Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
– Emily Dickinson
Since the day diabetes made itself a home in my body, it has known nothing but constant goingness: high school, college, travel, work. It has known drinking and smoking and a level of Burnt Out by school and work that was so large words can’t communicate it and I still can’t believe, years later, that I survived it. It has known depletion and excess. It has known 20+ countries and 14 different living arrangements. It has known lots of caffeine. Mountains and rivers and lavender fields. It has known anxiety and loneliness and sorrow and laughter and elation. My neglect and then the guilt that followed. My flux of care, attention, frustration and emotion towards it.
In the past decade of our co-existence, something it has never known from me, truly, is any sense of love.
I’ve been thinking about this so often lately, Is it possible to love my illness? …that Thing in my body whose mission seems to be Trying To Fuck Shit Up… could I ever love that Thing?
How could I ever love that Thing?
The reason I’ve been thinking about is because… I kinda sorta feel it. I feel the love. Not all the time… but sometimes, lately. When I’m in a good place–in a fleeting, good moment, I do feel it.
Not love as in, I’d like to keep that Type 1 diabetes around, what a stand up guy! I’m not insane.
More like the way you love your roommate’s cat who is also the worst because he can open drawers and open Tupperware with his paws and find your Mac & Cheese, open the box of it and spread uncooked noodles all over the kitchen floor for you to come from work and step on. Perhaps the cat is also constantly plotting to kill you.
But then he purrs up against you or teaches himself how to pee in the toilet and you’re like, Ok, fine sometimes you’re alright, you mischievous motherfucker.
It’s like the way you love something that you also hate and are forced to live with.
Chances are I’m going to have this disease forever. Fingers crossed for a cure, always, but I’ve also got to be able to survive in this body every day that there isn’t one. Rage doesn’t serve my small, sensitive eco-system well. It destroys it. So a feeling of appreciation or gratitude or protectiveness towards this disease, however fleeting, I will grasp and hold on to with dear life and call it Love.
Love as in, Protecting something that can’t protect itself (and knowing that your own life depends on it.)
As in, Who knows why things happen or why they don’t or when they will start or stop happening. Type 1 diabetes was once a fatal diagnosis. I am grateful to be alive.
Slant love– love that is roundabout and complex and elusive.
An act of self-preservation.
Diabetes // slant love was originally published on Coffee & Insulin