Author Archives: Krissy Gibbs

About Krissy Gibbs

Just your average hippy white trash incest survivor stay at home mom. Is there an average for us? No? Oh well.

Embarrassment and cycles

Something I have noticed in the past, when I’m trying to crawl out of a depressive slump I feel silly posting about how I’m trying to change my thinking. I don’t feel like I’m bordering on grandiosity at this stage, but I struggle with feeling like any improvement/more positive thought process is a sham.

I’m going to have to try hard to think of something Noah said as a mean thing he said in the moment when he was hurting and not a genuine indication that I should follow what he was saying. That’s really hard for me. If you indicate that you have a problem with me talking to your friends… that’s the kind of boundary/limitation/indication that I am a problem that fits in exactly with my narrative of the world. Ignoring that it was said because you don’t “really mean it” is uhhh not exactly in my normal tool kit of abilities. This is hard.

I read somewhere that the difference between a “real friend” and someone you just know is whether you can call them for help in an emergency. The thing is… if I had a real emergency I’d call up to 50 people to get the help I need and not run out of phone numbers. There are folks in my various communities who would step up but I can’t guess in advance who would have the bandwidth on any given day. I can’t predict who would help. It would be people who would surprise me. I have a weird amount of faith that it would work out and I would get help but I can’t use that set up to point at my “real friends”. I think that it’s more complicated than that. But I won’t ask for help short of an emergency because that uses up later abilities to ask for help in an emergency. So anything short of catastrophe is my problem.

I think I would be helped by folks who are not that invested in me but who instead noticed that they have something spare to hand out on a given day. That’s complicated.

The kids are so happy to see Noah again. The whole house smiled all through yesterday. I love the way we are clingy and enmeshed and very encouraging of each of us going off on individual adventures. Everyone in my house is encouraged to go do their own thing… and come back and share stories later. EC has saved enough chore points to guarantee a slot in sleep away camp in the summer. She is over the moon. I should go ahead and register her soon.

It is fascinating to me the ways my kids are slowly moving into wanting space. They want space from the family unit the way Noah and I take space–rarely and in big blocks. They are not interested in going to school and having 7 hours a day away–that’s too much. That sounds awful. But a full week away on an adventure sounds awesome. Going and visiting Aunt Sarah sounds wonderful. If Aunt Debbie called and invited them to visit for a week they would go and barely look behind them to wave as they got on the plane. But no school. It’s interesting to me. I don’t fully understand the nature of their attachment. I’m told by a variety of professionals (because I don’t really trust my evaluation of my kids) that my kids are incredibly securely attached and this is not anxious or avoidant attachment at all. My kids feel good about themselves and their lives and they know they aren’t interested in school.

I wonder how much it is that my kids are almost allergic to sitting for as many hours a day as school requires.

EC already talks about how college is going to be appropriate for her because she can set it up so she never has to sit for longer than 3 hours in a go in a day. This is a child who understands her limitations. She does not think she has it in her to sit for a 7 hour school day. Given that I’m thoroughly convinced that she would be in trouble every fucking day in school because of how antsy and talkative she is… I really am not pushing this. Even though 5th or 6th grade would be a great time to transition into school before high school…. She says absolutely not. She’s not even willing to do the charter school next year. It’s too much outside direction of her learning. She wants next year to be an intense delving into world religions and we can’t get the charter school to approve/pay for that so she’s done.

It’s kind of amazing watching a kid who knows so intensely what they want their life path to look like. It’s not that she can’t do focused work… it’s that it happens on her schedule and impetus.

FMC is completely over the charter school but they will want to continue some of the supportive services… which is funny to me. Sure kid.

I don’t think I am going to dig in and spend the next 5 years on trying to improve my health. I don’t think I’m going to get braces. I think I’m going to be willing to try a few things when I’m not pregnant in terms of messing with my thyroid or a couple of other things the pain doctor really wants to try and then I think it’s time to accept that my body is on the journey it is on. I am never going to be able to get off this track and onto the track of someone who cared for their body from childhood. That’s not available. I’m going to get what tricks and help I can and then I’m going to stop hemorrhaging money on my body. I’d rather spend the money in different ways.

I’d rather figure out more about dealing with our financial future. I’d rather go have adventures.

But I will probably continue acupuncture/chiropractic/massage care basically forever. That’s what helps the most to shore up my degrading body.

Luckily those are the “cheap” parts of my health care. The effective parts. The ineffective parts are super fucking expensive.

I am also really really really tired of throwing up if you didn’t know already. This sucks. Apparently my weekly vomits are going to continue right on through the 3rd trimester. I hear this is a good sign in terms of possible child loss. The sicker the baby makes you the more likely you are to carry full term and have a healthy child. I think that midwives tell you this just so you don’t spend time being angry at the baby for causing you to feel like shit for almost a year.

I keep saying the name we have chosen over and over like a mantra. I did this when FMC was born. The name we picked for FMC had been Noah’s first choice girl name during EC’s pregnancy. So I spent a lot of time saying the two first names in a sing-song chant. Now I’m doing all three names together. It’s kind of my version of stacking the deck so they think of themselves a set.

I’m becoming increasingly certain I’m done at three kids. I have no fucking interest in a fourth pregnancy. This is fucking horrible. I’m too old for this shit. Yes, I know I have friends who had kids older than me… they didn’t start out with a horribly degrading body.

If I want a fourth child in the house it’s time to grow the fuck up and figure out fostering. But not till Youngest Child (YC) is at least four. So we have about 4.5 years to get settled somewhere and figure out how to sign up for fostering.

I think I’ll be ready in my 40’s.

I have to grow up someday.

Noah pointed something out yesterday that was… interesting to think about and I hadn’t up to that point. FMC has a lot in common with Noah’s mother. I go talk to Noah’s aunts about his mother growing up because I’m a nosy fucker. The stories I bring back about how his mom reacted to everything as a kid…. yeah… that’s familiar. Nothing is ever enough and everyone is betraying you if you are not in control. Oh god that sounds familiar. It was kind of a sucker punch to the gut moment for me.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how my children are dealing with ancestral grief/inherited trauma from my side of the family. There’s a shit ton of it from Noah’s side too and I don’t pay enough attention to that because I am selfish and short sighted. But that’s real too.

Noah’s aunts tell me that Noah’s mom never adjusted to having a single working mother. She had no patience for her mother being out of patience at the end of the day. She needed more from her mom and her mom had nothing more to give. The other siblings understood and helped their mom and didn’t take it personally that she was doing her best but she was grumpy because her job was rough. Noah’s mother though… it was never fucking ok that she was getting the backlash from her mother working with a bunch of bratty kids.

Jesus that sounds like FMC.

FMC does not tolerate me being too distracted. Things get bad really fast. That kid can act out.

When FMC starts to complain loudly about how their sister is not obeying their whims I have started trying to redirect them to think about what they have actual control over. Their feelings, their body, their reactions. We are talking about this allllllllllllll day long. The power plays in this house are brutal lately.

Our job right now is working on emotional self regulation in a way FMC has never been forced to before. It’s not mean. It’s not punitive. I’m pretty cheerful and matter of fact about it. “Ah. This is where we are developmentally. We need to talk about this now. Ok. Let’s do that.”

EC is taking this super seriously. I tell her that she is never going to run out of people who irritate the shit out of her. She can’t make them stop being irritating–that will never be in her power. The only part she has power over is deciding what kind of person she wants to be in response. She’s thinking really hard about this and taking it seriously and I really respect the thought she is putting into it. I told her that in my opinion… she has to dig deep and find patience for FMC for about 5 more years. And then if FMC hasn’t stopped baiting her and aggressing… she will be allowed to tell me she’s basically done and we will find a way to separate the two that is respectful for both of them and she doesn’t have to seriously pursue keeping a relationship with her sibling. I won’t force a life long relationship. But FMC is working through a lot of developmental stuff right now and writing them off at this stage is premature and not fair. Let them develop and learn. If they refuse to accept these lessons… then you can protect yourself and I’ll support you.

Hell, I’ll support you if you protect yourself between now and then. But I won’t let you stop trying till then.

You both deserve that much effort. Your future together deserves that much effort. Not you bending over backwards forever…. that would be wrong…. but let FMC grow through being a shitty little kid. You got to be a shitty little kid. Have some patience.

You are right sweetie, being the biggest sibling sucks. It’s not fair being expected to have that much patience. You are really right. Life isn’t fair. But let’s talk about how many privileges you get that your sibling doesn’t get because you are older and you have more patience and more self control and…… that’s not fair either. But it’s life.

There is no fair.

I’m sending the kids to Texas with Noah in 2.5 weeks mostly because Noah’s grandmother is on a downhill slide. She’s been having strokes. She’s in her 90’s I think? Noah and the kids will visit her multiple times for short visits over a few days because that’s what she can cope with at this stage. She basically can’t leave the house and cooking is hard because she’s mostly blind. She’s tried so hard to be part of the kids’ lives even from far away. I want them to have memories of her and she’s almost gone. I feel like a jerk because I don’t care that much about the kids seeing Noah’s parents. His parents send boxes of stuff and don’t really bother to get to know the kids. Their great grandmother sends chatty letters with lots of questions. She wants to hear about their quirks. She takes a lot of pride in their academic accomplishments. She is the person I write about every new development with schooling or academic evaluation. She cares the most. I will miss Noah’s grandmother.

It’s funny that Noah’s mother doesn’t like her mother much even still.

I worry about my future with FMC. I don’t think they would forgive me for getting a job if I did. Not any year soon here. Not that I planned to get a job. But I can’t pick up a serious distraction of any kind or it would be a problem.

I get that FMC is super attached and needs a lot of contact. I sure wish that contact was less poking my fucking face as I’m trying to fall asleep. That pisses me off.

KIDS ARE IRRITATING.

But when I want space from FMC I want them to sleep on their own damn bunk bed instead of sleeping in the spot where YC will sleep because then they can’t reach my face to poke me as I’m falling asleep. I want like… a foot away and three feet up kind of space. Not like a whole bedroom away space.

It’s fascinating learning how to communicate boundaries with them. I feel like I’ve improved a lot over the years. Because none of us want “go away to another place” amounts of space. We want a foot over and three feet up on your bed in the same room amounts of space. We want “be far enough away that when you twitch you don’t kick me” space. But only with a few inches of clearance. You had better not leave the room or I’ll miss you.

And it goes in all directions. Noah is just as clingy and it’s adorable. I keep wondering when any of us will get “enough” attention and want to withdraw more and it just never fucking happens. I mean, all of us get to the point where we need a few hours of alone time occasionally but it never goes longer than a few hours. All of us complain about separations after a few hours. My kids bitch about missing Noah 2 hours after we drop him off at the airport. When one kid goes to a week long city camp the other kid is complaining about missing them before lunch of the first day. My kids were whining at me on Skype the whole time I was in Alaska.

Separation is good but it goes on too long!

Whatever sense of belonging I will get in this lifetime… it is going to come from this family.

