Dear uterus: please hold

I’m 31 years old, will be 32 this year. I’m still not entirely comfortable with being “in my 30s,” and my reproductive expiration date is rapidly approaching. I can practically feel my uterus drying out, giving up. Last night my mom texted me: “Don’t forget your ticking clock.” OMG–please stop with all the ticking, I just can’t. Believe me, I’m feeling the pressure. I have my annual OBGYN appointment today and while I do like my doctor, when I turned 30, the visits took on a more urgent tone. “Are you thinking of having children?” he would ask me. “You still have time, but you’ll want to do it sooner than later.”

Of all the things in life, the greatest uncertainty and source of most confusion, conflict, and internal anguish has been the question: “Will I ever become a mother?” I have many feelings about this subject, which I plan to explore in a book–someday. But for today, I need to get some thoughts out. I’m just not fucking ready to have a child. Being single for most of my 20s, having a baby was a distant abstract. I met my partner when I was 27, and time still seemed abundant. He wanted kids “someday;” I wasn’t sure, then we both traded positions and have never been on the same page at the same time. Now he is back to wanting them “someday,” and I am not so much wanting a baby as I am feeling intensely pressured to have one. The fear of infertility (for which I cannot afford treatment) plagues me. The term “geriatric uterus” makes me simultaneously roll my eyes and twinge with fear. Never having a child seems scarier than having one right now.

Many women get pregnant by accident and they do the parenting thing just fine. I like to think that could be me. Having chance and biology make the imperative decision for you, and deciding to continue the pregnancy in some ways, is the easiest way to come to terms with becoming a parent. I have no doubt that I would love any child I had to the moon and back. But I have committed and promised my partner to stay on my birth control, and only go off it with his full consent (entrapment is not a good plan). Life isn’t conducive to babies right now. I’m about to graduate with my Bachelor’s in English come May, and am actively seeking graduate programs for an education degree. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. But what I do know is that I’ve worked too damn hard to give up my dreams for a screaming baby.

There are so many things I want to do–travel, write, teach, paint, create, explore–and a child would undoubtedly hamper all of the above. My partner and I live in a very modest (read: small, cramped) 2-bedroom apartment and while we are not “poor,” we lack the means to buy a house and have relatively little saved. Having a child is a huge money drain, and that scares me. What a shame to bring a child into a world of struggle and scrimping. I don’t want to do that.

Unlike most other things in life, a woman’s fertility has a deadline. 35 is the recognized age at which pregnancies become “high risk,” and while many women deliver healthy babies in their late 30s and even 40s, I want to avoid the social stigma of having a dangerous pregnancy. I also have a fear that even if I tried to have a child, I wouldn’t be able to conceive, or my treasured pregnancy would end in a bloody miscarriage (I had one when I was 18, result of an accidental pregnancy of course, and it was so fucking scary).

So who knows? I’m feeling a lot of things, but the biggest one is pressured. Society is strongly natalist. Everyone loves babies. The self-centered, attention seeking part of me (which is big, I’ll admit) wants to be a pregnant goddess, protecting the swollen moon of my belly which contains the most precious thing of all: life. But I’m not ready yet…and that’s what I’ll have to tell my doctor today.

Please comment and share your thoughts on this subject–women and men, childless or parents, I would greatly appreciate your advice/opinions on this most personal topic. Finally, this quote speaks to me:

motherhood_aniston

 

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I can wait.

Words for feeling lost…found via Bryonie Wise.

“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”

~ Walt Whitman

raw around the edges

skyclouds
But it seemed to me that this was the way we all lived: full to the brim with gratitude and joy one day, wrecked on the rocks the next. Finding the balance between the two was the art and the salvation.

Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

Well. He is home. For now. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect. In spite of how comforting his presence is (albeit tenuous), I am struggling so hard just to get back to baseline of feeling “normal.” Which is funny because I have never been nor will I ever be, normal, by anyone’s standards. I take my pill religiously. I am not angry, I am mainly just depressed. I think about everything over and over again. How I feel about things. I check it like you do when you lose a tooth and your tongue runs over the empty spot, you know it’s gone but you’re still checking anyway. Still there.

