Friday, May 9, 2008

A Year Later: Same Scenario, Different Outcome

I am excited to talk about growth- of my own personal kind. Its not easy to see on a day to day basis, but today proved to be one of those situations where I could easily compare how I used to be to how I am now. Today we had our company’s annual shareholder’s meeting. Everyone gathers together for lunch to discuss business. Last year when this luncheon happened, I remember being physically sick over it and having to rely and confide in a few coworkers who have now become really close friends. I asked them to sit next to me and I told them my problem in case I had to run out suddenly to avoid throwing up. I was embarrassed, nauseas, and scared of what others might think of me for what I did or didn’t eat. It was around this time that I actually started this blog.

What a difference today’s meeting was for me. I walked upstairs alone to go to the conference not even consciously thinking about whether anxiety would be a problem. I also didn't know that I was going to be the first in line in front of all of my coworkers to get our lunch buffet style. This was a bit embarrassing but I tried to hurry through the line picking out just enough that I thought would fill me up and not more so that I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to clean my plate.

I walked into the sitting area and out of habit I specifically chose a chair in the back corner so that I wouldn’t be in the midst of everyone, somewhere I could hide. Since I was the first employee in the room, as the other employees filed in they sat around me. I didn’t get to sit next to the few people that really had helped me last year.

And then the inevitable happened as it always does. Someone sitting near me who was slender in build but had a heaping plate full of food said in disbelief,

“Aimee, that’s not nearly enough food to feed you and your baby! You should go back and get more!”

This statement a year ago would have been devastating to me.

“She must think I am anorexic...”
would have crossed my mind as well as
“Everyone is watching me to see how much of this I eat.”

The girl next to her offered to split some of her food with me, as if to spare me more embarrassment or to make it not awkward somehow.

Normally now my face would be bright red and my neck burning. My appetite would disappear and my stomach would turn into knots. Not today though.

Surprisingly, I calmly stated that I may go back for seconds in awhile but that I am ok for now. I then quickly redirected my thoughts to conversation with someone else at the table and started to dig in to a really yummy catered lunch.

The funny thing is when all was said and done I had selected the perfect amount of food for me. I ate everything on my plate and had room for desert. Meanwhile, the girls that had commented on my plate had a LOT of leftover food on their plate that they couldn’t finish because they got so full. I didn’t hold any bad feelings toward them because I know that they don’t understand that such a trivial thing to them as lunch would be so huge in my eyes. They weren’t trying to make me feel bad, but rather probably just making conversation. It makes me wonder what things I say lightheartedly that may really impact someone else.

It made me feel great to know that I can assess what my body needs all by myself no matter what others may think of me. I can eat what I want when I want and I am the one who knows what is best for me and my family.

I walked into this luncheon unprepared which was a mistake because things could have gone a lot worse. But I must admit that today I relied not so much on breathing, or coping strategies, but more on my own self esteem and confidence which rarely happens. It’s a great feeling to see that progress.


Dr. Deb said...

I totally love the photo of that tree trunk with life finding its way again!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say how lovely this post it. I've just found your blog recently and have been reading through a lot of your older posts. I'm really glad to have found it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your emotions, deeply personal thoughts, and life-growth. Your description of anxiety reminds me of a photo I took and posted on Flickr, titled "Churning Anxiety".

Thank you again. You positively impact so many.

Michael Domingo
Falls Church, VA

Molly said...

that is great!
going on a long plane trip last one did not go well.
hope the tools we have both learned in the past year will help me too!
take care

Leila V. said...

Congratulations! That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog - thanks for your contribution to our community!



Molly said...

miss you...
take care

Emily said...

Good job! Funny how sometimes it's horrible and other times it's fine. I've totally been there. :-S

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