I feel like I am feeling so sad about my friend telling me that it is irresponsible to have a third kid for carbon footprint reasons (Yeah I know that is technically true) because my friend has a place he is invited to go every Christmas and Thanksgiving and anytime he wants, really. He has to juggle between which of his bio-parents to visit. He has a spouse with an active family they are involved with. It’s not always perfectly healthy and they don’t always enjoy the visits…. but they are always invited.

I’m occasionally invited to orphan events but not really consecutive years in a row. If I don’t have children I will just have the rest of my life of no one really wanting me on holidays, except for Noah of course. So as long as you have people who want you on every holiday…. I don’t think you should be judging the fact that I need to create the people who might hopefully want to see me.

There is no fair.

Am I being selfish? Yup. Abso-fucking-lutely. The drive to create love is absolutely overwhelming. And I have failed at creating the kind of chosen family people tell me I should have created as a substitute. I couldn’t carry that. I have never managed to fit in. People try me out once or twice with an invitation and then…. I’m not invited back. I’m not blaming anyone or getting angry.

I just…. I just want there to be people in the world who actually want me. This is the way I can make that true. My kids want me so much it is overwhelming. My kids want me so much that a foot over and three feet up is waaaaaaaaay too far and they’d rather cram themselves into a space designed for a child under the age of two. Even if they are an extremely tall child who is more like the size of a nine year old. Priorities.

They say they will vacate the bed when Lightning comes.

Until then they are the baby. Period.

Given how much they are looking forward to being a big sibling and helping… ok. You can have this last hurrah my lovely baby. Just…. stop poking my damn face.

ugh.

This week was scheduled in an unfortunate manner. Today FMC and I will be out for a long day because they have therapy at 1 then they want to go to the Trans Day of Remembrance event. They have been telling me that they want more trans events in their life so I’m mentioning anything I see. They want to go learn about the members of their community who lost their lives. It’s interesting how much they are fully connected with “trans people who suffer are like me and I want to know about them and I want to help if I can”. They asked me if there was a special shrine or temple or place where trans people go to honor their community members and I said that I didn’t think so but that space is shared with other groups. They said they want to talk to the grown ups in the community about how to learn more about all the people who have come before them. I told them that old people love talking history so that should go well.

I feel a little weird about taking them to trans events because I feel weirdly like I am riding their coat tails… but this is their community and I want them to feel like they belong. If they are ready to start asserting themselves in their community at 7… rock the fuck on kid.

Tomorrow we have family therapy at 1 then I have a haircut at 7 which will mean two crappy drives to San Jose in one day.

Wednesday is a trip to San Pablo. I love my friends. I hate the drive.

Thursday we are going to an orphan Thanksgiving in San Jose. My kids are thrilled because there will be LAN Minecraft. My plan A is to spend a lot of time crying in the bathroom.

Friday is just local medical care (thank goodness).

Saturday we are going to Dickens Fair for our one visit per year. Wheeeee.

Next week I only have to drive on three days. And the furthest drive next week is 30 minutes. So that’ll be better.

Sarah invited me to come visit her when Noah and the kids go to Texas. I have medical appointments most days so I don’t think that’ll work out. So instead that week I’ll just enjoy the one day of leaving the city.

I’ve been sleeping pretty well lately. 7 hours is a short night. It’s been a week or two of this? I’m grateful. I’ve had 9 hour of sleep nights recently and goodness I needed that. Thanks, baby, for letting me sleeeeeeeeeep.

It’s been nice having folks from the bdsm community poke at me in various ways to commiserate over the death of a community member. I’m sad to hear that he OD’ed. So many of the people who were the pillars of the community when I arrived are now dead because of ODs. I love you all and I am glad you are no longer in pain. I wish your life had been less painful for you while you were here.

It makes me wonder how many people my death would touch.

Let’s not find out soon. Let’s grow the web instead.

I like that both of my children know that when anyone starts my funeral the first thing that someone needs to say is, “Krissy was a bad ass motherfucker.” I think they will sob while they say it… but I think they’ll be able to say it.

None of this “Krissy was a wife and mother” bullshit. That may be a lot of what defines me in this life… but it isn’t what you say when you introduce me. I’m bigger than that.

There’s my hubris showing.

I’m enjoying making future plans with Noah and the kids. We are going to go on a lot of adventures. Because we are very lucky.

 

He has all the best qualities

Last night the kids begged to go to the gymnastics “Parents Night Out” event. We had run into a little girl at the museum who goes to the same gymnastics studio… and she homeschools… so of course we will be there! Sure! Let’s make friends! You live in our area!?

So Noah and I got an unexpected date night after he returned from New Orleans. That was lovely. We had dinner then he went with me to my acupuncture appointment. I don’t think he has ever done so before?

I saw a new acupuncturist. Whenever I get through with Noah…. she wants him. She was really into Noah. It was hilarious. She kept talking about how he has all the best qualities. I kept going, “And he _____ as well.” She looked just about dreamy. It was adorable.

She was a fantastic acupuncturist. She picked great spots and she was very soothing and near the end she did what was essentially a lymphatic massage on my hip area that was looooooovely but I’ve never had an acupuncturist do that kind of cross-work before.

She… had a lot of perceptions she felt free to share. Perceptions that require I look at myself and my life in ways that are much more positive than I am willing to see. She latched right on to the fact that I am so into my kids to make up for what I didn’t have. I am being the mother I couldn’t have.

She spent a lot of time talking about how if Noah is so wonderful… that means I had to be equally as good to draw him to me. She was quite adamant and I’m sitting there trying not to do my self-hating dismissal thing.

She commented that I seem very calm and happy for someone who says they have depression and anxiety. I told her that I am a very good liar. I can work a room at a party then duck into the bathroom to sob hysterically and beat my head on the floor then wash my face and go back to the party. Everyone will think I’m great! It is a skill set that kept me alive.

She looked sad.

I’m at this point where I feel guilty talking about what is going on in my head because I know I have a good life. I know Noah is better to me than I deserve.

I had to work really hard last night on not being weird because Noah came home from the conference really happy. Happier than he’s been for a while. I had to talk myself through, “Part of this happiness is that he is glad to be back home with us. It isn’t just that being away from us is so awesome that he can go back to smiling when he’s had enough of a break. But I had to work hard on not crying over that last night. Because my brain sucks.

I believe Noah when he says he had a lot of fun… and he’s ready to be home. But I don’t know how to shake this undercurrent of premonition that he’d pick someone better if he could find them.

Why don’t I draw more comfort from my extroverted, slutty husband not being able to find someone he likes more even though he totally god damn looked? He’s just…. so good. And I feel like I am so bad. And he deserves better than that.

But year after year he keeps picking me.

I really enjoyed the conversation we had last night. We drifted through lots of topics catching up on all the things we saw and did and thought about during the separation. We don’t really communicate much during trips so when we get back together there is this huge dump of information and that’s fun.

It was fun sex too. He really is trying. I’m trying to be better about “not yet”. It is so hard to talk about what I want as it is happening. I’m trying. I wish I didn’t feel so pathetic about being so old and still so bad at this.

My list of things I am shitty at doing doesn’t seem to get shorter.

But I have a husband with all the best qualities so apparently I shouldn’t complain about life.

Still pregnant

27 weeks. I’m in the third trimester. The home stretch. I’m still puking and dealing with awful sour stomach. Yesterday the kids talked me into going out to lunch. On the way home I had to pull the car over so I could vomit all over the road and in my neighbors yard. That shit is so embarrassing. It was one of those prolific pukes where you feel like you are throwing up everything you have ever eaten. Ugh.

Sciatica is kicking my ass. I’m stretching all the time, including the specific exercises recommended by my chiropractor and it still hurts like a motherfucker.

I’m back to the point where no food sounds ok. Everything sounds pukey and nasty and I just don’t want to eat. I’m still bouncing up and down in the 5-7 lbs gained range. I’m glad I’m not still in deficit.

I’ve been sleeping ok. 7-10 hours a night for the past few nights. Sleeping with the kids is a bit of a pain because they take up so much room in a queen sized bed these days. Something like the road trip would be so much harder now that they are bigger. But neither of them have any interest in passing up the golden opportunity of Noah being gone.

It’s always interesting to me that despite being fairly clingy most of the time… when we travel whoever is out of the house is off-leash. We barely talk. I know some people who have firm rules about calling every day and we just… don’t. Noah’s playing and having fun and that’s good and he should focus on that, not on how we are doing. We are fine.

I mean, I’m a mopey bitch… but that is just a baseline and doesn’t need extra consideration.

I hate how much comfort I take from the fact that my kids see shrinks and the shrinks tell me I’m doing well. The shrinks tell me that my kids are very responsible but not parentified and it doesn’t slow down the creeping horror in my heart that I am going to inappropriately lean on them.

It’s kind of funny. When my kids slack off on responsibility and *don’t* behave as if they owe me anything…. I praise them. “Oh good! You are thinking about yourself first! That’s important. You are a kid. You need to be thinking about kid things not adult responsibility. Well done. I’ll pressure you about adult responsibility in a few more years. Ride that gravy train as long as possible.”

I’m trying to teach them how to be responsible for themselves… not how to assume responsibility for everyone around them and it is such a tricky line.

I invited my cousin to spend a few days around Christmas with us. She’s lonely and would otherwise spend Christmas alone in her room. I haven’t seen her since before FMC was born. DAYS, not weeks. I tend to want long visits with people and then they don’t go that well after a while and I’m trying to learn.

I’m trying to wear the belly band because it helps with the stabbing crotch pain. But it makes my acid reflux worse. I ripped that motherfucker off yesterday when I was trying not to puke in the car and it was too little too late in terms of pressure. Oh god. At least I managed to wait till I was out of the car… I puked all over my hair. That I had washed two hours before. Life isn’t fair.

The longer I feel like a festering pile of shit the more I think “Can’t have a fourth kid. Can’t. This isn’t ok.”

Yeah yeah I’m supposed to care about carbon footprint and be evaluating my reproductive choices based on not using resources. Whatever. I’m deciding based on my ability to withstand suffering.

No one can make me feel good about myself. But I read all the time that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself and that’s a lie. I love my kids. I love Noah. I love my Jenny and my Pam and my Sarah. I love alllllll the rest of my friends who get a more hand wavey recognition of allllll the people because once I start listing too many names I forget someone and that feels mean.

I love a lot of people. I let the love they feel for me carry me through life because I don’t know that I am physically capable of loving myself. I don’t believe that I have to love myself before anyone else can love me because it is demonstrably not true.

I’m really excited about meeting this child. I can’t wait to find out how different they will be than the children I already have. What new mix of my personality and Noah’s will emerge? It’s a wonderful adventure. Will they look more like EC or more like FMC or will they look barely related? Who knows! It’s an adventure!

The baby is over 2 lbs already as per the ultrasound last week. This kid is incredibly viable already and that makes my jaded little heart sing. Every day of continued baking is a bonus. I am torn between hoping the baby will come on Valentine’s Day because that would be lovely and thinking it sucks to have birthdays on major holidays so early would be kinder for the rest of the kid’s life.

I will take what I get and be ok with it.

I just want to meet the baby who will become a kid who will become a grown up.

