Monthly Archives: September 2014


I feel grateful every day for my family. My children give me reason to see myself in different ways.

I snapped at Calli last night. It was a stupid situation. I wanted chocolate milk and Noah made me a nice cup of water with whey powder stuff in it. Not the same. He meant well. He was being lovely. But Noah asked why I looked so disappointed when I saw the glass (oh this stuff makes me gag) and I told him what I wanted instead and he looked kind of crestfallen (I feel so bad when his efforts to be sweet don’t land how he means them) and Calli piped up that she wanted chocolate added to her cup. I said if I didn’t get any she sure wasn’t getting any.

She covered her face with her hands. I felt really guilty. I told her it wasn’t nice of me to say that just because I was disappointed. I told her that it was not loving of me to be sharp with her when she was just asking.

The look on her face.

“It wasn’t all my fault?”

No baby. It wasn’t your fault I was mad. I was already having those feelings before you said a word. I’m really sorry I took it out on you.

“So it was ok for me to ask? It is alright to ask for things?”

Yes. You can ask. I’m sorry that sometimes I’m a jerk when you ask. That’s my fault and not yours. I’m really sorry that I’m like that sometimes.

She told me that she would forgive me. She said she understands feeling frustrated.

I pray that I give them even a fraction of the forgiveness they have offered me. Shanna has repeatedly said over the past two days, “I would like to argue with you about doing my chores. But I’m grounded. So I’m not going to argue. I’d like to argue though. Just so you know.”

I smile and tell her I appreciate her forbearance. They are so kind to me.

I watched a movie this week called Call Me Crazy. One of the five short segments in the movie was about a girl growing up with a bipolar mother. As guilty as I feel about my issues, I’m functioning. I don’t actually hide for days any more. I hide for up to an hour each day–that’s all I allow myself. I don’t feel guilty about forcing the kids to have an hour alone daily. Ok, I feel guilty but I do it anyway.

I don’t risk my kids health or safety. I don’t actually have anything that resembles clinical manic episodes–I have hypomania issues, but they aren’t the same. Sometimes I am glad to feel reminded that I’m not actually as bad as I want to believe about myself.

I find it funny that the kids being grounded means we are spending more time on the couch reading together than usual. If I’m not careful they might start thinking that grounding is something to shoot for. At this point they are certainly very happy about how it has gone.

Noah says I didn’t step over the line this time. I’m glad about that. (The kids went out back and dug up a raised bed and cut the lines to a swing.) I told them to go to bed early and I told them that they need to do their chores for a week without arguing with me and they don’t get the iPad. I told them they need to suck up because it wasn’t cool to wreck a bunch of plants.

I never know if what I am doing is right or wrong. I comfort myself with the chant, “I have never hit them.” I don’t think it is adequate though. I yell so much. I know that yelling can cause as many long-term problems as judicious spanking. I’ve read the research. So comforting myself with my lack of hitting seems… dubious at best.

I yell a lot. But my kids show no sign of deleterious effects. I check over and over to see what the effects are of verbal abuse. Are my kids showing signs of damage? Am I fucking up? Am I making “normal human mistakes” or am I actually a monster?

Mostly they show no signs. They have very high self-esteem. They feel very secure and loved and like the world is on their side. They are highly social and adaptive. My kids show no sign of feeling like a scapegoat. They are both quick to explain, “Sometimes my mom yells too much because things in her brain are kind of wonky and she has trouble controlling it–it isn’t my fault. She’s always been like this.” I feel… weird when they bust out this phrasing. It’s true. But it feels weird to have 4/5/6 year olds say this.

It’s true, but it doesn’t feel like a good excuse.

My kids don’t walk on egg shells with me (that I can detect–maybe I’m wrong). I don’t know yet if they will have long-term issues with anxiety or depression. Even if I did manage to be “perfect” somehow their gene pool has anxiety, depression, and a variety of other mental illness issues from every branch. It wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with my actions.

But I’m not modeling the kind of behavior I want them to be able to have. I see it so clearly when Shanna can get her shit together better than I can. I struggle with how small and ashamed I feel when I watch her social acumen. That kid has charisma and polish and charm I lack. She is much better at dealing with minor frustrations. She reroutes around problems and doesn’t take them seriously or personally. I envy her detachment sometimes.

They show me what I want to be. I pray I show them what they need to see.

I’m looking forward to passing this anniversary. I hope that soon I can get through this cycle of self-hatred and suicidal ideation quickly. Just fucking end already. But the more I rage about wanting the cycle to end, the longer it drags on. I’ve tried that route before.

There is no getting over this. There is just getting through it.

I have a lot of days where I want to die. Today has mostly been a good day other than those niggling little voices telling me that I don’t deserve to breathe the same air as good people. My kids have been really nice to me.

I don’t think I talk about being suicidal (out loud, with my voice) much at all. My kids are in a phase where they tell me frequently that losing me would be the worst thing ever and absolutely ANYTHING would be better than that. I don’t know what to make of it. I know it is a normal phase and all. I try to just respond in the moment with reassurance.

I feel like a liar. No, I feel like a fraud. I carefully don’t lie explicitly. I will stay with you as long as I can. I will stay with you until you are a grown up and you can take care of yourself. I love you.

That part is true. I love you. I love you so much. You are the reason I wake up every single day and feel glad I’m not dead yet. I’m not lying when I tell you every morning that I am so glad to see you. I am glad. I am so glad.

Words need definitions: grounding

Well, we had quite a weekend. Hoo boy. The kids are grounded. For the purposes of this event grounding has been defined as: you do not get privileges for a week and for one week you are not allowed to talk back about your chores. You do them immediately and with good humor because you bloody well owe your mother.

Shanna said she would rather just be stuck in her room all day every day and we said that wasn’t an option. Eventually she agreed. And she did her chores this morning.

Well, at least that weekend is over.

Not good.

I got yelled at yesterday by a stranger. I probably deserved it. The kids and I spent the day going from store to store because they wanted to spend their allowance money on toys. We went to one last store, on the way home from the park, so I could get knee braces. I let them play in the toy aisle while I checked out and then I couldn’t get them to come with me short of dragging them out of the store. They wanted to stay and play. Given that I had already spent four hours facilitating them playing in stores I was tired and I wanted to go home.

I wasn’t all that nice as I ranted on the way to the car. So a dyke yelled at me that I should pick on someone my own size. (And yes, with that hair cut, with those clothes, in that Jeep, with that bike on the rack… she’s a dyke.) I find myself noting these details about her personhood because I would not be so upset by a mom yelling at me. I wanted to turn around and scream that as long as she is opting out of breeding, she doesn’t really understand how hard it is. I didn’t. I said, “That’s probably a fair point” and I got in my car and left. She followed me home. That really bothered me.

