I had my six-month cleaning at the dentist the other day. I've been going there for years - it's a real friendly place, the hygienists are all very sweet and my dentist is a good ol' country boy - lots of fun to chat with. I checked in and settled down with a magazine. The hygienist opened the door to the back and called my name - darn, I barely got started with the magazine (the ultra highbrow Entertainment Weekly, in case you're wondering) - I stood up and followed her to the exam room.
"Uh...Shelley Last Name?" she asked?
"Yes" I answered, figuring it was a new HIPAA thing, confirming who I was.
She looked at me for a few moments as I was putting my purse down and then blurted out "Did you have surgery?" and you know, it took me a second to figure out what she was talking about!
"Oh - uh, no" I said, as she tried to backtrack and apologize. Here's the thing - she didn't recognize me. The last couple of times I've had my teeth cleaned I've had a different hygienist, but this was Melissa, who I started with way back when.
Let me say this again: She.didn't.recognize.me.
She really thought she had the wrong person. Wow. I know I've changed, but I'm still the blonde-haired, glasses-wearing person I've always been...yes, the hair is longer and the glasses are different, but still. This is such a strange feeling - it happens pretty infrequently, and only (obviously) with people that I go a long time without seeing. But it throws me every time. And I'm sorry that people feel so awkward when they realize that they didn't know me...it's a strange thing to try and make them feel better about it.
For the record, she really was horrified that she'd asked the "surgery" question - she said she tries and can't even lose five pounds, so how on earth could anyone lose *that* much weight on their own?
People who discover I've lost over 100 pounds always ask me how I did it. When I say diet and exercise, I can see their eyes glaze over and literally watch them shut down. They don't want to hear that. My success cannot possibly be because I did what we all should be doing, whether we need to lose weight or simply live - eat healthy foods most of the time, and move your body, be it by riding a bike or walking or whatever. It's the whole "magic pill" thing - and yes, I was guilty of wanting that, too. No one wants to hear that it takes work, and time. Where is the fun in that? Where is the quick fix? Where is the instant gratification? (And I realize that even with weight-loss surgery, it's still not a quick fix - losing weight takes time, no matter how you do it.)
After we were done with the hows of my weight loss, she asked the next question - one that I can predict with certainty that will follow: "You're done, right? You're not planning on losing any more weight?" I don't know why, but that cracks me up. I mean, look at me...I'm not a stick by any means. What do people mean when they ask this? And really, why should they care? I don't go into any detailed explanations other than to say "no" or "maybe a little more" depending on who I'm talking with. After all, I'm not looking for an argument or feel the need to defend myself.
I am very willing to talk about weight-loss and exercise...obviously, as I've been blogging about it for over two years now. But when it comes up in real life, it's still a bit strange and yes, awkward, to talk about it - I just hope that am able to convey the fact that if I can lose the weight, than anybody can.