Envy, Atheism and Neil Gaiman

12 May

Hi Everyone. It’s Shmerson again.

So I’ve been feeling like shit for the last week or so. Yesterday Shmersonette told me I should write a post about it. I replied that a post about it will be the shortest post ever: I FEEL LIKE SHIT. Then I had the last 24 hours to think about it.

I feel like crying all the time. I try to distract myself and it works: when I’m not at the University, or at work – I watch something stupid on my phone or computer. Or do some chore or other. When Shmersonette’s around I feel better. But when I have none of those things, it’s horrible. I’m not even talking about “when I’m alone with my thoughts” because it has nothing to do with thoughts. I don’t think about something and then get that bad feeling. I just look away from my phone and through the window of the bus and get that feeling – the thoughts only come later.

I think subconsciously I was waiting for Shmersonette to calm down a little so that I may freak out. I also think I am now feeling all 3 miscarriages at once, because when the first two were happening, I focused on Shmersonette, and relatively I didn’t feel anything close to what I feel now.

I see a pregnant woman on the street and I want to punch her in the face. Not really, but I’m pissed. And I’m not a violent person at all. I just think that she’s a stupid bitch who does not now how lucky she is. Also, these last few days I saw some pregnant ladies and they were all skinny – seriously, no pregnant butt, no pregnant thighs, not even pregnant boobs. And they were all just doing their job, or riding the bus, as if there isn’t a miracle happening in their body.

Of course, I’m just being mean. Some of them might have gone through IF or MC. Still, when I see one, I just decide that they don’t appreciate what they have, and we should be the ones having that baby. Now I’m reminded that an old friend once told me she had to take hormones for some reason, and the doctor told her that a side effect is thinking about sex a lot. “how much exactly is a lot?” she asked, to which the doctor replied “as much as a man does”. And she did. “Is this really how your minds work?” she asked me. So now I ask you ladies: Is THIS how YOUR minds work? Thinking about babies all the time?

I’ve been thinking about Neil Gaiman today. He’s one of my idols. For those of you who’ve never heard of him, he’s a writer. He’s written comic books, short stories, novels and scripts. By the way, the next Doctor Who episode? He wrote that too. He really knows his way with myths and legends, and because of him I’m currently doing a minor in Mythology.

Neil Gaiman in a TARDIS

So I was reminded of a short story he wrote. It is called “The Wedding Gift” or something like that. The story is hidden inside a prologue he wrote for a collection of short stories called “Smoke and mirrors” (Take that, people who don’t read prologues! How cool is that?). It goes something like this: A couple gets married. When they open their presents, they find a paper with a single sentence: “Will and Kate got married on a lovely sunday afternoon.” (Okay I don’t remember the characters names, and Gaiman IS british). They don’t throw it away. A few months later they look at it again, and see that there’s another sentence in it, describing what happened since the wedding.

Some time later, the sentences in the magical paper start to say mean things. Like one of them cheated on the other, or the other got sick. Those things were not true. They keep looking at the Paper every now and then. At a certain point in the story, one of them understands that it is a gift. Whoever gave it to them wanted to make sure that the bad things will happen to Will and Kate in the story, so they don’t happen to the real Will and Kate.

Don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways we’re the real, happy Will and Kate. Our relationship is getting stronger each day, and it was strong and honest to begin with. We’re on the right track in many ways. When we hear about another couple having a fight over some stupid, trivial thing we thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster we never do that. But in other ways, I feel like we’re the couple stuck in that story within story, the ones who go through the bad things.

It’s so easy being a believer. I used to be religious, and at the age of 15 I became an atheist. About a minute later, that was my first atheist conclusion: It’s easier and healthier to believe; in belief there’s order, fairness, a plan, a fate. You believe that there’s something writing your story. My next atheist conclusion was that I want to be a believer again. My third – that I can’t. Partly because I know how comforting and easy it is. But I wish there was some god (no capital g for you, you’re a noun now!) that I could blame. Now I feel we’re stuck in the story with bad things, only nobody is writing it.