And I want to die. Not really because of her. I was feeling this way before I got yelled at. But it is harder after that. Sit very still. Don’t make any decisions. Don’t do anything. Just… sit.

I am not always a nice person. And it is hard to believe that anyone else could have done enough bad things to deserve having to be near me. Not cutting right now takes pretty much all the self control I possess.

How do I live with being suicidal? How do I live with my self-harm urges? I sit very still. I try not to move. I try not to make decisions. Maybe if I just don’t do anything the feeling will go away.

How many years so far? It hasn’t gone away yet. But nothing else I have tried works better.

I asked Shanna when we got home how bad I was being. She said, “Well, it wasn’t great. But it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t appreciate it but I didn’t feel like my feelings were hurt.”

If I thought there was a snowball’s chance in hell that killing myself would result in them getting a mother who could actually be nice to them I would be dead in ten minutes. I know how the world works though. People get good mothers by luck of the draw. My kids are stuck with me. Stepmothers… rarely turn out to be better than your mother. Sometimes. Not much. (I actually had a great step-mother. I was very sad when she died.) And I know what it does to someone to grow up knowing that your parent killed themself rather than know you.

I can’t do that to them.

So I’ll sit very still.

I know I write about this. I have to, or I’ll crack. I probably won’t speak about this. Maybe with my shrink, probably not. Maybe with Noah, probably not. Speaking out loud isn’t really an option I have. Not about these things. There is too much potential punishment involved.

I can’t really tell my shrink because if I tell her about the really bad days she might feel legally obligated to 5150 me. I can’t ever go through that again. If I believed that an ambulance was on the way to my house to pick me up for that I would take my keys and never be seen again.

can’t go through that again. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I cannot. I can’t. I’m not sure I would be able to pull it together to pretend to be sane enough to ever be let out. I wouldn’t be able to respond the way they want and I would cry and cry and cry and cry and… they don’t let people like that out.

I can’t go back to the hospital. I just can’t.

Logistic considerations.

There is a home school camping trip coming up. I have now tracked down every other family going. One family will definitely be there Friday night. Another family may or may not, but she isn’t sure they are going camping at all. Another family *might* but they have a very full day of stuff planned on Friday and they would show up very late. Everyone else is coming Saturday.

We would go on Friday and come home on Saturday because I’m racing on Sunday. If the main group is going to show up en masse on Saturday right around when we are leaving… my kids are going to flip out and be very upset.

I’m not sure it is a good idea to drive that far for one night of camping so that I can upset my kids by not letting them stay to play with their friends. And it is a noticeable drive.

I’m beginning to think that we should cancel on camping.

ETA: Ok, there was another family going that I didn’t notice at first. They will definitely be there Friday. If there are two definite yes’s and one probably yes, that’s enough that I should just go. We can have fun with the smaller group and it will only be two families showing up as we leave. I think my kids will be able to handle that without screaming. *cross fingers*

If it were just us and one kid on Friday and then a whole hoard arrived on Saturday, my kids would feel hurt. This is worth paying attention to, even though I feel like a whiny twat-waffle.

Sex is still complicated.

I haven’t been hitting quota. (For non-long-term readers: we try to have sex ten times a month. I joke about it being my quota.) I just… can’t have more vanilla bunny sex than I’m having.

I didn’t go to Folsom yesterday mostly because I didn’t think I would have the self control to follow my boundaries. I want a pick up scene so bad. And I could have gotten lots of play. Lots. Being “good” isn’t feeling fun.

I want to do a take down scene with someone who would be equally gleeful about losing as they would be about winning. That isn’t a dynamic I can have with Noah. He doesn’t want to lose and he… is clear when it happens.

I don’t know how this will resolve. I’m not a heterosexual monogamous person. I still think that poly would be the end of my marriage. I would not put up with more of how things have gone. But I feel so antsy and restless and dissatisfied.

I’m not feeling that good about bdsm where I’m the only person who can get hit. Noah has managed to fully and completely convince me that it isn’t ok to hit him. It means that no, it isn’t fun to do a scene where I fight back. You get angry when you are hit. It isn’t a game. You can’t play with it.

I’ve been hitting the punching bag and I’m not sure it is helping. I want to beat the crap out of someone so badly. In my defense, I want it to be someone who has fully consented and is having fun. I want to play with a friend. Not necessarily a specific individual friend–but someone I have positive feelings about. I don’t hit people out of anger, exactly. Excessive energy.

Only I’ve agreed not to hit anyone, basically ever again. Sometimes it feels like dying. It feels like having to kill parts of me. If memory serves correctly (it’s a funny thing) it hasn’t even been two years since I beat on my Leather sister. Not that long. Why does this feel like it has been lifetimes of suppression?

I’m a sadistic masochist trapped in a life where it isn’t ok to cause anyone pain and it isn’t ok to model that it is acceptable to hurt me. “Trapped” is a terrible word. But it sure as shit sounds accurate today. I carefully created this trap for myself–I’m not blaming a single person other than me. I wanted this. Now I’m finding out what it means to get what you want.

A long time ago a friend asked the dude I was dating at the time, “So, what does it feel like to get what you always wanted?” He said, “Exhausting.”

We didn’t date that long. Turns out I wasn’t actually everything he always wanted.

I feel like a big meanie face for not being all gung-ho on the kinds of sex Noah wants. I used to work my way through all 31 flavors on a regular basis. Now I get one or two flavors and that’s it. Forever. It isn’t that I have started hating vanilla (I even got a spiffy new vanilla cookbook from a generous friend for my birthday) I just… man I miss variety.

I miss having the kind of sex that causes people to get upset when they watch it because the violence is so intense. I like going to public sex spaces and freaking people out with how violent sex can be. You have to work pretty hard to alarm such a jaded audience and the challenge really spurs me to great heights. “This is bdsm not your local vanilla cuddle party.”

When I got involved in bdsm people were told that if you were overwhelmed by what you were watching it was your responsibility to walk away and go handle your shit. While I was actively playing I watched that get stomped on hard. Eventually people were only supposed to do non-offensive stuff in public.

Folsom is a great place to squick the tourists. I want to alarm people. I really do. I am an exhibitionist. It is partially about the effect on the crowd.

