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Beginning of a New (School) Year

I have written in a long time, and I’m very sorry for this. But I have an excuse, and a very good one at that. School started back up and it’s been my hardest year yet. It might have to do something with the fact I have my two least favorite classes first semester, Algebra 2 honors and Chemistry honors, and that I don’t have my favorite class, English, until next semester! But you know, whatever.

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Anyways, I am now on the Newspaper staff at my high school and I am now a columnist. So that is an upside. I figured I would share my first column with you lovely people at read my blog.
Here it is:
No Peanuts, No Problem
I’ve been allergic since birth. My mom has always told the tale of how I would break out if someone who had strong perfume on touched me. She gave me an affectionate nick name reflecting my sensitivity: “Little Green House Plant.” And I’ve carried that name ever since.
It wasn’t until I was three years old that I had my first severe reaction.
It only took one cashew to turn my lunchtime best friend into my nemesis. My parents, living in Monterey at the time, dosed me with Benadryl and rushed me to Cookeville Regional as fast as humanly possible. There the doctors diagnosed me with anaphylaxis: a severe allergic reaction that causes the throat to close. Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room.
I’ve lived with anaphylaxis for approximately twelve years now, and, luckily, I’ve only had one anaphylactic reaction. But with severe food allergies comes great caution and even greater precaution. Every time I leave the house I instantly grab my Epi-pen; it’s one of the only things that will save me if I have an anaphylactic reaction. An Epi-pen is a “shot” that contains a medication called epinephrine; it reverses the course of the allergic reaction once injected into the thigh. I always tug it around in my purse for my safety.
If I go somewhere, and I know that they are serving food, I constantly analyze the food and what people are touching. Cross contamination is my biggest fear: if someone eats nuts, then touches something that I touch, I could have a serious reaction from just touching it. I also check the labels on every packaged food, even the food I eat every day. Companies are constantly changing factories and this can change the risk of cross contamination. On the bottom of every list of ingredients is an allergy warning that lists every known allergen and possible allergen.
The constant worry and cautious mindset gets tiring. My whole existence revolves around what people are eating and what I’m ultimately avoiding. A lot of times it’s very hard to stay positive when the whole world seems to be against you. However with the help of my God, my family, and my friends, I have been able to find the silver lining in the rain clouds above my head. I believe that everyone and everything has a purpose, and having food allergies is just a part of my greater purpose. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.
School is probably the hardest obstacle to face in this endless battle against my allergies. I’ve found that many teachers and students have not been educated on food allergies, and they don’t understand the severity of them. Often, people think that if they stay away from me I’ll be fine. But having peanut butter across the room from me is like having a loaded gun in the room. It inspires the same anxiety and fear. You could say that my goal is to educate as much as I can, so that I, and the 15 million other Americans with food allergies, feel a little safer.
Having food allergies isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just difficult sometimes. If you know someone with food allergies, please be respectful. We don’t know all there is to know about food allergies, but there are research organizations working on finding a cure. If you wish to have more information on food allergies and what they are, you can go to the Food Allergy Network’s website (foodallergy.org).

I hope to be able to write more between the endless amount of home work I have and the limited free time I have.
Have a great day, you deserve it.

4-28-14 in Spanish Class

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(original manuscript )

Be Brave
enough to think
outside the cardboard
Box
Deny the world
the right to own
your thoughts.
Write outside the lines
and draw unusual things.
Turn the page
upside down.
Dare to create something worth
Being.
Ask questions that make
no sense?
We have NOTHING left to lose!
Neverland and
Wonderland are there for you!
We could beat on the desks they chain us to.
And paint the streets with Brilliant Colors.
let’s draw in the margins,
And write our own story,
Before THEY try to.

?

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Can you feel it?
The sunlight kisses your bare arms,
When you aren’t looking too closely.
And the clouds part in my head when
Your name is said.
Can you feel it?
The raindrops fall to be near you, and
To grace your skin.
But what’s really beautiful is what’s within.

*written on 3-23-14*

Dear Ernest Hemingway

 

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Dear Ernest Hemingway,

I have to say, the only reason I read The Old Man and the Sea was because of my Pre-AP English 10 class assigned it. (It was The Old Man and the Sea or The Secret Life of Bees and I wasn’t about to open that can of worms.) And I must say, I walked away from your book pretty satisfied. I wasn’t really excited or anything, and I didn’t cry at the end. It was just another book I was forced to read.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write an essay on it did I understand completely. I sat down with the laptop, and sat there and sat there. Nothing. Nothing at all. My words sounded forced and didn’t have much meaning. Days passed, and I still had not written something worth my teacher reading. I finally just broke into tears and said to God, “What do you want me to write?”

