Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, January 25, 2008

Can You See Me Now?

by Kerry Blair

I don’t want to alarm anyone unduly, but it has recently come to my attention that when American women reach a certain age they begin to disappear. We don’t do it with flair like Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four. Rather we just seem to fade from sight, much like the Cheshire Cat, except that our smiles fade before the rest of us. I’m pretty certain that the day will come when all that is left of me is an age-spotted hand holding a small square of plastic. (While cashiers, waiters, and clerks the world over seldom give middle-aged-and-older woman a second glance, they never, ever miss our credit cards!)

Not coincidentally, this fade-effect first happens about the time we’ve discovered that our skin has gone from Spandex to crepe and our hair from dark blonde to Evening Primrose #52. (I’ve seen lots of primroses in my life, and none of them were the color of hair dye. Who thinks of the names for those boxes anyway?) Believe it or don’t, the fading that comes naturally to humankind doesn’t bother me much. What rankles is the realization that our society has become youth-oriented enough for me to pass rest of my life attracting less attention than a stealth bomber. At midnight. Under heavy cloud cover.

Frankly, I might not have noticed that I’d faded from view if my jeans had not reached critical mass. Sometime in the past two decades (most likely when my back was turned – and my face freckling from the glow of the refrigerator light bulb) I went from pleasingly plump to a dead ringer for Rosie, the female white rhino at the Phoenix Zoo. (Meaning no offense to Rosie who is quite lovely for her breed.)

Anyway, it was a wake-up call. So at great personal sacrifice (please imagine “great” italicized, underlined, capitalized and in BF – the program won’t let me do it all at once) I embarked upon a diet and have now lost more than twenty-five pounds. That’s a quarter of a hundred. Half a bag of chicken scratch. A smallish Sunbeam. Get the idea? If so, you’re the only one. Nobody – absolutely nobody – on the planet has noticed my sacrifice, or rejoiced in my modicum of success. (Well, possibly Rosie has. Her teeny little eyes widened a little when last we met.)

I’m not losing weight for recognition, of course. At least I didn’t think I was until I starting writing about it this morning. Okay, so maybe that’s all I’ve had in mind all along! As long as I’m confessing, I might as well admit that I’ve become frankly pathetic in my quest to get somebody – anybody – to say, “Well done!” (Not you. That would just be embarrassing. Step away from the comment button right now!)

Case in point. Before I discovered that I could sell my too-large clothing on ebay for fun and profit, I took a big bag of fat clothes to Goodwill. Unable to hide the smug tone in my voice I said to the attendant sorting donations, “I can’t wear these things anymore. I—”

“Dump them in the bin,” he interrupted.

“I’m just saying that I lost—”

“Lost and Found is inside. This is donations only.”

“No. I mean I lost—”


Trying another tact, I ventured, “I can’t wear these clothes anymore because—”

“We don’t care what you did to them, lady. We’ll take anything. Dump them in the bin.”

I pitched the bundle of clothes at his head.

Okay, I didn’t. I dropped them in the bin. But I wanted to do that first thing, if only to assure him – and myself – that I was really there.

Sadly, I had to re-learn that rotten little lesson about minding what you wish for. Monday afternoon, upon discovering there was little in the closet that fit me better than a pup tent, I once again ventured out to a thrift store. This time I went inside, unwilling to spend serious money on clothes I hope not to wear more than a couple of months, and eager to try the “notice me” ploy in reverse. After a wildly successful foray in the jean aisle, I plopped two pair down at the checkstand, elated that they were a size I haven’t worn since before the last baby was born. (The “baby” will soon turn 21.)

“Nothing in my closet fits me anymore,” I told the cashier hopefully*. She was cute, blonde, and possibly eighteen. If you divided her age by the number of her piercings (nine) you’d probably arrive at her approximate jean size.

And yet the blessed girl looked right at me! I practically melted from joy and satisfaction. Recognition for my hard work and sacrifice at last!

“Yeah,” she said, oozing understanding and sympathy. (Not quite the reaction I was going for.) “My mom’s getting fat, too. It happens when you get really old.”


