Is this thing on?

This is my 1400th post.

Today is my 5 year blogversary.

And I am excited (and scared) to announce that I’m moving on from this space.

 

I started this blog five years ago because I was lost and hurting and didn’t know where to turn.

I kept writing because this space helped me process all. the. things. and because the kindness, support and understanding I received here was unmatched in my real life.

Rereading that first post is like touching a shadow of my former self. I was in so much pain back then and I felt so incredibly alone. Paralyzed by anxiety and fear, I tried to sort through the grief of losing my first pregnancy, the physical and emotional destruction of the ectopic and the insanity-inducing uncertainty of ever becoming a mother. There were few people in my life I could turn to–I didn’t know where to go with the raw hurt and bitter tears that seemed to spill endlessly from me.

So I created this blog and I started to write.

And I never stopped.

This blog has seen me through the most transformative five years of my adult life. This space–and all of you–has seen me through healing after my loss, almost debilitating anxiety during my first pregnancy, manic emotional oscillation throughout my first years as a mother, frustration and confusion as I TTCed for a second time, heartache in the aftermath of our infertility diagnoses, elation over our unexpected second pregnancy and the difficult transition to a family of four. It has sheltered me from the storms of my marital problems, weathered the challenges of raising a spirited little girl, and provided safe harbor when the transition to motherhood left me adrift at sea.

This space has given me so many things, but the gift I most cherish is a renewed belief in myself as a writer. I grew up with pen and journal in hand, but somewhere along the way I lost sight of that part of myself. I think I believed it could never lead to anything, and therefore shouldn’t be pursued, so I set it aside. I didn’t realize how much of myself I left behind when I stopped writing. Then the words poured out in this space, and I found it impossible to contain them.

In the weeks after attending the BlogHer conference I promised myself I would pursue the part of me that I set aside so long ago. I thought long and hard about what that pursuit might look like, and after much soul searching and deliberation I decided on a path.

It is clear to me that I will never feel comfortable writing online under my real name. The implications to my personal and professional life are too great–I don’t trust the emotional maturity of the middle schoolers I teach or the high schoolers they become (and frankly, I don’t trust their parents much either). It’s also clear that I can’t keep writing in two places at once–it’s impossible to dedicate myself to two space, and two different voices, while working full time and parenting two children.

It was with gratitude and grief that I made the difficult decision to stop writing here so I could open a new space–under a new nom de plum–and focus on the next step of my writing journey, and my life.

The reality is my new space will be much like this one. It will be me, writing about my life. The only difference will be in how I write about it. The new space will be honest, sometimes brutally so–it will absolutely chronicle my authentic journey through this life that I’m so lucky live–but it will also reflect intentional choices in the ways I experience that journey. The view will be the same, but the lens will be slightly different.

In this space I have bared my soul with absolutely no filter. I put myself out there, sometimes festering and raw, and in the open air of this space I was healed. But that unfiltered honesty hasn’t been without consequences and I’m learning, as I get older, that not everything needs to be said, and if it does, there are better–and worse–ways to say it. As a wise friend recently reminded me, you can’t blog in a vacuum. I’ve been doing that–or attempting as much–for far too long. It’s time to grow up and learn my lessons.

This space has shown me who I am. My new space will show me who I want to be.

In most ways I’m excited for this new journey. I’m ready for the change and I look forward to what my new space will be. I’m eager to start fresh, with all the knowledge I’ve gained from five years of stumbling around the blogosphere. My only regret is the readers I’m sure to lose in the move. I hope you all will come with me, but I know some of you will not. Whatever your choice, please know that you were cherished here, those of you who commented and those of you who simply read my words.

There may be those who see this as a departure from the community, and while it’s true that my new blog won’t center around infertility or loss, both will always be themes in my writing because they have fundamentally changed the way I see the world. I don’t see myself as leaving–I will continue reading and commenting on all the blogs I did before. For me it’s more like I’m moving to a new house, on a new street; I’m not trying to flee the neighborhood.

