Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

I don’t think I have grown up this fast—ever. April 2008 will be the month of pain, learning, loving, and growing.

Where do I start? Well, first is maybe an explanation about why I haven’t blogged in a month. When I started my Blogger and MySpace account I was excited and thought I’d be writing often. I did initially, but then things started to creep up on me and life started happening—fast. I got scared, worried about what to post, I felt horrible (physically and emotionally), and wasn’t sure what to share.

To give you the Cliff Notes version for April…
*I was waiting on a decision, and found out about my non-acceptance to law school
*I started the “cycle” of drugs to assist me in getting pregnant; “Cycle” came up negative
*Joe completed the largest parts of the kitchen and it’s now functioning
*I interviewed and started a part-time job back at Berklee
*I began reading “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle
*I took on volunteering at Landmark Education at a new level
*I dealt with depressive symptoms twice that almost put me over the edge
*Upped my therapy sessions including this week’s three session extravaganza
*A dear friend visited us and I realized how much I missed him
*A dear, old friend from high school “found me,” we are back in touch, and I realized how much I missed him
*The intimacy and love for my husband has grown deeper than I ever thought possible
*The impossible finally seems possible

When reading all this over, it’s hard to believe. My life and months used to be fairly normal; even more so if you go back before February when I was working fulltime. This month feels like about three, and I guess now it makes sense.

Life Is A-Changin'
When I said above that I haven’t grown up this fast ever in my life, I meant it. Even how I’m dressing, the bag I carry, how I speak shows up as adult. What’s going on? And will my mind catch up?

I was thinking about this and why I felt this way. I realized that although I loved my old department at Berklee, I do have to say it was one of the youngest offices on campus. We have a range of folks who are 23 to people in their 50s, but it’s still a “young feeling” office. I had no issue walking into the office everyday with a backpack, even being 37. Didn’t even occur to me. All I wanted was to have my hands free, be comfortable and to have everything from a camera and umbrella, to paperwork and my wallet in one place.

But here I am only days before my 38th birthday, I’m trying to get pregnant, I applied to law school (and sadly did not get accepted), and I’m now working in an office of advisors and psych counselors. Nothing is good or bad here, but it just made me look at myself in a different way. Am I resisting getting older, resisting parenthood, looking to the past instead of being present (or even looking ahead)?


I have to be honest—my life is hard right now, and even as hard as I remember some of my teen years to be, I’d rather be there some days. I at least have to acknowledge it to myself.

I have suppressed saying that fully to anyone due to the risk that people will think I’m complaining. I have a great life and husband, I don’t HAVE to work, I’m lucky.. but the stress of what I’m dealing with, and have been dealing with, over the past few months is above and beyond anything I could have expected.

I’ve also had this story that pregnancy and being pregnant is supposed to be this easy and joyous thing. I “agree” with that on one level. But for this to be easy and joyous for me, we’d be able to get pregnant naturally, and I wouldn’t be heading to Boston IVF almost every week for blood and ultrasounds. OR, I wouldn’t be taking drugs and shots when I have no idea how I’ll react to them. It’s not romantic right now, and it’s more scary than exciting. I have no idea if that means I’m not ready, or that I’m just dealing with what it is to be “an adult." Getting that you have to sacrifice for big things in life sometimes.

I share this part of my quest to get pregnant here in a public forum as I don’t think that enough women share their trials and tribulations about trying to get pregnant. Every time I go into Boston IVF the place is packed. On one hand, I don’t feel alone (in fact I ran into someone I knew there one day), but on the other, it makes me sad. More and more women are seeking these treatments. It’s great they are available, but man, what is going on that we all can’t get pregnant like in the old days? I haven’t done any research on this topic, but all I know is that there are a lot of anxiety-ridden women, and couples sitting in that waiting room.

From what I’ve seen (and maybe I’ve been selective, it happens), people romanticize being pregnant. Sure it’s a great miracle of life, but what if the miracle has to be helped by science? All of this is tough to talk about, but I mention it here just in case someone reads this that’s in the same place I am, or maybe even resigned to even get started. There’s a lot available out there for us, but sometimes it doesn’t make it any easier psychologically.

Defining a Backpack
When walking into Boston IVF as many times as I have, and into my new office at Berklee, I knew I had to ditch my backpack. You’d think that such an insignificant thing such as said backpack wouldn’t be a big deal, but as I started to look around, I realized no one else is really carrying a backpack at my age. Some are, but I’m not in school, I’m not in my 20s anymore. It’s time to grow up.

This weekend, I was out with one of my best friends and I decided to buy a bag at DSW. I usually get my purses at Target, but hey, DSW has some cool shit and I thought I’d splurge. Even there, it’s still somewhat cheaper than a department store and I’m really unwilling to pay $500 for a Coach bag (yes, I just checked that price). I found this kick ass patent leather RED Liz Claiborne bag that was big enough to hold the stuff I had in my backpack, but not too heavy to carry around. I still have to take the bus to work and walk here and there in the city, so the comfort factor was still in play, but could I have comfort, space AND style? I found it. This bag is the bomb and I love it. It fits in the drawer that was given to me in the office to hold my stuff while I work, it goes with all my outfits, and well, I look like I’m in my 30s. That dilemma was easy to solve.. now onto the hard stuff.

