Monthly Archives: September 2012

Brain dump + Bonus question.

Occasionally someone will say something to me along the lines of them being worried about Noah being supportive enough.

I just yelled at Noah for almost two hours straight about how mad I am at all men and how angry I am about the current ways of dealing with rape in larger society and I said a lot of thinly veiled mildly implicating things that were quite harsh about all men. One time he slapped the arms of his chair and had a sharp intake of breath and he stood up and took two steps around in a circle then set his face in stern lines and settled in for more listening.

And over and over he patiently explained all the flawed results of my incoherent half-plans. He wasn’t dismissive but he was insistent. I’m just not looking at the whole picture. He’s right. He wasn’t even slightly demeaning. He was measured and careful in his tone. His facial expression was carefully monitored.

And when I cried in frustration and said I don’t know what to do he shook his head and sadly said he doesn’t either.

Noah has limited capacity to support me because he is a human being. I can consciously see how he is working as hard as he can to be supportive. It’s not his fault I have this hole in my life that is supposed to be filled by other people. I can’t do anything about that either.

Shanna told me yesterday that she wants to see the Eiffel Tower some day and she doesn’t care that I don’t like Paris I will have to go with her and she will make sure I have fun. I bet you she would be right.

I don’t run in Fremont again before the marathon. I am supposed to walk nine miles in the next five days. We leave for Disneyland Tuesday morning. Piece of cake. The marathon is pretty much exactly seven days away. Nearly to the minute.

I feel disembodied and empty. Drained.

One thing Noah promised to do for me (we’ll see) is set up a website and a mailing list. I’m going to start writing again soon. I have two very specific book ideas I’m playing with and I’m having trouble deciding which to write next.

My relationship with Tom will be a book by itself. It will be incredibly graphic and highly sexual.

The other book is one that Noah is encouraging me towards: Outrunning Suicide: A Harm Reduction Approach to Life. I already have the starts of the table of contents and multiple chapters partially written. I’ll be going through and examining all the ways I distract myself from killing myself. I think it is an interesting topic and so does Noah.

What do other people think?

I’m struggling with this man-hating thing I’m doing. I’m angry at all the men I know because they always feel the need to drop into a conversation subtle little victim blaming. If you don’t get

death is everywhere

Thinking thinking thinking. Death, mortality, self worth.

One of my former students died. I had him in sophomore honors English. We got into huge arguments because he wouldn’t read a book until I proved its relevance to him. He would get into these abstract arguments about philosophy and frankly they were more interesting than the arguments of the kids who were reading. He seriously thought about the world. Tadgh. Pronounced: Tyg like in tiger. His parents were immigrants from Ireland who escaped violence. He was stabbed the first day he was my student on campus. Interesting fella.

I feel like a tremendous asshole because I am suicidal and good people die on accident. Shouldn’t I be more sensitive or something? I think just about every day of lists of reasons I can’t do it today. I’m trying to buy myself time. I have to finish the playhouse. I have to install the ceiling fan in the playroom. Things Noah won’t do but I want done in the world. I have to do __________. None of it feels very important though. So far I can’t reckon a way that I will actually matter. None of the things I want to do need to be done. The world will be perfectly happy without them.

Lately, unfortunately, my back chatter is all about how worthless and useless and pointless I am. I have no value that I can track. Nothing I do has measurable good–beyond the obvious good of my kids being not-abused. That’s a big one. That’s important. If I can manage to create two people who actually feel good about themselves given how I feel about myself that is something–right? Teaching something that I know so little about is remarkably hard. This is work. I do it because it is important work.

I’m having trouble with how I’m narrowing down my dreams. I’m feeling more and more like me hoping is a bad idea. I need to not have expectations and hopes. Then I feel let down and disappointed. I feel so sad. I would really like to not be sad. I don’t know a way of changing that beyond making it more rare for me to feel let down. That means not hoping.

I was reading some stupid thing on (one of my favorite websites–actually) and it said that when you think of things you should do the way you think of yourself in the present is different from how you think of yourself in the future. Future self is a different person in your brain. Future self deserves things and can do things present self can’t/doesn’t.

I think I have bought myself a lot of time over the years by believing that I was doing _____ as an investment in future self. I don’t deserve this right now but someday I will where ‘this’ is anything nice or pleasant or positive. The more time goes by the more I recognize that future self is just me. Future self is a worthless piece of shit too. I don’t want to keep trying.

It’s interesting trying to step back and dispassionately be aware of my thinking. I’m terrified of the marathon. Right now I would much rather jump off an overpass than risk seeing my brother because I’m afraid he will be mean to me. How mature am I? I anticipate his hatred and loathing. I think if I was doing it alone I might quit right now. It’s hard to explain how frantic and upset and terrified I feel. I feel like I am drowning in waves of panic. Any minute one of these waves will cover me and I will never be seen or heard from again.

As a way of distracting myself I have been reading more about this INFP thing. It’s something to think about other than the myriad of ways I could die. I like having the internet tell me I’m a special snowflake with an intense inner life. It sounds less shameful than, “I hear voices that tell me I am bad and I should die.” I do like looking at a mural. It makes me believe I am creative. I’ll grasp at whatever straws I can.

Lately my morning dialogue looks a lot like, “Not today. Please not today. Get through today.” I can’t think too hard about the future. I have no ability to control or even to influence it much. Things are just going to happen to me. I can’t hope for things. Whatever happens happens. I feel very powerless to influence my life. I have to just wait and see what happens. I feel useless, worthless, and impotent.

Time for another day.

Krissy’s tips on how to avoid being a bad person

Other people get to have their points heard on the whole “don’t rape” topic.

1. Before you have any kind of sexual contact with someone you need a clear verbal “yes” or what you are doing is sexual assault. Really.*

2. If you offer someone help and they say “No thanks” please respect them as an autonomous human being and do not over ride them because you know better.*

3. If you are giving someone a massage your hands and mouth need to stay out of the nether region unless you have been given explicit consent to touch there. Otherwise you are committing sexual assault.*

4. If you are in a group where men outnumber women pay attention to who gets to talk. When a man interrupts a woman try saying, “Hey she was speaking–let her finish.” This will reveal that you give a shit what she has to say.*

5. When you are at work jokes about how some interaction is “like rape” should be stopped with a cold remark. Nothing that happens at work is like rape. Shut up. You don’t know what you are talking about. Work is not the place for jokes like these. Maybe in a small group of your very closest friends–never at work.

6. When you want to give a woman a compliment assess three factors: a) do you know her (if you don’t probably keep your mouth shut because that shit is creepy) b) is the compliment something that reduces her to her sexual parts (if so keep your fucking mouth shut) and c) is it something you want someone saying to your mother? If not, shut the fuck up. Seriously. Where are your manners? Catcalls are threatening and rude. Telling someone that she is lovely is fine. Telling someone that you like her tits or that you masturbate when thinking about her* is not. (Obviously unless she asks. If she asks if you masturbate thinking about her it is perfectly acceptable to answer.)

