Words, definitions, insults

Bitch, asshole, cunt. Why do we love these words so much? It isn’t just me who has a love-affair. I self-identify easily as an asshole. Yup, I’m self-absorbed and I’m going to default to thinking my needs are more important than yours. I’m not sorry. Bitch is harder for me. Asshole I view as more passive–not attacking anyone but not doing anything unless motivated by selfish need. Bitch is more aggressive. Bitches attack. Bitches are willing to savage people just because they are having a bad day. Notice how gendered these assumptions are? When men withdraw and refuse to engage… they are an asshole. When a woman chases cause she’s pissed… she’s a bitch.

Even that paragraph isn’t really true. Many men are called assholes when they are aggressive. So it’s not like being an asshole is just a passive retreat thing. Men are assholes and women are bitches. Even though some assholes can be loud about it, I feel like assholes are still in the “resistant” role. Assholes “are how they are and you can fuck off if you don’t like it”.

Bitches are different. Bitches want to control. Bitches try to make people do things they may not want to do. Bitches are manipulative (in that bad way.) Really, isn’t being a bitch just a short hand way of saying, “You there, with the vulva, shut your mouth.”

Bitches are women who talk when other people wish they would shut up. Bitches are the women who won’t sleep with you even though, don’t they know you are a Nice Guy?!!?!? 

Those bitches.

P said I call myself a bitch a lot here. So I did a search find on the front page. Do I do it “a lot?” My off-the cuff guess was five references. I was wrong. Eleven references. Only one of them about a person other than myself (and she deserved it–actually she probably didn’t and I’m being a jerk. My only saving grace is I did it in an anonymous way about a stranger and she’ll never know or care.)

Three of the references were “bitchy”. That leaves me with seven times I called myself a bitch. And given how long my entries are… not many entries stay on the front page.

Ok, I call myself a bitch frequently.

I think I partially use these words as self-descriptors because if I say it first… other people are just being “unoriginal” when they use them–it hurts less. I say them because sometimes my reactions seem scary and out of proportion to people (if they knew the whole back story I don’t think my reactions would seem so out of proportion) and if you tell people you are a bitch/asshole they just kind of shrug off the “over” reactions. “Assholes/bitches do that.” It’s a different kind of privilege to opt-in to. The kind of privilege where people stop pressuring you to change so much.

People tell “nice” or “kind” people how they should be all day long. It’s disgusting. When you are a known asshole… people tend to mostly keep their opinions to themselves unless you have a firmly established relationship. My close friends say things to me that would probably shock the fuck out of people who know me casually. It’s about getting used to different peoples tolerances. My tolerances are very unusual. It’s not really that I can “handle more” than other people because I can’t. But the things I can handle are things that are different from what most people can handle. Non-overlapping circles of cope.

I desperately, desperately, overwhelmingly, chokingly want to a good person, but I don’t think I want to be “nice”. I’m an asshole. Assholes can be good people too. Assholes can be personally abrasive and difficult and still do lots of good for the world. Nice people are pretty locked into being nice. They don’t get the dynamic personality I want to have. They have to care too much about the feelings of people around them.

I care exactly how much it is prudent for me to care and maybe a little less.

I have people I latch onto emotionally and my tolerances are vast and broad for people who are in the inner circle. I’m not “nice” but I am tolerant, accepting, and loving. But I’ll be rough and uncomfortable in the process because I just am.

I choose to be effective over being well-liked. If I am liked, bonus. I care way more about being effective.

Someone I spend a fair bit of social time standing near was making conversation. She asked what we are up to lately. I talked about having three conferences in five weeks and can’t these people work together to spread this shit out?! No. They are three completely separate communities. I am probably going to be the singular overlap between events. Sigh. She asked what I am doing at the conferences. I said presenting. She expressed surprise. (Not shock or anything insulting… she just hasn’t heard much about me doing that kind of thing.) I told her I am talking about imposter syndrome in writers and sustainable ambition. She asked me what sustainable ambition is. I gave about a 30 second run down. She kind of hinted, “Uhm… why did they ask *you* to present on that topic?” (She’s really good at asking questions in polite ways so my rephrasing is almost certainly more insulting sounding. She’s super sweet.)

I told her that I got married less than 9 years ago and at that time we had an on-paper net worth of around $300k and over $350k in debt including the mortgage. Now we have a net worth of $1.3 million and $150,000 in debt. We are doing pretty well.

Her jaw dropped.

“Wow. I guess you do have stuff to say on this topic then. Go you. That’s incredible.”

Yeah, I have a few opinions around managing money, savings, investments, and ambition. My opinions are not THE RIGHT OPINIONS EVERYONE MUST SHARE OR FAIL!!!!! But maybe someone will hear a useful tidbit. I was asked to come talk. Other people think they will enjoy hearing me talk about this topic.

Total anxiety fest.

As I’m heading into three conferences (technically at the third one I’m only on the hook for the Easter egg hunt) I feel a little bit more like “People are ok with me being part of their communities.” Even more so…. some of them want me to talk about my experiences. That’s very validating.

If I’m getting positive feedback like that, why do I need to hold on to the bitch/asshole thing?

Because I’m a woman. I will never get away from being a bitch no matter what I do. If I willfully take asshole along with it and I label myself as I see fit in a conversation (When you tell someone, actually I’m not being a bitch I’m being an asshole they tend to be so startled the insults trail off.) then I have a lot more control around my self-perception and around the perception other people have of me.

If I were trying and trying and trying to be nice I would fail and people would flay me with it. Instead I tell people I’m an asshole and they celebrate any ounce of niceness. Fucking awesome.

Ma-nipulation it is fun for me

I like to get my way and it is so fun-ny

(Ok, that rhymes into a little song I sing… Not sure that the tone carries through in writing…)

It is funny for me that if I spend a lot of time telling people I’m an asshole the primary thing people want to do is argue, “Oh no you aren’t…” and then when I do something that is an asshole move they look at me with shock. “Wait… you are… actually an asshole?!”

Truth in advertising doesn’t result in people believing you.

Yesterday I was skirting the bitch/asshole line pretty hard. We were at a trampoline place with friends. There were no employee monitors. So the little kids wanted to stay together in a pack. Which meant 3-7 kids bouncing on one trampoline at a time. I consider this very unsafe. I consider it very unsafe because I’ve seen awful trampoline accidents. (I spent time rurally in Texas. Those kids did stupid shit because they were bored.)

My kids don’t like being bounced. So my kids spent half the time screaming/crying “Get away from me” and “Leave me alone” because they kept getting hurt. If I tried to physically block off ONE GOD DAMN SQUARE other kids just would not leave them alone. I got so fucking mad. STOP BOUNCING MY KID SHE FUCKING SAID NO.

I didn’t curse once. I like these kids. But man their behavior was sucky yesterday. When someone says No, that means fucking no. What is your problem? Also I was extra triggered because one kid I like wrestling with (we’ve done it a lot over many years) kicked me in the throat and wouldn’t talk about it at all. Kid ran away laughing at me. I felt ridiculously triggered and upset. I’m going to need to talk to Parent and Kid about this. I am sincerely worried about accidentally hurting one of these kids some day because they are too rough with my body. I have a lot of reflexes that I’ve toned down but not eliminated. The kids are getting bigger. When they kick me in the throat now it feels like a real threat and I have to do a lot of cognitive processing to recognize that this child is not trying to start a fist fight. It’s hard to sit on. I need some better boundaries here and I’m not being effective at making them without Parent’s help. We’ll see how it goes.

It was at least 9 kids doing doing the chasing-jumping it so it’s not like I’m mad at one person. It was just stressful after a while. And I didn’t want to stomp down to the parent area and tell them, “Will you make your little assholes behave? My little assholes are trying and failing and they are getting hurt.”

Which isn’t an appropriate thing to say at all. No one likes you if you talk about their kids that way. Even though in my opinion EVERY KID IS AN ASSHOLE. I’ve met them. I’ve watched how they behave. Assholes. All of them. It’s not a huge insult it’s just an evaluation of their behavior. They don’t care at all how their actions impact the people around them. It’s a learned process to care about people.

I actually really like the kids that were there. I play with them a lot. We have many good and wonderful games. I feel like I have learned more about how to “play” with this crowd than I ever understood as a child. I really like these kids a lot. Losing contact with them would be devastating. So I have no intention of ever walking up to the group of moms and saying, “Your little assholes….” even though I wouldn’t mean anything that bad by it. That’s how I talk. That’s how I describe the mood of the moment, not their personhood.

I have lots positive to say about every single kid there. But sometimes their behavior sucks. Kinda like me.

I know they meant well. They wanted us to play their game with them. But I’m too big and Calli is too small and Shanna is just too much of a whiner. If I jump with five kids on a trampoline, we may end up with a trip to the hospital and the kids would not back off. Calli got hurt several times because she is just smaller than everyone else. She doesn’t want to feel like a piece of popcorn being tossed about without her will. And Shanna is… Shanna. “I went into the dodge ball area and they THREW BALLS AT ME. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

Uh, yeah. That happens.

This is the trouble with not sticking kids in public school; they never get the cold hard reality that sometimes balls will come crashing into your face because obviously, “Ha ha” this is such a great game.

I may opt out of the next trampoline group event. We can go by ourselves. We have fun when we go alone. Then I can be as nasty as necessary to defend ONE DAMN SQUARE and Calli will get to jump without sobbing hysterically. We have tons of fun with these kids in every other setting. Maybe we are just not trampoline compatible. That happens.

I’m kind of mean to little kids I don’t know. They won’t fucking listen if you don’t have a harsh tone of voice. “Please stop” is ignored full speed ahead. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR HEARING I SAID STOP.” is listened to much better. I can’t be as harsh with folks we know because then their moms might develop a problem with me. It’s a balancing act of trying to be effective vs. trying to maintain on-going relationships. I really and truly think that children wandering around in the community need to run into the brick wall boundaries of strangers. My kids have gotten yelled at by strangers. Usually my response is, “You deserved it. You ran into someone who owed you nothing and you pushed your luck. Yup, that happens sometimes.”

My shrink and I had a long talk about “You like being that way”. Ok, it wasn’t a long talk. It was just a few minutes. But it was a good talk. Her point is that everyone has some sets of behaviors that feel more natural, more “ok” than others. When a new coping method comes up it can either feel like it overall matches “your approach” or it will feel alien and wrong because it is counter to your impulses. What she meant by “You like being that way” is, I am far more comfortable defaulting to an aggressive way of handling problems. It’s true. I am not always angry and I don’t always curse and I haven’t used actual violence in many years. But if I see a problem my response is probably going to be to walk up to someone and say, “I see we have a problem.”

And even when I do that in nice ways I get called a bitch.

Women are not supposed to be pro-conflict. That is espoused all over the world. Women should shut up and be passive. Yeah, right. (Yes, there are pockets where women are encouraged to be louder and more assertive. Yes, there are men who totally fucking love dominant women. These things usually fall outside the norm.) I haven’t heard that much about it, but I hear that in Chinese culture there is a stereotype that would work for me: Dragon Lady. Usually a grandmother/mom who runs a business? That’s the gist I’ve gotten. A woman who is good at being loud and in charge. Excellent.

I think that conflict moves the world forward. I think that right this minute the world isn’t that great and we need to change a lot of things. Yes, I understand that historically speaking we are at a great place for the rights of white women in first world nations.

I’m, uhm, less satisfied by that level of success than one might assume. It’s not like white women have achieved parity… they are just doing better than other races. Not ok. This has to change. Women in India still have to deal with the very real threat that if they talk back to a man he might throw acid on her face and receive no punishment. Feminism is Not. Fucking. Done. Women of color in this country get thrown under the bus by white feminists all the time and it isn’t fucking ok.

The fact that 91 people were killed by the police in January of 2015 is an atrocity. Most of them were men of color. Black and First Nations men die at a disproportionate rate from being killed by police officers. That’s an outrage. That is abominable, disgusting, and horrifying. There are more black men in prison now than there were black men as slaves! This is not ok. Just not fucking ok.

I think we need change. In our country, in our world. The only way to spur change is to make people uncomfortable with the status quo. George Bernard Shaw says (barely paraphrased): “The reasonable person adapts themself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to themself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person.”

I’m an unreasonable person. Sometimes this manifests as being a bitch or an asshole. Then we come to cunt.

When I was a little kid there was one word that would cause my mother to drag me to the kitchen by my hair, yank my head back, and fill my mouth with Palmolive. Cunt.

The dirtiest word in our (my bio-family) lexicon. That is the lowest, most disgusting, most degrading thing you can call a woman. That is what I was taught. A cunt is the lowest social position available to a woman and it means contempt and violence at every opportunity.

Being a cunt means being a scapegoat. A cunt is someone who is conveniently assigned every negative behavior and mannerism one wishes to punish. Promiscuity, too loud, too abrasive, too self assured, too “mean”…. It’s complicated. It’s always sexualized. A cunt is a home wrecker.

I’ve never identified as a cunt much. I’ve never been able to get past my childhood conditioning. Even when I was out hunting for married men I was never interested in home wrecking. I usually fucked the wife too. I left them with happy memories and a kiss on the cheek.

