Monthly Archives: November 2014

So irritated

I’m in a terrible mood today. Lots of factors. I haven’t been taking “my” time off. Noah feels a lot of pressure to go work more. I don’t think this is mostly coming from me. I think he wants to go do these things. When we get to the point of having more than $100k in cash and way over half a million dollars in investments before we get into some of our other assets and we have virtually no debt (other than our mortgage)… you aren’t working because we desperately need the money. That’s crap. Yes, I have things I would spend money on… but it’s crap that we need it. We don’t need more money.

But Noah would really like to stop working for a company. And he wants to build something on the side before he quits. From where I am sitting he is working two jobs.

I’m struggling with this. Recently he’s been doing a lot of wandering over to the computer to type frantically during our “family” time. I’m feeling abandoned and angry. I haven’t been spending much time with friends–most of what I do get is distracted or rushed. When I do have “time off” I wander off by myself and Noah follows me because he wants attention.

I’ve been sick for a while and that is making life hard. People make plans with me and then decide to cancel them. Three, four flakings in the last week? That adds up for me. Lots of people canceling on me in a week makes me feel really bad. If I hadn’t already scheduled the open house I wouldn’t add one to my calendar right now. Right now I feel like the only appropriate place for me is way way way under the water beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

I got a letter from Kaiser. My case manager is someone handling me being mad at the guy I just fired. That’s going to be what he does and that’s it. They are just trying to make sure I can’t sue for malpractice. They don’t want to help me.

I want to die. I want to get away from people dumping their needs on me while I can’t take care of my own. I don’t know how to get my body to feel ok. I don’t know how to stop feeling like people actually hate me. I don’t know how to feel like I deserve to be alive.

I should probably start with more medication. I haven’t had any today. Part of the trouble is: I’m running low on pills and I can’t bring myself to buy more pills when I have a freezer full of edibles preventing me from buying real food and putting that in my freezer. But all the edibles have wheat or dairy or both. If I have a minimum of three months on an elimination diet… that means I just don’t get to use a big chunk of my freezer for 1/4 of a year.

Reselling it isn’t legal.

I won’t want to take stuff that has been sitting in my freezer for 9+ months on the trip, so I can’t just start my stockpile.

I feel like I’m being mean to Noah and I can’t tell if I actually am or if I just think I’m a mean piece of shit. I’m not being cheerful, that’s for sure.

I feel like both Noah and I are tapped out lately. Both of us want support and the other doesn’t have much (if any) to give. Noah is being ridiculously nice with trying hard to figure out how to cook given this moving target.

Why am I so mad at him for typing a lot when I read a lot? Because I’m a hypocrite. Because the kids want attention and him checking out means that absolutely all of it falls on me and I’m bitter as fuck. I continually feel sad and guilty because I can’t actually help Noah with his work much, but he can help me with mine. And he does. So I feel like a using piece of shit. I’m not helping him so I have no right to expect him to help me.

It really doesn’t help that I’m sick and I don’t feel good and I have no energy. I’ve been doing very little for weeks and I’m not better. I’m less tired than I was, but I feel like “exhaustion” is still a good descriptor for how I’m doing. I’m eating a little more now that I can have garlic. I’m not pooping consistently (well… I’m pooping… but it’s not hard) on the expanded diet and that is making me sick with worry on top of not feeling good.

The last doctor I talked to told me it could only possibly be wheat or dairy. So I reintroduced everything else and lost solid poop. I think she’s wrong.

Also I suspect that I’m on the path to having just the word “Kaiser” trigger anxiety shitting. Yay for feeling like they “care” about my “health”.

I get into these states where I hurt and I don’t know why I hurt and people around me aren’t very helpful and I get so very angry. Then people don’t want to be around me because I’m such an angry person.

I want to die so much. Today I don’t feel very much hope. I want to cut so much.

Noah and I had a fierce argument about Paul Graham. Cause I totally fucking care and all. Or not. Noah likes Paul Graham because he explains how to do things. I am less enamored because the guy is clearly only talking to the top 5% of society but he tries to make it sound like his advice is applicable to *everybody* and if you don’t follow it you are just lazy. Or something.

I have a hard time with people with enormous privilege breaking down their process for success and saying, “It’s easy! What you do is start with step A and then go to step B and then move to step C.” When they don’t understand that there were actually 350 steps before step A that they didn’t realize they were taking. I used as a counter-example Warren Buffet. Everything I’ve read from that man sounded pompous. He makes it really fucking clear that if you haven’t taken the prerequisite 350 steps you’re fucked and he has nothing to say to you. (That’s what I’ve read–I’m sure I haven’t read everything he’s written.)

Not too long ago I read a story about a young girl moving to this country and getting a job as a maid/nanny. She couldn’t figure out how to use the washing machine. So she did the whole family’s laundry by hand. Week after week spreading things out on the grass to dry. (True story–written by the girl who later learned to use a washing machine.)

There are so many steps involved before you are able to go be “successful” in an advanced society. Some of them can be skipped, not most.

I think the most important step is when you figure out that it isn’t YOUR responsibility to hand wash everyone’s clothing. If that girl had even known how to complain about not knowing how to use the machine it would have been different. She had no words to use to ask for help with her ignorance at first. Her ignorance was so big it was hard to develop a chink in the armor for education.

There are habits of rich people. I read about this. (Strangely, many of my natural habits-early riser, be awake many hours before you start ‘work’ are actually habits considered mandatory by successful people in large studies. Whatever.) There are habits of poor people. Understanding what your habits are and changing them is hard. Doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor. Your habits are your habits. Examining what they are and how you got them is hard.

I get so angry because people like Paul Graham don’t understand that learning how to use the washing machine is almost a prerequisite for starting a company or it is entirely irrelevant. If you are rich enough to pay someone else to do your laundry it doesn’t matter. You have leap-frogged having that skill matter. If you are poor and you want to appear professional, you had best fucking learn how to do laundry. Doing laundry such that your clothes stay “nice” is a skill (one my mom had and I lack). I’ve seen this skill. My mom had clothes throughout my childhood that would have looked appropriate on a lawyer in a nice office. She could keep her clothes nice. I can’t.

I understand that Silicon Valley likes to believe that it has “changed all the rules” and really what it has done is make it so the people in the top 5% have more freedom than they used to have. Woo. Watch me do cartwheels in happiness.

We argued about this because folks online didn’t like Paul Graham’s most recent essay on being mean. Noah can’t understand why anyone has a problem with the essay. I said, “His definition of mean and mine probably aren’t the same. His friends are nice to him–their social equal who is also already rich. How do they treat the janitors in their companies?”

I’m sure these people are wonderfully civil to absolutely everyone in their lives. Even the janitors. But do they make sure their janitors have reasonable living wages or does that just not matter? My definition of mean may be different.

I’m fine with requiring civility from a “civilized” society but I don’t equate it with nice. And saying that mean people don’t succeed is… well…

Mark Zuckerberg is currently the cock of the walk in the valley, right? Know how his “real names” policy is harming a lot of people? Oh–but that’s probably not “mean”.

It’s always ok to step on people low enough down the ladder. You aren’t mean. You are just making good business decisions.

I am incapable of thinking of a company as “successful” if it treats the janitors and secretaries badly. I think your company sucks and I hate it and you if you try to convince me why really it is so great. Don’t get me started on Google. (Yes, they are better than average in the valley. That impresses me less than you might hope. I want ALL employees to be treated like people.)

Is this why I am not a Captain of Industry? Probably. I also make no claims to being “nice”. I’m sure Mr. Graham would be happy to tell me that I’m failing in life because I’m so mean. (Or maybe he wouldn’t–after all he’s NICE!)

I think people fail for reasons a lot bigger than whether they are nice or not even though “niceness” may appear to figure in. People who succeed have the largest social networks and often that comes along with being charismatic and likable. In my personal experience being charismatic and likable means that people get away with being extremely not-nice whenever they want to.

If you make sure your rep’ is clean enough, you can do fucking anything.

Look at Bill.fucking.Cosby. He’s “nice”.

My experience of dealing with people in the valley (and I’ve met way more than my share of millionaires and multi-millionaires and one or two who I think were close to billionaires) is that they are as nice as long as they feel like it and not a minute longer. I’m less impressed with this than other people might be.

I don’t hate Paul Graham. I don’t want him to stop running YCombinator because from what I can see–they do interesting and important work that I sure as shit don’t want to do. I don’t even want him to stop writing about what he does.

What I like about Warren Buffet is he is a shameless old bastard. He’s got what he’s got. He doesn’t feel ashamed. Near as I can tell he thinks he is better at earning money than almost anyone alive and past that he doesn’t seem to put his ego out in writing that I can detect. I’m totally good with that. Be what you are.

Paul Graham always sounds to me like he is writing for the top 5% but he really wants the top 40% to read it and be inspired and hurry up and do something. I have… feelings about this.

When I’m getting mad at Paul Graham I’m aware I’m doing it from a few different angles. First: I’m aware that as a bright female I’m definitely one of the ones who is letting my generation down by “not doing much” and his essays always feel… that’s my problem. That’s not about his writing. Secondly: I read his essays from the point of view of someone who grew up in the bottom 5%. Most of the people who were there with me are still there. I married up more than I “got out” on my own. There were no bootstraps present. Ok, even that isn’t true. I got out because of the settlement. I was bit by a dog and the accident settlement was well managed and I dragged myself out of penury. It wasn’t really Noah who did it.

But I had so much help. I am so painfully aware of the help and support I got from a thousand different sources. I’ve been good throughout my life at pulling five minutes of support from person A and five minutes of support from person B and making that somehow be enough. I’m sucking at that lately–my life is so different–but that has been how I have traditionally gotten my needs met. Most people like me aren’t given that help and I feel angry on their behalf. Mr. Graham isn’t really writing at the bottom 5% though and my anger is… not helpful. I don’t know how Mr. Graham could give most people in this demographic even vaguely useful help, period. For folks in this camp learning to use the washing machine wouldn’t help because they are lacking so many skills… they just won’t catch up.

The 6%-35% are the target demographic (I’m pulling these numbers out of thin air) I feel pissy about. That’s really complicated, though. Many of the people in this demographic could benefit from Mr. Graham’s advice if they really buckled down and took seriously that mistakes and failure are mandatory for learning. Most of these people have the potential and they’ve had most of the support necessary for ensuring that they have the ability to follow through on potential… what they need is drive. That is so much harder to teach. If you can teach drive you are a better teacher than me. I can’t.

