The KOA is A-Ok with us.

You know what? I hear people sneer about the KOA system because it isn’t “real” camping. It isn’t primitive camping. Right this minute I am totally thrilled with that. Instead of being I’m a bad ass butch camper I am able to keep milk cold. I can live with access to a plug. And wifi, see here I type at you. While the kids play at the playground. I like this set up.

Now I get to tell you about the Yellowstone trip that wasn’t. It’s not actually that exciting of a story.

The last two nights of being in a set location has been great. I am knocking myself out so I can catch up on sleep. It’s a good thing. Sleep gets into really vicious cycles for me. Either I can’t sleep and I can’t catch up on sleep and I can’t get out of the insomnia cycle… or I’m doing ok and even I can’t understand why I often have sleeping problems. Two nights in a row of sleeping well plus good solid naps and I feel a lot better. Fewer racing thoughts. Less feeling crazy and unsafe.

I’m enjoying Wyoming. The weather is hot. The folks are nice enough. We aren’t being very social this time. That’s weird for me–traveling without talking to new people is outside my MO. Usually I’m all about making new friends. This time I’m just not. I’m too tired. I don’t have the energy to try and be social. I don’t care.

I’m feeling cranky and sad because the kids really want to write post cards to the folks in the home school group with whom I’m having problems. The kids are asking, “Why can’t I write to ____?”

I don’t want to talk about it. But we can’t. Their parents decided that things had to come to a head right now and the result is we can’t send post cards to the kids. I’m sorry.

We are trying to write post cards to other folks. It’s not like we are running short on people we know. But the kids are focusing on the three families I am not going to write to. Awkward.

I’m tired.

I did it!

I am so proud of me. After calling mechanic after mechanic and being told no… I was whining on Twitter. An internet buddy said, “Maybe I can walk you through the fix.” That caused me to think… I HAVE REWIRED BUILDINGS. WHAT AM I AFRAID OF?!

So we went to the hardware store, bought parts and now everything is fixed and it is better than it was before. Now the wire doesn’t need to be wrapped around and around so it will get pinched. Perfect.

I’m feeling a little bad ass for solving my own problem.

Bought new nuts too. Cause that’s easy. The light is reattached and works just fine.

Before we leave the hotel I am going to fill my ice chest with ice. Then we go to a grocery store to pick up perishables for the trip to Yellowstone.

Do you know what has turned out to suck a lot? The plug in ice chest. The car isn’t running very many hours a day and you *can’t* put ice in it. I don’t have access to plugs at most of our camp sites. So I seriously regret this purchase. I regret it so much that at some point I may give it to someone as we travel and buy a damn ice chest. This is not working well.

But if that is one of my biggest problems… I’m doing great. I am feeling excited and competent.

How much can I get down before my arms give out?

Holy moly. I’m having an adventure. You know what the thing is about adventures? They often kinda suck while they are happening. Let me list the problems that have come up:

  1. Leaving my National Park card at home.
  2. Losing the key to the skybox.
  3. Severing the wire that controls the trailer lights by bottoming out going into my friend’s road.
  4. Having one of the turn signals for the trailer fall off. Well, it didn’t fall off entirely. It’s hanging by a wire. But the nuts went walk about.
  5. Mis-writing down the dates for our camping dates in Idaho so I had to up and run out of Utah without really saying goodbye.
  6. Being so tired and exhausted that I was seriously worried that my kids would have to walk 5 miles to town to get help. We had an intense discussion about how to go about that. Details here.
  7. Either I’m allergic to something in Idaho or I caught the baby in Utah’s cold. My nose is dripping like a faucet. My throat hurts.
  8. I’m not sleeping much at all. Folks decided that now is the time to resolve months old drama. Fuck you very much. Because I can’t talk about any of that drama during the day and I mostly don’t have screen access to write down my racing thoughts… I feel shitty. I’m up half the night ranting and crying and feeling like shit. We must not have other people feel intimidated. The fact that I feel intimidated as fuck and I was actually assaulted instead of, you know, being a whiny bitch who reads words on the internet…

I think those are the problems so far. I bought sleeping pills. I have to sleep at night whether I like it or not.

I feel guilty, like I’m only complaining. The complaining is the stuff that loops round and round and makes it hard to focus on other stuff.

I’m actually having a lot of fun. In the rosy glow of memory this will be a wonderful experience, even with the problems. Driving is going better than I thought it would. I am so happy I didn’t have higher driving mileage goals. I was very smart to know I have limits.

I am having a hard time with the strain of the trip. I’m looking ahead to Yellowstone. I’m glad we will have five nights there. I am happy we will have more time to play during the day rather than packing and unpacking. I’m not sure I can handle the jump from Ranchester Wyoming to Mount Rushmore after that. I may need to break that up into two days of driving and stay at a hotel. I’m tired. I don’t have other long in-one-place stays until Duluth and Chicago and Michfest. Those are all 5/6 night stays. Otherwise… all the 5+ night stays are Disney. I’m a spoiled brat.

I am going through medication really slowly because I am often/usually driving until dinner time so I’m entirely unmedicated during the days. Given that I’m using 1/2 or 1/4 of my normal quantity of meds… I think my mood is going surprisingly well. I’m being more patient than I would guess.

I am really enjoying the time with the kids. I know I spend a lot of time with them anyway, but this is different. We are talking about the stuff we see. We spent a while discussing fracking earlier tonight. We are talking about farming and lifestyle choices. The kids are incredibly observant about their environment so they are pointing things out to me all over the place. We are having fun looking at the flowers. So many gorgeous flowers.

It is fun talking to them about things like rangeland and forest and desert. I like educating them. It is satisfying.

Ok, it’s bed time. Night oh internet.

Watch how people act.

I’m glad I have Noah to bounce things off of. He reminds me: watch how people act. If folks had four months to resolve an issue and they chose not to then it isn’t that they want to solve the problem so bad. It’s that they want me to not want to solve the problem. They waited until it was literally impossible to have a conversation. That means they don’t give a shit about me.

I was the only person actually harmed. But other people have feelings. So they have to write me an email telling me how bad I am for upsetting people. So that I don’t sleep for days when I am responsible for driving my children across the country.

These people don’t want to be my friends. All I have to do is look at how they treat me.

Keep on moving

Yesterday was a mixed bag. I had a lot of PTSD/anxiety symptoms early on. Lots of shaking and I couldn’t finish sentences because my mind wasn’t on what people wanted me to talk about. It’s hard to ignore where my brain is. I want to talk about what I’m thinking about not what you want me to think about.

I spent yesterday talking with my friend’s mother in law, who is a conservative Mormon. We had quite a conversation. I was polite and friendly but challenging. If you have one personal experience that causes you to believe x are you aware there are whole countries that have tried y to solve that problem and their result was z which is the opposite of what you are predicting? No you don’t believe that happened? Uhm, I can list the countries. This isn’t fictional speculation.

