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
Enjoy not knowing where life is going to take you.
Apparently I said this a few years back. I have no recollection, but often when I am giving advice to others (as I imagine most of us do), I say things I would never say to myself. And only recently have I learned to value all that I want to contribute and give to those around me and the world.
I don’t expect to be famous or rich. It’s never the life I envisioned for myself, but I always imagined I would give something back even if to those I didn’t even notice. That’s already happening. We are each impacting people we hardly know, maybe even people we’ve never met. We will never know the impact we’ve had, but we should learn to value that unknown impact. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with us.
Maybe we have characteristics and personalities that do not mingle with this society or its system? But that does not make us wrong. In fact, throughout most of history, that makes us visionaries. And I am not including anything that violates human rights or life itself. I am talking about those of us who maybe don’t fit in with the life society has drummed up for us. But we’re not backing down. We’re taking a different path. Continue reading
Today a doctor put a scalpel to the skin beneath my left bicep. She removed another birth control method, the last I will try for a while. And although the implant was the best I’ve had, after about six months, it interfered with a cycle that should come natural, and the consequences no longer seemed worth it.
Oh the things we women must endure.
But this isn’t just about reproductive rights for women. It’s about the child I am not ready to bring into this world. I am a Type 1 diabetic. I would not take reproduction lightly normally, but with a chronic disease that could do irreparable developmental damage if I’m not monitoring it carefully enough, I especially do not take it lightly.
After the application of a burning numbing agent, the doctor pierced my skin and opened the wound. I watched with a side view anxious to have this hole repaired. I knew I was making the right decision for myself and my body but I couldn’t help but be abhorred by the whole procedure. What was I doing to myself?
She used her gloved fingers to dig around beneath the skin, and what seemed like seconds turned into minutes. How big is this thing? She asked for help from her assistant. Is it stuck inside me? Will I never be free of this thing that can’t be more than the size of a blunt razor blade? But then I realized she was removing scar tissue from the implant. After all, it had been in my body for almost a year.
And then it was out. As thin as a paper clip, it was no bigger than my pinky finger. And to think of all the hassle that tiny strip caused. Incredible. Continue reading
I recently bought a scale… to measure my weight… over time.
My former negative body image-self is terrified.
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?
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
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
I would feel better if you were a man and as independent as you are.
I stand in line at Reagan National, waiting to board my Southwest plane to Dallas. It was 40-degrees when I left my apartment this morning, but I dress plainly in jeans, my favorite color blotted flats, and a pink vintage t-shirt. In the fluorescent light, passersby can see my pale pink bra underneath. I fold my black jacket in my arms while my backpack pushes against the bar separating me from the boarding line to the gate attendant behind me.
A middle aged woman with blond waves next to me looks down at my right hand and smiles.
“Oh that’s interesting,” she says, pointing to my mood ring, now an Ohio River green. When I bought it in a thrift store in Louisville, I picked it out for its design (and I have always had a thing for mood rings – the bracelet on my left hand, which I stole from my mom, always emanates two mood stones with a pearl stone in the middle). I didn’t realize until later that the ring’s intricate silver design was in the shape of a dolphin. Who doesn’t love dolphins?
“It’s pretty,” she clarifies. I smile and say thanks. I acknowledge my normal reception to her intersection into my life. Usually I’m awkward, uttering a mild something or try to force a half-smile. But I’m finally leaving this DC life and heading towards the 80-degree, sunny weather of Dallas, where distant family also reside. I am happy even if tired from a 7 a.m. Saturday wake-up call. Continue reading
It should be amazing to me that in the six years since I’ve been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and the four years I’ve been involved in the sustainability movement, I have yet to read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a classic for environmental health advocacy. This is the book that catapulted events leading to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the ban on the production of DDT (the effects of this chemical are sadly still with us today).
And yet it was published in 1962 by a woman. That was more than 50 years ago, and I admit Carson might appreciate that we have taken her words to heart, but she would probably be disappointed with the amount of toxic chemicals that still plague our homes and health statuses.
Even though my chronic disease is “autoimmune,” my body showed no evidence of this fact. And even though my doctors tell me it’s probably genetic, I have no family history. The media and scare over the diabetes epidemic would have you believe it’s my fault, but I’ve always taken good care of myself and have always been in good health until six years ago. Continue reading