It happened again this morning. While commuting to work via public transit, I noticed a kindly woman, likely in her 60s, eyeing my midsection. She studied my shirt and then raised a finger to catch my eye.
“Would you like my seat?” She started to get up and I enthusiastically refused.
“No, thank you. I’m fine, really!”
She thought I was pregnant. Pregnant enough to be showing. Showing enough where strangers feel compelled to give up their seats. I’ve never been more thankful for a pair of sunglasses as my eyes started to sting and well up with tears.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s not the second or third, either. It’s always a kind woman, usually middle-aged but sometimes younger. She’ll size me up for a stop or two, then decide with certainty there must be a child in there, and offer her seat. It hurts and humiliates me every time.
My wedding is a little over two months away. Two months this Saturday, to be exact. This isn’t the body I thought I’d have when I walk down the aisle. I never dreamed as a little girl that I’d still be struggling with my weight and body image on the day when I’m supposed to feel most beautiful. I never dreamed I’d have to pay extra for a wedding dress in my size. This isn’t the way it was “supposed” to be.
There’s no lesson here. No nugget of wisdom or clarity. I’m just a little sad and grieving the loss of what I always dreamed I would look like. And I just needed to get it out of my head and onto a page.