Yesterday was g-baby Claire’s 3rd birthday party. She’s a princess, isn’t she?
As always, most of my son-in-law’s family was there. They are kind, boisterous Steelers fans I’ve adopted as my family.
I met Matt’s parents in 2005 after losing the first 70 pounds in this journey. Here’s what I’d posted on Lynn’s Weight-Loss Journey back then:
“It’s September 18. Larry took this picture before we went out to dinner with my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents. This was the first time we’d met them. Driving there I told Larry that I would have felt so uncomfortable if I’d weighed 296. He said I would have found an excuse to cancel. That hit me hard, but he’s right. I probably wouldn’t have met them at my high weight. I would have avoided it like the plague.”
Meeting Frank and Julia the first time took a great deal of courage for me, even though they are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Courage because I was a social hermit. And why was I a social hermit? Because of my weight, of course. Right?
You know how when you assume something’s true, you don’t think too deeply about it or question it? You just allow it to be what it is because on the surface it makes perfect sense. It’s Occam’s Razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
Usually, but not always.
During my morbidly obese years, I assumed my weight was the reason I was reserved and shy. When I starting losing weight, I honest to god expected that at the end of the journey, I’d be a social butterfly, completely forgetting that before I was 300 pounds, I was NOT a social butterfly.
Remember what I wrote in my last blog? “Thin can solve or prevent a lot of physical ailments, but thin does not resolve issues of self-esteem.” I re-read that line a few times while thinking about this blog and a truth worked it’s way out: It’s OK to be shy. It’s OK to be introverted. It’s NOT OK to NOT accept that about myself and to constantly work against the grain and expect me to be something I can never be.
Self-esteem isn’t just about “feeling good” about ourselves, but accepting wholly and without reserve who we are inside and out. When we constantly think we’re going to change “some day” because our weight and/or circumstances will be different, we’re missing out on getting to know who we really are at the core.
For instance, on Friday, my friend Janet – whom I hadn’t seen in 3 years – came for a visit. We went out. Did a little bar hopping. Janet is assertive and has always been about talking to folks and having a good time. Friday night she was on top of her game. I, on the other hand, other than talk to a few people I knew, stayed to myself and did a lot of people watching.
Contrast that to yesterday when I felt comfortable among people I know love me no matter what I look like. And yet, like Friday, it took a lot of self-encouragement for me to be social and to interact.
Here’s what I know about me. I am kind, I know how to throw a good party, I like to help out, I love meeting new people, AND it takes a lot to step outside my comfort zones.
The cool thing is? THAT’S OK!
It’s time I stopped blaming weight for what is not wrong. It’s not wrong that I am shy in public. It’s not wrong that my first tendency is to avoid social situations.
I feel like a refrigerator’s been lifted off my shoulders. Amazing what a little thinking and perspective will do, isn’t it?
This weekend, Frank and Julia’s daughter is getting married. (This is a photo of some of my adopted family. My daughter Cassie is in the middle, pregnant with Claire three years ago. The bride is on the far right.) There will be 460 people at the wedding, significantly more than Sunday’s birthday party. Dressed in my new black dress (and a bit of Spanx), I will attend the wedding and reception, all the while encouraging myself into self-confidence rather than talking myself into being something I’m not.
Heck, I might even dance a little 🙂