Big feelings

I didn’t sleep last night. Trying not to feel like I’m drowning in failure.

Why is it so hard to believe that I am capable of doing anything right? Why do I feel like I get everything wrong?

I feel so sad it is hard to find the energy to stir my tea.

Today is clearly maxing out the “depression” symptoms as opposed to the anxiety symptoms.

And I’m off smoking pot till December. Edibles it is. Oh man. They don’t do mood elevation. They level out anxiety but don’t cause me to feel more cheerful.

45 days until we leave. This minute it feels like the most mind-bendingly stupid thing I could do. I am too stupid to pull this off. I’m going to get stuck and hurt my kids and…

I’m very scared. My whole body hurts from fear.

Half an hour into baby sitting and I’ve barely moved. I haven’t finished a cup of tea. This much typing in that length of time is… barely moving. I can type 3,000 words an hour. 150 in 30 minutes means I’m mostly not thinking.

I think I’m going back to bed.

Identity

I think a lot about being “nice”. I’m not sure why. I censor a lot of what I want to write because I’m afraid of the negative responses.

Thing is, I get most of the negative responses whether I carefully consider my words here or not. It’s kind of funny. Being paranoid about not saying much doesn’t change my experience of peoples behaviors. It just makes me feel shitty.

I don’t write so that I can try to win friends and influence people. I write so that I can try to create a complete and accurate picture of myself.

I’m not always nice. Sometimes I’m a big asshole.

I feel like maybe I need to be less afraid of that. I’m not sure why I have such a problem with being perceived as not-nice. There isn’t much punishment I can take for it any more that matters.

Not really. I am a privileged mother fucker. The folks I care about already know I’m an asshole. They accept it and tell me to not do it in their direction and things work out.

I need to not care so much about people outside the circle.

This is the Monkey Sphere. It’s shrinking. Maybe my Monkey Sphere isn’t as big as I thought. I can only care about so many people in a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.

Hurry up, now

My overwhelming joy at adding Portland to the trip makes me feel like it is the right choice. I emailed folks with confirmation and received responses with lots of exclamation points.

I feel scared. Sometimes being scared means that I don’t feel brave enough to walk near people because I’m afraid that they don’t love me and really they wish I would just go away and stop bothering them. No, it’s not rational. Yes, it is very annoying.

I’m doing my best. I’m reaching out as much as I can. I am traveling as far as I can to meet people. If they want to meet me partway then I can find a way to include them. Partway doesn’t have to be in miles. It is emotional. If people let me know that I am important and they really want to see me…

I’m kind of like a stray dog. If you love me I am yours.

I am very happy we get to see Aunt Cookie. She has been a wonderful lady to me for years. I am very happy that blacksheep will be in Portland. Dad said he is going to take some time off work to spend with us. He apologized for being lame about writing.

I know that most of my friends have as many reasons to have psych problems as me. Ok, maybe not quite as many reasons… but enough. Plenty. A surfeit.

If I can’t love them where they are, how they are… then I get nothing.

I continue to struggle with the fact that people can only do their best. If it isn’t enough that isn’t their fault and you can’t punish them for that.

I get to see my friends. I will get loved on. I will get to hear stories. I will sit with people who have known me for all of the years of my adulthood. I will get to bring my children to the knee of people in their family for stories.

That’s a big deal to me. I want my children to find out about their family. Their aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. I don’t know much about my family and the bits I do know about I mostly won’t share with children this young. Noah’s family is what there is to offer. So I will travel far and wide to make it possible for my children to find out who they are and where they come from. This is as much of your story as I can make plain for you. I’m doing my best.

I have been feeling not ok about missing Aunt Cookie. I’ve been feeling sad about missing my friends.

It’s funny how sometimes making a decision lets you know that it is the wrong decision.

I feel so much gratitude that I get to go through this process. That I get to learn these lessons and see these people and have these experiences. I am going to have a lot of fun.

Today has been another emotional roller coaster. I’m glad it was a happy one.

Surprise

When I woke up this morning I had 59 days left to prepare for the road trip. Then I spoke to a friend who let me know that she and her family are making sure they are available when I’d like to see them. After I’d counted on not being able to see them.

I’m making the trip longer. It’s not just them. I’ve been feeling really angsty and sad about missing Aunt Cookie. I’m very happy to add her back onto the itinerary.

 

But we leave in 47 days now. Because that’s just how things roll sometimes.

Good thing I ordered the plug in cooler thing this morning so it can ship in time. I had better go to REI today to get the stoves fixed. All of a sudden I have less than 7 weeks to go.

YAYYYYYYYYYYYY

Camping, therapy, and Bonus Kids

Camping was a mixed bag. First: it was a gorgeous location and we will be going back. Second: it really sucks when a group of 29 people shrinks to 5 people within a week of an event. That feels poopy. Every person who needed to cancel had excellent reasons (partner being admitted to the hospital and you don’t know if it is MS, cancer, or something equally as festive… ok I won’t be a bitch about you not going camping). Every single person who cancelled had an equally valid reason and I just can’t be mad at them. But I lost 24 people in a week. That sucks.

Other positive for camping: the one friend who went with us was a treat. I haven’t gotten to talk to her as much as I would like over the years and I got to have extra time. That was nice.

Other negative for camping: I brought two fucking stoves and neither worked so we couldn’t cook. That was incredibly stressful but not actually a big deal nutritionally. I was prepared. Unfortunately, me being me, I wanted to turn the malfunctioning stoves into proof that I am a fucking loser who should be shot. Because I’m awesome at the rational follow-ups and all. My shrink and I talked about this. I am getting better and better about being able to verbalize while I’m freaking out that I “know” that I’m not having trouble with the stove because I’m stupid. But in my head that is the only thing happening. Stupid. Stupid. Worthless. Moron. God you can’t do anything right.

Even though I got us there and we had plenty of food even without cooking. Clearly I am a failure as a human being. Or something!

I’d like a new brain.

I had terrible anxiety all weekend. I was very grateful that my friend said out loud that she was bleeding so funny facial expressions were related to that. I felt so much relief. Thank you for telling me it isn’t my fault that you are having a hard day. Holy shit I appreciated that. I spent half the weekend shaking because I was afraid she was going to hate me for doing so many things wrong.

I can’t even fucking cook dinner. Because I’m a loser. Why would anyone want to be friends with me?

Uhm, she was very gracious and supportive and kind about the whole thing. I’m mean to me more than my friends are.

Also, I spent time being pissed off because Shanna was no help at all. Which really isn’t like her. So I picked up the 7 year old book! Oh hey! 7 year olds are known for being unhelpful assholes. Hurray!

I’m telling you, these books  are probably the reason that I am as good of a parent as I am. They are really explicit about which behavior issues happen when and why they are developmentally appropriate and then she tells you how to handle them. Many problems she says, “Ignore it and it will go away. Pay attention to it and you will have it forever.” This woman is a god damn genius. I am so grateful to her hard work.

She is very clear that she is talking about averages and every child is an individual but she talks about the ranges that are common. So far Shanna is about 3 months ahead of the development curve, but she has sat at that point since before she was 2 years old. These books are wonderful.

I shouldn’t say “unhelpful assholes” because that’s… that’s strong wording. Seven year olds are known for being so self-absorbed they become way less helpful for a time. They are too busy looking inward at all the little “mean” things they experience. That’s ok. I’m self-absorbed like that. I can find a way to make room for it.

And I will be much more patient if I have a nice lady from the 1970′s telling me that this is a phase where I cannot expect ready help. I will have to ask for and demand most of the help I get for a while or I can whistle for it. It is good to know that I’m heading into that kind of phase. It changes my behavior a lot.

I have coasted a lot on the fact that Shanna is naturally empathetic, kind, generous and helpful. There are going to be ages and phases where that is less true. If I am compassionate about her not being in the mood… she will get back to the mood. If I remind in kind ways, she will later remind me in kind ways.

