Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Passive aggressive Facebook status updates.

I often see facebook statuses with just a sad face, or an oblique reference to people being upset, and I feel annoyed and sorry for the person in equal measure. Facebook is a place for funny memes, not for coded cries for help....although upon consideration, it's good that somebody might feel compelled to reach out and ask if the person is ok.

Today, I posted an epic passive-aggressive FB status update:


It did not even go halfway to explaining the way I felt today, yet I felt it appropriate. I find contrived platitudes about gratitude and positive attitude (rhyme!) annoying too. Anger and frustration are a part of life. It is confronting to people when they are expressed.

I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get my work situation sorted before I start on the IVF. I feel like my job seeking prospects might be limited in the future. This has caused a lot of angst, largely because part of the job thing is out of my control. There are wheels within wheels there.

Also, I have found my lack of substantive work quite erosive to my self worth. The good feedback goes nowhere and I begin to doubt myself, and resent the processes.

The situation with my mum has weighed on my mind, too. We would all like the calm guidance and support of our mother when we embark on our own motherhood, but I have come to the conclusion that this will not be the way for me, and I have to find a way for that to be ok.

These thoughts seem quite coherent, to me anyway, but they have bubbled under a lot of general feeling shitty lately. It's good to have them surface, and I can take a deep breath in and while breathing out I can say "fuckit". I can't wait for the ducks to line up before I do the IVF. There is never a good time. I just have to press on. The other shit will be what it is, and I have to deal with it as it comes up.

Fitness goals:

1. I did a pullup with only an orange resistance band (pullup arms getting stronger, I can feel an unassisted pullup coming soon)
2. I did a set of 3 of these with 40 kg on the bar

I did not look as smooth as that guy, but my grunt was on point. Grunts are good. They fix things.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Goals update. Harnessing the hive brain.

Happy new year, folks! It has been a while.

I have been back at work since returning from Bali. My "office" is not one that closes over any festive season! The ground was hit, running, and I have continued to run at decent pace since.

Health and fitness wise, I have been doing well. I got to all 6 crossfit sessions last week, and I am feeling suitably strong. My diet has also shaped up considerably to support this badass training.

I saw my sister and niece and enjoyed it. I saw my mum and managed it semi-graciously.

The main sticking point is my work. As I mentioned, I was gunning to consolidate at one workplace. I have been doing a locum position at this workplace and the feedback has been good. Another 6-month locum position has come up for application, to replace somebody off on sabbatical. Unfortunately, in order to take this job, I would essentially need to resign from my permanent work.

I am not prepared to do that because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Also, this is now the 3rd lot of locuming I have done for this work place, and I am starting to tire of being used as a stop gap rather than becoming a valued member of the team. The good work ethic I have shown has come to nothing, hence I feel there is no incentive. It's a bit depressing.

My approach was, if they press me, was to say that I would love to work for them, but it would involve me having to resign current positions for a temporary role. And leaving it there.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 Top Nine. Goals.

Firstly, I hope youse had a good exmas. Judging by the blogs, it looked marvellous. Even if it wasn't hunky dory, congrats, you survived. Also, George Michael and Carrie....bloody hell...

I had considered 2016 a bit of a fail, and recent blog post have been a bit on the bleh woe is me side. 

Today, I did the #2016topnine whatsy on Instagram.

I had a couple of comments on this pic above. One was saying that it was a very accomplished year. The other said it was the best top nine they'd seen.

Those kind comments really snapped back things into perspective for me. This top 9 shows a few good things that have come out of the year.

I got my PhD printed up and the degree conferred (left 3 squares)

I tried my best at my sport and this got recognised (right middle)

I spent some time in some very great tropical places (Bali, Thailand (top middle), Bali again (top right)

I take pleasure in the small cool things (bottom right)

I have made friends with my thick (powerful) thighs (bottom middle)

And I continue to be delightfully inappropriate and disgraceful on a regular basis (middle).

