Tied to the Apron

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of the title of my blog; mostly because of the whole NaBloPoMo theme of “Ties.” After all, what other references are their to apron strings other than being “tied” to one or needing to be cut from one?

But as I mentioned in this page, the purpose of my blog title is in reference to my favorite song and the relationship it had with my longing to have a family of my own. It’s a song that referenced my need to let my “imaginary child” know that he/she would be happy wrapped in my apron strings.

Then there’s the whole use of this song in the movie soundtrack for the John Hughs film, “She’s Having A Baby“. It’s a perfect song for this movie, especially as there is a small bit part in there about the struggles of infertility.

Though what gets me about the use of “Apron Strings” in this movie is that they do not use the original version of the song from the album “Idlewild.” While I understand making the song more “commercially” palatable, I do wish that they would have used the original lyrics to the song.

You see, the movie version uses different lyrics on the first bridge of the song. The movie version lyrics bring on the tone of a woman waiting for the birth of her child. While the original lyrics … well, those are the ones I can relate to most:

Your baby looks just like you when you were young
And he looks at me with eyes that shine
And I wish that he were mine
Then I go home to my
Apron strings; cold and lonely,
For time brings thoughts that only
Will be quiet when someone clings
To my apron strings

These lyrics; they expressed (still express?) the feelings that I have when I see other families with babies … with children of their own. It’s the feeling of wanting … of longing to experience what most other couples, and more specifically, women experience.

And while I’m no longer entrenched in those aching emotions of childlessness, I still have that feeling of wanting to belong. Of not wanting to be so different than others. To get to experience those things in a woman’s life that most women get to share with one another.

Child-free Living is, as Loribeth‘s blog title says is definitely “The Road Less Travelled.” It’s a place where not many people can accept or understand; where the perception is that those people who don’t raise children are purely selfish.

My fave pic of Hubby & our nephew. We were in the midst of IF treatment at the time.

And even amongst those couples who live without children, there is considerable debate surrounding the definition “child-free living.” For some couples, child-free living is defined as the “lack of desire” to have children. While others see it simply as a lifestyle choice. The common factor, however, is that child-free living is a conscious decision to continue a life without children. Now … throw infertility into the mix and there’s even less of a connection to others who may see child-free living strictly as not wanting to have any children.

Sometimes it’s as if I feel that my life is destined to be one in which I am constantly “different” than others. First there’s the whole two-different-worlds, in being a first generation Filipino-American. Then there’s the whole deal of never being able to experience motherhood. And even moreso now, as I begin to live child-free after infertility.**

While I’ve known since November that the title of my blog has since strayed from it’s original purpose, I do feel that the lyrics to my favorite song still ring true. Because now … instead of that longing for a child … I am now longing for the understanding from others that living child-free after infertility was not an easy decision to make. And letting go of these apron strings was/is not such an easy task to do.

So maybe it’s not a matter of “letting go” of these apron strings*. Maybe it’s more of longing for acceptance that my apron strings can be good for other things in my life …

For apron strings can be used for other things
Than what they’re meant for
and you’d be happy wrapped in my
Apron strings

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

EBTG's first studio album ... a classic!

* How do you like my new and improved “About This Blog” blurb? Yep … it was time to change it.

** So here’s a sidebar story … Hubby & I recently started to “branch out” from our Chicago apartment to find groups or events that might be of interest. (About time, it’s been a year!!) When we first started to look for things, we went to this website and looked up local groups. What I was surprised to see was the lack of support for CF Living after IF. But trust me, I found groups for those actively going through IF treatment; and I found staunch “No Kids” groups … but none where I might relate to other women.

Yep … IRL, I must really be all alone. But at least I have all you wonderful folk out there in blog world!

Tie-ired

Eesh. I’m frickin’ exhausted. I woke up this morning with the intent of going into work ahead of the rest of my staff, so I could pick up a big Box O’Joe and sweets from Dunkin’ Donuts for all of us. Yeah, something about almost falling asleep during dinner last night should have clued me in.

