another one

pump it up, ride the highs, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

djkAround 4 o’clock this morning, I rolled over in bed and felt my CGM hanging by one sticky thread of tape despite my jerry rigged reinforcement efforts. I let out an audible sigh, peeled the remaining guts of adhesive off of my love-handle, and dropped the sticky wad of sadness on the floor.

While trying to keep the anxiety of “now I’m on my last sensor with no back ups. SWEET.” out of my mind before the sun had even risen, I checked the last reading on my Dexcom App. 94. Word. Back to sleep I go. Before I knew it I was re-snoozin’, and somehow none other than DJ Khaled had snuck himself into my dream. It was like Snapchat IRL. He was telling me to ride with him through the journey to more success, #BlessUp, etc. The key emoji was there, and it was all very weird, oddly motivational, and the reason why I am now sitting here writing this as fast as I can before I lose steam on this very weird idea.

It’s not normal for DJ Khaled to flood my subconscious as my own personal hype man, but it is normal for me to find myself in increasingly challenging diabetes scenarios that force me to problem solve in very weak moments. So between my 4am wake up call and this rapper’s notorious Snapchat persona, I realized there’s a connection there. Like, what if the next time you accidentally ripped your CGM off, DJ Khaled actually did appear…in his towel, applying his Dove deodorant, telling you to shed your self-doubt and focus on what matters. Who knows, maybe we’ll discover Snapchat is the future platform of motivational speaking.

So without further ado, here are 7 ways I think this dude’s message is actually a perfect source of inspiration for we diabetic folk:

#1 Another One
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“Another one” in DJ Khaled speak means he’s done gone and won again. His entire existence is based off of his desire to rack up as many w’s as humanly possible. But he’s not talking just like, million dollar record deals and poppin’ bottles and shit, he’s talking about the little stuff. He wakes up in the morning, is thankful for a fresh start, puts on his #BlessUp sandals, and gets after it.

In diabetes speak, “another one” could mean a lot of things: another test strip. Another infusion set. Another low. Another high. Another day of yelling at the insurance company, or crying to your pharmacist, begging her for more humolog. The phrase “another one” to a diabetic unfortunately, and all too often, has a negative connotation or repercussion.

BUT WHAT IF – instead of tallying all of the dramatic challenges we face every day like we’re writing an episode of Kardashians, we tallied the wins and victories we scoop up along the way. You got out of bed and went to work today. You even remembered to wear pants. Fuck yeah, man. #AnotherOne. We’re trying our hardest here, we should get some damn credit – even if it’s just from ourselves.

#2  The Key
key

If Khaled had a batman symbol to throw up in the sky, it would be the key emoji. He likes to tell his Snapchat followers of America and beyond, what the key to success, life, happiness, being a sex symbol etc., is. And dammit, I appreciate the vast range of these keys, because it all essentially nets out to him just believing in himself. He’ll be snap a vid of himself in a hammock and say, “The key to success is more cocoa butter” and I’m like…yeah, it actually is. I deeply feel that. He defines success off of the things that happen or that he loves in his real life. Not someone else’s. He doesn’t have life FOMO like so many of us do. It’s all too easy to be like, “Ooh, their life is shiny and pretty. Can I have it?” It’s all too easy to forget that maybe other people don’t have the responsibility of having diabetes, but they too, have problems. Hell, eeeeeverybody’s got problems. So maybe for us, the key to success is as simple as acceptance.

 

#3 Stay Above Water
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Diabetes is a panicky disease. I have somewhere between 9-43 “OH SHIT.” moments a day where I feel like I’m faced with a snow plow’s worth of worry. I’m constantly digging around looking for things…”where the hell is my phone? my test kit? my sanity?” Something is alway the threat of something falling out of place and derailing the day. Even if it’s just internally. Living in a constant state of fight of flight can be exhausting. On days where my blood sugar has been particularly stubborn, I come home from work totally defeated. Overwhelmed. TIRED. Omg so tired. But. Sometimes mind is truly more powerful than matter. And to this, Mr. Khaled here has something very insightful to say. 

Keep your head above water. I’ve been writing so much less lately because it wasn’t feeling good. I was under water. So I’ve tried to monitor the emotional water levels a little better. I’ve been socializing more, I’ve been watching less shitty TV. Trying to subject myself to less bullshit. Slow down. Listen to Podcasts. Doodle. Cook healthy meals. Go to bed earlier. I’ve even started working out in the morning. Which, if you know me, is like a sick…sick joke. I’m trying to shift my focus to thing that make me feel more in control. Like I have more time to breathe well above water. Positive vibes. All positive.

 

#4 They Don’t Want you djk.png

Whoever “they” is, Khaled is very convinced they don’t want him to be happy. JK – “they” are def his h8rz. Ya, you read that right: h8rz.

As a diabetic, there is so much stigma. It feels like there are so many rules…so many conflicting beliefs and tactics. Our “They” could be like, 400 things. “They” don’t want you to sleep in on Saturdays because you’re blood sugar will spike. “They” don’t want you to run a marathon because you’ll be low the whole time. “They” don’t want you to wear a bikini because your CGM and pump will be exposed to the world. THEY is usually the voice in my own head. And THEY tends to be a huge asshole. She’s the same person that tells me “You can’t do it” at the gym. So take a screengrab out of Khaled’s story and remember: You CAN. You WILL.

#5 Ride With Me

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Having diabetes can be insanely lonely sometimes. After a frustrating day of balancing what can feel like the world on your head, you just want someone to understand what you’re going through. How tired you are. But here’s the thing, all you have to do is ask. People want to be there for you.

Type 1’s are a rare breed and we’re exceptionally difficult to find in real life. I recently met a few new diabuddies at a fundraiser, and it was such an infrequent experience for me that I forgot how to socialize. I was as awkward as a 7th grade boy at his first school dance blubbering like an idiot. But after I walked away from them – however embarrassed I was – I was so incredibly happy to speak to someone who lives the real deal just like I do.

Diabetes really IS a journey and we really ARE on a mission to feel successful about managing it. But that’s really fucking hard. So whether it’s through an online community or in real life, anything helps. Lately, I’ve taken to Instagram to meet and talk with other diabetics. It’s a perfect platform to share and commiserate. I’ve learned so much from other people, even if they are just little teeny tiny usernames and selfies on my celly bling blang.

#6 #BlessUp
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I’ve always been a very fast-paced, panic first, react selfishly, “why me” kind of person. But the attitude is gratitude, amigos. And when I force myself to slow down and process the larger impact that other people have had on my life, it’s pretty heavy. I usually cry a little. Try to hug people too tightly. It can get awkward, but we all get through it.

