This morning I woke up to see a friend post on twitter that she needs more than an hour after a shower in order to get ready. The main thing I thought was, “I’m glad I’m not beautiful.”
Pam, before you argue with me, I’m not homely or anything. But beautiful is largely about performing a certain kind of look. I’m not beautiful. I don’t want to be.
I like being quirky and attractive without beauty. It allows a lot more freedom for the day after day when I don’t brush my hair and I look increasingly Medusa-like. I should probably take a shower today because it is getting bad.
Today will be kind of insane. Today is the home school Halloween meet up. We have a Jake costume and a growling spider costume so we are good to go. I haven’t decided if I will once again be Snow White or Ariel. Though I don’t have an Ariel wig an more. My hair has always been more Snow White. That is why my mom made me that costume.
Maybe some year I should get a costume that wasn’t made by my mother so I can stop the random crying fits when I dress up. I miss you mama. I think about you every day.
I think that if circumstances had been just slightly different I would have grown up to call my mother on the phone every single day.
Instead I look at my daughters. I’m allowed to think about them every day right now. It’s kind of mandatory. Calli reminds so much of my mom. Facial expressions, body language.
Do I remember a good Halloween with my mom? My mom made me a pink princess dress when I was … eight? Nine? I loved that dress. I wanted to wear it all the time but my mom only let me wear it occasionally. She was afraid I would ruin it by wearing it. Then I outgrew it. I don’t save much of anything for special occasions. If you ruin something oh well.
The scarcity mindset versus the abundance mindset is really different. I mean, dude…. I was on track to outgrow it any way. What in the hell were we saving it for? She never wanted me to play with my toys. I was supposed to keep them nice. What, so people wouldn’t know we were poor? Give me a break. That was written on my dirty face and bad behavior.
Do you know why poor children are enculturated so differently? Because you learn culture by sitting and watching people and then trying to copy how they move, talk, and think. If you are left alone a lot you don’t become shaped by people. You go your own way. People who go their own way are weird kind of by definition.
Being not pretty plays into this. Who are you trying to impress? If I spent an hour (or more) every day on my appearance I could probably get to the point of being “beautiful”. If I wanted to go to the gym it is becoming apparent that I could have a societally approved body.
I really don’t think so. I have better things to do with my life. This shell is not me. The important things about me are not that other people find me visually non-threatening and appealing. No. I’m not that.
That would kind of take away from the ability to look terrifying at the drop of a hat from ten feet away. Many teenagers have let me know that I am fucking scary. I learned a lot from teaching. Maybe that was why I struggled so much as a student.
People get away from scary peers. They don’t have a choice to get away from a scary teacher.
You can find studies going back and forth on the idea of first impressions. Either they are very important and all later interactions are confirmation or denial of belief or first impressions are about the person projecting and they only get to know you over time. Be consistent and don’t worry about the first impression.
I really worry about the first impression. I do my utmost to ensure that I am peppy, clever, and lively in conversation. But I try to not mention sex, parenting, or anything about my childhood. I am really happy about having gardening as a hobby. I can’t even talk about most of the books I read. I can cherry pick. “I’m most of the way through The Happiness Project by Gretchen … something. It’s ok.” I could rip the book apart from a literary point of view. But mostly what I get from this book is that she is a nice person trying hard to be a force for good in the world. Awesome. Go have fun.
Mark Twain says “Use ‘damn’ as your only adjective or adverb. It gets the point across and it is easier for your editor to find it and delete it than ‘very’.”
Err, I may have mildly paraphrased him. A word or so sounds wrong but I’m too lazy to look it up. (I thought of this quote because I used the word “very” four times in the previous paragraph before I noticed and started to twitch.)
My house is in flux and it is making me twitch really hard. One of the large washing machine bits broke in transit. A tiny little corner popped off. But it was the corner of the latch. Kind of important to have a latch. Shit. There will be no washing machine in my house for over a month. I understand that other people deal with this all the time but it’s a pretty big change in routine. I’m not trying to whine and say that it is hard. It’s just an errand instead of something I do while I’m juggling six other things. Frankly it may feel almost fun to have to go sit for a while. I don’t sit much.
The part that is making me twitch isn’t the growing pile of laundry. I can mostly ignore that. I had to tear out the pantry corner of my garage. All of my food storage is stacked haphazardly all over my desk and floor and bookshelves (the ones with books) in the garage. It’s a tripping hazard and the kids are starting to go through things and I feel like the top of my head will explode. Oh man. Please please please please no.
I am terrified that if I go see this allergist my friend is recommending that I will be told that I need to move in the direction of being gluten and dairy free. I have almost never been free of pain in my life. What do I live on? Gluten and dairy.
