You know that one understanding where you know that everyone’s life experience/ reflections are different that yours, but, most of the time you don’t think about that too much? “Yes” to this on my end, at least.
But, every now and again, I will go into reflection-mode and realize, really, how individual my experience is.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately with food.
Perhaps food and I never had a great relationship to start with, I’ll hand you that. From one parent’s side I see unhealthy interaction with food in the form of obesity/ diabetes/ etc. From the other parent’s side there’s a more body-shaming approach if you don’t hit the right “standard” of weight and height and “proper” clothes for that weight and height. That’s life, that’s America, right? And all of us fall somewhere in between both sides of ugly.
Add to this that, for a series of months that added up to over-one-year of my adult life, nearly every time I ate anything, the consequences would be PAINFUL on my intestine tract–we’re talking fetal-curl of pain.
I studied a bit of “rewards psychology” for (one of) my business degrees. There are a few ways of rewarding: positive and negative. Say I was to give you $75, that would be an example of a positive reward. Say I was to steal all of your French Fries (which I’m not above doing, btw), that would be a negative reward.
Let’s take a different approach. There are two forms of reward–expected and unexpected. A paycheck, for instance, is an expected (positive) reward. Winning the lottery, though, is an unexpected (positive) reward.
The best kinds of rewards to get are unexpected positive rewards–recognition, hand-written notes from friends, juicy Facebook greetings, etc.
Unexpected negative rewards, though, are the pits. And that’s what it’s like having a food intolerance.
Yes, this is about food intolerances, and if the topic makes you grossed-out, (1) I don’t blame you, really, I don’t and (2) I’m publishing other things today, so you have options.
I’m not here to whine. But, this is a blog about my life, and before you assume that my life is 100% angsty spirituality, allow me to introduce this topic: angsty food intolerances.
Most of you know that I consume neither (1) gluten nor (2) meat (fish, though, seems to be okay. For now). It’s not because all of the cool kids are gluten-free. It’s because I feel like dying if I eat them. Also: crippling digestive tract pain/ acne/ diarrhea/ bloating/ mental fog/ exhaustion played a role in me laying down that stuff forever, too, let’s not lie.
Generally speaking, I’m resigned to it.
(ALTHOUGH, HOT DOGS, I WILL MISS YOU UNTIL THE DAY THAT I DIE, REALLY, I WILL. Hopefully, when I get to heaven, God will be like, “Hello! What do you want to do?” and I can be like, “OH, PRAISE YOU FOREVER, OF COURSE. Also, how about dancing and circus and, BY THE WAY, DO YOU HAVE ANY HOT DOGS UP HERE?”)
I know that maybe my diagnosis is wrong and maybe there are still foods that I stay away from that I could eat (grass-fed, free-range, American Plains born beef, maybe? But, who has the money? There are the people who are like, “Oh, but have you tried quail?” And I’m just like, “Um, no.”) but, I look at it like: listen, I’ve found what seems to work for me, and finding this was a long and painful process and I don’t care to relive the pain just yet.
That being said…
The past few days I’ve experienced renewed nausea and deep intestinal pain, those shooting stabs of tight pressure. I’m more tired, I can feel it. Why? What causes this? What neurotic misfires between my cells cause my body to reject food I have always eaten/ my ancestors have always eaten? I don’t know.
I don’t even know which foods are causing this renewed sense of pain and tiredness. If I knew, I would cut them out.
But, I don’t know.
I think about this, because I know people who get very emotional about which foods they remember and which foods they love.
That is a luxury I do not feel like I can afford.
Generally speaking, I make decent enough food. My family likes it. They eat it when I’m not looking, and sometimes especially when it was what I planned on eating for lunch the next day. 🙂 Once a guy I dated told me I made excellent food, which was bright. I probably should have hugged him tighter for that.
Here I am. There isn’t really a point to this post except: “WHAT THE EVER-LOVING HECK, HOW DO I STILL HAVE THINGS TRIGGERING SO MUCH PAIN? WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM??? STOMACH, LET’S WORK TOGETHER, I LOVE YOU, I WANT YOU TO FLOURISH, STOP CRIPPLING ME.”
“Oh, you as a person have positive emotional connections with your food/ eating in general?”
MUST. BE. NICE.
That being said, I’m not hurt or frustrated when people have warm memories of their food or talk about it like they talk about being love. (“I’ll never forget this one time I…”)
Really, it just fascinates me from a social science level.
I once worked with a lady who could recall specific meals and rave about them, weeks after the fact. I have no such ability.
I once met someone who could cry from looking at a dinner menu, so excited by the options. I have no such ability. (Salads, listen, generally I love you…but, I do wish restaurants came with more options for me).
That’s really it for this post. Not super exciting, I know. Only: things hurt again and I’m not really sure why, but, the negative reward of pain-after-I-eat usually makes me want to stop eating, because of the negative consequences, so that’s a thing. I should continue eating, right? Even when eating makes me feel sick, right?
Also, if anyone else out there has food intolerances, know that you’re not alone. Solidarity. Forever.
Also, food-mind fog…hello. Thank you for sponsoring the writing of this post.