Writing

Don’t Shush Me!

I was once told by several family members that I shared too much about my struggles with Infertility both here on FB and on the blog I kept while working through the pain of not being able to have a biological child of my own.

What family didn’t know was the internal struggle I kept private for YEARS before and after the one round of IVF we could afford. To this day, I credit my ability to talk (or rather write) about my Infertility journey for the strength I needed to heal my soul.

There is one vivid memory I have of how dark things had gotten before I decided to openly share my story. Hubby & I were headed to Toronto to visit family; coincidentally, it was also the weekend of my birthday. I recall listening to Norah Jones while traveling CDN Hwy 402 on that late summer evening. It’s a beautiful drive at twilight, and the occassional summer thunderstorm on the horizon made the scenery that much more spectacular.

The thing was, as Norah sang about coming away with her into the night, all I could think about was how utterly alone I felt. I didn’t know of anyone else that had been struggling so hard to start a family of their own. And even if I did, it wasn’t as if they would offer any words of support or acknowledge the similar struggles they were / are going through.

In my Filipino culture, having a child to brag (or even complain) about is so ingrained into daily conversation. In fact, most conversations tend to start off with, “What are your kids doing these days?” (after some nice pleasantries, of course). When one doesn’t have children (and you’re young), there is always some joke to be made about giving your parents grandkids or — worse yet, asking if we need lessons.

And that’s it. It’s a joke. Or words of wisdom from well-meaning family / friends which is sorely lacking in empathy. And trust me, when we’ve told them that we’re “trying but it’s not happening right away,” the conversation tends to change quickly or stop all together.

Going back to the Toronto trip … It’s absolutely miserable feeling alone despite being surrounded by those that I knew loved me. In fact there’s a picture floating around there somewhere of me posing in front of my birthday cake. Visibly,  I appeared happy, but if you look at my eyes close enough you’d be able to see the sadness behind them. Every time I see that picture I remember how dark I felt at the time. How I just wanted to end all of the pain I was feeling. To this day, I can’t think of this picture without shedding a few tears. I somehow managed to pull myself through that weekend (with lots of love & support from Hubby, of course) … but I also lived in fear of when another one of these moments would hit.

I was in the midst of another dark time in my life when I decided to start blogging about my journey. The first few entries back then were vague and not very revealing; but then I started to have a little more confidence is telling my story. At first, I had kept the blog private; not telling anyone except a few people here and there. Eventually though, blogging helped me sort through those confusing and tumultuous emotions I was experiencing.

While there are a handful of times I regret going overboard in expressing my sentiment  over certain situations, I’m not (nor will I ever be) remorseful for writing down how I felt and posting it onto my blog. It was during these musings that I was finally able to communicate exactly how I was feeling. More importantly, I learned how to deal and work through the intensity of melancholy that’s in the center of Infertility. In fact I credit writing on my blog with helping me make the decision to let go of the concept that “Family” meant two adults raising human children.

The bonus of publishing my posts? I found friends that felt the same way that I did. That were going through the same issues and emotions that I was. To this day, I still am in touch with the core group of friends I’ve met while blogging.

I don’t fault family & friends for not being able to empathize with Hubby’s & my Infertility journey. I know Infertility is an uncomfortable subject for most people (especially my elder family and those newcomers living in North America).

What I did wish (and still do) is that when someone who is going through Infertility WANTS to talk about their journey, please listen to them. No words or advice is necessary; sometimes knowing that someone out there is willing to hear their story will make them feel less alone.

PS. Here are two videos that inspired this post. The original post is from Refinery 29’s FB page, but it was shared (and liked by me!) by another Infertility friend.

 

 

Out of Practice

I am really having a hard time keeping up with this resolution to write more. I think it’s because I don’t have anything to really “talk” about lately.

I could talk about work, since that’s pretty much what my life revolves around lately. Except I really don’t like to discuss work-related issues on here for fear that it might be found by a co-worker or a potential employer who might not like what I have to say about my current employer. So talking about work is a no-no, for me these days.