It is interesting how triage works. Never before in my life would I have considered seeing a doctor for my abdominal pain and diarrhea. That’s just how my body works. Whatever. I have been less supportive than I could have been to friends over the years who have all climbed on the no gluten bandwagon.
Did you know that Depression is highly linked to inflammation in the body? Your brain is over stressed so it shuts down. There are a lot of factors, of course, but eating foods that irritate your body when it is already sensitive to chemical imbalance is uhhh apparently dumb.
Which is to say, I’m dumb. And I have been my entire life. But are you dumb for eating the only food you can afford and that doesn’t make you spontaneously vomit from fear sometimes? I have had a lot of meals in my life where I was so harangued that I finished eating and went in the bathroom and threw up. It made the entire act of eating a real problem for me.
I have only rarely brought up how disordered my eating is over the ten years I have been writing. It isn’t something I think about much. I have been trying to move in the direction of doing better because I understood that my childhood was very unhealthy. But you don’t know what you don’t know.
Trying to get my body to stop hurting is a process. Every animal has very different “care and feeding” requirements. I still haven’t learned mine very well. I was specifically taught that caring for my body was something that should be avoided as long as possible. Dying early has never seemed like a bad result.
I don’t want to die right now. I feel very pleased that I can look around at the mess (I’m sitting on the ground next to the side door) and feel anxiety about the mess but it is not overwhelming. The only thing that I need to do to solve this problem is let time pass. We have the money to pay for every step of fixing this. I just have to wait for shipping. I have quarters. I can go to the laundromat.
At another point in my life I would have cried and cried and cried. Because it is one more thing. I don’t feel that compulsion now and the absence feels nice.
Something else that I notice: I buy my kids more expensive versions of things. I buy the cloth or wood versions. They get the plastic versions from other people as gifts and they use them like crazy. Mine… don’t get played with. I bought my kids a train set. They *did not use it*. Once in a while I would set it up and play with it. They watched or bossed me or tried to take the track apart. Calli was given a plastic train set for her last birthday by one of her favorite grown ups. She plays with it a lot. It is easy for her to set up and use and she finds it delightful.
See, this is that control shit. Enh, I’ve let them get rid of most of the wood stuff I liked. So much for that Waldorf fantasy. S’ok. I kept the cute baby toys in a basket so I can “play” with little ones who come over.
I want to add more Christmas lights to the ceiling in the garage. I should insulate the damn garage door. Ugh. See, always one more damn thing. It can either depress you or give you something to do.
I see a trip to Ikea in our future. We lost a bookshelf in the garage. I may replace it with a smaller one so that I can have a wider hallway into the pantry. It’s a pain in the ass getting through there. It will mean finding other homes for things currently in storage there.
Next few steps of back yard planning:
Once the hot tub is gone (see how I don’t have to do anything until AFTER this and I’m waiting on someone else’s schedule and it could take a while *phew*) I want to get two big storage boxes that are weather proof for the back yard. Hopefully ones that look like benches because that will be handy. They will go where the hot tub is, but against the bedroom wall.
One tub will contain garden tools and there will be a detailed inventory list. Maybe with pictures. Kids need to learn to put things away.
One tub will be wood working tools including hand saws. It will of course contain a detailed inventory list etc.
There will be basic baby proofing, like I think a carabiner should close both but older kids can just access stuff. I think I will have a big sign on the wall that says, “Notify Krissy before beginning projects with tools.”
There are times and places where “just be respectful” is an adequate rule. Then there is the rest of life.
I am not going to spread the mulch until the hot tub is gone. That occurred to me yesterday after making the to-do list. It will make it harder to remove. Yay for a task off the list for this week!
I want to get the hot tub out, spread the mulch to create a running path, and leave spaces for later gardening steps. I will shape the future with the mulch. Ha. I want a raised bed next to the house between the concrete slab and the arbor. That area gets the most intense sunlight in my entire yard. I want it.
I want raised beds in the back corner around the concrete slab. Instead of seeing ugly fence I want trellis with climbing plants. And the whole bed will have a bench along the side so you can sit down and chat. I would like it if there was a table there that was wide enough to have someone work on large-ish projects. So people can sit on one side doing their thing and people can stand on the other side doing something else.
The concrete slab nearer to the house will be used for a variety of projects. There will be wood working tools and piles of wood. But I also want to have some big containers with pipe parts and gutters and various attachment mechanisms for more like science experiments. Water play. Tennis balls. (I’ll need big pipe.)
I have a circle of stones for jumping now. This makes me very happy. I would sorta like one or two more big stones to make the circle better but they are crazy expensive. Not soon.
