Hidden.

dance-movement-photography

Through the upstairs bathroom window, the late afternoon light streams.

The kind of light that catches all of the tiny particles in the air, as they gently float around.

Specks of dust drifting; eventually falling.

The room feels like a warm cocoon, despite the cold tiled floors and the flat slabs of Caesar stone, glass and porcelain. My naked skin, in a rare moment feels comfortable, at ease..in no rush to bundle itself up to chase warmth and hide again.

In front of me, rows of bottles and boxes of medication are lined up across the vanity. A collection, I had no say in acquiring. I have visitors coming so scooped into the top drawer they will all be pushed. Hidden.

Take two with meals, take one before eating, take one of a night, take one of a morning and two of a night. Take before bedtime; lay down for an hour after insertion. Side effects may include mood swings, hot flushes, vomiting and diarrhea; side effects may include migraines, cold sweats at night, heart palpitations and dizziness. Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not take on an empty stomach. Do not mix with alcohol. Do try to hold down a full time job and progress your career, run a house hold, keep a happy marriage, keep friendships in tact; socialise. Take care of family. Keep that smile always on your face. Keep standing up every time BAM! you get pushed over and left behind.

I can’t help but let out a sigh. So imprisoned and disappointed by this, my new normal. So disappointed by my answer now when asked how many medications I am on. It used to be zero, now it is about 7. So very disappointed with my own skin. The failure of everything inside of it. This lump of clay I have tried hard to mold and do the things I want, a lifetime of worry and doubt hidden under layers of clothes, and smiles and conversation.

I study myself closely. It is difficult, with hot breath fogging against the cool glass, like the hazy way that I have always tried to see myself really.

My face, my hair and every inch of my body under a critical microscope.

The bruises and the redness from hundreds of needles jabbing my soft middle. It used to be flat and strong, now pudgy and sad. My face full of lines and bumps and sun spots and beginnings of wrinkles. It used to be so dewy and youthful, pretty; stealing kisses, with crushes on warm summer nights. My legs used to be smooth, creamy, strong. Leaping and bounding and swinging and gripping on to life, all with a mischievous look in my eye, drunk on the prospects of ‘forever’. They are bumpy and lumpy now. They fail to move as fast as I want them to.

I used to be a fun, sunny girl. Why did she leave so casually, without even a goodbye?

So used to bundling it all up so quickly, with robotic consistency, that I have failed to ever let myself breath, let myself be open and free.

When I was a kid we would visit my Nan and Pop’s house every Sunday after church. In the romance of memory, I loved every minute of my time with them. Picking mandarins from their trees in winter time and strawberries from their patch in summer. Nan telling stories of when she was a little girl and pop making me giggle with delight with all his jokes and elaborate magic tricks. They were strict grandparents though and very much believed children should be seen and not heard; not that it was a rule to conform to, just one I was often reminded of, whenever I would gripe or annoy my mother in their presence. I didn’t really mind this though, it was possibly my earliest lesson in respecting others and biting my tongue, no matter how much I wanted to speak my hot tempered mind, when life wasn’t fair.

I guess they were my earliest teachers in a diplomacy of sorts, but unfortunately, also in becoming invisible, disappearing into myself, hiding my feelings deep down and smiling, always smiling.

IVF is hard and it is scary but it is even harder to talk about openly and share because of how closely it is all tied to failure, disappointment, not getting hopes up and pressure; immense pressure for your body to perform, to do its magic tricks and pull the rabbit out of the hat everyone around you is waiting for.

I just want to move past the shame of it all and the insecurity. I want to move past it all completely and live the life that everyone around me has.

To be a mum, something I have wanted to be since I was cradling my doll Lucy, I got for Christmas when I was around 7. She could talk and I would feed her and change her nappy and I was blissfully happy, even though in the months begging for her, (after watching an afternoon ad on TV) I had actually conjured up in my over-imaginative mind, a real baby showing up under the tree that day.

