Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lemon Drops- or, Why Drinking is Never Ever the answer- Part 3

Drinking too much in May of 2009.

I spent most of my time in May of 2009 in rehearsals for "Barefoot in the Park." It is a surprisingly difficult show- the acting is straightforward enough, but it is so literal and prop-specific that it's a lot to learn. So when Ryan called and invited Steve (the actor playing Paul, who was also one of my college students caught in the crossfire of my graduation party events- he's the one who watched me fall into the tree...) if we wanted to go out after rehearsal, the answer was an enthusiastic yes. We had so much to learn, we just needed to relax.

So, another evening starts out simply enough. And we left the bar at a reasonable hour, feeling little more than buzzed. Ryan and I reminisced about all the time we spent in bars in Athens. We talked about Night Court, and Flaming Lemon Drops.

"What's a flaming lemon drop?" Steve wanted to know. 

And that's where the evening changed. 

This was unacceptable. What were they teaching these kids in college, anyway? It was our duty to teach Steve the wonder that is the Flaming Lemon Drop.

For non-Bobcats, it's a shot of lemon vodka, and a slice of lemon that one bites immediately after shooting the vodka, much like a tequila shot. But instead of salt, lemon drops involve sugar. And when the lemon drop is flaming, the sugar is poured directly on top of the lemon, soaked with 151, and lit on fire. So you can understand how very important it was that we pass this lesson on. It was our duty.

And it didn't take very many flaming lemon drops before the three of us were sitting on the front porch, laughing hysterically. Eventually we got chilly and headed inside. But on our way in, I noticed the mail on the floor. I stopped to glance through it as Ryan and Steve continued into the studio, where more lemon drops were waiting. I noticed one of the envelopes was from our adoption agency, so I decided it was appropriate to read and interpret the letter right then.

What the letter actually said: (a paraphrase)

Sometimes it takes longer than a year for families to be matched. Since the agency needs cash flow to match families, from now on if you've been waiting more than a year we ask that you pay $5000 towards your total fee. (the entirety of which would generally be due at placement.)

What I read:

Give us $5000 right now, or you will never be a mother.

Meanwhile, the guys were in the studio, pouring more lemon drops when Ryan realized I wasn't with them. "Is she crying?" Ryan asked.

"How did you know that? I didn't even realize she wasn't with us." was Steve's answer.

"We've been married a long time," Ryan explained, as he came back to the living room.

Ryan and Steve found me on the couch sobbing- SOBBING- curled in a tight ball, the letter from the adoption agency dangling from my fingers. Steve did his best to comfort me while Ryan read the letter, trying to understand what possibly could have provoked such a response. (all the while knowing that, as we've learned, it doesn't take much to provoke such a response...)

"Sweetheart, this doesn't have anything to do with us. Honestly. We've only been approved for four months. If it seems like it's gonna be a year, we'll deal with that then."

And, as is my usual way, I cried. And cried and cried and cried. Until they left me alone for a moment. And then, I made my move. Into the bedroom, and  into the closet, where we had been storing our carseat/stroller travel system. (a "paper pregnancy" gift from Ryan's parents, since this is the one item a parent MUST have just to take a baby home.) Ryan found me moments later struggling to pull the unassembled stroller out of the closet. Where was I going with the stroller? I didn't know then, and I don't know no, but I assure you- it was going to be dramatic.

Ryan did the only thing a loving husband can possibly do in this situation. He gave me a slight push, toppling me over onto our bed, where I stayed until morning.

That was May 14, 2009. Lily was born three days later.

So what did I learn from drinking too much?

1- Sometimes deciding that something is never ever ever going to happen is a little premature.

2- If left alone, I will eventually fall asleep.

3- Reading the mail drunk is a bad idea.