I was ready to quit my job and do anything else. Take a huge pay cut. (That did not pan out.) Then I remember, insurance. Pills. Doctors. Oh. I am a slave to my job for these things. It is funny how you know inside you have so much to offer and yet you spend all day saying “how can I assist you?” and it really feels like your soul is actually dying.

I used to be obsessed with makeup videos and fashion blogs. I was always wondering what I could buy next. I have stopped that cold. I have no real desire to experience any superficiality. I have not painted my nails in a week (although I will probably never stop wearing full face makeup just because that is me). I have been coming back to my favorite books by my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg. (Durable Goods, Joy School and True to Form.) They are fast reads I suppose but being in that world, and being back in that world I remember being in so many times and for so long is just about the only thing I find real solace in. Absolutely, within the last few weeks, those are the moments when I find peace. In those books. She writes so well it hurts. It is just so true to the heart, it just pulls at me, all the way back to my own thirteen year old self.

But what else.

Then I thought well, I’ll save up a bunch of money, and take the road trip I’ve always wanted. All the way to California, via Route 66 as much as I could. From coast to coast. Dip my toes in the Pacific like I have always wanted to. I have thought about it many times but listening to Lana Del Rey always makes me want to just drive forever and ever. I guess I always pictured myself sharing that experience with someone else (special) but maybe it should just be me, some cheap motels, bags of Cheetos, truck stop food, lots of mix CDs and the open road for miles and endless miles. I would be like Kerouac. Maybe it would inspire me. I got bright little flips of excitement thinking about it. Then I talked myself out of it, at least for the immediate future. Money, time. Oh, those traps.

So the battle begins. I keep choosing safety, and “safety” seems to be keeping me pushed inwards, against myself. I really want to break free.

wake me when the hour arrives

somethings

This song has seen me through some tough times.

I keep hearing keys rattling, cars pulling in. I always think it’s him; even though I know it isn’t because he is someplace else. 

I thought he would be home by now, and it splits me apart that he isn’t. I cannot lie. I miss his lips. I miss his everything.

 

 

what’s happiness worth?

leapoffaith

Most Americans hate their jobs. Think Office Space. Let’s present a strictly hypothetical situation:

You work 40 hours (Mon-Fri) at a cubicle-type job. The work is tedious, the interactions frustrating, and draining. Management is cracking down and becoming increasingly punitive and micromanagey. Your colleagues are quietly complaining at the water cooler and in whispers; morale is low. When you get home you (wrongly, of course) tend to take your frustrations out on your significant other and find it hard to focus on your schoolwork (as you do have aspirations beyond this desk job) or other hobbies and passions.

You have no emotional connection to your work. It depletes and exhausts you mentally. You are absolutely the “wrong fit” for this type of job and you know it isn’t serving your mind or spirit. Yes, It’s “easy” and bearable at certain times, and you get some downtime to play on the internet, you’re allowed your phone at your desk. You get paid decent wages (but not a lot) and have good health benefits, allowing you some basic financial stability. But bottom line: you HATE your job.

officespace

Let’s just say (hypothetically) you got an opportunity for a job that was less hours, odd hours (possibly weekends/holidays), and less pay. But, it was a job that aligned with your passions and interests, something you think you could really be happy doing, something that would allow you to use skills and knowledge that you already have. The decrease in working hours would allow you to spend more time on your coursework, thus allowing you to graduate from college sooner and work harder on your eventual goals.

If you had the (hypothetical!) support of your family or significant other, would you take a leap of faith into the “unknown” into a job that could fulfill and satisfy you, or continue to “play it safe” at the job you loathe with a passion? The economy is a reality, sure. But what about happiness? What about achieving something greater than just a bank balance and “stability?” What’s it worth?

