Not usually a late starter

I didn’t do much other than read to the kids and sit around dazed through the morning. I napped. I woke up around lunch time. Then I napped again. Then I talked to a friend on the phone and sat very still. I don’t feel well.

But after dinner I edited the book gasp! I also went on a lovely run with Shanna. I am very happy that exercising together is a consistent way for us to positively bond. Tonight she went 1.75 miles. She ditches me on sprints and I slowly catch up Pepe Le Pew like. She is convinced that together we will train to win ALL the races. I say, ok ma’am but you will have to do the scheduling for the training. That sounds like a job.

I’m thinking about screwing myself over financially. By “screwing myself over financially” I mean paying off my mortgage approximately one year later than I originally wanted to have it done–which is early on a fifteen year mortgage.

Perspective is important here.

 

Nightmares and such.

I feel like I live in this place where I am supposed to pretend that everything is all hunky dory–NO PROBLEMS HERE so that I don’t make other people uncomfortable.

I don’t ever want to be raped again. I’m firm on that in a way I wasn’t earlier in my life. I used to, fairly seriously, just expect that it would happen no matter what–so what.

I think I would rather die. And that’s kind of weird. When I was younger I was very contemptuous of the rape victims who treated it like a good enough reason to die. If you think you should have to die if you lack “honor” as defined as a maidenhead then lets line up all the motherfucking men and shoot them now. Not one of the bastards has a hymen.

Oh wait–it’s ok for them to not have a hymen? Then it’s god damn ok for me to not have one anymore too.

I believed, when I was young and stupid, that having sex–even sex I didn’t want and was saying “no” to–made me an adult. I thought I was just … what’s that gamer phrase? Leveling up?

By the time I was ten years old I could look around a room of adults and guess which ones had less sexual experience than me. I thought that made me better than them.

Now I weep over it and ensure that my daughters will not in any way shape or form have access to the kind of education I had.

It’s not about keeping them “pure”. It has nothing to do with that. Who they (consensually) fuck or don’t fuck won’t be any of my business. Keeping them safe while they are children and sex isn’t appropriate is my job. It’s not about “purity”. I don’t give a shit about their hymen one way or another. It is irrelevant to my experience of them.

However my kids have read enough anatomy books that they have a way above grade level understanding of how bodies work. They know as much at their age as I knew. Only all their knowledge is theoretical with a strong underlining chant “Not till after puberty”.

Ok, they don’t know 1/10 of what I knew.

But they know a lot more than their peers. They have spent a lot of time looking at anatomy drawings and talking about the prostate and how weird it is that girls get a urethra and a vagina and boys only get the urethra for pee and baby making. That’s so weird. (I hear.) Shanna wants to know if pee can start a baby just like sperm does.

I think I kind of coughed no and changed the subject.

My kids are very well versed in “red flag” touches and “tricky people” and they have no knowledge of “stranger danger”. Strangers aren’t the problem. Your friends are the potential problems.

I love watching Shanna do sword play with the little boys. She is learning how to negotiate her boundaries. She is learning that some kinds of bossing work better than others. And a full throated roar is often the fastest way to get a pack of people doing what you want.

That’s my girl.

It doesn’t always work. And sometimes people get mad at you. Tools are like that. Not every problem needs a hammer. Sometimes you use a hammer and you get in big trouble. Doesn’t mean a hammer is a bad tool.

I feel so sad. I’m not sure exactly why.

A lot of people came yesterday. They are all very nice people. If I added up all the hours I have spent with every person at that party individually I think it would be at less than a week.

I know a lot of people. But I don’t spend very much time with anyone in particular. I spread around my time. It’s the only way I have found to ensure I don’t overwhelm people and ask for too much and hurt the friendship.

Manure is a funny thing. A little bit of it is good for your soil–even necessary. But if you plop on too much and it’s too fresh you will kill your plants.

terrible trouble terrible trouble terrible trouble terrible trouble terrible trouble

It’s always coming. If I say the wrong thing they won’t come back. If I am too violent or mean or aggressive they won’t come back. Don’t scare anyone. Don’t be rude. Don’t talk about subject that might bother people. Don’t dominate the conversation. Don’t be too loud. Don’t be too defensive.

If I stay in a world where I make sure I only deal with women then I can kinda sorta follow the rules and tone down enough that they will keep me around because I work like a dog. I take on the man role in a group of women. I do the butch physical labor and I love it.

But when I’m in a mixed environment I have to deal with the fact that my life is populated by men who have raped. And I am not supposed to be defensive or aggressive or anything like that. No matter what has happened to me. I’m supposed to be encouraging and sweetness and light. I’m supposed to make them feel like the big strong men.

But what if I’m raped again? In their rulebook the only option is to close my eyes and wait for it to be over. I disocciate incredibly quickly. I wouldn’t even really feel it until later when the ache set in. Would that even count?

“Oh don’t be so paranoid. Who would rape you?” Want a list?

Yes, it hasn’t happened in 7 years. Have you noticed how that time span overlaps with my marriage and me not being alone with men.. basically at all?

Ok, sometimes I will be alone in a room as long as other people are in the house. Sometimes I will walk alone on a side walk because passers-by happen and there are houses so I could scream. I have risked that kind of “alone time” with men.

The only time I have been alone in a house with a man was when I went and asked the guy to apologize for putting a taser on my cunt. I was shaking like a leaf the whole fucking time.

When someone says, “Get over it” really they mean “stop making this impact me” and it would be far more expedient if they said the second instead of the former. That is a useful bit of feedback. Boundaries.

I would really like to stop having nightmares. I would like to believe I am safe.

I could go down a list of ways I do feel safe. I am a privileged person living in the first world. I am not worried about popular insurrection or genocide suddenly occurring in my neighborhood. No asshole government (Thanks USA) is going to drop a bomb on my house. (I am pretty ashamed of my government.) I have food security. I have secure housing. I have enough money in the bank that I could survive quite a few small to medium financial disasters and come out on top.

believe that Noah will never rape me again. (Now that’s a long story. I’m still here because consent is a very complicated creature. I will never again promise in advance to do something I may or may not want to do at the time.) But sometimes I know in the deepest part of my heart that every woman who has ever been raped has had a period of time where they believed that about the husband/boyfriend/family member/friend who rapes them.

Noah has worked so hard at gentling his manner. And sometimes that sets me off because it seems like predator behavior to me. It’s the honey moon stage. Only it’s been 99% of our relationship and one huge fuckup that was as much my fault as his. (When you give consent in advance but then change your mind it is a very complicated muddle of blame.) We like to joke about Stockholm Syndrome.

I have never liked how someone treats me as much as I like how Noah treats me. He gets mad at me for saying things but he doesn’t tell me to stop. He will argue for why he thinks it is a shitty thing to do, but he doesn’t boss me. He doesn’t tell me who I have to be.

He married an angry fucking woman. He knows it and he tries to deflect the blasts to prevent scorching and he otherwise tries to be as supportive as he can be.

He makes me fucking breakfast every morning. And he frequently makes dinner when he gets home from work. I don’t have a husband. I have a working wife. (My former therapist was a Berkeley dyke and she liked to talk about Noah being a Berkeley dyke with a dick he unfortunately can’t put in a drawer.)

Noah is a partner.

So it feels really bad when he’s being painted as the enemy. Noah is the only person alive who wants to stand next to me every day and make my life better. When I get stuck and I don’t know to take a next step he helps me work it out.

He built me a sales page for my book. If you want to buy it: here it is. That’s because of Noah. Not because he wants me to hurry up and make money and support him. Ha. Not because he wants me to hurry up and stop stealing his money.

Because he thinks my writing is good and he thinks people should be able to buy it and read it. Because he believes that people should know about the things I talk about. Because instead of silencing me he wants to do what he can to amplify my message.

I can’t construe Noah as the enemy unless I do contortions and backflips and then look through a two way mirror the wrong way. I am more my own enemy in this marriage than Noah is my enemy.

Noah’s a kid who grew up and found a girl he liked and he’s trying as hard as he can to make everyone happy. Once he thought it might make me happy to have him rape me. That turned out to be more complicated than we understood. He is not my enemy. He is not someone I need to punish.

But he’s not the one who can rescue me either. He can do the wife thing, and he’s a fucking good one. But that’s not the same thing. Wives are not white knights.

(If you assume that the title “wife” is assigned after noticing what sets of duties someone does instead of looking at their crotch then it’s a fairly clear role. A knight should function fairly similarly in my opinion.)

Sometimes it is so hard. On one hand: you can tell the story so that no one is the enemy. Everyone is a “victim”. On the other hand: the fact that I was abused so terribly does not give me the right to climb on a bell tower and take a bunch of people out.

I do kind of think that undergoing an extensive many decades long process of becoming more violent … at some point you are going to be to blame for continuing to be that person.

I don’t hit my kids. That is one of the most important rules of our household. I don’t hit my husband. No one else gets to hit either.

If some dude casually gropes me “just as a flirtation” I have the right to break his nose and do pretty much anything else I want to do right in that moment. I have no reason to believe he will stop at a casual thing and I have too much to lose.

Kill first, ask questions later.

No, I don’t need to be less violent to the men who touch me.

I get that I should not be verbally attacking every person who stands near me over nothing. Duh.

I’m actually a very pleasant conversationalist. I can find conversations anywhere with anyone. I will find a way to get them to talk to me. And it’s not through being violent or scary. I can be quite charming. Downright non-threatening. People tell me how calm and safe I make them feel.

I don’t hit kids who touch me in inappropriate ways but I do give them sharp verbal feedback about the boundaries of my body.

The violence I feel seems… ya’ know… warranted.

I’m struggling really hard with how to talk to alllllll the men who ain’t never done nothing to no one and they are so fucking sick of being treated like they are a rapist and a monster and blah blah YOU HURT MY FEELINGS AND YOU OWE ME AN APOLOGY.

Ok, now I feel violent towards you too. Because you expect me to accommodate your feelings while stomping on mine.

I’m sorry my trauma inconveniences you. I will try to do my house keeping better.

You know how you can tell you have a good house keeper? You never see that anything needs to be done. It is invisible behind your back. I am an excellent house keeper.

My mom started working at Ross Dress for Less when I was twelve. I would hang out during her working hours because I had no where else to be. So I helped.

I have always been good at taking a random assortment of “what the fuck is this?” and creating order. When I was older and I worked for Ross I was moved from store to store clearing out the stock backups because I worked faster than crews of 5-7 people all by myself.

Probably what Noah thinks of as a 10x engineer or approaching it.

It “doesn’t matter” only that’s a serious skill. Yes, I used it in department stores–but I also used it in my class room and in my house.

I get a random huge pile of shit and I can figure out what to do with it all in a very short period of time. I don’t have to stop and think and ponder and wonder. Keep/trash/recycle. Kitchen/bedroom/playroom/garage/living room. Move big stacks. Put it ALL AWAY PROPERLY.

This is just how I do things. I go through months of not actually keeping up and then it takes me 30 or so hours to get it back to baseline so I can coast for a while.

It’s harder with kids. They tear things apart so fast.

Yesterday I was bitching to Noah about how defiant Shanna is getting and how annoyed I was. So I went into the garage and picked up the six year old book in the magical series I love. Guess what the title is? Loving and Defiant. hahahahahahahaha

I love these books.

I now have a much better idea of how I need to arrange my spoons over the next few months. I am going to grab the idea of “three chances” and run with it. I am going to have to sit on my yelling no matter what. This is a phase. It will pass. If I scream a lot the thing we will remember from this period is that I was a screaming harpy. We will both forget that she was a gigantic pain in my ass.

I hope all we remember long term is that the Easter parties are ridiculously fun. I will forget how tired I was from all the work. I think I nailed the behavior profile I was shooting for. I’m proud of myself.

I managed to refer to hot tawdry days of yore without making it seem indecent at all. I was proud of myself for that G-rated explanation. *pat self on back*

There were representative samples from the home schooling group, dancing, Noah’s work, Noah’s college life, neighbors, the poly community and former uhh partners-now friends.

Everyone got along great. It was very kid appropriate the whole time.

Then I crash. And want to spend a day crying. There is some part of this trade that isn’t working and I don’t understand yet what it is. I’m not still irritated about the My Little Ponies. We kept hunting till bed time and eventually found two. I can think of myself as some random middle school kid who got similar donations from friends. I can let that one rest.

But man still feelings. Explosions of feelings. Tornadoes of feelings.

My head hurts so much. I have lots of allergies. And I’m physically tired from the twelve mile run on Saturday. But the massage was miraculous.

Dinno. I’m a puzzle.

Hosting is always a learning experience.

I understand that the below bit sounds a little ranty. It is not actually something that ruined my day or anything. It was a really excellent party. It was lovely to see everyone. 35 people came which means we lost about 10% of the RSVP list and far exceeded my catty assumption. Ok, I’ll be less suspicious next time.

I had great verbal exchanges with every single party guest I think; I managed at least a sentence or two. The kids got along pretty well once we instituted the “only soft swords” rule. (Err, technically another mom was there and did it. Thanks!) Much candy was consumed by all. We have very little left and most of what we have left was delivered by a neighbor as an auxiliary present. We have tasty leftovers for days. I’m thrilled. The house was entirely cleaned up by 2:30. Well… there is one more load to go through the dishwasher. But that’s it.

All told I think I spent about sixty hours on this event. Shopping, cleaning, more cleaning, more fucking cleaning, gardening, food prep, egg prep, decorating, etc. When we are going to have a party that is the time when I go through and actually clean off all the surfaces because usually they are piled high with shit. I do this for two reasons:

  1. If people walk into a clean house then they try to clean up after themselves because it is obvious that they have made a change in the environment.
  2. People are less likely to break things. I don’t know why this is true but I’ve tried experiments.

