Monthly Archives: October 2012

Please, stop telling me to relax.

Every so often I will talk to someone New Agey and they ask me how they can be more sensitive of my “triggers”.  I laugh and tell them not to worry about it. My triggers are mine. The world can’t be responsible for them.

I don’t know how to tell people that I don’t want them to tell me to relax. Don’t tell me to take a deep breathe. Don’t tell me to breathe into it. My earliest memories of my father involve him whispering into my ear, “Shhhhhhhh. Relax. Breathe into it. If you relax it won’t hurt. If you relax then your face won’t move. Relax. Let it happen. It’s going to happen. If you don’t relax it is going to be much worse for you.”

We we were in a group of people. The details are vague. People were moving nearby and I was practicing how to exhale slowly and carefully without flinching. I remember that I tried to smile at him. I said, “I lalu Daddy.”

“I lalu too, baby. Shhhhhh. Relax. You’re getting tense.”

Sometimes people ask me why I don’t “just forget” what happened. I don’t seem to be capable of denial as a defense mechanism. I feel haunted. I hate that I feel like a victim so much of the time even when nothing bad is happening. I’m just waiting for the next bad thing. It is inevitable. Who is going to hurt me next?

I’m working a lot harder at keeping people at a careful distance when I talk to them. I went to a party last weekend. I did the social chit chat thing without crying. That’s a big victory for this year. I feel pathetic. I feel a lot of other things but I’m not ready to write about any of them.

Sometimes it feels strange to me that I can talk explicitly about sexual abuse that happened when I was a toddler through child but I feel quite squeamish about getting specific about what I feel about anyone I am having ambiguous feelings about. Once I’m on a side of a fence then I spill the beans. I don’t want to dither about people more than I have to. It’s not nice.

I’m trying to figure out what and how that works for me. If I’m afraid of it then I will almost start doing it at some point. I have to wait till the kids move out. They didn’t sign on to that much asinine public shit.

I’m worrying about publicity and disclosure. Which is hilarious because Noah isn’t. Sometimes I think I keep him around because he reminds me a lot that I get to exist. I’m allowed to have opinions. I’m allowed to be an asshole in public. The world won’t end. Sometimes assholes say true things. Not very often. Even assholes can’t be worse than a broken clock.

I don’t actually think I’m much of an asshole online. Once in a while. Now I’m babbling. I don’t want today to start. I’m feeling very low on reserves. Luckily a Complication is coming for tea. I have therapy again tonight. I have a feeling that tonight is going to be the kind of night where I have a lot of trouble not beating my head on concrete.

It takes a lot of pain at this stage of my life to block out the experience of remembering things I don’t want to remember.

The worst part is that people always want to tell me to relax. Breathe into it. I want to fucking puke. I want to put my head through a window. Maybe the glass will be sharp enough to cut his voice out of my brain.

Shanna has been telling me to relax. I can’t explain to her why I sometimes have tears run down my face. I’m trying, Shanna. I’m trying. That is not something my body believes it is safe to do. I don’t say that. I say, “Because I’m so happy that I have someone like you in my life now.”

I think a lot about how the “parent by choice” sets a persons self-perceived value.

About that movie…

I’m sorry about not mentioning the movie title. The title is Absent. If you do decide to watch it, there is a lot of information in it, skip the last twenty minutes. It turns into an infomercial. Which bugs me. Jesus and their Wildmen Group will fix alllllllll your problems. If you are a man. They were quite clear women are just fucked.

The older I get the more I believe that when people offer me two choices the right path is some yet unnamed third option. In grad school I wrote a very long winded snarky rant about the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken because anyone who obsesses that hard about trying to be in the minority is an idiot. No you are not a special fucking snowflake. Sometimes you walk the same god damn road as every one else–get over it. It was like Thoreau writing about self reliance. Mother fucker wouldn’t have survived if the wives in his community had not taken pity on his sorry ass.

I’m tired of hearing men talk about the hard lonely road of manhood. Manhood is not harder than womanhood and I’m angry about that attitude and assumption. I feel angry about the gender essentialists acting like all aggression, all choice, all validation must come from a man. It’s just not true. Studies routinely show that children raised by queer parents turn out “normal” or usually better than expected when compared to their peers.

The documentary had a number of very alarming statistics that show a strong correlation between fatherless households and all kinds of problems. The thing is–some kids come out of single mother households and do very well. Where is the gap? Why do some kids fail and others succeed? Yeah yeah resilience. Blah.

I actually think community involvement is key. It’s why I begged, nearly on my knees, for my friends to pick my kids and make a family for them. So far Marcie and Kitten are the primary people to really seek out a relationship. Shanna will spout off, “I like staying with Marcie and Kitten. I like having two homes with two families to take care of me and love me. I know that if anything bad happens I have people who want me.”

She asked me once why she “had” to go stay with them. She was less sure in the first few months. I told her that most kids are born into large extended families and they are protected if something happens to their parents. Unfortunately my kids don’t get that. We have to make our family. That is why she has to spend time with M&K because they are becoming her family. Your family is made up of the people who show up and love you and care for you. That is what makes family.

Watching this documentary made me feel really bad. I don’t like hearing my attitude and my words coming out of the mouths of a series of sex workers. “I just wanted someone to love me.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I think I got so fat while I was dating Tom because I felt a constant pressure to look more socially appealing so that I could be a trophy out in public. Fuck you. If you want me to be a skinny trophy then I’m going to get fatter. And fatter. HA. I think that is how I avoided ever becoming a sex worker. If I had been thinner I almost certainly would have done it. I thought about it.

I thought in great detail about how I wouldn’t be able to handle the public humiliation of being a sexual object on the internet. Men are too fucking mean. I would feel bad because I am not the most common idea of pretty. Guys are vicious to women who have the audacity to want to be looked at while being ugly. And I’m not even ugly. I’m just not that gorgeous. They would tear me down. I would never be good enough.

I was just barely smart enough to know I didn’t want that. Specifically I didn’t want to feel like I was never good enough sexually.

When you wander around real life as a pretty-enough slutty girl you hunt with the shot gun method (send out a lot of shells and pray you hit something) and you keep low standards–you never have to feel not-good-enough. There is always someone for whom you are the best god damn thing ever.

Men gain status as they age. Older men have more money, more position, more respect. Women are the opposite. Our value lies in our reproductive-years-tied beauty. We peak at 19 and go downhill fast. By 23 guys were openly snubbing me at dance events to chase 16 year olds. I made god damn sure I was fat during my peak years. I wanted to make sure my peak wouldn’t be high enough to get me in more trouble. I think my life would have been much worse if I had been thinner or prettier. Specifically because I think I have a fairly realistic assessment of my looks and relative status. I know who I can chase without getting in trouble. Now. After many years of trouble and errors.

What do I mean by that? I mean I am too good for the losers. I do have standards. What do I mean by loser? Ha! Not for this post.

The big concept from the documentary that I am going around in my head is this idea of a parent-by-choice. People feel entitled to their mothers. That isn’t validating. They want to have someone else who loves them and spends time with them because they want to.

I think a lot about what parenting means. It is the process of teaching children how to become adults. In America for the last few generations most of that raising happens in schools. Don’t get pissy with me, working parents. Really. We expect the schools to teach them how to balance a checkbook. We expect the school to teach them about our political system and how it was created. We expect the school to teach them about health and hygiene. We do parts of it–but we do those parts grudgingly and with hostility. Maybe I am projecting my attitude onto other people.

Potty training Shanna was hard. Potty training Calli was easy. It isn’t that every part of parenting works that way. It’s that the reason that I had a hard time doing it with Shanna was because I had a hard time learning the routine. I struggled with it internally. I always felt hostile about having to pay that much attention to her body. I did it–you can’t EC a kid from three months old without paying a lot of attention. I did it and I smiled while I did it. But I begrudged it.

By the time Calli came along helping her transition to the potty was easier because I was frustrated and ready to explode because of laundry. All of a sudden modeling potty use was intuitive and constant. And effective. I think I gave Shanna a lot of mixed messages because when I was in a bad mood and feeling angry about her frequent potty-breaks-with-no-pottying I would stick her back in a diaper because I didn’t want to yell at her or shake her and I was getting angry. With the diaper I relaxed. By Calli I didn’t relax when she had a diaper on. Ha.

I did one of my periodic yelling-at-Noah things last night. Yelling is a strong word. We were in bed and the whole conversation wasn’t much louder than a stage whisper because the kids were asleep.

I’m sure that part of the reason that I’m thinking about this is the documentary. Tay–you’d be surprised. The documentary explicitly goes into “emotionally absent but physically present”. I think you would understand some of your fears about parenting more.

I don’t actually think it is so amazing everyone must go watch it. But yet it kind of is. My friends are breeding. How we treat our kids matters. Ignore the infomercial ending. You don’t need God to be a parent but you do need to be very patient and think about what skills you want your kids to have.

Your kids should be prepared to go live in the world. They need to know how to shop and budget. They need to know how to cook and clean and do laundry. If you really want to have your kids interested in electronics and math, you should probably figure out age appropriate ways to bring that into their life as much as possible. Even if your kid doesn’t become a geek they will still have a firm footing in your culture. Your kid is more likely to grow up attached to geek culture–that’s still a win in this valley. Y’all need support people.

Wouldn’t Shanna make a great project manager? ha.

Think about the world outside of school. We want our kids to live in it. We want them to have skills and abilities that the school system doesn’t teach. How do we get these things across? What are the most important things? I’m not sure. One of the hardest parts of homeschooling is having to be present with my own ignorance. I have to be constantly expanding what I know. When I get an internal indication that “That’s all there is to know about that!” because I have made up my mind… even though I’m shaking and can’t really hear what is being said in the moment I store it. I think about it later. I do sometimes become more rigid–not always. The not always is important, I think.

I think that teaching children takes a lot of time. I feel weird about the way in which I am treating this twenty year block as “not about me”. I am trying to learn what it means to stay in one place. I don’t have any scope for being in one place and watching the slow passing of time. It feels like I am not doing anything. My scenery isn’t changing. I’m stagnant. I’m doing a lot of things that are hard and uncomfortable. If Noah and I didn’t have kids I’m not sure I would still be here. I wouldn’t have asked for monogamy without kids. I don’t think I would have stayed for poly.

I look ahead in my life to when my children are older. At some point they will probably figure out how promiscuous I was. How do I want to present that message. “Yeah –it was great! You should try it!” or “It was terrible. Don’t be like me.”

I need a middle path. I was given this parenting book: Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation. I have a perverse habit of reading only what I want in books. Mostly her message about trying to force kids to be Catholic so they feel guilty doesn’t work for me. She is also a big sports fan. Not so much.

But she’s funny and her concepts are not terrible. I’m just not her culture. Anyway. What she is essentially explaining is: pick a definite culture. Indoctrinate the shit out of your kids. Do it in large ways and small ways. Mention your culture and your values as often as possible because your kids will be getting a lot of conflicting messages out in the world. Make sure yours is the loudest. You are the voice inside your child’s head. What do you want them to hear for the rest of their life? And cook a lot of good food so they always want to come home for dinner because being with you is better than being with anyone else. That’s her message in a nutshell.