7. Don’t taunt or encourage or push people to drink large quantities of alcohol. Alcohol is a poison. In large quantities it is highly toxic to the body. Pushing people to poison themselves is hardly the act of a friend. If someone is passed out drunk then your ability to have sex that night is over. You may not have sex with an unconscious person. Unless you have specifically said, “Some night when I am unconscious it is ok to have sex with me” it is rape. It doesn’t matter if she is your wife, girlfriend, or good time girl for the night. If she is unconscious there is no sex. Especially no unprotected sex. If you have unprotected sex with an unconscious person* then you are a bad person and you should be beaten by a large gang of bikers.

8. If you are over the age of 21 then you must never have sex with anyone under the age of 18 again. If you do then you are a disgusting bad person. In our culture people are not allowed to have sex with children and a 17 year old counts, buddy. If you want to fuck someone that bad then take the time to develop a friendship and wait until they are legal. Or you are a bad person. And a felon because that’s rape.

9. Don’t push people towards ignorance. Don’t mock people for knowing things or being smart.* Don’t tell women that they are bitches just because they have opinions.* What kind of moron still does this? How in the world can you prize ignorance over knowing? That’s kind of a side point, but really. Don’t do this. Knowing more is always better.

10. If anyone ever even vaguely seriously communicates something along the lines of “Bros before hos” then you need to respond with, “Actually I’m going to be a witness for the prosecution if you rape her.” You need to be willing to admit that maybe some day you will find out that one of your friends is a rapist. Please don’t take his side. If you are not a rapist but your friend is and you cover for him then you are still a bad person. Really. Maybe you are a hair less evil but silence is consent. If you keep your mouth shut then you are a bad person. Don’t be a bad person, please.

* = issues I have had personally. Other rules are taken from the lives of my female friends.

PS- sharing means caring

And thus closes another Folsom.

Someone said to me today, “Your friends aren’t very nice.” It’s interesting to me that my response was, “They aren’t my friends. They are people I know.”

Lots of thoughts. Where is the line between consent and abuse? What is bdsm and what is being an asshole? How is this monogamy thing going to work out? Noah is not my tribe and I am not his; sometimes it is rather awkward.

Am I a pervert? I discovered a lot of lines for me today. I don’t approve of a lot of people but I don’t think they need to care. Well, saying I don’t approve of them is a bit strong. I wouldn’t make similar life choices. Those choices would be very bad for me and I don’t think they are really good for them. But it’s not my life.

How many train wrecks do I want to watch?

Harm reduction. I am monogamous in an effort to reduce the harm in my life. Is all nonmonogamy harm? No. Am I everyone? No. You can’t look at statistical norms and decide individual needs. Should I bring up the bmi? As a species we (and I as a person in particular) aren’t prone towards monogamy. That doesn’t make it impossible–just a choice.

It’s kind of funny to me–people who read my blog don’t understand why I feel the need to think and think about monogamy. Ok we decided, move on. But I have to go explain it over and over again. And everyone gets a slightly different version of why and the details because not everyone deserves the same disclosure from me.

I’m an asshole with big hurdles. You have to go find my public blog on the internet if you want to know personal shit about me. I’m not going to just tell you or anything. Psh. Do you think I’m easy?

It was weird going out today and thinking, “Yes. This is my tribe. Wow. We are very broken.” Twelve years of Folsom. I haven’t gone every year but I think 10/12.

Can’t type more. My computer isn’t recognizing the ergo keyboard. I’ll ask Noah to poke at it. Or he’ll read this–either way the message will get through.

