My kids are nice to me.

Yesterday I didn’t talk very much. I had headphones on for a lot of the day. I was in an evil, hateful mood and it was so clear to me that it wasn’t the fault of anyone I was standing near. (Sorry, Pam.) So the birth control pills haven’t leveled out my mood yet. But I’ve only been on them a week and I started mid-cycle so who knows. Next month will be more of a test. I haven’t felt suicidal so far, just homicidal. See, this is why I don’t own big weapons. Mood swings are bad.

I feel so much guilt when I unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe anything/anyone. Like I owe these people my attention. I really don’t. I don’t have enough time in the day to pay attention to everyone who is on the internet. I just don’t. I’ve cut my reading back substantially. If the people in my daily life wrote blogs I would follow them religiously. (You turkeys are not providing me with nearly enough voyeuristic delight.)

But I’m really tired of following people I don’t really know and I won’t know them better. Some people aren’t interested in me and that’s cool. I can be annoying.

I’ll just leave you alone. You can spend time with the people you actually like and I’ll be over here. Doing something else. Maybe alone and maybe not. Who knows. I don’t mind being alone as much as I used to.

Although the more alone at home time I have, the more lonely I feel. To this effect I’ve been back on Mothering.com. Mostly hitting up the unschooling board to talk about philosophies with people who aren’t going to send periodic reminders that if you aren’t TOTALLY AN UNSCHOOLER you should go somewhere else. My local list is not very inviting. There is some kind of metric of purity I don’t understand. If you say something too homeschooley that isn’t unschooley enough (No one is able to tell me an actual difference) the mods get really upset and tell you to take it elsewhere. They remind us extensively that there are other homeschooling-not-unschooling groups where we should be instead.

I’m getting really upset about feeling shoved out of a club I am clearly in. There are very few people on this planet who get to assign me hoops to jump to prove something. These women? Not so fucking much.

I would really like to know more unschoolers. Not because I want to ditch the school-at-home friend or because I want to fill up the time so we can’t see traditional schoolers.

There is a huge difference between talking to other unschoolers about school-related-anxiety than talking to someone who schools. Schooling parents (whether at home or brick and mortar) have different anxieties about learning or not. For me, is my child experiencing holes in her learning because I was really stupid and I missed something really important? I am responsible. And I’m not following a road map. That is scary sometimes. If you follow a curriculum… you have a road map. Your kid will vary, sure…. but you at least have the fucking map.

Someone drove me out in the middle of the desert, blindfolded, gave me a water bottle and a compass and said, “See you later, sucker!”

Other unschoolers have more of the same experience. Unschoolers make some stupid choices. We reinvent the wheel every fucking time. “Hey, there’s this great way to teach this subject you just buy this curriculum and…” “Oh no! NOT US!!!! WE WANT TO MAKE UP OUR OWN PATH.” Not so smart, I think.

Ok, I could defend it at great length. There are reasons I make the much harder choice of reinventing the wheel (twice–my kids have dramatically different education needs and not just because of the age gap) but it’s hard. I want advice. And if you don’t unschool… it’s conjecture.

I listen to conjecture with way more grace than I used to. Let us give me credit for that.

I think my social circle is probably pretty much set for the next ten years. But I’d like to find 2-5 more unschooling families. Preferably within five miles of my house. (Since I’m writing a wish list.)

I already know three home schooling families who live within a four mile radius of us. If you include further afield in Fremont, but still “local” we know four or five other families but we don’t see them as much.

If I got to write my future (not that I think I will necessarily get to do this, but this is my fantasy here) I would find two additional families to the ones I’m already really tight with. Eventually my cat will die (I feel so guilty every time I think of this) and the one family will be able to come over again. (My cat is causing them breathing problems and that is just Not Ok. I support them not coming over indefinitely until circumstances change. We meet at the park instead.)

