When I think back to being 12 years old, I totally cringe. It was not the best time to be me. To misquote Frank Sinatra…”When I was 12 years old, it wasn’t a very good year.”
I had zero self-esteem. Zero confidence. Everybody would always say to my older brothers, “Why is he is so quiet?”
The fact is…I had tons to say. And I wanted the world to hear my voice. But every time I would go to open my mouth, I would analyze the heck out of what I was going to say first, wondering if people would a) even listen to me or b) laugh at me. By the time I got enough confidence to say it, either somebody already did or the conversation moved on. Man…I hated myself.
When I hit my teens, I finally began to believe in myself a bit and my mid-20’s is when my life finally started to kick in. But boy, it took me a long time to get there. And naturally, as I always say, I am still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?
Anyway, this is a long lead-in to introducing a fellow celiac who happens to be 12 years old and is worlds ahead of where I was at that age. Being an adult celiac can be a bear at times. This kid is 12 and she has already mastered the attitude a celiac must have to thrive in this crazy world we live in. It all started with an email I received last week. It reads as follows:
My mom is a single parent with a child and celiac so you know how hard that is. My friends sorta get it but not really. For parties, I bring my own stuff and I’m always different. It gets easier not to be sad when I’m offered food that I can’t have. I get angry when people don’t understand I can’t have it. No one is perfect. I just remember that.
Seriously…one of the best emails I’ve ever received. And then she continued to astound me by leaving the following comments on a various blog posts of mine.
On my post about McDonalds: “I definately agree that McDonalds is not safe. I got celiac when I was 5. I’m 12 now but I would always get a sundae and fries but guess what? It has wheat and if it doesn’t it has dairy. Sometimes you just have to adjust. I haven’t eaten a thing at mcdonalds since I was 5.”
‘Sometimes you just have to adjust’. Just love that. Consider THAT the next time you’re whining that you can’t have [whatever].
On my post about family members in denial: “It’s just food. I have lived without wheat and dairy since I was 5. Now I’m 12. It’s just food.”
That is our mantra. It’s just food. How is it that a 12 year old can get that, but so many adult celiacs cannot?
And finally, on my post about various celiac rants: “Would you tell a person with cancer, I couldn’t do the radation thereapy just kill me now! I’m in middle school. That means pizza parties, ice cream, cake, cupcakes, cookies etc. Had celiac since I was 5. I’ve been told that no one can live without pizza. Guess what?! I CAN AND I HAVE FOR 7 YEARS. I’ve never said that. I just say its hard. Celiac gets easier after a while.”
She totally gets it. Do you?
Dang…I love this kid.