Healing through Writing (and other forms of creativity)

Writing my book was a transformative process for me. There were times when I got teary talking to the nearly 100 women I interviewed as they shared stories about the challenges and triumphs of life with diabetes. There were many women who told me they were surprised by how emotional it was to share their stories with me, that they hadn’t ever written about being diagnosed or hadn’t talked about the various topics we discussed. I too was surprised by the emotional impact of writing the book, and I think it changed me from feeling victimized by diabetes to feeling empowered.

Writing, drawing or painting our stories is a powerful tool that is overlooked by the medical community. Using our hands to create something ‘beautiful’ out of something ‘ugly’ is an experience we all must share.

Check out my latest  Smart Woman’s Guide post, an interview with Heather Stuckey, a professor at Penn State who is studying the healing effects of creativity for people with diabetes.

Another great creative resource is Lee Ann Thill’s Diabetes Art Day.

Let’s all get our hands dirty and create…..

You Can’t Eat That!

How many of us have heard that phrase over the years?

The memory that sticks out the clearest for me was when I was in college. It was late at night and some friends and I stumbled into the neighborhood mini mart for a snack after the bars closed. I was standing in front of the candy display. I think I was low and couldn’t decide whether to get Starbursts or Skittles, I was at that stage in my life where I got excited when I was low because that meant I got to eat the stuff I usually had to say no…anyway, as I stood there, some guy I knew came up to me and said, “You can’t eat that, you have diabetes!” It felt like everyone in the pre-dawn hours at the mini mart turned around to stare at me and I froze, like a kid caught cheating. I was shamed and didn’t even defend myself. I think I slunk out of there, stumbled back to my apartment and drank juice instead.

It’s happened in different ways over my 26 years of living with diabetes and it never gets any less frustrating. The same kind of thing happens to people with diabetes everywhere. I know because I’ve heard the stories. A similar sort of thing happened to Ken Kotch and instead of getting mad or feeling shamed, he took action.

A photographer by trade, Ken decided to take photos of real people living with diabetes. Inspiring people. On his blog he writes:

“My project, called Broken Pancreas, will be to photograph people with diabetes (Type I and Type II) doing things that some say they can’t or shouldn’t.
I believe there is nothing that can’t be conquered.
The goal of my project is to show the world, through beautiful photographs accompanied by personal stories, that people with diabetes can do anything and to inspire diabetics to succeed. These photographs and stories will be compiled to create a Book called, Broken Pancreas.”

I discovered Ken’s photos on Lee Ann Thill’s Diabetes Art Day and was so impressed, I decided to interview him for an upcoming story in Diabetes Health.

It’s so inspiring to come across people like Ken and Lee Ann who are creating something beautiful out of something less so, who are taking a negative and turning it on it’s head.

That’s where I get the motivation  to keep going.

CofC’s Studio Artsist Show Their Stuff-Chas City Paper review

My City Paper review of Young Contemporaries & Salon des Refuses at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. It was a tough exhibit to review because I just wanted to gush about how really great everything was and how excited the vibe in the gallery felt and how happy I was to be there in a room with a bunch of art lovers looking at art, (instead of being at home with my kids!) But I’m learning to write with a more critical/less gushing eye. Overall it is a great exhibit, well worth seeing, and the new Halsey gallery is not to be missed.