When we were in the hospital, 3 weeks ago, before the results, we were trying to pretend it’s okay. We calculated the dates and decided that if Shmersonette ovulated like 7 days after her period, and got a BFP 7 days later (both unlikely, I know) then everything is okay. Then I said – if this is true we’re going home, looking for a charity fund we both like, and giving it 500 Shekels (150 Dollars more or less). That was a religious thing to do – I was making sort of a deal with god, or the universe, or whatever – but I don’t believe it works like that. It’s not that I want there to be a god. I just want to believe, even if there isn’t.

Neil Gaiman started as comic writer. His most famous series is “Sandman”, in which he took all religions and mythologies and blended them into one story, adding his own mythology: The endless; seven siblings, more powerful than gods, each of them responsible for a function that even gods comply to: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium.

Most of the siblings act in accordance with their purpose. Except Dream, AKA Sandman, on which the series focuses – he’s grumpy and official. And Death is really cheerful and fun, you’ll love her. (Yes, Death is a she). So besides those two – destruction left his role, his domain and his siblings. Delirium used to be called Delight, but something went wrong with that. Now she’s a delirious manic-depressive little girl . Desire is a beautiful, charming man-woman, and so on.

But the point I was getting to is this: Desire and Despair are twins. Desire is kind of a bitch/douche, always plotting. Despair helps her/him, not because she’s evil – she’s just passive. So usually, Desire makes the first move towards someone – sooner or later he will belong to Despair’s domain. So that’s how I feel right now – a healthy pregnancy was our desire for a year now, and every time Shmersonette went through a miscarriage we wanted it more. but now, for now, I’m in Despair.

And maybe the answer is not to let Desire trick us like that. Sure, we will do the tests and then keep on TTC. I’m not sure how to phrase this without saying “just relax and don’t think about it and it will come” because that’s not what I mean. It’s more like we should not desire it, just do it. Stop TTC and continue to make love. stop doing things for the baby, but do the same things because we need to do them anyway – for ourselves.

Okay. This is really long. I’m done now. Thank you for reading.

26 Responses to “Envy, Atheism and Neil Gaiman”

  1. me0me May 12, 2011 at 19:48 #

    I love you man. Thanks for writing.

    I remember reading Death because it was based on Tori. That was fun. I should take up one of his books, will probably immensely enjoy it. Recommendations for a first?

    • shmerson May 12, 2011 at 19:58 #

      books: Smoke and Mirrors- short stories.
      American Gods- brilliant brilliant brilliant!
      Good Omens (with my other idol Terry Pratchett): funny.

      comics: The Sandman (10 comic books, each about 100 pages, you have to read them by order but in my opinion you can read no. 4 first- it’s one of the best and does not require prev knowledge. and the 1st is not as good as the others).
      there’s also Black Orchid, and a short comic called Harlequin Valentine. also- 1602- which re-imagines the Marvel world in 1602- but that’s for people who like super-heros.
      there’s more- but I haven’t read it all.

      movies and television: the movie Stardust (also based on his book), and the next episode of Doctor Who!

      and thanks for the comment.

      • shmerson May 13, 2011 at 11:04 #

        I forgot about Coraline- a book and also a stop-motion movie.

        • me0me May 13, 2011 at 15:41 #

          actually saw that one, in Lev Dizengoff in 3D (first 3D and one of only three so far! WooHoo!)

  2. bodegabliss May 12, 2011 at 20:14 #

    I have to say, it’s so refreshing to hear the male’s point of view (but not refreshing to hear of your despair, of course). Your lady and I were talking yesterday that I wish I could have seen Tim have more emotion. I know it was there, but he was being strong for me and trying to fight for the positive when I couldn’t. But damn it was frustrating sometimes. So I commend you for letting your feelings come over you, for expressing them here…as difficult as they are.

    Thank you for writing this. I know your baby is waiting for you…and you are both going to be such amazing parents, and as a result of this struggle, stronger than ever. Your baby is going to be so blessed to have you both as her parents.