Transformation Via Latte
I’ve been struggling a lot with my “education”—spiritual, psychological and even philosophical ideals that I have studied for literally over 20 years, as of recent. It seems that all of this “work” I have done is finally coming to a head this week. I have been confused on what to believe, what to take on, what to remember, what to put in action. Due to that, I gave up in a sense last week. It was so overwhelming, I just couldn’t think anymore. I had so many “tools” available, but which one to use? Deadlock.

I had my marathon therapy sessions this week due to some breakdowns I had last week. For the first time, I called my therapist so scared, worried, and to be honest, angry and resentful. She asked me to come in two other times outside of Joe and my couple’s session. Initially I felt relieved until we hit Tuesday (afternoon individual session, late afternoon couples). I wasn’t feeling physically well, the “not getting into law school” was official and affecting me, I didn’t get pregnant, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle all this processing. In the end, I chose not to resist it and trust in the process.. and I now see light at the end of the tunnel. Coupled with the therapy, I also took on reading “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle last month. Much of it I “know” due to the Landmark principles I study, but it’s always good to read something and to hear a new voice. It seems that every time I read it, what I “need” to hear is right there on the page.

Today, as I read my book in Starbucks before going to work while eating my Apple Coffeecake and drinking my tall skinny caramel latte, it was all there. Again, stuff I knew, but as always, sometimes there is a time and place when it really sinks in. In Chapter 9 and 10 Tolle talks about being present and not having the ego (what usually runs us) run the show. Anxiety, fear, anger, etc. are all run by the ego and we lose ourselves when this is present. How true.

There are two passages that stood out to me that I would like to note. The first one from Chapter 9, I have named “The Unhappiness Quotient,” which defined me to a “t”: “The unconscious assumption behind all such action is that success is a future event, and that the end justifies the means. But the end and the means are one. And if the means did not contribute to human happiness, neither will the end. The outcome, which is inseparable from the actions that led to it, is already contaminated by those actions and so will create further unhappiness. This is karmic action, which is the unconscious perpetuation of unhappiness.”

Usually with something like this I have to read it several times, but due to this being such a part of me, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was reminded that I was creating my own unhappiness and I have all my life. Now, all I have to do is TRUST in the present moment and not try to figure things out. The ego is driving this bus right now, and I must put it in the passenger seat or maybe even send it to the back.

The second passage is from Chapter 10: “We are learning that the action of creation may involve energy of the highest intensity, but that is not ‘hard work’ or stressful. We need to understand the difference between stress and intensity, as we shall see. Struggle or stress is a sign that the ego has returned, as are negative reactions when we encounter obstacles.”

This was something I needed to hear. I think I have been so entrenched in “stress” and “struggle” that my ego has taken over for years and I didn’t realize it. I can’t say in this moment that I am transformed, but between this book and the extraordinary outlook of my therapist, things are finally making more sense. I am getting that I don’t have to walk around wounded, afraid and angry. I have worked very hard to hide this, trick myself and others, and it’s worked well, but as I am starting a family and looking to be a mom, how can I trick or lie to my child? I can’t. My ego is freaking out and looking for anyway to stay alive. What I’ve learned thru therapy, is that I don’t have to kill this ego, these “parts” of me. What I need to do is actually be with them, console them, have compassion.

These are firsts for me. New, exciting, scary, but possible. Will I actually be authentically confident, not be ego-driven and find my true purpose? I’m getting closer to a yes.

Through all this, I’m getting that it’s way to much work to try to be a perfect person and even harder to be a perfect mom. I won’t be. I’ll make mistakes, but I will be responsible for them. I will apologize when needed, take stands when it’s appropriate and be self-expressed. I think that’s really all anyone is asking for.

I know this was a long post, but it was something I had to get down. If you read this far, thank you. Thank you for being interested in my life, and more than likely you are a friend if you got this far. Whether you have known me a year or 20 years, know that you have had a significant impact in my life and will continue to do so.

I’ll keep you posted around all of this.. there may be more tripping and falling, but I also see more transformations and happiness ahead..

One Window of My Soul
I’ll close with my beloved, Journey. Although I don’t know the exact meaning of this song and what Steve was thinking when he wrote it, but it’s always hit me.. I remember sitting in my room while in high school (when I first was going thru the Journey discography) listening to "Still They Ride" over and over again. It's a haunting song that always reminds me of freedom—-something I was not feeling at the time. I always had, and continue to have, this vision of me and my closest friends, riding our bikes through the night, not saying a word, but saying so much with our eyes and smiles. We rule the night.

“Still they ride, on wheels of fire / They rule the night / Still they ride, the strong will survive.”