So when the alarm clock went off this morning, I could barely drag myself out of bed. But alas, I managed to do my usual morning routine for a working weekday … for the sixth day in a row.

Nope. Not bitter at all that I had to go in to work today. Not at all.

Except … Well, I really don’t mind working at alternate hours. Truth be told, I do better and manage things better without a constant routine. I like working “alternative” hours instead of the typical 9-to-5, Monday thru Friday -type of day. I’d rather be doing my work on my own schedule; which could be on a Saturday. At 7 o’clock. In the evening. I’m just more productive that way.

Which, when I reflect on my whole “baby-making” years and the minute-by-minute schedule we had to follow, is rather twisted. Especially since I was never ever able to “produce” anything (or rather any ONE) during those active IF treatment years.

And now that I’m finally in a place to understand a little bit more of the real Emily, it all begins to make sense. Why I was *so* miserable during that time; why I felt I had little control over my body, let alone my life.

And it’s all because I absolutely HATE being TIED to a schedule. To a DESK.

Hmm.  Maybe I need to find another line of work … professional beach comber perhaps?

Em on Em

So I was sitting here watching the State of the Union speech, and I’m found myself entranced in watching this speech unfold.

Oh don’t worry … after yesterday’s long rambling political soapbox I was on, I am not going to debate about how *I* feel the State of the Union is.

No; really I’m more entranced on how Obama delivered his speech; the way he appeared open, warm and humble … the way he infused some humor into the seriousness of each issue he discussed. While I’m sure it’s because he has a team of speech writers that come up with the most appropriate phrases to elicit the most appropriate responses … I also think that part of speech delivery is about personality.

**********

I was telling Hubby today that there are some days that I don’t feel like I belong in the high profile supervisor position I’m in here in Chicago. And I say that because, anybody that really knows me, knows that I like to inject humor into any situation. The thought is that if I have to do something that I might think is “unpleasant,” I might as well make light of a difficult situation and find humor in it.

The thing is, I don’t think there are many people I work with that share my same view. And while I know that working for a Health Insurance company in the midst of Health Care Reform isn’t exactly a walk in the park, I still believe that there’s a need to break out of such seriousness and have a little fun.

Maybe it’s just the office I’m in, because at the very least … I’ve managed to get the employer group I work closely with to laugh at some of my off-beat humor. That should count for something, right?!

**********

After writing yesterday’s post … I realized that there are quite a few of my Facebook friends that I knew only from grade school / junior high. With that said, these friends probably have this image in their mind of the sweet little “Oriental” girl in their class. The one that always tried her best not to rock the waves. (Even then, I was conscious about trying to keep the peace …)

These same friends probably don’t know the “Emily” who began to shape her beliefs and values in high school. And who further developed them in college and post-college. The same “Emily” who began to voice her opinions and ideals without holding back. But they also probably haven’t met the “Adult Emily.” The one who recognizes that respect for others opinions and ideals is just as important as being able to be heard about my own beliefs.

**********

I wonder how strange it is/was for these friends to see how much I’ve changed? Or how strange it must be for the people in my department to see that I’m very much like a “mullet” ( … you know, business in the front and party in the back … )**?

The more I reflect on these two very different situations, the more I realize that I’m really writing about who *I* am as a person … who I’ve grown up to be. And as this fellow blogger (who I’ve just discovered is traveling down a similar path) responded on this older post, I’m discovering that I kinda like who I am.

** Talk about humor … a HS friend said that her son described skorts as a “mullet for your butt … skirt in front and shorts in back”!! I could not stop laughing after I heard that one!

Patriotic and PO'd

I am so annoyed. And the thing is, I should know better. It’s not like I haven’t been out and about social-networking for years; so I can’t use the excuse that I’m ignorant to internet-iquette.