I have not squeezed a baby out, nor do I have one in the oven. That has been farking hard. Motherhood is, in some ways, revered and getting pregnant is an accomplishment. A feeling of failure and some dread about the processes has been present for much of the latter part of the year. However, there have been wins. I am a bigger (weight wise about the same size, but you know what I mean) person compared with this time last year.

I had been looking on 2017 as a bit problematic. For various reasons (job application, impending IVF) it's been a bit hard to plan things, hence I found it hard to look forward to things. This led to a need to take the grind one day at a time. Still, I do well with some goals, and the end of the year is a good time to consider them. In setting these goals, I have taken some inspiration from this article.

Aims for 2017 and beyond. They are "SMART" goals mostly.


  • The novelty of working in 3 different workplaces is wearing off, and the work details are also getting tiring. I have been successful in shedding some roles that have not worked for me, and in their place I have temporary roles. I have asked for some changes in my current positions but things have not fallen into place. What I would like is to consolidate my work into 1-2 different places. To do this, I may need to be more assertive with certain people, as, in retrospect, I have missed out on things for not being this way.
  • Research wise, I need to finish what I started. I have one or two more PhD proceeds papers to get published. I need to grit my teeth and finish this research project I started, even though it is not going well at the moment. I have a few other side projects that I am collaborating on. Now is probably not the time to take on anything "big", research wise.
  • aim to start IVF between March and May, at a time when I have relatively less going on. Commit to doing that first cycle and seeing where I am after that.  
  • Overseas travel is a huge thing for me, but for various reasons it's hard to plan grand adventures. I think that now is a good time to explore Australia, as I have been neglectful of this. To go on weekend trips with friends and my partner. I have never been to Wilson's Prom, or Broome, or the Barossa.
  • I have a local conference in mind.
  • It's been hard this year, particularly in the latter part. I need to keep things light and polite with them. Regular but superficial contact. Keep the boundaries firm. Step back when it gets too much. 
  • My partner has been working hard and I have been disinclined to bother him with things, and as a result I have withdrawn into myself a bit. We both need to talk with each other more. This is sound advice for most couples but it is true for us. 
  • Depending on where I am with IVF, I would like to master the following
    • Box jump, 20"
    • Pull up, unsupported (even just one)
    • Rope climb (I actually managed to shimmy up a rope about 10 cm today, woooohoo)
    • Double-unders (maybe 5 in a row)
    • >100kg deadlift, 45kg clean and jerk, back squat loaded with body weight on barbell (either by increasing lift weight or decreasing body weight, or a combination)
    • 5km run in under 33 minutes (that's fast for me, my best ever time was 31:30
  • Continuing to exercise at least 3-4 times per week - if I get pregnant I can still train but the goals will need to go on hold! It is gold for my mental health.
  • don't do the flopping on the couch in the evening with the bottle of wine thing, or at least minimise this.
  • Eat vegetables with lunch and dinner.
  • Eat small amounts of healthy food regularly to avoid getting hangry and wanting sugary snacks. Hanger is a big problem for me, and it makes me ill tempered.

Anyway I think that will do for now.

Do you have any goals you want to share?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

All over the shop. Mindfulness is Key.

A list of miscellanea, for posterity:

  • Melbourne weather is finally coming good.
  • I've PB'd my back squat. 70kg. Yass.
  • I am off to the mandatory counselling / nursing training for IVF on Monday. Nothing starting till next year but still...onward.
  • Every couple of years or so, my mum has a bout of depression. She went MIA for a few hours one evening last week after sending out an email to a coworker who was concerned and called the police (who were in touch with me). She ended up texting to say she was ok. Harrowing.
  • I went to NZ to see my partner's family over the last weekend. Great to see Christchurch rebuilding. Not so great to get text messages from mum airing grievances to us, and offering unsolicited advice, which kind of made the weekend hard. I've offered concrete help but set some boundaries.
  • I've been doing quite a bit of extra work, which has been fun but exhausting. One of my interventions today I estimate will have saved $100K but more importantly made a punter happy. Winning.
  • I have a job interview in Feb. It's good but that timing makes it hard to plan my year.
  • Christmas songs make me want to run out of the shops screaming. My partner suggested, as a strategy, replacing all the lyrics to xmas songs with swear words and singing them in my head, so as not to teach little children bad ways. However the fact that Johnny Farnham is releasing an exmas record makes me happy. 
  • My partner has been promoted in his job, to Professor. Exciting. 
  • I have had my first PhD paper accepted into a decent journal, contingent on a few minor changes.  
  • I have to meet with one of my bosses tomorrow to discuss the progress of my research project. It is not going well, due to factors that I can't avoid. Still, I hate having to do it, but discussing strategies to move forward may make me feel better.
  • Off to Bali for Xmas, leaving on Tuesday. Running away? Yes. But I am mindful that I am doing that and mindfulness is key.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

