Thankful but Frustrated

I am thankful. I am also exceedingly frustrated at times. Here’s what happened.

The only “meat” I eat is fish, and it tends to be pretty darn basic. Eating out is challenging enough as a Celiac so it’s typically plain, grilled and accompanied by a baked potato (yippee!). I live in the grilled fish and baked potato space. It’s pretty comfortable there, however it was getting boring. No pictures on the wall, no knick knacks, a true white walls kind of space. “Time to shake it up”, I thought.

I found myself on the spice aisle and this is where it all fell apart. I scanned my choices, mini basket in hand. This should be pretty easy, right? But what in the world are all these ingredients I can’t pronounce? I Googled one with no luck. “Ok, no problem. Let’s try another,” I thought as the little glass bottles clinked together. But it didn’t get easier. The few spices actually identified as gluten free by the grocery store tag made no sense! They were relatively basic and their ingredients matched others NOT designated gluten free. I kept hunting. I got nowhere. The bottles clinked faster as I got more desperate… and more frustrated. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen. I called my boyfriend. That’s right, I used a lifeline, “phone a friend” type option hoping to get help. He talked me off the emotional cliff I was walking and assured me with a little research, we could find a great new spice. But… probably not this very second.

I walked out of the store, shoulders drooping and tears forming. You see, I am thankful. So very thankful that I can relieve many symptoms of Celiac by simply choosing the foods I put in my mouth. But sometimes, I’m frustrated. I miss the days of being able to try something without first deploying detective level research. I miss restaurants being fun and not something I fear. I miss enjoying a meal and focusing on the company instead of worrying that maybe the waiter didn’t write “allergy” on the ticket like they said they would.

I am thankful but frustrated. Is that ok? Of course it is. I would always encourage you to try to find the upside to ANY challenge you’re facing. There’s a real benefit to looking for hope instead of despair. But may I also remind you that sometimes, you’re going to be frustrated. You may sit down in a supermarket aisle and want to give up. That’s ok. Getting through something that may save your life (which is the only reason I eat gluten free!) isn’t always easy. Take a second. Phone a friend. Give up and try again tomorrow. I’ve been there friend and I’m guessing it probably won’t be the last time. And yet I’m still… thankful.