Except … well, except there are certain things in life that I guess I consider my moral compass in life. And one of them (amongst many others) has always been the ability that we’ve been given as human beings to make our own choices in life; to reason.

So when I start seeing Tweets or Facebook statuses that are intended to show “pride” or elicit some sort of dark humor, but end up sounding more offensive than anything … well, that just makes think, “What the H*LL were you thinking?”

In other words, did someone I *know* consciously make that decision to post something that might … just might be offensive to other people?

Don’t get me wrong … I’m the first one to admit that I’ve done things just as stupid as what I’m complaining about. I’ve even been called out on the carpet for such stupid actions as well. While it’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world, it has taught me the lesson to think what I’m saying before I speak … er, I mean type.

So what exactly am I PO’d about? Well, this is the status that started it all. One post that says …

“WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Press 1 for English. Press 2 to disconnect until you learn to speak English. And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, JESUS CHRIST and the AMERICAN SOLIDER. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. If you agree and have the guts … copy and paste in your status!”

Yeah. I *personally* felt the sting of that one. On many levels. First there’s the whole “You’re in America, so you should only be speaking English.” Well I hate to burst the bubble here, but I believe that the US is considered a MELTING POT of different nations. You know, a mixture of people from different nations that have come to this nation in order to improve the quality of their lives and their families’ lives?

My parents were one of those people. Both came from the Philippines in search of a better life for themselves; a place where they could best make use of their education and talents and share it with the rest of the people in what has become their new “home.” While my Mom spoke fluent English (a primary language taught in Catholic school in the Philippines), my Dad learned it as a second language. And while I can’t *completely* understand what it’s like to learn English as a second language,  I can certainly empathize … especially since I’m “once-removed” from being born and raised outside the US.

And then there’s the part about having only two defining forces that have ever offered to die for me. I make no bones that I’m Christian; or more specifically, Catholic. I also fully admit that I’m not exactly a “practicing” Catholic; meaning that (much to my Mom’s chagrin) I don’t attend mass weekly. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God or Christ. Nor does it mean that I don’t hold myself to the basic Golden Rule, of which Christianity (and all other religions) is based.

In reality, I believe in the spirituality of Catholicism. I believe that there is GOOD in the world and that if your actions reflect what you believe in your heart to be good … then that goodness will return to you. But on the flipside, I do believe that BAD exist much in the same way. You reap what you sow. By living *my* life under the premise that I should do unto others as I would want done unto myself … well, that’s one of the reasons I *stop and think* about what I say or do before I act upon them. Would what I do hurt anyone else? What are the consequences of what I’m about to do?

Yeah … so to sprout the whole “Christ died for me” lecture in that Facebook status? Gimme a break. That is *NOT* a very “Christian” thing to do.

And trust me … I won’t go into the whole “American Soldier” bit; other than to say that I am patriotic enough to know that these soldiers have given up their “freedom” to keep America safe and *FREE*. And I’m also patriotic enough to know that it was a choice that they made. ‘Nuff said.

So why am I still riled up even though that Facebook status is now more than a week old? Well, it’s because of this status that was just posted on Monday:

“Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment – yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won’t have the guts to copy and repost this.”

Uh huh. Seriously.

Okay I get that, as a nation, we have homeless people and starving children and a health care system that’s broken for our elderly population / mentally ill population. But there is a reason why we are considered a wealthy country.

And when I mean “wealth,” I’m not strictly speaking about *FINANCIAL* wealth. I’m talking about a nation where we have many of the smartest, most progressive minds in the world. I’m talking about a country that shows their “wealth” by giving *every* individuals the opportunity … the choice, if you will … to improve themselves.

Do you think socialist countries afford every person that ability to better themselves? To move up in their station in life? More importantly, do you think that THIRD WORLD countries, like the Philippines or Haiti, are able to provide those same opportunities  to every citizen?

This is when America shines the most; when we provide *our* resources and services to countries that have been devastated by natural disasters. This is when we show exactly how generous a country we can be.

