Monday, February 03, 2014

It's a metaphor, ok?

A couple years ago, I noticed that my stomach was bothering me pretty frequently. I started to look for patterns and messed around with my diet a bit. Eventually I figured out that dairy was behind the issues. After some experimenting and testing the waters, I had it basically under control. Skim milk in my cereal is fine. Don't ever forget the word nonfat at Starbucks unless you want to be crying five minutes later. A small piece of lasagna is ok but a second helping means pain. Ice cream hasn't turned on me yet, bolstering my faith in the universe. I still enjoy certain foods but I recognize that my interaction with them had to change. Cheese isn't out to get me--we just have to limit our time together. When I'm feeling great, it's tempting to think that things have changed again but part of me knows it isn't worth going through more trial and error. Just enjoy a bite and then eat something else. Sure, it can be difficult at parties, but I manage. 

Longtime readers of my blog are probably trying to figure out what is going on here, as I don't tend to discuss my dietary restrictions. (But maybe someday I'll tell you about my crystal meth allergy.) But you also might have guessed that we're not talking entirely about food here. 

I've been struggling with the idea that some people, despite good intentions, are not good for you. I'm talking about people you care about, people who love you, but for whatever reason they make your stomach hurt. It's perfectly acceptable to cut people out of your life. You have to take care of yourself. But what if zero contact isn't an option? What if you don't want zero contact? I'm learning to treat this issue in the same way I treat dairy--I'm limiting my interaction. I'm going for small doses of exposure on my own terms. I'm not pleased that I have to do it, but I'm so happy with the results. I know I'll probably get stuck at a party with those people at some point, but I'll manage. 

This isn't advice...I'm not suggesting that this is right for everyone or every relationship. But it's definitely something I had to do for myself. 

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