Rain, 35, opens up to Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, about her challenges with overeating, and using food as a coping mechanism. She describes the reason for her coping with food as a possible result of loneliness, and is open to seeing what else may be underneath it. As the conversation opens up, we learn she has also had a journey with having different physical challenges. Blind in one eye, hard of hearing, and wearing a prosthesis, she calls it a disability, but also says she doesn’t feel in victimhood about it. Through the challenges of not having many friends as a girl, and learning to look at her journey of moving from one coping mechanism to another, her and Marc come to a point of enlightenment around how she can own all of herself, nourish herself in new ways in relationship, and acknowledge that she has actually done a great job overcoming so far.
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Marc: Welcome, everyone. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We are back in the Psychology of Eating podcast, and I am with Rain. Welcome, Rain.
Rain: Thank you.
Marc: We were just visiting for a minute. We’re officially meeting for the first time. And let me just say for viewers and listeners who are returnees to the podcast, thanks for coming back. Thanks for being part of our world. And if you are new to this podcast and you’re tuning in, here’s how it works. Rain and I are going to be in a conversation together. You’re going to be witnessing it, and we’re going to see if we can push the fast-forward button on a little bit of transformation and change in terms of what you’re looking for, Ms. Rain.
So if you could wave your magic wand and if you can get whatever you can possibly get from this session together, tell me what that would be for you.
Rain: I would say I would love to figure out how to be able to really slow down. So when I’m going towards food, not feeling that complete compulsion and losing my head at first and being able to have that awareness throughout the entire process of eating and just learning to slow down and appreciate the food. Yeah, I think that kind of sums it up.
Marc: What happens for you? Tell me about your relationship with food. Give me some more information there.
Rain: Yeah. I think that food has always been a challenge for me as far as just kind of knowing how to eat and how to handle it emotionally. When I was a child, I always thought that I had to be a raw vegan in order to be healthy. And so I was forever a vegetarian and having that battle with my family and then with myself.
So I’ve come to a point where nutritionally I think I’m getting it. I absolutely love chocolates. And I’ve just kind of discovered that, saying, “I’m never going to eat chocolate ever again because it’s unhealthy,” it doesn’t work for me. And I try to listen to my body when it says, “I want this,” and be respectful of that. But I think, for me, the challenge is that I’ve learned how to use food very much as a coping mechanism.
So just being very aggressive with the way that I eat, and that kind of stems from a while in high school and college. I kind of struggled with anorexia and bulimia. So I kind of went that way, and then when I said I’m going to stop that and I’m going to stop using some other negative coping skills to deal with life, I kind of swung the other way. And binging kind of became a way of coping. And unfortunately, I’m still kind of trying to get that under control.
Marc: Can you tell me how old you are, Rain?
Rain: I just turned 35 a week ago.
Marc: Alright. So when you use the word coping, we’re all coping with different things, maybe similar things. What do you use food to cope with? What would you cope with, using food?
Rain: I would say probably the biggest thing would be loneliness which I even hate using that word. It’s such a kind of poor me, namby-pamby word in my head. But I would probably say that’s the biggest thing and then stress from work or frustration with family or friends. But I definitely feel the most out of control when I’m just feeling disconnected or lonely.
Marc: Does that happen usually at a certain time of the day for you when you might find yourself using food to cope with loneliness?
Rain: Yeah. Late in the evening usually between eight and midnight.
Marc: Makes perfect sense. Are you living alone?
Rain: Right now, I’ve got a couple of roommates, but I’ve lived alone for the majority of probably the last 10 years.
Marc: How’s it living with roommates for you in terms of like the loneliness factor?
Rain: The roommates that I’m with right now we just kind of met on Craigslist, so there isn’t much of a connection. So they kind of live their life and I kind of live my life. And we chat every once in a while, but it’s kind of that awkward, still trying to get to know each other phase.
Marc: Are there any times that you notice during the week, during the month, where you can say to yourself, “Whoa, I’m not turning to food as much as I usually do. It’s not as intense”? Are there any times when it’s just a little more relaxed for you?
Rain: Yeah. I do pretty well through, I would say, like the majority of the day. If I’m really busy and therefore really tired and I just crash at like seven or eight o’clock at night because I’m completely exhausted, that definitely does better. And also, if I’m kind of immersing myself in personal development and really trying to be focused on that, that definitely helps.
Marc: I want to ask some more questions about using food to cope. Would you say, “I overeat”? Would you say, “I binge eat”? How would you label it?
Rain: That’s a big question because I think sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the two.
Marc: It is. Yeah.
Rain: I would say the majority of the time it’s overeating with some periods of binging, but probably mostly say overeating.
Marc: Mmhmm. Do you want to lose weight?
Marc: Mmhmm. How much weight do you want to lose?
Rain: 80 pounds.
Marc: Have you dieted in recent years?
Rain: Yes and no. I’ll kind of start to dip my toe in and then when a lot of their limiting philosophies, where they’re, “Okay, you’ve got to cut out sugar,” and I went for about a year without chocolates. That almost triggered my binge eating, particularly with chocolate. So it was like the second I really started to dig in, saying, “Okay, you can’t eat this and this.” I’m like I know that’s not going to work for me. It’s just going to make me swing the other way.
Marc: So you’ve dieted. The restriction doesn’t work. Did you have any success with losing weight when you were dieting?
Rain: A little bit very temporarily.
Marc: So when you think about losing weight, what do you say to yourself? Like, “Oh, I’m not ready yet right now,” or, “I want to but I’m not sure how to do it.” What’s the conversation that goes on in your head about weight?
Rain: I would say I think that I’m ready to, but I’m not quite sure how to balance everything. Eating fruits and veggies has never been a problem for me. Other than chocolate, the food I eat the most is apples. I love fruit. Sometimes I don’t necessarily cook veggies very well, but it’s not a problem like I don’t want to eat those things. I would probably just say figuring out, one, how to balance everything, and, two, how to keep that awareness.
If I’m sitting down for a meal of tacos and it’s been a rough week, I’m so excited and I’ve been thinking about those tacos for days. And to be able to tell myself, “Okay, you’re going to slow down, enjoy this, pay attention, and stop when your body is saying you’re full.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to do that.” And I sit down and I eat and then before I know it I’ve overeaten. I didn’t keep the awareness that I wanted. So I think that’s a big struggle.
