Living with celiac disease and/or being gluten sensitivity several things in your life change and/or need to change and that’s not always easy to make that/these transition(s). However, for most of us we will deal with things as they come - its the rest of the family having to deal with them that becomes a challenge for all of us.
We all learn to prepare and have plan b’s and c’s on hand. We all have learned what works for us as a quick go to snacks and meals. We have had to say “no” on more than one occasion when we’d love to attend the birthday party but someone choose a non-gluten friendly place that is not safe for you and you just can’t risk your health again. We have all learned how to navigate family get-togethers and Holidays some with great success and others with not so much.
However, the one thing that almost all celiacs and gluten-sensitive serious peeps never seem to loose is the art of apologizing. We apologize for everything. We apologize because we know we are difficult, we apologize when we take too long placing an order and the wait staff has to check with the chef, we apologize when its better for us to pick the restaurant because we know where we can and can’t eat, we apologize when we have to bring our own food to a dinner party, we apologize when we can’t have a bite of whatever you made, etc, etc, etc.
Apologizing is constant and it never ends. We know what it takes for us to be safe and we do our best to make sure that we don’t get sick, so why should we have to apologize for doing what we need to, to not end up in the hospital? You don’t see someone who has already had a heart-attack and is wolfing down a giant steak dinner apologizing for their health decisions, why are we made to feel as if we need to apologize for taking care of ourselves?
We have made the leap, we have made our health the forefront of our lives and we are winning the game and we are feeling better, so why are we made to feel like we should apologize for our choices?
Every day, every meal, every forkful is a concern for us and its not the same for most other people. However, I believe if we are not careful it chips away at our self-esteem because of the constant effort it requires for us to stay on top of our health and we apologize all the time.
I caught myself apologizing eight different times at the last family get-together for one reason or another. I’m sorry I have to serve myself first, I’m sorry, no I didn’t bring a gluten-filled dish for you, I’m sorry no, I can’t use your serving spoon now that it was in your dish in mine, I’m sorry no you can’t try the food off of my plate, I’m sorry no I can’t eat anymore, there are crackers in it, I’m so no I can’t just have one taste of your fabulous lasagna, I’m sorry no that’s really not gluten-free the way you prepared that so I can’t eat that, and I’m sorry as I turned my head when you went to kiss me but you’ve eaten and drank a whole lot of wheat, gluten and barley that I cannot tolerate.
I think we apologize to make other people feel more comfortable with our choices and the truth is it has taken you a long time to get to here you can’t expect someone who doesn’t have to live this way 24/7 to get it right or to make the right choices for you. They mean well and it’s important that you appreciate them for making the effort and help them understand the finer points if they are open to understanding them. Their feelings are going to get hurt if they went through the lot of extra preparations for you, only to get one thing wrong and you still can’t eat it. So you need to support them the best way you can without eating it. I know a few family members who have made me feel so guilty that I wouldn’t try their pie because they tried to get it right for me.
Unfortunately being made to feel guilty and apologizing for your health is far to common and is wrong. If someone made a dessert for the diabetics in the family and they used 2 cups of sugar instead of whatever sugar substitute would they still expect them to eat it? No? So why are the rules different for me? The answer is they shouldn’t be and I shouldn’t have to apologize either.
Constantly apologizing and not even knowing it, is like apologizing for who you are. If you have a gluten challenge this is your life and will be your always. So stop apologizing for who you are and start appreciating your health.
How many times have you apologized today? How many times have you apologized in a family setting? How is your self-esteem doing?