Tag Archives: starting over

Aftermath

7 Jun

First of all, thank you everyone for your amazing comments on yesterday’s post. Sharing your vices, giving support, and reminding me that I’m worthy of having some hope. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

So here’s what happened after I hit “publish”:

I had a complete meltdown.

As in – I hadn’t had one this bad since about a week after we lost Nadav.

As in – panic attack, destructive thoughts, hysterical crying – the whole pile of crapnuggets.

I tried calling Shmerson and he wasn’t answering his phone. I knew I shouldn’t be alone. So I called my mom and she came over and we had a talk.

Amazingly enough – she really helped me get my head straight again. She’s not usually this good with crises but somehow she pulled it off. Yay mom!

After reading all of your comments, a lot of talking, and yes, a bit of smoking, here is all of the good that came out of yesterday (in list form, of course):

1. Douchenozzle is now officially my favorite word ever. Seriously. I just thought I’d put that out there.

2. I’m changing therapists. I love my shrink, and I’ve been with her for four years. But the fact that I still go to these destructive places, and the fact that I constantly have to “explain” pregnancy loss and infertility to her means she’s just not what I need right now.

I’ve seen what wonders a therapist specializing in IF has done for Cristy, and I really think I need someone now who understands what this feels like. So this Monday will probably be my last session. After four years, it’s time to move on.

3. I’m signing up for the accelerated Art Therapy program. One thing I didn’t share with you guys be cause I was very much in ZOMG THE DRAMA – land yesterday, is that when I met with the head of the program, she also said: Apply first, make decisions later.

So I bit the bullet and did my online application last night. Then I emailed her to tell her about it and she was THRILLED. She knows that things are still up in the air, and that’s ok with her and with me. What’s the worst that can happen? I get accepted to the program and can’t do it, and I start the next year with the regular program. That’s really not the end of the world.

This also means I’m going back to school in July! There are a bunch of pre-requisites that I have to take before the program can officially accept me, and I’m going to do them all in the summer (or as many as I can fit in anyway).

Here’s the crazy thing: Just this little act of filling out an online application has done WONDERS! Usually, when I try falling asleep, or just shutting my eyes for a few minutes of rest, my mind wanders to fantasies that usually include a baby in my arms. Today, my mind went to ideas for a thesis. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

3. I am officially stopping the delusion that I can pull off quitting smoking cold turkey. Instead, I’m going to start by gradually cutting down. A bunch of you said in the comments – and you’re right – that one step at a time is the right thing. So yeah – I’m taking the long road for once on this.

4. I bought a new dress today. And I dyed my hair purple. And I ate some sushi.

5. The major takeaway from all of this is that in my hurry I kind of let go of some of the things that I learned from losing Nadav. I put on horse blinders and that was wrong.

I forgot that putting my life on hold – for any reason – does only harm.

I forgot that when it comes to infertility, no amount of speculation and planning will help the outcome, and sometimes, that planning can come back and bite you in the ass in the form of disappointment.

So when it comes to my life – I’m better off moving forward without letting the “what if”s get in the way of my “right now”s.

6. Hee hee. Douchenozzle. I seriously don’t know where I got it, but I love it. Oh! Turns out it actually has a definition! And now of course I must create a douchenozzle cat. I mean, really, how can I not? I owe it to the world.

Here you go, world:

You’re welcome.

This is me NOT being self flagellating. No. Really. I swear.

28 Sep

Me: Our pants don’t fit anymore.

Me: I know. I’m ok with that. It’s a side-effect of the Cym.balta, and um, you know, the fact that we had surgery a month and a half ago. And that we’ve been pregnant 3 times in the last year.

Me: So? We’re fat. I want to hate us now. Can I hate us?

Me: Nope. Not doing that anymore. We are learning patience and forgiveness for not being perfect.

Me: Ok. So we’re not mad at ourselves for the fat thing?

Me: Nope.

Me: What about resolving to completely overhaul our eating habits NOW and do a 180? We should totally do that!

Me: Not gonna happen.

Me: But why? I love it when we do that!

Me: But then we fail and hate ourselves.

Me: So? That’s my favorite part!

Me: Not gonna happen.

Me: Ok. Fine. Can we be mad at ourselves for not going to yoga then?

Me: Nope. Things are too busy and crazy right now for that. it’s ok if we don’t go back to yoga for a while.

Me: Ok – how about the fact that we got home at 4pm today and did NOTHING and the house is a mess?

Me: Nope. It was a long day and we needed a break to veg and do nothing. Plus, there’s not much point in cleaning. We’re starting to pack next week so the house will be a wreck anyway.

Me: Oh come on! I need a reason to hate on us! I can’t stand this whole acceptance thing! It’s totally against everything we stand for!

Me: Not anymore sweetheart. We’re all content and at peace and shit.

Me: Come on, throw me a bone here!

Me: Fine. Here’s one: We’ve been really crappy at keeping up with the blogs this week. And it’s ICLW.

Me: Oh! Yep! We totally have! Yay! Can I flagellate us now?

Me: Fine. Go ahead.

Me: *jumps up and down with excitement and runs to grab the whip*

Me: We have a problem, seriously. Well – you do at least.

PS – Happy birthday BB! Love you!

PPS – Even though things are crazy, I’ll still have time for Group Therapy Thursday this week! Don’t just sit there –submit your question! 🙂

PPSS – Shana Tova to all of you Jewish-type people in blog land! Hope this year brings good news for all of us! And stuff! And things!

Climbing

30 Jul

Have you guys ever been to a point where you are so overwhelmed that your head no longer holds thoughts- just a continuous buzzing?  Yeah, that’s where I’m at. Heady-explode-y.

So much stuff has been happening, I don’t even know where to start. On the same day we went in for the lap consult, we got an offer on our current apartment, which means we’re one step closer to moving into our shiny new place and I can start getting my nesting on. My lap is scheduled for this Thursday, and I’m spending the next few days running around doing all sorts of paperwork and pre-op blood work and doctor’s appointments. Things are insane.

On our way to the lap consult, Shmerson told me something that’s kind of been echoing in his mind. He says he feels like a 15 year old impersonating an adult. We’re buying and selling real-estate, we’re applying for mortgages, we’re going into doctors’ offices with binders full of my medical history. He’s writing emails to his professors asking for extensions because “his wife is going in for surgery”.

Freaky.

I feel the same way. I feel like a total impostor sometimes. I really do. How the heck can I act like an adult when I basically barely have any clue who I am? There are days that I just want to say “fuck it all” and just party. Or something. Ok. I’m not much of a party animal. But sometimes it’s just too much. I just want to hang out and have someone else worry about my tubes for a change.

But things only get stranger from here. With all of this going on,  I’m actually relatively CALM. I’m not in a hurry so much any more with the getting knocked up. Not because I want it any less. But just because I’m starting to realize that before I get knocked up things need to calm the frak down. We need to move. I need to get through this lap. I need to find a new job. Shmerson needs to get through his exams and find a new job. There’s so much to do. We need to get our stability on.

Today, Shmerson and I were talking. He told me that he wishes all of this sucky stuff hadn’t happened during our first year of marriage. He said: “Why couldn’t we have had like, 5 years of ignorant wedded bliss before all this crap happened?”

I answered in a particularly zen way: “If we had 5 years of ignorance, then we probably wouldn’t have appreciated them.”

The thing is – we keep on talking about wanting things to get “better” already. What is “better” anyway?

I don’t think there’s ever a place of perfection. And you know what? I’m not so much of a fan of the “Happy Ending.” Because then things end. I like this whole living thing, thank you very much.

So no happy endings for me. Happy being. Happy living. Not even that. Contentment. I think that’s what I’m striving for now. Calm.

Heck  – I’ll take a week without depression. A baby would be nice too. But there’s stuff to be done first.

Ok I’m rambling. This is going to be one of those long rambling posts so you guys may as well grab a cup of tea and settle in.

….

Are you back? Ok then.

I went to visit PM last week.  I held her little one in my arms for close to half an hour. Half an hour of complete calm and peace that proved to me that this is completely what I want.

And yet

PM is overwhelmed. She’s going through some serious crap. She looked at me with this terribly sad face and said “I’m not the same person any more”.

I’ve known her for 15 years. I knew she was serious. This isn’t the postpartum depression talking. Being a mom changes you. It’s a huge transition.

I’ve always known that but this is the first time I saw the “downside” of it. The intimate and dark part. The part no one really likes to talk about. Looking at her, and her amazing baby, I realized that it’s ok if we take some time to get our life in order.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. PM is so happy to have the little one here. She loves him. But she’s mourning a part of her that is gone. The 15 year old that’s playing the adult. Now there’s no play. There’s just adult. That’s  a scary proposition.

***

Shmerson and I have both been guilty of trying to get too much done at once. There’s always a list. One hundred things that would make us better, happier, whatever.

But we both make the same fatal mistake over and over: We try to do it all at once, fail miserably, and then feel bad about ourselves.

