It’s My Life, Bro.

Strangely, I’ve found myself having the same conversation with different people these past few days. I’ve been talking about my choices, specifically, when it comes to food and drinks.

If you’re tuning in for literally the first time to this blog, here’s the short version. I used to be overweight and self conscious. Now, I’m heavy and slightly self conscious. I got there, and am getting better, through the obvious: eating healthy and exercising more. I try silly fad programs and run a lot. Get it? Ok, good.

So, strangely, these choices I’m making don’t fit into “the norm” that we have as Americans, or specifically, as a single 23 year old girl in a new city with lots of bars. For whatever reason, this makes me weird, different, occasionally courageous, insane, and just…wrong.

It’s my life, bro.

These choices I try to make are for me. They’re not for the bartender, my date, the waitress, my friends, or anyone else. They’re mine. Would I like to order a bunch of drinks at the bar? Yes. Would I like to have the deep fried mac and cheese bites for dinner with a side of cheesecake? Of course. But, these are choices that, right now, I can’t make, and am proud that I don’t.

It’s my life, bro.

Someone close to me is an alcoholic, who has been sober a while now. They still occasionally head to bars but don’t order anything. I would watch people address the situation:

“Oh you’re not having a drink?”
“Why not just one?”
“Do you want me to get you a drink? Are you sure?”

I just watched these people push and push and push, but never thought about it. Not until it started happening to me. I would order waters at the bar, make excuses about being cold just so that I could justify ordering a tea instead of alcohol, all to get pushed by the people who “care” about me.

The tone I’m always met with when I order a water at the bar is one of two things: disgust and insult, or sympathy and shock. I wish I could accurately convey tone through this post, but hopefully, you can imagine it.

Scoffingly, “What?” Between sips of beer. “You’re really not drinking? Psh. Nah, nah, that’s cool, I mean, whatever you want to do. I’m going to be drinking this beer though.”

It’s my life, bro.

Or, my favorite, is when I head to the bar with a friend to grab a drink, and they order their fancy 10 syllable mixed drink and I request a water. Immediately, my friend’s eyes become wide and round, filled with sympathy and sadness. “Oh, you’re…not getting anything? Oh, uh…I’m sorry!” For what? My choice? That I couldn’t pronounce that fancy mixed drink?

It’s my life, bro.

I thought that the people closest to me wouldn’t mind so much. I thought that they would just say, “oh, Jackie’s ordering a water” and move on. Some do, and some don’t. The people who don’t move past my choice tear me up inside. Suddenly, I’m defending a glass of water, trying not to scream. It sounds dramatic, but to be constantly pushed by people around me for this choice, this seemingly harmless choice, is exhausting.

It’s my life, bro.

Suddenly, now, I’m being indirectly told, over and over again, that I don’t fit in. I’m not fun. cool, or normal. All for a glass of water. I genuinely worry that my social life will suffer for these choices I’m making, that suddenly my waters will translate into “Jackie doesn’t want to come to the bar with us,” meaning I’m left off of invite lists for a little miscommunication. Overdramatic, yes. But, I’m not sure of the norm anymore.

It’s still my life. Sorry.

One comment Add yours
  1. It’s empowering to not fall the the pressures of what others want you to do. There is so much social influence on our food and drink choices that it makes it into a sideshow if we do something not “normal”. I understand some of your pain, but it seems you might be experiencing more of it so I’m sorry you have to put up with all that on a regular basis. You’re doing well for yourself and you shouldn’t ever have to justify your choices (whatever they may be) to anyone.

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