It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time... to Raise Awareness

This blog post is dedicated to my fellow EpiPen-carrying, ingredient-label-loving, cafeteria-fearing food allergy survivors!

Happy (day after) National PB&J Day!

I'm not sure when yesterday became a national holiday but April 2 has now officially dethroned Halloween as the hardest day to have a life-threatening allergy to peanuts.

As if dodging Reese's Cups and Peanut M&Ms on Halloween night as a child wasn't scarring enough, now there's a holiday that translates to peanut-allergic peoples' ears as:

Happy "Anaphylactic-Shock-Poisonous-Death-Day!"

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh no... This is going to be one of those blog posts where a food-allergic person complains about how difficult their life is and suggests that we protest this holiday."

Well, you couldn't be more wrong.

I am in no way suggesting that we abolish "National Peanut Butter and Jelly" day. In fact, I've written this blog post to celebrate it.

As a peanut-allergic person, I understand that peanuts are a part of American culture.

I am the first to admit that "Take me out to the ball game..." is one of the best all-American classic jingles of all time. (You can ask my parents if you don't believe me. They have hours upon hours of home video footage of me singing "Buy me some peanuts and craaaaaacker jacks..." as a child.)

Subsequently, just because the iconic childhood favorite -- known as the PB & J -- happens to be my kryptonite, I'm not going to let this day go un-celebrated. Only, instead of honoring this holiday by eating a spoonful of peanut butter like everyone else, I'm honoring this new-found national day by designating today, April 3, as Peanut Allergic and Proud Day!

That's right. In the wise words of rapper 50 CENT, "I don't care what you heard about me... I'm mother f***** P.A.A.P."

(P.A.A.P. = Peanut Allergic And Proud) (In case anyone doesn't see what I did there...)

Now, to everyone I know from elementary school, middle school, summer camp, high school, college, the corporate world -- and everywhere in between -- who pitied me because I couldn't eat the same foods that everyone else ate, or because I had to carry an EpiPen at all times, or because I had to live in "fear" of dying from eating a cross-contaminated food that unknowingly contained nuts, I'm here to tell you that not only do I not live with fear, I live with pride.

I am proud to be one of 12 million Americans living with life threatening food allergies.

I am proud to represent this strong group of people who enters every meal like it's an obstacle course, only to cross the finish line with more strength than we had the hour before.

No, I will never be able to eat a PB & J.

No, I will never be able to kiss my boyfriend without asking him what he ate for lunch.

No, I will never be able to eat at 50 percent of restaurants.

And no, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm a P.A.A.P.

Please support me in turning Aril 3rd into National Peanut Allergic and Proud Day!

You can even dress as 50 CENT if you want to...


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