Wednesday, November 16, 2011
New Sara Becoming...Sara
After I got married there was a surreal moment when I realized that I had made acquaintances & grown new friendships with people for whom I would always be known by my married name. When they heard my maiden name they thought, "Huh, that doesn't seem like you." Given that my prior name was a pretty ingrained part of my existence for 25 years, it was very odd to me that it wasn't just apparent that I had been called something else prior to being married (side note: this is in no way any sort of commentary on the merits or downfalls of changing your name at marriage--I don't give a flying Fig Newton what other people chose to do with their monikers & can't imagine why anyone ever would care about any person's name other than their own...& their kids'...& their pets'...& the stage names of drag queens, but that is just a form of art appreciation).
I've found myself in a similar situation again. Lincoln started preschool this fall. Along with being his first large group experience it also happens to be my first new group interaction in which no one knows Old Sara. No one knows that I've lost nearly 125 lbs. No one knows that I've worked so hard to examine myself & cull out the toxic habits, thought patterns, & choices. No one knows that I used to be the woman on the peripheral who was simultaneously hoping that you would talk to me & ignore. No one knows that they are meeting New Sara...I'm just Sara (on a good day, let's be honest I'm really just "Lincoln's Mom"). It is bizarre.
This process has been/is the single most defining event in my character to date. That's not to say that being thinner is my most defining character trait, but the process of working toward goals, achieving goals, pushing on through struggles, & constantly reexamining myself & my motives has made me a different person. I used to balk at the idea that I was somehow different because I've lost weight, but I've come to realize that it's not the pounds but the process that has changed me. That being said, I was still me before all of this & I love that me because she is the me that got me here. She was pretty brave & more than a little smart (at times) & she made some tough choices that got me into this body & more importantly this head space...& all of these new preschool people don't know her. They don't know that Old Sara ever existed.
There is an odd sort of grief in that knowledge. I don't want to BE Old Sara--ever, ever again!--but I don't loath her & I certainly don't want to forget her. If people don't know she was there, what does that mean for New Sara--or as new folks call her, Sara? It's like meeting a new person & not telling her that I'm a mom. It's that integral to who I am. But who sticks out their paw for a handshake & says, "Hi, I'm Sara. I've lost nearly 125 lbs. I like your sweater."? I'll answer my own question: freaks.
Just as when I got married, I'm sure this is a feeling that will abet with time. I'm sure as I become comfortable in my body (which I certainly am not yet) I'll forget that I ever gave this a second thought. For now I'm stuck in a world where I have to constantly self-censor for fear of alienating myself & others & bringing shame on my son in the highly political world of preschool. No one likes the kid who's mom greets you with "Oooh, cool Thomas the Tank Engine shoes...did you know I used to be twice as big as I am today?"