On Thursday, as I sat alone by the pool at Disney’s Hilton Head beach house, I probably looked out-of-place. After all, the rest of the pool crowd was nuclear family units, sometimes with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in tow. David and Sarah were both in Hilton Head, but David was working remotely and Sarah was doing her own thing. On Friday, our group expanded when a friend, her two children, plus a young woman from our ward joined us. Still, this group of individuals looked strange compared to the nuclear families around us. And that is when I realized it: I don’t think that I have ever had the programming to fit in among a normal set of circumstances. I believe it is probably my lot in life for the normal to view me as unrelatable. People always try to comfort themselves with expressions like, “There is no normal, anymore,” but in my world there is very much a norm. There always has been. I just never have been able to fit within those boundaries. Part of me doesn’t care, because fitting in with other people has never been my goal. But it has been harder lately, because in addition to just not fitting in, all of the “normal” people are blessed with the one thing that I can’t seem to have, which is a child.
Maybe going to a place with so many children isn’t a good option for me since I feel like I have been struggling with this whole fertility issue for so long. But the reality is that I can’t just pack up and move to Italy or a place with negative population growth (which would be tempting). The fact is, I belong to a religious organization where David and I are aberrations for which there is no program or institutional support. We are just the weirdos in our mid thirties who don’t have kids. I have never gone to church for social reasons, because I always have viewed faith as a personal part of my life that is important in preserving regardless of whether or not I mesh with the people in my particular congregation, but some days it is just hard having to be the one that brushes off everyone else’s insensitivity. Or sometimes, when I spend too much time by myself I think about how it seems like everyone else has been able to progress with their lives and families and I am indefinitely stuck. Or I think about brain and body chemistry and speculate that the reason that I was dumped so many times before is that on some pheromonal, unconscious level the other person’s body knew of my infertility and told their conscious head to break up with me (and David was just too nice of a person to care about that). Or I think that one day when I cease to exist in the flesh, the world will not have been affected by my life in the slightest, since I was incapable of even bringing someone into it, and that I am just headed for oblivion. And that is ridiculous; because who cares about such things as legacies, and this fear is something driven by my body’s own genetic desire to reproduce its chromosomes, right? This is just what people go through when they are in their thirties and they realize that their lives aren’t going to turn out as exciting as they hoped.
But in the spirit of not sounding more like these Misfits below, I think I should shut up right now:
That was always our favorite Misfits song to sing as kids on long road trips to and from swim meets.
Instead, I will close with something entirely more positive: a picture of David from our dinner at the Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head, and a picture of our little Salty Dog, Knightley. That dog is still the best thing going. A good dog makes every day a better day.