Sunday, May 9, 2010


Last Friday night I was lookin' fine.

I had on some black leggings, a zebra print dress with pockets, a short blazer, and red peep-toe flats. I was going on a date with myself - gonna see Avenue Q and follow that up with a Mediterranean dance party at a downtown club.

I was celebrating the point where I could really see and feel my weight loss. I ran out of all the skinny clothes I'd saved over the last 5 years, and I was gonna have to start building a temporary wardrobe. I found that zebra dress at Marshall's for a cool twenty bucks, and it was a size 18. I haven't been in a size 18 dress for 5 years, and that was a size enjoyed only briefly.

I'm starting to like the shape of my legs for the first time, ever. I still got some jelly curd thighs, but there's shape there, muscle tone. I don't feel thunder-thighed. I like my ass. I like my small waist and how my ass just BOOMS out from it. I feel attractive. Most importantly, I feel attracted to my own body. Girl Power! Zig-a-zig-ah!

So I'm lookin' fine, sitting on the bus on the way downtown to Avenue Q. I'm crossing my legs the way I couldn't 5 months ago. There are plenty of open seats, not many people on board. Which is why I was surprised when a guy sat next to me. He could have had a bench to himself, but he sat next to me. Even though my legs were crossed and my ankle was dangling over into his leg space.

Whatever. Free country and all that. I uncross my legs and skootch closer to the window. Look outside at the lake swimming by me. Avoid eye contact. Standard procedure.

My ass doesn't crossover into the other seat anymore, so I was a little disappointed when I felt the guy's thigh against mine. I thought that life was behind me - wait a minute! He's sitting on the outside seat; according to procedure, he should sit closer to the edge so we don't touch. Damn this guy. He's just trying to prove a point and take up all of the seat allotted to him.

I continue staring out the window. I feel a strange sensation on my thigh. Is he just sitting really close to me? I wait a few moments more, trying to determine - without looking - if I'm feeling movement down there. I'm tingling...there's definitely some movement going on.

I glance down, and see the guy's hand on the side of my thigh. I look back out the window and think, "Maybe he's just getting something out of his pocket. Don't overreact until you have visual confirmation!"

I look down again and it's confirmed: motherfucker's palm is turned out and he's not so subtly palming and massaging my thigh. I glance over at him, and he's looking straight ahead. I glance down and he's still going at it. It can't be denied; this chulo is outright molesting me.

Throughout this whole thing, my face is hot, my heart is racing, and I'm trying not to melt down. Once it's confirmed, I weigh my options: Get up and move to a new seat; call this motherfucker out, quietly; or call this motherfucker out by making a scene.

A few years ago, an old guy tried to feel me up on the bus. I lost my words and got up, crying, and moved to the back of the bus. I felt people looking at me like I was the freak. The old guy stared and smiled at me for the rest of the ride.

I wasn't gonna do that shit again. I got there first. This motherfucker was gonna get served.

I tightened my grip on the umbrella that was lying across my lap. In one quick movement, I snatched it up, aimed the handle at his crotch and said, "Get. Your hands. Off me."

His hand went straight to his mouth. He pretended to stroke his goatee. People turned and stared. I made eye contact with them as if to say, "Yeah, fuck this guy. If something happens now, you bitches better have my back."

He didn't change seats, and I refused to let this asshole eject me from mine. He kept his hands to himself for the rest of the ride, which seemed like an eternity. He got off at the first stop on Michigan. I was relieved and pissed and scared and many feelings.

I didn't let this spoil the show for me. I enjoyed myself. But even though I started out the evening feeling and lookin' fine, I just felt insecure and exposed after that. I skipped the dance party (where I was hoping to dance with some hot Mediterranean men) because I didn't feel like being attractive to anyone anymore that night.

It sucked. But I feel like I won in this round, if only for bringing attention to that asshole. Next time it happens, I'll call the fucker out, and continue with my sexy-ass plans. But for now, baby steps.

So there's that,


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Girl with the Big Hips

There's a rather loud, boisterous gentleman that works in our mailroom at work.

If you've met me in person, you'll know that this is a pot-calling-the-kettle statement, but bear with me.

But this guy, whom I'll call Martin Lawrence or ML for short, has been pulling me aside recently to tell me how good I look. Today he cornered me by the fax machine and told me again how good I look. He tried to make it look like he was taking me aside and talking to me in a hushed tone, but this guy's hushed tone is metaphors suck now...well it's fucking loud. Everyone on my side of the floor heard what he was saying, and I couldn't stop it.

