Sunday, December 15, 2013

In Which Jill Word-Vomits Some of Her Ugly Feelings

This blog used to be a painfully open book about every single thought and feeling that I had about adoption. It didn't occur to me to filter what I wrote, because it didn't occur to me that anyone would ever really read it.

People read it. I have been told that it was helpful, but mostly I find myself embarrassed that I shared as much as I did. If I could go back I would probably say a lot less. But I can't go back.

What I can do, and have done, is be much more thoughtful about the things that I share. Because I was so candid in the past I find myself being excruciatingly careful in choosing every single word anymore and as a result I don't blog nearly as much as I used to. I'm a worrier; I don't know how much I have mentioned that in the past but the first 25 years of my life were basically one long panic attack. As I've grown up I've gotten better at channeling my worry when I can and stuffing it down when I can't. My blog became one of the places I shifted this mental energy. I agonized over every word of every post and quite frequently I would write entire posts - they would take hours! - and then I'd decide at the last second that they weren't good enough to share.

It's exhausting. I'm tired of worrying so much. I'm going to try to worry less and just say what I feel. It worked for me in the past; I think it's what grew my readership. I've never been numbers-focused in my blogging. I don't care how many people read it; I just want the people who do read it to get something out of it.

So, I'm just going to get some feelings out right now. That's what I used to do. I'm going to try doing it again. And I'm not even going to proofread. How's that for living dangerously?

I turned 30 in October. I had a great week of birthday celebrations but then it ended and I felt like I had this itch I couldn't scratch. I'm not where I wanted to be at 30. I don't feel like I have much to show for my life so far.

I want a husband and I want children. I want children very, very badly. Not having any has made me miss Roo more lately. Not the real Roo, who is four, but my baby Roo, the tiny newborn who for a brief time made me a mother. I miss her. I miss being her mom. Babies are awesome. It seems like everyone I know is either engaged (seven engagements in two weeks, I kid you not) or having a baby, and I can't even get a first date.

In the 4-ish years since placement until the end of November, I was asked maybe a total of three times whether I had any kids. It just never came up for some reason. Then this past week I was asked twice if I'm a mother. The second time was at work. A very adorable and chatty five-year-old asked whether there were any lollipops in the library that she could have, and I apologized, telling her that we don't usually keep candy there. She felt bad for me.

"Next time I come in I'm going to bring you some candy. I'll bring lots. You can have some and you can take some for your kids. Do you have kids?"

I don't even know why my brain did what it did but for some reason I said, "I have a little girl." I felt like I was hearing myself say it more than I was making the conscious decision to speak.

"Well, she can have some candy, too," the girl told me, and then her grandmother said they had to leave.

And I was really glad there was a line at the circulation desk, because I think if I hadn't had work to do right then, I would have gone to my desk in the back room and just cried. Because I don't have kids. Because I don't have a husband or even a boyfriend. Because I don't have any money, or any plan for the rest of my life, or anything that I thought I would have at 30. Because maybe I never will.

I always get depressed around the holidays. It used to start at the beginning of October but I was still pretty happy then and I thought maybe I'd get a break this year. I was wrong. I've been a mess since just after Halloween, and I've spent the past 2 weeks in particular desperately fighting off a panic attack. It's like swatting a fly that won't go away. No matter how many times I beat back those feelings, they keep pushing at me.

It's exhausting. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of constantly thinking and feeling. I wish I could just shut that part of my brain off for a few weeks. I wish I could stop worrying and just enjoy my life and be happy with what I have instead of defining myself by what I lack.

That's the trick, though, isn't it? Because the world I live in is determined to define me by my lack. No kids, no husband. No college degree. Not tall. Not thin. Not pretty. Not enough. (I've had self-esteem problems lately, too, in case that isn't coming through.) It's hard to remember the good things about yourself when society only sees the bad.

One of my problems ... blah. I wasn't going to mention it but as long as I'm being honest, I'm going to just be completely honest and get it all out there.

I've kind of lost my head over a guy I know. He doesn't feel the same way about me. My friends and my mother and my therapist all have opinions on the matter but I don't feel comfortable with any of the advice I've been given. In the meantime I have all of these stupid feelings jammed inside me and I can't shake them. I am desperate to shake them. I have spent hours asking God to take away my feelings for this guy but whether I have them for a reason or I'm just not strong enough to get rid of them, the feelings are still there.

This, too, is exhausting. It's like having a toothache that doesn't go away. Some times it hurts worse and some times it's not as bad, but the pain is always there, waiting for a bad time to remind you of its presence.

I have had many days lately where I think that this whole adult human thing just isn't working for me. Of all the stupid things I've done in my life, being an adult is on the top of the list.

I know that what I need to do is focus on all of the things that are amazing in my life. Lately I have come to truly realize and appreciate how fantastic Roo's open adoption is. I feel like my relationship with Roo and her family just keeps improving, and it is a great blessing in my life. I'm a lucky girl. I know way too many birth moms whose open adoptions haven't turned out the way they'd hoped or planned.

I am so, so proud of Roo. She is the most awesome little kid ever. She is very smart and very cute but more importantly she is very kind. It does me a lot of good, when I'm feeling like a wreck and a failure, to look at Roo and her life. No matter what else happens to me, no matter how many things I mess up, I grew and gave birth to this precious little girl, and I found her family. I love the way that she is being raised. I think she's going to be unstoppable when she's an adult (and maybe even before then). How lucky am I to be able to see these things firsthand?

I am trying really, really hard to stay positive and to have hope. I had a motto for myself this year that I abandoned ages ago - probably back in March - that was cheerful and optimistic and then life happened. My new motto is something I try to remind myself of every single day --

It's not always going to be like this.

It's not. It won't. Things are already different than they were a year ago, and next year will be different, too. "Different" hasn't meant any of the changes I had hoped for but at least if I have problems, they're different problems. I like variety in my heartache. But I do hope for less heartache.

I hope that someday I will have the opportunity of falling in love with someone who loves me back. I hope that someday I will remember how to sleep. I hope that someday even if I don't have what I wanted for myself, I'll be happy with what I have. I hope that someday I will make Roo and her family proud of me. (I should want my own family to be proud of me, but they know me too well for that. Best to stick to attainable goals.)

I will. I have to believe that. And in the meantime, I will follow the brave example of Liz Lemon:


Ashley said...

I know telling you how amazing I think you are won't make a difference. I know that telling you that the amount of good you put back into the world is a thousandfold bigger than the inadequacies you feel won't register fully. I know that you're telling yourself to snap out of it, that you have a ton to be grateful for, that you are enough

but I know that depression and anxiety are a real, crippling thing. That the strongest among us suffer from this and this isn't something you can control or snap out of. You can strive to have a positive outlook, you can remind yourself of your blessings every day but the fact is that it's a physical thing; kind of like I can't snap out of this bloody flu any more than I can snap out of the way my chest gets tight every time I think about going outside and talking to people.

Never regret your honesty. Ever. It's helped our Carri, it helps me and my life and perspective on adoption is better because of your honesty. You. You make things better.

Frankly, you're someone I wish I lived near in real life because I'm pretty sure we'd cause a lot of crazy trouble together. You're clever, kind, sarcastic, brilliant and frankly ya kick @$$.

Thank you for the gift you are to the world,

Rachel said...

What Ashley said. Amen to all of that.

Thank you for your honesty and for everything you are!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I am grateful for you and your honesty. <3

Whitney said...

I worried about commenting because I didn't want anything I said to sound trite in comparison to all of the feelings you described. But I just had to let you know that I care. I'm sorry you're struggling. I have learned so much from you and think very highly of you. And I just wanted you to know that.