What is “better” and how do we get there?

Well – you certainly can’t get there when you’re running around like a crazy person trying to do it all. No one is super human. There’s only so much you can do.

When Shmerson and I started talking about taking a break from TTC a couple of weeks back, I once again started a list. Lose weight, quit smoking (again), find a new job, exercise more, try to get a film off the ground (again), bla bla bla bla bla.

Up until now, I would have tried to tackle all of this. All at once. Now.

But here’s what PM taught me: Slow. The Fuck. Down.

At my shrink’s on Wednesday she told me something very simple: “Let’s just start with a job.”

Yeah, let’s. Let’s get through this lap and start with a job. One thing at a time.

You fall fast when you hit rock bottom. I hit rock bottom somewhere over the last couple of months. But the climb is slow. And it’s not always easy. But it has to be done to pull yourself out of the muck.

As much as Shmerson and I are overwhelmed right now, I recognize that we’re in the midst of a slow climb. A climb towards “better”, whatever that is. But we’re climbing. We’re not perfect. But we’re climbing. Hopefully, this time, one step at a time. And that’s as good a place to start as any.

To make up for this rather heady and rambly post- proof that I’m not the only one in the family with a bunny fetish:

Luna and one of her many stuffed bunny toys.

Stop the Train, I Want to Get Off

16 Jul

So I’ve been away for a few days. I’ve had a lot going on, and I’ve had a lot of thinking to do. It started on Monday, when my reaction to those test results were so visceral, that Shmerson confronted me about it. He told me that we can’t go on this way, that we need a break from trying.

That got my head spinning. I immediately said “No way in Hell.”

Then on Wednesday my therapist pointed out that perhaps my career has stalled because I’ve made making a baby my career. Which is an awesome way to not deal with my real issues, because at least there, failure is not my fault. I’ve spent the last few months feeling like a failure. A failure in my career, a failure in my pursuit to be a mother, a failure as a person in general. And the only failures I’ve truly been acknowledging are in the mommyhood department.

And all of this kept on coming up with everyone I was talking to. Maybe I’m trying to do too much. To keep too many balls in the air. Why do I feel the need to run so fast anyway?

It’s like pushing down the gas peddle when the car’s in neutral. All it does is waste energy, and it gets you nowhere.

So I took some time. I talked it out. I thought it out. I’ve made some decisions.

Shmerson is right. We can’t have another month like this.

My therapist is right – I’m ignoring everything except the baby thing.

Shmerson is right again – our problems won’t magically go away when I give birth to a baby.

On Tuesday night, PM gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. The next day, I came to the labor ward to visit her. She was exhausted. Her husband brought the little one out. He was this little miracle. This beautiful baby boy. And she had made him. I started crying. Not because I was sad for me. It was because I was truly in awe. You see, PM is the first person who I’m close to who has given birth while I was around. I was out of the country when my nephew was born, and didn’t meet him until he was 6 months old. I was too young to appreciate it with other people in my life. And PM is my first friend to become a mother. My first close friend.  I was just plain in awe of that little thing who was less than twenty four hours old. Who I had felt in her stomach less than a week earlier. I held on to his little fingers and I saw a flash of the future, 17 years from now, at some random dinner, with her kids and mine, when I see that kid and jokingly tell him “I held your hand when you were 15 hours old”. I was filled with joy at this little miracle.

PM was surrounded by family, but we had this little bubble moment. You know – the kind that happen sometimes between old friends, when you’re surrounded by people but communicating between each other in codes. And one message came from PM to me loud and clear: she is terrified. Yes, she is happy. Yes, she is in love. But she is scared out of her wits.

This moment gave me a new sense of perspective. PM pretty much has her shit together. She’s got a decent job, her career is right where she wants it to be, she and her husband have already moved into the nice apartment, they’re pretty much set for the near future.

I have spent the last year letting all of my ambitions and dreams slip through my fingers all in the pursuit of a baby.

And by doing that, I have given myself more reasons to be terrified. Having a kid is scary enough. Do I really need to be scared of all of this other stuff too?

So I sat down with Squish and talked. I sat down with Shmerson and talked. I sat down with Marie and talked. And with a bunch of other people who I love and trust.

And then I did some thinking.

During our talk last night Squish asked me why the hell I was in such a hurry. She was the fourth person to ask me that in a week. It wasn’t the “just relax” bullshit. It was genuine concern. Because my hurry and my stress is doing bad things to my well-being. Why does there have to be a time table for this baby to come? Since when is this a race?

And if PM- this very together woman who has far fewer hard decisions to make right now- is terrified, how terrified will I be when my baby comes if I haven’t dealt with the rest of my issues?

The answer is – at this rate it will be heart attack levels.

So it’s time to get off the freaking race track.

I have decided that we will be taking a break. We will use that break to either remove or permanently block Ole’ Righty, so that when we go back to trying, there will not be that extra question mark. I will use that break to start making some decisions about where I’m going, and what I’m doing. For myself, not for our future baby. Because I matter too. That decision, as hard as it was to make, as much as it has made me mourn the fact that I probably won’t be pregnant in the next few months, has also made me feel an incredible sense of relief.

And when we jump back in, hopefully we’ll have one question mark down in terms of my body, and several question marks down in terms of my future, my goals, and my ambitions.

Then when the baby comes, I’ll be terrified, but hopefully only about the baby. Because really, that’s enough to be scared about, don’t you think?

****

On a completely unrelated and far less heavy note – I was away from the blogoverse, but not away from writing in general. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, go check out my full series on the first 7 films on keypulp. They are filled with snark, bitter, lists and photoshop (in other words, all of my favorite things). Hope you enjoy!

Anger

7 May

I’ve been smoking at least a cigarette a day every day since Saturday.

I haven’t been blogging.

I haven’t been talking to my friends.

I haven’t been eating healthy.

I haven’t been going to yoga.

I haven’t been sleeping well.

I’ve been angry. Angry at myself for falling so easily back into my old patterns. Angry at myself for not being strong enough to even use this space and the wonderful women I have here as a place to gain strength. Even though I have been shown a dozen times over this week how much strength this little corner of the blogosphere can give me.

Three weeks ago I think I reached a sort of peak. An optimum space of optimism. A place where I dressed up nicely before leaving the house. A place where I made love to my husband just for the sake of making love to him. A place where I felt happy and whole.

Then “That” happened. Again. And I spent a week or so pretending to be strong. To be over it. Because all in all I wasn’t feeling sad.

No. I wasn’t feeling sad.

I was – I am – angry. I’m angry that I have spent the last six months feeling like I was working toward something. Working and feeling hopeful. And all of that got wiped away sometime between peeing on a stick and seeing two lines and getting that hospital bracelet put on me. Somewhere in those three hours between the positive pregnancy test and the bleeding, and hearing the word “ectopic.”

All that work. All that waiting. For what? For a methotrexate shot in the backside, blood monitoring, and no answers. For the real lesson: that I can’t control a thing. Not even my own freaking body.  That no matter what plan I think I have, no matter how much I take care of myself, that still doesn’t mean I’m gonna get a baby at the end of it all.

That pisses me off.

On the drive home from friday night dinner tonight Shmerson and I got to talking. It wasn’t really a fight. But I did do a lot of yelling. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.

I know the lesson here. I know it. I just need to digest it. I need to make peace with it.

I need to take care of my body and my soul regardless – not just so I can carry a baby to term, but because in general – I need to take care of my body and my soul.

And no matter what we try, and no matter how much control we try to have – in this journey there are no guarantees. That’s why I can go to acupuncture, quit smoking, eat healthy, take yoga, find some inner peace, and still miscarry. And another woman can chain smoke, drink, snort coke, and still carry a baby to term.

This is just how life is. I can either embrace it or just continue to be pissed and self destruct.

I know that’s the lesson. But please be patient with me while I digest it. Because for now, yes, I’m smoking a cigarette a day. And I’m fucking angry and frustrated and impatient. And I’m pissed that I have to wait until Wed. for my appointment with Dr. Twofer. And I’m pissed that it may be at least another month before I have any answers. But at least I’m going back to yoga (I have a one-on-one session scheduled for next week) and I haven’t stopped acupuncture. And at least I bought celery at the supermarket a couple of days ago instead of cookies. And here I am, blogging through it. And talking to you amazing women. And my marriage is still solid and honest, and that one cigarette a day isn’t being hidden from my husband. And for that I’m grateful.

One step at a time.

There Are No Words

4 May

Today was a hard day. I spent most of it crying. On my way back from my weekly therapy/acupuncture double whammy, I went to the post office to pick up a package. It was from Marie.

What I got in that package was so moving, I actually pulled out my iPhone and videotaped my reaction.

To understand – first, click here and read Marie’s story.

Now for my reaction  it’s a private video (that’s why I can’t embed it) – only people who click on the link can see it because with all due respect – I still don’t want the whole world to have access to my ugly cry. (Oh – and I got today’s date wrong on it. Oh well.)

