To Remember

I remember once in middle school, when everyone is all about themselves and sometimes unintentionally unkind, one of my best friends told me, "I know you're going through a hard time right now, but what I'm going through is a lot worse." The comment, of course, felt like a giant slap in the face. Shortly afterwards I somewhere read a quote that was something along the lines of, "Pain is pain, no matter the form." And I thought, "Ha! It doesn't matter how bad things are for you, that doesn't mean they aren't bad for me too!" When, what I should have thought, was that we all go through hard things, and there is no way to judge whose trials are "harder". They are trials for a reason... because they try all of us. My thirteen year old mind couldn't really comprehend that, but I think I'm starting to get it now.
Because how often are we guilty of ranking trials in order of how much they should be hurting us? How often have you told yourself, "Well, this could be worse, it could be like what happened to my poor neighbor last year. But it's a lot worse than what happened to the girl I heard about at work."
Like it or not, we want pity. We want recognition and support for what we're going through. Maybe we need to be told we're strong in order to behave as such. In any case, I think that's why I was keeping this, mostly, bottled up. I didn't want everyone to know because it wasn't everyone's business, or because I didn't want to look like I was complaining. But then something else happened: the holidays. Where a bunch of well-intentioned people would ask, "So how long until you two have a baby?" Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. And then my still slightly out of control hormones (or maybe this is my new personality?) take over and I'm choking back tears and pasting on a smile. And that's when I realized these things would be much easier if it wasn't such a secret. If they knew, they'd never ask. They might just be a little bit more careful. 
So, here it is.
On November 7th, I found out I was pregnant. We weren't trying, but since I haven't been able to take birth control for 90% of our marriage, we knew it was a possibility. However, this was the first month I really didn't even consider that I was, mostly because I'd been having some medical problems for the last few months, that basically ended on the note of, "If you don't have surgery, you're going to have a hard time getting pregnant. If you do have surgery, it could make it so you can't get pregnant." Encouraging words, aren't they? So we decided to put it in the back of our minds and deal with it when we decided we wanted kids, if and only if we had a hard time. 
And then, bam, that little blue plus sign is staring you in the face.
Actually, I was so sure that I wasn't pregnant, that I threw the test away before waiting for the results. Oops. A few minutes later I had a strong feeling to go back and look at it. 
So, seeing as I had recently been told this might not be a possibility for me, I was pretty excited. And let's be honest, us newlyweds are supposed to act all calm and cool and "I don't want a baby until my husband does" but I have always wanted to be a mom. And it's true that the minute you find out you're pregnant, you become one.
Two weeks later, I woke up and realized I was spotting. I called the doctor and they told me it was normal, Caleb gave me a blessing, but still I couldn't shake this bad feeling that, in truth, I'd had throughout my pregnancy. I told myself not to be pessimistic and that everything would be fine, but now I don't think it was pessimism. I think it was Heavenly Father preparing me for what was going to happen. 
The doctor told me to call back if the bleeding got worse. So I went to work, and shortly afterwards, it got worse. I was a wreck. We hadn't even told anyone yet, and we were waiting until Christmas to tell even our families. (Which is also why the holidays were a little rough this year.) Long story short, we went to the hospital and they confirmed what I already knew: I was having a miscarriage.
I don't mean to be unkind, but I had always assumed that miscarriages, especially so early on (I was about 7 weeks) weren't that big of a deal. They weren't as bad as what a friend or neighbor or so-and-so went through, but worse than most things I'd been through. So I guess I was a little surprised by the emotional turmoil that I was suddenly under. It was a loss, sure. I was sad, but mostly I just felt so useless  and unimportant. Like, one second I was responsible for another life. I was going to be a mom, I was on top of the world. Then, in a matter of hours, it was all gone. Suddenly, I was just Anndee again. Even with my wonderful husband being so sweet and taking such good care of me, I just felt alone. Suddenly, being "Just Anndee" didn't feel all that great anymore. 
It was really rough for the first two weeks or so. Everything  made me cry, and all I could think was how far along I'd be, when I was supposed to be due, even silly things like how my baby wouldn't have a summer birthday like I'd been thinking, or how I wouldn't be pregnant on Thanksgiving. Things that, on the outside, didn't seem to matter, because that's the problem with miscarriages: we can just try again, right? You just get pregnant again, and then you're fine.
But I wasn't fine. I had lost this baby, our baby, some nameless, sexless little thing barely the size of a pea, and somehow I had some attachment to it? And the more time passed, the more the few people who knew about it would forget, and expect me to move on. And don't get me wrong, I am not wallowing in this pool of depression thinking I will never overcome my trials. I just realized that this baby, this tiny baby that I will never get to meet in this life, didn't matter to many people other than myself, and that's because no one ever knew it even existed. And that just didn't seem fair. I want my baby to matter, I want it's brief stint here on earth to be known about, at least by those closest to me. Because it matters to me. Because for a brief second, I was a mom, and that was important, and I had this glimpse into the eternal plan and what's really important and who I am intended to become. 
So I know that everyone has trials, and that some may seem far more difficult than others. But in the moment, it hurts. And I truly believe we all go through the specific trials we go through for a reason. Maybe part of that is to help someone else. So I hope that by sharing what I've been through, it can help someone else. I know it helped me to be able to talk to the wonderful people who opened up to me about their miscarriages, and to realize there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
There still is. I don't know what will happen from here, but I know that I will be exponentially more grateful when I do have a baby. I will be begging for morning sickness, because I know now that means a more viable pregnancy. And I will tread more lightly around people, because everybody goes through things, and I'm not here to rank them above or beneath my own.
And of course, I'm SO grateful for what I have!

