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I try to write posts that are upbeat to encourage those going through challenging times to keep their spirits up. But in truth, I have learned more and grown more in the difficult times than I ever have during the joyful times.

I have to admit my MCS got me down in more ways than one in the last few days. Saturday, I was sick from the people wearing scented products at an art festival I attended (outdoors). Sunday, I had to immediately leave my parents because my dad had painted something outside the day before. I continued to get sicker at home until I figured out I had to change my clothes because the minute amount of toxins absorbed into the fabric was literally killing me. Monday, I dared to pay my bills and sort the mail. I was shaking so bad from the reaction to the ink I had to quit.

Bring on the doldrums (not the ocean current) but the down and out feeling. Why do I exist if I have to go through this crap every day?

Lucky for me I had run in to a friend Saturday. She made the statement, “It is okay to be depressed. It just isn’t okay to be depressed about being depressed. When we’re depressed all our being is pulled in tight so we can focus on ourselves.”

At the time I imagined life being like a rubber band. As we learn and grow and find joy, the rubber band is stretching more and more. If we continue on this path eventually the rubber band would stretch so thin that it would snap. This is my life. When I stretch myself too thin, I get yanked back and my life becomes more compact again. This has certainly happened with my illness.


It’s kind of weird but my illness has given me the most freedom I have ever had. I can eat, sleep, write, and garden whenever I want. I don’t have to be in classroom by 7 and grading papers most of the night. When I sell my house in the Spring, I can go anywhere. Any state. Any country. I can buy another house. I can buy a camper. Hell, I can even buy green eggs and ham.

But the question is, what is my main desire? Is it to be an activist? A writer? Is it to be pissed off at the people who pollute MY world?

I needed to resolve this question because I had asked a fellow union member to read a letter for me at the next union meeting. I listed a number of times I had requested help and had not received any from my union as back story for asking for help now. In the initial letter there were two objectives: help me and make our schools fragrance free for our kids. I thought it was to the point but not confrontational.

I asked for her opinion since she had to read it at the meeting. Her response was that the letter definitely showed I was angry and wanted to let everyone know it.

This was not my intent. At least not the intent of my thinking brain. But I realized as I read her comments this was my shadow brain at work. That part me that stayed hidden waiting to pounce. Waiting for the moment when I knew I was right and everyone else was wrong and it was more important that everyone know I’m right than that I have any friends left when I’m done.


I truly believe that each of us on this planet has a special purpose. Some have naturally found their way to their purpose. Other’s like me had to pray and meditate and wait five decades until we got it. To be honest, I didn’t ask the question, “How may I serve?” until a year ago. I had this inner sense that the answer was not going to be: marry the hunky guy and retire to the tropics.

Well I am still single. And I still live in the snowbelt of Central NY.

As I reread that letter letting each of my union members know how they had let me down, I realized how I was letting the kids down. I was putting all my energy into “why me?” and how great does it feel to be pissed about all the wrongs heaped on my doorstep. Instead of putting my energy toward helping our most precious resource not only survive but thrive into adulthood, I was just thinking about myself.

MCS is not my “illness”. MCS is my platform.

So I rewrote the letter and focused on the objectives being about preventing MCS and making our schools free of toxic fragrances.

I am still tired and in the doldrums. I still desire to yell at few people and then go dig my toes into the sand as the sun warms the day. But I know from experience, it’s okay to be depressed as long as I’m not depressed about being depressed.

I have to remember that I am not in this alone.

I guess I am just overwhelmed at the power that the corporations, spewing out toxins, have over our government and its people.

But then I realize those CEO’s and officials are few compared to the might of each and every blogger that reads this post.

I do not have to change the world. I only have to change my view of it. And what a beautiful view it is with all of you. Thank you for your love and support and respect and laughs.

I feel better already. I think it’s time to write to the mayor and work on making the whole town fragrance free.