Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Half-Assed Genius

Are you ready to hear a lot from me this month? I hope so. Because I'm once again going to take on the challenge of another WEGO Health Blog's blog challenge month. Each day in November, I'll be given a prompt that has to do in some way with blogging about myself or my health condition. 30 days, 30 posts.

Today's Prompt: "Titles of My Future Book." I've been challenged to come up with at least 5 working titles for a book about my life, my community, or my condition and to write up a book jacket summary for it.

I can tell you one thing. I wouldn't title it Sweetly Voiced.

Sweetly Voiced is the name of this blog because it is a lovely sounding phrase that, in one gesture, wraps diabetes, my last name, and singing into a challenge to myself to be softer and more positive. Less clinical, less critical, less caustic. It serves as my own little reminder to cherish the sweetness that comes with every new day that I spend as a mother and a teacher.

But it wouldn't describe my life.
It has nothing to do with my community.
And it doesn't at all describe my condition.

My life's title would be something along the lines of:
  • Half-Assed Genius: Flying By the Seat of My Smartie-Pants
It would be about how, if I ever had the energy to give any one thing my full attention, I bet I'd do that one thing to such a degree of perfection, creativity, poise, and effectiveness that cities would fall. And how that's never going to happen. Not with my diabetes. Not with my teaching. Not with my writing or singing. Not even with raising kids. So I do everything I do somewhere on the scale between moderately well to breaking even. And I'm okay with that.

If I wrote the tale of my community, now there's a story for you. I'm not the one best positioned to tell it - and I'll get to that in a moment. But I bet I could title that beast.
  • The D-OC: Broken Pancreases, Cupcakes, Unicorns, and the Lifting of the Human Spirit
or something more Health 2.0-oriented...
  • Thousands Like You: Social Media and Support for Patients in the Digital Age
or specific to the work I've seen accomplished in my particular corner of the community:
  • Word in Your Hand: How Awareness Initiatives Bring Patients Out of the Dark and Into the Future
Though I'm certainly on the receiving end of the benefits of social media in relation to health, I wouldn't claim the right to tell its story. I'd leave that to the many patient advocates who got things rolling before I stumbled in. To people like Allison and Kerri who blogged about diabetes before we all blogged about diabetes. To torchbearers like Manny and David and Brandy and Jeff who started communities for people touched by diabetes. To people like Cherise who got us all talking on Twitter on Wednesday nights. I'm not saying I don't have the right to tell the story - just that I'd rather be absorbed in its pages. A tidy footnote about empowerment, education, and good community management. Not to mention adorable babies.

I don't have many titles for a book about my condition. So much has been written about "overcoming" diabetes, diabetes incidence rising, searching for cures, complications. I wouldn't be writing any of that. I don't believe in any of that. I don't believe in cures, I don't believe complications are inevitable, I don't believe it can be overcome.

My titles for a book about diabetes would be something like:
  • Diabetes: 24 Hours a Day with an Unpredictable Houseguest
  • Quitting My Day Job: I'm a Lousy Stand-in for a Pancreas
And the book would focus on what people just don't understand about the day-in and day-out. I'd start with a wind-up clock and ask people to imagine forgetting to wind their alarm clock or winding it so tightly that a spring popped. And then ask what that would mean if it was their heart they had to wind everyday. Or their lungs. And that with every heartbeat or every breath - just as with every meal, stressful situation, activity, or illness when you have diabetes - your dependence on your ability to wind that clock meant the difference between wellness and sickness, life and death. There's always blame, guilt, human error, technological failures, unforeseen circumstances. And all the time, you regret that you don't have a clock that just keeps on ticking on its own. That your time might run out.

That's what it's like living without a pancreas and relying on the only tools I have to rely on.

That's why my community has become so important to me.

That's why our lives are so often a blur of SWAGing (scientific wild-ass guessing).

And why mine would be a tale of giving it your all...most.

This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J.

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