Lake Glenville, North Carolina.
Today, on my 32nd birthday, I’m filled with hope.
I look back on the last 2 years and think of the hell that I’ve been through, and today, I feel strong. Stronger than the woman 2 years ago that didn’t yet know pain. And although, even now, the pain of each loss is still so vivid, the devastation so clear…here I am on the other side and I’m still breathing. My breath may be weathered, but it now knows how to fight for the air I need to survive this little life of mine. I’m left with scars that will forever be on my soul…but I’m able to sit here and tell the world about it. For that, I’m proud. I made it through it all and came out a better person.
Maybe I feel this way today because I just spent the weekend with an incredible group of friends, who gave me the energy to feel empowered. They love me for who I am and always will, and a weekend of laughter with my favorite girls in all of the world, is a good way to get your energy back. It was a weekend full of babies and pregnancy and consistent talk of both….and although in the beginning it was difficult, the love I have for them far outweighed the struggle that was going on in my head and I succumbed to it. And I honestly think it’s just what I needed. (It helped that my friend’s babies had smiles that could melt even the toughest of hearts.)
My life may not turn out the way I had envisioned it, but it still has the possibility of being great. I have so much love in my life, and I feel so incredibly grateful. And maybe that’s enough for me.
My horoscope today says: “Today’s New Moon in your sign signals a sudden break from your past if you are ready to place your new intentions into action.” I think it sounds like a good plan to break from my past today, and I’m ready to put new intentions into action. 2 years of this is enough, wouldn’t you say? I’m also thinking the fact the New Moon is falling on my birthday is an even greater omen.
Today, I have hope.
32 may just be the year it all turns around.
One year ago today: Hello, 31.
Today the U.S. military’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy that bans gay men and women from serving our country (and in it’s history removed more than 13,000 men and women from the military) was repealed.
Here’s what it says in the Washington Post:
“the Pentagon will now permit troops for the first time to publicly reveal that they’re gay without fear of official retribution. Enlistees who tell military recruiters, or troops discharged under the ban who are eager to reenlist, will be eligible to join up if they are qualified. And the Defense Department says it will have zero tolerance for anti-gay behavior, as it does for religious, racial and gender discrimination.”
– Don’t ask, don’t tell repealed: reactions, 9/20/2011, Washington Post
It’s a little glimmer of hope that at least part of our nation is moving in the right direction. I’ve been there when close friends came out and saw their struggle with telling their family and friends for the first time; I’ve also been able to watch how being accepted for who they are makes them blossom into the amazing women they wanted to be all along.
A young man stationed in Germany came out to his father in Alabama over the phone last night, and recorded it live on YouTube. As I watched, tears streamed down my face. You should watch, too. I know we certainly don’t cry enough around here.
Isn’t that amazing? Don’t you feel so incredibly proud of this man for finally being able to tell his father? And the reaction from his father leaves me in goosebumps.
Here’s some more news stories from across the web:
I know the fear for the men and women for coming out while serving isn’t completely erased, I know they will still have to unjustly face harassment; but at least they no longer have to hide out of fear of being removed from what they’re there to do – fight for our country. Since when does who you love affect that?
Somedays, it takes all that I have to get out from under this quilt and face the world.
As a direct result of this fourth loss and facing the reality that I may never be able to have a child, I seem to have become quite restless in my day-to-day life. I’ve realized that if I’m not able to fulfill my dream of having a family, then I need to have something else in my life (other than my amazing husband) that is worth waking up for. I’ve been sitting at a desk of some form for nearly 10 years and I feel in my gut that it’s not what I was meant to do. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful to have a job, especially one that does such important work for the world – but when a huge part of my dreams have been shattered, it’s impossible to want to come and face this computer and this desk every day.
I admire those that seem to love what they do. They wake up in the morning excited to see what the day brings. Tim is one of those people, and I adore that part of him so very much. He loves what he does and rises early in order to get started because it’s his passion and why would he want to sleep when he could be working? As he jumps out of bed, I roll over to hit the snooze one or ten more times, contemplating calling in sick.
I’m thankful that out of this awful experience of having my heart broken into a thousand little pieces, it has left my heart yearning for something more. I’m determined to somehow be able to live my passion every single day. To have something to get out of bed for. I want my passion to call to me, not my quilt.
I just don’t know where to start. The people I work with have become my family, so I have to find a way to be okay here until I see a way to make my new dreams a realization, not letting them down in the process. So for now, I have to keep coming to this computer and this desk until I can afford to do otherwise….knowing that someday, I’ll want to get out of bed.
In case you haven’t heard me say it before, I hate Facebook. I don’t go on because it instantly makes me feel like I’m missing out on so much; not to mention every time I get coerced into signing on because for some reason people use that as their form of communication (have they not heard of email?!), I have to see someone else who is pregnant that I didn’t know about. And, well, that’s always a bundle of laughs for me.
It’s because of my detest for Facebook that I guess I didn’t feel a huge pull to write about the Breast Cancer Awareness fiasco because I didn’t experience it firsthand. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t upset and confuse me, that I don’t stand behind every word the amazing women in this community of mine are saying. It was unnecessary and at the expense of so many; I’m left baffled and justified in my decision to stay off of the Book.