    Hm…in response to your despair…perhaps you need some more bourbon? 😉

    • bodegabliss May 12, 2011 at 20:15 #

      (in other words, I’m all about drowning your sorrows in whiskey)

      • shmerson May 12, 2011 at 20:41 #

        here’s the thing about men and expressing emotion: In my University everything boils down to gender studies. And lately I’ve been thinking that just as society indoctrinates women on some issues, society also indoctrinates men. Men should provide more. Men should fuck as much as they can, even (sometimes- preferably) without any emotion. men can’t be heart broken. men don’t cry. men don’t show emotion.
        I’m radicalizing here, I know, but you get my point.
        A friend asked me once why some gay men act in a feminine way. Just because they’re gay doesn’t make them less men. I thought about it and answered that maybe we, (straight men, and gays who aren’t “feminine”) are the ones faking it.
        I know that me and my friends started to change at somepoint, and it wasn’t just biology- some of it was society.
        I have to admit that in me pre-Shmersonette life I didn’t cry. and it took me 8 months to be this exposed in this blog. and i still needed a push from her to write this post.

        just remember that it all comes from a good place- he’s probably pretending he’s strong for you (see my previous post). that’s how we think. even if it’s not what you need at the moment, remember he means well.

        about 2 years ago I went through a crisis of my own (some post in the future) and she was strong for me. I don’t wish anything bad to happen to you two, but thanks to what happend then and how Shmersonette responded, I’m more open now.

        thanks for the offer. I still have to try the Bulleit. I made a rule not to drink out of sadness, ( a rule i disobeyed several times the last 3 weeks), but now I’m trying to follow it. but thanks!

        • me0me May 12, 2011 at 21:32 #

          Have to say the ‘maybe we are the ones faking it’ totally teared me up (connecting to my post of not being masculine enough). That’s pretty powerful right there.

          • shmerson May 12, 2011 at 22:12 #

            it works in every way, though. just as some “masculine” characteristics are indocrinated, it could be that some of the “gay” characteristics are indocrinated. almost everything is, in my opinion, unless you’re Greg House.

  3. Kristin May 12, 2011 at 20:29 #

    Shmerson, your story about how you are feeling and how you are reacting sounds a lot like how my husband dealt with all our losses. And, in answer to your question, yes, we think about babies a lot and it because almost an obsessive thing when we’re dealing with loss and infertility. I’m so sorry. As I’ve told people before, don’t feel bad about your thoughts and feelings. What defines the decency of a person is whether or not they act on these horrible thoughts and feelings. I know, simply by the fact that you are married to your lovely wife, that you are not the type of person to give into those dark thoughts and feelings…so don’t feel bad about them.

    • shmerson May 12, 2011 at 20:50 #

      thanks. It was mostly a figure of speech and i totally agree. I just like to hate them, or pretend to, in my head.

      another story, which was left out due to the post being 1350 words, is this:
      today, i saw a father walking with a stroller. he had 2 feet long dreadlocks. I was like: what kind of father are you? grow the fuck up, you’re not jamaican or anything, you’re Jewish, your parents came here from fucking Poland, lose the dreads or give back the baby to whatever stupid entity that gave it to you, so that it gets to someone who deserve a baby!

      and it was mostly to amuse myself. really. i don’t think only Jamiacan people are allowed to have dreads, or anything. i actually think it’s cool. and i have a long hair myself, which is out of fashion here. and i sure as hell am not cutting it and growing a beard just because my forefathers did.

      someday, i will walk up the street with my stroller, and some other guy will hate me. oh, the circle of life.

  4. Teejay May 12, 2011 at 20:49 #

    Yes, we think about babies all the time and we have our moments when we want to punch pregnant women in the face. It’s all part of the process. I’m glad you are taking the time to write out your feelings. I’m hoping that it gives you some comfort. It gives me some comfort in learning more about a man’s point of view during all the crazy stuff. I hope you guys get your miracle sooner rather than later.

    • shmerson May 12, 2011 at 20:57 #

      thanks. i have to say writing this did make me feel a lot better, the best i’ve felt in the last days.

  5. BleedingTulip May 13, 2011 at 00:51 #

    So many thoughts… what a great post. Don’t apologize for the length. Us bloggers are all about getting as much of the “whole picture” as we can. 🙂

    You have certainly inspired me to get my hands on some Neil Gaiman! Avid reader that I am, I’ve discovered there are too many fantastic authors out there and not enough time.

    Infertility has wrecked havoc on many things, but most noticeably on my husband and my sex life. So I get it, the idea of not giving up, but trying to pursue a child while maintaining your sanity. I hope you two can find a balance of doing the things you need to do not just for your future baby but for yourselves as well.

