I feel like I should start off each entry like Bridget Jones’s Diary, only instead of saying how many cigarettes I’ve smoked, how much I weigh and how many embarrassing moments I’ve created for myself, I should reveal my sugar levels, how much exercise I’ve done and what I’ve eaten. But I’m trying to be less obsessed with numbers when I don’t need to be, so I guess I won’t be quite as clever as Bridget (and I won’t be ripping off Helen Fielding either).
I debated on which topic to start with, since there are several I want to cover, but when it came down to it, I’m going with the one I feel most strongly today—and that’s probably how I’ll go from here on out. Do what I feel.
And today, I’m feeling guilty.
Actually, there’s a lot of days I feel guilty. Guilty that I didn’t exercise. Guilty that I ate too much. Guilty that I ate the wrong thing. Guilty that someone else saw me eat something they think I shouldn’t be eating because I’m diabetic, even though it may be okay. That last one is the one that gets me the most.
I’m one of those people who says they don’t really care what other people think of them. I wear green rubber boots with striped socks if it’s wet outside. I wear high-waisted pants with shirts tucked in and those same green boots to garden in my backyard. I slick my hair back in a ponytail if I don’t feel like washing it and I generally say what’s on my mind, even if other people don’t agree with it. I’m mostly a free spirit, but with a little less hippy and a little more yuppy (although I really hate that word). So it surprises me when I feel guilty because of what other people think—especially if they don’t have the correct information to be thinking it. And especially, especially, if I don’t have any proof that that’s what they’re actually thinking.
I work in a small office and everyone knows I’m diabetic. And while they’ve seen me with smears of blood on my arm from testing my sugar, I’m not sure they know much else about diabetes. There’s a small bakery in a popular mall across the street and every now and then, when I can’t get my sugar levels to stay up or I’m just having a really serious craving, I’ll go over and order a piece of carrot cake and sit at the little green table and eat it. And when I do, I feel like I’m constantly looking around to see if anyone else from work is there and watching, and wondering why I’m eating cake when I have diabetes. It’s almost an instinct to have an excuse forming in my head as soon as I pull out the chair. “I’m only eating half.” “My sugars are really low today.” “I skipped part of my lunch so I could eat this.” I feel guilty. I even have to remind myself sometimes that there’s no way the strangers around me can possibly know I’m diabetic, and they don’t care that I’m eating carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I feel guilty.
And if I’m with people who know a little more about me and my “dreaded disease,” I actually give them the full explanation of why I’m eating dessert (“I’m allowed to; it’s all about moderation and carb counting.”), or why I’m not (“I ate bread before dinner, so I have to skip dessert.”) I feel I owe them an explanation so I can relieve my guilt.
Maybe I’m like a spouse who’s cheated. In the movies, they always want to get it off their chests, to make themselves feel better by telling the one they love that they’ve done something wrong. Maybe I tell people so I won’t feel so guilty. But really, truthfully, honestly, no-holds-barred—it’s none of their business. And the people who actually do know me and do know my disease trust me implicitly to know when I can and cannot eat and what I choose to put on my fork. They know I’m in control.
They just don’t know how guilty I am.
As always, more to come…