Sitting in my doctor’s office, propped up in the chair, unable to support my own emaciated weight I asked the question that would change my life. Through exhausted breaths that laboured to push through the carbon filter mask I needed to manage the extreme chemical sensitivity that plagued me, even in this building impeccably designed for the environmentally sensitive, I asked: “But what can I do? I have to live in this world. How do I do that?” My doctor looked me straight in the eyes and responded, without hesitation: “You don’t have to live in this world…” she paused, allowing the weight of the premise to cascade through my cognitive haze. The words registered and my mind resisted, confused, and scared “is she telling me to kill yourself?” it asked, incredulous “…you can create your own world” she continued. I cannot adequately describe what happened next. Everything inside me shifted. I was relieved of the weight of being a square peg in a round hole, forever spinning around, unable to gain traction and helpless under the centrifugal force.
Years of distress at being unable to be in this world that we have collectively created collapsed down into nothingness. I no longer needed to be in this world. I could create my own world. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t be anywhere near a cell tower, a powerline or someone using a cell phone. It didn’t matter that the VOCs* in most stores, products and places meant I couldn’t go anywhere near them. It didn’t matter that the particulate matter on our choked roads rendered me mute, unable to voice the pain they caused me. It didn’t matter that humanity had chosen to poison itself in a chemical soup that few others had yet noticed. I didn’t need to learn how to change myself to fit in. This world was broken, I didn’t even want to be a part of it, and now I didn’t have to.
I left that office in a state of muted delirium. There was nothing wrong with me. I was surrounded by poison and my body was telling me that it didn’t like it. That was normal. That was an appropriate response to the environment in which I found myself. It was the people whose bodies weren’t protesting that were the ones who were in trouble. I was just fine. I was awash with gratitude to my body for protecting me, and remorse that I had previously cursed it for doing so. Later that day in a store, in the vicinity of someone whose mold-tinged-laundry-soap-smog permeated through my mask my response was “Thank you body, you are right, I should move away from these toxins. Thank you for protecting me.” I left, abandoning my place in the line-up, not in frustration at the inconvenience but marvelling at the wisdom of my body.
The coming weeks and months weren’t easy, but they were infused with a hope that I hadn’t felt in years. They were laced with the certainty that I would get well. I was not a disabled person learning to live with it, I was a vibrant, healthy person who was finishing up a temporary detour into ill health. I had been ignoring the wisdom of my body for most of the thirty years I had been on the planet and it had been screaming louder and louder to get my attention. Now I was listening. My body and I were a team again and I was ready to do whatever it told me to get well. Together we were going to create our own world…
Next time I’ll be focusing in on EMFs, sign up to be notified on the release of future posts
* Most scents and odours are caused by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). That ‘new car smell’ that salespeople want us to enjoy so much is the result of freshly manufactured items off-gassing their VOCs, many of which are highly toxic and harmful to human health, into the environment
Photo credits: Mandy Koolen and Lynn Friedman