Luckily my friend and his wife are more open minded. Or I probably wouldn’t be here. I asked them if they would read their son books about diverse families if I mailed them some and they said yes. They will keep them in their bedroom so grammy doesn’t have a chance to object. Awesome.

I’ve been horrifying the mother in law. I’m home schooling my kids. That means I have full license to talk about shit I see out loud because I need to explain it to my kids. We are talking about the shooting in Charleston and the resultant kerfluffle over the Confederate flag. I’m a lot more balanced than you might assume. But I mention the extremes of the positions held and I say things like, “A small group of people believe the most extreme end of this argument and that argument goes like: ___.” I don’t make it sound like I agree with them unless I really do. I can present arguments I don’t believe in.

But my friend also posted fabulous pictures of gay pride parades all over the world.  I opened the link while Shanna was sitting next to me. She asked questions, of course. So I described what was going on in the pictures and gave some historical context. Specifically Shanna pointed at a picture of a person wearing a picture with transphobia written in a circle with a red line through it. She wanted to know what the word was and why the person was wearing it. So I gave her my best explanation. “You know how you know M and when she was born people believed she was a boy and it took a while for her to be able to tell folks that she wasn’t a boy she was a girl? Well, there are other people in the world who have similar experiences. Other people have gender expectations of them that do not match who they believe they are. People who believe that they have been misgendered are transgendered. People who believe they are the opposite sex, which is slightly different than gender, are transsexual. Some people believe that being trans* is wrong or disgusting or God doesn’t like it or they are afraid of people who they perceive as weird or… Lots of reasons people don’t approve. So this person is wearing the shirt to say, “It’s not ok that you are afraid of me existing. I’m just a person. Get rid of your transphobia.” With the mother in law shooting daggers in my direction. “I’m not ok with people telling children that that lifestyle is ok.” “Yeah well I’m gay so I don’t care if you approve or not.” Her eyes went WIDE.

We changed the topic like a minute or two later without being obvious about it.

Nope, I don’t back down. Period. But I’m being polite. My friend and his wife said that if I offended her mother it is probably good for her any way. Hilarious.

Today we are going to the temple and getting a tour. We are also going to Welfare Square, where they give free tours every hour on the hour. In my extremely judgmental opinion the Mormons get a lot right when it comes to community and caring for one another. I deeply approve of the way the church takes care of its members. We are going to be visiting so Shanna and Calli can see some of how that works. I believe that is an important part of coming to Utah.

I’ve had a lot of fun here and I’m glad I scheduled so many days. I have slowly been able to talk to my friend and his wife more and more with each night as I catch up on sleep and rest and can listen better with every day. I’m really enjoying hearing their stories.

Last night I saw something I haven’t seen since I was a child. I saw a mama put her baby to sleep with juice in a bottle.

You know what? I don’t even judge. I did not say “My babies went to sleep with mama milk in their mouths and nothing else because of tooth rot.” I had the fleeting thought. And then I realized that I am completely paranoid about tooth rot because of genetic susceptibility. This kid has perfect teeth. They do clean his teeth. But sometimes he goes to bed with juice. And you know what? Even though a dentist wouldn’t approve… I don’t need to decide whether I approve or not. Not my kid. Not my life. I am not dealing with their array of factors.

I have truly enjoyed my time here. They are lovely people and I’m grateful I get to know them. No, they don’t make every choice I make. That’s part of what makes them so awesome. I get to see about how other people adapt to life and challenges and brain storm solutions. Thank you for allowing me to see you.

(The baby has a nasty cold and the milk is making him extra phlegmy and the juice soothes him. I give sick babies what they want too.)

Traveling like this is showing me how very wealthy we are. That’s uncomfortable and weird and wonderful at the same time. I do not go to the grocery store with a set “I have 37.38. What can I get?” I mean… I have done so. That was my early adulthood and childhood but I don’t do that any more. Now I walk into grocery stores and say, “What do we want to eat this week? Pick a rainbow!” What privilege. I’m buying groceries and doing dishes at every stop we make. Here in Utah I’ve been making dinner because they don’t arrive home till 6pm. I don’t want to eat at 7 so I’m making it. And I clean up while they are at work.

As I sit here I ponder a lot of things. I ponder things about compatibility. Noah is the right partner for me. Noah thinks that people need to make mistakes in order to learn and life is all about learning… so life is all about fucking up and trying again. I have to have that structural support behind me or I’ll give up. I’m tired. I’m sad. I feel like a failure. For the first time in my life I have someone who says, “You aren’t scary or bad or intimidating or icki. But you have fucked up. Let’s move forward.”

He’s all about the moving forward and I love him for it so much I can barely breathe.

Folks being intimidated by me isn’t entirely about me. It is a little bit about me. But mostly it isn’t. Just like it isn’t the fault of black men that white women often find them “scary”. No they aren’t fucking scary. You are scared. There is a difference. You are scared because you want to be scared. Because you want to blame other people for your feelings. Whatever.

Do you know what is kind of awesome for my mental health? I no longer get to believe that I am receiving a specific kind of treatment because someone has a chip on their shoulder about poor people. I can get over that part of my personal shite. That’s useful.

I find it hilarious that people are far more terrified of potential violence than they are of actual violence. I was kicked in the throat but I’m the one who has to make promises to not be scary going forward. What.Fucking.Ever.

Not a safe place for me. I won’t promise to be not scary. You aren’t promising I won’t be assaulted again. You know what? No one has ever offered me an apology. But I’m supposed to just act like I’m the problem? Nope nope nope.

I’m past believing that I am the bad one in every situation.

I’m not saying I think everyone else in this situation is bad. I’m saying I am not going to promise to not be a problem. I wasn’t the problem. Go to hell.

That’s not fair to ask of me.

I really appreciate that I have Pam and Noah answering many many many emotional emails right now. I’m not saying anything snotty to other people in email. I’m sending my snark on to appropriate recipients who will say, “Yeah… just keep emailing me. It’ll be fine.”

Pam has known me for more than half my life. She doesn’t need me to promise I won’t be dangerous. She has seen me taunted and taunted and she knows I don’t react. She doesn’t need a promise. She has seen it.

I am glad that there are people who will tell me that they know the spurious observations of my character are made by people who don’t know me. But isn’t that always how it goes?

I accuse someone of rape and then I’m told it didn’t happen because other people know it didn’t happen.

Wait. Only I’m being accused of being scary and intimidating. I didn’t hurt anyone. But I’m the problem.

Oh well.

(Shanna wants me to stop writing and play Plants vs Zombies with her. I said, “Would you rather have me tell you my whiny thoughts or would you rather have me write them down in my blog? She says, “Ahh. Uhm I’ll pick a level I can play alone.” Ha.)

I’m not even being accused. My language sucks. I was asked if I want to resolve issues. I’m saying no. Maybe at some point in the future I would care about resolving these issues but if you waited four fucking months to bring this up when I’m out of state you can fucking wait until I fucking feel like talking about it. Obviously it wasn’t pressing enough to handle immediately. Or it would have been handled.