If not fear, then what?

A marginally more hopeful but equally philosophical post tonight, before bed.

I've been at a low ebb, emotionally. Not so low that I can't do what I need to, not so low that I don't enjoy crossfit, but low nonetheless. I was wondering when the infertility induced low might end, when a clear answer about how to go forward apropos to IVF or not might appear. I was wondering when I might be able to regard each circumstance with which I am faced neutrally, rather than mentally trying the future child/childfree cloak on.

It's hard when you are feeling bogged down to know what the actual problem is.

Essentially it is just a matter of being afraid that bad stuff would happen, and that I would not be able to cope with it. In the past, FYI, bad stuff has happened and I have dealt with it and moved forward.

As it has before, the barbell bought me clarity. We were doing clean and jerks tonight at Crossfit.

If you care to watch the video (or not), you will see it is a technical movement that requires a swift, strong initial pull.

As the bar got heavier, I would start pulling the bar off the ground then hesitate.

I did not get my C&J past 40kg...my prior best is 43.5kg from about 5 months back, and I really wanted to crack 45kg today.

These complex movements do not work without a. loads of practice and foresight and b. an attitude of "I got this". It is quite natural to be scared when approaching a heavy bar, as there is a risk of injury with improper movement. However, hesitation does not help.

I could do with this attitude towards my box jumps. And also more generally in life.

I wondered what I would be able to do without being so consumed by fear?

My buzzword for 2016 was patience - I've certainly needed that! Perhaps my word for next year will be fearless.

PS - Yesterday, I approached my 2RM back squats yesterday with a little fear and a lot of confidence, the right ratio, and did the biggest squat I'd ever done - 65kg x 2.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Speaking plainly (of infertility and doubt).

I have just gotten back from a wonderful 9 days in Thailand, a couple of days in Bangkok and then a week in Kamalaya.

Kamalaya was eye-wateringly expensive but I did it as a "treat yoself" thing, and to embrace the childless situation in which I have found myself.

It was worth every penny. It was absolutely magnificent. There, I felt the best I had in about 18 months.

I have a tan, but the post-holiday blues have struck, because one cannot run away from one's problems.

I was trying to think of a nice, nuanced way to write this, with clever analogies, however I have had a day where I will just put it the hell out there.

I wrote a post alluding to all of this, and it was put back into draft mode. Somebody, in a very kind and well intentioned manner, said that they hoped I had a child, as I will love them. I have no doubt that I would love a child, however one is not forthcoming. It is not that simple.

So here it is, simply:

After 2 years of trying for a baby, including a miscarriage and monthly rollercoasters and a few tantalisingly late periods. I have had my hair thin and a thick smattering of acne. I have debilitating PMS which actually meets some criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I feel so bad a few days before my period that I just want to sleep for 5 days to let it all pass. I am not so alarmed by these feelings anymore, as I know they pass, but they are still bloody unpleasant.

I am tired of it. I realised this during my time in that magnificent place. It is little wonder that I don't feel ready to do IVF.

IVF gives many a lot of hope, but it seems like a war of attrition - stimulate the ovaries (without overstimulating them), get a good crop, then inject a sperm into them, then freeze them and then test them for abnormalities, then thaw them out and stick them up the wazoo and see if they stick. At each point there is a risk of failure. Success is by no means guaranteed. It just takes all the wonder and joy out of things, for me, anyway. It's another roller coaster that I am scared about getting on.