I can’t teach drive. I can inspire it, sometimes by accident, but I don’t know the steps. I’ve read all the books on determination and trying (ok, not ALL the books) but I still can’t teach it.

Either you have the will to get back up when someone punches you or you don’t. I don’t know how to teach that.

So why do I get so mad at Mr. Graham? Probably mostly because he’s a successful white man and I’ve Got Issues.

I honestly don’t believe that being “nice enough” is what is keeping more women from succeeding and men like Paul Graham give people in authority more standing to reject women who aren’t nice enough. Paul Graham said that mean people fail! You were mean to me! I’ll make sure you never work in this town again.

When you research what happens to women in the tech industry… I think it is a big fat fucking lie that people who are successful are nice. Elon Musk seems like a pretty fucking successful guy and a quick casual google search seems to indicate that he’s a son-of-a-bitch to work with. He’s a mixed bag in terms of how “nice” or “good” he is. The actual word used to describe working with him was “dick.” He’s doing good for the world and bad at the same time. People have very mixed opinions on him.

I believe that when rich white men pompously stand up and say that the way to be successful is to be nice they are screwing over a lot of people. It is simply not true that being nice is the way to success. How many fucking people have “nice”d their way to richness and fame? I’m not sure I can name one. Wait! Maybe Julie Andrews. I’ve never heard a serious negative story about her.

And Mr. Graham does try to say that he’s only talking about his field–clearly in other fields there are meanie-pants walking around.

But I find it galling and irritating that he’s going to try and claim that he can evaluate whether or not his friends are mean and how much that related to their success. Maybe he and I just don’t use nice/mean the same way. It is very possible that he means just social civility with no actual measure of the impact of behavior on people around you. That’s a convenient way to ignore all harm caused by dominant groups.

Man I’m in a mood.

It really isn’t Noah’s fault that I’m in a bad mood. Even though he does like to show up during my “alone time” and act like a lost puppy in need of love. He is a lost puppy. He does need love.

I just wish he would ask for it when I’m not traipsing off to be alone. What was wrong with all those hours I sat in the living room and you were off doing your thing?!

I love you. I do want to give you attention. I also want attention. I want to have something to talk about other than my not-cooperating body. I want to feel cheerful and like life is good. I want to have positive things to say.

I could live a full-time life of denial. That way I could only talk about pleasant things. If I matter little enough that I don’t even need to come up in the conversation… then maybe I could manage to be pleasant enough that people would want to talk to me.

Today it is good that I can’t run anyway. I’d like to jump off the overpass in front of a semi. That sounds properly cathartic right this second. Maybe I could finally get something through my stupid brain. A truck! HA!

I should eat again. And my battery is D-E-D.

Genetics

People who are “more important” than me are looking at how PTSD passes through generations. All I can say is, “No shit PTSD changes families.”

Sometimes I think of my mother’s terrible fear of the police. Then I think of my own fear, hatred, and dislike of the police. I learned it at home. I learned that feeling during the period of time when my family lucked into the unusual experience of being a white family that could not bear closer scrutiny. That’s unusual. Usually white folks just don’t have good reason to be afraid of the police in this country–so people occasionally tell me I’m irrational. Never anyone who is black–only other white people; I’m not sure that I am irrational, though. I mean just on that one topic.

Sometimes I feel awkward about the fact that the way I parent is described by therapists as doing exposure therapy. My kids have a slightly unusually low startle reflex. I have worked with them throughout their lives to have a less-active startle reflex. They are relaxed and happy and ready to approach whatever is coming. They aren’t afraid.

A lot of how I do this is by being a surprising, startling person who backs off fast at any sign of distress. They get to have an unusual amount of control over what happens to them. As a result they feel very confident in their mastery of many situations. My kids can adapt to different situations in ways I never could. I’ve worked so hard on this.

We have lots of conversations about, “Every building, every park, every space you ever enter has a slightly different set of rules that people are following. It is a good idea to watch people for the first few minutes you arrive–you will learn a lot about local tolerances. If someone has a problem with you, use your words to try to deescalate things and if the person gets in your face, come get me. Don’t face someone down alone. I want to be standing there as a witness. I’ll let you take care of it, but you need backup in place.”

My kids are preternaturally confident that with me standing behind them they can do anything. Sometimes I question whether it is wise to give them this much of a big head. Then I realize that for them… it is probably true.

Sometimes it is hard seeing myself as a positive force–I’m just bringing a whole string of broken genetics and terrible circumstantial training to the process of parenting. Then I look at my kids and I have to believe I’m not a waste. I made them. That’s something.

Heck, then I hear from yet another former student and I think I can’t be a complete waste of air. I am shocked in an ongoing way by the intensity of emotional connections the students still feel to me. I had impact like whoa.

Mostly it is the kids who stayed after school. The ones who cried on my shoulder about coming from bad families. The ones who were told and told they could never be nothing. I think crying with them and telling them, “Everyone said I could never be nothin’ but a drug addicted prostitute. Fuck them. Fuck. Them. You go be what you want to be.” helped a lot. You never have to be limited by the expectations of assholes who don’t love you anyway. Go be what and who you want to be.

Yesterday Call and I went to Dickens Fair. Shanna picked staying home with Daddy to make cookies. I support non-maternal-parental-bonding so that sounded great. Calli and I got to have a lovely date.

We were there for three hours. That was longer than I think I have managed with kids before so I declare it a solid victory. Calli had a lot of fun. She bought herself a HUGE cookie with her allowance for the thrill of power of ownership. I had a lovely chat with the cookie vendor who is apparently, a Brony. He’s a Pinkie Pie. I told him I’m an Apple Jack and he “hoof bumped” me. Hilarity. It’s kind of funny that in watching the show… yeah I’m totally an Apple Jack. I like reading and all… but I’m not much like Twilight.

Genetics are funny things. I watch my children and I regularly feel baffled about how they took all of my personality traits, put them on playing cards, and then randomly handed the deck out between them for a nice game of War. I switch between being preternaturally able to work a room of strangers–I can walk into an event and meet tons of new people most of whom will think I am terrific and wonderful; then all of a sudden I’m shy and standoffish and I want to wait and set the terms of engagement very studiously. Shanna is the first and Calli is the second. Only they don’t switch back and forth the way I do. So getting to really watch the pitfalls of either one being your primary approach is… interesting.

Calli had a lot of trouble engaging with people at Dickens Fair without Shanna to break the ice with her. She had a lot of fun–but she didn’t know how to deal with some of the character interactions. She is used to watching Shanna for a while before she has to talk to someone. She takes someones measure as she watches them talk to her sister. Calli handled getting dance partners with no difficulty including talking her way into a partner-switching-set she was way too small to participate in. SHE DID GREAT!!! All the Fezziwiggers were shocked but thrilled. She did way better than kids more than twice her height and given how tall she is for her age, Go Calli! So proud.

Calli is a dancer and Shanna is not. That’s kind of weird for me. Shanna is klutzy as the day is long. She has very little physical intuitiveness. She can’t follow to save her life. Calli is a natural. You get Calli on the dance floor and it doesn’t matter what style of dance is happening she can follow it in under five minutes. It means that I now look at Shanna kind of differently. Ha. When Shanna had a terrible time in ballet picking up the most basic of movements I thought she was too young. Now I think that Calli, while younger, could do better in the same class.

It is very hard for me to recognize that my perfect little angels aren’t perfectly well rounded. Sniff.

They are going to be different people. I look forward to discovering more about them year by year. I tell them in the mornings, “I have to get to know you again. You changed while you were sleeping and if I get complacent and I stop looking at you then I will stop knowing who you are. I have to look at you again and again to rediscover your changes.”

Holy f-in-Crisco. Yesterday Shanna woke up and her belly was basically concave. I said, “Whoa. You grew last night.” BODIES ARE SO COOL! Once in a while Shanna tests the waters with questions about whether my love for her will change if she is skinny or fat later. I ask her to describe the bodies of people I love. She eventually verbally acknowledges that I love people who are skinny as skinny can be and I love people who are about as heavy as it is possible to be and still be mobile. Clearly my love does not place limits on the bodies of the people around me. She nods and says, “ok”. I talk about logistical difficulties. There are pluses and minuses of being skinny and for being fat. Neither is objectively “better” or “worse” but being either might be good or bad for a specific task.

Heavy people have a weight and a leverage that often allows them to get something done when a lighter person just physically couldn’t move something. I have a deep admiration for this survival ability. Strength is a big god damn deal in my world. No, we do not prefer skinny around here. Skinny is fine. It isn’t bad. Love your body however it happens to appear. Skinny or fat can make it impossible to find clothes because designers are assholes. Being more slender makes it easier to do some things. Every thing in life has things that make it easier or harder. That isn’t a moral judgment.

I tell my kids that there are people in the world who make moral judgments about weight–I don’t like those people. I think they are bullying people who have minimal choices about their bodies. I have mixed feelings about the fact that I have been considered “fat” for most of my life but if I work hard enough, long enough, eat little enough, and exercise to a nearly unhealthy degree… I can get out of being considered fat. But it is nearly a full time fucking job. It is hard and it takes an overwhelming amount of resources. (I would not have been able to buy running shoes this often before I got married. I simply did not have this kind of money.) So clearly I was able to stop being fat–which makes me more moral in the minds of some people. But I was only able to do so because I had a big scoop of privilege dumped on my head. That makes me feel a little sick inside.

Don’t hold me up as an example of how it can be done. Oh god no.

I sort of feel like maybe I want to get the adipositivy calendar and put it on the wall. I want my kids to see unabashed appreciation of fat bodies the same way they will see unabashed appreciation of skinny bodies elsewhere in the world. Drat. Next year the calendar is a mosaic. I’m less drawn in. The 2014 one was rad.

I’m now eight days away from my next attempt at a visit from Kaiser. I may actually ask someone to go with me. I’m scared to go back given that the receptionist called the police on me last time I went in. What is going to happen next time I go, you know?

I don’t deal well with authority. People who work in systems need the system to Be Respected and I don’t respect systems. Your system doesn’t work for me. Fuck you for trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I’d rather you honestly say, We are not able to treat you.

