Monthly Archives: September 2011

Codependence checklist

– Feel most comfortable when they are giving
– Find needy people to take care of
– Try to please others instead of themselves
– Have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility
– Feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem
– Wonder why people don’t do for them
– Feel victimized by the “selfishness” of others
– Try to be all things to all people all the time
– Have difficulty saying “no” and/or setting boundaries
– Feel empty and bored when they are not involved in a crisis
– Seek out chaos and then complain about it
– Get angry when somebody refuses their help or doesn’t take their advice
– Tend of have a self-esteem that is connected to “doing”
– Try to prove that they are good enough to be loved
– Are afraid of making mistakes
– Are easily offended by other’s “rudeness” or “insincerity” or “uncaring attitude”
– Can become self-righteous with phrases like “I would NEVER do that….”
– Try to be perfect, and expect others to be perfect
– Have self-blame and put themselves down
– Must be in control at all time.

That came from here.  I have to cringe because that is so me.

I always feel confused when people say I have a lot of triggers.  I’m not even sure what that means, exactly.  I know that I can be bopping along reading a sweet letter from a mother to a daughter about Santa and burst into tears because all in a flash I think of my mother.  I think that my mother didn’t actually get to have visits from Santa when she was a child.  The first Christmas stocking my mother ever got in her life she got from me when I was 16.  I was absolutely horrified when I understood that she had been filling stockings for her children for 29 years and she had never gotten one herself, ever.  My dad was an asshole; he got one every year of their 15 year marriage.

I have been married for five years.  Somehow I doubt that their marriage was like mine five years in.  For my mom and dad that is when Jimmy was being born.  All of my mom’s stories about my dad are tinged with bitterness, so I can’t get a straight answer about anything.  He was an addict, I’m sure it was up and down.  Noah doesn’t seem to think I am an addict.  I suppose that’s good.  Things are up and down anyway.

It’s interesting how music is universal.  Yes, that’s a topic shift.  You can listen to a song and feel identification with it no matter how close your actual life experiences are.  At the moment I’ve got Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing” and if ever there was a song that lots of people feel inspired by… even while they know they are drowning in their own cheese.  This song is increasingly popular again.  And it’s not because it’s a great song.  It’s cheesy and pretty silly.  But it’s fun and it’s how I find my pleasure.  I have a play list called “healing”.  I haven’t listened to much else in the past year.  Periodically I will hear a song on the radio and add it.  It’s four hours long.  These are the songs I listen to over and over again.  I like songs like Dolly Parton’s “Better Get To Livin'”.

This is a mixed thing because unless I only pick music that has been written in the past ten years… I have associations with my early life with most songs I would pick.  I sit back and think of driving with my mom.  I must have been six or seven.  It was before the accident.  We were singing along with the Four Tops on the tape player.  Same Old Song.  “It’s the same old song, but with a different meaning since you’ve been gone.”  I had no negative associations with music then.  We were singing along loudly.  The windows were down and there was a nice warm breeze.

I remember stretching back in the seat, back in those days six year olds sat in the front seat without a seat belt.  Shhh don’t tell anyone.  The seat belt law was passed when I was four.  I found out about it in school when I was eight.  I read my mother the riot act and I started insisting on wearing one.  I also made her wear one.  That is why the government wants children in public school, just saying.

I looked at my mom while she sang along.  She was so cheerful and happy.  She was hardly ever happy.  She was usually sad.  If that song came on the radio while I was on the freeway I might cause an accident because I would cry so hard.  I miss my mom.

Recently I sent my friend this article on gaslighting.  In further conversation with him I made a point that I realized is the point for me.  I’m tired of having to defend my arguments basic validity.  Not that I think I shouldn’t have to argue my side of the issue.  I’m tired of having to bring in a long list of sources before I am “allowed” to have my side.  Before I have proven that my side is an acceptable side for someone to hypothetically have.  This. 

What does it mean to be triggered?  Isn’t everything all connected for everyone?

High Maintenance

I’m not uniformly high maintenance across the board.  And things shift a lot over time.  Once a boy I was interested in told me that I was “high maintenance but low drama”.  He could handle one date a month with me.  We never got very close.

Being high maintenance is very different based on how you do it.  I need a lot of intense emotional support.  I need to be told things many times.  I need to be touched or not touched immediately and without question based on my whims.  I have a lot of control over what conversational topics happen around me because if I start getting angry for some reason I tend to escalate.  I manage that by walking away from things that anger me or people who are engaging in conversation I don’t want to hear.  I don’t mean that I tell everyone to shut up.  I just mean that if I can’t handle what is being discussed I go sit in a different room.  It’s not the easiest thing to live with.  I have a lot of “systems” in place that make perfect sense in my head and I can’t explain them to other people because I know them in a kinesthetic fashion.

I am extremely particular but Sarah says not outside the normal range.  That kind of weirds me out.  Really?  Other people have as many stupid little mandatory preferences as me?  You know When Harry Met Sally?  You remember how she ordered food?  I’m not quite as fussy as her… but almost.  Although I’m less fussy about food.

I’m sensitive.  I wish I wasn’t.  I wish I didn’t have a sensitive nerve ending in my body.  Sometimes my skin is hyper sensitive and small touches hurt.  Sometimes if I am not in the mood for a conversation I feel intense sadness or anger because I have some tangential thought process running tandem that is really unhappy.  The stupidest things can trigger me into devastation and feeling like I am alone in the world and everyone around me would dance on my grave.  It’s often hard to believe that someone like me could have any worth at all.

That’s high maintenance to live with.  It’s fucking irritating.  Especially because I go back and forth between these terrible lows and feeling like I’m a lot better than those other schmucks, so what’s the problem?  (“Better” being defined as not having whatever problem I’m reading about on the internet.  If you set a low bar, you can always achieve it.)

I’m not sure, but I would guess that one of the hardest things to live with is how quickly I expect people to make decisions or act upon things I have said.  Because if people don’t respond/acknowledge/move fast enough I whirl in place and stomp off to do whatever it was I was talking about by myself while muttering.  It’s not a very nice thing to do and I try to stop myself.  I whirl away because it’s hard for me to ask for things sometimes.  I should probably ask for some kind of visual acknowledgement that they heard and understood my speech so that I know to stand and wait while they think.  Right now the problem is that I state what I want, don’t see immediate interest, and I feel like okfineI’lldoitmyselfit’snotabigdealanyway.  It is a little huffy, but it’s huffy in a “I don’t want to be a burden and I feel like I should have done this for myself without mentioning it anyway.  I mentioned it because sometimes you leap up to “do things” for me and it feels nice but if you aren’t in that space I’ll just go do it.”  But it never comes out value neutral.  I always look pissed.

The anger.  The anger is probably the hardest thing to live with.  I get angry so easily over such stupid things.  I let it go quickly and I apologize profusely, constantly because I know it is inappropriate to get as angry as I do.  But a lot of my anger is justified.  And I apologize for that too.  Because I’ve been told over and over, “Wow.  You get angry a lot.”  Because I feel like anger is wrong and bad and I should stop feeling anger.  People comment on me being angry.  That must mean I am inappropriately angry, right?

I feel shamed by comments on my anger.  If people can see it I am failing at life.  I feel this enormous pressure to develop a cheerful mask.  Repression be thy name.  I don’t really want to have to repress my anger.  I want to not feel it.  I want to not get so angry over tiny little things.  I’m aware that a lot of the problem is sleep deprivation and stress.  I can’t even tell if I get angry at a normal level.  I don’t know.  I can’t tell how often any one else gets angry.

Except for Noah.  I freak right the fuck out if he gets angry.  It’s been very difficult for us to work towards a space where I can let him be angry and not make it about me.  I still have to check in about the fact that he’s not angry with me at a particular time.  And then I want to fix whatever is upsetting him.  It’s very codependent of me.

And you know how much I write about myself?  Noah talks about this shit for hours and hours and hours and years.  It’s frankly creepy that anyone other than me has this much interest in me.  I’m so keeping him.  Noah repeatedly, adamantly gives me approval for everything I am and most everything I do.  He is a fount of affirmation and support.  It is very important that my support network be well supported.  I’m trying to do a better job at supporting them.

I feel like we are getting a lot closer to a balance.  Things are a lot better with Sarah here.  I haven’t had an exchange with Shanna I would call ‘nasty’ since the train coming down from Scotland.  I think that a tirade going on about two minutes longer than necessary about train manners in a bad tone of voice after a month of travel is forgivable.  I have been rude, and I’ve apologized and she seemed perfectly ok with the apologies.  That goes both ways.  Her behavior has been up and down, but I feel like it’s all been handled well.  I’m taking time by myself a lot more and I’m a lot more calm because of it.  The smoking helps, but I spend a lot of time out here not smoking just because I dislike the physical sensation.  I’m just hiding.  I’m just intimidated by the intensity of being mom.

I’m sensitive and my kids frankly freak me the fuck out sometimes.  It’s hard to enjoy ice cream if you are allowed to eat nothing but ice cream.  I mean, my kids are more meat and potatoes.  I can handle eating them every single day.  Now there’s a metaphor.  But even though I want meat and potatoes every single day I want meals in the day where I’m eating something else.  Variety is good.

I used to think I was an extrovert who was forced into solitude.  I’m beginning to see that I am an introvert with occasional social needs.  It’s kind of a weird identity shift.  At this point in my life I think of every single person I talk to in terms of how much of my energy they will drain.  Sorry, friends.  I love you!  That’s why I spend the energy I do.  A friend is coming over this morning.  Hopefully she won’t read this until after she has been at my house.  I’m honestly kind of freaked out by having her come over today.  Her son is very energetic and I’ve been trying to get Shanna to be slightly less messy in the house.  Throwing things outside is great.  Inside…. not my favorite.  I know that the right thing to do is to ask them to help clean up during the visit.  We’ll see how that goes.  Ugh.  I’m just so tired.  I don’t want the extra mess.  Fuss.  Whine.  But I want to talk to her.  Ack.  Personal time is over.

The Mom Pledge

I was reading up on the Band, because they matter.  And I foundThe Mom Pledge.   Text is:

The Mom Pledge
I am a proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example.
I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, “right” way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.
I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.
I stand up against cyber bullying. My online space reflects who I am and what I believe in. I will not tolerate comments that are rude, condescending or disrespectful.
I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks with no mention or response. I can take control.
I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.
I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference. 

Part of what makes this kind of thing so weird is, what is “rude, condescending or disrespectful” according to this code?  I’m afeared that an awful lot of what I say would be one of those words.  I’m not trying to be rude.  I reign in my condescension as hard as I am able.  I’m afraid it pops out occasionally when I’m not looking.  People often think that me questioning them at all is disrespectful.  Pointing out inconsistencies in a story is disrespectful.  On one hand I want to say, “That sounds great!”  But I’m afraid it’s just one more way that I feel like I can’t hold up the original spirit of the thing so I don’t join.  I’m a snarky bastard.  Most of my friends are.

I don’t really think of myself as a “Mommy blogger” despite the fact that I have crotch droppings and mention them here.  I feel like I write about my mothering shit the same way I write about me just existing.  I happen to be a mother.  But it’s not all that much of what I want to think about during my off-time, you know?  I have to write about being a mother in so far as I’m trying to hack the experience.  I am trying to dissect it to see how it works so that I can put it back together in a different way.

Inviting Sarah to live with me is part of mothering.  Even though Sarah is inconsistently available at times she is still stable in her moods.  When she is here she is here.  Part of being a mother is recognizing that children need to have people in their life who are rock steady dependable in their affect.  I’m not and I never will be.  I talk about me not being steady.  I talk about how to cope with that.  And I fucking well moved someone in who was stable.  Noah is also more emotionally stable than me.  I worry.  Specifically, to pull from that last link:

“This handling of mental illness (there were several negative examples) tends to present it as something out of control, scary, and dangerous. And also very, very selfish. Mentally ill people in pop culture are often deeply self-absorbed, wrapped up in themselves and their disorders, which means they have no time for anyone else. When it comes to parents, pop culture implies that mentally ill parents are too broken and damaged to possibly provide the level of care and support their children need. When this is the understanding of mental illness that many people have, it sets dangerous precedents.
Finding positive depictions of mentally ill parents is an uphill struggle, let alone depictions of parents who are members of Mad Pride movement, who may reject conventional treatment approaches to mental illness. For people with mental illness who want to be or are parents, pop culture provides ample reminders that this is a bad idea and should be reconsidered. For people without mental illness, pop culture provides ample judgment fodder and this can be a big problem when those people are decision-makers, the people who, for example, get to evaluate whether a parent should be allowed to keep a child after a report to child services expressing concern, or who sit in judgment on a jury.”

I worry a lot.  I worry about talking about my mental illness because I don’t think I can get away with claiming to myself that I don’t have mental illness.  There are legitimate names for my experiences.  The whole thing can be codified as a case study.  But it’s my life.  I speak overly harshly sometimes.  I don’t have the self control not to.  My option is to never speak again.  *I* feel like my behavior is perceived as being outside the bounds of that pledge up there.  *I* feel like my behavior is perceived as “rude, condescending or disrespectful.”  I don’t mean to be though.  This truly is my polite voice.  I am what my life has made me.  I am frequently harsh in tone.  I do it meaning well.  I am not trying to be a didactic asshole.

Bad situations in my life have been really bad.  When I say that I was at an important crossroads, I was often making a choice that resulted in a more dramatic shift than most people have as an option.  That’s convoluted.  Not very many people can talk to a rape crisis clinician for five minutes and be told, “You should be dead.”  That’s happened to me when I have talked to a lot of different people.  My choices kept me alive.  I chose life.  Over and over.  That sounds melodramatic and I want to punch myself for using that particular cliché.  It’s true though.  I self harm because it is choosing life.  It is choosing to allow myself a small amount of relief from the pain rather than actually relieving the pain.  I got away from my father.  It was hard.  It took fighting off my family, but I did it.  I got away from my family.  I could be another drug addict loser.  Instead I’m a drug addict with a functional life.  I am a drug addict with elaborate checks in place to ensure that I am not permitted to be erratic around my children.  My drug addiction is what allows me to be consistent.  Without it I am swinging too hard right now.

But sometimes I come in here to the internet and I vent my frustration.  MDC is really hard to read sometimes.  The problem is that my life choices have been between really really bad things that seemed ok to outsiders and things that looked bad to outsiders but was actually great for me.  My whole view on life choices is skewed far off to the left from everyone else.  For most of my life if you had offered me the chance to die on any given day, I would have taken it.

I had children because I choose life.  When people ask me why someone like me had kids, and I get asked, I say that biological compulsion is a big deal and I was a lot more stable then.  I don’t say, “Fuck you for implying that I am too broken to have worth on this planet you fucking asshole.”  I had children because I desperately want to spend most of my time with them.  Because I like seeing them change day by day.  Because even when Shanna or Calli are doing something that makes me want to put my fist through a wall I would cut my hand off before I would slap them in the face.  Because they are mine.  The first people who love me without any hint of judgment.  That will come later.  They will judge me.  They will judge my behavior as a mother.  They will judge me as a person.  It’s my responsibility to make the choices that will allow us to have a good relationship.

I don’t accept it at face value that I will have a relationship with my grown up children.  I’m aware that there are conditions on such love.  It’s hard.  Do you know why people stay in relationships with their abusers?  Because if you walk away from that love, what will you do about the aching loss it creates in your life?  I had children and I went around and deliberately chose adults to help me raise them.  Adults who are just as intent as I am that our children be kept safe and healthy.  Adults who hold me accountable for my behavior.  I’m not actually taking the risk that other people think I am taking.

If anything I am too hard on myself and I demand an unhealthy amount of 24/7 cheer from myself.  It’s getting better.  Normal, healthy people have mood variation.  Right now I do not get consistent sleep and I haven’t in a year.  I have outsourced feeding me to other people and that’s a mixed bag.  They aren’t actually aware that I stopped tracking that because I’m kind of a shitty person.  If I don’t tell them that I have abdicated responsibility to them then I get to be mad at them a lot when they fuck up.  Control games are awesome.

This is hard to talk about.  Because I can describe it that way, as a control game, but it’s not like I’m experiencing it that way.  I focus on taking care of my kids.  I get them through their day.  They eat at regular intervals.  I uhhh don’t like a lot of the food they like to eat.  I have texture issues.  It’s not even that I don’t like those foods.  If someone else took those foods and cooked them till they were mush I’d cheerfully eat it.  Shanna and Calli like crunchy things.  That feels bad in my mouth.  I usually come in and get food for them quickly and then get to the point where I probably should shift gears and make food for me… only I get distracted and do something else.  I “forget” to eat.  It’s partially a consequence of my weird picky food preference issues.