Cunt changed for me after I read the wonderful book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. At this point I fairly freely refer to my anatomy as my cunt, especially during sex. But I don’t call people that.

Because I can never forget that the name of the most wonderful part of my body is supposed to be the worst, most terrible, most degraded thing a person can be called. Not cool.

So I conflictedly stick with bitch and cheerfully stick with asshole.

I manage this with the kids slightly differently. I don’t tell them I’m an asshole all day long. I nod and sagely say, “I can be quite annoying, this is true.” Why doesn’t it work that way when I talk to adults? Because I have to defend myself with adults.

I don’t have to defend myself with my kids. I have to explain what I need. Sometimes a few million times… but I don’t need to defend myself. (Ok, the odd sword-fight excepted.) They aren’t attacking me. They are looking for loving connection, even when they bug the shit out of me. So I don’t get as offensive. I don’t need to. It wouldn’t help.

I really like getting to have this experience. I like feeling loved like this, in gentleness and kindness. In this house, the best days involve the four of us piling on top of one another and talking for hours. Eventually we get a bit antsy and want to play again. Then, always, we wind up in another snuggle pile.

It is like a dream come true. I don’t know how to take this wonderful feeling out into the world and give people the benefit of the doubt. It has hurt me so much.

I’m a talker.

I read a nice article on parenting and princesses and race and I had lots of thoughts.

The first “Barbie” that came into our house was black. The first cuddly dolls I bought were black and asian. Eventually white dolls filtered into the house too. I didn’t buy them.

My children are white, privileged, and upper middle class. They will see the world I present as the default world.

I have pictures of naked fat people hung in my house. I love the work that Adipositivity does and I’m very happy to have my children grow up seeing the beautiful art work. Naked people are not a big deal. My children have been to naked bathing places. Yes, even ones that have both genders present. They are pretty good about how to behave. They’ve seen a lot of kinds of bodies. They think that people are beautiful in lots of different shapes and colors.

I can’t imagine living in a world where you must be thin, blonde, blue eyed, and white to be beautiful. That repels and disgusts me. No. I will not live in that world. You can’t fucking make me.

And thanks to the wonders of home schooling… my kids are growing up in a bubble of my reality distortion field. My six year old comments on being too skinny after her latest growth spurt, “I should eat more.” At a time when 1 in 4 girls under the age of seven have been on a diet. My kid has never heard about calorie restriction for the purpose of losing weight.

Food is fuel. My kids would tell someone that they were loco for not eating. “Without fuel you can’t use your body or your brain. You can’t grow. Don’t get dumb, eat something.”

I feel like I am living a science experiment. With enough privilege… is it possible for someone to grow up with the benefits of modern life while largely skipping the cultural framework?

I’m going to fucking find out.

From the time my kids were curious about bodies and asking for the names of parts they have been able to recite, “Most boys have a penis but not all. Most girls have a vulva but not all. Some people don’t really want to be a boy nor a girl and you have to ask them for their word.”

Ok, that third bit wasn’t there in the first year or so. I didn’t think of it then. We grow with time. But the kids have known it for a while now.

No, I’m not good at asking everyone their preferred pronoun.

I believe it is my job as a parent to prepare my children for the world. That doesn’t mean I need to immerse them in the toxic waters before they even know how to swim. My kids will deal with the fascist beauty standards at some point. But until them I will tell them that my mom-apron is a badge of honor and you have to “level up” or be born lucky enough to be fat enough to get one.

When your kids love on your belly this much… it is sad to see it shrink. I’m not having fun with losing weight.

I believe it is my job to set the terms of reality for now. In our experience of life people have different skin because their ancestors emigrated at different speeds away from the equator. No more, no less. If you meet someone in a given place it doesn’t matter what they look like, assume they are from here and act like that is true. They will tell you if they were not born here. (Wherever here may be.)

Boys and girls are both interested in My Little Ponies. It is always ok to ask if a kid wants to play a pony game. Some boys love playing “poor boy in distress” and you can totally ask if you can be his Princess-to-the-Rescue.

You are allowed to want to be the boss. That doesn’t mean other people at the park will listen to you. Good bosses learn how to be pleasant while they get people to do what they want. Sometimes a bossy voice is the best way to get your way and sometimes it will block you. Think about how you interact with people.

Science, math, and engineering are the building blocks of life. We talk about them all the time. There will never be a thought that “girls can’t do that”. Pshaw. Watch us.

My children are growing up with a very dynamic woman who does things. I declaim intentions and I get shit done.

I feel very conflicted about the not earning money bit. I really do feel like I’m letting down the feminist cause. I speak very positively about the benefits of being a working woman. My kids very much admire the working moms we know. Sometimes my kids ask to move in with them. Then I say, “Know how much time dad is at work? She wouldn’t be with you for that many hours of the day. You’d go to daycare with other kids.”

“Oh. I want to stay with you.”

Ok then. We’ll keep doing what we are doing so long as it suits us all so well. Calli and Shanna chafe at how many hours I spend “away” from them now. I don’t get 20 hours a week off between Noah and baby-sitters. They are really not up for less parental time. It is interesting to watch.

It is hard for me to live with the perfect seriousness of their declarations. They have no sarcasm yet. “I love you. You are the very best mom for me. I’ve looked at the other options. I’m so happy I have you.” Heh. I’m not the platonic ideal of motherhood. I would not be a good mom for many many many many children. I’m so lucky and so happy that I ended up with kids who are such good personality matches. That doesn’t always happen. It’s a gift.

Yesterday Shanna and I had a neat exchange. I don’t remember the segue but she said, “Yeah and if you did x like me you would have been beaten. I’m glad you don’t beat me.”

I said, “Is it kind of weird that I talk about that? I will never harm you like that. I will poke you. I will be obnoxious in your direction. But I will never harm you like that. I talk about it because it lives inside of me and I’m trying to make sense of it. I’m trying to figure out why they did it and why I am not going to make the same choices. I need to figure out what I’m going to do instead. I’m not very graceful about the process. I’m trying.”

She looked up at me and beamed she said, “I know you will never hit me. But it does make me have big feelings when you talk about it.”

I told her, “I’m glad you know that. I’m really sorry I scare you.”

“I’m really sorry they hurt you.”

Then she leaned her head on me. I hugged her. Then we went on with our chores.

I feel guilty about not earning money, as a feminist thing. I’m one of those terrible, disgusting upper class bitches. I’m a sponge “living off” my husband. I’ve read lots of nasty nasty thoughts about people in my position. In a lot of spaces I move through it would be more respectable if I had weekend shifts as a sex worker. At least then I would have the potential for autonomy and I wouldn’t be a dependent.

I live in a very specific, very specifically chosen world.

But feminism is about everyone getting to make the right choices for them. Yeah, I’m a dependent. I went hunting for a partner who was interested in supporting me as a home schooling parent. That was what I advertised myself as looking for. Usually I would bring it up by the third date. The only times I didn’t was when I knew before asking it just wasn’t an option for Reasons. I didn’t provide false advertising. I didn’t say I wanted 50/50. I didn’t look for equality.

Yet I did. I also said that I wouldn’t be in a power unequal relationship during the time I raised my children. Some SM or some roleplay is different. I don’t want to be a slave during the time I have children. They will not grow up with a subservient woman as an example. Nope, nope, nope. That was a conscious choice.

Other people feel like the job they do is enough reason to stay alive. Or they don’t think there is a reason to die, so whatever–they are here. They don’t question it. I think I need Reasons to stay alive. I need specific, conscious things that are pulling me here. Because I don’t have a powerful urge to stay. I need to know things will be better/different in the future. I need to. I need to work towards that reality about as hard as I can.

I don’t know how to shape a healthy family in the toxic stews of mainstream American culture. I see people who mostly do it… but I don’t understand how. That’s not a slam on them.

I need to pull out. (And we all know how well the pull out method works, don’t we?) At least for a little while. At least for personality formation stages. I want my kids to learn from me for a while. I want to teach them what the world is like. I don’t want to risk an apathetic kindergarden teacher. That damage can’t be undone.

My children are learning that boundaries are appropriate, even talking up the power structure. When I’m in a bad mood my kids will say, “Mom I think your tone of voice is a lot harsher than you mean.” They feel totally comfortable saying, “You need to calm down before you talk to me.” But they also deal with the fact that sometimes people sound angry without taking it personally. They have lots of practice with, “Mom is in a bad mood. Tone of voice will suck for a bit. It’s not you. I’m really sorry.”

They know that when you do something wrong you apologize, and try to do better. You don’t say, “Well you deserved it.” “I only hit you because you broke a rule.” That doesn’t happen here.

In our house if someone says, “Stop it” you must stop. Period. Even if you are the larger, more powerful grown up. We are past the dental wars, thank goodness. I hope to never have to overpower them again.

I am so grateful I get to have this experience. And I know that I mostly get to have it because of Noah. I am totally aware. That’s a lot of why I try so hard to be nice to him. He has been very good to me.

Life is very complicated.

Sarah brought up a point. She said (roughly), “So I was concerned after the day where you said 8 hours out of the house was rough. How is five months going to go?”

I’ve thought of that. It’s complicated. Part of it is: on the road trip we won’t have the socializing obligations that take so much out of me. We’ll have brief periods of seeing people, but not really. I work hard with the home school community. I have horrible anxiety there sometimes. Not with the women I know well, I’m pretty comfortable with them. But there are some of them that… well… I’m terrified of saying the wrong thing and having them tell their kid(s) to shun my kid(s). It’s very hard for me emotionally to interact with them. And sometimes… it isn’t appropriate to opt-out of interacting.

So spending 3 hours in a group outing is more like 15 hours of being out while alone with the kids.

Spoons, glorious spoons, we have to count them.

But I also won’t have the support I usually have. I have no idea. This could blow up in my face. I’m open to that possibility! I’m hoping that by being open to the idea of failure it will be less likely to happen. Realistically, I think there is the non-zero chance I will get to Noah’s first visit with us and cry and say, “You have to help me drive home.” Then we’ll spend 5-6 days coming home. I’ll give him at least two weeks notice of this.

Failure is always an option… otherwise you can’t try. That said! If we can’t do this trip I have to stop talking about the around-the-world-trip. So there is a fair bit at stake here. Either we can do it or we can’t. What kind of bitch am I? The kind who claims she can do cool shit and then fails?

think not.

I’m not really a bitch. I’m not sure why that word felt appropriate there. Trying to convince myself I’m more macho than I am? Something.

Every time I look at the map I rethink sections of the trip. “Oh! I forgot about so and so! They live right over…”

I’m kind of working on Plan B.2 right now. Because the detour I thought of last night only involves detouring off the main inter-state freeway onto more local highways so we can see some friends on the way past their state. That’s not anything big enough to justify calling it Plan C.

Because I labeled a Plan A. And that got shot to hell by thoughts of international border crossings and a strong need to re-see the Grand Canyon. “Mom it’s kind of ridiculous that you think that me seeing it when you were pregnant with Calli is good enough.” Strong opinions. We have them.

You saw snow when you were 2! What do you want from me?!

Every year snow trips, apparently. Oh well.

Can’t have everything, kiddo. The sooner you figure that out the better. Your life is not exactly lacking in experiences. There will always be people who have done things you haven’t. Don’t get competitive about life experiences. You’ll sound like an asshole. Do what you want even though that will mean ruling out options. You have that luxury.

What a lovely weekend

I feel like I was pretty lazy and I let Noah pick up even more slack than usual. Either that or the kids kept themselves busy and didn’t ask for much. Always hard to tell.

Saturday Noah took the kids to Daddy Park Day and they had fun. I stayed home and hung out in a chat room. Because clearly I am cool and have excellent social skills. Mostly because I managed to find someone struggling with an intersection of bdsm/abuse and that’s an area where I’m unusually suited to giving tips on books/articles/etc. I’m very clear that bdsm is not abuse and the bright defining line is consent. If people did things to you without your consent, it is by definition not bdsm.

And then on Saturday I went to one of those parties. I saw a number of wonderful people I don’t see nearly as much as I would like. Noah and I played. Going in I told him, “I want 90 minutes of the focus not being your penis.” Oh it was a lovely scene. He tied me up a little (more like restraining in one place rather than “tying up” but it was fun), spanked me, played with the violet wand, lots of uhm insertion play.

I got off more than I have in a very long time. Since our last bdsm date, really. I miss sex like that. Oh it’s wonderful. But I’m noisy. And I don’t do noisy sex in the house with my kids. Boundaries, they are a thing.

I end the weekend still feeling a little sore to sit down. Ahhhh what a nice date.

And while we were gone one of my awesome former students brought a tv and N64 over to my house and taught my kids about console gaming. Everyone had a really wonderful evening.

Sunday I tried to get together a group of women and it turned into just one woman coming over. The one who was able to make it was Sarah, my former housemate. If you’ve been reading for a while that probably makes you suck in your breath and go, “Whoa. Ok, how did it go?” Yeah, there’s been a lot of emotion there over the past few years.

