Sep
15
2011
Toxic

I stake out the far corner of the dressing room, but there is nowhere to hide since I’m sharing the room with two friends. Crouching over to shield myself from view, I feel naked before I even undress. I wish I hadn’t grabbed an outfit to try.

My friends chatter away and their preoccupation allows me to change. I assess the skirt and blouse in silence. Under no illusion about how I look with these 15 extra pounds, the mirror tells me the truth. The outfit does not perform any miracles. But it fits. It is comfortable. I would actually wear it. It’s passable.

As I start to change back into my own clothes, one friend asks for feedback on her outfit. When I turn my attention to them, I realize she is trying on the same blouse as me.

My other friend answers before I can. Looking at both of us, she tells my friend, “It looks good on you,” before turning back to me to say, “but Tracy, it makes you look pregnant.”

I involuntarily bristle and can feel my face contort into a grimace of pain. Stung, my instinct is to flee, but where would I go? My feet are stuck to the floor anyway. All I can do is stare at her. I’m speechless. What seems like a flicker of regret passes over her face, so I wait for an apology.

Instead, she lets out a little laugh and adds, “Maybe it’s the skirt, the blouse might look better with something else?”

An uncomfortable silence falls over the dressing room. They both look at me expectantly. It’s my turn to say something.

I turn back to the mirror and study my appearance again. Still the same. I look the same in this outfit as I do in most others. Half-formed tears tickling my eyes and throat, I gesture to myself and manage a weak, “this is what I look like.” I try and fail to keep the hurt out of my voice.

She stares back at me blankly and says nothing. The room is now stifling, the air stale and warm. I desperately want out. When our other friend says she needs a different size for something, I grab the item from her hand and am out the door before she finishes saying, “are you sure?”

When I step into the cool air of the store, I can breathe again. I shake my arms as if the hurt and anger were rain drops I could fling off of me. Tears blur my vision as I look for my friend’s item. A beam of sunlight shines through the store’s doors. A fantasy of walking out, of being done, overtakes me.

My car isn’t here. My purse is still in the dressing room. I am not wearing my own clothes.

I squeeze my eyes shut to stop the flow of tears. I find my friend’s item and start walking back to the dressing room. I take a deep breath. I have a long day ahead of me. I stay, but I’m no longer really there. 

*********************************************************

I’m linking this to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, in response to the prompt: “Write about a time you wanted to disappear.”

Mama’s Losin’ It

A (very) few of you might find this post familiar. I had originally written about this for a prompt to write about a fight, but the original post never felt right because a.) there was no fight and writing about what I could but didn’t say in anger didn’t make me feel any better and b.) the person I’m most angry with is myself. When I saw the Mama Kat prompt, I finally understood what was wrong with the original. To pretend I have a sense of humor about this:


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34 Responses to “Toxic”

  1. cinquecentoproject
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Well written! I wanted to disappear reading this piece.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      Did you make it to the end anyway? (bah-dah-bah! I’m such a card…)

      Thanks for the writing compliment!

  2. MissMarinaStar (@MissMarinaStar)
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    You were able to capture the feeling of that particular moment perfectly. I understand, I have been there before. My favorite line was “This is how I look.” Very well written.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Thank you, knowing I’m not alone is helpful!

  3. Cynthia (It All Changes)
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I felt for you on each word of this piece. Been there and you write it as if it’s my own story.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks, Cynthia! I bet most women have a story like this. This one stuck with me because I didn’t say anything in response.

  4. Rebecca Latson Photography
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I guess I’m just a mean old broad, but if someone had said something tactless like that to me, I’d have said something pretty shitty back to them, chastizing them for their lack of tact. I can only assume they feel comfortable enough in your friendship to think you would overlook their obvious thoughtlessness.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      Rebecca, I’m a pretty prickly broad myself…there was just something about this encounter which really cut and I just didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of seeing how upset I was. I’ve never had any luck in friendships of 3, in 3rd grade or at 38. There is often a group think I don’t appreciate. I still don’t know exactly what they were thinking–my guess is that they weren’t thinking. I don’t really care if it was meant to be hurtful or not, the result for me was the same!

      Thanks for the support!

  5. lisa
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Wow. I can honestly feel your pain. I’ve struggled with how I look my entire life. My instinct is to say my weight, but I wasn’t fat until I graduated from HS. I just always thought I was fat, even though I have pictures of me that prove otherwise (some in which my cheeks look sunken in). Anyways, the little comments that people say without even thinking are so unbelievably hurtful. I’m so sorry you had to go through that!

    Lisa

    • lisa
      Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      P.S. I love some e-cards! Too funny!