When Noah or Sarah want to eat then there is pretty much always a way for me to feel like something I want in my mouth is an option.  They like things that are spiced closer to how I want it (I like slightly less salt than Sarah and slightly more salt than Noah) and it works.  Even if it pings me as being slightly over or slightly under salted… that’s a small sin.  That’s how food works when Sarah or Noah is cooking.  I can eat it.

For example, I can’t handle eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches very often.  The oil from the peanut butter stays in my mouth and bothers all the other flavors for days.  And the jam often tastes too sweet.  But I can’t handle eating peanut butter plain because the flavor is too intense and it makes me feel icki.  On some days I can handle eating nuts plain.  Most days the idea of crunching a nut between my teeth will give me shivers down my spine like nails on a chalk board.

But given how many things I feel I must do in a day… I don’t want to go through the effort of making a meal for Shanna and a meal for Calli and a meal for me.  Given that my meals are a lot more work.  I just don’t eat.  Because I’m not really worth it.  But Noah and Sarah think that feeding me is worthwhile.  Hey!  I know if I wait a bit longer Sarah will want to eat and it will be easier to just make one mess for the both of us and…  It works until it doesn’t work.  When it doesn’t work I generally get pretty grumpy.  And that’s how a lot of my self regulation goes.

Ok, this is a problem.  I need to fix it.  It’s hard to get to the point where it feels like I have any more ability to do “care” for a body.  Even my own.  I get really angry with myself for how long it takes me to poop now that I have kids.  That’s weird.  The whole gestating/labor thing changed my plumbing in ways I am not appreciating.  And it doesn’t help that we are eating so many vegetables that my digestive system is on protest.  I don’t believe all the people who say this is a healthy diet.  I never had to poop this much when I was living on top ramen.  That has to be easier on my system.  Ahem.

People are whole systems.  I’m kind of a mommy blogger.  I’m kind of a mental health blogger.  Kind of feminist.  I’m just me.  I don’t think I am going to post the Mom Pledge thing on my site permanently.  I will agree in my head that I should follow those rules.  I will think they correctly describe my approach to life.  But I won’t publicly join a group about it.  That sounds like behavior policing to me.  I can’t handle it.

Anxiety, spike.

Today I am going to go see a psychiatrist.  The medical group I work with made it very difficult to get this appointment.  I was interrogated by multiple people and it was very obvious that if I didn’t answer in a way they liked I was going to be locked up whether I like it or not.  Self-harming is illegal, you know.  It’s pretty terrifying to me that I have to be careful in how I word things or I won’t be coming home today.  The terror is enough that I kind of want to cancel the appointment and continue to hide in my house forever smoking pot.  At least right now I don’t have to worry about someone else deciding they know what is best for me and forcing my lock-step through their program again.

For me the institution and the group home and public school were all pretty much cut from the same cloth.  Obviously there were degrees of seriousness for how they slapped people down for stepping out of line.  For the whole god damn rest of my life “help” means people doing things to me against my will.  That is what help is.  It doesn’t matter if I am crazy or sane, it doesn’t influence how people treat me.  Do you know what does influence how people treat me?  How much they actually listen to me before they start acting.

I don’t know how to make any part of my life or experiences or needs or whatever into brief little sound bites that keep me out of trouble.  That is a lot of what other people seem to have that I don’t.  It’s not that no one else had anything shitty happen to them.  It’s that no one else seems to have diarrhea of the mouth and the compulsive desire to tell everyone in the world, “My dad raped me and I still can’t sleep at night because of it.  It’s not so bad really.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I don’t wake up at 3 am unable to go back to sleep because I am no longer stoned and I can’t bear the nightmares.  Luckily I went to bed at 7 last night.  I got in a lot of sleep.  It seems to be the only way to hack the system.

I am afraid that if I tell the truth today I won’t be coming home.  I have responsibilities.  I have people to care for.  An institution isn’t a “break” it is a horrible rending and tearing of not allowing me to have contact with the few people in the world who love me and are nice to me.  Please God, I never want to be in an institution again.  Never.  Never.  I am really afraird of talking to a psychiatrist today.  I know that if I’m honest about how I have been since April they will talk to me about my “options” by which tell me what they are considering forcing me to do.  Because the minute I walk into this doctors care I no longer get to have the final say about my mental health.

I feel like I am about to puke on the floor.  I have six hours of terror to get through until I meet this doctor.  How this goes depends on the psychiatrist I see.  If this is an open minded person who believes there are many roads to an acceptably good life, I might get some actual help.  If this person believes that all people must be like _____ or they need “help” I might be walking into an actually dangerous situation for me.  And I don’t know in advance what kind of person this is.  And dear god the power she will weird.  I’m actually more scared because it is a woman.  Despite the fact that every sexual assault was perpetuated by men, I still feel much more terrified of women.  Women are meaner.  Women hurt other women and girls just so they get the rush of feeling bigger.  I have some issues with women.

I am aware that the most likely result of today is that I will come home with a prescription of some sleep and/or anxiety medication.  I’m willing to bet money that the doctor will be fine.  That I will talk about my horror story of a life, say that I self harm in limited ways because of a life of horror and right now the pressure is simply too much for me to cope with “healthy” coping mechanisms on my own and I need help.  This doctor would probably be ok with drugging me into a zombie state for the rest of my life if I need that to stop being angry all the time.  I don’t want that either.

What do I want?  What do I hope for?  If I don’t know I can’t ask.  I want to sleep better, longer, and in the middle of the night rather than through the evening.  I miss Noah on nights I go to bed with Calli.  I want to be able to control my anger.  I want to not hide at home because I am terrified people will dislike me and be mean to me.  I am so afraid of people being mean to me.  Sometimes I think I have picked the wrong friends groups.

People I know hurt my feelings a lot.  I’m really over sensitive.  I try hard to keep it as just my problem because I know I am over sensitive.  But that means I don’t go out.  Because people hurt me casually without noticing.  I notice.  I stop going out.  This is the flip side of “blunt”.  An awful lot of things that people say attached to the phrase, “I’m just being honest” are awful.  Awful.  Awful.  “I don’t think you are a bad person or anything, I just think it is a sign that you have no respect for yourself if you have slept with so many people.”  I don’t think that is true.  If it was true, thank you for telling me that you think I treat me like a piece of shit because I don’t have the same attitude about sex that you have.  Obviously us whores are lower life forms.

I do speak negatively about women who have sex with the guys I sleep with.  Not to put them down, but rather I refer to us collectively as whores.  I’ve noticed lately that I am inadvertently thinking negative-ish things about women I really have no negative thoughts by.  Especially over the past three years, I just don’t have negative thoughts about the women Noah sleeps with.  D is not a whore.  She’s a very nice lady who sometimes sleeps with my husband when the idea of sex makes me cranky.  The only exchange is stress relief.  That’s not being a whore.  It’s being an unconventionally awesome friend.

I have some mixed feelings about sex.  I can’t imagine why.

That last sentence makes me smile.  People like to talk about the things that are important to them.  Most people seem to find books, movies, their kids, their jobs, and their hobbies to be the extent of what they do with their talking.  I’m important to me.  Trying to figure out how to hack my system and behave how I want to behave is my hobby.  Other people seem to not have the road blocks to existing that I have.  I can get things done.  I can be productive.  I can even seem happy.  But I have to rig the game.

I can visit with friends.  I can deal with all the stuff that needs to be done to keep two little kids growing like weeds and healthy.  I can’t go meet new people by myself.  I can’t handle things that feel high pressure.  New people are terrifying.  New people represent this constant low level risk of nastiness.  Either I will be stupid enough to say something about myself and they will be disgusted and not like me or I will be stupid and comment on their life choices in a way that is inappropriate.  The internet is not doing wonders for my social skills.

There is a local meet up group for home schoolers.  Sarah tried to go to one of their events yesterday and missed them in the crowd.  The organizer sent me this email asking if Sarah is…. part of my family?  Because then she can just be accepted into the group instead of being a provisional member.  They’ve met me and the kids and if she’s attached to us she is obviously not a predator or creepy person.  They don’t have to meet her first if she is attached to us.

That honestly makes me feel weird.  I told her, “Yes Sarah is part of our family.  I’m sorry we don’t get to more events.  That is when the baby naps.  We are hoping that now that she has crossed into toddlerhood that naps will drift and we will be able to come to a lot more events.”  That’s a good way of not sounding like a crazy fuck up.  “Actually I usually skip your events because there is this one cunt I am afraid of meeting up with and it keeps me at home shaking with terror.”  You know that friend who dumped me with the nasty dear Jane email?  She’s active all over the bay area with anything vaguely crunchy and parenting.  I don’t really want to run into someone who will tell me that I am such a bad parent she doesn’t want to know me.

All of these things are related and combined in my head.  People are terrifying.  At any random moment people who are staunchly my “friend” will turn on me and start telling me how bad or gross or wrong or… something.  I’m inappropriate.  I should be kept away from decent people because I am so bad bad bad.  That’s why I am so afraid of the institution.  It feels like just one more way that society wants “people like me” to be eliminated.  If I can’t control myself well enough to pretend that I am just like everyone else they are going to put me in a place where I will god damn get control.

It’s hard to explain to people what the institution was like for me.  You can’t go to the bathroom without permission.  You can’t eat without permission.  When food is put in front of you, you are required to eat all of it or you get punished.  A lot of the girls in psych wards are there for eating disorders.  As a result every person there is given the same food and you have to eat every bite whether you like it or not.  I was told very clearly that if I refused food I would be strapped to a table and a feeding tube would be inserted.  That was what I was told when I said I didn’t want to eat the scrambled eggs because they were too soft and I thought they tasted bad.  All of my life I have hated scrambled eggs that were too soft.  I like them burned.  I like them absolutely hard.  The institution made them really runny and slimy in a huge batch.  They wouldn’t even microwave the fucking things for me to cook them more.  The employee told me that I had to eat all of it or I would be forced to eat through a tube.  When I started eating with tears running down my face and I was actively fighting my gag reflex… the employee smiled and called me a good girl.

That’s fucked up.  I’m sorry.  That is not about helping me be “better”.  That is about helping to break my spirit and force me to conform to someone else’s idea of being a good person.  Seriously?  My mental health is related to me being able to choke down under cooked eggs?  Why in the fuck was that important?  Why was that a battle?  Why did I have to eat or risk more invasive medical procedures?  Why should I believe anything other than Western Medicine is Evil.  Giving that much power to people is wrong.  No one should have been able to do that to me.

I’m sorry, but suicide and self-harming should not be punished the way they are.  Do you know why people are punished this way?  Because it is disruptive to society for people to be unpredictable.  People who commit suicide or self-harm are likely to be different and cause waves.  We certainly must stomp that right the fuck out.  No disruptions of routine.  Everything.Must.Flow.Like.Clockwork.  Or you are bad.  And we will force you back into line.

You can’t eat when you want to.  You can’t go to the bathroom when you want to.  You can’t sleep when you want to.  You can’t play games when you want to.  You can’t listen to music when you want to.  You can’t decide who you talk to.  You can’t decide what you eat.  You can’t decide what clothes you wear.  You can’t decide how to treat your body–your decisions are substandard.

That’s what an institution is like.  You are expected to slowly shuffle from activity to activity (eating is an activity) exactly how and when they say.  You cannot question anything.  You cannot have a body that likes to eat every four hours instead of eating at 6:30, 12:30 and 6:30.  You cannot have any privacy in your head.  If an employee (it probably is only supposed to be the therapists, but the orderlies are assholes too) decides to start interrogating you about what you are thinking you had better have an acceptable answer.

When I was institutionalized the story was that I had a rough life but no one knew what that meant.  They knew I moved around a lot.  They knew that my brother had been hit by a car.  There was some vague talk that maybe some sexual abuse had happened.  I hadn’t told anyone about being raped.  Not by anyone.  I went into the institution and was told to lay out all my secrets on a table for them to judge and decide about.  Of course I didn’t tell them shit.  They were forcing me to eat runny eggs and walk from room to room under their command.  There was no safety.  There was no room for me to exist at all.  I’m just glad it was only two weeks.

I can play the game if I have to.  Of course I can.  I wouldn’t be alive and outside of jail if it wasn’t true.  But I break the social contract in a lot of ways.  A lot of ways that are easy to ignore when I am at home by myself in the garage.  No one will hurt me here.  No wonder Alex’s therapist said I am like the crazy ass Vietnam vet who stockpiles food and ammunition.  I don’t think our larder is especially bursting with stores and I don’t own a gun.  But I do very careful limit how much I deal with people.  I only invite a few people to my house and I don’t go out often.  You never know who is going to be nasty to you.

I remember not caring about the fact that people judged me badly.  I mean, I can deal with the random public and I do.  I go to the grocery store and have pleasant interactions.  I can take my kids to the zoo or museum and we do fine and have fun.  I can’t go to a big party with a bunch of “friends”.  I can’t go meet a medical practitioner because this person will abruptly have “authority” over me.

I’m tired of feeling like I am wrong or bad just for existing.  For saying the things I say.  For taking up the space I take up.  Even if I do go to an event I feel this constant pressure to sit in a corner and not say anything awkward or uncomfortable.  This is hard.  If someone says, “So what have you been up to lately?” it’s a huge anxiety bomb.  Well I’ve spent most of 2011 having a mental breakdown and I wrote about it on my blog extensively.  Want to hear about my long list of rape experiences?  No, no one wants to hear that.  But it’s what I want to talk about.  So I stay home by myself and I write.  I can’t offend anyone if I am writing alone in a room.

Cue chorus of snickers.  Ok, if people are offended by what I write when I am alone in a room I don’t feel much responsibility for that.  Stop reading then you stupid asshole.  No one is dragging you to a computer and chaining you there until you read all my inane drivel.  My whining.  I’m not feeling good about myself today.  I’m really afraid of this doctor.  I’m really afraid that this doctor has the power to say, “You know how hard you are working on being a stable mother?  Well… someone like you shouldn’t have had kids and we are going to protect your kids from you.”  I have to be careful what I say in front of this doctor or I risk CPS.  I’m afraid that it doesn’t matter that I only self harm behind closed doors away from my children.  I’m afraid I am going to be told that someone like me is too toxic to share the same air.  It’s for everyones good that I be removed from the home.

I was often taken away from my family as a child “for my own good”.  I was always sent back after a while because there aren’t enough tolerance for me anywhere else either.  Difficult.  That’s me.  Always have been.  Always thinking I get to have an opinion and preferences.  Always thinking that it matters what I want.  Stupid me.

There are few things in my life more terrifying than the institution.  I know it would be a different one this time.  A “better” one.  It wouldn’t really be better though.  It would just be the system trying to convince me that as long as they don’t force me down on a table we are all doing what we want to do.  It’s a lie.  Me doing what I want to do involves hiding in my house and beating my head on the concrete floor when I can’t handle the anxiety.  Ok, that’s not really what I want to do.  But I prefer beating my head at home to beating my head in the institution and I wouldn’t stop just because they told me to.

In fact if a group of doctors told me I had to stop or else… all of a sudden my skull would be covered with scabs because I would do it a lot harder.  Or else what?  What are you going to do to me that is going to be worse than what has happened to me?  Do I really need more people hurting me?  Do I really need more people trying to impose their will upon me?  That is how to make me a healthy person? For yet more people to try to control me when they don’t know what happened to me?

Coping mechanisms can be good and useful and necessary at one time and become less good over time.  Self harming has kept me able to function and go about life.  It *is* a stress relief.  I have done a lot of good in my life.  Why is any of it negated because I had to self harm in order to have the focus to work? Why?  I can see telling me that there is a better way and offering me other options.  That’s awesome.  I want to have other fucking options.  I’m tired of my head hurting.  But I can’t just find this self control out of thin air.  I’m out of will power.  There isn’t enough lemonade in the world. 

I don’t self harm every day.  Unless you count pot, which is kind of a weird thing for me.  On days when I am stoned I don’t self harm at all.  I haven’t beat my head against the floor in almost a month, actually.  Not since the day of the party.  That morning I lost it and I haven’t since.  Having all those people come over was… challenging.  It went well and everyone had fun.  I still spent most of the time freaked out waiting for something awful to happen.

Since then I say, “Sarah I need to tap out” and she says, “Ok!” and I go sit down and smoke and think for thirty minutes.  Then I’m cheerful again.

I want to work with a psychiatrist because I don’t know much about mood stabilizing drugs.  I need to learn.

I got a question!

Picture me doing my happy Snoopy dance.  Ahem.

I’m afraid that I don’t know how to talk to people. I’m too blunt.

