Tag Archives: connection

Maybe she’s born with words… maybe it’s insanity.

According to Salon.com, the old “definition of insanity” adage is “the most overused cliche of all time,” which makes me laugh, because I’m about to do it again.

I started by googling “crazy is doing the same thing” to find out who actually said it and quickly learned that it wasn’t crazy that I meant, but rather insanity. So I started over again… “insanity is doing the same thing” and found that in that respect, the Internet went wild re: attribution. As the Internet is wont to do. Maybe it was Einstein who said it. Maybe not. But as Salon suggests, lots and lots and lots of people have repeated it, myself included.


They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

They who? I don’t know. The all powerful, ever present “they,” I suppose.

But are they right? And should I discuss it with you? These are the questions on my mind at present.


I’ve told you my infertility story. Dramatically recounted it in excruciating (to you, I’m sure) detail. So as I sit here, at the cusp of doing it all again (where “it all” = IVF)… I’m left wondering what to do about the words.


A while ago, there was a Twitter campaign associated with the hashtag #WhyIWrite. My response:


To let the words out. Some people really liked my response. Liked it enough to reach out to me personally, and that was really cool.

Honestly, it didn’t seem that profound when I put it out there. It was just my truth, but I can see why it resonated with other writers. They must, like me, at times get so over-stuffed with words that the release of writing is the only way forward. I’m not sure that this was ever truer than when I went through IVF the last time. The wild swings and crazy ups and downs filled me to the brim and blogging through it was incredibly cathartic for me. The release was exactly what I needed, the words on the page helped me to shape the thoughts in my head and explore the feelings wrapped around my heart, and the support I had through all of it from you, my dear readers, was phenomenal. It was so important to me, so valuable, and I feel so fortunate that writing, sharing, connecting in this way is a part of my life.

BUT. The definition of insanity…

We have decided to do IVF again. Just one more time. As I mentioned previously, for reasons beyond the blog-o-sphere, our chances of success are… what’s the right word?… low doesn’t quite do it justice… unlikely seems too bouncy… dismal seems a bit over dramatic… I’m not sure what the perfect turn of phrase is here, so I’ll borrow from our mutual frenemy Effie Trinket — the odds are not in our favor. Not now and definitely not in the future, so if we’re to have any chance at all of doing the baby making thing in this way, this is our shot. And we’re taking it. One more time, and only one more time. Given the poor odds and our previous experience, however, I have to wonder whether this is truly me bordering on the brink of proverbial insanity. And as such, what right do I have to run wild and free through Internet land talking and whining and ruminating again on something that may be just as insane (stupid/silly/dumb/wasteful/pathetic) as my inner mean girl (and the maybe-Einstein quote) would have me believe?


So… by way of long and twisty explanation (always)… I’ve been really back and forth about whether or not I should write about any of this again. Lots of self-deprecating cons (e.g., this is insanity, right? do people really want to read more about any of this? how much more could I possibly have to say? won’t it get repetitive?), but then the single, most important pro came to mind and it changed my mean, mean, mean mind: infertility is a big part of my life and IVF is where my head and heart, and by extension my words, are going to be for the next couple of months. That’s where I will be, where I am, and where I am is the only place from which I can truly connect with people, with you. So that’s where my words need to come from.

Ultimately, the point of my writing, and therefore Under the Tapestry, is to connect. And connections is, as I recently identified, one of my three core values. One of the things that really drives me, gives me purpose.  Connection, grace, and humor. So, here we go again — pull the lever, Kronk!



But seriously — maybe you would hate to read even one more single infertility related word? If so, tell me now! Uterus? Did I lose you? Granted, I have a feeling that I’m going to be gushing about a certain marathon in the very near future too… so there’ll be other thingzzz. I just think I’m probably going to say some things about my uterus too. Cool?

As pointless as an inside out raccoon.

Once upon a time, some medieval a-hole invented the oubliette: a dungeon modeled after the mythical bottomless pit. The only entrance, a trap door in the ceiling, was so far overhead that the person banished to the depths went mad with hopelessness, knowing they were left in the dark to be forgotten. (Or something like that.)

Clearly, the aforementioned medieval a-hole was familiar with the concept of depression. And weaponized it. Genius. Mad genius.

Today, I greet you from the depths of the oubliette, depression having settled in like an old friend I never really wanted to meet in the first place. But here he is and the associated fog will likely cover the faint glint of light from the mouth of the pit for a while. It’s my job (with the help of medication) to work really, really hard to remember that it’s not actually hopeless and I do actually matter. But first, how did I get here?


Are you familiar with Jenny Lawson? Alias: The Bloggess? Author of Let’s Pretend this Never Happened and, more recently, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things? I kind of adore her — her irreverence and frankness about mental illness is a thing of beauty and I think she’s done a lot, lot, lot of good for a lot, lot, lot of people who might otherwise feel very alone. Her point: we’re all broken, some of us more than others, and for those of us in whom that means mental illness, it is a legitimate disease worthy of medical treatment. And that is all. That and a silver ribbon to be worn with pride — I am surviving. No shame.

