Well, I'm a little over two weeks in, and I'm already starting to notice the effects of The Rabbit Food Diaries in my life. Yes, my skin is clearer, and yes, my head is definitely screwed on a bit straighter. I don't get what used to be my afternoon crashes, and I no longer have issues going to bed at night or even waking up in the morning. Overall, I'm in pretty solid health as far as I can tell. The one thing that I am noticing, though, is the social impact of all of this in my life. Because I'm doing it for medical reasons, and not just for giggles, it makes me feel a lot more accountable for what I'm putting into my body day in and day out. It makes me want to stay on track. And, it's strange to have to even say this, but not everyone around me has been understanding of that.
There have been times over the past two or three weeks that I've gone out with friends - to drinks, to dinners, to lunches. Each time, I have to remind them about my new eating habits. And each time, I'm met with the same incredulity. The lines are always the same: Oh, I'd never be able to do that. No coffee?! No alcohol?! What kind of life are you leading! You're going to wither away into nothing. And after that, each time, I have to scour the menu for something - anything - that I can eat. I worked briefly in the food industry (a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), and to watch someone sit at a table and not order anything - it gets you irritated. There are a lot of questions that run through your head. Little do they know - I want so badly (SO badly) to be able to eat every bit of buttery-cheesy-meaty fried goodness on their menu, and I would happily do so if this had been even a few months ago. But I can't now. And I won't.
So, along with everything that my body is going through, there also comes the awkward invitations from friends, along with probing questions and an inability to understand. Southern, down-home cooking restaurants are no longer my staple, and they've been traded in for vegan, gluten-free establishments - places which cater to people that eat like me. Whether or not this new tribe of people that I'm among is eating this way because they're hipsters, or whether they're just trying a new fad, or if they actually really need to avoid these foods (as per medical diagnosis and / or instruction like me), I don't know. All I know is that the company I keep in these select few places make me feel the most comfortable around food now, at least outside of my own kitchen. They don't judge me for chugging water by the gallon, they don't mind me asking 15-minutes worth of questions about what they put in the salad dressing, and they don't blink twice when I say those dreaded words: is this vegan? Instead, they just answer me. Human to human.
Yes, I've changed. Yes, I can no longer eat the things I used to. But I never in a million years did I think it would've effected my relationships in the way that it has. Maybe it's just the people that I'd been choosing to hang out with. Maybe it's just how people sometimes are - they quickly want to reject the things that they don't understand, instead of being empathetic and listening to the story behind the salad. So I sat, for a long time, in a sad funk of emotions, thinking about whether or not this is going to effect me - and my friends - for the rest of my life. I thought, among other things: Will my friends abandon me? Will I constantly be forced into situations where I'm socially pressured to do something that I'm going to regret? Will I have to start over? My body might be on the mend, but my emotions were (and still sort of are) running high.
And then I realized something. I realized that just because someone might hold this against me, that doesn't necessarily mean I need to counterbalance that by holding it against them. If someone doesn't understand at first - that's not a good reason for me to push them away. Maybe it's better for everyone if I just continue to be who I am, let them gawk, and let them ask the questions that they want to ask. I think that we, as people, are inherently curious about the things we don't initially grasp the concept of. That's how we became who we are as a species. That's how I'm here today and haven't died yet of starvation. I've learned to cope with my new restrictions, in a different way of being curious in cooking and in resetting some of my old mental habits. It wasn't something I mentally switched on or off, it just happened as soon as the boundaries were there. I don't know, I'm just spouting thoughts and ideas here - I still have a long ways to go when it comes to the 140 days that's required of me. Maybe the social interactions will become less awkward as time inches ever forward.
These days, I miss fried chicken like an old boyfriend - he was bad for me, and I knew it. I prefer to remember the good times before the bad ones, so I can reminisce happily. But now that we've parted ways, would I ever go back? Will I ever go back? I'm not sure just yet. Ask me in a few more weeks. But for now, I'm kind of getting back to enjoying this life as I have it. After all, there's plenty of food in the fridge. No two loves are ever the same. I'll always have you, fried chicken, but now I'm on the search for my next favorite dish.