It was lovely. That was why she was my best friend for so many years. Being with her is so comfortable and safe and warm and loving. She’ll tell me what I’m doing wrong–the subtle isn’t strong with this one, but she freely says what she sees that is right too. I trust her evaluations, still. Even though things have been awkward and hard for years because we had some serious problems communicating as house mates.

I remember why I love you so much. I understand why this lack of contact has been so hard. I remember how good this feels. Oh.

But then by the time she was leaving I was essentially asleep on the couch because whoa I had a late night the night before. That was not an expression of complaint.

I feel supported, loved, and appreciated. I feel like my wackiness has some useful layers even mixed with all the trouble. I feel like good, worthy, wonderful people see value in me and I don’t get to tell them they are just mis-seeing.

It was a good weekend.

This week will be packed with activity but in good ways. Lots of thoughts. Not many spoons for typing.

Bragging.

I was feeling kind of angsty. So I used an 18 year old coping method and I went and found a chat room. I sure like talking to people. That lead to a series of weird feelings.

I can’t get into specifics for Reasons because I was hanging out in a mental health support chat room. Folks care about their privacy a bit more than average.

I talked to a person who had an experience with abuse masquerading as bdsm. We had a long conversation. This person had no idea that such things happen to other people because this person was never part of “the scene”. I think I blew that persons mind a bit. I was casual and up front with all kinds of general attitudes and problems the community has. I feel guilty that I may have dove into the deep end of their trauma just casually answering the questions I was asked. They didn’t feel that heavy or intense to me because bdsm wasn’t traumatic to me. The community wasn’t traumatic to me. So I feel pretty guilty that I might have hurt this person by my indifference to the intensity that they experienced. I shared links to articles written by folks in the scene about the kinds of problems this person experienced. Mind blown. “This happens to other people?!?!?!” Yes. There aren’t that many truly singular human experiences. Most experiences happen to many people and you just have to ask around until you find your tribe.

That was actually a neat conversation for me. I’m very into talking about community dynamics. But it was so personal for them…

But more than that… I felt like I was bragging. When I’m asked, “How do you know so much about this topic?” “Uhm… I’ve been to a lot of national bdsm conferences. I’ve taught bondage and suspension classes. Go to a kinky book store, read the names of the authors… those are my friends.” And uhm, many of them have played with me. I feel like I must be lying or exaggerating but it is just plain true. I used to go around the country tying people up and being tied up for fun.

Then the topic morphed because the people in chat morphed. Chat rooms are like that. We talked a lot about travel and different climate zones and how food migration works and…

I have a lot of stories. When I get into a chat room and people are just casually going through lots of little references to get to know one another… I have a lot of stories. I think I sound more interesting than I am if you just listen to the things I’ve done.

I think I sound like a liar. I talk casually about travel all over my country and the world. I talk about good and bad things as casually as if they had equal impact on me and people react very oddly to that. I’ll go from telling a story about a principal being on first name basis with me in 5th grade to talking about being beaten daily by a different principal and neither mention feels “important” to me in the way it seems to hit other people. “Your principal hit you!” Uhm, it was Texas. They did that as of the 1990′s and I’m pretty sure they still do it now. It’s not a big deal.

That “it’s not a big deal” is part of why I feel weird. I moved so many times that I seem to have picked up pieces of a lot of different life stories and then I shoved them all together in a way that sounds… frankly impossible to casual listeners.

I have been called a liar to my face many times, that’s why I think I sound like a liar. I couldn’t possibly have done all the things I say I’ve done.

Dude, I really don’t exaggerate for effect much. I don’t have to.

Yes, I really was a teacher. Yes I really was a stage manager too. I’ve had people challenge that I could have done all the things I did. Uhm… I went to college. I did theatre in college. Being a stage manager is not exactly rocket science…. they let teenagers do it. Depending on how liberal you are with the definition of “teach” I have worked in an educational capacity with kids from 1st grade to community college. (I was a substitute for a while. That’s a hard fucking job.) In the community college I was the youngest person in my classroom. My students loved me. I can encourage you through writing a much more… assertive view than you even knew you had.

Yesterday I felt waves of shame, like I should stop bragging. I was just participating in a conversation. But that feels like shoving things in peoples faces. Other people participate in conversations by mostly listening. I should do more of that. Obviously me talking is a problem.

Why?

I don’t know.

I didn’t dominate the conversation. I wasn’t the only one talking. I wasn’t the only one with stories. But I was talking with up to five or six people and I dropped the most stories. I suspect this is related to typing speed in addition to other people being shocked that I just kept going. Nope, I’ve got lots more stories than these. I’ve barely shown you the tip of the ice berg.

What do you mean you are done?

Oh. I’ll shut up now. Uhm… I guess people are going to talk about tv characters now because they are out of personal stories.

Right. Uhm. Yeah. I’ll uhhh shut up.

I really like talking about myself. I really like hearing other people talk about themselves. Why do other people want to spend so much time talking about celebrities? It is very confusing to me. I only vaguely know the names of the people they are talking about from magazine covers in the grocery store. I’d rather chew my arm off than research these people so I can join in the conversation.

Uhm, I’ll go clean my house now. Thanks.

flat refuse to spend time researching so I can join in slut-shaming other women. Fuck. That. Noise.

I think women get to fuck as many people as they want and it is none of your god damn slut-shaming business. Go straight to hell.

In my defense… I did not say that in the chat room. I did get quiet.

WHY DO PEOPLE GET SO UPSET THAT A WOMAN THEY DON’T KNOW IS HAVING SEX WITH A MAN THEY DON’T KNOW!!!!!!

I feel pretty upset by how much of this I’ve seen in the last day. That woman you are describing as a whore has fucked way fewer people than me. What do you want to say to me now? Nothing because I’m different? Fuck you with a chain saw.

Oh, you judge her because she was “stupid” enough to let her boyfriend take naked pictures of her? THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF SUCH PICTURES OF ME. FAR MORE EXPLICIT PICTURES. Fuck you very much.

I feel pretty pissy about this topic. Thus the shouting.

The only reason I’m “different” is because I’m not doing it today. If I was still behaving that way you wouldn’t think I was different. I am making different choices now for specific reasons related to managing my trauma. Not because I am a morally superior person who has conquered my base urges. Fuck you with a 2″x4″.

Even when I get ranty like this… I feel weird shame like I’m bragging. I’m just talking about my life but it feels like I’m exaggerating to make a point.. I’m not. These are just my thoughts and experiences. Ok, plus a few vague general threats at non-specific people. Not real threats. I don’t plan to shove anything forcibly into anyones orifices without permission ever in this life. But I’m colorful in how I bleed off stress.

This article right here is part of why I defend sex work so vigorously. It has a place in society. Women who have sex with lots of people have a place in society no matter why they are having that sex. Sex is one of the most primal urges we have and I don’t see how suppressing it does folks good. Let’s look at the history of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic church in the name of suppressing sexual desire. Not good juju.

I will not join in on dog piling on someone to tell them they are bad for making a choice you don’t agree with. That is not my job here on this planet. I really don’t want to tell people how bad they are.

I want them to feel like they are ok. And feel like there are probably other people like them and they are ok too.

I want people to feel ok with existing. I want people to believe that a community exists for them even if it is hard to find.

To me, the sum of my stories is a search for a place in community. I have tried a lot of things looking for community. Some tricks worked and some tricks failed spectacularly. I talk about both sides equally as freely. If other people can learn from my failures that makes them even more valuable.

I learn from other peoples failures. Part of the reason I haven’t really been in a relationship with intense domestic violence is because I watched it happen to other people and I made different choices.

The first time a boyfriend slapped me I exploded like a hurricane and ended the relationship. I am not going to fucking let anyone get away with slapping me and saying it doesn’t count as “really hitting”.

I have a very strong ability to set the reality of my life. I don’t let other people define what happens to me. My words. My opinions. My life. Fuck Right Off.

Why haven’t I had an abusive boyfriend? Because I only date people who force me to beg for my beatings. Or I walk. If I hint a little that a beating might be nice and you start hitting me… I leave. That’s not a safe situation. I often talk about deserving things I don’t really deserve or want. A partner who took such musings as hints to hit me… would not be safe.

I pick partners who make me beg for my beatings. I have to give explicit directions about where and how I want to be hit or they just don’t hit me. I really like the boundaries I’ve developed.

BDSM is not abuse. The difference between bdsm and abuse is educated consent on the part of the bottom. I have a real problem with experienced dominants manipulating inexperienced submissives. I think uneducated consent is basically invalid.

But I have strong opinions. When I play with newbies I give them a fucking lecture a mile long before I touch them. I want educated consent.

I learned by giving a blowjob to a little boy in kindergarden. Later he told everyone I raped him. From where I was standing…. he hadn’t said no. From where he was standing…. he hadn’t said yes.

I have a hard time forgiving myself for a mistake I made when I was five. I don’t get to make those kinds of mistakes ever again. Period.

Barely a topic switch… whether I am ever promiscuous again may actually revolve around how my kids turn out. If they are happy, healthy people who don’t give a shit… I might do it. If they would be horrified if they found out… I’m probably done.

I can’t hide who and what I am. I choose a relationship with my children over other aspects of myself. Even though I’d love to convert half the women in my future nursing home to lesbianism. That would be hawt. At least bisexuality if they didn’t want to swear off men. Personally I like people at all points along the gender spectrum. Yay people! Yay bodies!

When I first came into the bdsm community/public sex community I met this lovely woman. She was in her late 60′s when I arrived. I think she was 69 when I was 18. So that’s 15 years ago. I am pretty sure she’s still active. I saw her not that long ago. She is my hero.

I want to be playing with hot young 40 year olds when I’m in my 80′s. I’ll play with old people too… but that would be really fun. I think it is gross that the old men want teenage girls. I’ve done my virgin initiations. They weren’t the most interesting sex I’ve had. I’ll take grown ups, thanks.

The breeding period requires particular behavior sets from me. I chose it willingly with my eyes wide open. The boundaries do not yet chafe.

I get cranky about incidentals in my life. I get frustrated by details of my life. Overall I am so very happy that I’m doing what I’m doing. I like where I am. I’m learning how to be appropriate. I’m doing so in an environment that is actually safe for me. I will always have a version of appropriate that doesn’t match up with other peoples perfectly.

Like last night I apparently educated a local middle schooler about the basics of sex ed. Whoops. Hadn’t really set out to do that. But she asked direct questions. I’m not going to give evasive or shameful answers. Her friend freaked out and tried to shut me up. “SHE DOESN’T KNOW THESE THINGS YET!!!”

Yeah. And that’s dangerous. She needs to know these things so she can keep her body safe.

Someone with fully developed breasts and an hour glass figure needs to know the basic technical non-salacious names for sex. And if someone stands there and asks me direct questions… I’m going to answer them in plain language.

Awkward.

So yeah. Last night I was taught why my friend said, “Your kids are not sheltered.” No, but they are protected. I believe ignorance is dangerous. This is a big, scary fucking world. There are ways to minimize your risks.

I’m not blaming victims. I’m talking about how some women can walk through life making seemingly dangerous choices and they never get assaulted once. There are ways to minimize your risks. There are tricks to keeping yourself safe. I’ve talked to a lot of women about how they manage their lives.

I want to protect my kids. I believe that knowledge is power. They have all the age appropriate books on sex that exist. They know that sex makes babies. They can look at an anatomy drawing and show you where the vulva, labia, clitoris, prostate, anus, urethra, or penis is. Technically, Shanna has memorized more of the specific names than I have. I always have to reread the book to see what a lot of the accessory names are. I know fallopian tubes, but there are some tubes in guys that I don’t remember. She does. But I’m not the one who spends a lot of time talking about wanting to be a doctor.

They also know that sex is something adults do for fun but it isn’t for kids because it can hurt kid bodies.

Why did this come up? Because there are sexual references everywhere and Shanna asks what they mean. I am not graphic, but I say, “Well grown ups like thinking and talking about sex. So that’s a reference to sex. You’ll understand it after puberty.”

I talk about sex as if it is a normal, natural part of life. I talk about choosing when to have children based on being able to take care of a family. I talk about having “kissed boys and girls other than your dad before him because I wanted to make sure I knew I found the right person”. I’m not graphic.

I don’t want to be “out” with my kids the way some of my friends are out with their kids. My kids won’t see deviant-from-normal behavior during their childhood. Regardless of what I do during baby-sitting time.

And a lot of it comes back to feeling weird for talking about this stuff. Am I bragging? No. I’m trying to work out the logistics of my life. I’m trying to get a clear picture on who and what I am. I am trying to prove to myself, Yup. Still here.

I’m in the breeding period. Most members of my species end up here on accident and they kind of chafe at the boundaries as a result. Their freedom was curtailed not by choice. I want this so much.

I want to know what a childhood is like when the parents are not having sex in front of nor with their children. I want to know what a childhood is like when there isn’t constant drug and alcohol induced partying going on. I use pot, but it isn’t a party drug for me. It is something I do in isolation or I take a pill. I’ve only smoked around a handful of people (the wonderful folks who come over for dinner) and it doesn’t happen until after the kids are asleep. My kids are not growing up in a party house.