The fact that I feel intimidated, unsafe, and like I could be attacked again doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Just the fact that other people are scared of my writing.

Cry me a river then build me a bridge and get over it.

I write so that I don’t say these things in person. So I don’t do anything I’ll regret. So I don’t hit anyone. But the writing makes me just as bad or MUCH MUCH WORSE than someone who has committed assault.

I have no patience for this. Give me a break.

This has been my whole life in a nut shell. I’ve been assaulted over and over and over and over again and then people turn around and tell me that getting angry about it isn’t ok and I need to promise to not be dangerous. GO STRAIGHT TO HELL AND DO NOT PASS GO AND DO NOT COLLECT $200.

Yeah that’s my life in a nut shell. I was never allowed to be angry about my father or brother molesting me. I was not allowed to be angry about any of the rapes. I wasn’t allowed to be angry about a kid throwing me off the monkey bars on purpose even though he broke my fucking arm. I am not allowed to be angry about the little bastard who kicked me in the throat hard enough that I was in pain for many days?

You know what… I am not playing this game. I get to be angry. I’m not promising that I won’t get angry. I’m not EVER going to promise that I won’t defend myself. I don’t know what you people are going to do. I’m not going to be castrated of my defense abilities. Hell, I barely use them so it is offensive that you want to say I can’t have any such abilities at all.

When I talk about the ways in which I have hurt people… in just about every case the person consented to be hurt. The ribs I’ve cracked? The guy suggested the wrestling match or the kicking scene. I didn’t bring it up. I just won.

I haven’t hit anyone on the shoulder in a friendly gesture in almost a decade. I am just not fucking violent. But I’m a cusser. And I write angry things. So I’m bad and scary. Go the fuck to hell. This is how I process my feelings. If my feelings scare you the adult thing to do is to stop reading about them. Not to tell me to stop having them.

Time to go make breakfast.

I love you so much.

I’m having an email discussion that does not make me happy. If it could wait 4 months to happen now… it couldn’t wait another 4 months until I’m home? Apparently not. Even when I am all the way across the country I am still so intimidating that people must tell me that I am intimidating and they are scared of me and that’s my fault and I need to stop being scary.

You know what? I haven’t hit anyone. I don’t need to fucking defend that *I* am safe to be around. I am so angry that I am shaking.

I have to defend whether or not *I* am dangerous. Because someone kicked me in the throat. Go to hell.

Yeah, I went back through and read the posts where I wrote about the assault. Fine, you think he isn’t the size of a small adult. Just because I know a lot of adults who are his size, whatever. You can have that concession in the argument.

You want me to believe he isn’t dangerous and that I’m the problem here. You weren’t there when I had trouble eating for days.

I am the problem. I can either quote emails and be rude that way or paraphrase and be told I am misunderstanding and misrepresenting everything. I can’t win.

The core issue is I was kicked and then I have to promise to not be a problem. I can’t get past that. You think the issue is that I’m scaring people.

I don’t give a fuck. I was kicked in the throat and y’alls fee fees are more important than that. This is not a safe environment for me. Period.

I’m really grateful that Noah and another friend have been reading the whole email thread and discussing it with me. Thanks Pam. I appreciate you being on-demand right then.

I haven’t done anything to hurt anyone. But I’m supposed to act like I have and act like I won’t hurt anyone again.

Nope. This is a head fuck I won’t take on.

No. That’s my line

.I deleted my membership to the home school group. My safety isn’t important. I can’t stay. It is a much bigger problem for me to get angry about being assaulted than the assault. That’s not safe for me. Im glad I don’t have to drive today. I didn’t sleep and I am going to need a lot of medication so I don’t spend the whole day sobbing.

luckily the nice lady I’m staying with has panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. If I need some alone time she will get it.

So much for running away from my problems

I’m not as anonymous as I think. That makes sense. I don’t try to write anonymously.

I feel like I should bounce up and down singing that I will always always always be a problem.

Things were great until I opened my email box. I take full responsibility for the lack of pursuing resolution. Thing is, you want me to promise I won’t be a problem so people can feel safe. But I don’t feel safe and that doesn’t matter very much.

I hope that someday I will get to the point where my first impulse on reading such messages isn’t to hurt myself. I’m not there. This is my problem and not anyone else’s. I am not blaming anyone or claiming I shouldn’t have to resolve issues.

I do resolve issues. When there is an upside for me. When I feel like the end result will involve me feeling safe and welcome. I am pretty certain this environment will never be safe for me.

Anxiety in Portland

I was trying to remember and I think this may be the first time I’ve slept in this house. I’ve slept with my friend twice, once before the marathon and once in Hawaii. But I’m pretty sure I’ve never slept in her house. That’s kind of interesting given how far I travel to see her. I am terrified of imposing on her. I’m not sure why.

Why had an intense chat last night about communication. I’ve muddled several steps along the way this trip.

What I want to remember is, “I hate that you try not to take up space. I see you trying to be smaller. Stop it.”

We spoke frankly about the fact that she doesn’t like the way my inside voice reads her text. My inside voice is kind of nasty. The only way to get a personalized inside voice inside my head is to talk at me for many hours over many years. I hear Noah in his voice. Sarah. Debbie. Kira. I can still hear some Anna phrases. Brittney is hard. I can hear Jenny.

I think everyone else gets over written with the voice I have. That voice is not very nice. I’m always angry, mostly at me. I feel like I’m a failure and a loser and that is the voice I read everyones text in. It causes me some communication problems.

Yes, I know that this is on the list of things I need to change. This is going to be really hard.

Mostly I’m trying to overwrite people with Shanna and Calli and the girls aren’t that big yet. Lots of things we haven’t talked about yet so they haven’t had a chance to become the dominant noise in my head. We’ll get there.

I’m scared to leave Portland even though I feel a lot of anxiety in this house. I know it isn’t their fault I feel anxiety. My friend and her husband both bend over backwards to help us feel comfortable.

We arrived and instantly broke a glass/ceramic vase. Whoops. (In our defense it was *right behind a swing*.) We swing harder than they do. We didn’t know that they have a firm rev limiter on their swing even when glass pitchers aren’t sitting right behind it. Oh. Well, now we know. Uhm.

I’m the only one still upset. Both of them moved on quickly. It was an accident. He was mostly worried that someone got cut. They were really nice and not upset for more than about a minute. About as long as it took them to process the whole chain of events and understand that it was an accident. But I feel really upset still and I don’t know when I will calm down. Fuck.

I am so scared of making them mad or making them not like me any more… that my fear is a real problem and it makes them not like me as much. That’s the Catch 22 of my life. I can stand here in their kitchen and see how this is like 80% me spinning my wheels and they are just… not involved as I wind myself up… But here I am. Crying in the kitchen because I’m scared. This is fucking ridiculous. I want a new brain.