You get back what you give. I mean, not perfectly… but in the long run. My kids are very nice to me because I have modeled the behavior I want to receive. When I have a problem with their behavior I meticulously examine my own behavior to see what I need to change about what I’m modeling. I don’t directly address “their” stuff that much.

Ok, I’m working with Shanna on not flipping people off all the time. It’s unconscious. She didn’t even know what it meant. She just likes pointing with her middle finger a lot. That I will directly say, “Ahh. You don’t know that you are making a rude gesture. Let’s talk about that.” I can directly address some issues without shame or fuss. Why do I freak out so much about the forking stove? I think it is tied into my food-nurturing-abandonment-neglect cycle of stuff.

Today I went to therapy and said, “Noah and I had a long chat and we think that I need to work on ______.” My therapist blinked hard and said, “Noah helped you decide what?” Then she listened a bit more and said, “In my 18 years as a therapist I may have said this one other time but I’m not sure–you have the perfect partner for you.” I grinned my shit eating grin and said, “I know!”

We didn’t do EMDR. We decided to do somatic work instead because EMDR can actually trigger heavy suicidal ideation in someone who is already abreacting. Wheeee. If the goal is to help me calm down, I need to calm down before I can do the heavy lifting to calm down.

Sometimes my life seems very unfair.

We talked about grieving the loss of a potential relationship and how that is almost as hard as losing a real relationship. We talked a lot about why I pick the people I pick to try and have relationships with. She flat told me to create more space in one relationship because I can’t fix other peoples problems and I get very enmeshed. If I love someone and they are struggling emotionally… I’m struggling emotionally. Which isn’t actually useful. Not for me and not for the person I would purportedly like to support.

It is weird having my therapist tell me that I should only spend time with a given person if I have set, concrete plans as a back up because I should assume that person will flake. Don’t depend on people to be there to fill your time. Fill it by yourself.

I’m not being much support to anyone lately. I’m not supporting Noah very well. I’m doing… less well than usual with the kids. I think there have been periods of being less engaged, but I’m not doing that much for them.

I’m not playing games. I’m not reading. My throat feels tight all the time. It goes along with the burning belly. I can sit with them and snuggle. I provide food. I talk. I talk about things all day long. I don’t retreat into a dark room any more. But I won’t play the video games they want me to play with them. Just, no. Not my thing.

So I’m telling them no a lot but I’m very certain they aren’t being neglected. I’m not doing as much as I want to be doing.

I’m not being much support for my friends. Once in a while I’ll have a conversation with someone where I work really hard on listening and being supportive. Mostly I’m being a self-absorbed twat.

It isn’t even really that I want to talk about me. I just don’t want to hear about anyone else. I feel like I don’t know who I am and where the boundaries are between me and other people and listening to their lives gets very confusing because I start feeling like I can’t remember if I’m remembering stories people told me about their life or if I’m remembering my life.

I feel permeable. Mushy. Alterable. Unfixed.

But I got to see my Bonus Kids today. We went to the Lawrence Hall of Science. Both kids were very upset that they didn’t get to ride in the van. My heart just about exploded when they both complained loudly about not getting to be with me the whole time. Thank you for wanting to be near me. I want to be near you too.

Even though I was a little mean to the Bonus Baby today. She wanted to take off and run away from us. I picked her up and carried her down the stairs as she screamed her head off. I am very mean. Sorry kiddo, diaper changes aren’t optional no matter how much fun you are having. I’m mean mean mean. I can live with it. So can you. We will both do ok with my strange fanaticism around not sitting in waste products. Neiner, neiner, neiner.

Usually she doesn’t fight me about diaper changes. Her mom says it is normal. Fair enough. Shanna was a serious pain in the ass about diaper changes. She fought like a fish on a line. It was awful. Then I figured out standing diaper changes and they got slightly less hellish.

I am so god damn glad I’m done with diapers. Kids are a pain in the butt. Some day I may have grand kids. I may require serious bribery to change diapers.

Or, let’s be realistic, I will scoop the kid away and say “I’ll do it!” like I did today with my Bonus Kid.

If you take care of the physical needs of a child they will remember you as a trusted caregiver. I want to take care of children. I want them to remember me. I want them to trust me to keep them safe and teach them things they need to know. And unfortunately diaper changes are one of the first things that is a real need that can be performed by anyone, not just mom. So I will continue to volunteer. And feel STUPID the whole time because WHY IN THE HELL DO I OPT IN TO DAIPER CHANGES?! Because then I have a Bonus Baby who sees me and says, “Krissy! I missed you!” as she hugs me fervently.

I missed you too. I’m so glad to see you again.

It was funny talking to my friend while camping this weekend about the amorphous concept of friendship. She is more of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind person. She sees people to keep them fresh in her head.

I still sit down to have a cuppa with Brittney and Anna. I will talk to myself out loud. All the stories I want to share with them. “When Shanna did ___ it reminded me of when we were 5 and we went to ____. Do you remember that?”

I think about my friends. I rehearse their names and remind myself that I love them and … probably… they love me. I think about what I should be doing to demonstrate my love more frequently and I beat myself up for not having the spoons to carry more relationships more fully.

I think about my friends. I think about the people I don’t see much any more because life circumstances have changed. I think about how glad I am that they are in the world even if I don’t see them any more.

I think about all of my lovers. Well… ok there are a few one night stands I have probably completely forgotten. Let’s be honest. People who made it past a third date make it through my mental rotation. I listen to music I associated with them during our relationship and I wish them well.

I have very few people I wish ill on. It’s bad juju and I just try to avoid it. Sometimes I am so mad that it slips out anyway. Mostly I try to get better about having my ill wishing be limited to things like a bird pooping on their head. I would not feel guilty about my joy in that circumstance. Especially if it happened right in front of me. I could not contain my glee. It would be wonderful. But I am working hard on that being the limit.

It is funny how most of the people I’ve had problems with make it through the rotation. I have a cuppa and think about why things went wrong. What did I do wrong? There is always something. Sometimes I did a lot wrong and sometimes I did a little wrong and it didn’t matter that it was only a little.

There is no fair. There is what is.

I got stupid and this week got overbooked. Hoo boy. After camping we have plans with folks five straight days. Long plans. The shortest visit will be three hours.

I want to touch base with a lot of people before we leave. I’m not going to get to everyone who is important to me. I would collapse.

I can literally book 60 hours a week of socializing. But I don’t tend to feel “healthy” afterwards.

Balance is an eternal struggle. I was given permission by four separate people in the past five days to be emotionally dysregulated and upset for a while. Yup, it takes fucking forever for me to calm down. Unfortunately bad feelings can be stuffed for a while and then they must be dealt with. You will pay the piper some day. I have stuffed a lot of feelings for a lot of years. There is no more space for stuffing. Instead, I am safe and secure. I can be kind of a mess and I won’t be thrown out. Even if I am difficult for a few months until I calm down my central nervous system the people I worry about the most will still be there when I stop freaking out.

And the people who aren’t still there… I never had them any way.

I told my therapist that I spend a fair bit of time feeling ashamed of the fact that I’m a bad patient. I’m likely to be in therapy for 50+ years and I will still say the same repetitive, stupid shit I said when I was 3.

She said that whereas she believes that I will probably be in therapy for 50+ years… I’m not saying the same things. She said I’m actually one of her favorite kind of patient–the kind who perseveres even though it is a really awful slog sometimes. Yes, I’m hard to work with. My shit is complicated and I have a lot of problems with transference and projection so I work out a lot of my emotional push/pull issues with my therapists. It is not fun to work with. But if you look at the course of my life, most of the bad parts aren’t my fault and I keep working. Even when it feels hopeless. Even when pretty much anyone else would quit… I don’t. She said she is very happy to work with me. She laughed and said, “You are satisfying in a way most people really can’t be.”

I didn’t ask for clarification. Better to let that one just kind of be ambiguous.

