Monthly Archives: December 2013

Just another morning whine.

I don’t think I know “the right answer” for other people. For one thing, I am not very capable of understanding the limitations of other peoples lives. They are simply not visible to me.

I have been basically alone my whole life. Until seven years ago. Up to that point I did not spend enough time with anyone to calibrate to their needs. It is a particular blind spot for me. And Noah is… different from other people. The things he needs me to consider and dance around are few and far between and way far away from other peoples boundaries.

When people ask me for advice I often wonder why they want to hear my opinion anyway. Everything I think is going to be irrelevant to your life for one reason or another. What I say will be “wrong” for you.

I feel sad.

Apparently we misunderstood some pieces of what we heard this weekend. We do that, individually and collectively. Things are changing but I don’t know how.

I was talking to the only person I talk to every day (other than Noah and the kids) about feelings of intimacy and friendships. I think that people sometimes feel closer to me than they otherwise might because they have been reading my blog for a while (maybe a long while.)

But that’s like staring at someone through a one way mirror and calling it a relationship.

I don’t know very many people. Not well. Not many people are willing to spend enough time with me for me to calibrate. They can’t handle the adjustment process. They need more space. But I’m still supposed to be the one pursuing the friendship even though I’m periodically told to back off. I’m just supposed to take it as a pause and then restart the onslaught of trying to beg someone to be my friend.

I don’t know very many people. I don’t know what you like or want or think. I don’t know what is right for you or your family. I have no earthly idea. I don’t understand why you do anything at all.

The person I talk to every day told me, “People who don’t show up much are not people you need to think of as “friends”. They are part of your community and you may love them but you don’t need to think of them as friends. Your friends show up without you having to ask and ask.”

Are you sure? Then I haven’t had a lot of friends… ever. All of my relationships are about me asking and asking and asking for time. I don’t get asked much. I never have. The main people who have ever asked me for time have been men. That’s part of why I have been raped so many times. Those were the only people who wanted to spend time with me. And that was the cost of admission.

These days I do get specifically invited to a lot of home school events. But that doesn’t exactly feel like *I* am being invited. I am welcome to bring my kids to be friends with their kids as long as I can keep my mouth appropriate enough to not get kicked out.

Coming off an anxiety medication I have been on for years is hurting physically and emotionally. I feel so sad and so worthless.

Shanna was mad at me last night and she told me she wanted to throw me in the trash. Kids do that kind of thing. She doesn’t “mean it” and I’m “not supposed to react”.

Story of my fucking life

Maybe if there hadn’t been so many people who said that to me maybe it would feel more like a joke and instead of like my place in the world.

And I can’t react to that today. I can’t cry or freak out in front of her. I have to more or less treat it like it didn’t happen. Kids say stupid shit and parents can’t hound them for it. That’s not developmentally appropriate.

I’m hoping that some year of my life I won’t have to swallow these things and then be nice to the people who say them to me.

I want to cut. But I was told that I couldn’t do it until next year. Not during the holiday season. I agreed. And no, I’m not willing to go on a medication that would take the “high” our of cutting. The drug would cause me pain basically ALL the time to prevent me having a positive feeling from an action I do rarely and only with great need. Doesn’t that sound self-hating to anyone else?

Hurt yourself all day every day so that you can never feel relief from pain no matter what you do.

I’d rather kill myself and I’m using fucking hyperbole. If someone forced me on to a medication that was as awful as this one sounds I don’t think I could bear that.

I already hurt too much. I don’t need things that add to my daily ambient constant pain. I can’t bear it. I am pretty much at capacity.

I feel so worthless.

My sister’s birthday is coming up. A little less than three weeks. She will be turning 44. I wonder if I will ever see her again.

I think it’s time for me to stop trying to make friends. I think I need to stop inviting people. I can’t. I hurt so much. Sure, I’m a selfish piece of shit. Tell me something new.

It is going to be very hard over the next few years to manage my kids. That is going to take my spoons. All of them. And more. And I do not have reserves. And I don’t have a good back up plan. I don’t have the spoons to keep trying to make them when other people change what they are up for.

I get what people have left over. I am not a priority to be arranged around. If they have nothing better to do I’m what is left. That isn’t because anyone is doing anything mean to me–they aren’t. That’s life. Everyone has to put on their own oxygen mask. I understand. I don’t even think I’m bitter. Just sad.

These are the holes where my mom and my sister should be. But they aren’t. Because just like I used to pay the price of being raped for the illusion of “friends” I had to pay the price of being abused to have the illusion of “family”.

I can’t expose my children to that kind of reality.

We sat down yesterday and talking about screaming and yelling in the house. Collectively all of us need to just stop. We agreed that we will have a tally sheet on the door to the garage (we see that space a lot). Every time you get too loud you get a point. The person with the fewest number of points gets to pick breakfast the next day. (Noah is kinda getting a cheat because he goes to work most days…)

That’s proactive, non punishing, and gives the kids something to strive for that they want. They like deciding breakfast. They pick very different things than Noah or I. Eventually, if they make progress we may eat a lot more cereal and pie for breakfast. I can live with that.

Being able to just say “point” in response to raised voices is deescalating by itself. “I’m acknowledging what you are doing and asking for it to stop.” All with one word. Fabulous.

I am scared that I am going to pour everything I have into being nice to my kids and I still won’t be nice enough. I will still hurt them badly just because I am bad.

I should stay off the internet today. I’m in one of those compulsively checking every website stage. I’m looking for connection I’m not going to find.

Being sheltered, ignorance, and safety.

I asked a friend, “Do you think my kids are sheltered” and she kind of snorted a little and said, “No.”


My kids have had a very carefully crafted and shaped introduction to the world. Nothing happens to them by accident other than having adults stop showing up. Ok, I yell/scream more than I should but I’m fairly aware that in the larger scheme of things… I’m really not that scary of a parent. I’ve seen the spectrum. We are far on the gentle end. I have non-gentle moments that scare some of the truly gentle people, but the scary people know I don’t rate.

My kids have heard the word sex a fair number of times. It comes up in books like It’s So Amazing! about becoming a big sister and all. We watch nature documentaries and the BBC is obsessed with showing what it might have looked like for prehistoric animals to mate. And they get even more excited when it isn’t “animal style”: “This is the first species that mated face to face…. oooooh.”

So my kids understand that sex/mating is how you get babies. They understand that having sex when you are too small can seriously harm your body and they have been told that there are jerks in the world who don’t care how they hurt people. You need to tell people not to touch any of your genitals until you are grown and ready to handle that.

That is what they know about sex. I’m not entirely sure they understand that a penis goes in a vagina. I’m not sure that is uhhh part of their consciousness. But mating = babies is well established for Shanna; Calli seems to be able to understand as well because she sees animals humping and she says, “Babies!”

Are they sheltered? They’ve never seen humans have sex (err, unless you count pre-homo sapiens on BBC documentaries…) and I don’t discuss my sex life.

I talk to my kids about general health and how for every activity you engage in there is potential risk. When you touch other humans there are a wide variety of illnesses or diseases that can be past around. That’s why we wash our hands a lot. Mostly you would just pass colds or flus but there are other diseases to worry about.

Calli has gotten a cold sore. (We share cups and I have herpes. I’m struggling with my guilt.) We talk about herpes. We talk about what having a virus permanently in your body means. We talk about how things like herpes can live on other parts of your body (I didn’t actually mention genitals… yet) so once you have it you have to be a bit more careful with your mouth.

I’m talking more and more about personal space bubbles in general. How do we act appropriately towards other peoples’ bodies. I’ve been talking about hitting stuff since they were a few months old (I had no expectation it would stick).

Apparently for other people “being sheltered” means “being ignorant”. To me that seems very dangerous and counter productive. Do you want your kids to be able to keep themselves safe or not? Unless you plan to follow them for the rest of their lives and control everything they do… uhm… I can’t see how ignorance is a good plan.

It isn’t about “bad things could happen”. It is more about having the ability to understand that decisions happen in a larger context. I understand that my kids are pre-rational and they are literally not capable of considering these things on their own at this point. I don’t expect them to do so. Instead, I shelter them and I share my inside voice so they can hear what decision making processes look like.

I watch my kids intensely when we are around other people. I stare less when we are at home. That’s on purpose. I want my kids to be able to exist without requiring attention 24/7. That takes practice. I say, “Right now you need to meet your own needs because I am not able to do what you want.”

I believe with all my heart and soul that it will be my fault if my children reach adulthood unprepared for the things that they will find. Sex, drugs, education, finding a job, making money–these are all things that I believe I have to prepare them for doing.

My approach to sex education largely revolves around the idea that sex is an awesome activity that pretty much all humans are interested in to at least some degree (I have explicitly stated a few times “Sometimes some people are never interested in sex and that is ok too.”) and unfortunately there is a lot to know before you can make safe choices. You have to know how to keep your body and your heart safe. Then go have fun.

I’m not getting into nitty gritty. I don’t intend to talk to my kids about oral or anal sex in the next decade or so. Eventually I will probably say something to the effect of “Sex counts no matter which part of your body it involves–your vagina is not the be-all-end-all” and then I don’t think I will say much more. I don’t want to get into it with my kids. That feels like my line. And I’m not bringing those things up pre-puberty. Pre-puberty all I need to talk about is “sex makes babies so if you aren’t ready to devote your life to another human being you aren’t ready for sex. And when you are too small you can cause permanent physical damage–just wait till your body is ready.”

I do not believe that keeping children in ignorance prepares them for the world. I think it is extremely dangerous. I think that ignorance leads to the inability to keep yourself safe. I’ve seen that a lot.

Most of the people I know who have been the most extreme victims of abuse and rape were very ignorant. They had no ability to detect signs that danger was coming.