Given that I don’t want to adopt the cultures she suggests (it’s not that they are bad they just aren’t for me) that means I kind of have to figure out what my culture is.

Long time readers, chorus with me now: I am ____________. I’m not going to say it. You have to comment. Ha.

But is it? I’m not sure.

Thank you opt-in audience.

I’m watching this movie Absent on Netflix instant view. It is making me think of a bunch of things and for no particular reason I decided to share with you ladies. I think I miss getting out.

The movie is a documentary about absent fathers and what that has done to American culture over the past century or so. It is incredibly heterosexual and gender essentialist in its presentation. Holy moly with the gender assumptions–I’ll just say in advance. I am doing my best to flinch only a little and instead substitute “parent by choice” for a lot of the rhetoric. Studies have proven beyond any possible doubt that children of same sex couples do as well or better than children of heterosexual couples… blah blah. Ok, end introduction. 🙂

So my dad wasn’t really in my life. When he was he was a source of horror. I’ve had an interesting journey working on my “Daddy issues”. Watching this movie is personally quite painful. I’m not even done with it. I’m not honestly sure I can handle finishing it today. It’s too hard. I do want to see where they are going with some of this.

I don’t agree with gender essentialism even slightly. But I’m very interested in some of his ideas about aggression (women have hunted throughout all of history too, jerk) and having a kind of balance of personalities between the parents. I am significantly more aggressive than my husband in the vast majority of life.

The movie talks about how little girls look to their parent-by-choice (because children trust their mother’s love in a different way) for validation of their right to exist. That’s something I’m going to have to sit with really hard.

I’m half an hour into the movie. Err, if anyone wants to watch the movie and talk about it I would love to have a conversation. I probably won’t continue babbling if no one responds because I will feel stupid. 🙂

This whole truckload of issues massively impacts my parenting. I over-think life because every model I have in my head is massively dysfunctional. I feel like I never get to coast. I never get to relax and just do what my impulse says because I bloody know my impulses are bad.

I find it interesting that 3/4 of my long-term partners have come from intact families. All of their families have rejected me. Sometimes I think I smell like a homewrecker because I’ve never been part of a home.

(This is where I decided I couldn’t actually handle sharing this with the women in my home schooling group. Originally I started typing this up in their discussion forum. I’m not there to make friends. I’m not there to make friends. I’m not there to make friends. Can’t alienate people. Can’t alienate people. Can’t alienate people. Thank you blogger.)

I’m not very good at being polite while effectively communicating.

I’m having a hard time being nice to people. Specifically men who like to clear up “what I really mean”. I don’t mean that men should do something about rape. I mean that men AND women should do something about rape. If those lazy chicks would start doing something, maybe we could get somewhere one of these years.

That’s not what he meant. Of course.

When I say, “I think that men should actively slap down this kind of language” I don’t mean “Wouldn’t it be nice if men and women constantly paroled one another and gave out friendly little advice about tone and language.”

Women disapproving of rape centric language isn’t exactly news. It hasn’t accomplished much. Chicks are on the other side of the Embargo refusing to dole out sex rather these guys talk right or not, why should the rapetastic guys give a shit that women who won’t put out dislike what they say? Women have nothing to offer that the men consider worth curtailing their behavior for.

When men censure other men for using inappropriate language it is either ignored because it is from a stranger (reasonable to ignore strangers) or it is coming from a buddy. Your buddies help create your world view.

I occasionally hear guys say things like, “Why won’t you give me a blowjob? Why are you being mean like that?” If there was a handy buddy nearby to say, “Dude she doesn’t owe you a fucking blowjob shove off.” He’d be a lot less likely to harass women in front of his buddy. Maybe less willing in general. That’s the best I’ve got.

The police and outraged women cannot create an environment where a problematic behavior goes away. Shall we look to Prohibition? Rape centric language works the same way.

I’m going to pick an internet cultural point just for fun. How about Reddit. If ALL THE WOMENZ downvote something inappropriate it will hardly be a dent. Guys need to stop ignoring things they disapprove of. Instead of saying, “Well it’s not my thing but I’m not going to lecture them” say “Yo, posting pictures you surreptitiously take of some chick’s panties isn’t cool” and there are tens of thousands of similar comments? Well, it would be much harder for the assholes to have the day. There is no hope for websites like Fetlife. That’s just a rapist party ground. 

When you put men and women in a room together you get a different culture than when men are alone. Women are trying to change the communal space and being slapped down hard. A lot of the problem is that we have no access to trying to change the culture where men go off by themselves. That’s pretty entrenched. I can’t do anything about it.

And if one more man that I know sanctimoniously tells me he doesn’t know anyone who supports rape I will vomit. I could start listing your friends you asshole. I could tell you stories that would make you shiver.

Sometimes I feel a little weird about how many women come to me with their rape stories. They will never prosecute. So I walk around feeling like a one-woman Megan’s List. I know who has been arrested for rape. I know who chases the 16 year old girls and pushes them too hard. I know who says, “I’ll just touch it with my fingers” before pushing a cock in. I feel bound by the seal of the confessional. I can’t tell who these people are.

I give subtle warnings but frankly I’m not sure anyone should listen to my timid “He’s not a good person” when I can’t give any details. Sometimes I start crying because I am so overwhelmed by what I know but I can’t share it. I wasn’t given permission. I know about a lot of rapists in the bdsm community and in the dance community. I know who raped their sister. I know who has a habit of “slipping the condom off” after a few minutes of sex.

And I can’t do anything with this body of knowledge.

Noah says people will be more offended and not less if I explain why I talk about white men the way I do. I have had very few ongoing interpersonal relationships with men of other races. I don’t feel like I understand the cultural bias enough to speak about them as a group.

I suppose that technically when I am generalizing I should go all the way to saying “white American men” because Europeans act differently.

These are the men who make up the vast majority of my life experiences. I have had a lot of terrible experiences. I have yet to meet a black man and have someone tell me he is a rapist. I know it happens but it is invisible to me. So I don’t flinch when black men walk by.

When I look at white men I see all the potential power they have in my society. Not that each man is actually loaded with privilege and ease. I understand that they have a distribution too. But I have known rich monsters and poor monsters. They aren’t very different.

I generalize about that group because I have had highly negative and highly positive experiences with men in all socio-economic groups and different social communities. And I like to travel. I meet people all over the place. I have been to 27 states so far and I will see all of them.

I asked Noah today if it was hard being married to someone as angry as I am at his demographic. He said it is much like living with any random person because everyone hates white men. I feel sad when Noah talks about his experience of living in the world. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun being him.

I suppose it would be fair to say that I have a lot of neutral interactions with white men–although honestly those are more rare for me. In all the random social contexts when I interact with people briefly it’s likely to be a woman or a non-white man. Like checkout clerks. Those are the most neutral interactions in my life.

Otherwise I find myself loving or hating individual white men. It’s rare for me to feel ‘meh’. And I usually know within a few minutes if I hate someone. It is rare for me to change my mind.

When I love someone and I am very angry with them sometimes it feels kind of like loving them and hating them at the same time. I can tell that the danger zone for me is when I lose respect for someone. I don’t really know how to handle this like a grown up. Luckily it seems to involve people fading completely out of my life whether I like it or not. I am just riding the waves of people coming and going. Don’t get attached to anyone.

I’m doing better with the kids. It helps that Calli has picked up like 20 new words and it is making it easier to talk to her. We had a rocky couple of weeks. I’m glad things are settling down.

I feel worried that I won’t allow my children authentic emotion. Then I talk to them and I stop worrying. I’m kidding. Calli doesn’t want to ever identify herself as sad. She thinks she will be punished and sent away from me if she is sad. I am working on teaching her that there is a difference between “sad” and “ear splitting shrieks that will shatter my ear drums and cause a week long headache”. Being sad isn’t a problem. Hurting my head a lot is. It’s a journey.

I think it is interesting how when I look around at the world I see people trying to get by. That’s life. It’s a constant struggle to get what you need and what you want. I see people using modern conveniences as if they will provide happiness. How is that working out for y’all? It’s pretty shitty for me. I like my new washer and dryer and all but they haven’t improved my mental health.

When I think about generations past most of what I think about is how they spent a lot more time having to deal with being alone in a way that I cannot imagine. I have books. I have a computer and an internet connection. I am never completely alone. I always have a way of distracting my mind. I can’t help but think this is bad for me. Am I so anxious because I kill a lot of time distracting myself and I am not accomplishing much with my life? I have a hard time adding things on to parenting. Often that is all I can do. I feel pathetic about that.

Once upon a time people raised their children and their food. We would starve.

I think that part of the reason things are going better lately is Shanna is catching on to this housework thing. I guess we needed a week of being stuck at home for her to be bored enough to figure it out. Of course this involves me doing a lot of baseline work to keep the house clean. Anyway, for the past few days she has been coming to me and saying, “If I clean up the living room can I do a craft?” Then she cleans up the living room. I am so ecstatic I could swoon. Calli helps. They both try to sing the cleaning up song Kira taught them. “Look at Mommy do her share” always comes attached with this very doting smile and a hug. Sometimes Shanna feels patronizing in a good way.

I feel incredibly volatile. Happy then angry. I am having an interesting time emotionally handling the kind of disclosure going on in therapy. I really need to talk about these things. And I feel guilty talking to Noah about all of it at this point. I’m sure he’s bored. I’m bored. I feel very ashamed of being someone who has to talk about incest a lot. I need to talk about what I saw and experienced and how it changed me. I fucking have to and I don’t have many good places. But it’s hard going from that level of discourse back to biting my tongue and praying I have the ability to stay silent. Because everything in my brain is poison and I don’t want it to seep into the world.

My cheeks are raw. I have been biting the hell out of them. That seems to be the next thing I am doing. I do it completely unconsciously and I don’t notice till too late. I want to be in pain. I feel pretty disgusting and it seems somehow a moral wrong that I am in so little pain.

Last night sex was hurting. I told Noah to stop. He did immediately and was very supportive. I feel like I failed in my duties. I don’t get a checkmark towards my quota if I’m a loser and I can’t finish. Noah doesn’t feel that way. He was really nice. It wasn’t his fault it was hurting. Bodies are tricky. We both did everything “right”.  I still feel wrong. I still feel bad.

I feel this horrible sense of foreboding. I am not fulfilling my function. My role. There is this whole Embargo thing that protects other women. I am not fulfilling my function as the one who has to make up for all those asshole, selfish girls. I am saying no. That’s not something I am supposed to do. I feel braced for someone to hit me. I feel terrified. When I go out into groups of white men I have to be tense all the time and prepared to deal with someone who is going to be mad that I am joining the Embargo. I can’t relax. It could happen at any point.

But men of color don’t harass me in the same ways. They will express general appreciation for me but there is no attempt to move towards me (they usually back away while calling a compliment so as to appear less threatening, in fact). That’s not how white men work.

At the dance community I don’t have anyone suggesting that I am mean for not giving out blowjobs. Instead I have men sneer while they look me up and down and tell me they don’t want to dance with me. It’s not better.

