There are many things weighing on my mind at the moment but I will tackle this one because it is the one I would have written this past weekend had the netbook not died. I was very VERY upset by some things I learned, and while my Dear Husband (DH) may disagree with my perception of the situation, this is my perception and my blog so I am going to tell you how I felt about it all.
We spent last weekend with DH’s family as part of a reunion. Since they live 1500 miles away, they don’t see us very often. Thus, any changes in physical appearance are magnified. Background: I am Caucasian and my husband is Asian. DH’s family are beautifully tanned, lithe creatures while I am a well-rounded woman whose weight has fluctuated anywhere from 10-70 lbs in excess of “normal”.
In summary: They are used to seeing me significantly overweight. Most of them remember seeing me at size 20 in 2002. We visited two years ago and I was in the size 16 range. Since then I have dropped to a size 10. (Overall, 50 lbs since 2002.) Additionally, I now dress better than I used to for a couple of reasons: I lost so much weight I had to completely replace my wardrobe and I make more money these days so I can afford to buy better clothes.
Did I mention that DH’s siblings and cousin dress really well? Although she loves a good bargain, I doubt my sister-in-law would bat an eyelash at paying $60 for a blouse or a pair of pants. My brother-in-law has worn Armani in the past (granted, it was outlet, but even so) and cousin P has gotten herself tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt over her wardrobe – repeatedly. Suffice to say: they dress really well and have the bodies to show off nice clothes.
I’ve always felt a little out of place there: I am fairly tall, overweight, and white. Now I have more or less fixed the one thing that I could, so when I packed my clothes it was to make sure that every outfit accentuated my figure. I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that my weight and wardrobe would be a major topic of conversation.
Apparently, I am more acceptable now.
My sister-in-law complimented me on one of my outfits. I think it’s the only clothing compliment I have ever received from her in the nearly 15 years I have known her. I learned later that at brunch she was talking about how much weight I have lost and how I dress better now. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how it was spoken thus I don’t know if it was a compliment or a “thank God she’s no longer an embarrassment to the family” comment. Naturally, my mind runs to the latter.
What I do know is that in 2002 brother-in-law’s bride (now ex-wife) didn’t want me in any of the wedding pictures because I was too fat. Since she is no longer part of family, maybe that doesn’t count. My brother-in-law has never indicated that he cared one way or the other what I wear or how I look, but he does give DH a lot of expensive hand-me-downs. Never quite figured that one out as DH does know how to dress well. It’s genetic I think.
The greatest wound is from cousin P. I thought we had hit it off really well from the start of our relationship. So much so that I had asked her to be my maid of honor at our wedding. She was so excited at the time and chattered on about how her friend was a clothing designer and would design the perfect dress for her for the wedding. (I left it to her to design her own for our themed wedding.) But a month or so before the wedding, she begged off saying she couldn’t make it because she had to work. Yes, I was dumped by my maid of honor right before the wedding. Fortunately, my sister-in-law picked up the role for me. If I’d known what kind of person P was, I would have asked sister-in-law in the first place. DH swears that his sister has a little filing cabinet in her brain marked: In case of wedding, break glass.
Whether because I’m stupid or naive or purposefully ignorant or just incredibly generous, I forgave P for missing my wedding. But this weekend I learned of more skeletons in her closet and realized that she probably did so intentionally – perhaps even maliciously. Talk about re-opening and old wound – let’s pour some salt in it too. Oh and if I drop a few more pounds, P & I may become BFFs. As if.
So now I don’t know who to trust. I trust my brother-in-law but beyond that… I don’t know. I think I can trust my mother-in-law, most of my aunts and definitely the uncles. When I married into a large and extended family, I was hoping to find something that was missing from my own family – love and support – but not so much. So even though I’m thinner, I dress better, and I’m now acceptable, I still feel like the bull in the china closet. The kid who sits on the sidelines and never gets picked. The one that nobody likes because she’s too fat and she’ll bring the team down.
I’m hurt and I’m angry and I really don’t want to deal with family anymore.
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