Shaking the dust of 2013 from my shoes

I’m just gonna stop you at the door.

Usually I’m all down with the Good Seeking, Hope-Finding and Deep-Thinking. Usually tapping into these will keep me on an even keel (that, and talking with wise, wise friends). But today I’m done.

For one post, I’m indulging (in an effort just to let it all out, but also (always self-aware, even now) just because I’m in a bad mood and I’ve had a bad year and I’m sick of not acknowledging even some of the depths of it) in a (probably) profanity-filled, angry, self-pitying rant at the crap-cake which has been 2013.

Zero fucks given*.

Because quite frankly, until this year, I had no idea the amount of truth in the words “You have no idea how strong you are until strong is your only option”. Except when it’s not true at all, and you bow out and try to tell yourself (or surround yourself with people who might do it for you) that crying and misery and drinking to make it all go away, are explainable.Β 

Explainable.

That wonderful catch-all. The “I’m allowing that this is the case, and that you’ve got a damn good reason, but I’m not condoning it” of comfort words.

January We arrived in 2013 hot on the heels of our first loss, still reeling at the idea that we were going to need to get our acts together and make a baby veryquicklyrightnowsoon or lose our chance, probably forever, due to medication changes which would render Husby permanently infertile.

Add to the mix the terror of marital intimacy because you might just go and create (and kill (or let die (or not be able to hang onto))) another so-wanted child. Add to that a case of depression which made marital intimacy a traumatic, stressful and sketchy thing to achieve in the first place. Add to that tears and crying afterwards because of either of the above, or variations on those themes.

Hot stuff!

White flag waved for the first time.

February brought even a vague feeling of togetherness, as Husby and I rallied together, wounded, hurting, baffled by the hand we’d been dealt, and we found a small way to commemorate our first Neverborn, wishing we had a crystal ball so we could see how life would turn out in the future. Thank goodness those things are banned! The rest of 2013 would have been spent in bed, with the covers firmly over my head.

And the worst thing. The thing which really pisses me off, looking back. Is that even though I had such high hopes for that commemoration and the ways it was going to help us heal, it hasn’t at all. Because I’ve hidden it somewhere so I don’t have to deal with it. I don’t even know where it is now, and the thought of it abandoned in amongst the still-unpacked boxes of our new home, lost, like our child (now children), is too painful. And the only thing worse is the thought of finding it. Of acknowledging that loss. Of putting things into it and trying so hard to close the lid and keep the pain contained. It’s not gonna happen yet.

March can just fuck off to the far side of Fuck Off, and when it’s there, it can fuck off a bit further. Because the sick, twisted devastation of a second miscarriage the day before Mother’s Day…

We, our family, our friends here and around the world, heck, people I didn’t even KNOW were praying that we’d have another pregnancy. And on the day when Husby said “Whenever we have another baby, it’ll be the most prayed-for baby ever!” and I replied “Yes – it’ll come out with wings and a halo”, I had NO FUCKING IDEA how stupid I was to say that. To tempt fate. Or whatever, in that way. I cannot even begin to voice the deep, roiling anger I have at whatever cosmic twist of assholery decided this was allowable.

April was plenty sucky. So much going on behind the scenes. So much pain and devastation on a personal level, both in my immediate situation and amongst my wider family. So many broken relationships and traumas and thorny situations to try to survive. So although what I wrote about might appear lovely, my tribute to love was nothing more than a desperate attempt to convince myself that it was worthwhile, that there was good to be found there, that in spite of everything, keeping going is alright, and it’ll be okay in the end. On the whole I (now) buy into this. But there were times this year when the furthest thing I wanted to do was behave lovingly. And biting my tongue and carrying on silently, bowed down, not running away, not just throwing up my hands and throwing in the towel…were the most loving things I could manage. And tested me to the absolute limits of my capability.

May. No, wait, March, with that miscarriage, and that small, small chance which might’ve been…that almost began looking good when Husby’s endocrine disorder performed a pre-emptive strike which hit us like smiting from the biggest ever bastard-sword. And you KNOW it’s bad when you start wishing that you had the chance to miscarry again, because it seemed like even that chance had been taken from you. Every. fucking. time. I began to think things couldn’t get worse, it was like I was sending out some vibes to the year to really try its damndest to prove me wrong. It excelled. It won. Every time.

