Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cracked Actor

I don't know why I do it. A few times a week I look at the October Due Date 2010 message boards. I was once a member. I once shared symptoms, stories and belly photos. Now, I'm a bystander, watching other women having the experience that I'm supposed to be having right now. Watching their bellies grow in the photos, like mine should be growing. A few babies have made their way into the world already and I know I should be sitting here, hand on my belly, reading those birth stories with the knowledge that my own should be in a few weeks. Sometimes, I forget for a moment and I rest my hand there anyway and pull it away when I realize it's empty, small and not the 35 week belly that should be there. My due date should be 29 days away. October 27th, 2010.
I'm so empty lately. I don't know how I'll pull through this next month. The date is in front of my eyes all day long, getting closer and more real. I try to sleep time away, but insomnia rules and I just lay awake thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking. It's becoming so real. No matter how many times I close my eyes and wish and pray that it was just a bad dream....hoping to feel a swollen belly with feet, arms, knees and elbows poking me...it doesn't happen. It's so unescapable and I'm just being hurtled forward into that day. And I have to smile. I have to pretend that it's okay, that I'm okay. I'm not okay. Everyday at work I am so numb. I feel nothing. I know they expect me to put on my brave face, be quiet, don't yell at doctors who make stupid comments about my tattoo, and act like the dumb, ditzy, sarcastic Jenn that everyone expects. Otherwise I'm "whiny, over-sensitive, over-reacting, looking for attention, not over it." I have to be concerned that my feelings make everyone else feel uncomfortable. I have to take care of others. It's my responsibility to keep my emotions in check so that no one else has to deal with me. I must carefully craft my little bullshit show of fake, happy emotions. If an unacceptable emotion rises up, I must push it down. It's an act I can't keep up with. I've cracked on occasion. Do you know what it's like being a woman who has miscarried who is experiencing a mini-breakdown? It's like being radioactive. People may stare at you all wide-eyed for a moment because that radioactive glow sure is odd. But then they step away, avert their eyes, keep their distance and take cover. They don't want to suffer the fall-out. If you bury yourself deep in your grief fall-out shelter, complete with non-perishable cans of avoidance, you can be sure that the annoying radioactive sobbing mother will eventually go away. How dare she shed her tears? How dare she feel awful, especially 6 months later. How dare she ... how could she ... why would she want to make US uncomfortable. Those sad people are so annoying. If you roll your eyes and sigh when you think she might not notice and turn around so she can't make eye contact she will probably comfort herself and just go away. Whew! Bad situation avoided. Oh dear, there's sarcastic Jenn. She's writing right here. She's back! Life is normal.
Fuck that shit.
There are days when I will be standing in line somewhere and I just want to scream, "Does anyone here have any clue what's going on with me?" To the cashier, I want to yell, "Do you know I lost a baby? Do you know what's going on inside of me?" Why was I the only one who noticed that the world stopped it's orbit on the day my baby died? Oh, but we can never be so up front about our sorrow. I hear you. You are thinking it right now. I wish she would just shut up about it already. Stop jamming your 'feelings' down our throats.
I'm tired of shutting myself up for people. I'm tired of hiding my discomfort for the sake of other people's comfort. I'm tired of being ashamed because I flipped on someone for saying the wrong thing. Tired of being ashamed because I NEED TO FUCKING TALK ABOUT IT. I'm tired of the expected silence. Tired of the deep sighs. Tired of the eye rolls. People think they are so clever. So hidden. They aren't. I've seen and heard it ALL. I'm fed up with being PUNISHED for so many different reasons. I have suffered the ultimate punishment - my child was taken away from my life, from her life. The supercedes all punishments available. Just an FYI. You think I'm not hard on myself? I could make a career out of being hard on myself. I do it well. And it's eaten at every single last fiber of my being. There is nothing left to me. A few sparse threads that you couldn't even weave through a needle. I've torn myself down. Others have torn me down. I'm tired. I'm tired. I'm tired. I can not put on a show any longer. The reality is bitch-slapping my ugly face day after day. Every dark bit of energy is trying to bring me down and I'm losing all the strength I had to resist it.
Let us all take a moment to thank God that Monkey is here. Without him....it would be so easy. So easy.
So easy for me to take the next exit. To leave a letter saying, "Thank you for shutting me out. Thank you for making me feel ashamed of my grief. Thank you for trying to box up my emotions and send them to a storage bin out of your sight and mind. Thank you for using my grief against me. Thank you for finally pushing me to the edge, for giving me that one last little nudge I needed to let myself go and join her." Bang.
And what would be done? People so surprised? I can't believe she really did it. Would you be happy with where we left off, permanently? Would you wish you sent that card or collected a few pennies to send us flowers or called and offered to help while clots of blood were running down my legs? Would you wish that you would have spoken up when you saw me cracking? Wished that you didn't join others in judging me and the way I am handling this? Because I don't need your fucking judgment. I don't need your bullshit "well this is how I would handle it stories." I needed understanding. I needed people to realize that I'm fucking serious. I needed people to step out of their comfort zone and say, "hey I know it's been a few months, but I know it still bothers you. Are you okay?" I needed people to say, "hey, cool tattoo" instead of, "that's not organic." It's all adding up, being etched onto the trigger.
So easy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There, but for the Grace of God...

