The Pep Talk[s]

Friday will mark five months since we lost Joanna. Five months is a long time. But daily I am surprised by my constant anxiety levels. I am anxious about running into someone who knew I was pregnant but does not know that Joanna died.

If I look back to a few months ago, I can see that the issue used to be worse than it is now. I will admit. I would sit in the car at Wegmans and cry. I would will myself to go inside. My heart would pound. My palms were sweaty. Once I could collect myself, I would run into the store and back out without saying a word to anyone. Mostly, though, I would just have Bill get anything I needed so I didn’t have to put myself through that torture.

Now, I sit in the car and give myself a pep talk – the “you can do this, Carol; you’re brave and you’re strong and you’re capable of telling people what happened if you do run into someone who doesn’t know.” So I go inside, even though I feel like most of what I said to myself is a lie.

If you’re brave, why are you panicking? If you’re strong, why are you shaking?

Once I arrive inside, I beeline it to the items I need. I avoid eye contact with anyone I know who I am worried may not know Joanna’s story, so as to not start a conversation. Once I grab what I need, I stealthily make my way through the aisles, attempting to run into exactly zero familiar faces, just in case. Once I finally arrive back to the front of the store, I find a line with a cashier I do not know. I smile and politely say “hello” all the while wishing the cashier could move faster so that I can leave before someone sees me.

I thought by now this would no longer be an issue. But every day I wake up and have to give myself the same pep talk: OK, Carol. You can do today.

Then, once I’ve talked myself into leaving the house, there’s the car pep talk. Moment-to-moment I have to tell myself that I can; tell myself not to turn around and go home.

The third pep talk is for once I have arrived at my destination: You won’t run into anyone at this point who doesn’t know. It’s fine. You need to make it through. Carol, you can do this. It’s just [the grocery store, church, so-and-so’s house]. Even if you have to be brave and tell someone Joanna has died, you’ll be OK. Everyone has to find out eventually. OK. Here we go.

But sometimes the pep talk isn’t enough, and I do run into someone who doesn’t know. Yesterday, this happened. My first reaction was to run away. My brain got jumbled and all the things I thought I wanted to say in the situation were gone. I was embarrassed. I was awkward. I didn’t know what to do. I quickly said something that I didn’t want to say, that was not my rehearsed, eloquent answer, turned around and left. Back in the car, I fought the tears. My heart was pounding. My palms were sweaty. I just wanted to go home and go to bed. But instead, another pep talk.

You survived. It wasn’t what you planned. You were embarrassed but you got out and didn’t have to linger. You’re OK and you’re going to complete your plans for this day. You will not go home and hide.

And so I didn’t. Good talk. [Repeat tomorrow.]

I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I am so anxious. Today I was talking to Bill about it and I think it comes down to the “embarrassed” part. It always comes back to this — it was not my fault. I did nothing wrong. I know, I know. But here’s the truth: even so, somehow, I am ashamed. I am embarrassed, sad, brokenhearted to have to tell people that my body failed my baby.

That I could not save her.

No pep talk can make me feel better about that.



***I wrote this post on March 13 and forgot to post! Sorry***

I love flying. The feeling of drifting over the land and sea, cruising through the air, getting to where I want to go quickly and painlessly – it’s great! From up here things look good. I can see cars driving along roads, people going about their business. Boats traveling through the waters and docking at various harbors. Cities and towns waking up and preparing to go about their day.

Basically, flying can give you a good perspective on the world. From up here everything looks fine.

Do you think we often go through life this way? We walk though life looking at things from afar. When we look at others we see the big picture. But we don’t always know what is really going on.

Below me now, though all looks good, there are commuters getting into car accidents. There are people wondering how they will pay their bills this month. There are dogs getting lost, children being abducted, and houses on fire. So many things are happening that we don’t even know about. It’s not such a happy picture.

From the other direction, the world is looking at this plane and thinks things are great. But. Do they know that the seatbelt light is never going to turn off? Do they know that while we are moving forward we are hitting turbulence. Turbulence. Rough patches that make us uneasy.

I’m currently experiencing turbulence in life. But most people wouldn’t suspect. My (generally) care-free and happy attitude has onlookers seeing me from the ground — flying smoothly through whatever comes my way. But honestly, things are tricky.

The biggest cloud I’m flying through right now is work. And it’s a dark storm cloud…
Truth: I love what I do.
Truth: I love most of the people I work with.
Truth: I work for one of the best companies, and that’s saying a lot considering I’ve worked for Wegmans for 8.5 years!
Truth:My boss has a management style all her own. No one likes it. No one gets it. No one feels like they are doing a good job. No one is very happy.

It’s hard to work in these circumstances. I try my best, and while I know I’m doing well and may not be getting yelled at and my work may not be being torn to shreds, I’m terrified of the day it will be. I’m honestly scared of my boss. I am sick when I go to work and know I have a meeting with her. Luckily she works from our North Carolina office so I only ever meet with her by phone. Except for now. I guess I didn’t mention that I’m writing this as I fly to Boston. Once in Boston, I’m off to Cambridge to the office there. I’ll meet all sorts of new people, and get to hang out with my boss in person for the day…

I’ve been looking, quietly and generally, at job postings. I don’t know if I can fly through this cloud much longer. It makes me sad. Since I do love it here, but I don’t think you should ever have to be afraid of your boss and its not just mentally exhausting but it drains everything from me. I’m beyond tired every night. I can’t stay awake on metro. I have no energy to do a thing wen I get home…visit Bill. Play with Heinz. Just sleep.

Time to switch planes? Buckle up. It’s gonna be a bumpy flight for now.


Exciting things are happening!

Bill finally got his big promotion! I really shouldn’t say finally because once you’re a team leader, Wegmans policy is that you stay in your position at least a year before you can apply for something new/higher. So he got full time two days after we started working in Fairfax. Then he got Meat Team Leader about six months later, in April 2011. Then in March 2012 he was promoted to Service Team Leader (11 months). Only 10 months later he already has moved up again. I am so proud of him. He will be the Overnight Management Trainee for about a year then he becomes the Overnight Manager. It’s exciting because it means we both have jobs now that show our hard work paying off. Some days it feels like we just work and work and never get any where. So this is big!

Less exciting is the continuous journey to start our family. We are trying, but are now dealing with a very temperamental Aunt Flo. She visited two weeks early last cycle and had not yet visited this cycle, putting us at 42 days since she last stopped by. This has prompted two pregnancy tests. To our dismay, they have been negative. Aunt Flo is being rude…she will probably show up completely unannounced just when we don’t want her company, AKA this weekend in NYC.

Speaking of good, old New York, New York, I’m excited to go! The last time I was there was in college and we were on a class trip. We went all over Manhattan but didn’t really see much. I saw Times Square and ate at The Hard Rock New York but that was about it. This time we will go atop the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. I will go exploring Central Park and discover the exact spot where Kathleen Kelly tells Joe Fox, “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so bad.” It’s just too bad we aren’t going in the Fall, or I could wander saying, “Don’t you just love New York in the fall?” In case you didn’t know, You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies of all time!

We are also seeing a show on Broadway! Wicked! Almost everything on my New York City bucket list will be complete. I wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island but Hurricane Sandy did extensive damage, soooooo, it is closed indefinitely. We have a few places picked out for eating meals and I am set on eating a real NY bagel at least once.

The best part will be seeing Bill. I’ve hardly seen him since we got back to VA after our visit home last weekend. Four days of just us, hanging out and having fun. Can’t wait!