i've been thinking the last few days (well, i've always been a "heavy thinker", not drinker, haha.)
i've realized some things regarding our human state of feeling inadequate.
this year, literally from january 1st, i've felt so emptied.
and i don't necessarily mean that in a bad way.
i feel opened, and lighter (well, maybe i am, as i try to gain my weight back!)
but really, it's been an eye-opener. i look around and see everyone taking everything for granted.
which we do a lot of in this country, no? but it's truly hit me how i was no different.
oh, i thought i was. i thought, "these are my goals, these are good things that i want."
and they were!
i've never wanted cash, or a big house, or fame, or lots of friends. really, ask anybody.
i only wanted to be able to say that i really lived. that i cared for others, that i traveled, that i ate yummy foods, laughed a lot, read a lot, learned languages, sang songs, licked snowflakes out of the air...
what i mean is, it's taken me this long to realize that all of this, this teeny-tiny life, this is it.
this really is it.
and i've been acting like i was working up to it.
my life has been happening while i planned it!
where have i been?
matthew said to me the other day, "you're still gonna do everything you've dreamt of doing for the world. just remember, your dreams don't define you. you define your dreams."
that's why we can be flexible, that's why we can open up and change.
i'm sorry, i know this sounds rude, but i can't take it sometimes:
if you have type 1 diabetes you do not make insulin because your immune-system essentially does a covert operation on the insulin-producing cells every. single. day.
we have absolutely no choice in the matter: we mustmustmust take insulin because otherwise we will die.
if you have type 2 diabetes you do make insulin, but do not use it properly because of terrible eating and [lack of] exercise habits. therefore, a type 2 has absolutely no choice in the matter but to get off their ass and start doing something about it.
you won't make insulin anymore because it pretty much just stops working because you're not healthy.
the immune system has nothing to do with type 2 AT ALL.
this is a bit harsh, but type 2's are in for no surprises with their diagnosis.
they often get warned for years. they even get little pills to perk up their pancreas's waning function looooong before they ever need to go on insulin.
but a type 1:
please folks, LOOK UP TYPE 1 AND TYPE 2 DIABETES ON WIKIPEDIA if you are confused.
i'm having an 'i hate explaining my disease week'.
i did not make myself sick.
i did not eat too much sugar.
i am not allergic to sugar.
i did not develop an eating disorder and this is how my body is 'paying me back.'
i did not choose this disease, it chose me.
when i say i have tight control, it is because of diet, exercise and INSULIN.
my sugar's not tightly controlled because i somehow miraculously don't need insulin anymore;
so i did my follow-up with my naturopath today. she got really excited about my idea of doing a 'community health education center' that could be a resource for those in need of affordable access. it would specifically focus on natural therapeutics and massage, fertility awareness education and women's health, family herbalism remedies, and be a resource for diabetes education.
i was kinda nervous to admit my ideas to her, but she got so damn excited that i can hardly contain myself!
i really feel full of wild hope right now. the future is so bright, and i do believe that deep down, all of this happened for reasons i'll never be privy to. but i can be sure that it is only making my existence deeper and more meaningful by the day.
i have never gotten rid of the drive to help those in greatest need, and despite having to put off medical school for a while, now i think all of these ideas pouring out of me of late only make the future full of endless possibilities in serving the community as best i can.
my yoga teacher is 're-teaching' us how to breathe.
i will admit to you that for the past couple of years i have not been able to take a deep breath.
i try, i really do.
but the issues that were going on in my deteriorating family relationships, coupled with my new diagnosis made it so difficult; even though i knew i was breathing with my shoulders and my chest. sometimes even my throat.
so, sometimes you need some guidance.
my teacher has worked wonders!
we sat there in class and she told us, "you know how you watch a baby breathe? they naturally breathe from their abdomen; you watch their belly rise full and move up through the chest and then out through the shoulders. somewhere along the way, we lose that."
i couldn't agree more.
the first time i tried my 'full yogic breath' i thought my chest was going to explode and burst through my throat, i kid you not. it was that hard.
but now, i feel a depth of breath i have been yearning for for years.
plus, i notice when i sing in the car now, i'm louder than ever.
it feels so good to laugh, cry, sing, and breathe deep again.
i know my last big post was on my terribly rude slumlord. but i have to mention finding a new place because it is just so exciting.
it has a real space for a real garden and coldframe, plus fruit trees and big windows and hardwood floors. i can hardly wait to cook all of my middle-eastern concoctions in a real kitchen.
oh, and the roof certainly does not leak! whewhooo!
our new landladies are this sweet couple who seem really in tune with people. we've both really enjoyed just talking with them and the whole process so far.
but what a week it's been, dealing with my angry-without-a-reason-landlord. i won't even go there. the specifics are too horrible to tell because he truly has lost his mind and resorted to tantrums due to his grotesque [non]communication skills and passive aggressive nature. all because he's mad he needs to fix his roof! ayyaya.
so onto better things. the weather here in the Q is just lovely. muy linda.
it is good to feel the warm sun and leafy breeze on my face as i bike to school and watch the brightened spines of the fall leaves swirl and dance down the street with me.
