April 15, 2020

on perspective

There's a lot of our trying-for-a-baby story that isn't so pretty. I spent a lot of hours in my therapist's office. I picked up my antidepressants prescription every month. We cried so. many. times.--In the kitchen. In the car. On the closet floor. On the phone. At doctor's offices. To family. To friends. To one another. We spent lots of time on the phone with insurance trying to understand what was covered and what was not (when somebody becomes fluent in the foreign language that is Insurance, please let me know!) We rearranged finances. So many negative tests with even less answers. So many doctor appointments. So much hope slowly pushed down by greater grief and sadness.

I spent a big portion of that time convinced I'd never experience a pregnancy. I certainly never thought if and when I did get to experience one that it'd be in the middle of a global pandemic. But now, on this side of it. the fact that I GET to be safe in this little ol' apartment with Rick and Lupe while feeling this baby kick me non-stop feels like I got the best early Christmas present e v e r. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of COVID worry and What will life look like after this? anxiety floating around here, but silver linings. 

I've started writing about our infertility experience, especially the IVF part, so many times. At the end of the day everything that has come out sounds dramatic and sad, and ultimately that's not how I want to present the story. Because while it was sad and so crushing, it was a fight through which we fought hard to keep some light shining. It was a big life lesson. And (perspective!) it also wasn't as even close to as bad as things that go on daily around this big Earth, and maybe wasn't even as bad as life storms we may face later. That's not an invitation for something crazy, Universe...

I have read so many accounts of couples going through IVF and how traumatizing they found it to be. The needles, "stabbing" yourself, the endless ultrasounds, etc. I am NOT trying to discount anyone's feelings, but that wasn't our experience at all. In fact, moving forward with IVF was probably the least traumatized we had both felt in almost a year of other infertility treatments. We felt hopeful again. We felt like we were making a positive step towards finding out something--whether it be an answer to the unexplained part of our infertility or the joy of a long-awaited positive pregnancy test. With each injection I felt like physically I was truly doing the most I could to prepare my body for the egg retrieval and eventual embryo transfer. With each monitored ultrasound and bloodwork visit we got to see the progress of the injections, how they were actually doing something, and how my body was responding. And of course we tried to make jokes with the whole Freddie getting to stab me with needles multiples times a day thing.
The first full day of injections

**I realize lots of people don't care about the ins and outs of making a baby via IVF. That's great! You don't have to. Once we decided to move forward with IVF (and really any fertility treatments we tried), I headed straight to the internet hoping to find as many blogs or accounts of it that I could. So while yes, I am writing down all this for my brain dump and journaling purposes, I'm also writing this to share just in case someone else going through IVF or any other treatment stumbles across it and can use it for a brief period of calm.**

Our first injection was on the evening of November 13. I had been monitored for several weeks up to this point. We were out eating dinner, expecting to get a call telling us to start injections that next day; however, we got a phone call telling us to start that night. We frantically got a prescription for a few syringes and needles sent to CVS so we could get started. This whole, "Wait, then GO!" process repeats itself a lot during our IVF weeks--lots of waiting and monitoring, followed by phone calls informing us something needed to get done QUICKLY, and our frantically trying to get it done. Repeat repeat repeat. 

In the following two weeks, Nurse Rick did most of the injections. I finally got up the courage to start doing some myself since, you know, we still had to work and weren't always together during injection time. Two weeks of injections in public restrooms, our parked car, backstage during theatre shows I was working, and several more appointments later we had a date for our egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Everything ended up happening on Thanksgiving week which was a big hit in the head to show us how grateful we should be for what we were going through. 
Thanksgiving Day--we were right smack dab in the middle of the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer. As of this day we still had four growing embryos. 