All that extra cleaning is pretty hard work. Even just filling the fucking eggs. That took like three hours while I sat and watched The West Wing. Again. They are starting to feel more like my friends than any of my friends. I think there might be something kind of wrong with me.

Some of the things I learned for next year: the hunt is only for kids ten and under. I have feelings. I am not angry about anything, but I want to have a different outcome to a particular situation.

I spent a lot of money on toys for the eggs. Probably actually more than I should have. I bought a bunch of My Little Pony figurines because all the kids are really into them. I divvied them out into eggs knowing that I would *have to be ok* with the possible outcome of most/all of the toys going to one or two kids and everyone else getting none. Including my kids getting none.

Yup, my kids got none. That’s fine. We don’t exactly need more shit. I’m pretty happy that the only “things” they came through Easter getting are some bubble wands they will break in two weeks, a lunch pail, handle bar streamers, and two small stuffed animals. Sweet. The nice great aunt who usually sends them so much shit I can’t count it all went light this year.

But I’m having some feelings about the big kids who don’t actually play with my kids getting all the toys so they can bring them to school and share them with their friends there.

I didn’t intend to donate a bunch of toys to middle schoolers I don’t know.

I’m having feelings. I feel kind of like I did something for my community of kids I know and have relationships with and… this kid I only kind of know decided that it should instead go to this outside community. It’s not the kid’s fault that we don’t know each other very well. I sort of feel like I am punishing and I don’t mean it that way. If this kid wanted to come to the party next year and be a big kid helper I would be thrilled. It isn’t that this persons presence is a problem.

Feelings.

I could solve this by not buying toys next year but I don’t think that is the solution. I think the solution is saying that the hunt is for kids ten and under. Even if it was one of our six year old friends who got them all to take home I think I would feel differently.

The toys would probably be things that my kids could go and visit and play with that way even though my kids didn’t “get” them. I’d be throwing a line out into the community and creating a path for more friendship and play.

Instead someone we don’t really see much and who doesn’t play with my kids much will go give them away at school.

I have feelings.

Kids ten and under. Kids over ten can buy their own damn toys.

No one did a darn thing wrong. I didn’t realize that I had this underlying need/hope thing about the toys. That was my mistake for not knowing in advance what kind situation I was trying to create.

I *don’t* want to shun older kids (especially not the kid in question) but life moves in stages. There are things you do at some ages that you stop doing at other ages. That doesn’t have to be a mean, terrible punishment. Maybe I could figure out some kind of big kid alternative activity for next year.

Actually, that would be awesome. I bet I could come up with something that would be more interesting than just walking around picking up eggs from the middle of the grass.

don’t want to punish. But sometimes I do something with a really specific goal in mind and once I understand what that goal is then I want to work towards it as much as I can.

There is a place for big kids in our house and at our parties and in our lives. But they do different things. We have enough up and coming babies that I think that having a slower paced hunt where the little kids don’t have to run to find stuff… would be more what I’m looking for.

I’ll have to think about what the big kids could do. Luckily I have a year to plan.

I am really enjoying throwing an Easter party every year. Every other forking holiday is already solidly overbooked for everyone in my life. I’m camping on Easter in a totally-non-Christian way. This is about the American holiday “Easter” rather than Christian beliefs and it is kind of interesting to see how that is shaping out.

Atheism is kinda weird, yo. Not that our kids are atheists. Shanna is very firm that she believes in God. All of them. You just need to call on the right one for that day. I love my kid so much.

Go find the ally you need today. You won’t always have the same needs. You will change. Your needs will change. Some people will be good at taking care of you under some circumstances and really bad at taking care of you in other circumstances. Life is about finding balance.

I started working at 4:30 this morning. I stopped at 2:30, Then I sat down to type for an hour. I’m tired. My arms hurt. The rest of me feels better than it has in ages because Tay the magnificent was here. Best fucking massages ever. I am a lucky person in so many ways. Tired. Go flop now.

Easter morning

Kids will start arriving in five hours. I feel pretty ready. I counted the eggs. I do, technically, have 300 but 15 of them are out of general circulation because I turned them into games. I can live with that.

I’m putting 100 in the front, 100 in the back, and 85 in the house.

Big kids will be told they musn’t look lower than their waists. There are plenty of high up eggs and then some. You can only pick low lying fruit after the little kids give up. There is plenty of candy. If you get zero candy from eggs, go take some off the table. I have enough to cause comas in at least ten kids. Hopefully spread out among 20 kids and 20 + adults it will just lead to stomach aches. Or people will be smart and take most of their share home to savor over multiple days. We’ll see.

Other people are bringing most of the real food. Thank you all. I’m so glad someone is a responsible adult around here. Yay!

It should be a lot of fun. The house is ready. I have ~30 minutes of decorating to do once the sun is up. You can’t put crepe paper outside before the day you want it. I learned that the hard way.

I’m sending Noah and the kids to the farmers market so that I can stay home and hide eggs and finish the clean up. I will assemble the fruit and vegetables we have in the house while they are gone and Noah will finish the food set up when he gets back. By that point I will be on the driveway trying to corral a growing horde of children. It will be fun. I’m going to put the giant chess set out there and chalk. I can keep them entertained for at least 15 minutes. I will probably also get the kids to chant the guidelines in a group. That way they won’t break things. “The top shelf of EVERY BOOK CASE is off limits to kids.” “Big kids look for eggs above their waist.” “No eggs in the bedrooms or pantry or bathroom.”

As of this moment I have had 45 people say they are coming. Want to make bets on it being closer to 20 people? People like to change their minds at the last minute.

Either way it will be fun.

The preparation for parties is hard. Yesterday I was grumpy. I yelled three times. Four? Maybe a fourth. Once when Shanna was hitting me with a balloon and accidentally knocked over something breakable. I yelled to get out of the kitchen. Not great.

I wasn’t even that *mad*. I just screamed it. I had been in the process of asking her nicely to take the balloon out of the kitchen and then there was a loud noise then broken glass then… I screamed. Get Out Of The Kitchen.

When I was cleaning up their stuff and sorting things into piles to be put away properly Shanna came over and spread all the piles out and started recombining them because she was making an “art gallery”. When I noticed I yelled at her to get away from my piles. That’s not nice. I could have asked.

I don’t feel like I had a lot of “ask nicely” left. The kids have fought me really hard on every step of party prep this time. When I say, “Please pick up x” instead they go dump the whole box that x goes in and leave that in the middle of the floor.

I don’t think I’m up for more parties this year if this is how they are going. I’m not going to fight the kids tooth and nail so they can have birthday parties. That sounds hellish.

Lately we are having a hard time with them believing they should not ever have to do anything. I understand this is a common belief and all but I don’t share it and I kind of don’t like people who have it. I know lots of grown ups who think it is fine to not do anything. I am not nice to them.

Entitlement is a real issue for me. I am not here to serve you.

I am being strict but I don’t think I’m being completely unreasonable. I’m not making them clean up stuff that is my mess. I want them to pick up their toys and empty the dishwasher and set the table. If that is too much to ask then I think that I am all of a sudden out of energy to cart you around to do every fucking thing you want.

I just…

I don’t know if I am being a petty asshole or if I am setting appropriate boundaries. I don’t make them pick up every single toy every single day. I do ask that they keep the main walkways clear because I don’t appreciate hurting myself just because they wanted to dump out a tub of Lego’s and walk away. Not cool.

I’ve screamed a lot this week. Way up from average. But I feel more pressure to clean up the house. And when I feel more pressure to clean up the house and the kids consciously go on a destruction binge…

I don’t know how this should be handled. But maybe Step A is that if I am going to be fought every step of the way for parties we won’t have them. I’m not up for battles like this. It’s shitty and no fun and stressful and it does a lot of damage to our relationships.

I can’t do all the work with a smile on my face while I am also tripping over the stuff I have asked you 1,362 times to clean up because it is hurting me and you haven’t played with it in three days anyway.

I get mad. Very mad. I hate you and don’t want to be in a room with you because I am afraid I will lose control and do something I will regret.

I regret yelling. I don’t want it to escalate. I can live with some regrettable yelling. That’s not going to convince me I’m a shitty parent who should die.

I don’t call them names. I don’t say things that attack their character. No matter how angry I am I stop to clarify. “I love *you* but right now I am very angry about the way you are behaving. Your behavior is not working for me.”

And when we are not stressed we talk about the whole “sometimes your behavior won’t work for people and you will have to decide how much you care. Sometimes it is expedient (yes I defined it for her) to conform and do what people want and sometimes you have to harden your heart and do what you know is right.”

Life is complicated.

Mostly we get along so well I feel like the fact that we usually get along so well handicaps me for handling it when we are in discord.

Last night as we were going to sleep Calli stroked my face and said, “Mommy, sometimes when you get mad you are SO FIERCE. I like it. It makes me feel safe.”

That kind of statement both comforts me and scares the shit out of me. Am I training them to be attracted to intense, violent, angry people? Oh that’ll go well.

Sometimes it is really hard to know if I am doing right. I don’t want them to believe that it is ok for people to scream at them. We talk a lot about how it ISN’T OK EVER for someone to scream at you. Sometimes it happens anyway because bad things happen to everyone. You can either internalize it as a sign that you deserve such treatment or you can think, “Wow they are having a bad day.”

You can’t do anything to deserve people treating you badly. Them treating you badly is about them.

Sometimes that is hard. Sometimes the only thing you can do is get away from the person. That is so very hard.

But that’s not true. There are things you can do. You can ask for boundaries. You can ask for concessions. You can state what you need and you can leave if you don’t get it.

You have lots of options.

When I’m getting too nasty my kids stop me and say, “Mom I think your tone of voice is way more fierce than you mean it to be. I feel scared.”

I stop and hug them and apologize for scaring them.

I am a very fierce person.

Is it ok to be fierce and a mother? I’m not sure I have a point at this time. I will never be one of the gentle ones. I will always be one of the loud, scary, aggressive ones. I will always be one of the ones who startles you and challenges you and makes you think about why you are doing what you are doing. I don’t take excuses well.

You did what you did and now take the consequences. I’m not going to make this easier on you. Sometimes consequences suck ass. I’ve received a lot of them. I know very well how much it can suck to be held accountable for your behavior. But that’s the way the world works.

Shalyndra–you are right that people in a social setting penalize women for displays of aggression more than men. We are silenced. We are told that it is unseemly for us to be so angry or difficult or nasty. The men are encouraged to be manly. (insert grunting noise)

But when it comes to things that sound like *threats* women are given a pass. People do not believe they are capable of “true” violence. Men are told that their random jokes are threatening and that they must now be punished.

It occurred to me while I was running yesterday–this situation is kind of like the BMI.

Individual women want to punish individual men for the reality that statistics say men commit more crime. Whether or not that man is a criminal.

Women are given a pass on being believed as violent–we are shushed and told just to calm down now, we know we couldn’t do anything violent anyway. Women aren’t that way.

The BMI is applied to individuals without regard to individual factors. Many people in the obese category are far more healthy than people in the thin category and yet… stigma.

Us/them. The enemy.

Noah told me he doesn’t know how things will ever change as long as us loud yelling women on the internet think of him as the enemy.

I went running with another angry woman. (I hope that description doesn’t bother you. You aren’t “always” angry. But you can do the angry woman stuff.) I told her what Noah said. She said, “He engages in behavior that reinforces the status quo. He doesn’t want to give up what he has so that someone else can have a more fair share. That means he is the enemy.”

Wars start over resources. At this point the United States is going through one of the harshest equality differences we’ve seen.

Is Noah is the enemy? Sometimes I think so. Sometimes I understand that he is just a symbol and *he* is not at all my enemy. But he’s done bad things.

He hasn’t done anything that is worse than things I’ve done. Not even close. So if he is the enemy… am I?

Monsters, monsters everywhere and not a one to beat.

Violence

Last night we had a hard conversation. I think we were both basically polite to one another but it was a hard conversation. It was about threatening behavior, violence, and gender. I get the distinct impression that Noah is tired of the idea that women are allowed to publicly threaten and be violent and men have to be under more control than that. I’m sorry you (dear husband) are upset about this situation. I don’t see it changing on a societal level soon.

Specifically we were walking through a parking lot and I saw a bumper sticker: “I still miss my ex but my aim is improving.” I don’t remember what I said but Noah described it as full of bravado. I’m not going to dicker with that characterization. I said something to the effect of those kinds of stickers being more acceptable from a woman than from a man. Not that they are great. Not that you are a nice person if you have one on your car.

If you put a bumper sticker on your car that implies you would like to shoot people you are, by definition, not a nice person.

But those kinds of being a not-nice person is inherently more threatening from men because the vast majority of actual violence is perpetrated by men. I didn’t make up the world. This is the reality we live in. Women can get away with saying things like this “as a joke” and men can’t.

Is that fair? No. But I think that it is a very common attitude. I have heard it a lot.

In particular I got the impression Noah wanted me to be contrite for essentially threatening my ex.

This was right after I left my high school sweetie/fiancé Steve. He was incredibly upset by the bumper sticker for very good reasons. Steve had every right in the world to take that as a threat. I was physically abusive to him during our relationship.

Noah pointed out that a statement like that from me should be considered as threatening or more threatening than it is from the average man because I am an extremely violent person with fire arms training. I pointed out that ALL of the fire arm training happened after the bumper sticker came off so that point is… a little mixed.

I wouldn’t put the sticker on my car now. I am not in a social position for that kind of asshole move. I would suffer consequences I don’t want to suffer. I’m not stupid.

