Starting weight: 240
Current weight: 230.5
Change this week: -1.5
Total change: -9.5
So I’m talking this week to the guy who is vacating the job that I’ll be taking in a few weeks. This job, which I don’t think I’ve described in any detail thus far, involves doing outreach for and therapy with soldiers who have recently returned from the war in Iraq. Quite a bit of it will involve representing my organization to them and trying to get them to come in for treatment when they need it.
Anyway, this guy—the one currently holding my new job. As we talk, he’s going on and on about having to meet with congresspeople and the media and stuff in the course of doing this job, and I get a sudden, big pit in my stomach about how visible I’m going to have to be. How polished I’ll have to be, how articulate, how in-the-know…all things that will come with time, I know, once I’ve gotten myself familiar with the drill. But of course, the biggest worry for me is the appearance thing. It’s silly. I know it’s silly. It’s not like anyone’s going to walk out of a meeting with me, thinking “Well, gosh. That big ol’ gal sure knew her stuff, but it’s a pity that she’s just so darn BIG.” So I do some talking to myself and (sort of) get a handle on the anxiety. Then, the next day, one of my new supervisors calls and asks me to make an appointment to get some headshots made for the posters that are going to go up around the hospital of the team that I’m on.
For posters that are GOING UP AROUND THE HOSPITAL.
Shit. This feels like some kind of high school anxiety dream.
OK, at least this is a poster that will have a bunch of folks on it, so my mug is not the only one that you’ll see. Nobody will be zeroing in on my cheery, chubby smiling face. I get that. But this is such an adjustment to make in terms of how public or private my day-to-day life is going to be. One of the things I’ve always liked about doing psychotherapy for a living is that it’s pretty private. You generally sit in your office all day and talk to people one-on-one. Plenty of therapists do group therapy or give educational presentations, and I have done both of those things from time to time and like them just fine.
It’s just that I’ve never felt this much pressure to be presentable before. I don’t know what to wear for my picture, and I’m afraid it’ll be like getting a drivers’ license, where you look like you’re suffering from a nasty case of untreated malaria, and then when you went to get help the doctors beat you up. And that’s what you have to live with for the next ten years every time you open your wallet.
I mean, I’m sure if I call the folks who do the picture-taking, they’ll have some suggestions about what to wear and what colors look good, etc. They can’t help me lose 100 lbs and get plastic surgery and somehow have fabulous hair in time for my sitting, though, and that’s what I find myself dreaming of. This writing about it, though…this is helping. I sound so nutty, even to myself, that I seem to be magically gaining a little perspective as I type.
I’m just anxious about this change in my life, and about going from being a trainee to being someone who is expected to have her shit together. There’s such comfort in being able to plead ignorance or inexperience, which is always an out for you when you’re a trainee. The thing is that I never used that out. I don’t need it, and I know that. But it’s much more fun to be the intern or the post-doc who’s so advanced for her training, and gosh isn’t she talented, than the staff psychologist who is simply expected not to make a fool of herself or the institution she represents.
Here is Adult Luna speaking: I know it’ll be OK. I am so thankful for this job, and for the chance to stretch myself by learning to do something new and different. The anxiety is appropriate to the newness of the experience, and it signals the opportunity for growth and development.
Here’s Perpetual Adolescent Luna, who also wants her turn to speak: Holy shit. I’m scared. I want to be left alone, I want to just keep doing what I know how to do. These people will hate me. What people? I don’t even know, but I’m sure that they’re going to think I’m a total dumbass with rumply hair and no fashion sense.
I think for the next few months, it’s going to be anybody’s guess who’s in charge at any given time.
And while they duke it out inside my head, if anyone has any advice about how not to be crushingly, tragically fugly for the camera when I go to get my pic snapped, I’d be more than happy to hear it.