I’m a special god damn snowflake. Just like everyone else.

My ankle hurts less than it did, so it is clearly healing. It’s been like four weeks? It doesn’t actively hurt all the time anymore, just when I sit cross legged. When it stops hurting when I’m sitting down I will probably try to resume running. I can tell the rest of my body is pissy about the lack of exercise. I’m stiff and sore everywhere. I want to live on Ibuprofen and I can’t because of the test in a week. Yay! Or something.

This year’s cookie exchange will be a lot smaller than it has been for the past few years. I’m not sad. I like both of the ladies who are coming over a lot. There are so few children that I can bust out some more interesting projects that I can’t manage with a huge group. It will be fun.

I need to get some of this food stuff worked out. I’m tired of feeling suicidal and food stuff is making that ridiculously hard. I spend a lot of time lately feeling like I should just die because keeping me alive isn’t worth the effort. Keeping bodies alive takes work. I don’t have much patience for such shit with regards to me. I’m willing to do the work for my kids but doing it for me is harder.

Learning to make gluten/dairy free food is much harder than learning to make healthy food for the kids. And that was a major educational journey for me involving reading a lot of books and spending a lot of time looking into nutrition. There are reasons I jump up and down and refuse to put my very young children on skim milk. Their brains are developing and need fat, thank you very much.

I remember my brothers being very skinny as children but they were athletes. I was never skinny. My sister was never skinny. My children are so slender. I’m going to give them forking whole fat milk. Clearly it isn’t hurting them. (Also: I see their poop. Not hurting them!)

My poop isn’t wanting to settle down again. I would blame myself and cheating on the diet but I’m more inclined to blame myself and say “anxiety”. Dealing with Kaiser is going to get to the point of inducing diarrhea at the name so this is going to get complicated. Yay anxiety! Yay for feeling like shit and like the people who work there would prefer I die so I stop bothering them! My body will do its level best to kill me just so that I don’t have to feel people hate me so much.

Melodrama much? I can’t tell.

People aren’t against you. They are for themselves and you are just incidental. That becomes malice when they hold the keys to the castle.

Sometimes I get these little whiffs of reminder–that people aren’t for me and I feel deflated. I feel like I don’t know how to be part of their life.

We haven’t talked to the Godmamas since before the accident. I don’t know how to reopen the doors of communication. Last I had contact I was told not to contact again. That ban was never lifted so I’ve just… not tried again. If the only thing I’m told is “Leave us alone” I’m going to back off. Well, I was told I could ask for information from the person who is buried in medical school but I also have to expect that she may or may not really return emails because… she’s busy. I take that as leave us alone.

Not to mention that I made a few comments on G+ posts and that was received with hostility so I stopped following and have backed off. This is complicated given the net of legal paperwork involving them. I really don’t know what to do about the Godmamas.

We need to go see our lawyer. And I need to admit to myself that all of the people who I thought were going to reliably stay in my life… are gone. Godmamas, Brittney, Alex–haven’t heard from them. Probably won’t ever again. That was my full list of people I trusted to be able to help my kids.

30 years, 14 years, 12 years of friendship and they are gone. Well, maybe I’ll see them again some day for a few hours of talk. But they are not present in my life and they aren’t appropriate as hand offs for my kids any more.

I feel like it is my just desserts. Please God, let me live till my children are grown so they never have to pay the full penalty for being my children. I only need 13.5 more years.

On the upside, Noah’s college best friend and his wife have agreed to be added to paperwork. We don’t have a backup plan. I don’t know who to name as executor. I haven’t scheduled an appointment with the lawyer to revamp the paperwork because I don’t have more names to give. I feel so sad.

Sometimes my friends hear Shanna mouthing off at me (by which I mean repeating verbatim [with the same inflection] things I have said to her) and they tell me they could never tolerate having a child talk to them that way. I laugh and tell them I appreciate it. She is looking at me and noticing me enough to have an opinion on my behavior.

We are all very clear with one another in this house: I love you and sometimes I really hate the things you do. Your behavior can be very annoying. Doesn’t change how much I love you and want you nearby annoying me day after blessed day.

Shanna has very little awareness that she is in a period of life called “childhood” where most people would give her very few rights. She thinks of herself as being shorter than she will be and less competent than she will be with more practice but she’s here. That’s what she needs from the world. She will not someday be worthy of doing things. She is worthy now. Maybe she won’t be as deft as an adult but that’s a stupid reason to refrain from trying.

It sometimes takes a lot of fast talking about safety considerations to convince her that a certain task should be held off until she is taller, heavier, has more fine motor control, etc. She thinks of herself as being here, ready, so let’s go.

I feel like watching Shanna gives me this really pure vision of how people see themselves as unchanging. She genuinely does not see herself as less than she will be when she’s 30. She is just there. She’s not waiting to grow up. She’s living. I spent a lot of my childhood just waiting for time to pass. I could do things when I was older. There was always the put-off. I was never interested in what I was age-appropriately allowed to do. I was always reaching. I’ve let Shanna reach.

Kid can use a very sharp knife with aplomb. She can cook a wide variety of meals. She can talk to just about anyone. I don’t worry about Shanna’s ability to make a place in the world for herself. She will be ok. She has such verve and will to live.

I feel like Shanna had a “baby” stage where she knew she couldn’t do things and then she grew out of it. Somewhere between four and five. I don’t think Calli has outgrown it yet.

Calli doesn’t yet feel like the permanent person she will be for all times. She’s still shifting, like water. They say that the personality hardens/forms/becomes set around 5/6. Calli had some fearfulness stuff when she was 3 so I have been working on it pretty hard for over a year and she’s past that. She’s got a ways to go before she’s 5 but it feels like she is on a great path. I’m glad that she will turn 5 on the road trip. (If I can get my blasted health in line.)

I think that Shanna is always going to be more of a wanderer with me than Calli is. I think Calli is going to have to really consciously learn how to adapt. I think she will have more struggles. But who knows. Maybe I’m wrong. Earlier in life I didn’t see Calli’s passionate devotedness to me. Lately it has become impossible to not see. The switch from 3 into 4 has meant that Calli is way more attached and loving than she was before.

Sometimes it looks like Calli felt like she wanted to be more loving before but she didn’t know how. Sometimes it seems like she eventually learned how to get the loving attention she wanted and then she asked and asked and asked and asked. She didn’t rebuff me when she was littler. She just didn’t ask much. And I had Shanna so I wasn’t pushing for more attention from Calli so Calli was left to be… passively ok somewhere more often. Now she’s done with that shit. She’s ready to be the Center of the Universe. (She has a t-shirt that says she’s the center of the universe. She wears it a lot and reminds me that she is special and I have to love her. It is hilarious. “Mom! Remember, I’m the center of the universe. That means I get what I want.” I look at her with a raised eyebrow and she practices her best shit-eating-grin.)

Shanna freaked out from day one if you set her down at all. Calli didn’t do that so I think I incorrectly interpreted that as a preference for being set down. Live and learn.

Shanna wore me the hell out. I’m sorry Calli. I had less need for 24/7 contact when you were born. I’m terribly sorry.

But now Calli gets her many hours a day of snuggling. Shanna’s down to just insisting on half an hour a day of dedicated snuggling time. Calli is a love-bug. She would be happy if I wore her on my back all day every day but I can’t. She’s too heavy.

I talk to my kids about disaster training preparedness and I talk to them about how to deal with emotional fall out from trauma. “Someday something terrible might happen to you. You might feel so scared. You might feel like you are going to die. Bad things happen to people. If you want to survive it is good to know in advance how to find help. Here’s what you do…” I’m not super dark about it. I talk to them about how to evaluate safe people. I talk to them about how to talk to police officers and give police reports. I talk about how the police are only sometimes your first call. I tell my kids which words are key to getting help fast. “I am in immediate danger”.

I am fascinated by the research happening around generational transmission of PTSD. Is what I’m teaching my kids helpful to them or not? I don’t know yet. We know that many layers of trauma happen because people are enculturated to go look for that trauma. I was taught to go find rapists. Taught. By my father and brothers and sister. My sister hunted for boyfriends by being pen pals with convicts. She did this many times. I’m dead fucking serious.

Siblings may have more effect than parents on behavior. Sissy, you taught me well. I don’t smoke. I don’t chew gum because you hated it. And I think it isn’t ok to tell men no for sex. Thanks for all the lessons.

That’s not true. I think it is now not only ok but mandatory that I tell men no for sex. But it isn’t because of my preferences or beliefs, my cunt is off-limits. It is already on contract with another guy. Sorry.

Awkward.

I ate half a meat pie yesterday. I’m not sorry. Even though it has gluten and dairy it was glorious. I dream about those pies. I love them so much. Calli hated the kind she ordered but she loved the kind I ordered and I equally love them all so I was happy in any case.

I was a big sucker. There is a downfall to going places with one child. The requests for stuff are halved and they sound so much more reasonable… Calli got a pretty pink bonnet that matched the Victorian dress she had on (that she will probably be able to wear for another year and which has a matching dress a size up that she will wear for two or three years after that… the hat wasn’t a bad buy) and a dress. The dress wasn’t necessary. But it was a really pretty hand-smocked Christmas dress. And it was less than half the cost of the other dresses she wanted. But it’s an every day play dress that she will really wear. And it’s SO LONG that her sister can borrow it this year (and maybe next year) and Calli will wear it for three or four years. See my defensiveness, it is mighty. I refused to buy another frou frou dress up dress. But a pretty little play dress that you can wear almost daily in the Christmas season that has fun little peppermint sticks? Ok. I’m that kind of sucker.

They got other new dresses from Grandma the day before. I’m willing to bet that part of my defensiveness is I know they don’t “need” this sort of thing from me. They truly do not need more forking clothes. (Especially not Calli. Anything itchy has already been shoved on her half of the closet so she has all the 5/6/7 dresses and she wears them interchangeably; size is a myth.)

Is it terrible that I am deeply grateful that I got daughters who are so into dresses? I liked dresses and hated pants. Well, I hated jeans. Leggings are fine to wear under your dresses. My kids dress exactly how I would have killed to dress as a child. I didn’t have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes. I have pangs that my children wouldn’t if it weren’t for Noah’s talented mother.

My kids really have outstanding clothes. Noah’s mom hand-makes some really beautiful stuff. I am getting better at sending thank you notes just because year after year of largesse is making a dent in my hostility and hatred. I really appreciate the clothes.