I think I push people so much partially because I want to figure out who will leave. Who will put up boundaries. Who is safe. Most people don’t have firm enough boundaries to be safe for me. Lots and lots of people aren’t really dependable enough to be safe for me. That doesn’t make them failures as human beings… it just means that I am foolish if I depend on them.

If I can’t do pattern matching by now then I need to just hang it up.

But a lot of people can be dependable within very narrow parameters. I have many friends who can handle about three hours a year of my company. Some of those people frankly can’t handle my kids.

I go back and forth on whether or not those relationships are worth the effort of carrying my side. Mostly I decide that it is worthwhile because loose ties keep you alive. My shrink thinks I should carry fewer of the relationships. I told her, “Said with the smug assurance of someone who has brothers she can call for help.” First she said that her brothers haven’t helped her in decades.

That’s not the point. Most of my friends don’t seriously help me either. But every so often I need help and I toss out the net and I never know who the hell will show up. She can call her brothers if she needs to. The fact that she hasn’t needed to doesn’t change the fact that she can. (Did your brothers come visit you when you were over seas? Then yes your brothers have done something for you.)

I wanted to edit. I wanted to go through and tie a few ideas together. But Noah just walked outside and said, “Dinner is ready!” Internet, you lose when it comes to dinner. Bye!

Skirting the line

Ok internet, here is a dirty little secret for you. I have a thing for Sikh men. I think they are beautiful. It helps that there are many who go to my gym. Swoon.

I try not to stare in an obvious fashion. They are just… works of art. Sometimes when I’m feeling sad and I want to cheer up, I google images of Sikh men.

They are so pretty.

But I’m not objectifying them… uhm, right? I’m not beating off. Surely that means it is still ethical just to look at them.

Not the center

Sometimes a reminder that I’m not the center of peoples lives is useful. I’m not the reason people do or don’t do things. I’m just standing there.

Today went much better than I expected. Phew. I needed a better day with the home school group.

Apparently the remodeling company’s vice president is pretty unhappy that I want to cancel the contract because I’m pissed about how I’m being treated. He was apologetic in Noah’s direction. I ducked the meeting. He offered ways of making it all better.

Delays happen. I have never expressed anger at the people in the company I have simply expressed that I would like things to move along. When the response is “Well it’s your fault” that’s a problem.

Yes, some of the delays have been my fault. It is true. It is not my fault the first contract was stolen out of the car of the first project manager. I’m not saying it is your fault. I am saying it happened. Can we talk about delays without you leaping to saying that it is all my fault? Clearly it is not accurate that all of the delays are my fault.

Unless you are implying that I broke into the car and stole the contract? How would this serve my ends?

It is not my fault that my project manager left the country for a month. Don’t god damn act like everything is all my fucking fault. Fuck you very much.

So they are fired. I get to deal with this when I get back. Oh. Joy. Can’t. Wait.

Grr and whine and fuss. It’ll get done. Eventually. I’m a tight fisted bastard anyway and I’m not that sad about delaying the expense. I’m sad that we will be breathing black mold indefinitely.

Houses are a giant pain in the ass. No I can’t just fix the mold. It involves taking the walls and flooring apart. If I have to gut the bathroom… I need to just do the whole bathroom.

Houses! Oh man!

 

Anxiety, fuck you very much.

Feelings. Big feelings. Let’s see how vague I can be.

I can fire you. That’s easy. You… you are not worth the stress. Thank. Fucking. God. I can fire you.

I can’t fire you. I wouldn’t if I could. I don’t know what I would do to you.

I don’t want to go.

I want to go so bad I can taste it.

I’m really sad about logistics.

I’m so happy that everything is falling into place.

My stomach hurts. My head hurts. My arms hurt. My shoulders hurt. My back hurts. My hips hurt. My knees hurt. My ankles hurt. My jaw hurts. My hands hurt. My heart hurts.

When I think of you, I cry. Because this pain is never ever going to stop.

I am not being a very good wife lately. I am not hitting quota. I don’t feel whole, safe, sexy, or fun. I feel damaged, scared, weak, and pathetic.

Don’t get upset. Or you will be punished.

I don’t want to be touched and I don’t want to be alone. I want to stop shaking.

I want my belly to stop hurting. It hurts and hurts and hurts. I don’t think I will puke tonight. It’s a shame. That would end the pain.

9.5 weeks. Then I will run away.

Run away. Run away. Don’t be here. Be gone. Go away.

I want to say that no one wants me anyway. But that’s a lie. Noah wants me. Sarah wants me. Jenny wants me. Kira wants me. Pam wants me. The kids are coming with me.

I just came up with five people without even trying. Stop bitching that no one wants you, whiner.

My children tell me, “I’m allowed to whine. I learned it from you.” I glare and don’t argue.

We are all punchy and difficult. It’s… a week. I should go re-read the 7 year old book. 4 1/2 is not as rough as it was with Shanna. I remember a lot of time spent with my jaw locked. I remember really struggling. We are at disequilibrium… but it’s not that bad.

Hey self–house remodel is in flux, Noah’s job is in flux, social stuff is in flux, trip stuff is changing and scary and soon. Maybe don’t be so mad about having feelings? Big feelings. Mixed feelings.

It’s ok. It will all be ok in the end.

Plug along.

Group camping isn’t

I asked a lot of people about camping this weekend. Between other engagements, work, and illness… it’ll be us plus one friend.

Good thing I’ve been telling Noah for weeks, “I’m prepared for this to end up being just us.”

It means I get one bonus friend and I will celebrate that all the more.

At the maximum there were 29 people saying they wanted to go. Life is complicated.

Small is fine.

Noah, Shanna, Calli and I spent the morning talking about our upcoming Disney cruise.

I have a surreally privileged life.

All three of them need to update their passports. I’m good for six more years.

Shanna will be Noah’s Best Person. We negotiated for a while about a tux and how sharp Shanna would look. She’s contemplating. Calli wants to be my Best Person. I think that sounds divine.

We think red and blue will be the colors. Outfits maybe kinda sorta Dickens-costume-like so they can be multi-purpose.

It doesn’t really matter if anyone else likes it. Jenny has said she will try to bring her family. I’m barely close to counting on that because Jenny doesn’t bluff. Outside of that I’m not sure that we will have more guests. I don’t think anyone else will be up for paying for it. And it interferes with school.

(But going this week is way the heck cheaper than going during the actual summer break season. And this is our real anniversary. Small is fine.)

I talked to Disney. We are booked for a vow renewal. We have our cruise line details. I’ll talk to a wedding coordinator this week.

We’ve paid deposits. (And insurance in case of cancellation because whoa.)

If Jenny ends up not being able to go I will recover. I’ll be sad and disappointed, but I’ll recover. It’s ridiculously expensive. It is not ok to expect people to hemorrhage that kind of money to prove their love. I do not expect anyone to come with us.

No matter what the four of us are going to have a very good time. I’m very glad I get to hang out with them.

It is weird finding out what living in the walled garden is like. This is what the protected, safe, security feels like. I may not have hoards of people but I have safety, love, and so much privilege.

I feel kind of ashamed of myself for spending this much money like this. I could pay down my mortgage. I could remodel my house. I could donate it to people who actually fucking need the money. Instead I will be a selfish piece of shit and go play on a Disney cruise with my family for my 10th anniversary because I really want to. We will have a lot of fun together.

It will be very relaxing and snuggly and loving.

I even got us a veranda. So we can wake up in the morning and sit outside in our PJs on our veranda above the ocean.

Because we can. Because why not? Because it’s wasteful. Everything is wasteful. I want to. I’m selfish. I’m going to.

It will be so much fun.

You just know that Noah and I will be having sex on that veranda. It’s a way of having semi-privacy on a boat.

That will be fun.

Noah wants to do this. He’s been poking at me for a while. It’s funny that he wants to do it… but really he wants me to do it. It’s not like he’s going to handle details beyond what I force him to handle.

You know what? He’s busy earning the money to fund it. I can be uhm magnanimous about the time division here. Ahem.

Noah treats me like a very expensive pet. It’s both lovely and weird.