When I was 18 and I was just discovering the bdsm community there were a long list of reasons I was doing my best to become as intimidating as possible as fast as possible. Yes, I absolutely consciously cultivated being scary.

By the time I put this sticker on my car and consciously tried to become scarier I had been raped by nine people. I wanted it to stop.

I had men who were 20+ years older than me harassing me at munches. Ms. L.Q.–most of the problematic people had moved away by the time you showed up at the Wednesday munch. It was two-to-four guys who were buddies and dirt bags. They did things like try to take my clothes off in public (at the fucking munch!). They hit me in ways that were clearly non-negotiated and then laughed at my indignation. They were “just trying to teach me what subs were for.”

So I got increasingly violent until they backed off. No, I don’t feel a single fucking ounce of regret.

Was putting the bumper sticker on my car nice? No. It wasn’t intended to be. It was a raging asshole move. Like I’m a raging asshole. Haven’t I said this enough times? Why don’t people believe me?

It took a long time and a lot of beatings and humiliation and degradation before I turned into what I am. Should I apologize for the process?

This is sounding a lot like how I should apologize for vomiting. Fuck off.

Is it defensible as an action? (Putting a bumper sticker on a car in order to broadcast being scary.)

Well… I don’t know. If a man did it there might be more social punishment. Yup, that’s just true. Is it “fair” that I got away with it? Probably not.

Life isn’t fair. Haven’t you noticed? I get away with anything and everything I can and feel like I want to get away with… just like everyone else. It just so happens that what I can get away with isn’t exactly the same as other people. Life is complicated.

I don’t feel bad for doing it. I felt bad at the time for threatening Steve. He and I had a long conversation (at the time) and I apologized up one side and down the other. I only took the sticker off my car when I had to before my public teaching career started. I took all the nasty, graphic, swearing, violent bumper stickers then. I had dozens. Apparently a hair dryer is *awesome* for removing bumper stickers. Didn’t even fuck up the paint.

I’m not trying to make excuses. I know it is a shitty thing to do. I have done a lot of shitty things. But sometimes a shitty thing is the best option in front of me. What should I do then?

Be careful to not be aggressive? Would you like me to rattle off my history for you?

From 18-23 I had freedom from being raped. That was the period of my life when I was the most openly hostile and aggressive and intimidating of my entire life. I was dealing with a lot of people who would very happily beat me until I lay on the floor sobbing and begging for mercy. I don’t think I over stepped. I really don’t. I don’t feel bad.

At 23 I had enough people screaming at me that I was too aggressive, too nasty, too bitchy (public humiliation for being too firm in rejecting sexual advances from random men) so I tried to mellow out.

I was raped by two “friends” within a short period of time.

I don’t feel bad about how nasty I was in between or since. Maybe other people know how to avoid being raped without being nasty. I don’t. The way I avoid it these days is I am never alone with men.

This isn’t actually better. It feels really depressing and scary and pathetic. What am I going to do when my kids get older? Am I going to cut all my male friends out of my life because my children will no longer be present as chaperones? There is a non-zero possibility.

I really hope I get much more ugly really soon. Age faster, damnit. Be an ugly, mean, nasty old crone so everyone leaves you the fuck alone.

I’m really scared.

People tell me that I should just not be alone with men who aren’t trustworthy.

I’m going to kill myself now. That’s the end of that line of conversation for me.

Not true! I’m alone with Noah all the time. Even though he’s no saint. He has a history that should make a girl like me run. But I don’t. Because mostly he is so nice to me that I can’t believe it.

But how am I supposed to judge who is safe and who isn’t? My whole life is full of rapists. I’ve read all the victim blamey-everything. I know it is my fault I was raped because I picked bad people to be near. Yup, I know.

But…

How do you people who aren’t raped repeatedly find people to talk to? I seem to have a very narrow and specific type of man who wants to know me. I don’t know what to do about it.

Other than be really scary and convince them it’s a bad idea to fuck with me. That is relatively successful compared to everything else I’ve tried.

But then I’m a raging asshole who pisses off all the poor men who think it is unfair that I can be ragingly threatening without arrest and they can’t.

You know… if we could trade privilege loads we could talk. Yes, there are advantages to being a woman. I think I am more frank about that than the majority of people who talk about privilege. I think there is some specific tremendous freedom in being a woman compared to being a man.

And yet…

There is no “win” here. No one has it all good and no one has it all bad.

I have been told and told and told and told that I should learn how to reject people nicely. So they don’t get mad at me.

Twelve rapists later I’m kind out of out the ability to assume that people mean me no harm so I should do them no harm. Fuck you. I assume you could hurt me if you wanted to and it is my responsibility to defend myself or just me will have to live with the consequences.

Am I an asshole? Absolutely. I am what I was made to be through careful shaping in life. Could I choose to react differently? Probably.

I don’t think I fucking owe anyone a reaction to trauma that they like more. I acknowledge the pitfalls of my approach. I seem violent and scary. Yup. That isn’t nice. True that. It isn’t fair that women can do it and men can’t. So true I have no more words for you.

Only I have more words for you.

We are all doing our best. Maybe my best isn’t good enough for you. Maybe my best is something you find disgusting and inappropriate. Would you really like for me to sit in judgment of how you handle everything in your life? Have you really got it all together?

I’m a mixed bag. I do some things well and everything else not very well. I am violent and intimidating because the lack of both of those qualities caused me many problems throughout my lifetime. If you don’t like that I developed the ability to be psychotically evil, well, you can join the line of people who don’t want to know me. It’s ok. That is how they need things to work. I can’t argue.

I am not as actively violent any more. Instead I hide. Instead I just refrain from “risky” situations. My life is smaller and more limited and I am genuinely afraid of what will happen when my children get older. Maybe I will just give up on doing anything.

I’m told over and over how bad I am for being violent. When being violent is the only thing that has ever had a modicum of success in keeping me safe.

It really feels like I should just die. That is the only thing I can do to satisfy the conflicting demands. I don’t have a way of protecting myself that is nicey-nice to everyone around me.

Why does that always have to be the priority? Oh yeah. Because I don’t matter. Got it.

It is not hyperbole for me to say that when I am experiencing severe difficulty no one wants to help me.

Is it uniformly always completely true? No, of course not. At this stage I have more help than I’ve ever had. I attribute a lot of that to the writing. Without the writing people just didn’t get to know me. I am not good at just making friends and allies. I am, but I’m not. I alienate people. Without the violence. Without trying.

Things are common speech for me that are completely taboo for other people. I freak people out without understanding why or trying to do it. I trigger the fuck out of people and that is hard for them. Totally reasonable.

Really, once a dozen people have raped you shouldn’t you be given a free pass to defend your body? Isn’t it ok for me to do? Oh. Only if I can do it in a way that doesn’t bother anyone or make any men feel like I am doing something they aren’t allowed to do.

Right. I forgot.

If you can’t have it as a tool then it “isn’t fair” that anyone else gets it and we have to stop. Because obviously the status quo is fair. We musn’t give anyone the ability to use tactics and tools unavailable to white men. That Wouldn’t Be Fair.

Sometimes it blows my mind that I live in a world where it is totally acceptable to tell someone who has been on the receiving end of as much violence as I have that they shouldn’t do things that are aggressive or defensive.

Just die already.

Turn it around.

That doesn’t happen very often. We had a fantastically grumpy early day. Then from dinner on the day was gleeful and awesome. A friend came over to dinner. He is a balloon twisting artist. I don’t know when the girls and I have laughed so hard or so much. It was ridiculously fun.

He made mermaids and aliens and a heart scepter and a whole bunch of swords so we could have a (non-ouchy) battle and a bow and arrows and a spear and a few other things.

It was so fun. We laughed hysterically for just about an hour straight. He’s really funny and good at the performance aspect. He’s been practicing for ten years so he’s got it down.

I feel so lucky to know the people I know. They will come over to my house and talk to me and tell me stories. They have fantastic stories. I love stories.

Sometimes I feel kind of weird that so many of the people I introduce my children to are people I met through “Alternative Lifestyle Communities”. They are big perverts.

But they are big perverts who are completely uninterested in children and who only do things with consenting adults. I watch them intently and their behavior with my children is rigorously correct. They are probably more worried about slipping up and seeming inappropriate than I am.

watch my kids. If they hear something inappropriately verbally I can help them process it. But nothing will physically happen to them. I don’t worry that much about keeping their pristine little ears protected.

If the most racy comment of the night is “Who is the size queen here?” (He made a sword for himself out of the much bigger style of balloon. It was kind of funny, really. We would trade off who was fighting with it and tease just a hair.) I can live with that.

My kids are going to grow up in America. If they don’t learn that some people are obsessed with size… then they’ve missed a vital part of the culture. Give me a break. Helllllloo Texas.

(Hey all you Texans. Neiner neiner neiner Alaska is bigger and I’ve been there too.)

I think it is hilarious that in preparing for Easter some of the moms have offered to bring food potluck style. Some dads are coming on their own. They haven’t offered to bring anything.

I see this pattern and try to convince myself that I’m not a failure as a mother because I’m shitty at brining stuff for potlucks. I’m the asshole who shows up with a bag of chips.

Like you do.

I feel unusually upbeat this morning. I’ve been kind of whiny and sad in my head lately.

Oh man. I was talking about some tv character being annoying because he/she/it was annoying and freakin Shanna turned to me and said, “Well you should like her/him/it because you are whiny too and you should like people who are like you.”

Oh man. Kid. Oh man.

I squinched my nose at her then realized… She’s being sincere and literal. No teasing is happening.

Then I burst out laughing.

I like that my kids don’t really tease me. They haven’t learned teasing. We do very little of it in this house. Once in a while we will tease in a tiny way and then will follow that with a clarification that we mean it with love. Noah and I are both on the paranoid side. I get the impression that he is a lot more ok with teasing than I am but he has worked to talk to me how I want to be talked to.

Teasing is really hard for me. It feels like lying. If I feel like someone is lying to me then I get really really angry and hateful almost instantly. People tease trying to be friendly and share affectionate feelings. It will make me turn on you like a viper. Don’t fucking tease me. I’ve been fucking taunted enough for one fucking lifetime.

I think that ones overall response to these things largely depends on how you grew up with teasing. My family teased me constantly. They may even have meant it lovingly sometimes. I don’t think my family hated me as much as I kinda think they did. But they did show me contempt constantly. And no one was willing to believe me that I was being horribly abused. So their teasing felt more like turning the knife than making a joke.

I hate teasing. I try to do very little of it. Once in a while I tease because I know that other people bond through teasing. I can generally force out a sentence before I start apologizing and making it clear that I wasn’t serious.

Sometimes my kids say things to me… and it sounds like a tease… and I can feel my body start activating the threat response system. Then I realize that they aren’t teasing. They are saying what they literally perceive. They aren’t mocking me. They are making the connections that they see out loud because I have modeled not having an inside voice. I think tactless things out loud all day long. My kids live with that.

It is really interesting to have to work so hard on calming down with them.

I talked to my shrink about my current hypervigilance about my hypervigilance (I’m a cluster fuck of fun) and she agreed that it might be a worthy process but yeah I’m going to be so exhausted I can barely breathe for a while.

Trying this hard to be aware of unconscious processes and change them is really exhausting. I’m just living on the prayer that it will be worth it in the end.

I have stopped going to most of the forums I used to frequent. I’m feeling like I have nothing to spare but frustration and snottiness so I’m shutting up. If I am impatient with where someone else is on their journey… that’s my problem and I don’t need to be a cunt. Just shut up for a while.

I go up and down the spiral. Sometimes I am way more functional than I am at other points. I really have no room to judge anyone else. It may feel like Uncle Bob’s death was a long time ago but it wasn’t. I was not competent at all to do the basics of caretaking for a good solid week.

I don’t have any right to judge where other people are. I know that my seasons of pain come and go. Sometimes I can function and be out in the world and sometimes I can’t.

But sometimes where I am has nothing left over for other people. I don’t need to be mean about it. I just need to take care of myself. Less typing is good anyway.

I feel like I’m being avoidant with the kids. Not terribly so. They still aren’t spending much time alone. They still ask me questions every ten minutes all day long. But I am mentally checked out more. I’m creating more walled rooms in my head that I can step into when I can’t handle focusing on them.

I get so tired. It isn’t their fault. They are probably what you might call “spirited children”. Which is a nicey nice way of saying that they have a lot of energy and willingness to just do shit in frequently destructive ways.

Kids do that. You have to be patient. But I’ve been reading a lot. I just reread the Stieg Larson Millenium trilogy that was originally intended to be a ten book series but the author died. Damn him. I can see the foreshadowing. I can see him laying tracks in the first book for stuff that won’t happen till the seventh or eighth book. Lisbeth’s sister was going to be a big deal.

I’m avoiding editing. After Easter I don’t really have a choice. I have less than six weeks until I send it to my editor. Get crackin’.

Noah is making more progress on my shit than I am. I feel pretty guilty about that.

In general I feel the need to point out how much I appreciate Noah. Not many people in the world are willing to consciously adapt to me. Noah showed me what that could look like and I don’t think I will ever be ok with losing this now. Noah makes me feel like I am ok. There is nothing terrible about me. I have some annoying preferences, but who the hell doesn’t? Whatever. No big deal. Easy to accommodate.

It is only in seeing how he fails to live up to what I expect that I see how contemptuously I expect people to treat me. I’m pretty sure I project a lot of contempt. To be more clear: I think that I assume people feel contempt for me when they don’t. I have contempt for myself and that’s enough for me to assume other people share the sentiment.