June The month I had a huge scare (I say it was a huge scare. It was. But I was so busy dealing with suicidal feelings elsewhere (not mine) that I was barely able to engage with it at all) when my best friend tried to kill herself with a massive overdose. I went to visit her in the mental hospital where she’d ended up. And even as I tried to comfort her, and marvel with her that in spite of her efforts, somehow a miracle had happened and her liver hadn’t even registered the number of painkillers she’d poured into herself, and as we rejoiced at the doctors’ bafflement and agreed that God is Good, I wished it was me. I wished I could stop the world and get off – check myself into a place where no-one judged, everyone was absolutely, bluntly, brutally honest about their pain. They weren’t trying any more. They were just living it. Immersed in it.

Stopped and having a time-out.

And I knew I couldn’t, because (having experienced non-sectionable-but-nonetheless-hugely-impactful mental health problems before, in my late teens) I knew that if I stopped trying to hold up the ricketty, tumbledown walls of my mind, and if I stood and watched in awe and terror as the cracks joined up and the pain of the year came pouring through and obliterated me…I’d not be stopped, but stuck.

It’s a nagging, persistent feeling. Because oblivion, stopping the world and getting off, is tempting. And once I was there, I don’t think I’d want to return. And that’s dangerously alluring.

July was the month I turned 30, ruined my birthday with a (well justified) hangover, admitted publicly that I was part of an infertile couple, and hated, hated, hated the attention and furore about baby Prince George. Who was born just days before my birthday. The birthday I had always planned to have kids by. That birthday. That empty, mocking, shambles of a fucked-up dream.

August gave me the high point of my year – the shining perfection, bathed in golden, of my niece sleeping on me in the sunshine. And that high point (and the holiday in which it was achieved) both passed, leaving me on my knees, plunged back into the everyday misery of living with someone with clinical depression and all that entailed. And wondering whether I wasn’t in fact going under with it myself.

September was the month I finally started my new job, we got bailed out by my family (again) and were rescued from potential homelessness from about the third time in the last year. Oh, and the depression got too much. So I wrote about it. Ending again, on a positive note (as is my wont) whilst wishing beyond everything for this cup to be taken from me, for the ability to wave a magic wand and undo it all, make it all never have happened. Getting lost in the pain and futility of endless ‘if only’s, and wondering how and where I’d find the resources within me to keep on keeping on…

October brought me a guest post where I finally bared all about just how much I hate my body. And always have done. And how deeply it taps into the left-over crap I have hanging around, from a past which was every bit as unfair and every bit as explainable (again, not justifying – because there really is no way to) as every other undeservedly shitty situation I’ve faced. Or seen faced. The only good thing I can think of about this is that my hopes at the end came true. The dress size was dropped and I’m nearly down to the next one again. And I’ve given up worrying about whether or not I should worry that when a friend said to me on Sunday “Hey, I want you to make sure you don’t get too much skinnier – I can see your collarbones”, my first emotion was glee.

November. Absolute fucking write-off. Anniversary of Neverborn #1. Should’ve-been-due-date of Neverborn #2. And in spite of everything else going well, and Husby’s depression finally beginning to lift, and him having a job, and me having a job, and us not facing perpetual poverty any more…it sucked. And just when I thought things were okay again, I got thrown for a loop with the sudden, shocking, pole-axing realisation that we might never make our parents into Grandparents. And I broke. Again. Fuck that shit.

December was a mess. I panicked about Christmas. I got myself into a tizzy and couldn’t face it for so, so many reasons. And then on Christmas day, that unexpected possibility – that herald which might have been – and then the final twist of the knife which 2013 had in store for us.

And the night before last, when I acknowledged it openly, brokenly, that death notwithstanding, the year was ending with the most destructive of blows. And my dear, dear Husby, and wonderful friends tried to talk me down and provide shreds of comfort and remind me that this was not yet the end, and meanwhile I stood on the balcony at 2am, wondering if there was a word for when rain and tears intermingle and drip off your face together.

