I went to a Thanksgiving potluck yesterday. It was a wonderful event. Good food, good company. Often this particular event has a big turnout and I have found that overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed, I retreat to doing: dishes, clean up. It's a way to stay active and work off my anxiety. I'm trying to learn to do things differently so I really worked at sitting still, listening to others, participating in the conversation, even when it's just small talk, which is hard for me.
I ate a decent lunch so I wouldn't overeat at dinner and I didn't. I also didn't eat what didn't appeal to me, sticking mostly to the traditionals of turkey, potatoes, gravy (and some wonderful roasted brussel sprouts). I didn't get too full, I didn't feel physically uncomfortable. I wasn't tempted by the wine, though in my well-practiced way, I was conscious that there were a lot of bottles opened and consumed.
And I did my best to just be okay with the fact that there were appealing desserts. A pumpkin cake with whipped cream (I used to swear I could eat dog biscuits if they had whipped cream) looked especially wonderful. And from all the enjoyment around me it probably was. I had a few aching moments of wanting to be someone who could take or leave it, could just eat a piece and not want more, just eat a piece and not go to the Plaid Pantry for three pints of Ben & Jerry's afterwards. And then of course, I realized that if I could take it or leave it, I wouldn't be aching. I'd just not care.
In the end, I ate a few slices of fresh pear provided by a kind soul and let the dessert go. But when I got home, I had trouble not eating. I didn't have any sweets here but I had crackers and a part of a banana and some yogurt and some almonds. I wasn't hungry but I felt some sort of restlessness that I couldn't just sit with.
That's the practice that's up next. Sitting with those feelings. And I feel weary just thinking about it.