Monthly Archives: June 2011

hi, do i know you?

My husband and I had a real talk last night for the first time in a long while.  We have been seeing each other mostly in passing since January — he was working on a major artistic project, then he was finishing his dissertation, then my job got totally crazy with end-of-year events for all of our programs (lots of evenings and every weekend in April and May), then he went away for three weeks on tour with his performing group, then I had a whole bunch of performances in a row, and I’m leaving for an international music festival in a couple of weeks.

This is not sustainable.  It’s bad for our marriage and it’s bad for our individual selves.  I am hanging on by a freaking thread, and the conversation we had was actually prompted by the fact that I am so anxious these days that I’m physically ill each morning, and dead tired when I get home at night.  He, on the other hand, is experiencing the letdown that comes when you’ve been going full throttle for a long time and then everything suddenly stops.  He is spending a lot of time at home but I’m not really sure what he’s doing with himself.  Ostensibly he’s looking after the apartment and looking for a job, but I think he’s doing a lot of moping.  When I’m home he wants to spend time together (and not in the “let’s hurry up and get something on the table because we’re both starving” way), but usually after work I go straight to work on planning the details for the upcoming trip.  He is lonely, I am freaking out, and neither of us is getting our needs met.

Obviously we need to make a change.  We need to spend some time together (we got married because we like each other, after all), I need to find a way to ramp down the anxiety, and he needs to find a way to ramp up the energy.

I can tell myself that things will get better after this festival is over (they will), or after he finds a job (boy howdy, they will), or lots of other scenarios that defer my contentment to some future time.  I spend a lot of time thinking things like, “If I can just get through X….”  But as far as our marriage is concerned, there has not been a single break since January.  The closest thing we’ve had to down time was the one time in February when we both went to the same music festival.  It was 6 hours in the car together each way (yes, I’m counting that as part of our down time), and we spent half a day together seeing the sights (such as they were) in a tiny college/farming town that smelled like manure.

I have to figure out either how to be happy with the current set of circumstances, or how to make these circumstances stop.  The problem, of course, is that the magical time when things are going to get better for us keeps receding into the future.  There is always one more urgent project and one more obligation and one more thing keeping me up at night.  At some point it will have to stop.

And that’s what we finally, finally talked about last night.

Unfortunately I’ve taken too long setting up this story, and I’ve got to go to rehearsal now.  The rest of it will have to wait for my next thrilling installment.

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insomnia

So apparently four in the morning is the Hour of Blogging.  I’ll have to put that in my day planner:

  • Midnight — witching hour
  • 2:00 a.m. — last call
  • 4:00 a.m. — blogging

What do you ladies do when you can’t sleep?  Me, I think about all the things that used to be fun.

Like sex.

Remember when sex was fun?  I do.  Kind of.

It didn’t used to be tied up with guilt and counting of days and shame and stress and failure.  Sex didn’t used to be the kind of thing I could fail at.  But here we are coming up on three years of failure and it’s hard to remember back when it was something we did just because we felt like it.

My long-suffering husband wishes I was not an emotional disaster needing to be handled with kid gloves, so there’s that extra added layer of failure:  not only am I failing to conceive, I’m also ruining my marriage by freezing out the only person who loves me.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  It’s so late that it’s early, and I can’t sleep, and I’m just kind of a mess.

And this, ladies, is why I don’t blog much.  Because my posts look like this.  Is this even in fucking English?

you guys are teh awesomest

Wow, lots of good thoughts in comments on my last few posts!  I am never sure if anyone goes back to see responses in comments, so I’m going to pull a few of the questions I got up here and answer them.

St: Elsewhere:  Six times in seven years – your grandma has seen reproduction from a different world. Are all those babies living? My maternal grandma had 13 pregnancies, and has four daughters to show for it. Some of her children born full-term died post-birth. After I came to know that bit, my heart broke for her. She faced so much. I think that is what you must be feeling for your grandma too.

Yes, all six of those babies are living!  That’s my dad, 3 aunts, and 2 uncles.  What your grandmother must have gone through.  And when I think about my grandma (and my mom’s mother as well, who had 7 children, 6 living) what I wonder is — would they have chosen this?  Obviously it all turned out OK, with great big close families, but when they were in the thick of it, pregnant with 2 in diapers and 3 more needing to get ready for school in the morning, is it really what they would have chosen?  Maybe they would have — and it’s certainly not my place to judge.

Bunny:  And your uncle’s advice is lovely, but …what does it mean, in practical terms? Take some shitty job for the sake of the second income?

Yes, that’s exactly what it means, at least in the short term.  We need to get our household budget on track before we can even think of anything else.  In the long term, it means thinking about life priorities: making sure we’re both putting family building ahead of other things.

