I have experienced so many changes over the past few months it has been difficult for me to mentally catch up to where I am.
First, I forget sometimes that I am not as big as I was. I sometimes have to do a double take when I look in the mirror. I cannot believe how small I am sometimes. I definitely sometimes experience a disconnect between the Colleen that is in my head and the one looking back at me in the mirror. I also sometimes forget that other people see me differently.
When I was in Texas, I had a training class every day, so I dressed like I would for work. I wore dresses every day except for my last day there. My first day of training, I was walking from the shuttle through the hotel lobby towards the elevators to get back to my room. There was a group of men standing in front of the hotel check-in counter. I caught one of them looking at me as I walked through the lobby. I watched as his eyes moved up and down my body and finally stop at my face. He smiled and said, “Hello! How was your day?”
My first reaction was disgust and I immediately thought, “Creep!” My next thought was, “OMG! Did he just check me out? ME? Holy cow!” Then I felt my face turn about 2,000 shades of red. I simply replied, “Fine,” then turned away and walked a little faster towards the elevators.
I really did not know how to respond to that. I’m not used to being looked at by men with anything other than disgust or disinterest. Not that I think there was any real connection. It was just a look. But the look left me feeling unsettled. I realized that I have no idea how to handle myself if anyone does one day show real interest in me. To date, no one has. I have noticed a small increase in overall attention from men, but no romantic interest. And that’s OK. I’m not sure I’m really ready. Maybe I am. Who knows.
When I returned to the room, I checked myself out in the full length mirror. I do not have a full length mirror at home, so I really do not know what I look like in my clothes most of the time. I can only see myself down to my waist in mine. The first thing I noticed when I looked in the mirror was my dress. The dress I was wearing was too big. I immediately tried on one of my other dresses. That one was too big too. Then I tried on the rest of the clothes I had in my suitcase. I could not believe the difference I saw in myself.
Still, I could not understand what the man in the lobby was looking at. I couldn’t get beyond the fact that my dresses were too big. I mean, my legs are definitely looking much thinner. I lose weight in my legs and face before I lose anywhere else. I’m smaller on the bottom than I am on top. Always have been. But that is all besides the point.
The point is, I need to recognize that I really do look different from before. People notice. People who have never met me do not see me as I was. And I need to learn how to better handle the attention the new me is receiving.