Just Another Day in Paradise

This is one of those songs for me. I like Phil Vassar. Even if he is a white man. His music… it definitely pervaded my childhood. I grew up wanting the world he described so bad I could taste it and I never had that.

These days my husband, my children and I wander around the house during the day humming this song and periodically hugging one another with a little giggle because we are so happy to be where we are doing what we are doing.

This is my first time being around happy people. This is the Golden Age of my life.

Even though there is stress in the house and the conscious need to adjust expectations and rules…

We are so happy. EC spends a lot of time talking about how she wants to find a way to grow up and find a partner who is compatible with this lifestyle because, “I already live in paradise. I just want someone to come hang out with me.”

It is really neat watching how the partner urge works with someone who has a clinical, distant understanding of sex. It’s… different.

YC is less convinced that a partner is necessary.

Today our friend and Bonus Kids have stuff that takes them out of the house till tomorrow. I’m going to enjoy the peace. I will be happy to have them come back tomorrow, but I’ll enjoy the quieter day. It will be easier to clean the house when I’m not running into seven other people (including the babysitter). It’ll only be four people.

Holy crudmonkeys we missed the baby sitter. She’s a like a cross between a mothers helper and a big sister more than a baby sitter. We rarely leave her alone with the kids. Instead, she comes over and plays with them and mediates conflicts while I’m distracted.

I feel so very lucky to have her. She is such a good influence on the kids. I have mad respect for her way with children. She was religiously home schooled and her mom ran a home day care for years. She has mad skills with kids.

She doesn’t want to do this professionally forever, but it is a great way to earn pocket money while she’s taking her first few years of college classes in lieu of high school. Works for me!

Her family is very very very conservative. I’m surprised her mom tolerates me as an influence but I’ve been very careful not to cross boundaries. I watch my language and my topic of conversation because I have no desire to make them uncomfortable. We even go to Christmas parties at their house. I can behave.

It’s kind of hilarious, really, how closeted I can be when I want to be. I’m aware that people see what they want to see based on what I choose to bring up.

One of the things I’m proudest of in my interactions with this girl is our conversations around yearly raises. I’ve pushed her really hard on this topic. “Ok it’s been about another year. We have something that is very important for you to discuss on a yearly basis for every every every year of your working life. Ahem. What do you need to bring up with your employer every year you have a job? Ahem.” Big cheesy smile. She cringes and tries to avoid it, but then she goes for it. We talk about why she should get a raise. I point out all the new responsibilities she has taken on over the year. I talk about what skills she is teaching the children. I point out how her interactions with them have broadened and deepened. Then I say, “And this hard work you are doing deserves compensation because your time and energy are worth compensation…..right?

She kinda grins and ducks her head and whispers yes. It’s kind of funny and awkward for both of us. I rarely push her in this way. But once in a while I’m going to jump up and down and say you are not allowed to undervalue what you offer the world. Nope. Nope. Nope. Not in my presence.

People are always more complicated than you think.

Their family has taken in a teenage foster child. I told the babysitter that I 100% trust her to adequately supervise my kids around this other child who has been viciously abused. I know that she would intervene instantly and redirect and keep people safe. She was never allowed to be alone in the house with my husband when she was cat sitting and taking care of the plants.

Her family knows how to keep people safe. I have a lot of trust when it comes to them caring for my children. They are probably… more conservative with risk than I am. I’m grateful I have such an opportunity in our lives. I can’t believe we got this lucky.

Small annoyance, I’m on day 38 and I haven’t started bleeding yet. That makes it harder to control my emotions. Not sure why. The hormonal flow is really complicated. Things start getting harder around day 25 most of the time and things don’t ease up till I bleed. My emotions are just more intense and harsh.

I’m going to stop and say a prayer of gratitude that there are no suicidal impulses or feelings.

Thank you, body.

I’m trying really hard to convince myself that there is just so much I want to do and if I die no one else will care and it won’t get done.

