I thought this was well done. I like her pacing. I like her voice. She is descriptive without going into lists like I do.
You challenged me on Twitter. You told me that Occupy was dead and why should you care about some guy being tortured by the Police in Maine–it’s not your government.
Given that we live in a country where part of our civil war was based on the fact that some states were engaging in inappropriate activity and other states decided to stop them… I can’t imagine not feeling like part of the United States. Maine matters to me like California matters to other people.
Do you think that everyone else in the country watched the Rodney King riots and thought, “Good thing it isn’t my government doing this to someone.” Whoa. I can’t understand that thought. The militarization of the domestic police force is of enormous national concern. It quite literally keeps me up at night. How the police act in one city influences how they feel it acceptable to act in all other cities.
I have been thinking for days about how to talk about this subject. I have a strong tendency towards tl;dr so I’ve been struggling to find a pithy argument. It is quite frustrating that someone on the internet argues with me and demands a counter argument but I can’t count on someone to read more than three or four hundred words. That’s not an argument it is an exchange of theme songs.
For me, not caring about the police in Maine is like someone in Germany not caring about the first few train loads of Jews being abducted. I understand that I just lost this argument based on Godwin’s law. I spend my life living as if I am one of the first ones called. I can’t afford to think that the first few groups of people the police harass are acceptable collateral damage. My life won’t let me think of any situation like that.
I have had extremely damaging run-ins with police in my life. White trash whores are not really respected by local police forces–they decided who and what I was before I hit puberty. They were not interested in protecting me from rape or sexual assault from childhood. I live enmeshed in rape culture in a way that very few people can understand because very few people have more rapists than fingers.
I believe that a boy being tortured by the police in Maine matters because I have to believe that I would matter in his place. That it wouldn’t be ok for them to do it to me. I live in a time and a place where I can not have the hubris of saying, “Oh it wouldn’t happen to me so it is ok that they do it to someone else.” If they were going to do it to someone they just might do it to me. It wouldn’t be the first time I have had my rights taken away and I’ve been strapped down by government forces.
I understand that my life experiences are unique and unusual. My opinion intensified by one hundred after having children.
My then three year old marched with the Port Shutdown in Oakland. She remembers Occupy. We talk about it. I was one of the first people at the General Strike port shut down. I watched the thousands of people stream into the port. I watched what happens when people say, “It doesn’t matter that you say this doesn’t effect me and I should shut up–I have a voice and you can not silence me.”
I hear that Occupy is dead. I do not believe this. I believe that Occupy lives in the heart of every person who will not be silenced. This summer I will be painting a mural on a neighborhood fence because some kids keep putting graffiti on it. The elderly lady who owns the property is not up to maintaining a fence free of graffiti. I’m going to use neighborhood children to help me paint.
Occupy is not just about living in tents and existing to annoy city hall. Occupy is about seeing something in your community and trying to fix it. Maybe I would feel less personally connected to the boy in Portland Maine if I had not just mapped out how I would drive there a week before seeing this video clip. I was specifically planning on going to that city. In my country. In my car with my kids. How could I not feel like what happens to him matters to me?
Why should you care? I haven’t been able to figure out how to convince you. I ask that you be polite about my belief. I should get angry when the government tortures people because it is wrong. That is just how the world should work in my head. Ok, that’s as pithy as I can manage. You see why I didn’t respond on Twitter.
It is going to be raining cats and dogs on Easter. That means no outdoor hunt. Which means I will only be able to hide 40-50 eggs. I have over 300 filled. Hm. I’m really not sure how I want to handle this. Although the chance of rain went from 70% to 30% and they are no longer predicting thunder storms during my party window.
I think I’m just going to have a party no matter what and if I have a bunch of eggs left I’ll organize something with the homeschool group in the next week or two.
Ok. That’s a plan.
For most of my life I have been kind of confused by the “fuck cancer” emphasis people have. They seem to be more upset by it than other kinds of death. I’m a death-is-death-how-doesn’t-matter person. Only in the past couple of weeks Kate Bornstein (who is one of the most important voices in gender deconstruction) has had a crowd source fundraising effort because she has cancer–we need her. She has the courage to speak about things that must be spoken about. She is really important.
And another person I know has 6, 4, and 2 year old children. Kate is very likely to survive. She has a very survivable kind of cancer and now the outpouring of love and money she will need to fight for life. His survival chances are in the single digits.
I can’t stop weeping. I “know” my grandmother died from cancer. I don’t know what kind–not breast cancer. I know that much.
The kind of knowing I want my children to have for me is something that cannot come until they are adults and putting it all together in retrospect. I think that I all of a sudden just received a catapulted stone of fear in my belly. How will his children know him?
He told me just before he found the lump that I had inspired him to start marathon training. That process was more or less how the lump started bothering him. That’s why they found this. I told him to start making videos for his kids. One for each birthday up until they are 25 or 30. They need to know you and get the advice you would give them.
Shanna was asking me about parents yesterday. Kind of the standard kid question kinds of things: do only Mommies take care of babies? Oh dear goodness I hope not or a lot of kids would starve to death. I told her that some babies have only one mommy or only one daddy and some babies have a mommy and a mommy (or mama) and some babies have two daddies and some babies have more than two parents of any possible gender consideration. What matters to a baby is that consistent grown ups hold and care for and love the baby. That is all that is needed to make a parent. Not biology. Not anything else. I said that babies are designed to fall in love with the grown ups who care for them because that is how the baby will ensure survival. Mutual love with a grown up means the grown up becomes invested and puts a lot of time and energy towards the baby.
She said, “So it doesn’t matter if it is a boy or a girl?” I asked her how many times it has mattered whether I have a penis or a vulva while I change diapers. I asked her if she thinks our female friend K is too stupid to figure out how to clean her son’s penis. Shanna laughed. I asked her if her father has ever had trouble wiping her butt. She confirmed that he is a poop wiping expert. I said, “Anuses are universal.”
She asked if girls are supposed to stay home with their babies. The timing on this conversation was just hilarious considering what I have been reading on the internet lately. I said girls are supposed to do the things that make them happy. By being happy in front of their kids they are teaching their kids the right way to live. For some mothers this means staying home and for some mothers this means working outside the home for a company. All mothers work. All mothers do a back breaking amount of work. If a mother has an outside job then the children can either stay with dad (I cited families we know) or if both parents work day care of some kind can be arranged (I explained several different examples we know).
Every family looks different because every family is made up of different people. Different people are made happy by different things. That is what makes life beautiful. If everyone was exactly the same life would be really crappy. Every person is on a completely individualized path through life.
I said that different people have different advantages. I talked to her about money. I talked to her about how some people have large extensive families and that is a different very important kind of support. It gives different life options. For example: single parenting is a very different experience if you are rich than if you are poor. Single parenting is a very different experience if you have a large and involved family than if you have no family support. I went on and on. She asked more questions. It kept going.
I tell my children frequently that while they are children they have a few specific jobs they have to work on. Their primary job is to play with the world. The process of play and exploration is the primary thing that children should be focused on. After that you have to learn how to have relationships with people; you have to learn how to be considerate. But the third thing is: with great privilege comes great responsibility. I tell my children explicitly that they are part of the most privileged cohort that has ever been born. They have more access to information and the ability to learn than any person has ever had at any point in history. And my kids have free access to it all day every day because they are not locked in an institutionalized setting following some bullshit agenda that is the resort of so much compromise nothing real is taught. I expect them to take learning seriously.
