Sunday, August 29, 2010

Humble pie, no coffee

It's been a nice Sunday morning so far. I've baked muffins, cleaned the kitchen, practiced yoga and, wait, I hadn't had coffee yet. Ooops! This post may be less than lucid because of that. I hope your Sunday morning is lovely and involves coffee (but probably not for Adele)

I read your comments to my last post with some degree of horror. It was difficult to read about the comments you had received in relation to your infertility. Yes, of course I got mad about it. How could these people say those things? But my first reaction was one where my heart ached for yours. I wish those comments could be given back to their owners somehow. My examples felt a bit mild compared to what you've had to endure.

I regret to report that the last entry has also had some unfortunate consequences in my IRL friendships. One of my most beloved friend believed I was describing her in one example (I wasn't). Another friend wrote to me and said she was worried about having been insensitive in the past (she never has been). I did not intend to make my dear, dear friends feel like they had mis-spoken, but that was the consequence of it. I guess this parallels how people who make insensitive comments to infertiles usually don't intend on hurting our feelings. It's a great irony, as Foxy pointed out.

I looked back on why I had written that post. I know that I was feeling burdened by the sting of the comments and was finding myself ruminating about them and how I should have responded (rumination: sucking the soul out of healthy women everywhere. see psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema's research for more info on that). I was hoping that writing the comments on my blog may help me just s.t.o.p. ruminating.

I think it did, but unfortunately, it created this other problem. The response from my IRL friends made me reflect on the principle of "Right Speech". The basic principle is that one needs to avoid creating harm in the world through lying or saying things that will be hurtful. One of my teachers would say that before one speaks, one should ask themselves "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?". In the same way that those folks who made comments that hurt me, I have also written words that caused harm in other people.

This left me quite conflicted in my theoretical orientation (and what am I without a theoretical orientation, I ask you?). On one hand, I believe that some limited, carefully timed venting can bring a bit of relief. On the other hand, I believe in not harming other people. So I sit here with my heart half-filled to the brim with regret, and the other half glad that we were able to write some of the comments down and (perhaps) let them go.

I also want to write that overwhelmingly, my IRL friends are absolutely amazing women and men. They have brought incredible grace and kindness to my life. My friends are my family. I credit them with helping me through dark days and with celebrating joys at each turn. My friends hold my heart. I can't tell you how sad I was that some of them felt like I might not appreciate what they have done for me.

So I may still vent on the blog. I probably will. Yet I think next time, I may give some more thought about right speech before I lay it all out.


  1. With all of the harsh things that people have said to me on accident, there are always a dozen other people who have cared very deeply about my feelings.

    I know even when you vent that there are always people in the wings cheering you on in your journey. I think I would do well to remember my wing men more.

  2. I'm glad you have such good IRL friends. I think that the proof is in the fact that they read your post and examined any way that they might possibly have caused you sorrow (though, in the end, it sounds like they weren't the ones doing this!). It means they're thoughtful. And thoughtful friends are the best kind to have.

    I'm also fascinated by what you say about Right Speech. As someone who would never intentionally cause someone else pain, it's so hard to balance this with the need to vent. As a result, I often keep things bottled up inside rather than coming out with them. There are things I've shied away from saying on my blog - just on the off-chance that friends find it. But then there are times when my need to let it out has just been greater. Understanding which to choose is an art. Though, I really do think that they're both necessary at different times. (And, personally, I was glad for the chance to vent in the comments section of your post:)

    My mornings are horrible, uncaffeinated monsters as of late:)

  3. Humph. Yeah, yeah, true kind necessary blah blah, but what about the times you gotta go BLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRG all over about something? No, seriously, I absolutely respect where you're coming from on this issue, it's just (obviously) not my style. And of course no one in Real Life (I pray!) reads what I write, so I don't have to sugar coat. Anyway, I'm sorry there were some unintended hurt feelings as a result of you expressing your feelings--these friends sound awesome enough that you'll have no trouble patching things up. But I also kinda think it might be beneficial for them to know the kinds of things that are hurtful, and to keep the lines of communication open on the subject.

  4. It is a balancing act, isn't it. I had wanted to keep my blog private so that I didn't have to think about the Right Speech issue. But I also want to share these thoughts and feelings with my mom and bestie. And after this last weekends girls trip, I think I may have spilled the beans and told them enough that they will all find it online, if they look.

    I actually felt bad at one point this weekend after mentioning my secret bog. My Bestie, while holding her sweet little one, asked me what I wrote about. I honestly don't even remember what I said, but it made her stop and ask me if she said or did things that made me upset. She is so supportive and wonderful, and now I think I need to send her a card thanking her and assuring her that she is the best friend I could ever have asked for.

    We are lucky ladies to have such wonderful supportive friends and family in our life.

  5. I agree with all of the above comments. It can be tricky. There were many reasons I told some of my IRL friends about the blog, but one of them was to help me be careful about what I post. Sometimes I write something and just leave it as a draft. Then it is there and written, or better yet, those things that I need to write down but am concerned would be misunderstood or might someday be read by someone that could hurt their feelings I just write in my journal. Or some things I just generalize so noone knows who it is. But there may come a time that I slip up and, then I will just try to patch things up and move on.

    I hope your friends can continue to support you and care for you as you do for them.

  6. I have one IRL person who reads my blog. I definitely think about that when I write and wish that I had never ever told her.

    I want to go BLARRRG like Bunny. Throw a big middle finger to everyone in this fertility elevator from hell and start singing "girls just wanna have fun" and NOT have to explain what the fuck I'm doing, for once. If not here, then where?

    Unfortunately, I think my IRL friends would just stare instead of joining in. Sad, I know.

    I am jealous that you have enough people who know and that alone is a blessing enough to consider them as you want to vent. I'm sure they will totally understand in the long run, even if what you have to say is hard at the time.