getting poison oak

We like to think that nature is our friend. It recharges us after toiling in front of a computer all week. We like seeing cute little bunnies or beautiful vistas out there. We breathe the fresh air and begin to innocently believe that things are going to be okay. It is often around that time that we start to notice a slight itch on our forearm. 

First, we pass it off as a mosquito bite or a harmless little rash of some kind. But then it persists. We start noticing other places that itch....BAD. And now there are little bumps. Within a day or two, we start to develop an unsightly and excruciating red, oozy rash that lasts for weeks on end.

Nature has betrayed us. Like a venus flytrap, it has lured us into a trance with its staggering beauty, only to bite us in the ass...or the eyelid....or much, much worse...

An innocent desire to go off-trail to commune more deeply with God's creation has backfired. 

Then, the blame starts. "Fucking dog must have given it to me." Or, "Fucking budget cuts. Now they aren't maintaining those trails very well and they are getting overgrown with poison oak." 

We turn on ourselves. "Don't I wash my hands like twenty times a day? What kind of filthy person am I? I guess I'm one of those overly-sensitive, allergic types that needs to bathe in Tecnu after every brief encounter with the natural world." 

Then we have to deal with the disempowerment of letting people know that we can't be touched for a couple of weeks or they will get a nasty red rash on their bodies too. "I could really use some support right now...just don't express your compassion with touch."

Dealing with the rash is also disempowering. When we're adults, we don't like to walk around with crusty pink splotches of calamine lotion dried to our skin. Scratching ourselves constantly doesn't really project success or confidence either.

Then there's the insecurity of not knowing where the oils originated. Spraying rubbing alcohol on every surface that our person has come into contact with over the past few days becomes an obsession. There is truly no way to confirm that we've found the source and eliminated it. We have to live in fear.

Even our own limbs betray us. What we thought was the most convenient tool for scratching ourselves becomes an insidious implement to spread the oak oil far and wide...."That is just a normal itch on my crotch, right?" We always try to bargain with reality for a few minutes.

No. It's not a normal itch. The worst has happened. That is such a special moment of disempowerment...when you discover that the incessantly itchy and unsightly, oozing red rash has infiltrated your genitalia.

All efforts to feel pleasure for the next few weeks will be thwarted.

Disempowerment is rampant.