So – I’ll save you the usual apologies for being gone so long. Until we move and/or get Bunny into daycare, sporadic will just have to do.
This post has been running through my head for a while, though I admit it’s still a jumble. I’m hoping that writing it out will help clarify some things.
What is left when the wreckage of the last 3.5 years is cleared?
I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. The last 5(!) months since Bunny was born have been a whirlwind. New job, big decisions, and of course the huge life change that is just having her here. I admit there are still days that I “remember” I’m a mom and freak the fuck out. She is still in a lot of ways an abstract to me. But she’s slowly but surely becoming a little person with her own wants needs and desires, so the abstract is gaining focus.
Last month, Shmerson and I re-watched the first two seasons of “Sherlock” (don’t be so impressed, it’s only six episodes), in preparation for the new season. While watching it, I realized that I remembered NOTHING. Not one single thing about this show, which I knew that I loved and I always categorized as brilliant. When I mentioned this to Shmerson, I noted: “We must have watched it while I was drugged up.”
I don’t think I hid this here, but I don’t think I discussed it much either: After losing Nadav I spent the better part of six months HEAVILY medicated. My pregnancy with Bunny I spent on very strong anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, which meant I was mostly emotionally detached from everything that entire time (and it wasn’t just the meds, it was also a defense mechanism). I credit that medication with saving my sanity and my life. But it does mean that there’s a good year or so of my life that passed in a complete haze. I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in December of 2010 – over 3 years ago – which generally numbed my feelings. I am now only taking Xan.ax to deal with my anxiety disorder, and I’m on a very small dose. For the first time in 3 years – I’m no longer in a haze or emotionally detached due to medication.
It gets more complicated: My first miscarriage happened just two months after our wedding. From that point on, I was a woman on a mission. I abandoned literally EVERYTHING in pursuit of a baby. In June of 2010, had you asked – I would have said that my greatest ambition was to direct feature films. I had already gotten a development grant and I was getting closer and closer to that goal. If you would have told me then that I’d abandon it all to accommodate a string of high-risk pregnancies, and then become a content manager at a start-up and actually ENJOY it I would have thought that the notion was absurd.
My first loss turned everything upside down for me, and the world has only really begun to straighten up now. There were moments during the last 3.5 years that I *thought* I had things figured out. I “made decisions” regarding my future. I “pushed on”. In hindsight – those moments were a total crock.
I spent 6 months thinking I wanted to be a teacher. I spent a year and a half teaching.
I do NOT want to be a teacher.
I went back to school to get BA level psych credits so that I could do a Master’s in Art Therapy.
I do NOT want to be an art therapist.
I also don’t think I want to be a filmmaker, though that option hasn’t completely been taken off the table. 10 years of pursuing it and 2 degrees keep it perpetually on the table.
I love my job – but I’m also not sure I want to be doing that for the rest of my life.
But this is not just about career choices.
Out of the last 3.5 years, I spent 84 weeks of them pregnant. That’s almost 20 months. Practically two years.
I spent the remainder either attempting to get pregnant or grieving a lost pregnancy, or both at the same time.
(For the sake of this argument, I’m not counting of course the 5 months I have now spent raising Bunny).
That time basically demolished me completely. Giving birth to Bunny only cleared the wreckage, and of course, I can’t rely on her to rebuild. This is about me.
I need to figure out who I am now. That’s kind of a huge deal.
The last 3.5 years have called almost all of my assumptions about myself into question. Parts of my personality that I was CONVINCED were inherent to it are now absolutely gone.
A small example: I was absolutely 100% convinced that I will always be a person who struggles to diet. Gestational diabetes changed that. I have been consistently shedding pounds since giving birth and I’m now 5 pounds less than I was before getting pregnant with Bunny. I have a good 20 to go before I reach my ideal weight, but I’m getting there, and it’s not even CLOSE to being a struggle. Patience and willpower? Ha! Small potatoes compared to the hell of a high-risk pregnancy.
Any free headspace I have these days is dedicated to two things:
1) Figuring out who I am
2) Making an effort to fix the things I don’t like about myself.
There are very few things I know about myself now. This is what I’ve managed to figure out so far:
I know I both love and am terrified by being a mother.
I know I love my husband.*
I know that I have a strong survival instinct, and I am incredibly stubborn.
I know I’m good at my job.
I know I’m a good writer (prose mostly, ok at scripts, suck at poetry).
I know I don’t trust doctors.
I know that generally, people tend to like me when they meet me.
I know that I have absolutely NO fashion sense, nor do I have an interest in developing one.
I know I have some serious self-esteem issues
I know that purple is my favorite color, Faith No More is my favorite band, my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, and the odd one out – “The Music of Chance” by Paul Auster. I’m a 90’s pop culture junkie and I love (modern) Dr. Who and (not-so-modern) Monty Python movies.
I know I’m a good cook, though I’m no longer sure what my favorite food is. It used to be lobster. I think it may now be french fries. Or maybe fresh-baked white bread with butter.
I know I’m a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, and a good sister. Though in my weakest moments I question all of that.
If you’re counting, that’s basically 12 things. Everything else is up in the air.
Wait – I know one more thing: That whatever I figure out about who I am, I want Bunny to be proud of that person. I know I need to lead by example.
The wreckage has cleared – it’s time to rebuild.
* Last night Shmerson and I had a bit of a mini-fight. It ended with me explaining all of this to him. He told me: “I don’t know what you’re going to be either, but I can’t wait to find out, because I know it’ll be amazing.” I love him so fucking much.