Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Being Brave

I know that most people hate their commute, but I actually don't mind mine.  I live about 13 miles from work but on an average day the commute is around 45 minutes each way.  In the morning it gives me plenty of time to go through my mental checklist of things that I need to do for the day and in the evening it gives me plenty of time to reflect on the day and switch my brain from "work mode" to "home mode."  Essentially it's my "me" time and I quite enjoy it.  On Mondays I teach an evening class and often do not leave for home until around 9pm.  There is something about the darkness and the lack of traffic that always makes me particularly reflective.  This past Monday evening, as I was driving, I was singing along to the radio when F***** Perfect by Pink came on.  I've heard this song many times, but I really listened to the lyrics for the first time and thought about them within the context of infertility and just generally being a woman.  The lyrics to the chorus are:
Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, F*****' perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing you're f*****' perfect to me 
The video is below.  If you've never heard the song or never really listened to the lyrics, I encourage you to do so.  I intentionally opted not to post the link to the official music video from the artist's approved youtube page because there are several themes in the video (e.g., drug use, self-harm) that may be triggers for some people.  Also, if you find language offensive, this probably wouldn't be a good thing for you to watch.

Anyway, first I started thinking about this song within the context of being a woman.  We're bombarded with messages of "you're not good enough/smart enough/pretty enough/you can't do that/you're too skinny/you're too fat/you don't deserve good things/etc." from an early age.  And those messages are even stronger if you are "different" and don't fit in.  I've never really fit in and there are a precious few people who actually get me.  The truth is that  while I've done a pretty good job appearing to be confident, in reality I'm not.  When I started dating my husband he did amazing things for my self-confidence.  He told me that I was beautiful, smart, awesome, funny, etc. enough that I finally started to believe those things about myself.  Then infertility hit and all of those negative things crept back in.  Feelings like "I'm not good enough/I can't even give my husband a baby/I'm broken/I'm a failure." Since we quit trying to conceive, I've tried to work on regaining some of my lost self-confidence, and again, my husband has been brilliant.  So back to the song-I've spent a whole lot of my life feeling (and believing) that I'm less than perfect.  But the reality is that I am perfect.  I am exactly who I am supposed to be and am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  Every single thing that has ever happened to me has happened for a reason, even if it doesn't make sense to me.  I can't compare myself to others and use them as a measuring stick because I am not them.  I probably didn't do a very good job of articulating the thought process that or the progress that was made after listening to the song, but it really did hit me like a ton of bricks (in a good way).  It was definitely a message that I needed to hear, and I suspect that I'm not the only one.

As I continued to drive I was sort of marveling at my little breakthrough.  Then Brave by Sara Barellis came on.  Cue the tears.  I think this song so beautifully captures how brave we have to be during and after our battles with infertility.  I'm not even going to bother quoting some of the lyrics, instead I'll just encourage you to listen to the song.

Save for a few people, I've never openly shared about infertility with anyone (in real life).  I've always been one of those people who has a really hard time showing my emotions in front of other people and infertility is something that I can't really talk about without becoming emotional, so I don't share.  I need to work on being brave.  I need to work on letting the words fall out honestly without worrying what the listener is going to think of me or what they're going to say.  For some reason infertility is a taboo topic and living child free after infertility is even more taboo.  The only way to make it less taboo is to talk about it, and that requires bravery.  I'm not quite ready to wear a shirt that says "look at me, I'm infertile" or anything like that, but I do think that I need to make an effort to respond in a way that adequately describes the struggle and emotional impact, but in a way that also doesn't lend itself to questions or me sharing more than I want to (because there are so many parts of the journey that are so deeply personal).  I don't feel very brave right now, but I suspect that will come with time and practice.  Infertility is part of me, just like my blue eyes, brown hair, and crazy long legs, and that's ok!

If read this far, thanks!  I don't usually write posts this long, but I don't have breakthroughs like this very often either.  I also don't get summoned to jury duty selection very often which is why I had the free time to write a post of this length. :)

1 comment:

  1. Infertility, and going through treatments, does destroy self-confidence. I was a happy person who enjoyed life and felt young and strong and able to tackle anything the life threw my way. I did feel perfect :) and enjoyed every step I took on this Earth until the moment I hit the brick wall of infertility.

    The very first appointment with an RE made me feel old overnight, old and broken and stupid for not coming to the doctors earlier and now maybe it was too late. All my achievements were nothing in comparison with those of a women who only achievement could have been having a child (or two). Every year of treatment made me feel more worthless as the baby was the only meaning of life and I couldn't have one. Now, after the treatments are over I am gaining my confidence back and I can't believe I let myself to be mentally downgraded to such desperation.

    As to being brave, I don't care if I am or am not. My main goal right now is to enjoy life again, and I don't think it includes educating my surroundings on the topics of infertility right now. Many cancer patients wear wigs when they lose their hair during chemo and I don't think of them as not being brave brave because they don't want every single person around them know they are going through chemo; they just want to live their life and focus on the next step.