Anyway back to what I want. I would love to have five families within a 6 mile-8 mile diameter circle so the kids would be able to ride back and forth to one anothers houses within a few years. What I would *love* is to have periods of time where we do co-op type learning. Mondays are at house A. Tuesdays are at house B. Wednesdays are at house C. Thursdays are at house D. Fridays are at house E (or alternatively–Friday could be “at home” day for everyone–maybe I just want one more family–ha).

Different people are good at teaching different things. I don’t mean English/Math/Science/History (although as the kids get closer to middle school that could be hella fun). I mean, I would love to really teach the kids about painting and building and gardening stuff. These are skills I like teaching to children. While they are small is a great time to learn it so they just have it in their back pocket for later. I am *not* the best mama to teach most cooking stuff. I mean, I can. But it’s not my passion. Other people want to do that crafty shit  I mean wonderful stuff. (I can’t sit down and work with my hands. So I’m kind of a jerk sometimes. I’m sorry.)

It’s a process.

I think I want this because I read about something similar in an off-beat parenting book. I think My Mother Wears Combat Boots but I might be wrong. She had lots of neat details about unschooling her kid.

I don’t necessarily mean spending 6-8 at the various houses. 3-4 hours might be plenty. Partially I would love to let Shanna have the experience of seeing *the same group of people* that many times a week. Mostly my kids have to be ok with the fact that people in their life are all on very long rotations. I just can’t handle driving more.

Noah and I have been having some pretty fierce debates about feminism and gaming and how when you support the system that helps the rapists (sure–you can have a great excuse but what about political dissidents?!) then… well. I was a dickhead. I said, “When the Nazi’s were killing Jews there were people who put the Jews on the train. And there were people who stood there and watched and said, ‘There’s nothing I can do.'”

So I lost that argument according to Godwin. I can live with that. For the record I’m not calling Noah a fascist. Nor a Satanist (which he shouted at me yesterday because he was using a straw man because he didn’t want to directly argue with my main point.) No, you aren’t a fascist nor a Satanist. But sometimes you are a rape apologist. Sometimes you think it is way more important to protect 10,000 guilty men rather than risk 1 innocent man and fuck how many women are thrown under the bus in the process.

No, I don’t think you are a Nazi. Nor a Satanist. I’m more realistic than that. You don’t do anything bad. You just stand there and say, “There’s nothing I can do.” That will always be hard for me. That will always feel like complicity. I know it isn’t *Noah’s* fault any of this happens. I know he isn’t the one out there harassing women.

But the men who do aren’t going to listen to women like me. They are going to listen to men. Only men are allowed to change male culture. Not me. And I’m really tired of being told that I should somehow come up with a way to fix something that exists before me, outside of me, and almost entirely out of my sight. I am not welcome in any of the circles where it could be fixed.

It isn’t my fight. Not really. I can fight defensively from my side. (Which means offense, but I’m learning to be more careful with that.) I can’t change that side. That is literally Not Within My Power.

I don’t think Noah is God or anything. I already gave that handle away. (And now God has a kid! The universe is really interesting sometimes. No, they didn’t name the kid Jesus. I did not pronounce that like Jesus Christ and more like Jesus who picks your veggies.)

My expectations are too high and thus I will be disappointed. I know that. I know it isn’t Noah’s fault. I don’t actually expect him to get on his white steed and run off to save all the womens. That’s not really a role I would assign him.

What do I even want him to do? Not defend the behavior that protects rapists. Reddit and 4chan are wrong for covering up the identities of people who steal pictures of women and putting them on the internet.

That’s not free speech. That’s permission to commit as many crimes as you want. Different. 

Stealing and displaying something isn’t free speech. It isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t.

(If you live in more than a bubble than I do–some asshole on 4chan hacked into Apple’s icloud storage and stole some naked pictures of celebrities from the database. Some have been claimed as true and some have been denied as fakes. I haven’t seen any and I don’t intend to. They were Not Made For Me.)

