“what is that?”: the answers to this dreaded question and various other uncomfy things asked by strangers.

pump it up, travel buddy

summer-life-lessons-from-vancouverlast week, i was on the most glorious vacation with my family in belize.

now, as a diabetic, tropical vacations are a few things. primarily, we’re like, “duh, yay. we’re going to be in the sun again finally.” but there is also the dreaded sinking feeling inside of…”shit. i have to wear a bikini with my pump. how on earth is this going to pan out?” questions naturally stem from that crappy little fear such as, “are people going to see my infusion set?” “are they going to think i’m a bionic woman?” “are they going to think i’m addicted to cigs?” “are the  tan lines from my sticker going to make me look like a leper?” and most irrational of all, “are people going to ask me about it?” well, guess what folks? sometimes, people are going to ask you about it. and this is what i experienced first hand on my vacation.

i was on a boat for a day trip of snorkeling with strangers, my dad, and little bro. i was in my bikini with side boob and love handles peeking and poking out all over the place, and, of course, geared up in my super sexy snorkel mask that was disfiguring my face to a point of discomfort. of course in this moment of sheer lack of vanity and self-awareness not one, but two people asked me what my infusion set was. like, come on guys, i’m not in any position to be answering questions right now, i’m pretending to be a navy seal going into a top – secret aquatic mission to save the world from mass destruction. or just like, focusing on not drowning once i get in.

i paused for a second. removed my mask, drooled on myself a little bit, and racked my brain for the simplest answer i could possible conjure up. so, i said: “i have diabetes and that’s where the little machine that gives me insulin is attached. it’s sticker with a tube inside of it.”

my belizean rasta-dude guide that asked said, “looks cool.” i was like, “alright, word…good talk! let’s go stare at some fishies!” and jumped in the water and it was over just like that.

the point of this is, obviously, there are people out there that are going to ask questions whether you feel like they have a right to or not. it’s tough sometimes to not get embarrassed or nervous about sharing. diabetes and all of our odd apparatuses that come with it can be something certain people keep very private. i am very fortunate to not be a private person at all. in fact, i’m sure there are people that are really uncomfortable when i reach into my shirt in public and pull my pump out of my bra clip like it’s nothing. however, the more i share and the more i talk about it, the more at ease i am around people. teasing and joking, and calling it my “beeper” just make it more incorporated into my life as a very normal thing. of course, you don’t have to go over the top giving a dissertation as to what your pump is and how it functions, obviously. but being warm and open to sharing with others can really help you in your own process of healing and self-acceptance.

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