Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm Quirky - Will You Like Me Anyway?

View from Round Bald - June, 2008
Appalachian Trail along the TN/NC border

(I wrote both yesterday's post and this one at the same time yesterday morning, but knew I couldn't publish both at the same time - it would've been far too long.  Obviously, yesterday's post hit a nerve with many of you and once again, we find common ground.  So if you see something in this post that repeats something you said in your comment, remember, this post had already been written.  IOW, we are thinking the same way!  Talk back to me - I'm listening and it helps!  Enjoy your Saturday!)
Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's post, so if you haven't read it, please do or this one will make no sense.  Of course, it's entirely possible that NEITHER post makes any sense!  LOL!

I've discovered that most, if not all, of my episodes in which I compulsively overeat in a social situation, binge eat alone or fall "off the wagon" after a prolonged period of progress involve one the the following situations:

1)  A planned or unplanned restaurant eating experience.
2)  A planned or unplanned social setting in someone else's home.
3)  An event in the future (immediate or far away) where I know food will be a problem.
4)  Any event involving food that catches me totally off-guard.

Here are some of those "quirks" I kept talking about yesterday:
1)  Technically, I am a very simple eater.  Truth be told, I'd rather have Triscuits, Laughing Cow Cheese and grapes for dinner as any gourmet meal that could possibly be prepared. ( Problem is, I want the whole box of Triscuits, the whole round of cheese and 4 pounds of grapes!)   Do I LIKE the fancy stuff - of course, who doesn't.  But the point is, given my first choice, I'll always choose the simple stuff.

2)   I am rarely interested in restaurant dining (fancy restaurant or McDonald's).  There are exceptions of course, but generally speaking, I want simple food in a simple place that is clean and uncrowded.

3)  I am the world's worst chit-chatter.  I just don't do small talk!  Don't get me wrong - I love meeting new people and getting to know them, but my idea of getting to know you is to say, "hi, I'm Sharon - do you agree with Pavlov's theory about slobbering dogs?"  I don't want to discuss the weather, I want to know what makes you tick.

4)  This introvert just does better out in wide open spaces with one or two friends enjoying life at its simplest.

5)   I am horribly claustrophobic.  Remember, claustrophobia can be internal as well as external.

6)   Back me into a corner with no escape(choice) and I'll come out swinging. 

Couple these "quirks" with those things from yesterday's post which I have to change before I'll ever be a "normal" eater and you have a collision of major proportions!

But here's some good news, I think!

Isn't recognition the first sign of progress?  Maybe if I'm recognizing the "where did this come from" part of an out-of-control eating experience, I can then use the control tendencies in a productive rather than destructive way.  Courage to say, "thanks, but no thanks" when invited to do something I really don't want to do.  No explanation needed, just "thanks, but no thanks."  Courage to suggest an alternative that meets my needs.  Not in a selfish or self-serving way, but in a way that asks the other people involved to meet me halfway.  Isn't that a part of a healthy relationship with another person?  Courage to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with Mr. B about his role in some of the problems and courage to ASK for what I need from him.  Remember, for every introverted tendency I possess, he is the polar opposite.  The more, the merrier.  (I think I just invented tomorrow's post!!)  Courage to do all these things without fear of whether or not I'll be liked.  Courage to move forward in becoming the me I want to be.  The me I think I am.  The me I'm afraid for you to know.   The me food loves unconditionally.  The me food will always be right there to comfort and soothe when Ms. Quirky finds herself somewhere she really doesn't want to be or becomes afraid she's just too weird for anyone to really like.   Hmmmmmm!

Following recognition comes action.  Well, guys, this isn't something I can resolve in a tidy little blog post.  But here are a couple of starters:

1)  Stop manipulating circumstances in hopes of maintaining control. Wait for invitations to come to me and practice using the word, "no."
2)  When someone tries to force me into making a decision, be patient and wait them out.
3)  Use the familiar tactics when in a social setting that is unavoidable i.e. a function related to Mr. B's work.  (There has only been one of these and I honestly believe if I hadn't already been so angry about all the other things, I'd have probably done just fine with this one.)
4)  Do not hesitate (EVER!!) to take my own food to a restaurant.  I have wanted to do this hundreds of times over the years, but was always afraid of offending someone or being "tacky."  Folks, if done in a quiet way that does not draw attention to yourself and if an appropriate tip is left for the server as if you had eaten a meal, this is NOT tacky. People are on "special" diets all the time and bring their own food.  It is NOT tacky. Sharon, do you hear this? It is NOT tacky. 
5)  Have that "come to Jesus"** meeting with Mr. B.

**For those who might not know, a "come to Jesus" meeting is southern slang for one of those conversations between husband and wife where the woman starts out with a list of things to discuss that has been building for a long time, and after about 10 seconds, the man adopts that glassy-eyed stare that the woman never notices.  

