Tag Archives: Cultural Criticism

#DBlogWeek – If I could change the world…

Warning: This post is going to be hyperbolic at times.

Jean Paul-Sartre once said “hell is other people.” People with diabetes know this all too well. The tragedy of the situation is that it does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell when health insurance representatives try to make it difficult for us to receive medical technology that will improve our standards of living.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell when when they decide to charge us 5-star prices for fast food quality test strips.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell when they cast judgement upon us, sniping our self-esteem.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause the impatient among us hell when they play dumb after we have explained diabetes to them countless times.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell when they trivialize or exaggerate diabetes.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell when they act coldly…robotic…inhuman when we mention the unfair portion of BS that has been allotted to us.

It does not have to be that way.

Other people cause us hell by doing this… Other people cause us hell by doing that… Other people unnecessarily cause us hell in numerous ways. That is the underlying issue that I care most about.

This is unacceptable! This is inexcusable! This must stop!

As people with diabetes, we have enough to deal with as it is. I accept that. What I can’t accept is other people making things artificially difficult. Thankfully, things are changing.

Other people’s actions, occasionally, throw us into a pit. The actions of those in the Diabetes Online Community protect us from the pit, and pull those within out of it.

Our actions are our hope!

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Putting together the puzzle pieces

My sisters diagnosis with type 1 diabetes has brought to light just how sloppy I have become.

She has shown much greater care in managing diabetes than I currently do.

She changes her lancet every other day; I change mine every time it dawns on me that I cannot remember when I last changed mine.

She still uses alcohol wipes; I do not.

She still shows discipline in her eating habits; I am inconsistent.

If I desired to, I could innumerate many other contrasts between us. I do not desire to do so.

I am lazy at times. Openly so. This post is not meant to conceal this…

“…who wishes to concern himself with such dangerous “Perhapses”! For that investigation one must await the advent of a new order of philosophers, such as will have other tastes and inclinations, the reverse of those hitherto prevalent–philosophers of the dangerous “Perhaps” in every sense of the term.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Does laziness get unnecessary flak? Perhaps sloth has been unfairly maligned. Of course, this flies in the face of everything you and I were brought up to believe.

Honorable custom tells us that to be lazy is a bad thing. That it is something to be avoided in oneself, and shunned in others. Why should I bow down to such a stern master?

(On second thought, there are exceptions. Laziness is not always bad. At times, when we are in a merciful mood, we will describe slothfulness with the phrase “laid back”.)

Conversely, why should I make laziness my idol? Is sloth a benevolent master?

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Own thyself.

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Both knee-jerk nonconformism and mindless conformity are less than ideal.

Admittedly, I have engaged in both. Who hasn’t? With that said, I prefer opening myself up to accusations of hypocrisy to selling my ideals for a little comfort.

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I fall short. You fall short. We all fall short. Does this justify giving up?

 “I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that others less esteemed were really wiser and better.”

~ Socrates

Having picked up on the contrast between my sister and myself, I began to think…

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Not all sloppiness is equal.

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Examine & probe assumptions.

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Exercise:

Periodically ask myself “have I been sloppy in managing my diabetes lately?” List them. Examine. Judge on case by case basis.

Similar yet different

I am a singular individual. Labels do not assimilate me. On the contrary, it’s to me that labels assimilate.

Labels conceal my uniqueness. They hide my individuality.

At the same time…

Each individual is a circle; a label = where circles overlap.

Labels hint at unity. They disclose my similarities with other individuals.

That is potentially beneficial.

Still…Labels  do not disclose me.

I have type 1 diabetes; type 1 diabetes does not swallow me up.

I am young;  being young does not swallow me up.

I am a New Englander; being a New Englander does not swallow me up.

I am an American; being an American does not swallow me up.

I am a man; being a man does not swallow me up.

I am a human; being a human does not swallow me up.

Labels may accurately describe one of my facets. Perhaps they might even explain an aspect or aspects of myself.

A useful negation they might be. Even so, but a fraction of my self is all you see.

Words to live by:

Cherish unity, but do not let love of unity lead to forced uniformity.

Cherish your individuality. Do not let labels obfuscate your uniqueness.

Be mindful.

These jottings are the result of a process of thought set into motion by a comment that Heather Gabel made.  She blogs over at Unexpected Blues. Check it out if you have not done so already!

The Purpose of Writing

Expression. To express is the ultimate end of all writing. That’s it. The purpose of writing is that simple.

Distinguish yourself from the crowd! Don’t insist on complicating the uncomplicated!

Expression is the aim. Everything else is secondary. Conventions. Grammar. Choice of words. These are means to an end. Never lose sight of that.

