As I mentioned last week, I had a great conversation with my massage therapist (himself a study in confidence and sex appeal, haha).
Let me start by saying on Thursday, my seven-month post-op anniversary, I was feeling gooooood. I was looking good and I knew it. ;) The liquid diet (err, we'll get back to that) had jumpstarted my weight loss, I had a pretty new top, my kicky new sandals, I had gotten up early and re-colored my hair (ugh, this cherry red is pretty hard to maintain!)...things were going well for me.
And the little light inside me shown brightly, because I was rolling in compliments all day. Not just "oh, you look nice," but showstopper-type compliments! I came around the corner and ran into a coworker who said, "Holy s***, look at you!" and then he gave me a hug.
When my massage therapist saw me that afternoon, he said, "Wow - what's different? Something has changed in you in a big way."
We chatted about how much better I'm feeling, and I told him about Sabrina, too. Sabrina is my friend in the office, and she has been on a long, two-year push of what I call my "re-girlification." Sabrina is glamourous, there's no other way to describe her. And she's been dragging me back to my glamourous side (of which I never remotely approached her level, haha) for a long time now. Earrings. It started with wearing earrings every day. No earrings? Stern looks and gentle chastising. Once I fairly mastered the daily earrings - well, she just keeps pushing. I am a willing student who dabbles in donkey-stubbornness. ;) I am lazy and uber-casual. She's all dolled up no matter the occasion. We challenge each other.
This is Sabrina, by the way. She appears here with permission, haha.
So, you can imagine the clashing of wills when I asked Sabrina to take my seven-month picture last week. For me, a picture is 1) stand up straight, 2) shoulders back, 3) chest out/suck in the belly. You can see all my monthly pictures, and they're all the same pose.
She humored me for the one shot, then told me we'd take a real picture. I already posted one of them last week. Then she coddled and coerced me into some cutesy poses, all of which made me feel ridiculous. But it was fun, and she encouraged me to put my personality into it.
Looking at the pictures, acknowledging to myself how cute I am ;) - I was feeling pretty darn good all day. Pep in my step, swing in my walk. I am working the hell out of this surgery and weight loss! Clearly, people noticed, because like I said, I was rolling in the compliments.
On Friday, I pushed myself to find that feeling again and keep it up. On Saturday, I went to a BBQ all dolled up (for my standards, haha) and followed it immediately by a volunteer shift at the police department. I was feeling good. I had spent the afternoon in the sun with friends, I had enjoyed good food and good wine, I had enough time to stop at the grocery store and bring the cops some snacks...
I walked into that precinct feeling good and happy and looking forward to seeing my partner (never mind that I ended up at the wrong damn precinct, haha). I greeted the cops at the computers with a big smile and a warm hello, and...
I had one of them in particular fussing over me almost immediately. Boy, was he chatting me up. Told me he was glad I had gone to the wrong precinct (doh!) because it gave them a chance to end their shift with a smiling face. Told me it was his lucky day.
Wow. Oh, duh, I forgot to get his name. I'm a terrible flirt.
Seeing success, I applied the same warmth to the other precincts. Big smile for everyone, chatting everyone up. Amazing the difference in reception. Because, see, I'm already a very warm person. I already smile at everyone and chat people up wherever I go. But turn it up just one notch and have a little bit of glam on, and how different things were. My partner - a handsome single guy I mentioned after our last shift - was getting to know me all night, it's just a very big difference. (We are not a match, by the way, I knew after our last shift but know it now, even more. But a very nice guy and a good partner to work with.)
Back to the massage. My massage therapist, after falling in love with Sabrina's pictures on facebook, which I had to show him for our confidence/sex appeal chat, said Sabrina is very good for me. He told me I've always been beautiful, but that confidence takes sexy and cranks it up all the way. He said he could see it in me the moment he saw me that day. It's funny, because it's true. I can feel it, and I can see others' seeing it in me. The SBUX boys, my coworkers, etc. It's just a happy, confident feeling.
For me, it's all about the shoes. If I have tennies on, I feel no sex appeal. Put some cute shoes on, and I feel cute and sexy. So why, why, why do I insist on wearing tennies all the time?? Lazy. I've been working on it. But definitely the more put together I feel, the more confident I feel and the more outgoing I am with everyone.
Here's my struggle. I am warm, and happy, and outgoing, all that good stuff. But I also feel silly easily. So, push me out of my comfort zone, and I am rattled. I look at Sabrina's picture, above, and I think she is just the sexiest thing ever! I look at my sassy picture, below, and I think, "Oh there I am pretending to be sexy." I can't show that picture except in jest.
Hell yes, you're showing off, Sabrina says. That's the point.
I've seen a bazillion of Sabrina's pictures (she is not camera shy). In pictures with her husband, he always has a bit of drool hanging down his mouth when he's looking at her. Hands all over her. Um, I want a man who drools when he looks at me, can't keep his hands off me. They've been married forever and he still looks at her like she's the most beautiful woman in the world.
Yeah - she's good for me. I want what she's got! My massage therapist recently broke up with his girlfriend and he said that's part of the reason why. "She stopped caring about looking good for me. For me, it was always sweats and t-shirts, no makeup. She'd go out with her friends and get all dressed up, but stopped putting in any effort for me."
I have long said this happened in my marriage, too. I stopped caring. About myself, and about looking good for him. Not only did I more than double my weight over our marriage, I stopped wearing makeup, stopped dressing up, hell, even stopped shaving my legs. I didn't give a damn about me, and I didn't expect him to, either.
On Saturday afternoon at the BBQ in the sun, I thought to myself, I should be a little bit drunk all the time. I feel so good when I've got a little buzz on - but alas, this isn't practical. So instead, I'm challenging myself to channel that energy and feeling that comes from a glass of wine. Okay, a glass and a half of wine. Happy, fun, flirty. Confident. I've been working on it since last week, and I have to say, it's pretty instantaneous results in how people receive me. Again, it's not much of a bump, but it's a little bump in energy and warmth - enough that I have to make an effort, but not so much that I'm not being me.
Final observation. I mentioned feeling silly. That's part of my struggle. The other part is feeling under the microscope. "Oh look, Julie's lost weight and now she's trying to be sexy." Again, Sabrina: Yeah - so? Isn't that the point? I feel like people are constantly making comparisons between Fat Julie and Free Julie: I know I am. :) And maybe they are. But I had the WLS to change my life, and that's exactly what I'm doing. And in time, Fat Julie will be a distant memory, for me, for the people who know me. And the people who never met her will never know anything different than Free Julie.
(Also, yesterday was the two-year anniversary of my divorce. Strangely, we ended up getting divorced on my son's birthday, or I wouldn't mark the date! It was just the luck of the draw with court dates. Anyway - although I sure have been wanting a partner again, I can't say enough about how much better I feel being away from X. Divorce is hard, and recovery sucks, but I don't think I'd be where I am today without having gotten divorced, and I am very glad for it.)