I want to suspend someone and slowly cut them in between all the rope marks till they are dripping on a tarp. Just to watch it. I really do. I haven’t done that much blood play but right now I think I would be hard pressed to not lick up all the blood. I’m feeling quite savage and violent.

And I sit at home. Today there is baby sitting and I will work. I should arrange to get books from the library. I should paint. I should write letters.


I’ll watch more god damned West Wing because that is a lot of how I numb out at this point.

Don’t do anything you will regret in the future. Just be “good”.

I don’t regret what I’ve done. Not the people I’ve tied up. Not the people I’ve hit–ok, I regret some of the fist fights in grade school. I don’t regret being a pervert. I found people who were happy to go on the ride with me and I don’t think we did anything wrong. I just don’t want to teach my kids.

That is what it comes down to. I don’t want to teach my kids to be perverts. I don’t want them to look at me from a distance and know the kinds of things I used to do on the weekend.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this one play partner I had. She was willing to let me do some… horrifying? fun? intense? things. I wonder what she has been doing lately. I really shouldn’t call and ask.

Avoidance is a PTSD symptom. But is this avoidance a problem or a good thing?

Playing favorites

When I talk to other mothers I frequently hear that one or more of their children strongly prefers daddy. Often to the point where mom is refused–sometimes with venom. I listen to these stories and think, “Huh. How did that happen?”

My kids have had individual minutes where they want their dad more than me. They are thrilled when they get to spend a day with him. But they want me there. Always me. Mommy mommy mommy. We are the all-mommy-all-the-time channel. Sometimes I feel a weird mixture of pride and pain. Am I fucking my kids up? Am I too naked in my desperation for their love so they can’t feel safe stating a preference for their father? Do I not allow him enough time with them? And yet there is a part of me that feels so very relieved that at least for a few years of my life I get to find out what it feels like to be cherished and adored. I am the favorite. I am Noah’s favorite. I am Shanna’s favorite. I am Calli’s favorite. And my heart explodes with joy.

I adamantly refuse to pick a favorite. I say Noah is my favorite boy and I can’t pick a favorite girl because they are each wonderful in different ways and I couldn’t do without either of them. I need the whole set. NEED NEED the whole set. All of them. I don’t have a single favorite.

I need to be part of this team. I need to have a group where I actually feel wanted and included and like I am important. I need this so much.

Sometimes I feel a little sad that maybe my kids know that I need them and I am going to damage them because that is too much pressure.

I counter my fierce need with telling them that they have to live their own lives and have adventures without me–just come back and tell me stories. I will probably always be the most appreciative audience you ever have.

You really and truly know how I feel about you. I don’t hold back. I tell you how I really feel. When I have a problem with my children’s behavior I am very specific “I love you but right now I’m really upset that you are doing _____. I don’t think it is a good idea because ______.” Sometimes the because is “I am on my last nerve and I’m about to start screaming and not be able to stop–seriously you need to stop making that noise.”

I tell my kids a lot that dealing with people is weird. Everyone has a long list of little ways they need to be accommodated and depending on how good of support they have from people in their life, they may not even know they are getting the accommodation. They might have no idea that they are really weird and the way they want to be treated is downright odd. The people who know them are used to it and don’t question it so for them it is normal.

I can be hard to live with. I have a lot of rules. I have a lot of preferences and nit picky crap I care about way too much. The best I can say is I’m sorry, but at least I can tell you the details about what I want instead of just exploding with inarticulate rage. I’ve lived with that and it sucks.

More than 70% of parents think it is ok to spank. I think that if I have to hit my kids I have failed to teach them. Hitting is a mark of *my* failure–not theirs. First I failed to teach in the first place. Then I went on to fail in modeling how to fix mistakes. When you hit your child you teach them that the right thing to happen when they make a mistake is the person they love most in the world should hurt them.

Nope. Not in my house. No matter how nutty they drive me. I worry about the screaming though. I haven’t been documenting it lately because I haven’t been typing. My arms hurt quite a bit. The screaming hasn’t been daily or even weekly. Not super nasty, either. But I’ve threatened too much in the last few weeks.

I don’t want to be that kind of person. I think it is chicken shit to do it and then apologize and act like that makes it all ok. It doesn’t.

I’m kind of glad that I get to go through a famine period of not spending money. Staying home sounds like a smart idea. We need to get used to each other again. We’ve been spending a lot of time out in the world bouncing off other people and their boundaries. It makes it harder for the kids and I to really see one another. We are all constantly changing. If we stop staring we miss important stuff.

I always thought I would change less quickly once I became an adult. Not so much.

I go through periods of screaming when I’ve been running (metaphorically) too hard and too long and I have no more patience left. I’m not being proactive enough about limiting my activities. I have such a hard time telling people no. If someone wants a relationship with me the answer is yes. But I don’t actually have time.

This is why we aren’t poly. I don’t have any energy going spare. Sure, I have needs like crazy. I don’t have any energy to give. And every outside relationship requires energy. I would have to steal it away from other parts of my life: Noah, the kids, writing, gardening, etc.

I don’t want to waste all of the energy of my life pursuing people to fuck. I’ve done that. Lots of it. I’ve fucked orders of magnitude more people than most ever do in a lifetime. Meh. It was alright. It was fun while I was doing it. I don’t regret it. I can foresee futures where such behavior could be appealing again. But right now it would be theft and it would be destructive to the three relationships I care the most about.

It is pragmatic and self-serving. But man any time I go somewhere alone I manage to find a likely target. Hunting is so innate. And I know which smiles are likely to be followed up on. It took being told no a few hundred times to learn which smile means, “Ask.” I’m feeling antsy. I miss feeling exciting.

I feel like a work horse and I miss being a race horse. I used to pull chariots; sometimes literally while doing pony play.

I get random flashes of memories of things I’ve done sometimes. Like when I’m out running I will notice that I’m moving through my *ahem* paces. I usually laugh at myself and try to consciously get back to more of a “running” gate. I’m not entering any pony competitions any year soon here. Doesn’t matter if my trot is fine.

Sometimes it feels very weird to look at this vanilla, monogamous life and think “What in the hell made me think I want this?!”

I’m having trouble sleeping. I’ve had a lot of time to think and I haven’t been typing lately. Lots of thoughts churning.

I do want this, though. I want this so much that I stop every day to specifically be grateful for what I have. I have Noah and Shanna and Calli. And they all love me. I get to be their favorite, at least for now. I understand that someday Shanna and Calli will go find somebody to snuggle who is uhm more snuggly with them than I am. (I have boundaries around snuggling with them. Whoo boy.) I get this precious time.