Yesterday FMC said something that struck me. I wish I had registered the context more but I didn’t. I was kind of spacing out and FMC announced, “Yeah, I work on (mumble mumble) because I really want to have a good relationship with you when I’m a grown up.” It’s amazing to me the degree to which we all feel like we are trying to earn the right to stay together. People don’t stay in relationships if you treat them badly and my kids understand that. We all know we have to get our shit together.

But I laugh when I tell the kids that the worst, most offensive things they do are still small potatoes compared to the shit I did as a kid.

I don’t wonder how I have driven off so many people. I know that my behavior and my attitude aren’t so awesome. And that’s after years of improvement. I don’t feel like I am victimized by people rejecting me. I feel I deserve it. I am not good enough at making people feel comfortable. I make people feel uncomfortable. And I get why shunning is an appropriate reaction.

I just have to pray my kids don’t grow up and do it too. But if they do… I will know I deserve it.

And this guy who was one of my first consistent play partners in the community died. He OD’ed. My personal list of folks I am connected to who have OD’ed is really kind of frighteningly long. I know a lot of people who are in a lot of pain.

Belonging

Something I know I cycle back to every few years is this sense that I don’t belong anywhere. There aren’t any hobbies I feel like I get to identify myself based on them because I don’t count. I barely consider myself part of the bdsm community, I’m not really a dancer, I don’t do reenactment stuff anymore…

I don’t go to parties almost at all. In most social groups I can look around and identify the missing stairs so I just don’t go.

Avoidance.

It’s not just the missing stairs though. It’s that I don’t see why people want to know me and I know I’m a lot of trouble. So I feel like the best place for me is at home where people don’t have to see my stupid face.

I need a lot from people. And asking doesn’t go well. Better to just stay home and cope with not getting my needs met in a way where I don’t become the designated problem in a group.

Unreasonable demands

I was thinking about an aspect of my relationship with Noah and his difficulty determining my priorities (or my difficulty perceiving his priority order).

I feel all the time like I am drowning Noah in unreasonable demands. I want him to be an attentive parent in a way that is not part of his lived experience in the world. People didn’t pay attention to how kids were doing when he was young. They hit kids who got too loud and demanding. Noah is required to entertain and engage with his kids even when he doesn’t really want to. Just like I am required to. We decided we wanted this kind of family together but I have been the one to keep reading the development books and micromanage “Ah. They are changing developmental stages. So we have to adapt by…”

I seriously don’t know another man, woman, or enby who would put up with the kind of pushing I do about Noah’s interactions with his children.

I downplay my role in Noah’s financial success story like whoa. But the truth is that he wasn’t real motivated to go work his ass off and more than triple his salary without my dreams and desires providing the fuel. He wants to fund paying the house off early. He wanted to fund all the magnificent travel we’ve been able to do with and without him.

It is not a reasonable demand to ask him to come up with $20,000 so I can take my children on a 5.5 month trip. But I asked and he delivered.

He did that for me. He did that out of love and adoration. He did it because he wants to find out what kind of children I will be able to raise if I have carte blanche.

And the cooking. Let’s not ignore that Noah has meticulously learned my dietary needs and preferences and he spends so much time and energy trying to figure out how to help me feel ok.

And then I go and call having sex with him being handed a shit sandwich. It’s not the overall experience that’s bad. It’s the pain my cunt is in sometimes that is the problem. That’s the bit I object to. Not Noah getting off. Not being close to Noah and being intimate. Not touching him or him wanting or any of that bit.

The part that is a shit sandwich is me cleaning up the blood from my torn pussy. It sucks, yo. And come makes it god damn buuuuuuuuuuuurn on top of itching and hurting just from being torn.

Noah is upset about how much he felt like I was lying last year. It’s been complicated dealing with how much it feels like he has lied to me about the relative importance of PIV in our marriage too.

I think neither of us really know. I don’t know if it is lying or overwhelming ignorance and staunch unwillingness to engage with that ignorance.

IF IT AIN’T BROKE. DON’T FIX IT.

But something is broke and it’s eating at our marriage. And it’s all twisted up.

Part of the problem is that Noah does so much… it couldn’t possibly be reasonable for me to need anything else.

Priorities

I dropped Noah off at the airport at o’dark’thirty and I didn’t feel like I could go back to sleep so I called my cousin. In addition to the new baby coming I got confirmation that my brother is divorced. So that’s his second divorce. I suspected that was true when he unlinked his facebook account from hers and started posting rants about how evil women are for calling themselves “single mothers” when they have alienated the father. Ok then.

It was good to talk to my cousin. We spent a lot of time talking about how I fucked up last year. She’s definitely #TeamSexualAssaultSurvivorsFuckUp. Which is interesting. She wants me to find more compassion for myself because the amount of fucking up I’m doing is still low on the scale of what is kind of expected from me. Relatedly we talked about my sister a whole bunch and how she was acting out the programming she received.

Noah is right that he doesn’t have a clear view into my priorities. I don’t think I know what my priorities are so how could I have communicated them clearly?

My cousin spent a while intensely lecturing me about how even if I don’t actually like or respect or value myself… I need to demand that Noah act like he likes and respects and values me.

Noah isn’t wrong when he points out that he tried ways to change how our sex life worked. (He did.) But it was always…. It always felt like he was offering me a huge variety of sauce toppings for my shit sandwich. It’s still a shit sandwich.

Noah doesn’t demand sex. He doesn’t force it. He just… complains and whines and mopes.

The trouble is that Noah is my sunshine. When Noah is depressed I fail in ways big and small. When Noah is unhappy I internalize that it is all my fault and I have to do something to change it. But the only thing that works is sex.

So that means that if I want Noah to be happy I have to not care how much my cunt hurts and I need to show up and offer sex… even if it makes me bleed.

I’m not saying that Noah presents it this way and I’m not saying this dynamic is all his fault. It isn’t all his fault. A tremendous amount of this comes from me and my broken mental health patterns. This predated Noah in many ways.

But when I tell Noah for years that sex is hurting me and that I can’t keep doing that and he keeps fucking me dry while I cry and cringe…

It sure feels like Noah is agreeing that I’m not very important, or at least the structural integrity of my cunt isn’t very important.

I’m a huge fan of the work of Victor Frankl, a psychoanalyst who survived the Holocaust. He wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning and it centers on how people survive horrifying events by having something that motivates them. I have mostly found his approach to be more useful than the vast majority of psychologists I’ve read. Why are you here? What are you living for?

I am… ridiculously and disgusting outward focused. I depend on other peoples opinions of my merit and worth to convince me that I shouldn’t hurt myself more or that I shouldn’t die. I have never internalized that I am important in my story.

I am important to the extent that I can provide support or help or resources or… something. It’s part of why these periods of disability are so hard for me. When I can no longer show up and provide a bunch of labor in exchange for my right to breathe I should stop breathing.

This is complicated in so many ways. How am I going to handle my children growing up and not needing me? I’m scared of that. I don’t think the way I parent is the ideal way to parent because I don’t have a lot of self or identity left after what I am supposed to give to them and that’s not healthy.

I don’t like me very much. And I’ve spent my life see sawing between violently rejecting people for trying to treat me in ways I don’t like and semi-consciously/fully consciously subjecting myself to people who would abuse me because that is what feels comfortable and right and appropriate for me.

Why have I stayed in a relationship where being in that much pain from sex was just considered an acceptable cost?

How much of that is because I don’t think I deserve better?

It’s complicated how Noah has given me both the same’ol’same’ol’ and dramatically different/better than I have ever gotten in the past. I am deeply aware that some of the expectations I have of Noah are ridiculously unfair. I depend on him to love me and show me what loving me is supposed to look like. I depend on him insisting that shitty treatment isn’t good enough for me. And when he seems to agree with a piece of it (it’s totally ok to hurt my body as he chases his orgasm) I feel… I feel invalidated and small and worthless and like I will never really matter to anyone.

I hate myself because when something starts shifting, like our recent attempts to have non PIV sex, I am so upset with him while I’m glad that it is happening. Why did it take 11 years and me almost completely destroying our marriage before this could be an option on the table?

I had to hurt his feelings bad enough that he would consider looking at the severity of damage that was being inflicted on me and consider changing things. That sucks. I tried asking nicely.

I tell my kids that they should try hard to be nice and if nice isn’t doing what you need it to do… go for effective.

If I were trying to be compassionate towards someone else going through strife I would say that change hurts and sometimes you have to decide if the pain you will inflict through demanding change is greater or less than the pain you will endure if things don’t change. Then do what you have to do.

A lot of what I expect from Noah isn’t fair. But most of what I expect from myself isn’t fair either and that’s a difficult equation. I’m not really sure I know how to have fair expectations. I wouldn’t know what that even means. My life has never been fair.

I don’t want to “win” the argument. I want to not have my cunt hurt. I want to feel like I am not just a worthless whore who has to trade my cunt for my right to be here. I want to feel like I have value and merit in this relationship besides my ability to trigger orgasms.

I want to feel like I am worth keeping. Even if my cunt doesn’t work.

Clarification

Noah emailed me. I’m going to respond here because I’m like that.

When you talk about you dating other people and it not working out because it “feels tainted to me,” there’s something I think is worth pointing out.
It’s not just when I ask you the same question repeatedly that you feel like you need to say whatever it takes to get me to fuck off. When you’re dating other people, the “whatever it takes to fuck off” can and does happen any time you feel pressured. Which often includes when I feel bothered, or disapproving, or frustrated about something unrelated.
So at those times, whether you feel “anything to fuck off” graduates to “lying” or not, you’re okay with telling me things that are clearly untrue, and I may or may not have any way of knowing if they’re true, any time you’re feeling stress. And you chose (and/or would choose) to date other people when you’re already under stress and you reasonably expect me to disapprove.
You’re not wrong about the whole thing feeling tainted to me. But I think you mostly miss what part feels tainted and why.
From the same post, but not otherwise related:
There are many non-sexual services you perform for which I praise you, do things for you and/or otherwise acknowledge it. When we’re talking later about a service that you feel doesn’t count, I’ll often mention that I praised you for it, or that I did something I felt was in return and/or to appreciate that service, and you’ll counter with something else you do for me. There are, of course, many things you do for me.
What I get from those exchanges is that me appreciating you mostly “doesn’t count” if you’ve done more for me than I do for you. It seems like anything less than “me winning the points game” is the same as “I don’t care about anything non-sexual you do for me.” A thank-you or other small acknowledgement only counts if you feel like I’m “winning”, and “winning” is only a thing I’m going to make you pay for later.
That, too, is complicated.
I’m not sure if there’s some more formal and specific way I could acknowledge service for me that would be better. I tend to start from “oh, thanks,” often followed by some specific description of what you did if it’s not clear from context (I often skip a description if you’re, say, in the middle of loading the dishwasher since I consider the task I thanking you for to be obvious.)
That’s… okay, I guess? But if seems clear that you don’t long-term consider yourself appreciated for such things. I’ve done a fair bit of praising you for things you do, especially in recent years. If you feel completely unappreciated for anything non-sexual, that suggests the praise and thanks are doing what I hoped they would.
We’ve talked about acknowledgement before. At the time we agreed that “thank you” is most of what you’re looking for. But it doesn’t seem to count, which suggests it’s not currently doing what we thought it would years ago. It may be time to revisit that discussion.

