Hi everyone and welcome to my WordPress blog! As part of my Writing and Digital Media class, I will be regularly updating this blog and adding to it throughout the next couple months! Through this blog, I hope to provide you all with a sense of who I am, both as a student and also as a writer.
I am a junior at Virginia Tech, majoring in sociology and pursuing minors in professional writing and consumer studies. My interests are all over the place; I’ve never been one to have one specific academic interest, but rather my passions are all over the place. However, I think it is good to have more than one type of skill or interest; being well rounded is more beneficial in the end. The well-rounded curricula is a major reason why I like the liberal arts. I know that whatever career I end up having after graduation, I will have multiple skill sets to my advantage.
When I am not in class or working at War Memorial Gym, you can probably find me hanging out with friends from the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) or my fraternity (Delta Psi Nu), going to Zumba classes, or keeping up with my favorite tv shows. In addition, you could very well find me talking with my friends or anyone I meet about type 1 diabetes.
In June 2007, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and ever since then I have struggled with defining myself (and learning not to define myself based on diabetes). One of my favorite things to do is meet other people who also have type 1. Last fall, I co-founded the club Students With Diabetes at Virgina Tech and we now have 9 members! Although that doesn’t sound like a lot of people considering the number of students that go to Tech and the number of people that are likely to have type 1, we are still proud!
Since this is an online blog, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you all my online presence and what I think my online identity is. My online identity and my offline identity are mostly one in the same, as who I am offline tends to show when I am online.
As I said, one of my favorite things to do is to advocate for awareness of type 1 diabetes and that definitely shows in my online presence, as I am very active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, always sharing, posting, and retweeting the latest news about type 1. I even keep up with the JDRF (the leading non-profit for type 1 diabetes research) group on LinkedIn. In addition, I follow many diabetes blogs that are written by others with T1D, parents of T1Ds, and others. Being so active about type 1 has truly given me a purpose and I discovered who I am and that is perfectly imperfect, despite my chronic disease.
Ever since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I have struggled with my identity and feeling “normal.” Through the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), I have come to realize that my diabetes makes me perfectly imperfect and I am in fact “normal.” There is no real definition of normal because everyone has something or multiple things about them that make them unique. Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014, who has type 1 diabetes, wore her insulin pump while wearing a bikini in the swimsuit component of the competition. This radical and courageous move sparked an online bond between others with type 1 diabetes as Sierra’s story went all over the media. Sierra started the hashtag campaign #showmeyourpump which encouraged people with type 1 to post pictures wearing their insulin pump or showing their insulin pens, while also having a positive attitude despite the awful disease that diabetes is. I tweeted, instagrammed, and facebooked the picture on the left with #showmeyourpump and also tagged Sierra Sandison in the picture, hoping she would notice my post. Not only did she notice it, but she even commented on it saying that she loved it! I have never been more encouraged and positive about my diabetes than I was when I saw all the pictures from people from all over the world with diabetes. A few months later, my picture was even shown on Dr. Oz when Sierra had her interview on the show! If it weren’t for type 1 diabetes, I wouldn’t have discovered myself and that I don’t have to be exactly like everyone else in order to be normal; I wouldn’t have discovered my own normal.