This feels completely unfair. I should be able to feel fucking secure in this house. This woman flew to Long Beach on short notice to run a marathon with me. She up and flew to Hawaii with me and another friend… just because she likes us. And I’m standing in her kitchen crying because I’m scared she doesn’t really like me. She’s just trying to be nice to the pathetic charity case.

No. No. No. She’s not like that.

Pretty much where I am right now is I need to act like I believe in her love. Because it is real. It has been demonstrated so many times in so many ways. If I’m feeling insecure… well… ok. That’s a feeling. It shouldn’t dictate my behavior. I need to stop crying because people are starting to move around. I don’t want to bother anyone.

Hurry up Krissy. Cry harder for just a few minutes. Then stop and put it away. The space for that is over.

I’m really grateful I have friends who are willing to keep trying to show me that they love me in quiet, calm, just there kind of ways. I hope that some day I will be able to honor that dedication by believing it in the simple way it deserves to be accepted.

Randomly: for cosleeping Calli has been sleeping in the middle so Shanna doesn’t kick me. Only when I wake up in the morning Shanna is in the middle with her feet in my face. It’s actually kind of hilarious. I didn’t get kicked so it all worked out.

Moving south

Today we leave Dad’s house. That will be hard. I have really enjoyed my time here. Although it will also be a good thing. I’m sleeping for shit. I’m thinking a thousand thoughts a minute about all the things I want to say to him and we save our conversations for after the kids are in bed so… I’m way short on sleep. I need to move on before I hurt myself.

The talking has been wonderful. You know how I sometimes go on these really big tirades and write and write and write about politics and race and rape and incest and money and class and… heh. You know how I “sometimes” do that? Yeah he got the in person version over the last week. He has looked kind of stunned. I’ve never uhm shared my opinions on such a diverse array of topics quite so freely before. He’s kind of re-meeting me.

You want to claim you are my Dad so you need to get to know me. We’ve had several pointed, “Are you committed to this relationship?” conversations.

Apparently his bio-daughter is not very happy about me. I can understand that and I hold no rancor in my heart. I’m sorry that my existence makes her uncomfortable. I can understand why it does. All of the other “daughters” have been girlfriends who moved on. I haven’t. I’m not a girlfriend and I never have been. I’m an adopted kid. Who he has beaten and fucked. Because that has been part of my relationship with all of my dads.

I can understand why that would make someone uncomfortable. I’m on a fucking weird life path.

But he’s ok walking that path with me and I don’t really care if other people approve or not. He is adapting to the changes in our relationship. We have had an incredibly frank and detailed conversation about the changes in boundaries in my sex life. “What if I did ____?” “Well you’d have a time of untangling your fingers from your internal organs after I ripped your arm off and shoved it down your neck.” “Ok then. So you’re saying that is off the table.” “Yup.”

Quite frankly I think this is an incredibly healthy transition for both of us. We are consciously committing to a mutually supportive relationship that doesn’t have to be based on hurting one another. The hurting one another wasn’t a problem when it was where we both were. I’m not there right now. Are you with me or not?

He says he is with me.

He is scared about some of my choices. He asked me last night if I was truly aware of how much I was risking my life with some of the choices I make in terms of activism. I said I was fully aware that women who speak publicly about the things I choose to speak about often get killed. I’m aware that the status quo doesn’t like what I think.

Dad got to hear about the full extent of my suicidality this trip. He’s had dim awareness that I was a cutter.

It is kind of funny to me how people claim to know me… but don’t read my blog… and wow… they don’t know shit. I think I unload my emotions on fewer people than I think. I’m really hard on the people I unload on… but the list isn’t that long. I think I perceive myself as someone who dumps on everyone who walks by… but that isn’t how it goes. I have more boundaries than I think I do.

I am continually surprised to find out that people have known me for a decade and a half and they don’t know major facts about my life.

I can recite your fucking bio in my sleep. I know details about your life before I met you. I can rattle off your hobbies and accomplishments and fuck ups with great specifics.

What the fuck do you mean you don’t know much about me?! WTF!?

I’m self absorbed. Everyone should function like me. Ahem.

I’m going to miss Dad. And I am never going to live near him full time. Our relationship would dissolve and I like it very much. I like the support I get when I see him. He doesn’t have the stamina for me. He can’t be the kind of consistent I need on a regular basis. I can handle what he has to give when I visit once a year. I don’t resent his limits this way. I just adapt while I’m here.

I ask tactless questions a lot to frame how ridiculous we both are. “So my control freak issues are running into your control freak issues. Which part of this one is your real bug-a-boo? The process or the result because you vary from issue to issue.”

He kind of glares at me for a minute as he thinks about it. Then we discuss it and work out how we can adapt to one another.

It is weirdly a lot of fun for me. He is really ok with blunt negotiations. The bdsm community has been good for him. If you can say, “What I really want to do is tie your legs wide open so I can single tail your clit” you can have a conversation about just about any stupidly specific and personal topic.

Ok.. that isn’t actually true about everyone in the scene. But it is true of the two of us and I love that about him.

We’ve talked a lot about eating and dietary choices with the kids. Exercise habits. Modeling and why we do the things we do. Being responsible to and for our kids and how that creates a permanent reason to take care of ourselves because… we owe them a long life.

He says I have made him think about many of his choices in new ways. I believe that.

Last night he told me he feels adrift and he isn’t sure how to get ahead of the curve. He’s had a really hard several years. I said, “That sounds like a request for advice.” He said yes.

Oh I gave advice. “What you need to do is over the next year ask for help from Person A and Person B and Person C and go through the house and the storage unit. Sell anything you don’t have a really strong desire to keep. Donate what you can’t sell. Time to downsize. You don’t need a big house and property and you can’t keep up with the work. Sell before you degrade the house and can’t make money back. Buy something outright. Buy something small and manageable.”

He has inherited the estates of three rich people. He has an overwhelming amount of stuff and he simply can’t afford to keep the shit. He didn’t get the money. That went to charities. He just got burdened with the shit.

People are hilarious. They really don’t think about what they are doing to the people around them.

Get it in your head that you are putting the house on the market in June of 2016. That will be the end of your time here. 14 years in one spot.

It’s going to be hard to leave. His second marriage had its whole life here. But she’s gone and he has to move on. He can’t support this household without her.

Life is about constantly changing your goals as your resources and abilities change. Things go up and down and you have to be realistic about your capabilities or you will over-promise and under deliver. Or you can sell yourself short and never attain the things you are capable of doing.

Re-evaluate yourself. Where do you want to be putting your time and energy? Do you really want to have to spend 30+ hours a week on cleaning and house maintenance only to watch it fall into constant decline because it really needs 60 hours of work every week? That’s depressing. You feel like a constant failure even though you really are doing your best.

I’m going to cry a lot when he moves. This is Francesca’s house. She loved me here. She made me feel safe here. She is a lot of the reason Dad and I worked out some bumps in the early years. I miss her very much. But our obligation to her is over. It is time to sell off her stuff and her step-dad’s stuff and her mom’s stuff and move on.

She died before we could pay our debt to her. That’s a guilt we have to bear and move on with.

