Friday, December 14, 2007

Once upon a time (Take 2)

I think I found the starting block. The one where I need to start being kind to myself so I could get good at it, go into the doing-it-subconsciously-mode so I can get down to concentrating on other people and not myself.

Funny enough (or not surprising at all?) it's connected with the scrapbooking thing. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who commented on that post of mine. Most of the things you said I knew already, but I wanted to throw myself a small pity party about not ever getting the chance to scrap pages of my baby (not to mention the plural!). Now that THAT's out of the way, let's get to the rest of it.

My photo box (freshly organized thanks to various visits to my local scrapbooking shop - just pretend you didn't see that if you're reading this Mr. Bank Manager!) Going through the various categories during the past week or so, I kept avoiding my own baby pictures for some insane very obvious reasons. My sister Wilma came around for coffee the other day, and since we're partners in crime with this latest hobby, she enquired about all the pages I scrapped the past week since I've been on holiday.

When I uhmed and ah'ed she said nothing, just had that look on her face that said: "Tell me about what's bothering you really." And so I did. Ms. Crybaby came out instantly. (Maybe if I stopped drinking so much water - do you think that would help keep the tears at bay?) The words and excuses didn't make much sense at first, but she let me cry and babble for a few minutes.

What she said then made so much sense, why I didn't think of it first is a mystery. She said: " Sis, no matter what happened in your past, you have a story to tell. What's more important is not that you won't be telling it to your children, but it's important that you TELL your story. It's yours. Just tell it."

So that's what I did. I picked one of my baby pictures and scrapped it. It was a bit small for a 12 x 12 page, so I went for the 8 x 8 size. Here is the result:

For a bigger image, click *here*. I struggled a bit with the correct lighting - but you get the idea. The journaling is as follows: "Krulletjies, Kuiltjies & Kleintyd se Kiekies." So why did I write it in Afrikaans when I knew most of you wouldn't understand at all? Because all the k's are part of a letter play on my name. Translated it means: "Krulletjies (curls), Kuiltjies (dimples) & Kleintyd (childhood times) se Kiekies (photos)."

Yes it was therapeutic, and yes I cried a few times. The important part is that I started. I'm not skipping over my own pictures anymore. Looking at them is still painful, but by looking at who I was, how I changed from a little baby into who I am today, makes me realize I'm someone special. And the world didn't fall in on my head just because I actually typed it.

The lesson I learned this week, thanks to Wilma's advice, is that I need to tell my story even though some of the chapters I wanted to have in my book won't be there. It will make it different, and it will be beautiful, because it is MINE.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who had no idea whatsoever about all the real life monsters out there. She also had no idea how beautiful life could be, but she was about to find out exactly how absolutely breathtaking it is!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reach in to Reach out

"In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts. Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts. It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being. It is, after all, one heart touching another heart." - Roberta Sage Hamilton

Once again a quote found me when I needed it most.

For the past few months I've really been struggling in frustration, fear and confusion, because I don't know what to do, what to say or how to be.

I thought that if I reached out and helped the people I loved and cared for so that they could cope with their heartaches and sorrows, I'd forget about my own. Maybe I overdid it. The emotionally drained feeling is drowning me. Draining vs. Drowning. If you think about the two words they are quite the opposite of each other. It's the only way I have to explain the desperation I feel when I'm getting anxious when there is absolutely no reason for it.

Reaching in and touching your own heart - just the thought is excruciatingly painful. But if I don't look inside myself and be kind to the person I am deep down in my soul, I can't reach out to other people. I need to do that in order to shift my attention from what's hurting me to what I know makes me happy - being a part of making someone else happy.

By writing this blog I've dealt with a lot of the issues I've buried too deep to work through in the past. I thought I was nearing the end, getting stronger and being able to glide through life without the children I dreamed about, but I still have to learn some lessons it seems.

So... brace yourself my dear heart, you're about to be touched!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Mystery Man

Ok, you won. :)

Let's call him Mr. Saint, or just St. for short. Why? It's a wordplay on his name. I took away one letter in his real name that occurs twice and changed the u to an i. Ready? Here we go...

