Tuesday, March 22, 2011

limping along

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).

That's all.


  1. Oh my, I loved this sentence: "but I refuse to live in a world with no children AND NO COOKIES." Thank you for making me smile. I really needed it.

    I love the idea about a guide to blogging for temperments. I too am a choleric and literally have to pry myself away from the keyboard sometimes because I so want to correct whatever perceived wrong was written (my perception that is) - whether it be an incorrect statement of the faith, or other rather mundane things but that get under my skin and I feel as is it is my job to set the wrong right and the world will stop turning if I don't (I wish I was being dramatic, but sometimes this is how I feel). But for me as well, this usually doesn't turn out well. I don't have a thick skin, so even if I get momentary relief from saying something, I immediately start worrying that I said it rudely, without charity, and the person is going to hate me forever. I have been known to send apology e-mails before I even hear back from the person! ;) Yes, I need help.

    That being said, over the last year or so, I resort to just e-mailing the person directly if I have a concern or need to get something off my chest and this approach seems to have worked much better (and is used very infrequently, as lately, the battles I have been waging in my mind have taken precedence and I am losing the will to engage in debates with other people. I need a respite somewhere). But in all of this, I am trying to work on my issues of pride, which rears its ugly head all too often in my life. Lord, have mercy.

    Sorry for talking a novel in your com box, but this really resonated with me and I appreciate your insights. Thanks for being you and for your honesty.

  2. i still read :) i think you would be the perfect person to collect and edit entries for the "introduction to blogging for the four temperaments". i'll be your sanguine entry ;-)

  3. Well here I am. A fat girl with ALL the terrible symptoms and suffering of IF and Endo and thyroid madness who refused to give up cookies and more. I did give up coffee because darn it IT does increase miscarriages and I already had enough of that in my portfolio and if you are going to be a Mom at 40 and you find yourself pregnant well eliminating the caffiene until 12 weeks is a good idea. But, I am sure I had my sips and I did drink tea when I just had to have it. Also, the problem with caffiene is it messes up blood flow so I just upped my FISH OIL and was on blood thinners. But, essentially what I am trying to say is, OF COURSE you can not live in a world where depravation becomes everything. NO,no,no. While it is true that sugar screws up ovulation there is a drug for this--METFORMIN. There are many medications for many things that IF women have a stronger reaction to. Do you get my drift? I mean to say that medication can override things, if necessary.

    Oh and I gave up carbs while pregnant because Metformin made me sick. But I shot myself up with Insulin. Lo and behold my baby ended up coming out on the small side! I knew I was starving! I should have eaten more!!!

    Sorry this is so long! But, you nailed it.

  4. I hope your house purchase goes smoothly from here! Interested to hear how this blog transforms with time...

  5. I agree with JBTC about emailing the person(s) about your feelings. It is a completely honest feeling and it would bother me to not be able to get it off my chest. I don't see anything wrong with that. I would actually respect someone more for stepping up and saying something. I have had a few people email me outside the blog to ask me questions/give comments/etc...so this seems to me to be a good idea.

    I'm on the no wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine diet right now and it is starting to bug! ha! Now I do have to admit, it has made my eating life 10x healthier! But I do also agree with your ending paragraph (hilarious!). I don't think that if I eat one of those things every now and then will prevent me from pregnancy. Now too much, yeah, that might cause some irritation, but not a cookie!!! haha. Now you have me craving a cookie. THANKS:)

  6. On your recent realization: I suffer from that, too. The minute I start getting defensive (overly so), even if I am right on something, I know there’s more to it and I need to step back and figure out why I’m being that way.

