Monday, April 25, 2022

Not A Book Review

I started reading a great book. I'm really savoring it and thinking on it, so it will be awhile before I finish it. I can't write a book review since I haven't finished reading it yet, but I also can't wait until later to tell you about it.

What if you need this book now??

The book is called Homecoming and it is written by the President-elect of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Thema Bryant. I'm 29 pages in and... It feels like I'm coming home to myself, which is exactly the point of the book.

I love to look at a book's table of contents and this one did not disappoint. It begins with an introduction called "Homesick and Disconnected." Then Part One is called "Longing for Home" and includes chapters about recognizing that you need a homecoming, internal signs of disconnection, and external signs of disconnection. Part Two is called "Packing Light: What to Carry on the Journey Home" and contains the following chapters: reparenting yourself, emotional intelligence, community care and self-care, building self-confidence, and spiritual practices. Part Three is called "Recovering from Roadblocks on the Journey Home" and covers the following topics: mourning invisible losses (!!!), healing from breakups and divorce, coping and healing from a toxic workplace, recovering from childhood trauma, and resisting oppression. The book concludes with "Welcome Home: The Journey Continues" and provides additional resources.

I was hooked at the table of contents. I immediately ordered the book.

If you're wondering what you're in for, allow me to share the following quotes that I have highlighted in my reading so far:

  • "This book facilitates your journey back to who you really are."

  • "Before we begin the journey home, honor yourself for the ways you have survived."

  • "I had already experienced some valleys myself and understood the value of being heard, seen, and supported."

  • "Homecoming is about living fully, abundantly, and taking up space--not adjusting to a life of dissatisfaction and discontent."

  • "Coming home to yourself is giving yourself... the things you thought only others could give you."

  • "Some of us become emotionally shut down from exhaustion... The disconnection can be a way of protecting yourself."

  • "Stressful and traumatic experiences may have created within you a core belief about yourself that is untrue."

  • "Homecoming is a decision to occupy your life, to engage with what animates you and breathes new life into the dry bones of your circumstances."

As an aside, in a book that is not even about infertility, she mentions infertility! On page 22 (as she is discussing envy and the complexity of emotions) she writes,"You can grieve your difficulties with infertility and still celebrate the birth of your friend's child." I literally did a double-take when I read that sentence last night. I am so accustomed to never seeing my trauma given as an example of trauma.

Do you feel lost? Are you missing yourself? Are you homesick? The author quotes Cecelia Ahern when she writes, "Home is not a place... It's a feeling."

I am homesick. I am missing myself. Currently, I am depressed. I know this; it's not my first time. But, even with my decades-long experience with depression, I am out of ideas for how to cope. So, I picked this book up. It's easy to read and, even better, reading it makes me feel good.

I couldn't wait until I finished reading it to tell you about it. I had to tell you now.



Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Two Years In

Oh gawd WHEN will this end? How will this end??
HOW do I get through this? What is left for me in this life?!?

Those are the questions I asked myself after enduring two years of trying to conceive.
These are the questions I ask myself now during the pandemic.

So I am doing now what I did then: digging deep and not giving up on life.

Back then I relied on my (then) husband. We went to Vegas and concerts and sports events. I read infertility books and blogs to not feel so alone and misunderstood. I went out every Friday night and had fun, making jokes about not needing a babysitter. Did it relieve the pain of childlessness? Absolutely not. But it was better than sitting in my recliner while perseverating on what I could not change.

And now? I am relying on my boyfriend who is also my best friend. We cook together and go for walks around the neighborhood. I read books (mostly non-fiction but some fiction too for a good, healthy escape) and infertility blogs. I order pizza every couple of weeks and watch movies from the 80s and 90s. Mostly, I quilt. I take scraps and turn them into beautiful things. Slowly. One stitch at a time.

I don't know when this will end. I don't know how. I don't know what life will look like after.
I am getting through the pandemic one day at a time. On the harder days, it is one hour at a time.