Marc: So if you overeat or if you binge eat, what happens afterwards? What goes on in your mind?
Rain: I feel a lot calmer. I definitely feel that sense of peace, and I kind of mentioned that in my email to you that I’m a strong believer in meditation and all of these different types of skills. But I think when I am overeating or binging, it takes me to a place where I’m ready to do those things that I can kind of finish the relaxation or whatever. But I feel very calm and like, okay, I can kind of readjust and keep going with whatever I’m doing. So I feel steadier.
Marc: So do you ever feel guilt? Do you go into shame? Or go, “Oh, my God, I shouldn’t have eating that much”?
Rain: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s in there as well.
Marc: So you eat. You might overeat. You might binge eat, but it definitely calms you down. It definitely relaxes you. It definitely puts you in a place where you can do other good things for yourself. But then there are also different times when you’ll feel guilt or shame or you can feel all of those, meaning I’m more peaceful and calm but now I’m more guilty. I’m just trying to get an understanding of your experience and what happens for you.
Rain: Yeah. I would say that the guilt—it’s always there. I wouldn’t say that it’s as loud as the gladness that I am not upset anymore or angry anymore. Because I know that I don’t want to stay in that place where I’m really upset or really angry. So I think I’ve allowed that, “Okay, you’re chilled,” and all of that to kind of overpower some of that guilt that I feel. Sometimes I think if I felt guilty enough maybe I would knock it off, but I’m not sure if that’s strong enough for me to knock it off, obviously.
Marc: You really like food.
Marc: You do. No, really. There are some people who truly love food. They love it. They have an affinity for it. They love it. Some people it’s like, yeah, they fight it and they don’t like it that much. You mentioned chocolate. Are there any other foods that come up for you on your list that can be irresistible or have a lot of power or have a lot of appeal for you?
Rain: Mexican food and chocolate are probably the two really big things. The other things I don’t necessarily feel that extreme towards. Most other desserts, I’ll eat a few bites, but I’ll also get it in my head, “Oh, I don’t really want this. I’m going to go out and get myself chocolates.”
Marc: Mmhmm. Got it. So where do you want to be five years from now in your life?
Rain: I want to be at a place where I am healthier, where I can be moving around. I want to move somewhere warm. I want to be able to enjoy going outside and walking. I want to be able to enjoy the food and not have it control me. I want to be at a place where I’m more at peace with things.
Marc: Mmhmm. What else? What else in terms of putting aside the food piece for a minute? What else? You mentioned move someplace warm.
Rain: I would like to be in a relationship. That’s been a while since I’ve been in one of those. I’m working on my graduate degree right now in educational technology. So I would like to be a freelance instructional designer, working anywhere. So I can travel when I want and continue to work and have that freedom and flexibility and maybe be able to do that with somebody else.
Marc: So when was the last time you were in a relationship?
Rain: About six years ago.
Marc: Uh-huh. And how long did it last?
Rain: About a year-and-a-half.
Marc: What was good about the relationship?
Rain: I would say the companionship, the company, being able to have that shared experience was good. We struggled with intimacy and whatnot just because we weren’t really meant to be together, but we’re really good friends.
Marc: So what would be a more ideal relationship with you then if you compared it to this previous one? For me, a more ideal relationship would have the following elements…
Rain: Okay, would have the following elements. I would say intimacy and a deeper connection, so both of us being interested in spirituality, in personal development, in bettering ourselves professionally and personally. And I would say both of us being willing to work on developing the relationship and be willing to be vulnerable and talk about things and not just assume that we’re right.
Marc: Mmhmm. So the last relationship was about six years ago. Have you dated?
Rain: A little bit. Yeah.
Marc: Mmhmm. How do you date? What do you do? How do you find dates?
Rain: Yeah. Most of the dates I’ve been on, I go to a lot of different personal development conferences. I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins. And so meeting people there. I’ve had okay luck with that. I’ve tried online dating with very poor success. Every single date, the guy kind of shows up and he’s like, “Oh, you really do look that bad.” So kind of discovered that that doesn’t really work. And I think that’s part of the challenge of that is I do have a disability. It is obvious. And so trying to like overcome that hurdle can be challenging.
Marc: Mmhmm. It’s interesting. How would you name your disability? What do you call your disability?
Rain: The doctor gave the name myofascial dysplasia just because he had never seen it or heard of it before when I was born.
Marc: Mmhmm. How does it impact you? Forget emotionally, how does it impact you in any physical or practical way?
Rain: One, I am hard of hearing. So kind of not always being able to hear as well as everybody else. I’m also blind in my left eye, and I also wear a prosthesis. So explaining that in relationships in that first little while is like, “It’s not as weird as it seems. I promise.”
Marc: Mmhmm. So in your last relationship, how did your partner kind of relate with all that and deal with all that?
Rain: I think it was kind of a weirded-out thing for him at first. And I’ve kind of seen that being a recurring theme. I go into it much different than I did when I was a teenager where I’m pretty upfront about it. Maybe sometimes I’m too forceful about it just because I’ve had the guys who’re like, “Oh, I don’t understand it; therefore, it’s incredibly creepy and very disturbing.” So I kind of come off sometimes maybe too powerful. And I’m like, “Look, this is what it is. If you have questions, awesome. But don’t be abusive about it. Let’s explore it together.” Because we were friends first, this last person that I was with, he kind of transitioned into it a little bit better.
Marc: Mmhmm. So in your mind, inside yourself, how do you talk to yourself about… So you use the term disability. How do you talk to yourself about this? Is it like, “Oh, shit I’ve got deal with this.” Does it suck? Have you accepted it? Where are you with who you are?
Rain: Yeah. I think as far as me being me and just like being at the core of who I am and going out and being a teacher. And the students don’t always understand it, because I was a teacher for a really long time. I have a lot of confidence in that, like this is who I am. And I love being a teacher and teaching kids, “Hey, people look different, and it’s okay,” and having that conversation.
