scene from the film Away We Go:
Burt Farlander: Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.
Verona De Tessant: Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you'll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she's scared? And that her fights will be your fights?
Burt Farlander: I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you're gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?
Verona De Tessant: I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do.
After watching this scene, and then allowing for the screen couple to snuggle for a minute, I was informed that I am not allowed to watch any more movies today. It has just been that surreal of a day.
A long, long time ago, Eric and I came close to breaking up. We decided not to. Instead, we got in the car to take a long drive. About a minute into our drive, our song began to play on the radio. We had never before, and never since, heard our song on the radio - as far as we know, it was never released for radio play.
For years, I struggled with the decision of whether or not to have a child. So many reasons to fear it would be a mistake. Some very important ones to feel it may be imperative. So much waffling. I rented the movie Waitress, not really knowing what it was about. She spends the entire movie resenting her unborn baby for keeping her stuck with her husband, only to have her entire world flip over when the baby is born. Her husband is making a scene in the delivery room, but everything is muted as she holds and gazes upon her baby for the first time. That scene was hugely influential on me.
Alas, having my own biological child was not to be. There go half the reasons I was afraid to have a baby - the genetic inheritance of all my family's ills. I am still sad about this, but using a donor will allow us to have a child who will be loved, but who won't have all of my health problems.
Another movie I knew nothing about... I believe it was around the time we decided to go with Egg Donation, because I remember going to the movie store and needing something completely mindless to watch to get my mind off of my worries. Couples Therapy sounded like complete fluff. Until 10 minutes into the movie you discover that one of the couples wants them all to go on this retreat because infertility problems is making them consider divorce.
About 3 months ago I had a personal crisis. My illnesses conspired to make me miss multiple doctor appointments in one week. Appointments I was desperate to have. Because seeing doctors was the only way I was going to get well. I felt trapped and alone. Then something occurred to me: shouldn't there be other people out there who are so sick that they have problems just getting to see their doctors? Online searching led me to whole communities for people with chronic illnesses. People who were spending their lives like me: more sick than well, too familiar with the medical system and disgruntled with it, afraid and tired and lonely.
I discovered The Spoon Theory, an easy way to explain to my family and friends how little energy I had when I woke up each day was so easily taken up by the mundane chores of everyday life, leaving me with no energy for work or socializing or just having a normal life.
I discovered a therapy group in Edmonds. I had wonderful sessions with people going through things so similar to my own experience. I spent hours talking with one person in particular, with whom I shared so many similarities it was spooky. Through her, she gave me the words to express something I had been feeling inside about my life.
A change had been coming over me. I realized I didn't like myself, the person that I had allowed myself to become. I was taking stock of my life, trying to find ways to feel and do good. Nature helped me feel my humanity again. Being made small when taking in the massive scale of mountains and forests in real life, Alaskan valleys on television, made me feel part of something larger. This woman introduced me to the Unitarian Universalist concept of valuing all beings and things equally. In my heart, I had finally defined the core of my belief system: to cherish all life, in all forms everywhere.
Changing your life when you're set in your ways can be difficult. When your own body seems to be in revolt against you, the task appears Herculean. Daunting doesn't begin to describe it.
Focusing on Wellness and increasing my health and fitness has become the focus of my life as I prepare to become a mother very, very soon(!). A handful of appointments were scheduled for this week, and so far I managed to get to all of them. This is a very good thing, but it has done a number on me.
The X-rays from my chiropractor really threw me. I knew it was bad. Just not how bad. Disks degenerating in various places, some small bits of arthritis here and there, my neck curvature is reversed and responsible for may growing hump, my neck is also almost completely right-of-center to varying degrees, one hip is lower than the other, and I have adult onset scoliosis: with not 1 but 2 curves to my spine. The image of my spine looks like someone shoved it all the way to the left as it passes through my hips, then it corrects itself and keeps going in the opposite direction for a spell before correcting again to come towards the center. Before hitting my neck where it slides to the right like the leaning tower of Pisa. Should I be scared because there's so much wrong? Or should I be relieved that finally, there may be a single diagnosis for all of the neurological problems I've been accumulating in the past 2 years?
I have been officially diagnosed with "mild to moderate hearing loss" in both ears. A new sound overlay to my tinnitus may or may not be permanent. The hearing loss, associated with my inner ear, is permanent. But the Ear Nose Throat (ENT) doctor I saw today happened to notice the fertility meds listed in my chart. She told me that she had been an Egg Donor Coordinator for Virginia Mason 10 years ago. We chatted about where I was in the process, the clinic I was using. She confirmed that success rates with donated eggs are higher than that of artificial insemination of your own eggs simply because of the youth of the women donating. She told me about how she runs into people all over the place that she helped 10 years ago, how they point out their kid running on the soccer field with her kids, and she can see the amazing results of her work. She is so thrilled and excited and happy for me. She told me to be positive, that positive results were likely. She was practically giddy.
