I can no longer pretend to riffle through my belongings as a means of staying in the cabin. It is nearing dinner time, and I’m suddenly compelled to venture down to the Main Lodge. And meet my fellow campers. And knowing myself, I have to strike while the iron is hot.
I have no idea what to expect. And I’m terrified.
It has been roughly two decades since I last attended a camp of any kind. It was “Leadership Camp” and I was in high school. Not long after my diabetes diagnosis. And at the begining of the end of the years of bullying…I was tormented through elementary school and during the early part of high school (there are posts about that somewhere on here); near the end of high school things started to change.
But I was never bullied when I went away to camp; perhaps, being surrounded by like-minded individuals doesn’t leave room for such things.
Yet I am still worried about fitting in. Even now. And I’m a grown-up! So many people either arrived with others or knew others…and here I was, flying totally solo. As I approach the Main Lodge my anxiety kicks in to overdrive. My nerves turn on me and I’m shaking. I have to do a quick scan of my arm and make sure it isn’t a hypo…
What if there is nowhere for me to sit? What if no one talks to me?
What if, what if, what if…!?!?
Do I just sit anywhere and make the most of it? Do I just turn and run? Do I tell anyone I’m actually related to Banting? That he is my beloved grandmother’s cousin? That the dark circles under my eyes, Dad’s eyes, my grandmother’s and those of my son are what we all call Banting eyes, in my family? That we all kind of joke about the fact that he discovered insulin and I happen to be the only Type 1 in the whole family…?
My thoughts are firing so fast I start to feel as though I cannot breathe and I start to second guess myself, what I’m doing here and if I should go through those doors.
But I do go through. In to a sea of unfamiliar and friendly faces. And I am taken aback by their willingness and want to take me in just as I am.
Dinner goes off without a hitch. The food is great and the company unparalleled. Quickly I make a few connections, and learn I’m not the only first-timer!
The lodge is alive with chatter, laughter and a variety of beeps.
There are glucometers, devices, scanners, pumps and insulin pens in plain view…EVERYWHERE. I’ve never been in such a situation before and I find myself emotionally overwhelmed knowing that all of them get me without even knowing me. They understand what it means to check before you eat, to bolus…to celebrate doing so correctly and to be frustrated should one not.
The meal concludes with announcements, more laughter and a few housekeeping details. I continue to chat with the small group I’ve befriended into the night. We share stories about our lives, families, our journey with Type 1 Diabetes, and everything in between.
Some have done this all before, offering advice on what to expect over the weekend.
In short, the evening has been surreal and I venture off, in the dark, towards my cabin, feeling changed. Feeling full of hope. Feeling like I have a place in it all. Feeling like I have something to offer. Feeling excited for tomorrow.