Traveling like I did convinced much much much more strongly. My future career is incest research. I want to understand this phenomena better. I want to so very badly. I find other survivors everywhere. The fact that I have such a disturbing history means people don’t feel judged and know they are safe telling me awful stories. I won’t freak out and I won’t judge you. I will accept and believe what you tell me without collapsing or acting like you hurt me by telling me. I will act like you allowed me to make it easier for you to carry this terrible burden and I am grateful. Secrets are terrible. This is very important to me. Still. This work isn’t really enough to motivate me to stay alive until my body gives out.

But put that together with Noah and the kids and my friends and… maybe that is enough?

Yesterday I started poking one of my wonderful girlfriends about how we should consider rooms next door to one another in a nursing home if we outlive our husbands. Just think of all the trouble we could cause. Oh that would be so much fun. Hahahahahaha

I don’t want to outlive Noah. Statistically speaking it is likely. I’m the sort who needs some potential plans.

I haven’t followed all the plans I’ve made in this lifetime. But making the plan got me to the point where I didn’t need the plan. I can do that again.

I’m a future tripper. I’m not that good at living in the moment. I’m trying right now to improve at that skill. It helps that I know, when I manage to pause, that this is the Golden Age of my life. This is going to be the absolute best it gets in terms of a river of affection and love being dumped on my head. Puberty will change all this. I know.

It’s part of why we take so many pictures. I want to remember this. I want to feel these feelings in my body in memory. I want to relive this.

I want to forget the first twenty years.

I think of my life in terms of BK and AK. Before Kids. After Kids.

I feel like I was reborn with them. I got a second chance. I get to try to not be a piece of shit. I haven’t fucked up yet.

Ok, at this point I’ve fucked up. But when they were born, I’m sayin’.

Sometimes if I get started crying in the back yard and the kids come out, one or both of them will stroke my face a few times and say, “None of your mistakes with me are very big. I forgive you.” I don’t know why they do that. I never asked like that. I never asked them to forgive me. I don’t get to do that. It’s not ok.

But they know I don’t feel like I can forgive myself. I’ve done a lot to hurt people. I don’t know what I could do to believe I deserved forgiveness.

There is a giant tattoo on my back of a woman reaching into a tree. There are many banners on the tree of things she could be seeking. Love, Hope, Trust, Joy, Dreams, etc. The thing she wants is Forgiveness.

I want to forgive myself and I don’t know how.

I want to forgive myself for hurting my mother by severing our bond. I can’t. I want to forgive myself for pressing charges against my father even though I knew very well it might kill him. I can’t. I want to forgive myself for starting the fight with Tommy that got him burned and sent to live with our father so he got hit by a car. I can’t.

Slapping my daughter or pulling her hair just…

Scope.

I barely slapped my daughter. We talked about it. Even she said, “You barely hit me. It didn’t really hurt. But it was so rude and disrespectful and it made me feel so bad.”

Yes. I did that. I’m sorry. I was so wrong. You are right. I felt disrespected and I lashed out and disrespected you. It was the wrong way to handle it. It really was. I am so sorry.

I am so sorry. That was petty, stupid, and mean. It was a ridiculous thing to do.

Put it on the list of things I will probably never forgive myself for doing. I don’t need to disrespect my children. I don’t need to act like they must jump when I say jump or else.

That is not ok.

I don’t feel bad about the hair pulling. That was negotiated.

Just like how it might be a real problem if your husband spanked you and it isn’t a problem if my husband spanks me because it is negotiated. We all get our own boundaries.

I don’t like the hair pulling. I really try hard to use other methods. But we talked about it. I’m not disrespecting them. I’m not hurting them. I am annoying them. That’s so true.

I do that sometimes. I’m hella fucking annoying. Sorrynotsorry.

So are you. And I love you for it.

Weird as it sounds, I really do love them partially for being so annoying. For being so willing to assert their preferences and desires so that people must see them.

I love you. I love you for believing you have the right to want to be seen at all times. Because you are wonderful. I know. I love you.

I’m definitely a “words of affirmation” kind of girl. I will tell you in fantastic detail all the things I like about you and that I see you doing well. Yeah, I’m an asshole and I criticize too. But the positive to negative ratio is approximately 4,583:1.

