Giving up Picture Perfect

This year, my amazing hall of girls (go Hendricks!) did a Christmas photo shoot together and we received the finished product yesterday. When we reviewed the photos together, it amazed me how many of my friends absolutely hated the very photos I thought made them look like supermodels! The skewing properties of chasing perfection at its finest. The more I thought about it, though, the more I saw perfection overshadowing every aspect of life. Beauty, power, money…even celiac disease.

Don't we all want to pinch and trim a part of our life?

I'm sorry that I've fallen off the face of the Earth for so long, and I really don't have a good excuse. I could blame the finals that are presently squeezing my brain or the holidays that are catching up to me faster than an Olympic sprinter racing for a calorific ice cream sundae. Honestly, though, I think the real reason my fingers have divorced the keyboard is fear…the fear of letting you, my readers, down by revealing how utterly imperfect my life as a celiac still is.

I exited the hospital with high hopes. Now that a liquid diet soothed my intestines, nothing stood between me, weight gain, and the endless energy cured celiacs were always chatting about! Months later, though, I've realized that it isn't quite that easy. I still weigh 90 lbs after falling back to my hospital weight during a particularly stressful time before Thanksgiving Break. I still struggle with food - I'm eating more, but still not enough.

Food should smile!

And, even when I have wonderful experiences like baking a gluten free meal with fellow campus celiacs/intolerant, sometimes, on days when I'm as energized as a rock and just as hungry, it feels like whatever I do will never be enough. I dreamed of going to London when I first heard about my school's study abroad program as a high school senior, and now I'm on the road to finishing all the paperwork to make my dreams come true. Yet, mostly because of celiacs, I'm having doubts.

Will I be healthy enough by next fall? Will I be at a point in my life where I can truly enjoy every sleep-deprived, stressed-out, mind-blowing moment in London? Honestly, I don't know. And the fact that I don't know, the fact that I don't have it all together even after making my life worthy of a FDA gluten free stamp, drives me crazy.

I'm right…about…here

Yet, as I stood in my dorm listening to girls put themselves down in the human pursuit of perfection, I realized how silly we are. We are so focused on attaining the perfect, photo-shopped picture, appreciating the imperfect beauty that others see never enters our mind. Celiac disease works the same way. I can spend my time striving to be the perfect celiac with every aspect of my health figured out; I can waste my life concentrating on all of the ways celiac disease has ruined my chances at a perfect life. Or, I can accept the imperfection and embrace all of the beauty that I have overlooked.

I may still be skinny, but I can run. I may be slow and limited in my weekly repetitions, but I can feel the wind kiss my face and look beyond the sandy running trails to ocean side cliffs that border my school. I may still have food anxieties and fall short of my goal, but I'm eating twice my old daily servings. Even better, my stomach actually growls - it hungers - and I, knowing that food won't hurt me anymore, can feed it. I may not be going to London next fall, or maybe I am, but whatever happens will happen for a reason.

Me on my morning run

I'm not a perfect person, and I'm surely not a perfect celiac. I get glutened, suffer from symptoms, don't have the most diverse of meal choices, and still have a lot of healing to go. But, starting now, I'm not going to let it get me down.

I only have two college finals to go before Christmas break, Santa will be sliding down the chimney in weeks, and my family is headed to Disney World during my time off - and this functioning, gluten free celiac is going to enjoy the heck out of them all. What's more perfect than that?

Perfection is overrated anyway...

Do you have a "perfect celiac" standard to live up to? What perfect standards are you aware of in your life?


  1. I have anxiety about traveling as well. I have never traveled somewhere by plain or overseas since I've been diagnosed with celiac. I even have anxiety when I have to pack all my stuff to go home and visit family. It gets to be stressful. I don't blame you for not wanting to write for awhile. I have a hard time admitting I still feel sick when people I know ask how I'm doing. After awhile I just don't want to talk about it anymore because I feel like I'm letting people down even though it is out of my control. I often wonder if I will ever feel "good."
    I'm still routing for you and like to read your blog when you have the desire to write. It is somewhat comforting to know that I am not alone in my celiac journey. Gaining weight is very hard and it takes a lot of work for people like us so I'll be cheering you on!

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment! Feedback is definitely what keeps me going :) Thankfully, my first college semester has just ended and I'm finally back home for Christmas, so I'll have some good relaxing time to heal and write. Merry Christmas and hope you will be feeling great for the holidays :)


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