I don't eat like most people. Avoiding all grains, starches, and processed sugars, while in the social consciousness, is still far from mainstream. When people discover how I eat, the most common reaction I get is "oh I'm so sorry...that must be really hard."
And yes. There are things that are really hard about it, but hardly ever the things that are meant when they widen their eyes and tilt their head to the side.
It's not hard because I can't eat pasta or all of those dishes that populate my childhood memories. It's not hard because the food is more expensive (it hardly ever is anyway). It's not hard because I have to make most everything from scratch.
It is hard because I can't eat that gluten-free cookie that you brought me for my birthday because it has sugar in it. It's hard because most communities are threaded together over food that I can't share in. It's hard because I have to commit to long stretches of time in my kitchen so that I can eat that week.
But you know, there are a lot of reasons that it's not hard. Limitations are so often the fuel of creativity and I never find it more so than when I'm working with food. It forces me to invite people in my home and around my table to share food that I have prepared. It means that I don't have to take daily medications to keep my body moving.
Yes it's hard. Yes it takes a lot of extra effort for me to build and maintain community and stay off medications.
But oh my goodness is it a stretching, growing, and exhilarating journey.
Instead of feeling sorry for me, keep bringing me those gluten-free cookies because you can't remember my other restrictions; keep asking me if I want to come to your dinner party; keep looking for ways for me to participate even though I can't eat.
Those are the moments that I miss most.