And I felt so stupid. So weirdly embarrassed, which only made the tears come out more. Another month had passed in which I'd totally convinced myself that I was in the early stages of pregnancy. I'd wake up exhausted, was peeing more than usual, and was experiencing aches and tenderness that all the (probably inaccurate) websites suggested I would if my body had a tiny human inside. I'd excitedly take home pregnancy tests, and they'd show negative. I'd frown, and reassure myself that I'd been definitely feeling something "different", and decided I must've just taken the test a few days early. So I'd wait two days and take the test again. Still negative. I'd frown again, and think to myself, "ok, I'll try again in two days." A few hours later, I'd start my period.
There was this one month that I knew I was pregnant. I knew it in my gut. I waited patiently till the day after I missed my period, and like a child anticipating Christmas, woke up at 4 am. FOUR AM! You guys, I don't wake up at 8 am without an alarm. Excitedly, I tiptoed into the bathroom, and took the test I'd laid out the night before.
It took less than a minute for it to say "not pregnant". It was one of those expensive ones that actually spells it out for you. I spent like 15 bucks on that stupid test. I sat on the toilet (with the seat down) for a few dumbfounded minutes- realized what time it was, and climbed into bed next to gideon horribly sad and confused. I remember it was the night before fathers day. That's why I was so excited. I thought it would be the perfect day to tell him that he was going to be a dad.
The next day a 22 year old at my church came over to visit because she was worried about me. She actually texted me that- "Can I visit you? I'm worried about you". Then she proceeded to give me compliments followed by the catchphrase "for you're age".
Wait, how old are you? You look so good for your age. Wow, you've accomplished so much for your age. For your age, you've sure traveled a lot.
I knew she didn't mean to, but every time she said it my right eye twitched a little bit more. If we only had 5 years between us, why did it feel like so much more? I thought back to my 22 year old self (and my present self) and wondered if I spoke to those slightly older than I in an equally patronizing way. I chalked it up to sensitivity. I'm sensitive. At least that's what my horoscope is always telling me. To be honest though, my horoscope has been super off lately- it's always promising that something wonderful will happen right before I fall down a flight of stairs or something. I guess that's what I get for trusting a free app on a phone.
I couldn't figure out why a negative test felt so personal. Maybe it was because the majority of my friends from college were expecting with at least their second child, and for some reason I felt acutely aware. Maybe it was the concept of feeling like I'd failed a test over and over that others seemed to whiz right through (sometimes literally without even trying!). One evening I threw up, and the next morning my period started. Was I freaking my body out? Did I want to be pregnant so badly that I was imagining symptoms? Had I really reached that point of desperation?
I felt broken. And yet, foolish for feeling broken at the same time. Everyone knows it takes several months (and at times years) for couples to conceive. Why did I think I was exempt from that statistic? I also hated that the internet knew I wanted to be pregnant and felt it's mean girl sneer at me as it flooded my news feeds with baby articles on Facebook and infant advertisements on hulu. Annoyed, I'd press the "I don't want to see this" button. I did want to see it-- just not on someone else's stupid digital life.
I stopped getting excited about buying "nice" pregnancy tests at target, and started buying the cheaper ones. I stopped thinking that "maybe I wouldn't need to buy tampons this month", and instead stocked up on them when I saw a good sale. I vowed never to trick myself into thinking I was pregnant until I saw a plus sign on a test. (That didn't happen.)
These experiences have opened my eyes to my dear friends and family who have struggled with infertility and miscarriage (we're talking years of this frustration). I have so many loved ones who haven't been able to conceive, even after painful and expensive procedures. It's funny how you think you'll never be "that person" until you kind of are. Trying to get pregnant is so much more emotional, and so much harder than I realized. A friend of mine went through 8 miscarriages. EIGHT. I had no idea until she casually mentioned it to me. Like she was talking about how many times she'd been bowling. I was heartbroken for her, and yet she shrugged. "People go through it all the time," she said. I wish I had that kind of resilience.
Another friend of mine broke down when I ran into her at the community mailbox, saying that she'd told all of her friends and family that she was pregnant a few days after she'd found out-- she'd announced it on Facebook even!-- and then had an early miscarriage, less than five weeks into the first trimester. "How do I tell everyone the pregnancy didn't stick?" I had no idea what to tell her.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, friends. Maybe it's that I feel like there's a thousand people just like me who feel broken and sad, wanting to tell someone that they're terribly disappointed that the Christmas morning they thought they'd wake up to didn't happen. (I just had a visual of Aunt Flo from those tampon commercials dressed as the Grinch. That was weird.)