I like it.

 

There is that

I had a thought about the euphoria of my Bonus Kids. It wasn’t like that early on. I’ve been keeping them for extended periods for years. The early visits were flat out nightmares. Screaming, crying, awful. They were so hard. When they were over I would hide in a dark room with a cool cloth on my head and shake.

Now things are a lot better. Now we’ve figured out how to get along. And that feels euphoric. Now we have snuggly giggle fests full of cuddles and kisses.

When I’m comparing my first visit with a new set of kids to the experience I have after years of work with my Bonus Kids… that’s unfair to everyone involved. Maybe this experience is less euphoric because these kids have never made me suffer.

How does that play into bonding?

Yay babysitting

Part of what I like so much about taking care of kids is that you have to deal with different layers of your own “shit” in order to look at them as individuals. The wonderful kids who visited last night have an entirely different structure to their lives compared to most of the kids we hang out with and as a result it was neat seeing some of the social differences.

These kids… respect authority. Holy shit. And they are capable of sitting still and focusing. Whoa. Unschoolers that I know are capable of intense focus but it’s kind of random when it happens. It is an accident rather than how they approach most problems. These kids sit down and do an activity to completion then do another activity to completion. They aren’t hummingbirds.

I think it is good for my children to learn how to deal with this very different attitude towards life. The kids who visited last night are being socialized such that they will be capable of being successful in a school environment. They show me some of the layers of why I think I would fail at teaching my children how to be successful in that environment.

Hell, these kids have a better attention span than me.

And I could assume that they just aren’t comfortable enough to be sassy yet (probably partially true) but I think it is mostly true that they just aren’t permitted to be assholes in the way I let my kids get away with pushing boundaries. I see layers of learned behaviors that I couldn’t even begin to duplicate. These kids are not rule breakers in the same way. I don’t think they’ve been told that breaking rules is part of life. *Ahem*. (I won’t tell them.)

I think I uhhh disrupted the social order enough by telling them that actually, yes men can be queens too. Doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of it before, I’ve met some.

I will barely wave my gender-freak flag. Just a little bit. A tiny bit. Just barely a wave. No, boys don’t have to be one way and girls don’t have to be another way. Uhhhh Forget-That. (Which is way better than Fuck That to my friend’s children because boy howdy are they not allowed to talk like that. I was good!)

It is very hard to be a good example when these children need to turn out in a way that I completely failed at. The life they are leading is a life I am singularly unqualified to be a good example of living. I fail. Over and over at school after school. I don’t know how in the hell to handle that social dynamic. I hate jumping through hoops just for the sake of jumping. I get very angry with busy work. It’s taken multiple decades to squash my rage over being bitched out because I was “doing art wrong” and it’s hard for me even now to do group art activities.

I have finally learned how to make art for myself. I still can’t bear to have anyone in control of what or how I am doing my art because I’m fucking tired of being told I’m doing it wrong.

These kids are a challenge to me because I have to manufacture behavior I have specifically rejected. Oh shit. I have to watch my fucking mouth. Which is obviously not something I enjoy doing. But I do it for them because they would be in a lot of trouble if they picked up my language. That’s not fair. My kids don’t really get in trouble for saying fuck. So they do sometimes. I can’t slip in front of these kids because they would get no end of trouble and that’s just shitty and awful. I don’t want to be a bad influence for them.

I want to be a good influence. And that means consciously choosing behavior that is opposite of my normal priorities.

Weird.

think this is part of what being community means. We don’t have to be exactly alike. We don’t have to be on exactly the same path. We are very different and that’s ok because it takes all kinds. Being these different ways involves different skill sets so we don’t act very similarly day-to-day and that’s ok.

It might even be optimal and make the world a better place or some shit.

I talk to my kids about the fact that I am a stay at home mom because *I* want to do it. Because *I* have things to learn here that I won’t learn in other environments–about patience, forgiveness, trying and failing, and attachment. Those aren’t lessons other people need to learn at the same time in their lives so staying home is NOT the right path for every mother.

They are very curious how the dynamics work in other families and I’m really grateful we are being allowed this window into how it works. I don’t pretend we understand from one night of visiting…. but we got a peek.

These kids are different from my bonus kids. The only people who got into trouble for screaming last night were my progeny. Because we are so fucking loud all the fucking time. Ahhh, I’m so proud. These borrowed kids…. would not be permitted to be loud like that. They looked a little stunned by the volume. We did work on it. I’m so sorry. I hope we didn’t burst your ear drums.

We really need to learn how to tone down better. It wasn’t as upsetting as it was to my niece, Jenny’s daughter, but it was… over the top. We get so excited about seeing people and then our volume just goes up. It’s not a good approach to life.

I’m starting to work with Shanna on such things and I haven’t really started working with Calli yet because I think that the easiest developmental window for dealing with the loud is 5-7 when they are doing an awareness shift, cause/effect thing in their brain. Clearly it could be taught much younger. But you sacrifice other benefits if you squash this young.

I want kids who are capable of being as aggressive as they need to be. You can’t develop that later if it is squashed out of you young. You also can’t be very good in a school environment while young if it isn’t squashed out of you. Life is complicated.

I say you “can’t” and that’s bullshit. Lots of people learn how to be more aggressive as adults because they have to do it. I would prefer if my kids just have that force of personality from the get-go.

I asked Shanna why she is so good at knowing that other peoples feelings aren’t her fault and she laughed. She said that I taught her. I laughed and said that is funny because I’m not very good at actually believing that. She said, “I’ve noticed. You should work on that.” I said I was not very good at listening to my own advice. She said, “You know, you should listen to you. You are a pretty smart lady.”

I started crying and she hugged me. I don’t know if she is 6 or 26 sometimes. I’m very grateful for these children I have born. They make every day a pleasure and a joy. Even when they bug the shit out of me.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to deepen our relationship with these kids. I’m afraid I didn’t reach out as much to them as I wanted to. My back hurts wicked bad and I spent part of the visit lying on the ground trying not to cry. That sucked. I am going to call local chiropractors on Monday. I’d like to not be hurting like this before the trip. It would be very hard to do the work.

The older girl plays with my two very easily. I’m going to have to work harder on finding games and activities for the two youngest (my youngest and the borrowed youngest) because they aren’t figuring out friendship as easily. The two oldest and Calli are all bossy, pushy kids. The other younger girl is… just not. She’s not “LOOK AT ME” in the same way. I’m going to have to work really hard at getting to know her over the years because she doesn’t shove her personality in everyone’s face and say, “NOW LOOK AT ME” the way the others do. I will have to decide to work at getting to know her. I only know her a little at this point and I feel kind of ashamed of that. Maybe I should have asked to hold her more as a baby. I don’t like asking to hold babies. I feel presumptuous. I take offers. I help when people need help. This mama is very competent when she has her kids so I would never presume to snatch her babies from her. So I didn’t bond as young with this kid.

That’s ok. We aren’t dead yet. There is still time. She’s a nice kid, just a lot more shy and reserved. That personality type isn’t really my specialty but I am always in the market for new skills. I’ll figure something out. It will be something that will require thought is all.

They have much better manners than my kids and they can sit still. It’s a bit dreamy. They sat in a chair for a meal without needing to be pestered.

swoon

I have some parenting envy right now. HOW DID YOU DO THAT?! But to some degree I understand part of how it was done and it was done in a package with stuff I don’t want and so… I have to deal with some behaviors I don’t like as much because I get so much that I do like. That’s life. I can live with the end of the stick I’m carrying these days.

I don’t feel like I have the short end of the stick any more. Not that I think this mama does. Maybe that’s a bad metaphor. Uhm, I don’t feel like I’m parenting all wrong because my kids are much more annoying than these kids. I feel like I have very different goals. I don’t think that my goals mean my kids will be “more successful” or “happier” or “fill in the blank”. Well… I think my goals are aligned with creating people I can live with. That means very weirdly attuned to the world. It doesn’t mean better. It means better-for-me which is SO MUCH not “BETTER”. If you know what I mean. It wouldn’t work for everyone.

