63: Eggs and Rabbits

Easter is coming up. I don’t have too many thoughts on this occasion but I do have a few memories I thought I could share. When I was younger my family was quite religious. I was never forced into any particular faith by either of my parents but I was keen to attend church and I found a great deal of comfort in the routine and structure of it. After my parents separated my mother, younger sister and I began attending church every Sunday. This continued until I was in my teens and I began to seriously question my faith. These facts feel important to the stories I am about to recount as Easter is a religious holiday.

For most of my life I was raised to only eat fish on Good Friday. One year my family took a road trip to visit our relatives for Easter. I remember getting a burger for lunch without even realising it was the day we were never permitted to eat red meat. I felt so terrible about it afterward. My conscience told me that I had just committed some kind of sin. I was so scared of going to hell that I prayed for forgiveness for days.

The Good Friday rule of “fish only” has caused some awkward moments. Many of my friends growing up had different beliefs, some had never even heard of our rule and only observed Good Friday as a public holiday. When I was fifteen I spent Good Friday at my first boyfriend’s house. I had to awkwardly request fish for lunch. I felt like such an inconvenience but as we were already going to a local takeaway it wasn’t a big deal. Coincidently that Good Friday was also the day I experienced my first kiss so I suppose my request didn’t make me seem too strange.

The thing I loved the most about Easter was the chocolate eggs. I have always had an extremely sweet tooth. Growing up I loved sweets like most children but chocolate has always been my favourite treat. This made Easter one of my favourite holidays. I suppose if Australia celebrated Halloween like other places in the world then that would have become my favourite holiday. In Australia Halloween is only just beginning to become more popular but many households still dislike trick-or-treaters and will ignore them. Easter is much more mainstream and acceptable here. The supermarkets begin selling chocolate eggs and hot cross buns from New Year’s Day! Easter, much like Christmas, has grown from a religious celebration to be a commercial holiday. As much as I love chocolate it does seem odd to me that a religious occasion is so widely observed by so many people with impartial beliefs.

I’m torn about the ethical ramifications of introducing Easter to my future children. On one hand i know that my husband and I aren’t religious. We both have had a relationship with church in our past. Regardless of our faith or beliefs we are no longer church goers and would not consider ourselves followers of a particular religion. I would describe myself as agnostic. However on the other hand it seems wrong to deprive a child of such a joyful holiday that has changed meaning for so many people and is so widely visible. This moral dilemma is a slippery slope considering that Christmas is also so commonly celebrated regardless of religious belief.

I know we will celebrate both of these occasions with our children. It is not even up for debate in our social sphere. I just can’t help but wonder why that is.

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50 Anecdotes To Get To Know Me Better

1) I am an Aquarius, which matters to me because I’m the kind of person who likes to catagorise human behaviour based on personality types.

2) I really liked Star Wars when I was a kid because it was a way to bond with my dad. It was also my first introduction to Sci Fi and I like sci fi a lot.

3) I completely dropped my fascination with Star Wars when I discovered Harry Potter. I became so obsessed with Harry Potter that I had a trunk set up just in case Hogwarts was real.

4) I always wanted to wear glasses growing up but I didn’t need them until I was 14 years old and I didn’t need to wear them all the time until I was about 18.

5) My first celebrity crushes weren’t on popular attractive men of the time but on comedians. When asked about who I found attractive I was embarrassed and said Heath Ledger because I had heard Mum say he had nice shoulders.

6) I have loved South Park since I was 8 years old. I don’t like toilet humour at all but I find political satire and dark humour to be interesting.

7) I would never miss the Simpsons growing up. Another activity I shared with my Dad when he would get home from work. The divorce really deeply affected me because I was a daddy’s girl up to that point. I continued to watch the Simpsons without him.

8) I loved video games growing up, especially ones with role playing aspects. I also loved books where I could pick a path and board games with intensive story lines.

9) I didn’t sleep well as a kid and found that doing rosaries or praying over and over helped. I had a lot of anxiety and channelled it into the routine and basic rules of religion.