I’m trying to fill my head with tapes of positive interactions. It is a conscious process.

really really really want my children to replace my mother as my inside voice. To that end I choose how I speak to them very carefully to create the kind of environment I want to imprint on.

I really am not as harsh as I sound in writing. I have to put that intensity somewhere.

There’s an expression I heard a lot when I was a kid, “When the chips are down.” I feel a little weird about it. I’m inconsistent. I feel like there should be “some way” you are ultimately. Some really consistent core and presence.

I honestly don’t feel I have that. Because it depends on which “self” I’m currently manifesting. If I have loud tapes playing inside my head about how I am a worthless whore who deserves to die… I don’t do well under pressure. I’m nasty, mean and vicious. I treat everyone standing near me as if they are attacking me even if they are silent and neutral. It isn’t fair.

But I am like that less and less as the years go by. I have less reason to feel like that point of view is the dominant view of me in a room. I feel safe having other perceptions of myself.

Noah and the kids act like I’m a fucking rock star. That’s… different. That’s a whole different role for me with different expectations and attitudes and everything.

When I met Noah I was consciously trying to sell myself as a possible future partner. I interviewed a lot of people on a whole spectrum of gender. Noah was the only one to really leap at the chance to go do what I imagined doing with my life.

I want to have children. I want to home school them. I want to learn what appropriate means. I want to spend my life doing research. I want to travel. I want an abusive relationship with an on/off switch that I get to control. I want to only be hit or called names when I want to and not at other times. This is not out of anger but about the fact that at this point, my cunt has strong opinions.

Ahem.

I do not actually want to be degraded. I want to raise children in an egalitarian relationship so that my children do not see a model of a submissive woman and later in my life I’d really like to return to being a slave. Because I like it. Because it suits me. Because it is fun.

But not in front of my children. I’ve heard stories….

I’m not doing that in front of my children. I will never kneel quivering in front of my children.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

I’m not shaming you. We all get to have different limits.

We all come from different perspectives. Mine is strong and distinct. What I will and won’t do in front of my children is incredibly defined. It has to be. That’s how I can follow the rules and believe I am doing ok.

I have to be the kind of woman who doesn’t ask for permission, I just tell you that I’m going to be gone for 5.5 months and I’m going to spend tens of thousands of dollars. See you when we get home! Love you!

Feminism means a lot of kinds of things. It means it has to be ok for women to do lots of different things in their lives.

Noah chants, practically religiously, that 50% of everything he makes is mine to spend however I see fit.

He makes a metric fuckton of money. That’s access to some serious privilege. I could pay for a private school with my share, so I have less work to do. Bwahahahaha.

Or I could take them across the country to talk about politics, religion, culture, history, language, cultural and social mores, and let them actually see how differently people live.

always wanted to do this.

I wanted to do this when I was 17.

Now I’ve done it. It was more glorious than I could have hoped. We had hard days. challenge you to find someone who has gone on a serious adventure and never had really hard days.

Managing those are part of the adventure. My children have such intensely positive attitudes that they blow me away. They can recover from just about any blip in mood and say, “Clearly you need more food/water/rest. How about if you stop talking?”

It’s hilarious.

Do you know why they are this way? Because it works. Their observations about the world around them (including about my physical person) are treated seriously. I act like they are a fully fledged companion who needs some guidance sometimes. They treat me the same.

They have every intention of going to college and having careers and not spending as much time with me in the future. We aren’t fully codependent. They don’t care for me like a parent.

It’s funny watching that. I feed myself. My food needs are not their food needs. They really like eating a lot of raw vegetables. That makes me have burning diarrhea from hell. So I feed myself when we travel and they feed themselves. That’s fine. More for me.

They don’t tell me how to manage money. They don’t tell me how to regulate things.

This is all funny stuff for me to observe because I remember mothering my mother by their ages. My mom would forget coats then be freezing so by seven I often carried an extra coat of hers when we left the house. She had too much to think about and she just couldn’t… add taking care of herself. By the time I was older she got into a habit of wearing blazers because she was always cold and she wanted pockets. Also she had a job with a “dress code”. But I remember there being a period of time when I was young.