Well, I'll have to say there's been some heavy stuff these last two days.  Thanks for sticking with me and please tell me what you think.   Please tell me you still like me.    On second thought, I hope you still like me, but I'm pretty happy with myself right now and just for today, that's more important.

I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer which we all know, but seems fitting to end with........
God grant me the SERENITY to
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.
Now, about that "come to Jesus" meeting with Mr. B...............................


  1. You and I are quite similiar in a lot of ways...

    Yep...I know exactly what a "come to Jesus" talk is....I use that good ol' southern saying too :)

    Searching for the why in our behaviors is the only way for lasting change to occur.

  2. Sharon, I trust things are going well and that Mr. B survived The CTJ Talk! In answer to your question on my post: 1.6 hours by car or 6.3 hours by bike (have you used the cool feature on google maps that lets you find the best bike route between two places?) Let's do it. Soon.

  3. Hi Sharon,

    I read both of these posts, and they are jam-packed full of highly important--and relatable--info.

    You and I have many of the same quirks that you listed! Me, too, terrible at chit-chat! Have to remember that "depth" scares most people so I try to fake it to fit in. Not crazy about restaurant eating either. Not worth the money to me when I have to work so hard for it.

    I know what a CTJ is. Tried it with my husband numerous times, but forget it. The glazed expression always wins. Good luck with yours!

  4. P.S. Yes, of course, "like you" more because, not in spite!

  5. Sharon,
    I still like you. This is another commonality we have. I always go overboard trying to be the person I think people will like and not always myself. Sometimes, I'm a little surprised when people say they like me if I haven't done something 'special' for them, as if I have to earn their friendship somehow. Then, if I actually show my true colors, I'm fearful that I've lost my friends.

    I don't know where this comes from. I certainly did not have to earn affection in my family of origin. J-boy has never behaved that way. It is something I must confront and heal. That's another thing we can do together.

  6. :D I love you, Sharon. :D

    Again, I could have written much of this post. Especially your list of oddities. :)

    It's funny--maybe not. Anyway, since I'm a counselor, people who don't know me are always surprised to discover that I am not a "people person".

    They decide that I'm not when they realize that I despise social events. To many, that is a curious trait for a counselor.

    But, the reason I'm a good counselor is the other things on your list. I am great 1-on-1. I am great at getting deep quickly. Which is not only a good thing for a counselor, it is a good thing since I am horrible with small talk.

    Left to my own devices in group or small talk required situations, I am just silent. If that makes others uncomfortable, I say things that I know will get them to talking and I can return to invisibility.

    I am certain that my eating issues related to social events are more from my own discomfort with the event, than with the food/eating issues.

    You know what, Sharon? I've been thinking this--and moving on it a little--for a while now, but your recent posts have really driven it home--

    God made us this way for a reason. I have spent so many years trying to "work on" my personality flaws. To work on my social avoidance. Well, you know what? I think we should embrace it.

    The "I don't fit so I must be wrong" attitude, makes us doubt ourselves--our instincts. And that can cripple us. And make us angry when we realize that we were right and ignored ourselves. It also makes me hide out in food and fat.

    A while ago, I commented on a post something to the effect that I was going to embrace my inner
    weirdness. :) You are giving me permission to do that--whether you meant to or not. I'm offerring that to you, too. :D

    My grandmother--who was an extrovert--used to say to my mother--who was an extrovert--when my mother was complaining about my lack of social flamboyance (She didn't know I could hear--but they talked so loudly!) that "Still waters run deep."

    God is okay with that. I'm pretty sure He likes "deep".


  7. Ha Sharon! I commented on yesterdays post before I read today's and I was wondering if I was making any sense. So my comments about turning down food invitations etc are right in line with how you are thinking. Hope it helps to know that someone else has traveled the same road.

    And I dislike chit chat to the extreme! Not that I particularly want to talk about slobbering dogs...(JK!)

  8. You have an award!

  9. Years ago my hubby and I were "trained" to be in Amway sales. They tried to teach us how to do the "chit chat". I hated it!!! My hubby is extrovert, and took to it like a duck to water. But I found it sooo uncomfortable. And phony. And a waste of time. I guess I have a few of those quirky traits, too. :-)

    It seems a common feeling that many of us seem to worry that if people knew the "real" us, they wouldn't like us. I don't what the answer is to that, other than just be ourselves in the first place, and people can take us or leave us! LOL!

    I'm working on that, too. Embracing my inner weirdness here, too!

    I loved this post, Sharon. I agree with you, that recognizing it and owning it is needed in order to heal it.


  10. hahaha, I love it! Great writing!
    Now what about internal & external clausterphobia??? hmmm.