I like these kids and I can see how their mom is doing a good job of preparing them for the life they lead. They are learning the skills that will allow them to do the things their parents want for them. It’s really neat to watch. It is fascinating having that next to my kids for a day. We want different things and that’s very ok. It’s good. It’s wonderful. It is how the world should work.

The world requires folks like their parents. IT workers and engineers. They are important. They build things and keep things up and running so other people can get the health care they need. Those are real skills that are actually impacting the world. In order to get to such a point you have to have a whole framework of skills… I pretty much lack.

Starting with the sitting still. That’s been a problem for me all my damn life. I can’t teach it to my kids because I haven’t mastered it. I can’t model it. Sometimes I feel kind of ashamed of myself when I deal with five year olds who can sit still and I just fucking can’t.

I try to just feel happy that their mother is past the horror of car seats. I too will someday arrive at the coveted world of booster seats.

I hope.

Please, oh god, oh god.

It is hard feeling like you are doing the right thing. Especially when everyone around you is on a different path. It is hard to see what the path even is. The path I want to be on includes community building. Which means figuring out having community members who aren’t friends. It means supporting my friends. It means figuring out how to support people in gaining skills they need that I do not have. It means being supportive of all different kinds of ways of handling situations.

It’s hard. Because I’m really a judgmental asshole and I have these kneejerk, “I couldn’t sustain that” feelings about behaviors and then I want to loudly comment on how they aren’t sustainable. When really they aren’t sustainable for me and other people don’t have a problem. That’s kind of embarrassing to announce out loud. (Ask me how I know. Or don’t. Just assume it is an embarrassing story, ok?)

If my back pain were below a 4 I would feel like I was having a party. My back pain is hanging out this minute around a 6 and yesterday was up to 7/8 so I didn’t feel like I was having a party. I didn’t feel like I was having that much fun. But it went really well anyway. I tried hard to be aware that my cloud of “ugh” was pain.

Also, my period finally started. Only a measly 7 days later than expected. And it is slow going this month. Hardly anything is coming out of me and that’s kind of weird. At 36 hours into my period this time I’ve lost about as much blood as I usually lose in the first 6 hours. I know because of how fast I soak the pads.

I haven’t been able to eat much lately. And most of what I can eat without feeling really sick is fruit and vegetables. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH MY BODY?!?!?! THIS IS NOT LIKE ME. I’ve been a carbitarian for most of my life. I live on wheat, meat, and dairy. Those are my three main food groups. I grudgingly eat vegetables because I have to and I rarely eat fruit. I just…. don’t really do it. The textures bug me.

Until now. When dinner is artichoke and orange. Or strawberries and fennel. I ate fucking strawberries and fennel for dinner. What the motherfuck is wrong with me?!

I’m not feeling ok. I’m eating what I’m craving because if my body is craving fruits and vegetables after 30+ years of treating them like poison… ok I’ll go along with this but I don’t feel ok. And my digestive system is so fucking whacked. I’m barely pooping because there isn’t enough mass to move. I can feel my system feeling pissed off at me.

I’m eating what I can eat. It’s just not a lot right now. I feel like I’m dropping weight again. I might actually buy a scale just because I feel like it is bad to not know when I’m doing these sudden intense weight drops. I feel like I should “work harder” at keeping my weight stable and I don’t know what that would mean.

I’ve never had a not-eating-month in the spring before. It’s always October. It’s usually around my dad’s suicide. I have always thought it was partially emotional and partly that I don’t handle that weather transition well. October is the most miserable month weather wise where I live. This year the weather is awful in spring…. maybe the weather transition impacts it?

I don’t know. But I’m eating like a fucking vegan and this isn’t working for me.

I feel like shit.

(Not saying veganism is bad or that no one should be vegan. I have nutritional issues. It would be very hard for *me* to be a healthy vegan given the texture issues I have and aversions to some flavors.)

You have to deal with the whole system you have. Even if it is annoying. One of the things I feel most comfortable about as I get older–life is annoying and that’s ok. Just breathe through it.

I went to Outrageous Outgrowns yesterday morning before the folks arrived. I was actually tardy getting home because the line was insane. Good thing Noah was here. I would have timed differently if I hadn’t had the slack.

The girls are mostly set on dresses through size 10 now. Yee haw. And I got a whole huge stack of neat looking books. Yay! If you can get 20 items of clothing and 30+ books for $200 that’s a good shopping day. Especially because most of the items of clothing were fancy dresses because that’s what my kids live in. I really got the daughters of my dreams. I wanted to dress like that as a kid and I couldn’t. I’m very grateful I can buy them a closet full of fancy $5 dresses they can wear any way they want without getting in trouble. That’s a special kind of privilege.

And legging. Always leggings because you little twerps never keep your legs down. Under clothes should be under your clothes and if you can’t keep your skirt down, pants! Yay!

Then I got home to a box from Amazon. Because I’ve been on a book buying spree. All multi-cultural stuff. In the past few weeks I have picked up a bunch of books on Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism for kids. I already have Christian stuff aimed at kids because I had it from my childhood. Books on mindfulness and meditation and Zen and all that good stuff.

I will be reviewing them on the kid-friendly blog because most of them are excellent. I’ve perused them all but I haven’t shared them with the kids yet. I’m excited about reading these together.

I’ve gotta say, it’s convenient that there is a Hindu temple on the corner because the more I read about the faith the more it actually sounds the closest to the hodge-podge of my beliefs. It’s kind of funny. I should go more often. They are happy to have sincere visitors of any stripe.

These kids do not provide the euphoria of my Bonus Kids. That’s partially my fault. I spent a lot of time holding my Bonus Kids when they were really tiny because I went over to their house and helped their mom do work. That creates a very different kind of bond.

These kids instead provide a different kind of opportunity. I missed the window to get in on the baby-bonding. I didn’t understand that I was missing it. I didn’t understand how I should have tried to assert myself. The oldest girl is older than my kids and I really didn’t have the confidence to assert myself as “someone who should hold babies” then. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost! Hey, I’m good friends with their mom and I met her as an adult. Clearly the possibility of a relationship isn’t over.

But it is interesting seeing how I will have to work for these relationships. I will. I want to. It is a specific thing I have as a goal in this lifetime. I knew when they were born that these were kids I wanted to know for a long time. I just didn’t know how to insert myself into their life. That is hard.

I have learned from this visit that I am not who I want to be to these kids yet. I will have to work harder. Good thing I know how to work hard.

The visit has gone very well. I hope this is a sign of many wonderful visits to come. We are a long way from grown up. There is a lot of time left to bond before they run off to the wonders of their own lives. I haven’t missed the window yet. But I better not get snotty about that belief or I will miss the window.

Thank you so much for the gift of time with your children.

Appreciate

This will be incomplete, sorry.

I’m grateful Pam is currently in a phase where she can come over so often. It feels very good to me. She can kick me for writing about how I don’t have friends. Obviously the problem is my perception and not reality.

I’m grateful that S sent me an email saying we had plans this weekend. I need to get more diligent about writing everything down THE SECOND it happens because pot is wrecking my short term memory. I’m really happy I will get to see you soon. It is always so lovely. This on top of coming camping. I’m looking forward to a little time this weekend and way more time next weekend. I feel very lucky.

P might go camping with us. I’ve been told multiple times that she will and she doesn’t have as many health problems or work conflicts as some of my friends so it is still a high chance. This is very exciting. It is a chance to make her laugh. Getting P to really full on belly laugh is hard–she’s kind of a serious person. But sometimes I’m sitting nearby when Noah says something funny and I get to watch her laugh and laugh. It feels so nice.

R is also coming camping. R is someone I vaguely kinda sorta knew in middle school but we weren’t friends. Then re-met as adults. We don’t see one another very often but I always leave communal time feeling like the world is a better place than I want to believe. She is just hopeful in a way I don’t deal with very often. I’m really looking forward to my kids getting to hang out with her during camping.