It is incredibly hard to learn how to accurately perceive the world around you. You see the world through your particular little lens. Maybe you think the world is essentially good because you have had mostly positive experiences. Maybe you think the world is terrible because you have had mostly terrible experiences.

The world is neither. The world is mostly indifferent. I struggle with seeing that and understanding it. I struggle hard with being able to believe that the world doesn’t actually care that much one way or another about me. At least not until I have gone out and done things that the world can judge.

Then some people will like it and some people won’t and mostly people won’t care. Move on.

You can’t be doing it for them. You have to just do it for yourself. Because you have to manifest in the world what you want the world to be.

Despite the ever changing sea that is my emotional experience of the world, other people perceive me differently.

The nice 90 year old lady at the Post Office thinks I’m just great because I helped her cross the street when she was scared.

I think the world is a place where all the people around you would be potential allies and help if you just could figure out how to ask for your needs. Does everyone care? No. Frequently you can’t find the right way to appeal to people. Sometimes your basic position in the world bothers people and they will avoid you if you make clear your needs.

I think this is what is keeping me away from the PTSD forum right now. Everyone else is in the bunker-down-nobody-loves-me-everyone-hates-me-guess-I’ll-eat-worms stage. Or at least those are the threads being posted.

No, your PTSD is not some terrible secret you have to keep or everyone in the world will reject you for being terrible and disgusting. Yes, you will have to do a lot of self advocating and specifically requesting the kind of contact you want with people. Yes, it’s hard.

Ok, I try not to talk about neighbors. Here’s a thing that is coming up. I go to other peoples houses and more or less invite myself in. If I don’t do so for a while then people feel like I am rejecting them and I don’t like them anymore.

I go home and think WHY THE FUCK DO I HAVE TO INVITE MYSELF OVER?! YOU NEITHER WANT TO COME TO MY HOUSE NOR INVITE ME. WHY THE HELL SHOULD I DO THIS?!?!?!

But I get passive aggressive emails telling me they miss me when I don’t invite myself over.

I think everyone is shitty at relationships and when people know you have PTSD they are frequently more timid because the risk of social discord is high. They don’t want to hurt you again. So they don’t know what to do. So they do nothing. And that feels like rejection.

But they are sitting in their house feeling sad about me not being there. It’s a whole cluster fuck.

People. Oh man.

“I wish this person loved me enough to chase me for a relationship. Since they don’t love me that much I won’t bother them.” And thus the world goes ’round.

I think that the main reason my thinking on this has shifted to the current location is because of all the writing I do. People feel brave enough to tell me that they want me to keep writing for many decades. Until they die or longer. They want me in their lives. But time and distance and complications of life mean I don’t see these people much. But they want me to continue.

I don’t think that the average person with PTSD has people reaching out to tell them that they need to keep on keepin’ on. And that is sad. I am very lucky to have the people in my life I have.

I feel sad that most people seem to have the experience that telling people they have PTSD results in really negative relationship shifts. I find I experience more positive shifts. Yes, I have to do a lot of work because people are timid. But they do try hard with me. People give me space for some of my weird reactions that I can’t help that much. I have not been uninvited to all the parties just because I cry from stress at the parties. I go do my thing and calm down and come back when I can and people are cool with that. I take care of me and I’m still welcome to be part of the space when I’m ready.

At some point I will have spoons to share and I will try to be more motivational like with them. Not right now. I’m tired. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do. I can’t talk about my process while I’m figuring it out. Big shifts are hard.

Changing the hypervigilant behavior is really really hard. I’ve been working on it for a bit. I don’t know how long I will last in this phase. I suppose it would help if I articulated a goal to work towards. And metrics for success. That way it won’t become just a way to grind myself down.

Specifically, what have I been working on?

I am trying to stop counting how many people are in rooms. I’m trying to stop reorienting myself towards exits every few minutes. I suppose I’m trying to stop the behaviors that seem the most irrational to me. They aren’t helpful and they aren’t even all that related to my trauma. They are just things I started doing to cope with the anxious feelings. But they use a lot of tracks of my brain and contribute to my feelings of always being in danger.

I’m not sure I am specifically addressing other behaviors right now. Trying to be conscious of when I start to engage in those actions without thinking is really draining and hard.

So I started them to cope with anxiety but they create a different anxiety of their own. Kind of like pot. Harm Reduction. Less harm. That doesn’t mean that the next choice is a good choice… just a slightly less bad one. If I had “good” options I might take them. I don’t. I’m doing the best I can. Just like everyone else.

Or maybe they aren’t. I can’t really judge.

Today is entirely unscheduled. We will probably do the inside decorating. I’ll clean up the garage. Again. It always needs to happen. Oy.

Maybe I will spend a big chunk of the day sitting on the couch with the kids. We can read. That seems like a really good day right now.

Grumpy day.

I’ve screamed more than once. I am really tired of being asked for candy 3,523 times a day starting ten minutes after they loudly and rudely refuse to eat breakfast. My screaming has mostly consisted of “IF YOU WILL NOT EAT REAL FOOD YOU WILL NOT EAT CANDY. STOP ASKING ME.”

Next year I will buy all candy for the event the day before. I will not have candy in my house for a week again if I can avoid it.

Deep breath. Today will end. Yup, today is kind of rocky. All three of us have cried and said we feel really sad because of how we are interacting. We hugged and said we would try harder.

That’s all you can do, right? Some days are hard. No one actually did anything all that bad. Stealing candy isn’t the end of the world. Yelling about stolen candy isn’t the end of the world.

But we are all kind of sad. Some days are like that.

post-therapy

Yesterday was a moderately challenging therapy session. I didn’t cry or anything so it doesn’t get to the level of “hard” per se. My therapist was uhhh “kind” enough to tell me about another support group in Oakland. No, actually, having to drive to Oakland more often would not lower my stress. Sorry.

My shrink and I talked about the difficulty driving. When I am alone in the car I distract myself from my irrational desire to drive the car into dangerous situations by playing music very loudly and I sing along at the very top of my lungs. Frequently when I arrive places I’m hoarse from all the screeching. My kids get kind of pissy with me when I play loud music or scream along with the radio so I don’t do it when they are in the car. Which actually makes driving with them harder than driving alone.

I wish that I didn’t have suicidal ideation so often. I wish that I could make the decisions about my life without factoring in, “Well, how many hours of self-harm thoughts can I entertain today without slipping?” I’m a lot better than I used to be. There is definite improvement. I’m not “all better”. Driving is still really hard. Most of my slipping these days comes in the form of massive dissociation so I have no idea what is going on with my body so I am constantly covered in bruises I have no idea how I received. It’s pretty minor compared to the cutting so this is a big step up. But man all the bruises have been hurting more lately. I’m getting old. Ha.

We did EMDR on the driving ideation issues. The phrase that kept coming up (sometimes I get word phrases sometimes I get picture associations) was “terrible trouble”. As I’m driving places my stomach shreds itself because I am afraid of the trouble I am going to get into on the other side of the drive. I get it going to the grocery store so it’s not all social anxiety I can kinda sorta justify. It’s just associated with driving,

I was really in trouble all the fucking time as a kid. I’m not over it. Sometimes that feels pretty pathetic.

We talked about the whole “getting in trouble for vomiting” thing in the form of the demanded apology. (I heard back from the woman who wanted one. I think she accepted my apology. I still have some mixed feelings about needing to give one for… vomiting. Not like I picked the activity of the night on purpose to fuck over her life.)

I am so delighted that when I get in trouble these days… it’s really not a big deal. If the two women who were mad at me continue being mad at me till the day I die…. that’s really not that big of a deal. Ok, one seems to be over it, the other has already hated me since I was 19. If she keeps hating me it isn’t a loss. Really if she hates me that may be a badge of honor proving that I am making correct choices in life.

That happens you know. People disliking you is sometimes a really good sign.

Depends on whether you want people like that to like you. If you don’t particularly respect someone it can be a particularly good thing for them to dislike you. I’m just sayin’.

When I walked into my therapists office she said, “Wow. You look exhausted.” That can’t be a good sign. Yes, I am. Notice how I haven’t been writing? I’ve been sleeping in lately. Even with getting several hours of extra sleep each night for a while… I still look like shit. I’m not sure if I’m sick or what. My stomach was really off yesterday. Eating at all was awful. But no food no fuel so I have to eat even when it hurts.

I don’t have “cold or flu” symptoms. Just stomach pain, exhaustion, and general pain. Maybe that is a flu like symptom. But I still don’t know that I have the flu. and I am officially not allowed to get sick for at least five days. Damnit.

I’m struggling with my outsiders view on another persons marriage. I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety about situations I can’t control. Terrible Trouble. It’s coming. Always. Always. Always coming.

I feel scared, helpless, worthless, and stupid. I don’t know the right thing to say or do. So it must be because I am defective.

I feel weary.

In therapy we talked about my latest efforts to be hypervigilant about my hypervigilance. Maybe this is why I am so fucking tired. I am trying to stop counting people in a room. I’m trying to only check for exits when I arrive in a new place instead of checking every few minutes like an OCD routine. I am not made more safe by checking that the exit door is still there every three minutes. I am probably made more unsafe by obsessing over whether the door is still fucking there. Really, genius? The fucking door is going to move? No. I’m afraid I will get disoriented and lose the direction. It’s not that the door will move. It is that I spent a very high percentage of my life dizzy. I’m always afraid I will lose my inner compass and not be able to make it out. Yay vertigo.

I do wonder if that is a lot of what is wearing me down. Being that conscious of my nearly sub-conscious obsessive checking is really hard. Restraining myself from counting the people in the room over and over and over is a lot harder on me than just doing the fucking counting. I’m trying to extinguish this behavior on the slim hope that some day I won’t have to obsessively concentrate on my nearly sub-conscious behavior. Hopefully some day I will have the energy back from the obsessive counting and the monitoring of the counting and I will be back in the net positive. Hopefully this is saving long-term effort.

But those gambles only sometimes work out. The deficit of exhaustion in the meantime is really rough.

I wrote to Noah’s family yesterday. That always increases the shitty I feel. I miss my mom. Why do I only get to talk about my kids with these people who don’t like me anyway? It’s really hard to keep trying when I know his mother doesn’t actually have any affection for me at all.

But she loves my kids. And my kids deserve all the love they can get. And Noah isn’t going to facilitate a relationship because he doesn’t care or understand what a complete lack of family can do to you. So it is up to me. I understand the scope of the problem and I’m not as personally repelled by the situation. I get why he ran away and didn’t come back. But that attitude will hurt my kids and I can’t let that be their entire experience of life.

Noah’s mom may not win prizes for being perfect but she is being a great mail order grandmother. I should not denigrate that. The kids appreciate that she thinks about them and makes effort. I need to respond. I wish it weren’t so fucking hard.

I’m doing one of those cycles where I don’t understand why I try so hard for relationships when people don’t really like me anyway they tolerate me as an alternative to being completely alone.

I can find ways to minimize the amount I believe anyone might like me. It’s a super power. Or something. Even though people come over. Even though I can tell you that it is irrational.

Irrational feelings happen anyway and they are very tiring. Exhausting. Trying to argue with your brain all day that people don’t actually hate you is really hard.

My arms hurt. I’m so tired I keep randomly crying because I can’t force myself to not cry. It’s too hard to not-cry.

Ain’t we always looking for a silver lining?

What am I grateful for? Noah. Always Noah. Shanna. Calli.

How come my “what” I’m grateful for always comes down to a “who”? Because outside of having access to a non-shitty keyboard I can live without pretty much every what. Ok, I need food/shelter/booze like they tell you in Yakitat. But really what do I feel grateful for? My garden. That’s a what.

It’s not about what. It’s who. I get to spend all day figuring out how to be nice. We talk about how sometimes folks put their meanie-pants on. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily ALWAYS mean. Everyone has bad days. Bullying is quite the discussion here. Just because someone has done something you dislike that doesn’t automatically make them a bully. Pleasing you is not a mandatory part of life. Being mean to you is different than doing things you don’t like. And even your best friends will have days when they put their meanie-pants on. The meanest of people will have good days.

What makes someone a monster?

If I’m not qualified to judge who the fuck is?

Calli and I went to sleep talking about how my teddy bear, Ted. T. Bear, is very good at scaring off creepy crawly night monsters. He’s nice to his humans and super fierce with night monsters. Sometimes the best of creatures have to be scary sometimes. Sometimes being scary is part of being able to survive.

For the whole rest of my life I am going to treasure the memories I have of my children. There will be no more relationships in my life that represent such perfect trust.

I am so sorry, mommy.

I wonder how long my kids will like me. My therapist wants me to believe that the people I know are all aberrations. I think I can count on my fingers the number of people I know who like their parents and who actively want relationships with their families. My shrink tells me this is because I broadcast a wavelength that scares the shit out of people who like their families and they don’t really want to hang out with me. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It is possible that I will come out the far side with children who like me.

If I make it to a natural death that is a win on my life. Sometimes I feel so sad that it is true. When I drive I feel scared that I don’t want to be alive bad enough. Some day my lack of burning desire to be alive is going to be a problem. It’s not just that I have to deal with the “want to die” urge. I need to find some way to actively want to live. I don’t think I do. I don’t want to hurt people. Is that a good enough reason to stay alive? If that is all I have it has to be good enough for today.

Calli and Shanna and Noah. That has to be enough. I don’t want to hurt them. I’ll just cry. That doesn’t hurt anyone.

I don’t even know for sure why I’m crying. I don’t know if this is just exhaustion. I can’t even tell if I’m sad. I’m just crying and crying.

