Wow, Rude!

OK, grain free, primal, paleo community, I need some help.

I’ve chosen to go completely grain free for a number of reasons.  One reason is that certain grains hurt my stomach.  Not all of them, so if I really wanted to, I could simply eliminate wheat and brown rice.  But after the complete overhaul that was “grain free”, I chose to never add back any grains or legumes.  In 9 months I’ve eaten something with grain in it 3 times.  All three times I paid dearly but all three times had their own reasons for being completely worth the pain and illness afterwards.  I don’t drink beer anymore except on a special occasion and only if I don’t have to fit into pants or a skirt that aren’t stretchy within three days afterward.

I’ve never really had to defend myself from this choice, I’m very fortunate.  I know that others who go this route, especially if they choose to go even more restrictive for whatever reason, get a lot of flack and are made to feel stupid or uncomfortable or are made to doubt their choices by people who either don’t understand or who choose to get involved in something which Does Not Affect Them.

I’m now in a situation where I am going to have to stand up for the decision that I made for my life (and part of Ray’s) and be poked fun at, eye rolled and ultimately disrespected.  If you have never made the decision to go grain free (or vegan, same social obstacles) then you may think that what you eat shouldn’t be such a huge deal.  You would be absolutely correct however people; friends, relatives, acquaintances; all feel that they have the right to question, doubt and belittle the choice because they have no frame of reference and more than likely it makes them feel uncomfortable.

We’re going camping next weekend with some friends that Ray has had since before he and I got together.  We’re not going far, only about 40 minutes from home and there is only going to be one overnight.  Last night we got an email from one of the couples wanting to get a plan going as far as the meal the one night we’re there.  She said “potluck or joint menu, we’re good with either, thoughts?”.  I responded and said that due to dietary restrictions that some or all of us may have (they have cholesterol, egg and certain veggie issues) that it would be easier if each of the three couples just took care of their own meal and we all can eat together. 

The response I got put my teeth on edge.  “Perhaps you can put your “dietary restrictions” aside for the weekend.”.  I have not since responded.  The third couple sent an email confirming that the group consensus is a potluck and one is bringing pasta salad, one is bringing garlic bread and corn on the cob and they want to know what we’re bringing. 

My trouble is that I am about 20 years younger than all of them (if you’re new to my blog, Ray and I have an age difference) and while we have all gotten along fairly well, any concern, issue, annoyance, opinion, idea or thought that I have which they don’t agree with gets me a hypothetical head-pat and eyeball roll and then they all just steam roll over top and carry on.  As though I am just a dumb kid.

So now I don’t know what to do about this potluck thing.  I am not potlucking because it’s not fair (yes, I realize life isn’t fair but you should be able to manipulate your own life a little to make things work) that they bring food I can’t eat and that all I will end up eating is whatever I bring and that I also have to share it. 

The passive aggressive part of me wants to never respond and then when it comes down to that meal and I didn’t bring anything to “share” that I’m going to remind them that I already stated my position the first time, potluck does not work for me/us.

The more outwardly aggressive part of me wants to make a bacon, full fat mayonnaise, raw onion, avocado and walnut “salad” because those are all the ingredients that they can’t eat. 

And the really aggressive part of me wants to email them back and say simply, “While I appreciate where you’re going with this, my nutritional choices and issues do not turn off on weekends.  Potluck does not work for us.  Thanks.”

I’m really not sure where to go with this.  Obviously I don’t want to make waves, especially ones that ride over into the actual face-to-face weekend.  But I also am not willing to roll over on this.  If I send the third option above, they are all going to be annoyed and/or make me feel like an outsider when it comes to meal time.  And given that Alien will be with us on this camping weekend, I really am worried that I am going to defend myself loudly and in person if that should happen.

My other issue with the whole thing is….less intelligent….but I can almost guarantee that grain free/paleo/primal women may know what I’m referring to.  I don’t feel like I am skinny enough or lean enough or fit enough to visually defend my choice to not eat grains.  Even if someone has never heard of grain free, paleo or primal, if you’re doing something that is on the fringe of conventional wisdom, you will absolutely be judged first on what you look like.  It’s not right but it’s true.  If I said I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was muscular and lean and completely devoid of excess body fat, people would sit up and take notice because clearly there’s something to this.  If I was on an all chocolate cake diet and I was flabby and pale and a tired looking, that would give them the ammunition they need in order to belittle the decision.