To say out loud that I want it, and I want it so desperately is scary. But I do.

I don’t know what life is without such a want. I don’t think I am ready to face the prospect. So, invisible I remain, hoping that works.

I start to get dressed as the nausea has returned, maybe from the tablets I have just taken, maybe from the reflection in the mirror.

The day of my Frozen Egg Transfer is the most incredible few hours of my life, picturing my little embryo nestling in, warm and cocooned, looking for somewhere to nuzzle and remain. How could this not work? By morning though, I have convinced myself I have failed again and how could this possibly ever happen?

Even worse, as I push the rest of the packets into the drawer, side effects of the drugs also cruelly mimic early signs of pregnancy, cramping, spotting, sore breasts.

I tell no one though, I keep all my fears and my doubts to myself. Hidden.

Feeling like one of the tiny particles of dust catching in the sunlight, as it spins and tumbles through the air trying to find somewhere soft to land.

Em xoxo

 

Treasures.

Before there was all of this and things were hard. Before I moved through life tactically and knew about pressure.

There was a large, clunky dress-up trunk, at the back of the sun-soaked kindergarten room.

It had dents in it.

Dents made from my young teacher I now suppose.

As she pulled and pushed it to do something amazingly romantic perhaps – fleeing a Budapest bedsit in the middle of the night, where a lover slept soundly.

Catching a plane, then a train to a dusty country town for a new start. A chance to disappear into something other than herself. Resting it down gently, filled with old costumes, in the midst of my class-roomed world.

 I remember the buttery warmth across the mostly brown room, like yesterday. The trunk itself was often covered with cushions and pillows and packed up tight, which made it always seem even more of a treasure trove; a mystical box that my little hands itched to dive into at all times. When all tasks were done and colours were kept in between lines, Miss Eveleigh gave me the nod I needed.

Silent indications that it was finally time for me to carefully – almost reverently, make my way to that box before anyone else thought twice about it.

A chance to disappear into something other than me.

Children around me picked up fireman hats and stethoscopes, teachers glasses and astronaut suits.

Maybe I should have to.

Instead, I reached like always for the thick, heavy faded wedding gown and fell into it. Dancing around in complete bliss.

I remember it was so scratchy on my skin and so billowy and so big, it was hard to walk in a straight line without stumbling over.

I always picked up a doll; my baby – and felt that was that; ambition recognised. The dress, the kid. I had it all. This was where things were going. Children around me pretending to be surgeons and pilots.

Perhaps I should have to.

Then maybe right now I would be able to breathe in. To not feel the weight of the pressure of a clock booming in my head. To not feel my next birthday approaching like a roaring jumbo jet inbound from Budapest. In the middle of the night, my body dented from pushing and pulling it all around to get where I need to be.

I am running out of time, I can feel myself drowning in layers and layers of white lace and billowy fabric, clutching on to imaginary babies for dear life.

To discover you only have a finite time to turn make-believe real; a hard punch to not fall down in a heap from. To realise it may not happen, makes me wish I never wanted it at all. In my head, I now have 2 years left. 2 years to find the treasure, the trunk and pull all I want from it.

What an unrealistic time frame I have managed to set myself.

What a time for wishing I could easily disappear into something other than this.

Why am I suddenly a 37-year-old pirate digging for treasure?

Em

xoxo

Too much to camambert.

Saying goodbye is never easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things us emotionally frail humans are forced to endure.

I have said goodbye to a lot of things in my life, friendships, jobs, homes, pets, George Michael’s heterosexuality, the 90’s tv show Felicity…nope, nope, actually that one still hits a raw nerve.

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But this week I have had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I have ever known. Wait. First, let me dim the lights and cue Sarah McLachlan’s ‘ I Will Remember You’.

