“Get busy living or get busy dying.”- Shawshank Redemption.
Sometimes it feels like life is about learning how to come to grips with your wasted potential. I could do _______ if only ___________. It’s a long series of conversations with yourself as you narrow down possibilities in life until the only path you could possibly take is completely obvious. Look, you’ve been working towards this all along. You did ______ and then you did _____ so obviously ______.
But believing that requires some underlying belief in a greater plan. Things are not inevitable. Things are changeable right up until the second they happen. It’s random. It has to be.
It has to be for me because otherwise there would have to be some specific reason I was picked out of a hat to suffer far more than other people. I’m sorry, there is no Kushiel looking out for my well being. I’ve read the Bible. I’ve read big parts of the Book of Mormon. I’ve read books by Martin Buber and St. Thomas (Aquinas, of course) and Sr. Thomas More and and. I did all the classes required for a masters degree in English. I got good grades. I read. I studied. I didn’t know I was supposed to be practicing handwriting. Whoops. Anyway.
I am educated. I have read what the masters think of the world. Sometimes I agree with them but often I don’t. I have had significant personal experience that disagrees with their beliefs.
I have two ways I can handle that. I can decide that they are right or I can decide that I am right.
Now, I like to hedge my bets. I have strong opinions but I’m willing to reconsider them given reason. It’s very rare that I bother to try, I am human after all. But when something challenges my belief structure I have to think about it very hard. I know I am not always right (really, D).
I kind of feel like I should stay off social networking sites for a while. I am feeling too many “shoulds”. I need to do what I am going to do and not worry about whether other people approve or not. Of course there are lots of people who don’t. Will I let that stop me? No. Then why let it bother me?
Because when people I love reject me in harsh ways it bothers me. When people I love tell people they think I am dangerous it bothers me.
Are they right?
I’m told I need to get over my anger. I’m not sure that it is anger I need to get over. I need to get over wanting things from other people. I need to really and truly not give a shit if a given person likes me or not. I know who my friends are.
As the legal next-of-kin I think I feel very reasonable about treating the God-Mamas as family. They take the kids every month. They have a very serious on-going relationship. They are invested and serious about it. That’s the last time I am going to do that to my kids. My family unit is closed. I can care about me. I can care about Noah. I can care about Shanna. I can care about Calli. I should not try to make sure there is stuff left for other people. Maybe there will be and maybe there won’t. My friends understand. They really don’t have high expectations of me–which should be depressing only it isn’t. They like me anyway.
Anger and anxiety are both emotions that are about energy flow. (In my opinion. I’m going to babble even more whacko than usual tonight. Sorry. It’s been a very long and very sober day and I’ve had time to sit with my anger more than I usually do.) I have a lot of energy. I have spent my entire life feeling like I am sitting with a burning wire of energy in the middle of my body. It churns my stomach. It constricts my throat and my lungs.
People are monolithic for me in a way that I don’t think most people understand. My life has always changed a lot. Every so often I up and move either geographically or in social sphere. As I age there is more and more overlap in communities. I’m having a harder and harder time going out. It’s scarier than I like admitting.
If I had been funneling my whole life towards what I am doing now the path would have looked different, don’t you think? It all depends on how you frame it. I’m a stay at home mom. I used to be a high school teacher. I’ve been married for nearly six years (anniversary is in a couple of weeks). I live less than twenty-eight miles away from my elementary school (well, one of them). My middle and high schools (at least five of them) are slightly closer to me than that. I’m a hippie. I dress very conservatively most of the time. I don’t have a television or watch anything approximating television programming on a computer. I garden a lot. I homeschool. I do building projects.
I am angry. I stay home a lot because I am afraid and I am fucking angry that I am afraid. Today we went to the post office. It went fine. The kids started to get into things but were easily distracted. Nevertheless I spent the whole time feeling very anxious. I was afraid my kids would get yelled at. I was afraid I would get yelled at. I was afraid the woman helping me would be mean. Good freakin grief. It’s ridiculous. I started crying and hyperventilating and the woman helping me told me it would be ok. That’s god damn embarrassing. I’m a fucking adult.
