Being different isn’t easy, but the reality of it is “We are all different”. Every single one of us has our own unique experiences that mold us into who we have become and who we are. Some of us grow up having a perfect life, free of incident with incredible roll models. Some grow up having horrible childhoods; full of turmoil, fear and even abuse. Then there are some that are in the middle of the road. Those who grew up in what I’d consider normal…no parent or guardian knows exactly how to handle all situations and they do their best, but we still grow up with struggles and scars. I for one broke plenty of bones and even suffered sexual abuse, but I know with certainty that my parents did the absolute best they could and knew.
How we perceive the world often times I think is how we perceive others; our truth is based on our history and what we experienced.
For me, I grew up with a mother who kept me in a bubble and protected. Protection is great, but it can hinder growth. I was unable to eat much of anything and allergic to everything. I remember simple things like writing on my skin with a pen…oh my, mom would get so upset “That ink is poison to your body, do not write on yourself Rochelle”. So, a simple comment like this, her belief, whether true or not, set the pace for my adult life. I recently had 2 tattoos done and guess what…it was so freeing, because I wrote on myself! No amount of soap is going to clean that tattoo off and goodness did that process cause an absurd amount of anxiety!!! I overcame it though and I’m still here!
Having food allergies isn’t much different than the poison ink. In my mind, I’ve been plagued with food allergies all my life. Foods may kill me, make me itch or send me off running to the restroom. (Just keeping it real) I’m terrified to try new things, to the point where anxiety will debilitate me. I feel displaced and weird, I don’t want to go out with friends, and I feel like such a burden to my family. A member of my family thought all my food allergies were imaginary, as if I had an imaginary friend dictating my life. She thought it was an excuse for me to use as I pleased. It’s not! This is my life! Writing about this is emotionally difficult, because it’s my world and it sucks most of the time. I have to tell myself several times each day that it will be okay and I will find my way and most of all I WILL BEAT THIS! Food isn’t going to rule my life! But dang, do you know how tough it is to eat out? I found one place so far that I can meet friends for breakfast. It’s always been one of my favorites and I’m thrilled they cook good, wholesome food. Thanks Joe’s Farm Grill.
This past weekend was really rough for me! I feel that I’m not only educating people but also pushing them away. When someone has a mile long list of allergies…STOP prescribing antidotal things that you think help. Just listen, empathize and be a friend. All the advice can be overwhelming and further the feelings of despair. Having to ask people not to burn candles and steering clear of food for fear that touching a counter may cause an outbreak of hives isn’t the way to live. It’s embarrassing being “different” and “broken”. I don’t want to be talked about behind my back or having eyes rolled at me.
Wear my shoes for 72 hours and tell me who you’d feel. Be kind to others, you aren’t in their shoes and never will be. Give from your heart and be kind. The world needs more of this and less selfishness and judgement.