#MicroblogMondays - The Home Stretch to Showing

Three days from now our house will be on the market. I'm over it and so exhausted that I'm taking time off of work to clean and stage. Except that I'm over the cleaning and the purging and the organizing too. My body has fun ways of telling me I'm overextended and this time was no exception, developing an eyelid infection last Thursday that is now going away, but I still look a little bit hung over.

3 more days....

It's like finals week.

 

#MicroblogMondays - Ugh

There was no downtime this weekend save for a movie date night S and I had on Friday in anticipation of total suckage the rest of the weekend. I took Friday and today off to paint. (I hate painting) Also, Friday was the last day of school so I went to X's classroom to hang out for a little while before rushing off to buy paint and meet the tub refinishing guy. In the afternoon both kids were dropped off at gparents so that S and I could spend a romantic weekend of house repair. Saturday was a whole morning of inspecting the new house, in which we were sorely disappointed in the state of the electrical and plumbing. Saturday afternoon we hit the painting in the basement and then took a nice Saturday night trip to a big box hardware store. Sunday brought more painting for me, soccer and generally trying to keep it together in a house that is currently in various stages of repair and chaos. New light fixture in the bathroom looks like shit but it's the only one that fits, tub is refinished but we haven't used it yet so half our stuff is in the downstairs bathroom and half is upstairs. We took out the shitty medicine cabinet and replaced it with a mirror because that makes sense in a tiny bathroom. But hey, it looks better! The family room in the basement is covered in tape and furniture is pushed to the middle causing all kinds of havoc. The office and laundry room are dumping grounds for all kinds of random crap. 

Getting a house ready for sale sucks.  

When it Rains...

I had this whole post written previously and then hit some random button that deleted the whole block. Awesome. That about sums up how things are going right now. Although, until a few days ago, I thought I was feeling better and now that I've been at a full dose instead of a half dose of my meds that was taking the edge off. But....really....probably not. Sometimes that stuff is smoke and mirrors and things happen indicating that I'm not well all things considered. I think this is more anxiety than depression because I have energy, I'm doing my normal routine stuff and enjoying activities. I feel like I'm in high alert much of the time though...so...anxiety. Case in point, on my travels, I had a couple of eff-it nights, once by myself and once with colleagues. I drank too much and gave myself a hangover. And, if I'm totally honest, having a slight hangover on the weekends has been a somewhat regular occurrence over the past few weeks. Not doing well = coping.  

A few updates to put this all in perspective from my last post:

I traveled two weeks in a row - one shorter trip and one long trip that got longer when my flight back was delayed by 3 hours and I luckily managed to get on a flight that left a mere 2 hours after my regularly scheduled flight. That was a bummer.

 I called my uncle and had a good talk with him. There is definite dysfunction in my bio-family and two of the four brothers passed away from alcoholism (my bio-dad passed away in 2005). I learned a little bit more about bio-dad and the family, and probably the most jarring was being told that I look like my paternal grandmother. Also that my middle name was her first name. Not sure if my mom ever told me that. I have the number of the other brother, uncle J and it seems that he and Uncle B don't communicate very much. In fact, it sounds like Uncle J's wife has been the searcher for me and my brother. She's the one who found my F-B page. 

My gym is having a challenge and I'm pushing myself harder physically than is typical. It's awesome feeling stronger and noticing that I'm building muscle. In fact, it's kind of been a life-saver keeping me from going too far down the rabbit hole and giving me a concrete goal to work towards. That being said, I've now been moved to tears while working out. Guess there is a lot of crap surfacing.

The Integrative Pain PT seems to be helping. My second appointment showed less screwed up muscles than the first. It's hard to explain how it works because it's all neurological based and they do tapping and probing of areas of the body to make the nerves fire correctly. It all feels like voodoo, but then again, I'm pushing myself hardcore in the gym and have yet to backslide into pain. The stretch has had a lot to do with that too, it's been two weeks since my last one and I'm noticing that I don't have to treat as many trigger points with the handy dandy lacrosse ball.

X's and Z's behaviors are going downhill probably due to developmental leaps on Z's part at 2.5 and X's looming end of kindergarten and birthday all around the same time. Awesome. We're doing as well as we can, but the yelling has increased and neither S nor I are being great about using better discipline techniques. That's just an on-going journey through therapy and overcoming our instincts. Ugh.