You want to tell me I should just get over it again? Oh fuck off. But the whole episode was under a minute. It’s not like it is a big deal. Only it hurts. It hurts my stomach. It hurts my heart. It hurts my throat. It hurts my head. It hurts my lungs. I feel like I am dying. If I could just stop it I would. There is no magic drug for me. The only thing I can do is dope myself to get the panic to stop. Look at any psych drug on the market. That’s what they do. They do it in different ways, but whatever.
I don’t really see a point in trying to live a long life if I am going to spend a lot of time every day in pain because my brain doesn’t understand that I am not in danger. It’s not like she had the power to prevent me from sending my packages. If she was really bitchy I could have gone to UPS. (But I’ll say: the gruffness from the ladies in the Mountain View USPS is just a front. They are softies.) She had no power to hurt me. Someone feeling irritated by my kids in the fifteen minutes we are in the post office is really not my problem. Why do I care?
Oh wait. That’s called trauma. Sort of. Kind of. I’m not sure. At some point I have to get it through my fool head that there are assholes in the world who are going to be rude to me and mine. It’s not about anything I’ve done. Well, not necessarily. For an awful lot of people I just have to exist. I have to have the god damn audacity to open my white trash mouth. I am offensive.
People like it when you are afraid of them. It makes them feel protective. It makes them feel big. It makes them feel powerful. People like it. I have spent a lot of time afraid and I can see how people react.
I feel like I am searching, always searching, for what I supposed to be doing. How am I wasting my potential? I don’t know. I look for seeds in my life to help me tell the future but unfortunately the future hasn’t been written yet. I have to write it.
It means I’m not looking at right now. It means I’m scared. I’m angry because a lot of people want to tell me things that all boil down to being raped is a womans own fault because the only logical conclusion I can come to is those people believe I deserve to be raped. I cannot put my mind around that. No. I can’t. It’s not possible. No one is born to be raped. Just because I have a cunt that does not decide my destiny.
I am a stay at home mom. I am a stay-at-home-a-lot mom. Well, I like taking BART on outings. Then we can take the bus and I can be stoned all day. I can be calm. I can let the children go at their pace. I don’t feel anxious about being in other peoples way. I don’t feel guilty that I am sitting when obviously this more deserving person (like a guy in his 50’s) should be sitting. No. I have two squirming kids. I should be fucking sitting. Otherwise they will fall and hurt themselves. That’s just stupid.
But I worry. I worry about offending people. I worry about making other people feel annoyed by my physical presence. You’d never guess by how I write, would you? In the privacy of a room by myself I have the biggest cojones of them all. Please join me in a derisive snicker, right?
I have nothing to offer the world to justify the worth of my opinions. I am fairly unlikely to pursue further academic studies. At this moment in time that sounds like hell on earth. Which unfortunately may mean I do it some day. I’m stupid like that. Next time I will practice my handwriting. And it won’t be English. Fuck English.
I don’t think that I need to get over my anger. I need to find a way to use it. I have a lot of energy. When I decide to get going on a project I work like a demon. I get a very large amount done in a short period of time. But I’m a woman. It’s fairly unlikely to ever be noticed. It helps that I pick lame menial jobs because I think that is what someone like me should be doing. I think I never noticed that I stopped working at Boston Market. I still think I am an ignorant fool who cannot be right. Look, all these people tell me I am wrong.
Well, fuck them. I don’t like their system. There is no way for me to win in their system; I was born damned.
Before you tell me to stop being angry let me hit you as many times as I have been hit. Let me rape you as many times as I have been raped. Then I will put you into a culture that tells you it is all your fucking fault that it happened. Then we can talk about anger.
What else did you expect to have happen? Do you know how many people in uniform I’ve had sneer that at me when something inappropriate and illegal happens to me? I can’t really remember. For a while there I was put on drugs against my will when I was a teenager and I can’t remember that period so an exact number is truly beyond me.
