I walked down this street the other night, happened to look up and noticed the blue windows. Two words popped into my head: secret and beacon.
The scene first conjured up images of secrets. For a long time, my diabetes was a secret (except to my husband, family and a handful of other people). I had various justifications for my reticence – I wanted to learn how to deal with this on my own first, I didn’t want unsolicited advice from people who knew nothing about my condition, I didn’t want to be bugged by pyramid scammers, and it was no one’s business but mine. They were not just pretexts; they were all legitimate and true. But, there was another bigger reason that I tried to deny even to myself – I was embarrassed, guilty, and ashamed for developing Type 2 diabetes.
I bought into the idea that those who have Type 2 diabetes deserved it, unless they developed it when they get old. I’ve always seen it as an old person’s disease, so if people get it when they were not even in their 40s, then they must have brought it upon themselves, just as the “experts” said. Yes, I totally believed the public image of a Type 2 diabetic. Even though I was armed with a lot of research debunking the nonsense that Type 2 diabetes is a self-inflicted disease due to a less than ideal diet and inadequate physical activities, it took a long time, and a lot of confidence in myself and what I have accomplished, to finally shake off the guilt and shame.
At the same time, the blue windows shining in the dark reminded me of a beacon. No matter how faint the light was, it was clearly visible in the dark. It could not go unnoticed, at least not for long. This to me symbolizes the growing number of Type 2 diabetics who, through social media and the DOC, are trying to be that collective beacon to one another and other people with diabetes, to those at risk for this condition, and to those who may never develop it. To enable others to understand, empathize, support and cheer us, they must know us, and they will not know us unless we tell them or show them something of ourselves.
As more of us come out to share our stories, we will become the beacon that can guide others, give them hope, or hold their hands.