It’s reasonable that you think I don’t understand what you feel was tainted but I’m not sure that you entirely understand what I mean either. I think me *dating* was absolutely not going to work out no matter what I did and I was a serious asshole. When I told you I was dating because I needed to and you insisted I come up with more and I said because I need to feel pleasure during sex and you kept insisting I come up with more of a reason I got really mean. I’m sure you remember what flavor of mean I was being better than I do.

The part *I* was referring to being tainted was literally just the sex part. You spent years and years and years pressuring me for sex. I was finally able to show up for the once or twice every day you have been pressuring me to perform for years and even when I could finally do that you were god damn mad at me every minute.

Sure I was being an inconsiderate asshole in every other way… but if you tell me the sex the sex the sex the sex is the only thing that can make you happy…..

I tried all the other ways to make you happy and I failed. So fine I showed up with the sex and then it sucked too.

I can’t show up with the sex you want without being that kind of asshole. I can’t. I’m not fucking capable. I know that you don’t want me to have another serious partner who takes time and energy and prioritization. I get that. But you also frequently told me/showed me for many years that you also can’t be happy unless I’m providing an amount of sex I can’t physically stand unless I’m doing a whole host of other supportive behaviors for myself that suck for you.

I know that it is shitty to turn and date other people when under stress. I haven’t had a part of our marriage where I haven’t felt enormous stress to provide sex I don’t necessarily have any interest in and yeah I’m totally not fucking managing that. Because enough years of “if you are under stress you don’t get to go do anything to cope with the stress” means I’m going to crack.

You know how you told me for years that you loved me and cared about me and wanted me to feel good in my body but you were very happy to fuck me dry while I cried and grimaced and lay like a rock under you?

At some point I lost my ability to just absorb that and act like I was ok.

So I said some very mean things. Many that weren’t really true and I was just being an asshole. Yup. That happened.

I know the dating wouldn’t have worked even if I had been less of an asshole. That was going to be tainted even if I did it right. But when I managed to suck it up and provide all the sex you wanted for years… it still didn’t count and that bugged the shit out of me. Because it isn’t the sex. You will complain for years that you can’t be happy without the sex but if the sex appears and you lose all of the other sycophantic shit I’d been doing for years things went up like a Roman candle. You want everything. And I’m supposed to just… make that happen no matter how much it hurts me.

I am tired of bleeding so you can get off.

I don’t know how to deal with the depth of fury I feel about this. It isn’t all about you. It isn’t all your fault. But you are sure fucking wrapped up in it too.

You absolutely do tell me thank you in the moment for things I do for you. But you also tell me that no one who loves you could think that you should be in our marriage because I am so terrible. Which sure makes it sound like alllllllllllll the other stuff I have done has no value. If our marriage is so bad that you shouldn’t be here… that means that the “gratitude” you feel for the things I do is pretty small potatoes. I’m such a problem that you should leave.

Being married to me is so bad you should leave. So who fucking cares if I empty the dishwasher or if you say thank you. The service is stupid and pointless.

You have told me that you can’t talk to anyone about our marriage because…the implication was that there is no redeeming value here.

So what does thank you mean anyway?

I am having a hard time with the fact that you would tell me something so mean like, “I can’t talk to anyone about our marriage because no one could be on my side and think I should stay” and then that turns into “I didn’t say that” and now thank you for the dishwasher is supposed to be the measurement of how well you appreciate me.

You think you should leave. Because I am awful. No. I don’t feel appreciated.

Less frantic, I hope

The acupuncture place near my house is being an adventure. I feel like the first gal did a competent job with the symptoms I mentioned but I didn’t feel a dramatic difference. The second lady listened to my background stuff, kind of sagged just a hair, then she said, “I have a 27 year old daughter who struggles with mental health issues and I’ve fought depression my entire life. I’m very familiar with this being a long-term slow battle.”

Then she proceeded to do the same points as my former favorite acupuncturist whom I stopped seeing because I couldn’t deal with an hour + drive each time I saw her. No other acupuncturist I’ve seen has started with these points and… I think they are a big deal in my body. It’s kind of neat to notice after 10 years of acupuncture that certain points do seem to make a bigger difference than others. The one in between my eyes, in my eyebrow. Lots of points on top of my head. These things seem to help remove the layer of frantic “I have to claw my skin off to get away from myself” feeling. That’s something I should pay more attention to. So far I like the second lady here more than the first. I am going to meet the whole damn practice though. It just seems wise right now.

Sciatica is a bitch and I’m pissed off about how much this hurts.

Noah hypnotized me to sleep last night and I got a solid 9 hours of sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep that much in a night in a while. It feels good.

I’m trying really hard to think about Sarah’s words: I contribute to the problems in my marriage but I don’t create all of them. They aren’t all my fault.

Noah and I didn’t arrive wanting a low-key, easy-going marriage. Neither of us wanted to just kind of hang out with someone as they lived their life. We both went seeking intensity. And holy shit we found it.

We’ve been talking about bigger patterns in our marriage. How much were the early years influenced by the rape scene 3 months after we got married? How much of my belief that I don’t deserve to have my cunt stop hurting is exacerbated by fear or anxiety about my entire right to exist? How much do I say yes because saying no and being forced hurts so much more? That’s real.

I’m not saying I actually believe that Noah will rape me left and right. The one thing that happened was the result of very poor negotiation on both of our parts. I have learned some harsh lessons. I will never again in my entire fucking life make the promise that I will accept a fresh new trauma on someone else’s timeline. I should never have said he got to surprise me with a fucktastically over the top intense scene. Then he picked a tremendously shitty already traumatizing day. That has consequences that reverberate for a long time.

But I have not really tried to advocate for myself. I have. But I haven’t been good at it in the moment. I’m great at Monday morning quarterbacking and coming through and writing impressively long screeds about what I want.

In the moment if I feel scared I put my head down and I say nothing because being forced once you say no hurts so much.

Sometimes I feel very scared that the way I managed to stop being raped was I just… stopped… saying… no.

That’s not fair but it is part of my emotional experience of life. I had more than 20 years of steady, irregular rapes. If you can go through that and not be paranoid you are a better person than I. Go somewhere else to feel all smug and proud of yourself, m’kay?

Recently Noah admitted out loud that even though he has given lip service to being open to alternative sex stuff (not PIV) he has… never really been open and he acknowledges that his body language has been very off-putting on the topic.

I’M NOT GOD DAMN HALLUCINATING.

I’m so grateful he was willing to say that out loud to me. That has been real. I have been willing to try for years and he hasn’t been and this isn’t something I feel confident about so I don’t have the ability to force this through on my own. I need someone who is interested in non PIV intimacy or I can’t insist.

There were more than ten years where non-PIV just “didn’t count” and that’s been incredibly hard for me. So yeah. I finally hit a wall and did whatever the fuck I god damn could to increase my capacity for accepting PIV and that blew up too.

During that period where I was out dating Noah and I had more sex than we’ve had since the first year of marriage. It did work.

But it felt tainted to him and he didn’t want it like that. Ok.

I can do the hypersexual thing. But there is a very high cost. There is a cost physically and there is a cost emotionally… and Noah really isn’t interested in dealing with the consequences of either and I am not capable of managing them off-screen.

Noah and I both showed up as highly scattered, dysregulated people. We have turned to one another and said, “Ok, provide stability and consistency.” It’s kind of a cruel expectation we have of one another. Neither of us are naturally consistent people. But Noah has his elaborate systems of checks he has put in place and I have my extensive systems and we’ve managed to mostly get the trains to run on time. Our children will not experience us as highly scattered, dysregulated people. They think there is a normal with interruptions. That’s… way the fuck better than I expected from us.

We’ve both been much more successful at this aspect than anyone had a right to expect of us given where we started.

It is hard for me that Noah tells me that I haven’t created a safe enough space for him to share how he feels about things. This is hard in part because Noah doesn’t exactly always make it easy for me and that’s not a good enough excuse for me to just shut down. I’m expected to keep sharing even when it is hard and it is frustrating for me that there is a double standard. I am intermittent in how easy or hard I make it to share feelings. I know that sucks. But making a safe container for you isn’t my whole life and expecting me to make it my whole life would require a dramatic restructuring of our priorities and… that’s not really on the agenda. Which means that you need to god damn share even when it’s not that easy. Or you can’t expect me to care what you feel because I don’t god damn know.

It is hard that Noah’s sexual shame is running into mine with all the speed of a runaway train. He feels guilty and ashamed for asking for contact/to be seen as a sexual being. I feel guilty and ashamed that I am not always physically capable of participating in sex without intense pain and injury.

This is a shitty combo.

The only thing I can really say in my defense is I told Noah at the very beginning of our marriage that we were going to have big problems because I don’t really say no to things I should say no to. I CALLED IT.

It is incredibly emotionally hard that I feel like only the sex is important. The sex is the sole measure of my worth as a wife. That’s god damn killing me.

Only it’s not like I’m allowed to ignore Noah the rest of the time and focus on filling my cup so that I can show up for that bit. I’m supposed to lavish attention and affection on him all the time. I’m supposed to be adoring as he feels clever telling me about the latest video game thing he’s on about. I’m supposed to clean and make his life just kind of appear for him. I’m supposed to bring socializing opportunities to him because it is hard for him to arrange his own stuff and he needs it psychologically. I don’t really feel like I run out of what I’m supposed to do for him but it doesn’t count.

I think if it counted I wouldn’t be as upset.

I don’t think I’m even upset about my role here. It’s fine. It’s very service oriented and that suits me. I’m upset about being expected to carry the role of a service slave but be judged solely on the merits of a sex slave. I’ve talked to a lot of people who practice consensual slavery and I’ve read a lot of books on the topic… no one call fulfill every kind of role. You figure out what you are good at and that’s what you offer.

I can’t be a full time sex slave. I have literally tried in my life and I am not physically capable of sustaining it. It is not an option for me.

I’m not saying it is evil to want a relationship where someone is exclusively focused on your sexual needs… I’m saying you have to understand that it will be a limited relationship and that person will probably not be good at folding your laundry.

Skill sets are real.

Given the totality of what Noah wants from me… it is literally not an option to have our life function that way. We would be bad parents and that’s not something that either of us are ok with picking. We are trying to figure out the balance of how much time and space is it ok for us to take for our relationship separate from the kids (and it’s about to get harder) because it is definitely ok for us to take time and space for sex… but that can’t be what our relationship is about. It takes too much time and too many spoons.

I think about what it would be like to have more energy for sex too. I don’t god damn have it.

I really did make a gorgeous back yard for outdoor sex… sigh…. BUT WHEN DO I GET TO ENJOY IT?!

Damn kids.

Completely a side note and a switch of topics. I got frustrated with FMC last night at dinner. I was joking and I told Noah that I wasn’t sure he wanted us to have four kids anyway because he would end up with three daughters and an enby. FMC went off on me as if I had misgendered them.

