This one's for you, Blaire.
You didn't want me to write about you on my blog, but I didn't want you to break up with me via text message. So, here we are.
The last face-to-face conversation I had with "Blaire" was the day before he sent me the casual yet crippling text to end our relationship. We were at brunch recovering from an evening of volatile, tequila-induced arguing, of which I claimed full responsibility. Wallowing in mea culpas and sad, forgive-me eyes, I sat next to him at the bar of a busy hipster diner completely defeated. Another relationship I was ruining. Another alcohol-induced bad decision. Another hangover oozing with self-loathing.
Grace and mercy are not two actions I'm sure Blaire knows how to show, and although he was physically present at that diner bar with me, mentally he was elsewhere. This doesn't really have much to do with the point of this specific blog post, but it pissed me off so I'm gonna mention it anyway. After a few snide jabs about the previous evening, it was as if flirty laser beams shot out of his head and onto the pretty barista making his americano. To her: "This is the best americano I've ever had." To me: "Aren't you going to say something about how she was totally hitting on me?"
Staring blankly, I focused on my new mantra: just get me my omelette. Just get me my omelette. You just need to eat.
But of course, as Murphy's Law or Karma or whatever you want to believe in would have it, the waitress got me my omelette with a big ol' slice of toast on it. The kitchen staff didn't see her note that my plate was GF.
YAY ME. YAY HAVING CELIAC DISEASE. YAY THIS DAY!
I crumbled. Already circling the emotional drain, I sunk completely in. Just when I was certain I was the most annoying, unstable, unattractive human, I was reminded that on top of it all, I'm a high-needs diner. A high-needs eater. A high-needs girlfriend to my low-sincerity boyfriend.
And then he said it. That one thing that eradicated any effervescent magnetism I still (barely) felt toward him.
"I mean, look, there are worse things. It's not like you've got both your arms cut off or something."
There are worse things.
There are worse things.
I played the phrase over and over and over in my head as the alarms and lights and buzzers erupted like a bad EDM song. Maybe this guy is not who I thought he was, because I'm aware there are worse things. I'm very aware. Does he not see that?
I'm aware that millions of people are suffering from hunger and poverty. I'm aware that entire populations are living as refugees for a mere shot at safety. I'm aware that there are countries and cities and families in economic ruin. I'm aware that suicides and drunk drivers and drug overdoses are still incredibly common. I'm aware that some people have lost limbs, and I'm aware that I am grateful to not have lost mine. I'm aware that there are thousands of deadly diseases. I'm aware that one of my best friends didn't lost her dad before he could walk her down the isle. I'm aware that my sister never got to meet her angel baby. And I'm aware that my mother has fought and still is fighting cancer.
But I'm also aware of this: treating my disease is my lifeline. It's me being aware that if I'm not aware of the consequences of residual crumbs on my plate, I may end up having to deal with a "worse thing" someday.
But more than that, I'm aware that my feelings - especially my feelings about my disease - should be validated. How I manage never-ending diet restrictions three times (or more...) a day is up to me. And how I feel about those restrictions and the stress that comes with maintaining such strict standards is also up to me.
This isn't easy. I didn't ask for this. And while usually this mistake wouldn't phase me, some days I'm going to sit at the bar of a diner and have a meltdown about bread on my plate. Because some days that bread isn't just going to represent a side item. Some days that bread is going to represent every fear and frustration and insecurity I have about having this disease.
I know it's not the worst. I know I'm incredibly grateful to have my health, my friends, my family, my dog, my entire life! But I also know that being with me is going to require a bit (a lot) of empathy for those days when I can't handle toast on my plate.
So yes, there are worse things. But maybe, Blaire... maybe you were the worse thing here. Take care.