I have trust issues.
I suppose it comes from the experiences I had as a child, and the amount of stock that was put on getting me up in the morning and safely back into my bed at night. I can’t imagine how my mother felt. Well, maybe a sliver.
I was 8 month old when my mother discovered I suffered from anaphylaxis. It turns your child into a ticking time bomb. At any moment something they touch ( I was able to go into shock through tactile), or put in their mouth will kill them within 15 minutes. Everything is poison. Food, yes. But makeup, lotion, and house-hold cleaning products among other things.
Now, I’m not the only kid to go through it. No, I have met other kids. But the level of sensitivity that I have to my allergens is shocking. Medically shocking. They said maybe I would outgrown it. I didn’t. It’s actually gotten progressively worse with my age.
They had said, I remember, that perhaps by the time I was 13 I would be… “normal”. I could eat out, go over to sleepovers at friend’s houses, and finally eat ice cream in the summer.
Instead, over the years since my 13 birthday, it seems like the mental anxiety that comes with a severe food allergy has progressed. I was 18 when I moved out of my parent’s house. My mom had done a phenomenal job preparing me to live alone. I’d been learning to cook since I could stand. I knew my way around my kitchen like the back of my hand.
Socially however, I was a tad stunted. There was no chance what so ever of being a rebel in high school. No underage parties in someone’s parent’s basement, pressure to smoke joints under the bleachers or any other cliche you see on television. I also for the most part only socialized in school. It’s just that my parent’s believed that I wasn’t prepared as a 17 year old to deal with the fear of anaphylactic attack and the peer pressure that came with being a teen.
So, college. I was fine, for a bit. Then I started having panic attacks. The funny thing about panic attacks is that they are similar to the symptoms of anaphylactic shock. The back of your throat itches, it gets harder to breath and your heart begins to ache… no not ache, scream. And, in my mind, I thought it was better to excuse myself to the nearest bathroom and wait the 5 excruciatingly long minutes where you wait to see if your symptoms worsen, epinephrine in hand, taking deep breaths and apologizing to your parents under my breath for being foolish enough to order a tea and, after realizing they use the same mugs for hot chocolate and cream filled coffee, taking a few sips because, well you ordered it, why wouldn’t you drink it.
You may be wondering why I didn’t tell someone. Well, the people I would hangout with at college was vast for the first few years. In fact, it was safe to say I managed to make an impression with my goofy friendliness. I was funny and fun because I was finally free. Free from every single person knowing that I was “defected”. High school was filled with adults who kept close eyes on me and publicly freaked out if I even was near food. Students would avoid coming near me if they had food in their backpacks.
College was 10,000 people who knew nothing about me.
That takes it toll. When I tried to trust people, they ended up… well. To be fair if you’re 18 and in college you are pretty much on your own path of self discovery. You have your own problems.
I didn’t want anyone to feel responsible for me. Or for me dying on their watch. So I told few, and most of them didn’t understand my need for those 5 minutes in the bathroom, to straighten my body and my mind.
I don’t want people trying to make situations more comfortable for me, because most times, no matter how hard people try, I will still feel the panic. I didn’t let anyone, including my sister cook for me. My mom was allowed, but even after I came back to live with her and my dad, I questioned her cooking. How she did it, what she used.
So, my trust issues went hand in hand with my food issues. Socializing, 9 times out of 10 involves food. Dating does too. How many times have a I had to tell a guy I can’t eat out. No, not even if I order a salad with oil dressing.
Why would I let one poor guy in a kitchen take on my life in his hands, for one meal? The slightest slip-up would lead to my death. No one needs that. It’s just food.
So, I didn’t really date. Not only because most guys would forget about my allergies, but because I was waiting for more trust.
Amy and Kristen, my two closest friends, are the only people I allow near my kitchen. Amy tries to coax me occasionally to cook in her kitchen with her, but all the rules my mother instill in me about my own silverware, my own dishes, and cookware make my heart clench.
I mean, I grew up in a household with color coded plates. Green means good to go, red means stop.
Taking a step back makes me realize I avoid a lot of socializing because of my food issues, even though I love to cook. I love to entertain, I love to share the pleasure of a good meal. When I get to cook for more than just myself, I usually go all out. And, I usually like to do it alone. That way I can be sure everything is safe.
This is just one of the things that makes me who I am today. It’s just a part of me. But, the way I have overcome certain parts of it, doesn’t mean other parts aren’t still there.
That 18 year old girl with fear and uncertainty is still there in my heart, as well as the adventurous 8 year old. I have trust issues, but who doesn’t? Right? We all have issues. Some stem from baggage. The stuff that weighs us down. We just have to realize that we all have a heavy load of bullshit that is weighing our hearts down a bit.
We also have to realize what it takes to share our baggage, and how hard it is to understand someone’s baggage even if you love them. Be patient. And the person with baggage needs to realize how hard it is to deal with. Be kind.
Someone will show up one day, and slowly you both can share the baggage. The another person that can help, and another. It’s what true friendship, and a true relationship are about.