I look at those pictures, and intellectually I realize that is me, and I remember being there when the pictures were taken, but it's like looking at a picture of someone else. That person doesn't exist anymore.
So where did she go? And who am I?
I can't tell you how many times I've seen people I know well, people who I considered good friends, who have walked right past me, or treated me like a stranger because they didn't recognize me. Then, if they realize it's me, I get this line:
"Oh, my goodness! I didn't even recognize you! You look FANTASTIC!"
I know they mean that nicely. I know it's a compliment and none of these people would hurt me for the world.
I don't think I'm unrecognizable. I know I look different, but it's still my face, mostly. So... did all of these people, whom I counted as good friends, only see my weight before? Was that such a huge part of my identity that I am unrecognizable without it?
So where does that leave me? I'm 36, almost 37... I've lived a lot of years now. Am I starting over? Does my life as a fat girl no longer count? If my weight was my defining feature before, what is it now? Who am I?
I don't know either.