Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hi, my name is Stacy and I'm a blogaholic.

This probably should have been my first post, but it felt too typical starting right off with an introduction. (And besides, I'm only allowing my sister to read my blog right now while I get it started and figure out if I want all my "real life" friends to know about it, or have it more as an online community type thing... I am debating going 'live' on Friday by participating in Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes...)

Anyway, my name is Stacy and I'm 26. What I forget or don't tell you about myself here will naturally come out as I continue this blog. This is the more typical information, just because it's easier than trying to think of how to write out all the little facets of my life (that, and you would quit reading quickly if I tried!). I'll address myself more in terms of my blog topics- faith and fertility. I am a cradle Catholic, which means I didn't really begin to appreciate my Catholic faith until about high school. It faded out again in college and then I got back into it when I moved to Raleigh about two and a half years ago. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm a cradle Catholic from a family of 5. My parents have been married since 1978, had my brother, Adam, in 1981, my sister, Rachel, in 1983, and myself in 1985. Our family is dysfunctional just like everyone else's, but I so love them. My sister and I were best friends until probably late middle school, then did not get along whatsoever for our teen years (more my fault, admittedly) and in the past few years have really become close again. My brother, God love him, didn't really get along with ANYone in our family. Of course there are some good memories and there were some good moments, but he really had a tough time. We don't talk a lot now (laziness on both our parts, I guess) but get along really well when we see each other at holidays (which we do more now that he has moved back to the town where my parents live).

I grew up in South Carolina for the most part, and North Carolina from ages 5-9. Up until high school, I was just a Sunday participant in church. We probably went 3 out of every 4 Sundays. I went to CCD, but we did not attend holy days of obligation, nor was faith discussed much more than prayers before meal time and maybe the occasional other conversation. In high school, I got involved in the youth group because I was lucky enough to have quite a few Catholic friends at school. I got way more into the church at this point, helping with VBS, going to retreats and conferences, etc. Once I got to college, I started strong, fizzled out, and didn't get back into regularly going to church until my first year of grad school. I tried out two churches and finally settled on one about 6 months before I finished my degree. Again, getting ahead of myself. I got a bachelors in sociology and continued at the University of South Carolina for a master's in social work. I moved to Raleigh after that....somewhat on a whim, but a well planned whim (oxymoron?).

I had applied to jobs all over the south east starting in the January before I graduated, and nothing was coming about besides a few interviews. The September beforehand, I thought it would be cool to live in Raleigh... far enough away but not too far, decent city size, more exciting than Charlotte to me only because it was unknown (I've spent a lot of time in Charlotte), and from what I read online, it seemed to jibe with things I like such as cultural events, outdoor festivals, an art and music scene (which I don't really participate in, but appreciate having it around for the rare times when I do), tons of outdoor things, generally liberally minded, etc. So I visited with two of my closest friends the September before graduation, then with my mom the December before graduation. By spring break, I was interviewing in Raleigh and I figured I would take a chance and sign a lease (in the sweetest downtown accessible, walk up 1930's apartment). I moved at the end of May after graduation, not knowing a soul, and without a job. It was exciting and scary all at the same time.

I gave myself 2 months to continue job searching (and enjoy getting to know the area) before I would take just any job to quit using savings. After 2 months, I started working at a school uniform store. It was an amazing lesson in humility, as I was 24 with a master's degree (in social work, did I say?) and I was working with 16 year olds. Apparently I just needed that lesson because, a week later, I got a call for a job offer. I had interviewed for a particular job in March that would have started in June. They filled that position, but then the same position (there are 2 total) came open again, so they called to see if I really had moved to Raleigh, and hired me.

Two and a half years later, I'm still at that job. I'm enjoying it, and slowly beginning to ponder what's next for me. I'm a corporate guardian for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. There aren't many dull moments, except for when I'm doing paperwork.

When I moved to Raleigh, I put myself on a dating website. I had had a few boyfriends and a few dates in Columbia over the years, but no real luck. After multiple dead end first dates, I went on a date with a guy named Steven in December of 2009. We became 'official' in January of 2010, became engaged in January of 2011, and will be married in April of 2012.

Our relationship has been an amazing learning experience for both of us, and we have both drastically changed for the better. Most important to this blog is our shift in faith. Steven began going to church with me in the fall/winter of 2010 and really enjoyed the mass. He mentioned a few times in the spring of 2011 the possibility of becoming Catholic. With some encouragement, he joined the inquiry session in September, and is now in the RCIA process to come into the church next April. Well, the details are fuzzy because he should be coming into the church on April 14th at the vigil mass but, um, we'll be at our reception. Of course I have told him that he can change his mind up until the very moment, and that this process is for him to learn and discern. My faith has increased so much because of him (one of those moments where you realize in teaching someone else, you gained even more than they did). We have begun, at his request, to read the daily mass readings which has been so amazing. We decided just today to check out one saint per day, and to read the intro to one book per day in my Catholic youth bible (because learning the time period, author, information regarding the times the book was written has really helped us to understand the daily readings). We have very, very far to go but we are really happy with where we are at.

Now, let me go ahead and address the elephant in the blog. We are cohabitating, which I'm disclosing now because otherwise you'd slowly figure it out at some point and probably be curious. Our original plan was for Steven to move into my apartment after marriage. After my lease was up in my cute first apartment, I moved to the complex he was in, partially for financial reasons and partially to be closer to him. It was, literally, the last super affordable yet not scary complex in Raleigh. I paid $521 and he paid $536 for one bedroom apartments. Our leases were up in October and the original plan was for him to sign a 6 mo. lease and me a year, then have him move in with me in April and we would decide if we could only hand 6 months in that small space, or sign another 12 month lease to save up for a house.

It was a great plan until it all came crashing down. I got my renewal letter that my rent would be $676 upon signing a new lease. His, for a 6 month lease, would have been slightly higher than that. There was just no financial way we could do that. We looked at multiple other apartments and brainstormed some ideas, but we couldn't come up with a solution. We the blessing of both of our (fairly traditional) parents, we signed a lease together at our current apartment (where we pay about $392 each- yay for wedding savings). I had a 3 day cry fest when we made the decision because, as non traditional as I am on some things, I really didn't want to live together before marriage. In certain ways, I still regret it now and have some 'what ifs' about ways we could have made it work. However, what's done is done and of course I am loving being with him all the time.  But this example just goes to show that, as I stated in the last blog, I am perfect by no means. I have my struggles just like everyone else. Can I tell you how ready I am for Good Friday confession and our marriage the following week? And can I also tell you how readings like today's Gospel reading slap me in the face right now? But again, whether or not I would do it all over again, we did it and it is done.

So, that was a HUGE caveat in my "about me". I had planned to go into my family more, and address my experience with PCOS up until this point, but I think I'm going to save this for another entry as my fingers are tired and I'm sure your eyes are tired!

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