So, it started out as an innocent girls night out, with me and three friends, but that is not how it ended. I am not an overly social person, but I thought that if I could step out of my comfort zone this once, perhaps it might turn out to be a good experience for me. So, the four of us (all mothers) went to a late-night showing (9:10pm, wow, we’re real rebels) of Oz: The Great and Powerful. The chatter up to the theater was fine and the movie wasn’t bad. I had come prepared with a few chosen phrases to distract myself from comparing myself to them, from comparing my body to theirs. I was doing well, but I did have to use my phrases fairly often, meaning that I was feeling pretty vulnerable by the time the movie finished. As the movie finished and we were walking out, a comment was made about how thin one of the women in our group was and she responded that she was trying to stay above 115lbs.
Needless to say, the thin defensives I had in place protecting my vulnerability shattered instantly. I froze and started breathing fast. I knew that I was going to have a meltdown, but I didn’t want to do it right there and explain that I am “suffering from an eating disorder and comments like that are hard.” So, I shut my mind down from thinking anything but becoming aware of what my body was doing (putting one foot in front of the other) and listening intently to the conversation (which had steered away from uncomfortable silence and on to more chatter). I managed to make it home without a meltdown and was so exhausted that I fell asleep soon after.
TIME TO PROCESS
The next day I was able to process what happened and begin answering questions such as, “Why did I react that way? What specifically caused me the most anxiety? What fears were underlying my reaction?” What I discovered was my deepest, most irrational, and yet extremely rampant fear (the subject of the next post—stay tuned, it’s a doozy!)