working and sexual assault

On bart. Yesterday was a whole series of adventures. I didn’t sleep much on Thursday night. Lots of anxiety and fuss and such. But Friday morning Noah let me sleep on the couch for a few hours because I wasn’t scheduled till the afternoon.
Working is such an odd experience for me. Noah told me to enjoy my busman’s holiday. (There is an old joke about how bus drivers go on vacation and drive around the countryside.) I washed a lot of dishes yesterday. I made a lot of ice cream sandwiches and two quiches. It doesn’t really feel like I’m doing something important or useful only this is all work that has to be done for this business to succeed. I think that the fact that I won’t benefit from the business at any point no matter how hard I work is part of why I’m just… flat.
But being there was useful because one of my internet fans came in and gave me a fancy-pants keyboard. Whoo! We had a really nice chat. I figured out who he was and we are a lot closer than two degrees of separation. It’s always funny to meet those people and go, “Oh wait! I know stories about you! And I have questions!”
When I talk to people in the kink/freak communities the whole topic of monogamy/nonmonogamy comes up. I think partially because when people make different choices there is the natural response to consider how those choices would work for you. It’s hard to explain why I want Noah to never sleep with anyone again and yet that’s the important bit. It’s not that Iwant to be monogamous. It’s that I want Noah to be and I know I can’t ask him to be without doing it myself. I’m grudgingly willing to accept that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Noah sleeping with other people bothers me. It makes me feel unwanted and unloved. Sure those are feelings I could work on but don’t I have enough to freak out about having to work on? For the love of toast why do I have to work on that specific bit of awful? No thanks. So we are monogamous.
But then I go out in public. For the first while I was there and working there was this hoooooooootguy. I looked up and saw him and I started salivating and I flushed and uhm more moisture appeared. Not in my mouth. Ahem. He was really gorgeous. God he was my type. Nerdy—this guy had to be a geek. Any other profession would kick him out. He had dark hair that was on the shortish side and a white streak and dark framed glasses. He looked like he could would smile when making someone cry.
It’s kind of weird to react like that. To want like that out of the blue given that I’m not allowed to follow my pecker through life any more. Why is it more important for me to say that Noah can’t have extra sex than for either of us to be allowed to do things we enjoy? Because seriously I enjoy anonymous sex.
I’ve been trying to come up with the whole list of people who have sexually assaulted me since I turned 18. It feels like I should get to the point where at least I know who I have to worry about. Dan. Paul. Kevin. That coast guard guy.
With Dan I wanted to have sex with him but I told him no unprotected sex. He got me drunk and had unprotected sex with me while I was unconscious. With Paul I wanted to have sex but I told him no unprotected sex. I was on drugs and unable to physically force him off of me. GHB makes it really hard to fight back. That’s kind of the point. Kevin was one of the few friends I had during a time when I was scared and lonely. He likes giving massages and I have always been in a lot of pain. I knew fairly quickly that I would have to say no to sexual contact every single time I saw him no matter how clear I made it that I was not interested, ever. I would often have to reach down and remove his fingers from my vulva or vagina while he was giving me a massage. I had to tell him over and over that surpriseoral sex isn’t ok. The coast guard guy spiked my drink but at least he used a condom.
That is my adult sexual assault history. I have done a lot of very heavy play with people that falls into the ambiguous land of consensual nonconsent but I would not accuse any of those people of being out of bounds. They did what I negotiated. There were others, like Matthew, who was so brutal and nasty that I felt physically bad and emotionally bad about myself afterwards but I don’t think it was sexual assault. I negotiated and agreed. It just turned out to be much heavier play than I wanted. And I never have the balls to say in the middle of a scene, “Whoa—slow down.” I don’t safeword. I take what people feel like doing to me.
Last night Kevin came into the coffee shop. I asked the other owners who were on shift if I was allowed to kick someone out if he sexually assaulted me years ago. They offered to do it for me so I wouldn’t have to. I took several minutes to think about it and process and decide. Then I squared my shoulders and marched over to Kevin. I said, “I feel really uncomfortable doing this but…”
He broke into my sentence and said, “I have to go.”
I said, “Yes. What you did to me wasn’t ok. No one should have to tell you no over and over. It’s sexual assault. Get out.”
He started to argue but I turned on my heel and kind of ran back behind the counter. I ran all the way to the end where I could duck down behind the coffee machine and cash register. I hyperventilated for a while and felt like I was going to puke on the floor. I pretty much kept my crying under control. It took more than half an hour before I stopped shaking.
This was one of the few times in my life where I was in a position of having to deal with someone who hurt me and I had multiple men offer to rescue me and solve the problem. I told them no. It’s hard to understand why it has to be. Why do I have to be the one to do everything? They wanted to help. They would have done fine. They would have solved the problem and I could have quaked with fear on the far side of the room.
But that’s just the thing. I am no longer 23 and alone and scared. A lot has happened. I have had enough experiences that I know the difference between things I have agreed to and things I have refused. I have gotten to find out what that is like. I didn’t know before. It has always been true that I have to just do what I’m told and accept unwanted, painful sexual contact. That has just been life for me. But not any more. Now I can say “Get out.” I feel like no one will believe me. Who cares if a whore is raped any way. Heck, a lot of it wasn’t “rape rape” any way.
I may not get to actually feel safe this lifetime but I do get to say that people who have already hurt me have to get the fuck away from me.
Today is going to be another very long day. I ran ten miles this morning instead of twelve because I am going to have to walk across the city later and I think it will be ok. I’m going to go make food and food and food. I should eat before I start working. Yesterday I ate lunch at 11:30a and dinner at 9:30p. I can’t do that again.
I’m really weirded out by how much running is an appetite suppressant. Not what I expected. I have two offers of couch crash space tonight. I may go out after working. I brought one of those frightening 5 hour energy drink things Noah gets from work. I’m going to be going to bed at like 6pm on Sunday. I hope I have fun. I hope I don’t feel too anxious. I hope I feel like I am still interesting to talk to even if I won’t be sucking anyone off.
It’s hard to believe sometimes.
And after working all day Saturday I’m tired. Holy moly. Lots of working. Tired. But I want to go out!

Calling people names isn’t very nice.

Or maybe I will yell at Noah then stomp out of our bedroom after calling him an asshole. That’s an alternative to sleep and cuddling. I’m still very upset about my birthday. Through my whole childhood I told myself that it wouldn’t always be this way. I wouldn’t always feel rejected and unloved and shitty on my birthdays. I told myself it would get better. I lied. Or I was just wrong. Either way.

I should probably stop doing things for Noah’s birthday. It increases my bitterness that I don’t matter as much to him. But that makes me feel really sad. I think I will need to go away for my birthday so that I don’t spend the day crying and calling him names. I’m so tired of not mattering.

He wanted to know what he could do to make me feel important. I ranted about how he could read the fucking book I already fucking wrote that tells him step by fucking step what will make me feel important you fucking asshole. I hear it isn’t ok to call people names. I should be more polite and civilized. More kind. More understanding.

It’s my fucking birthday. I work so hard. I try so hard. Naw. It’s not my birthday. My birthday was ten days ago. I need to stop bringing up old stuff.

You’re never fully dressed without a smile.

Noah is awake but playing a video game so I should probably shut up. But he’s so good to talk to… Really we should be sleeping. It is 3:26am. Oh well.

When I’m out running I write these eloquent blog posts in my head. Then I get home and sit in front of the computer and think, “hunh my wrists are tingling. Maybe another day.”

It’s weird to me the ways things intersect. I keep seeing people bringing up the whole “Don’t tell women to smile at you” thing on the internet. I don’t appreciate it when random people tell me to smile like I don’t appreciate random people telling me anything. But I put a lot of energy into trying to smile at people. It almost feels like I shouldn’t.

I feel like a bad feminist pretty much all the time. I very consciously try to smile at people and cheerfully say, “Hello” when I pass them. I’m fairly religious about this when I run. Seriously–this is my church. I go out into my community, likely the only community I will have for the rest of my life, and I smile at people and I tell them to have a good day. It lights peoples’ faces up. The small shriveled old Asian ladies look suspicious at first sometimes. If they look suspicious in English I try “Ni how” (I know I am spelling that wrong. I probably pronounce it wrong but they don’t yell at me.) or “Chao” because I was told that was ok. (That’s Chinese and Vietnamese for those who don’t automatically recognize my poor battered phonetic spellings.) I do try to guess which one is appropriate in advance. I have a high success rate but not perfect. When I get it wrong they look startled for a moment then laugh. When I switch languages again then they get very happy with me.

People want to feel important. People want to feel like they are worth seeing and speaking to for who they are. Not everyone wants to be told they should be like me and expecting everyone in the world to be happy about hearing English is expecting everyone in the world to be like me. I try to say hello to people because whether they like me or not they are my neighbors. If they need help I will stop and try to help.

Once when I was out running I came across a Vietnamese woman who had tripped and hurt herself. She was probably in her 60’s or 70’s. She was quite frail. I helped her up and I walked her home. I half carried her. She spoke very little English. Just enough to apologize for living. I was very happy to help her. She’s my neighbor. When I was running in SF I went passed an older woman who was carrying heavy bags. She would walk a block then put them down to rest. I happened to go around that block three times (don’t ask why–it wasn’t about her) so I stopped and asked her if I could help. She was so happy. (I can also usefully offer help in Spanish. I’m starting to feel less like I am a pathetic linguist.)