10) I was often put in to gifted classes. I was in gifted art classes as a kid and selected for extra curricular opportunities. I was smart but I also had to put a lot of effort in and I did so to get approval from my parents and teachers.

11) I’ve always been clumsy and uncoordinated but I tried to participate in sports and dancing on several occasions growing up.

12) I have been fascinated by medicine, childbirth, and pregnancy since I was 5 years old. I would read anything about pregnancy or babies. I guess you could say I’ve been casually studying as hobby for almost two decades.

13) I used to wish I had an older brother so I didn’t have to go to school alone and so he could defend me when I got picked on. Really I just wanted a close relationship with my sibling and couldn’t imagine ever being close with my younger sister at the time. Sometimes I resented the pressure of being the oldest.

14) When I was around 11 my dad wanted to move to Scotland and he sat me down and asked if I would move with him. I didn’t want to leave mum and he didn’t want to leave without us so he stayed in Australia. My sister would have gone because she was a really young and obsessed with the Loch Ness monster.

15) For a few months when I was growing up we didn’t own a tv. Our washing machine broke really often. And mum forced us to drink Soy milk.

16) I loved scaring my sister when we were little so I would devise different ways to trick her or jump out at her. This got me in trouble a lot.

17) For almost a decade I thought I would never get married or have kids. I was determined to move to the city, be successful and independent. I pictured myself thin and good looking like all the successful women on tv. I wanted to be strong and in charge.

18) Wearing boots makes me feel confident. Especially my steel caps.

19) When I walk backstage I have to stop myself from crying with joy. Every time.

20) My family has a history of not knowing what kind of gifts I wanted. On more than two occasions I was given the same gift from multiple family members for the same birthday.

21) I loved the concept of spies. I had this book from my parents that was a spy guide written for kids. Ever since I’ve really wanted a jacket with pockets hidden inside. My sister later became even more obsessed with forensics and everyone forgot that I was ever interested.

22) I liked anime in my teens. Again everyone forgot about this when my sister started liking it too and got much more invested than I was.

23) I got over my intense fear of fire by lighting incense. My room constantly smelled of incense. Side note: This was also around the time I was obsessed with Daughter by Pearl Jam and would listen to it on repeat in a dark room full of incense like the strangest ten year old ever.

24) When we moved once I left notes in the door stops as a time capsule. I can’t remember what most of them said but I do remember listing the name of the prime minister at the time.

25) There are very few people I still talk to from highschool. I have lost contact with a few people I actually cared about. I think about all them all the time.

26) I love seahorses because they suck at being fish. I also love meerkats because they’re paranoid. Basically any animal that’s just a complete hot mess.

27) I love stationary. Always have, always will. I once spent over $100 in OfficeWorks on sharpies. I miss getting new pens and pencils for school. Fresh notebooks are life.

28) I’ve always wanted long hair but I’ve never been able to grow my hair out enough. Even as a child. I have had a pixie cut or a bob for most of my life.

29) I’ve always felt weirdly connected to Greece and Malta but not Italy. Maybe it’s an ancestry thing but I don’t know.

30) French is my favourite language.

31) Italian food is my favourite kind of food

32) I love good calamari and crave fish all the time but I don’t like prawns or shellfish.

33) I used to get jealous of people who got nose bleeds in class and wished I would get one. Proving once again I was a strange kid.

34) The first time I felt connected to other women as a woman was the time I got my period and bled onto my dress in biology class. Some of the other girls helped me. It triggered a change in my perspective. I argued with other girls a lot in high school but that was the most supportive interaction I had that entire time.

35) The relationships I’ve had with the men in my life: my father, grandfathers, stepdad, uncles, friends, and especially boyfriends… have had the greatest amount of impact on my identity today in both negative and positive ways.

36) I have always been mocked for my strong beliefs… as early as 4 years old I’ve been arguing for equality and peace, and I’ve been laughed at.