I talk about how the world is changing and there are a lot of people in the world who do not have access to information. There are a lot of big problems to be solved. People will have to be exceptionally able to synthesize large amounts of data in order to solve these problems. People will have to learn a bunch of cross-disciplines in order to solve these problems. The only way is to start young and take it seriously. Learn.
I tell my kids that I want them to grow up and be fierce and sure of their opinions. They should not believe they are “always right” because that is hubris–no one is always right. But listen to Davey Crockett: Be sure you’re right and go ahead. Plan at leisure; act with haste. If you hesitate then some someone less qualified will speak first and set the plan. That’s really not a great situation. If you can’t find a way; make a way. You will make mistakes or you will never learn and grow. You must make big mistakes. That is part of life.
Even if I get upset with you over a mistake I will get over it. I love you more than I love breathing. More than I love any thing in the whole world. I will get angry with you. I will shout at you. I will never hit you. I will always love you.
Thinking about cancer makes me feel so very afraid of my children not knowing me. Shanna proudly informed me that she was going to grow up and be a bad ass just like me. I laughed. I told her that would make me very happy. I want to see that. I want to see what she is going to be like. I want to know her. I want that so fucking much.
Getting to see what Shanna will do in the world will be my entertainment and reward for still being alive.
And that’s before I even get to Calli. Calli is a born engineer. She is going to need to have a woman behind her saying, “You can do it” for a great many steps in her life. She is going to live in a “man’s world”. Hell she already wants to be Diego–not Dora. Not Alicia. She’s Diego. She’s the god damn main character who rescues everyone.
They need me. It is so clear. Like my friend’s children need him. And I start weeping again and I understand fuck cancer.
There is no right. There is no should. There is no deserve in this life. There just is.
On April 1st it will be the birthday of one of the awesomest women I know. I’m sorry I won’t be in Portland with her. That would have been wonderful.
In other news I am exchanging books with a friend who is also a writer on April 1st. We are essentially work-shopping one another’s books. You know, a real forking editing job. I’m ridiculously excited. I want No Secrets to be finished and I have stalled. It has been almost a year and a half since I wrote it and it still isn’t in paper. Erf.
In September Noah is officially off the leash and he gets to start being a mostly absentee father/husband while he works on whatever he wants to work on. I’m thinking about treating July like my own personal NaNoWriMo. I want to write Outrunning Suicide before I have a hard time negotiating for time. A lot of the shape of it is working itself out in my head. Stylistically it will not resemble No Secrets. That’s for the best. I’ve been reading reviews of writers differently lately. “What will they bitch about with my content–repetitiveness. I can’t just tell the same stories. Hm. Interesting.”
Sometimes it is kind of convenient that I have been through such a ridiculous variety of kinds of extreme trauma. I always have another fucking story. Ha.
A few times lately I have thought about my mother. I’ve thought about what will happen when Shanna is eighteen. Shanna might want to meet my family. She will be allowed to. I’ll drive her to the house and wait at the bottom of the hill for her. She doesn’t have to share my views on them. She didn’t make my bed; I did.
Shanna asked me if I loved my mommy when I was a little girl. I told her that when I was a little girl I thought my mommy was the best thing in the whole universe. I loved her with my whole heart. She was my sun and my moon. Shanna then pointed out that I don’t feel that way now. I said, “No. I don’t. You will have different opinions when you are in your thirties than you have right now too.” She looked thoughtful.
It is really hard giving space for beliefs that are not your own. If I break the incest chain in my family I have absolutely done a measurable good in the world. I just found a biography from someone in the middle of a six generation chain. My stomach hurts too much to read it right now. At some point in the not-too-distant future I will have read everything easily findable on this topic. That’s a little weird to know. It makes me want to create more data.
I want to deepen and broaden the scope of information known about incestuous families. At some point I will figure out a measurable goal around this topic. I don’t have it yet.
I want to live outside my country of origin for a minimum of five years, preferably in one year chunks. I’ll get homesick bad.
I want to see what Noah can do. He has really impressed me so far. I want to see what he and I can do together.
You outrun suicide by giving yourself full permission to do it, but you keep moving the goal posts. “Ok I can do it. But first I have to do…” It’s on the to do list. But a lot of other things are going to happen first.
I want my children to be adults and to be able to say, “Yeah. I agree. It’s time. I love you. Do what is right for you.” Maybe I will have to move to Oregon once I hit 70. When I get there I will get to be near a friend of mine. She is partnered with one of the people who pushed that law through. I feel so grateful that I get to know people who change the world. They give me the courage to keep trying.
Holy fuck. I just had a thought. What age level is Outrunning Suicide aimed at? If I want a lot of people to be able to read it I have to think about that. My writing is rather obtuse most of the time. Well that will take some thought.
When I was a child there were very few periods of time when I didn’t want to die. I stayed alive mostly because I was too depressed to be expeditious. I didn’t know anything other than pain. I was not permitted to act like I was in pain. That was rude.
My life is different now. I didn’t understand what a life free from pain was. It was a myth. I wouldn’t say that I am exactly pain free at this point but I am probably at the lowest level of pain and the highest level of joy I have ever had. These are the best days of my life. And I know it while I am living them.
I keep wandering in my head to a Madeleine L’Engle book A Wind in the Door. The mitochondria are in trouble! The farandolae aren’t deepening! I just read Collapse by Jared Diamond. Help! The planet is in trouble! The humans aren’t deepening!
I don’t know. Lots of feelings. Today I don’t want to die. And I weep at the loss of a great mind. I hope he doesn’t read this. My grief is not his problem. I’m glad his wife has a very supportive family. I’m glad they live near her family and not his. I am so sorry it is happening.
I’ve read tragedies for years. I’ve taught units on tragedy. I never really got it before. I’ve never been deep enough into a community to really understand what the loss of a person means before.
He’s going to fight. He’s that kind of guy. My grief is entirely premature and I need to stfu. But this is where I feel.
I have spent most of my life believing very firmly that for me cancer was one of the goalposts. I wouldn’t fight. I would go quietly into the dark night because I’m not interested in more suffering.
Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.
Now I don’t know. When I think about the things I want to do. When I think about not seeing my daughters grow up to be fierce and bad ass? (She-Ra is pretty bad ass is a frequent comment around our house. I said it once. Oy.)
There is no right. There is no should. There is no deserve. There is only what is. And what you go do with it. We live in a time of practically preternatural access to science. If you have money. If you want to fight something bad enough we live in a time of honest-to-goodness miracles.
How much do I want to see my daughters at thirty? Forty? Fifty? Sixty? What will they do with their lives? I want to know so very badly. I am curious. I want to know. I want to see what this being I have unleashed on the world will do.
Somehow I don’t envision her walking onto the family compound at eighteen and not coming back. It’s thirteen years away. She’ll be able to evaluate people on her own at that point. She will have had a lot of practice with a lot of different kinds of people. She will be able to read people well. My family isn’t subtle. Even if she does want to get to know them–and why not, they are interesting people–she won’t want to stay.
She will have shit to do. My family has nothing to do but be unhappy. They will sit in one place doing that until they die. I don’t understand why. It’s like a clock that has run down. Poverty, physical health, mental health, and a kind of apathy I don’t understand. An anger about entitlement and responsibility I don’t understand.
I have had such a ridiculous amount of privilege. I’m only starting to understand the shape of it.
I have had the privilege of being able to set the goal post of “I’ll kill myself if” pretty low but I’ve been healthy enough to always meet a really ableist centric attitude. I have been able to be an asshole about independence. I’ve also had a guaranteed income for most of my adult life. I’ve been financially stable without having to have a job. That’s so fucking ridiculous.
