Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Insulin Pump Cutie Mark

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I've seen every episode of "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic." (I blame a certain bell-ringing friend of mine for this development.) It's actually a lovely little show, full of strong female characters and gentle humour. For amusement's sake, have a couple of pictures of me dressed as one of the lead characters, Twilight Sparkle (who, like me, is a crazed perfectionist who loves school and books), ringing handbells at a My Little Pony-themed burlesque show (don't ask).

My hair doesn't normally look like this. Maybe it should.
Twilight Sparkle, or Sprinkles the DOC Unicorn?

In My Little Pony, one of the major themes is that of the Cutie Mark. A play on "beauty mark," it's found on the flank where a brand would normally be. In the world of the show, it symbolizes some great truth about who you are; something about your personality or talent, what you were "born to do." Having a cutie mark magically appear means you've come of age, a sort of unpredictable pony Bat Mitzvah where your vocation is revealed.

Where am I going with this? Good question.

Last night I went out with family for a birthday dinner for my mother. As is often the case, I decided to wear a dress. If any of you are pump-wearing ladies, you know the dilemma. Dress. No pockets. You want a slim, unbroken line. Where do you put it? One of the reasons I chose the Animas Ping pump was because it had a remote bolusing feature, so I could give myself insulin while keeping the pump craftily hidden in the back of my dresses. It generally finds itself safely under layers of undergarments. The last thing you want people to see when you're trying to look pretty is a glaring reminder of your physical defects.

After we got home, I was in the process of putting on my PJs when I noticed the result of the day's pump-stashery: a perfect impression of my insulin pump. (No pictures; I'd like to keep this blog relatively PG.) An insulin pump cutie mark, if you will.

If I were going to pick a cutie mark for myself, it probably wouldn't be an insulin pump. It would be comedy and tragedy masks, for my love of theatre. A pen, for my love of writing. Maybe a book, or something to do with teaching. But, as that silly little cartoon shows us, you don't always pick the things that define you. Sometimes they pick themselves.

There's a trio of small ponies in the show that are always trying to get their cutie marks, and finding that there's no way to force it. You may think you're good at something, but you may not have realized your hidden talent.

Somewhat coincidentally, I was diagnosed with diabetes the same year I had by Bat Mitzvah, or became an adult according to my heritage. It was a nasty welcome to "adulthood." But, of course, as mature as I was at the time, I wasn't really ready to be an adult. For years and years thereafter, I certainly wasn't ready to be an adult about my diabetes, and the numbers reflect this. After I finished grad school, I'd like to think I symbolically moved into the "Adult" world. In conjunction with this, I finally accepted that this condition was going to be a part of me forever, shaped up, and got my first insulin pump. What a dramatic difference in my life! The pump symbolizes my acceptance of diabetes, and my willingness to keep working at it, every day of my life. I may not be doing theatre, reading books, writing, teaching every day of my life (though I certainly hope to be). But I will be dealing with D, no matter what. Maybe it's not my talent, but it is my life.

I looked at my insulin pump cutie mark and smiled at how appropriate it really was. Maybe it's time to pitch a new kid's show: My Little Diabetic: Insulin Is Magic.


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