Archive | February, 2011

So we can dance the war. I’ll let you lead, but let me take control.

28 Feb

So here it is. The essay that has almost 15 years worth of inspiration behind it. Unfortunately, I was limited to 3 pages and strict question about an issue that is personal, local, national, or international its importance to me and how I will use my time at the university as well as my future goals. A lot of the points I wanted to make about diabetes had to be left out to answer the entire prompt fully. (I’ve edited a bit out about the University to maintain privacy.) I think it’s an appropriate post today after Kerri’s wonderful one about getting the diabetes word out, outside of our community. I can only hope it makes it to the admissions office on time and that they deem it worthy of a full scholarship after I go to the accompanying interview. Only time will tell if this entire dream will come true…

There are a whole host of issues that should concern global citizens today. One in particular has been close to my heart for nearly fifteen years. I am living with Type I Diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic illness that has become one of the many growing international health epidemics. According to the World Health Organization between 2009 -2011, an estimated 220 million people were living with diabetes around the world, compared to just 33 million with HIV/AIDS. I feel that it is imperative to raise awareness about this demanding and deadly disease. It is my hope that the time I spend at the University, both in and outside of the classroom, prepares me for a future that allows me to merge my personal story and skills with the ability to help others.

It has been nearly one hundred years since Sir Frederick Banting discovered insulin. That medical breakthrough has saved millions from prolonged suffering and death, but the many complications of diabetes still remain a leading cause of death. In America and many other places around the world the medications needed to treat diabetes are either unavailable or too expensive. I recently read an article about a woman in a developing country who did not know how long she had had Type I Diabetes, but who suffered from blindness and required amputation because she was only diagnosed recently. These kinds of stories are not unique to far away countries.

Although the medications and information are available to treat diabetes, there are American people who must decide everyday whether they can pay bills, put meals on the table, and still take care of their diabetes. There are also people who refuse to care for themselves even though they have the resources. Diabetes is such an individual disease, not only are there different types, but each person has their own diabetes story. From my own experience, I know that growing up and living with diabetes is a tremendous challenge. In a way I am lucky. I am living with Type I Diabetes, something that may not have been possible had I been born in some other place or at a completely different time.

When I was diagnosed in 1996, at the age of five, the burden of diabetes hit my family incredibly hard. My parents were forced to become caregivers in a way that they had never imagined. They had no experience and very little knowledge of the disease, because until very recently, no one really talked about diabetes. In an instant, they had a daughter who required constant monitoring, injections, a special diet, and emotional support for the scary new disease that had taken over my body. Had there been an emphasis on diabetes awareness at the time, I think that getting through those rough first years may have been less overwhelming.

As a child I was fearful, I would beg and plead not to go through the required testing and injections for diabetes management. In time, I graduated to managing things semi-independently. Like most adolescents, I did not always get things right. It was a combination of rebellion of the body and the mind. It is not easy to be a teen with diabetes. As my diabetes got more difficult to control, I settled for poor management. I found myself fighting again, this time my body and my doctor’s advice. Eventually, I found support from others with diabetes, and I decided that managing my diabetes needed to be a priority. I learned the power of sharing the truth of the disease was the best way to battle it, and in turn, I experienced a diabetes metamorphosis. Even though I am doing well now, I continue to worry that complications will eventually catch up with me.

It might seem as though the most obvious way for me to have an impact in the fight against diabetes would be for me to become a doctor, who works with patients with diabetes, or a researcher, who works to find a cure. But my talents lie elsewhere. Instead, I plan to attend the University and study Studio Art. I expect to further my understanding of my own craft, learning to push boundaries and share compelling stories through art. Art is about vision, something that is also important in the diabetes community because one of the most common complications of diabetes is blindness. With the knowledge and skills I hope to gain, I plan to help others.

I know that giving back and a dedication to service are a huge part of the University community. While I attend the University, I want to participate in student service organizations like H.E.A.L  and the Photography Club, which I feel will blend my desire to educate about public health and also my love of art. These groups will be an outstanding foundation for my future goals of advocacy. Diabetes is a war; it leaves broken, bruised, and amputated bodies behind. For me, the only way to fight diabetes is awareness, and I believe that art is a perfect way to do it.

I want to shed a light on the millions affected by diabetes worldwide. Not only do I want to document the disease, but I also want to encourage others to express themselves and their struggles through art. The fact is, important moments of history can all be traced back to compelling imagery, so why not capture the way this disease ravages the people living with it as a means of bringing attention to it. It is my goal to show the world what it is like to live with diabetes through any media available.

There is a common conversation that occurs after a person is diagnosed with diabetes, especially children with Type I. It is a discussion of the future, including career possibilities, to which diabetes can be a roadblock. Advocate is not a profession on that list. I am certain that the University is the right place to continue to grow and learn about service, social responsibility, and my role in the global community.

Carried You – Justin Nozuka

I believe in Peter Pan and miracles, and anything I can to get by

20 Feb

I got into college! My first choice, but I’m only half way there. I still have to submit a portfolio to declare my major. I also have to wait to hear about my financial aid package. I’m still working on an essay for my second choice school. It’s about Diabetes as a global/local/personal issue and art as a means for advocacy and awareness. When it’s submitted I’ll post it here, I think.