Now, as far as with relationships, I think that I feel sometimes like it’s a bigger hurdle than it is, especially in those first few dates and kind of establishing the relationship. So I still feel some intimidation simply because it’s easy to have those old things that people have said kind of pop up in your head and be like, “Oh, is this guy going to have that same response.” And kind of staying steadfast in who you are, I think that’s still kind of challenging.
Marc: It sounds to me just as an observation that you’ve learned to a great degree how to empower yourself and how to own your experience. For all of us, there are things we’ve got to own about who we are whether you have a “disability” or not. But it really feels like you don’t go into a ton of victimhood around it. Is that true?
Rain: Yeah, I think that’s quite true. Of course, I have my days where sometimes I go out and I feel like I’m stared at by everybody. And I’m just kind of like that, that exhausts me. But I’ve never let it necessarily stop me from, okay, I’m going to go out and I’m going to have this experience. I lived in Thailand for a year, and I was really unusual over there. But I was like, “I want to move to Thailand, so here I go.”
Yeah, I think more than anything the way that it’s affected me is not necessarily because of my disability. When I was a kid, I didn’t really have any friends because everybody was either scared of me or disgusted by me. So I would say that it affected my confidence to have friends because I didn’t really have my first friend until I was about 19 years old. More than anything, I would say that that’s definitely the impact that it’s had on my life.
Marc: So where are you at with your social life these days? Friends-wise.
Rain: Kind of a hermit. I’m kind of a hermit. Again, I have a lot of friends from the different conferences that I go to that kind of live all over the world. But as far as like local, actual friends, and going out just into—I’ve gone to a few meet-ups. Sometimes I’m not very confident in that type of a situation where it’s like, “Hey, I’m going by myself to this meet-up. And most of these people know each other.” So I would say as far as locally, I don’t really have that many friends. Most of my friends are work friends.
Marc: Understood. Understood. Understood. So do you have a wish there?
Rain: Yeah. I would say I would like to not feel the level of—I don’t even know if stress is the right word, but it’s just like it’s heavy. Like when I go out, it feels heavy because it feels like I have to get this right. The awesome thing about personal development and all the stuff that I’m really into is it teaches you a lot of skills, but it also puts a lot on your shoulders. It’s like I’ve got to go and I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to present myself in this way and I’ve got to be confident. So sometimes it can be very exhausting. But I would definitely say I would love to have more connections and more friends. I think that would help with a lot of things.
Marc: So would you say you isolate?
Marc: So what does that mean for you? I have my definition of isolate. What does that mean for you?
Rain: Probably not necessarily going out and going to different meet-ups and making a lot of effort to go out and meet new people. It’s challenging in the day and age that we live in because a lot of the friends that I do have they have families. So it’s really challenging sometimes to be like, “Hey, can you leave your kids and let’s go out and do something.” So sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t even ask because they have things that they have going on. So not necessarily doing the work to try to find people that have the time to socialize.
Marc: When are the times, if ever, if ever, when you least pay attention to your disability, when you don’t even think, “I have a disability”?
Rain: Hmm. Probably, one, when I’m with family just because they’re so used to it. And also when I go to those conferences just because that truly is an opportunity to— truly be able to serve people and socialize with some people that are above some of those petty little things that a lot of people tend to get into in their daily life. So I would say there as well.
Marc: Mmhmm. Any other times?
Rain: I would say when I’m just out doing my thing, when I’m traveling or just doing something that I absolutely love to do even if it’s by myself and I’m just having a good time. I don’t even think of it. And on those days, I don’t even notice everybody staring or all that type of stuff because I’m just in my mode.
Marc: Mmhmm. Got it. Got it. Got it. Here’s an interesting challenge that you present for me in this conversation. There are a shocking—I’m not telling you anything you don’t know here. There is a shocking amount of humans, particularly women, particularly young women and older women as well, who have such complex and crazy and hurtful and painful relationships with food and body. That is the world that we live in, and it’s truly shocking. I just say that as a person who’s gone through my own eating challenges and just been observing them and working with them for the majority of my life on planet earth. It’s the hallmark of our times.
And you just have to be born in this world and be a woman, and you’re going to get all kind of messages that you should look like this. You should look like that. Your body needs to be this, that, the other thing in order to be loved and accepted. And I’m sure you’ve seen this or you’ve noticed this. We can pick out women who are classically Hollywood beautiful, and they don’t like themselves. And they have eating disorders. It’s shocking.
So my challenge here is I wonder to myself how much of your relationship with food and the stuff you go through with food, how much is just because you are Rain and you’re a girl. And how much is because you have this disability which, since childhood, adds this other layer of complication to your life? So that’s kind of what sits in me. That’s sort of the question I wonder, and I’m wondering what your thoughts are when I wonder about that out loud.
Rain: Right. I definitely think that it’s a combination of both. There’s a part of me when I think of the way that a woman should look, really skinny and you should go eat like a bird and all those types of things. And it’s like I know that I really, really want those. But I’m coming from a place where when I was a teenager before I really started to kind of get out of anorexia and bulimia, and I was also a self-injurer. That was a way of dealing with my depression.
So when I was like, “Okay, I’m going to quit doing that as well,” I really kind of started abusing food in a much stronger way. So it’s like there’s part of me that’s like, well, of all of the things that I could be doing to kind of deal with my life, part of me is kind of like it’s food. Like whatever. But at the same time I don’t really want to feel that way because I want to be healthy. I have chronic pain in my hips and my ankles because of what I weigh. But there’s also this kind of I don’t give a crap because at least I’m not self-injuring and all those other things. So I feel that complexity with it as well.
Marc: Mmhmm. That’s a very helpful answer for me. There’s a level where in this conversation to me you’re just a girl. You’re a woman who has some of the very poignant challenges that girls and women have around food and body. And it doesn’t matter what one inherently looks like—nothing matters. It’s anyone can have it. Anyone can be gripped by it. It doesn’t matter your level of beauty or perceived beauty. It doesn’t matter. And again, then there’s this other piece here where you’ve had an added complication into your journey.
So actually, let me start to kind of piece a few things together and make a few big-picture comments because I want to see you move forward. That’s what I’d like for you. I’m not sure how that’s going to happen here yet, but I’d really like to see you move forward. I know you want to move forward too.