That will not be happening to my children.

There will not be any chance on this whole fucking planet for people to groom my unknowing children. Just no. I will g-d damn shelter them while that is appropriate and I will consciously teach them what to look for after that.

I cannot behave any other way in good conscious. I don’t believe we live in an easy or safe world. I believe the world isn’t much more dangerous than it used to be–I think the dangers are shifting more than becoming greater or smaller.

I also know a lot of people who were taught how to be safe. Their parents didn’t use my techniques (totally cool and all–I am not using the One True Way) but they did teach them enough.

If I knew what that enough was I might do that instead of my path but I don’t. I think that part of that path is having parents who instinctively keep themselves safe and they unconsciously pass on those instincts/preferences. I lack the instincts. I have to do all of this consciously. So that’s all I can teach.

I think that what I’m trying to do is pass on as few taboos as I can. There are a few taboos I pass on whole-heartedly (incest, animals, adult/child sex) and beyond that I’m trying to avoid telling my kids that people are bad for being into whatever they are into. I spend a lot of time saying, “It’s not my thing but it’s cool that other people like it.” That applies to food, music, clothes, movies, and eventually… sex. People are allowed to like what they like.

People arrive at wherever they get to because of a complex mix of physiological, psychological, and environmental factors. Who the fuck am I to judge what their life created?

I’m no one. That’s who.

I get to judge for me. I get to shelter my kids for a little while. I get to carefully present the world to them for a few years because I am blessed with enormous privilege. I am able to keep my kids safe. That is not a privilege that everyone has.

It is interesting when I run across the idea that being sheltered means being ignorant. That makes me shiver with fear. Oh god oh god oh god.

It isn’t just that “bad things could happen”. It is “you will not be equipped to make decisions you will have to make.” Everyone has to make mistakes. Everyone has to try things out that aren’t going to work. I’m not trying to prevent my kids from ever having a bad experience–that’s not my goal. I couldn’t and wouldn’t strive for that as a life experience.

If what I am doing works (cross your fingers) then my children will be able to pick their risks with their eyes wide open. I don’t know which risks they should take. They will have to take risks. I don’t want them taking stupid risks out of ignorance. I want them taking smart risks out of deliberate decision making.

But it’s a process. They won’t be like that at 17 and I can’t feel like a failure. No one can at 17. Your brain isn’t there yet. I’ll have to keep my fucking mouth shut as they make a whole series of stupid mistakes.

My goal is that my children will not understand that they are working within a frame until they are adults and then they will probably at some point notice that other people lack the frame. Hopefully they will be glad it is just there for them.

That’s my goal. I don’t know if it will work or not. I have no crystal ball and sometimes that really pisses me off.

Oh man breaks are awesome.

I am enjoying the fuck out of this time off. I am relishing it. If it were a pile of money I would take all my clothes off and rub it all over my body. It’s awesome. Being not-in-charge is intoxicating.

I spent a while today talking to a friend who is Not Having Children. (Go her.) She talked about appreciating the spontaneity of her life. I felt some envy. But not for one minute do I wish my children away. I just like breaks.

I appreciate that despite my flailing and being generally obnoxious I have really good friends. Even the people who “disappoint me” aren’t doing much wrong. They are doing what they have to do to take care of themselves. I respect that. I can still be hurting even while I’m glad you are taking care of you.

Somehow things will work out.

When I talk to other people with PTSD it is very common to hear that none of them want to plan anything for the future. They don’t believe they will have a future. There will be no lessoning of symptoms. No peace.

It’s kind of funny, even in the midst of my hand-wringing ohgodohgodohgod anxiety I am (at least occasionally) able to stop and take a deep breath and recognize that this moment sucks but they won’t all suck.

When my therapist works on EMDR stuff and she has me think very consciously about my children as they wake up in the morning. I am very lucky and more mornings than not I get to climb into bed with my kids and look at their beautiful faces as they wake up. They both light up the minute they see me. They are so excited to see me.

Not every moment sucks. Some moments take my breath away with joy.

I like breaks because I have a chance to process my anxiety and stop and think “I miss my babies.” When they are ALWAYS here I never miss them and that’s hard. Absence makes the heart grow fonder… or some shit.

I’m think think thinking about how I am going to get through next year. I will have to get a handle on my anxiety. Good luck. I will have to stop screaming. No really. All four of us need to sit down and have a “family meeting” about this. We need to figure out what kind of loss of privilege is appropriate for all four of us because each and every one of us has to do this.

We love each other too much to keep treating one another this way. We can do better.

I probably won’t socialize very much with grown ups. Luckily grown ups are able to sustain relationships through large gaps. Kids can’t really do that. I need to save all my spoons for managing my body and my family. Even if that bothers me. Even if I feel boring or bored or whatever.

I know that despite this existential loneliness I feel I am not alone. I know that I am loved. I know that many of the people who love me are not able to see me very often and that doesn’t change the fact that they love me.

Do you know that I sit here and go through name rosters in my head and love you? That is what I have learned to do to combat the attachment issues. If I don’t do this… I forget. When I run into someone I haven’t thought about in a long time I feel no emotion towards them at all. I have to rehearse and remind myself of my love. Even when I’m mad at you. Even when I’d like to chew you out for something. You are still on the list and I consciously think about how much I love you. I have to or I would forget. That’s part of how it works for me. I have to try hard to keep loving you. I think you are worth it. I am willing to spend time nearly every day whispering all the names of the people I love.

Thank you so much for loving me. I don’t feel worthy but I will do my best. I am so sorry for all the difficulty I cause. I’m sorry for all the distress I cause.

I don’t want to be invisible. And this is just the ride I’m on.

bitterness and “family”

I have an unusual amount of hostility towards the concept of family. I understand very well that family is not just made up of blood and dna. Family is about showing up consistently and keeping commitments.

I have a lot of expectations about family.That’s my problem.

When people occasionally say things like, “I could stay with you for a holiday because I don’t have to visit my family this year” I know I am not family. Even though they might extensively (when it is convenient) talk about how I am chosen family. No I’m not family. You leave me behind when you go back to your family.

I suppose most people are used to having a “mothers side” and the “fathers side” and they don’t cross pollinate much so it makes sense that people think they can have me as “family” even though I am not integrated in any way with anyone else in their family. Noah has a great aunt who doesn’t talk to any of the relatives who live within walking distance of her house.

I grew up with my Auntie living in a house full of my family. They were my family. They were there. They didn’t take care of me much and mostly they hated me but they were actually there. I don’t even know how to describe what makes it so different. My “cousins” were related neither by blood nor marriage (though my cousin and their mom finally got married a couple years ago after more than twenty years together so now we are related by marriage).

They were around. I ate my meals with them. I talked to them. I dealt with problems with them. I didn’t like them and they didn’t like me but that is life. It doesn’t matter if you like your family you show up and do things to help them anyway. When I had spare weekends it was expected by my entire family that I would spend them at my sister’s house cleaning because she needed help. Family just shows up to make sure you don’t fail because you are too weak to handle everything alone. Family doesn’t need to be invited. They are just there.

Outside of registering for a school at some point I am pretty sure I will never again ask anyone for any kind of long term commitment to my kids. That hasn’t gone so well. It goes well until people are out of spoons and then my kids get dropped. Their needs aren’t truly “mandatory” for these other people, just me. I’m the only family my kids have. I’m the only one who will just show up and make sure they have what they are supposed to have.

I feel very sad about that.

It feels like it is all my fault. If I hadn’t been such a needy piece of shit…

Dude, my needs are nothing compared to the needs my sister had as a parent. She had aunts, uncles, her mother, and her siblings all show up constantly because she needed help. My sister didn’t spend a lot of time dealing with the problems in her life because there were always people there trying to help.

I’m not saying I’m looking for codependence. I think I have alienated enough people by not wanting their help that the door couldn’t even be opened for me at this point.

But I notice that when people are having a hard time with meeting their life obligations they are absolutely ok with just dropping the commitment to my kids. They weren’t the idiots stupid enough to get knocked up. This is my problem.

People have to put their own oxygen mask on first. I get it. But I’m sitting in a row where I’m the only one available to help my kids. So maybe I’ll get mine on first and maybe I’ll make sure my kids are ok first. Because if I don’t take care of them no one will. I am thoroughly ok with the idea of them surviving and having to navigate the world without me over the idea of me living and them dying. Oh fuck no. I won’t save me first. I wouldn’t be able to live with the loss.

I’m very scared because we need to update the custody paperwork stuff with our lawyer. One person who was supposed to be a point person for our estate up and moved to the East Coast and we don’t really speak any more. One person no longer speaks to me because she didn’t like what I had to say about her family in the first book. (Fair enough.) And the other folks are just getting… busy. They aren’t available any more. Sorry.

But if I want to call and chat that would be ok.

Wait… you gave me a lifelong commitment that you are now backing out on and you think I could call you to chat for emotional support?!

I’m sorry, have we met? I’m Krissy Gibbs. I have severe trust issues and if you don’t jump my hurdles then no we will never be having intimate chats about my personal problems. I can write them on the internet for anyone at all to see–that’s different.

I only sit down for intense one on one conversations when the person has shown a pattern of showing up for commitments and prioritizing me in their personal life. Prioritizing my kids is awesome and I’m grateful but it is different from prioritizing me. There aren’t many people in this whole world I have sat down and actually talked about my issues with.

People can’t handle it and I’m not going to open myself up for more rejection from someone who is already in the process of rejecting me. I’m not stupid.

I have to keep this train running. Whether any one else wants to help or not. That means that I can’t lean outside my comfort zone for something that for someone else would be support and for me just creates more stress.