For those of you interested in the nitty gritty of it all (for those of you who aren't, feel free to skip ahead ;)): They retrieved 22 eggs. Mother Hen Em up in the house. The day after the retrieval I got the call that 19 of those eggs were mature. They fertilized all mature eggs; however, only 4 fertilized "normally." For the five days after the egg retrieval you typically get a call every day or every other day updating you on the progress of the embryos: how many are remaining, and how it looks to move forward. They usually like to see the number of embryos gradually decline (which is normal) so our sudden drop right off the bat from 19 fertilized to only 4 growing embryos was a little worrisome. Usually the embryos grow for 5 days until what's remaining is considered a blastocyst. There are lots of options one can take from this point--the most common is freezing the # of embryos you have on day 5, having them genetically tested, and then doing a frozen embryo transfer during another cycle. We had already been planning on going straight into a fresh transfer (no freezing or testing), and since we had the sudden drop in growing embryos our doctor encouraged us to keep with that plan and transfer an embryo as soon as possible. There was talk of not waiting until day 5 to do an embryo transfer and instead doing one on day 3, but we ended up waiting. Out of those 4 remaining embryos, 2 made it to the blastocyst phase! That was such as relief of a phone call to receive. One little embryo is currently frozen, and the other is this growing kicking human inside of me. We went back in for the embryo transfer on November 30. They gave us a picture of our little 4A-B embryo (the coolest part in all of this, in my opinion, is having the picture of our embryo) and then we waited our turn. We both got to be in the room for the quick procedure. They used an ultrasound to guide them as they transferred the embryo. It usually makes a little bubble once it's in and that was so cool to get to watch on the screen as it was transferred. Even though I was high on some good relax-your-uterus sedatives. Freddie says seeing the bubble was cool ;)
Lil' embryo Weiss

Pops Rick and Mom Em waiting for the embryo transfer

The most fun part begins next: the booty shots! Insert your favorite song about butts here. Up to this point all the shots were in my abdomen. Now, in addition to the ten-day wait to find out if the embryo implanted and I was pregnant, we started the lovely progesterone-in-oil shots. If this round worked and I did become pregnant, we would have to do these nightly backside shots through the entire first trimester. If this round did not work, we would stop the progesterone injections the day of the pregnancy blood test. At the end of this (our last shot ended up being on Super Bowl Sunday) we clocked in at doing 32 injections leading up to the egg retrieval and then 68 PIO injections. 100 shots later, here we are. 
Had a few guest nurses shoot me up throughout this whole process

The thought of a ten-day wait seemed so daunting (and, looking back, still does), however life does this funny thing in which it doesn't stop, and the wait was over before we knew it. Since we knew the date that we would be finding out the news (December 10!), we both decided to take half days so we could be together when we got the phone call from the office. I went in to the doctor at 7a for bloodwork and then went to teach until lunch time. We usually got lab result calls around 2p so that's what we assumed would happen for this. I had only taught one client that morning when I noticed I had a voicemail form Emory. Deepbreathsdeepbreathsdeepbreaths. I ran outside to listen to the voicemail. It was our doctor herself calling because she "wanted to be the one to share the good news with us!" I still have that voicemail saved, and I like to go back and listen to it every now and then because !!! Through shakes and tears I called Freddie who immediately thought the worst since I was crying. Once I got out the whole "I'm pregnant!" part his response was, "Holy. Shit." Word, Freddie. Word. 

Now let me be sure to say this: had our first round of IVF had a different outcome I can't say I'd have the same "this wasn't so bad!" outlook on it all. Who knows. I still have so much anxiety and fear about if and when we want to try to have more than one child. I'm so glad to be on this side on our journey with our first child, but the thought of doing it all over again with no answers and no certainty (and no infertility insurance money left) makes me want to scream. So, instead, let's leave it here for today. 

The day we graduated from our fertility clinic + our 8 week ultrasound

I was recently talking to a maternity nurse on the phone, and she was recounting our infertility days and asking if we had a good support group that helped us then and is currently helping us now through pregnancy. That just might be the part in all of this that's the most overwhelming to both of us. The amount of love and support and prayers--from close friends and family, but also just from people who had been following along and sent us some good vibes along the way. My mantra through a lot of this was, "This isn't okay. But Freddie and I--we're more than okay." And we were and we are. We've got each other. We've got this web of love and support, and now we're going to have this baby and tell it about how it's got the best group of humans in its life. 

Perspective is a funny thing, isn't it? When you're in the middle of some crisis or some hardship, the last thing you want someone to say is, "It's going to be okay." Or, "You'll look back on this one day and it just might make sense." (actually it's always the last thing you want to hear, but we can save a post on toxic positivity for another day) But this is kind of the ebb and flow of life. The storm comes and sometimes it stays WAY too long, but eventually it is blown away. Only eventually to come back around with some new fun to throw your way. Once the storm passes, and you can see the 6 inches of space in front of you more clearly, things usually do feel better. They do feel like they're going to be okay. 

