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Diabetes Reality, Reframed.

Recently, I read a blog post about the concept of “reality reframed,” which is basically the photo practice of cropping-out of the tougher stuff in life, and giving focus to the positive and “prettied up” stuff.

As Tracey wrote:

“I figure instead of abandoning the art I love, I will show the reality along side of it. This is how the idea of reality reframed came about; sharing a snapshot of the bigger picture first and right next to it the snippet of I choose to look at it. I’ve never really done anything quite like this before but by revealing this part of the picture I hope that anyone watching will feel less alone in their own imperfect life. And I also hope that I can really drive the point home that you can excavate photo-worthy magic from everyday life, no matter how messy it gets. It’s part of the practice of elevating the everyday.”

I thought her statement was brilliant, and it really got me thinking about how diabetes bloggers, and all patient communities online, reframe the reality of their health condition.  We write about the stuff that sucks and the stuff we celebrate, and all the mess in between.  I love sharing a bright, shiny 100 mg/dL on my meter, or a Dexcom no-hitter, and documenting those moments gives me a lift on the days when numbers aren’t so bright, or shiny, but the Big Picture also needs to be shared, giving context to those blood sugar numbers.

Diabetes isn’t a perfect math where you can just solve for X.  Usually, we’re solving for ‘why.’  And part of that equation is acknowledging, and appreciating, the sum of our community and what we document, every day.  We are reframing the reality of our disease by sharing, showing people, and ourselves, that diabetes is a constant exercise in solving for why.  Managing diabetes takes a ton of hard work, and we work hard for the health we maintain.

Some days are easy, others are difficult, but none are absent effort.

Today, I’m appreciating the fact that so many people with diabetes are willing to share their stories, letting strangers look into their lives via a window on the Internet, finding pieces of themselves in the words written by others.  Telling our stories, and expanding the perceptions of what diabetes really requires, can be so powerful.  To tweak Tracey’s sentiment, you can excavate magic from everyday life with diabetes, no matter how messy it gets.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wonderful post! I especially love “solving for why”. Brilliant. Not sure what I’d do without the sharing and caring that comes from DOC bloggers. Thanks for writing this.

    09/26/13; 4:23 pm
  2. Karen #

    This is a good one, Kerri:). (not that they all aren’t:)). Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing good enough or I haven’t figured it all out yet (a year and 9months since diagnosis)…but when I read a blog like yours, and you’ve been doing this for 30ish years and there are still plenty of “whys”…I feel better and encouraged that I am doing the best I can to care for my sweet girl. And knowing it is hard but a positive outlook is still possible is a great encouragement as well.

    09/27/13; 9:05 am
  3. Nicole #

    I am teaching a disability studies class right now and we’ve been discussing how photos re-frame reality and tell viewers how to interpret disability. I had not given deep thought to the written version of re-framing–thanks for making me think!

    I have thought about what it means and how it feels to be re-framed by others, though. Last year I had my “official” teaching-in-action photo taken for the college where I work. The photographer had me leaning against a book shelf and pretending to look smart. And then he says, “Let’s get rid of that thing” and nodded to my insulin pump. I did not question it at the moment but as soon as the photo was taken I got angry–that “thing” is part of me and I felt like who I was was misrepresented (by others) without it. That’s a major digression–that’s what happens when I think!

    Thanks again,

    09/27/13; 11:48 am
  4. Nicole #

    Kinda related I talked with a real life PWD in the wild today. That was a nice break and change of perspective to have someone who knew what a pump is, how it works, could name brands and when I said something about bolus to not have to explain. Oh and rattling off blood sugar numbers and having him say “I know that is the worst” rather than “is that good or bad” Just enough of a change to make me readjust my attitude for the day.

    09/27/13; 7:56 pm

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