And now – one long ass shower and carrot cake cookie later, the final (blurry) product:

I spent today thinking that I don’t know where I’d find the strength to take care of myself again. To love my body again.

Then this came in the mail and reminded me just how much I am loved.

There are no words.

And I already know when I will be taking it off and passing it on. But I’m gonna keep that part a surprise.

I love all of you. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for this amazing community.

Thank you.

And thank you Marie. Thank you thank you thank you. Thank you isn’t even close to enough.

Project Baby

17 Apr

So – I’ve been MIA the last few days due to Me0Me being in the country for exactly a week, and giving me a precious 24 hours of quality time, that were immediately followed by a day in which we had to take my parents to the airport, and then head to Squish’s birthday dinner. So yeah – hectic few days! Whew! (And it only gets more hectic for the next little while thanks to a nice little holiday called passover).

ANYWAY I completely digress because the point of my post is not to explain why my life is hectic, because let’s face it, it’s really not that interesting. But look at the header! Notice anything different?

Here’s the thing. Me0Me has known me for 15 years. He’s been my best friend for 15 years. He understands me. He knows me better than I know myself.

A few years ago he moved to NY, and so I only actually see him once or twice a year. For you regular commenters, you know he keeps up with this blog, and I admit, a lot of our update conversations have been helped quite a bit due to his ability to read it.

Up until yesterday, the last time I saw him was when I was going through my first Miscarriage. As in, when I was still in denial, when I was still putting on a brave face.

And most of the time we spent together was when I was still blissfully preggo and ignorant.

That was July. Needless to say that things have changed pretty darn dramatically since then. I admit, I was even nervous to see him. I mean, I felt so DIFFERENT. Would things with us be different?

So when I picked him up yesterday, it was awesome. It took us very little time to get back into our usual groove.

And then, after the mandatory dinner at my parents’ and socializing, Me0Me and I took Luna out for a long walk and sat in a park for a heart-to-heart that lasted in the neighborhood of 4 hours.

The main crux of the conversation was my issues with my career. I was upset with myself. how could I, a person who is usually  so gung-ho and motivated, have become so dispassionate about everything I do?

Then together we came to it: I’m still gung-ho and motivated, only now it’s about having a baby.

This is what I do. I take on a project, and I go for it full steam until it gets done. Everything else is ignored. When I set my mind to something, it gets done goshdarnit! That’s how I managed to fund and shoot a freakin’ holocaust film in the middle of LA (yes, I actually did that).

So- I’m currently on “project baby” and everything else pales in comparison.

So yeah – look back up on the header. This is me embracing my control freak. I’m going full steam ahead whether I like it or not, so I may as well go with the flow.

(Plus, let’s face it, my old blog title was pretty heavy. BTW – who’s up for me changing my username to just plain “Mo”? or will that be too much?)

Right, right, back to the story.

So – Me0Me helped me figure out that i can’t fool myself, I’m in the middle of project baby whether I like it or not. And he helped me find a way to make my career fit into the project, by tricking myself into making it a part of it. Now let’s hope it works so I can get my butt in gear (career-wise that is. My butt is already in gear on the baby-making front).

Oh – and the best part of the reunion?

Sometime during the evening he said: You know, you’re not as different as I thought you would be.

I asked: Am I different at all?

He answered: Not really. Just a bit more – and he made a hand gesture signaling “together”.

I sighed in relief. I didn’t realize how scared I was that these last 10 months had changed me beyond recognition. I’m glad to see that a person that knows me better than I know myself, still thinks I’m pretty much the same old me. Only a bit more – *hand gesture*.

So – welcome to project baby, where I go full steam ahead until a mini-shmerson pops out of my uterus.

Because this is what I do. I may as well stop fighting it.

PS – I’ve also changed the header. I think it was time to let go of “rebuilding life after miscarriage”. Our life is re-building all of the time, we are in process, and will most likely always be. That is a good thing. I think it’s time to truly move forward. Well –  at least as much as I can. (Marie, I think the end of your project may be rubbing off on me some).

Mourning the Loss of My Inner Smoker

10 Mar

First of all – thanks to everyone who’s been supportive to me over the last couple of days, both in the comments and in some great personal emails, skypes, and phone calls I got from some of you cheering me on. You are all awesome.

So – progress report – it’s been about 48 hours since my last cigarette. Day one – which was in the past the hardest for me, was surprisingly easy.

I credit this mostly to the fact that I had a solid plan – and I had the patch. That thing is truly a miracle. I don’t know why more people don’t go for it.

It took a huge burden off of me in terms of the chemical addiction, which allowed me to handle only the issue of breaking the psychological addiction.

Well, guess what? The psychological addiction is truly the real bitch here. Yesterday I was ok. With the exception of having a bit of trouble concentrating throughout the day I can count the amount of times I wanted a cigarette on one hand. This was a miracle.

Also – the fact that I went to two yoga classes straight (yes, that means three hours. one and a half of soft vinyasa followed by another hour and a half of fast paced ashtanga), tuckered me out enough that it got rid of the urge for the most part.

Today, on the other hand, was a bit tougher. I had kind of a weird sleep schedule. I woke up early to get some stuff done. I got it done, and then had about 3 hours to kill before my therapy session. I was exhausted and my back was hurting like a mofo (yeah – maybe three hours straight of yoga was NOT the stroke of genius I thought it was), plus it was raining like heck outside. So I grabbed the puppy, cuddled up, and went back to sleep. I put on the alarm for 11:30 and wouldn’t you know it? I turned it off in my sleep. I was supposed to head out to my therapists at 12:30.

Guess when I woke up? If you guessed 12:30 you win a virtual cookie!

Yeah. Not good.

See – usually when this stuff happens to me, I jump out of bed, throw on some clothes, grab a bottle of a caffeinated beverage, and chain smoke all the  way to the place I need to go so that I will be fully awake when I get there.

And allow me to remind you – that my plan for a peaceful wake-up  involved about 45 minutes of tea drinking and sun salutations. This was not an option today.

So –  I jump up, stick on the patch, and grab a few sips of coke zero (mega-healthy, right?) before hopping in the car. The whole way – jonesing for a cigarette, and in the meantime having a rather stressful phone convo with my dad. Here’s a tip for those of you quitting smoking: don’t do any of these things while on the patch.

The result is that I arrived at my therapist’s office 10 minutes late, and according to her description – rather manic.

Yep – I talked her ear off WAAAAY too energetically – all the while feeling rather spacey  since I hadn’t completely “woken up”. If I had called my psychiatrist at that point – he would have told me to come into his office asap so he could give me a tranquilizer (and mind you – I had taken my morning xanx -which makes all of this all the more disturbing). Yeah. Fun times.

Then I went to the Harley Hottie for my weekly needle sticking – and at least he managed to get my jitters down to a minimum, which was good.

But then I got home – and it was still cold and rainy. so what did I do? Why – go to sleep, of course!

Shmerson showed up about an hour into my nap and I cajoled him into joining me for a cuddle.

He had made dinner reservations for 8pm to celebrate my quitting (isn’t he the best shmerson ever?) but we both slept until 7:45. One look outside and I told him to cancel the reservation and let’s just order something in and cuddle.

And through all this, well, today I craved cigarettes. A lot. And at one point during my manic therapy session I managed to voice why.

Every time I’ve quit smoking in the past, there was always, somewhere in the back of my mind, the thought that it was temporary. That I would eventually go back to smoking. Even during my long quit it was there. Even after my first BFP I kind of thought to myself that after having the baby I may go back to it.

This time I’m going in it for good. I have to convince myself that I will never smoke again. I absolutely have to. Because I can’t go back. I can’t do that to myself again. Smoking is the most destructive habit in this world. It’s just as bad – if not worse than most drug addiction because it will kill you slowly. And I don’t want that. I really really don’t. So this time I need to keep it in my head that I’m quitting for good.

Now I know you all think this is a wonderful thing. And it is. On every single possible level it is.

Except in my own effed up mind. In quitting smoking, I am giving up a huge part of my identity.

Yes, it’s a self-destructive, poisonous part. But still – it’s a part of what makes me – me.

I love pictures of myself directing on set. I always look like shit in them, with my baseball caps and ratty clothes. But – nonetheless, I love them. I look badass. I look professional. I look like a “big girl”.

Guess what? I can go through a 100 pics of me on set. And in 99 of them you would find me with a diet coke in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

Of all of my friends – only three of them have known me as a non-smoker. Those are the ones who I’ve been in touch with since elementary school. Everyone else in my life, excluding my immediate family – knows me as a smoker. It’s part of who I am. Chain smoking through deep conversations. Lighting up after dinner. Grabbing a bottle of caffeinated something and chain smoking in the car when I’m running late. This has been me for almost two decades.

And now – I’m replacing that with tea and yoga. ME. The hard-assed chain smoking bitch is becoming a froofy mommy wanna-be who does yoga and drinks tea with fresh mint.

