Hormonal Rage

I wasn’t going to go on this whole diatribe about road rage and how there are entirely too many people who don’t understand the basic concepts normally covered in driver’s ed – but, here I am. At this rate I’m thinking that *when* (positive thinking!!) we have children, I’m going to have to find a way to acquire and drive an M1 Abrams Tank so I can make sure my precious bundle(s) of joy stay safe from all the crazies out there. (Which now makes me totally chuckle because I’m suddenly reminded of the episode of Family Guy where Peter decides that a tank would be the perfect “vehicle” to buy for Meg. LMAO!)

As I was saying…

Apparently, these days using an indicator to signal that you’re about to change lanes is no longer deemed necessary – instead, it’s evident to me that most people give little thought to what could happen if some of us didn’t have excellent brakes and reaction times when faced with a grade A moron who, in dense traffic, decides that YES, this is the perfect time to switch lanes. Without signaling. In fact, why not go ahead and careen your death machine across three lanes of traffic all at once. Because, you know, you should always try things you’ve seen on tv – especially given your totally awesome driving skilllllz, yo! Fo shiz! (Do I need to point out that this is dripping with sarcasm? No? Didn’t think so.)

But it doesn’t stop there, oh no! Instead, I’m also starting to get REALLY annoyed at people who just don’t keep up with the flow of traffic – and then create problems for everyone else because they don’t understand that the left lane is the PASSING lane, not the “cruise as slowly as possible while still keeping vehicle in motion” lane. I actually had a conversation with someone about this a few weeks ago – and she told me that one of her girlfriends admitted to always driving in the left lane “because I just like it more”. I think I may have started twitching and balling my hands into fists to stop myself from screaming WHAAAATTTTT? – followed by a choice selection of profane expletives.

So if you are one of those people – STOP. If you’re going slower than EVERYONE ELSE – and people keep switching to the right lane to pass you – that’s a sign that YOU ARE DRIVING AT THE SPEED OF GRANDMA. So kindly get the hell out of the way, before I decide to trade my current vehicle for a Dodge Ram and decide to live up to their motto that “If you can’t Dodge it, Ram it”.

All of which is just part and parcel when dealing with the strata of population whose subpar intelligence also includes texting while driving (if you have a death wish, do us all a favor and just drink a bottle of bleach instead) and doing your make-up/hair/other cosmetic enhancements while driving (because, yes, of course you want yet another layer of foundation since you lost half of what was previously caked on your face on that shirt you tried on and didn’t buy – thanks for that, btw, not gross AT ALL).

But perhaps the most aggravating thing, to me, are people who don’t understand that you should have at least one hand available for driving – and that using one to smoke and the other to talk on your cell phone is just plain retarded. YES, I’m using that word because that’s exactly what it is. Also? Newsflash, it’s almost 2014 – ever heard of a damn bluetooth device, you troglodyte?

Personally, I think driving laws would benefit from a draconian make-over – such as, no phones if it’s not hands-free, absolutely ZERO tolerance for texting while driving, and if you hold up traffic because you’re doing something other than keeping your eyes on the road and moving to the right lane where you belong if you’re driving at snail’s pace, you should just have your license suspended. Also? Any vehicle that’s meant for construction and or hauling something (like, say, ignitable fuel, construction materials, chainsaws or who the hell knows what else) should not even be allowed to drive in the left lane unless forced to pass an obstacle to avoid an accident. Why? Because when there’s a tractor trailer, construction truck or someone with an RV attached on the back hauling a$$ on the highway – guess what? It takes them much, much longer to come to a halt. So if there’s a problem, or traffic suddenly backs up because Barbie forgot to put on her false eyelashes correctly? That behemoth is going to come crashing into a bunch of cars and cause something awful.

And people who have construction materials and tools shouldn’t be driving fast anyway since it’s a toss-up whether or not they’ve remembered to tie everything down – and you may otherwise find yourself in a predicament like what I went through a few years ago when a chainsaw literally went airborne from the bed of a truck ahead of me and damn near smashed into my windshield. Yes, that actually happened.

Last but not least – people who act like idiots at the gas station. Idiotic behavior such as talking on your cell phone while refueling your vehicle – or being too lazy to actually stand next to your car and getting back into your car while the hose dispensing flammable fuel is left unattended – deserves an extra dose of Gibbs Head Slaps. Especially since you can’t claim that it would hurt seeing as how you’re clearly just using your brain as insulation for your head.