When you write, you are free. Why do you choose to abbrogate your responsibility? Why do you allow Master Form to entice you with his promises of ease?

just write and remember…

Writing is a selfish endeavor. Art is a selfish pursuit. Despite this, they have the power to inspire…uplift…motivate…change.

Writing is a sea of gray, into which selfishness and selflessness melt away.

These are beliefs I hold dear.

Food for Thought: Diabetes Advocacy

  1. An advocate is a fighter for the interests of those who would otherwise be ignored and trampled upon by society.
  2. Advocacy can take innumerable forms. Political activism, educating the public, and social/cultural criticism are just some of the forms that diabetes advocacy can take.
  3. Rather than seeing diabetes advocacy as an activity of a select few, we should see it as a project that all diabetics (and their loved ones) can engage in.
  4. The perfect health care system is a myth. Regardless of the form of system we choose to have, health advocacy is essential to the protection of the interests of patients.
  5. We need to broaden our view of what constitutes diabetes advocacy.
  6. Diabetes advocates can be thought of as forming a choir. More individuals = a louder collective voice.
  7. The louder our voice, the more that it’ll stand out amongst a sea of other voices.
  8. An ideal advocate would be one in whom a fighting spirit is tempered by prudence.
  9. How one chooses to advocate isn’t what matters most. The main thing is that one is taking action.
  10. Since our project is a team effort, we don’t all have to be doing the same task. We can each contribute in such a way that is in line with our talents, interests, etc. There’s a place for us all.

Happy Holiday’s

On the eve of Christmas, I’d like to wish all of you a blessed time with those you love!

For me, this day has an added significance: it is the eve of my diaversity. This time of year is one of great gratitude: I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful that my family weren’t subjected to the pain caused by losing me at a joyous time of year. This thought is what…hurts me the most.

This thought rips me out of my self-centerdness. My thoughts, my concerns… These things no longer preoccupy my mind. I’m now permeated by feelings of compassion, sympathy…

It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of living with this disease that we forget… we forget that this disease hurts us all. True, we do recall this from time to time, but, honestly, how often is it on our minds?

And isn’t this true of our lives as a whole? We get so caught up in our own endeavors – work, school, our goals, chores, etc. – that we forget to step back and truly show our feelings to those we have strong feelings of love towards?

I’m guilty of all of these things. My ego, my pride… Not even these can cover that up. I’m a deeply compassionate person (thank you diabetes and ADHD), but what’s it worth? Do I show it? Is my compassion – at least some of the time – mere form without substance?

Compassion: this is what the world needs more of. Living with type 1 diabetes has showed me that. Having to struggle through school (despite my high intelligence) thanks to having ADHD has showed me that. We have a crippling compassion deficit, and my actions don’t always make this deficit any better… and there is nothing that can excuse that.

A great human tragedy is that while each of us lives in our own private hell, we all act as each others gatekeeper’s.

Why I Write

In the 21st century, the daily grind of life threatens to make us all grow dull. We are torn by a multitude of competing demands: by our innermost desires, by the demands society places upon us, etc. We are over-saturated: by information, by endless noise, by a flurry of activities, etc. We are all, to varying extents, caught up by this deluge, and swept away from our innermost selves. We’re all at imminent risk of losing our bearings.

For some of us, these difficulties are exponentially greater. As a person who happens to have type 1 diabetes and ADHD, this is especially true. Diabetes adds a  unique set of demands – ones that are ever-present – and my ADHD sharpens the all too common tendency to get caught up in and distracted by trivialities. It is all too easy for me to lose sight of what matters most to me. It is all too easy for me to lose sight of who I am at the most fundamental level. Introspective writing is my remedy to this.

In order to write, I need to concentrate. All external things are left at the door, opening up a space for me to delve deep into myself. Deep introspection is now a possibility. I am left alone: my thoughts, feelings, actions, etc. are before me in a way that isn’t possible when distracted. To prepare oneself to write is also to prepare oneself for introspection.

My method of writing helps my introspection in another way: it forces me to be self-honest. For me to write, I have to silence the inner critic, and let my thoughts and feelings flow. Improvement can come latter. Editing comes later. The first step is to simply write. Self-honesty flows from this method. Over-thinking is diminished.

In introspective writing, what lies within becomes manifest.  So long as the fruit of my introspection remains in my head, it quickly becomes rotten; I easily lose sight of the insights that I’ve gained. Introspective writing remedies this. Being made manifest, the fruit of my introspection is available to me in my time of need. When I’ve become lost in the demands of life, and I’m hungry for insight, it is there for me.

These are, for me, the most valuable reasons to write. They aren’t the only reasons I write, but they are the one’s with the greatest cash-value. These benefits permeate the rest of my life. It helps me to both discover and remember who I am, what my priorities are, etc. In a word, introspective writing is the ark that saves me from the deluge.