I got a little shouty but I didn’t scream and I tried to bring my volume and intensity down as I went. I told kiddo that it is incredibly frustrating to me that they yell at me constantly about misgendering them EVEN WHEN I’M DOING IT RIGHT and that is not ok. I’m tired of being yelled at all the time about how wrong I am… when I’m doing it right. This isn’t fair and it is pissing me off. I DIDN’T CALL YOU A GIRL. I DIDN’T SAY YOU WERE MY DAUGHTER. I SAID YOU WERE MY KID. I SAID YOU WERE OUR ENBY. STOP YELLING AT ME AS IF I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

I get that this is a big deal. I get that being misgendered is a problem. THEN LISTEN FIRST AND FIND OUT HOW PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GENDERING YOU BEFORE YOU START YELLING, ALRIGHT?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!

Freaking kids.

I love them with all my heart and soul and I’m grateful I get to spend every day with them. Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes even the best people can be fucking irritating.

UGH!

Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Life is hard. And I’m playing on easy mode.

I’ve been playing the new Kesha album on repeat for a while now. Three songs in particular: Praying, Let It Go, and Rainbow I’d kind of like to go through and write explications. Not explanations. It’s a literary term. It means to go line by line through a song/poem and respond to it in terms of historical and/or personal contexts. Because gosh all three songs take me on a journey. Praying for me is about my sister. Oh. My sister’s son’s wife is pregnant. My official message to my cousin about this news is: “I hope she has an easy pregnancy, a quick delivery, and a healthy baby.” I pray they never let my sister babysit but I won’t say that part to anyone in my family.

I don’t know if my nephew is going to be able to break the chains that bind our family. I’m scared and sad. But there is nothing I can do.

I can raise my babies and keep them away from the pedophiles. That’s what I can do.

Lately the kids have hit a verbal/developmental stage where they are ready to talk about stuff that happened a few years ago that they hadn’t told me before. That’s hard. It is hard hearing about ways that I have failed to protect them because I did not know they needed the protection. I’m really grateful for some of the divorces that happen in my life because it is for the best for my children.

I am sad that my children had to watch that much fighting and screaming (I wasn’t present) and I’m sorry that my children had to deal with a caregiver who would threaten to hit them if they didn’t behave. I wish I had known.

The clarion call of useless parents everywhere. Fuck.

If my children saw more fighting in that house in a couple of years of occasional visits than they’ve seen in their entire life in our house… that divorce needed to happen.

No wonder all four kids came over here and wanted to act out intense domestic violence scenes with horrible divorces. I would listen quite carefully as this happened… but it was a game and they never actually hit anyone so I didn’t stop the process. They had big feelings to work out.

We are all trying to manage our own baggage.

When we go through periods where Noah feels less adored… he shuts me out. And it’s not his fault that his “I’m defending myself because you are a bitch” face looks so much like my brother Tommy. I’m familiar with that glare. It is very hard for me to continue to try to be present and giving and loving when someone looks at me like that. But he’s entitled to facial expressions.

Am I entitled to act like I see the facial expressions? This is all so confusing.

And my sweet girl wants some attention. I should go do that.

The American Dream is a lie.

Today someone I like a lot asked me for advice about how their family can attain a lifestyle more like my family’s lifestyle. I feel like a fucking asshole but the only way I know to do that is be born to rich parents who will fund your Ivy League education with no loans.

Noah is where he is because of the start he got in life. Sure, he worked hard and he made smart choices along the way… but it’s bullshit to say he got here because he worked so hard. There wasn’t a bootstrap in sight.

Sure, he had an almost omniscient prescience to pick the programming language he specializes in. He picked it up when it was brand new and hardly anyone in the world knew it. He gave up his free time and his friends and allllllll kinds of good times with me to specialize in this because he believed this would be his best shot at being the kind of provider he wanted to be in this life. Let me not underestimate the fact that he has worked fucktastically hard on this language. After a lifetime of working hard on a variety of other languages. He did the work to make it through that Ivy League college and lots of people are literally incapable. I don’t want to denigrate that.

But we have this lifestyle because Noah was born to a rich family.

It’s not because we worked harder than other people. It’s because he had advantages and I have the ability to stretch a dollar to cover $40. Because I had to as a child.

Because when I was a child someone handing me $5 could make a huge difference in how I ate that month and I carry these lessons with me. So when I land in the position to manage a rich person’s money… I do pretty damn well.

It has been hard learning how to buy more expensive things less often… but I have learned. Mostly I was just used to buying the cheap shit and duct taping it back together when it broke.

Our lifestyle is insanely luxurious. I’m a god damn stay at home parent and Noah works in the garage. We travel a lot. We eat sooooooo well.

We don’t have everything. We make choices. Our cars are eleven years old and one is dying pretty intensely and we intend to cope with one car for as long as possible when the Prius dies. The minivan looks solid to last five or more years longer and I don’t care that it has dents and scrapes and the side view mirror has broken three times and it shakes when I drive…  We don’t have excellent clothing in the main. Noah and I bought an insanely expensive set of outfits next year and we might wear then until we are buried. The kids get around $100 of new clothes in a year and otherwise… I buy used or they get hand me downs. They are in classes but not everything. They don’t get to go do fun activities that cost money constantly because I just refuse. Our entertainment budget hasn’t gone up with our income and I think that’s great.

Instead we hemorrhage money on health care. Wheeeeeeee.

And the bathroom. Ugh. That was twice as fucking expensive as I wanted it to be. Paying that off is going to hurt. When we finish paying off the bathroom we will have paid off about $600k in debt over the course of our marriage between the mortgage, school loans, remodeling, and cars.

Our lifestyle is simply not attainable if you did not get born to wealth. This isn’t because of me. This is Noah’s financial story and I’m just along for the ride; I like narrating.

The caucasian whisperer

Many of my neighbors are immigrants and I’m kind of hyper friendly so I introduce myself as soon as they move to the neighborhood. This means that they come and knock on my door when they have questions. Today the question was about why these people keep knocking on her door to try and give her pamphlets about all the disasters and the end of the world.

I explained Christian missionaries and talked about different sects and how they are pushing the book of Revelations and… don’t worry about it. They are crazy and they want you to share their crazy because if you don’t then they think their God will get mad at them. It’s ok to say no thank you and shut the door in their faces. They have rudely inserted themselves in your day to demand you stop following your religion… you don’t owe them anything.

She was happy to hear that they weren’t from the government trying to help her be prepared for natural disasters.

In a side note: saw a different acupuncturist today. I think I like her. I have a new terrible physical symptom: sciatica. Just fucking shoot me.

I am here

I am not here because I have to be. I have walked away from many people, situations, and places. I am here because I want to be. I am here because this is the best place I’ve ever been, warts and all.

I am here because when I manage to give Noah feedback on what I need he takes it seriously and tries to adapt. I am here because Noah makes me feel like it is ok to be that annoying Smart-Kid-Walking-Encyclopedia. Do you know how much I irritate people with my constant need to narrate what I know? Not everyone likes that part of my personality very much. Noah encourages me.

Noah likes that I wanted to grow up and play Mary Poppins with his kids. Our kids. The children who look at us like we hung the stars and the moon and we are the best things ever.

I was trying to explain to Noah the other day that him staying up late and sleeping through days is a big deal and that was a little hard for him to wrap his head around. I told him how much the kids look forward to weekends with him and he kind of minimized what I was saying. So I asked the kids yesterday at dinner how much they look forward to time with him. River. Of. Love. You may “see” us all the time because you work in the same house… but we feel the difference between you being present and ignoring us and you being present and turning the ray of sunshine that is your attention on us. When you check out… we feel it. Like the sun turning away.

I am partially here because, for reasons I don’t understand, Noah is better at making me feel sympathy for how hard it is to be a man than basically any other man I’ve ever met. I watch Noah struggle to deal with how much he internalized that no one likes little boys and they will only like you as a man if you give and give and give and give.

My baby Enby is sick. Last night they spiked a fever and they started vomiting. Just once, but it was… prolific and the poor kiddo is feeling terrible. They act just like me when I’m sick which kind of amuses me. They are listing every part of themself that feels bad and getting most huffy with feeling bad. “And MY THROAT HURTS TOO!” heh.

But the look on their face when I pamper them… that’s pure Noah.

I’m a really good at being a nurse for sick people. I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling like shit and when someone else is sick I’m good at figuring out all the ways to make feeling miserable a bit more bearable. Everyone in my house beams at me as if I am an angel of mercy descending to ease their suffering. They all have identical expressions of, “You’re here and you love me.”

Yeah. I am here. And I do love you. I can help you get through this. It’ll be just a blip.

I have so much sadness inside me because when I would get sick as a child my mom would flip out and get angry with me. I can now understand that she was barely surviving and anything that made it harder was worthy of resentment and anger… but I was a little kid who got to feel ashamed of myself every time my body was weak. It meant moral failing.

Nobody in this house is going to feel like that. Noah kind of tried early on in the relationship and I’ve been an asshole about mocking man-flu… but I also baby Noah anytime he feels off. He has the same melting, “You’re here and you love me” thing the kids get. It’s a way of relaxing into feeling loved and accepted even when you aren’t at your best.

When I think of the work I do for Noah… it’s not really the dishes or the laundry that matter. He was a bachelor. He can do that shit. Part of what I have done is help create a family where Noah gets to feel respected in a way he never has before. Sure, he’s “The Oracle” at work (Smart-Kid-Walking-Encyclopedia for the win) but at home we listen to him and we listen to what is under his words and we take care of him.

Part of the problem in our marriage is how much we read one another’s body language and leap to incorrect conclusions. Part of what makes our marriage so awesome is how much we read one another’s body language and leap to correct conclusions. So this is tricky.

No one has ever spent as much time staring at Noah and trying to make him happy as I have. The reverse is probably even more true.

The work I do for Noah involves things like helping to guide his relationship with his kids. “Hey so you reacted like x when the kid did y and let’s talk about developmental stages and tone of voice…”

Neither of us are “natural” parents. We are both the result of a lot conscious hard work and efforts to change. We want something that we’ve never seen and something that we’ve never been. That’s hard and takes course corrections and feedback and the willingness to humble yourself when your fuck ups are pointed out. We do it for each other. I tell Noah what I’m working on and he gives me feedback on how well I’m progressing.

Noah seduced me by telling me that if you can’t look back on yourself 18 months ago and say, “Wow I really sucked” then you aren’t trying hard enough. *cough* Well… May of 2016… *cough*

It helps if you fuck up big time every so often… easier to look back and say you sucked…

I am here because for all that the video games and comic books drive me nuts… I feel safe and mostly accepted. I don’t feel like a good wife. But I feel like a person who will be tolerated pretty much no matter what. Noah doesn’t always like me. He won’t ask me to go. I understand that the geek social fallacies work in my favor sometimes.

I am here because even if I am a monster I am a monster in a cave of monsters and that’s ok.

I am here because Noah will tell me the truth even when it is unpleasant and I end up liking him a little less for what he is saying. I know I can trust him even if I do spend time being mad at him.