I support other people managing their boundaries with me. By all means push me away when I get intense. (But do people really have to keep telling me, “I stopped reading your blog. It’s too intense.” Do you not understand that my assumption is that people don’t want to read it and I am shocked by the people who continue to keep up? You don’t need to tell me. That was already what I assumed.)

“Here confide your sadness and lack of coping skills while I flip you off with both hands the whole time.”

Err, I’ll pass. Thanks. I don’t exactly feel like I have a warm and fuzzy welcome.

I’m scared of the future. I feel it was inappropriate for me to have children because I have no where for them to go where they are actually wanted and safe if something happened to me. They have their choice of abusive biological families or my friends who don’t really want them. Some of my friends would do it if it meant keeping them from being abused but they don’t want them. And the joint custody stage is just over.

I’ll adapt. I always do.

Sometimes I draw great comfort from the fact that whatever things happen to me at this point–no matter how unfortunate they might be–I have been through worse and I ended up on top. I will continue to reinvent myself to be whatever I need to be.

Yeah, I will always have rocky periods. I will always struggle with general self-worth, I’m afraid. But I will keep going and I will keep changing whatever I need to change about myself in order to meet the carefully very small list of things I have agreed to do.

Under promise and over deliver. That’s my motto.

I have a great network though. And talking about my issues with the word “family” is probably pretty alienating. There have been a fair number of people who have told me they consider me “family”. My response, “Really? And just how many of your “family” functions have I been at? None. Yeah. We aren’t family.”

We are friends. We can be tribe. I love the word tribe. We can be contacts. We can be a network. We can be part of a community together.

I love and respect you and think you are doing as well by me as you should be to some random friend. But you don’t treat me like family and don’t demean me and your family by conflating the two.

Friends share what they have left over. Family keeps giving whether they have “extra” or not.

My aunt didn’t take me in to live with her because she had extra spoons. That was not a woman who had a spare *anything* in her life. She took me in any way. Even though I was violent and reactive and difficult and I acted out sexually all over the place. She let me live with her until *I* left. She never asked me to leave. Auntie never withdrew her support. That was all me.

When Auntie was sick she fucking got out of bed and took care of everyone anyway. That’s what you do. (As I got older I sent her back to bed and I did her chores. Because that is also what you do.)

It is hard feeling simultaneous gratitude for what people have given me and sadness that they are done. It is hard dealing with the bitterness of being told I’m family and watching as I’m dropped. That’s what you do with friends when you want to do the slow fade because you don’t have the ovaries to say, “I want to end this relationship because I can’t handle how crazy you are.”

Fair point. No one needs to handle how crazy I am. I get it. I’m sorry I have impacted you so negatively. Please take care of yourself.

I need to stop looking around me for the help that will not come. I’m it. Whatever will be rests on my shoulders.

I don’t feel bitter about that. I feel kind of sad. I had quite a group of people I used to spend a lot of time with. I was told adamantly how they would all “be there for me” when I had kids.

Don’t listen to what people say. Look at what they do. Many of my friends are faaaaaabulous occasional babysitters and they’ve made very careful sure that they never even hinted at being available for more than that. They are under promising. I could probably ask for more help in an emergency but they haven’t promised me a god damn thing because they are smart.

I think that my fascist attachment to “but you promised!” probably makes people feel bad. They meant it when they promised it but they didn’t understand what they were actually promising. They meant it for a while and then life circumstances changed and they can’t handle it any more. There is probably at least some piece of shame or inadequacy or disappointment or sadness or something in there. When folks have those kinds of feelings the standard response is to look around and see who you can blame for them. I kind of assume that’ll be me. I shouldn’t remember and hold people to promises. They didn’t really mean it and I’m being a control freak asshole by bringing it up.

Geez. Don’t I understand that they are just available when they have nothing better to do? Geez.

Raising kids is hard. It doesn’t wait until you have nothing better to do. It is the better thing you have to do.

I can no longer plan my life around the idea of having breaks provided by other people. Well, I can hire the neighborhood kid for babysitting. I’m going to be doing more of that. That is one of the only options that is close to within my control. But I won’t think of it as a big break either. It’s an hour or two off at a time so I don’t lose my fucking mind.

“I can see you are struggling and I don’t want to watch.”

Story of my fucking life.

You know what? For all of my struggling I’m still here. I’m not dead yet. I may swear a lot but I don’t hit people any more. I have completed life phases successfully. I have set a lot of goals and met them. I have done what I have said I would do.

The next thing I need to do is get a handle on the yelling in this house. I’ll do it. I’ll find a way. I can’t handle that as a trigger any more, not without anxiety medication.

I sat Shanna down and started talking to her about what coming off the medication means and that I am doing it right now.

“A long time ago–way before you were born–stuff happened to me that kind of changed the chemicals in my brain. I get TOO angry. I get TOO sad and I have a hard time calming down. This is not your fault at all in any way. It is just how my brain works. It is really hard for me to have patience. You know the medicine I take? That medicine gives me more patience and helps me not feel so angry or so sad. It has helped me to be patient while you were a baby and you just flat needed my patience. But every medication is good and bad at the same time. This medicine is hard on my body in some ways that aren’t good for me in the long run. I can’t take it for the rest of my life. I have to come off it. It’s going to be hard to adjust as I have less patience and I feel more angry and more sad but we will have to find a way. Step one: no really you can’t scream in my face any more. I’m afraid I will hit you out of reflex because I am no longer taking a medication that gives me extra pause. Hitting is wrong and I don’t believe it will ever be ok to hit you. We can’t do this screaming any more. Stuff has to change.”

So I’m reading up on screaming in children and adults. I will make plans upon plans. I have to eliminate the screaming. I’m going to break every wall in the house if we don’t.

It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

Back to the drawing board.

I got news today I didn’t really want to hear. That’s my problem and not the problem of the bearer.

In January I am scheduling *one* home school outing I have to drive to per week. I have therapy twice during the month and I’ll have to drive to that. I’ve scheduled 11 hours of scattered babysitting help from the home schooled kid a few doors down. I added swim classes again. In the next week I need to start going to observe martial arts studios. I scheduled the doctor appointment for the 15th at 8:30 in the morning.

After all that I need to just stay home and not have any projects. My project is calming down. I have no more spoons and no one is going to show up to rescue me. Life is like that.

We will read books and play in the yards. We will walk the neighbor’s dog. We will have no more than four hours in a given day where I have to be “on” and dealing with anything. One of those days of the week “on” will be walking to the farmers market.

Slower pace. Do less. Be more boring.

Sometimes I think it is very good for me to be reminded that I should only depend on myself.

Noticing stuff.

I just finished reading a book that went into a lot of detail about reading body language. In it they mentioned “emotional leaking” which is more or less when you are having strong feelings and you are trying to verbally express something other than what you are feeling. Like you are expressing support for someone while flipping them off with both hands the whole time you are telling someone how much you care about them.

Want to think about this more.

Random quote on Pinterest:

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

That’s one for me to think about. “Family” doesn’t work for me any more. I have expectations of family members that other people don’t know about or anticipate and then I have disappointment issues. That is not because of anyone else. That’s on my head.

But man I need something.

Since I like documentation…

I haven’t been “fully medicated” on pot since the 13th. I have had somewhere between 1/2 of my “normal” dosage to none. Many days have been entirely unmedicated. I think I’ve had…7? days entirely unmedicated out of the last two weeks.

I’m not sure if my mood swings are more extreme or not. I feel more nervous all the time. I shake more. I’m crying around the kids more because I can’t hold it in. I’m trying to up the “stress reduction” things I do but it really isn’t balancing.

Attention seeking.

I read a lot of really nasty things on the internet about how mentally ill people are just “attention seeking”. Every single time I read something like that what I get out of the experience is, “No one gives a shit about my experience of life and I should never ask for help.” Luckily I live with someone who demonstrably thinks that attitude is bullshit and he *does* want me to ask for attention when I need it.

Yesterday started off rocky but improved. Noah was very nice to me in those ways that Noah is very nice. I really like living with him. My issues with my body predate him and aren’t because of him and nevertheless he tries hard to make my life better. When I communicate that I am doing especially badly he takes a deep breathe and finds a way to be more giving.

Sometimes that means making all the food instead of just most of the food when he is home. Sometimes that means a lot of massage (yesterday was a fantastic rubbing day). Sometimes it means reading me books as a way of paying attention to me but not focusing on me. It’s a subtle distinction but very important.

When Noah is nicer to me in these ways I tend to feel a lot more inner push to make sure I’m finishing “my share” of the work around the house. Things get much tidier after he has paid attention to me because he likes the house tidy. I try to streamline things so he doesn’t have any more stress than usual. If he spends the whole day rubbing me there is basically a 0% chance I will turn down sex. You’ve totally done the prerequisite touching. Ok.

The folks on the PTSD forum spend a lot of time talking about how “not safe” it is to talk about having this disorder and what it means. They believe you should only tell people if you HAVE to. If there is no way to avoid mentioning it. Like, if you are going to marry someone you have to tell them in advance but they can usually justify not talking about it for years of dating.

I have the opposite approach. I tell everyone. I document the ups and the downs. Not because I expect lots of people to react or to treat me particularly differently. Partially so people can (hopefully) understand that my extremes are not their fault. Clearly I have extreme reactions all the time to seemingly inconsequential stimuli. It is not someone else’s fault when I suddenly have intense feelings of shame and worthlessness and suicidal ideation. It just happens sometimes.

I can usually pull together a basket of “Ohhh…. this happened and that happened and that thing over there and that’s when I lost control” but the fact that I lost control isn’t the fault of cause A, cause B or cause C. I lost control because maintaining control is very hard and I struggle with it all the time and sometimes I slip.