And...now for the big news.....

We're buying a house.

We weren't planning on buying a house yet.

Here we are, 2 months out from closing, frantically moving up the landscaper, finding a carpet installer and addressing all the little shit we've been putting off forever. How does this happen, you ask? Or maybe you don't, because it does happen, much like infertility. In our case, it's analogous to the couples who think that it may take a while to get pregnant and then *bam* pregnant on the first month. 

The rest of the story is that we have been coming around to the idea that this neighborhood is not ideal for our family. We looked at the NY Times Race Map, and our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods are 90-96% white. Also, it's a pain in the ass to get to X's and eventually Z's school even though it's only 3.5 miles from our house. From our current location, it can easily take 20 minutes in typical traffic and more in heavy traffic because of the number of major congested intersections we need to get through. After talking it over we decided to start looking around at neighborhoods around the school and while they are still 80% white, they are adjacent to more diversity overall. There's a higher percentage of high density apartment and condo housing and all the shopping areas in those parts are more diverse.

Well, S found a listing of a house that piqued his interest and that I brushed off because it was further away from the school than I wanted to be (but an easier 10 min drive compared to our nightmare 20 min drive). It was also more than we wanted to pay as we'd like to make a lateral move financially, not take on a bigger mortgage 20 years out from retirement. Then, the price dropped to our range, and S called me while I was traveling to say he thought we should get a Realtor and look at it over the weekend. I was surprised because I have never seen S get excited about a house. When we looked at this house we are in now, I was the one who pushed putting in an offer, he was still on the fence. This was totally different. He was excited to see it, and I was the one thinking that we'd see it and realize that we'll be able to find something similar when we are ready. Obviously that didn't happen. I took one step into the house and it took my breath away. This is the closest I could get to a dream house without designing it myself. I'm excited to decorate it, and even more excited that the loan will be the same as ours now for a house and yard that are literally twice the size and three times as nice. Best of all, I told X's therapist about the house location and she approves of our choice for X and our family overall! There you go, a little more stress for the summer....

 

 

What to do With this Vulnerability?

I've been pondering calling my uncle, but something keeps holding me back. I had planned on doing it on this current business trip, and despite having a lot of time this afternoon and evening, I couldn't pull the trigger. Maybe tomorrow?

I had a therapy appointment, and not much was resolved, although I talked about how it felt to talk to Stretch Guy and what happened in that appointment. I guess I was disappointed that she seems so out of tune with the idea of mind-body connection, although she acknowledged that it's likely attachment issues surfacing, especially given the tenuous attachments in my family. Still, I hire her to help guide me through this stuff, not to sit there and say, "Wow, that's really interesting, I suppose there could really be a connection". It's probably time to go therapist hunting. Oh, and she keeps talking about how I need to get past my anger at my mom, and offers some ideas for communicating with her, but none of them resonate. Yeah...I know...I need to find a new therapist.

I still feel raw from my talk with Stretch Guy, and after another session with him, it's only slightly better. I was anxious walking into his office, and then he called out me out on acting like I don't want to be there (I don't, duh). We had yet another talk before I got on the table and this time I started crying before stretch even started. He asked some pretty probing questions, and I responded truthfully instead of shutting him down like I wanted to. He inquired about my support at home, and his response was almost hilarious, "You found yourself a strong man". If I weren't so fucking wrapped up in my shit in that moment I probably would've starting laughing. Then again, there is a bit of insight in what seems like an odd comment considering how I've been treating Stretch Guy, showing up anxious and negative. He's probably wondering what the hell kind of relationship I could be in given the little he's seen of me. And, he's right: S has to be strong to put up with his wife in emotional crisis. That being said, I actually felt better overall during this session as Stretch Guy asked some guiding questions and kind of helped me process a little bit. And bonus, my shoulders were more open, responded to the stretch better and that's a win!

I still can't stop thinking about whether I want to continue working with him though. He's recommending I check out another therapist after my tepid response to his questioning about my current therapist. In one of my earlier sessions before the emotional tornado hit, he recommended I go to an Integrative Pain PT, which I finally did, and that was interesting. It's something that only takes a few sessions to clear some of the dysfunctional movement out of my body, so I'm down with that. I guess it's nice that he's willing to help, but I'm kind of suspicious at the same time. I don't know why I'm suspicious, he's fucking offering to be an ally and to help me for crying out loud.  I've got at least 3 weeks before my next availability for an appointment, so I'll let it simmer a little and see if I can get my internal dialogue to calm the fuck down before I go back in.