I feel bitter right this minute that smoking pot is the most effective means of getting it into my system if it weren’t for my pre-fucked up lungs. Thanks for all the chain smoking, mom. Chronic bronchitis. If that kills me it will be kind of ironic. It can, you know. Stupid pills aren’t very effective. Well, they are kind of effective. They make me tired as fuck. Which does slow down the anxiety. But in a less useful way.

I’m clearly trying to avoid smoking. Otherwise I would just write about how awesome it is a medication. Instead I will grumble.

Hey, that’s a ‘what’ I’m grateful for. Pot. Pot provides more than 60% of my ability to stop feeling scared and instead feel calm and happy with what I’m doing. How sad is that? Well it would be way the fuck more sad if my state still had this medication banned. *phew* So I’m glad that this medication exists. I’m grateful for all the lovely official dispensaries that will give me medication IN THE FORM OF CANDY. Oh man. The candy is awesome but a bit more expensive than the pills. Everything is a trade off.

Not to mention that I try to avoid eating a lot of medicated candy in front of my kids. That spells trouble.

They are very clear on the appearance of medicated candy and that they must not eat it. We have looked at the medication specifically and talked about how it looks like candy but it is really medicine and it will make you feel terrible if you take it when you don’t need it.

We talk a lot about appropriate doses of things. I eat more food than them. I drink more water in a day. I take more medication. These things are body-weight dependent activities and I am bigger. Trying to take in more than you need is really bad for you and lets go over the list of why until you can rattle it off as fast or faster than I can.

Don’t eat food, drink water, or take medication above what you actually need or it is bad for you. Just seems kind of logical.

Uhm, I base the “don’t eat too much food” on my childhood where I went through periods of forcing myself to eat long past the point of hunger… sometimes cause I had nothing else to do. When I was in eighth grade I hit this stage where one package of ramen just didn’t quite fill me up. (Now as an adult I would say “add an egg for protein then” as a kid… I would neither have thought of that nor been willing to actually consider it if I did think of it. Eggs come one way: scrambled hard.) So I forced myself to learn to eat two because I didn’t want to throw away some noodles.

I’ve got some issues around food and money and stuff. Like you do.

As much as I love Pam I’m kinda glad she’s busy tonight. I’m annoyed with myself for adding an extra dinner guest to the week on Thursday. Friday night Noah and I have a babysitter scheduled so we can go on a date. If I can fucking stay awake. Pathetic. But the extra dinner guest is a friend going through a really hard break up. I could be selfish and say I’m tired. He’s so sad though. Really all I’m going to give him is 2-3 hours of attention. I’m not so tired I can’t get it up for that.

At the end of your life you will not be remembered for how you felt. You will be remembered for how you make other people feel. I can cough up 2-3 hours of talking to a grieving person. It lightens the load. It really and truly does. If I thought it “did nothing” I wouldn’t bother but it does a lot.

I’ve read too many cases of near-suicide. “Someone surprised me by paying attention to me and convincing me that I still had worth.”

I can see worth in just about anybody. I can sit down and explain the worth I see in you if you want. If it will make you feel better I’d be thrilled to help you see how you fit into the kaleidoscope of life. You have worth. You matter? Want me to point out the spokes in your life? I can show you who you touch and how. You matter. You do.

Why is it so much easier to see for other people than myself? Don’t know but it is. Well, I can see my worth. I just don’t always feel like I have the strength to keep on keepin on. My worth is mostly in my ability to lighten the load for other people. I’m really good at it. It is a particular talent.

I used to think that my only “talent” was speed reading. You can’t go to a talent competition and win a prize for it so of course I thought I was a loser as a child. Now I think I have always underestimated the value of my brain.

Now I think my strongest talent is empathy. It’s a super power. At least occasionally.

But I’m tired. So very tired.

 

short, I hope.

My arms is hurtin’. But I get the night off. The read aloud was fun. I think it will lead to fun play.

Next week the only things I should do is get ready for Easter and edit. Gotta get this round of editing done. Dern it.

Err, had wine. Yay wine. Love having a night off. Noah, you are the best.

This here song makes me want to run away. I’m so happy that Noah will let me run off with the kids. Only fourteen months to go.

Still thinking about my mom. But I’m trying to believe she would wish me peace.

Need a rest day.

So on Thursday the girls and I decided to go to the plant nursery. Like addicts. We spent $100 on plants. Because addicts. But I now have a whole bunch of fun hanging plants in baskets out the back window like I’ve been imagining for years. (Mostly because I put hundreds of seeds in the ground and diligently watered and… nada. Stupid seeds. I hate seeds.)

I am tired and weary. Friday we painted the fence some more. It was fun but exhausting. My hands are very tired and sore. Lots of pain.

My back hurts like mad. Calli had nightmares all night long where she was begging for me so I was in their room. Oh man. Ow.

But it is going to be a nice day. Friends are coming over for Girl Genius. They will have to see a messy house cause I clean on Mondays. Damnit.

Oh man my back hurts. But I’m rereading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I have a nice huge mug of tea. Life is good.

The pictures of the fence are uploading right now but later today you can follow this link and see them.

Drips, drabs, ups, and downs.

We went up to San Pablo yesterday to see some friends. This is after that specific friend coming to my house monthly for ohhh four years now? I am starting to try and do some trips up there in exchange for all the trips to my house. The distance between us is not shorter just because he is a guy with no kids. I can do effort too.

And when I drive up there I get to spend time with his lovely wife. I find the visits to be highly educational in diverse arenas. For one thing: she knows way the fuck more about gardening than I do and she’s happy to talk about plants. Lately getting near someone with lots of plant knowledge who does not eschew my children is somewhat tricky. I’ve tried to sign up for gardening classes THAT ARE BEING ADVERTISED ON AN UNSCHOOLING MAILING LIST and I was told I would have to get babysitting. Stop fucking advertising in this space if my fucking kids aren’t welcome you fucking fuckers. I didn’t say fuck to the people in question. I just dropped it.

Beyond the gardening stuff, I am having a bit of trouble with Callidora. Well, phrasing it that way sounds more extreme than it is. Many of my parenting approaches work really well for Shanna and don’t work at all with Calli. Luckily my friends’ wife seems to identify really strongly with Calli. They are very similar temperamentally and she is giving me a lot of feedback for how to tweak our interactions so they work better.

I feel so much gratitude I don’t have words. Someone is willing to look at me and look at my daughter and look at our relationship and say, “You are doing ok, but you both might be happier if you did……”

Err, in defense of my hubris more than once I have said, “I’m afraid I am going to have to do ____” and her response was “Yes. That is exactly what you have to do.” So she isn’t entirely telling me new information. But she is very good at skimming out the bullshit and getting to the heart of the matter. “This is failing because of x.”

I don’t trust many people to give me feedback. I’m not sure why I trust her feedback as much as I do. For one thing she doesn’t use the word “should” and I’m not sure if that has become a specific trigger. Maybe I explode at people for that word rather than because I am completely unwilling to accept advice? It’s hard to tease out.

Also, she tends to say “Calli seems to be a lot like me. When I was a kid I had x and y and z experiences and this is how it went well and this is how it went badly. If Calli is as much like me as she seems right now, you are going to have to deal with a and b and c. It’s not a good idea to do d.”

I guess there is an implied “should” in that but she doesn’t say it.

It also occurs to me that I push Calli in a way I have never pushed Shanna. When Shanna was three I had a one year old. We did not spend a lot of time pushing the absolute physical limits of what she could accomplish until she collapsed in frustrated tears.

I’m having a hard time understanding fully that Calli wants to be able to do things she isn’t ready to do yet and I need to find a tactful way of bailing her out even as I push Shanna to try. Differentiated instruction is a bitch.

(Err, the bicycle riding project is coming along. We’ve hit a few hiccups. As my wise new running mate commented, “Dude. You’ve been out with them four times? Relax and do more low pressured practice.”

Yeah yeah. You may have a point. But we bought the bikes because we want to ride to the park. I need to decide in my adult brain that even if that is the eventual goal… we sure as shit can’t start by doing that. I should probably not try to leave our housing development again until June. We need more low-stakes practice than we have had. Hours and hours and hours and hours.

It is not just a form of transportation. It is about entertainment. It has to be about entertainment at first or they won’t gain enough proficiency to use it as transportation later. The transportation part doesn’t have to be worked out at three, instantly. Relax you bitch.

Medication has been spotty this week. I (re?)noticed a pattern. Whenever I get to the point of using sufficient medication that I actually feel good instead of having just the edge of the pain taken away I punish myself for days with under medicating so I feel a lot more pain. I’m not supposed to be using pot like a pot head. I’m not supposed to be trying to get high. I’m supposed to be just managing the pain.

I think I am too much of a Puritan. My sister told me I had ancestors on the Mayflower (Not her–different fathers.). Maybe it is too deeply buried within my DNA? I can’t stop believing that I must suffer. Anything that feels good MUST BE BAD.

I have been very consistent lately about giving up my morning “off time” to wake up with the kids. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. On one hand I’m more frazzled and I’m not taking a compensatory amount of time later. On the other hand… we are getting along better. When the kids open their eyes in the morning to me in their bed smiling at them… the whole day is easier. The first thing they hear every day is, “Good morning. I’m so glad to see you again. I’m looking forward to our wonderful day together.”

They smile back and say, “Me too!” then grab my neck and pull me close. Then I get a sleepy “Good morning.”

Sometimes it feels weird knowing that I do this as a parenting gesture in large part to make up for the hole in my heart. No one was ever happy to see me during my childhood. I was a terrible, unwanted burden.

I completely support mothers who need to abort children born of rape. I wish my mother hadn’t allowed her religion to force her to keep me. I was not wanted. And they made my life hell.

Now I have something different. It is so very nice. But it’s a lot of emotional and mental and physical work. And I get really tired.

When I’m tired it is harder to be consistent. When I’m scared I start screaming. That’s consistent.

Calli has asked me to stop raising my voice at her when I’m repeating orders/requests/whatever you want to call them. Demands? She told me (while making eye contact so this is serious as a fucking heart attack) “I will be able to listen to you better if you get close to me and whisper in my ear that it is important.”

If a three year old can so clearly ask for the kind of interaction she needs then I am a fucking asshole if I ignore the request. This is how I teach them ownership of their body and consent and boundaries.

I’ve been working on it. I kind of feel that I should create some accountability tool for myself. Maybe another sheet of paper on the wall. I can ask Calli to help me decide whether I approached her correctly or not and we can decide if I get a mark in the “right behavior” column or the “not so right” column. It will also help her clarify which aspects of the raised voice stuff are a problem for her.

My kids are not going to grow up thinking adults are perfect and kids need to bend to the adults around them. Ha. Ha. Ha. No. We want to live together. We need to adapt to one another.

I’m happy about the upcoming social stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed that people are agreeing so delightedly to come to my events. My RSVPs fill up fast. (Err, RSVP for Easter if you are coming… not many spaces left.)

I have had something like six people in the last two weeks get really excited when I confirm that I’m hosting Easter again. “OH! You throw the best parties!”

I do?

Oh.

Well that’s awesome. How do I do that? What makes them “the best” for you? Because I spend my parties in kind of an anxious hell hoping I don’t offend everyone and run them off such that they never want to come back.

And yet I keep hosting. Irony.

I don’t seem to be running people off. I mean… I do… but I don’t. I run some people off.

I feel very guilty when I admit to myself that I run off people who need things from me that I can’t give. My anxiety and shame around not being able to meet their needs makes me angry and cruel. It isn’t my fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault they have needs. I have needs they can’t meet either. But I get mean. This is a major character flaw of mine.

I don’t do this with people who have small needs I can easily meet. If people need something from me that is going to be an up to five hour commitment one time… I love doing that. That helps me feel like I am part of a community and I’m useful and all kinds of good feelings. When someone starts to need 3-10 hours of work from me every fucking week in order to have a relationship with them…

I get mean. I am awful. I am not a nice person. I don’t know how to have healthy limits without being an asshole. I’m not making excuses or justifying my behavior. It’s wrong.

I have been talking to a friend a lot about how different it is in America versus other more crowded countries. Americans apologize for bumping into someone. In China you would never say any word other than “sorry”. So they don’t bother.

I spend a lot of time apologizing for taking up space. I spend a lot of time apologizing for being inconvenient. I spend a lot of time apologizing for not being able to do/be what someone else wants/needs.

I am sorry I am so inadequate. I clearly see that I am.

Right now I’m having anxiety attacks because some folks are mad at me. Folks I don’t really need to “care” about per se. They aren’t my friends. They are the close friends of one of my friends. They are mad at me because my vomiting on Friday caused them some inconvenience. I have apologized profusely for inconveniencing them. I’m sorry they were brought into the situation by our mutual friend. But yeah. I’m the bitch.

And I feel consumed with shame and I have for days. I inconvenienced them. I stole hours of their life and made them about me when they already kind of hate me. I’m really sorry. I did apologize. I have not been acknowledged and that is what I assumed would happen.

I get into these situations. I’m sorry I inconvenienced you. I have very little control over when I vomit. I’m just glad I didn’t make a mess on my floor.

But it impacted your life. And you wish I didn’t impact your life. So you are angry with me because I popped up and existed in a way you couldn’t tune out.

I’m really sorry.

This is more or less why I avoid that whole segment of the “community”. I don’t really like feeling like I am doing something wrong by breathing in a way they can hear.

So yeah. I don’t think I will teach with my friend again. There is a bunch of stress in the lead up and if I get sick there is lots of acrimony, blame, and anger. Not from my friend. He was mellow about the situation. But he didn’t feel qualified to handle the class alone and those are the other people he has in his life to turn to for support.

Yeah well, me hanging around near them feels like an abusive family reunion where they all wish I would drop dead. The sooner the better.