IR:  Spicy ginger soda sounds really good, actually. Why didn’t it taste good?

Yeah, we thought it would be amazing.  It ended up tasting pretty weird.  I think we got the proportions wrong, and I think the red pepper flakes added a strangely bitter taste.  I think if I do this again I will use fresh Thai chillies instead, and possibly muddle some pineapple and mint leaves in the glass before pouring on the syrup and soda water.  And I will definitely still use the gin!

Roccie:  Are you afraid to explore it here due to family readers?

I am just not sure I’m ready to open up the can of worms that is our current situation.  My family doesn’t read this blog, but my husband does occasionally, and I don’t want things written down that I may not have said out loud yet.

 

what i did on my summer vacation

Yesterday I had a day off.  Like, a real one.  Today it’s back to the grind, but yesterday I stayed home and blew everybody off.  I didn’t check my email, I didn’t return work-related calls, I didn’t prepare for my rehearsals and concerts that are coming up.

It was amazing.

I started catching up on posts — oh, there is so much going on with so many of you ladies and I am sorry to have missed so much.  I am trying to get over to everyone’s spaces and reconnect.

Then I sat outside on my porch and drank coffee.  Heaven.

Then I cleaned my kitchen.

Then I started cooking.  Yesterday I made:

  • A fresh batch of chicken stock.  I always try to keep some in the house but haven’t had time to make it for a while.
  • Vegetarian chili.  An old favorite recipe that will be good for dinner for a few nights this week.
  • Vaguely Korean chicken (with the serving pieces of the same chicken — I make the stock out of the back, the neck, and the skin) with hot pepper paste, scallions, and sesame oil.
  • I tried a new recipe for homemade spicy ginger soda.  You make simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 2 cups water) with lots of ginger, lots of red pepper flakes, and a little salt.  You simmer it, strain and chill, then mix with soda water and squeeze a lime over it.  This was not super successful, but we figured out that if we added enough gin it tasted pretty good. 🙂

So now my refrigerator is full of good things to get us through the week, and more importantly I spent the whole day at home.  Did I mention I blew off email?

My anxiety is already mounting for what I’m going to have to deal with today and (especially) tomorrow, but I so, so needed that one day.

Thanks for your thoughts on yesterday’s post.  There is a lot going on below the surface right now and I am taking to heart St. Elsewhere’s words — it is a lot easier not to say than it is to unsay.

“put family first”

I went to visit the Ancestral Home last week.  I hadn’t been back in 5 years and I wish I could have stayed longer.  I was sitting in relatives’ houses, driving on familiar streets, hearing the same old family stories (and lots of new ones), and daydreaming about moving back.

My grandma is in her late eighties, and while she’s shrinking at an alarming rate (she’s down to 4’7″), she still doesn’t miss a trick.  Of course she asked me (again) when I would be having children.  For the first time, I was totally honest with her.  I told her that it was highly unlikely my husband and I could have children naturally.  My infertility has been kind of an open secret in the family since my surgery last year:  everyone knows, but no one fucking talks about it.  This was the first time I’d said anything so direct.

Her response?

“Well, you can always adopt.”

crickets*

I also had a long talk with my brother and my uncle about What Is Wrong with My Life.  I think I’m sort of a project to be completed, or a puzzle to be solved, among my more successful, with-it relatives.  My brother thinks I should quit my job and come work for his company because “Seriously.  These people I work with are idiots.  You could come in and do any of these jobs way better than these people.”  Which is all well and good, except that my brother is an engineer.  There is not much demand for musicians at engineering firms, lol.

My uncle asked what we’re planning to do now that my husband has finished school, and I think I unloaded on him a little.  In my new spirit of honesty I told him that I was feeling a little lost because with my husband not working** not only are we having financial struggles, but I can’t see how there is a way to get to parenthood in the next two years.  Or, you know, ever.

My uncle is a lovely person who is full of equanimity.  He deals with situations as they arise, he doesn’t let anything freak him out, he just calmly goes ahead and figures out what’s next.

I’ve never heard so much emotion in his voice as when he said, “You’ve got to tell [husband] to put family first.  Don’t wait.”

He was speaking from his own heart, from his own experience.  He and my aunt never had children.  They are the ones I wrote about earlier — they tried for years and finally decided they couldn’t take it anymore.  I could hear the pain in his voice as he warned me not to make the same mistake of watching and waiting, hoping it will just happen.

*My grandma gave birth six times in seven years, which is a different kind of struggle and one I don’t envy (cue my constant refrain about reproductive choice meaning all choices).  I’m not upset at all by her response — she made do with her circumstances and expects me to do the same — but all the same it took me aback just a little in the moment.

**Yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Or six.  I’m still thinking over whether I want to post about that in this space — which is one of the reasons for my long absence.