A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Unblocked; or, Things I Didn't Accomplish Before I Turned 30

I kind of don't recognize myself these days. Or I do, but the self I recognize is one that's been gone so long, I didn't think I'd ever see her again. It's the reader self. The writer self. The dreamer self.

Back in the dark ages, before grad school, before marriage (though not before Lawyer Guy), before babies and all their many disappointments, what I wanted with an all-consuming fire was to publish a novel. On my 25th birthday, I sat down and wrote a list of the Things I WILL (underlined three times) Accomplish Before I Turn 30! and Number One on the list was: Get Published.

Lest you think I've turned into a complete stranger, Number Two was: Have Baby. So, awesome, thank you The Secret; empirical evidence that you're full of shit.

I think Number Three: Get into Doctoral Program is the only one of the goals I actually did manage to achieve before the deadline. But the longer our baby chase took and the sadder I got, the less I cared about my lack of publication. I stopped writing for pleasure, except on this blog. I stopped caring that I'd given up on a dream I'd shivered over since I was seven years old and read The Secret Garden for the first time.

So what the hell has gotten into me the last few months? I've been writing again! After a nearly three-year break! And this winter vacation, I've been reading like I haven't since I was in junior high. I've been reading like a crack fiend: staying up until 3 am to finish one book and then starting the next one when I wake up at 8. Reading a book and a half per day. And all this reading is filling me with ideas for novels to write and with that gnawing, gripping ache in my heart that means: I want this so much I will truly die, just burst apart with a pleasurable kind of pain, if I don't make this happen.

And yesterday, for the first time in ever, I thought to myself that maybe it would be okay if I couldn't have a baby soon. Maybe I still have other dreams I can pursue. Maybe I'm still young enough not to throw in the towel on everything.

I had a lot of chances in the past--meetings with editors and authors--that I squandered out of lack of confidence, self-sabotage, and just plain not being ready yet, so I don't think this will be an easy road. But I want to fight for it. I have the will to win at something again and the need that's maybe strong enough to overcome the fear.

And it's nice to not think about the empty ute for a little while.

(ps-- The cleanse has been modified. It was turning into a starvation diet. I've reinstated dairy and moderate amounts of wheat).


  1. So glad that you're seeing your old self. I'm excited for you!

  2. This really resonates with me-- Through this whole process, my intellectual goals have almost completely dried up, and I am pretty sad about it. Not to mention that i've physically aged. It's all been an enormous toll, more so than I think it would be on some other people. I just think I'm not very resilient, unfortunately. I am thrilled to hear that your passion for writing has returned, and I find a lot of hope in this for myself. Thanks for sharing. Additionally, I love your writing and will be first in line to buy your first novel. How awesome would it be to meet you at your book signing? Oooh, I am filled with delicious anticipation about that!

  3. Welcome back old Slopie. It sounds like you were missed!

    Your writing is amazing and I hope you continue to pursue this dream so I can read your novel as soon as it is published (and it will be!!).

  4. For what it's worth, I think that goal that you have attained is a fantastic one!

    Good for you for revisiting your old self but don't forget to be proud of your current self, too.

  5. I have come to similar conclusions this week. The empty ute can't be the only thing on my mind. In fact, most recent blog post was about this very thing. http://jesstutt.blogspot.com.
    Go you!
    - Jess

  6. I agree with Jess...I blogged about the same thing. I'm here. We're here. We have a life to live outside of our IF! Who knew??? ;)

  7. Awesome, Sloper! I would LOVE to read any novel you pen when you do get published.

    So glad you're feeling excited & motivated with this goal :-)

  8. I think those lists are fantastic, but when you've got unfinished business on them, it's a bit hard to look upon without some serious sadness.

    I love that you are emerging from this time and getting back to things you love. I have also been reading a book a day for the past few weeks. Granted, these are NO works of great literature, but to consume words and chew on them has been delicious and food for a very, very starved soul. I sense great passion that's sparked for getting back in the publishing game. #2 will happen for you and the only edit you'll have to that list will be to cross out that 0 and add a 1.

  9. Love this! You may not be able to control having a baby (which KILLS me), but you can certainly control birthing a novel! These things don't need to be mutually exclusive, and it sounds like it could make you so happy while dealing with all this frustrating crap.

  10. So glad you are reconnecting with those lost parts of yourself. That can feel so good.
    I hope you can keep this up. Good luck with your modified cleanse. You must have a lot of will power.

  11. Well this is an awesome development! I know it's not the same, but I do hear you on this, re: how I've felt about work over the past 2 years. A big piece of me just felt like I was going thru the motions....I hope some day to get my 110% passion back for it. And I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Your writing is just beautiful. Write that novel, Slopie, I will read it and love it! (Sounds like lots of other readers feel the exact same way!!)

    I hope you are also still feeling tan and rejuvenated from the Bahamas. That sounds SO NICE about now (in freezing, snowy Chicago!!). xoxo

  12. This made ME shiver!! GO SLOPIE!!! It's nice when a dream returns to you, full-force. And then when you go for it, it's even sweeter. At least, that's how I felt after putting off my undergrad for years and then finally wrapping it up. Victory! Hard-fought, yes, but even the journey, when truly appreciated, is amazing.

  13. I am really excited to hear your re-discovered urge to write. You are obviously talented and I know I'd run out to buy whatever you write!

    It's funny how our plans work out...I know you've hit a big bump in the road with the baby goal, but you're still well on your way to accomplishment.

  14. It's amazing that you're at this point. I never knew getting published was one of your dreams, but I can certainly see that you have the talent for it.

    Infertility does tend to strip our other dreams from us. I'm so glad you're getting yours back.

  15. What a timely post! I wrote about similar aspirations on my other blog. (http://morewhineplease.tumblr.com/post/2639230551/2011-resolution-singular)

    I really hope you get your writing published. It's so important not to completely lose those passions that make you YOU, and not let the IF define you.

  16. I'm so glad you are back to writing, that you are finally "ready" to make this dream happen!

    Do share the names of good books you have read lately.

  17. What a wonderful post and a wonderful revelation on your part. The passion for reading and writing is something that can be quieted for a bit but never silenced and I am so happy for you that yours has resurfaced. I go through similar phases with my reading - weeks or months where I don't open a single book and then periods where I go to the library on an almost daily basis.

    I agree with Jem - what have some of your favorites of late been??

  18. I am new to your story and just wanted to say I thought your dreaming again and finding joy once felt in writing again is wonderful :)

  19. First, those were tall orders and the fact that you conquered #3 before 30 is pretty darned good (and something that most people don't). That's great that you are writing and reading again, and that the ideas are percolating. I firmly believe that it's important to have something else. Something other than the baby race and the daily grind. Something that sets your creative head on fire. (I loved The Secret Garden, too).

    I also think that modifying the cleanse was smart. It has to be something that can be lived with, after all!

  20. Writing a novel sounds so exciting.... I can't wait to read when you are published :)