Do you prefer that other people interact with you in this way? Directly, I mean; sometimes that comes off as blunt. Personally, I find it easier than guessing most of the time, but I weigh that against the discomfort of saying/asking right out. What do you think?

The honest answer is I want people to be blunt with weird verbal ticks where they remind me that they are being blunt so I shouldn’t over react emotionally.  What I mean is, when Noah is about to hand me my ass he says: “I don’t have a good way to say this.  So I’m going to use a bad one and I hope you can understand what I am getting at.”  That’s my cue that he is about to say something that sounds like an attack but he honest-to-goodness doesn’t mean it as an attack so please don’t freakin yell at him.  At least that is what I hear.  When he says that I cock my head over to one side and listen intently and I can be rational no matter how much I am freaking out.  It’s handy.

But yes, of course I want people to be blunt.  I like it when people randomly announce what they are thinking, because most of the time I am honestly curious.  I wish like hell I could sit inside someone else’s brain for a day and listen to the random things that go around.  It’s great when people tell me.

If people have expectations of me, you’d better tell me what they are in blunt ways or I will miss it.  I have all the subtlety of a falling anvil.  So yes, I would say.  Blunt is generally always better than it’s opposite, which I consider to be misdirection.  Don’t be vague or passive agressive.  Tell me what you want.  Then I can decide if I want to give it to you or not.  I like yes or no questions.

And I’ll tell you, as much as I felt pissy in the moment… I’m glad Sarah greeted me with, “The last few days has been over my threshold for alone time with the kids right now and I need to have help with them for a while.”  Because now I know for absolute certain she is monitoring her ability to be safe with the kids and now I know what the wall looks like.  I can work with a wall.  If I’m honest I know that if Sarah had been kind of twitchy but hadn’t said anything… I probably would have ignored her twitching.  I’m a jerk too.  I have to treat my needs like they are important enough to push for.  No one is volunteering the stuff that fills my needs.  I need to push for more space.  Knowing how far I can push is really important.  I don’t want to be a chicken shit and short change myself because I’m afraid that I will ask too much and she won’t tell me and start to resent me.  I don’t want to live with that fear.  I want to push her to her boundaries so that I can have allllllllllll the space available to me.  Damnit.  She said she is ok with that.  I have to trust her.

Have I mentioned how hard trust is?  I have been struggling like mad since I had kids because I am no longer reliable.  It makes my stomach clench with frustration.  If my kids start melting down as I am trying to put them into the car when I am off to do something social I freak out.  I get into these cycles where I’m convinced that I am going to go to the event and the kids will be assholes and I will feel social pressure from all my anti-kid friends to deal with my little brats and I will then be angry with my kids because they are kids.

My kids are not assholes.  My kids are not brats.  They do push limits because they are trying to find out where they are.  When Shanna feels the wrath of God she backs off of a limit.  But oh boy she likes to find that limit.  Given that the wrath of God mostly involves me breathing hard because I am really angry and trying not to speak and I point to her room… she goes.  But it takes until I am ready to punch her in the face before she backs off.

I’m torn between consternation and delight.  That’s MY girl!  I honestly don’t want her to stop.  Even though it drives me insane.  I want her to be that person.  I want her to have the courage to push people.  What I mean by the wrath of God is that I want her to go through life rarely having to deal with my minor displeasures.  Mostly I do a lot of disclaimers about how awesome she is and I’m not upset with her I’m upset because blah grown up thing is happening and I’m sorry if I’m short tempered.  I try to buffer my irritation levels as much as possible.  Sometimes she crosses the line and I really don’t care that it upsets her when I am fucking pissed off.

Lately she has decided that an awesome game is to hit me in the face with sharp objects, basically as hard as she can.  One can understand why I might object.  After the last time she did it I picked her up ubruptly and moved her off of me while roaring in pain.  It scared the shit out of her.  She started wailing about how I hit her.  I did a lot of rolling my eyes.  I’m sorry kiddo, but picking you up and moving you far enough away that you cannot injure me again while otherwise not touching you and getting my hands off of you as fast as possible is not the same thing as hitting.  I told her that I had not intended to scare her when I yelled but I wasn’t going to apologize.  Hitting me in the face isn’t ok and I am very upset about it.  Don’t do it again.

Then I stomped off.  To me, that’s a Wrath of God moment.  It made a huge impression on her.  And I’m glad.  I think parents are allowed to just be human beings.  When someone hits me in the face I get to yell at them to stop it and I don’t have to apologize for hurting their feelings.  I did not sign a fucking piece of paper giving up this right just because I had crotch droppings.  I get the feeling from the AP and Gentle Parenting folk that it is bad that I did this.  Yelling Is Violence, they say.

I have to say that I think they can bite me.  I do my utmost to not make yelling a regular habit because it’s a really annoying thing to have to live with.  I think that having to live with someone who yells a lot sucks.  It’s unpleasant.  I try very hard to keep my volume at a reasonable level.  Yelling when you are in pain is not the same thing.  It’s allowed.  It’s allowed.  It’s allowed.

My dad used to make me be quiet.  I got in trouble if I made noise or moved while he was hurting me.  He would play painful games and the goal was for me to sit as still as a stone while he did it.  That wasn’t part of the sexual abuse.  That was casually sitting around in the living room when he visited.

I never have to be silent and take it when someone hurts me again.  I don’t.  It doesn’t matter that they are kids.  I get to defend my body.

That said, Shanna got lots of cuddles afterwards.  Obviously I am still feeling defensive.  You see, my actions square with my values.  I think that was a reasonable natural consequence of hitting someone in the face.  But I can find people on the internet who would tell me that I am an abusive monster for doing that.  Let me tell you, whenever people accuse me of being an abusive monster I chuckle.  I know what that actually looks like and the pompous windbag who is talking to me doesn’t.  I’m afraid of being like them, but I do rationally know that I’m not.  My kids will not have anything like the abuse I received.  Defending yourself when someone hurts you is not abusing them.  It’s letting them know that they crossed a big boundary in a way that is a serious problem.  Shanna hasn’t done it since.  We kiss and cuddle lots and I’m pretty sure she’s confident in my regard for her.

So anyway.  Shanna likes to test boundaries occasionally.  It’s pretty clear that she is doing it in a scientific way and there is no malice in her heart.  She is, however, a wild little savage and her scientific experiments frequently suck for me.  When we are out in public reams of people turn and stare.  I feel completely self conscious and judged.  I have no idea what they are thinking.  If people volunteered helpful little thoughts like, “Dear God you have the patience of Job” then I know that people aren’t judging me because it does bother me.  I do get nasty little comments about how if I can’t control my brats I shouldn’t take them out.  Uhh… do you really think I should have complete control over my children?  How do you think that will go for them in life?  I want autonomous little people, thank you ver much, and that means that they have to figure out how to interact with the world.  That means hitting some brick walls of social taboos.  She will need to find out What happens when I whack someone in the face?  That’s how she will know not to do it later.  And then she went off to school and on her first day a boy kicked her in the face.

I have to tell you… I wasn’t very upset.  I told her, “These things happen.  So, what did you say to him when this happened?”  People hurting your body in ways you don’t like just happens.  You have to learn to navigate it.  This seems to be something that my child-free friends were never taught or have forgotten.  When a careening child falls out of orbit they act as if they have been assaulted with acid.  Get over yourself, people.  No, she is not yet a masterful member of the social sphere.  She’s fucking three, give her a break.

All that to say, yeah blunt is good.  And maybe I’m ready to go to a kid friendly dance event.  I’ll have to find one that is within an hours driving range.  Hm.

More guns, cars, and computers.

(I’m sorry Marisa, I’m trying to make them shorter…)

I just had this big flash where I realized part of what I miss so much about that little sub group.  I found it!  Oh they were so tacky.  So so tacky.  All of those cheesy little tacky things you see in novelty shops?  Collections!  It was frankly adorable.  They were enthusiasts.  They were fans.  They were totally white trashy and they didn’t even know it.  They just thought they were Leather.  Which says an awful lot about my vision of white trash.

Hmmm.  That actually says a lot about what I consider white trash.  Biker.  Maybe I should work on defining white trash a bit better so that it is a more useful term.

White trash: (noun) a descriptive phrase for a person who exudes a general sense of glorification of many aspects of poor culture; this person does not necessarily have to be poor.  Generally only applicable to people who can also be described as “redneck”, “hick”, or “rural”.

The problem is that folks can be white trash and totally glorious about it or people can be white trash and abusive.  I think of the munch crowd as being white trashy because there was an active enthusiastic interest in creating things for the hobby.  Which resulted in a lot of piles of stuff left around because they might be useful later.  Lots of fun tawdry boudoir type spaces.  It made me happy then and it makes me happy now.  I feel weird about the fact that a lot of my frustration with my birthday party is because the house isn’t what I see in my head.  I think I will be able to have the birthday party I really see in my head when I am 50.  It will take that long before my house matches the picture in my head.

I love this unabashed tacky expression of joy about life.  My house is increasingly tacky and it thrills me to no end.  Tacky is kind of a loaded word.  It’s pretty tacky that I stapled cotton batting over the exposed pipes in my garage instead of building some sort of actual cover.  But I think that having a cloud line at the top of the mountains is so awesome.  I’m going to find something to cover the defunct electrical box. I’m sure it will be tacky.  I will probably find some animal to attach to the wall.  Maybe a fake plant.  It will be tacky.  Gloriously tacky.  It’s fun.

Guns, cars, and computers

Noah has kind of a chip on his shoulder about munches.  I understand why.  They tend to only be welcoming towards someone if large numbers of people in the crowd want to fuck the new person.  I think that Noah would walk into a munch now and be catnip.  When he was in his early 20’s… not so much.  That’s how it works for guys though.  I showed up at 18.  There is no meat tastier, than fresh meat.

When I talk about the culture of bdsm I was raised in, it was defined primarily by the munch group I hung out with.  It took a long time before I really understood in the core of me that kink communities are completely different from location to location because the local members create something different in each place.  I feel kind of like a moron for that.  In my location it didn’t matter what race, age, gender you were… the desires were all pretty similar.  I didn’t understand that we chased away the people who weren’t exactly like us.

We had a high bar for entry.  You had to be willing to devote a huge chunk of your life to doing bdsm in order to count as a “real” pervert.  There was a lot a strange overlap with guns, cars, and computers.  You had to be fairly passionately into one or more of those in order to fit in at our munch.  Most of the crew is Libertarian, though basically sane people.  I learned a lot sitting at their knees.  This is decidedly where I formed most of my political opinions because they gave me ways to be uppity towards my family.

I don’t even know how to write about them.  Stephen King would want to whap me with a newspaper for that.  You can’t reach that point as a writer.  Ok, what do I think of when I think of the munch?  I think of a sea of happy faces.  I remember being the pet/mascot.  I was an indulged child for most of my early time there.  Mostly the crowd is married.  Mostly the crowd is mostly monogamous.  There was a lot of puppy pile bdsm.  I don’t know how common that is in other areas.

The Saturday parties were interesting because we all spent so much time together that there was a lot of cross-play amongst friends.  Things like bondage and skilled SM arts were treated like commodities to be shared because there weren’t enough partners to go around.  There was a lot of implicit, “Well you played with so and so and I want to be next.”  The play was kept non-sexual because then it wasn’t about whoring yourself out.  It was sharing skills.  It’s a hobby.  It’s really not much different than getting together a whole group of friends at a commercial kitchen to share ingredients as you make batches of cookies.  Having that kind of intimacy that is not intimate is kind of weird for me.  I do it very well.  I sometimes wonder if that place at that time was just the only way I felt safe getting touched.  For all that they were “perverts” they were remarkably safe people.

A lot of the thing was the whole crowd was focused on exhibitionism.  Play parties would often involve a couple playing in the middle of the living room while everyone laughed and commented and decided the tone of the play.  There were quite a few heavy masochists in the crowd so the play could be intense physically while still being entirely lighthearted.  This was not an environment for serious edge play or psychological play.  Except when it was.  There were always the ability to steal away and do something more intense.  We did, often.  Knives were quite popular amongst the group.  Not cutting, but scratching and threatening.

It’s hard for me to convey how convivial the atmosphere was.  The crowd was more men than women, but it wasn’t that unequal feeling to me.  The men were more intensely regular.  The women came and went.  So if you showed up at the munch on a random week it might be 90% men, or it could be 50/50 because all the girls came.  That felt ok to me because the women were there most of the time.  It was always safe.  No one else was under 30.  Many had kids.  Some of them–I never ever met their kids.  They kept their children 100% separated from most scene people.  You had to earn access to their kids over many years of good behavior.  I fucking respected them.  Notice how I never earned access to their kids?  I was not good at good behavior.

I was indulged universally in my inappropriate acting out.  Some of the women tried to tactfully mentor me on how to get along better in life but I ignored it.  The guys encouraged me heartily.  It was all pretty harmless shit.  I liked to sit on laps and snuggle.  I did a lot more grinding than was strictly appropriate.  No one minded one little bit.  We would do mini-scenes in the coffee shop.  We shouldn’t have been doing it in public because there were random people there.  It was fun.  I don’t feel very guilty.   I do, however, feel like I don’t know how to interact with those people very well without falling into those behavior patterns.  If I want to stop acting like that… I can’t talk to those people any more.

When I broke up with Tom all of a sudden I started getting a different kind of interest.  Actual serious interest.  I ran like a scared rabbit.  All of a sudden these weren’t the gentle friends I had been doing light social play with.  They were potential sex partners and that scared the shit out of me.  I didn’t want to have to have sex with all of them.  So I left the group.  From the cheap seats I see that not one of those men would have pressured me for sex.  They would have asked, once, and forever more tried to make due appreciating what I was willing to offer freely.  By and large they are timid men.

When I think about my assholes with great affection it is funny how many of them I met at the Wednesday munch.  This is where I learned geek culture.  It isn’t much like the geek culture Noah talks loudly about.  They talk about computers, sure.  But they spend equal amounts of time talking about guns, cars, and politics really.  But the politics are interesting so I tend to leave it out of my bitching.  I probably ranted more than a hundred times how tired I was of hearing about guns, cars, and computers.  So in order to distract them from boring conversations I would remind them that they were at a bdsm munch now talk about something more interesting.  I would end up being passed from lap to lap as they talked about what they would do to me.  It was great fun.  A very predictable game.

Except when it wasn’t.  I learned who was safe and who wasn’t.  I felt like Tom gave me a layer of protection.  The whole group was tortured by not having sex.  Only a few of them were more desperate acting in how they dealt with that.  In all the years I hung out there we never had any whisper of actual abuse.  In retrospect I believe that this group of people really did find a safe and supporting environment to be kind of weird.  Sure we all egged each other on, but we didn’t do extreme things mostly.  There was a lot of encouragement to find where your actual limit was.

Bdsm was something to treat as an enthusiastic physical hobby.  You practiced your skills by yourself to hone them early on.  You were expected to take it seriously and do it well so that you could have something to be proud of.  In tangent Tom and I were part of the national convention circuit.  It feels kind of funny to say that, but it’s true.  We traveled to a lot of events and did spectacular public play.  I was very young and he was in his 30’s and doing well in business.  We were a striking couple and we had a lot of fun together.  Our play was show stopping.  In public we did suspension whenever possible and took over as much space as we could.  Tom was constantly on the search for hard points higher than our ceiling.  Ostensibly the reason we did it in public so much more than in private was because it isn’t as fun to only barely get off the ground.  Fetishists are weird.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m the one who negotiated access to mumblemumble so that we could do a suspension that got me 75′ off the ground.  We did do things in private if they had enough brag value.  There are lots of pictures.  What play we did in private was done mostly so that it could be photographed.  So he could look at/think about it while masturbating.  Did I mention we didn’t have sex much?  I really struggled with that.  My sexuality was constantly being used in a way that didn’t involve me.  I was getting off–Tom masturbated me constantly.  But I didn’t get to have intimacy with my orgasms.  I just got off a lot.  I’m not sure if I miss it or not.  I can’t do it any more.  Orgasm is hard now. I often can’t.

A large portion of Tom’s sexuality was exhibitionism.  It was about being seen doing those things.  The girlfriend before me made him go private and that was brutally hard for him.  He needs to have a community of fellow “perverts” where he is totally accepted.  That’s ok.  I have spent the last seven years trying to figure out how much of it was his exhibitionism and how much was mine.  Because I have some, don’t get me wrong.  I like having sex and/or doing bdsm in front of people.  I like knowing that I am what people think about when they masturbate.  My munch friends told me that I was.  It was almost like being a porn model only my adoring fans were my friends.  It worked.

