The TSA agent looked at my driver’s license, and he looked back at me. He looked at my driver’s license again, and then again, at me. He gently shook his head and said, “I didn’t think this was you at all.”
I smiled and nodded. “I have to renew in November. It’s been a while.” I knew what he was trying to say, and he, possibly better than anyone, had done it in a way that was tactful but clear: I don’t look like the girl in the driver’s license anymore.
My hair is the same. It is curly in the photo. It was curly that day he checked my boarding pass and ID at the Birmingham airport. I was wearing a bulky sweater in the license photo and a light blouse in real life. Those aren’t the things he was talking about, however. It’s my face.
Fifty pounds makes a big difference. Some days, I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything, and then there are the days I look at photos of me from a year ago, and I know: It’s been a hard battle, but I’ve done really well so far.
That TSA agent said what many of my friends and family members have tried to say, some in not such artful ways. They’re all compliments, I know, but some of them just aren’t delivered in such a way as to suggest that intention at first.
A friend I hadn’t seen in about three years told me a few weeks ago, “Man, you’re so beautiful! You’ll definitely get a husband now.” Gee, thanks. I never knew overweight folks only got married if they lost weight.
My chiropractor, bless his heart (I’m Southern, y’all). He still hasn’t figured it out. Every time I go for an adjustment, he says, “Something’s different. New makeup? New shirt?” Every shirt is new to you. I don’t see you enough for it not to be.
My grandmother, after not seeing me for about two months. “Your pants are too big.” I know, Nanny. Thanks.
When you lose weight, people notice. And some people even comment. It’s almost a human experiment at this point. When I know I’m seeing someone who hasn’t seen me in a while, I just wait. Don’t roll your eyes! They mean it from the heart.
I asked our