More one of them than the other but… well that’s not a story I’ll write down yet. Maybe a few more decades. It being thirteen years ago still isn’t long enough. Some day.

It’s not all her fault. I was a bitch. But man. Oh man. Ok. Shiny change of topic.

I’ve been having a lot of feelings all week over that. I was doing great last week until I started vomiting on Friday.

I associate vomiting with letting people down and being a bad and weak person. When I get sick my association is that I will also be in trouble for some reason. I am inconvenient when I’m sick.

Noah is working hard to change some of these patterns. He’s nice when I’m sick. He does a lot of telling me that it isn’t my fault and I didn’t do anything bad. I feel really pathetic for needing it. But I do. And he does it. I am so grateful for him as a partner.

I like teaching though. I will look for more opportunities to teach. Just no co-teaching in a situation potentially wrapped in shame-inducing trauma. When I had to cancel a class as a professional teacher… no one made me write a formal apology. I’d like to go back to that kind of treatment. Thanks.

My running mate wants me to stop thinking of writing as a hobby and start thinking of it as a business. I’ve sold enough forking copies of my book that I can stop pretending I’m not a real writer. I shouldn’t have to pay for my book editing and publishing stuff out of my “fun money”. It’s not my hobby. Noah doesn’t take his business expenses out of his fun money. It’s a separate category in the budget. It’s not very healthy for me to demean myself in this fashion.

I will severely limit my career as a writer if I can’t employ an editor until I save up enough fun money by denying myself everything. Denial as a full-time lifestyle in a household that otherwise has a lot of privilege… that’s kinda self-hating. It’s being weird. It’s unhealthy.

Why do women do this to themselves? My writing “doesn’t count”. It’s just… something I do. Like the laundry. And when there are expenses for it, well, they are “mine”, right?

I developed a lot of habits over the years of having the annuities and living with men. What I could have was very strictly limited to what I had in that $1200 every month. I didn’t over extend. And now I have no real personal income and… I’m flailing. The $100/month of fun money is… not enough. Not for me to feel like I can track all of “my” spending separately from household stuff.

We just have a clothes budget. It is for all four of us. If someone gets something then the other three have to wait a while. *shrug* But it changes how I think of things. Although… when I bought the pretty clothes in Portland I took a big chunk out of my personal money. I spent more than $500 on two items of clothing. It didn’t seem fair to make my family give up that large a share of the clothes budget on me getting two items. So more than $300 came out of my fun money. That seemed fair to me.

When the kids really get a big clothes splurge… it goes in the “kid” section even though mostly they come out of the main category.

The kids have a big section of the budget that is amorphously used for classes, home school supplies. books, toys, gear of whatever kind (was baby carriers and diapers now it has moved on to bikes), and rarely clothes.

A long time ago I consciously went out and started spending time with older men. They could talk to me about money. How they got it. What they did with it. I made my own judgments about who lived in which kind of house and who had how much money. I’ve always been tactless as fuck. I would point blank ask them how much cash they had in the bank and whether or not they had investments.

I didn’t understand most of what they told me. But I remembered it. It’s kind of funny to have little memories float up now and again as I’m trying new things with investing.

Be sure you are right, then go ahead. I will, Davey. I will research and research and research and I’ll figure out what I think is right. Of course I know I could always be wrong. Some minute change in my life might make all of my careful risk calculations moot and irrelevant.

I have no way of predicting that. So I have to just act and hope for the best.

Save.

Debt is evil.

Make your money work for you.

Pay yourself first.

Sometimes I think I turn to these mantras as the only way I have of blocking out all the voices in my head who want me to think I am stupid and a bitch and I should just stop inconveniencing them by breathing.

I’ve been really stunned by the intensity of my suicidal ideation this week.

I also haven’t been doing my daily check in calls with my friend. She’s really busy on a project. She’ll be back in a week or so. I support and respect her participation in this event and that means she has no time to think about me. I am a big girl and I’ll keep my big girl panties on.

It is interesting how suicidal ideation is not always about depression. I don’t feel like I am feeling depression symptoms. This is more on the anxious/overwhelmed side. Manic is a word people like. But I’m not… doing anything manic.

Just out of the blue driving on the freeway I see a weird opening where it would be possible to turn and be hit by a semi-truck and I want to do it more than I want anything in the world. I want in that moment to feel a lot of pain and then die. I want it as much as my heart wants to beat. It is immediate and visceral and all encompassing.

I have to breathe very lightly and lift my hands so I have a very light guiding pressure on the steering wheel. Sometimes I get off the freeway to breathe and stretch my neck and remind myself, “Not today.”

The reasons I don’t like driving are varied and complicated and… I’m willing to bet that someday I will not be able to drive any more. It is part of the reason I am as strongly motivated to make friends near my house as I am. Walking will always be a good idea. Forever. For my health.

Thanks, Pam, for letting me write this morning.

My head feels better. I feel a lot less shame. Writing it down helps.

I don’t need to feel shame because other people would prefer that their world didn’t overlap with mine. I could reject our mutual friend so that they never have to hear about me again, but given that he values his relationship with me that seems kind of awful.

But I think I should have different boundaries. Still working on where those need to be. Boundaries are tricky things. You only find out you have them when they are transgressed. Ha. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CLASS. And what I got out of it is: I need to make sure I never have to deal with your extended friends again. Awesome.

That’s a lesson I can learn.

They aren’t going to like me. No matter what. Ever. I need to not care about that. They are allowed to have their experience of the world where I am… something. I don’t know what. I shouldn’t speculate. I would surely overstate my importance. I certainly don’t suspect that either of them while away hours just hating me. I’m not that important.

So I don’t need to feel shame because they are feeling irritation. That’s not something I need to take on. I gave an apology. I offered restitution to the best of my ability. That’s what I’ve got. Move on. I didn’t vomit on purpose.

And when I feel shame for my social behavior I rush home to assure myself that I am managing my money properly. No one is going to be able to force me to move. I’m allowed to stay here. I’m jumping through all the hoops that actually matter for my life. I don’t have to care that they dislike me. There won’t be any consequences.

And then I can stop thinking about it.

Thank you internet. That’s the end of my confession for today. I have some dirt to play with and a fence to sand. Tomorrow a bunch of little kids are going to come paint a few sections. We are adding more year by year. Drips and drabs. It’s really fun.

Saturday is the Girl Genius Volume 1 read aloud. Email me for details if you want to come hear Noah do all the hilarious voices.

Who’s the boss?

70-something year old neighbor came over to help me fix something. He noticed that Noah was at home in the garage working on the computer. He said, “Oh I see the boss is home.”

Noah and I looked at one another. I swear his expression was, “Oh sweet god he said it not me please don’t punish me.”

Then we both looked at the neighbor and Noah said, “Uhhhh, yes. She is home.”

“Oh I didn’t mean to start nothing.” Then he snickered. I think he did.

Oh man.

Teaching was fun.

The internet gave me the tentative go-ahead to carry on with my plans since they were more than 24 hours after the last uhm incident. So I taught a class yesterday. It was on boundary transgressions.

The word “rape” didn’t come up. I feel… fairly flabbergasted really. It was not that kind of crowd. We had eight students, so not a big class. Three women. Two of the women were ladies who have been around the block a few times and they were frankly inspirational. They frequently came up with better (more tactful, polite AND effective) responses to boundary violation situations than I did. I’m so glad they came.

This was mostly a new-to-bdsm crowd who wanted to learn more about social boundaries and trying new things. I hope I gave them some things to think about and some exercises to practice. *cross fingers* A couple of people left mid-way and the rest of the class said they were very happy to be there and they learned a lot.

I was surprised by how effectively I co-taught with my friend. I kind of thought that would be a bit rocky. I also kind of forgot “Oh yeah… I’m a writing teacher…” and most bdsm classes aren’t really writing classes. But mine involves writing! I brought paper and pens and everything. And they wrote. Like you do.

It was good though. Self-evaluation kind of stuff you don’t necessarily have to share with the class. They spent the time scribbling furiously so I don’t think they were completely unengaged.

So hard to judge.

There was a point about victimization I never made because it never fit appropriately in the conversation. It was a really… non-traumatized crowd. I remain shocked that most of the bdsm community does not come to bdsm through trauma. I *know* it is true… and yet I feel surprise. Every time I rediscover. “Oh wait. Not everyone is like me.”

But the point was: living in a state of perpetual victimhood will ruin your life. Yet sometimes you have to come to a place within yourself where you understand that for a limited time and duration you were a victim or you can’t grow past that place. You have to be able to recognize that everyone can be a victim but you don’t want to be a victim forever. You have to figure out how to change your mindset after a boundary violation and take back your right to respond.

You always have ways to respond you just haven’t thought of yet. Keep going back to your inner resources and brain storming ways to do it differently next time.

Alas. I made a similar sort of line of commentary but not explicitly that language. These people weren’t victims and they clearly didn’t understand the language of victimhood. It was interesting to adapt on the fly.

We did some fun role playing. Even though not everyone was eager to “act” everyone verbally participated a lot. I made everyone be talkative since the class was so small. I’m really good at that patient-smile-while-people-feel-pressured-to-talk. I’ll just grin expectantly at you while making lots of eye contact. We’ll see who can be silent. Muahahaha.

My co-teacher gave me some specific good feedback (less second person, he worried about one of my lack-of-eye-contact points I countered with “but if you make eye contact during writing assignments they stop writing because they think time is up” he said that was a good reason).

I had a great time. Lots of anxiety around the event for a variety of socially awkward reasons but it worked out. I’m glad I was well enough to attend.

And I signed the paperwork. I no longer have any legal ties to the coffee shop in San Francisco. It is being bought by two new enthusiastic owners. Everyone is excited. It’s staying within the community. Yay! I helped keep the coffee shop open because I wanted that to be a community space for all the young freaks who need it. I’m really glad that more people in the extended community are getting involved. It is more likely to last this way. Yay! Yay!

All in all, canceling Saturday was sad but we had a great weekend. We got to rest on Saturday and maybe that is for the best anyway. We have busy stuff coming up.

Oh! And the hot tub is gone! Hallelujah! I get to clean up and organize my back yard more. The Easter party will be epic. I’m growing to enjoy the Easter parties more by the year. I’m figuring out what I enjoy and what doesn’t work. I’m really pretty surprised that I can hide as many hundreds of eggs as I manage on my tiny property. But I find them for eight months.

I think that the Easter party is partially so fun because I’m not competing with much other holiday stuff. Ok, I lose people for Passover. That’s ok. It’s not Christmas-time. It isn’t over-all as stressful of a time of year.

I bought way way way less candy this year. Last year was overwhelming. See, I learn.

If the weather cooperates this Friday home schoolers will be coming over to paint the fence. This will be fun. I get the impression at least a few folks will come to hear Girl Genius.

This week is a running week with J. Maybe if we are going to do alternative weeks on Tuesdays and Saturdays we should make those running dates split up so we see one another once a week but not on the same day every week. Maybe. I’m going to keep up the running this year. Darn it.

It is time for the monthly pilgrimage to San Pablo this week. That’s a long drive. But seeing those folks in their home is important. The kids have to learn to manage grown-up-only houses. It’s a process.

It will be a very busy and hopefully fun week. Only four hours of driving scheduled over the next ten days. That should be nice. Yay for staying home and having people come to me.

Not good.

This weekend I was supposed to go to the Tartan Fair, then get a massage, then go to a party. On Sunday I was going to teach a class.

I spent last night in the bathroom. In the past six hours I’ve been in the bathroom four separate times and no visit has been short. I didn’t sleep much for the cramping.

I hate when my body betrays me. This is my sad face. I am going to have to cancel everything for today and I’m not sure about the class tomorrow.

Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.

Bossy pants

On the internet I read that some people have a problem with the word bossy. Whatever. I’m bossy.

Yesterday we went with two families to the local tea shop. Jenny introduced me to the tea shop so it has an extra special warm place in my heart. I’ve been bringing my kids periodically all their lives. I have my “tea shop patter” down.

When we are outside the store, “Ok! How do we examine things inside antique shops?” “With our eyes and not our hands.” “Where do your hands stay The Whole Time?” “In our imaginary pockets.”

When we get to the table I have all kinds of cheerful misdirections away from using the spoons as catapults. Yes this comes up over and over.

Yesterday it was kind of weird because I Mothered the whole table. I divided the food and told people what they got and insisted on ordering more food when someone kind of faintly said they were more hungry and … I didn’t mean to take over. There were two other mothers there. I thought they would be more assertive in just taking stuff. We ordered four tea sets to split between eight people. Isn’t it obvious to everyone at the table that we should split every sandwich in half so that everyone gets an equal amount?

Apparently not. Ok. I’ll be bossy then.

I’m never sure if I’m ruffling feathers or being rude or taking over with other peoples kids or or or. I didn’t mean to boss the whole table. I just boss my kids and your kids were standing nearby when I said it. I don’t think I’m the boss of them. You are totally free to argue with everything I say and do it a different way.

My kids do better when I set my expectations out clearly and specifically. I have learned what I want from them and how to say it in a way they can process. We have been to this tea shop at least 40 times. I have learned the patter.

I believe that if I want my children to learn to smile at me and say things in a nice way it is my obligation to say things to them that way. Every time. Even when I really don’t fucking want to. I still owe them courtesy and cheerfulness because if I want it back I have to model it. And model it. And model it. No matter how I feel about it that day.

It’s rather oppressive sometimes. But I do it because I like the results I get out of my kids. I like that I can take them anywhere and they will do really well for at least an hour. You can’t do that with every little kid. Once we went to this tea shop with a little boy friend. I didn’t find out until we got there that the parents don’t ever take him to restaurants because his behavior was terrible but the mom didn’t want to disappoint Shanna when she asked them to go. I left like a 75% tip that day because we broke things.