There was a pretty strong D/s contingent in our little community.  Not absolutely everyone practiced D/s (Dominance/submission) but it was common enough that everyone knew everyone else’s roles and treated people differently based on their chosen role.  It was “respecting that persons self identity”.  Hilarious.  But it was all in good fun.  People drifted away when life or work got busy.  It was remarkably Cheers like.  I miss it, but going now isn’t the same.

I have blissfully forgotten most of what I could once rattle off about guns, cars, and computers.  Noah is a software guy, it’s a different kind of conversation.  I was used to hardware boys.  Hardware boys that wanted me to dress them up in full latex then tie them up in mostly comfortable positions.  Then they would struggle while I playfully sat on them.  It wasn’t all that sexy because I was not willing to make it all that sexy.  I did touch them and cuddle them though.  I talked to them.  I verbally played out their fantasies.  I felt like a force for good.

I keep having a Lady Gaga line go through my head, “In the most Biblical sense, I am beyond repentance/ Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind.”  I tattooed on my back that I want to forgive myself.  I want forgiveness.  I want forgiveness for everything I do.  Everything I am.  I feel intense conflict about writing the things I write because other people have different perceptions.  Someone else can be part of a conversation with me and remember totally different things and come away with a different impression.  I don’t think either of us are “wrong” but we are shaped by our experiences.  We hear the things that affirm our view of the world.  There is a strong attitude that if someone is doing something only meaning the best then it’s ok.  They didn’t mean for anything bad to happen so they aren’t responsible.

No one at the munch did anything bad to me.  They were good friends, actually.  But it was a continuation of the idea that I had to be available sexually.  It’s not what they thought.  It’s what I thought.  I was surprised how many of the munch crowd came to my birthday party.  In a flash as the song switches to Hair, oh man.  They would all love to still be my friend.  All I have to do is figure out how to spend time with them.  They like me.  They really like me.

Why am I sitting at home crying to Lady Gaga instead of out seeing my friends?  What am I so afraid of?  I’m afraid my children will misbehave and people will think I am a bad parent.  I’m afraid that people expect me to be sexy and I can’t be right now.  I’m afraid that if I go out I will feel uncomfortable and bad and I will sit in a corner and no one will talk to me because I have made myself invisible.  I’m afraid that I don’t know how to have friendships without sex.  I’m afraid that I don’t know how to listen.  I am a bad listener.  I can listen well when there is one other person in the room.  I can’t listen in a crowd.  I am too distractible.  I feel like being a bad listener in a crowd makes me a bad friend.  I don’t hang out with anyone enough to be able to do comfortable casual party conversation.  I feel awkward.

I sit in my house and invite one person at a time.  We have intense conversations.  I get the impression that the intense conversations at my house are slightly traumatic to some of my friends.  I feel like that when we invite the sensitive, quiet introverts over.

Maybe I should invite some of my guns, cars, and computer boys.  I miss them.  I’d kind of like to know more about them.  I’d like to ask them what they experienced ten years ago.  I’m willing to bet their memory is different from mine.  I bet they didn’t think of me as being available sexually.  The thought actually makes me laugh.  I was so nasty with them.  I learned how to taunt.  I felt vulnerable and I showed that vulnerability.  Then I let them know that I am absolutely full grown and here are my steel toed high heels, mother fucker.  I was absolutely one of the nastiest sadists in the group.

Years ago I asked one of them why he never asked me to play again.  He laughed out loud and said, “You are kind of intimidating, you know.”  I think that is so funny.  I’m intimidating because I go through life in terror that at any moment someone will hurt me or betray me.  I don’t think I should be intimidating.  Let me rephrase.

I don’t want to be intimidating.  I want my boundaries to be clear.  I like being easy to get or impossible to get.  I don’t want to feel like I am required to sleep with anyone who asks.  I like feeling like it’s ok for people to ask.  I go to spaces where that sort of asking is ok.  I don’t go on the nights I don’t want to be asked.  I don’t understand why I am so intimidating when I show up quaking like a scared rabbit.  I like being able to say, “I am really enjoying our flirting, but I need to be clear that this isn’t going anywhere.” Sometimes when I say that people get angry with me.  One person told me, “Now you ruined everything.”  He hasn’t flirted with me in years.  I guess he was more interested than me.  I meant that night.  I probably would have been open to being asked out on an actual date.  But sometimes I’m not up for going home with someone after a group social event.  I didn’t get adequate personal attention during our brief heavy breathing sessions in a dark corner.  It’s a faux pas to be clear.

I’m afraid that I don’t know how to talk to people.  I’m too blunt.  I can’t observe social niceties.  I’m afraid that the things I say are unacceptable.  I write because these are the things I think about and I can’t talk about them.  I want to invite two or three people from the munch era over to my house and ask them to talk about their impression of that time.  I want to know what other people saw of me and my life.  I missed fewer than twenty Wednesdays in four years.  I spent a lot of time around these people.  More time than I have spent in any other social group in my life.  I often know people for longer than that, but I rarely spend a lot of time with people.  I have been alone in a room for most of my life.

Fisher Middle School was the only school I ever attended for two consecutive years as a child.  We moved three times, but I stayed in the same school.  Before I was 18 years old I never had a group of friends for more than two years.  Ever.  I was part of the theatre community in college for almost two years but I ditched them after I broke up with Stephen.  Stephen was already working all over the local community college scene and I knew that staying in the theatre world would mean that I would keep doing the make up/break up thing with him.  I left theatre because I couldn’t deal with seeing Stephen and not sleeping with him.

After we broke up I pierced my nipples.  He hadn’t let me while we were together.  He also hadn’t let me shave my pubic hair.  I did that too.  I uhh went over to visit with him once.  I don’t remember why.  I taunted him with the fact that I had done these things.  He wad interested.  I showed him my breasts.  He decided it wasn’t all bad.  I didn’t sleep with him but it was a close and creepy thing.  Me breaking those taboos was a serious turn on for him.  He’s a minister’s kid.  He was repressive with me because he was encultrated that way.  He probably could have been more corruptible than I thought he was.  But I didn’t want to be the corrupter.  I wanted to be corrupted.  So I ran off into the bdsm world.  And found this weird hobbyist sexuality.

I don’t think I really understand this sex business.  I go back and forth in my brain between, “Dude my dad raped me” and “I kind of wish that one guy had asked me to sleep with him…” and “I’m as free as my hair.”  I think I look like shit as a blonde.  I should get more blue dye.  I really like the blue.

I’m weird.  I have these things in me that make people uncomfortable.  I blurt things out inappropriately.  And gosh darn it.  People like me.  I think I kind of miss guns, cars, and computers.

My bdsm culture

Noah told me last night that part of the problem is, I have a lot of unstated beliefs about how bdsm “should” be done.  But he has no way of going and learning what my beliefs are, nor how to emulate them.  He can’t go have a multi-year relationship with Tom to learn those expectations, and Tom is different now anyway.  The Wednesday munch has morphed beyond recognition.  The play parties I used to go to are different.  The time and space that created me is over.

Ok.  Well.  What am I?  I’ve been reading a lot about my friend Mo’s journey towards slavery and I’ll say flat out that there is a big part of me that is envious.  I liked being Tom’s slave the vast majority of the time. It was a kind of belonging and safety not many other things have given me.  Being married is better, but it’s the only bond that has ever felt even close to as safe as being a slave felt.  Even when I was fucking up (which happened a lot) I knew what I was supposed to be doing, saying, and thinking.  I don’t have a lot of that sensation in my life.  I constantly feel wrong, bad, misaligned.  I loved having it in my intimate partnership.  I felt a freedom to relax, just go through my set patterns.  I didn’t have to think all the time about what I should be doing in order to be “right” for my current environment.

It didn’t fucking matter where I was.  I was always his slave.  I had an extensive list of things I was supposed to be doing at all time.  If I wanted to please him I knew how.  It wasn’t mercurial.  It was dependable and safe.  It helps that Tom is very easy to please.  He had very low expectations of me and I savaged him for it occasionally.  It bothered me that he didn’t want to keep upping the ante.  He wanted to have our M/s relationship and give me direction and then coast.

I don’t handle that very well.  I need a lot of notice, attention, and subtle course corrections.  Or I end up on the wrong continent.  I’m not sure I would ever be able to be in an M/s relationship again.  I think about it.  The best circumstances I can imagine for it is that Noah and I will start playing with it in 20 years.  If he still has the energy.  Hell, if I still have the energy.  There are reasons that most of the “interesting” slaves are fairly young.  They also don’t tend to stay slaves forever.

There is this constant balance with sustainability.  How much time do you have to devote to various things in your life?  How much energy?  Maybe we will just have weekend flings over the years.  That may be all I am actually up for.

I feel like I am trying to talk myself into what I perceive as Noah’s level of interest in bdsm.  I am trying hard to grow in that direction.  My experience of bdsm was that it slowly oozed into every portion of life.  Ok, not work.  But your entire personal life becomes about fostering your “role”.  I experienced that even when you switch the physical activities (I topped Tom) you still needed to have most of your soul understand that you were just taking a break.  You were still really a _______.  My experience of bdsm was that scenes take a long time, an hour is a really short scene.  My experience of bdsm is that the goal is to fill as much time as you possibly can with things to do to a person so that they have to just endure it.

Death by a thousand paper cuts.  I don’t like bondage that is put on fast and sloppy.  If you only intend the rope to be on for five minutes people don’t take the time to ensure that circulation is properly functioning.  It’s not as comfortable.  I’m at the stage of life where five minutes of increased discomfort during sex is not a selling point.  Bondage that is put on carefully can be fairly comfortable.  It’s not about the discomfort of the rope on your skin.  Here, let’s use this lovely silk parachute cord.  It’s not about being uncomfortable because the rope is cutting off circulation.  It’s about being helpless.

What I like about bondage is for that period of time I am less able to be responsible for myself.  I am less able to be responsible for the people around me.  I love a good hog tie.  I love the gradual increase of pain over time as I fight with the need to stay tense so I can control what position I am in and increasing fatigue as my willpower wears out.  I like taking my willpower to the edge and then losing it and sagging into the rope.  Feeling my breath come shorter and shorter.  Eventually circulation starts to be a problem no matter how well the bondage is done (in most cases, not all) and there is this balance between trying to care for my needs (circulation is a fucking need) and having to trust someone else to be watching and caring for me.

When I dated Tom I was young and stupid.  I didn’t know what was going on with my body due to ignorance.  I let him do anything he wanted.  I trusted him.  He broke my arm six weeks into our four year relationship and I still trusted him with absolutely all of my physical safety.  It was something that wasn’t my problem.  But as you get older in the scene you discover that as a bottom your physical safety is your own damn problem.  Because other people can’t know what is really going on for you.  I miss the freedom of ignorance.  I miss the sensation of not having to be responsible.

I miss the sensation of slowly squirming in rope.  Of knowing that someone wanted to tie me up so that I couldn’t get away… and now they just want to sit and look at me.  What are they seeing.  What vulnerability do I have that is so tantalizing he just wants to sit and look at me so much he doesn’t want me to be able to deflect his gaze.  I can’t get away from being seen any more.  There is an element of pain, but the kind of bondage pain I like (minimal) is just not in the same universe as the kind of impact play (single tails and canes) that I like (intense).

I like bdsm play that is about capturing intensity.  Floggers don’t capture intensity to me.  I can’t handle them.  They are so much intensity spread out over such a large area that I can’t process or breathe or think.  I hate them.  I like bondage because it makes me helpless.  I like playing with the idea of being unable to stop someone from touching me.  That’s an intense line for me.  If the bondage is uncomfortable I am pissy about the bondage being uncomfortable.  If the bondage is comfortable I can’t evade my own intense internal storm around… oh my god he is touching me.  I can’t deflect anything.  I’m perfectly fine and comfortable…. I just can’t move.

I’m mixing up talking about roles and actions and that is part of what bothers Noah.  It’s hard to figure out which parts are important where and why.  It’s hard to make general statements.  I engage in bdsm because I enjoy being helpless, I enjoy taking pain for someone else’s enjoyment (this is where Noah doesn’t understand why I don’t like bondage that is uncomfortable–he enjoys that it is painful), and I like pleasing people.  I can be the do-er or the receiver of pretty much any activity I am comfortable with and be either submissive or dominant.  It really doesn’t matter.  The actions are only kind of the point.

I care about energy exchange.  I care about having to watch my tongue because it is the appropriate way for someone in my position to behave.  I have intense negative reactions towards any and all authority.  Of course if I have issues with authority I want to play with that during sex.  I want my lover to be the authority and controlling the environment and my mind set.  Not every time, certainly.  But I like being told what I have to say, feel, and think.  I can absolutely take that and go with it.  I take on roles very well.

Being Tom’s slave gave me a buffer between my anxiety of being “right” and every social situation.  I didn’t have to worry about being the right Krissy for the social group.  I had to be Tom’s slave and if they didn’t like it they can fuck right off.  It’s a certainty of place.  I go through most of my life feeling like I don’t have a certain place.  Like any of my friends or relationships might disappear tomorrow.  I certainly go long enough in between talking to most people that it feels like they disappear.  I spend most of my life in an agony of cycling between why hasn’t “a, b, c,….y, z” people contacted me ever again?  They must hate me.  It’s personal.  We had that great meet up at a coffee shop two years ago and I haven’t heard from them since?  It must be because I am a total asshole and they hate me.  I will now feel awkward and uncomfortable around them at random parties because it all feels personal and like a rejection.

When I was Tom’s slave it wasn’t about my comfort.  It was about pleasing Tom.  I learned a lot of fairly high functioning social skills because of that pressure.  These days it feels like I can’t please anyone, least of all myself.

These days I use being a mom as my compass.  That is my constant pressure.  It’s a lot less fun.  Mom is a kill joy.  I’m not pleasing people.  I’m the one who screams at everyone to clean up after themselves and I have to be constantly thinking ahead as to how to balance every crisis.  It sucks.  I am both in control and not in control of everything in my life.  So basically… no one has control.  No one is at the helm.  I don’t want to steer for everyone the way Tom steered for me.  And there really isn’t anyone who can steer for me.  I have too many different things I have to think about.  No one else tracks them.

If a scene is about causing me pain it is about causing me pain.  If a scene is supposed to be about struggling and helplessness, then I had better not be in pain because I won’t think about anything other than being in pain.  Being in pain while I am tied up is far far harder than being in pain when I am unrestrained.  I do not enjoy combining bondage with beatings very much.  I need to be able to move around to process pain.  If bondage is uncomfortable/painful and I can’t do anything to move around to adjust the pain I get increasingly frantic.  Being trapped and in pain sucks.  It triggers nasty panic attacks.

I’m as fussy about bondage as I am because most people who tie others up are pretty inconsiderate about incidental pain.  That’s not their problem.  I can do bondage scenes that aren’t comfortable.  By the end I am almost entirely dissociated.  It was made clear to me that what is going on is I am holding still and letting someone do things that suck to me.  I don’t have to be present for that.  It’s hard to stay present if someone is inflicting accidental or minor additional discomfort on me.  I feel invalidated.  I feel invisible. I feel like an accessory to the scene they want to be having with an inanimate object who happens to have a pussy.

I developed tastes in accordance with how Tom did bondage.  I have spent the last seven years dealing with the fact that Tom does bondage very differently than most people.  I don’t feel safe enough to be emotionally present and vulnerable with most people.  A lot of the reason is I don’t trust them.  They hurt me in unintentional ways because they aren’t paying attention.  They don’t know that ‘x’ thing will hurt me.  When I mention it in a small way they do not respond how Tom did with instant concern and adjustments.  I feel invisible and invalidated.  Ok fine, I don’t need to be here any more.

I can stop feeling what is happening in my body.  When someone does something that is low level uncomfortable in a way I don’t like I feel like I have no choice but to stop feeling.  This makes me less and less emotionally available over the years while playing.  It’s something that I feel bitter and pissy about.  It is hard to be skilled enough with rope to play the way I want to play.  It feels like obviously it is too much effort to be tied up the way I want to be tied up.  No one does it right from my short, choppy, unhelpful hints and that means I can never have it again.  That part of me is dead.

This all sounds very melodramatic, but it only sort of is.  I know two men who can tie me up without me giving them any pissy little comments.  They have both been tying people up for many hours a week for 20+ years.  If that is what it requires for me to like bondage I need to just give it up.  I should stop taunting myself.  Or maybe I should figure out how to communicate with my husband.  I should start suggesting a lot more often that he practice tying me feet up while I read a book.  That way I’m not nit-picking at him.  He needs to practice and find out what doing it right looks like.