I could talk about what we did last weekend, but I fear that you may find it boring and mundane. (Met up with a friend for dinner on Saturday. Saw Les Mis on Sunday.)

I think part of this writing funk is a result of a couple things: 1) I’m sorely out of practice, and 2) I’m just not exposed to a whole lot of happenings around the world. Or at least I haven’t been in touch with the news lately.

Oh, I know about major events like the Newtown shootings. And Oscar nominations. And the big giant squid caught on video in the northern Pacific ocean. But to expand on how I feel about these things brings it back to how out of practice I am in writing.

I’m still hopeful that this exercise of writing at least once a week will get me back into the swing of things. But then I seriously gotta think of topics to write about.

But for now, all I got is a post full of nothing. Kinda like a Seinfeld episode, except not as funny.

Let’s hope next week is better …

End of the Year Wrap-up

Well, I must admit I haven’t done my best in writing on this blog for 2012. Hopefully that will change in the upcoming year.

Yesterday, Hubby & I met up for a late night dinner with one of our good friends. All of us talked about how 2013 was around the corner and how 2012 seemed to fly on by. There was so many things that we all wanted to do more of, but just didn’t have the time. For Hubby & our friend, it was drawing more. For me, it was writing more. So then and there, we made our New Year’s resolution to do the things we wanted to do more of. This, of course, is my lame attempt at trying to write again.

I guess I could start off by telling you what has happened in the last year.

In May, I started a new job that has me grounded in Detroit. No more traveling, no more working at home. While I sometimes miss the traveling part and the “work in my pajamas”-part, I know that being based in an office-setting is much better for my mental health. I realized I needed the constant connection with co-workers that you just don’t get when being an independent worker as I was in the previous position. At least I can say that I tried the “consultant” role and it just wasn’t for me … at least at this time in my life.

This new job is a challenging one. I’m back in a leadership role, this time as a manager of over 4 different areas. There are days that I feel that I’ve got my role down pat. Then there are the days where I feel I’ve lost my grip on reality. It’s at those times that I turn to Hubby to help ground me and keep me from flying off the deep end. He’s good to me like that.

In July, I turned 40 years old. As expected, nothing really changed overnight, except now I’m more acutely aware that I’m just not as spry as I used to be. My SIL (whose birthday is 4 days before mine) and I did celebrate our 40th by throwing ourselves a picnic. Lot’s of family and friends showed up, so it was a great time full of laughter and fun.

At the end of October, I traveled to New York to be a part of my cousin’s “Halloweekend” wedding. She had some pretty cool details that made the wedding goth-like. It also helped that the wedding wasn’t that far from the town of Sleepy Hollow! The highlight of the wedding for me was being able to spend time with my Mom’s side of the family. That, and spending time with my niece, Emilia, whose whole family made it to the wedding so that “Mia” could be a flower girl.

Getting out of New York actually proved to be quite exciting as well. Superstorm Sandy threatened to ruin the bride’s day, but it held off until the next night. However, that did cause a lot of flight cancellations, including ours. This meant we had to drive all the way back to Detroit in a rental car in order to make it to work the next day. Luckily, Delta refunded us our return trip, so we didn’t lose out on too much.

The rest of the year went by pretty fast; Thanksgiving, Dad’s anniversary, Christmas. Mom spent Christmas out in Dallas with Dr. Bro, Dr. SIL and Mia (jealous!). The weekend before Christmas, Bobby & I got to spend time with Dad’s side of the family, especially one of my cousins and her family from London, Ontario. It was a fun Saturday night full of playing with the kids, poker and beer pong with our Uncle.

Yes, you read that right. Beer pong with our Uncle. All I have to say is that, even though the girls lost against the guys … that was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time! (But, boy did I pay for it the next day … )

And now it’s almost New Year’s Day. I can’t believe the year has gone by so quickly. As I said, my New Year’s resolution is to write more, and I’m hoping that the weekends give me enough time to write what I want to write. And not sound as lame as I do right now. Practice makes perfect, right?

Five Years

Did you know that both the traditional and modern anniversary gift for five years is wood?

