tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-61027583623203486572021-12-13T14:01:35.392-05:00Bent Not BrokenHaving kids didn't work out for us.....working on plan B.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.comBlogger223125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-10730559013717700462018-10-31T22:27:00.000-04:002018-10-31T22:27:49.927-04:00Hate at home<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HBGRZL9JAHY/W9pUDBK4eDI/AAAAAAAAAP4/IkHmyMRZ58MNDpdilkjmhK7NHmAXQeigwCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Pittsburgh.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HBGRZL9JAHY/W9pUDBK4eDI/AAAAAAAAAP4/IkHmyMRZ58MNDpdilkjmhK7NHmAXQeigwCK4BGAYYCw/s320/Pittsburgh.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Artwork Credit: Chris Preksta</td></tr></tbody></table><br />On Saturday morning a deranged&nbsp;man walked into a synagogue and shot 11 souls to death.&nbsp; He also shot and wounded two other members of the congregation.&nbsp; They were targeted because of their religion and murdered in their house of worship.&nbsp; Four police officers&nbsp;were also shot and wounded in the response.&nbsp; Make no mistake, this horrific massacre was a hate crime.<br /><br />This time it happened in my city.&nbsp; At a synagogue&nbsp;I've driven by hundreds of times, each time admiring the stained glass windows.&nbsp; In a neighborhood where many friends and colleagues and students live.&nbsp; In a community where I work with several different schools, including the one right across&nbsp;the street.&nbsp; Squirrel Hil is my favorite neighborhood in the city.<br /><br />I don't know any of the victims.&nbsp; I wasn't anywhere near Squirrel Hill when it happened.&nbsp; While I intend to pay my respects at the memorial, I don't want to cause more traffic or congestion in a dense neighborhood as the funerals for the victims take place.&nbsp; This is about them, not about me.&nbsp; Sometime next week, maybe.<br /><br />To say it's rocked the Jewish community in Pittsburgh is an understatement.&nbsp; I'd even go as far as to say it's rocked the Jewish community in the entire US.&nbsp; It's rocked Pittsburgh to its core.&nbsp; It's rocked me too.&nbsp; But Pittsburgh is strong, and this city will prevail in the face of hate, all while surrounding the Jewish community with love.<br /><br />I don't know what to say.&nbsp; If a place for worship is not safe, then where is safe?&nbsp; I can never wrap my head around mass shootings and the senseless loss of life that comes with them.&nbsp; But this time it's more personal because it happened in the city I call home.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-15785590465404863612018-10-04T16:25:00.000-04:002018-10-04T16:25:35.229-04:00I believe herDr. Christine Blasey Ford is a goddamn American hero.<br /><br />She put herself out there.&nbsp; She knew when she agreed to testify that she'd be raked over the coals and that her character would be assassinated.&nbsp; She (and her family) received&nbsp;death threats and had to move out of their home in the days leading up to her testimony.&nbsp; I think she knew that in the end, her words wouldn't matter.&nbsp; But she did it anyway because the cost of not testifying was far greater than any personal cost she suffered.<br /><br />She was a rock star on the stand.&nbsp; She answered every single question with accuracy and poise.&nbsp; She handled the backlash with grace.&nbsp; She did her civic duty, despite the fact that most of those questioning her had made up their minds before she ever even swore the oath to tell the truth.<br /><br />I believe her.&nbsp; I believe every single word she said.&nbsp; I believe her when she says there are things she doesn't remember.&nbsp; And I believe that the things she doesn't remember don't take anything away from her account.<br /><br />There are things I don't remember.&nbsp; And there are things I can recall in vivid detail.<br /><br />This is one of the few times I'll write a trigger warning on my blog.&nbsp; If you are triggered by first-hand accounts of rape, sexual assault, and the like, please don't read any further, and take care of you.<br /><br />I don't remember the location of the house where the party was.&nbsp; I'm pretty sure the host's name was Megan.&nbsp; Or maybe it was Morgan.&nbsp; I don't remember what I was wearing, and frankly, it doesn't matter what I was wearing.&nbsp; I don't remember most of the people who were there, and honestly, I don't think I knew most of them.&nbsp; I don't remember the date, but I think it might have been in June.&nbsp; It was the summer I turned 19, but I don't remember if it was before or after my birthday.&nbsp;<br /><br />I remember being there and not having much fun.&nbsp; I remember walking towards the door to leave and the guy following me, insisting that I stay for a while and have a drink.&nbsp; It was his birthday, after all.&nbsp; I worked with him.&nbsp; We were acquaintances.&nbsp; I had no reason to not trust him.&nbsp; Yes, I know his name, and yes, I'll remember it for the rest of my life.&nbsp; He handed me a drink (a beer, I think, though it could have also been a hard lemonade or something of that nature).&nbsp; I remember thinking that I'd let him see me take a sip or two, excuse myself to the bathroom, and then sneak out when he got distracted.&nbsp; And then I took a few sips of whatever the drink was and started feeling woozy.&nbsp; I remember him picking me up and carrying me to a room.&nbsp; The bed had a floral duvet and there was a dog, an Irish Setter, laying on the floor.&nbsp; You can figure out the rest.<br /><br />In the aftermath, I knew I had to get out of there.&nbsp; I found my clothes and got dressed.&nbsp; I knew I was in no state to drive and I didn't even know where I was to call someone and ask them to pick me up.&nbsp; I locked myself in my car.&nbsp; Maybe I was there for an hour, or maybe it was six.&nbsp; I don't know.&nbsp; I stayed there until I felt ok to drive.&nbsp; It was on the way home where I made the decision that I wouldn't call the police and that I'd never say anything about what happened.&nbsp; You see, in order to file a police report,&nbsp;I would have had to admit to drinking, and small-town cops, at least where I used to live, were far more concerned about busting young people for underage consumption then they were about busting a young man for drugging and raping a woman.<br /><br />It happened the summer I turned 19.&nbsp; I turned 37 this past summer.&nbsp; I didn't speak a word about it until the last year or so.&nbsp; Still, only a small handful of people, maybe five, know about it.&nbsp; Or at least did before I put it all out there on the internet.&nbsp; I don't know why I'm telling this story now.&nbsp; I think because can do so semi-anonymously in this space.&nbsp; Because even after all these years, I'm still ashamed to talk about it.&nbsp; But also because it's consumed me since Dr. Ford's testimony.<br /><br />I'm inspired by many of the responses to Dr. Ford.&nbsp; And I'm sickened at many others.&nbsp; It doesn't matter if it's been 25 minutes or 25 years, it doesn't take away from the trauma of the experience, and it doesn't make it any less valid.<br /><br />I believe you, Christine Blasey Ford.&nbsp; And I believe every single other person who has gone through this hell.<br /><br />Tomorrow the man she testified against will likely receive enough votes for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court where he will shape policy for the next 30+ years.&nbsp; While it remains to be seen, what we know about this man and his track record of treating women poorly, it's not "out there" to think that women's rights are going to take a huge hit.<br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com4tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-73173428452397876202018-09-05T13:53:00.000-04:002018-09-05T13:53:07.649-04:00Shame, my old friendI've missed this space.&nbsp; I've missed the reading and the writing, and mostly the engaging.&nbsp; My summer hiatus wasn't planned, it just sort of happened.&nbsp; Because life.<br /><br />I'm almost positive I missed my blogaversary too.&nbsp; Four years, I think.<br /><br />The summer has been good.&nbsp; It's been busy.&nbsp; We've had fun.&nbsp; We hosted friends for a week.&nbsp; We gutted our bathroom and are in the process of refinishing it (we'd hoped to have it done by now, but there is inherent danger in what you might find when you start tearing things up in an old house, lol) and if you guessed that it has been a time and money suck, you would be correct.&nbsp; We ran out of time to plan a trip to see hubs' family and mine, but truth be told, none of them planned a trip to see us either, so I refuse to be that guilty.<br /><br />My garden sucked this year.