Monthly Archives: October 2013

be grateful

The best thing about having the pantry torn down is I can sit on the floor and see both the “window” near the washing machine and the mural at the same time. I’m not what you’d call a “good artist” but I do ok. I feel proud of these pictures.

I read recently that most of the cave paintings they have found were probably done by women. They are judging this based on the size of the handprints left.

The desire to decorate the walls of your home is just about as old as my species.

I am so grateful that I get to do this in the ways I want. For most of my life spending this much money on furniture was quite literally unthinkable. It was not an option. We did not have it, period. It wasn’t about juggling the budget… we didn’t have it.

They say that humans are really bad at acclimating to their luxury and then they stop taking joy in it. Periods of deprivation are useful for making you appreciate your baseline again.

I hope I never stop taking joy in bright pastel stripes in my pantry. Or the changing color river. (Even my “pastels” are still ridiculously loud.)

When I was a kid my mother called me Punky Brewster. She didn’t mean it as a compliment. I got tired of the shit and retreated to black. I wore pretty much exclusively black for seven years because I was tired of being mocked. Black makes you more invisible. Also, scarier. I was told that I was that “scary girl on the bus”.

I really like my life. I feel grateful that I get to be here today. What I do all day will be stuff that I pick just because it makes me happy to do. Today is Halloween! Candy will be brought back to me! I’m going to stay behind and hand out candy. The menfolk can go off with the home schoolers. We’ll see how this goes. Ha.

I really should spend the early part of the day on the scare princess. I haven’t done it. No one has wanted to do it with us and Shanna is too short to do a lot of the work so it will be all me. I really wanted kids to do it. For kids it is fun. For me it is work. Oh well. I would like it done. I should go do it. Maybe some other year.

I didn’t paint. My back is spasming. It happens even when I’m not being stupid about too much physical labor. It’s just part of life. It seemed kind of stupid to go up a ladder though. See–I¬†do have self preservation instincts. Neiner. It’ll get done when my back feels better.

Instead I went to Ikea. Cause I’m super S-M-R-T. I didn’t get anything close to my full list. But I got a couple of pieces to put together. Not done. Can’t go back to Ikea until I finish processing this load. I already have a scheduled trip. See, I like pressure. I pick it on purpose. It’s how I manage my anxiety. That sounds stupid but it is true.

Breakfast.

A shorter brain dump.

I apologize for the terrible typos. Welcome to the world of first drafts. ūüôā I’m a generalist. Not a.. whatever I wrote instead. (I’ve already forgotten. Awesome.)

I spent a while yesterday fantasizing about my ideal next Ikea trip. I spent almost an hour with measuring tapes moving around my house. I asked Noah and he told me to go ahead. It will be almost $2,000. I choke on that number. Ok, I’m rounding up, closer to $1800?

It will involve a radical difference in the pantry and give me a lot more space to move around and more storage at the same time. It will also give me more bookshelf room in the living room. I will be getting a lot of drawer pull outs and door things. These things now come in hot pink and turquoise. Perfect.

It also involves getting two of these¬†as my next non-pee-filled couch experience. If you put these facing each other you can get a 15′ runway for summersaults and wrestling. That sounds like rainy day awesome to me. And I won’t have to scream at the kids all the time to stop jumping on the couch. No springs to potentially injure them. Excellent. No, they aren’t very “grown up” but they will get me to stop yelling so much and that will be nice for everyone.

All told I would be getting 43 new cubes of storage space. That’s a lot. Less than just getting two new 5×5’s but I don’t have good places for 5×5’s. (Obviously I’m an Expedit girl.) Instead I will get sizes that fit better in my house. I didn’t like the floor to ceiling book shelf thing in the living room. I tried it for a few years and I always felt like I was hyperventilating from lack of space. I like having all the pictures on the walls.

I feel like my suicidal ideation has been at a low ebb since I put all the pictures up. Other parts of my life are going well too, so it’s not like I think that¬†one thing¬†made all the difference or anything. But it reminds me that people do still love me. They just aren’t in my house right now. I feel a kind of benevolence as I see them smiling on me every day.

I like having all the pictures up because it is so hard for me to believe that anyone even¬†could like me. But I have pictures of Jenny that are twenty years old. And now I have pictures of her daughter, whom she named after me. Even I’m not deluded enough to think that there is a lack of emotion there. But it is so hard to¬†feel. It is hard to remember that these connections really are what life is made up of. No, not everyone gets to have a family like Pam. Life just doesn’t work like that.

I have pictures of Pam that are fourteen years old. Now she makes videos for my kids because she isn’t here all the time and she wants to be able to read them stories.

I don’t really “believe” I am unloved. Not any more. But it is hard to feel like I deserve love. It is hard to believe that I can love people without damaging them in some major way. It is hard to believe that I am not a monster and all of these people are going to find out the truth about me and then they won’t love me any more.

So I compulsively admit every time I scream at my kids. I tell people that I have to be conscious of my stress levels because when things get too bad I kick holes in walls or kick the cabinets apart.

I don’t want to be in the closet. I think the closet would just magnify all of my shame. I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have to admit in public how bad I am. My dad got away with¬†so much. My siblings are compulsive liars. I don’t want to be a liar.

The money I spend at Ikea is about my knowledge that if you have a solve-able problem and you choose not to solve it you can’t take your frustration with the results out on anyone else.

In other words: if I don’t deal with the mess in the garage by¬†really finding homes for all of it I can’t get mad at my kids for making huge messes with the stuff left on the floor.

Our boundaries are generally very clear. If stuff is on the top shelf, you have to ask an adult before you get it down. If stuff is down low then you can play with it.

Do you see how fucked I am?

Shanna is old enough and clever enough to¬†know she is getting away with stuff. But I didn’t tell her that the boundaries still existed as these things were temporarily on the floor.

So here we are. And boy that is a big mess of Valentines crap.

But hey, we will only have to make one card in February.

Yesterday was a shouty-day. I differentiate between shouting, yelling, and screaming. Screaming is the stuff that hurts my throat. That’s too much, period. Yelling is about tone. Yelling sounds mean and doesn’t even have to be all that loud. You can “yell” at someone without raising your voice. It’s about berating and being harsh. Shouting is being a little louder than normal but not aggressive or punishing or shaming.

“Right! Another pile! No really, come over here next because we missed a lot!” Not fierce, more commanding?

I partially judge the difference based on their response. Screaming results in crying and freaking out. It’s just not ok. I always end up comforting them when I scream and apologizing a lot because it scares the shit out of them.

Yelling has a variety of results but it is differentiated by a shame overtone in some way. Yelling makes them defensive or they cringe.

Being shouty results in shrugs, eye rolling and back talk while they more or less do as I ask.

Isn’t that part of childhood?

Learning to do things even when you don’t want to is part of life. I fucking guarantee you I don’t feel like doing laundry as much as I do. I really don’t feel like cooking as much as I do. But it has to be done.

Sure I could structure my whole life around trying to get around those tasks but I don’t like any of the trades.

I’m trying to get better at even bringing shouting down. I may still be mad at K for telling a large group of people that I was the biggest bitch there but she has a point.

I think I’m ok with being the biggest bitch at the beach. I can live with that.

I don’t want to be a bitch to my daughters. They are special.

Why do my priorities matter so much? I need my children to understand that their physical actions have measurable impact on the world. If you leave something on the floor, someone else will step on it. If you don’t pick up your stuff either someone else has to do it or the space has to go unused.

We live in a fairly small house by modern American standards. Including the garage we have ~1400 sq ft. If you make space unusable by other people that’s a pretty selfish thing to do when you have moved on to taking up other space as well.

We have pest problems if we aren’t mindful. This has been proven repeatedly. These are not constraints I have just dreamed up.

We have people over a minimum of once a week and usually we have people over three or four times in a week. We are very lucky that people humor me. Leaving my house unusable is uhhh not an option I am ok with. We need to clean up after ourselves.

I can’t expect other peoples kids to understand fluctuating weird boundaries. My boundaries need to be simple and clear. Nothing off the top shelf without permission. Food on the linoleum. Stay out of the adult bedroom and the pantry and the side yard with the gate. I should probably paint signs on the door and the gate.

