Eli's Corner


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thank you.

It’s funny the things that stand out in your mind as anniversaries. The markers on this meandering road are different for everyone. For me, Halloween was a marker. It was a marker because last year, I was participating in the Pumpkin Smackdown Challenge hosted by Barren Betty and Fertility Doll. I was reeling between disappointments, still in the throes of the battle, and that simple pumpkin carving contest was seriously a lifeline for me. Feeling connected with other women who were in this with me, getting a chance to poke fun at my disease using the pumpkin as a medium and seeing the creativity and genius of fellow IF bloggers as they transformed simple squash into humorous, often poignant depictions of their frustrations, hopes and disappointments. Then there was the added thrill of winning in my category and having a proper certificate and prize mailed to me from another continent. As pitiful as it sounds, that really meant a lot to me. I didn’t feel like I had an awful lot going for me at that point, and it was wonderful to feel seen, acknowledged, and in a way, looked after by other women in this boat.

I was not in a place where I would dare to dream that this Halloween I’d be trying to find cheeky ways to dress up my bitty bump, but that I’d ultimately come home from work and just zonk out because of pregnancy tiredness and skip the parties and costumes, watching the Corpse Bride as a nod to what day it was and getting myself and my peach-sized baby in bed by 9. I still can’t believe that I get to be here.

Thinking back on last Halloween got me thinking a bit about what this community has meant to me. Like many of you, I came here not expecting to find a community but simply looking for a place to vent. What I found was the one place I could be truly honest about how I was feeling, how much I was hurting, how desperately I wanted this, and how weak I was in the middle of it all. What I never found – not once – was judgement. I did not find unhelpful advice or empty assurances that everything would be fine. I only found understanding. Only space to be where I was.

And I found you and your stories. With parallels to my own – stories and lives I could actually relate to. I found hope in all of you – that even if nothing worked as I hoped or planned, I could still be resilient and strong, still me, still awesome. I could grab life – even if only what was left of it – and make it my bitch. Because I saw you doing it. I saw you go through deep and painful things and get up and try again over and over and over. I saw you hold to your faith, to yourselves. I became involved. I saw you hurting, and I hurt with you. I felt your victories just as strongly.

I found the closest thing I’ve found so far to a silver lining. One likes to try to find meaning – anything redemptive in this process – and hearing from people now and again that my working things out on the page had resonated with or somehow helped them made me feel a little better about being in this shitty process.

Now I’m just going all intense here – but I didn’t grow up in a family that was super good at relationships, and belonging doesn’t come easy to me. But I think I found a little bit of home here. And I just want to thank you for the thousand little ways you’ve helped brighten my path and carry my load the last couple of years here. You are luminous, courageous, vulnerable, strong, and deeply maternal – if justice were the dominant force in the world, none of you would be here, but it has been a mercy to people like me to be here with you.

Much love,

Eli


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look what they’ve done to my song

I don’t generally take to this blog to talk about these kinds of things, but since I’m off Facebook, this is my outlet ;)

I stumbled across this video while looking for old Dolly Parton performances (yes, I do things like that).  And I was struck by the artistry and talent of this young woman.  This is a cover, but the lyrics are oddly prescient.

This video has about 3 million views to the 250-odd million that her more notorious videos have.  It makes me think. If we all clicked on, talked about, wrote about, paid money to see – this, this is likely what would prevail in pop culture.  Not that this is everybody’s taste – I’m just saying, if we celebrated artistry instead of stunts and autoexploitation, the industry would follow the dollar.  It’s oh-so-easy to jump on the judgement band wagon, but in doing so, we ratchet up the views on those videos that we’re clicking on just so we can shake our fingers at them, we generate buzz, we consume the paper-thin media coverage of these “events”.  In short, even as we complain, we make the very things we criticize profitable.