&nbsp; Which brings me to the title of this post.<br /><br />Planting my garden was tricky this year.&nbsp; We had an unusually wet and cool spring followed by an immediate transition into temperatures resembling hell, as opposed to a gentle buildup to the heat.&nbsp; The plants didn't get a good start, and then when they finally did get going, they got scorched.&nbsp; I also expanded my garden to about 3x the size that it was the previous year.&nbsp; The new spot, I knew from the beginning, might not be the greatest because it had more shade than is ideal, but I decided to give it a go anyway and plant plants that did better with less sun.&nbsp; Anyway, long story short, my garden this year was a pretty epic failure.&nbsp; Between lack of time to devote to it and a less than ideal spot, it just didn't do well.<br /><br />Over the weekend, I was talking to my neighbor.&nbsp; He shares an affinity for gardening so we often talk about plants and such.&nbsp; I commented that I'd probably not use the spot in the back of the yard again and then offhandedly mentioned that it was shaping up to be a really busy spring (of next year) and I wasn't even sure if I'd have time to do a garden at all.<br /><br />His face lit up and he asked if we were finally having a baby.<br /><br />I fumbled some words out of my mouth and came up with "no, I have a bunch of work travel between April and May including one that is going to take me out of the country for a couple of weeks."<br /><br />Awkwardness followed.&nbsp; I was seconds away from losing my shit.&nbsp; He excused himself and went about his business.&nbsp; I continued the task of weeding my shitty garden as I ugly cried and beat myself up over my broken reproductive parts all while asking myself why I couldn't just be normal.&nbsp; Pure and simple, it was shame.<br /><br />It's a few days later and this interaction, or rather, my reaction to it, still has a grip on me.<br /><br />I don't write about this for sympathy, rather I write it to show that grief is not linear.&nbsp; This happened after a long period of doing really well, being confident, and fully embracing the life I've been given. And yet words, simple, innocent words, cut right through me.&nbsp;<br /><br />So I'll do what I always do.&nbsp; Pick myself up, dust myself off, and carry on.&nbsp; The lesson learned here is not to get too comfortable, that when I least expect it, grief can still jump right up and bite me in the&nbsp;ass.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com8tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-42137785439771582442018-05-15T22:53:00.001-04:002018-05-15T22:53:27.745-04:00Take care of youThere I stood.&nbsp; Trapped.&nbsp; In a group of women.&nbsp; The day before mother's day.<br /><br />Perhaps unsurprisingly the conversation turned to the next day.<br /><br />Breakfasts and lunches and dinners in their honor.<br /><br />Presents.<br /><br />What spouses were doing for them.<br /><br />What kids were doing for them.<br /><br />Then bitching.&nbsp; Mainly of the mother in law variety.<br /><br />All of the pain and grief were at the forefront of my mind.&nbsp;<br /><br />I was holding back tears.<br /><br />There was no way to get out of it.&nbsp;<br /><br />Breathe.<br /><br />Don't run.<br /><br />These were people I work with, after all.<br /><br />No escape.<br /><br />Then it happened.<br /><br />I felt her take a step closer to me and interlocked her arm in mine.<br /><br />I don't know what made her do that.&nbsp; Maybe she saw the pain in my eyes?<br /><br />She took over the conversation.&nbsp;<br /><br />She skillfully put an end to the mother's day conversation with no one realizing what she did and moved on to the next topic.<br /><br />Except I noticed.<br /><br />She brought me back down to earth.<br /><br />She made me feel like I wasn't alone.<br /><br />Without drawing a single bit of attention to me.<br /><br />I will be forever grateful.<br /><br />A little bit later we both happened to be leaving the function.&nbsp; As we departed ways to head to our respective cars, she gave me a big hug.&nbsp; She whispered in my ear "take care of you."<br /><br />****<br />This woman is a mother.&nbsp; But I think she also knows the pain that mother's day can bring.&nbsp; She left an abusive relationship when her daughter was a toddler and raised her on her own.&nbsp; She never had a partner to make a big deal out of the day.&nbsp;<br /><br />She knows that I don't have any children.&nbsp; She knows I&nbsp;can't have children because I matter of factly stated as much at a business dinner a few weeks ago.&nbsp; But she doesn't know the whole story.&nbsp; She didn't know me during the infertility years.<br /><br />But she understands.&nbsp; At least little bit.&nbsp;<br /><br />And on that day she saved me.<br /><br />I'm pretty sure she doesn't know how much it meant to me.&nbsp;BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com17tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-11186067080261806902018-05-09T11:14:00.000-04:002018-05-09T11:14:31.314-04:00MissedWhen in the throes of infertility and in the immediate aftermath I used the "unfollow" and "unfriend" functions of social media quite generously.&nbsp; I don't think I need to explain my rationale to this community.<br /><br />I've moved around in my adult life and have a lot of friends from different places and periods of my life.&nbsp; The unfortunate reality is that I may never see some of these people again in my life, so I very much enjoy keeping up with them and their lives via social media.<br /><br />Several years ago, I unfollowed a woman who was my roommate during my freshman year of college and lived across the hallway during my sophomore year.&nbsp; We were pretty good friends during that part of our lives, but our paths diverged after college.&nbsp; I unfollowed her during her pregnancy for her first child.&nbsp; While she wasn't one of the bad offenders (like, for example, I don't recall her posting ultrasound pictures), but at that point, I couldn't handle one more pregnancy, so I unapologetically and unceremoniously unfollowed her.<br /><br />I thought about her from time to time in the following years, but never "checked in" on her.&nbsp; Over the weekend another friend from college posted a picture of the unfollowed friend and herself, which led me to check out the unfollowed friend's profile.&nbsp; I wasn't surprised to see that she'd had a second child and then adopted a child through the foster care system.&nbsp; I wasn't surprised to see happy pictures of her life.&nbsp; But what I was surprised to see was a post commemorating one-year cancer free.&nbsp; A little more profile stalking revealed that after experiencing some stomach issues, and a very proactive doctor, a small, but cancerous tumor was found in her stomach.&nbsp; The tumor was removed and there were clean margins.&nbsp; They got all of the cancer out.&nbsp; They also did a course of chemotherapy just to be sure.&nbsp;<br /><br />A wave of guilt washed over me as I found out this news.&nbsp; I felt guilty that I wasn't there to support a friend through a difficult period of her life, or even to let her know that I was thinking about her.<br /><br />But then I stopped myself.&nbsp; I unfollowed her for a reason during a very painful period of my life.&nbsp; It was unfortunate, but it is what I needed to take care of myself.&nbsp; I do not need to apologize for taking care of myself.&nbsp; Plus, she is fortunate to have a supportive husband, family, and community that rallied around her during her time of need.<br /><br />I still feel a little bad that I didn't know until a year after the fact, but the reality is that without social media, it may have been many more years, if at all, for me to find out.&nbsp; But the guilt is softened somewhat, because I would have needed to endure 3-4 years of really hard posts (about her child and subsequent pregnancy) to find out this news earlier.<br /><br />I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes there can be unanticipated consequences related to self-care, and sometimes those unanticipated consequences may make you feel like crap.&nbsp; But in this case, being selfish and taking care of myself first was necessary for healing.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-69787015547733575262018-04-27T13:07:00.002-04:002018-04-27T13:07:25.812-04:00How much?I've often heard (and even believed) that the universe never gives us more than we can handle.&nbsp;<br /><br />But sometimes I'd really like to ask the universe "what the actual fuck?".<br /><br />The last two weeks of my life have been crazy, more&nbsp;last week then this week.&nbsp; I work on an academic calendar, so my work life has a few insanely busy weeks a year, with late April being among them.