I have no safety net though. I don’t have Bank of Mom and Dad. I don’t have emergency reserves beyond those I create. For most of my adult life I was inches above the poverty line living in one of the most expensive places in the world. I have never come close to bankruptcy and my credit score is ridiculous. I did that with a lot of seed capitol. I feel like an asshole for being glad that pit bull attacked me. It made the whole rest of my life better.
Perspective if everything.
I’ve been thinking about my mom. I have been specifically thinking, “I forgive you. I hope you forgive me.” If my kids ever go and meet her I hope my mom understands why I kept them away. My kids will be different. They will not have broken spirits. I hope she will be able to see that and be glad. I hope she will forgive me. I hope she understands wanting to keep your kids safe.
I hope she will forgive me.
I hope she will still be alive so that she will be able to meet my kids some day. I hope my kids want to talk to her a lot for a while. I bet she won’t live long after that but she will die happier than she has been in a long time. They will be like her. They will be able to ask her questions about things she has had great skill at doing. They will think she is an interesting person.
It’s kind of a weird balance. I have to tell the truth to my children. The truth is that no one is all bad. Everyone has good parts. The thing about life is learning how to find the good that balances the bad and evaluating if the value is high enough. In most families people decide that the kin alliance is worth putting up with the bad. That’s normal and right.
When my kids are adults they will not be children who are easy to mold. They will not be instructed in how sex is natural and fine between family members as long as you don’t breed because it is only in breeding too close to the line that you develop problems.
I hope that when my daughters are eighteen they will have the ovaries to say to a biological family member who solicits sexual contact, “You are a disgusting piece of shit and I hope you rot in hell.” Because yeah. That’s the reaction you should have to incest.
But I don’t think my family would dare at that point. And if everyone keeps their britches on, it’s fine… right? Oh fuck. *beat head on wall* Wait. I’m not supposed to do that any more.
Maybe I should get dressed and run. That would be all healthful and crap.
I want to live. I have stuff to do. I’m scared. Fuck cancer. I can’t be strong enough to outrun it. No one can. It just happens. Am I going to instantly stop smoking so I can lessen my risk of lung cancer? No. I wouldn’t be a nice person. (Vaporizer is still impact on the lungs. My lungs will tell you.)
On the way I will eat more Easter candy. My body says: “Hey, I know-instead of crying: sugar rush and endorphins!” Is this ideal? Nope. We recognize two candy-holidays a year in this house. Otherwise I would get in a long of trouble. I didn’t eat candy like this when I was a kid. It’s kind of weird.
Kids are in a bad mood. It’s going to be a rough day. So I did something out of character. I sent my therapist an email. Usually I am fanatical about “I pay you for x minutes that is all I am taking” but she has been asking and asking for me to check in by email. We don’t see one another as often as she would like and she’s having a hard time with dealing with the flow of information in x minutes. She is asking for more time.
I think that part of it is, I pay absolutely at the top of her scale and that is part of the reason I don’t go very often. I could pay for therapy or I can accelerate my house payment. That’s how I look at money. I look forward to the some day of not having a mortgage. That is going to feel like an awful lot of freedom to me.
So my therapist has been asking me at every session to email her. She’s pestering. Ha. I sent one today.
I’ve been having a lot of intrusive thoughts about my brother trying to rape me and how the fighting him off experience happened. I’m thinking very graphically about what it meant for me to fight him off of me. What did I do? How did I move my body? I didn’t say anything.
I can feel the twisting and contorting in my muscles. I can feel them pull towards re-enacting it over and over.
It started partially when I read the Alanna books. She speaks so graphically about what it means to train your body. You practice that motion over and over until you can do it without thinking about it.
I have been having a lot of intrusive thoughts about my brother. Noah, that’s part of why I have been pulling back from sex. I can feel my muscles reflexively curl into a protective, fighting position. I’m not trying to do it on purpose. It’s just happening. Then I think about why I learned it. Then they feel locked into fighting position. I think that is what is going on with all the weird knots in my muscles lately. I feel physically freaked out and like I’m ready for a fight.
This is not a good mind set heading into a party. I want to punch someone in the face. I need to do something with this. I feel scared. Why am I so scared?
I’m scared in a way that makes me want to fight. That makes me want to defend myself. I don’t feel likable. I feel ready to have to physically deal with people disliking me again. I have been having some friendship conflict. I don’t worry about being attacked. But I feel uncertain of myself. Of my future. I feel uncertain that I will be a good enough person to do the things I want to do. I feel so intensely drawn to doing specific things. I don’t know if I will let me do them though. I worry so about being judged for doing the things I want to do. I worry about being wrong and doing it wrong.
I do stay up nights worrying about this home school thing. Not because I think my children will be behind academically. My children will probably always be above grade level in terms of the state standards. They are mildly inclined to acceleration and they live with me 24/7 and I just talk about things. They are bright and they like to listen to me. They know a lot of stuff already. It’s not that I worry about that.
I worry about the future. I worry about being someone who is worth knowing. I worry that I will not actually be able to help large numbers of people because I am too small and selfish and bad.
I want to start compiling data on incest survivors. To the best of my knowledge all information about them right now is sketchy at best. I want to understand my tribe. I want to know their stories. I am trying to learn enough programming to put together an information gathering tool as a page on my website. No one else has the data I want. I will have to mine for it myself.
If I want to have a tribe I am going to have to build it myself. That scares the shit out of me. I’m not exactly a charismatic leader–I’m a bitch. It’s not even that I want to lead. I just want to get them together so I can hear them speak. I want them to want to hear me speak.
I’m sad that the support group is so far away. Not sad enough to move to Oakland.
Oh man. Now I’m looking forward to five. This whole “Wild and Wonderful 4” crap is getting old. I hear I will be the best thing in the whole wide world. I can live with that for six months or so.
My favorite thing about being married to Noah is that all of my dreams seem… so very attainable. We talk a fair bit about what will happen after the house is paid off, after the WWOOF year, after Noah feels he will no longer be likely to be a full time professional coder. We won’t be this kind of rich forever. We will be a different kind of rich. What will we do with it?
We have been talking for a while now–years–about wanting to open a school. At this point our language is solidifying around wanting to start the year that would be Calli’s freshman year of high school. This wouldn’t be the right kind of school for Shanna, anyway.
We would like to run a boarding school for nerds. The curriculum will not look a lot like most schools. Kind of a cross between a free democratic school and a vo-tech program. How do you teach entrepreneurship? Luckily we are getting to know the people who are important in those worlds. We are learning what people need to know.
How do you teach responsibility? How do you teach compassion? How do you teach teenagers to believe that their agency actually matters?
I really like being married to Noah. I feel like I could not have a better partner. I feel so very lucky.
I went and read the NY Magazine article on Feminist Housewives. I understand that some people feel insulted by the piece. I thought it was hilarious. Holy tomato do I fall into the demographic she is lampooning. Upper middle class and white. We started into this demographic when I was 27 (right in the middle of the 25-30 age group that is the fastest growing segment) when our combined household income was between $75,000 and $100,000. Over the last six years Noah has nearly made it to $200,000. We are absolutely the “kind of people” this article is trying to insult.
Wait, you didn’t think the author was trying to be insulting? Oh. I read it as if she was trying but failed because I really don’t care about her evaluation. Yes, I am a feminist who does not have an out-of-the-home job. What does being a feminist mean in my position? It means I lobby the shit out of my friends-in-similar-dynamics for them to have the autonomy and freedom I have.
On some levels my marriage is quite “retro” and in other ways it is anything but. Folks wouldn’t look at Noah and I and confirm that the patriarchy is in full force. I have agency. I make decisions.
