I was thinking about an old friend of mine yesterday, and wondering if it might be nice to get in touch again.
And then I remembered. Back when we were close friends she was always making disparaging comments about people who she thought were too fat. And that included anybody from about my size upwards. (My size at the time, I mean, which was a US size 6 to 8, looking at the charts). She was about the same dress size as me, but taller and proportionately slimmer.
Now maybe her view on size has changed - after all, lots of my views have changed. But if it hasn't... I realised that if I met up with her, she would feel repulsed when she looked at me. If I'd met her first when I was fat, I would never have known that because she wouldn't have made those comments to me if I was fat. But I've heard those comments, and even though I'm sure she wouldn't make them now, I'd know how she really felt. I realised that if we met up, it wouldn't be as equals. She would be seeing me with revulsion and pity, and I don't need that.
And this is where I feel like I've been a spy working undercover for most of my life. As I wasn't fat, I got to hear people's true feelings about fatness, and it wasn't pretty. If I'd been fat all my life, then no doubt I'd have suffered the usual jibes from unpleasant people. We know there are cruel people out there who are quite blatant about their prejudices. But having been on the 'inside' all these years, I can tell you that there are lots of perfectly nice people, people whom I would count as friends, and whose opinions I generally respected, who have similar prejudices and see obesity as a moral failing. I know they won't tell me that to my face, now that I'm fat, but I know that's what they think, because they told me so when I was slim.
I won't be getting in touch with my friend just yet, because I'm not ready to deal with the disapproval that she'll be trying to hide when she meets me.