by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Charmissa Edmun, a 35-year-old financial counselor for a Texas univeristy and single mother of three, has a literally deadly addiction of chewing on lavender dryer sheets. She says her habit came from growing up around her mother chewing tissue. Her choice of scent — or better stated, flavor — comes from the fact that her grandmother’s house always smelled of lavender. Hence, the scent has a soothing and comforting effect on her. Edmun’s habit included chewing lavender soap which then branched into her current 4 year addiction of chewing lavender dryer sheets.
Edmun consumed dryer sheets similar to how heavy smokers consume cigarettes. She chewed up to 8 sheets a day, 2 boxes a week. She describes her dryer sheet chewing experience “[as] somewhat tangy, almost related to citrus. The scent is soft…[I use it] just like chewing gum. I chew it and spit it out.” She proceeded to share with ABC News, “I justify it to, you know, people smoke. I’m not doing crack, you know, I’m thinking…I’m not doing an illegal drug, you know….I’m not an alcoholic. So surely this can’t, you know, be that harmful.”
After seeing her youngest daughter begin to put tissue in her mouth and chew it, that is when she realized she had to stop. Edmun then took her case to TLC’s “My Strange Addiction.” It was at this point that she was told by a doctor the negative health effects of chewing dryer sheets. The doctor shared that some of the chemicals are actually carcinogens that can cause “anything from pancreatic cancer to lung cancer.” ABC News reports that thanks to TLC and support from Edmun’s family, it has been three and a half weeks since Charmissa has chewed on dryer sheets.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.