The home school tea party for today was cancelled due to low attendance. I’m not up for putting together a big party for three kids who aren’t mine. We will try again on another date/time to see if we can make it actually work. I will figure something out for the Friday Funhouse tonight. It’ll work out..

The girls are watching Harry Potter 2. I won’t let them watch 3 yet. Honestly I don’t think I will let them watch more movies in the series until they have read the books. Incentive. I sorta wonder sometime when Shanna will decide to read. I try not to harp on it but she probably notices that I have feelings. She’s like that. She notices me.

Today on the bike ride she yelled at me not to hover. So I rode on side streets and added loops to give her time to do each block before I watched her carefully check both ways before crossing the street. I didn’t stand near her though. She wanted space and she was being careful.

This growing apart business is hard. But learning how to do this is what we are doing right now. Gotta just do it.

Going to see a geyser

I’ve never seen a geyser before. A friend asked us to go with her family up to the petrified forest. It will be an adventure.

I’ve been noticing that I should be tracking our “school” activities at this point. We are officially home schooling. Oh goodness. More things to track. So much excitement.

We are actively working on Hindi, Spanish, math skills, and history is always a frequent topic in our house. As unschoolers this is all happening in a kind of free form manner.

What does unschooling mean for us? It means that we pursue child-led-education. We don’t follow curriculums and we don’t worry about hitting the milestones exactly when everyone else hits the milestones. It means asynchronous learning. It means having middle school level discussions about the body with pre-readers.

So far unschooling means that we learn all the time, everywhere we go. We cannot put our learning in a building and leave it there. Learning is all around us.

I’m told, by more experienced unschooling parents, that with unschooling the key isn’t to sit down and map out what you will do with a year. You have no idea in advance. The key is to accurately record what you are actually doing and give yourself credit. You won’t be able to predict how your children will learn in advance.

I wouldn’t have guessed that most of our first written down math problems would be in service of selling things in the front yard. If you want to learn to make change, this is the process.

It has already been a busy year for learning things and September is only half-way through. I need to record better. Maybe if I wrote down that yesterday we studied Hindi and read books and cooked panna cotta for the first time (I didn’t cook–Noah and the kids did.) I wouldn’t worry so much that we “aren’t doing anything”. We are doing things. Just not all the things in a set order every day.

Having faith that the future will work out is not my strong suit. I guess there needs to be a first time for everything.

Pay the piper.

I’m sitting here looking at Mint. I’m not looking forward to admitting how I did this year with money. Not so good. I mean, I’m paying all the bills and everything will come even and I am investing money. I’m just not doing everything I want to be doing. I’m getting distracted. Life is very distracting.

And I’m about to hemorrhage money. Whimper.

To be clear: I am grateful that my problems are at this level. My life is really easy and lucky. I am not worried about how to pay for rent or food. I am whining about not paying my mortgage off as many years early as I would prefer. Perspective is important. No matter what my mortgage will be paid off–that’s not in question. The question is will I be able to shave seven or more years off of my fifteen year mortgage. That’s a rather tractable, attractive problem in the scheme of things.

If I fail and I only pay my mortgage off in six years because I remodeled my bathroom and went on a Disney Cruise for my tenth anniversary and went on a five month road trip with my kids and…

I can’t really get upset. I have one of the easiest possible adulthoods ever had by my species. It is really weird to understand that.

Take a deep breath and get the fuck over feeling “stressed”. Most of the people I know (including my partner) have to actually “perform” more than me. I have a very unique amount of freedom.

There are almost zero “shoulds” in my life. I do what I want when I want. I have enough money to eat what I want when I want it. I live in one of the most wonderfully diverse places on earth for food. And I have enough money to eat out many times a week. That is luck I could not imagine as a child.

I’m thinking about that because I’m looking at money and realizing I should try to uhhh not be so expansive for the next few months. If I manage to reign things in then everything will balance out and I’ll hit my basic savings goals for the year. Right now I’m very behind. I’m basically a full month of pay behind where I want to be on saving. That’s bad heading into the last quarter. Given what I wish I was putting into the mortgage I’m actually closer to two full months of income behind on where I want to be for saving.

I feel like I have been very bad.

I feel like I want to be very conservative with money for the next few months. I feel like I could just about make up where I wish I was. But it would mean cutting driving down to nearly nothing. It would mean eating a lot more beans.

I feel like I should have a conversation with the family tonight at dinner. I don’t think I should make this decision for everyone.


Next of kin

The future is always scary to me. Lots of worry about the future. Godmama is out of the ICU. She is moving to a rehabilitation facility today or tomorrow. She is expected to make a full recovery. It is not clear yet what extent the brain injury will have long term impact. It isn’t clear how long recovery will be–months or years.

I feel kind of cold for worrying about the impact this will have on my kids. We need to go visit our lawyer anyway and take my childhood best friend out of the paper work. The person who was supposed to be executor moved to a different state and hasn’t initiated contact once since moving. I’m seeing that as a bad idea going forward.

If Jenny lived in this country it would be a no-brainer. But international stuff is tricky. I feel scared.

How do I make sure my kids will be safe? Well, first of all you have to accept that if you put your children into moving vehicles you can’t guarantee that they will be safe. But moving on down from that risk…

I didn’t understand what commitment meant when I was younger. Now that I’ve actually been part of a family for a while I have a better idea.

I’m scared. But the future will come and that will be that.

Today I will run five miles, finish the drawings for the remodel, and who knows what else. It will be a busy day. Like they all are.

Next 10k race in 18 days. Half marathon eight weeks past that, so ten weeks out. Oh boy.

Bathroom and kids

I’m using most of my time and energy on designing the bathroom remodel. I’ve done three drawings so far (scale looking down from above) and now I need to draw looking at the walls. It takes me many many hours because I’m researching all of the actual items I will use. So I get to look at toilets and vanities and sinks and bath tubs and…

I came down like a box of hammers on the kids, “Actually it’s not ok for you to do that” and all of a sudden we get along really well. The last two days have been smooth. Hilarious. They don’t fight me when I give firm boundaries. Mostly only when I’m being squishy. I’m rereading the development books. I need to back the hell off of Calli. She’s only just turned four. I have six or seven year old expectations of her and it isn’t fair. Time to stop that crap. She’s doing great.

Both of them blow me away every day. I feel so grateful that I get to be with them for so much time. I enjoy their company so much. I feel guilty for enjoying my time alone in the garage so much. Ok, sure I wish someone else entertained them for 3-5 hours a day. I get the appeal of school. I just wish the American school system wasn’t going to hell in a hand basket.