I mourn. I mourn my old life. I mourn the life I thought I'd have at this point.
I count my blessings. I get annoyed at looking at the bright side of things, but it's important to do. 

Everything is temporary. Nothing stays the same. This fact comforts me in my darkest moments. 

Of course, my childlessness isn't temporary, but how I feel about it has changed. I've moved from desperate despondency to basic functioning to, unbelievably, pursuing new interests. 

So... Something will change. The pandemic will end or we will adapt to its being endemic. I don't want to think about the latter because it's too overwhelming for me right now, but I know it's true.

Hold on for now. Seek more support if you need it. We will get through this. 

We've already survived so much.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Similarities, Still Tired

Last month I felt strong feelings regarding infertility and my childlessness. This month? I'm just tired. Completely worn out. It's hard to write, it's hard to think, and it's hard to get things done. As usual, I'm giving myself grace. Or trying to anyway.

It's the pandemic, not me.
It's society's cognitive dissonance, not me.
It's trauma (infertility) after trauma (divorce) after trauma (again, the pandemic), not me.

I REFUSE to take personal responsibility for the state of the world, but I do have to deal with it. And I have to do this among the rest of the population which has arbitrarily determined the pandemic to be over. I have to navigate my life and find my own way. Just like with infertility.

Do the similarities between my experience with the pandemic and being CNBC ever end?

Infertility: I don't have children like the rest of my friends and family. Because of this, my life is structured entirely differently. I don't often feel supported because, generally speaking, people always seem to want you to do exactly what they are doing.

Pandemic: My mother is mad that I'm not currently traveling. She thinks I'm living in fear. (She told me so.) One of my sisters thinks I'm glad to miss events. (She also told me so.) My family no longer takes precautions and they will not alter their social behavior so that I feel more comfortable visiting. There is no give and take, only judgment.

Man, did childlessness prepare me for this or what.

I already know what it's like to live a life others don't try to understand. I already know what it's like to be judged for my choices and lifestyle. I already know what it's like to be the only person living the way I do.

I'm doing okay... But, dammit, I am tired. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

A Fresh Restart

Hello from the other side of March! Not gonna lie, that month was tough for me this year. 

I have felt so much better when waking up these last several days. My boyfriend thinks it's directly related to the seasons/weather/sunshine, but I am not so convinced... I really think it's related to trauma. But, as it is with a lot of things, it's probably a little bit of both. I also think there's something to the fact that it was finally a safe time for me to feel so miserable. 


Last month had some dark moments.
They were exhausting. It sucked. And now it's in the past.

There were a couple of times where I wondered if I needed to bring in some more support. I am not afraid to ask for help, but I'm not always aware of when I reach that point. I informally assessed my life but determined I was still functioning. So I just continued to feel and process.

And now I am here... Just simply feeling better. Maybe it's the weather; maybe it was the passing of time. Maybe it's just the ebb and flow of life.

Hard times happen.
Pause, acknowledge, and keep going.

I stepped outside my front door and look! Something is growing! Someone has previously planted something here! I'm excited to see what it is (as long as the animals don't eat it first).

Also, I have to admit, I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's gardening pictures. I know there are several bloggers who are good at keeping plants alive and spring will soon be sprung. 

I hope this food picture doesn't look gross. 
(Sometime I think food pictures look really gross. Although, now that I think about it, maybe that's just pictures of babies eating with food smeared all over their faces... Anyway!) 

So, yes, here's a food picture. It's kind of a comfort food of mine and I don't remember the last time I made it. But, I was really craving some vegetables, so I made this and it felt really good to take care of myself.

If you'd like to make some, it's roasted vegetables (carrot, onion, and celery with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper) mixed with quinoa and feta cheese (sometimes I use crumbled goat cheese).

Here's my latest quilt! It's for my dad; he's a huge baseball fan. 

I call myself a sloppy quilter because all of my quilts are full of mistakes. But that's one of the many reasons why I love quilting. You can make mistakes and it's still a quilt! So, as someone who identifies as a sloppy quilter, I am very proud of this binding corner. I think it's the best one I've sewed so far.