Monday, October 16, 2017

With different eyes

About two months ago I picked up my new glasses.  There isn't anything special about them, though they do a nice job of correcting my astigmatism that gets worse every couple of years, which was the catalyst for getting this pair.

The last time I got new glasses was in the midst of infertility.  I had my eye appointment to get that prescription literally two hours after our first appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist.  I didn't love the glasses I picked out, but they were good enough (and about $400 cheaper than the pair that I liked).  I went to pick them up after my first round of testing.  We all know how my brief foray into reproductive endocrinology went.  Anyway, for whatever reason, I always associated those stupid glasses with learning we'd never have children.

It's nice to not have a piece of hardware on my face that doesn't hold any hard memories!

Within a few days of getting my new glasses, I also got a new computer, which gave me the occasion to transfer all of my photos.

Naturally, as I was transferring everything over, I took the opportunity to look through the past twelve years or so of my life in photos.  There were happy times, like when hubs' and I started dating when our dog was a puppy, and when we got married.  And then there were the infertility years.

The. Infertility.  Years.

I looked dead.  I swear you could see the brokenness in my eyes.  I was hurting.  I wouldn't have admitted it at the time but I was forcing the appearance of happiness.

There weren't many photos back then.  I largely stayed away from the camera.  I remember most of the events, but more as something to get through rather than something that I enjoyed.  The Christmases and Thanksgivings and random family events. 

It brought back all of the feelings.  For a little while, I was back to the broken woman whose dreams of having children had just evaporated into thin air.  Photographic evidence of how hard it was.

But then I looked at more recent photos.  My faked happiness turned into less faked happiness which turned into genuine happiness.

At some point, I made the decision that I didn't want to feel like shit anymore.  That it wasn't doing me any good to fake being happy.  So I began to work through my grief.  That was the turning point. 

What is it they say? That nothing that comes easy is worth having?  My god, it was (is) so hard.  But so worth it.

I'm a different woman today then I was in 2014.  I'm not the person I used to be.  Not better or worse, just different.  More resilient. 

And I'm glad.  Like Mali said, choosing to survive is empowering

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reevaluating

When I started this blog three years ago, I made the conscious decision not to moderate comments.  I always said that I'd leave it that way until I got my first comment from a troll. 

Well, that happened over the weekend and now comment moderation is enabled. 

I'm honestly surprised that it took so long.

The funny thing is that I pride myself on being a person who can have an intelligent conversation with just about anyone on just about any topic, regardless of whether or not that person and I have different views. 

But if the past year has taught me anything, it's that civil discourse is a distant memory from a bygone era. 

So to the anonymous person who encouraged me to "think beyond the surface," know that I have.  For years.  Literally years.  And every time I conclude the same exact thing.  We need to make guns harder to get.  Period.  We can do this while still upholding the Second Amendment.  It goes beyond making me feel nice, warm, and fuzzy.  I value human life.  And I always will.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Enough

It was in the months after Sandy Hook (2012) when I realized that legislators in this country would never do anything to enact meaningful gun control in the United States.  If a gunman can walk into an elementary school and kill babies and it doesn't light a fire under the asses of legislators, nothing ever will.

So here we are almost five years later and nothing has changed.  Over fifty people died at the hands of a deranged gunman on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

In a week or so everyone will move on to the next news story and forget about Vegas.  Just as they did with Pulse.  And Virgina Tech.  And Sandy Hook.  And San Bernadino.  And Fort Hood.  And all of the others.

And these are just the shootings that make the news. 

Legislators (and many Americans) will continue to hide behind the second amendment and will sleep well at night because "it was an illegally obtained weapon" or "they modified the weapon" or "they passed the background check" or "they slipped through the cracks" or whatever garbage they tell themselves.

I've seen so many saying that they're praying for the victims of Las Vegas.  Now is not the time for praying.  Now is the time for action.  Now is the time pass common-sense gun control.  Now is the time to make it harder for criminals, those accused of domestic violence or with a restraining order against them to obtain or possess a gun.  Honor their memory by taking steps to solve the problem.

