At 183 pounds, Danielle Luongo could afford to drop some pounds from her 5’4” inch frame. A lot of pounds actually. So she got serious about what needed to be done in order to lose the weight. She gave up her two cans a day soft drink habit, as well as her mid-morning and nightly television viewing snacks, and her daily glass of wine. She also took up exercising. Mind you, she didn’t become a gym rat, not by any stretch of the imagination, but she did make a point to go for a three mile walk everyday plus she bought a set of hand weights. After six months, she was down sixty pounds and everyone she knew made a point to compliment her on both her accomplishment and her new look.
“You look fantastic, Danielle!” the people at work all said to her.
“Maybe I have this wrong, but I think you may be smaller than the day I married you,” her husband said.
“You sure are pretty Mommy,” her eight-year-old twins said.
“Thanks!” Danielle said in return, while silently thinking something else.
Crap, it didn’t work. I didn’t disappear.
When Danielle set out to the lose the weight, she had it in her head that the more she lost and the smaller she became, the less people would notice her. The less people noticed her, the less they’d demand of her – at work, at home, and as a member of the community. But the opposite happened. She stood out even more now that she was a head turner; so the work, the expectations people had of her, and the pressures of everyday life piled up even more.
“Maybe if I lost more weight?” Danielle had wondered. “No, if I get too skinny I’ll just pass out and people would definitely take notice if they found me sprawled out across the floor.”
When the weight loss didn’t work, she resorted to giving away her possessions. Clothes, holiday decorations, jewelry, knick knacks, books…bit by bit they all made their way out of her home and into resale shops.
“A person is defined by their possessions. If I don’t have any possessions, then I don’t exist. If I don’t exist, then people will forget about me, in time anyway.”
Only people didn’t forget about her. In fact, the topic of Danielle was all people could talk about. What had come over her? Was she okay? Did she need someone to talk to? Once again, instead of leaving her alone, they got in her face and peppered her with those very same questions.
“Short of becoming a magician and constructing my own magic box, I don’t see how I can ever fully disappear,” Danielle said to herself. “I guess I’ll just have to learn live with my life the way it is.”
Unable to hide herself, Danielle went back to hiding how she really felt and pretending that everything was fine.