Sunday, July 25, 2010

The ED of Peculiar Pickiness

I'm going to start by pretending you all don't know this already and state something obvious - I'm a bit of an odd duck. Despite my denial and abnormal attempts to fit in the mold of those around me, I've never even been "next to normal", a facet about myself I started to deny from an early age. Had I accepted the fact that I'm just not the popular kind and embraced those more like me, I might have sidestepped the critical cruelty of my peers in my teenage years and actually accumulated some decent memories to share with my kids one day. Sadly, what I'm left with are stories which would force my fingers to tap and type for hours on end, producing pages upon pages of therapy to assist in alleviating the tempestuous unease of my adolescent angst barraged with bullying and banter . . . but I won't succumb to that measure of stress relief, not today anyway. Instead I choose to spare you, my fellow readers, if only for a moment and save the seething for another day . . . .

So, I will sidetrack by saying that my severed seams from long ago are pretty much sutured up, and for now I choose to ignore that fact that they fray every once in awhile - today I am, for the most part, a woman who has accepted that being not near normal is not only absolutely adequate, but somehow flawlessly fantastic. I have countless crazy quirks, many of which I have covered in some of my bellowing blog posts, particularly in Webwork of a Wacky Woman
where I ink out many of my idiosyncrasies (feel free to return there and review if you like), and among the myriad of my mental mannerisms I list in said post, there is one I would like to discuss in greater detail today . . . . My freakish foodisms for which I have already admitted are as follows:

Texture is huge. I like tomato sauce and ketchup, but not tomatoes. I like grape jelly, but not grapes. I pass on foods with rubbery skin and mushy insides

I like peanut butter, but not peanuts.

I don't like strawberries or coffee.

I was asked a question [in a survey] about my favorite salad dressing; my answer was, "Light Italian, on a shredded carrot salad. . . . I'm not a fan of lettuce folks, so give me a bed of shredded carrots and I'll put all the salad toppings on it."

Alas, that is only where the list begins. This too is a topic that my finger tips could type endlessly about, producing yet again pages and pages of peculiar pickiness that you would rather pass on perusing. However, I cannot breach this topic w/o giving you a bigger picture of my battle with my taste buds, so I will somehow summarize what needs to be said and hopefully reach my point (if there even is one) sooner rather than later.

I hate cilantro; in fact to me it tastes like soap.

I don't eat Mexican, Indian, or most other ethnic foods that are not American or Western European.

Peas make me want to vomit, and I hate most vegetables in general, even fear them, because they inevitably show up on my plate at most restaurants and dinner parties.

Beer and dry wine are bitter and I will never get drunk off them. Sangria please!

I love eggs, but never sunny side up . . . runny, snotty yuckiness!

So yes, in case you haven't cracked this code already, I will again state something obvious – I am a picky eater.

Coincidentally, upon perusing the tweets of the 24 I follow, I happened across this "scientific" statement a couple of weeks ago: "Picky eating in adults may soon be classified as a specific eating disorder".

Upon seeing this proclamation and clicking the link to the article, I believe it's accurate to say that "WTF" was the first thing that came to my mind. Surely this cannot be correct – my taste buds don't like things, so I must have a psychological disorder, an eating disorder in fact, worthy of being mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? The DSM, a manual in which I examined more than once in my four years of studying psychology at Capital University, is also a manual that once classified homosexuality as a psychological disorder . . . just sayin' . . . again pages and pages, but moving forward . . . .

I've tried foods I don't like over and over again, and the result is the same, I still don't like them. I have built a better tolerance for foods I don't care for over time, but eating such items is in no way an enjoyable experience. I force such foods down for two occasions, when invited to someone's house for dinner, and when attempting to persuade my children to try such fare, but in any other case peculiar pickiness overrules and I say "pass please".

I cannot deny there are indeed some issues mentioned in this article for which I relate – dinner parties do undeniably make nervous (though not so much I won't attend), the range of foods that I eat (which extend far beyond 10 or 15 choices, btw) is no doubt limited, and I think it's fair to say I have some OCD tendencies – but I couldn't disagree more with the conclusion that has been drawn. Beyond potentially loosing vital nutrients (which is why I take supplements), being particular about food isn't a major issue in my opinion, avoiding social situations because of said issues is, and I am rarely one to turn down any social situation, food fears or not.

One of those who commented said it with the same sarcastic eloquence I wish I would have expressed myself:

I'm so glad that this country is still properous [sic] enough to develop more new "disorders" at a seemingly increasing rate. If you dont [sic] like it, don't eat it.

Next disorder please.

Americans, in general, don't seem to share the passion for soccer that the rest of the world has. I suppose we should look into this disorder of our national psyche next . . . .
(Tom Crozier, comment post #21)

There is a difference between being not quite "normal" and not being able to cope with that abnormality, which seems to be the case for many of those discussed in the article. For example, I have Crohn's Disease, I'm left-handed, and I've been told by my doctor that I get tendonitis frequently because my legs are "anatomically incorrect", but you don't see me being committed to therapy or a psyche ward for said "abnormalities" (or for any of my many unmentioned others for that matter). I've learned how to deal with them and move forward. I've used this quote before, and I will use it again: "Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference" –Virginia Satir.

So I say to those wasting so much money studying such things to stop. Treat for anxiety or OCD those who suffer if you must, but leave a potential ED of Peculiar Pickiness out of it, because I embrace this as part of who I am, and I'm okay with that.