Thursday, April 7, 2011

21 guns

Mel's post today about PETA brought out feelings that I've been reflecting on throughout this controversy:

I'm tired of fighting.

I'm not tired of fighting the disease, per se, though the thought of no more hot flashes and no longer having to spread my legs on an exam table more than once a year does make me smile.

No. I'm tired of fighting FOR the disease. I'm sick and tired of fighting against the ignorance of others. It is largest piece of baggage I carry on this journey. It is what weighs me down. As I commented on Mel's post, every time it seems as though our community makes headway in trying to educate the public about infertility, there's someone waiting to knock us back down again. Why must we always be the ones who end up with the bloodied, scraped knees?

Will there ever be a time on this road when we are the ones without the skinned knees and tears that follow?

I never defended myself as a kid. Ever. I firmly glued my ass in a corner, and I watched. I watched as other kids fought and stood up for themselves and what they believed in. And when people would say nasty things to me or push my buttons, I never pushed back. I took it like a champ in the moment; after the moment, I cried loud, large, painful tears into my pillow at night.

Infertility changed everything for me, and I've been wracking my brain this entire week to try and figure it WHY. WHY did one diagnosis change my entire attitude toward these situations? Why did I feel as though it was suddenly time to stand up and insert my freckled nose into every situation that offended me or hurt my feelings?

Sticks and stones never hurt my bones. Words did, a little. But taking away my womanhood ruined me.

No, I couldn't just sit there and take it anymore. I had to fight. I had to fight to explain to people why I was hurting. Why they hurt me. Why society hurt me. Why my body failed me. Why infertility should be considered a disease. Why I deserved to be a mom. And the list goes on.

If it wasn't about deserving the same treatment, it was about deserving special treatment. It was about wanting respect, sympathy, understanding, and courtesy. It was about wanting everything that infertility took away from me, and it was about wanting it back tenfold. It was about taking all of this anger and this hatred that I felt toward myself and my situation and spinning it into something better.

But is it better? Is it better if we are the only ones who fight for ourselves? Is it better if we constantly have to relive the heartbreak of our diagnosis or our loss? Is it better if we are the only ones in a crowded room who are screaming our heads off, and no one even turns around to look? Is it better if we are the only ones who are lying on the gravel, bruised and broken?

As I write this, I'm listening to Green Day's 21 Guns and thinking about how utterly fucking appropriate this song is for this situation.

Do you know what's worth fighting for?
When it's not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?

Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?
You're in ruins

Someone did break my heart. It was infertility. I've been fighting it ever since.

And I'm exhausted.

It's time that others fight for us, with us.


Baby Hopes said...

Break my heart. This post is so true... I could not agree more. Thank you...

Lollipop Goldstein said...

This is such an amazing, amazing post. I got chills when I read this: "Sticks and stones never hurt my bones. Words did, a little. But taking away my womanhood ruined me."

A strange coincidence was that 21 Guns was playing in my car on the ride home just now. It's a song that should be unpacked more. Because we're constantly fighting on two fronts -- fighting to build our family AND fighting against ignorance. Only one of those fights NEEDS to happen. The other fight feels like it should still happen, that we shouldn't have to go through the social emotional shit in addition to the medical emotional shit.

amiracle4us said...

I never agreed that words couldn't hurt me bc they did and do. Now, even a lack of words can hurt me.
I love this post. Life will always consist of some sort of fighting but you have to know when to say enough is enough and ask or demand help, or change coarse.

Jessica said...

Your writing is amazing!! I as an "infertle" appreciate you speaking up to PETA. Thank you!!

Josey said...

Beautiful post... wow, I agree with Lollipop about that phrase you wrote. Phew.

Carmela said...

Wonderful post! I agree with you completely. Thank you for sharing. Thank you also for speaking up to PETA.

Kaitake said...

Fantastic post, though provoking. Thank you for writing what I'm thinking! :)

nobabyruth said...

This is a beautiful and heart-wrenching post. You are a gifted writer.

I am a huge Green Day fan and 21 Guns is one of my favorite songs. It is a song about exhaustion and loss. But it's also a song of hope. As it fits into the story that the album as a whole tells, it is the point of a new beginning. I hope that you feel some of that hope as well.


Tammy (Palm Trees & Manatees) said...

This is a beautiful post. It makes me think about all the times I've been to the fertility specialist's office, and not even the nurses seem to be on my side. I mean, if they can't help fight for us, or at least fight with us and cheer us on, who can? I guess in the end it really does come down to us, and our partners, and if we're lucky, our families, friends and doctors. But until others have been there, it's so easy for them to pass it off like we're being melodramatic, so easy for them to be so completely insensitive.

You are taking such a great step in writing about it, though. As I've fought my eating disorder and my infertility, writing about my struggles has occasionally gotten though to some outsider. They'll something like, "Ohhhh, I never knew."

