We seem to have smoothed things over with the realtor and I believe the transaction is moving along (which means the bank still has to approve our offer). Of course, until it does, we won't start any of the inspections or other contingencies (why waste our money on inspection fees before we're sure we'll be allowed to buy the house?), so the deal could still fall through if, say, the roof is falling off and the sellers refuse to adjust the price accordingly. I really hope this does not happen, because if I have to yell at too many more people about this house, I am not going to want to live in it.
I am realizing in life in general that I need to find a way to do confrontation ruthlessly but with entire calm. I know people who have this skill (lawyers, among others), and I can master the behavior in any given (brief) setting (I can drive a hard bargain for my clients without getting angry if I have to), but once I stop paying careful attention and do what comes naturally, I lose my temper very rapidly. I need to work on that.
I've also realized recently - the car accident made this blindingly obvious - that I really lose my temper when I can tell that I feel guilty, but I know rationally that I am in the right. I can't make the feeling of guilt go away even though I know I haven't really done anything wrong, and of course I am angry with myself, but I take it out on the nearest target - the person starring in the little drama in which I feel guilty, generally. Of course I yell about something the person has actually done, so he has no way to know the real reason for the yelling. It isn't very productive, and it doesn't really make me feel better even at the time (I feel more guilty as a direct result, of course).
With the car accident, of course, I felt that I was being punished for running a yellow light like a bad person - even though the traffic convention around here is to run yellow lights, even though it's perfectly legal, and even though I knew that the other driver ran a red light. I was convinced that because I had not behaved well, as my punishment, the police would disbelieve me and I would end up with a misdemeanor record and have to pay for both cars - which of course I also understood was unjust, because the accident was 100% the other driver's fault and I was minding my own business, driving like a competent person, and lost hours of my day and my beloved car as a result of someone else's incompetence. But I still feel like I got away with something when a witness later called the police to say he saw the whole thing and she ran a red light and hit another car (mine). None of this is rational.
Last night we did the second women's spiritual reflection, on "the four temperaments" (a good summary). I think these things tend to be a little reductionist (observing the different ways in which other people approach the world is both useful and a good way to grow in compassion, but people can't be wedged entirely into neat little boxes). But it was interesting to see people start self-identifying and discussing their particular challenges approaching the world. Amusingly, the cholerics (yes? What?) and melancholics self-identified immediately, the cholerics more vocally. The sanguine people spent the entire discussion confused about what type they were, having identified with all of the descriptions. The phlegmatics later acknowledged they had identified themselves readily - but none of them spoke during the entire discussion.
While I don't want to put too much stock in this, already since the discussion last evening I've been making little adjustments in my thinking to account for the fact that my constant state of umbrage at the things that other people do may not be a product either of mental illness or a grossly incompetent world (my typical assumptions), but just my personality. I do think that I've taken on far more anger than I used to have, and I wonder whether I wouldn't have come out as melancholic ten years ago. Although my parents tell bizarre (apparently true) stories about how I had a finely developed sense of moral outrage as a toddler.
It crossed my mind - though I did not offer this at the spiritual reflection - that the biggest danger for the choleric is blogging, and IF blogging in particular. I have a relatively thick skin (easily outraged, not that easily hurt), but even I would rather people like me than not, particularly if I like them. But it occasionally happens that someone I like very much wants nothing to do with me. Probably loathes me but doesn't say so. Sometimes it takes me a long time to figure this out (I'd have to monitor every comment on every blog to know that I was being avoided personally), and there are always other possible reasons - almost everyone who gets pregnant immediately stops reading my blog, for example (though there are a few mommies who still follow me, and of course vice versa, and they are some of my favorite people of all), and I'm wordy and people have limited time.
Once I realize there's a problem, I don't necessarily know what I did (it's possible I didn't do anything, but odds are I said something very offensive that didn't strike me as offensive at all). So what to do? Try to guess what the offense was and apologize? Call the person out for not contacting me directly to clear up the problem? Or just leave the person alone? We're all allowed to have people we like and don't like. Of course, if you hold a grudge against me and never tell me why, it stands to reason that I won't like you...but that probably doesn't matter a whole lot.
I will say that blogging has been very good for me on that same score. I tried to internalize the IF blogging etiquette immediately (thank you, Stirrup Queen), and I know that you're not allowed to leave negative comments, no matter how strongly you disagree; that's contrary to the IFosphere's purpose as a safe haven. (Consistent with this idea, I try very hard never to discuss politics on my blog, as that seems simply to invite discord.) Of course, not everyone follows these exact rules, and I have deleted quite a few blogs from my list because I couldn't keep reading and refrain from arguing. And once in a great while, after considering the matter carefully, I have broken the rule. (It rarely ends well.)
Because I am not allowed to argue in my comments, I initially found it hard to think of anything to say. Therefore, by carefully studying the comments of those who are naturally nice people, I have developed a little vocabulary of pleasant things to say to other bloggers. I started with very small, very innocuous things, and slowly, with practice, proceeded to things that had actual substantive content and reflected my spontaneous reactions to their posts - taking care to avoid attacking them personally. Obviously, I still screw this up periodically.
So, maybe there should be an "introductory guide to IF blogging for the four temperaments." Or maybe only the cholerics need a guide - everyone else already works and plays well with others? Now I am accepting this in too reductionist a fashion.
Otherwise, I suppose, life is not too bad. I think I'm doing OK on my Lenten things so far (always room for improvement), and I'm starting to have hope that I could have an improved spiritual life. I mean - it doesn't feel improved - I don't think my relationship with God is repaired - but I can fix the grave defects in my prayer life. Of course, if I do that and then the underlying issues don't get better, I will not be pleased, but I have to start with what I can do. (As opposed to letting God start by providing grace because I am powerless to make improvements. I know self-sufficiency is a vice, but God is not intervening. [Unless we count my taking initiative as His action, but then the distinction loses its meaning.] Am I supposed to wait forever? He's not fixing my fertility or my health, so I figure He must have a lot of spare energy with which to make other improvements in my life.)
I have also been toying with the idea of starting a non-infertility blog. Not exactly a post-IF blog...just a different one. Of course, I don't favor blogging in general, just for sufficient reasons, and absent IF, I don't have a sufficient reason. Of course, absent IF, I also don't have any connection to a community of readers, so maybe it would be nice just to make a pretty space and put good writing and start working toward being a more whole person. With nobody reading. That could be all right.
In any case, I'm looking for a concrete way to take a step forward in life (and am not enthusiastic about doing so by giving up gluten and dairy and sugar. By the way, I want to find examples of endo sufferers who have jumped on the food-is-killing-my-body bandwagon and lived exclusively on field greens until they shriveled away and still did not get pregnant, because 100% of the anecdotal evidence seems to be to the effect that refusing to eat real food will cure your endometriosis, and I believe that that "sample" set is self-selecting and therefore unreliable. At minimum, I will document that before I leave the IFosphere. People should not be made to feel responsible for their childlessness because of their wanton insistence on having a ham and cheese sandwich and a cookie every now and again. I can live without children, but I refuse to live in a world with no children AND NO COOKIES, and the people who claim that if I would only give up the cookies I could have children are (a) full of crap and (b) ignoring the obvious fact that in order to prove them wrong I would have to live for a time with NO CHILDREN AND NO COOKIES, and that is inhumane).