Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Living in an infinite fiction

Last year I read The Fault in Our Stars by the amazing John Green and it was hands down my favorite book of the year.  It so far blew away every other book I read, there was just no competition (maybe if I had read Wolf Hall or Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk last year, there might have been a little competition, but I read those books this year).  It doesn't seem to matter how many times I recommend TFiOS to people, I can't get anyone to read it.  I think because everyone thinks it is going to be a SAD BOOK about CANCER.  I will say our dear narrator Hazel has cancer.  But it's not really a book about cancer.  And yes, there are things in the book that are sad, but there are many things in the book that are happy, hopeful, and very, very funny.  The book is being turned into a movie, and the director, Josh Boone, said this about it (side note, he read it right after a close friend of his died of cancer):  "John's book came along just when I needed it. It pierced my heart and helped me deal with my grief. I laughed and cried and was left with an overwhelming feeling of hope. That our lives matter, that the love and kindness we share with others reverberates long after we're gone.

"  I couldn't agree more.

Anyway, early in the book Hazel meets Gus and the two of them become fast friends, exchanging their favorite books with each other.  Gus's favorite book is a silly series based on a video game, but Hazel loves it and she remarks, "It was exciting to live again in an infinite fiction."  I'll get to that in a minute.

Emotionally I was really struggling early in the week.  I was definitely feeling hopeless and angry and I had no idea where to put these feelings.  I started a new cycle, and I decided to let Jane, my acupuncturist/herbalist, do whatever she thought best.  Next cycle we'll go back to the RE for treatment, and while I'll keep doing acupuncture, you can't really take herbs when you're doing that stuff.  But as I was dumping my herbs into a cup, it just all seemed so pointless.  "None of this is ever going to work," I thought to myself.  "We'll never have children, every last avenue will close to us," that cruel voice in my head said.  And then I thought if I can't get my emotions in order and have a little hope, then of course it won't work.  Good old magical thinking - I was damned no matter what I did or thought.

I went through work, and even though I usually like to cook when I'm down because it helps me take my mind off of things, the thought of doing anything other than sitting like a sad lump on the couch just seemed impossible.  So I told Jeeves I just couldn't cook dinner tonight, and we went back and forth on whether he should come home and work, or if she should stay at work that evening (he's especially swamped with work right now).  I think he could tell that I just needed to sit on the couch and watch multiple episodes of Orphan Black, washed down with a big glass of wine.  Our apartment is smallish and we only have one TV, so if Jeeves needs to work from home, I can't watch TV.  So he stayed at work that evening so I could watch my infinite fiction.

And that is what snapped me out it.  I don't know how it works.

So, Orphan Black.  OB is a Canadian television show that airs on BBC America.  I started watching it On Demand because I read a lot of positive reviews on the television blogs I frequent.  I don't want to give too much away because the discovery of what is happening is half the fun.  But I will say that our main character is Sarah.  She's a bit of a grifter and she's just come back to town via train (I think it's set in Toronto, though they never specify).   While at the train station, she witnesses a woman who looks exactly like her throw herself in front of the train.  Who was this woman, this twin?  Sarah was in the foster care system her entire life, so she could theoretically have a sister, even a twin sister.... or is there something more to it?

Anyway, watching a couple episodes of Orphan Black took me out of myself, dumped me into this world of fiction, and helped me clear out some of my crap feelings.   I've always found solace in the fictional world, whether it a book, a movie, or a TV show.  When studying for the bar exam, I saw basically every movie that came out because it was 2 hours of relief from the stress.  After my mom died, I became a total Battlestar Galactica junkie.  And where would I have been without season one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey the week that Dad was diagnosed?  I'm not saying it's a cure-all, or that every shitty feeling I have is gone now.  But with infertility stuff, there isn't always a neat way of dealing with these feelings.  I don't think you can bury them, but at some point you need to put them aside and just do something else.  For me, that's getting sucked into an infinite fiction.

I'm feeling better now, and part of that is because we finally got our results from the thrombophilia tests (aka the recurrent pregnancy loss blood tests).  I am normal.  While that doesn't guarantee that I won't have another miscarriage, at least we will know it's not from some sort of clotting disorder that could have been treated.  So we'll be ready to start again with the RE in September.

And now if you'll excuse me, these episodes of Pretty Little Liars aren't going to watch themselves.


  1. That's a great term. And yeah, self-care is vital. It's good you know what you need and don't feel guilty about it. Too many people mistake self-care for laziness or indulgence, and it makes me nuts. It's SO important.

    I hope after your shows you're feeling more centered and hopeful. I may have to read that book.

    1. I definitely felt a little guilty about not cooking dinner, but it felt totally worth it when just doing what I wanted helped get me out of my depression. You're definitely right that it's important to listen to yourself and do what you need to do. I haven't been doing that enough lately.

  2. Megan. Our friendship is destiny. I had stayed away from TFiOS for a while despite recommendations because it felt like it was too close, but my goodness, I wish I had read it earlier so that Hazel and Gus could have been part of my life sooner. So excited for the news of a movie! I wish we were together so we could go to Clifton Commons to see midnight?

    And also....ORPHAN BLACK! I can't believe we haven't talked about it. I should have told you about it earlier. ZOMG. I *love* that show. Tatiana Maslany was robbed of an Emmy nomination. She is seriously BRILLIANT in the show. Chat me when you finish. I am already jonesing for the second season!

    1. Tatiana Maslany deserves ALL OF THE AWARDS. She is ridiculously amazing.

      And ATL, I knew you would probably struggle with whether to read TFiOS based on what's happened in the last couple of years. But I actually feel like I appreciate it even more *because* of my experiences with cancer. Anyway, so glad you loved it too!