Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Now Who Am I?
For a long time I refused to admit that I had terrible allergies, even though every spring during tree and grass pollinating season, I was a miserable mess of sneezes, congestion and a terrible itchiness all over. When I finally came to understand my environmental sensitivities, I became obstreperous,* tried to carry on with all my outdoor explorations in spite of the fact that at times I was practically in a state of anaphylaxis.
Finally, don't even remember why, I broke denial (or more likely, the allergies broke it) and I took it on, not just as a condition but as a part of my core identity. I am a person with terrible springtime allergies. I created a philosophy around it, i.e. My only health challenge is allergies. I began staying inside with the windows closed while the green dust flew around outdoors, and though I did feel sorry for myself for missing out on the prettiest moments in spring, I was finally resolved to my fate. I might as well have said I AM my springtime allergies. For heaven's sake.
This year (just like last year) I'm having a surprising, happy identity crisis because all around me people are sneezing while I am not. Yes I'm seeing the Sufi acupuncturist regularly and I'm sipping my Chinese medicinal tea and too when it's really bad out there I am retreating to hermetically sealed spaces for an hour or two until the worst of it blows over. Even so, I'm not reacting to the pollen like I once did. I'll sneeze here and there, blow my nose, but then that's it. The histaminic reaction to pollen that once upon a time brought me to my knees at this time of year can no longer get itself fully organized.
My new identity: I am a person with MILD seasonal allergies, as long as I address them with Chinese medicine. It's a whole new me.
*Obstreperous is one of the many words I learned in Miss Benny Searcy's high school English class. She was red-faced, cross, funny, and always smelled like metabolizing alcohol, but she was a great teacher. She died recently, so she's been on my mind more than usual, though I always think of her when I use the words I learned in her class - ascerbic, recalcitrant, obstreperous. Hail and farewell Miss Searcy. May you rest in peace.