Sunday, January 4, 2015

Many ways to be human

"Here’s a little known fact in astrology – Uranus sensitizes a person..." - ElsaElsa "Distaste & Intolerance for a person's humanness"
Elsa continues with that post, "We’ll try to not be so nosy. Right? Everybody stay out of Elsa’s business. She’ll tell us what’s going on when she feels like it.”
I looked over and nodded. “Okay. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to think...”
People rarely give the other allowance of this kind anymore. They won’t let people be human and individual. Instead they try to perfect them according to their own design and standard. I think this could be the new definition of “insane”."
The beginning of tiny home life, 2008
Most regular readers of Makua o'o know I live with a condition called MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Though I don't focus on this reality in the writing I do on this blog it is an underlying thread that tugs at the definition of me, and my humanness everyday. My husband Pete and I were featured in a recent article written in the Fall/Winter 2014 newsletter for volunteers who serve the South Whidbey Island community Good Cheer Food Bank. The piece entitled "Pete and Moki Helping Pin together a Community of Compassion." begins, "What is it like to have a story to tell but not be able to get close enough to tell it because it could harm you? That is the question Mokihana Calizar must answer every day. Moki has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity where she cannot be near fragrances and chemical odors. This is very limiting in the ways she can be of service to her community but she has spent the last 7 years figuring out how to do just that."

The short article was accompanied by a photograph taken on a sunny late fall afternoon in Langley. The words used to describe us surprised me, Pete did not read the article for several weeks. When he did read it he said, "That was good!" surprised as well that others did understand (to some degree) what it takes for us to contribute to our community regardless of the challenges and "life circumstances." Yes, in the last 7 years figuring out how to contribute to our South Whidbey Island community has challenged me to stretch my comfort zone without agitating the fine line or border of health that maintains an immune system strong, and resilient enough to cope with too much fragrance, or an overload of stimulation. As I write this post I have just come through a day and night of exposures that frazzled my mind and body: an exuberant Happy New Year hug from a friend who was loaded with strong fragrance began a downward spiral of illness. Unless you or someone dear to you has initiated you into the protocol necessary to be with someone living with heightened sensitivities the special care necessary to 'deal' with my sort of humanness is as foreign as Francais is to a non-Francophile.

One of our "Sensitive Friends" had a birthday party this summer. In an email sent to all her guests she included this request (which I've edited a bit to fit this post)."

"You are welcome to bring anyone with you that you'd like to--with the proviso that they be somewhere between largely and entirely unscented.  (No dryer sheets, strongly-scented detergents, lotions, deodorants, SUNSCREEN, etc.)  In other words, come smelling as much like a person as possible.  I WILL SUPPLY PLENTY OF UNSCENTED SUNSCREEN--please do not bring your own, as there will be at least three chemically sensitive people here (2 that live here, and one or two guests), and that stuff tends to shut all of us down at about 40 paces.  (Even outdoors.  Yes, really.  :-)
Yesterday's experience with the very fragranced bear hug was something that happened so quickly neither Pete nor I responded with the usually outstretched hands-off or hands in prayer position to fend the approaching 'bear.' Thing is, sometimes we will put down our guard when a friend who is usually unscented gets close. It's that one time when the usually unscented encounter is NOT that truly can, and did, shut us down. Pete manages exposures differently, able to weather the experience with less ill-effects. Both Pete and I shampooed and bathed the scent from our hair and bodies; our clothes (coats, scarves and jacket) are soaking in a washing tub. My night was filled with anxiety and the fall-through -the dark and black hole that is something I experience when exposed to fragrance and chemical exposures. "Take something for it" is not a cure or fix, though I do call on all my Ancestors and practices to aid me as I detoxify the emotions, sensations and adrenaline overload. I held my citrine crystal to ground me as I said my prayers and meditations to calm, and welcomed my helping spirits who took me into the dreams that would reclaim parts of my lost soul. The night passed. I am here. I breathe. I live. I write.  
Today, the symptoms and anxiety are easing. We are grateful for the tiny spaces where we can recuperate and rest. Seven years ago we did not have these spaces to do what is necessary to be the humans we are ... differently able to live with the "norm" of a very fragranced and chemically intense society. A few more people know what it takes for us to be the people we are, aware that their habits and preferences could harm us, the process is a slow and as Elsa wrote in her article "Distaste & Intolerance for a person's humanness" there is that sense of entitlement she describes. "They won’t let people be human and individual. Instead they try to perfect them according to their own design and standard. I think this could be the new definition of “insane”." On both ends of the tug-of-war rope we Sensitives could expect all others to amend themselves to our standards, our protocol for a fragrance and chemical free inter-change. While on the other end, the community of the collective could be insensitive to the reality of our humanness and our unique needs.
I'm writing this today to say this is what makes me human, and chemically sensitive. Uranus, the planet that sensitizes is in the sign of Aries (first-person focused) for all Earthlings. In my case, Aries is in my Third House (communication and siblings/neighbors). I am sensitized in my communications of all sorts, and while Pluto in Capricorn squares Aries, my Capricorn Moon in the Twelfth House feels deeply. It's my journey. My blog. And, I live in the collective community on a planet billions of years old. In the scheme of Earth's long-life mine is a mere mini-grain of sand on the shore. But, it's my own glorious lifetime this time through and if one or two words or thoughts cross the cyberbridge and ring a bell for you? Hurrah, we have a win and chock one up for tolerance and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. My husband sent an email along with a link to this post to our friend who gave us the fragranced bear hug. She was grateful for the link, considered it a 'good read' and wondered whether she was the 'bear' in question. Pete confirmed that indeed she was the one, and continued with his conversation acknowledging her willingness to be more conscious the next time. It seems the fragrance was passed to her days earlier via a fragrance-loaded New Year's Eve hug. She had no idea the residual effect would cause the ill effects I describe in this post.

    Progress is made. Communication is expanded. Potential is tapped.


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