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I know I am late on the “back to school” themed posts but these are things that will help you understand what is happening to your body and everyone else around you. Cause unfortunately, having a severe food allergy in your teens, will be the most trying time in your life. Hope you learned a thing or two. Stick around and read somethings that didn’t make it in the video.
1) You are Different
Your body will not respond to the world like normal people bodies respond to the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Respond to the world like you will try everyday to be good to your body and yourself, even though it might be harder for you than most. Having a chronic allergy or a food allergy doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. It means that your body just responds to the elements of the earth, differently. It’s more sensitive and being more sensitive doesn’t mean something is wrong it means that it has a standard on what elements to let in. In all your body is booshy, stuck up, only looking for the finer things in life.
2) You are Socially Crippled
*If you remove yourself from eating out this can apply to you.*
Some people don’t understand that eating out is about the social experience as much as the food and if you eliminate the food that doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to an eating out event for the social experience. We all need to socialize, right?
But that being said, you are probably going to encounter these types of people when they first meet you in an eating out setting.
* The person who doesn’t care
* The person who over compensates, they will go the end of the earth trying to find something you can eat just to calm their anxiety, and then get overwhelmed. This might take hours.
* And the one that pity’s you
I prefer the one that doesn’t care. But because a lot of people will respond to your food allergy in various ways. Just to protect my mental health, I limit eating out to just with friends. Or I’ll go to a social gathering with friends so it isn’t too awkward. If you need more tips to live a less awkward life check out Nickely Challenged Etiquette: Eating out or my Food Allergy Etiquette Tips.
Being socially crippled doesn’t mean you cannot socialize. But being aware of how your food allergy makes others feel, will help you navigate the social seen a bit better.
3) Have Supportive People
I do emphasis this because it will definitely help with your transition. Bu, by saying that, that doesn’t mean that my food allergy discovery was smooth. I actually had to convenience my parents after getting severely sick, twice to take my food allergy seriously. And they definitely did, well for a while. They gave me money for food, when I was in college, even though I paid for a meal plan that I couldn’t use. You will know more in the video. Which I definitely appreciated, but a year later, they wanted me to get off the diet when I went back to Kenya to visit my Cucu (grandmother). I swear it’s a balancing act of caring enough for you not to die but not caring enough so people know that there is nothing wrong with you.
In all, that they made me feel like I was a disgrace, an outcast, like me having a food allergy was inconveniencing their life. I could talk about this for ages but if you want to hear the whole story read: Outcasted.
But in a positive note: this last year I meet wonderful people in my internship and in my temporary job. They definitely didn’t want to exclude me, and they really didn’t care too much about my severe food allergy. “It was like, okay, so what do you like to watch?” I swear to sweet baby Jesus, that was a blessing. I also was very close to one of the fellow interns called Tammy and well it was magical in that department. She even helped me through an anaphylactic shock. I swear after that friendship, I have a new standard on how people should treat me. Cause well, I come with a lot.
4) Use your Resources
Using your resources is detrimental to your health. If you have accepted #1 “You are Different,” then this won’t be a problem. Even though, my school didn’t get me off the meal plan, forcing me to move off campus. I didn’t use my resources, I didn’t know I could claim disability for my nickel allergy. Most of the time, I would come home so tired and had to sleep like 12 hours in order to even go to school and maintain my high GPA. Hampton University used coal or something or rather that would make me light-headed by the end of the day.
*if you have a nickel allergy then living near a factory is bad for your health*
In other words, chronic fatigue became my best friend, it even caused me to get the worst anaphylactic shock my senior year in front of my peers and teachers, can you say embarrassing. My teacher was so nice enough to extend my assignment with a decreased grade but he said I should have been on disability, so if I got sick or the chronic fatigue was too much, I could have gotten an extension.
Also, if you have a nutritionist definitely use it, I know Syracuse University has one. I would say maybe see a counselor, so you can adjust well, since university is seriously too stressful for life and now you are dealing with a chronic allergy. *can you get a break*
I would emphasis you join a Facebook group that supports your allergy and if there is none, definitely start one. *If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask*
If you have a nickel allergy definitely join these two group: The one I started Nickel Allergy Group & Stephanie started Eczema Cause by Nickel Allergy. I definitely have so much planned for my group.
