40 Mournings and Nights

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mourning Has Broken

Well, i guess you can say that the mourning is over. I'm no longer mourning the loss of my unborn children, and I no longer suffer from permanent infertility--the two reasons i started this blog. Instead, dh and i have been downgraded to the garden variety infertility and have become residents of ivf nation.

I never imagined that when i started mourning that it would be over so "soon" or that life would take all the turns that it has. When you're told that you can never ever have children and should you try, you will pass on severe genetic defects to your offspring, life as you know it (the one you lived for, the only one you ever dreamt about) is over. All that is left is a barren wasteland of bleak emptiness. How do you go on from there?

It's not something i can answer with logic. All logic points to is that you cant go on. But the human spirit is not always limited by logic (fortunately) and finds a way to shine on, regardless.

I am going to keep this blog open to help others who find themselves suddenly incapable of conceiving and overwhelmed with loss and sadness. I recommend the books i have listed here to start. I also recommend a good grief counselor, who specializes in infertility. I would like to welcome any comments from anyone who has found other books or tools helpful in dealing with the loss of fertility.

In the meantime, I will be starting a new journey at The Fertile Soul.

Take care and God bless.

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Morning Has Broken, Cat Stevens

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Overwhelmith Runith Over

After Friday’s meltdown, things finally get straightened out between all the offices and we were given a green light. Ahhh, thanks.

On Monday, I get a call from the doctor’s office, stating that on Friday afternoon(after the green light call to me) they were told that they have the referral, they have the precertification, now they need a predetermination. Ohhhh, that’s what you needed? What the F(&$*@(#&$()*@&% ????

So, I spent a couple of hours on the phone, being sent back and forth between Member Services and Precertification of my insurance company in the following manner:

Member Services: “you need to call Precertification for a predetermination at 1(800)F***OFF. It takes 7 to 10 business days for approval, so you might have to POSTPONE THE PROCEDURE.”

Precertification: “I’m sorry, but this is precertification, not predetermination, you need to call Member Services. Oh, and is this an infertility matter? Then you need to call the infertility program at 1(800)ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”

Infertility Program: “We need documents from your doctors for you to enroll in this program. But, I’ve pre-enrolled you. But this procedure you’re having done is not a part of the infertility program, but the general program under Member Services at 1(800)ba-bye.”

Did y’all get that?

Then, on Tuesday I get a call from the doctor’s office: “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I just found out that this procedure is not covered by your insurance program. You’re not covered for IVF at all. And this procedure is going to cost $22,000.”


Drop phone to collect self off floor.

And you want to know what’s really weird … bizarre things like this happen to us EVERY single time we’ve tried to go forward with infertility treatment. I mean, how often does the doctor call up and say “we have to postpone your procedure because the doctor’s double booked?” And before this, the blood work we had done … the doctor’s office (a different one) screwed it up and we had to go back in for the same test. How odd? And we have a bazillion stories like this. Everything goes haywire when we try for this.

And then it makes me think, maybe this is a sign. Maybe we shouldn’t do this. What if something goes wrong? What if something happens and our lives are worse than what it is now, when it really isn’t bad??? I’ll regret that and I’ll regret that I pushed against these odds. What if I lose dh in the process of all this pushing? Huh? Nothing’s worth that.

In the end, I just said, screw that. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about these obstacles. I’m not going to overanalyze them or infer any cosmic sign in them. I’m not even going to think about the unpayable $22,000 and the fact that this isn’t even ivf or that we’re suddenly uninsured and uncovered.

So, we went forward. And yesterday, as I’m waiting for the procedure I find myself trying to distract myself with Oprah and The View—two exceedingly superficial shows. Perfect … except, I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take the superficiality when I was about to face our moment of truth. Instead, I thought about the moment of truth. This is it for us, and what do I want?

I’m afraid to say what I want. I’ve made so much progress with mourning and made peace with infertility. I don’t want something that might contradict that. And then I moved on and made peace with adoption. I don’t want to dishonor that by suddenly flinging myself at God’s door begging for this second chance.

And it’s not that I don’t want this second chance. I made peace with all the chances I’ve had and lost. I really wasn’t expecting another one. I was okay with my life, good with it. And now that I’m about to face the potential of another chance, I don’t want to seem ungrateful or insincere about the peace that I made.

But now that we do have this potential, this procedure, I need to know what I want. Not what I expect out of it, but what do I want, given that I could live without children or I could live with adopting children. So what do I want?

Well, since we are afterall going through with this costly procedure, what I want is for it to be successful. I want the outcome to be in our favor. I’ve already mourned permanent infertility once in my life. I don’t want to do it twice. Yes, I learned so so SO much during this mourning period, and I’ve gained so much. But it was a trying, hurtful time. Like a root canal, it’s not something I’d like to do over anytime soon.

And this is what I’m thinking as I’m waiting for said procedure. I’m thinking, what I really want is for it to be successful. But I’m afraid to admit this even to myself. Soon enough, I will know the outcome, there’s no need to confess my wants. I can just numb it out with Oprah and The View. And then I will know, and then I can react. But right now, I don’t need to ponder this painful question.

But I do … because this is the question I’ve always turned my back on. I’ve always just waited for the outcome to dictate my feelings. But this time I decided it was going to be different, even though I was very afraid to confess my feelings (like once you say it, the hands of fate will surely operate against you.) But I know that’s not true. It’s just my old fears talking. So I decided to step out of the shadows where my fears whispered and stand in the light of the truth that what I wanted was this procedure to be successful. I want this. I want this and I know that I really might not get it. I’ve already been denied completely and utterly once before. But that doesn’t matter now. The past doesn’t necessarily get repeated. I want this and the fear that I might not get it does not alter the truth, that this is what I want. And if I don’t get it, then I’ll deal with that when it’s a reality and not just a whispering fear.

I have never truly done that before. I’ve never declared my wants in the face of my fears. I want this and I don’t care what my fears have to say about it!

And in the end, the procedure was successful! Thank God!!! Cuz you know why? It’s exactly what I wanted!

It’s funny some times--so basic, it’s hidden in plain sight. You’ve got to want what you want. I cant wait for life to suddenly turn my way when I’m not even willing to say what I want (and be prepared to face the tragedy of not getting it).

I am so grateful for this journey. I never imagined that in the process of looking to have children, I’d find myself. In the process of searching for a fertile womb, I found something better … a fertile soul.

Now I am ready to be a mother … or not. But now I am ready.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Procedure Overwhelm

I'm nervous. This procedure is coming up, and i feel all out of sorts. I dont know where to begin. I'm scared (surprise, surprise). I have no friends or family to talk to about this, mostly because they cant relate and usually end up saying something patronizing, which then makes me feel like it's better to have said nothing at all.

Which is where i'm at now. This is like a huge thing going on in our lives, and no one knows. And when it's over, no one will be around to support us in the aftermath.

I wish i could go to someone who'll tell me not to worry about it, that it's all going to work out, and give me a big hug, and then stuff me with brownies. No, i get to spend the whole morning fighting with the office manager at the doctor's office who doesn't know if they have the referral yet or if we need to postpone our procedure again. Dont they understand how we are already freaked out about this? Do they need to freak us out MORE??????

I cant help but feel really bad about this. I dont understand it, but i just know i feel really bad.

I'm scared, but it's so irrational, but i am. And, i dont know why.

Actually, i guess, i'm scared of the ultimate let down. I'm so "close" to getting the one thing i ever wanted and at the same time so "close" to being told that our hopes for biological children are truly over (again).

I guess i'm afraid of massive disappointment. I'm afraid of knowing the same stuff all over again, we're permanently infertile. Doing this procedure has given me a little hope about it. And here i am again alone with my fears.

I guess that's what bothers me most of all--that i'm alone with my fears. It's an old, old feeling, a recurrent childhood experience. No one around to make me feel safe, no one except my fantasies about future children who i promised would be safe and cared for better than i was.

But here's the thing. I have a choice. I can choose to stay stuck in the re-experience of my childhood fears (which is what life-altering fears remind me of and bring me back to, so that i'm reduced to a crying baby, still wanting, needing someone to realize that i'm scared and alone) ORRRRR i could choose to realize that i am a competent, capable adult now, and i can bring all the powers at my disposal to make me feel safe, as i would give to any child of mine. I am no longer that child, crying and quivering with fear (even though, days like this, it REALLY FEELS LIKE IT!), i am an adult loving and caring person. And if i would just open myself up to that, just release the idea that i will forever be that emotionally neglected child with no one to talk to in times of fear, and allow myself to come out of my corner and into my own light, i might not feel so bad. I might even feel better. Cuz you know why? I spent a life time waiting for the chance to love and care for a child, the way i had never been. So why not pour all that love and care onto my inner child?

Because my inner child is scared, if not scarred. All prior attempts to come out have ended in immediate retreats to the corner for massive wound lickings. So what's different about now?