Really, all three chicas who are camping are super-kid-awesome.

M has been making sure she checks in with emails and comments even though I’m not very good at responding. Her comments remind me that there are all kinds of people walking all kinds of roads and even when they can’t walk near me on my road they want me to keep walking. It makes them want to keep walking.

I’m going to go see M in Minnesota! I’m super excited. She was my internet girlfriend. I think she is fabulous. I met her through an online support forum and we talked and talked and talked in the midst of one of my hard periods. I’m really looking forward to meeting her kids.

D is trusting me with her children this weekend. That feels like an honor and a privilege. You trust me. You have known me for a long time and you still want to know me. Even though I surely say things that bug you. You keep coming around. You went to Hawaii with me. Sometimes when I think about you I can’t figure out why you want to be friends with a nothing like me. But I’m really grateful you do.

K lent me her kids recently. Oh my heart overflows with love. Part of what I learn from K is how to be patient with things I’m just not fucking patient with. She has very different patience than me. Not more… different. She is good at a lot of tasks I can’t manage because I quit when it gets hard. I feel like I don’t have good excuses to get my shit done when I talk to her. Which is funny… because I don’t think she views herself that way.

J keeps trying even when things are hard. Sometimes having people who are prickly spend time together is complicated. How can we walk along without stabbing one another on accident? But we keep trying because the effort is worth it.

I am hard. I get these surges of emotions and I talk about things in extreme hyperbole. I will NEVER have friends. I will NEVER be loved. Bah. What horse shit.

I was talking to Pam and she said she felt peeved (just a little) at some of my ranting about stuff. She tries to be understanding because she knows I have perspective sometimes and sometimes I just… don’t. Sometimes I can’t see. Luckily she’s not too annoyed with me. (*phew*)

This is part of that “What I feel this minute is what I feel every minute” thing. It’s not true, but it is how my awareness tends to work. I argue with this awareness and perception but it’s tricky. It’s complicated. I’m trying to get better. I am better than I was.

It is very hard to believe that where I am right now is “enough” progress for 33. I know I am not where I want to be. I hate the places where I am still delayed.

I appreciate my neighbors. I appreciate that they talk to me even though I’m emotive and flakey and difficult. I disappear into my backyard and don’t come out for months. When I resurface they make fun of me and tell me they thought I moved. But they say it with a smile. And if I stay inside toooooooo long they come knocking.

I really appreciate that they come knocking.

My shrink pisses me the fuck off and I am so grateful for her presence in my life. She is frustrating in ways I have to work through. I don’t do well with folks in her sort of general position in my life. I hate people who have authority over me.

I want them. I love them. I crave being in a subservient/taken care of role… and I’m fucking nasty to anyone on the other side.

t&T decided that since I need people to be stable they can find a way to be stable enough. It is such an unexpected gift. I have them calendared for a year in advance. Illness gets in the way and not much else.

I have dozens of other people who are less frequently present. I could not begin to name them all. These are the folks who are popping up this month.

I do see the people who are nice to me. I do. I appreciate the kindness I receive. There are days when I can’t see it and that’s not because of the folks around me.

It is very hard dealing with my inability to perceive what I need to perceive.

Leveling off

I’m crying less. The rate is slowing down dramatically. I feel less “activated” than I did. I’m reaching a point of resolution. It feels like I go through a grieving process when I find out that my expectations are inappropriately set. It’s not anyone else’s fault, I just don’t… let go of my ideals very easily.

I want to love people so much. I want people to love me. It doesn’t always work out and that’s very hard. My basic reaction to not feeling loved is to flail and whack anyone nearby… decreasing the likelihood that people will love me. It’s my fault, really.

But there are people who love me. They sometimes need to have very specific boundaries with me to prevent me from hurting them–that’s appropriate and good. I don’t want to hurt people and sometimes I am literally incapable of seeing what I’m doing wrong that hurts people so much. I’m grateful when people protect themselves so that I don’t damage them on accident.

But that’s not fair. I should stop hurting people.

I try. I’m better than I was.

I need to protect myself too. People aren’t necessarily trying to hurt me on purpose, it just happens. It helps that I’m wicked sensitive in areas that people don’t expect. I’m fairly unusual in how many things bother me. It’s easy to hurt me.

I don’t hold grudges against people for whacking me on accident, why do I assume that everyone else holds them against me? I don’t know.

Because I believe I deserve hatred and dislike and no love. Pretty much.

I’m not mad at the kid who kicked me. He fucked up. I’m mad at the adults who should know better. That’s complicated and hard. It isn’t fair. It doesn’t feel right. It feels like there is no right. It’s not ok to be super angry at the kid who fucked up (he’s 9… I give kids slack) and it doesn’t even feel ok to be angry with the adults who fucked up. But I am.

Am I angry or am I hurt? Hurt sure looks like angry when it comes to my behavior. Does it ultimately matter? I’m not sure. Only if I do something awful.

Have I done something awful? I process my feelings publicly. I don’t think I’m dragging people over the coals. I’m talking about my feelings. I’m saying I’m angry. Is that awful? I really don’t know.

But spending several days at home with my family has been wonderful. I like being around these people. They make me feel like it is ok that I am alive because they want me here very badly. The whole world would be darker for them without me.

And I do have friends. Even though not everyone is capable of being my friend I have many friends. I should not punish people for not being up to the ridiculous number of hoops I put in front of people.

I put a lot of hurdles in front of my friends. You have to want me. You have to actually get something you really want to have from this world from me or it really isn’t worth putting up with my shit.

I have mixed feelings about being this kind of difficult. On one hand it sure thins the stream of people who can handle me. On the other hand… that’s on purpose. It really should thin the stream. I can’t handle 7 billion people anyway. The stream must be culled.

It’s ok that I’m not for everyone. I don’t want to be the taste of some of the people who reject me. I would no longer like myself if they started liking me, and that’s ok.

Life is complicated. You never know who will stick around. Who will come back. Who will be devoted for reasons passing understanding.

You just do the best you can. If it isn’t good enough… life works that way. Sometimes someones best is genuinely not good enough. For example: the reactions of the folks in charge of the response for Hurricane Katrina. Their best was not good enough to really take care of the people under their care. Is it their fault? Boy we could argue that all day long.

Sometimes doing the best you can means lots of people will suffer or die. Life is really complicated.

I feel grateful in an ongoing way that I live in a very small pond. I can potentially inflict some emotional damage on people… but it’s of a very limited scope. I can’t wreck peoples lives. I can’t kill people. I can’t end life-as-people-know-it because I don’t have enough power.

I think that is positive.

I feel grateful every single day that I open the fridge and see a bunch of food. That’s as much power as I want to have in this world. The power to keep me and mine well fed. Any friends who want to come over are welcome–we have plenty. We love you and want to feed you.

Life is complicated. Even though I have big feelings I know I am very lucky to be where I am.

Bitch-tastic

I did something in therapy I don’t usually do. My therapist was explaining why some inter-personal stuff might go the way it does and I cut her off. I said, “I am not interested in paying to hear you defend that point of view right now.”

She looked shocked.

There are things where I must “face reality” in order to make progress with my mental illness stuff. There are also big piles of things that if you tell me over and over “That’s just how it is” that I will leave therapy and not pick my kids up and instead drive straight to the edge of the ocean. Because I can’t fix things and I can’t make it better and it is shit. Let’s not do that in therapy, ok?!

I “get” that people are allowed to want to be part of a community with me without being my friend. I don’t need to pay you to tell me in great detail how spending a lot of time with me for years does not mean that people will want to be my friend. I already fucking know that.

What I need are more ways of telling in advance which people aren’t my friend so I stop asking them for support. You aren’t telling me that, you are just telling me that I can’t ask people who aren’t my friends for support. But you aren’t telling me how I can tell which people are my friends and which people are standing near me because anything is better than being home alone.

You just say, “That’s what happens when you ask for support from people who aren’t actually part of your support network.”

