Archived entries for just words

Housekeeping epiphanie

I have never been a neat person. In college and at my old desk job I tried to say that I liked to work in organized chaos. I could generally find whichever piece of paper that contained information relevant to the task at hand within… a few minutes. My monitor was usually covered in sticky notes because computerized task lists? Who has time to set those up! There would be occasional times when I’d feel like “This is IT. I need a clean space before I can do any more work.” So I’d buckle down and clean. Like the “organized chaos” excuse, that was another excuse to put off doing something. When it came to my house I kept telling myself so long as it was “cluttered” but not “filthy” aka experiments aren’t growing in the kitchen sink and everything else is at least sanitary, my house isn’t nearly as bad as some others I’ve seen, that was good enough.

Part of the problem is that I have never enjoyed cleaning. For one, I have a texture issue when it comes to stuff like dealing with drains or sink experiments and overall I don’t enjoy touching things that are dirty. Also, there’s the part where perfectionism becomes a detriment instead of an asset. I would tell myself that since I wouldn’t ever be able to keep the house perfect then why should I bother doing anything other than the minimum? And, for pretty much all of the first years of our marriage, I was the one working full time. Having to do the cleaning on top of everything else was such a huge chore that I developed an intense dislike for it. (This isn’t an open invitation to discuss the relationship I have with my husband. It’s just all part of the gig. We’re working on it.)

Even more excuses that are slightly legitimate are the problems I’ve had with headaches, whatever is wrong with my back, and whatever it is I’ve done to my knee. Those are stories of their own but I’m beginning to accept that sometimes, I just can’t do anything because of the pain and that doesn’t mean I’m a worthless person. So those couple of days that happen every once in a while where I end up not moving off the couch? That is completely OK. I can’t change the fact that I get headaches that knock me on my ass every once in a while. But these still count as excuses.

Then I got to thinking about how if my apartment is a disaster with just the two of us and at the time just two cats, what would it be like if we do manage to add another human to the household? And at the time there was the wanting of a third cat, which we did just last week when we adopted Zelda. If I think I’m drowning in laundry and dishes and cat hair now, what would happen if there’s a third person to clothe and feed!? Especially one that will undoubtedly be making messes of one sort or another for a long, long time? Something needed to change. Continue reading…

Blank pages

I always find it amazing when my rational brain knows things for fact, an absolute certainty, and still my emotional brain practically sticks its fingers in my ears and goes LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU and proceeds to take me on a roller coaster of feelings. This happens more often than I care to admit. Denial is a powerful drug. Thankfully, I seem to be able to snap out of that pit in just a day or so. Mostly. That pit? It is dark, and it is deep. It sucks every last bit of hope out of the world and only gives despair in return. I do not have the words to describe how desolate it feels.

If my cheery beaming positive terrible sorry sarcastic attitude doesn’t convey it, I have no good news to share. Period. (HAH. It’s funny because that’s a pun. Get it?) (This is why I shouldn’t draft posts after midnight.) Friday was a terrible day. Saturday was better because the rational side is finally kicking in. Things can only go up from here, right? If I say that loudly and often enough it must become true. Or so I tell myself.

Thursday’s endeavor to clean up the office and make room for my art easel was largely a success. I still have a lot to do, stuff to find homes for (some of it belongs to the husband, though) and stuff I should probably get rid of but I’m not dodging stuff to get to my computer and my easel has a corner! And I have a drop cloth down to keep charcoal/pastels/possibly paint off the carpet. The joys of renting, right?

I have an odd relationship with art. It’s complicated (understatement of the decade!) but one of my biggest regrets is only ever having the opportunity to take introductory drawing. That is the sum total of my art education. It wasn’t available to me in grade school or high school and pursuing a double bachelor’s left no time for extras. Except for that one class, final semester of my senior year. It was amazing, partly because I allowed myself that time to not stress over failing my capstone course and thus not graduating. Looking back I don’t think I was ever in danger of failing that class. If my classmates passed there was no way I would have failed. I digress.

I loved that class. Sure, we did boring stuff like line studied and draw these five things that are on the table over and over and over but I still enjoyed it. The thing is I haven’t done much of anything since and there is absolutely no reason for it. Sure, my former job ate up a lot of my time and emotional energy (runner up for understatement of the year) but that’s just another excuse. Two years ago I picked up my charcoals and worked on a few pieces but only completed one. I never practiced, never tried any new mediums except for a few sorry, half-hearted attempts at working with acrylic paint that resulted in more unfinished pieces.