I’m the only woman I know who went to Renaissance Faire for the sole purpose of picking up men and I slept alone. Even my normal fuckbuddies went off chasing other people. There are some groups that find me attractive and then there is the rest of the world. Where I am apparently far less cute than I think. And they sneer at me for wanting to touch their hands.

I know that there are other communities out there. Well, I hear. Sort of. Occasionally. After the fact. But things start too late at night or they are far away or they are not even vaguely kid friendly. Maybe I’ll find a community some day. Right now I am sticking with the home schooling group.

It’s weird. I am not going to be a person who really immerses herself in that world. I’m not going to chase fame for being a parent. It kind of bugs me. And I don’t think that one reads my blog and thinks, “Yeah, another Mommy Blogger.” That makes me curious. Would anyone describe me that way? I find the term hilarious. I write about incest and rape and violent sex. Oh, and I have kids.

Is my gender or my relation with those two people enough to change everything I am and have been online for ten years? (I read a blog. In case you are wondering what this random tangent is about.)

I have been feeling weirdly guilty about how disjointed my blogging is. I keep forgetting why I do it. I do it because otherwise these words get backed up in my head. When I get them out I can stop rehearsing. It doesn’t matter if other people are annoyed by how repetitive I am. It doesn’t matter if it is comprehensible to everyone. This isn’t a book. This isn’t a self-contained essay. It’s a journal entry. I miss that aspect of “livejournal”. It’s my personal journal. I just post it on the internet because otherwise I stop writing. I won’t do it just for me.

I feel like I specifically use blogging as a hack to get through my defense mechanisms. I am willing to write things in weird disjointed ways over long periods of time to a semi-anonymous audience. I will explain some things and not others with no rhyme or reason. I can handle that level of commitment. I can’t commit to always being coherent. I reference a lot of random things very quickly. After the fact it doesn’t always make sense to me either. This is stream of conscioiusness.

But I find patterns in the gush. I see in glaring detail the omission of the word contempt for the slow fade of love. I don’t stop loving people because I am mad at them. I stop loving people when I feel contempt for them. It’s not a pretty thing to say. That’s a lot of why I work hard to not criticize Noah overly. I don’t want to walk down that road.

I picked this life. I want to stay in it. That involves maintaining respect for Noah. He mentioned last night that he is going on 40. Yup. He pointed out how he is aging. Yup. When I met him he was  28. I think he has improved substantially. I think he has turned into a man. I appreciate the sacrifices he makes for me and for us–they are many.

Noah says that I am alienating my audience (white males) in my rhetoric. Yet years ago he went from saying, “I don’t think there is any sexism in my company” to being able to point out specific things people say that suck. And sometimes he even calls them on it. I like hearing about his day so I get a lot of details.

He has changed. I take a lot of responsibility. I’m not an easy pill to swallow. I can be quite bitter. But there is good to be found.

I wish I felt like I was good. I mean–I know I’m an asshole. I’m not a bitch. How about that for my anti-women shit. Assholes are self absorbed and unwilling to bend for someone else’s convenience or preference. Bitches actively want to hurt people and will go out of their way to punish people. How do you like that difference in gendered expectations?

I think men are damaging because they are apathetic about the harm that happens near them. It isn’t their problem, Jack. They don’t even notice it because it is so normalized for them. And when you slap them in the face repeatedly with the fact that it is happening they resist. Until they say, “Hey maybe you are right.”

Subtle polite messages are ignored. I’m not trying to hurt you, my darling white men. I’m just trying to slap you out of apathy. I understand that this approach is not for everyone. I am Not Everyone’s Thing. I knew that.

I’m tired of having men tell me they don’t know anyone who supports rape when they know a number of rapists. I just am not allowed to say out loud who they are. In fact they support rapists with ongoing friendship and love. Yeah. Stop telling me you don’t support rape. Fuck you.

Why don’t women report more to the police? Because it’s he said/she said unless a woman has the presence of mind to go directly to a hospital for a rape kit. It is pretty standard trauma reaction for women to not think clearly after being raped. Lets humiliate them for that as much as possible and see how many try to stand up for themselves. At this point I don’t think I could successfully prosecute any of the men who have assaulted me as an adult. I don’t have any options unless I had a very successful lawyer and my odds would still be miniscule. I don’t have money to burn on wasted attempts at vengeance. Give me a break.

No, I didn’t mean that men AND women have to work harder to end rape. I think women are already working about as hard as they can. Where are the god-dam men? Those supposed “allies” who “don’t support rape”. Yeah. Stop hanging out with rapists and I might believe you for more than a millisecond.

I am so tired of being lied to. I think I am glad we didn’t get the car back yesterday. I can use another day of being trapped in the house. I’m not feeling sociable.

I think that part of where women come into this is that every little girl should be told that when someone penetrates their genitals without consent that is rape. Let’s get this word force out of it. Because it means different things to different people and emotional coercion counts. If someone puts something in your genitals in a way you have not consented to that is rape. Or in your mouth. You can be raped with oral sex.

I feel like we don’t have a group consensus on what good touch/bad touch even means. So how can we have a discussion?

chaperones and resiliency

This morning I read another article by Rebecca Watson. She is active in the atheist/skeptic community and the guys are trying hard to run her out of town on a rail because she is talking about sexual harassment. Let me contain my shock.

She is really defensive about it being her community too. That is a hubris I lack. I don’t have a community. I’m aware that if I go out into any community alone I am fairly likely to have someone say something impolite at best. At worst guys rape me. This is my real life experience. I was telling Noah the other night that one of the things that is hardest for me about our marriage is he doesn’t have any interest in going places with me. Either I go alone or I don’t go. I don’t want to be raped any more. So I don’t go.

I feel angry and betrayed by all of the cultures that tell me the way to be safe is to have a chaperone. Only girls who matter have chaperones. You only have people to protect you when your pussy is special. Mine isn’t. I am the one who is supposed to accept that bad shit so it doesn’t happen to nice girls. That is why whores like me exist.

I don’t go out a lot. I hide a lot. I go to a lot of therapy and have people bring up this word “resiliency” a lot. re·sil·ience

[ri-zil-yuhns, zil-ee-uhns] Show IPA
noun

1.

the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2.

ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. 

So, what is my original shape? I think it is more that I don’t have an original shape I am trying to get back to. I adapt freely to wherever I find myself. I do not return to normal. I just act like the new normal is all I have ever had.

I hear: “We don’t really understand resilience but it is clear that it is necessary for recovery from trauma. It is clear you have it in spades.” Usually said with eyes wide. How can someone survive what I have survived? You put your head down and keep walking.

I get the impression I am unusually willing to accept fault for the things that happen in my life. I can fairly clearly see how and where people react to me differently than they react to other people. People are influenced by my presence in the room–often in ways that seem to be negative.

I have one F on my transcript for my entire life. It was graduate school. A professor was so unpleasant to me that I withdrew from the class and let it turn into an F rather than deal with her. She is infamous in the department for being a problem. Other students in the class took me aside and gave me pep talks about how I should let her obvious hate bring me down–she’s not the best judge of character in the world. It was really funny seeing the other students react to her picking me as the person to pick on. I got a lot of advice on how to be quieter and avoid her attention so she would stop being so mean. I’d rather have a fucking F.

I was thinking about parenting and teaching this morning. I was a really good teacher. My kids worked themselves like dogs for me. They came in voluntarily on the weekend when I gave them an upper division college level assignment. We had to use multiple classrooms to seat everyone who came in for extra help. Their test scores all went up. I had an unusually low absence rate. I had the problem kids who hardly ever go to school. They would come to my period and no other.

When a “problem kid” started acting out I would semi-make a scene in class kicking them out. I was very clear that my “authority” must be respected. Once we got outside I would sit next to them and only barely look at them. Then I would start fishing. “You aren’t freaking out because of what that idiot said to you. I know you better than that. What is happening? Why are you upset?”

I carry with me the belief that I am not very important and my behavior has a fairly limited effect on the world. People are not upset because of me. They are upset because the things I say make them think of things. They are upset by what is in their head–not me.

I called the parents of gang-bangers into class and gave reports about how awesome their kids were. My students tried. One time I gave a test and the highest grade was a C-. I stood in front of every period and cried. I apologized for wasting their time. I apologized for being such a bad teacher that I failed to usefully present the information. I explained what I had done and why. I explained various ways we could try to represent the material and I asked them to vote on approach. Everyone passed the next test–and it wasn’t because it was easy.

I think I write that I stay home because I am afraid of being raped because that is the part that I can really understand. No duh. I don’t go to dance events because I can’t deal with how inconsequential I am. That makes me sound like a whiny baby. It’s hard for everyone to be new. No one gives much respect to people they don’t know and I’ve worked hard at making sure not many people know me.

I have spent my life as a girl and then as a woman. Outside of sexual attractiveness it has been made quite clear to me that my duties are to be: pleasant, charming, gracious, and complimentary towards men. If you don’t play this game then men don’t have time to talk to you. Or dance with you. They snub you openly. I used to get around this because some of the horniest men like feisty women. If I am not looking for sex I find that I don’t get a lot of tolerance. My brand of being annoying isn’t worth putting up with if I’m not going to put out.

The last time I went to a dance event alone it was awful. (When I went with DSH and blacksheep it was wonderful.) I love to dance. I love the feeling of ballroom dancing. It makes me giddy and happy in a way that few activities can. But it’s partner dancing. When I go and ask men to dance they pull back just a hair, I see the corner of their lip pull up in a sneer, then they tell me no. Then I see them proposition a younger and prettier woman. I do dance with women, but I’m not a good lead. I don’t have enough experience. I try but it’s obvious that the experience lacks the crucial elements that makes dance fun.

Noah hates to dance. Years ago he dated this woman. She brought him to dance events and told him that people would be thrilled to have him there and they would welcome him. She uhhh was lying through her teeth (with the best of intentions) and he had a much less warm experience. Instead he found out that he was a bad lead and not that good looking so women spurned him.

I’ve been noticing a lot lately that Noah and I are both funny looking in very complimentary ways. We are similarly awkward. I suspect that is why we make one another feel good. I’m really glad he likes looking at me. I like looking at him. Soon we have to decide if we are going to doom our kids to being funny looking like us or if we are going to cough up for orthodontics. I feel fairly angry by the current meme that you can’t be attractive if you have less than perfect teeth. I have funny looking teeth. If you don’t like them, fine. I won’t fucking smile at you.

Lately I spend a lot of time feeling like I am drifting with the days. I haven’t had a car in a week. That changes our life. I actually like it–I feel less harried. We should be picking it up this afternoon. Weeee.

I want to feel like we get to have a break from the cramming-for-a-test phase of our life. We need to settle in and relax. What does that mean? How is that sustainable? I don’t know. But I need to expect less of myself for a while. I’m very good at being more and more and more productive. But I cry a lot.

