My best friend is a great person. We've been friends for about 10 and1/2 years. She's an interesting mix of street smarts, bubbly energy, and take-no-crap from anyone. Her nom de plume for my purposes here is "OzChick."
I first met OzChick because both of our families were new members of a medieval reenactment group. Our local chapter was recruiting new members, and OzChick and her husband, Fuzz, were among the new recruits. They explained that they would not be able to do very much within the organization at first, since they had six-month-old triplets. The children had been born prematurely, and needed some extra care, so they weren't going to be out and about for long periods of time.
I felt like we hit it off immediately. We had several hobbies in common, and I loved kids, so I was immediately enraptured with hers. It turned out that she actually lived about six houses down from me, and we had yet to have run into each other before this. We started talking, and hanging out at local club meets. As we began to get more into the club, we began to see more and more of each other, and pretty soon, it felt like we were inseperable. She was there through my pregnancy, and our kids grew up together.
The club fractured after a year or two, but our friendship remained strong. She's got such a great sense of humor that even through the turbulence of the breakup with all of these people we held in such high esteem, she managed to find humor in it.
A few years ago, we started working together. The administration quickly learned that they had to seperate us, because we'd be in the back of the room, giggling like schoolgirls, and causing trouble. They also know that wherever we are, laughter is sure to ring out soon.
It's such a surprise that I'm so jealous of her. Last year, she decided that she was tired of being overweight, and went on a diet. She's lost about 75 pounds by dieting, exercise, and just plain stamina. She looks great. She's getting noticed by men again, instead of being passed over because of her weight. She feels happier, more carefree. She's happy that she doesn't have to go to "fat lady" stores any more -- she can buy things off of the rack, and not have to worry that they won't fit. She's started to enjoy who she is again. I have always loved her -- it didn't take a major weight loss for me not to see the great person she is. I love her even more because she feels so comfortable in her own skin. It's the first time I've ever heard her say: "I looked good!" I'm jealous, not only for the weight loss, but also for the freeing of her spirit. I'm jealous in the good way, the way that friends who are happy for you can be. I always told her she was great, but it took her all this time to believe it, too.
The only thing that makes me mad is that people will often pass you over because of superficial things -- looks, weight, hair color. How many of the men who wolf-whistle at her now wouldn't have even batted an eye at her a year ago? How many people passed up a friendship because she was "too heavy" for them? And, that only begs the question -- what the hell do they think of me? I am a fat girl, too. I make no excuses -- I'm lazy. I could lose weight, but I don't exercise enough, and I don't have a lot of free time. I'm sure that if I really wanted to, I could *find* time, and I know I could eat less, or even healthier stuff. I guess I just haven't hit the wall where it's too much for me.
I get the "you'd be so pretty if you'd just lose some weight" lecture from my mother all the time. What really gripes me about that argument is that that statement tells me: 1) I am embarrassed of you, 2) You *aren't* pretty now, and 3) Your self-worth should be tied up in how you look. She doesn't do it to deliberately wound me, I think, she says she's just concerned about my health. I just want her, once, to just tell me that she loves me for who I am. That I'm beautiful just the way I am.
I'm very lucky that I have a husband who thinks that I'm beautiful. He tells me all the time that I am beautiful, and while I don't personally agree with him, I'm very glad that he feels this way, and I'm eternally grateful that he treats me as if I were the most beautiful woman alive. (If you're reading this, honey -- thank you!)
I guess, in the end, it all comes down to perception. OzChick changed herself, and altered her perception of herself. She didn't change her personality, or the things that she'd always done, she just changed the outward shell. JF has a completely different perception of me than I do. I should do more about my perception of myself, but that's a long, hard road to travel.
We all see things within us that we'd rather not reveal to other people. Jealousy, greed, lust. All these things, we not only try to hide from the world, but also hide within ourselves. I am jealous of my best friend because she has been able to do something I fear I shall *never* be able to do: like myself. She has changed who she is, and now she finally likes herself. I hope that one day, I will be that strong.
When a Picture Says More Than Just a Thousand Words
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