If you know anything about me, you should know that I’m a struggling perfectionist introvert, scared to make any choice in fear that I’m going to make the wrong one. God, opened my eyes and showed me what to write, by allowing me to see what you were trying to say.

The old man caught the fish and then lost it. He made the wrong choice by chasing after that fish for so long. He wasted his chance of catching other fish. But he had a quest, and he fulfilled it with imperfection! What kind of story is when everything ends up fine and dandy for the protagonist? It’s a fairy tale.

The old man taught me that imperfection is good, it makes for a better story. This whole time, I was just thinking that the old man was just a stupid old man chasing a dream. But instead the old man is me. Except he has life figured out.

I wanted to thank you for the great book, and now I understand why it is such a great book.

(God earns most the credit though, sorry.)

Sincerely,

An Imperfect Reader

 

 

The Truth About Food Allergies

fare

The inner writer in me wants to sugar coat, and perfect these thoughts so that they sound beautiful and wonderful, and all nice and cookie cutter sweet. I want to wrap them up into a nice little bow, with perfect grammar, and perfect sentence structure. My hands want to write something as sweet as candy, and try to ignore my original quest. I’m not the only person in the world with food allergies. Food allergies are serious, and are not to be sugar coated. Not everything in life should taste like candy. If you want my honest, down to earth feelings, then please read on.

One: When I say “severe” food allergy, people just don’t get it. They think for some reason I can still be around peanuts, and that I will be okay as long as I don’t eat it. WRONG. Severe doesn’t cut it. I have to use ugly adjectives like deathly or fatal in order to get their attention.

Two: People look at me like I have three heads and I’m breathing fire when I tell them that they can’t have “that” around me. “Im not trying to inconvenience you, but is that peanut butter laced chocolate bar going to kill you if you don’t eat it? Because it could kill me if you do.” I don’t live to make others miserable, but whats better: Your friend living or that chocolate bar? For some, that chocolate bar is more important than another life.

Three: Wal-Mart doesn’t understand either. Wal-Mart places the nut-free soy butter right next to the peanut butter. You know how insane that is? Or the fact that they have an open container of mixed nuts in the produce section? I nearly hold my breath every time I see that stupid box. It’s not okay; they should at least put a lid on it.

Four: Sometimes the students are better than the teachers. I can’t tell you how many times my friends in school would tell their parents not to pack peanut butter, because they can’t sit with me at lunch. I’ve had friends agree to sit with me in the I.S.S. room at school during lunch before. My friends jump over the moon for my safety, but yet I’ve had grown adults not able to comprehend the seriousness. Why is it that a 1st grader understands and a teacher with a college degree doesn’t? Explain that.

Five: The school system is only caring about law suits and not my safety. They can’t give me a nut free environment in my own class. How come an entire airline can be nut-free, but four classrooms can’t? Why can’t I learn with safety and peace of mind? I thought I was supposed to feel safe at school. I refuse to sit in class worried that my teacher had something with peanut butter or nuts in it. Want to talk about mental anguish? Lay a loaded gun on a teacher’s desk with a room full of kids. It’s the same as having a jar of peanut butter with an allergic kid in the room.

Six: I hate standing out. I hate being the only kid not eating donuts in a classroom party. I hate having people look at me with that apologetic smile, and that stupid look in their eyes. That hurts probably most. Having people look at me like im some kind of sick puppy dog. I’ll make it, I promise, just please stop talking about it. I don’t want you asking me why I’m not “eating my weight and having fun” a million times. I don’t want that mother apologizing every three seconds. I hate having those eyes on me.

When it comes down to the wire, I just want two things: Safety and Understanding. And apparently no one in this world can give me both of those.

Last Fourth of July

This past Fourth of July, I gained some respect for fireworks. If you know anything about me, I hate fireworks. When I was smaller, I would ball my eyes out when my neighbors had a firework show in their back yard. I was terrified.
Well, I was terrified, until this year. I finally faced my fear and sat on the tailgate of my father’s truck and watched the fireworks.
I never realized how truly beautiful they are. And nothing screams American spirit like blowing things up in your backyard.
But I also realized something also. Fireworks sound like gunshots and bombs. They sound like war.
I find that quite ironic.

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* I have been meaning to post this since the fourth, but couldn’t find time.

Beauty is a Sticky Note

I’ve always seen those pictures on the internet, where someone has placed a post-it note in a common place and wrote something encouraging. But never have I seen one in person, until this Saturday.
We were walking through the light section at Wal-mart, and there is this bright pink sticky note!

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I was probably too excited, but you have to hear me out.
I think we should do more things like this, because if you’re anything like the rest of the world, we get distracted from the important things.
Sometimes we get so caught up we don’t even notice the sticky note!
I hope that the next time I head over to Wal-mart, I will place a sticky note, or maybe multiple.