I learned “right” by being tied up for hours and hours every week for years.  When I started learning on Tom I made him wear a blindfold and a gag because he couldn’t shut the fuck up and stop telling me what I “should” be doing.  Heh.  I am so hard on Noah.  I treat Noah as if it is a grand betrayal every time he doesn’t know something I know.

Ok so there are two separate things.  There is the physical experience and the mental experience.  They really revolve on different axis.  I’m really picky about the physical experience.  At this stage of my life I have experienced enough random pain.  I am not opposed to playing with pain again but I can’t deal with undirected pain.  I can’t deal with, “Well I want your hands tied up and oops I cut the circulation off, oh well.”  Because to me that sounds like, “I don’t know what I am doing and I could fuck up your nerve sensation for the rest of your life, but oops, oh well.”  I have a friend who ignored that kind of pain.  Last I heard she could barely feel her thumb six years later.  No thank you.  Bondage is taken very lightly by most people.  They only do small amounts of it and they do it for short times.  You can only get away with sloppy bondage if you want to do it for a few minutes and then immediately take it off.

I like long term bondage.  So if someone starts tying me up I immediately have the desire for the physical sensations that come with longer-term bondage.  Discordant feelings ruin the experience for me.  If I know while someone is tying me up that I am on a short timer because I’m already uncomfortable then I never relax and bother to feel anything else that is happening.  I can’t focus.  My fucking arms hurt.  No I don’t care that you are touching my clit.  It feels frankly fucking irritating.  It’s not sexy.  I am focusing on trying not to tap out early because my arms fucking hurt.  I am not focusing on you having fun, asshole.

And part of that is… I haven’t been a slave in a long time.  Tom ended our M/s contract in July of 2003.  I haven’t done bdsm for someone else’s pleasure in a long time.  I do it for mine.  And if it’s uncomfortable, you have just lost.  This is where the roles part becomes important.  If I am your slave it is my obligation to take what you want to give and deal with it.  It is also my obligation to ensure that you do not damage me.  No one really wants to break their toys.  Something that people never understood about my relationship with Tom is, most of the snarky feedback that bothered other people was accommodating actual health issues for me.  We just didn’t talk about it that way.  We had our snarky dialogue and when I told him that something needed to be adjusted he just did it.  We both knew what we were trying to create together: a bondage scene where I could suffer for as long as possible because the longer I suffered the harder his dick got.  Being in bondage gear for multiple hours was far better than sex for Tom.

We rarely combined sex and bondage.  It feels like discordant energy to me.  The sex moves me around and makes the bondage uncomfortable.  Why am I doing this again?  If all you wanted for me to do was lie in a weird position during sex you could have just told me to do that.  Instead I have to deal with my arms hurting for days.  joy.

This all makes it sound like I’m difficult to play with.  This would be why I just don’t bother to do what I consider play any more.  Noah and I have a lot of rough sex.  We rarely have what I really think of as “scenes” and I don’t play with anyone else.

My bdsm is an adjunct to my sex life.  It’s not really part of it.  And for the last few years I’ve been focused on trying to meet Noah’s sexual needs and he doesn’t have a similar approach to play.  So we just don’t play.  It’s not that he doesn’t want to play.  It’s that the ways he plays feel weird/wrong to me and I don’t know how to adjust.  It feels too rough.  Too unfocused.  Too much too fast.  Or not enough. I can never decide.

He’s not Tom.  I don’t know how to get over this.  I haven’t ever really played with anyone over a long period other than Tom.  He is still 90% + of my bdsm experience.  I am still attuned to his playing.  I don’t know how to change that.  I don’t know what is my wants and what is his.  I don’t know how to be in accord with Noah.

Part of the problem is that Noah is dealing with such a deficit of sex and fun energy that he can’t muster much for the kinds of scenes I like.  It’s just a fact.  Today is Folsom.  I won’t be going.  I will stay home again this year with my kids.  I will feel left out and excluded from that community.  I will feel invisibile and unimportant.  Which is stupid.  I’m not invisible or unimportant, I’m just busy.  Folsom is not the place to take either of my kids.

A lot of why this is so hard is because I don’t know how to fit into bdsm culture without a role.  I don’t have one any more.  I’m not open to anything.  It’s not even that I would turn down people who asked to play if anyone had the cajones.  I’d probably say yes.  If they asked on the right day in the right way and I was in the right mood.  Ha.  I kind of feel like it would be stupid to do it though.  I know before I start playing that I will be disappointed.  Because no one else plays like Tom.  I miss our play.  I miss those physical sensations.  I miss having someone be that kind of attentive to my body.

I feel terrible guilt for writing that.  It sounds so dismissive of Noah.  Noah is a better partner in every way.  He is a better lover.  But he’s not my Owner.  Noah doesn’t think of me as a piece of property.  I’m sure feminists everywhere rejoice.  I kind of think that is the problem though.  Noah thinks of me as an autonomous human being who should be doing everything for myself.  And while I’m at it, here’s his laundry.  I did Tom’s laundry too, but it was different.  I wasn’t just doing the fucking laundry.  I was serving my Owner and there were consequences if I did it wrong.  My work was examined.  He cared what I was doing.  He paid attention to me, at least early on before he got sick of it.

The intensity of being a slave is hard to explain.  Any time I felt lazy or wanted to procrastinate I had the lead club of, “I am not allowed to disappoint my Owner.”  And I didn’t either.  I had a very clear set of expectations to meet.  If I met those then I was magically ok.  I was magically right.  I was magically pleasing.  If I didn’t meet expectations on a given day there was a clear course for making amends and restitution.  I felt secure in my behavior, attitude, and words.  I was pleasing my Owner.

Noah wants me to make myself happy.  While he’s standing nearby doing whatever makes him happy.  It’s a lot of pressure by contrast.  I am constantly having to decide for myself what my priorities are.  I have to decide my task list.  When I make my task list it is overly hard, stressful, and shitty.  At the end of the day I feel like I didn’t do enough even if I did more than three other people.  I have no standard to meet.  So I can never be done.  I never feel a relief of the pressure.  I have never done enough work.  I am always failing.  I have never found that magical combination of things I am “supposed” to do to keep Noah happy.

I believe that people who tell me they don’t want me to “make” them happy are liars.  They are just making the game harder and harder.  They want to have extensive deniability around why they will abandon me later because “things just didn’t work out”.  People always have expectations.  They are lying pieces of shit if they claim otherwise.  Even if their expectation is, “I’d like you to only talk about ‘a, b, and c’ when we are in person because I get enough of ‘d’ from your blog.”  They are never willing to say that out loud.  But they get pissy and snippy when I get to ‘d’.  The secret to happiness is low expectations.  Every time Noah says that I want to beat him over the head with a baseball bat because having low expectations really just means that you like to move the target on me.

From day to day Noah is pleased by different things.  On many days what pleased him yesterday will cause him to be snippy today.  It’s probably a mild version of what it is like to live with me.  (See, always with the self-denigration.)  Him telling me that he has low expectations means that from day to day I don’t know what will set him off.  It’s like a time bomb.  Some days he comes in and doesn’t care if it looks like a bomb went off in the living room.  Other days he comes in huffy and stomping and I feel like I am a terrible pathetic person for shirking in my duties.  I must never rest again.

What I miss about M/s the most is that I knew what was expected of me at all times in all places in all ways.  I couldn’t always meet it and that caused different problems.  I spend most of my time lately feeling anxious because I don’t know what is expected of me.  What I should be doing.  I can never do enough to make me or anyone else happy.  I am always failing because there is no way to not-fail.  There is no alternative in my life.

Other than increasing my apathy.  If I dramatically increase my apathy then I don’t care that I feel like I am failing everyone.  They can fuck off.

I’m not sure this is better.

Running away

I do a lot of abandoning social groups.  I was nearly raped on the last day of school my sophomore year.  I didn’t go back to that school.  I couldn’t deal with facing him.  He was one of the most popular boys in our social group because his parents were the richest.  I stopped hanging out with theater people when I broke up with Stephen.  That’s his world.  I stopped hanging out at bdsm events when I broke up with Tom.  I stopped going to the public sex community after Nathan raped me.

Nathan raped me when I was 24.  I was teaching already.  I just stopped going out.  I won’t go to an event unless I have someone going with me.  Apparently I’m not safe alone.

I return heavily to this idea that I’m not safe.  I’m not safe.  I’m not safe.  There are pieces of my brain that tell me this fear is irrational.  There are much bigger parts of my brain that laugh hysterically at the idea that it is irrational for me to feel unsafe.  I have been proven unsafe so many fucking times that it is no longer an irrational fear.  It is a justified, rational, reasonable fear.  I hate myself for having it.  I feel like I am a coward and a wimp.

I let these men chase me off.  I felt like I couldn’t exist in the same space as them any more once I stopped fucking them.  I was no longer worthy.  Or something like that.  Don’t shit where you eat.  Don’t sleep with too many people in a social group.  It goes badly.  So I leave.

I assume that most awkward conversations are my fault because I am such an asshole.  If I was just nicer I would magically get along with people and I would stop having this constant stream of awkward moments.  I would stop feeling like I am harming people by existing near them.

There are parts of living with Sarah that I haven’t written about much yet.  Sarah is disabled.  A fairly large percentage of why I pushed for this to happen right now is because it isn’t safe for her to live alone any more, in my opinion.  And she loves me enough to move to a different state and deal with living with me because my opinion matters to her.  I’m not sure that she believes she is at the state where she can not/should not live alone, but I pretty much am.  She needs help. I need help.  This seems like a marriage made in heaven.

I have lived with people who were disabled before.  I have a very firm mental concept of “There are things you can ask them to do and there are things you simply can’t ask.”  We are dancing around that.  We are trying to figure what I can ask for how, how often, at what intensity…  It’s hard.  Because I hit Sarah’s limits.  And then I feel surges of anger, guilt, shame, overwhelm, and then I settle on being bitter because everyone except for me gets to have limits.

Of course this is hyperbole.  I have limits.  These days I’m even announcing when I approach them and I no longer have to grit my teeth till they crack.  It’s fucking nice being allowed to have limits.  But Sarah’s are in different places than mine.  So are Noah’s.  I am the only one in this house who can just handle the kids all the time.  I can do it 24/7.  I’m not nice, but I can do it.  I’m not sure Noah could do it for long without hitting someone.  Sarah can’t do it because she’s on medications that make her too groggy to be the only responsible adult at times.

So I have to step in.  I don’t know why that makes me angry.  I want to be the Mom.  I want to be the one who is the most important person ever.  I love that my kids are so attached to me.  (This is when I want to do a string of MDC smilies to indicate that truly, I do like my kids.  Those smileys are dangerous.)  I, however, don’t like that I feel I have to justify liking my kids.  Why do I assume that people will think that I secretly hate my kids?  I get frustrated with them.  I need long breaks in order to be patient enough because Shanna is in a hitting phase.

I feel bad because sometimes I feel like I want to run away.  Yesterday Noah and I went out on a date.  Sometimes it feels like time away from the kids just makes me resent coming home to them more.  I’m not done having fun.  Why do I have to stop having fun so that I can come home and start doing laundry and dishes and picking up the floor.  Fuck all of you.

I’m starting to have trouble with the amount of cleaning.  I think that I will sign up for SitterCity today and send out messages to people.  There are folks looking for housekeeping jobs who are ok with doing some nannying at the same time.  If I’m going to be a rich person, I might as well use my resources.  I can’t keep up with the five of us and be a nice person.  I resent everyone too much.  I spent hours yelling at Noah yesterday.  He has stuff.  He occasionally leaves it in piles in places that feel random and cluttery to me.  He doesn’t have much stuff any more.  He doesn’t leave that many piles.  But dear god did I flip out because one of them was in the wrong spot and I am sick of having to fucking move his shit around so that I don’t feel bothered by the visual clutter.  Of course, Noah is less than 10% of the picking up I do.  He’s fairly tidy.  He does a lot of dishes.

Who else can I yell at though?  I really am at maximum capacity on how much I yell at Shanna to clean. I should probably back off.  Calli, well, even I’m not that stupid.  Yelling at Sarah feels patently unfair because on the days she feels well she works  But she has a lot of days where she doesn’t feel well and she doesn’t get much done.  I really can’t turn around and shame her because she has physical limitations due to a disability.  In my little constellation of sins harassing someone who is disabled because they don’t do more is like walking over to your neighbors house and kicking the dog to death because you are sick of barking.  It’s just not ok.  Not in any way.

But it doesn’t stop me from getting angry that I have to do the work.  I’m sure this is complicated by old stuff.  We babied Tommy.  There were a lot of things he “could” do for himself that he out and out refused.  As his baby sister I was expected to just do it.  I had nothing better to do, I should therefore be on call to help him as needed.  Right?  That didn’t go well.

For all that I kind of vaguely canonize Aunt Vonnie, it’s not like she parented in a way that produced happy healthy people.  All three of her children are financially dependent on her due to health issues.  Her oldest has Lupus and just hasn’t done much of anything for over a decade.  Her second child was in a motorcycle accident.  He’s a paraplegic.  Her youngest has diabetes and stomach problems and mental problems and he lets his girlfriend (finally wife!) support him.  She has for 20 years.  I’m not sure how she manages given that she periodically has brain tumors and can’t function for long periods because she’s not doing so hot.

I’m used to people who cannot do work because they are “sick”.  In my family there are a lot of disabled people.  They don’t take care of themselves well.  They dump all of the work in their lives on people around them even in ways they could manage.  I have decades of pent up anger around being forced to serve people who can fucking well do it for themselves.  Nearly anything can touch this off.

It’s not ok for me to be mad at Sarah all the time.  I’m not, but I don’t want to start being.  I don’t want to be angry at Sarah 40% of the time.  Not really even 20% of the time.  Sarah works as hard as she can all day long.  She is not a shirker.  She feels horrible guilt for the ways in which she is incapable of being more help.  I don’t need to shame her.  I get the impression she does it to herself.  I don’t need to be one more voice in her head being an asshole.

But it’s hard to have to do all the work.  Our pediatrician asked if it was better or worse with a disabled adult in the house.  It’s an astute question.  There is a balance.  I told her that it is immeasurably better, even with the extra work.  One of the biggest things Sarah does is she makes dinner 5/7 nights.  One night we eat out.  Noah and I balance the other night.  I no longer have to make it through every stressful day and start a big messy difficult for me to think about project right when the kids are melting down.  I cannot express what a difference this makes in every single day.

And even on Sarah’s worst days she can handle giving me thirty minutes in the garage.  I get to rest now.  I get to have personal time fairly randomly.  I get to take off and “go get something” from the store without loading the kids every single time.  And Sarah does clean.  It would be an asshole move to not mention that loudly right now.  She does clean.  But not 1/3 of the household cleaning, you know?  I don’t know what percentage she does, but I don’t split the work evenly with Noah and Sarah.  I’ll say that.  I was never truly intended to.  They have other issues on their plate.  It is appropriate that I do the lions share of household chores right now.  I am the person who is in the house the most who is most physically able to do it.

This is when I wish I was a socialist instead of a libertarian.  I wish I felt happier about the whole, “Everyone works according to their ability and takes according to their needs” thing.  I fucking resent it. I feel like I’m carrying the whole world.  I’m not.  And things will improve dramatically when Shanna gets over her current throwing phase.  But then Calli will move into it.  Sigh.

I was taught that running away is a good solution to most problems.  I no longer believe that.  I believe that the good solution is to find some kind of balance in my life so that no one in my family feels inappropriately burdened.  There is a lot of work to be done in life.  Shared work is light work.  I’m trying to change my attitude and I’m only moderately successful.  Bugger.

If I got to pick how I felt about housework it would be resignation.  I will have to do 1-2 hours of housework every day for the rest of my life.  It’s not because I’m oppressed.  It’s because there’s a lot of work to be done in a family.  It’s hard being the Mom.

When I get angry about housework it centers in my stomach.  All of a sudden I feel like I swallowed a bubble of acid and all of a sudden it breaks.  My whole stomach clenches and my torso burns.  It doesn’t really even just feel like my stomach.  It feels like the anger, stress, and frustration I feel is consuming me from the inside.  I’m really tired of feeling this way.  I’m tired of the Anger Stage.  

I’m tired of my mental health costing us over a thousand dollars a month.  It feels so very wasteful.  How in the world can I be worth this constant oceanic current of money?  Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to run away?

And we come full circle.

