“I need to eat now. I’m starving and all I have had is a coffee and banana today,” she said.
“Let’s wait until we get back to the hotel and have our picnic & chill by the pool time as planned,” I responded.
“I haven’t gotten to eat recently. I’m starving. You wouldn’t understand because you ate one of your meal things and had a shake,” she snapped back. “I want pizza now!”
“Your fancy coffee and banana had more calories than everything I consumed today. I know you are hungry, as am I, but the pizza will take awhile to make, time we could have spent getting back to the hotel so let’s all be happy and have what we planned.” I replied, my nerves near breaking point.
Everyone has at least one. The friend who can’t handle their own appetite and food choices and thus probably also can’t handle when you are finally in control of your health. Whether it’s ignorance or jealousy that inspires their actions, one may never know. However on my ninth week of the HMR Diet, I have been tested to extreme levels. And now I let it all out in hopes it helps someone else relate.
“I’m on a special diet. I’m gluten-free,” she tells the waiter. Then asks him twenty questions. Then once he leaves proceeds to tell me everything I already knew.
“I know. I have known you for many years. I have lived with people who have an even stricter allergy. I understand,” I assure her.
I do understand. And having had serious food reactions over the years, I can relate to the anxiety when ordering. However, once you explain you understand and you sympathize, you expect this will be the end of the conversation. Yet for her it continues. It manifests her every conversation. Did you know she couldn’t have gluten? Did you know other people don’t know what gluten is?
I wonder if I was like this. If I annoyed people to no end talking about my food allergies and intolerances? I would hope it didn’t consume my life the way it had obviously consumed hers.
Now that I am on HMR, I don’t talk about my food unless asked. I realize that there isn’t a reason to remind people I can’t have what they are having. I don’t need to make someone else feel guilty for the choices I am making to be healthy. What others choose to eat should not make me angry at the world. And I recognize that for her, it does. She is angry. She wants people to know she is special. She needs the attention that comes with the special need. And I resent her for it because in the constant nasal whine about her special needs, she has forgotten those who are with her may also have their own struggles.
Rather than assert myself at first, I let her make jokes at my expense:
“You can watch me eat and drool over it all,” she grins.
“I’ll drink and you can watch,” she reminds me.
“I’m so hungry I could eat just about anything on this menu,” she pronounces at lunch. “Too bad you can’t.”
Roles reversed and she would never let her audience hear the end of it. She has special needs and how dare you remind her she can’t have something. However, she sees nothing wrong with taunting me.
Why is it okay for her to do it?
It’s not. And eventually, I can’t take it anymore. In my head I talk openly how cruel it is that people would taunt people with things they cannot have. But in reality, I just use logic to prevail. We don’t end up at a pizza joint this time, however I suspect she will push again. And indeed the next day the passive aggressiveness begins:
“Well I guess pizza is out since someone here can’t handle being around it,” she huffs.
If the crust wasn’t gluten-free, the pot would meet the kettle. Instead I firmly assert myself. Saying that I wouldn’t go, suggesting alternatives to the sweet smelling pizza parlor, and finally suggesting she could go alone and the rest of us could go else where. With an eye roll and heavy sigh, she accepts one of the many alternatives proposed.
I am told by others that her behaviors reek of jealousy. And perhaps they do. She doesn’t have someone to be gluttonous with. To stuff face until our stomaches spill over our shorts. Instead she has someone who is working against those habits. Who is fighting for her own health rather than focusing all of the attention on the special one’s needs.
Her diet may define her. Mine does not define me. Food is not longer my whole life. And while I will continue to defend my needs, I will not defend to the point of it consuming my life. There is so much in the world besides food. And I am determined to experience it.
January 19, 2014 | Categories: Food, Health, HMR Diet, Life, Musings, Observations & Oddities | Tags: assertiveness, diet, dining out, friends, health, HMR Diet, jealousy, self-awareness, socializing, special needs | 2 Comments