I’ve been thinking about the idea of safety a lot for the past few weeks. For some people safety means never being challenged about the choices they are making. For some people safety means never being questioned. For some people safety means people will absolutely call you on your shit.
We all get to be different.
I love, value, and appreciate that if I do something fucked up in front of one of my friends they tell me that I crossed a line. I’ve had people question my parenting, my marriage, how I treat my friends, and how I treat myself. They do it because they love me. This isn’t the same thing as random people passing judgment on shit they don’t understand… My friends say, “I don’t think you are upholding the deal you made.” That’s different. That takes knowledge of me, my husband, and our marriage.
I check in with people about whether or not they think home schooling is still a good idea. I talk to a lot of people who have interactions with my kids. I talk to doctors and neighbors and friends and professional educators who have relationships with my kids. If I begin to believe that I am not offering them the best deal possible, their ass is going to school pronto. I’m not doing this just for my ego. I’m doing this because I want to AND because I happen to be an incredibly well trained, excellent educator. I’m lucky enough to have solid support. If I didn’t have it I would make different choices and that would be right.
I’m not living out the one twue life. I’m doing what I’m doing. There are lots of reasons to do other things.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to outgrow a relationship.
A friend said it is like outgrowing a shirt. It’s not complicated and it isn’t mean. Then how come endings feel so god damn cruel?
I have a thing happening with a friend where it feels kinda like Puppy. Puppy tried to dump me. He had a list of complaints and said that he didn’t things would work out for these reasons. I said, “Oh. Those are things that are reasonable to complain about and I don’t think they are set in stone demands. What can we change to make this a workable situation for you?” He expected me to blow up and get huffy. He didn’t like that I was calm and reasonable and wanted to work things out. So he told me he didn’t love me and had never loved me and was only using me for sex. On Thanksgiving. Right.
(For those who haven’t known me for long… Puppy is a dude I dated/lived with for a while after leaving my Owner.)
I don’t like the idea of outgrowing people. I feel almost allergic to the idea that I might be “better than” someone so outgrowing feels… too big for my britches. The funny thing is, it is very easy for me to understand how someone would only want to deal with me during certain periods of their life or for certain reasons so I have compassion for people wanting to ditch me after a while.
I get hella fucking annoying. I sure wouldn’t deal with me if I had a choice.
More than once in the past twelve months I’ve been told I was unsafe. In one situation the person made it clear that they didn’t feel physically threatened by me at all–I did a great job of deescalating. But I’m unsafe.
I make people feel unsafe is maybe more accurate?
The interesting thing about this is I think it happens less often than it used to but people tell me more about their experience of this happening.
I say things you don’t want to hear. It’s absofuckinglutely true.
This feels related to trigger warning sort of stuff in a weird way. I am triggering as fuck for a lot of people. Does that make me actually bad? Does that mean I’m doing something terrible or immoral by existing in a way that promotes other people feeling unsafe? I’m not threatening them. I’m not insulting them. I’m rigidly defining the boundaries of the reality I believe in. X is not ok.
I’m stating the reality I believe in. X behavior requires an apology.
X behavior means you need Y solution whether it feels good or not.
I’m not attacking you or your personhood or your integrity or…
But I’m not safe. Ok.
If you believe you are above apologizing then we can’t have a relationship and if that makes me unsafe I can fully live with that. I think everyone owes apologies sometimes. I think everyone fucks up and you can never hit an age or a rank or a social status where you stop needing to apologize. That’s not a world view I accept.
Being a rigid person causes me problems. I am rigid. I am very rigid about a whole bunch of things. I have extremely strong feelings about child neglect and I can’t really be talked ’round to justifying why it is ok to hurt a kid because a parent just … needs to? Does? Something?
I have incredibly strong opinions. If my opinions make you feel unsafe then it is fair and appropriate for you to take space. Does that mean I am unsafe?
What do you mean by safe? Do you mean that in order to have a relationship you have to be unquestioningly affirmed? Cause I can’t offer that to anyone. Oh my poor kids.
Question everything. Which is why my kids drive me bananas and never shut up. They question every god damn thing I say.
I went to a class about monsters recently. Well, it wasn’t a class so much as it was a lecture with a little interaction. Monsters are nearly human and exist to teach us something. I have been describing my father as a monster for many many many years. Do I need to dehumanize him in order to deal with him? What would have happened if instead of killing himself he had gone to prison?
What would have happened if he became a man in my head instead of an unknowable monster? If he had stayed alive… my life would have been a lot worse in a lot of ways. If he had gone to prison child support would have stopped and we wouldn’t have gotten his social security like we did because he was dead. In many ways… he made the magnanimous choice.
Now I’m free to hate a ghost without the complications of hating a person who exists and shares my blood.
Do I hate him any more? I don’t know. I want to know what the hell happened to him. There is a part of me that knows that if he were alive I would want to have compassion for him the way I have compassion for a lot of sex addicts who have committed rape in my life. I may be careful with my boundaries around them… but I haven’t completely shunned all rapists.
Life is complicated. How can I judge? Am I really better?
Somethings I judge. I judge actions. I judge the impact of actions. You may mean well but you aren’t taking care of business. You may be trying but your best isn’t solving the problem so you need to find different support.
That doesn’t make me better or smarter or whatever. I’m not. I make stupid decisions. I foolishly waste resources. I hurt people who love me very much.
I’m not better than anyone.
I do have more education than a lot of people. I do have access to more resources than most people. But those are separate things to evaluate.
SIgh. I should probably go paint for a couple of hours. Just finish, woman. Sheesh.