Anyway, I’m reading Furiously Happy right now and the star of the show is Rory the furiously happy raccoon (see book cover):


Rory is a taxidermied raccoon. Taxidermied to a state of permanent, furious, happiness.

I kind of dig Rory and all his maniacal excitement. And I fully understood what it meant to be a taxidermied raccoon — once upon a time he was alive, he died, his skin was removed, he was stuffed, posed, preserved, the end.

But then last weekend, this horror show took place in my backyard (not a fan of gruesomeness? scroll by real quick):

inside out raccoon

Not actually my backyard, of course, but the backyard that butts up to the edge of mine. So close enough. That’s a raccoon. Hanging from an apple tree. Having its skin removed.

An inside out raccoon.


I was disturbed on Saturday, but when it happened again on Monday morning (happened again on Monday morning because #Wisconsin), less so. I mean, that’s how you make a taxidermied raccoon, right? Even a furiously happy one was once upon a time dangling from something having its skin removed.

The premise behind the idea of being Furiously Happy, a la Jenny Lawson, is that when you suffer from severe bouts of depression, it steals the joy right out of your life. So in those moments when you can be happy — you should be furiously so. Embracing life and adventure and goodness and joy to the fullest in those moments when it is in your power to be in that place, when the fog isn’t hanging over you, when all the exclamation points haven’t mysteriously vanished from your life. Or, as is apropos here, when you’re not busy being turned inside out, be like Rory.

I liked that analogy for depression — an inside out raccoon with the potential to be happy again, given a little help from a skilled taxidermist with a good sense of humor.

But then again, once the inside out raccoon suit was off the bare raccoon body, my neighbor took the pelt (is it a pelt? is that what we call the removed skin/fur???) inside the house and left the (now naked) raccoon body hanging from that tree. It swayed there for a long time and I couldn’t look away. What do you do with a dead, naked raccoon, I thought? I mean, people don’t eat raccoon, do they? That naked raccoon isn’t going to get furiously happy — just his little suit. So… what’s his point?

My neighbor came back outside with a bucket, untied the raccoon, dropped him inside, and carried him away to who knows where. To nowhere, probably.

And I realized that I felt past the point of the little raccoon suit with the potential to be happy again. I felt a lot more like the dead, naked, slightly swaying, completely pointless raccoon left hanging on the branch. It was just grief at first. I was so sad, and with good reason, but I had moved past that point. Somewhere in my grief and brokenness, I had convinced myself that that’s all there was. That I was pointless.

I had let myself slip back into the oubliette.


The thoughts that came and went (and still sometimes come and go) are scary. I wished to not be loved — because then it would be easier to disappear, no heartache left behind. I wished for tragedy of the variety that was unquestionably not my fault yet would somehow lead me to oblivion. For an end because why was I bothering anyway. I did not matter and that the people who for some reason thought that I did would be better off without me… when they realized that there were prettier wives that were good at keeping their families healthy, children with the ability to produce grandchildren, sisters that don’t harbor ugly jealousy, writers with more talent and less baggage, friends with the ability to smile, nieces without drama, etc. I want to be all those things to all those people. I have been none of them. I had no point.

I don’t want to lie to you. I’m still there to some extent. It’s a bad neighborhood of the mind, as my aunt would say, and I wander there frequently these days. But I do have some good days too. Thanks to the people that love me, goodness knows why, and the mental health care I have sought — needed to seek. But maybe most of all this time because someone else heard what I said and shared their own story with me and I thought for a second, hey, we just connected. And maybe connection is enough of a point. Enough of a reason. Something that matters.

And connection does keep happening, when I really stop and think about it. It has for a while and it has very frequently recently. In ways that I didn’t really expect. Not just those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a child, but those who have been to broken places for other reasons too. People who look so shiny and bright on the outside that there’s just no possible way for that to not be the whole story, except of course there’s more. And they said to me, “hey… me too, because this thing…” And dang. That’s powerful stuff.

On the surface, it seems a little bit like misery-loves-company, but it’s not. It’s a lot more like hey-let-me-lend-you-my-strength. Let’s-walk-together-for-a-sec. I’m-going-to-hug-you-gently-with-my-words. I’m-going-to-show-you-something-tragic-yet-beautiful-and-remind-you-that-it-is-possible-to-be-furiously-happy-again.

For those moments, for those people, and for the people that love me… that I love back… I’m going to hang on. I’m going to remember that even an inside out raccoon isn’t really pointless. That the bottom of the oubliette is temporary and that somewhere above me, no matter how far away it seems, there is light.

What Hatha Yoga with Rudra Taught Me About the “Like” Button

A friend of mine from back in the day (Y-town for LIFE) recently posted an interesting entry on her blog and it got me thinking for days. It just kept popping back and back and back into my head. I loved what she said, but I also had a million alternative thoughts about the topic floating around and kind of wanted to write a rebuttal. It’s one thing to just come out here to this space and point-by-point rebut someone like Matt Walsh whose goal in life seems to be to get people riled up (and is he ever good at it!), but it’s different when it’s the musings of a friend… so I asked her what she thought.