I want to create self teaching space. I could do it with the shelving I have but it would involve a lot more down sizing than I want to do or just messy piles left about.

I know that every single time I do something like this I am pushing back future goals. I think of the cute folks in “Up” who keep breaking into their savings. I know that a boat is a hole in the water you pour money into. A house is the same way. When do I stop?

Well I’d be out of room for furniture and I think that would set me up for the next 5-10 years for what I want.

But next year there will be something else. And the year after that. etc. You get my point. I can stop belaboring. Or can I?

Like the dishwashing machine; it’s breaking. The whole top rack comes off periodically. We will probably want to replace that because I tell you fucking what I don’t want to be responsible for hand washing all of our dishes.

Here we go, all what I want to pay for right about now:

  • Seal the garage door
  • gutters
  • bookshelves
  • couches that don’t smell like pee and that allow me to yell less
  • dishwasher
  • pipes in garage
  • washing machine

I think that is it. They would improve the feeling of being in the house tremendously. I notice as winter comes and the garage is unpleasant in the morning. Brrr.

But we also want to take vacations. I feel very guilty when I think of how much money I want Noah to spend. It isn’t a reasonable thing in the current economy. Not for the vast majority of the country. But he is doing it.

Why is what he knows how to do worth so much money? Clearly it is.

He’s really busy. The thing is, if he wasn’t trying to earn money in the time he would be playing video games. Or hunting. He wants a lot of time and space away from us. The intensity is hard. I get it.¬†Ha ha ha I get it.

I met someone new at the park yesterday. We talked about how to deal with overwhelming people because parenting advice because. No specific details.

The conversation was fine but I had to take a break to use the bathroom. Like, duh. When I came back the response was a big grin and, “I’m sorry I need to stop talking to you because I feel overwhelmed.” I spun on my heel and walked away. I also forgot to gather up all of my belongings because I left as quickly as I could get the kids together.

I know it was “a joke”.

But I don’t really think that is a signal I should ignore. Not at all. Not in the slightest increment. Not if I want to be welcome back later.

I’m not there for me. I’m there for my kids. Next time I will make sure I say a whole lot less to anyone who isn’t more tested.

Maybe that isn’t fair. Maybe… maybe.

Be careful what you say to people you don’t know. I thought I censored pretty well. I didn’t say anything explicit beyond being involved in the queer and transgendered communities. I said that to indicate that the group does actually have queer families. And yet we have Mormons. It’s awesome. It takes all kinds. We are all very nice to one another at the park and on outings. I think it is great.

I’m sure it was a joke. And yet.

I am too sensitive. This is true. It’s not like I will shun this person permanently but I will be a lot more timid in the future.

Managing boundaries is hard. I didn’t talk about sex. I talked about entirely vanilla life experiences. I was G-rated if you don’t think “queer” is a dirty word.

Do you know that my mother put makeup on every single day? We were very poor so it was the cheapest and most garish makeup available. Every. Single. Fucking. Day.

No, no I don’t want to wear makeup. Thanks.

Not beautiful

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.

Oy.

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.

We’ll see.

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!

to do

  • put glow in the dark stars under the play structure
  • attach climbing ropes with strategic knots
  • put up bird feeder
  • take broken bookcase apart into pieces for garbage¬†(there is more but the garbage can is full)
  • finish cleaning up toys from back yard
  • make scare princess
  • decorate for Halloween
  • clean and prep arbor for painting
  • paint arbor (this will be wood stain and not bright colors.)
  • sift out concrete pieces
  • spread out mulch¬†(rescheduled)

I’d like to finish most of that this week. Well, the concrete sifting won’t be finished. That may take years.

And I haven’t cleaned the bathroom in longer than I’d like to remember. And the kitchen needs cleaning several times a day. I feel tired and uninspired. I’m cold and all of my sweatshirts are dirty and the washing machine repairman is two hours into his four hour window and hasn’t arrived yet. I’m starting to worry we will miss gymnastics.

My head hurts.

 

How to answer

Shanna keeps asking me when we are going to see people. She is specific. “When will I see ____ again?”

I don’t know.

“When will I go to ______’s house again?”

I don’t know.

“When will I get to play with ______?”

I don’t know.

I don’t want to tell her what I tell myself. “People take care of their priorities in the order they determine. They only get to the unimportant things if they have spoons left. They just don’t get to me much.”

“They would come over if I wasn’t so overwhelming and terrible. I am really sorry I am driving your friends away.”

“I don’t know what I did wrong this time. But I’m sure I did something. I’m sorry you have to stand next to me.”

I just say I don’t know.

I’m trying to convince myself that I wouldn’t feel so needy and clingy and sad about rejection from other people if my family of origin had worked out better. I’m trying to convince myself that if I am dependable enough for Shanna and Calli that everything will be ok.

We get so many cancellations at the last minute that I don’t tell them about plans with anyone until I get a day-of confirmation or until they are knocking. I don’t believe that people will show up when or if they say they will.

I have a lot of internal conflict around passing on my disbelief in humanity. Yet I feel like doing anything else would be pretty stupid.

People show up when they want to. How do you get them to want to? I have no idea. I do a lot wrong on that score.

The only person who still speaks to me who has been in my life for twenty years lives in another country. We kinda sorta talk on Twitter.

Many people have been in my life for more than ten years. I see most of them for less than ten hours in the average year.

I don’t know how to do relationships that are on a shorter rotation very well. I try to have them and I burn people out. Then they don’t talk to me any more. Now my kids are standing next to me and they have to deal with the fall out. I’m so sorry.

I keep trying because when you stop trying you die. The person who is on the tightest rotation right now is starting to have a bit more conflict. I don’t know how much longer this will last. Yeah, I think when it stops it will be my fault.

If I hurt all these grown ups so much they don’t want to be near me any more what am I going to do to my kids?

I don’t know. But I have to be very careful how I eke out my energy. I can’t trust that anyone else will help. They might. They might not. I have to get through either way.

I’m aware that by this point my sense of “commitment” is totally fucked up. I don’t know how much contact is reasonable to expect from any one. I try to just take what I can get and say thank you.

But when I miss people and I sit in my house and feel guilty for making them not want to come over any more I don’t know what to do. I want to self harm. I know I hurt other people and it is only just that I hurt myself far more than I have hurt other people. Maybe then I will become more mindful and stop hurting people.

I do my best to not cry in front of the kids. I don’t have any wounds for them to see. I don’t have a good enough reason to cry. I would have to be hit or cut or… something.

“Are you crying? Here. Let me give you a reason to cry.”

I think that was one of the most common refrains from my childhood. I’m trying so hard to not pass it on. When my kids cry because their feelings are hurt I don’t tell them to shut up and I don’t offer to hit them.

Sometimes it feels weird. Like if I could “get over myself” and go out and pursue some hobby that I could manage to find people who would be happy to stand near me. But they would feel that way because they wanted to be where they were and they tolerated my presence. So I don’t really have hobbies any more. Dealing with people is too hard.

That’s not so. I have delved into solitary projects. I like my house more by the year. By the time I am old my house will be the thing I have spent the most time working on in my life.

The more I feel like I have to carefully¬†not say the things I am thinking (because I sure as fuck don’t blather on about my bitterness to my kids) the less I am able to take any support at all. I can’t even begin to reveal the extent of the support I need. Because I don’t¬†need it. I’ll be fucking fine without it. By which I mean I won’t die. I won’t give those fuckwads the satisfaction of dying first.

I would rather like to outlive my mother and my sister. Even if I never see them again.

There is need and then there is need.

A while back a friend told me that his therapist told him that I am like a crazy Vietnam vet hiding at home with my guns and ammo. I take things as dangerous that aren’t dangerous.

But when I spend over an hour explaining (with written diagrams!!!!) how overwhelmed I am by work and what I really need is for you to show up an hour before dinner and help cook and instead you show up half an hour after we are supposed to start eating and then you whine about helping…

I’m not sure that all of my problems are that I am just a crazy vet. I think my problem is that when I explain in clear language with diagrams how and where I would like support and you have forgotten by the next week I understand how unimportant I am.

I would rather be unimportant and alone in a room. At least then I don’t have to fucking worry about your hurt widdle feelings.

