Eponymous Anonymous

I’ve been asked why all the cloak and dagger anonymity on this here blog.  It’s an excellent question and one deserving of an answer.  And, since my mental blog topic list is a little short at the moment, I saw this as a perfect blog topic. I get to talk about myself and in response to a legitimate question.  What more can a girl ask for?

The short answer is: I am a paranoid control freak.

The long explanation is a little more multi-faceted (isn’t it always?).  Let’s break it down:

Paranoia: my name in real life is fairly uncommon and if you Google me, it is disgustingly easy to find me.  And, just in case you were concerned that maybe there were multiple people with my exact name in the U.S., you could click on a link and determine in pretty short order that the person described fits my age group and gender. 

Why is this a problem, you ask.  Well, there’s that little thing about me being an atheist.  I out myself to a select group and only after careful vetting do I deem them worthy of this knowledge.  And,  there are quite a few people – employers included – who don’t look very kindly on atheists.  To some, it is the same as me posting a picture of me taking bong hits on a My.Space profile (and for the record, I’ve never tried dope or any other illegal drug).  I am not a “loud and proud” atheist and I would like to keep it that way, at least in association with my real name.

So, why not give more details, but just not my name?  With every identifiable detail I drop, I feel a little more naked.  It’s a slippery slope from giving out a detail here and there to baring it all.  I prefer to remain fully clothed.

Control Freak: I like to know that I’m only giving out information that is designed not to send people running in my direction.  Once you put something on the internet, it tends to go viral, so the less information I can give out the better. 

Finally, I really, really like being anonymous.  It adds to my mystery and hugs my curves.

It’s Not You, It’s Me.

This phrase has always been thrown around as the ultimate, break-up parting salve.  I think I’ve been on the receiving end just once, but once was enough.  What it said to me was, “it is most definitely you.” Seeing as how that is my one and only personal experience with this phrase, I tend to look askance whenever I hear it and translate into my own personal version.

As I have gotten older (and hopefully a little wiser), though, I’ve come to understand that there are some situations where this sentiment, “it’s not you, it’s me” holds true, when the person genuinely has issues far and beyond what the other person is dealing with and so they are genuinely “it’s me”. 

I’ve been having some “it’s not you, it’s me” moments recently, moments that I think all of you can appreciate at some time or another. What is that I speak of? Allow me to explain, albeit in a rather circuitous manner.

Starting Down the Path

All of us in the IF community start out working toward one goal and one goal only – to have child, by hook or by crook.  Some make it, some don’t, some take the paths less travelled, that may or may not involve children.  No one path is the right way, by the way. And, I’d like to think that everyone, at some point, gets to a conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be.  

But, even for those who do end up winning the beta lottery, not everyone gets there in the same time, and there is no merit system or seniority.  Some don’t welcome their bundle(s) until years after they started down the path, others have better luck.  And while those who win are understandably and justifiably thrilled, there is the bittersweetness to it because of all those who are left behind, who may have had not had their lottery dreams fulfilled and are left looking at an empty (fill in here) _____________ (a) room, b) heart, c) uterus, or d) all of the above).

Recently, several of the blogs that I follow have featured very poignant and existential discussions as to their purpose since the writers have moved on – one is pregnant and the other recently adopted.  Both are no longer “infertile” in the classic sense, but both are having growing pains, for the lack of a better word, about where this leaves their readers.  Bless both of them for having the temerity to even broach this topic, which I think is much thought of, but not very much discussed in the IF blogging community.  And bless both of them for remembering that there was a time when they both had difficulty reading blogs such as theirs have become, and for recognizing that there will be those who have followed their stories but now can no longer follow the journey because it is just too hard.

I admit to being One of Those People who (sometimes) just stop reading once someone gets in a family way because it is still painful, but I think more importantly, I can no longer really relate to this person’s experience.

It’s not you, it’s me.

But, what of the “read and support” credo?  In response to one of these posts, Ms.Prufrock said,

It has always confused me how some bloggers are abandoned when they get what all of us infertile bloggers want. Isn’t that the point? Why do we bother supporting each other through treatment, loss, the adoption process, etc, then jump ship when all that hard work pays off? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

I’ll admit it, I was very bothered by certain people who were there for me throughout my IUIs and IVF, then decided that it was all too much once I got pregnant. It isn’t fair that not everyone is going to get what they want, but nor is it fair to withdraw support because it’s all too hard for one to cope with. It’s an unsympathetic view, I know. Guess what? Raising a kid is hard too, support and love might just be required then as well!