    Here’s the thing about comments. I don’t think it is all about playing nice and as I’m fond of saying, life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows (Ask Marie – she’s heard me say it a ton) and sometimes posts, comments, and thoughts will reflect that. It happens. But when I see *truly negative* comments, I have to wonder what the purpose behind it was and try as I might, I rarely see a benevolent reason for it. That’s not kosher with me at all. So my big rule of thumb for leaving less-than positive comments: is there a beneficial reason behind me wanting to do it or am I just trying to make someone feel bad for whatever reason. I’m can be a confrontational person and I like a good in person debate, but even I’m not a big believer in arguing for the sake of arguing. To everything, have a purpose. There needs to be a reason and a good one at that. (BTW: I’m supposedly 90% melancholic / 10 % choleric – according to a test as I’ve never studied the different temperaments – if that helps you on your how to comment endeavor).

    If I have a direct question with a blogger, wonder if I have caused offense, or felt she directed something at me, I email her directly. That’s what I would want someone to do with me and it has always worked out well. But when someone drops off, I do think that is trickier because sometimes people just do not click well, someone does not like your writing style, etc. I had it happen one time (that I noticed) and it bothered me, but in the end I didn’t push it. My big fear was being told I was boring. Probably true, but how does one recover from that?! :)

    Another blog for your writing would be great. You need to explore that talent of yours. Just sayin’.

  7. Where can I find the test for those temperaments? I've heard lots about them, but googling doesn't seem to return any real results...

    Anyway, as much as I give you a hard time (sorry!) about diet, I totally get what you are saying. There was a time when I was off dairy, that I was saying the same thing - you mean I can't have babies AND I can't have dairy?!!
    Our diseases are not our fault, no matter what we eat. Obviously, good diets can speed healing, but there's no magic solution to our endo or infertility, that's for sure. No way to know if you lived PERFECTLy - no stress, no sugar, yoga all the time - if you'd even get pregnant EVER.
    Glad things are trucking along again with the house. I'd be slightly annoyed that that douche is getting part of the commission. Doesn't seem like he earned it!
    I think that just like IF'ers that aren't pregnant suddenly find themselves reading a pregnant IF'ers blog and feeling as if they have nothing to say (because who would listen to someone who's never been pregnant?), those same pregnant IF'ers are reading the blogs of those still in the trenches, and also have nothing to say. Not that they don't want to, but they feel like they can't offer advice or relate anymore b/c they've "crossed over".
    It's weird - I feel myself pulling back from a lot of "still in the trenches" blogs, not because I don't want to comment and give them support, but because I feel like they'd click over to my blog and be all "what does SHE know? at least she's adopting soon!" or something like that.
    Like I said the other night, I've move on...to something, even though it's not parenthood yet, and it puts me in an awkward position sometimes. Not part of any group at the moment.
    As always, I am fascinated by your incredible insight into your personality and how your mind works. Very interesting post :).

  8. Just wanted to say, I still read. Mostly because you are so witty and honest. I love your style such that I'm basically always waiting for a post to see what you say next.

    And I hear you-not sure I could live in a world without cookies and without a baby. One or the other I could possibly manage. But not a privation of both.

  9. Well, I'm sorry - I totally missed hearing about your car accident! I hope you are ok.

    "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?" - I love this idea. You're a great writer.

  10. I can vouch for Ann - life definitely ain't all butterflies and rainbows and yes, I have heard it a bunch of times! But that Ann - she is a wise blogger and her advice has never led me astray. What a blessing you both are!

  11. If you start a new blog could it be about houses and beautiful furniture? Because you seem to love that and I seem to love to look at what you pull together.

  12. To answer your question on my own blog...we have to renew our license to adopt this June...we decided to go ahead and do that and wait another 4 years..but no longer. I was just happy that I didn't have to attend any training seminars as such...because of my certification. Whether we wait the four full years is in the Lord's hands...Lord willing, we'll be able to adopt a child and we won't have to wait. Lord willing.

  13. hey, there! I support your idea of starting a non-IF blog if for no other reason than the world needs more Seinfeld-style bloggers like me. My blog is about, well, nothing but I still seem to be able to fill the pages of it and keep people reading...so write away and I will HAPPILY read it if you share :).