Monthly Archives: September 2012

Replacing The Bad With the Good

One of the exercises I’m really liking from Keiko Zoll’s The You Project (the best $7.50 I’ve spent in AGES, by the way) is writing down the negative things I think about myself during the day.

There are a lot of them.

Most fall within a specific pattern: I tend to feel I let others down, then I feel guilty about it.

Darcy had a birthday and we make a big deal about birthdays around here. I spent 4 1/2 hours baking him a homemade chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. In a way, cake-making might be the biggest nightmare out there for perfectionists who are hard on themselves. (Remember how baking a cake caused one character to have a nervous breakdown in “The Hours?”) The cake tasted incredible, but it looked in a word: WONKY. I didn’t make enough of the buttercream frosting so it wasn’t covered completely. The buttercream recipe was completely fussy and required me to add very small amounts of confectioner’s sugar over the period of an hour to the butter. Again it tasted incredible. Darcy (who never holds back his words and whose opinion I care most about) loved it.

It didn’t look picture perfect.

So I was simultaneously annoyed with myself for not DOING IT RIGHT then I beat myself up because I didn’t include my kids in the baking of this cake like the French do, then I thought, why do I care so much about making things the best?

That’s a bad wormhole to go down.

In addition, I have a friend who has the worst timing in the world, at least when it comes to our friendship. She calls at the worst possible moments, shows up when I’m in the MIDDLE of something or when the house is a total wreck. I’m always explaining, it’s not me, it’s you, I’m tired, I’m sick. It’s happened enough to strain our entire friendship.

Today I woke up with the feeling that someone was sticking a dull, cheap Ikea Allen wrench deep into my left ear every 15-20 seconds. It hurt a lot. I was able to make it to a doctor’s appointment, and he quickly told me I had a nasty ear infection and I needed antibiotics.

Poor Darcy took the day off for Yom Kippur and went to services without me, drove me to the Doctor with the kids, dropped us off then went to pick up the meds.

During the doctor’s visit, my friend called. I didn’t answer. Then as soon as I got into bed, trying to amuse the kids while still feeling the dull pain of the Allen wrench, she texted me and said she was around the corner with her daughter visiting her dad.

I did not answer her text.

Readers, I hid the phone behind my pillow.

Darcy got home and said he had seen my friend at the drugstore while he was picking up my antibiotics. She was really upset and wanted to hang out. She was sick of my excuses, he could tell. He felt badly for her.

I let down a friend today. I didn’t value her friendship enough to put away my own suffering and blithely serve her the leftover chocolate cake. Which is what I should have done.

I don’t really know how to atone for this.

Keiko Zoll tells me that for each negative self-thought, I need to show myself one kindness.

So right now I write this entry, because what I love to do is write. And tomorrow, I will call my friend (even though I hate talking on the phone) and try to make it up to her.

***

Do you have negative self-thoughts? How do you ignore them/get past them?

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Filed under cooking?!?, Family

Melancholia

Darcy and I watched the movie, by Lars Von Trier.

Quite possibly, the film is the best illustration, ever, of what it is like to live with either depression, or its sister, anxiety.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Part One

The film is a look at an upper class family on the eve of the end of the world. No one knows the world is ending in the beginning, although Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, has her suspicions. Justine is one of the most gorgeous brides ever, in a wedding as picture perfect as you can imagine. Well, except for her dysfunctional parents who either let her down or make a scene. Gradually, we understand that Justine can’t enjoy the beauty of the event. She thinks it’s false, even though she doesn’t want to, and she makes a huge mess of it all. Her sister Claire who had planned the event on her beautiful estate, is troubled and can’t understand why Justine can’t just “be happy.” The day after the disastrous affair, Justine goes horseback riding with her sister, and she is unable to get her faithful stallion Abraham over a bridge. Justine looks up and notices a star is missing from the constellations.

Part Two

The missing star has been identified as Melancholia, a planet that is possibly on a collusion course with earth. Claire’s extremely rich husband John is confident that the planet will miss earth, just like it missed Mercury. He reassures Claire, who is very worried, that the planet will provide for a beautiful sight, but that is all. Claire desperately wants to believe him, but you can see the doubt and concern on her face. Justine has returned, catatonic, but seems to improve as the situation grows more dire. With a calm certainty, she faces her doom with dignity, helping Claire and her son who are eventually deserted by John. (Money means nothing in the end?) Claire tries desperately to save her son from their shared fate, and tries to control their fate, but to no avail. She never really accepts what is happening.

I don’t suffer from depression, although I have had my sad moments during my infertility journey. I don’t think life is pointless, like Justine, but I understand her plight. She sees the world as it is: that we will all face death. She has a hard time going through the motions, based on her understanding of the end game. No matter how incredible certain moments are, she just can’t play at life.

