I am in a psychotically violent mood. I would really like to methodically go through and break every fucking bone in someones body.
No one has done anything. I’m really sorry for sniping on the phone, K.
I am in a psychotically violent mood. I would really like to methodically go through and break every fucking bone in someones body.
No one has done anything. I’m really sorry for sniping on the phone, K.
Cover up the hideous face/hat thing. I tried to fix what the neighborhood chickees did and it looks stupid and awful. Time to cover it and try something else. Someone showing up for thirty minutes to “help” doesn’t always help.
I am up to 43 hours of work. Between Pam and Noah there have been ~5.5 hours of help. I think this means it will actually end up being a 60 hour project. YAY! It can use it.
Add buildings with religious symbols.
Add animals on Mission Peak.
More people playing in Aqua Adventure.
Add princess, unicorn, and other fantasy stuff to the enchanted garden.
Holy f’in shit. How will I do all of that in ONE DAY?!
BY GETTING OFF YOUR ASS YOU LAZY SLUG.
Every morning I wake up and turn on the electric kettle that Paula gave me. Then I put the tea that Jenny introduced me to in the tea pot that Jenny told me to get. Then I fill the cat shaped milk pitcher that Denise gave me and I put the cups that Denise gave me on the table.
I think of these women and I say “thank you” every morning. I am so grateful to have these physical manifestations that people want me in the world.
I am going to do 13-23 more hours on the fence. I want to finish this week. I suppose that means that I will be painting all day today and tomorrow and maybe Wednesday. The kids will *love* that. Not. They are very very done with me doing a task that requires intense concentration and that they not walk up and touch me. But it’s coming along!
Yesterday I started the work of unwinding the blackberry bramble from the trellis it has been on for the past year and a half. Hard to believe that the bush has been in my yard for only a year and a half. That’s one massive sucker. I have probably another five hours of work before it is transferred over to the new trellis structure (which mostly consists of retired Twisted Monk rope. Ha. My yard is visually full of it. My stuff is far too old for safe suspensions and I don’t do enough floor bondage to care. Not that I suspend anyone lately. Sigh.).
Ice skating was wicked fun and I didn’t fall *once*. I feel so proud of myself. I went off and did some speed laps on my own when the rest of my family was worn out from falling. I find it strange that my thirties are the decade of physical independence and strength. I have the courage to try things now. I am not so afraid of failing that I stay home and cry instead of showing up. I have always been afraid. It is weird to not let fear run very much of my life.
“Falling is part of the learning process. If you are afraid of falling you will never be good. You can’t get real mad either. You just have to accept it and try to do better.”
I learn these things as I teach them.
I went and talked to an old acquaintance who is a Contra dance leader person last night. I am curious about bringing the home school kids to a Contra dance because I think it is potentially interesting to them. It sounds like I should wait until more kids are closer to ten. That makes sense. That’s ok, I don’t need to do everything this year. I will start trying to teach some things in the park though as pre-prep.
It is kind of weird constantly thinking about scaffolding. What do I want them to be able to do when they are thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, fifty that requires preparation at this point. There are more things than anyone wants to think about.
Life is about a series of A/B choices. As you go on your list narrows. Do you want children–yes or no. Did you actually have children–yes or no. Do you want to work or stay at home–pick one. When you make choices you close a lot of doors. I get this. I don’t think that one road is morally superior than other roads. I don’t think that picking home schooling proves I love my kids more than anyone else. It is just the A/B choice I wanted.
Recently I wrote a fairly defensive six page letter to my grandmother-in-law. She has been expressing clearly that she has never seen home schooling go well and she does not approve. Ok. Well, I know a lot of people for whom it has gone well so if we are doing the anecdote thing I win. If we are looking at actual fucking data then I win and win and win and win. So fuck you. Home schooling has been around since the dawn of time so can we not act like the American public school system has a lock on education? Give me a break.
But I don’t say “fuck” in letters to the grandmother. Even I recognize some limits.
What I have been doing instead is writing long philosophical letters where I mention all the educational theorists and I talk about the strengths and advantages of different systems and I talk about schema and scaffolding and all the shit I’m doing.
I knew I wanted to home school my children when I was seventeen years old. I went to college, graduate school, and I got a teaching credential because I wanted to home school my kids and I believed it required preparation. No, I really and truly don’t believe that everyone should home school their kids. However I think I am fully fucking qualified and I’m not going to be nice to people who imply otherwise.
I prepared for this for more than ten years before having children. I did that knowing that there is the very real possibility that I will home school my kids till they are seven or so and then they will say, “Screw you mom, I’m going to school.” I did that knowing that if I had a child who was blind, deaf, autistic, fill in the blank special needs, I probably wouldn’t be able to home school. I prepared anyway and hoped for the best. My children appear to be very “normal” in terms of development. Shanna is advanced verbally but not emotionally or in terms of education. She just can talk. Calli is very on track to be average.
I can handle average kids. I really can. I understand that lots of people worry about home schooling as an educational choice–I worry too. But I have yet to meet someone who comes out of the public education without major gaps in their education… I can’t believe that home schooling would magically be worse. Not if I seriously undertake it as my profession.
I’ve tried to figure out how to use a word other than vocation. Now that I know I am using vocation wrong (it has way less emphasis than I want) I’m not even sure how to talk about it. Some children know very young they want to grow up and be a nun. It’s a calling. I knew I wanted to home school.
I want this intensity of relationship. I understand that not everyone wants it. I am not trying to claim that this intensity is the healthiest or the best or superior for everyone. Noah sure as shit couldn’t do what I am doing with the kids. He would go bananas. He gets very short with them by the end of a weekend. I would not leave Noah alone with the kids for more than a week by himself. I mean, no one would die or anything. They wouldn’t have much fun though.
I have been alone for most of my life in a way that other people can’t understand. Moving around all the time such that you literally don’t have friendships that last longer than three months is quite traumatic in and of itself without mentioning all the other shit in my life. I really am a freak. It is pretty verifiable if you go talk to medical professionals.
I want to be with people all the time. I want to be able to hug and touch people safely without them expecting me to offer blowjobs. I haven’t had a lot of that. I have spent most of my life believing that if I am not actively offering sex I should leave because no one is interested in my presence.
I don’t believe I “love my children more” because of the choices I make. I believe that I am using my children to meet my needs in some ways that could be massively unhealthy if I am not careful.
Shanna asks me why I see a therapist almost every time we go. She doesn’t want to be away from me for the hour of the appointment. She complains loudly. “You know how I cry all the time? Well, I cry because I’m thinking about things I need to talk about. No, I can’t talk to you about these things. It would be totally inappropriate. It is wrong for grown ups to bring their problems to children. I need someone to talk to. She helps me be a better mother.”
I am very careful that neither child becomes my “little mother”. That’s not what I want. I think that is very wrong. That is what my mother did to me. That is what my grandmother did to my mother. I am not passing on that generational wound. I believe that I (I’m not fucking talking about anyone else so don’t take this as a projection) would not be capable of taking care of my own shit and holding down a job. I think that if I had a job I would expect my kids to pick up a ton more slack than I do right now. I would expect them to “help me” because you have kids to help you–right? Isn’t that how the tradition goes?
I didn’t have kids to help me. I had kids because I want a life long relationship so bad it makes me shake with need. I had kids because I want a reason to not die and I don’t think I have very many good reasons. I don’t think other people are worth staying alive for. Other people don’t do much of anything to make my life a demonstrably better place to be. They can’t. It isn’t that they don’t care. It’s that they are living their lives and they can’t stop to take care of me. That’s not healthy in any way–there is even a word: codependence. I don’t expect people to do that. Hell, I don’t want anyone to stop their life to try and take care of me.
But being a parent means that I have to think about how relationships work all day every day. I have to do measurable work on myself to deserve this relationship. I have to change.
I was talking to a new person last night at a party. I don’t know how we got on this topic but we were discussing parental guidance with regard to reading. When I was eight my aunt (who was basically a foster mother) told me I wasn’t allowed to read Sweet Valley High books because they were too mature and graphic. (The kids made out in the sand at the beach or something.) I left her house and went back to my mother’s house where I read Bertrice Small books. Small is very into incest, pony play, harems, sodomy, raping, kidnapping, dildos, bestiality, LOTS of group sex.
That is, in a nutshell, the conundrum of my life. Those kind of hard-core pornography books were the only books my mom had in the house. I went between being punished for thinking about kissing a boy to being given a detailed instruction manual on how to have really graphic sex that I bloody well followed over and over.
I was eight when I started trying to memorize these books. What was I supposed to do in order to make people want me? I thought it was very important. I thought that was the only way people might let me be around. When the characters were taught how to behave in the harem I god damn took notes.
My children will not be reading Bertrice Small pre-puberty. The books are in my room up on a very high shelf. I still have them. I still wank to them. Oh man formative literature.
