Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Fantasy

Wow, that really sucks, but it's gonna be OK, and you're already good at _____ and ______, so that will help a lot.

Man, I'm so sorry. I wish you didn't have it. But we are going to be there for each other so much for support.

It's ok, I know it's hard. You need to be self-sufficient, but if you've had enough for tonight and you want me to, I can just give it to you, and then you can do your own shot tomorrow.

It's The Fantasy. The fantasy that I sometimes catch myself playing through in my head, that a close friend or family member will get diagnosed with diabetes too. I think the fantasy is always about type 1 and not type 2, which is interesting for a few reasons including how I identify with type 1 (and mark that difference), and the fact that it is WAY less likely (especially since most of the people close to me are adults or close to it).

I think I don't even stop and realize that I'm fantasizing, that I myself am creating this scene, until I've already manufactured a whole scenario and am running lines in my head between me and whoever my brain has chosen that time.

I don't actually want it to happen. Well, clearly part of me does, but when I weigh everything out, I definitely don't wish it would happen. I hope that it won't happen when I stop and think hard about the actual consequences.

So what is it about? I think fantasies in general are interesting. They are what the mind creates drawing from experiences and desires and all kinds of social norms and ideas and categories. And I think often they manifest themselves in a way that disavows, or tries to deny, some of the desire that is behind them. I notice sometimes that I am pondering a situation thinking about the situation or dialogue and what it means, and how I'd respond, as if it was something that actually happened or might happen. As if the people I'm thinking about had themselves done or said the things, and they could be responsible for them, when the actions or words are actually my creation. It can be really hard to figure that out and own that. Because it can be hard to even realize they are mine when the words came from the other persons' mouth in that fantasy, but also because it can be painful or make me look bad to have those thoughts actually be mine.

A class I took last year helped me think about things in this way and recognize how those fantasies work, especially pertaining to race stuff. I notice myself and other people, especially in the media, articulating racial situations and characters that are actually fantasies, creations, caricatures, reflections of our own thoughts, fears, desires, and sometimes even our own selves. It's really crazy but I think important to realize what I'm doing when I have those kinds of thoughts that are fantasies.

So back to this one... what does the diabetes fantasy mean?

Part of it I'm sure is that I want some company. I want someone to understand, to share some of my experiences. I actually have found a lot of company here online over the past year (diabetes blogs, facebook groups, tu diabetes, listserves), which does help me feel connected and supported a lot more than I ever expected from internet sources. But it's still a different fantasy about one of the people close to me, that are already in my life and share my experiences, to share this too, and maybe understand better.

On a deeper and kind of scarier, maybe uglier, level, I think I want to be able to comfort someone. Is this about comforting because that would validate me to be able to help make things better for someone else? Or because I want this kind of comfort from someone else? I don't think much about wanting or needing this intense kind of comforting from someone but maybe I do want it in some ways.

In a similar way, I want to be able to help someone by sharing my knowledge with them. I have all this intricate knowledge about blood sugar and food and insulin and exercise that is helpful to me, but somewhat random to most other non-diabetics. I want a chance for this knowledge to be useful. So that I could help someone else but also to validate myself. Interesting because I'm not sure how much I'd want this kind of "help" from someone else, but that's after years of building up knowledge. I guess I have absorbed a lot from other people over the years, although before I was part of this online community most didn't come from other diabetics. But that's also why my fantasy is about someone being newly diagnosed, and not someone else just having diabetes (remember this is created - it's a fantasy - so anything could happen, even though it's easier to imagine the newly diagnosed scenario because technically that is possible right now).

I think some of it is more superficial too. Just general speculation, playing around with the idea, since diabetes stuff is something that's so much a part of me and what I think about on a day to day basis, that I just think about and am curious about how it would play out with someone else.

I was worrying about how vulnerable I may have made myself by being so brutally honest in this post, and was encouraged to post it by what Amanda wrote over at BallastExistenz about there being no dumb questions, and reasons for writing difficult posts. Partly it's what she said, that other people may be thinking this and it may be helpful for them, or spark dialogue between us, if I post this. But others don't have to be thinking similar things to make it ok for me to post this.

It's more about the people I know that I worry than those that I don't - sometimes I wish I could have the opposite of a friends-only lock on an entry. A non-friends-only lock. I've wanted this on other things I've thought about writing. So that only people that don't actually know me could read it. So that I could say whatever I was thinking and not self-censor myself before it even comes out since I am thinking about my audience and what they might think. So that I don't have to worry about offending or hurting anyone, that I wouldn't have to worry about something seeming like a passive aggressive attack when I really just needed to say it, and wasn't directing it at anyone (whether it did or didn't actually have to do with them).


Jonah said...

I've felt both of those. Although I think it's only that I want them to be learning about diabets, not that I actually want them to have diabetes.
And to that last bit, when I was autreat, we have color badges:
Green for please talk to me anybody
Yellow for friends only
Red for don't talk to me
and we had blue for no reason, and I was saying that I thought blue ought to be
Blue for nonfriends only

stacey said...

this may sound corny but i wonder if there are groups of people who just started having diabetes that you could mentor? not quite the same but still.

even though most of my disability is from birth, when i acquired one part of it (my trach) it was HUGE to have friends that already knew the ins and outs... i thought my world was going to end.

insearchofbalance said...

i couldn't find your email anywhere, so I'm leaving the password here.


As you can probably guess, these posts will be about diabetes related therapy, and they all have the same password. It's not super personal, just stuff I wouldn't want my therapist to read!


Also, this was a pretty ballsy post. Kudos to you for your honesty and forthrightness. I look forward to reading more.

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