I used to be one of you. So I get it, I do. I wore perfume and l loved it when men wore cologne. I used hairspray, perfumed lotion, heavily scented deodorant, and my clothes smelled “fresh” from the laundry detergent I used. My car smelled like artificial cinnamon from the air freshener I hung. I ate and drank what I wanted – mounds of pasta, fast food, desserts of all kinds, candy, sodas, espresso every day…and I loved it all.
If someone had tried to stop me then with facts about how I was harming myself, I imagine I would have resisted. It would have been hard to imagine life without junk food and chemicals. In fact, I didn’t even think of it in those terms. I had no idea where fragrance came from. I think I must have imagined somehow that it came from plants and flowers. And I knew I felt bad if I ate too much junk food, but a little now and then? Come on now! What could be so wrong?
But then I became ill, and everything I’d taken for granted about my life was up for reconsideration. I didn’t like feeling sick, so I started to read. I found some things out that I think I would rather have not known. It began to dawn on me that there was a sinister reality which had been until now hidden from me: the world is not as friendly a place as I had assumed, and remaining healthy in it would require me to buck the tide, to be different.
For many years I fought hard against the contraction of my world. I love to belong. I love freedom. So I often pretended that I was fine, that I was not being harmed by my choices or the choices of other people. I forced my body to get my attention with the worst kind of health crisis before I would listen to it. By that time, my world had contracted to the size of my bed by no choice of mine, something that may not have happened if I had voluntarily contracted my world a bit by eating healthier, avoiding unmitigated stress, and staying away from toxins. My insistence on total freedom in a toxic world essentially stripped me of all freedom for a time.
So dear normals, I do get it. I have not always been the strange, food allergic, chemically sensitive person you see before you now. I know what it’s like not to want to give up the things I like. I know what it’s like to want to look the other way when confronted with evidence about the harm my choices are causing. I know what it’s like to want to question the validity of that evidence because it just seems too awful to be true. But I can assure you now that it is true. My sick body is living proof.
One Who Knows
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