Truth be told, I had a few more eye openers on this vacation, and they were all due to…
No really! I swear it sound weird, but karaoke has (directly or indirectly) taught me so many lessons over the years.
I love singing – I just never thought I was very good at it. I was always afraid that I was like the people you see on American Idol who are convinced they are amazing, but they seriously suck. When I discovered karaoke, I was too scared to sing on my own…a total chicken. But as the years went on, and because my friends are theatre nerds and music lovers too, and we started to go once a month or twice a month, my confidence grew. And as my confidence grew, so did my voice and my “vocal stylings”, and so did the number of compliments I received.
The idea that someone would take the time to come up to me and tell me I had a great voice was so strange to me…crazy. I don’t think it’s that’s great to be honest, but compared to other karaoke singers, sure, it’s probably alright. I’m don’t have a lot of character in my voice, I don’t have great tone, I’m not a technically proficient singer, but if people enjoy it – that’s awesome.
So, one night on our cruise, after karaoke, I had this sweet Puerto Rican woman come up to me and tell me how beautiful my voice was. And then proceed to tell me that I was beautiful on the inside and the outside and I should never feel badly about myself, and should never let anyone tell me any different. That my voice was a gift and that even though people may not be able to see past my appearance, even though the industry is all about looks, that I could “make it” if I wanted to.
I know that she absolutely was being gracious and kind by saying that, and she was a super fun and sweet woman, but it left me feeling…irritated. I couldn’t quite place it at first, but it hit me all of a sudden – she assumed that I was ashamed of being fat and it was holding me back.
The fact is, I’m just not good enough to be a professional singer – fat or not – so my weight isn’t holding me back. And for most of my life I haven’t really felt that bad about it. But I realized in that moment that is what people see when they see me – someone who SHOULD be ashamed of being so heavy, someone who MUST hate their body, someone who clearly isn’t successful BECAUSE she’s fat. It was something I’d never really realized before…and to be honest, I’m still not sure how it makes me feel.
Karaoke also brought us two new friends on our cruise – E and S, two single karaoke-loving dudes (a corporate lawyer and a musician/teacher, go figure). Evan actually sent us over a bottle of wine one night at dinner as an ice breaker, because he said he saw me sing Adele at karaoke on the first night of cruise and (being a musician himself) felt he had to get to know us, LOL. We’re definitely the same kind of people, that’s for sure. Because it was a short cruise, we didn’t have much time to really all hang out, but we did hang out the last few night, and in fact my husband (W), best friend (M) and I talked with E and S on the last night of our cruise until 5:45 am.
Well okay, W & M talked to S about politics, healthcare, Canadian vs American higher education system…E and I talked about sex, musical, boobies, dating, orgasms, friends, and um…sex. I know that sounds terribly perverted, but you probably had to be there 😉
One thing that came up that sort of threw me for a loop was that E (who we knew was “celebrating” his divorce) shared with me that his wife had gastric bypass (which he supported her through), lost a ton of weight and left him for a guy she met on a WLS support forum.
WOW. I was floored at that moment. He had no idea that I was having surgery (of course I shared with him that I was, and he too has been approved for surgery but hasn’t gone through the process yet).
It really made me think. I know that there are many people who have WLS and it messes with their relationships, and I always thought it was because they were on rocky ground to start with. But to have this sweet, great guy (seemingly anyway) tell me that his wife just left him after she had surgery and lost weight…it hit home.
I don’t believe that would ever happen to us, because I think overall we’re good, but…do you ever really know what you would do? I wish I could say it would never happen, but I can’t. That scares me.
But, there is one thing that I have going for me. I think in many cases (especially with women), some women who lose weight feel like they missed out on something when they were fat – the attention of men – and they eat it up when they are suddenly not-so-fat. And it messes with them. But one of the reasons they probably missed out is because THEY lacked confidence and self-esteem, not because they weren’t attractive.
On the flip-side, I always felt I was attractive and was pretty damn confident. In high school, I got the most dates and had the most boyfriends of my skinny friends. In university, I dated quite a bit. I got hit on just like everyone else (although admittedly maybe not quite as much). I never felt like I missed anything. Then I met my husband (at 21) and got married (at 24) and I never once thought I was “settling”, or that it was the best I could do so I might as well go with it. Never once.
So I have no desire to lose weight and sow my wild oats – I sowed them long ago. Will I still enjoy the attention of men? Sure! But I just see it as a compliment, not an affirmation.
That said, I have no idea how this journey is going to affect our relationship, but I’m willing to work at it, like we always have.
Maybe “for fatter or thinner” wasn’t in our vows, but I’m just going to pretend it was.