“What do you eat?!?” is a question I’m commonly asked. But to me, living with food allergies isn’t about what I can and can’t eat, but the attitude with which I handle them. I’ve been living with food allergies ever since I was diagnosed at 4 months old. Yet within my life, I have never once gotten out of bed with a groan thinking that it was just going to be another day where I couldn’t eat like everyone else. Granted, I’ve woken up groaning due to bio tests or a long day of chores ahead of me, but I promise, never because of my food allergies. How have I done it, you ask? I just realize that there is more to me than just being “The Girl with Food Allergies”. I just take a step back and remember who I am.
But, who am I?
I am a teenager.
I sometimes can’t believe I’ve grown up so fast.
I am a mathematician.
Okay I just like math,especially algebra. (But NOT geometry!)
I am a writer.
Whether its entries in a journal, releasing my emotions in poetry, or adding to my blog
I am an extrovert.
I walk/skip around my house (okay-in public too) singing because it makes me happy.
I am a discoverer.
I enjoy going for walks to take in the beauty around me.
I am a photographer.
I capture single moments of that beauty with my camera. I’m pretty much obsessed with photography.
I am an actress.
I love acting in my school musicals and Shakespeare club, along with summer shows.
I am a sister.
I enjoy teasing my little brother at every chance I get. I miss my sister in college and enjoy the time and laughter I share with my other sister who’s a senior in high school.
I am a daughter.
I love my parents and always hope that I am making them proud.
I am a friend.
I’ll go through everything and anyone to help and protect my friends.
I am a scaredy-cat.
I’m easily scared. Really easily. I’ll hear my sisters sneaking up behind me and still jump a mile when they say “boo”.
I am a small-fry.
I’m 4’11” (and ¾”!) I pretend to be annoyed by short jokes, but really I find them just as funny as everyone else. And I like french fries.
I am a memorizer.
I can quote practically all of Nemo and Up (along with many other Disney Pixar movies) and I am not ashamed.
I am a bookworm.
I’m a “hiding-under-the-covers-flashlight-on-promising-myself-to-read-only-one-more-page-until-2am” kind of girl.
I am a cheerleader.
I have a happy and peppy personality to match! (proven by the exclamation point)
I am an appreciator.
I think sunrises and sunsets are the most beautiful things a person can witness.
I am an advocate.
I speak up for what I believe in. And I’m loud…now that I think about it…probably too loud.
I am a mariner.
I love boating on the ocean. I love the sound of the waves splashing against the hull of a boat, the smell of the salty air, and the wind whipping around me.
I am an achiever.
I set goals and work hard day in and day out to reach them.
I am a perfectionist.
Everything I create or do has to be done a certain way…I guess I’m a little OCD.
I am a musician.
I sing and play trumpet. I live on music. (Seriously…I don’t remember life before my iPod.)
I am an architect.
Well, not yet… but I hope to be!
I am a daydreamer.
I imagine what my life will be like in 30 years, and what it will be like tomorrow.
I am a romantic.
I wonder what its like to fall in love and wonder when I will and who it will be with. I hope for a love like my parents’.
I am an optimist.
I always look at the bright side of any situation.
I am an individual.
I ignore what other people say about me because I am happy with who I am.
All these aspects make up who I am- NOT just my food allergies. Don’t get me wrong, my food allergies are a huge part of me; without them I would not be where I am today. I’ve found real friends and people that I know care about me because they are careful with my food allergies. I’ve learned to stand up for myself; my food allergies have given me confidence I never would have had otherwise. I’ve learned how to help others by helping them understand their food allergies through my blog and by being a member of FARE’s Teen Advisory Group. I raise awareness by incorporating my allergies into school assignments. I’ve done a presentation on the FAAN/ FAI merger into FARE, and I’ve even written a poem for my English class (Never Make Me Cry) about living with food allergies that brought strangers to tears.
When I’m asked the question, “What do you eat?!” I never once think that I’m lacking anything in my life. I never let this question get me frustrated or upset. Because I know that I express myself and live with my food allergies by doing what I do best.
By being me.
Plain, and simple.