I no longer think I deserve to be beaten and raped. That is a fairly big step for me. That is how I found the bdsm community. I thought that was what I deserved and I went on the internet looking for men to do that to me. I was told to buy SM 101 and that was it. I found what I was supposed to be doing.
Let me tell you I have some cognitive dissonance sometimes. What am I supposed to be doing now? Well, painting a fence. Winding some blackberry bushes. Preserving tomatoes. Loving children. Teaching reading and writing and arithmetic.
I am supposed to figure out how to be stable and happy and a “good influence” whatever that means. Am I a good influence? I don’t know. I think that you, whoever you are, are someone who has unique gifts and talents and things to offer the world. I don’t know what they are so I can’t tell you what you “should” be doing. You have to figure it out for yourself.
When I was young I believed that my only talent/skill thing was being able to read fast. I didn’t see how that could possibly be a big deal later in life. I thought I was pathetic. Now I think that being able to read as fast I can has been an unbelievable gift in this lifetime. I can learn anything I want to know.
I am teaching myself gardening. It is complicated and there is a lot to understand. I’m learning it. I am teaching myself cooking. It’s fucking chemistry. I understand that these are things that humans have been teaching themselves without books for thousands, maybe a million years. But I am really progressing at these skills at a pace my forbearers could not imagine. That’s kind of cool.
It is hard believing in the pit of your stomach that you are stupid, worthless, and unworthy of breathing while also knowing that you are an unusual specimen of the species. It doesn’t fit in my brain. I am more competent at being able to learn things than average. Why do I feel so weak and pathetic? Because these things are impossible to measure in any useful way. Because the measurement of these qualities has nothing to do with feelings. Because I just think I suck. (Yes, but what do you suck? Suck is a transitive verb.)
I know a lot of people who make choices without thinking a lot about them. I’m not saying that is a terrible decision. If you are following the pattern you know and it works for you there isn’t a strong need to question the normal M.O. That’s fine. I can’t do that though.
I don’t think I am making the UNIVERSAL BEST CHOICES. I don’t think there is any such thing. I think I am making the choices that make the most sense for me given my set of issues and life circumstances.
I worry a lot about whether or not I am making the best choices for my children. I look at studies that say that children, in general, do “best” when they have a stay at home mother. I look at studies that verify that home schooled children, on average, do very well. But those things tell me literally nothing about whether or not I am meeting the needs of my children. I’m not sure if I am capable of knowing at this point.
My children are clean, well fed, and loved. That’s what I know. But that is pretty much exactly what the neighbor said about me to justify why she didn’t tell anyone I was being raped as a small child. How in the fuck do I know if what I am doing is right given that set of knowledge? Am I actually taking care of my kids? My mom thought she was and she wasn’t.
I tell my children that they don’t need to be like me even though I apparently have a desperate need to be like my mother. I am doing her job and I am doing it god damn better than she did. My children are safe in a way my mothers children were never safe. My children don’t need to grow up and do what I am doing any more than they have to grow up and do what Noah is doing. There is a whole wide world out there. There are so many people living in so many different ways. If you don’t like my approach, well let’s go study some other approaches. I can’t explain them like an insider so we will have to find people so you can ask your questions.
If I do anything right in this lifetime it will be to teach my children that being like me is not necessarily part of being an adult. I’m a special fucking snowflake. Don’t try to be like me.
It feels so sad that it always comes back to, “Don’t be like me. I am bad.” If you want people to like you, don’t be like me. If you want people to think you are a good person, don’t be like me. If you want people to let their children play with you, don’t be like me. Throughout my whole life people have been keeping their children away from me because I am a bad influence. From when I was three years old people have said to my face that they don’t want me around their children because I am a bad influence.
No, don’t be like me. There is no good to come of that road.
Am I really that bad? I don’t even know. I don’t know how these things are measured. I don’t know how they are decided. That process is invisible to me.
It’s kind of funny that I rarely decide that a person is “bad”. I frequently think that someone made a bad decision. I don’t conflate anyone else’s personhood with whether or not they make bad decisions sometimes. I do for me though. There is no redemption out of this pit.
Yesterday I worked on the fence for two hours. One of the old white guys who walks around my neighborhood chatted with me, as they all do, about the painting. He said that he recognized the Hindu Temple but “wished they would just go away.”
I went off. “Uhm, my family doesn’t share that opinion even slightly. I teach English classes there. My family has been taking Hindi classes there. We are glad it is on our street as a valuable resource to our community.” He looked gobsmacked.
I recently read a neat blog entry (I can’t find the link) about a white woman talking about her feelings of discomfort when people make racist comments to her and why she doesn’t say anything. Basically she wants to feel safe.
I don’t feel, as a white person, like it is ok for me to choose to feel “safe” rather than speak against racism. I think that is white privilege at its most insidious and disgusting. If another white person says something racist to me I do not keep my mouth shut. Silence is consent. When my neighbor told me his Hispanic gardeners trimmed his tree wrong and he threatened to kill them over it I told him that what he did was a criminal act and he should be ashamed of himself. He later told he apologized profusely to the gardner. You had god damn better. What the fuck were you thinking in the first place?
To me all of this consent-for-sex, racism, feminism stuff is all entwined. It’s not ok to have a better life at the expense of stepping on someone else’s neck.
Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be a long day of hard work. That will be ok. It will end. Tomorrow will be a long day of hard work. That will be ok too. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow I will finish the fence. *cross fingers* I want to be done in July. One month. I want to give this project one month of my life.
And my beloved husband has finished making me breakfast. This isn’t a eat-in-the-garage-alone-because-I-can’t-stop-crying morning. Time to go in and tell my children that I missed them while I was sleeping. I have hugs and kisses to give. I hear that they need them.
Today I do not want to angst about any one else’s behavior. I don’t want to think about what someone else feels or wants. I can’t be responsible for that any way. People will show up and be nice to me or they won’t. I can’t change anything.
Noah helped paint! I feel so grateful for my husband. <3 We are up to a cumulative total of 25 hours. There are 15-25ish hours left.
I need to add the 7-11, ice cream store, and Irvington park. Then I am down to adding the little people doing things all over town.
I still don’t know for sure how I will clean up the farmers market section. The girls who helped didn’t actually help. They half-started some flowers that are out of proportion and in a wacky place. Sigh.
It’ll work out.
-I am grateful for my relationship with Noah. I am so glad that I have a marriage that makes me feel good about myself.
-I am grateful for my relationship with my children. I feel like I am able to give them my best self most of the time and they are thriving.
-I am grateful for all of the people who love me despite my continual angsting and whining.
-I am grateful that I have a god damn awesome yard. I haven’t killed all the plants!
-I am grateful that so many of my neighbors are taking the time to tell me thank you for painting the fence. It feels nice that I am not the only one who is happy about this art.
-I am grateful that my mental illness is not running rampant and unchecked. I *am* making forward progress.
-I am grateful that I have children not born of my body who obviously love me and feel safe with me. I am doing something right in my behavior.
-I am grateful that people feel they can ask me for advice and counsel. I am doing something right that people think they can trust me.
-I am grateful that I have a lot of good food in my house. I am blessed.
-I am grateful that I have the safety to know that my bills will be paid every month. I understand that is a luxury not everyone has in this lifetime. I don’t think this is happening because I am “smart” or because I “deserve it” any more than I deserved being homeless as a child. It just happened.
Time to make dinner.
“Women are afraid men will rape them. Men are afraid women will laugh at them.”
If you look at DNA samples twice as many women throughout history have bred than men. This more or less translates to half of the men who have been born have been an end-point for the human race.
If a woman laughs at you, that means the end of your line.
Maybe that isn’t as small of a thing as it sounds.
I have a long way to go. I’m feeling kind of whiny about what the teenage girls did to “add” to the mural. It is going to be really shitty to fit in with the theme. Sigh. I’m half tempted to paint over their half-finished not really there flowers because I don’t want to finish them and they aren’t in a place I would have done random kind of semi-flower-looking flowers. But that would probably be seen as rude. Ah crap.
I am on my second night of not sleeping because I am angry about the PTSD forum. Third night? I can’t even remember. This is why I backed away from facebook. Maybe my therapist is right and I shouldn’t be on this website either.
I have a chip on my shoulder the size of Wyoming when it comes to people nastily lecturing me about my behavior. You do not have the ability to foretell the future. Shut the fuck up.
But it’s all my fault if someone chooses to yell at me about how stupid I am… right? I chose to talk in public about something I did. I did not write a 20 page dissertation justifying my decision thus I am just being self-hating. If a man ever says anything sexual to a woman and she continues talking to him it will be all her fault if he later beats her and rapes her. So I’m fucking stupid for talking to this guy and asking for a boundary. Like, duh.
That sounds like a crazy person with PTSD trying to make me act even crazier than I do. Please forgive for being dismissive and nasty after you have derided me multiple times. At least I’m not doing it where she can see and I have not yet typed any of the swirling nasty names for her running about in my head.
