I had a really interesting conversation today. It stemmed from a discussion about how the guy who bullied me mercilessly in elementary and middle school is a contestant on a reality show. It's not a show I've ever watched, or even care about. It's just really strange to see our entire freakin' town cheering this guy on when he made my life a living hell for years because I had a funny accent and didn't really know how to make friends. I'm still not all that great at making friends, but that's really neither here nor there.
Anyway, the point of the conversation was that we have all probably forgotten about millions of good and wonderful little moments from years past, but we always manage to hang on to the rotten ones. I can remember exactly how humiliated I felt the day that Mr. Reality Show kicked me in the face during music class, bloodying my nose and breaking my glasses. I remember sitting on the playground trying with every molecule in my body not to cry because he told all the kids in our class not to play with me because I wasn't cool, which was the kiss of death in the 5th grade. I remember how devastated I was when he grabbed onto my waist-length hair with a handful of chewed gum, partially because I was embarrassed about looking stupid in front of the other kids, and partially because the nurse had to cut off eight inches of my hair to get rid of it. How many happy memories have I forgotten, only to hang on to my worst ones?
My theory is that the horrible memories stick out so prominently because, for the most part, I haven't had all that many. I had the one bully. I got turned down by two guys for dates in my life (and you can bet I remember every second of those events, as well). Overall, I've had a pretty blessed life, really.
Which is why I kinda hate myself right now. I've always been more of an optimist, looked more for the joy in life than the sorrow. Probably because like so many other people, I suffer from depression. I spend so much time on the down swing that I try like hell to always find the good in things when I can. But that's just not where I am right now.
I'll be honest - for years, I could barely look at pregnant women. I wanted that so badly, and for whatever reason, it just wasn't happening for me. I couldn't believe that so many people who weren't as ready as I thought I was - as educated, as well-off financially, as desperate for a child, as (in my mind) fit to be a mother - were having babies left and right, and I had nothing.
And then I was pregnant. And I could feel something other than horrible, horrible jealousy when I saw someone with their kids, or someone who was pregnant. Because I was finally getting what I so desperately wanted. And then Matthew died.
Now, when I hear someone talking about their impending new arrival, it takes every ounce of self-control I have not to say "Don't count on it." Because it's horrible and bitter and that's just not who I want to be. But right now, that's the first thing I think. Don't count on it. Don't talk about stockpiling diapers and having a nursery set up and ready because it is a pain that I can't even begin to describe when you have to pack it all away. Don't bother trying to plan your life with your baby, because it makes it that much harder to pick up the pieces after your life is shattered.
The reality is that most of those women will not go through what I went through. They will get to leave the hospital with their babies in carseats, not in urns. They will spend their nights sleepless from hungry infants, not from soul-crushing grief. They will dry their children's tears, not their own. And I will never know why Matthew died or why I don't get to be a mommy right now. That's the reality. But it doesn't have to define me. I survived being bullied in my childhood. I will survive this, too.