Opinions, bodies, work

I quit NextDoor because hearing that much about the opinions of my racist/classist neighbors is making me hate my community very much and I’d prefer not to feel that way. Also, I keep getting “flagged as inappropriate for the community” every time I argue that maybe the folks stealing cans aren’t actually mega-rich people looking to scam the community. Fuck you, NextDoor.

On one hand Noah spends a lot of time telling me I should care less about the opinions of other people. On the other hand… looking outward kept me alive. These things are so complicated.

I had a very restful day yesterday. Two of my kind friends conspired to keep all the children out of the house from 10-3:30. It was literally blissful. It let me see, just a bit more clearly, how much physical effort it is for me to Alpha the house. I’m tired. I’m tired of giving opinions and caring about the opinions of others.

It isn’t that I don’t want to care it is that I am finding out what literal exhaustion and “I literally can’t” feel like.

My shrink had opinions about how the house is going. See, I’m not supposed to care. Only I pay for her opinion. Sometimes her opinion is biased in a way that doesn’t work for me and I have to manage the fact that I’m paying for an opinion that is really not useful to me. That’s complicated.

I really want to feel more centered. I’m not there yet.

Body wise things are kind of surprising and wacky. I used my measuring tape yesterday, because I feel a weird cognitive dissonance about my body. Apparently either my measuring tape has stretched over time or I am larger in every measurement. I’ve been 38″-31″-41″ for a few years, almost regardless of weight. Right now it says 41″-35″-45″. That should feel like a big difference in terms of being bigger. Instead I feel smaller than usual. My “skinny” clothes are fitting well. My “heavy” clothes are weirdly baggy but still wearable. I don’t feel like I am the size I am. On the trip I bought clothes as small as a size 10. I guess this is vanity sizing gone to hell.

Also: Eldest Child has cavities. The dentist sternly admonished that she shouldn’t be brushing her own teeth. I know. On the trip I literally just couldn’t do everything. Yes, they brushed their own damn teeth. Not well enough, I know. I know.

It has occurred to me that one of the biggest reasons that Noah and I gel so well is because we are both essentially workaholics. If Noah isn’t working on his primary job he is working on his second job. If he isn’t doing that he is directly interacting with the kids (which is work) or cooking (which is also work).

He doesn’t rest much more than I do, maybe less. True his work is mostly less physically taxing than mine… but we really do work a similar number of hours a day. This has been interesting to come home to. I spent months traveling being reminded that most people don’t enjoy working the way we do. Yes, I watch a lot of Netflix. 99% of the time I watch it while I’m working to keep my mind from getting frazzled because doing one thing at a time is hard. I can clean more effectively and for a longer time if I have a show on. If I’m not watching anything I get distracted by six projects in the middle of the day and the cleaning is dubiously done.

I’ve been thinking really hard about “neglect” when it comes to parenting. Am I neglecting my children?

The harder I think about it the harder it is for me to figure out what I really “know” on this topic. Neglect is when a child has needs and the parents don’t meet them. Do you know why parents usually neglect their children? Necessity. It isn’t usually malicious. The parent is giving all the parent has to give and it… isn’t enough. Then we start getting into, well, what are the rights of citizens? If their parents can’t meet their needs should the community step up for the good of their future status as a citizen? It’s complicated. What kinds of neglect matter? Is spiritual neglect worse or more important than the kind of neglect where your children are literally physically dirty? I don’t know.

I think a lot about neglect. I think about what happened to me and I think about what is happening to my kids. My mom did her best. She really and truly failed me on so many levels it blows my mind. If I was never taught, can I turn around and teach what my children need to know? Am I absolutely required to neglect them because I am incapable of seeing what I can’t see? I don’t know.

I don’t think they are neglected on a long-term basis. But there have been days in their lives when my hands hurt so bad I couldn’t hold a toothbrush to brush their teeth for them. I oversee them brushing… is that enough? Apparently not. I’m not supposed to care about other peoples opinions. But the dentist thinks I should care about his opinion very much. If I’m not personally doing every step of work he thinks I should be doing… is that neglect?

I’ve been thinking about how the size and shape of ones life decides a lot about how much you can do for your kids. I could sit home and save up spoons to be the personal nursemaid for my children for a few more years.

Somehow I feel like EC will learn more from being expected to do it with supervision so she can find out that half-assed isn’t good enough. If I save her from every consequence, how will she learn?

Isn’t that part of parenting too? Not protecting your kid from every every every mistake? Kids have to learn. If you shield them from consequences 100%, how can they learn to deal with problems?

I met this guy on the trip. His father wanted to teach him about responsibility so the dad got a dog for him when he was a kid. He loved that dog. He cared for it diligently and well. Then the dad made him dig a hole. Then shoot the dog. The father wanted the kid to understand death.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that the mistakes I let my kids experience are so bad. But then I think my calibration is probably really fucked up. Where is the god damn line?

I have no plans to do such a thing. I’m just saying.