I did go back to the thread this morning. *hang head in shame* I said that in the future I would like her to know that I am not interested in her opinion and please never comment on anything I write again. I believe her crystal ball to be out of service and I wish she would quit sharing the hysteria it is stuck on with me.
You notice how I almost never comment on other peoples writing? I probably comment on substantially less than 1% of what I read. I understand that my hysterical opinion is not usually welcome.
P, I do notice that it is a big deal that you are able to get to our house. I just think that at this point you continue to do so because you are being nice to my kids. I’m grateful that you are willing to be nice to my kids. They love and adore you and think you are smart and funny and capable. I want them to look up to women like you. I *do* understand that it is hard. I *do* appreciate it.
I just don’t know how to be unoffensive. And I don’t particularly want to offend you. So I don’t know what to say now.
I spend so much time worrying about how to not offend people. What can I possibly say or do to not offend and piss people off. I seem to piss people off by existing and breathing. (I’m not trying to dismiss the valid complaints of people who get upset with me. Sometimes I do know why people don’t like me any more. Sometimes it is very confusing though.)
I know I am a selfish asshole. I don’t know a different way of staying alive. I am not capable of living for unselfish reasons. All of my forbearance is gone. The closest I have to that left is taking care of my kids and having kids was the single most selfish thing I have ever done. So I’m not sure I can do the unselfish thing. I don’t think I would want to try. Near as I can tell the reason to live unselfishly is because your invisible sky friend told you to. Have fun with that.
I am up to twenty hours on the mural. I am somewhere between 40%-50% done. My neighbor bitched that there weren’t any people on it. My comment was I JUST FINISHED THE BACKGROUND COLORS GIVE ME A BLOODY BREAK. But he also very helpfully went and fetched a flashlight as I worked at dusk yesterday so I screeched that in a more or less pleasant way. Or at least he just laughed at me.
Yesterday he was trying to get a rise out of me (that’s basically all he does) and he was asking me if I knew anything about racing cars. After stating that I don’t watch Nascar it was kind of awesome to be able to say that I went to track school for racing Porsche’s so please don’t lecture me about how racing works. (To be clear I never actually *drove* on a track. My Owner got into that part after I left with the girl after me. Oh well. I still did the track school with him.)
So today, after the cheerful argument about racing cars yesterday, he showed up and asked me a bunch of questions. He said as he was walking up, “So now that I now I have a resident expert….”
I of course made it clear that I don’t consider myself an expert at much of anything. I am at best a dilettante. But we had a lengthy conversation and yeah I can answer a lot of questions.
Yesterday I was blessed with two (ok really four throughout the day–two adults) people coming over. One just stopped long enough to show off her HOLY SHIT DRAMATIC hair cut (she looks great) and the other friend walked around our neighborhood and looked at the fence and shared ice cream with us. The ice cream sharer brought little girls so my kids thought the day was a win.
Every day during dinner we try to go around the table sharing our favorite part of the day. My kids always say that seeing their friends is their favorite part of a day. They are really grateful when they get to see the kids they know. I am too. It is nice to still know people.
I feel really weird about trying to provide my kids steady access to people. I want them to have actual long-term relationships. I didn’t during childhood. I rarely knew people for any consistent period of time.
At this point Jenny is the person who has known me the longest and best. Everyone else comes post-bdsm period.
I went to a party recently and watched two beautiful women top a third beautiful woman. I have known the two tops for more than a third of my life.
A woman I used to date is moving back to the area. I’m having feelings about this. I’m having really intense feelings around the idea that I will never have sex with her again. It is really bothering me. I want to fuck her so bad my hands shake.
When I met my friend at the coffee shop to talk about the boundary incursion one of the things we talked about was inappropriate sexual acting out on the part of parents. That has dramatically played into his and his wife’s emotional issues–their parents not being appropriate.
I don’t think that promiscuity is always wrong. I don’t think that polyamory is wrong. I just think that I am not going to be able to model healthy versions of these. I think that *I* would be incredibly unhealthy. I am obsessive. I tend to forget everyone else in the world when I am thinking about a new (or returning after a long absence) sex partner. I think my children fucking deserve twenty years of my attention.
But good golly Miss Molly I want to fuck her. I want to. I want to. I want to. And I get the distinct impression she would really like me to. Mostly she is stone because she doesn’t trust people. (For the non-queers in the reading audience “stone” means that she does sexual things to people but she doesn’t tend to allow people to touch her genitals.) Given my long history of fucking her six ways from Sunday I’m pretty sure I would still be an exception–I always was.
I think it is that ability to side step peoples normal boundaries that drives a lot of my sex. I solicit people to actively reconsider their boundaries for me. I push them. I ask them to change the rules for me. It’s that whole selfish asshole thing.
I am having a hard time with the idea that I will never again validate someones sexuality and identity. I want to make her feel like she is beautiful and desirous and yet there isn’t a long list of people wanting to date her so she doesn’t believe me. If I’m not there to apply ego stroking… there is no ego stroking. So maybe she is only those things to me. And now I don’t want her either.
It is all very tied up in knots of shame and wanting people to feel loved and important. A lot of the reason I have always picked the partners I have picked is because I go hunting for people who are used to being told “no” and then I undo some of that damage. “Ok, maybe you aren’t a good fit with everyone but let me show you HOW AWESOME it can be to find someone compatible. You aren’t wrong or broken–you just need to find people who mesh.”
And perverts really have a hard time finding people to validate them. I’m just sayin’.
On my last trip to the dispensary I only bought edibles (not any of the sugar enhanced kinds–the variety is breath-taking these days). So I’m trying to eek them out for more than a month. So I’m under dosing for the first potion of time. Given that it is coinciding with doing EMDR again I sort of expected to hit a suicidal ideation period again. I haven’t. That is good. *happy dance* Any month without living in a multi-plex of suicidal horror is a good month. Happiness is about low expectations.
Last night putting the kids to bed was one of those magical experiences. I lay down with them for a few minutes when I got back from painting. I like hearing what they want to say as they empty their heads in preparation for sleep.
“I share my things with my family because I love my family. I share with my mama. I share with my big sister. I share with my daddy. My mommy shares with me. My big sister shares with me. My daddy shares with me. My family loves me!”
Is sharing of stuff how love is decided? I don’t know.
“I am happy! Sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I am mad. Right now I am happy!”
Yes, my beloved, feelings happen. I’m glad you are happy right now. I am too. I almost always feel happy when I get to snuggle between my two favorite girls in the whole wide world. I feel so deeply grateful that I get to have many hours a day every single day of cuddling my children. That is filling my decades old touch deficit.
I get that because Noah wants me to have it. Because I want it. He’s ok with me being selfish. I am very lucky. Not everyone wants what I have (which is more than ok–it’s kind of necessary). I feel lucky.
Ok, now I’m feeling less angry about the hysterical woman on the ptsd forum. I’m sure in her head everything is stuck on hysterical. I have totally had that feeling. I just choose to not take on someone else’s hysteria. I have enough of my own.
I think I can look at patterns and determine what will happen. I get the feeling that you absolutely MUST listen to your own impulses on this topic. Ignoring nigling feelings of worry is part of my problem. It is part of how I have ended up sexually assaulted so many times. I don’t know when to run. I absolutely get why people would want to lecture me “for my own good”.
I just honestly don’t want to hear it. You don’t know much about me. You don’t care to find out. How in the fuck do you presume to know what is good for me?
I just had an interesting thought about my relationship with my Owner. He ended the M/s portion of our relationship in July of 2003. I didn’t leave until October of 2004. He didn’t want me to go when I did. He wanted me to stay with him until I was completely done with college.
But he didn’t want to meet any of my needs or have any of the kinds of relationships I wanted to have beyond kind of vaguely being my Daddy. He wanted to give me a secure place to live. He wanted to be able to hurt me when he wanted to. He wanted me to wear his fetish items and look like a doll. He didn’t want to get married and have kids. He didn’t want me to have any kind of security or hope for my future. I was to just exist as someone he could hang out with and not have to talk about anything.
He wanted to have just the appearance of a “girlfriend”. But he had nothing to give. He didn’t even want to have sex. We had sex once a month because I begged.
He didn’t want anything from me other than pain and laughter. I was supposed to enjoy being hurt, not feel bad about it. It wasn’t ok to treat pain like it was a bad thing in my body.
I don’t know how to turn this into a book arc.
Intense EMDR therapy session today. My therapist commented, “It sounds like you are having a hard time keeping your boundaries up when other people are having feelings.” Why yes, that is a very accurate description. I feel that other people having feelings automatically trumps anything I might say or do. That’s part of the whole worthless thing. So of course when people start telling me that I am making them feel bad I agree that it is because I am a terrible person who should be driven out of all society. Not really a helpful response.