He has such a beautiful smile. I love looking at it. It’s kind of funny to me that I know he likes our kids very much… but he still doesn’t turn the softness on them the way he does with me. I see facial expressions directed at me that he doesn’t use with anyone else. He is soft and gentle and melting. I just finished rereading Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce. It’s about a mage who works with rocks and she ends up having to deal with a newly forming volcano and the issues that might cause. She interacts a lot with the spirits of the volcano. (Go with me here, it’s a fantasy book.) The way the book talks about her wanting to soften the edges of herself and melt into the pool of fiery spirits…

That’s how Noah looks at me. Like he wants to melt away the edges of himself and just flow into me.

Which is a lot of why it hurts so much that I wrecked this.

I don’t know that I will ever deserve his trust again. And that’s my fault. I did that.

Time to pay the piper.

One of the neat things about the road trip was having the emotional experience of bringing home with me. The kids and I spent the trip listening to Kacey Musgrave on repeat and singing “Any place beside you is the place that I call home.” We had this open gaping wound of missing Noah, but when he came out to visit… we didn’t miss the building that much. Wonderland is a cool house as houses go… but we focus on the people. The people make us feel loved and accepted and wanted and like we should be here. And the people can go anywhere with us.

I was proud of myself last night. Noah spent a while massaging me (he says the current horrible stabbing pain is sciatic nerve pain. Oh joy. More fucking pain) and afterwards he indicated that he would be interested in moving to a room with privacy. The thing is, I am depressed as shit and I haven’t been doing my chores promptly so the family cloth was in the dryer for like 3 days and my whole crotch is a mess of burning pain because I’ve been using toilet paper. Toilet paper is the devil. So I told him I’d be happy to come with him and be with him but I need to leave my underwear on.

I’m trying.

Do you know how ridiculously hard it is for me that I have turned him down for sex many times in the past month or two? I… don’t do that. I’ve turned him down as much recently as maybe in our whole marriage put together. We’ve certainly had as much alternative sex in the past two months as in the rest of our 11 year marriage put together. I am… not the most skillful handjob giver in the world. What I lack up in dexterity I make up for with extra bonus oral sex. I’m slightly better at that.

I’m having fun with telling him not to rush and just enjoy feeling nice. We don’t have to hurry through.

I am here because even if I need other friends… Noah is my best friend. He doesn’t flinch from me in the way basically everyone else does. And even he still flinches sometimes.

EC keeps telling me that she thinks I am going to want another kid. Noah has hinted broadly that he’d be ok with getting another vasectomy as soon as I want him to. If I end up with a c-section I’m just getting a tubal done. If I have a better vaginal birth…

But I hate being pregnant.

EC says, “It isn’t that you are crazy. It is that you like your kids so much. I totally think you will want four.”

Even she understands that five would be a bridge too far. Oh good. But I came into this wanting three

Today is kind of busy. 8am Skype. 10am cleaners. 12pm chiro. 2:30 massage. It’s going to be a good day because at the end I won’t hurt as much. It is Friday Pain Relief Day.

Oh shucks. Noah is supposed to go get a hair cut and he was going to bring the kids with him. Luckily our hairstylist has an 8 month old and she’s currently germ paranoid so cancelling the same day is preferable to bringing a sick kid. We’ll call her and talk about it.

I gave in to cleaners twice a month since we lost the babysitter. I think it is easier to live together when we have slightly fewer chores… Goodness knows I’m slacking off right now. My body feels like shit.

I feel kind of ridiculously happy that I came up with a name for the next kid that basically means spiritual gift of charm. That’s… hopeful in this house of tactless wonders.

I am here because even when I am depressed as shit I still manage to get up and do the basics. I still manage to provide care and connection even when I feel horrible. I want to. I feel good about it. It’s important. I matter here.

Both of my kids have expressed fear about me dying during childbirth. We talk about it and I try to be realistic and kind about it. It is a risk. I’m never going to promise you that I won’t die. I will absolutely die someday and you are going to have to cope. But I don’t think I will die that day. That’s why I’m going to a good hospital and I’m being picky about doctors. I’m trying to stay fit. I’m trying to eat well. I’m doing what I can to stack the deck in my favor and then it’s just about luck.

They both tell me that they don’t want me to go. I tell them that I don’t want to go but someday I will have to because everyone does. But I hope it will be many years hence so that we can enjoy one another’s company for a very long time. But I don’t know when it will be and that’s why I pressure them so hard to learn the things I need them to learn. I don’t know how much time I have and I have a lot to teach.

I tell them that someday it will be their job to keep themselves safe and I won’t be there. The things that will decide if they come out ok or not will be their will and instincts. I’m doing what I can to train you to react in a way that will prolong your life.

FMC asked me why I love them so much if they are an asshole. (I don’t call them an asshole but I do talk a lot about how everyone is an asshole sometimes.) I told them that people are irritating and annoying and that is life. People are selfish and they have to be and that’s right and just. And I love you because you are bright and shining and you try and you fail and you get back up and you try again. Because that is life too. I love you because you are fierce and strong and you demand to be seen. I love you because you are unwilling to be ignored.

You refuse to be underestimated. Excellent. Keep it up.

I am here because no where else in the world will give me the chance to be who I want to be.

What do I want?

It’s kind of funny talking to Noah about our marriage. Funny because we go round and round. Neither of us have any desire to leave but sometimes I’m really not sure why we want to stay.

What do I want from our marriage? Gosh.

When I call my friends to complain about Noah my friends spend half the time saying, “Yeah that thing is shitty… that’s true… but let’s talk about all the good things.” Jesus fucking Christ my personal god damn therapist was so #teamNoah that even though sex was causing me literal physical pain she told me I should keep putting out because marriage is about compromise and he does so much for me.

I feel like there is no one in Noah’s life who feels that way about our marriage. I feel like Noah doesn’t talk about our marriage much to anyone and when he does it sure isn’t to sing my praises because when we have a problem… where are the chorus of voices telling him that I do so much for him and marriage is about compromise?

Noah didn’t marry someone super high functioning and promising. He married a god damn train wreck. And I have managed to accomplish things in the past 11 years that seem like a fucking miracle to me. I am pretty god damn stable. Yeah I cry and I have mood swings… but I haven’t actually caused a lot of problems and drama in our life. I do my chores. I take care of the kids. I learned how to handle major financial investments because Noah couldn’t handle doing all of it even though the topic gave me panic attacks when we got married. I have been responsible in a way that I honestly didn’t think I would be able to deliver on.

I have even damaged myself for years and years and years trying to meet his need for sex even when our sex life was not working for me at all. I never quit. I never stopped trying. Yeah, eventually I was a giant asshole and I added sex with other people as part of my coping strategies and that blew up mightily in my face. Yeah that sucked. It didn’t help how I wanted it to help. It got ugly.

I have an incredibly high need for social interaction. I am extroverted. I NEED people. And I don’t have a whole lot of opening for that in my life. I mean, I get lots of kid time… but I need grown ups.

I spend the vast majority of my whole life knowing that I can’t talk about 90% of what is in my brain or I am a bad person. I’m very careful what I say and to whom.

I don’t know how to deal with this in the context of our marriage. I used to do a lot of things. I used to be such a social butterfly it was unreal. Renaissance Faires were fun but I can’t do that sort of thing and stay married to Noah. It means so much time away from home and that wouldn’t work out. Dickens Fair… I have no desire to work with my rapist and he’s beloved and popular and I’m not. I tried the home school group for years and that was complicated as fuck and Noah never appreciated the fact that there was emotional fall out from me dealing with large groups of people constantly who weren’t my friends. The bdsm community is late at night, which I’m not physically good at, and it is intensely threatening to Noah. Even if I was capable of behaving more appropriately he wouldn’t be real happy with me going out there to socialize because he knows that I could pick up play and/or sex any day.

It is hard that the only groups Noah particularly wants to hang out in are groups where no one wants to talk to me very much. An incredibly high percentage of the people that Noah would like to spend time with either treat me like I am furniture or they talk down to me because *I* didn’t go to a prestigious school so obviously I’m dirt. And that’s not my imagination. That’s not my rampant paranoia.

My rampant paranoia is that I don’t trust that *my* friends like me. It’s reality that most of Noah’s friends don’t like me.

And that isn’t the end of the world. Noah gets to go on trips with these people. Noah can go have lunch with folks and he does. I don’t lock him in a box. He’s totally allowed to have lots of people in his life who have no use for me. Hell, I booked the god damn trip for him and the kids to Texas so he can go visit his family… who really don’t like me.

I don’t think I try to control Noah’s life and limit him to people who only like me. But I notice that pretty much the vast majority of people that Noah wants to consider friends don’t like me and don’t really support our marriage.

I notice that. That hurts. That feels like Noah must not think our marriage is that great and he probably doesn’t spend a lot of time talking me up to these people.

When he went and saw a therapist she pushed hard for a divorce. We are definitely not talking about our marriage in the same way.

And that makes me feel like only one of us thinks that there is any good in our marriage. Maybe only one of us is getting good from our marriage and that isn’t fair and he should leave.

I want to feel like how hard I have worked to learn stability and to be present and to meet his needs actually has value and I don’t feel like that. I feel like the fact that I finally god damn defended my right to feel pleasure in my cunt means that I deserve to be abandoned as a bad wife.

I didn’t give enough. So I’m worthless and I should go.

I want to feel like me giving my best isn’t such a shit pile.

I want to feel like both of us appreciate our marriage. Instead of poor Noah he married that white trash bitch so now he is suffering, oh poor man.

It doesn’t help that we have ended up in a situation where if I do try to be friendly with people Noah likes that blows up and goes poorly and I’m bad again.

I’m really tired of everything adding up to what a bad wife I am. What incentive do I god damn have for trying harder? I sure as shit won’t end up in a better position that meets more of my needs.

I’m tired of being the designated problem. I’m the one who fucks up and Saint Noah tolerates me.

I want to feel like if I’m not in the mood for sex for a while that isn’t a crime I am perpetrating. I want to feel like it is ok that if we haven’t had a good conversation in a while I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU. I want to feel like the dishes fairy and the laundry fairy who visit our house actually count as balancing the work that Noah does with cooking. He doesn’t god damn do all the chores in our house and I will get in a fight over this topic. I’m really worn out on the narrative that Noah neeeeeeds sex to pay him back for how much he does for me.

Near as I can tell my payback for my half of the work is that I am allowed to claim half the income. How come your half of the work entitles you to sex that hurts me?

How come your half of the work entitles you to everyone thinking you are the best god damn thing since sliced bread and my half of the work means that I’m a piece of shit and you should leave me?

I feel really scared that I am actually that bad. And if I’m that bad after trying this hard… there isn’t really hope I can improve enough.

I’m really sad.

I feel like I know that I have a good partner. I feel sad that I don’t feel like I am a good partner.

I’m weak.

I think it is very likely that this is my last kid. So when the ultrasound technician asked if we wanted to know what genitals she was seeing… I said yes.

FMC says we are allowed to use the name we picked to assign to someone of a particular gender but we still need to refer to the kid as they/them until the kid declares a gender.