I will forever and always be so grateful for modern medicine and how we were able to financially make this round of IVF happen. I try so hard not to take these days of pregnancy for granted, and instead focus on the true miracle and privilege of it all. So as not pretty as our story was, it was kind of beautifully messy in its own twisted way. Baby Weiss, you're already the best thing and we cannot wait to tell you that in person every single day. 

August 23, 2019

she's so controlling

Have you ever heard someone describe someone else like that?

They're just too controlling...

But don't you think that description is a little hypocritical? I mean, no one wants another person controlling them, but also everyone wants control. Whether it's control over what you eat or what you wear, how many coffees you consume in 24 hours or if you're drinking enough water, and bigger things like where you live or with whom you decide to live. Sometimes we even like it when others around us acknowledge our "good" decisions and shift some of their decisions to align with ours. We all want control--we just don't want to admit that we're the ones who don't actually have it.

Hey. What's up? It's me again. Emo Emily is back at it ;) I realized (with the help of my therapist, we'll talk more about that coming right up) that for me, writing and sharing are both very healing. In fact, the three times recently I've finally hit publish on posts here were three of my most peaceful moments in the past two years. The entire process of getting to the point of hitting publish? Not so peaceful. Pretty desperate, in fact. Because of that I'm working on something where I don't wait until I hit my lowest point of desperation to write, but instead I write all the time. Maybe I share once I feel myself slipping, but also no pressure to share anything. Boom.

So therapy. Ooooo such a spooky and sometimes triggering word, right? Except not right. That's such an uninformed way to view therapy and the art of working on and caring for your own mental health. I've spent the past handful of years so proud of my friends who are putting in the work through therapy, yet never actually going myself. Recently I got to a point where I couldn't get out of bed. Sometimes I could get out of bed, but I couldn't get out of my car and go into work. I couldn't do it. I couldn't imagine being able to smile and pretend I was okay anymore. I couldn't handle the thought of accepting that this is where my life is right now. I couldn't do it (yes, I am taking care of my anxiety and depression. No, I am not telling you this as a cry for help). 

**This is the part where I post a picture to break up all the words. It's also the part where you and I both insert just a simple and understood nod to Rick. I can't and won't try to explain it more than that, but just know with whom you choose to spend your life and get through the shit together is really, really, really important.

So I made an appointment and went to therapy. And went again. And again and so on and so forth, and you know what? It's been this amazing and absolutely terrible thing. Yeah, I said terrible. I've been in my head more than ever. I've been ping-ponging between my not-so-healthy thoughts and my new tools of getting outside of those not-so-healthy thoughts. I've been happy. I've been sad. I've been relieved. I've been panicked. I've been peaceful. I've been exhausted. I've been a lot of things.

The most overwhelming of which: I've been angry. Flames coming out my ears, wrinkles searing in between my eyes, and a scream waiting to come out audibly kind of angry. It's taken me several weeks of writing, several weeks of angry weaving, and several weeks of letting that anger sit there and stew (and several very dramatic cry fests...) to realize just at whom I am angry.

I'm angry at myself. Well, the me from two years ago. I'm so pissed at that Emily who, even though knew about fertility issues and had watched some friends go through infertility treatments, just assumed she'd have a baby quickly. I'm so mad at that Emily who could so easily and joyfully picture a baby Weiss. Who they would be. How they would snuggle with Lupe. How they would feel in my arms. I'm so angry at that Emily who often sat and thought about herself and Freddie as parents. I'm so mad at Emily for the blind hope she had. That Emily spent a lot of time planning or not planning certain events/trips/activities because she knew she'd be pregnant by X, Y, or Z. Now I spend all of my time telling myself I won't be pregnant by any date, near or far. Now whenever I go in for more testing and it comes back fine/normal/great/above average like all of our tests have I want to punch the wall. I want to turn into the Hulk and have my anger visibly take up space. I want answers. I want control.

Guess what? Somewhere in between that past Emily at whom I am so mad and this present Emily who is so angry there's space for me to actually live. There's space for me to be happy and sad. There's space for me to feel joy and to feel grief. There's space for me to be grateful that we're both healthy and to be angry that we have no answers as to why we don't have baby Weiss. There's space for it all to be. I can be okay and not okay. And so can you. We can all just be--whatever emotion or whatever step is happening in life. We can be there. We can be okay and not okay. This whole paragraph feels like a written-out deep breath.

I'm so controlling, am I right? Insert a smirking emoji here. It's not a proper emotional blog post if it doesn't come full circle! As I'm starting to realize and s l o w l y starting to accept, I have very little control. I can't control what is happening. I can't control my body. I can't control anyone else or their lives.