I think I should back off of the ptsd forum. I’m kind of tired of having people yell at me that they know “all about trauma” and “obviously I am making bad choices” and my problem is that I can’t “stop re-enacting trauma with untrustworthy people”. That whole set of rants in relationship to meeting someone in a coffee shop. Because obviously meeting up with a guy to say, “Hey something you said bothered me” is the same as putting myself in a position to be raped again. Same damn thing. I’m too stupid to be able to evaluate which situations are safe. I should just stay home or only talk to people who never make mistakes.
Oh, and of course anyone who is part of the bdsm community should just be shunned. They are all Bad People.
You know what, lady? I think I am going to take my experiences of the bdsm community over yours. There are decent people who happen to get off on bdsm. There are assholes and predators and rapists who are not in the bdsm community. I don’t really feel that deciding that a demographic of people is terrible is the way to have a happy life.
Of course she wants me to start with all men and move on from there. All men are dogs, don’t you know. (Ok, technically it was a man in the thread who said, “I hate to say this because I am a man… but all men are dogs.”) No, they aren’t. And fuck you while we are at it.
I don’t want to pretend all men are terrible. I don’t want to believe that all _______ whatever are terrible. The reality is that some percentage sucks and a large percentage is neutral and another percentage is great.
Why would I want to talk to men like him? Why in the hell would I want to talk to men who have experiences in the same ball park as me? Oh… maybe because when I talk to men who have known me for more than 1/3 of my life and I tell them some things about my childhood they can say, “That explains so much of your behavior for the entire time I have known you. I wish I had known earlier. Our entire relationship would have been different.”
I want to be seen. I want to matter. I want to be a full person to the people who know me. I want my story to be in the heads of people who look at me.
I don’t want to just be some chick at a party with a lot of secrets. That isn’t what I want.
I don’t think my life is well served by staying home and crying about how terrible all men are. If I do that I will miss out on a lot of joy. Many of my closest and dearest friends are men. I have no plans to abandon them–even if they say things I don’t like sometimes. I look for patterns of behavior and I have no problem with walking away from relationships that don’t work for me. I have done so over and over and over.
No one has a crystal ball. No one knows how things will play out.
My willingness to share my story has meant that I have gotten to find out the life stories of some incredibly complex and amazing people. I sincerely doubt they would have started sharing if I hadn’t brought things up. I have a list of people I can call in the middle of the night. I have a list of people who say, “If you are freaking out call and babble on my voicemail and I will call you back the second I can.” Many of them are men. Some of them are survivors of some really horrifying things.
Why do I trust them? Do I trust them? Well I will be honest and say that there are some of them I don’t plan to be alone in a room with. But I will sure as fuck call them. We have a great phone relationship. Do I actually think anything bad would happen if I was alone in a room with them? No. But I still don’t think I could do it. I don’t trust all men enough for that. I don’t even trust the men I trust enough for that. Well, maybe alone in a room if people were just on the other side of a door and I was able to scream.
I don’t want to give up on the men I have in my life. Even if other women with ptsd are absolutely certain that my talking to men is self-destructive and stupid. I disagree. And my opinion is the only one that matters about my behavior and life.
I went and talked to this guy and that other guy in the scene after fairly carefully weighing the downsides.
When that asshole Paul who raped me offered to meet to talk with me “even though he didn’t remember” I didn’t take him up on it. There was no upside for me. That would have been straight masochism. So I didn’t go.
I *do* actually try to weigh risk. My life will never be risk-free. I’m not that kind of girl. Harm Reduction not Elimination. Life involves both the risk and the certainty of harm.
I read an interesting article on misogyny in activist spaces. I cannot count how many groups I have left because of men who were extremely aggressive. I just assume they are more interesting to know than I am. That’s why they are kept around.
I feel torn between wanting to isolate myself because I don’t seem to be very good at having relationships and wanting to go out a lot and make a bunch of new connections. I offend people. I make them feel like I think they are bad. I’m not trying to but it happens anyway. Maybe they are better off not knowing me. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to speak any more. If I went out and made new connections (new connections are easy) then I could just walk away from my current problems.
Only my problems follow me. I am the cause of my problems, not someone else. It’s really hard to get away from being me.
I left therapy feeling pretty positive. I had a nice visit with a friend afterwards. Now I’m starting to crash emotionally again. I know that I have people who say I can call. But I don’t call much. I rarely call anyone. I assume they don’t actually want to hear from me and they are just telling me I can call because it is an empty gesture. I don’t trust that people actually like me, ever. I think I have fairly good reasons to think that people don’t like me.
But some people do. They come here and visit. Maybe I should do more of that hermit-only-talk-to-people-who-will-jump-my-hurdles thing. At least when people get sick of me and stop coming it isn’t as jarring as no longer being welcome in some space.
I like people. I like being around people. I like socializing. I just don’t feel very comfortable going almost anywhere. Some guy will say some thing and I will be “too sensitive”. Some woman won’t like me and I will spend my time there crying because I am so sorry that I am such a bad person and she doesn’t like me.
Gosh I like my house.
The past few days have been an extreme emotional roller coaster, even for me. Fear, anxiety, anger, rage, sadness, grief, self-hatred, exhaustion, nausea and horrible body aches and pains. So I’m feeling sensitive and pissy.
I wrote about going to see the guy yesterday on the PTSD forum. Some people decided to chew me out because meeting up with him was stupid and there was “no possible potential for any healing I’m just trying to re-abuse myself.” Excuse me? And then one guy said that as a married woman I have no business meeting a married man alone for a conversation.
And my friends think that if I parent differently than them and if I judge the system in our country then I think they don’t love their children as much as I do.
Oh fuck it.
I don’t think I have implied that anyone who puts their kids in public school doesn’t love their kids.
I have wanted to home school my kids since I was seventeen and they weren’t yet a twinkle in my eye. Maybe me wanting something isn’t a reflection on whether or not you love your family.
Why do people need me to conform so bad in order to feel validated? I don’t want to try to blend in just so you feel more comfortable. That isn’t my job. I’m not putting you down for making the choices you are making. I’m saying I don’t want to make them.
Before Noah showed up and asked me to marry him Plan A was that I would continue being a part time high school teacher and have a kid by myself. Said child (my proto-Shanna) was going to have no choice but to go to public school. There wasn’t a different option. I don’t think I would have loved little proto-Shanna less than I love the actual Shanna I get to home school.
Not everyone is temperamentally suited to home schooling. I have flat met people who should not be doing it. I don’t think home schooling is universally appropriate.
I just think America is doing a very shitty job of educating its kids. If you have an actual argument with me, go ahead and try that. If you think that me saying that America is doing a shitty job of educating its kids means that you don’t love your kids…
Well good fucking grief. Can we or can we not have a conversation about large scale problems? Can we acknowledge that maybe I am aware that there are some good schools and of course there are some good teachers and of course there are districts with shit-loads of money and there are parents who are actively involved in their kids lives and…
I believe we need some sort of public education system. I believe that what we have is broken. It is still all we have right now. I don’t think that everyone can opt-out. I’m not trying to talk people into that.
If I’m going to be flat honest I don’t believe that every parent with a high school diploma is qualified to home school. There. I said it. I don’t think you have to go to get a teaching credential or graduate school, necessarily, but I think there is a blending of education, experience, and temperament which is far from universal.
I really don’t believe that everyone should home school. If I were having a harder time managing my temper–for example if I could not control myself and I resorted to hitting my kids I would stop home schooling. I would be aware that my kids need other people watching them and checking in on them and it is no longer at all appropriate for them to be isolated with me all day. Then they have no contrasting opinions on them being hit.
I think that home schooling involves a lot of specific sacrifices that I don’t think most people are prepared to make and without those sacrifices I think it is educational neglect. So there you go.
And I think it is highly likely that Shanna will not home school beyond second or third grade because she keeps asking to go to public school. I won’t send her for kindergarten or first because of philosophical reasons. I’m not willing to let a five or six year old over rule what I know about education just because recess sounds fun. Sorry. By second or third grade I will let her pick. I just want that base line.
Do I think that people are going to be failures if they are in the system in kindergarten and first grade? Of course not. Give me a fucking break.
I don’t think someone is going to be a failure at life if they live on hamburgers, mac’n’cheese, and hot dogs either. But I’m not going to feed my family that way. I don’t think that people who do hate their families. I just don’t want to do it.
I don’t think that public education is the devil. I think it is a waste of time. I don’t want my five year old dealing with someone else wasting her time. Other people believe that is just part of life and you need to get used to it. Still other people believe that it is what they need their kids to do and they need someone else to do most of the heavy lifting on teaching their kids how to behave. Actually, the public school system is usually better at teaching this than parents are. Patience.
These are valid approaches to life. Many people are well served by their conformity. I don’t think my kids would be.
My kids would come home to me. My kids would bring my phrasing and attitude to school. I’ve already gone through school with my phrasing and attitude. It doesn’t go well.