Sometimes, in a weird way, I sort of think of them as presents to the little girl I was. I wanted to be pretty the way Shanna is. I never was. I wanted to be pretty the way Calli is–I never was. I was poor. I was dirty. I was erratic and weird and inappropriately sexualized. I wasn’t just pretty. I was attractive sometimes, but in ways no child really should be.

My kids are innocent in a way I didn’t know existed when I was a child. If I had met someone like them I would have done anything in my power to shatter the privileged fucking bubble they lived in.

It was nice seeing people yesterday. Many commented that it was “so good to see me” “I know it is hard for you to make it out–I’m so happy for you”. I was told that people miss me.

I’m sitting right here. You don’t have to miss me. You just have to come see me. But that’s effort.

What you miss is the energy I put into making your hobby more fun. It was never really my hobby. I just wanted to stand near you. I don’t care about doing those things you do with all of your time. And if I have to care about those things to be part of your life then I won’t be part of your life.

I am selfish. The older I get the more and more selfish I become. I am not good at fading into a system and becoming one of the worker bees. I don’t believe that the system is worthy of support.

One friend asked why I don’t bring the kids and work at Dickens. I said, “You mean why don’t I come work very long hours for no pay while someone expects me to cough up lots of time and money for elaborate costumes that I will be criticized if I don’t spend enough time and money to decorate?” He said, “You sound bitter.” I said, “Only about five people remember that I worked at Fezzi’s despite their impassioned “Once a Fezziwigger Always a Fezziwigger” and they all knew me before I worked there. If they honestly told people, “We won’t remember you unless you work here 10+ years and make it to management” I wouldn’t be bitter.”

Expectations, baby.

I put in my time in the bdsm scene. I understand that people don’t get instant standing in communities. I’m not trying to be a high status person in every community I walk near. But I want to be acknowledged as a community member. Or I’m going to think of myself as not part of the community and I’ll be bitter.

My bitterness isn’t the fault of anyone currently dealing with me. Not really. My family picked rapists over me. Even dead rapists. Loyalty to dead rapists is way more important than me. My bitterness creeps into other parts of my life. I’m not that important.

I certainly understand that communities can’t pathologically hold on to every dilettante who comes along. I get it. But can we get more honest advertising?

I actually feel like that is something that the lady who runs the home school group does really well at. Even though I’m flakey and there are gaps in my attendance–she notices when I come back and says my presence was notably gone and that was sad.

Why don’t I respond to that with hostility the same way I respond to Dickens Fair with hostility.

Ahh! No one in the home school group has raped me. So being there is inherently more comfortable and safe. People who are pissy about me not working Dickens Fair are telling me that my discomfort working with a rapist is something I should just get over so they can have their fun. Different.

I wrote till everyone woke up and Noah and I had a long fierce discussion of the merits of Paul Graham’s essays and it’s time for breakfast.

Offering help

Pam was here this morning and she wanted to be helpful. She’s a kind soul and she likes being helpful. We ran into a problem I have in a lot of settings. I don’t know if this will turn into a real post or just some blathering.

The older I get the more I feel… not tenuous about my connection to language but I recognize my failures more immediately and they feel bigger than they used to feel. If I start a sentence and realize mid-way that it won’t be effective then I start feeling paranoia, anxiety, distress and my ability to talk in a coherent way rapidly plummets.

Pam asked me, “But don’t you like telling people how to do things?” I do! I love love love having my bossy pants on. But I like having my bossy pants on when I have had time to sit and think and prepare and get my ducks in a row before the person-who-needs-bossing is present.

I feel my failures to communicate well a lot more than I used to. I feel ashamed of myself and stupid and like a failure. I used to think that other people were stupid and they just couldn’t understand. Now I think that I have failed to communicate because I am too stupid. Then I get really mad. Then my tone of voice goes to shit.

It doesn’t work the same way with kids and I’m trying to figure out why. I suspect that part of it is–I don’t bother trying to “save face” with kids. If I can’t do something they won’t get mad at me–they can’t do it either. If I can’t find the right words to explain something they aren’t going to get mad, they don’t know the words either.

I love children more with every year that goes by.

So today I was trying to make a gluten free, dairy free apple pie. To the best of my knowledge I have only made one or two pies before and I don’t make crust. I buy crust. Today I had to make crust. And I can’t use canned fillings right now so I had to do the whole fucker from scratch.

I am not good at cooking. It takes a disproportionately high percentage of my brain to do it right and that causes me distress. It means I have to turn off many tracks I’m normally running. It makes me feel trapped and stupid and like I can’t do fucking anything right. Objectively I mostly understand that it is false–I make good things at least sometimes and passable stuff most of the time. But this is the crazy-thinking I’m talking about.

Cooking is hard for me for no reason I can really pin down. Yeah I grew up in poverty not seeing cooking, but a lot of things are in that camp and I don’t scream at people who talk to me while I do those other things.

Cooking takes so much thinking for me. I read and reread the recipe many dozens of times and I still do something wrong, basically every time. I’m a lazy bastard and I skim most things and it gets me through life. Cooking proves that my reading skills aren’t what I think they are. That hurts.

Luckily Noah is willing to do most of the cooking.

With kids I say, “I can guide your hand through the process I’m using but I can’t explain it. You have to feel it.” With adults I don’t want to fucking touch them and I can’t find the words and I feel so upset with myself.

Also: it is weird to me when and where and why I accept touch from people. There are people I grow to feel close to and I generally like hugging them. The people who really prove they love me are people who walk up to me and ask for a hug. That’s a big fucking deal. YAY FOR LETTING ME HAVE PERMISSION TO DECIDE WHO TOUCHES ME!!!!!

But I get into a lot of situations where people think it is totally kosher to just start touching me. Most of the time this happens with women of color. I think I have more hostility with white women and they notice and don’t lean in without solicitation. But I’m touched just about every week by a woman of color. Often they hug me, without asking. I freeze, try to consciously insure that I don’t hurt them, and try to breathe deeply. It is a shock every time even though it happens all the god damn time. It is rarely men but it does happen once in a while.

Usually this happens after a conversation that causes the person to feel emotionally close to me. They want to touch me to cement that bond. I feel like they don’t fucking know me at all and why in the fuck are you touching me? Very rarely do I respond with hostility any more. Sometimes I pull back, but I try to do it without comment. Strained smile sort of thing. More often I make the conscious decision to give them a hug because clearly they need one even though I don’t want to be hugged.

I’m not a martyr. But I do think that most people in the world have a touch deficit they don’t know what to do with. I also feel like I am very blessed to get a surfeit of touch in my life from people who love me more than life itself so I can pass some along. I needed hugs badly in my childhood and I didn’t get them. I understand why people would interpret my verbal sharing as a sign of bonding. I understand why people want to hug when they feel bonding.

But man this shit is complicated.

I feel like having people show up and “want to help” is sort of similar to how I treat the touching. People want to help because they want to feel helpful and they usually need a lot of direction and assistance and basically the make the work harder.

I would like to take this moment to stop and say that there are big exceptions to this problem. And when I run into genuinely competent people I tend to want to fall at their feet and worship them. When I remodeled my garage I had help from such friends. It was one of the most wonderful projects I’ve ever done. At the time I cried and angsted and fussed like I do. In retrospect what I remember is that a whole bunch of people showed up and said, “Tell me where you want me” and with the barest guidance they produced results that were often better than what I could have described. Friends with many years experience doing exactly that type of work showed up. It was like having a bunch of mentors show up at my house to guide me through the process. That feels like magic. Usually this isn’t how it works.

I don’t think that most of my friends are incompetent. I feel like most of my friends are smart enough to notice that I am picky as fuck and I have a habit of flying off the handle when people do things in a way that doesn’t follow my weird, hard to explain preferences.

Jesus fuck, why do you people spend time with me?

A few blessed times in my life friends with expert knowledge have told me, “You have ____ problem and it falls into my area. I’ll be at your house on Saturday to fix it because it is bugging me.” Err, that’s why I clean my friends houses. Exactly why. Because it bugs me. Well, sorta. It bugs me to sit in a mess and not do anything. I have horrible anxiety if I sit idle in a messy room. There is clearly work to be done. Get off your ass. (To balance the equation–I almost never dust and a lot of my house gets dirty and I don’t care that much. Good thing Noah notices filth! I notice clutter.)

I don’t know how to explain quickly, when I feel anxious, “It is nice of you to offer help but explaining how to help would take me approximately 2.5 times as much work as doing it myself so just go away.”

Part of it should probably include, “I am reading the directions and following them. I am at step #. If you can just keep going from there on the directions you can help. If you need help or instruction then no.”

I don’t know how to talk to people very well. I am such an asshole.

I take comfort when Pam tells me she comes over here because people are way more nice than at her house. It makes me feel like I might be over-stating how bad I am. She says that even though she is my screaming-at-person-of-the-month. God I’m sorry.

One of the moms in the home schooling group is super woo woo and she drove to my house yesterday with woo medicine for me. Because she was really worried about me at the park. The only “permission” she really asked for was my address and to know when I might be home so she could hug me at the same time.

I like that and I don’t. It is very hard for me to let people love me or help me. I want to be so mean. I want to drive them away before I get attached and they leave anyway. At the same time, I am not doing well health wise. It was really kind of her. She believes  in her woo and she wants to share it with me. It won’t hurt me.

I’m taking the pills and smelling the oils and all the shit. I should go outside and do the moxa acupuncture thing too. All the woo!

But you know what? Despite my mouth still hurting I feel a bit better today. I actually suspect the Pedialyte is partially to credit with me feeling better. I feel noticeably better after each liter I drink. I feel like a wilted plant that gets water. I go from feeling weak and nearly unable to stand to feeling like I could do something–nothing ambitious like exercise, but something.

And I had diarrhea long enough to give a great stool sample to Kaiser and my bowels have mostly resettled. The chick I saw on Tuesday was really adamant that I have to keep dairy and wheat out of my diet for three months. I am mostly willing to follow this. I am adding raw milk to my tea because the other faux milks taste gross in the tea (I’ve tried) and the whole tea-drinking-ritual is a big part of my self-care. No, herbal tea doesn’t cut it. I drink decaf Earl Grey and that’s that. (Ok, I like peppermint too. But it’s not a great breakfast tea.) But I feel like if I’m drinking 2ish ounces of raw milk every few days that is as down-to-little/nothing as I can live with for many months. I think I can settle into gluten and dairy free if eggs and corn are reintroduced. They have been. No diarrhea so I’m going to take eggs off the no list. I’ve started eating them again with a vengeance (I missed eggs.)

