Outcast

November 7, 2008
By
Sitting on the floor in our living room we were looking at our astounding amounts of candy from a successful Halloween night. I was about two at the time and I can remember sitting on the floor surrounded by mounds of separated candy. What I didn’t understand at the time was that a certain pile was for eating and a certain pile was for giving away. See, we sorted our candy because at the time my brother had a severe peanut allergy but no one thought to watch the two year old as the “bad” candy was being thrown at her feet. I chose the top piece of candy from what turned out to be the wrong pile. I ate the peanut butter pumpkin in one whole bite, I was very happy with myself. But later on the night I wasn’t as happy.
I had a stomach ache and as I laid in bed with my mom I knew what was going to happen…at that moment I threw up the peanut butter pumpkin and everything else in my stomach. This went on for about two hours. At this point my parents had drawn a conclusion, not only did their son have a severe peanut allergy, so did their daughter.
I grew up with the harsh reality of eat this and you die, eat that and you die, and eat that… well, you will die! That’s a hard thing to teach to a toddler when you have two other children to take care of. So while the other kids could run around and stuff their faces with the food that just happened to be on the table, I sat and I watched. My teachers had been amazed at how advanced I was at processing things like this. I could assess a situation and decide if it was safe for me to interact with kids by the age of four. I learned very fast the being grown up was not fun.
The start of middle school is seen as a big step for most kids, but for me it was like trying to leap across an ocean. Kids didn’t understand why I had to sit at my own “special” table and why my friends couldn’t sit with me or play with me after lunch. I quickly became an outcast. As I grew up and the other kids around me matured to my level they began to see eye to eye with me. They could understand to an extent what was going to happen if I ate something I was allergic to. But through the process of my classmates maturing they all went through the bully phase. During this I became known as the “peanut freak”. No one knows why the kids in every day society can stoop to such a low level like making fun of someone, but I know why. Kids choose to pick on the weaker kids; they pick the kids with a weakness that isn’t so often worn on the skin but more inside them, like an allergy or a learning disability. They tear this flaw from inside you and slap it on your face like a label for everyone to see.
Growing up as a social outcast effects you in a lot of ways. You are shy when you meet new people, you are hesitant to sit with people at school, and you have to be on constant high alert about everything. Say you have a food allergy and you decide: “I am ready to date”. Well now that you have made your decision and you have a boy friend, how are you going to explain that you can hold their hand, hug them, or kiss them after they eat something? Who wants to live like that? It’s a constant barrier that affects you socially, mentally, and physically and is a day to day test. This is my testament to all those who live with food allergies. Keep it up, trust me the social aspect gets better as you get older and if you keep a positive mentality everything looks brighter and that helps a lot.





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musicgirl757 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 16, 2009 at 9:00 pm
I'm really sorry that those kids made fun of you, thats so cruel. I grew up with several food allergies, but they were not severe however since now at 13 i have outgrown all but 1, shell fish. But I can relate to being a little kid and watching all the other kids just eat whatever they pleased, and i didnt even tast choclate untill i was 8! great article, you have talent!
 
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