&nbsp; With work alone, sometimes I don't know if I'm coming or going.<br /><br />It all started the Monday of the <a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2018/04/already.html" target="_blank">dreaded photo shoot</a>.&nbsp; The photo shoot actually went pretty well, and despite being as un-photogenic as I am, the photographer got some decent headshots.&nbsp; But then the shit hit the fan at 4 pm.&nbsp; It all started with a phone call from my dad.&nbsp; Now, I know that none of you know my dad, but suffice to say, he is a man of few words, and generally despises his cell phone.&nbsp; So to get a call from him, during his workday, from his cell phone was immediately a cause for concern.&nbsp; As it turned out, he was in the emergency room with my mom, who had a heart attack.&nbsp; Within 15 minutes, my husband called to let me know that our dog was vomiting uncontrollably and needed to go to the vet.&nbsp; My mom was admitted to the hospital and we were in the emergency vet clinic with the dog until 2 am.<br /><br />On Tuesday, Hubs' mom called to let him know that one of their family members passed away.&nbsp; My mom was in the hospital undergoing further&nbsp;testing.&nbsp; And the dog was home with us, and while he'd stopped vomiting, he wasn't doing well.<br /><br />On Wednesday, my mom was still in the hospital for testing (some of the Tuesday tests were unable to be completed because her vein collapsed part way through a test involving dye and so had to be aborted).&nbsp; Hubs' dad called to let him know that he had tumors in his throat (discovered during a routine endoscopy), and while the biopsies didn't reveal anything cancerous, the tumors would likely require surgical intervention.&nbsp; The dog wasn't showing any signs of improvement but also wasn't declining.&nbsp; At this point, he hadn't eaten anything since Monday morning, and we were on the outer edge of the limits that we'd been told he could go without food.<br /><br />On Thursday, my mom had a heart catheterization, since a few of her tests revealed some abnormalities.&nbsp; Fortunately, they didn't find any blockages or other issues.&nbsp; As such they are calling this a "cardiac event".&nbsp; They know something happened that wasn't supposed to, but they don't know what it was.&nbsp; For a minute I savored the good news, only to get a call from hubs letting me know that the dog had started to decline, quite rapidly.&nbsp; Off to the emergency vet, we went again, where he underwent another battery of tests and it was decided that he would need to spend the night for observation, fluids, medication, and more tests in the morning.&nbsp; His blood work was normal, but his x-rays revealed a bunch of gas in the entirety of his intestine and a possible bowel obstruction.&nbsp; When we left him, there was a 50/50 chance that he'd end up in surgery in the next 24 hours.<br /><br />Friday was a good day in the sense that my mom got to go home, but also a day filled with worry for the dog.&nbsp; I will never say that pets are children, but our dog is our family member and we care deeply for him.&nbsp; We are keenly aware that he's getting up there in years (he's 9.5 years old), with the average life expectancy for his breed being between 10-12 years.&nbsp; Simply put, while he is relatively healthy for his age and we don't feel like he is in any immediate danger of crossing the rainbow bridge, he has shown a marked decline over the last year, and we know he is in the twilight of his life.&nbsp; Anyway, with fluids and meds, he improved a lot overnight, and the morning x-ray revealed that things were slowly moving along.&nbsp; We were relieved that surgery was now looking less likely, and opted to continue conservative management with fluids and meds, reintroduce food to see if he ate and was able to hold it down, and then do another x-ray in the late afternoon.&nbsp; We were very surprised to get a call around 7pm saying that he was excitedly eating all of the food that he was offered, that his x-ray revealed a lot of progress, and that they were comfortable with him going home that night.&nbsp; We rushed to pick him up.&nbsp; We spent the weekend laying low and staying home with the dog.<br /><br />In the midst of all of this, an email from my boss lands in my inbox late Friday afternoon, and boy did it cause some chaos.&nbsp; I was involved in a meeting last fall on the topic of this email, at which time, the next steps involved letting this thing work it's way through the appropriate channels to see if it was feasible.&nbsp; I didn't hear anything else, nor did my two immediate supervisors, so I figured that this thing was a no go.&nbsp; Except the boss decided that it was a go without bothering to inform my department chair or program director.&nbsp; I should add that there has been quite a bit of head-butting and conflict going on, which I have done my best to avoid to this point, but now I was right in the thick of it.&nbsp; At a time where I was already overly emotional.&nbsp; And also at a time when I had to fit unplanned things and rearrange planned things in an extremely busy schedule.<br /><br />It all got worked out, well at least in the sense of the parties that were involved in a pissing contest still are, but all parties acknowledge that I was put in a situation beyond my control.&nbsp; Also cool is that all of this will result in a neat travel opportunity (or potentially two trips to the same location).&nbsp; Mali, I'm almost sure this place was a stop on your most recent travel adventure abroad, so we may have to touch base.&nbsp; :)<br /><br />All in all, the last two weeks have been incredibly stressful and left me wondering at more than one point how much a person can handle.&nbsp; Thankfully, everything seems to have worked itself out at least for now, and things are starting to calm down quite a bit.&nbsp; Suffice to say, I think I could deal with a few uneventful weeks to get my bearings back.<br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-44281859474321463892018-04-15T22:12:00.000-04:002018-04-15T22:12:17.763-04:00Already?I despise clothes shopping with the passion of 10,000 firey suns.&nbsp; I have exactly zero fashion sense, am painfully cheap, and am a difficult fit (especially for pants).&nbsp; Admitting that I need to go shopping takes a while,&nbsp; psyching myself to actually go is a process, and a pants shopping trip usually ends (unsuccessfully) with tears and/or cursing.&nbsp; Needless to say, my work wardrobe consists of almost exclusively black trousers and lightweight shirts (because I also have zero tolerance for being hot).<br /><br />I went shopping on Saturday.&nbsp; For pants.&nbsp; It ended with no pants, a lot of cursing/self-depreciation, and a six-pack of pineapple ale.&nbsp; Well, technically a six-pack plus one additional can because we have antiquated laws about alcohol in my state and we&nbsp;have to buy beer by the bottle or the case, and the bottle shop that I buy at gives you a seventh can for a penny.<br /><br />Note to self: Banish the thought of "I haven't gone shopping at (store name) for a while now.&nbsp; I should try there." out of my mind and go to where I know the clothes fit.<br /><br />Why did I go shopping?&nbsp; Because I'm participating in a marketing photo shoot for work tomorrow. "Participating" makes it sound like this is a voluntary activity, but really it's not.&nbsp; And I am the least photogenic person on the face of the earth.&nbsp; I am looking forward to it like I look forward to dental work.<br /><br />I thought that a new outfit might make me feel good, or at least a little bit better about this stupid photo shoot.&nbsp; &nbsp;But it was not meant to be.&nbsp; Ugh.<br /><br />But anyway, that's not what I want to write about.<br /><br />I want to write about the fact that there were advisements&nbsp;all over the store about Mother's Day.&nbsp; Holy Hell.&nbsp; Mother's Day isn't for a full month.&nbsp; It's nothing more than a profit scheme for the greeting card companies holiday.&nbsp; The store I was at sells clothing for women, men, children, juniors, etc.<br /><br />When I saw the first advertisement, my eye roll was so hard that I damn near had a seizure.&nbsp; &nbsp;I was so annoyed.&nbsp;<br /><br />I suppose this is an improvement over previous years, however.<br /><br />But yeah, it looks like we (at least those of us here in the US) have a full month of advertising for a holiday that doesn't apply to us ahead of us!&nbsp; Pass the pineapple ale!BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-74561458123216960692018-03-09T14:05:00.000-05:002018-03-09T14:05:18.401-05:00The day dreams diedFour years ago yesterday we found out we'd never have children.<br /><br />I remember that day like it was yesterday.&nbsp; Hubs and I drove separately.