October 17, 2006

In which I overthink a new topic

Pursuant to #11 below, I’ve been looking into volunteer possibilities.

Well, there’s no place to start like the glaringly obvious: diabetes. The OC is full of people who are doing their part. Am I?

If by “doing my part” you mean whining periodically or perhaps chronicling my awkwardness, then yes--yes, I am. Otherwise, well...not as such.

It’s clearly the right thing to do, to contribute time and energy toward the causes of helping people cope, helping to raise money for the search for the Shmure, and so forth. Couldn’t begin to argue against it. But there’s a wall of (self-centered, irritated, irritating) resistance within me.

I think it’s an internal tension similar to the one described here. There’s a continual negotiation between Diabetic Violet and the Rest of Violet over how many of my waking hours I’m willing to sign over to this disease.

Diabetic Violet (hmm, perhaps she should be Violet with Diabetes out of respect for folks who hate “diabetic”?) knows that making a positive contribution to D-related causes would be a healthy—dare I say mature?—adaptation to my circumstances.

The Rest of Violet does not want to be quite that diabetic (have quite that much diabetes???), thank you very much. She’s shooting for the middle ground.

VWD points out that I’m always whining about isolation, about not knowing enough nonvirtual people who are tackling the same issues I am. D-related volunteer work is an obvious way to change that.

ROV does not want diabetes to become the mainstay of my interactions with other humans. Period.

VWD thinks ROV is in denial.

ROV thinks VWD is a priss.

OCers, where are you on this subject? (Um, not the question of whether VWD is a priss. The volunteering thing.)

Happily for both Violets, one can have a positive impact on the world in quite a few ways, huzzah! So for now I am shelving the question. I’m attracted to working with animals or maybe, if I can pull together the emotional fortitude, something like this program, which provides companionship to people at the end of life.

ROV figures diabetes will be around a while longer, after all. She will still be needed when she's ready.


  1. Interesting debate you got going there. Awhile ago, when I was volunteering far more than I do now, I actually never thought about volunteering for diabetes causes, because I was personally more interested in reading to the blind or working with teen girls. I got a lot of fulfillment out of both those activities (and in those days, identified with promoting literacy and teen girls far more frequently than I do today).

    Today, I think a lot about diabetes, about writing about it, donating to summer camps for diabetic girls and general research and honestly feel it's where my efforts should go. I think the main thing about volunteer work is to do whatever you honestly feel resonates with you, so that you'll be volunteering in the best spirit of doing so and not because you feel you have to which may cause some grudge-holding over volunteering at all.

    Jeez, not to get all long-winded on you or anything.

    On more juicy topics, good luck with Friday's date! I'd say wear a casual skirt--casual in that it doesn't look like you're getting your hopes up for a first date, but a skirt so that your date has something to remember you by.

    Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  2. Hey V,

    I don't really have any advice on the whole skirt thing - so I'm glad that Lyrehca held it down for me.

    I have a couple different thoughts on the whole volunteer thing.

    1) You would meet a bunch of really cool, very strong, and very interesting people.
    2) You might be exposed to a whole lot more people who don't take very good care of themselves, and that might be scary/depressing.
    3) The impressions of the cool, strong and interesting people, by far, will outweigh any negativity picked up from the other kind.
    4) Getting involved with diabetes at that level can either be extrememly rewarding, or very "energy draining" and overloading. You might have to test the water and see how you feel about it.
    5) As you grow and mature your relationship with your own diabetes, all of these points can and probably will shift and jump around a bit.

    So I think it would be cool to explore a bit and see how it fits. If it were me, I would try to focus more on the JDRF crowd (T1 diabetes) than the ADA crowd (T2 diabetes). To have the opportunity to help younger folks deal with things would be WAY cooler than helping older, possibly complication laden, folks cope with all that's going on.

    That's my two cents on it, for now anyways.

    Take care!

  3. L, I think you're exactly right: it has to be, somehow, the thing that resonates with wherever one is at any given moment.

    I also think you are right about the skirt. Will proceed accordingly. Not that I'm overplanning or anything. (68 hours. Ahem.)