Honestly, at this point I have no one to blame but myself. I can change this. I have the time. I have the resources to learn because as my nephew said, all you have to do is type it into youtube and it’s all there! He was talking about Gummi Bears but it’s so very true. I’ve looked back at the work I did in college (yes, I’ve held onto it for five years) and I wonder why I stopped. (Well, there’s the complicated stuff but that’s just more excuses.) The only thing holding me back now is me.

So Saturday morning I set out to replenish my charcoal/pastel paper supply. Instead, thanks to the awesomeness of sales, I now have a set of watercolor pencils and enough watercolor paper to get me started. One thing I’m paranoid of doing is amassing art supplies and never doing anything with them. (See: holding onto my stuff from college for five years.) For one, I don’t want to waste the money. Two, I don’t have the space to keep things I’m not going to use. Three, I wouldn’t be able to deal with the guilt. I’m glad to say that I’ve already opened up my stuff and dabbled with it. It didn’t take me long to realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. But instead of getting frustrated I am OK. I won’t be able to pick this up in a day. I have the whole of the internet as a learning resource.

I am hoping that in the coming weeks and months art will be a helpful form of therapy. I remember how I felt working on the last piece I did. How it felt in college to just drop the stress and draw. I just need to not be afraid to start and be OK with failing miserably At least to start with because I’m horribly out of practice. I’ve heard that practicing drawing will help one strengthen their photography skills so here’s hoping I can accomplish many things. Like so many things, I need to stop letting fear hold me back.

And Dr Who; I won’t get anything done if I keep hitting “next” on Netflix.

No news is frustrating news

I’m glad that no matter how often I lapse in blogging my site is still here when I need it. Some of this is just recapping some snippets I’ve put on twitter but these past few days I haven’t even been doing that. Other than instagram-ing some photos and wishing my phone had a better camera!

Last week I did have the blood tests done that my doctor had suggested (but still left up to me). I’m still sporting a large bruise on my right arm from where the first stick attempt ended in a vein blowout. I’ve never had that happen before but I don’t blame the nurse. I’ve known for awhile that I have tiny veins. I’ve even been stuck before and had no blood come out, even. Anyway, second stick in the back of my left hand worked though I have another small bruise there. To my surprise I got the results the same day: everything is in normal ranges, meaning that it’s probably not a thyroid issue and another indication that it’s still very unlikely that I have PCOS. Not impossible, just unlikely.

(Also, the nurse doing the draw thought that I was 18! She could tell what I was there for by the tests ordered and thought I couldn’t be old enough to be thinking about having a baby yet. I was like nooo… I’m 27?)

It’s good news because there’s nothing “wrong” but it’s not much of an answer, which is just frustrating. I know I’m an over thinker and I’m having a hard time accepting that there isn’t much I can do to control any of this. To fix anything. Feeling like a broken person isn’t exactly new, though, because of all the problems I’ve had with headaches and the fact that I’ve found nothing to help those. I’m pretty sure that no one likes feeling helpless so I know that all that I’m feeling is normal. This whole thing is normal and I’m not the only one who is, has, or will have been in this situation. It just helps to say that out loud.

We are still talking about our other options –it’s definitely “we” because all of this affects the husband too– and sort of taking it one day at a time. And now I’m having panicky thoughts about how much I should share and when and holy crap I’m telling the internet everything! Well, not everything; there are certain details I’ll certainly be keeping to myself.

What I need to do and am trying to do is find other things to do to occupy my time cause honestly, sitting on my asa in front ot the TV and moping isn’t going to do anyone any good, least of all me. Some friends and I are trying to get together regularly and walk, both for exercise and as something to get us all out of our own spaces for a bit. The first day it rained so that turned into a manicure party. The second day I managed to hurt my knee AND hip somehow so today is just our third day. Here’s hoping I don’t injure myself again!

Where we are now

Last post I left off with some advice to let people bring up their childbearing choices in their own time. Well, I’m bringing it up now. (Obviously.) I’ve actually been in the “smile and nod and give noncommittal answers about ‘someday'” spot. It is no fun. And unless you’ve been in my position I don’t know of any way to explain just how terrible it feels. Like I said before, years ago I was pretty ambivalent about having kids. And then something changed. I don’t know what or how but for about two years the thought of wanting a baby actually makes me ache. I dream about it, often quite realistically, and am beyond disappointed when I wake up and realize it isn’t true. So if you’ve never wanted something that badly I don’t think you can know. To say it’s not fun is actually putting it very, very mildly.