Khaled says #BlessUp like… every 10 minutes. I’m not a religious person, but I am a big fan of always trying harder to be more appreciative. When you’re right in the middle of a stressful situation, it’s hard to think about the good things, or the people who have helped you realize you can get through that stressful situation. But it’s something we can all be more conscious of.

So next time there’s a mini meltdown on your horizon, take a deep breath and think…is this a #BlessUp moment?

#7 Coco Butter
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I have absolutely nothing to say here. Just: “Yep. This is correct.”

Okay, welp. Thank you for baring with me through that outrageous, long-winded attempt to relate having diabetes to DJ Khaled’s motivational Snapchat stories. If you don’t follow him…you should. If nothing else, it’ll add some entertainment to your day.

Byyyyyye. #AnotherOne

 

diabetes awareness month – week 2: let the world see you

ride the highs, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

52c3338d3ed9d306ab90e3f75536c184Sometimes, having diabetes can feel crazy lonely. And since type 1’s are so rare, chances are we might not even know another person with diabetes. This is certainly the case for me. I think I know like, 6.2 total diabetics from various corners of my life. And as someone who thrives off of big, relatable groups of friends, I gotta be honest, having so few diabetics in my corner feels prettyyyyyy, prettyyyyyy, pretty bleak.

Spotting diabetics in the wild is what I imagine going on Safari in the dark, on foot, and without a guide must feel like. Freakin’ pointless.

Diabetes is an invisible disease. It’s not like all of us have one recognizable physical trait like a nostril that’s slightly larger than the other. Or a freckle just above our right shoulder blade that’s shaped like the taco emoji. Even the parts of diabetes that are tangible (our pumps, test kits, CGMs, etc.) are typically hidden under our shirts so that strangers won’t ask us why we still carry around beepers.

But last week, when I was crossing the street near my office, I saw a lone little test strip left abandoned in the middle of the street. I immediately thought, “HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIDE. Whoever you are, I love you! JK, I don’t love you. That’s insane. I just wish that I knew you!” And even though I never saw the actual human being responsible for dropping this little guy on the street, I felt a little less alone if even for the teensiest, most fleeting second. Someone had flashed their anonymous diabetic calling card.

I thought about that moment for a while. And about why I don’t know any diabetics and why that feels so lonely sometimes. It’s pretty simple, though. People don’t see my diabetes because it’s hiding! And therefore when I don’t talk about it openly, or seek out other people with diabetes, it just…continues to hide! It’s very easy for me to seek shelter behind this blog. It’s very easy to convince myself that by simply venting at the Internet, that is “enough” to make me feel fulfilled and less like a lone wolf navigating this vast dark diabetic desert. I rarely talk about having diabetes at work. God forbid I wear my pump on the outside of any articles of clothing. I’m not involved in any advocacy groups in NYC. And frankly, I avoid the truth because sometimes it’s just too painful to talk about or too intense to integrate into my day to day life. Not to mention that insanely awkward moment when someone tries to hide the confusion and concern on their face when you drop the bomb that your pancreas is broken and they don’t want to admit that they don’t know what a pancreas is. And so, contrary to popular belief, I’ve chosen the more private approach to managing this whole thing.

However, October was a weird month for lil’ ole me. For the first time since moving to NYC, I was forced to speak up about having diabetes and at first it suuuuuuuuucked. Because I got a CGM and was adjusting to a pretty major change in my routine, there were some after affects that I had no choice but to deal with. I cried every night out of pure frustration. I had to be honest to my team at work about why I needed to stay home and recover after a horrible day of highs and lows. I was asked to help someone write an article for another publication about living a diabetic roommate. I waited outside of a spin studio when I saw that my instructor was also a type 1, talked to her, and attended a charity ride she hosted for Beyond Type 1. And overall, it felt like I talked about or thought about my diabetes almost all of everyday. It was exhausting. Shit got so real that I walked out of my office one day and straight into a nail salon for a 20 minute shoulder rub. I was that desperate. (Sidenote: WTF. We should do that way more often. It was amazing….) I had overwhelmed myself by the attention thinking and acting on my diabetes was taking away from other things. But looking back on it, I made a lot of personal progress during this growth spurt even though there were days I hardly felt like myself. My head hurt. My emotions were whack attack. And I think this is what it must have been like back in the GLORY DAYS of puberty.

Speaking up about painful, personal shit is not easy. It’s like admitting to the world that something is wrong with us or that we’re not okay. But once I got right with myself about not just exposing but embracing this side of myself again, a side that I have absolutely no reason to be so secretive about, or carry such intense self-consciousness towards, the support started to feel good instead of embarrassing. Doors started opening. I started meeting people that I knew could significantly impact my journey with this illness. And I was finally able to feel more confident about lifting my head up, looking around me, and letting people see me for eeeeeverythang I am… even what I’m hiding under my shirt. (No, guys NOT THOSE, the other two things. Well, I donno. Depends on what you’re into I guess.)

diabetes awareness month – week 1: privacy invasion

pump it up, ride the highs, the secret life of, Uncategorized, well rounded wellness

sugarsSo for this post, I attempted to take some selfies of what my back looks like at the moment. But my selfie game is abysmal, so…maybe later…after I drink up some liquid courage at happy hour.

Anyway, this post is going to be dark and interactive because misery loves company. Buckle up, my friends, because we’re taking the express train down to Wompwomptown. Throw on the new Banks single, an Adele song, or something equally bummerific, and pretend that every man they’re singing about is actually the surface area of your body that you’re tearily waving goodbye to.

Okay, JK. That’s way too intense. I’m not trying to make anyone feel sad, or a deep longing for anyone or anything they can’t have anymore. But dramatics aside, that’s genuinely how it feels sometimes.

Being a diabetic can is a lot like being a pin cushion. Or a voodoo doll. Whichever you’re more in to. On the day I was diagnosed, a doctor looked me straight in the face and said, “you’re going to have to prick your finger with this lancet now, and when you’re done, stick this needle in your thigh. Oh, and also…you’re going to have to do this many times a day, every day, for the rest of your life.”

I distinctly remember sitting there on the hospital bed staring at her like she just told me the the earth was actually a cube shaped planet and that all dogs are secretly Russian spies.

What the actual fuck was I going to do? At the time, I had no idea. And to be honest, I’m still not sure I do. But as the surprisingly obedient 17-year-old girl who was missing her boyfriend’s playoff lacrosse game, I was in no position to talk back, walk out, or rebel against these instructions. The faster I completed their dubious requests, the faster I could GTFO of the hospital where people were actually very, very sick and needed far more help than I did.  I even remember rationalizing with myself that maybe I’d get extra attention at school or something because people would feel bad for me…classic Libby move.

