Big Fat Rut
A couple of months ago, I was deep in a rut. It hung around for what felt like way too long. Christina Walters (arguably Cameron's best character) of The Sweetest Thing is how best to describe it. Not in the club where she is dancing with her girlfriends one shoulder out, green ring confident (that green ring is legendary), but the scene with the purple hoodie and graphic cami admitting she is in a "Big. Fat. Rut."
See, my husband and I can't seem to become pregnant. For the past year, attempts have been made and no bun in the oven. Countdowns, sticks to pee on, and the oh-so-cute pink period tracking apps peppered my time until it consumed E V E R Y T H I N G (pulling out all the stops with the spacing between caps). Contrary to the last two sentences, this post is not about pregnancy. Everyone has their own journey when it comes to creating a family. Mine, right now, is not how I saw it playing out, but well just keep reading.
Our spat with infertility has been (and continues to be) a hurdle. The word "spat" is used with intention because there are folks, folks I know well, dealing with far longer, exhausting timelines. Even knowing countless stories of infertility, and being aware of all the varying paths, I still allowed this obstacle to take the reins for a time. Many of us do this - something we really, really want isn't falling into place and suddenly we are perpetual failures. The failure lingers like fish oil burps in the morning. Forget all the dope shit we accomplished before this rut, what have we done lately sets in. We might not come out and say, "you suck at life," but our actions are loud enough on their own, or lack of inaction in my case.
This rut halted me. Bouncing back one day with a positive outlook, only to fall harder the next became the cycle. I allowed it to drown me.
and I continued drowning for a couple months...
Until I became stagnant. There is one thing worse than doing something without purpose, and that is purposely not doing anything and fully knowing the cause. Infertility is still an obstacle on our door, but I have moved past the rut. Now on the outside reflecting back, there were things which helped to transfer the power back into my hands. There was no quick fix and no single a-ha moments, at least for this go-around. It was a series of small realizations that pulled me from the muck.
Romanticism is crucial in a romcom, but can have disappointing consequences in #reallife. It can be particularly discouraging when you over-romanticize a situation. Ben and I dated for six years and are currently approaching our fourth year of marriage. We discussed, dissected and tested our parenting ability (thus born Aunt Bugsy and Uncle Ben) prior to trying to expand our family. We are best friends, we are in love, so of course we would be rewarded, right?
Here is a newsflash which you have never read or re-pinned before: Life is not scripted. Groundbreaking. But, I needed to hear it. From friends, from family, from podcasts, I needed to hear it from them all. Infertility clouded my rationality and I just forgot.
A life without romanticism is not ideal. It plays a large part of who I am in. I just need to be careful of it overtaking an idea's existence. Building a family with Ben was already roses, glossy family portraits all dressed in white and playing rock, paper, scissors to see who would change the diaper, oh and some type of soft rock providing the background music. Once we decided to start trying, I expected it to happen immediately. When it didn't, confusion followed. This confusion slowly led to a potluck bag of emotions, and not the most flattering ones. Not only accepting, but appreciating, this situation was not going to be all glitter and gold took time. I had to make more room for realism and remove some of the romantic notion. Expectations had to be mindfully revised. Going straight Moulin Rouge-style, "Come what Mayyyyyy!" I slowly came around. Side note, shouting at the top of your lungs helps for a brief moment too.
Do you what you love, even when it sucks
During the deepest crevasses of this rut, I stopped writing. There wasn't a post for weeks (gasp!). Even worse, I didn't journal or write letters or even read. Some days I would actively not write waking up with the intention of never picking up a pen. Other days I would stare into a screen for an endless amount of time hoping the spark would light. The blinking cursor becoming Morse code for "you suck. you suck. you suck." What I should have been typing is "you suck" over and over, in comic sans, because that is what I was feeling! It wouldn't have been productive in a traditional sense, sure. It would not have been a great blog post or a commissioned article. It would have been the basic definition: "the act or art of forming visible letters or characters." Just the act, though, is a release. And anything you can find to create that moment of release - DO IT. Never stop doing it. It was something, and something leads to something more and thus you slowly crawl back into a groove.
Triggers upon triggers
The deeper the trench, the less likely there will be one spark that sets you back in positive motion. Know it may take multiple and that is okay. Snapping our fingers and swallowing a spoon full of sugar doesn't cure all setbacks. Sometimes it takes ten spoonfuls or cookie dough ice cream with ten spoonfuls of sprinkles. In my case, it took the following, but not excluded to:
- Ben and I laughing about how ridiculous our bed situation is - myself, Ben and pup all cram into a full size bed. We love it.
- a tarot reading and releasing with Leslie and her trusty black tourmaline
- my mom (doing mom things)
- The Victoria Secret Fashion Show - whatever, bring on the judgement! This is a yearly event in my household and 2016 did not disappoint, i.e. whiskey and lots of chair dancing to Bruno Mars.
- a text conversation with my friend, Grim, here is an excerpt: "I've always enjoyed the offbeat and absurd, and more and more it seems like life is more like that than scripted."
- When I walked into a room and Aidan, my friend's two-year old, ran to me yelling "Aunt Bugsy!!" instead of "Uncle Ben." I secretly clenched my fist in victory.
- FaceTimes and nuggets of faith from friends
- writing, deleting, re-writing (now repeat five times) >> needless to say this was a big one
- my mom
These were the people, the moments, the triggers surrounding me which led to a clearer head. You have your own. They are there hiding in ordinary moments. They make you pause or bring a smile to your face or a hug to your heart. There will be triggers missed. That rut, man, it is a conniving one, and can consume to the point of blindness. But, this is precisely when the ordinary moments are in fact, extraordinary. They can slowly chip away at the weight on your shoulders, regardless of awareness, helping to carry the load until it is manageable again. They help stop the drowning.
Ruts happen and they suck. They often occur to folks and you don't even know it. In this life where everything is shared, there is still a lot we do not know about one another, and that's okay. It is a nice reminder how far daily acts of kindness and patience can reach. The above words may not work for you and your obstacle, but I hope you find what does.
I don't say this nearly enough, but thank you. Thank you for reading. The above, writing it all out, feels incredibly healing. I will be sure to thank you in person too next time we hang.