Happy Thanksgiving!! <3 the Sparlings
Happy Thanksgiving!! <3 the Sparlings
Diabetes Awareness Month is almost over, closing out on November 30th. Throughout the month, I’ve watched some really inspiring efforts take flight to raise awareness for diabetes, including the Project Blue November campaign. Project Blue November has been a big part of my Facebook feed throughout the month, showcasing photos of advocates and celebrities alike sporting their blue circle pin.
My blue circle pin is something I wear every time I’m out in public. I have one that I take on-and-off whatever jacket I’m wearing and a one permanently stuck on the bookbag I use when I’m traveling.
I don’t spend the majority of my days on a diabetes advocacy soapbox, but having that pin on me at all times makes me feel like I’m wearing a teeny Bat-Signal of advocacy. It sends out a signal that I love someone (many someones) with diabetes. It’s a beacon for broken islets. It’s a sign that I care about the community as a whole.
Every month is diabetes month when you live with it. This disease is every day, every month, all year long without respite. But it’s not a “woe is me” headgame. It’s more a “keep going; life is worth the effort” sort of mentality.
This month has been more scattered than usual, and I felt like I kind of phoned it in for diabetes month. My focus was on other things, other people, other events and honestly? That break felt good. I think when the focus is “supposed to be diabetes,” I lose steam. (File it under “Don’t Tell Me What To Do,” which might be the biggest file in my mental cabinet.) Advocacy has to feel right, and natural, and not forced for me. Finding my footing sometimes requires a few weeks of mental quiet.
I’ll keep my pin on. And when I’m ready to raise my voice again, I’ll do just that. In the meantime, I need to feel comfortable with whatever level of storytelling and sharing fits my need, regardless of the month or awareness initiative.
The plane from Cincinnati to Washington, DC was a petite one, leaving little room for carry-on luggage and even less for calm. After ferreting out my medication bag from my suitcase, I checked it at the gate and ended up second-to-last to board the plane.
“Smells like … something, doesn’t it?” The gentleman behind me asked casually. I wasn’t sure if he was addressing me, but I answered anyway.
“It does. Like a ham sandwich. Or Bad Thanksgiving,” I replied, noticing that the plane had a “stale cold cuts” smell to it.
We boarded the small plane and took our seats at the back of it. Turns out the scent-sitive man who boarded behind me was also my seatmate.
We chatted briefly for a few moments about what we did for work – he worked for a surgical medical device company, I told him I was a writer – and then the discussion turned specifically to medical devices.
“I’m familiar, to a certain extent, with some medical devices. I wear a few for diabetes management,” I said. “Going through TSA is always interesting.”
He looked at me for a minute. “Diabetes? Type 1?”
“Yes. Since I was seven years old.”
“My daughter is nine. She also has type 1.”
And over the course of our flight to Washington, DC on the plane that smelled like spoiled lunch, this kind man and I compared notes on life with type 1 diabetes from our different perspectives. It wasn’t a life-changing moment or a pivotal interaction, but served to confirm once again, how diabetes becomes a common thread that brings strangers together.
Even on a stinky plane.
Yep. Bullet points. It’s that kind of post.
— Kerri / Diabetes (@sixuntilme) November 19, 2014
And that’s it. Brain, emptied!
Copyright © 2017 Kerri Sparling & Six Until Me. 2005 - 2016. All rights reserved.
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