Brings to mind and old saying:

“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

I’m not saying Miley wouldn’t still do her thang.  But she’d be free to do it for her own sake, not because an industry demands it, along with a nation of armchair critics, however unwittingly they do so.  And we’d be free to enjoy what’s good and just not freak out about what we don’t like.  That just all seems better to me.


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sunshine award

Hey all,

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Award!  Yay!  I have to confess I had no idea what that was – being pretty green at all things bloggy – and it took me a minute to figure it out.  It kind of reminds me of the old chain letters you used to get.  Yes, I’m old enough to remember chain LETTERS, none of this email-this-to-100-people-or-your-cat-will-die crap.  I’m talking mail a pair of panties to 9 friends and you’ll get 200 pairs of panties in the mail.  I never actually did that because it was a lot of postage, and I felt weird getting panties in the mail from strangers.  Also, really, who needs 200 pairs of panties?  But this I will do, because it means that A Calm Persistence believes that I am a writer who brightens other people’s days – which is amazing and awesome.  Especially since I write pretty honestly about some pretty dark things on here.  I think we all need each other in this journey, and sometimes the honesty perhaps shines a light in the dark.  And if there’s any kind of silver lining in this process, it’s thinking that your going through it might then help you carry the burden with someone else a few steps of the way.  To be told something like this brings a little ray of redemption into the whole thing, and that is pretty wonderful.  And if I can help introduce you to some of the brave women who have been helping me along the way, then I welcome that opportunity.

Incidentally, you should read A Calm Persistence‘s blog.  Here is one good reason why:

stay positive

See what I mean about we need each other?  Ok.  Down to business.  This is my first ever award and I’m determined not to mess it up.

The rules are:

Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post – done!

screen-shot-2013-10-10-at-3-22-59-pm

Link to the blogger who nominated you – check!

Answer 10 questions about yourself – see below

Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award – ibid

Make up 10 questions that are super long and/or annoying to answer (ok, I invented that rule) – check!

Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them.  – part 1 done and part 2 will do once I publish this – whew!

Ok – here are the questions I need to answer:

1. Why do you Blog?

I started blogging as an outlet for myself in the TTC process.  I typically journal to sort out my thoughts, but I thought perhaps if I did an anonymous blog, maybe someone else dealing with the same things might come across it and find it helpful.  At the time I had no idea there was a whole community out there.  Connecting through this medium with others on this journey has been an amazing resource and encouragement for me.

2. What are you most proud of?

Honestly, I know it sounds kind of pathetic, but at this point I’m just proud that I’m keeping on keeping on.  It’s been a rough few years, but stuff like this teaches you a lot about yourself.  One of my favorite quotes is “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” and my hope in all of this is that it will not be wasted but that somehow I will manage to stop wrestling God long enough to allow him to use this to shape me into a sturdier, kinder me.

3. What is one thing you want to learn how to do?

Dive.  I’ve always had trouble with getting inverted (flips, dives, cartwheels, what have you).  I’m an avid swimmer – goggles, swim cap, the whole 9 yards, but I’ve never learned to dive and am now at the point where it’s just embarrassing.  (As one gets older, it turns out, one really finds fewer and fewer scenarios in which bellyflopping and cannonballing are considered acceptable methods of entering a pool.)

4. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

This one:

Only less kill-everybody-and-start-world-war-III and more visit-my-family-whenever-I-want-and-have-dinner-in-Istanbul-tonight.  Also, it opens up several career paths:  search and rescue, crime fighting, crime, transportation-for-hire, smuggler, coyote, etc.

5. What is your best piece of advice?

Be kind to yourself.

6. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

I aspire to do what my totally inspiring in-laws have done with their money: pick a just standard of living and stick to it.  Then continue to work hard and invest wisely so that you can give extravagantly.

7. What is your favorite season? Why?

Summertime!  Sun on my skin, bra-optional sundresses.  (Don’t worry, I’m pretty flat-chested.)