I have been told to sit down and shut up and don’t get angry all my life. I don’t think that is a message I should listen to. I think that is a message that seals my doom. I’m not saying that everyone has to be angry with me. I’m saying that once you are marked as prey–once you are truly afraid they smell you. If I am angry enough I can drive them away. I no longer look like easy prey even though they know what I am. I finally got close enough to the herd to not be the weakest link.
And now that I am closer to the herd the mother fuckers around me are going, “Oh shit, who let her show up?” It’s interesting to watch. I just piss people off. I don’t even have to try. I just have to say what I think. I make people angry. Even if I wasn’t angry to start with. It’s interesting.
I make people angry when I speak to them. Maybe I should just stop speaking to them. I don’t mean become selectively mute, that’s a bit extreme. I mean that maybe I should stop setting the bar so god damn low on who I try to become friends with. I should act like I’m worth jumping through some hoops. People do it. They really do. It’s kind of weird.
I think I should stay of social networking sites for a while. Outside of my house there is nothing but bad. Inside my house I live in Wonderland. It’s really nice here. We sing and play games. We dance and should and run around. We paint and cook and garden. We grow up together. We learn how to do things together. We learn how to gently coexist with another human being. When someone slaps you in the face while you are sleeping it is perfectly acceptable to yell, “What the hell are you doing?!” before you are actually awake. (I am very articulate while mostly asleep.) It’s not ok to yell such a thing while fully conscious. We have Rules. No name calling. No hitting. You can’t put anyone down. Everyone deserves to have space but we need to be careful how our space effects other people. Every day involves “I love you” and “I am really glad I know you” and hugs and kisses.
But I know with every day that marches forward that two of these relationships are going to change. They are going to go off into the world. They are not going to stay with me and meet my needs. I have to do that for myself.
Some people can wait until the kids are teenagers to worry about it. My kid is about to turn two. Oh shit. I only have sixteen years to plan. I’m not sure that is long enough. I’m not sure that is long enough for me to finish growing up. I feel guilty because Noah is my provider. Because we have decided that his salary is good for both of. We don’t want another thing pulling from the available energy in our lives–probably ever. I feel like I am wasting my potential. I feel like I am letting down my feminism. I feel like I am setting myself up for a fall. I feel like…
I feel like I am waiting for the inevitable conclusion of the life of a girl like me. What terrible thing will happen next? How will Noah turn on me? Will he wait until a year or two after the kids are gone and say, “I just stayed for the kids.” I don’t think so. I don’t think he could fake that facial expression. He’s a good liar, don’t get me wrong, but not that good. Not with me. I know when that face happens. It isn’t in company. I’ve been watching this man for a while now. I intend to keep watching him. My very survival depends on him.
That’s the bit that is weird and hard to swallow. Basically because it is a crock of shit. Whatever. I wouldn’t necessarily like everything I had to do, but if I had to do it I would.
It’s not that I need to stop being angry. Anger happens. It stops when it stops. But I do really need to stop looking for it. I investigate the candidates before every election and beyond that I need to just live in my little bubble. I feel like we exist outside the modern world with the glaring exception of the glowing box I am staring at. Ok, not really outside the modern world–give me a break. But we do live with a shocking lack of popular culture. Of any kind, really. I suppose we listen to some music but certainly not every day. I would say not every week. Ok, that’s not true for me right now. I listen to music while I run. That’s a new hobby this year. I’m not sure how that will go long term. And my phone battery can’t play music through a whole long run so my phone is now annoying useless on runs. Bummer.
People are going to think I’m a trainwreck. To that I cock my head to the side and say, “Have you ever seen a train wreck?” Things have settled down in my life remarkably over the last few years. Cutting off my family was hard and caused a big bump, yes. I was abused as a child, yes. I haven’t been raped in more than five years? Something like that. That’s the longest stretch of my life. I’m waiting for the next thing that will hurt me. It is very confusing to my brain that I have this nice man in the house.