HOW IN THE FUCK DO YOU LEARN HOW TO TELL WHO YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK IS?!!?!?

As time goes on it becomes very clear that my therapist thinks I have three people in my support network and it is inappropriate to ask children for support so I have one. Stop asking anyone for anything.

BUT THEN ON OTHER WEEKS SHE CHIDES ME FOR NOT ASKING MY FRIENDS FOR MORE HELP.

Oh fuck everything in the universe.

“They are your friends because they want to be. You should trust them and rely on them.”

“Well you shouldn’t ask people who aren’t your friends to do anything for you. That never works out.”

Well, I’ve never had anyone ask me for a laminated “Krissy’s Friend” card so that I know forever more that they are in the club and safe to ask. I just have to fucking ask and deal with a lot of rejection.

I do poorly with asking people who *I* think are my friends for help when they don’t think they are my friends. I do great with asking total strangers for help. It’s… kind of funny how well it goes.

She thinks I need to work harder on having an “inner circle” that is my family and support network without looking out into the world for friends or support.

I’ve spent my life not having a family so every person I meet is potentially a surrogate family member and it is part of why I latch on so hard and so inappropriately and why I have so many problems. People don’t want the intensity of a fucked up limpet in their life.

I go back and forth between bitterly thinking that people only want to know me if I do things for them and having to quietly acknowledge to myself that it is righteously not true for most of the people who have been good friends over the years.

I have this problem. I want to be ALL anger all the time. But I actually have a good life these days. It isn’t justified or warranted or… appropriate. I’m not that angry any more. I’m still angry about some things though. I’m having trouble taking those pieces as separate units.

I want to be all anger all the time but then I think, “Well so and so did… and that person did… and other friend did…. I’m sorry I’m such a petty and ungrateful bastard.”

(This is choppy because all of that was written in one day and then I didn’t hit post and I get kind of weird about that. So the next bit may or may not fit in tone.)

Why do these designations matter so much? I’ve been fighting this fight for more than 15 years. Why do I care so much about the label? I don’t actually care about the label. I care about what behavior I can engage in without punishment or suffering and I don’t know a better way to judge people other than by the labels.

This was ironic yesterday. I was talking to Calli. She was talking about an issue with a kid. I said, “Well, if you want them to be your friend you have to forgive them for making mistakes. Every person who is alive makes mistakes. That has to be ok or you will run out of people to be friends with.”

Am I booting someone from the friendship circle because she said something in a way I didn’t like? Hypocrite much?

I don’t think I am booting her from the friendship circle. I’m understanding that I can’t expect support I won’t get. Is that the same thing? It feels very middle school and hysterical. I’m trying to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate kinds of support to ask for and with whom.

Is that hysterical? Is that hyperbole? Is that punishing people for being less than perfect?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that after 7 months of back and forth my contracting company still can’t get it together and at every step of the way they have told me that the delays are all my fault. (Even though the project manager went to Israel for a month.) I’m going to pay for the plans for the remodel and find a different company after the road trip. At this point they wouldn’t even be able to get properly started on construction before I leave so uhm… no.

More stress. Yay!

There are lots of situations in my life where I don’t know what to do. An asshole project manager… I can fire.

Back to the real topic though: it would be a lot easier if I felt angry over the current situations in my life. I feel less anger than I feel hurt. I feel betrayed. I feel like I was stupid for believing that someone cared about me more than they do. I feel like I deserve to be kicked for being stupid enough to believe that someone would care enough about me to think I don’t deserve to be kicked in the throat.

Complicated circles of “logic” in there.

I really like this person. I have for many years. I feel sad that I am not liked as much in return. And I have no control over that.

I like the Godmama too. Can’t do anything about that situation either.

I like Anna. Can’t fix that.

I feel sad.

Sometimes I think my shrink is very weird. She is … an interesting mix of Eastern practices and Western. (She lived in Thailand for 7 years and goes back for extended periods every year.) (I tell my kids “Things that seem weird are just things you haven’t grown accustomed to yet. Somebody thinks it is normal.”)

I think she is weird because she wants to use a lot of Eastern lifestyle attributes and she thinks that will lead to the same results with people who are otherwise thoroughly Western.

For example: she doesn’t think families need to talk very often. She’s very isolationist and interested in people being alone a lot. She lives alone. She specializes in severe trauma and she tells us to not have contact with our families if they are problems (good thing and all) but then she wants us to go do meditation classes to feel connected.

That just seems fucking weird to me. She doesn’t encourage human connection very much. It is hard to arrange. Hard to make safe. Hard to control. But she really wants you to feel connected to the universe.

It’s like…. it’s like as if we airlifted a huge shipment of individual game playing devices with headsets into a remote tribal village and then got excited because we got them all “connected” only now no one talks to one another anymore.

I don’t know. I’ve spent a lot of years reading about the Amish approach to technology because I find it fascinating. They aren’t anti-ALL technology. Just the stuff that will cause the community to be less united.

I can comprehend why people would make such choices.

I don’t understand how silent group meditation with strangers is going to solve my attachment problems. She claims this is because I haven’t tried it enough. People also claimed that I wouldn’t understand “runners high” until I seriously ran. A marathon and several half marathons and goodness knows how many shorter runs later…. I don’t get it.

I think this is one of those things where someone will tell me that it is the solution to my problems and then they badger me for years and then I do it and I’m disappointed and they say, “Well you didn’t try hard enough!” This sounds like Weight Watchers. This sounds like fuck you very much.

Although I’ve got to say: I was skeptical about the grief ritual. But a grief ritual where it is appropriate for me to cry, scream, and beat on the floor as much as I want to get my feelings out is different from a space where I have to sit silently and not bother anyone. How is that fucking different from most of my life?

I’m not saying I’m good at not bothering people. Just that it is what I’m supposed to be doing.

It occurred to me that my social problems would be a lot easier if I liked people less. Rather than obsessively chasing the meditation program of my dreams, maybe I should find a way to like people less. It isn’t going that well for me to fall this hard into love. It isn’t appropriate.

I’m really sad. I thought I was investing in a circle of people who might help sustain me over the years. I was wrong. I hate it when I’m that wrong.

It’s a group that will hang out together as long as it is non-effortful for the folks involved. When it gets hard they are done. This is weird to me because going has been hard since day one. I have always had to try hard to carve out space and room for these people. It has always been work.

I feel so wildly uncomfortable. I feel like people are going to hate me and betray me and…

Leaving my house is hard. Full stop. Going to events is hard. I feel afraid so much of the time. Getting over the hurdle only to find out I was stupid for doing so is hard.

I think that part of what scares me so much is that having just Noah as my designated support person isn’t fair for him at all. I have to be careful how I load Noah. He’s already doing far too much. When he’s overloaded at work I can go weeks without talking to him about anything personal because I don’t think it is fair to burden him. And he’s the only person I’m supposed to talk to.

I shoved K into the support role until it overwhelmed her. (Totally reasonable.)

Then I was trying to cobble together a semblance of feeling seen…

Now I’ll stay home. It is weird looking at my calendar until the trip. I pretty much wiped it. We are normally very busy. And I just can’t right now. When Pam gets busy I can go weeks without seeing anyone who is a friend.

We are going camping with folks. I hope. I pray. If it falls through man I’m going to be sad. One way or another I’m going camping with my kids. Even if no one wants to go with me.

I am grateful every day for my kids. I am completely sure I would be done without them.

Yesterday I was riding in the car with Shanna and I was… I don’t know what I was saying. She piped up with, “Mom, I feel like you’ve been saying a lot of negative things about me lately. I need you to say positive things too.”

What would it be like to be able to turn to people and say that you need to hear positive things about yourself and actually believe them?

(Shanna felt pretty good about herself when I was done.)

My shrink believes I have a very strong sense of self. I think that is a funny concept. I know that I have strong reactions to things but I don’t think I have a strong self. I don’t have much of a way to define me. I can list off things I “do” but I don’t really understand what I “am”. I’ve struggled with this for a long time.