I am outbursty, loud, and over-sharing pretty much all the time. So it’s not because of you. Nothing YOU did caused this.

Well, unless you are one of the many people who abused me. But I doubt it. They are pretty much gone from my life. And I don’t even think that my issues are anyone in particular’s fault. My issues are the result of a tremendous number of small and large failures on the part of people who were responsible for the safety of a child.

Now that I have the responsibility for the safety of children I can see that. It’s not my mom’s fault. It’s not my dad’s fault. It is my mom and dad and sister and aunt and uncle and brother and school principals and school teachers and neighbors and therapists and….

My brain wouldn’t have gotten so fucked up if I hadn’t been severely neglected and abused. That was a joint effort to create.

But here I am. What do I do now? Do I expect people to dance like monkeys for my entertainment to try and make up for all the shit that happened before? God I hope not. I visit with friends when I have the self control to make our visit mostly about their feelings of comfort and safety and I avoid people when I can’t manage to behave well enough. I invite people to parties mostly because I know a tremendous number of really cool people and I think their lives would be better if they cross pollinated. I don’t expect to be the center of attention and if that starts to happen I will leave the room.

So man I have feelings about this whole “attention getting” thing. It sure sounds like people shouldn’t be seen. It sure sounds like no one should allow the truth of their life to be visible to other people and I don’t like that one bit.

I’m sorry that my truth is so melodramatic and sad. I really am. Lying about it in order to make other people feel better would drastically increase the likelihood that I will die from suicide. It’s always there for me at the corner. I don’t do it because enough people have convinced me that *they personally* would be hurt that I can’t do it. I love them a lot more than I love me and I can avoid causing them pain. If the trade is pain for me or pain for someone I love I will always volunteer to be the one in pain. I’m used to it. I have a lot of experience with pain. Most of the people I love are much less experienced and I want to keep it that way.

It’s a dance. This attention seeking bullshit. I need enough attention that I can talk myself into not dying and not so much attention that I need to leave the room because I can’t handle people looking at me.

I was asked (on the forum) how I could learn to see myself with compassion. How could I work towards seeing the value I add to the world that my friends can clearly see. How do you move past feeling like a worthless piece of shit?

I don’t really know. I am an over-achiever to compensate for my feelings of low self-worth.

This means that when I go to random parties and I don’t care about whether people like me or not (like Noah’s work Christmas party) I have a rather ridiculous number of cool stories to tell. I usually feel surprised by how many neat things I have done. Wow. I’ve had an interesting life. I don’t notice except when I am telling someone new. When I’m just sitting around being me I feel lame, boring, whiny, and obnoxious.

Don’t forget! I whine every day!

Over-sensitive, whiny baby. Things like the comments my friend made about the Christmas presents I bought. I will never bring it up with him because I’m not fucking interested in being told he was just joking and I should lighten up.

Have you noticed how I’m not a “lighten up” person?

Yes, this is manifestly all my fault and a problem I have. I know. I fucking know. I know that many people have teasing as a love language. I get that. It doesn’t change the fact that I leave and go home to cry and cry because that teasing doesn’t feel like love to me.

Am I allowed to have my reactions and feelings or do I have to conform to what makes other people feel comfortable?

I’m sorry I am so sensitive. I really fucking wish I wasn’t. But I am. I could deal with it by not talking to people any more so that I don’t get upset with them. I could deal with it by allowing people to say whatever they want and I’ll just do my crying in private. I could deal with it by asking people to stop (boy does that have a shitty track record–usually letting people know that it intensely bothers you is a cue for them to intensify how much of it they do). I could try to weed out the people who are teasers–but that doesn’t work.

Some days I can handle more of it than other days. Some days some teasing is genuinely ok and I don’t leave to go cry. Some days when I hang out with people I can pull off happy and cheerful while they are with me and I am crying before they are to their car. Or before I am to my car if I am at their house.

“Oh they didn’t mean anything by it” does not help me feel better. I don’t feel better at all that people casually say nasty things to me. They don’t mean to be nasty. It isn’t nasty from their point of view.

This is the walking on egg shells shit.

I feel dismissed and like it doesn’t matter that I have a whole frame around why I have the reactions and feelings I have. I don’t matter. What matters is that I maintain the structure and shape of what makes other people feel comfortable. Obviously I am over-sensitive and thus it is just my problem.

I’m looking forward to the grief ritual in February. There are parts of it I won’t enjoy. I get very angry when people meet for these kinds of things and declare that we have “created a community together and now we can support one another.” Bullshit. You are people I will see at a weekend conference and then probably never again. Maybe we will wave at a coffee shop. We are not a fucking community. God I get so angry when people say things like that to me.

I get why they say it. Most of the people in the room are students at a particular university and they have lots of classes together. They *could* form a community. I am not interested in joining your school (I’m not going to do the commute nor the cost) so I am not part of your community. I get it. I am not part of the community for reasons of my own choosing. I get it. It’s my fault. I get it.

I am enjoying having many days in a row where we aren’t seeing anyone. It is no one else’s fault I am so touchy and difficult and I wouldn’t be able to calibrate to someone else right now. Better to not be near people if I can’t be nice enough. I don’t like dealing with the long-term damage of people knowing just how difficult I can be.

Because seriously, when people complain about me being difficult that is on the day where I saved up all my easy. I’m fucked no matter what I do.

I feel sad and angry and trapped. I’m not trapped. These feelings will fade. My life is good. I am not upset because of anyone who is standing near me and I’m very sorry I have these feelings.

They will pass.

Marital Discord

(Not looking for advice.)

You know how I don’t complain much about Noah? Mostly this is because I don’t have a lot to complain about. I’m a complainer. I like getting things off my chest. I feel better afterwards. So the lack of complaining is noteworthy.

Things are hard lately. My parasympathetic nervous system is shot. Which makes things like sex really hard. I don’t orgasm much at all. We can count how many times I have gotten off (other than masturbating) in the last year on one hand. That sucks. I can masturbate. But partner sex isn’t really doing a lot for me. Partner sex is about gritting my teeth while Noah uses my cunt to masturbate. I’m not feeling very good about myself. I have to grit my teeth because frequently it just flat hurts and I’m trying to bear it. I’m not even really lubricating very much.

Noah periodically says, “We could stop having sex for a while” and that makes me feel worse. I have been very aware from early childhood that marriage meant having sex. That’s why you get married. So you have someone around to fuck whenever you want.

I feel like the biggest asshole ever. Noah married me largely because of my hypersexuality. It’s gone. Well, I bet I could go pick up a casual sex partner and be fine but man I can’t get it up at home. This is hard.

I’m not really sure how to create more space for feeling like sex is a good thing in my life. Right now there just isn’t space. I spend all day being whacked as people whine “Mooooooommmmmmmmmmmy”. No, I don’t feel fucking sexy.

Pretty much every time anyone touches me I flinch. I’m having a hard time. I don’t really know what to do about this other than wait it out and hope it gets better as the kids get older.

At some point I’m going to be able to sit my kids down and beg them to stop hurting me all the time but they still aren’t to a point where they are even capable of understanding what that means. I’m struggling. I feel like the physical experience of the world my body has is the least important priority for everyone in my house. I’m having a hard time.

It doesn’t help that my ambient pain is really high even on pot. Most of my joints hurt a fair bit of the time. My muscles hurt. Pick a random place on my body and poke it and you have like an 80% chance I will say, “Yup that hurts.” Everything hurts. My fucking eyes hurt. I’ve had a headache for months. My arms, legs, and torso fucking hurt. No, I don’t feel very sexy.

In my head I keep praying that maybe if I work with a doctor and change my diet it will help. Maybe. January.

None of this is Noah’s fault and I feel like a ridiculous asshole for withholding sex. I feel like a really bad person.

The part that is bothering me the most is that when I think about sex I think about cutting. But not my normal leg-grid-pattern. When I think about sex and how little it matters how it feels to me I want to cut on my arms. I want to start right at the elbow and pull down to the wrist. Which is more of a suicidal gesture/attempt than just stress relief. I feel very upset with myself for that happening.

Noah is not pressuring me. This is not Noah’s fault. This is just happening. This is just how my brain works.

Sex is one of the primary ways that Noah gets his “cup filled” if you know that whole metaphor. That’s how he feels loved. That’s how he feels wanted. That’s how he gets energy to go out and do the death march that is his life.

We aren’t doing very well right now. We are both tired in this existential way that goes far beyond the sleep deprivation we have had in the past six years (I didn’t sleep much while pregnant).

I think that part of our problem is we keep coming to arguments that center around the fact that we are on very opposite ideological grounds about a great many things.

Noah was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he deeply identifies with the plight of rich people trying to run companies. When you speak badly about rich people/people with privilege… you’re talking shit about him. I’m the kind of person who has a lot bad to say about rich people and people with privilege.

This gets complicated and hard. We both acknowledge that we are better about this strife than we used to be. But it is wearying and hard. These arguments are extremely depressing for me, I think they are for him too.

It is very hard knowing that I have the life of comfort and privilege I have because of someone who falls into a category I talk a lot of shit about. That doesn’t say nice things about me.

I just can’t get into the mindset of arguing from the point of view of the rich and privileged. Whether I currently have money or not. I will pretty much always take the side of the less advantaged in any fight. No, I can’t get into arguing that corporations are doing great things. And I totally understand the impulse to go burn down the houses of the people who own Wal Mart.

(I’m not advocating arson.)

It means that sometimes I have the active feeling of “sleeping with the enemy”. I’m a fucking sell out.

This isn’t helping our sex life.

I would be less grumpy if my entire body didn’t hurt every minute of the day. Err, I hope.

