Can you smell that?

I met a person who was born with anosmia, or the lack of smell and taste. My mind automatically felt bad for her and I asked how she dealt with such an inconvenience. I tried to ask her in an unconcerning way, but I guess she read the worry on my face.

“I really didn’t see anything wrong with me. It wasn’t until the other other girls in middle school started asking me if I approved of a certain perfume” she told me “then I realized that I was missing something. So I started to study people’s reaction to different smells and tried to copy what they did”

“What about food? Do you get bored of eating?” I asked, still perplexed that somebody could suffer from such an illness and be nonchalant about it.“I can’t taste the food but I go for the texture. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods!” And with that she changed the topic.

We kept conversing but my mind stayed on that same topic. I wanted to find a parallel experience so I could understand this tragedy. And then it hit me! I could relate with her. I knew exactly how she felt. Hers was a medical “defect” but mine was a societal one. My story goes something like this: My first attraction was towards my same gender. I didn’t see anything wrong with it until my friends started to talk about girls the way I felt about boys. Like my anosmatic friend, I realized something was missing and I learned to go through the motions as to not make waves. Little did I know that the road to self acceptance was going to be long and tedious. What made this journey bearable and beautiful was that I wasn’t going to go through it alone. But maybe that was the whole point.