Bounce (as usual)

Holy Irritation, Batman! Irritated. Like, crawl the walls and stab people irritated. My kids are jumping up and down on every hot button I have.

I went away. Kids need to be irritating to people who leave because they want to see if the person who left did it because the kids aren’t loved. I get it. It’s normal and developmental and all that. OH MY GOD.

Last night Calli got to have her FIRST EVER experience of going out with allowance money to buy things she wanted to buy. My baby is growing up. She picked out a Rainbow Dash wallet (got to have somewhere to keep your money) and a present for her friend. I’m not saying what the present is because the mom reads here. Suffice to say: it is very kid appropriate. Calli will probably come visit and want to borrow it. Oy.

I’m having very mixed feelings about a way that I’m disciplining Shanna. I have rules about taking food out of the refrigerator without asking. If you ask 9/10 times the answer is yes. Sometimes I’m saving something for a particular meal and I really don’t want you to take it. But, ASK. Shanna… Shanna really thinks it is ridiculous that she isn’t allowed to do anything she wants at any moment. So when she got into the fridge yesterday I said, “Ok you just gave up dessert for the weekend.” I’m having second thoughts. I *really* am not sure it is right to punish with food at all. Plus, we are going to a birthday party. I feel like a giant asshole.

But holy hell the girl doesn’t take me seriously. Maybe I am being inappropriately controlling. I am open to that argument. Maybe I should just relax about the food stuff…. but then they would never eat real food and I would never be able to complete a meal because pieces would be gone. Never the raw meat or veggies. I would live on meat and veggies and they would eat all the cheese and yogurt when I wasn’t available. Then they would never ever sit down to a meal with me.

I kinda tried seeing if it would work better for a few days once. My kids are too little. Self control they do not have. And when they aren’t hungry they just can’t sit down to have the pretense of a meal.

So I feel like a giant asshole. I told Shanna that if she is respectful about turning down the dessert at the birthday party today I would probably relent for Sunday. I told her, “If you cry and make the mom feel bad for you… forget Sunday. No way. You earned this. I’ve talked to you about the fridge 47,839 times. If you are polite, I will not be a jerk about the whole weekend. I know it is hard to remember things.” I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve punished infractions with regards to the fridge. Well, I’ve yelled before. They’ve probably had time out. But I don’t think I have withdrawn privileges before. That feels more like a punishment.

And I never ever feel good about taking dessert away. I believe that we live in a culture that is super saturated with sugar. I try to limit how much my family gets because it isn’t good for us, but we have a fairly high sugar diet. My limits are higher than some people allow in the first place by a huge margin. Sometimes I will say, “Because we went to ___ and there was a river of sugar we are skipping after dinner dessert tomorrow” but that is as far as I try to go with withholding dessert. It’s a trade more than a withholding.

I feel really uncomfortable with power struggles over sugar. And yet I believe it is a highly addictive substance that my species has proven issues with and these are my kids and it is my job to take care of them. Complicated feelings.

At some point in your life you need to deal with the fact that there are arbitrary rules sometimes. My refrigerator rules are close to arbitrary. I could afford to replace food at whatever rate they consumed it. But man, when do I get to say, “You have to respect what I say at least a little.”

If I punish them for not respecting me I’m not exactly earning respect, now am I? Only I kind of am. If I say something a few thousand times and never back it up I’m teaching them that I don’t really mean it. If I back it up then they do believe me when I say things. Shanna does express appreciation for the fact that she knows I really mean what I say. I don’t bluff. I don’t try to stretch my reach slightly beyond where I can actually reach. I have my boundaries and they are god damn brick walls with sentries on top.

I won’t know if I’m doing the right thing until it is far too late to course correct. I have horrifying anxiety and guilt around punishing my kids. It seems like such a bad idea. This is why I don’t hit. I’m never sure I’m in the right. You shouldn’t hit people unless you are 150% sure it is necessary. With my kids I never have more than a 10% sure impulse because I KNOW hitting isn’t the answer.

But taking dessert away… that is a lot more muddy. I’m not *hurting* her. I’m not saying she can never have it again. I’m saying, “you took a sugary thing out of the fridge without permission, fine. You traded that for your next dessert. Sucks for you that it was going to be at a birthday party.”

I worry about my need for control. Worry. Worry. Worry. But I worry a lot more about parents who abdicate control over their children. My kids need me. They are not yet able to care for themselves or make decisions about their best interests. They just don’t have the full scope of information yet. I don’t control everything. I fear I try to control too much. Which is hilarious considering that I control a very small fraction of how much most parents control.

My kids have an amount of freedom nearly unheard of in their generation. And I feel guilty for trying to control them too much. Irony.

We are still going to the birthday party. We still went to the mall and had fun shopping. We will still have a wonderful time at a birthday party. And Shanna will have the opportunity to practice her self control. It is a very hard skill. I get it. I have to practice too. It is really hard. I told her, “Next time you are tempted you will be more likely to think about the potential consequences. Is it really so hard to come and say, ‘Mom, can I get ___ out of the fridge?'”

I say yes 9/10 times. I try so hard to say yes. It is a serious, conscious priority in our relationship. But when there is a boundary and you ignore it… watch out.

It probably doesn’t help that there has been an argument raging on my PTSD support site since before I left for my birthday. One dude asked those of us who were habitually abused as children if any of us feel we have gone on to be more successful than our abusers. Of course this means lots of people who don’t feel successful have been yelling at us for days that we are mean and saying bad things about them for not doing… something. This morning I snapped and said it isn’t much of a support site if I am never allowed to talk about the things I’m proud of and I can only talk about what a worthless whore I feel like.

I’m sorry you feel so broken you can’t do exactly the same things I can do. If I try I can hold the bar of “success” such that I never ever ever appear to hit it. I totally can do that. I feel like life has actually landed me in a slightly more successful than average position (college degrees aren’t held by more than 50% of the population, I’m not struggling financially in a time when most of my generation can’t get a toe hold) but I still have a lot of issues.

I still spend a lot of my life crying in the garage because I feel like a pathetic, worthless whore who should die. How do you define “success”?

I feel like if I can’t talk about the things that I feel proud of doing then I don’t really have a lot of reason to hope. I could look at people who have done more than me and decide that I should give up because I haven’t done what they have done. I could. I really could.

I understand that it isn’t fair that I have a partner who can support me financially and many people with similar mental health issues do not have such a luxury. I get it that the roll of the dice is terribly unfair. For the record, I sign every petition to congress about a mandatory minimum income I find. I think everyone needs more support than they have.