4- I do not have an addictive personality. I do not have a family history of alcoholism. I do not drive motor vehicles nor do I opporate heavy machinery while drunk. I also don't spend time with anyone who would do anything but make sure I was safe. Is drinking too much a good idea as a habit? Absolutely not. But in these rare cases where a tightly-wound, emotionally wounded woman was not allowing herself to feel the anxiety and pain and frustration- you know what? Sometimes drinking too much is the answer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lemon Drops- Or, Why Drinking is Never the Answer- Part 2

Drinking too much in January of 2009.

By January of 2009, we had turned in all of our paperwork, completed our profile, and were just waiting for my fingerprints to come back. It took nine trips to the police station to get my fingerprints done. The right guy wasn't in. Or I needed cash. Or the address on my license didn't match the address on my application so I needed to go to the DMV, get a new one, wait for it to come in the mail... Or my fingerprints were done, sent, and not clear enough because my fingers are too small. Seriously?

So when I went to Chicago to see a friend's show, I was- once again- overwhelmed with the process. Feeling hopeless. Feeling like I couldn't keep up this fight much longer. So did I want to participate in a power hour? Of course I did. (a note to my readers who do not happen to be 23- a power hour is when everyone drinks a shot of beer every minute for an hour. It's a really bad idea. Especially when one is extremely emotionally vulnerable, and extremely not 23.) So, long story short, by the end of the power hour I was crying. A lot. Uncontrollably. For a long time. Talking about things that are most certainly not important to 23- year-olds. I was never going to get a baby. Never ever ever ever.

Fortunately we had been joined for the evening by a friend from Ohio, and this friend was able to settle me down enough with some Christian words of encouragement that I finally fell asleep. But I was most certainly the official buzzkill of the evening.

The next day I got a call from our adoption caseworker. My fingerprints had been approved, we were officially Paper Pregnant. I was ecstatic. And I felt like an idiot. Maybe the next time I decide something is never ever ever going to happen, I should wait, like, a day.

Lemon Drop- or, Why Drinking is Never the Answer- Part One

Baby's first birthday can be an emotional day for Moms. And yesterday, I experienced it. But honestly, it wasn't as emotional for me as I imagine it is for Moms who gave birth to their children. I loved spending the day with Lily, of course, and I spent a lot of time reflecting on how much she's grown. But when it came to the "last year at this time..." reflection- well, last year at this time I was drunk. 

I'm not a huge drinker. I went to OU, so I'm capable of drinking an astonishing amount for my size and weight. I just generally choose not to. But by May 18 of last year, I had had it. I had been playing the baby game for three years, and I was done playing.  So today, in order to remember, make light of the situation, and give you the opportunity to laugh at me, I present to you my Paper Pregnancy, as told through three really bad ideas: drinking too much in May of 2008, drinking too much in January of 2009, and drinking too much in May of 2009. Not because I'm proud of it, but because it demonstrates my state of mind that year, and it's just funny.

Drinking too much in May of 2008.

It started innocently enough. Ryan and I were attending a graduation party for one of my college students. We were offered a glass of wine when we arrived. I finished it, realized it was too hot to drink wine, and switched to beer. Then someone showed up with something orange in bottles. Potentially a Bartles and James beverage of some kind? Until this moment it was all an accident. A long day in the sun drinking the whole time without paying attention to the amount. But there was a moment when things shifted. All of the secrets from the whole year- the fact that we had been trying to conceive at all, the pain I'd gone through, the potential light at the end of the tunnel with the decision to adopt- it was just too much to keep to myself anymore. So when a student asked me if I wanted a shot of- who even knows what it was?- I told him no, but that he could pour it directly into my bottle. (the one with about an inch of orange liquid remaining.) He filled it to the top, and I set out on a mission. My first step in this mission (after taking the first sip which literally knocked me backwards  into a large tree, as witnessed by two students who thought this was one of the funniest things they had ever seen) was to find Jenn- a student who I knew well, and who was our strongest student accompanist. I pulled her aside and told her she should be prepared with the score to "Carousel," our fall musical, because I could potentially get a phone call that would pull me away from the show immediately and permanently. I told her about our decision to adopt. And about all I had been through that year. And I cried. And cried and cried and cried. And I pulled myself together, and I kept taking sips from my orange drink.

