Sunday, October 31, 2010

writing fear

Right now, I'm feeling like thoughts are batting about in my mind, attaching themselves nowhere. I'm resisting the urge to edit them down. Focus them. I'm trying to write meditatively.

Ah. Take a breath.

The prompt for this post is provided by Kate, of Heartwork. It's about fear. So here goes. Her prompt is beautiful and provocative and I'm appreciative of this opportunity. Go read it and you'll see what I'm doing here.

I could be fully myself, unafraid and open, if only I wasn't afraid of losing something in the process. I could be whatever I wanted if only I was not afraid that by taking a risk, I'd lose out. I'd have to trade one good thing for one not so good thing. Or even that I'd have to trade one good thing for another. I guess I'm afraid of losing the status quo, because at least I know what the status quo is. At least now, I know what pain I feel, I know what hope I have, and I know the parameters I'm working in. I know the edges of this current existence, and so I know what I've got going on. I guess all this means that I'm afraid of the unknown.

The problem with this, if I may self-diagnose a bit, is that by being afraid of the unknown, I'm also afraid of the beauty of possibility. The beauty of the unexpected. And yes, this is true. As I sit trying to write meditatively, I felt a nod just now. Not of my head, but of something inside of me. Yes. I am afraid of change.

What a crazy thing. I know intellectually that change is okay. That life is change. I know that change is often wonderous. My life changed forever the day that W was born, and I have no doubt that it was a change I'll always be grateful for. My life is better--harder, more painful sometimes, but better on the whole. Change results in something beautiful in my life all the time. Even the change of seasons right now is amazing. We have a tree out back--I heard someone say it's a crepe myrtle, whatever that is--and the fall has made its leaves start to turn bright orange. It's as though the sun it shining right on it at all times, and it's mostly in the backyard shade. It is wonderous and beautiful. It was a lovely purple, a soft and peaceful color, just a few weeks ago. And now: it's shifting into this fiery warm thing.

So that's it, huh? I'm afraid of change even as I see it as beautiful. Even though I know it to be the essence of life. It's like I'm holding two things in my hands, one of which cancels the other out, and my goal is to keep these two hands balanced. Like I don't want to give over to change altogether, because then I lose the balance that keeps me feeling like I can handle the status quo. The moment I'm in. And I don't want to give over to just living in the status quo because I know there is possibility out there. Could it be that this balance is actually what life--my life, at least--is? Is there more than this? Is there less? Does it matter....

I won't edit this down, and maybe I'll even revisit this prompt. I'm curious, more curious than I was before starting this journaling exercise, about this fear of change. And actually, I'm going to sit and look at that tree for a bit (how can I find out if it's a crepe myrtle? I'll have to do some goo.gling!).

naming this thing

I really don't like "Wish on a Star." I thought it would work, but it doesn't. Another benefit of having no readers--no one can give a shit about what title I give my blog. Except me.

I need something more active, but can't go back to Wishing on a Star because it's already taken. Rachael's wishing on a star? Ick. I was thinking about Wishing on a Star: Life after IF. But I'm not really after IF, because we might try to have a second baby. I advanced age, the miscarriage problem, the pain and agony. Blah blah. So "after" If doesn't work. Life In IF? Life as a middle aged mother? This feels most true.

I'll keep working on it. But I literally woke up last night and wondered what the heck can I call this blog that I don't hate? Or that, g-d forbid, I might like?

More to talk about later. It's halloween and we decided NOT to dress up W for the holiday, but as it creeps up on 3pm, I'm wishing we had. How cute would that have been? Argh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

too much

I have too much to say and too little, all at the same time. First, let me say that I just found out another blogger in the IF community has a blog with my same title (Wishing on a Star), so I'm going to change mine out of respect. I don't really see myself as being in the IF community at the moment, though one could argue that once a member, always a member. But she was there first, so for the moment I'm changing mine to Wish on a Star (dropping the ing). It still works for me, I think, because I chose the titled to honor W (wish) and the image of a star, which has long been an image that I associate with loved ones.

Maybe I'll come up with a better title later.

I have posts in my head about weaning (still working on it and still ambivalent), the surgical repair I just had to have due to 2nd degree tears after birth (holy hell!), being an academic and a mother (how they go together, or don't), how W's nursery is finally finished (though he's 10 months old), the impeding births for two of my favorite bloggers (both due any day now)...and that's just a start.So I'll get to work. I'll post again soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a funny thing happened in zumba class

Yes, I know it's probably dorky to go to a zumba class, especially for someone without any real dancing ability. A funny thing happened, though, about five minutes in. I was trying to get the steps, failing at doing so (of course), and in the process, I looked around the room at all the other middle-aged women doing the same. Tears sprang to my eyes and I blinked them away, wondering what the hell they were all about. And then I realized why I wanted to cry: I was inhabiting my body again in a way I used to before the miscarriages and before W arrived. I used to get together with other women and do a hip hop dance class, in fact, and while I was terrible (truly...I am not downplaying anything by saying so), it was joyous. Dancing, or lumbering around, has always felt really good. In that zumba class, I felt a little bit of that joy, and it was mixed with confusion, and sorrow, and liberation, and strangeness in my body. My body was different, my lumbering wasn't the same at all, but I--the Rachael who has always been this person, as long as I can remember--was the same.