If you hate me because I managed to find someone to support me, ok. That’s fine. You can hate me for that. I don’t “deserve” to be in the position I am in. I’m not a successful person because Noah wants to fuck me. I think that my success is mostly orthogonal to the fact that Noah helped me.

I graduated from college before I met Noah. I entered into the teaching program without him. The strides I have made in emotional control have been more possible because of him, but I did the work on my own.

Am I not allowed to feel pride about any of that? Really? I should decide that because I have PTSD I should give up trying and hide at home forever because people like me can’t be successful.

Fuck that noise.

I’ve studied a lot of history. I like history. History fascinates me. History is the story of the people who would not fucking give up. Human beings have incredible powers to adapt and change and be different than they are originally.

I can tell you a story that makes me sound pathetic, hopeless, and entirely unsuccessful. I can tell you a story that makes me sound nearly heroic, inspiring, and really successful.

Point of view matters. I don’t want to be told I should be trying to sound pathetic. I’m pretty angry about the number of people attacking this thread because “All of you successful people just want us to feel bad.”

No. I don’t want you to feel bad. If you feel bad, that probably happened before you read my posts. If you feel bad that is probably related to your life circumstances and not mine. Don’t fucking act like if I ever have a positive thought I’m shitting on you.

I hate forums.

But I really struggle with feeling alone. And forums are there 24/7. I love forums.

I’m a serious pain in the ass.

I’m god damn allowed to feel proud of myself for graduating from college (first of my direct line that I know about–I have three aunts/uncles who went to college and that’s it in the entire extended family to the best of my knowledge). I don’t need to feel kind of embarrassed because someone else didn’t manage. I don’t need to feel guilty that I am leaving behind my compatriots.

That is the kind of shit that keeps communities down. Why in the hell are we so angry, as a species, at people who do well?

The fact that you feel suicidal doesn’t invalidate all of the things you do with your time while you are feeling suicidal. The fact that I feel worthless doesn’t mean I am. I don’t need to define myself as unsuccessful to earn party loyalty points. I just don’t.

I fucking hate party loyalty.

The West Wing is my best friend. So the series was kind of ridiculous in having Bartlett replace three Supreme Court Justices. But in the process the president interviews different candidates. A rejected one said that some people are moderates because sometimes they go the left and sometimes to the right. A true centrist doesn’t position him/herself on issues.

I think that one of the things that makes me hardest for people to deal with is that I am very difficult to predict on how I will land on issues. And I tend to land really strongly with whatever position I take.

I have positions that are all over the political map. And I’ll get into screaming matches defending all of them. I dislike leftists and right-wing people equally.

Shanna just woke up. She is now telling me that she is going to learn how to write and teach me how to write in a way that doesn’t hurt my hands so I no longer need to keep an online journal.

“Talking with my parents is more fun than anything else. More fun than playing with friends or having tea parties or watching Minecraft tutorials. I love my parents.”

Kid, you make my heart explode with joy. I am so grateful that you are in the world. Now I will pay attention to you instead of the screen.

Great birthday

I am pretty sure this officially qualifies as the best birthday of my life. At the very least it was the lowest stress. I’ll take it. No, I will not be repeating the experiment next year. Next year I will be traveling alone with the kids and it won’t be an option.

I drove up to Guerneville on Tuesday afternoon. I decided to make as little camp as possible. I set up my privacy pop up (it is just big enough to stand up inside and change your clothes if you have what some people might refer to as “modesty”–obviously I got dressed out in the open because that wasn’t my purpose) for my little travel toilet. I’m telling you, as lame as I feel that travel potty opens up a whole new world for me. (I have bladder issues. Being too far from a toilet is an issue for me.)

So outside the van I had the little toilet area, my chair and an ice chest. Everything else stayed in the van and I played with where things might live. I have some ideas for long-term living in the van.

First: I need an air mattress that will fit appropriately in the van. Sleeping on just the tumbling mats is very uncomfortable. Not going to work for months. Shanna says just bring more pillows and my thought is: but what do we do with them when we aren’t sleeping?

Tuesday I stayed near camp and didn’t do much but read. It was lovely.

On my birthday I woke up and sang happy birthday to me. I didn’t manage that day of silence thing. Ha. I am constitutionally incapable of silence, apparently. I talk to myself a lot.

I walked for a few hours. I walked past a spa place on my way out of town (I was just walking wherever) and I had the thought, “hmmm… do I want to waste money?” Short answer: yes.

On the way back into town I stopped and asked if it was possible to get any last minute spa services. Turns out that the person working the desk called around and one nice lady could come in.

Once I met her it felt very serendipitous. Turns out it was also her daughter’s birthday. She told me very specifically that she was so happy to be able to share her mother-love for another daughter on her birthday. I didn’t respond, exactly.

During the massage she asked about my tattoo, like body workers do. I gave very vague hints, like I do when I’m trying to not overwhelm people. She was very nice to me. She was very encouraging. She told me she was proud of me for picking my kids over grown ups who need to be able to take care of themselves. I cried on the table. Later I nearly fell asleep because I was so relaxed.

She totally undercharged me so I left a bigger tip to make up for what she was supposed to charge me. Because that’s how a rich person should roll. I honestly believe that. I hugged her when I left and thanked her for being part of the best birthday of my life.

I walked around for a while longer and got a single scoop vanilla ice cream cone (of *course* vanilla) and walked around town singing happy birthday to myself.

I bought a postcard and wrote on it and sent it to Shanna and Calli and Noah. It has already arrived at the house. The kids… really didn’t care. Oh well. So much for that effort.

I also bought a couple bumper stickers. Now I have reason to clean my disgustingly filthy vehicle. Once upon a time I had a car covered in bumper stickers. I took them all off when I started teaching. I have no one who can fire me now. Maybe time to be obnoxious again. Goodness knows I will drive this vehicle until it completely dies just like I did my last one.

I went back to camp and emptied my potty and got things ready for an easy pack-up-and-go experience.

I went to sleep around dinner time and woke up at 11pm. I drove home. I talked to Pam from 1-3, then went in and seduced Noah. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep during the night so Thursday I was a zombie.

All in all an entirely satisfactory birthday. Two thumbs up. Would do again.

I look forward to taking my kids up to the Russian River now that I understand a little bit more about what that means. We are going to have a lot of fun together.

So now I’m 33. I have weird feelings about 33. My parents were 32 when I was born. It feels like now I have lived through all the prerequisite time they had before me. Now I’m seeing the part of life that they lived through too. Now I’m comparing their direct actions to mine.

