What’s on your Bookshelf?

This essay in today’s New York Times Style section has made me so happy! Author Teddy Wayne writes about the importance of tangible artifacts (books and records or even cd’s) on the shelves of our homes. In Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves (a sly reference to a book that should be on all parent’s bookshelves in my opinion because it allows curious adolescent kids to sneak a healthy peek! I will never forget sneaking a peek into the alluring and disturbing illustrations in the 1970’s edition of my parent’s copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves. It was eye-opening!)

“The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as décor.”

Thank you, thank you Teddy Wayne! I wholeheartedly agree. The bookshelves in our house are overflowing, much to my husband’s dismay, but I refuse to part with them. The books are reminders to me of my past because I can pick one up and remember where I was when I read it. I may never read the book again, but maybe my kids will. In fact just last week I handed my 14 year old son my high school copy of Catcher int he Rye. It was a really exciting moment for me. He says he likes it a lot. I’m trying to sustain my glee…..some of the bookshelves in our house.

Accepting (and modeling) my Sensitive Side

Being a writer is tough. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, but there are some days when I want to crawl under the covers and hide from my editors. I try to be tough, I am a natural born people pleaser and as much as I wish I could change that part of myself, and not care what others (my editors) thought, I can’t. So my goal for 2012 is to accept my sensitive side.

 

I turned in a story this week that was totally off. It took me back to 7th grade when I stood at the front of the classroom giving my oral report on the capital of Virginia and my teacher said, “what are you doing?” The room went dead quiet. “Reading my report about Richmond,” I said. “Well you’ve done it all wrong,” she said. I was humiliated. I can’t remember now what I’d done wrong, maybe it was supposed to be modern day Richmond and I’d done the historical version, but nonetheless, I stood there at the front of the room devastated. That’s how I felt yesterday. I don’t like to be wrong, I don’t like to have screwed up, I don’t like to make mistakes. I wanted to cry but I also wanted to tell myself to toughen up! Editors edit, that’s what they do and writers write and rewrite, right? But sometimes it’s so hard to listen to the feedback, to shake it off and keep going. Sometimes I wish I were less sensitive.

 

I was up all night thinking about how I could have done this assignment different. When I woke up I was short with my kids, hurrying them through the breakfast routine and rushing them off to school. “Sorry guys, I’m in a bad mood because my editor didn’t like my story,” I said. “Oh that’s too bad Mom!” they said and I shrugged. “I just need to toughen up!” I said. Then My 7 year old needed help because he was supposed to dress up “tacky.” (They’ve been reading Tacky the Penguin.) He didn’t know what tacky was, and of course we’d waited until the last minute to prepare, and frustrated, I told him that tacky was subjective and to just find something already! Ugh! Get dressed! What’s the big deal?!

 

He retreated to his room in tears (my boys who rarely cries but is sensitive all the same), and I took a deep breath. I went after him and we sat on his bed and he told me that he didn’t want to wear the wrong thing. He didn’t want his teacher to get mad at him. It was a big deal for him, and here I was trying to make him toughen up. I apologized and we found him something to wear and I sent him off to school hoping his teacher wouldn’t make him feel like my 7th grade teacher made me feel. And then I realized we are the only ones who can “make ourselves feel a certain way. Editors will always offer feedback and suggestions, that’s their job. If I feel stupid, that’s my own doing. It’s my job to accept my sensitive nature, and not beat myself up when I don’t get it right. It’s okay to be sensitive. I think I just need to learn how to give myself approval instead of seeking it from others, and model that for my kids.

 

Being a writer is tough, but it’s also the best job in the world.

‘Confidence Gap’

As a woman with diabetes how confident do you feel?

A recent survey conducted by MicroMass Communications based on findings from 828 women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes found that:

“Our research shows that women with diabetes have far more confidence in their ability to take their medications than they have in their ability to make basic lifestyle changes. As a result, healthcare providers should be providing education and support programs that help build that confidence so that women can learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully manage their diabetes,” says Andi Kravitz Weiss, MPH. Weiss refers to this discrepancy as “The Confidence Gap.”

I spoke to Weiss about the study (and will include our conversation in my upcoming book-A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes), and she said that many of the women in the survey who were under 45 years old reported being ‘too busy to take good care of themselves.’ She realized that in order to close this confidence gap, women with diabetes need to give themselves permission to take care of themselves, to sometimes put their needs first.

After a long week with Christmas and family, I took Weiss’ advice on Friday morning. Our babysitter arrived and instead of running errands: returning gifts and grocery shopping, I drove out to my parent’s empty house and went for a run. It was an unusually warm, sunny day and it felt fabulous. I ran along the road that borders the intracoastal waterway and stole glimpses of the creek and felt the breeze in my hair. I returned to my parent’s house and sat on their deck and looked out at the sparkly water as I stretched my legs. It felt blissfully indulgent and it allowed me to return home to my children and the messy house and prepare for a visit with the in-laws with CONFIDENCE 🙂

 

 

Behavioral Diabetes Institute

After 25 years of living with type 1 diabetes and often feeling very alone, I finally got the opportunity to be in a room full of women with the disease. Thanks to BDI’s annual Celebration of Strength luncheon, I got to sit at a table next to Brandy Barnes of Diabetes Sisters and 6 other great women and talk about the realities of pregnancy and motherhood with diabetes. There were women who had lived with diabetes from 1.5 years to 50 years, there were women who wanted to focus on issues from exercise to complications….it could have been a room full of women writers or golfers or bankers, other than the one or two women wearing pumps in visible places, and the sprinkling of beeps going off around the room from pumps at lunchtime, we could have been anyone.

It’s going to take me a few more days at least to process the whole thing but it was really a weekend like no other. Mom flew out with me to help with Reid and while we got to stay in the beautiful Torrey Pines Lodge, it was a huge effort going from coast to coast with a 13 month old. And as exhausted as I am right now, it was completely worthwhile. Dr. Susan Guzman and Dr. Liana Abascal met me the following day to be interviewed for my book on the topics of depression and eating disorders and gave me some great information.

Most importantly, I think what will stick with me, was seeing and listening to and talking with the women who are the audience for my book….knowing that as different as we all are, we share this disease.

Plans are in the works for next year’s conference (October 9th I think) that will be a sleepover event with Diabetes Sisters. Count me in!