Sylvia Martinez Banks
Remembering the Penguin

It's me, well you, leaving a voicemail for you to listen to in a year.

By the time you listen to this again, you'll be skinny. That's a fact. You are a driven person and do what you say you'll do. Plus, you were only fat for 5 out of 37 years of your life, so you know that was not you. You were trapped. And you got out.

You will have forgotten what it was like to linger in the accessories section while your skinny friends tried on skinny jeans. The purses always fit you, though. The more weight you gained, the more expensive your accessories got. (You didn't realize that, did you?) Oh, and the scarves you got into last year. Those were a nice change, hiding your thickening neck, too.

You will have forgotten the discomfort you felt sitting down, like a penguin had leeched onto your abs the minute you sat.

You won't remember the feeling of breathlessness from eating too much because you were tired of the disappointments in your life. Food never said, “I'm sorry,” or “Sorry, but we will not be publishing your piece entitled, '(insert desired title here)'.” Instead, food delivered perfectly every time.

Chances are, you will have lost all memory of dreading seeing friends who knew you at your before weight, but saw you at your after weight (which is now your new before weight, go figure). People saying they almost didn't recognize you, you looked so different.

You'll have forgotten about the person who asked when your baby was due and you thought, four years ago, but you just smiled and patted the penguin and said, “Oh, this, yeah, I gotta hit the gym soon, I know.”

You'll have forgotten what it was like for your doctor to remind you that your health problems could be improved by losing just 10% of your body weight. How you even figured what 10 % equaled to put things into perspective: A big slab of beef, a two year-old, Patrick Allen's bowling ball, your Lab puppy.

But it seemed so impossible to you, to lose the weight. You'd try, then fail. Try, then fail. Try, then fail.

Then you got a message from your old self, kind of like this voicemail, but kind of not. It came when you spotted a photo of yourself holding your two-year-old daughter at her Luau-themed birthday party. You had just run your third half-marathon the week before, and you looked beautiful, sexy. Not for others, that wasn't your point, but for yourself. You weren't the size four you were when you graduated from college, but a decent size that was strong and fit. And healthy. And happy.

Like the you you are now.

This is to remind you to be nice to people who were like the you you were before the you you are now because sometimes people forget who they used to be.

Talk to you later.


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