8. What is your all time favorite meal?

First date with my now-husband.  He took me out to a 5-star French restaurant in San Francisco.  Neither of us had ever eaten a meal like that before (it involved pear soup with african peppercorns, a quail, a souffle, and chocolate mousse to end your very life).   The food, the conversation – and, doubtless, the swirling pheromones, made it the meal of a lifetime.

9. What is your favorite song?

Right now?  Probably this one.  It’s kind of been my anthem in my TTC process:

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Well, when it comes down to it, I guess we could live almost anywhere in the world, but we live where we live (Vancouver), so I guess the question then is why.  I mean, it’s very pretty and nice, but it’s also rainy and expensive.  I think the thing that keeps us here is the community.  There are just some seriously cool people around here.  And they seem to have time to hang out, whereas in San Francisco, we had to book 3 months in advance to do anything with anybody.  Also, he’s got family nearby.

Ok, next step: As many of us do, I follow a lot of wonderful blogs, and these are just a few of them.  These all happen to be women working to build their families – most are trying to conceive, some have adopted, some are redefining what family means to them.  All are honest, brave and human.  These blogs have encouraged me, helped me feel less isolated and crazy, and have inspired me.

Here, in no particular order, are my nominees:

Adding a Burden

Redeeming Infertility

Project Sweet Pea

Abby Hummel

You Can’t Choose When

Stupid Stork

Hey, Myrtle!

Hang Your Hopes From Trees

On the other side of the belly button

The Elusive Second Line

And here are my questions to you:

1. Why did you start blogging and why do you blog now?

2. If you were running for President (or Prime Minister or whatever your head of state is) what would your platform be?  (Not trying to make this political…but wondering what social issues matter to you most.)

3. Of all the places you’ve been, which one would you like to return to?  Why?

4. If you could go back in time to the beginning of your TTC journey and tell yourself one thing,  what would it be?

5. If you were being interrogated by the CIA (or the KGB or MI6 or whatever your country’s scary secret police is…in my country it’s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I guess, which is just so Canada…our scary cops wear cute outfits and ride horses) what song would they need to play over and over to break you?

6. Any random hidden talents?

7. One of your top 5 quotes ever? (Because I always find it hard to pick my #1 of anything.)

8. What’s your proudest moment before the age of 10?

9. Best fictional book you’ve ever read (or one of your top 5):

10.  What question do you wish I had asked you?

Play along if you like!


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apart from this, i am

I spend a lot of time on here talking about who I am in the context of infertility, loss, endometriosis, chronic pain, a floundering career and various other issues. I appreciate this space, because I feel like it’s the one place where I can be as honest as I want to be about all of that.

But today, I’m doing something else. I’m taking some time to think about who I am independently of all of those things – as well as past pain and personal hangups –independently of any thing I would call an “issue.”

It’s so easy to identify with the hard things, and sometimes so hard to remember what’s left. So I just sat down and started writing a list, with general, timid terms at first, but they became a bit more confident and specific as the list progressed. Just for kicks, here it is:

So who is Eli, apart from all of this?

She loves to laugh.

She finds people interesting.

She’s compassionate.

She can be thoughtful.

She can be fun.

She’s good with words.

She doesn’t like conflict, but she enjoys a good debate (as long as nobody’s getting hurt or being super obnoxious).

She feels like culture is mostly crazy, and she wants to talk some sense into it.

She longs for truth.

She loves stories.

She loves to sing, mostly in private – although for a couple of years she sang lead in a heavy metal band because some boys at the high school where she worked as an administrator were looking for a lead singer for their band and asked her (possibly as a joke). She shocked them by saying yes. She always wore heels and a grey pantsuit when performing. The band achieved legend status.

She is the friend who will pay full price (even though she’s currently out of a job) to join you, your daughter, your unstable, recently-bereaved mother, and your alcoholic grandmother on a 2-week cruise when you have been ditched at the altar two weeks before the wedding and can’t get a refund on your honeymoon. She will go on that trip and sit in the middle of all that crazy with you.  She will sneak away with you to pound tequila shots.  If you eat 3 desserts, so will she.  She will even sing cruise lounge karaoke when you ask her to.

