Allergies kind of suck.
It’s not so much of a problem now since I’ve long since gotten used to it (and also the fact that it doesn’t affect me as much as it did back then when I was a smol child), but it’s still very much ingrained in my life.
Let me talk about some stuff that happened when I was a kid. This memory has faded by now, but my mom sometimes goes back to this story when my allergies is brought up in a conversation. It went like this:
I was a tot—probably two or three—and my family was going through some Asian supermarket. I don’t know if you guys ever went to an Asian supermarket, but sometimes there are these people that give out samples of food (woohoo! Free food!) to advertise how GREAT this one fruit tastes, or how SAVORY this sauce can make your meal. It’s cheap! It’s high quality! It’s on sale! Here! Taste it, and buy it quickly because it’s gonna be sold out soon!
Anyway, my parents didn’t really know about what kinds of things I was allergic to at that time so, of course, they gave me some fruit that nice aunty was handing out.
It was kiwi.
I am allergic to kiwi.
I almost died.
Like I said before, I really don’t remember this, but I don’t think I want to remember it anyway… My parents do, however, and they became really dang paranoid after that—my mom especially.
After a visit to the doctor (or maybe it was many visits?), my parents concluded that my diet should be severely restricted and that I absolutely cannot come within even 5 feet of dairy or eggs or whatever. Well… they weren’t that strict, actually, but the things I ate was limited, regardless.
In elementary school, I always ate a packed lunch, and sometimes I had to eat all by my lonesome. To be more specific, I ate at a desk that was scooched up against the table where my classmates sat, so I guess I wasn’t really all that alone—but it did isolate me to some extent, and place more attention on me than I really wanted. The desk thing itself was fine━didn’t really care about it, but I got tired of the questions that came with it.
“Why are you sitting at a desk?”
“Oh allergies? What kinds of things are you allergic to?”
“Wow, that’s a lot of allergies. I’m sorry.”
And indeed, I have a lot of allergies. It ranges from food (lots and lots of food allergies), environmental allergies, and seasonal allergies.
Eventually, I just stopped answering and ignored whoever asked me—which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best option, but life passed by peacefully and the questions petered off eventually.
It’s toward the end of elementary that my parents came to trust me more and granted me more freedom. I think it was… probably 5th grade or something when I first went over to a friend’s house, and I was so, so excited for it. Nothing bad happened, mind you. It was fun. I finally experienced a part of childhood that was previously locked off to me!
Looking back on it, allergies were a very restrictive aspect of my childhood. I was never able to do certain things that other kids were able to do whenever and I could never, never, never even hope to dream about eating some of the things my peers ate because the adults looked over us like hawks… (But I probably wouldn’t have even dared to try anyway because I was deathly afraid of the epi-pen, and I knew that getting an allergic reaction from whatever would lead to the very scary needle that carried the cure.
Yeah nah. None of that, please and thank you.)
Thankfully, nowadays allergies don’t affect me as much as it did back then, so the threat of being stabbed by the epi-pen drastically went down. It’s still lurking though, especially when I’m eating at a new restaurant or trying out a new kind of food. It’s alright though. Even if I can’t eat gelato ice cream or a pepperoni pizza, even if I always have to live in fear of the epi-pen lurking in my mom’s purse—it’s okay. At this point, it’s just a part of who I am, something that makes me a bit different from someone else.