Tuesday, August 20, 2013
In the last several days, families across the country have been preparing to send their kids off to new school year. Commercials, newspaper and magazine articles and Facebook posts are all revolving around "back to school.". How excited am I!?!?! Ummm... not so much! While everyone is out buying uniforms and school supplies and new shoes, I'm still trodding along in my normal routine, trying to fill my gas tank, pick up prrscriptions and get to work. But thus is one of those times of year (and there are several) when we childless people become invisible. We have nothing to contribute to the conversations of our friends, neighbors and coworkers, as they go on and ON about how tough it is to get their little ones ready for kindergarden, their teens ready for their sports, and their older kids moved into dorms and apartments. I stand by and watch... offering help to my SS21 and my "surrogate kid,"and occasionally being taken up on my offer, so I feel at least marginally helpful. But, I must admit it is a little easier to deal with this year - perhaps because I'm just getting used to being an outsider, perhaps because of the reality of a hysterectomy in my not-too-distant future, maybe a combination of several things. But it still feels isolating, being on the outside of these nearly universal experiences. And it's lonely on the outside.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Once upon a time, I was in college studying art. I was pretty good. I can actually draw and paint fairly well. All I ever wanted to do was draw and paint... maybe teach art. But I never got support from my family to have that be any more than a "hobby." I should have been stronger. I should have asserted myself. I should have gone after what I wanted, no matter who said it was illogical, impractical or impossible. But I didn't. I folded. I did exactly what I knew would get me the support and praise I so desperately wanted: I went to law school. I graduated and it took me nearly 7 years to pass the bar exam, but I finally did. I took an attorney position with the State and eventually met my now husband... who is the very best part of my life today. Not many years after we married, the child issues surfaced and it became clear I would never have children of my own. Both losses - my art and my parenthood- have been a constant struggle for me. And they continue to be. All these years later, I am 44 years old, I can't remember the last time I drew or painted, I have no children of my own and, as a cherry on top, I have excruciating pain from endometriosis. And while I do crochet to fill some of the creative void, and have a stepson and a "surrogate kid" whom I love and who help me to fulfill some of my maternal instincts, those things are just NOT cutting it anymore. I feel like a big, fat, giant failure. I'm in a job that is not fulfilling, to say the very least. I have no place to paint. I have no children. I am nothing I thought I would be. Certainly, I could get off my dead ass and clear out the back room to give me a space to make art, but I truely feel trapped, stuck... to quote The Replacements... you can't move, you can't breathe...like quicksand. I can barely drag myself out of bed to go to the hell hole I call work, much less come home and clean and sort and throw away. I feel like a huge disappointment to the possibilities that I had, trapped by school loans, depression, pain and fear, and I have no idea to get out.