It is very hard for Noah that I actually hate whole categories he belongs to. That makes him feel pretty bad–which makes sense. I don’t hate him. I love Noah very much. Noah is the only person in my entire life who has ever really wanted to know me. I love Noah. I even like Noah. But man we struggle sometimes.

I feel guilty. I feel like if I could just get the fuck over myself everything would be fine. I really have the ideal set up for me. Just relax. Stop being so fucking hateful. I’m not sure how to let go of this resentment I have. This hatred of everyone everywhere who “has” what I don’t have.

It’s not about the money, not really. I think money is the strawman. Security. Safety. Feelings of belonging.

We had a great party last weekend. Those people were here to see me and Noah. They like both of us. I spent a lot of the party feeling like *I* should leave because I am such an unpleasant stupid bitch.

All of my internal dialogue lately is about how stupid, worthless, and unlovable I am. I keep trying to interrupt it. “If you wouldn’t tell your best friend these things don’t say them to yourself.” It doesn’t help that I totally don’t believe that these things are true of anyone else in my life, just me. Of course I wouldn’t say them to my best friend. Just me.

Christmas will be a lot smaller next year. I’m having waves of feeling really upset that almost everything I got under the tree were things I either sent Noah a specific web link “buy this” or I dragged him to the mall and put things in a bag and told him to pay for them. I’m done. I can’t do this again. I feel so bad. (In his defense he did pick which books off my wish list. I am happy about his choices.)

Noah has too many things to think about. Gift shopping for me doesn’t make it to the top of the priority list unless I force it. So I think I am done receiving gifts. I can’t do this again. I feel like a worthless piece of shit.

I’m going to medicate to get through today. I’ve had several unmedicated days lately. I can’t do today without. I don’t think I would be able to stop crying.

Tell the truth. For the last day or so I have felt very suicidal. Lots of images in my head. I don’t want to admit it out loud because I feel like a pathetic attention whore.

It doesn’t help that someone came on the PTSD forum complaining about how her partner talks about her trauma a lot and this supporter says, “She’s just doing it for attention.”

Why the fuck doesn’t she just shut up. Why the fuck don’t I just shut up. All it would take is a little while with a razor blade. I’d shut the fuck up.

I feel so very worthless and stupid and bad. Why can’t I do anything right? Even when people are very nice to me I turn it into a reason to feel bad. I am so fucking pathetic. I hate myself so much.

None of this is Noah’s fault. But he lives with it. That makes me feel very bad about myself. He deserves better.

Sometimes I think there is no such thing as pleasing me. That I am just an asshole. I could come up with a whole long list of other disparaging things to say. I should probably stop though. I’ve made that point. I suck. Moving on.

I want to cut really badly. I want it so much. But today I wouldn’t actually trust myself to just stay on my leg and that is bad juju. I think that when I can confine myself to my leg and fairly shallow cuts as stress relief it’s not the worst coping method in the world. Today I don’t think I could. Today I want to die. No cutting today. My kids still need me.

It is hard feeling like I only exist as a support unit for other people. I take care of my kids. I’m a hole for Noah to fuck. I don’t feel like there is any me that matters in that equation. It’s not a fair characterization of my relationship with Noah. I “know” that. I just don’t know that.

I feel so sad. I want my mommy. It is all my fault I can never have a relationship with her. I walked away. I have no one to blame but me.

I felt pretty hurt by the 1 star review on Amazon saying that I don’t take responsibility for any of the shit in my life. Oh man. I feel responsible.

It is my fault that I have such negative experiences. If I knew how to act proper things would work out better. If I could stop flinching and freaking out all day long then I could probably enjoy sex. It is my fault I can’t control my body. I feel very guilty for every argument I have where I refuse to concede that all we need is another fucking honky to solve the problem.

I don’t feel like I am fighting the good fight. I’m fighting the stupid, irrelevant, no-one-cares-anyway fights. I’m mostly just fighting myself. I’m losing.

This is post-period so I can’t blame it on PMS. I just feel this way. I just feel like a worthless whore.

I’m sorry Noah. I know you deserve better than this. It seems like telling the truth is still a good policy. I don’t think I can just pretend to be what you want.

This book hurts my heart.

Reading about predators makes me feel scared. I’m that good at lying. I could get away with so much.

But the main take away is: if your children ever in any way shape or form come to you with complaints about an adult touching them in a way that makes them feel vaguely uncomfortable take your kid’s side. Fuck every other person in the whole world. Believe your kid.

The rate of false reports is somewhere between 1-3%. The rate of successfully prosecuted rapists is below 3%.

I’m having a lot of feelings about my father as I read this. I have no way of guessing his total number of victims. I wish he was alive and in prison so I could ask. I know about half a dozen or so. Two of my siblings (three including me), his two sisters, the two daughters of that girlfriend he had, and he spent years raping my mom.

Always err on the side of believing a victim. Please. Please. Please. Most people who molest children molest dozens or hundreds of people. Don’t ignore little warning signs or inconsistencies from adults. Don’t think that someone looks trustworthy. People thought my father was an upstanding citizens. He coached fucking Little League. I wonder what he did to those kids.

Apparently religious parents who think the world is a good place are way easier to fool than any other kind of parent. Don’t trust people too much. Please. Sure, you can be a mostly positive person–you have to have the deep seated understanding that even if more than 80% of people are good there are bad people. In this country people have a 69% chance of having some major trauma effect their life. Please don’t believe everything is fine and bad things only happen to other families.

The main thing that differentiates me from true predators is my compulsive desire to come to the internet and confess every wrong thing I do or think. No DA would have trouble making a case against me if I actually did illegal shit. I would write stories about all of it.

This is how I stay honest with myself. If I can’t admit it on the internet I can’t do it.

On that note, given that I’m trying not to have pot I may have a drink today. Later folks. My arms hurt. I’m having waves of anxiety. I feel scared, helpless, and like the world is truly terrifying.

Luckily I don’t always feel this way.

Why do I record these things? Because sometimes my friends tell me, “There was this suspicious thing in my life and because of you I took it seriously and dealt with it.” Or “Someone in my life was raped and I helped her find resources because of the things I learned from you.”

The effects of early childhood sexual assault don’t go away. Why do I still write about it? Because I still have waves of anxiety attacks when nothing in my whole life is going wrong. Because writing is better than cutting. Because writing is better than doing a lot more drugs. Because writing is better than compulsively saying these things in front of my children.

Because I still deal with it almost every day.

Clear your head.

I think it is a good thing that Noah and I are planning to hibernate for about a week. Both of us are getting tetchy and short-tempered even about things that don’t usually bother us. Not optimal.

I think that next Christmas I will buy fewer gifts for my kids. I have a hard time with being buried under the avalanche of kind gifts from friends. It is a double edged sword. Other people show my children love through gift giving–it is a fine old tradition. My kids don’t notice what comes from me as a result. Nothing I do feels special to them because it is eclipsed by the nice things from other people.

I don’t think I should continue this gift-giving-love-language thing. I feel sad that nothing I do seems special to them. They have an embarrassment of riches. I don’t want to encourage anyone else to stop (often the gift giving is a large part of the relationship and my kids NEED relationships with other people) but I need to handle my feelings.

The friend who was over sat here and criticized me for not getting enough presents and he was very critical that I didn’t give the kids clothes for Christmas. “But that is part of the process!”

Uhm, my kids are sent boxes of hand made clothes from their grandmother. Nothing I do is going to make a dent next to that. So I don’t waste my time and money trying. He spent a bunch of time telling me how that wasn’t really good enough because I’m not giving the kids what they want. I just… I don’t even know how to respond. Fine. I’m not doing it right. How dare I not give my kids clothes when they have no room in their closet or drawers. I am such a bad parent.

The more presents the kids unwrap on Christmas the more screaming happens. There are never “enough” and yet the kids struggle with feeling overwhelmed. “That’s MY toy.” Dude. There were two identical ones. You don’t even know for sure that the one in your hand came with your name on it. Truly this does not require screaming.

Overall it was a nice day. I think the kids were very normal and fine. I just…

Sometimes I think that “happiness” is the awareness of non-suffering. If you aren’t aware of your lack of suffering you don’t feel happiness.

I am not suffering right now. Is that the same thing as happiness? I’m not sure. I feel tense. My hands are shaking and my belly is cramping. I still know that I will have a good day.

Partially the hand shaking bit is that I have been slowly coming off the pot. Less and less each day. Yesterday was nearly non-medicated. I am growing more afraid of the pain I feel in my body. I’ve been masking it for a long time. Dealing with it as a full-effect-affront is really hard. It steals my spoons away from every other emotional use.

But I will continue. Maybe happiness isn’t about the lack of suffering. Maybe happiness has to be orthogonal to the suffering. Maybe you have to figure out how to be happy *while* suffering.

I am grateful right now, this minute that I get to have the life I have. Today I will get to see my wonderful daughters and my very kind husband. Today I will get to relax and slowly putter on housework (The house is actually quite tidy) and play with the kids.

I notice that part of my shiver–part of the constant feeling of wrongness is the feeling that I’m doing it wrong if no one is there watching me to tell me I’m doing it right. I am not good at giving myself approval for what I do. My approval is worthless. Really less than worthless. If I think I am doing right then I shake with terror that I must be lying to myself.

But I *am* doing what I want to do. Is it “right”? Who decides? Is there a universal standard? First: pick a country, religion, race, and socio-economic setting. Then maybe you can decide what is right or not. But then you get into things like “Some people are temperamentally suited to being a stay at home parent and some people aren’t–regardless of gender.”

So there is no right. There is just what you do.

I love people so much. I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my friends. Some times I feel like I will drown in the waves of emotion. I feel so overwhelmed. I don’t know how to handle these feelings. I feel… unfamiliar with this process. I should get mean and drive people away because at least then I will feel more comfortable. I will be alone, which is what I’m used to anyway.