Wood?!

Good thing we don’t celebrate anniversary dates with other people, because I’m pretty sure I’d be getting a lot of wooden bowls or cutting boards. Or wood statues …

Why am I bringing this up? Because today, my friends, is my fifth blogiversary. Or rather “Blog O’Versary” since it’s St. Patty’s Day. (Luck o’ the Irish to y’all …)

It’s funny, because my goal was to reach 500 posts by today. I figured … hey, why not celebrate two milestones at once.

Except, well … I somehow missed that 500 milestone about 11 posts ago. Amazing, considering I haven’t been writing much lately.

It’s been difficult, I must admit, to write lately. Work has me on a crazy schedule and I’ve had waay to many personal issues that I’ve been obsessing over lately. So that leaves me little time to sit and write.

Think I'll celebrate with one of these!

I’m hoping to make some changes in the next few weeks that will allow me to write a little more, but right now it’s just a glimmer of hope. So if the kind blogosphere could send a quick prayer up to the heavens above that this glimmer become more of a flame to light my way to a better change in my life, I’d very much appreciate it.

I realize I’m being vague about what I want to change, but I just ask that you stick with me and pray for the change that I need. If things do go the way I hope it does, then I promise I will tell you more.

Anyway, just wanted to write my little ditty for the week and … WTH … brag to people that I’ve managed to keep this blog alive for five years!

Thanks to all of you that are still out there reading … I can’t tell you (in words) how much it means to me.

The Month of June

I’ve wanted to do this project for quite a while now. Except that lately, I haven’t had much time to focus on writing. It’s been a busy month for work; busier still with weekend activities. That’s pretty evident since I haven’t had much time to blog in the past month or so.

But that’s about to change. Because this project happens to be a “daily” post, I figure it would go well with my goal to do at least one month of NaBloPoMo. And this month’s happens to fit perfectly with the task at hand.

Read more »

Ticket To Ride

Almost a week without a post. Yes, I’m trying to get better at writing at least one post a week here. At least thats my goal.

As it turns out, I’m on a train heading back to Detroit from Chicago. Hubby and I drove back to Chicago in mid-March, but he had to get back to Detroit before I returned from my Boston work trip this past week. Anyway, this just means that I have a little window of opportunity to sit and write without being distracted.

Dr. Bro, LJC and me at Disneyworld

Being a “Road Warrior” for work has given me the opportunity to spend more time listening to music on my digital library. After all, many times I find myself in airports for just enough time to check my email, but not enough time respond to them. Or else I’m literally on the road driving to a location hours away from where I started. Either way, music is my constant companion at these times.

It’s refreshing for me, because music has always been part of my life. One that only recently re-entered at full force after years of focusing on a career. Or trying to get pregnant.

My parents always had music on in the house and in the car. In fact, many of those road trips we’d take as a family involved worn out cassette tapes or — gasp! — old 8-tracks.

One of my favorite memories is my first trip to Disneyworld at the age of 6. My parents packed my brother, my cousin (who would later be known as LJC) & me in our tan wood-paneled station wagon along with our two grandmothers and an uncle and drove down from Detroit to Orlando. During that trip, I believe my parents only took a handful of 8-tracks; ones that we would constantly repeat, only because we couldn’t get any radio reception when driving through the mountains.

Let’s just say that by the end of our trip, the three kids knew all the words to every Neil Sedaka song, as well as all the singing parts to the Grease soundtrack. And it’s apparently a memory that keeps on giving, because Hubby can attest that I was recently able to identify a Neil Sedaka tune!

Another 8-track that was in the wagon during that trip was one of many Beatles compilations that my Dad threw together. It was from that home-made “playlist” (created circa 1978) that I learned the words to most of the Beatles songs. And to this day, every time I hear “Ticket To Ride” I have this incredible urge to belt out the song.

The 1978 Road Warriors (minus Mom)

It’s one of those childhood memories I keep stored close to my heart. And one that usually surfaces whenever I hear any song that reminds me of road trips and spontaneous singing.