I wanted to have my new space up and running for this post so I could link to it and send you there, but it’s been a truly insane last couple of weeks and that didn’t happen. I’ll continue posting here throughout next week–after three weeks of radio silence I have LOTS to say–and hopefully by the following Monday I’ll be able to give you all my new address and show you around my new digs.

In the meantime I’ll still be reading and commenting–and writing here again. It’s good to be back.

I am a douchecanoe

I know I said I was taking a break, and I am. But I felt like an asshat for the abrupt and obnoxiously vague tone of that post. I try not to be a douchecanoe, so I wanted to rectify that.

The truth is, I’m going through some personal shit. But it will all work itself out in the end. August is a really stressful month for me. I have a little break down every year around this time and I usually step away from my blog while I do it. I always come back feeling better. That is what is going on here. All will be well soon.

{I probably wouldn’t have noticed that I always have a break down around this time if it weren’t for the blog breaks, so I appreciate, yet again, the awareness this space provides.}

Anyway, I really am okay. Just sorting through some stuff. Letting some stuff sort itself out. Taking some time away from writing to let things run their course without sharing and immortalizing them. It’s for everyone’s best. I promise.

But I wanted to pop on here and clarify a bit, because it was an asshole thing to do, putting that up. I’m not proud of that.

And I wanted to thank you all for your kind, warm, supportive, wonderful words. I really am so grateful to have you all in my life. Truly. You lifted me up today, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

{I bet you $20 bucks I’ll be back in a week. I can never stay away long. I miss you all too much. ;) }

In Someone Else’s Words

I’m still not over my feelings of anger and sadness about how my second, and last, attempt at breastfeeding failed.

It still hurts me to read about successful breastfeeding relationships.

It still feels like a slap across my face when readers are urged to keep trying, because it does get better and it’s so worth it to stick it out (and I absolutely KNOW that no one is slapping me across the face with that message, it’s just what it feels like when I read it.)

I still wish, every day, that I had that ultimate bonding experience with my son. That I were still enjoying it. That it were a part of our lives.

I think it will get better when he’s older and I can assume we would have stopped anyway, but at nine months, I think we’d still be going strong, had we ever got going at all. So the pain lingers.

There is never a day where I wish I’d kept pumping, but there is also never a day where I don’t regret that we didn’t get to breastfeed.

Sometimes it’s hard to articulate, how and why this hurts so much, why I feel like such a failure.

Then I read a post like this one and I feel such overwhelming gratitude that SOMEONE is able to put it into words so much better than I ever could.

I want to write about this more, hopefully on my public blog–because this is something I’d love to speak about publicly–but I’m not sure if I have the time for it. In case I don’t get my own message out there, I wanted to at least write this here. And link that that article. Because it says everything I wish I could say, better than I could ever say it.

Disjointed Attempts

Ugh. I tried to write a post. I got three paragraphs in and just deleted it. It was for the best. You can thank me later.

It’s 10pm. I’m waiting for the power drill to charge up (don’t get a chargeable power drill, especially the kind that won’t work even if it’s plugged in. WTF?!?!?!?!) so I can I finish installing the gate at the top of the stairs. Our house is old and nothing was built the right way and I’m guessing there is a 40% chance this gate will work once I install it. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (UPDATE: It didn’t work. The ground is not flat so the gate didn’t match up with the lock AT ALL. I’m waiting for the power drill to charge up again so I can drill four more holes. I HATE THIS POWER DRILL SO MUCH. Oh, and it is now 11pm.)

I got 23 boxes packed at work today. I paid a high school kid to help me and we did all the easy stuff today. Tomorrow is the harder stuff that I have to really sort through as I pack it. My new “room” isn’t really a room, it’s a modular and it’s SMALL and I have to get rid of a lot of stuff. Tomorrow is going to be tough. I’ll probably be down there again on Friday. It kills me that I’m missing so much of my last weeks with my baby boy but I’m trying not to think about it too much. It is what it is. It has to get done.