We met in 2002 in a chatroom - talked online and on the phone for about 3 months before we met for coffee the first time. The relationship fizzled out at the end of December of that year, but in November of 2003 he contacted me again. We took up where we left off, and became even better friends than before. Nothing seriously romantic, but the spark was there.

I wrote this piece about him a year or so ago:

"This is the story about my guardian angel. You won’t describe him as a typical one. Not even after seeing John Travolta in “Michael”. His spiky grey hair and wrinkles, even when he isn’t laughing, oddly enough make him look younger than his age - 15 years older than me. Sometimes the age gap bothers me, but that only happens when I allow convention to get in the way of my reality. To top it all he has the most beautiful blue eyes. They look straight into the deepest parts of my soul.

He loves coffee. The first cup I ever made him was in my kitchen. When he hugged me while we waited for the percolator to finish, it was so much more than the hugs I’ve been used to. It felt safe, warm, familiar and oh so tender.

Way back during the first months we knew each other, I never knew when he would come by again. Every time he closed the door behind him, I unconsciously said goodbye in my heart. Not a sad goodbye though. The deep feeling of serenity I felt after each of his visits is almost indescribable. It lasted for days after he was gone…

He gave me wings! At first I didn’t trust him when he told me to jump and just fly. But he was so patient in explaining why I am strong enough not to fear flying. He gently took my hand and showed me who I am. He highlighted all of my strengths, and showed me that my weaknesses are actually challenges waiting to be turned into successes. He told me I am beautiful, time and again, made me look at my body with all it’s flaws and taught me to love it as God loves me. He made me believe that I’m special, that I can soar above the past, into an exquisite future!"

This is a love story yes, even though it's a strange one. Not the usual type of romance where two people fall in love and live it from sunrise to sunrise. It’s different in the sense that there is so much love, feeling and understanding, but on an unusual level of consciousness. It works for us right here and now. He lives in a town 2 hours away from mine, and the space this long distance relationship offers both of us, is what makes it work.

Telling you about this mystery man of mine might leave you with even more questions than you had before. I don't know how long we'll still be part of each others' lives, but right now I'm just focusing on the beautiful journey we're sharing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Scrapping Volcanoes

Hands up those of you that are doing scrapbooking. Not just one or two pages here and there, but really being into it.

Chances are that I won't see many hands.

You know why? Because 95% of scrapbooking is about making memory pages of babies, children and families. And those of us with the Infertility badge probably aren't brave enough to scrap pages of our nieces, nephews or any baby/child we know.

I gave into the scrapbooking hobby a few weeks ago because I just had to find something creative to do. Doing school work 24/7 didn't work for me anymore. TV and movies lost its appeal. I didn't even want to do any of the arty farty things I did in the past.

Blogging and visiting your blogs got downright too difficult. The words I read hurt more than it healed: I couldn't even get myself to write about life in general. The words were there, ideas for what to blog about were all over the place but jumbled, flying around and bouncing off the walls of my mind. Every single time I started thinking about blogging, I immediately changed direction, avoiding it on purpose.

Well, here I am. Don't know if I'll be blogging often again since our summer holidays started a week ago, but maybe, just maybe I'll have enough courage to face what must be said and written.

Back to the scrapbooking thing: how sad is it for a woman my age to make her very first scrapbook page about her cat? Very. Extremely. Painfully so. Yup, that's me. It turned out beautifully, but then I got stuck.

This morning I woke up, so eager to do something constructive today. Browsed through pages after pages of scrapbook layout ideas online. You can't avoid them: babies, children, families. No matter how hard I tried to just look at the layout ideas, the pictures just shoved themselves into my face. I suddenly felt extremely sorry for myself, and just started crying.

At least it got me blogging again. But you know what? I realized one thing: even after you thought you made peace with Infertility's impact on your life, the pain you thought were gone/better, comes back to make you crumble into millions of little pieces again.

The pain of Infertility never goes away, we just bury it deeper day after day. And then something in your life triggers some seismic activities in your soul and hurt and pain erupts like a volcano. Sometimes it's only a warning rumble, but then there are times that turns cities like Pompeii into a sad part of history.