30 Days With Diabetes: Diabulimia Research

I’m not a stress eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I typically lose weight from “not eating.” Back in 2014, when I was commuting 5.5 hours per day to and from Baltimore and DC and nearing the end of a long-term relationship, I dropped down to 118 pounds (my lowest adult weight to date).

Fortunately now, the people closest to me know this about me and are great about checking me on this matter. So is diabetes. Before (and even after) I was diagnosed with Type 1, I struggled with a positive body image. I engaged in unhealthy behaviors, and although never diagnosed, I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder.

Even when diabetes came along, this was a hard habit to break. I ended up developing a binge eating disorder because I resented diabetes for not allowing me to indulge in certain foods anymore, and then I started omitting insulin so I wouldn’t gain weight from the binge eating. This is called “Diabulimia.” It’s something I’ve written about before on this blog.  Continue reading

It’s All Mental (Except When It Isn’t)

I’m 30. People said my metabolism would slow down the closer I got to this milestone. But it’s not just being 30. There’s something else I have to contest with – something called Type 1 diabetes.

I don’t have the energy I had when I was 22 or 25 or even 27. Something has changed in the past year. I’m exhausted all the time. I’m lucky when I can work out more than three times a week. Hell, I’m lucky when I can manage to do weights after a 10-hour work day.

Any kind of physical activity is a struggle. I want to be in shape. I don’t want to be overweight when I age, but over the last year, I’ve gained 10 pounds. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s hard for someone who used to have to body image issues to tell herself it’s okay I’m a little heavier. Continue reading

The Little Mermaid is My Favorite Disney Movie, and I Finally Figured Out Why

Ever since I saw The Little Mermaid as a young girl (it came out when I was two), I was immediately entranced. I dressed as a mermaid that Halloween and belted out “Part of Your World” on the daily.

But as I grew up and became more aware of feminism ideology, I started to feel shame for the love of a movie that seemed to completely go against that ideology. Here is a young princess with the underworld at her fin, and she decides to give up all of that, including her most prized possession—her voice—for a man she barely knows.

Yeah… it’s hard to reconcile that as an adult. But here’s the thing—that’s not what drew me to this film. I didn’t run around the house with an Eric doll pining for the day I could find my own Eric and be led into another world. No, I idealized Ariel for having the guts to leave everything behind to explore something new and find her sense of belonging.

Let me break it down. Here are the real reasons I love Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Continue reading

Tomorrow I Turn 30 and I Am Jumping For Joy

I am less than 24 hours from officially surviving the most heart wrenching, traumatizing, emotionally charged, tumultuous, unforeseeable, devastating decade of my life (Jane Austen would disapprove of that many adjectives).

Speaking of Jane, 10 years ago I was obsessed with the movie Becoming Jane (I also had a huge crush on James McAvoy, that is until his overdramatized portrayal of mental illness in Split). Like Austen’s character in the film, I wanted to experience a great love story but then spend my life dedicated to my writing (and writing six of the greatest novels in the English language couldn’t hurt either). Continue reading

Live Your Stars: My Tattoo for Creative Living

I’ve been thinking about my third tattoo for a few years now. Since I adopted the rose tattoo on my back in spring of 2011, I played around with the idea of having a few stars on the top of my foot. At first, I just thought the stars were beautiful. I loved my rose tattoo, a very traditional image but gorgeous nonetheless. But because these stars would be permanently attached to my body, in my opinion, they needed to have deeper meaning.

So what do the stars really represent?

Well, my favorite band is Stars. And lately I’ve become more intrigued with the known and unknown universe. I mean what does dark matter really encompass?

But more than that, when I was younger, and my parents were asked to pick a Disney song that represented me (the reason here is not relevant but let’s just say for fun), they chose, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” from Pinocchio. Why? Because they envisioned that one day, I would follow my dreams. Continue reading

Today I Bought a Scale

I recently bought a scale… to measure my weight… over time.

My former negative body image-self is terrified.

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But every time I come to grips with my single status again, I need something to focus on whether that be my writing, my work, or my fitness. Four months ago I started building muscle. I didn’t have much of a strategy. I just started lifting weights and varying my exercise routines.

And then I did gain muscle. I could feel definition in my biceps and abs. I could do things in yoga I’d never been able to do before, and I ran my fastest mile… ever. So I thought if I just put a little more thought and energy into it, I could actually be fit. Okay fitter.

But in order to do that I would need to start watching what I ate. I would need to start monitoring my fat and protein intake. I would need to start counting calories and checking my weight. I struggle with counting calories. I already have to watch my carb and sugar intake for my diabetes. I monitor my blood sugar constantly. Did I really want to add more to my daily math excursions?