For instance: Today on the train, “Tiny Dancer” came  up in “shuffle-mode.” The first image that came to mind was my favorite scene in “Almost Famous.”

Or the other day I thought of “Harold & Kumar” when hearing Wilson Phillips “Hold On” on the radio.

Regardless of the song, each one brought me back to my own road trip memories and how much fun they were when music was thrown into the mix. And hearing each song certainly gave me the urge to break out into spontaneous singing. Loudly. And at the top of my lungs.

And, in the midst of the chaos that my life has become of late … It made me happy.

So even though I might not be an American Idol contestant, I think I might just sing aloud. At least in the privacy of my own home. Or car. Or shower.

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Your turn, oh Internets … What song makes you think of road trips? Or what song makes you break out your singing voice?

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Related Posts:

Emily’s Living Journal

Emily hears her Own Voice

Emily’s Pitch is a little Black

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Oh, how I miss our old station wagon ...

Blog O’Versary

Four years. That’s how long I’ve been blogging.

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that many years. In that span of time, I’ve come to terms with my inability to have children. And Hubby & I have come to the decision to live child-free after infertility.

Wow, writing that last paragraph appears as if I’ve reduced the past four years into two simple sentences. Except I have 423 posts that say otherwise.

So either I’m too wordy … or I have a lot of issues.

I’m betting on the latter.

Anyway, I figured the best way for me to celebrate my 4th Blog O’Versary (my little ode to St. Patty’s Day) is to do that (in)famous “Meme of Four.”

Of course there are variations of this particular meme, so since it’s my blogoversary … I decided to pick the ones I wanted to answer. So without further ado …

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Four Jobs I’ve Had

  • Whopper-Maker for “The King” (and I’m not talking about Elvis, either)
  • Broke Music Store Employee, who spent most of her paycheck on things called “tapes” and “records.”
  • Rockin’ Teacher’s Assistant at my University
  • Registered Nurse working for the “dreaded” HMO (actually, it was a rewarding job … )

.

Four places I’ve lived
(Yeah, this one was easy)

  • Metro Detroit
  • Metro Detroit
  • Chicago
  • Metro Detroit

.

Four shows I like to watch
(I have many, but these are my current faves)

  • Glee
  • The Good Wife
  • Criminal Minds
  • Fringe

.

Four movies I can watch over and over

  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Love, Actually
  • Notting Hill
  • Goonies

.

Four things I get cross about

  • Texting while driving
  • Selfish, self-centered people
  • Uninformed and ignorant statements
  • The lack of problem-solving skills in the world today

.

Four words/phrases I use a lot

  • Seriously?
  • Y’all (I blame it on all the time I’ve spent in the South for work lately)
  • Naughty!
  • Sorry …

.

Four websites I visit daily

  • Facebook (admittedly addicted)
  • New York Times
  • Amazon (I like to “window” shop)
  • Multiple Blogs

.

Four things I am looking forward to

  • Our 15th Wedding Anniversary (in August)
  • Traveling the world with Hubby (someday)
  • Retirement (maybe someday)
  • Growing old with Hubby (definitely … )

.

Four things I’ve learned from the past

  • There are things in this world that are waaay beyond our control …
    no matter what science or medicine can provide
  • It really does take a huge leap of faith in order to move forward from loss
  • As Mick says, “You can’t always get what you want”
  • FAMILY:
    • can include every single aunt, uncle, and cousin you’ve become close to
    • It can also include those people that have touched your life in some way or another
    • AND most importantly, it can also mean just Hubby and me

.

Four things I want to do before I die

  • Spend a month traveling Europe
  • Write a novel and publish it
  • Move to the Pacific Northwest
  • Spend an entire week somewhere on any tropical beach, reading and soaking up the sun

.

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Thank you to all who’ve still kept me on your blog reader. Even though I haven’t been the best of bloggers lately. Your words and your support (both here on my blog and on Facebook) mean the world to me … and have certainly been my light during those times of darkness. You guys rock!

Pitch Black

I’ve been MIA for close to six weeks now.

