Monday, October 4, 2010

When Occum Is Wrong

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.

Aha!

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 :)


One more photo from the Claire's b-day party.

13 comments:

  1. First of all, I love the last picture of you and the kids and Larry. So cute!

    And second of all, this post really hits home for me. I don't struggle with being an introvert, but I do struggle with being an anxious person who frets and worries quite a bit. For a long time, I have wanted to be a "different way." I just want to be the calm, cool, collected gal--which I am NOT! And everyone notices this nervous, frenetic energy of mine--my friends and colleagues, especially. This post makes me realize that it is not okay to beat myself up for being something I am not; I honestly think I am genetically programmed to be a worrier. I need to learn to accept myself for who I am--which is oh so hard at times--and to also laugh at myself when I get worked up over stuff that really is very silly in the whole scheme of things. Life is too short if I can't laugh at myself or something.

    Thanks for an insightful post, Lynn, and for your honesty.

    Ali

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  2. What a cutie! Thanks for sharing that photo.

    I think accepting that what you are is key to why you can keep the weight off.

    I spent so long berating myself for loving food, when I finally realized that was okay and I didn't have to eat in secret or act like I only liked salads and fat free foods. Amazing how much easier it became to normalize my eating (most times)with accepting that.

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  3. We must see a picture of you in the black party dress!

    I'm the same person that I was at 256 pounds, but I think people view me differently. I'm not immediately seen as the fat one; now they have to get to know me to see who I am. Sad that being overweight was my definition, but my personality wasn't large enough to overcome the largeness of my body.

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  4. Great Pics!

    It's hard to step out of the comfort zone, but the growth that results is fantastic. I'm now much more comfortable in embracing that squirm. It's good too when we can recognize it - that helps the growth too I suppose.

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  5. I also am an introvert (and live near the 'burgh!). Sometimes I think the reverse was true for me ... I was not an introvert because I was fat, but got fat partially because I was an introvert. Fat is a great shield.

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  6. This post is very insightful, and for me hits close to the truth. I once took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, and it showed that I leaned toward being an introvert. I could have told anyone that--but I was always a bit ashamed of it. All of my life I have wanted to be a "life of the party girl." That's something I am not and never will be.

    Thanks for putting this into perspective. The more we know and accept ourselves, the happier and healthier we will be.

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  7. I have been realizing this about myself, too. For ten years I sat in the house because I was fat. Now I am not (as) fat, and I don't sit in the house as much, but I am content with walks alone, time with my kids, visits with friends. I do not really care about going to parties or events or any of that. I am kind of a natural introvert, and I enjoy alone time. And as you said, that's okay!

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  8. great post!
    we are expected to be open, cheerful and outgoing, but that doesn't mean it's the "norm". we all are different. i swing back and forth between being an introvert and an extrovert. and depending on the current mindset i can be two absolutely different people. and weight doesn't have much to do with that.

    happy birthday to g-baby!

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  9. Great post! Years ago I landed a management job that required me to lead a sales team of professionals and meet many clients. To this day there are many events I get very worked up and anxious about and all I can think about and share with my husband is I can't wait for this Tuesday or next Thursday to be over. I think some of this is natural depending on the setting or event and other times I say, I will get through this next opportunity like I always do. I am who I am and I am what I am. I say to myself I have accepted myself wholly as you mention but there are so many days I wish I could find the strength to lose weight successfully because I feel I would be more self confident...so maybe I haven't accepted myself wholly. Without health issues and fitting into clothes not in the Womens clothing section I just haven't found the motivation.

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and find it very thought provoking and inspirational. Have a great time this weekend and thank you for sharing.

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  10. Oh my word, I knew we shared similar characteristics, but now I wonder if we were separated at birth.

    Sissie! ::hugs::

    I'm so happy you have learned to love and cherish who you are and to forget about trying to be someone else. (Me, too.)

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  11. I read this yesterday and it brought me to tears. I am reserved, too and had the same expectation of myself for when I reach goal - but did not realize until I read your words. What a lovely relief to know I get to still be me and get to know me better - rather than expect myself to become someone else now. Thank you!

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  12. Holy cow, I think I could have written this post about myself. In fact, I've been jotting down thoughts about this exact subject for my own blog. Sometimes it's hard to put into words but you've done it beautifully. I too, thought that I would soar like an eagle....if I just lost the weight. I'd have more friends; I'd be happier; more outgoing; more daring; the list goes on. What a revelation to me when my 100+ pounds came off; I had the same personality - I was just thinner. It has taken me years to learn this very important lesson that you so elequently have described. You're missing out on who you are right now if you keep thinking about 'some day'. Thanks for the post, and the inspiration. Gotta add you to my blogroll!

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  13. Lynn, I have two things I want to react to.

    First, what kills me is the inconsistency of social courage. Some days I AM the "life of the party." I'm "on" and comfortable. But just as often I'm completely off, and I can't control it. Woof.

    The second thing I want to react to may be the cause of this "on and off" phenomenon, but I'm not sure. I think the reason I am uncomfortable with some people is the residual judgment I feel. And a vague sense of outrage. I was just as smart and wonderful in my old body as I am now. (Actually, I was smarter. As I calculate it, I have had 3,640 glasses of wine between my old body and now. That surely took out a brain cell or two.) And yet, I'm treated differently now. I can't always identify what the differences are, but I have a sense of change that doesn't quite feel justifiable. Being in social situations makes me circumspect about this oddity. Thinking too much, I think, makes me go "off." It's hard to just relax and enjoy. That's when I'm "on."

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