Nothing. I cant promise that i wont get hurt. I can only promise that i will take great care of myself if i am. But there is the chance that i wont get hurt. That i will, instead, be healed. And i will never know that until i step out. The past does not equal the future. What happened in the past (over and over and over again!) will not necessarily happen the next time. It might be safer not to take any chances and stay hidden in my corner. But then, i will never fully be healed and that emotionally neglected child will cry on foreover.

How could i do that to myself? I wouldnt do it to a stranger on the street.

My inner child is crying, and i just know that she doesnt have to be scared anymore because I am here now.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sweet Pea

So, we get back from Disney World and dh says, hmmm, there were a lot of kids there. Really? Why is he noticing? And what was i thinking dragging him down there so i can remind him of what we dont have. Mind you, i didnt notice any kids. Hey, i was in DISNEY WORLD. No time for pity party when you're at the happiest place on earth.

Oh but then, a few days later, dh says, you know, i could consider adoption. Okay, now, he's said this before over the years, so it's not a shocker to me. But since i'm not open to it and nothing's going to happen unless i am and we're both 100% on this, then it just becomes an interesting little factoid of dh's. As in, hmmm, isnt that interesting for you but totally without relevance to me. (no, i didnt say that to him :)

But it strikes me as so odd that i'm so convicted about not adopting at this point in my life. Who's ever 100% sure about anything? And yet I feel rock solid about it, immovable, unbudgeable. It's not for me. I know FOR SURE. So, as i'm thinking this, i say to dh the next day, you know, i'm totally not interested in adoption. I mean, i'm just not interested. WHATSOEVER. Isnt that interesting? To which dh responds, ever so smoothly, I'm not necessarily interested but i would be open to it.

It surprises me that I can be so hardlined about it. But so it is and so i am. And I said so to dh. The only thing I’d be willing to do is revisit the topic in 5 years--not adopt in 5 years, but consider it again in 5 years. Who knows, maybe by then I might feel differently.

But as i'm talking to him, i'm petting Sweet Pea, my 7 month old kitten, and thinking, isnt it odd how i can adopt this kitty (who was abandoned and rescued from a garbage dumpster) and LOVE HER SO MUCH, like she were my daughter, and she's not the fruit of my loins or even from the same species? If only adopting a child were as easy as adopting a cats. ... There it is.

But I shrug it off as another one of those interesting odd factoids. And the next day it hits me, I mean really hits me. I could see myself adopting an orphan baby. Forget about all the intervening problems and issues, which are manifold (and scary). Putting those aside for one second (which has not been easy and has probably been the blocking force thus far), I could actually see myself adopting.

This is huge! OH MY GOD. And it scares me. Scares me so much I want to cry. Like, now that I’ve confessed to this, it wont happen. It’s impossible. Too many obstacles and problems. But that’s ok. I mean, yes, every road is full of obstacles, but that doesn’t mean I should negate the desire to begin with. That’s an awesome desire. And I respect it. Wahoo!

I've read so many blogs wherein people have considered and refused the adoption path and would think"right on" because the adoption path is scary, so SCARY. There are so many issues to factor in, domestic or international, international country a or international country b, child or baby, boy or girl, orphan or not? The uncertainty of all these questions, plus my own sad feelings about never getting pregnant, plus all the scary stories i've ever heard about adoptions gone wrong (birth parent comes back and fights for child, international child comes home with an unreported illness, etc.) have made me pull the automatic "no" trigger. No, not for me, no more scary, unhappiness stuff for me, ever again. As if i can stop that, anyway. Jeez.

So, here i am, happy to report that i can finally, finally, FINALLY see myself adopting and not be overwhelmed by the scariness of it all. Instead, i am happy about the potential of it.

I dont know what that means for us now. I just want to soak in this realization for a while, and not allow myself to get flustered by all the details of adoption. We are still scheduled for a procedure on February 8. But, i'm relieved to know that whatever happens on that day (either we will be welcomed onto the ivf bandwagon or banned from it), it'll be okay either way.

For now, I’m just so glad and relieved I can have this feeling, regardless of what happens. I’m so glad I understand myself.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Important Meeting

Tomorrow i have a very important meeting in Florida with Mickey, and i'm so excited!!! And nervous. I'm nervous about confessing to my excitement like i'll curse it if i own up to it--as if i have power over what happens anyway.

But there it is. I have a problem, as you might well imagine, with happiness and feeling excited, given that i've "seen" so little of it. Well, in all fairness, i dont necessarily believe that i've had little of it, it's just that i dont allow myself to feel it. Why? Well, my parents arent very excited people, and they dont appreciate seeing it in others. They have a knee-jerk reaction to kill happiness. And we've have many such episodes in our household, continuing until now. My parents just cant stand happiness. It's gotten to the point where i dont need them around to discourage it. No, i've mastered that trick all on my own now. I just carry their voice of disapproval around with me wherever i go.

So now, when it's time to feel a little excitement, i have my very own knee-jerk reaction to be cautious and wary. Shhhhh. Dont tell anyone. Wait until you come back, and then tell them all about it.

What a weirdo. I'm excited, People. SO excited. And again, i say it with trepidation like the hands of fate will frown down upon my utterance and snatch it away from me in retribution for mentioning the taboo feeling.

But no, the hands of fate do not, as a matter of course, snatch away happiness simply because someone dared to be happy. Only my parents do, and i need not impute any cosmic relevance to what my parents have trained me to believe.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

You're It

I'm feeling a little a better today. It might have something to do with the yoga class i had yesterday, that or the 3 brownies i had afterwards ;) ... Well, one of our coworkers was leaving and there was this party and the assistant insisted, demanded, i take a lot because there was so much left over. So, what's a good friend to do, but comply?

And, i've been tagged. I'm supposed to list 5 weird things about myself. I prefer to call them "cute." :)

Here are the rules: “The first player of this game starts with the topic “five weird habits of yourself, and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Dont forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You are tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.”

1. I love to have brownies and coffee for breakfast. It's either that, or no breakfast at all. I'm an all-or-none kinda gal. I should probably list that as a separate weird thing.

2. I love to eat cilantro chutney like cold soup. LOVE. IT.

3. Whenever reruns of the movie Tremors comes on cable, i become glued to my seat and get sucked in like it's the best movie in the world. Dh has the same problem.

4. I love to read cookbooks, like they were novels. I'm not talking browsing, like a magazine. No, I find them riveting.

5. I love disneyworld. I would work there if i could. It's a real problem. I'm going there this weekend to see if i can cure myself of this sickness :)

The following people are now it ... Coloratura , Pamplemousse, Donna, Thalia, and Georgia ... just as soon as i tag them, which i will do just as soon as i click over there and leave them a note.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Date Deferred

The doctor called and said he had to change the date of our appointment. The day we find out whether we will be permitted back onto the ivf rollercoaster is now February 8. I'm so bummed about this. January 27 was too far away.

I need to get out of my office and go do some browsing (aka shopping). I'm really disappointed. I feel like i've been holding my breath and i've just been asked to hold it a whole lot longer.

I'm tired. You think anyone would notice if i took a nap under my desk?

I cant wait until this day over.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


So i signed up for yoga. Yay! It was very interesting. The first class i found myself competing for my "teacher's" attention. It was a little third grade of me and very strange. But all of the sudden i just wanted to do every pose PERFECTLY, just like the instructor. And i realized that i must have done this a lot in my childhood. And i stopped myself because it's just way too much pressure. I want to do it how i do it. Whatever that is, perfect or not, is so much better than stressing to do well for the added bonus of getting the teacher's appreciation and validation. I came here to relax, not stress out!

My goodness. So that was interesting--doing something without the pressue of trying to get an "A" while i'm at it. It's very weird and i'm not used to that. I'm so practiced in going for the A that i've lost what it means to go for the heart, or go for the fun.

But anyway, i'm relearning it now, so it's all good.

And then the yoga instructor has you focus on different parts of your body. And for the first time in my life, i said "Hello Liver, Hello Heart, Hello Intestines."

Interesting. In the end, I feel good about going and good when i'm done. I dont know if it's the yoga or it's just me feeling good about doing something for myself. That's quite a new phenomena. In the past, taking care of myself constituted allowing myself to eat whatever i wanted whenever i wanted, especially brownies for breakfast.

I still think brownies for breakfast is okay, especially if they're home made and have none of that hydrogenated nasties ;) But i dont really really want one every single day. Sometimes, i dont want ... anything (gasp!). I know! How could you say no to brownies?

But it's true. Besides that, there's only so much you can eat and the ceiling of good feeling you get out of eating is pretty low, especially when you walk around feeling stuffed. That's the worst.