If I were to work out of the house we would be in a worse place financially than we are right now. My salary would not cover how much we would end up spending on daycare, better clothes, eating out, a house cleaner, or a more active gardner. Let me tell you–if I had a job I would quite certainly do less cooking for the house than Noah does while having a job. My job was more hours in the week than Noah’s… for a lot less money. Really about like the social worker that was lampooned in the article.
I went into teaching for the express purpose of learning how to teach my own kids. I became a teacher because I knew I wanted to homeschool my kids someday and I wanted to be able to do so well. I did not go into a helping profession because I wanted to make the world better. I went into teaching to fulfill my own selfish desires and my own plans for the future.
I didn’t really live with my mother full time when I was a child. I grew up in extreme poverty and that means I often had to go live with virtual or literal strangers because she couldn’t care for me. This has created an ache inside me that time doesn’t seem to dull. I did not learn how to be a person from my mother. I learned how to be a person from books while I was alone in a room. I feel a physical need to have specific one-on-one relationships that facilitate personal growth. I need to see what it looks like when people go through the normal changes. I don’t need to spend the rest of my life looking at one cross section of life and only adapting to that. I was great with teenagers–I need to learn how to deal with all ages. I need to be exposed to all ages.
My life journey will never look anything like the typical journey. Even though I fall into specific demographics of high privilege now I will never be able to change who I am or where I come from. I am not like the other women in my demographic. Often I freak them out.
I can say without reservation that I have an uncommonly feminist marriage. My husband has permitted, encouraged, shoved me towards a degree of autonomy that I just don’t see in other marriages. It isn’t that he makes me do things by myself, though he does. It is that he has taught me about his own journey of aloneness. It is that he has made me understand why he has the limitations he has and he understands why I have the limitations I have and we seamlessly step in and rescue one another. He cares about my individual issues and he never assumes that I am a certain way “because I am a woman”.
I do not believe in biological determinism. I know men who are wonderful stay-at-home-dads (my brother has actually been a SAHD for the entire lives of his children) and I know women who are so non-maternal that I don’t understand why they had children. Because that biological clock thing is No Joke. These women wisely find very nurturing caregivers to provide most of the care for their kids and their kids grow up feeling loved and cared for. That’s what life is about, right?
There is no one path. I want to be near my children because it satisfies deep emotional needs for me. I was deeply neglected and abused as a child. I have baggage I am learning how to work through.
I have to stay home and take care of my children myself because otherwise I will never have the impetus to work on my hatred and rage towards working in groups. Without doing this I am unlikely to value the input of other people. Let me tell you I will never change my opinion if I just take a job where I have to work with people. I hate working with people. That’s my idea of hell on earth. I can be the boss and steer the ship in a group–but that’s different. I’m a harsh taskmaster.
I don’t want to be a harsh taskmaster with my children. I want them to learn how to be functional people. That means I have to model being a functional person. One of my biggest gripes about the American educational system is that we are turning out people who know how to be cogs in the machine–not people who can deconstruct the machine and build a new one.
I don’t know about you, but I think we need a new one.
I went on to read The Retro Husband and thought ouch. He’s talking about Noah. Only he isn’t.
Noah and I met during a period in our lives when we could lovingly be called fuck ups. We had a lot of relationship instability and we both treated people like they wouldn’t be in our lives very long. Mostly we were right. When we got married we both had to abruptly change a lot of things in our behavior. We went from not dating/just friends to engaged to married in five months. Our lives changed fast.
I picked a mate who has a profession that is best served by a combination of locking himself in a room to work alone and going out and teaching what he has learned while being locked in a room. Strip clubs don’t feature heavily. I’m pretty sure he has only been in a strip club once in his life. We went together on the first anniversary of our marriage. We had a lot of fun. (I’ve been to a lot of strip clubs and I love them.) We came home and conceived our first child. Amen.
I picked someone who has a dad who has never left his crazy mother. He understands what “for better or worse” means. I looked at the guys in my generation (and two generations above me) and found such understanding to be thin on the ground. I picked someone from inherited wealth who has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He was taught how to make money. That is a set of skills you either have or don’t have. I quizzed a lot of men. Let me tell you: financial acumen is thin on the ground. He wasn’t taught how to budget money. That’s one of the big downfalls of growing up with more money than you know what to do with. However he doesn’t track our money; I do. I budget well. We are very good partners.
I am self-aware enough to admit out loud that I would probably not be as happy if my partner made very little money. I would have different expectations. I think that when you look at the demographic of “men who do very little housework have more sex” you have a combination of: women who are lavishly provided for feel grateful and men who philander. That’s my experience.
When I was eighteen I was engaged to my high school sweetheart. That was the price of shacking up and we both wanted away from our parents. I didn’t marry him because even though he made more money than me I paid more of our expenses and I did all the housework. He was really lazy at home. I went from that to a D/s or M/s relationship. (That’s Dominant/submissive or technically Owner/property in our case.) I have always fucking cleaned house for people. I’ve been doing it all my life. I even pick fucking friends who want me to come over and clean for them. (I offer. I am really good at organizing people’s stuff.)
I clean because I am an order Muppet. I have to see order in the world around me or I can’t focus and I can’t relax. I think I clean for other people because I am trying to bond with them. I am trying to offer what I have in terms of “benefits” so people will put up with being my friend. I believe I am intrinsically unpleasant. I must offer something in trade or being around me isn’t worth the cost.
I don’t want my children to feel this way. If I had to put my head down and work a full time job and take care of my kids and take care of my house and provide food… I would certainly never ever have reason to believe that people wanted me around for any reason other than I had work to do for them. “The worst burden for a woman is no burden.” She’s talking about privilege and idleness. She can’t shame and say it bluntly. I should be serving other people, not myself. I shouldn’t just exist for the pleasure of my company. Ha. I appreciate how much she believes women should be out working in the world–but I notice that in order to do it herself she had to give up on the marriage/kids thing. I wanted kids.
I don’t think the author of the NY Magazine piece means that I should be working for other people in order to help support the world. I just don’t.
What is the point and purpose of feminism if I am not allowed to say, “I have the financial privilege to stay home and be the primary caregiver for my children and more than anything in the world I want to do it” and have that be acceptable. I don’t want to have 18, 19, and counting so I am a perpetual breeding machine who never has to do anything else but be mommy.
I will engage in the world again. I will do it as a very different person. I am not allowed to fuck my way through the rest of my life. I spent my childhood assuming I would be a sex worker for most of my life. That was my actual plan. I decided to do something else because I didn’t want my children to believe they had to do it. I changed my behavior in large and dramatic ways because I wanted to be able to look my children in the face and say that acting like me is appropriate. Does that mean I think promiscuity is terrible or bad? No. But they should not expect it of themselves because it is not mandatory. It is not common. It is not standard.
I used two forms of birth control very consistently after I was eighteen (I was on hormonal birth control and ALWAYS used condoms for casual sex and used a diaphragm with longer term fluid bonded partners who refused to wear condoms any more because let’s be honest that is how that shit happens) until I was sure I wanted to have kids. I was not going to get caught with some kid I would resent and a lifetime association with a loser ex-partner. I was smart enough to fucking recognize that at twelve years old. That’s when I went on the pill for the first time. I sometimes used depo provera (to my detriment–that shit is bad for you) then I went back to the pill.
