It's been quite a long time since I last wrote a personal essay on EAF. And the reason was one I could not ignore; I needed to take a hiatus.
Having food allergy means you never get to take a break from it. Every time I eat, even just a quick snack, I am reminded of it. Every recipe I develop, I am focused on which allergens it is free from. Every brand I endorse, I ask for their allergen statement. I launched an online shop for people with food allergies a few weeks ago. I was zoned in on what products to carry, how to present the ingredients, whether everything should be top 8 free, and all the associated details of curating products for those with allergies. I was even more fully immersed in the allergy world than usual.
As a blogger it sometimes feels like my restrictions are ubiquitous; inescapable and always on my mind. That also means that anxiety, the most pervasive issue for me, accompanies it. The management of anxiety is something I don't take lightly.
Shortly after launching the shop, my friend Karrie, and I went to LA to watch a documentary about food allergy. Needless to say, allergies presented a strong theme throughout the whole vacation, particularly when we went to dinner each night. After the premier, a group of us went to a bar, online friends finally meeting in real life, and of course we did talk about both our unique and shared experiences. Melissa read the labels on the soft drinks before selecting one for her daughter, Natalie and I each had bottles of water. Only the non-allergic people ordered food. It was really nice to connect with others who just get it, no explanation required.
So I took a moment to ask them about something that had been on my mind for the previous few weeks. Did they ever feel like they needed to take a break from all of it? The answer was yes. I felt relieved that it wasn't just me.
For over a month I have struggled to write about the "life" topics that used to flow so fluently from my brain to the keyboard. Was I out of things to say? Had I suddenly become a terrible writer? My writer's block was frustrating, annoying, and in the way dammit! I was at a loss for how to get rid of it; it was a pest that refused to be exterminated.
And turns out the only way to rid myself of it was to take a break and observe the world from a different vantage point. Not as an allergy blogger, but just as myself. Talking about it with incredible, successful educators within my community helped. We're all in this together; it's okay to take a vacation once in a while.