All of this stuff is giving me serious road rage. (Because, you know, it wasn’t obvious from what I’ve written so far. Yep, all about stating the obvious today.) Can someone please explain to me what happened to common sense? Was I in a coma when it died? Or are people just too stupid to think about exactly how many things can go wrong if you’re not paying attention when you’re driving? ARGH!!! (On a side note – DH and I have already had numerous, erhm, “discussions” in regards to our as-yet-to-be-conceivable offspring being allowed to drive. I said not before 21 because as far as I’m concerned, until you’re deemed responsible enough to consume alcohol in moderation, you’re certainly NOT responsible enough to sit behind the wheel and avoid things like vehicular manslaughter. DH thinks I’m being unreasonable because how are they supposed to get to the jobs they’re going to need to pay for college when we’ll be busy paying off our projected IVF debts until we’re in the ground?)

ANYWAY.

I’m feeling hormonal. (Here I go again stating the obvious – tsk tsk!) I know it’s T minus a handful of days before my period, which means yet another month where I get to writhe in pain with absolutely NOTHING to show for decades of suffering. And, just to add insult to injury, all those supplies I have to buy every month aren’t even tax deductible (an oversight? me thinks NOT!) – despite the fact that I have to waste hundreds of dollars a year on something that has as yet to show me ANY kind of tangible benefit.

The good news, though, is that I ran some errands today and everyone I came into contact with was very friendly! I admit that I went out of my way to be super nice as well, but it’s just an awesome feeling when the worst thing I can say about my day is (a) people drive like idiots, (b) there are entirely too many baby bumps around (uhm, hello? it’s autumn – kindly keep your damn fecundity to spring where it belongs and has a choke-hold on all us IFers for months. THIS time of of the year should belong to US! HMPF!!).

The plan is to watch a movie together tonight – which I always enjoy because I almost don’t care what we watch so long as DH is snuggling on the couch with one of the pups and I can feel at peace with the world. Plus, it means I can “steal” some popcorn from him because he loves me too much to say “get your own damn bag of popcorn!”. Ah, the gift of perspective – so nice when I can honestly say that, despite the ups and downs and some teeth-grinding in the car earlier today, I’m happy as a clam.

In other news, today my little blog hit 50 followers – YAY! Thank you for being out there and making me feel like, for all my rants and sometimes (ok, often) irrational fears, anxiety and frustration, I was right to listen to some of my fellow IFers who encouraged me to start a blog. Namaste! 🙂

Gratitude

In light of today’s date, I thought this was an appropriate topic. I know that I will never forget where I was when I first found out about the events of 9/11 – shocked to the core, silent in disbelief as images unfolded on the screen before my eyes and I took them in as though it was a movie. Because it couldn’t be reality, could it?

So before I got any further, I just want to say how grateful I am, every single day and night, that I can go about my days – hard as they may be for me sometimes – because of the people who selflessly serve in our Armed Forces, leaving behind their loved ones when it is deemed necessary. Thank you for doing a difficult job that not all of us could do because we don’t have the resilience, the strength or the courage they require – and thank you for doing it despite the fact that we don’t always show you enough appreciation.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
John Milton

But the subject of gratitude has been on my mind for a few days now. During the weekend, I kept trying to zero in on a subject for a new blog post. I wrote, saved drafts, started from scratch, saved more drafts – but nothing really felt right. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m definitely a right-brain kind of person. I was beginning to get frustrated when I came across something on one of the infertility sites I frequent (wow…did I just have a flash of just how much my life has changed compared to 15 years ago), which was essentially a call for contributions to a virtual gratitude journal. It wasn’t a big to-do, nothing formal, not involving a competition, prizes, deadlines or anything crazy like that – just a simple question and reminder to, perhaps, put things into perspective.

