It was 20 years ago today, my pancreas lost the drive to play.
And that’s when we met.
It wasn’t what either of us were expecting. It certainly wasn’t what I wanted. However, as sick as I was then any answer resulting in something being wrong almost certainly meant there was a solution. And for that, at the time, I was grateful.
Our time together was tough to start. I don’t think we properly understood each other. But I’d also like to think that in time we started to…
When we were first introduced all I knew of Type 1 Diabetes was that my relative (Sir Frederick Banting) discovered insulin, and that a girl in my Grade 3 class had to have extra snacks and take needles before meals. Beyond that, I was completely ignorant.
Now we were thrust into each other, like headlights on the highway it was hard to tell where I ended and you began. And I didn’t like it. But I didn’t know how to navigate those feelings. I blindly travelled forward. With you. Neither of us having earned the trust of the other it seemed a dangerous road but still we ventured onward…
There were so many people involved in our first moments together. Too many. And in all of that we lost the opportunity to organically journey those unchartered roads together. Much to the disadvantage of both you and I, ‘Betes.
It didn’t help that our relationship began when I was exiting childhood and staring at (young) adulthood with the same comfort one stares down the barrel of a gun. You owed me nothing and I had nothing to give. Our honeymoon was anything but. Some might even call it a nightmare.
We really stood no chance in hell. Fuck, we are lucky to be here at all.
That first Endo we saw, the one that had me randomly inject myself with insulin was so unqualified he was forced to stop practicing medicine in this country. How fucked up is that? Because of that, I was completely unequipped to to deal with you. And you stood no chance against my teenaged know-it-all state of mind.
Like I said, doomed from the start.
Those few classes my GP signed me up for helped. It helped even more that Mom was there, I felt a little less alone. But it was a difficult time for everyone. I understand that now. I mean, I was 17 turning 18 when we met. I was no “young thing” but I was also far from being an adult. Yet there were expectations and considerations that were both overused and ignored.
Misunderstandings and misconceptions tangled with the stickiness of the unknown lead to some really dark days in the beginning. All I wanted was to be normal. Something that was hard enough without YOU tagging along. And, in the end, I simply couldn’t keep ignoring you. And you made that perfectly clear. For the first time.
You can be a real shit bagger, ‘Betes. You know that? But I get it. Sometimes you have to be to get your point across. And while I thought I had things under control, that super fun trip down DKA Lane proved I didn’t. We were rerouted down Heart Attack Alley and eventually ended up on Coma Crescent. My brain has never been the same.
But I get it now.
That was some shit. It really was. And I shouldn’t be here, but I am. I don’t know what or who is responsible for that. For a long time I was angry. I didn’t want to be here. And it wasn’t even your fault, though you would have made the most beautiful scapegoat. I still have days like that. And you have to believe me when I say, it isn’t you, it’s me. Because it is. I was broken long before you came along.
Bridges mended, stations guarded. We came to the point where we both knew where the other stood. It wasn’t necessarily understood, but acknowledgement can go the distance in place of understanding…sometimes. This time.
We have flip-flopped in our treatment of each other over the years. Especially up until that third party entered the scene. Until that time when it was no longer just you and I, because I had, onboard, another. Someone so much greater than me. So, I willingly allowed you take the reigns. I put you first, as they all suggested I do. I willingly gave over all that I had in favour of that other’s well-being.
And it was easy. So much easier than I thought. It’s a tricky thing, life. When it is your own you feel a great power and ability to do whatever you please. When it is that of another, you feel great responsibility and an ownous to do the right thing.
And my heart wants to explode just thinking about that sweet soul. Because he is my everything.
Thank you ‘Betes, for working with me and helping me keep him safe.
Hey! Remember that time time I tried stepping outside of my isolation bubble? The time I tried to tell a bunch of people I was grateful for you? Remember how they shit all over that parade and I recoiled? I do. It fucking sucked. Big time.
I have spent so much of my life feeling like shit that I just wanted to shine a little light in a dark corner. If only for a minute. But those cocksuckers stomped on it faster than I could even get it lit. And it destroyed me, ‘Betes. It made me feel so lost and less than that I didn’t even know what to do or where to go, so I left. I removed myself from all of it and vowed to never return.
