Larry worked from home yesterday morning. Checking our shared Google calendars, he saw I had written in something for today.
“What’s D-Day?” he asked me, genuinely confused that perhaps he’s forgotten something important.
“Diagnosis Day,” I said, casually, taking a bite of my Fuji apple chicken salad while Judah let out a small wail upstairs. “He’s up,” I said, with full mouth. Judah has an uncanny knack for waking up just as I’m taking my first bite of a meal.
Five years ago, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Shortly after I was diagnosed, I turned to IPOFA: the International Premature Ovarian Failure Association. Recently, several sections of their website are no longer active, including a whole host of reference materials that I found invaluable to me as a newly diagnosed patient. When they announced back in November last year that these parts of their website were going away, I downloaded and saved everything before they disappeared. I wrote to them and expressed just how grateful I was for their organization and materials, and that I wanted to help.
I offered to host everything from IPOFA here, for free. Last month, after discussing it with their Board, they agreed.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be transcribing IPOFA’s many PDF info sheets and FAQ docs into individual premature ovarian failure resource pages here at The Infertility Voice, with handy PDFs for downloading as well. I’m honored to keep IPOFA’s legacy of informed patient empowerment regarding POF.
A lot has changed and happened in five years. I think on a global scale and then I even bring it down to the four walls of my own home, to the brain-space between my own two ears.
I am a very, very different woman than I was five years ago.
In years past, I’ve done something to acknowledge D-Day. One year I got a massage. Another year I went for a walk and a shopping trip to Target. Last year? Last year I completely forgot it. I was a touch preoccupied.
The pain that was once so palpable – reading the email from my doctor – my memory has numbed, become calloused-over with five years of learning to swim with the pain instead of being overwhelmed by it. Of learning how to find another itch to scratch instead of picking at the scab. For a very long time, I was very vocal about not letting my infertility define me and yet, it was an intrinsic part of my identity.
It still is, but in very different ways now. And to be candid, as much as I’ve changed, the ALI blogosphere has really, really changed in the last five years, too. I don’t know who anybody is anymore.
I’ve talked at length with Esperanza about how we both agree that the death of Google Reader last July really was the nail in the coffin on blog commenting. Kym and I agree that the rise of microblogging has eroded at the authenticity of The Blog with a Capital B. And even Brian Gardner, superstar social media and web design guru has recently rejected the web metrics rat race for simplicity, minimalism and authenticity.
With a 10-month old infant of my own now (I know, I know that stung and I’m sorry. A thousand times sorry and it’s so stupid and fucked up that almost 2 years later, I’m still apologizing) I can appreciate minimalism, cutting out the (digital) clutter. I can appreciate mindfulness, of being present in the moment. I can appreciate authenticity.
I can appreciate the need to step back. Case in point: resigning from RNE at the end of last year. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, to walk away from something that I love, that I care for, that I believe in (note: none of those are in past tense, either) because I just couldn’t keep that many balls in the air anymore.
I do not like to hear the word “no.”
(Just ask my husband.)
I don’t handle change well; although, I must say, in five years, I’ve gotten a lot better at it.
I hate quitting. I’ve struggled with a lifetime of self-doubt, that others see me as “fickle.” I have a $200 ukulele – a Hanukkah gift from 2012 – sitting in our living room that is a constant reminder of how I feel that others perceive me to be fickle and that they are justified in thinking that about me.
From the moment my clinic called me to tell me the good news, everything changed. Everything changed in my life and especially here, in this virtual space. To be honest, I’ve been a plane just circling the runway since October 2012, in this identity-crisis holding pattern of doubt: afraid to land, to disembark, to stamp my passport onto my next destination.
D-Day: Diagnosis Day. In years past, this is what today has always been. But this year?
This year it’s Decision Day.
I need to stop dicking around, playing coy about who I am, about what I want this space to be, about who this space is really for anymore. Is it for me anymore?
Decide, Keiko. Make up your fucking mind already.
Did I mention that I’m a rather indecisive individual?
Expect a complete site redesign in the next few weeks. When I get indecisive, I start tinkering with WordPress again. It’s a distraction, a coping mechanism so I don’t have to face the tough decisions. I can get all angst-y about font imports and HEX color codes and stylesheet tweaks instead of really focusing on the fact that I have a crushing amount of survivor’s guilt that makes me feel like I’m not even welcome back at my own blog anymore, there – I said it. And trust me, it’s through no fault of anyone here but my own.
I’ll say this, too: how can I be The Infertility Voice (capital T, I, V) when I barely know what I should be saying here anymore?
I have no idea what’s happened to this woman from four years ago, but she’s not here anymore. She’s just not. It’s not for lack of caring – far from it. Like I said, a lot has happened and changed since then.
I miss that she’s changed. I know a lot you miss her, too. But I fucking love this new gal and I don’t want to be ashamed and guilty of her anymore. She is a part of me, too. She IS me. This is me.
This is who I am now: I’m a mom.
Christ, it’s taken me over a thousand words just to name the elephant in the room. I like to write about all the things that five years ago would have sent me into hyperventilating crying jags wondering if I’d ever become a parent. I finally finished writing Judah’s birth story (a five-part affair, no less) this morning and telling it, reliving it all – I was so proud of how far our journey had come in five years.
Last year, last D-Day, I asked folks what they wanted from this space. For a year, I’ve been held captive (by my own emotional hangups more than what anyone has written or said here) by what I thought others wanted and needed from this space.
But it’s not just “this” space, it’s my space. Not like, failed social media platform MySpace, but truly, deeply, authentically: this is my space. It’s not your space, it’s not our space, it’s not even THE space. It’s mine all mine.
And I need to decide what belongs here. I need to decide if it’s time to pack it up and go home. I need to decide where I fit into my space and where my space here fits into my life. I need to decide: am I a blog or a blogger? Is this site just a blog or a website or will it morph into something more because, let me tell you: I’ve always had aspirations of making this space something much bigger – which is it? Team Zoll or The Infertility Voice? Mom or infertility advocate? Can I really and truly be both?
Do I keep going out of some weird, misplaced sense of obligation to people who probably aren’t even reading this blog anymore or do I do it because it really and truly matters to me?
Decide, Keiko. It’s D-Day. Make a decision already.
“I think some get into blogging as a project. A project has a beginning and and end. You realize you’re gonna have trouble becoming a parent (the start of the project), you find a Tribe who gets your journey, and ultimately you resolve your trouble one way or another (the end of the project). When the project ends, the blog is at risk of ending, too.”
Oh Lori. You are so fucking wise.
Decision: we’re gonna keep going around here, but I’ve got to make a lot of changes. Some cosmetic, but mostly editorial. I can’t keep operating a space around a woman who’s just not here anymore. If she’s changed, this space has to change, too.
I welcome any and all feedback.