I feel like being part of a community will be the closest I have to a church. I live in Fremont. I am likely to live here forever. I don’t want to treat this like a commuter town or one of my brief stops. I don’t want to sleep here and “live” somewhere else I drive to every day. Ugh. No. I want to meet the people who live near me. I want to get to know faces. I want to have people grow to expect that weird cheerful woman at the park. I want to have a role and a place. I want to belong.

No one wants more tragedy. They don’t go looking for it. One of my favorite things I did as a teacher was when I was doing a unit on tragedy. We were having a huge argument on whether tragedy as a genre was obsolete. My little bastards were campaigning hard to say tragedy was just over. Except one kid. My little gang banger. She dropped out in the middle of my second year with her. I loved her. She told me that she was my Brown Eyes. That was her special name and she wanted me to know it. I think it was the equivalent of being a biker and it being her “ride” name. I could be wrong. Anyway, she came in after school one day and said,

“Gibbs. So. You keep saying that this tragedy shit isn’t dead. I have a song I want you to listen to. I think it might count.” She brought in her ipod and played me a song.

It would be fair to say that the song was impactful on me. It made me cry the first time I heard it and every time thereafter. Yes. That is modern tragedy. Thank you for sharing. So I took that song that my wonderful Brown Eyes brought me and I played in every section I taught. I had them write a response and talk about it. We tore the song apart in terms of figurative language, metaphor, simile, exposition, climax, denoument, blah blah blah. All The Stuff English Teachers Do.

A parent called me (on my cell phone which was hilarious because I forgot I put it on the syllabus and I kind of freaked out at first) to ask about it. She said her son came home saying his English teacher played him a song about a rapper who rapes his mom and she can’t see how that is relavent to English literature thankyouverymuch. I went off for half an hour about music and poetry and literature and how they intertwine and how genres morph and in order to get kids to understand the full scope and power of the language you have to examine different ways of using it and and and. I had a good argument at the time. I don’t remember it well this bright and early morning. The mom thanked me for caring so much about helping her son understand the world and we hung up.

I bring the tragedy with me everywhere I go. I’m kind of Debbie Downer and I deliver. I also smile. Even though I tell the worst stories and make people cry I also make people smile. I’m very good at making people smile.

I am not a graceful runner by any measure. I look pretty funny. That’s ok. I am grinning fit to split my face and I call out a cheerful and ebullient hello to everyone I pass. The only people who don’t smile back are Middle Eastern guys with specific patterns of hair cuts and facial hair. It’s kind of weird. I can predict which three people will scowl at me before they do. There are always three people who scowl at me. Some days there are up to a hundred people who smile at me.

There are the half-smilers who are doing it for social compulsion reasons. I barely count them. Ok, they are part of the crowd but they are kind of tuning me out.

You can’t tell for sure who will light up. That’s a wonderful surprise every time. Often it is the people I have to try multiple languages before they “wake up” and notice I am talking to them. (This all happens fast because I am reasonably speedy.) If someone totally tunes me out in English and I try a second language with no response and I try a third language and they look up sometimes there are tears in their eyes. There was one woman in particular yesterday. She looked up shocked. Then her face transformed. She was beautiful. She looked very sad. I doubt she has had an easy life. She looked so happy to be noticed. I feel kind of bad that I try Chinese before Vietnamese sometimes because I can’t tell Asian races apart very well. I feel like a tremendous asshole. I’m trying. I swear.

If this is the only community I am going to have I need to find a way to fit. I need to find things that I can do that are useful and good. I can’t do a lot for most people in most ways. I can take care of myself and smile at people though.

Which brings me back to people being really fierce about how women don’t owe anyone smiles. No, they don’t. No one owes anyone anything. I don’t owe anyone anything.

I smile and say hello in between crying jags. I do it because it lets me feel like I have some way of interacting with people that is ok. It lets me feel like I am not alone. I greet the people who live near me because that is the civilized thing to do. We share this space. Let’s act like it. Let’s act like we are both real people here and I’m the kind of person who likes to smile at people. I don’t think that everyone has to do it. I don’t get mad at the three people each day who scowl at me. But I keep smiling at everyone. Regardless of the fact that some people won’t smile back.

I don’t smile because anyone owes me anything in response. I smile because I am doing the fake-it-till-you-make-it thing. It does elevate my mood. I like provoking smiles. I like the little half smiles of, “Oh you are one of those people” as much as I like the earnest grins. I like being recognized (with an eye roll) as one of those cheerful people. It’s kind of a relieving experience. It’s nice to be pigeonholed like that instead of as the tragedy girl for a little while. It’s nice when people look at me without flinching.

I smile at people because first impressions are a big thing. People decide a lot about you by what they see first. I try not to be sobbing or a screaming harpy when people first see me. Smiling seems like a better plan.

Ah, and I haven’t done my full confession. At this point I bring before the confessional the unhappy fact that I have now hit Shanna for the second time. I was sitting on the floor with Calli working on something (I can’t even remember what) and Shanna kicked me in the head. The first kick was only like a three or a four (out of a ten pain scale) so I looked up and said, “Please don’t kick me. I don’t like being kicked.” She giggled and kicked me in the head again much much harder. My hand was up smacking her foot away from me before I had time to register a thought. See, this is why I don’t sit around sober. I was waiting for park day so I was fully sober (Have to drive, yo) and I didn’t have that second of pause. With the pause I can grab the foot and prevent it from kicking me again without doing the random arm wave of “Pain! Do not want!” All this to say: I’m not losing sleep and I don’t think I am an abuser.

Thus I have hit my kid twice. Both times she was kicking me quite painfully and I swatted her foot. No guilt. But I did apologize to Shanna immediately. Hitting isn’t the right answer. I’m sorry my impulses aren’t properly under my control.

I want to write about money. I had three, THREE separate friends all say, “I’m having a hard time with money” within a six day period. I feel like I should write about money. Not in this entry. It’s coming.

I think it is interesting how there are discrete mood phases of depression for me. I’m not actively suicidal at the moment and I haven’t had any vivid ideation in at least two days (woo!) so instead I’m in kind of a hazy place where I have slightly more energy and I want to be interacting and I want to be giving more to people (I hate the fact that I need so much help right now–I feel like a using piece of shit.) but I can clearly see how I don’t really have it to spare. So it’s like I’m wandering around my kitchen with a big box and I’m slowly trying to decide which things to give to the food pantry but… uhm… all that food is in my kitchen because I’m supposed to feed my family with it. It isn’t “extra”. But I still want to give it away. I will feel better about myself if I give it away. My family will just figure it out, right? We’ll just do without.  But I can’t. I can’t do that to my kids all the time.

