A happy ice cube. That was me over 15 years ago. And I was living in Brazil, so no reference to the dreaded Canadian winter here… Shiny, squared with rounded edges, confident that no matter how full a glass was, I would always “add-up” to see it fuller. I was always ready to help cool down the hottest pot but, in being an ice cube, always kept my own emotions frozen, preserved from the outside word.
Of course I did not view myself that way at the time. I have always been a communicative person that loved to make new friends while cherishing all existing relationships. I was the guy who loved to host, from a soccer game at my place with whomever to a last-minute party, just to celebrate life. I was a good listener and I like to think I was a good friend as well. So yes, I was a pretty happy guy.
And “guy” here is the dominant word… I was a true guy, a pal, a dude. I was a man born and raised on the Latin society of the all powerful men. And, as such, I should keep my emotions hidden, frozen. No talking about it. No sharing it. But, if they were ever to come out, they should be expressed in a simple form: yes or no. Like it or don’t like it. Black or white. Well, life in the “real world” is not quite simple…
As I have grown wiser (OK, older…) I became aware not only of the need to break the ice, but also to understand that there was more between pure water and its frozen kind. And that was, and still is, hard. What if what came out defrosted was not as great as I would expect? What if when I shared what was locked it would not be as pure as I would hope? What if I would be less loved by showing my true self? Hard questions to answer and to deal with, for a dude and even for a gal.
But I like to think I learn from my experiences. And the one thing I have learned through the infertility journey is that there was no point in keeping my emotions locked-in. The stress and anxiety were so great that, should I keep it frozen; it would break out of the pressure I was imposing on me. I have not done it alone and have not done it at once. Defrosting is a slow process, where I needed to take one step at the time and where I had to rely on my wife and my loved ones to give me support and understanding as I was discovering myself.
And what is my main “technique” for defrosting? Talk. Yes, talk. It was the only way to express my feelings. Even as I write these words, talking about it is what makes it relevant. I could write these and lock them in a drawer for nobody to see but, in doing so, I would only be transferring freezers… Talking and sharing of feelings has helped me tremendously during our many fertility treatments, and has kept me sane and true to myself and my wife during the processes. But I am still a guy, a pal, a dude. So talking is still hard. Talking is not yet “natural”. And talking for a guy has definitely a different timeline and schedule than for a girl. After all, right or wrong, it is not because I am stressed to my teeth that I would like to miss the game to talk about my feelings…
So, am I still a happy ice cube? I don’t think so but I as mentioned in the beginning, it has been 15 years in the making…. One of the first things my wife told me when we met in 98 was that she would help me find ways to melt my heart. At the time, it did not make sense … Fortunately she has kept her promise and, with her help, defrosting has indeed begun to happen for me! But it is far from being done or perfected.