This November marks 20 years together. 20 of the last 25 years of my life have been focused on you. You’ve put me through things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’ve sacrificed so much because of you. When we first met I was scared. I was scared because the only thing I knew about you at the time was that you cut my Aunt Joy’s life short and I didnt want that to happen to me. You’ve tried to control me for so long, I can’t make a decision without thinking about you first. As soon as I wake up I have to make sure you’re ok and the same goes for when I’m getting ready to go to sleep. Speaking of sleep, that must be something you’re not familiar with. I can’t tell you the last time my parents had a good night’s rest since not only my diagnosis but my sisters too. You’ve made me feel like a burden, even worthless at times. I have to remind myself that you are not my life but just a part of it. A part of my life that I have to manage so I can be able to enjoy all aspects of life. Being with you this long has made me realize a few things:
- God is in control
- What doesn’t kill you literally makes you stronger
- Only the strong survive
Being a black woman, our strength is often glorified, but what people don’t understand is the cost that the strength comes with. So yes, I am a strong, black, diabetic woman. But I am also exhausted . Managing you is a 25/8 job. It’s not just checking my sugar, counting carbs and taking insulin. It’s the constant worry of dying in my sleep, will someone help me if I’m out in public or think because of the color of my skin I’m acting crazy, being terrified of being home alone too long because anything could happen, the list goes on and on. I don’t know what your intentions were when you decided to come in my life but what I do know is that I AM in control, this is my world and you’re just in it. Whatever you throw at me I can handle.
Sa’Ra Skipper of Indianapolis, IN was diagnosed with T1D when she was 5 years old. Sa’Ra is a public speaker, writer, and founder of SkipJoy. She advocates passionately for those with diabetes through T1international, P4AD, Families USA and Health Care Voter.