But I didn’t throw myself off. I didn’t even consider it. Because I still want to try. We’ve got two months left. I cannot, cannot be held responsible for fucking up our last few chances at parenthood. We both want it too much.

Which leads me to today. A day when I tried. I didn’t drink. I got up, ready to run, ready to try to hit the 10 miles I’ve been aiming to reach before New Year. And I failed. I blew it. I got wave after wave of agonising, bend-you-in-half-in-the-street-can’t-breathe-can’t-walk cramps. After less than a mile. So I limped home and cried and showered and cried and used the (probably) healthier stress response of going soundly to sleep (after a tantrum because ALL THE BEDS WERE COVERED WITH HUSBY’S STUFF) wrapped in blankets, on the floor, wedged between the beds where Niece and Neff stay, thanking my stars that at least I have them…at least I have them…at least I have them…

I also rang the doctor. And I’ll ring back in the morning. But I just want 2013 to be over already. And done with. And gone. And none of this crap to darken my door again, yet I can see 2014 already squaring up to me with the final blow of the February med-change leering in its eyes, and the tantalising small-small-small hope of one funded shot at ICSI hiding behind its smirk…and I watch those hopes and dreams as they seem to quiver and pale before the onslaught that the new year looks set to bring.

And I think I hate it already.

*I’m such a liar. I can’t even post a rant without justifying it. Because so, so many worse things happen – are happening – to people I love and care for. And my heart is so full of pain for them and I’m disgusted by my own selfishness and have well and truly over-thought this, even as I’ve tried to write without caring…I’m so blessed. In so many ways. Hundreds of thousands of ways, tiny ones and huge ones, and mostly through the wonderful people I have around me – my friends-and-relations, Husby, my Blogosphere buddies, my darling lifeboat people – and I know, I know, that this is a timing thing. That this will pass – this year will fade, with its hurts and associations, into the vagueness of memory. The sharp corners will be rubbed off by the passing of time. Good will layer upon Good, and new hurts will burgeon forth to take place of the old ones. In one year. Or five years. Or ten years, 2013 will be largely irrelevant.

And I’m thankful for that.

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40 thoughts on “Shaking the dust of 2013 from my shoes

  1. hey! (trying to time it so this Comment shows up just before the New Year in 'England'… (“jeeves! I say, won't you be serving the frivolity now? There's a good chap!”)
    I have been saying 'Happy New Year from the gang at the Wakefield Doctrine' but that would be kinda …redundant? oxymoronic? whatever
    Happy N. Yeah to you and Joe.

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  2. Aw friend. Your year was an asshole. But there's the lifeboat part. Here. All of us. With you. Sending hugs and prayers and warm blanket thoughts.

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  3. Thank you. I can try that. I do love a good strategy. And yes, many VERY good things have happened. And got eclipsed as you say, but with his vented, they're all back, and perfectly wonderful.

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  4. Your year sucked. But it also rocked in ways your pain is eclipsing. You rode a train, you got a freaky looking doll, you loved. You love life and that is evident even through your tears. So shove off 2013 as you need to, leave the pain and hurt at midnight. Wake up on Jan 1 and think: I survived. You didn't get me. I will not only overcome this pain but triumph. You may never get what your heart so desires, but you will someday I hope get the peace you so deserve. Hugs, my friend.

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  5. I am so thankful I met you in 2013, but I am so pissed that this has been such a horrible year for you. It sucks, and it's not fair. You are an amazing woman, Lizzi – I know you don't believe it, but I do. And I'm right. xoxo

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  6. Yes this- you needed this outlet and will continue to need and use it with your gift of words- and you touch us all with both sides of this earth- there's a lot of darkness in this world…. and thank GOD, there's also a lot of light.

    You balance both with remarkable strength. Keep holding on to those things that carry you and embrace you with the light. All those things- they matter.

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  7. It sure had – we are gonna so kick arse!

    Ponds yes – fish, no! Ponds of yellow pus filled with 3 headed jelly like creatures, maybe.