Under the arbor I want to put stuff that feels nice to walk on. I want something soft and comfy for me to use there. I hope I can get the arbor covered by vines within five years. I need to plant more things in the spring to contribute to that. I have several more vertical support poles I could take advantage of. I don’t know what to put though. Research! I hope to get the arbor painted this week. If I keep up the paint job it will last me till old age. If I am a slacker then it will rot. It’s really pretty. I totally want to keep it.
In the spring I should invite the home schoolers over for more fence painting. After that I can get around to installing raised beds along the fence on the side yard. I would like to have better soil at a level I can reach without having to sit on the ground. I am also going to build a clothesline structure on the fence. (Ok probably several independent structures.) My preference is to wash one load of laundry a day. That’s a rate that allows for a clothesline.
I would really like to have my side gate painted. It would make me happy.
I think that what I like so much about my house and yard now is I see the time spent creating that part of my house. I sit in my garage and think of Tay arguing with me about flooring. I think about it a lot. I feel smug and right. Given that I have destroyed a bookshelf with my inability to deal promptly with some problems I made the right flooring choice. You have to know all the conditions you are dealing with in order to make the right choice. I wasn’t ready to deal with the plumbing. I’m glad I didn’t put in better flooring so that it also got ruined in the process.
Since I have my garage ripped apart it is time to call in a plumber and have my water system fixed. The way it was sorta fixed isn’t really a long-term solution. I need to have all the pipes replaced. This is the time to do it. Rats.
I like to stop and catalogue my anxieties because at this phase of my life I get to just know that whatever the problem it is… it is tractable. It is solvable. I have the money to purchase a solution if all else fails.
That is like a god damn miracle. Things in life are complications and annoyances instead of catastrophes.
If my mother had an experience like I am having she would have fell to the floor crying and not risen for days. I squinch my face and say, “ok.” For most of my life this little sojourn into fixing my washing machine and plumbing would represent half a month of income or more. Probably more than half a month. She just didn’t have that much money lying around. Every month she needed 110% of her income in order to meet all of her obligations.
The older I get the less comfortable I feel judging my mother. The poor woman has had a truly horrifying life.
Sometimes I say her name to myself. That’s not who she was to me, of course. She was just mama or mommy or mom or mother depending on my level of affection. Never her name.
My kids say my name a lot. They go around the table saying our full names. Calli is having a hard time believing that I have an “other name” than Krissy Gibbs.
“My name is Kristine.”
“No it isn’t! You are Krissy Gibbs!”
Yeah, I’ve never really identified with Kristine. Kristine has better manners than I have. I’m just Krissy.
I have read a bunch of back and forth bitching about the name changing thing lately. Feminists like to scream about that one. Why should I have picked my rapists last name? Why is it so bad that I don’t want to remain at all attached to a man who raped my mother to begat me and then started raping me when I was a baby? I mean… really?
I’m ok with sharing the name of my husband and children instead of the keeping my point of origin name. It doesn’t bother me one bit. Yes, I did give up an identity. I am not that person any more. I am not going to be raped any more. It is not my obligation to have sex with people just because they ask any more.
I understand that few people have a relationship with their father that resembles mine. Blah blah blah fringe case. But I’m not alone. And when your rhetoric relies on the idea that someone should not give up their space in the connection with their heritage… I just don’t have to agree.
I don’t think people have to stay who they were born. I think that everyone is born with the capability of embracing just about any culture or identity that they want to go out and find. I think that names are important signifiers but if someone wants to shed the identity they had that is fine with me.
I also think that if someone has a professional career where name recognition matters that it shouldn’t matter if you are a male or a female that should be treated like a priority.
What you are called doesn’t determine how you act.
When some kids say, “Moooooooooooooom” they get yelled at or pushed or ignored or fawned upon. There is no such thing as a standard reaction.
All of this ties together in my head. I am not beautiful. I am not performing being an attractive version of myself because that requires work. I am working on being able to not be like my mother. It is hard and takes conscious thought. I am working on physically creating a beautiful space so that I have the physical manifestation in front of me all the time of my enormous privilege.
I have the spare time to work on my house. That is privilege. I have the money to buy paint and wood and bits and pieces. I have to keep it sorta within reason. I define what is within reason. I have to justify myself at the end of the year. Oh man. But I don’t have to justify myself to anyone but me. Noah says, “Are the bills being paid? Are we making forward progress? Ok.”
This freedom is intoxicating. I get to define, through my choices in how to use this money, what my priorities are. I want a small archway arbor that covers from the back gate to just past the side door so I can grow flowering vines to look at while I sit near the side garage door. This dream is way down the list. I probably won’t build it till 2017. But I think about it a lot.
