My Scarlet Pain

My Scarlet Pain
I’ve been thinking about how to say these things all week. I’m going to try my best to get it all out on paper, but I know it is not going to make sense the way I need it to. It will sound contradictory and whiney, but there is a feeling that I need to communicate, so I’m going to give it my best shot.
I realized last weekend when my girlfriends and I had that discussion about hope that the people around me don’t have any idea how much pain I am in. They know that I am having a hard time in this struggle, and they are so kind and loving, but they just can’t comprehend it. My boss is wonderful and so accommodating and says nice things like “even at your worst, you are better than most of the people we work with at their best”. I couldn’t ask of anything more of the people in my life, but they just don’t know.
They are all looking to me for guidance as to how to be supportive and helpful. I don’t have anything to offer them. 
They are all watching my mood to gauge how I am doing. And when my mood is low, they can see that I am in pain. I need for them to know that I am in pain. I need them to know that I am struggling. Somehow their acknowledgement of my pain makes it real, makes it legitimate, makes it valid. Somehow it is easier to carry this feeling when it is acknowledged by others, and the only way they know to acknowledge it is to see me sad.
I feel like this infertility (aka pain, loss, fear, etc) is now a part of who I am, and yet I am struggling to incorporate it into the self that I was and to emerge in some sort of balanced way. 
I am so done with feeling so low. I am so ready to let some sunlight in, to let some bright warm light shine on my soul. and Yet I am struggling with how to acknowledge the pain, while letting happiness in. 
When I smile and act happy, people around me think that everything is okay.  It’s as if there is no pain, there is no sadness, I am not scared or worried, there is no unfullfilled purpose. If I am happy, then those other emotions must not exist. This is such an oversimplified view, but it is the best I can do to explain it. 
I know that all of these emotions can co-exist together. That I can experience happiness and sadness, pleasure and pain all in the same moment. Emotions are not mutually exclusive, they are not black and white.  I know that. 
But somehow, I feel like I am betraying my pain by wishing to make room for other feelings, by letting other people see that there is room for other feelings to fit. How could my pain possibly be as big as I say it is if there is space to experience pleasure and joy?
I wish that there was some way that I could visually show the world just how big and real this struggle is. Some way that even as I laugh or dance, that everyone will see that I am burdened by this additional powerful emotion. Even if they can’t comprehend my experience of this struggle, I want them to know that it is always with me.



Kakunaa said...

I want people to realize all of this, plus that the pain doesn't end just because you are successful in your quest, that it's not a magical cure...can we add that to the list?

Kir said...

WOW....this is a beautiful post , but one that I wish you didn't have to write. You know when I write about IF, I often think about it like it was before I found John and got married, that there were boyfriends and HOPE that I would marry etc, but then everyone around me was doing it (and I had to laugh and dance at their weddings and hide my secret pain that I might never find a mate) and if you're happy it doesn't mean you are still lonely...or when you're dating., have to seem happy ALONE right??? so that you are not needy's a slippery slope and I am so sorry.

a lot of friends of IF should read this, just because we are breathing and happen to smile or have a good day doesn't mean everything is ok...

it's ok, not to be ok.


Les said...

Beautiful post! Wow. I love this sentence:
"I feel like this infertility (aka pain, loss, fear, etc) is now a part of who I am, and yet I am struggling to incorporate it into the self that I was and to emerge in some sort of balanced way."

I struggle with this so much and sometimes, I feel like I have an out-of-body experience and I think, "Is this really me? Am I really going through this?" I feel like I've changed, but long desperately to be the same. It's like a constant battle.

Thank you for this post!

Augusta said...

Beautiful Foxy,
I have been thinking of your post since I read it on Sunday night. I had thoughts about it when I read it, but somehow they weren't coming together enough to respond with some degree of coherence. Hopefully, I can make more sense today.

I so appreciated you sharing your thoughts and feelings about your relationship with your pain, Foxy. You articulated it so beautifully, and I feel I can share in how tricky it is to live with the full spectrum of our experience in day-to-day life.

I agree that many folks out there, those that don't know us well, cannot appreciate the terrible pain we live in because of the infertility. They just can't comprehend it and even if they do to a certain extent, they want us to be over it and moving on to other things. So I do think in a way that when we look happy, they think "hey, she's happy!"

But that is just a segment of the people we encounter. Those who love you and are close to you understand, as you do, that you deserve the totality of your feelings because they belong to you. So laughing with your best friend does not mean that the immense pain goes away. You know that. She knows that.

There seems to be a third level as well, an intrapersonal level at which you are afraid to betray your pain. I feel like that is a natural fear for someone who is grieving. Will you not uphold the magnitude of the grief if you are happy for 5 minutes. I think again, we come back to being allowed to meet the totality of our human experience, including the deepest sorrows and the brightest joys. You are only responsible for meeting these with as much authenticity as you have. That's all. The joys, the sorrows, they just show up, linger and leave.

I'm sure you have come across this Rumi poem a thousand times, but it is so beautiful that I will include it anyway. It is called the Guest House. Sending you love on your journey, Foxy.

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


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