I am pro pornography. If you want good pornography I can ask you some genre questions and probably refer you to one of my friends who works in that genre so I can give you high assurances they aren’t being exploited and in fact they love their job.

I am going to submit my book to two publishing houses on Monday. Like, put it in the mail. I have almost all the stuff together.

I have a handful of early readers (no comments yet) so that is… nerve wracking. I’m pretty sure that me and the editor are the only ones to read it cover to cover yet.

The planter boxes are coming along. I’ve painted the pallets on top and one of the bases is about 85% done. The kids did it by themselves. They just missed a few small spots. No biggie. Easy to fix.

Noah, I think you are a saint for putting up with me. I’m really pretty harsh with you. You tell me that my level of happiness is directly tied my expectations and you are right.

And yet… I am a controlling person. I like having influence. Over the ten years you have known me, you have changed a lot. I wish my methods had been more gentle. I appreciate that when I hit something you are unwilling to change you are very clear so I can move on. I don’t like wasting my effort. I put a lot of effort into you. I want it to be useful instead of wasted.

I love you. I know I am not easy to live with. I know I move things around all the time and you have trouble figuring things out. I get the impression you grew up in a static environment. I’m sorry I can’t give you one. This is the least dynamic my living environment has been. I am practically static. All I do is shift my organizing stuff as the proportions change. Not that much real change. But sometimes the canned foods are in the kitchen and sometimes the garage. It sorta depends on how many we have.

I’m trying to figure out how to fit. I’ve never fit anywhere ever in my life. This is really hard. I don’t know what it even means.

I was on NextDoor last night (my shrink recommended it) and I sorta went off on the people who were being nasty about how poor people maintain their homes. “Don’t they have any pride?”

There were many years of my life when my food money per month was less than these women consider “just part of life” to spend on a gardner. And yet at this point, I do have a gardner. Whom I overpay because he doesn’t actually do almost anything. But I’m happy about it. He does whatever I want, he’s always super nice and he’s got a kid in UC Davis. I can overpay him a little.

I said that I spend a lot of time walking in our neighborhood and I talk to anyone who will put up with my chattiness. Many of the untended yards are due to poverty or disability or maybe both. Are these really people who need to be shamed because they do not have the resources to keep up with the Joneses?

I’m probably not going to be popular. I can tell.

I’m never going to be quiet again. I have all the privilege I could ever want and more. I am secure. It would be pretty hard to threaten me. Once someone starts threatening my life I will start practicing more with the cross bow I was kindly given and I’ll carry around my baseball bat.

You aren’t going to chase me out of my home. So I feel pretty fucking secure. Maybe it is hubris–if people with guns started hating me I could die. But there isn’t much I could do to protect myself from such men anyway. (Could be women but statistics say it is unlikely.)

Who am I? What am I?

Don’t know. But I’m going to be loud about it.

3 thoughts on “My kids are nice to me.

  1. thendara

    I belong to NextDoor and I’m curious as to why your therapist recommended it, since you’ve had some agitation resulting from online communities. It is super great for some things-I wanted to get rid of a bag of bubble wrap today and it was gone in under 30 minutes. And I learn a lot about stuff going on in my neighborhood that I wouldn’t know because I suck at reading the local paper, and some info is just too inside to be published. Like someone thought they heard gunshots but it turned out to be firecrackers set off by neighbors, at least according to one responder. On the other hand, people often report “suspicious behavior” which is often someone walking around being under the influence of one thing or another, or soliciting for magazine sales or walking around purposelessly (swear to g-d, turns out there’s a halfway house of teenagers who don’t have anything else to do and people felt threatened by them walking in circles around the neighborhood talking). These latter kind of posts reek of privilege even to me, a ridiculously over privileged person. And then when someone posts something even faintly protesting a comment you get a deluge of can’t we all get along shit.. arrrggh. I hope NextDoor is a helpful site for you, but if you find it drives you nutty, you know what to do.

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