I am so glad it is the last day of this year. The image above pictures perfectly how it felt. In one word, it was hard. And it went so, so slow. It was like torture: trying, struggling and not getting anywhere. I started the year full of hope, with patience. I guess you could say I got better at the waiting game because of it. When we came back from Mexico in March: a very thick sadness hit me like a train. I of course tried to fight it with all my might, and just kept on going through it. I thought a lot about what a succesful life really means, about happiness, about what matters. I wrote my first guest post for Fiona's bravery files, on some tough stuff we're dealing with (and you're probably familiar with).
From April through August I was pretty much sick, or on the-verge-of-getting sick all of the time, feeling tired, weak, restless. Then, in June, I hit a low point. It was my birthday month, and this is the year I reached 32 (though I am still an advocate of never growing up). Between the I-don't have-a-career-and-I'm-not-going-anywhere stuff and the things that I seem to have no control over (no matter what I do, or not do) I really felt lost. And I always thought I would have a baby by 32, never mind the fact I had been taught that, statistically, if you haven't had your first child by 32, it will get harder. (This is not supposed to be the case if you already had a child before 32).
At the end of August I finally left a job that was making me unhappy. Let's just say I was in a closed, toxic environment that was killing my soul, messing with my mental health and making me physically ill (I know that now, because I felt better almost right away). In October we finally took the jump and were allowed to start fertility treatments (IUI's for the time being). Our first 2 cycles didn't work, but if anyone wants to read how it has been for me, I laid it all down here. It was not at all like I expected it to be or like other people said it would be. It was not that bad either. When I was looking into it, all I found was horror stories and I was scared and angry that I had to go through it. In reality it is not that hard (the physical part at least). It's the emotional rollercoaster that will attempt to destroy you inside, if you let it, and that will happen with or without fertility treatments.
In November, when we came back from Mexico (for the 2nd time this year) I finally started to feel better, I turned a page. Mexico was like vitamins, like a high on happiness and it really helped me settle down. And though I did not get the PhD position, I was this close and I got feedback that will lead me in the right direction (whatever happens). In the end I confirmed that it's not me, it's them. My CV is perfectly apt, I am doing the right thing, I have the right background, knowledge and experience. It's just that, they have to know you personally (I could write a whole rant about that, and about how the educational system obeys economic and neoliberal interests and segregates people, but sadly that is just the way the World works as of today).
It was not all bad, 2012. For one, we travelled quite a bit. There was my sister's wedding in February, and my brother's in November, so that makes 2 over-the-ocean journeys to Mexico. We celebrated our 2 year anniversary both in May and in September. We went to Guanajuato, Ixtapa, Mexico city, Cacahuamilpa, Istanbul, Lille and Paris. That is without including day trips to Haarlem, Noordwijk aan zee, Gouda, Utrecht, Leiden or Amsterdam exploration missions. We got involved in protests to express our wish for a better Mexico.
I have also been experimenting in the kitchen quite a lot and my baking skills are improving. I made macarons yesterday and they look and taste perfect, on the first try (don't worry, I will write a full post on that). I am also incredibly grateful that we are able to pursue treatment. I have also learnt that hope is a gift, and that together with faith it will keep us going through the hardest storms. There is always a new day. But also, even if I will sound like a greeting card, joy is there, within our grasp, every day, and choosing to be happy is a task for today (not something to expect of the future).
*Image credit. Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia from Lars von Tiers.