I hemmed and hawed about it for a while because I didn’t want her to think I was some sort of jerk, but I just felt like I had so much to say and I wanted to discuss… here… with you… I finally got up the courage to send her a message while I sat on the runway in Lacrosse waiting to be re-fueled and re-flight planned and was just about out of things to do so I messaged Kacey. Her response was so excellent! She was totally cool with me running with her topic du jour (she’s kind of just cool like that in general) and so here we go! (Let’s check real quick on the jerk thing… Kacey? Or perhaps we should wait until the end…)


Kacey’s basic premise, and please forgive me if I’m misinterpreting, was that social media platforms like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, tend to be self-centered and focused on a culture of “look at me!” … that the desire for shares and likes and comments and such is really a desperate need to be acknowledged. And that that’s why many of us do it– to get the like or the comment or the share, to be acknowledged.

I don’t necessarily disagree, exactly, my rebuttal is more the notion that, at least in my mind, that all of that is ok. It’s ok to ask people to acknowledge you. (Hence the large number of times I’ve actually used the phrase “ACKNOWLEDGE MEEEEE!” both in this space and in real life… it’s like Kacey was speaking directly to me!)

It was so interesting to me that Kacey and I could do the same thing (blog) and use the same types of social media and ultimately take away such a different message from it. I was fascinated by that and I kept turning the notion of WHY that was over and over and over in my head until I think I finally stumbled upon something when I received an email reply from my long lost friend Lotisha who is Pauly-Shore-style in the army now. Literally.

Lotisha and I were labmates back in DC and I just adore her. She’s the tiniest person with the biggest attitude and after I got over being terrified of her I realized that I actually looooved her. And one of the things Lotisha and I loved to do together (besides give mice gonorrhea) was take fitness classes. Mostly through Montgomery County. And it was with Lotisha that I took my first ever yoga class. Hatha Yoga with Rudra.

I went into yoga class expecting a workout with emphasis on strength and flexibility. Rurda, however, was a sweatpants-wearing, afro-haired, Costa-Rica-yoga-retreat-bound man who was way into yoga as a practice, not just as an exercise, and during our first class he taught us what the word namaste meant.

According to Rudra, saying namaste to someone else or even to yourself was equivalent to saying “I salute the inner light within you.” I of course looked it up after that and it’s hard to say if that’s true exactly, except that it is widely acknowledged as a respectful greeting or goodbye. Regardless, I like what Rudra said. A lot. (Now. Then I was all “oh snap, this is weird, I don’t think I like it,” but I was wrong as I so often find myself to be.) And I think, to me, the “like” button is really more of a namaste button– a way to acknowledge the “inner light” of another person’s activity, selfie, food choice, witty quip, photo-of-babies-doing-baby-stuff, whatever. The thing about it, whatever it is, that resonates with me.


Of course like any other living, breathing human, Facebook also infuriates me at times. It incites major jealousy, constantly feeding my little green monster (30-ish? on Facebook? there’s LOTS of babies, of which I can have none). And, although this may surprise you, this big square head of mine doesn’t often photograph very well and the pictures I do end up posting tend to be the very best chin down, tongue-to-roof-of-mouth, least squinty eyed, minimal frizz, good angle photos that happen. When given the opportunity to paint yourself, why not paint your best self… the self you feel most comfortable with? Leave the dirty laundry for the old blog.

The important thing, for me anyway, is the attitude I choose to approach it with. I can’t possibly be the only one painting my best face out there… which means other people probably aren’t always as gorgeous/happy/un-double-chinned as they appear. Right? (Although I suspect the babies are for the most part real. The monster! So green!) The thing is, I see these perfect posts, these lovely brush strokes on social media because I choose to and because I enjoy it. I am apparently totally cool with voyeurism and I love to see what people are up to. I also love that it keeps me connected with people I otherwise wouldn’t be connected to. Like Kacey! And her blog!

Even amongst the perfect pictures and the happy statuses though, we do still catch glimpses of the truth. And when we recognize those things, those little winks that were meant just for us, we can acknowledge them in another way altogether– it’s the behind-the-scenes connections that might be a little more meaningful.

Because of Facebook, I re-connected with Dawn. Erika recognized my hurt and cheers me on day after day. Kacey and I are blog buddies. Nicole and I became friends, like real friends, long after college.

Because of Twitter, I got a couple blog posts re-tweeted by the Chris Lema and traffic, traffic, traffic on account. It let me keep up with my friend Dr. Kanth on his interview journey.

Because of Instagram, I get to keep up with #ohellabella and to see a #dailydoseofaddisyn. I also get sneak peaks into Mindy Kaling‘s life (yessss!).

And because of this blog, regardless of whether you like it, read it, share it, comment on it… or not… I have an outlet. I can share my words with anyone who happens to stumble across them. I share my ideas with people who are free to agree or disagree. Read on or roll their eyes. Whatevs.


That’s the beauty of the internet. It’s let’s us connect.

Or not.



Or keep scrolling.


You choose.


End rebuttal.


How about now, Kacey? Not a jerk, right? Just more rambling along the same lines. We’re all friends here 🙂