Being other

I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year.  I’ve never done it before.  I’ve always been too intimidated.  I want to write honest to goodness fiction.  But because I’m me it will be creative non-fiction instead. 😛  I want to rewrite my life.  I want to take the time to play in my head with some of the “might have beens” in my life. Stephen King says that if you want to write a book you have to do it in private, so the blog will see very little traffic in November.  I sort of feel like October is necessarily my time to do more of a run through of what happened for real and all.  Mmmm writers block.  I remember your sweet smell.  You always bring cookies.

I feel really weirdly conflicted about what I am trying to do, what I am trying to say.  Why does it have value?  Why does it have worth?  Why do I need to justify my life choices?  What am I doing?  Why am I important enough to talk about?  At this point I have to do it and get it over with because I have several hundred friends on facebook and even if only ten of them actually read the announcement, come hell or high water at the end of November I will have a book done.  I have been talking about doing this all my life.  Some day I will write down my life story.  It will be a terrible book.  I want to get past the terrible parts of my life so I can enjoy the parts that are really pretty wonderful.

I believe in the pit of my stomach that there is a story in me waiting to get out that many people will want to read.  Millions.  I’m afraid that I am too afraid to write it.  I am afraid that I am going to look for evasions.  I’m afraid I am going to instead write 3 million blog posts full of unuseful and misleading digressions.  I have something to say.  It will take a lot of words to do it.  But there is something useful in it.  It matters.  I tell myself that when I have insomnia at 5 am at least.  It’s hubris.  But I want there to be an awful lot of people who will cry when I die.  That will give me a reason to keep fighting.  And I’m too fucked up to have that as something I can deal with much in my day to day life.  So I have to keep people far away from me.

Viktor Frankl says that people can survive anything, anything, if they just have something they are living for.  People survived Auswitch because they wanted to find their mates, children, etc.  I didn’t survive torture.  But I did survive a pretty ridiculous amount of trauma.  When I talk to people about my life they react with horror, pity, disgust, sadness, and unfortunately sometimes empathy.  The degree of their reaction usually depends on how much detail I offer.  When I say, “I was abused” I get a lot of “Me too” from other people.  Then I keep talking.  There have only been a few women in my life who have met me head on and looked me full in the face while I have related anything like details.  I think Noah and Chris are the only men.  My story is too disgusting to tell.

That means that all the people who spout platitudes about how abuse sufferers shouldn’t compare trauma because people process things differently are actively damaging me.  I can not figure out how to go about living my fucking life because I’m told over and over again that abuse is abuse it is all the same and people tell me to just meditate and all my troubles will be over but the worst thing that happened to them is that their daddy touched them once through the sheet when they were 13.  I’m sorry.  My brain doesn’t work like yours.

I’m not coherent enough to delve into medical research, but I know that the research is there.  Trauma rewires your brain.  I am different from most people.  I think differently.  Throughout my entire life I have had issues in just about every place I go because my opinions are always off from the majority of the group no matter what group I am in.  I am discordant.  I don’t do it on purpose.  People tend to strongly dislike the discordant energy I bring.  Some of this is my imagination, some of it is true.  Being this kind of person is what allowed me to get away from my family.  It is why I am not wallowing in poverty with the rest of them continuing the abuse on to future generations.  Why the fuck should I have to feel bad because I think things other people don’t?

I survived.  I survived being raped over and over.  I survived being raised in a family with rampant drug addiction and alcoholism and my big problem is that my one year old and three year old trigger flashbacks so I anesthetize myself with pot so my time doesn’t wander.  I barely drink and it can’t be a bigger factor in my life because it hurts me physically too much.  Harder drugs just aren’t appealing because I don’t have the recovery time.  I’m turning to marathon running, which will require not smoking and dear god I don’t know what I will do.

This is what an honest to god healthy life looks like.  This is what the 95% have.  This is what normal people experience.  People like me don’t get here.  And I’m only kind of here.  I can’t be part of the 5%.  Because any time I chat with my neighbors I have to be very careful not to mention my sex life or my childhood.  Because even with our weird ass house… we are probably still normal, right?

If I write a book as good as my hubris tells me I can, my neighbors will figure something out.  Seriously. And that means that when people walk by my house they will whisper about me.  Oh bullshit.  They will talk loudly so I can hear it.  There will be people who think I am disgusting.  My children will have to face that.  Right now in this minute my friends who love me tell me that isn’t true.  I tell you it depends how many people read the book.  It depends if I actually get published.  If the book is published, I think it will sell.  If fucking lame ass Elizabeth Wurtzel can publish Prozac Nation…  Good God.  At least something actually happened to me that vaguely justifies my whining.  *ahem*

Who would I be if my life had taken different paths.  I don’t think that most people have as many wildly diverging options as I have had.  I can even imagine a fun, less self-destructive, path that would still lead to Noah.  I should write that tangent down.  Done.  That’s if I want to play with the idea of my One Twue Love.  He is pretty spiffy and all.  I don’t think I could do better no matter which rabbit hole I wander down.

As I’m thinking about how to write this book I realize how much my choices are influenced by the people who are standing closest to me.  I’m trying to think about what kind of people could have come into my life to lead it in a very different direction.  Like that girl I was friends with in Whittier.  When I lived in Whittier that was one of the darkest periods of my life, to use a Shamus Young phrase, and there was a girl who was my friend.  I can’t even remember her name.  She was the daughter of missionaries.  Her family was staying in a shitty house the church organization rented for them in between over seas placements.  She is the one who introduced me to books like A Wrinkle in Time; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; The Secret Garden; The Island of the Blue Dolphins; Sideways Stories From Wayside School and biographies like Anne Frank and Helen Keller.  I was in 4th grade and I was in a serious rut.  I read nearly exclusively The Babysitters Club and I could read a new book in 20 minutes.  The other options in my house were pornographic romance novels.  I moved around so much that libraries weren’t really an option.  If you only stay in one place for three months as a young kid you don’t get around enough to go to libraries.  My mother didn’t consider such activities necessary.  That makes me think I should add the library to our weekly activities schedule.  Anyway.

So this one little girl, who happened to be the only other white kid in my class, talked to me.  She introduced me to classic childrens literature without knowing what she was doing.  She was just being near me.  I didn’t know many kids like her.  She was quiet and introspective.  Because of her upbringing she was unfailingly cheerful and big on advocating for Jesus, but that was worth the price of admission.

The first time I was invited over to her house after school was the last.  She stopped talking to me at school after that.  I went back to sitting on the edge of the playground alone.  I lived in that house for 18 months.  That was one of the shittiest periods of my life.  Third and fourth grades.  Tommy lived at home with us after he was released from the hospital.  He spent a lot of time trying to either kill me or rape me, he would probably have been happy to do either or both.  I bet he would have kept fucking my corpse.

The other kids at school taunted me about my “retarded” brother.  He would do things like run down the street naked.  He tried to attack kids.  Oh man.  I haven’t explained what Tommy was like after the accident.  Tommy was hit by a car May…something…1989.  He was in a coma for five months.  I was brought back to California by family friends (we had been living in Texas) because my mother flew out in advance to sit by Tommy’s bedside.  Because that is what you do when you are destitute and you have other kids to provide for, right?  You sit distraught next to one off-springs bedside and you completely abandon the rest of your obligations.

We lived with a lot of different people taking whatever hand outs were available.  When we got back to California it was a while before we found the house in Whittier and Tommy moved in with us.  I don’t know how much my dad paid but my mother eventually found a job.  I’m not sure how long we were homeless between Texas and Whittier.  My mom would try to claim we weren’t homeless, but we were couch surfing with friends and family.  I was watching my mom fuck a series of men to earn the shelter over our head.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want me to admit that out loud.  But that was my role model.  My mom went from guy to guy in between periods where she tried to feebly provide for herself and her kids and invariably things went badly.  She couldn’t earn enough money to make ends meet.  Only a couple of the people we stayed with were guys she was sleeping with (one was an old childhood sweetie and come on if you can’t leave your abusive second husband and run away to your old childhood sweetie, who can you run to?)  but the other one I remember distinctly is my uncle–my father’s brother.  So it wasn’t incest.  But it was awkward.  My fathers family appeared to me to have a pretty strict code that if a man was present it was the responsibility of whatever woman is present to fuck them.  My brothers expected it of me.  My father expected of me, my sister, and my mother even after they divorced.  My uncle traded sex for a roof for my mother and I.

These things are more complicated than they sound.  “My brother was in a horrendous accident so we stayed with my uncle for a while because his house was closest to the hospital.”  That sounds fine.  It doesn’t sound like we didn’t have anywhere to live.  Our stuff wasn’t with us.  I didn’t have my belongings and I was living out of a suitcase.  My mom was fucking my uncle and they weren’t quiet.  There was a lot of drinking.  My uncle kept his screwdrivers premixed in the fridge and that is the first place I got drunk.  When I was seven or eight.  No one noticed or cared.  For every age and stage of my life there is this easily apparent level of fucked up, and then there is all the stuff that happened in private.

I’m not doing that though.  For all that I am obsessed with transgressive sex… my kids sure don’t know anything about it.  Our conversations about all things sexual have so far been limited to things like, “Don’t put your finger in your anus or your vagina if it is dirty.  Go wash your hands first.  You don’t want to stick dirt inside your body because it will get itchy and painful.  And wash your hands afterwards because bodies have germs in different places that are supposed to stay in that place and not get spread around to other body parts.”  That’s ok, Jack.

How did I learn to be this?  I’m weird, to be sure.  But despite the incessant words in my brain, I’m not bad.  Not really.  I like to play at being bad.  I like doing things that are bad for some people or are bad in some ways.  But I always skirt a line.  I flagellate myself horribly if I feel I have gone too far over the line.  I kind of feel like hypervigilance is kind of the antithesis of being comfortable with your choices and uhm… I’d like to stop feeling it.  I want to be just comfortable in my skin.  That means accepting that some people are always going to dislike me.  I honestly feel like a lot of it is just because I smell funny.  I smell like not-them.  It’s not an actual odor, mind.  It’s a feeling that I am not part of their tribe.  That is the best way I can explain it.

Check up season

Calli is 1! She weighs 19 lbs 6 oz and is 29″ tall.
Shanna is 3! She weighs 32.5 lbs and is 39.5″ tall.

Amusingly, Calli is actually the same weight that Shanna was at the same age. 🙂 Calli was declared charming and normal. She is officially a toddler. She walks all the time. She has something between 15 and 20 signs/words in her vocabulary. She can follow remarkably complex instructions/requests. She is practicing to be a steam whistle full time. She is intense and exploratory and wonderful.

At three the doctor starts asking questions of the kid. This was new. It was awesome. Shanna apparently knows basically all her letters and numbers (I didn’t know that) and her colors and shapes. Physically she is moving right along. Her doctor simultaneously told me that her BMI is a bit on the low side while telling me to take her off whole milk. Once again, I don’t agree with this doctor on dietary stuff.

Oh, I’m staying with this pediatrician. I picked her because she has a specialty in intergenerational patterns of abuse. I had a chat with her about my negative experiences and she was horrified. She felt really bad about making me feel uncomfortable. She told me that she thinks I am a great mother. I told her about the marijuana and she told me, “I suppose every mother has to feel guilty about something.” She’s a really nice lady. I don’t agree with all of her advice, but I’m a big girl and I can ignore it. She’s good at the important bits.

Growing and thriving.

Cheating sucks

Stuff like that song is why I won’t agree to monogamy.  I don’t want to deal with tearful recriminations after breaking rules.  So I try to keep the rules to things I don’t want to do any way.  I really had to marry someone who is not only ok with, but enthusiastic about me having random sex.

It’s kind of weird, but at this point I sort of feel like my sexual orientation is “transgressive”.  Just like I don’t have any vanilla hobbies I am truly passionate about (except for maybe reading)… mostly I’m interested in whatever my partner is interested in.  Of course everyones taste drift with their influences.  With Tom there was a strong focus on me suffering and being denied.  By suffering I mean he wants women in 4″ + high heels pretty much all the time.  Uncomfortable bondage gear for hours.  He’s very physically demanding for all that he didn’t put out much or exercise.  His sexuality is very externalized.  It doesn’t have much to do with his genitals.  He is a true fetishist.

Noah is different.  Noah is very interested in intercourse, intercourse, intercourse.  Ok, if he has more time available to him he’s thrilled to do kinky shit as a prelude to intercourse.  But the idea of playing without intercourse is kind of confusing to him.  He gets this look on his face.  “So you get all turned on and then you…don’t fuck…  Why?”  I really love that about him.  At times when I’m at a lower libido (the last four years) it’s kind of intimidating to face some days.  I sincerely believe this breastfeeding thing will end some day and I will get my own hormones back.  My own hormones plus the benefit of never being on hormonal birth control again.  Yeah.  I’m going to want to fuck all day again.  I’m confident.

This leaves me in kind of a weird spot with bdsm stuff.  I have been “in the scene” for some value of “in” since I was 18.  I maintain contact with that world even though I don’t go to events.  I have friends there.  There is also a fuck-ton of drama.  Sex is a powerful force.  If you move through a community spreading too much of it around, you develop a bad reputation.  You want to know why you develop a bad reputation?  Because women are bitches.  Do you know what the difference between a bitch and a slut is?  A slut will fuck anyone.  A bitch will fuck anyone but you.  Or so I hear.  If you have sex with more than 2-4 (depending on community size) people in a group there tends to start being rumblings.  You will be stepping on the toes of other women.  They don’t want to share with girls like me.

I’m never entirely sure what it is about slutty women that actually unites them into a group of ‘them’ other than liking non-committed-sex.  Some do it for pay.  Some do it for fun.  Some do it in a desperate search for love.  Some do it because their entire family told them they were supposed to.  Some do it because they think it makes people like them.  Some do it because they don’t know how to have intimate friendships without rubbing sticky bits.  I would love to say that I don’t judge, but I’d be a lying sack of shit.  Of course I judge.  I judge fucking everything.  So what?  Who needs to care?

I have a lot of non-committed-sex because I like it.  It’s fun.  I like finding out what it is like to combine energies with a new person.  I love that thrill of the new.  I don’t move on into committing because it’s a lot of fucking work.  Very few people are interested in dealing with–and I mean actually dealing with, not giving me lip service–my long list of requirements of behavior.  It’s a pain in the ass.  I can’t believe there are two adults willing to live with me.  My friendships wax and wane as people can deal with my storm of emotions.  It’s hard.  I take a lot out of people.  Sex makes that more complicated, not less.  I don’t have room in my psyche to care about another person for longer than it takes to fuck them.  On one hand, that sounds awful.  But it’s reality.  Why does the truth often sound so bad?

I’ve been getting beat over the head lately from a variety of different sources with the idea that if I am a writer it is my job to write what I know as true as I know how to say it.  That does kind of sound like my vocation, yes.

I don’t cheat and I don’t want to deal with people who cheat.  People who cheat do so because they don’t feel like it is ok to change the rules such that their behavior is ok.  People cheat because they believe they are doing something wrong, but they want to do it anyway.  I don’t believe that what I am doing is actually wrong.  If I lay out the ground rules for dealing with me in advance, it’s ok.  It’s ok for me to have space in my life for what I have space for.  The drama comes from people looking at what is offered, taking it, and then complaining that it isn’t something else.

I don’t think I am really all that open to falling in love with someone again.  Never say never, but I doubt it.  Being fond of people?  Sure.  I love my friends.  But it’s different.  That’s weird only because Noah isn’t like me.  Noah probably will fall in love again.  I’ll tell you straight up that it scares the shit out of me.

Brain development

“Addiction has been shown to be essentially a form of ‘learning,’ ” Jensen says. After all, if the brain is wired to form new connections in response to the environment, and potent psychoactive drugs suddenly enter that environment, those substances are “tapping into a much more robust habit-forming ability that adolescents have, compared to adults.”
So studies have shown that a teenager who smokes pot will still show cognitive deficits days later. An adult who smokes the same dose will return to cognitive baseline much faster.

NPR says that.  For the record, I smoked pot ~9 times before I was 27.  Ahem.

It depends on how you define it.

In deference to those who have requested shorter posts, I had a thought that is totally different.  I usually say I haven’t been raped since I was 18.  Of course, like most of the things I say about myself, that’s true and not true.  I’ve done a fairly ridiculous amount of rape play, including things that felt absolutely traumatizingly real.  Oh, and there was that party.  With that guy.

So there’s this guy, Uncle Paul Nathan.  He used to run the Climate Theater.  I don’t know if he still does.  What I do know is that in his role as party host he is quite happy to play drug dealer.  I don’t have a moral issue with this.  What I do have an issue with is the fact that at one of his parties he pulled me into a back room and encouraged me to sit on a table or a desk, I don’t remember which.  I was absolutely enthusiastic about the idea of having sex.  It all felt good.

