This is my first spring with MCAS and the impact the pollen has had on me took me by surprise. Since the beginning of April I suddenly have become reactive to anything and everything. To say that I became frustrated about this would be an understatement. For a good month, I let my situation win. Initially, I had no idea why I was suddenly getting worse. The only thing I knew was that pretty much overnight A switch was flipped, where reactions would occur after things that I had been doing for weeks. Even after discovering that the high pollen was causing me to be so reactive it didn’t make anything easier for me. Instead of being flexible and taking precautionary measures that would still allow me to have fun, I opted to shut down and give in. Even though this situation is not an easy one to be in , I was making it unnecessarily harder.
Ever since I was little I have always been extremely shy. I have always been hyper aware of how people viewed me and feared their opinions of me. Throughout the years I had always realized this fear however , over this past year, circumstances have occurred that escalated this fear and consumed the person I used to be.
At the beginning of my journey a year ago, I was a collegiate distance runner. Unfortunately, there is such a big stereotype for distance athletes and when I rapidly gained weight my second semester of freshman year, several people commented.Unknown to anyone at the time, this weight was actually inflammation. I am not going to sugar coat it, these comments stripped away the little self confidence I had. Second semester of freshman year I was sick, in pain, embarrassed and had no clue what was going on. As I am reflecting, I realize that the fear of how others perceive my appearance really stemmed from these comments I heard during my freshman year. Throughout the year these “comments” migrated from topics of “being big” , “ afraid of food” , and even after diagnosis “ all in your head” . It wasn’t until I went home a few weeks ago and my family really brought light to how much this insecurity was impacting me. Despite the situation being tough on its own, this was only adding more to the burden. Even after discovering what was going on, I worried when I would swell from a reaction, and felt as though I needed to “proove it” to those who didn’t believe me.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what people think. From now on, if I need to wear a mask out, I’ll wear one. If I am swollen, I’m swollen. It’s not something in my control. There judgments are not hurting anyone but themselves. I have discovered I would rather be judged than miss out on life. Everyone is going through a different storm and most the time you can’t see what’s wrong just by looking at someone. Although you can’t control what others think, you can control whether or not it bothers you. Last year and even A couple weeks ago, it bothered me. It bothered me so much I began to not even give people the chance to form an opinion, instead I avoided the situation all together.
Throughout this entire journey, I have been so convinced that the way other people saw me mattered. But it doesn’t. Not even one bit. At the end of the day, you have your crew and they have your back no matter what. They know your story, they know the winds are high and they are proud of you for powering through despite the challenge.
It took a lot for me to see this impact full circle. I went home two weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. I let what other people think about me, take away my own happiness. Don’t ever let this happen. These judgments are always made by people who have no idea of the high winds. If they did, they to would be in awe of how you persisted.