Now here I am 10 years later with an insulin pump clipped to my bra that hardly anyone knows I have, and a CGM digging into the back of my desk chair that definitely no one knows I have. Welp, surprise! Here I am! A bionic woman, reporting for duty.

On that fateful day that feels like so long ago, I essentially forfeited my body and my body’s privacy to the sticky infusion sets, needles, tubing, and lancets that would dictate my schedule (and hefty medical bills) for the unforeseeable future.

I would be lying if I said I have a great attitude about it now that I’m all grown up as the exquisitely responsible adult that I am today, but that would be the biggest lie anyone (even Donald Trump) has ever told you.

Actually, just this Tuesday I rolled into work a little late with red, post-cry eyes because the morning after I replaced my first CGM I found myself in a very dark place. I think I even went so far as to moan I was playing God with all of these things stuck on me. Which, first of all…God? Since when did I talk about him? And second of all, the only person allowed to have meltdowns of that capacity while still being “cute” is Britney Spears.

My meltdown was textbook. I was upset because I let it get to me that I’m kept alive by technology and medicine. By these little foreign objects that buzz and click and pinch and prick and give me numbers that, frankly, I don’t even know what they mean. I just know which ones are good, and which ones mean I need to go eat some sour patch kids. I can’t just BE without the help of something synthetic. The stubborn, control-freak in me was exhausted by the thought of just one more day of keeping up with the routine diabetes has forced me to have. I want to be free. I want to wear a god damned bikini. I want to go pee in the middle of the night without almost dropping a $4,000 device in the toilet because I forgot it was clipped to my PJs. I don’t want little kids to only know their bodies covered with infusion sites. I want them to know how amazing it feels to climb a tree without the fear that their tubing will snag a branch. Or the joy of being spontaneously pushed into a pool without the threat of destroying thousands of dollars worth of technology.

But. At the end of the day, as much as I sound like I despise my pump, and my test kit, and my CGM and all of the stress and responsibility that comes with managing diabetes, I am so incredibly grateful that this is what I have to deal with. It is doable. And as my mom frequently says, “It can always be worse”. And though what we all go through as type 1’s can be stupidly frustrating and tiring, it’s still not the worst. I am still able-bodied and able-minded. I still have an amazing job with people that make me smarter. I still have incredible friends and family that make me laugh everyday, I still have the world’s most patient boyfriend who motivates me to keep going, I still have my independence, and my ambition for a bangin’ future. It’s hard. But it’s not all bad. And even on the worst days, I need to remind myself that I am incredibly lucky.

Diabetes Awareness Month

ride the highs, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

damI think “awareness” is an interesting way to describe a month dedicated to a chronic, sneaky little bastard of a disease. It should be more like “HEY WORLD, IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GET THE HECK UP TO SPEED ON TYPE 1 DIABETES BECAUSE IT’S REALLY ANNOYING.” But to be fair, my own awareness is a little sub-par both with regard to myself as a diabetic, and just diabetes as a disease in general. I honestly can’t remember the last time I checked in on research advancement, or Congress’ movements towards improved coverage of care. Or, even more importantly, what’s happening with the other nebulous “c” word we all hate so much…you know that whole “cure” thing we’ve been promised for like 200 years? Where are we with that?

Over the past 10 years, I’ve struggled to come to terms with the fact that though I am not visibly sick, I have a very real disease. That I now require a lot of extra help from devices and sensors and finger pricks not just to “feel better” but to be alive. That my body isn’t going to look like other women’s’ bodies because I have some accessories on it I don’t have the option of removing. I’ve had a hard time learning to accept and identify with my diabetes instead of hide it and pretend it doesn’t exist. But I also have the, at times invisible gift, of experiencing a disease that forces me to dig deep and find strength when I least expect it.

So, my goal for each week of #DiabetesAwarenessMonth, is to a write a post about my own awareness. Do some research, chat with some other inspiring ladies in the amazing DOC, tell people I just got a CGM, and see what I discover on the way. I’m expecting to find all good things, but sometimes diving head first into an uncomfy territory can be, well… uncomfy!

Here’s to another #DiabetesAwarenessMonth.

bottle it up

the secret life of, well rounded wellness

Bottled Emotions by Taylor Kinser, via BehanceI am the queen of bottling. I have like, 423 water bottles. I have bottles of hair products and perfume on every surface in my bedroom. I have bottles of insulin in my fridge. And, this goes without saying, I have bottles of wine stashed away in my kitchen for the tougher every nights.

But what I’m really the master of, is bottling my stress. I’m a total over sharer when it comes to talking about arbitrary bullshit because it’s social and stimulating. But dealing with real problems is an entirely different story. In our culture of constant comparison, self-consciousness, and vulnerability, the details that are easy to share about our lives are often very surface level. It’s easy to talk about the things that make us laugh and feel good like nail polish colors and kristen wiig’s SNL characters. It’s not easy being brutally honest enough with ourselves and others to actually discover solutions. I personally tend to just talk and talk and talk until I’m too tired to take a real stab at solving my problems.

What I bottle is the big stuff. The ugly anxiety that I’m not quite armed and ready to handle the pressures of everyday life. Or of coping with the fear of getting hurt, or taking risks that could allow me to grow. It’s as if by simply avoiding it or pretending these stressors aren’t there, they’ll eventually buzz off. It’s exactly the way I was I was told to treat boys in 3rd grade when they were flicking boogers at me in class. In fact, I still do that to boys. Well, that or I flick the boogers right back at them.

I just read this article, where a career-lost 25-year-old gal reacts to her mom telling her “she has no passions.” Polly reacts quite strongly towards this, pointing her finger at the mom. Saying that people in their twenties are so over protected by their parents when meanwhile, Manhattan-obsessed 20 somethings insist on living paycheck to paycheck. This dynamic confuses the hell out of us, makes us lazy, and distracts us from finding our own path because we feel tied to our parents’ support, and therefore their opinions of our choices. It’s like Shark Tank. Investing for15% of the company means the owners can do what they want, but only if Mr. Wonderful is happy. So…the owner isn’t really doing what they want. I thought the article was very sobering. I love my parents more than anything in this world, and the fact that anyone would blame our relationship for my tendencies to be a scaredy cat about continuing to grow up got me all fired up. But then I realized, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just about how the relationship is managed.

A lot of the issues that people have in their twenties are incredibly challenging, but simply for the reason that we have had so few real challenges under our belts. Challenges are uncomfortable, and unfamiliar, and don’t feel good to us because they are foreign. Like the article states, we have no fucking clue what it means to work hard for something. We’re so afraid of ourselves and our reality, so we hide behind our phones looking for superficial, crowdsourced love on Instagram instead of fighting for something we want. This means we’re rarely learning anything about falling on our faces and getting back up. (Unless of course we’re Instagraming and walking and wipe out.) Challenges are too easily avoided. For example, I love reading, but I haven’t read a book in a year. Why? Because it’s challenging. You know what’s not challenging? Mindlessly admiring fake people’s fake lives on Pinterest and hoping that “someday this could all be mine.”

