I want to write about Thanksgiving, but it’s hard to even remember much about it.
My wife’s grandmother passed away unexpectedly a few short days before the holiday, leaving her family scrambling to figure out funeral arrangements on top of holiday planning. Wife has been understandably emotional. Her family is predictably WASP-y, all but ignoring the death of their matriarch.
There was virtually no mention of her during the holiday spent together.
Not a single person asked about me. Or my wife. Or anyone, really. They talked about sports, television, Broadway, politics. There were some heated discussions, which is always confusing since we’re all vehemently liberal. We’re on the same damn side.
Somehow we found a way to argue about politics anyway. I suppose it’s not a holiday without that requisite?
The food was terrifying. I’d made a plan and I mostly stuck to it, but the tiny variation from that plan has me reeling even now. My intake has been dangerously low ever since in some futile attempt to even the balance and prevent imminent danger.
I wish I’d taken photos of what I ate. I always overestimate how much I eat in my head. Sometimes just visualizing what was actually on my plate at a later time helps me understand normal portions.
Whatever that means.
I should mostly be relieved that I went practically unnoticed. I’ve been getting a lot of unwanted attention about my weight recently. Our lab tech has started calling me “Miss Skinny”. Thrice in the past weeks, someone has given me a strangely executed side hug where it seems fairly obvious they’re checking the circumference of my shrinking waist.
And the comments:
“I don’t like it.” “
Ugh. If only. If only that was true. I don’t know why people say these things. I look in the mirror and see a very obviously fat person. I am legitimately fat and yet these people make these comments.
Are they making fun of me? Are they trying to sabotage me?
My therapist says people don’t say that legitimately fat people are “too skinny”. They may say I look great or point out I’ve lost weight, but they wouldn’t make such a comment if I was truly fat.
She just doesn’t get it. No one does.
She asks if it is secretly rewarding to hear these things?
No, it is not rewarding. Not only because I don’t believe it, but because I don’t want people to know I am attempting skinny. That is private. It is personal. And I am failing spectacularly. Getting that feedback only ups the ante. It gives me more to prove.
In a dream world, I would just wake up skinny (whatever the fuck that even means) and no one would be the wiser for it. I would have just always been that way and everyone would be content with my appearance.
No comments. No smirks. No weird hugging. No reminders that my body is continuously being assessed and judged by the masses.
My wife’s family entirely ignored me. I may well have just not been there at all. Sometimes it felt like I was not there at all. I wasn’t sure I was even real. In the brief moment I was brave and tried to talk about myself, no one noticed.
I get it – they’re all in a weird post-grief haze. Their life is on bereavement hold while they wait for a holiday-delayed funeral. They have to bury a woman they didn’t even particularly enjoy in her later years, but loved fiercely anyway.
And so is the way of the world. The circle of life and all.
But … I have no family. No matriarch. No mommy. No daddy. No sisters or brothers or cousins to fight with. No rituals or patterns to fall into even though I despise them. No nostalgic visits to my childhood home to plop down cross-legged and dig through old photos and art projects, laughing over the good ol’ days when we were young and innocent while listening to 80’s pop music on ancient cassette tapes that are scratched from years of dust piling up.
There was no young and innocent. And there is no me before now. The memory of who I am is being held hostage inside a house I’d love to burn to the fucking ground.
And who I am now? Who even is that? Who is loyal to me? Who knows me?
I’m not even sure I know me.
I am an orphan.