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Guest Post: A Recipe for Inspiration.

Today's guest post comes from another Barton Camp alum - Savannah.  (And, for the record, I first met Savannah by seeing her name over and over and over again on the Boathouse walls.  I had to meet the girl who had gotten her name up on the beam over the door.)  She's living with type 1 and is also a self-proclaimed artsy-fartsy type, and I'm happy to have her guest posting about finding inspiration. 

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Savannah guest posts today on SUM.  Thanks, Savannah!!Though sometimes I might like to think it, diabetes doesn’t physically affect just my pancreas. Depending on my blood sugar, it affects anything from my ability to feel my body, to my emotions and coherent thoughts – basically anything from my head to my toes depending on the day and mg/dl. Hence, not surprisingly, it also has a large say in how successful (or not) my artistic endeavors turn out to be.

It’s pretty safe to assume that everyone has experienced the car crash known as god awful singing at some point – most likely multiple points – in their lives. Whether your congested friend is belting, “If love is a labor I’ll slave till the end” during a late night drive home, or your strep throat, metal-in-a-blender, voice makes passerby cringe as you drive around in your convertible, it happens to the best of us. And even though no one (well, no normal people, at least) can quite hit those blasted high notes in “Happy Birthday” it’s still frustrating, especially when you’re in one of those slap-happy, sing-songy moods where all you want to do is dance around the house and sing at the top of your lungs (and be the recipient of your neighbors', who are playing golf outside in the backyard, looks).    
To me, what’s even more frustrating is singing (when I’m really inspired – usually between the hours of 1 and 4AM) with ketone-breath – what I call that dried out, spongy, sugar-coated, just heavy cotton-mouth feeling my mouth and tongue get when my blood sugar is, let’s just say, not below 300. Ironically, it is quite hard to hit the right tones when you’ve got the ‘tones, and high blood sugar + inspiration = time to whip out the audio editor.

Now, I’m no superstar singer, but I am a writer, photographer, montage-maker, friendship bracelet connoisseur, doodler, you name it – I’d like to think, pretty artsy-fartsy. I write poetry that I convert to songs and, when I am really inspired, I write lyrics.  I like to pretend I play guitar (even though I only know a couple chords), and realistically, when you have original lyrics and music, you've gotta mesh the two together and sing.

Problem is, when my blood sugar is high or rapidly rising, I sound like Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Grammy Awards – like screechy metal, and when my blood sugar is too low, I can’t even see the guitar strings clearly let alone strike the right ones. (I also can’t write anything of remote, coherent, intelligence and practically don’t have eyes for seeing let alone the “photographer’s eye.”) In a nutshell, doing what I love doing involves ensuring that my blood sugars are stable and in range.

I have absolutely no idea if it’s biological or psychological – or if the two are connected in any way – but I’ve found that I can focus, sing best, and harness inspiration into producing an essay, song, photo, etc most successfully when I am slightly dropping from, for example, 140 to 90, or even 120 to 100.

With college-essay season in full gear, and being in the middle of recording for the first time, I’ve gone to extra lengths to be on top of my ‘betes (trialing the Omnipod being one of these lengths.)  And if you were to ask me my recipe for a successful artistic endeavor, I would give you a nice little note card to put in the location where you work your magic (for me, I write, sing, and play guitar in my bathroom – weird, I know, but best acoustics in my house):

Savannah’s Recipe for Producing Whatever Your Diabetic Artsy Fartsy Little Heart Desires:
(Makes 1 serving)

1 ¾ cup inspiration
4 cups water
¾ focus
2 ½ cups emotion
1/3 sinus health
¼ cup sugar **

** Depends on your sensitivity factor

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Thank you so much for writing this, Savannah.  I'm printing out that recipe and sticking it to my mirror.  And for anyone reading, what's your "recipe" for staying inspired?


nice! we have the best acoustics in our bathroom, too. That must be why I sing in the shower ;)

I've had Type I diabetes for almost 40 years. I sing professionally (classical music, primarily.) A brilliant vocal coach pointed out to me that all good singers sing with their bodies (not just with their vocal cords) and that (because of Type I diabetes) my body has betrayed me, and that I need to learn to trust it more!

I love this post!

:) The recipe made me smile. What a great attitude.

My "recipe" for staying inspired...
-focusing on doing kind deed for others (my aunt calls it "happy tunes" :-)
-stay connected w/ family & friends

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