Once I asked my mom about her childhood. She said she was never important. When she was little her parents cared about her older siblings. When her older siblings started moving out her mother started fostering and the foster kids were way more important than her. The foster kids would show up with clothes and toys from their home of origin and my mother wasn’t allowed to touch their things. But they would steal my moms stuff and break it. She got in trouble if she complained because she wasn’t being properly charitable. My mom said that sometimes her mother would buy a special doll for a foster kid so the kid felt loved while she didn’t have one at all. Her mom would say, “But you have other blessings. God isn’t equal to everyone. You need to be grateful for what you have.”

I think about my mom a lot. I think about how badly she was treated by her parents and her siblings and her husband. She was at the bottom of the shit hill until I was born. My sister kind of took a turn there but not really. My mom protected her the way I protect Shanna. My sister was never really at the bottom of the hill. I think about what it did to my mom. I think about what she grew up to be.

I plot in advance what things I should or should not say to people in order to increase the likelihood that they will like me. I’m confident this is normal. Noah appears to be done with his internetting. That was like 45 minutes of writing. I’ll stop now.

If there is a predator in the room I’ll find him.

I just had an important realization. If someone sends me a message out of the blue saying, “Hey I was talking to _____ about you! It was great hearing how highly they think of you! It made me miss you. I hope you are well.” and my response is to go talk to _________ and say, “Stay the fuck away from him he is a predator” then I should probably not be “friends” with this person on social networks.

That’s a boundary. I like finding boundaries.

I told him no more than once. I don’t call it rape because tongues and fingers don’t count, right? But I said no. But I kept going back. I was lonely. I didn’t really have other options. I kept saying no.

I don’t want to have to keep saying no over and over. Once really should be enough.

Brezsny seemed like a good thing to look at.

Virgo Horoscope for week of September 20, 2012
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Want to submit a letter to the editor of a major newspaper? The odds of you getting published in the influential Washington Post are almost three times as great as in the super-influential New York Times. The Post has a much smaller circulation, so your thoughts there won't have as wide an impact. But you will still be read by many people. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you're in a phase when you should be quite content to shoot for a spot in the Post. Please apply that same principle to everything you do. 

How are you going to change what needs to be changed and accept what needs to be accepted? 

Visualize yourself being able to recognize the raw truth about the people you care about. Imagine that you can see how they already embody the beauty their souls' codes have promised as well as how they still fall short of embodying that beauty. 

Picture yourself being able to make them feel appreciated even as you inspire them to risk changes that will activate more of their souls' codes.

don’t be mad

So I found a ptsd sufferers support forum. Want to know what they recommend? That I get more obsessive about house cleaning. Yes!

I feel weird and bad about my depression. It feels quite shameful to be this depressed. I am one of the most fortunate people to ever live, how fucking dare I get depressed. When friends in the mental health field start openly worry I feel quite bad. I shouldn’t be worrying people. It’s not very kind. I’m fairly sure I will manage to avoid killing myself for another fifteen years at minimum.  Even though I’m depressed. It feels more polite to just shut up about how I am feeling. If I don’t think I am actually likely to do something suicidal I should shut up about feeling like I want to. It’s a “cry for help” and that’s lame. It’s not actually. I don’t expect any one to do anything. I don’t expect anything to change because I am talking about how I feel. I don’t think I do it because I want help. Well, I do.

When I explained to my friend K how I was feeling she said, “How about if I take the girls for Saturday. You have enough on your plate.” I don’t particularly feel like I want people freaking out and panicking over the idea that I might kill myself presently (really I’ve been suicidal for decades there is no sense in getting extra nervous about it now) but it feels nice that people think, “Gosh you feel stress. Here is a bit less stress.” It feels like a gift.

I feel less helpless today. I don’t feel like an animal caught in a steel trap today. I think my body is too exhausted to manufacture those chemicals. I’m pretty fucking tired. And when I was exhausted and past capacity yesterday I didn’t have to also dig deep and find a way to kindly and gently meet the needs of my children. I got to be a selfish bitch just kind of wandering through the world.

Holy shit it feels good. I’ve been doing more of it just lately. Consciously putting myself in the mindset where “I am just a person existing and I only have to care for myself.” It’s weird. Do you know what I do when I only have myself to care for? I clean the house. OF COURSE I WOULD.

It honestly felt good that I got to greet Noah and the girls in a house that was clean and ready for anything. I could react to any request without having to do a bunch of prerequisite steps. That is what drives me crazy. “No, we can’t bake because I have to do dishes and clean off the counters and go to the store first.” Those beginning steps are doozies. If you don’t have anywhere to work you can’t work. If you don’t have ingredients it’s a non-starter. I’m having a hard time with adjusting to what “prepared to work” really means.

Abrupt topic shift: I’ve been told that I should be mad at Noah. Which feels pretty funny given how much time people spend telling me I shouldn’t be an angry person. The thing is: getting angry with Noah serves none of my goals.

I am absolutely willing and able to see that Noah goes above and beyond for me. No one is perfect. Somehow I feel like we fit together so well because no one else understands our shortcomings and properly appreciates us. Noah told me he was over committed. Noah told me that he can’t keep up what we are doing. I have to believe him when he says that. Immediately. Instantly. With love and support. I can’t get mad at him for telling me in a small little boy voice that he can’t do everything he would dearly love to be able to do. When he takes his courage in his hands and tells me that he is going to fail me… he already feels bad. He doesn’t need more shit from me.

Noah works like a demon for me. For us. For our family. When he hits a wall that is because he is cruising along at 80 trying to be everything and do everything for me.

Noah has a full time job that requires more than 40 hours a week and between 5 and 10 hours in commute. Then he has this book he is writing (I’m mildly shocked and appalled by how much money that has earned so quickly) and he is an adjunct professor for CMU on the side. And he does a lot of solo kid care (around 20 hours a week). And he wakes up every day and makes breakfast. He does a fair number of dishes. When I am fussy and whiny and the house is a big mess he cleans up. He comes home from work and makes dinner several nights a week.

When Noah comes to me and tells me in a very sad, very small voice that he can’t keep up what he is doing… I can’t come down on him. I can’t get mad at him. He is working at an unsustainable pace. I know that. When he falters it is normal and natural–not shameful.

It’s still very disappointing. And it’s hard that I have these expectations in my head he can’t meet. It’s not really his fault that he is so busy working on my other expectations that he doesn’t have the time or energy to get through all of my expectations. I have a lot of them. I need to be responsible for most of them. He truly can’t bear any more weight.

I feel lucky. When I met Noah he was kind of a slacker. Not really, but he wasn’t exactly motivated. He worked because he liked what he was doing but he wasn’t goal oriented. In the almost eight years I have known him he has changed. It’s hard for me to reconcile the boy he was with the man he is. I need to not act like he is a boy anymore. He truly isn’t.

When my man runs as hard and as long as he can to take care of me it isn’t right for me to sneer and call him a boy who isn’t living up to expectations. Near as I can tell that won’t lead to a happy marriage. I would honestly really like to have a happy marriage.

