Shopping and the fat brain psyche

Got a day off as my classes are on an excursion and I didn’t have to go. I went into work but I got so far ahead of myself over Easter there was no point in me hanging around and so I came home to write about my successful week.

I’m going to venture into town in a bit, something I rarely do. I hate shopping with a passion. Well, that’s not strictly true, I hate shopping malls, they are awful places and I hate supermarkets but I do like shopping in little quaint high streets and curiosity shops and I’m glad they still exist even though they are up against it to prevent themselves becoming a thing of the past.

But I bought my daughter a Pandora charm bracelet some time ago and she loves to add to her collection. She has a big day tomorrow and I wanted to buy her a good luck charm to add to her bracelet. I know each addition means something special to her, we were instructed never to buy a charm ‘just because’, they always have to have a meaning and attachment to something significant. She is one of the most sentimental people I know but would never admit to it.

I know she wanted me to go with her tomorrow, not to hold her hand but just for company on the journey and to chat to about how things went on the journey back. She’s not a baby, she’s independent in so many ways she just enjoys my company which is a gift because the last person I’d want with me when I was preparing for something remotely stressful or important would be my mother.

I know that by buying her a little addition to her bracelet she will feel a sense of me being there, she will look at it and have a little play around with it and it will be a reminder of how I’m rooting for her from a distance. Besides anything else she will know how much courage it took for me to go to the Pandora dealer to buy it and make it far more valuable to her than its monetary worth.

I feel so exposed in shopping malls, everyone looks perfect, like they dressed up especially to go shopping. I know that isn’t the case but that’s how everyone seems to me, I must skim past the fat ones, the less than perfect specimens of which there are probably many.

There’s so much glass too and so many mirrors just waiting to remind me of how huge I am and depress me and make the chocolate and toffee shop seem like the place I belong, comforting me with its rich vanilla and cocoa aromas, a little haven in a hall of mirrors.

I have a real problem with shopping malls but alas if I am to give my daughter a token of my support and love for her I have to brave it and try to not be affected by it. I think it’s been made worse by this awful pass time that people have now of taking photos of fat people and posting them to Facebook sites for everyone to be nasty and superior about. I try not to look at such things but they pop up in feeds and my students often talk about how cruel they are and it never ceases to amaze me how insensitive people are these days where nothing is sacred and everything is open for public viewing.

It’s so sad really, I’m thinking I’m not the only one, how obese people are made to feel or make ourselves feel unworthy of certain places or certain activities. That’s how I feel as if I shouldn’t be in the mall, it’s a place where people buy lovely things for their lovely selves and even though there are plus size outlets and even though plus sized ladies (and gents) deserve to feel good and wear make up and buy perfume and have lovely handbags and gorgeous sun glasses we’re made to feel we don’t belong in the shops which sell them.

Is it only me? Maybe it is I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of my own mental blocks. I just hate the places so much, I feel at my most ugly, my most exposed, my most vulnerable, my most uncomfortable in them. Maybe it’s my own low self esteem, my own sensitivity to being looked at, my own paranoia that makes me think anyone gives a damn what I’m doing or even notices me.

I feel like I’m heading to the lions’ den and I was anticipating coming back feeling as I usually do, totally miserable, to the point of hurt even and probably with a cake and some chocolate to soothe me. Then I thought to myself if I can just do this, if I can do it and picture in my mind what I’m going for instead of what’s going to happen there, if I can project forward to my daughter on her journey tomorrow feeling comfort when she looks at her pretty new good luck charm, if I can imagine myself feeling accomplished having even dared to go there at all, if I can cut out all of the bad stuff and focus on just doing what I and any other person has a right to do, going to the shop to buy something then I might be able to strengthen rather than weaken myself.

Instead of feeling like I’m heading to the lions’ den picture myself as some Indiana Jones or Lara Croft character, on a mission, a quest to get something no matter what, to brave the environment and avoid all of its traps, maybe then I’ll emerge from this experience feeling good rather than bad, strong rather than weak, accomplished rather than failed and what’s more without having to eat to recover from it.

I’m almost shaking with anxiety at the thought of going and am not even sure that I will make it, I might bottle it before I get thereΒ and text my son and ask him to pick her one up on his way home from school but then that wouldn’t mean so much.Β I’m just trying to prepare myself mentally, to breathe through the anxiety and just do it. I know I’m going to be almost hyperventilating by the time I get there and sweating, I get these flash sweats when I’m in a shopping mall, like an intense fever swept over me momentarily. I seriously hope that losing weight will take this fear away, it wasn’t always like this, although I’ve never enjoyed the shopping mall experience regardless of my size but now it terrifies me.

Crikey, you’re in the mind of a fat person, see how awful it is? I’m only going to the bloody shop!

