The following is an essay I wrote i fourth grade, on November 29, 1995. I feel pretty similarly right now, in this moment that marks one week since xanthan gum in sunscreen took over my body and decided to be mean. Except the 25 year old version of me wants to use all sorts of words the 8 year old version didn’t know yet.
“Before I start let me explain that I am very allergic. It didn’t bother me much until one day when I came home from school…
‘Hi Ma! What’s for dinner?’ my sister Judith asked.
‘Hi Ma!’ I whined.
‘Hi girls. Judith, I don’t know. Cindy, is something wrong?’ my mom asked me kindly.
‘Yes,’ I cried.
Then I burst into tears.
‘What’s wrong Cindy?’ my mother inquired.
‘My stupid allergies. I am very anoyed [sic] about them,’ I told her.
‘Oh. Judith, please leave the room,’ my mom said. ‘Why are they annoying?’ she asked.
‘People make fun of them, they tease me about them, they wave the foods in front of me, and they treat them like a joke. How would they like it if they had allergies, and I did what they do to me?’ I dragged on.
‘Well honey, I’m sorry about that. I don’t think they’d like it,’ she replied helpfully.
And for about an hour, I cried and cried and talked. The only other thing I remember is this:
‘Why is it me? It’s not fair. Why me?’ I complained.
‘Because that is how God made it.’
And that is the longest time I cried nonstop. And sometimes, when I’m alone, I still cry.
Now, it’s less that people make fun of me and more that I can’t eat without something going awry. And it’s incredibly frustrating to have to choose between eating and getting sick. The new diet – where I only eat foods I cook myself, absolutely nothing processed, only organic fruits and vegetables that are peeled, and only the same food three times a week – was working, and I was getting into the rhythm and feeling healthier, albeit busier. But then I used sunscreen with xanthan gum, and anything I touched after that had the xanthan gum on it and I kept reinfecting myself in this xanthan gum cycle. It’s been a week of benedryl every few hours and I’m getting annoyed. And tonight, anything I eat gives me a reaction. Not a severe one – hives on my arm, mild throat swelling, ear itchiness, headache – but nonetheless, a reaction and I’m on this new “take care of myself” swing so I’m taking the benedryl.
So “Go Away, Stupid Allergies.” Or, “F*** you, xanthan gum. And you too, histamines.”