In other news, growing up sucks. I’ve always been the type with only a few close friends, and that’s never been a problem until lately. When a few drift away, it’s easily noticed. I’m kind of alone and it’s weird. It’s a learning process. I’m trying to branch out, but I that’s not exactly my style. Life is simpler when you only keep a few people close (she says as she writes about her problems on the internet).

*Fireflies – Faith Hill

I could really use a wish right now*

7 Feb

Well, where were we?

Kerri’s has a wonderful post about PostSecret. There are tons of wonderful and raw anonymous comments about living with Diabetes. I shared mine there anonymously, but I’ll post it here too:

“Most days I’m okay with living with Type 1. But I hate that I’m only 19 and one of my biggest fears is whether or not Diabetes will prevent me from being a mom. I should be thinking about parties and boys!”

In other news. I’m doing pretty well with school. I just need to buckle down with study time. I’ve only got two academic classes and I definitely haven’t been dedicating my time appropriately to the required reading. I’m loving studio art for the most part, although drawing is very very frustrating. I’m learning Photoshop! Here’s my first creation: Duck Family Portrait.

I can’t wait to see where this semester takes me. There are so many opportunities for growth and learning. Things are a little up and down for me. I’ve been struggling a bit with adjusting to not seeing my friends and making new ones, but I think it will all be okay. It’s good practice for next year.

 

Here’s my favorite Super Bowl commercial:

 

*Airplanes – B.o.B. Featuring Haley Williams

Can’t be your savior, I don’t have the power*

6 Feb

The following is a message to a friend. I don’t have the energy to handle this situation yet, so I’m posting it here where it’s unlikely to be read by more than a few people. Comments Closed.

 

Here’s the thing. I really don’t want to stir the pot. I feel like we are in a semi-good place, however forced or fake it may be on both sides. But I can’t keep these things to myself. I want to be able to deal with my problems not bottle them up.

First, let me say that I’m happy you seem to be focusing on school and realizing how important it is for your future. I’m proud of you for that. I also want to say I think it’s good that it seems like your mom has come around a bit to your relationship, although these are just assumptions since I hardly speak to you. But I know that I need to say some things for my own sake since you’ve had no problem calling me out and hurting me in the past.

To put it simply you have really hurt a lot of people recently and I’m sick of making excuses for you. I’m only going to speak for myself here though. I still don’t understand where all your bitterness came from in our last conversation (message). I can’t believe that you would think so poorly of me. I wish I could say that you probably said those things out of anger and in the heat of the moment, but we both know that there is truth in everything a person says. So I’ll take the bitter pill you’ve given me and swallow it, even though I disagree with much of what you accused me of. I know who I am, I know what I stand for, and my intentions, and if you don’t that’s totally fine.

I want to tell you that certain actions have felt like a slap in the face for me. It feels so elementary school to even bring this up. I don’t know what your intentions were with your two most recent profile pictures, but your captions hurt. The timing was not coincidental to what you and I were going through, although I’m sure our other friends were spun into that too. I recognize that I have not been the best of friends to you, or risen to your standards, but it was completely unnecessary from my perspective. In this case your actions and words spoke very loudly.

I find it so hard to deal with us when we have good moments because I feel like they are fake and forced and just glossing over real issues so no one is uncomfortable. It’s what’s easy for us, how we’ve always handled things. We left everything so up in the air with our last discussion. I’ve been telling myself that I’m totally okay with riding out this semester and then just calling it quits because it feels like there really is no saving us. I don’t want to face that fact, but it feels so inevitable. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I just needed to say it. I don’t want to fight or cry or get bitchy. I can’t any more. I’m going to have to let go. It’s just so hard.

 

Circle The Drain – Katy Perry

Are you listening to a single word I’ve said?*

4 Feb

I’ve been thinking about something. I’m always shocked when people use different words for the same thing. Regional and familial terminology is fascinating, I mean hey there is a whole genre of chain emails related to it. I know that I have a few things I’ve taken from my mom’s central Pennsylvania upbringing and a few others that I’ve picked up from other people. Here are a few examples:

  • What do you call that fizzy drink in a can/bottle?

I call it soda. My friend from Nebraska calls it pop.

  • How about the way your skin feels when you are chilly or you hear someone sing a great song on American Idol?

Goosebumps! I’ve also heard: Chicken skin & goose pimples.

  • Another weird one. The thing that holds your hair style in place?

I call it a rubber band. I’ve heard: Ponytail, ponytail holder, and hair tie.

Here’s my favorite….

  • Those little crusty bits that form in the corners of your eyes while you sleep?

I call them sleepers. Alternates: Sleepies, crispies, sandies, eye boogers.

Have you ever encountered a term for something that has just caught you off guard? You’d just never thought someone would call it that.

I think one day I’ll record my funny pronunciations. Did you know that orange is pronounced with an Rrr? Well, at least that’s how I say it!

*Wordplay – Jason Mraz

Oh what a day is today*

1 Feb

Near perfect!

Ingrid Michaelson – “Oh What A Day