When I was in high school and just mildly overweight, I used to think that if I lost twenty pounds my life would change, that boys would really see me, the popular girls would talk to me, I would ace tests and be invited to parties, and that the ache in the center of me would dull. I would lie in bed at night and dream of a place where I was thin and happy, and wonder how on earth I would ever get there.
Fifteen years later, I’m in a bar, having lost almost 70 pounds, and I am feeling fantastic about myself, a feeling that tastes new in my mouth, and I savor it on my lips. A blonde-haired boy who sometimes sleeps with me when he’s had too much to drink on Saturday nights looks into my eyes and says “If you lost thirty pounds, you’d be a knockout.” His words are elastic, snapping me back to that place once more, the place where I am an outsider and everything good happens around me like I’m standing in the eye of something.
That night, I lie alone on my queen bed and dream of a place where thirty pounds doesn’t matter, and where the person who loves me the most is ME, where the hollowness in the center of me is plugged up, and I wonder how on earth I will ever get there.