Finally, last fall, we decided that we were in a place where it wouldn’t destroy –destroy might be to strong a word but oh well– our lives. We have insurance (not sure how much that will do because damn if it isn’t expensive).  I did what I needed to to come off my headache prevention medication (one of those that is known to cause birth defects), then after enough time go off of birth control. For the first time in four and a half years. I started taking prenatal vitamins. I started temperature charting so that this wouldn’t be a stab in the dark. (There’s a “that’s what she said” joke in there, somewhere.) And so we waited. Well, we did more than just wait because duh, storks don’t bring babies. But you know. THAT. (Hi, family!) And waited some more.

I got an app for my phone for my chart and set an alarm to make sure I took it at the same time and dutifully recorded the results. I told myself that I shouldn’t expect anything the first few months because sometimes it just takes time. And then some more time passed and things weren’t looking exactly like they should. But, I expected some irregularity. Surely nothing was wrong. And then April came around. I did some traveling in April so that could throw some things off. But then May was just around the corner and I was on day 40 something of my cycle and had nothing but a negative test and no sure sign of ovulation on my chart. Something was wrong because that doesn’t fit any definition of “normal”.

Looking back, I think that it’s very likely I wasn’t ovulating at all even though the app assumed I was, however irregular the data. It just didn’t add up. Knowing what I now do I should have known; that’s what willful delusion will get you. Looking farther back, things may never have been right. Remember how periods were something to not talk about, something to be ashamed of? And how I wasn’t ever really taught about the whole process? My cycles had never been regular. Not that I can remember. But it was never an issue because I didn’t want kids then. Why should I have worried about it, discussed something that was at the time mortifying? Add it all together: I was fooling myself because I didn’t want there to be anything wrong. I didn’t want to have to entertain thoughts of infertility. I didn’t want to deal with doctors again, trying to find a diagnosis for something that could have no answers. But I made myself call and make an appointment anyway. I’m not getting any younger and this didn’t look to be fixing itself.

The earliest I could get an appointment was May 21. Which will be tomorrow. I’m not thrilled about where my appointment is but insurance rather limits my choices. This practice is the only in town, in network practice. I’ve some experience with them but not as a patient. But see, the stuff I learned while researching last year? Wasn’t just about fertility cycles but just how broken the American maternity system is. That is indeed another post on its own; I’ll cross that bridge when (if) it gets here. What will happen tomorrow? I’m not sure. At that point we’ll only have been trying (Hi! Sex!) for six months. There’s no point in guessing about what will happen because there’s no way to know. I think I’m equal parts anxious, terrified, and eager. I just hope I can keep my blood pressure in check because it has skyrocketed at regular checkups just because I do not want to be dealing with doctors. And this is no regular checkup.

To recap: yes, we’re trying to have a baby. Yes, it’s taking longer than we thought. Yes, I AM going to talk about it. People shouldn’t have to quietly suffer from insensitive questions. People shouldn’t be shamed in to not talking about normal processes because it makes some people uncomfortable. Speaking out is one of the best things I can do and since this is my space to do so you’d better believe that I’m going to. Am I opening myself up to criticism? Disappointment? Probably. But I’ve used writing as therapy for a long time and that’s something I need right now.

(Remember! Birth control, adoption, overpopulation, I don’t want to hear any of it.)

An education

This is part two of a three part post. Read the first post Opening Up.

I just had a thought: remember how I said it was awkward talking about this stuff in person? Well, this is the Internet and the Internet is forever. So to my future child(ren): if you’re reading this, I’m sorry if it’s awkward. One day you’ll be young and ignorant inexperienced and you’ll probably put something in writing that one day you’ll look back on and maybe go WHAT WAS I THINKING. And then one day YOUR children might find out.

So what did I learn? A whole hell of a lot. My former education taught me that of course you can only get pregnant if you ovulate but that was about it. Nothing about how one might confirm ovulation, detect ovulation, nothing. Bare basics. Egg + sperm = baby. But I find that there really are just 4-5 days in a cycle (which is most certainly NOT 28 days every cycle) when a woman is fertile. For some people that might be obvious but it was brand new information to me. The best thing I ever did was read a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Seriously. Before I read it I had heard it mentioned so much in my “research” that I thought surely they’re blowing it out of proportion. One BOOK couldn’t be that life changing. I WAS WRONG. If you’re wanting to have kids some day, whether it’s soon or 10 years from now, read. that. book. It’s so much of what I was never taught but should have been. Continue reading…

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