Hardly anyone knows I have issues eating out (as in, outside my house).
Over the years, I’ve dodged the issue. Over the years, I’ve thought it wouldn’t affect me much. Then army came, which I tried to squeeze my way out of, yet I’m eternally grateful that it gave me one of my happiest years in my life when the issue disappeared… before everything returned to square one, or degraded further the second year.
Now that I’m in college (or university, as we call it), I’ve gone through counselling sessions over the previous semester, and have learned some important lessons from it. Yet the core issue remains to be unfixed — I still can’t technically eat in front of the public eye. Something just doesn’t feel right every time I try to do so.
Then yesterday, Lunar New Year’s eve, proved to be a very, very difficult trial for me.
With how I still have zero confidence in eating out, having a reunion dinner outside just did not clicked with me, and I tried to talk my way out of it, but it failed. So I had to go to the dinner. Over the entire day prior to the dinner, I just felt worse, and worse, and worse, when I knew that I’d probably be an embarrassment during the dinner. It was an internal struggle. I looked fine outside, yet inside… was just a mess.
So came dinner, and the journey there was not any easier either, like I was pulled away from my comfort zone. With the dishes coming one by one, I just… couldn’t. Even without eating lunch, I still felt really, really full the instant I was there. I almost felt like just walking away from the dinner table, and taking a breather elsewhere, while the rest of my family ate — but that would be rude of me, especially on such an important day.
The only thing I could do was act like I was eating. Like I was chewing stuff. I knew it wasn’t going to be long before all these little actions would be seen through, but I just didn’t want to be a cause for concern to the rest of my family. I just felt like a burden.
Then, something in me just clicked. I just attempted to at least get some food in my mouth… slowly chew… swallow it down. Even though it was a little rough (I felt as though I’d throw up anytime) at the initial point, I just pushed through. The only thing I could do was go slow, holding my ground.
Yet all of that seemed like a turning point, as I advanced through the dinner, my appetite just slowly opened and I ate bigger mouthfuls of food. I even regained back the cheery side of me I always had and finally chatted comfortably. Mind, I still didn’t eat as I normally would at home, but it was a relatively decent amount of food eaten.
At first, when dinner just started, I really felt like telling my father what was going on in my life when I went home, which I knew would just wreck his day and probably make him worry even more than he needs to. But all of what I had gone through in that dinner just taught me — without trying, you wouldn’t know what the final outcome would be. And I sure am glad I tried.
For now, I’m going to hold back on telling my father about all these things, because I want to continue pushing myself. To see how far I can go. To see if I can overcome whatever it is that I have, whether I truly have it, or I’m just imagining it. I’ll continue remaining a fighter, even if it means going alone on this trial…