The Art of Growing Up

There’s a quote from the TV series Friends that goes like this:

Monica: Excuse me, what’s wrong with a woman eating alone?
Chandler: Well, obviously something. She’s eating alone.

I used to believe that everyone shared Chandler’s opinion. That anyone who passes a girl sitting at a restaurant alone must come to the conclusion that this girl is sad with a capital S. That she must not have any friends.

Needless to say I was never very good at eating alone. I like to pretend that I was, and there have been occasions where I sat down somewhere for a bite to eat without company… but never without a shield. I’d have a paper, or coursework – something that let other people around me believe that I was a Busy Girl who needed to multitask, and not some pathetic loser who besides eating alone also spent her Friday nights alone at the movies, or at home with her cats.

If I could help it, I wouldn’t sit down at all. I’d grab something I could eat while walking, so I wouldn’t feel like I was on display.

But this has proven to be an impossible thing to do during pregnancy. I can be walking down the street perfectly fine one minute, and nearly fainting because I’m starving the next. And as tempting as Eating While Wobbling sounds, it’s just not an option. These days, I need to sit down and rest while eating.

During the past 31 weeks, I slowly made my peace with sitting down somewhere and having a big meal all by myself without some sort of buffer. These days I’ll sit at a table, chin firmly placed in hand, elbow firmly placed on the table, smiling at people who catch my eye while I wait for my food.

You always hear people say that becoming a mother forces you to grow up, and I’ve always thought of this as a negative thing. No more impromptu nights out, no more spontaneous city trips. No more this, no more that. No more nothing. Never once did it cross my mind that I might be gaining something apart from a child and a buttload of responsibilities.

But I’m gaining so much. For one, I’ve gained a massive amount of respect for what my own body is capable of, which is a big deal for someone who had major body image issues. That, and the amount of soul searching I have done since I found out I was pregnant made me a lot more confident in general. As a result, I’m much more at ease with myself as a whole, and far less concerned with how people might view me. Because I Know Who I Am now.

No more need for buffers, shields or masks.

Come get to know me.