You know…. I introduced a much broader diet that is still tightly controlled for metrics like organic/pasture raised/raw and I feel a lot better than I did when we were eating out more and I was eating lots of dairy and wheat. But I still don’t know for sure if either of them are causing the problems because clearly I can have at least some of both and poop because it has been happening.

Stress is pretty clearly the biggest problem.

That is part of why I’m saying “I’m keeping black tea with raw milk” because I really do that as self care. I think about Jenny and Sarah and Laura and Denise and Mo and Lisa and Julie and Julia and Marisa and Angela and Paula and Erin and and and and…. Drinking tea is when I stop and do my emotional check in with women I love. Who I think about rotates through an enormous list. I could not begin to name them all here. I am very blessed to have lots of women in my life who deserve a lot of love. And I’ve tried it with milk substitutes and I spend the whole time I’m drinking thinking poisonous thoughts about how gross the shit in my mouth is. It is not self care.

I’m ok with giving up cutting, promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and junk food. I want to keep my fucking tea with milk. God fucking damnit to hell. I want to sit and think about the women I love. It is better than meditating.

But back to help. I am not good at accepting help. I want help. I need help. But I suck at accepting it. I’m not nice. I’m not a good person to help. It probably seems like a waste of time because I’m not very grateful. My experience is that the most needful people are the least grateful. They fucking hate you for helping them. It is like you insulted them. People who don’t NEED the help can be very grateful. Life kind of sucks.

I am going to interview some babysitters tomorrow. Oh man. I’m nervous. I’m not very good at this sort of thing. Being upper middle class (you know… having employees…) is a whole skill set I didn’t grow up with.

I don’t know how to be the person I’m growing up to be. I’m not gracious. I want to say motherfucker in almost every sentence but I’m trying hard to cuss less because Shanna lecturing me is getting really fucking annoying. I have not been willing to care about anyone else’s feelings on this matter. Shanna is a god damn master manipulator. “Mom! I’m going to get in trouble if I say that and if you keep SAYING IT then I THINK ABOUT IT and I’m going to SAY IT. STOP.”

That kid.

See why I can’t give up the tea right now? There are limits. I’m not even supposed to cuss as I walk around my house any more.

There are huge down sides to having children who think they are allowed to be as bossy as an adult. And yet her harping on me is going to be good for me in the long run. It was a real problem that I couldn’t control my swearing when I was teaching. I swore a lot. Eventually I was going to get in trouble. I played R rated music in class about incestuous rape and murder. (It was a unit on tragedy. One kid said that there were no modern tragedies–that the genre was older. Another kid came in after school and played me this song and said “Hey Archer–give it a serious listen. Don’t get distracted by the swearing. Tragedy isn’t dead.” So I played it for the rest of my students as a modern example of the genre and assigned them all writing assignments about the feelings they had after hearing that song. It was *intense*. One mom called in to ask what in the hell I was doing and I explained in detail. She sounded… shocked… but totally went with it when I was done tying it in to Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare and Freud and… I can argue well sometimes.)

I should stop typing and go serve pie. Gluten and dairy free pie. Mmmmm. (I have to say: Noah did great with a gluten and dairy free meal. And now we have enough leftovers for a week. And I can eat all of it.)

 

Days 41-43

I’m having a hard time updating this every day as time goes on. I’m feeling guilty and bad. I’m cheating on the diet because it is cheat on the rules or scream and scream and scream and scream. I don’t have a limit-less amount of self control.

41- Breakfast: gf pancakes, blueberries, black tea, rice milk, sugar, maple syrup

Lunch: ramen

Dinner: rice, ground beef, carrots, Brussels sprout (singular–the leftover), sweet potato, maple syrup

2pm- hard brown poop

42- Brekkie: regular scones, Devon cream, vanilla curd (holy trinity of wheat, dairy, and eggs right there), peppermint tea, turkey bacon

Lunch: Krispy Kreme Donut and hot chocolate. Don’t judge.

Dinner: steak, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes

2:30am- completely solid, brown poop

5:30am- less solid, more like tooth paste, multiple pieces

At 3pm I got a call from Fremont PD asking me if I was a danger to society. Cue major anxiety spike. As we were driving to Kaiser. Awesome.

3:30pm- multiple pieces, brown, floaty

5pm- diarrhea

7pm- diarrhea (plenty for a stool sample for Kaiser)

43- Brekkie: hot rice cereal cooked into fritters with gf flour, maple syrup, and scrambled eggs

Lunch: rice, beef short ribs

Dinner: PF Chang’s g.f. menu. noodles, fried rice, chicken, beef, lettuce scallions, egg drop soup, broccoli, lemon, carrots, scallions, and there was shrimp I didn’t eat. GF soy sauce and pot sticker sauce. No dairy.

5:30am- poop, many pieces, soft, not diarrhea

2pm- brown, very solid.

 

And that’s caught up. Today is Thanksgiving. Have a good day.

Case manager

I am apprehensive about being assigned a case manager. My instinct is to treat it like a punishment and recoil with a hiss. I’m so rational. But I can instead choose to find gratitude. This is an Opportunity. And since I am frantically thinking about this process instead of winding down for sleep, I will record my thoughts. Maybe parts of this will be useful to recycle for emails with new person.

Dear So And So (because)

Hello! I am excited for this chance to work with you. I do hope you are a person who likes puzzles because I’m kind of a challenge. As I’m sure you know, mental and physical health are intrinsically linked. All of the work of treating my physical health is held up by the work of treating my mental health. Before I get into either my physical or my mental health issues (don’t worry–I’ll get there) I feel it is important to introduce myself a little.

I like to set people up for success. I am quirky and it is hard to guess what things I am particular about and thus I volunteer more information than perhaps people might want to hear. I’m usually good at hearing boundaries like “I’ve heard enough on this topic, thanks” but unfortunately as a medical provider that is sticky. If you don’t let me finish on a topic (yes, it is annoying that I’m long-winded) you may not get all the necessary details. Sometimes they are at the end of a long schpeal.

I take a lot of patience to deal with. I am mercurial and moody and because you will almost entirely be dealing with me in a hospital setting I will frequently appear very angry. Unless we have just had a specific negative interaction the anger isn’t about you. I have a long and storied history with medical treatment. My family has had a lot of medical issues and I have spent many years of my life unhappily in hospitals. I am also in a lot of pain and very frustrated. I’m not angry because of you. I am angry when I’m in hospitals. I chose home birth partially for this reason. It was easier to change the setting than my attitude.

I know that this anger makes it hard for doctors to talk to me. I try to manage my feelings. I try to monitor my tone of voice and my words but they get away from me. I am suppressing a lot. I promise. This complicates health care a great deal.

As a case manager it is useful for you to know that I have a major chip on my shoulder about “people in authority” not caring about me. I fell through every crack in the system when I was a child. I had a horrifying life and no one helped and I’m bitter. I’m sorry that this will mean that I don’t give you as much patience as you deserve at first. It is very hard for me to build trust. If you are interested in the Readers Digest version of my list of traumas I can send you the one page sheet I give to new therapists. Approximately one sentence describing the major traumas that happened every year from two through twenty-five.  I don’t need to get into it here.

Working with systems is very hard for me. I have not traditionally been very successful in them. I have complex, unusual needs and it is very hard for me to get the awkward help I need. I look so very functional and mental illness is funny and invisible and so hard to treat.

I am particular about being both highly rigid and accommodating. What I mean by that (I’ll take punctuality as one example but there are many) is I can be very rigid about what I hear. “I’ll call you tomorrow” that doesn’t result in a phone call feels like a deliberate slight. A stab in the back. A betrayal. (I am… somewhat prone to the dramatic. Better to warn you.) However if you know that you are someone who is often running late you can say to me, “Hey! We have an appointment at x’o’clock. I frequently run up to an hour late. That is the reality of the kind of job I have. Bring a book and prepare to enjoy your lovely down time in the waiting room.” I will nod and say: “Cool.” And it will be totally ok. Even though usually I get kind of nutty when people are more than about twenty minutes late. If you set my expectations appropriately I am easily managed.

Really that is the key to successfully working with me. Set my expectations appropriately and I will think you are better than cheese on toast. Which sounds really good now that a doctor told me to cut gluten and dairy for a minimum of three months. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. (Obviously I will be editing before I send to a real professional. I’m crazy but I’m not that crazy.)

Physical health (in no particular order):

  • digestion problems
  • joint pain that has been sporadic, perhaps linked to PMDD/period?
  • headaches
  • nutrition support–this is *not* something where a generic group class would be even vaguely appropriate. I need someone to work with me on my food issues and they are weird.

Mostly (As my blood work and other work ups will tell you) I’m healthy. But I’m in pain. Pain that is sometimes severe enough to make it hard for me to engage in my normal life. Why?

Then of course we get into the layered mental health. Also in no particular order:

  • I have PTSD
  • I have GAD
  • I have been diagnosed with depression at various points. It is not a label my current therapist feels is an over riding feature of my presentation so I’m including it partially for background notes.
  • I have been diagnosed as bipolar, but this is again disputed. Some doctors claim my issues are all chemical. Some doctors look at the calendar and notice Hey! Every freak out is timed right next to a major trauma anniversary! 
  • I deal with suicidal ideation. NOTE: I SAID IDEATION. I DID NOT SAY I AM CURRENTLY SUICIDAL AND FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS DO NOT FREAK OUT. Sorry for the shouting. Man this is a hard one to deal with. It is hard being me. People who say, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” can spend a decade or so in my life before they speak. My problems aren’t temporary. My problems are big and ongoing.
  • That said! I am completely aware that I am living in the golden era of my life. I am more loved now than I have ever been or than I will be in the future. My kids will never like me this much again. Ha. Mental illness doesn’t care that my life is kind of awesome right now. It just tells me that I should be sad and scared and I should die because I am bad.
  • I have a therapist. She is an incest specialist. She is totally happy to talk to you about my treatment if you are interested in her contact information. I hunt high and low for therapists. I need people who are used to dealing with some of my specific brand of broken.
  • I am not particularly interested in trying psych medications at this time. I have tried in the past with great ill effects and little to no positive effect. I have a delicate balance in my life. I am not going to upset the cart to make Kaiser feel better about getting me on drugs. Thanks!
  • I have a medical marijuana card. I recognize that Kaiser doesn’t do that sort of thing. Whatever. That’s fine. Could you please at least be polite about the fact that I started using pot when I was 27 and using it for medical reasons? I mean, if I had started self-medicating at 16 you should still be polite to me but I tried all of the meds you want to offer me first (and all of the other doctors at Kaiser should be polite too… and they aren’t..). I’m going to yank out a big fat-ass was of privilege mother-fucker. (Yes I will edit.)
  • Even if there is “Some New Med” I’m kind of done. My body doesn’t like new hormones, thanks.

