The quiet illuminates my solitude
And amplifies my inner voice.
The white noise of my down jacket sleeves rubbing against my core
And of my ice cleats crunching frozen snow
Becomes loud and overbearing.
I stop and feel the slight wind.
I hear nothing but my thoughts.
My heart, pounding; my head, throbbing.
I become dizzied by the entanglement of trees, fallen and standing.
Where is home?
I come across bare ground, blanketed with pine
Needles, browned by the season.
Maybe, am I browned for the season?
I breathe damp air, closer and closer to the edge,
Water in the distance.
Do I stop to sip, to see; I keep pushing.
I loosen my hardhat and shed a coat layer.
If I sit, I may rise; if I walk, I may drop;
But my head is on sideways,
Which hand is holding the pole saw?
How can I be unhappy with this view, this abundant Bay
Caressed by the hemlock forest.
Oh if only my blood sugar were stable would I be able to enjoy
All of the places I am able to go.
I’m back at it again joining the conservation corps!!
I have taken a position as an Environmental Steward with the Maine Conservation Corps (an AmeriCorps program) serving for 10 months (1700 hr) at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, ME. This position is grant funded and focuses on trail maintenance (my main project will be reconstruction of a rock staircase!) with lots of room for volunteer involvement.
Currently I am serving alone with the park manager being the only other person here, besides park visitors. This gives me a lot of independent work and alone time.
My first week of service I found myself in a downward spiral of expectations that I should be happier, I should be doing more, and I should be better and quicker at my work. Upon hitting a rock bottom of self-grief, I realized that the expectations I was setting for myself were relative to past experiences, were taking the place of the expectations of my teachers and parents, and were not relevant to my present experience.
To overcome this negative mindset, I have been more intentional with my time and with my thoughts. I created thought prompts to help me get through the long hours of the afternoon, the post-lunch slumps! I focus my thinking towards the happiness people will have when walking along a cleared trail, that corridor pruning is so vital in our understanding of place and safety. I try talking to the trees I would trim and thanking the sun, the earth, the snow, the forest, the birds for this majestic place I get to reside for at least a year. I focus on the whimsical creative I was as a child and try to pull out my inner fairy. I talk to the squirrels and listen to their chatter and gossip. I thank myself every day for getting myself here. I think about all of the people in my support system I know I can always rely on.
I am abundant and strong and resilient and diabetic and a little depressed. And I am loved and healthy and growing and learning and making new connections. I am becoming the newest version on my self. The self who is not in school, who pays her own bills, who lives with her partner, who sets her own goals. I am growing proud of my accomplishments and seeing all of my experiences as accomplishments.
But not only am I dealing with the self concern, I am dealing with the sky high, stubborn overnight blood sugars. Every night I go to bed at a super great blood sugar (around 120) and wake up at 350. Overnight, the sugars seem to dramatically spike without my acknowledgement of my vibrating dexcom receiver.
I wake up groggy, migrained, brain-fogged. I wake up not myself, unhappy, confused. I persevere, but sometimes I am still a little late to work. I lose my appetite and become starving before lunch time. By the time my blood sugars have leveled out for long enough to feel right again, it’s almost time to go home and do it all over again.
I have never felt so alone.
Throughout puberty and childhood, I grew up learning about my diabetes with my parents. I taught my peers about how I acted when I experienced certain blood sugars. I was constantly learning and teaching. But now, although I am still learning, my diabetes and blood sugars are much more stable and I am very aware of how my body tends to react to certain foods and movements and emotions.
But the one thing that I can never teach someone is how a high blood sugar feels. I think it can be easier to describe the lows, but the highs are a whole different ball field. They are more debilitating in the long run and the lasting effects are both physical and emotional in a way unlike any typical human emotion I experience otherwise.
My partner and my parents will never know this feeling. Only I will.
And that realization has never made me feel so alone.
I am beyond thankful to be able to have a support group of non-diabetics who help me through anything, but sometimes we all really do need someone who is just like us to remind us that we are not alone, that we can always persevere and persist and thrive and be radiant.
I hope what you take away from this writing is that disabilities may look prettier on the outside then they are on the inside. You may never know what people are feeling. But together, we are all people, we are all part of this ecosystem, this earth. We are all connected through nature- the earth and the sun and the water. We must foster those relationships that grow us and never stop seeking the relationships we need to get us through the days. We are never alone. We are always strong. We will always be loved. We can manifest positive, growing thoughts.
Never let your disability hinder your experiences!