So here we are… The eve of a new year. I took the time to go back and read through some old entries, and it was strange to see the places I have been. If I had to give 2011 a word: Growth.
I took a creative leap and it worked out. Lost the longest friendship of my life, in the most ridiculously drawn out way. But I gained allies and friends I never could have imagined. Got into a “real” college, back out on a deposit. Got a partial scholarship to a different school, and many months later the full ride. I’ve always had that second choice luck, and I’m thankful. Graduated from community college. Worried about my grandmother. Went on a disaster date. Listened to tons and tons of Adele, even though it wasn’t necessary. Spent tons of time in the sun with friends. Switched to Maroon 5 music. Contemplated, but what else is new? Started a new university. Met new people, some I love some I can’t stand. Worried about my mother. Put a disease I used to hide in the middle of my art work. Finished a semester with a GPA I can be proud of, even if it’s not my best. Relaxed. Ready to begin a new year…
When I take that all in. I’m impressed. Contrary to the self absorbed nature of blogging, in real life I HATE talking about myself. Even if I’m confident in a talent, my knowledge, my character, I wouldn’t say so. But this place is all mine, even if others get to read it. So I’ll say it. I’m proud. I couldn’t have foreseen the things I faced, but I handled them. I made it through, with my head high. I struggled, but I survived. I had great highs for every low. It was a good year and I’m hoping for another. So here’s to that!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
*Firework – Katy Perry
I was so ready to write a post about how much I hate being my own advocate, until a brief conversation between friends a last weekend.
One of my friends told me she thought she had diabetes because a friend of hers was experiencing symptoms that she too could relate to. Of course they learned all of this from Dr. Google. It opened up an unexpected discussion about how people freak out about diabetes (typically Type II) and automatically equate diabetes to sugar. We talked about symptoms, how sick Type I’s get before diagnosis, and dealing with it all.
On a regular basis I encounter people who are misinformed. With that typical old school diabetes = “watching your sugar” attitude. I try to keep things simple by saying that there are two main types. Type II being the most common that has to do with insulin resistance, usually due to weight. Type I, an autoimmune disease that requires insulin for survival, typically diagnosed in childhood. When they say stupid things, and I feel like we’ve heard it all as people with diabetes, I just say, “No, that’s probably what you’ve heard, but it’s not true.”
I have enough information about diabetes in my brain that I don’t have to study for the carbohydrate chapter in my nutrition class. I know the role insulin plays in digestion without reading a book, but I am aware that most people don’t care the same way I do.
It’s all about finding the balance. I don’t want to be “Diabetes Jillian”. I don’t want to be the annoying ever-advocate, living with diabetes is enough work, but I also want people to know that there is a lot of misinformation out there. I try to keep it simple, but I usually end up feeling like I could have said or done more.
Someone needs to create a little business card that has the top 5 diabetes myths demystified, so we can all just hand them out when people say something so incredibly wrong about diabetes.
Here’s my Top 5:
- There are more than two types of diabetes, and the most common types are very different. Neither has a cure.
- Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that requires constant monitoring and insulin therapy.
- Type II Diabetes isn’t caused by over consumption of sugar. It’s about insulin resistance, which can be caused by various things like excess body weight and genetics.
- We count CARBS, not SUGAR.
- Type I Diabetes is a job, a lifestyle, and a mindset. Just because you don’t see me managing it every minute of the day, doesn’t mean there isn’t complicated management going on. I’m doing the work of a vital organ with my brain and imperfect technology.
What’s your top 5?
Who wants to make the handouts?
Basket Case – Sara Bareilles
Three weeks ago, one of my closest friends (L) lost her grandmother. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for quite some time. I only had the pleasure of knowing her after the disease had taken over, but of the few times I was in her presence I could tell she was such a sweet person with a smile that could light up a room. It’s so strange what a disease like Alzheimer’s does. For all that the disease took from her memory and her body, it left something as simple as her longtime passion for dance.
I’ve never had anyone close to me pass away. When it happened I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. My friend is the sweetest person, after attending her grandmother’s memorial service I know where she got her kind heart, and I knew she needed my support. I immediately knew I had to find a way to show it to her. So I did what I do best, plan and organize. I got three of our friends who are in school here (the rest are too far to come to home on short notice) to attend the memorial service.
The service was nice and the tone of it was very much like my friend’s family, loving and heartfelt but not too serious. I cried a lot. I found myself trying to think of puppies and candy to make the tears stop, but it didn’t work. The hardest part was when my friend went up to the altar to sign a song while her sister sang. She looked out, saw us sitting there, and began to cry. In that my tears were no longer for Grandma Betty, they were for L and the bond we have and the trials we’ve gone through together recently.
After the service she came up to us and collapsed in my arms. I’ve never felt like I was in the right place, doing the right thing, more than at that moment. She told us that she had been fine, and then it hit her. I’m glad that I was there to hold her up.
I have a friend who told me recently that the length of life scares her. To be honest, I agree that growing up is scary. Grandma Betty’s death is a prime example of that fact. It’s amazing that there was a person, and then there just wasn’t. Memories remain in the form of beautiful words written in journals read by her children to a church full of loved ones. Her spirit lives on, but life moves on. We live, learn, loose. Here today, gone tomorrow. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I should take the time to enjoy it all.
Never Know – Jack Johnson
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
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