Emotional Battles

There are a lot of battles going on in the world today.  Religious battles, political battles, legal battles.  Battles that involve nasty words and media campaigns.  Battles that involve border disputes.  Battles that are violent and bloody with innocent lives lost.  Battles stuck in the court system with no reasonable outcome in site.  But today, I want to talk about emotional battles.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about Patterns of Behavior.  I talked about some of my struggles, and how I go about getting to the bottom of what is really bothering me.  Last week, I talked about buzz words and how they can spark strong emotions, and strong desires to Pay It Forward and make a difference. In case you can’t really see the obvious here, I’ll just say it simply – I’ve been fighting some emotional battles lately, and trying to figure out just where these feelings are really coming from.  While I didn’t sit down and actually journal it all out, I did spend some time in focused thinking about what exactly was going on.  Pondering, searching for the answer – or at least the identity of what I was feeling.  Usually, once I figure it out, I can find a way to work through it all.  Yesterday it finally became clear….like an obnoxious flashing neon sign… and me saying “why didn’t I see this before?!?!?!”


Ugh…face palm moment – truly.  When I finally figured it out, I texted Chel as I often do…and when she asked “Guilt???” I emailed her a list:

I feel guilty about spending money on a new tattoo
I feel guilty about not spending the money on bills
I feel guilty about not taking any time for ME.
I feel guilty about taking time for me.
I feel guilty about not cleaning the house, doing the laundry.
I feel guilty about not spending time at the winery
I feel guilty about spending too much time at the winery.
I feel guilty about not eating right.
I feel guilty about wasting food when I do rotations and leftovers don’t get eaten
I feel guilty for doing things that make me happy.
I feel guilty about not doing “enough”
I feel guilty for stuffing my face with comfort food.
I feel guilty for being a bad daughter.
Her response…”OMG Its almost like I wrote it….ugh…the question is how to let go of the guilt, especially the contradictory ones?”  And that’s why I love Chel…we totally get each other! So back to the focused thinking I went.  Dissecting why I was feeling guilty, and what I might be able to do about it.  I had a conversation with Google about it too…and learned that often guilt is grounded in feelings of inadequacy and shame.  Yup, yup, and yup.  Long standing issues with me, and ones I have to tackle from time to time.  Also pair it up with acts of selfishness for good measure.  Sheesh…I’m a mess!
Ok…so picking apart my list…the main themes are money, time, and taking care of myself.
Money:  there is never quite enough, but gentle reminders to myself to live within my means, stick to reasonable budgets, and make do with what you have.  Take care of mandatory bills, keep food on the table, and if you want something not normally in the budget – save for it.
Time:  that one is harder, as you can’t make more time exist.  But make lists, prioritize what needs to be done, and sometimes it’s ok to say NO.
Taking care of myself:  the hardest battle of all…but can be manageable if I prioritize and say NO sometimes.    The trick here is to find the balance, and not induce more guilt, inadequacy, or shame.
Apparently, I need to be more assertive.  Make my own needs known if they are valid.  I have to take care of my own well being.
I need to not measure myself against others, and especially I need to not chastise myself for accomplishing less than – or more than whomever it is I’m comparing myself to.
And I need to just let stuff go.  I’m one woman, capable of doing the work of one woman.  I can’t MAKE time, but I can manage and prioritize my time.  I need to not feel guilty when I make a choice to take care of myself.  I need to ensure that I am well and whole and at my best in order to be of service to others.
As I’ve mentioned before, in the past few months I’ve walked a path to more thoroughly explore and engage my faith.  I’ve made a commitment to go back to church and have some wonderful women (and men) in my life and in the congregation that have embraced me with loving open arms.  In this journey I’ve spent quite a bit of time with my nose in my Bible searching for inspiration and contemplating what I find.  I’ve also returned to an active practice of prayer.  Not just asking for guidance in my times of greatest need, but in counting my blessings and praising what is good and right in my world.  God doesn’t just want to hear what I need help with, he wants to celebrate my joys too.  Through this process I am learning that through open dialogue I can embrace a more peace filled life.  While I used to only talk to myself, and ask myself for answers to my questions – now I ask and listen to what God might have to say about things.  Knowing I don’t have to fight this battle alone…well, that leads to a sense of comfort and protection I haven’t felt in a long time.
So, on Friday I’ll be spending some time with one of my dearest friends and doing what at first felt like a very selfish thing and induced some guilt.  I am scheduled to get my next tattoo.  This tattoo will symbolize my MRKH journey and how it’s wrapped itself around my life as a whole – and it will also serve as a reminder of all that I’ve been through and the Courage, Strength, and Faith that I’ve found.  Stay tuned for pictures of course – and probably some whining about pain and itching and lack of quality sleep.  😉

Pay It Forward

Buzz words and catch phrases.  They are kind of interesting I think.  Catchy dominating meaningful collections of consonants and vowels, but when we see them we immediately relate to them in some way.  They spark an emotion, or a memory.  They make us think of something specific.  They can make or break an ad campaign.