    Scott, as you so often do, you've given me so much to think about. Thank you. Your perspective is generous and compassionate and much what I wish my own were more like. I am stingier than you. But I also think I won't always be, if that makes sense. I do like your point about JDRF, in large part because I'm drawn to kids, at least some of them, for the usual reasons that people are drawn to kids (at least some of them). I will ponder.

  4. Hey V,
    Once again, I'm so with you. I've been riddled with guilt that I'm not "doing anything" for diabetes (other than writing about it a heck-uva lot). I feel that I ought to be DOING SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES. But I've always got this inner struggle on trying not to overladen myself... I get stressed out easily, and I want and need to have some energy for the 3 girls I'm attempting to raise.

    Um,... not to get all self-absorbed on you or anything. My point was, I'm having the same(ish) debate with myself.

    And I'd definitely go with the skirt. Especially if your calves are nice and not ridden with veins like mine (thanks to Baby No. 3). Skirt!

    Have some fun, will ya?


  5. Well, coming from the girl who has handed over her life to diabetes, complete with gift-wrap packaging and a nice, pink bow, my opinion might be a little bit tainted and completely useless. Or it is one of the best things you could hear. Not sure which.

    Anyway, my opinion is that you need balance. That's one thing I sorely lack right now and it's something I'm trying to regain with school, a new internship and a theology class through my church. You don't have to be an either/or kind of girl. You can volunteer for diabetes-related causes when they happen and you can volunteer with other organizations as they need you. You know the reasons why volunteering for diabetes is good, but also why volunteering for other things is good, too. So mix it up. Keeps monotony away.

    You don't need to start a website about diabetes that you maintain 24/7 and eats up your evenings, weekends and holidays so much that you actually have to send yourself into exile at your grandmother's in California to get away from it (and even then you're screwed because your uncle just got Type 2). Ok, maybe that's just me, but you know what I mean.

  6. Violet:
    I would follow your heart as far a volunteering goes. Yes, you have some unique attributes to help D's (you are one) but now might not be the right time. If something else interests you more and you have a passion for it, then by all means go for it.

    On the skirt thing: My son recently asked one of his professors how long a particular paper should be. The professor's response, "It should be like a woman's skirt... long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep things interesting".

    Hope the date goes well and that he's a Gentleman.

  7. Amy, the very idea that you aren't "doing something for people with diabetes" is jaw-dropping. Literally. My blog is an exercise in self-indulgence. Yours is a public service. Give yourself a break, honey.

    Allison, sorry to hear about your uncle. There is NEVER any getting away from the D, is there? The struggle for balance, yes, it's a lifelong quest for me, that's for sure. I think the answers are not only nuanced and individual, but ever-changing. Maybe we get it right for a while, but then some variable shifts and we must shift along with it.

    Keith, your son's professor sounds, um, like a colorful personality :)

  8. V--I thought Keith's professor's skirt quote was just right. Not that I can swing by or anything, but are you meeting the guy for dinner? Coffee? And will you mention the D or no?

    And if you haven't already checked them out, New York Cares is a great organization that's an umbrella of volunteer activities. They have one-off days where you can volunteer your time for an afternoon as well as ongoing projects (weekly, monthly) if that's more your speed. I got their newsletter for years, but everything's probably online now.

  9. L, thanks, I'll check out NY Cares. And will e-mail you about the rest. Am suddenly feeling thirteen years old and neurotically shy :)

  10. V,

    Personally, I like involving myself in the diabetes advocacy bits because it keeps the feelings of loneliness at bay. Same with blogging. And I like being involved in causes I believe in, diabetes being high on that list. It depends on how much of your life you want diabetes to involve. I really enjoy doing the diabetes walks and I've volunteered at a number of JDRF events. Hanging out with the kids is always cool. They're always inspiring.

    But I have found that, since working at dLife, I have felt a huge push to expand my non-D writing ambitions. Strange how that sort of thing works out.

    And Keith's comments about the skirt are so spot on that I can't offer anything better. :)