 

I Was Vulnerable and it Didn't Kill Me

I was writing this post and then I got the phone call. Here it is out of sequence, but oh so relevant to the week I had. 

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This was a week. A f-ckin WEEK. My whole group (9 of us) minus our supervisors (phew) took a 2 day Emotional Intelligence training. It was trigger-iffic for me, the girl who is decidedly uncomfortable discussing emotions with anyone outside the tiny circle I let in. 

The day after that class was the talk with Stretch Guy. The one Therapist told me I needed to have given how I was reacting to this specific body work. Let me walk you through my morning. First, I didn't sleep well at all. Then, I dragged my ass to the gym and worked out really tired and became nauseous. While attempting to telework, about 9am, the anxiety really kicked in. By 9:30am I couldn't think. By 10:30am I was ready to throw up. I drove to the office a giant vibrating ball of anxiety and fear. All kinds of fear. The fear that makes you not want to put one foot in front of the other. I was a few minutes early and waited outside picking at my nails until the client ahead of me left. His dog came out to greet me at one point and I distractedly petted him trying to calm down. 

When I walked into the room, I couldn't look at him because I was too worked up, too scared. I managed to get out my rehearsed sentence, this type of work is affecting me emotionally. His first question, was what's happening? I answered it's making me cry and I feel weird and awkward.  His second question: Is it me or the work? Because if you're uncomfortable with me, I'm happy to help you find another stretch therapist. No, it's not you, its the work. And then began reassurance; It's normal, it happens all the time and I see all kinds of reactions, this is a vulnerable position for you to be in, opening up the body can make emotions rise. Do you want to continue working with me, because I'm happy to help you find another therapist. What is the emotion? 

Sadness.  

After being given permission to let go, I did it. And because I wasn't fighting the urge to cry, I figured out what triggers the crying. There's a stretch to open the shoulder that involves repetitive motion with the therapist against the body. I'm turned away, my arm is in a bind and he's sitting against me to get leverage. It feels like being rocked like a baby. Tears started leaking out of my eyes. My brain? It went straight to "daddy"

Holy shit.  

I fucking have daddy issues. No wonder, right? The dad who I was taken from/abandoned by, and the dad who took his place. I don't think I attached to either one. 

I still bawled in my car after, but didn't feel as weird about it, and the rest of my day was really difficult. The next day the phone call came blowing my entire week out of the water.  

In talking with therapist at my next appointment, conveniently scheduled a few days after the session and subsequent phone call, I wondered if I went to daddy because he's a male therapist. If it was a female therapist would it be mom? Her take was maybe not as I have an attachment to my mom even though it's ambivalent. I don't seem to have an attachment to my dad much at all. Could I really be going all the way back to infanthood? She posited that yeah, it could be infanthood. 

The timing of all of this is insane. I never believed in everything happens for a reason, preferring to believe that everything is a coincidence. That I started working with stretch guy a few months prior to this phone call and these emotions started surfacing? It is the weirdest of coincidences that I've ever experienced. 

Shock

I tried to have a normal Saturday. Until I told a friend of mine as we started on the March for Science what had transpired yesterday afternoon.  

It's been a day of thinking I can keep it together enough to call my uncle B to sobbing uncontrollably as I try to drive to Trader Joe's. And then marveling over the timing of it all. 

I Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Hum-Drum Friday with News

Today, after lunch, when I was sitting down to address a couple of e-mails, my work phone rang. It was number I'm not familiar with, but I don't always recognize area codes, and I figured it was a headhunter or something.


This is Geochick

Geochick! This is your Uncle B!!

Who?

Your Uncle B!, You know, I'm J's brother.

Uh, I'm sorry, I don't think I have an Uncle B or J, do you have the right number?

Yeah, your name is Geochick, right?  Your mom is Sally Someone, and your dad is Davey Dolittle.

WHAT!?

Oh my God, I'm going to kill J, I thought he already contacted you.

How did you find me?

We've always wondered how you and your brother were doing....


Dear readers, I've been found by the other half of my family.