And that's just it. Some people never know. They don't take the time to sit down and really try to feel what it might feel like for us.

But maybe, just maybe, if we keep being open and honest, some people's hearts and minds will open up, and they will fight with us, too.

Erin said...

I teared up reading this post as I just kept thinking "that is so true". It is an exhausting fight but you have all of us standing and fighting right along side of you.

Rebecca said...

This is so incredibly true. I hate that I'm afraid to tell anyone what is happening with us because I'm too afraid to fight. I don't want to defend myself. I don't want to have to apologize. And, so, I miss support that might actually be there waiting for me because I don't want to deal with the people who would put me down.

Kelly said...

Agreed. Most importantly, I'm tired of even having to fight because others are so ignorant.

I'm tired, too. We are always told not to care about what others think but for me, the isolating nature of all of this makes it so much worse.

Amanda said...

What a beautiful and heart-wrenching post. I completely agree with you. I haven't been as vocal as really are an inspiration to me.

Trisha said...

So, so true! Big hugs to you and thanks for being a voice that speaks out!

bodegabliss said...

What an amazing post. I guess I hadn't really thought about it like that yet, although I do think part of my fighting IS trying to get others to fight for us, too. But I just hadn't realized it. I wrote a post about this once, how this community is wonderful and awesome, but what we really need to do is get people out side of it talking about it, too. But that's different than fighting for us. Or maybe it isn't?

Thanks for the post, Katie.

marriage20 said...

Beautiful post, Katie!

Lavender Luz said...

Powerful post -- I'm glad you're speaking your piece now.

But I'm sorry that you're experiencing IF :-(.

I will never hear that song now without thinking of this post.

Anna said...

Great post! So well said.

rebecca said...

Absolutely loved this post! I've felt similar at times, tired of educating others all the time about infertility and feeling the pain of their judgement and misconceptions. Thank you for sharing such a raw, authentic, powerful post!

one-hit_wonder said...

I'm here via Mel's blog. Well said (especially the lines Mel pointed out). I linked to this post on my blog.

Christina said...

Such a great and moving post! I too was a wallflower and a doormat. I'm not sure why or how, but IF seems to have made me stronger and I stand up for myself and others more now than I did before. Maybe it has something to do with the intensity of the unfulfilled want?

From the Friday blog roundup.

Slackie O. said...

Thank you for being stronger than I am right now. Thank you for being someone I want to emulate one day if I can find my backbone.

Those of us who are still sat in that corner need to know it might just be OK to join the fray.

myinfertilitywoes said...

Thank you for writing this. I still need to process it and am at a loss for a good insightful comment other than thank you :)

Mina said...

Congratulations for being so articulate, for finding words to express deep feelings and raw emotions (people usually think it is easy when they read them written by someone else, which is not true, I mean easy, at all), and also, last but not least, for writing them correctly (thank you, 'per se' and not 'per say'...).
And I know you might have heard it so often and gotten tired of it, but I am sorry that you have to fight IF. I can't help you with your IF battle, but I can and am helping in the battle against ignorance.

Kate said...

Sometimes you stop fighting. You stop trying to right the wrongs, you stop educating people on the differences in adoption terms and their beliefs about IF treatment. You stop fighting for others rights to proceed with treatment because you're done, and tired. You cease advocating and helping because you're too defeated by the disease that took your spirit, your potential to be a mother, your friendships and eventually your marriage. Sometimes you stop fighting, but for those who CAN and DO still fight, I commend you.

AL said...

Katie, your advocacy has been so inspiring to me. I still can't bring myself to officially come out as an infertile on Facebook. I hope that sometime soon I can follow suit and post about it, but it's so frustrating when my usually sympathetic, smart, intelligent friends, are SO dismissive of my pain. I feel like there's not a chance in hell of anyone understanding. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try, I just don't know if I'm strong enough.

Adele said...

Katie, this is another thoughtful post. This fight is so very, very hard.

TheKirCorner said...

Hi, I am here from the blog roundup (very late and I apologize for that) but your words , well they should be on BLOGHER at least.
This post was so personal, but it spoke to every woman who has sat in an RE office , praying for her own miracle. Every woman who has decided to go to the EASTER/CHRISTMAS/4th of july/Wednesday dinner and deal with all the ignorance instead of hiding from it that day and has come away with a tension headache because of all you have to unload to people who love you. In our effort to educate and change the tide of the way people view IF, we often lose ourselves. it's bad enough that this disease takes our womanhood, but it takes our sanity too.

Thank you for writing this, do you mind if I tweet it? I won't do it unless you say yes...but I think that a lot more people IF and Fertile needto read this, to understand how and why and what we fight each day.


Crossed Fingers said...

Once again, fantastic posts. I think once you start standing up for yourself, you can never sit back down again.