It’s almost 2 in the morning and my eyes are burning from keeping them open too long. I didn’t sleep much last night either. I have this frustrating urge to keep fighting, to push a little longer. I don’t think I’ve ever posted a poem this late, or early, depending on how you see it, but I couldn’t help myself. I needed to get these words out. I needed to try. I just need to keep trying.
I write about this once a year and once a year only. Fourteen years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I remember that day in chunks: when my pediatrician told us to drive to the hospital, when the nurse weighed me and commented that I was skin and bones, when I had to pee so badly as they were admitting me that I almost went in my pants, the first shot they gave me, the first shot I gave myself, sobbing in my mom’s arms in my dark hospital room, convinced that I’d never be able to eat pizza again.
Type 1 diabetes isn’t one of those diseases that people know you have. Aside from insulin pumps and hordes of empty juice boxes, we’re undetectable. I don’t hide my condition, but I don’t bring it up either. It’s a part of me now, locked into every moment of every day, burned into my routine, into my history, and into my future.
This is my confessional. Sometimes I’m still embarrassed to bring out my insulin pump at the dinner table, even with my closest friends. It’s been fourteen years and I still struggle with dosing food correctly. I don’t like to admit when I don’t feel well and I cancel doctor’s appointments when I’ve had trouble controlling my blood sugars just so my doctor won’t find out that I’m “failing” at being a good diabetic.
I’m not shy about my disease. I always welcome conversation and questions and will share my stories to anyone that cares to ask. It’s a strange dichotomy: being an open book that’s shoved inside a backpack.
Thanks for listening to my D-Day story. I guarantee next March 26th will reveal another chapter.
My Saturday morning poems are usually my favorite, not because I think they are at all superior to my other ones, but because I love starting my weekend with “me” time. This week was a mess of ups and downs. I tested friendships, rekindled others, and rode the doubt-confidence spectrum. So taking a few minutes this morning to think through everything I’d survived in the past few days was blissful.
I have a Spotify playlist blasting and everything I need to make today a good memory tomorrow.
Today is one of the rare afternoons on a weekday that I have nothing to do. It’s in those times that I tend to think too much, thinking about every aspect of my life, and not in a healthy way. I have a habit of looking too closely at the minutes of a day, wondering too much about why I’m doing what I’m doing and making a list of all the things that are missing. I envy the people that live so carefree, loving the moment and embracing alone time with love. I wonder if they’re acting.
Writing has been a struggle lately. I spent at least a week and a half incapable of finishing a single poem. I’d start them, sometimes even reaching the second to last line, and then shut my notebook. But this one just happened. I didn’t fight for it or resent it halfway through. It was organic and soothing and I think I know why. I’ve been focusing on me lately, focusing on what I’m feeling and holding on to negativity like a magnet. This poem was a break from that. It’s about someone else and I’m super relieved that something inside me compelled me to reach outside my own brain for inspiration.
Today’s one of those anniversaries I’d rather not celebrate. It’s a day that commemorates the moment my life changed 13 years ago, a day I lost a little bit of my childhood innocence, forced to grow up in the car ride to the hospital. I try not to pout or draw attention to my situation on the regular because self-pity is as unattractive a vice as any, but if there’s one day I’ll let the tears fall, it’s today, D-Day, March 26th, the day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
If you see a T1D today, give them a hug for me. Let them know you care. This disease is more grueling than you can imagine, more relentless than meets the eye, and more life-threatening than we dare to admit. Though we may not let our vulnerability show, I promise, your love and support means the world.
Today’s poem is inspired by the Twenty One Pilots song with the same title, “Trees.” Their version forces me to reflect on the exact emotions I fight to hide from contemplation, but in that reflection I find the purpose to write my own verse and expel the words that imprison my confidence.
…and if you can figure out what that means, you win 10 points!
Thanks for checking out this week’s poem named after one of my favorite Twenty One Pilots songs. Check out the archives of all my TOP titled poetry HERE and as always, check out the Twenty One Pilots version of “Before You Start Your Day” below.
Today is day 3 of Heart Week on She’s in Prison in honor of all those born with congenital heart defects. On August 25th, I am walking in the St. Louis Congenital Heart Walk in memory of my sister Rebecca Lyn and in support of friends, new and old, and their families. Please help me raise awareness and funds for CHD research by donating and/or finding a walk in your city!