What does resiliency mean? It means that no matter how hard someone hits me or how brutally someone rapes me or if someone up and moves me hundreds of miles away where I don’t know anyone I insure that I can return to being calm if needed. I am careful about what things actually need to be in my day and which things can go. I refuse to be a “modern woman” and use makeup and style my hair. It’s a waste of time and it depends on time and equipment I don’t always want to carry around. Just no. I don’t care that other people do. But having that kind of affect requires time and energy and money. I don’t have any to spare on such activities. Not to mention that I cry every fucking day. Hell no I’m not wearing eye make up. Are you insane?

Resiliency means that I know what is important to me and I know that most of the time other people don’t share my priorities. I can’t let that matter. I have to be functional. I have to be able to deal with food for myself and other people. I can do x number of things in a day. Doing my hair rarely makes the list. Hell I rarely shower. No I don’t brush my teeth three times a day and floss twice a day. I am too busy devoting cycles of my brain to not becoming hysterical in public.

I get the impression that I think about my face about as much and as often as a highly-functioning person on the ASD. I’m aware that if my face looks hostile I will have problems. I have worked very hard on having a calm, neutral facial expression that isn’t intimidating. It’s easier for me than for guys. I have more problem with not being intimidating enough when I want to be.

The first supervisor I had as a student teacher was a wonderful old Sicilian guy. He was a bit taller than me and about two hundred pounds heavier than me. (I’m not skinny and never have been.) He told me that I would have problems with discipline because I was such a tiny little thing. I never had discipline problems. I am quite effective at becoming a force of nature when I want to. The problem is limiting that energy. Limiting that hostility and anger is a constant effort. At any moment of the day you could say one or two sentences to me that will cause me to want to jump up and start punching holes in the wall. I am always on the verge of rage.

Resiliency is being able to mask what I am feeling so well that people don’t have any idea who I am or what I am like. When they find out they recoil. A lot of the point of going out in public with a chaperone is so that you always have someone to moderate for you. Someone who kind of keeps an ear out for how you are talking and how you are being talked to–someone who wants to keep you safe. I do it for my kids. No one has ever done this for me.

I have always been dropped into new social groups where I am unknown and I have to carefully suss out who is ok with talking to me. I’m not good at the generic social warm up. It is both why I am attracted to facial piercings and why I don’t have any. They would advertise for me in ways that would make it easier to find tribe and harder to pass when I am feeling unsafe.

I have resiliency because I always know that I will find a quiet dark room to hide in. I will always manage to find somewhere to hide and lick my wounds. I’m competent at that. I will always find a way to have a space that is mine and I will defend it with vigor. I will limit who is invited to come over. I’m quite fussy about people in my space.

As more and more years go by I know enough people that I could probably find de facto wingmen for events. It’s not the same. I don’t have a bestie. I don’t have someone who knows me intensely well and kind of runs interference. I hear that is “unhealthy” yet when I look around it is an awful lot of how people adapt the world to them. They carry a reality distortion field around with them because they travel in groups and therefore wherever they are there is a substantial representation of their world view. Near as I can tell no one shares my world view. I am always the dissenting opinion.

I’d rather stay home than not speak. I’m not always up for being shouted down. Gosh my house is nice.

I am apparently feeling shy about pictures of my house. I can’t seem to bring myself to take them. My house is pretty shabby and I don’t feel open to criticism. I choose to do silly things rather than standard things. I am ok with lots of big chips in my paint because the kids draw on the walls anyway so I’m not going to try and fix anything right now. My baseboards are coming off the wall. All of the screens were ripped off by lovely destructive daughter. I could go on and on. I see all the “wrong”.

But I really like the lights. And I like the things I paint. I like looking at them. I feel happy when I do so. I like my yard more by the year. I’m kind of glad I don’t have more land to work. God that sounds like work. I think I would be a lot more angry about Noah’s complete lack of interest in helping if I had more land. This is the right amount for me to work alone. I’m trying to figure out how I am going to put in a hundred (or two hundred) strawberry plants this spring. A friend is looking for people to go in on an order. I may not buy a massage package from her husband for a while in order to fund this. But we go through strawberries like nobodies business. I’m thinking about it. I want to decide by tomorrow.

I have been feeling very whiny about the winter this year. I haven’t turned the heaters on yet. I’m trying to be stubborn and get to November. I think I am really trying to be stubborn because I want to see Shanna wear some of the damn clothes I buy her. She runs very warm. I am wearing knee socks and a long sleeved shirt under my footed fleece jammies. She has on a light sundress. I’m not sure I have the fortitude to out wait her. Goodness knows our heating bill could use it. We’ll see.

I should go start breakfast. Noah went in early so we can pick up the car this afternoon.

I feel like I can only describe this by saying that I feel like I am trudging uphill through a molasses swamp. With every few steps a new load drops on my head from a new tree. I don’t want to get up. I want to sit here on the floor and cry. I’m not going to. I’m going to work on that half smile. I will sigh deeply. I will stand up. I will go in the kitchen. Shanna asked for pancakes. We’ll see.

New therapist

I feel like part of what I get out of seeing a new therapist is being able to go find someone who specializes in issues like mine and ask, “So have you worked on cases as complicated as mine before?” One therapist one time said, “Oh sure” but then she fired me a couple of months later because actually I freaked her out. This therapist has so far said that she has worked with ritual abuse survivors who have multi-layered trauma like me but they probably still had far fewer traumatic events.

I feel pathetic about my need to play Oppression Olympics. I try not to play it with individual people one on one. I need professionals to pat me on the back and tell me that it *should* be harder for me that it is for most people because my life experiences were worse. Otherwise I feel very pathetic because I don’t feel very functional.

I’ve been thinking very hard about what it means to lead an ordinary versus an extraordinary life. I think that technically it is too late for me to be ordinary. I am just weird.

Resiliency. That is the word people use for me the most often. “Wow. How did you come by such resiliency?” Do you mean why didn’t I lay down and die many years ago? I have shit to do. I seriously think that is why. I have stuff I want to see done in the world and I just can’t bring myself to leave them undone. No one else will fucking do them.

But that is the ordinary struggle of my species. How do I fit into the destruction/creation cycle? Humans tend to like to destroy things or build them–the same person rarely likes to do both. I am an order Muppet. I have a strong need to create and bring patterns out of chaos. The play house in the front yard is coming along and it looks really neat.

I don’t think I will change the world. I don’t think I am that special. But when people who have a lot of experience with trauma meet me they tend to tell me quite quickly, “Have you thought about writing about why you survived?” Yes. I am half-heartedly starting to work on that book right now actually. My husband and the few readers who gave an opinion think it is a better idea to write that one instead of porn next. Boring.

I’m having a hard time figuring out how writing it will look in my life. What shape will my hours take. I’ll figure something out. And I’ll have a mailing list soon. I hope I will feel a wave of energy when that arrives.  Why do I want a mailing list? Because I’m going to start asking people to share with me how they have outrun suicide. Blogger’s system rarely allows people to comment. I will be migrating away soon.

I’m not saying much about the first therapist. She is reading my book. She is working hard on learning history right now. I like therapists who want to get a good overall picture before they get into the nitty gritty. I feel weird when therapists want to hear just enough details to talk about one situation and then stop therapy. That’s not how or why I go to therapy.

She wanted to know who Traci and Francesca are. She wanted to hear about Uncle Bob. She wanted me to tell her about my sister and my grandparents. She has read up to 1987 but she still wants more information. So I proceeded to tell her a lot that isn’t in the book. Her eyes go wide a lot. I’m not sure how I will work with that long term. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll stop shocking her.

She asked how I met Noah. And if it was love at first sight. Ha! “I came to his random house party as person A’s date (I was living with person B) but I was really hunting for person C. Person C had shared two previous lovers with person B, whom I was living with. Person C is now living with the woman Noah broke up with to marry me. And person A is married to one of my closest friends. Noah was the creepy guy who was overly aggressive in the kitchen. He barely got a first date and it went questionably. He really barely got a second date. Then I dated him for nine months then dumped him.

No, it was not a foregone conclusion when we met.

Why does it work? Because he is nicer to me than any other person ever. Does that mean he is always nice to me? Hell no. If you haven’t noticed I kind of have low standards for how people treat me. I don’t know how to feel about our relationship. It works for me. I feel weird about how poorly it would fit anyone else. We are both so weird. Whatever. We are happy enough.

What is enough? How do you determine that someone is good enough to keep forever? I think it is a decision to spend time together. I think it is a decision to stay in love.

I feel lonely in a way I can’t explain. I feel empty and unable to try. But I have Noah. I’m trying to figure out how this will work. I feel bad because of how much contact I want with him–but I know of other families that spend far more time together than we do. We are actually fairly low in the time-spent-together column. We don’t see one another much. It has to be enough. It has to.

Whereas it is very nice that Taylor and P come to visit me a lot I can’t sit here and wait like a wound-down clock in between those visits. It isn’t fair to my kids. I feel like I do a lot of waiting to do things. I am waiting until I have company. I’m waiting until I feel safe. It’s hard to explain that part of the reason I don’t go do things by myself is I have legitimate reasons for knowing it isn’t safe for me to be out in the world alone. And I don’t seem to be able to make it work to go with anyone. I didn’t manage to find a partner who wants to do things with me.

Sometimes that feels like exactly what I deserve. Why would he want to do any of the stupid things I find interesting? I don’t know. I think that is a lot of what I was doing with Sarah. On paper she wants to do all the stupid shit I want to do. Unfortunately she is not physically able to keep up with the things she wants to do. And she doesn’t want to deal with what that means for her so she makes promises she can’t keep. And I explode. And I stop trying to do things because it is just too hard. The price is too high. I feel worse because I was stupid enough to persevere instead of better. I feel like the whole thing is an uphill slog and it just isn’t fucking worth it.

My kids are getting better at cleaning. “We aren’t going anywhere unless you do your share” is an effective tool. I’m god damn serious. I’m not your fucking maid. I don’t give them a big share, but they have to help. It’s becoming more automatic and streamlined.

I am looking into doing things with the kids by myself. So far the kids are so much extra work that I have trouble going out. As they are increasingly able to handle their basic needs my scope of support changes. I like going places with them now. It is a lot more fun than going places two years ago. Not having to carry a diaper bag has made my whole life better. I feel less angry about life now that I’m not a pack animal with a sore back all the time.

I feel scared to pull them into the hobbies I like. I find a lot of rapists when I go out into the world. I’m afraid to introduce my kids to people I know. It won’t be many more years before those rapists look at my daughters. I feel like the best defense they have is for people to know that they are my children. It would not be wise to mess with my children. I will end you. And I won’t feel bad about it. But do I even want them to do the things I do?

I’m not talking about bringing them to bdsm clubs. I’m thinking about things like Renaissance Faire and Dickens Fair and dancing. I like doing these things. I know a lot of rapists in these communities. And no one fucking gives a shit. I stopped going out because I couldn’t deal with fending people off. I just find these bastards. How is someone like me supposed to keep little kids safe?

I try to hide behind other mothers. I don’t think that women understand that I am doing this. I use you as a shield. I don’t have to talk to other people in the world if I don’t want to. Having company makes me feel more safe. It makes me feel like if something bad happens and I start kicking and screaming to defend myself someone might notice. Mostly I think people don’t care. Statistically I am right.