That's where things get fuzzy. But I know I pulled Kiley aside at one point and put her through the whole story, just as I had with Jenn. And then, eventually, there was no more pulling people aside. I told my story- in its entirey and on a drunken loop- to everyone at the party. They had all gathered at the table, and they were a captive audience. And I was hysterical. These poor students (and some of their parents, by the way...) who had never seen me cry, had no idea any of this was going on at all, heard the whole sad story. Over, and over, and over. Now, in my defense, my loving husband was playing the role of designated antagonist. Any time it looked as if the loop was broken, he would aske me a question about the story, dropping the needle back onto my broken record anywhere he thought was entertaining. And there were breaks in the story when I leaned against a shelf and broke it, or when I got one of the female students to cry with me. Ryan finally got me to say my tearful goodbyes, and he got me into the car. It was a long ride home, and while I slept most of the way, I woke up every fifteen minutes or so, worried every single time that I had not congratulated the graduate. Ryan assured me each time that I had. I had congratulated him many, many times.

I told my therapist the whole story a few days later, completely mortified, certain I was going to be scolded. Not because I was ever scolded in therapy, but because I was sure I deserved it. His response shocked me.

"Yeah. That pretty much had to happen. You've been trying to keep all this inside for way too long. It doesn't need to be a secret. And it became such a big secret that maybe you needed a little liquid courage to get it out. Your students already respected you. Honestly, they probably respect you more now that you've shown them you're a real person."

And you know what? He was right. There was some teasing on the first day back to school, naturally. But when we all returned in the fall, I didn't have to pretend any more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Decision to Adopt

This morning we had what will very likely be our last home visit with our adoption case worker. Soon, a two-year process will come to an end. (the process. Not the result. The result is, thankfully, quite permanent.) It's been an often exhausting, always emotional, forever rewarding experience. But how did we decide to take this journey?

For Ryan and I, adoption has always been on the table. Even when we were dating we discussed it. We just knew, somehow, that our family would be at least partially built this way. Maybe because both of our extended families were built this way- the branches of
our family trees that include adoption outnumber by far those that don't. Of course like all young women, I assumed that I would give birth to children first, and adopt later. 

Then, in a moment of frustration in the spring of 2007, I said, "Maybe we should just adopt." I was certain I had solved all of our problems and that my life would soon be complete. So when Ryan answered with, "I don't think it's time yet," I was angry, disappointed, and fearful we were not on the same page when it came to starting a family. I understand now how wise he was being, and how difficult this was for him, as he desperately wanted to adopt. It's what he's always wanted.

But here's a hint concerning adoption readiness. If you phrase it as "maybe we should just adopt," you're not ready.

Then, in May of 2008, I had a very different moment. I don't remember what sparked it. I don't remember what day it was or what time it was or what I was wearing. But I remember the feeling of certainty. I looked at Ryan, and I said, "Oh! We're supposed to adopt!" with a smile on my face and excitement like I've felt about very few things in my life.

"I was just waiting for you to say so," he answered.

But once the decision is made, where in the world do you start?. The Internet, naturally. There is an overwhelming amount of information about adoption available, and I soon became overwhelmed. But I took a deep breath, and I read things carefully, and I reminded myself that I didn't need to have all the answers. In fact, when it comes to adoption, it is impossible to know all the answers, since each case is so completely individual.

We had some decisions to make:

- adopting through an agency vs/ hiring an adoption lawyer or going through the foster system.

- open, semi-open, or closed adoption

- domestic or international adoption

- infant or older child

And there's no right or wrong. We just went with what felt right, and the answer always felt really clear to us. We decided we were interested in a domestic, semi-open, infant adoption through an agency.

I called the agency that sounded like the best fit for us- Bethany Christian Services- and learned that they were not accepting applications for parents looking for Caucasian babies for another several months, as they wanted to serve the families that were already waiting.

