Can you believe it's been thirty years?
Can you believe it's been thirty years?
When that invitation arrives in the mail it strikes fear in the heart of most of us who have gone ahead and aged like mortals. I skipped the last one. It's not much fun to be the one who "got really fat" (I hope you read that in a stage whisper so I would/wouldn't hear you...) Who can forget the words of Suzanne Sugarbaker when she accepted an award for 'Most Changed' at her reunion on the They Shoot Fat People, Don't They? episode of Designing Women:
Well, this is quite a surprise. I guess maybe I deserve this award for the Person-Most-Changed, but (pause) not for the reason you think. Last night I got my feelings hurt because I came to this reunion thinking I was beautiful and what I find out was that I'm fat (pause) at least you think I am. But that isn't the biggest change in me. The biggest change is that the old Suzanne wouldn't have shown up here tonight. She would've just gotten thin before the next reunion and then she would have gotten even. But I'm a little older and I hope a little wiser than that person used to be.
A lot of things have happened to me. A lot of things have happened to all of us. Sandy Smothers was killed the night before we graduated. Diane Mitchell's got two sets of twins and Gayland Chadwick's working in the White House. We had a lot of dreams together and there's no point in pretending some of mine came true and some didn't.
I met a little boy from Africa tonight whose family died of starvation and I realized that I spent the whole day at home worrying about the fact that I had too much to eat. I'm not sure the old Suzanne would have appreciated the absurdity of that but this one does.
Some of you men wanted to know about my bra size, but I’d rather talk about my heart because (pause) it's a little bigger than it used to be. The old Suzanne wouldn't have forgiven you for the things that you said, but this one will. Because when I look around this room tonight, I don't see receding hairlines and the beginnings of pot-bellies and crow's feet. I just see all the beautiful faces of old girlfriends and sweet young boys who used to stand on my front porch and try to kiss me goodnight. And you can remember me any way you'd like, but that's how I'll always remember you.
And so I thank you for giving me this award for the Person-Most-Changed, however you intended it. I'm gonna treasure it because #1. I love trophies and #2. I earned it. Thank you.
Suzanne rocked, no doubt.
But I've never had Sugarbaker strength. I am not going into it feeling beautiful. I feel - ashamed. I hate that I will be judged by it, but I will. It's not fair, and it's not right, but it will happen. I don't know if knowing that - like I do - or not knowing it - as was the case for Suzanne - is worse. Just because it won't catch me by surprise, doesn't mean it won't hurt.
So why don't I just skip it, then, for Pete's sake? Well, blame FB for that. I've renewed contact with so many friends from that period of my life. We've shared our stories - our trials and our triumphs. I would hate to deprive myself of the opportunity to spend face-time with these people just because my face now sports an extra chin (or so...).
So I stress about it. I've stressed about it since the invitation arrived months ago. I stressed about it every time I saw a classmate on FB mention that they hoped they could drop ten pounds before the reunion. I could gain or lose ten pounds without it being noticed. I suppose there's a sort of comfort there. Nothing to be done about it - certainly no quick fix. I'm not going to look good - no amount of torture at this point - or at the point where I got the invitation - is going to change that.
I should be packing, today. Packing for our trip, that begins with the reunion and ends with the shore with a lot of relative-visiting in between. I should be packing. I should be making my house ready for the time we'll be away. But I'm not. I'm trying to do a hundred things at once and not doing any of them well. I'm sitting here with a rock in my stomach, certain that I'm going to hurl. I can't concentrate on anything. I am - in a word - manic.
What the hell?
I'm sure I'll be telling you in a few days about how much fun it was.
But right now? I'm just gonna sit my fat self in a corner and rock. And maybe hurl.