Here’s the thing. Based on what you’ve told me so far, you have been moving forward. You have been on, to me, when you tell me your story and who you show up as, like who I’m talking to right now is a very impressive young woman because you’ve had to overcome a lot. You’ve had to overcome a lot to find your own self-dignity. You’ve had to overcome a lot to find your own self-worth. I’m not saying there’s not more to go for that for you. There’s more to go for that for me. And I’m older than you.
So we’re always going to be learning and growing here, but I really want to acknowledge for you that you’ve been given a double whammy in terms of a start in life. Because, A, you’re a female growing up in an age where you can bet your money that 7, 8, 9, 10/10 girls are going to be dealing with an eating issue at some point and dealing with body image challenges. And then, you have the challenge—and I don’t have to tell you kids are some of the cruelest creatures on planet earth.
I grew up. I came into this world a stutterer. So I could not speak a single word without stuttering it about nine, 10, or 11 times. I could not string together a complete sentence without stuttering it until I was about 13. So I know what it’s like to get teased. I know what that’s like, and I know what that’s like to isolate. I know what it’s like to turn to food. I know what it’s like to not have a lot of friends. I can relate in my ways to some of your story. We have a different story, but there are similarities to it.
What I want to tell you is from a big picture, you’ve overcome a lot. The fact that you were self-harming and you were able to transition out of that and turn to food is actually a good move. It’s a good move. I’m going to tell you this. I have met so many former alcoholics who are now kind of sugar addicts, and they’re trying to beat sugar. And I’m like, “Good. That’s a good move.” Because sometimes we’ve got to move from one security blanket to the next until we’re ready.
So what I want to say is, to me, you’ve made very good decisions in order to cope with the journey you’ve been given. Does that make sense?
Marc: So I know you’ve made good decisions based on what you told me and based on who I’m talking to and who shows up here. I know you’ve got work to do on yourself, and I know there are places that you want to get better when it comes to food. And what I want to say is you have found a way to empower yourself, and you have found a way to stand for yourself. Do you do that 100% of the time? No. But do you do it enough? Yes.
And the idea is—and I know you know this. I’m just saying this—you’re going to do that more and more and more where you keep standing by yourself. And it’s interesting because we need words. We need words to talk to each other about our experience and what we’re going through. When you said the word disability, I was like—I started thinking, “Man, I wish there was a better word.” Because a disability doesn’t truly describe you.
Marc: I have a disability. Okay. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. You know something? Every human walking around has a freaking disability in something. And when you can’t see it physically, it’s in there. It’s in here. Do you know what I’m saying?
Marc: It’s in the soul. So it’s almost cheating when we say, “You have a disability,” because we can see it and it’s your hearing and it’s the eye and all that kind of thing. And, again, I know we need words for this. I know we need to put language around it, but it’s, huh, I just wish we had a better word that was more empowering to describe you. Have you ever thought about that?
Rain: I have thought about that. Yeah. Because like I said, disability doesn’t exactly fit it. Now as far as a word that would fit it, I could just pull one out of the sky and make up a word, but as far as a word that actually fits somebody who just looks different or whatever the different things are, I haven’t really come up with anything.
Marc: So here’s what I want to say, and this is the personal growth guy in me talking to the personal growth gal in you. Okay. So this is strictly along the lines of personal growth. I would love for you to start to notice the conversation inside your head around when you start to talk to yourself about your disability, particularly in social situations or particularly when you’re considering social situations.
Because what I think happens for you is you short-change yourself. You forget that you are as cool as you are. You forget that you are as interesting as you are. You forget that you are as empowered as you are when you face social situations, understandably so. Understandably so, because from the youngest of youngest ages in all social situations just about, you were getting treated not like other people.
Marc: Okay. So you were getting treated, you were getting the weird looks. You were getting the weird… Whatever you got. So it makes sense to me that when you come into a social situation, you will have reservation. You will have conversation inside your head. You will have fear. You will have challenge. You will have concern. It makes perfect sense.
What I want to say is you’re not that little girl anymore. You’re not her.
Marc: You have some very good ideas about how to take care of yourself. But I want you to go to the next level inside yourself. And I would prefer internally—I don’t care about externally—but internally, I don’t want you to use the word disability.
Marc: I want you to find a language that’s empowering for yourself: my journey. My journey. With my special journey, with my unique journey… You have a unique journey. Over here, I don’t relate to you as having a disability. I relate to you as a human with your unique journey.
Marc: Which I find very interesting personally. It’s just really interesting to me. And I love how you talk about it, and I love the sense of freedom you have in talking about it because that makes it real. And it makes it human, and it makes you human. And all of a sudden, as soon as you start to talk, there is no question that I’m not dealing with a disabled human. It’s like the last word I would use to describe you.
So what I’m talking about is a little bit of a tweak here because, to me, I’m going to relate this to food now because what I want to guess is that there’s a part of you, like there’s a part of all of us, who turn to food. We turn to food to regulate our emotions. We do. We do. We do. Why do we do that? Because every human being who’s ever been born on planet earth since time began has in their system, in their cells, in their genetics, in their DNA, the memory called, “Be a crying, screaming, little infant. Get food. Feel better.”
Marc: Cry and scream. Get mama’s milk. Feel better. Get the bottle. Feel better. Get the breast. Feel better. That’s encoded in our cells. So when I eat food, no matter what bad mood I’m in, I feel better. Just about every other human feels that way at least temporarily. So we use food to regulate our metabolism, regulate our emotions. There’s nothing wrong with that. People think there’s something wrong with it. The fact that you have used food to help regulate your experience was a very smart choice. We need to regulate ourselves.
You had to deal with a lot of emotional complexity. Do you follow me?
Marc: You had to deal with a lot of emotional complexity and a lot of emotional challenge. So as children, we figure it out as best we can. Food on one level at the end of the day is relatively harmless, so to speak.
Marc: Does it get challenging? Yes. But it’s a smart move because you’ve found a way to just kind of balance things out, and food is home base for you. Food helps you feel home.
Marc: You were very clear. Food relaxes you. Because you know what? We need that. We need to find a place where we can relax. So to my mind, you turned to food in large part, not in complete part, you did it like every other human would do it. Every other human who’s born and has emotions and gets upset and gets depressed and wants this and wants that. And I didn’t get this and I didn’t get that. Let me eat.
