I’m a type one diabetic and I was diagnosed when I was 6. and I’m now 19.

I wrote a poem about a year ago. It was written out of pure anger for this disease that has defined my body for the past 13 years. And somehow writing it all down changed my perspective.

This anger spilled out unto the pages talking about how I was sick, and I was dying. It was this same anger that had encapsulated my life for years. This anger that I didn’t know how to explain or understand or move past. So instead, I lived in it.

I allowed anger towards this disease, my body and myself to permeate every part of my life. I told myself I was allowed to be angry every second of every day, that this anger was totally understandable for me have to 24/7. My anger eventually turned to hate. I hated anything to do with this disease. I hated my body for giving me this disease. I blamed myself because I believed it was somehow my fault for this disease.

Anytime someone mentioned diabetes my teeth would clench and I had to struggle not to scream or cry or both. They didn’t understand that they were talking about what was killing me. Except they weren’t.

Diabetes was never truly what was killing me. My anger, my hatred was killing me.

This anger that was staining my life was killing me. I was allowing every moment of my life to revolve around my disease. Instead of ever allowing myself to grieve for what I had lost, I simply tried to pretend I wasn’t sick, and when it became obvious I couldn’t pretend, I became angry. I longed for normalcy. I longed to fit into the crowd and be like everyone else, be normal. Because when you’re normal you’re not dying.

I was so mad that I was sick and “dying” I never stopped to think about the fact that maybe I wasn’t.

Maybe my sickness didn’t define me. Maybe it was one piece in the whole sum that is me. Yes, it’s a big piece and I can’t push it away or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I’m also learning that I don’t have to make that one piece everything.

I don’t have to be dying. I can be sick and be alive. Truly, beautifully, wonderfully alive and living.

I am still learning. I am still learning how to love myself not in spite of my disease, but with it. I am learning that I am allowed to be angry sometimes, as long as I don’t let that anger become everything. I am learning that I’m allowed to have amazing days, and marvel at what my life has become and will continue to become, but I can also have absolutely terrible days where all I want to do is cry over ice cream and lay in bed. I’m still learning that I am worthy of living a life just as beautiful and full as everyone else, even though I am sick.

Because I am sick. I am a type one diabetic which I will have the rest of my life. But I am not dying. I am living, and making mistakes, and learning just like everyone else. My disease never kept me from any of that. I did. My anger and hatred did. I was trying to punish my body for something that I had no control over. I did not control the fact that I got sick, but I do control how I live now. And I chose to live without an everlasting anger permeating everything I do.

I am sick, but I am not dying. I am sick, and I am living.

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