Only they are. It’s kind of weird. I’m finding out what “vanilla” parties are like and they are pretty fun.

Not long ago my neighbors re-did their house. They were tired of “looking like a preschool”. But… you have young children. Ok, the materials should age up, but why in the world do you think that your house shouldn’t look like kids live there?

Stop judging, Krissy.

I like that kids like coming here. They feel comfortable. I like that I can invite a whole bunch of people over and it works out really well. Everyone leaves raving about how they’ve had a wonderful time.

I’m going to go have fun with my family now.

Rough day

When I am out of the house for 8 hours and driving for over half the time… it’s probably not going to be a good day. The very best part is the drive only took 2+ hours each way and not a full 3 hours each way. Probably not going to be a good day because I’m in bay area traffic where driving appropriately has the people behind you shooing you out of their way the whole time and flipping you off and shaking fists at you. THERE ARE BUMPER TO BUMPER CARS IN FRONT OF ME. I CAN’T GO FUCKING FASTER YOU ASSWIPES.

AND IT IS ALWAYS WHITE MEN.

I find it pretty stressful.

But it would have been less stressful if I hadn’t had a panic attack at the museum. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time. I wrote about the last one and it’s been a few months, yeah? That is super awesome for me. I’m doing really well with a lot of my anxiety symptoms. I’m making progress on hypervigilance, I’m having fewer panic attacks… this is big progress for me. My childhood was a hot mess. I’m doing really well. I have phenomenal control considering where I started.

Mostly the visit to the museum was nice. They had great exhibits, nice activities for the kids, and the art of Charles Schulz really is worth examining closely anyway. We always have a great time running around the garden with friends. The ice skating was kind of frustrating because a bunch of big kids took all the “assistant” chairs and that means I had to hold Calli’s hand the whole time and not once get up to speed. That makes my feet hurt a lot. I’m not used to ice skates and they are only semi comfortable if I’m really moving. Trying to maintain balance while moving at a snails pace gets sore really fast.

But that wasn’t the frustrating part of the day. *beat head on wall*

Shanna has been chafing at following distance rules lately. She wants to think she is 16 and totally capable of just handling everything. In my opinion, I’m cool with a long leash if you tell me where you will be. But she’s chafing at this. So she wandered off when everyone was out in the garden. She wanted to go play with exhibits inside the museum. My point was, if you asked I would have said yes. Instead you didn’t ask me and completely freaked me out and now I am pissed.

I had a chat with her and she apologized and I let it go. I was calm and collected. I didn’t show my freak out much. I was still basically in control of my emotions. “That’s not ok. Don’t do it again.”

Then we walked across the street to the ice rink. Between the street crossing (where I saw her and knew she was fine) and the building (which really weren’t far apart) she stopped paying attention to me. She stopped to look at something. So she didn’t notice us go into the ice rink. And I didn’t see her not enter with me because it was super crowded and my arms were full of cold weather crap and trying to get Calli to stop whining.

So I got into the ice rink and couldn’t find her after a few minutes and I flipped. I looked all over the building and couldn’t find her. I went outside and didn’t find her. Went back inside and didn’t find her. Left Calli with other parents I know so I could hunt faster. Went outside again and started screaming her name frantically. Eventually she comes trotting up.

I made her sit with me while I calmed down. I sat outside and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I told her I didn’t know if I was up for more fun because I was so scared and being scared like that hurts my body so much. I told her that things can happen pretty fast and I need her to pay better attention to staying with me. I told her that losing her would be the most devastating thing that could happen to me. I told her that she and her sister are pretty much my reason for getting up in the morning and oh my god please don’t do things that scare me like this. Please. Please. Please.

Tell me before you wander off. I very rarely say no. I just need to know where you are. Please. Please. Please.

She apologized and hugged me and said she was sorry for scaring me. The second time really was an accident. I told her I understand, but losing her twice in one day is kind of a big deal for me. She said she understands and stroked my hair.

I got my shit together after 5-10 minutes. We hugged a few more times and apologized to one another. Then we went inside to play with our friends.

The drive home was not actually as terrible as the drive deserved to be because I brought the old iPod I bought from a friend years ago. I filled it with audiobooks and language lessons. We listened to fairy tales and practiced Hindi and Spanish before listening to Bowling for Soup. It was an entertaining and informative drive.

I kind of wonder if Shanna will be memorize all the language-on-tape stuff before me. She’s got such a phenomenal memory. Luckily I have a headstart with three years of Spanish study under my belt. *phew*

Yesterday was good and it was rough. But it was rough in a very manageable, can cope with it sort of way. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t react inappropriately. The only thing I screamed was her name when I was trying to find her. That’s not inappropriate.

I didn’t shame.

As we walked back to the car I told Shanna, “My mama used to tell me, ‘I never want to have to say to a police officer ‘I don’t know where my daughter is” and I want to have the same rule with you. I don’t want you to wander off without telling me. I’m very flexible about you wandering, but you have to check in so I know where to find you when I need to. Just check in.

She promised to try harder. I believe that we will have more mistakes in the future but I also believe she will try. I think we don’t have these kinds of problems very often. Shanna notices that when she asks I don’t flip out or try to be too controlling. I just want to be able to say I know where my kid is at all times.

Some day you will be big enough that I don’t have to know anymore. Six isn’t the right age for that separation.

Most of my friends have stories about wandering off/crossing the street without permission and getting spanked. (Err, I have these stories too. I was hit a lot.) I feel proud of myself for maintaining control and not hitting just because I was so scared. I’m not saying all spankers are bad people but I don’t want to be a spanker. And this was the exact type of situation that prompts people to spank and I didn’t do it. Go me.

Today my nice gardener is coming over and we will do some heavy work together. I don’t want to try to move the flowering maple alone. It isn’t that big yet, but it will be heavy enough to hurt my back alone. Yay help! When he is done with the stuff I want his help for the kids and I will probably move the reading circle.

Then the yards will be ready for the remodel to start. Just plugging right along.

Today won’t be rough. Today will be fine.

 

Race is awkward

Race is a hard topic. All the time in any forum or under any subtopic. Recently on the internet some of the black women I follow (it’s totally kosher–I’m not stalking) have been talking about why black people are under represented in home schooling. I did not join in the conversation, I sat back and watched. I really didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Many of the new families joining our home school group are not white and I think that is a good thing.”

A new family who wasn’t white showed up today. Shanna commented on the little girls hair, which I found kind of weird because… her hair was almost exactly like mine. How in the world could you ‘other’ that little girl for having hair just like me?!

I feel awkward about it, but when people who aren’t white show up I make extra effort. I know that joining white-dominant groups can be intimidating. (Joining any group where you feel like you visually don’t fit in is hard.) I’m kind of a professional new kid. After 25 schools I recognize the signs of someone showing up going, “I’m scared but I’m trying oh please let this work out.”

One of the first things I stress when new people show up (regardless of race) is you don’t have to make any permanent decisions immediately and you are allowed to try lots of different things to see what works for your family. Everyone is different. Sometimes I can visibly see people relax. Giving people permission to make mistakes is a big deal. Even though I’m just some bitch at the park.

The funny thing is… anyone can nominate themselves as appropriate for giving other people permission for making mistakes. It’s not a position I earned. I just do it. I act like I have the right. Weirdly, lots of people react as if I do. (I’m sure there are people I annoy with my presumptuousness… but they don’t say much about it.)

A friend asked me recently if I even had any black friends. I felt… kind of startled. YES. OF COURSE I DO. Which, as soon as I responded with such intensity, made me think “Are you treating them like fucking collectible cards? Why did you react that way?” Race is so hard. It is important to me that I not decide that people in my life have to be “just like me”. I tend to my best to befriend anyone who stands near me for any lengthy period of time–you never know who you will need as an ally in the future and you never know who you can help without effort, worth getting to know people–and they are a range of ethnic backgrounds. To me, for me to not have people of many races represented in my life would be a reflection of a conscious choice to exclude them.

Like: what am I going to get to know only my white neighbors?! Within ten houses of me on both sides of my street I have families from three or four Asian countries, India, Persia (I didn’t ask for a narrowed down country designation but I assume Iran–I know I could be wrong though), black Americans, and white Americans. I talk to everyone. I think that not talking to everyone would make me a piece of shit.

I have one next door neighbor who is white who is chummy and likes to loan tools. I could have settled into a long-term relationship with him and called it good. No. I’m not that kind of girl. Instead I will befriend the nice Indian lady next door who is very lonely in this country. She’s having a really hard time transitioning to being a stay at home mom. Sounds awesome.

People are people. The shell of them isn’t what makes them interesting to me. The emotions, the personal experiences are what make people interesting. And I live in an incredibly diverse area. Not having black friends would need to be a choice.

And yet talking about it makes it seem like trying to gain a full set of collectible trading cards. That’s not what it is about. I want to hear diverse points of view so much. It is so important to me. I spend my life searching out “other” points of view. I do make friends with white people even though I generally don’t like them much. Well, at a distance. I like them fine once I get to know them.

Yesterday I read about an interesting study about learned aversions. They are very difficult to overcome. Nearly impossible in many cases. It is sometimes hard for me that basically all of my trauma came from white people and specifically white men. Dealing with my learned aversions is work. I can walk up to a group of hispanic men and sit down and feel totally comfortable. I don’t feel that way with white men. When I’m looking to sit down in cafeteria’s, I look for where non-whites are sitting unless I specifically already know someone. Then I’ll be sociable.

And yet, my kid still comments awkwardly on mixed race hair. I see we will need to have more conversations. To be fair, she sometimes makes stupid comments about the hair of white kids. I think we need to talk more about how you don’t comment on other peoples bodies at all, period. Not your business.

It’s not like my kids shy away from playing with kids who aren’t white. Shanna walks right up to the first kid she says and asks to play no matter what they look like. It helps that she is successful most of the time so she has positive associations with people of all varieties. She loves people and they love her right back. It is so wonderful to watch. Calli plays with people who ask her, but she is less outgoing. That’s ok too.

I feel like pretending I don’t see race is… kind of stupid. I’m aware of race. I don’t “ensure I have a set” of kinds of people. I take whoever walks by. I want to learn how to be appropriate with all kinds of people and visual markers exist. Yes, I’m sure I have some stereotypes.

I try very hard to ensure that my stereotypes are things like, “In general Asian immigrants are less forgiving of me swearing so I need to try harder to watch my mouth.” They flinch more. Asian Americans who grew up here don’t care. So I only seriously modify if I hear an accent. Then I try very hard to make my language more approachable. I don’t want them to retreat from my ambient anger and I’ve seen it happen.

I don’t deliberately swear at people. I just… kind of have a potty mouth. I’m not calling people names or anything.

I just talk like I grew up where I grew up sometimes. I’m articulate. (Not that I’m claiming I can pick up dialects as well as she can. That woman is amazing.)

I feel like part of my problem is I feel more awkward being this friendly when I have a lot of money than I did when I was poor. I have always been the sort to be bossy and interfering. That feels like much more of a problem now that I am upper middle class. I was always white and that was always an issue with regards to my point of view when it comes to bossing people who are not like me. But I recognize how many privileges I have now. I recognize how often I solve problems by throwing money at them and I know it is simply not an option for most people the way it is for me.

I feel pretty ashamed of myself for that and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel very bad that I have so many more resources than other people. I don’t want to be in the 95%-98% for wealth… but I don’t want to be poor either. That scares the shit out of me. I’ve been homeless and starving and I don’t want to ever do it again.

But I don’t think I’m “better” than people who haven’t figured out how to get out. I very clearly see how being white played into my story every step of the way helping me find allies who helped me survive.

I would not be alive without my friends. Many of whom are white. And I spend a lot of time shit talking white people. I’m an ungrateful bastard.

Even beyond being white, I had help. Some of it was weird and unconventional. I got out because I was perfectly ok using any fucking available resource. Most people have more scruples about being “users” than I do. My mama taught me that beggars can’t be choosers and you use the people in front of you.

I’ve lived in a lot of areas where non-white people abound. I frequent communities where non-white people exist.

Err, why wouldn’t I have black friends?

Because lots of people don’t and that is very weird to me. To me that is like saying, “How about if you banish some of the most chatty and fun people you know.” Uhm, no. No, no no. I find chatty people of every race and I love them dearly and I’m not giving them up. It was hard to track down that many talkative people. Taciturn people abound.

Apparently I’m having a love affair with the word abound today.

I talk to whoever walks by. I keep the people who like to talk. I don’t really care what they look like because once I get past the first few sentences, the shell of a person isn’t what makes them interesting. I like people for their stories. I learn so much from the generous people who talk to me about their lives. I learn how to be a better person. I learn about options in life I have never even considered. What are the parameters that shape your decisions? I can’t imagine. Tell me. Please.

People are the reason I’m alive. Because there are more stories to hear and create and experience. I feel awkward about race but I feel awkward about race towards my race while being it. I feel othered. I feel like when I’m talking to a white person I need to assume that their life has been nothing like mine.

