Friday, January 4, 2013

Freaky Friday Moment At Its Finest

At this point in my life, I’m comfortable with the idea of coming off as weird. I’ve always been a little off, collecting rubber ducks, dead beetles, pencil shavings; you know the typical stuff. By 19 almost 20, it’s about time I just accept it and embrace it. It’s who I am, who God made me to be, and if God did this to me…Well, I’m not one to argue (with God at least).

So when I go to a friend’s house for dinner or go out to eat, I’m prepared for having to request special foods or not being able to eat the majority of what’s on the menu. Once, when out to lunch with my boyfriend and his family, I ordered The Goat Cheese Salad, without the goat cheese.

Yea, talk about trying to make a good first impression.

So I’ve learned to just not bother getting embarrassed anymore. Sure a few blushes sneak by now and then, but mostly I just learn to find the hilarity in it all. Might as well, right? Everyone else does.

So when I was watching an episode of my newest TV addiction, Heartland, I was hit with a feeling of that familiar hilarity but also one of massive insecurity. Why? Why should a TV show about a loving family living on a Canadian ranch induce such a rush of emotion?

They had guests. One particular guest, I could relate to all too well.

The family and friends were sitting down to dinner and the one particular woman asked if something was organic, when the answer came back “no” I listened to a habitual conversation I get to have. This time, however, I heard it from the other side. The grandfather began asking the woman why she hadn’t touched much of her food. She simply replied, “I’m allergic” when asked to what, her friend stated, “Everything.”

From here the woman started on her own list, “Dairy, white sugar, and gluten-free. Everything I eat has to be organic.”

Sound familiar?

I’m not completely gluten-free but usually that is the easiest choice. But this woman sounded so…strange, so needy, so peculiar, so sheltered. Like she was living in a box. It didn’t help when she said, “Oh it’s okay, I just eat a lot of vitamins.”

“Oh dear God, is that what I sound like?” I thought.

My best friend, I’ll call him Buds, lives in NY. When spring break of my freshmen year hit, I decided to go visit him for the week.

He had come to visit me a few times, but I had never had the time or money to make the trek there. When I did, of course I was excited, but nervous as well.

For days and days before I went I stayed up planning what I would pack to do, what books I’d bring to read, what clothes to wear, but also…What in the world was I going to eat?

Obviously, I wasn’t going to ask him to buy all my usual food, and I sure wasn’t going to eat out for every meal.

So I did what I knew how to do. I packed my own food.

Each breakfast was carefully measured by bowl then placed in separate plastic baggies. Lots of food bars were packed for snacks and random blood sugar drops. A jar of my homemade peanut butter was made in preparation then cautiously kept cool in my lunchbox.

This alone would have been enough to earn me a couple jokes from my friend. But the cake topper was when I asked if he could take me to the store so I could pick up a loaf of 100% Whole Wheat bread for my peanut butter sandwiches.

He was nice enough to not say much about me asking except for a few “Hannah needs her special bread” comments. Yet as we walked through the bread isle, I didn’t get off so easy.

There were a lot of “What about this bread?” “No, I can’t eat that either.” With a reply of, “Wow, that’s depressing.” Also, “Ohh this bread is soooo good! Too bad you can’t have any.” It doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize this went on for a good ten - fifteen minutes until I found bread I could comfortably ingest.

Luckily, these were just jokes. As are most of the bad comments I hear about what I can and cannot eat.

Sort of like when The Boy's brother asked, "What's it like to be broken?" Or his dad's comment when eating the gluten-free pizza that was ordered for me. He took a couple bites and when he was told it was gluten-free he stated in a matter-of-fact-way, "Oh, no wonder it tastes like crap." 

I don't so much mind the negativity when it comes. I usually find it just as hilarious as every one else (though I can feel the room sort of gasp when someone says something negative, then relax as I start laughing).

So as I watched the TV characters' reaction, their negative commentary and strange looks actually made me smile. Finally I was able to see how a lot of people view my lifestyle. I was also extremely grateful. How lucky am I to have friends and family who DON’T react like that?

Talk about weird moments.

Most days I can shove off the embarrassment of always having to ask for modifications, exclusions, or a completely different menu. It’s become a natural custom for me and I try not to think much of it anymore.

But oh wow, I hope that’s not what I sound like.  

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