And boy did THAT come at the perfect time for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I lose sight of my many blessings – mainly, of course, because sometimes I wallow in self-pity because I haven’t (yet) been blessed with our little miracle and sometimes get a little too wound up about the fact that it seems everyone else in the world is able to pop out babies like there’s a race to be won. Which is really kind of unfair since I was never good at running anyway, and how do you compete with the baby-making equivalent of a popcorn machine? Pop! Look there’s another one. Pop! Pop! POP! What do you know – in the last half hour, 228 babies have been born in the continental US.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
William Arthur Ward

Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the heartache. The longing to have a child with my husband becomes such searing pain that, sometimes, crying actually seems to relieve it – if only temporarily – because there’s just so much build-up. And because I’m not, say, 22 anymore, I also spend a lot of time thinking about everything that could go wrong even if (when!) I do eventually accomplish the seemingly impossible (pregnancy); all the things I have to then worry about even if (when! when!) the impossible has led to the desired miracle outcome (healthy baby); and before you know it I’m reading an article about cyber-bullying or sexting, and I start freaking out about what, oh what, are you supposed to do to keep your tween/teen safe?? (Ok so “a lot of time” may have been an understatement. But as I’ve told my husband a million times whenever he tells me to “relaaaax“: I come from a long line of overreactors – and the way I see it, if I freak out ahead of time then maybe it won’t be so scary when I’m actually in the situation. Or something less crazy-sounding. Ahem. Moving along swiftly…)

In all seriousness: sometimes it’s hard not to be sad all the time. I wake up sad because, you guessed it, I obviously can’t fail to realize or remember that the pooch I wish would disappear has nothing to do with the joy of impending motherhood. I shuffle through the day with yet more pockets of sadness as I either (a) leave my house to run errands or go about my day and try desperately not to fall apart every time I see a pregnant woman or someone cradling a teeny tiny swaddled baby in the crook of their arm, or (b) avoid leaving the house altogether for fear of the afore-mentioned and realize, once again, how ridiculously different my life is not just in comparison to what it used to be what feels like light years ago but also how I thought it would turn out.Yes, MY life is just a bowl of cherries!

But then, I’ll read about someone else’s IF journey or just a comment/response to something a third person may have posted on a community board. And some of those stories make everything I’ve been through and am going through sound like child’s play – even though I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want anyone to have to walk in my shoes, either. Both DH and I come from small families, scattered all over the place – and at this point we’ve basically lost most of them either to death or estrangement. Consequently, our “support system” is the equivalent of a ratty no-wire bra with a worn-out elastic.

When I saw this simple reminder the other day and found myself reflecting on what happened on this very day 12 years ago, I felt like a bit of a heel (surprisingly common these days). I thought to myself – wow. I really need to stop being so self-absorbed and whiny (especially considering how much that annoys me in other people) and get back to eating the humble pie I was in the middle of. Because, you know, sometimes? I may forget that being reproductively challenged isn’t actually the worst thing in the world – not nearly.

So, let me start out by saying that I’m grateful for a necessary reminder to be grateful – all the more so since it’s so very apropos at the beginning of fall and heading into the holiday season. More specifically and off the top of my head, I’m grateful for:

(1) My husband. Always, first and foremost, my husband. Don’t get me wrong – we have our ups and downs like any other normal married couple. But I still adore him, he still loves me in spite of moments that involve verbal diarrhea, reliving teen angst, and a whole new can of forms full of anxiety and panic when someone mentions the terms “egg donor” or “child free”. He’s hard-working, honest, loyal and the kind of stand-up guy who will turn down a free offer when a service call gets totally botched up because he’s not looking for a handout. The man deserves an award – although on most days, his wife is a pretty good runner-up.

(2) Our pups. They are so amazing, loving, loyal and patient. They come running to the door, they wag their tails eagerly in the morning – and they forgive bad days filled with balled-up tissues, going so far as to cuddle up with you even if you ignored them for hours because you were so busy crying your eyes out that the best you could do for them was remember to change their water and let them out occasionally. They love you even when you’re having a bad hair day, or just a bad day, full stop. We spoil them not just because we want to but because they deserve it.

(3) Freedom. This one I DO actually think about every day – and I’m grateful, every day, not just that I live in a country that still believes in the freedom of speech (despite some people’s apparent desire to limit the applicability of the First Amendment for their own purposes and “philosophy”) but also for the brave men and women who risk their lives even as I write, and while I sleep, to do what their leaders deem necessary to keep the rest of us safe. I mean, how can you not be grateful for that? How can you not be humbled when the closest you’ve ever been to a combat zone is through the pages of a book or the screen of your tv? They all deserve a lot more appreciation than we can ever show them…