Anyway, so i want to keep a journal of how many times i go and how many times i exercise, so i can keep track of my goal/resolution to exercise and lose weight. I got these 10 minute workout tapes. Dont tell me they dont work! That's the first thing i think when i think 10 minute workouts. But heck, i feel 10 minutes is still way better than ZERO! So i have pilates for 10, yoga for 10, cardio for 10, kickboxing for 10. There's a whole bunch. I can add or switch around and make my work out as long as i want. Then i got this other workout video called, um, errr, ehhhh, Bellydancing. Dont laugh! It's fun ;) And this way, my workout is multifunctional--workout now, do a little show for dh laytaaaa ...

ok, that's the report on this end. Next week, we got some travel plans. I have winter blues which is compounded by the fact that i work in an office with no windows. That's right. Just 4 grey walls and a door. So right about now, i'm itching for a little sun.

Besides, what else is a girl to do while she waits for January 27 to roll around?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One Day I'll Fly Away

I follow the night
Can't stand the light
When will I begin
To live again?
One day I'll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday
What more could your Love do for me?
When will Love be through with me?
Why live life from dream to dream?
And dread the day when dreaming ends
One day I'll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday
Why live life from dream to dream?
And dread the day when dreaming ends
One day I'll fly away
Fly, fly away

One Day I'll Fly Away, Moulin Rouge Soundtrack

Monday, January 09, 2006


I’m feeling bad today. Well, not that bad, just a general low--like a low grade fever, not the full blown flu. It’s not even bad enough to mention. Except it is, because it’s been lingering for days now, and i don’t know how to shake it off. I’m so out of sorts but i don’t know why or what’s bothering me. But there it is.

And so it is. It feels good to at least say that I’m bothered. I spent the day yesterday with a friend. It was actually very pleasant. So nice to get out and get to talk to people. I miss that--talking to people who sound interested in what i’m saying. I've been too busy for that.

Beyond that, I’m not sure. I cant say that this is a funk per se. Or maybe i’m just managing my funk better. I cleaned the house, and i could never do that during a funk before. In fact, I’m amazed at how much better i feel about having a clean house. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve had a clean house before ;) But now i can actually feel the joy in having a clean house.

Here’s the thing. I think that we’re going to have this procedure done at the end of the month (January 27) and we’re going to find out that there is hope (or not) but then we’ll move onto to the ivf rollercoaster and spin around on it for a decade or until we puke our guts out, whichever comes first.

But it’s like what everyone else has been talking about lately ... how do you get over this desire, feeling, want, (obsession, if you will) to conceive?

I guess that’s the matter for me. It’s like an obsession. An addiction. It’s so much easier to think about this very happy safe topic. I’ve found so much joy and comfort in it over the years. And, i kind of miss it. I’ve been lonely. I haven’t replaced it yet.

And i have the perfect replacement for it … my novel (YAAAAAAAAAWN). But it’s true. It’s the perfect channel for the same creative energies i’ve been dreaming of pouring into childbearing and rearing.

But i’m scared. I don’t know why. I don’t understand it. I just am. The creative process can be so intense and so dull, so exciting and so boring, so exhilarating and so scary, so satisfying and so depressing. I find the negative side to the creative process difficult to manage--scary. Why? I don’t know. But i just do. And so it’s soooo much easier to fantasize about babymaking because for all its ups and downs, i’m still in “control” --or so my dumbass, conscious self deigns to believe. At least, i’m in control of how and when i get disappointed. It’s precisely once a month, the same time every month, and in the same manner. It’s so much easier to face that kind of disappointment, then the daunting disappointment of REJECTION, as in “Thank you for your submission, but your manuscript SUCKS.” Ok, they don’t actually say that, but i know what they mean, i can read between the lines.

And well, you see, i have an issue with rejection. I really cant stand it. Really, really cant. It does go back to my childhood somehow (YAAAAAAAAAWN).

Oh, and then there’s the off chance that I might actually get what i want. Then i’d really be screwed. I don’t know what that’s like. I’d have no idea how to take that. In fact that’s scarier. I think i’ll dissipate into air and float away. I will be lost. The struggle to get what i cant have has contained me for so long. It’s like i need that container to survive. And so, on some level, i keep myself in it, safe within my walls where i understand the rules and the expectations and i control the disappointment. Happiness? Who needs that when i’ve got my fingers on disappointment.

Ever notice how often we just settle for no pain rather than take a chance on happiness?

And now i'm conscious of the fact that i'm about to emerge from my container but i'm fighting it. I dont know how to be without that which has defined me for so long. Right now, it's very uncomfortable and awkward. I want to go huddle in a corner--but i cant do that or i will end up recreating the same obstacles for myself that keep me in a constant feedback loop of disappointment--safe and unhappy.

Upon exiting my cocoon, i find myself teetering on the edge of a cliff, wobbling with the infirmity of unused limbs. And my first reaction is that i will need help and be rejected.

But i wont be rejected because there's no one around this time to do the rejecting. Instead, i find that this time when i fall, all i need to do is to remember not to curl up into a ball but to remember to spread my wings.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cry Baby

I am so emotional tonight. Yeeesh! I'm just watching the Biggest Loser and i'm crying like a baby. What's goin on? People successfully losing weight is so, sniff, sniff ... beautiful. Isn't it though? And then the son comes home from war to the loving family that's been missing him. Heartbreaking.

Yes, yes, but is it really heartwrenchingly tear jerking? Goodness. Maybe it's the sad sappy music they play during the narration. Or, it could be the fact that i always have a real good cry the day before my period. And it's on time too, i should just chalk it all up to pms.

But, it feels deeper. Something is bothering me, deeply, more deeply than i can consciously reach. But it shows up when i least suspect it (like when watching a show i've never seen before, especially since i usually watch Lost at this time). And sometimes, when nothing is going on at all emotionally, (i could be skipping down the hallway) i suddenly have a deep physical need to break down and cry, though nothing i know of triggered it. It's like something is there, like an itch, but you dont know where it is or how to reach it.

oh, oh, now they're crying on Biggest Loser. I need to run and get some tissue.

Then i'm gonna exercise.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Food is My Hobby

I'm a little unfocused today. Just a tad. First day back from a long long weekend and all. That and ... my new obsession with cookbooks. I love to read them. Love, love, love it. I never knew this about myself. But they're SOOOOOO interesting. The other day, i decided to make Chicken Tetrazzini, except i didnt know how. Thirty downloaded recipes later, i had a pretty good idea of which direction to go into. That's the other thing. I have to research everyone's opinion on the matter. Like, did you know, some people put cheddar cheese in it??? Yeah, well, i'm a chicken tetrazzini snob. Only parmesan cheese for me, thank you.

So i made mine with peas, mushrooms, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, spaghetti, parm cheese, and milk. Mmmmm ... Gewd. Then, I froze a bunch for later. Cuz that's my other new obsession, cooking and FREEZING.

I also made some of those spinach/feta/phyllo dough thingies. I flash froze those.

But i've moved onto a new recipe. In the next few days, I will be attempting Salmon Wellington. Ok, yes, i'm totally cheating and cutting corners here, but that's ok, i dont cheat often.

Ok, i'm hungry, can you tell? I get food cravings before my period and i gain 5 lbs that weigh and feel more like 30 lbs. I feel HUGE. Could it have anything to do with all the carbs i had for dinner this weekend? I dont think so, cuz that would mean i cheated on my diet (the "stop-pigging-out-when-you-see-food" diet), and i hardly ever cheat ;)

Ok, well, 2 hours before i call it quits. Yippee!!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I have never made new year's resolutions. This year seems different. I have a few goals i'd like to set, and it just so happens to be the first of the year.

  • I'd like to make a prayer/meditation room in my house. A place that's always clear and clean and ready for quiet reflection.

  • I want to lose 15 lbs. That will require exercise. I dont know where i'd fit that into my schedule, considering that my commute is nearly 4 hours a day, giving me a 12 hour day. Add to that piano practice and writing.

  • I want to get financially organized. I dont even know what that means. Dh is worse than i am. I'm the one with the math degree. I guess that means i should be able to figure it out.

  • I want to get published. That means an agent in tow and a contract to a NY publishing house in hand. That means i have to finish the edits on my novel asap. That means, i need to cutback on sleep to fit it into my schedule.

  • I want take better care of my body, not just my health. That means taking my vitamins, moisturizing my dry skin, waxing more regularly, doing something about my stiff shoulder (physical therapy), yoga and breathing exercises, and reading Relearning to See and doing its exercises. What else? It seems like i'm missing something. I'll come back and add to it, if i remember.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Hope

Well, there's been a new development in our household. After numerous tests and expert opinions regarding the state of our permanent infertility, there is now a smidgen of new hope based on the last test, the results of which have finally trickled in. Said test said nothing to alter the state of infertility, only gave us "hope" that a certain procedure might be worthwhile, the results of which will either confirm permanent infertility or give hope for a later IVF. However, we wont know until we have a procedure done to determine which prong on this fork is for us. Said procedure could not be scheduled until the end of January.