And if it weren’t for the fact that my domain name was up for renewal, I probably would have stayed MIA for even longer. So thank you to Hubby (and to a few other folk out there who inquired about how I was doing) for pushing me to update this piece of cyberspace.

See, the thing is … I’m not quite sure to write about these days. Lately, nothing seems to inspire any urge to write. I’m sure I do have things to say, but it seems so trivial compared to what else is going on in the world. Or what else is going on in my life.

Between traveling for my job and spending a lot of our time in Detroit, I’ve hardly had enough time to catch up on all the TV shows we’ve had DVR’d since before Thanksgiving. So yeah … being in Chicago these past few days, I’ve spent my downtime watching my shows.

Now … is it me? Or does it always seem that when you’re going through something personal that the news or even certain TV shows seem to center around those personal issues? For instance, I’m sure a few of my IF friends can relate to the storyline surrounding Audrey & Jeff in “Rules of Engagement.” For me, it happens to be Marshall’s latest storyline in “How I Met Your Mother.”

As it happens, one of the first few episodes I “caught up” with following my Dad’s funeral was the episode where Marshall and Lily, who have been trying for the past few seasons to get pregnant, finally go to see an Infertility Specialist. Watching their trials to start their family have, at one time or another, touched that part of me that still mourns the fact that I’ve never been able to get pregnant.

But this episode … well, the ending definitely surprised me. That was when we find out that Marshall’s Dad had suddenly died from a heart attack.

Talk about art imitating life. Nothing could hit closer to home at that moment than the look that Marshall had on his face when he was told of the news. And as if I hadn’t cried enough over the past few weeks by that time, I found myself with big crocodile tears as the credits rolled by.

And since then, the episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” have somehow managed to make me cry in some way or another. Like the one where the gang tries to cheer Marshall up during his Dad’s funeral.  Or the one where Marshall was too preoccupied with trying to be the environmental lawyer that he had always told his Dad he’d be.

Then there’s the “Desperation Day” episode. Lily decides to fly out to Minnesota to be with Marshall on Valentine’s Day.  Marshall  had been back at his childhood home since the funeral  to “help” his mother adjust to life without his father. What Lily finds when she arrives is that Marshall’s way of “helping” included him experiencing a bit of “Revertigo.” In other words, he reverted back to the high school version of Marshall; he began to ask his Mom to do everything for him: make his lunch, do his laundry, etc.

During a conversation Marshall had with Ted (in the midst of playing old video games in his childhood bedroom), Marshall randomly turned to Ted and said, “I miss my father.” And Ted answered, “I know.”

Then Marshall relayed the story of a memory he had of taking long road trips with the entire family. And how many times he’d find himself the only one awake to keep his Dad company while he drove through the darkness of night. Marshall told him how he could never see anything in front of the headlights during those pitch black nights, but he always felt safe because his Dad was driving. And he was a superhero that could see way out into the darkness. But now that his Dad was gone, things are just pitch black … and he could no longer see anything in front of him. And he couldn’t see where he was going.

And that’s really what it is; I miss my father. I miss the simplicity that life was when I was back in high school … even if I didn’t think life was anything but simple at the ripe old age of 15. I wish I could go back to when I could sit in front of the TV and watch old reruns with my Dad asleep on the couch. I wish I could have him make his famous “Daddy’s Chicken Noodle Soup” on the days I was feeling sick.

I especially miss the car trips we’d make to London, Ontario (or even to the East Coast) to visit family … where I found myself the one who’d stay up with my Dad to keep him company. To sing songs on the radio just to keep him awake.

And now, I feel lost. Like Marshall, I can no longer see what’s in front of me; no longer feel the urge to do the things I normally like to do. Like knit or crochet. Or write.

But I know that this is normal; that I’ll eventually be able to put one foot in front of the other and move on. And I guess that’s why I’m making the effort to do those activities I’ve enjoyed in the past. The same ones that helped me work through the loss I’ve felt about Infertility.

For now though, I’m going to continue with my grief for just a little longer. Well … truly, I’ll grieve for as long as it takes me to grieve. But the point is, I know what I need to get back to in order to return to some sense of normalcy.

