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Saturday, December 30, 2006

It Sucks To Be the Queen

Tonight we had an audience with The Queen. Ha, ha, ha, I've been saving that little joke for the entire time it took my computer to boot up. I have an affinity for the queen, mostly because we share the same title. She, the ruler of the United Kingdom. I, the tamer of the stirrups. Both of us, in thankless positions. Stiff upper lip (except when I start crying in the middle of the meeting with the RE). Love of hats. She enjoys a good walk. I enjoy a good walk. She likes tea and, by fuck, I like tea as well. She lives in a palace and owns several properties. I aspire to live in a palace and own several properties. The list of similarities is endless.

I loved the film not just because I am totally and completely in love (in LOVE) with Helen Mirren, but because it led to a very interesting conversation on the ride home about celebrity worship. There is a point in the film where Prince Philip looks at the video footage in disgust of the mourners crying and exclaims, "Sleeping in the streets and pulling out their hair for someone they never knew. And they think we're mad!" The whole film made the concept of finger pointing seem so ridiculous in retrospect. The judgements we levy on people we don't know. The assumptions we make based on a small amount of information.

I was thinking about it in the way people jump down one another's throats based on a few words on the screen. When we have no concept what has shaped that person's view of the world. Or what else they would say if we were to engage in conversation. Reading blogs is a privilege. Growing up, no one left their diary open to the world. Even if reading each other's diaries could have saved most of us a great deal of heartache and angst during those middle school years.

I'm thankful for everyone who shares their blog with me. And while I take all with a grain of salt--on one hand, I don't actually "know" you simply by reading your blog and on the other hand, what does it mean to truly "know" someone and do we ever really know another person--I can't put a price tag on what I've learned in the last six months of blogging and reading blogs. Without the editing of a publisher, this raw material of first-hand information is invaluable. I love every typo--yours and mine--that show our humanness. I love the posts that are left up even though we have an impulse to take them back down after a response. I am eternally thankful for the people who admit to their jealousies and foibles and the hushed out side of humanity. You make me stop kicking myself so viciously. We all have our faults.

Helen Mirren admitted in an interview that I recently read (in People Magazine) that she was worried how the Queen would view her portrayal. "I had been invited to Buckingham Palace while I was making the film, but I turned them down because if the film became mortifying to the royal family, I didn't want their mortification to be doubled by me turning up. If they invite me now, I'll go. And if I get a steely stare, then that is what I get." I don't think she will get the steely stare that she fears--though I understand the impulse. We all want to be loved. We all want our work respected. Queen Elizabeth expresses that hurt over her unpopularity post-Diana's death so eloquently in the film.

I think she did a wonderful job of showing the Queen as human. As a woman who argued with her former daughter-in-law. Who thought it was best to internalize emotions and not dump them on other people. While the world was mourning Diana, the Queen was concerned with her grandsons. And rising above the difficult relationships she had with her son and former daughter-in-law until the end. At the end of the day, she is simply another person whose car breaks down now and again. Who owns a cell phone and sleeps with clips in her hair to keep her curls crisp upon awakening. The movie showed her as a human, whereas the press portrays her as an entity. And I love humans. I love seeing their foibles and accomplishments.

I leave 2006 with a large thank you to everyone who had read the blog thus far. And a thank you to everyone who has commented and shared their point-of-view. I still have so many thoughts brewing to carry me through not only 2007, but well beyond. Can you imagine if your kids grow up to find themselves faced with infertility and I'm still yawning on about infertility. In my day, we didn't have these fancy Follistim pens! We had to mix our own vials. In my day, we didn't have implantation information the moment it happened! We had to wait two whole agonizing weeks to find out results.

A thank you to everyone who writes blogs--all the blogs in my blogroll and an advance thank you to the people who will be added this upcoming year as they begin their own blogs.

My New Year Resolution: To listen and read without judgement. When I feel judgement creeping into my mind, looking at the picture of Helen Mirren taped onto the refrigerator and remembering her portrayal of the Queen. Her stiff upper lip, yes. But the way her lips also trembled slightly when she admitted how hurt she was by the way she was judged. And with that lack of judgement, a sense of temperment when leaving comments or blogging about something I read in the newspaper that upsets me. Perhaps not when it comes to huge entities such as insurance companies, but certainly when it comes to individual people.

Happy New Year. May 2007 be a wonderful year.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you, too. That's a great resolution. And one that could go well beyond blogging about infertility.


Anonymous said...