And i am teetering on the edge of renewed hope and complete loss (again). When i first found out a few weeks ago, i tried to bury it way back in the deep of my mind. Now it's slowly worming its way to the forefront and it's making me uncomfortable with new hope, hope i dont want to feel because of all the progress i've made with moving on, hope i cant help but feel because it's like a second skin--so natural and comfortable and comforting.

Here's where having a parent who cared might be useful. But dh cares, and he's amazing, God bless him, so i cant complain, right?

Anyway, to top things off, my imagination is running away with my mind, giving me lots of ideas about what those pains in my sides might mean, given that i'm a few days past ovulation and a few days before my period. Mind you, this has nothing to do with the procedure. The procedure has not been done yet. But now that i have hope back, it's like infusing everything that happens to my body. It's taking over. And it's so painful. I dont want to be thinking this. I dont want to put myself back on that terrible emotional rollercoaster. ....

THAT'S IT ... I just realized. I have to keep in mind that one of the side of the effects of hope is this nasty rollercoaster ride through psuedo-hell. And if i'm not paying attention to my internal dialogue, i'll be on this ride before i know it. And i HATE this. I hate it enough to stop the internal automatic dialogue before it gets me into deep emotional trouble.

Well, that's key. It might be a little late for this month, as i've mentally visited this topic quite a few times already.

I wish i had blogged about this sooner.

Keeping tabs on my internal dialogue is so harrrrrrrrrrrrrd!

I'm scared.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Hello there internet world. It's been sometime since i've visited. I dont know why that is. I've been busy with work. No, really, i have. Shocking, but true. Well, when you stop being all consumed by one single thought, you realize, slowly, ever so slowly, that there are other interests that may capture your attention--for a few seconds.

Today i'm feeling out of sorts. I dont know why. This is why i dont visit here as often. I dont know what to say. I'm a little out of it. Is it the holiday schedule? Getting back to work after a huge long weekend is so SO difficult. I dont know why. Last night i had a huge whopping nightmare. Havent had one of those in ages. I was royally freaked out. What is my subconscious telling me? I dont know. But i was scared to death.

Yippee. Oh joy for me. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.

I'm just feeling ho hum, today being the worst of it. This weekend was a little ho hum. I woke up Sunday morning just wanting to go back to bed. So i lazed about the bed. It wasnt a "I'm too-depressed-to-get-up-kind-of-sleep." I was just tired. Yesterday, i worked on my novel, and i'm tired of that. My characters are currently acting without any guidance or goals, and i'm mad about that. I'm tired of trying to fix their goals. Why cant they just be aimless people?

So now what? I'm at work today, but i'm tired ... restless night and all.

Well, i guess that's what i feel. I feel, now what? I've explored a lot of other interests, and i still find myself facing moments of uncomfortable restlessness.

What do you do when you feel this way? None of my usual interests are appealing to me. Well, it's not that they're not appealing to me, it's like, i've already done them. It's like playing the same game over and over again. I've played that game, and it was alright. I kind of want to play a different game now, but a little more engrossing/interesting/stimulating.

I signed up for yoga. Today's my intro class. Never done it before. I'm cancelling. I'm way too behind at work. I've rescheduled for next wednesday.

I'm learning piano. That's interesting. Very. But i'm teaching myself, and it's been slow going.

I'm feeling restless and there's no magic pill to make it go away. It is what it is.

That's all. I guess it's back to work for me.


Monday, December 12, 2005

The Thing About Monday

is that Sunday nights can screw them up. Yesterday night i just could not sleep. I went to bed at 10 pm, and I couldn't fall asleep. It was terrible. I almost had a panic attack. It was one of those nights where i was becoming conscious of my breathing and that maybe, just maybe, i'm not getting enough air through this involuntary respiratory thing. Noooo, maybe i should think about it and try to consciously control my breathing. Yeah, thaaaaat'll fix it.

And you'd think that something had happened to screw up my nightly schedule. Nothing. In fact, i hadnt slept well the whole weekend. So sunday, i deliberately tried to take it real easy. I was supposed to go into work to get some more work done, but i decided to rest on this so called day of rest. Right? Not. I mean, i did do nothing. I read a little fiction, prayed some, played with my kitties, practiced a little piano, wrote in my novel, chatted with dh. See, nothing really. I dont know why i couldnt sleep.

To add to my unrest, this morning, after a long mile walk in freezing weather to get to work from the train station, i get on the elevator with two, not one, but TWO pregnant women!!! And they were like pregnant twins. They looked equally pregnant. Great.

So then we all pressed our floor buttons and waited to go up the elevator but nothing happened. The elevator cart just did not move. So the two pregnant women said to each other "oh, this must be the one that isn't working." And they leave and take everyone else in the elevator with them. And i just thought, Noooo, they're wrong. There's nothing wrong with this elevator. So i stayed in it and others who were waiting outside got in it, not knowing that "this is the elevator that's not working." Then the elevators closed and miraculously started to go up. I have no idea why i thought the preggers were wrong, but i just felt that i had no reason to believe their sudden exclamation that this elevator wasn't working, just because it took a second for it to lift up.

Oh well. Hi ho, hi ... yeah, yeah, yeah.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Adopting Happiness

This was a post I wrote on this day November 21, 2005, but i never posted. I'm posting it now to track the growth and changes i've made over time.

Jude 2/1/06

A friend of mine asked whether it's time i considered adoption. It's not. I feel like i just found out that we can't have kids. What, it's only been two months and a half, since Labor Day weekend at the beginning of September. I'm not over that. I'm over the initial shock, but not over everything it ever meant to me.

But more than that, there's a part of me that sees that i've linked a certain amount of happiness with getting pregnant and having a child of my own. And what is that but a fleeting moment in time? How is it any different from the person who links a certain amount of happiness with getting married and the wedding day (or night as the case may be ;). But what is that but a fleeting moment as well? You still want to make sure that marriage is the right thing for you or having a baby is the right thing for you, not just because you're attached to the idea of it or the happiness that "certainly" comes with it.

But is it really so? Are people who choose to marry certain to be happy? Are people who have children certain to be happy by that? I dont think so. I dont think those experiences provide any lasting happiness. Yes, those are happy experiences, but those experiences do not quench the deep abiding thirst for happiness in and of themselves.

I think that happiness is really internal. We romanticize it and externalize it, but that's superficial. What happens after the wedding? What happens after birth? Real life begins. And it's not like you fantasized. It's not the happiness you were certain of.

So, as you can see, i'm really not ready to adopt. I cant impose my expectations of happiness on someone else. I've never done it with dh, but probably only because i was waiting to do it with my kids. And i cant do that. For that reason it is fortuitous that i dont have kids at the mo. But nor can i ask anyone to be my kid until i've learned for myself how to satisfy my need for happiness. It maybe through kids, it may not. So far, i've only ever considered it a possibility through kids.

I think that's a huge burden for any child of mine to bear, biological or not.

I guess for me I need to find happiness regardless of whether I have kids in my life. I just cant see how they’re the only path. And I cant adopt kids with any expectation that they will fulfill me. When i married dh, i never settled back and thought, ok, now, it's time for you to fulfill me and make me happy. But with kids, i kind of do have that expectation. That's why this loss is so traumatic. They were supposed to be my happiness.

It's wrong to think that way. And i want to make sure i dont make the same mistake by transferring those expectations of my for biological children into my hopes for adoption.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving !#*%&@!^%!*#%**#*!*@

So, today's Thanksgiving. We're invited to my SIL's. I'm not going. DH is. I just dont wanna. I wanna stay home and have a day off. I dont want to see people. I dont want to make conversation. I dont want to be uncomfortable.

What i want to do is have a little quiet time for myself. Relax in peace and quiet. Write. Wax. Do a load or two of laundry. Play with my cats. Watch a movie. Go to bed early. Take care of me.

So those are my plans.

Tomorrow i have to go to work. And maybe Saturday too. I fell a little behind during all this grief, and I need to catch up in time for a department-wide audit.

But today i want for me.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Bad Feeling.

Yeah, so i'm depressed. Royally so. Havent been this depressed in a long while. Not since before the end of the mourning, and that was 5 weeks ago. So, the good news is, that on average, i've been depressed a whole lot less lately.

But i'm depressed today. And i find myself slipping back into old habits of thinking, like ... it's okay if my friends get pregnant, cuz one day it'll be my turn. You'll see. Everyone gets a turn. Soooo, no need to feel bad. My time is coming. And, it's gonna be awesome.

No, no, no. There will be no turn for me. Not in this lifetime.

And then it's like, ok, fine. But what is there in this lifetime? Huh???? A half finished novel???? Okay, it's almost finished, but still! Disappearing friends? Isolation? Loneliness? Frustration? Madness?