I’m listening to an interesting parenting book that I was really liking at first, and then it launched into an attachment parenting rant and started bagging on working parents a bit and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. I recognize that feeling attacked as a working parent is a BIG trigger for me, so I’m trying really hard to let it go. We’ll see if I succeed. If I end up liking it, I’ll review it here.

I took Monito to the OT this morning. As I suspected, she declared that everything looked great. He could move food to all areas of him mouth and didn’t seem to have any sensory issues. She gave me a lot of great tips for moving forward and I’m glad I went. I’ll pass along the best of the info soon, I promise.

I had a weird experience with one of the mom’s from Osita’s class today. I’ve actually written about her before (a LONG post) that I never published because I felt weird doing so and not long after I wrote it something happened that kind of negated the whole point of the post. Anyway, I’ve thought that maybe we could be friends, as our daughters AND our sons are the same age, she lives really close and we’re both teachers. Sometimes it seems like it might work and then she does weird stuff and I don’t know what to think. I’ve long since stopped actively pursuing her friendship, as that didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and the last thing I want to seem is desperate (especially since I am, so I probably reek of it). Anyway, it just makes me realize how hard finding a friend is–I mean, everything lines up perfectly between us and we still don’t seem to fit.

I asked another mom out for dinner or drinks not long ago (via text) and she said yes, but then later in the text conversation she admitted that she had lost all her contacts with her phone and didn’t actually know who I was. So that felt… awkward. She said she suspected it was me but still, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that. I mean, I guess it shows that she’s nice enough to say yes to dinner/drinks with someone without even knowing for sure who it is, but it also feels like I can’t even be sure she actually wants to hang out with me, since she didn’t know who I was when she agreed. Of course she’s leaving this Friday for two weeks in Italy (with her mom and brother, for a wedding, it’s cool, I’m not totally jealous). I’ll let you all know how our “date” goes when she gets back (it totally feels like a date by the way. I feel like I’m on the market, looking to date other moms. Ugh. I sucked at dating romantically, I’ll probably suck at this too.)

Oh, and I lost my Fitbit, so that is totally bumming me out right now.

So that is me at the moment. Trudging through packing my room, trying to baby proof this house, mourning the loss of my FitBit, and trying not to show how desperate I am for a friend to unsuspecting mothers (and I’d be totally open to “dating” women who aren’t mothers, but I honestly don’t even know where I find them. We don’t tend to inhabit the same places these days). It’s, well, kind of tedious, but I’m doing my best to get through.

{I just read through a bunch of posts in my reader and now I feel like a total asshole for being so whiny in this post (and all the my recent posts actually) when there are people with real, honest-to-god, problems in the world. I’m still going to put it up, because I wrote it, but just for the record, please know that I’m aware: me=asshole.}

{That damned power drill better have some juice by now…}

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2ND UPDATE: I finally got the gate installed. At 12:21am. Five hours after I started. At least it works.

Looking Elsewhere

Yep. Still thinking about this shit. Still writing about this shit.

I have been thinking a lot about the women that I follow (they are usually moms), who gradually walk away from their online spaces (and I want to take a moment to stress again that this is not what pisses me off, at all, I totally understand when life gets in the way or blogging just stops being important). While there is a part of me that doesn’t quite understand how one walks away (only because I seem so incapable of doing so) there is another part of me that suspects that the women who walk away have fuller lives than I do, that they don’t need their spaces because they are getting what they once got from their blogs somewhere else. Or maybe they just don’t need to get what they once got from it, because they’ve moved on. Or perhaps they just have so much else going on that they literally can’t write. (Maybe they are actually keeping their houses relatively clean and their family fed with interesting, healthy, balanced meals–two things I fail miserably at daily.) Mostly I assume that they don’t need to be in their internet spaces because they feel fulfilled in their real lives.