&nbsp; I was planning to go back to work after the appointment.&nbsp; I remember squeezing my car into a tiny spot in the underground parking garage.&nbsp; I remember meeting hubs in the lobby.&nbsp; I remember the elevator ride to the 12th floor, complete with stops on the NICU floor, the labor floor, and the postpartum floor before we got where we were going.&nbsp; I remember anxiously sitting in the waiting room while two young children being "supervised" by what appeared to be their mother and grandmother played loudly (as an aside, there is nothing that anyone can say that makes a valid case for children being in the waiting room of a reproductive endocrinologist's office).&nbsp; I remember being shuffled back to the doctor's office.&nbsp; I remember the atta boy he gave hubs for his stellar test results.&nbsp; And I remember the complete lack of compassion that he delivered my abysmal test results with.&nbsp; I remember sitting there but not feeling like I was in my own body.&nbsp; I could see his mouth moving but I didn't hear anything.&nbsp; I knew exactly what he was saying and how bad it was.&nbsp; I remember being shuffled from his office to the office of the financial guy and listening to his pitch because we didn't have the energy to tell him that it was useless information for us.&nbsp; I remember being shuffled to the IVF nurse's office and pretending to listen to her because, even after we told her we wouldn't be doing IVF, she insisted we'd change our minds, and we didn't have the energy to fight her.&nbsp; I remember sitting on a bench in the hallway crying to myself and texting a friend while hubs used the restroom. I remember taking the elevator down to the parking garage, paying for my parking, and making it to the car before breaking down.&nbsp; I remember that by the time I made it to the exit, my 15 minutes between paying and exiting the garage had already passed, and I couldn't get out.&nbsp; I remember the parking attendant coming to the gate, seeing the look of me, him saying "aww, sweetie, it'll get better" and then scanning me out with his employee badge.&nbsp; It's not lost on me that the only ounce of compassion I got that day (other than from my husband) was from the parking attendant.&nbsp;<br /><br />I don't know why this crappy anniversary hit me so hard this year.&nbsp; Or even why I remember every moment of that day.&nbsp; Generally speaking, things get less hard with the passage of time, but not this day this year.<br /><br />In about an hour we'll head out to see my family, celebrate the birthdays of all of my nieces and nephews, and meet the new baby.&nbsp; The trip was planned before I realized that yesterday was going to be so hard on me.<br /><br />I know I've neglected this space lately, but today, on a day where I'm feeling not being able to have children viscerally, I'm glad I have it.&nbsp;BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com16tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-7283025844846667792018-02-10T12:51:00.001-05:002018-02-10T12:51:32.850-05:00On my own I am writing this while in Florida, poolside, and soaking up the last few rays of sunshine and warmth before heading back to the cold and snowy north.<br /><br />I left home on Wednesday for a work trip to a professional conference. &nbsp;I don’t have the sort of job where I travel for work a lot, at least not the variety of travel that involves a plane, but I do take a trip once or twice a year. Sometimes I take hubs along and sometimes I go solo. &nbsp;This time I went solo, but met up with most of my friends from grad school. &nbsp;We agreed months ago that no one would bring partners or kids. :)<br /><br />Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with hubs, spending time with him, and seeing the world, but sometimes it’s fun to be on my own schedule (which is always more free flowing and spontaneous than when I’m traveling with hubs), stay out later than I usually would, drink more alcohol than I usually do, and have a great time with friends without having to consider the likes/dislikes/wants/needs of another person. &nbsp;I had a fantastic time and I’m so relaxed and recharged. It’s amazing what sun can do for thr soul! I feel like I should mention that I did do a ton of work related activities too!<br /><br />My flight leaves in a few hours and I’ll be back to reality. I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I’m looking forward to hubs, the dog, our bed, and our wonderful life.<br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-64867555317264464392018-01-09T22:53:00.000-05:002018-01-09T22:53:32.246-05:00When sad is buried by happiness<div>I don't make a habit of passing out advice, especially unsolicited advice, but I'm going to make an exception.</div><div><br /></div><div>If there is someone in your life who is dealing with/dealt with infertility/you suspect they may be dealing with infertility/would love nothing more than to have a child but doesn't have a partner/etc. and someone close to them (e.g.,&nbsp;a sibling) has a baby, reach out to them.&nbsp; A simple "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you" text works great.&nbsp; Let them know you're thinking about them in a tangible way, yet one that doesn't necessarily require a response.</div><div><br /></div><div>My <a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2017/07/and-another.html" target="_blank">sister had her baby</a> yesterday.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>You'll recall that she's <a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2017/07/object-of-pity.html" target="_blank">basically a coward</a> and couldn't tell me that she was pregnant herself, instead relying on our mother to break the news.</div><div><br /></div><div>I had limited contact with her while she was pregnant and only saw her twice.&nbsp; The limited contact wasn't really intentional but was a product of busy schedules.&nbsp; My sister isn't the most likable&nbsp;person to be around when she's not pregnant, and she's insufferable when pregnant.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I moved past the hurt that came from her cowardice.&nbsp; Or at least I thought I did.&nbsp; As it turns out, not enough time has passed to heal this wound.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I lost it.&nbsp; I took it harder than I did any of the <a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/i-have-new-niece.html" target="_blank">back</a> to&nbsp;<a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/i-have-another-new-niece.html" target="_blank">back</a> to <a href="https://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2016/02/i-almost-have-new-nephew.html" target="_blank">back</a>&nbsp;sister pregnancies.&nbsp; I cried myself to sleep last night.</div><div><br /></div><div>Beyond being a part of a group text with my mom, sisters, and one of my cousins, my sister hasn't reached out to me personally.&nbsp; Which is fine.&nbsp; She can talk to whoever she wants.&nbsp; I muted the chat and didn't respond to anything on it before I muted it.&nbsp; I'll deal with it when I'm ready.</div><div><br /></div><div>I am hurting.</div><div><br /></div><div>And I'm hurt.</div><div><br /></div><div>But the hurt isn't jealousy or the all too familiar pangs of the loss of dreams (though those were there too), rather most of it comes from the actions of my mother.&nbsp; Or inaction, as the case may be.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Part of being a parent is being there for your children, both for the happy and for the sad.&nbsp; And if a person has more than one child, there is the possibility of both emotions existing simultaneously.&nbsp; If there is time to take a gazillion pictures and gloat about a new grandbaby on social media, there is time to send a text to the one you know is hurting.</div><div><br /></div><div>Yet no such text came.&nbsp; And still hasn't.&nbsp; The message that I don't matter was received&nbsp;loud and clear.&nbsp; God, it hurts.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I'm so mad at myself for letting my guard down and allowing hope that she would do better this time to creep in.</div><div><br /></div><div>I am grateful for friends who are like family.</div>BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com10tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-87747121227662991392018-01-04T12:12:00.003-05:002018-01-04T12:12:29.546-05:00Winter BreakYesterday marked my return to work after a restful winter break.&nbsp; As an added bonus, I don't have to go back to the office until Monday!&nbsp;<br /><br />A few fun things happened while I was off.<br /><br />I broke my 90+ week Grammarly streak.&nbsp; If you don't know Grammarly, it is a browser plug-in that identifies spelling and grammar errors.