And then, here's the best part ... i had convulsions during my sleep Friday night. Yeah, that's right. Seizure. So, distressing news translates into seizures and/or mini-strokes.

That's just great. Dandy.

No, i'm not going to rush to the doctor like this is a big deal. First off, the test results from the mini-stroke would have shown something. And this quick fit of full body involuntary movement during my sleep came on the heels of a rather distressing day. I guess, the good news is that i'm physically sensitive to bad news. Awww, poor baby.

Give me a fricken break already.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Mean Case of Infertility

I'm having a nasty bout with infertility today. So far, i've cried all morning and slept all day. And, worst of all, is that i feel like i have no one to talk to about it. All my friends know that the mourning period is over and even when i was in mourning, they weren't always available. Now it's like what do i do, call them up and explain that infertility is really a condition, sometimes you have flare ups and sometimes it goes into remission? How fun for my friends. Here comes Jude on the caller ID, wonder what she wants to talk about.

And then the rest of my friends are getting pregnant, so that makes everyone act weird around me. Can we say this in front of her? Will she be upset by that? And it leaves me with no friend to hold my hand through this. Who can understand this? Huh? What can i say that wont come across as jealousy, and then make me uncomfortable for what they think of me. And i'm not jealous. I'm so unbelievably happy for my friends, it's painful. Can you understand that?

Can anyone understand that?

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's Raining Preggers!

Another one! Another friend of mine is pg. I just want to go home now and crawl under my covers, where it's safe from pregnant women. But first, i'd like a bucket of hot chocolate please, from Starbucks, with EXTRA EXTRA chocolate. Then, i want to move on to the next fix, whatever it is, to stop feeling so bad. Make the bad feeling stop, already. It's so God awful. Like, you want to run around your office building and scream until the pain stops.

But, it's freezing out. And i is lazy. And, well, it would be a tad weird. And so, i wont be doing that. I'll just be suffering in silence.

I am not pregnant, but other people are.

And now it's going to be so weird to run into them. I'd rather not. Especially while they're pregnant. And then, i guess, all normal conversation with them will be lost.

i need some new friends.

So the thing about infertility is that you not only lose your children or hope of them, you lose your friends too.

Well yippe-kay-fricken-yay.


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Happy News--For Someone Else

i found out a good friend of mine is pregnant. This is the first close pregnancy since discovering i can never get pregnant. Never, ever. And then you hear about those who can. How do i feel? I dont know. Numb. Disappointed. Saddenned.

Actually, worse than that. I feel the joy that she must feel, the joy that i would feel if that had happened to me. Unexpectedly pregnant. I feel her excitement, the excitement i will never experience for myself. That's a bitter pill. And that's what saddens me. That i can feel this happiness and simultaneously know that it will never be mine.

Ouch. Life hurts.

So i do feel bad about this. But my mind keeps telling me that i can have this happiness. It may not be as i imagined (with a lot of children) but it's still available to me. And in the end, that's what matters. Contentment.

But right now, i feel that happiness that isnt mine.

And it feels like a sad loss to me.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's a Tragedy for Me to See the Dream is Oooo-verrrrrrr

But i never will forget,
the day we met,
girl i'm gonna miss you ...

Can you tell i grew up in the 80's? I think music appreciation skipped that decade.

But i'm really here to talk about a new found appreciation for tragedies. Yeah, me, the girl who cant watch any movie without knowing in advance that everyone will live happily ever after. Is it any wonder that Ever After is listed as one of my favorite movies?

I actually caught that movie on cable recently and cringed ... cringed ... at some of the lame lines. Who can forget Drew Barrymore trying to roll out "I shall ... try." Maybe that's why it got stuck on her tongue. It's lame writing. And then i discovered that the movie was chuck full of 'em. It made me want to remove Ever After off my favorites list. But then, i is lazy. Nyeh.

So the other day, on a particularly sucky night ... what happened that night ... hold on, i'm trying to remember why i was bummed ... oh yeah, i got a big ole rejection letter from an agent on my manuscript. Reee-jeck-sheeee-yon. Yeah, so, the other night, i was so totally bummed. It's like, i work all day and write all night and nothing seems to be working out. I am not producing (read, reproducing) on any level. It's like infertility applies all over my life. Maybe my english teacher was right? Stupid woman. I cant talk about her without saying that. Is that mean?

Anyway, back to my ever-elusive point. So i was flipping through the channels and i came across the last half hour of Moulin Rouge. I have never seen that movie, nor did i ever want to because i have sixth sense about tragic endings and i AVOID them. But this day, the misery i was feeling masked my sixth sense and the normal triggers i have in place to change the channel. So instead, i was drawn in. And as i watched, i had the feeling that it was going to end badly and that i would be really disappointed. And i hate disappointment and i hate bad endings. But i figured, heck, it cant be worse than dealing with never having the one thing you ever wanted or living with permanent infertility or having your novel rejected (which is also my baby). Tragedy, you say? Ha! I could care less.

So i sat there and watched with an open mind. It was right at the point where hero and heroine declared their love for each other, and the theme is that it's better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all. And so you know by theme, there's going to be some tragic ending. But the whole time you think (or at least i did) that the tragedy is that she will have to dump hero and go with the dastardly duke. And you feel so tortured for her decision because it saves everyone in the play.

And in the end ... i wont give it away, except to say that it's still tragic but it's a beautiful movie, very well-told, from the half hour that i saw. And it shocks me to say this after a lifetime of devotion to happily-ever-afters. I thought that only those types of movies were good or emotionally satisfying. Who wants to watch tragedy? Life is tragic enough.

But a well-told tragedy, like Romeo and Juliet, has its own bittersweet but satisfying beauty.

And oddly, i felt a renewed hope after watching it. I guess the experience of tragedy has a way of clearing the space for renewal and regrowth.

And so now i have a newfound appreciation for tragedies--the well crafted ones. I'm still against all those tragedies that aimlessly pull at your heartstrings and carelessly leave you in a puddle of tears at the end. That's what infertility is for. Dont need to rent that, when i've lived it. Gimme something i dont know.

I didnt know there could be any beauty in a perfect tragedy.


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Monday, November 14, 2005

Hi-Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To The OB-GYN I Go

Dont make the mistake of getting excited. Yes, i know. A trip to the ob-gyn is not like trips to other doctors. There's always that small hope that the doctor will call you into her office and say, I dont know how to tell you this, but despite all possible predictions to the contrary, you're pregnant! or my personal favorite ... The reason you're so fat is because ... YOU'RE 6 MONTHS PREGNANT! I heard that on the news once. A woman was rushed to the emergency room complaining of stomach cramps and delivered a baby instead.

No, i have no such news to report. In fact, i am here to announce that the ob-gyn's office has risen in its rankings of least favorite places to visit, beating out the dentist's chair.

Why? you must ask ... well, it's so baby-geared and baby infused. I want to go to an ob-gyn that has nothing to do with babies or getting pregnant, just the usual run-of-the-mill yeast infections and pap smears. I dont want to overhear the doctor talking about a woman who had to have a ceasarian because her baby was too large. I dont want to be in a waiting room full of mommy's-to-be.

And the best part is, i find myself trying to compete for my ob-gyn's attention. As if i feel that she suddenly realized that i'm not the IVF cash cow of her dreams. I'm just a time-guzzling hypochondriac who wont get the message that there are pitri-dish babies to be made in the time i am wasting.

Well, that's not entirely true. My doctor did not see dollar signs when she looked at me in the past. Well, i'm going to at least give her the benefit of the doubt that she didnt. She is nice. She just took a long, long, LONG time to return my five phone calls over the last 10 days. Ok, well, we did play phone tag, and her mother died. So, her sudden "disinterest" in me may have nothing to do with me at all. Who knew?

So, here it is again, another wonderful monday morning. So far, i missed my train, was late for work, have been stuck with a needle twice, saw more pregnant women and babies than i've seen in the last month, and, and, and ... well, the day is still young.

I realized today that everytime i go to the ob-gyn, i carry with me the subconscious wish that this visit will go differently.

It didnt.


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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Novel Thoughts

So, like, i'm writing a novel ... LOLOLOLOL. I KNOW!!! It's hilarious. Me, a writer. Who woulda thunk, huh? Certainly not my english teacher, who taught me that i dont know how to write. Stupid woman. I believed her for a good long while, until i met dh. One of the first things he said to me was that i should write (having read some of my stuff). No one had ever said that. Ever. And i didnt believe him. I thought it was a come on. What he was really saying, is i want your body and i'll saying anything to get it. ;)

Ok, but that's ridiculous because i really just didnt believe him. It's the last thing you could say to me to get my body ... but I was flattered. So i guess it worked. But by then he already had my body, so he had no incentive to flatter. Besides that, he is not a flatterer.