No one sat me down and taught me the facts of life. I found things out piece-meal. A little bit at school (I will say that Los Gatos had adequate public health education–that is a huge advantage not everyone has) but mostly through talking to people. I found out most of it by making mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes before I was eighteen. I had a lot of very risky sex. I made a number of stupid choices.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this rape/not rape thing. How do I differentiate between bad sex and rape? I don’t think it crosses the line unless I was saying “no”. I believe that I have to say “no” or it is my fault that something happened. I ascribe the responsibility and agency for such acts to myself.
When I was twelve I asked a twenty-five year old man to fuck me. That wasn’t rape. But it was still a crime. It was still illegal. It was his legal responsibility to tell me no. I was still a child and he is responsible for his actions. That other twenty five year old I dated when I was twelve. He was at least nice enough to not pressure me when I said I wasn’t ready to have sex yet, but he asked me to at least give him a blow job. I felt kind of guilty because he had taken me out to a meal (Johnny Rockets. I had a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and a milkshake) and he bought me a Christmas present so… didn’t I owe him? So I gave him the blowjob he asked for. It wasn’t rape. But it was a crime.
This is where rape culture blows my mind because of how pervasive it is. It’s all my fault those poor men committed a crime. I asked them to do it–literally in the first case and by inference in the second when I said I wasn’t ready for sex yet.
I brought it up, you see. I was out on a date–of course there were expectations, duh. How stupid am I to not have stayed home. My mother had given me permission for the date. She met him. She saw us off. I was home by curfew.
I know the difference between rape and not rape. If I said no and lay there crying while someone fucked me that is rape. Even if we are both adults now and I would have consented to the sex if he had just put a condom on. That’s not a mistake on my part. That is not something I invited. Unprotected sex is not a right that a man has. He does not have the right to risk inflicting a child on a woman. Period.
I think in my little corner of the world a rapist is somehow less of a piece of shit if he at least keeps his future-children to himself.
I stay home to take care of my children. They are my whole world for this brief window of time. I don’t think I would be able to handle raising the child of my rapist. My mother had a hard time raising me. She did not bond with me as much as she did other children. She had her tubes tied when I was born. You know how “some women rape easy”? That’s my family. We rape easy. I’m trying to do something different with my children. I am escaping into a different kind of social dynamic.
I really have a feminist marriage. Why do I say that? Because I started off in a marriage where it was ok to beat and rape me and then I decided those things weren’t ok and I put a stop to them. (Let’s be clear that I was ok with it to start with–I gave active consent. Well, ok I gave consent in advance for the rape and then changed my mind because I didn’t really think it would turn into a violent rape because I didn’t know I had been dealing with mostly wussy-assed-pansies trying to “play rape” in the past. Hoo boy.)
Folks have called my husband “whipped” and his response was, “damn right”. Only he is a very autonomous being. I don’t have a lot of control over him in general. I have a ridiculous amount of influence on how he treats me. And other men/boys feel the need to let us know that I shouldn’t have so much influence on how he treats me. He should instead align his preferences with those of other men/boys and treat me how those men/boys feel I should be treated.
I really like my husband. He is self-interested in a way I can work with. I can predict how he will react because he is consistent. He has stated goals. When he starts wandering off from them a brisk reminder gets him back on track. He isn’t particularly pulled towards any boys club. He has been alone too much. He has no faith that the boys club will really be there for him.
I have been with him more for more of his life than anyone else. I like him more than anyone else ever has. I really appreciate him. My life has gone from being a nightmare to being the punchline because I am so vapid and privileged. It is… interesting.
When people mockingly say that I am trying to live how my grandmother lived I would laugh and say that I picked an atheist–not a Mennonite or a Catholic. One grandmother was a printer in Pasadena after WWII (she was enlisted) and the other was the wife of a boxer turned dairy farmer. No, I don’t live like them. I neither have to work as hard nor am I oppressed as much. The Christmas before I divorced my family my mom made me a wonderful book. She hand wrote, in her beautiful hand writing–my mother has the most beautiful writing in the world–all of our family recipes into a recipe book. She gave me what she has to give.
I am a much better cook than any of them. They used shitty ingredients and too much sugar in freaking everything to cover up the bad quality of all the canned produce. I have had to learn how to cook from The Joy of Cooking and the internet. I live in an era where there is no fucking excuse for saying “I don’t know how to do _______.”
Yes, I choose to be a stay at home mom. I choose to homeschool my children with the financial support of my husband. I don’t want to have it all. I don’t want the pressure of more people having expectations of me right now. I only have so much energy to give. I know that makes me fairly pathetic but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. I am privileged. I am lucky that I get to make this choice. I wouldn’t have been able to do this in this way with someone who made a lot less money.
Only I probably would. I would live in a cheap rented apartment and I would probably never own a house. But I would still want to take care of my kids. I don’t live in a nice house now. I will never live in an expensive neighborhood. I would feel unwanted and like I didn’t know how to behave in that kind of environment. Here the kids play on the streets and we hear lots of loud music and lots of people. I feel comfortable. I see signs of people living and laughing and putting down roots.
Yes, I want to be a stay at home mom so I can get to know the seventy-six year old man down the street. I wouldn’t have time to stand around and pass the time of day hearing his stories if I had a job. My life would be less full if I had never heard his stories. I would understand people a little less. He is helping me hate men less. He feels pretty safe to stand around and talk with. He has no designs upon me and he would probably freak the fuck out if I made a pass at him. It is a very comforting exchange. I really value having him around. I think I am shoving him in the role of my Uncle Bob. I’m going to freak out when he dies some day. I’m glad my kids are getting to hear from him. They are learning a lot of history.
Speaking of Uncle Bob. Not mine. Uncle Bob Martin is a technical guy who absolutely means well but has a humorous opinion of women. I’m not a fucking lady. Ladies are expected to act in very proscribed ways I will never agree to behave. Men should not treat me like I am a lady. I want them to treat me like a person-who-is-not-like-them. Like a human from another culture. I am a person who has had a very particular set of lifetime experiences. I am not like other people. I am not like other women. I am not like men. I am also not working in the technology industry so obviously I don’t matter–right?
Only I’ve been coding some in secret (not a secret any more) because I didn’t want to tell Noah at first. I’m still not sharing. I am who should be courted into such an industry but they treat me like an insect. They treat me like my brain is rotting inside my skull because I am so mentally deficient as to want to be near children all day. Oh go fuck yourself. Mostly women are treated like they have no value after they have stayed home to take care of children. Only Uncle Bob wants us to be the ladies and spiffy up the place and nurture our cwute widdle pwojects along to help them actually happen. The boys club has noticed that when you get too many boys in one place you need a den mother.
Well he is asking women to come work in a hostile work environment. He isn’t really acknowledging how or why. At the edges of that hostile work environment (the gaming community is kind of the bastard son of the technology community) we have Anita Sarkeesian speaking about what happens to women who have the audacity to look at how women are treated in the gaming community.
I could stay in an underpaid, unappreciated profession where I get to care for other peoples children all day but not really form bonds because the kids are leaving at the end of the year–so I don’t have to grow as a person. I can remain static as I stand there doing the same thing year after year. Like I’m perfect already. ha.
Or I could stay home and raise children and figure out how to grow fruit and vegetables so that when I am old my property will be fairly self-sufficient. I am contributing to my long-term future. Could it all be yanked away from me? Anything could. You don’t have to tell me that. I don’t think many people understand having an uncertain future more than me. But things really and truly have improved. I have changed. I have learned from my mistakes.
Yes, I’m a feminist and a house wife. Being in this position allows me to acquire skills that I want to have. Having a career would not allow me to develop these skills. I want them. I want them with every fiber of my being. I want to have survival skills that are not taught in an office or a school. Those environments are artifacts of a culture that is dying. I want my children to be able to do something else.