Five Weeks

So I’m giving myself 5 weeks (only because after 5 weeks I’m taking my first week-long vacation in five years). See what I can accomplish with a strict regimen. I am a perfectionist after all. But that’s the catch. I have body image issues. I used to struggle with different types of eating disorders. I haven’t had a scale in my home in more than 10 years. The counting, the weighing – it encourages my obsession with an unrealistic body image.

Or at least it did. But it’s been 11 years since I’ve been that close to a scale. And I’m not doing this to lose weight. I’m doing this for my diabetes. I’m doing this for my physical being. I’m doing this for my health. I’m doing this for my mental and emotional well-being. I’m doing this for me not because I think I have to but because I want to. Continue reading

Taking a Break But Not Forever

Much has changed since I started this blog on September 11, 2013. My nonfiction grad school cohort can tell you how much I didn’t want to write about diabetes for my MFA thesis – the book that became the start to this blog. And in the six years since I’ve been diagnosed, I am still learning new things about myself with this disease.

I wanted to share those experiences with the world and contribute to a community of Type 1s. And maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I could manage life given this short end of the stick. What I didn’t expect when I started this blog back in 2013 was where it would take me and what kind of content my readers would inspire me to write.

I cannot tell you much I value your readership and support these past two years. You are the reason I keep this blog going. You are the reason I continue to write. And although this blog has kept me writing and contributing to this online community, I must now re-focus my priorities and take what little time I have to write to devote to other publishing opportunities. Continue reading

‘It’s All About Perspective’

More than a week ago, I was in Louisville, Kentucky for my 10-year high school reunion. In addition to that, I spent a wonderful extended weekend with family and friends celebrating birthdays and life’s successes. And all of this while sleeping on a cot (because like myself, my parents do not waste space — as soon as I left for college my old bedroom was turned into a bedroom for my brothers and then an office for my parents).

And although I may complain every time I visit about the sleeping accommodations and the fact that I lay exposed in the living or dining room, I am secretly proud of my parents for not keeping my bedroom as a shrine, for making the most of what they have.

But since that weekend, I have endured countless awful days of stress and anxiety. And I sank into a small depressive hole, questioning what I was doing with my life and why my personal and professional lives could not co-exist in the same city.

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Devastating News

That is until I learned one of my best friends was almost beaten to death on his bike over a cell phone. Suddenly my questions about a meaningful existence seemed irrelevant. Because all that mattered is that my best friend made it out okay. All that mattered was that someone I loved would survive this tragedy without too much scarring. Continue reading

All The Pretty Girls

It’s hard to feel pretty when I feel like my mouth is the size of a cantaloupe, and I can only chew my dinner on the left side of my jaw. Today I had three cavities filled. I’ve never had a cavity in my life (damn those childhood sealants, which apparently become traps for bacteria as an adult).

I should really stop going to the doctor. This year is the year of medical expenses. Every time I go, even for what I think is going to be a yearly check-up, they find something wrong with me. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of conspiracy, but when my dentist showed me the actual images of my cavity-filled teeth, I knew he wasn’t lying.

The procedure wasn’t as bad as I thought. The numbing shots didn’t hurt, and there weren’t any bad smells, but when I left the office, I was oddly self-conscious of my numb face, and the fact that if the side of my face started to droop, I probably wouldn’t notice. So I spent the 20-minute walk home trying to keep my lips shut and avoid any kind of conversation with passersby.

But how is this different from any other day? I have a 10-minute commute to and from work every day. I’m lucky in that DC sense. And every time I make that trek, I am oddly self-conscious. Are my headphones too loud? Can anyone see my underwear line? Can anyone see my lacy bra peeking out beneath my sleeveless top? Is that bulge beneath my pencil skirt obvious? Are there sweat stains beneath my bra line?

Yet even amongst all these questions, I’m oddly confident. I make that walk like I own the sidewalk, and I never look back. I’m aware of my figure, and how good I look in my pencil skirt. But do I ever notice anyone checking me out? No. Do I ever see people look at me? Yep. And I automatically think there must be something wrong with my wardrobe or my headphones aren’t plugged into my phone and everyone can hear my music. Continue reading

Why Life Isn’t A Failure (Even Though My Mood May Tell You Otherwise)

When my colleague knocked on my office door earlier this week, I could barely keep it together. As soon as she saw the tears and trembling lips, she opened her arms, and then asked what was wrong.

“I don’t know, I’ve been crying all morning, and I don’t even know why. It’s not like I’m hormonal right now.” I threw up my arms and started venting or whining as I often like to berate myself.

There were many reasons to cry, I had deduced, but they all pointed to one thing: I felt like an absolute failure – that I had failed my life, and there was no way to remedy it.

Here are the reasons why I thought my life was a complete failure: Continue reading