Friday, October 7, 2011

Stranger in a Strange Land

So, some of you know I've been losing weight. This journey recently had a very unexpected...moment? side effect?

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Macy's, taking my lil' tiny mom through Petites and we were going through the "regular" sizes department when I saw this white Jones New York blouse that I wanted to try on, size XL. To my surprise, it actually fit.


I came back by myself a few days later and wandered through this department among sizes XS to XL and trying on various XL items, most of which fit.

But I couldn't shake off the feeling that this was alien territory because I hadn't been there in a good fifteen years. It was very strange and unsettling. Did I belong there? Did I even have a right to be there? I didn't buy anything that day, but I came out feeling rather disoriented.

The following day, I returned and went up to the euphemistically-named Women's department, for sizes 1X on up (and I will admit to having been a 2X-3X). I walked in to compare notes with having been in that other department...and got smacked by an overwhelming sensation of not belonging there any more. What the hey? What happened? This wasn't my home department any more!

That's when I realized I'd turned a crucial corner in this journey and undergone a fundamental shift in self-perception. Sure, I had cleaned out my closet and drawers and donated a good dozen or more bags of clothing to Goodwill. And, sure, I'd been working out at Planet Fitness. And, yeah, when I hit that plateau in July and August (no gain, no loss), I realized I needed accountability and focus, so I joined Weight Watchers and started losing again. And applying detachment, discernment, compassion to myself and the journey itself.

But it all coalesced in these trips to Macy's. My body and soul were telling me that I was on the right track and that I belonged to the "regular" size department from here on out.

I'm finally starting to grok this concept. And that is a very good thing.


Anyone who reads SF/fantasy (and R.A. Heinlein in particular) will understand the title and the phrase. (Yes, I'm part geek.) If you don''s a brief explanation:

To grok (pronounced GRAHK) something is to understand something so well that it is fully absorbed into oneself. In Robert Heinlein's science-fiction novel of 1961, Stranger in a Strange Land, the word is Martian and literally means "to drink" but metaphorically means "to take it all in," to understand fully, or to "be at one with." [...] As one character from Heinlein's novel says: 'Grok' means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed ... (Source:

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