What I’m realizing is that finding success and happiness just doesn’t work like that. Nothing even a little bit works like that.

We are all scared shitless of failing or not meeting expectations, of disappointing our “investors”, but a lot of that is manifested in the fact that we come from families that have held our hands so tightly, that we barely know how to fly when the air gets bumpy. We’re way too used to bail outs and back up plans. We’ve never been put in situations we couldn’t get out of with a simple text off to a trusty advisor back in the homeland. I am more guilty of this than I’d like to admit.

Also, it doesn’t help that because we live cozy lives filled with mom snuggles when we’re home, the drastic contrast between our parents’ world and our day-to-day reality can be a little tough to digest. We forget that our parents have had a 25+ year head start on us and that they deserve to live comfortably now. We’re but mere little spring chickens, posting dramatic things on Facebook about how ironic and poor we are, while blogging about every feeling we have (ha, me!). We love to deep dive on our feelings and we love to discuss the bone crushing anxiety that the process of self-discovery can create. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to everybody else, including our parents, and we forget to just focus on ourselves and figure things out on our own terms and time. This is where the stress bottling comes from.

What I’ve come to realize is that most of us manage our lives like I manage my blood sugar…I give it a few check-ins a day, and a few adjustments here and there. It’s never pleasant to see numbers I don’t like, and it’s a pain in the ass to be fussing over corrections. But the worst thing I can do, is go a whole day without checking at all. It’s lethal, actually, but sometimes it’s easier to just not deal with it. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact of the matter is, if it’s high, I can fix it. If it’s low, I can fix it. Making adjustments to be in a healthier place is never impossible, however untrue that may feel sometimes.

My mom made a great point the other day, “You are never trapped”, she told me when I was babbling on about my never ending “Am I doing this right?” crisis. It’s so hard not to feel trapped some days. We feel suffocated by our credit card bills, jobs, where we live, student loans, and often our relationships/friends. She sort of nailed this one (go mom!). Just like a high blood sugar…you guys, we  really can fix the stuff that bugs us and is dragging us down.

At the end of the day, the best thing we can do is just keep talking about it with each other. Not complaining, not whining, but sharing goals and aspirations. We should be supporting each other and stoking challenging conversations that help us all get through this totally moody growth spurt. Bottling everything up just makes it all feel a little scarier, and certainly more ominous.

Also hey, if we don’t ask the questions, we’ll never get the answers.

this too shall pass

the secret life of, well rounded wellness

fridaI just got back from dinner with my roommate, who is a total academic warrior. She and my other super-human roommate just finished up their first semester of business school at NYU. As we clinked our cheap glasses of wine together in a celebratory fashion, we mutually realized, “Holy shit. Time is flying.”

Only a few short months prior to our dinner tonight, we were standing on a snowy street in Boston. It was a Sunday in February, and in a rather nerve-wracking way, we agreed to move to New York together if she got in to NYU and I could get a job by June. We were both terrified, but excited at the prospect of a major life-change.

And here we were tonight, sharing pizza together at our favorite spot in Gramercy, celebrating the very raw fact that chasing after a goal and reaching it can be mighty intoxicating.

At the end of every year, people reflect. I always look back over my past 12 months and think, “What have I accomplished this year other than picking my nose and showering semi-regularly?” I think we’d all be surprised to find out just how far we’ve all come regardless of our age or life circumstances. Although we may sometimes have to think really hard about the type of growth we have experienced, both through positive moments and burdening challenges, there is never a year that goes by where nothing was gained at all.

Unfortunately, because humans are inherently cynical to a point, often times our negative experiences can grow to be the ones that stick out the most in our minds. We tend to let the things that have hurt us the most, or pushed us the hardest define us. Those are the moments that stay top of mind because they left a deeper impression on our brain and have forced us to conjure up strength that we may not have otherwise known we had.

In just the past day alone, I can recall saying to several different people in varying contexts, “You’ll be okay, breathe. This is only temporary.” And where did I learn that saying from? All of you, who have said it to me so many times along the way. And tonight, during my pizza fueled life-talk with my roommate, I realized that this is, single handedly, the biggest lesson I’ve learned in 2014.

All things are temporary.

Grown-ups tell us all the time, “walk it off,” “look at the big picture,” “with time this will fade,” “this might feel like the end, but it’s not the end,” and my personal favorite, “the sun will rise tomorrow whether you like it or not” (that one came from my dad, duh.) And never before in my life, as the anxiety-ridden, diabetic, crazy person I can be sometimes (or always), did I actually believe in the power of time until this year.

A few years ago, I was “famously” quoted (amongst my friends) for screaming, “IT’S OVER!!!” at the top of my lungs once when we found out a guy friend of ours had a girlfriend. We were all single and we were all crushed. But of course, I was the one to voice our devastation regarding the one less eligible bachelor in our lives. I was the person that always fell for hard stops and finish lines. I was never one for endless possibilities or opportunity for evolution. I used to dread change and spontaneity. It made me nervous. What’s the quote? “But what if I fall?” “Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

I think I’m starting to realize the beauty of the potential to fly.

It was so petty at the time, but now, looking back at it, recognizing this could be one of the most important pivots of my young adult life. Realizing that, in fact, uhhhh nope, no, it’s not over. Nothing is ever truly “over” has eased my sense of perpetual angst when navigating unfamiliar territory. I blame a little bit of my diabetes diagnosis on that lingering ‘tude. A sideswipe and unexpected news of a life long disease will do that to a 16-year-old girl. But maybe, 10 years later, I’m finally putting the final few pieces of my puzzle back together.

2014 was a year of extreme change for almost everyone in my life. New jobs, big moves, grad school, marriages, break-ups, scary diagnosis’s, deaths, births, you name it. And it all happened way closer to home than it’s ever happened in my whopping 26 years of life. But the one theme that continued to reign true, was the temporariness of all things “bad.” That regardless of how hard one day was, the next day would show up in all its glory, ready to help move us forward. That despite whatever fear or anxiety dominated one day, the next one would arrive like a puppy; tail wagging…completely oblivious to our challenges, licking our faces, demanding love and attention.

