I got a huge compliment yesterday.
“she looks happy”
Which is funny, because at the moment it was said I was trying to hide how unthrilled I was.
I had just stepped outside my building for a moment to meet a friend who was delivering a custom skating dress for me. I had the garment bag over my arm and I was on my way back to the building.
With no make-up on.
In the middle of the workday.
Yes, I know…brave.
Just plain stupid for a 44 year old.
Coming up the sidewalk towards me were three men. I think of them as “young men” but really they are almost my age. They are all fit, neat, healthy and pretty decent looking guys. One of them is my former boss (whom I had a lite boss-crush on) and all three of them were people that I used to work with in the Chemistry Department here at Emory.
Last time they saw me I had long hair and was 40 pounds heavier than I am now.
So when Todd hugged me and said
“I’ve heard some rumors about you, are they true?”
I experienced my very first “I don’t want to talk about the cancer” moment.
I didn’t want them to attribute my weight loss to the cancer.
I didn’t want them to chalk up my hair cut to the cancer (chemo, hair loss etc)
I didn’t want my lack of make-up to be marked down in their minds as “oh she is strung out from treatment of her cancer.”
I’ve worked hard to lose the weight, I changed my hair cut because I wanted to and I didn’t have makeup on simply because I don’t feel the need for it most days. Sure I look better with it, but I prefer not to have to bother.
So I laughed. I bubbled. I sparkled. And I said
“What rumor? The one that I’m going to U.S. Adult Nationals next week and I’m going to do better than last year? Sure! It’s TRUE! I placed 5th last year, but this year I’m gonna make it to the medal stand!”
In short, I deflected.
I knew what Todd wanted me to confirm.
But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear to have
be the word that comes to mind when they think of me.
I would ten thousand times rather they think of
The conversation went pretty rapid fire after that. All three of them shooting me questions about ice skating, competing etc…when suddenly one of them says to the other
“Man I almost didn’t recognize her! Deirdre, you sure do look different!”
And the other one comes back with
“yeh, she looks HAPPY!”
At which point I got to tease them by saying that it was because I had gotten rid of all the stress in my life when I left off working with them!
All in all a fun conversation. And one that I have gotten more and more out of as it percolates through my brain hours later.
And yes, I’m insecure enough that I wore make-up today…… Just in case.