Darkness. Everywhere. I lived there for a long time. I was in a deep pit of depression, anxiety, infertility, loss, loss, and more loss. I clung to my people. I did so much good for them. I did things that weren’t the best for me but I knew it would make them feel good so I kept putting others before myself.
Until one day I stopped.
When you’re close with someone, you take their words to heart. Heck, I take everyone’s words to heart but those I’m close with, their words tend to hold more weight. I had a friend that I was going through a really difficult time with. At one point during that time, she called me selfish. I don’t remember all the context but I do know that the words she spoke to me were the most hurtful and heartbreaking words anyone has ever said. It made me reevaluate myself and everything I know about who I am. I started to question if I was selfish and only thinking of myself. The more I dug into that, I came to a very clear conclusion. I was not selfish. I put others before myself over and over again. But it made me take a step back and I realized, I needed to be putting myself first.
I want this to be clear: Taking care of yourself is NOT selfish. But we often make it seem that way. Taking care of yourself is necessary and healthy.
When I began my journey of being “selfish”, I found myself saying no to others and yes to myself. I started saying no to things that weren’t good for me or things I didn’t want to do. Before, I would put other people’s feelings first and make the decision on what to do based on how my actions would make them feel. If it would make them feel good, I would do it even if it meant it wasn’t good for me. Sometimes I’d would do things for others even if it meant making myself feel bad. Think, anything baby related I could do to support a friend during their special time even though it brought me down. I eventually learned in therapy I needed to stop doing things like that and take care of myself first.
Life has so many highs and so many lows. I truly believe the lows help us appreciate the highs and make them that much better. I’d be stupid to think I’ll always be high. We all have and always will have low times. That’s a part of life. But I truly believe I’m living my best life right now. “I’m falling right back in love with being alive” (Rainbow – Kesha). I’m loving life and I’m loving being alive. Sometimes anxiety and depression creep back in and make me question if it’s real. How can I be happy when my infertility story didn’t turn out to be the story book ending? So many of you have stood in my shoes but your journey went another direction than mine. We all have to define the joy in our own lives. I’ve had to claw my way out to find mine and I’m proud of that. I want everyone to embrace their life as it is. I hate when I tell people my story and they respond with “you’re still young” or “don’t give up” or “there’s still hope” or “you’ll get your rainbow”. My life does not have to be defined by giving birth to a human child and my rainbow does not have to be a baby. Many of you think infertility is fixed by having a baby at the end. It isn’t. It’s up to you to find your joy no matter what your story is. Please stop implying that everyone that goes through infertility gets a baby and that’s the only happy ending.
My friend’s words stung back then but I was able to use it for good in my life. The darkness from back then made the colors of today brighter.
And I know that I’m still fucked up
But aren’t we all, my love?
Darling, our scars make us who we are, are
So when the winds are howling strong
And you think you can’t go on, hold tight, sweetheart
You’ll find a rainbow, rainbow, baby
Trust me, I know life is scary
But just put those colors on, girl
Come and play along with me tonight
Rainbow – Kesha