What does having it “better” or having it “worse” even mean?

I don’t really know but near as I can tell other people have pretty firm opinions about their own life in relationship to the people around me and they are happy to tell me. Great. I’ll listen. I’ll only judge a little bit and I will keep 99% of my judgments to myself. I’ll only let the tactful ones slip out; I hope.

I’m much better than I used to be! It’s all the practice.

I feel like part of what I have learned is how to let other people be the ones who dictate the opinions about their lives. My judgments are about my ability to see a scope into their life and have nothing really to do with their actual life. I don’t know all the pieces of their real life because they can never tell them all. I’ve been writing for years and I’m still uncovering nooks and crannies about why I do shit. I’ve been working on this as a concentrated area of study for years and I’m still surprised regularly by new triggers and new layers of, “Now I have to unpack this shit. Ew.”

I project like crazy though and that’s a real problem. I think my ability to handle things is reflective of what other people can handle and I’m dead wrong. In positive and negative ways.

I don’t believe in a color blind world. I believe that people look different because they have different family histories and that makes them interesting and unique. I tell my kids, “A persons skin color just tells you that their ancestors stayed closer to the Equator than our ancestors did.” When we ask someone where they are from we say, “Where in California are you from?” No one needs to feel like an outsider. But you may not be from my city. People who are immigrants but who have moved around California consider this a wonderful opening for long and interesting stories.

Race is hard to talk about. But it shapes all of our lives and I think I won’t understand people unless I ask questions that are kind of sticky and I learn how to listen respectfully. I want to feel bound to people. I want to feel like I understand people. It has to come one at a time and it will come best with as many different kinds of people as I can.

Race is always going to be awkward. Good thing I’m comfortable with being awkward. It is a pretty permanent part of my affect.

 

Scamming the system

I am sitting here wondering if it is possible for me to buy most of the fixtures for the remodel with my store credit card so I get 5% off and then pay my store credit card bill with my regular credit card so I can get the travel credit. Then I would cheerfully dump it on my home equity line of credit for three years because the interest rate is much lower than my mortgage and I want them both paid off in the next 5-6 years anyway.

Hm. Not sure if it possible. Hm. This might deserve some research.

Things to do

With luck I will talk to the city today about remodeling stuff. We need to drop a paper off at the bank. I have therapy. Today is park day. We should go to Urban Ore after the park. Maybe before the park because of driving distance stuff.

Wednesday we get to have visitors during the day and a different lovely guest for dinner. In between the kids have a make up swim class. I will probably spend all the nooks and crannies moments of the day cleaning because the house is slipping and I haven’t done much in a few weeks.

Thursday we are driving to San Francisco for home school day at the Charles Shultz museum. I feel like there is something going on Thursday evening–dinner? But I only wrote it down on the white board and I can’t see it while Noah is sleeping. I think Thursday has two events.

Working with lovely gardener on Friday to move plants for the remodel. Some of my stuff in the front yard will have to move and I don’t wish to break my back on my own. This is going to be heavy and really really hard. Yay for help! I love my gardener. We’ve worked with him for at least 6 years and he’s mellow and not too assertive but happy to help with my projects. Perfect. I *think* I will be done moving yard stuff for the remodel on Friday. I have more yard stuff I want to do in a bit, but not yet.

Need to go to the hitch store to get the electrical system hooked up on my van so I can go to DMV and get a license plate and register the trailer. I want this done in February. I don’t know how long it will take paperwork to process and I’d really like to run off with the trailer by April. Ack.

Also: I need to prepare for presentations. Eeep. I feel nervous about public speaking with adults. Teaching kids is so easy in comparison. Kids are way less judgmental. They don’t have the experience to know I’m an idiot. Adults… adults are scarier. The first weekend in March I get to talk about imposter syndrome and on the 15th Noah and I will present on sustainable ambition. March is going to be a fun month. Then I get to go to a grief ritual. I haven’t been crying much lately. I think it will be good for me.

I’m feeling a lot of guilt and shame lately. I don’t deserve to have the life I have. It should be taken away from me and given to someone more deserving. I’ll get over it.

I read books about historical religious women. There is a lot of precedent for folks giving everything they have to the poor because they feel unworthy. I choose not to be a religious martyr though.

In March I get to start ordering bathroom fixtures and doo-dads because the remodel will start in earnest. My credit card bill is going to be insane but I’m incredibly happy that I will get mileage points for this remodel. Those points are probably going to pay for Noah’s plane flights to see us on the road trip.

I feel like I’m not being a good member of the home school group. I feel like I’m being flakey all over the place.

Deep breaths. I can only do what I can do. I got my email inbox down from 30-something. It’s been full for a week. Now I have one email from the bank and that can go away after I turn in the form today.

It’s going to be a busy week. And I’m not ready to think about next weekend or next week yet. Oh man.

Also…

I want to write in a way that is kid-friendly. I tried to do that here with different tags, but it means you see all of my adult-only writing from the kid section and I feel wildly uncomfortable about that. So, because this is the internet, I started a different blog. No swearing. No adult concepts. No mental health stuff. Unschooling/kid friendly stuff only. My diarrhea of the mouth will continue here.

https://medium.com/@rightkindofme/

Just a fabulous experience

I was really scared before the trip. I was sure I would wreck everything and no one would have fun. I would be too bitchy and by the end I wouldn’t have friends any more. I like it when my paranoia is proven wrong. Still friends.

My best moment came on the third day in the park. Miss 2 Year Old was pretty darn worn out. When we sat down to eat lunch her mommy gave her a water cup to share with Mr 5 Year Old. Miss 2 Y.O. thought that was the worst thing evar. Lots of crying and screaming. The parents of Miss 2 Y.O. were both kind of frustrated and fried at that point. It had been a long week already.

I scooped Miss 2 Y.O. up and walked outside with her. We had a lovely chat. We talked about how much sharing sucks sometimes. It doesn’t feel fair. We talked about how sometimes when you have big feelings you just have to use a big voice and when we have to use a big voice… ask a grown up to take you outside until you are done using your big voice. It’s ok to have big feelings and a big voice…. but we don’t do that inside the restaurant. We talked about how it wasn’t brother’s fault they have to share–that was Mommy’s decision. It isn’t very nice to scream at brother because you don’t like something Mommy decided. I told her that she probably made her brother sad and she had this dawning horror facial expression.

I fucking love two year olds. They wear their hearts on their sleeves.

When we went back inside she apologized to her brother for screaming and the rest of lunch went pretty well. She was ready for a nap after lunch, but that happens when you are two.

Helping people negotiate their big feelings feels so rewarding for me. I love it. That right there was my favorite moment of the trip. I felt proud of her, I felt proud of me, I felt grateful that I learned the words to help the process go more smoothly. When I get a moment like that right I feel like I should jump up and down and scream from joy. I did it! I did it! I did it! I DID IT!!!!!

Ahem. Which is to say–I get such moments wrong pretty often. Sometimes there isn’t a thing I can say to help it work out. Sometimes I don’t have the patience to walk a kid through the steps. When I do it right I feel waves of relief. Oh thank goodness I didn’t do everything wrong.

Overall I feel that Miss 2 Y.O. and Mr 5 Y.O. were better behaved in Disneyland than many older children and adults I have brought to the park. I was ridiculously impressed with their stamina given that they are not used to so much walking and physical stress. I can’t walk out of there saying, “We did _____ wrong.” Which is pretty perfect. Usually I spend trips being upset with myself for something I did wrong. I think we collectively nailed it. Even the grown ups did well. We got tired and kind of cranky by the end but we did well.

Yay all of us! I’m so excited when a group event goes well. I’m having more of those experiences and I feel so grateful. Frankly, this went about as well as the group camping trips have gone and those were my previous positive most-successful stories of group trips. I’m so excited. We had a trip together and we are still friends and they still want to do things with me in the future. I’m not in trouble. I’m not bad.

Oh thank goodness.

Part of what made it so awesome was, no one acted like they are too good to work. Not everyone had the ability to contribute in the same ways every day–people vary and all that–but everyone worked. The kids did stuff when they were asked to help. All four of the grown ups cheerfully took driving/cooking/cleaning shifts without acting like there are any genital configurations that indicate abnormal abilities in any of these areas. No one acted entitled. Everyone acted like they were grateful to be there.

I feel like I am having great success with teaching my family culture “We do not shirk”. If there is work to be done no one sits on their fucking ass to watch me fucking work I don’t fucking think so. As a result we were unpacked from the trip by 10am the next day. Then we can have a day to sit around on our screens being idle and resting. No resting until the work is done, yo.

I had such issues around everyone watching my aunt work when I was a kid. We will not be reenacting the Auntie-As-Martyr role. Nope. Auntie thought it was easier to just do things herself than to teach other people how to do things. As a result she got into her 70′s and she was still waiting hand and foot on her three disabled almost totally incompetent-at-caring-for-themselves adult children. Their various disabilities aren’t why they can’t care for themselves. They couldn’t care for themselves when they were healthy, either. The disabilities came long after the incompetence.

To this day I consider one of the greatest compliments I have ever received to be when a friend saw me at an event and told people to get out of my way because there is work to be done, “If there is work to be done Lenora/Krissy won’t be sitting down until it is done.” Now that’s the kind of recognition a service slave lives for. Made my heart beat faster. I’m viewed as a worker! That’s not really a high status occupation or anything. Shouldn’t be such an honor, but I’ve worked damn hard to be perceived as a worker. Heh. Everything is relative.

It will be a few years before I have the points to take these friends to Disneyland again. I can’t wait. It will be fun and wonderful. I’m super thrilled that I am going to get to see these kids age in the park. Lots of pictures were taken. Many will be taken next time too as a comparison.

Sometimes I feel weird about the fact that I’m getting more mercenary as I age. If someone won’t allow me to feel competent and ok when we hang out together… I need to spend time with people who will allow me to feel like I’m ok. I’m not perfect, I’m not ideal, I’m not a goddess or anything like that. But I need to have my friends think I’m ok and not bad. I still set people off so often. It feels very important for me to self-select into the company of people who think I am doing ok.

Which is probably why the vast majority of my relationships are with other traumatized people–they have more patience with me. People who don’t understand “why I’m freaking out” don’t have patience for the fact that I’m actually doing well these days. Really well.

I feel a little cocky. See! I can make it work such that no one leaves feeling annoyed with me! I just have to pick the audience really well.

I feel like in the past there were always some people in groups who were ok with me and I have a bad habit of only focusing on the people who I have issues with. If I have issues with one person out of eight I might remember the trip as a failure because I’m an idiot. I’m not saying that everyone else is a problem, I’m saying I have issues with having one emotion break out and completely dominate all of my other emotions. I’m saying it is hard for me to feel good about things that are a mixed bag. Not because it is anyone else’s fault.

I’m frankly shocked that I kept my emotions in line for a whole week such that my friends got a halo-effect from me being happy and thinking they were awesome. It’s as much about my emotional/chemical soup as it is about other peoples behavior. Which feels kind of awful. I know that when I’m having bad days I perceive other people negatively in ways they don’t earn. I feel pretty bad about that.

But right now, this last week I had a victory. It’s ok to celebrate victories. I wasn’t a horrible person. I wasn’t an asshole. I didn’t alienate people. They still want to be friends with me. We left talking about the next time we will do this together. (It’ll take a few years to save up points after the cross country trip.)

That’s a win.

I feel kind of twitchy about dropping as much money on the bi-costal pass as we did. I spent more than $3,000 on Disney passes. I feel like I’m about to choke. But that is all-access to both Disneyland parks and all five amusement parks at Disney World and the two water parks at Disney World. We will be in Florida for three weeks. We will have eight days in Disneyland over the year. That’s enough days that passes are paid for in terms of days in the park. Kind of insane. Not kind of–completely and totally overwhelmingly insane. Being rich is crazy.

I’m really enjoying my life. I feel so lucky.

This is so rad

I spend a lot of time feeling like I do everything wrong and I am “bad”. When I was a kid I was told I was bad a lot–so that made sense then. I haven’t been told I was bad in a long time. It’s just not a current issue in my life, but the feeling still continues.

This trip to Disneyland is going phenomenally well. I’m having fun, looks like most everyone else is having fun too. I’m getting to have a lot of the kinds of interactions that specifically make me feel better about myself as a person. Even more specifically: I feel useful.

JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” I have spent most of my life feeling like I have very little to offer that is of any value at all. This feels tied in with the general devaluation of women, but on steroids. I’ve always noticed that the men in my life expected me to cook and clean for them like magic so I had skills they just weren’t valued.

Yesterday was our first day in the park. It was the very first day ever for the dad and two kids I’m with. The mom has been here before, but she hasn’t been in decades and she has fuzzy memories. This means that I’m getting to play tour guide. I feel like my sense of direction is paying for its keep.

Not only do I feel useful because I know where the physical locations of things are: I get to interpret the park. I get to teach this family about the Disneyland that I am obsessed with visiting. I get to talk about waiting in line. I get to talk about having patience and preferences and no we don’t have to do it all to have fun.