This is not ok.  Yet nothing will change.  Again.


Monday, September 11, 2017

The things women deal with

I wasn't sure if I was going to write all of this out and publish it on my blog, then I read this article on Huff Post (shared on their Facebook page), and it inspired me to speak out.  Speaking out is even more important now then it has ever been since Title IX provisions are going to be rolled back. While the scope of Title IX is relatively narrow (i.e., only applies to colleges and universities that receive federal funding), it is a huge step towards silencing women.

I am a member at a local gym.  I really do like this particular gym.  The owners care about the business, are frequently around, and reinvest profits back into the facility and equipment.  It really is a great place.  They have a good amount of staffed hours, but members also have 24/7 access using a scan card.  I'd also rate the gym female friendly because I haven't experienced some of the overt sexism that I've experienced in other gyms throughout my life.

On Saturday I went to the gym during unstaffed hours.  This is typical for me on the weekends. When I arrived, there was one woman on a treadmill, and a father/son combo playing catch on one of the turf fields.  Everybody was minding their own business and respecting each other's space. Eventually, all three of those people finished what they were doing and left, leaving me there alone.  It was a little bit eerie, but not a big deal.  There are plenty of security cameras.  I moved where I was working out to a place where I had a direct line of sight to the main entrance, where I could see anyone coming in and where they would also be able to see me.

It wasn't long before I see a car pulling up and a 50-something appearing man can himself in.  Being a woman has taught me to be cautious and aware in any situation where I am alone with an unknown male, so I was a little bit on edge, but not too bad, because after all, he had just as much right to be there as I did.  Anyway, the man walked in, put his things down in the lounge area, and walked over to the stereo system and changed the channel.  He didn't bother to ask me if I was listening or if I minded if he changed it.  This put me a little more on edge because he clearly saw me and clearly didn't care if I was listening.  It put him in a position of power over me and made me feel like I belonged there less than he did.  I tried to shake it off and continued with my workout.

Next thing I know, this man (who I've never seen before in my life) starts working out within 10 feet of me without a single word.  The gym is literally 30,000 square feet and there are two other areas with the exact equipment that I was using that he could have chosen.  But he didn't.  This put me over the edge.  I grabbed my keys and bolted, not even taking the time to re-rack the weights I was using.

Did the man intend to hurt me?  I doubt it.  The gym has a ton of security cameras, is located in a plaza that has security patrols about every 20 minutes, and is across the road from a police station. He would have been incredibly stupid to try something.  Did the man intend to intimidate me?  This question is harder to answer.  I don't think there was necessarily intent, but there was definitely an air of superiority and entitlement present in his actions that led to me being intimidated enough to leave.  The music wasn't as big of a deal.  It's proper gym etiquette (and basic human decency) to ask the only other person in the building if they mind if it's changed, but not the end of the world.  And honestly, I would have told him that I didn't mind if it was changed.  As for working out directly beside me, this one is a little harder to explain away. I really can't think of any reason he would do this, other than to make me uncomfortable.

I got home and was talking about what happened with hubs and I realized that he truly, genuinely didn't get it.  I think that part of this is because as a man (a white man at that) he's very rarely, if ever, been put in a situation where he felt that his personal safety was at risk.  On the other hand, women, including me, have dealt with this crap since we were young girls.  And we're so used to it that we are hyper aware in all situations and usually don't say anything when something happens because it happens so often.

I'm fine now.  I was uncomfortable and intimidated in the moment, but now I'm just pissed.  This has all got to stop because it is not ok.

So I guess the moral of the story for women is to use your voice.  Speak out.  Change can't happen if half of the population doesn't even know there is a problem.  And if any men happen to be reading this, the moral of the story for you is to listen to the experiences of the women you love and work to change your own behavior as a result.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

On my blogoversary!