As usual, I find great truth in Gabrielle Bernstein’s vlogs. I actually put off watching this video because I knew I WAS “dancing around the perimeter of who I want to be.” I’ve been looking from the outside in at people who have careers that I want, and live creative and satisfying lives. I need to think about what’s holding me back and make those changes happen now. Life is too short to be complacent. That may be fine for others, but I know it’s not for me, not anymore.

Please share your own thoughts & experiences on job (dis)satisfaction and career “leaps of faith.” x

unmoored

sunlight

I keep almost forgetting that I live alone again now. In the midst of a “manic Monday,” I quickly thought to myself how I couldn’t wait to wrap myself in the security of boyfriend’s perfect arms as the rain pours outside. Comfort. Security. How I miss it already.

I’m hardly eating. I’m hardly sleeping. It’s more than him just being gone. I’m being swallowed by something else, something bigger than he or I could ever be. It’s monstrous. But him not being there doesn’t help.

I am a child on the bicycle, training wheels suddenly removed. No warning.

Steady, steady.

I’ve been released.

I hope that before I know it, I can pedal smoothly all on my own.

I can’t remember ever feeling this depressed, this hopeless, this frustrated. It’s coupled with a maniacal attempt to DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE/BE AWESOME/BE CREATIVE/BE THE BEST AT EVERYTHING because in order to be satisfied I have to be creating beautiful art or poetry or something else profound.

Instead I stare at the blank walls of “our” apartment, thinking about what we wanted to hang there. The bed, empty on his side. Once so comfortable, only provides restless nights of kicking and turning, waking with a start to realize that he’s gone.

He’s really gone.

There are small signs that I need to awaken my spiritual self but I’ve been ignoring them. I don’t trust spirituality will save me. I don’t believe in the universe’s unconditional loving light and all of that patchouli nonsense anymore. If it were that easy, we’d all do it. Wouldn’t we? I should really listen more. And think before I speak. And fix the million other things that I do wrong, that make up the glorious blackened mass of mental/emotional defects that infiltrate my being like knife cuts. Oh, beautiful knife cuts.

Then I remembered the one spiritual book that shook me (shook a lot of people, I’m sure) – Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. And this:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…”

Hmmm.

call me a gypsy

USA Roadtrip 2 -1

I’m living out of a duffle bag and a laundry basket right now. All of my stuff is scattered.  I’m really no good at being nomadic. I never have been. I’ve always done better in my own space, knowing where everything is. Staying with my dear friend is awesome in a lot of ways. I know I’m not mentally healthy enough to be by myself, really. But I miss my –our–home. I’ve been going to the apartment once a day to feed the cats, grab stuff I need, etc…but it feels so strange. Without my boyfriend, without his stuff, it feels so hollow and empty. It’s truly the saddest feeling.

I have “my” room set up, and it’s nice enough. It feels like some kind of weird and unwelcome vacation. I do love having the company of my friend, but all I really want is my soulmate back. We spent the fourth together, in his hometown. Went to the lake and played in the water. We held each other. I cried. I cry a lot lately. He loves me and I can tell. We tell each other constantly. This is hard for him, too, I know. And I know that he doesn’t want to backslide into old habits. In the meantime my “coping method” is just moment to moment. I hold myself together, even though I feel completely unraveled.

I stopped by at our place on my way home for the cat chores. Then I went to my friend’s place and laid in the yellow bed for an hour after I talked to bf on the phone, just thinking, being, dealing.

I’m back on my meds. It’s going to take time to feel/notice the effects again. I never felt them in the first place. I guess that’s common with antidepressants? Other people noticed, apparently. Who knows. That’s why I stopped. Also, no word from any of the psychiatrists I was referred to. Sad and frustrating that when you really want help and are asking for it, it seems to be out of reach.

Everything that’s going on makes it nearly impossible to focus on things that I need to do–like coursework–and the things that I want to do, like painting. All I do is think, and wait patiently for something to change inside of me.

Have you ever lived out of a suitcase before? Or felt like you didn’t know where you belong? Comment and let me know. xx