Someone on the PTSD forum asked if people are more successful than their abusers. Of course mostly people exploded at him because they feel they aren’t and they have deep shame around that. A few of us said, yes–we are more successful. And it’s ok to ask that question.

Why do some people experience trauma and curl up in a ball without ever being able to function again and some people bounce higher? I don’t know. I wish I did.

Yes, I think I am more successful than anyone else in my family. It’s not about my bank account balance. I am better at managing my impulses. I have managed to stop abusing people. (Yes, I freely acknowledge that I have abused people and I have the potential to do so in the future. I stomp on that like fuck.)

Dwayne. That was the name of the student I talked out of committing murder. I will never forget him. I don’t know if he went on to do it later or not. I hope not. I know that I talked him into a reprieve.

I may feel like a success for the rest of my life because of that moment. On that day I said the right thing. On that day I was able to share the enormity of pain he was in and show him that there were other options.

I wonder what happened to him. I have looked his name up on the internet and so far no murder convictions appear.

I feel successful because even though I *feel* alone sometimes I know that throughout my adult life there have been times when I have whispered “help” and closed my eyes and fallen backwards into a tightly woven web of love. I have the most amazing friends a person can have. I may not be blessed in the blood-relative department (though Shanna and Calli are pretty rad) but I have amazing friends. I have friends who will walk through fire for me.

It was sorta funny when I got to the camp ground. The guy who worked there gave me shit at first and sorta indicated I may not be welcome. Then I said, “Daddy James said I could come.” “James who….?” “James _______”  “Oh!  Of course you can stay! Tell him to come up here soon and visit me!”

It isn’t what you know, it is who you know. And I know some really wonderful people.

I got many wonderful emails and SMSs that I haven’t responded to yet. I’m still just kinda floating in the sleep deprived haze.

Today, we paint. Some friends are coming over to paint the planter boxes with us. It will be a lot of fun.

Life keeps plugging along.

Leaving on a jet plane… not really. In the van.

Today I am free to leave whenever I want to go. I’m going to take the kids to park day first. Noah took the day off work, partially because he wasn’t sure when I was leaving. Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m turning 33.

I’m going to be by myself from when I wake up until I go to sleep. I’m hoping I will be able to think about positive things in addition to my normal free-flowing self-hate.

Shanna helped me pack. She was most insistent. She picked out my clothes and carried things out to the van and she set up my bed. She told me she wanted to make sure I knew how much she loves me.

I don’t deserve her. But I’m going to keep her anyway.

I over reacted at dinner the other night. Shanna used her dress as a napkin. I was kind of a jerk face about it because she happened to be wearing one of the few dresses I have bought for them–it was overpriced but so stinking cute I relented even though I generally don’t buy them clothes. We get so many hand-me-downs and gifts that I don’t have to spend money. But I did on this dress. And she wiped her tomato soup covered mouth on it.

So I went through her closet trying to see how many clothes she has wrecked that way because I was sorta ranting that she was ruining “everything”. When I was done checking I figured out that she has seven dresses that are stained beyond redemption out of… 30 or so? Can’t recall.

So I had to apologize. “I was a jerkface. I ranted about you ruining “all your clothes” and that was inappropriate. You clearly haven’t actually done that. I am so sorry. I totally over reacted. Besides, you are a kid and they are your clothes. I’m not being very nice.”

I told her a bit about when I was a kid. My mom had to buy me things because we moved all the time and I didn’t get hand-me-downs and we were very poor so she couldn’t replace things. My mom was constantly very worried that we not *look* poor. (People who look poor get beat up more often. It’s just true.) So I would get screamed at for days and hit if I did exactly what Shanna did. I told Shanna that I am sorry I am passing this on because I don’t actually *need* to. I’m just repeating what my mama did without thinking about it and that’s wrong.

I’m sorry.

She hugged me and said, “If you feel anxious that Calli should get some hand me downs that aren’t stained maybe we could go through the clothes and pick out a few to keep special and then I get to just wear the rest.”

I told her that it isn’t right that she is more mature than I am. I thanked her for being so thoughtful and generous and kind. I told her that is a brilliant solution.

I like my daughter so much. I feel so grateful for being near her every day. I feel like my kids are the first people in my whole life who not only can bear my company they like me. All the time. Every day. Even Noah needs a lot more breaks from me than they do.

I think it is funny that I will probably spend most of my day away missing the girls. That is what happens on Godmama weekends. I spend a lot of time thinking about them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I still don’t know what I’m bringing for my dinner. I also haven’t heard back from the camp grounds. Hm. Maybe I should have called more than a few days in advance. Whoops. I didn’t think mid-week would be a problem. I may need a plan B.

Don’t worry. I’ll come up with something. I’m resourceful. And rich. This whole “I can throw money at problems” thing is like magic. Thank you, Noah.

I will be getting off the internet soon. First I will be printing some maps. I am debating if I want to bring my phone “just in case” I get lost and need directions (that totally fucking happens) but leave it on airplane mode (or just turned off) for most of the weekend. Do I have the self control? Not sure.

I would strongly prefer to just not have screens with me at all because I don’t want to use one the whole time I am gone. I need a break. My arms fucking hurt. I brought plenty to do.

I haven’t had a whole day to fill just by myself in… years. Many years. Almost a decade I think. More than 24 hours alone with no agenda of work in front of me? Weird. I’ve had time alone. I haven’t had idle time alone. I don’t generally do idle time. I think this is partially in retaliation for how much idle time I had as a child. I’m ready to fucking do something.

But not tomorrow. Tomorrow I will do… only whatever feels nice that second. I’ll get bored (ha–probably not) and see where it takes me. I don’t get bored. I get busy. Being bored is a product of not having enough work to do. I always have work in front of me. Challenging, interesting work that I create for myself to do because I am not a get bored kind of person.

I have seventy bazillion things I want to do, build, see, hear… I don’t have time for boredom. But I do need rest.  Somehow I doubt it will be boring.

Lal is Hindi for red. Ungli is finger. I brought language workbooks. Working on building Hindi vocabulary. Working on Spanish grammar. My grammar sucks so much in other languages. I’m trying though. Some day I won’t sound like a slow 6 year old. Learning Hindi is giving me renewed confidence in my Spanish vocabulary, which is kind of funny.

