My body is NOT a machine -

___My body is NOT a machine

My body is NOT a machine -

My body is (not) a machine

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that requires at least five insulin injections a day, or if you're lucky like me, being constantly plugged into an insulin pump. The most basic level of diabetes care means I have to weigh all my food, do some maths and then inject the appropriate amount of insulin to counteract the carbohydrates I'm eating. If I don't know the nutritional value of my food, I have to count carbs by eye and guess how much insulin to take.

And that's not the only thing I take into account when dealing with this complicated disease. My blood sugar can also be affected by exercise or physical exertion, alcohol, stress, hormones, temperature, sickness and even emotions.

Pair this with a chronic pain disease, and you get a life full of restriction, precise monitoring and daily maintenance.

The definition of a machine is "an apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task". For my machine, that task is keeping me alive and comfortable. My parts are:

- My continuous glucose monitor. This little device beeps when my blood sugars get high or low. Every 5 minutes, it checks my blood glucose levels and sends them to my phone. It is constantly attached to me and requires changing every ten days.

- My insulin pump. I wear this 24/7, my robot pancreas. According to some pretty precise calculations, it gives me a certain amount of insulin every hour that change depending on what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, or what I'm doing. I change the needle that connects me to this every two days, the insulin cartridge every week, and the battery every month.

- My kitchen scales. I weigh all my food, and I read all the labels. There is a unique ratio of insulin to carbohydrates each person with diabetes has to stick to. So every time I eat anything with even the tiniest amount of carbs, I need to think about how that will affect me and figure out my insulin dose.
- My muscles. Daily exercise is a must for me. For about an hour a day, mostly without any insulin in my system, having adjusted my insulin pump settings one hour prior and for two hours after, so my blood sugars are easier to manage. I also include some stretching and some breathing exercises that really help with pain if I have time.

- My diet. It is not just monitoring carbs but trying to avoid gluten, processed sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine. Sometimes this might also include meals that are a bit too high in protein, or a bit too high in fat, or contain tomatoes, onions, or anything else that my bladder has decided will make it malfunction. This also means drinking at least two litres of water a day, or I'll be in agony.

All of these come together to keep me alive and relatively pain-free. The bare minimum a human being should be.

Sometimes, I feel my brain is clogged with constantly weighing up desired outcomes and possible scenarios. I have conditioned myself to stay focused and stay disciplined. My blood sugars are hard to cope with if I don't, and I'm in constant pain.

It's hard to admit, but I don't feel emotionally connected to myself some days. My sense of self is overpowered by diseases that require all my brainpower to stay in range, keep the pain away, and complete the task.

All I can do on those days is remember I am not a machine. I have limits, but I should not feel limited. I am a soft and squishy human being with emotions, feelings, hopes and dreams.

Yes, I have technology attached to me, but I am not technology. I have a set of guidelines that help keep me alive and relatively pain-free, not rules that must be obeyed absolutely, at all costs.

The bare minimum a human being should be is alive and relatively pain-free. If there's no room for more than that, what is the point?

Laura x the anti-casting 

All the womxn featured on the underargument have been selected based on the personal story they shared with us which was inspired by one of our collections' themes. We only receive stories, no photos and no measurements. This is what we call the anti-casting and it is our way of reclaiming the representation of women's diversity and utilising the power of storytelling to empower ourselves and others. Find out more and maybe submit your story too here

Laura is wearing collection no.2. For identity // Against Stereotypes