Now mind you – this hard-assed chain smoking bitch is not a person I liked very much. In fact, she’s anxious, usually miserable, almost always overweight, and has had two miscarriages. She’s the person who had a complete and total mental breakdown less than six months ago. I don’t like her very much. I’m very glad to be rid of her on so many levels.

But – me? A froofy yoga-practicing tea drinker? I don’t know. I guess it’s just weird.

My friends who are reading this get it – this thoughtful sensitive mommy-wanna-be who write this blog is not who they’ve known for the past decade and a half. She’s a relatively new invention – a person who has risen from the ashes of the old me. The old me that most of the people who have found me here on the blogosphere don’t know about.

The old me that curses like a trucker (yes – much more than I do here. Especially when I spoke english, up until a few months ago I would use the f-bomb instead of “um).

The old me that tore down everything in her path to get what she wanted (that person disappeared about two years ago after I fell into my post Grad School X depression). The person who once she got what she wanted, destroyed it in a heartbeat without looking back. Over and over. Fearless. Destructive? yes. But fearless. Due to a repressed anxiety disorder that she was ignoring? Yes. But still. Fearless.

The old me that was a chain smoking, caffeine drinking, fuck-it-all bitch.

Now mind you – I hate the old me. The old me led me down a slippery slope that ended in my life being shattered. I like the new me quite a bit. The one that listens to her feelings. The one that hates herself a lot less. The one that wants to be a mommy and is embracing her inner mommy each day more and more through teaching, through this blog, through being a better friend. Through being a better wife.

But still – i feel like with this one final act, I’m killing that part of me. That self-destructive, stubborn self-hating bitch. And well, she’s done some good things too, so it’s kind of hard to say goodbye to her. I think I spent most of today missing her – just a bit. Trying to hang on to her on some level.

But I didn’t have a cigarette. I didn’t let myself get back to her. I stayed strong.

And tomorrow I will go back to the tea and sun salutations. Hi there, new, froofy yoga-practicing-tea-drinking me. Nice to meet you. Please stick around, ok? Cause that other bitch is trying to elbow her way back in. And I don’t know if I want to be friends with her anymore.

Unexpected.

1 Mar

I’ve been going back and forth for the last hour or so  – should I write an upbeat recap of last night’s drunken oscar fest? Should I talk about…

Well – yeah. There’s not going to be an oscar recap. That’s not what this blog was started for.

I went to bed at 8am this morning, after the all night party. At 3pm, I finally woke up.

I’ve had two weeks of non-stop work insanity, so I purposely cleared my day today. All I did was the minimum work I needed to do, and I watched some mindless TV that had been sitting on my hard drive for the last two weeks being ignored.

But despite catching up on much needed sleep – I spent all day today feeling like crap. My back’s been hurting, and so has the lower right part of my abdomen – on and off for the last few weeks. I’ve mostly been ignoring this during the last couple of weeks – but today I started going to my old fallback – Dr. Go Ogle. And feeling panicky on and off all day.

Just not completely “here” – you know?

It could be because of the weird sleep schedule. It could be that I took my zoloft later than usual. Or it could be the elephant in the room.

Yeah – that. I have an appointment tomorrow to get a tattoo. I would have had a baby in my arms sometime in this next week – had life taken me in that direction.

But it took me somewhere else. It took me to getting two butterflies tattooed on my ankle tomorrow. It took me to different types of birth.

I don’t know how I should be feeling right now. I’ve made peace with what’s happened on a lot of levels. Anyone reading this blog would know this.

But why did I have such a backslide today? Looking for phantom symptoms, googling them, freaking out.

Reading loss blogs of strangers and playing out scenarios in my head that inevitably lead to the conclusion that I’ll never be a mommy.

I read studies on progesterone supplementation during early pregnancy, and came to the conclusion that they probably won’t help – and I should expect a third miscarriage.

I read other women’s stories of loss and imagined them happen to me. I get pregnant again. I make it to the second trimester. I don’t make it any further.

I have childbirth complications.

I die.

Yes – freaking out of imaginary scenarios in my head instead of dealing with the issue at hand. That little nagging thought that’s been hanging out in my head. Not dealing with the feelings.

This was my day today. My clear “mindless” day.

Shmerson got home late from university tonight, and I asked him how he was feeling with the looming would-be date.

He said that he wasn’t feeling anything much. Like he blogged about here – his emotional responses are worlds away from mine – because it wasn’t his body.

It was my body.

I don’t think I trust my body.

I’m looking at things clearly now for the first time in the last week. I haven’t eaten healthy at all, my caffeine uptake has gone up significantly. I’ve probably gained two pounds from the sheer amount of chocolate flavored, doughy things I’ve put in my body for the last few days.

I drank yesterday for the first time in three months.

I was excusing it all – things really were hectic. I was working like a dog, really. I had looming deadlines, endless calls, classes to teach.

But now that I have a moment to breathe –

I don’t trust my body. That’s why I don’t respect it.

What if my eggs are damaged? What if I’ll never be able to keep a baby in my body long enough for it to come out healthy?

What if I become one of those 5-timers, 6-timers, more… What if… What if…

What if my baby had developed and this blog would have never happened – and I would probably be in some hospital somewhere right about now breathing and bearing down.

I don’t know if I’m making any sense while writing this. I don’t even know how to feel. I feel detached from that thought. I don’t know what I was expecting to feel. Maybe something more substantial.

But all I can manage are a few tears. And my usual endless cycle of self torture. I just hope that this time it passes soon.

I go in to get two little butterflies tattooed on my ankle tomorrow. Last week, my therapist asked me why I felt the need to tattoo my pain on my body.

I didn’t know how to answer her. I don’t know now, either. I just know I’m going to do it.

Maybe it’s to prove something to myself. Maybe I’m expecting to let out the last of this black grief through the pain of it. Maybe it’s none of those and I’ll regret it a year from now. Though I doubt the latter will happen.

But what if I leave that tattoo parlor tomorrow feeling just as detached? Feeling that this was a fruitless exercise?

Feeling like I had accomplished nothing?

I don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling today. The day my first child was supposed to come into this world.

I just know it wasn’t what I was expecting.

To Share or Not to Share? That is the Question

22 Feb

Well, I’ve been rolling this conundrum around in my head for a few weeks, and I figured it was time to put it out there in the blogoverse.

We’re getting ever-closer to finishing off the checklist of things that need to get done before we TTC again.

Blood tests? Check. All that’s left is a follow-up at the gyno to see if we need to check any more hormonal stuff out. That’s two days from now.

Mood stability? Check

Quitting Smoking? Hella close. Got the go-ahead from the shrink  to go for it using the patch. Set a quit date of March 7th – yes, not sooner Marie, because I want to give myself space to deal with my upcoming due date before taking on a new challenge. I hope you approve. 🙂

Financial stability? It’s a question of a couple of months before we’ll be back on our feet again. I think. Though you can never really be sure about these things.

Extras: yoga at least twice a week, started acupuncture last week, eating waaay healthier, cut down significantly on caffeine, started temp monitoring.

So yeah – my feeling is that Shmerson and I should be hopping back in the saddle within the next couple of cycles. I’m waiting for my instinct to kick in and tell me it’s time. I trust it enough now to wait for that moment, and I know it’s coming up soon.

Now some may know, and some may not, but here’s my deal: getting a BFP has been a breeze for us (and for that I am really thankful). So far, both times that we actively TTC we were successful within the month. I always joke with shmerson that he’s got super-sperm. See, the problem isn’t making the sperm meet the egg, it’s keeping those darn things in my uterus that’s been the problem.

After my first Miscarriage, before I found this amazing community, there were only two people around me who understood what I was going through.

One of them was my brother’s girlfriend, who had struggled with IF for 5 years. Her battle was different, but she understood my longing. About two days after my first D&C, she called to check in, and she said something that at the time, sounded pretty weird to me. She said “when I was struggling to get pregnant, I almost wished for a miscarriage. I thought it was better than nothing at all. It would have been progress. Consider yourself lucky.”

Yeah – this is an intense statement by any stretch of the imagination. But I admit I get her point. I sometimes feel like a fraud. Seeing other people’s journeys here makes me appreciate how truly lucky I am. Sperm meets egg happens. And that is, for others, a huge hurdle to overcome. In hindsight I see where she was coming from. She was right. I am lucky.

I know I will see that BFP relatively quickly. For me, the struggle will begin after the BFP.

Sure, the freaking out will begin with the first TWW, but once I see that second line – well, that’s what I’m really afraid of. I no longer have the option of joy for that BFP. I know it will bring with it a whole mess of new fears.

I am incredibly scared of having a third miscarriage. And those first few months are going to be hell for me, waiting for every scan, waiting for that elusive heartbeat, willing myself to not get too attached.

I’m sure with every milestone one sort of fear will subside, but another will take its place. I am trying to prepare myself for that as much as I can.

Now of course, I feel like this time, if, spaghetti monster forbid, I miscarry again, I have the tools and the support to deal with it that I didn’t have before.

