Monday, June 5, 2017

I Want To Be An Outsider

While I cannot eat, my family still has to. So, grocery shopping is inevitable.  Once a week my Mom makes a trip to the store. I always make it a point to go with her. I do not get out though. As she shops, I remain in the car.  

Before my Mast Cell Disease became severe, I was able to go inside of a store. But now that I am allergic to life, a grocery store has too many dangers that trigger life threatening reactions - airborne traces of food, chemicals down the aisles, another shopper's perfume, the list goes on. (Learning this was rather unfortunate. Thank you, Walmart, for keeping rotisserie chicken near the checkout).


In the leisure time waiting, I have the opportunity to reflect on the banalities of this isolated life. My eyes observingly divert to the car window. I see families with multiple children in baseball uniforms piling into a mini van. Guffaws of laughter are evident from their facial expressions. There is also a woman chattering away on her cell phone, nonchalantly pushing a buggy into the store. I notice a group of friends posing for a selfie after finishing a meal at a restaurant in the same shopping complex as the grocery store.  

It is easy to hate random strangers for living their lives and taking simple tasks, like shopping, for granted. They are not dictated by their body's jurisdiction to surrender to its every whim.  However, I try to remember that we all have their burdens to bear. They can just more easily hide their struggles behind daily life.  

These bitter feelings are not very becoming, but the emotions are real and relatively new because I have not always had to experience this degree of isolation. As previously mentioned, exposures to the world used to not provoke such intense, dangerous symptoms. When I did go through flares, maybe I could not eat, but I could at least be in the vicinity of food cooking. And providing there were no chemicals sprayed directly in my face, I could tolerate shopping malls, family get togethers, and grocery stores.  

There is an entirely different world out there that I cannot truly live in due to illness. Trapped in the confines of my house and car,  I am from a different world, one that revolves around symptoms, medications, and preventing reactions. It is the opposite of the saying, "on the outside looking in." I am on the inside looking out when all I wish is to be an outsider, like the healthy strangers parading the parking lot, and to not know the conditions of the lesser world I am currently in. Recognition only makes it worse, as I am aware of the life I am missing.  

Thankfully, I do have friends in similar situations  that can relate. We can pretend to forget the former world together.