We are at a turning point. We have to change. If that makes me “retro” then I’m ok with that. This essay from Michael O. Church is fifteenth in a series (now of sixteen and counting…) about how corporations need to shift from being part of an industrial model to being part of the technology era. He’s talking about getting rich. He’s not talking about my life any more than Sebastian Marshall is talking about my life. I am not part of the technological revolution these men are portending. Yet I am. I am raising the children who will carry it out.
I believe that women have as much of a place in the world as men. I believe that women are as intrinsically valuable as men–not “because we nurture” but rather because if the human race is to continue it requires men and women. We have not found a way to get around that yet. It’s not because we are both awesome “in our own ways” it’s because we simply cannot continue as a race without both genders. And subjugating women isn’t going so well. We live in an era where silencing us is harder than it has ever been before. We fight back now. And bear the consequences of that too. It’s still better than it was. There have always been consequences for standing up for yourself–that is not a man or a woman thing. Unfortunately the consequences for women tend to involve threats that involve her gender, especially rape.
I have never met anyone who has been actually raped more times than I have. Either that or no one has been willing to say it to me. Some day I will meet someone. I have very real reason to fear reprisals for speaking out–the threatened torture has already happened to me. What makes me think I will avoid it in the future?
Because I have learned more about privilege. I was silenced previously in my life because I was young, ignorant, and too weak to protect myself. I am no longer in such a position. Most women and girls do not understand what the process of learning how to protect themselves means. Unfortunately “protecting yourself” often means staying home and not getting to be part of communities and hobbies you would like to join because if you have a bad experience you are on your own. If you defend yourself people may threaten to kill and/or rape you.
In many ways I feel very consciously like I am choosing a life more like a religious life–I am mostly cloistered and I mostly have contact with women and children. I’m doing it as an increasingly zealous atheist which is kind of awkward.
There are many studies that say that men/women in highly defined relationships do better and are happier. So far in history those relationships have followed a pattern of men work- women raise children. It was a biologically unavoidable task. We no longer live in that world. Now men are no more suited to the weird ass work people do in offices than women are–often men are not as well suited. A great deal of technological work involves a kind of multi-tasking that women are shown to be better at. And as my husband shows me week after week after week in our marriage–he is a better cook than I am and he is quite capable of bathing children and changing diapers and cleaning the house. He doesn’t do as much of it as I do, no, and that’s ok with me. Doing those tasks requires time. I have more time to kill than he does. He is genuinely working his ass off for more structured hours of the day than me. I can pick up slack and increase our mutual leisure time because it makes my life better.
I don’t see how these choices are unfeminist. I am being cold, calculating, and I am serving my interests and the interests of my progeny. I am, however, not serving the interests of an Industrial Age leftover feminism. I am not trying to stamp out home life in service of people living in dormitories and working in factories. I don’t want my children to imprint on a group of people exactly their age so they have no perspective on how dramatic the changes in life are. I want my children to grow up understanding that people change constantly. They don’t settle in and “be the same” for decades. You have to grow.
I don’t see a structure for that in the current set-up. So I’m going to go make it up as I go. I understand that has been the normal human path since the beginning of time. I’m ok with being on The Road Not Taken by other people. I will always be weird. That’s unavoidable.
I wish you knew that you were actually on that road too. You are not actually on the same road as other people and you shouldn’t try to be. What do you want to do with your life? That’s what feminism is about.
At the end of that rant the kind of logical next question is: so what about all the people who don’t have my privilege? Fuck if I know. That’s a really hard question.
Given the behavior of everyone in my household yesterday and how I feel today I’m glad I don’t have to drive to Portland tomorrow. That would suck. However I am fully confident that I will be better by say Tuesday or Wednesday which gives me an unexpected few days to prepare for the Easter party.
I uhm think I will be going overboard as compensation. It’ll be fun. Pinterest oh how you eat my brain.
I am pretty confident that we will have at least
twelve fifteen kids. I’ve had that many “yes we are coming” actual confirmations. (re-checked email) A whole bunch of other people just haven’t responded at all. Thank you to my wonderful blog readers. You all responded. When I fuss I am not fussing about you. (My blog readers said “no” if they can’t make it. See how polite people are when they read about your inner process?)
#10: Alanna book 2: In the Hands of the Goddess
#11: Alanna book 3: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
#12: Alanna book 4: Lioness Rampant
All by Tamora Pierce. All excellent. Yes, I will keep reading books in this universe. But I’ve bought myself a week of slower reading time so I should probably get around to reading Native Son. I’ve only owned it for nine years. Maybe I should read it one of these days.
Book #10: Alanna The First Adventure: Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce.
I freakin love this book. I am so glad my friend handed me the first four books in the series. I like the plot exposition. I like the language. I like the characters. Just plain win. Excellent. Now that I have children comatose on the couch maybe I can catch up on reading.
The book starts out with the main character as a 10 year old and it only lasts till she is 13. This is going to be wonderful to read aloud in another two or three years.
#11: In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
#12: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
#13: Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
I was watching my friend Mo’s video and I felt really amused that I have played with 3/7 of the people shown. Sometimes I miss playing. That feels like a different life.
Book #9: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.
Oops. I didn’t mention that I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it. I found a lot to think about.
I am officially four books behind already. Maybe I’ll go read some of those candy-coated YA books a friend loaned me.
I’m having Feelings. Of the variety I can’t really talk about because it turns into Dwama. Sometimes it is hard to predict why people won’t like me. I think I should take this moment to appreciate people self-selecting out of my web. It means I don’t have to feel spread as thin.
I do wish I had more control over what people find offensive. Sometimes when I bother people I feel like it is just a manifestation of how not-ok I am in the universe. Sometimes when I bother people I know it is about shit in their life and it isn’t really about me.
I like the second case better.
4 yr old: “You are not the boss!”
2 yr old: “Yes I am! I’m the boss of me!”
I read a very good post about PTSD a few minutes ago. Me being me, I have to respond.
My PTSD does not look like his. It has very little in common with his. Mine is different for a lot of reasons connected to longevity of trauma.
When your brain is under stress it reverts to the most basic training you have had in your life. For me the most significant, impactful early training of my life involved seeking out painful sexual contact and learning to be silent through it. I was moved rapidly through a series of homes, cities, and states. I was put in a variety of incredibly unsafe circumstances and left alone with pedophiles and rapists.
My PTSD is different. My PTSD isn’t about bombs. My PTSD is about believing that if someone near me can make their life better by causing me pain they will do so in a heart beat. My PTSD is about not knowing how to feel not afraid. My body does not know how to calm down. I have been afraid for too long.
For me PTSD is about knowing that when other children were loved and cared for I was spat on and called names. I believe that is what I deserve in life. I was taught to expect that. I was taught that when I expected or asked for anything else I would be punished, severely.
I have almost no memory of being in a room with my father without sexual abuse happening. It was constant before my parents split up. My mom just didn’t notice. After the divorce she just wasn’t there. I was always alone.
For me, PTSD manifests as the physical toll of years and years of adrenaline and malnutrition. I have terrible vertigo and tinnitus frequently. I have stomach pain from anxiety that I can’t make go away. If I try to go unmedicated I experience horrible pain when I try to eat. If I don’t eat often enough I vomit. I have the standard terrible headaches and back pain that go along with being an early childhood sexual assault survivor. Apparently almost all of us have that.
For me, PTSD is about believing that there is something that is lovable in other people that I simply lack. I do not deserve, stimulate, engender love. I am simply a black hole into which pain should be thrown.
