There's this itchiness in the air that starts in February. It's a sneeze, it's a hiccup, it's that lull between holidays, it's that impatience for it to be spring already. But the itchiness I feel is different, it's a memory that grows faded with every passing year. It's that reminder that there was a time when my fingers were plump and perfect and my abdomen free of scars, that there were several years of my life that were different than they are now. It's a B.D. and an A.D. and my life is a perpetual switching of clocks. For years there was a solemnity that came with acknowledging the anniversary of my diagnosis as a diabetic. I've written about 2/10 every year since 2001, including twice on this blog.
There is something satisfying about saving up all of one's emotional brouhaha for one specific day of the year, and then having it out with the universe on an annual basis. What does that mean? Oh, in the early days it was a weird form of flashback, recalling days on the Sacramento River when rowing was much easier without three cans of pineapple juice rattling around beneath my seat, soaking up as much teenage ennui as I could and categorizing it all as a sort of post-traumatic stress. And then as the years went by there was an overwhelming nostalgia not for the before-diabetes days, but for the days when my blood sugar was still a relatively exciting and challenging new game. And now I've hit the first decade mark and I find myself feeling a whole lot of nothing. Maybe there comes a time when one has told the story enough times, fictionalized it and reproduced it on stage and repeated it to children and grandparents and in self-help books, that any semblance of what one's life could hypothetically be, or what might have happened or could have happened had things been different -- none of that is interesting anymore. Those are just the stories of other people's lives, and frankly those aren't the ones I tend to read.
This year February feels like a placeholder for a time when I should be feeling something different. There's a misdirection here. I'm happy. I'm in love. I'm in school. I'm working. I'm learning things I want to learn. Shit happens and sometimes it's not fun. The difference between the things I've actually learned as a diabetic, versus the things I've often said I've learned; that's the story that still needs writing. But this time I don't want it to be about me. Or even about diabetes. It's about a word or a place I don't know yet but I definitely want to go.
I won't lie, though: there is a small part of me that always secretly wished a little leprechaun would surprise me on my tenth anniversary with a pot of...insulin? No, that's not it. Maybe I just hoped that one day my pancreas would show up at my doorstep like a long-lost son, and we'd embrace.
Hey, it could happen.