On the other side of the fence, I know women who have children. Perfect, beautiful, hilarious little children. And yet, some days they still feel broken. They wake up to the same Christmasless mornings, but they also have to deal with screaming babies with pungent diapers. (Gosh, I can't get that grinch visual out of my head.)
I guess I'm just saying we should be there for each other. And we should love each other. We all have rough days. Or rough months. I guess that's all.
I've never been into social media challenges friends, but this one looks kind of fun, don't you think?
I just discovered the dean street society style blog and got so excited because I'm always wishing I could hire a personal stylist to teach me how to wear clothes with confidence. Maybe I don't have a personal stylist, but it's a step in the right direction, right? Anyone want to join? I think it'll be fun.
Hi friends, I hope you guys have a chance to relax this weekend. If I wasn't working tomorrow I'd take a bubble bath and treat myself to something tasty. If you find yourself a free moment, go treat yourself and sneak in a nap too, okay? Okay.
I've been thinking about life lately, and especially my time in graduate school. Sometimes I think of how when I was in college, I'd fantasize about what a grad program in modern dance would be like. Then I wake myself up from daydreaming, and realize, "I did it!" I did it even though I wasn't sure I was good enough, smart enough, or right enough.
I did it.
And for just a moment, I feel awesome. A friend was asking me questions about grad school, and I thought I'd write a post summing up some of the advice I gave her. Enjoy friends. xo
1. Graduate school is hard. Like, hard.
When I chose to pursue graduate school, I knew in a vague way that it was going to be a lot of work. Looking back, I was incredibly naive about what I was going in to. I didn't realize was how much it was going to push me physically, intellectually, and especially emotionally. I'd always been praised in college for my writing skills. In graduate school, I felt like my best work would coast by without much notice. If anything, my work was challenged; and initially it felt threatening.
My first semester I got feedback that a piece I was constructing felt superficial. It put me in a funk for weeks. I was so consumed with feeling like a failure that I didn't notice that everyone else was going through the same thing (or worse).
Also- you cannot prepare yourself for the hell that is writing, defending, and publishing a thesis. (And you certainly cannot prepare yourself for juggling two thesis projects simultaneously-- it's seriously the most miserable thing in the world to finish one thesis only to begin another one.)
Also- three years is longer than I thought it was. I'm just going to leave it at that.
2. When you go through a hard ordeal, your spouse goes through it too.
This one was big for us. Even though we dated in college, Gideon and I got married after graduation, so we didn't go through the whole academic experience as a couple living under the same roof. When we were affected by rough days, we'd sometimes give each other the worst bite of it. It's not fair, and it certainly wasn't intentional, but it happened. And we were busy. I was involved with several different rehearsals, had my own rehearsals to direct, and would come home to try to salvage what was left of my brain on paper writing, article reading, and kinesiology studying. And Gid! Poor gid was juggling a job and his schoolwork and demanding responsibilities in our church. At the end of the day, we just had to do our best to put each other first. Sometimes it felt natural. Sometimes it was a struggle.
3. Evolve. Evolve. Evolve.
I changed so much as an artist in graduate school. The work I made changed. My personal belief systems changed. I made realizations about my life, the way I want to live it, and the kind of people I want to actively include in it. I didn't expect to change so much. I think part of it is a natural evolution for this time in life-- don't they call your 20s the decade of decisions? Here's to more evolution.
4. You are cut from your own cloth, and that's just fine.
I'm still learning this one. I have my own style to life, and sometimes it contrasts significantly with those who surround me. That doesn't ever mean that I need to feel apologetic for being different, being the same, or just being me. Also- some people are jerks. And sometime they just suck. People can be truly horrible. I like to think that they don't realize it, or that I'm being a little ultra sensitive. Just remind yourself that being rude is never cutting edge, clever, or admirable. Sometimes its more progressive for me to tell myself that we are cut from different cloths, and leave it at that. No finger pointing or self-victimizing. Just differences. It's fine. Move on.
5. It's okay to feel frazzled. Everybody does at one point or another.
Again- still learning this one-- don't think I'll ever not be learning this one. People sometimes may think of me as put together, but I hardly everrrrrr feel like it. If I waited to feel like I knew what I was doing, I'd never get anything done. I tackle this by finding satisfaction with tiny victories (and obviously the big ones). Pick three small wins in a 24 hour period (laundry, exercise, good hair day) and go from there. When I remember how lucky I am simply to be alive and healthy, usually that points me in the right direction. I forget sometimes what blessings just come from being in America. And ps- when you do start to feel like you've finally gotten yourself together- don't get too comfortable and feel like a huge failure when you sink into a slump. It just means you're human. And humans are beautiful.