I truly wish this was whiny hyperbole. I’ve had a bad life. I even wrote a book about it.
For me PTSD means that cutting myself produces enough pain for my psyche to calm down–now I know that reality is as it should be. I am supposed to be in pain. If I am not in pain I need to hurry up and cause pain before I do something stupid like believe it is ok for me to speak in front of people. No one wants to fucking hear what I have to fucking say.
I know that I am a stupid, worthless whore. That is what PTSD has given me. Well, that and living amongst the kyriarchy.
I agree with him that PTSD is about a world view. I will never be able to see the world as a safe place. It has never been for me. Security is a lie. There will always be monsters in the closets.
I have been talking to people about my travel plans. That means people have been indicating interest. This pleases me. I have a friend going to Disneyland with me and the girls this year. I don’t have 2014 in Disneyland locked in yet. Someone said that she and her family might be willing to meet me at Disney World for part of our time there in 2015; I know that a friend in Georgia wants to meet us there for part of that time too.
In either 2016 or 2017 I will spend two weeks in Hawaii in a really nice resort for my birthday.
This is why I bought the time share. If I only have to come up with air fare and food it’s not nearly so hard. I like running away from home. And it’s really nice running to places where I know the price I have to pay in order to have people be nice to me.
I don’t bring up the idea of traveling with people more because I’m really difficult and particular. I figure I’ll spend a lot of time with my mouth sutured shut for the rest of my life. That’s the price of having friends, right?
I know people with a wide variety of destressing activities. I plan Disney vacations. Yay prepaid vacations for fifty years. That’s a lot of destressing.
I spoke with my therapist on the phone. She’s thrilled that I sent her such an email. She said, “When a client can get mad at you and articulate it–that is often a good sign. It means you actually trust me.” We’ll see. We are going to continue working together. We are going to change the structure of our sessions and the content of what we are processing. I’m willing to keep trying.
I feel bad when I write about being suicidal because I know I worry people. I know it sounds a lot like the boy who cried wolf. The big reason I want my own domain is so I can talk about feeling intensely suicidal without violating a TOA or getting a smack down from a moderator.
I know it is hard to know someone as specifically unpredictable as I am. Bonding to me is foolish. Goodness knows when I will blow up and hurt you again. I’m just like that. And I’m selfish–so very selfish. If I weren’t selfish I would be dead.
When I am not feeling suicidal I know that I am a rule breaker. I know that there are taboos around talking about suicide for a reason. Why do I think I am so god damn special that I should get to break that taboo? I literally believe I will die if I try to follow the taboo. I can’t.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to a beautiful girl saying, “I need you.” Then there is cuddling and kissing and stroking as we go back to sleep. I need you, too. I need you so much I feel like my heart will explode.
I used to not talk about being suicidal. Instead I cut myself and burned myself and overdosed on pills and took whatever drugs people handed me and fucked anyone who was even vaguely interested. Anything to not have to think or talk about how very suicidal I was.
I don’t do any of those things any more. I’m just left with the fleeting feeling of being completely overwhelmed by pain and wanting to escape.
Today is starting off ok. My neighbor told me I can paint her fence. The school is happy to go along with the contest idea after STAR testing in May. Frankly I’m glad of the delay. It gives me time to get organized.
My therapist asked me if I feel I got value from the group therapy experience. I told her, “I already knew the outlines of my tribe. I already understood the commonalities of our experience–even if I don’t understand each specific member of my tribe. I won’t keep these women in my life due to geographic constraints–it’s no insult towards them. I didn’t learn anything particularly new and I didn’t form relationships that will change my life. It was a neutral experience.
I was watching an interview with Amanda Fucking Palmer (Supposedly I will be going to a backyard concert with 49 other rad people sometime this year. I am trying to learn more about her. She commented that she believes the human brain is not meant to know 50,000 people and care about them and their problems and their sister’s problems. Our brains were meant to care about a few hundred people. It’s an interesting problem on the modern scale.
How do you pick who to care about? Most people just get who they get. They grow up around a set of people and they never move that far away. You know who was born near you. My life isn’t like that. The people who are keeping threads in my life have scattered to the winds. They are not day-in-day-out dependable. They are all busy and spread out geographically. How is the human brain meant to adapt to this? I’m not sure but I’m trying.
I’m reading more about resilience and getting pissed off. I’m tired of statistical everything acting like I shouldn’t exist. Statistical anomaly. That’s me. I just shouldn’t happen. People can’t do what I can.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam. I shall either find a way or make one.
I’m just about done with Collapse by Jared Diamond–author of Guns, Germs, and Steal (which I haven’t read). I’m having a bitch of a time keeping up with reading new books. I don’t like reading new books. I like rereading old books and visiting my friends. I finished Outlander again for my book club and I have to sit on my hands so I don’t read the whole damn series again before book club. (I have like three weeks. I could totally read the next six books that each are over 1,000 pages long in that time but I wouldn’t read anything new and if I want to read 52 new books this year… oh man. Get crackin.)
Today we are going to learn about local weeds with the homeschool group. And have dance class. And swim class. And our back door will be sealed against the coming rain (it’s a process). I need to wash one load of laundry and fold three. I need to start thinking about packing. Ugh.
It’s just another day in paradise, right?
I sent my therapist an email and she predictably responded with horror. “Oh shit, I made you feel how?! Oh no!” (To be clear I said, “I am not saying it is ‘all your fault’ I am saying this approach isn’t working for me.”) We will talk on the phone this afternoon. EMDR is just going to be stopped indefinitely.
Yesterday I had one of those weird days where I understand that becoming a mother is the first time in my life I genuinely feel “in the club” and no one can kick me out. Even if someone else doesn’t think I’m doing it “good enough” I’m a mother. I’m not a dancer because whenever I go to dance events I have to listen to assholes tell me how not-good I am. Fine. I’m just not a dancer then.
Motherhood is different. It’s better. There isn’t a set yard stick. It was kind of fun to get into the debates that rage so fiercely in that world. I tried hard to say that all choices are fine. Do what makes sense to your life circumstances.
The path I am choosing through parenthood involves as few extra steps on my part as possible. No, I am not going to puree your food. It’s food. Eat it. No I am not going to go buy you a special “kid proof” cup. Here is a cup. Use it. No I am not going to deal with having to come help you five times during the night while you are somewhere else–I’ll just sleep with you. I’m lazy. Let’s be clear that I don’t think these are moral choices. This is about parental choices and personalities. We’re all different. That’s cool. I can see the advantages of other choices–but they come with work/expense I don’t want. *shrug*
Someone with a harsh background said she was about to start therapy for the first time. I gave her a rather long lecture on how she needs to prepare herself for working on issues. If you don’t show up in therapy with a specific agenda it will probably be a waste of your time. The therapist doesn’t know you or what you need to work on. You need to decide. I talked about EMDR and CBT and more general talk therapy models. What will help you?
Meds aren’t the answer. You need to change your life. Meds can be a crutch to get you through a hard transition– but if you want to make lasting happiness happen in your life you need to go through a pretty major transition. Obviously what you are doing isn’t working.
I say that with no judgment. It’s hard to make the changes one needs. I do understand that.
I’m glad I told my therapist how bad EMDR is making my life. That was the right choice. It’s hard for me to confront people who feel like they are “in charge” and tell them they are wrong. I have a very fearful approach to hierarchy. I am evasive then belligerent. I’m working on it.