 

p.s. Kind of a tough call to get at work.

Fas.cial Stretch Therapy and Emotions?

I hadn't heard of this type of bodywork until I started working out a new gym and totally jacked up my upper back and neck. For about 2 months, I would get slightly better, then try upper body work again and backslide into pain. It was a time of not being able to sleep, not being able to turn my head, and my tried and true Act.ive Rel.ease Ther.apy (A.R.T) chiropractor not being able to make it better. Enter a suggestion to try Fasc.ial Str.etch The.rapy (F.S.T) in conjunction with the ART, so I gave it a go. Here's the upshot: yes, it's helpful, yes it worked when I did both of those things together, and yes I definitely need it. But it also seems to be tapping into something else.

Quick explanation - F.S.T is basically assisted stretching that's done on a massage table fully clothed. Generally it's pretty gentle (unless you're really tight, then it can get uncomfortable like deep massage can), and that's about it. It's also, in my opinion, way more intimate than massage. Are you thinking, how can being naked be less intimate than fully clothed? Well, the practitioner in F.S.T uses their body to assist in the stretching. It's all touching, bracing, and repeated movements to put traction on joints. 

Several sessions in of F.S.T and several things start happening:

  • At first, I'm happy with the results and the way it feels after I'm done with the sessions. Generally I feel lighter, kind of like after a massage.
  • But then...I start getting nervous around the stretch guy for no good reason.
  • Stretch guy keeps saying I'm holding a lot of stress and recommends I see an integrative-type practitioner who does work on the mind-boy connection. (blah blah blah, everyone says that to me and I tell him it's not stress dammit, I just have tight muscles)
  • I have nightmares (this was in the thick of trying to get my muscles to release and when I wasn't sleeping well).
  • On two occasions I almost cry on the table, but manage to make it to my car before completely breaking down into sobs. I feel overwhelmed and sad and maybe guilty. 
  • I fall down a rabbit hole of Go.ogle because WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON 
  • I start to psychoanalyze myself (yeah, based on interwebs), learn a new concept (Transference) and it gets more confusing. Is it emotion being brought up by the bodywork, is it shame that he's touching me in ways that no one ever has? Am I transferring my emotional crap to him and making him play a part, or am I just making shit up in my head?

...and then I see Therapist and got around to the fact that I don't like to be touched by other people. S and my kids are the exception. I don't like to be touched by my parents, and until the past several years as an adult, my mom never wanted to hug me goodbye. She tried to do it regularly for a while and I hated it. So, let's get to attachment issues! The stretch is gentle and rhythmic and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. I don't think I'm in touch with that part of my nervous system very often. I'm the person who will lie in savasana in a yoga class and either make lists in my head, or try to coach myself into relaxing. I don't hug my friends goodbye unless everyone else is doing it, and once when a guy friend gave me a quick hug I thought he was nuts. The more I learn about myself, the more I'm amazed I ever managed to have a healthy relationship. The exception to the rule is S. It always is. We are tactile, we snuggle every night, we kiss and hug in front of our kids frequently. In fact, we do it enough that X has started initiating family hugs when he sees us hugging. That NEVER happened in my family growing up. When it comes down to it, I don't have any memories in the forefront of my mind of my parents touching me in a gentle and loving way. I remember the yelling, the spankings, and generally feeling like I did something wrong. So, the only guy who touches me a lot is S. And now I have this other guy touching me in a gentle way that I only recognize as a way that a spouse should touch me. Confusion? Fear? Sadness? Check, check and check.   

So, I have homework to do when I feel up to it. I am to make another appointment with stretch guy, tell him that I'm having an emotional reaction to this bodywork and see where it goes. Can you say vulnerable? I do not want to have this conversation, and I can't bring myself to make another appointment yet. The last appointment I had was one of the breakdowns, and not only that, but I walked into the office a giant ball of anxiety and felt weird and awkward the entire session. I couldn't relax, I didn't talk beyond the couple of minutes prior to starting and was pretty short with him. He didn't talk the whole session and I felt even weirder. Like, was my mood affecting him or was he just going with my black cloud attitude and figured I wasn't up for talking? Whatever it was, I got another little "take care of yourself" pep talk at the end. I don't really understand how people think I don't do take care of myself. I'm the mom who will take a day off work and both kids stay in daycare/afterschool care until their normal times. I escape from the house in the mornings because I can't stand the chaos of the morning routine. I go to the gym several days a week. I ride my bike. I travel and leave S to single-parent while I luxuriate in a solid 3-star hotel. What else am I supposed to do to "take care of me"?