Cheers, here is to the Stirrup Queens.
Happy New Year !!

Ellen K. said...

I thought that was an excellent movie, and it certainly made me think about how I grieve infertility vs. how others, esp. my mom and mother-in-law, grieve it.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I think the film is brilliant in every way, save one. The Queen's reaction to Diana's death surely covered a range of ambivalent feelings, and was not limited to her cold insistence on protocol, as suggested by the film.

Charles tells his mother, "The Diana we knew was very different than the Diana idolized by the public", but this truth is never developed in the film. I'll mention it here.

While the "people's princess" remains the icon of superficial popular culture, the Royals knew a very different, darker character behind the facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion.

Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother's abandoning them as young children.  A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals.

For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD meant intense insecurity and insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never fulfill. 

Clinically, it's clear that the Royal family did not cause her "problems". Rather, Diana brought her multiple issues into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to deal with them.

Her illness, untreated, sowed the seeds of her fast and unstable lifestyle, and sadly, her tragic fate.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I have thing for Helen Mirren too. Good stuff. I will have to check out the Queen now.

Anonymous said...

i haven't seen the film, but i will.

thanks back. just today, for example, i've got to thank you for mentioning crying in the middle of an re i'm not the only one?

i like your resolution. i tend to agree with what you've written about the gift of blogs...what an awesome privilege...

(blush) does it feel like my nose is in your butt?! that is so not me! (just ask ms. c of


Anonymous said...

All I can say is ... Quite.

(And I wonder if the queen has ever said "by fuck" in one of her private moments.)

Seriously, what a beautiful, thoughtful post. I've wanted to see the movie, and now, even more so. And what you said about our blog world was rather appropos, especially in light of a comment I received on mine a few weeks ago from a complete stranger who claimed to "care" about me and my son enough to tell me I was a selfish person for choosing to put him in daycare. Clearly, a blog cannot take the place of the nuances of really knowing someone, yet we put ourselves out there anyway and do our best to reveal our humanness. But I digress ... and am probably sounding a bit brown-nosey myself. :)

Have a happy new year, and keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I'm one of those who occassionally leaves a snarky comment on your blog but I want you to know this: I think you and what you are doing is wonderful!!!! I love your blog and I've been reading it every day for weeks! It's been keeping me sane during this difficult ttc time. And on that note, I just got a bfp five minutes ago!!!! So excited for 2007!

TeamWinks said...

Add that one to my B.lockbuster Que. Happy New Year to you too, and we all look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

Some people have blogs that friends and family don't read, and that is certainly a priviledge. I guess this means we get to know them in ways even their Aunt Suzy and best friend Jim do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my Sunflower blog and supporting me!
Welcome back anytime.

Happy Healthy New Year!

I will Exercise for Comments!

Anonymous said...

Amen, and pass the reserved judgement. To that I'd like to add that I'll be striving for humility as well this coming year. Until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes...well, you know the rest.

And thanks for visiting my homely little blog and adding me to your SI blogroll. Much obliged.

Happy and Blessed New Year to everyone!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

What a great post. I've always felt a bit sorry for the English royal family. I can't imagine living under a distorted microscope like that. The film sounds wonderful.

I love your resolution. If there's one thing I've learned from IF, it's that you can't really imagine what something will feel like until you experience it yourself, so judging others is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I loved The Queen too! Actually saw it twice. The subtle portrayal of the tiny emotional waves she had was amazing. I love characters who are true to themselves and who are neither good nor bad.

Great post! By the way, I came out of the closet with my IF this holiday to my two best friends and now even on my blog today. It felt like the right time.

Happy New Years!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! I want to thank you also. Your blog was sort of the inspiration for me starting mine. I had been reading them, but hadn't acted until I started reading yours. So, thank you dear Queen for helping me get my voice out there!

onelongyarn said...

Hey Mel! LTNS & Happy 2007! I’m just reading back to catch up on your posts from the last few weeks, and had to say that I was really touched by this post. So gracefully written. I thank you for this blog. I have enjoyed getting to know you here, and have been so grateful to “meet” so many others through the links you list.

Your pomegranate piece, read by a friend of mine, was the one that brought me here. The concept has been adopted by a small group of my friends, and when I got home from a recent trip, I received a whole box full of pomegranate products. It was such a tender, life-affirming gesture. I just wanted you to know that the ripples of your blog extend far out into the world, bringing light and joy to the hearts of women and men who have been touched by the pain of infertility.

Much love, celeste