Yesterday was a bad day. It was the third day in a row that my fibro was causing me to feel horrid but I wanted/needed to go and see my mom, 40 miles away. I decided to suck it up and go, but then something was wrong with the car so I turned around and went home, disappointing my mom. Later, I had one of those moments where I felt I could make a difference in the world of diabetes by responding to comments on Facebook that were untrue and hurtful to people with diabetes, you know: myth busting. It didn’t go well. People are mean and hateful; so quick to poke fun at someone else. Yesterday I felt defeated and wondered why I even try.
There are so many things wrong with our world today, starting with the fact that people find it so easy to spew hate and anger instead of acceptance and kindness. Why is it ok to make jokes about someone’s disease? I recently lost a dear friend to cancer and my nephew is currently going through a bone marrow transplant. Would it be ok for me to make jokes about cancer? Should I sit back and ignore it when someone else makes fun? Hardly. Regardless of what the disease is or how it is contracted, there is no reason to laugh at someone else’s misfortune.
I’ve been told to lighten up. I’ve been accused of not having a sense of humor. I’ve been told that I’m wrong when I say that eating sugar doesn’t cause diabetes of any type. “But eating crap and being fat causes diabetes.” “Diabetes will go away if you’d just eat better.” “It’s ok to say “here comes diabetes” when someone orders a sugary drink. It’s funny!” “People who aren’t willing to take better care of their health deserve what they get.” Over and over I hear these types of remarks. Over and over again I do what I can to right the wrongs and inform the uneducated. Here’s the thing: They don’t care! They don’t want to be educated, they just want to laugh and go about their day.
Why do I do this? Why do I put myself into situations that often cause me grief? My sweet daughter reminded me that I’m not supposed to read the comments. Do not engage. She’s right in that sometimes I need to protect myself and just not go there. But on the other hand, how is this horrible situation ever going to change if no one speaks up? Is it ok to let the bullies win? Is it right that hurtful comments are affecting people and causing them unnecessary pain? I think not. Type 2 diabetes has often been referred to as an epidemic and the medical and scientific communities are clamoring to figure out what to do about it. The more they talk about excess weight and sedentary lifestyles, the more they feed the misinformation and trolls. Yes, a lifestyle of too much of the wrong foods and not enough exercise are risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Has anyone every stopped to think that the way people with type 2 diabetes eat isn’t much different than anyone else’s diet? Nope, they assume that we’ve spent our lives eating Twinkies and dozens of donuts… all the time. They just point fingers and laugh.
I know that I’ve covered this very subject many, many times, but yesterday it felt personal. Yesterday I could feel the knife in my back in a way that took my breath away. It’s fucking NOT ok to make jokes about diabetes and even though some days it will be difficult, I will not stop speaking up. I will not cease correcting the uneducated. I will not stop until my last breath because my tribe deserves better. I may not be able to affect much in the way of change but I cannot sit by quietly and let the bullies win. Thanks for “listening” to my rant. I feel better today.