I would have been fine today if I was able to cut before going to the post office. Because when I start to feel panic I press on the fresh wounds and that keeps me level. It’s more reliable than any drug I’ve ever tried. But people get quite upset with me, so I stopped. I think that really I just don’t want to teach my children to do it. I don’t want them to learn my panic and fear and need for pain.
It’s not that those monolithic “them” are actually all bad. But I have no reason to go fishing to find out. It’s kind of freeing, really. I don’t have to care if people will want to do me ill or not if I don’t give them an opportunity.
What does it feel like to have distant community? I only sort of know. I get it somewhat in the Leather community. I really need some place I can belong with my kids. I’m trying to build places. We are consistent (mostly, barring various events like a washing machine flooding my garage). We have patterns. We have friends. We have relationships.
What is it I am supposed to get over my anger for? What is it that I am supposed to do? Ahhh grasshopper–what I should do is not make people feel uncomfortable. Sorry mate, that ship sailed. I’m going to make you uncomfortable.
I make plans. And I make plans. And I make plans. When you call the suicide hotline one of the first thing they ask you is if you have “a plan”. I laugh. I have plans. I have worked out so many ways to die that I can’t casually list them all. First I do this and then I do that and then I have to look at this and then… I know the dozens of steps involved in any number of ways to die. How accidental can I make it look? Where should I leave the consolidated list of passwords so Noah isn’t screwed? Where… etc.
But the point isn’t to stop being angry. Or really even to stop being afraid. That can’t be the point. If that is the point I will always fail. You can’t decide to stop something. You have to decide to do something else instead. I decide every day over and over. It’s exhausting. It’s hard. I have to sit here all day every day thinking carefully about what I say and what I do. You have read this far in my blog. Surely you think I am a psycho about to fly off the handle any moment now. I’m truly not. I’m pretty quiet. Sometimes I speak unexpectedly sharply. Sometimes my tone of voice is more harsh than seems appropriate to the topic. If I am alone with my family I instantly say, “Oh I’m sorry that came out harsher than I meant it. I’ll try again.” I expect my kids to do the same thing. I say, “Try again.” Shanna says it to me now. It’s interesting to negotiate.
My children are not in charge of me. My children are not responsible for me and they never will be. But they get to have preferences to. How do I sit back and very slowly learn someone like this? I don’t know. I’ve never done very well at close intimate relationships. I just know how to spend a lot of time alone in a room. But I’m trying. I get a couple of hours of sitting alone in a room every day or I feel like I am going to lose my mind.
I didn’t used to be this way. It feels like the anger is the war between my need for people and my terror of them. I don’t want to have any of the feelings I have about people and I can’t make them go away just by wishing and I am fucking angry about it. I hate that I cry over stupid things. I couldn’t figure out a form. It wasn’t a big deal.
The last time it was truly a big deal was when Denise said, “Have you ever had anyone close to you die.” I didn’t let her set the terms of my reality then–she doesn’t get to tell my my father and brother were not close to me–and I don’t think I should let random assholes on the internet. That seems kind of stupid and weak minded, don’t you think?
There is a lot of “you” tonight. I don’t think I do that very often. I don’t even know who I am writing to. I periodically rotate through various people in my head and no one fits. I’m not ranting at anyone. I’m ranting at the unseen you. The one who hurts me. The one whose plan it is. The one I don’t believe in.
I’m very angry at God because I can’t be an atheist. I have known things. I have to believe in my own experiences or I’m fucked. But I don’t think there is a plan. I don’t think it’s the Christian God. I don’t know what it is. But something knows I am here. I’m not sure it cares much one way or another. But it knows something more than me. I don’t know how much more. And it’s probably fallible. Isn’t everything?
I feel like I have no culture to retreat to. I am not Christian. I am currently upper middle class according to my bank balance. In attitude and behavior I am white trash. I don’t know how else to be. I offend people. I have always offended people. I have the audacity to be raped and complain about it. Don’t I know I should shut up?