I’m a girl who loves to pick out her accessories. I like to wear things that all match, and unfortunately, I don’t have a different MedicAlert bracelet to go with every occasion. The assortment has definitely grown since I was a little kid, but there are still some days I look down at my wrist and am not thrilled by what I see.
If I were to fit all my allergies, I’d probably need three bracelets. Yet there are some days I want to wear a watch or just a different bracelet or maybe none at all.
But I can’t.
Sometimes I still have a hard time accepting that. Going to weddings or special events, what feels like the most glaring part of my outfit likely isn’t noticeable to anyone else. Yet I see it there. In every picture, a constant reminder.
You’re different. You have food allergies and you need to tell the world. And you know what? You do.
As a kid, I used to get so excited on days of school shows or dance performances when I got to take the bracelet off because "it didn't go with my costume." I would get excited when a few extra hours would pass and nobody reminded me to put it back on. It was my secret. I knew I was supposed to wear it.
Parents will say that nobody notices it, and most people won't, but I've been asked "oh, what's that?" on more than one occasion.
I used to be embarrassed by that question. Now, I view it as a helpful way to bring up my food allergies.
What I've come to realize is the "switch" from being embarrassed to embracing it has come with confidence. As I have become more comfortable with who I am and as I gained an enormous amount of self confidence in college, I have learned to own my food allergies.
I was always worried about what other people would think of them and if they would be able to manage them. Now I know it's part of the package deal. If you're lucky enough to get me, you're getting the allergies too.
I recently went on a date, and things were going fine until the topic of my allergies came up, through his notice of my MedicAlert bracelet. After I gave a brief summary of my allergies, laying it on lightly for the first date, he said "wow, what a burden." He then followed it up by talking about how he didn't know how he would ever be able to stop eating a certain food before continuing on with the next topic of conversation.
He likely didn't know that those couple of sentences sealed his fate.
I laughed to myself, feeling grateful for my MedicAlert bracelet and the conversation it brought up. Now, I truly never take off my bracelet, and would feel like something wasn't right if it wasn't on.
As the number of food allergies has grown, so have the styles for MedicAlert bracelets. Now, it's like being part of a secret fashion club. My younger cousin also has food allergies, and we have compared bracelet styles on more than one occasion.
So while there may be some days that it doesn't quite match the look I was going for, the bracelet stays on my wrist. It's become an important part of who I am, and if there ever was an emergency, I know that bracelet would be there to provide information and help me get through it.
Click here to visit MedicAlert's website.