Live, Laugh, Love

~Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye~

For a while now, I’ve sort of known that it was time to start thinking about sizing down.  It’s very strange as I have the opposite problem from what I’ve had in the past.  It used to be that I couldn’t wait to shed a few pounds so I could dump all my ugly clothes.  This time around, I keep hanging on to my baggy things because I sort of hate to see them go. 

Take these jeans for example, I bought them at the end of June.  To me, these are new pants; however, after this shoot, as we were walking back down the path, they started to slip way too far down.  Enough that I had to grab them to keep them on.  When we got back home, I took a good long look in the mirror and realized that new or not, it’s time.  Same thing goes for the shirt.

The fact that I don’t seem to want to give up clothes too big made me wonder if there were any other reasons I might be holding on to them.  The first thought that popped in my head was the fact that I know that losing weight is creating change and I don’t want that to affect my relationships, because it did once upon a time.

I think I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that I had a bad experience with a group of girls that I used to be friends with.  Back when the “thing” happened, I didn’t understand it.  Now that many years have passed, I can see the motivations from the group more clearly.  It doesn’t bother me much anymore (though, to date, this is the only group that I have steadfastly kept out of my life), but the experience did teach me lessons that I still carry with me.

Back when it happened, I’d gone through a period where I sort of blossomed and that included a little weight loss. 

I had lots of friends, but a “main core” that I hung around with most of the time.  This was the group in which I confided all my secrets, failures, hopes and dreams. 

To make the story easier, I’ll call them:  the socialite, the tomboy, the country girl, and the third-wheel.  (Also, I feel that I should mention that this is a snippet of a story that by no means incorporates all the nuances that go into relationships that occur over a long period of time).

It all started with a dress.

I was invited to a formal dinner and didn’t have a dress to wear.  The socialite had a formal dress.  Out of politeness, she offered to let me borrow it, but added “it probably won’t fit you though.”  I’d bought one that wasn’t quite right for the dinner, so the socialite brought over hers.  Before putting on the dress, she offered to fix my hair a different way than I normally wore it.  It was sort of a fun thing and the entire group was there, playing around with makeup.  That part of that day was so fun as we tried this or that, each of them giving me one of the tips they used.  Then it was time to put on the dress.  As soon as it went over my head and the tomboy pulled up the zipper, it was obvious that the dress fit me like a glove.  I recall how delighted I was and couldn’t get over the imagine in the mirror looking back at me.  It was a true Cinderella moment.

When I turned around to see the looks on my girlfriends’ faces, I knew that borrowing the dress was a big mistake.  None of them were happy with the transformation, even though they’d all participated in making it happen.  For one scary moment, I was pretty sure the socialite was going to snatch the dress off me.  Everything fell quiet.  Most of them made quick goodbyes, leaving me and the socialite.  While I finished getting dressed, the socialite completed a written list of rules for wearing it (not kidding). 

I only recall a couple of the rules now.  The main one I remember – you have to take it off by midnight.  The reason she had added that one was because there was an after-party after the formal which started at midnight.

The after-party usually included a much larger crowd than the formal.  Taking the dress off at that point meant that more people would see me without the dress.  I gave my word that I’d take it off and I did.  Before the after-party, I changed into jeans and a tee-shirt.  I figured I could have just as much fun in my own clothes.

During the formal, I did get a lot more attention than I was used to.  One guy in particular (I’ll call him George) began to show signs of interest.  He was popular and I’d had a small crush on him about a year or so earlier.  A few days after the event, he showed up at my door and began hanging out more and more often.  Mostly, we talked.  During one of our talks, we planned a weekend away together.  (That sounds way heavier than it was.  We were just going to go to a bigger town where we had a group of mutual friends.)

My girlfriends weren’t around much during this time as they had sort of iced me out after the formal.  It was nice that George started his visits during this time; otherwise I’d have really felt the big chill.  But because my friends had pulled back, they had no idea just how much time I was spending with George. 

A few days before the weekend happened, the country girl got wind of it.  Suddenly, George and I had an extra person going with us.  For me, it came out of nowhere, as the tomboy had approached George about the third-wheel and pretty much put him on the spot to get this friend to go with us.  Our trip became a bit awkward.  I remember sitting in the car as the third-wheel piled in her stuff.  I was thinking that the whole dynamic of the trip had suddenly changed and there was no way for it to go back.  I tried to make the best of it, but it just stayed sort of awkward.

