Internal Transformation: Be That Social Butterfly

I ask Ryan all the time if I am a nice person.

He tells me yes, to which I always question if he is lying or not…

(I mean, really, would he tell me if I wasn’t?)

But regardless, I often need reassurance that I am a good person; that I still have a genuine heart even though I have tortured myself and my family for years.

I never really considered why, beyond the obvious people-pleasing personality I have, or feeling so incredibly guilty for engaging in behaviors that hurt others so much, but also mentioned in the Extreme Home Makeover Weightloss Edition I blogged about yesterday, was Jacki’s attempt to overcompensate for her physical shape by trying to be super lovable.

She felt if she was polite, sweet, and a loyal friend, people might be able to look past her body and ignore how unhealthy she was; or essentially not question her motives behind the compulsive eating which could potentially trigger feelings she was desperately trying to avoid.

I do the same thing!

I was noticing it this weekend when we were at a picnic…

I either am very shy and don’t talk to anyone I did not previously know, or I kill the other party-goers with kindness, in hopes that they won’t think I am a complete weirdo who just won’t eat a cheeseburger like everyone else.

I either want to be completely invisible and ignored, but still be a semi-good wife by participating in a life with the man I love, or I want everyone to think I am the most caring individual on the planet so they might not “see” the veins that were protruding from my arms since it was so hot, or the bones poor Ryan still hates to point out.

I think this method can work if you already have some sort of relationship with the opposite person, considering they might know how much of a struggle you are currently undertaking.

BUT, I think it is very difficult for those who may not know your personality to approach you with open arms. <- (Obviously I am talking to myself here.)

Not that I am condoning being someone you are not to make friends, but I think there are people you probably already have in your life that are compassionate and understanding of appearance if it is different than the norm, and although they may be concerned for your well-being, wont completely shun you because you are no longer the same “weight-restored,” more non-chilant girl of the past.

Any form of sickness is uncomfortable for most, and when it comes to a serious mental illness that just so happens to also have a somewhat severe physical component, people don’t typically run in your direction wanting to be your closest friend.

From what my therapist explained, a lot of times others want to help and are either too scared to try or don’t even know where to begin.

And of course there are exceptions, mostly when you are in a more closed environment where you are going to encounter the person more frequently, etc. where friendships kind of naturally form and grow, but it is really hard to make new acquaintances out of strangers.

Example: It would be difficult for me to go to a bar and just strike up a conversation with another female; I would feel completely insecure, and I don’t think I give off the most approachable vibe making it pretty unlikely for someone to want to be my lifelong pal.

Ultimately this comes down to confidence; a trait I don’t really have anymore, and I think many adults struggle with similar worries when encountering new peers, eating disordered or not.

People have an inherent desire to want to be liked, and that is normal so please don’t think I am discounting that or saying I am SOOOO special or you should pity me because I want to hide in a corner during social hour.

What I AM saying is that I don’t want to be so afraid anymore.

I set goals all the time when it comes to food.

Challenge this carb, try this new fat, etc. but it is really important for me to acknowledge that my issues are rooted way deeper than at the dinner table.

Newsflash for those of you who don’t know: EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE FOOD.

I want to start having aspirations outside the existential areas of my recovery and work really hard on my internal transformation (remember I said that yesterday?!)

Building confidence and stepping out of the box with other people seemed like a pretty good place to start for the week and I already have a few small steps I want to take:

1. Make plans with some of my female friends.

Just as a side note, I mean make plans that do not included Ryan. Sometimes we will do things with other couples and that is great, but I really miss having some girl time!

2. Remind myself that I should be proud of my personality.

This sounds absolutely cheesy and something they tell you in kindergarten, but God made us all different for a reason; the world would be wicked boring if we were all clones of one another. So who cares if I am a bit quirky and awkward…maybe that means I am interesting 😉

I know this is only two things, but I promise I have more in mind!

Small steps get you to your destination too, you know and sometimes It is more about the journey 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Internal Transformation: Be That Social Butterfly

  1. I know I don’t normally comment but I do ready everyday, I really appreciate your genuineness on this topic and so get it. I lost all confidence with my ed and even during recovery. reaching out to people especially those female friends and telling them I needed that social push really hoped for me. hang in there girl you are fighting a tough battle but i am assured your ill win.

    • Thanks Alex!! It is so nice to have some reassurance about being social because as you might know my first instinct is always, “omg no one wants to spend time with me!” but I am glad it helped you and I think it will help me, as well! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. I know it sounds really counter-intuitive, but getting weight-restored can really help with insecurity/shyness. I always assumed that when I reached a healthy weight, I would be so mortified with my whale-like body that I would just curl up in a ball and hide from the world. It didn’t happen like that at all and I have no good explanation.

    I love talking to people, getting to know them, and feeling a sense of belonging (ironically, I always score “Introvert” on the tests (<- because with ED, I behave like one!)). In my eating disorder, I focus all my energy on food and exercise (and BMs. Whoops TMI), so logically, relationships just fall by the wayside. I am also 95% sure that starvation = fear, paranoia, and "mind-reading." Once I got to my healthy weight, I think my body responded better to social interaction. It had energy to think of something other than survival. It could process what people were saying and not be exhausted. I don't think weight restoration is "magic" per se, but I've definitely found that I'm able to let go of insecurity more (Heck – I even went to a karaoke party and SANG for the first time 2 weeks ago) and just enjoy being with people.

    I like that you set social goals for yourself and I can't wait to hear about your adventures with your girlfriends!

    • I dont think that sounds counter-intuitive! I think that sounds logical! I feel the most paranoid when I am the most underweight probably because my brain is basically mush! Of course as I get a bit bigger I am a little more self-concious in clothing but I feel much more articulate and outgoing; like I am not some shameful creature that needs to be alone all the time and I think getting to know people is a great way to expand your horizons and see the world beyond ED. thanks for reminding me of that! You always have such great insight!

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