A wave of fatigue took hold of me as I sat at my desk this afternoon. My mind felt foggy and my shoulders slumped—I couldn’t even hold myself up anymore.
I had to take a nap.
I hadn’t needed to nap in months, yet this feeling was all too familiar.
It reminded me of you, Gluten. It reminded me of how much my life has changed since we broke up five months ago. It allowed me to think,
“God, I can’t believe I used to feel this way all the time.”
How did it take me so long to see that you were the one holding me back?
There I was, blaming myself, and you let me.
I’ve suffered from lethargy all my life. In college, I got prescribed medication for both depression and ADD. And yet, you stuck by. Little did I know that you had ulterior motives by tantalizing me with pasta every night.
Afternoon slumps were part of my daily routine, and my mind was always in a fog.
I got about five colds a year—the fevered, drenched in sweat kind of colds.
Post-meal nausea was a fact of life.
But did I suspect you? Of course not.
All this despite having grown up in a strictly organic and vegetarian household (before it was cool), working out regularly, sleeping the right amount of hours and even meditating sometimes.
Yet there I was, sick and tired, literally, again.
But something isn’t a problem if you don’t know any better. I was so young when we met. I used to daydream about spending our life together, buns in the oven and all.
In my daydreams, I always put lots of butter on those buns.
Anyway, I couldn’t imagine that you would ever be the part of my life I needed to fix.
And then I met someone who showed me my own potential the way you never did.
Do you still hate him, that Health and Wellness Coach who helped me see through you?
He suggested we take a break for a few months. When I bumped into you at a party last week, I realized that a few months had passed. You looked so good as a chocolate-raspberry cupcake, with your icing swirled just the way I like it…
I turned around and went for the grapes instead.
Did you notice?
People were swarming all around you (I always envied your popularity), so I couldn’t tell.
But when I got home, hungry, alone and a little buzzed, I faltered. I could smell your cologne from the hallway. I opened my door, and there you sat, naked and beautiful: a croissant.
I don’t know how you got in or why you were there, but it didn’t matter. I needed to be with you.
I had just enough restraint to make sure my roommate wasn’t in, and then I pounced. And wow, that was good.
Until the morning after.
But you know what, Gluten?
I don’t regret last night. I needed this experience to realize just how much more awesome I am without you. Yeah, I missed you yesterday, but most nights I don’t think about you at all.
I thought being without you would be agonizing. It turns out I’m stronger than I realized.
For the first time, I can spend full days at my desk without needing a nap or feeling down on myself.
My mind is sharper, and my focus is stronger.
I can eat a plate of (gluten-free) pasta for dinner, and still be productive afterwards.
I’m going on eight months without a cold. That’s never happened before.
So yeah, last night you reminded me of all the good times we spent together. But this afternoon I remembered why we broke up.
Because you brought me down, Gluten.
When we used to lie in bed together, which we did so often because I was always tired, I thought you were holding me, but you were just weighing me down.
To all those non-celiacs who have been gluten-free for a long time: I apologize.
Less than six months ago, I probably rolled my eyes at one of them when they spent that extra two bucks on gluten free bread for their sandwich. They had no idea what they were missing. I felt so lucky to be with you, Gluten.
But I get it now. I get why they broke up with you.
It’s over for real now, Gluten. After last night, I’m never going back.
No longer yours forever,
Author: Bianca Bloomfield
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renee Picard