When we got back from our trip, I unpacked my things.  George was carrying on a conversation with the third-wheel.  I don’t think he even noticed when I left.  After that, George didn’t come around anymore.  Weeks passed without me running into him.  Somewhere along the line, I learned that George was dating someone else (totally unrelated girl) and life went on.  Six months or so later, I heard that he and the girl weren’t seeing each other anymore.

A few months after that, George stopped by unexpectedly.  It was awkward at first, but he seemed to need to push past it as it was obvious that he had something on his mind.  Finally, we fell into a sort of rhythm of joking the way we had in the days prior to our weekend.  It was then that he told me that after he left that night, he’d gone to a local hangout with the third-wheel and ran into the rest of the group.  He told me things they’d told him about me (very unflattering things) and in his way, tried to explain why he’d suddenly just vanished from my life.  It was a hard pill to swallow.  To hear vicious things that might have come from people who you thought were friends. After spilling all the dirt, he informed me that he’d sort of been keeping an eye on me and realized that the things my friends told him couldn’t possibly be true.

It was unsettling that he’d “watched” me from afar to see if I was some sort of heathen and deep down, it really galled me.  I thanked him for telling me (and I meant that as there was about to be a reckoning).  As he was about to leave, he asked if he could take me out the next night. (It would have been our first real date.)

I don’t know where the courage came from, but I remember looking up at him and shaking my head.  He had a perplexed look on his face.  I suppose he thought we were back on good footing.  He stepped out into the hallway to leave and then turned back to me and asked why.  I said, “Because you believed all those things about me without coming to me and asking.  You won’t mean to, but at some point in the future some of that nastiness will come back and spoil whatever it is we might have had.”  He started to say something and I held up my hand to stop him.  “I know because it already has.”  It was the hardest thing, but I remember forcing myself to close the door.  The closing of that door wasn’t just on George, but on that whole group of girls.  (Just so you know, I did confront them about it and they admitted they had done it to see if he was “really all that interested.”  Actually, I think they thought it was funny that they’d chased him off).  No one needs that kind of jealousy in their lives.

I should also mention here that in this group of friends, I was always the last girl sitting at the table when it came time to “dance.”   

In group settings, I tend to hold back and watch the dynamic.  I have never been much of a drinker, so what interested me wasn’t always the most popular guy in the room.  I’ve always preferred the thinkers, which you sort of have to sit back and watch for.  As a result, during that time in my life, I almost never dated.  For the most part, my friends were the attention seekers, which is probably why they found me comforting, at least at first.  Our guy friends tended to call me up or drop by my place whenever they wanted to hang out to watch the game, or find me at the hangout if they wanted to play darts, or ask me over if they needed a female to confide in.  After a while, I just knew too much about most of our male counterparts to want to date them. But, something strange sort of happened.  My ex-friends had a tendency to go through the guys in our group.  It made for some uncomfortable situations at times.  When the guys distanced themselves from the others, they still treated me the same as they always had.  So while I never was the one “out front,” I was the one that had staying power and I liked that position a whole lot more.

As a result, I was well aware that there were times when a new guy to the group would ask about me and my girlfriends would steer him clear, especially if they were interested. There had been times when the jealousy had shown up before.  The one thing different about this situation was that George wasn’t a part of our regular crowd (though we all knew him), so these girls had no “in” with him.  It happened outside of their control.  For that reason, I think it was just too huge a change for this group to see me as the girl who might be going out with the really hot guy no one else had managed to get a date with.   Funny thing is, when I stopped hanging around with these women, I suddenly didn’t have any problems getting dates.  Go figure.

Since then, I’ve learned that I can still have lots and lots of friends, but I tend to shy away from most cliques.  And if I find myself a part of one, I’ve always tended to draw outside the lines, just to keep part of myself separate.

So yeah, I know that change can affect relationships and yes, I do worry about how it’s going to play out.

I don’t think this incident has kept me from losing weight through the years as I’m well aware of my eating/exercise habits.  But I do know that every time I start to lose weight, I start to think about this incident.  Clearly, they are closely related to each other in my mind.  Because of that, I think it’s worth a little time to take this out and figure out if the way I’m changing affects those near and dear to me.  And, if it does, to address the issues head-on instead of letting them fester.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

~PJ

Jeans – Old Navy; Long-sleeved top – Old Navy; Tank – Torrid; Shoes – Levis

Leather jacket is vintage.

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