I stay home and garden (barely–I don’t have money and I own few tools so my efforts are slow) and try to teach the kids how to handle their own needs. That’s what I do right now.

Maybe some day I will feel less scared and I will be able to go do something more interesting.

Results of ballot discussion

We had a lively discussion I think. I certainly didn’t agree with everything said. Ha.

Prop 30: No one was completely thrilled about the wording of this prop because it doesn’t guarantee that the money will go to schools. However if you are serious about supporting school funding, voting yes for this is probably worth doing. If you strenuously object to tax hikes then I guess you’ll vote no.

Prop 31: How do you feel about corruption? Do you like it better on the city level or on the state level? That’s pretty much what this one is about. How is the money parceled out? If you vote yes you think that corruption should be kept to a city by city deal. If you vote no you are saying there is less waste in administering things on a state level. I will probably vote no.

Prop 32: I have a big stick up my _____ about unions. I’m not big on them. I feel personally offended by them having taken money out of my paycheque and used it how they wanted to without my consent. That said, this prop takes away power from people who traditionally have little power and does not restrict people who already have a surplus of power. I say vote no.

Prop 33: This will allow insurance companies to seriously penalize new drivers. Like that demographic needs more grief. I’m voting no.

Prop 34: This one is about the death penalty. I think most people vote their conscious on this kind of thing. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. I will be voting no. (That means I’m ok with people being killed. If you aren’t ok with people being killed vote yes.)

Prop 35: Horribly worded and overly broad one about human trafficking. It won’t help any persecuted populations and it will hurt a lot of fairly innocent people. Please vote no.

Prop 36: This one is about the three strikes law. Voting yes restores the intent of the law and potentially allows a lot of people out of prison who shouldn’t be there. I say vote yes.

Prop 37: Labeling for GMO foods. I’ve heard arguments on both sides. I want more information in my life so I’m voting yes. If you have blind faith in scientists vote no.

Prop 38: Another increase in taxes for schools. This is more direct and more helpful. I say vote yes. Just because my kids aren’t in the public system that doesn’t change my feelings that we should be funding it as much as possible.

Prop 39: Currently a lot of businesses get out of paying taxes here. This closes loopholes and will mean more tax money for the state. I say vote yes. The idea that people will just stop doing business here is hilarious.

Prop 40: I say vote yes because a no vote would mean a bunch of wasted money on redistricting we don’t need to spend.

Not appreciated

I wish I could say I was being productive. I’m not. I’m staring out the window. Noah asked me if I feel appreciated. I had specific unpleasant things go through my head: “Well I know you are grateful that I feel like I have to have sex with you almost every day.” It’s not like he forces me. Or even pushes. I just feel like I have to.

He wants to know how he could serve me better. I don’t know. I feel like an ungrateful asshole.

I never planned for what I would be working towards once I got to this position. It was kind of an end in itself. It’s not an end. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to grow. I feel stagnant and foul. I’m tired of having my stomach hurt because I am worried people will scream at me for having the stupidity to think I am good enough to appear in public with good people.

It’s kind of funny. We went to a church service last night. Friends got married–this was basically the community reception. The church had a lot of advertising propaganda for HIV/AIDS work. Much of the congregation were obviously queer leather folk. On one hand I felt very comfortable. But I make the assumption that a group like that doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by my children. It’s a fairly non-kid kind of group. I doubt they would actually mind. But it’s 45 miles away. I don’t feel like I have the extra spoons to give it a real shot. The hour drive there and back make it unpleasant with the kids.

This stage will change. I just don’t know how or to what.

What are you afraid of?

I am asked what I am afraid of. I went to a party last night. I have known those people a long time. Shunning. That’s what I’m afraid of. I sat at the party and I listened to people I didn’t know bicker. I listened to the relationship dynamics. The things they were saying and the frustrations they appeared to be expressing. I listened to the passive aggressive shit.

I didn’t stay in the group after Tom and I broke up because I didn’t want to watch what happened when he started hunting and I didn’t want to hunt in front of him. I know less than half of the people who are there now. Now I don’t have to worry about the crowd knowing my whole history. I didn’t want to parade men through the group. I would have been ashamed of myself. I am ok with people having a theoretical knowledge that I am a slut but I don’t parade my business.

I don’t want to be a parent in an open relationship because I don’t want to parade my business and I don’t want to keep dirty secrets. The only way I see to do that is to create an unchanging set of roles that they primarily interact with. It is a choice to be that kind of person for my kids. Not because I think all polyamorous people are bad–that truly isn’t it.

I’m not polyamorous. I’m a slut. I pick up random people on the internet for sex. I have done a lot of it. I have hit three digits of sex partners but I don’t know for sure. I lost my list in a hard drive crash. I used to keep an excel document with check marks for what sexual activities I did with whom. I did that in case I needed to look people up and say, “I tested positive.” I thought it was the ethical thing to do. I did actually go back and contact everyone when I tested positive for herpes. Even the one night stands I otherwise would never fucking have talked to again. It was hella awkward. I explained that I used to get cold sores as a kid, so I have probably had it all my life. I thought I was getting tested for it when I said, “Test me for everything” but actually they don’t do the herpes test as a standard thing. Whoops.

Sometimes people say that they won’t sleep with someone who has had more than x number of partners. I have had guys tell me that completely out of the blue so they can explain why they won’t fuck me even though I am hot. Cause obviously I was hot for them, right? The fact that I was not remotely sexually attractive to them was irrelevant.

I had a different point when I started writing. Shunning. Moving as often I did as a child is a constant slow motion enaction of shunning scenes. There were large scale specific instances that stick in my mind. When I was in eighth grade we lived with Seventh Day Adventists. Living with Uncle Bob sucked because he was a verbally abusive asshole. The only people who would take my mom and I in were the religious folk. They were kind as long as you did what they wanted.

I went to church with them. I went a lot. I got very involved. I started following Joey like a puppy and he was very involved in the church life. I went with him everywhere. I tagged along on trips up the the SDA college in Northern California, I found out about the boarding high school in Mountain View. I had fantasies of going before the church elders and telling them about my life and asking for scholarships. Please, please save me. Joey and I did a lot of door to door missionary work. I helped in the production of a series of classes on spiritual matters. I read my fucking Bible. I could quote it chapter and verse.

I had this friend at school, Yvette. She was involved in a different church. She invited me to come with her to a lock-in. That’s where they lock a bunch of kids in a gym all night long. It was a lot of fun. We played games and sang songs and told stories. It was one of the best nights of my childhood.

I came to one of the leaders of the youth group for the SDA church. I asked if we could look into doing something like this at our church. She recoiled from me in horror. She said that she did not condone filth. She told me that I would be better served somewhere else.

If I couldn’t go with Joey to the Seventh Day Adventist church then I didn’t have a way to get to a church at all. I couldn’t get off the mountain.

To punish myself for being unlovable by God I would enact the most horrible things I could think of. Mostly this entailed reenacting scenes from Bertrice Small books. I would dress up in the closest things I could find to corsets. I would wear really tight tights in layers until they caused me a lot of back pain. Then I would put on layers and layers and layers of gauzy skirts. I was very into the peasant skirt thing. I would put on many layers of shirts and dresses. When I was done I would put on a very tight belt. I walked around in the house. I would pretend to encounter strange men.

I would then pretend to be raped over and over. I used a wide variety of different items to penetrate my vagina starting with pencils. Sometimes I would experiment and see how many pencils would fit. I fucked myself with the legs of a Barbie. It kind of skeeves me out to see my kids play with Barbies. (Obviously not the same dolls.)

I would call myself names for hours. I would chant that I was a worthless whore and no one would ever love me. Even God didn’t want me. I was dirty and bad and I wanted bad things to happen to me. I deserved to be hurt. I was disgusting.

Then I started calling the radio dj. He was twenty-five. We went out on several dates. I was twelve.  We didn’t have sex but he did ask me for a blow job. I gave it to him. I knew I was supposed to. I tried to be enthusiastic but it was really unpleasant. I tried to smile. I tried to not vomit in his car.

Not long after that my mother and I no longer were as friendly when the neighbors tried to tell us what to do and how to do it. We moved to the old house in the canyon for a while. I couldn’t stand living with my cousin’s girlfriend and her kids. I wasn’t nice to them and they weren’t nice to me. I think there is plenty of blame to go around for that situation sucking. Then Auntie and Uncle Bob bought the new house up in Redwood Estates and my mom and I joined them. It was like a palace. It was huge compared to the old house.

I spent a lot of time angry at God. I felt very directly shunned by God. I wasn’t. I was shunned by a tight-ass ignorant woman. A mean spirited harpy. Unfortunately God wears many faces. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t speak for God. No one wanted to help me. Police officers told me not to talk about what happened to me after being sexually assaulted. I was isolated and hunted.

I don’t think the dj sexually assaulted me. I think he exploited my low self esteem, but that’s not the same thing. He didn’t force or cajole. He didn’t pressure me. I wanted to. I was enthusiastic. I asked him out on a date. I think he should have been a good enough person to understand that it was pretty bad for me to be doing what I was doing.

My mom didn’t mind me dating the dj. I broke it off. I felt disgusting and dirty when he gave me an opal necklace for Christmas. I knew it was a cheap shitty necklace. It was a gift worthy of my status. I was that bad of a whore.

Which isn’t fair. It was probably what he could afford. He didn’t know me. We didn’t have a real relationship.

But … yeah.

I don’t want to teach my kids to be the kind of promiscuous I am. It hurts me. I am to a point where I am capable of doing nonmonogamy in an ethical and reasonably safe way because I have made a lot of mistakes and I have been hurt in a wide variety of ways.

I have learned lessons that not everyone needs to learn. My kids don’t need to grow up and be like me. It is not important that my legacy be carried on in such a way. But maybe it is still important for my experiences to be talked about. That isn’t the same thing.

My kids aren’t having a life like I had but other kids are.

I really should try to sleep. I was going to try to go to the Renaissance Faire with the kids. Hahahahaha. We’ll see.

We went out.

Last night Noah gave me what I have been literally and figuratively asking for over the past few years. We went to a play party–specifically a bdsm play party. We went early. We played soon after arriving when not many people were there. We didn’t really want people hearing us. We felt very awkward about what we were planning.

From the point of view of an objective observer I’m not terribly interested in bdsm. I am interested in being abused. I asked Noah to hurt me in ways I really don’t enjoy and get out the frustrations he has been holding in. Noah is fairly ridiculously controlled most of the time. I do rude things and watch him catch them then consciously choose not to react. Noah puts up with me being downright nasty sometimes. I am constantly afraid of when the other shoe will drop. When is he going to get sick of me? When will he take revenge for how awful I am?

So I asked him to get it over with. It’s kind of funny how I want to condescendingly say he did his best. He berated me for twenty minutes while slapping me and kicking me and punching me. It probably would look very bad for someone listening to what he said. Noah’s words were straight out of a domestic violence situation. He stopped at twenty minutes because I was freaking out and he wasn’t ok with continuing to hit me when I was that upset.