I decided to do something Christmas shopping after my appointment, but the anxiety and physical discomfort brought on by the chiropractor visit the day before had me exhausted. I decided to see what movies were playing. The new Jake Gyllenhall movie in 5 minutes.
How can a movie called Love and Other Drugs have commercials completely devoid of the information that he is a drug company rep who falls for a woman with Parkinson's disease? The scene where she goes to the Unconvention and listens to her fellow Parkinson's compatriots tell their sickness and their doctors and their shoelaces to fuck off... I was bawling almost uncontrollably for the rest of the movie. When she's saying to her boyfriend, "There are other people with Parkinson's disease! Can you imagine?!" I thought I was going to just lose it. She sounded exactly the way I felt when I discovered the support communities for people with chronic illness and pain.
After the movie, I hid in a bathroom stall and called Eric, sobbing anew. I told him the movie was about me. He told me to come home. I went to clean my face. I had been crying so hard that I my face was covered in red blotches - I looked hideous. A woman walked in behind me, and asked if I was ok. I told her yes, I would be, and turned towards her to assure her with a small smile that I was telling the truth. She said "No, you're not. Let me give you a hug." And she did. I clung to her and sobbed against her leather jacket for about 5 minutes. She did most of the talking. She asked me simple questions, and as I talked and broke down again after each answer, she would just hold me tighter and tell me reassuring things.
We exchanged names and full spellings, each of us having unusual names. She told me my name was as beautiful as I was. She must have told me I was beautiful over a dozen times. She told me that she had been recovering from cancer for 2 years, and I lost it all over again. She told me how she and her husband went broke and lost everything and she didn't think she could bear it any longer, so she got down on her knees and prayed. And God took her troubles and got her through it. She told me that there are the people we love and need in our lives, and then there are the interim people, who are there to hug you in the movie theater bathroom. And when my troubles were too much, I should kneel down in front of Him and give them to Him. She had a little gold cross around her neck. She had pretty blonde hair and beautiful eyes. I never figured out what color her eyes were, because whenever I looked at her, she smiled with her whole face, her eyes crinkling up in the most amazing way so I was always looking at those crinkles and her smile. She prayed for me, out loud, while she hugged me. I told her she had no idea how important this moment was to me.
For the entire encounter, I kept telling myself she was an angel. That this was a miracle. That this was Something with a capital "S". That she was sent or meant to be there. I was half convinced that when we were through, she would pop out of existence. Instead, she told me she really was there to use the toilet and proved herself human. I decided not to mar this perfect moment, and silently walked out, since we had already said our goodbyes.
I went home and cried against Eric's not-so-fancy black shirt, telling him the whole thing. How strange it was. How unsettling it was, to feel like time and again, something or someone was looking out for me. He assured me he didn't think I was crazy.
The right people at the right times. New concepts and personal revelations as I'm finally ready to hear them. Songs, movies.
My contact at the fertility clinic called to update me on our chosen donor, who had just had her first baseline exam and passed with normal hormone levels and lots of healthy follicles in both ovaries. As compared with two months ago when we chose a donor, got health information that made us doubt our choice, and then discovered she was pregnant with her own child within hours of sending the email that we were going to have to choose a different donor. Because she was not the right choice.
I sat down to have some lunch and watch some television, to calm my nerves. This movie I wasn't so sure I wanted to watch was just starting, Away We Go. A couple six months pregnant go on a long trip from city to city to decide where they want to live when they have their baby. And near the end, after all the emotional ups and downs, they say these sweet vows to each other that I quoted above. Instead of vows of marriage, they are vows of parenting.
I grabbed Eric, and rewound the scene so he could watch it. After it was over, I hit stop and looked at him with tears in my eyes. He smiled at me and told me I couldn't watch any more movies today. He held me for awhile.
I first experienced crying out of happiness in 1999, when anti-depressants completely changed my life. Over the years, I've had occasion to repeat the experience. Nothing like today.
I had been crying out of complete disbelief that these things, this movie and this woman in a bathroom, were proving to me that I was going to get through this and I was going to live my life and I was going to be great. I was crying out of joy.
Reader beware, I make no apologies for speaking the truth, no matter how shocking. So here's a list of taboo you might see here: sexuality, bisexuality, lesbianism, atheism, ex-Catholic ranting, stories of childhood abuse, wacked-out left-wing theories and philosophies, and feminist thought. And I like the words "cunt" and "fuck" a lot.