Self Reflection with a Taste for Chocolate


photo by Casey Keal

When I was a child, I was allergic to dairy and chocolate.  Or at least that’s what the doctor said.  I couldn’t drink milk, but half and half didn’t bother me in small amounts.  I wasn’t allowed to have chocolate as it was believed that this contributed to me having asthma attacks.  So until I was a teenager, chocolate is not something I really got to eat.  My candies consisted of rock candy, peppermints, taffy now and then, and at Christmas my mom would make divinity.  I still love divinity.

  At the age of three years old and just after I had endured the chicken pox, I was signed up for allergy shots.  I still remember this vividly.  I can describe the doctor’s office, the way it was set up, the murals on the walls and the fact that during the “scratch test” they had my mom go sit in the waiting room while they tortured me.  Ha.  I remember too jumping down off the bed, running up the hallway, ducking under trays, hopping over the scales, dodging the nurse, only to get to the door and not be able to reach the handle and pull it down to unlatch it.  I screamed and banged on the door as loud as I could, but they must’ve had some major sound proofing in there because my mom did not rescue me.  I was picked up and taken back to my room where I was put under house arrest and forced to endure the rest of the tests, and then take a breathing treatment for good measure. 

  It was determined I needed at least two allergy shots per week, plus breathing treatments and my mom (brave soul) agreed that she would be the one administering them at home.  This was not an easy task as for at least two years I fought like the devil was trying to kill me each and every time my parents tried to give me a shot.  Twice a week my brother would chase me and get me cornered, my dad would grab me and hold me down and mom would stab me in the arm with the needle.  I look back on this now and realize how incredibly hard that must’ve been for them. 

  Somewhere along the way I decided that I could handle anything if I could see it coming.  I sat down and told my dad this and he listened carefully to a five-year old reason out why this would work.  He respected me and much to the surprise of everyone else in the house, just called me when it was time to give the shot.  I came and sat down on his lap, because I was too short for mom to give it comfortably with me just on the chair.  Mom looked at him and then at me, there were questions in her eyes, but she didn’t voice them.  She rubbed my arm with the alcohol swab then said, “You might want to look away.”

 I said, “No, Mommy, I can handle it if I can see it coming.”

 I could tell she was nervous and my dad was sitting quietly, he whispered in my ear, “You can do it, Cherry, just don’t fight it because if you do, you could get hurt.”

 I watched her give me the shot and it stung, but it didn’t hurt.  I didn’t cry, I didn’t flinch, it was over and done with and it wasn’t bad at all.  I hugged my mom, kissed my dad and went off to play.

 How many times in life have I learned this same lesson?  That running, fighting and struggling against something doesn’t solve anything, in fact it just makes things harder for everyone involved, can cause me to get hurt along the way, not to mention the whole process is not as beneficial because I’m so stressed and tensed up that nothing is learned or absorbed the way it should be. 

 I was five years old then, but I have held true to the thought that I can handle anything if I can see it coming.  Now life doesn’t always play fair, after all there might be some hints along the way, but you can’t see everything coming ahead of time.  So, then it also becomes an exercise in faith and trust in yourself that you can and will handle everything that is tossed your way.  You get to decide how and if you will live a life of reacting to things, or if you will learn to go with the flow, adjust and keep on moving. 

 Many times I’ve let fear of something hold me back.  In the end, in every single instance, it has become clear that fear is a warning, but you don’t have to let it control your life or your dreams.  In fact, as in the case of taking the shots, fear, once faced, dissipates and simply falls away of its own accord. 

 So then flash-forward to the current time and the question I have now for myself, and for you, is this:

IF you are serious about your dreams and you REALLY want the things you say you want, THEN are you doing everything possible to make them happen?  If not, why not?  What is holding you back?  Is it an underlying fear of the unknown?  That’s a perfectly human response, yet it is also one that will decide the outcome of your life.  So, then join me in asking yourself, “What is my life worth to me?”

 Then take a moment and think about where you’ve been, and all the things you’ve been through already.  You handled each and everything that was tossed your way on this journey.  Sometimes you handled things better than others, but life is learning process every step of the way.  What’s important is to keep moving forward.  Just remember, “You can do it, just don’t fight it or you could get hurt.”

 Step back and take a look at the choices that are available to you right at this moment.  There are always choices and those choices lead to more choices.  There are no bad choices, only different one’s that lead in different directions and as long as you keep this in mind, then should you wind up making a choice that you don’t like, you can always change the direction by making a better one. 

 By the way, after I stopped fighting the shots, I began to respond much better to the treatments.  Within about six months I went from two shots a week to one, and with another year to twice a month, then once a month, then wound up not needing the shots anymore.  The last major asthma attack I had was at the age of 14.  Along the way I also learned to listen intently to my body and realize when I am getting too tired, when my lungs feel stressed and when I need to back off before I start getting sick.  I’ve learned to eat healthier, exercise more, keep weight down and take time to relax and rejuvenate.  I am very thankful to still be here and still have more choices and new opportunities each and every day. 

 Cherry Coley ©

2 thoughts on “Self Reflection with a Taste for Chocolate

  1. Marcia, Thank you so much for sinhrag your mother with us- she is so very beautiful. It makes me want to write about my mother who is a beautiful lady also. It seems that their generation had (and still have) so much class! That’s very rare indeed these days!

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