But you see, he didn’t have a condom.  And I wasn’t on birth control.  So as I lay there in a fairly drugged stupor I moaned “Please don’t put it in me without a condom. I’m not on birth control.  Please don’t.  Please don’t.”  He said, “I’m only going to stick it in a few times.  I won’t come.  It’s ok.”  I won’t even lie and say it felt bad.  It felt fucking incredible.

But you know?  I’m pretty sure that Paul Nathan technically raped me.  I should probably say that out loud.  I should probably publish that on fetlife.  Because I bet you I’m not the only one.  And I’m kind of angry that I have kept my fucking mouth shut for six fucking years.  Me.  I am such a fucking moron.

Wear a condom you abusive piece of shit.

Thanks for telling me to post about this, Wendy.

anger sucks

The things I didn’t mention about my family structure before the divorce were the vices.  Apparently my dad loved to take long baths and read books.  I’ve always felt very ashamed that I had anything in common with me because my mother made it very clear that having anything in common with him was shameful.  She didn’t seem to care about the vices she shared.

At one point my mother explained to me that she didn’t believe that drugs taken while pregnant were all that big of a deal, look at her kids.  With Denise she neither smoked, nor drank, and at that point she had never been exposed to anything harder.  Denise is a heavy alcoholic and drug addict.  With J she smoked cigarettes and occasional drinks.  J is both an alcoholic and a drug addict but I get the impression he is pretty controlled with it these days.  With Tommy she smoked a lot of pot, lots of drinking, and constant smoking.  He started doing tequila shots when he was 3.  They thought it was funny.  He was probably hit by a car because he was so high he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.  For my pregnancy?  Take the above list and add speed.  I barely drink because alcohol makes my stomach cramp and I have horrible diarrhea for days if I have more than two glasses.  I occasionally do recreational drugs. (uhhh… breastfeeding and recreational drugs don’t mix.  Neither does pregnancy and recreational drugs.  I have standards.)  But oh man do I smoke a lot of pot these days.  I find out tomorrow if I get into the PTSD study.  If I do, I have to go off the pot.

I’m very excited.  I am not enjoying smoking and I’m really not enjoying that when I go out to run I have coughing fits and they very nearly lead to puking on my neighbors lawn.  That would be pretty humiliating.  Right.  Need to find other ways of managing panic attacks.  Pot needs to go.  I hate that I have to deal with it.  I feel like smoking pot makes me like my family.  I don’t want to be like my family. My sister and brother both smoke pot so they can be nice people.  That is their line.  That is my current line.  I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to have drug use in common with my family.  I don’t want to need a drug to function.  I hate this.  I don’t really think that pot is inferior to any pill I could be taking in its place.  I don’t want to need drugs to function.  I want to get off my ass and get it done.

Panic attacks are one of the very few things in life where working harder is one of the stupidest things you can do.  I feel unsafe.  I feel like I am careening out of control.  The important word here is control.  If I really analyze the situations that are sending me off the deep end… this is all about control.  Ok, all is a strong word.

When I was 12ish, we were living up in Redwood Estates.  I came bounding down the stairs in my energetic way and I spun around the corner quickly and almost ran right into Aunt Vonnie.  I screamed loud enough to rattle the sliding glass door and I flung myself backwards about three feet and landed on my ass.  She laughed for about five minutes.  I cried and shook.  I’ve always had a strong startle reflex.  When people appear “suddenly” in front of me I have a really strong fight or flight reflex.  And I’ll tell you that I trained myself out of flight.  At this point in my life when I feel that way I want to fight.  It takes a pretty enormous amount of self control for me to not hit or swing or shove all my body weight into someone.  It’s completely instinctive and I have the sensation in my body of tensing all of my muscles in preparation for physical contact.

I’m 30 now, so I’ve been in this body a while.  I’ve learned tricks.  I can surge forward and stop myself quickly enough to not hurt people anymore.  I couldn’t stop myself years ago when I was trying to learn this.  But I probably look pretty scary by the look Sarah keeps wearing. That makes me feel really bad.  I don’t want to trigger her either.  She had a mother with anger issues.  Noah had a mother with anger issues.

I don’t want to be the next in a long line of mothers with major anger issues.  I don’t want my children to be afraid of me.

Being a pleaser

As I sit here alone in my thoughts.  I realize… I don’t think I’m clear on who I am.  One of my problems is that I am ok with any ‘x’ part of myself as long as it is the part that is ok given my current relationship, and I don’t even just mean romantic relationships.  Whoever I am talking to defines my current behavioral approach.  My neighbors only meet one side of me, know what I mean?  Because even when I leave the house in latex, I dodge the questions.  I had this huge long thing in my head while I was nursing Calli to sleep.  Let’s see if I can recreate it.

I came into the bdsm scene when I was 18.  It’s only now that I am understanding exactly how self absorbed I am and I am shocked and horrified by the crap people put up with.  My friends were very tolerant.  Anyway.  I came into the scene and immediately hooked up with one particular group of people.  We went to the munch together every Wednesday and on the second Saturday there was a play party.  Yes, you all know who you are.  We were a very tight knit community.  There was a lot of hanging out together on other nights of the week as well.  I was absolutely brought into a set bdsm “community” and enculturated.  That sounds pretentious.  I only think of it as a culture now that I am completely outside of it and I can examine how I changed my behavior because of it.

I started dating Tom three weeks before I turned 19.  He changed everything.  It didn’t have to be him, but it was.  In my head we had more than one relationship and I never learned to reconcile them.  I was never comfortable.  I took that out on him.  Before I say anything else, our relationship was consensual from start to finish.  He never did anything to me that broke relationship agreements.  Our relationship agreements were non-standard.  For two of the four years we dated (lived together for the last three and some) in the middle we had a 24/7 Master/slave relationship.  What that meant to us changed a lot over time.

Tom was 30 when I met him.  He had been in the scene for ten years.  Now that I look around and think about taking on a protégé I have a lot of different thoughts about him.  He followed the camp site rule but he was a heavy player.  I’m not sure that was really and truly what I should have been doing.  Now I know why Femme Car condescendingly told me that she didn’t think anyone should be in the scene at 18/19 and they should go have regular sex first.

I’m not very good at regular sex.  I’m not very good at allowing people to touch me gently.  I feel bored by gentle touching largely because I am so dissociated from my body that it takes a nasty whallop for me to notice.  I also prefer for my sex to be fast with very little foreplay.  It’s not really all that intimate of an act.  It’s about getting off.  I do it with such gusto and vigor that folks tend to feel positively about the experience.  I guess.  I don’t know.  But bdsm gave me a way to learn how to touch people.  It gave me a way to have physical connection with another body.  Tom doesn’t have sex when he plays much.  They are totally different.  It’s not that he can’t but at least at that time, they were different animals.  Most of the people he played with were not lovers.

I could play with Tom and get my needs for physical contact met without having to deal with the pain of sex.  I am hemming and hawing about saying this because it feels like an invasion of his privacy but I explicitly asked for permission.  He said he is ok with anything I write about him.  I think that is the thing he gave me, both then and now, that prove beyond a doubt to me how much he loves me.  He lived me with me long enough to know how I write.  He’s ok with the possibility of feeling public humiliation or condemnation because of things he did.  He is ok with who he is.  He knows that he never crossed any lines.  And he trusts me to talk about the things we did.  My Daddy still loves me.  Ok, end of digression.

I didn’t understand for years that we had a basic mismatch of sexual desire.  I naturally default to wanting sex 4-15 times a week.  I like sex a lot.  Thus a lot of the quick and dirty.  When you are having sex that much, it’s about the continual short burst you get from orgasm, not from the long-lingering looks you get during foreplay.  Tom… well… he masturbates every day.  That’s part of getting up.  Which always confused me, but hey.  For the first year we probably had sex 2-4 times a week.  Then it dropped to once a week.  Then I finally relented on condoms.  We had sex with condoms for years because he refused to get an STD test.  I finally decided that he would be my life partner and relented and bam, I had HPV.  He told me, “Oh yeah.  I guess I never told you I had a wart.”  When he told me that I was rocking on the bed sobbing about how I am dirty and I brought this home to him.  You see, this virus can live in your body for years and I thought I must have caught it from one of the people who raped me.

We had very different relationships.  We never learned how to communicate with one another.  He could not volunteer information and I did not know the right questions to ask.  At this point in my life I am capable of managing much more complex negotiations because of what I learned.  The HPV killed our M/s relationship slowly and then quickly.  I began acting out and he refused to punish me because he felt guilty.  From this comfy chair I project that me freaking out the way I did was fairly traumatic for him.  I began a quick descent into depression.  He didn’t know how to pull me out of it.  He told our therapist that he didn’t want to do M/s with me any more because it was too much work.  Which I interpreted as, “Holy shit!  I wrote these contracts where I promised that if she did ‘x’ I would do ‘y’ but I was just kidding.  She was supposed to do ‘x’ without me ever having to notice again and it’s not fair that she’s trying to make me work.”  I had it on god damn paper that he agreed!  God!  Fucking!  Damnit!  I don’t think I ever trusted him again and I began baiting him.

But that’s another story.  I’m talking about the sex.  Or I was.  I’m going to talk about my list.  What was my actual introduction to sex.

I count AJ as my first sexual encounter.  That was the blow job when I was three.  I skip the rapes.

The next was Jasmine.  She was a kid in the canyon where my aunt and uncle lived.  She was a year or so younger than me.  We spent hours and hours and hours lying around licking each other.  That was most of what we did.  Some digital penetration, but mostly that heavenly licking.  Ok, sometimes we would lie face to face with our thighs between one another.  I was… five, six, seven, eight?  I didn’t live there all the time.  We were both outcasts at Lakeside.  Last I heard she ran away from home when she was 13 to be a prostitute in Santa Cruz to support her drug habit.

Oh god.  I can’t do the full list.  It’s making my body shake.  I’m getting really scared when I try to think about what consensual sex I had starting around eight.  Where did I live.  Hmmm.  Oh, well it’s probably because I don’t want to admit how much sex play there was with Michael.  If I skip my rapist then I’m a liar.  That’s the problem with telling the truth.  It tends to not make you look how you want to look.

I don’t remember any sex play other than Jasmine until we moved to Texas.  The trailer park in Texas was honestly one big orgy.  It was really fucked up.  There was a lot of incest.  There was a lot of blatant sexual abuse.  And parts of it I absolutely joined willingly.  Little kids growing up in that atmosphere re-enact what they are experiencing.  It is part of life.  I feel it as a jolt every time Shanna yells “Stop it!”  Every time she yells that at me I feel this pang of horror because it reminds me of re-enacting my sexual abuse over and over and over with all those little kids.  Because I did.  I don’t know how to count that as part of my list.  I never have.  I feel very confused by it.  This is where I have issues with sex positive culture.

I want my kids to only have their early experience to sex be that some day when you are a grown up you will like someone soooooooooo much that you want to do that with them.  It will be a special and private thing.  It’s kind of weird and physically awkward but some day you will be so interested that you will be willing to be brave and talk about it so that you can figure out how to do it in a way that feels good.  Because if it isn’t feeling good then you shouldn’t be doing it.  You should stop and talk about how to make it feel good.  Really.  You deserve that.

I don’t have that.  Not really.  And I want her to.  And I want to learn how to have that.  I’m not topping from the bottom.  I am trying to allow my poor battered body some fucking rest.  I want to be allowed to feel good.  I’m tired of trying to be the heavy bottom so that I can be appealing.  That was what I was enculturated with in that little circle of bdsm people I talked about up there.  I do have a point tonight.  Hopefully I’ll get to it.

Starting when I was 18 years old I joined a little intense subgroup that focused on bondage, heavy pain, and D/s.  There was very little mention of sex.  Almost none of it happened at our “sex” parties.  And Tom and I weren’t having much of it off stage despite the fact that I have a really high libido and want really frequent intercourse.  I had to get my touch needs met in other ways.  I tried really hard to sublimate them into Tom’s needs.  (Want to know what is fucking awesome?  I came up with the word sublimate instinctually but then I second guessed myself and looked it up to make sure I am right.  That’s what reading does for you, folks.)  I wore those fucking high heels and suffered for him even when he wasn’t home.  I sat around our house tying myself up and masturbating while covering myself in clothespins.  I was going fucking insane from not fucking.  He never asked me to be monogamous.  I don’t think he wanted me to be monogamous because I bugged him constantly.  But it made him hot that I was denying myself something that I wanted that much.

Oh, and early on we learned a hypnosis party trick where you can train muscle response with hypnotic suggestion.  Have you caught on yet?  He taught me to orgasm on command.  I had an involuntary muscle spasm on his order.  He thought that was great.  Eventually I had to ask permission to orgasm.  At one point I was allowed, even encouraged, to masturbate all day but I wasn’t allowed to come without his permission.  And it really wouldn’t have been ok for me to call him all day.  Sometimes he would be nice and give me permission for more than one.  It was an odd dynamic.  Chastity play was something we did.  Yeah.  It was hot and I was engaging in such a constant amount of sexual stimulation that I really could orgasm that easily.  I needed the freaking release.

But actual intercourse became increasingly rare and increasingly painful.  Why does one always leap to animal metaphors when trying to describe a penis?  Ahem.  Tom has the cock of a porn star.  He liked to repeat the line, “You know how there are growers and showers?  One time this girl was getting ready to go down on me and she said, ‘Oh… you’re a shower, huh?’ and I said ‘What are you talking about?!'”  Hyuck hyuck.  But it was accurate.  Flaccid he is noticeably larger than a lot of men I have slept with have been while erect.  I have not missed his cock.  I’m kind of the anti-size queen.  Noah’s cock is just about dead average and I wouldn’t mind if it was smaller.  Thank god.  You all wanted to know that.

But it actually is part of the picture.  Tom was probably something like #32 on my body count list and you can see that it is a pretty generous list.  I was seeing adult penises regularly starting from when I was seven and living in that trailer park.  At 18 years old I knew I wanted intense sex all the time.  And I picked Tom.  In some ways it was a really good thing.  I did a lot of bdsm play in a very short period of time.  A lot of it alone in a room, which is about as safe as it can get.  I would really like to find out what foreplay is like.  I have trained myself out of it.  This is a digression again.

I didn’t know how to get my needs met in that relationship.  When I was his slave I tried to get my physical needs met through bdsm play because he sure as shit wasn’t fucking me.  When he withdrew emotionally because he felt guilty for giving me a disease that involved scarring part of my cervix… which might have caused problems with the children I was so intent on having… I acted out and broke our M/s contract.  I didn’t feel I had other avenues available to me for getting the attention I needed.  Asking wasn’t working.  He was at his job constantly.  When he ignored me breaking the rules of our M/s contract I became a hellcat.  I was nasty to him and I started acting out in fairly public ways.  He didn’t want to have to control me.  When we stopped doing M/s we morphed into a Daddy/little girl relationship and that actually did a lot to heal how we had treated each other.

The problem is that when you grow into being Daddy/little girl… some day the little girl has to grow up and be a partner.  We couldn’t do that together.  He didn’t want to be responsible for carrying me as a burden and I don’t blame him.  He could never commit to being there for me.  It was too much work for me and a for better, for worse relationship really has to have enough of a balance to be worthwhile.  Tom never decided that my better was worth my worse.  Sometimes that is hard to live with because I worked so hard at that relationship.  I made that relationship a goal and I feel like I failed at reaching the goal.  That’s kind of a funny thing to realize.  That’s what I did.  I think I knew more of Tom than anyone ever had before I met him.  That might be hubris, but I doubt it.  I like to poke into people and we spent a lot of time alone.  He’s a good man.  He really is.  But he didn’t want me enough.

I chased him till I was done and then I left.  I left quickly and abruptly despite us having negotiated this long-term I could still live with him while I worked on school thing.  I couldn’t be in his house.  It hurt too much all the time to have it rubbed in my face that I wasn’t good enough for him.  It was the whole white trash thing.  I couldn’t fit in with his older, settled, more educated friends.  Or so I thought.  It took a lot of years for me to be ok with the kind of friendships I have now with his friends.  It’s a totally different relationship now.  They are people I used to know.  I care about them and they periodically reach out to me in ways that make me believe they care about me.  But life is busy and the monkey sphere is only so large.  I don’t fit in their culture and I rarely visit.  They consciously and specifically rejected mine.  It’s not a judgement.  They just didn’t want it.

