Tag Archives: dealing with diabetes

If it Works for Oprah…

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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

Not everyone likes Oprah but most of us agree that she has worked herself to where she is versus being handed everything.  My mom saved an article for me where she talks about gratitude.  I was amazed to read what Oprah considers the most life changing thing she has done.  For many years she has kept a journal and each morning she has written down 5 things she is grateful for.  It forces a person into a habit of looking at what they do have versus what they don’t.  She goes on to talk about gratitude and the unique power it can have on our lives.

I’ve read in many places that gratitude is the single most transformative thing we can use in life.  It begs positivity, streamlines focus away from feelings of inadequacy, and brings with it a healthy rush of feelings to the body that support positive decisions.

I believe that those of us with diabetes who practice gratitude on a consistent basis really benefit.  Not only does having a chronic illness usually cause us to be more aware and sensitive towards the plights of others but couple that with gratitude and you have an amazing potential for a life filled with meaning and depth beyond many people’s reach.

So while I’m not grateful for having diabetes, I am grateful for what I’ve learned and who I am because of it.  And when my blood sugar is 102 and I feel perfectly healthy, I feel like I’m in heaven while others don’t even recognize the beauty and freedom of feeling great.  I could feel jealous of non diabetics but I choose to feel grateful for the advantage of my perspective.  It makes life better.  But it is a choice and a habit.  I think writing down things we’re grateful for is an excellent idea.  Thanks, Oprah.

Diabetes in Art

This semester, I’m taking Intermediate Painting and I love it. It’s nice to have time already set aside to just paint whatever I want. Anyway, I usually paint with acrylics, but I decided to use oils this semester, which I have almost no experience with. I immediately fell in love with them and now I’m not sure if I can ever go back to acrylics! One of the reasons I love this class so much is because we’re free to paint whatever we want, as long as we have at least six paintings done by the end of the semester. However, our paintings need to have a theme that links them all together to some extent. I didn’t have to really think about what I wanted to do, because I already decided over the summer. Ever since Diabetes Art Day last year, I realized that I enjoy using diabetes as a subject for my art work. It’s really relieving and sometimes even empowering. Lately, I’ve been feeling really determined to make paintings that are reflections of my life with Type 1. I explained to my professor that over the past year, I’ve felt dissatisfied with a lot of my painting ideas because I didn’t think they were meaningful enough to create a painting around. I wanted my paintings to get a little deeper and be a little more thought-provoking, so I thought, hey, diabetes is a huge part of my life, and it’s definitely a deep topic because it’s so personal. I know it will be tough, but I decided to do it.

One of the things I’m a little worried about is that I won’t effectively get the message across. I’d really like viewers to have a good idea of what I was feeling when I painted a certain piece. Because it’s so intimate and personal, it’s kind of hard to lay out my thoughts and fears on canvas so openly, knowing that people are going to look at it and critique it. I’ve already been mentally preparing to detach myself from my work, otherwise I know I’ll be offended on the inside if someone doesn’t get it or like it. At the beginning of the semester, I had a discussion with my professor about how direct the paintings should be. We agreed that they should be pretty subtle. I don’t want someone to look at one of the paintings and be like oh, it’s about diabetes. I want them to spend time thinking about what it could mean, and then once they figure out or learn what it’s about, they can reflect on the subject and see what a seemingly simple thing can mean to a diabetic. Individually, it will probably be hard to tell that the painting is about diabetes, but as a whole series, it will be a little clearer once some connections can be made between all the pieces.

Another reason I decided to do this series is that I knew it would help increase diabetes awareness. While I’m working in class, my classmates ask me about what I’m working on, and I explain to them how I want to create reflections of my life with diabetes. Two days ago, one student told me about how his dad also has diabetes and he could see how my painting worked with the theme. Once I finish all the paintings, I really hope to have them displayed in a show somewhere so more people can see them. I will also share them with all of you on here :] So far I’ve finished one piece and have started a second and you can see parts of them here:

If you have any ideas or suggestions for my future paintings, please share!! I would love to hear what you guys think :]

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