I mean, those were supposed to be MY PEOPLE and they hated you. And they felt so strongly and with such force that I simply couldn’t compete. I didn’t want to you to be hurt, you didn’t deserve that. They couldn’t see in you what I could. So I ran. I scooped you up and I ran with everything I had in the direction opposite to them.
And for many years after that, it was just you and me. Fuck them, we said. And we carried on – if they couldn’t see what gifts you have to offer than why would we want anything to do with them?
But that’s a lonely state of mind. We have been lucky to have beings in our orbit that support us. Some have even saved us. From ourselves. From each other. Though, as lovely as they are, they do not totally get us. Perhaps what they lack is what drives that search elsewhere. Perhaps, that is what made those waters so tempting a second time.
Remember when we dipped our toes in to it all that second time, ‘Betes? When we took a chance? It was so scary and exciting all at the same time.
And it was worth it. We met a most inspiring spirit. Someone just like us, but not. And she was wonderful. And understanding. And she stood on the border of a whole new world, with arms wide open and a generostiy unlike anything we had seen before…
She ushered us in, made sure we knew that every apprehension and hesitation we felt was perfectly understandable. She did all the right things. She put our minds at ease with a wisdom well beyond her years. Maybe even beyond entire lifetimes. She taught us how to jump hurdles and how to get back up when we fall down. She reinvigorated our want to learn more about each other.
Do you remember when we threw caution to the wind? Allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and start to let people in? Thanks for having my back, ‘Betes. I really don’t think I could have done that without you.
You made yourself heard once again after we had the pleasure of hugging that incredible spirit. She and her shiniest human travelled over the seas to grace us with their company. Never had I experienced anything like that before – it was as though we were of the same ilk. Family. And you, ‘Betes, you brought us together.
And by bringing us together, you started a fire ‘Betes. OH boy, did you ever. Lit that match and tossed it into the wind without a care for where it landed. Or whatever burning sensation it would ignite…
So thanks, thanks for using your voice and making yourself heard. You continue to push me in ways I never knew I needed. In ways I never knew I wanted.
I might get frustrated with the hiccups you thrust upon me, but I am never angry. Not anymore. I realize that you and I have a unique relationship that forces us to work not in tandem but together.
Side by side.
Because of YOU, I am me. It sucks, sure. Life isn’t easy with you in the mix. But would I be me without you? I really don’t know. And I am a person who refuses (fuck, do I refuse!) to live with regrets. I firmly believe that all of that good, all of that bad, and all of that ugly got me to here. And you know what, here is pretty damn good.
Even for a person who waxes and wanes with a want to stay. If you feel me..
There are things I have done because of you, and things I have avoided too. But all in all, you are as much a part of me as the heart that beats just below my surface. ‘Betes, I love you. You have shown me all the sides of my complicated nature. You have exposed me in the most humilating ways and humbled me equally so.
I have welcomed so much good into my life in the name of you, ‘Betes. Made friends and forged memories I will forever cherish. How ever would I have had those without you?
There are still those who disagree with my love for you. You can be, after all, quite fickle. A downright dirty muthafucker. Sometimes you show up when it is undesirable. Always when it is inconvienent. But isn’t that what love is? A challenge? A bit of hard work?
We don’t always shine, you and I, ‘Betes. But we are always together. Forever and always.
I thank you for all the good and the bad that you have brought my way. These last two decades have been full of everything, and so full of LIFE. So, thank you.
We have come a long way. We have a long way still to go, but we will go together. We will walk that bumpy road, endure the highs and the lows and the whatever the fuck else comes our way. Because that’s how we roll, ‘Betes.
You and me.
Thanks for all the good times that made me smile. Thanks for all the bad times that made me grow. Thanks for all the shit you threw in face to see if I was paying attention. Thanks for keeping me accountable. Thanks for it all.
Because the truth of it is, without you I wouldn’t be here. I would have found a prettier scapegoat and rode off into the sunset. But you, ‘Betes, you are a dirty, badass muthafucker and I’m glad you’re mine.
Let’s go give ’em hell together, shall we?