Faking it

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trying to find a positive spin when life has handed you a pile of crap is totally exhausting.  Yesterday I just burned out.  Ted and I went to breakfast, where we were greeted with two happy families with little people in the 8-14 months range and, as usual, it broke me.  It always breaks me to see that the rest of the world gets to enjoy what I don't.....their babies.  I don't care how "positive" I spin it, the fact is that what happened to Max and us is f**king horrible.  When we got home from the after breakfast supermarket trip, I just got right back into bed.  I have a new found ability to shut off all of my thoughts when I am in a horizontal position.  It doesn't work all of the time (seems to not work as well in the middle of the night) but often I can lay for hours, awake, and not have a single thought.  It is a little harder when the sounds of construction are happening directly behind my head (Ted worked hard all weekend on our bathroom/closet renovation) and when the little boys next door are running around screaming, riling up Jake and Layla and calling for their Mommy over and over.  It still felt like the better option than getting out of bed and thinking the same thought all day - That this is f**king horrible.  IT JUST IS!  And I miss him SO much.  And, I will miss him for the rest of my life.

A few of you have noticed how much my attitude has changed lately.  I feel obliged to tell you that I am faking it.  I know it may not be obvious to you...because I am doing my best to fake it so well that I actually start to believe it myself.  When you see me at Maxie's Benefit, when you talk to me on the phone about a work issue, when we engage in an email conversation about hair care products or The Real Housewives of Wherever... and when I seem AT ALL like my old self, I am faking it.  You may not want to know it or acknowledge it, but it would feel inauthentic to me to just let you believe that it's all good now.  And, if someday, you have to experience a tragedy that is even 1/10th as difficult as this, you will know what I am talking about.  But, see, that IS the change.  I couldn't fake it for the first 7 months.  Now, I can fake it intermittently.  That is the actual progress.  So, here I am again.  The start of a new week.  I am going to try and fake my way through another week of "positivity".  I know I have asked before but I am going to ask again....because when I asked for this favor last time, you didn't really listen to me.....PLEASE do not write to me half way through this week to tell me how you have noticed the happy change in me.  On the one hand, I appreciate that you are reading my blog and care about my state of mind...but, on the other hand, I am TELLING YOU that this positivity thing is something that I am having to WORK to make happen.  It isn't coming naturally, and it is a big, big lie, capiche?

2 comments:

Allison Kovac said...

Abby,

I truly want the very best for you and Ted I see that you are working your hardest just to simply achieve mundane things. It breaks my heart that your happiness is often linked to other's behavior and actions and that prevents you from focusing on your new normal and the positive things in your life. What an enormous challenge it is for anyone to not allow other's behavior/actions/reactions to impact their own. It is human nature to care what other's think and I have tried all of my 37 years to no avail.

If "faking it until you make it" is working for you-then that is authentic and worthy. The underlining message I am hoping I am conveying here is to encourage you to do what is right for YOU and not what you think you need to do to make others feel more comfortable around you and/or to help you assimilate into society.

I am a science teacher who reads a great deal of research/hard facts. I hesitated to attach the following link for fear that I would squash something that is working for you. After "getting to know you" I feel confident enough that you would find the below link (and study) helpful. A loss of a child is unchartered territory for me-so perhaps all studies/data/rules do not apply.

Your journey is about authentic healing and I wish nothing less for you and Ted. My wish is for you to find something that really works for you, whatever that may be.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/health/22really.html?_r=1

http://bethbuelow.com/2011/04/05/why-fake-it-til-you-make-it-is-lousy-advice/

Katie (LukeGrantsMom) said...

I read the comment from Allison about “faking it” and went on to take a look at the links provided. I am interested in different perspectives and “research” is at times important and even when it is not, it can be entertaining. I am a big fan of faking it, so I was curious to what could be negative about it. The main point of both articles, were to really get a positive result smiles need to be “real”. You need to summon positive feelings / energy to project a “real” smile. To not give an authentic smile could make you in a worse mood. Losing a child extends beyond a mood.

In regards to losing my son, when I refer to “faking it” this is often not referring to a smile, it is referring to a “normal” existence, where I can take my daughter to a swim lesson, go to work, and have breakfast with my family. Having lost a child is not the same as smiling at your co-worker when you would prefer that they just go away. Faking it is forcing you to function like you use to, even though that person no longer exists. One needs time to figure out who they are again and for me faking it has helped me do this. Faking it is like taking my daughter to the zoo after losing my son Luke, I faked my way through it. I summoned up how I would have acted if my world was not incomplete and broken. I smiled at her looking at the monkeys and there were times I meant it (desperate to catch her happy moments and savor them). I still smiled when she sat on the same bench we had sat with her little brother just two months earlier. I faked being there in many way, because my mind was consumed with my son not be being there. When I was seeing little babies, happy children and intact families all bundled up in the cold to enjoy a day at the zoo; I faked not hating it. I wanted and still want my daughter to enjoy all her moments and I want to enjoy those moments as well. But for the first 6 months I faked a lot, because to “enjoy” becomes a foreign word. It has been over a year and I still fake for the sake of myself and others. “Faking it” helps to dig yourself out. You fake it to fit in “normal society”, to fit in what your life use to be like at least a little bit….to be able to function in some capacity like you once did: faking it is sometimes all I had to give not just those around me, but myself. If I didn’t do this, I would have lost my job, house, and have been a very absentee mom to my daughter. The reality of losing a child is not like what is described in this research and in my opinion this cannot be applied the same way. I often channel positive to help get me through, but sometimes there is nothing positive one can summon among intense grief.

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