In January 2009, Ryan snapped this picture of me in a hotel room in Costa Mesa. He was in a two-week training course for work and I had come down to visit him. I like this picture because I think it's a fun close-up. I have used it for various 'profile pics' and the like.
But there is an interesting aspect about this picture that only I think about when I see it. These eyes contained a lot of pain. This picture was taken days before I finally sought help from my doctor. During the trip to see Ryan, I didn't really want to leave the hotel room. Here we were together in beautiful SoCal, all expenses paid, and I felt most comfortable in bed in a tiny, dark hotel room. I spent an entire night of the trip crying next to him while he slept. And I mean an entire night. Although I was pleasant towards him, I was miserable inside.
Months have passed since that time.
Recently, a dear friend and up-and-coming photographer, Isa Sabey offered to take some pictures of us. We hadn't had someone do that for us in years. Here is one of the pictures:
This shot is one of those 'candid' ones Isa snapped when we were laughing at something or other (probably at how awkward we felt having our picture taken).
When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is happy. It has been said that the 'eyes are the window to the soul'. Well, to me, I can see a sparkle in these eyes that has been missing for a long time.
People say a result of seeking help for depression is that you feel like yourself again. Over these five years of dealing with infertility, I had forgotten who I was. I feel like the Michelle from years past. I actually like myself again.
In high school, I was told that I 'always have a smile'. My drama teacher would laugh at me because, even in the most dramatic scene, my eyes were always twinkling. She said, no matter what my face was doing, it was impossible for me not to look happy.
I wouldn't say I'm at that point yet, but I am getting there. I find myself excited about life.
Two days ago, I bought myself a designer purse. The significance of that? Well, for years I have told everyone how much I hated shopping. I don't remember the last time I bought myself something nice. I would go clothes shopping, but refuse to try anything on. Looking back, I realize I didn't really like myself. Not only that, but anytime I (or Ryan for that matter) would purchase something, I would feel that it was pushing my dream of motherhood that much further away. I allowed myself no joy in treating myself unless it was directly related to my goal. The only exception was food. Food was now my comfort.
How things have changed! I find joy in so many things now, including the occasional purchase of something nice just for me. Many people talk about 'retail therapy', but it turns out I only like to treat myself when I feel good.
I could go on and on with the changes happening around here. I could talk about the many times I have turned to Ryan in amazement and said, "I just feel so happy". I can say that I have gone from crying several times per day, to twice in 2 months, and both of those were spiritually related.
The point is that now I feel I can see infertility for what it is, a hard and difficult trial that I pray everyday will have a resolution soon. But, regardless, infertility doesn't define me anymore.
I am a member of the LDS church. I love to cook and bake new things. I like to write. I am learning to be a financial planner and have the best co-workers in the world. Autumn is my favorite season. I work with the teenage girls at church and love it. My favorite smells are the mountains, chopped cilantro, and freshly baked cookies. I like to go camping and visit big cities. I love my kitties and talk to them like they are people. I like the color green, but I don't look good wearing it. I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, who longs to also add "mother" to that resume someday.
I still feel sadness when I think of our empty house. I still have days where I don't want to talk about babies or pregnancy or adoption. I still hear the ticking clock in the background and hope I can start my family before it's "too late" (whatever that means).
But I also feel happy. Every day is a pursuit of happiness now. And most days I am winning.