I got to talk about things like, “Yes eating protein is important… but today don’t get upset at your kids for carbo loading. Let’s talk about the physical strain we will be under for the next few days and why it is unusual for our bodies. Carbs are appropriate.”

I have worked so hard for this knowledge that seeing it be useful for not just me feels really wonderful.

Like waiting in lines. One of the things that I like most about myself is that I take the party with me wherever I go. “The whole point of Disneyland is you hurry up and wait. But while you wait, they play music because they want you to dance!” I play games with the kids in lines. I give kids snacks every 15-20 minutes (not a lot at a time… but I ensure that they will be in a good mood) and I insist on frequent sips of water even though I normally don’t micromanage that kind of thing. But like I tell my kids (and I told the other family today) “We will be walking several miles on concrete in the sun in a huge crowd–we need to adapt how we treat our bodies.”

I didn’t learn that till I was an adult and my friends had problems with me not taking care of myself very well. I learned from my friends what I should have been doing all along.

Shit dude, even I wear sun block in Disneyland. And a hat. Don’t bitch about your hat buddy, you want to have a nose when you are 70.

All of these stupid little things were so hard for me to learn. I feel really good about myself when I can turn around and verbally instruct someone into having a better/easier time than me.

My friend’s husband is not going to experience the miserable trip I’ve had several times. I don’t want to go through it again and he’s going to get dragged along on the benefit of my experience. Yes, I know you are feeling no pain at four hours in on the first day.

Trust me.

After the multi-hour nap in the afternoon he decided I was probably right about pacing. It wears you out more than you think at first.

The other couple got to have a date night last night, so I got to put their kids to bed. It was lovely. It gets more lovely with every visit we have. Bonus Boy asked to not sleep with my kids tonight (four in the bed was a bit crowded the other night) and he was sad that his sister didn’t want to sleep with just him so I offered to stay with him. He was really excited. He chattered my ear off for over half an hour. We talked about the visit to Disneyland and having preferences (he did not like the rides that were dark) and how to phrase those preferences so you get to have the most fun.

Things like: “I have learned that I don’t have fun on rides that are really dark. I want to ride things that are outside in the sunshine because those are fun for me.” We talked about what kinds of questions he should ask about rides before getting on them so he can decide what he wants to do. I told him, “You are not required to go on every ride here. You only have to go on the things that interest you. But you will have to figure out what interests you and you will have to say no in a polite way to things that do not interest you.” He practiced a few different ways of doing that. I told him about different rides in the park and asked him which sound interesting. It was a great conversation. It may be the most intense conversation we’ve ever had about something other than going to space.

I’m enjoying this trip so much. A big part of what I’m enjoying about it is introducing the kids and making it good for them. I have weird, mixed feelings about that. It feels a bit creepy.

In particular, I have known these kids for a long time. I pay a lot of attention to them and I try very hard to really see what kinds of accommodations they need. The IEP/504 training that was part of my teacher credentialing was my favorite part. How do you look at a child and decide what kind of scaffolding this child needs to learn best?

It feels creepy because it makes me think about my Owner, who only really enjoys introducing people to new things. He doesn’t enjoy doing things with people who already know what they are doing. It’s boring. He doesn’t want to follow other peoples preferences, he wants to inculcate people in his preferences.

It’s a lifestyle choice.

I want to like people at all stages of life, not just a stage where I get to control them. That’s pretty wacky. I think I do. I certainly didn’t go into preschool teaching or anything.

Good golly do I enjoy helping other people get the support they need to be successful. I live for that feeling. No, I don’t. That’s a lie. But I feel rejuvenated by that experience. Validated. All the years of reading and study and practice and failure have paid off.

Is Disneyland the real world? No. But the skills you learn in this safe environment are directly applicable to the real world. Making mistakes is safe here. It is like what school should be if it were done right. Mistakes are part of learning and you should be forgiven instead of shamed.

This environment is dripping with privilege. Only privileged people are allowed to fuck up. That is so sad. Poor people can’t afford to make a mistake in the process of learning. It isn’t fair.

Yesterday when I was feeling cranky Noah spent time with the kids while I got to be alone. This entire situation is dripping in privilege. It is smoothing over the rough spots and making everything easier and more fun.

Sometimes I am confronted with how wrong I am about people when I assume they are like me. I forget that anger is a privilege too. One afforded to women in different ways than men. Women and men are taught different appeasement strategies. I am sometimes so wrong in my assumptions about men. This trip is going well on a variety of levels. Because sometimes it is a very good thing to find out you are wrong. Then you can work on changing your beliefs.

For a little while I was afraid I should cancel this trip. I was convinced everything would blow up and it would be all screaming and fighting and awful. Of course my assumption is that I would be an irrational crazy bitch who exploded at something that is no big deal–I’m not saying stuff about other peoples behavior.

Instead I am asking for support and getting it. I am napping when I need to. I am saying, “I need to sit here and read and not have a conversation for a little while” instead of being mean. I am eating regularly and staying well hydrated. When I started feeling tired I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I husbanded my strength really well. We had a really great day from start to finish.

I anticipate napping again today given my sleeping schedule. Apparently I needed to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to Noah. Sorry, Noah. If you weren’t such a conversational studmuffin… I wouldn’t bug you so much. (Now that’s victim blaming.) (Noah will probably provide a link to the comic where I get the conversational studmuffin reference in comments. He’s like that.)

I write so much about my bad days, I like to make sure I record good ones too.

Disneyland Day 1

I am so tired. Resting all last week (by ‘resting’ I mean ‘being sick’) actually probably means I’m less energetic/tough than I otherwise would be. I’m depleted.

It’s been a really fun day. I had moments of grump, but mostly I think that has been just fabulous. My moments of grump were always because of things that aren’t anyone’s fault. I’ll get over it.

It’s going really well.

Optimism may be foolish.

Calli slept through today. She hasn’t really eaten. That’s what Shanna did on Sunday. Calli doesn’t have a fever, but she has the sniffles and she coughs once or twice an hour. (Which impacted her sleep last night, which I suspect is related to sleeping all day.) Yet I spent the day packing for Disneyland. I may be an idiot. I should probably cancel. Only Shanna is back to 100% and she’s bouncing off the walls with energy and has been for days.

The internet tells me that sniffles aren’t a reason for quarantine. Not after that many days of being mostly up and ok. Fever is a continued quarantine. I think I’m going to bring hand sanitizer even though normally I don’t use it at all. I feel guilty already.

No, I don’t think we have the measles. I think we had some kind of flu/cold and it has been festive. I’m feeling very guilty about bringing more germs into the petri dish.

If they still had fevers I would call it now. With just a runny nose and coughing and tired… no. She’ll be well before Monday and we aren’t going into the park till Tuesday. She will be fine and fucking pissed if we are at home.

Other than worrying a lot about the ethics of bringing a cold to Disneyland I’m having a good day. I’ve done a lot of puttering/cleaning and I’m happy about the improved status of my dresser. A week of staying home for illness does a lot to reset my spoon quota. Even though I’m down 12 hours of baby sitting this week. The kids have been very self-contained during illness.

I arranged cat sitting/plant care with our dear baby sitter. She’s happy to not go two weeks without getting paid at all. What a crappy sentence.

I have put in calls to the city trying to figure out why we need a decorative addition to the outside of our house if we remodel. The call back told me to call a different number. I left more messages. If we need to do that then we should talk to the contracting company about things to take off their to-do list. We’ll just have to wait on some pieces of it. We can’t just let the price climb higher and higher. Time to negotiate.

Ugh. Just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.

Ok. I won’t think about that until I hear back from the city and I’m back from Disneyland. Distraction. Maybe I’ll go read. I’m mostly packed. I’ve even mostly loaded the van. I put a bunch in the skybox before the rain started because I’m a Californian and I melt in the rain. Have to get work done before it starts.

I’m having a good day. And Pam is on her way over after more than a month off. I think she’s a bit nutty for coming to our sick house.

Crossing fingers.

I think the kids will be ok for Disneyland. They are acting ok. They have completely dismantled the normal state of furniture in the living room to build a fort by 7am. They don’t do that when they are sick.

Yesterday I found out that one of my good friends is going to be gone as long as I will this year. And our trips only somewhat overlap. So we will be in different places for the majority of the year. Feels. It’ll be ok–but I’ll miss her. It was hard enough thinking I got 5 months off. Now that I know I get 8 months off… Bummer. Happens though.

I feel like the house remodel will be a strange gift. I’m going to have a very different social load. Most everyone I know wants to be entirely *out* of the house for months while a remodel is happening. I want to be home. I want to answer questions and micromanage shit and drive the poor contractors crazy. We will probably spend more time than usual hiding in the back yard while they work in the house/in the front yard.

I’m pretty sure I know where I’m going to move the flowering maple and the reading circle. I’ll do that when I get back from Disneyland. Maybe I’ll start digging the hole today. It’s going to be a lot of work.

I really love my back yard now. No, I don’t want to cover it in concrete to make it “safer”. (I really don’t understand how pouring concrete under my swing set would make it “safer” but people have weird views. The contractor asked us if we wanted him to fix up the back yard. I all but screeched “NOOOO”.)

I appreciate my life. I’m glad to be here. Right this minute I feel very little anxiety, just pressure about how much work is coming up. I can live with “pressure” instead of anxiety.

Not feeling productive.

I intended for Saturday and Sunday to be rest days. Then Monday became a rest day. And Tuesday. And now on Wednesday… I’m going a bit batty.

Did an hour of yard work this morning. Some planning stuff for trip. Crossed a bunch of tasks off my “to do” list. But I did most of it sitting still so I feel like a slug.

I need to find the energy to go move a bunch of plants in my front yard. But I’m feeling intimidated. That’s going to be a huge job.

I think that I am going to take cuttings from the rosemary to start over, but let them plow the sucker. It’s huge and I don’t really want to try and dig it out. Besides, I only need about 1/4 of that size of plant for my herb needs. I want to move the mums. They were a present from friends. I don’t think I’m going to worry about moving the cactii and geraniums. Those can be plowed. I’ll get more cactii in the future. Geraniums are a pain in my back side.

That leaves the oregano and the flowering maple. I’m scared of losing the flowering maple. It’s doing so well in my yard. But it’s gotten pretty big. I have no idea where to move it. Front yard? Back? I don’t have a good spot. The internet indicates it shouldn’t be too hard to move because I’m supposed to hack it back in March anyway. Awesome. Says up to 1/3 should be taken off. That will help me move the sucker. It can get up to 10′ tall! Maybe I do have a nice spot in the back yard…. Also sounds like maybe I should propagate a few branches in case my main plant dies. Then I have back ups.

I really like the flowering maple. It’s pretty. I’d be sad to lose it.

I also need to move my “reading circle” from the front to the back. That’s going to be some back-hurting labor. Oh-the-well. I’ll manage. We use it more than you’d think. We like playing on it.

Plugging along. I want to get up and DO stuff. But it’s still a good idea to rest. Sigh.

Two days of plans gone.

Shanna seems to be mostly better. Her fever is over, she’s eating, and she’s drinking a lot more without complaining. Yay! Calli is still a little warm, but she never got as sick. She’s eating and drinking well. *phew*

If they are basically healthy by Thursday I won’t feel guilty about going to Disneyland. So today we are once again spending the day sitting on our butts and resting. Seems prudent.

I’m told yesterday’s post is hard to follow. Fair enough. I am self-referential and stream of conscious. I think you have to be on the train a while before it makes sense. I’ve read other writers like that. The first few pieces are confusing and hard to follow until you really understand the rhythm.

I think it is funny that I no longer take such feedback as criticism or as evidence that I suck as a writer. Nope. Some of my pieces are genuinely hard to understand, yesterday just took serious thinking. No, I’m not someone you can skim half-heartedly and get the gist. Nope nope nope.

My goal in life is not to appeal to the lowest common reading level. Lots of other people write there, I don’t have to. (I’m glad other people do! It’s important.) My goal is to represent what I think. That means it isn’t always going to be simple or linear. I don’t think that way.

It is kind of funny how my goals as a writer are not for money or fame. It is to make people like me more comprehensible to people who are not much like me. I’m told regularly that I’m pretty good at doing that. Yes, I am confusing and hard to follow sometimes. I have a habit of directly addressing one person in one paragraph and then directly addressing someone completely different in the next paragraph and that is totally confusing.

Yup, that’s how I think. I’m trying to represent my thinking. Frankly, I’m amazed I have as many faithful readers as I have.

Having three days in a row of sitting around and resting has been lovely. Really it was four days of sitting around plus a 5k on the first day. But I sat the whole rest of the day.

(Jumping topics to Disneyland trip.) I’m trying to get my anxiety down low enough that I won’t freak out when someone else’s kids scream and I can’t get away from them for a few days. I love and adore these children with all my heart. I don’t begrudge them the screaming. I think they are behaving in a way that is unfortunately appropriate for them giving all of the factors in their little bodies. I’m not upset with them. But I have to be calm and accepting and the fucking grown up. I’m really shitty at being the grown up sometimes. I’m kind of an immature brat.

