but i never saw the good side of the city

red house

i’ve resisted ‘the darkness’ in every other way possible.

when i was in middle school, the stores that i shopped at provided more insight about me than what i said or how i spoke.
8th grade playground rule:
where your clothes come from and how they fit your body is indicative of what is inside,
of what is hidden, frightened, blooming, glowing, waiting.
you have to pick one and stay there.
and choose wisely because with your shirts and pants and short skirts comes a group of friends.
friends that are hiding, frightened, blooming, glowing, waiting
just like you.

clothes conveyed where you have been, where you are going and maybe even how you are going to get there.


it a connection; a shared desire to find common ground without having to work too hard to get there.

something to hide behind for some, a mountain to shout from for others.

being at the medtronic diabetes advocates forum brought memories of dress to the front of my mind.

i was feeling all sorts of things that my business casual attire just couldn’t convey.

upon arrival, i was feeling edgy, excited, busy, overworked, stressed.
and i needed so badly to feel understood and recognized for the struggle i was doing such a great job concealing
i was all bottled up, needing approval, validation.
but i couldn’t ask for it in anyone.
because a cry for help
for me manifests itself in clothing

feeling misunderstood is what led me to look to clothing as form of expression in the first place
because, then, i didn’t know how to tell people
i’m hurting.

and i still don’t know how to share that
i’m hurting.
i’m hurting and don’t know why.
i don’t know why or where the hurt is stemming from
i can’t locate the root
because i might get burned trying
i can’t find the root
in all my searching
so i seek above the surface


i start mapping my circumstances to that hurt,
finding cause and effect where there is none
and self-criticising
the only way i feel safe expressing how i’m feeling
is through the fabric on my back and legs and arms
covering up my crisis
like i did in middle school
strong, hidden, frightened, blooming, glowing, waiting.

i wanted this post to be one of those ‘this is what i was doing’
and ‘this is what i am going to do about it now’ kind of posts, but it just didn’t end up that way

i don’t have a conclusion
or a starting point other than
to say it
candidly, nakedly, openly

i’m hurting and i don’t know why.

this is my cycle and every time it happens i get a little better at it. i catch it sooner, share it louder, move through it wiser.

i know a sunrise from a sunset. equally important. equally valuable. the absence of other equates to a loss of both.

move onward, my friend, onward.

10 thoughts on “but i never saw the good side of the city

    • Cara, it was such a treat to meet YOU. You have such a great spunky attitude. Thank you for reading this, it was definitely a pour your heart out kind of posts. And thank you for helping me not feel so alone. (((Hugs back)))

  1. Heather, we all react to different things in different ways. Just know that you are important and amazing. And know that I, and many of us, support you, no matter what… no conditions.

  2. Heather, this is one of the most moving posts that I have ever read. No matter how well we are coping with diabetes and communicating our feelings in the DOC, I think that all of us keep some of that middle school awkwardness and unworthiness hidden in a little corner of our souls. How brave of you to open that door a crack and let us peek in while the brave part of you tiptoes out.

  3. Hi Heather, I don’t fully understand this post, but I can definitely tell you that when I read it, my heart ached for you and I wanted to somehow go into my screen like they do in the movies and come out of the other end to hug you. I’m going through some tough times myself. Just know you are never alone.

  4. Having known you for more than a year I had the opportunity to see how your passion irradiates your persona way through your clothes and your beautiful eyes. You are a very beautiful girl and you have a really impressive sense of style, true.. and YOU ARE MUCH MORE THAN THAT… It is easy to see it once you open your mouth 🙂

    I, sometimes think, the deeper we try to reach for meaning, the more we hurt… and feel that it might be the depth of your search, and not the surface of your image that gives you the feeling you most beautifully describe in your post…

    As an artist, designer, I have spent countless hours working and studying “things” and “images” of things, the effect they have on us… after all these years, I am not convinced it is all that superficial or that simple.

    Our intrinsic connection with objects, is after all, very human and pre-historic… You are not alone at trying to define yourself by the things that surround you, sometimes, it feels good when you find the right one, and I believe there is nothing wrong with a shoe or a jacket that helps your express yourself… kind of in the same way a painting or a good novel does… they are all tooIs to communicate… What is difference between that, and the drive that got humanity to build some of the most beautiful cities.

    I find it helpful to remember is that we are much more than that… We are not our things, we are not our image our ourselves, we are not our egos… we are what it is left behind all that, but there is no escape on trying to find the connection, it is only human.

  5. I don’t know how I missed this post until now, but I feel awful about it. And I owe you a hug next time I see you.

    I don’t know what’s hurting inside you… whether it’s feeling like an “outsider” at the Medtronic forum (I know I did at times), whether it’s diabetes-related, whether it’s just the stresses of life, or what. I guess you don’t quite know what it is either, but you know it when you feel it.

    Whatever it is, don’t always feel like you need to cover it up and put on a happy face. There are people who know you and love you, and letting your guard down isn’t going to change that. Sure, you may not want to tell the whole internet-world, that’s understandible (and admirable), but remember that your friends don’t like to see you hurt either. Only that means they want to make it stop, not be masked from it.

    You are a very talented writer with a beautiful way with words, among other things, and I am honored and privileged to have met you. Now….onward.

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