Monthly Archives: February 2011


I saw my new therapist again yesterday.  I’m getting a little better about not comparing her with my rose-colored memories of C*, but I’m still not clear on why I’m remembering him in such soft focus.  I didn’t like him so well when I was seeing him every week!  In fact, I was extremely frustrated with my sessions with him and grumbled about him constantly, including on this blog.  Maybe it’s that the last time I spoke with him I was in a really, really good place.  Maybe I’m just o’n’ry** and am predisposed to gritch and moan about whatever therapist I’m currently seeing.

My sessions with S are really different from the sessions I had with C.  I cry a LOT more now and we talk about completely different things.  It’s kind of strange because I’m certainly not trying to behave any differently in my sessions, and I’m not consciously directing the conversation any differently, but we’re just going to totally different*** places than before.  I guess the Story of My Dysfunction runs a little deeper than I had suspected.

Yesterday S asked me if I ever get angry.  I had to think about that for a minute.  I think there are two kinds of anger:  there’s Righteous Political Anger on Behalf of the Downtrodden, which I have in spades, and there’s the actual emotion of anger that people feel when something happens in their lives.  That’s the one I think I’m missing.

S thinks I’m angry whether I know it or not.  She thinks I reflexively take any anger I might feel, legitimate or not, and direct it right back at myself.

She does have a point.

Yesterday she called my self-talk “abusive.”  More than once.  And she only knows about the parts I’m willing to say out loud.

That woke me up.  Abusive?  Really?  If anyone else was saying to me what I regularly say to myself, I would call it abuse without a second thought.  Am I my own abuser?  There are no shelters for that.  But I don’t want to trivialize real abuse, what so many people (most of them women and children) face at the hands of people who are supposed to love and care for them, by using that fraught and powerful word for something that’s going on inside my own head.

So what do I call it instead?  And even if the word is off-limits, is S right?  And more importantly, how do I stop?

*Who understood me perfectly and always knew exactly what to say.  All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.  Ah, there’s nothing like a little revisionist history to get the blood flowing!

**How do you spell that, anyway?  “Ornery,” with its three distinct syllables, doesn’t really convey the tone I want but I don’t think randomly sprinkling apostrophes through the word really does it either.

***Evidently my mental thesaurus is out to lunch.  That was a lot of “different.”  Sorry folks!



To be a musician you have to be in love with practicing.  You have to love the logical process of breaking something down smaller and smaller into manageable segments, then painstakingly putting it back together.  You have to love the process of treading the same ground over and over again, striving for perfection but being comfortable with never reaching it (because it doesn’t exist).

You also have to get comfortable with the difference between playing accurately and playing well.  This is easy to lose sight of in our current musical climate, which values accuracy so highly that sometimes it is conflated with art.  It is possible (indeed, required) to play with total accuracy; it is impossible to play with perfection.  There is always something that could be better.  Always.

You have to try to get inside the composer’s head.  What did she want you to show the audience at this moment?  What’s the most important thing, or the most interesting thing, about this passage, and how does it fit into the overall structure of the work?  You have to work out how you will get the composer’s thesis across to the audience; the tools in your box are articulation, dynamic level (volume), slight variations in speed, and other tiny nuances.  Your solution won’t be the same as any other musician’s and this infinite variety, not the technical sameness of mere accuracy, is what makes music interesting.

You have to get inherent reward from the process because practicing is hours and hours and hours of your life, much more time that you will ever spend performing or even rehearsing, and if you don’t love it you will lose your fucking mind.

This is not going well.  I am starting to feel that paralyzing doubt again.  I’m not posting much lately, that’s true, but it’s not that I’m not thinking about it.  I’m staring at the “new post” window, sometimes even writing something, then deciding it’s crappy or insignificant or boring or whiny and then deleting.  The same with comments.  I’m reading your posts, really, I am, and I’m typing out comments but then I can’t bring myself to submit them.  I feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation.

My whole life right now is centered around functioning.  I am going to work, I am going to rehearsal, I am teaching my lessons, I did another music festival last week (I will post about it if I can bring myself to do it), but whenever I’m not absolutely obligated to be focusing on something I am numbing out with television.  It feels like I can’t be alone with my thoughts for even one second and need to be distracted all the time.  The only time I am really thinking about what’s going on with me is in my therapy sessions, and I’m a total fucking mess.  I just sit there and cry.  I can’t put together a coherent narrative for the new therapist because I can’t focus on myself without panicking.

I know that I’m doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do, which is losing more time, but when I start to think about what I actually want out of life I start panicking.  And if I want to get through what I have to get through in the immediate sense (work, rehearsal, teaching), I can’t afford to be panicked.  So I push it all down and watch more episodes of Angel (curse you, Netflix) and wait till the next “have-to,” when I pull it all together again and function for a few more hours.  I haven’t updated my 2011 page in over a week because I got tired of writing “just work again” for every single day.

I can’t even think about infertility.

I feel like I just need a break.  That’s what I kept saying in my last therapy session.  I need time.  A break from my life.  A break from myself.  A break from my goddamn unending internal monologue of failure.

