Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fitting into the World Again

60 lbs ago, I really didn't fit in. Yes, there's the figurative sense -- feeling 0% confidence in myself which I am sure projected through, having only a very precious few friends in NWA, etc which made me feel like I didn't fit in -- but I also didn't fit in in the very literal sense. And that is a TERRIBLE feeling.

For those of you who have been morbidly obese, I bet you identify. Not fitting into restaurant booths, choosing which movie theatres to go to based on which (if any) of the chairs fit you, taking a pass at amusement parks because you can't ride anything because you don't fit, and of course the dreaded airplane seats. Everyone hates those.

When I took ergonomics in college, we learned about designing stuff like this to fit everyone based on data that can be found in anthropometric charts. What this basically means is that you consult tables full of body measurements, and usually design stuff so that 95% of the population can use it easily and/or comfortably. I remember learning about this in college and thinking "Yeah, more people should do this!" What I failed to realize, however, is that people probably *do* do that, but I just was in the top 5% -- and while, many times, that is a great thing, here is a time when it isn't.

I am pleased to report that I feel like I am fitting back into the world in which I live. I went to a show at the Walton Arts Center (Momix by Botanica which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you are in town or get the chance to see it), and I had people on either side of me, and it wasn't a big deal. Fitting into the chair was no problem, and having other people on either side of me didn't cramp me at all. Usually, stuff like this -- fitting into a booth at a restaurant, going to watch a movie, flying on a plane -- is unremarkable. Every once in awhile (like last night), though, I will just pause, take it all in, and feel really excited and proud.

For someone who has felt abnormal for so long, feeling normal is a pretty amazing feeling. The world was engineered for me again. I can fit in stuff without feeling like a sardine smooshed in a can, or feeling like I will break something if I sit on it. While I love being remarkable and special in many ways*, being one of the huddled masses feels pretty great when it means you can fit into a chair without feeling uncomfortable or like you will break it. I feel like I fit again.

*This came out a lot more arrogant sounding than I mean. We are all special, not just me!


  1. It really is a good feeling to see yourself change- not just physically, but emotionally. Sometimes I amaze myself. :) Great job Sarah! :)

  2. I appreciate you writing about "fitting" into the world again. When my weight went back up a few years ago, I developed a lot of social anxiety because of how uncomfortable it was to be out in public and not blend in -- having to worry about the size of seats, whether tables moved or were attached to the floor, could I get by without a seat belt extension on an airplane? It's so tiring.

    I even went through a period where I was evaluating which friends I could see...and which I had better not. Had they only known the "skinny" me, or had they seen my weight fluctuate? Would they be shocked to see me at my current weight? It all seems so tedious now. I'm glad that I discovered I have awesome friends who have seen me all along the weight spectrum and still love to hang out with me.


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