I was sitting on my couch with my friend Sandra, watching Jersey Shore. We have always joked about how interesting we are (we're not), and how much people would love to follow us for a day (they wouldn't). It was one of those stupid best friend moments where you just talk to hear your own voice. But I went to MTV's website to look for "Real World" auditions, and came across a casting call for a True Life episode around People with Diabetes.
I felt like the universe was telling me something at that point. It sounds cliche and stupid but I had never, ever confronted my diabetes from a public standpoint. My friends only knew because they asked about my "pager" in my back pocket. It's never been something I shared openly with people... even my family! But I sent in the required photos, identifying facts, and my story. I got a call a few days later from a researcher, then another call from a producer, and then somehow, a few weeks later, there they were at my apartment with cameras. It happened really quickly, and I really didn't think I was ready for it.
When I told my parents about the show, they didn't understand. "Are they paying you?" No -- they didn't pay me. It was a voluntary documentary. But my hope was this -- that maybe by finally talking about living with diabetes -- or, rather, pleasantly ignoring my diabetes -- I'd be prompted to take better care of myself. That really wasn't how it worked out, at least not yet, but I'm finding that the response to the show is actually far more eye opening than the filming itself.
The filming was, politely put, inconvenient. People didn't really ask about what we were filming when we were in public. They avoided you like you were some leper carrying a contagion just on the cusp of eliminating all of humanity. But I found solace in venting to the producers, who were used to it. If you watched the episode, you saw me cry like 6 times -- but only the producers and I know (well... and now, you) that there is enough sobbing footage to make a feature film. I didn't like having to talk about living with diabetes, because I wasn't sure how comfortable I was with just living with myself, period.
But, like I said, the response to the show has actually been the best part of it all. I found out that there is an entire world of intelligent bloggers, tweeters, advocates, and supporters who are all on the inside. They understand. They know what it's like. And I might not be able to articulate what it's been like for me yet, but I think I'm learning. I don't hope to be an internet sensation, a famous blogger, or a reality TV star... I kind of just hope that I can connect with some people who might finally understand what I'm talking about or how I'm feeling. And then, maybe one day, be able to give the same feeling back to some other person who felt like I did before finding out about this world of support.
This blog could go on forever. Instead, I think I'll post the casting email I sent MTV. This is the first time I've re-read it since I sent it, and it is KINDA dramatic. Okay, I lied. It's REALLY dramatic. But every inch of it is true. My story that developed during filming had an organic start... I really didn't think they cared so much about the draining financial aspect as others, but it turns out that's actually a really big part of my story.