Leading me into: can I please, please, pretty please work with a nutritionist who cares about holistic health? Do such people work at Kaiser?

I understand that “gut health is the key to mental health” and I’m aware that seratonin is produced in the gut and it is common to get depressed when you have diarrhea (which I’ve had for most of my life) when your seratonin is flushed out of your body without being absorbed. Awesome, possum.

Ok. I’m starting to nod off.

I hate Kaiser.

So yesterday when I walked out of the GI department I was very angry. I was cursing and calling people (not the ones sitting behind the desk–my absent doctor) names. The GI department decided that the way to handle this was to call the police and report a threat. When I said, “I don’t need a card for the appointment I wrote down the date” apparently the woman heard, “I’m going to go stab my doctor.” That’s what she told the police I said.

I am incredibly upset about this. Holy. Fucking. Shit. On the upside, the police officer I had a long chat with told me that Kaiser does this.

Also, I got home to an email telling me that they are assigning me a case manager for “quality of care” reasons. I’m feeling scared. I don’t know if this case manager is going to exist to help me get medical treatment or help Kaiser keep me from being a problem.

In the past week Kaiser failed to call me for a phone appointment, failed to give me mandatory instructions for a major appointment (I mean SEVEN DAYS of prerequisites), and they called the cops on me. I am feeling so upset I have no words. I hate Kaiser. I hate Kaiser so so so so so so so so so much right now.

The doctor I saw tonight was not a friendly lady. It seemed as though she was very impatient with my shenanigans. Which bugs me. She told me to take wheat and dairy back out and don’t put them back in for another two months. Oh god. She said there is no point in restricting anything else. I feel… mixed.

They took a whole bunch of blood (six tubes!), I gave a urine sample, and they sent me home with stool collecting materials. Oh this should be fun. I’m actually thrilled this data will be there before the big GI testing that will be done on the 8th.

As I talked to the doctor today I complained about a previous plan of attack for a problem she said, “Well that is our system” and I said, “Yes but I am an individual human being and individuals rarely perfectly fit systems.” She shrugged. She is not my new GP. I’m happy about that. She’s just the person who was there today.

I’m still drinking pedialyte. They didn’t give a shit about my dehydration. My friends are freaking out. They actually look at me as time passes and they aren’t liking what they see.

The doctor told me that since I gained 30 lbs in the last year losing 20 lbs in the last two months is totally fine.

Oh really? I… Oh man. Really?

After all, a year ago they thought I was too fat. Now I’m really too fat. They don’t think rapid weight loss could be a bad thing.

I don’t care about 5 lbs up or down in a month. I really don’t. 10 lbs in a month is a lot. When I’m trying to eat as much food as I can hold and I’m *still* dropping weight like that? It seems concerning. That I gain weight when I stop exercising makes sense. That I lose weight precipitously when I’m not exercising seems more problematic. When I’m training for a marathon I lose weight and it makes sense. I don’t complain.

This isn’t that.

My urinalysis is already back. I’m very normal.

I just… can’t seem to stop feeling pain. I’m sure it is all my fault because I’m crazy. If I would just shut up everything would be fine.

 

Just another morning.

This morning in Ferguson no one gives a shit about my intestinal issues. So I sit here and wonder how important, really, are my problems? Well, they are important to me.

But the world is so big. And so much is going wrong that is much bigger than me. I sit here in my highly privileged life. I hide in my nice safe home. I hide in my now-safe life from the ills of the world. Not my dog I say.

I think I will get off my ass and take the kids to the park today. Park day is just under thirteen miles away. That’s not exactly in town but that’s throwing me a bone considering many of the parks are more than twenty five miles away. I’ll consider it a gift. I don’t need to prepare much for dinner tonight now; we’ll scrounge leftovers and make room in the fridge for Thanksgiving foods.

I am arranging interviews with potential baby-sitters. Maybe I’ll find someone who will follow through. If I do then Noah and I will enjoy more date time. We will also get a night to work without tag-teaming the kids. Instead of tag team parenting we’ll abandon them at the same time like normal parents.

If this works out (ha ha ha–how often do things work out?) I’ll have 16-20 hours of kid care a week over four days. I balk at paying for it, but I suspect it will be healthy for all concerned.

Right this minute Calli has the iPad, Shanna is on Noah’s computer (playing Minecraft) and I am typing. I find this… weird. Noah is, of course, on his other computer.

I don’t have the spoons right now. I need a way to create more spoons for me. I feel selfish and guilty for paying for child care when I don’t earn money but I need help. The downside of Noah earning buckets of money is he works a lot of hours. I don’t complain (much. anymore.) but it is hard sometimes. The kids are very extroverted. Being in school for those hours wouldn’t be fun for them. Being with a baby sitter who plays with them is rad. I’m trying to find a solution that works for all of us.

I’m getting pickier about baby sitters. No screen time with baby sitters. Do projects. Make shit. All those things I’m lukewarm about. I am best at teaching the underpinning layers of work associated with life and I’m good at some artistic endeavors but my range is limited. Baby sitters have different skills. Perfect.

Oh! Shanna got most of the way through making a pillow yesterday. She stitched together a whole bunch of scraps of fabric. We haven’t stuffed it yet because I think she should add another layer of seems a little closer together, but Shanna made a pillow. Completely of her own initiation and design. It’s pretty rad.

I like that my kids think, “I want to make ___” and then they do it. They don’t create elaborate fantasies about how they would do it if they did it… they do it. Bam.

I tell my kids not to expect everyone in the world to be as interested in them as I am, but if you ever feel like you need to have someone tell you that you are wonderful you know the way home.

I can pick you apart into little pieces and make you squirm when I talk about the shitty things you do. I can also tell you in exquisite detail why you make the world a better place and why I’m proud of you and why I love you so very much that it is worth living through any amount of pain just to get to look at you for another day.

You are going to piss me off because that’s how it goes. People annoy me. It isn’t personal. What is personal is that I would do anything for you and your sister. You are special.

I am listening to Shanna complain about the terrible winter. As it is a bright sunny day in California. Apparently there has been a lot of snow and ice in the game. I am going to find it funny living with so many gamers. It is going to be a serious act of will to stop reacting to all game references with hostility.

My earliest memories of video games were of my brothers hitting me when I asked for turns. They called me names and told me that I was too stupid to play. I’ve managed to learn to be ok with some games but not many. Most cause a visceral repulsion.

It is weird living with so many gamers in a gamer culture. The plain truth is I kind of hate gamers in that kind of anonymous “I hate group even though I can say I don’t hate a, or b, or c who are members of that group.” My uncle was a terrible racist. But he got along fine with the individual members of other races he knew. Funny man. I’m pretty sure I’ve moved my intolerance onto another group but kept the venom and idiocy.

Well this wandered. I do that.

Sometimes I sort of feel like that awful Meatloaf song. I would do anything for love, but I won’t be nice.

Good grief. I should get up. If only I knew where I left my willpower. But I have to get ready for the park. We should leave in two hours. Blergh and blick.

Today is a loss.

My doctors appointment didn’t happen and otherwise I’ve mostly been reading. When I stop reading I get cranky and pissy and my tone of voice sucks and I sound like a bitch. I feel guilty that when I apologize for my tone (which I’m doing every 2.4 minutes) Shanna says, “Mom you are only grumpy because your body doesn’t feel good. Soon you will get through the elimination diet and you will feel better. It’s ok.”

I don’t feel deserving of their patience or love. Never the less, Shanna has oceans of love and patience to give.

I feel confused and out of sorts and anxious. I feel like I don’t know what to do or when to do it.

For this week my plans are getting cancelled. I will choose to not get upset because I’m all out of fucks to give. We are supposed to show up to help decorate the Christmas tree at Christmas in the park Wednesday after my dentist appointment. I suspect that I will bail on the park tomorrow and I may bail on the Friday evening event (seeing Christmas in the park get all lit up). If I stay home for those two events then I have way more down time this week. I feel like I’ve been mostly having down time lately. Some day I will be less sick.

In the mean time, I’m prepared to say that I’m not allergic to milk nor wheat. I’ve eaten some of both over the past week. A fair bit. And chocolate. I had a lot of milk and chocolate yesterday. I’ve pooped normally for 4 out of the previous 5 days. I choose to believe that milk and wheat are cleared now. THANK GOD.

This is good and bad. I’ve been cutting wheat, dairy, fatty meats, corn, garlic/onion, sometimes nightshades (mostly not), eggs, and anything else gluten contaminated.

At this point I’ve tested everything but corn. I don’t suspect an allergy to corn. I’ve had normal poop after wheat, dairy, fatty meat, eggs, garlic/onion, and nightshades.

So where in the fuck does this leave me? I’m clearing up the diarrhea and I’m slowly adding things back in and…. I still don’t know if it is all in my head. It is really looking like I don’t have an allergy I have too much anxiety. Which is something I was terrified of finding out from the beginning. Because if all of my diarrhea is caused by anxiety and not food… that’s quite a circle to get into. Then the diarrhea is all my fault because I have anxiety. I’m sure someone more rational could find a way out of that cycle that doesn’t sound like, “Then I guess I should die” but I’m not that person.

I’m really god damn struggling with suicidal ideation. I’m struggling with how much I’m bouncing up and down emotionally. It is hard to hurt this much. It doesn’t help that I feel like a whiny baby. My life isn’t hard. It really isn’t. I don’t have the right to complain so much.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Fucking whine. Whine. WHINE!

