I have a mask that I wear when I need to go somewhere there might be popcorn.
I hate wearing it. Even though I splurged on a really cute version from icanbreathe.com; I still find myself avoiding places that sell corn. I love the mask, it's cute and it definitely helps minimize if not avoid a reaction. It's worth it's weight in gold for that alone. The only problem with it at all is that it is 'different' and part of me becomes more aware of the fact that I'm different when I wear it. I can't even set people's minds to rest by smiling, because they can't see my smile. They also have trouble understanding me because they can't read my lips, and it does make some people look twice.
Today, my daughter's friend needed a ride home and we were passing the farmer's market. The good one. The one I love to go to, but never quite seem to make it to (partly because they sell kettle corn and I have to wear a mask and shower when I get home to avoid a reaction.) I decided to stop, and let them look around and maybe, hopefully, get a few fresh fruits at a discount as they were closing up shop.
As we pulled up, I pulled out my mask and said that I hoped I wouldn't embarrass them too much by wearing it. "Why?" the friend asked, and I started to explain about my allergies.
"I know that," she said, "But why wouldn't you want to wear your mask?"
I just shrugged and teased about them being too cool to be seen with me anyways, and I didn't want them to die of humiliation by my wearing an uncool mask.
"Well," said the friend matter of factly, "It'd be a lot more embarrassing to have you break out in a rash, swell up like a balloon and stop breathing and then for us to call an ambulance, and then try to explain to my dad that he has to come and get me right now because Penguin's mom died. Just because you don't want to wear your mask." She had a point.
I've been spending a lot of time with people who don't 'get' my allergies. It was shocking, and refreshing, to have a 13 y/o girl point out so succinctly that my options were limited and I had to make the best of them.
I wanted to hug her.
But I didn't. I figured that if the mask didn't do it, a hug just might. So instead, I tightened the mask, and set off.
Unfortunately, we didn't find anything (Anything!) appealing. We had to go home and make cookies.
But I'm planning to drag myself back to that farmer's market, if for nothing else then the excuse to wear my mask in public and get comfortable with that particular aspect of my allergy.