Disappointed, I shared the news with Ryan that evening. His response surprised me. "So, there are people
waiting for white babies, but there are babies who aren't white who need homes?"

"Yes-" I said, confused.

"Then why in the world would we wait for a white baby? That doesn't even make sense. What do we care what color the baby is? We want to give a baby a home. That's all that matters."

And I felt like an idiot. Of course it didn't matter. Now please understand that for many people, it would matter. Transracial adoptions can bring a whole slew of issues. But with our family, living where we live, those issues are manageable.

So I called Bethany the next day, and made a reservation to attend their next informational meeting. These meetings are held every month or two. There was one in two days.

Attending the informational meeting just made us all the more ready, so we started to share the news with friends and family. For the most part, the reaction was the same. "We're so glad you know so we can talk about it now. We've all known you were going to adopt for a long time."

And the process began. May, 2008.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Giving Unsolicited Advice to a Woman Dealing with Infertility is Never Ever Ever OK

... And Other Things You Don't Want To Hear

So it occurred to me as I took a shower after posting my last blog that I have potentially opened Pandora's Box of Unsolicited Advice. Things I anticipate people wanting to say:

- Maybe it was your thyroid, that can often lead to infertility. (My reaction- it was not. That is only true if your levels are off. Mine are not, they are regulated quite well with medication. It's been checked. Lots of times. By lots of doctors. But thanks.)

- Maybe all of the trying and worrying was the problem. (My reaction- it was not. There is actually NO scientific evidence to support this. None. I guarantee I have done more research about this than you. But thanks.)

- My friend... (fill in the blank with a thousand possible scenarios)... You should try that. (My reaction, most likely, is "I have." But thanks.)

- Everything happens for a reason, also known as It's all in God's Time. (My reaction: I know. No, seriously. I know. Doesn't make it hurt any less now. But thanks.)

- Now that you've adopted, you'll probably get pregnant. (You don't want my unedited reaction to this one. Seriously. But I can tell you that what I hear is "Now that you've stopped all that trying and worrying, you can have the baby you really want." Don't want me to have this reaction? Then don't say it. Thanks.)

I have another fear that the "unsolicited advice" blog will make people hurt, angry, upset, whathaveya, or that they will fear I am feeling hurt, angry, upset, whathaveya. I promise this is not the case. But if I'm gonna talk about it, let's talk about it. I am writing this Bonus Blog for several reasons:

1. I really don't want your advice, and neither does anyone else who has dealt with this. More on that later.

2. I want people to understand that I have truly found peace in the fact that I haven't gotten pregnant. Don't understand why? Then you've probably never seen my daughter. Will I ever get pregnant? I seriously have no idea. It's not something I think about much. I'm writing this from the "we" point of view for ease of writing and for impact, but I would no longer describe myself as someone who is dealing with infertility.

3. As I explained in a blog a while ago, one of the reasons I write is to give a voice to situations when sometimes other people can't say it. You probably have someone in your life who is going through this right now.

4. I want the infertility part of my story to be over after today. It's not fun.

So. Two sections. Why We Don't Want Your Advice, and What You Can Do Instead.

Why We Don't Want Your Advice

We know you don't mean it, but when you give unsolicited advice to someone dealing with inferility, it comes with the following implications:

1. You have thought of something she hasn't thought of. This is seriously so very unlikely.

2. Her difficulties in getting pregnant are somehow linked to her actions. Not only is this probably not true, but it only adds to the guilt and shame she is already feeling. I'm sorry to tell you, but this is especially true of the "Just relax/ don't worry/ stop tryin so hard" variety of advice. I'm begging you. Don't say it. Ever.

What You Can Do Instead

Aside from avoiding unsolicited advice at all costs? Here are some general ideas:

1. Don't ask about it. We know you're curious, we know you're thinking about us. But a) it's kinda none of your business, and even worse b) you may have caught us in a rare moment when we were not thinking about it.

