I find myself apologizing a lot, mostly because I’m gluten free. I hear myself saying “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or “I’m sorry but I’m gluten free” or “I’m sorry I’m a pain” and I’m sure there are many more.
A couple weeks we were in Minneapolis for a business trip and I apologized for not being about to eat somewhere and my boss (who is also a good friend of mine) said “Don’t apologize, you have no reason to apologize”. This got me thinking: Why do I think I need to apologize?
I think because I’m so far from normal (what is normal anyway, but I digress) and because I have a disease that makes me stick out like a sore thumb, it makes me apologize for special treatment. Now, I’m not one to have attention drawn to myself on purpose for something like this. Yes, I like the spotlight but find it in other ways. Having to always draw attention to yourself, especially in a social setting, can be very disconcerting.
For example, I am a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club. Every week I call ahead for a gluten free meal. The people at Two Rivers Convention Center have been amazing at providing for my needs but sometimes my meal looks so very different from what everyone else has and typically they are jealous. I don’t blame them. Like last week I had a chicken breast and salad but my dessert was a chocolate cupcake topped with a strawberry. They had St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookies. They wanted my cupcake and so it goes. People ask me “why did you get that” and I tell them that I have to be gluten free and the typical response is “maybe I should be gluten free”. That is another topic for another day.
The end of the story is that I am different. I need to embrace it and continue using it as a way to speak out on behalf of those of us that don’t have a choice. We need to stop apologizing…I need to stop apologizing. I need to accept it, make the statement and just make sure that people know without it becoming my entire identity. It’s a part of who I am, a PART, not all of me and so from now on, I won’t apologize. Friends, if you hear me say “I’m sorry but I can’t eat there” or something similar, some apology for who I am, please stop me.
I saw this picture and it may be my new mantra:
So accept it, you are who you are. That makes you (and I special) and we have things to offer the world! Happy Sunday!