Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Moth to the Flame

Today's prompt: I write about my health because...

When this prompt came up last year, I wrote about the Diabetes Delorean - my time machine I would take back to myself at diagnosis (age 10) so that I could share wisdom about my life with this condition.

And how, barring the development of said time machine, the best I could do was to write about what I've learned and share it with you now. Especially if you need to hear it.

Today though, I want to talk about why I continue to write about diabetes. Surely, with all of these people's blogs and blog carnivals and health social media outlets...surely, we've said it all, right?

How much more can there be to say about diabetes after all? Signs, symptoms, stigma. Diets, doctors, drugs. Blah blah blah.

Here's the thing though.

It's still HERE.

It's still invading our every single meal. Every single intimate encounter with a loved one. Every time I take my kids to the park. Every time I plan a vacation. Every time it claims another life.

Whether its presence farks up my plans or whether I brilliantly managed a day where it didn't, it's still my constant companion. My abusive other spouse. My annoying coworker. My unruly third kid.

*whines because you don't understand*


And when I (and others) write about it, we remind one another that we are not alone. We remind you that we work really hard to be this healthy. We remind ourselves how strong we are.

When diabetes snuffs out a young light too soon, we light virtual blue candles on our Facebook profiles.

We stand together and stare down this unfair, inevitably unfriendly beast...before tucking it back into bed with our kids, zipping it back into our testing kits, slipping it back in our pockets.

Whether we light a candle in memory, in honor, in hopefulness, or in unity, each contribution is another voice in the chorus. And I'd like to think each voice matters. Even when my own voice seems small.

Matthew Arnold once said of Percy Shelley, one of my favorite poets,

"In poetry, no less than in life, he is 'a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain'."

That quote has stuck with me since the day I scribbled it into a lecture notebook when I was 21.

I saw in myself some kind of ineffectual bright angel.

Self-important. Loudly sharing my delicious-sounding words in the hopes that they mattered. Hoping for incandescence, in need of reflection.

To each of you, I say share your perspective. Flap your wings. Shine on.


  1. Love this! Your words are powerful and do help you be that shining light.

    Visiting from the WEGO FB page :)

  2. I love how why we write about health is so different for each of us! :-) Enjoyed reading your thoughts today!

  3. Lovely post, Melissa. Shine on, my friend!

  4. Just found your blog because WAGO quoted you on Pinterest. so glad they did. You write beautifully.