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  8. I tellya, there have been days when you and Orca have been *just* the precise thing I've needed, and so much fun and 'get out of my own head'ish. Thank you more than you know for that. It's made a huge difference, and I definitely look forward to continuing our adventures in space. (Pluto has ponds? Who knew! We must go fishing there…)

    Letting it all out was so cathartic and so helpful, I feel a hundred percent better than before I wrote it. Definitely. Things are not rosier, per se, but definitely more manageable now that I've let some of the pressure out and blown off steam. Thank goodness for blogging.

    And thank you for your constant support and friendship πŸ™‚

    2014 better watch out πŸ˜€

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  9. Shitty craptastic 2013 is (almost) over. T'was poo, pants, execrable, ghastly. It was a cruel and arsehole year, and frankly you bore the brunt of far too much of it. Throw down your oars and have a right fuck off good hissy fit – you are allowed. Scream, shout and let it all out (as the song goes) because you can, and you should.

    I wish I could promise 2014 would be fantabulous, but I can't. I promise though, that we will be here for you, ready to read your rantings, screech with you and take you away for a starlight ride through the nebulas and for a slide around the rings of Saturn, a plod through the ponds of Pluto and a dance on a shooting star – anytime you need us, Orca and I are ready.

    We are ready for you 2014!

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  10. Thank you Tracie. I really, really hope it will be. Jury's still out for now. We already know about some of the really hard things, to come, sadly. But hey, there WILL BE GOOD πŸ˜€

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  11. Been practicing that one since I was 7…it's a lesson long-learned. But thanks πŸ™‚

    Glad to know that I inspire – THAT'S a really cool and very precious thing, so thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚

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  12. But you see, Lizzi, that's just my point–you have the discipline to do what is needed. That is admirable. You have an uncommon drive, and by sharing just how difficult things are, you inspire others to plow through their own troubles. You “get it.” You understand life is hard, and yet, you find it in yourself to make choices that will ultimately help you, even when it would just be easier to do nothing. We are all cheering you on, and we are finding inspiration through your example. Thank you!

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  13. History has taught me that it's a Very Bad Idea to wait until beyond reasonable breaking point before letting some of that pressure go. It tends to make the meltdown that much larger and less controllable.

    Thank goodness for the Blogosphere, is all I can say!

    Ah wishes. those alluring but oh-so-dangerous flights of fancy. I'm beginning to learn to stay away from them.

    I'll try so hard to keep you in my prayers. I'm a really bad pray-er. But I'll try. Thank you for yours πŸ™‚

    I hope 2014 holds better for you than 2013 did, and in abundance.

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  14. You know, I really think that it is not possible for anybody – under any circumstances – to stay completely away from the brutally honest meltdown. Nobody can put on the brave face, put one foot in front of the other, focus on the positive, deal with the crap of life, etc. etc. forever and every day. It's too much and we are far too human. Life is tough and sometimes it breaks us. Often it breaks us. And then we have to figure out how to pick up the pieces of ourselves and put them together again in whatever way they seem to fit – cracks and all. Of all the people I've met (and “met”) this year, you are one of the toughest. But even the tough ones reach a tipping point and have to just scream or kick or cry or bite somebody for a little while. It's impossible to carry all of that. And so when you need to, you just have to let it go. And so you did. And good for you.
    I wish I had a magic answer for you as much as I wish I had one for me and my family right now – but that only happens in the movies, so…you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as we step across the threshold into the new year.
    Best. πŸ™‚

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  15. Thank you. And thank you for the constant prayers and support. They help. And with regard to our particular challenge, I think prayer may be the only thing which stands us a chance. Que sera sera.

    The TToT started because I NEEDED it. Purely and simply.

    Just prior to its inception I was having a really hard time, and had resurrected the discipline I did when I had my fall-out in my early 20s. Finding the small things which kept me going through each day. And I posted my tens on the blog each day, and it seemed to speak to people, and really get under their skin. Which is where the concept was born. And it's been utterly marvellous.

    And thanks. I needed the vent. Hugely. And it helped. Thanks for listening πŸ™‚

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  16. I admire you so much–not in the “I-could-never-do-what-you're-doing” sort of way, because I've been on the receiving end of that statement before and realize just how stupid it is, but in the “I'm-so-impressed-with-your-ability-to-start-the-TToT-in-the-midst-of-a-horrible-year” sort of way. You continue to be in my prayers, and I sincerely hope that 2014 brings as much joy to you as 2013 brought pain.

    (It's nice you can see things for which to be thankful, but it really is OK to vent every so often. If you were reading your story from an outsider's perspective, you would be moved with compassion. You've had a rough year; don't worry about writing disclaimers about how other people have it worse. Feelings are feelings, and we're here to listen.)

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  17. Yeah I'm really not built for full-on carefree shittiness…which is probably just as well. Just keep swimming. And try to pull everyone along with me…

    I've wrapped 2013 in fuse-cord and have my hand on the detonator ready for later. It's going out with a boom. With a line in the sand drawn under it, and all πŸ™‚

    Thanks forever for all the support and encouragement and hugs and kisses and care. You know you get them all back πŸ™‚

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  18. Well done. Get it out. Get all yer shitty cards on the table and look at them. Then knock them the fuck off and start with a clean slate. *madcrazyhugsandkissesandsupport*
    I love how you wrote all the shitty stuff, but I also love how you ended on a high note, with perspective. You ROCK. You are so brave…and strong…and amazing. AMAZING. With all you've taken on, you managed to still give so much to others. That's why you're the best. xoxo

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  19. Whew, that was intense. I hope letting that out made you feel better. And don't worry about feeling selfish venting like that. Those who have seen your struggles will understand. There's just so much one can carry.

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  20. It made sense. Thanks Bro. Truly. Essay and all, it made utter sense.

    But I will say this – the Thankfulness I go for, and the optimism and the Good-Seeking – they're not facades. They're true, and they're bloody doggedly determinedly found and pinned down and put firmly where I can see them. It's not about denying the shit, but about actively providing some counterbalance and dragging back my world a little closer to equilibrium. And it's damn hard work most of the time, especially with all this buzzing away in the background.

    So yes, the pressure built and the lid flew off, and perhaps in the safest way possible. Because no. Bowing out permanently, or even semi-permanently, is not an option, no matter how alluring. Our lives aren't like that. We pick up the broken bits, put them back together (with help) and start reaching for the next rung. Because it's what we do. Our character is to continue. Trudging, sometimes, as people who have absolutely nothing left to do in their lives than keep moving, because forwards is at least different. And sometimes joyfully, with skipping and glee, and sparkles, and the things which sustain us in the backs of our minds as we trudge.

    2013 should be warned – I have my hand on the detonator. And 2014 would do well to take heed πŸ˜€

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  21. It's amazing how the onion tends to get hotter and spicier as the layers are peeled away, isn't it? We carry on charade after charade, making the world think all is fine and dandy, while the insides are eating us alive. Why? Because we do. Bitching and moaning and groaning over the hand that life has dealt us isn't what people want to hear about. Wait a minute … doesn't reality television do that and find it bring in millions of ratings points? So, then why do we do it? Is it a false facade, or is it simply the way we want people to see us? Or, could it even be the way we want to be, instead of the misery and internal suffering person we sometimes are? Do we believe if we play the character long enough we'll become that character and acquire a new lease on life? So many questions and zero answers. It's guesswork at best. Life is a daily struggle. If we didn't play the part, we could quickly find ourselves completely depressed, as you have experienced. So, it's back to the games. Perhaps, they are the saving grace that allow us to get over the hurt and cosmetically cover the scars. We can curse them and shoot their importance full of holes, but the holes fill quickly and we find ourselves returning to the character that keeps us as we wish to be. Oh, the web is filled with silver spoon individuals. However, it also contains many, like us, that bring out a role to hide the pain. Day by day by day … the struggle continues. Some not as bad as others but others worse than most. Only by climbing rung by rung can we reach the top and look down at where we've been. There's 59 years of climbing for me and 30 for you. Some rungs will be easy to reach, others a nightmare. Yet, survival depends on doing what it takes to keep the climbing going. Suicide, as attractive as it may be at times, cannot be allowed to be a realistic option. Not for you or I, sis, as we're fighters. We don't back down. We keep getting up no matter how bad the pain is when we're down. Hopes and dreams are ever changing as life progresses. We adapt and move forward regardless of the adversity we face. Why? Because it's simply who we are! Now, let's blow the hell out of 2013 and scare the sh*t out of 2014 so it doesn't try to pull the crap this year did! Btw, if this made any sense, you're a better puzzle solver than I am a motivator! πŸ™‚

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  22. Thank you πŸ˜€ All of that is HUGE, and thank you. It helps. And I do feel SO much better for having written this. Some of those toxins have been scooped out and splattered away and diluted by the very forming of them into words.

    I hope that feeling lasts.

    And in the meantime yes – my friends – those dear people who help me so, so much and keep me in check and offer their wisdom and hope and awesomeness. They've (you've) made SUCH a difference to my 2013 and helped to redress some of the balance. Thank you.

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  23. This was a really good post that was maybe long overdue, Lizzi. Why? Because it is gut level honest, and that's the kind of women and writing I admire most… brutally honest. I know how well it is to go thru weeks and months, and even years of life pretending on the outside for everyone's benefit that all is ok, when inside you feel like you are about to implode and shatter into a million teeny tiny pieces. You have had to be courageous for so long, and despite all the terrible pain and devastation, you managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That is why I have no doubt that you will do the same in 2014, and it is my belief, Lizzi, that you will find yourself and your life on a path that will bring you to peace in whatever form that will take. It isn't always what we long for or expect, but sometimes it is even more wonderful that we ever could imagine. It is ok to be strong some days and a crumpled heap of wreckage on others, as long as you reach out to those who care and can help you get back up again. Remember always what you have learned here with us… you are never alone… and you always, always loved. What you say is right, five years from now, and ten years from now, things will be so very different. It is so very true that “life is what happens while we are busy making other plans,” and in time you will discover the beaty of that mystery. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and your husband and I am believing that at the end of next year you will be able to look back, and say that it wasn't all that bad, maybe even pretty good! HUGS to you sweet Lizzi, we are holding your hands tightly as you walk this journey. ❀

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  24. Hugely cathartic, and I feel much better for having written it.

    I really hope your NextYear improves. Good grief – so many people going through the mill.

    I like the idea of a pain quotient…but I thought I'd gone through mine ages 7-19. And uh…no, I've been proved sadly (and repeatedly) wrong. However, I'm glad it helped you as a thought. And yes – things will be different. The future must needs bring change.

    All the very best to you and yours for 2014 – I pray it will bring a lightening of the burdens and challenges you face.

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  25. I cannot, cannot agree more. Thanks Janine.

    BUT if I was to have one MASSIVE disclaimer on this post, it's that I love and adore the friends I've had and met and made throughout 2013. That's been the BEST thing, and I'd never want to forget that. They have encouraged, buoyed and sustained me beyond anything else.

    Thank you for being one.

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  26. This was an amazing post for many reasons – brave, honest, superb writing. Most of all though, I hope it was somewhat cathartic for you to write. As you know, I've had a crappy year too — worst one ever in my life. I've had so many try to comfort me with words, food, gestures but one person told me that she thinks everyone in life has a “pain quotient.” Some people reach their quotient early on when they are children (she did) and others later in life. For some reason, that theory gave me hope and comfort that this too shall pass and life will not always be this shitty. Sending you HUGE positive thoughts, prayers and hugs for a MUCH BETTER 2014.

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  27. Dude! I am so so sorry you've had to go through so much shit in 2013. I can relate to wanting a child so bad it hurts like hell almost every day. And when people announce pregnancies left and right? To me that's the universe laughing and saying “Sucka!” It hurts like a bitch and there's NOTHING out there that makes it easier. You can hide and temporarily numb the pain (healthy or otherwise) but it always comes back with a vengeance.

    I'll be thinking of you and hoping for a much better 2014. And I'll be sending out good vibes for you to get the child you both so desperately want. We're hoping for the same.

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