The thing is, I don’t perfectly show up to support anyone else either. It’s not like I expect anyone to be perfect. I really don’t.

But I have a hard time when people ask me to do something and then I show up having done it and they say, “Oh. I was just joking.” So I just wasted… how many hours?

I understand why other people blow me off. They blow off what I say because they think I am blowing them off in the same way. Maybe I am. I can’t see from that perspective.

Mostly I try to carefully not commit to doing anything. I try very hard to consciously not commit. I don’t want anyone to depend on me and feel disappointed. I know I can’t meet your needs. Let me just say that up front.

Unless I can show up and fill a specific need. Then I will explain in detail what I will do and how I will do it and that is the limit of my obligation.

Sometimes I understand that what I want, people who like me enough to invite themselves into my life, isn’t a reasonable thing to want. What I want is the process of enculturation that I see happening to my daughters with regards to Noah’s family.

None of the relatives are pissy that I don’t send thank you notes most of the time. They just continue to send stuff to the kids. They are fairly clearly not here for me. I mean, they include my name and they seem to have mostly positive thoughts at this point. They are chasing down my kids wanting to have a relationship.

It’s really hard to live with. Because the closest I have had to that is Noah. I feel very lucky to have Noah, don’t get me wrong.

I have been chasing Jenny for decades. I started my livejournal account ten years ago because I was spying on her. I didn’t want her to forget me while she was off at a¬†good school meeting people who were smarter and richer and better than me.

I’m on Twitter mostly because of her. It’s the social platform she uses the most heavily.

But my kids won’t grow up with her. I’ve spent twenty years chasing her love and… well… I have her love, but she had to go do her grown up things. And they took her across the world. She is having a really good life and in no way shape or form do I want her to change the course of her fate to come pay attention to me.

But I don’t know when or if I will see her again.

I go back and forth between “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “out of sight out of mind”. The longer I am away from people I love the more I believe that I am out of their sight and out of their mind.

I actually massively appreciate that Jenny ran off to marry someone so spectacularly suited to her. If she had ran off for a bad match I would feel all personally rejected and shit. Naw, I’ve met this guy. I understand why she wants him so much. Uhm, not that he’s my type. heh. But she needed someone temperamentally suitable to *her* not me. They are so perfect together it is kind of weird.

Everyone picks a different poison. Everyone has to compromise about something.

When will we see _____ again? I don’t know. I’m not very good at predicting the future. I know they are busy. I “know” it isn’t about me. But I still want to beat my head on concrete in penance for being so bad that they need this much time to rest in between visits.

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

All I say to my kids is, “I don’t know. They are really busy right now.”

Cheerful.

I just spent more than two months of personal money on books about suicide. I haven’t read these ones yet. At this point I am fairly sure I have read more than thirty books about suicide. Thirteen more will be arriving in a week. I have never been good at writing down how many books I read (I’m trying a thing this year!) so I read books and then can’t remember if I have read them or not until I get ten pages in. Then I can tell you most of what happens in the book.

What is the book about? (My book–the next.) It is a book for twelve year olds that is mostly about social engagement and harm reduction but it looks like it is a book about dealing with suicide and mental health issues. I specifically and in great detail go into different problems that come up for people. I talk about how to handle them. I talk about how to get adult support when you need it.

I talk about which kinds of adults are good for asking different kinds of questions. I tell kids to go spend a lot of time sitting alone in a room so they can figure out what *they* believe. Then go out into the world and act like it is true.

It is a book that is a twelve year old level introduction to the fact that every person occupies a very individual sized hole in the world. What you can do is not an option for other people. You have a unique ability to be helpful and loving.

And if you aren’t feeling helped or loved there are people in your world who would like to help. Sometimes finding them is really hard. You have to be persistent. You have to believe that your needs matter.

I talk about sex enough to say that wanting it is good and natural and nothing to be ashamed of but you need to realize that there are adult consequences. I talk a little about STDs and pregnancy and tell people that they are going to have to live with the results of their actions. There are ways to “experiment” and have fun that do not have permanent risks. Make conscious decisions. Don’t let things “just happen” to you.

As medical science advances suicide is becoming one of the most common ways people die. It is the only form of death we can’t seem to reduce the rate of in our population.

That’s really sad. That’s a whole lot of people who feel worthless and unwanted.

The Golden Gate Bridge is being retrofitted with dividers between the traffic lanes. I read somewhere that this will prevent an average of seventeen deaths in a year. (Maybe in a two year period?) But they have more like two thousand suicide deaths a year and they don’t want to put a suicide net up even though it is much cheaper than the traffic divider.

It’s not pretty.

No, suicide isn’t pretty. It’s not pretty how many people feel like they have nothing of real value in themselves. It’s not pretty that people go off to die alone because they are so convinced that it is the only way out of hurting.

It’s not pretty.

I tell my children every single day that I love them and I am glad they are here with me. I somehow suspect that this will continue for the rest of their lives. I’ll send emails when it becomes creepy to call. Maybe letters.

My kids are not going to be afraid that no one will care if they die.

Medicating

When I am having a lot of generalized anxiety but little specific anxiety (I am currently blissfully conflict-free with regards to other people so far as I know) I¬†always cycle back to feeling very upset with myself for medicating. I have a really bad attitude about people who use medication to deal with their feelings. Addicts are bad. I don’t really care if they are addicted to alcohol, pot, or Prozac. Addicts are bad, right?

But I don’t really believe that. I just feel scared. I feel that¬†other people, those unimportant people I don’t know or care about, think that I’m bad because I’m an addict. Is a diabetic an addict when they use insulin?

The transition between smoking and edibles is kind of weird. Smoking takes a lot more time. I won’t be around the kids when I do it. (Recently I was talking to a mom who smoked a lot of pot with her kids in the room when they were little and she talked about how she started sharing as soon as they hit double digits in age. Uhm. I wouldn’t give my kids my Prozac so I’m not going to hand them my pipe.) I have a lot of anxiety around the amount of time that I spend away from the kids smoking. I feel like it is neglectful.

I don’t¬†actually think it is neglectful. I’m within 50′ of them but I’m through walls. They can come and talk to me and ask questions and I take breaks to come in and help them with things if they need help. They aren’t actually being neglected. I can sort of intellectually understand that my kids aren’t being neglected.

But I’m afraid that someone like me will neglect her kids because of inattention or being so self-absorbed. What¬†is neglect anyway? No one can give me an amount of time. “If your kids have no adults willing to jump up and help them for x time then it qualifies as neglect.” No one will tell me the answer. I can’t find the answer. I’ve read a lot of “experts” and lay people. No one knows.

They know that children who are not cuddled in the first three years have severe problems for the rest of their lives. I would not have been able to cuddle my kids without the pot. I feel really bad for that but it is simple fact.

Without pot I shake a lot of the time. I have severe hypervigilance. You can put me in the room with ten other people who are all diagnosed hypervigilance and I can rattle off tons of things those people didn’t notice because hypervigilance means different things in different bodies. (What do you fucking mean you DIDN’T NOTICE THEY HAD SECURITY CAMERAS?!)

A long time ago I learned that I had to stare really hard at any person who came near me. I had to try to figure out their mood and how I should react to them. If someone touches me by surprise I inflict violence. It was a very consciously learned skill.

When I’m smoking the come down is a lot faster and harder than with edibles. Edibles provide this languor that goes on and on. But the effect is much more dramatic initially and you can only use as much as you need with smoking. With edibles you get how much your body decides to give you from that batch. It is hard to titrate.

Yesterday was a very low use day because I had a dentist appointment in Cupertino in the afternoon. That’s a bunch of driving in heavy traffic. I don’t smoke before such a day.

I had a little bit before bed but not much because I was too eager to just go to bed. So I woke up with a stomach ache so terrible I really want to go in the bathroom and make myself vomit so I can just get it over with. I’m not going to do it. I understand that my body is looking for another bad coping method. I’ve always been very lured by vomiting. I have a quick gag reflex. A lot of things make me puke. At some point I did learn how to make myself vomit because there are times when I really just need to vomit because that will end the pain.