I understand the impulse that leads to shaken baby syndrome. I understand why parents beat their children. I understand why foster children are abused so much by their non-birth parents. It is much fucking harder to be patient with children I did not give birth to and I am not that patient with the kids I did give birth to.

But I’ve babysat these kids before for weekends and had a lovely time. We can get through. We will manage. It will even be fun. I just need to focus on managing my anxiety so I can be support in the ways they need me to be.

Yes, they will have their parents there and their parents will mostly handle things… frankly that makes it harder for me to manage my anxiety. When I’m the one who has to handle it and suck it up about my feelings… that’s easier. When I have to mask my feelings and remain inactive… I suck. I suck. I suck. I have such a hard time not flipping out.

But I’m going to do it! I will! Damnit. They will have a lovely introduction to Disneyland and I won’t be a raging bitch and it will be great. God damnit. If I have to fucking force this to happen through sheer force of personality.

I will not interfere with how other people parent. I will not lose my temper because other people are having feelings at a volume that is hard for me. I will medicate on a schedule so that I can be calm and accepting of other people having ups and downs. I have to be placid. I’m so shitty at placid. But! I have apathy enhancement medication! Apathy can be had for a price. Oh yes, it can.

Some day these kids will be fully verbal and the screaming will be less frequent. At least that is how it is working with my kids, I cross my fingers. Until then, I want to demonstrate that I can be safe when other people are having big, overwhelming feelings. When I am the adult in charge of them I can hug them and walk with them until they calm down and we do ok. I will find a way to be an ok presence in the room without being the adult in charge. God fucking damnit I will find a way.

A few years back the four of us went up to visit a friend I don’t see very often. I’ve only seen her in person half a dozen times. She has an autistic son–at that point I think he was around 13. When I walked into the room I was feeling cranky about something and her son started visibly flinching away from me. In a light, upbeat voice my friend told me that her son is really sensitive to people being angry and it would be nice if I could kind of reign it in.

I really struggled that day. Being told that me being angry and silent wasn’t ok… that I was still a problem… that was hard. Frankly it may be part of why I just don’t go to her house any more.

It’s true. I’m a problem even when I’m silent and angry. People notice and get upset and feel threatened and scared. I’m so sorry.

This feels unfair all the way around. Other people have the right to not feel threatened by me and I have the right to get angry about things.

It’s a lot easier to take all my anger and shove it in a box to keep it away from a 2 year old who is having a bad day than it is to keep it away from just about anyone else. I can (and have) successfully adapted for these particular kids in the past. I don’t know how I will manage to continue to put them in the “safe zone” as they get older. I’m so bad about partitioning only a few classes of people. I’m only willing to be protective of people who I perceive as deserving my protection in ANY case. I’m not very willing to shield people from my anger if they are otherwise not someone I would take care of.

I was thinking the other day about a friend of mine. She’s kind of sensitive after a life of people treating her pretty badly. Other people taking out their bad day on her is a serious problem for her. She needs to be treated how SHE needs to be treated regardless of how other people are doing. I totally get that. I think I have an interesting time thinking about her because I am projecting onto her. I certainly am the same way. I need people to learn what things are and are not ok to say to ME.

I’m a complete asshole about wanting to treat people however I’m in the mood to treat people today while simultaneously expecting other people to be rigid and predictable and perfect in how they treat me.

Once in a while someone tells me I’m “so brave” because I am “such an individual”. I always feel very confused by those statements. I am who and what I am. I did not become this on purpose. I didn’t start out with a goal of being a weird asshole. It just… happened. I’m not much like most other people I know.

That is not a negative statement about the people I know. We are all shaped by our experiences. I’ve had an unusual array of experiences.

I believe these children deserve to have me be nice to them as much as my children do. I think they deserve this because they have never done a thing in the world to try to hurt people. They are as innocent as the day is long. I am helping to shape their experience of the world. If I am loving and gentle and patient… they will learn how to be too. If I am impatient or a jerk just because they have feelings… they learn that they are an inconvenience and that they aren’t loved enough to deserve space for their feelings.

Really, I think all kids deserve me being nice to them. The trouble is coming up with the juice to be that nice. I’m really not that nice of a person. I think pretty much most adults deserve me being nice to them. Holy crap the sponge is dry. No more niceness soaked in to squeeze out and share. Sorry! No one filled me up.

I feel like I pass along the niceness I received from Miss Leslie. She was the yard-duty lady at one of the elementary schools I went to. She is the one who brought me to church and taught me a gentle, kind love for Jesus. She showed me how children should be treated. If I think back to the people who interacted with me during my childhood she stands out head and shoulders above everyone else in kindness.

It may be why I am so nasty when atheists attack Christians. Miss Leslie loved me and was so nice to me.

For later inspiration for older kids I go with Jenny’s mom. Jenny’s mom was a middle school teacher and she had an ability to deal with mouthy adolescents that really worked well with me. Ok, I have since learned she can be very wrong about some things. She doesn’t have accurate information on breastfeeding for starters. I feel like she was a very positive influence on my ability to be a teacher, though.

This is what I mean when I say I pick models and I try to be like them.

I feel like I should go meet a whole bunch of parents of autistic kids. There are a lot of autistic kids in my life. Several dozen if you look around widely enough. My friends are the parents of the very young ones. I need to talk to the parents of the teenagers. I’m not the parent of an autistic kid, but the parents of autistic teenagers can probably give me good advice about how to be an appropriate supportive person without overstepping boundaries.

Those boundaries are super important. And I suck at finding them on my own.

Work in progress. That is what I am. A work in progress. I’m trying. I am improving. Ironically it will be 8 weeks in between therapy sessions this time. I’m feeling more “ok” than I usually do with more frequent therapy visits. Hm. That’s funny.

Sick house

Shanna slept through yesterday. Calli woke up with a fever. I feel hot. We leave for Disneyland in 7 days, which means I am semi-amusedly looking for spots. 4 days till we would be able to tell. Whee? Sore throats, minor coughing. Shanna is just not eating and that bothers me. I’m forcing liquids into her though. I’m bribing with sugar-water. (Juice, ginger ale, Sprite, Izze sodas–I bought one of everything that had no hfcs. Hfcs triggers diarrhea so it doesn’t come into my house.) Sugar water just doesn’t come into our house that much so the kids are more willing than usual to drink.

I’ve spent a lot of the morning reading vaccine stuff. Because there is a big outbreak and life is like that.

It is weird to me to read this stuff. I don’t like the pro-vaccine lobby and I have barely less respect for the anti-vaccine lobby. I think they are both hysterical.

I’d like to stop thinking about this topic but I probably won’t until it is out of the news.

I feel very very very very angry when people say that a choice that is not theirs is a “no brainer”. Not your call. You don’t get to decide that for other people. You have no idea how many factors go into this decision and your response is dismissive, elitist, and obnoxious.

I go back and forth between feeling a lot of sympathy for people who have immune compromised children and thinking, “You expect the whole world to accommodate your kid. Good luck with that.”

Should unvaccinated infants *be* in places like Disneyland where there are routinely international travelers who may or may not be vaccinated? Is it really a smart choice? (I took my kid when she was 6 weeks old and completely unvaccinated so this is a question that isn’t just abstract.)

We can’t make the world safe and I feel like that is what the pro-vaccine lobby wants.

We freak the fuck out about controlling everyone near us so we can reduce “risk” but we get in our cars every day and don’t think about the fact that the car is the fifth most likely way we will die.

But man listening to anti-vaxxers talk about how “healthy diet” is the panacea to stop all illness… turns my stomach. If that were true, we wouldn’t have had disease pre-junk food, and pre-vaccines. And we did. So I don’t believe that eating healthy is the whole solution. Yes, it helps. It isn’t the whole story.

It is kind of funny to me that I put a lot of time, effort, and energy into promoting the idea that people get to make their own choices. I’m not sure why I care so much.

My kids have a pediatrician appointment coming up. Time for a check up. Time for more vaccines. Calli will get her last MMR (kind of ironic that it will happen after the trip to Disneyland given the current hysteria in the news) and Shanna says she wants chicken pox. I haven’t asked Calli very carefully how she feels about CP but she may or may not decide to get it the same day as her sister.

It is their body and their choice. I made the choices when they were too small and they aren’t so small any more. They have opinions. They don’t want to get sick. They want to take steps to prevent suffering.

Ok. Yes, ma’am. It is your body. I will treat it how you tell me to treat it. I did my best before I had your directions. I’m trying. I’m going to make decisions you don’t like. I’m trying to err on the side of not doing something if you can do it later. Kinda like you can never take back a circumcision. You can never unvaccinate someone. I’m not going to rush into doing things to your body unless I have a very good reason. Hell, I won’t pierce my kids’ ears until they are old enough to be responsible for the holes.

Your body. Your decision.

Which means that I could let my selfish, ignorant children make decisions that expose lots of other people to bad things.

Yeah.

I have really mixed feelings about Make A Wish sending sick kids to places like Disneyland and Disney World. Non-vaxxers go. Who should get banned for the good of the other side? The vaccination is a choice or not. No one has the choice about whether or not you have cancer. Should schools be allowed to ban kids? They are sending home non-vaccinated kids right now. I can’t say they are in the wrong.

People are going to die. I spend almost much time and energy worrying about how evil I am for giving my kids peanut butter as I spend worrying about whether we are vaccinated enough to protect other people.

I still won’t get the flu vaccine. The news reports about how, “Well… we picked the wrong strains and people are getting sick like crazy… but you should vaccinate anyway!” No. No. No. No. No. No.

Ok, it might decrease how many days I’m sick. I’d rather stay home an extra day. Yes, that’s a privileged position. I also feel incredibly uncomfortable with the fact that everyone is admonished to start anti-virals the minute they know they have the flu. HAVE ANTIBIOTICS TAUGHT US NOTHING?!?!?!?!

Also: I’m incredibly frustrated that almost every news report conflates “people who were one month late on one vaccine one time” with “non-vaccinated”. Because under-vaccination is just as big of a deal as not vaccinating at all.

I have a bone to pick with most of my atheist/science leaning friends. Scientific studies about vaccines tell us about what has already happened. They are not directions for the future. Many of my friends read scientific studies and say, “Now we know what to do!” No. Now you know what *is*. Science does not tell people what to do. That’s ethics. That’s philosophy. That’s… all kinds of other shit. That is fucking religion.

Science is about the process. Science is not about telling people what to do. That’s policy.

I can understand why you want to have your science influence policy… but science is not policy. There is not a direct, “Well if you look at the numbers it is a no-brainer.”

Actually… people are more complicated than that. There are always factors you aren’t considering because real life is not science. It is more complicated than a clinical trial.

Do I think that people who deny scientific results are making good choices? Sometimes. I’ve thought the salt hysteria was stupid for most of my life. I eat a lot of salt. Now scientists are abashedly telling me that it is ok even though for most of my life AVOID SALT was the mantra. Science changes its opinions pretty dramatically over time.

Before you say vaccines are “proven safe” I will say that formulas are taken off the market every few years because of problems. My children were NOT given the same vaccines I was given. They are rather different. To me, that means that the people who were worried about the vaccines… probably had some points. Are their points important enough to not vaccinate in comparison to the benefits of herd immunity?

We are *totally* talking religion and not science.

I’m ok with people believing in vaccines as their religion. That is completely ok with me. I’ll pat you on the head and say “Yay!” the same way I do with my Christians and my Buddhists and my Hindus and my Muslims. I’m super-thrilled you have a rule book for how to be a good person. Let me tell you that is great.

Don’t fucking tell me I have to follow your religion.

I vaccinate. But I am not a Pro-Vaxxer. It is not my religion. Just like I don’t identify as being a dancer. I just love to dance. I will dance all day long if I’m not tied up (and I can still dance while tied up–I’ve proven that lots and lots) but I’m not a dancer.

I’m not a Pro-Vaxxer.

I do not believe that my way is the One Twue Way and I do not get to force other people to be like me. People make decisions for very complicated reasons. Maybe other people think fear plays too big of a part in not vaccinating and I think fear plays too big of a part in vaccinating. We are all fearful. We are just different in how much I think I should get to control millions of other people over my fear.

I have a lot of fears. I’m aware that many of them aren’t rational. I think that many of them are perfectly rational and appropriate. Neither the rational nor the irrational fears are ones I should use as justifications for controlling millions of people.

But what about the poor children who are suffering from terrible diseases who can’t be vaccinated?

Life really sucks. It is sometimes way more unfair for some people than others. That is true. I weep for you. (I’m not being sarcastic. I spend time in my garage crying over the pain of people I’ll never meet. I’m kind of weird.) I will not force millions of people to make a choice they don’t want to make for you.

Wait… isn’t that what most social justice issues are framed as? I’m trying to think of how to frame it and I can’t come up with a good parallel.

Mostly though… no I don’t think vaccination is a social justice issue. Vaccination for other peoples benefit isn’t like anti-racist work. It isn’t like eliminating rape jokes from your vocabulary. I think it is a personal and a moral issue. I don’t think the government has the right to force people to be injected many dozens of times in their lives for the good of other people the same way I don’t believe in eugenics. Nope. This is not like gay marriage or inter-racial marriage or even immigration rights because those things are about not interfering in other people getting to have their lives. Vaccination is forcing someone to DO something.

