GreySheeters Anonymous

Writer #5:

BIGGEST NMW: With some guy in Brown's in the U.K. First date asking for another 8 oz. of veg because it only came to 7.9 oz and I did not want to get out my back up and I knew he could afford it. FIRST MASSAGE WORKSHOP NMW: Lunch was at 12 midday. I had finished my breakfast at 9am and so when we were due back at 1pm it was my lunch time. I had to ask the teacher if I could eat while he was demonstrating foot massage (not on me) and to watch the eyes of the curious while I tried to eat my food in a relaxed and slow manner as suggested. UNCOMFORTABLE NMW: With a group who had been strangers only 4 days previously on a Dance of Universal Peace camp, with very judgmental AA friend. Coming back to camp after a horrid day at the beach (too much unstructured time with strangers) without checking if I had enough for next meal. Frantic to eat with others (I believed I had to do as much as possible to join in) to discover I did not enough. The man in the next tent -- who was with his girlfriend -- came to rescue and gave me vegetable. Otherwise it could have got dark - this was in 1998 and I have wised up since and gone with the whole lot of GS food. 

MOST EMBARRASSING NMW: Trying to eat my dinner at around 11pm in a crowd of people at a seaside folk festival and panicking because they could not see me where I was seated. Never again, should not have gone. BEING HUMILIATED NMW: In 2003 in London with my 2 sisters after seeing "Vagina Monologues" -- dinner in a fast Italian place - canned protein and salad - boring and uncomfortable - never again - licked my knife and younger sister saying "I hope you don't eat like that with your new boyfriend" leaving my humiliated and in shame and in a sulk. ANGRY NMWs: In 2005 at goodbye dinner for AAer - getting my back-up veggie out 'cos not enough veg, seething with resentment. And another time, ordering meat and nothing else on plate at AA dinner - being stared at in horror, as the usual accompaniment of vegetables we don't eat obviously was not right for me and me getting out a tin and putting cold vegetables on the plate and then that humongous amount of salad.ACTIVATING OLD PEOPLE-PLEASING TENDENCIES NMWs: In December 2004 making 18 meals to take with me on a Christmas yoga retreat. At home during breakfast got a huge headache (I never get them) at 9:30am. I had drunk more tea than usual and had a plan to hoover my flat before leaving at 11:30pm. Headache put me in a blind panic. Called to a greysheeter who was at home in her comfort zone and calmly talked through what I really needed to do that morning not the unrealistic list that I had written. Headache left me (also gave me an awareness of what my mother went through every day - she took anadin/aspirin all the time, and never talked to anyone about what could be causing it). Anyway I got to London and discovered I had I HAD LEFT ALL MY LUNCHES IN THE FRIDGE! When I arrived I did not get a smiley warm welcome - I got questioned as to why I had to weigh and measure my food - even though I had emailed this man and emphasized my needs to eat my own choice of food and not their 'healthy soups and dahls...") I managed, of course, but I was seething and full of blame all the time. I kept taking breaks from the structured varied yoga classes because in between I found it so hard to communicate with the 6 other strangers who bonded by cooking together and by attending all the sessions. I went to the park and listened to AA tapes and I walked miles to an AA meeting that gave me little solace. For some reason I thought it vital that I eat all my meals with everyone else - in spite of the fact I never ate anything they made. I was people pleasing. And another time, going to a new friend's house who had specially prepared food for me that I couldn't eat because she didn't get it right. MOST HEARTWARMING NMW: My friend Dr. B waiting patiently while I ran up and down the house with my scale and then taking ages to make elaborate meals taking me to restaurants twice going in a camper van with him for a weekend and him fully accepting not just my eating habits but also my yoga and meditation and writing routine. And also me losing my temper that he had inability to express any needs or preferences and indirectly wanted me to make decisions about what we did and where we went without telling me so. MOST SHOCKING AND DISAPPOINTING NMW: In 1998 at a male greysheeter' s wedding. Fully expecting a special table full of food just for the 5 greysheeters and discovering that we had to eat from the 'main selection - a buffet style - with no labels' table. Ending up at a table with 2 greysheeters and 5 people we did not know getting out a raw unpeeled veg, a whole veg and having to deseed it in public - what a spectacle. LESSONS LEARNED BY NMWs: All of the above stories have prepared me in the last two years to not chance as much and never depend on Greysheeters in the way I think I can. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than go with what I think are ordinary expectations only to discover that is wishful thinking.