So this may be confusing for folks who are following purely online because I’m not going to announce the name here. Nyah.

Lies, words, asking, and hostages.

It isn’t really about the assholes on the internet. I’ve been on the internet for more than 20 years. I know there are assholes on the internet.

It is that the assholes are echoing my fears. The assholes are echoing what it feels like my friends have come to my house to say to my face while I have been pregnant. Twice. Two pregnancies almost a decade apart. I’m a bad mother because I am mentally ill and I’m not a good person because I don’t care more about global population issues than I care about this horrifying need to have a family.

I think that one of the meanest lies grown ups say to children is “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” I’ve been hit with sticks and stones and whips and fists and… lots of other things. Those wounds heal. Do you know what doesn’t heal? The things people say that crawl into my brain.

Also: my keyboard is not working properly since I got it back from the apple store and this is pissing me off. My W key isn’t working right. I have to hit it many times before it registers and then it shoots out several W’s in a row and this shit is seriously irritating.

All the random people in my life who have told me I’m so “great” are fighting against the words of my parents and my siblings and my friends who tell me I’m not.

It was lovely seeing Pam’s baby sister yesterday. We had a great chat. I feel like I’m kind of a wind up toy. If someone comes over and wants to see me I can turn on the fake charm and I can act like a person who is alive and functional and everything. I can seem fine. Then they leave and I feel myself wind down again until I’m staring listlessly and all I want to do is cry.

I told her about something that is coming up that I’m feeling a lot of anxiety about. She told me I could spend the day texting her or calling her for support. Yeah. That won’t happen. Even though she’s very sweet to offer. I can’t do that. I’m in that place where any amount of rejection or appropriate boundary setting or “I can’t do that” feels absolutely catastrophic. I’m not asking people for support I’m holding them hostage in my mind if they can’t do what I need. And as long as any amount of “not now” is that big and that painful inside of me I can’t ask. It isn’t fair or appropriate. It’s only ok to ask if “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer.

I used up all the “asking” I get for a long time in arranging childcare for labor support.

I’m trying to read up on why antenatal depression is such a bad thing. Ok, the disturbed sleep and lack of eating is clearly a problem. Does it really matter if I cry for several months straight? I mean really?

In 4 hours I go in for an ultrasound. Probably my last pregnancy one. Maybe forever. I’m 26 weeks pregnant today. One more week till the third trimester. This incredibly active person residing inside of me could live with a lot of medical intervention already. That’s so amazing. That would suck and be expensive so I’d rather not…. 14 more weeks is a very tractable amount of time. The white board calendar system we use shows up to 36 weeks now. That’s kinda alarming.

Ok this W problem is seriously fucking pissing me off.

The kids have been pushier than usual about asking about the crying. I tell them that it is a hard question to answer for them because it isn’t ok for adults to ask kids for emotional support, that train goes one way. But I also really don’t want to lie or keep secrets so this is tricky. I told them that I’m crying about a bunch of things. I’m crying about old stuff I really won’t explain at this point. I’m crying because my body hurts. I’m crying because I’m really not as good of a mother as I want to be and I feel really bad about that. I’m crying because my bucket is empty and I don’t know how to fill it and that’s really hard.

It was kind of a funny exchange with EC.

“You know how we are talking constantly about impulse control with you kids? You know how I’ve been yelling a lot more than usual? I’m struggling with my own impulse control and I feel really ashamed that I am failing so much right now.”

“Mom you don’t yell that much. I mean, probably more than we deserve because we are perfect, but you don’t yell that much.”

The delivery of that snottiness was so smooth.

I tickled her a lot for that one.

Perfect. Snort.

I love you. I think you are wonderful and I’m glad every day that I get to know you.

There’s a bunch of stuff I’m angsting on really hard right now and none of them feel ok to write about. So I should stop for the day. Otherwise I’ll try to be all slick and talk around these problems and I just can’t do that right now.

But on the upside…

I get to leave for BART in a few minutes. Pam’s baby sister is coming over to visit. Assholes on the internet think I suck but my friends love me. Sometimes even the siblings and parents and aunts of friends love me because they see that I have been a good friend.

Some people don’t think I am completely bad.

So much shame.

I feel ashamed of myself for everything lately. I feel guilty for needing so much conversation to feel connected. I feel like I am a terrible person for still having big feelings about how my last labor went so I’m being really fucking demanding this time and I feel like that makes me a bad person.

I was stupid and I talked about my paranoia and fear about labor on the birth board forums and I got told off up one side and down the other. Because I don’t have a mother or someone who just wants to help me I don’t deserve help. The fact that I asked around and found a friend who could agree to the intense demands I have for labor support mean I’m a complete asshole.

What I want: someone who can be available from a few days before my due date, someone who will not want to keep my kids for a few hours then give them back (I absolutely believe that the stress of no one wanting to keep my older kid for very long made my last labor so much worse–I could never relax; I spent the whole time worrying and fretting about the fact that neither I nor my child are important enough to just take care of us for the duration of a difficult and traumatic event), someone who will stay through multiple days if necessary and just make things happen so I don’t have to be scared all the time, and I want someone my kids have a pre-established relationship with because frankly all of us are scared.

I almost died last time. I think it will go better in a hospital, but we all have anxiety around the fact that this is a traumatic event that kills a lot of women and has for all of history. I don’t have the sturdiest body. In the opinion of Darwin, I should already be long dead. So this is scary.

The people on the birth forums told me that if I don’t have a mother who loves me then my husband should stay home with the kids and I should labor and deliver alone because that is what is “appropriate”.

So I’m a shitty person for asking around among my friends and getting firm commitments from two people (a primary person and a back up person) for multiple days of uninterrupted care and they can hand off between themselves if there is a problem.

I’m bad because I want both my husband present and my children to be taken care of by a friend instead of a stranger.

I was told that if I hire labor support that’s fine. But we don’t have a current person we pay who could be available for that. So I should find a stranger.

No.

Strangers are not dependable for sudden labor support. I’m sorry.

I’ve actually provided labor support for several families in the last seven years since I had my second child. Even for folks I’m not that close with but I know them through various communities. I tell the parents: call me when you think it is getting to be early labor and I’ll come get your big kid(s). I will keep them until you are ready to come and get them a day or two after the birth. Bond with your infant–that’s a big deal and we will be fine until you are ready. I can handle anything that comes up.

I’m good with kids. Especially kids who have BIG FEELINGS and are feeling scared about a family transition point. I can talk all day and all night about how having more people to love doesn’t mean your parents will love you less. It means more love in the house.

That’s what I wanted last time and I really didn’t get that. I got a few hours at a time and my kid came back each day. I can’t experience again what happened to me last time. I don’t have the resiliency.

I feel sad and like I’m not a good person because I need help and I’m demanding it from people. I’m being too specific about the form and shape of the help and that means I’m mean.

This is contributing to my overall feelings of shame that I’m having another child. I shouldn’t be doing so from a population point of view. As I’ve been crying this week I can’t get the words out of my head that it is completely unavoidable that I am a bad mother because I am mentally ill and I should have aborted my first pregnancy and never inflicted me on anyone.

I’m feeling so much like it would have been better if I had been aborted and then I never would have existed to be so bad and do so many things I’m not supposed to do.

Thank you, my love.

Today at the end of my chat with Jenny she expressed very mild and loving exasperation that I haven’t approved her as a friend on Instagram. She strongly hinted/pushed that I should get on putting pictures up for her including pictures from the wedding renewal she missed last year due to Zika concerns.

You don’t know how you made my heart explode with joy. You love me so much that you are demanding (in a loving non-aggressive sort of way) that I share more of myself with you.

I spend so much time feeling like I am a bad person because I share as much as I do and no one wants/needs to see this shit. I think back to the therapists who have told me that I shouldn’t share the things inside me because I hurt people and that makes me bad.

But you love me so much that you ask for more.

I’m going to cry about that for a while. But it’s a good kind of crying.

I love you, Jenny. Getting to know you in this life has been so wonderful.

S&R: Mornings

I need to distract myself and expressing my feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewings isn’t helping very much. So here’s some stuff I need to start writing down. I’m going to write a series of posts over the next three months. I’m going to document as much as I can about how I say things and why I say them. A friend is going to stay with us for a bit around my due date (because even as I whiiiiiiiiiiiine about how I feel like I can’t ask for things… I did a better job of arranging labor support this time than last time. I was way more clear and demanding about what I asked for and I did find a person who could say yes. I feel like karmically I have used up my asking for a while.)

S&R stands for scripts and routines. You are going to see that attached to all of the posts.

I’ll start with mornings.

In the morning the kids wake up sometime between 5:30 and 7. Obviously it is better for me when they sleep later but… what am I going to do? Rarely if we have an outing that goes late they sleep till 8 but it is incredibly freakish. Don’t expect them to sleep past 7.

Most of the time the kids want to immediately move to the couch with me for a morning snuggle. Noah usually makes breakfast while the three of us sit on the couch and talk about randomness. I assume that your routine will more closely resemble that of the routine we maintain when Noah is not around. So we’ll skip over the ridiculously awesome part of every day that involves Noah cooking. You’ll get that part when we aren’t in the hospital.

I have no idea if the kids will want to sit on the couch and have a morning chat with you. My attitude towards this kind of stuff with the kids is that I rarely offer but I don’t refuse. You of course will have your own comfort level. You can decide if you are comfortable with two minutes or twenty. Or more. Chatting with them is fun.

When Noah isn’t here I wait until the kids complain that they want food and I get up. I tend to go back and forth between a couple kinds of breakfasts with the kids. I try to make sure there is a fruit and a protein. I go back and forth between a carbohydrate or a vegetable but I rarely do both at once.

Examples: fruit & granola & yogurt, eggs & potatoes & bell pepper in a stir fry, breakfast pastry & fruit & lunch meat, cereal & fruit & milk & cheese, nuts & fruit & cheese & bread.

I’m not saying you MUST FEED THEM WHAT I DO. I’m saying this is what I will have in the house. If you want to feed them whatever the heck combinations you want… rock on. I just find I do better knowing what a given child is accustomed to because then the little sucker argues with me less. Like, if you want to give vegetables and carbs and protein for breakfast it’s not a big deal. They eat a lot of fruit.

You’d better believe we will have a full larder of food when you are here. Going to the store won’t be an issue.

Like, when we run out of fresh fruit… we have lots of canned/preserved and the kids love it.

After breakfast I ask the kids to get dressed and brush their teeth and their hair (EC doesn’t really brush her hair and I don’t care).

I notice that I tend to divide the day into little checklists I rattle off on my fingers. I try to keep it to 2 or 3 things per list. After breakfast the three I say repeatedly: hair, teeth, clothes. They still need reminding. We are not a household that likes hygiene. We have a grudging relationship with society where we admit that other people require it of us.

After that I walk over to the chore chart list and I say, “Ok… what chores need to be done?” The kids usually need to be told to wash their hands with soap before unloading the dishwasher. Because of course they do. It’s not like we have had this conversation every day for years or anything.

Ahem.

