Well, I’m feeling better than I did when I woke up yesterday. Instead of taking a whole handful of sleeping pills last night I took barely any sleeping pills and melatonin. It was an experiment and I slept for 8 hours and I feel a bit better. Sleeping for eight hours is vitally important to my health and continued ability to travel. I will literally go crazy with sleep deprivation. I just can’t fuck around with it. Even though I’m scared to death of how many sleeping pills I’m taking.
When my friend saw me pop the handful she looked a wee bit alarmed. Maybe because I almost threw them back up all over her floor. My gag reflex is mighty. “Yeah I overdosed on sleeping pills once. My body is afraid I’m doing it again with every pill I swallow. Let alone a handful.”
I had a wonderful time in Georgia despite being incredibly emotionally volatile. I felt like I was flipping out, but seeing my friend was really nice. I finally got a little pushy and asked if I could weed her beds on the last day because I knew I was so full of nervous energy I was about to explode. Weeding calms me down.
Georgia red clay is a motherfucker. I see why she imported bought dirt for her beds. That clay is tough. I’ve read about it in hundreds of books, how punishing it is. I’m grateful I got to get down on my hands and knees and rip plants out of it. That gave me a perspective I can’t get any other way. That was wonderful.
Since many of you know Mitrian I’m going to talk about her directly just a little bit. I’m probably not the only one who misses her a lot since she has had a reduction in spoons and she isn’t blogging much.
She has a wonderful set up for her life. She has a beautiful three bedroom two bathroom house she can afford without roommates. That is such a blessing after the whack jobs she lived with in California. She had some scary housemates.
She has 2/3 of an acre? I may be remembering that wrong. But she has enough land for a small orchard (we helped her plant the first fig tree!), many raised beds of vegetables (as a vegetarian she can go most of the way to producing her own food with this much land), and a great chicken coup for her five birds. She will end up with more birds in the future. She has Lots Of Plans.
Her house is just about big enough for all of her spinning wheels, heh. She has tons of room to do her work. She thinks she isn’t well organized, but compared to many of the houses I see I would say she is about at a B-. She doesn’t have the money to go to Ikea and just buy a place for everything, but she does really really well with what she has. I think she’s doing wonderfully. I was really impressed.
Not in a condescending “I think of course you must suck” sorta way. More in a “Life is hard and you have eleventybillion demands on your time and arms and you have limited spoons so you are doing GREAT” sorta way.
Mitty was less depressed acting than I’ve seen her in many years. Her chickens are obviously wonderful for her.
And she gets to spend a lot of time with her niece, which is very valuable and healing. From what I can see, Mitty gets to feel like a good role model and that is a powerful spur to grown ups getting their shit together. It worked like magic on me. Not that Mitty “didn’t have her shit together” before… but I sense extra motivation now. Before she left California she really didn’t know what direction her life was going to take and limbo is hard.
Now she has a place. She’s creating an amazing extended network of people to barter with. I feel like I learned a lot just listening to how she is constructing a life. She has thought of possibilities that would completely miss me. I’m so grateful I got to visit. She said we are the first visitors she’s had in her guest room in the two years since she bought the house.
Gosh I want an RV. I want to be able to visit Duluth and Covington more often. Luckily the other people I really want to see are moving back to California and they will be more convenient soon. Excellent.
I’m super happy we made it to Georgia. Even though we are home sick and getting punchy.
Tennessee was a different kind of nice. I’ve known that friend since I was 10/11 years old. (We can’t remember exactly but she’s a year older than me and I was at her 12th birthday.) It was more of a “Let’s see if we are anything like we remember” tentative visit. No, we aren’t like we were and that is a special kind of nice.
It’s wonderful seeing people go from fucked up kids to functional, awesome adults. My friend in Tennessee had a few reasons her life could have gone off the rails. She had her first child at 15. She wasn’t very savvy about keeping herself safe when we were young. (Nor was I so I’m not throwing stones. But I was on birth control from the age of 12.) She had a kid and grew up fast. I would say that hands down she is one of the best mothers I know. She’s super close with her kid but she isn’t controlling and neurotic. She guided her kid through life in a way no one helped her. I learned so much.
Most of my friends have little quirks. I am so grateful when my friends point out, “I have this quirk…” Instead of getting annoyed with me for not understanding. My friend in Tennessee is a hippy like me. She uses cloth stuff instead of disposable-almost-anything. I *loved* her set up. She’s really thought through her cloth usage. She has different piles of cloth all over the house with different textures for different purposes.