These moments … they are the moments when the words on our Statue of Liberty shine the brightest:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

As I wrap up this long and rambling politically charged post … let me just remind everyone of one simple fact. Unless we are 100% Native American … we are all “immigrants” to this land. The same soil that has provided our forefathers (and now ourselves) with the ability to forge a new future; the land of opportunity … the land of CHOICES.

So just like our parents / grandparents / great-grandparents, etc who chose to come to the land of freedom (and who may have *NOT* known how to speak English) … choose your destiny (and your words/actions) wisely.

Embracing Me

There’s this song by the Velvet Underground that seems to always unleash this feeling of nostalgia within me. Perhaps it’s because I “discovered” this song during my freshman year in high school (thanks to my BFF at that time who was also fellow music afficianado). Or perhaps it’s because the song has this uniquely haunting music box melody to it. Regardless, “Sunday Morning” was one of those songs I recall rewinding and replaying over and over again on my Walkman.

Woulda made for a cool album cover, eh? 😛

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before on my blog, but my high school BFF and I had aspirations of becoming incredibly large rock stars. (Yes, laugh all you want … but admit it, that thought probably crossed your minds at one point during your high school existence!) Forget that I wasn’t the best of musicians around … I just wanted to be part of something creative.

In any case, my BFF and I came up with this incredible idea to form a band. Armed with many years of piano lessons behind us, we sought to find other people that might be interested in creating the same type of music that we liked.

We didn’t have to go very far to find a few people. One person in particular (we’ll call him S), ended up becoming a pretty good friend of ours*. And it’s also because of him that we found other like-minded musicians. Although we never went further than playing “cover songs” of other ’80’s alternative bands, we spent a lot of time at each others’ houses pretending to have “band practice.” And it’s during one of those sessions that I learned to play “Sunday Morning.”

The other night, I had the opportunity to “chat” with S on Facebook. We’ve chatted a couple times before in the past, but nothing other than “Wotcha been up to?” This chat came at a really really nice time, though. One that had me contemplating, once again, what my life was going to be like sans children.

I won’t lie. That thought has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Sure, I’ve officially made the decision to live child-free (finally). Sure, I know that this decision has lifted a great weight off of my shoulders. Truth is, I know that right now my future is limitless.

The thing is, I’ve always envisioned my adult life surrounded with kids. Lots of them. And the Filipina in me, who always put family first, strongly supported that vision. Being a mother and raising children was going to define who I was.

I say this as an absolute because, although I like my career, I’m not passionate about it. Being a mother … it would have been my life’s passion. It would have been  the pinnacle of my existence.

What does my fortune hold?

With the decision to live child-free, I feel I should be finding a new reason for existing. I have this urge to find out what I really should be doing with my life. While I know I should be embracing this opportunity to wipe the proverbial slate clean, I must admit that I’m slightly overwhelmed.

I could continue with my career path and try to remain successful with each new opportunity … but since I already know I’m not passionate about it, would I be happy later in life? At the very least (knock on wood), I know that this future will provide me with the income that Hubby & I need to survive.

I could go back to school and try my hand at something different; forge a new career path into something I know I’d enjoy. But does this guarantee passion? Does it guarantee success?

Or I could go back to that high school dream of becoming an incredibly huge Rock Star. I’ve always wanted to be a kick-a$$ bass player, a-la-Kim Deal.

I told some of this to S while chatting the other day. And although he did suggest I go out and by a bass guitar right away, he did offer me up one piece of advice. In his always calm and gentle manner, he told me that what I do in life (whether it involves being a mother or not ) shouldn’t dictate who I am. I shouldn’t fight against who I am. He said, “Let Emily be Emily.”

So that’s what I’m going to try to do for now. I’m going to let me be me. And maybe, just maybe, my heart and mind will be open enough to find a new passion in life … a new reason for my existence.

* Ironically, he also ended up being my Jr Prom date, while future-Hubby was my HS BFF’s date. How funny is that?