Keep on moving

Yesterday was a mixed bag. I had a lot of PTSD/anxiety symptoms early on. Lots of shaking and I couldn’t finish sentences because my mind wasn’t on what people wanted me to talk about. It’s hard to ignore where my brain is. I want to talk about what I’m thinking about not what you want me to think about.

I spent yesterday talking with my friend’s mother in law, who is a conservative Mormon. We had quite a conversation. I was polite and friendly but challenging. If you have one personal experience that causes you to believe x are you aware there are whole countries that have tried y to solve that problem and their result was z which is the opposite of what you are predicting? No you don’t believe that happened? Uhm, I can list the countries. This isn’t fictional speculation.

Luckily my friend and his wife are more open minded. Or I probably wouldn’t be here. I asked them if they would read their son books about diverse families if I mailed them some and they said yes. They will keep them in their bedroom so grammy doesn’t have a chance to object. Awesome.

I’ve been horrifying the mother in law. I’m home schooling my kids. That means I have full license to talk about shit I see out loud because I need to explain it to my kids. We are talking about the shooting in Charleston and the resultant kerfluffle over the Confederate flag. I’m a lot more balanced than you might assume. But I mention the extremes of the positions held and I say things like, “A small group of people believe the most extreme end of this argument and that argument goes like: ___.” I don’t make it sound like I agree with them unless I really do. I can present arguments I don’t believe in.

But my friend also posted fabulous pictures of gay pride parades all over the world.  I opened the link while Shanna was sitting next to me. She asked questions, of course. So I described what was going on in the pictures and gave some historical context. Specifically Shanna pointed at a picture of a person wearing a picture with transphobia written in a circle with a red line through it. She wanted to know what the word was and why the person was wearing it. So I gave her my best explanation. “You know how you know M and when she was born people believed she was a boy and it took a while for her to be able to tell folks that she wasn’t a boy she was a girl? Well, there are other people in the world who have similar experiences. Other people have gender expectations of them that do not match who they believe they are. People who believe that they have been misgendered are transgendered. People who believe they are the opposite sex, which is slightly different than gender, are transsexual. Some people believe that being trans* is wrong or disgusting or God doesn’t like it or they are afraid of people who they perceive as weird or… Lots of reasons people don’t approve. So this person is wearing the shirt to say, “It’s not ok that you are afraid of me existing. I’m just a person. Get rid of your transphobia.” With the mother in law shooting daggers in my direction. “I’m not ok with people telling children that that lifestyle is ok.” “Yeah well I’m gay so I don’t care if you approve or not.” Her eyes went WIDE.

We changed the topic like a minute or two later without being obvious about it.

Nope, I don’t back down. Period. But I’m being polite. My friend and his wife said that if I offended her mother it is probably good for her any way. Hilarious.

Today we are going to the temple and getting a tour. We are also going to Welfare Square, where they give free tours every hour on the hour. In my extremely judgmental opinion the Mormons get a lot right when it comes to community and caring for one another. I deeply approve of the way the church takes care of its members. We are going to be visiting so Shanna and Calli can see some of how that works. I believe that is an important part of coming to Utah.

I’ve had a lot of fun here and I’m glad I scheduled so many days. I have slowly been able to talk to my friend and his wife more and more with each night as I catch up on sleep and rest and can listen better with every day. I’m really enjoying hearing their stories.

Last night I saw something I haven’t seen since I was a child. I saw a mama put her baby to sleep with juice in a bottle.

You know what? I don’t even judge. I did not say “My babies went to sleep with mama milk in their mouths and nothing else because of tooth rot.” I had the fleeting thought. And then I realized that I am completely paranoid about tooth rot because of genetic susceptibility. This kid has perfect teeth. They do clean his teeth. But sometimes he goes to bed with juice. And you know what? Even though a dentist wouldn’t approve… I don’t need to decide whether I approve or not. Not my kid. Not my life. I am not dealing with their array of factors.

I have truly enjoyed my time here. They are lovely people and I’m grateful I get to know them. No, they don’t make every choice I make. That’s part of what makes them so awesome. I get to see about how other people adapt to life and challenges and brain storm solutions. Thank you for allowing me to see you.

(The baby has a nasty cold and the milk is making him extra phlegmy and the juice soothes him. I give sick babies what they want too.)

Traveling like this is showing me how very wealthy we are. That’s uncomfortable and weird and wonderful at the same time. I do not go to the grocery store with a set “I have 37.38. What can I get?” I mean… I have done so. That was my early adulthood and childhood but I don’t do that any more. Now I walk into grocery stores and say, “What do we want to eat this week? Pick a rainbow!” What privilege. I’m buying groceries and doing dishes at every stop we make. Here in Utah I’ve been making dinner because they don’t arrive home till 6pm. I don’t want to eat at 7 so I’m making it. And I clean up while they are at work.

As I sit here I ponder a lot of things. I ponder things about compatibility. Noah is the right partner for me. Noah thinks that people need to make mistakes in order to learn and life is all about learning… so life is all about fucking up and trying again. I have to have that structural support behind me or I’ll give up. I’m tired. I’m sad. I feel like a failure. For the first time in my life I have someone who says, “You aren’t scary or bad or intimidating or icki. But you have fucked up. Let’s move forward.”