Frivolous beauty brings her joy. And makes her cry.

Mistreatment of the weak makes her angry. Like mama grizzly angry.

Sometimes she writes letters to celebrities she thinks are screwing up their lives and offers to let them come stay with her for a couple weeks. She thinks she could help. They never write back.

She likes nice things. And she likes to give nice things away.

She likes being around small children. She likes the purity of their interactions with the world, having not yet learned to stifle and mask everything they think and feel. She feels that children and very old people are lucky in that sense. They get to say exactly what they think.

Sometimes, she can be wise.

Sometimes, she can be funny.

Sometimes, she knows exactly what to say or do in a tough situation.

She believes people matter. She feels that especially young girls don’t know that they matter nearly enough.

She will stand in the path of a violent, heavily drugged man on the street (even though she’s very much expecting to be hit) because she doesn’t want to live in a city where people can be brutally attacked by a stranger in broad daylight and have their attacker walk away unencumbered while fifty spectators step aside to let him pass. She, in her heels, slacks and fluffy sweater, will be the one person to calmly stand in his way and tell him that he does not get to run away but must stay here and deal with what he has done. And for some strange reason, he will listen to her.

She’ll buy a homeless woman lunch because she really wants to buy her flowers but thinks it’s a jerk move to give a hungry person flowers and not also lunch.

She has little respect for people she thinks are phony, no matter what position they hold.

She just generally has a pretty low tolerance for BS.

She’s attracted to honesty, even if it’s honesty about unattractive things.

She’s attracted to humility.

She’s always been a sucker for a boy with a guitar, and she eventually married one.

She loves, loves, loves that she gets to see her quiet husband be crazy, goofy, brilliant, irreverent, and just straight up weird in a way that no one else on the planet ever does.

She is reborn every time she feels the warmth of the sun on her skin.

She likes the laugh lines she’s getting, but is not too fond of the sun spots.

Beautiful, clean spaces are balm to her soul.

She roofed houses to pay for college.

Every once in a while, she will embark on a crazy adventure that takes a great deal of courage. She hasn’t done this in a little while, but it’s in her.

She left a good chunk of her heart with a poor family in Argentina who loves her better than most people can probably love anybody.

She can pretty much quote entire Disney cartoons as well as chapters of the Bible.

She does a bang-on southern belle accent.

She thinks she looks good naked, if she’s very honest.

She’s willing to change when she learns she’s been wrong, even if it’s hard.

I kind of like her.

Who are you apart from this? I’d love to know.


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Greetings, fair reader(s).  I’ve been gone for a while…focusing a bit more internally than externally these days, but I have some writes to write today.

H2 is going through another round of IUI right now.  I am not, because I am STILL WAITING for the Fragile X test results.  I have missed 3 cycles while waiting.

I have this funny feeling that this is it for H2.  Like this is her time.  I haven’t told her because I don’t want to add pressure to what is already a very intense waiting time.  I’ve been wrong before (try every month), but the feeling persists.  That it’s time for her wait to be honored and for her to experience the Faithfulness that she has held fast to all these years.

H1 gave birth to her son.  Early.  Very early – at 24 weeks.  He weighed 1 pound 6 ounces at birth.  But he is fighting.  And mama said from the beginning that she believed God promised her that this one would make it (she’s had 2 miscarriages recently).  Baby is proving her right so far – no brain bleeds, lungs appear to be functioning, stable condition.  He’s got so much fight ahead of him, so many more milestones to clear, blood transfusions and all of that. My mind is almost constantly with them.  When I go to pray, it comes out something like, “You promised.  Do you remember?  You had better be faithful.”

I just feel like something is about to break.  Like there’s going to be a crack in these thunderheads soon.