Yes, I Brought My Own Food To Your Party And Here's Why

I'm Not Trying To Insult Or To Make A Scene -- I'm Taking Care Of Myself

Yes, I brought my own food to your party. I'm sorry, but this is just something I have to do for myself right now. It's the only way for me to stay healthy, and I hope you can understand and respect my decision. I'm not doing it to hurt anyone's feelings or to be difficult. Believe me, I'd much rather be the guest that comes to a party ready to eat: trying new foods and enjoying familiar ones. If you'll give me a few minutes of your attention, I'll explain. After reading my reasons, I think you'll understand me better and the next time you see me eating my little snack in a quiet corner, you won't think anything of it. This is all part of my diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and I've learned that I have to be my own best advocate. Here's why I brought my own meal to your party:

It's Not You, It's Me

Luxury Buffet
Did you go all out to provide a mouth-watering spread? I really appreciate it, and I'm so grateful to be invited. But I probably won't try any of it. Image © doga yusuf dokdok / E+ / Getty Images

The food you're serving looks really good and smells delicious. Honestly, I would really like to try it and be like every other guest. But I just can't do it. I'm not trying to insult your cooking, or your catering staff, or your choice of restaurant. I'm sure everyone worked very hard and is really proud to serve the food that has been so carefully chosen and prepared. I wish I could be one of your guests that looks forward to eating this meal, but I just can't do it.

I Don't Want Attention

Woman Dancing On Table
I don't want to steal your thunder or bring attention to myself. So please don't read into the fact that I'm not eating the food -- I'm just protecting my health. Image © King Lawrence / Getty Images

I'm not trying to be difficult or bring attention to myself or cause a scene. I don't want anyone to fuss or cluck over me or say things like "poor thing." This is not something I do because I'm interested in hijacking your party to raise awareness or to put forth an agenda. I want to be with you, my friends and family. I want to celebrate with you and enjoy life and live. That's why I'm here! But there's this one little thing: I just can't eat the food.

I Have Already Learned My Lesson

Sick Woman In Bed
Sometimes food can touch off symptoms for me that leave me unable to function. It's nobody's fault, but I need to do what's right for me to prevent myself from becoming ill. Image © MECKY / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

I've learned from long experience that I don't know how foods are going to affect me at times. Even if I ask what's in a particular dish, or how it's prepared, sometimes details get lost in translation. I've already tried this numerous times and it has not worked out well for me. I'm not looking to place blame anywhere -- it's no one's fault and I know no one would purposefully give me incorrect information. It just happens to be how it is when it comes to food cooked for a party, and I'm not going to get upset about it, so I hope you won't either. I'll just eat before I come, or I'll eat the food I brought with me.

Please Don't Go Out Of Your Way

Woman Jumping Through Hoops
I am so grateful that you want to go out of your way to help me. But don't worry too much about me -- I want to be part of the fun and I won't feel insulted if you don't have special food just for me. Honest!. Image © Stephen Stickler / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Yes, I probably could have sent you a special recipe and asked you to prepare it. Or I could have given you the name and brand of a particular type of food that I enjoy or that I can safely eat. But I'm not looking to make you jump through hoops just to accommodate me. I'm fine, really, and you don't have to go out of your way to provide something for me to eat. You are a lovely host and I appreciate being invited. Please just welcome me as I am and let's have a good time.

Yes, I'm On A Diet, But Not To Lose Weight

Examination Room
My disease can cause me to lose weight without trying. I know it sounds funny, but my diet is not about losing weight, but in trying to eat as healthful as is possible for me. Image © fotofrog / E+ / Getty Images

Losing weight is a goal that many adults have, and nutrition plays a big role. You may have even specifically tried to accommodate people who are calorie conscious by providing healthier alternatives, and that's just awesome of you. But I'm not eating the way I do because I need to lose a few pounds. It's because food can lead to symptoms that impair my life and prevent me from going to work or school and doing the other things that I need to do, such as take care of myself and my family. For me, there's no such thing as a cheat day. I can't double down at the gym tomorrow to counteract what I eat today because it's not about fats, or carbs, or gluten, or anything else specifically. It's because I tread a fine line between what is alright for me to eat and what isn't, and I need to stick to what works.

Next Time You See Me, I Might Not Bring My Own Meal

Women Disagreeing
Does my on again/off again eating perplex you? Yeah, me too. I'm not trying to be annoying, it's just that my digestive system can be unreliable!. Image © Kevin Kozicki / Image Source / Getty Images

Here's another confounding part of my disease, and I know it's a really tough one to swallow. A week or a month from now you may see me eat something and you may wonder why it's OK for me to eat it now, but it wasn't OK when I came to your party. I wish I could tell you the reason why this is true. At times, my disease is sort of "all or nothing" and I sometimes can get away with eating like everyone else. But then tomorrow, or next week, or next month, I might be back to bringing my own snacks everywhere. It's just part of my life, and I understand that it looks flaky, but I hope you care enough about me to respect that my diet changes at times. Even I can be taken off-guard, so I'm just trying to stay one step ahead of my body and to be as healthy as I can.

Thank You For Listening!

So there it is. The whole truth about why I'm that jerk who brought my own food to your party. I hope you understand. I really just want to be like everyone else. I hope that you're not insulted, because it's certainly not my intent. I hope you don't think I'm acting out, because that's not it, either. I'm doing my best to stay healthy and this is just one part of the many things that I must do because of my IBD. Friends?

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