If you ask me about me I’ll talk about books and dancing and travel and sex. None of those things are me. They are things that I do.

I’m pissy that Hillary Clinton identifies herself first as a wife and mother. Like the fucking rest of her life isn’t uhm equally as significant. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE COMES AFTER?! Men don’t do that shit.

I told my shrink that at least my “self” isn’t wife and mother. She said, “Yes, “at least” that isn’t your self-perception.”

You shouldn’t be defined based on who and what you are to other people either.

But then what are people if they are not their roles and actions? I don’t know. Thus why I do so much navel gazing.

Trauma recovery

I’m going through a trauma recovery workbook.  I’m probably going to read it six times. On page 47 it says,

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Betrayal occurs at the hands of a trusted caregiver or supporter.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Youth feel betrayed by the organization, program, or provider.

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Reality is reconstructed to represent the values and beliefs of the abuser./ Events are reinterpreted and renamed to protect the guilty.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Reality is reconstructed to match the needs and values of the provider or agency, not the youth.

 

I have feels. I’m not a youth any more. I don’t deserve to be centered any more. But these parts of me are still broken.

“In order to protect themselves, consciously or not, many youth act out to speed up the rejection that they are convinced is coming anyway.”

Like talking about the Godmamas being on their way out and then I got a nasty fuck you letter because I had talked about their attitude in a way they didn’t like. Like that. I do that. I do that a lot.

If we don’t exit/punish youth when they break the rules, aren’t we enabling them? No. When a youth that is highly impacted by past trauma is exited, what is the lesson? Although providers may believe youth are learning they can’t write on walls or disrespect providers, mostly providers are just confirming a youth’s belief that they are unlovable and undeserving of attention and support. It is not suggested that agencies and providers ignore inappropriate behavior. Instead, it is recommended that providers work with youth to identify problematic behavior, put it in the context of trauma, and help youth find different ways to express anger, frustration, or sadness. The goal is for youth to know that providers can see far beyond the problem behavior, and see the youth’s capabilities and potential to succeed.”

Feelings. What is my fault? What isn’t my fault? What should I be punished for? What shouldn’t I be punished for?

I don’t really know.

Reading stuff like this reminds me of when I was teaching. I was very good at working with gang kids because when they walked in angry… I assumed it had nothing to do with me and I offered support instead of punishment. What happened? Why are you so upset? It must be something awful; this isn’t like you. Then they will crumble into a ball of tears because the anger was just an attempt to hold it together.

People want to be seen so badly. It’s not just me.

Most of the people who try really hard to seem tough are people who have been beaten down. Life is really hard.

I’ve talked to several former students in the past few days. I ran into one at the convention. We were very happy to see one another.

I don’t fuck everything up. I fuck things up when my boundaries get muddy. When I want too much. When I’m too needy. When I ask for help or love or support that I know I have no hope of getting. Because I really don’t matter that much.

Need a new box

In my head I tend to classify how much I can ask from people. There are some people I can ask a lot from and some people… not so much. There are some people who can provide physical support but no emotional support and there are some people who can provide emotional support via the computer but they really can’t take being in a room with me.

I’ve learned how to have space in my life for people having the kind of relationship with me they can handle having. I’m trying to not beat myself up over these limits that other people have. The limits aren’t about me. Life is complicated for everyone and I’m kind of like a hurricane in motion sometimes. I know that I overwhelm people. I’m much better at containing it than I used to be.

I need a new box for relationships. I touched on this yesterday and then didn’t follow up on it, not really. Community members. It’s not the same as acquaintance and it sure isn’t friend.

For a while I was good, emotionally, at partitioning the home school group people. I’m not there to make friends for me. I’m there so my kids can grow up around people.

I haven’t been good at it for a while. I culled a few people and tried to shove them into the friend bucket and I’m afraid I shot myself in the foot.

I expected things I had no right to expect. That’s going to hurt me over and over and over. Of course the group exists to perpetuate itself at the expense of individual members. Duh. That’s how systems work. I shouldn’t have believed that I… was anything other than a cog in the system. Cogs aren’t protected. Cogs are replaceable.

There has to be space for community members. I can’t ask them for anything. But they have stood near me for years and that means they think they know me. Mostly… not so much. They don’t want to know me. If they get to know me, if I try to befriend them… it will end in them not talking to me any more.

This is not my first rodeo.

I’m going to keep burning whatever bridges I burn with writing. It keeps me from cutting. I talk to Noah about the stuff I really can’t write about.

I’m not as alone as I feel. Things have improved. Things are better. I need to stop expecting people to care about me and be ok with nodding from the far side of the park.

That’s what people want.

More definitions

I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between family, chosen family, friends, acquaintances, and community members.

A lot of my interpersonal difficulties happen because I am seeking surrogate family replacements and attempting to shoehorn people into such a role when they are really not agreeing. I’ve got transference issues up the wazoo.

I have noticed over the past few years a weird phenomena in the bdsm community. I’ve been hanging out there since I was 18. Some of the folks I knew there I haven’t talked to much since I started teaching–really most of the community. I rarely touch base there any more. I don’t have the baby sitting to go hang out there and it just isn’t a big priority.

Anyway, a weird phenomena, folks are really happy to see me even if the last time we saw one another… we didn’t get along that well. People don’t remember the friction and the difficulty of putting up with me if I go away for a while.

I thought all of those people were gone from my life and that they hated me and I should consider myself dead to them. I’m kind of self-centered like that. (I’ve been reading a workbook on helping teenagers deal with trauma recovery because a friend is taking a graduate school course and she shared. It’s hilarious how textbook I am, still.)

I’m not really as mad at the people in the group as I think I am. I’m mad at my parents. I’m mad at my family and I’m having transference and projecting issues all over the place. I mean… I am upset. This situation is sucking for me, but it’s a lot of things sucking at once. It’s not this thing. Not really.

See, here I go with the mollifying, please don’t hate me for having big feelings shit.

Building resilience “how to” tip: avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. (From the above link.)

But but…

It’s all or nothing. How I feel right now is how I have felt for all time. What the fuck dude? You mean THIS ISN’T THE END?!?!

Fuck you and all that.

Well, I’m going to run away from home for a while. I’m not being avoidant. I’m being adventurous! (Ha. It’s all in the spin.)

Then I’ll come back. And we’ll see how scorched the bridges are.

I get really fucking mad. And I rant like fuck in my blog. But I don’t really talk about it in real life (other than with Noah, that poor guy) so either my big feelings are ok or they aren’t.

I’m definitely an opt-in experience. I am not a mandatory part of life. I’m easy to avoid. I make it as easy as I possibly can.

Holy shit I’m having big feelings. So many feelings. Oh god.

Such an asshole

In an effort to try and feel less obsessed with my own shittiness I’m spending time on my support forum. It isn’t that they are all nice to me (holy shit they aren’t) and it isn’t that they are all on my side (holy shit they aren’t) but… they understand why I’m flipping out how I’m flipping out. And they flip out in the same ways. So we can nod sagely at one another as we hit low points.

At any moment in time on the site there are people who are up and down the ladder from you in terms of functionality and symptoms. It’s like a trout to the face. “Here mofo–let me give you some perspective.”

Perspective helps me a lot.

At any moment in time there are people who are homeless because they are like me only slightly less controlled. Not severely less controlled… it’s a slight difference. I’m not a LOT better than them at controlling my issues. Just some. Privilege helps a lot. Without Noah’s support I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am. I’m reminded of that a lot.

Even if I don’t have all the support I want… even if I don’t have all the support I “need” in some existential way… I’m doing a lot better than I could be. Be grateful for that. My problems these days are quite tractable in the scheme of things.

I am very lucky. My problems cause me to feel emotionally like a trapped child…. but that doesn’t mean I am one. Instead I’m a very blessed adult. I have friends. I have support. I even have a family. Even if I don’t feel like I do. Even if I feel like a disposable piece of shit… I’m not.