37) I’ve always wished I could skate and play several instruments but I’ve failed miserably which is probably why I find those skills so impressive and attractive in others.

38) I hope my descendants will care enough to find me on their family tree the way I’ve found my ancestors. I don’t ever want to be forgotten.

39) I’ve spent my life scared of everything. Even from a really young age. I once wrote a list of my fears and triggers. That list is now about a quarter of what it was and that doesn’t ever get acknowledged.

40) I have a lot of regret about our wedding day but I’m so glad we got married. I just wish the day had worked out as we had planned it.

41) I miss my tree house. My mum built me one as a kid but the real estate made us remove it from the tree of the property we were renting.

42) I love rain and wind. Even though I grew up terrified of storms I have some great memories from my childhood of bunkering down. I was also irrationally scared of tornados for a lot of years.

43) I watched the Wizard of Oz at bible study enough times to become fixated.

44) I thought I hated musicals until I worked on one. I avoided musicals growing up. When mum watched them I would roll my eyes and leave the room. I found them annoying and boring. Watching Grease for the first time changed my mind a little but working on my first show changed everything.

45) I worked hard to become good at communicating because I feel an intense need to be understood. I often feel ignored or misunderstood and therefore judged. My goal is to find people who can understand me without my need to communicate and explain everything all the time.

46) I always wanted to own and run a lolly shop and seriously planned on dropping out of high school to do so.

47) I had a detailed plan of buying a van and travelling up the coast with 3 friends the moment I turned 18. I had the friends and plans when I started high school but when I changed schools those plans went out the window.

48) I always imagined getting married on the beach. Blue and yellow would have been my wedding colours. My actual wedding was on a farm and our colours were navy and silver.

49) My favourite flower growing up were Frangipanis because they’re common near the beach. My teen bedroom was painted blue and yellow and I had frangipani motif curtains. I even put frangipani oil in my hair occasionally. I went on to like yellow roses, which are supposed to represent friendship. Now I love daisies, all my favourite flowers have been common and associated with happiness.

50) When I was scared of vampires as a kid. I later became obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and would carry stakes and crosses around. Mum taught me to learn everything there was to know about the things that scared me in order to get over my fear. I applied this to my fear of dying by beginning to plan my funeral at 7 years old.

61: Tomatoes and Tests with Two Lines.

I wrote the following over a year ago. I have updated the timeline to be current but I have since worked through most of the emotions I am about to discuss. I considered not making this public (it has been published privately for a long time) since I feel like the words are no longer true. However I believe some other person might feel the same as I did a year ago and may find comfort from knowing they are not alone.

It has been almost two years since I last fell pregnant. It has been more than three years since we started trying to get pregnant in the first place. I keep a tally of all the babies we know that have been conceived and born in that time. I also know of multiple miscarriages that multiple women in my life have experienced in that time. I’m not alone. I’m always aware of that.

I had an ultrasound during my second miscarriage. The doctors wanted to check it wasn’t ectopic pregnancy. It was an awful experience. I wish I hadn’t gone through with the ultrasound as the experience was worse than the miscarriage itself. I was uncomfortable and in pain; then I had to get undressed and lay on some towels while I had an internal ultrasound. There wasn’t anything too see. It was too early. My hormones were high, my lining was thick, but it was wasn’t a pregnancy that was meant to progress.

I get worried that none of it was real. I don’t want people to think I had a phantom pregnancy because there wasn’t anything on my ultrasound. My doctor assures me that I was pregnant. It was real.

My logical mindset told me not to cry. I cried silently in the waiting room. A few tears rolled down my cheeks but I didn’t cry loudly. I normally cry loudly. I normally feel every emotion so strongly. In that moment I didn’t feel anything. I knew there was nothing I could do, there was absolutely no way to prevent it, there was no point being upset… in that moment. The next few days I would feel more complex emotions. I expected to feel much more than I did. I was annoyed that I didn’t feel enough. I have known other women who had lost pregnancies and they felt so strongly and we all felt for them. I would stand alongside any woman and support her, but when it was my story, my experience, I was numb.

