Life isn’t easy when you have to constantly worry about the rest of the world trying to kill you. Many times I have refused to leave my house because I mentally can’t deal with the outside world. From trees spreading their filthy pollen and contaminating the air I want to breathe, to people who believe that peanut oil is the best oil for frying, I feel that I have to create my own sacred bubble of purity just to survive. This is why I have a list of places I know I can eat. This is why I can’t eat at buffets (too many ways for cross-contamination, and buffets aren’t that healthy in the first place.) This is why I look outside the window, and if the car has a yellowish tint from the excess pollen, I lock the doors and take an extra Zytec (or Benadryl if nighttime.)
It becomes difficult to trust the world, which is a constant cause for anxiety. I can’t try new foods without worrying if I’ll have an allergic reaction. I can’t trust others because I have been lied to, tricked, and told that, “It can’t be that bad. Why don’t you just try it?” I remember going to a Thai restaurant and ordered a noodle dish after questioning the restaurant staff and was told there were no nuts in the dish (I have been to various Thai restaurants that don’t use peanuts in everything and keep their non-peanut dishes separate from their peanut riddled dishes. I wasn’t going in blindly ignorant. I usually ask and have lived to tell the tale.) When I got my dish, I saw these pieces on top of the dish and asked what they were. I was told it was crushed sunflower seeds, which are completely edible by me, so I took a bite. In less than 5 minutes, I was on my way to the hospital. The waiter had lied, and I had completely cut all Thai places off my go-to places. It is better this way. I know what I’m missing, and personally, I don’t think I’m missing much.
Another food that I can’t eat is cilantro. It tastes like soap. Literally. I hear people describe it a “fresh” and “clean” tasting. Do you know what tastes “fresh” and “clean?” Soap. (Same thing with arugula. It tastes burnt to me. People say it has a peppery tastes and I wholeheartedly disagree. I love pepper. I put handfuls of pepper in everything. Arugula is not peppery. It tastes like burnt lettuce. I will never put arugula in anything because it is awful. Screw arugula. I can’t.) Anyways, thanks to genetics (Yay Science!), I can’t stomach cilantro. If I eat it, I throw up. I don’t know why I have such a severe reaction to it, but I just can’t stomach it. Anyways, I had a friend serve me a Hispanic dish and I asked what was in it. Now, mind you, this person knew I couldn’t eat cilantro. They had seen me throw up. I asked what was in it and they told me that there was cilantro in it. UGH! Screw you dude!
I even worked at a place that valued itself in being nut free. They brought on this new guy who wanted to add nuts to the menu. I had to shoot that shit down real quick because a lot people attended the place for the fact that there were no nuts allowed in the building. The next time, even one of the owners wanted to introduce an item that had nuts in it and I had to shut that down AGAIN! Like I said before, I understand that those who don’t understand and can’t empathize with those who have allergies but seriously. Come on! You created this place to be a safe haven for people with certain allergies and that’s what makes up a good chunk of your customer base. Don’t destroy your business because one or two people sulk because you don’t have almond milk. Like, legit. Calm your shit. You knew the building was nut-free because that’s what is advertised.
This is why my allergies cause me endless anxiety. It’s never the allergies themselves, and it’s never the fact that I have allergies, it’s always dealing with other people who easily dismiss them. So, if you meet someone who has an allergy, don’t belittle their issues or ignore their circumstances. It’s hard enough for them go outside. It’s damn near impossible for them to feel comfortable dealing with others who don’t try to understand their unintentional fate. No one wants to be allergic. No one wants to suffer from breathing, or eating, or just stepping outside. No one.