So Lonely

I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Struggling with the feeling that I matter, that I’m worth something. That I’m important.

And I’ve talked to Robby about it lately but it hasn’t helped. He’s been sweet about it, telling me that I matter, hugging me, but it just hasn’t helped. Because he’s been the one making me feel lonely. He keeps withdrawing from me, putting up this wall that I can’t get through. So I just keep trying harder. Trying to be noticed. Trying to do everything, and do it all right.

And tonight was a catastrophe, which I won’t get into, but I ended up telling him how I’ve been feeling. That he makes me feel lonely because he shuts me out. That I feel like if I don’t try and connect with him, that we will just be here but never really together. And how it’s so confusing because some days he will want to be intimate, will really be himself, will be comfortable with our relationship. But then the next he will act as though he’s just going through the motions.

And I want to take care of him, to love him, but it hurts so much to feel like he just takes and takes without giving back. Without being sincere.

Because he never follows through. He says he’s going to make changes, says he’s going to do this and that, and for a little bit he does. But then it stops. He stops being a partner in our relationship. Stops trying. And it just goes back to the way it was, with me trying so desperately to bring him back.

And I shouldn’t have to bring him back. All I want is for him to be here, really here. And every time he pulls back, or stops trying, or leaves me emotionally, it hurts.

It hurts so much.

And to be honest, I don’t know how many times I can go through this. It seems like it happens every year. But words are just words, and I have to look at the actions. And I don’t want to reach my limit. I don’t want to have to accept that it’s never going to change. So I’m going to keep trying, keep loving him, and most importantly keep telling him when he hurts me. And maybe it will get better and be real this time. But I’m so afraid that I’m going to end up alone, whether alone in our relationship time and time again, or truly alone. Without him.

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Baby?

It’s hard not to think about having kids. It’s something Rob and I both want, but at the same time feel we can’t have. At least, not right now.

We tried to conceive several years ago after we lost Jamie, and found out that I don’t ovulate, at least not with any regularity. That, combined with several other factors, led us to the decision that we should hold off on having children for a few years. When we talked about it again, we both kind of mutually agreed that we would adopt.

But now the subject has come up again, and I’ve been thinking about rainbow babies. Carrying a baby inside of me. I know it seems irrational, because we have all these good, logical reasons why adopting makes more sense, but maybe this doesn’t have to be logical.

A co-worker of mine is pregnant, and when I saw her ultrasound pictures today I was just filled with this deep sense of longing. Not anger, not jealously, but deep, heart-filled longing.

And as I was leaving work tonight, I was so sad, because having a baby is something I want so badly. And I just kept replaying the other day when Rob said “Now I just have to not get my hopes up” in reference to us being pregnant. Not that we’re trying, but we’re also not not-trying.

And I guess there is always a chance, but I just don’t really see how we could conceive. Actually, I guess I’m concerned that we wouldn’t conceive a healthy baby. If I rarely ovulate, what are the chances that we will randomly have a healthy pregnancy? And if we do decide to try, I need to switch medicines because some of the ones I am on are not safe for TTC. I am so scared to conceive while on dangerous meds. I can’t even describe how scared. In all reality, I could be pregnant now (highly unlikely, but possible), and I have even been wondering about it the last few days.  Things like, ‘huh, my breasts are sore’ and ‘man, I am really hungry’ even (sorry if this is TMI) ‘woah, weird discharge’.

Part of me wants to test and find out, and the other part of me just wants to ignore everything. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t want to find out I am. Because if I am, I have been on meds I shouldn’t be, and I could be hurting the baby. But if I am, I need to know sooner rather than later to stop the meds. But then I think I am just being paranoid and tricking myself because I want it so much.

I just don’t know what to do. Should we try again? Can we even afford a child? Are we ready for a baby? I feel like we are ready for a baby, but does being ready for a baby mean that you are ready for a 7 year old, because I do not feel ready for that. Can we handle it if we lose another child?

The Best Words

Today, one of my kids at work said the best thing to me.

I’m the homework teacher. Which means that on any given day I help 18+ kids with their homework. At the same time. It’s a non-stop barrage of “Miss Laura, I need help”, “Miss Laura, I don’t understand this”, “Miss Laura, I was next” and “Miss Laura, it’s too loud”, naturally all being yelled across the room at the same time.

But I love it. I love watching the kids learn, and helping them see what they are capable of. I love that they know that they can turn to me with their problems, and not just their homework problems. Most days, it just fills my heart.

But some days. Oh, some days.

Some days, the kids who have finished their homework can’t seem to stay quiet so the other kids can keep working, and there are a few kids who are just at each other’s throats, and someone just has to have my attention right now, and BLARG!

And today was a little bit of that. Nothing too bad though, thankfully. But there is this one little girl, M. I love her to pieces. She is in 4th grade and super smart, but also super distractable. She is in advanced placement classes, but she gets lost in her own head (yes, she has ADD) and just can never seem to focus. She has good days and bad days and man, today was a bad day. We would be working on a problem together and she would drift off while we were talking.