I wish I understood what this need in me is. Why do I need him to treat me that way so much? Why am I unable to go through life with a husband who is just nice to me? If I had a husband who was just nice to me I would almost certainly cheat on him and cause huge problems. Noah is nice to me the vast majority of the time. Then sometimes he agrees to treat me how I think I should be treated so I can deal with him being nice to me the rest of the time.

I told him that there is no space for atonement in my life. I know I fuck up in ways big and small all the time. He just lets it go. He is ridiculously nice to me in comparison to everything and everyone I have ever known. So I always feel bad. I always feel like there is nothing I can do to repay him.

I wouldn’t say that I have squared any of our debts in taking the beating. I may be motivated to keep my ungrateful whining to myself for a while. I feel really bad about how ungrateful I am. Most of the time Noah rushes to assure me that I am doing a hard thing–it’s not that I am ungrateful. I am grateful for what Noah does for me. I feel like a fucking asshole because I have the audacity to say that what he does for me isn’t enough. I still have needs that go unmet.

I read that highly role defined marriages are happier than marriages where people help one another and do the same tasks. I get that. The expectations are killer.

My ass hurts.

I felt weird at the party. I knew I would have to spend a while defending my monogamy. Of course. I was told that showing up at the party and refusing to play with a guy who wants me to suck his dick was teasing–and that’s not very nice.

How dare I not want to give a blowjob to some guy, right?

I am quite glad to know what is eating at Noah. This is going to be hard to think about for a while.

The difference between bdsm and abuse is that I have a large hand in scripting what happens to me. I tell him what I am up for and what I am not. I ask for these things. I think I deserve them.

Somehow appropriate.

I was curious what I weighed the day I got back from the marathon trip. I stepped on my scale. Apparently a battery burst. It totally fried the electronics. So I can't weigh myself. I haven't weighed myself since before my birthday.

Maybe I should decide that now that I am over 30 I just don't get weighed any more. That information doesn't actually affect my life in a positive way. Hm.

One of those not sleeping nights.

An awful lot of why I respect Noah as much as I do is because of his single minded fixation on his goals. Which is not to say that all of his goals serve my goals–they don’t. But he’s very honest about that. He is very specific about which sand castles he lets me build–that was the result of years of screaming at him about doing that inappropriately with other people he dated. Ok, I didn’t scream. But I was vehement.

If you are not going to fucking do something then you are a piece of shit asshole when you give women the impression that you will. That is rude, disrespectful, and disgusting. I didn’t hold back. That was pretty surely hard to live with. But he decided that he wants to be married to me. He stopped letting chicks do that. Then he stopped dating them because he wanted to keep me.

Noah is having a good time where he is currently working. I have specific areas of disgruntlement which have resulted in me poking him with a sharp stick. This lead to him poking his head up around and looking around at options. But he has this buddy at work. Sigh. Ok. I will keep putting up with areas of disgruntlement. I don’t actually have any right to complain about his job. He’s the one who has to do it. I am a fascist about enforcing that his work day has an end point.

Any extra time you “choose” to give your company is time you are choosing to not spend with your wife and kids. Why are you doing that? Why are you saying fuck you to me? Living with me can’t be easy. I expect him to work ridiculously hard while he is at work so that he can advance (no really–this is an expectation) and then to walk out the door and pretend that work is almost invisible. That’s a tall order. He’s delivering but the strain is becoming more apparent.

Every so often I have a window into what it is like to be Noah. I understand his perspective just a little. An awful lot of why I respect Noah as much as I do is because of his single minded fixation on his goals. Noah exists. Noah is a force shaping change. It is unpredictable and sometimes everything he works for gets thrown away on a whim.

And for being able to create things out of thin air he is paid handsomely. I think I hold it against him. Sometimes I think I should have deliberately married a loser–that way I would feel like I had gotten what I deserve. Instead I got Noah.

I think that Noah and I fit together partially because we are both so alienated from society yet we are really lonely. Not many people are as alienated from their families as Noah and I are. Noah doesn’t have abuse issues like me–nothing like. But he doesn’t feel like part of that family. It is weird to me. They don’t really understand him–ok. They are ignorant and violent in defense of their ignorance–ok. But he feels no obligation whatsoever.

I feel obligation. I feel terrible guilt about walking away from Aunt Vonnie and my niece and nephews. I feel horrible guilt that I abandoned them to the horror. I can’t believe they are my problem. I can’t fix them. I can’t make their lives better. I just have to run if I don’t want to be like them.

I think that part of why this relationship works for me is Noah has handed all of the day to day money over to me. I get to be in control of my financial safety. In 2011 we spent a bit over $28,000 more than Noah made. It wasn’t a problem–I had the annuities and then we had Sarah’s rent. This year I have already saved $7,000 of Noah’s income. He didn’t get a raise. My book hasn’t even paid off the editor. If the next few months are on target I will have spent $40,000 less this year than last year.

I need to be the one controlling spending. When I am the person doing it I can dramatically shift my lifestyle and feel ok about it. Other people have different priorities. I can’t handle feeling deprived at someone else’s whim. It makes me angry and rebellious. If Noah set our current budget I would freak out. I am cognizant that I am reaching my goals on time or a little ahead of schedule and I try to eek out occasional blips of stress relief.

But from where I am sitting I have a freezer stuffed full of a wide variety of meat I feel good about eating. I have to have a variety or I get pissy and nasty about eating at home. I can’t eat all beef all the time. I have preserved enough local berries to get us through till next year. I have stocked up on dry goods. My grocery budget for the next five months will be almost nothing. I have saved enough that I have already paid next years property taxes in that budget column.

When I am feeling anxious or if I want to buy something I go look at www.mint.com. I am trying to keep my focus on what I’m doing. When I want to spend money I am generally trying to distract myself or soothe myself or get some feeling of pleasure. I know that the thing won’t make me as happy as having the feeling of safety.

This month our bank account cash balance will hit $40,000. This is the first time in my life that has happened because of a slow accumulation instead of from a random extra check arriving. It feels different.

And all of this feels weird because I don’t earn any of it. I feel that so acutely. I am the manager. It helps me not spend money on myself. I use the money in service of our shared goals. I have a specific small subset of the budget that is my personal spending money. I need cheaper hobbies if I am ever going to Starbuck’s again. The book. Race entry fees. Running shoes. A Disneyland annual pass. Lady Gaga tickets. I think that’s a pretty awesome year of fun things. I’m glad to not do a lot of smaller things. No I’m not. I’m lonely. But I still don’t want to change my priorities. I’m doing what I want to be doing.

It is weird to feel envy for what people have and do and know that I am consciously choosing to not do it in favor of other goals. I don’t compromise. It’s kind of weird to recognize about myself. I am on my own course. It doesn’t overlap with other people very often. Other people don’t want to do things in the times and ways I want to do them so I do them alone. That’s ok.

That’s the direction I have to grow, isn’t it? It’s ok that I am alone. I am doing what I want to do. Other people don’t share my interests or timing. That’s ok. It just happens that way sometimes.

This is a lot of why being with Noah is so weird. We are trying to figure out how to grow closer together. It’s hard. Everything we do seems to want us to be separate in space. We don’t overlap in hobbies much beyond sex. That’s a hard one while we have kids around. I have all kinds of issues. I have a brick wall between my sexuality and my children.

At least until they can read. Then I will tell them that if they read my blog they will have to learn how to self-select out of information they don’t want. Ha. I hope they won’t find it till they are basically adults. But I’m not going to hide it. I just don’t need to bring it up or talk about anything I write about spontaneously. It isn’t their business.

I think that Noah and I are comfortable with one another because neither of us has much expectation that the other will change to be more like us. We will change, but in often weird and surprising ways. I see some couples that become practically one person. Neither of us want to renounce main character status. You can’t be that deeply pair bonded and be a main character.

I think that is where the longing for G-d comes in. That would be something I could love without having to give up the essential aloneness that seems to be part of my self-identity. God could love me even when I wouldn’t allow myself to believe anyone else could. Sometimes I don’t allow Noah to be someone who loves me in my head. I mean that when I am thinking of him it doesn’t occur to me that he could love me. He couldn’t act like that and love me at the same time. In my world view those things are incongruous. But not in his world view. He is on a completely different track than me.

I can’t change him. He will always do things that make me feel alienated and alone and completely unloved. That doesn’t mean that he stops loving me during those times. It means I have attachment issues. I do not believe there is a way for me to try to change him that would prevent those feelings from happening. I think it would be unhealthy to try.

That is what my sister does. She wants people who will “try harder” to be what she wants. But at the end of the day they are still them and they just aren’t good enough. It’s a bad cycle.

Noah isn’t perfect. But he is consistently him. I can predict him. I asked him to stop dating people because there would always be bad communication because he would be trying to tell me what he thought would hurt me least. Not what was true. Because that is what he does. If he’s not in a situation where his sex life is on the line he doesn’t worry so much about just telling me.

My sister believes that relationships are good or not based on how much time you spend with someone. This is why she doesn’t work and she dates people who don’t work. They can be together 24/7. It’s awesome! It has been hard for me to deal with how much separation is “normal”. I feel abandoned all day every day. I feel hurt. I feel unwanted. I know that these are entirely irrational feelings. I know that Noah is doing the right thing in every way by working.

When I was a child I couldn’t imagine that being a grown up meant learning to tolerate being alone. Being away from you is part of how people support having a relationship with you. I didn’t understand. I feel like I still don’t.

Someone on the internet (obviously a sound source) said I was a train wreck who depended on my husband too much. I couldn’t agree more. I just can’t work out how to depend on him less. I try to just not talk. I try to not be demanding. I try to just be grateful for what he offers.

Oh who the hell am I kidding. I’m very demanding. I’m sorry for it. I just can’t see a way to survive that involves less demanding. I mean, I could do the ghost thing. But that’s not really surviving. I don’t want my kids to learn that.

I have to act in a way I want them to act. I want them to believe that their needs are worth meeting. Sometimes that involves being demanding.

The dying time

I feel like this part of my life is the grieving. I am giving up the dream of who I was going to be. In order to be reborn you have to die. Your hopes, your dreams–all of them have to be given up if you are going to be something new.

This is why people stay stuck in the same patterns with the same people. They don’t want to die. They don’t want to give up their deepest held beliefs and expectations.

I really have to. The things I have believed about myself are no longer particularly useful to me. Right now I have Lady Gaga’s song “Bad Kids” on repeat. In my head I will never be anything other than the bad kid. I am the person your parents warned you about. You were told to stay away from me.

I have rebuffed more than one request for help recently under widely varying circumstances. I don’t think I was graceful. I feel like I don’t have enough something to be able to be nice to me. If I can’t be kind to myself I have no kindness for anyone else. I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t want to help. It’s that I have to live with how unpleasant I am and that is really hard. I don’t like feeling exhausted and angry because I never have the ability to even finish a thought.

I don’t know who I want to grow up to be. I can’t get my head around the picture. I keep trying roles on. I keep trying to get to the point where my mind can encompass it. Future me is hiding from me. I never tried to picture what I would do once I had the husband and the kids. Shit.