ML: "Laura, I just want to say that you are look-ing GOOOOOD! You change every time I see you. And you know what, girl? People are noticing! You're the talk of the College! They say, 'You know that girl with the big hips that works in education?' - That's how they know you - 'She's really losing weight!' There's one woman who says she wants to get down to your size. Do you know Jane Doe?"

Me: "No, I don't think so." (I actually did, but didn't feel comfortable talking about her.)

ML: "Well she says she would love to look like you. You could be the poster child for these big women here. They're talkin! They say, 'You know Laura?' and I say, 'Yeah what she do?' and they say you're lookin good! Now don't go making no videos..."

Me: "....?....!.....?"

ML: "You just keep doin' what you doin'."

It's flattering but pretty embarrassing to have coworkers talk to me about my weight. It's not that I don't appreciate it; but it's just uncomfortable knowing that people are talking about me and judging how I look. Right now it feels nice, since I look good, but to know that I was (and still am) seen as "The Girl with the Big Hips" is a little...saddening?

I know people make opinions and references about a person based on appearance. Hell, there's a girl on my floor I call Sour Boots because she's always scowling and wearing knee-high boots. There's a woman I internally refer to as Trudy Weigle because she looks like that chick from Reno 911.

I know I'm all bottom. I'm okay with that because I have to be. But somehow having other people think of me - and openly discuss me - as the big-hipped one does not make me feel better or spectacular.

If this were an after-school special, I should probably take away from this conversation a lesson on gossip. That you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or discuss the size of its ass, the sourness of its countenance, or its uncanny likeness to a desperate cat lady on a fake police show.

I won't. I'll just be reminded that just because you don't talk to people, doesn't mean they're not talking about you.

So there's that,


The Emperor's New Clothes

These last few months have been quite...uneventful.  I know my body is changing, but I feel as if other people can see it more than me.  That's understandable; they see me less often than I see me in the mirror, so they're gonna notice the changes better than I do.
The scale doesn't move as quickly as I expected it to.  I'm not complaining!  The scale will do what it does, and the only thing that matters is how I feel.  I weigh 85 pounds less than I did when I started on the path to surgery 2 years ago this month.  I've lost 60 lbs since surgery.  The benefit of a steady loss is that my body isn't covered in sharpei flesh.  I've been exercising regularly to keep up that muscle tone.  It's my hope that I won't have to resort to plastic surgery to remove arm and thigh flab.  I would ONLY do that if there was an issue with chafing or discomfort, not because of appearance.
It's only now - in my 5th month post-op - that I've run out of the "skinny clothes" that I kept in my closet.  I shouldn't say I've run out of them - they fit perfectly (=snugly), but I realize the styles are completely outdated.  Right now I prefer ultra-dark denim, and my old skinny jeans are a little pale for my liking.  Plus the cut is so 5 years ago, so "I'm 23 and livin' life!"
I have to be cautious in my purchase of new pants.  As Sir Mix-a-Lot would say, my waist is small and my curves are kickin' - as a result, most pants fit me perfectly on the hips, but I got about 6 inches of excess fabric around the waist.  (I'll post a tasteful pic of this phenomenon later to demonstrate.)  So, I either need to get a belt or a good tailor.  Problem is, last time I took pants to a tailor, it ran me $50/piece to take in and hem, etc.  That's a lot of cash, girl!
I could just wear dresses and leggings for the rest of the summer, but leggings don't always look professional.  Last time I wore them to work, I felt underdressed even though the women I work with wear them all the time.  Maybe I just feel underdressed because something fits.  In that case, I'll have to get over that and wurq my look.
I'm also small up top.  Not boobwise, thank God, but rather I'm a 16 up top and a 20-22 on bottom.  Lane Bryant shirts are starting to look too big on me, which is bittersweet; I love their shirts, and I find that other stores' shirts are too small/tight/short on me. 
In short, I'm reaching the frustrating size phase of weight loss.  It's not a bad place to be in, but still a nuisance.
In two weeks I'm going to go on a little shopping spree.  I will shop at places other than Lane Bryant and see how their clothes fit.  I will get pants that fit.  Maybe some dresses.  A belt.  Get my haircut and colored.  I'm going to do something positive to make this weight loss feel real(er) to me. 
So there's that,