Food Allergy 101: I'm a normal person.
What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...
BLOG POST #103 — Mr. A. and I are sitting at the coffee shop. I am enjoying a cup of black coffee. He is sitting across from me slurping a large cappuccino with extra whipped cream.
About 10 minutes into our discussion, the tone of the conversation takes an interesting turn.
"There is something I've been meaning to ask you, and I'm really serious about it," Mr. A. says. "How does it feel not to be normal?"
I look up. "Not to be normal? I really don't know."
"How can you not know?" he says, his tone serious. "You're definitely not normal. You can't eat foods normal people eat. That's not normal. You can't go out to restaurants like normal people without being jittery. That's not normal."
"Do you really think I'm not normal?" I ask.
He nods yes.
"I got news for you," I continue. "Everyone has something that they're dealing with. No is perfect. Sure, my food allergy may make me different. But being different is what makes me normal."
I look him directly in the eyes. He looks away.
JJ Vulopas is a rising senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at www.thelandofcan.com. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.