When I’m unmedicated first thing in the morning my stomach hurts and I have a terrible time not clenching my teeth so hard my whole lower jaw aches. My hands ¬†shake. All of the random body pain I always have feels tightened and sharpened.

If I go smoke pot… it’s not exactly miraculous but it’s pretty extreme. All of a sudden I can decide to relax my jaw and it will do it. I notice my body pain in a different way. All of a sudden it feels like, “Ah! I need to stretch!” and I do and I feel better. Well, my back always hurts. My back has hurt since my age was in single digits.

My stomach relaxes and all of a sudden I recognize that I am hungry. It doesn’t feel like nausea any more. Now I can eat. If I try to eat without smoking I can eat about a piece of string cheese and that’s it. I can’t have a meal. It will cause me too much pain and if I really force myself to eat I will end up vomiting.

This has gotten a lot worse since I had kids. I used to be able to eat a little bit of food at a time all day long and keep the pain sort of handled. I can’t do that now. A lot of the food we eat now are vegetables and fruit. I’m used to wheat products as what I eat. I’ve always eaten bread or noodles or something like that. Vegetables and fruit cause me a lot of pain. Malnutrition is like that.

I am trying to talk myself into working with a specialist. I know I need to do something about how my body handles food.

But if I smoke pot in the morning I can eat a normal breakfast and then snack of vegetables and fruit with my kids. I don’t experience the same pain.

Am I an “addict”?

I worry most about the startle reflex. I worked so hard on becoming more instinctively and quickly violent. In the scheme of my life the period of time during which it has been rational and safe to respond to random, painful touch with kindness has been very short.

I want to repeat that rational word a few more times. At this point in my life it is not rational to respond to sudden, painful touch with violence. My children aren’t hurting me on purpose they just haven’t learned how to be gentle yet. It is a process. If I want them to learn something I have to slowly and carefully and deliberately model it to them. That is how children learn. You act in front of them how you want them to act.

Reacting with violence¬†was a rational response before I had children. It just was. I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. At this point it is completely unacceptable. That’s tough.

Sometimes you develop ways of coping with really bad situations that are necessary at the time. Those skills may not translate well into later parts of your life. It is important to periodically assess how your skills are in relationship to your current life.

November is coming up. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. I need to get disciplined again about getting up at 4:30 and I need to write until 6:30. I have to if I want to work on¬†Outrunning and I do. I want to finish writing¬†Outrunning in November and I want to spend December working on the resource section. I want a complete first draft by the end of the year.

I have decided that next year I am going to find a better editor for¬†No Secrets and then I am going to take the New & Improved version shopping for a real publisher. I expect at least fifty rejections. Maybe I should be prepared for more like two hundred rejections. The kid who discovered a way to work with pancreatic cancer had to get 199 rejections.¬†¬†I don’t think I should feel like I deserve an easier road.

I feel that is one of the most damaging messages I received as a child. If something is hard it isn’t worth doing. Not true. Sometimes the most important things are things you have to fight tooth and nail to even be allowed to do.

I’m scared to commit. I’m scared to admit to the grown ups what I say to their children. I’m afraid the grown ups are going to yell at me. I’m afraid the grown ups won’t let their kids read the book.

I have spent a lot of years researching a lot of topics around mental and physical health through adolescence. I’m by no means a PhD style “expert” but I know how to find the expert opinions when I need them. I know a lot about the problems that emerge during adolescence and I pray with all my might that the things I have in my head are things that would be useful if other people knew them.

I feel scared of admitting to myself that this is as close as I have to religion. Let me be enough. Let me be able to help people. I want to help. I want to help so bad. Sometimes it feels like the only way I can make me feel better is if I make other people feel better. I don’t feel less anxiety until I see that I can make them feel less anxiety.

When I am too much for people, when I am too intense, when they have to back away for their own preservation… I feel like I should die. I don’t want anyone to feel guilty about this. It isn’t someone else’s fault that I am so ridiculous. When I feel like I have nothing to give and instead I am a burden I feel like that means I should be culled from the herd.

Does that mean I look at every disabled person and think, “They should be culled”? Err.. no.

I am able to see the value in other people in a way I am not able to see my own value. When I look at other people I can see how dependence is part of creating bonds. Needing help and accepting it from someone is a way of creating a social bond. Giving help feels good. You can only give help if someone needs it. It’s a cycle thing.

I have been told that in Burkina Faso there is no such thing as a personal problem. Every problem is a problem for the community. Depression basically doesn’t exist. People keep you tied to life because¬†they honest to goodness need you. If you are feeling sad you can find a funeral within walking distance and go grieve as much as you want to. No one will think there is anything wrong with crying because you feel bad and there will be people near you who know you and love you and see your value to comfort you when you need it. They know why you are crying. They understand.

I’m sure there are flaws in the system.

It is hard for me that I still need to cry so much and I don’t have space in my life where that is really considered “ok”. I can’t model walking around crying all the time. It will fuck up my kids. I can’t be a miserable son of a bitch. It’s just not ok. But I am a miserable son of a bitch.

I feel sad. I feel scared. I feel like no one has ever liked me or will ever like me. I understand that these are not “rational” things. They just are. I don’t know how to interpret signals of people liking me. I know this is broken. I know that people demonstrate that they like me by continuing to talk to me year after year. I know that I can’t ask anyone to jump through hoops “proving” anything to me. I don’t think I test people much any more.

I just stay home. And people either visit or they don’t.

Well, I go out to home school events because I owe that to my children. They will be exposed to lots of people. And not just people who are willing to jump through the hoop of coming to my house. That is a very different sort of bubble.

This is part of why we are getting to know our neighbors. There are a lot of people around here who just kind of hang out all day. We are not the only home schoolers (though the kids are high school aged so not really friend material). There are a lot of retired people in our neighborhood. They hang out near their garages. We talk to them. I’m not limiting my kids to people who are weird enough to like me. Ha.

So I’ve been thinking about my policy of screaming at the neighbors (only when they are racist!). I don’t really want to cause them to stop talking to my kids. This is going to be hard.

When I use edibles I stay a lot more consistently stoned a lot more often. There aren’t as many spikes and dips in pain and emotion. But edibles are $400-$500/month. (Depends on what I am able to buy because the prices can vary.) Smoking is more like $100-$150/month. I have a lot of anxiety about that price difference. I feel like I can’t really justify spending as much money on my body every month as I do.

I spend $300 every month (occasionally $450 but rarely) on therapy. I buy pot. I buy massages, though we’ve been fairly stingy with those this year. We’ve spent less than $200/month on massages. I can tell that my ambient pain is a lot higher. I wish I was also paying for acupuncture but man can I just not bring myself to cough it up. Hell, I wish I was regularly seeing a chiropractor and a nutritionist. Let me feel the explosion of stomach acid. Wheeeee.

My body does not function very well. I’m trying to figure out how to make it run better so that I can “just be a nicer person” but I didn’t get enough of this shit taken care of before I had kids. I didn’t feel the damage so much then. Learning how to take care of an animal is a process. Human beings are animals. We need particular kinds of foods in differing quantities. You have to figure out each animal. It’s a process.

No one ever really looked at me or tried to maintain proper care of me. Learning how to do so now is hard. I am only figuring out how to do it because I am reading in books what I should be doing with my children. It feels daunting.

I read that human beings are usually naturally opposed to “going to exercise”. Humans stay fit if they do work in the course of their life. Sitting on your ass doesn’t count as “work” in this sense.

I have struggled all of my life with my visceral disconnect that anything I do while sitting on my ass doesn’t count as “work” but that is the only kind of work people want to¬†pay you to do. Physical work is what counts in my subconscious but it is not socially valued. Look at how class hierarchies work.

I think I should resign my membership in the Libertarian party. I have changed my mind about wealth distribution. Three hundred Americans have as much wealth as eighty-five million Americans. Yeah. That sounds like time for redistribution.

We live in a time when there is no excuse for people not helping others survive at a reasonable level. Food should not be so hard to find. We waste so much food. It is stupid.

But man can I not devise a system that would solve the problem for the whole country. Would I be able to design one that would work for my town? My town is trying really hard to gentrify. How could I figure something out that would help my community? I don’t know yet. That isn’t a problem I’m ready to try to solve. I think I will try some day though. Not while the kids are little.

