Declaring one singular word on my hand in permanent ink is something I haven't been able to do for the three years that I've belonged to the D.O.C. I have too many words to describe how I feel about diabetes. And those words "may change every 20 minutes, / along with my blood sugar." I am normally an extremely positive person, but my words for diabetes all trend toward the negative.
If I jotted down the first words that come to mind when I think of my relationship to diabetes, I'd have a lot of "un" words:
I'd also have words to describe how diabetes makes me feel or words for its most challenging moments:
But the problem with these aggressive words that storm to the tip of my tongue is that they lack context and make me sound like I have settled for a life of hopelessness. They describe what diabetes IS and what it DOES without describing what I've done IN SPITE of those feelings.
I want to be a role model and dip into my inspiring teacher words:
But none of those thinly whispered words of empowerment speak to my real internal emotional struggle. None of them reflect how unforgiving diabetes can be. They are just words that describe my attitude. My brave face.
So I'm back to my ambivalence. Do I give a nod to the optimistic destination or to the painstaking journey? Do I whine to the world about how hard it is or do I buck up and pull on those bootstraps?
At the end of the day, I think I worry most about what other diabetics will see in my hand. I worry about what my doctor would see in my hand. I worry about what my husband and my daughter would see in my hand. I'm supposed to be experienced at this, trying harder, seeing better results. I don't want them to see the way I vacillate between the two extremes -- the high and the low, the cold realism or the sweetness-and-light.
I stare at my finger-pricked hand, curled in a question mark.
I just want them to see a human being making the most of a life in spite of an obstacle that made an otherwise superwoman feel exceptionally human and mortal.
And then I think I have it.