2. Understand why we might not come to your baby shower. I promise you that we feel worse about it than you do.

3. If we want to talk about it, let us. But just listen unless we specifically ask about something. (which we probably will not.)

I know it sounds like a lot to ask. It's difficult. Not nearly as difficult for you as it is for us, but difficult. Just remember to support us as people first, and try to remind yourself that it's not your problem to fix.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!!

The Year Between...

This is the part of the story you probably don't know.

"Hope Springs" tells the story of our first year of trying to conceive, or TTC. May 2006- May 2007. (Yesterday's excerpt was, by the way, all you get. For more "Hope Springs," come hear me read at Momentum Lit on Saturday, May 22 at Space on White. end shameless plug) Lily was born in May of 2009, so clearly there's some story left to tell. While the first year of TTC is the focus of the book, there was a second year. May 2007- May 2008. 

This year was, to be perfectly honest, far far worse. No one would want to read a book about this year.  The previous year I had been so consumed with TTC that I needed to put my efforts elsewhere, and I started with some positive thoughts and actions- hosting an exchange student, starting work on my book, and getting a new job teaching music theatre at a local college. And since I had felt so defined by TTC for so long, I decided I would not tell anyone at my new job about this part of my life.

And it was working. For a few months.
But in October of 2007, things started to unravel. In one month, my niece was born to my sister-in-law, my little sister announced her pregnancy, and one of my best friends continued to get bigger, as she was due in March. Women who have been through the TTC journey know the pain and guilt that comes with the pregnancies of friends and family- being excited on one level and crushed on another, knowing the appropriate response but being unable to manage it. The day after I found out my sister was pregnant I went to school- barely held together- where a young woman (please please please don't try to guess who it was. You'll probably be wrong and it just doesn't help anything) chose me as her confidante. She had miscarried that week, didn't have any women close to her in her family, and didn't know what to do. I delivered her to the school counselor, went outside, and fell on the ground. Those familiar with this local college know that there are few places on campus with any privacy. I spent the rest of the day trying to find places to hide between lessons, classes, and rehearsals, doing my best to present myself as the silly, outgoing teacher the students were getting to know.

Between October of 2007 and May of 2008 I put myself through every test and went to every doctor I could find.  I went through procedures so uncomfortable I nearly passed-out. (highly unusual for me because, while tiny, I am freakishly tough) I started seeing a therapist who dealt specifically with inferility. (this therapist was on The Today Show a few weeks ago discussing the emotional effects of inferility. My thoughts- 1. Um, my therapist is on The Today Show. 2. At least I know I went to the best...) I was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications and crazy hormones which only lasted a month because call me crazy but I felt like 32 was a little young for hot flashes. I was vague about where I was going to students and co-workers- I had "doctor's appointments" and was on "new medication." (a real thyroid condition made this easier- I intentionally mentioned this condition every once in a while with the hope that people would assume that's what these appointments and medications were all about.) And the longer I kept it a secret, the less it became about seperating my identity from my infertility, and the more it became about shame.

I don't talk a lot about what was going on that year. I didn't talk about it much then, and aside from shining a teeny tiny little light on the pain and shame of a situation that affects so many women, I don't know that there's a reason to disuss it again. (Why shame, by the way? Ugh. I don't know if I'm the right person to try to address that. But considering the number of women who talk about it in the Bible, let's just say it's real, and it goes back to as long as there have been women.)

I made took a road trip in May of 2008 to visit my Mom in Ohio. Fourteen hours alone in the car gives a girl some time to think. When I got home, shortly after I said hello to Ryan, I said, simply, "I'm done." 

"I know," he answered. And that was that.

I promise this was the worst part of the story. But I'm not gonna skip it just because it's rough. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

There are a lot of books out there dealing with infertility. They tell one if the following stories:

1. I couldn't get pregnant. Then I got pregnant. Yay!
2. I couldn't get pregnant. So I adopted. Yay!
3. I couldn't get pregnant. So I made peace with living without children. Yay!

