and apathetic little shite. Homesickness hasn't helped either. But I've realised I need to find a balance between getting to a healthy size and GETTING A LIFE. I need to figure out who I am and who I want to be apart from That Chick That Lost Heaps Of Weight. There is so much more to me than that, and it'll be fun trying to work out what that is.
Okay, enough of this navel-gazing wankery. Someone from work could be reading.