i feel so alive in october for some reason. some people become sad at the end of summer; i always feel hope for the darkened seeds and bulbs planted that become the spring.
a chance to go deep inside ourselves; dig ourselves deep to find and become our best self.
it's a promise of a new start. every. single. year.
maybe someday you will somehow come across my blog and say, 'hey! that's the gal that used to rent from me.'
i have never done anything but take care of your home. i pay my rent on time and even planted things in the yard. i never call unless it's an emergency and don't deduct items from rent unless i absolutely needed to repair or buy something.
i've given you respect, and in return, i have gotten nothing. you never address the issues at the apartment and have enjoyed the [over] half a grand i give you each month in rent to build your new house that surely does not have leaks.
i did not sleep last night because i stayed up to empty my dish bin every fifteen minutes so that your carpet would not ruin.
today, you had the nerve to tell me to "poke a hole in the roof and put a trash can underneath it."
i was awake all night. i politely waited until nine a.m to call you, so as to not disturb your sunday morning, although mine had certainly started long before yours. when i opened my call with, "mr.miller i hope you know why i'm calling you" your response was,
"yes i do and get to the point."
then, when i said that it was not right to charge someone like that and not care for a home they rent from you, you hung up on me.
that's right. you hung up on me.
a grown ass man!
why would you do all of that? why are people like this now? is it the baby boomers? like my parents, people who lack basic communication skills and simply do not talk to you if you don't fit their 'shut up and take it' mode of living?
i know your family is quite 'left wing' as you have told me in the past, mr. miller. but you, like so many think that the face of change lay in one man: barack obama.
really? you don't think it starts with us? you think good is outside of yourself? you think each of us is not contributing to living off the backs of others in the world?
you think it's somebody else's fault?
we treat terms like 'community' and 'green living' and 'human connection' as abstractions.
they begin in the moment. they are the moment we choose to do the right thing when we need to because it's just the right thing to do: to reach out, starting with ourselves, and then extend to another.
i always liked that statement by mother teresa, "give until it hurts, and then give some more. "
she didn't say to be a push-over, but you can certainly give what you know you ought to.
you hurt me today, mr.miller. you insulted me, but mostly you just added to my hurting and wondering of late as to whether or not we americans can pull ourselves up from the capitalist grime we have slathered and soaked ourselves in for...so long.
you think you're different, but you're just like everyone else: trying to make a buck off the little guy.
i'm trying to be the change i wish to see. i stated my needs to you, i did not attack you.
and, instead of seeing me and listening and trusting my points, you did the only thing your generation seems to know how to do:
when i go to do laundry, there are some without homes washing their clothes, too.
i met richard the other day.
he was having a hard time with the washer. it slyly eats a couple extra quarters. we all know this. i lose count, too. most of us are irritated but sadly, don't care. but richard, well, that could mean a whole snack or bus ride or coffee or ten minutes in the dryer.
he can't stop talking to himself. i don't mind, even if his pants are falling down while he does it. everyone moves away from him. he insists that someone took his other shirt. the laundry attendant smiles kindly, gives him one from the lost and found.
so we talk. about school (he studied engineering, he proves this by pulling out his greasy old transcripts.) i believe him.
he says, i could do it, you see. i could do it.
i can't do advanced linear algebra, but richard can.
but something went wrong in 1989. you can see his grades dropping: withdrawel pass, withdrawel, withdrawel fail. fail.
so now he's at the dryer asking me to figure out which one pays up and which one pays down. i guide his cut-up hand to the top coin drop.
he tells me his fingers are still cut up from "doin' somebody else's yard work. it's the only way i get by." he's not begging, just telling.
i have lots of bandaids in my bag in case of blisters. so i give a bunch to him, we talk about handwashing, and he tries to give me a quarter.
he tells me i'm a nice nurse. i tell him he's really smart.
i offer him my extra apple, munching on mine so he knows we're sharing, not gifting.
he says "i got bad teeth and i got some soft donuts in my bag." his plastic bag that he brought his dirty laundry in.
i start folding my laundry, he politely looks away when i fold underwear and camisoles.
i start thinking about diabetes and poverty, how i can understand how much it would hurt to eat an apple with so many teeth missing. but no whole food, no soup, no nourishment in richard's life.
i tell him i've gotta go home. we shake hands; say "it was nice to meet you." he likes that, you can see. don't we all? what is it like to be so invisible?
Reem is a mama, adoptee, people watcher, image maker, culturally infused and enthused reader and writer. She's lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 27, works on joyful revolution, and speaks enough Swahili to get herself into trouble. She lives in the Land of Enchantment.
This blog is about living with Type 1 Diabetes (if you are not 100% sure of what it is, I beg of you to click that link). My approach centers strongly on the use of true integrative medicine--the merging of the best of both worlds. While western medicine saves my life every day, my leanings toward an otherwise natural medicine approach maintains, balances, and improves my health overall.
I'm not a doctor.
Please note that this blog is provided for informational purposes only. While I do take a naturopathic approach to healthcare, this blog is not intended as a substitute for actual medical advice. Readers of this blog should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider.