One of my closest longtime friends, we’ll call her Annie, was someone I had in mind when we started this website. When we first got it up and running, I sent out a general email to my contact list and got some great feedback, but I haven’t heard from her yet and it’s making me a little curious.
Annie has been obese for most of her life. She had a fairly troubled childhood, one that at times veered into Jerry Springer territory. I met her when she was in her mid-twenties, and the closer we got, the more she let down her many defenses and told me things she’d never shared with anyone else. We shared many late night chat-a-thons, laughing and crying and carrying on as women often do. The last time I saw her was a few years ago, but we remain fairly close through emailing and all that.
Annie is one of those people who will make jokes about her weight to the point where you almost get uncomfortable. She joked with me enough so that I got used to it, but it still bothered me, because I realized it was a schtick that stemmed from her defensiveness – if I say it first, no one else can say anything that can hurt me. She told me a story once about how when her family was especially hurting for money, they ate Crisco sandwiches. When I expressed my shock and outrage, she said, “Kim, look at me. Does it look like I missed out on too many Crisco sandwiches?” And she laughed. Of course I laughed along with her; I mean, what else can you do in a situation like that. But I didn’t think it was funny then and still don’t. What kind of parent feeds their children something like that? Well, I could tell many stories of what kind of parents she had, but this is not the place for that.
Our relationship has always frustrated me. For as close as we got, she always held back a little. I know she trusted me, maybe as much as she could trust any friend, but there is something that never lets her let go completely. I’m by no means a pushy person, but I’ve always felt a little ripped off in the sense that when I love and bare my entire soul to someone, I want the same in return. Intellectually I don’t hold it against her, but emotionally I admit I resent it a little bit.
She’s come a long way when you consider where she had to come from. She worked her way through school and got an Associates Degree after having dropped out of high school. She has a good job (especially for what the choices are in her area) and a few years ago married a great guy. I don’t talk to her as much as I used to, but I did go to the wedding and was very happy to see it seemed like her life was going really well.
Then a couple of months ago she wrote to tell me she was a few weeks away from having Gastric Bypass Surgery. She’d been dealing with the all the hassles of therapy and insurance and red tape for over a year, but she’d finally managed to jump through all the hoops and it was finally time. I encouraged her to blog about the experience and grudgingly, she started. Right up until and right after the surgery, she wrote some things that made me cry; not that the tears were all sad ones, by any means. I felt like maybe even we’d start to get close again.
Of course soon after that, she stopped communicating much about it and I got very wrapped up in my fertility drama, so I left it alone. The other day she sent me a text telling me she’s lost 31 pounds so far. I responded back excitedly, asking her all kinds of questions, letting her know how happy I was for her, and then…nothing. Still. She gives just so much and then she pulls back.
I’m not sure what I want her to get from this place if she ever comes here to visit. I would absolutely love any input she may have, or even for her to share some of her experiences and the challenges she must be going through now. But I know that’s probably asking a little too much. And as I’ve said, I’m not a pusher. I just get frustrated sometimes. We all have inside of us a great story to tell. And I guess my problem is I won’t be happy until I’ve heard them all.