My dominant feeling throughout the experience, and ever since, is frustration. I’m frustrated that it doesn’t feel real. I’m frustrated that the validity of my pregnancy could be questioned (mostly by myself) by an empty ultrasound. I’m frustrated that I didn’t feel more. I’m frustrated that my mind tells me other people are allowed to feel more than I am. I’m frustrated that after a while of trying to conceive I lost an opportunity to finally achieve my goal. I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able to get pregnant since. I’m frustrated that I can’t control my body or my emotions or my fate. I’m frustrated with not knowing whether or not I will ever have a successful pregnancy. I’m frustrated that I have spent so much time thinking about it and have began doubting myself.

Most of all I’m frustrated that I can’t talk about it because that’s not how the world works. I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable. I don’t want to have to explain all the details. I want to respond honestly when people ask me if we want kids or when we are planning on having them. I want to say things like “when I was pregnant I loved tomatoes” because for a only a few weeks in my life I didn’t hate tomatoes!

I kept all my positive pregnancy tests, discoloured and faded, in a ziplock bag. I did it so I can remind myself it was real. Sometimes I feel like I imagined it but those lines are definitely there. I remind myself that I will have another positive test one day in the future but it always seems like a lie.

60: A quick thought about friendships.

I haven’t written anything in a while. This is disappointing because I had managed to keep up a consistent schedule for over a month but sometimes other things are more important. I have been trying to make new friends and find some meaning in the world. I want to connect with people. This has always been important to me. I find I get too attached to people. I know I’ve said this before but it remains relevant.
I care so deeply about everyone and everything. My husband told me that he admires how much I care but sometimes I care too much. I’m too invested in the happiness of others. Even the people who have treated me poorly. The people who I once connected deeply with but who have moved on.
I wonder sometimes if I will find a friend who cares as deeply for me as I do for everyone else.

I wonder if people understand me or if they humour me as my thoughts wander so much.

I express myself in unique ways. We are all just looking for those who express themselves in the same way or at the very least those who can comprehend us.

59: A Rose By Any Other…

My name is Jessica. 
Jessica was the most popular name for girls in my country the year I was born. I have met dozens of people names Jessica in my lifetime. Throughout primary school I was often in classes with multiple girls who shared my name and even the occasional boy named Jesse. I don’t like to be called Jessica; the name sounds so abrasive to me. Perhaps, like most people, I have come to associate my full name with being scolded. I go by Jess more often than anything else. This almost feels too casual in comparison. My family referred to me as Jessy growing up, always spelt with the letter Y not the more common ‘ie’, I have never been a fan on this moniker as it seems juvenile. 
For a time in my adolescence I wanted to change my name. I considered Kennedy because it seemed much edgier than Jessica. I thought about going by my middle name Kate, which resulted in all my online accounts being labelled as such. My school friends didn’t assign me a nickname unrelated to my real one; unlike my sister, who’s family nickname (Bear) managed to cross the boundaries of her social spheres.
I have grown to dislike Jessica due to its popularity. It has only been in recent years that I have come to accept the name Jess without wishing I could change it. I only came to this conclusion because I am unable to imagine myself going by any other name. I have also become occupied with name origins, meanings, and statistics in that time. I always knew what my name meant but now I have a large portion of my memory cluttered with facts about names. I love finding out the name someone has chosen for their offspring. I delight in discussing how people feel about their names. I follow the popularity of names like some chart the rise and fall of the stock market. Yet I still don’t know what name I would prefer to have. I suppose I will just stick with Jess.

If you have an extremely common name or a very rarely used one I would love to know how you feel about your name so feel free to leave a comment.

58: Things I learned from The Office

I love the dry humour of mockumentaries. A Mighty Wind is in my top 10 favourite movies along with Best in Show, This is Spinal Tap, and Waiting for Guffman. Of course I became addicted to Parks and Recreation and fell in love with The Office. I have always struggled to find people who share my love of the Christopher Guest films in the real world; although I know they have a large fan base out there. Luckily the people around me love these television programs and I have been able to watch The Office with my family. It’s so great to have my references recognised by those around me. 

