When Some days...You Just Feel Like The Odd Man Out
For the past 10+ years, I have dealt with my illness on my own - and for the most part, I think I have done so very well. I was always optimistic, read a lot of research, tried a number of doctors, tried new foods, and so much more. I kept juggin' along with a smile on my face and optimism on my side.
Then, I allowed myself to get to run down - I suppose I was trying to keep up with others expectations and of course, more deadly - my own expectations. I lost myself and I was too exhausted to realize it and too stubborn to ask for help.
When I did realize it and knew a lot of changes had to come from a road to recovery - I tried a bit of every recovery phase: isolation, depression, neediness, positive can-do attitude, changes, and so on... and I always need to take a moment to commend myself for the journey that I have gone through and take pride in that no matter what stage I am currently in and where I "think" I should be at that point.
Regardless, I have been going through these recovery stages for almost two years. Sure there are a couple of things that I would like to have different, but for now - I am doing rather well.
But for whatever the reasons where - I had found myself going backward this past weekend.
I was a bit on the worn down side, trying to take care / adjust to the new puppy
My anxiety was kicking in because I knew I would be around certain immediate family that I feel as if, they are constantly judging me and looking down on me.
I was annoyed with having to pack food for a quick day trip
I was just cranky
I was feeling a bit alone - I was the only one that was not a plus-1 in my immediate family and also felt secluded from what their plans were.
Keep in mind, we control our own thoughts and these thoughts were what I was creating in my own head.
Here is what was going on in my head:
For those around me, they judge me in a negative light (find a guy, buy a house, get healthy...)
For those around me, they only remember the negatives about me. For example, when I turn to them and discuss how I feel/felt on some of my worst days.
I'm not sure I know how to socialize well anymore
My allergies, they aren't fun for others all the time (oh, we could go to a brewery, BUT Nicole can't).
For the family members that do not see me often, they judge me.
I felt like the odd man out. And let's be honest, I was. Which should and would normally, be okay, but this weekend, it was not and it put me in a rut, which then, I am sure, created a not so much fun environment for all. So be careful on the way you think, your thoughts do become your actions and your actions are reflected on how others want to spend their time around you.
"You have to be odd to be number 1." Dr. Seuss.
So off I went on this wedding filled weekend trip.
I had emergency food packed in case I needed it and it looks like I was already in need for lunch. While I left the rest of the family behind at the local grill, I went searching for another Nicole-safe alternative but had no luck. No worries, instead of going hungry, I knew I had food back at the hotel.
The night before, I made a basil zucchini sauce and that morning I had spiralized some vegetables, making for a quick meal.
I made do with what I had, enjoyed a nice little walk exploring the area while attempting to find food and then I also got a couple minutes of down time to myself.
Off to the wedding! I spoke with the catering company, Meme D's prior and arranged a safe meal for myself. I have to say, from the get-go, the company was amazing to work with! They essentially said you tell me what you want and we will have it there for you and prepared in the manner that is safe for you. We even scheduled a quick chat a week prior to the wedding just to confirm everything was ready.
I basically went through the main menu with the company and tried to find something similar that I could enjoy.
Upon arrival, I found the Meme D's team and just checked in with them. They assured me that they had everything all set and even brought a separate cooler just for me! Woot, way to make a girl feel taken care of!
The cocktail hour menu was fruit and nachos! So Meme D's brought directly to me, a fruit platter and fresh salsa! I couldn't believe the size of the fruit platter that was brought out just for me! I was thrilled and excited to see what was coming next!
I saved my fresh salsa for a condiment for dinner - but while we waited for the transition from cocktail hour to the dinner, additional goodies were brought out directly to me. A gluten-free hot sauce and spicy mustard to accompany my dinner entree.
I started with a fresh salad. I was provided apple cider vinegar and fresh lemons to use as a dressing. I actually ended up dumping my fresh salsa on top of the salad to add a little more vibrancy.
For the main entree, I had a baked sweet potato and steamed vegetables. While I would have liked some additional vegetables, I don't think people know just how much this gal can put away!
I have to really commend Meme D's for not only the way they took care of me and my dietary needs but for the execution on the entire wedding. Everything appeared seamless through the customers' eyes and I heard no complaints on the food execution. The service was beyond friendly and very willing to accommodate any need. Thank you Meme D's!
After the night of dancing and socializing, I was pooped. While most others made the decision to go back to the hotel and hang out, I opted for a night in. I knew my limits.
The next day, we all got up and headed down for the included hotel-breakfast. Typically, I always pack my own (and I did have a backup packed just in case) but this time, I said, why not call ahead and make a request to be accommodated - I am paying the same rate everyone else is, so why not also be able to eat?
I called the Ramada Downtown Cumberland, MD and asked what would be available. As she began to read off their breakfast options, I was not feeling too optimistic. Then, the manager quickly offered to purchase gluten-free oatmeal and prepare it with water that morning for me! What a kind offer!
So as we arrived for breakfast, I found my point of contact, reviewed that it was in face gluten-free oatmeal they would be making and waited for the chef to make it in a clean bowl.
I then took the sealed peanut butter and jelly packets they had and made myself a nice PB & J breakfast oatmeal and combined that with a fresh orange.
Many thanks to all who made special accommodations for us allergy-free folks! You make traveling that much more "normal" and doable for us!
The way in which people were so willing to accommodate reminded me once again, that being different isn't always a bad thing - it comes with it's perks and I have gotten to meet a lot of great people along this journey!