I know it wouldn’t be the same for my kids. For one thing they will never be enrolled in school in Texas–they won’t have long stories about all the teachers beating them. I had a smart mouth. The best way to cure someone with a smart mouth is to hit them, don’t you know? That way they will shut the fuck up when they are told. Or not. Maybe hitting them will make them twice as defiant. But that just means that they should be hit more!
I don’t think my kids are me. But I have seen kids of parents like me.
I know parents who have raised very successful people in the public education system. I don’t think I am capable of doing what they have done to make their children successful. Does that mean I love my children less because I cannot do what is required to make them comfortable moving alone with the herd?
That is the only reasonable corollary to people not loving their children if they don’t home school. Obviously I don’t love my children because I can’t help them through the public system. I can’t help them be “normal” so I’m not trying hard enough.
How about if different people make different choices based on ten thousand factors you may know nothing about and whether or not people love their children is just not something that can be judged from the outside?
I don’t think I am a better parent than most. I honestly don’t. I think that putting your kids in a good daycare and being present and happy with them for the available number of hours you have is just fine parenting. You are meeting their needs.
I want the things I want partially because I am being a selfish piece of shit and I am using my children as objects in the story of my life. *I* want to be a home schooling mom. Fuck you if you want to go to public school. (Ok, I have not said fuck you to my kids. At all. Ever. But I did tell Shanna that she didn’t get to pick kindergarten.) I worry about that. I worry about whether I am making the right decision or not.
I do not have a crystal ball. Just because I believe the public education system to be broken that does not mean I am going to do a better job. That’s hubris.
I don’t know if I will do a good job or not. I don’t know if I will do better or worse than if my kids were just enrolled in school. I really don’t know. I might completely fuck up. I accept that possible future. I like that if things turn out badly it will be all my fault.
A lot of the reason I am choosing to home school is because I can live with the knowledge that I have to be very careful and I have to take measured steps to do my job right. I can’t live with the knowledge that my kids are out in the world having to defend themselves at these tender ages.
Is that rational? No, not really. Is that a sound reason for home educating? Enh….. Good thing I don’t need a sound reason. I’m allowed to just do what I think is right. Yee haw. I love my state and country.
I swear to a god I don’t believe in that I am not sitting here thinking that only people who make decisions like me love their kids. I don’t believe that. I just think that other people take care of their kids in ways I don’t. That doesn’t make it wrong. It just makes it something I can’t do.
Maybe my inadequacy is a poor judge of whether or not someone else is loving.
I’m glad I went and talked to the man yesterday. When I told him I cried for three days after the wedding he looked like I kicked his puppy. He was very upset. He did not mean to hurt me.
I am not good at judging which things people do in a loving way and which things people do in a consciously hurtful way. I understand this about myself. I know this is a large blindspot.
I don’t judge whether or not people love their kids. Sometimes I do sit over here in my head and judge whether or not someones choices are working out for their kid as they hope… but it’s not about love. I don’t think that I can judge that. I try not to write down those judgments much.
Who the fuck am I to judge whether someone else is doing a good job? I see small snippets of their lives. I don’t know what is happening.
I can judge if something would work for me or not and then I have to just move on. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know what will happen in thirty years. We will all find out.
I want to still know most of the people I know now. I don’t think I will be overall very successful at pre-judging who is going to have a happy life and who won’t.
That kind of means I need to not alienate people. Well shit.
I can’t influence what other people do very much. My friend Pam says I am inspirational but then she writes me long emails about wanting to hand out a bunch of work sheets when she’s subbing in a kindergarten class. I may be inspirational but people are still going to do what they are going to do. (I think it doesn’t actually matter what you do darling. You will have the kids for ~10 hours of their educational life. They are used to work sheets. It doesn’t matter if you hand them out or not. Love you.)
I can understand and believe that the system is broken and deficient and still understand that people have to conform to it en masse.
The punishments for not conforming are huge. I don’t wish a generational amount of punishment on people. I really don’t.
But my kids have to live with me. I am not a conformist. I teach my kids very consciously how to evaluate which rules to ignore and break. I will teach my children to be far more interested in their own will than in the will of someone else. Will this blow up in my face? Well… it might. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know for sure that I am doing them any favors.
Does that mean I love my children less than the people who are teaching their children arguably more socially healthy coping methods?
I would feel sad if someone thought that. But I wouldn’t change my actions based on their evaluation. I love my kids. I believe I am adapting to their needs as they have them. I could easily be lying to myself.
I was talking to one of my neighborhood moms about the kids recently. She’s also a home schooler. But my kids are very different from her kid. Her kid is not allowed to scream, basically at all from what I can tell. (She’s a lot older so this is apples to oranges.) I noticed the moms reaction more than anything. We were talking about how I’m trying to manage the screaming lately.
My kids have strong opinions and I’m ok with them expressing their wants and desires. I just don’t want to be screamed at. My kids have a tendency to get loud. I have not trained loudness out of them. Does this mean I don’t love them? I’m not training them properly for society.
If you go through life worrying about whether or not your parenting choices make random other people think you love your kids you are going to spit into the wind and get your whole face covered in saliva. Not a fun feeling.
I can’t make my choices based on the appearance from the outside. I can’t make my choices based on trying to not offend people. I offend people. Moving on.
I think it is funny the way I ricochet between feeling like people disapproving of me and disliking me is a good reason to kill myself and thinking it is a good reason to believe I am doing the right thing.
Historically speaking, outliers are put to death for the good of the herd. I get this.
I also know that outliers are a lot of who drive progress. They are necessary and important parts of the system.
I don’t know what my kids will be like as grown ups. But I’m sure looking forward to finding out. I am not saying that people who make different choices than me dislike or don’t love their kids.
Give me a fucking break. If I’m not exactly like you does that mean I don’t love my kids?
Maybe it just means I know how to show my love in a very different way. I hope that doesn’t mean anything bad about me or about you. I hope that us being different is something that makes the world better.
I think that no parenting decision, really no decision of any kind but I’m talking about parenting, can be judged in a vacuum. I have strong views about education. I know what I want to do with my kids. I know that I am able to make the set of choices I want to make due to a very specific and long list of privileges.
That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It just means I am able to do what I want. Other people are able to do what they want.
There is not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. There just isn’t. I kind of hope that means we can all be making right decisions instead of meaning that we are all making the wrong decisions.
This afternoon I went to have a chat with someone I have known for a long time but I have never known well. I was scared. I wanted to talk to him about not making sexualized comments in my direction.
I started out by asking him if he knew much about me. He knew about my public bdsm play and persona. That’s it. I asked him if he knew much about PTSD. He laughed in that dry “Yes, I have lots of experience” kind of way.
We talked for about an hour. As it so happens he and his wife both have PTSD from unfortunate life experiences. We talked about the difficulty in living with hormonal ups and downs and triggers. We talked about all the god damn crying.
I did not expect to have this go well. Instead I feel like I have someone I can call if I am freaking out.
He was absolutely horrified that I spent three days crying because of something he said. He was trying to be nice. I was very clear that I am not angry with him. I was scared. I didn’t know what would happen to me. I didn’t know if I would be safe.
Women often tell me “not to bother” talking to men like this. Sometimes it blows up in my face. I’m disappointed sometimes. And sometimes I’m not disappointed. Sometimes people far exceed my basic expectations. Sometimes people are down right awesome.
I have survived by skating from one kindness from a stranger to another. It is why I keep asking.
I don’t want to say very much about the conversation because he revealed a lot of very personal details. We traded trauma stories for an hour. He has had a hard life.
I am surprised sometimes because I have low expectations. I keep asking because at heart I am an optimist. I have to believe that the main thing that has kept this race going is that we *do* love one another. We *do* form bonds.
He has known me for more than 1/3 of my life. He didn’t know any of the bad. He was trying as hard as he could to be appropriate and friendly given what he knew. If I want him to change his behavior towards me I have to explain why. So I did.
I think this will go better. *cross fingers*
Well, I started bleeding. I’m starting to notice a distinct pattern of *flipping out* a couple of days before my cycle. I feel like the last several cycles have gone this way.
Oh shit. I have an appointment with a groin-o tomorrow. Reschedule.
I’m really scared about talking to this guy. I’m pretty sure he won’t give a shit. But I have to try.
Men tell me that when I have an issue with someones behavior I should address it. I really wish it didn’t blow up in my face so hard when I try to take that advice.
And that guy who said he would write a formal apology? Hasn’t done it. I was right about him in the first place. But I was told that I was underestimating him and I should give him a chance.
Because what I really need is more disappointment.
I think I am getting sick. All day long I have been alternating between feeling feverish and shaking with chills. My neck and head ache unbearably. I did not paint.
I did some minor housework but mostly I’ve been trying to rest. I don’t think I’ve had a rest day in a few weeks. I really should be trying to schedule these more. My body doesn’t keep up.