I feel inspired. Sorry Noah.
So the last two visits have gone very well. I’ve been irritable. Luckily my friends seem to believe me when I say, “I haven’t been able to fully medicate in months and as a result I’m kind of irritable and tense and cranky and it isn’t you and I’m really happy to be here. I’m sorry I’m not mellow but I literally can’t be right now.” My friends are saying that it sounds hard and otherwise we are having a wonderful time together.
I feel so lucky to know the people I know.
I got to have a fangirl dinner with someone I know through Twitter in Georgia too. That was nice. She really isn’t hopeful that things can change so that black women are abused less. I want to believe she is wrong. I’m afraid she is right.
Today we drive to Disney World. I wish I had more energy for excitement. Instead the main thing I’m excited about is that I won’t have to drive for almost three weeks so I can medicate more.
I talked to my friend in New York who is getting married this month. I told her I can’t do anything to help at the wedding because I’m too pressed for time, I have too many responsibilities, and generally I’m just fucking tired. I can’t do any favors right now. I hate myself but it’s accurate.
I’m going to get me and my two kids from Florida to New York for your wedding. That is what I can do right now. That’s all. I can show up.
I wish I could do more but I really can’t. I cannot have responsibilities for helping adults right now. I feel so guilty and ashamed of myself.
I’m sure that feeling of shame is part of why I felt so bad yesterday.
It’s not all of it, this is normal freaking out for me. It is cyclical. And yet. Yesterday was really intense. I don’t get the inside-a-round-room-with-videos-narrating-self-harm thing as often any more. I don’t even see that every month lately. (Thank you brain. I want to stop and notice that you’ve been pretty nice to me for a while. Most of this trip has gone super well from that point of view. Thanks!) I really hate having those kinds of thoughts when I’m driving.
I seriously have to fight my urge to jerk the wheel sideways so we get hurt. It has to be a conscious decision to keep us safe.
We are still here and we are fine. So I made that choice. But I had to choose. I had to decide, “Not today. I still have shit to do.”
I want to research incest so much I can barely breathe. That means I can’t die yet. I want to see what my children are like as adults. We can’t die yet. I have to choose life. Even when it hurts. Even when I don’t want to.
Sometimes I feel bad that what I’m doing with home schooling at this point is working on emotional self regulation. Only I can’t regulate myself. Sad face.
You know what? I actually do regulate myself at this point. I no longer follow my impulses and self harm. I no longer walk along the outside of bridge railings for shits and giggles on days like yesterday hoping I fall. Regulation doesn’t mean avoiding having big feelings. It means dealing with them in a healthy way when they come up. If you avoid having big feelings that isn’t regulation–that’s suppression or denial. Neither is all that useful for life.
My kids have a very different load of emotions compared to me. I am completely confident that if Younger Child were abused in this period it would lead to all kinds of problematic personality formation issues later. That kid is volatile and extreme in a way Eldest Child never was. EC is placid and hard to disrupt most of the time. YC is a powder keg. Look at the child wrong and the child might explode into sobs. It can be hard to be supportive and caring as much as that kid requires. But I’m doing it. That’s the job. Ok, I’m not perfect every day. But I think I get it right more than 75% of the time. Sometimes I have to say, “I love you and I can see that you need __________ but right this minute I can’t give it to you. I’m sorry I’m failing you right now.”
I think it is very important that I not tell my kids that they are asking for too much. It isn’t that you are asking too much. It is that you are asking for something that I am not capable of giving. I’m sorry that I am failing you.
To me there is a huge difference between mean and abuse. I think about this constantly. Abuse makes you feel small. Abuse makes you feel unworthy. Abuse is about taking someone else’s inability to meet your needs and saying it is your fault for having unreasonable needs. Being mean is different. Being mean involves sometimes saying asshole things and admitting, “I’m being an asshole right now because I have x, y, and z going on with my body and I’m sorry I’m taking it out on you. You deserve better I just don’t have it to give.”
Sometimes I think I confuse having boundaries at all with being an asshole. I can’t tell how much they are the same thing and how much they are completely different things. I didn’t grow up with boundaries. Any and all application of boundaries feels like an asshole move to me. But a very healthy and appropriate kind of asshole.
Every postcard I wrote yesterday involved some variation of “I want to go home.” Which I find kind of hilarious. I hope my friends don’t get bored of my whining.
I love you all. The kids are waking up.