Somebody says “you've lost weight,” and you're not quite sure if it's a compliment or an accusation. Then your wife hears the comment and looks across accusingly, as if she knew all along about some dark secret. How seriously ill you really are, how you are in denial and refuse to get a check up and so acknowledge your terrible condition. Then of course it may be a compliment, you've been working out, cycling and taking the stairs, eating less crap, respecting your body an so on. Who would ever believe such things? So the statement hangs there, floating in some twilight place, unable to be taken forward but still living and breathing in a hopeless state of purgatory. The lost weight that cannot quite be explained by your current known lifestyle choices. Will anything be said about better fitting, better quality clothes, your posture or demeanour, the fact that your just sitting up straight and smiling? I don't know.
“You've lost weight” becomes a criminal sentence, a judgement on your behaviour and habits because clearly they make no sense because right now, in this room, nobody can quite align your physical appearance with the person that they thought you were. You are a misfit and a fraud, some shadowy figure who has dealt in some black and Devilish secret deal and rendered yourself, just for the moment, just in this instant, as a thinner, falser, less passable version of yourself. Perhaps, in the light of this you should just go ahead with new and radical looks; get those neck and face tattoos, shave your head, get piercings, have that gender reassignment surgery you always promised yourself in later life, have a tummy tuck or a gastric band, become a heroin addict, join UKIP, an irritating lung removed or getting a nose job.
All of these might be more acceptable than appearing to be a little more slender which, a result has propelled you out there into deep and misunderstood space and into oblivion. Am I any thinner? To be honest I don't know, I don't even know what weight I should be. If I look at myself in the mirror out the shower I look the same. I have a paunch, I have a gut, a small one anyway and nothing to worry about. I just eat carefully and I do take a mix of regular and occasional vigorous exercise and I fidget but I'm fine, I'm OK, I suffer an innate and unshakable sense of my own strength and well being. I refuse to be ill, overweight or underweight. I make these choices but avoid all the factual baggage, all the reality, notes and regimes. I am a pillar of self awareness and luck, genetic error and some kind of ongoing applied judgement. All these things work, they come together. They work for me.
So I'm me, fat or thin me, normal, plump or skinny me. You see it's all in the eye of the beholder and those beholder's eyes do often play tricks and the tricks are complicated by the tongue and the brain and the emotions and drivers that compete and criticise and compliment. People are looking, people are looking out for me and you all the time. They see us in our layers and out of them. They want to see how you're measuring up or if you're not and that's fine but as for me, well I'm moving. I'm moving very quickly in my own personal path, I've established a trajectory, a calculation I made, verified and acted upon. Now I'm accelerating, shifting through the spaces high above, across and through all the words and well meant or casual and cruel observations. It's confusing at times and lonely but it's a direction.