“Why do you have to document everything you go through”, is a common question I get from my near and dear. That is because I wish someone did that for me and talked about issues so I could’ve had a heads-up and dealt with my situations better. Now, the deal here is that I am ‘desi’, for better lack of term, the South Indian who grew up with curry masala and incense, and who should be ‘hatta katta’. For virtue of just that, I’m supposed to be the quintessential example of immunity. When I was back in India, for lack of awareness no one thought I could have allergies and symptoms or consequences associated. I was prescribed tiny doses of steroids for my “asthma”, thank God for my doctor cousin, that almost certainly prevented me from having an anaphylactic shock. Within a year of moving to Virginia I had my real first and there has been no looking back. The hardest part was not getting medicated but was the edification of those in one or two degrees of separation. Some were more receptive than others.
I heard commentary such as “your dark skin won’t get you married” or “take a walk to get fresh air” or “why are you so dramatic” so on and so forth. Firstly, the dark skin, as I’ve mentioned on previous occasions is melasma – look it up there is no cure and no one picks themselves to get anointed. Secondly, if I am sneezing my lungs out, it is not because I need fresh air, it is because I could be allergic to the various things that float in the air. Thirdly, I am not dramatic. I am simply scared for my dear life. Going through an anaphylactic shock or an attack or wheezing is not funny. If I’m avoiding places, people, pets, food, it is not because I am exuding class or style – it is because I am worried about unknown environments. Hence, not going back to India in 15 years and the very same reason I prefer to stay in places where I exactly know that I won’t breathe my last.
When I went to the allergist, the spirometer didn’t give me the output I desired. We talked at length and there was one thing that was loud and clear. Be very aware of what I do. Since allergy shots were not an option at this time, ‘band-aid’ meds for relief have found place in my daily life. I deliberately took Amma for awareness. Ram went through this last year. I had to have these two on-board because they are the ones that cannot call this bullshit. Anyone else, is free to form their opinion. But most of all, I learned this lesson. I am special and at the same time, different. I have to be considerate about my basic needs because I want to live many uneventful minutes. This is ME – unapologetically and audaciously.