I have a hard time with the fact that I have ended up being “the woman in the home”. I have chosen it consciously and deliberately every step of the way. Does that mean I am choosing to be silent and inconsequential for the rest of my life?

Luckily Noah plans to keep me steadily in laptops and internet connection. (I have three laptops and an iPad in the house. I have a voice.)

When I look around at feminist dialogue I feel sad because I don’t want to speak because I am a white woman. Does the world really need the opinions of one more white whiny bitch?

Do I spent my life just thinking “poor me”? No. Not really. I understand that whereas my life has contained a lot of specific trauma I have benefited from an enormous amount of help as well. I’m alive and well because of the charity of a lot of people. Many of them are very angry that I am not happy and doing well because of the help they gave. I am very sorry that the help they gave was so inadequate towards meeting my needs. It is very hard on both sides.

I have to deal with the physical damage caused by trauma though. I feel very lucky that I live in a time and a place where if I want to I can spend ten minutes on the proper search engine and come up with lots of documentation of why I have the physical reactions I have to life. I feel validated.

But once I have that validation I need to keep reading and look at the consequences of being someone with those physical reactions. It’s not good socially or physically.

I bless my inordinate ability to go make friends. There is a very large part of me that is still a charming three year old trying to make people love me. But now I understand that I have to do it without sitting on their laps and grinding.

The whole “fake it” thing is accessing part of me. It’s not like I am trying to act like someone else as my model of being happy. I have never found anyone who is the way I want to be. I’m ok with that. I don’t think it means anything bad about anyone else.

No one else has had my life. No one else can understand the dissertation associated with every coping method. Just like I can’t understand theirs. Because everyone else has their own story.

I’m getting better at seeing people in the context of their own story. I’m getting better at seeing my role in their lives. I’m trying to understand what it means to play a supporting role while still getting to be the main character in my story. What does it mean to be part of an ensemble piece? What is my role in the quirky sitcom of life? But my life has really been more of a Greek tragedy, you know?

I no longer have the energy for peppy. I’m just too damn tired. I see the need for other people more. I see the sadness of other people better. I see why they react the way they do and why they¬†must react the way they do. I don’t take it so personally when people can’t handle me. I still feel sad.

I don’t feel as suicidal any more. That’s why I had kids. Never again in my life will it be a good thing that I die. I am¬†required to put it off as long as possible because it will hurt my children terribly. We are very close. I¬†am nice to them. I¬†am gentle with them.

Because I medicate. That gives me the ability to be gentle with them even when they are loud and boisterous and very physical. It allows me to have a pause.

Why do I feel so bad about medicating? I know a wide variety of people who are a wide variety of functioning while using a lot of pot. These are all people who would be more and less functional without the pot. So what?

I feel grateful that I live in a time and in a place where this is a legal medication for me to use. If I lived somewhere else I would not be able to use this medication. If I lived in a different part of¬†my country I would not be able to use this medication. I’m only quasi-legal on a federal level. They rarely persecute users. They prosecute dispensaries instead just so they can steal a lot of money. It is state sanctioned piracy.

In medias res. I think about it all the time. What does it mean to truly live in the time and place where you live? What does it mean to be limited by the culture you were born into?¬†What am I capable of doing? I don’t know yet.

I tell myself that if I learn how to be nicer to my body I could have a good forty years of work left after my children are grown. I think of what I want to do while they are children. I think of what I want to do after they are grown. I need to take better care of my body.

I don’t think that all women¬†should stay home with their kids. I really don’t.¬†Really. I think it would be really traumatic and awful for some families, quite frankly. But I wish that more kids got to be with a parent for the first few years. I wish there were more ways of figuring out how to make that work. Sometimes neither parent is the right one to stay home and be all nurturing. I wish that a grand parent lived nearby who was thrilled to take on the early care-taking role or an aunt who was happy to take a few years off from working. Or an uncle. Or a cousin. Someone who was deeply tied to the long-term well being of the child who would devote lots of love and attention. Preferably this person would live with the family.

That’s what I wish. But I understand that it isn’t the reality for every family. I don’t think that families who do something different are doing something¬†bad. I think they are living within their resources. I get to have a fantasy life. I get to pretend that somewhere out there maybe it could be true that it worked out that way.

It doesn’t mean I think bad things about people who are living in the world they live in. I mean Jimminy Christmas haven’t I demonstrated that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and I’ve got my own list of sins?

I don’t like Christianity but I grew up entirely within that narrative. It is most of how I view the world whether I like it or not. It¬†is my background culture. It won’t be for my kids and that is¬†really weird.

I feel scared of really putting out what I believe in the form of a book. I will flat encourage people I know to buy it and give it to their kids. What do I feel comfortable saying to my little niece in Scotland when she is twelve? What do I want to say to my little nephew over in Mountain view when he is twelve? What do I really want them to know about the world? What do I want my kids to know?

What do I wish I had known?

What do I think I can get past the censorship of the wonderful sweet Christian ladies in my home school group?

Holy moly.

Talk about a tight rope.

And I want to produce this document within the next two months. No pressure. Luckily I have done a lot of writing already. It will be ok. It has to be a length a twelve year old can handle without feeling freaked out. Even ones who are not the most fluent readers in the world.

Why that age? Why that focus? Mostly because that is when I picked up a string of twenty-five year old men. What do I wish I had known?

Hormones change around then and it is a very scary process. What do I wish I had known?

I feel like this is what I have to give the world. I’m not sure what it is worth. I’m not sure that other people will agree that twelve year olds need to know all this. I do. I believe it with all my might.

And I will have to be ok with the fact that lots of people will disagree.

Ok.

Christmas gifting. (I’m just skipping Halloween entirely.)

Noah declared that with a large raise should come a raise in our gift giving budget. Then we bought tickets to Texas. Ha. I’m already starting to near the end of shopping so I thought I would figure out what I’ve done. We have a lot of travel near the end of the year and I want to not think about gifts in November and December if I can help it.

Noah:

something to wear: check

something to read: nope

something you want: nope

something you need: nope

stocking: nada

Santa: yeah no.

Uhm. on to less depressing people.

Shanna:

something to wear: yes (nightgown)

something to read: yes

something you want: doll she picked out at Disneyland

something you need: backpack with self-entertainment kit

stocking: mostly done. still need tights and maybe one toy.

Santa: no clue

Calli:

something to wear: yes (nightgown)

something to read: yes

something you want: doll she picked out at Disneyland

something you need: bed spread

stocking: mostly done. still need panties and socks (she asked for Strawberry Shortcake socks and I haven’t found them yet)

Santa: no clue

 

Coming along though. Some stuff needs to get shipped soon. I should wrap it first.

Searching for a helpful babysitter

But not for me! A good friend lives in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. She fairly desperately needs someone she can call occasionally for help with one or both of her kids.

This coming Monday she needs help from 8:30-12:30 with her one year old. She is the sweetest little girl and I wish I could do it. But that is my window for getting my washing machine repaired.

Is anyone else available?

head hurts.

On days when I don’t feel well I dream of Disney vacations. I have read research saying that¬†planning for trips generally gives you most of the joy that the trip would give you.

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to let Noah talk me into anything huge for the ten year anniversary. But if anyone wanted to go on a Disney Cruise with us… maybe? I’m going to make my plans with the assumption that it will be just the four of us.

#39: Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha (there should be an accent on the last a.)

When I finished reading it I burst into tears. Maybe I broke my marriage by not being able to handle more small “lies”.

Victory, pain, and Zen.

I finished painting! I’m afraid some areas will require a second coat because Glidden is shitty paint. It’ll be ok.

My fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, back, and legs hurt. I won’t type much today. Rest is my friend. Pictures soon.

Last night we woke up in the middle of the night and had sex, like we do. When we were done and cuddling I had one of those wonderful, sadly rare, moments of complete calm. I am where I want to be. I am doing what I want to do. I am loved. It will all work out ok. Not everyone is so blessed. Feeling ok is so nice. I want more of that.

empty brain, go work.

