I saw Melissa’s chat message blinking on my computer:
“I’m going to make the blog public after my work call.”
I wanted to vomit. All forms of anxiety ran through my body. I had the kind that starts at the front of your brain and shoots down your shoulders, the kind that begins in your chest and settles in the pit of your stomach, and the kind that numbs the bottom of your feet. Or maybe it was just that I swam 2,400 yards that morning and it was time for lunch.
I messaged Melissa back: “I’m going to puke.”
“Don’t worry about it. It will feel good when it’s out there.”
Nope. It still feels like garbage.
I don’t want to be one of those people who puts his whole life on the internet. I don’t have romantic notions of privacy, but I don’t like the idea of falling into the current millennial crazed world of oversharing.
You’re lying to yourself Robert. This might be true, but is it the only issue? Settle down and get off the soapbox...
I don’t mind telling people we’re having a hard time having kids. I didn’t hesitate to tell my family, my friends, hell, the random coworker I talk to maybe once a month who asked if my wife and I want kids. “We’re working on it, but it’s taking much longer than expected.”
Random coworker: “Your wife might have to go to her doctor and get some tests.”
Without hesitation I replied, “It’s not her, it’s me.” I was fine with telling people.
You’re still lying to yourself...
So what is it about the blog?
When I found out I had low morphology (what I really want to say here is “deformed sperm” but my doctor got mad at me for saying that) my first instinct was, “I should make a documentary about this.” I was ready to take a long look at what some people see as an epidemic impacting men throughout the world. So again, it’s not as if there’s an inherent fear in me that people know about this. With a documentary, however, I have the privilege of distance. The final film would be years down the road and I can share it removed from the experience. On top of that, I can craft the story, control the message.
The same goes with talking to people about it. I can control my delivery, laugh, and frame everything with positivity.
It’s not that these things aren’t true, but you’re still skating around a deeper truth...
It’s incredible how skilled we are at lying to ourselves. I can pretend I’m not bothered by being infertile, but I can feel how full of shit I am every time I tell someone, “...and so I got my test results from my urologist and MY SPERM COUNT IS GREAT, but…” There it is, right there. It’s like I’m dealing from the bottom of the deck, pulling out the ace every time. I have to get that in there. Give myself and my listener the assurance that my balls might not work perfectly, but they’re working. Ok? Got it?
And that’s how I knew that I had to do this blog. I want to make that clear. This desire to vomit when we published was not because my wife dragged me into this thing kicking and screaming. We both knew this is something we wanted to do. In a case of classic marriage-mind-meld we vocalized our desire to do it at the same time. In my case, I knew I wanted to do it because I caught myself falling into stereotypical traps of toxic masculinity. I could see that no matter what I did, and no matter what I told myself, that my identity was very much tied into my inability to have a kid. Lying to oneself does nothing. The answer is to dig deep, to sift through the layers of lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."