Wrote this for lots of reasons, all to long to get into. Bottom line, we are imperfect people in an imperfect world - Diabetes or not....And we are wonderful!
Dear Kelly in the Past -
It’s Kelly from the future. I’m writing you for several reasons. To remind me just how far I’ve come whenever stress and sadness start to creep in regarding life with the big D.
And how far I still need to go in order to achieve all that life has to offer.
And to remind others that life goes on and happiness happens, regardless of diabetes. That there’s stuff (shit) that you to need to move past in order to indeed, live and flourish - d related or not.
And that as a child or adult with diabetes, you need to live and experience ALL life has to offer.
First off Kelly, please remember no matter how tough life gets with diabetes or otherwise – you deserve the best life has to offer you.
Your not damaged goods because of a faulty pancreas. And every time that voice of self doubt speaks regarding your self worth and what you deserve, remember that everyone – diabetic or not - is never born perfect, no matter how they appear on the outside.
Everyone on earth is born with imperfections and issues and that’s part of life.
Don’t think you deserve less because a very small part of your pancreas doesn’t function.
Only the dead are perfect, and that’s because our memory allows that in order for us to get past the grief.
You deserve it all. To be loved, accepted, and respected. You deserve to reach your dreams, instead of worrying so much about your health and what the future holds, that you actually hold yourself back in the present.
Look to all the positives your diabetes has given instead of just the negatives.
Would you truly be such an empathetic, funny, intuitive person had diabetes not entered your life?
To that gangly 8-year with the face full of freckles - You don’t have to be so brave about it all. It’s OK to cry in front of your family regarding your diagnoses. Your family is scared and sad too.
Continue to look to the funny as way to handle your diagnoses. You’ll be tempted to rebel and embrace the angry side of things. Don’t. It wastes energy, confidence, and precious time that you’ll never get back.
Your first Endo Dr. Baker was right, “you’ll only hurting yourself.”
Adolescent Kel, I know your parents drive your crazy, especially about your diabetes.
Please keep in mind that they are suffering and stressing themselves. But because they love you, they aren’t going to show you how horrible your diabetes makes THEM feel!
Now, they might need some persuading to let you do a few things (like wear contacts) but they really let you do so much more than they really were every comfortable with.
They’ve let you go on sleepovers; they’ve sent you to camp, allowed you to dance and perform on stage, and always had orange juice waiting in the wings. They let you work and earn spending money. As a child, they never let you wallow in anything even resembling diabetes self pity. They didn’t let anyone else to allow you to wallow in it either.
They prepared you to be an independent adult. Some day, you will appreciate it more than you ever thought possible.
There will come a time in your life when you’ll realize all they did with the knowledge that was available to them, which at the time – wasn’t much. You will be thankful.
I know your scared about your sister. I also know your really angry. That’s OK.
Talk to someone.
Speak up when someone hurts you, instead of being stoic. Stoic is for the birds. Taking in all that hurt and anger only hurts you in the long run, no one else.
To quote Don Henley (whom you will have a major crush on in your late teens) said it best. “Carrying all that anger, will just eat you up inside.”
Kelly, this is a hard one. Forgive and move on. Let things and people go who have hurt you, no matter how difficult it might be. Remove the weight of sadness from around neck and surround yourself with those who not just embrace you, but who embrace positivity as well. You will learn so many wonderful lessons from them!
Don’t fight diabetes, OWN IT. Because the minute you start to accept your diabetes, you will find that many of the issues that you struggle with regarding diabetes, will fall to the side as you begin to become empowered by ownership of your disease.
What you will be left with is a feeling of control regarding not just your disease, but also your life.
Forget what’s popular with masses and go with what your heart knows is right.
Teen Kelly, Remember that those kids who made fun of you because of your diabetes and those horrible glasses you had to wear, might have been picked on for reasons that in actuality, had absolutely nothing to do with you.
Most likely their parents didn’t understand the whole diabetes thing and children learn from their parents.
Maybe (and just as likely,) they had problems at home much greater than your 14 year old self ever imagined. Problems that were even bigger than your diabetes.
Problems like parents divorcing; eating disorders, sickness in their own families, and struggles within themselves that they shared with no one. Perhaps they suffered from such a poor self-image that picking on your visible imperfections helped them to ignore their own.
Instead of thinking that they might be right, know that they are wrong and are unhappy.
Ignore them and focus on the positive.
And stop wanting a nose job for god sakes – trust me, you’ll grow into your nose and be grateful that your not one of those poor people who are walking around with minuscule nose on large featured face.
Kelly At 16: When someone compliments you, look them straight in the eye, with a smile on your face, and say “Thank-you.” Regardless of whether you think you deserve or not.
A compliment is two fold. Yes, it’s given to make the receiver feel good, but it also makes the person giving the compliment feel good.
Don’t diminish or belittle the persons attempt to be nice and confident by brushing it aside and being embarrassed by the kind words said on your behalf.
And remember those compliments, they will get you through the self-doubt.
Listen, I know you don’t want to hear this, but shoulder pads and helmet hair are indeed a "Glamour Don’t," regardless of what Teen Magazine says.
And yes, your mom and was right - Bangs are not your best look, and iridescent lipstick might work for some, but is just makes you look sick.
Kelly at 20: You will be so happy you started with the whole 30 & 50 sunscreen thing, and your 7 year skin plan – TRUST ME. And FYI, the tan goddess bitch who called you "Casper' when you were dating her ex boyfriend – her face looks like a Catcher's mitt now.
Don’t try so hard to prove how normal you are “in spite” of being a diabetic.
You will realize that what’s normal for some, is completely abnormal for others, and that’s ok. What I’m trying to say is, your normal is different that someone else’s, and your normal works for you. So run with it!
Kelly in your 20’s: Embrace ALL of who you are.
Go after your dreams, instead of listening to what others think you should do or be.
22 year old Kelly: Remember to tell those you love, that you do indeed love them, no matter how much they might drive you crazy. The people you love won’t be around forever. And trust me, you will miss them terribly when they’re gone.
Kelly, good call regarding your parents. You will be incredibly grateful that you started to say “I love you” every time you said goodbye. They learned to say it back, and they began to say it first, and often. Soon, it flowed more freely than beer at a bbq - and all of you will know how deep the love really was, and is.
To 27 yr old Kelly: You are NOT fat, and no, your not rail thin. But your parents were right, you are beautiful, inside and out! Please see that instead of only the imperfections.
I know that your scared that history will repeat itself - it will not.
Your doing what you have to do, put whatever mistakes you made with your diabetes in the past, and learn from them. It will not only lead you to good health – but to a wonderful world regarding the diabetes community. I world that you’ve tried to shut out instead of embracing for a very long time.
Let the guilt go regarding Debbie. You did the best you could.
To 33-year-old Kelly: Someone who has no love or self- respect for them self, will never have any for you – no matter what they say. If they don’t love, like, and respect who they are, they can’t love, like, & respect you.
Don’t surround yourself with people who won’t do the work on themselves, they’ll only blame you for what they lack from within.
Kelly in real time: Remember too keep loving yourself – all parts of you.
Hold your head up, continue to learn, continue to laugh, and most definitely continue to love.
You are older and wiser. Life has been full of changes, and going with the flow gets a bit tricky at times, but you are lucky to be in the world, and the world is lucky to have you.