On Sunday, Jason and I had a heart to heart. Mostly he listened, mostly I talked, or rambled as the case may be, and I got a little teary eyed too. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, like I’m trying to go in a hundred different directions, but since that’s not possible, I’m really just running in circles, although even that doesn’t quite describe it because at least if I were doing that, I would be going in some direction. Too many irons in the fire. Too many pots on the stove. You get the idea.
I do think part of my problem is related to my father’s death, but I don’t think I’m far enough away from it to really have enough perspective to grasp how it’s impacted me. Yesterday, I got papers in the mail from the lawyer, something about an inventory of assets since the estate was probated. I don’t know exactly because I glanced at it, and set it down with the distinct thought that I don’t want to be bothered with any of it anymore. I’m tired, all the work I’ve put into managing his estate has ultimately been thankless, and since he wasn’t particularly interested in me during his life, there’s not even a sense that he would have been appreciative of how I’ve stuck my neck way out for him through all of this…
Needless to say, I have some strong, unresolved feelings that I need more time to process. It’s this waiting and not knowing how to go about it that gets to me.
That’s probably the only truly bad thing that’s seeped into my spring, and although I can’t say I really knew what to expect as the initial turmoil of his death passed, it’s not a surprise that I’m feeling as I do about it now. Luckily, the rest of the chaos in my life hasn’t been morbid, and some of it has actually been good, although it’s what’s had me feeling like I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, although with a better outcome I hope.
As April came to a close, I was the guest facilitator at our local hospital’s support group for teens with type 1. I brought my big plastic container filled with art supplies along with several boxes of diabetes trash, courtesy of many of you (thanks!!), and the kids went into a frenzy of creative goodness. Many of them collaborated to create a big diabetes robot, some of them did their own thing, but overall, it was a great success.
The CDE who runs the group relayed to the diabetes education department how well the group had gone, and as a result, I was invited to speak at a workshop for school nurses about eating disorders. A local clinician who is both a dietitian and a social worker was the headliner, followed by a CDE from the hospital who spoke about diabulimia. That nurse invited me to give the patient perspective, so I talked about my experience, recovery, and what I do now.
In addition to sharing how well the teen group had gone with the colleagues in her department, the nurse who runs that group also told another CDE who works at a local pediatric hospital about the art therapy group I did. That CDE invited me to participate in a summer camp program she’s starting for lower-income urban kids with type 1. As many of us know, diabetes camp can come with a high price tag, and although all of the camps with which I’m familiar do their best to offer financial aid and scholarships, that doesn’t mean all the families with kids who would benefit from such opportunities know to apply, or are in a position to buy things their kids would need for camp, or are even able to transport their kids to camp.
This new camp will be for 4 days in August, including a Saturday family day. The CDE is still trying to nail down a location, so this is in the very early stages of planning. She said my position will be a volunteer position, as the funding is bare bones, but it’s her hope that should it be successful this summer, that she’d be able to attain enough funding next year to pay me. Right now, the tentative plan is to have 3-4 art therapy groups per day, with one 1-day project, another more involved 2-day project, and then have the art on display for family day. Needless to say, I’m super excited to be a part of this. For several years, I’ve wanted to do something like this, but wasn’t really sure how to bring my vision to fruition. Of course, as with anything, I’d love to get a fat paycheck, or any paycheck for that matter, to go with it, but since I love what I do and I’m able to volunteer my services, committing to the project was only a matter of checking my schedule to make sure I was available. And I am, so I’m in!
In addition to that, Children’s Mental health Awareness Day was a couple of weeks ago. In honor of that, the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association joined the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, a museum for children, to provide a day of art-making that was titled, “My Feelings Are a Work of Art”. I’m now on the board of DVATA as the newsletter chairperson (another project that’s had me quite busy), so I volunteered to help with that. The museum liked it so much that they’ve asked us to come back next year and do it again.
Of course, if you weren’t actually there, then you’ve likely already read other posts about the big D meet-up in NYC that was a little over a week ago. In honor of Cara’s yearly trek to see more musicals in the course of a few days than I’ve seen in my life, many diabetics in NYC and the surrounding areas gathered at a bakery-restaurant on the Upper West Side, just a block or so from Central Park. If the whole menu wasn’t organic, most of it was, so it was very environmentally-friendly, chemical-free food, which is good because I’ve been trying really hard to steer my diet more in that direction – although I was sad there was no diet soda. I have to say the bakery counter was filled with some beautiful treats, and had it not been for the long line as we were departing, I would have at least gotten some cookies. Also, as a side note, I had to chuckle because the original plan had been to meet at a little restaurant that specialized in pizza and mac & cheese, and I was totally prepared to arrive with a full cartridge of insulin, but Allison, our trusty organizer, discovered that restaurant had closed, so organic, sustainable plan B was quite the 180 degree turn!
The other biggish thing that’s happening is that I’ve decided to apply to a doctorate program. I have a lot of work to do to get my application together, so that’s taken precedence over blogging. Next week, I’m taking the Miller Analogy Test, which is a standardized exam that I need for my application. Honestly, I think my chances of getting accepted are a little skimpy. My qualifications are kind of marginal, but research to show that art therapy could be valuable for helping people with diabetes needs to be done, in my humble opinion, and although I might not have the best pedigree, I’d bet there aren’t too many people who are as motivated and invested as I am in doing that research. I debated sharing this here because I loathe the day when I might have to report that I wasn’t accepted, but I’ve posted about it on Facebook, so I figured I’d share it here too. Whatever ends up happening, you will be some of the first to know.
Finally, I’ve already blurted this all over the place, but my proposal to do a workshop at the American Art Therapy Conference in Sacramento this November was accepted. Before I go, I’ll be packing up the diabetes trash to ship to the conference site so the workshop participants can get their hands dirty in the discards of diabetes management for the purpose of creating something magnificent. I still have a good many leftovers from all that was sent to me in the fall, but if anyone has an inclination to send more, I do love offering the variety. Plus, I think it means a lot to tell people about the DOC and how the artistic creations made in my workshops are made possible by you.
So that’s the long and short of what’s been happening, or at least the highlights. It’s had me busy, it’s had blogging on the back burner, it’s had reading other blogs on the other back burner, and it’s had Twitter falling clear off the stove. Living life is about making priorities though, and with so much going on, there just hasn’t been time to sit and write a proper post. I think I’d be lost without my little home base here to vent the bad, share the good, and ponder the in-between. Just because I’m not writing as often doesn’t mean I’m not here. It just means I’m knee-deep in other projects that I hope will ultimately benefit the diabetes community, and you can be sure, as soon as I get time, I’ll always come here to share it with you.