I see the logic – we should be there for each other through thick and thin, pregnancy, miscarriages, positives and negatives. Unfortunately, I cannot practice it, at least not all of the time.

Where You Go, I May Not Follow

I cannot opine for other bloggers who do this, but I can explain my prediliction, in the form of a handy SAT-esque analogy. 

When I was a junior in high school, I was friends with a lot of seniors.  I had lots of classes with them and found them to be infinitely more interesting than the people in my own class.  I followed them and supported them in their quest to find the ‘perfect’ college and marveled at their accomplishments.  I wished them well upon graduation and tried to stay in touch.

But, when they went to college, they had moved on to a place and time in their lives for which I had no frame of reference or ability to even relate.  They were in college, dealing with issues like snotty roommates and oversleeping for their 8am class.  I was sweating AP tests.  They were trying to decide if living on campus was really the way to go. I was trying to stay up and listen to my music without waking up my parents. 

I couldn’t even begin to offer them any support.  To be sure, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to support them, it was that they were in a phase of their life that I knew nothing about.  I could not relate, understand or really support them because I had no personal knowledge of what they were experiencing.  Since I couldn’t relate, I couldn’t offer what I considered to be meaningful support.  (And, there was a teensy amount of jealously because I wanted to get to college AQAP.)  

The same holds true sometimes for those IF blogging ladies who go on to have a successful pregnancy or parent.  They have moved onto an experience that I really can’t relate to, and in some way reminds me of all that has happened, or not happened, as the case may be.  And, so for personal preservation or just plain selfishness, I must wish you well on your journey, but let you know that I may or may not be ‘present’ on the way. 

It’s not you, it’s me.

A Little Late to the Party

I’ve been somewhat absent from the blogosphere these past few days – partly by choice and partly by circumstance.  I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the break, but I’ve also been a very bad girl about not commenting on other people’s blogs for which I must beg forgiveness.  I shall rouse my inner commenter shortly.

So, what has brought me out of my partial hibernation? None other than the Blog to Blog Love party, for which I am regrettably a tad late, but better late than never.  And, my participation has in no way been influenced by FarmWife saying that my writing is brilliant (your check is in the mail, my dear!).

I’ve not heard of this particular project before, but I think it is way cool, so I will give it a whirl.  Here is FarmWife’s wonderful explanation:

The deal is to visit 4 of your daily blog reads. From each blog choose another blog from their blog roll that you’ve never visited. Try that blog out and see what happens. They may become your new fave, who knows! Then duplicate the main part of this post with a note on whose blog you got it from. Name the four new blogs you are going to read, tell briefly why you chose them and whose blog roll they came from. And if you want, coerce others mercilessly into joining in!

So, here goes.

One Bloggy-Blog

I started with one of my favs Cliz Biz and clicked on The Clutter Museum.  Not only does she have categories such as “Whining Exhortation and Angst” and “I heart material culture” she managed to find a video that combined the Muppets (Beaker!) and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from his Ninth Symphony, two of my favorite things.  If that is not perfection, I don’t know what is.

Two Bloggy-Blogs

Another blog that I adore with a capital A is the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.  Laurie, the proprietess, fosters kittens from the Tacoma/Pierce County Humane Society, which alone is amazing, gives them fabulous names (we are now on the Livermores) and then takes amazing pictures of them!  It’s a daily stop for me, especially when I’m feeling a little blue.  Kittens always make me smile, especially since they remind me of when ours were that small and utterly adorable.  She now has links to the blogs that have been set up by the people who adopted some of the kittens that she fostered and one my favs is Phyllis and the Aliens, about three IBKC graduates.  These three look like delicious amounts of trouble. There is even a recorded purr, people!

Three Bloggy-Blogs

Wilma, over at Death Bed Moment also serves a regular dose of hilarity (whether she means to or not) and could be my doppleganger – she too composes fabulous blog posts in that pre-sleep haze that are promptly forgotten upon waking and is having back and neck pain and waiting for her hair to grow.  Hmmm, maybe I’m not an only child after all.  Anyway, I clicked through her blog onto French School Confidential wherein I found yet another kindred spirit, as Anne used to say.   Commenters are Vanity Enablers and she is willing to admit a severe allergy to working with team members. 

Four Bloggy-Blogs

I also read Our Piece of It, which I found randomly and love how random it is.  I clicked through to another blog, Oh What Larks and saw only beautiful, beautiful images.  That is my kind of blog. It appeals to my inner art student who is still lurking, currently subsisting on mini-projects not, full blown artsy things. But, I’ll take beauty wherever I can find it.