I have all these words in my head but I don’t know how to put them together so I don’t use them. I *did* memorize a huge chunk of the Spanish language in all those years of study. I surprise myself. I didn’t think I managed. I just… don’t know how to speak. But I can pick out words in a newspaper with the best of them. I can get up to 70% in a lot of stories. Luckily there are lots of cognates that help me with the other 30% so I can usually understand the gist.

I’m 33. I used to believe that if I wasn’t multi-lingual as a child it just couldn’t happen. Now I think that by the time I am an old woman I will be able to interview people in several languages. It will happen.

It feels kind of weird, this preparing for old age thing. It is weird wanting to live. Expecting that I will live. Expecting that unless a tragedy occurs to rip me from my children… no pain is enough to justify leaving the world just because I want to.

I want to see if Noah is ever going to be able to work with teenagers to help them learn how to code the way he wants to.

I want to see what Shanna actually reaches given her ambitions. Will she change her mind and do something she has never even heard of yet?

Calli is an ever expanding mystery for me. I am continually shocked at her depth and intensity. I underestimate her and I look forward to finding out what she becomes. It is going to be a surprise to me no matter what it is. I was surprised she was a girl. I haven’t stopped being surprised since the day she was born. On the second day it was, “What do you mean you are ok sleeping on the bed without touching me? Whoa. That’s a whole new world of possibilities.”

I tend to think Calli is sad when she is angry or angry when she is sad. She generally screams the difference at me. We’ll figure something out. I will learn to say, “I can’t tell what you are feeling–are you willing to share with me how you are feeling?”

I can be taught.

Noah told me the other day that he draws great comfort from the fact that as the years progress, I keep trying new things. Like starting birth control as an experiment with my hormones. I look for new and different therapy styles and options. I *do* see doctors–a whole variety of them. I have been willing to accept the hit in overall lifestyle choices to pay for more body work because it makes me easier to live with if I’m in less pain.

I don’t just accept that how I am is how I will always be.

I believe the future has an endless array of options. I believe that how hard I work every single day matters to my future. I understand that making one mistake ten thousand times won’t get me where I want to be. I need to make ten thousand different mistakes. (Luckily I’m already well into the process. I fuck up so much.)

Yes, I try to keep my sense of humor about my mistakes. Otherwise I cry and want to hurt myself. I hear little voices. Bye.

Sad and scary

The Godmama is still in the ICU. On the 3rd she was in a terrible motorcycle accident while riding her motorcycle. She is still not doing well. She is no longer required to use a breathing tube, which is progress. No idea how long her recovery is going to take. This is really sad partially because her wife moved to the other coast a month ago for medical school. So much for medical school for a while.

I feel sad and helpless. I can’t even visit her because she isn’t stable enough.

bodies and food and sleeping

I slept from 7-5:30. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was awake for a little bit around midnight. I wandered in to put the chicken broth in the fridge because I forgot to do it earlier. Then I woke up around 4 and climbed in bed with Calli because Shanna had come into my bed and I couldn’t move any more. But I still got more sleep than average. I assume this is good for me.

I’m not shaking/trembling. I neither feel self-hating nor like I want to set things on fire. Watching the hormonal cycles come and go is pretty awful.

Maybe it is partially because Noah gave me time off yesterday. I got time alone. Maybe it is mostly just that I passed the worst few days of my cycle. Maybe it is that I am *really* excited for the trip I’m leaving for on Tuesday. Only gone two nights. But I get to be alone. Blissfully, entirely alone. No one will scream in my face. No one will hurt me on accident.

I feel like the fall no-eating period is starting early this year. I feel like it happens more in October, but maybe I am misremembering. This has happened every year for many years. The season shift from summer to fall isn’t good for my appetite.

I think of it as my yearly punishment for my father’s death. I am not sure how it is going to work with running this year. Yesterday I ate pancakes for breakfast (with yogurt and strawberries) and pad see ewe for lunch and I *could not eat* dinner. Even though I ran six miles yesterday. I did a bunch of other random chores too.

So it begins. My stomach hurts. I don’t remember it starting before my birthday in the past, but my memory is far from perfect. Noah says that the no-eating thing is hard for him to track because my eating is tied to my mood and stomach pain and illness. When I’m not feeling good I don’t eat.

Why does food feel like something I have to earn by being “good” enough? I’m not very good. That’s an ongoing problem.

My arms hurt really badly. I think I slept wrong and my right shoulder is jacked up.

I did my best to consciously *not* pay attention to anniversaries this summer. I noticed they were coming and deliberately distracted myself so I missed the days. Dad’s death is harder. I wish it was as easy to pretend I don’t notice as Tommy’s death.

Oh man. Why do I feel overwhelmingly like I killed my father this year? I didn’t. He killed himself.

Stupid hormones.

Also: I submitted my book to one publishing house. I have my eye on a second. Those two are the only ones for a little while.


I agonize about how to emotionally handle people needing space (and I worry about the logistics too) because I don’t have good models. I don’t know what being appropriate for that person in the future means. I don’t know how I will change or improve to be less of a problem.

I don’t think that someone needing space from me is a sign of deficiency or badness on their part. I don’t think I could put up with me if I weren’t me. But I don’t know what to do. I want people to feel safe. And I manifestly cannot create such a feeling in all people.

The run today was such a good idea. It helped my mood tremendously. I started out with my knees feeling like water. I felt like there was no way I could run up that hill. But I ran up the hill any way. By the end I felt a lot better.

In the past, I did genuinely hurt people in ways that required them to need space. At this point in my life I am challenging for people who have a lot going on in their own lives. I require a lot of energy to put up with. But I’m not hurting people (to the best of my knowledge). I’m causing them to have more emotions than they can handle. That happens. I do tend to stir up emotions in people.

That doesn’t mean I’m a piece of shit. It doesn’t mean I do everything wrong. It means sometimes I am hard for people and they need space. Sometimes I have to take space from people. I try to come back.

Even if I’m awkward and stilted and unnatural because I’m afraid of doing something wrong again. I try to come back. And people let me. That has to be good enough. That is all there is.

This morning Calli yelled at me that she wished I wasn’t her mother. I cried and cried and cried. On the heels of a friend standing us up last night (it was an accident–they feel bad) and a friend saying she needs space (totally makes sense–her life is exploding) it just sucked.

When I kind of surfaced Calli came to me and said, “Mom, I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings. You have to know that when I say things like that I’m just mad. I don’t really mean it. I love you very much and I want you.”

How can she be only four?

I don’t want to bang my head because someone asked for space. I want to bang my head because it is the week before my period and that happens to me. It is important for me to remember that. The circumstances are just standing near the inevitable.