A Kid's Hero.
Sure, I read the trashy magazines while I'm standing in line at the grocery store. (And then, when it comes time to pay, I clumsily mush the US Weekly into the slot where the Good Housekeepings are standing at attention.) And yes, I catch myself humming along to the theme song of Entertainment Tonight when it comes on at the gym. But I've never been one for celebrity heroes.
I had a hero as a little kid and she wasn't even real.
When I was a little kid, I was a big ol' book worm. (Currently, I am a big ol' Book Nerd. I've evolved.) My room was a pile of dog-eared books, some of which were bloated from bringing them into the shower. The librarian in my hometown knew me by name. I would get in trouble for bringing books to the dinner table. Bottom line: I wouldn't stop reading.
Shortly after I was diagnosed, Ann M. Martin started a series of books called The Baby-Sitter's Club. Telling the story of a group of girls who start a baby-sitting business, I was hooked from the first page of Kristy's Great Idea. Tomboy Kristy, fashion-plate Claudia, mousy Mary Anne, Dawn the California girl, and Stacey.
Stacey was my hero.
Here I was, all of about nine years old, my friends and I devouring every new Baby-Sitter's Club book that was published and talking about starting our own baby-sitter's club. Then the book The Truth About Stacey came out and the world cracked open.
Stacey had diabetes. This well-known character in a series read by millions of kids (and most of my friends), was smart, pretty, popular, and had diabetes.
My heart soared. (My blood sugar probably did, too. Hormones were a bitch on my A1c's.) Mainstream diabetes! Most people talk about Shelby in Steel Magnolias as the pop culture diabetes icon, but for me it was Anastasia "Stacey" Elizabeth McGill. She talked with her friends and tested her blood sugar at the same time.
My nine-year old brain could barely handle it. "I talk to my friends and test my blood sugar, too!" I thought she was the coolest. She may as well have had a superhero cape as far as I was concerned.
Even now, almost twenty years later, I think about Stacey McGill and feel so connected to her stories. Fiction or not, the Baby-Sitter's Club books were like prehistoric diabetes blogs, serving as a lifeline between diabetic kids. In a town where I was one of the only kids with diabetes, Stacey confirmed that there were others out there like me.
Oh, and I wanted to dress like Claudia. ... and I've digressed yet again.