I am not sure I will 100% finish the play structure today but I will finish painting. Damnit. I’m not painting the base boards because they are already nasty filthy. Oh well. The rest of it is¬†Colorful. Pictures soon. Holy moly colorful. Structure of many colors. At least fifteen colors so far and I think I may use a couple more. Today I paint the rock wall. Woo! I will also make sure I get the roof on. Maybe I will do that before I start painting. Not many boards left!

After I finish the play structure I need to take a break from outside work and come inside and dismantle my laundry room. This is my sad face. Luckily I construct my projects with the idea that if I make 3,028 trips then everything is easy for me to carry by myself without destroying my back. Yay! So it will be annoying and time consuming but not painful. Cause I’m S_M_R_T.

Once that is done I need to paint the arbor. Then I can move on to other, currently more appealing, work. Like spreading mulch! I have so much wonderful mulch. *happy dance* My whole forking yard will be covered which is awesome sauce because I have this terrible clay.

I still haven’t moved the rocks. I should probably ask Noah to help me do that today. I’m more than a little afraid that if I get all macho and try to do it alone I *will* throw out my back. My back and I are not on the best of terms right this minute. Gentle work.

I opened negotiations with my two favorite running buddies for a half marathon next year out of state. Ten years of running deserves a celebration. And who doesn’t like a trip to Portland? We’ll get to see lots of fabulous people. Always a win.

I haven’t worked on the book in a week. I’m tired. My brain hurts. I need to finish the bloomin’ painting outside so I can come inside and start nice gentle inside winter work and let my forking back heal. But I need to be running. I think it is weird how much I crave the running now.

Something else I’ve been thinking about like crazy. One of the moms of many in our home school group made a comment this week to the effect that when her fifth child is born she is going to get rid of all hand-me-downs because she is done having kids. I almost burst into tears.¬†She’s allowed to have as many kids as she wants and I’m only allowed to have two so¬†why is she stopping?!!?!?!?!?!?¬†Ahem. Obviously I didn’t say a word to her. But I had this explosion of feelings I’ve been processing since. I started bleeding yesterday which was welcomed by my now-standard sobbing because it feels like I just lost a wanted baby. Noah’s shooting blanks so I will never miscarry again. But every month feels like it.

On the upside I didn’t have an explosion of joint pain in the 24 hours before I started bleeding. Phew. That means it only happened two months in a row and I can ignore it and not see a doctor. My favorite kind of random pain.

On the downside my right arm hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. I woke up in the middle of the night with my elbow hurting. Painting is hard on my arm. I’ll be done soon. I’ll take a few months off at least. Then I’ll start painting the inside of my house. Mostly I want to be able to get rid of all the paint so I need to finish the projects I have in my head. I’d like to use the storage space for other things.

So far I have only learned a few minor points of argumentation from¬†Sex at Dawn. I remain convinced that I went out and got a graduate level education on sex. I just know shit. It’s nice to feel that confirmed so strongly occasionally. “Oh look, a groundbreaking book that teaches me nothing new. Guess I’m already doing the groundbreaking.” Ha! Not that I have a big ego or anything. *cough*

I’m trying to not fret about money. I haven’t overspent our income. I have saved. I have paid down debt. I just also bought things I wanted. I bought things my family and friends will use and appreciate for many years. I wish I didn’t feel so much guilt. My shrink wants me to work on that guilt because it is specifically non-useful to me. Noah doesn’t feel I am extravagant in my spending and his opinion is the¬†only one that matters, except for mine, when it comes to my spending. So stop feeling guilty. But so many Mint categories are red! (They will even out by the end of the year.) Clearly I am a¬†bad person!¬†Err, maybe I have some issues.

I keep busy because it is better than sitting still all day and crying. I’m trying to feel cheerful about the work instead of cranky. This is all self-imposed and self-created work. I do it just because I want to do it. That means I should be pleasant to be around. I am the cock crowing at the top of the dung heap of self-important work. Seriously. I should be in a good mood. But my body¬†hurts.

Balance. I need more of this balance stuff. How do I use my body without causing it intense pain all the time? No clue. But I’m pretty sure it involves more yoga.

Some day when we don’t have a mortgage to pay for… if we are still so rich… I want to take weekly yoga classes and get massages twice a month. That would be so freakin rad. It could theoretically start in 2021 when we come back from travel. *cross fingers* I can hold out that long. Really it isn’t so long in the scheme of things. It is such a dreamy future. I can work for that.

When I am older and my kids don’t need as much from me I look forward to a much more selfish life. I will eventually do some kind of work with other people out of loneliness but I look forward to being able to care about my body a lot more than I do now. Maybe future self will be convinced to be nice to me? It’s a dream. Arms hurt. Stop typing, you fool.

food journey.

Shanna walked outside eating a sandwich. I said, “Is it a good pbj?”

“It’s not a pbj. It is peanut butter and caramel because I couldn’t find the jam. It’s that awesome¬†caramel P gave us for Christmas.”

“Oh. Well I’m glad we are using it up.”

“Yeah. Me too.”

 

What else was I going to say?! I think it is rad that she makes her own lunch while I work…

it will be a busy weekend.

Yesterday was the second of five kid social events that I have scheduled in two weeks. Because I was having¬†feelings this was the first time I have deliberately sat away from the group and declined interaction. Normally I hang out and do the clucking chicken thing with the other ladies. (English sounds like clucking hens from a distance. It’s hilarious.) I have had no hint of interpersonal difficulties. So far this seems to be a freakishly kind group of people. We are coming up on three years in this group. Very soon this will be the school group I have spent the most time with in my life. I was at SJSU for seven years pursuing my masters but I wasn’t enrolled straight through. I missed at least two years in the center. But when I have¬†feelings so sometimes I walk away from the group. Even though they are so kind.

I have actually felt rather overwhelmed by how nice they all are. I feel a lot of pressure to be similarly nice. Ha. The woman who runs the group causes me to feel like I am unlikely to be thrown out. When there is group drama people aren’t asked to leave unless they start name calling. I can live with those kinds of boundaries. I think that’s fair. You don’t call names. Totally cool. I agree with that as a limit.

The kids had a blast though. That pumpkin patch is definitely going to become part of our yearly rotation.

I would like to finish the play structure this weekend. Cross your fingers. I get to the point of feeling like I have too many ongoing projects. Then I feel so overwhelmed I can’t make progress on anything because I feel guilty for not making progress on anything else while I am working on one thing.

What is life about if not work? I know there are people who think life is more about having fun or experiencing pleasure or happiness. I get most of my serious joy from working. Sometimes this feels kind of broken and sometimes it seems like a good thing. It sure makes it fun to hang out with the kids doing work. The harder I work the more fun we have because my spirits come up. If I’m just sitting around resting all day then I don’t want to be talked to or asked to do anything. I am less patient with their constant interruptions. When I’m working I handle the detours for food with far more grace.

Today I saw something on Pinterest that made me happy. “Motherhood is not a battle against other mothers. Motherhood is your journey you are on with your children.”

I feel a lot like that. I’m not trying to talk anyone into anything. I don’t think I know how someone else’s journey should look. I’m just walking the path I see in front of me. Isn’t that what we all can do?

Yesterday I was talking with a lovely woman about what it means to be valued versus being valuable and how you¬†feel those things.¬†She is struggling in her life with not feeling either. She asked me how I manage to feel valuable or valued. A lot of my journey is not available to her. So I’m not trying to say that what I do is what she should do.

I became a teacher. I wanted to feel like I had things in my head that other people could benefit from knowing. I tirelessly research so that when someone asks a fairly mild question I can follow it with a dissertation. I know that people can benefit from having access to the knowledge I have in my brain. That helps me. I’ve had enough people effusively thank me for what I can tell them that I know it is true. Even when I haven’t been a good edu-tainment recently. It’ll happen again.

I became a mother. I am the most valued person in the world for my two kids. I kinda wish I had more kids… but life works how it does. I’m not sure I would do better if I had more but I want them. I think I would do worse. But man I sit there and look enviously at all the five children families in our group.¬†I want more children so bad it hurts. I’m about to start bleeding any day. Every month this turns into a weep fest about the children I will not get to meet. I’m glad that Noah limited his child-bearing opportunities because I’m too stupid to do so.