But I can control how I treat others. I can control if I use my desperation for pity parties or eff-yeah-we-can do-this-thing-called-life parties. I can control the legacy I am creating on this Earth because as much as I feel like my life has such little meaning right now, deep down I know it has such a BIG purpose and meaning. Just like your life does, too. And really, these things are the greatest to be able to control.

**I'm posting this, as always, when I'm feeling only halfway down that scale of desperation. I have not been okay recently. I've been at such a low point, and I know there are going to be a lot of days coming up through which I will continue not to be okay. I have reached out for help. I have discussed medications. If you are feeling yourself on that downward slope of the desperation scale, please please please don't be afraid to reach out for help. One way I heal is by screaming about my pain on the rooftops of social media, but you don't have to. You have to do what is right for you. Life is too short not to take care of yourself. 

April 25, 2019

on empathy

It's National Infertility Awareness week this week, did you know that? Some of you probably did. In the past I never knew when this week was, much less that there even was an infertility awareness week. This year this week of awareness feels like it's written in Sharpie, forever marked on my inner calendar.

Why is that? Why does a week of awareness, a week of educating others about this so-called disease, a week of acknowledging these trials feel like something harsh? Bringing awareness to certain issues is a great thing! As humans we should spend more time 1) creating awareness and 2) being open-minded and accepting of information we learn from others.

However, I still have this lingering dread about acknowledging this week. By acknowledging that I know this NIAW week exists (get AT me, acronyms!), I'm acknowledging that infertility is officially part of our lives. There. I said it. Freddie and I are dealing with unexplained infertility--that is what is written in Sharpie, forever marked on my life. Until recently, in my brain I've been able to separate our not conceiving by telling myself things like, Oh! It's just taking us awhile longer than most people. Or Life has a lot of stressors right now. Next month will be the month! But then the months keep passing by, and we keep seeing the same negative results. I don't think I started accepting that there might be more going on until we started working with a Reproductive Endocrinologist this past January, and it wasn't until our first unsuccessful IUI that the potential reality of this really started to sink in.

So I cried. A lot. A lot *more* I should say. I've already written a post on this here blog about how I've been crying a lot lately, but I started crying a lot more. I started trying to make sense of it all (rookie mistake! We as humans can't make sense or control basically anything). Of why couples around us can conceive fairly easily, yet Freddie and I can't (another rookie mistake! don't compare, Emily!). Of why couples who had been struggling along with us were starting to conceive and we still were not. Of what else we could do to make it happen. Of why our tests can keep coming back normal and healthy, but we keep seeing nothing. Of how yet another cycle could be unsuccessful through medication and insemination of millions of sperm (Yah, I just said sperm. You're welcome).

Of why my body was failing me.
Of why my body wasn't doing one of the most natural things it can do.
Of why our love wasn't good enough to make a child.

And you know what's crazy? Freddie and I are almost two years and a few "invasive" treatments into this, but two years is only a blip in time compared to a lot of couples dealing with infertility.

So...we're all on the same page, right? That all those past few sentences ^up^ there are ridiculous. On my good days I can very easily and logically say I know all of that up here is malarkey and this just happens, but on my bad days I spiral deep into this mental circus of negativity, sadness, and anxiety. To the max. Add on more xxx's (and I don't mean the baby making kind of x's. Wink).

Enter now. I've wanted to come back to this space and write something for a while. The two recent posts on which I've clicked "publish" have been therapeutic in a way, but when I pulled up this tab I just sat here watching the cursor blink blink blink. How do I start writing about our journey without making it sound like a woe-is-me party? (uhh we're about eight paragraphs too late on that...)

Because here's the thing--the biggest gift I feel like this journey is giving me is empathy. I don't share snippets of our story because I'm throwing a pity party (read that about three times more). I share snippets of our story because it is the BEST reminder that 1) I'm not alone, 2) You're not alone, and 3) Life is hard for everyone. On days when I am so far lost at sea, drowning in my own built-up sadness, I look around and realize there are a lot of other heads bobbing up and down around me in the water.

