I’ve just revisited an old discussion on another website, which was a post by a non-picky eater about the concept of picky eating. In the discussion I made a valiant effort to try to explain. I do not think I was successful. But I really don’t know what it is that is so hard for people to understand about picky eating.
If people know what trauma is, and I say “This traumatises me”, what is so hard to understand about that? What about it is so difficult for people to just accept? Does it really undermine their own unquestioned beliefs about themselves and the world so much that they really can’t go there?
In a way, I don’t really mind if people don’t understand it – I don’t really understand it myself. What bothers me is people’s refusal to accept it, just because they don’t understand it. That strikes me as blinkered, narrow-minded, arrogant and self-centred in the extreme, not to mention a massive failure of empathy and meta-representation.
If I was blind, people wouldn’t go around saying “why don’t you just open your eyes?”, would they? They wouldn’t go around complaining about my inability to see, as if I were doing it just to annoy or inconvenience them. They wouldn’t for a moment betray the belief that just because they can’t understand the mechanism or cause of my blindness, that it must be in some way self-inflicted or attention-seeking or childish. And they certainly wouldn’t keep harping on about how much I’m missing out on.
If I say to a pianist “I can’t play the piano”, he probably won’t say “you non-pianists are so annoying, what’s your problem, why don’t you just try?” So why is “I can’t eat fruit or vegetables” so difficult for people to take on board? It’s very simple. I genuinely don’t get it.
People must be able to understand the concept of not being able to bring yourself to do something. For instance, I would find it very difficult to betray a friend. I would find it very difficult also to walk over hot coals, or throw myself off a cliff, even with a rope attached. Other people don’t, but I personally would. And it seems to me that the people who would have no problems doing such things don’t tend to interrogate and judge the people who’d prefer not to.
To me, it is equally difficult to put a non-food in my mouth. What’s not to understand?