I believe that human animals can be taught to do just about anything if you try hard enough and are patient and loving and coaxing through the process. It’s a lot easier to run now that I have Blacksheep’s voice in my head instead of the nasty critical voices I have always heard about my feeble attempts at physical fitness.

Having someone believe you are capable is often the first and hardest step. Sometimes you really need someone else to believe you are capable so you can believe it of yourself.

I wouldn’t have “finished” the marathon without Blacksheep. She told me I could. So I did. Even though it was a really hard race.

I frequently feel awkward with the home schoolers. I wear my bossy pants. The wonderful lady who holds our group together with scotch tape and bailing wire is not naturally someone to get bossy with a large group. So she seems to appreciate that I’m happy to yell at large groups of kids (in a nice way) to organize group stuff. Like grouping up for pictures. Not yelling for behavior. That I stay out of until it gets really bad.

I’m pretty happy to be the one to herd squirrels. I miss stage managing. I miss teaching. I miss organizing groups of people into a result. I even miss working retail sometimes. Cleaning my house gives me less satisfaction.

But you do what you do for the day you are  in. Today I take care of my kids. For this period of my life my job is educating my children.

Holy shit are they going to turn out bossy. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand. Holy Validation Batman. On the other hand… that is one of the personality traits that people dislike the most about me. I’m kind of damning my kids, know what I mean?

But the world needs women who are good at giving orders. I believe it with all my heart and soul. In order to give orders you have to believe that you have the right and that’s complicated.

I don’t have “the right” to boss everyones kids. I just do it any way. I do it until I’m told to stop. People don’t tell me to stop very often. When people do I tend to respond with, “Wow that teacher voice is hard to get rid of” and then people laugh. This culture has a lot of tolerance for teachers. I still skate on that quite cheerfully. I take any slack I can get without hesitation.

It is easier to remember things if you are taught when you are in a relaxed state of mind. Which is why half or more of my little “patter” lectures I deliver in little songs I make up. My kids don’t take my bossy pants patter as a negative. I’m trying to set them up to succeed. They like it when they know what is expected of them because then they have the option of doing it. They sure like the result of being able to do what people want from them.

They have learned the difference between how the antique store dealers treat them on days they only look and on days they touch. When they keep their hands to themselves they usually get a sticker and frequently are handed a cookie. Whereas I don’t do a lot of straight up bribery myself I am cool with other people using it as a tactic.

I feel like this is my opportunity to help someone else get punished less for fucking up. I can help you understand a lot of the boundaries so people don’t hate you the way they hated me when I was a child. I was as curious as Shanna. I broke as many things. (Holy shit for shoe shine that kid breaks things.) No one was with me though so I took my punishments on my own. Shanna has a different experience. Shanna is not having the experience of having to leave over and over and over and over because every time you break something it means someone hates you and won’t let you in their house ever again.

Noah really doesn’t understand how much I have changed. I’m a lot more ok with failure now than I ever believed I could be. When I was younger I was pretty paralyzed with fear about the idea of fucking up or making mistakes and breaking things. Noah taught me that you can’t learn without trying and failing. I spent most of my early life seeing my failings as a sign that I was a pathetic loser who shouldn’t be trying.

My kids aren’t like that. My kids don’t have a sense of self like mine. My kids think, “You can’t learn without making mistakes. When you break things you apologize and try to make it right.” Shanna has paid for things out of her allowance. She has repaired things. She has cleaned up the mess herself. And none of these results were decided upon with shaming, shouting, or contempt. I just talked to her about what the right thing to do would be. She picked the result and she was cool with it.

Shanna’s experience of life is: when you break something you need to figure out how to make it right. You have a bunch of options for how that can happen. Negotiate to figure out which is right this time.

Sometimes I flinch when she breaks things because I still expect to be hit. I feel really pathetic. But she doesn’t flinch.

My kids don’t flinch.

I’m doing something right.

All of the kids yesterday (five of them!) did great. We had a blast. Then we ran hard for an hour and a half to burn off the energy we stored up sitting patiently in the tea shop. It was great.

Sometimes I’m scared that home schooling my kids means they don’t get to have relationships. I fear isolating them. Then I think that instead of sitting in school all day we get to go to the tea shop and then the park. Not so isolated. And learning useful life skills.

Yeah, this is what I want to do with this time.

Kid quotes for posterity

Shanna: ”I cleaned the play room and the sleeping room and you said you would clean the living room and LO AND BEHOLD YOU BETRAYED ME!!!”

==============================================

Me: “Do you know how much I love you?”

Calli: (small sad voice) “No.”

Me: “I love you as much as I love onions.”

Calli: “What! No.”

Me: “I love you as much as a grain of sand.”

Calli: “What! No.”

Me: “I love you as much as a shoe.”

Calli: “What! No.”

Me: “Well then, how much do I love you?”

Calli: (in a happy, dreamy voice) “As big as the sky.”

============================================

I can’t remember if I blogged this one.

Me: “Stop antagonizing your sister. …. Wait? Do you know what antagonize means?”

Shanna: “No I don’t and thanks for asking.”

==============================================

Shanna: (shove Calli with elbow) “If Mom is coming in to pick up our toys and donate them to someone else so we don’t have to clean them up any more SAY THANK YOU.”

Shanna and Calli in unison: “Thank you.”

 

… I can’t remember what else. They have been amusing me lately.

Many sitting ramble

I have now spoken with three acupuncturists after the less than impressive acupuncture trip. All three have told me that I should write a registered letter of complaint asking for a refund and I should CC the licensing board. They are all very unhappy that their branch of medicine is being represented that way.

My shrink wants me to see an ob/gyn to talk about hormone balance. If my period cycles are 35 days long and I only bleed for three days and at the end of bleeding I am so full of rage that I can barely function for a few days… that may be something that can be fixed.

Like I want to see a fucking doctor.

But I do have a more appropriate ergonomic setup. Baby steps.

I’m even wearing the braces.

I’m still doing that existential exhaustion thing. I wonder how much of it is related to the pills instead of smoking. The pills make me feel far more tired than smoking does.

I feel like I the last few days I have been bouncing between rage (which I don’t act out very much or verbalize to a great degree)  and shame that I am such a bad person that I am capable of feeling such rage and mania where I try to prove that I’m not bad I’m not bad. I’m not bad. I’m not bad.

All of the childrens clothing in my friends house is now organized very nicely except for the stuff I pulled for donation. That’s just a big pile. But if she would permit me I would throw it in a bag and make it disappear like magic. But she has friends she wants to share the clothes with. I can delay my own gratification that much.

Because it’s all about me.

I make myself feel better about existing by being the person who comes over to your house and takes the garbage out without being asked. Clearly it is full and needs to be taken out. Sure I’ll do that. Oh I see dishes. How about if I wash them. Can I take your compost and recycling out while I’m at it? Do you have any laundry I can fold?

Just please don’t make me read to your kids. I’m sick of that shit.

I want to be good. I don’t know what “being good” means. So I try to do the only good I know how to do.

Domestic work is not valued or appreciated but it does genuinely impact peoples lives. I have the physical ability to make someone else’s life better by doing this work so I want to do it.

I still kind of hate myself for the lack of patience I had with my brother Tommy. I couldn’t handle helping him. I wasn’t nice. I wasn’t giving. I wasn’t generous. I was selfish and self absorbed. Sure, if I tried to help him he would hit me, call me names, and sexually assault me but surely that isn’t a good enough excuse for me to be so lazy about helping my disabled brother. What is wrong with me?

Yesterday I cleaned my pantry area. I found a bunch of stuff I’m ready to pass on. I reorganized a whole bunch of stuff. I found out that my former housemate left more than 100 movies in our cd binders. Whoops. I need to get those back to her. I need to send her an email. I wish I could do it right this minute without crying but I can’t. I will be able to do so by morning. That’s my deadline for myself. I can’t just put it off and off. I have to do it.

Even if I feel guilty. Even if I feel ashamed of myself for hurting her. I still have to contact her and say, “Whoops. I found some of your stuff.”

Life is awkward.

Have patience. Life does not have to be fully lived today. Yeah, this mood might be hard. It’s just a mood. It will pass.

I don’t have to already have done everything I imagine doing or I am a fraud. I don’t ever have to do all that I imagine doing. It’s just not required. No one is standing near me with a checklist declaring that my competency rate is only about 40% of what it could be if only I worked harder….

Breathe. Enjoy having the night off. I should probably do some editing. It is April now. I only have two more months. I could pull out the definitions. That would be an easy sub-job.

It is hard to feel the weight of the accomplishments behind me. It is hard to feel accomplished or competent. When I was young I thought that someday I would feel ok. I imagined that when I was a grown up I would feel confident that I knew the right thing to do and I’m doing it gosh darn it.

I don’t feel that way. I feel scared. I feel lost. I feel ashamed of myself in ways big and small.

I have been swearing a lot lately. It really is a fascinating barometer of my stress. I had it pretty well under control for a while. Not so much lately.

Six things I’m proud of:

  1. I’ve traveled a lot. By extension I have met a lot of really interesting people.
  2. I’m really proud of my yard. This piece of dirt is the result of my blood, sweat and tears. It looked like shit when I got here. Now people drive by and stop and ask to buy my house because of the yard. That feels miraculous.
  3. I’m proud of the degrees I earned (BA, teaching credential) and the degree I didn’t get. I didn’t walk away with an MA because I couldn’t handwrite fast enough. Because when I was a child in school learning handwriting I had the misfortune to be in a place where people were beaten for their handwriting. Mine will probably never improve because I have such tremendous issues around the whole subject. But those elitist cock suckers can’t take my education away from me.
  4. I am proud of myself for prosecuting my father. Even though it caused so much pain and trouble. It was the right decision. I was worth defending.
  5. I’m really proud of the running. I have almost certainly run more than a thousand miles so far. I’m going to run a lot farther and faster before I am done.
  6. I’m proud of myself for never feeling like I had to stay in a relationship just for the sake of having a partner. I left people who treated me in ways I didn’t want to be treated. I’m proud of that.

Even if I feel worthless, I don’t think that is a logical conclusion. I know I feel inadequate all the time and I know I feel terrible and bad and like people would hate me if they just knew. And the reality is that some would hate me. Some wouldn’t. Most really don’t give a shit one way or another.

I don’t need to be afraid of what people think of me. That is the freedom and luxury I have now. It is weird.

So the social gaffe I did on Friday? That I felt bad about? Talked to said person again. There seem to be no lingering of discord on her end. She’s anxious to forgive me and move on.

But but… it’s not ok for me to treat people that way. If I don’t think people will hold boundaries with me when I’m a cunt then I overstep. This is why I have so many friends who carry around 2x4s in the form of personalities. I feel safe.

I feel scared about my own impulses toward bullying. I hurt Anna very badly not that many years ago. I hurt Sarah. I could keep going on but my whining gets old.

I’m not a very nice person. I was talking to a friend about that. She said it is an American thing. In Russia they understand that sometimes people are assholes.

I think that basically everyone can be an asshole. Including my wonderful children. They are not monsters. They are not demons. They are not terrible. They are not bad. They are not horrible.

But sometimes… they are assholes.

It happens to the best of us.

I feel like living with them and learning to manage our asshole-self-interest conflicts is my death march toward functionality. And that ties back into my belief that I “owe” people the appearance of happiness.

I’m really kind of an asshole. Ok, no I’m a big asshole. A lot. A terrible one. But I don’t like the social and social-political backlash of being widely seen as an asshole. There are consequences. I don’t like them. So I try, very actively, to be perceived as not-an-asshole.

But then I come along aside a puppy. I see kicked puppies and I’m just like everyone else. I first want to help them. Then I notice that the help I am giving isn’t actually the help that they want or need and they want more than I can give and I feel a rush of shame and… I want to kick them.

I do this with friends. I’ve done this over and over and it is a pattern I need to not continue. Just because I see patterns in peoples lives and behavior that gives me no right to pronounce what I see. I’m not a god damn seer.

Where are the boundaries on fixing things for people? Well my kid just told me at dinner that I was rude for going through our friends dresser and rearranging the clothes. Err… she gave me permission! She wanted me to do it! I was nice! I wasn’t being rude! Oh. Oh…… But if you tried to do the same thing you would get in trouble. Got it.

Yeah, this is a special case. I knew her for a long time and I asked and she gave specific permission and that’s different.

Consent, baby. It’s important.

My pantry really kind of is a thing of beauty these days. I like what I’ve done with it. Ok, I’m proud of that too.

A long time ago, when I spent waaaaaaaay too much time on Mothering.com (before the bad site redesign) and there was a woman I made friends with. Once I asked her what she was proud of doing in her life. She said she didn’t take pride in anything.

I found that inexplicably sad. I could name many things. She had many children. She had left an abusive spouse and remarried someone who has been a fabulous partner. She thinks that because she is poor she has nothing whatsoever to be proud of. I couldn’t talk her out of that view.

Is my worth based on Noah’s paycheque? That’s a sobering thought. When I list off the things I’m proud of… Noah’s job doesn’t hit the list. I have nothing to do with that. I do feel proud of how I have managed the money put in my care. But I don’t feel proud of having the money. I don’t feel like having it says anything good or bad about my character or self-worth.

It just means I’m a lot less likely to ever be homeless again. That’s cool. But I … don’t feel “proud” of it.

I don’t exactly feel shame about having been homeless in the past. It is simply one more adjective that I’ve worn temporarily and then taken off. Kinda like “kid”. I was once.