But either way, I’m already prepared for those first three months to be tense as all heck. And if all goes well and I make it to a second trimester, I know I will by that point inevitably be in love with the baby growing inside me – and be even more scared of possible loss.

So I’ve really been in a huge dilemma. I mean, of course, I think the support I get here would be huge if I get that BFP, but on the other hand, I’m not quite sure if the BFP will be a celebration for me. First heartbeat? Yes. passing the 8 week mark? Yes. Entering the second trimester? Hell-to-the-yeah. But still, I know in my heart that even then, it won’t be a true celebration until I hold a healthy, alive baby in my arms. And I’m a bit afraid of getting too excited about getting a BFP and getting my heart broken again.

During my first pregnancy I pretty much yelled it from the rooftops. In my second, I was in denial, but still shared. But now sharing is huge. Sharing means sharing it with this whole community.

And I have mixed feelings about that as well. On one hand – of course I will need your support through the dreaded TWW and DEFINITELY after the BFP.

But I don’t know – I guess I kind of feel guilty. There are all these amazing women here struggling with just getting that elusive BFP. I feel like when I get that, and don’t jump up and down with joy, then it may seem ungrateful. Even possibly offend some of the people who follow this blog.

I know how painful it is for me to see women aglow with their big bellies eagerly awaiting their due dates. Will I be inflicting that same pain if everything goes smoothly? I don’t want to make anyone of my newfound soul mates sad. I know that every bit of fear or happiness I express here, will come with a fresh new dose of guilt. Because I know, that in the end, I am for now, one of the lucky ones.

And then there’s the fact that each time I’ve shouted about my BFP from the rooftops, it’s ended in loss. Maybe I’m jinxing it?

I don’t know, it’s all a jumble.

I mean, on one hand, it’s really a “duh” kind of situation. Of course I have to share TTC, the TWW and my fears of another MC here. This is why this blog was started in the first place.

But on the other – I am scared to. I’m scared both of the failure of yet another miscarriage and the heartbreak that would bring, and of success, and the possible pain it would inflict on a whole community that I’ve come to love and cherish.

I even feel guilty writing this post (we Jews are good at that, huh?). But I needed to share. The decision to TTC is close, and I want to feel ok with sharing it here.

I’ll end with a song, courtesy of SLC via facebook. I don’t want to become this! Please help me alleviate my premature guilt and affirm me as a good person, ok? Yeah, it’s sad that I need that, but work with me here, people!

*** Editor’s note (or something) Bad bad me! The video was discovered by Marie and I missed her blog post due to me being lame.

Birth/Rebirth

10 Feb

I’ve been working on a kind of funny/kind of ranty post on and off today, and I promise I will post it a bit later (yes, you subscribers will have to deal with two emails in your inboxes today, sorry).

But something happened today – just now actually, that I really wanted to write about. I kind of don’t know how to tell this story, so I’m sorry if I’m a bit rambling.

Let’s start with 2 facts that you need to know for context:

The first, is that in my yoga classes, my instructor usually does about ten minutes at the end of just lying on your back with your eyes closed. I usually walk out quietly during those ten minutes because I can’t lay still for that long without feeling major anxiety.

The second, is for the last year or two, when I drive, or walk,  or do anything that requires me to be alone without distraction, I listen to audiobooks (usually harry potter). This helps me keep my mind from wandering, which as above, leads to major anxiety.

So today I FINALLY got to yoga – after two weeks that I hadn’t gone because of crazy work and a blown-out back. It was a class with a different instructor – he does vinyasa (sp?) which is far quieter and slower than the class I usually go to – Ashtanga. But I like this guy lots, and I was jonesing for a class – so off I went. In the car, ipod in my ears, audiobook playing.

The class was great – though I was a bit rusty due to two weeks of sitting and staring at excel spreadsheets.

Then came the last part of the class. Before the 10 minutes of just laying there – this instructor told us to sit, cross legged and just be aware of our breathing. He said something like “our body always breathes, until we die”. This sentence alone would have usually sent me sprinting out of the room, because that word is a trigger for me. But no. I sat there. quiet. Breathing.

Then the weirdest thing happened. I started meditating on an image. First – I never meditate – let alone on an image. Second – the image, was, well – it was what I saw come out of me during my second miscarriage. It was that bit of tissue  – that tiny bit – that when i saw it, I knew it was the baby.

I’m sorry if it’s an uncomfortable description for you to read.

But i looked at it, there in my head, with my eyes closed.

At the time, when it came out of me – I flushed it. I wanted nothing to do with it. I cried. I only got a one second glimpse of it. But apparently it was such a painful picture that it stayed. Though I never called up that image. It was buried in the back of my mind.

And today – for ten minutes straight – I looked at it. I looked and looked and saw that i could look at it – without fear. Some sadness, yes. But I could look.

After ten minutes of sitting and breathing he instructed us to lay down. Let our bodies surrender completely to gravity. And I started meditating on that word – surrender.

And my mind drifted on. This month – sometime in the next thirty days – I was supposed to give birth to a baby.

I meditated on that. Birth. Surrender. Birth. Surrender.

Rebirth.

Rebirth.

I am in the midst of precisely that. Rebirth. And I know it’s happening now – I can feel it. My friends can feel it. My husband sees it. Everybody keeps on saying “wow, you sound great.”

And I say – thanks. I feel pretty good. Not great. But I’m ok – you know?

Rebirth.

And I lay there in the class, breathing. Surrendering.

When the class was over I walked out – and as per my usual habit I  turned on the ipod and hit play. The words of the narrator started – and then I paused. I said – no. No. I want music. I want to hear music. I don’t want a distraction. I want to feel the feelings I have right now.

Surrender. Rebirth. Joy.

Yes. Joy.

And I put on some songs, and I hopped in the car, and I sang and sang at the top of my lungs. And I got to the house – opened the door, still singing. And I hugged and kissed my husband. And I started crying and he looked at me and asked what happened.

And I answered.

“I’m Ok.”

The Upside of 2 Miscarriages

7 Feb

Yes – your eyes are not deceiving you. I’m four months after the 2nd MC, and less than a month away from my first due date. There’s been a lot of bitching, yearning, wishing, and moaning on this blog, but I think it’s time to look at the upside. I’m not a “glass half full” person usually, but since I’m making a huge effort to improve my life, I want to see what this half full thing is all about for a change. So here we go – the upside of having 2 miscarriages:

1) Anesthesia Shmanesthesia!

My first pregnancy was a blighted ovum, and I needed a D&C under general anesthesia. I had never had to have that in my life, and it scared the crap out of me. Now that I’ve been through it once, I know that I’ll feel better about it if I have to go through it again.

2) From on the fence to all aboard

Shmerson and I decided to TTC together, but when I got my first BFP, he seemed a bit apprehensive and unsure about it all. After the first MC, he realized how much he really wanted to, and was ready to be, a father.

3) Love Thy Body

I never really took good care of myself. Smoking, caffeine, not exercising enough, yo-yo weight loss and gain. I was never really “connected” to my body. Even before getting pregnant for the first time, it was an issue I was contending with. Going through this has made me take a serious look at how I treat my body, and has made me work on treating it better. So far, I’ve cut my caffeine intake in half, I go to yoga 2-3 times a week, and I have a plan in place to quit smoking for good. I’ve had blood tests done for the first time in about a decade, and I’m very aware of every message my body sends me. It means I spend just a bit too much time on Dr. Go Ogle, but I am treating my body with respect for the first time in my life, more or less.

4) De-nile is once again only a river in Egypt (current political situation notwithstanding)

Hitting the inevitable wall of my existential crisis has made me deal with my mental health issues properly for the first time. I’m more aware of my mood swings, I’m taking care of what I can from a happy-pill perspective, but more importantly, I am, for the first time examining what lies beneath my anxiety and depression.

5) Hi life, nice to meet you!

I have learned that quick decisions will most likely lead to heartbreak and regret, and I understand the importance of thinking small. Not every decision has to be one that changes my life, and not every decision has to come from a place of pure practicality or pure fantasy. In short – I’m finally living my own life, rather than imagining another one while living something that is making me unhappy.

Even more importantly, I have stopped denying myself the pleasure that is spending time with the people I love. My family, and my amazing friends who have stuck by me through all of this (I know you’re reading this – I love you guys!)

6) Scenes from a Marriage

I have not been a picnic during these last 7 months. And shmerson and I have only been married for 8. This basically means that most of the first year of our marriage will always be remembered as one of the most difficult times in my life, and his as well, I’m sure. However, the fact that we’re still together, we’re still honest with each other, we still take care of each other, and we still love each other proves that we can get through almost anything and make it to the other side together.

7) Me, meet Me. It’s time you got to know each other.

Me: remember when we used to be completely detached from our feelings?

Me: yeah, that kinda sucked for us.

Me: yep. it did.

Me: it still kind of sucks because sometimes I’m not sure if we’re making decisions for ourselves or for the approval of the people around us.