And I just felt that I was failing her. I knew she had homework in three subjects, and that she needed to make a significant dent in it if she wanted to avoid getting in trouble at home, but I just couldn’t get her to focus. I was getting frustrated and I wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding it, and it was finally time for me to close my room so she asked to pack her backpack back up. I told her she could, because she wasn’t going to get any more work done and that I had to leave anyway. But after she finished, she came up to me and said, ” Thank you for doing all you could to help me Miss Laura.”

It just kind of made me stop.

I had felt myself starting to go over the my time with her in my head, wondering what I could have done different, what I should have done. What the ‘right thing’ was, because I felt that I had failed. I was starting to beat myself up because I felt that I couldn’t help this wonderful little girl, and yet she still appreciated that I took the time to try.

I went over to her and put my hand on her head and said “Thank you for saying that. That really means a lot. I was just getting frustrated because I felt like I was failing you because I couldn’t get you to focus.”

And she looked at me and nodded. She went over to get something she left at a table and said, very matter-of-factly, as if that’s-just-how-the-world-works “But not focusing is my issue, not yours”

This little girl gave me a life lesson in a 2 minute conversation. Because that is how the world works. I’m not responsible for her actions, only my efforts.

I don’t know if she will ever know how much I will cherish her words.

Inside Out

“The structural decision to do without a villain, and ultimately to do without one of the easiest elements to make entertaining and marketable, means that the process Riley is undergoing — adolescence — is visualized as … normal. Her mind is not a space that’s been invaded by something that must be driven out, but a new environment to be mastered. And if other kids’ stories are there to teach kids how to be brave when they see witches and giants, Inside Out is there, maybe, to teach them how to be brave when there’s no witch and no giant, but things can feel broken anyway.”

Linda Holmes, NPR

Today, Robby and I saw Inside Out. If you haven’t seen it, go see it.

Seriously.

I’ll wait.

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So, assuming that you watched it, I’m now going to talk about it, so if you haven’t seen it, go see it now, cause otherwise I’m going to blow the plot for you.

*Spoilers*

In the movie, a young pre-teen girl (Riley) starts to realize that her days aren’t just filled with joy any more. That she is growing up. But her mom–in an off-hand manner–asks her to keep being her ‘happy little girl’. So when Riley starts struggling, she begins to hide it, and that’s when her emotions get out of whack.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Through all sorts of adventures by her little inner-emotion cartoons, Riley starts to lose parts of who she used to be. When those pieces of herself start to be lost, she stops being goofy, she withdraws from her parents, she cuts off her friends, and she abandons the sport she has loved her whole life. In a desperate attempt to try and find herself again, she decides to run away, back to a place where she was happy.

Through all of this, Joy has been desperately trying to keep Sadness at bay, to keep Riley from being sad, but Riley is so mixed up that she ends up not being able to feel anything.

She goes numb.

Until Sadness steps in.

When she was a child, Joy had always been able to cheer Riley up, but she can’t go from feeling numb to feeling joyful. She has to feel the sadness. The pain.

Because it’s part of life. It’s normal.

It’s not fun, but it’s normal. And as she realizes that the different emotions can mix and form new emotions, Riley rebuilds the pieces of herself.

Riley’s Personality Islands at the beginning of the movie

To be honest, I cried a lot during this movie. I remember those days of joy as a kid, and I remember feeling my world fall to pieces. And going numb. Except that I was numb for years. I didn’t get to rebuild thepieces of myself right away like Riley did. I didn’t start learning about those ‘new emotions’ until I was in my twenties.

And seeing the childhood that most people had, the emotions that they went through just hurt so much. Because it’s not fair. It’s not fair what I lost, what I missed. My personality ‘islands’ broke and I was just blank for years.

Riley’s Personality Islands falling apart

My ‘Friendship Island’ turned into ‘Distrustful Island’. I shut down my ‘Athletic Island’ because people kept making fun of me whenever I would do anything athletic. And my “Girlie Island’ was completely buried under self-loathing and fear of attention. I used to love to wear pretty dresses and jewelry, and having my make-up put on for dance recitals was so much fun, but once that island broke, I ran from all of that. I couldn’t bring myself to be a little girl anymore. I hid behind baggy boys clothes in dark colors. Nothing bright, nothing that would draw attention.

And I want to open those islands back up. I don’t necessarily want to dance on a stage like I did when I was 5, but I’d like to have the confidence to take a Zumba class now and then, because I genuinely enjoy it. I don’t want to be so afraid of ridicule that I don’t go to the gym on the off-chance that other people will be

Riley’s re-built personality islands at the end of the movie

there. And I’d love to be girlie sometimes. Maybe wear a pretty hair clip. I’ve always wanted to dye streaks of color, like blue or purple, into my hair, but I’ve never had the courage to do it, because it draws attention, and that’s something I am so afraid of.