The only narrative that is out there is that the infertile woman goes automatically to IVF. There is no talk of stopping and having a think about things, because the time is a'tickin! There is the narrative about the woman who was desperate for a child and went through dozens of cycles of IVF and then JOY!

I have always had misgivings about doing IVF, and they have not disappeared now the prospect is increasingly real. Rather than push these misgivings to the side, I actually have had a think about them (and dropped a few dollars in the therapist's office).

Mostly, I have had to have a good hard think about why I wanted to have a child. To talk about this in a safe environment. It is hard to talk through things with others, as the response generally is "oh go through with it, you will love having children, or you don't want to regret not having a child". These are undoubtedly well-intentioned but not very helpful for me.

Had the pregnancy proceeded, I would have embraced it without too much thought and been buoyed by lots of lovely happy hormones. However, the requirement to mix up a little human in a test tube, for me, has forced me to consider things. It is not a comfortable process, and, without going into any detail about the thought processes, it is one I am still struggling with. It is hard. I have also started to think about a life without a child, and what that might look like.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that offa my chest.

I have learned from all this a way to respond to people who are having a tough time.

The only way is to say "that's shit. I am really sorry" +/- "want a wine/chocolate/cuddle/diamond ring"

Monday, 31 October 2016

Greyhounds. Ocsober over.

Happy Halloween! I bought chocolates for the kiddies, but alas no kiddies came to our door. Hence lots of little crunchie bars have been eaten. I am taking part in Halloween begrudgingly. It's an American thing, and I think the US needs to have less influence on the world rather than more. But far be it from me to deny the kiddies (or myself) chocolate.

I have been craving a lot more chocolate and sweet things while Ocsober has been on. Perhaps the pleasure centres in my brain need a tickle and if it isn't from wine, it needs to be from chocolate? Perhaps this is something I can work on..... only 13 days till I fly off to my health retreat in Koh Samui.

All of you who read my blog will know of my love for dogs. We have been dog-sitting a greyhound for a friend. Readers, I have fallen in love. Elvis the greyhound has stolen my heart. He started off a bit aloof, but now he takes his spot on the couch in between myself and my fella, usurping Bella. They play in the backyard and are adorable. #teambelvis . He is a handsome boy too, and always gets up to say hello when we wake up. Bella has started doing that with him - usually she only gives us a side-eye from the couch. #teambelvis follow each other around the house. It's too cute. I think we need to consider adopting a greyhound. They are, by all accounts, very good pets.

By way of update, we are going for our counselling appointment for IVF in December. It was delayed because the police check for my fella was delayed - he has a common name and shares a name and date of birth with many criminals....poor foresight from his parents, really.

Without going into too much detail, with the waits and delays for IVF, I seem to have lost my nerve regarding having a baby. My brain is stuck between the anticipation of the rigours of IVF and the anticipation of the rigours of parenting, hence I am led to wonder why I am bothering with any of it at all. It's an uncomfortable place, mentally. I have always imagined myself as a mum, and now I am, largely out of fear, questioning it.

I read somewhere (in a Fairfax publication, therefore true) that infertility was about as stressful as death of a loved one. I am not sure about that, but it certainly lends some validation to the mental discomfort I am feeling now. I am off to speak to my therapist about this. It's prudent.

And that is enough about that.

The things I can control, I am doing a reasonable job of doing. I have not developed a drinking problem, nor an eating problem. I am doing my exercise and doing my job well. I have discovered makeup primer and apply it diligently, as well as bronzer, because, even if I am not feeling bright I can look it. I am doing ok.
I love the dogs being around, they are legit the best.

The other thing I have done is sign up for a 10km fun run, the first I will have done in a couple of years. I want to get a PB (personal best time). My PB was set 5.5 years ago. I am 5.5 years older but I have accumulated a lot of mental toughness in that time. Time to unleash the beast. It's good for me to have a goal like this.