Just a year ago, when someone would say to me, “Chin up, this will get better.” I’d say, “Fuck you, what do you know?” not realizing how much of an asshole I was being. At the time, when things felt rough, I blamed everyone else. I had no ability to see how much control I had in making things better for myself, or that I was the one subjecting myself to a scenario that was causing stress in the first place. I didn’t realize how much of my happiness had everything to do we me independently catalyzing change. And though that’s an admittedly terrible attitude, I could never really convince myself to believe the statistics, cyclical nature, or patterns of change that happen in everyone’s lives very organically. Not to say that all things get better all of the time. But to say time doesn’t heal at least most types of wounds, would be naive. Before this year, I could never really confide in the power of fate, hard work, or just letting things go that were out of my control. I was too busy and self-absorbed to pick up on the fact that in just a few days, or week’s time…pain faded.

Since moving to New York, where I’ve been forced to stand on my own two feet, take care of myself, start a new job, and make new friends, I’ve begun to find ways to remind myself just how temporary fear or misery of all shapes and sizes can be. But also, how significant joy and pride can be. Just today, I sat in a Christmas gift swap with my girlfriends from work and proclaimed, “I didn’t even know you nerds existed 6 months ago. Here’s a present, Merry Christmas.” and, to be honest, it was a pretty rad feeling. We don’t celebrate those types of accomplishments enough.

This proof has showed up in more discreet ways, too.
“Libby, you have a low right now. In no more than 15 minutes, you’ll feel better.”
And boom, in 15 minutes, I feel better. Every single time.
“Libby, you’re really short on cash right now, but you still have a job, which means there will be more money coming in a few days. Sit tight.”
And boom, 6 days later, a pay check would arrive.
“Libby, it’s just a meeting. In an hour, you’ll forget it even happened.”
And boom, in an hour, I’d forget it even happened.

I’ve observed some role models of mine kick off their shoes and let life rip lately. So I, too, have been inspired to work really hard to get my ass in gear. I’ve made some sacrifices, left a lot of comfort in the dust, and started fresh in many aspects of my life. I’ve busted my butt to go after some things that really matter to me. I don’t believe in handouts, I believe that if we all take responsibility for our own happiness, the Universe dishes out a little favor or two along the way to keep us all motivated…to keep the wind in our sails as we move along through our respective journeys.

No one is going to take tests for us, or finish reports at work for us. No one is going to patch up broken lines of communication between friends for us. No one is going to take us to the doctor, or pay our bills. No one else is going to set our alarms and make us go to the gym. No one is going to call our boyfriends and tell them we’re sorry. That’s all on us. We have to take care of ourselves and keep our own lives in as much control as we can. We have to order our own test strips, and shake our fists at insurance companies over the phone. We have to travel across town at annoying hours to see people that matter to us because, well, it matters to us. We have to show up to our own lives so that we can grow and learn and move onward and upward. This way, when we get into places where we are struggling and we are hurting, we can know that we did our best to do what we needed to; we don’t win ’em all. That our healing isn’t up to us anymore. It is up to time. We have to know that if we can just keep moving…or swimming, as Dory would say, we’ll end up in a better place. We have to learn our lessons by doing. Kinesthetic learning. Everything in life is kinesthetic.

This too shall pass is very real. The good will stick. It doesn’t always, but it certainly has the ability to if we let it shine within us. The good should be primarily what we’re in control of. Who we surround ourselves with, the types of things we’re involved in, and the way we choose to spend our own time, should be what produces good in our hearts faster than rabbits produce other rabbits. And though it’s not always that easy or hunky dory, it’s a pretty simple concept by nature.

It’s the “bad” we don’t always get to choose. The bad sweeps in uninvited more often than not. But it’s also proven that if we let it go, “bad” can fade. It can crumble. It can disintegrate. And once we’ve realized that we’ve survived that cycle enough times, we can continue to build confidence in ourselves. We can realize going in to this new year that we are all tough as nails. That one final exam won’t ruin our whole holiday. That one argument with a loved one just was a misunderstanding. That spilling coffee on your shirt is laughable. That having a high or low out of the blue is always correctable.

Perspective, perseverance, and patience. The power P’s (I just named them that) have ruled a greater portion of my brain throughout the last year. We have to learn to trust ourselves the way we learn to trust others. We have to learn to believe with all of our being that we’re just doing the absolute best job we can to live the best lives we are able.

how i was inspired by isabella

the secret life of

waltdisneyI’ve always wanted to interview one of my heroes. But I never thought the week of Thanksgiving, after a year that has given me so many new challenges and gifts, I’d be on the phone with a 4-year-old little girl in Ohio.

This is the story about how I was inspired by Isabella.

I have never met this little lady in person, but she and her amazing parents, Kristina and Greg, are the stars behind the diabetes awareness and advocacy website, InspiredByIsabella.com. Kristina had read The Sugars before, and reached out to me through Twitter a week ago. Before we knew it, I had totally fallen in love with her family, their story, and wanted nothing more than to talk to this tiny gal that goes through life with such a tremendous amount of courage.

Isabella is 4-years-old, she is a triplet (to brother, Max, and sister, Mia), and she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 2 while her family was living abroad in Mexico. They were thousands of miles away from family and friends, with hearts full of fear and hope. Without ever stopping to question this challenge, the tribe of 5 picked up the pieces and carried on as they always had. They’re home in Ohio now, and they have made it their passion pursuit to be able to say “our daughter USED to have diabetes.”

Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Isa’s entire family via FaceTime.

When the call rendered on Isabella and her mom, she was sitting on the couch with a nervous little grin on her face. “Hiiiiiiiiii!” she said with surprising confidence. I could immediately sense that this girl knew what she was doing. She was the boss. It is also important to note that she was wearing striped tights, a chic black tutu, and a Hello Kitty shirt. She also had a pink bow on her headband, giving her an extra dosage of charm. (Spoiler alert: my kid will1,000% sport this look.) She also loves princesses and playing dress-up.

Isa stared at me for a minute, trying to figure out if she could trust me or not, then wiggled over to her mom and whispered (/yelled/spit/blew hot air) into her ear: “Momma, where’s her POD? Can I see hers?” Kristina laughed nervously like, “Sorry my kid just asked you to essentially flash her within 1 minute of meeting you.” She then proceeded to proudly show me her Omnipod and CGM, and I showed her my Minimed pump and infusion set. Instantly, she smiled. It was like I had successfully completed a top-secret handshake to be let into her exclusive club.

I was so honored.

After some casual back and forth, Isa asked me, “Where’s your mom, why are you alone?” I laughed. What I thought in my head was, “Ohhh, you sweet little peanut…just wait until you’re in your 20’s…we’re all so very alone.” but then I remembered I was talking to a precious child and revised my response to, “My mom lives in another town!” I’m still laughing about it now.

Next, Isa asked me a very personal question. “Have you ever been to the hospital? Cuz I have.” I thought of the picture her mom had posted on their blog from the time in August when she had been hospitalized with a serious DKA incident. My heart sank. “No, I said. I’ve been really lucky. I’ve only been to the hospital one time at the very beginning of having diabetes. Was it scary?” 

