This week I've decided I hate the word discipline. It means forcing myself to do something repeatedly even when I don't want to.
This week was also the week that I found out that I have diabetes and had to add a whole lot more discipline to my life.
I lost my insurance last month (I'm working on getting new insurance) and therefore don't have any medication right now. So every day is a struggle, where I starve (I can only eat so many meats and veggies.) Then I poke myself repeatedly and hope to God that my blood sugar is less than 200 this time. (For a frame of reference, if a normal person ate an entire bowl of candy, their blood sugar would still be no higher than 140. When I eat a sandwich with low carb whole wheat bread, my blood sugar might be something like 200.)
I knew I was probably going to get it someday, but I honestly thought it wasn't going to be until I was 40 or older. (I am 27.)
I didn't realize until I got it how embarrassed I was to have it. Even though I know diabetes has more to do with genetics than the way you eat (my mother took care of herself all of her life and still got it), there's a stigma surrounding it. Because if you eat worse you get it sooner, but even if you eat well, you'll eventually get it anyway if you have it in your genes.
I don't want my friends to watch the things I eat or say I must have messed up in some way or I wouldn't be diabetic. I don't want them to analyze my weight and tell me if I had eaten less then this wouldn't have happened to me. I've heard people judge diabetes on multiple occasions. Even Michelle Obama decided to make it a part of her campaign against childhood obesity.
For me, diabetes means a lifetime of discipline. I know a lot about being a diabetic from watching my Mom and the truth is - diabetics eat sweets sometimes. It's pretty much impossible for humans not to mess up their diet on occasion, especially when they are on a diet for the rest of their lives.
In the same way, I must be disciplined as a writer. The difference is, this is fun to me. I mess up sometimes, but try to write every day. There's no such thing as being "done." Even when you finish a book, that glow may last for a few hours or days, but then it's off to start the next story.
I find myself facing the same frustrations in both writing and diabetes. Every day I have to put work into both and stay focused on doing the right thing. I had to get back into exercising because it helps my body process carbs and I also have to make time for writing. Sometimes I mess up and feel guilty afterwards. Sometimes I'm patient and feel like all of this is easy.
If every day, I am patient and work hard to do what I am supposed to, I will be rewarded in the end. It's just hard to see it when you are in the midst of struggling with discipline why this whole thing will be worth it.
I won't see a book right away when I start writing one or know the benefits of why I must keep my blood sugar low while I struggle with it, but the rewards are there. Eventually everyone who has discipline will be rewarded in the end.