And so in zumba class on Friday, a middle aged new mom cried for a little bit while trying to keep up with the new steps. I think I was the only one, but maybe there were others crying for some of the same reasons.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the friend who has gone missing

I spent many years in graduate school. Many. Probably too many. Anyhow, graduate school allowed me to have a rich and evolving community of friends. New students would arrive and we'd bring them into the fold. Other friends would graduate and we'd send them off with love and promises of eternal support via email or phone. We had fights. We threw lavish parties (lavish on a grad student budget, that is). We dated, broke up, and became friends with one another over and over again.

I'm reducing a lot of complexity down, but you get the idea. Over the course of nine years (!), this community sustained me and allowed me to feel less alone in the world. Exactly what a community should do, right?

But then I graduated and went off to my first real non-tenure track job in a faraway state. I got the big sendoff and the many promises that we'd all keep in touch. It was heartfelt from all directions, mine and theirs. And yet. That community has completely dissipated. I'm in touch with two of those folks still, one of whom is at my same university (a strange and completely random occurrence) and we're friends-at-work, though we aren't close in the way we used to be. And the other friend is almost 400 miles away and we keep in touch via phone. The rest? friends and that's it. Some of this can be attributed to distance and time, and other parts of it is due to lifestyle changes. My local friend-at-work has no kids and lives a very kid-less life. He's never asked to meet W in the 10 months of his life, and I expect they'll never meet. How strange is that? I didn't notice how odd that is until I typed it just now.

There is one friend I truly miss, however, and while we're FB friends, so I know where she lives, what food she's cooking (she's a wonderful cook), that her old sweet cat just died, and where she works, I don't really know her anymore. She was a central part of my old grad school community. She and I were like the linchpins, at least that's how it felt to me. We've completely lost touch. And I don't know how to get it back. We lost it somewhere around 2003--ages ago, now--when she accused me via phone of not calling her often enough. It seemed to me an odd accusation, as we generally called one another every few months when one of us finally had a free moment to call. I hadn't stopped calling her or wanted to cease speaking, but I had not called in a while. It was a weird year for me, too. I was changing jobs, changing boyfriends (again), and moving from one city to another. Things got a little lost. I never meant to lose her in the process. She and I were living three states apart and it seemed to me that this little fight would eventually pass. It hasn't.

When I joined FB in 2008 (also eons ago, now), I friended her and hoped we could really reconnect. She said yes to the friend request, but ignored the two or three emails I sent saying that I'd love to chat on the phone and really catch up. So here we are. I know where she is. She knows where I am. And yet there is nothing more. I feel a real sadness when I see a post from her that references the time in her life where we were close friends. Best friends, even. She posts about food she's cooking a lot because the FB posts link to her foodie blog, and so many ingredients or dishes are ones that she first used or cooked for our grad school community. When she does this, I get a twinge. Why are we not close friends again? What happened?

When W was born, I announced it on FB after not having mentioned my pregnancy there at all. I kept the pregnancy secret because I honestly wasn't sure it would end in a live baby, so I didn't want to deal with having to announce sadness to my most casual of friends. She acknowledged the announcement with a message that was cordial and distant. Kind, but distant.

Man, do I miss her. And I miss having that sense of community surrounding me. I'll write about this another time, but since leaving that grad school community in 2001, I've never gotten it back. I've not found another set of friends or colleagues with whom I could be as silly and comfortable. So maybe missing her is really a stand in for missing community? I recall a book in the past few years about female friendship loss and the NP.R commentary made me think of her and the other friends I was so sure would be in my life forever. They're not, and I'm feeling wistful about it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


W can now climb the stairs in our house, which are one flight of stairs broken into two bits with a landing between. Somehow it feels significant--he's in front of me, climbing away. Away. Mostly, it's exciting, and then it's also scary. (What if he falls down? What if this is the beginning of his very mobile stage? How will we catch up on babyproofing...we're already so far behind, and he's really only a fast crawler?).

Right now, though, he's in his crib crying, ready for a nap but not quite there. We're not exactly CIO people, so he won't cry for long. But it's the kind of crying that sounds to me like settling, not like distress. More ambivalence. Maybe that's what I should have called this blog--Ambivalent Mommy.

Am feeling so not profound this morning. Instead, I'm feeling like everything is moving slowly. And yet too quickly at the same time. It's a gorgeous fall day, though, so after the nap is finished, we're headed out. Out to see leaves. Out to enjoy a fall festival at a local arboretum (fresh apple cider!). And out to enjoy a day before the work week starts up again.

W is still crying. He's standing in his crib. I'm going to go do some soothing and calming. Hopefully I'll have something more important to say later?