Claire, I comprehend completely. Claire, who functions so well during Justine’s wedding, is lost when Melancholia approaches. She has tied her life to the material world, she has a son she wants to survive and she can’t face the end. While Justine relied upon Claire in life, Claire must rely on Justine when facing death.

No one wants to die, of course. But we know none of us get out alive.

Have you seen the movie? Did you think it is about depression and anxiety?

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Filed under movies, What Say You?

Happy Birthday Grayson!

Some of you may know about the lovely and inspiring Elizabeth and her gorgeous boy Grayson, who was recently diagnosed with Leigh’s Disease, a terminal condition.

Today Grayson turns two!

Please go over and wish Grayson a happy birthday. And, learn more about Mitochondrial Disease and Leigh’s Disease by going here.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Slip Into Something More Comfortable

2002 was the year I got married. In the UK, and specifically within the Ibiza Chill Out scene, a haunting song would often play at the coolest of lounges and clubs in London. It was a song that was incredibly romantic. The violins stirred and reminded me of what my heart heard when I met Darcy for the first time. I contemplated playing this tune as I walked down the aisle, but thought it was a bit racy. So I decided upon “Storybook Love,” the theme from The Princess Bride, one of my favorite movies of all time.

But I memorized the romantic loop of “Slip Into Something More Comfortable” for our Honeymoon: I ingrained it into my head, for there were no iPods, not yet. Specifically, I remembered it for our island getaway to Mnemba, which in my mind IS paradise on earth. While there, we stayed in a beautiful bungalow, and dined by ourselves under the most low-hanging and vivid stars I have ever seen. I actually felt I could stand up and touch the bright constellations. I also scuba dived for the first and probably last time in the Indian Ocean. I remember every moment we were there, every limeade we were brought by our butler. The guy was so aristocratic that WE tended to his every need: I was always asking him what I could get him or what books he would want to read. (All the smartest books I had, I soon found out. He loved Margaret Atwood. Turns out he was in fact a Zanzibar noble.)

When I went through infertility, whether it was transfers or accupuncture treatments or injections, I always replayed the Kinobe loop in my head. I remembered how my low-slung red bikini fit me so gorgeously, I remember wearing sarongs to mealtimes with famous and important people: including the producer of all of the Harry Potter movies. I remember wearing Hermes scarves on my head with my wedding pearls and somehow feeling as badass as a pirate. I had come face-to-face with lions and leopards and green mambas and was unbowed.

It’s hard to remember that girl now. That beautiful, sculpted, optimistic adventurer. Yet, she is here. All I need to do is play Kinobe to call her back into existence.

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Filed under Discovering joy

MTV’s True Life: Infertility and Being a Role Model

You may have heard my views about this on the last episode of the Bitter Infertiles podcast.

MTV’s long-running “True Life” series is doing an hour-long program about infertility. It will be following around two (or three) couples of the producers’ choosing to get a sense of what it’s like to be aged 18-29, going through infertility.

Pause.

I have my concerns.

Here’s the thing. And I am addressing this to all people considering whether or not to be on this show:

People going through infertility are a misunderstood minority. Most press is negative. Then there are the comments sections on the aforementioned press articles. And the hurtful things we hear, often. The card deck is stacked against us.

So, when an opportunity comes to have a few of us profiled for a nationwide audience, we need to SEIZE it. We need to OWN it. And we need to make ourselves look GOOD.

What does this mean?

It means presenting your life in an authentic yet sympathetic way. It means talking about how infertility has devastated your life. Do give examples of mean things people have said. Do act human. It would help to be likeable, but human will do. It means showing the audience: she or he is like me. It means making the audience think: “Infertility is an awful disease!”

It DOESN’T mean bringing the drama. It doesn’t mean becoming Snooki, the infertile version. (Because Snooki is fertile, as we all know.) It means no bar fights. No cray cray family in-fighting. Because, we all know what MTV likes.

I’ve seen True Life. Specifically, the divorce episode comes to mind.

Remember that couple who was having non-stop ugly fights in front of their kids and kept calling the cops on each other?

Don’t be like them.

Don’t be like The Situation.

Because the weight of millions of Americans is on your shoulders. Infertility is so rarely portrayed, except in the freakshow manner. (OctoMom, the oldest American to have twins, the infertile 44 year old woman who swam in the fertile waters of Bhutan to get pregnant.)

You want to set yourself up as a reality show celebrity/trainwreck? Go ahead! Just please, please, please: choose another topic.

If you need some role models, think: What would Bodega Bliss do? What would The Smartness do? What would Single Infertile Female do? What would Keiko Zoll do? Or any of the Faces of ALI?

Thank you for listening.

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Filed under Infertility