&nbsp; It also calculates the number of words written, number of errors, accuracy, vocabulary, etc. and sends you a weekly progress report.&nbsp; I only use the free version, but since I do so much online for work, it's really helpful and has probably saved me from looking like a fool more than once.&nbsp; Anyway, what breaking the streak means is that I powered down my work computer on December 23rd and didn't turn it on again until January 2nd, meaning that I didn't do any work during this time.&nbsp; As evidenced by the length of my streak,&nbsp;detaching myself from work is something that I obviously struggle with.&nbsp; It was a streak that I was happy to see go and am excited to start 2018 with a clean slate!<br /><br />We also rearranged our guest room.&nbsp; Previously, it was set up as a space that looked both nice and one that would be comfortable for guests.&nbsp; But what we found is that we very infrequently hosted overnight guests and because of the setup, we really didn't use the room because the furniture took up so much room.&nbsp; So we rearranged it.&nbsp; We disassembled the gorgeous (but large and space eating) bed, put the mattress on a simple frame, and shoved the bed in the corner.&nbsp; This simple rearrangement has given us so much more space in that room, and now we can actually use it!&nbsp; As an added bonus, should we ever need to host guests, we have a bed for them to sleep in.&nbsp; It's funny that we held off on doing this for so long.&nbsp; In the wake of infertility (which saw us reserving a bedroom for "the baby's room") we decided we wouldn't do that again, rather we'd use space for what we wanted and adapt if necessary.&nbsp; Yet that's exactly what we didn't do.<br /><br />I bought myself a mountain&nbsp;bike.&nbsp; I've been wanting to buy a bike for a few years now, but haven't done it for one reason or another.&nbsp; This is actually my first brand new bike.&nbsp; Growing up we didn't have a lot of money so my bikes were hand me downs and/or cobbled together with various bike parts and usually shared with my sisters and me.&nbsp; So it's pretty cool for me to have my very own brand new shiny bike!&nbsp; Unfortunately, I've only been able to ride it once as our outdoor temperatures have been pretty miserable, but winter will end eventually, and when it does, I'm fortunate to live in an area with plenty of bike trails!&nbsp;<br /><br />Finally, we bought a new car.&nbsp; This was a semi-planned purchase, meaning that we planned to buy a new car, just not until Spring.&nbsp; Hubs knew exactly what he wanted (and hubs isn't the sort of guy who compromises when it comes to cars) so we knew it would be a bit of a process and we were willing to take our time and get what we wanted as opposed to settling or paying too much.&nbsp; We'd been casually looking for a few months, with the attitude that if something popped up that was interesting to us, we'd go and look at it, and buy if it met our criteria.&nbsp; Well, as it turns out, year-end deals on cars are quite good, and we were able to get the exact car he wanted but at a higher trim level and for less money than we expected to pay.&nbsp; What was striking to us, however, is how different the process of buying a car was this time as opposed to the last time we did it.&nbsp; The last time we had an eye to the future, meaning that we bought a car assuming that children were in our future and we were careful to make sure that there was adequate space for car seats and growing children and such.&nbsp; This time, beyond casually observing that the car did indeed have a back seat, we didn't pay any attention to that feature.&nbsp; It was also interesting that the last time we bought a car the salesman was keen to mention all of the features of the car that would be good for "families" whereas this time, there was not a single mention of children.&nbsp; Anyway, it's a fun car and it's fun to drive.&nbsp; And it's definitely not a car we could have even considered if we had a couple of kids running around.<br /><br />The time off was perfect.&nbsp; And for the first Christmas season, since we put an end to our family building efforts, it wasn't a miserable season that I slogged through while wishing my life was different than it is, rather it was quiet and warm and perfect.&nbsp; Instead of focusing on what we don't have, we were able to enjoy what we do have.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com15tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-37910873875453144042017-12-10T11:15:00.000-05:002017-12-10T11:15:13.635-05:00Holiday decorationsFor a long time, there was a running joke between my sister-in-law and me, that it took getting married and having two kids before she felt truly accepted into the (extended) family, whereas all it took for me was getting drunk with Uncle Ed (then in his late 80s) on his homemade wine the very first time I met the extended family.&nbsp;<br /><br />Hubs is the oldest son of the oldest son and the first grandchild in both his paternal grandmother and grandfather's&nbsp;side.&nbsp; In the eyes of his family, he basically walks on water.&nbsp; I am hubs' second wife.&nbsp; While I haven't asked directly, I gather from various bits of conversation with people in his family that they didn't like her, and that's putting it nicely.&nbsp; When hubs and I first started dating, things happened quickly.&nbsp; Within four months of dating, we moved to a different state and in together.&nbsp; I expected the first Christmas gathering with his extended family to be interesting, and I had been warned by both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law not to take it personally if they shunned me.&nbsp; They said that,&nbsp;best case,&nbsp;it would take them a few years to warm up to me.&nbsp; It was interesting, but not in the tense way that I expected.&nbsp; As it turned out, I got on quite well with his family.<br /><br />Each year they do a gift exchange.&nbsp; They draw names and bring a small gift for that person.&nbsp; Since I wasn't around the previous year for the drawing, his grandma purchased a small gift for me so that I would have something to open with everyone else.&nbsp; The gift was a Christmas tree ornament.&nbsp; It's a light blue glass bulb with a dove carrying an olive branch painted on it.&nbsp; Something I imagine that she picked up at the Parrish&nbsp;craft bazaar.&nbsp; The symbolism was not lost on me.&nbsp; His grandma passed away in 2014.<br /><br />Hubs and I have quite the collection of Christmas ornaments.&nbsp; One for every Christmas we've celebrated together.&nbsp; Some have been gifted to us.&nbsp; Some are handmade and gifted to us by nieces and nephews.&nbsp; Some are personalized.&nbsp; Some are stock from a big box store.&nbsp; Some are just plain funny (like a pink glittery unicorn).&nbsp; Silly as it sounds, all of them hold memories.&nbsp; And needless to say, our hodgepodge tree will never be featured in any home magazine.&nbsp;<br /><br />I've been struggling with getting into Christmas this year.&nbsp; Part of it has been the busy-ness of life, and part of it has been the fact that this season is just plain hard for me.&nbsp; I thought that maybe decorating the house would help my outlook on things, and decided to put the tree up on Tuesday.<br /><br />But what I wasn't expecting was the flood of memories.&nbsp; Some of them good memories, like the ones that accompanied the chintzy "our first Christmas together" ornament and the ornament we bought at a little gift store by the beach we eloped on in Hawaii.&nbsp; Some of them were hard memories, like the annual ornaments from the infertility years and the simultaneous hope and hopelessness that we felt when we bought them.&nbsp; And some were bittersweet, like the ornament from hubs' grandma.<br /><br />I had a good cry as I hung them all on the tree.&nbsp; I let all of the hopes and dreams and changes in plans from the last ten years wash over me.&nbsp; It was hard but good.&nbsp; And by the time I was done, I felt a little better about the impending holiday.&nbsp; It was even more worthwhile when hubs walked into the door, his eyes got huge, a big smile spread across his face, and he exclaimed: "you decorated!"<br /><br />We no longer joke about birthing children as a prerequisite for family acceptance.&nbsp; At the time it was funny, albeit in a slightly uncomfortable way.&nbsp; If the same joke were made today, I'd probably come unhinged.&nbsp; I'm glad that they accepted me into the family all those years ago.&nbsp; If for no other reason but holiday gatherings would be pretty miserable if they hadn't accepted me.<br /><br />For all of you joining me in the hard this holiday season, please know that you are not alone.&nbsp; I wish I could say that it gets easier to handle the holidays.