First, it's my day off. So there's that. Don't you love a free morning friends? Especially one that follows several busy ones. It just feels like I can catch up on life. And by life, of course I mean dumb television shows that I'd hate to admit to my friends I keep up on (bachelor in paradise anyone?), finishing the summer popsicles in my freezer (because someone has to), and taking a good long look at craigslist apartments in paris, london, and quebec. Sigh. My morning is complete.
Second, I organized my closet, did some laundry, got a nice dent in a photo edit sesh, and pretended to exercise for almost a half an hour. It might sound silly, but staying in goodish shape is hard. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually do insanity for real...
Third, at 5:30pm I get to find out (with the rest of my family) if my brother and his wife are expecting a baby boy or a baby girl! We're doing it via skype- I love technology. My bet is a girl. I'll fill you all in on how it goes.
Fourth. Tomorrow is Gid and my five year anniversary. We both have pretty busy days, so we won't be able to celebrate so much, but still. It's tomorrow. I feel like its Christmas eve sort of.
Trying to get back into the habit of writing. The words aren't flowing the way they used to, but I have a sneaky suspicion they'll come right back.
I've had several requests to blog more about our fabulous trip to europe this summer. I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting, friends. Here's an open letter to Dublin for all of you to enjoy.
Yes, the first image in this post IS exclusively of food. I won't apologize for it.
How lucky were we to happen upon you during our layover to and from London?! We arrived in the morning around 8, dropped off our bags in a locker, and jumped on a citibus to enjoy everything you had to offer us during our short visit.
Remember how jetlagged we were? Remember how Gideon kept falling asleep on the tour bus, only to have me excitedly shake him awake and point out all of the breweries? For a girl who's not a beer drinker, you'd think I wouldn't have been so excited, but I was, Dublin. I was.
Within the first hour, I found a darling boutique with a dress to die for that cost about 60 euros. I almost bought it, but convinced myself to wait. I'd been in europe less than a day and already needed to negotiate luggage space.
You offered us our first Irish breakfast. And I have to say, it was a hit for both Gideon and I. Give me a plate full of meat, and I am there.
There's something haunting about old architecture, isn't there?
I wonder what your walls have witnessed, Dublin.
There's no tour guide that could fill us in on all of your secrets, but we visited quietly, and respectfully, trying to take in as much as we could.
And at the end of the day, when the sun was going down, and it was almost time for us to head back to the airport, I tried to find the shop that carried the darling dress I discovered that morning.
It was no where to be found. The streets wound left and right, trying to suck us in even deeper to the charm of your city. I tried to check "just one, two, three more streets over!", but it was time to go. Gid says we'll just have to come back for the dress another time.
He probably thinks I'll forget he said that. He'll be wrong.
Until next time, Dublin.
You were such a charming stop on our first trip to europe as a couple.
ps- thanks especially for this video of poor gideon jetlagged as we rode the tour guide bus.
We threw my sweet Gideon a party for his thirtieth.
Thirty years is kind of a big deal, so we made sure to go all out. (Translation: I bought fancy cheese and Harry and David meatballs and cheesecake...)
I can't even tell you how much fun it was. We chose to do a 20s theme ("Say Goodbye to the Roaring Twenties," get it?) I've had a few friends do this style of party and it looked too fun for us to pass up.
We had dear friends of ours come to celebrate with us,
and had the most lovely evening together.
We even managed to make a little photobooth spot.
Dressing up is the such fun, don't you think?
When it was time for (cheese) cake, I gave all of our guests sparklers to match Gid's birthday candles.
I like to think it made it more fun for everyone.
From then until after 9 pm, we just enjoyed hanging out
and taking pictures in front of the gold foil backdrop.
(I like how it looks like I've just said something really shocking in this picture...)
It was the most fun we've had in a long time.
Such huge thanks go to my sweet friend Anne, who photographed for me during the party. I'm never taking pictures at a party that I throw again, it was soooo nice having her there (both as company and as a photographer). I can't believe how talented my friends are.
It was a night we'll never forget.
Happy 30th, my sweetheart of all sweethearts. I love you so much it hurts.