As a woman who was struggling to conceive, I had a real problem with these books. I was ok until the "yay!" part. How can I relate to a woman who has finally conceived, or a woman who has decided to adopt, or a woman who has made peace with the situation? I didn't know what any of those things felt like, and I didn't identify with any of those categories. I wanted to relate to someone who was struggling. Someone who wasn't finding her peace in the END of her story. Because I didn't know what my ending would be.

So I started to write. We all know how my story ended. (I'm a #2. Yay!) But this book is not about that. "Hope Springs" tells the story of that first year in our Trying to Conceive journey, and how I learned to get up every morning (well, most mornings. OK some mornings) looking at the day with hope without knowing how my story would end. What follows is the prologue to this book.

Monday, May 1, 2006
TLC’s “A Baby Story” makes my uterus hurt. I don’t know who decided it was a good idea to put screaming, writhing women on daytime television. Still, I find myself fixated and I’m exhausted from trying to help this total stranger push. I think I must be as relieved as she is to know that the end is near- just one more big push- when I hear the familiar squeak of our rusty mailbox. This sound begins the most exciting forty-five seconds of my day. During this special time the mailbox has the potential to bring me evidence that someone out there is thinking of me- even if it’s only Ed McMahon. This is exactly the feeling the good people of River City, Iowa sang about as they waited for the Well’s Fargo wagon.
I retrieve the mail and look at each piece with careful scrutiny before placing it on one of three piles. The first pile is for the people who live in the upstairs apartment of our duplex. Their mail is easily identifiable by the fact that it is addressed in Chinese. Pile number two is made up of things that are addressed to my husband Ryan and I, but will go directly into the trash. How many Pottery Barn catalogues can we really need? The final pile is for the things that I will open and shred before putting them into the trash. Although I appreciate the opportunity to consolidate my student loans. Really I do.
There is the potential for pile number four: things that I will open, read, and then do something about. This pile is reserved for the few bills we get each month, and the rare invitation. There is generally very little need for pile number four, and I haven’t made room for it on the table for today’s sort. So when I find an envelope addressed to me from the Freelancer’s Association, I’m not really sure what to do with it. I’m a new member, so I assume it’s a welcome letter. I start to put it into pile number three, but realize that this is slightly heavier than just a letter. It’s almost like there’s some sort of-
Oh God, I know what this is.
My insurance card.
I knew the policy started this morning, but I didn’t think my card would arrive so soon. I do a small victory dance before remembering that I’m still standing in front of the picture window in our very conservative Queens neighborhood. I check to see if anyone is watching, verify that I have escaped embarrassment- this time- and turn my attention back to the envelope in my hand, which shakes a little as I retrieve the small piece of plastic that will redefine who I am. It says HIP in the upper-right-hand corner. I know it stands for Health Insurance Plan, but I much prefer to think of it as an adjective. Yep, this is me alright. It’s all here on smooth plastic in black and white, and it represents the end of my quest to find a business-card-sized sense of self.
I am a wife. I am an actor. I am a church member. And now, with this little card, I am an insured person with a prescription plan and a low co-payment.
I am a card-carrying member of the grown-ups.
I haven’t always been uninsured. Over the course of my ten-year teaching career I’ve had a variety of health-benefits-provided-type positions. But about a year ago, after graduating from New York University with a master’s degree in Music Theatre, I decided to strike out on my own, offering voice lessons to aspiring actors in New York City. It was a risky move, but I knew it was the right one. There is no end to the job satisfaction I feel every single day.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said for my NYU health insurance- it ended in June. Since then, every moment has felt like a gamble. I have questioned every decision. “Should I walk to the subway in the snow?” I would ask Ryan. “I might slip on the ice and break my leg. Or worse, I could break my finger, and then I couldn't play the piano for lessons. I could catch a cold from a stranger at the movies that could settle in my chest and keep me from working. Or a beam from a construction site could fall on my head.” The risks were everywhere, the worrying was exhausting, and Ryan was running out of nice ways to say “you’re completely paranoid and crazy.”
Then two months ago I started noticing funny ads on the subway:
"Echinacea is not an acceptable form of health insurance."
"A Constituency of Free Spirits large enough to count."
"A Federation of the Unaffiliated. Unity. But no hugging."
The Freelancer's Association.
It turns I’m exactly the kind of person they’re here to help. And today, after a seriously long, complicated application process, I proudly hold my new insurance card in my hand.
And if this were the story of my career and how I established myself as a freelance musician in New York City, it would probably be the end. I went to school for a long time, I taught in Ohio, I moved to New York, I went to school some more, I had several different jobs, I started teaching privately, I joined the Freelancers Association. I did it, and so can you. Work hard, stay in school, don't do drugs. Praise Jesus. The End.
But that's not what this story is about.
Truth be told, health insurance isn't even that important to me. Oh, sure, I can say I'm concerned for my general well-being, or that I’m worried about my thyroid condition, or the depression I battle by going to therapy twice a week. But I’ve been paying for those things out of pocket just fine for the past few months. And I can pretend I have some deep desire to be a conscientious adult- that I want to be prepared in case of an emergency. But who am I kidding? I need health insurance for one reason, and one reason only. I've been in hard core Mommy Mode since the moment I graduated from NYU. But without a decent job nor any way to pay for prenatal care, it just wasn't time yet, I knew that. I may be an artist, but I do have some sense. Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch.
And now, as I slide this new insurance card into my wallet, I no longer have to hit the snooze button on my biological clock. Having health insurance makes me feel like the responsible parent I know I'll soon become. So now that my card has arrived, my story can begin.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hope Springs

