Proceed Anyway

When I first experienced bullying in middle school, I sought my dad for advice. He told me to focus on my studies, ignore them, laugh in the face of criticism (that will throw them for a loop, he said, and it did) and above all, never doubt myself and keep on going.

A few months ago, my life took a sour turn. Every week I learned of news that would inevitably upend my personal and professional paths. How much worse could it get? And then, it got worse, so much so I felt I had become an expert at grieving.

Each week, I processed a new set of emotions – some for the loss of things and some for the emptiness that loss left behind. I was tired of being sad. So, one day, I came home from work, made myself a martini and started dancing and laughing in the kitchen. Take that life bully. If I had seemingly lost everything, then it meant I had nothing to lose and therefore could do whatever I wanted. My foundation was crumbling but that just meant I could build something new. Continue reading

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Have Some Self-Compassion This January

January has always been a difficult month for me. With less sun and warm days and days off to look forward to, it’s easy to fall into a depressed state. I’ve been sleeping a lot more, and I have less energy to do the things I love.

The difference this year is I acknowledge it’s January (so simple, right?), and I know where my lack of energy is stemming from. For the next three weeks of the month, now that I’ve recovered from the holidays, I am making a commitment to write every day (not necessarily on this blog). It doesn’t have to be much — yesterday, I wrote two sentences — and it can take the form of any medium.

But I hope by making this commitment to myself, I can keep the winter blues at bay and find some fulfillment on the most challenging days. Sometimes, a little self-compassion and confidence can go a long way.

A few months ago, I was feeling a bit lost on my personal and professional paths. I was being particularly hard on myself for getting wrapped up in what I called “failed initiatives.” I had put myself out there, and I felt rejected. So, taking a cue from Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer when it comes to self-compassion (she wrote the book on it), I wrote a letter to myself, from the perspective of a close friend (I’ve included an excerpt below). Continue reading

Traveling Alone

August was a difficult month, for many reasons. I told one of my best friends recently: I feel like I’ve lost myself. I’ve been pushing myself for so hard for so long I’ve forgotten what makes me happy.

Last week, I learned about the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival, which took place Saturday. A friend and I (both avid readers) decided to check it out. It was madness. I couldn’t believe the crowds and felt proud to be among such a city of nerds.

And I remembered how much I love to learn, whether that’s about the sting acceleration of a jellyfish (up to 5 million g) or the divided friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I may feel a little astray right now, but when it comes to learning and exploring something new, I am never lost.  Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Almost

I was about to go to bed when I realized I haven’t posted today. I’m on Day 27 – it would be almost comical to miss a day now.

But the truth is I’m tired of talking about my diabetes. Yes, I have a book and a blog devoted to it. And yes, I live it every day, but if this series has taught me anything, it’s that I am more than my diabetes.

For years after I was diagnosed, I was terrified to try new things. Just this past year, I went whitewater rafting for the first time. And I recently got my passport renewed because I’m considering traveling abroad again. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Sometimes I Don’t Want To

Tonight, I decided I would take the night off – from work, freelance, writing, social obligations and yes, even diabetes. I noticed the tape holding my continuous glucose monitor sensor on was coming off and made a mental note to replace that tape so I could make it through the next two days until I changed my sensor (this is attached to my butt, by the way).

So rather than work out when I got home or prepare for a date or a social excursion with a friend, I had a glass of bourbon and watched one of my favorite films, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was a most enjoyable evening. Norm even joined and slept through the festivities for a bit.

Because sometimes as much as I know I need to reflect on things or re-evaluate the priorities in my life, I need a break. I need a night where I can just be. To be honest, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and even though I constantly question the point to this existence, I want to enjoy it. And if I can’t find joy during the most tumultuous times, I know I won’t survive. So even when I’m at my worst, I look for those little glimpses of joy and remember that I can be happy, wherever I may be and whatever disease I may carry.  Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: This Is Your Life Now

Last night, I almost broke down in tears – the first of many signs that I’m stressed, maxed out and putting undue pressure on myself. It’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least.

A little more than nine years ago, I also felt broken. I was preparing to graduate college, move out on my own and start working full-time. And then I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

While lying in a hospital bed next to syringes and vials of saline solution (for practice), I remember telling my mom how much I had on my plate and that I didn’t have time for “this” – this being my newfound life partner, diabetes. In so many words, my mom replied: “Tracy, this is your life now. You can’t ignore it.”  Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Why I Talk About It

I didn’t use to talk about my diabetes. I figured folks didn’t want to hear about it. I also didn’t want it to become a part of my every day.

But when I started this blog, I realized it is a part of my every day. No, it’s not my only identity and as someone so recently reminded me: it is not the most interesting thing about me.

I am more than Type 1 diabetes. I have 22 years that confirm this. By talking about it, I help to educate others about its existence and effects, but the truth is I write and talk about it to feel less alone. Continue reading