But I still have these expectations. And sometimes I am disappointed. Right now I feel like I should think of some more creative solutions beyond “be mad at Noah” to solve this problem. I don’t feel like that would actually help.

I can be honest and say that I try to avoid getting mad at Noah. I will pay a very high cost to avoid being mad at Noah. It is far easier and more comfortable to be mad at me for wanting too much. That’s an old reason to despise myself. My mom spent two decades telling me that I want too much. I’m selfish. I’m self-absorbed. I’m too needy. No one will ever give a shit about me. I know. It’s a lot easier being mad at me than him. It’s comfortable and familiar.

I use Noah up. I wear him out. I wring him dry. I feel like it is my fault he has nothing left by my birthday. Maybe if I wasn’t so fucking needy the other 364 days he might have some “want to” left by my birthday. I doubt I am going to be less needy any year soon. Actually, I think I will. I am far less needy than I was two years ago. I’m going to need less support from Noah fairly soon, actually. Shanna already does for herself. Calli is trying.

Sometimes it feels like running is a lot easier than standing still. I ran 23 miles yesterday (I actually ran for a surprising amount of it) and that was easier to do than filling the hours until Noah and the kids came home. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I sat down for a bit and I ate and I smoked and then I cleaned. I spent hours cleaning. I don’t feel like I am capable of sitting down much any more. No matter how tired I am. I have to keep moving. Keep doing. I’m not sure why I have ever thought of myself as a low energy person. That was part of my story “I have to have my kids early because I’m a low energy person and it will be much harder when I’m older.” On crack.

Yesterday morning when I was about to head out the door (I was quite decadent and lazy and I didn’t leave the house till 6:30 because I didn’t feel like running in the pitch black) both little girls woke up just as I was leaving. Calli hugged me and kissed me several times and said, “Bye mama. Mama happy.” That’s her way of saying, “Goodbye and have fun.” Shanna said, “Do you have any food with you? It’s going to be a very long run today and you can’t get through a run like that without food. Have you packed food yet?” Yes I packed food, thank you for checking on me. I really appreciate it. I started crying. I told her that I appreciate her thinking about the needs of my body. Sometimes I’m bad at that and I’m glad she cares.

Ironically, I gave my huge bag of trail mix to a homeless guy. I stopped and took the pot edibles out first because I’m not that nice. But he was there. And he had a dog. And he looked so much like Stephan that my heart broke. When I see homeless guys who look like him I feel my heart jump into my throat. (He just looked like a homeless guy in the making. I think he’s gotten a hair cut since then.)

As a result when I was ~4 miles from home I stopped at KFC. I think that I could have gotten home noticeably faster if I hadn’t stopped and bought a mashed potato bowl on the way. Mmmmm. There is something about walking and eating at the same time that I like. I always have. From when I was a little kid walking and eating at the same time feels like a decadent treat. It feels like proof that I am more highly evolved and AWESOME than other species. Squirrels can’t do what I can do with food while moving with the same kind of speed and agility. Maybe monkeys but I’m pretty sure they don’t.

For some reason just knowing how many processes are going on at once in my body excites me. I am breathing. My blood is flowing. I am walking quickly so many muscle groups are responding quickly. I am eating. I am coordinating my hands and my mouth. My stomach is working. My throat is working. AND WHILE I’M AT IT MOTHER FUCKER I WILL SING. I’m not sure why I like it so much but I do. It’s this weird feeling of satisfaction. I am one of the most complex organisms ever. THAT IS SO FUCKING COOL. Let’s feel a little gratitude we weren’t brought into this life as an amoeba, ok? This is better.

It’s hard to feel like a depressed loser when you are sauntering up your street telling every neighbor, “I haven’t finished mapping it yet but I’m quite certain I covered twenty two miles today!” I feel a lot of pride. It’s weird feeling how the pride lives in my chest with the shame. It’s like they are next door neighbors in a condo complex. They take turns who is leaning over the back fence shouting.

Yesterday I talked to one of the neighbors for a while. Little M who isn’t allowed to come over anymore was apparently throwing rocks and dirt at her house. She told me she was thinking about calling the police over the vandalism. She threatened M to her face. Apparently M broke down sobbing hysterically and begged to not be sent away. I had a long talk with her about how she needs to never threaten that kid again because she has a hard enough life and for an adult to keep picking on her is cruel and unacceptable. Every fucking five year old throws rocks and dirt. It’s not vandalism. It is being a kid. Give her a fucking break. The neighbor seemed very inclined to listen to me once I started talking about the abusive alcoholic father. I think she will be nicer to M. I’m not saying let the kid get away with shit–but you don’t need to call the cops.

When did we become a society that wants to call the police because a five year old throws dirt? I feel so sad. I feel like there is no way for people to grow up and try things and see what happens in the world.

The other day Shanna got her hands on the last rogue bag of cookies and brought it into her room. I yelled at her, of course, because crumbs in your room attract ants ohmyfreakinggoodness how many times do I have to say this? When I finished dealing with the cookies I came back into her room and sat next to her. I said, “I have been so busy yelling at you for making messes lately that I haven’t stopped to say that it is really cool how much you have grown. You are very good at taking care of yourself. You are very good at figuring out what you need and how to get it. Most of the time you make very good choices both for your body and for being polite to me. Thank you. I do see it. I appreciate you a lot. I think it is wonderful watching you grow up. You surprise me every day by learning new things and I’m so glad I get to watch you.” She told me, “Thank you for noticing. I’ll learn about the crumbs one of these days.” I laughed and hugged her. I told her I believe so.

It feels like depression is this binary switch in my brain. It goes on and off many times a day. There are many things that bring me joy and when I feel those things I am distracted and the depression switch goes off for a bit. But I can’t do this on purpose. I’m not a rat and it isn’t a food pellet button. I can’t just decide to keep myself distracted. I can’t decide to feel joy. It just happens. Often in connection with my kids.

I feel like the most prideful person on earth when I look at my children. I feel like I will explode with good feelings when I look at them. How did something so wonderful come out of me? I am so grateful that I get to know them. Even though they make my life harder (and holy shit they do) I wouldn’t have it any other way. Without them I don’t have this joy on tap.

So I spend my days walking between depression and shame and anxiety and anger and joy. I can’t just sit down and decide how many minutes of a given day will be spent on which emotion. I can stack the deck in my favor. There are stress relieving choices I can make. But the stress relieving choices are unfortunately often choices that lessen my joy. It’s a weird balancing act. Less bad might mean less good too. More good might well mean a lot more bad.

