Confidence is key
A few days ago I had a blast from the past, when making dinner plans with a friend I suddenly felt very self conscious about our decision where to eat. After turning down her many suggestions, I finally had to "man up" and tell her that Asian food restaurants were not a good idea for me and my food allergies. In the few beats that passed while she processed what I said, I felt like a huge hassle. Finally, she expressed her apologies for an absent mind, and said that anywhere that was safe for me was just fine. I exhaled a breath of gratitude and wondered why I was so worried at first.
I used to be very shy about discussing my food allergies with people. I hated making decisions on places to eat because I felt as if I was inconveniencing them or the party. I hesitated when making a suggestion of places to eat or go, and always felt a twinge of uneasiness when asked my opinion. I knew I was suggestion the same places over and over again and I feared I was was becoming boring and repetitive.
As I grew up, I became more confident, letting people know ahead of time about the risks of eating somewhere unsafe. I made sure to discuss with the people I was comfortable with about my Epi-Pen and what is safe and whats not.
When I left my hometown, and blazed a trail in the big city, my anxiety started to return. I suddenly felt out of place, scared, and embarrassed about informing people of my food allergies. I sunk back into my shell and made excuses as to not go out and eat with people.
It soon became clear to me that no one could live their life like this. Hidden away from the experiences of life. I slowly began to emerge from my shell and found that those around me are more willing to take time and understand then I thought. I realized that in order to help myself I needed to let others help me.So began my quest to instill confidence in youths suffering from food allergies.
Confidence is the key to fighting stigmas against food allergies. If we can teach those who feel burdened or embarrassed by their allergies to embrace them we are one step closer to creating a more tolerant world. The positive message attached to their upbeat attitudes will help spread awareness to even the most shut off people. You have to remember that not everyone grew up needing to learn about food allergies. If you take time to help others understand everyone wins
The drive to empower youths with food allergies has helped me creating a sustaining program for the youths I mentor. if you, or anyone you know is in need of advice please contact me.