Here’s today’s prompt: “In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…” that participants found wonderfully empowering. So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes. What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could? Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life? (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)” Click for the I Can – Monday 5/11 Link List.
I think the biggest change diabetes brought to my life—apart from the obvious—is belonging. I can belong to a community. This is no small thing for me. See, I've never belonged anywhere. That feeling of being on the outside has been with me since I was tiny.
I remember watching Sesame Street, hearing the song, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong..." and having the distinct, unnerving, feeling they were singing about me. I looked around my preschool world and realized I didn't belong.
Something about me made it impossible to belong. In first grade, I was reading like a fourth grader. In fourth grade, I was reading Othello, and there was no one to talk to about Othello smothering Desdemona, because I didn't belong in fourth grade. My body was 9. My intellect was 17. My emotional maturity was 7. I didn't belong inside my own skin. I didn't belong in my classroom.
One of these things is not like the others...
I didn't belong anywhere. I was too... Too intense. Too smart. Too weird. Too emotional. Too much. Calm down. Pipe down. Tone it down. Slow down. For the love of God, just... stop.
One of these things just doesn't belong...
Snip off the tall poppy. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. And I was hammered down, by teachers and the other kids. I saw other kids playing, and wanted to join in, but I had no idea how to blend in. So, I watched. I pretended. I hid. I made friends with books, because books don't bully.
The more I read, the weirder I got. The weirder I got, the more I read. I isolated myself inside walls of books.
Community is something other people have. Belonging is something other people do. Not me. Never me. Who would want me in their community? I have always looked at community as an outsider, wondering what it would feel like to belong.
My entire life, I have tried trimming off pieces of myself in an attempt to fit in. I am not a square peg in a round hole. I am a great triambic icosahedron in a round hole. Hide this pointy bit. Don't let anyone see that part. Blend in. Hide. Then I would say the wrong thing, and someone would glare and say, "Well, we can't all be in Mensa, Marie." And I would try and snap off another part of me. Can't you at least pretend to belong?
I wished I could find somewhere to belong. A community where I could actually be my 20-sided self, sharp points and all, and be accepted anyway. Then I got diabetes. I found the DOC. I started blogging.
FastClix? Flip. Done. Why do I wait a month? I dunno.
Because of the DOC, and this blog, I have admitted to mistakes, and failures. And laughed at myself, just for being myself. Others have joined me in commiserating with my goofs and blunders. You've cheered me on when I've succeeded. I've found community because of diabetes. I found out I can belong.
When I blog, I belong. When I read other blogs, I belong. When I participate in #DSMA, I belong. When I write for D-Blog Week, I belong. When I read other D-Blog Week posts, I belong. Without snipping off parts of what make me who I am, I can belong inside the DOC. Without hiding, or pretending to be someone else, I can belong. And that matters to me. I can be a part of a community. I can belong.