I’m not supposed to care about peoples opinions, but if I don’t care about my housemates opinions I could wreck our friendship, I could hurt her, I could fuck up her kids. Her kids have very different needs from my children. There are a variety of foods they can’t eat that are normal parts of our diet. I have to think hard every day about almost every interaction because their needs matter and their needs are different from mine.

It is worth it, but it is tiring.

I think the “potty training” stage is basically over. Bonus Kid gets how it works. She is even managing during many hour outings out of the house. Yes, there will be more accidents in the future. (Life is like that.) But she’s doing great. It didn’t take two weeks. Yay!

It is hard trying to get enough 1-1 time with everyone in my house. Every kid wants attention. Every adult. They all want a piece of me. I feel like there are no pieces left for me. So yesterday was lovely. I got to spend time in the bath then I slathered myself with so much moisturizer I glistened. My skin is hellaciously dry after the travel. I put oil on my hair and let it sit for a long time. Whoa. I don’t usually have time for such shenanigans.

Right this minute I feel both incredibly competent and like a complete failure who will fuck up everything in the whole world.

I hate that feeling.

Tomorrow is our tea party. This will be the messiest my house has been for a party in years and years and years. Know how much I care? Not one little itty bit. I ain’t found everything yet and fuck it. Oh well. I’m too tired to give a shit. It’ll be a fine party.

Let’s be clear that this will mostly go off without a hitch because my ridiculously kind roommate said, “Oh I’ll do food.”

Bless you.

I went up to Sarah’s and stole I mean kindly took off her hands many many many boxes of books. Another dozen or so boxes? She doesn’t have storage space, hasn’t for years, probably won’t for years… if things come to my house she can visit and go shopping in my bookcase whenever she wants. With things in boxes it is hard to find anything so she buys a new digital copy. Really, I’m providing a service. Ahem.

And this way I can bribe her into dropping by a bit more often. Win/win/win.

My housemate might be leaving this weekend. Their house renovation isn’t done, but families are complicated. I get that.

It is very important to me that I be a friend to their marriage instead of a self-involved, selfish twat. Even though I’ll be sad to have my Bonus Kids leave so soon after I get to see them again… it’ll be ok.

It’s not all about me, yo.

I wonder if part of my difficulty sleeping is because I’m trying to lower my tolerance. So I’m using less medication. My tolerance is way higher than I want it to be. Gosh, recently I read an article about Willie Nelson’s pot consumption. I aspire to being as god damn cool when I’m in my 80’s. Maybe by then I’ll have gotten over being ashamed of myself for needing meds. Maybe.

I definitely understand Willie’s lack of preference for strain. Being high is awesome. I wish it felt more recreational at this point but that’s just over. I have patience when I’m stoned. Acres of patience. Mountains of patience. I don’t feel like I’m at a party. I feel like I don’t get mad when toddlers scream in my face. It’s… not as “fun” as I wish it were. Oh well. It’s just… helpful.

Being stoned more during the day instead of being stoned to passing out at night is different. On the road there were mostly days I couldn’t medicate, so I used a lot at night to ensure I slept. Now my body doesn’t know which way is up. Ugh.

Now I’m back to using it more during the day and less at night. Here I am at 3am. I’ve been awake for hours.

Patience with the kids matters right now. I have repair work to do. If it is to be excusable that someone cracks under extreme stress, that means the rest of the time I need to lower my stress so I’m not cracking a lot of the time. My kids were… maybe more patient with my volatility on the trip than is strictly speaking optimal. The kids were good at saying, “Are you tired?” when I started ranting. I tried to button my lip once I noticed I was doing it. Yes, I’m tired. I’m so tired I feel like I am barely alive. Yes, I’m tired.

That plays into my monsters/heroes thing I’m thinking about a lot lately. The SFPD is arguing that they shouldn’t have to wear body cameras because they are being treated like criminals. At a time when they also just shot an unarmed man… yesterday. That’s not their first time shooting an unarmed person this year. Maybe we’d stop treating you like criminals if you stopped acting like criminals.

In our society we have all kinds of safety nets to protect monsters. If they have enough money, just about any kind of behavior is excused and forgiven. Race plays into this but money is a bigger factor.

How do we decide what should be forgiven and how do we decide what should be punished? If you look at the jail rosters… clearly we decide that what should be punished is people daring to be objectionable, poor, too black in front of people who don’t like that kind of thing.

White people commit crimes at the same rates (or higher rates) on just about every criminal axis. We are not proportionally in prison.

I think hard about the spectrum from neglect to abuse to assault. How in the hell do we really decide where to divide these topics?

I’m working on scripts for a few things that are buzzing in my brain. It’s hard because I can’t/won’t write them down at this point for a complicated list of reasons. I’m not good at working through these things without writing.

Writing is how I teach myself what I want to say.

Noah is literally the only person I can practice with right now. That’s feeling hard. He doesn’t really have 5 extra minutes.

Need to stop typing. Stupid arms.

“I don’t have time to tag” is turning into “fuck you life I won’t categorize JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT ME TO, MOTHERFUCKER”.