I know that life isn’t all Joy, and that’s okay. I just want to rebuild myself.

Mother Yourself

I was talking to my friend today about the realizations Rob and I have had, and how we are trying to decide if we want to have another child, and she gave me some really great advice.

“Mother yourself. Imagine that your daughter had a miscarriage, you would never tell her it was her fault. You would take care of her. If you decide to have kids you first have to learn to take care of yourself, so mother that inner child”

It makes a lot of sense, because in essence that is what I’ve been doing through the therapy. I’m trying to take care of myself. To heal my inner child. But I love the way she put it. To look at it as mothering my inner child.

She also said we have to shut down that mean big sister voice that we all have. You know the one, the voice that says you’re not good enough. The voice that I have been fighting since I was 7.

So I think that instead of looking at it as if I am fighting that voice, I need to look at it as nurturing myself. I need to give myself love.

Thinking Thinking Thinking

There’s so much to think about right now.

Robby’s been struggling, and it really reminds me of what I went through. I hate that he’s struggling. And I could see the struggle coming. I wonder if he could see it coming for me. I don’t know. I was practiced at hiding my emotions, but he’s always known my heart, so maybe he did. I’ll have to ask him.

But anyways, he’s really struggling, and I just want to help him get through it. But I don’t know how. I don’t know what he needs. I don’t think he knows what he needs. My biggest concern–well, my two biggest concerns–are that 1) he won’t actively pursue therapy and 2) he will need/have to leave his job.

Active therapy, to me, is when you dig into the tough issues. You go to therapy and pull up the things you’re struggling with instead of just brushing the surface. You have to be active in dredging these things up, you can’t just let the therapist lead the appointments. It’s hard, it’s scary but it is super effective.

And I am scared that he will have/need to leave his job. I needed to when I went through something like this. And I would completely understand if that is what he needed, I’m just not sure how we would make that work. And I’m scared that he will have to leave his job because of this struggle he is facing. I know that would be devastating to him. I know logically that most men define themselves  by their work, and part of what he is struggling with is self confidence, and I’m afraid that if the worst work situation happens, it will shatter him.

Also, I’ve been really thinking about my future career path. I’ve greatly enjoyed working with kids these past few years, and it touches my heart. I don’t want to move away from it completely, but I definitely want to move back toward nature, conservation, and the earth. And I think I have a sketch in my mind of what I want my path to be.

There is a Nature Center near here and they teach children about nature and conservation. They also rescue wildlife and rehabilitate them before releasing them into the wild.

How cool is that?!?!

I want to volunteer there. I also want to take classes in order to be a certified wildlife rehabilitator. By volunteering at the nature center I will get to work with kids and teach them about nature and animals, and I will get hands on experience learning how to rehabilitate animals. From the research I’ve done, I’ll need 3 years of experience to get my 2nd level of certification for rehabilitation. The first level just requires an 8 hour class and that you care for the animal at a facility with proper equipment. My hope is that I can become a certified wildlife rehabilitator as well as teach at the nature center, and maybe (someday) become certified to be a rehabilitator for marine wildlife.

It makes me happy to feel like I’m finally seeing the right path for my life, but I feel so conflicted because I see Robby struggling so much. I feel like I shouldn’t feel so excited. I think I need to balance being excited for my future and being supportive in the present.

Things I’m Thinking

I haven’t written in forever. Part of me thinks I haven’t wanted to write. It takes too much introspection. And I’m kind of scared of the introspection. To find out if I’m truly happy.

I’m happy with most things. I like my job. It has it’s bumps and it’s aggravations, but I like what I’m doing. I love my husband and our kitties are great. I have good friends but I do with I could see them more often.

I’m frustrated with some of the personal stuff. Our day-to-day. I wish we had more time than just a few hours in the morning. I wish we did more things together. I wish Robby would be more proactive about some things, like his therapy and helping with things around the house. I wish I had the chance (and the drive) to go to the gym.

I think the main thing, the thing that all these wishes have in common, is that I wish I didn’t have to be in charge all the time. I feel like I have to take the lead. I have to be the rock. I feel like I give more than 50% of this relationship. I know that relationships are supposed to be 100%-100%, and I truly feel like I give 100%, but I guess I don’t feel like I get that back. I’m really curious to see what that survey Lori gave us reveals (more about that later).

I guess I just want to feel taken care of.

At the beginning of our relationship, when we were dating, Robby did everything he could to take care of me. And any time I’ve ever struggled with the PTSD, he has been beyond caring, and I love that. I just want him to be caring and supportive all the time. He doesn’t have to do everything for me, and I don’t want to be treated like I’m made of glass, I just want to feel as though I’m in his arms, not like he’s standing by while I live in the relationship.