Time passes slow when you are waiting for your washing machine to be fixed. But it means I can think through what I wish I had done to finish up the pantry area. Ha. Maybe a cloud border to cover the ugly pipes? It would be easier to string the Christmas lights with only one line of book cases. Hm.
I struggle with thinking that I am just taking the obsession with beauty and moving slightly outwards. I’m more obsessed with my house by the year. Isn’t this a stereotypical human trait? I don’t seem to find the same things beautiful as other people.
If you leave me alone in a house with money and a Home Depot within walking distance this is what I do.
My plans for the front yard are more in flux. I really really really want a bathroom with two toilets. I have a whole plan. If I get what I want it will be awesome. That will steal a lot of the front yard. I can’t be too attached right now. We’ll see. (I also have a bathroom with a rapidly deteriorating wall. I could do a simple small fix for a small amount of money. Or I could have a bathroom that would make me a lot happier about living in this house for the rest of my life.
Not this year.
I have ideas for the side yard I currently use as storage. I’m not nearly ready to follow through though.
Lots of painting to do in the house. I really want to learn how to mosaic so that I can make a back splash. Yes I understand that I could just put basic tile up in a very short amount of time with little skill.
That’s not the point.
I want my home to be a very specific kind of back drop. I want to look at very specific things. It’s ok that I don’t like looking at the same things as other people.
Err, I’m not trying to imply that all people who are not me are a monolith or anything.
I love Ikea so much. I change my house a lot. Frequently. I don’t go out and buy all new things so much as I rearrange everything I already own and buy one thing or two things.
One of my online friends (thank goodness for online friends) is kind of petrified with the idea of how many bookshelves I have. She has bad associations. No! They are tidy and organized! Seriously!
Ikea makes it possible to organize anything. You may have to down size what you own but then Ikea has a freakin way to make things work. My house is sort of Montessori inspired. Children are triggered by what they see. My house is full of books. That’s not true. There are no books in the play room and they only rarely have them in their sleeping room even though there are book shelves. So we aren’t “full”, yet.
But we have books and toys and stuff is all organized in some wacky fashion. It is out there designed to be appealing to children between the ages of one and about nine or ten. There is something for anyone to do.
I have a pretty impressive kids library already and it is getting better by the year. I have science books, math books, and books on a wide variety of social and body topics. They are all aimed at one through eight. Someday this variety will shift. Of course we have a lot of fiction too. Fiction on any kind of topic.
I’m not saying I have every book on any subject. Heck no. I’m not a specialist. I’m a generalized. Here you will find a little bit of everything. If you see spots you want to suggest a book for, let me know. I will look for it.
I want to be able to have a lot of different kinds of kids feel exposed to reading here.
I feel like a spider weaving a nest.
Sometimes I wonder if I am so attached to the idea of monogamy as a way of staving off my fears about my compulsive sexuality. That way I will never cross the line with any children who come to visit.
(Err, for the record: I have never exhibited any signs of pedophilia. I have always been partial to people who are older than I am. I have not touched anyone who was under 21 since I was under 21.)
But I like to make sure a lot of doors are not only closed they are slammed shut, you know?
I need to find a way to be of value without sex. That has to be part of my life journey. It’s going to be hard. Other people started this road when they were young children. I really got started ten years ago.
Interesting to think about.
Everyone is always evolving and changing. But some people don’t. Some people set right down and stay that way.
The sun is starting to come up and I can just picture people cringing as they scroll down and wonder does she ever stop typing?! I’m warming up for NaNoWriMo. I won’t blog next month. All of my hand strength will go to that. I’ll post at the end of the month when I finish the book. I have the sad feeling I should go off twitter too. And I shouldn’t check fetlife. And I haven’t been participating at the PTSD forum.
I need to just write this book.
I need to think about the kids I love. I need to think about what I want them to know so they can be safe. I need to think about what their mothers will allow them to read. I need to think about how to ignore that knowledge.
Some kids will need photo copied versions because their parents won’t approve. I’m not saying I will photo copy it for them. As an adult I will not do that sort of thing. But hopefully their friends will.
“I am not a pretty girl. That is not what I do. I ain’t no damsel in distress and I don’t need to be rescued.” Ani DiFranco is a good song writer. I feel guilty because I rather did get a white knight. I found a backer. In the time honored tradition I found someone who wanted to support me. I feel awkward about it being socially sanctioned because we are “married” but if we weren’t married it would be terrible and better at the same time. I don’t know.
I’m not independent at this point. Not in the ways that matter. I am dependent. And I shun the idea of trying to be beautiful which means I had to go find someone with low standards.
And he just finished making me breakfast. Holy moly. I don’t even have to tag this. Yay!