Saturday , 19 October 2019
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I Will NOT Say Thank You (a letter to a waitress who mocked my disease)

I Will NOT Say Thank You (a letter to a waitress who mocked my disease)

Dude note: Sometimes emails sent to me need no introduction. Just read, absorb and share. Thank you.

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To the waitress(es) who mocked me for ordering gluten free:

This is not a thank you letter.

You know the kind. The social media posts that call out a social injustice, but in turn end up “thanking” the culprit for some sort of inspirational reason. Honestly, I thought about wording this in that way. Then I thought about the way it felt when you openly mocked my disease.

The same way it feels when I see people do it in the media. The same way it feels when I read about children getting bullied at school for the same reason.

I will not say thank you.

“What you don’t know is that what one of you labeled as “attention-seeking behavior,” is actually considered “unwanted visibility” in the Celiac community.”

We only met once, as your shift was over shortly after you took our order. You don’t know much about me, or I about you.

What you don’t know is that I could hear you. You were right behind me — or was that the point?

What you don’t know is that the words you and the other(s) were saying are the exact words I fear the staff is thinking every time I go out. Are they taking me seriously? Will the food be safe? Will I spend the next 12-24 hours violently ill and have my intestines damaged because I took this risk of going out?

What you don’t know is that I didn’t want to ask you all those questions. I long for the days I could look at a menu and order simply and without fear.

What you don’t know is that what one of you labeled as “attention-seeking behavior,” is actually considered “unwanted visibility” in the Celiac community. Having to explain my disease can be and is emotionally exhaustive.

I will not say thank you.

What you don’t know is that there are millions of people with Celiac Disease. MILLIONS.

What you don’t know is what it’s like to feel like a burden to your friends and family because of something you can’t control.

What you don’t know is what it’s like to be afraid of food.

What you don’t know is what it’s like to constantly wash your hands every day, praying you don’t get sick when you touch your food.

What you don’t know is what it’s like to never relax.

“What you don’t know is the feeling of those jokes going straight to my (albeit sensitive) heart, knowing that the most serious, dangerous part of my life, the thing that I cannot afford to stop thinking about, is a punchline.”

What you don’t know is that my mind can never shut down from thinking about gluten free. You see, my life literally depends on it.

What you don’t know is that I will never again in my entire life be able to eat something without doing FBI-like research on it to know if it’s safe.

I will not say thank you.

What you don’t know is what it’s like to go to any social event and know that you can’t eat a single thing there.

What you don’t know is the overwhelming feelings of both gratitude and isolation when a friend or family member goes out of their way to bring food to that social event that is safe for you to eat.

What you don’t know is that my husband had to very thoroughly brush his teeth after our meal before he could kiss me again, because a simple kiss on lips that have touched gluten is dangerous for my body.

I will not say thank you.

What you don’t know is that I have to endure jokes about gluten free every single day.

What you don’t know is the feeling of those jokes going straight to my (albeit sensitive) heart, knowing that the most serious, dangerous part of my life, the thing that I cannot afford to stop thinking about, is a punchline.

“What you don’t know is that I’m not angry with you; you simply just don’t understand.”

What you don’t know is that I wish I could have said these things to your face. Not to be aggressive or mean, but to simply get the words out. Simply to let one more person know that Celiac Disease is real and it’s not easy.

What you don’t know is that I’m not angry with you; you simply just don’t understand.

You may have actually known some of these things. I wouldn’t know that, though, because we only met briefly.

I don’t know anything about your life. I’m sure you have struggles; everyone does. This is mine.

So no, I will not say thank you. There is not some grand inspirational lesson learned in this. This is my every day life, and it will only get worse unless people tell the world what it’s like to live with Celiac.

And that’s what I plan to do.

#NoCureNoChoice

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