Lately, I haven't talked much about how my socialization goals were going. At the beginning of the year, the goal was to get out and socialize more with people which also included lessening the food anxiety. Some of you might remember these socialization posts:
Friday night socialization
When you don't know what you're having for dinner
Dinner update which follows previous post
Spontaneous moment with pizza
Adventures in spontaneity
Now of course, you don't have to read all these posts, they just give an idea of where I have been on the socialization/food anxiety scale. Socialization scale low, anxiety high.
Since April, I've had at least one social get-together with various friends a month. They've mostly been outings for lunch or dinner with general visits attached. On all these occasions, I've actually had some lower anxiety while also enjoying the company. It's not that I didn't like hanging out with my friends before, but rather that there was always a glass ceiling type effect. I'd get to a certain point, but then find it difficult to shatter the glass and breakthrough to a place of real enjoyable-ness. Instead, I was still too worried over the food or their perceptions of me.
The last few social outings consisted of Thai dinner with a friend whom I had not seen in awhile and several visits with with a another friend, K. where we've had Chinese buffet and Indian food. Today, I'm having brunch with another friend whom I have not seen in awhile, and next week, possibly dinner with someone else. I'm excited about both outings and hope to be able to catch up in general conversation with them.
So slowly, I'm learning to let go of some of the anxiety. There is no longer a feeling of dread or how I'm going to look, even on those days when my body image is very poor. It's like that Nike commercial of "Just Do It."
This is not to say that I'm completely care-free over social outings with food. I'm finding a lot really depends on the company (still have issues with strangers or people I do not know well) and that it is more on my terms. But as with everything, it's all a learning process with that nice little bell curve.