We can take that and pay it forward. That is how she would want us to do it. She wouldn’t want us to wither at home with shame and regret. She would want us to pay it forward. She would say we don’t owe her. We owe the universe. It’s never really a two way street.

That’s what is so hard about parenting. It’s never really reciprocal. I have taken more from Dad than I’ve given. Mostly… what I can give at this point is support as he transitions to a different sense of self.

He’s not a swinging bachelor of means. He needs to stop trying to act like he is. That time of life is over.

There are consequences to not seeing how you are changing. How many do you want to have smack you in the face?

He asked me if I believed he was capable of change at this point in his life. I laughed and said I wouldn’t be in his house if he hadn’t changed and changed again over the last decade and a half. Yes. I believe you are capable of changing. It’s not the tooth fairy. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen you adapt. I’ve seen you resolve to improve on how you manage specific issues. Yes, there have been back slides in some areas, but you continue to improve in broad swaths.

But life is complicated. As you improve in some areas you completely screw up other areas. That’s how it goes.

It seems to me that wisdom is partially understanding that you will never be good at everything. You will never have the inter-personal abilities plus money abilities plus physical abilities plus education abilities and and…

Look at what you actually do with your time. You are good at parts of it. The rest… well… it’s done enough. THE HOUSE DIDN’T BURN DOWN. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!

I don’t cook much. I can’t do it. I turn into a screaming banshee.

It’s not that I “can’t cook”. I can actually cook quite well. But I need to be calm and have a lot of patience and a lot of quiet and a lot of time and nothing else going on in order to do it in a peaceful way. Or I start twitching and shrieking things like, “JUST GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN BEFORE I STRANGLE YOU OH MY GOD WHY DID YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO DO?!?!?!!?!”

I understand that this is part of an age old tradition between mothers and daughters. But with the whole home schooling thing… it’s a problem if I won’t show them how to do things. So it’s complicated.

I’ve been priming the pump with the kids about how things will shift when we leave Grandpa’s house. We are going to a dun dun dun… screen free house. Ok, they own a tv. A big one. But they don’t turn it on. Or they use it for internet browsing. They watch very occasional cooking shows or Myth Busters. They are basically a kid screen-free house.

So uhm, don’t spend all day talking about video games and cartoons. You can talk about books, games you like to play, imaginary stuff you like to do… lots of topics. Don’t spend all day talking about the Minecraft tutorials. That is horribly boring when someone isn’t interested. We won’t be there very long. Be polite.

I have no idea if Shanna is listening. We’ll see.

We came here from Aunt Cookie’s and her only tv watching is Martha Stewart show reruns and Mayberry because her parrot will repeat things from the television. She won’t risk a peppery word in her house. (I kind of horrified her. And the kids taught the parrot to say “poop poop poop”. She was not pleased.) It’s not like we can’t get along with folks who don’t do video games. But she had to listen to a lot about the tutorial makers. Her eyes glazed over. I tried to rescue her.

Shanna can give you a full run down on the benefits and deficits of different tutorial makers and I think it is hilarious. I only half listen. I stood and listened to the new one for a few minutes last night. I wasn’t pleased. He’s an asshole. I told her flat out, “I like so-and-so and I like that other guy because they are silly and kind in how they give instructions. I don’t like this new guy. The way he is saying his friend might not really be a boy because he hasn’t seen proof? That’s bullshit. That’s a jerk thing to do. Questioning someone else’s gender is not ok. If I ever hear you do that, you aren’t watching this channel any more. If you want to know that assholes like that exist I’m not going to stop you from finding out they exist. But you had better not become one.”

Her eyes were kind of big. She nodded and said, “I wouldn’t do that. I just thought it was cool how he built _____.”

“That’s fair enough. He did build a cool ______. I can see why you would admire it. Feel free to learn his Minecraft skills. Don’t learn his interpersonal skills.”

“Got it.”

Man this is a quoting-myself-heavy-post. I want to share it with Noah. I miss you, oh my witness. I WANT TO TALK AT YOU FOR ABOUT TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT.

I miss you.

I’ve gotta say, it’s kind of wild talking about a lot of the things I write about. To an entrenched white male. Oh man. It’s interesting phrasing and efforts. I have extreme biases. I’m aware of that. I’m working on and with where I am right now.

Dad is a soft sell on many of my more radical ideas. He will listen and help me construct rebuttals to arguments. Not necessarily on purpose, but he argues with me and that gives me practice debating the things I’m going to need to be able to debate without shrieking.

Not sure I can ever be a cook in a high pressure situation though. That may be beyond me in this lifetime.

More Portland notes

Part of what I love so much about my friends is they don’t hesitate to say, “Why are you cleaning his house? I thought you weren’t going to do that any more.” WHY MUST YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I SAY AND THEN HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

What the hell.

Why am I cleaning Dad’s house while I am here? Because this is the filthiest I have ever seen his house in 14 years of knowing him. He is very depressed. He is very overwhelmed by life. He can no longer afford to hire help and he is way in over his head.

I can’t watch someone who has taken me to the hospital when I was sick sit and suffer in a situation where a few hours of minor labor on my part will help solve the problem. Part of the depression problem is he feels used up and useless and unwanted and and.

It is hard to love yourself and take care of yourself when you don’t perceive that other people love you. I love him very much. I want to help remind him that he is worth loving.

So I clean his house. Not the whole thing. But he’s having a big party this weekend after we leave and now he’ll be ready without frantic work. And he was out of Kleenex so we bought him four boxes. Because no really he is struggling financially. Things are bad.

I am paying off my mortgage as fast as humanly possible and I never want to owe money again. Dad is really in a bad place and it scares the ever loving shit out of me. He’s not in danger of being homeless soon, but his life is on a downward trajectory. Period. He’s in his decline. It reminds me that Noah and I have one of those coming up. I need to make sure we will not end up in Dad’s position.

Part of the reason that Dad is screwed is the way community property stuff works in Washington. He didn’t just get everything that his wife had when she died. It was a real mess. And expensive. And she had been the one with the well paying job and all of a sudden he had to keep the whole ship afloat alone. It’s been bad.

If I die I don’t want Noah to go through this kind of situation. I will never be in a position like Dad–I am too basically frugal. Noah could end up there if he wasn’t careful. If I’m not careful enough in advance. I’m doing everything in my power to keep Noah and I safe through our old age. I’m trying as hard as I can to ensure that even if we divorced some day I have been frugal enough that neither of us will suffer in our old age. I want to do right by him. Noah has done right by me. He has given me everything I wanted and more. I owe him. I owe him a comfortable, happy life forever if it is in my power to effect.

Dad came and picked me up and took me to the hospital when I was 19 and homeless and hiding at my boyfriend’s house when he was at work. Dad said that I was too sick to stay home because I could die. (We had been chatting on IRC about my various physical issues that day.) When we got to the ER I had a nasty bacterial infection. Dad was probably right that I could have died in the next day or so if I had left my boyfriend’s house to go sit in my car and cry from the pain. That was my Plan A.

