There is a book in the self-help world titled “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them” by John Ortberg. The author appears on the front and back cover. On the front cover he appears dressed nicely in a collared shirt and khaki pants. When you flip to the back cover you notice a tag sticking out of the back of his shirt. The tag reads “as-is”.
Ortberg describes “as-is” in the opening of his first chapter,
“In certain stores you will find a section of merchandise available at greatly reduced prices. The tip-off is a particular tag you will see on all the items in that area. Each tag carries the same words: as is.
“These items are not normal. ‘We’re not going to tell you where the flaw is. You’ll have to look for it. But we know it’s there. So when you find it – and you will find it – don’t come whining and sniveling to us. Because there is a fundamental rule when dealing with merchandise in this corner of the store: no returns. No refunds. No exchanges. If you were looking for perfection, you walked down the wrong aisle. You have received fair warning. If you want this item, there is only one way to obtain it. You must take it as is.’ “
To me the diabetes community is one big “as-is” bin. Not only do we all have some sort of flaw (and not always just related to diabetes – ha!) but we are all stuck in that bin together too. Once you’ve found us, there are “no returns, no refunds, and no exchanges.”
That’s actually the point of the book. Life in community and relationships is messy and difficult but if we try we “discover the transforming power of being loved, accepted, and valued just the way we are.”
The prompt for today was to write about “admiring our differences.” We were instructed to “pick a type of blogger who is different from you and tell us why they inspire you – why you admire them – why it’s great that we are all the same but different.”
I think I am in a unique place within the diabetes community on this topic. I have Type 1 diabetes but, I didn’t grow up with diabetes like the majority of my Type 1 friends did (Kerri, Scott, Lee Ann, etc). I spent about a year with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, and although that wasn’t very long, even in that short time I encountered some of the unfair and inaccurate stereotypes people like Bob, Mike, and Rachel deal with every day. According to my doctor, my diabetes isn’t LADA, but I do have some of the same diagnosis and insulin effectiveness characteristics as my LADA friends like Cherise and Manny.
The one group I haven’t really had much experience with in my own life are the D-parents. Since I was never a “kid” (dx at 22) with diabetes, I didn’t really experience living at home with a d-parent – although my mom is still a proud card-carrying member of that category. I worry enough about my own health and well-being and whether or not I am doing as much as I can correctly, I cannot imagine taking on the extra guilt and burden of making sure I am doing that for another person.
So if I were to pick a group that I admire, it would definitely be the brave and powerful parents of the children with diabetes – Leighann, Meri, Bennet, and Nan.
Here’s the thing though, I admire the differences of all the members of the diabetes community. We come from different areas of the country, different religious backgrounds, different ethnicities and families of origin. We often land on different sides of issues in the political arena. But when we need each other, we are there for each other.