    And as for “A friend asked me once why some gay men act in a feminine way. Just because they’re gay doesn’t make them less men. I thought about it and answered that maybe we, (straight men, and gays who aren’t “feminine”) are the ones faking it.”
    This made me smile. As I have a number of gay friends and family, I have become something of an unofficial “expert” to my straight friends. I am going to try my best to remember this quote the next time I get asked why my gay cousin likes sparkly things.

    • shmerson May 13, 2011 at 10:47 #

      just 2 days ago one of my professors said that minorities of any kind often like something that is considered “shallow” by the mainstream, not because they’re shallow but because it’s a way to protest, to mock the mainstream itself. i think it’s very true, and more relevant to “gay sparkly things”.

  6. Marie May 13, 2011 at 08:29 #

    Don’t punch the pregnant women in the face, Guido.

    Make it count and go for their stomachs.

    Love to you both 🙂

    • shmerson May 13, 2011 at 10:20 #

      I LOVE it when people have a sense of humor darker than mine, and are not afraid to use it. publicly. can i punch the baby out of her and take it?

      • Marie May 13, 2011 at 18:46 #

        Fine by me, but would you really want it? A baby that started out in that evil incubator? 😉

        • shmerson May 13, 2011 at 21:41 #

          yeah, and I rescued it from there!

  7. jjiraffe May 13, 2011 at 09:15 #

    Wow. This is a powerful post. When my husband went through all our infertility shit, he was silent (and still won’t talk about it.) I wonder how he dealt with it (I myself still haven’t come to terms with it) so I thank you for sharing your honesty with us. I loved the movie “Coraline”, but struck out with the Anansi Brothers (or, more fairly, didn’t give it a fair chance probably): but now after reading this I’m compelled to give him Gaiman another try.

    Aside: Ayelet Waldman posted photos of his wedding to an impossibly cool-looking singer on Twitter. It all looked so arty and glam.

    • shmerson May 13, 2011 at 10:35 #

      i totally forgot about Anansi Boys and Coraline.
      Coraline is also a good book.
      Anansi Boys is not his best work…

      and thank you for reading!

  8. Mel May 13, 2011 at 16:07 #

    Aaah, you got me over with putting Neil Gaiman in the title.

    This is perhaps my favourite thought here:

    “Now I’m reminded that an old friend once told me she had to take hormones for some reason, and the doctor told her that a side effect is thinking about sex a lot. “how much exactly is a lot?” she asked, to which the doctor replied “as much as a man does”. And she did. “Is this really how your minds work?” she asked me. So now I ask you ladies: Is THIS how YOUR minds work? Thinking about babies all the time?”

    Which is brilliant.

  9. Esperanza May 13, 2011 at 16:38 #

    Wow. What an amazing post. To know that a man, any man, could feel that way is really significant in a way I can’t explain. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    Also, I have the first Deluxe Bound Set of Sandman and I have been meaning to read it for a year now. You’ve definitely given me the push I need. I ADORE Gaiman and have read many of his books. Thanks for reminding me about the Sandman series. I’m STOKED to delve into it tonight.

  10. coffeegrl May 21, 2011 at 03:53 #

    Awesome post. I love the little bits of Gaiman that I’ve read. His mind is just amazing. And it seems so true to think of Desire and Despair as twins. What a great way to express how freaking maddening the whole thing can be. Thanks for sharing.

  11. deathstar44 May 21, 2011 at 18:09 #

    I didn’t really start thinking about babies a lot until I couldn’t have one. then that’s all I could think about. The child I wanted to make with my husband. I’m a Buddhist, and as far as someone/thing writing your story – well, it sucks, but mostly we are responsible for the things that happen. Even if they’re shit. But it’s not like oh, all this shit is my fault kind of way. It’s more like life is unfair, you will have tragedies, suffer pain want to punch people out for having what you cannot have kind of way. Suck it up and find another way to live through hell. Comparing yourself to others will lead you to disillusion.

    Having said all that, thank you for sharing your insides. It’s okay to feel sad or like you want to punch people out. It’s okay to feel like shit.


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