&nbsp; It doesn't. At least for me.&nbsp; But I've found that it gets a little less hard with each passing year.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-10780030370340181562017-11-28T22:51:00.002-05:002017-11-28T22:51:59.163-05:00The hardI need to get back to writing in this space more frequently.&nbsp; It gives me balance and a place to work through the thoughts bouncing around in my brain.&nbsp;<br /><br />I've had a lot going on lately.&nbsp; Not bad, just busy.&nbsp; It leaves little time for me or for writing.<br /><br />Over the past few days, I've been feeling the full weight of all that we've lost.&nbsp; Seeing all of the Christmas lights brought it to a head tonight.<br /><br />Maybe it's the holidays and thinking about all of the traditions that we thought we were going to make with our children.&nbsp; Maybe it's the sudden burst of people my age or older having babies making me wonder if we stopped too soon.&nbsp; Maybe it's knowing that 2018 will bring another niece or nephew.&nbsp; Maybe it's&nbsp;end of the semester stress.&nbsp; Maybe it's all of it.<br /><br />I'm struggling a bit.&nbsp;<br /><br />I'm trying to go easy on myself and I know it will get better again.&nbsp; But tonight it's hard.<br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com11tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-12167086902735009252017-11-17T20:39:00.000-05:002017-11-17T20:39:35.120-05:00Validation AnniversaryOne year ago today, I had surgery to remove endometriosis.&nbsp; Well, I can't remember the exact date, but I know I had the surgery the Friday before Thanksgiving last year, and it's the Friday before Thanksgiving this year, so.....<br /><br />Prior to the surgery, I'd spent 20 years insisting that something was wrong and begging and pleading with doctors to help me.&nbsp; On this day last year, I got proof that there was indeed something wrong and that it wasn't all in my head.&nbsp; I was validated.&nbsp; All of those years of pain and misery suddenly had a cause.<br /><br />Last year I couldn't make the 10-minute walk from the parking garage to my office without significant pain, and the three-hour blocks that I teach in were excruciating.&nbsp; Exercise was out of the question.&nbsp; Now I feel great.&nbsp; I'm not completely pain-free, but I don't have much pain most of the time.&nbsp; Walking from the parking garage to my office is no big deal.&nbsp; Teaching in three-hour blocks is still taxing, but nothing like before.&nbsp; I'm back to going to the gym 3-4 days a week and I'm doing things that I haven't been able to do in years.&nbsp; I've also lost about 15 pounds which has been good for my self-esteem.&nbsp;<br /><br />Emotionally, I'm still very angry that I spent so long with nobody listening.&nbsp; And I'm angry that this could have been a contributing factor to infertility and that if it had been addressed earlier in my life maybe we would have been able to have kids.&nbsp; More globally, I'm angry that my experience isn't unique.&nbsp; I'm angry that women's pain isn't taken seriously or is just plain brushed off.<br /><br />Anyway, I'm feeling pensive today.&nbsp; And so grateful that a doctor finally listened to me.&nbsp; I really do feel like I have my life back.<br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-67602171623863062642017-10-24T22:16:00.000-04:002017-10-24T22:16:55.622-04:00Me tooMe too.<br /><br />For a long time, I felt alone.<br /><br />And then the two simple words, "me too" started showing up on social media.&nbsp; Sometimes they were accompanied by a story, sometimes they were not.<br /><br />The sheer number left me stunned.&nbsp; And sick.&nbsp; Women in their 70s to women in their early 20s.&nbsp; And that's just among my friends.<br /><br />Stories of being taken advantage of by a boss.&nbsp; Or raped by a man, sometimes known, and sometimes not.&nbsp; Stories of being assaulted.&nbsp; Stories of being teased or catcalled.&nbsp; Stories of sexual abuse.&nbsp; And stories of the system failing them if they tried to report.<br /><br />Their stories and their bravery made me feel all of the feels.<br /><br />I didn't post on social media.&nbsp; I didn't have it in me.&nbsp; I lacked the courage to put it in print for the whole world to see.&nbsp; I didn't want to have to explain or be pressed for details by people I didn't want to share with. &nbsp;And I didn’t want to be accused of attention seeking. This space is a little safer for me due to the semi-anonymity.<br /><br />Me too.&nbsp; Me.&nbsp; Fucking.&nbsp; Too. And the thing is, I’m not special. Or the exception. That’s the scary part.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com8tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-29301748685801717612017-10-19T21:29:00.001-04:002017-10-19T21:29:35.316-04:00When selfishness is called outMy sister is <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2017/07/object-of-pity.html" target="_blank">pregnant</a>.&nbsp; If you'll recall, she couldn't bother to tell me herself so I found out from my mom.<br /><br />The elephant in the room was still present until earlier this month.&nbsp; The same sister who couldn't bother to tell me herself that she is pregnant managed to publicly announce on social media.<br /><br />I was pissed and I was hurt.<br /><br />I sent her a text.&nbsp; It wasn't accusatory or anything like that, but it was very direct and expressed my hurt that she could announce it publicly but couldn't send me a courtesy text.<br /><br />Some time passed, though not as long as I expected, and she responded.&nbsp; She didn't know how to tell me.&nbsp; She didn't want to hurt me.&nbsp; Blah blah blah.<br /><br />Translation: My infertility makes her uncomfortable.&nbsp; And she is selfish.<br /><br />And when called out on it, she makes it about how she feels.<br /><br />I just want to scream that it's not just about her and that I shouldn't have to ignore my feelings because of her.<br /><br />*****<br /><br />I'll see her for the first time since (not) telling me about her pregnancy over the weekend.&nbsp; She's excited.&nbsp; I'm indifferent.&nbsp; I'm still miffed about her non-apology.&nbsp; It'll be interesting, that's for sure.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com14tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-36059888556914296902017-10-16T23:01:00.000-04:002017-10-16T23:01:08.700-04:00With different eyesAbout two months ago I picked up my new glasses. &nbsp;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.<br /><br />The last time I got new glasses was in the midst of infertility.&nbsp; I had my eye appointment to get that prescription literally two hours after our first appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist. &nbsp;I didn't love the glasses I picked out, but they were good enough (and about $400 cheaper than the pair that I liked). &nbsp;I went to pick them up after my first round of testing. &nbsp;We all know how my brief foray into reproductive endocrinology went. &nbsp;Anyway, for whatever reason, I always associated those stupid glasses with learning we'd never have children.<br /><br />It's nice to not have a piece of hardware on my face that doesn't hold any hard memories!<br /><br />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. <br /><br />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. &nbsp;There were happy times, like when hubs' and I started dating when our dog was a puppy, and when we got married. &nbsp;And then there were the infertility years.<br /><br />The. Infertility.&nbsp; Years.<br /><br />I looked dead.&nbsp; I swear you could see the brokenness in my eyes.&nbsp; I was hurting.&nbsp; I wouldn't have admitted it at the time but I was forcing the appearance of happiness.<br /><br />There weren't many photos back then.&nbsp; I largely stayed away from the camera.&nbsp; I remember most of the events, but more as something to&nbsp;get through rather than something that I enjoyed.&nbsp; The Christmases and Thanksgivings and random family events.&nbsp;<br /><br />It brought back all of the feelings.&nbsp; For a little while, I was back to the broken woman whose dreams of having children had just evaporated into thin air.&nbsp; Photographic evidence of how hard it was.<br /><br />But then I looked at more recent photos.&nbsp; My faked happiness turned into less faked happiness which turned into genuine happiness.<br /><br />At some point, I made the decision that I didn't want to feel like shit anymore.&nbsp; That it wasn't doing me any good to fake being happy.&nbsp; So I began to work through my grief.&nbsp; That was the turning point.&nbsp;<br /><br />What is it they say? That nothing that comes easy is worth having?&nbsp; My god, it was (is) so hard.&nbsp; But so worth it.<br /><br />I'm a different woman today then I was in 2014.