This morning I was reading Irish Mammy's fabulous blog My Time to Shine.
At the end, she wrote "the last few months of my drinking I felt invisible and old and that that was how I was going to feel till I died."
This struck a major chord with me, as I had felt more and more invisible over the last decade.
Long ago I'd resigned myself to that fact that I wasn't going to be troubled while walking past building sites any longer, let alone find a people turning to stare as I walked into a party (unless I'd accidentally tucked my skirt into the back of my knickers).
I guess that's inevitable. But, on top of that, I deliberately made myself invisible...
I was painfully aware that, whilst my life was seemingly fairly perfect, it didn't stand up to much scrutiny. Anyone who looked a little more closely would probably see it all falling apart round the seams.
I'd scoot as unobtrusively in and out of the school gates in the morning as possible, in order to avoid having to make conversation with a hangover. Ditto school gates in the afternoon, in case it was obvious I'd had a glass or two at lunch time.
As I became increasingly overweight, bloated and puffy, I avoided wearing anything much other than stretch jeans and black (aka the cloak of invisibility).
My aim when dressing for a party was to not wear anything that would draw attention: to my wine belly, my rapidly expanding arse, or to me generally.
I couldn't face shopping for anything new as I didn't have the confidence any more to know what looked good (or less bad), and couldn't face buying anything in a dress size that I was desperately hoping was temporary.
But now I feel like a butterfly creeping slowly, slowly out of its chrysalis. I still don't have the confidence (or the cash!) to go on a big shopping spree, but I'm reaching into the depths of my wardrobe and pulling out some of the 'optimistic' clothes that have been loitering there for up to five years.
The 'optimistic' clothes are the ones in bright colours and bold prints that you buy slightly too small on a day when you're feeling optimistic about the new diet.
Inevitably, a few days or weeks later, reality bites savagely, but you can't face admitting defeat by taking the newly purchased garment to the charity shop, so it stays there for years, taunting you.
So now I might be looking several years out of date, but at least I'm not in black and I'm easily doing the zips up on the size twelves (US size 8). (See Stop Drinking, Lose Weight?)
Last night we went to a drinks party in a trendy new restaurant in Chelsea. I drank my elderflower cordials and, despite still feeling a little bit 'off' and self conscious, managed to meet a handful of new people (which I wouldn't have bothered to do in the old days) and crack a few good jokes.
As we left (by car, which I'd parked right outside!) Mr SM said to me "You are amazing!"
"Why?" I asked, assuming he was referring to the free lift home. But no. He elaborated:
"Fred came up to me as he was leaving and said 'Hey, Mr SM, your wife is on fire tonight!'"
HA! No longer invisible, but actually ON FIRE!
I am Katniss Everdene (without the murder of teenagers).
Love, and Happy Friday, from SM x