On this day three years ago, I created this blog and pushed publish for the first time.  To say the time has flown by is an understatement!

I really don't have adequate words to write about how much this space has meant to me during this time.  It's been a space where I've shared the depths of grief, some of the hard things that have happened in life, and celebrated some milestones too.  The friends that I've made and the support I've received have, by far, been the best and most meaningful part of having this blog.  I know that I wouldn't be doing as well as I am today (and I am doing really well!) without all of the amazing women who have lifted me up throughout this process.

I acknowledge that my blogging has tapered way off in the last year, though, ironically, the number of visitors to my blog hasn't.  I could give excuses like lack of time, lack of mental energy, and being crazy busy with work, and those excuses are at least partially true, but I find myself in a weird space of knowing that I designed this space for one specific purpose and most of what is in my heart to write about is well outside of that scope.  Maybe one day I'll get brave enough to publish some of my more social justice oriented posts that I have taking up space in my drafts folder.  In the meantime, I'll continue to write about life without children, at least occasionally.

To those of you who have supported me for any or all of the last three years: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Y'all mean the world to me.

And to those of you who stumbled across this blog because of a Google search along the lines of "I can't have children, now what?": I'm glad you are here and I hope that in some small way, what I've written is comforting to you.  It's not going to be easy, but I can promise you that if you put the work into grieving, it will get less hard with time.

Monday, August 14, 2017

This is not ok

A woman was killed by a Nazi.  In Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.  August 13, 2017,

A bunch of racist thugs (white nationalists, neo-nazis, alt-right, whatever your preferred term for these maggots is) hell bent on "white (Christian, male) superority" and their guns descended on the city to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a noteworthy (for all of the wrong reasons) figure in the US Civil War, and just generally protecting the rights of white people.

This wasn't a march.  It wasn't a protest.  It was essentially what amounted to one big KKK rally. They came looking for a fight.  The governor of Virginia said they were more and better armed than the state police.  The governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

Once our spineless, illegitimate president bothered to make remarks on the events in Charlottesville, he seemed to, at least in part, blame those who have been disenfranchised by years.

If you aren't horrified by all of this, you either haven't been paying attention, or you need to do some serious soul searching.

I'm not sure if I want to cry or puke.  This is not ok.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Object of pity

A few years ago we were just coming to grips with the fact that we'd never have children.  Within months of ending our quest to have children we found out that one of my sisters was pregnant in a very public announcement with much fanfare.  As you might predict I didn't react well.

To decrease the likelihood of reacting poorly (and publicly) again, I asked my mom to give me the heads up if she found out that any of my sisters were pregnant and she promised to let me know. Now, I haven't written much about my relationship with my mom, but suffice to say, it's complicated, and she has an established track record of not coming through for me.  But with this she did.  It gave me the time and space to process the news and the ability to pretend that I was happy for them when I "found out."  

A few weeks ago my mom called me, randomly, on a Sunday night.  I knew from the tone of her voice that one of my sisters was pregnant, just not which one.  I soon found out.  

I figured that my sister would call within the next few days, or at least text.  But she didn't.  About a week later my mom called me again.  Apparently my sister feels so sorry for me that she can't tell me herself.  My mom was tasked with giving the official news.

So basically I'm an object of pity (and/or the bitter infertile).

I can deal with the pregnancy news.  I mean, I'm the oldest, and I'm 36, which is not ancient by normal reproductive standards, so realistically it's far more likely that there would be pregnancies than not.

But to be pitied?  That hurts.

I don't want pity.  A little bit of sensitivity and empathy would be nice.  But please don't pity me.

I'm not sure how to deal with this.  Or whether or not I should bother.  I don't want my family to fear telling me their happy news.

I haven't talked to my sister since my mom told me the official pregnancy news, though this is for reasons completely unrelated to her pregnancy (and completely related to her being a selfish jerk). Honestly, I'm not in any hurry to talk to her.