Anyway, it took 10 years for me to finally come around and pen something. Actually, me and dh once wrote a draft of an episode of the X-Files. Major fans, we once were, until Mulder left. Then we did too. Anyway, that was so much fun writing between me and him.

But i'm digressing from what i really came to talk about .... rant about. Welllll, i just finished an awesome novel by Lisa Kleypas. You know what was so good about it? The fact that it kept me reading it from the moment i picked it up. It was an entertaining read. Not dark or dreary or sad. That's what i want to write. That's what i wrote, in fact. And now it suddenly occurred to me, what's the point? If Lisa Kleypas is already doing an awesome job of writing stuff i like, why do i need to come in and reiterate the same point? How positively unoriginal. Booooring.

I'm just so disappointed and stuck. I have a major case of writer's block. I want to finish editing my novel, but then i have to make the mistake of reading something good, and it's like, why bother? Huh? I always knew i couldnt write. My stupid english teacher thought so. What does dh know anyway? He cant possibly know what he's talking about ... even though he went to the top journalism school in the country. But still, i know he just wants to get into my pants.

Ok, i'm feeling sort of deflated today about my writing. A good read can do that. It's like, well, if good novels actually do exist, there's no need for me to attempt to save the world from drivel and mediocrity (emphasis on attempt).

What i need is to go back to the basics, starting with chapter one--aka, Suckity Suck Chapter 1. Good grief, everytime i think it's ready, i come back to it months later and find it horrific. ACK!!!! Who wrote this?! It makes me want to go right up to dh and say Seeeeeeeeeeeeeee, this sucks. And you said i could write! Ha! Well, you're wrong, mister. You've been wrong all these years. And it makes me wonder, what else you been wrong about? Huh? Huh, huh, huh? (gasping with dawning realization) You've been wrong about loving me too! I knew it. You cant love me. How could you anyway, i suck!

... ooookay. Now that that little self-flagellating rant is over and out of my system, maybe i can move onto to the real business of my writer's block. I wrote my novel because i really enjoyed the writing process. It's not about getting published at this point. It's about the creative process, which i enjoy. And i enjoy it the more i work on it because it does get easier ... no, let me rephrase that. The frustrations of writing become more manageable while the joy of it becomes less infrequent. I live for those moments where i'm totally involved in what i'm doing, time stands still and i am like michael jordan with an endless stream of 3 point shots. And for that moment, i am happy.

But it's so very hard to stay in that moment because my analytical mind will want to step in to make calculations about how long that happiness will last and when i need to brace myself for the let down that inevitably ensues.

I need to give my analytical mind a vacation. And when that happens, i can finish my novel without worry or fear because in the end, i just want the story to click to my satisfaction. You know that feeling you get from proving a geometry problem or answering a math problem correctly? That feeling of being right? I know it because i majored in math. So many times i would solve a problem and check it at the back of the book against the correct answer and get that click of being right. Eventually it becomes instinctive. I know when all the pieces of my novel have fallen together exactly the way i imagined it when i get that click.

There's a scene in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, wherein Paul Newman's character cant stand the lies and fakeness, the mendacity of his life, including his wife, who he suspects of lying about having an affair. So he starts drinking. And the only time he begins to feel better is when that click goes off in his mind. I guess liquor silences the screaming contradictions of people in his mind. He wants that momentary bliss you can get from being totally inebrietated. It's a temporary bliss made worse by the terrible short and long term consequences--hangover and addiction. But at least for that moment, he's happy--still, for the wrong reasons to my mind. But his character will take the feeling of happiness for any reason at any cost.

But i think that click of peace, satisfaction, or bliss is achievable with the right reasons, without the short lived, high price of intoxicants. It's much much harder to achieve. Requires unflappable discipline. I've only felt it in fleeting half moments that i stumble upon by complete accident. But still, i believe.

And now i'm aware of them and i'm aware of attempting to string more and more of those moments together.

And that's what i want my novel to do. I'm waiting for my novel to click from beginning to end. And when it does, then i'll know it's finished. But in the meantime, it's like playing your masterpiece, your opus, with an untried assembly of musicians. Someone is playing out of tune, but you're not skilled enough to catch it. So you have to play it again, tweek something else and see if that corrects the twang in your mind's hearing.

Chapter one has been twanging off key for the longest time.

I should take music lessons. Maybe that'll stop the twanging. Or, at the very least, i could learn to compose an opus and call it The Clickity Cluck of Suckity Suck.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hello Flo

I'm not pregnant. Yes, i got my period today. I wasnt expecting to actually be pregnant, but i still notice that i'm not. Old habits.

The interesting thing that happened this time is that usually the day before my period i get extremely depressed. I never believed it was psychological. First, there are some months, where my period doesnt even come when it's expected. But, literally the day before my period shows up, whenever that is, i'd have a day of deep deep sadness. It's like my body knows what i dont, and it will mourn when i wont. My body has known this but i never faced it. I would just sweep it under the rug on the hope that i would succeed the next time.

But this time, it didnt happen. Emotionality stayed within normal range.

Was it psychological all along?

I dont know, i'm just glad i got a month off from a cyclical day of sadness.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Neeeeear ... Faaaar .... Where Ever You Are

Okay so now that I don’t have to focus ALL MY ATTENTION on having children, it’s suddenly turned on to dh. And it’s like, wow, God is great, cuz I got me an awesome dh.

But I’ve always known that. I aint no dummy. I knew exactly what I got the moment I married him—a prince among men, and a heart of gold.

The problem is, now I realize I have an awesome dh AND I could lose him at ANY MOMENT. I have this terrible fear now that something’s going to happen to him. Like, loss has become the norm in my life and now I expect it to continue.

So, I was thinking of stalking dh. Do you think he would mind? I have to make sure he’s all right. That’s my heart out there, walking around, alone, unprotected, without me to cover it and keep it safe. What am I gonna do?

I know, I know it’s a silly fear based in nonsense. I am not, afterall, in control of the world or any calamities that befall it or its inhabitants. But that doesn’t preclude me from praying for divine intervention. Soooo

Dear God, please bless my dh with a long healthy with me (healthy too) because he’s awesome and I love him. And I know you love him too, but um like um …hmmm. I’m lost on that one. Just please bless us with a long healthy loving life and let us die together. That’s all (except, I really don’t wanna die so soon, cuz, that sounds kinda scary and I’m not done trying to do good by You).

Otherwise, what else is there to do? What am I going to do, hover around him like a mother hen? See, that’s the real problem. A subconscious need to hover? Noooo, a subconscious need to mother. I know. But I don’t want to be stage mom, for God’s sake, crowd the child … err, husband.

And now you can see why my dh is so awesome ... he actually puts up with all this :)

God bless you baby,


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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The 40th Day!

Oh my God, it's the 40th day of mourning and i cant believe it. I've been delaying posting because i just cant believe how far i've come in 40 days. I never imagined, when i set out, that i could feel any better than when i started. Afterall, my life was over. The life that i always wanted, gone forever. Cant imagine getting over that, even as i write it now.

But, as i look back at where i was emotionally and where i am now, i cant help but notice that i dont feel as bad. Slowly, slowly, slowly, over all these days, i've been feeling incrementally better, not so much as you'd notice it one day, but enough to notice it after all this time has passed.

The first 10 days were God awful. Terrible, terrible. Shocking, mentally and physically. I cried and cried and cried. I couldnt believe it. And i didnt know how to be anymore. I wanted to feel better so badly. If i had any drugs at my disposal, i would have taken them. But i couldnt organize myself to actually go to the doctor. Enough with the doctors already.

The next 10 days were still God awful, with an occasional brief moment of feeling not so awful. It helped that i kept talking and writing about it. That helped so much. It helped that i had a couple of people keep asking about me, not just after the initial news, even though there were many many lonely times in between and i could have used more company so that my depression was not compounded by silence and loneliness. That was difficult.

The next 10 days were hard because i was physically exhausted. I wasnt getting enough sleep, i kept waking up at night. I felt anxious and worried and scared. I felt like i couldnt do anything because something could happen to me. I couldnt drive to home depot because i could die on the way. Lots of irrational fears through this time. It helped that i took time off and did nothing but rest and relax.

And the last 10 days were more of the prior 10 but i realized that they were nothing like the first 10. I started to make rest a priority because i realized that depression was made worse but fatigue and exhaustion. Taking care of my basic need for more rest and feeling more rested helped a lot. Rest is an amazing healing power. I usually feel guilty for napping or sleeping too much. So, slowing down and giving myself this time without the guilt took some effort. After work, i did nothing but lay in front of the tv, surf the net, and go to bed early.

And so now here i am. I cant believe this. A part of me feels like tomorrow i will slide back into that God awful phase of depression. I cant believe it was this "easy" but it wasnt. A part of me feels like i'm just on a long temporary break from depression. I cant really be feeling this "okay." That's why i've delayed this post.