I’m not saying I’m flabby, pale or tired on grain free, not at all.  I look…..normal.  Not fitness or swimwear model, not stunningly athletic.  Just.  Normal.  It’s not sexy like a chocolate cake diet could be (meat, veg, fat…boring!), it’s complicated and too much work and people don’t get why you would go to so much effort just to look….normal. So they disregard (especially if they already see you as a child amongst adults) and disrespect.

So, what would you suggest?  How do I respond or do I even respond?


What Makes A Bitch?

Rightfully or not, I’ve been feeling under attack lately.  Maybe it’s my own paranoia and too much self involved thinking that makes me believe that people spend more time thinking about and disliking me than they actually do.  But….I was attacked last week by a co-worker for an ‘infraction’ that definitely didn’t constitute her insane overreaction.  After a very short (and I mean short both in length and tone) conversation with her about borrowing her key to a manager’s office, she came back into my department, towered over me and started yelling at me that I was a child, that I had no ability to communicate, that any discomfort that I might have felt over the initial conversation was my problem.  She was vibrating she was so mad and the conversation ended with her repeatedly pointing her finger into my face.  Afterwards, I could not stop crying.  Seriously…I wanted to….but couldn’t.  I’m a strong enough person though, I put it behind me.  But over the last few days, different instances have come up where, it has occurred to me that perhaps I really am the bitch that people seem to think that I am.  I’m not overly upset about it though.
You see, “bitch” is a word that I actually do accept about myself….because I think that the majority of people that you encounter in your daily life are intimidated, scared of, confused by and not accepting of people who are in charge of their lives.  They don’t know what to do with people who take the hard road.  They don’t know how to interact with people who refuse to lay down….either to other people or to themselves.  And I think that that sort of fear and discomfort doesn’t easily fit in to most people’s emotional matrix and so they have to put you into a spot that they understand; “Bitch!”.
So what about me makes people so uncomfortable that I can’t seem to just have an easy relationship with people I come across?  Let’s see;
First, I don’t care to have any relationship with the majority of people.  Not the sort that society demands that you have.  I don’t do fake and I don’t pretend to care.  That tends not to be the social norm though.  It makes me appear standoffish and rude.  I’m not.  I just don’t think a business interaction requires me to know what your neighbor’s best friend’s kid dressed up as for Halloween and then pretend to care. 
Second, I believe my time and my money are valuable and I can be very free with them.  Because of that, I don’t accept shit.  Not in products or service.   I’m not averse to politely pointing out where my expectations have not been met when it is my hard earned money or valuable time that is taking the hit and then expecting that the error be corrected.  And if that doesn’t work, I am also not averse to notching it up. 
Third, I don’t do things I don’t want to do.  For the most part.  Obviously in my relationship and my life there are things that I do that I don’t super love but that need to be done.  But invite me to drive 45 minutes on a weeknight in the dark and rain to go for coffee?  No thanks.  Go eat at a restaurant that I don’t enjoy just because it’s the polite thing to do?  No thanks….see point 2 above regarding money and time. 
Fourth, I don’t believe that I should feel any great discomfort for something just so that someone else doesn’t have to.  Everyone has sucky days and bad traffic and money troubles, we all do.  I take mine in stride and I believe that everyone else should deal with their own shit.  In whatever way that they need to but I don’t think that I should have to take on anyone else’s burden unless it’s something that I want to do.  By this I mean, why should I suffer so you don’t have to?
And finally, I have assigned importance in my life to things that are hard.  I may struggle and groan about it and some days it doesn’t always work out.  I think that people who inately take the easy road find the people who take the hard road distasteful.  
So, in order to be someone who ‘fits in’ with everyone, I would simply have to be fake in my reactions to people so that they believe that I deeply care what colour they painted their walls before they’ll provide me with a document I need.  I would also need to accept mediocre products and services with a smile, go to every event that I’m invited to whether I want to or not, go out of my way to make sure that everyone else that I come into contact with has the easiest journey possible regardless of whether that impacts my enjoyment of my own life.  And finally I would have to give up.  On everything that is difficult or uncomfortable. 
So….super.  I think I’d rather be a bitch.