Everyone is responsible for clearing their own dishes to the sink/counter area. Usually a grown up loads the dishwasher but the kids are completely capable of doing so and I will probably ask them to just do that. They get a butt-load of points for washing dishes so they are usually happy to chip in.

The chore list is important because they earn points for their chores. Washing dishes is 20 points and that’s really forking high in our scale. I think it’s twice what any other chore is worth (I’m too lazy to walk over and check) because it is so far an adult chore and them doing it is covering for something an adult should be doing and they get bonus points for that.

EC is supposed to sweep the floor as needed and check every day. In practice this means she does it when I tell her it’s gross and we are going to get bugs.

FMC is supposed to mop about once a week. Of course this means they do it approximately when I go, “Dude… this is nasty.”

A lot of their chore list are “suggestions” and not requirements. If they do those things they get points for it because we are trying to encourage habits but I don’t require them because I’m not that big of a hypocrite. I don’t do frequent sit ups even though they would be good for me either.

But they empty the dishwasher and set the table as a pretty major “every day” part of the habit of life.

We try to get chores done by 9. Then we transition into academics.

Right now we have to deal with the fact that we have to produce documentation for the charter school. That means work books. Boooooo workbooks. The kids have a huge stack in their play room. They prefer to do stuff on the computers. FMC has to do 15 minutes a day of this reading program. That’s on the computer and they know how to log in. Both of them would love to spend most of the rest of the time on Khan Academy doing math and JavaScript… but we can’t turn that in to the charter school.

I require them to do a solid hour of work on something that can be turned in. We have to produce for: language arts (spelling, writing, or grammar all count), science (we have a huge number of options here from reading a science oriented book to them and having them draw pictures to we have really awesome curriculum for biology, chemistry, and physics… there are so many cool experiments in the workbooks), math (Khan Academy doesn’t count! EC can do Life of Fred or one of the other workbooks; FMC has several workbook options), and history (read a book about a historical person and write a book report, work on the CA history comic book or time line, watch documentaries about history and do the workbook write up).

After they work for an hour on stuff for the school they get to play with something academic for another hour. I don’t really care what they do. Sometimes they do language stuff (we have Signing Time videos and FMC works on Duolingo). Sometimes they play on Khan Academy for a while (EC in particular is into their coding stuff). They like playing Human Resource Machine. Sometimes we research something kind of random like the history of fashion or something about travel or researching a person or watching videos in another language or something. We do a lot of stuff. The general motto for this is: Be Curious.

Ok. That’s all I have in me to write today.

Today really sucks.

I feel cranky and sad and anxious and like I want to get in a fight. If I sound bitchy… it’s probably true. I am bitchy.

My kids are in a needy state. Those come and go. They need a lot of hand holding and explaining and support and I’m supposed to be happy and loving and sweet the whole god damn time.

I’m trying really hard to meet Noah’s needs for sex while respecting my bodily limits but I feel like I’m walking this line. I still don’t feel like I’m trying to meet my needs for sex. I’m trying to not be a complete failure as a wife which… isn’t feeling very good.

Noah keeps telling me that he could make space in the calendar for me to go see someone or do something and my internal narrative is “Wheeee I could drive really far and hurt my body so someone can pay as much attention to their phone as me. How fulfilling.” (Which isn’t how it works 100% of the time… but is really fucking frequent with a lot of people.)

I’m in this shitty place where almost everything that anyone could do would be not enough so I can’t ask for anything at all because then I might act like someone trying hard isn’t good enough and then I’m a bad selfish person so I should just shut the fuck up and ask for nothing.

I feel empty and sad and useless and stupid.

It is really hard that the more I need the less I am capable of asking for or accepting.

And I’m so frustrated with the entire existence of my body. I feel like I can’t do anything right. I can’t even eat or sleep right because I am so stupid and pathetic. So fucking broken.

Geez, why don’t I just settle down and take these stupid anti-depressants and everything would be fine. Only I’ve tried that and it made living so much worse. But I’m a liar who is not to be believed when I talk about my body.

I am not a reliable narrator.

I know that there are times when it doesn’t make a lot of sense to talk to me because I just twist everything and make everything awful and that’s on my head.

I feel like I “should” go find fulfillment from doing more chores. I should just work more. My garden has been heavily neglected for a long time… I should get my lazy worthless ass in gear.

But the thing is…. I think that in my heart I was making the garden and I was making the bathroom because I hoped I would be capable of making a space where people would want to come over and hang out because it would be fun for them too. And I have pretty much failed at that. And so instead I sit here and berate myself for putting this much time and money and energy into something that no one cares about.

Because… everyone else is busy living their lives. As they should be.

And my life is supposed to be doing laundry and driving people to the things they want to do and smiling pleasantly and not saying anything that will make anyone feel uncomfortable.

So basically I should just shut up because I’m a horrible person who makes everyone uncomfortable.

It’s not a good day.

I forgot to ask…

How my new OB might feel about me taking the placenta home. My whole medical team has been expressing concern about postpartum depression given how my pregnancy is going. I said, “If I eat the placenta I’ll do ok!” Now I need to talk this OB into that course of action. Oh boy.

Bodies are weird. We don’t understand them very well. We don’t know why they work the way they do. We know that humans are one of  the only mammal species that doesn’t habitually consume the placenta. The placenta is full of good shit, yo. That’s nutrition. That’s vitality. That’s half the shit my kid stole from my body to deplete me during the pregnancy. I want it back, motherfucker. I need that shit.

But I’m going to have to walk the gauntlet of current mores and taboos. It’s TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Don’t act like this is some newfangled idea. I’m just saying. TCM has been doing good stuff for people since white people were too stupid to have doctors wash their hands between patients. Let’s not act like white medicine is superior or has more standing, m’kay?

There is apparently an Ayurvedic doctor near me who works with pregnant and post-partum women on emotional balance.

My city is so much cooler than I thought. I’m not sure these services were here 7 years ago.

Not that I have a lot of interest in seeing another medical practitioner. Good grief.

But the Ayurvedic doctor does placenta processing……

I fully believe that my postpartum period will go better if I consume my placenta. So I’m going to have to push for this issue even though it feels kind of weird. No I don’t want the medication you could give me for nausea… I just want your lack of interference when I want to consume an organ I expel through my cunt, ok?

If I’m really desperate I will eat more of the placentas I have left in the freezer. TCM says you consume placenta for a few months then you store the remainder till menopause because it helps with hot flashes. I’d much rather consume my decades old placentas to deal with hot flashes that take some other kind of pill. I’m a weirdo. So I’m stocking up. I will find it interesting in the future if I go back and forth between the varying placenta’s and have different levels of responses from different pregnancies. Like, FMC’s placenta was incredibly wet. The pills were hard to make because it just didn’t want to dry out. It’s been stored in the freezer for years. How is it going to work out years from now? (TCM doesn’t involve the freezer but modern touches abound through all customs.)

I sort of figure that with what I’ve eaten and where I’ve stuck my tongue… a placenta is genuinely not that gross.

It’s all about your perspective. *cough*

Ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday. Because we are so late on the anatomy scan I’m sort of hoping the kid will flash us and there will be very little doubt about the genital configuration and I can stop wondering about testosterone load… but I’m not going to ask and I’m going to request that the technician not find out on purpose. An accidental flashing would be fun though. Then I can pretend I’m not a nosy bastard who wanted to find out early. The suspense is killing me. It wasn’t as hard to wait with the first two kids.

I’m feeling a lot more like I may be done with this process. Pregnancy is so hard. I’m getting old. I know that many of my friends started having kids at the age I am right now. I don’t know how in the fuck they did that because my body feels like shit. Maybe it helped that they didn’t have older kids? I don’t know. This pregnancy is easier than my first two and I feel just god damn over this process. I’m not sure I can handle giving Lightning a buddy. And given how my oldest two get along like oil and water lately… maybe a buddy isn’t such a great thing. Ok, so they are mostly best friends and this is a phase… but it’s a phase that is going on too long and I really wish I were the sort of person who believed in boxing ears.

THEY FRUSTRATE ME SO MUCH. GENERATIONS OF PARENTS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO INFLICT PAIN ON CHILDREN WHO ARE FRUSTRATING. WHY CAN’T MY GENERATION?! THIS ISN’T FAIR.

Ahem. I will not be hurting my children. BUT SOMETIMES I’LL THINK ABOUT HOW SATISFYING THAT MIGHT BE IN SOME MOMENTS. I WILL THINK IT! I WILL!

I love the way my children smile at me smugly and say, “You won’t hurt us on purpose. You’d feel too bad.” So no… I won’t hurt them on purpose. I am a klutzy fucker and sometimes we run into each other and we both think it hurts and sucks. But that’s different.

Life hurts enough. You don’t need to have your parents hurt you on purpose.

Your parents are going to hurt you enough even if they do their best every day.

Every parent hurts every kid. No matter how well the dynamic goes. There is pain. I didn’t understand that when I was younger. I thought there were parents out there who were so good they inflicted no pain. Life has shown me otherwise. All parents hurt their kids. The question is about how much.

I tried to cut FMC’s toenails last night. No blood but I did cause some wincing and gasping. I said, “This is why I’ve been trying to teach you to do it to yourself. I can’t feel when I’m in the wrong place and you can feel when it is the wrong place on your own toe…” I know why my kids are afraid of nail cutting. I’m not great at it.

This is why my children chew their toenails because it is better than having me trim them with clippers.

Sometimes I fear it is weird in a way that is a problem… then I shrug and think if that is one of their bigger problems in this life they are doing so well I can just smile and go about my day.

I think it is funny that the kids have been complaining about wanting separate space from each other so I bent over backwards to find ways for separate space in the house…. and neither kid will take advantage. Instead they follow each other around like magnets complaining about how their sibling won’t obey commands. It’s hilariously irritating. Both of them want to be in charge of the other so damn bad. I was looking at something yesterday that talked about bullying and about how it is really all about dominance challenges. Holy shit yes. In this house we are living dominance challenge behavior non-stop. I need to find a new way of talking about this with the kids.

I keep asking my kids if they want more classes away from each other. Do you want us to create more structural space in your life where your sibling doesn’t live?

Nope. They don’t want space. They want me to force their sibling to obey them. In both directions. Well I won’t be doing that. So instead… we fuss.

I PICKED THE WORST TIME TO GIVE UP HEAD BANGING.

It’s fascinating to me the way they both want space and want their sibling tucked up right next to them no more than inches away because if you are further away you might miss something and you need to see everything I see from now until forever. They treat one another like the mandatory witnesses for each of their lives. It’s lovely and so frustrating.

Even as I grind my teeth I smile. Because it is hard and glorious. This feels like what family is supposed to mean.

Once in a while someone will want to kibbitz with me about how inconvenient having kids is. I always feel like an asshole when I say that I didn’t have children because I wanted convenience. But it’s very true. I didn’t do this gig because I wanted easy. I wanted hard but worth it.

I learned that one from Sarah.

I think I can go back to sleep now. I ate my cheese. I no longer feel like I’m flashing hot and cold on my way to puking.

String cheese is the best substance in the world this pregnancy. Bless you, mozzarella. You’re my only hope.