Thursday, November 17, 2011

When the going gets tough

The Girl and the Owl

There's been a hoot-owl howling by my window now
For six nights in a row

October and November have been rough. Grad school isn’t easy, but it’s manageable under the right circumstances. I’m cataloging “having a miscarriage” as “not the right circumstances”. But that’s where October and November have landed me. And somehow, I’m plugging along, punching through, and somehow, I wrote a nineteen-page paper on the history and inner workings of the Richmond Public Library system and got a 100% on it, worked on group projects, attended a professional conference, wrote stuff for my local news hub, adopted a new dog, and went to work every day. When you’re covering two departments, you can’t really take a few sick days easily. Without some sort of guilt. But somehow through all this I seem to be excelling all the same. I am not a robot, but I’m pretty much a robot. A sort of weird robot, since you can only make merry for so long when you’re feeling like a weird ugly fish, one of those wretched things that scuttles around the ocean floor with the sole purpose – I gather – of being Weird. I probably gave off some Weird Vibes to people I hung out with pretty much all last month. Oh well.

The thing is though, it’s sort of a hazy plodding along right now. I go to barbeques and people are pregnant and people have their babies, and all anyone seems to talk about is babies-this, babies that. Babies all the time, my life has become a Babies-R-Us and I am the night stocker, a non-participant with the masses, but stuck there anyway. And it’s not that I hate these people or their babies. At all. I want to explain to them that I’m avoiding them because I’m bitter and I don’t hate them, I’m just taking it out on them. The trouble with being in your mid-twenties and having a miscarriage is that everyone around you is seemingly successful at baby-making. It’s a tundra.

So I plod along, not really putting my heart into school or work, even though I appear to be giving 110%, because I can’t afford not to. I can’t afford to let myself get upset and ruin my 4.0. I can’t take time off work when our IT Specialist is no longer here, leaving me in charge of two departments, a one-woman wonder-manager, slowly losing her mind and her patience. I’ll rest when I’m dead. If I bury myself deep enough into work and school then I can go for stretches of pure dirt, pure tunnel vision on the work, but then I go to a BBQ and here’s a baby, there’s a baby, everywhere a baby, my whole neighborhood is having new babies, the people across the street had a pumpkin carved with “It’s a Boy!” for weeks, it’s a sea of babies, and I am getting bitter and angry, and would like nothing better than a filter setting for the world that fuzzes out babies and pregnancy conversations. But, that’s not happening.

 Besides, I’m a librarian, I’m super anti-censorship.

So I plug along. I research shit. I am hoping the holidays make this better and not worse. I’m a gritty point-blank person and I’m not one for sentimentality, and I would like nothing better than to just get over it already, and a week here and there it does seem to feel like I’m OKAY. But then something comes along that makes you want to punch a window, just punch it real good, and be done with it.

And somehow, I end up feeling *accomplished* through all this. LOOK AT ME, I AM GOING THROUGH SHIT BUT HEY I MANAGED TO GET 100%, WRITE STUFF, GET GOOD GRADES, ATTEND STUFF, GO TO WORK, ACHIEVE GOALS, SURPASS GOALS, WOW I AM AWESOME. Hollow and awesome. And it’s such a weird misplaced I-feel-like-this-isn’t-the-right-emotion-to-feel feeling of accomplishment. Like hey, I can do stuff, even when it’s really, really, really hard.  Go me!  Go me?

I think most of all, I feel really, really cheated. If I’m successful with baby-making the second time around, I won’t get to feel excited about it. I mean I will be, duh-zers, but I won’t be, because I’ll be waking up worrying that I’ll wake up to blood every day for nine months. I’m a worrier by nature/nurture, and while I would have worried anyway, I’m now in the future going to worry a lot more, and be excited a whole lot less during the baking process. When the statistics put you in the downer section, you don’t necessarily trust them to be there for you on the good end later. Good health, fitness, good eating habits (vegetarian, I don’t eat anything with high fructose corn syrup if I can help it, I have never in my life liked soda, I use natural shampoo because I like to use fewer chemicals, etc etc etc ad nauseum), all that stuff didn’t matter, so my trust in my own body has failed me once, and I can’t let myself totally trust it again right now. I have ~trust issues~ here with statistics and shit. And I love statistical data. I really do. But right now we’re a little rocky. So when people say well it’ll be fine the next time around, you’ll have babies, you’ll be fine! I am inclined to nod and say yes of course, but inside think, yeah, well, that’s great, that’s what I thought the first go-around.

But at some point, you plateau. Logging into Facebook to see everyone’s baby’s photos appear as the top item Every. Single. Time. because everyone likes and comments on it ceases to be a pang (isn’t that horrible feature just the pits when it’s stuff you hate that everyone else likes? And yes, I could simply hide them, but even though I’m taking this out on them, it’s not like I actually hate them or their adorable chubby babies goddammit), but it also ceases to gain any feeling of “that was better this time”. Employee gossip about who’s having a baby ceases to create a knot of gut frustration, but it still nags a little.  Not a lot.

So tonight I’m going out to Black Sheep with people, and we’ll eat, drink and be merry. Because it’s that time of year, for the making of merry, and I figure it just means I might have to force-feed the merry a little more this year.  Edit: nevermind, now our car needs a $1100 repair!  Goodbye merry-making.  Sometimes, the only thing you can do is grunt.  And the truth is, I *want* to just say hey, well, better luck next time.  In the spirit of Mulder, I WANT TO BELIEVE.  So it's just a matter of waiting.

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