And the truth of the matter is, I don’t.

I just don’t feel that fulfillment in my everyday life. Something is missing. And the only place I can get a little of what is missing, is here.

But I wonder if I were to step away, would I find ways to get that fulfillment elsewhere? I don’t know. I doubt it, but maybe that is just my fear talking. Maybe I need to make myself step away so that I’m forced to look elsewhere for the processing opportunities and support I’m getting here.

Yesterday I sat next to Mi.Vida, tears streaming down my face, and confided that I just didn’t think I had it in me to move classrooms again. I explained my fears about being isolated in my new classroom, away from everyone and everything, unable to even join the staff for the short break (my room used to be NEXT DOOR to the staff room and across the hall from the office, so I could see people during the short opportunities I had to do so). Without a lunch break to see other adults, I’ll literally not see anybody over the age of 13 ALL DAY until he gets home. How am I supposed to stay sane?

And he rubbed my leg and he said he was sorry, and then promptly looked back at his computer screen. It was clear the conversation was over.

That isn’t enough. It’s just not enough for me. I need more. When I sit myself down and show him how vulnerable and scared I feel, I need more than that. That is when I need a friend. That is when it hurts so much not to have someone I can call. That is when I sit down and write a Toxic Stress Dump and feel at least a little bit better.

{And yes, I know I should have pulled him away from his computer and TOLD HIM what I needed. I’m going to do better next time. It’s just hard and I suck at it.}

So that is where I am right now, wondering if the people who can, and do, gradually step away, are able to do so because they have something in their lives that I am lacking. Even if that isn’t the case, I know *I* would need to find something somewhere else, or leaving this space would be too hard. And yet, I think I do need to step away some. I think I really do need to rely on this space, and this community less, and while I’m contemplating different ways that might play out, it’s clear it will take me while to figure out how to ultimately do it.

This space, and this community have meant more to me than I ever could have fathomed when I wrote my first post almost five years ago. This space has helped me learn who I am in ways than nothing else in my life ever has, and the people who read and comment here have validated me in ways I never felt validated before. This space has been invaluable to me, and I want to honor that with whatever decisions I make for the future. I hope I can figure it all out.

What does your blog space mean to you? Do you ever contemplate changing the way you blog? Have you already? What might cause you to do so?

Toxic Stress Bomb

Sorry to drop all this on you. You may want to click away…

I forgot to thank everyone who weighed in on my whether or not I should go to the OT appointment with Monito. I will admit I wanted to but felt kind of guilty, like I would be wasting their time. And perhaps I will, but I do have a few questions and will appreciate hearing what they have to say. Knowing that so many of you would do the same makes me feel better about my choice.

And a big thank you to everyone who commented on Friday’s post. I’m still kind of reeling from that whole…thing. I think Jjiraffe is right, that I put friendship on a pedestal. I see bits and pieces of people’s friendships and I fill in the blanks, always assuming the best. Recognizing that though, I KNOW that many people have really wonderful friendships, ones that enrich their lives in both obvious and subtle ways, and I’m quite sure that I’m missing out on something pretty profound by not having many friends to fall back on in my own life. Of course, a lot people are lacking in meaningful friendships, just like me. I never assumed I was the sole person out there wandering around wishing she had more friends, but it’s important to remember that. Finding, and keeping, friends is hard, especially when you are a full time WOHM. There is just so little time to make the connections that foster a friendship. And if you’re lucky enough to find a friend, it’s hard to see her enough to maintain the connection.

The truth is I’m not looking for someone who knows me to my very core. I’m not even sure I know me to my very core. And honestly, I don’t even need one friend who can be my everything. All I’m looking for is someone (or various someones) I can see once a week (or every two weeks), I can meet up with on the occasional weekend, I can see movies with or go shopping with (window shopping of course, as I never have any money), or just grab a quick coffee with, that I can actually, physically BE WITH a few times a month so that I don’t feel like every meaningful interaction I have takes place over technology of some kind. I mean, I love technology, I really, really do. It’s the only think keeping me sane right now, and I absolutely recognize that, but it can’t take the place of sharing the same physical space with someone. That piece is so important, and I don’t have that, really at all in my life.