I know that I don’t have “good reasons” to be suicidal at this point. I get to wake up every day surrounded by an intensity of love many people never get to experience. I am one of the luckiest bitches on the planet. This is “mental illness”. It’s not about what is logically happening to me right now. My brain is broken. My brain believes that I should always be afraid. That I should always expect people to be nice to me at first so that I will trust them so they can hurt me much much much more very soon. For me to stop believing this would be for me to stop believing that my life experience has any validity at all. I’m in kind of a bind.
I have genuinely had a life where most people are unsafe and dangerous to me. Their apathy towards what is going on in my life has caused me to endure outrageous trauma. Because no one wanted to get involved. Because no one wanted to look. Because it wasn’t their problem. For me to actually believe that I am safe and people will help protect me or that my life will be better would be the same as me deciding that there is a whole human race on Mars and we just haven’t met them yet.
I will have to make up that belief despite having no solid reason to believe in it. Shit, I’d rather believe in an omnipotent G-d and I don’t see that happening.
But motherhood is this weird club. They aren’t my “friends” but they clearly respect me and listen to me in a way I’ve never experienced before. It’s fucking weird.
I had a really bad dream last night about the guy who tazored me and said he would apologize and hasn’t. This morning I woke up to a message from him saying he hasn’t forgotten he just hasn’t done it. This is kind of weird because I haven’t dreamed almost at all since I started smoking pot. I think my consumption is way down–I know that I am way less high than I used to be. If that means I can start having nightmares again I may want to find a way to up how much I am using again. I don’t know how I will find the time in the day to do that.
I haven’t slept much at all this week. I’m really not doing well. I need to send my therapist an email. I need therapy to make me feel better about myself not make me suicidal and non-functioning because I am hysterically crying for days. This isn’t working. This is making my life really bad. I have always gotten some therapy-hangover but not like this. And it’s getting worse over time not better.
Doing EMDR on isolated traumas (Francesca’s death, my miscarriage, Traci’s overdose) seemed very effective. They were fresh, easy to access trauma. There was a specific start and finish and reason and it just worked. Obviously I was having disordered thinking with regard to these specific events.
Having a therapist who wants me to sit there thinking about how bad my birthdays are week after week when the only way I know to make them better is run away from home isn’t doing anything to improve my mental health. The idea of still needing to do this in order to not kill myself in twenty-five years is terrifying. I feel this draining of hope and will to live. No, I can’t lie to my brain and say it will get better. It was supposed to get better when I found a partner. It didn’t. It isn’t going to. Sometimes life is just like that. You have to accept the life you have. You can’t make everything perfect.
I don’t want to sit there thinking about how worthless and unloveable I must be forever.
It isn’t that no one can love me. But people can handle giving me about a teaspoon of love. Then I freak out and they run away. And at this point in my life it feels like all my fault. I am bad. I drive people away with my intensity and anger and frustration. It makes a lot of sense that people don’t want to put up with shit like I dish out. It is a completely logical way for them to care about themselves.
The last therapist I saw (who had to stop seeing clients for personal reasons) would talk to me about my life. We would strategize how to handle frustrating situations. We talked about how different personalities interact so that I can pre-plan what is acceptable from me. I don’t do that at all with my current therapist. She doesn’t have time. She wants us to hurry up and get to the EMDR.
I cut back to twice a month partially because I can’t handle feeling this suicidal every week. I do not have an unlimited amount of self control. The fantasies are changing. They are becoming more realistic. More like things I would actually do. More like things that would end my life without causing a huge amount of collateral trauma to innocent bystanders. In other words: more plausible. That’s not good. Yes, my kids and Noah would still have to deal with the results. But I wouldn’t be ruining the life of some poor truck driver.
I don’t feel like therapy is support right now. It feels like yet more burden of awful. It feels like just reminding myself that I am never going to be like other people. I will always have this caverning evil and disgusting and bad inside me that other people just don’t have. There is no way to change who I am or what has happened to me.
I need to talk to my shrink about this and I don’t know how. I want to just run away. I want to say, “You know how you told me that you were going to charge me $150/hour because that is your extended session EMDR rate and you assume we will have a lot of long sessions and we’ve never had a long session you just shove the EMDR into being most of our session and we barely talk and I don’t know you and you don’t much of anything about me beyond the book. If you only know my life up to 18 you don’t know me.”
I feel more defensive and frustrated by the visit. And I pay a lot of money for the visits. I don’t feel good about this.
K shouldn’t have to be the one talking me through reasonable discipline of my kids. That is a lot of what I pay a therapist for. But we don’t talk about my kids. We don’t have time because she wants us to hurry up and get to the EMDR. Which is making it so I am non-functional and can’t really take care of my kids. I don’t feel like she cares about the holistic picture of my life.
As someone with “extreme mental illness” firing a shrink is a loaded process. I’ve obviously done it (21 shrinks and counting) but when you don’t have a therapist and you are mentally ill all of a sudden every time anything goes wrong in your life, “Well what did you expect–you should be in therapy.”
Therapy is a really weird process. I was not taught how to be a functional adult as a child. That is the plain and simple truth. Therapy is supposed to be helping me become a more functional adult. It is a mixed bag at doing this. I didn’t do well with the chick who really wanted me to have DID (multiple personalities) and I’m not doing well with the chick who wants me to do all of my processing in my head with beeping and she’s just the one who presses play.
I did very well with my last shrink. She was supportive and encouraging. She listened far more than she talked and I never felt condescended towards. She was respectful and encouraging. She seemed to be very impressed with my life in general–I am making a lot more conscious choices than most people. It’s not that I am “that great” but I really consciously decide who and what I will be. Most people just kind of drift through life.
I want someone who can give me advice in specific ways at specific times and help me when I am struggling but mostly be a witness to the fact that I have done a lot of fixing myself. I don’t have that right now.
I’m not fixing myself lately because I’m reeling from the EMDR all the time and she gives me no respect for doing so ever in the past. I feel invalidated and helpless and like I can’t do anything to change myself when I leave her office. That’s not real useful.
So given them I’m all fussed about the above stuff I’m not having charitable thoughts about someone in the home schooling group complaining that I am hosting a running event in Fremont. She lives in Oakland and she wants me to move the event further north. How about San Leandro or the Oakland Hills? Uhm, how about if YOU host an event that is convenient for you and I will come or not and not bitch at you because you aren’t convenient enough for me. I drive a lot for this group. When I rarely host an event don’t fucking tell me that I should be doing it in a way that will make my life shitty and your life better. I feel disrespected. I don’t even know the woman who complained. If it was one of my “buddies” I might feel more open to negotiating because I would be blunt and say, “Ok what’s the trade because you are offering me a shitty deal.” You can’t say that to a stranger.
I leave for a trip in eight days. It was pointed out to me that I might want to pack. Feck. I care much more about the fact that the house is almost ready for the Easter party. Ha.
Yesterday I was an idiot and I didn’t write down that someone was coming over. Luckily she reads my blog and noticed that I didn’t mention her so she emailed me. Excellent. So I didn’t get through my to-do list but I got to see someone I’ve been trying to see for over a month. As a surprise. That was quite pleasant. Then my next door neighbor washed my van. I was rather surprised he did that.
Yesterday my friend said, “When my husband met you he said, ‘She fakes being happy really well but you can see by how she holds her face that she isn’t.'” Many cookies to him. Very few people notice. Very few people care.
I imagine happiness to be akin to the absence of pain. It is a rare and fleeting feeling in my life. I do love holding my babies. That makes me feel happy. Feeling how much they love me is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.
Harm reduction says to look at what you are doing in life and evaluate the harm it is doing. Right now my biggest harm is coming from therapy. That seems kind of backwards. It may be time to go therapist shopping again.