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17 thoughts on “Shopping and the fat brain psyche”

  1. This makes me so sad. I’ve felt the way that you do–my mind has been there. You’re beautiful inside and out, and you belong anywhere you want to go! Screw Facebook and the idiots who get their pleasure from making fun of others based solely on their looks.
    I went shopping with my daughter on 5th Avenue this past Saturday (a graduation present for her), and even though I’m only 34 pounds from my goal weight, at this point in my weight loss, I felt very self-conscious going in trendy stores where nothing would fit me. However, I always have a smile on my face and remain so friendly that people would have to be completely hateful to put me down.
    I hope you have a lovely and successful trip to the mall. Hold your head high and smile–look confident even if you’re not feeling that way. You’re daughter will be thrilled with her new charm and so proud of you for braving the mall to go get it. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way today. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you so much. It’s a bitter sweet thing for me to know I’m not the only one who feels like this. I’m about to leave now and considered calling a friend to come with me but decided I can do this on my own. How I stand in front of a class of 17-19 year olds and teach confidently every day I will never understand. The way we rationalise is so bizarre.

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      1. You’re going to be fine. πŸ™‚ Just smile and act like you belong there–because you definitely do! πŸ™‚ You can do this! Think of your daughter’s smile when she receives your gift–that’s all that really matters. πŸ™‚

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      1. Do you think you can see yourself as this amazing person who is so thoughtful that she wanted her daughter to have a special something so that she knew her Mom was with her? That right there tells me your Heart is in the right place. xx

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        1. Thank you, it’s amazing how the drive to do things for my children makes me brave situations I would rather avoid. I’ve never thought of what that says about me as a person I just consider it what anyone would do for their kids but you’re right it doe make me a little big special. I needed to hear that.

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  2. Oh, i’m so sorry you’re so freaked out about your planned trip today, but I have a feeling you will overcome it because you love your daughter so much. I know you can do this. πŸ™‚

    You know how much I relate to a huge amount of what you say – well, this is a small point of divergence in that I’ve never been what the world would consider slim and I know you have at least at one time. I suppose because of that, I’ve developed a kind of “faux” confidence to do what I have to do. By that I mean if you saw me walking around, you would probably think I at least looked confident and I think that helps deflect some unwanted nasty stuff. The other thing is I think I have also developed an “oblivious” thing because I know damn well some people will be staring at me – of course they would – but I think I’ve somehow trained myself not to notice. I’ve done the same with mirrors. I know it probably doesn’t sound like I’m really handling anything but…I go shopping all the time and I actually like it. I spent all day today in my local shopping centre trying on new glasses. And I did this by myself πŸ™‚ Now, I’m not that brave and I’m not Superwoman – I just think this has been borne out of sheer necessity, otherwise I’d probably never leave the house and that’s just not an option.

    So, my (long-winded) point is that I think while you are in your various transitional stages to butterfly, you can “fake it till you make it”, as they say. I know once you go today you’ll be so glad you did and won the battle over those inner demons. πŸ™‚

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    1. I did it! Mission accomplished. I got the charm and then I wanted to scurry away, instead I went to a public loo to breathe and read some comments and that gave me some strength. I just kept telling myself I didn’t care I had a right (put together a little mantra) and I even managed to pluck up the courage to go into another store and buy her a lovely new executive type handbag.

      I’m glad you we don’t have this in common as it’s awfully restrictive. I’m grateful for your comments and you’re right I do feel empowered to do it again now.

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  3. It will help you to focus on your goal of getting your daughter the charm. It’s important to you and something you really want to do for her. If you achieve this you will have a double reward- 1) surviving your anxiety and 2) living your life according to what you value (having the charm to give your daughter). Anxiety is a tough one, it leads to all that irrational thought and gets overwhelming. But every small step will lead to even more small steps. You do deserve to shop at the mall. You are a beautiful person. You do deserve to buy a charm to give your daughter.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I feel like I was compliment fishing now but anyone who follows me knows that’s not the case. I did it and I feel really good about it. I feel so silly now, which often happens, but it really was making me so anxious.

      I went into another store and I bought her a bag too.

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      1. Congratulations! I have a lot of anxiety also, so I recognized from you post that it was genuine anxiety and not compliment fishing. I know that silly feeling too lol, but there is nothing better than that feeling of doing what you want in spite of the anxiety. Woohoo!

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        1. Thank you. At times it is crippling, I’ve not been able to get out of the door because of it. I’m improving, I didn’t even get sweat today, a little big of fuzzy headedness and a moment or two of panic but I did it and I feel silly but I’d rather feel silly for having felt bad and done it than for having let my size stop me for doing it at all.

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