In my enthusiasm for the start of DBlog Week yesterday, I did not give a proper shout out to Karen Graffeo until the Comments section of my post. I’d like to rectify that here. This is my first DBlog Week, and I am absolutely loving the discovery of blogs that I did not know about beforehand, as well as hearing from my usual favorites. How cool is this community? Seriously. It’s bursting with goodness this week. I am sure that organizing DBlog Week involves tons of hard work on Karen’s part. Not only that, but every time I go to comment on a post, I see that she has already left her words of wisdom behind! What a great example of giving back to this powerful community. Thank you, Karen!
Here’s my take on today’s theme, “Keep It To Yourself”:
Those of you who read my blog or follow me on Twitter already know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I speak with #nofilter in the heat of the moment. There are some things that I have been rather coy about, though.
When I first began blogging in September 2014, I vowed to be transparent, and I still uphold that promise. Sometimes it makes me feel like I need to share everything, though. Realistically, I can be honest and helpful in the diabetic online community without jeopardizing the privacy of those who have not necessarily signed up to be featured on a diabetes blog.
When I was in high school, I used to hide behind bathroom stall doors when taking insulin injections. My classmates did not know that I was diabetic until the end of my freshman year. I built up my “diabetes coming out party” so much in my head that I turned it into a much bigger deal than it was in reality. Once I was cool with diabetes, everybody else was, too. For the sake of living my life with more ease and with more safeguards in place in case of an emergency, I eventually disclosed that I was diabetic. A weight was immediately lifted. No more hiding syringes in my coat pocket. No more making excuses about why I had to sit out for a few minutes at soccer practice while my blood sugar came up from a low. The rest is history. Now ya’ll can’t shut me up about diabetes, right?
We all come to terms with diabetes in our own unique ways. Some people may always choose to be private about diabetes. Others might spread the diabetes Gospel loud and proud. We are all individuals, and just because I am outspoken about my life with diabetes does not mean that it is the right path for someone else to follow.
- I have a type one diabetic relative who I have alluded to at times. For the sake of my relative’s privacy, I do not mention personally-identifiable details online. While my relative is not necessarily shy about diabetes, I also do not feel that it is my place to tell my relative’s story. It is not my own story to tell. If/when my relative ever wants to get involved in the #doc, I will always support that choice. But ultimately that choice is up to my relative, not me.
- I also hint at my employment duties at times, not necessarily because I have some big, fancy, secretive job, but more because in a selfish way the #doc for me represents a little cocoon in which I go to seek comfort and strength. If I mingle my professional life with the #doc, it loses that element of “everybody gets it here” that I have grown to love. This is not to say that diabetes and professional lives do not mix. Heck, there are plenty of #doc success stories to show that one’s passion can become a great job. This is just where I am here and now, and right now I need the unconditional support that I find in the #doc. No strings attached.
- I have never named my personal doctors and nurses on my blog. They did not sign on the dotted line to become the heroes that I describe in my writing, so I do not give their identities away. They may be humble about what they do, for example. I try to respect those boundaries. This is not to say that I would not disclose that information in the right moments. If someone lived in my geographic area and thought that my personal doctor could help him/her, by all means I would ask my doctor’s permission to pass along contact information. The point is similar to what I noted above with my diabetic relative: I try my best to respect that perhaps others do not want the spotlight on them.
- My tweets have also been vague regarding the topics of mental health and sexual/physical assault, also out of respect for friends near and dear to me who are some of the strongest people in the world. Just know that I support their advocacy causes wholeheartedly. Society is starting to turn the corner on stigma in these situations, but we still have a heck of a long way to go.
With the final point in mind, I invite you to foster a Coffee Convo with someone who may need it.
It is okay to have #nofilter. But sometimes we do not need to yell things from the rooftops to get the job done. We can respect others’ privacy and still show the world that we care. I kindly ask you and your coffee cup to do so.