Your health is not linear. Your health does not make sense sometimes. Your health is not comparable to anyone else’s. Your health is yours and that’s what matters.
If you know me, you know how much I love bone broth. If you don't know me, and if you don't know about my love for bone broth, now you're about to. Did we just become best friends? Yup.
Up until a few weeks ago, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I was able to enjoy one of the greatest gifts of our modern world - a breakfast sandwich. I’m serious. You can’t say that eating a BEC (Bacon, Egg, and Cheese) doesn’t bring you an immeasurable amount of happiness after sleeping in on a Saturday morning. It’s the simple things like this that I miss the most, but, because of Squirrel & The Bee, I no longer have to be excessively nostalgic about the days of eating breakfast sandwiches. Now, it’s a reality.
You’ve probably seen me raving about Squirrel & The Bee on my Instagram, but this place is so special to me that they rightfully deserved an entire blog post. If you haven’t seen me freaking out about their PB&J brownies and PERSONAL CAKES IN A JAR (yes, all caps was necessary, I told you I tend to freak out about it), now you will.
I haven't written a personal blog post in a while. A lot has happened recently and I've found myself struggling to put it all into words, which is weird because I'm a writer. That's what I'm supposed to be able to do best.
I guess that there right is the problem. Lately, I’ve been pretty hard on myself.
I’m back at school now for my senior year of college. Everyone around me is drinking 24/7. Okay, I know that’s an exaggeration, we obviously go to class (Hi Mom), but that’s what it feels like. Everyone is ordering Dominos at 3 in the morning when they get back from the bars and I’m sitting there eating a banana and trying to make light of the situation but also wishing that, just for once, I could be normal too and eat a slice of really, really bad pizza.
I always get asked the question “How do you go out to eat at restaurants with your diet?”. I never really know what to answer, because I honestly never really know what to expect at restaurants. Every time I go out to eat, it’s like rolling the dice and hoping for the best. One restaurant can be kindly accommodating, while another can bring out my meal three different times, each plate with something on it that I had previously said I can’t eat.
It's Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week. That's right. We have a whole special week dedicated just to us.
Earlier, I was reminiscing over text with my Mom about how things used to be and how far I've come. I feel like most parents eagerly wait for that one text a week that they get from their child to let them know that they're okay. As for me, my mom literally has to tell me to stop talking to her sometimes because I'll text her to tell her that it's snowing out or that I drank enough water today. It's funny. I just can't help it. She's been there for me through it all. She's my go-to, even if she really doesn't want to hear what I ate for a snack today.
Honestly, by now you're probably asking yourself what the heck does any of this have to do with Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week. I'm getting to the point, I swear.
A diet that’s restrictive by nature can make you question your relationship with food. I didn’t originally go on a gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free diet to lose weight. I was sick. These foods made me feel worse, so they had to be eliminated.
As time passed, my relationship with food became something that I wasn’t all too proud of. I got to college and immediately started to ruin my body with cheap vodka and sugary chasers and fried food and the worst dining hall bagels ever. I wanted to be normal and eat and drink like everyone else around me. Isn’t that what everyone wants - to feel normal? At the time, I was so stubbornly unable to realize that, hey, I have Crohn’s, and I will never be normal or like everyone else. It’s not something that will just magically ever go away and it sure as hell won’t go away if I’m treating my body poorly.
Listen, I know it's long. But so has been my journey. This is my story. And I'm pretty damn proud of it.
People have always told me that having an almost-photographic memory is a gift. I’m not so sure that’s true. With a photographic memory comes the ability to remember every minute detail of a happier past, like the exact design on the chocolate ice cream cake my parents bought for my 6th birthday. It also means being able to remember every bump, every bruise, and every time I ever got hurt in such a vivid form that it seems as if it’s happening all over again.
One would think that after unmeasurable hours spent in the company of more doctors than any girl should have, the distinct memories of the pain of the past few years would eventually fade into one blurred recollection. Well, thanks to my memory, I remember it all. I remember laying on my bedroom floor in the fetal position, clutching my legs to my chest and crying for help. I remember the first time I showered in a cramped, damp corner of what they called a hospital bathroom, with a plastic zip-lock bag clinging to my arm as to not get my IV tube wet. I remember every time a doctor diverted their glance away from my pale, pleading face and blatantly said to my parents, “There’s nothing else I can do for her.” I remember not even knowing what to tell my best friends because how was I supposed to explain what was happening to me when I hadn’t the slightest clue?