Thursday, June 25, 2009

Toxic Thinking

While unsuspectingly sitting in an empty movie theater having settled in to watch "The Proposal", a troupe of about ten elderly women noisily arrived and decided to change their seating (wtf? the theater was empty) by sitting in the row right behind me as the movie began. How did I get so lucky...

Their raucous bantering continued through the opening of the movie into the dialogue already in full swing. My heart started pounding, I wondered what to do, and thought, f**k this; I paid to listen to a funny film, not a gaggle of Betty White wannabes. I turned around, looked them over and said loudly so they could actually hear me over their din; "Excuse me, but can you please keep it down? As you can see, the movie has begun!"

Their reactions were startling (but probably shouldn't have been)--laughing uproariously as if I were some intruder into their delightful afternoon and who was I to interrupt their important conversation?

I tried to ignore them, giving them a chance to get into the movie instead of each other (wanting to curse whoever sprung them from their nursing home) and they kept up their bantering and cackling until I wondered if I was in the company of a coven of witches instead of just bitches.

Occasionally the one behind me had to tap at my seat to let me know she was still there, as if her cackling wasn't clue enough, especially as she was doing it even when none was called for. I mean, I laugh unabashedly at movies, embracing the zen of humor wholeheartedly, but her behavior was over the top, as if to prove that she could do whatever the hell she pleased.

Which definitely affected my enjoyment of the film. I would have appreciated it way more if I wasn't so focused on the antics of the geezer brigade behind me. It was unsettling, since my grandmothers (may they rest in blessed quiet peace) never prepared me by displaying such childishness. So I felt like I was sitting in front of an out-of-control geriatric version of belligerent teens.

I comforted myself with the thought that while I couldn't control what was happening behind me, I at least had the courage to speak my peace, and for the rest of the movie knew that whatever they were doing had more to do with who they were and not so much targeting me. I had simply asked for civility. Common courtesy, which turns out, is not that common. But I also knew that they knew that to act this uncivilized they had to do it consciously. And therefore had to be aware of their actions. Which they had to live with, as our time together would soon end. And even I could tell they weren't all that comfortable being such blue-haired biddies.

After an interminable while, their ego-strutting lost its steam until by the time the movie finally ended, they quickly filed out the door as I breathed through the closing credits in solitude. Maybe their Depends were just too full to hold any more and they were making a bathroom break.

I had managed to enjoy this remarkable movie somewhat, but the effort left its toll on my body, the stress chemicals still coursing through me after two long hours. And then, sitting in my car gathering my thoughts, I burst into tears with the realization that it wasn't food that was making me fat (specifically, the stress-caused belly fat collected over the past two years), it was my uninvestigated thinking that was putting on the weight. Uninvestigated thinking is a term Byron Katie uses in her inquiry process called 'The Work'.

The revelation was shocking, because all this time I have been obsessing over eating healthier, becoming raw again, making sugar and fast foods evil etc. but the real problem is not the food, but my thinking about stressful situations--like my movie theater adventure--that led to overeating comfort foods, and the 'badder' the better.

Note: I recently read this; “Our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions release chemicals in our body that can eventually kill us. Our anger, depression, anxiety is more dangerous than the food we eat or don’t eat.” And there you have it. Fat cells expanding.

As this new thinking sinks in, I actually look forward to sitting in front of noisy people in movie theaters (a long-time pet peeve never so thoroughly tested until today) again because it shows me exactly where I still have work to do.

So thank you ladies, and...

Photo credit:


  1. You handled that rather gracefully...
    I have been tempted to throw things... And yell out swearwords, so the 'mormon' viewers would be stunned into silence :P or just yell out PENIS!

    I'm still trying to lose weight too, or at least get in shape... It is hard. But you go Mom.

  2. Thanks BlogGirl! I'm curious, how did you know your viewing tormentors were mormon; were their garments showing, lol? Or the overabundance of children in tow? :)