More than almost anyone I know I have followed the plans I set down rigidly for myself when I was a child. I got married 8 days before turning 25. My daughters were born when I was 27 and 29. Right on my schedule. I decided that years in advance.

I think that an awful lot of partner selection is deciding that you are ready to take your life in a new direction and you grab the person who looks the most likely. I certainly did that. I had a wide variety of options. I examined them carefully. I would visit their houses and sit quietly and try to think of how the life there would look.

I used to freak out at the idea of being stuck in this house forever. When I dated Noah the first time I firmly rejected him as an option. I didn’t want to be part of this life. I’ve changed the house and changed my future and it’s going better. I wasn’t able to believe that my influence would matter. I didn’t fit in the Disaster House. I’m not an open-invite-party-in-my-house person. I want to exclude the rapists. There were a lot of rapists at the DHPs. They didn’t do it at the parties, of course. But I know a lot of bad stories about people who were quite popular there.

I think I am uninterested in being part of any groups because when I go I am hyper aware of the sexual predators and I don’t want to be in the room with them. Everyone else want me to just get along. I’d rather take a baseball bat to their skull and prevent them from hurting another woman. I can’t just get along. I can not be there. That is my gift to society. That is how I keep my mouth shut.

But when I hide at home I don’t get to talk to women. My perspective is silenced. Kevin gets to keep hunting. Paul. Dan. These are popular guys! I’m not popular.

I feel like part of shaving my head was closing the door on hunting. It has been interesting to me over the years how often my hair is a factor in people wanting to fuck me. They comment on it. I don’t understand why looking at curly hair is so interesting while having sex. I never asked for clarification. It was just one of the things I had to work with so I did.

When women tell me that they can’t get laid I blink in shock. I think their standards are too high. Anna used to complain that she couldn’t get laid. The only person she wanted to sleep with was her best friend. He was from a ridiculously well off family so he was spoiled, self absorbed, and entitled. He wouldn’t date a girl who was that heavy. Or who had such a plain face. Anna certainly wasn’t ugly–but she wouldn’t win a beauty contest. She was not especially pretty either. And she only wanted the best looking boy in the room with the best body. No Anna, you can’t have that.

I think that most of the people I have slept with would be vaguely insulted if they understood my evaluation of their status. Hey, you’re sleeping with me you can’t be that high in status. If you were higher in status you would go fuck someone better. Someone prettier. Someone with a better body. Someone nicer. Someone who… God I don’t even know. Someone worth being proud of standing next to. A lot of men have indicated that they didn’t want to be seen in public with me. I am not the kind of girl you want to introduce to your mother.

And Noah fucking married me. What does that say about him? I think he was rebelling against his family. He married the trailer park slut. I don’t think a rich boy from Texas can do a more rebellious thing. Sure, by the time he met me I was living with Tom in a nice townhouse. Does that raise my status? I was able to fuck a higher quality of person by the time I was an adult.

It really doesn’t matter what status I perceive myself as having. When I go off into the world now people do not see who I was or what I have done. Mostly they have no idea. I am a highly educated person. I have worked very hard to learn about the world. I can converse on a wide variety of topics with fluency and ease. People don’t know I’m white trash until I tell them. I pass. Shouldn’t I just take that and run with it? Wouldn’t that be the smart thing?

In order to do that I have to essentially kill the part of me that I don’t want anymore. I have to kill my bad kid. She has to die.

I have a lot of attachment issues. A friend was admonishing me that I should place my faith in the love of Noah rather than wishing for the love of some mythical G-d. Thing is, I don’t have faith in Noah’s love. I wait for when it ends. I consider it unavoidable. Inevitable. I can’t put my faith in Noah. He will leave me. Everyone does. I’m trying to figure out how to build a self that depends on no one and nothing and I’m failing.

I don’t know how to envision my future. I don’t trust that anyone will be in it with me. All I can see is wanting to die. Wanting to be done feeling alone and unwanted like this. Even though Noah is sitting three feet away from me and looking at me with concern because I am crying.

I no longer believe in “forever”. I feel like I will be here until the wind changes. Then I will blow away. Will I still exist then? I don’t know. I don’t see where I fit. I don’t see a place for me anywhere. I can’t see a future for me.

Why is permanent monogamy so important to me? Because if I wasn’t monogamous I would use that hunting time to line up Noah’s replacement. Eventually I would begin believing that Noah was about done with me. Then I would withdraw. I would just end up at someone else’s house more and more. Noah thinks he would be able to get me to take 50% of the proceeds from this marriage. I think he underestimates the willingness of the California court system to listen to someone who says, “I want to walk away with nothing. Like I came with.”

I feel worthless. I feel like all that I do is meaningless. I am just an empty shell. I can totally envision me fucking up my marriage over sex. That’s why I closed the door on that specific flavor of broken. Even when I believe I am a worthless whore I am not going to go act like one. I am going to model appropriate behavior if that is the last thing I do.

It isn’t that I think that children must see monogamy at all costs in all circumstances. Shanna loves her Grandpa J and his wife C and his girlfriend D. That’s fine. I don’t do that. I pick up random men who like to be mean to women. It’s different. I don’t go find people who respect me. Just listen to how they talk to me. The people who want to fuck me don’t have a lot of respect for me. They want a hole. I don’t want my girls growing up seeing men treat me that way. Noah is nice to me. I want them to see that.

I feel guilty about it but a lot of the reason I can’t help people right now is because I can’t afford to feel invested in people when I have no control over the results of my effort. When I sign on to help I will often put in dozens and up to hundreds of invisible hours of work. In order for me to say, “I recommend you do _______” I have to be god damn sure. I don’t think most people operate the way I do. I will not give a half assed opinion in a situation where someone comes to me for help. I will give them the same support and education I would give myself. I just can’t do that for extra people right now.

I would not be able to hold my head up if I knew I was giving substandard advice. I am not that person. I don’t do that.

I say things like that and then I think–what is my image of myself? Am I the pathetic bad kid? I’m one of the most consistently reliable people I know–or I won’t commit. I take my word seriously. I am honest and dependable. I am consistent. I am not always what people want to hear or see, but I am going to just go on existing. Consistently. Fuckers.

Why do I think I am about to blow away? I am all but building a fortress. I am entrenched. I am settled. I have lived in this house longer than I have lived anywhere. I don’t plan to move again.

I have panic attacks if I am lax on dealing with recycling and I develop a stack of boxes. I cannot handle even the idea of moving.

This vision of myself is dying. But I don’t know what to replace it with. I don’t know who I am. I’m afraid this will be a very hard and dark winter. I’m already freezing all the time but I won’t turn the heaters on till November. Stubborn. That’s me.

Intentions, responsibility, cause and effect.

I’ve been reading religious writing. That always makes me think. Part of the reason faith makes me think is that I do not believe and yet these world views coexist with mine. How? I do not believe there is a benevolent god. I’ve missed that boat this lifetime. That’s ok.
Instead what I get are these periods of great clarity where I can see how I cause my own problems. I can see where my word choices inflame people. I can see how I antagonize situations. I can see how things are the natural result of my actions. It tends to make me vacillate between inaction and action. I have to act. Even my inaction will cause things to happen. What things do I want to have happen and how do I make them happen?
Things happen for reasons. I don’t have to like the reasons, but they are there if I care to look. Like the marathon. I trained with the idea that I would be slow. I god damn lived up to that. Ha. I think it is funny how I am already minimizing it in my head. “Seven minutes until I wouldn’t be a “finisher” can I even call it “running a marathon”?” Because I’m slick like that.
I feel like the aftermath of the marathon has yet to hit me. I have been kind of brain dead for a few days and yesterday was ridiculously frustrating. Both kids just had one of those days. It happens. Then my dental hygienist went off on me again. I am not brushing my teeth for her. She’s hoping that if she harps at me enough by the time I am retired I will take up tooth brushing s a hobby. I asked her to stop. Then I got up and left the room because I was so angry I wanted to punch her in the face and I know that isn’t an appropriate response. I know I wouldn’t like the consequences of that action.
I think a lot about how I am going to teach my kids. What am I going to teach them? I have an obligation to produce two highly educated adults in another decade and a half. What does that mean to me?
I was asked about curriculums. I don’t have any knowledge about homeschooling curriculum. Frankly I don’t know a lot about the prepackaged ones handed out to high school teachers either. I didn’t use them. My students never picked up the textbook from the bookroom. I don’t like them. I think they are pointless lies. In order to give any opinion about them I would have to spend hours, possibly hundreds of hours reading about the different options. I really don’t want to do that given that I believe the textbook publishing industry is hopelessly flawed and I can do better.
But doing better is a fuckton of work. All day every day for years and years and years. Oh god. Do I really want to do that? Yes. I do. I start with the California Standards of education because ostensibly that is the yardstick my kids will be measured against. Once I look up the standards how do I implement them? Depends on the standard. Depends on my kids ages. There will be thousands of different answers. There isn’t one answer. It tailors over and over and over.
Having three kids would have been harder. Paying attention to two levels of development is already stretching my ability to hold concepts in my head and work with them. I can do differentiated instruction to a bunch of people “in the same grade” a lot more easily than I can completely come up with different things. Shanna and Calli are simply not experiencing the same things in life. I have to work with that. That’s why I do constant developmental reading. I know that I don’t have all of the necessary information in my brain. Putting it in my brain is work.
I put approximately three hours a day of ongoing work into the process of educating my children. I don’t mean I work with them three hours a day. I mean I have about three hours a day where I independently read or sit and think and plan specific approaches to educational concepts. I work with my children far far far more than that. At this point in my experience I can do a lot of this work in my head but I also take pages and pages of notes. I should probably start consolidating them and putting them in files. Then I will be able to just hand them to someone else who is asking me for advice.
I can’t easily summarize what I know. Honestly I am too complex in my thinking for it to be easy to explain. It makes me feel like an asshole to say that but it is true. I have to be thinking about my kids development across a variety of levels: language, social, physical, emotional, and lets not forget actual “education”. I am already setting the tracks in my brain for monitoring PE, science, maths, language arts (we actively work on learning English, ASL, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian—not because I think we will become fluent but because the more language pathways you open early on the better), social studies, and health. I was formally educated in how to educate.
But I plan to primarily unschool my kids. How the fuck does that work? Quite frankly I wouldn’t have the courage to unschool if I didn’t know that I have this web in my brain ensuring that my kids development was being tracked in a variety of ways. I seek outside verification and assessment constantly—of me and of my kids.
I don’t go through life assuming I am doing things right. I go through life believing that I am building towards an unknown future. I don’t know that I am making the right decisions. That won’t be obvious until I get to the end of my life. You only know if you are right or not by whether or not you attain your goals. What are my goals? Happy, healthy people who can go do whatever they want. Maybe my kids will go to college and maybe not. I’m not particularly invested in them doing so. But I will make sure I have $100,000 to hand them either way. Well, I won’t just hand it to them. I will be a controlling asshole to the end. I will fund education (of whatever sort), part of a house at 25 if no education happens, travel, or something I haven’t imagined yet. I won’t fund partying. That you have to do on your own dime. I don’t care that your grandparents funded your father’s partying. They have more money to spare than me.
Now Shanna is up so this may end abruptly.
What are my goals? That my children are able to go do the things they want to do. That they do not make excuses for why they can’t do things. That matters to me. That they make emotionally healthy choices. If my daughters go through a string of abusive partners I’m going to bloody know that it is my fault. I want my daughters to value themselves and have people in their lives who also value them.
How in the hell does one go about having that? I don’t really know for sure. I don’t actually care if my kids are starving musicians. I just need them to be the kind of starving musician who understands that you also need a day job because no one owes you anything.
No one owes me anything. I have to figure out how to live within my emotional limits. For most of this year I have not been doing so. I consciously and deliberately chose to go do something that was clearly beyond my limits. But I did it. Barely. I think it is hilarious that people think I want to get better at marathons. Hell no. That sounds like a lot of work and I’m kind of busy.
I honestly find it bizarre that people would push me towards doing so given how much time and energy it takes. Haven’t you noticed how fucking psycho I have been all year? Don’t you think less stress is a good idea? How can more marathons lower my stress again? Crazy talk. You can only add intensive hobbies if you have spoon to spare.
I periodically feel guilty about co-opting the spoon metaphor. I understand that it is meant to clarify issues of physical limitation. I feel like my emotional issues function the same way though. I can only take so much stress or pressure. Then I cease to function. All of that breakdown comes down on the heads of my children and that is simply not fair. I can’t have hobbies that take that much from me. It’s not fair. Yes, yes life isn’t fair. If I choose to be that kind of selfish bitch I don’t get to absolve myself of guilt or responsibility for the results. If I don’t have the self-control to be a marathon runner and a nice person then I can’t be a marathon runner.
It is part of why we didn’t have a third child. We realized that we are already spread too thin. We are not meeting all of our needs and the needs of our current children. I am not ok with shafting my current kids because I want a baby. It’s a selfish thing to do. Noah said he wasn’t going to do it and had himself surgically altered. It was the right decision for us. I enjoyed the baby stage for the first three years. Now I have to move on and I am not able to do the baby stage and move on at the same time. It is simply too much work to be done in a day. I can’t do it. It’s too hard for me. I am the youngest child. I know what it is like when mom doesn’t have much left to give. I still have a lot to give Calli. But that will be all for me.
Everyone is different. Everyone has different things to offer the world. I feel like what I have to offer the world is of very little value. I have things of great value to offer Shanna and Calli. I have things of moderate value to offer to a few close friends. Past that I don’t know that I have anything. What does that mean?
I don’t know but Shanna won’t stop talking 4” from my ear about the book she is going to write so I need to sign off before my head explodes.

