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Following My GPS
I like to look back on a given situation and see why things turned out differently than intended. That whole, things happen for a reason, as seen in retrospect. (Or maybe its the “reason” we make from the way things happen?) Regardless…. I feel I work hard to create a path and then, time and again, have felt regret, frustration and disappointment when it doesn’t lead me to my intended destination. My effort now is to pay closer attention to my GPS during the journey. To quiet my mind while planning out my route.
This blog originated several years ago as Gluten Free Respect. It was developed through my passion to increase celiac awareness after discovering the impact undiagnosed celiac had been having on me for decades. It just felt right. And it was right at the time. Celiac advocacy and gluten-free support was a huge part of who I was for a solid twenty years. And then. . . another personal struggle led me towards a different path–another path that just felt right.
Advocacy for reduced fragrance chemicals.
Fragrance Sensitivity and My GPS
If I could make one of my restrictions disappear, it would be my fragrance sensitivity, no question. (And, if you follow me through my current journey you’ll know that I’m working on making that happen.)
My transition from celiac awareness to fragrance-free advocacy wasn’t something I planned. Not at all. I credit my GPS, 100%. That “rerouting” it would quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) repeat to me became something I could no longer ignore. And on August 19, 2021, Fragrance Free Respect was born. It just felt like something I was supposed to do.
Learning that my issue is far from rare, and learning that so many of the every-day products we use contain chemicals that are toxic for everyone, gave me the intense need to be vocal. It is so much easier for me to speak up for others than for myself. I am so blessed to have felt the need (and guidance) to create this new page in order to use my voice.
No one understands an issue until they have to live it. It can be difficult to see how life-changing, health-altering, and how devastating a fragrance sensitivity can be. Even with my personal experience, I had no idea the number of people affected world-wide. I had no idea until I became an active member of various social networking groups and actually started digging into the research a bit.
Check out the statistics here, from a 2019 study. You will see in the very first paragraph that one-third of the population experiences negative reactions to fragrance chemicals. Note that this was 2019, before the major onslaught of chemical disinfectants due to the pandemic (many of which also include fragrance chemicals). I’d be very curious to see results from a repeat study.
My GPS’s redirection became too clear and I found myself diving right into advocacy for change. I’m not a researcher, chemical expert, or in the medical field. My experience is personal and it is life. I thought my sensitivity was a rarity, but I’m not rare at all. Far from it.
Trying to juggle life with an increasing chemical fragrance sensitivity–which became more of a disability, quite honestly–had become much more difficult than my gluten-free diet ever was. It resulted in job loss and a front-seat view to human behavior that comes with special requirements. But this will not be my focus here or in any blog post. While I will discuss some aspects of my personal journey (through future posts) I will only do so when it can be done in a manner of education (not from a place of emotion).
It’s impossible to understand something completely without experiencing it, but my hope is to increase much needed understanding. Maybe. For now, I’ll just go with the flow of words and the direction that feels comfortable.
A BIG direction I was grateful for was that Facebook page I mentioned, Fragrance Free Respect. The way it flowed, the ideas that came, and the energy I was able to put into it just gave me cause to look up and give thanks, many, many times. I do not take credit for what transpired, I only take credit for listening to my GPS.
I ultimately created (and completed) a goal to post one new awareness meme a day for a year. Those memes continue to get occasional updates and continue to get circulated through the page daily.
A New Direction
Months into this new advocacy effort, I felt guided to another life-changing opportunity: the possibility for personal healing (from my reactions to fragrance chemicals). My vision with this blog is to put far more focus on this healing journey than what brought the need for it. I’d rather focus on the light than the darkness. As I’ve learned, however, we don’t usually put effort into seeking that light switch unless we find ourselves in the dark. Sharing the dark will need to be a natural part of the writing process. My ultimate goal is to share the journey that is helping me fill my life with increased light. Brain rewiring is a very big part of this effort.
(More to come about limbic system impairment.)
After experiencing and sharing my personal celiac and gluten-free journey, and all the amazing transformations I was so blessed with, I am excited to now share my brain rewiring journey as well. More to come in upcoming posts.
Please join my new page, Be Free Respect.
Brain Healing vs Advocacy for Change
Regardless of any healing that takes place in my body and brain through this new life journey, my advocacy for a need to change the products we use will not end. These efforts are two distinctly different things.
Being able to change the neurological reactions I experience from small amounts of fragrance doesn’t negate the fact that we are dowsing ourselves and our planet with toxic chemicals on a regular basis. Change is so desperately needed. But we can do it. Each of us. Individual choices.
We each make choices based on what we know, and by what we think we know. We need to be more cognizant of the choices we make for ourselves, for our families, for our pets, for wildlife and for the planet. By simply avoiding products that contain the word fragrance, we are avoiding 100’s of unnecessary chemicals. Chemicals that are not required to be disclosed.
I’ll leave with this note: When personal choice crosses over your space and into someone else’s, it is no longer a personal choice. (Think about smoking and the effort that went into banning it in public places in order to protect others’ rights.)