Something to Dream On
by Diane Rinella
“Hi,” the flirty guy says. I return the greeting and smile. He is kind of cute, despite being wasted. Tipsy I can handle, but I really dislike being around anyone who is hardcore wasted.
He nods. “What’s your name?”
“Hi, um, Liz. I'm Denny. This is Jerry.”
Jerry steps forward so that he is now by my side. Once I get the up/down full body glance from him, I accept what the game is. It’s proven when Jerry snickers. Even if I do stand a chance with Denny, Jerry’s judgment will likely convince his friend that I am not worth it.
Jerry motions to Denny not to bother and says he wants to go for another drink elsewhere. Denny steps up to shake my hand. He takes a good look at my body before saying it was nice to meet me and then makes his way back to his friends.
My eyes close off the scene. You’d think I’d be used to this by now. You’d think it would no longer rape my self-esteem, yet it does. This is so unfair. I have so much to offer. There is so much inside me that I long to share. My shell may not be perfect, but is it really all that bad? Doesn’t my heart matter? What about my soul?
The rap of Griffin’s fingers on the table creates a roll of thunder. He’s tireder of this happening to me than I am. Still, he sits in the shadows with the light barely catching the skin on top of his head and lets me handle it. He may not allow that for much longer though.
“Bye.” I give a friendly wave while trying to hide that my ego has been stomped on and smeared like a spider.
“What did you expect?” Jerry says. “Fatties turn into hags because they can't get anything else.”
Griffin slams his hands onto the table, commanding their attention. When he steps out of the booth, Denny and Jerry turn to face a monolith. It's like the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the apes worship a wall of onyx; only instead of caressing it in wonder, these monkeys freeze in fear. Griffin’s voice sounds like God’s vibrato is rippling through Heaven and he is challenging them to a smack down. “I believe you meant to say, ‘It was a pleasure to have met you.’” Despite Griffin having muscles the size of machine-guns, that voice may be his scariest weapon.
I’m wished a nice day before the jerks grab their friends and flee the bar. Griffin sits, and his voice goes back to the way I am used to hearing it in casual situations—moderately flaming and laced with hospitality that makes you expect him to have a Southern accent. “You okay there, Honey Boo?”
I look Griffin in the eyes and tell him in no uncertain terms that I am fine. We both know I am full of it, but it is either that or do what I really want—give Denny a piece of my mind and then feel like an even bigger fool as I break down in front of him. I shouldn’t have to get used to childish people who have issues with my body, but that is what it comes down to. I can tell myself that their opinions don’t matter, but that doesn’t stop incidents like these from happening. I don’t know how many more times I can pick my shattered self-esteem off of the ground before I vow to never leave the house again.
I have got to do something about my appearance. Sadly, every diet in the book leads me down the same road—an instant loss of five pounds, then weeks and weeks of painfully adjusted eating that amounts to maybe another two pounds before I hit a wall and can’t seem to lose another ounce. Then the initial five pops back on. How can I be motivated to exercise when I come home exhausted each day? If I could see progress, I could find motivation. But to have my body reject my efforts, time and again, leaving me as embarrassed over myself as Denny just did, makes me question the point of trying. Why not just surrender to the other gifts God gave me and enjoy my life?
Sometimes I try to accept that I am really not all that big, but then moments like these happen and …
What is it going to take for someone to see that I am worth loving? It’s such a painful road that sometimes I am left to question my own value.