Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Free to be you and me.

Oh hi.

I’m Meri.

Sometimes I write things and I’m sure they are brilliant and then a couple days later I wonder if I blew the entire post out of my…


When I wrote “Sitting with diabetes,” I meant it.  I’m at peace with the fact that diabetes has come into our lives.  We can’t turn back time, (unless someone’s figured that out, because I have a house, a car and 3 pumps to pawn so as to get on board with that one,) we can’t make it go away, (unless we pretend…which I’m SUPER good at BTW,) and we can’t control something we have no control over. 

Diabetes is here.

Diabetes on board.  We might as well have yellow caution signs in our car windows with little suction cups.  Because it’s our reality.

But here’s the thing.  Even though I accept this lot in life, it doesn’t mean I don’t have times when I’m really overwhelmed, or really angry.  

I have my moments.

For example, I don’t know…last weekend?  I had “a moment” that lasted a good four days.  And after so many years I can tell you, that is normal.  (I used the other N word.  This one's ok.  Also, I realize I’m the Jekyll and Hyde of the blogosphere.  That’s ok too.  Having three boys with T1 does that to a person.)

So to be clear, my feelings about Diabetes runs the gamut on any given day.  And from what I see in other groups that house parents of children with diabetes, and even people with diabetes themselves, this is par for the course. 

So why do we feel so safe attacking others for how they feel online?


There are many reasons:

1.  We don’t know these people in real life.

2.  It is in most cases impossible to discern inflection when reading the written word.

3.  Cultural differences don’t help in interpreting intent.  Some cultures speak softer than others, while others say things straight from the hip.

4.  We don’t like the way something was worded and take it as a personal attack on ourselves, others, and our entire community.

5.  We don’t agree.  And we are right.  And they are going to know we are right.

6.  We’ve let similar statuses fly under the radar, but this one…this one is the last straw!

7.  We don’t realize the person on the other end of the status is a real person, who obviously is in need of human connection, understanding and/or validation.

I don’t care what you tell yourself, everyone has feelings.  Even people who seem strong and self assured, have feelings.  There is vulnerability in all of us.  Being gentle is always the best answer.

Not everyone is good at writing out his or her feelings.  If someone writes, “Diabetes is no big deal!  Look at how bad it could be!”  Instead of attacking them for obviously not having ANY idea how dangerous and how hard this disease is…maybe we should say, “I’m so glad you are enjoying this place where diabetes is playing nice!”  Or maybe, “I hope I feel that way some day.”  (As some people commented on my "Sitting with Diabetes" post.  I have really nice, tactful friends.)

Jumping to the worst conclusions never helped anything.  Attacking another family for their really good, or really bad day never helped anything either.  We have to remember that these families are living the same Diabetic Life we are.  They are going through phases of grief, phases of acceptance, and phases of victories and defeat.  The ups and downs are the thread that holds us together.  The ups and downs are why we sought to connect with “others” online in the first place.

This world/Internet needs more love and supportiveness. 

Leave judgment, and rudeness to the outsiders. 

And if a discussion must take place, if someone has crossed the line.  We should take it to a private place…that’s what private chat boxes are for.  And we should try to use gentle language.  If we speak from the heart and try not to talk about what “they did” but rather how it made us feel, the entire tone of the conversation will change. 

Attacking someone and judging him or her will only lead to defensiveness.  And in my slight 40 year existence I have learned there is nothing that can be accomplished when someone gets on the defensive. 

I’m not a therapist.  I don’t know everything, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I see the destructive conversations happening left and right, all of which can be softened with an increased measure of empathy and forgiveness.

A wise someone once said, “You reap what you sow.”

A little kindness makes all the difference.  I’ve seen my life change because of it. 

Just because you know me, and my story, you give kindness to me freely.  I believe if we knew these people who bug us, and their story, we’d be inclined to treat them a little differently too.

That’s what I think anyway.  It’s ok if you don’t agree with me.  But if that’s the case, be gentle, ok?


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