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

      Lisa, I’ve historically been unhappy with my weight too. I recently did a big photo digitization project which required me to look at all my old pictures. I was amazed how great I looked, if only I’d had the same perspective then! Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  6. mssharealot
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Oh, how incredibly painful. I’ve thought of thousands of rude comebacks for you, but mostly they’re ones I thought up far too late to use myself. The struggle with body image is such a hard one, you really need friends who can build you up.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      I could have said “who asked you?” since the most annoying thing was that I hadn’t even asked for an opinion! Even “wow, that was hurtful” would have been better than nothing. Hindsight…

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. Erin
    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Did you delete the earlier post? I can’t find it now. I am still wondering who did this, and I can’t remember if I asked that in comments before or not.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

      Hey Erin, yeah, I took the original down. It just didn’t feel authentic to me and that bothered me. You don’t know her.

  8. Ms. HalfEmpty
    Friday, September 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Beautiful storytelling — very real and raw. This is why I don’t like shopping with my mother. She’ll try to say helpful things like, “you’re in between sizes,” which only makes me feel worse because I know what size I was and want to be.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks for visiting, I love your blog! My Mom is the only person I can shop with, because she knows when to shut up and she’s very supportive (almost too much so). But I actually prefer shopping alone and I don’t really enjoy shopping ever. I am ALWAYS between sizes. At my thinnest I’m just between smaller sizes!

  9. May
    Friday, September 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Oh, I read this the first time too. The “wanting to disappear” resonates with me more so than the willingness to fight too. This felt like the kind of hurt that makes you want to retreat and get it over as soon as possible. Hit me close to home!

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks, May, I’m glad you agree and I’m honored that you remember the original! The only thing I regret about removing the original was losing the thoughtful comments, such as yours!

  10. jackie
    Friday, September 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Ugh, I would’ve died!

    I actually had a coworker ask me if I was pregnant recently (I am not). She is THIN, and when I told her I wasn’t, she apologized. Any other day, I would’ve probably felt embarrassed, but that week, I was actually feeling pretty good about how I looked. Plus, I tend to wear blouses that do seem to make me look pregnant so I blamed it on the blouse.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Jackie, yeah it was a “wish the floor would open up and swallow me moment.” It is amazing how we can react differently to rude comments depending on how we are feeling about ourselves.

      I remembered later that this same friend had insulted me similarly several years before (a suit jacket “made me look like a linebacker”). That one irritated me but didn’t really hurt my feelings because I felt better about myself then. I just disagreed with her and bought the suit anyway. Everytime I wore that outfit, I got compliments from others. That’s what I try to remember.

  11. Reading (and chickens)
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me. So. Many. I totally want to crumple up into a ball and disappear, too.

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks. Each one of these events is burned onto my brain. I wish I remembered compliments as well. I’ve actually started writing down compliments I get at work so I don’t keep letting myself remember only the crappy things people have said to me.

  12. Katya kate
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Oh I could relate with this one, I understand why you want to disappear. That’s why sometimes, I love to try on clothes by myself and just let them see if I’m confident I look good enough lol. Great post!

    Thanks for dropping by my post,
    Kate
    http://mommygrowingup.blogspot.com/

    • logyexpress
      Monday, September 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      Me too on the not coming out unless I feel confident. But that’s just it–these friends are totally “you have to show us” people. Red flag right there! Thanks for visiting!

  13. Marie Nicole
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Weight is something you can lose. But writing with style like this “I shake my arms as if the hurt and anger were rain drops I could fling off of me. ” is harder to acquire than it is to shed pounds. You’re brilliant and if those ding-dongs in gyms are successful imagine how you’ll do if you set your heart to it! :) Great post…

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words. Of course, since the event in this post I’ve lost the weight and then some, and gained half of it back already…but yes, I can lose weight if that’s what I want. More importantly, I can stop surrounding myself with people who make me feel bad.

  14. tumbleweed
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Gah! Girl groups of 3 *are* tricky, some kind of voodoo happens. But really there’s no excuse for not falling all over aplogizing after she realized (and she damn well should have) that it was hurtful. A pox on her pubic hair.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      RE: no apology…I know, right? Your assigned curse made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the support.

  15. Stacey
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Wow. This makes me happy I don’t really have friends.

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Monday, July 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Oh Stacey, yeah I hear you. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize I didn’t HAVE to hang onto people just so I could tell myself I had friends. I should do a PSA.

  16. Nicole
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Blech. I don’t think the comment hurt as much as the sting from a “friend.” One of my students asked me if I am pregnant and I laughed. I have only gained 10 lbs in the last year (she was a student of mine last year as well). Ten stinkin’ pounds, are you kidding? Get real. But if someone who supposedly cared about me said something like that and then laughed it off or twisted the knife some more, I’d have felt awful, too. And it catches you so off-guard. You expect it from a-holes, but not your friends…

    I love the… realness (???) of this moment you’ve captured. I really enjoy mini life events brought to life in this way. Such a talent you possess for this. :-)

    • Tracy @LogyExpress
      Friday, July 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      I think you’re probably right (although I would rather no one tell me I look fat, friend or a-hole!). She knew how self-conscious I was about my weight gain too. From the look on her face I think she wished she hadn’t said it, but she never apologized. And I never called her on it. Er!

      Thanks for the compliment. I really enjoyed responding to these memoir prompts and would like to get back to it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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