|July 28, 2000
Not a happy camper
|Cycle 9, Day 29
Cervical Mucus: None
Cervix: Low, closed, firm
Seven was the number of times yesterday that I couldn't hold back the tears. It was not a good day.
The first two times that I cried were, quite unfortunately, while I was sitting at the librarian's desk in the children's room. Perhaps I should preface this, in order to somehow prove that I'm not always such a complete basket case, by saying that I was already feeling extremely exhausted and rather bitter. The exhaustion stemmed from the fact that I had just returned from taking fifty hyperactive kids to the planetarium on a crowded school bus. The bitterness was left over from a telephone conversation I had just shared with a woman at the YMCA, who seemed a bit put off by the fact that I was trying to cancel our membership. It seemed that, while the membership had been exceedingly easy to obtain in the first place, the cancellation would require a faxed, signed letter of intent providing the reason for cancellation.
Why should it be anybody's business that we can't afford to remain members? I was sincerely tempted to pen a tirade about odiferous swimming pools and diseased saunas, but I was able to refrain myself from actually doing so.
The combined frustration and tiredness created within me a fragile mindset that was definitely not prepared to hear the news which was delivered to me from the doctor's office.
"It looks as if everything in the semen analysis was normal," the nurse said in a far too cheery voice, "except the count. The count was still low."
That was the first time I cried. I bit my lip and made no noise, but I couldn't stop a few tears from escaping. I quickly grabbed a tissue, wiped them away, and made yet another telephone call, this time to Eric.
He didn't seem surprised by the news of the lab results, but he, too, was depressed by them. We talked for a bit longer, and then I asked him if he'd been able to convince his company to pay to send me with him on his next long trip away to South Carolina, as we'd hoped they would.
He sighed; the news wasn't good. The company wouldn't pay for a plane ticket for me, and they couldn't get a refund for his ticket so that we could simply drive down together. Eric would be leaving without me again. I struggled to stay calm, but the tears came back again.
Children cry so easily. If they feel hungry, they sob. When they are bored, they whimper. If they overtire themselves, they become prone to meltdowns at the drop of a hat. I see it happen at least three times a day; a toddler who has been racing about the room, laughing, for the better part of an hour turns into a screaming banshee when Mother whispers, "It's time to go." A preschooler drops her books and begins to wail.
Crying feels good. These kids screech and let loose their anger at the traitor world that has suddenly and horribly turned against them. When the tears finally cease, they leave behind an exhausted child, but one who feels cleansed of his anger - he's spoken his piece and is done with the matter.
I can't remember the day that crying was suddenly turned into a crime, but I can guess at what happened. Someone, perhaps my mother or father, grew tired of my childish cries and told me to stop it, that there was no reason to cry. Nevermind the fact that I obviously had my own reasons for crying, or else I wouldn't be doing it; my reasons were not considered as powerful as my parents' desire for a quiet house. Perhaps Dad said to me, for the first time, the old parental favorite: "Stop crying, or I'll give you a reason to cry."
I had never tried to choke back tears before that day, so I never knew how awful it would feel. The hot, swollen throat that choked for air was new to me, as were the eyes that burned with tears that I frantically tried to rub away with harsh fists. My lips quivered as I tried to force them together. This was not cathartic; this was awful.
For years, then I fought tears away. Crying at home was forbidden; crying at school earned teasing from other children who, likewise, never cried if they could help it. Big girls didn't cry; I learned that lesson as a soldier learns to use his gun. It was a matter of survival.
At dinner, I cried four more times.
"...Worst case scenario, Carrie, is that we wait several months for open enrollment with your health insurance; wait two years, since this is a pre-existing condition; then hope they cover most of whatever treatment we need. That's worst case if your insurance will cover it, that is..."
A family across the restaurant from us had several preschool-aged children who were apparently in foul tempers; their uninhibited tears formed an odd counterpoint to my own heavily-guarded ones. Eric tried to comfort me, but seemed to have little idea how to go about it. I didn't know how to help him; I could barely figure out for myself what was setting me off. At one point, I made myself cry simply by thinking about how I was crying so much.
We finally made it through dinner and home. I sat on the floor and crocheted for hours; the repetitive motions helped me forget the day and all of its horrible tidings. My project is looking less like a scarf and more like an afghan with each healing row. I didn't allow myself to stop until I thought that I was exhausted enough to fall right into bed and nod off to sleep immediately.
Of course, that didn't happen. The moment I laid my head upon the pillow, the tears began to flow once more. I didn't try to stop them. They streamed unchecked down my cheek and onto the pillowcase for a full ten minutes before my brain felt drained enough to let me sleep.
I did do one thing that cheered me for a few minutes. I've been seeing links in various journals to Cafepress.com, where the writers have set up little stores, vending various pieces of merchandise emblazoned with their journal logos. Now I'm not vain enough to think that a store based on my writings could ever actually make any money, but the idea of personally owning some of my own merchandise managed to bring a little smile to my lips. Acknowledging how major an accomplishment that must have been yesterday, I decided that it would be worth the little effort to go ahead and set up the store.
I've gotten my joy out of the venture, so I'm satisfied. Go and get a chuckle, if you want.