Monday, November 13, 2006

PTSS 1: Post Traumatic Shower Syndrome

So we started to feel better, shortly after our last rant. Who knew a good rant could be so cleansing. I need to do these more often, just to keep it all real. Then, i suppose i should also change my name to the Snarky Soul.

But let me recap the last week. After the last post, the good ole sil gave birth to a boy on Friday (baby shower weekend). Actually, i was feeling very okay about it. It's the buildup towards the event that starts to raise my anxiety levels. But once i'm in the baby event, i'm very cool about it.

So the next day, Saturday, was the great bake off before the shower. I made a 4 tiered cake, with the bottom being a chocolate cake, the next level being a buttercream and strawberry filling cake, and the top two layers being a banana chocolate chip cake--all frosted in a chocolate buttercream ganache. And each guest was served a slice of each. I wont post any pictures because i was disappointed in the final "look." First off, they tell you to "just use dowels" to separate each cake. Um, they neglect to say that you need to pull out your saw to make the dowels the required length. The dowels alone were the most difficult thing about it all, and that was done sunday morning, where i didnt really have time to learn about the difficulties of dowel cutting. The cake was just short of being the leaning towers of cakes. But it wasnt. In the end, it just didnt turn out as fantastic as it was in my head. Oh well. After all that baking, i thought i wouldnt want to bake again for a long long time. Finally, i found something to cool the passion for baking.*

But here's the interesting thing i want to note and remember. After all that baking and frosting on Saturday, where i think i stood nonstop the whole day (which is actually a nice break from the sitting nonstop all week), i was really exhausted at 1 am, when i went to bed. My sister and her husband came over to help out with final preparations around the house, which gave me the freedom to do the cakes in the first place. And, it was good that i gave myself such a time-consuming project. I was able to channel my pre-event anxiety into something productive and i felt good about it...except, when i went to bed.

As i lay there waiting to fall asleep, it suddenly hit me, like it never hit before (but it has) OH MY GOD, MY SISTER IS HAVING A BABY BEFORE ME. And i started to cry all over again. Sometimes, i just cant believe that. I just really really believed in a different reality, a different future. I had a dream once over ten years ago, and i interpreted it to mean that we would have children together. And i clung on to that idea as if it were the truth. So i never imagined i would be in this position, just sitting by and watching my sister as she gets to build her family. And, i have to live with this for the rest of my life. It's not like this altered reality will go away. This is the new truth, the real truth.

And, as this truth hit me, a part of me was like "no, no, wait, maybe, just maybe, you're pregnant. Hold on and do the math." Mind you, i just got off my period. There is no math to do. There's just denial. In that moment, i just wanted to deny it and live in my old fantasies about the future--that there is one with me and a whole passel of my own kids.

So we had us a good ole cry to sleep.

Then the shower itself was fine. Very busy and fine. Nothing to really say about it. Nothing i lamented or felt bad about, honestly. Well, except, that there were 5 pregnant women there. And they're all due in December/January. How odd, right? In a party of 25 women, 1 in 5 was pregnant. But that didnt bother me much either. Except for my sister, all of them were on their second or third child. So talking about babymaking and children did not really interest them. If it did, i didnt hear anything about it.

But what i did notice was how out of touch i've been with my "friends." I dont think i could muster up such a crowd even if i had to. That disappointed me. But it's not entirely my fault--well, i guess, that's a subject for a later post. Sigh.

*I was wrong, as i discovered this weekend. I was ready to dive right back into baking.

PTSS 2: Post Traumatic Screenplay Syndrome

And so now it's back to life as usual. Except, what is life as usual? We were still trying to figure that out. Before, life as usual was filled with so much hope and promise. Now life as usual is about the business of moving on. And, well, it's not that fun, and it's lonely, and isolating, and not as interesting as planning for a future with children. And there are some days where it's just downright boring.

Part of this has to do with the current state of my writing. At the end of September, i started a screenplay about a woman struggling with ivf. By the beginning of October, i finished it. Actually, i wrote it in 10 days. TEN DAYS. My application to graduate school took longer to write. But, i was inspired. Sometimes, when you get in the creative zone, time stands still and all that matters is the task at hand. But ten days? And, mind you, i'm not really a writer. Well, it's not something i aspired to be when i was younger. It's not a skill i had any faith in. It's something i have always always encouraged in others, but not myself. I never felt i could do it.

Regardless of what i thought about myself, my creativity put a lid on it for a mo and let the right side of my brain free.

And so, i wrote a screenplay. I have been querying it, but querying hollywood all the way from this side of the mississippi, is like trying to fish from your car. And, it's daunting. The process is worse than trying to get your novel published. It's even more isolating and lonely. You mean now that i've accomplished this miracle, i actually have to convince people about it? Convincing people to be interested in me has never been my strong suit. Take, for example, my close and loving relationship with my parents. Nuff said.

So after that burst of inspiration followed by a sleu of queries, i feel incredibly deflated and let down. I guess you could say i'm suffering from Post Traumatic Screenplay Syndrom. Disappointment all over again. Why do i choose a creative realm frought with so much disappointment?

If i ever do succeed with my novel and screenplay, i think i'm going to need therapy just to deal with the absence of disappointment.

So, i guess you could say, currently, we are and have been a little deflated. Said deflation is not really related to infertility, but i just like to blame infertility for all my disappointments. It's such an easy scapegoat. And while i'm at it, i could get mad at my sister for having the gall to ruin my dream and move on with her life without me. But, i wont. Because that we be wrong. And it would only hurt me in the long run.

It's just that i feel this tremendous emptyness where my children were supposed to reside. And it's hard to stave off bitterness, when my heart is desperate for fulfillment of any kind, be it good for me or not.

But, i want it to be good before me because the last time i filled my empty heart, i wrongly filled it with the promise of children, and look what that's done for me.

No, no, i will wait until i can feel the real fulfillment. Until then, we will be empty and patient.


At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think as we deal with any new life change, sometimes we're ok, and sometimes we aren't. The occassional backslides and longing for what we dreamed of aren't going to completely disappear- especially when we see those milestones come and go in others lives. A good cry every now and then is good for the soul. Lousy for the sinuses, however.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Heather said...

I'm sure the cake turned out fantastic. You are way too hard on yourself. As for the dowels - they are the devil.

I think I would have cried through the whole shower. Not sure how you didn't.

I totally understand the deflated feeling.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger zhl said...

Your cake sounds amaazing, and congrats on writing the screenplay.

And I think you did a wonderful job on holding up through the shower.

I wish there was something i could do to make it easier for all of us.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger steph said...

Ahhh. The art of trying to control as to avoid feeling. I am the hostess of many a baby shower, and in the end, the crying comes when you stop. As a fellow cake maker and decorator, I follow your mental anguish with the final product not looking the way you picture it. Nothing I do is what I want it to be, but everyone else thinks it is~

Screenplay writing is a tough field. My husband's cousin does it and has had some limited success. Recently did a straight to DVD movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt and is working on something else right now. 2 others were bought but shelved, which was also disappointing. Like putting a painting in a closet.

Brace yourself for the actual event of your sister's baby's birth. That will bring on another set of tears and damn its. All the attention you thought you would get first will be spent on her (how I felt) and it will be tough. But it will pass and you'll get through it and we'll be here to back you up, even if only in spirit!

At 3:17 AM, Blogger chris said...

The cake sounds lovely and it was very generous of you to give your sister a shower.

Hang in there.


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