Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: nature

I hate nature because it hates me

I usually keep my mouth shut when it comes to nature, including camping. People (usually white) wax poetic about it and it’s treated as this amazing thing. I’m sure it is for many people (because it’s a constant reframe), but it’s the exact opposite for me.

I went camping a few times as a kid with my family and church. I know at one point it was when I had contacts, so that would be when I was a teenager. I remember being miserable because, and I am not kidding, I am allergic to almost everything on earth up to and including the sun. I’m allergic to everything green and most animals. I had to get allergy shots every week when I was a kid, and my mother never explained what was happening. I did not know that what they were actually doing was injecting me with the same poison that they were trying to protect me from. Yes, I know how it’s done–now. But at the time, all it meant was that I was miserable every week. My arm would swell and itch, and I would be unhappy for the rest of the day. I had to sit in the allergy office for a half hour because–I’m not even sure why. Anyway, it never stopped me from being allergic.

When I got tested for allergens in my twenties, I got twenty to thirty pokes on my thigh. Ten minutes later, my thigh looked like a balloon. At one point, the thirty pokes joined and it was a unity of agony. In other words, hell NO I am not going camping! The last time I was outside, I got stung by a yellow jacket. This was nearly a week ago, and my finger is still red and swollen. I todes not itch any longer, but it’s still a bit tender to the touch.

Anyway. The one time camping that I remember was with the church. I was misreable because my eyes were itchy. Which is bad in and of itself, but it’s worse because I was wearing contacts. Hard contacts. So in rubbing my eyes, I was afraid they would pop out. Then, there were all the creepy crawlies. I’m not afraid of them, but I don’t like them on me. And, as I mentioned, I’m allergic to almost everything–which includes mosquitos. Ok, technically not because allergic means EpiPen. But I have a ‘sensitivity’ to them in that they swell up to the size of a mandarin orange.

One of my favorite memories about being on Twitter was when Angry Black Lady and I started riffing about camping being white people shit. Other PoC joined in, and it was honestly one of the funniest thing I’d been a part of. Closely followed by the time we started riffing on a pumpkin riot (long story) that happened, which was also white people shit. I did a parody of Next Episode, substituting in  pumpkin spice latte. As to the former, several PoC pointed out that owning a home was a point of pride for many black people and that not for anything would they camp voluntarily.

I’m sure my father would say the same. He is of farmer stock and did not enjoy working on the farm. I don’t think he had a good time when we went camping. Then again, he did not have a good time doing much of anything, but that’s a whole different post.

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The plexiglass of life

I’ve talked extensively about the many allergies I have. There was a question on Ask A Manager about giving end-of-the-year gifts to the 200 employees. The letter writer asked how to go about it and listed all the different ways they’ve had trouble with the assignment. Including people complaining about having to pay taxes on the gift cards, people not answering questions about sizes, etc.

Many helpful comments, including money. That was the biggest. And time off. But there were also suggestions of frozen cozies, different kinds of snack boxes, clothing, etc. I did not skim all the answers, but from what I saw, there were not suggestions of candles, alcoholic beverages, or flowers. Thankfully.

It seems like every time this subject is covered, people suggest alcohol, greenery, and food. Or clothing. As I commented on the post, I am gluten-free, dairy-free, and alcohol-free. I am also allergic to every flower/plant/tree under the sun. And the sun. And the air. I’m also allergic to all scents, many fabrics, and most metals. This sharply cuts down on what can be given to me. What can’t?

::deep breath::

No food, no clothing, no jewelry, no flowers, and no candles. No bath products, including soap, bath bombs, and oils. No alcohol, naturally. I am also difficult to buy any kind of media for because my tastes are so picky. That’s not an allergy situation, though.

I went to Target twice while Ian was here and got sick. I’m not saying it’s Target, but it’s Target. That also happened when I got non-COVID-related walking pneumonia. I had gone to Target the week earlier for the first time since the pandemic hit. Am I saying that’s where I got walking pneumonia? No. It might have been Cubs as that’s the one place I’ve consistently gone. I can’t help noticing, however, that I have gotten sick two of the three times I’ve gone to Target in the last three years.

There are many reasons to rue the pandemic. It wreaked havoc on the world, and many people have not recovered from it. But. Personally, it helped in one massive way–I did not get any of the bronchial stuff I got three or four times a year in the years prior. I was happy that I did not have to feel like shit for weeks at a time. Now, I’ve been feeling punk for over a week. Sinus hurts, threatening migraine, and fatigue, oh my! It’s not fun, and I hate that I have to worry about that again.

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Summer lovin’…sucks

I hate summer. With all my heart. The heat, the mosquito bites (to which I’m allergic), allergies, and did I mention the heat? By heat, by the way, I mean anything over 70. I really prefer under 60, but 60 – 70 is tolerable. I am at my happiest at 0. as long as I have heat, of course, which I set at 62 during the day and 60 at night.

When I say I hate heat, it’s not hyperbole. And I don’t mean that I intellectually dislike it; it negatively affects me in every way. I get red, flushed, sweaty, short of breath, and I can’t breathe. I get cross, irritable, and ready to fight the air.

Add to that the mosquitos. I’m allergic to them and when I get bit, they swell and puff up. One time, I  was in Taiwan for the summer, and my legs were covered with bites the size of silver dollars. Mosquitos love me and if I’m outside, they will bite me.

Many years ago, Angry Black Lady and I were riffing on white people and their love for the great outdoors. We were joking about how white camping is and how it speaks to a mentality of being rich enough to pay to sleep outside your house when many people of color can never dream of owning a house in the first place.

It’s something that is encouraged when you need to take a break or get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Which, I get. If you spend most of your time in an office chained to a desk and on a computer, a breath of fresh outdoor air can seem like a great thing.

But for someone like me, stepping outside is an exercise in misery. I’m immediately hot, prickly, and sweaty. I get heat rashes, too, so that’s fun. I’m allergic to everything under the sun–and maybe including the sun. Every plant, flower, tree, and probably even the air. I’m acutely aware of how miserable I am and how much I want to be inside.

Now, you would think I have my AC on at all times because of how much I hate the heat, but I don’t like to waste energy like that. I have it set for 78, but I will admit to bumping it down to 76 when I really can’t stand it. I’m still in the elite of the elite in my neighborhood when it comes to energy use, however, so I’m happy about that. I do have a fan blowing at all times when it reaches 80 degrees outside.

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