&nbsp; I'm not the person I used to be.&nbsp; Not better or worse, just different.&nbsp; More resilient.&nbsp;<br /><br />And I'm glad.&nbsp; Like Mali said, <a href="https://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.com/2017/10/survival-is-not-mandatory.html" target="_blank">choosing to survive is empowering</a>.&nbsp;<br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-77337697356136986202017-10-09T22:32:00.000-04:002017-10-09T22:32:10.318-04:00ReevaluatingWhen I started this blog three years ago, I made the conscious&nbsp;decision not to moderate comments.&nbsp; I always said that I'd leave it that way until I got my first comment from a troll.&nbsp;<br /><br />Well, that happened over the weekend and now comment moderation is enabled.&nbsp;<br /><br />I'm honestly surprised that it took so long.<br /><br />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.&nbsp;<br /><br />But if the past year has taught me anything, it's that civil discourse is a distant memory from a bygone&nbsp;era.&nbsp;<br /><br />So to the anonymous person who encouraged me to "think beyond the surface," know that I have.&nbsp; For years.&nbsp; Literally years.&nbsp; And every time I conclude the same exact thing.&nbsp; We need to make guns harder to get.&nbsp; Period.&nbsp; We can do this while still&nbsp;upholding the Second Amendment.&nbsp; It goes beyond making me feel nice, warm, and fuzzy.&nbsp; I value human life.&nbsp; And I always will.<br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-74480328969907144992017-10-03T22:18:00.001-04:002017-10-03T22:18:06.964-04:00EnoughIt 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.&nbsp; 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.<br /><br />So here we are almost five years later and nothing has changed.&nbsp; Over fifty people died at the hands of a deranged gunman on Sunday night in Las Vegas.<br /><br />In a week or so everyone will move on to the next news story and forget about Vegas.&nbsp; Just as they did with Pulse.&nbsp; And Virgina Tech.&nbsp; And Sandy Hook.&nbsp; And San Bernadino.&nbsp; And Fort Hood.&nbsp; And all of the others.<br /><br />And these are just the shootings that make the news.&nbsp;<br /><br />Legislators&nbsp;(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.<br /><br />I've seen so many saying that they're praying for the victims of Las Vegas.&nbsp; Now is not the time for praying.&nbsp; Now is the time for action.&nbsp; Now is the time pass common-sense gun control.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; Honor their memory by taking steps to solve the problem.<br /><br />This is not ok.&nbsp; Yet nothing will change.&nbsp; Again.<br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com12tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-28803293913721715822017-09-11T12:45:00.000-04:002017-09-11T12:45:02.248-04:00The things women deal withI wasn't sure if I was going to write all of this out and publish it on my blog, then I read <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gretchen-kelly/the-thing-all-women-do-you-dont-know-about_b_8630416.html?utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&amp;utm_source=women_fb&amp;utm_medium=facebook&amp;ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046" target="_blank">this article</a> on Huff Post (shared on their Facebook page), and it inspired me to speak out. &nbsp;Speaking out is even more important now then it has ever been since <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/09/08/trump_and_devos_side_against_sexual_assault_victims_with_new_title_xi_rollbacks.html" target="_blank">Title IX provisions are going to be rolled back</a>. 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.<br /><br />I am a member at a local gym. &nbsp;I really do like this particular gym. &nbsp;The owners care about the business, are frequently around, and reinvest profits back into the facility and equipment. &nbsp;It really is a great place. &nbsp;They have a good amount of staffed hours, but members also have 24/7 access using a scan card. &nbsp;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.<br /><br />On Saturday I went to the gym during unstaffed hours. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;It was a little bit eerie, but not a big deal. &nbsp;There are plenty of security cameras. &nbsp;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. <br /><br />It wasn't long before I see a car pulling up and a 50-something appearing man can himself in. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;Anyway, the man walked in, put his things down in the lounge area, and walked over to the stereo system and changed the channel. &nbsp;He didn't bother to ask me if I was listening or if I minded if he changed it. &nbsp;This put me a little more on edge because he clearly saw me and clearly didn't care if I was listening. &nbsp;It put him in a position of power over me and made me feel like I belonged there less than he did. &nbsp;I tried to shake it off and continued with my workout. <br /><br />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. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;But he didn't. &nbsp;This put me over the edge. &nbsp;I grabbed my keys and bolted, not even taking the time to re-rack the weights I was using.<br /><br />Did the man intend to hurt me? &nbsp;I doubt it. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;Did the man intend to intimidate me? &nbsp;This question is harder to answer. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;The music wasn't as big of a&nbsp;deal. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;And honestly, I would have told him that I didn't mind if it was changed. &nbsp;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. <br /><br />I got home and was talking about what happened with hubs and I realized that he truly, genuinely didn't get it. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;On the other hand, women, including me, have dealt with this crap since we were young girls. &nbsp;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.<br /><br />I'm fine now. &nbsp;I was uncomfortable and intimidated in the moment, but now I'm just pissed. &nbsp;This has all got to stop because it is not ok.<br /><br />So I guess the moral of the story for women is to use your voice. &nbsp;Speak out. &nbsp;Change can't happen if half of the population doesn't even know there is a problem. &nbsp;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. BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com9tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-11679578032908988562017-08-24T14:19:00.001-04:002017-08-24T14:19:18.956-04:00On my blogoversary! On this day three years ago, I created this blog and pushed publish for the first time. &nbsp;To say the time has flown by is an understatement! <br /><br />I really don't have adequate words to write about how much this space has meant to me during this time. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;The friends that I've made and the support I've received&nbsp;have, by far, been the best and most meaningful part of having this blog. &nbsp;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.<br /><br />I acknowledge that my blogging has tapered way off in the last year, though, ironically, the number of visitors to my blog hasn't. &nbsp;I could give excuses like lack of time, lack of mental energy, and being&nbsp;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. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;In the meantime, I'll continue to write about life without children, at least occasionally. <br /><br />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. &nbsp;Y'all mean the world to me.<br /><br />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. &nbsp;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.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-71708102009563575672017-08-14T07:04:00.002-04:002017-08-14T07:04:49.170-04:00This is not okA woman was killed by a Nazi. &nbsp;In Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. &nbsp;August 13, 2017,<br /><br />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)&nbsp;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. <br /><br />This wasn't a march. &nbsp;It wasn't a protest. &nbsp;It was essentially what amounted to one big KKK rally. They came looking for a fight. &nbsp;The governor of Virginia said they were more and better armed than the state police. &nbsp;The governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state.<br /><br />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. <br /><br />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. <br /><br />I'm not sure if I want to cry or puke. &nbsp;This is not ok.