Monday, July 19, 2010

What if it’s not the weight?

What if it’s not the weight?  What if I reach my goal weight/size/feeling and am still not confident?  What if it’s not my weight that has turned people off, but my personality?  What if I’m still socially awkward and single forever?

This whole battle-with-weight thing has so many vicious cycles; you’re fat, you’re depressed, you eat more to seek comfort, you avoid people because you’re embarrassed, you resent that people don’t reach out to you more (can you blame them?) and you end up digging yourself in deeper.  You lose weight, you gain confidence, you start dressing better because suddenly clothes look better, you let your real personality shine through, and people should gravitate toward you, right? 

When I weighed 270 lbs, I was ok with social situations because I didn’t have to be a part of them.  I just assumed I wasn’t worthy of being an active participant in society, so most of the pressure was off.  I could be wacky and loud and obnoxious and not care what people thought, because – since I didn’t consider myself an active social participant – I had nothing to lose.  Now, my veil is gone (or at least it’s not as thick).  This is ME now.  I can’t blame social shortcomings on my weight anymore (well, I still do because I’m still overweight, but it’s not as bad as it was).  I used to say, “oh they don’t want to hang out with me because I’m fat,” or “he might be into my personality, but I don’t blame him for not wanting to date a fat girl.”  Now…it’s just me.

So if people who knew me then are more interested in me now, does that mean that they’re shallow?  Does it mean that I truly act different than I did then, liberated from the fat shield I hid behind?  If new people don’t initiate or continue conversations or want to hang out now, is it because they don’t like ME as a person?

It’s a very strange thing to re-evaluate your place in society when weight is no longer (as big an) elephant in the room and to try to figure out who you really are again.  I’ve been hiding or trying too hard for so long that I don’t know what I’m really like, so how can I expect others to gravitate toward my personality if I haven’t found it yet?

I’ve been trying to be more social lately, going outside of my comfort zone to initiate activities and putting myself out there a little more.  As a result, I’ve been dealing with a dull roar of anxiety for a week or two.  I’m hoping that if I keep practicing, the discomfort will go away, but in the meantime my stomach is so full of butterflies I feel I could float away (or just pass out).  I want to get to the point where I don’t overanalyze every little thing that happens, where I don’t need to chug two beers before deciding I can strike up conversations, where I don’t choke back tears at the thought of following through with plans, where I can just be NORMAL.  But in the meantime, I’m still contributing to the anxiety by wondering “what if it’s not the weight?”