I’ll be the first to admit that I came off like a petulant child in my last post. I was pouting like a kid whose friends took all their toys away and went home. The truth is that I know you guys are out there. I know that you all still support and care about me.
I’ve been cycling through emotions like they’re going out of style. I’ve taken pretty much every emotion you can imagine and magnified it in a way that hasn’t always brought out the best in me. I know that this is normal, or at least I think it is. I’m still reeling from the events of the past six months and I’ve yet to find a place to settle. Some days I’m way up high and other days I’m way down low. The most unfortunate part of this is that I never know who is going to show up–at work, on my blog, on a date, or even when I’m home alone.
And especially not on ladies night.
Last Tuesday I had a dream. I hesitate to call it in a nightmare because there weren’t any scary men chasing me or tidal waves threatening to pull me under. But the sentiment was that of a nightmare. Cold sweats, rapid heart rate, overwhelming sense of fear, and anger. I had a dream that one of my best friends was pregnant with her second child. And it made me so angry for reasons that I couldn’t define at the time. The dream wasn’t really so much about why, but just that it was happening and I had to learn to temper my negative feelings toward it.
Last Thursday 3 of my best lady friend’s and I went out for dinner and drinks. As soon as I made eye contact with the same friend I had the dream about (we’ll call her Leggy Blonde) I just knew. I KNEW like I’ve never known anything before that she was, in fact, pregnant. Then she ordered a water. And since I had no doubt to begin with, I sank as my last shred of hope that she wasn’t actually pregnant vanished before I had a chance to swallow my shot of whiskey. But still, I said nothing.
Shortly after ordering her second glass of water she left to use the bathroom. I immediately turned to my other friend and told her that Leggy Blonde is pregnant. I just knew it.
Eventually, she ended up telling us that she is pregnant. Again. And not only is she pregnant, but OOPS! it was an accident. Totally unplanned. Totally easy. Totally amazing.
Remember: Leggy Blonde is one of my very best friends. When I finally got pregnant I told her before I even told The X. When I had to terminate that pregnancy, she cried with me over the phone when I shared the news. I say all this to demonstrate that she too KNOWS something. She knows full well the special kind of hell that I have been through over the last six months. She knows that for me it was never an accident. It was never unplanned. It was never easy. But, she knows how amazing it was in that brief period of time in which I knew I was pregnant. For 13 glorious days, she and I had access to the same amazing knowledge–that of carrying a child.
So maybe now you can understand when I tell you that I didn’t react well. I merely mumbled congratulations, dug a cigarette out of my purse, and practically ran outside before the tears could spill over my eyelids and betray the words of celebration that had come from my mouth. And from my heart. You see, I am actually quite happy for her. I would never begrudge any woman, let alone one that I love so dearly, the very thing that I fought for years to create. I would never want her to temper her own happiness to spare my bitter feelings or my empty womb.
However, I would ask for a shred of compassion. I would ask that a friend tread lightly when sharing such news. That she take my vulnerable and broken heart into consideration before haphazardly sharing this type of sensitive news. I imagine myself in a cage, having not eaten for weeks. My ribs and my collarbones jut out from beneath my clothing. My jaw is sore from chewing on the bars of my cage out of sheer desperation for something to that feels close enough to eat. I am surrounded by each and every person that I have ever loved feasting at a table close enough to see, but too far away to touch. And the real tragedy, it is finally revealed, is not that they aren’t sharing their food with me, but that when the perspective shifts it is actually me that is close enough to see, but too far away to touch.
Or at least, that’s how the dream went that I had the following night.
When I got home that night, I was in a blind rage. Again, I know that it is normal to experience anger in these types of situations, but what I was feeling wasn’t even close to normal. The anger was so intense that even my house didn’t seem large enough to contain it. And if my house couldn’t contain, then certainly my body couldn’t either. I could feel my blood boiling, pumping too rapidly in and out of my heart. My feet couldn’t stand still and in an effort to diffuse some of the rage, they forced me to walk back and forth, back and forth. My fists clenched into tiny balls of fury waiting to find the perfect reason to expel the anger through them. I never looked into the mirror, but I’m sure that if I had then I wouldn’t have recognized the woman staring back at me.
Eventually I went to bed, nary a tear shed. No way for that anger to escape. While I slept I dreamed I was in that cage. When I awoke, the dream seemed so real that I swear my hands were coiled around an invisible bar, cold and hard. Finally, the fog lifted and I realized that had just been dreaming but that I awoke to face a whole other kind of cage–one that has become my entire life as it relates to both my (lack of) marriage and my infertility.
When I came downstairs to get ready for work, The X was there. I told him the Leggy Blonde is pregnant again and he asked me how I felt about it. Alas, I had found a way to extricate all the anger that had taken over my body and my mind: The X.
“You want to know how I’m feeling?” I asked, confused.
“I’m fucking pissed! You can walk out this door right now and knock up any girl of your choosing. And you can do that every fucking day for the next 30 years should you choose to do so.” Without so much as a breath, I continued, “I don’t have that luxury. And it’s all your fucking fault. You want to leave me high, dry, and barren with five years to find a way to make this dream come true.”
“You have ruined my chance at happiness,” I fired at him.
“You can be angry at whoever you want, but you don’t have to take it out on me,” he replied as he walked towards the door.
My last words to him were, “I can be fucking angry at whoever the fuck I want to be angry with. And right now you are at the top of my list!”
And just like that, I could breath again. My heart was still racing, but the blood wasn’t boiling any longer. Instead, it was cool and refreshing. And instead of contemplating who I was going to murder in order to rid myself of the all-consuming rage, I contemplated the feeling of realization that washed over me.
I’m not angry at Leggy Blonde for accidentally getting knocked up again. I’m angry because I’m not. I’m angry because my husband is leaving me. Not only is he leaving my heart behind, but also the idea of a life that we had created together. The dream of the children we would have together. When I picture my future children they always have his blue eyes and his dimples. They have his wavy brown hair and pension for creativity. When I remove those things from my picture I see that I am left with half-children. Babies with no faces. Teenagers without hair. Grown men and women without personalities. People that I create that share absolutely nothing with The X.
I think I might hate him just a little for that. Because in reality, he’s the petulant child who took all of his toys back and pouted all the way home, not me. He’s the one that is one lacking compassion for my vulnerable and broken heart, not Leggy Blonde. And lastly, he’s the one I should be angry at. Not myself and certainly not Leggy Blonde.
Emotions are a funny thing. Just when you think you know exactly why you are feeling a certain way, another more articulate emotion comes along and changes your perspective. Anger is a broodish, archaic emotion that is usually just masking something much more intangible and acute than anger ever could be. Awareness and recognition are emotions that can actually take your somewhere even if that journey begins with blind rage.