In respect to filmography, what are probably two of my most favorite scenes are: Cher's observations to her friend Tai, about Monet paintings, in the movie "Clueless"; and Cameron's enthrallment with the little girl in Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," in the movie "Ferri's Bueller's Day Off."
These two scenes loosely mold a certain view I hold about life: Upon close examination, our lives are one, big, muddy mess; only from a distance, can we truly appreciate the elaborate works of art they have become -- black splotches and all. Just because we can't see the big picture now, does not mean there isn't one.
This week has been no different, for me.
The fact is, the diabetic online community painted a pretty big canvas, this week. Some used dark, somber, depressing hues. Some used vibrant, optimistic shades. In the end, we formed something. A message, quite loud, and clear. Emotions, and watercolors were mixed, and something out there... was soon formed... that when I step back, it's quite the masterpiece.
Diabetics are TIRED...
- Of fear mongering, population targeting, and misinformation in the media: Yes, non-communicable health conditions are dangerous, and they need a certain level of awareness; NO, they don't benefit from overly inflated, statistical research, aimed at scaring to death, targeting, humiliating, and laying blame on certain populations. This kind of environment only engenders animosity, a lack of empathy, and persecution, as well as breeding depression in those affected.
- Of the same, stereotypical, awareness figures: Yes, diabetes can affect an aging, overweight population... But it can affect everyone else, as well! So many of us are NOT old, or overweight. Many of us are young, active, healthy, athletes even. (Yes, even many Type 2s!) Why not showcase people who have worked WONDERS in spite of diabetes? People who can garner our pride, and our motivation? People who are not clueless, but veterans at this game.
- Of the same, stereotypical, awareness messages: Diabetics don't need to follow a 60% carbohydrate diet, in order to do well. Diabetics can be low carbers, vegans, moderate eaters, athletes who consume even more carbohydrates than this. We come in all shapes, and sizes, and we don't live by a chart... We live by what our glucose meters tell us! The sheer mention of a new diabetes cookbook out there really enrages most diligent diabetics... because we KNOW it's a lot of bunk. There's no such thing as a diabetic diet, and there are so many stupid notions out there to even recap in this little post (like that everything needs to be low fat), that I won't even go there.
- Of the insincere profiting from our disease: Of cheesy product marketing, cook books, miracle cures, and scam artists. Of medications and treatments that cost an arm and a leg, accessories that cost an arm and a leg, and tools that are kept from folks who need them because only those who are privileged to good health insurance, or a good income, can access.
- Of the FDA: Famous for slowing down progress in what many deem as necessary advances, and tools in our community, yet the fast trackers of so many dangerous drugs, at the same time. Oh, why, FDA, must you not advance progress on something like a more accurate blood glucose meter... but you are eager to fast track yet another drug before we are fully ascertained of all it's risks in a certain population? (You know, this didn't use to be like this... I guess back in the 80s we complained the slowness of medication approval killed people... I can see it in certain diseases, etc, but I'm not so sure the dangers outweigh the risks, in diabetes. If Victoza sucks... it's no one's fault but Novo Nordisk's, and the FDA's.)
- Of the constant social equation behind having Diabetes:
- Diabetes needs psycho-social support. It's one of those conditions that just incredibly grips at the heart of where we are the most connected to one another -- the social connections and moments that, though sometimes centered around food, nourish our souls and our relationships.
- Of just the entire need to JUSTIFY ourselves, and who we are, and what we are to outsiders. The road to self acceptance, and the personal acceptance of others as diabetics (and whatever their stories) is a MARATHON... often with thorny roses, along the way.
- Of the lack of progress on these issues, and the lack of change: This same old tired song and dance is being played upon our diabetic lives, over, and over... and over again.
But at the same time... Diabetics are TIRELESS...
- Optimists: We can see the light in any shade of gray; we can see how a bad can work for a good. We can see a blessing in what might otherwise be a terrible curse.
- Advocates: We will go wherever, whenever. Our words will ring true. We will go out, and educate anyone, write letters, write blogs, create societies, start petitions, groups, online social media, make personal appeals, teach. All under almost any circumstances: flooded homes, lack of sleep, weekend warriors. We will NEVER stop.
- Friends: An ear, and a shoulder, for those to cry on, to garner knowledge from, experience from, a virtual hug to embrace, a meet-up to get excited about... REGARDLESS of type. We are the secret society we have made for ourselves, that's not so secret, and we're eager (though bitterly so) to welcome you on board.
- Hopefuls: People who look into their loved ones eyes, and will NEVER lose their faith, their dreams... their visions... their drive. The reasons to keep trying, to fight for tomorrow, to wake up for TODAY.
- Supporters: Because it doesn't matter who, what, when, or how... tries to hurt you, or put you down... we will ALWAYS have your back. Always. Even if you're old, not so perfect, not so fit, not an athlete, in denial... and cook with butter.
This week... I truly learned the AWE inspiring embrace of the D O C.
If you are battling diabetes all on your own, I would like to truly urge you to consider, even if only as a fly on the wall, becoming a member of the diabetic online community. No need to blog, no need to be OUT there. But even just reading blogs like this, or attending Diabetes Social Media Advocacy night, on Twitter (Wednesdays, at 8 pm CST/9pm EST), will do SO MUCH for your well being. You NEED psycho-social support. Your social environment may want you to be alone with your disease, but you DON'T HAVE TO BE. You are NOT alone. EVER. You can do this thing. Come walk through life with us. Your shoes might be different, but when they walk beside mine... They make that long road... oh so nice. (We have plenty of extra blue shoes to spare.)
For Further Reading:
"She's Got Diabetes, Now, Y'All!, Saturday, January 14th, 2012