He’s all about the moving forward and I love him for it so much I can barely breathe.

Folks being intimidated by me isn’t entirely about me. It is a little bit about me. But mostly it isn’t. Just like it isn’t the fault of black men that white women often find them “scary”. No they aren’t fucking scary. You are scared. There is a difference. You are scared because you want to be scared. Because you want to blame other people for your feelings. Whatever.

Do you know what is kind of awesome for my mental health? I no longer get to believe that I am receiving a specific kind of treatment because someone has a chip on their shoulder about poor people. I can get over that part of my personal shite. That’s useful.

I find it hilarious that people are far more terrified of potential violence than they are of actual violence. I was kicked in the throat but I’m the one who has to make promises to not be scary going forward. What.Fucking.Ever.

Not a safe place for me. I won’t promise to be not scary. You aren’t promising I won’t be assaulted again. You know what? No one has ever offered me an apology. But I’m supposed to just act like I’m the problem? Nope nope nope.

I’m past believing that I am the bad one in every situation.

I’m not saying I think everyone else in this situation is bad. I’m saying I am not going to promise to not be a problem. I wasn’t the problem. Go to hell.

That’s not fair to ask of me.

I really appreciate that I have Pam and Noah answering many many many emotional emails right now. I’m not saying anything snotty to other people in email. I’m sending my snark on to appropriate recipients who will say, “Yeah… just keep emailing me. It’ll be fine.”

Pam has known me for more than half my life. She doesn’t need me to promise I won’t be dangerous. She has seen me taunted and taunted and she knows I don’t react. She doesn’t need a promise. She has seen it.

I am glad that there are people who will tell me that they know the spurious observations of my character are made by people who don’t know me. But isn’t that always how it goes?

I accuse someone of rape and then I’m told it didn’t happen because other people know it didn’t happen.

Wait. Only I’m being accused of being scary and intimidating. I didn’t hurt anyone. But I’m the problem.

Oh well.

(Shanna wants me to stop writing and play Plants vs Zombies with her. I said, “Would you rather have me tell you my whiny thoughts or would you rather have me write them down in my blog? She says, “Ahh. Uhm I’ll pick a level I can play alone.” Ha.)

I’m not even being accused. My language sucks. I was asked if I want to resolve issues. I’m saying no. Maybe at some point in the future I would care about resolving these issues but if you waited four fucking months to bring this up when I’m out of state you can fucking wait until I fucking feel like talking about it. Obviously it wasn’t pressing enough to handle immediately. Or it would have been handled.

The fact that I feel intimidated, unsafe, and like I could be attacked again doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Just the fact that other people are scared of my writing.

Cry me a river then build me a bridge and get over it.

I write so that I don’t say these things in person. So I don’t do anything I’ll regret. So I don’t hit anyone. But the writing makes me just as bad or MUCH MUCH WORSE than someone who has committed assault.

I have no patience for this. Give me a break.

This has been my whole life in a nut shell. I’ve been assaulted over and over and over and over again and then people turn around and tell me that getting angry about it isn’t ok and I need to promise to not be dangerous. GO STRAIGHT TO HELL AND DO NOT PASS GO AND DO NOT COLLECT $200.

Yeah that’s my life in a nut shell. I was never allowed to be angry about my father or brother molesting me. I was not allowed to be angry about any of the rapes. I wasn’t allowed to be angry about a kid throwing me off the monkey bars on purpose even though he broke my fucking arm. I am not allowed to be angry about the little bastard who kicked me in the throat hard enough that I was in pain for many days?

You know what… I am not playing this game. I get to be angry. I’m not promising that I won’t get angry. I’m not EVER going to promise that I won’t defend myself. I don’t know what you people are going to do. I’m not going to be castrated of my defense abilities. Hell, I barely use them so it is offensive that you want to say I can’t have any such abilities at all.

When I talk about the ways in which I have hurt people… in just about every case the person consented to be hurt. The ribs I’ve cracked? The guy suggested the wrestling match or the kicking scene. I didn’t bring it up. I just won.

I haven’t hit anyone on the shoulder in a friendly gesture in almost a decade. I am just not fucking violent. But I’m a cusser. And I write angry things. So I’m bad and scary. Go the fuck to hell. This is how I process my feelings. If my feelings scare you the adult thing to do is to stop reading about them. Not to tell me to stop having them.

Time to go make breakfast.

3 thoughts on “Keep on moving

  1. Michelle

    Good for you. That homeschool group sounded toxic and terrifying. I think that kid is going to hurt someone again and I’m glad you and your kids won’t be there for it.

    I continue to be impressed by how you raise your kids.

    I bought some ramen today and thought of you.

  2. Taylor

    Totally support you being safe. I doubt I could have been anywhere near as polite about it as you were. Love you, (and loved giggling about Shanna deciding to play different plants and zombies levels so you could blog)

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