Sunday, 7 January 2018

What a Beautiful Picture of your Dinner Party! Why am I not in it?




Something troubling has come to my attention and therefore, I must address it.

Let's offend people shall we? 

It has become apparent to me over the past few months that I have not been invited to events because of my Celiac Disease. 

It's true. 

At first, I disregarded this issue as sheer self involvement. I quieted my inner Trump-like baby voice by reminding myself that it isn't always about me, (and, for good measure, I reminded myself that climate change is a thing because...science). 

But quickly, the little voice of hmmm, that's strange, turned into, what the actual fuck? As I have noticed more and more facebook updates, instagram posts, and hearing stories of activities that I was not included in, that I am being excluded.  These are events and activities where friends have gotten together at restaurants, had dinners, and enjoyed time together. Friends that I would certainly invite if I had such an event.

I know what you are thinking, Laurie dear, is it possible that you are just an asshole and no one likes you? Indeed, this is certainly possible, because as we all know, I am an asshole and frankly, don't care if someone doesn't like me. However, might I point out that on other occasions, and over many years, I have spent quality time with these people and they often seek out my company when something isn't involved. That something is food. 

I've discovered through masterful levels of detective work, plying people with booze and threatening their lives, that I am not invited to these events because people often find it stressful and/or time consuming to serve me or find somewhere I can eat. 

This hit me like a truck. It was a shock and to be honest, I'm kind of hurt. No, I'm really hurt. However, I must look inward at what I have done to bring this on for myself. After self reflecting on my own bullshit, I have to examine that, through this blog and other conversations I have had with people, that I have given the impression that there are requirements for hosting me. This was my mistake and for that I apologize. 

The posts I have done on hosting Celiacs, cooking for Celiacs, and eating out with Celiacs, are for information purposes only. They are not demands! For fucks sakes, of COURSE I'm not making demands or insisting that the world cater to my bullshit disease, that would be incredibly selfish of me. However, reading back over my posts and thinking back over conversations, I can see how you could misinterpret my intentions. Please, please, I am begging you here, do not think that I insist upon you feeling put out, overwhelmed, (or even shittier) resentful, that you have to host me and therefore, avoid doing so to reroute any feelings of fear, or inadequacies. 

It makes me sad that people feel like this. 

As I've written before, I often think about my Grandma's now infamous line when she visited people and they immediately apologized for the state of their house, and/or calibre of  their meals/offerings. She would smile and say clearly, "If I came to see your house, dear, I would come when you weren't here." 

I remember Grandma Teresa saying this when I was young, too young to fully understand the impact of it. Now, as an all grown up Mom (who still doesn't understand what a pension is or how taxes work), I GET what she was trying to say. It was her way of politely saying, I came here to see you dumbass, not to judge you. YOU are the important thing, not your dust, your mess, your carpets, your food, your snacks...you. And really, that's the most validating, loving thing, you can say to another human being. It's not what you offer me that matters to me, I'm just happy to be with you. How beautiful is that thought?


And that's how I feel. I am always, just happy to be with you, not your food...you. I know this is hard for people to wrap their heads around because so much of our culture is centered around food. No one, and I mean no one, has an event without food. Shit, even the criminals on that 'Lock Up' show create meals for other inmates out of noodle bowls, tampons, and toilet water so they won't get shanked in the showers. Food is a major component to our society. We celebrate with food, converse with food, watch TV shows with food. For fucksakes, we even mourn with food. When someone dies, what do you do? You run to the kitchen and make a casserole, that's what you do! Even if you hated the dead person, you make the fucking casserole, because that's who we are as a society. 

I completely understand. I am a fully integrated member of the 'serve your guest' cult. I get all squirmy and itchy when people refuse any service item in my home. What? You want nothing? Not even a glass of water? REALLY? Nothing? It gives me the willies and I immediately start thinking that the person has been invaded by the body snatchers.

I completely understand your desire to provide me with food and drink and strippers and anything else that I want to feel at home. However, for Celiacs, it stops being about the food. It stops being about what's on the table and more about who's at the table. 

I get it, it's hard to feed me. 

So here is a crazy thought. 

Don't. 

Don't feed me, don't try, don't do it if it's going to cause you to wish I wasn't there. Don't do it if it means that you don't want to invite me. Please. 

This disease is rotten enough without feeling like I'm excluded. 

I know that there are places I can't eat at, invite me anyway. I know that there are times when you make a giant meal and would love to have my family but you don't want to go to the cost and the effort of making it Gluten free, invite us anyway. Please. Don't exclude me (or dear lord, exclude my children from enjoying a delightful, warm meal) because of my Celiacs. Just invite us. Tell me ahead of time that there will be Gluten in everything. I will bring my own food, I will eat the plain chips and the veggie tray and I will revel in the glory and joy of spending time with you.

So please, I beg of you, invite me to the restaurant I can't eat at, invite me to your dinner and gluten the shit out of it, invite me to everything because my Celiacs is MY problem, not yours. Let me be clear, I'm not pointing fingers or being passive aggressive. Don't apologize or make a big deal about it, just please start inviting me to anything you would like me to go to, and forget about feeding me. If you don't actually want me there? That's okay too, because sometimes I'm an asshole and not everyone is going to like me and I don't particularly give a shit. I am who I am and if you don't like me, that's not my problem, it's yours. Grandma taught me that too.

But if you want me there and my Celiac disease is holding you back? Please invite me anyway because I notice when you don't and it hurts my feelings.

Remember, I spend time with you because I love you, not for what you can offer me.

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