Happy 4th of July!


Dear America,

This isn’t your greatest year.  It’s totally not your fault.  You are, of course, an inanimate object so you don’t have thoughts or feelings.


Anyway, I want to say that I still love you.  I love what you stand for, regardless of what the administration says you are.  I love that one of your national symbols is the Statue of Liberty who welcomes everyone into this amazing melting pot of diversity.  I love that people still have the chance to get that “American Dream.”


That dream is becoming ever more elusive due to the hatred and fear that is running rampant thanks to the new administration.  I hate that people have to live in fear because of their religion or the color of their skin.  I fire3hate that some people might die without their necessary medications.  I hate that the President of the United States condones and supports the hate and the fear.  Mostly, I’m just sad that my country, the country that I would have given my life for, is not the America she used to be.

However, I have faith.  I have faith that this is just a dark spot in what will be a shining future.  I have faith that Americans can pull together to support each other in our time of need.  I have faith that love trumps hate and that love conquers fear.  I still have faith in the country that has found itself countless times after tragedy.

Happy Birthday, America.  Here’s to overcoming adversity and finding the light at the end of the tunnel.




Hating the Hate

B0017Today I was literally knocked over by all of the hate in the world.

There were two separate “religious” organizations on campus today preaching “God’s word” through hate. Hate the gays, hate the Muslims, hate those who hate our words, etc. I did not even engaged the men who were preaching yet as I walked past one shouted my way.

“You should be ashamed, foul temptress!  God hates your sinful ways!  Repent!”

All this evil because I decided to wear a low-cut shirt today.  He doesn’t know anything about me yet he judges me with one breath and in the next he professes only God can judge.

I have always believed that you can’t teach a pig to sing.  No amount of discourse will ever change my way of thinking and likewise, I will never be able to change this man’s beliefs.  Since these groups always appear on campus I’ve developed a thick skin and continue to ignore the razors they profess to be the teachings of God.

Then I walked past another group, a non-religious political action group, that wants to help the people in Ferguson.  While I admire their desire to better the community I was overcome with grief because their efforts will be in vain.  I’m a Saint Louis native.  For twenty-one year I lived and breathed the stagnant air that surrounds the politics of race in Saint Louis.  To help the people in Ferguson will take so much more than these young activists realize.

These kids have never even set foot in Ferguson, let alone the state of Missouri, so they have no concept of the racial discrimination that is so deeply rooted in that area.  It is embedded in generations and is passed down like a family heirloom to children and grandchildren.  In order to help Ferguson, they must help the surrounding area shed the segregation that has caused a divide that runs wide and deep.

I am usually fairly unflappable but today the hate spewing from so many directions, near and far, was too much.  I was suddenly so overcome with grief that I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.  I had to take a step back and think about all the good there is in the world right now.

I doubt the world will ever “make love, not war” but that doesn’t mean I have to let the negativity being me down with it.  Hate is everywhere these days and I hate it.  From now on I will make a conscious effort to dispel the hate from my own life and I will work harder at making the existence of others a more positive experience as well.

I hope you will join me.

An Open Letter to the Waitress Who Doesn’t Believe I Have Celiac Disease

This was originally posted on Tickld.com but was flagged for review after much backlash.  Please click it to enlarge and read.  Then scroll down to read my letter to this waitress.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

To the waitress who doesn’t believe I have Celiac:

I was really upset after I read this.

I understand where you are coming from.  Working in the food industry is difficult and diners can be very demanding.  I know a lot of customers come in on “fad” diets and have odd requests regarding meal preparation.  However, contrary to your uninformed opinion, you cannot tell who has a gluten allergy and who does not.

I have Celiac Disease–that’s the autoimmune one. I have a formal diagnosis from a doctor. It’s in my medical record. It’s why I can’t join the army like I had planned 10 years ago.

I go out to eat frequently. I’ve gone to Italian restaurants and eaten their gluten free pasta (never with alfredo sauce though because that DOES have gluten in it). More often than not I’ve gone home without issue. On the flip side, I’ve gotten contaminated in the kitchen of my own house.

What you fail to realize is the fact that everyone manifests symptoms differently regardless of if they have the allergy or the disease. I get cramps, nausea, UTIs, anemia, and a rash. I have a friend who gets mild bloating. Another friend goes into full anaphylactic shock with even microscopic contact. We all have formal diagnoses.

I know going into the restaurant that I could get contaminated. Like I said, I’ve worked in the business. I know what goes on in the kitchen first hand. I do what I can to prevent it. I order from the gluten free menu and alert my server to my condition. Other than that it is out of my hands and ultimately I am taking a risk.

I refuse to seclude myself because it creates a minor inconvenience for you. I will not apologize for something that is entirely out of my control. I sure as hell did not ask for this disease. It has upended my life and changed everything. You say that it is not all about me when I go out to eat.  Well, honey, it’s not all you you either.

The fact is, your restaurant probably has a gluten free menu which is why I’m eating there. So deal with it or find a new place to work that does not cater to the 20 million gluten intolerant people in the United States alone.  Or perhaps your could just show some sympathy because I promise you, if I could trade this disease away I would in a heart beat.  But I can’t so here we are.

It’s taken me 2.5 years to start correcting 22 years worth of damage from this illness.  Please, I beg you, don’t gamble with my health because you don’t know or understand and won’t learn the facts. A little compassion goes a long way.

A Card-Carrying Gluten Intolerant Diner