Sometimes, when looking to be inspired, I watch TED talks. They have an app and a range of different clips on Netflix. I watch them because they inspire me in writing, doing better and generally pushing myself to aim for bigger and better things. The speakers are experts from all different fields; choreographers, writers, entrepreneurs, chefs etc. The most recent one was from an African writer who was talking about Single Stories. As an example of a single story she used her experience as an African Female who moved from Africa to America for college. Now, before her roommate had even met her she had assumed that because she was from Africa she would be poor, listen to tribal music and wouldn’t speak very good English. This wasn’t the case at all.
This got me thinking about my single story and if that has changed since my diabetes diagnosis. Have I gone from being Rowena to being that diabetic girl? I certainly hope not. Do people think of diabetes when they think of me? As a diabetic person, what information do I implant into peoples brains about diabetes?
How I act and manage my diabetes will give someone a story about it and I would prefer for it not to be a sob story. Yes, it is challenging but if I get it right I can feel well and energetic. That’s why I try my best every single day to keep it in check. I will never tell someone that I can’t eat something because I am diabetic, I will tell them that I don’t want to eat it because it is not good for me. If I’m having a crap day at managing my blood sugars I won’t tell a non-diabetic about that because I don’t want them to feel sorry for me or to assume that it’s my fault. When I am in dance class and I have a low, I will not make a scene; I will test and act accordingly. You get where is coming from? How I act will determine how another diabetic is treated. How someone’s mum manages their diabetes will affect how people see mine. An example, I have a friend whose mum is Type 1 who doesn’t exercise because of hypos. Thus, because her mum doesn’t exercise because of hypos, my friend is under the impression that I should be very careful around exercise.
If you know someone who has Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes you will obviously have an idea about it and a story to tell if the conversation calls for it. If you’re diabetic, you will understand that people have a “single story” about diabetes and some people will not change their idea of it even if you shove it in their face. The most common “stories” are that it is a self-inflicted medical condition brought on through eating too much sugar or it is believed that we can’t eat sugar at all. I live with type 1 diabetes and I can firmly tell you that both assumptions are incorrect.
Where does that leave me now? I guess I just have to make sure my story of diabetes is a one that won’t mislead people for years to come. What do you think about your diabetes story? What impression do you give to other people?
Have you followed me on Instagram and Twitter yet? As of next week I will be posting my weekly workouts, my before and after blood glucose and some of my meals. My timetable is sorted and I can’t wait to get into it.