Can you hear me now?

Where’s the beef?

Who let the dogs out?

Open, Open, Open…

You’re in good hands

These phrases either make me cringe, or make me remember some funny obscure time in my life when the phrase was repeated out of context and I busted out laughing.  We’ve probably all heard them, and repeated them ad nauseam.

But there are some buzz words that have entered into my daily consciousness lately that really have my head and heart spinning.







As you can guess, these words and their mostly negative connotations are pretty rampant in my world.  Not necessarily for me personally, but in the social circles I find myself in where so many of us have MRKH.  It’s kind of scary to have these strong connections between these issues and MRKH, but it’s the reality of it.  Let’s face it…when you are a teenager and trying to figure out life in general, and your sexual identity, and the whole what do I want to be when I grow up stuff…and you get the diagnosis of MRKH….it’s potentially crushing.  And it has LIFE LONG impact.  You don’t just get the diagnosis, get a prescription to kill the bacteria, and you’re cured and life goes on.  You have to deal with it every day in some way for the rest of your life.

When you get diagnosed with MRKH you kind of go through this mental triage….what can I deal with today….what can wait?  You know, stop the bleeding, keep breathing, stitch the wound, change the bandage, dry the tears, and that’s all I can cope with today.  At least I did.  No uterus, can’t carry a child…ok..I’ll deal with that later.  Today I have to deal with the fact you just told me I can’t have sex like a regular person until I have some treatment to stretch my…yeah….ok…let’s not say it out loud.    So, take a deep breath and ask about treatment option….hear an option I can accept….ask a couple more questions, and walk away.

So…on the inside, I’m all stressed out, terrified, mortified….but the face I show the world is a cleaned up accident victim…battered and bruised, but walking out of the clinic of my own free power.  I’ll be better in a few days – at least in the public’s eyes.  And inside, the wounds are healing too…slowly…but I’ve got a lot to process and think about – and NO ONE to talk to or ask questions.  Heck, I don’t even know what questions to ask…let alone who I could possibly talk to about them.  I’m alone in this diagnosis.  It’s extremely rare, I’ve never seen a case like yours before.

Looking back at that time in my life, and several other challenging times in my life as it relates to MRKH I can recognize that I had to deal with most of those buzz words on my own.  But I walked that path 95% alone.  I dealt with depression, infertility, anxiety, and all those things quietly on my own.  I had some treatments, did some therapy, went to support groups, but still – no one with MRKH ever crossed my path, so no one could quite relate to what I was going through.

I managed, I persevered, I even thrived.  I have done good things, even great things with my life.  I have fought emotional battles in my head and heart, and I have found my path through them.  But most of it has been walking the path alone, not knowing that it could have been any different.

And then I found the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation web site.  I was stunned.  I was NOT alone.  There were beautiful women all over the WORLD who were just like me.  Through BYMRKH I found support groups online, I found email lists, and I found women just like me.  As I made more and more connections, I found friends, SISTERS, mentors and those in need of mentoring.  I found my niche.  I talked to so many and was moved to tears often at the outpouring of unconditional love that was shown and shared.  But I also saw our common struggles – depression, anxiety, treatments, therapy.  I watched several of my new friends go through fertility treatments, IVF cycles, and surrogacy – with both glorious success, and tragic loss.  The last few years have been a very dynamic part of my journey in life, and the role that MRKH plays in it.  It hasn’t all be wine and roses, but neither has it been easy.  I’ve faced a few demons, healed some deeply seated wounds, and have grown tremendously as a person.  I no longer feel like I’m all alone and having to face everything with no back up.  I now have an army of incredible women to share my journey with.

As I walk this journey of MRKH, I watch carefully for those who are battling demons – and I try and offer them encouragement and support…if only to say, “You are not alone and I’m here for you if you need me.” I’ve walked this path, and it’s much easier if someone is there to hold your hand.  MRKH wraps around our lives in unexpected ways.  Funny things will set us off without warning.  Things that didn’t bother us at all at 17 are devastating at 27.  Challenges hit us at all the seasons of our lives, but with my MRKH sisters surrounding me, I know I don’t have to walk into the blackness alone – and those buzzwords don’t scare me anymore.  I know we will fight them together.

My heart is tender this week for several of my MRKH sisters who are going through some pretty challenging times.  I do my best to show them love and support and encouragement, even when I’ve never met some of them face to face.   I’ve said many prayers, I’ve mailed a few cards, I’ve reached out to them with kind words and encouragement, all to let them know in some small way that they are NOT alone.  Be it emotional, physical, or financial…we all need a little extra support now and then.  I craved it for so many years, and now that I have it – I’ll do everything I can to pay it forward whenever I can.