5) You Can Do Anything
In all actuality, you may not not be able to do everything but don’t limit yourself until you figure out what the situation is. My severe food allergy in college definitely prevented me from studying abroad because I didn’t know the housing situation, since I needed a kitchen. In all, that doesn’t mean you cannot do it. I can live vicariously through you. But when you are doing fellowships that pay for meals, you can ask for a refund because there is no way you can be accommodated. If this cannot happen, go anyway, just hopefully your parents can help you with the finances for food, since fellowships can be daunting in their work load. In all, the only thing I didn’t do was study a broad, but I don’t think I missed out, I was a McNair Scholar for a summer at University of Rochester. Had a week long presentation conference in North Carolina which I had to meal plan for. I don’t recommend this, cause you might have a minor anxiety attack trying to figure out how much food will sustain you. Also a two day Graduate Exposer Orientation at Ohio State which they definitely accommodated me, not with the food but the hotel with a fridge and microwave. The only school which didn’t, was the school I was in, Hampton University but I did make it work. So not all schools are like that.
6) Listen to your body
See what I did there? I literally slide in another tip.
*Way too funny, Barbara*
By the way if you are new, just a disclaimer, I tend to talk to myself.
So life doesn’t come in the guidelines that mankind has put forth. You parents might not be proactive about your allergy, your doctor might not take it as seriously either, and people may not want to accommodate you, even if your life depends on it. This is a very sad truth I am learning to live with. Since, I see the world in my eyes and I always try my hardest to make someone feel accepted, included and understood. But no, the white picket fence, a husband or wifely or even both, 2.5 kids and the
dog... *scratch out the dog, I am allergic* is a myth, a façade that people amplify to think this world is a better place and rainbows show after rainy days and people genuinely care.
Not to damper you life, and I am not saying this so you can be sad that this is the world we live in. But in all actuality, everyone is looking out for themselves so they end up neglecting everyone around them.
So the point of this sad violin I am playing is that, if you know this, then you know how to keep yourself alive, from having an allergic reactions, or out of the hospital, or even homeless. (if you have roommates that are trying to poison you intentionally)
All you’ve got is you and only you, you are the only one who can speak up and tell people, you demand for them to care about your life. Since, I don’t eat out, I eliminate the guessing game but for people who eat out and have one allergy hence garlic. Even though, you have informed the chef and restaurant about your allergy, you might need to be persistent and have them double-check. People lie, or they just don’t know the severity of an allergy.
I took this advice by not letting anyone cook for me without me having an eagles eye on them. My sister actually poisoned me, she added tap water to my meals without telling for almost a month which made me have nickel poisoning, the fatigue was unbearable couldn’t stay awake for more than 5 hours. But in all, they aren’t bad people, just naïve people, who don’t know the consequences of their actions. Well, long story short, my body has never been the same since.
So in conclusion, all you have is you and if you have supportive people give them a hug for me and if you need to even tell you family not to cook for you, do that. Because seeing your self suffer through an allergic reaction makes you feel guilty about betraying your body. So be kind and loving to you, even more than most.
So that is it? What did you think? Did I miss something?
Definitely tell me, so I can include it in my part two. This is definitely a new spin on back to school tips with food allergies but I feel like it was much need, don’t you agree?
Well, if you watched the video you definitely saw me crying, Arg! I’m a bit of an emotional creature. Well talking about acceptance is an emotional thing to talk about, since we all crave it but somehow don’t give it. A bit of a contradiction, I might add.
So, what will make me happy is for you to live the most authentic life you can possibly live. When I say possibly, I mean in a way that you don’t cause your life more harm, like being in the wilderness and just forgetting society. *I have contemplated that, but what will I eat*
And if you hate your allergies, hate them, don’t suppress your feelings.
Lastly, you are a Super Hero, cause you try day in and day out, every second, every minute without knowing how your body will react, and after very reaction you still don’t give up. So keep trying, we can try together!
Love, kisses and unicorn poop.
And stay Beautiful!
It is a person that is not afraid to be themselves and doesn’t bash anyone else who is living in their truth. So be you, be beautiful even though you have allergies, illness, or whatever makes you think that you are less than human. Again, just because your body responds to the world differently doesn’t mean you have to! "Check out the Body Project by Alexandra"
For Suicide Prevention month:
Be a listening ear to someone in need and/or send a lovely comment to the hate comments!
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