This is not a Wordless Wednesday post. If you are looking for a cute picture and a catchy saying you should probably go somewhere else today.
I wanted to tell you a story instead.
In June 2006, I started writing a blog. I had moved 3000 miles away from all of my family about 8 months before and it was annoying to tell the same story over and over.
On August 1st, George left a comment on a post I wrote that had nothing to do with diabetes (it was one of those “what celebrity do you look like result posts). And then Amy left a comment. They welcomed me to the “blogosphere”. I’m not sure if I knew what that meant back then, but I did notice that their names were links. And those links led to their blogs, which I started reading. I noticed that there were comments on their posts from people like Allison, Kerri, and Scott. So I started reading their blogs.
I’m not sure if there were things like google readers back then (I actually only started using a reader like 3 months ago) so I actually started bookmarking blogs and checking every blog every day to see if anyone wrote anything new. As the list grew it took more and more time to make it through all my bookmarks but I couldn’t stop. I found this community of people who were like me and understood me.
About a year after I started blogging I had to go to Minnesota for a conference for work, and I knew from his blog that Scott lived there. And so we met up. I noticed when I was reading George’s blog that he seemed to live near where my mom lives, so the month after I met Scott in person, I met George.
I’m not sure when I became a “member” of the diabetes community. Was it when I started writing a blog? Was it when I started writing about diabetes? Was it when I attended my first diabetes meet-up? Was it my first diabetes conference that made me a member? There was never an engraved invitation or an official request so I am not sure when it happened. The only thing I know is that I am a member of the diabetes community.
Do I always get along with everyone? Not exactly.
There was that time that I opened a link to a blog I had never read before and saw one of MY pictures featured in the post. I was FIRED up! I didn’t even know this person – how DARE she use one of my pictures!!
I privately contacted someone who I trusted who explained the situation to both of us.
And the picture thief? I’d say we are pretty good friends now.
And then there was this time at Friends for Life this past year. People think I am really outgoing, and I am until the point that I get overwhelmed. That happened on one of the last nights of the conference when all the adults were going out to dinner. I just couldn’t handle being around everyone anymore.
I’m not sure why, but I texted Scott and asked him if he thought that a certain person would be willing to sit by me and “protect” me from the noise of the rest of the group – basically be my friend during dinner.
And that’s how we became friends.
Funny thing about these friends I’ve mentioned, we don’t always agree. I am pretty conservative in my beliefs and my politics. This means I hold some pretty unpopular opinions. Sometimes I don’t agree with something “big things” like campaigns or projects, sometimes I am not a fan of “small things” like a bad joke in a post or someone’s political opinions. Does that make them not a part of my community, or does it make me not a part of their community?
I hope not.
There is one thing that unites all the people in the diabetes online community. Like it or not we all have a relationship to diabetes. UNTIL THERE IS A CURE. We may not get along about all the details in between, but I bet I can safely assume we all want a cure. That should be our focus. And in that focus there is no room for name-calling, backstabbing, or so-called cliques.
We cannot bring awareness to diabetes and the need for a cure if we are not united. It’s not about a symbol, a foundation, a website, a conference, a summit, or anything else. If you have a connection to diabetes, you are and will always be part of the diabetes community. Your busted pancreas was your invitation and there is no need to RSVP.
Today is Diabetes Blog Day. The first time I posted on this day in 2006, I wrote that I “pray we don’t need to celebrate it too much longer.”
I still pray that I don’t celebrate this day next year. But if I do, I pray that I can celebrate it with the rest of the diabetes online community UNITED together to support each and every member until there is a cure.