Yeah.”

My heart sulked a little more. “You’re so brave. But you’re okay now, right?” I tried to change the tone, lighten things up a smidge.

“Yeeeeeah!” she exclaimed, fluffing her tutu and jumping up and down. There we go, devilish confidence was back. She leaned over and “whispered” to her mom again. I could hear everything she said…the whole art of speaking quietly is rather lost on a 4-year-old. She wanted to tell me who her favorite singer was. “I love Katy Perry!” she squealed. And promptly thereafter proclaimed that the Cars gummy snacks she’d just finished were great and all, but she was still hungry. And then poof, she disappeared in search of Daddy, who would have to test her blood sugar again, and bolus her…again. Sigh.

While Isa went hunting for some Goldfish (only our mutually most fav snack ever), I got to know Kristina. This woman, I’m convinced, has some serious super powers. She was so composed, patient, funny, and open-minded. We got real personal real quick, which I loved. Secrets are no fun. Truth be told, she shared, Isabella is struggling emotionally. She’s not always the happy, bubbly 4 -year-old her siblings are. Because she’s so young, she can’t always articulate why that is, and as a loving parent, that’s understandably torture. Isabella gets really pissed off when she’s high, and really goofy when she’s low. She acts out and causes trouble when she’s high, and laughs hysterically about things when she’s low. Her numbers are so unpredictable; on Thursday she woke up 51 with no explanation. She has a CGM and an Omnipod. She’s learning to test herself, and know what the numbers mean. And, though she barely can recall what she ate for lunch (she and I have that in common), she told me her least favorite part of having diabetes were “the shots” before she was on the Pod. How does she even remember? I was fascinated by this response. She also likes to decorate her Pod with “tattoos” to snazz it up. All of this, Kristina says, is growth and progress. Obviously, she and her husband look forward to her becoming more independent with her diabetes care, but there’s no denying that the learning curve and drastic swings in her blood sugar affects her happiness day in and day out.

Kristina talked about her fears: leaving Isa at birthday parties where no one knows how to care for her, reprimanding her unfairly for misbehaving because her numbers were too high, making sure her other 2 kids get as much care and support as Isa, Isa growing up and becoming a defiant teenager that resents her diabetes, and even further down the line…what’s in store when college comes around?

And, true to form, I asked her about the humor in their diabetes infused life since that’s the only way I get myself out of sticky situations in one piece.  She recalled a time when a woman was staring at Isa’s Omnipod (it’s a tubeless pump, so it literally is just a little white pod attached to the skin) and tapped Kristina on the shoulder. “Is that some sort of insect repellent?” she inquired. No, honey. But thanks for askin’!

We also talked about some of her parenting philosophies, one of which particularly stuck with me:

“Greg and I never apologize to Isa if we have to inject her with insulin. We never want her to feel like she did anything to deserve this. We want her to just accept diabetes as part of her life without feeling like it’s all negative, all the time. Causing panic and alarm would just add insult to injury. Bad blood sugar? There’s no such thing. Everything is fixable. Using guilt is not a healthy way to raise a little girl with this disease.”

I was 17 when I was diagnosed; presumably old enough to “do it by myself.” My mom and dad never had to experience the fear of laying in bed, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to help myself in the middle of the night if something happened. They never had to teach me what 300 meant vs. what 80 meant while trying to mask their anxiety. I tested when I wanted to. I tested on my own. I didn’t need nurses or caregivers at school or home. I resumed life on the lacrosse field, in the classroom, and with my friends. I was still me. I honestly cannot imagine a world where I had to learn how to be a kid, while also developing the fine motor skills advanced enough to handle the mechanics of opening a bottle of test strips.

Talk about perspective.

Kristina admitted to me that every time Isa takes a bath and the Pod and CGM are visible on her little body, she snaps back to reality — that as much as we all want to say Isa is a “normal little kid”, she only looks “normal” when her pump and CGM are hidden under her clothes. Or when there isn’t a pizza party going on at school. Doesn’t everyone know what pizza does to 4 year old diabetics? Isa is only able to be “normal” because of the incredible little devices stuck in her skin, monitored by others 24/7. These are the same incredible little devices that are stuck in my skin. Kristina expresses her appreciation for having the ability to take care of Isabella. That technology and the diabetes community have made it doable.

She wants Isa to grow up aware that though her troubles may be taxing, someone else out there is having a worse day no matter what. And to not compare problems to problems, she wants her kids to adopt the mission of seeking out others in need, so they can make them smile.

I admitted that I too, have had many moments with myself where I’ll stand in front of the mirror before a shower or before the beach, feeling an equal mix of disdain, gratitude, and pride. I’ll stare at my infusion set, trying to grasp its significance. It’s a powerful thing that I often forget to do. It’s a little white circle stuck on my back. It allows me to be me. It keeps me alive. Now Isa and I can celebrate that together in spirit.

Kristina was smiling as she shared all of this, but I could see some pain in her eyes. She knows the road ahead for their whole family will be a long one, but she is so proud of her kids and their resilience. For their ability to care for one another, and understand their inherent bond. She is so filled with gratitude for the diabetes community that they have become such an active part of. Isa actively seeks out other diabetic kids so that she can bond with them over their “Pods”. She is proud. She’s vocal. She’s extremely brave.

Isabella came back into our conversation after snack time 2.0. She wanted to know if she would ever see me again. I asked her if she’d want to come New York and eat Goldfish with me. She said we could. But we could only eat 5. I should be so lucky.

For the grand finale, Isa, in her purple leopard print jammies, danced to a song for me. It was a remix to “All About That Bass” called, All About That Cure. As the little kids in the video sang, “All about that pump, bout that pump, and testing” I totally cracked up. Kids are fucking awesome.

Spending an hour on the phone with this family was an amazing experience. There was laughing, whining, things crashing in the background, two rounds of testing and bolusing, snacking, Minnie Mouse stuffed animals flying around, and just about everything you’d expect in a busy, loving household at night. But what I got out of it was so much more than a sense of, “Good God, I need a glass of wine after witnessing these two perfectly innocent parents try to put 3 kids down for bed”.

I will think about Isa now. Always. Whenever I test I’ll think, “I hope Isa feels happy today.” Whenever my blood sugar spikes I’ll think, “I hope Isa has laughed enough today.” I hope that in the future, there is something I can do to help Isa out in some way… I tell pretty bad jokes, so I don’t think that’ll be my angle. But maybe eventually, she really can come to New York and hang out with me. Maybe getting Isa to crack up and “throw her head back like a muppet” as her mom described her laugh, could be my mission. Just knowing she feels enabled to be the fun-loving kid she’s entitled to be, will continue to motivate me.