(4) The infertility community. While there are always people you’re not going to agree with or who make statements, comments, posts etc. that will either make you want to gouge out your eyes or slap them for various infractions ranging from bad spelling through repetitiveness, right to insolence and idiocy – the vast majority of women you find there are heroines in my book. They are women who are not afraid to, you know, do the proverbial gross thing into the wind – because they’ve already endured so, so much worse. They’ve been poked, prodded, examined and excavated from here to eternity and back again. Many have had multiple miscarriages; some have experienced the worst possible trauma for a mother-to-be: stillbirth. I am always in awe at the resilience, the refusal to give up, the endurance and willingness to trudge on against seemingly insurmountable odds or financial nightmares that keep these women going. And you know what’s even more amazing? That despite all the crap they’ve already been through themselves, they’re still willing to give support, sympathy and a virtual shoulder to cry on to perfect strangers they’ve never come face to face with. That? Is AMAZING – and to be part of a community like that is both humbling and a privilege despite the fact that none of us chose to have to struggle with IF.

(5) My brain. I don’t give my brain nearly enough props because there’s a cantankerous little nay-sayer somewhere in the recesses that keeps arguing with any praise I may direct at my cerebrum. I constantly lament my seeming inability to overcome procrastination and actually do something more constructive with my brain before it gets totally fed up with being under-utilized and under-stimulated, packs its valise and has me committed to a vegetative state without so much as a “GOOD LUCK performing basic bodily functions without me!!”. (In case it wasn’t obvious here: brain activity is very important to me. Not just for the obvious necessity of full-functioning body commands but because lower brain function scares me intensely. More than being childless. YES it’s that scary to me. Please don’t leave me, brain!!) But beyond that, there are moments where I am just in awe at the vast amount of multi-tasking my brain is responsible for – and the tasks it’s able to accomplish when given the chance. 

(6) The fact that my body hasn’t divorced me yet – despite years of both physical and verbal abuse. I’d like to think that my brain – which is clearly the boss of the whole meshugganah operation – would’ve jumped ship if I had ever been in a relationship with another human being that was as unsupportive. And despite the fact that I’ve definitely had some scary warning signs of my comeuppance in the last 3 years – proof that even intelligent people can be extremely obtuse – my body is definitely something I should be grateful for (despite the whole, you know, failure to reproduce and all) and treat better. A LOT better.

(7) Modern conveniences. It seems like a doozie, but how lucky am I to be living a life where I don’t have to worry about electricity and running water – or choose between them? How lucky am I that air conditioning is something I can take for granted – because, honestly? You don’t want to see or talk to me if I have to deal with a summer in any part of the entire nation without air conditioning. It’ll give a whole new meaning to “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” – because, seriously, hell hath no fury like a woman parched, scorched and without air conditioning.

But there are other, less obvious things I’m also grateful for. I’m grateful for forgiveness – and the fact that my husband and I are both willing and able to practice it frequently. I’m grateful for laughter, which I used to take for granted because it was such a predominant part of my life that it never occurred to me that a life without laughter – or a very tiny amount of it – was possible or worth living. Yet, here I am – living a life where laughter, far from the previously ubiquitous commodity, has become a rare and welcome treat. I realized this the other day when we shared a good laugh that was almost followed by tears as it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed so freely and heartily.

To some extent, I’m also grateful that this journey is having an unexpected byproduct: perspective. I’m kind of obstinate. Ok, sometimes not just kind of but very obstinate. It’s on my list of things I’m not especially proud of because, even though it can pay off when I’m trying to get something done, it can also be a hindrance.Sometimes I think that being too obstinate borders on stupidity because if you’re not the least bit flexible, you can’t learn – and that’s just dumb. So while I’m definitely a slow learner when it comes to putting things in perspective, I’m learning – and, more importantly, I’m not giving up. Because in a world where there are so many people who are dealing with much greater adversity than I am, I have absolutely no right to complain – and to give up on myself, my husband, and my dream of motherhood would be like saying that struggling with IF is harder than struggling with the obstacles and hardship that others have overcome or are working hard, every day, to overcome. And that’s just not ok.

I know that I’m always going to have dark days – days when the sadness, frustration, resentment and anger threaten to swallow me whole. But lately, I feel like I’m finally starting to get more perspective, and reflecting more on the good rather than the bad. As I think about how lucky I am to have a husband who loves me and to live at a time and in a place where I can express all my feelings anytime, I realize not only that I have much to be grateful for, but also that I alone am responsible for making the changes in my life, my thoughts, my day-to-day routine, that will make me happy. Because no matter what happens, I am grateful to be here.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy