It’s been a while…
…to the point where I discovered that Facebook ‘yells’ at you if you’ve not published anything for longer than it deems appropriate – “Your paltry number of Facebook Followers haven’t heard from you in EIGHT days! Write them something! Have you disappeared? Buck your ideas up!”
I stopped writing so that I could write Other Things, namely the couple of remaining #KickCancersAss things I have to do (no – they aren’t done yet *sigh*). Then I stopped (apart from my Ten Things of Thankful post) because I had run out of things to say. And this weekend I was stopped by a total lack of internet after our provider decided to give us one last catastrophe as we left them for someone better, and cause sufficient problem at an exchange that we were without any kind of connectivity for several days.
Now I’m back to writing cos I need it.
Come on then – let’s get ‘er done.
I’ll begin by saying that whatever else, this Christmas season is already a million, million times better than last year. Sure, I may have had moments of falling apart and shutting myself away and of weeping bitter tears of frustration and broken dreams, but I’ve reached out. I’ve let people in. I’ve been comfort-able (*just*). I haven’t shattered into tiny pieces and stayed broken. I haven’t been stuck in unbroken blackness. I haven’t had to leave.
And this writing – this getting it out into words and processing it as the thoughts pour from my head, through my fingertips and into the page – is the final piece of the puzzle (I hope), which will let me move past it and begin to let go. A bit. Not entirely.
[Disclaimer: I owe you no Truths. I *will* be highly self-edited. This is only one side of all the stories. Just sayin’.]
Yes, though – a lot of it is to do with the season. Some of it is to do with the person living the season. Some of it just *is*.
Years ago, Husby and I decided that our first three Christmases together would be spent visiting with each set of our parents in their homes. Our fourth (we planned, naively) would be spent at home, as a FAMILY, having had, or being in the process of having, a baby. Because we both always wanted a family. A large one at that. We even had names picked out for two boys and two girls.
I’m doing my best to forget them now.
Our first Christmas at home, on our own (last year), I couldn’t bear to be in the flat. We didn’t decorate. We had no tree. I hated opening presents and I cried nearly every day. We went out for the day to help serve dinner to the homeless, and I ate nothing, because as much of a distraction as it was, I couldn’t bear allowing anything ‘Christmassy’ past my lips. We found a way to return home after midnight, and my one, desperate desire was fulfilled – I hadn’t spent Christmas day at home, mourning the loss of our only two chances at parenthood, and the barren wasteland which stretched ahead of us.
This year we have a string of lights, some dangly, jingly, glittery things, and a tree (which is mostly decorated okay, but there’s a box of decorations missing and we can’t find them, and that’s bugging me because there are some important ones in there), upon which there are (amongst other baubles (and one very important Kitty)) two heart-shaped decorations with a carousel horse in the middle, and hanging underneath the base of each, hangs a bell: one with a ‘J’ and one with an ‘S’. So that our Neverborns are on the tree, and a part of our ‘family’ Christmas.
Ouch. (But in the kind of ‘I’d rather have them there than not’ way…)
Underneath the tree, along with a few, illicit token presents (we tried SO hard to get everyone to go along with our ‘no presents and donate the money to where it can be used to HELP’ scheme… *sigh*) stands our Nativity set. It lives up in the loft at my Mum’s, because it’s in a big, bulky box, and we haven’t managed to store everything very coherently at home. I remembered it was up there while we were round at the weekend with Husby’s parents (over from Ireland, requiring me to be ‘Up’ and ‘Daughter-In-Law-ish’ all the time (I mostly succeeded)), and popped up to fetch it down.
While I was up there, I saw all the bags and bags and bags and boxes, all labelled with our names, indicating ‘baby clothes’ or ‘travel system’ or ‘cot bumper’, because before miscarriage and infertility made mockery of our expectations and rendered our hopes as painful as ragged blades across the heart, some of our ‘village’ passed on their old stuff, so that we’d be set up and ready, when the happy event occurred.
It’s sat there for four and a half years. It could sit there forever.
Except it won’t, because just lately my heart has been about letting things go, and not hanging onto useless ‘stuff’ or ‘treasures’, which could be busy enabling someone less fortunate than I am. Four and a half years of travesty, sitting hoarded in an attic, when there are parents in my city who haven’t the money for new clothes for their children. There is a charity which caters to women who are struggling with unplanned pregnancy, abortion, or miscarriage. I received counselling there after my two losses. They’re good. They take donations of items to give to mums who have nothing. It’s all going to go there in January.
I can’t hang onto it any more. Not in my conscience, and not in my heart. All that stuff will prove to be a HUGE blessing to new families who are in urgent need. And Mum’s face lit up when she heard I’d figured out a way of freeing up some of the space in the loft. Win. Win. Win. (#SilverLinings?)
Except it’s not.
Because we still lose. Because chronic illness and infertility are bastards. Because miscarriage is pain of the highest order, even now. And because it sucks more than I can begin to describe that my [insert words conveying utter repugnance] ex-brother-in-law can have ANOTHER child, with someone else, after the way he behaved towards my Sis, Niece and Neff.
And it sucks that after I dragged myself to church today, to accompany my MIL (and to make-believe that everything’s normal), the preacher seemed to suggest that if we pray with faith, we get our hearts desires. UmmmREALLY?!?!? Methinks not – or my heart is somehow desiring entirely the wrong things. Pffft! And it sucks that of the WHOLE church, the place the couple with the small, noisy babychild decided to sit behind me. And let him make cute, adorable baby-noises through the sermon while I was trying to concentrate on not standing up to tell the preacher that she was WRONG, or God was a big, fat LIAR.
Cos yeah, the perfect thing you need when you’re sad about babies and mentally yelling at God for being a prick and not letting you have one, is someone else with their very-much-alive-and-lovely baby, somehow feeling a magnetic attraction to sitting as close as possible. Ha. Ha. Ha. Thanks a bunch – is that cosmic humour? It sucked.
Then there was a weekend of SO MUCH FOOD. All very nice. But a struggle for me, right now. So I ‘let it go’ and Ate All The Things. Like ‘normal’. Because Parents-In-Law. But even they, when they first saw me, were impressed with my figure, so I *know* I’m right, and just need to keep trying. I tellya, the sooner Christmas is over and done with, and the Month Of Everyone In The World Going On A Diet begins, the happier I shall be.
And then, just to top it all off, I had a haircut, to go with my new glasses. It’s a bit radical and probably really nice, and I’ve only had good feedback on it. But it’s not today. Not to me. Because I saw some photos of it when it looked great, and then some which made me hate it and wish I’d never done it. And I have to wear it to work tomorrow. I shall just pretend I’ve had it forever, and no-one will be the wiser, except my colleagues, who will be shocked, but will get used to it. And perhaps once I’ve got used to it, if my confidence grows, I’ll share a pic of it. But not yet.
After my haircut I popped over the road to see my Grandad (who’s looking shockingly thin *sadface*) and discovered that my Aunty was there. And learned that my Dad’s annoyed with me for not being in touch. Which he hasn’t been either. So when we get a phone again, I need to give him a ring and explain myself. But none of that was fun.
And so it was – a result of the pile-up of All The Things, a dose of anxiety exacerbated by a weekend of hosting and an upcoming January appointment I don’t want to go to – that I ended up crying on Husby’s shoulder earlier, listening to Oasis, and wishing there was a way to believe their lyrics; that I’ll see those faded stars shining again one day soon.
#SilverLinings – at least we’re in a place where I want him to comfort me, and he’s able to
#SilverLinings – at least the music has come back into my soul (when the music goes, I know I’m in a bad place)
#SilverLinings – the £1 can of shitty mojito is still in the fridge, being a boundary I haven’t crossed
#SilverLinings – I gathered up all my sadnesses and wrote a long, sumptuous letter to Mandi, which distracted me beautifully and gave me the chance to ‘be a shining star for someone else’ (according to Joy, that’s how it works). This here one’s the *twinklysparklygoodness* bit…
#SilverLinings – Shot hair is still easier to look after, and it gave my lovely hairdresser a challenge and a laugh.
#SilverLinings – I worked at being a better granddaughter. And succeeded.
#SilverLinings – I learned I have people on, and offline, who respond to a sad, vaguebook status with compassion and care, rather than snark. I needed it, and they were gentle with me, and I’m grateful. I don’t make it a habit of crumbling in public, but I felt I had no outlet while Husby’s parents were here, and it was just what was possible at a time when life was momentarily too much.
#SilverLinings – Monday will be normal. I will work. I will box. We will shop. There will be peace. One glitterbomb will be sent, and one mystery parcel collected from the post-office (which I think is an order I made, containing Niece and Neff’s Christmas presents, and it would be SO very useful if it were that, or they’ll be getting a box of fancy cereal and an apology from their crappy Aunty).
#SilverLinings – Helping is better than hoarding. It is. And IF, at some point in future, we get lucky, well…someone, somewhere will have cast-offs we can use.
#SilverLinings – I wrote. Fuck you, Facebook.
Bring me those stars.
*remembers manners* Hey, you. It’s been, like, eight days, right? How are YOU?