Marc: And then there’s with you the overlay of, “Damn. I’ve got this disability. I’ve got to be the weird one. People are going to be making fun of me. So I need extra.”
Marc: You need extra.
Marc: So all I’m saying is it makes perfect sense, and I’m just over here trying to validate your experience and honor it and tell you that you have done nothing wrong. You’ve done everything right. And now what you’re doing as an adult human is you’re kind of unpacking the bags and going, “Okay. Let’s see. Okay. Did that. Did anorexia. Did bulimia. Did the self-harming. Here’s where I’m at now. Huh. I think I might be ready for something different now.” And now the next level.
Marc: So it sounds to me that you’re kind of positioning yourself for the next jump here. Is that true?
Rain: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Marc: Yay! Good for you. Good for you. Good for you. What I will say is, first and foremost, I’ve got all the confidence in you that you can do it. I really do.
Rain: Thank you.
Marc: You’re a smart girl. You’re on the ball. You pay attention. You’re conscious. You’re aware. And you’re martialing your forces in life as best as you know how.
Marc: That’s a good thing. It’s a good thing to me that you look to be around people who are trying to elevate themselves, who are trying to grow themselves and evolve themselves, look at their own nonsense, and be better humans in the world. That’s where you’re going to find your people.
Marc: So I think you’ve identified that. That’s where you’re going to find your people. But here’s what I want to say to you. I would love to see you play more.
Marc: I would love to see you play more. Play could mean a lot of different things. In part, what I want you to do, what I would love to see you do, is less isolation and more experimentation with going, “Okay, I might not find my perfect guy or my perfect friends where I live right now, but let’s make it as interesting as possible.”
Marc: Let’s make it as interesting as possible. And I would love to see you pick and choose some social events or some social situations where it could be interesting for you. Where it could just be interesting for you and to show up in places and pretend you don’t have a disability. So instead of having to explain it, which I think is good. I think that’s a great strategy. It’s a great approach. “Okay, you’re looking at me. Here’s the deal. Here’s what’s going on. Here’s what’s happening. Let’s just get this out of the way.” I love that. I don’t want you to ever give that up.
I just want you to have another tool, another toy, in your pocket to pull out when you want to.
Marc: And your other toy is called, “I’m going to come into this social situation. And you know something? I’m going to be like everybody else. I’m just like everybody else. Guess what. I got my stuff and you’ve got yours.”
Marc: And you don’t have—in my worldview, you don’t have any more of a disability than anybody else in any given room because if you give me 30 minutes with anybody in any room, I will help you find their disability.
Marc: Okay. I can help you find mine. We’ve all got them. We’ve all got the stuff that we’ve got to work on. We’ve all got the little bumps and the bruises and the interesting places that we’ve got to work with. So what I’m trying to say to you is that there’s a place where you’re just Rain.
Marc: You’re just her.
Marc: That’s it. There’s no disability. There’s just Rain.
Marc: And I would love to see you live there more.
Marc: I would love to see you play with living there more. I keep using the term play because I don’t want you to take it too seriously. Because if you take it too seriously, it’s going to suck.
Marc: If you make it playful, you will start to notice, “Wow.” And I know you already notice these things. There’s certain people that are going to be more uncomfortable around you than others. There are certain people that are going to be like way more interesting to you than others. Certain people you just don’t want to talk to.
Marc: You don’t have to talk to somebody just because they want to talk to you. Talk to people you’re interested in. So the play part is just kind of noticing and playing with pretending like, “Hey, I’m just totally cool.”
Marc: “Ain’t nothing wrong here. Nothing to explain.”
Marc: I don’t come into social situations trying to head people off at the pass and explain to them, I don’t know, “Listen, I’m an older guy. I’m 58. I can get really shy sometimes, and all of a sudden, we can be in a conversation and I just want to warn you that all of a sudden I can get really quiet after I was talkative for a long time.”
Marc: I could do that, and sometimes I might. But all I’m saying is there’s a place where as you start to misidentify with your disability and identify with Rain.
Marc: Some interesting things are going to happen, but the first step there is you’ve got to play. And you have to invite yourself out of isolation.
Marc: What happens for you when I say all of that? What’s going on over there, Ms. Rain?
Rain: One, I really like the idea of playing with it. Because like I said, sometimes with all the personal development stuff, you get so into the logistics of it. So I really like the idea of just playing with it and being like, “Okay, let’s see how this goes.” And just doing the best I can with it. And I really like the idea of just kind of disconnecting from that and not necessarily feeling like I owe everybody an explanation.
Marc: Thank you. Thank you. Just pause there for a second. You don’t owe anybody nothing. No explanation.
Marc: You don’t owe them. You can give an explanation if you choose. Notice the difference. You might feel into a moment because you’re an intuitive human. You might feel and you know something? I want to say something to this person. That’s fine, but you don’t owe them. You owe nobody anything in that department. You don’t have to make people feel more comfortable. You can be selfish and make you feel more comfortable.
So if it makes you feel more comfortable to say something, go for it. I want you to be selfish here. You owe nobody anything, and that’s liberating. I feel good when you say that.
Rain: Yes. Yeah. I really feel good about the idea of disconnecting from it to because I think part of that’s (…) empowering identifying with it. But at the same time, I think it’s come to a point where it’s like, “Okay, it’s empowering. This is who I am. I have this disability or this journey.” And so it became empowering, and then it kind of became disempowering again, where now it’s like, “Okay, this is overwhelming.” So I like the idea of being able to disconnect from it.
Marc: Yeah. Yeah. And disconnect from it means just putting it to the side, just like put it over here. I’m not leaving with it. I’m not putting it behind me. Just put it to the side. It’s like this little pet that you walk around with that if you need to talk about it you do, and if you don’t, you don’t. But you don’t have to work on this per se. There’s nothing so much to work on for you at this point I believe as there is for you to start playing with life more and enjoying it.
I made a comment to you earlier in this conversation, and I don’t know if I used the right words. I did, but I don’t know if I communicated well what I wanted to say. I said to you, “You really love food.” I think a better way to say that is you have the lover archetype in you. So you love.
Marc: You’re passionate. You enjoy. You have an appetite for life.