And I know that’s what my Dad would have wanted.

Uhm … Hello.

Well, I think I’ve finally turned the corner on this whole cold/congestion thingy. I’m not as wiped out as I was before, and my taste buds are finally turning back to normal.

Except now I think I may have passed it on to Hubby. Boo.

I’ve nothing exciting to talk about, other than it’s been over a month now that I’ve been unemployed. I’ve got a few interviews set up for mid-June that look promising. Plus I had a second interview for that other job I’m really interested. So at this time, there’s nothing to do but apply for more jobs and wait.

Funky Shot from Woodward Avenue last summer

Funky Shot from Woodward Ave last summer

I’m in a little bit of a dry-spell creatively right now. I’m not sure if it has to do with the overall funk I’ve been in lately, or if all the snot hasn’t cleared out of my brains yet. Either way, I’ve found nothing that has struck me inspirationally (is that even a word?).

When I get in these moods, I find that I end up either a) wanting to read a fluffy, no heavy-stuff type of book, b) mindlessly knitting a project that I probably will never end up finishing, or c) watching a lot of television.

This time around I’ve opted for “C.” At first it was because it was May “sweeps” with tons of season finales; but now that it’s officially June, I suppose I have no excuse.

One day was an entire day of watching Amazing Wedding Cakes. Another day was Cake Boss. (And it’s no wonder I’ve been craving cake since then … )

I should add a disclaimer here: Lest you be worried about me doing nothing else but watching TV, just know that I haven’t. In fact, most days the television doesn’t get turned on until 6 pm or later. Give me a little credit here, peeps! During the day, I am looking for employment!

Anyhoo … it seems of late, that there has been a running theme in what I’ve been watching. Or rather … themes , since one of those themes has to do with medicinal marijuana and how to get “licensed” in growing and selling such a product. But that’s not the theme that seems to be most prominent.

Lately, every show I’ve watched has touched on the topic about being happy with the job or career that one or another TV character has chosen. In each case, every character had either talked about doing something they’re more passionate about or spoke to someone else about how they previously had a job that didn’t satisfy them until they went into the career that they were in now.

I can’t help wonder if these TV shows are talking directly to me. Or, in the unemployment state that I’m in right now, I’m just more sensitive towards that topic. Either way, it has me questioning what I’d be happiest doing with my life; especially since the proverbial door is wide open right now.

One of my favorite Funky Shots

Except now there’s the worry of money. And health benefits. And food and shelter. And all the other necessities in life.

Oh, and let’s not forget I have no idea what I’d be happiest doing in my life. Other than lounging on a beach in Hawaii.

Hmmph. When did I start to become so responsible?

In any case, I’m hoping that I snap out of this creative funk soon. Maybe embracing my inner geek at WordCamp Chicago will help … well, it’ll help me jazz up my WordPress-powered blog, anyway. At least I hope it will.

What about you, peeps? What do you do when you get in a creative funk? And more importantly, what do you do to get out of a creative funk?

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Facebook Me!

Anybody that knows me or has followed me knows that Emily loves her Facebook.

It’s a great way for me to keep in touch with those family and friends that live elsewhere in the world and it’s a great way to remain informed with everyone’s daily life.

I’ve also discovered that it’s a great way to disseminate information readily to those interested masses.

While I primarily use this blog to write about my life and all the surprising twists and turns that life has provided for me, I’ve started to use Facebook to provide other useful information regarding all aspects of infertility.

As most infertiles know, it’s often difficult to discuss the heartache and pain of infertility aloud to others; even to those that you may be extremely close to. That’s because infertility has historically been a taboo subject.

Which brings me to the reason I started my Facebook Page.

My belief is that the more a person is informed about infertility, the more comfortable that this person will be about talking and educating others about infertility.

My Facebook Page has been a way for me to post valuable information and other interesting blog posts about infertility in the hopes that everyone remains informed.

Please … if you’re on Facebook (and even if you’re not), I’d love you to come visit my page. And I encourage you to start discussions.

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