Hiding in plain sight….



Much like a hermit crab I have spent my life living in a shell and as time rolled by I would exchange it for larger and larger shells. It was my home, it was my comfort and protection. And with it I was able, for the most part, to hide in plain sight.

You see, the majority of my life I have been morbidly obese. You would think the larger you are the more people see you but the opposite is true. The larger you are the LESS people see you….let me rephrase that…..the less people WANT to see you. They turn away in stores and elevators as if they are embarrassed for you and rarely speak. It’s a silence you just become accustomed to over time. It’s normal, not being noticed or being glanced over and passed. The silence itself becomes a layer of comfort.

In December 2012 I shattered my silence by undergoing full gastric by-pass. The weight began to fall away at a steady pass. But let’s face it, when you weigh 320lbs it takes a while for people to notice. So I was able to hide in my shell for a good while longer. It wasn’t until I had lost nearly 80lbs that the change began and my silence was broken.

I was alone on a hotel elevator having been at a business meeting or something. I honestly can’t remember because it was what happened next that is so solidly burned into my memory. The elevator “dinged”, the doors slid open and several business professional got on. I looked up at them and their gaze met mine and suddenly I realized they were addressing me. “Hi, How are you today?” a gentleman asked…….I stammered, “just fine” , as I backed my ass waaaaaaay into the back corner of the elevator. All the while the voice inside my head screamed, “Holy shit! They can see me!”. Panic set in immediately. No I mean REAL PANIC….as in a PANIC ATTACK.

I bolted out of the elevator when it reached the lobby and headed to the valet. I passed off my ticket to the young man who ran for my car and I stood there…out in the open…..waiting for my car. I might as well have been standing there butt-ass-naked with a spot light shining down on me because THAT is how exposed I felt in that moment.

I had to have a good, long discussion with myself when I got home that night. I could choose to hide at home and hold down my couch or I could push myself out the door and join the party. I felt like the hermit crab, soft and vulnerable inside. But the choice wasn’t to shed one shell for another like Hermie the Crab. It was time to accept the fact that I had a life changing surgery for a reason….to live. And the only reason to live is to be SEEN and HEARD.

So cheers, to “LIVING OUT LOUD”.

I love each and every one of you

Copyright 2013 Juliana Wathen

14 comments on “Hiding in plain sight….”

  1. What a lovely surprise to check my email and find a new blog entry from my bravest friend and positive outlook Guru. This is one place where you never hide yourself away and we are all the better for it.


  2. And live you shall!!! Juliana, being a fellow past larger person, I some what understand but obviously not to your degree as you were more shy I think. (besides, we all handle things differently).
    You know I always thought you were an amazing beautiful person and I have always considered you one of my closest friends (even when we would go through spans of not seeing each other for busy lives…….I still do!)
    To me, you are the ultimate survivor and I always felt you were stronger than you think you are. I pray you fully realize how important you are to others and how much you have to offer this crazy mixed up world. God has blessed you with a plethora of talent, the incredible ability to forgive more than anyone i know, and, a brilliant mind and beautiful soul.

    Stay strong, Stand Tall because you ROCK!!!!

    Forever loving you,


  3. Like Marianne stated, “what a treat to read a new blog entry from my friend.” What a great milestone.
    Love you


  4. what a story – you are a beautiful person and I am so glad that you have decided to live your life – you look fabulous girl – keep up the good work – stay healthy and Happy – love you


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