Why isn’t “bad” like that? Why isn’t “monster” like that? Why isn’t daughter like that?

I don’t know. Maybe when you learn something strong and hard enough when you are young you can’t unlearn it.

So every day my children wake up to me smiling and saying, “Good morning! I am so glad to see you again!” No matter how I feel. Even if I’m crying. They don’t know what I am feeling or thinking they only know that I am mostly very gentle with them and when I am clumsy and I hurt them I apologize immediately.

Am I a monster?

Can a thing done ever be undone?

I don’t know.

This entry might be a little extra disjointed from usual. I’ve come in for three separate sittings and it is hard to keep flow going at that rate. I also go through periods of HAVING to tag and periods where I feel like rereading the entry to know how to tag it is too much work. Hilariously lazy.

Wake up. It’s another day. Today is Wednesday. Today we have swim class and Pam. Pam is still inviting herself over after knowing me for almost 18 years. She can stay as long as she wants.

Pam asked me about crowded cultures versus this American luxury of space. How do people who grew up in a country where boundaries are laughable luxuries not available at any price learn to understand the physical affront it feels like to crowd people who are used to more space? Is either side doing something “wrong”? How do we learn to get along?

I am looking forward to visiting Asia and India in particular so I can feel in my body what people who live there are used to. Hopefully I will be less presumptuous in my discussions. Or maybe I will be worse.

Asia in general (I would like to go to Thailand and Taiwan and a few other Asian countries) has more crowding but my understanding is that their cities will feel like such a different scale of human interaction that I will barely be able to absorb it. India I want because so much of my life involves Indians.

Cultural appropriation is a funny thing. There is some amount of it that is BAD and the internet tells me so. I can’t tell when or if any parts of it are allowed to be done without insult.

There is a store at our local mall that sells the pretty caftans and leggings the Indian ladies wear. I would love to shop there. Is that cultural appropriation? If someone who is Indian wears blue jeans and an American Eagle t-shirt–that’s not cultural appropriation. Is it cultural appropriation if I start wearing traditional Russian peasant clothing? It’s harder to buy in my local area.

Why don’t I just wear the traditional garb of my ancestors? Well… which ones? Mostly because my ancestors weren’t smart enough to wear comfy leggings and a nice A-line caftan that ends mid-calf. They wore much longer dresses and that gets to be a pain the neck.

What are people allowed to do and be without causing pain to the people around them? Must we all stay in our own little same-colored pods doing the same things so we don’t offend anyone? That doesn’t seem better. Cross-cultural contact involves people getting offended. Sometimes because of conscious actions on someones part and sometimes because someone doesn’t observe a taboo you think they should. Sometimes they are just passively not doing something you think they must.

I am going to offend people. I have to be ok with that. I’m an asshole. Most of the people I respect the most can be assholes. By asshole I particularly mean: someone who has very clearly defined boundaries and they are willing to proactively insist on their needs being met.

I know a lot of assholes. Go them.

A spider has the audacity to be slowly lowering itself about six inches in front of my face. Oh thanks a lot.

I am very sad it was raining on April Fools Day. I couldn’t do my painting-the-fence-thing. I also haven’t seen that neighbor outside in weeks. I’m pretty bummed.

But there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese. I live in the time and the place where I can have unlimited dreams. They may not come true. They may be a figment of my imagination but that’s how the American Dream works.

I used to imagine that some day I would have a home and a family and that people would love me. I used to imagine that some day people wouldn’t hit me any more. I used to imagine that some day I wouldn’t be a piece of shit.

There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese. Well, at least some dreams come true.

 

Anger.

I am so angry I feel like I could levitate. It’s not one thing. It’s a million tiny things. But I’m fucking angry. Full of rage. I want to burn things down and make people bleed.

I have barely shouted and it has been entirely of the “STOP RUNNING THAT SHOPPING CART INTO MY ANKLES!!!!” variety so I don’t feel that bad. They did it literally seven times. I was so fucking pissed.

But I’m angry. Angry. Burn it down angry.

I am not entirely sure why. Part of it is anger over a social gaffe of my own. I was a complete asshole to someone who didn’t deserve it. I never like myself much after that. I don’t feel bad if I’m an asshole to an asshole. I feel bad when I kick puppies.

But that isn’t all of it.

I’m scared. I’m angry and scared. I’m trying new things and I am risking rejection and that is very hard for me. I want to show people why they should reject me out of hand. I want to test everyone and scare them and make them put up big boundaries to keep themselves safe from me because I am a bad person.

I’m scared. I’m angry but I’m more scared. I’m also having some issues with entitlement. My kids aren’t doing the basics of picking up after themselves this week. I don’t know what is up.

Shanna. Oh my goodness Shanna. I went into her play room with a box and I picked up allllllllllll the dress up clothes on the floor. Shanna quickly turned and shoved Calli and said, “If she is coming in here to pick up our toys to donate them to someone else so we don’t have to clean them up anymore–say thank you.” Then they both chorused, “Thank you.”

I…

Jeebus. What do I do with that. I wanted to snarl. I didn’t. Self control I haz it.

But I have taken a large number of toys out of their play room and put them in boxes in the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. Please, Universe–stop giving my kids toys. We are full and over flowing and our blessing far exceed our ability to cope with them. No more toys for a few years, ok?

P.S. Books are ok.

Oh my goodness. I’m clearly having feelings. I’ve bought books recently. I’m not going to admit how much I’ve spent. I’ll have to fess up at the end of the year and you can bloody well wait till then.

I’m very excited. I uhh went online and found the entire Tamora Pierce collection. Oh yes, I did. I am very excited. I have already been pissy more than once that I gave the books back to my friend as quickly as I did because there are particular books I want to reread.

I also bought new because I am the kind of rich piece of shit who should be supporting authors. Damnit.

But uhm, eek.

I need to start selling books I write. Like, to the person who emailed me and requested a way to buy a book I have already written. Eek. Ok. Thankfully, Noah says I will have a sales page up very soon. Which blows my mind.

My life is good. I don’t know why I am so angry. Entitlement? I don’t feel “triggered” other than feeling habitually disrespected by the kids this week.

I have serious fucking issues around cleaning. I’m so sorry, kids. You must keep common space reasonably picked up or I’m just not all that nice. If your room is a mess I can keep my mouth shut. The living room being impossible to walk across…just fucking no. That’s god damn rude.

Ok. Must go pay attention to people here. Don’t really want to. Life doesn’t always give me what I want.

Every day love

My kids like to go to sleep curled up against me. It always takes us a while to stop talking about how much we love each other. We say “I love you” many many—maybe more than dozens of times a day.

Sometimes I feel like it is weirdly excessive. Sometimes I feel like I am managing to finally experience what I’ve wanted my whole life. People actually like me here.

I haven’t been able to handle being on the PTSD forum lately. I can’t handle the way people talk about coping. Yes, these emotions are scary. No I don’t think that I should hide my scary life experiences. No, I don’t believe that the only appropriate place to talk about trauma is in a therapy office.

People who want to “get better” talk. People who want to “get better” have to take the risk of being hurt again. You have to trust with your whole heart even though it is terrifying and awful.

I am so grateful for Noah. These people talk about being married for decades and never telling anyone about their history. They have severe troubles in their marriage because their spouse doesn’t have enough information to be helpful even if they want to..

I am so grateful that I get to be with people every day who like me. Who don’t need me to just shut up and play a role for them. My kids know I cry. They don’t need me to go away and stop bothering them when I’m feeling sad. They give me a hug and say they are sorry I’m feeling sad. It’s not a huge deal. It’s not part of our daily or even weekly routine but it happens.

They validate that I’m allowed to have my feelings. They offer the comfort they can provide (a hug) and then we move on with our days. You can’t have this kind of support without admitting that you need it.

Noah is so nice to me. SOOO nice to me. He actually wants to see me every single day. He actually enjoys talking with me day after day. It is overwhelming.

My mama couldn’t stand me. I don’t understand why anyone else has an easier time. Only now that I’ve been a mom for a while I think I can understand why my mom had such a hard time with me. I was a truly difficult child. If they had used the phrase Oppositional Defiance Disorder when I was a child I’m sure I would have been diagnosed.

I’m not saying I am awesome and everyone is bad for not wanting me. I’m not saying that. I was awful. I was really hard. I was mean and spiteful and vicious. I still am if you catch me in the right mood. I was a complete fucking asshole.

But I wish my mama had loved me any way.

Every day when my kids tell me they love me I want to deflect it. I want to say, “No you don’t.” or “You wouldn’t love me if you really knew me.”

But yesterday Shanna asked me to read a book about development with her. (It’s So Amazing! It’s a book about conception/pregnancy/sex but it’s not exactly graphic. It’s a kids book.) We got to the part where every girl is born with all the eggs in her ovaries she will ever have.

Shanna told me, “So I was part of you when you were born. No wonder I love you so much.”

I almost lost it and it was hard to continue reading in a calm voice. No wonder I love my mommy so much. I’m part of her. I was part of her through all the suffering of her early life. I didn’t go off and separate until after most of the worst trauma. I am intrinsically and basically on her side.

But I have to protect my kids whether I want my mama or not. Because they are part of me. And it’s my job to keep them safe. That is my only fucking job. I wish that keeping my children safe did not mean shunning my mama.

I don’t feel I deserve the love of the people I live with because I can’t love my mama right. If you can’t do that surely you deserve eternal punishment. Chain me up right next to Prometheus. We both suck.

But the thing is, talking about my PTSD allowed me to develop the relationships I have. I could not have this supportive of a relationship with Noah if I did not talk about my life experiences. It is literally impossible.

So feelings. Talking about the feelings is hard. Talking about the feelings is the only way to build the intimacy that creates trust that alleviates the symptoms. The whole cycle is shitty and awful because talking is so hard because I don’t have that basic trust to start with.

Today is Lego Club day. Whatever my feelings are, they are mine. They stay here in Wonderland. Only Noah has to really hear about them. A little bit leaks out with other friends but not a lot. And I’m going to a home school event. I am there so my children can make friends not so I can get support. And I don’t fucking forget it.

I am grateful that I have three people who love me. That’s more than a lot of people get. I am so glad I get to have the life I have. I feel so safe. I feel like it is ok for me to take risks.

I made the event mailing lists yesterday. If you were not invited that is probably because I could only invite ten people at a time so I picked the first names who came up in my address book. I am having a crises of confidence. If I didn’t send you invitations and you like being invited to things at our house, email me. I am in the invitation list formation stage.

I think I made Google Groups so people can join or not and I no longer have to be afraid that I shouldn’t be bothering people with invitations. I have terrible anxiety about inviting people over. I don’t want to be told no. But I understand that everyone is very busy. If I have people who opt-in to “Sure invite me as often as you like and I’ll come when I can” maybe that will filter some of the anxiety. Maybe. (Seriously–please ask to join the list if you have any inclination. I’m not rejecting you. I’m being paralyzed with anxiety that you might reject me.)

I also finished the petition and printed it out. The kids and I should start walking the neighborhood to collect signatures today. Oh goodness.

I was very careful in my wording. I want everyone in our neighborhood to be happy, healthy, and included. Let’s find a way to work together. No one should be pushed out. But sometimes in order to cohabitate peacefully you have to talk about boundaries. Healthy relationships have boundaries.

Cross your fingers. Davey Crockett says: “Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.”

I believe I am right to try and intercede. I believe that there is positive to gain for the people in our neighborhood if we can negotiate for the limits we physically need for health.

Despite waking up and feeling like I should spend the day under my desk rocking and crying (some mornings are just like that) I will do a lot of community building. It doesn’t matter that I feel like I “can’t”. The plain and simple truth is that I can. I just have to get up and do it.

Lazy whole forking week.

Not one of my more productive weeks ever. Mostly I’m resting and feeling like my brain won’t operate at full speed. I feel existentially exhausted and frustrated and like I can’t do anything right.

I want to buy things. I want to go out and spend money as entertainment. I want to eat out every single meal because cooking makes me feel stabby.

I want to see people and I want to hide under a rock. The dichotomy of my life.

I choose to blame bleeding for this week being a flip out zone. I’m really grateful I can mostly cancel everything and stay home on weeks when I’m bleeding and I think EVERYONE HATES ME SO I MIGHT AS WELL BE THE CUNT OF THE YEAR! WHEEEEEEEE Ahem.

I haven’t flipped out. I just have a lot of really big feelings. Calm down. Everything is fine because you have the luxury and privilege to just be quiet when this happens.

I am so lucky. I appreciate my life. I appreciate that I can spend hours quietly cuddling and no one requires me to get up and work on something they care about.

I’m grateful for my life. I’m glad I get to be doing what I’m doing. I am enjoying it.

My kids are testing boundaries. And that’s life. I can cope. I just can’t seem to handle reading any books. Meh. My brain is full. I’m tired. I’m anxious. I want…. something. It’s not sugar. I tried that. It’s not protein. I tried that. It’s not vegetables.

Although I’m starting to think that tomatoes might be a part of my problem. I had a tomato based dinner with some wine (not a lot) and I was up in the bathroom all night with a burning cleansing. My body hates me. I have had more alcohol than that without a problem in the past but sometimes alcohol gives me trouble. Oh man.

I’m starting to think I should just give up alcohol. It’s not my friend. But it tastes good. Is this alcoholism? “But but… like twice a month I want a glass of wine… sometimes it irritates my digestive system and sometimes not. CLEARLY I HAVE AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH ALCOHOL.” Or something.

I want there to be something big and catastrophic wrong with me so I can be more than just a petty whiner.

Or for nothing to be wrong with me. Either way would be fine.