Frozen

I haven’t been doing well. Shit happens, right?

I was lying in bed, considering sleep, knowing that things can’t change themselves. I have to do something, right? So I got up to write.

When I went to pick up my papers tonight, I created a new Pandora station. I wanted something from high school, so I typed in ‘Type O Negative.’ It turned out well, giving me Type O, Tool, Pantera, classic Metallica, and Alice in Chains. On my way, I saw a billboard for an upcoming concert at one of the casinos–Keith Sweat and SWV. I was pretty amused that as I listened to one of the soundtracks from my 90s, there was a show that summed up another part of my 90s.

I thought about my best friend from when I was 16. We lost touch, but I saw her again, intermittently, after I moved back here when I was 21. The last time I saw her was probably 2004, eight years after high school. She had a son, and a job, and a garage apartment, but she was exactly the same person. The same priorities. The same personality. The same first world problems.

I remember how amazed I was that someone could stay so much the same, while everyone else had changed so much.

But now I understand.

When I started this blog, it wasn’t just an infertility blog anymore. Not that I confined myself to infertility before, but it just faded into the background here, as my optimism lessened. But it’s been a journey, with a lot of change along the way. Change everywhere else but here.

All but a few of my first IF blogging buddies have brought their babies home. Some more than one, now. Many of them are no longer actively blogging. When we decided to stop trying and focus solely on adoption, I started seeking out more adoption bloggers. Now, all but a few of those have brought their babies home. Even the few infidelity bloggers I followed (is that anything more than a transient niche anyway?) have seemed to resolve their situations and move on.

I am in stasis. I am frozen.

I have abandoned so much in the past few months. It just feels pointless sometimes.

Even my family is growing and changing. Without me. This year will be our first Christmas with Abby. Our first Christmas that isn’t just me and Ian. Our first Christmas as three. And I had absolutely nothing to do with that. I didn’t have to grow, or change, or do anything. All I did was stay the same, was let it all wash over me.

When I realized I needed to go back to work, I couldn’t even try something new. I went back to the same position, with the same boss, with the same company that I left in 2010.

I’m too afraid to do anything but let life happen to me. I don’t know how to make changes. I don’t know how to be happy. I feel like the only thing I ever knew how to do was write, and I stopped doing that. And I feel like that leaves me with nothing.

No identity.

Frozen.

I used to have dreams. I used to make plans. I used to at least start to work on my problems. Okay, maybe not work on them, but I would research and take notes and write and write and write.

I have always faltered at that question, “where do you see yourself in five/ten years?” I’ve never been able to reach that far into the future and be able to take something from it. I’ve never been able to hold anything up and say “this is what I want” aside from a family to take care of. And then, well, shit happens.

I don’t understand how I can have such a sense of urgency without something specific to be urgent about.

I don’t know. Maybe I took a step tonight in writing this. Maybe I took another step in clicking on my Happy Things. I guess hope is what keeps me going, even when I’m feeling the most hopeless.

I think I need an adventure.


Time Warp Tuesday: Advice

Oops–it’s Thursday.
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Here we are again, the second Tuesday of the month and it’s time for Kathy’s monthly blog hop called Time Warp Tuesday. This is an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite posts from the past and see how far we’ve come since then.

This month’s theme is advice. I knew I’d written plenty on advice, and I thought I’d surely choose to share more derision of our court-appointed counselor. But no; instead I chose this post.

A post on the consequences of advice; the consequences of decisions; tue consequences of actions.

A lot has changed since the time I ignored all the advice I was given and bulldozed my way through.

Because last weekend, I went back to work. At the place I thought I burned my bridges and even rerouted the river three years ago. Okay, so it’s only been a few days, but it’s different than it was. And different is good.

I wanted to go back because I missed the job, and I missed how I felt when I was working there. I wanted to be part of a team again.

And yes, I know I’m part of a team with my family, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes I feel like a third wheel in my own home, and I hate that feeling. It feels separate but equal, even though my head knows I’m not equal.

It’s hard to deal with sometimes, and I wanted an escape. I guess I could have just brought Lappy up to the library every day for some novel finishing time, but this is paid escape. It doesn’t feel so much like running away.

But what does this all have to do with advice, you may ask? A few things, here and there. It’s different now, being back. It’s actually about me, not me in my poor situation. Most of the advice givers are still around, but it’s almost as though they’ve forgotten whatever advice they had to give.

It feels like three years ago to me, because I don’t have any of that intervening time to cloud my memory, but it really has been three years for them, and I’m old news. It’s such a strange feeling. Nobody even seems to remember why I left; what they remember is my skill set.

I wrote my post last year while out of the loop, with their superior words still fresh on my mind. I’ve learned that I can forgive and forget, as easily as they can simply forget. No, they can’t take those words back; they’ll always have been said. The difference is that I was able to distance myself for long enough and far enough that it doesn’t matter anymore. It wouldn’t matter if most of them said the same things today, because I have taught myself that I don’t need them. They’re not important enough to hurt me like they did before.

I am more than that. I am more than one choice or one mistake or one job. I am a whole person.


Making Excuses

I said last Thursday that I can’t abide excuses. The thing is, I classified it all as an excuse. I decided that there would never, could never, be any reason for any person, most of all, myself, to not be in absolute and utter control of their every response and reaction.

That’s a pretty shitty worldview when I put it that way.