Me: That’s true. But at least now we’re looking into it. That’s progress.

Me: Good point.

Me: Hey! look at that! We finally agree on something!

Me: *sneaks off to watch “16 and pregnant”*

Me: hey – come back here! We’re not done blogging yet.

Me: right. Ok.

8 ) Embracing the Process, Finding Perspective

I’m in a battle every day. For my sanity, for my identity, for my future, and for my family. I’m fighting to regain myself. I’m fighting to re-build myself, brick by brick. It’s a battle, but within that I have a new sense of perspective. I have always been a drama queen. Now that I know what real drama is, my imaginary dramas very rarely take over my life. It’s a battle I’m embracing. It’s a battle I’m celebrating. I’ve discovered strength I never believed I had, and I am beginning to accept and forgive my weaknesses.

9) This Blog O’mine, These Ladies O’mine

As a person who has been introducing herself as a writer/director for the last decade or so, I admit, I’ve done very little writing in the last few years. I lost my passion for it. This blog, which was started from a place of darkness and despair, has now rekindled my passion for writing. I look forward to every word I write and publish here. I have small moments of victory when I know I’ve come up with something funny or profound. But more importantly, I am teaching myself to create without judgement. I publish my crappy posts. I publish my good posts. I don’t judge myself, I just write.

About two weeks into this blog, when I thought I was only writing for myself and a tiny handful of friends, SLC from Holy Crap! commented on one of my posts. I thought to myself “who is this chick and how the heck did she find me?”, and then I thought “thank goodness that she did.” She was my doorway into the amazing community and support that I have found here. She was my first shoulder, my first light at the end of the tunnel, and the first person in the world I found who just “got it.” I will always be grateful to her for this, and I am so happy to say that beyond this blog, I have found her as a true friend for life. (sorry lady, you’re stuck with me and you know it!)

And she was just the first. She was my foot in the door.

From there came Elphaba (aka the funniest and one of the most profound writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading, not to mention an all-around awesome chick), Bodega Bliss (my sister from another mother), Marie (my voice of reason, who always gives the best advice ever), Hemlock (the “can you please stop writing everything that’s going on in my head?” lady), Kristin (my purple-haired, generous role model for supporting other women in our little community), Missohkay (my ray of hope in the face of  being not exactly IF) and so so so many other amazing women (it would take dozens of posts to mention  all of you, but know that you are loved, and man, is this feeling like an oscar speech or what? I’d like to thank the Academy while I’m at it). These women, you amazing women, who make me laugh, make me cry, and most of all, make me feel like I am not alone – to say that you are awesome, amazing, inspiring, and all-around spectacular is an understatement.

I never really believed that something as simple as a blog would make me discover a whole new community. Would make me feel so loved. You ladies will forever mean the world to me. Sorry I’m gushing. It happens on occasion. You all do it too sometimes so there. 🙂

10) When the day finally comes….

That I hold a baby in my arms, that will be mine, no matter what journey Shmerson and I take to get there, I will truly and fully appreciate the miracle. I will fully understand and acknowledge, and feel eternally grateful to hold that blessing in my arms.

I guess the glass is even a bit more than half full.

The Pros and Cons of “I don’t know”

25 Jan

Is this my new normal?

I’ve been really down these last few days, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I’m sure increased zoloft has something to do with it, as well as things I’ve mentioned in my last few blog posts, but there’s more to it than that.

I may be revealing a bit too much of my crazy here – but sometimes I look around and say to myself: You are 30 years old. You have been married to Shmerson for 7 months. You’ve had 2 miscarriages. Your name is…

Seriously, it gets down to me telling myself my name. Then I have an anxiety attack.

I’m happily married, healthy (relatively), financially ok (again, relatively – could be better), I have wonderful friends, and I love my family.

And yet, when I lay these facts out in front of me I feel scared.

I’ve been trying to remember whether this kind of stuff happened before I started the pills. It did. It happens less often now. But I think it happens for the same reasons.

These last few days I’ve been freaking out, because of the career stuff I’ve been trying to get moving. I keep on getting asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

I keep on making up bullshit answers. In my head I keep on saying “I don’t know.”

You guys have to understand – that is not normal for me.

At age 12 I declared loudly that I want to be a director. I had my life planned out down to the smallest detail. I had an oscar speech memorized. I was set.

Then I woke up one morning in October of 2010, in the middle of losing a second baby, and I looked around and didn’t understand how the hell I got here.

Up until 3 months ago, I never took more than 24 hours to make any big life decision. Can you imagine that? I always KNEW. It was always solid. I was always sure. `Move across the ocean? Sure! Drown yourself in debt for grad school? Easy! Move back across the ocean? OK!

Now I can’t go to a restaurant without spending 15 minutes debating whether I want fries or mashed potatoes.

My initial theory of course is that this is a healthier way of being. “Knowing” led me to a state of stagnation, because I couldn’t reconcile my “grand plan” with real life.

But my god – this is freaking me the hell out.

I used to manage my anxiety by planning. By KNOWING. And now, I don’t know.

I don’t fucking know.

I can’t see farther ahead than a few months, a year at most. and that freaks me the hell out.

and even that’s unclear. I can get pregnant easy enough – so let’s assume shmerson and I start TTC in March. I will, if past experience is any indication, have a BFP by april or may.

But then what? what if I miscarry early? What if something else goes wrong later in the pregnancy? What if something goes wrong with giving birth? What if I have a healthy child? How the heck am I going to support it if I don’t know what to do with my life?

I don’t fucking know.

Part of being depressed is a sense of hopelessness. I swing between that and hope on an hourly basis.

I now understand the importance and the consequences of my decisions. I understand that they can lead to me fucking bleeding in the bathroom losing a second baby, or collapsing screaming in the shower at 4 in the morning because I’m in the middle of an unbearable panic attack.

So I don’t decide.

I don’t fucking know.

And frankly, I don’t know which one is scarier.

Playboy Mommy

21 Jan

A conversation Slcurwin and I had over in the comments section of her last post got me thinking a bit about Tori Amos. For some reason, I always end up going back to her during difficult times and lately I’ve found myself embracing her again.

I know that some of the people who read this blog don’t know who the heck I’m talking about – in short, she’s a singer songwriter.

The long version is that before oprah, before exposes, before a lot of things, Tori spoke openly about being raped.

Her second album – “Little Earthquakes” (which most count as her first because her “actual” first album is sort of a glam-rock mess that really didn’t go anywhere) speaks openly about her experience and takes the listener through her journey of healing. First, talking about her own self hatred in “Crucify”, then on to her silence in “Silent All These Years”, and ending with her story “Me and a Gun”, and the beginnings of her healing in the song “Little Earthquakes”.

She has been a loud and proud anti-rape advocate for as long as she’s been in the public eye, and for most of the time I’ve loved her, that’s where I connected with her the most.

Tori is kind of a strange artist to take in. Her lyrics are kind of cryptic, and sometimes harsh. She sings with sometimes hard to listen to pain and rage in her voice.

She’s released quite a few albums, but I’ll admit that I stopped buying her new stuff at one point because I no longer related to those particular journeys.

You see – that’s the thing with Tori – every single album is a different story. Sometimes there’s debate about what story the album tells, but sometimes it’s pretty clear.

Little Earthquakes – Rape

Under the Pink – Reclaiming her femininity

Boys for Pele – Heartbreak

From the Choirgirl Hotel – well – I’ll get to that in a second

To Venus and Back – there are several theories – mine is drugs.

Scarlet’s Walk – Motherhood, happiness, marriage, etc.

I “lost” her somewhere around “Scarlet’s Walk” because her journey was no longer mine.

Well – actually, her journey was no longer mine quite a bit earlier, but that was the point where I no longer felt her words pierce me through the heart with their usual fierceness.

Which brings me back to “Choirgirl”.

It was released in 1998. It is the “Miscarriage Album”.

After the two that I had, whenever I put my ipod on shuffle, and something from that album popped up, I immediately skipped it. I didn’t even think about it. It was a reflex. It was “I can’t deal with this right now”

Which when you come to think of it is a bit dumb of me. Her journeys have impacted me in such a positive way in the past.

But I wasn’t equipped to handle facing things in the way that Tori makes me face them.

I mean, how can you really handle an album, where the first song  has the lyrics

She’s convinced she can hold back a glacier

But she couldn’t keep baby alive

Doubting if there’s a woman in there somewhere

Here Here Here

(from “Spark”)

But the lovely SLC got me thinking today about the power of music. I’ve been slowly allowing myself to listen to more and more of the album. And today, I dug up this snippet of an interview (which apparently refuses to embed – so just click over there for a sec – it’s very short).

As usual, this amazing woman speaks powerfully and eloquently about a topic everyone else refuses to address.

As usual, she is a voice for millions of silent women.

I know that some of you won’t like her music. I know that for some it may well be too painful. But for me, I’ve always found that hearing her express my pain through her words has always helped me expel the poisonous venom of my own internal chaos.

