I have an essay that will be published in the November issue of skirt! magazine called, telling the truth about diabetes. I realized as I worked on the essay that I’d spent so much time and energy trying to act like everyone else and denying my disease that I’d made myself invisible. I spent so much time trying not to stand out, trying to fit in, that I was unrecognizable.
I think there was a part of me that was always internally trying to apologize for being different…though no one could see that I was different unless I told them, or unless they saw my blood sugar get low. I have no scars, I don’t wear a pump and in fact, when I tried a pump, I only lasted a week because it was such a shock to see something attached to my body that made my disease visible. I immediately got rid of it.
It took me years to come out of the diabetic closet and when I finally did, I felt a huge relief. When I became a mother I realized, if I can breastfeed in public, I can certaintly do my shot and/or check my blood sugar in public. Though, why do I still feel self-conscious when I pull the needle out, why do I still try to hide, why do I still worry that it will make others uncomfortable? Why do I still care?
I’m slowly starting to tell the truth about my disease, about myself. Instead of sneaking a handful of Skittles from my handbag when I feel myself start to drop, I tell the person next to me that I have diabetes and am low and I eat without shame. I’ve joined online diabetes groups and subscribe to all the diabetes magazines and am writing a book about having diabetes. I’m accepting this part of myself that I kept in the dark for so long and it feels good. I just watched the original version of Peter Pan with my boys the other day and acknowledging my disease, after all these years, feels like Peter, (with the help of Wendy) re-attaching his shadow.