Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day Two: Keep It To Yourself.

Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won't tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.) 

Today's Diabetes Blog Week topic sounds like a command, or even a paradox: "Keep it to yourself." It's not that DBW, DSMA and the DOC in general aren't all about sharing, but just as Your Diabetes May Vary, so may what you share and why. We all have our limits in how diabetes affects us, and we all have our limits in what we're willing to share with other people. In a world where social media is vitally important, but can also ruin your life and job prospects in an instant (feel free to read that in movie trailer voice), sometimes we have to be careful of what we put out there. It's not even the consequences of other people reading it. Sometimes, there are emotional consequences to ourselves, just in the act of sharing.

Here are the things I don’t discuss:

Largely, I try to keep other people’s stories off my blog and the Internet at large, particularly things that would be embarrassing to other people. If I do, I try not to use identifying information. Many people’s stories interact with mine, but I keep the focus on my involvement, not due to narcissism (well, maybe a little) but because they aren’t my stories to tell.

Anything that’s too gross or embarrassing about things bodies do tends to stay out of my blog. I wrote, in my response to the Miss Manners post a while ago that sparked so much controversy, “so much of 'manners' is pretending we don’t have bodies.” In many ways, I’m against that form of politeness, because it causes people to demand, for example, that we test our blood sugar in the washroom, making an inconvenience even more inconvenient, and signaling to the person with diabetes that she or he is actually the inconvenience. I think it’s important for the world in general to acknowledge that we have a right to self-care in the public sphere, and not to hide diabetes away. I don’t think people should be embarrassed over the names and functions of their own body parts. However, I’m sad to say that I don’t always practice what I preach. Blood is really the only bodily fluid you’ll get me to talk about, and rarely if ever will I show it. I wish I were braver and more open in talking about the weird ways bodies react to things, because I appreciate when other people do, and I think it makes almost everyone feel less embarrassed or alone. You’re not going to see it from me, though.

I don’t really talk about complications or my fears about them. Maybe sometime in the future, but for now it’s like summoning the boogeyman or repeating “Bloody Mary” in front of a mirror. I don’t want to confirm any fears or tempt any fates, which I don’t even actually believe in but why take the chance? If I do have them, why make them real by putting them down in writing?

I promote the "Spare A Rose" campaign yearly, but otherwise, fundraising is not my forte. "Spare A Rose" is nice because nobody’s sponsoring me specifically, and the money goes to people who aren’t me, and who are clearly in extreme need. I donate to research-based organizations as well, and I’m desperate to fund a cure, but asking people for money that will go to something that is designed to help me…it does not come easily. A goal of mine is to get better at this and realize that my cause is worthy, even if it’s mildly selfish.

So other people, body weirdness, complications, and fundraising are the rarest of birds on this blog.

However, if you’re looking for a parody song, literary criticism by way of an explanation of how Shakespeare/Buffy/The West Wing/the general narrative impulse relates to diabetes, and long, impassioned musings on the condition’s psychology, I’m your girl.


  1. “so much of 'manners' is pretending we don’t have bodies.”.....that's a really interesting way of framing it. I had never thought of it that way before.

    I fundraise a lot for diabetes and non-diabetes causes. FWIW, I got more comfortable with it when I talked about both the impact on others and the impact on me. I'm pleasantly surprised by people who donate because they care about me! I think that when you're raising money for a good cause that you have a personal connection to, it's FAR less obnoxious to others than you may think.

    Great post!

  2. I also hate asking for donations! I know people want to help, but to me, it always feels as though I'm saying "I'm the most important thing in the world, so help me!" and I'd much rather help others!

  3. I hope you end up writing the personification wildcard! You must be so good at that!! <3 Thank you for sharing the topics you don't normally like to talk about here. I am with you on the funding aspect btw. I always feel weird about that stuff!