I was thinking about the idea of “safe space”. I hang out in the lobbies of a lot of communities that are very focused on this idea. Places where people are safe. It means very different things to different people. I was thinking about what it would mean to me.
I believe that children need to hit. I believe it is part of the developmental process and …yeah it happens. I believe that the appropriate response is coming down like a box of hammers. On any given day my children get one chance for hitting someone. If they hit a second time we are going home right the fuck now and we will be having an unpleasant conversation the whole way home about how you do not have the right to hit people.
I believe that a safe space for me would involve people caring more when their children hit other people.
I don’t live in a world where that is true. Well, there are always people who over react. I don’t scream hysterically at my children for hitting. I don’t hit them. I don’t ground them for extensive periods of time. I don’t take away a bunch of privileges. I sure as hell don’t punish them once we get home–by then they bloody well forgot anyway.
I react in the moment. You get one chance per day. Not three fucking chances on hitting people. I don’t think so. Unless someone else hit you first, and then ok fine you can hit.
But quite frankly… my kids rarely hit back with anyone other than one another. They like fantasy violence quite a bit. They definitely egg on “fighting”. But they are very aware that if they hit a non-combatant mom is going to explode like a fire cracker. No. No. No.
You do not hit someone unless you have their consent. Did you ask them if they want to play a fighting game with words? No? Then what in the world makes you think it is ok to hit them?! IT IS NOT OK TO HIT SOMEONE WHO HAS NOT CONSENTED TO BEING HIT.
Lots of people will agree to play fighting games if you ask. It’s fine to ask.
But I don’t feel like other people have the consent fetish that I have. I need things negotiated and spelled out. Other people… not so much.
I’ve got to say, when my kids were habitually hitting the punishment did continue to the house. When it was happening almost every time we went somewhere we had groundings at home over it. It is a normal developmental stage.
The important part is how adults handle it. If adults act like it is fine… well. That’s a fucking lesson. If adults teach that you are allowed to hit as long as you don’t get caught… that’s a fucking lesson.
My kids don’t enjoy my blistering lectures. Do they “get” all of them? No. They don’t. I talk as if they were adults and they aren’t. They “get” a fraction of what I’m saying. But these conversations are cumulative. They will remember that from as far back as their memory goes their mother was absolutely consistent you do not hit someone who has not consented to being hit.
I understand that other people don’t think this is a message that should be consciously taught. Maybe they just never think of it as an option as opposed to making a decision. I don’t really know.
But it won’t work any other way in my house. I’ll drag you home from the park yelling at you about how you have no right to strike someone else. I won’t feel bad. I DON’T GET TO HIT YOU. YOU DON’T GET TO TURN AROUND AND HIT OTHER PEOPLE. WE DON’T PLAY THAT SHIT AROUND HERE.
Play fighting is different. That’s a game. Know how you know something is a game? You asked someone if they wanted to play before you got started.
But Shanna seriously has issues about getting in other peoples personal space bubbles. I suspect that is part of what causes kids to feel motivated to hit her. She gets right the fuck in their face and most people aren’t taught what to say. Maybe she’ll learn. I’m not sure how many more times she will need to be hit though. I couldn’t begin to count how many times she’s been punched. We talk about it a lot.
So much for home schooling meaning that my kids won’t be beat on. At least I’m there and I get to take them fucking home after the third hit of the day.
If my kids get one chance, why do I give other people two chances? Because one kid hit both my kids once and the other time… man those two have a long running sorta-feud. Given how many times Shanna has punched him… well. What did she do this time? And he does apologize. Usually even without prompting from an adult.
So how many chances do I give? I don’t know. I’m very tired of being hit. Very very very very very very very very very tired of being hit. And I am even more sick of my kids getting hit. And I notice that they are usually the ones who come crying because they got hit.
I’m not sure if they are bigger whiners or if they are actually hit that much more often than other kids.
I’d like to go a whole fucking year without being hit nonconsensually. I’ve never had a year like that. Not one.
I feel very triggered. I wasn’t “pushed out” of my biological family because I prosecuted my father. But I was told through actions that in order to be allowed to stay I would have to accept that everyone around me would rewrite history. “It didn’t really happen.” “He never did anything like that to anyone else.” “You are the problem. We were fine until you caused problems.”
I’m the problem. I should apologize. I should promise to not be a problem any more.
