About 2 1/2 years ago, I found a girl on my campus who was trying to start a gluten free club. I had just been diagnosed and was searching for answers and other people to talk to who were going through the same thing. The gluten free club was born and slowly we gained members. Ever since, there have been girls and guys who come and go, each one from a different background, major, and city.
Together, we go out to eat, share recipes and treats, exchange info on the best new spots or products, and laugh. We laugh a lot. They just get me and understand what it’s like to eat a salad every time your friends want to go out somewhere you can’t eat, or to be excluded from going out for pizza and beer. We can make fart jokes and talk about how ridiculous our digestive tracts are and get excited when we find an amazing cookie. Each one of these people holds a special place in my heart.
Not only have these beautiful people that I’ve met help me in my gluten-free journey, but I learn from each one of them. I learn new things about their religion, their culture, families, backgrounds, career paths, personalities, ways of seeing the world. It’s such a great new perspective and has really helped me grow and expand my horizons.
Even beyond my club, the gluten-free community has introduced me to people beyond my state via social media, who I’ve been able to see at expos and truly call friends.
These connections, I never would have made if I hadn’t put myself out there and searched for people like me. When I say people like me, I mean, they are coping with all of the emotional, physical, and psychological aspects of living a gluten free lifestyle; many of them newly adapting to it. But the differences, truly make it something special. I’ve gotten so close to a future doctor, dietitian, surgeon, computer scientist, financial consultant, journalist, scientist, and media broadcaster. Random yet beautiful, connections.