I don’t know a nice way to ease into what I’ve got to say, so I’m just going to go for it. The fire’s gone out. Something’s gotta change.

rock climbing with diabetes oklahoma

Truncated version: I am going to start focusing my energy elsewhere. Working for a few likes on Facebook here and there won’t feed a family.

cats of instagram

Over the last several years I have put everything I have and am into LivingVertical–because I wanted to send a message. Make a movie. Complete a project. Start a movement. I wanted to offer an alternative to all the fear and commercialization of this condition we live with. I wanted to show people that attitude, diet and discipline are the keys that can unlock a world of adventure and wonder–that you need not wait for a cure or technological breakthroughs to go beyond the limits.

New York rock climbing

In the meantime I put my relationships, my life, my dwelling, my marriage, my stuff, my comfort, my security and my future on the line as collateral. A lot of those aspects of who I am were gutted; eaten alive to feed the effort of the message. I made those choices and I don’t ask anyone to feel sorry for me–nor do I feel sorry for myself. I don’t even expect people to grasp the impact this has all had on my life, since the whole things is a bit esoteric. Nevertheless, the message now feels like an empty shell and so I am forced to deal with that.

appalachian mountains Virginia photography

I’m tired of making everything in my life about diabetes because I want to be an “advocate”. I’m tired of trying to make people care. I’m tired of ignoring basic, obvious truths because I want to prosper from treading the perilous line between the diabetes industry and diabetes advocacy. I started LivingVertical with Stefanie in 2011 because when I looked around online, so much of what I saw was just industry and so little seemed authentic–it felt like marketing and not empowerment. It was business. LivingVertical wasn’t intended to be business; it was raw and real. Then somewhere in there, that all changed and with it, my relationship to the whole endeavor. On the other hand, without that shift, Project365 would not have been able to have come to completion, so I can’t say I’d do it differently.

My life isn’t about diabetes. It’s about a lot of things. Imagery. Mountains. Motion. Cartoons. Satire. Depression. Boredom. Self doubt. Diabetes is just something I do so that I can live my life and I have been looking through the wrong end of the telescope and I can’t keep doing that. I want to be who I am: a neurotic self loathing climber who hangdogs and pulls on gear and comes up short and comes back for more because the people and the time in the mountains make life worth living despite who I am. Because the vertical world exposes my fears and flaws and forces me to recognize the utter absurdity of life while giving me a meaningful way to interact with it.

rock climber with diabetes

Where does diabetes fit into that? Well if I’m not high or low (blood sugar-wise), it doesn’t. Diabetes is best managed when it stays where it belongs, until it doesn’t. Then you fix it and move on. Keep it simple and move past it. Repeat as necessary. Live life, don’t sit around talking about it.

So what’s the point of all of this ranting?

It’s a new season in my life. Things are changing. I don’t know what will happen with LivingVertical. It’s here already, so it’s not going to go away. I climbed for years before it began and I will climb for years to come. If people think that’s inspiring, then good. If not, also fine. I don’t want to play “the diabetes game” any more. I’m not hanging up my uniform, I’m just walking off this particular field, taking my game somewhere else where I won’t be sitting on the bench with the “diabetes banner” draped over me, hoping and praying that I “get to play”.

I’m not sure what this means in terms of practical changes. Maybe more blogging. Maybe less. Probably less filtration and censorship in any case. There’s still work to be done here –action is still at the core of this and if that’s something that still has support in the community, there will be enough to go around.

I didn’t sign up to be a posterchild or a hero. I signed up to prove that we all have the power to go beyond. I did that. Now it’s your turn. Go do something that scares you because you CAN. Meanwhile, I’m going to be working to provide for my daughter in a way that makes me feel complete, not compromised.

Get in on the conversation–share your comment below–and shop while you wait if you’d like to see LivingVertical keep on going~