My Farmer’s Market Social Anxiety & “I Don’t Feel The Magic”!

 

Ever since I recently reached my goal of losing thirty pounds, I’ve felt like my old self in some significant ways.

Before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in 2007, I worked at a family-owned gym as an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and circuit training instructor. I didn’t attend college with the intention of working in fitness, but I found that I loved helping gym members achieve their goals. During those years I maintained a healthy weight which was fairly easy to do as I didn’t take care of two kids and a dog! 

Then the shit hit the fan when my postpartum bipolar disorder erupted like a dormant volcano.

From then on, my weight went all over the place: up, down, backwards — you name it — thanks to my depression-fueled binge eating and meds, meds, meds galore – around 30 of them.

 

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This was me.

 

Now that I’m finally doing better, I decided to face one of my fears. Thanks to my post’s title, you already know what it is. (So much for creating suspense!)

Fear of the farmer’s market sounds ridiculous, but we all have our silly phobias, don’t we?  Although I don’t feel that my spider phobia (arachnophobia) is silly whatsoever! 

 

A Santa Cruz Mountains resident

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“If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, c’mon sugar let me know!”

 

Just for the heck of it I looked at the Wikipedia list of phobias to see if there was a specific one for farmer’s markets (you never know!), and the only phobias that fit are:

I planned my first farmer’s market foray of 2016 with my older daughter. She wanted to accompany me so we could buy fruit to make smoothies. Santa Cruz County has a thriving farmer’s market scene, so I picked the smallest one. It was in a town where the chances were extremely slim that I would run into anyone I knew, and that’s exactly what I wanted.

My intrepid girl was well aware of my social phobia, and she was awesome about that in every way. When we got to the farmer’s market at 9:00 a.m. there were very few people, and my eye immediately spotted someone I knew. 

“Oh, shit!” I blurted out.

The one person who I couldn’t handle seeing was there:

X

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X’s presence made absolutely no sense. X doesn’t live in that town; moreover he lives near the best, biggest farmer’s market in this area. Of all the people in the world, I never expected to see X.

I couldn’t help but surmise that this was a test by the Universe, and I got a big, ‘ol F! 

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Avi and I turned around and made a beeline for my car. We went to a park and a couple hours later we returned to the market without any incident. We got some yummy peaches and plums which didn’t even make it into the planned smoothie.

Although that farmer’s market experience didn’t go well (cough, cough – understatement!) I decided my next step would be to attend our local farmer’s market. I couldn’t imagine running into X again, but after a session with my counselor, I was prepared to stick around if that event occurred. 

On the appointed day we had a major heat wave. I love the heat, but this heat wave reached the mid-upper 90’s, and perhaps it wasn’t the ideal afternoon to face a phobia. I did so anyway, and this time both girls came with me. 

When we arrived I felt more relaxed than I expected. I saw a few familiar faces, but no one who triggered me, i.e. no reminders of blown-out friendships to wince over. (I’ve had quite a few of those since 2007, which merits another post or three.)

In the tradition of this blog, I digress.

So, there we were, strolling away in the heat and dripping sweat. We sipped ice water that was kindly given out for free by the market promoters. Despite the soaring temperature, I felt a nice sense of well being that I hadn’t felt in a LONG time.

Until I heard his voice….

Hey Dyane! Is that you?”

It had been over two decades since I last heard him say my name. I’ll call him “Spicoli” because the first time I encountered him he was stoned out of his mind.

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We met over twenty years ago, when my Sheltie dog Tara ran away from my studio. I frantically ran from door-to-door in the neighborhood asking people if they had seen her. Spicoli was one of my neighbors, and after he answered his door, he asked me for my phone number. At that point in my life I was single and very lonely, not to mention hysterical that my beloved dog was missing, and I gave my number to him.

We dated for only a few months. From the start I knew he wasn’t the one for me. Not by a long shot. He dropped hints that I wasn’t pretty enough for him, and that he had dated someone in the past who “looked like a supermodel”. That wasn’t great for my weak self esteem. Oh yes – he also frequently said some rather creepy things about how gorgeous one of my best friends was. Yep. A real winner!

One evening I made him a nice dinner and afterwards we sat on his couch.

“Dyane, I just don’t feel the magic,” he said.

And that was that.

So long, farewell.

I just wish I had been the one to say it instead of him.

Fast forward to the magical 95 degree Felton Farmer’s Market!

I had no idea Spicoli now lived in my neck of the woods. The good news is that I was able to talk to him without freaking out. It helped to have my beautiful girls by my side, wondering who the hell their Mommy was talking to – I must admit the scenario was pretty funny. Spicoli had been a talker when we dated, and he shared that he was divorced and dealing with a really sad situation. I felt sorry for him, to tell you the truth.

While Spicoli was not someone I loved, seeing him brought up a vivid memory of my being rejected. He commented on how good-looking my daughters were, but he didn’t make a peep about my appearance. After losing weight and carrying myself with renewed confidence, I didn’t feel like chopped liver like I did when we dated!

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“Spicoli, I ain’t no Cindy Crawford, but I ain’t no chopped liver! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

After he walked away and I caught my emotional breath, I told my girls a little bit about our past. Without thinking, I mentioned Spicoli’s “I don’t feel the magic” phrase and they found that absolutely hilarious! As we visited the various vendors, they took every opportunity to say “I don’t feel the magic about this carrot, Mommy!” and “That ice cream over there might make me feel the magic – can we get some please?”

Next week we’re going to the popular Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market located next to the gym where I used to work. Who knows who I’ll run into there? 

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thanks so much for reading!

love, Dyane

p.s. I started a  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group. The insightful blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member. His encouragement has helped me so much – it’s far better than going it alone! I can send you an invite if you include your email in a comment, or sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.