Underneath my yellow skin

Never normal, always a freak

Reading Ask A Manager, there’s a call for simple potluck dishes. Homemade, not bought. I sigh because I know what is coming. I love reading about food and different recipes, but I make a bet with myself how many of them I would be able to eat. I have an odd list of things that I can’t eat. Gluten and dairy, which aren’t that weird, but it’s difficult to find dishes that are both gluten and dairy-free. Add to that cauliflower, onion and garlic, and cilantro.

Side Note about the cilantro: I realized many years ago that I hated cilantro. I didn’t know why, but it tasted like shit to me. Not like literal shit, but something unpleasant. Any time I mentioned it to anyone, they could not believe that I did not like it.

When the NYT article about cilantro came out, I felt vindicated. Before that, my mom dismissed my feelings about cilantro, saying I must be imagining it. Imagining what, I don’t know. The bad taste? Not liking it? No idea. But she shook her head every time I mentioned not liking it. When I showed her the NYT article, she exclaimed, “Oh, so it is a thing!”

That’s her in a nutshell. Me plainly stating my displeasure with cilantro was waved aside and dismissed. An article by NYT is taken as sacrosanct. At any rate, she never bugged me about cilantro again. It gets tiring, though, all the people who just can’t understand why someone would not like cilantro.

This is how I feel in general about all the things I’m allergic  to. I rarely mention it because the list is long and boring. But, I get a bit impatient when people express incredulity about what people are allergic to/don’t like what they like. There was a thread on AAM about what to give your employees for Christmas (or any other gift-giving occasions). Some people mentioned that it’s best to just give money because of all the things people are allergic to/can’t have. One person said dismissively that those people could just give away the thing or throw it away.

But some people are allergic to being in the same room as something. Peanuts is a big example of that. I am violently allergic to poinsettias (which I found out in a very memorable way). So getting rid of something I’m allergic to could include a violent reaction.

And, more to the point, why the fuck not give money? Everyone loves money! If the point is to make the employees feel valued, then giving them something that they are allergic to/cannot use will not accomplish that goal. I don’t know how this is even a question. And it’s discouraging that once again, people are like, “Fuck the people with allergies. Who cares about them?”

AAM is a blog with very liberal readers, mostly women, and they’re always trying to be aware of diversity. This is a good thing, but the above comment (from a man, btw), shows that there are still areas in which they’re weak–and this is one of them. So many people were dismissive of allergies or more benignly, don’t think anything of it. Not that they should. It’s really not on anyone but the allergic person (or they’re family).

But it’s alienating.

It’s one reason I don’t eat out that often. I love ordering from the local Thai restaurant because I can eat 90% of what’s on their menu. Everywhere else, I have to be careful with what I order, and even then, sometimes, it’s not safe. As I said, I never mention it because it’s boring to anyone who is not me. But I really appreciate others who think of things like allergens.

So in this ginormous post about potluck dishes, there are maybe 10% that acknowledge that allergens exist. And I was inordinately grateful to the people who did mention it. It was disheartening to read a recipe, just waiting for the ingredient that would make my night unpleasant to show up.

If it was in a dip or something on the side, fine. But so many were baked into the dish (lots of baked pasta dishes). It actually got depressing, though I’m not sure why as I don’t do potlucks, anyway. But it was just a reminder that if I ever were to do one, I would not be able to eat the vast majority of what was being brought to it.

Side Note II: Shout-out to the people who said that they listed the ingredients of their dish. That would be highly appreciated.

So, yeah. I cannot eat most of what would be offered because everything had either gluten or cheese. So.  Much. Cheese.

It’s the little things that make me feel like I’m not a part of society. I can deal with it because, well, I have to. I bring KIND bars wherever I go; one can last me for hours. But it would be nice to be thought of now and again.

I’m not too salty about it because I know that everyone thinks mostly of themselves. That’s human nature. Even one’s best friends can’t know everything about you. And I have a  ton of things that I’m allergic to. Honestly, it would probably be easier to list what I’m not allergic to than what I am.

In a similar vein, I cannot play first-person games. If there is an FOV slider (Field of View), I can fiddle with that and make it playable, sometimes, but it takes up to half-an-hour to find that very small sweet spot. And, with some games, I couldn’t find it at all. And, some indie games don’t have an FOV slider, unfortunately. I don’t blame them for that, but it means that I  cannot play games that I really want to play.

It’s reached the point where I just sighed when I saw a trailer that was first person. I don’t want to go through all that to play a game because I’ll still feel a bit sick as I play. If the game is good enough, I’ll put up with it. Borderlands 1 and 2 (Gearbox) were two games I dealt with it (for hundreds of hours!). Firewatch (Campo Santo) took me probably hours of actually dealing with the files to get it to work for me.

Then there was What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow). Sigh. I still feel sad whenever I think of this game. It was an indie darling that everyone raved about. “You have to play it!” “It changed my life!” I like indie games and wanted to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t realize it was a first-person game, which, ok. I’ll just mess with the FOV–oh. There isn’t an FOV slider. Ok. That’s a problem. I’ll see how I feel as I play.

I will admit that I did not find it brilliant from the start as I wandered about the house. I kept waiting for the brilliance to hit me, but it it did not. I figured it must be me because everyone loved the game, so I continued on. That many people couldn’t be wrong, right? I was slightly nauseous the whole time, but I tried to put that to one side.

Then, there was a bit where you have to fly (as a cat, maybe? An owl? I can’t remember because I’ve fully repressed it), and the nausea hit me so hard, I nearly threw up. It’s the worst I’ve ever felt playing a game. I returned the game for my money back. I tweeted about how sad I was that I couldn’t play the game because of motion sickness, and the developer tweeted me back saying I could try using the reticule because that helped some people.

Nope. Even if I hadn’t returned the game, there was no way I  was going to play it again. I had never felt that horrible playing a game, and I wasn’t willing to risk feeling that way again–not even for what is supposed to be a fantastic game.

Look. I ain’t mad at them for not having an FOV slider. They’re a small indie developer and I can’t expect them to think of everything. But it’s just frustrating that when there’s talk about disability and gaming, this isn’t something that ever comes up.

In general, that’s how I feel about everything in my life–each bit is overlooked and ignored by everyone. I’m fine with being the freak; I just wish there were more recognition for those of us who are not in the norm.

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