I have plans tomorrow to meet up with the guy who made the inappropriate comment at the wedding. I don’t know how this will go. After my experience with talking to the guy in the scene and him promising an apology and then never following through… I don’t have high hopes.
I dislike the fact that when I am going into a situation where a man has the potential to say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you” I assume that he doesn’t give a shit. I think that men in general don’t give a flying fuck about me unless they are desperate for sex and I am the only hole around.
Well, not you Tay.
Ok, I could probably pull a few other names off the top of my head. But I’m pretty sure I would not get past my fingers. I don’t think men give a shit about me. I really don’t.
But I have to keep hoping I’m wrong. That’s why I talk to these bozos. That’s why I try to explain what it is that they are doing in the full context of my life. But they don’t give a shit.
No one gives a shit about the stupid white trash whores.
I’ve been saying “stupid” over and over in my head since last night. Apparently the last 24 hours has been a complete removal of my respect for my intelligence.
I wouldn’t get kicked so often if I didn’t bring it on myself.
I wouldn’t get raped so often if I didn’t bring it on myself.
I wouldn’t get the inappropriate comments so often if I didn’t bring it on myself.
How come I am so powerful that I can “make” all these men do these things but I can’t make them apologize? Why can’t I make them treat me approximately as they would a fellow heterosexual man.
Why do they have to comment on my cunt? Why do they have to presuppose that they have access to it? That it is a topic for casual conversation.
My body hurts. I feel worthless and empty. I feel like the only thing that is within my control as a means of influencing how people treat me is dying. Otherwise I have to shut the fuck up and take what they feel like dishing out. Or just stay home you stupid cunt.
I haven’t felt safe recently. I hate these cycles. Is anyone doing anything terrible to me? No. Am I being victimized or persecuted? No. I’m just a stupid whiny bitch. I just watch patterns. I have seen these patterns go so very badly before. Am I stupid for seeing patterns after those patterns have existed so strongly for me before?
Am I stupid for being afraid of being raped when someone says something like that?
So I had a friend pull me off to a different room during a party and no one could hear me over the music. I didn’t think anyone would believe me afterwards that it was non-consensual. Stupid whores aren’t allowed to say no. Anything is allowable with them.
Am I stupid for being afraid when men talk to me like this? Or am I an animal trying not to die? I can’t tell. I don’t want to ever be raped again.
Sometimes, on the internet, I read these articles by women who say they were raped and it really wasn’t so bad and that they think other rape victims need to stop whining.
Yup. I need to stop whining. I think the only way to stop it is to cut off my fingers and my tongue or I could die. I don’t think I can be stoic. I’m sorry I’m so weak. I’m sorry I’m such a selfish person that I cannot keep my pain inside my head all of the time where it is no one else’s problem. I am sorry I am so self-absorbed that I need to talk about myself.
I’m sorry I exist.
And then I look at my kids. Can I really be that bad? Am I beyond redemption? I see myself in them. I think they are so wonderful. They are kind and compassionate and thoughtful. But I don’t think I am kind or compassionate or thoughtful. I think I am selfish and spiteful.
I decide that people don’t like me very much and then I put up a brick wall. I don’t want them to be able to hurt me more. So I need to pretend this person is a non-entity. Otherwise I know they will hurt me. I *know* it.
And the whole time I am avoiding someone I know in the marrow of my bones that it is my responsibility to be silent so I do not offend them. So that I don’t bother people. It is my responsibility to keep my stupid piece of shit mouth shut. No one wants to fucking hear it.
Sometimes Noah manages to say something in a way that lands wrong. He pointed out yesterday how much better he is at remembering all the things I do wrong. I don’t know why he wants to be with someone who is so wrong. Why didn’t he pick someone better?
Because he wanted an elite private tutor for his kids who is compulsively sexual and doesn’t believe she has the right to say no.
I’m sure that is uncharitable. I get the distinct impression I am nicer to Noah than anyone ever has been. I don’t think many people respect him the way I do. That respect is a double edged sword. I think he is better than me. I think he married down. Sometimes I hate him a lot for that.
I don’t really see a way that someone could want someone like me without it being a bad thing. Sometimes I wonder if I make him feel comfortable because almost no one else in his current world understands hard scrabble white trash culture. That is what he grew up with. Not many people in his current world look up to the guys in his position. He was never poor. But the people he knew during his childhood mostly were.
Noah makes me feel better about myself than anyone else. He doesn’t make me feel very good about myself. I know that says a lot more about me than anyone else. I wish I could stop thinking about my father. “Do you deserve to live?” No. I don’t think I do. But I’m alive anyway. And you are dead.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how convenient Christianity must be. What would it be like if there was some magic invisible sky friend who loved you and protected you and cared about you? I don’t have one. There is no one protecting or loving or caring about me. I am alone. If I want to not be beaten and raped it is my responsibility to protect me because no one else will.
When it happens over and over, like it did with me, how can it not be my fault? How can I just randomly find that many bad people? Is it just that I draw the evil out of otherwise neutral people?
Let me tell you, most people who knew me and my rapists greatly preferred the company of my rapists. They don’t want to “take sides” so that means they pick the rapist.
Tonight I am glad I don’t have a scalpel in the house. I would find a way to hide the marks. I don’t have an endless amount of self control.
My next door neighbor had to call an ambulance tonight. A three week old baby stopped breathing.
Given how fragile life is, what business do I have wishing for death? What hubris? What idiocy? What masochism?
It isn’t masochism. I am sorry that I hurt this much. I don’t want to hurt any more. I don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t know how to stop being a bad person that people want to avoid out of self-preservation. I know they are right to avoid me. I am not criticizing.
My head hurts so much.
Probably time for a sleeping pill. I don’t think I will sleep much without it. I think this would be an all night hysteria sort of night. I haven’t hit my head on the floor! I am exercising self control. I want to treat my body how everyone else thinks my body should be treated. I want to feel that. I know it is right. I am not supposed to be whole.
I am just a hole.
I have a lot of volatile things in my head I can’t talk about. So I’m going to write about unschooling instead.
I was hanging out on Pinterest trying to distract myself from my current feelings so that I can get some kind of grip on myself for a day of painting. It isn’t happening fast.
I was looking through a lot of unschooling articles and I was pinning them, as you do, and I thought, “Holy crap I hope that none of my traditionally schooling friends see this and think I am saying mean things about their choices.”
I think our education model in this country is broken. I understand that there are a wide variety of reasons to opt-in to it despite it being fundamentally broken. But I think of it like opting-in to a relationship with an abusive parent because you can’t handle the pain of breaking things off. I get it. But I hope I don’t ever do it.
There are a wide variety of reasons I would put my kids in school and then undermine that shit as best I could at night. I don’t think my kids are too good for school. I think I have the luxury and privilege of being able to make a different decision and I really really want to.
I very consciously educated myself with the goal of being able to be… more or less an elite private tutor. I grew up in a place where I could see that people were being taught lessons by their families that I had no access to. I sometimes lived in extremely wealthy areas. Those kids just knew things about life I had no way of learning.
I wanted kids. It isn’t that I want my kids to grow up to be the smartest people ever. It isn’t that I want my kids to grow up and make lots of money. It isn’t that I want my kids to be perfect in any definable way. I have a very loose schema of criteria.
I want my children to believe that the bodily integrity of people matters. Yes, yes yes… many children come out of the public education system with this intact… blah blah blah. Lots don’t. My kids are already in the advantaged sect because they have parents who believe it regardless of the messages they would hear at a school blah blah blah.
I want my children to really grow up with that message being presented as de facto and it is not in most schools–public or private. If you have to raise your hand and ask permission to use the toilet and a teacher can tell you that you have to wait until the bell rings you do not have bodily integrity. Sorry.
I want my children to believe that information about stuff that interests you comes from a million different places. I don’t want them to think you sit down and do your lessons. I don’t want “school” to be something that bores you and wastes your time. I want my children to appreciate the inherent usefulness of mathematics so I talk about it allllllllllll day in a lot of different contexts. My daughters will not hear the message that girls are bad at math until that concept will make them laugh out loud with surprise. They will know they are good at maths. The person saying that is just kind of silly.
I want my kids to believe that boredom is a sign that you need to get up and start cleaning something. If you really don’t want to clean then you will find something better to do and all of a sudden you aren’t bored.
I understand the need for large scale child care. That is more or less how I view the public education system. We are a society based on parents being out-of-the-home. I want to live in my home. I want to do most of my work here.
If I were able to buy a property out in the middle of some rural place my habits would be totally logical. My proximity to cities does not change the basic nature of how I like living. I choose to not feel shame for feeling soothed by living in a way that is more like how my ancestors lived. Ok, they lived in family groups that were larger than mine but people lived in fairly closed communities. They didn’t have to deal with many people. Oh of course this is partially about my anxiety but I don’t see how kowtowing to a system I don’t believe in just so I can’t pretend that I don’t have anxiety will improve anything.