Someone compared it to check ups for cars in Germany. I would say that driving a car is not a right. If you want to participate in the society of drivers, the society itself has a right to gate keeping. Society telling me I have to vaccinate or… what… exactly… is different. Right now there is no punishment. Let’s see when that changes.

We are want millions of people to go pay a doctor to inject them for the good of other people.

Doesn’t that sound like more something that should come from religion? You have a moral duty as a citizen to care about the health of your neighbors. It isn’t just about YOUR health–the good nutrition does nothing to help your poor neighbors. Your individual health isn’t the only health that matters, what about the people who will die in the next nasty epidemic unless they are shielded?

Does the whole fucking community really get dragged into protecting the most vulnerable whether they like it or not? That’s NOT SCIENCE. Not science. Not science. Not science.

I’m ok with people saying loudly and unequivocally that vaccination is the ONLY moral choice for all people who are healthy enough to vaccinate. I don’t have one ounce of complaint with that statement. Not ONE. THAT IS COMPLETELY OK. You can be a judgmental prick all day long and I will applaud your efforts towards a cause you truly care about. Knock yourself out.

But there are vaccine reactions. I know real live people who have had them. Fuck you if you don’t believe me. I knew a kid who got fucking polio from the vaccine. So don’t act like nothing ever happens. (Yes, I understand we no longer use live virus, yada yada–stuff happens and people try to say it “never” happens and yes it does.) I’ve known lots of other people with other reactions. I go hunting for fringe cases. That’s kind of the basis of most of my friendships. “Hey! You have this super weird experience in you background that other people will deny even happened because it threatens their view of reality. Tribe!!!”

But I know people who have had family members die from various vaccine preventable diseases too. Some of them are rabidly pro-vaccine and others still feel it should be a personal choice.

People get to pick how they die. And whether we like it or not… parents have a say in how safe their kids are kept for 18 years. That is how our country works right now. We would not like the alternative of kids being kept safe from their parents. It would be bad. I know a lot of really good women who are terrified CPS is going to come if they ever yell at their kids. This is not good for families either.

I should have been kept safe from my family. I went through absurdly extreme abuse. But… I have no idea what safeguards should exist to protect kids like me. Kids should have an easier time asking for help in their communities. People need to believe the kids who do come forward. We need to not ignore the kids we see who are struggling with abuse.

Kids should be allowed to ignore their anti-vax parents and get vaccinated if they want to long before they are 18. It should be a medically appropriate decision for a kid to make at 12.

Really, it is more like smoking. Only it isn’t. We don’t have the legal right to force people to never smoke. We just have the right to keep smoking out of most public buildings. With vaccines, you don’t have the choice to protect other people sometimes while still choosing for yourself other times. It is all or nothing.

I don’t think we should force. I really don’t. That’s bad juju. I think shaming people who make choices we don’t agree with will close the door to future conversations.

Isn’t this what people complain about with feminism? That feminists are too shrill and slam the door? The pro-vaccine lobby is too shrill. Instead of shaming and belittling people who make fringe choices we need to figure out how to get them to feel like they are part of an in-group with people who are vulnerable and need to be protected.

We don’t need to tell them how stupid and awful and selfish and bad they are. That has never improved a damn thing.

Do I really believe that everyone should vaccinate?

No. I don’t. I think that if you choose not to vaccinate then you need to voluntarily quarantine yourself at the slightest chance of illness though. If you want to go back to the old days, go back to the old days. People didn’t used to go to fucking Disneyland with the fucking measles. (Yes, I know you are infectious before you can see spots. Usually you have a fever.)

What am I going to do if we aren’t better by Monday? Am I going to go if we are still running fevers? Am I going to be one more selfish asshole going to Disney this year?

No. Probably not. I will probably tell my friend to start looking for possible people to go with them if we are sick on Thursday. I care about ethics. I do think about the Make A Wish kids getting to go to Disneyland.

I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt someone just because I wanted to go on “It’s a Small World”. What a selfish piece of shit.

And so, we all get to make our own choices. I do believe people get to be selfish. Not everyone has my options. Not everyone has the privilege to say, “Meh, if I miss this trip I’m still spending 3.5 weeks at Disney this year.”

Would I be so magnanimous if this was my only chance in a five year period? Man. I might wear a face mask and gloves. I wouldn’t go bare faced and cough on people. But probably… I would stay home. I’m like that. I’ve missed other big trips. I miss adventures because I get sick. I don’t do the walking wounded thing. I probably could but I see it as a problem. It ignores your impact on the people around you.

So. That’s my more than 140 character feelings about vaccines. Since I was asked.

 

Modeling

I had a thought about things being easier with former-students than friends. People tell me that I sound like I think I am better than people–because I’m such a bossy know it all. Mostly I have massive inferiority complex issues. I think that other people are “better” than me: smarter, more deserving of love, kinder… etc. There aren’t that many people I feel “superior” to and I tend not to be friends with them. Mostly I maintain relationships with people because I look up to them. If I keep coming back to your house year after year… it’s not because I think I’m better than you.

This idiotic feeling that everyone is better than me makes me brittle and pissy. I get defensive. I get bitchy. I get offensive.

Former students usually feel like they are more deserving of love than me, but we have an established dynamic where me defaulting to sounding like a bossy know it all as a coping mechanism is acceptable. With my friends… I’m constantly anxious that I am going to say something that sounds like, “You should do _____” when I don’t have the right to do so. I do not have the right to boss my friends even if I have ideas about what I would do in their position. My advice should not come unsolicited.

I’m such a raging asshole about receiving unsolicited advice that I’m trying to be better about giving it. But holy fucking shit it increases my anxiety.

In the past seven days we have spent time around more than a dozen different families. As I watch my friends interact with their children, I often have intense “I could not handle ____” feelings. Sometimes I think in detail about how I would handle things differently. Not because I think that parent is wrong for doing what they are doing. Every parent has different tools in their tool box and every kid needs different kinds of parenting.

I sound like my way is the One Twue Way but it really isn’t. There are as many paths as there are people walking.

I’m just finding that I’m having problems because for most of my life I have tried to alter my behavior through picking people who do something in a way I admire and trying to copy them. This is working increasingly poorly as I get older. There aren’t models for who I want to be. That’s not a slam on anyone I know–y’all are lovely people. But I can’t do what you are doing. Not because it is bad or doesn’t deserve to be done… I can’t do it.

That whole “Be Yourself” thing. It’s shitty.

Some days I have a hard time standing next to people as they parent their kids because I am a buttinski. (That is a word that has no real meaning so-far-as-I-know but my mother said it a lot. Someone who likes to butt in to other peoples business.) Not because they are doing it “wrong” but because I have a hard time standing idly by when there seems to be A Problem. I think that is part of why other peoples kids screaming is harder for me to hear than my kids screaming. When my kids scream I generally have things I am allowed to do to try and fix the situation. Even if I will fail at fixing the situation… I am allowed to do something and that soothes my anxiety. With someone else’s kid… there is nothing I can do and my internal system gets hysterical. Can’t Fix Problem. GAAAAAAAH

I have to live with this discomfort. Other people are behaving totally appropriately. But it’s hard.

I feel like this is tied in with the food stuff somehow. Not sure if I’m saying that right now because I want to look for a theme or because there is a link.

Interference means love. Loving people means inserting yourself into their lives and helping them with their needs. Codependence. Feeding people is love. Sugar is love.

I want a mother figure to come in and boss me and tell me how to fix what is going wrong with my body because the person is able to observe me from the outside and make judgments about what is and isn’t good for me. Even though I react like you have thrown gasoline on me when people offer up their guidance. I’m such a fucking asshole.

I want to be part of an extended “chosen family” network and I want to be part of the lives of a lot of the children I know right now over a long period of time. I want to see them grow up. I want to know them for 20 years and that means not pissing off their parents too much. Cue anxiety explosion.

I piss people off. The more afraid I am of pissing people off and pushing them away the more anxious I am around them and the more likely I am to push them away. Self-fulfilling prophesies.

It also occurs to me that I probably had an easier time at dinner with my students because I a)had finally taken some medication right before picking Noah up (takes a while to hit my system so I don’t feel guilty about driving in the 30 minutes or so after popping pills–don’t feel them for 2+ hours) and b) had some rum with dinner. Both did a lot to level out my anxiety. That probably actually accounted for most of the euphoric difference from earlier in the day. Ahem.

Yeah, I’ve been drinking a little more. I haven’t recorded every drink. I’m still not averaging more than one or two in a week, but I haven’t written every single one down and that makes me feel like I’m hiding something.

Shame. Guilt. Bad. So very bad.

This round of middle-of-the-night-blather brought to you by, “I sure wish my kid turned the bathroom light off in the middle of the night after peeing because it wakes me the fuck up.” Although I do not complain loudly or fervently because I am SO HAPPY that she isn’t having accidents. But my sleep cycle is fucked. Good thing tomorrow has nothing planned.

Oh! The kids completed their first 5k. By which I mean Calli was carried for at least 1k and Shanna was probably carried for .5k. The race was kind of a logistical nightmare. They started us more than 40 minutes late so it was just about completely dark before the “day” wave started running. They didn’t light the course and it was super uneven and would change from gravel to dirt to huge random pits that you had to carefully skirt to avoid injury… it seemed like a liability waiting to happen. I wonder if there were injuries.

Despite some bickering with kids mid-race I had fun. It felt like a nice little bit of exercise to me. We did it with friends who were wearing rather heavy children on their backs. That takes an impressive amount of strength. Yay everyone!

In the past week I’ve been told about five pregnancies and two miscarriages. It must be that time of life. My heart aches for the losses my friends are suffering. It is hard living with joy and sorrow at the same time… but that seems to be the essence of life.

Almost out of battery and I’m too wussy to sit in the garage right now while my computer charges. Hopefully I can fall asleep again soon.

I’m kinda dumb.

Today was just… not well planned. I did too much. That was stupid of me. Let’s start with the premise that I’m down 8 hours of babysitting over the last week–sitter has been sick. That means I’m way higher anxiety/stress than most weeks.

Today started at 4:30am. When Shanna woke up. I kept her from waking up Noah and Calli but it was a near thing. (We actually had a lovely chat.)

We left the house at 8 to drive to Mountain View. Then we drove to Burlingame. Then we went back to Mountain View. Then we drove to Campbell. Then we went back to fucking Mountain View. Then we drove to south San Jose, like where 85/87 hook up. (So about 145 miles. Most of it in bumper to bumper traffic.)

We spent a while scouting the hotel for the My Little Pony conference Easter egg hunt we are working on. (I’ve never been there and it seemed like a good idea to look around. I’m glad we went–we had a great time playing in the hotel.)

Then we went to a craft store to get stuff for Valentines. In the store Calli spent a lot of time crying and yelling at me that I am so mean because I never buy her anything. The irony of a full cart completely escaped her.

Then we went to a comic book store because we had time to kill before we picked up Noah for work and the kids love spending their allowance that way. Calli spent a fair bit of time crying and yelling at me because I am so mean because I helped her pay with exact change so she wasn’t handed change back from the cashier. Clearly I should be shot. (She didn’t tell me that she wanted change till we were outside.)

Then we went to lunch with Noah. That actually went fine.

Then we drove first to one Sports Basement (where I have gone before to register for races) and I discovered…. wrong fucking store. I was kind of far from where I needed to be. I feel ok about not knowing that the Barnes and Noble in the Pruneyard is now a fucking sports store. IT WASN’T WHEN I LIVED THERE. But we registered for the race tomorrow. (For 8 damn people. I kept that registrar busy for a while.)

Then we rushed back to Mountain View for a play date with a friend. On the drive I talked to a good friend who is on the far side of the country. The play date was fine. The little guy had kind of a loud day (I am not allowed to complain about loud children. ahem.and I was kind of freaking out before we arrived (LOTS of Calli screaming at me sets me off) so I spent a lot of the play date twitching. I pray I wasn’t too rude.

Then we picked up Noah from work and he played with the kids in the park for 40 minutes while I read my book and tried to stop shaking.

Then we drove south for dinner with former students. That was a lovely experience. Hanging out with them makes me feel like I might actually know shit and I might have some value as a person. I’m not sure why they give me so much of a bump compared to most of the people in my life. Realistically, all of my former students give me a big bump of self esteem. (Holy shit—it’s no longer mandated that you know me and you choose to continue knowing me?! That’s shit is solid gold for my self esteem.)

Why do the students build me up more than my other friends? If I fucking knew that maybe I could solve some of my problems.

Today has been long. And I’m completely wired for sound. Anxious. Fuss. It’s 9:15 and I should be asleep.

My friend on the phone explained the origin of the allies wanting “cookies” thing. Apparently Chris Rock had a standup routine in which he mocked fathers wanting approval for doing basic parent things. I had no idea. She said it generalized from there into other allies. Good to know.

Tomorrow I am sitting on my ass until the 5k race. Oh yes, I will.