I can’t even go for a run because my MOTHERFUCKING ANKLE HURTS. (Really I shouldn’t run until my weight stabilizes. One of my friends [one of the few who frequently sees me naked] commented that my weight loss is becoming really apparent. Not with the additional exercise.)

I haven’t cut myself. I haven’t had alcohol. I did medicate more severely than I have in a while. Whoa. Right now it feels like self-care.

I don’t know why I’m pooping normally right now and I don’t usually. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I find this all very frustrating. I feel terrible. BUT I CAN POOP!

I couldn’t make this shit up.

I went to Kaiser. Her first question at registration: “Did you follow all the instructions?”

“What instructions?”

You can see where this will go. I didn’t have an appointment today. I will have one in two weeks. When I will be able to know in advance that I shouldn’t have Motrin for 7 days (totally broke that one) I will know that I shouldn’t eat fruits and vegetables or any other high fiber food for 3 days (broke the shit out of that rule) and I will give myself multiple enemas.

Kind of a lot of instructions to just not give me.

I sent my primary care physician an email telling him that I am very angry that I was given no instructions and I want a new primary care physician.

I don’t feel good. And now I just got a big fat middle finger from the idea of figuring out why I don’t feel good. This is my life. I am so angry. I feel yucky. I have had more solid poop, but I have a lot of abdominal discomfort. I have a lot of general pain right now. (No Motrin for SEVEN days? This is going to be really awful.)

Can’t I just cut myself and move on with my life? Why am I looking for “professional help” again? How is this helping? I am not a happy camper. I hate doctors. I hate doctors. I hate doctors. They don’t god damn help. And they perfect that sanctimonious “I know more than you” smile as they DON’T FUCKING HELP. I hate doctors so much. So so so so so so so so so so so so much. They don’t help. But they have a high sense of their own importance. Haven’t ever met a doctor without an ego problem.

I am so angry. So angry. Oh well.

Doesn’t matter.

Days 37-40 Progress!

I’m getting lazy about moving my tracking from my poop book to here.

37- Brekkie: gf pancakes, apples, apple/chicken sausage, maple syrup

Lunch: rice, lamb

Dinner: venison meatloaf (venison, carrot, Worchestershire sauce, mashed potatoes made with ghee, carrot, bell pepper, mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper), brussels sprouts

Dessert: peanut butter cookie, blueberry sorbet

10:30am- solid, formed, yellow poop

38- Brekkie: gf pancakes, apples, blueberry syrup, maple syrup, peppermint tea

Lunch: gf English muffin, mustard, turkey lunchmeat, soy cheese, grape juice

Pedialyte

Dinner: meatloaf, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, mashed, maple, sugar, sparkling apple juice

noonish- long, thin, mostly formed, felt very solid but looked like toothpaste

39- Brekkie: fried potato, ketchup, turkey lunch meat, peppermint tea

Lunch: steak, garlic mashed potatoes (with milk! Big test item!), salad, cheese, cucumber, honey-mustard dressing

Dinner: stuffed peppers (beef, rice, carrot)

Dessert: rice pudding

2:15pm- solid, brown

4:15- solid-ish, toothpaste-like, brown, but a little green

40- Brekkie: rice Chex, rice milk, pork bacon, chocolate croissant (big test item), hot cocolate (made with milk, big test item)

Lunch: Thai food! pad see ewe (with egg-so a test item), rice, yellow curry, a Thai samosa,

Dinner: spare ribs, rice

6:45am- solid poop, very brown, hard to wipe up

1:45pm- solid poop, brown, not super hard

3:45pm- small pieces, yellow, softish

Bouncing

My emotions are going up and down and up and down and up and…

I’ve been basing my elimination diet restrictions around things I find on the internet. Because that is at least more information than I have previously been able to get from doctors. This is very frustrating because every body has a unique set of needs and limitations.

I’ve been eating tons of bananas and eschewing apples because the internet told me to. Today the woo-doctor told me I’m allergic to bananas and not to apples. Cue image of me beating my head on the floor.

I stopped eating pecans because the internet said that was probably my problem and I kept the peanut butter because the internet said it couldn’t be causing my issues.

Woo-doctor says that pecans are fine and peanuts are a problem.

I just… Oh my god this is so visceral and primal and hard. Every food feels like poison.

Today he said I react to tomatoes even though he said I didn’t last time. I had violent diarrhea after eating the tomato recently. Like whoa. I have had a spectacular amount of diarrhea in my life. This made me go whoa.

Food is just so god damn hard.

At this point I have been “treated” for all of the food allergies he detected. As of this morning… I still have diarrhea. He hasn’t finished treating all of my environmental factors. That will take at least one more, maybe three more visits. I’m feeling sad that I’m this far into treatment and it still hurts.

I see the GI department at Kaiser next Monday. I am not anticipating meeting a doctor who will give a shit (ha ha ha). I’d be willing to put a lot of money on the idea that I will leave crying with no help. On Wednesday I will have a broken tooth repaired. At least I have full confidence that I have A medical professional (singular) in my life who is fully worth what I pay for his time.

I’m feeling entitled and pissy. How can I spend THIS MUCH MONEY AND TIME in order to get… no relief of pain.

Because that’s how it fucking works sometimes. But it is why I don’t give poor people shit for not solving their problems. Health problems are fucking expensive.

I have three or four emails to respond to. I have several people who have kindly extended invitations and I need to respond. I feel… ugh. I want to be around people so much my skin aches but trying to schedule and follow up feels painful.

I’m going round and round in my head with some of my feelings about my friends. I can’t stop thinking about Pam telling me that I’m too hard on my BFFs.

My BFFs aren’t treated fairly at all. They don’t walk into a relationship with someone who sees their good qualities and wants to appreciate them for those qualities. I’m a using piece of shit. I see how people complement (or not) my own issues and I pick people who have gaps in their life where I can convince myself that I’m neeeeeeeeeded. Only I’m not. And over and over I run into the brick wall that I am not necessary to anyone’s life. Period.

Oh my fucking god it hurts. I know that just about everyone is in the same boat. I don’t feel my existential whining is tonier or deeper. Same shit different day.

I don’t want my friends to love me like a friend. I want them to love me like family. I want someone to love me the way I love my children. It isn’t going to happen. And sometimes I come up against unmistakable proof that I will never have that love. Ever.

I spend weeks crying and weeping and wanting to die.

It isn’t anyone’s fault. No one owes me that. The one person who maybe might have owed me something has given me what she had to give and that’s that.

It is so hard stepping back and having to be ok with the fact that I am a friend. No one will ever love me that much. Noah comes the closest. My kids will grow up and move on with their lives more than likely. I won’t be their bestie either. Noah is it. That’s my chance.

Noah is very separate from me. We will never do the enmeshment thing I do with women. We are too different. We don’t really like spending our time in similar ways. He is not one to work with his hands beyond typing and I struggle with not holding that against him.

I really am an asshole.

It feels really bad that people do love me and I look at it and think “it’s not enough”. I don’t feel very good about myself. How fucking dare I demean the gift of love that people didn’t have to give me in the first place?

I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.

It has occurred to me that it might turn out to be true that the only person who can love me as much as I need to be loved is me. Only I’ve been taught I’m not worthy of love. So I can’t really love me very much.

Something else occurred to me. When I talk about being the lucky one for having found Noah… that isn’t because I believe that Noah is actually categorically The Best. (He isn’t.) Noah appreciates me. I don’t know very many people who are appreciated the way Noah appreciates me. I don’t know many spouses who feel that way about one another. I don’t even know many friends who really feel that way.

It is weird being appreciated. Not many people are granted that gift in this lifetime. Most people get moments of being appreciated. They get some specific incident. Noah… it’s just more broad than that. Even though I’m obnoxious, and moody as fuck, and hard to live with… he can wax rhapsodic at the barest hint that I would like him to cosset me. No matter how angrily he was arguing with me seconds before.

Noah is my biggest fan.

I don’t get the impression many people ever get to know what that feels like. And I am sorry for everyone else.

Sometimes I think that if I had found a woman to love me and enmesh with me the way I wanted but not a man… I would have exactly the same problems with my friends but the gender would reverse. I don’t throw myself against the brick wall of friendships with men any more. I just don’t.  Either a friendship with a man is easy or it doesn’t exist.

But holy shit for Crisco I bang my head on relationships with women. I want to fall in love so deep and so fast that I get dizzy.

I feel like the biggest asshole in the world because I tell these wonderful, caring, giving women that they aren’t enough. That’s what I do to my BFFs. I need so much from them and I get so angry when they just plain can’t. It is very codependent of me.

A long time ago I had this epiphany–if I have the same problem with person after person after person… it probably isn’t their fault.

Kira loves me. Sarah loves me. Anna probably still loves me. Brittney probably still loves me. Lauren feels strong affection for me. Julia probably still loves me. I say probably because I haven’t spoken to them in many years. I just… can’t imagine that feeling changing. Not from those women. Just like I will love them, Steve, my Owner, Air Force Michael until I die. Just because you are not in a current relationship with someone that doesn’t mean you stop loving them.

None of the women I weep over dislike me or are mad or are rejecting me. It comes from me. The push and the pull both.

Day 36

I don’t know how this is going.

Brekkie: hot rice cereal (that I made wrong the day before) fried into fritters with olive oil and maple syrup.This was surprisingly tasty. Noah added some gf flour mix.

Lunch: ramen

Dinner: risotto, sparkling apple juice

4:45am- lots of dark brown very soft diarrhea

9:15am- slightly shaped, light yellow/brown

6:15pm- bright yellow diarrhea

 

Today it is formed. Which means that the ramen didn’t completely fubar me. I don’t know what is up with my body. Does this mean milk is a no? AHHHH.

Woo doctor said I’m allergic to bananas but apples are fine. Which is the reverse of what I’ve been doing for over five weeks now. Shit.

Day 35

Brekkie: hot rice cereal with sugar and milk. I also had black tea with sugar and milk. This is a “test cow milk day”.

Lunch: lamb, mashed potatoes (ghee only), one lonely carrot. More tea with milk!

Dinner: beef soup with homemade stock, bok choy, cabbage, and carrots.

Dessert: peanut butter cookies (made with just sugar and no flour)

 

3:30am: huge cloud of soft greenish poop

7am: more greenish soft cloud. Wow I feel empty.

Find gratitude.

