I am one of those unfortunate people with a nut allergy. That means every time someone offers me a cookie I have to ask, "does this have nuts in it?" The number of times the cookie has had nuts in it will break even the strongest of hearts.
Once I was at a restaurant celebrating my birthday and the waiter, to my surprise, brought me a free birthday dessert. Again with the false happiness. I was practically drooling it looked so good. But, I had to ask if it had nuts in it and long story short, my mom ended up eating that desert.
I have come to accept the reality that I simply cannot be a "dessert person" because all the fancy-schmancy desserts have nuts in them. I also cannot take part in blind taste tests or eating games, I cannot be spontaneous and decide to close my eyes and point at anything on a menu, and I will never ever be able to enjoy Nutella. Which basically means, according to almost everyone I have ever talked to, I will never have "lived."
This is a part of my identity and something I simply have to quit whining about and accept.
Or, at least, that is what I thought.
I was sitting at home one day eating cereal, chomping away, contemplating life, looking dramatically out my window, you know, the usual, when I realized something was off. I was looking at the cereal box and observed a word I had, for a number of years, seemed to casually ignore. The box said, "Honey Nut Cheerios." Nuts were in the name of the cereal I was eating.
Why I had been eating "Honey Nut Cheerios" all my life and had never once asked myself how that made any sense at all, I'll never know, but it finally hit me. I was eating a nut and was not dying. I was no longer allergic to something.
So, I looked at the back of the cereal box to find out which nut it was. Almonds. This was very exciting for me because one of my friends used to say, "Lily, it's truly too bad you can't eat almonds. Because, if you could, you would love them." With that in mind, and with my Epipen not too far away, I walked into my kitchen and tried to find some almonds to eat to test my new eating ability.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any almonds. However, I did find some almond milk.
I automatically poured myself a glass of the lumpy, thick, gooey almond drink, and drank some. What happened next I am not too proud of, I spit it out on to the floor. I cannot explain to you how repulsed I was. It just, it tasted like garbage. But, being stubborn, I tried again, and forced myself to adjust to the taste.
I walked away from the kitchen both cringing and smiling, and resumed whatever it was I was doing before.
But, to my surprise, a few minutes later, I heard a scream.
I ran to the kitchen to find my sister jumping up and down similar to how I would image a monkey might if it accidentally sat on its banana or stubbed its toe. She was rinsing her mouth with water and calling for my mom to bring her mouth wash. I asked her what was wrong. She told me the almond milk was expired.
Because I had never had almond milk before, I did not know what it tasted like when it was not expired, and forced a full cup of expired almond milk down my esophagus. Feel free to feel sorry for me as I puke.