The Daydreamer

I have spent much of my life living in fear because of my severe food allergies, always worried every time I ate out at a restaurant or went to a friend’s house that something would trigger them. It was an incredibly precarious situation to be in and I had to learn at a young age what food products to ask for wherever I went. 

However, I have always believed that the difficulties we face in life may not be what we hope for, but still hold a great significance . Like the movie “Inside Out” taught me, our core memories may not always be pleasant, but they are a part of us and I continuously strive to find meaning from my experiences.

While I have struggled with allergies since I was a child, they have shaped many facets of my life and have made me the person I am today.
(Illustration by Karuna Chandran)

I will always appreciate learning the power of standing  up for myself when it matters the most. Situations that concern my health are crucial and I am never afraid to push people and ask the necessary questions to make sure I am taken care of. I have been scoffed at before and given frustrated looks, but I remain undeterred. That ability to believe in myself and to not be afraid to stand up and share my thoughts has made me a stronger, more resilient person.

The other lesson I have taken away is an appreciation for science and a sense of gratefulness. When I was nine, I was accepted into an allergy immunotherapy program. While my allergies did not disappear, I was able to build up a certain amount of tolerance to various inflammatory foods. I realized how lucky I was to have the opportunity and how much I wanted to become a scientist in order to help others have similar breakthroughs. 

After the treatment program and reflecting on how my life had changed, inclusion became incredibly important to me. In group settings I always try to make sure everyone’s voice is included. I never want anyone to feel left out for something they cannot control.

There is something so beautiful about the resiliency of the human spirit and how we adapt to the circumstances we are presented with. I try to remember that and accept all of life’s defining moments.