And yet, here i am. When i set out on this journey, i promised to commit myself to mourning my loss for 40 days and nights, not to dwell on it, but to try to feel better without shoving the feelings under the carpet or ignoring the feelings with "positive thinking," which doesnt work. It's very hard to go from thinking about getting pregnant every second of every minute of everyday to never ever. So with this blog, i decided to put those thoughts down. That way, they will be out of my mind at least. I've acknowledged them and felt them and filed them. And that allowed me to face the sadness of the next day that arose from new realizations of what this loss meant to me, instead of dwelling on one single thing. I moved on to other things that hurt me about this loss, until eventually all the hurts were hung out to dry.

I have come to the end of my 40 days and nights of mourning, and i feel that though i've lost the key to my happiness, i've discovered the keymold. Now it's up to me to learn how to mold a new key. It's starting from square one, learning to live again.

And though the official 40 days of mourning is over, that does not preclude me from feeling sad on occassion, especially in the first year, as i learn to live with this newfound knowledge.

I will continue to post a few days a week because i'm not done talking about all the things i feel about this subject, nor all the things i've learned. Now begins the attempts to build a life in light of this loss. And i suspect that i still have old ways of thinking that no longer serve me, but would serve my children--like how i spend my holidays or who i befriend. (I need to find people who's main concerns are not babies or baby making. There's a topic for the future. )

So this is not the end ... just the end of the commitment to daily mourning progress reports. From now on it's just progress reports.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Honoring the Wish

I want to make sure i do this clearly at least once during my mourning. It was always my wish to have children. It's been the single most important wish of my life, the driving wish. It infused everything i did, what career i chose, what i did with the "spare" bedroom (which was nothing), what i thought about when i went to the bathroom, what i did with my spare time. It controlled my free time, my thoughts, and my fantasies. And anything else was filler.

Okay, but that's not honoring the wish. I should try to honor the wish, so i know i did it specifically. I dont want to leave any healing stone unturned. But I'm feeling a little beyond the wish. It no longer holds the same value or meaning. I see it for what it's done to my life--controlled my decisions, blocked my happiness, kept me from living in the here and now, kept me from enjoying the present as if that were wrong. And it's funny that i say that because here i was thinking all along that my wish to bear children and be a mother encapsulated my happiness. So hoping for it was kind of making me happy because it kept me as close to it as i was going to get until it actually happened. And i did that to be happy, all along making myself miserable. MISERABLE. I mean, waiting to miss your period, then missing it for a day or two or ten, then thinking you're pregnant, then finding out that you're not--and doing that every month for 15 years is PURE misery.

What i really feel like doing is mourning all the little losses of those years--all the things i stopped myself from doing, all the things i wanted but didnt allow myself to have in lieu of the ultimate "have" i would be getting (beget). I just mentally checked out of my own life. I didnt take care of the little things i wanted, just waited for the ultimate want to appear. Waited and waited and waited. I didnt want to be in law school, once i discovered what it was all about. I didnt want to study nonsense those long hours. I did that for 3 years. In a twisted sort of way, the hope of having children, the hope of a future happiness gave me the will to put up with that. I didnt want to go to the small college i went. I had the grades to get into the college i wanted. I just didnt claim what i wanted. So long as i was to have children, no other want mattered.

I think i have honored the wish. These 40 days have been an homage to that wish. This wish to have children (and finally find happiness) helped me through a lot--through my parents' divorce, through school, through bad jobs, through every little thing that didnt go right. It kept me together all these years.

But now it's time to also acknowledge the shadow side of what it's done. It's kept my life on permanent hold, kept me from actually attaining happiness (when there was none being attained through the one avenue i thought), kept me on a painful monthly emotional roller coaster. And this i did for 15 years, hoping and waiting that each successive month would be different than the last, until i started to pray that God would take me off this emotional roller coaster.

Well my prayer has been answered now, maybe not in the way i expected, but what am i going to do ... balk?

What i see now is that for the first time in a long long time, i actually have real hope of happiness because i realize, finally finally realize, that having children is not the only way. This is an obvious and logical conclusion, i agree. I've even thought it before (shocking, i know). But i've never been able to feel it or believe it. I've never been able to give up the hope, the certainty, that having children was the best way to ultimate happiness for me.

I still dont know what that looks like or how to define happiness specifically. Is it in writing? In praying? In doing good works? In baking? In adopting? Who knows. But at least now i'm willing to allow myself the opportunity of finding out--where as before, no other form of happiness was required, developed, or sought after. Children were it. But children are not it.

I am.

Fat Monday

Timeout for a theme song...

Fat girl, Fat girl, whattya gonna do-ooo, whattya gonna do when she's rollin to you.

I'm feeling VERY fat today. And I'm NOT pregnant. First, i've been overeating like mad. And today, i feel so bloated. Nothing fits! I might as well shop in the maternity aisle just for these oh-so-special pms days.

I can just see myself in the maternity section ...

Me: Ooooh, elastic waist band, Wahoo! Perrrrfect.
Marshall Fields clerk(who always must interrupt you while you're shopping): Can i help you?
Me: No, i found what i'm looking for.
Marshall Fields clerk (with knowing smile on her face): Aww, when are you due?
Me: Me? Um, no, you see, i'm just FAT. Fat, OKAY! Something wrong with that? And one day i wanna get pregnant, but i cant. I cant ever get pregnant. Actually, i hate this aisle, it's right up there with the baby section, which sucks, in a cloyingly, baby-powder infused way. Who invented baby powder? Huh? I have two words for ya, sistah, Peeee-yuuuhh.

... ahem, as you can see, i have repressed desire to have to shop in that section. But who am i kidding, that's for FAT pregnant women, who are TOO FAT for their normal clothes (HA HA) like i am feeling today, without the bonus baby in the oven (boo hoo).

Okay, and then, there was a huge train delay today AND it's raining.

Happy Monday.


Silent Mode

I dont feel like talking much lately. I'm not upset or depressed. I'm just not in the mood to talk. It's like suddenly i have all these ideas swirling around in my head and i dont have time to slow down for conversation.

I saw a woman today pushing a double stroller--a common occurrence. But for me today, i saw that, and my heart didnt jump with hope. This is HUGE. I didnt have a "when-is-it-my-turn" moment. She was just another person--albeit, heavily encumbered with small attachments ;)

I dont mean to objectify children, but i am someone who has personalized them for way too long. It's finally about time i put a little distance between me and the hope of children (and all that meant to me, a lot of which was fantasy based than reality based). I really have thought, seriously, that children are SO MUCH FUN. And they have been, when i've encountered them or played with them or spoken to them. But i've never had to raise them, or watch over them 24/7, or even worry about them much. Some how, my mind stops thinking beyond the fantasy of fun and games and love.

But the reality is very different, as many mothers will attest. And it's unreasonable, really, to expect that my children were really going to fill this huge void in my life, a void that existed from when i was young. That's not their responsibility. If and when (see i still think it's possible) i have children, i need to be emotionally complete. I cant rely on them to fulfill me, anymore than i can or should rely on dh to fulfill me. That's a huge burden to place on someone else, let alone a child. And, its a certain formula for failure because you shift the onous of responsibility for your success and wellness beyond your reach, constantly waiting for someone else to do it for you.

And so i've learned that children do not equal happiness. Wahooo! This is a major internal realization. Though i've always known it, i've never been able to fully realize it, feel it, or own it.
But I own it now. And i feel relieved. RELIEVED!? Can you believe it? I feel relieved from waiting and wanting this specific form of happiness. It's like my life has been on hold for 15 years. Yes, i'm relieved. I dont have to wait anymore. And i dont have to live with constant frustration and disappointment, the monthly ups and downs. Relief. I can finally move on to affirmatively grasping what i want--the want that i assumed children would fulfill.

So what do i want? I still cant say specifically. It's not that easy. I used to say specifically children. But the real want is to be happy. Seriously happy. The kind of happy where you're excited to get out of bed in the morning. The kind of happy where people are excited when you walk in the room. The kind of happy i feel when i allow myself to devote endless gobs of time to craft projects. The kind of happy i feel when i'm being totally creative. There are sometimes when i'm so into what i'm doing, 18 hours can go by and i wont feel it or get up for a meal.

What i want is to be happy. But first, i must discover what that really means to me.

And that's not a tragedy, but a new seed of hope.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Let's Cancel All Holidays

I dont feel like celebrating the holidays. I dont feel like being around people, the empty talk. First of all, it's never fun. The best holiday i had was the last one, where dh and i went Disneyworld. That's fun. But holidays at home are so stressful. Too stressful. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of denying to myself how much i dont enjoy them. I've always put on good cheer, bought a ton of presents, and really tried to make it fun for the kids in my life (I have 3 little brothers and sister). But on some level, i did that because i wanted to have a tradition that would carry over to my own children, where i made the holidays so much fun for them.