Marc: Not a lot of people can say that. “I want to go to Thailand.” And you did it. Not everybody does that. You have a special love for life, and that could mean anything. Whatever you enjoy, whatever you find pleasurable, interesting, good, it grabs your attention. You’re in relationship with it. It gets you. That’s a beautiful thing. I want you to lead with her more.
Marc: I want you to lead with her more because that’s who you are in so many ways. Yeah, you’re these other things for sure. I get it. There’s the part of you that gets depressed. There’s a part of me that gets depressed. That’s true. But I don’t have to explain to anybody in the first or second or third or fourth meeting, “Hey, I get depressed sometimes.” Unless maybe it’s somebody I’m going to date, and okay, we’re dropping in deeper. So, yeah, then I share that information.
But as you start to let yourself play more, it’s easier to step out of isolation because it takes some of the pressure off.
Marc: It might be a little bit uncomfortable for you at first. It will be.
Rain: Yeah, for sure.
Marc: It’ll be uncomfortable, but the coach in me wants to tell you that do this, like keep doing it. Keep trying. Keep being uncomfortable. Fake it until you make it at this point with that, and play with it because you deserve that. You deserve to show up as all of who you are. This thing that you call your disability is like this much of you in the scheme of things.
Marc: It’s like a tiny amount.
Marc: The rest of you is Rain, and it’s who you are. And it’s this smart, empowered woman who’s a lover of life.
Marc: Who just wants great experiences and wants to connect and wants to live in a good way and wants to help people.
Marc: That’s who you are.
Marc: So how this relates to food is that the more, in my belief, in my experience, the more you start to embrace the rest of who you are and lead with that, the less problematic the food thing will be for you.
Marc: That’s one of the more important things I’m going to say to you in this conversation because I asked you a lot about food and I gathered a lot of information. And at the end of the day and at the end of all my information gathering, if I was going to work with you, we would hardly talk about food.
Marc: It doesn’t mean there’s not going to be challenges. Doesn’t mean you’re not going to want to eat chocolate. Doesn’t mean you’re not going to eat chocolate. Doesn’t mean you’re going to gain weight, lose weight, whatever. I am almost wanting to put that to the side for you a little bit.
Marc: Just put it to the side. It’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to work on this food thing.” I get it. I get it. I get it. This is how we work on the food thing.
Marc: How we work on the food thing is actually not via the food. How we work on the food thing is to understand that to a significant degree food helps you relax. Food helps you feel better. Food in many ways has become a bit of a best friend for you.
Marc: Food in many ways has become a primary relationship for you.
Marc: You’re intimate with it.
Marc: Now, I’m intimate with food also. It’s not my primary relationship. I want you to be intimate with food. I just don’t want it to be your primary relationship. That’s all.
Marc: So what that means is it doesn’t mean looking at the food and going, “No, food. You will not be my primary relationship. I will not eat you so much.” No, it’s not saying that. It’s looking at the food and saying, “Food, I love you. I love having this intimate relationship with you because it feels good and I need to have other primary relationships.”
Marc: “I need to have relationships with friends. I need to have relationship with lovers or a lover or a partner or a husband, whatever it is.” So that’s where I want you to start to set your sights on more. So at the beginning of this conversation, I asked you to wave your magic wand, what would you get and basically you talked about more balance with food and a way to relax so you don’t have to turn to food. Okay. This is how you do that. And that’s not your biggest goal.
Your biggest goal is not I want to learn how to manage my relationship with food. It might feel like your biggest goal right now because it looms large for you.
Marc: So that feels like your biggest goal. I want to put first things first. You might not wake up every day thinking this, but, to me, your biggest goal is how do I be the best, fullest expression of Rain that possibly exists? How can I be the best version of me ever?
Marc: And I’m not talking about the best eater or the most perfect body. I’m talking about you being you and giving your gifts and expressing yourself and being in this world in the best way that you can. That’s your biggest goal. So as you start to be the real you more, the food thing finds its rightful place. Do you follow me?
Rain: Right. Absolutely.
Marc: So it’s easy to be in relationship with food when we’re isolating because it tastes good and it’s intimate. And you could eat chocolate and it’s the most pleasurable food arguably on the planet. And you turn to chocolate. Do you know why you turn to chocolate? Because you’re a pleasure person.
Marc: You don’t turn to chocolate because there’s something wrong with you. You turn to chocolate because your being craves experience and your being craves pleasure. Your being craves intimacy, and your being craves connection. And when you can’t get that, you go to the closest approximation, which is chocolate.
Marc: Makes sense. But you don’t have a food problem. You don’t have a chocolate problem. It’s not a problem. Okay.
Marc: It seems to be right now because that’s what’s getting the air time.
Marc: What I’m saying the challenge here is we want to inspire Rain to come a little bit more out of isolation. And I think a beautiful first step for you would be to open yourself up for more consistent friendship in your life.
Marc: Start there.
Marc: Open yourself up to more consistent friendship. And to do that, all you have to be is you.
Marc: My friends, the friends who I’m friends with they like me because I’m me. There’s a lot of people who cannot handle me as a friend because I’ve got my quirks. I’ve got my things. I’ve got my stuff. I’m a very demanding friend. Our friends are a small group of people.
Marc: And they’re our friends because they know us, and they know us because we show up as who we are.
Marc: People are attracted to you when you show up as who you are.
Marc: And who you are is more than a tiny, little thing called my disability.
Marc: Who you are way is way more than that. And because of the disability, you’ve been taught to forget some of the greatness of who you are in my opinion.
Rain: Right. Yeah, and also I think that my childhood and the stories I still have in my head about being bad at socializing and all of those types of things. So I think you hit the nail on the head when you were talking about the food and particularly the chocolates. It’s like I was like, “Oh, I can deal with that. That’s manageable.” The idea of like going out and making more connections and more friends that sounds really scary.
Marc: Yeah. Good. I get it. I get it. It’s a scary proposition, Rain, for many people. Talk to anyone that you know who doesn’t have a “disability.” And some people are just really shy, and it’s hard for them to make friends.
Rain: Right. Right.