Lately Noah has been talking about trying to figure out how to actually break down what he has experienced in life and explain it so that kids who don’t have role models can have some idea of what people with privilege see. Ok, that wasn’t precisely how he phrased it. That conversation was a few days ago.
We don’t just stay *in the house*. We are outside a lot. We know our neighbors. We talk to people often. We have relationships. The relationships are getting deeper and more influential as the years go by. My children spend a lot of time with elderly people hearing stories about the Old Days. It’s really fun. I supervise but don’t intervene much in them figuring out how to talk to people.
Well, that’s not true. I help them prepare for conversations in advance. “When you meet someone, what do you say?” After conversations I talk about how it went. I talk to them about facial expressions and body language. I help them understand more about what just happened. “Do you understand why he laughed when I said _____?” I fill in the blanks and help the stories make more sense. I break it down. Stories about WWII become large and convoluted follow up conversations with millions of questions. I don’t direct much. I just answer anything. I look up what I don’t know.
I am a guide and a facilitator.
Will this go on forever? I don’t know. I don’t know how our needs will change. I know that at this moment in time I can’t imagine sending Shanna to a place where they would expect her to sit still (even with breaks) for four or five hours a day let alone six or seven. Some kindergardeners are in school for eight hours. They do have play periods but they do a *lot* of table work.
We complain constantly about an obesity epidemic and we chain children to chairs. What in the hell is going on? I will never put my children on a diet. The very idea makes me sick to my stomach. I will, however, ensure that they learn how to be very physically comfortable with walking at least ten miles a week. I’m becoming increasingly sure that Santa will be bringing bicycles. With bicycles we can get to all of our extra-curricular activities in town.
I pick swimming, martial arts, dance, language, gymnastics and rock climbing classes based on the ability to walk to them. I *have* walked my kids to every location they have taken classes at. We don’t always walk because we often have somewhere else to go before or afterwards but I prefer to walk. If we had bicycles I think I would just figure out how to not schedule things close to classes.
I do not want my children to be used to an air conditioned world. I want them to be used to using their own bodies to go places. I expect them to go do manual labor on farms in third world countries in a few years. They can’t be too soft.
I want them to actually see how it works in other parts of the world. I don’t want to show them pictures of the objectified third world. “Oh those poor oppressed people. All They Need Is A Honky.” Err, not so much. I want my children to meet people when they are young and have no belief that they have the key to life. I want them to just meet people who live differently and learn to love them.
Can you imagine Shanna and Calli living with someone for two and a half months without falling in love? If someone is remotely kind to them they will be hook line and sinker. Those kids like people. All people. They aren’t “color-blind”. They think all colors are beautiful. They want to meet everyone and talk to them. Ok, that’s Shanna’s deal. Calli is dubious.
I think Calli and I will hang back and watch. That will be ok too. That will also be a positive experience. Sometimes I feel like I am watching Shanna work a room. She wants to know everyone. I don’t even understand why. I didn’t implant that.
If she went to a school across the street from her house she would get to know the kids in this neighborhood better. The kids in this neighborhood come and go a lot because we have a lot of rentals. There are only a few owners with kids. She wouldn’t see much diversity. She would see a revolving door of poor brown children who come and go because their parents move. That is the neighborhood we live in.
You know… we play with the kids in the afternoons. I think we get enough of the “people don’t stay in your life” phenomena. My kids are improving their Spanish faster than any other language because a lot of the neighbor kids don’t speak English. We have an increasing segment that doesn’t speak English because they speak some variety of Asian language. Those kids aren’t usually allowed to play with us in the yard.
We play with anyone. If you are here, let’s play. It’s really fun.
I don’t want to spend my life driving to see pre-selected and approved people of appropriate IQ and education level and life philosophy of whatever. I also don’t want to spend my money on lots of being entertained for a few hours. I like most of my hobbies to be cheap or free.
I don’t want to opt-in to the system as I understand it. Given that I have attended twenty-five public schools across three states in a variety of socio-economic settings and then I went on to be a credentialed teacher… I think it is kind of idiotic to try and say that I am not understanding the system. I think I have enough experience that on this matter I get to just trust my gut.
It isn’t an evil place. I’m not trying to say that it is evil. But it is a waste of time. That is what it is designed to do. Waste time. I don’t want that. I don’t want my children to be taught that.
I have the privilege and luxury to make a different choice. I recognize that my choices are not open to everyone. I recognize that there are very good reasons for making different choices. I recognize that I would make different choices based on different life circumstances. I am not trying to put people down who put their kids in school.
I am saying I don’t want to and I don’t have to so I am not going to. Not until they are old enough to pick a course of study and go pursue what they want to be doing on their own. I am fully qualified to ensure they get the basics of life.
I think that I am actively choosing the term Unschooling because I don’t think that the Radical Unschoolers should get to hog the term. We do life learning. I don’t see that changing any year soon. I do not do permissive parenting. I think that refusing to set limits is abdicating your responsibilities as a parent. I think it is unfairly expecting a child to know an adult’s role. Children don’t know the limits yet. That’s kind of how childhood works.
Davy Crockett says, “Be sure you are right; then go ahead.”
I feel intense anxiety about most of my behavior in life. I don’t know how to be good or appropriate or worthy for the vast majority of life experiences.
But I god damn know how to be an elite personal tutor. I trained for that shit. The slow paced isolated life is really good for kids I read. Even if it makes grown ups think I should go get a job.
I think I’m under enough stress already. I don’t have to measure up. There isn’t actually a grading curve in life. But I went to public school. I keep expecting my bad report card. I keep expecting to be expelled or suspended. I absolutely expect to be punished for being an unpleasant person. How dare I exist in public space in a way that others find displeasing.
My kids don’t get punished for being children. My children don’t get yelled at for getting the hiccups. My children don’t get yelled at if their attention wanders and they want to switch activities.
I won’t have to deal with a teacher suggesting medication to calm my unruly child. I will instead just have to figure out how to get all of us enough exercise that we can manage inside behavior when we are inside. Or go outside again. It’s all good.
I want this life so much. I want to find out what someone is like when they are actually treated like a person for their whole life. I don’t know very many people who felt valued through school. I know some. It does happen sometimes. It doesn’t seem to happen in the majority of cases.
Shanna would probably get it. Calli would probably not. Shanna is loud and assertive and charming. Calli is loud and prone to feeling provoked so she attacks with great vigor and ends up looking like the aggressor.
I don’t have a crystal ball or anything. But I’ve seen an awful lot of patterns.
I don’t want my children to spend many hours a day with children who have been socialized to fat shame. No thanks.
I don’t want my eight year old believing she should be trying to be sexy.
Yeah, I’ll shelter them. And I’ll take them to dangerous parts of the world. And shelter them there too. They will always have a modified experience of the world. They won’t even understand it.
I will understand it. No one sheltered me. I don’t think that unsupervised long exposure to random men is something that will happen basically at all. Probably not with women either. My children will develop safe, appropriate relationships.
Is it overly protective of me? Fuck you.
I am not a helicopter parent. My children climb trees and talk to strangers and move around in the world doing shit I dislike all day long. But I am aware of what they are doing. I pay attention. I want to know what they are doing as they take up space in the world. I want knowing them to be my job.
It is a luxury and a privilege that I understand is not available to everyone. I also understand that not everyone would have the desire for this kind of relationship. I also understand that not everyone would have the capacity to be running this kind of constant background schema building exercises. I scaffold their life very carefully and appropriately. Silently. They live in a “yes” environment.
But I am not permissive. And I have really strict boundaries. I just acknowledge that things outside my boundaries are not mine to control.
I want the experience of learning healthy boundaries with people. I want the experience of long term relationships.
Maybe I am a selfish piece of shit for not trying harder to form adult relationships and instead having children. I can live with that. I want to have someone who actually cares about seeing me on Christmas. I want someone who wants to call me on their birthday and say, “Thanks for having me, mom.” (I have a friend who has to do that. I envy her mom. So I’m hoping this friend tells this story over and over as my kids grow up. That lesson can’t come from me.)
I wanted children. I know it is selfish. But I wanted them. Even though I am a crazy bitch. Far meaner crazy bitches than me have managed to not completely fuck up their kids.
Maybe with enough privilege and luxury anyone can be a good parent. Maybe.
I have the luxury and privilege of filling all of my time with things I want to do. I want to educate my kids. I do not want to school them.
Sometimes there is an open window. The breeze can come through and clear everything out.
Sometimes there is a doorway. Sometimes that door will get slammed in your face.
It’s kind of weird, but with the letter writing I find that I am enjoying Noah’s family quite a bit. I had expected to spend most of my life quaking with terror when I saw his mom’s handwriting on a box. These days I take an intake of breath and prepare to manage the arguments (she sends a mish mash of stuff to “the girls” but often she doesn’t label what goes to whom or there isn’t something obvious in one kid’s size and there are a lot of tears) but I’m grateful to get the boxes. The letters from his grandmother are really nice too. (I got one yesterday. Thus I am thinking about it.)