Let's say on a normal day in one of my Pilates classes there's an average of twelve clients. One is probably dealing with an aging, sick parent. One might have a special needs child at home. One might have a terrible boss who is constantly crossing lines of what is and isn't appropriate at work. More than one probably has some past trauma that still haunts them, and pretty much everyone is dealing with some kind of loss in their lives. Yet they show up. They come to move and better themselves. They practice self-care. Sometimes they might not show up and sometimes the self-care might fall short on their to-do lists so when I see them I want to connect. I want to share some light and positivity. I want them to know that they aren't alone so I can remind myself that I also am not alone. I want my gut instinct to always include kindness. I know not everyone can share their struggles, with infertility or any life event, but for me I have to share. I just have to. My head will most definitely go underwater if I don't share it, so I'm sharing it for you and for me. So I can maybe help your head stay above water, too.

I'm not okay. Not in the least. I'm still feeling so sad and still trying so hard to process whatever might come our way, no matter how long our journey is (or isn't!). I think about this 24/7 and feel like I can't escape it, even when I'm laughing or out with friends and family. But I know you might not be okay either. I know my life suck isn't any worse than your life suck. So how about we're more AWARE of others. We're AWARE of hardships. We're AWARE of our words and the power they have. We're AWARE that listening can speak louder than talking. We're AWARE of things we can do to help shine a little bit more light throughout this world. We can do this, and I'm AWARE of that.

How's that for an awareness week?

p.s.--I shared some of these screenshots on my Instagram stories (like, who ever are you if you aren't stalking me on Instagram?), and they are too good not to share again. A friend introduced me to the account @whatthefertility and they had some great responses about shining awareness on certain parts of this infertility journey.

October 5, 2018

the upside down

One night last year when we were in Venice, Freddie and I got lost (as one should in Venice), and ended up at this little bar. There were only about four tables set up really close together--good ol' intimate Italy. We ate delicious food, ordered some of our favorite drinks, and talked. We talked about how we were both finally ready for kids. We talked about what that might look like--having kids and being parents. We took guesses about which parent from Modern Family we felt like each of us would be most like as parents ourselves. We sat there and laughed, opened up about our potential fears of having kids, and connected for what felt like hours. That night will be one of the nights that I think I'll always remember when I think back to my mind's top five featured life moments. Click. Save. Forever.

Of course I was wondering if that let's-have-kids conversation was spurned more from a vacation high rather than reality, but once we got home we were still on that high so the baby making began. Whoa, sheesh Emily, TMI. Fast forward to today. We're now thirteen months into that initial excitement of baby making. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I still have a glass or four in my hand in most pictures. That's not a cover--there's no Weiss baby hanging out inside of me, so I'm still allowed to have that glass of wine hanging out in my hand.

I wasn't going to write about this topic because the thought of sharing it so publicly feels like A) we want people to read this and go, Awwww no, poor Weisses! or B) I was just another twenty-first century human, oversharing on the internet. Let's not all pretend like we don't live for the vague, yet oversharing Facebook posts though. You see, I'm not writing out this because we want sympathy. Sympathy is the last thing we want. Sympathy makes me feel like something is wrong with us, and the sympathizing person knows it and we don't know it. I don't think I'm strong enough yet for that. I'm also not writing out this because I'm interested in oversharing our lives. There are a lot of emotions to this story that I could never even begin to share. I even asked Freddie if he was okay with me hitting publish on this post because sharing this seems like sharing a very private part of our lives that isn't supposed to be shared.

But I want to share this struggle in case this story is able to be the realistic support to someone. Because in times when I have felt like something bigger is going on with me and Freddie and that I couldn't possibly dig myself out of a dark hole, I haven't found very many places to which to turn. When I turn to the people who have had little-to-no issues conceiving, they're so wonderful and sweet, but they don't really understand. When I turn to the internet, I mostly only find stories of this timeline happening when there is something bigger going on. When I turn to friends who have gone through years, sometimes a decade, of trouble conceiving, it's hard for my mind not to go to a place of worry that Freddie and I are about to embark into many more years of this, and that's scary. I say all of this really just to say that I know there is at least one person out there also struggling feeling like this. Like there's no place, with no real story, to turn. Maybe you're feeling like you're not allowed to struggle with something,  and not allowed to worry. Maybe you feel like you could control your feelings if only this one thing would work out. Maybe you feel like you don't understand anything. I am right there with you. I have felt all of the feelings this past year, and I am still going through all of these feelings almost every single day. I am learning how to rely less on others to pull me out of that dark hole, and instead use my own tools to pull out myself. Some days I'm really good at using my own tools, other days I cry in public in front of strangers. Sharing part of my struggle is for you, and it's also for me.