Bucket list: Run a marathon

 For many years I have said, “Some day I will run a marathon.” I’m aware that a lot of people say that. My ex-boyfriend said it all the time. He still hasn’t. I suppose the idea came into my head because my brother Jimmy is a runner. I asked him in February of 2011 to commit to doing a marathon with me. It was a tentative step towards developing a relationship. We have never been close. Kids in families like ours aren’t allowed to be close.
In May of 2011 my Uncle Bob died. Uncle Bob was the man in my childhood who loved me and cared for me without sexually assaulting me. My family didn’t tell me he was in the hospital or that they were taking him off of life support. My niece decided I should know and she called me. He died while I was stuck in traffic less than five miles away from the hospital.
Something inside me broke. My sister asked me if I had “ever lost someone close to me before” and turned red with fury when I responded, “like our father or our brother Tommy?” I wasn’t allowed to bring them up. They “didn’t count” because they both abused me and sexually assaulted me. I went home and outed myself as an incest survivor on the internet. My brother Jimmy didn’t think that was ok. He told me I was melodramatic and looking for attention. I haven’t spoken to him since. Since my family all decided they were done with me I figured it was a good time to finally write the story of my childhood. I did so in November of 2011.
In January of 2012 I asked my housemate/co-parent to move out, which was stressful and emotionally hard. I also started running. I decided that even though I wouldn’t actually be doing it with Jimmy I was going to do the marathon anyway. We were planning on Long Beach because it is one of the flattest marathons in the state. I registered. I looked up training plans and put them on my Google Calendar for the next ten months.
When you decide to do something there is this waiting period. You want to do it and it is going to be ridiculously hard—how do you get there? I’ve never done anything physically taxing like this before. The only running I previously had done was getting away from people who wanted to beat the shit out of me. I did one year of t-ball and less than a full season of little league. I was “catcher” for one pitch. I missed and it hit me in the stomach and made me puke and cry. They stuck me in the outfield and I got sick of going after a couple of weeks. So I had no basis of “fitness” to build on.
It’s probably worth mentioning that I am a stay at home mom with two kids. They are two and four. So I’ve been doing this running while trying to manage them. Finding time has been interesting. For the first five months I ran in the afternoons after my husband got off work because none of my runs took very long. Once the runs started getting longer and longer I switched to leaving my house by six in the morning. I have no childcare. I have to make use of what little time my husband has available. He is a software engineer so he is out of the house a minimum of 45 hours a week and often more than that. And he wrote a book this year so he doesn’t have a lot of time available for helping me. It’s been stressful.
I hear a lot of people talk about how running is supposed to improve a persons mood. I have no idea who these people are but it doesn’t bloody work for me. I have spent the year crying. I cry before I run. I cry while I run. I cry when I get home. I have a lot of grief. I’m crying for Uncle Bob. I’m crying for my father. I’m crying for my mother. I’m crying for my sister and my brothers. I’m crying for my niece and nephews. I cry and feel worthless and empty. It doesn’t matter how I feel on any given day. I know what I have to do. I schedule things so I don’t have to wonder what a day will require.
I have asked myself over and over all year why this is important to me. Why am I torturing myself? Am I running because my brother is a runner? Because I want to prove that I am a fucking Archer whether my family wants to acknowledge that I am alive or not? Because I want to be a bad ass? Because… I don’t even know. I said I would do it. If I quit or stop then I become just one more person who makes promises and doesn’t keep them. I said I would run the Long Beach Marathon.
About a month before the event a good friend ran a twenty mile race near her home in Portland, Oregon. I was kidding when I said, “Hey if you trained up to this mileage then a full marathon is easy. Come do it with me!” Surprisingly she said yes. Within hours she had talked to her husband and booked a flight.
The last month of training was both the hardest and the easiest. All of a sudden I wasn’t on this terrible solo death march of feeling abandoned. I had to keep training because Ali was coming. Ali loves me. I still had a lot of days where I cried so hard my knees buckled and I fell to the ground and cried until I couldn’t cry any more. Then I got up and ran again. The good days came more often.
Six days before the race I drove to Southern California with my family. We were off to Disneyland! The girls and I had a lot of fun getting in my last walking miles in the park. The day before the race Ali was supposed to fly down first thing in the morning. Her flight was delayed. At the first notice I started feeling a little worried but I thought she would make it and it would be fine.
Six hours later they cancelled her flight entirely. I was afraid that was the end. I didn’t sob on the phone to Ali. I only freaked out a little in text. Her amazing husband jumped on the internet and booked her another flight. It was later and going into a different airport and it would be a lot more complicated—but she would get to SoCal. Unfortunately she would get there too late to pick up her race bib. She emailed me a picture of her ID and her husband emailed me a waver to print so I could pick up her bib for her. We live in the future!
I drove down to the Expo by myself. I didn’t want to be focused on my kids while I was trying to figure out where to go. I wasn’t feeling patient. I checked the lists of people registered. My brother’s name wasn’t on it. After a year of heart pounding anxiety worrying about seeing him that was rather anticlimactic if you ask me.
So I picked up the bibs and went back to our hotel room. I angsted and fussed. Ali got to her moms-in-law’s house. I arrived around 7:30. We talked more than we should have. It would have been impossible to avoid. I hardly ever get to see her. Talking to her feels really good. So we didn’t get to sleep till around 11 pm. I slept till 2:30 am. Then I woke up to use the bathroom and the crying started. I cried until Ali woke up around 5:30. I cried because I didn’t have one more chance to see anyone in my family. They are just done with me. I think there was some big part of me that was praying that Jimmy would see me and hug me. I haven’t said that out loud all year. I was afraid to hope. I was smart.
We woke up and piddled around getting ready. Ali had trouble forcing her way through her breakfast so we left about fifteen minutes after we were supposed to. That’s ok, we left a little bit of a buffer. Then it turned out that the person driving the vehicle had a different opinion about the optimal way to get to the race grounds. An opinion that was unfortunately not born out in reality. We were blocked continually by the race track. Whoops. Eventually we went around on the freeway (what Ali was campaigning hard for from the beginning, apparently—I was fairly unaware of this subtext) and arrived at the race. We had just enough time to stop at the port-a-potties before the last wave started. We hurried. We made it into the last wave and settled in for our run.
I’d like to say it was wonderful because I was with Ali and in many ways it was. She sang me silly songs. She encouraged and coaxed. She helped me through the rough parts. There were a lot of rough parts. The first big problem was the air quality. I am not used to SoCal air quality. I felt like I had to chew each breath before swallowing. It was really hard to run. I was dizzy and nauseated. We walked a lot. It was also almost twenty degrees hotter than either of us are used to running in. Oh and the humidity. The humidity was nightmarish (thus the bad air quality). We were wet all day and crusted in salt. But the real kicker? I started my period at mile 13 along with terrible cramps that made me want to go to bed and curl up and cry. Luckily Ali had extra tampons. Yay for planning ahead. A medical station provided some ibuprofen. I had to finish.
It was beautiful traveling along the ocean. The city of Long Beach is certainly picturesque. One of the most disheartening moments of the race was when the half marathoners split off and we went from being part of a large crowd to being one of the stragglers. It was a little sad for me to realize how far behind the pack of “runners” we were for the marathon. Really we mostly walked. I ran as much as I could but I didn’t want to faint or puke so it wasn’t that much.
In the end our running time was 6:47. We finished seven and a half minutes before they closed the finish line. We were part of the last wave and they only keep the finish line open for 7:30 hours. It’s a darn good thing we weren’t just a hair later and that I managed to run as much as I did.
I did it. I finished the Long Beach Marathon. Thank you Ali. Near as I can tell this is the hardest thing I have ever done with another person. I’m so glad I had you. I won’t forget.
The flea had a gleam in his eye. (Silly song Ali sang.) I think it was because he was plotting. He was wondering how hard it was going to be to run. He wanted to know if he could keep up with you too.
I won’t do another marathon with you. Can we do a half next time? That’s only half as crazy. Next time on your turf with better air quality.

 PS- Sharing is caring.

Three hours left

I’m scared. I don’t even know exactly why. I feel terrible sorrow that my family will never know nor care about anything I do. I slept for about three hours. Other than that I’ve been crying.

I feel so stupid. I’m 31. I’m about to run a marathon. I will do fine. I’ve trained and all. The only thing I can think about is how much I want my mother. I would give anything if my mother could love me. I could do anything.

This is why I am nice to my children. I don’t want them to spend their lives crying and wondering why they aren’t deserving of love.