But I didn’t realize the harm I was doing myself until I read SocialJerk’s post, since deleted, or I’d link to it for you. Here is the part that got me:

We label and pathologize behaviors that are so understandable. Grief? Fuck grief, get it together! (Or so says my obscenity ladened parody version of DSM-V. Look for it in bookstores this fall!) It’s not to say that not going to school, or running away, or fighting, are ok and we should let it go on. They’re not, and we shouldn’t. People need to be getting help and working through these things.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told someone ‘it’s okay.’ In person, or via text, email, comment, what have you. It’s okay for everyone else in the entire world to be sick or sad–everyone but me.

I won’t cut myself any slack. No matter how many times I prove myself wrong, I still believe that I should be able to power through it, whatever ‘it’ may be. But I’m not. I’m not okay, it’s not okay, and I’m taking offense at the wrong excuses.

I’m making excuses to not take care of myself. I’m making excuses to not acknowledge how I feel. And then I thought about this:

There’s often a lot of talk about taking a no-nonsense approach, and not letting a child “make excuses” for their behavior. That’s fine if we’re talking about a spoiled kid whose led a charmed life and has decided she doesn’t want to go to school.

If I were on the outside, seeing someone else struggle with my life, would I expect them to be the happy, well-adjusted, perfect person?

Fuck no. Not ever.

But that is precisely what I expect from myself.

I probably shouldn’t do that.

I make excuses to not do things that would make me a happier, more well-adjusted person. I don’t say these excuses out loud, but the choices I make are mostly based on fear. I want to say unfounded fear, but, heh, you know. I fear what might happen if I don’t make myself constantly available for my family. I fear taking time for myself to write or read or anything. I fear screwing up.

I know I act crazy (my choice of words), but it’s hard for me to know I act crazy. Does that make sense? 

It’s hard to even talk about this, because it feels like one big excuse. 

But even if it is just one big excuse, that’s okay. 

That’s okay.

It’s okay.


Epiphanous

For years there has been this yawning chasm inside me, with the evil little why? why? why? crawling out of it to slither into the crevices of my mind and torment me. Always there, always lying in wait to jump out and smother me, drowning me in why? why? why?

I tried. I tried so hard to answer, to stop it once and for all. But every single reason, every explanation that I tried to talk myself into believing and accepting was wrong. I don’t know how many times I tried to shrug it off with an ‘I’ll never know’ or an ‘it doesn’t matter anyway, it can’t be changed.’ That never helped, not one little bit.

Ian and I talked last night. This was the talk that had been a long time coming.

And yeah, there was some big, bad, heavy shit.

But eventually, there came a point where he said something, and I reworded it, and the light bulbs went off.

Ian realized something that he’d never understood before.

And I knew why.

I understand. This is the truth; I know the answer.

Everything makes sense now. Not just Leah, everything.

It’s gone. There is no more darkness; there is no more why. It isn’t that I have to individually whisk each little why? away with this newfound answer. They all disappeared like soap bubbles at the very same moment that I finally got it.

That doesn’t mean what happened is okay. It will never be okay.

It’s like the end of a war. The lack of constant fear and uncertainty is such a fresh new marvel. It’s amazing to be able to take a deep breath without tasting the death in the air. Everyone knows that doesn’t bring back anyone who was already lost.

But the killing is over.

There is peace.

I have peace.

And it feels amazing.


Underestimation

I didn’t put quite enough emphasis on the fact that Lexapro sucks for me.

Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks.

It isn’t just the sleep. Now it’s the depression too. Or rather, the realization of depression.

I have had a really bad evening. I know I’ve been a lot more irritable lately. Tonight I realized that I feel the same that I did a year and eight months ago.

It doesn’t matter how much or how well I parent, I will never, ever be Abby’s mother.

I hate that Ian took that away from me. I hate that that he had my child with someone else because one night he got pissed.

I hate that tonight I cried and cried and Abby told me that she’ll take care of me and that she’s sorry. I told her and told her that it’s not her fault, that she didn’t make me cry. I hope she understands.


What Keeps Me Up at Night

I’ll start with this: Lexapro sucks. I tried it about fifteen years ago, and it didn’t help me then, but I thought getting paid to take it might make up for something.

Now, now, I’m sure it helps plenty of depression sufferers, but it doesn’t help me. I’d venture that I’m worse; not because of depression, but because of sleep.

You know I have sleep issues. Deep, dark, evil sleep issues. But now I’m back to having problems falling asleep, and keeping my not staying asleep and early waking symptoms. Not every night, yet, but since I haven’t been dealing with that for a few months now, I have to get used to it all over again.

I think. Oh, I think. I hate it. I wish I knew if I can’t sleep because I’m depressed and think about this crap, or if I’m depressed and think about this crap because I can’t sleep. I really believe the latter is the issue. When I don’t dwell on things at bedtime, I don’t spend as much time thinking about them during the day.

I think about that fucking counselor. Her incompetence, her judgment, her lies. I wonder how, as an LMFT, she can ignore concerns about a child abuser. I wonder how, as a stepparent herself, she can tell me that I don’t parent. I wonder how, as someone who never achieved a viable pregnancy, she can criticize and trivialize my infertility. I wonder how, as a human being, she can do such a crappy job and live with herself.

I am hurt, and I am angry.

I wish I could go all Johnny Mnemonic and selectively dump a chunk of long-term memory. And it would be every second that had anything to do with that counselor. Because it isn’t the infidelity that I can’t cope with, it isn’t the struggle over Abby, it isn’t the rupture and subsequent ongoing repair of our marriage that keeps me up at night.

It’s the horrible things that were said and weren’t said in that room last summer. The things that were said, the things that were ignored, and the things that were just pulled from thin air for filler in her mockery of a ‘report.’

I feel like letting her continue to work for the court is like letting a rapist go free.