I have a voice. I have things to say and blogging has given me a platform where I can say them. When I began blogging in February, 2011 it never occurred to me that I would become an advocate for living a good life with diabetes; that wasn’t my intent. My intent was to have a place where I could write down my thoughts about my diabetes while practicing my writing skills. (I gots skillz??) Just maybe I would be able to improve some things about my life with diabetes…and it worked. Blogging about what I’ve done or things that I’m contemplating makes them seem more real and it helps to keep me honest with myself. If I put it here then, dammit, I should be doing it! It’s working.
One side effect of being a blogger about diabetes is that I’ve found myself in the middle of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). The DOC is a lovely place full of unicorns, glitter and cupcakes as well as rants and fears and brutal honesty. In a world that’s become increasingly “virtual”, the DOC is real. It’s full of real people sharing with and supporting each other the best way they know how.
Does this mean that everything we read in the DOC is gospel? Nope. It may be gospel to someone but it doesn’t mean that it’s gospel to everyone. That’s ok. Who says that we all have to agree? Who says that each of us will find success following the same path? Well, some people may say that, but they’re wrong. (You may say that’s my opinion, but it’s a fact. Hey, it’s my blog!)
Over the course of this last year and a half I’ve wavered between being pumped up and excited about what I have to say and feeling as if maybe I’m full of hot air and should just shut up. I never thought of myself as an advocate but here I am. I am an advocate for people living with diabetes! Advocacy: What does it mean? Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly. (Putting it in italics makes it seem much more important, don’t you think?)
So why should people listen to me? (Here’s where the wavering comes in.) There are so many people out there who advocate for people with diabetes and sometimes if feels as if they are akin to rock stars. They’re popular and esteemed. They go to summits and workshops and it seems as if they’re in a club that I’d so like to be able to join. So if they’re out there advocating and being heard by lots and lots of people, why should I even bother to put in my two cents? Because the more voices we hear, the better off we will all be. I don’t have to be a rock star in the DOC in order to make an important contribution. What I have to do is be honest and put my ideas out there in the hopes that someone else will benefit. That’s what I do. I may not have a huge following; I may not get many comments but I do get an occasional word from someone who appreciates what I write or tells me that I’ve helped them in some way. That makes putting myself “out there” worth it all. Some may disagree with me or think that my ideas are useless but there are others who benefit. That’s why many voices are important. One size does not fit all. I don’t spout gospel but I do hope that what I say makes sense to someone.