So, now I can officially say I’ve interviewed one of my heroes. Or five, I guess. The whole family was incredible. But just knowing that Isabella is out there, seeing her face, hearing her voice, learning about her day-to-day, made diabetes feel a little more real, much bigger than myself, and yet it made the daunting task of taking this on seem much more plausible. We’re in this together now. No two diabetics are the same, but we can certainly be there for one another.

This Thanksgiving, I hope we’re all able to reach out to someone that inspires us. Someone who has gone through something in a way you found really impressive. A person in your life that you admire and respect. Thank them. Tell them what they’ve done for you. Let them know that they are very special to you for whatever reason. There’s no greater feeling in this world than being told “I appreciate you for ___________.”

Thank you so much to Greg, Kristina, Max, Mia, and Isabella for taking the time out of your busy night to talk to me and teach me about your life. I hope we can stay friends, talk again, or go play in Central Park when you come visit the Big Apple someday soon.

photo (2)
(This is Isabella telling me Katy Perry is her favorite singer. Girl’s got great taste!)

be nice to yourself.

the secret life of, well rounded wellness

c8fd054ff32e3caa67bb9163747b61fbEarlier this morning I was at the gym. I never go to the gym in the morning and was a half-drooling zombie. I am so not a morning person. Is anyone other than roosters and like, my dad? Anyway, when I got there, I was watching this chick (not creepily, I promise. Or do I?) do a really intense circuit and I envied her because she had a bangin’ bod and she was killing it. I thought, “I really want a donut right now” as I rolled out a mat behind her to do a significantly less strenuous series of embarrassingly ungraceful “toning movements”.  I started doing some plank-ish thing that makes me feel like I’m in a rather vulnerable place as I shamelessly gawked at myself in the mirror. Immediately, I started throwing shade and spilling Haterade all over myself. “Get your fat ass down, your form is shit, your arms are so weak and jiggly…why do you think that is? Hmm? You’re a booze bag, that’s why. Did you really need that second bite of Funfetti Jill baked last night?” and so on and so forth until I fell flat on my face feeling significantly worse about myself and slightly more shakier than before.

I compare September to a mini-New Year. Like, Ok, guys! Summer’s over! Time to start being an adult again! However, I find the Fall way more of a challenge than the Summer. Boots and sweaters are a great cover-up…they’re like a moo moo to hide your shame from Sunday Funday. But no, Football marathons do not help my cause when I attempt the wiggle into my skinny jeans on Monday morning and that sucks. As the air gets colder, so does my attitude towards myself. And yes, some of this frustration towards my mediocre physique is warranted. During the summer, being in my best shape isn’t always top of mind.  Which seems odd, since I’m naked-ish a lot more in the heat. JK, I live in NYC…but you get the point. I certainly packed on a few Guacamole-activated lb’s this summer. And fine, I got a little winded taking the elevator today.

But like, can we just be real for a second? Who the fuck cares?

No one. No one cares. Not one single person notices when you work out on a Monday or eat French Fries once a week. Only you know what’s going on with your body. Nobody even has a clue what size pants you are. You determine whether you should be pushing yourself or giving yourself a break. Nobody can dictate what you do with your physical self. You know what you need to do to put your best foot forward. That’s your job.

So, without wasting much more time on the smelly floor of the gym, I peeled my face up off the mat and decided I needed to cut it out.
I am not pathetic. And, self-deprecating humor can only go so far before it’s as unflattering on me as high-waisted, acid-washed mom jeans (Why are those back in style? Anyone? ANYONE?!). I was at the gym! At 6:30 in the morning! Where I went by myself because I woke up before my alarm even went off! I ate eggs and and avocado for breakfast! I shower regularly, and I make my bed! I’m also very nice to almost all people! So why in the world would I be that mean to myself?! I would certainly be annoyed with my attitude if I were friends with me.

Just think about it for a second, when was the last time you heard a guy (or or gal) say, “I’m so attracted to self-loathing millennial women who dictate their self-worth by whether or not their calves are small enough to fit into Hunter boots and how many times they’ve not enjoyed life because they were too busy not eating cheese.”

Maybe once… and it was in my worst nightmare.

Being good to your body is always going to be extremely important. We have one body, and one body only. And yes, some of our bodies like carbs more than other people’s bodies. But it’s all about how we perceive ourselves from the inside out. If we feel good, we will believe we look good. It’s science. And science came from the Internet. And the Internet is always right.

So, go on with your bad self: drink pumpkin beer with your other basic bitches! Crush nachos and wings with your boyfriend during the football game! But also look in the mirror and know that every action you make has an equal and opposite reaction. You’re going to gain and lose weight every year, no matter what you do. Life is short and 5-layer dip is sacred, so don’t you dare miss out. But also, remind yourself that being healthy and fit because you believe in yourself is equally wonderful. Especially for us lil’ diabetic ladies. Awareness is the key, not self-loathing. Even Beyonce photoshops her Instagram photos. EVEN QUEEN BEY!

When you are around a group of friends, and one of them is intensely critical, negative, and nasty, how does that make you feel? If your answer is “awesome!” then you can leave now because you suck and I hate you. But if you’re a human being and you say, “That person is rotten! I don’t want to be around them anymore!” then, there you have it. Don’t be that person to yourself. Be nice.

“i like this about me”

pump it up, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

10474206_10202714863252820_8272475250493140037_nI spent last weekend being reminded that I am one fortunate little lady. Not because I have a few nice things, or a roof over my head. But because I have some of the world’s most inspiring, down-to-earth friends that remind me not only how to keep a smile on my face, but why.

I spent my first 4 years out of college working, living, and growing with these people. And, in the past year, I have come to realize that this isn’t just a one-night-stand type of gig, I’m keeping these cats around as long as I can. No group in this world has accepted me so quickly at face value, or allowed me to be more open about who I am and what I (at least think I) bring to the table. They let me be my overly excited, nervous, mumbly self. They refill my wine glass when it’s only 1/3 gone, they braid my hair when we’re watching TV. They let me be in charge of the hors d’oeuvres, they remind me to test my blood sugar, and, most importantly, they share their own stories with me. Materialism means nothing to us. Social status is irrelevant. Being popular is the antithesis of our group’s core values. In fact, we are all a bunch of dweebs with stories to tell and flaws to flaunt. All of us have unique medical “things”, personality quirks, strong opinions, and come from various upbringings. We share a passion for music and humor. Some of us work to live and some of us live to work. All of us like beer. A few of us do improv, the rest of us play sports. We say, “I love you” a lot. We embrace our differences and form secret alliances over our shared traits. We’re the strangest, most smoothly functioning handful of weirdos you’ve ever met.

Now that I’ve wasted 5 minutes of your life bragging about my goofy group of friends that could all live with me on the island of misfit millennials, there’s one individual in this group I’d like to highlight.