So, there you have it. I’m not nearly motivated enough to let these people know what I have done, but some will find out anyway. I encourage anyone – regardless of whether I’ve listed your blog or not – to partake of this experiment. You never know what you’re going to find.

image: Osvaldo_Zoom

Blog Hangover

Wow, do I ever feel like crap today.

I had such a virtual kegger yesterday, what with everyone congratulating me on my Blogoversary (thanks!) and me soaking up the lovely comments about the blog.  I think it’s gone to my head. Literally.

I feel fever-y, and headachey with a wicked sore throat and low energy (although no fever).  I suspect it is my annual Attack of the Allergies.  It started coming on yesterday afternoon and this morning it was in full blown assault.

My general feeling of crapitude wasn’t helped by the fact that I had to go for my annual pap smear today.  Let’s just say that after going to his office, which he shares with an OB, seeing poster after poster about pregnancy and birth, answering questions about my second miscarriage, and seeing a lot of expecting ladies who look to have been around the 7.5 month mark where I would have been had I not miscarried, I was feeling, to quote Janis, “as faded as my jeans.” Apparently, I still have some mourning left to do for No. 2 and the two pregnancies that I never got to complete.

If G wasn’t so stinky – we so need to give him a bath! – I would crawl into bed, break the rules that he isn’t allowed on the bed, and snuggle with him.  I’ll just have to wait for Mr. X, who is slightly less stinky, to come home for my snuggle. Sniffle.

image: Quasimondo

One Year and 200 Posts Ago…

I started this here blog. 

Happy Blogoversary to Me! Woot!

As with most projects that we embark on, my goal at the beginning was pretty narrow and one-sided: I wanted to bitch and moan about my infertility and just let out all of the nasty emotions that go with it in a safe, anonymous way.  Of course, the longer I was at it, the more it evolved into something much more.  The goal is no longer one-sided but multi-dimensional: talk about the emotions that go along with this crazy assed ride (yeah, that hasn’t changed), give inspiration to others on the journey, stretch out myself as a writer and try to make sense of it all. 

And, I can honestly say that blogging has helped me grow as a person, as a writer and as someone trying to have children. 

I think it’s pretty darn cool that one year later, not only am I still at it, but my blog has people(!) who read it (!) a lot (!) – wonderful people who take the time out of their busy lives to catch up on mine, and then provide me with wonderful support and compassion.  My blog overfloweths and I thank each and everyone of you. 

I do feel as if I should also pontificate on the fact that one year later, I still have no children or a viable pregnancy.  If you had told me a year ago that this is where I would be, I would have been depressed.  I would have secretly thought, but never uttered, that by virtue of starting a blog, it would just take a few more tries before I would get pregnant, as if the act of letting out my hot air would bring the stars into alignment and a baby into my uterus.  Obviously, that didn’t work so well.

But, a year later, I’m ok with it.  I’ve got a wonderfully full plate and I can very honestly say, that I am much happier now than I was a year ago.  And, I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have been blogging. It has taught me how to evaluate what I’m feeling, figure out the nut behind it and either tackle it or just throw into the pile of thoughts that are just too ridiculous for words (how dare she look so good in maternity wear?!). 

So, it’s my One Year Anniversary and I’m still going bloggy strong.  Yay me and yay you!

image: CHRIS230 (cropped)

I’m Having a Sally Field Moment!

Well, it’s happened again. FarmWife, that wonderful lady who still reads my blog after all this time (and still seems to like it!) has given me another award.  I was humbled the first time, now I’m just plain dumbfounded.  But, I am thankful because I love her blog so much – she is such a wonderful writer and blogger who does such a great job showing the humor in her life. 

And, I just have to say it:

“You like me, you really, really like me!”

Anyway, the award is the Arte y Pico Award and has somehow transmorgified from a very specific Portugese award for art into a general love-your-blog-creativity kind of thing (which I wouldn’t have know had FarmWife also researched the origin of said award. She is one-stop-shopping people!).  It also has a really cool picture:

Of course, what’s the point of getting an award if you can’t share it with others?  FarmWife also consolidated the rules (thank you!) and here they are:

1) Show the award. Link back to the blog that gave you the award.

2) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award because of creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogger community, no matter of language, and link to them.

3) Leave comments on the blogs to let them know you’ve given them an award.

4) Show the link to the Arte y Pico blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Show these rules.

So, without further ado, here are my 5, in no particular order:

Clizbiz because she unabashadly eats her young, has dined with MC Hammer, and is just an all around cool person who happens to blog about how cool she is so that we can all enjoy her adventures!

May at Nuts in May because even though I just found her blog, I have a feeling we were cut from the same snarky cloth.

