Monday, October 10, 2011

Simonpalooza: What You Do Matters.

I just got back from a large meet-up of wonderful DOC folks, which you may have seen on Twitter as "Simonpalooza". (Named because our friend Simon, who is from Australia, flew here for the specific purpose of meeting as many of his diabetes online community friends as he could - who we now just refer to as "friends".) I'll be recapping some of my favorite memories from the weekend over the next few days, and what the experience meant to so many of us.

It meant that around 30 of us (type 1, type 2, LADA, and our loved ones) made the trek to Kansas City to spend a couple of days with people we love (and prove to each other that we are real, actual people).

It meant that we all seemed to feel very okay about being stared at for things like pump tubing flapping in the breeze and matching t-shirts that no one else understood, because we understood it.

There we went, walking down the street. And we totally did get
the funniest looks from everyone we met.
It meant that each time someone asked about those t-shirts, our story became a little bit less about telling the truth and little more about fanning the flames of Blünt Lancet folklore.

The relatively short trip for us (less than five hours' drive) meant that Aaron finally got to meet some of the people I talk about all the time. (And they found out that he's a real person!)

It meant that we got to see, hear, and bear hug the people who so often can put words and hashtags to what we're feeling in our own lives - with diabetes and without.

It meant that I heard Simon's story straight from the man himself, and the memory of our conversation is something that I will remember and cherish always.

It meant that I cried. A whole lot.

It seems that things happen for a reason - the people you meet, the places you end up, the things you do. To borrow a phrase from someone wiser than I am, it's nearly impossible to connect the dots while looking forward - it's only when you look back on life that you can see the clear connections between decisions, circumstances and situations.

Sometimes you share your life with others (whether it is blogging, Twitter, online forums, whatever) and have no way to know if what you're doing is helping anyone. You share your experiences in the hopes that what you've been through resonates with someone; that maybe hearing your story will bring them some small amount of comfort. You hope that you can spark just a little glimmer of the thought, "I'm not alone after all".

This weekend provided multiple opportunities for folks to tell each other, face to face, that what they do matters - because they themselves were impacted by it. It's hard to wrap your head around the kind of impact simply know someone who is living and struggling and triumphing over the same thing that you are can have, but this weekend I had a chance to witness that very emotion in person.

It was beautiful, and I'm so thankful to know so many wonderful people. What you do matters - so please, keep doing it.




The video above was created by Sara, who so thoughtfully brought a video camera and wrangled us together to get these clips recorded. Please check in with her blog in the coming days to see the photos and videos she took of the weekend. There were a lot of great "moments" that she caught on film. :)

In order of video appearance (and who they are on Twitter):

Babs @babssoup
Jon @kssoup
Bob @rpederse
Cherise @Diabetic_Iz_Me
Nina (Cherise's mom)
Sara @saraknic
Jeff @jeffmather
Lisa (Jeff's wife)
Sarah Jane @SaJaBetes
Allison @AMBlass
Eric (Allison's husband)
Jess @jessmeandd
Josh @TypeBoring
Victoria @victoriacumbow
Melissa @sweetlyvoiced
Heather (and Becca!!) @auntlyh
Courtney @iamsquee
Kim @txtngmypancreas
Aaron (Kim's husband)
Mike @MHoskins2179
Scott J. @scottkjohnson
Kelly @kellyrawlings
Scott S. @Strangely_T1
Simon @STroyCrow

11 comments:

  1. Courtney said Type 1 Diabetes not Diabetus!!!! We are finally fixing her!!!!

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  2. WOW! That is just so incredibly wonderful! I love how this community comes together in such great ways to support each other!

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  3. fantastic post, kim! maybe we should start saying, "you can do this, and what you do matters." love you!

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  4. All I did was bring the camera. You guys are amazing. Your project is amazing! It is saving people's lives.

    And that song played in the restaurant during dinner. ;)

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  5. I love the restaurant clips, because you can hear other 'Paloozers squealing in the background!

    It kills me that I recognize so many of those locations! Miss you all so much.

    Also, Courtney's hair looks amazing.

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  6. awww, what a beautifully written post. i got a kick out of seeing your shenanigans from afar on twitter this weekend. so happy you guys were able to get together.

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  7. Le sigh...

    Kim, this is a great post that captures one of the stronger emotions from the weekend, and captures it in a beautifully written way. Thank you.

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  8. What a wonderfully written post, Kim. It so captures the entire spirit of our community that was so on display this weekend. Thanks for writing this, and being who you are. It was so awesome to see you again, meet Aaron, spend time and share conversation and hugs with everyone, and just being a part of it. Travel-worthy and life changing, it was indeed.

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  9. I smiled through this whole post! Love the support and camaraderie! Love the video!

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  10. Beautiful video and post - I'll be following those in the video on Twitter shortly! :)

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