But I love them so much. I don’t want to hurt them. These feelings are confusing and hard and overwhelming but so what? They just are. Just go with it.

Love people. Do your best. Try to be kind. I’m reading about predators and I’m reminded over and over “Nice is not a personality trait–it is a behavioral choice. The most terrible of people are often extremely nice.”

If what I want from my life is to have impact on people in a positive way it has nothing to do with how I feel. That has to be pretty much irrelevant.

I think part of the emotional fraught-ness right this minute is this continual feeling of having people be missing. I miss my family. I miss my mother. I miss my sister. I miss my Auntie. I miss my niece and nephew. I try to replace them with other people who love me and it just isn’t the same. I feel guilty for the fact that the love of my friends does not obliterate this ache. I feel ungrateful and bad.

But I won’t scream today. I will be kind. I will be gentle and loving. I will make sure that other people don’t have the same holes inside of them. That’s all I can do with this day.

This is how people make it to level 2.

After writing long angsty things I specifically emailed my friend. The response, “I was joking. I had a great time. Your friends are awesome. You were completely fine. I’m going to go take a shower now.”

Yup. That’s how you manage my anxiety. Pat me on the head and then go about your business. Perfect all around.

In other news Christmas was really awesome. The kids are hyped up to within an inch of being able to spontaneously combust and so they have cried a lot. Otherwise it’s been a good day. GoldieBlox and RobotTurtles and marble run and musical instruments and Legos. Life couldn’t get better.

And I got several books. Shop Class As Soul Craft by Matthew B. Crawford, Healing Developmental Trauma by Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre, and Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists & Other Sex Offenders by Anna Salter.

Obviously my husband knows to whom he is married. I feel loved. And adequately socked. It’s a good Christmas. Lots of bath products. YAY!


I don’t think that I am “responsible” for how other people feel. I don’t think I can “make” them feel comfortable or uncomfortable all by myself. This is a collaborative sort of dance.

That said, I take it very seriously when friends point out areas where I am making them feel uncomfortable. “I was just joking” brush offs are an easy way for conflict-avoidant people to state their issues without having to get into a full scale conflict. I get that people don’t want conflict with me. I’m annoying as fuck. Not only do I fight like the devil but I am incredibly defensive and prone to act like people are attacking me when they aren’t. Not an awesome situation.

So I try hard to pay attention to the fact that people who love me a lot are generally people who have worked hard at avoiding conflict with me. I only have one or two pro-conflict close friends. Mostly my closest friends are people who are willing to learn how to deal with what a special-fucking-snowflake I am. Noah says I take an unusual amount of energy to get to know. I believe him.

I worry. If you’ve read more than 100 words I’ve written you already know that. I worry about just about everything. I *really* worry about whether or not I am behaving in a way that is sensitive and respectful of the people around me. It may not seem that way to other people, because when I fail I fail big-time, but I swear I am working hard at tact and being kind to people who have different boundaries.

I wish that I just got to declare that my behavior was awesome and that everyone who interacts with me should feel comfortable and safe.

I don’t get to decide that. As a white person for me to *ever* declare that someone who is not white must accept my behavior… yeah no. That’s just not on. If I were a male I would think that was an additional strike against me. It may not be fair but life rarely is.

Do I get to decide that white people must accept my behavior? Oh heck no. But I think I have slightly more familiarity with the ways in which a white person is likely to take offense. I guess correctly slightly more often. Not usually and not most of the time but slightly more.

The older I get the more I appreciate that religion plays a big part in how people perceive my behavior. I didn’t understand that as a kid. Some religions are ok with people being obnoxious and questioning. Some religions not so much.

I can’t control what other people believe or think or feel. But I try really hard to examine what I am doing when they give me clues into what they are feeling or thinking. I’m trying to detect patterns that I can influence. Influence is very different from control.

I live in a time and a place in history where being sensitive to the needs of people who are not-your-race is important for everyone. I believe with all of my soul that it is most important for people who have privilege to struggle with understanding people who have less privilege. I think it is not always the responsibility of people on the bottom to be sensitive to those poor rich people. Or white people. Or whatever.

Privilege is a multi-faceted and complicated beast. I think that privilege comes in a kaliedoscope of colors. There is racial privilege, socio-econommic privilege, the privilege of having social connections, being neurotypical or not, ableism, sex privilege (which both genders have their own kinds of privilege) and I think the intersection matters a lot.

I can sit there and draw out diagrams for where I think I have privilege and where my friends have privilege. I’ve thought about it obsessively for years. Partially I’ve been trying to figure out why some things are easier for me and some things are easier for them. Partially I’ve been trying to figure out which behaviors are linked to which life experiences so that I can better plan out how to treat my kids and my friends.

I’m trying to fake how to be someone who has always had privileges I’ve never had. That’s really complicated sometimes.

For me, paying attention to how I make people of other races feel is absolutely vital and part of my learning-to-not-be-a-schmuck process. But talking about it makes people feel uncomfortable. Welcome to my catch 22. (Which I’ve never read.)

I’m deeply grateful that my friend felt comfortable enough to tell me that discomfort was experienced. That’s brave and hard. Then I go and write about it and make it all difficult and uncomfortable. Because I’m awesome.

If I want my house to be safe I need to figure out what that means. For one thing some people are ok being written about and some people not so much. I am crossing my fingers that this one doesn’t blow up in my face.

I don’t think I want to try to have a party in December again. I think that in the future I will shoot for January after people have caught up on sleep.

Part of that is honestly so I can shape the guest list more carefully. Lots of people were traveling.

There is this careful balance to walk. I can’t pressure POC to come to my parties because that is creepy, weird, and not so cool. But I feel like it would be smart to try and plan in advance around the schedules of people I want to have at the parties. And if I want my non-white friends to feel comfortable that means asking some point blank scheduling questions of only my POC friends. Which makes me feel weird and racist and like I am courting them as exotic pets.

I would not consciously schedule a party so I could have more white people present so it feels rather uncomfortable to schedule a party so I can have more POC present. But that may be the only way to tip the attendance balance so that people don’t feel like tokens.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I’m afraid that when it comes to dealing with issues around race I am going to lose no matter what I do. “Hey can you make sure you come to my party so my friends can see that I know more than one person who looks like you.” Wow. That’s an asshole move on every level.

But just inviting people and hoping for the best is questionable too. Sometimes that will mean that my events are more than 90% white.

I suppose it matters what my goals really are. Is my goal to be able to show off once a year that I know a diverse group of people? Not really. Who am I showing off to? The other people at the party? My white friends aren’t impressed and if that was my goal my friends who aren’t white aren’t impressed with me either. Because man that’s a shitty goal to have.

On a specific level I have the goal that my children will grow up having long-term intimate relationships with people of widely divergent cultures and races. That is a goal I feel more comfortable having. That’s less about impressing anyone and more about teaching my kids that people have more similarities than differences so look to anyone standing near you for relationships. Just love people. That I feel very much like I am accomplishing. My kids spend a large percentage of their time with other people around people who don’t look just like them. They see a lot of adults of various races on a regular basis. They interact with a lot of families of various religions and creeds. I feel good about teaching them to respect a lot of kinds of people.

I feel like I am walking my talk with my children. I am not doing a perfect job of teaching them about people of diverse lineage but I’m doing ok and they walk up to every kid at the playground and ask to play. They reach out to people whenever they get the chance no matter how that person looks. Ok. That’s a specific parenting goal met.

It is hard to figure out what being sensitive to my friends means. I am literally not capable of making everyone comfortable at the same time because people have conflicting needs.

But you pick your priority list and you go with it. You do the best you can. If I am making this particular person feel anything other than welcome and like (s)he belongs then I need to change something.

And at the same time I don’t want to start inviting people to my parties or not based on race. But what if inviting more people who are not white and *not* inviting so many white people is the only way to make some people comfortable.

It’s true and valid. Just like some women will never be comfortable interacting with some of my male friends and I have to decide who to invite because I can have one person or the other.

First I will eventually stop pontificating and I will ask my friend for feedback after these blog entries have been read. I’m sure this person will come up with something to say. That’s usually something I can count on. Lots of opinions from that one.

I think that as a white person it is never ok for me to just default to “I’m ok and you have the problem”. That is just not an acceptable starting position. Beyond that I really struggle with knowing what the next right step is.

I have a limited amount of control over who shows up at my parties and I have even less control over the feelings of the people who come.

But I want to be sensitive to the idea that I could do something better. I could make people feel more comfortable if I tweaked ______.

Yes, my dear blacksheep, part of it is learning to care less and be more like a honey badger. I’m not sure that I am that kind of girl, you know? I’ve been taking apathy enhancement drugs for years now. I still care too much. I still care so much I can barely breathe sometimes.

I want the people I love to feel loved and supported and like I think the world (and this room) is a better place when they are in it. If I am communicating something else then I need to work on that.

It is hard to nudge people in the direction of feeling loved when you are as basically hostile as I am. I cause people to feel unsafe and nervous. I get it.

It’s kind of like my continued fondness for a man who has been blacklisted from all of the local events. He’s a predator. I still like him. I understand him and have compassion for him and I know how to play his game like a pro. The other women I know just want to pretend he doesn’t exist because his game doesn’t work for them. He means well.

It doesn’t matter what you feel it matters how you make other people feel. The best predators know how to induce feelings of calm and safety in their prey. Sometimes I feel tremendous guilt for the attitude that just about everyone in the world is prey and I’m a mean and nasty predator.

Only there isn’t much I want from people these days. I’m not hunting for anything other than positive regard. I don’t want to be anyone’s favorite (well, other than Noah) but I want people to think I am basically a net positive for the world.

