It's not that I don't appreciate you; nor it's not that I had nothing worthy to share. But, as the pressure cooker that is often my mind, I try to give myself some time to digest new lessons or new experiences. Sometimes, those situations are just personally painful.
The last Diabetic Ice Cream Social was no exception. While I truly believe in this event, and what we're trying to accomplish, and while I had many, many supporters, a few things grieved me from it:
- The lack of support from other prominent advocates: Honestly, on the regular, I could care less if these folks read my blog, if they like me, or if they think I'm a worthy advocate... but I found it personally disturbing when not many would participate, or share in this particular event -- which was really not about me. It was an event about setting a precedent that we diabetics can manage our own selves, with moderation and self control, and that we don't need to be treated like children (or alcoholics/foodaholics) who can't make food choices -- regardless of what those food choices are. "Ice cream is poison," some may claim, but then why are we supporting efforts to help teach young diabetics to learn how to drink in moderation, and appropriately balance diabetes, but not other types of food choices, instead of just telling them 'DON'T DRINK'? Isn't alcohol a poison, too, and with much more potentially dangerous consequences? ... And I am sure there are many more ice cream eaters than alcohol drinkers out there. (Because you believe in moderation, that's why!) I also don't mind exercising, and doing something to show how a simple modification in my life can control my glucose numbers... but it would be equally reasonable to me (and very realistic) to help teach others there's no shame in enjoying an occasional treat in moderation (perhaps even preventing binges, and eating disordered situations caused by deprivation). I came away feeling many advocates were really more concerned with folks not 'judging' them, and 'tarnishing' their own images, for promoting 'unhealthy habits' than of really wanting to make an impact.
- The attack from diabetic food fundamentalists: People who, will not skip a beat to tell you there's no 'diabetic diet,' yet the minute you discuss having a scoop of ice cream, you're called irresponsible, or even childish in your health advocacy... and then take the opportunity to try to impose THEIR personal dietary choices on you, or others (while denying they are doing such a thing -- they are just 'responsibly' telling you that you're wrong). I don't think we can make many inroads into respect for the diabetic patient, and his or her personal choices, as long as these fundamentalist food attitudes are around. The event itself wasn't even about ice cream, it was about food independence -- the freedom to eat what YOU want to eat, as your choice -- in moderation, versus what others want you to eat... And it was just really disheartening to see these kinds of folks mud slinging the event, or myself, in blogs, etc., as someone intent on promoting an 'ice cream eating binge' that further creates more diabetes. Yes, the same people who speak of food and sugar not causing diabetes, accusing me of causing more diabetes. I'm sorry to say, but this statement isn't just valid for some types of diabetes, and not for others. NO diabetes is caused by any particular food choice.
- The annoyance of Facebook's notification system: Facebook has just changed their system so much, that a simple event is now used to notify the heck out of others -- even if they haven't yet RSVP'ed for an event, and it thus made us look like 'spammers.' Not so Facebook savvy people kept attacking me, personally, for spamming them with 'the event' or for 'not taking them off the list,' or for revving up their cell phone notifications. We tried hard to educate folks on how to turn off their notifications, but there were just too many not-so-bright, self entitled, persons out there... whining about why we weren't doing these things for them. How these persons have managed to survive in Facebook's world is honestly beyond me. In future Diabetic Ice Cream events, we might hunt for a different method to keep track of 'likes' or 'rsvp's' so that such a massive amount of notification overload doesn't bring us down. We do suspect a large number of folks attended, but simply hit 'decline' to the invitation, just to avoid notification spam.
So, in essence, it kind of hurts a little bit when the social media tools that are at your disposal are backfiring on you, and when persons who are supposed to support you -- especially because their own personal dietary choices might be different or varied -- are not doing so. It divides us, and weakens our message of food independence. I mean, the only way we can be vegan, or raw vegan, or low carb, or anything else, is because we decided to become independent of the mandate that we had to live by a classic ADA style diet. And thank goodness we no longer live under the notions that we HAVE to eat by what a dietitian exactly says we have to eat, or by what the olden days used to believe -- avoid table sugar, only.
I am, in no way, an ADA diet advocate... but I will advocate for anyone who thinks that's a diet that gives them the self control, glucose wise, that they need. I will advocate for any regimen which they feel is balanced, isn't intrinsically dangerous or based on pseudoscience, and brings them euglycemia, ease of implementation, AND quality of life -- that's our goal!
I felt I needed to say a few things on the matter... before I blogged on anything else. The goal of the Diabetic Ice Cream Social has, and will always be... FOOD INDEPENDENCE.