So many! It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I have spent approximately, at least, 85% of my life unable to breathe through my nose. When I was a child, I didn’t even KNOW that most people don’t breathe through their mouths just all of the time. I didn’t think it was weird to wake up with super dry lips and super gross morning mouth, or to carry piles of tissues wherever I went (mostly in the pockets of my zip-up hoodies), and, if I’m being honest, to leave a trail of said tissues in my wake. I wasn’t really bothered by wiping my nose on the sleeve of my Gap t-shirt, either, which was lovely. I was THE Allergy Kid. The resident one. In all groups of which I was a part (school, family, no other groups).
Case in point: At my alternative elementary school, we all had to make a personalized needle case by sewing a design that represented us on to the front. I sewed a tissue box, with little rays of sunshine coming out of it, because nothing else seemed to represent me quite so well.
Sadly, I did not have the motivation to keep my room clean, so these efforts were largely in vain. I often found myself lying in bed, looking around at dust-covered surfaces, breathing heavily through my mouth and feeling trapped in a hell of my own making. It was at these moments that I would occasionally jump up, determined, and root through piles of shit until I found my very trendy Medicinal Masks, which I purchased in the First Aid aisle at Walgreens and wore for cleaning. I’d pop on one of those babies, secure the elastic around my frizzy hair, and clean until I grew tired, or until I could no longer stand the way my breath collected within the mask and then hit me in the face.
I wish I could say that I’ve since found another dusting solution, but against my better judgment I’m going to post this picture, taken circa 2008 during an epic cleaning of my last college apartment (which, as many of you can attest, was a DISGUSTING place. We had too many cups so we never washed them, and were mostly too drunk to clean, etc):
So yes, my allergies extended into adulthood (excuse me – continue to extend as I hit the END of my twenties and have a pile of those masks in my room and a stack of *dusty* medicine boxes next to my bed). In fact, a few days before leaving for my sophomore year of college, I had an elaborate allergy testing session that entailed getting 60 shots in a row, on my arm, in patterns. Basically, they shot me up with all kinds of mold and animal fur to see how I reacted. Obviously, they learned that I was allergic to almost all of them (the result of this was that they gave me a concoction to shoot into my arm. For a while I gave myself shots, which meant owning tools mostly owned by serious heroin users, but naturally they were ineffective). While I sat in the waiting room allowing the reactions to kick in, I read “The Secret Life of Bees”, which I felt pretty meh about, and then returned to school that weekend with a VERY cool-looking pen-drawn allergy shot grid on my arm: ready to party.
Catherine: I will never get sick of reminding Jana of her allergies. Whenever I make anything (and I cook a lot), I make sure she knows that alfredo sauce has dairy, that chocolate cake has chocolate, and that peanut butter has nuts. The look of “Oh you, again, you got me!” gets me every. single. time. It has made eating out with the Jana difficult at times, but ultimately, it is so worth it because you get to enjoy her order with “no cheese please!” Inevitably, it will come with cheese, and Jana will PROBABLY just eat around it as sending it back is just too much.
Can I also mention that you are allergic to lipstick and anything but black chapstick? I remember in college, the costumers always being like, SERIOUSLY? And you slinking into yourself… “yeah…” Pale-lipped, Jan.
And aren’t you forgetting soy, too?