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Trying to Be Better

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A few weeks ago, I had the esteemed pleasure of hosting two of my friends for a little television marathon. I offered to make them dinner, since I like to cook and presumably, they enjoy fueling their bodies with the necessary nutrients for their continued survival. However, a wrench was thrown into my intended plans to make spaghetti and meatballs. One of the girls was allegic to garlic.

At first, I couldn’t believe it, and – I am somewhat ashamed to say – gave her a hard time about it. Because she had agency in this decision and chose to be allergic to garlic. Right? I spent about 3 weeks trying to decide what to make. As you might be able to tell from what I just said, my cooking heavily feature garlic. Every once in a while (for the first week) I would hassle her a little bit about it.

Until I realized what a gigantic jerk I was being. And furthermore, what a gigantic ABLEIST jerk I was being. I realize that a garlic allergy may not rank up there with other disabilities but…here’s the thing. Ableism is really new to me, as a concept. And I definitely fall victim to it all the time. So why not call myself out every time I participate? Well, so there: garlic allergies probably suck anyway. She didn’t need me to remind her.

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Categories: Introduction
  1. February 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I feel like there’s more of an impact on able bodied people when the disability is something so “small” as an allergy…though of course, there’s no measuring experience, “you can’t weigh sorrow”, etc. but to think about how we take so many things for granted, how restrictive our culture is about difference… it’s quite intriguing.

    so, as a person with an invisible disability, who never really thought about allergies that way, this is really touching (and educational) to read! thanks for posting.

    • March 15, 2010 at 9:13 am

      Thank you, I’m glad that someone found it interesting. I also had never thought about allergies that way either, but as I started to dissect my own reactions, I realized that they rang true to descriptions of ableism. And then I was like, “oh whoops.”

  2. jessicaannabelle
    April 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    ahh!! i just started reading and i almost never comment places but…

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! thank you for realizing what you did! and thank you for posting it somewhere other people can learn from it! i have an actual honest to goodness life threatening milk allergy, and people often get really put out when i can’t eat the food they offer me, and ask me a bunch of times if i’m sure i don’t want any, or tell me they’re not really sure it has milk in it, etc.

    you fixed months of those awful conversations with this post (i hate making people feel unappreciated- but seriously!). thank you so much :)

    • April 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

      I’m glad that this post has hit well with some people! I do try to make an effort, although it’s tiny sometimes. On a side note, I don’t even like milk, it aggravates mucus production. Gross.

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