Now i want to make the holidays fun for me. I have no idea what that means, but at the very least, it means acknowledging that i hate holidays, that they're mind numbingly boring, and that i dont have to celebrate them in the traditional way if i dont feel like it.

Dh and i considered traveling during thanksgiving break. The places we chose are twice as expensive as the regular times. So, i decided it wasnt worth it. And, i definitely dont want to go to Disneyworld during the holidays. That's nutty. I'd really honestly rather stay home than invite more stress into my life.

I have to figure out how to enjoy the holidays. The best thing i can think of getting away. But where to go?

What do people without children do for the holidays? I'm sure i'm not the first one to realize that watching people enjoy the holidays with their children is no fun, year after darn-fricken year.

This is one that i'll have to think about and research. It probably requires advance planning. I really think getting away is a good option, since that sounds like fun to me.

Aye, but who has the time to figure this out? I've got work to do. The last time i tried to figure out a trip, i spent 4 hours clicking between orbitz and travelocity. And in the end, i was more confused than when i started.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hope is Gone, But I Still Believe

I no longer pine and hope for children. Pining is the worst. It's empty and frustrating and painful. So, thank God that self-beating is over. You think you're doing yourself a favor, fantasizing about what could be, buying cute baby things for the future, hoping you're pregnant this month, thinking about all the things you're going to do now, the real wonderful life you're going to start living. And at the end, you have nothing but emptiness, empty arms, empty womb, empty heart.

It's like eating. You think, when you start on that chocolate cake, that this is really going to be a satisfying experience. Ten minutes later, when you've finished off the cake (most likely to fill the vaccuous emptyness), you feel too fat, sleepy, and nauseous.

So, i no longer polish off cakes or anything else in sight. And i no longer pine for what cannot be.

I know what you're thinking. How can you say that! ... Easier said than done! ... You dont know what you're talking about. ... We're talking real PAIN here, nothing you can just stop "pining" for. True enough. It is really pain, the likes of which, when you're in it, you think there's never going to be an out or an end. An abysmal pain. There's never going to be relief, by definition of the situation. I want kids + I cant have them = permanent eternal heart stopping pain. Well, yes, that's true. But then you find that your heart keeps beating nonetheless. And if you allow yourself to feel the pain, the anger, and the anguish, you find that your heart keeps beating through it all. Until there's nothing left of the pain, anger, and anguish--nothing but your beating heart.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What Do You Stand For?

I spent the whole day in a time management training seminar. Actually, it's a pilot program we started at work, with me being a member of the team selected to determine whether this thing called "time management" actually works and should be implemented department wide.

I've been doing this training now for 4 weeks. It started with an all day seminar a month ago, followed up by weekly conference calls with our coach. For me, i took this program seriously because i seriously want to get on top of my work. I have a huge pile of work that's overdue or behind which i inherited from the previous holder of my position.

Be that as it may, i still think i should be on top of my pile. Queen of my mountain. That's the goal anyway. But i've been struggling these past weeks. For every letter i write, i find two new overdue ones. I feel like Lucy on the assembly line of chocolates. Hmmm, i wonder if eating them would work. Mmmmm, chocolate.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided to call the coach and tell him I’m having trouble with the program. One of our assignments was “to accomplish something that we wouldn’t normally do, but would be a great benefit and relief if we did.” So I told him, I know exactly what I want to do (get this pile of paperwork off my desk) but I haven’t been able to do it in weeks and I don’t know how to get myself to do it despite promises I made to myself and teammates. I just cant do it. I just stare it.

He asked whether there was something I resented about the work. I said no. I really like my job. I don’t have any gripes with my employer, boss, or coworkers. Then he clarified that he didn’t mean anger or anything, just unresolved upsets.

Wellllll, if you must know, it was incredibly unfair to be saddled with someone else’s backlog of overdue work. AND I was told that I would only have to do half of it. Instead, I got the whole caseload. Why? Oooops, sorry, things happen.

Hehe. I guess I had little resentment ;)

But despite that, I was determined to conquer my mountain. I knew that I was getting more work than what was promised, but I decided that “I could do it.”

But then the coach asked “are you willing to let go of your resentment?” I said yes, because I really want to be successful in my job, irrespective of the circumstances within which I inherited it. Then the coach said that so long as I don’t work on the mountain, I am not really letting go of my resentment and I’m not really committed to my success in conquering it.

Okay, so I sat on that for a while. That week, I still didn’t get ahead of the game. But the next week, I just decided that it’s not that I “should” do this pile of work, it’s that I “want” to. I really want success. That’s so much more positive than thinking in terms of “I shouldn’t be so behind.”

Anyway, I got twice as much work done. Amazing. And it was an amazing realization.

So then, today we had another all day conference with the coach. He comes in and divides us into two teams. Each team has to come up with an aircraft that has speed, distance, and stability in 15 minutes. Oh, well, my mind totally blanked out because I never made a paper airplane before and I had to rely on the experience of others to design this. I don’t know why I did that. There were others on the team who didn’t know how to make a paper plane either. But I just, basically, mentally ejected myself from the team because of what I thought of myself.

All we had to use for building of the plane was one gigantic piece of paper and a huge long piece of tape.

But anyway, we came up with something. The good old basic paper airplane. No frills or anything. We flew it across the conference room and it went pretty far before landing. The other teams did pretty much the same as us but different design. They had launching issues, and I don’t think theirs went as far as ours ;)

But that’s not the point. At the end of this competition, coach sent his own aircraft across the room, that was faster and went further. But his was in the shape of a ball. It was a wad of paper taped down into a ball.

The point was that he said “aircraft” not “airplane.” We all assumed airplane, based on our perceptions and preconceived ideas of how to make an aircraft out of paper. Actually, it’s based on what we learned as kids. That’s what we all reverted to. And in my case, I regressed even further than that and into I cant possibly have anything of value to contribute especially given that I know nothing (but that’s a discussion for another day ;)

After that, coach had us list all the things we cant stand about our work. We listed everything under sun, including missing the train, windowless offices, and temperature control. For me, the biggest thing I cant stand about work is being behind. I just cant stand that.

Why? I suddenly realized that I cant stand being left behind because I was left behind a few too many times as a kid. And I just cant stand that. And then I saw that that had nothing to do with the pile of work on my desk. It’s just a pile of work. And truth be told, everyone in my department is just as behind as I am, and that’s of their own doing (they didn’t inherit a backlog). But, I’ve attached this negative emotion to my work that’s been blocking me from achieving it. Why, you ask? Because I’m not “over” the first time I was left behind. And when I see signs of it crop up in my present day, my knee jerk reaction is frustration, avoidance, denial.

But, you might say, I would be “getting over it” if I just attacked the pile. Yes, but not if I’m stuck in the emotion of the injustice of it. If you feel that the mess you’re in is someone else’s responsibility, it’s natural to think that someone else should clean it up (or apologize at least!). So you wait. And wait, and wait, and wait for someone to notice you’ve been left behind and that you’ve been waiting and that you’d like an apology or some reparation for the injustice of it all before you can put it past you in your heart.

But most of the time, we’re not given that luxury. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone apologized for their assineness?

Ok, so I cant stand being behind because of a childhood trauma. And what have I done about it? I’ve stood around and thought, this shouldn’t be this way. This is wrong! This is an outrage! I should be ahead or I should be on top of my work. But that’s a complaint. And no one is motivated by complaints. They’re disempowering. And I’ve been disempowering myself all this time.

So after we listed all the things we couldn’t stand, we listed all the things we stand for. I stand for doing well. I stand for success. Really? Is that then what you’ve been doing? Do you really stand for that? You cant want success AND keep complaining about the process. Bingo.

If you really want to do well, the only way to show commitment to it is to give up your complaint. But you have to be ready to give it up because sometimes we can get addicted to the emotional drama of feeling victimized all over again. You have to be willing to give that up. If you’re not, that’s ok. Deal with the hurt, work your way through it until you can give it up. That’s, I think, what forgiveness is about (but don’t ask me, I know nothing on the matter, except that Oprah said recently that forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past would be different.)

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on and on about this, but I just had to write it down because I didn’t want to forget the lessons I learned today. Coach said that once you begin to commit to what you stand for, you start to empower yourself.

I want to be successful, and I want that to be because of a job well done. And I want that more than I want an apology for past wrongs.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Graduation Inspiration

Dh forwarded this to me. It will either inspire you or make you cry, then inspire you. For me, it did the latter.

Subject: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005, at Stanford.

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife.

Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?"

They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college. And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 50 deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again,you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky ¯ I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents' garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation- the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired.

How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me ¯ I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife.

Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.

You've got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything ¯ all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.

There is no reason not to follow your heart. About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor.

I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now. This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid1970s, and I was your age.

On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much."

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