His name is Jason. aka JO 1.0, aka J. Jason is new to our tribe and he brings a whole new bag of tricks into the mix. Jason is a photographer, videographer, and natural entertainment industry buff. He’s a total wing nut and gives very sweet compliments. Jason is also a hemophiliac.  What the hell is hemophilia, you ask? Yo, this shit is big time. JO has severe Hemophilia A, which keeps him from clotting if he gets a cut, and at times it causes random internal bleeds. It also means that his treatment involves a gnarly dose of an intravenous medication every 48ish hours (when you’re being good, right Jas?). Hemophilia is not only a chronic disease, it’s a mutation of the X chromosome. That’s right, mutation. Basically, Jason is a Ninja Turtle. When I first learned about Jason’s badass warped cells status, I was shocked. He’s a really cool dude, with a laid back swag, an artistic stroke of awesomeness, and a generally relaxed approach to life. Nowhere do I see him being “too careful” or “afraid” that he might ding himself on the kitchen counter playing beer pong with his homies. He  even told me on the beach this weekend, “I like it about myself. It makes me me. It makes me better.” And there you have it folks, he likes it. It makes him better. He looks at it like it’s a unique deck of cards he’s been handed to play. He approaches his condition like it’s a competitive edge. It’s a bonus, it’s an extra feature to add to his profile. Yes, at the root, it’s fucking terrifying. Internal bleeds, are you kidding me? If he played by the rules, they would tell him he could die from a paper cut. But does that mean he’s going to walk around as if he’s rolled in a wad of bubble wrap? Um, no.

I was inspired by Jason’s story. I was so grateful that he was willing to talk about it with me, to ask me if I wanted to watch him infuse himself with his magic potion. He wanted to know about my pump and helped me think of creative places to tuck it while I was in a bathing suit. He told me he thought it was cool. And maybe, by talking about our diseases as if they were, in fact, “cool”, I believed it a little bit. Maybe if we all thought about our “whatevers” that way, we’d brag about them, we’d show them off, we’d flaunt them and embrace them, and shout from the mountain tops, “my body is messed up and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!!!!!” Think about it. When you have something you are really proud of, what do you do with it? You worship and cherish it. You keep it in mint condish as best you can. If we approached our not so glamorous physical or mental ailments as such, maybe we’d reverse psychology ourselves into taking better care of whatever it is we’re dealing with. Maybe we’d stop thinking twice about taking our medications, or bolusing in public. Maybe we’d just do it and say, “Yeah, what? That’s my 87 reading, check that perfect shit out. You jealous?” A sense of pride in all of the work we do to keep our rinky dink machines as well oiled as possible could carry us a long way.

So cheers to you, Jason. Thank you for sharing, thank you for listening, thank you for thinking that I’m cool for having diabetes and thank you for enlightening me on the world of factor 8-less peeps. Welcome to our family, I hope you’re willing to hang with us for a while. You truly are a special dude.

#showmeyourpump

pump it up, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

Libby Russell ResumeThe newly crowned Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison, has a message for us. #Showmeyourpump has become an Internet sensation over the past week after this 20 -year – old beauty queen bravely sported her very own insulin pump on the runway during her pageant, launching her to stardom in more ways than one.

This situation made me feel all of the feels. Especially when so recently, the Internet went nuts about the aspiring model, Bethany Townsend after she posted pictures of herself sporting her Colostomy bag outside of her bikini.

Admittedly, I was skeptical of Sierra at first. “What a publicity stunt,” I thought.  I even said out loud that she probably just showed off her pump for brownie points. Then, after a few days of mulling it over, I came around. I was being a bitch. A jealous one, for that matter. I was thinking, oh now she gets all of the credit? Since I am just an average Joe(sephina), I am not influencing anyone to be braver about their pump. Since I am not wearing my Derek on the outside of my bikini on a runway, I have never inspired a single little kid to manage his or her diabetes better (for the record the only runway I’ve ever been on is at an airport, mind you). And, since I am not a celebrity published in every magazine, I am not influencing any other person to be more open about their own condition/s, whatever it or they may be.

You’re right, Libby, you might as well just give up now. This is all about you, afterall. Beside, your diabetes  is 100% perfect anyway, so you have no room for improvement or some inspiration of your own, that’s for sure… You’ve also never once been told that your teeny tiny little blog has touched people and impacted them deeply or gone to bed feeling more at peace with yourself because you got all your words down on paper (err…the Internet…).

Dammit, Sierra, you stole all of my thunder. That and the thunder of all the other incredible people out there that aren’t ever making a difference just by being their amazing selves and doing what they normally do each and everyday…

JK.

Like I said, I came around. No one is stealing anyone’s thunder. In fact, how I feel today is immense gratitude towards Sierra (and even Bethany). After beating myself up over my initial Leo-minded mean girl thoughts, I realized that, holy shit, this girl is just as brave as everyone else, she just happens to be the one in the spotlight. So, by doing what she has done, she has helped all of us out. She has now informed hundreds of thousands of people across the country about what an insulin pump really is. About what type 1 diabetes is, even. She has raised awareness exponentially in just one week. Think of how many more kids at school will now be asked, “is that the same cool thing Miss Idaho was wearing?” instead of, “Eew, what is that?”

Sierra has done all of us one gigantic favor. She took one for the team. She answered questions that many of us are tired of responding to, or are too afraid to deal with directly. And not only that, but she has become the face of diabetes. No longer will people picture some old guy sitting by a fire with a huge mustache saying, “Diabetus” (though I love that Wilford Brimley, I really do.)

Hopefully now people are going to see a strong, beautiful person when they think of type 1. No, most of us don’t look like Sierra on the outside and aren’t ever going to feel comfortable racing around in a bikini (#geneology #science). But on the inside I’m willing to bet a lot of us do. A lot of us like to exude confidence, have intelligent conversations, and be in the spotlight in our own way. Many of us are leaders, innovators, and influencers in our own communities regardless of what that entails. There is no reason why people need to associate diabetes with anything other than this glamorous young person with a perfect smile and eyebrows. If anything, this is a publicity stunt she pulled, and not for herself, but for the disease. And, frankly, it might just be exactly type 1 diabetes needed.

So, Sierra, I’d like to apologize for being a judgmental biatch when I first heard your story. Instead, I’d like to thank you for exposing yourself as one of the many beautiful young people out in the world living amazingly amazeballs lives with type 1. I wish you all of the best in all of your endeavors, and I hope that someday we cross paths in our journey to enlighten the world on type 1, and make guys and gals realize that though it sucks sometimes, everybody’s got their something and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got.

And on that note, since you showed me yours, I’ll show you mine (bonus bikini round). #showmeyourpump
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