Lesley because she just cracks me up and she has fabulous taste in music.  And, she has actually defended living in New Jersey.  That alone takes cajones.

Shinejil because she just finished her first IUI with injectibles cycle and she writes beautifully about so many topics.

Lori because she is all-around cool and because she still helps those of us on the journey even though she has found her family. 

Congrats to all of you!  Now, go forth and embarrass 5 more people with these riches!

999 Comments on the Wall… *Updated*

According to my nifty WordPress county-thingy, I have 999 comments on this blog. Who is going to make the 1,000th comment?

Will it be YOU?*

* Unfortunately, I can offer no prize other than the knowledge that you had the infinite good luck and timing to find this entry and comment before everyone else. Good job.

And the winner is……….. DENISE! She beat Lori by one minute.  But, thanks to everyone for playing. I’m now at 1,003! Woot!

image: ….antonio….

Voices Carry

A few months ago, I gave up reading newspapers online. Instead, I opted just to get the headlines for two delivered to my Google Reader: The New York Times and the Washington Post. I needed a filter so that I wouldn’t go through so much stuff that just upset me. For the most part, it’s worked out really well. Until today, that is.

I was flipping through the Google Reader and saw that Lori had posted, and although I had lots of work to do, I clicked on over (she always cracks me up and who doesn’t need a laugh in the morning?). Funny story about SATC (yes, Charlotte, some girls do get pregnant after they decide to adopt, but most don’t!) and then, wham, I saw it. A story about infertility in the New York Times featuring PJ! I couldn’t click fast enough.

I can’t explain why it was that in reading about infertility, and PJ’s experiences in particular, in print made so much of an impact on me. It was if we, as a community, had gone viral, legit, out and proud, whatever you want to call it. I listened to the six voices of women with infertility and I found myself nodding at each one – yep, thought that, that too, oh yea! that one! There was a validation there that I didn’t even know I was looking for. The idea that six women were willing to talk about this in public and let it all hang out for the lack of a better term, gave me a certain sense of optimism that some day, more people will understand how hard this.

My optimism was curbed almost immediately by the insensitive-bordering-on-outright-dumb comments that some people posted in response. I shared some of them with Mr. X and he just shook his head, and like the good Libertarian that he is, declared that they were entitled to their opinion. I was less sanguine.

Still, our voices carry. I had forgotten how far they can go. Hopefully, more people will see how hard this all is even if they themselves are not afflicted and recognize that all we ask is to have the same right as everyone else to have a child.

[Mrs. X exits her soapbox. Film at 11.] image: circulating

(Note to my friends who have not dealt personally with infertility but who read this blog: this post was not about you!)

In other news, I must be a popular girl. I have been tagged not once, not twice, not even three times – but four times! And, they’re not even the same meme. I’ve already used up most of my existential energy this evening, so I will attack the easier of the two tonight: you in six questions courtesy of seriously? and loribeth.

1) What were you doing 10 years ago? Well, I had just graduated from college not even a month before and went home with my parents. I know, big dork, but I knew I wanted to take a year off after college and veg before diving into grad school. So, I was painfully adjusting to living back until the parental roof while trying to find a meaningful (and decent paying) job. Many growing pains ensued.

2) What are 5 things on your to-do list today? Today is almost tomorrow, so I’ll list tomorrow’s to-do’s in no particular order: put an iron choke hold on my work to-do list so that I don’t feel so freakin’ far behind, pick up Sweetie’s dry cleaning, don’t forget my dinner date up the street, go to the vet to get more pet food, and try to finish the scrapbook I’m making about how I made the quilt for my best friend’s new baby.

3) List some snacks you enjoy: Almonds. I need my protein in the afternoon to keep going!

4) What would you do with a billion dollars?: start a foundation to promote conservation, pet adoption and my other pet causes. Fund scholarships for kids who wouldn’t otherwise go to college. Invest the rest and live off of the interest – maybe buy a house in Australia, I love Sydney, but otherwise not change much in my daily routine!

5) List the places you have lived: I have to be kind of vague here so I don’t blow my intricately laid cover. But, I’ll say that I’ve only lived in three states in my entire life, in two different time zones.

6) List the jobs you’ve had: a babysitter, library assistant (book shelver – I loved it), resident assistant in college, membership coordinator at a gym, federal employee, clerk at art supply store, teaching assistant, and now my current job, of which all I will say is that I get paid to play with words.

Whew! For my three, I tag Farmwife, Lesley, and paranoid (who had a great ultrasound today!). Thanks to my peeps, Admin, and pepper – I’ll get to your tags soon.