I've spent the last several months struggling. Big time. In fact you probably read about it here when I wrote about how I couldn't stop crying. I wrote about how I found myself questioning everything. Seriously, everything. (Everything except my Ricky Rick, duh). You see, I've always felt like my purpose here on Earth was to be a mom. And no, it hasn't been because I'm a woman and other than being in the kitchen, being a mom is the only other thing I'm good for---right?! Gag. Me. My purpose came from the fact that I think kids are the greatest. Hands-down, any day I would rather be in a room full of kids than a room full of adults. I've taught kids, I've nannied, I think my sister Ann is still five-years old---I just found my niche with kids, and I've known being a mom would be something at which I'd be good. When you think you've found your purpose on Earth you don't often stop to think, but what if that isn't my purpose on Earth right now... 

There's this yoga class I've started to take on Fridays. It's kind of the highlight of my week. By kind of, I mean it is without a doubt the highlight of my week. At the end of class the instructor reads a quote/some words/a proverb/something for you to take with you into the post-yoga class world. Every single week that I've taken the class, these words have eerily lined up with things I am needing to hear and pound into my soul that particular day or week. It's gotten to the point where the more frequently this keeps happening, the more frequently I find myself leaving the studio on Fridays going, Okay God and Universe, I hear ya loud and clear. This past Friday's words were no different:

Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come? -Rumi

When speaking with my doctor last week, I said something that I now realize is utter and complete bull you-know-what. After giving her our spiel of the past year she stopped me and asked, "Okay, but how are you doing?" I responded with my gut response which was that I'm miserable. I'm sad all of the time, and that I've never felt as lonely as I have this past year.

But you know what? My gut response to that question is bullshit (there I said it!). It's total and complete crap! I am sad, miserably sad. I do have a lot of days in which I feel extremely lonely through this, but that's not the complete truth. The complete truth is that I'm finding that by my life turning upside down this year (I realize how dramatic that statement sounds), that this new upside down side is much better. (side note: we're all on the same page that by saying upside down we're all thinking of Stranger Things, yes? Yes. Cool, moving on).

So you win, God and Universe. Freddie and I are becoming stronger because of this. We are becoming more mindful because of this. We are becoming more well-rounded human beings because of this. We have had so many emotional conversations that we would have never had if this wasn't happening to us. And I wouldn't trade that aspect of this past year's sadness for anything. I wouldn't trade the heartfelt conversations while standing in the kitchen. I wouldn't trade the time we've taken to look at our lives and figure out how to better our lives. I wouldn't trade the tears, the hugs, the support, the holding of each other. I'm trying to cherish my time, cherish this life I've been given, and maybe dare I say this, but cherish the struggle a little bit more. We are so completely different than the Freddie and Emily last year who sat down at that Venice bar and talked about Freddie and Emily as parents, but I think we're better than that Freddie and Emily.

And lonely? That's my own issue. Just as I stated in my last therapeutic blog post, I have the greatest people in my life. Friends and family members who are also struggling with their own things, but somehow manage to show up for me and show up for Freddie. Friends who listen even though they might not understand. Friends who watch me cry or cry with me even though crying makes some people so uncomfortable (i.e.: Emily 1989-2017).

So ::insert small screams:: here I am sharing a snippet of our lives and our struggles because being vulnerable brings much more happiness to my life, and that happiness overtakes the suffering. I'm not anyone from whom you should take advice, but! But but but! I will say that every now and then if you'll just let yourself be a tiny bit vulnerable, I promise you're going to get so much in return. We have people are our lives for a reason, and that reason isn't just to say How are you? Good? Good. and move on. We have people in our lives because we're meant to hold up each other, push each other along, and just laugh. Because if we aren't having at least a little bit of fun then what's the point of it all?

*I'm hitting publish on this after several weeks of writing it. Hitting publish today because today feels like a good day. Not every day feels so good, and that's okay. Give. Yourself. Grace. In the wise words of one of my best friends, accept that some days you'll feel shitty and embrace it.

August 15, 2018

on crying

I cried at my parent's house last week.

You see, I do that a lot now. Crying, that is. I also happen to be at my parents house a lot now too, and that's a great thing--it's just the crying thing that I've always thought was not-so-great. While I've dealt with different levels of anxiety and worry throughout life (some warranted and some very unwarranted), I've never been one who cries often. Minus when watching the movie Up, obviously.