For some laughs

Whenever I'm mad, sad, or bored out of my mind, my favorite thing to do is look at the Humor section on Pinterest. My last year up at school, my roommate and I would sit on our bed and each be looking at Pinterest and showing each other the funny things we found. I still like to go back and bask in the awesomeness that is my Pinterest boards.
So, I've taken the liberty of compiling some of my favorite funnies for you here. Because it's nice to know there are other people out there with my weird sense of humor.

 Friends never stops being funny.

 Can't say I'm in love with Josh Hutcherson, but that Raccoon just cracks me up.
 Oh I looooved Mad Libs. Because when you're seven, nothing in the world is funnier than "poop." Just ask my nephew.

Why? WHY?

Scary how much he looks like Urkle. You can't unsee that.

 This one was killing me today. I still can't stop laughing. Seriously... just look at it some more.
 The things you don't think about when you're a kid.
 Too soon?

 I freaking KNEW IT.
 I've got to say, probably the only serious flaw in the book.

You're welcome, world.

Who I used to be

I talk a lot about how much I love to write, how often it's helped me and how I feel like it defines me. But in truth, that hasn't been me for a long time now. I want it to be. It's hidden down there somewhere deep inside, where I've been surpressing it against all the other things I've deemed more important over the years, but it's there. I'm slowly finding it.
I have lots of fun hobbies, but writing has always been my favorite. One of the reasons is that it's never been hard for me. Or I should say, it never used to be hard.
I remember when it all started: it was 2nd grade. My teacher, Mrs. Workman, started "Writer's Workshop" for us during class. She would teach us some simple writing thing (how to use quotes, when to capitalize letters, etc. Basic 2nd grade stuff) and afterward, she would just let us write. I loved it. There was something about calling it a "workshop" that I just loved right away. I think I was picturing Santa's workshop or something.
Most of the kids would write new silly things every day. But for the duration of the year, I was almost always working on my book, "Sara's Christmas List." I really liked how I didn't put an "h" on her name. I was just so darn creative. The book was named before it was written, and in the end had almost nothing to do with Sara's Christmas List. It pages and pages of funny conversations she had with her big sister, or a painfully descriptive telling of her treehouse. It was obviously no good, but the point was I loved it. And my teacher, who is to this day one of my favorite teachers I've ever had, was very encouraging about it. She would always tell me what a talented writer I was, and that was what started it all. That little bit of inspiration to give me the self esteem I needed to keep going. It's also one of the reasons I want to be a teacher, but that's another story.
From then on, I was always known as a "writer". I would enter and win every writing contest I could get my hands on. I loved it, but I also knew I was good. I had enough confidence for an army of men, something I'm afraid goes away with age, and it did.
I published A Place Like Heaven when I was 18. I remember the day I finished the last few pages of the book. I immediately called AuthorHouse (I had called them a few weeks before to set things up) to let them know my book was finished and ready to be sent in. Then I did a little happy dance around my room because, come on, lifelong dream coming true here.
And it was amazing. Getting the first copy of my book in the mail was amazing. Selling boxes and boxes of copies at my first book signing was amazing. Having random people add me on Facebook to tell me they loved my book was amazing. And yes, googling my name and seeing pages and pages of my book come up is, you guessed it, amazing.
But ask anyone and they will tell you Anndee hates that book. I thought I was doing this wonderful thing for myself by publishing it. But ever since that book came out, it has been a downward slope for me. Despite all the compliments I got, all I can seem to remember are the criticisms. I remember growing up,  I had a constant book going on in my head at all times. Everything I was doing was a story. I would literally be thinking, "She walked down the street slowly, watching her feet cross one in front of the other, as she wondered if her brothers were home yet. If they were, Cody probably ate the last ice cream sandwich even though he knew it was hers, just because he liked to pick on her. Having brothers was harder than anyone without them could understand." It was silly, but it was what made me a good writer. I was constantly practicing. I've actually noticed this coming back lately because of blogging, which is why I'm here. :)
At the time that I was writing my book, I was reading a lot of books by Sarah Dessen.
Looking back, my book is almost a carbon copy of hers. I still think she is a good writer, but my style has definitely changed a lot. One of the biggest ways, is that I want to challenge myself now. I would read her books and think, "I could do that." And I did. It was nothing complex. It didn't take much thought or planning. I just wrote. And maybe that's what I needed for my first book.
But now, I want to amaze myself. I want to shock and awe. Ok, maybe not shock. But awe, certainly. I want to write something Harry Potter-worthy, and I think that I've given myself such high standards that they seem impossible to reach.
The whole point of this is that I'm going to try, yet again, to write my next novel. Above any other dreams I have (ok, almost any other dreams. There are a few at the moment that seriously trump this one.) I just want to publish another book. And all it really takes is getting started.