I went and found a partner who is very codependently attached to me. Yay us! We have a kind of inter-dependence that most American couples seem to shun. We very consciously and deliberately trade a lot of “for myself” work because we like having the other do it. Noah treats me like I am valuable. Like I provide him support no one else ever has and he really needs it. It isn’t about cleaning the house. It is about¬†needing him. I do need him. It feels nice to both of us. I’m not sure that it is¬†healthy. We certainly aren’t two independent people shacking up any more.

I appreciate that Noah acts like the way I talk to him is as necessary for a happy life as food. How I talk to him is more important than how I fuck him and I think that my willingness to fuck him is high on the list of my overall value. So if the talking is better that says something.

Noah has no particular reason to feel the need for most of what I do during the day. But he’s glad I do it because he thinks the kids need what I do. He thinks that my labor has a serious purpose. He thinks the raising of our kids is a worthy life-task.

Today I paint and put the roof on the play structure.

It isn’t that I think that people are mean to me or hate me. Not really. I’m 32. I have been “out” for fourteen years. In general I think that people treat me the way I want to be treated or I get up and leave the room. I don’t listen to assholes any more. If someone is genuinely beyond my acceptability standards¬†they don’t have a doubt in their mind. I scream at people and/or sometimes break things. I’m not subtle when someone crosses a line. So if you have never seen any kind of behavior like that… obviously you’ve always been on my good side.

No one likes living under the threat of having someone scream and break things though. That is abusive.

I try to avoid people when I have a problem with them. If I have¬†ever come and sat next to you and talked to you then you aren’t someone I have a problem with. But that isn’t a guarantee that you will never be someone I have a problem with. And it isn’t all that fair that doing something I don’t like may result in that kind of treatment.

I don’t want to teach my children to be bullies. Screaming and breaking things when you don’t get your way is… not ok.

Most of how I manage this is I make sure I don’t¬†need anything from someone and space. If I am starting to have too many emotional issues around a person I will just not see them for a bit. My feelings have expiration dates. I calm down. Sometimes it takes a while. A lot of people cause me to have strong feelings. I don’t think that is something they need to lose sleep over.

But why in the fuck do I feel like I have to be non-triggering but I don’t think other people have to be non-triggering towards me? Because I know I can’t control people or their behavior. I know that if I trigger people the way they can deal with that is to punish me or walk away from me, which ends up feeling the same.

Social dynamics are really hard.

I can like someone a great deal and still judge them. I try my hardest to treat people as I believe they should be treated. I consciously decide what sort of behavior someone has earned from me.

I will still scream at racists. I don’t care if it is an asshole thing to do. I will. I will not scream¬†first. I will escalate gradually and if they keep arguing I sure as fuck am going to be the one still standing there while they walk away. That’s a line. Really I react that way in defense of a wide variety of persecuted groups. Ok, I’m fine being an asshole.

But I do that as a conscious choice in reaction to increasing and perseverating arguments from another person. It is not ok to just do that.

I’m also ok with punching someone as hard as I can if they grab my crotch. I don’t treat that as a behavior I should get rid of even if it does make some people uncomfortable. I don’t care.

I don’t think I should lose the desire and ability to fight hard.

But I want to be better at completely turning it off and knowing when I don’t need to be prepared to fight. What does relaxing look like?

People keep telling me I look calm and happy. Does calm and happy¬†really feel like this though? I don’t feel calm or happy. But I am projecting it. (Ok, people only tell me that if they catch me on “on” days. I’ve been withdrawing a lot.)

When you die you leave behind you the way you made people feel. No one ever really knows what you are feeling yourself. No matter how much you tell them they never really know. They only know how you made them feel.

I want to make other people feel better. I want to make other people feel calm and happy. It is really immaterial how I feel.

And yet I¬†really¬†really REALLY¬†also want to be able to scare the shit out of people with little more than a change of facial expression. It’s a cool talent. I’ve had it for a long time. I can’t scare¬†everyone of course. But in general I win dominance challenges.

It seems crazy. But this is how I learned how to stop being prey. I had to go learn how to be one of the most intense predators in the room.

My therapist wants me to research Eastern religions. She thinks there is some useful stuff for me in learning about wrathful Gods/Daemons/Demons however the heck this will be phrased. Oh man. New lexicon.

Maybe it is useful and good that I¬†can be evil but I¬†choose not to be. I choose not to because I see so clearly the long-term hurt. I fight the fights that need fighting. I’m trying to learn how to actually wage a war. Mostly it isn’t about screaming or hitting. Mostly it is about changing minds.

I really and truly want to change how a lot of people think about things. I’d better stop writing blog entries and write something real.

Every book that has ever changed people started out as just words in someones head.

fake it.

I worry about how much I worry about how I affect other people. I don’t work nearly as hard on being nice to my body. I pay a lot of attention to how my behavior impacts my kids. For a while now Shanna has had an occasional eye tic. It is a stress response. I feel that this is a sign that I am not behaving how I should.

It is hard having to pretend that I experience less stress than I do just because it hurts other people that I run so hot. Hot in the sense of high stress load.

I feel very guilty that I had kids because I wanted to have a relationship that was intense and all day every day. I wanted to have the company. I wanted to have to learn how to be nice. I wanted to learn what it means to teach people without shame and resentment. I want it still.

It feels like I created people just so I could perform a science experiment. That doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do. But I’m not sure that the reasons that other people have kids are “better”. I know that I feel guilty that I am not better. I am not fully arrived at behaving how I should for my kids. I don’t deserve them.

I tell myself that my kids are having a good childhood in the scheme of their species. I¬†am nice to them. I do take care of them. They have a wide variety of healthy, good tasting food. They don’t get yelled at much. They have appropriate clothing for the weather. They are allowed to play all day almost every day. (By “allowed” I really mean “forced”.) They are given all the kisses and hugs they want every day. They are allowed to tell me to stop doing anything except for cleaning their bodies. And I don’t even do that much. Usually I default to “fine if you want to be dirty it is your body.” Once in a while the filth gets to be a bit much. And I’m fanatical about teeth care.

I’m doing “better” than I used to be able to do. But it really doesn’t matter. I need to be enough better to stop scaring my kids. If I am producing stress in my kids then my behavior is a problem. I am not behaving good enough. It’s not ok.

My kids should not have to watch me like a weather vane hoping to determine how difficult I will be to put up with that day. That’s not ok. That is a level of crazy I don’t get to inflict on them. I actually really appreciate that Shanna has such “tells”. She is not nearly old enough to talk to me about the stress she is feeling. But I can just look at her face and know whether I am “soft” enough. When she looks nervous I have to visibly calm down and retract the energy I am sending out into the room. It is hard to do. It is a very conscious decision to “look” like I am not angry or upset or anxious.

I can’t just decide to not feel angry or upset or anxious. I feel that way most of the time. I feel scared. I feel like everyone is going to be angry with me soon because I am going to break a rule and then they won’t want to know me any more. I am scared shitless my kids will grow up and not want to know me because I am such an asshole.

But I can’t act like I am having the feelings I am having. I have to fake it.

I saw a friend yesterday I don’t see much. Usually I contain my shit better. This time she saw me right after therapy. She got to see all the messy shame and crying because I don’t know to be “better” already. I feel pretty pathetic that I have been in therapy for almost three decades and I’m still crazy. I still spend a lot of my time shaking in fear. I still spend a lot of time hiding in dark rooms so I can sob uncontrollably. I hide it better. I keep it in a box better.

I fake it better.

Not well enough. My kids see the stress. It isn’t ok for my stress to impact them.

My shrink wants me to look for a meditation class to attend with my kids. I wish that such a thing would not involve a drive to Berkeley. I will look though. It is a good suggestion.

Shanna has been asking more questions about my mom. “Did your mom love you?” “What good things happened to you when you were a kid?” “What did your mom do that was so bad?”

I told her that I don’t actually know if my mom loved me or not. I think she did. I hope she did. I believe she loved me as well as she could and it is really hard when that isn’t enough. I wrack my brain trying to come up with positive stories. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m just a whiny bitch and someone else would have been able to find a lot more joy in my childhood or if it was really bad enough that I should have trouble remembering anything positive. I tell her flat out that she isn’t going to know about the really bad stuff until she is an adult. I told her she doesn’t need to think of me that way.