Life has not always been this way.  But it’s hard to see how it could ever be different.

And I need to stop writing now because I’ve got that tightness in my chest and stomach and it’s getting hard to breathe again.  I am so weak.

why i choose him

My therapist has given me another assignment this week.  This one is much easier than the last one.

We were talking about relationships, and I confided that I’m continually amazed not only that my husband chose me lo these many years ago, but that he continues to choose me.  Broken, depressed, underemployed, boring, and fat…and he continues to choose life with me.  It’s an astonishing thing, really.

My assignment is to think about why I continue to choose him.

Isn’t it obvious?  Can’t everyone see what I see?  Why wouldn’t I choose him?  Wouldn’t everyone?

And the point, of course, is that everyone doesn’t choose him.  I do.  And my reasons for that are harder to articulate than I would have thought.

He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.  This is hugely important to me as a bona fide nerd, and he regularly blows me away with his insights.  Most people are either logical/analytical or intuitive/right brained, but my amazing husband does both.

He is openminded.  We have taught each other so much.  Both of us like to think about things from multiple perspectives, and he is always so open to another way of looking at a situation.  Even when he thinks I’m batshit flat-out wrong (as when we discuss religion), he respects my opinion and really listens to it.  Every time.  Even when he’s heard it before.  And when he decides he’s wrong, he learns and adjusts.

He is a gifted artist with a unique worldview.  His great passion is the connections between art and science (he very narrowly missed being a physicist and is a composer instead).  He has no patience for people who try to set art and science against each other.  In his mind, both are inherently logical and inherently passionate.  Both try to put the world into terms people can understand. Both are processes; both are bodies of knowledge.

He is, of course, monumentally sexy.

But the trouble with this list is, I don’t want it to sound like he has to earn my love.  He has it, just for being who he is.  He doesn’t have to continually say clever things or make good art or even comb his hair.  If he were to stop all of that, I would love him anyway.

6 minutes of music

This is part of a performance I did this past weekend.  It’s a piece for live performer and electronics.  It was a lot of fun and I thought I would share it.  Enjoy!

***EDIT:  The music starts about a minute into the video.***

the long version

Next month I will have been at my job for three years.  I actually started in February of 2008 as a part-time transitional person before the person I was replacing left, but I officially got the job and came on full time in March 2008.

Getting this job was our first step to TTC.  We counted one year forwards from my start date since that’s when I would become eligible for FMLA.  March 2009.  We counted seven months back from that, thinking that if I were to get pregnant right away I might not be able to work all the way to my due date.  August 2008.

We got rid of the contraception.  We knew it might take a while and weren’t really disappointed when September, October, November, and December all rolled by.

In January 2009 we moved into our current apartment.  It has a second bedroom.

That same month I took my first pregnancy test in years.*  I was not even late but I also wasn’t spotting, so I had hope.  I’ll never forget the joy in my husband’s face when I told him I needed a test.  I sat in the bathroom and waited for that line to appear.  Two minutes.  Three minutes.  Ten minutes.  Half an hour.

In March 2009 it happened again.  I was two days late.  I tested.  I failed.  We went to see the in-laws for Passover, where I holed up in the guest room and bawled.  I was starting to think there was something wrong.  That’s the last time I took a pregnancy test.**

Since March 2009 I have only been tempted to test once, and my period started before I even had a chance.  My cycles are like freaking clockwork.

I read so many of your stories, and I wonder, what the hell is wrong with me?  I mean, I’m grateful not to have experienced pregnancy loss, but in two and a half years I have never had even a chemical pregnancy.

I feel like such a fool every time I look into that second bedroom, which of course is full of computer stuff and old junk.

I keep circling around the idea of IVF, and I think I am coming around to it.  My husband wants to do it.  I just can’t get over the risk.  One chance, everything on the table, and not one shred of real evidence that it could work.  I have absolutely no data to support even the idea that I could become pregnant.  Not a miscarriage, not a chemical, not (thank god) an ectopic.  Not once.  Not ever.

Is this because of the MFI?  Or is there something really, really wrong with me?  And how would I know?***

I can’t keep looking into that empty bedroom for the rest of my life.

*There were some moments of panic in my callow youth before I knew I was broken.

**Unless you count the beta they did before my surgery.  It is to laugh.

***And the question I really want to ask:  What’s it like?  How does it feel?  Tell me all about it.  The moment when you see that line, or get the call with your beta results.  Not what happens after.  Just that moment.  What’s it like?

in which my subconscious reminds me that i am infertile … as if i could forget

I had the dream on Friday night.

In the dream, I go to work.  I cook dinner.  I go to rehearsal.  I teach lessons.  I kiss my husband.  I get stuck in traffic.  I clean the bathroom.  It’s really quite boring.

Except that in the dream I’m pregnant.

I’m 8 weeks in the dream.  I haven’t told anyone and I don’t have any symptoms, but I know s/he is there.  I have a beautiful secret and my body is taking over, helping the fetus grow without even trying.  My whole body feels electric and my uterus feels bright.  I already feel like a mother.

Then I wake up and it’s all a lie.

Every.  Goddamn.  Time.