Today I feel quite confident “not today”. Today is a day of rest. I will spend today with Noah and the kids. Noah will rub my feet because he is nice. We will cuddle and read together. I will get to touch Noah. This morning I am typing from bed instead of the garage because I haven’t been touching Noah much lately and I feel this aching emptiness without him. I like keeping my foot on him. He’s there. He’s real. He’s mine. I’m not alone. No matter how I feel, no matter how I think–he is here. I can touch him.

Noah has spent years trying to get me to understand that I shouldn’t have put up with things from Tom that I did. It wasn’t a “good” relationship it was just a lot better than what I had previously known. I don’t know if I put up with things from Noah that I shouldn’t. I know that, unlike Tom, Noah is working on things that benefit both of us. Noah is very serious about everything he has being for me. It’s a weird feeling. Someone wants me to have as much as can be given to me. I feel constantly unworthy.

I have been diagnosable as “mentally ill” for a long time. It’s not Noah’s fault. I don’t really want to come down on him for the results.

Hard is hard, duh

I don’t actually think Noah will change. That’s not a stinging indictment. Noah does a lot for me all the time. I think I read MDC to remind me that Noah helps more than average. He does a lot of solo time with the kids. He has gotten a lot better over the years about helping with house work. He cooks breakfast every morning. He cooks dinner three or so nights a week. He does bedtime at least three nights a week and some weeks almost every night.
Noah is trying. Noah is doing the best he knows how. Noah isn’t trying to be cruel by ignoring my birthday he is simply treating me like I am him. I’m not. But he feels pretty comfortable around me.
What I want from Noah is something that can’t be ordered. It can’t be asked for. It can’t be requested. It can’t even be properly explained. I want him to want to. He doesn’t. Ok. That’s that.
Noah is the most exciting person to have an affair with I have ever found. He likes paying a lot of attention to me. He likes having intense conversations. He has spent more hours than I want to think about helping me crawl around in my brain. He works hard on supporting me. He really does.
He’s done. He’s tired. He is over extended. And no matter how much I sit here and cry he has to be able to function and go support our family. I can’t really keep pushing him. I can’t get mad at him for not coming up with more want to. If he is out of it then he is out of it and it makes sense. Marriage to me isn’t easy. I can see how it would wear a person down.
I called Pam this morning because I didn’t want to cry by myself and she is on the east coast so I didn’t feel too bad about calling. It was still early by her standards but it wasn’t completely obscene. She told me that she knew me for years before she knew I was depressed and suicidal. I hide it well. I’m moody, sure, but so what?
I am doing better socially in the home school group. I can talk to them about kids. That’s easy. I don’t know how to socialize with more generic people. I feel terror and anxiety when I try to talk to people I know in other ways. Who is going to send the next nasty letter telling me how bad I am? I’m afraid to open my mouth. I already know that I am bad. I don’t need to be told any more. So talking to people is hard. When will this person decide they hate me?
We went to a party when the girls were at the Godmamas’ house.  I compulsively bring up sex (no one wants to hear about my kids—right?) and then feel awkward and weird because I shouldn’t talk about sex any more. If you are not interested in fucking people you shouldn’t talk about sex. It’s just not a good idea. That’s my life experience.
I don’t know why anyone would bother to talk to me. I don’t feel like I have anything to offer. I can hear Taylor and Kira ranting in my head already. Ok, I know why you tell me. It doesn’t feel like enough.
Once upon a time a father had to come up with money to give a man in order to marry off his daughter. She would be an imposition on her new husband so here is a gift to ease the burden. I have no dowry. I have nothing of value to trade for the burden of knowing me.
I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter. I know some pathetic people who keep right on trucking. But I tell you, as I sit here and watch the sun dance on Shanna’s golden hair I think that I don’t want to be poison. It would be bad to have poison in this house. She is so wonderful. I don’t want to hurt her. Don’t I hurt her by living? By being this person?
I think a lot about what I am teaching my kids. For some strange reason I haven’t been talking to them much in the past couple of weeks. Shanna has even commented on me being quiet and she asks me what I’m thinking about.  I told her I am thinking about things that provoke really strong emotion in me and I’m trying to figure out how to resolve the issues in a more logical fashion—which is hard to do while feeling strong emotion. So it’s taking me a long time and I find that frustrating. But the only way to solve a hard problem is to keep trying no matter how frustrated you are.
I’m still not talking much.
Several of my friends have been posting about their kids reading. I’m so glad Shanna isn’t reading yet because she is looking over my shoulder right now. That will be inconvenient very soon.
My friend Kira listened to my pity party and offered to take the girls for a full day tomorrow. Another friend has borrowed them for a few hours here and there. Calli prefers to stay with me but Shanna is enjoying going out.
It’s weird and hard that I have more support than I think and less support than other people think. There are people in my life who are willing to babysit. But they are all very busy and have a lot of things going on and no one is available consistently and I don’t have particularly close relationships with most of the people who are willing to babysit.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t like using babysitting services from people I otherwise don’t know very much. I do it because I don’t have a choice. I try to do it as little as possible. I try to get to know people. Given the degree of social anxiety I feel it’s challenging.
I don’t have a close personal relationship with someone where I can say, “I’m in a bind can you watch the kids for three days in a row.” Yeah, no. If I was in labor again something could be found. If I were involuntarily committed I’m sure the community would rally to support Noah. Given that we don’t really want to do anything that drastic no we just don’t have consistent help.
It makes things complicated. When I talk to people about this they always suggest this long list of options that require a)money to burn or b)relationships I don’t have. I wouldn’t take my kids to a church group I’m unfamiliar with and leave them there even though it can be had for basically nothing because I don’t want my kids indoctrinated in pretty much any faith. I’ll take burn out.
So it’s all my fault and I need to shut the fuck up. Beggars can’t be choosers.
The kids asked if we can walk to dinner. Out of time. I didn’t get to tell you about the Ideal Most Perfect Suburban Night Ever we had last night.

this is all the typing my wrists can manage today

I was asked if I wasn’t writing to punish Noah. No, you pita I am not punishing Noah. My arms hurt and I haven’t figured out typing with the braces yet (I’m not sure I will be able to type at speed on this keyboard–it’s really slow and hard) and I haven’t had much time alone in a room. Using edibles instead of smoking means that all of my alone time is running. I can’t type while running.

I miss my mom really hard.When I think about her lately I remember the things she got right. My mom was very good at Christmas and birthdays. She was good at them because she was raised Mennonite (so no Christmas) and her father’s birthday was the same day as hers and he was more important during her childhood. So she paid a lot of attention to her kids on special days. She was absolutely in the the gift love language camp.

I gave my mom her first Christmas stocking when I was sixteen. She cried. No one had ever thought of her. I don’t want to become her.

