You Are What You (Don’t) Eat

As I have struggled with defining my identity, I have noticed others have been willing to do it for me.  Not by my faith, the languages I speak, or the color of my skin.  No, they look to a very different means of defining me.  They look to what I eat.  Or more specifically, what I don’t eat.  And they’re not exactly defining me, but using a process of elimination to not define me in a certain way.  It’s a case of you are not what you don’t eat.

Only problem is, it doesn’t work, despite people’s protests to the contrary.  Apparently, my eating habits, or non-eating habits, fly in the face of my most obvious identifiers.  I defy all sorts of accepted norms for someone like me.

Non-eating habit #1: I don’t eat chocolate.  I, in fact, hate chocolate.

Identifier Eliminated: Female

Rationale/Reaction: No girl could possibly function without chocolate in her life.

My Usual Response:  Oddly enough, I’ve made it through life this far without it.  So yes, yes, it is possible.  Chocolate does not make the world go round, people!  (I tend to get a little defensive on this one.  It just happens a lot.)

Non-eating habit #2: My incredibly low spice tolerance.

Identifier Eliminated: South Asian/Desi

Rationale/Reaction:  Brown people love their spices.  Love it to the point that non-browns usually have tears coming down their face when they eat our food.  Desi card just got revoked.

My Usual Response:  If I’m not desi, then there’s a pretty intense chai addiction we should probably have an intervention for.  And one for every other aspect of my cultural identity!

Non-eating habit #3: Arab food is not high on my list of preferred cuisines.

Identifier Eliminated: Former Middle East Resident

Rationale/Reaction:  How can someone grow up there and not love falafels?  Am I sure I grew up in Kuwait?

My Usual Response:  I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure that out of the two of us, I would know better where I spent the first 18 years of my life.

Non-eating habit #4: I don’t have a sweet tooth.  Desserts just aren’t my thing.

Identifier Eliminated: Female

Rationale/Reaction:  Again, no girl could function without tons of sugar to help her along.  This, with chocolate, I must be insane.  And very deprived.

My Usual Response:  You know, I have yet to find myself crouched up in a corner, shaking from some unknown withdrawal to my system.  So, I’m good, really, I am.  Oh, and totally sane.

Clearly, I’m more a case of I am what I don’t eat.  But if you still don’t believe that I am who I say I am…will me eating a chocolate covered jalapeno in a pita bread convince you?


One thought on “You Are What You (Don’t) Eat

  1. Oh no, Juvi! I think our possible soulmate status has taken a hit. With the exception of also not loving spicy foods (happily, not a requirement to prove Egyptianess though it doesn’t hurt), I absolutely love everything else on this list.

    Sigh. Oh well. 😉

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