Jade from the Jaded Duology has something people see as a bit of a “flaw.” This is something I experience in my real life as well and found it wasn’t really represented very well within the book, tv or movie world, so it was really interesting for me to write this into Jade’s story.
Jade suffers from allergies, but not the “normal” kind or the kind everyone talks about.
Jade is allergic to scents. I, too, have these allergies. I’m talking about everything from perfume, to scented candles, to hand lotions, shampoos, air fresheners, etc.
This is something that has a huge impact on my life. We have a car sitting in our driveway that I haven’t been able to drive for a year because someone sprayed Febreeze in it and even after airing it out, it’s still lingering. I get incredibly sick going to the homes of relatives who smoke or used to smoke. Back when I was substitute teaching there were classrooms I couldn’t work in because their air fresheners made me violently sick for two weeks every time I set foot in those rooms. It got to the point where I would walk in a room, locate their air fresheners, unplug them, wrap them in paper towels and hide them in a closet-and I would still get ill.
Most people, at least the ones I’ve encountered, don’t take this seriously because they don’t see the effects of it on me. Unlike with something like a food allergy, you don’t get a very immediate visible reaction. Instead, my lungs feel like they are collapsing, my throat and eyes burn, pain shoots through my ears, and for two weeks I have the side effects of a very bad flu without actually getting sick. I ache, I hurt, everything burns or feels like it’s shutting down. But because people don’t see me in that state immediately, they dismiss it.
I’ve even had people not believe and purposely spray chemically scented things on me or near me because in their mind, it’s not a real allergy.
Within Jaded, the Commander and his wife are actively working to put Jade into situations where she will be uncomfortable and will suffer in her surroundings.
Jade is forced into gardens that she is very allergic to. She has to go into candle shops with scented candles that make her ill. She’s even exposed to paint, another thing her system can not handle.
Within the story she has to handle these situations with grace and not let on that she is in pain. This is something that is very familiar to me because I have to continue to function, even as my body is rebelling against me when I find myself in these situations.
In most cases, people will never know that the person is suffering because it’s something we’re used to hiding. It’s not exactly something we can publicly address in most situations.
For example, yesterday I had to drop papers off at someone’s office. The office smelled strongly of candles and perfume. I couldn’t leave…I had to wait for the person I was delivering the papers to. As a result of waiting and then having a conversation with that person for maybe ten minutes, I am now writing this with a massive headache and sore throat…oh and maybe my lungs feel fairly compressed. They had no idea and it wasn’t a situation I could control.
This is what Jade goes through on a daily basis once she is married off to Roan Diamond. She finds herself in these situations, whether she was put there by the Commander or it happened accidentally, and you see how she has to work through them. As you read, you’ll find her still functioning in these situations even though she is suffering. She doesn’t let it stop her because she can’t just stop what she’s doing because her body is reacting negatively to a trigger scent, but it has an affect on how she behaves, how she moves, and it’s draining emotional and physically.
This particular type of allergy is more common than society thinks, but because there’s no way around it and people just have to work through it, it’s not discussed as much, which is why I felt the need to include it in Jade’s story. I hope through this, people who suffer like her will know they aren’t alone and that their concerns are validated. I’ve spent far too much of my life being disregarded and told I was wrong for how my body reacted to things, and I never had anyone (outside of my immediate family who also has these allergies) to look to to understand that it wasn’t just me. It’s a real thing and I want people who go through it to know they aren’t alone.
Have you ever experienced something like this where people don’t believe you or tell you that you aren’t allowed to feel that way? Let me know what you go through and if it’s something people sympathize with or not. Maybe you’ll be the inspiration for a new book!