I would not be alive if not for my friends. I can pinpoint specific times over and over again. I don’t think I would have survived my father and brother committing suicide without Jenny. I’m absolutely sure that without having her to go to both nights I would have walked into traffic on a major highway.

I don’t owe Aunt Cookie anything. I don’t owe Aunt Candy anything. If Noah and I split up I would only hear from them to facilitate visits with the kids. They don’t give a shit about me. They aren’t my family.

I owe Dad. I owe Jenny. I owe Sarah. I owe Kira. I owe Noah. I owe Marcie. I owe Anna. I owe Brittney.

I’m not still in contact with all of those people. Doesn’t matter. They walked away from the relationship, not me. The door will be open until the day I die. I owe them a debt I can never repay. There is no end to the debt.

In my mind the only thing that someone can do to completely discharge my debt to them is to become a threat to my children. That slams the door forever. That is the only thing that can. Abusing me doesn’t slam the door. But my children are sacrosanct.

I can forgive people abusing me. Mostly I understand how I help provoke the behavior. I rather enjoy such dynamics. But not my children. Never my children.

We’ve been talking a lot about boundaries and saying no and being a good person. Shanna is in a phase where she really wants things to be black and white. “If you buy Nestle products you are a bad mom.” Actually honey… that’s not true. Just about everyone in America buys Nestle products and they aren’t all bad moms. Buying Nestle has nothing to do with whether or not they are good moms. That’s orthogonal. Then I had to explain orthogonal and draw a picture.

Man, Calli is obsessed with asking, “What does ______ mean?” I think she asks that question about 500 times to every 1 time Shanna asks. It is trippy. I’m not sure what it means about their varying vocabularies. Calli really needs to have new concepts ripped apart. Shanna absorbs a new word and then holds it until she can understand and apply it. Shanna rarely asks for definitions.

Anyway, back to Nestle/boundaries/being a good person… We keep talking about how being a good person isn’t based on one set of behaviors or one measure. It’s not about whether you do x. Nothing in life is that simple. Nothing. Nothing.

Being a good person is about making mistakes and apologizing and trying to do better. It’s not about being perfect to start with. No one is perfect. Trying for perfection will fail and drive you crazy.

Ran out of time.

Family

Dealing with Noah’s family is complicated. I am not that inclined to shut my mouth and put up with awful because… I get no positive out of knowing them. I mean, his parents send money and his aunts send boxes of candy around holidays. If these windfalls evaporated from my life I wouldn’t miss them. I don’t plan for the money. I feel awkward about accepting it. I accept it because they are Noah’s family and they have the right to give him things.

I don’t care. If I never heard from any of them again I would be just fine. They are not integral to my sense of self. They aren’t my family. Why should I make myself smaller in order to make them feel like they are correct?

Nope.

I have nothing to gain by keeping my mouth shut and letting the status quo continue. The status quo is not a good place for me.

Silence in the face of atrocity is how I ended up with the horrifying childhood I had. I’m never going to be silent again. Even if it offends the shit out of everyone. Even if I never get another box of candy.

Right now I’m watching a movie about Grace of Monaco. It is fascinating watching Nicole Kidman pretend to learn the history of the country so she can take on the role of princess. I can see why she learns what she learns for the sake of her children.

My children don’t need me to learn how to be a serene highness. Thank G-d.

But I need to consciously try to facilitate them having relationships with these racist fuckers. Why? Because they are family. I’m not part of the family. Not really. I am a facilitator. I am an extension. I am Shanna and Calli and Noah’s family. I am not Aunt Cookie’s family. I am not Aunt Candy’s family. I’m the mother of their great-nieces which isn’t the same as family. I’m unavoidable but I am not likable.

So I drive the kids around the country. And I take dictation as they write letters to these people. I will help them make phone calls when they get just a bit older. And the whole damn time I will be arguing with the messages they receive.

No, your family is not superior to other people. The relatives who tell you that you are better are lying. You are just a person. A wonderful person, but just a person. You need to earn your own merit. It is not automatic based on your appearance.

We had an interesting conversation yesterday. The Godmamas came up again. In reference to some people are ok with mellow yellow and some people really aren’t. Shanna made a comment to the effect that we are better people if we are more worried about the drought than the cleanliness of our toilet.

I told her that the two have no relationship whatsoever and she is very wrong if she believes that one measure like that decides what makes a good person. I am *not* a better person than your Godmamas. Well, they aren’t the Godmamas any more. I’m still not a better person. I worry about different things. I focus on different things. I spend my time and energy in different ways. Doesn’t mean I’m better. I’m different.

I don’t think I’m better than Aunt Cookie or Candy either. Even if they have opinions that are distinctly racist. Even if they have dozens of opinions that make me sick to my stomach… that doesn’t mean I’m a better person.

I’m a person with giant flaws, just like everyone else.

I need people to call me on my flaws in order for me to grow and change and become better. I am better than I was. I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do not aspire to perfection. I’m an asshole and ok with that.

The difference between me and the aunts is… I know I’m an asshole. They would hotly deny that they are. Even though they believe that people who end up homeless deserve to suffer. They think that their beliefs are just “justice”.

But I’m the only one who knows I’m an asshole. I think that human beings deserve dignity and support so I’m an unconsciounable asshole. Good thing I can live with that. I can be the kind of rude where I challenge racists in my life. I can’t be the kind of rude where I just shut up and allow people to be awful. I do not choose going along with the flow for the good of bigots. I do not care about avoiding conflict. If you want to avoid conflict with me you can leave the room.

That is the assurance that men walk around with. If you want to avoid an argument with them you can leave the room. I’ve decided that it is a trait and I want it. So I adopted it. I don’t back off.

I wouldn’t be here if I were more namby pamby.

I’m not important. I’m not special. I’m not someone who changes things. My reality distortion field only extends as far as my voice can reach. Maybe that is why I am so fucking loud now.

I didn’t used to be loud. When I was a child I was constantly in trouble for mumbling. No one could ever hear me. I got yelled at by dozens of teachers because I would raise my hand and then no one could understand me.

I don’t have that problem now.

I’m also getting better about being able to challenge people without having to scream at them. It’s progress. Now I can challenge in a flat voice. That’s a big improvement and I’m happy about it.

I have no interest in learning to avoid conflict. I do have interest in learning how to have conflict without acting like a harpy. Conflict is fine. Conflict is about challenging the status quo. I have a serious problem with the status quo. I want to change it.

The status quo involves too many people suffering terribly because of structural inequalities. I’m not ok with that. Structural inequalities need to be addressed. We are at a point in history where we have no justification beyond pure greed for continuing to allow this many people to live with starvation and homelessness.

We have major structural racial problems in the world. Not just in my country. Acting like they aren’t real is… not something I can do. Not even to make someone feel more comfy about how short sighted their world is. Can’t do it.