I’m not always very rational about food so I talk about the food insecurity issues a lot. I feel relatively unashamed of them. The more I read about foster children the more I feel “ok” about having the food issues I have. They make sense in context.

I talk to Shanna about control. Like I ask her how she feels about being directed and forced to do what other people want during a specific period of time. I ask her how she would feel if she never got to pick what she was doing. I ask her how she would feel if she came home and ALL of her toys were gone. Stuff like that. I talk about how when I was a kid I felt very out of control so I controlled what I would put in my mouth.

I talk to her about how sad it is for me that I didn’t get to have any of these good foods when I was a kid. She pities me. I talk about the ways my body has problems because of the food I have eaten. My kids are very aware of nutrition and the things they need to eat. “You have to eat green stuff because it helps you poop!” We do talk about other aspects of nutrition but that is their favorite. Neither of my children have my constant-diarrhea problem (I am hoping this is because of lower stress). They instead are mildly prone to heading in the other direction so I repeat things I have learned from friends with constipation issues.

My shrink says I should answer every question and not dance around things. Well, she doesn’t think I should say I was raped until they are more like puberty age but she is less convinced I need to wait for the magic number of 18. We’ll see.

I cancelled park day for next week. Half of playgroup for next week cancelled. I won’t be sad if the other half cancels. Having five kid-social events in a two week period is too many for me.

I am doing too much. I can’t keep doing these 12+ hour work days. Social time counts as work time whether I like it or not.

I’m having a hard time with the balance of life thing. I have a lot of things I want done. I am having trouble with the fact that it takes a while to get all the things done. In order to put it in perspective I asked Noah about how many man-hours it takes to produce an iPhone for people to bitch about not working magically enough. He said probably in the neighborhood of 500 man-years not including factory work. That’s software/hardware design.

Stuff takes time. Not everything that can be done by a group of humans can be done by a singular human. No matter how much you want it. There just aren’t enough hours in a life. Figure out what you want to build and how you want to spend your time.

Sometimes Shanna asks me about my crying. I tell her that every body is different. When I feel too much emotion inside my body I cry no matter what the emotion is. Sometimes I’m happy; sometimes I’m sad; sometimes I’m angry; sometimes I’m frustrated. My body has just decided that all of these things come out as tears. Sometimes I am crying because bad things happened a long time ago and I was not allowed to cry then and my body needs to let go of that piece of being sad or scared so I’m doing it now. I’m safe now. It’s ok in my life now to just have feelings, so I do.

She gives me a lot of hugs. I am trying so hard not to turn her into a major source of emotional support. I don’t talk about specifics. I talk about how to be an adult and deal with the body you have. I’m very afraid of emotional incest. I know that it is a common “next generation” away from incest mistake.

I am an intensely overly sexualized person. More than that, I tend to not know how to be friends without sexualized touching. I have a lot of big needs that have gone unfilled for my entire life. I feel kind of desperately needy sometimes.

I can’t treat my kids like they are here for my support. I created these relationships because I need to learn how to give support, not because I think I can or should get much back. I’m here for the satisfaction of giving. I have to have the quiet glow that comes from a job well done. I am not going to get a lot else. Not from my kids. Well…. years of kisses and hugs. That’s nice. But at some point they will pull back and that has to be ok.

It is hard learning to be this kind of self-contained. It means I am talking to Noah a lot less about what is going on with me. I can’t breach the defenses at all. We don’t have time. What time we are together we mostly talk about his work and the basics of project stuff or kid stuff. I am very much hiding in the roles I created for myself. I don’t have room for my crazy there. I have to mostly take the crazy off-stage.

I can’t just make the crazy go¬†away¬†this way. But I can damn it up until I have a better space to deal with it. I had better let steam off once in a while or I will be sorry. Very sorry.

I woke up this morning dreaming about cutting. I don’t dream much any more. I rarely remember them at least. Not since I started pot. But this morning I woke up with my hand already moving along my other arm. I’m not sure where that came from. I stopped cutting my arms by early high school. I moved on to my legs because that was easier to hide.

My therapist wants me to go find more things to do as “self care” and I wake up wanting to cut. I do need more stress relief. That has always been my tool of serious self care. That is how I let the steam off. I go off in private and I make sure I am not anyone else’s problem. And I let myself feel how much I hurt all the time. But I have to hide it because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.

Fake it till you make it.

I’m not making it.

If I knew what I “needed” I would do whatever I had to go get it. I would do it. Even if it sucked. Really if you could arrange extra suck just for me that would make me feel better.

Sometimes it is hard knowing that the journey is the point. I am making it. I am nice to my kids and random people in restaurants and my neighbors when they aren’t being racist assholes. I only yell about things that need to be yelled about. Silence is consent. I am not going to leave people ambiguous about how I feel on some topics. Even if that means I’m not nice. If you have never upset anyone then you have never stood for anything.

I have nothing to lose at this stage.

Sometimes it is kind of weird knowing that Noah is the linchpin. All of the luxury and privilege of my life is based on his ability to earn money. I groom him like a friggin race horse. He has more than doubled, nearly tripled, his salary since we met. Because I’m pushy and I give him feedback on what he should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s kind of weird. We really are good for one another.

I’m having a lot of anxiety about spending¬†all of the money Noah earns. I’m not looking forward to my end of year reckoning on Mint. I mean, in terms of petty cash we are higher than we were at the end of last year. We retired a lot of extra mortgage. But I did not save all that I wanted to save.

I kind of went nuts in the back yard instead. And this Texas trip isn’t cheap. I’m going to have to deal with my anxiety. I am¬†fucking thrilled with my yard. Not a single dollar was wasted. I am ecstatic. The only thing between me and what I see in my head is a lot more work on my end. I’ll get there. It will be really pretty. But it is man-years ahead of me and that is sitting hard. It feels like I wasted the money because I didn’t finish the project and now it’s just kind of half-way and limbo sucks.

I do this. Don’t mind me.

At the end of the year I always feel like I am a bad person for spending money on things I wanted. I don’t deserve all the money I spend. I feel really bad that I am not more frugal with Noah’s money. I should make it spread farther. I should be saving more for the kids. I shouldn’t be so selfish.

But really… is building a playground in my back yard¬†purely selfish? My anxiety yells at me that I shouldn’t be doing the work. I’m stupid for adding all the work.

But I want a pretty yard. I didn’t inherit one. I have to make it. Yeah, it will be back breaking work for a decade or so. Stop bitching and do the work. Don’t feel bitter you twit. This is a choice. Beauty doesn’t just happen automatically for most people. And most of what I want is stuff that wouldn’t have been in place anyway.

I’m just being a whiny bitch.

I’m thinking that there will be the Friday Funhouse version of Wonderland. I close my eyes and see kids running around in packs. I hear the laughter and shouting. I turn around and see grown ups playing games and talking and laughing.

I want the laughing so much. I want it so much I ache inside. Crying isn’t really the way to get people to feel good. Laughter doesn’t come from the places I dwell.

It is a little weird to me sometimes that my therapist knows so little about me. Ha. She continues to be¬†shocked by how many people I know. People with as much trauma as me usually hide in their houses for the rest of their lives. They don’t go out and meet social group after social group. People like me usually can’t fake it well enough.

Am I faking it or am I “learning social skills”? I’m not sure they ever really feel natural for anyone.

One of the things I like the most about Noah is that he doesn’t flinch around me. I don’t scare him. I don’t intimidate him. I go back and forth between wanting my kids to have a similar level of toughness and knowing that it usually comes from trauma. And I just can’t traumatize them. I can’t.

Stop clenching your jaw, Krissy. Deep breaths. Whatever you are feeling is just a feeling. It will pass. This moment isn’t forever. You aren’t faking it. This¬†is the process. The frustration is part of the process.

Time to stop typing.

post-therapy

Today my therapist didn’t make me happy. I told her about being awake all night long because I am crying for my mom. She said, “You know that will never stop, right?” Today my therapist is a big meanie-head.

I have managed to not scream or even really yell much in a month. Instead my jaw is permanently clenched. I hurt.

Sometimes I wonder what the future will bring.