I was in a pretty crappy mood today. I felt tired, and overwhelmed, and underappreciated, and lonely. Since I have already spoken so much about having depression, it could be easy for someone to write this off as a little "episode." That's one of the many problems with the stigma of depression- people have trouble taking the feelings of a depressed person seriously. 

But this was not a depression-related mood today. This was related to real situations, real people. (Now all my friends and family are paranoid. Is it me? While it's hard to put my finger on it exactly, it's fairly safe to say that if you're reading this, it's probably not you.) There are a lot of things that are fatiguing me- emotionally- and it's harder and harder to hold on to my faith and have hope. I'm starting to doubt whether there's a better plan around the corner. Maybe this is the plan, and it's not supposed to get any better.

So, I'm in a crappy mood. So, what? Big deal.

The big deal is this. While it's unhealthy to ignore my moods and push them down, I'm not really in a position to be sour right now. Quite frankly, I serve as a mentor to a lot of people, and I have a lot to do. Not to mention, being negative goes against my nature. And anyway, who wants to be in a bad mood.


And I'm writing this book. I'm writing a book about finding and keeping one's hope in the face of uncertainty.

So. What's a former cheerleader to do?

Keep fighting. Dig down and find that last bit of hope, even if it's way down there. Cliche, I know, but the source of my hope right now is less cliche and, in fact, entirely new for me. 

Because there was this time. A time when I wanted one thing more than any other thing in the world. And I prayed, and I cried, and I prayed, and I cried, and I lost hope and I found it again and I gave up and I realized I couldn't give up. For three years. Which, in hindsite isn't very long, but when I was living it, it felt endless. It was the one thing I wanted, the one thing I was certain- at times- that God had no intention of giving me. It is the journey which, in fact,  inspired me to write a book.

And this month, May 2010, I celebrate the one year anniversary of the day that journey ended. Because two weeks from today, my daughter turns one.

So I choose to remember that time when I wanted something so badly. When I was certain I would never get it. And for the next few weeks, I'm dedicating my blog to this story. Many of you probably think you know it. And a few of you might. But regardless, I'm hoping to renew my faith in telling it. For me, and maybe for some of you, too.