The sad truth is I’m almost positive it’s not going to happen anytime soon. School starts in two weeks and in many ways these next fourteen days are the calm before the storm. Except, they aren’t calm, not at all. I have way too much to do. I’m stretched entirely too thin. It’s not all going to get done, I’m already putting things on the chopping block, except a lot of these things just can’t get chopped.

The biggest burden right now is packing and then unpacking my classroom. I was informed, on the last day of the last school year–that I would be switching rooms with someone this summer. It’s the SIXTH time in ten years I’ve had to pack up my classroom and recreate it somewhere else. I’m just so done doing it. I don’t know how to give a shit enough to make it look nice anymore. Which I guess is good because I’m not even moving into a real classroom, but a modular, which is much smaller, with super low ceilings and no bulletin boards. There is almost no storage space so I have to get rid of a ton of stuff (this is hard when I teach so many different subjects throughout the day). Anyway, I’ve already said too much about a super boring subject but needless to say, it’s going to suck. A lot. I start on Tuesday. I have next week to pack it and the week after (when Osita isn’t in school) to unpack it. Yeah. Don’t ask me how it’s going to happen, especially since I don’t really have any childcare to fall back on.

Then there is the baby proofing. Also boring so I won’t go into it much. I have a bit more leeway on this one, but I want to get the BIG things done before I start school, as I can tell Monito is weeks away from crawling. I ordered a gate for the top of the stairs and straps to anchor the TV to the wall behind it. I’m going to anchor the DVD stand too, and rig some netting in front of the TV stand to make the electronics there inaccessible. The rest of it will have to wait until he’s actually crawling.

Of course there has been some copywriting stuff that blew up in my face and has required a ton of my time. Again, boring, but it’s what I get for asking for more responsibility. Lesson learned.

I haven’t even let myself start thinking about actually planning for the school year because honestly? It’s probably not going to happen. Not until the weekend before school starts anyway.

The final piece of this stressbomb is that I will be teaching zero period this coming year. Which means my first class will start at 7:10am. I asked for this, because with this class I can teach five classes before lunch (with one ten minute break) and get paid my full salary (instead of the 80% pay I got for teaching 4 classes last year) while still leaving at lunch to pick up Monito. This is an amazing opportunity, financially, and I’m thankful to have it. In practice it will most likely make me incredibly unhappy. But it’s what we need to do to pay off our credit card debt in a timely manner. Part of me is disappointed in myself, because instead of learning to really live on a really tight budget I just took on more responsibility so I could make more money, which is what I ALWAYS do. It almost always ends badly, and I never learn to live frugally. So yeah, I’m happy to have this opportunity but disappointed I had to take it. The reality is that even with this we still have to live frugally to pay off that credit card debt and save enough to cover some expenses that will come due this year. I hope I can pull this all off. Getting up at 5:30am, teaching a full five classes, rushing to pick up Monito during my lunch break, grading papers and planning while he naps, then picking up Osita and doing the whole afternoon/evening/dinner/bedtime routine with two kids is going to be a lot. A lot, a lot. I’ll need to go to bed really early, which means there won’t be much time for writing or anything else. I’m not sure when I’ll get laundry done or clean up the house (bwahaha, like I ever do that anyway). But I suppose a lot of women make this kind of stuff work, so I can figure it out too. I’ll have to.

Anyway, that is where I am right now. Just stewing in the stress of it all, wondering how I’m going to survive. I know I’ll get it done. I always do. Most of it will probably be pretty half assed. And I’ll probably end up pretty unhappy, but it’s just a year. I can do anything for a year, right?

I think right now is probably not the time to be looking for new friends…

What’s stressing you out right now?