So there I was, last week, sitting on the couch down in the den at the Moore house with my brother next to me, and my dad standing across the room from me. My dad had just said something along the lines of, Well, maybe your purpose here is to be a light to others.

I'm with my family who I love beyond words, in my childhood home that is filled to the brim with the best memories, listening to my father say something nice to me and about me, and yet I was crying. Weeping, in fact. I think eventually in the conversation my father got teary, too. That's the thing--the week prior to this I somehow acquired the talent of A) crying often and B) making those around me cry with me. I cried with my parents, my siblings, my husband, and several of my close friends just in the span on several days. But why? Why, when I've got a supportive family/uplifting husband/hilarious friends/roof-over-my-head/more than I could ever want or need in life, do I feel the need to get weepy so often lately?

That question ^^ of Why? is just one of many questions floating around in my head lately. Much like my newly acquired talent of crying, I seemed to have also acquired a talent of questioning things. Everything. Big or small. Doesn't matter, if it's an ideology or a thought or even a fact, I will question it.

This is a story for which I don't really know where to start because I'm not really sure where the beginning is. If we're getting really introspective, which is oh-so-fun, then this story could start all the way at the beginning of time! Whether you believe that that is from day 1 of God creating the world, or if you believe there was a bang and now we're here into existence, my biggest question(s) right now is WHY are we here? Why are we on Earth? What are we doing here? What's the purpose? Why do we have to suffer here?

For purposes of a semi-readable blog post that doesn't take five hours to get through, let's have the beginning of the story be the beginning of this year, 2018. 2018 started with deaths and funerals, a lot of them. There was a span of time at the beginning of the year in which three deaths/funerals occurred in two weeks. I vividly remember crumbling into Freddie's shoulder one night saying It's just too much. Too close together. in between gasps of air and get-the-snot-back-up sniffles. Somewhere in that timeframe I wrecked our brand new car and Freddie got pretty sick, but you see, it's not really anything through which I'm personally going that brings me to this current weepy/questioning stage (although, come on Baby Weiss. We all want you here one day.)--it's watching those who I absolutely love and adore have to learn to live with and through grief while all I can really do is watch and learn from them.

It's not understanding why these great people have to deal with terrible things. Seriously, I have the greatest people in my life, and what has happened to them just isn't...fair.

It's not knowing the right thing to say to comfort others in their time of need.

It's not wanting to accept that maybe my timeline for life isn't the right timeline.

But you know what else happened at the beginning of 2018? One of my best friends had her baby. Her most precious baby who knows just when a smile needs to be broken out. Then another friend had another precious, perfect baby. Then I had several amazing job opportunities come up. Then Freddie and I got to take a trip to one of our favorite places, and spend time with yet another wonderful friend. There's been so much good in this year. Dare I say, the good has outnumbered the sad. I've asked/sobbed about all these Why, Why, Why questions a lot to people this year, and I've gotten some really wonderful answers.

Which leads me to now. To today. I've spent the last month really trying to get out of this poor me/poor you/woe-is-us mentality, and get into a healthy mindset of gratitude, service, and proactive changes. I've tried to reach out more to friends, and let them know what badasses they are. I've tried to listen more, even when it's to Freddie explaining some work thing to me in which I understand every third word. I've tried to show my love and appreciation to every single person in my life because Heaven forbid anyone in my life not know how grateful I am for and to them. I've tried to stop getting caught up in myself and my minuscule problems, and instead get caught up in others. Shout-out to the moment in time in which I deleted Facebook off of my phone. #noregrets and my cleaned out house and hand-lettering practice book are thankful to that moment. 

And you know what? I think I'm slowly starting to realize that it's okay that I'll never get one, tried-and-true answer to all my Why?! questions. Because through all of the uncertainties that the past year has brought, I've found the greatest certainties of all.

It's bursting with pride at my friends and their grace as they deal through unending grief.

It's listening to my husband share his story of losing his mother in an attempt to help heal others' wounds.

It's opening my mind and heart and emotions, and receiving so much more in return through friends and families being willing to be vulnerable and share their stories of struggle.

I am certain that the relationships I have in my life, and the people with whom I get to share all experiences, good and bad, are reasons enough for being here on Earth. And maybe I will keep crying until the end of my time here, but I promise the tears will be happy tears that I get to know and share my life with so many strong, courageous people. I get to!

Be a light to someone. Touch the lives of others, and make a difference in this world.

Do it.