I will always be willing to point out real, hard things. Even if that makes me an asshole. I think that is my role here. Sometimes I’m wrong about the things I think I see. That’s highly inconvenient.

Sometimes I don’t know how to translate what I see into useful words that other people can understand. Frequently I don’t know the approach that will spur other people into seeing things as I see them. I don’t know how to be the universal translator. I wish I could be.

I wish I could be.

Lots of big feelings

The trip is going well. I am so gosh darned tired I feel like I might slip into a puddle and never solidify into a solid being again.

I had a hard time with Noah’s aunts. They grew up in particular times and places and they believe what they believe. Unfortunately for them there is a whole bunch of evidence proving that their beliefs suck.

I am highly dysregulated. I am having a hard time calming down. Too many conversations about poverty and homelessness and race. I really don’t respect the opinions they have.

One aunt spent a long time telling me about how much she enjoys reading the journals of settlers and colonials. They only killed people when they had no choice.

Uhm… go read something written by the folks that the settlers barely avoided killing. You will hear a very different story.

No. The white assholes who showed up on this continent because they were being chased out of their European homes did not kill Native Americans because the Natives were trying to persecute the white people. No. No. No. No.

We are interlopers here. We do not get to claim that our existence here is just about our basic survival. We are stealing in order to survive.

Depending on how you look at it, all humans have been thieves since the beginning. We steal from plants and animals in order to survive. That’s complicated. It’s a hard ethical conundrum. Vegetarians believe that by not eating flesh that you are fine for how you are stealing. Vegans think it must be even more strict and milk and eggs are also over the line.

But no one ever objects to stealing from the artichokes or carrots or cauliflower. We’ve decided they can’t matter.

But that’s kind of funny.

Throughout history many groups of human beings have decided that other groups of human beings don’t matter in similar ways. Sometimes we make these evaluations based on race. Sometimes based on economic privilege. Sometimes based on work choices. If you look around the planet, folks feel free to shit on sex workers in almost every country that exists. Even though sex work is one of the most universal, oldest professions that exists. We still want to punish any individual who engages in it.

Why?

One of the aunts spent a lot of time telling me that she hated the Occupiers and she thinks folks who are homeless are just lazy and they need to get a job.

I told her, are you aware that it takes two or more full time jobs to afford rent, not including utilities or food or a car in most states for people who work minimum wage? You bought your property in 1981 with help. No, other people can’t do what you did. It is really awful for you to think that people who can’t do what you did are lazy. How dare you.

You bought a property for fairly cheap. You had help for 20 years of your mortgage. How dare you say that other people who can’t do what you did are lazy.

Are you aware that historically speaking black people have been shut out of owning property?

This is not about lazy.

Are you aware that the largest race riot in our American history was white people who were jealous that black people were doing too well? But we’ve had a lot of race riots. Mostly they erupt because white people are persecuting non-whites. It is bullshit.

I don’t deal well with people who are incapable of seeing the layers of privilege that built their lives. We are all made up of support and relationships with people. Unfortunately there are major demographics who have traditionally not received support. And they are currently struggling much more significantly than demographics that have traditionally received more support.

I want to equalize that. We can’t go back and fix everything bad that has ever happened. I don’t want to. That’s not the point of life. But we can make it so the people who are alive right now have more access to ways to better their lives.

We don’t have to punish people for being disadvantaged. We don’t have to punish people for being icki and poor and not what we want to look at. We can choose compassion. We can choose to help people just because they exist and they should exist.

I want you to exist. Even when I don’t like you. Even if I want to shout at you because your opinions are just flat terrible.  You do worthy things. Even if those things don’t benefit me in any way shape or form. Not everything is about me.

Not everyone has to benefit me in order to be worthy.

I’m getting better at defending the intensity of my opinions without having to scream at people and tell them how much I hate them for having the opinions they have. I’m glad for that. I am modeling better behavior for my children. I am teaching them to be fierce, but not mean.

I’m trying. I’m trying to model what I think should exist. Have strong opinions. They matter. They help. They are important. But try to express them in a way that will educate instead of alienate.

I really suck at that.

Last night was so awesome. Dad and I got stoned together and I unloaded on him. He’s not an emotional guy. He doesn’t really want to hear about feelings. Ha ha mother fucker. You adopt me and you get what you get. If you want to be my Dad you get to find out what I’m like. And that means listening to an hour or so of emotional unloading every other year or so. Suck it, buddy. Just cope. You can manage.

He did. He’s wonderful to me. I listened to what was going on with his life. He is struggling more than I am. That’s… kind of weird to me. He’s supposed to be the stable grown up. Only now I’m the stable grown up. How the fuck did that happen?

He’s had a hard time since his wife died. Things have been rocky. It makes sense. That has been seven years now. His business failed and that was really hard financially and emotionally. He likes his current job, but it doesn’t pay that much and he has a lot of bills. Complicated. He’s really depressed.

He expresses admiration for my obsessive saving. Which is awkward. I appreciate his positive feedback on my skills but it is uncomfortable too. I don’t think I should be doing better than other people. That is not my self-perception. If I do something well, emotionally, I want it to be because any one can do it and it isn’t very hard. That isn’t true any more though. I’m good at a lot of things that most people suck at. I am an incredibly skilled person.

That’s hard to accept sometimes. I don’t ever get to use the excuse that I just can’t any more. I can find a way. That’s daunting. Overwhelming. Too much pressure. I don’t want to be able to find a way. I want to have the excuse that I don’t have to.

But I’m exceptionally competent. If I don’t do something it is probably because I choose not to and not because I can’t. That’s…

Shit. I’m out of excuses. I like excuses.

Talking to Dad is intense on a variety of levels. As the years go by I am increasingly willing to share my opinion on what I see. “You are selfish in a short sighted way. If we could get your selfishness to see the long-view then I think your romantic life would improve.” He is strangely willing to listen to me now whereas ten years ago he snorted and said what the hell do I know.

Now he’s had two marriages go badly and mine is doing well and he’s willing to listen.

He spent a lot of time questioning whether I was on the road trip because my marriage is rocky. He had a really hard time believing that Noah would be ok with this kind of separation unless we were on the verge of divorce.

Nope, we are very happy together. Lots of sex. Lots of good conversation. We really enjoy one another’s company. But I’m a traveler and he’s not. He loves me anyway just like I love him for being a home body. We are ok with supporting one another through divergent experiences. We don’t have to do everything together. It’s ok if we are different.

It is part of why I am so very happy to be married to Noah. He doesn’t want a Mrs. Noah Gibbs who is there to facilitate his life. He wants to be partnered with Krissy Gibbs. Who is bad ass and does cool things.

He’s bummed when people think I’m cool because he married me. He thinks that is missing the point of me. I am not cool because he sticks his dick in me. I’m cool so he wants to stick his dick in me. People should get the order right.

I really like Noah. I am ridiculously happy to be married to someone who trusts me and who works as hard as he works. I like hard workers. I like people who pick goals and then put their head down and accomplish them come hell or high water. I really like Noah. He inspires me. He also taunts me and I want to punch him for it. But I don’t because we do not have that kind of relationship.