The only way I can promise that is if I die. I’ve never been anything but the problem.
Cue round of intense suicidal ideation. THIS IS A SHITTY TIME. I HAVE AWESOME KIDS IN THE HOUSE WHO ARE BEING NICE TO ME AND LOVING ON ME. WHY IN THE FUCK AM I IN THE YARD CRYING BECAUSE I FEEL UNLOVED AND WORTHLESS AND LIKE I SHOULD DIE.
Because I can’t not cry if I’m in the room with them right now. And Noah is here. It is being handled.
I’m not going to die over this. These people are so not worth it. If losing my mother isn’t going to do it… hell no. But turning the movie screen surround sound system off is hard. I have a lot of willpower to abstain from following through; stopping the thoughts is harder. I feel like I have run most of my life on sheer hate. I’m not dead yet because you will not win, motherfucker.
Which motherfucker, precisely? I don’t even know any more. Take your fucking pick. I’ve got a whole fucking card deck full of names.
Do something different. Yes, the crying and typing is an improvement over the cutting and the head banging, fine and dandy. (Though the arm pain means that this is maybe actually one of the most self-harming actions of my whole life. Cutting had far less chance of crippling me. Ok, banging my head could have caused a stroke. WHATEVER.)
I should fucking know by now. If you have a problem with people you have to shut the fuck up. People are not actually interested in “working through differences”. They want confirmation bias that they are right and you are wrong. I should never have bothered to talk to that fucking mother in the first place. I knew she wouldn’t give a shit about her kid hurting me. Why in the fuck was I so fucking stupid?
I am the problem. Clearly.
If I didn’t have a house full of kids, whoa. I’d make different life choices.
But if I didn’t have the kids I wouldn’t be dealing with these people anyway. So maybe it’s a wash.
Why don’t I just walk away? Why is this worth bothering to try for anyway? Mostly because I’ve kept my kids here for four years and I’ve told them to bond with people. Now I feel like a monster.
Everyone I tell them to bond with I eventually run off. I am a piece of shit. I suppose it will be a good thing that I have bonus kids here tonight. I will have something to do while I’m awake anyway. They always need a lot of help at night. They haven’t done that much sleeping outside their house. Lots of checking in, “Yes, you are still with Krissy and Noah and Shanna and Calli. Yes, you will see your parents again soon. Yes, we love you. Yes, they love you. It is time to sleep now so we can play tomorrow.” I can fucking smile on cue to be reassuring. I’ve worked hard.
I believe that children deserve to have an adult who wants to meet their emotional needs around. It doesn’t have to be a parent full time. It is healthier if it isn’t. Children need to learn that having needs is ok. Needing reassurance is ok. Needing to have help feeling safe is ok.
I can feel safe here. If I can’t feel safe other places, well… if I weren’t such a fucking problem maybe I wouldn’t have so many problems.
I’ve never been able to find a way to not be a problem other than staying home. Or dying.
I want to run away so bad. I’ve lived here too long. I’ve used up my welcome. People are tired of my bullshit. I don’t blame them. I’m tired of it too. If I could run away from being inside my head I would. I want to turn the movie screens off and I can’t.
I keep coming back to swimming out into the ocean. That really does seem to be my first choice. If I go far enough it is pretty fucking sure. I didn’t do so well with over dosing. My body is so sensitive to medications these days I don’t think my body would permit an overdose. I couldn’t use a gun. I converted my garage so I can’t follow my dad. I’m really not a big enough asshole to use Tommy’s method. That was seriously traumatizing to the people involved in the rescue. That’s not fair you fucking asshole. If you are going to kill yourself, at least don’t make a bunch of fucking spectators watch you burn. Not cool. People don’t get over that. Hell, I didn’t even see it and I can’t get over it.
Swimming. Yes, swimming straight out into the Pacific Ocean sounds great.
I have kids! Can’t! Calli tells me all the god damn time that I have to die of very old age. I’ll try, baby.
I’m definitely having temporary problems right now. In ten years this won’t matter at all. Stop being so melodramatic. Err, I’m diagnosed with reasons why I react this way. Fuck you, negative-self-talk. I am fucking improving. I god damn held it together great today. I didn’t start crying till bedtime. That’s doing just fucking fine, ok?!
Whether something is good or bad depends on your point of view.