I have a really good time describing the kids to them. They will never really know my children. They live too far away and don’t have any interest in visiting. *shrug* I have offered. After how many times I have been rebuffed, well, I’m planning a driving trip through there in 2015 and that’s all I’m promising in the next ten years.
Turns out I *totally* didn’t need to move the concrete this week. The dude who is picking up my hot tub came over to scout but he won’t be back for it for two weeks. I feel semi-stupid but really buff and I’m still riding that endorphin high. It was not necessary but I feel like it did measurable good for my body. Which is a little weird. Maybe I should take up weight lifting? I had no idea what a high I could get from that. (Way cheaper than pot–lemme tell you. Since weight lifting I’ve used about 1/2 of what I usually do in that time period. Ok, part of the reason for that is also because I have to go to the dispensary today. But I don’t feel undermedicated. This is nice.)
Yesterday the girls and I had a really great day. Most of our days are perfectly tolerable with some highs and lows. Yesterday was just freakin wonderful. I am so happy that I get to do this with my life.
I went and taught an English class at the Hindi temple. I get the impression that if I want a job teaching English there I can have it for as long as I want. I get the impression I could even negotiate for pay and everyone would be thrilled. (This first class was a test-run of a program that a woman is putting together. I knew it was a volunteer gig and I was cool with that.) Random people came in and asked me if I would provide tutoring. I refrained from committing.
The kids are fun. They are young. The kind of young I DELIBERATELY WENT INTO HIGH SCHOOL TO AVOID. Ahem. I’m forcing them to read Sherlock Holmes. And Grimm Fairy Tales. It’s fun. I’m forcing them to find connections in their lives and write a lot. I feel drunk from the power. 🙂 But apparently the kids are having fun and parents are already asking if I can continue this series during the school year.
My kids are remarkably good while I’m teaching. Shanna sets up “her classroom” on the other side of the room. Next time I am bringing stuffed animals for students. She goes back and forth between her different kinds of toys and “teaches” the “students” how to make things. It’s really fun. Sometimes she has to come and ask me a question about how to teach something and it is more fun than disruptive.
Then we came home for lunch and we waited around while lumber was delivered and the hot tub guy came scouting. Then we went to the water park! I am having so much fun with the girls at the water park. That season pass was the right choice. Both girls went around the lazy river once without a life vest! That’s huge. Then we went and got life vests and things were easier.
Calli begged for macaroni and cheese for dinner. I thought that might make me sick (hilariously I ate a three cheese pasta instead–I just couldn’t handle Kraft then) so we went to Applebee’s. Which is, in Calli’s opinion, the Mac’n’cheese Restaurant! Sure, why not.
I have been a lot more consistent lately with, “You must fulfill your responsibilities before you get your privileges.” I feel that is making the whole house run more smoothly. I’m not an arbitrary asshole deciding if you get stuff on a given day or not. There is a WRITTEN CONTRACT! WITH PICTURES! Things are just easier. Both kids are pitching in more with less fuss. We are still a house of screamers. Sigh. We are working on it.
I’m almost done with Little House in the Big Woods with the kids. Shanna loves it and Calli seems to only pay moderate attention. That’s on target. I haven’t done any personal new reading in weeks. I’m so tired. I can’t wait for July to end. This month is just brutal. My plan for the weekend is to spend as much time painting my neighbor’s fence as I can. Once I get that off my plate, and my friend’s husband is done at my house (I feel zero crankiness at his rate of progress–I think he is a small step down from Godhood for the rate at which he works. I don’t often feel impressed by peoples work ethics. I’m a really judgmental asshole on that front. This man impresses me a lot.) things will calm down again.
I still have more stuff I want to do in the yards but I think once he’s done with his current list I should be done for the year on yard stuff. (Monetarily–not in manual labor.) I need to talk to him about his company doing the bathroom upgrade (that wouldn’t be just him) and then that is all I can do to the house this year. (The bathroom damage from water leaking is obviously spreading now. Ah shit. It is becoming a very bad idea to put off longer. Crap crap crap. Well, good thing I have a well padded savings account.)
I feel so lucky. I have things go wrong. I have things I need to fix. I have things I’m making progress on. I can fix things. I have the money to hire people to fix things. I have the luxury to sit around just making progress on my own lists of things to do. This is not a life path every one gets. I get to decide how my time is used. I feel happy in a way I didn’t expect to feel. I feel so much gratitude for my life.
I think the PTSD support forum helps me keep this in perspective. For someone who has the symptoms I have I have a blessed life. Given how “crazy” I am–I’m doing so very well. I *am* nice to my kids. I *am* nice to my husband. Ok, I get grumpy too. On balance my grumpy days are infrequent, usually not too intense, and I apologize profusely for every word out of my mouth when I can feel that my tone of voice sucks. I know that the problem is inside me and not with anyone else. I am good at separating that.
I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to have a marriage where I can’t blame any of my mood shit on my partner. My husband is so nice to me. He is patient and kind. He is affectionate and loving without being demanding or pushy. Ok, sometimes he’s pushy. But he doesn’t push me for sex. He doesn’t push me to do things I don’t want to do. He pushes me to set higher goals. He pushes me to rest. He pushes me towards believing that I am competent and talented. He only hits me if we negotiate a lot and I ask very very nicely and then he only hits me in ways that I like. (I’m telling you, endorphins are your friend.)
Girls like me don’t end up like this. I am stable. I do my god damn meal planning a month at a time because my life is so stable. Every month when I put a new month on the white board I meal plan for the whole month and I try to invite people for dinner at the rate I like and I set up events for a whole month at a time. We have like a 75% success rate of following these plans. (Ok, I often reverse which order a given set of meals happen in but I don’t feel bad about that. We follow my plan on a month level, not on a day-by-day level.)
I’m going to travel this year to Portland to see friends. It is getting closer. This on top of having a Portland friend come down TWICE this year. That was rad. And a different Portland friend may be down here in about two weeks. I will travel to see the rest of the extended clan. I feel very lucky that I have people who want to see me so much.
And I managed to get in some solid work on Outrunning Suicide this morning. I seem to be alternating between which book I’m writing. OS is very different in tone, feel, and mostly in content from Part 2.
By the end of this year I hope to have another book finished.
Sometimes I feel mighty. I know I can’t do “anything” because I have limits. But I feel like my limits are so far out there that it is almost impossible for me to reach them. I don’t hit the wall very often. I just slow down and keep working.
I have these two amazing daughters. I have to be a mighty example. I have to show them that women are powerful and smart and competent. I have to show them that even if someone is financially a “dependent” that doesn’t make the person weak, ineffectual, lazy or stupid. It just means you have a contract with another person.
I want to be a positive influence so much I feel like I am choking on it. I want to be a person worthy of respect. That means I have to behave in ways that earn respect. I have to be consistent. I don’t have to be perfect.
Where are the lines? What is “good enough”?
I keep looking backwards over my shoulder at the pergola in the back yard. (Apparently that is the most accurate name for what this structure is.) I feel kind of shocked that I wanted something there and… now there is something there. It’s like magic.
In the past week I have given two mini-lectures on the topic of grafting trees. I had no idea I knew so much. But apparently I do. I read a lot. I’m very curious about how things work. I want to be able to do a lot of things. I want to be so competent that it is incredibly hard to kill me–even for me.
Martial arts are coming. Not this month. This month I can barely hold my head above water. Soon.
When I was a child there is no chance I would have believed that I could be a bad ass. According to my wonderful Shanna there is no doubt–I AM a bad ass.
I don’t know everything. I don’t know the right path for other people. I do have a lot of useful skills though. I do know a lot about human development. I do know a lot about the limitations of safety and strength. I do know how to teach. I do know how to break things down into pieces other people can grok. I’m not always good at taking things apart the first time–I need coaxing to keep taking things into smaller and smaller pieces. I can explain almost any topic to almost anyone. But it may take me a few rounds of getting deeper and deeper into the explanation in order to find the correct scaffolding for a given person.
You have to understand schema. It’s the fucking coolest concept.
I am not perfect. I am not ideal. I am not unreservedly good. I am an asshole. I am selfish. I am self-absorbed. I also stop to genuinely look at people and evaluate them–for good or for ill. I like to believe I can see people pretty well. (Not in the needs glasses sense.)
I’m good at guessing that people are underrating themselves. I’m sure I can encourage people towards being their better selves. But only if they can handle my extremely rough form of affection. I’m not sure the trade is actually worth it.
I moved concrete for five hours. I am so tired I have no detectable level of anxiety. That’s rare but pleasant.
I am so very happy with how things are coming along. I feel like I AM DOING SOMETHING.