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com11tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-77956675771092378902017-07-26T22:34:00.001-04:002017-07-26T22:34:22.391-04:00Object of pityA few years ago we were just coming to grips with the fact that we'd never have children. &nbsp;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. &nbsp;As you might predict I didn't react well.<div><br /></div><div>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. &nbsp;But with this she did. &nbsp;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." &nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>A few weeks ago my mom called me, randomly, on a Sunday night. &nbsp;I knew from the tone of her voice that one of my sisters was pregnant, just not which one. &nbsp;I soon found out. &nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I figured that my sister would call within the next few days, or at least text. &nbsp;But she didn't. &nbsp;About a week later my mom called me again. &nbsp;Apparently my sister feels so sorry for me that she can't tell me herself. &nbsp;My mom was tasked with giving the official news.</div><div><br /></div><div>So basically I'm an object of pity (and/or the bitter infertile).</div><div><br /></div><div>I can deal with the pregnancy news. &nbsp;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.</div><div><br /></div><div>But to be pitied? &nbsp;That hurts.</div><div><br /></div><div>I don't want pity. &nbsp;A little bit of sensitivity and empathy would be nice. &nbsp;But please don't pity me.</div><div><br /></div><div>I'm not sure how to deal with this. &nbsp;Or whether or not I should bother. &nbsp;I don't want my family to fear telling me their happy news.</div><div><br /></div><div>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.</div><div><br /></div><div><br /></div>BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com19tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-37222884658689224362017-07-11T22:33:00.001-04:002017-07-11T22:33:48.032-04:00And anotherIf you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have three sisters. &nbsp;And starting three months after we found out we'd never have children of our own, each of them got pregnant. &nbsp;When it was all said and done, I endured right around 20 consecutive months of at least one sister being pregnant and welcomed two nieces and a nephew in just over a year. &nbsp;If you think that sounds like some special variety of hell, trust me when I say that it was. &nbsp;If you're not familiar with the narrative, click <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-not-me.html" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/sometimes-life-sucks.html" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/i-have-new-niece.html" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/i-have-another-new-niece.html" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2015/08/and-then-there-was-me.html" target="_blank">here</a>, <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2016/02/i-almost-have-new-nephew.html" target="_blank">here</a>, and quite a few posts in between.<br /><br />Which brings me to why I'm bringing this up.<br /><br />One of my sisters is pregnant. &nbsp;Again. <br /><br />Am I surprised? &nbsp;Not completely. &nbsp;I just didn't anticipate it would happen this soon. &nbsp;They had trouble conceiving their first &nbsp;so I (incorrectly and naively) assumed that the second would take a long time too. &nbsp;I thought I'd have more time before dealing with this again.<br /><br />How am I taking the news? &nbsp;That's more complicated. &nbsp;Compared to how I took the news a couple of years ago, better. &nbsp;Though "better" is relative. <br /><br />I am being reacquainted with feelings I don't wish to be reacquainted with. &nbsp;I am feeling sorry for myself. &nbsp;And I'm angry with god or the universe or whatever. &nbsp;Because none of this is fair.<br /><br />Just when I thought I was in a place where I was doing really well, this happens. &nbsp;Fan-fucking-tastic.<br /><br />If there's a silver lining in the situation, it's that there is no chance of having more than one sister pregnant this time. &nbsp;The other two have their tubes tied. &nbsp;Yay for small victories. <br /><br /><br />BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com20tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6102758362320348657.post-46641091299367135702017-07-06T21:15:00.000-04:002017-07-06T21:15:03.234-04:00The posts I want to writeI have a lot on my mind yet I seem to have lost my writing mojo.&nbsp; Not to mention that free time seems to be lacking.<br /><br />I want to tell you about how we're updating the look of our house by painting the exterior.&nbsp; About how it's taking longer (and costing more money) than anticipated.&nbsp; And about how, despite my complaints, many trips to the home improvement store, and arguments with hubs', I'm loving every single minute of it.<br /><br />I want you to know that my <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/desperate-measures.html" target="_blank">poison ivy</a> is almost gone.&nbsp; It took a seven day course of steroids to jump start the healing, but slowly but surely it's disappearing.&nbsp; And at least it doesn't itch (that much) anymore, though I suspect I may have some scarring around my ankles and on my right wrist.<br /><br />I want to tell you about our absolutely fantastic trip to London that was everything I'd hoped it would be and more!&nbsp; While we saw so many amazing things while we were there, easily my favorite was using the public transportation network.&nbsp; You see, I've always had a fascination with mass transit (to the extent that if I had a career do-over, I'd probably be an engineer), so it's no surprise that I'd have a fascination with one of the first mass transit networks in the world.&nbsp; Maybe someday we'll get to live abroad!&nbsp;<br /><br />Back in April I wrote about a <a href="http://bentnotbrokenblog.blogspot.com/2017/04/weirdness.html" target="_blank">potential promotion</a> at work.&nbsp; I didn't get it.&nbsp; There were politics involved.&nbsp; The process was circumvented.&nbsp; I don't know how to play that game (and even if I did I wouldn't).&nbsp; I'm less upset that I didn't get the promotion then I am about HOW I didn't get it.&nbsp; I'm sure there will be other opportunities at some point, here or elsewhere.&nbsp; At the end of the day I have a job that I love and that I get a lot of fulfillment from, and that alone is more than a lot of people have and something to be thankful for.<br /><br />I want to write a post about Father's Day and how that day is actually harder for me than Mother's Day.&nbsp; Because, medically speaking, it is my fault that my husband will never be a father.&nbsp; While he's always said that he'd rather be with me and not have kids then be with someone else and have a litter of kids, it's still guilt that I live with and that I can't shake.<br /><br />I want to tell you about my favorite niece and how her birthday is always a bittersweet day for me.&nbsp; When I took her from the doctor's hands and handed her to my sister so she and my brother-in-law could marvel at the chubby, blue eyed, dark hair beauty that she was/is, I didn't know that it would be as close as I would ever come to experiencing childbirth.&nbsp; This year it hit me a bit hard.<br /><br />I want to complain about how sometimes the universe sucks.&nbsp; Like how hubs and I had planned a trip to Long Island so he could see a band he's always wanted to see in concert, we could spend some time lounging at a beach cottage, and spend some time with <a href="https://infertilityhonesty.com/" target="_blank">Sarah</a> and her wonderful husband Julio.&nbsp; But that was all snatched away when hubs ended up in the ER with kidney stones less than 36 hours before we were supposed to leave.&nbsp; With the help of some pretty powerful pain meds, he was able to pass them, but it really was shitty timing.&nbsp; Though honestly, I'm glad it happened when it did as opposed to while we were away, because I have no desire to navigate the bullshit that is finding an "in network" hospital in a different state.<br /><br />And finally, I want to write about how Independence Day was hard to celebrate this year.&nbsp; America is no longer the great nation that I was born in and lived the first 35.5 years of my life in.&nbsp; We are as divided and as hateful as ever and it's frightening.&nbsp; It is my sincerest hope that we can weather this illegitimate president and impeach him before the Constitution and this country are irreparably damaged.&nbsp;<br /><br />So that's a bit about what's been on my mind.&nbsp; Maybe eventually I'll sit down and write it all out.BentNotBrokenhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/10151724076659555122noreply@blogger.com9