I want people to think that talking to me makes them feel good about themselves. I want to help people to feel brave about making choices. I want to help people feel like they can stand up for themselves.

If I’m making you feel like a token, tell me so. If I make you feel like you are just something on a checklist “Make a friend who is brown” then I am not making you feel like you are important. I’m failing to do the stuff that is so important to me.

I need that feedback. Without being told that my current approach is failing it is hard for me to know.

It is hard hearing criticism. I won’t lie. I’m obviously very defensive.

(I still had a wonderful party and I don’t feel like this is a depressing/bad train of thoughts. I’m nervous and a little sad but I still have a lot of happy endorphins from seeing so many people. I talked to a lot of people and didn’t freak out so I’m proud of myself.)

But if you want to be consciously anti-racist you have to look at what that means. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate.

Don’t quit. Don’t decide you are obviously a worthless bad person because someone had enough feelings to make a joke. But think about what you will do differently next time to encourage more people to feel more comfortable.

Progress. Not perfection. Keep trying. That’s the whole point of life.


Sometimes I read things about dealing with various panic disorder stuff (including PTSD) and I feel sad. Often they recommend having someone touch you to ground you. It creates more of a feeling of connection and safety.

If I’m having a panic attack and you touch me you may draw back a bloody nub. I wish things worked differently in my body but they don’t. When I am scared I am going to fight as hard as I can and I’ve learned to hurt people pretty badly. That was the smartest thing for me to do for twenty years.

This is hard with my kids.

Friendship, race, and tokenism.

One of my dearest friends made a few comments post-party. Later she said, “Oh I was kidding.” You don’t say something four times unless it hit a nerve. So let’s get into this.

First and foremost: I’ve had over 24 hours to go through a long list of defensive postures. You notice how I didn’t write about this yesterday? I don’t want to be defensive. I don’t want to list how many non-white people I invited and it’s not my fault they didn’t come. I invited them. Many were traveling. I really want to get into specifics. As if proving that I invited X number of non-white people means anything.

It doesn’t. How many particular individuals I invited of what race is beside the point.

If someone I like and respect feels like a token then I am probably doing something wrong in how I talk to them and treat them.

I treat almost everyone I know as a token representation of Y group. It’s not one of my best traits. But for me a white person from the mid-west is about as foreign as a friend from Israel (who is maybe white maybe not white depending on who you ask).

Even my friends who grew up poor still grew up in radically different cultures from me. It is unusual for someone to go through as many communities where you are the minority as I did. I was frequently the only white kid in a room. When I exchange stories about being homeless with people it was different for me than it was for other people I have talked to. There are lots of reasons for all the differences. I drip with privilege whether I like it or not.

If I make someone I respect and admire feel like they are just a token then I need to take a serious look at my behavior. I am doing something wrong. I am not adequately conveying what is going on in my brain.

I am not a big fan of the idea that “X person represents what it is like to be Y race” because I don’t find that it bears out in the main. I am really bad about classifying people as “close with their family vs. not close with their family”. I am much more likely to put up with people who are close with their family so I can hear the secrets about how that works. I don’t really care what race they are–I have friends of a whole rainbow of colors who have close families quite on purpose.

I want to hear what it is like. I do treat people like ambassadors. You come from a culture I don’t understand. I wish I did understand it. I want to move in that general direction even though I will never arrive at being just like you.

I think that what country you came from is far less interesting to me than how you get along with your parents.

That said, I corner every single person I meet who has lived outside this country and ask them their opinion about what they have seen in life. I get some fascinating breakdowns of Eastern Europe sometimes. Oh man.

I really want to get defensive. I want to point out that depending on how you “define” white (some people think Jewish people count as white and some people are violently opposed to such a classification) there were at least 40 people invited to the party who were non-white. Yes, I invited more like 80 white people.

I don’t think I invited people based on trying to get a mixed bag of races though. I invited just about everyone I know that I could get an email address for. I invited people from every community I dip my toes into. Many of those communities are primarily white.

Like the bdsm community. Holy moly is that a white community. Whereas there is the occasional random non-white person it is remarkable and weird. (And I invited every single non-white person from the scene that I know. Not because I wanted non-white people. But because I invited everyone I know and like. I’m sorry more didn’t come.)

Then I feel like a giant asshole. What in the fuck is wrong with me that I wish specific people had come so that I look more “multicultural”. Now that’s treating people like tokens.

If you try too hard to have a racially/religiously balanced group then you do get into tokenism.

I try to invite people and be ok with whoever comes. I can’t feel too much self-worth from who comes and who doesn’t. People were busy. Lots of people were traveling. Other people were sick. Who chooses to come on a random party one random day does not decide whether or not I am treating my friends well or not. It doesn’t decide if my friendships are real or just tokens.

It is my belief that as a white person in America I should probably never feel fully comfortable with my behavior towards people of other races. I should always be willing to be called on the carpet and be told that my behavior sucks. Often that kind of thing is extremely educational and if you resist the correction you resist the ability to grow. It is hard to know what you don’t know. It is very hard to see beyond your white privilege. It is hard to understand what other people don’t have.

am bad about asking people to be ambassadors from their culture. But I think that culture isn’t just about your ethnicity/race. Whatever my motivation and desire I don’t get to decide how I impact other people. White people react with shock when I ask them to tell me about their culture. They think their culture is my culture. People of other races get to be annoyed at the stupid white girl treating them in a way they don’t like. That is totally fair.

I appreciate it when people think about themselves and then explain what they see to me. That doesn’t mean that other people want to do that for me. I can ask and they can think I’m a fucking asshole. That’s how the exchange works.

Sometimes I feel awkward when I love people intensely who don’t look much like me. I don’t want to express my love and affection in a way that feels alien and alienating. I’m afraid I do. I’m always afraid I am alienating people. I am always afraid I am treating people like just a doll in a set.

I collect people in my life. I do. I want people to love me like I want to breathe. I am much more ok with people choking me than with them not loving me.

How someone looks is generally one of the very least impressive parts for me and in my head mostly that is the difference race makes. I care more about other categories. Do you get along with your parents? Have you always been middle class? What has “middle class” meant in your life? What kinds of deprivation have you dealt with? Do you learn best by sitting very still and listening or do you learn best by moving around? How promiscuous have you been? Do you like hitting people or being hit?

These questions are far more indicative to me of compatibility than race. I care more about these answers.

But as a white person I understand that is a cop-out, bullshit answer. No I’m not fucking color blind. I see race. I just don’t think it is likely to be the reason someone wants to be my friend or not. People are going to want to be my friend or not based on very different factors. I am white so ostensibly that shafts me off to the white people section only lots of white people don’t like me so much. So I branch out.

I feel really bad about the fact that I deal best with fairly Americanized people regardless of race. I have less than perfect hearing and I struggle with accents. I don’t like a lot of regional US accents either. I have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot. I feel really stupid the whole time. Why in the hell can’t I just understand?

So I suppose that in the end I get why some of my friends could walk into a party and feel like a token. (I will defensively point out that there were three other people of your general continent-level ethnicity in the house before you arrived so no you can’t be my “only friend from that continent”.) It was certainly mostly a white crowd.

But I hope that you have known me long enough to know how much I value you as an individual. Our relationship is not primarily about me showing you off at parties as my token non-white friend. Our relationship is primarily about you telling me about your wonderful family and us exchanging raunchy sex stories and you being a wonderful influence on my children. Yes, you do language stuff with my kids. I really appreciate it. I do listen and try to learn. Not because you are a token but because I appreciate that you come to my house and share yourself with us. I try to honor that.

If I am failing at showing my friends how much they matter to me then I should pay attention to that. I should be aware of it and I should work on my behavior. That’s what you do when you love and respect someone. You try to work on your behavior so you can make them feel loved and respected.

If my current set of behaviors isn’t impacting someone the way I want then that is my fault. Communication is complicated. If my message isn’t arriving then that is a failure on the sending end. Sure, there are some people who can misunderstand anything (often seemingly on purpose) but I have to give my friends the benefit of the doubt.

Why do I care so much about people being other cultures from me? Why do I focus on it? Why does it come up? Because most manners, expectations, and attitudes are largely unconscious. You know what was drilled into you as a child.

Why do you think I am inclined to say “fuck” every third word? That’s what my childhood was like.

I ask because the difference between a poor person from the south and a rich person from the south is ocean sized in my perception. Even if Noah’s great-aunt thinks that everyone in Huntsville Texas “is just the same kind of people”. Whatever. You’re wrong. It’s easy to think that when you are the rich lady living in the fucking mansion.

Poor people know better. Poor people know that there are differences and either you acknowledge that and deal with it or you are fucked.

Sometimes people tell me that I am their token “poor” friend. A large number of people have expressed shock and horror that they know someone who was once homeless. Get the fuck over it. At this point I pass into the middle class so stop acting like I count as you knowing a poor person. You don’t get credit for me.

I think that treating everyone like they are from a different culture is largely about acknowledging that we will always make one another uncomfortable in some way. That’s what a poor fit between cultures does. It makes you aware of where you have expectations and the other person fails to meet them. It is hard to not treat those expectations like entitlements.

I love you and I love you and I love you. I have known you for more than half my life. You are anything but a token to me. You are integral to my happiness and feeling of wholeness. You have given me so much approval and reason to keep trying that I can’t possibly write about the impact you have had on my life. It’s too big for me.

If I make you feel like you are just a token then I am doing something drastically wrong and I need to knock it the fuck off. I will try harder.

I love you.

Merry Christmas.


That was a great party. We had ~45 people come over a 9 hour period. Our guesstimate is there was never more than ~30 people at a time. There were ~12 kids. (I’m using ~ because I counted roughly in my head and I probably missed bodies.)