Please go read these posts so you can know what I’m talking about. Take with you that I stand behind them 100%.
Yolk: Pretending you’re pregnant isn’t cute (the original post); and her incredible follow-up posts that leave me speechless in their wake – The breast cancer game continues, Shame on you and So what’s a fertile to do? I feel like she is able to give words to how I so often feel but fail to be able to express myself – not just with this, but with so much of this battle.
Too Many Fish to Fry: On “That” Facebook Meme and Coming Out of the Infertility Closet Goosebumps.
Mommy Odyssey: More Facebook Acton – In Defense of Infertiles A good explanation of why Facebook is so hard for those of us in the trenches of this hell.
Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed: I’m 0 Weeks and Craving a Baby Keiko offers a great alternative for a status update. If it didn’t require me to go on Facebook and see all those pregnant women, I’d totally make it mine.
I often find that my voice in this fight against infertility and repeat pregnancy loss comes out more like a whisper among some incredibly powerful fighters. It is times like these that I feel honored to be a part of this group. I get shivers from your words, feel empowered by your fight, and pride overwhelms.
Thank you for being our collective voice. Because of you, someday no one will have to feel alone when faced with this because people will be talking about it and not hiding it. You’ve made all of this worth it.
I had a hard weekend. It started out with a party on Friday night for the neighbor’s 5-year old that was full of pregnant bellies and babies, not to mention uncomfortable interactions with “friends” that have chosen to back out of my life while I go through what I am. I try my hardest to be strong at these things, but I always end up having to step aside to let some tears fall before I can join back into the crowd. I’m not sure I ever joined back in on Friday night, though. The emotions lingered throughout the next day, even spilling into the remaining days of my three-day weekend.
When I went home after my D&C in June, I spent time with my best friend who was going through a major life transition of her own, and we talked a lot about passions and life lists. It helped energize us amidst our struggles and focus us at a time when we were seemingly grasping for air. I’ve spent a good majority of my life trying to find a passion to call my own, often times feeling like I may always be left searching. But in the last few years, my love of cooking – and now baking – have flourished. I didn’t hesitate when I answered that as my passion, it’s the one thing I absolutely love doing. When I returned home from that trip, I checked out every baking cookbook (shouldn’t it be called a bakebook?) I could out of the library and decided I wanted to hone my craft of making pastries and desserts and so I started creating.
Through the pain of the last loss, all of my emotions have been put into baking. I’ve made tarts, breads, cakes, pies, caramels, custards and finally last night, my first galette. Up until last weekend when I made Tim the banana cream pie for his birthday, I had never made my own pie crust. I had heard horror stories of how hard it was and that it just wasn’t worth all the trouble when you could so easily just buy one at the store. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I’m a bit of perfectionist with a whole lot of competitiveness mixed in (I’m even competitive with myself), so I knew I had to learn how to make my own crust. And although it wasn’t aesthetically the best looking pie crust ever made, I am proud to say I rocked it. I then knew I needed more of a challenge so I decided I wanted to attempt a galette, which is essentially a free-form pie sans pan. After the allotted wait time of 2-hours once it came out of the oven, I bit into a flaky, buttery, heavenly pie crust and had to stop myself from running a victory lap around the house I was so damn proud of myself.
It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having, if I step into that kitchen and lose myself for a few hours (or days) in a recipe book and some flour, I come out feeling a bit more ready to face the world. I guess you could say the kitchen is my “happy place.” Yesterday not only did I make a peach galette, I made cinnamon brown sugar ice cream to go on top of it. And since you shouldn’t really eat pie for dinner, I cooked black beans from my parent’s garden all day in order to make a spicy spread for chicken tacos topped with a chipotle-lime sauce. I can’t just saute some chicken and put it on a tortilla…no, I have to make my own taco seasoning and spicy sauce and black beans. Because just throwing some chicken on a plate just wouldn’t be satisfying enough for me – give me a challenge in the kitchen and I’ll gladly tackle it.
Cooking and baking is one of the few things I absolutely love doing and can even say I’m pretty good at. From very early on I was in the kitchen learning from my mom, holding the hand mixer and blasting powdered sugar or egg whites all over the kitchen table as I learned to keep it in the batter. I’ve come a long way and I’m anxious to get even better. I’ve needed something like this for a long time, something to put all of my energy into when things aren’t going the way I’d prefer them to be going. Or something that I can put my love into for someone I love, giving them my version of art as appreciation for them being in my life. Something to take my mind off of all those things I’m tired of thinking of.
Of course, it never escapes me that I’d give anything for a little boy to be at my feet while I attempt to bake and watch him at the same time, or to catch the expression of my daughter as she bites into a cupcake made specifically for her. Those desires I can’t escape. Those dreams don’t bake away.
But at least I have pie, right?
1. Roasted Garlic and Jack fougasse (recipe based on Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America)
2. Tim’s Banana Cream Pie (recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
4. Peach galette and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Ice Cream (I made this one up)
5. Raspberry Tart (recipe courtesy of Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking by Nick Malgieri)