Some of you know that during my senior year, I spent the entire year painting and blasting Tori at full volume. This was after a summer in which I had my first bout of depression and anxiety, and also confronted my rape for the first time – four years after it had happened. when the year was over, just before my 18th birthday, I got a faerie tattooed on my back. I named her Tori. It was my little reminder that I always have a way back.

As you know from my previous post today, I’m getting another little reminder on March 1st. But today, the first reminder popped in and said hi, and asked that I share a bit of her with you guys.

I’m embedding two songs here. The first is “Spark” which I quoted above. The second is “Playboy Mommy”.

I am warning you  – you may find them hard to listen to. I’ll put the lyrics under each of them. But look back up at that album list. Scarlet’s Walk is about motherhood. Eventually, Tori made it out of the muck and became a mother. And she shares her journey with the world precisely for women like us.

I lost her somewhere around there a few years ago. Now I hope to catch up to her sometime soon.

Much love to you guys.

Spark

She’s addicted to nicotine patches
She’s addicted to nicotine patches
She’s afraid of the light in the dark
6:58 are you sure where my spark is
here here here

she’s convinced she could hold back a glacier
but she couldn’t keep baby alive
doubting if there’s a woman in there somewhere
here here here

you say you don’t want it again and again
but you don’t, don’t really mean it
you say you don’t want it this circus were in
but you don’t, don’t really mean it
you don’t don’t really mean it

if the divine master plan is perfection
maybe next I’ll give Judas a try
trusting my soul to the icecream assasin
here here here

you say you don’t want it again and again
but you don’t, don’t really mean it
you say you don’t want it this circus were in
but you don’t, don’t really mean it,
you don’t don’t really mean it

how many fates turn around in the overtime
ballerina’s that have fins that you’ll never find
you thought that you were the bomb yes well so did I
say you don’t want it, say you don’t want it

how mant fates turn around in the overtime
ballerina’s that have fins that you’ll never find
you thought that you were the bomb yes well so did I
say you don’t want it, say you don’t want it,
say you don’t want it again and again
but you don’t, don’t really mean it
you say you don’t want it this circus were in,
but you don’t, don’t really mean it
don’t really mean it

she’s addicted to nicotine patches
she’s afraid of the light in the dark
6:58 are you sure where my spark is
here here here

Playboy Mommy
In my platforms I hit the floor
Fell face down
Didn’t help my brain out
Then the baby came
Before I found
The magic how to keep her happy
I never was the fantasy
Of what you want, wanted me to be 

But don’t judge me so harsh, little girl
So you’ve got a playboy mommy
But when you tell ’em my name
You wanna cross that bridge all on your own
Little girl, they’ll do you no harm
‘Cause they know your playboy mommy
But when you tell ’em my name
From here to Birmingham
I got a few friends

I never was, was there when it counts
I get my way
You’re so like me
You seemed ashamed
Ashamed that I was
A good friend of American soldiers
I’ll say it loud, here by your grave
Those angels can’t ever take my place

Don’t judge me so harsh, little girl
You got a playboy mommy
But when you tell them my name, and
You wanna cross that bridge all on your own
Little girl, they’ll do you no harm
Because they know your playboy mommy
But you just tell ’em my name
You tell ’em my name
I got a few friends

Somewhere, where the orchids grow
I can’t find those church bells
That played when you died
Played Gloria
Talkin’ ’bout Hosanna

Don’t judge me so harsh, little girl
You got a playboy mommy, come home
But when you tell them soldiers my name
You cross that bridge all on your own
Little girl, they’ll do you no harm
‘Cause they know your playboy mommy

But I’ll be home, I’ll be home
To take you
In my arms

Due Date is Coming Up Fast

20 Jan

I was supposed to be around 7 and a half months now. My belly was supposed to be huge. We would probably be attending birthing classes, and deciding silly things like what color to paint the nursery (purple, if it’s a girl, of course), and whether I wanted to do things au natural or get drugged up.

March 1st. That’s the due date of our first lost baby. And it’s coming up. Faster than expected. Just over a month away.

I’ve been kind of debating about what to do about it. If anything. There’s a second due date coming up as well – ironically, around me and shmerson’s one year anniversary.

I want our anniversary to be a happy one, so I’ve decided to acknowledge the first due date and, well, ignore the second one completely in favor of remembering the happiest night of my life instead. I think that’s the healthy thing to do.

I’ve sort of had it stuck in my head that after March 1st, Shmerson and I will start TTC again.

We’ve talked about it. We both really want to start trying again, like, now. But we both know a bit of restraint is called for. So yeah, starting after March 1st seems like the right thing to do – but of course, if we’re not ready by then, it will wait.

So I’ve been contemplating how to commemorate the day. And I think that I’ve decided. I will be getting that tattoo. On March 1st, my two babies will be acknowledged by two small butterflies that will be tattooed on my left ankle (yes, I know at first I was thinking stars, but butterflies make more sense).

They will be there to remind me of my losses,  and to remind myself of my ability to crawl out of the muck. Of my strength through pain.

I will “give birth” to that pain by getting it inked on.

I’m making the appointment sometime next week (the place I want to go has a waaay long waiting list so I hope they can fit me in). Now I just need to find the appropriate-looking butterflies. I’ve got some ideas.

I think I’ll go for black and white instead of color, because then it’ll take longer to fade.

I really hope – and I have a feeling – that this act with be a sort of catharsis. A way of closing off this terrible and difficult part of my life and moving on to something new and brighter.

March 1st, 2011. Mark your calendars.

Mood swing much?

17 Jan

Me: So – what do you want to blog about today?

Me: Don’t know, don’t care. Whatever.

Me: I was really hoping we could talk about the way we swing between hope and hopelessness.

Me: uh huh. sure.

Me: you know, and then our instinct is like “hey! just get pregnant again!” and our voice of reason tells us not to?

Me: yeah dude whatever I’m bored.

Me: shut up!

Me: No seriously, we’re starting to repeat ourselves

Me: yes, well that’s how we feel.

Me: don’t care. feel like we may as well just put on a really annoying song on repeat. That would be more interesting to me at this point.

Me: come on, don’t give up! Remember? this is a healing process and all that good crap.

Me: yeah, dude, whatever I just want to get on with my life.

Me: You disappoint me.

Me:

Me: Really? Resorting to that, are we?

Me: Hey Mickey you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind hey mickey! Hey Mickey!

Me: Oh shut up and go to bed already. We’ll continue this tomorrow.

Me; fine. Whatevs.

A Wine Bottle Metaphor (non-“Lost” related)

11 Jan

For those of you who don’t know – I’m (supposed to be) a filmmaker. When I was twelve I decided I wanted to be a film director and from that point on I was a woman on a mission. I left home at age 19 – flew halfway across the world, and spent 7+ years pursuing this dream in the US.

The last two years of that pursuit – well, they kind of broke me.

Allow me to rewind:

It’s the beginning of my senior year at undergrad. I’m a “superstar”. 3.95 GPA, dean’s list, honors program, winner of every scholarship and award, general over-achiever.

Toward the end of the first semester I decide to apply to one of the most prestigious MFA programs in the country for film. I get the rec letters, I write my essay, I put together my reel, I send it in….

And then I freak out.

I run to the office of one of my favorite professors, I knock on her door, and I collapse on her couch crying.

Prof: What’s wrong?

Me: I sent in my application today.

Prof: And what? they already rejected you? That seems a little far-fetched

Me: No. I just know I’m not going to get in. And it’s the only place I applied to.

Prof: um – and how do you know you’re not going to get in? Have you developed telepathic powers? Or can you see the future? Because that would be awesome.

(her dry wit does nothing to reduce the sobbing)

Prof: come on, what’s wrong?

Me (as if I’m confessing to murder): I have no original ideas. I suck.

She cracks up laughing.

Prof: Honey – there are no original ideas. There haven’t been more or less since the greeks. You should know this – I remember distinctly that you got an “A” in your intellectual heritage class.

Me: But… But…

Prof: But nothing. No idea is original. it’s the style and personality behind its execution that makes it unique.

4 months later I get called in for an interview at prestigious grad school x.

3 weeks later I get accepted into their directing program.

2 years later that little breakdown in my mentor’s office is peanuts compared to the insecure mess  that I’ve become.

and now – 3+ years after that – well, I’m still an insecure mess, but at least I’m writing again (that is – if this blog counts for anything).

I could sit here and bore you with the internal politics of “prestigious grad school x” and how the place’s cliques and nepotism (and the fact that I was one of the few students there who didn’t have a rich daddy to pay his/her way) basically sabotaged my chances of success there from day one.

To be honest – I have so much venom toward the place that it could fill an entire book. And I’m avoiding mentioning the name mostly because of that venom – I doubt they take too kindly to alumni who trash them.

The place is evil incarnate. With the exception of a few gems in the faculty, it is a machine that will work tirelessly to stuff you  – the square peg- into their round-hole-idea of what filmmaking is. That is, of course, unless your parents are rich or famous – then feel free to express yourself and terrorize your fellow students and they will happily look the other way and make sure to ask you for a generous donation later.

