Dear Dining Friends,
Remember that time I was telling you about what I purposefully wasn't eating? Yeah. That was a total dick move. Forgive me; I didn't even think about it.
See, as I get slightly older and wiser, I'm learning to listen to my body a little bit more. And it's been telling me that it's allergic to some stuff, and that certain stuff makes me super tired, and that it has a hard time processing other stuff... but it's not something that I need to share aloud with you.
Maybe it's because we're conditioned as women in this country to talk about food as much as we talk about the weather. "It's gorgeous out today" and "Oh my god, I shouldn't eat this but..." are equally acceptable conversation starters and I seem to be falling into that trap with everyone else.
I regularly roll my eyes at people who complain about being hungry while they're on a diet or say things like "I want that piece of pie, but my waistline says no." I not only roll my eyes but I also mentally note that it's infuriatingly rude and triggers so much body shame in the people around them. Someone says "I'm so fat" and everyone else instantly thinks "Well, if she's fat... what am I?" The same goes for all diet talk. "God, I lost 5 pounds last week and I have to keep going. So, no butter for me, pass the olive oil!" That kind of shit; you know what I'm talking about. By bringing up the subtle immorality behind eating certain foods, we resurrect a lifetime of (perceived) culinary indiscretions for everyone involved. Food consumption is so negatively tied to self-worth that unless you're commenting positively on what you're eating, there is an element of guilt built into every conversation.
What I did was no different.
I'm totally against the concept of dieting. This concept being: limiting intake to change your body until it is "good enough." I've previously made my feelings on this clear. So WHY then did I think it was okay to tell you about my gluten allergy and how much I wish I could order more bread? I'm not trying to lose weight, I'm just selectively choosing what best suits my body... but by discussing this with you, I'm starting your internal dialogue about what you eat and that never ends well. Maybe I think that I'm just making small talk; maybe I'm subconsciously glad to finally be able to join in on the talk about what I'm not eating... but that doesn't make it any less awkward for all of you. Maybe you're thinking that I'm touting superiority; that my willpower to refuse something delicious like bread makes me better than those who happily chomp down on gluten. Maybe I'm saying that I love cheese, but probably need to eat a little less and you're thinking about what an asshole I am because I just took all the fun out of you eating that brie.
Fuck, guys. I'm so sorry.
We all need to stop having conversations about what we're not eating and we also need to stop talking about what we think we should eat instead. There isn't anything wrong with me "healthifying" my diet so my body runs better (health vs. weight) but there isn't a good enough reason in the world for me to talk about it. Not for now, anyways. Maybe someday, when our society shifts it's priorities, we will no longer tell people that we're going to be "good" today and have a salad or that we were "bad" last night because we had cheesecake. Maybe then we can openly talk about food in all of its forms without putting our self-esteem on the line. But now? Right now we base our worth around what we put or don't put in our mouths and my deprivation isn't interesting to anyone else but me.
From now on, I promise to only tell you about the things I enjoy. The things that sooth my soul and make my taste buds sing. And if I find myself starting to to say something about how using almond milk isn't the same as using regular... I'll just remember this:
Kick me under the table if I forget,