Shouting over the espresso machine while making us lattes this morning I say “I think I’m going to stop telling people I used to be fat.”
He looks at me without responding because he knows there is more. “I don’t know, it’s weird, I’m not trying to pretend I wasn’t but why do people need to know that me when she’s not now me? People don’t tell you they dyed their hair once in high school or that they have a hidden horrible tattoo. Well, maybe they do. I don’t know I just think it’s weird, it usually comes up organically but is it possible I just don’t keep going with it?”
I hand him his latte, he takes a sip, “Well, I guess that depends on …” I don’t hear what he says because I am still in my thought spiral about how “talking about it keeps it relevant, and brings it into the now and with some people that can be helpful but really who gives a shit? and it was almost six years ago I mean, well I guess it was all thirty five years before that too … what was the point of losing all the weight if i was just going to carry it around with me forever anyway? The ghost of fat past … ”
I laugh. He waits. I shrug.
“Do you even need me for this conversation?” I stare at him “Yea, I need guidance, do you think this part of me should be included in every new person’s knowledge of me?”
“I mean, think about it, people I knew growing up don’t know the me in this kitchen, they just know chubby, kinda bitchy, not doing anything so great me, ya know?”
“Kinda bitchy?” We laugh.
This line of thinking is something I get lost in pretty often. Which you is in a story that someone tells? Is it the actual you? A version of you that you’ve outgrown? People have ideas and opinions about us all the time that may not be accurate, or are based on a bias, a first impression or something someone they kind of know said to someone who knows their mother’s cousins aunts uncle. What about when the opinion is based on something you no longer are? What’s the story someone is telling themselves about you?
Sometime in 2006 I was out for the night with a group of friends. There were about ten of us having dinner, and then drinks before a hockey game. We found ourselves in the path of a couple of drunk guys who spouted off and started trouble, only to be taken down, so to speak by a few of the guys in our group. I have told the story of that night; the banging of a guys head on the door, the dropping of keys in the river, the yelling and chaos of the six or eight minutes it lasted, at least a dozen times since it happened. I always wonder if those guys, or the girls they were with tell the story. If so, I wonder what it sounds like.
I wonder how people tell the stories that we are part of.
Its unlikely they tell them the same since their perception is their reality, as is ours. I wonder how I am represented by the stories I am part of, I wonder if I am left out of some.
I found myself wondering if that guy, whose name I still remember recalls making some snarky comment about me in the elementary school yearbook before someone caught it, or if he even remembers going to that school.
I wondered if the guys who invited me to dunkin donuts for coffee in college and squished me into the backseat of a car and took me for a ride two towns away propositioning me for all sorts of lewd things remember that night; I wonder if they talked about it at when they met up for one of their weddings.
I wondered if my neighbor who shouted at my parents about my faulty car alarm going off in the middle of the night still remembers that happening, or that we even lived there.
I wonder if the guy who I had a whirlwind relationship with and talked about marrying remembers that we talked about that, or that we talked about anything.
I wonder if the friend who couldn’t support the idea of weight loss surgery, so I stopped calling and interacting tells the story of me as a bad friend, a person who hurt her, not the way I saw it.
Then I wondered if they even tell these stories at all.
Maybe they don’t.
Actually, they probably don’t, not the us part anyway.
So many times we probably exist in a memory that is vague, or that we are left out of. A memory that isn’t ours. Nobody remembers what we said, what we wore, or that we were even there. Those memories, are none of our business.
Moreover, those memories are the reason we shouldn’t put too much stock in what others think now. We get one life, so we gotta live it the best we can and hope we are remembered well because eventually, everything becomes a memory.