In the earlier part of this week, I was up in Ogunquit, Maine with Chris and Birdy, following through on our family obsession with Maine (“the way life should be!” claims the sign you drive by when you cross into the state, marking the moment when Chris usually points a finger at the sign and says, “YES.”).  The place we stayed at had a fantastic view but spotty cell service, making access to the Internet (aka “how Chris and I do our jobs”) difficult.  But cutting back on emails and access wasn’t the worst thing.  In fact, the first few hours give me twitchy fingers but then I love it.  Love.

Last photo from Maine (probably not, though). Photo credit to CSparl.

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

My best girl

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on


A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

When I signed back online to catch up on things, I saw that there was a whole crossfit clusterfuck that took place, with the Crossfit CEO running his mouth about diabetes and making crappy attempts at humor (?) that lit a fire underneath the diabetes online community, bringing my Twitter feed almost to capacity with back-and-forths about misinformation, stigma, and a pile of -isms.  A few people pinged me for my reaction on this whole thing and I felt embarrassed that I didn’t really have one.  Yes, I thought his joke was fucking stupid and offensive and perpetuated countless stereotypes and misconceptions about diabetes on the whole.  I was happy to see the diabetes community rally in support of education. I was also encouraged to see how many people stepped up to raise their voice.  I was disappointed to, once again, see the whole “Wait, he means type 2 diabetes!” shouted out as if we de-stigmatize one portion of our community by further stigmatizing another.  And also, I was frustrated to see that people were quick to talk about how sugar doesn’t cause diabetes (which is doesn’t) but there wasn’t a whole lot of recognition about how fucking gross it is that there is so much added sugar in our diets (which there is), unrelated to diabetes but entirely related to overall health. 

Basically, this whole thing made made me a little mad at myself because I couldn’t drum up the desire to care too much about the whole thing, making me feel like a crumb of an advocate.

But I think all kinds of advocacy are necessary and important, even if all the issues on the table aren’t ones I’m super passionate about.  Everyone gets to pick their battles, to a certain extent. I hope we continue to attack issues like policy and under-served populations with the same vigor as we correct misinformation on Twitter.  If it were up to me, this brouhaha would segue into a broader campaign of awareness and advocacy that helps touch the lives of people outside of our bubble of privilege.  (I’m adding a link here to Spare a Rose because when I think about bursting a bubble of frigging privilege, this campaign comes to mind in a big way.  Yes, I’m biased.  In related news: my bias is not news.)

I’m experiencing spotty service again, only this time it’s in my own advocacy mindset.  Brain attention flits between wanting to make a difference in how society, and our own community, views diabetes sometimes and exhaustion at the effort of attempting that whole “difference” thing.  Which is why I’m looking forward to Friends for Life next week, with a special focus on MasterLab.  I want to hear more about launching your advocacy movement from Kim, and about changing policy from DPAC, and about alerting the media from Stacey.  I need to take a little bit of my advocacy burnout and frustration and channel it towards something useful. A reboot of all kinds would be good. I hope FFL does it for me because I sorely, sorely need it.