My kids don’t do that. They will observe that I’m getting cranky and I should check in with my body. But they don’t bring me food because I’m sitting in a chair staring into space listlessly. I did that. Even when I’m in pain and crying as I move because every joint feels like hot coals are dancing around inside of them… I still feed myself.

I am a nasty fucking bitch if I don’t. My body is just done with that.

It’s funny how that goes. I don’t like feeding myself. I often skipped long periods of eating before kids. It wasn’t that I was anorexic. I wasn’t. I was poor, self hating, mentally ill and sometimes I didn’t eat. It’s different. Different people manifest self harm issues in very different ways. For me the withholding of food was always about punishment. I don’t deserve to take resources from people who are better than me.

I mean, I did do “can of corn per day” diets as a teenager because people were telling me I was fat and fat and fat and fat.

I weighed 145lbs at 5’3″.

I hate people.

I did do Weight Watchers as a 20-something after I went to Disneyland Paris and my ass couldn’t fit in one of the rides. Well that sucked.

I think my highest was actually higher, but by the time I got to WW it was 208. I got down to 158. My Owner did want a more pliable bondage model. I lost the weight and lost the Owner. I was fat and happy. He didn’t like it that much. He wanted a thin, pliable young slave girl. That’s what he signed up for. I’m not very flexible emotionally.

Oh well.

I don’t think I’ll ever diet again. At this point my physical activity level is so high I literally could not have conceived of this as a child. I’m pretty god damn fit. I can take off to walk eight miles and it just isn’t a big deal. Three miles I don’t notice.

This is not something I pictured for myself.

I keep feeling this burning feeling in my chest. What I’m doing is great, I’m building my endurance but it isn’t enough. I have to get faster.

I can’t help but feel that at some point in my life my ability to run the fuck away will save my life. The stuff I like to talk about causes some really big feelings in people.

I need to get faster.

That’s going to need to be a specific thing I train for. And thankfully I’m right next to this big, beautiful hill that local people like to call a mountain. (Given what I’ve seen this year… it’s not a mountain. It’s a nice hill.)

There will always be people who disapprove of me. I have to be ok with that. I choose talking about things that are uncomfortable but important. Folks don’t like that.

It’s ok. I have to do it any way.

Why? I don’t know. We all have different things we have to do. This is just… me being the right kind of me.

I can’t be a different kind. I will always be something different. Even though we are different I am glad you are here. There might be some of your opinions I want to change… but not because I want you to go away. Because I want you to be able to see the value in more kinds of people.

I’ve met so many kinds of people. I see value in all of them. Not all of them have anything to specifically offer me. That’s ok. I’m not that important. You don’t need to have anything for me. You offer something to the world. Something it needs to have.

Thank you for being here. Even if you are an asshole. I’m an asshole. It’s nice to have company.

Ack. A kid who can fluently read is awake and reading over my shoulder. Time to stop writing.

3 thoughts on “Just Another Day in Paradise

  1. Sarah

    Every adventure I’ve ever taken longer then a week or so has included hard days and even days when I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull the whole thing off. Every single one. If I don’t spend an evening crying from stress and exhaustion, it’s a little surprising. That’s part of the deal – it’s about pushing yourself, pushing out of your comfort zone, and that’s *HARD* to do. So hard. The win is in having done it and learned how to do that in one (or six) more ways, while still being ok in the end.

  2. Pam

    so… this is kinda an asshole thing to say so pre-apologies and i have a reason for saying it and hopefully it’s good enough.

    i have wonderful adventures of long lengths and ~maybe~? i’ve had hard days but i can’t remember them and if my wanderlust has ever caused me tears it probably hasn’t happened more than once.

    i haven’t gone far out of my comfort zone, that’s true. but i still think i got awesomeness from my experiences.

    my reason for saying this is to say, while i acknowledge the challenge you faced and overcame for this travel… ec and yc will probably not have those challenges. you are building resilient, curious, interested, strong children who will be able to happily trip through the world (literally) and look at life and travel with all of the pleasure and few of the anxieties.

    i love you and i’m sad that it’s difficult, and that it sucks for pudding too. however the way that you’ve surrounded the littles w love and safety makes me incredibly optimistic about the future.

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