Ok I admit it – it was me – I suggested the prompt for Day 21 of the Health Activists Writers Month Challenge. Adversity – “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” True or false? When do you bloom best?
My favorite Disney animated movie ever is Mulan. Screw all the princesses waiting in towers and laying down on the job waiting for some man to come save them. Prince Charming is a myth. Mulan kicks ass. Had to be said.
I want to start by saying I don’t always go looking for adversity. I certainly didn’t ask for diabetes to join our family. But do I bloom best when I am fighting for something? Yes.
The first 2 years after Sugarboy was diagnosed I didn’t do much with diabetes other than attend the Friends For Life conference each year and raise a little money with the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. I didn’t reach out to others, I didn’t educate others aside from friends and family that would be in charge of my son. It was a very lonely time for me and I spent much of it just being angry. Then came my daughters diagnosis. My advocacy still didn’t improve much although my anger did.
Then I got to a breaking point – I got tired of the lack of education about diabetes. I got tired of being alone. I got tired of waiting for some miracle. I called the local JDRF office and asked what I could do to get more involved. I was invited to watch a staff member present the Kids Walk To Cure Diabetes at an elementary school. Then I was invited to count money at the schools after the fundraiser. Shortly after I was asked to present the walk to the students. The more often I presented the more passionate I became about educating students about diabetes. Teach them when they are young about healthy living and diabetes – that’s the key. Adults don’t have the time or energy to learn unless they have to. The kids I spoke to learned about the different types of diabetes, how the digestive system works, eating healthy, exercising, and working for a cure that would benefit all people with diabetes regardless of the type.
I grew so much in that first year volunteering with the JDRF. Diabetes still sucked but I became a much more powerful person. I force to be reckoned with. Out of all the chaos that diabetes caused I became an advocate. I stopped sitting around waiting for others to fight a battle – I suited up and went to the front lines.
There are people in my life that think I say and do too much. No – seriously – there are people who think I make too much of diabetes. If they do not understand I pray they never have to.
I so wish I could kick diabetes out. That diabetes never happened. That life went on with all its mundaneness. I can’t though. However, having diabetes in our lives has made my kids and I stronger, smarter, braver, more loving, more empathetic, and more honest about who we are inside. Yes – a play on the song “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera from Mulan. Hear it HERE.
Some people in my life may not see my strength, my passion or the beauty within my heart but in the last couple years I have finally seen it. I still get shit wrong. I still make mistakes. I still get sucked into sadness and overwhelmed with anger. BUT I finally see my reflection as I always knew it should be.