Marc: So all I’m saying is making friends isn’t this easy thing. People go through stuff. We break up with our best friends. Our friends betray us. They hurt us. Friends come. Friends go. And certain friends stay for a long time. So the friend universe isn’t an easy one, but as we navigate it more, we learn about it more. And we invite friends into our life. You just choose to be open to that.
Marc: And you choose to play in that field. So that’s why I use the word play.
Marc: Because you go to a serious place in here. And I want you to ask yourself in any social situation that you’re in or that you’re thinking of being in or that you would like to go to but you’re afraid to be in. I want you to ask yourself, “How can I gamify this? How can I make this fun? How can I make this a little playful? What little thing can I do to make this playful,” such that it’s interesting for you because I believe—this is my belief—that when you learn how to make things playful for you, it’s going to help bring you out more.
Rain: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Marc: You’re probably a little bit play-deficient because you have so much of a playmate in you. You’ve got a lot of fun in you.
Marc: You do.
Rain: I think probably play-deficient because I know that about myself.
Marc: Mmhmm. Yeah. So it’s time to show up. And you know something? There are going to be people that don’t like us, and I use the word us because there are people—I go to events all the time. And I’m pretty smooth. I know how to operate in social situations, and I also get awkward. And I get very inward. And all I’m trying to say is that I don’t want you to use your disability as an excuse to feeling socially awkward. Because social awkwardness is not dependent on having a disability.
Marc: It’s not. It’s just not dependent. Can the two go together? Sure. So for you, having a disability and social awkwardness have a connection. What I’m saying to you is, understandable. I get it. It makes perfect sense, and I want to uncouple those.
Marc: Because there’s a universe where they are not dependent on each other, and they need to be uncoupled so you can begin to see that in large part it’s time for you to show up in a different way.
Marc: Here I am. Here I am. This is me. And once again, if you want to talk about disability and you want to head things off at the pass and you think intuitively in the moment, “I need to say something to somebody,” great. Do it. But I would love for you to also practice just pretending there ain’t nothing to talk about there.
Rain: Right. Right. That sounds fun. That sounds really fun.
Marc: Yeah. And some people might be awkward, and you could notice their reaction. Here’s what I want you to do. Here’s another piece. Here’s another—let me think how to language this. Let me postulate this. I’m going to make a postulation. I don’t know if this is true about you, but I think it might be.
So I’m going to just say it, and then you’re going to tell me if it’s accurate or not. There’s potentially a place in you that, because you’re such a nice person, you don’t want other people to feel uncomfortable around you. So you try to help them so they don’t feel uncomfortable around you. Is that true?
Marc: Okay. It makes perfect sense. Now, here’s what I want to say. I would like you to stop being so nice like that and allow people their discomfort. Stop rescuing them.
Marc: Don’t rescue somebody from their discomfort. Create more space. Now, it’s going to be uncomfortable for you to do this. Because what’s happened is when people go into discomfort, you go into discomfort. So what you do is then you make them feel more comfortable which then makes you feel more comfortable. Correct?
Rain: Right. Correct.
Marc: Makes perfect sense. Excellent strategy. Love it. Keep it in your pocket. Now, we’re going to have another tool in our pocket called be opposite. You know something? I’m not going to rescue you from your discomfort right now. I can see you’re a little bit uncomfortable. This is how you’re going to be talking to yourself. “Huh. I can see you’re in some discomfort. I’m going to let you stew in your own juices for a while, while I continue to talk to you and pretend that everything’s pretty chill and cool. And I’m just like the coolest person ever and you’re the coolest person ever.” And you don’t rescue them.
And I want you to see how long you can do that in a given interaction, remembering that you will be uncomfortable. I’m acknowledging. I predict you will be uncomfortable. But I want you to try to move through that discomfort as long as you can because there’s a gift in there for you.
Marc: There’s a gift in there for you because when you prematurely rescue someone, you set up a dynamic in that relationship where you’re taking care of that person so they can like you better somehow. So they can feel more comfortable around you. It is your responsibility to help them regulate their experience in relation to you. So now they’re kind of dependent on you, and you’re actually not in an equal relationship. You’re taking care of that person.
Marc: And they’re going to get a little bit used to taking care of, and they’re going to relate to you in a different way.
Marc: You will start to find people, if you practice this. You will find people who if they’re uncomfortable and you give them that—just allow it. Allow them their discomfort. And you keep hanging out and you keep talking, and there are people who will move through their discomfort.
Marc: Because there’s plenty of freaking situations, forgetting about any disability, where you and I get uncomfortable.
Marc: You know? There’s plenty of situations I get uncomfortable. I get uncomfortable if I’m in an environment and people I think are smarter than me. I get uncomfortable. I get uncomfortable if everybody’s talking about physics because I have this thing that I could never understand physics when I was in college and high school. It was my worst subject. I got Bs, but I worked so hard. And I still don’t understand it. Dumb as that is.
Maybe it’s a bad analogy, but all I’m saying is that as you show up not protecting other people, the people that can move through their discomfort will move through their discomfort. And all of a sudden, you’re in a real relationship. When I say a real relationship, you’re in a real interaction.
Marc: Where you’re not trying to take care of somebody because they can take care of themselves.
Marc: And if they can’t take care of themselves around you and if it’s too uncomfortable for them, maybe they’re not the person you want to hang around with.
Marc: And that’s okay. Because there’s plenty of people, you don’t want to hang around… Plenty of people I don’t want to hang around with.
Marc: It has nothing to do with disability or not a disability. It’s just like, okay, this person’s not a match for me.
Marc: When you give people the opportunity to be in their discomfort, you give them the opportunity to show up for you in a bigger way.
Marc: It’s true, right?
Marc: Can you feel that?
Rain: Definitely. I’m also recognizing if I’m not rescuing them that’s a big burden off of my shoulders as well. It’s not so stressful going in then because I’m carrying the weight of, “Okay, I’ve got to rescue this person right off the bat.”
Marc: You don’t have to rescue anybody. You don’t have to rescue anybody. There is nothing to rescue them from, and I mean that. By doing this, by giving people their discomfort, allowing them to have it, what you’re also doing on a deeper level is you’re acknowledging to yourself and to the universe that you’re not a burden. Your presence is not a burden. Your presence is not something you have to justify. Your presence is not something you have to explain. It’s not something you have to defend. It’s not. You’re just you.