Here is a brief summary I have compiled of Things I learnt from The Office:
You can cure rabies by hosting a fun run.

If you eat a massive serving of carbonara before going for a 5k run, you will vomit.

True love is noticing what flavour yogurt is their favourite.

Pranking is a perfectly acceptable use of company time and is totally appropriate and not at all bullying.

Pizza by Alfredo is disgusting and suffers in comparison to pizza from alfredo’s pizza cafe.

It doesn’t matter how incompetent you are as long as you’re lovable enough.

Miniature cupcakes are a travesty.

If you ruin Christmas you can fix it with 15 bottles of vodka.

Beet farms don’t make a particularly nice b&b but they do make a nice wedding venue.

Everyone you work with will ruin your wedding so you should probably have a plan B. 

Condos are the ultimate real estate.

Pretzel day is the greatest day of all time. 

If you change your name to avoid confusion with one of your co workers then everyone is going to forget your real name including everyone from your past and anyone unrelated to your work place.

Casual Friday is a disaster.

If you sell refrigerators it’s important to make sure everyone you meet knows about it.

Prison is apparently significantly nicer than working at a paper company.

Messing with an elevator isn’t dangerous but gains you respect.

It’s not at all creepy if your boss takes you to Victoria’s Secret.

I’m still not sure which bear truly is best.

iPods ruin secret Santa.

Battlestar Gallactica is about a guy called Dumbledore Calrissian who needs to return the ring back to Mordor.

Those who can’t farm, farm celery.

57: Reflection

The last 24 hours have been rough. I schedule these posts in advance so by the time you get to read this a week will have passed. I hope that the progression of time will have helped me to move through my difficulties. However, at the moment that I am writing this, I’m still in the midst of an emotional struggle. I’ve had to take a long hard look at my life and evaluate what is and is not working. 

Sometimes I get unhappy and I have to take time to work out if this is due to my depression or an outside factor in my life. This has strained my marriage more than once. I find myself wanting to escape to a time when I was more consistently happy. It’s easier to live in a bubble of nostalgia than to face reality or work on making my future a happy one. I know it’s not healthy but I find myself trying to cling to the past more often than I should. I believe I want to revisit the person I once was but I do so by trying to find the people she once knew. We have all grown and changed and it’s a harsh reality to face. 

It’s strange that my husband will never meet her, the person who I used to be, she seems so real to me. I have become braver as my adolescent insecurities were replaced with more pressing issues. I have become bitter and jaded from the harsh reality of the real world. I may be more confident but my venerability screams out from just below the surface. Adulthood makes things harder. I find myself wanting reassurance that I’m on the right track but such a thing doesn’t exist. A younger version of myself would disagree. I had plans; a vision of the future. I didn’t lose track of my goals but changed my focus instead. The things I wanted then aren’t the things I want now. I can’t help but wonder if I could have been happier if I had stayed on that path. Did my past self know better?

A problem shared is a problem halved but in a world where we are all struggling with our own version of existence can we even help ourselves? If I continue with this rationale that my past self is a separate being from who I have become then can I share my problems with this version of myself? There’s a opinion held by some that those who speak to themselves are crazy. I suppose I’ve always been a little mad. 
I used to pray but I don’t anymore. Though I found the ritual was a helpful way to encourage myself to persevere. Speaking to myself with words of affirmation can be just an constructive. 

I have been accused of living in the past. Of being too nostalgic. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know it’s true. It’s never comfortable accepting your faults; even when you’re having a conversation with yourself. However I find my life being dictated by those around me or the passing of time and clinging to my past feels like a form of control. 

I can’t ever know for certain where I am going. I won’t know what the future holds until I am living it. I know where I have been. I know who I was. It’s more comfortable to hold on to memories when staring into the unknown.