Now that I think about it, forget I brought any of this up. Perhaps at my age fading away is a good thing. Possibly I should shoot for invisible. Then I could eat all the Ding Dongs my heart desires. (It wants about twenty this morning. Deep fried with enchilada sauce and sour cream, please. And an order of onion rings on the side. And . . . )

If I can’t swing invisible, maybe I’ll just spend the rest of my days hanging out with Rosie. If anybody does happen to see me, next to her I’ll look positively svelte.

*Note to David: I added the -ly word just for you! All the ellipses are for Rob, of course.


At 1/25/2008 9:59 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...


And I don't know what Rob's got against ellipses. I love 'em to little tiny dots.

At 1/25/2008 10:18 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

I'm trying really hard not to say "well done" because you said not to, but I'm so impressed I can't help it. Twenty-five pounds--woohoo!

Anne, I love ellipses too . . .

It is sad the way society worships not only youth, but images of youth that don't even exist--i.e. pictures of models on magazine covers that have been Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives. Even models don't look like models.

At 1/25/2008 11:13 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Hilarious blog. And Kerry, you have my supreme sympathies. Twice this past year I've been asked if I qualify for the senior discount at a local store. Both times I wanted to hit the teenage boy across the counter with my purse. It was my fault, I had allowed my natural grey coloring to slip into view (people in my family tend to turn grey early. For the record, I'm only in my 40's) I now use color
#6H, (compliments of Loreal) on a more frequent basis.

P.S. I know we're not supposed to say it, but congrats woman on losing 25 pounds. I do well to lose 5-6. You'll have to share your diet secrets.

At 1/25/2008 11:15 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Oh, wow, excellent! I lost a few pounds last fall, and nobody noticed either. Or that I gained them back later.

Do you ever think there should be a new verse in that song about "the blind can see, the lame man can walk again, when they know that someone cares?" Something about being able to shed weight and keep it off when we know that someone notices, someone cares?

I sent you an e-mail on Saturday, but I don't think you got it. Maybe I'm disappearing, too. *looks down at stomach* If only certain parts would go first.

At 1/25/2008 12:43 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Kerry, you could never be invisible regardless of whatever size you are. Your personality and heart and spirit make you shine wherever you are -- not to mention how pretty you are.

That said, way to go on the weight loss!!

At 1/25/2008 12:50 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

Great column, Kerry, and oh so true. More than that I won't say since it hits too close to home. By the way, I like a few ellipses and an occasional ly word. They're effective and natural if not overdone.

At 1/25/2008 1:11 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

Great thoughts. I hate the thought of becoming invisible, but at the same time, if it means I can eat more chocolate, maybe there is some good in it.

At 1/25/2008 7:08 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I like what Stephanie Hymphreys said--any excuse for greater chocolate consumption is a good thing.

Congrats on your success, Kerry. You'll never be invisible to us. :)

At 1/26/2008 1:51 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/26/2008 2:41 PM, Blogger Rebecca Talley said...

I love it when my kids talk about how "hot" Johnny Depp is or George Clooney and I remind them they are in my age range and my kids say, "They're not that old." Yep, invisible.

Woo hoo for the weight loss!! Do tell your secret. 25 lbs is fabulous!

At 1/26/2008 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not the mono-dimensional editor Kerry Lynn would have you believe. There are numbere of things I edit when rewriting beyond ly adverbs. Repetition, recurring duplication, and redundancies.

At 1/28/2008 3:34 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/29/2008 11:16 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Kerry, Kerry, I am laughing!! I just now saw this post (I'm a little slow, sometimes), and I think you are absolutely so stinkin' funny. I cannot wait for that book of yours to come out.

And as for invisible- I realized I'd been trying to stay young and visible by leaving my hair long. When I cut it, my husband said, "Well, you don't look like you're stuck between college and motherhood anymore."


And my 12 year old said, "Wow, we look rich!"

Again- hmm.

Not quite sure what to make of it all, I'm still trying to sort it out, but I related so well to all you said.


Nancy Allen


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