My life is not short on excitement. It is now pretty clear that this elimination diet journey is going to take many months. Deep sigh. At least I have the ability to do it. Be happy about that. Takes privilege.

Beyond food being hard over the next few weeks I will have Thanksgiving. I have no idea what I will eat (even my “yes” list is suspect given how much diarrhea I still have) but I will be with the three people in the world who are obsessed with me. It’ll be a good day.

Christmas should be fun. We are starting to gear up.

January will hopefully be very slow. Glacially slow. We’ll see. February we go to Disneyland for a week. March has FOGcon. April has My Little Pony Convention (Called BABScon). May is Shanna’s birthday. June is Noah’s birthday and then we run away.

Just over six months away. I’m starting to look for specific data on where to camp and store stuff while we site-see and such on the big trip. My data-filled-book grows. I’m excited. What to do in different places? Oh so many choices.

Whatever negative things I can say about my life… it is full of wonder and joy. I’m grateful to be doing the things I get to do.

I’m sure we will sneak in another weekend or two camping once I get the trailer put together. Yes, I need to test it in cold weather. I want to live in it for six months. There will be cold nights.

Today I go back to the woo-doctor again. A friend invited us to go ice skating this afternoon. Then we see Pam for the penultimate time before she runs off to see her family on another continent. She’ll be back but she’s going to be gone a while.

Next week no woo-doctor. I get to go be frustrated by Kaiser telling me they won’t help me (wait and watch) and on Wednesday I get a crown put on the tooth I cracked. Yay! Or something. So today with the woo-doctor and then two weeks till I can see him again. (Saying that mostly so I remember later when I talk to him.)

The lucky ones, Miss Piggy, and taking turns.

I drove to therapy this morning alone. Alone time in the car is pretty fun these days. One of the songs was Taylor Swift’s The Lucky Ones and I spent a bunch of time thinking about it. In order to be one of “the lucky ones” you have to be compared to other people, who are less lucky by comparison. Noah spends a lot of time telling me that people aren’t happy or sad on an absolute scale they are happy or sad compared to the people near them.

I’m kind of a miserable son of a bitch. I spend a lot of time feeling shitty and miserable and like my life is shit. Which is demonstrably not true. I know a fair number of single people (of both genders or no particular gender at all) who haven’t found anyone in the world who validates them the way that Noah and my kids validate me.

I *am* one of the lucky ones. I have two children who are perfectly suited to my desires from children. They are plucky, ambitious, cheerful, talkative, and very affectionate. Pretty much what I would have designed if I had been able to sit down with paper and decide what kind of kids I would have.

And then there is Noah. I feel like a serious schmuck sometimes because of how unworthy I feel about Noah. Noah is a good partner. Like, whoa good. He is cheerful and encouraging and loving and so ridiculously sweet to me. I feel so much gratitude that there is someone on this planet who loves me so much. I don’t see many people with a similar level of unconditional love and support. I truly am one of the lucky ones.

It is hard changing my self perception. It was accurate that the first 25 years of my life weren’t great. I didn’t have the worst early life in history. I didn’t have anything near one of the best early lives. It was a life. It was hard. So when I think of my life being shitty, it is entirely past tense. My life isn’t shitty any more.

That leads me to this idea of finding hope. My life isn’t shitty any more and it probably will never reach the point of being that shitty again. I am going to have bad days. I am going to have bad experience. I may even experience more trauma (the world is like that) but forever and ever amen I am not in the position I was in. I am always going to be one of the lucky ones. That is weird.

I feel really weird because so much of it feels like a gift Noah bestowed on me. I’m his rescue project. Ew, ick, yuck. (For the record he doesn’t seem to appear to think of me this way. You can tell who thinks of you as being “lower” socially or in need of “rescue”. Noah doesn’t talk to me like that.)

Even when I’m being incredibly irrational, Noah treats it like one state of being. It is one way I act. It isn’t the only way I act. Sometimes I am even highly rational. He treats those times as being more important.

I was thinking recently how unfair it is that Noah has to be supportive of me so much of the time in comparison to how much support I give him. It occurred to me, while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, that I am uhm, kind of Miss Piggy like with my affection for Noah. It has to be all ME ME ME ME ME ME until I notice that he has an issue and then I flatten him with my desire to be “supportive”. This was not a flattering self-understanding.

Noah has told me that I want him to be obsessed with me. I’m willing to bet that is true. I do. I want him to care and care and care and be interested and fascinated and I want him to not get bored with me even though I’m repetitive.

A long time ago we agreed that we would take turns having bad days. We each believe that it is our responsibility to carry 100% of the relationship. That way when someone falls down it doesn’t feel like they aren’t doing their share. I like to believe I provide a little of this experience for Noah. I know it is a fucking lie–I don’t support him like he supports me. I’m really sensitive to this whole “being a dependent” thing. But he doesn’t expect me to do much and I treat him doing things around the house like a gift.

The secret to happiness is low expectations. If Noah expects me to do just about nothing and instead I do more like 45% of the work–I don’t seem as bad! In comparison, on weeks when Noah does no cooking nor any cleaning… I can’t find it in my heart to be mad at him. He does so much work that I have to smile and say, “That’s ok. I’ll do it this time.”

I believe in setting people up for being successful. We have carefully created a life where we are each likely to seem successful to the person we are standing nearest–partially because we carefully set up what it means to be “successful”. We are both big on giving direction, “I would really love it if you _______”. I appreciate that he has worked really hard on being able to say things to me–even when it is hard and he knows I won’t like it. He prefaces with, “I’ve been trying hard to think of a good way to say this and I haven’t come up with one. I hope that I can say it in a bad way and you can hear what I really mean without getting upset about my bad phrasing.”

I love this man so much I feel like I will explode some days. He acts like me reacting to bad phrasing is a reasonable thing to have happen. He hopes I won’t get mad this time because he really means well. But if I do get mad, well it will make sense and that’s ok.

I don’t get a lot of that kind of accommodation in the world. Mostly people act like it isn’t ok to ever react badly to their words. If you do then you are the meanie. But! BUT! BUT!

Noah acts like I am a person with a long and convoluted history and he wants to be kind to me. That means handling my little points of prickliness without treating me like an imposition. I feel so loved in my house. I feel like I matter.

I have a lot of friends. My friends love me very much. I am very grateful for their presence in my life. Noah is in a whole different category. Noah validates me.

Noah tells me frankly that he lived before he met me and he would carry on without me if I died but he would be forever less. Noah makes me feel like if I died, the world would be less bright. There would be less reason to keep trying hard things.

I’ve got some feelings about this boy of mine. I feel very lucky. I hope I never take him for granted. I hope I always appreciate him this much. When I struggle to see what I’ve got going for me, and I feel like I should die…

I don’t want to miss out on one day of Noah’s company. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I think this life is all I’ve got. Take it and make with it what you will. I want more time with Noah. I want more time with Shanna and Calli. Surely feeling like you have good reason to get up every day is enough reason to consider yourself one of the lucky ones?

Am I ever going to stop feeling like I was put in a movie of someone else’s life?

Bullying

I sort of feel like “she’s bullying me” is the clarion call of my childrens’ generation the way “it’s not fair” was for my generation. They do not understand what they are complaining about and it sounds pretty funny to me most of the time. “No, actually your sister doing something you dislike isn’t the same thing as bullying.”

We are starting to run into bullying situations. I have a heavy heart as I think about how much like me my daughter is. Shanna can be a bully. The other day at a park a bigger girl told Shanna to be on “guard duty” so Shanna beat the shit out of the little boys who wanted to come to that part of the playground. Luckily she is very bad at fighting. But she hit the little boy in the face.

I intervened about as fast as I physically could. We talked there and ended up coming home early because the excuse, “The bigger girl told me to do it” isn’t one that buys you a lot of slack with me.

I believe that one of the things I said as I huffily dragged her from the park (she was screaming about how I was bullying her by not letting her play) was, “It is despicable to hit someone half your size as part of a game. I don’t care if you think I’m bullying you. You can go home and play alone if you are going to act like that.”

I haven’t lost any sleep over enforcing the boundary but I do worry about her growing up. She’s going to have to make a lot of the same mistakes I’ve made.

I was a vicious bully.

I worry about my privileged little princess punching down. I was not starting life in a position much like Shanna’s. My behavior and hers… really shouldn’t be comparable. I fought all the time because I was being viciously beaten and raped. My kid has never had a traumatic experience. But she seems to feel almost as much need to hit and be defensive. I’m not sure what to do with this. I keep offering martial arts and she is turning me down.

I believe that “bullying” or punching down behaviors need to be watched forever. One needs to engage in self-monitoring. Everyone punches in some direction–never punch down or you are a bully. That’s just a rule in my little world. You can’t punch down. If you do you are hurting people who are less able to defend themselves than you are and that is poor sportswomanship.

Wow. Spell check let me have that word? Cool.

Shanna is trying to use physical intimidation a lot more in general lately. That is not going as well as she might hope. If you shove your face in my face and growl at me I’m very likely to grab the shirt of your outfit and make sure I win that intimidation game. I tend to win even with people who are bigger than me. Shanna doesn’t have a chance. I’m scary when I feel threatened. I had to learn the skill.

Part of the reason I don’t hit my kids is because I do not want to punch down. They are already so very helpless compared to me–less helpless by the day but still–that hitting them at all would be punching down. Always.

It is going to be quite a journey for Shanna and I to learn how to be bossy together without being bullies. Bossy is good. Bossy is great. Bullying is not acceptable.

People learn things best by doing something wrong and observing the consequences. I need to be patient with my children and with me. We have to mess up or we won’t learn. Sometimes, that messing up involves punching down when you don’t understand that it is a problem.

I’m looking forward to when my kids are old enough for the really mess-with-you-mind teaching. I want to talk about the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment. I want to talk about obeying orders. I want to talk about what it means to hurt someone else on the say-so of your “boss”.

But I’ll wait to mess with their minds for a few more years. Puberty will be so much fun.

There is a difference between having engaged in bullying behavior and being a bully. It is the same dichotomy that exists in racism, sexism, ageism, ableism. There is space for an ignorant person to say something or do something without a larger scope of targeted behavior. When does someone jump the tracks into “being” that kind of person.

I’m not sure. But I’ve met people who are on that side of the line. It’s like pornography–I know it when I see it.