I came into grad school x a talented, award-winning (and yes somewhat too cocky) filmmaker. I left there a jiggly mess of insecurity.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not only the school’s fault. I am responsible as well. I was so concerned with getting the approval of my peers and the faculty that I completely lost my sense of individuality.

I was targeted from day one because I was good, and because I knew I was good. And instead of telling everyone to piss off and go Fuck themselves I bought into their bullshit and left there believing that I was worthless.

Yes – my initial air of cockiness was most likely incredibly annoying to the people who felt threatened by me (it’s a really competitive environment), but that gave them no right to tear me down, and I was a complete and total idiot for letting them.

And the result is, that it’s been 3+ years since I left that godforsaken place, and this blog is the first bit of writing I’ve done for fun since then.

I love this blog – but I do think it’s time to get my career on.

I’ve spent the last four years making a heck of a lot of excuses as to why I don’t have a feature script ready to go, why I haven’t directed another short, bla bla bla.

There was even a point where I convinced myself that I can’t write. Even though in my heart of hearts I know I can, and I’m even pretty good at it sometimes.

At one point I also decided – heck, I don’t want to be a writer/director at all. it’s not practical and I don’t love it anymore. Also BS.

I made some feeble attempts at getting some development money and such – but my heart was never in it and every word that I wrote was forced and disingenuous.

*****

It was about a week after my second miscarriage. I had just hit the wall (metaphorically speaking). I was having a complete identity crisis.

From a place of panic I decide that the next logical step is to get a Phd. Of course! I mean hey, every woman who miscarries needs to get a phd, right? Especially if it’s in film! Let’s just ignore the fact that your body and soul are both decimated, shall we?

I decide to call up yet another one of my mentors, also an old college professor (I’ll call her LL), and a woman who I really idolize.

She had just come to Israel to visit a few months before, and I actually met up with her two days after my D&C, so she knew more or less what I was going through.

She hops on skype.

LL: So – what’s up?

Me: Well, I um, had another miscarriage.

LL: Oh honey, I’m so incredibly sorry to hear that.

Me: Yeah, well, um, it’s ok. That’s actually not why I called. I need some advice.

LL: Ok – shoot.

Me: Well, I think it’s time for a change – and – well, I thought of maybe going for my Phd may do me some good, and I wanted your advice on who to talk to over here.

LL: Sweetie, um, are you sure you want to do that?

Me: I think so. I mean, it’s not like “trying to be a director” is getting me anywhere.

I start sobbing.

LL: Oh honey – listen. I know you. You are not cut out for academia. You are a filmmaker.

Me: No I’m not.

LL: Don’t say that. You are. I just think that – well – that “Grad school X” kind of took away your voice, and you don’t know quite how to handle it.

Me: *sobbing uncontrollably*

LL: Listen – do something for me – let this idea  sit for a bit ok? How about grabbing a video camera and shooting something – anything – just for yourself. I don’t know, maybe a love letter to the babies you lost…?

Me: *sob* ok *sob*

LL: Just find your voice again. I promise you that once you do that, things will be a lot clearer.

I haven’t picked up the camera – yet.

****

I don’t dream much – or at least I don’t remember most of my dreams. However, for the last three years or so I’ve had this recurring nightmare, and it’s the only one I remember. I’m in a room surrounded by people, and I’m very angry and upset. I’m crying. I’m trying to yell at the people around me, and I choke. No voice comes out.

****

It’s amazing to me that it took that conversation with LL to make me understand the meaning of that dream.

****

Two weeks ago I meet up with a producer friend of mine, who basically stepped in and saved my thesis film at grad school x when the faculty screwed me over on it.

We hung out, and we were talking. He says “You’re a wine bottle. “Grad school X” is the cork. If you don’t get rid of that cork pretty soon, the wine will turn into vinegar.”

The guy has never seen “Lost” so I will forgive him for changing around the wine bottle metaphor. But he’s right. Goshdarn it. He is.

****

I used to be fearless when it came to my films. I would spill my guts into every script. Every frame was me. Not all of it was perfect, but it was all me.

****

The problem is that I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to remove that metaphorical cork. Though I do think that this blog is as good a start as any.

And here is my next step.

I am coming out of the filmmaking closet.

Embedded below is a short film I made in 2004. It’s called “Make-Up”. It’s not perfect by a long shot – it was the first time I ever directed dialogue. But it’s me. It’s my guts on that screen. It’s the last time I really allowed that to happen. I’ve made “technically better” films since then – but who the hell really cares about that?

Yes – and by watching it, I will no longer be called “mommyodyssey” – you will see my name on those credits. (as long as it doesn’t show up on this blog for future employers to google, I don’t care).

I hope you enjoy it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Make Up on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

Tattoo

4 Jan

After overcoming my first bout of depression and anxiety at age 17, I went out and got a tattoo on my back. It was a faerie, and I named her “Tori”. She reminded me of the three months I spent painting through my internal crap, while blasting “boys for pele” on a loop 24-7.

I got her as a symbol of the power of starting over. As a visual bookmark that always told me “you have strength and things get better.”

I’ve been thinking of getting a second tattoo. One to commemorate my losses, but also as a second, stronger reminder of my ability to crawl out of the mud.  I’ve had a few ideas. The lamest being getting the symbol of the deathly hallows from HP on my ankle (silly I know, but harry potter has always been a great place for me to escape to when I needed a pick me up).

Still – it’s a really lame idea. And surpasses even my unusually high level of dorkiness.

Last night I thought of another idea. I thought that maybe I should get two small stars on my left ankle to represent my lost babies.

And when my “found” babies come, I would get one small flower on my right ankle for every one of them.

I like the symbolism of it – but stars and flowers seem to be a bit cliche – no?

I am an endless well of lameness, apparently.

Any ideas for symbols of the less-cheesy variety? Or am I being too hard on myself? Comment away!

eh- this way is as good as any… :-)

3 Jan

Hi Grandpa, I missed you.

2 Jan

I used to be a painter. It used to consume me. I would spend hours upon hours locked up in my room – Tori Amos blasting full force – covered in acrylics. My floor was stained with paint. My clothes were covered in them. I don’t think I owned one piece of clothing that didn’t have at least one acrylic stain on it.

Heck – I even painted my hair. On purpose. (true story!)

My Grandfather taught me how. I remember his little studio at the back of my grandparent’s house. I can still smell the turpentine when I close my eyes and think about it. He had stores of paper and pastels and any kind of paint I wanted. And clay. At the end of ninth grade I insisted to my parents that I wanted to go to an art school. My grandfather spent hours and hours with me making a portfolio. To get into the school, I also had to sit in a class and paint or draw a bowl of fruit, while the teachers watched. He told me “if you want to impress them, take a step back every once in a while and look at your work. They’ll think you know what you’re doing.”.

I got into that art school. And at the end of 12th grade, I made a huge final project.

The summer before, I had my first serious bout with depression and anxiety, and that project was a maze of my insides. splatter upon splatter hanging from the ceiling. 40 meters of clear nylon plastic with my interior crap all over it (figuratively of course).

My grandfather came to see it. He brought his video camera. He walked around that room for almost an hour exclaiming, examining, critiquing. Being proud of me.

I finished high school. I kept on painting. I loved it. I loved the way it felt. It was freeing.

I stopped painting when my grandfather died. I excused it as “moving on to another medium” (i.e. film).

But no. I stopped painting when my grandfather died.

This was 11 years ago.

A few months ago I went out and bought acrylics, brushes, an easel… Everything. And then I didn’t touch them.

Last night I talked to one of my closest friends, who tends to see right through me and say the most insightful and practical things that it sometimes scares me to talk to him.

We had a really long conversation during which he asked “and when are you going to paint?”

Apparently – the answer was – today.

I don’t know what came over me. I grabbed the easel, my ipod, those brushes, and I just went at it.

I was hesitant at first. But an hour and a half later it was as if I never left it. Tori blasting in my ears, brushes tossed aside in favor of fingers. Tears streaming down my cheeks.

An upbeat song comes on. I dance around, sing aloud applying paint layer upon layer.

Then I stop and I whisper.

“Hi Grandpa. I missed you.”

I’m not a spiritual person, but in that moment I felt him with me. I smelled the turpentine. I took a step back and looked at my work “so they’ll think I know what I’m doing.”

That’s also the moment that I realized for the first time that I stopped painting because he died. Because it hurt too much. Because every time I put acrylic on a canvas or a piece of paper, he is there with me, and how much I miss him, and how scared I was to feel that.

Man, he’d be so pissed off at me for letting it go for so long.

Why have I spent 11 years denying myself of that kind of cleansing, freeing experience? He was there with me, but it was joyous. It was amazing.

Saba – I’m sorry. I promise to meet up with you more often from now on.

(it’s a work in progress which I promise I will post when it’s done)

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