I got a tattoo. Would love to show you a picture. However, I only took a pic with my cell phone when I first got it and the light does not so it justice. It's only been about two weeks so it's still in that healing phase. Pictures soon. It's a sparrow, a real sparrow, on a cherry blossom branch holding a banner that says "River." I'll write more on my tattoo at another time. Right now, I'm mad. As hell.

All 7 of you who read this may have gathered that I'm a bit of a crunchy, tree-hugging hippie-type person who prefers organic and natural things. I like to use products that don't harm the earth, re-use, reduce, recycle and compost. Everyone at work knows this. So, when I got my tattoo less than two weeks ago, one of the doctors said, "tattoos aren't organic." I was so not prepared for that comment that I kinda brushed it off and didn't really respond. It wasn't until I got home later and thought about it that it pissed me off. Here I just inked myself in memory of my baby and you make a flippant remark about it. So, I released the anger. I'm getting tired of negative energy and I made the choice to forgive. Until yesterday. Yet another doctor came up to me and said, "you know, tattoos aren't very natural." And the doc who had made the first comment was right there and had started to chime in and laugh. So, I spoke up. I said, "No. You can make fun of me for anything else. Anything else. But not about my tattoo for my DEAD baby." And the doc who had made the comment first started to say something, like she was going to argue my point. I just looked at her and kept saying, "No, no, no, no." And I couldn't hold back the tears or the shaking. The one doc said, "I'm sorry. I had no idea." And the doc who was the first to make the comment did act a little concerned and just rubbed my back.

What the FUCK? First of all, I don't care why anyone gets a tattoo. Obviously it means something to them. I consider a tattoo to be part of a person, almost like their hair or their eye color. It's not something you can wash off. I may not like the decomposing skull tattoo that my friend's boyfriend had done, but it's his body and he can choose what he puts on it. I'm not going to make fun of it. As for me, everyone knows who River is at this point. One new chick at work had no clue, so she asked and I told her. That was that. What kind of person thinks it's okay to make fun of a tattoo done in memory of someone. I just lost my baby in April. I was supposed to be due in October. It's Septemeber - I should be 8 months pregnant at this point. Every single day I think about how I should be pregnant right now. How my belly should be alive with movement. And I look down and see the same old flab. No life. The wounds are so fresh. The pain is no less than it was a few months ago. I did that tattoo as part of the healing process. It felt very good to get it. It makes me want to vomit to think that someone who is obviously aware of the pain I am going through (the one doc - the first to make the comment - is on my Facebook, where I have been very honest about my emotions) would make a comment like that. I'm trying so hard to heal and remarks such as that just throw me back and erase any "progress" I have made. All the negative energy comes swirling in. I even entertained the following thought - I wished they would go through the same thing, so that they could understand that this isn't just something you get over and laugh at. I would never wish harm like that on someone, but I couldn't stop that thought.

And you know what? I'll be seen as overreacting. Oh, Jenn is so oversensitive. She needs to get over it. I'll be seen as the bad guy for speaking up and getting angry. It'll be just one more thing for people to make fun of. It's a wonder I don't burn the place down.

P.S. Tattoos have been part of human culture since we stopped swinging in trees a million years ago. It may not be natural, but it's a very normal part ofthe human experience to want to modify your body. Even God is into it - "See! I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand." ~somewhere in the Bible in Isaiah.
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