It was a lot of fun. I really like my friends. They are all very neato people. I’m lucky.

Ok, stomach… get ready.

It’s the day! Almost our last social obligation of the year. I’m excited. We aren’t leaving the house between Christmas and New Years.

It is weird how anxiety works. I’m looking forward to seeing people but man my stomach hurts.

At the home school holiday party I said, “Man I’m whiny today. I’m sorry.” Another mother countered with, “How is that different from any other day?” I don’t think I will speak when that person is standing within 10′ of me any more.

This is the kind of thing I over react to. Ok, if I’m that unpleasant then I will work hard to make sure you don’t have to acknowledge that I exist any more.

But she didn’t say I was awful. She said I was whiny. This is a true statement. I am.

Sometimes Noah asks why I don’t punish the kids for whining. Because I don’t punish for things I model. That’s just how it rolls in this house.

There was also a noticeable amount of discussion as to how sad it was that a certain blog reader and 3/5 of her kids weren’t there. (We never get the other 2/5.) I told people that I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a rejection of the group for being sucky. Spoons can only stretch to cover so many activities.

Part of what I like about hosting events is I get to introduce my friends to one another. I know really neat people.

2013 has been one of the best, most stable years of my entire life. If I can’t get my anxiety under control under these circumstances I’m fucked.

I often go back and forth in my head, “My friends deserve to know me sober. Because being sober is always superior to being a loser drug addict. But wait! You are talking like a schizophrenic about to stop taking their meds. Maybe this is a bad plan.”

Don’t worry. I won’t try to do this sober. I haven’t been practicing enough to do an event of this size alone yet. I would spend the party in my bedroom crying and shaking if I tried.

That feels really pathetic. God I’m a loser. Bravery isn’t about feeling no fear. It is about performing to spec no matter how terrified you are. Having a holiday party shouldn’t be terrifying but it is.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what “should” be true. It matters what is.

I’m going to have to spend pretty much all of next year working on being able to do this sober. I’m going to have to be able to handle any size of crowd unassisted before 2015 or I can’t take the kids on the road trip. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Tomorrow. I’ll work on that tomorrow. Next year. All of next year. Not today.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I say “not today–I’ll do that later.” My only consolation is I do usually get around to doing it… or it wasn’t important to begin with.

It is nice to see that I do the things I say I will. Not every single thing–I don’t make that many promises on purpose. I have to figure out sober again.

I used to be sober. I managed my PTSD without meds for most of my life. It has meant a lot of isolating in order to calm my ambient stress. I don’t get that now that I have kids.

I have to teach them to be part of my lower stress or I’m fucked. This sounds hard and scary.

Bravery doesn’t mean never feeling scared. It means you keep your ass moving even when you are scared. I can do that. I can keep moving.

I think today will be fun. I think I will be glad I did it even though it creates stress too.

I thanked Noah and the kids for helping me clean the house. I told them that it is important to me to once in a while have a clean house and a party and I appreciate that they did work towards that even if it isn’t important to them.

I was only an asshole about the cleaning for maybe 10 hours total and it wasn’t all yesterday it was over a week. That’s not great but it isn’t as bad as it could be.

In my head I have this tally sheet. I know how harsh I have seen some mothers be. I’m not on the harsh end of what I have seen. I have seen some seriously brutal people though. I like being on the nicer end of the scale. I don’t even know why I want it so bad but I do.

If I can’t get my kids to cooperate by being nice to them then I think the cooperation I get through being an asshole is suboptimal. Sometimes I’m a fucking self absorbed asshole and I do it. I try really hard to avoid it though.

Life involves work. I need my kids to not be the kind of people who sit back and watch while work is being done. I need for them to be the kind of people who say, “There is work to be done? Where do I start?”

I very consciously don’t give them much bullshit work day-in/day-out through the year. I really don’t have a lot of make work. I don’t make them live in a perfectly clean house all the time (ha!). I enforce daily teeth cleaning, underwear changing, and they have to set the table for meals. That’s what I really enforce on a daily basis.

I need for them to grow up in an atmosphere where it is fine to not do much most of the time and sometimes you have to chip in. You just do.

I don’t know how to inspire this very well though. I always resort to bullying and crying at some point. It’s pretty fucking lame. I try to recognize when I am bullying, retract the statement and walk away. “I should not have said that. I’m sorry I was such a jerk.” Usually that comes in the form of a threat to throw away anything that isn’t picked up. It’s not a cool threat. I’m an asshole for saying it. Just because I feel it that doesn’t excuse me saying it.

I tried really hard to not fuss at the kids. I wasn’t fully successful but I tried. I need to try harder. It isn’t their fault I want things. I try to let them know, “There isn’t a good reason I want this. I just want it. Will you please help me?” Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. It is hard to manage my emotional reaction to being turned down.

Right now it is part of that whole, “If I do not know the answer will be ‘yes’ then I don’t have the spoons to ask for help” problem. I get into these cycles. As the people I live with the kids have to deal with the results of what happens when I can’t handle a no and I get one any way. Mostly I go in my room and shut the door and cry.

Which makes me feel like a manipulative piece of shit.

I try to not-react as much as possible. I know that I’m supposed to maintain a neutral state over here on my own but I’m shite at that. I’m trying.

Like the woman letting me know that I whine every day. Oh. Shit. Ok I guess the solution is to just stop talking. I don’t know what else to do.

I don’t think I can stop talking entirely. That would kill me. But I can make sure I don’t bother you any more. I’m sorry my existence is such a trial to you. I’m not even being sarcastic. I am annoying. I’m sorry. I don’t really know how to change that I am this difficult.

Some people are easier than others. I don’t even just mean the sex. Not that I’ve been easy to have sex with lately. Poor Noah. Our sleep cycles are totally out of alignment and we’re tired and over-committed and having kids is an impediment. Life happens.

This phase isn’t permanent–right?

Just keep moving. If you are still alive there is always a chance that things will change. If you want things to be different, just keep moving. Just because I can’t do something today that means nothing about ten years from now.

Right now I can’t play any musical instrument. That could change. I don’t sew. Some day I might. Right now Noah thinks there is no chance he will ever be a distance runner. It’s not his favorite. But if he wants to keep eating cookies with me at the rate we are going through them… I think it could happen.

If he wants to have a long, sex-filled life with me we will have to do some more exercise. I’m told it is good for you. We have no physical disabilities so we don’t have good excuses. (There are good reasons some people can’t run. I’m not acting like this is universally applicable…)

I have a lot of time ahead of me. I can figure out how to do a lot of things. I read something cool this morning about how great artists often go through big revivals in their 80’s.

I have spent most of my life believing I would die fairly young. But if I want to find out what Shanna is like on her 60th birthday I have to not die until well into my 80’s. I should plan for that. I should consciously try to get there. I should work at it. And then Calli is even two years behind that.

I want to see what their lives will be like. I don’t want to just witness their childhood and feel sad all the time that no one loved me as a child.

What will they do with their adulthoods? How will they inspire me? I’m sure they will.

Just keep moving. Keep introducing them to interesting people. I know so many neat people. I know people who do the fucking coolest stuff. I like basking in their glow. I like getting to be an audience. I should stay alive and keep doing that.

Today I will manage my anxiety and see friends. My kids will get to see a lot of different kinds of people. It is rare that I cross the streams like this. Home schoolers, perverts, geeks, and dancers. Who knows what the results will be like. I think everyone will be child-appropriate. I think people will be polite and wonderful. I think that sometimes questions will be answered in surprising ways. That’s for the best.

It takes all kinds in this world. My friends are Christians, Jews, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, and pagans. I don’t have any friends who are practicing Muslims but it’s not on purpose. At least no one has chosen to share with me that they follow that religion.

I thought about name tags. “Hi my name is ________. I know Krissy/Noah through ___________.” That would be awesome for me. I would enjoy how people self-identify. Ha. “Burning Man. Uhhhh…. that’s it…. I know them through Burning Man.” Not that I (Krissy) have gone. But I know a lot of Burners. And many people that I think of in other categories would probably self-identify our friendship that way because it sounds more child safe.

I’m not going to put anyone more on the spot than I have to. Not today. I don’t have the spoons to manage.

It will be a good day. Time to stop typing.

Christmas shopping is over.

I’m annoyed I had to spend time out shopping today. My dear sweet 5 year old decided that yesterday was a great day to go through my dresser. So she saw her Santa present.

I can’t handle the guilt that would come with ruining the Santa secret this year. And the only other “toys” she was getting from us for Christmas was a board game she can’t play alone yet (Goldiblocks!) or a wooden stick with a horse head on it. Those both struck me as thoroughly lame Santa presents. Because I have issues.

The firefighter outfit would have been perfect. Freakin kid!!!!

So she will get musical instruments. Because I’ve been dithering about getting them for three years already. I have mixed feelings.

Mostly I feel guilty and like I am going overboard on Christmas.

We won’t have very many wrapped presents under the tree.

I think I’m having issues with feeling like I am undersupplying too. My childhood training of mountains of gifts is hard to overcome. I feel like I am not very fun. Mostly these days I don’t get my kids toys. Their grandparents send enough combined with random presents from friends. I don’t give toys for birthdays.

I want to give my kids toys for Christmas. I wish I didn’t feel so ashamed of myself.

This is what having privilege is about, right? If you are able to do it, there is no shame in doing it. I’m not going so overboard that we will suffer next year for this. I’m not running up debt I can’t pay off. I’m spending cash I have on hand.

I wish I didn’t feel so bad about buying things I want with Noah’s money. Really? I feel guilty about buying a musical instrument set? I feel guilty about the Lego’s too.

Calli’s Santa present is a Lego set. Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Because it is her favorite show.

I don’t think they are too spoiled…