It’s not even that, really.  I never learned how to integrate my sex community friends because I have never mastered how to navigate my different conversational/behavioral quirks and pitfalls.  I have a rather lot of them you see.  When I think of mixing the stream of people I know from different communities I have an adrenaline shot so intense that I start to hyperventilate and I get very angry because that is a really lot of energy for me.  Trying to stay present and focused in a conversation when I feel like I am supposed to be shifting my affect back and forth drains me and makes me feel like a deceptive and disgusting person.  I feel like I don’t know how to just be in the room.  I am supposed to be performing for the room and I don’t know what role I am in so I am reading two scripts at once and I start to panic because that means I am going to fail and then I feel abject terror because oh my fucking god here is more proof that I am a fucked up piece of shit I can’t even interact with two people at once oh my god I hate me so much and then I am angry.  I’m sorry for the run-on.  Once I hit that point of feeling angry with myself I instantly feel my face flush and I feel the need to start yelling at whoever is nearest to me.

Yesterday was a hard day.  And yes, it is all connected to the relationship that started when I was 18 and it’s all connected to that orgiastic trailer park.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never fully explained the extent of what I did in that trailer park, not even to Noah.  It was remarkably kinky.  In packs of children.  Oh what did we do.  Lots and lots of glorious oral sex on everyone.  Mostly this was a bunch of little girls ranging in age from 4-ish on to about 12.  Boys were around occasionally and when they were it tended to look just like a harem scene from a bad romance novel.  We competed to learn technique.  We knew what we were supposed to be doing.  It didn’t matter if we felt awkward.  It didn’t matter if we felt gross or bad or uncomfortable.

Most of it felt like shit.  I don’t count any of those kids on my list.  I felt degraded and nasty.  Most of them were dirty and smelled.  They had terrible hygiene and it grossed me out to perform oral sex on them.  Have I ever mentioned that Tom did not see a dentist during our relationship and he only brushed his teeth a handful of times when I specifically asked him to because the smell was bothering me so much?  We didn’t kiss.  I felt repelled by being too close to his face.  This is probably a big factor in our lack of intimate sex.  I didn’t want to face him.

Part of our M/s relationship centered around me doing his hygiene for him.  No really.  I bathed him.  I shaved him.  I cut his hair.  I trimmed his finger and toe nails.  I dressed him.  I shined and polished his shoes and boots.  Really the whole personal valet thing.  I picked someone with remarkably bad hygiene and made it my job to keep him decent enough for me to have sex with.  That’s really pretty fucked up, yo.  When I trailed off on doing the hygiene I expected him to just keep it up.  He didn’t.  I wasn’t very nice about his descent into being a slovenly disgusting… I don’t know… geek?  Who the hell did I think I was dating?  And then we look at Noah.  Ha.  I’ve given up on trying to clean him up.  I try to just not notice anymore.  I do pester him to get hair cuts because I think he should be looking vaguely more professional.  That’s it.  It’s kind of weird to not have control over his bodily functions.

It was this really weird enmeshed thing.  I truly had control over Tom’s body in ways that adults don’t normally have control over other people… and yet I wasn’t in control.  It was weird.  Now as a 30 year old who has been married for five years I understand some of the bdsm we did.  I can see how doing some of those things with Noah would build intimacy if done as a one time special occasion thing.  Or even as something it is ok to ask for once in a while. But it was my job with Tom.  It was my job to care for his physical body the same way I now care for my children.  It was a fucking pain in the ass.  But it was intimate.

A kind of weird false intimacy.  One emotionally distant pillar of the community asshole told me, “It’s good that he got you young.  This way you can be trained right.”  All the older people chuckled.  I got so angry I wanted to beat the ever-loving-shit out of all of them.  I felt completely enraged.  I wasn’t very interested in being trained.  I was interested in being appreciated for the things I did and acknowledged for the ways I behaved naturally.  I enjoy caring for people.  Ok, periodically I go through these periods where I feel enraged by the pointlessness of my life… but that’s a different issue.  There has to be balance.

I like caring for people and I like teaching people to be self-sufficient so that if my care is withdrawn for some reason they are able to carry on as if I was never there.  I like to get things on a well ordered clock. This is why I normally retreat to a room alone and refuse to interact with anyone when I’m having rage issues.  My rage issues arise because I am all of a sudden confronted with how little control I have over the people around me.  Someone is standing in front of me with a stunned deer look.  I should say, “May I get by” if I want to get through an entry way.  Instead I glare in silence as frustration and anger build and then I stomp off on in a different direction.  It doesn’t matter who the person is.  I do this no matter who is here.  I swear to god it isn’t personal people.  I get just as angry with the refrigerator.  I feel so overwhelmingly powerless to control the stupid, small annoyances in my life.  I feel like I am required to submit to the whims of anyone who demands from me because… after all… I enjoy caring for people–right?  It has to be all or nothing, right?

Haven’t you ever noticed that the men show up for a dinner party and sit on the couch to chat while the women walk into the kitchen and ask to help?  That’s true in some cases but not for all.  There are awesome men who always offer to help.  They aren’t in the majority.  And even the ones who offer to ask will stop asking if they are told no a few times.  Women tend to continue to pester.  They know that I am a lying sack of shit when I say I have everything under control because they know they don’t either.  Every woman needs more help than she is getting but getting help is sometimes a lot more work than doing it yourself… so we say, “I’ve got everything under control!”  Have I mentioned how much Sarah has improved my life?  I fucking hate cooking.

That’s not even true.  I hate long-term monotonous tasks that have to be done according to other peoples schedules.  I’m fucking sick of having to feed my fucking kids eleventy billion times.  It’s fucking boring.  I have have prepared and fed probably 70% of Shanna’s meals at this point.  The percentage is dropping fast.  The only reason it is so low is because Noah has been cooking breakfast for a long time.  Shanna eats four-five meals a day.  And it’s not just snacking.  I can’t believe how much that child eats.

So my intimate life with Tom became about me caring for his hygiene and enduring as much pain as I possibly could while complaining as little as I could manage.  While still being entertaining for the people who were watching because he really only wanted to play when people were watching.  I was his slave, not his girlfriend.  We supposedly had a concurrent girlfriend/boyfriend relationship… kinda…  We certainly did some vanilla things together and had fun.  We traveled but I’m a shitty traveling companion.

I could both see and not see Tom.  It’s only now that I understand that I feel like it was a failure because I was trying to be prescriptive of our relationship rather than descriptive.  I couldn’t just be in a relationship with him.  I had to name it and write out a long document of how it would go and we both had to live up to it or it wasn’t a real relationship.  We failed at doing what we said we were going to do.  That’s hard to live with.  We tried so hard to grow past the end of our M/s but we couldn’t.  He wasn’t a good match for me as a partner.

That is a lot of why I put Noah on the pedestal I do.  I dated Noah through the last six months of my relationship with Tom.  He even spent the night and I slept between them.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t deal with the increasing separation from Tom.  He didn’t want to marry me.  He didn’t want to have kids with me.  What did he want?  He wanted me to wear horribly uncomfortable shoes and allow him to cause me pain while I smile for the rest of my life.  Uhh, no thanks.

It’s actually kind of nice to think of it as a role I was auditioning for and I rejected it.  It wasn’t right for me and he didn’t think I was worth much without that.  Ouch.  I think that’s what I grieve.  For years he called me One.  Because I was that special.  He had finally found the right one.  I would have let him do anything to me to prove how devoted I was.  I could not come up with scenes that were dirty or painful enough or dangerous enough to quench the need I had to prove that I loved him.  Being there wasn’t enough.  I wanted him to constantly test me.  I demanded that he do so.  He got sick of it.  He’s a good guy.  He can only abuse his girlfriend so much before he wants to go do other things, you know?

If he could have handled switching to having sex all the time we could have had a chance.  But only having sex eleven times in the last year meant it was a no-go.  That’s ok.  Noah is awesome.

 I want to explain more about how that little bdsm group shaped me.  There was a gentle constant pressure to behave submissively.  We had a lot of puppy-pile bdsm and a fairly rigorous lack of switching at an event.  People were expected to be one way all the time, even if they switched elsewhere.  Or when Tom and I switched in public… it was always understood that I was his slave giving him physical sensations he wanted to experience because it was my job to please him.  An awful lot of it I didn’t enjoy.  It was my absolute responsibility to be gung-ho and do what he wanted and perform sexual enjoyment to fulfill his fantasies.  I’m not turned on by cross dressed men.  I’m just not.  I don’t think there is anything shameful about it.  I don’t think it’s bad.  I can think it is fun to put makeup on someone.  But seeing a man in a dress does not inspire me to have sex with that man.  Tom is actually quite into cross dressing and being “forced” to do things.

Even the sex that was available to me was sex I frankly wasn’t interested in.  It’s kind of remarkable the store of guilt I have for not enjoying more of our relationship.  I forced myself to stay in it and stay enthusiastic long after it was apparent we weren’t a match.  I learned to do that.  I was specifically taught that sex was something fairly unpleasant (hygiene, specific activities that hurt) but parts of it feel good and you are required to be available for it at all times with anyone who asks.  I’m very angry with myself for the amount of time I have been demanding that guys perform in a set specific way because that is how I trained myself to get off.  I refined it with Tom.  Because the way that I push people to treat me is often fairly unpleasant.  But I egged it on.  It was my initiation.

Why do I keep insisting on having sex that hurts me.  Maybe instead of looking for a medical assist on not tearing vaginally I should start with foreplay.  It sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  But it’s not really an option in my life right now.  If sex lasts longer than about ten minutes it becomes really painful because we don’t have a good place to have sex.  I want to get it over with too.  I think that Noah is kind of tired of my mixed messages that I am upset about not having foreplay but I push him really hard to just get it over with already because my body hurts.

I’m tired of having my body hurt.  I’m tired of being hurt.  I want to be touched gently and that means modeling it for my wild animal children.  It’s very hard that they hurt me all day long.  They don’t mean to.  It’s hard to control all those pointy little joints.  They love me so much that they want to cuddle me all day long and climb on me like monkeys.  Mt. Mommy is the best ever.  And I sit there and with every jab of an elbow, every kick, every knee dug into me… I’m tired of pretending to be happy while I am being hurt by people who love me.  So tired of it.

Then I hide and feel guilty.  Wanting to be away from my children feels like a sin.  Like I am abandoning them.  Like I am the thing that their whole fucking world is pinned on…  For most of my life my mother was the only consistent person.  I lived with her more than I lived with anyone else but I moved constantly and I wasn’t always with her.  I had to constantly adjust to new rules and new expectations of me.  If I didn’t perform appropriately, instantly, I was punished.  It was for my own good.  I had to learn.  I wanted so badly to learn and perform and be a good girl.

I really wish fewer of the lessons had been about sex.  I wish fewer of them had come from new neighbors.  When I would go over to play at the houses of my new friends in Texas I would wander by the bathroom door.  One of the step fathers spent a lot of time in there supposedly peeing while sitting down.  Most of the time he was masturbating and waiting for us to show up.  We helped.  He smelled really bad.  His hair was dark.  He probably shaved about once a week because he was pretty shaggy a lot of he time.  His breath was foul.  I remember him asking me, “Here, won’t you touch it?”

I wanted to vomit from the smell, but I stepped in and did it.  I don’t think it occurred to me until much later that I could have said no.  I was seven.  I didn’t believe I was allowed to say no when someone dropped their pants and told me to do something with what I found.  That step father only ever had us masturbate him with our hands.  He didn’t touch us.  It barely even counts, right?  I don’t consider him a rapist.  I don’t really consider myself his victim.  We were just fucking around, right?

If someone did that to my daughter I would castrate him.  I think that is why I need to have my lovers not interact with my children.  Noah has a good healthy respect for me and a bone deep understanding of me that frankly freaks me out.  I trust him because of this.  I do not trust the men I have transgressive relationships with.  I just don’t.  They’ve already proven that they have no respect for the rules of society, why exactly should I trust them around my kids?  They have proven to me only that they have a moral code that is transgressive… not that they have a moral code that aligns with me.  The only way to prove that you have a moral code that aligns with mine is to absolutely only behave in ways that you agree in advance to behave.  Tom didn’t do that.  Do I think Tom would hurt my kids?  Oh give me a fucking break, no.  Not in a million years.  I don’t think Tom has it in him to hurt a child.  Most perverts are actually pretty helpless people.  They are so petrified with guilt and shame for the things they want to do that they have to go construct this little other-life where they get to be their “real” self.  It’s not integrated into your whole person.

Unless you want to be really socially transgressive and rude about the fact that you like kinky sex.  You want everyone in the fucking coffee shop, including the five year olds, to hear about it.  No thanks.  I don’t want that in my life any more.  I need to start monitoring myself better.  I’m just as guilty about this as other people.  I take on that persona when I am out with that kind of group.  Now, I want to specifically say one thing.  It’s not about clothes.  I don’t care much about someone wearing clothes that are explicitly “adult” where children might see them.  That is something a parent is supposed to help their child learn to navigate.  I actually think that is healthy.  There is a range of human expression out there and kids have to learn to navigate it.

But I think that should be done much more slowly than other people do.  That’s ok.  As I’m dealing with the intensity of my feelings about this topic I realize that I will be fine with my kids “overhearing” those conversations in coffee shops once they hit 11, 12, 13… whenever they are obviously starting to have hormonal surges.  Because then we can talk about them and I can present my values.  I don’t want people out in the world to really change.  But I do want to be very very careful about who I bring around my kids when they are little.  I don’t want to be asked what porn is yet.  I love my friends, but I never associated with them in contexts where they watched their mouths.  So I don’t believe they can.

Most of this is because when I am around those friends I bring it up.  I am so desperate for adult conversations and flirting that I will take it any chance I can get it.  And then I feel like I am crossing lines.  And then I flagellate myself for days.

I hope I had a point somewhere.  It’s time to go have breakfast.

temper tantrum

I just yelled at Noah and Sarah.  It’s hard that Noah has absolutely nothing he is interested in that is interesting to a child.  He insolently tolerates childrens activities because he has to.  I think that is one of our biggest points of friction.  I feel like I should entertain the kids away from him then.  Right now I am so angry that I want to hit someone.  I have all this energy and nothing to do with it.  I sit here and get bored and frustrated and all I can do is fucking clean house.  I feel like the most stupid pointless person on earth.  I hate my fucking life and I fucking hate these fucking fuckers who make me sit here fucking bored all the fucking time.

Do you know what I leave my house to do?  Go to therapy.  Go get groceries.  Entertain Shanna.  Once in a while I sneak off and do something for me but that’s probably less than once a week.  I sit in this house day after day hating my life.  As a result I have a very stable kid whose moods can be managed.  And I am so fucking insanely bored I want to do something very violent.  I am angry and trapped.  I hate these people and I hate this life.

I understand why the housewives of the 50’s were using valium.  The dispensary opens in an hour.  Being stoned means I don’t care that I have no control over my life.  That I feel apathetic about the fact that I stay home all the time.  I don’t sit any more.  I have too much nervous energy.  Instead I wander around cleaning and yelling at Shanna for making messes.  It’s charming.  I know things are changing and getting better.  It’s just not happening very fast and I am so tired of doing this.  I hate that I can’t take my kids out when I’m having a bad day because I will freak out.

Even when I’m walking around this angry, I don’t think I’m actually projecting it very much in my life.  I certainly don’t think this anger is apparent.

I’ve been thinking about my family all morning.  Thinking about how my parents hooked up.  Thinking about how people go out into the community and get really really involved because the bigger a pillar of the community you are the bigger your shadow for hiding all your dirty secrets.  I hide at home but I don’t have any secrets.  If I feel mean I admit it.  If I feel angry I talk about it.  I make people uncomfortable because I don’t know how to do the public persona thing.  I feel so raw.

Why am I so mad?  This isn’t about Noah.  Why am I so mad that he doesn’t want to do things with his kids?  I want to say my father didn’t do the kid things, but he did.  I think there is a part of me that feels like Noah just isn’t ever going to be as interested in the kids I had because I didn’t have a boy.  He is going to volunteer his interests as things to share less.  I don’t know if that is real or not, but that popped up right now.

I’m really sad.  I feel like a failure.  I feel like everyone around me has all of these needs and I have nothing to give.  I’m tired.  I want to have fun but I’m not allowed to do anything that I consider fun because it all comes with this backbreaking amount of work that makes me so angry I am incapable of enjoying anything any more.  I don’t know why I resent doing work so much.  When I am doing it I don’t mind.  I enjoy physical activity.  I do actually enjoy getting up and the physicality of maintaining a house.  But I have to do it in very particular ways and I can’t be stopping to go around people.

I feel very guilty because I keep getting angry with Sarah.  It’s making her jumpy and then I feel like a terrible person.  When I get up to do chores I tend to dart around the house.  I spontaneously jog regularly.  I just like to do it.  But uhm, she takes up space as an adult human being does and then