Part of me wants to have this conversation.  I keep running through scenarios in my head trying to get ready for every reaction from him in order to be ready to protect myself, and that's exhausting.  Admitting that I'm afraid to cry when I'm in the middle of a session is the worst. Is that shame jabbing at me again? I don't want to be vulnerable with someone who is a stranger. Hell, I can't even be vulnerable with people I consider my girlfriends. ARGH, I don't know! I want to know, but I don't want to initiate this!  

In past times, this would be where I terminate the therapy (yep, totally have cut and run on therapists just when they are getting to the root of the issues). I feel like I'm trying to do that here. It's different because it isn't psychotherapy, but there's that emotional, vulnerable element that I don't want to admit to another person. 

 

Conferences, the Double Edged Sword

I have a love/hate relationship with conferences. On the one hand, a good way to network. On the other hand, I have to network?!!! fuck that.  

This one was especially fraught. Shit hitting the fan on a couple of my projects. Blowback from people who should know better. Whose. job am I supposed to do? Everyone's? 

I'm hiding for a little bit before the closing banquet. 

 

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The Fading Pain

X received a birthday card from S's aunt. This birthday card came in the same envelope with another birthday card.

S was confused for a minute, and turned to me kind of laughing. At first, I think he thought his aunt got Baby Z's birth date wrong.  Staring at the envelope with the name on it, it took a few seconds to sink in.

"Happy Birthday Axton."

Now, the realization that said aunt is totally clueless about our family could have hit me like a ton of bricks, but it didn't. Brick, by brick by brick, little by little I broke down.

1st reaction: You've gotta be kidding me.

2nd reaction: Is she that stupid?

3rd reaction: I need to sit down on the bed for a minute and then I can join the rest of the family for dinner.

4th reaction: Sobbing at the dinner table.

I was surprised at how hard it hit me, considering that I really don't think about Axton much. Every now and then, I come across pictures that I can't seem to delete from my computer and I wonder what he's like. At this point, 3 years removed from the failed placement, the acute pain has faded, yet, I can still be brought back to the phone call I received right after snuggling down in the couch for some kangaroo care and guilty pleasure TV on my first day of maternity leave.

It's like that for infertility too. When in the grips of infuriating cycles resulting in BFNs; invasive testing; invasive homestudies; long adoption waits; failed placement; failed match; it seems like nothing will ever feel the same again. It feels like the pain will haunt forever. Except that it doesn't. I wonder if everyone going through this experiences the same trajectory. It's just not at the forefront of my mind, and pregnant women elicit more of a 'gee they're lucky' response instead of the 'that fucking bitch has no idea how lucky she is response' I used to have. 

The biggest issue I have right now is wondering if I might magically get pregnant when I don't want to (S is a big fat chicken who won't make his appointment). I obsessively track my cycles hoping for a period to show up, and I don't think about infertility much....is what I was going to say until I realized that hoping for a period every month is an indication that I still have, and will always have emotional issues related to infertility until I hit menopause full bore. Obviously, I need to push S again on his OUTPATIENTNOBIGDEAL procedure because I'm afraid to get busy around ovulation. I haven't wanted to get pregnant after adoption, and even explored the idea, going so far as another R.E. consultation during our wait for Baby Z. Suffice to say, I have been deep into my own psyche trying to figure out if I really needed to be pregnant, but as I said when I first decided on adoption as a option, I wanted to be a parent more than I wanted to push a kid out. Funny how that now translates to the idea of a positive pregnancy test being the worst news ever. I'm 42, and have been off of birth control for almost 10 years at this point, never saw a positive pregnancy test and perhaps had one chemical pregnancy. Chances are slim to none that I'll ever get pregnant, but I still have a weird what if knocking around my head.

Since infertility I've also pushed my body harder than ever by participating in 100-mile bike rides, and most recently joining a gym that pushes me to the edge every single workout. It's like I do these things to remind myself that body still works despite not ever working in the most basic of ways.

The pain fades, but it never goes away.