I came face to face with one of my greatest fears today…sitting in a booth at a restaurant.
Since I’ve gained weight over the last couple of years, I’ve shied away from going to restaurants because of some crazy thoughts in my head. I have believed that because I weigh a certain amount, I shouldn’t be allowed to eat in public. So certain places are easier, like Starbucks, more casual places, in general.
Today, I met a friend for lunch at Panera.
Thinking ahead (yes I was actually thinking about sitting arrangements while I was ordering, different crazy for a different time), I set up my drink at a table, where I would be comfortable.
Problem is, my friend and I have ALWAYS sat at a booth when we eat lunch at Panera. Sometimes, we’ve fought other people for a booth, or stared at them until they left a booth. So naturally, when he saw where I set up, he moved our stuff when he saw an open booth.
But I’m thinking, “Maybe it won’t be so bad. Time to face your fears”
When I sit down the seat slides a bit but no big deal. I slide the table away from me so I can be more comfortable. My stomach is touching the table. I can’t really slide the table any further away.
I am MORTIFIED.
I’m also uncomfortable eating lunch like this.
My first reaction is to just suffer through it. “Whats the big deal?” I tell myself. “You can get through lunch uncomfortable while you eat.”
Then I realize how crazy that thought is. THEN I have to face the fact that I am going to have to ask my friend to move so I can be comfortable.
It was the hardest two minutes of my life.
I sat there ashamed and afraid to ask him to move. I also knew I had to ask.
So I spoke up.
He was more than gracious and agreed to change to a table, helping me move some of my lunch. I think I apologized and said I would just be more comfortable. We also got a chance to process it for a min over lunch. I let him know it had been hard to ask.
This is where my recovery is happening. Sitting at a lunch table, making decisions about whether to honor my own comfort or sit in silent shame.
Today I made the right decision.
I just wonder how many times in the past I haven’t. This feels like a new behavior, this respecting myself enough to speak up and ask for what I need.
Somewhere along the line, I learned that talking about my needs was selfish, scary, avoidable. I made myself the last priority on the list. I lived my life in resentful service to other people and their needs…stuffing down my own feelings…literally.
I don’t think that this will be an easy behavior to learn. I’m going to be uncomfortable for a while, practicing it day after day.
But like L’Oreal Paris, I’m worth it.