Noah isn’t big on birthdays. Not his own or anyone else’s. I feel like that makes me a worthless piece of shit. I work how hard all year long on our life and I prioritize other people above me all the god damn time. I treat me like I’m not very important pretty much every day. I look forward to my birthday as the day when I’m special. Only I’m not. I’m stupid to think I am.

It’s not that I’ve had good birthdays ever–I’m not saying my mom managed that. But she gave me a lot of presents. Well, when I was going into middle school my birthday presents were a trapper keeper, lined notebook paper, and pencils. My birthday is the second week of school in a lot of districts. I didn’t even get fucking erasers. I got in a lot of trouble for crying and making my mother feel bad. It was rude of me.

I’m in a bad spot. The suicidal ideation is really pervasive, dominant, and overwhelming. I keep showing up to work every day hoping that if I ignore it then it will go away. I’m angry and sad. I feel worthless. I feel like outside of Calli and Shanna no I don’t actually care if it would hurt people for me to die. I don’t care if you people get to hurt more than me one day. Fuck you for thinking you should be more important than me forever.

But I really don’t want to do that to my children. So I don’t. Today I feel very certain that if I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t be here any more. Nothing else is worth this.

Noah and I have talked about his worry about what happens when the kids are grown ups. Will they still be enough? Will he be enough? I don’t know. Given that I just got told fuck you for the fourth year out of six years of marriage on my birthday probably not. Probably not. I feel like a selfish piece of shit but no I don’t think I have another thirty years of this in me. I’m tired of feeling worthless and unimportant. I’m not sure how much longer I can handle this.

I feel humiliated and embarrassed. I shouldn’t care. It should be no big deal. I shouldn’t even blink at this point. I know I’m not important. I don’t know why I keep being stupid enough to be disappointed by reality over and over.

Penises are weird.

Ok, I’m not actually posting this because I want to get into the “is it right to circumcise or not” conversation. I’m posting it because looking at the pictures on this website (it’s extremely graphic and nsfw) explains a lot of why I have probably historically had a lot of the pain I have had during sex. I don’t have that pain with Noah. It’s just not there.

not good

Terrible running day. I didn’t finish. Noah has to leave. I have to smoke first. I can’t take care of my kids when I am crying as hard as I have been crying for two hours. I can’t take care of my kids when the only thing going through my mind is wondering what would actually kill me if I jumped off an overpass in front of a semi. Head trauma? Crushing my lungs? Blood loss slowly on the side of the road?

I feel petty and stupid and immature and like an asshole. I am so selfish. So stupid. And pretty much everything in my head is stuff I have said before with no effect. So I can’t say it again.

I found an extra scalpel blade a while ago. I didn’t throw it away. It is in new packaging and I found it going through stuff. That’s the kind of life I have. “I was going through a box and I found a spare scalpel blade.” I want to cut. I want to cut more than I want to breathe. Significantly more. So much that I am shaking with how much I want it. I want it. I fucking want it. I want to bleed. I want to see it.

I have to take the kids to the park so I can run fourteen laps around the soccer field. I need to be more stoned first. Maybe I don’t actually have to do fourteen laps. Technically the walk to and from the park will be far enough to make up the miles. Maybe we’ll just go to the park and I’ll push Calli on the swing. I’m not sure I can be responsible for anything else today.

“Why did you leave?”

It’s a simple question, isn’t it? She doesn’t know how to begin though. She doesn’t want to say that she was out doing laundry when a song came on the radio about a girl running away from home while doing the laundry. She didn’t know till then that they didn’t own her the way they said they did.

Why did she leave? Because she wanted to find out if the whole world was just like them. She heard the line, “She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hanging out of the line” and just like that she knew she was alone. Dad was at work. Mom was grocery shopping.

All of a sudden there was this moment of adrenaline. No one was here to stop her. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She looked down at the laundry in the basket. She was supposed to be working. If she didn’t finish her chores she would be punished. She could feel herself starting to hunch her back and cringe forward as her breath came faster and faster faster.

She felt surprised as she heard herself say, “No.” Her hands shook but her spine was straight as she turned around and ran to the house. She quickly grabbed her bag and started putting a few portable food items into it. Her mind raced. She had somewhere between thirty and forty five minutes until her mother was due to return home. She had to work fast.

Mellie was good at working fast. She had to be. If she didn’t move fast there was always a hand or a foot waiting to incite her towards speed. She knew she needed food first or she wouldn’t make it through a couple of days.

Wait. No. She needs money. Oh god. She paused for one second and felt her stomach lurch. How serious is she? How badly does she need to get away? If she crosses the line–if she takes money then he will kill her. Mellie knows that the money is far more important than her.

Yes. She’s that serious. The second she decides she races to her bedroom and gets dressed as fast as she can. She needs to take the money last. If she takes it first and then gets caught she is screwed. She doesn’t have thirty minutes she has five minutes. She needs a head start.

She puts on four pairs of pants and two dresses all at the same time with a sweater and a jacket. Warm hat goes in the bag–she can’t wear that and be inconspicuous in early spring. Two pairs of socks shoved into her shoes. She scans her room–no, nothing that matters. She puts the backpack with food on her back and runs to her parents room.

There’s the jar. Her dad very seriously called it his retirement jar. It was a half gallon mason jar. Every day he empties his pocket of change and small bills and puts them in the jar. Every year or two he has me roll up the coins and he takes all of it down to the bank and gets one hundred dollar bills instead because they are easier to store. He leaves all the hundreds in the jar and just dumps new money on top of it. He had many thousands of dollars in the jar that fateful day: $246,237.39 to be exact.

Well, that was what she had left when she sat down to count it in a hotel room the next night in a hotel room in Texas after taking a bus from her small town in Iowa to a big train depot in Chicago. She took the train because she was afraid she would be easier to track if she took a plane.

“Mellie. Mellie! You aren’t saying why. You are saying how. We want to know that too but we need to start at the beginning. Why did you leave? What happened to trigger that? We assume you were abused but we don’t know how or why. We don’t understand you. Can you please tell us from the beginning?”

The beginning. She leans back and coughs in a faux theatrical manner and says in a loud cheery voice,

“Oh it’s the beginning you want! Then lets have it then. The whole bloomin story. Some of it I’ll tell you and some I will write down because I don’t think I can speak the words even now.” As she spoke her voice trailed off in force until she was speaking slowly with care. As if forcing the words with her dying gasps. But she’s not dying today. She is sure of it.

The good: we went to a party!

The bad: we left after two hours.

The ugly: I could no longer control my crying.

I had fun for most of the time I was there.

These arm braces make it nearly impossible to type. Hm. I think I understand the weird split ergo keyboards now. That would be easier in this position. As it is I can barely get my body far enough away from the keyboard to get my hands low enough to type. Hm.