After years of tailoring my life, my jobs, my relationships, my health and diabetes management in relation to my ability to climb, I’m finally coming out and saying it. Climbing doesn’t matter. It’s frivolous–when it’s separated from the reasons we climb–the reasons we go to such great lengths to push into the unknown.
Trying to fundraise for a climbing film series is a challenge for me–because I don’t think that the climbing (which is what people SEE) is what really matters. What matters is a little further beneath the surface.
Challenge is not something we voluntarily choose in life. Our society is based around ease and convenience, which often works to our detriment. I include myself in this assessment–I have said many times that I work hard so that I can be lazy. I wasn’t born an overachieving athlete. I feel like it goes without saying, but I am still not an overachieving athlete.
Diabetes is a challenge–one that we didn’t get to choose. It’s inconvenient, difficult…you know the drill. There are many monuments out there to the difficulty of diabetes and how hard it is. Do a google search and it’s pretty clear what the conventional wisdom is.
I lay awake at night sometimes freaking out as I watch Lilo sleep–imagining how I would react if she inherited my diabetes. Would I recognize the symptoms? Would I be able to help her–or would I limit her because I’d be so afraid of her encountering a challenge she couldn’t handle?
What would I want to see on the business end of a google search if I were staring down the barrel of a diagnosis of my baby? I know that I’d rather feel isolated with my own hope for a normal life than be bombarded by a bunch of marketing telling me that I’m lost without the latest account-emptying gadget, or that I’m decades away from a practical cure so in the meantime I have to “suffer from” diabetes.
That’s how I saw my options when I was diagnosed, and I knew that I didn’t want to buy into the victim mentality. I felt alone because I didn’t feel like there was an empowering way to publicly identify with my diabetes, but I sucked it up.
That’s what we are changing by making diabetes visible through empowerment. That matters.
The climbing doesn’t matter. Why we climb, and why we come back from those climbs–that sure as hell does matter. As a team of diabetic climbers we have diverse backgrounds, diverse treatment methods that mix and match all technological options, budgets and lifestyles.
We are creating and reinforcing a message that diabetes is a surmountable challenge. We are living that message. Diabetes is training for bigger challenges that we can CHOOSE–and that our success is within our grasp. Diet. Exercise. Attitude. Those are the focal points of our message, and those are points that don’t sell “stuff”. That’s why we are asking for your support. That’s why climbing does matter, because there is a need for stories and messages to be represented that don’t sell “stuff” and cut through the fluff.
Pledge to back our film series. It matters. Share this project with your friends and make them understand why this matters. This story won’t get told without your support and everyone can find a way to get behind this effort.