 

Ok, where were we? I say best friend, however, the reason for me letting it go is because it really hasn’t been good to me at all. Sure they provided comfort, blissfully bitey times and an awakening to so many new experiences and tastes, but not without the bad stuff too…digestive bad stuff. I won’t go into it, but let’s just say it was one of those trips to the chemist where you keep your sunglasses on and buy hand cream and cotton balls to hide the real reason you are there, you know…rhymes with shonstipation…

Oh the pain is too much to bear, (no, not my downstairs problems, we have moved on). What will I do without a weekend cheese board with blue vein, fromart, goats cheese and brie? A slice of Gouda or a bite of Jarlsberg here and there, yes as hard as it is to decree;

I HAVE SAID GOODBYE TO BELOVED CHEESE!!

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I am taking deep breaths and doing what grown ups do. Making sacrifices for the good of my health, so it’s time to put down the kraft cheese single and embrace all things Paleo! YAY! I am, what sophisticated circles are calling ‘a Paleoist’. I think I just made up a word?

The excitement of this cheesy epiphany has caused me to get ahead of myself, so let’s take a step back.

It has been a busy few weeks here in Casa De Brooker. Nothing really spectacular or out of the ordinary but busy; oh yeah, I did do that one cartwheel upstairs on our new temptingly empty, springy carpeted living room and was pretty fricking chuffed with myself. ..but aside from that not much else to report on.

On the non-spectacular, nothing out of the ordinary front, I have been busily writing a bajillion job applications whilst dealing with the prospect I am unemployed and no one seems to think I am marvelous enough to hire. In the moments I get away from my laptop I am usually found raiding our kitchen pantry from boredom and trying to see if I can make a procrastination snack with only home brand cooking chocolate, peanut butter and cruskits.

There is a silver lining though, and hence my reason for this very post!

Whilst being unemployed does crush the soul and creates a black hole of dirt poor we are slowly sinking into. I also see a teeny, tiny grain of fantastic in my current predicament. I have had the chance to really focus on me. Which is something apparently everyday folk don’t get a good go at, when stupid annoying things like jobs and children get in the way.

SO quick history lesson, I completed a program that saw me lose 16 kilos about 9 months ago and I had to ditch it for various health issues, thus gaining back 5 quite quickly, I KNOW sucks right….the life of someone with PCOS. *sad face.

Oh yeah, I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. (boooo) It’s the non ‘cysts on the ovaries’ kind, for the record my ovaries are pink and pretty and just dandy (yaaaaay).

SO because of the PCOS that raids my body, I started reading A LOT  and conducting my own research project with all my spare time, and in a nutshell, paleo is awesome for fat PCOS sufferers wanting to get knocked up,..so paleo shall be my religion!!  Please don’t ask me what PCOS is kids, because I was kinda too busy in my doctor’s office when she was explaining it to me, staring at that plastic vagina trying to memorize it, so I could check mine out later at home and see if it looked the same. Feel free to google it ..google away…PCOS, NOT MY VAGINA!!!

All I do know is a lot of studies have been done and sweet, innocent unsuspecting dairy is apparently a big iron poker to the flame that is my PCOS and said fatness.

Can I do it? Can I cut the cheese..wait, what?

Look I sure hope I can, I have already pretty much cut grains and sugars (“pretty much” legally covers me if you happen to come across me inhaling a sugar sandwich in a dark alleyway somewhere), so I am willing to give it a red hot go!

I will touch base and let you all know how it goes. I have the shakes already and I only started an hour ago. I had Parmesan sprinkled on my salad for dinner (pffff Parmesan doesn’t count, it’s a definitely a condiment, not a cheese).

I am so proud of myself at the moment I really am.

 

It is so completely worth making these small sacrifices for a bit of health and wellness.

But..if you do ever see me in a baseball cap and sunglasses ordering a pizza or cheese sandwich, just know it’s me having an off day and give me a wave.

Em x

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Come on, talk to me…give me some inspiration! Have you ever had to give up something you loved? Can it be done?