Rain: Right. Man, that one was heavy.
Marc: Yeah. Yeah. It was heavy, but it’s big and it’s good and it’s juicy for you because you know it resonated for you.
Marc: And it’s an important piece of your evolution to really get you are not a burden to anyone.
Marc: You’re not a burden to anyone. Kind of the opposite. You’re actually a light, and you’re a person who uplifts. And you’re a person who brings love to the table. You’re a person who brings awareness and consciousness and care. Now, there are humans who don’t recognize that. They don’t recognize that in you. They don’t recognize that in me. They don’t recognize that in other people who bring love and consciousness and care and light. They literally don’t see it. And it has nothing to freaking do with your disability. They just don’t see it.
Marc: What a good conversation.
Rain: Yeah. That feels really exciting. I’m excited because I realize that it’s going to be scary, but I think going in, not attaching to the disability and just not having it be my job to rescue them, I’m excited to go in with some different perspectives.
Marc: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. And keep practicing and keep at it because at some point, maybe really quick, maybe in the middle, but at some point, the goodies are going to start to come your way. The universe is going to start to reflect back to you, “Oh, thank you. We’ve been waiting for you to show up.” You know?
Marc: “We’ve been waiting for you to come to the party.” You’re going to get positive feedback. It’s going to come. I don’t know what the timeframe is, but it’s going to come. It’s going to show up. I promise you. That’s physics. It’s the metaphysics. It’s the metaphysics of how things work. Where you’re starting to just be you and purely who you are, and when you be you and purely who you are, when I be me and purely who we are, we attract. Those who can recognize that and see that.
Marc: And when we throw up smoke screens we attract people who are comfortable with smoke screens.
Rain: Right. Right.
Marc: So I’m so happy for you because I think there’s going to be some really sweet openings for you. And I would like to see you—I want to say one more thing for you. I want to say one more thing, and, again, this is the coach in me talking to you. I want to see you shorten the timeframe between when you think you’re going to be ready to start dating again and when you start dating again.
Marc: I don’t want it to be years. I don’t want it to be five months. I want it to be shorter than that.
Marc: I know there’s a history behind you of, “Okay, I tried online dating, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah,” all that stuff. I get it. Dating, by the way, is not easy.
Marc: Dating is not easy for anyone necessarily. Some people are good at it. I take that back. Dating is not easy for everyone at all.
Marc: And it’s a weird world when it comes to dating. There’s just like a lot of nonsense out there, and it’s hard to figure the online thing out. What I’m trying to say to you is that the same issues that anyone else would face with dating are the same issues you’re going to face with dating. Does the disability add another layer onto it? Sure. But with this new understanding, yeah, it’s going to be up to you. It’s going to be up to you in terms of when you share what you share. But what I still want you to know in that process is you don’t have to rescue people.
Marc: You don’t have to rescue people. The only person you’re going to have to rescue is yourself. That’s all. Only person you’ve got to really take care of is you. You’ve got to take care of your own heart and not let anybody’s nonsense get into your system or anybody’s judgments. And I know you’ve been doing that a long time. I think your immune system is pretty strong for that.
Marc: It’s like we’re human and we get hurt and insults impact us. Even if nobody says anything and there’s a silent insult or there’s a silent judgment, you feel it. I get it. But once again, I want you to know that humans are judging humans all the time for every damn reason.
Marc: Some of the most heavily judged women on the planet are the Hollywood beautiful ones. They’re the ones that get the most judgment. It’s weird. You think, “Oh, wow. If I was the perfect one, then I’d get no judgment.” Actually, you get the most.
Marc: It’s an interesting game on planet earth. So anyway, all I want to say is that you’re ready when you say you are.
Marc: When it comes to dating and when it comes to finding an intimate person. So intimacy, that intimacy will come towards you more when you are more willing.
Marc: And willing in this case means when you start to lead with who you actually are, who you actually are which is not your disability. Disability is a feature of you.
Marc: It’s an aspect of you. It’s not you. So when you start to lead with who you are, that creates intimacy because that’s who you are. That’s you.
Rain: Right. Right. Right.
Marc: By the way, I just want to say something to you. I can’t wait for you to watch this podcast, video-wise, because your face when we first started and your face now are like completely two different people.
Marc: Yeah. You’re going to see. This to me is your real face which is you’re relaxed and you’re letting your radiance shine through. And you’re not trying to fix anything, and we’ve spent some time and you’re being seen. And we’re in an intimate conversation, and when that happens, you come out more.
Marc: And there’s a whole different kind of your beauty shows up when you relax and just get real.
Marc: So I’m excited for you, Ms. Rain.
Rain: Thank you.
Marc: And I really, really appreciate this conversation. You have been such a courageous human. I really feel that way.
Rain: Thank you.
Rain: Thank you. I really appreciate this. I’ve done so many different personal development things, and I love when people have something new because I’m all about, okay, what else can I do? So I feel like I have more tools in my toolkit. I can actually go out there and I’m really excited to not feel responsible for making people feel comfortable. That’s really exciting.
Marc: Mmhmm. Good for you. Good for you. Good for you. Good for you. Good for you.
Rain: Thank you.
Marc: That’s the beginning, and that’s going to slowly and steadily change your relationship with food. And just observe it. Watch it. Just observe and watch, and in the meantime, it’s okay to love food. In the meantime, it’s okay to be intimate with food. I mean that. I really mean that. And in the meantime, also, the more you slow down with it, just slow down and enjoy the intimacy.
Marc: Okay. Slow down and enjoy the intimacy because that’s going to also help you regulate yourself better. Because when we slow down with pleasure, we’re able to manage it more.
Marc: Okay. Just slow down.
Rain: I like the idea of the intimacy too because I think I always say, “I’m relieving the stress.” But you’re right. I think it’s the intimacy that I’m seeking and it’s wonderful.
Marc: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we get to follow up in another four or five months. So someone on my team will reach out to you, and I look forward to speaking with you again.
Rain: Thank you. Me too. I really appreciate the opportunity.
Marc: Thanks, Rain.
Rain: Thank you. Have a great weekend.
Marc: I intend to, and thanks, everybody, for tuning. I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. Take care, my friends.
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