First of all, thank you for all that have commented on my last post. Your words have made me feel as if I’m not a complete a**hole for writing what I wrote. Because for a while there I felt that I was completely off-base and horrible to have said some of those things “out loud.” And to some extent, I still do feel that way.
I’m sure that this guilt stems from not only my formative years in Catholic school, but from my cultural upbringing as well.
I’ve found out (from the years of working as an RN, alongside many other Filipinos) that most people perceive that Filipinos are hard workers and, no matter what gets thrown at them, they are always happy.
Well, let me let you in on a clue … That’s because Filipinos are expected to be happy. Or at least appear to be happy.
In my experience, Filipinos are expected to hide any emotions that appear negative. So if we’re feeling sad, then the expectation is to hide that sadness. And (again) in my experience, the way that Filipinos hide that sadness is by focusing their energy on something that will “distract” them from feeling such sadness. And to me, that’s probably where the “Filipinos are hard-workers” perception probably comes from.
Because of that expectation to always appear happy, many Filipinos are not willing to talk about their sadness. It’s that whole “saving face” issue. Expressing any negative emotions out loud would “doom” us to a life of isolation. We’d lose that ability to be amongst the “norm” of society. We’d be different and therefore others cannot relate to us or talk to us because they don’t know what to say or how to act.
And because sadness and anger make others feel uncomfortable, saying these things out loud … or God forbid, even just looking or appearing despondent … is considered airing out your own dirty laundry.
Now, imagine having gone through 10+ years of not being “able to” express any of these emotions. Especially on how it relates to infertility.
It’s like having to sort through ten years of “dirty laundry” that’s been piling up just to find my favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans. It’s going to take awhile … maybe not as long as it took to pile up … but I’ve got to do a few loads and iron out a few details before I can once again wear those articles of clothing that made me look and feel my very best.
In addition, imagine writing a blog all about what’s bothering me. I’m absolutely positive that I’ve “lost face” within my Filipino circle of family & friends. Because believe me, I have felt the avoidance of engaging me in any conversation. And I’ve noticed the lack of effort on their part to find out how to appropriately discuss what Hubby & I are going through.
So to those Filipino family and friends (and any other readers out there … if I have any left … who might not understand my cultural considerations) who say that it’s been ten years and that I should just quit b*tching & complaining and “just move on” … I hope they know exactly how hard it is to do so. Because there is TEN LONG YEARS of stifled emotions that need to be addressed before I can move on.
I need to peel back the layers of disappointment, fear, anger and pain in order to find that happiness that I know is somewhere inside of me.
And that is probably THE MAIN reason for writing this blog.
3 Replies to “Dirty Laundry”
Please know I’m here for you. I’ve been married 14 years this October and we’ve never had an “oops” baby. We’re still working on #2 after 8 years since having #1. I have lots of baggage as well. I won’t let DH read my blog because he started to think that infertility was all I thought about. I tried explaining that the blog was the only place I vented it, because I knew no one wants to hear it. It also helps me forget about it, since once I put it down in writing, I can go on with regular life for awhile. He doesn’t get that, so he’s not allowed to read. It was getting me in too much trouble and I need a place to vent.
I’m so grateful to have found the IF blogging community… and starting my own blog has helped to manage the pain just a little bit. No one has a right to tell you to “just move on”, whether it’s 1, 5, 10 or whatever number of years. Only you and your husband can determine when you’re ready and what your next steps will be. I’m sorry to hear about the guilt you’re feeling after your SIL’s recent birth. I hope writing about all of this helps.
I understand the cultural expectation thing. Being Irish people think I’m always drinking.
Shit. I *am* always drinking. (I kid, I kid, I rarely have booze before noon.)
(Ha! I kid again.)
I can’t imagine having a culture where I had to keep things inside – I really feel for you. That would probably drive me nuts. I’m so glad you at least have a blog where you can let things out. I think people shoudl understand that blogs are concentrated feelings – I mean, some of my friends would probably be horrified to hear things I have bitched about them on my blog. And it’s not because they are in any way horrible it just becomes so magnified in this space where I can release it and be as loud and irrational and selfish as I want.