Noah causes me to think really hard about my ever expanding repertoire of skills. He isn’t ok with me minimizing my abilities. He says, “Nope. You don’t get to think you are incompetent any more. You probably never were but you don’t get to think it now.”

I cannot express what knowing him has meant to me. He believes in me. He believes in me the way other people believe in G-d. He thinks I can just do things. So I can.

Thank you.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to the world if everyone had someone who believed in them as much as Noah believes in me. It would be a really incredible planet. I wish I could see that planet.

I want to be part of a world where people build one another up instead of tearing each other down. That was the hard part of dealing with the aunts. I didn’t want to tear them down in the process of educating them and that is hard. Tearing people down is so much easier than building them up.

How do you teach people to see that they are privileged because they grew up with a highly educated parent who had the ability to teach them a variety of skills that other people never know exists? How do you teach people to see that they are lucky and blessed because they got to have abusive help for a period of time?

Some people get no help at all. Not even packaged with abuse. No one wants to help them from the get-go.

Can we get over this idea that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? That’s a crock of shit. The people who survive and who do well are people who have neighbors who show up to help. Not people who do it alone.

I’ve tried doing it alone and I’ve tried finding a network of support. Finding the network is horrifyingly hard. It is emotionally draining and hurtful. There are hundreds of false starts. It feels hopeless most of the time. But then you notice that this time when you fell down someone was there to grab your elbow and keep you from landing on the concrete.

I believe in the MonkeySphere. I believe my connections to human beings are the reason I am alive. Mostly through Shanna and Calli and Noah, but my friends are important. My friends matter so much.

If I weren’t at Dad’s house I wouldn’t be able to see the extent of how much he loves me and would do if I needed it. He’s never going to be able to provide financial support–he might need it in the future. But he has been emotional support for almost 16 years. He has supported me through many different changes in my life. He adapts with me as I change radically and he really wishes he didn’t have to.

I see you. I appreciate you.

Looks like my kids are going to be his grandkid experience. His bio-kids are respectively one and two years younger than me. His son is only going to have children if there is a catastrophic accident and he’s considering pre meditative surgery. Just to be safe. Dad’s bio-daughter is 30 and doesn’t have a partner. Her mom would like her to have kids but she isn’t real interested in single parenting and things aren’t lining up.

It is weird seeing that I am creating a place for myself. I am in the middle of generations. I help interpret going up and going down. I really appreciate that I get to spend so much of my life teaching people how to get along. Kids and adults. That probably isn’t how other people see how I spend my time… but it is how I see what I’m doing. I give other adults a lot of feedback. I try to do it in ways that won’t cause them to turn around and yell at me to back off (I’m pretty deft) but I’m a bossy motherfucker. I’m going to volunteer my view whether you like it or not.

And there are people who keep me around even though I’m highly obnoxious. My life is great.

Last night I told Dad that I feel very safe unloading on him at this point because I know that he likes having me around. He laughed and asked why I am so sure. I said, “I’ve watched you for a lot of years. When you are done with people you get mean. Your jokes are more and more cutting. You point out their flaws more frequently and with more venom. It is hard to watch when you are doing it to people I like. It is part of why I don’t spend more time with you. I don’t want to wear out my welcome. You have never treated me that way and I want to continue this trend.”

He got quiet and thoughtful. After a while he nodded and said, “You are right. I do like you a lot. I’m not sick of you.” He didn’t say that much more about it. He’s not the sort.

I’m sitting in Dad’s back yard resting. I’m thinking about doing some weeding. He’s been really sad and just isn’t keeping up with the house and yard. I cleaned his pipes this morning. If you are going to pollute your lungs, at least don’t do it through an inch of tar, come on.

I’ll clean the kitchen after lunch and before I make dinner. Boy it needs it. I’ll probably clean the bathroom tomorrow because there is mildew starting. This house is more than twice the size of my house, I can see why he is having a hard time keeping up. He used to be able to pay help and now he can’t. I think he should down size but it’s complicated.

Everything is complicated.

Maybe the girls and I will come out here and weed his beds and run over to a nursery. We can put a handful of low-maintenance veggies in so he continues to feel loved after we leave. It is weird how plants do that. I don’t understand it, but I’m starting to see it and exploit the loop hole. Yay for exploitable techniques.

Holy moly we’ve been seeing great yards. Aunt Cookie and my friend W have gorgeous yards. These ladies are accomplished. It was a real treat to visit and see the results of their hard work. I feel so inspired. I need to touch some dirt. I need to put in more plants. The planet needs more plants.

Maybe I can ask him if one of his beds can be a wild flower seed mix for birds and butterflies. So when the flowers come up he can think of us.

We love you and we want you to be here.

I love pot. Today I’m not driving so I’m heavily medicated. Right in this moment I feel like if the biggest burdens in my life are dealing with some classist, racist, mostly decent people… I can work with that. I like educating people. I will learn how to talk about these topics. It is very important to me that people like them learn why they are wrong. I understand that they will be more likely to listen to someone they perceive as being like them. They see me as being like them.

They are wrong as fuck, but that’s ok.

It’s an exploitable loop hole. No, I’m not like you. But I know how to ape some of your class markers and I have learned to do so out of self-preservation. I have learned how to make people like you stop hitting me. I’m not like you.

I’m never going to stop being a fierce person. I believe it is necessary. But I want to learn how to temper it when I choose. I want it to be more under control. I want it to be a tool in my tool box and not the defining explanation of what I’m like. I believe that being capable of violence is necessary for self preservation. I’m going to get better at being lethal and learn how to stop the bullshit posturing.

I don’t need to win the dick contests. Even though mine is bigger.

I don’t like what I win. How is being the biggest dick a good thing?

Well, it’s a good thing when I can get men to back the fuck off of being bossy and/or controlling but quick. There has to be another way.

I struggle with the grey area of wanting to be more open and inviting and wanting to be all go the fuck away.

What is the path? Who knows. I’m just walking.

Holy crud out of the blue

I was sitting at dinner with my lovely family and out of the blue I had really strong visualization of cutting myself really badly. Cutting myself in flamboyant, very attention-getting ways. Razor blades from the wrist to the elbow. Screaming and flailing at the same time.

I have no idea where this visualization came from. It was sudden. It was intense. I had to really consciously choose to not beat my head on the table because my first impulse was to try and get it out of my head by beating my head on the table. Like I almost slammed my face into my dinner. It was disorienting and weird.

I have no idea what the fuck is up with that. Not fun.

Otherwise I’m pretty sure I’m done packing other than perishable food. It will take about 15 minutes to round it up.

We leave in just over 17 hours. I’m tired and feeling kind of flattened.

I’m going to sleep a lot. Tomorrow I want to take a very very very long bath. With epsom salts.

I find it weird that I had the intense visualization given that my general anxiety level has been going down all day. As I get closer to “go” I’ve been settling down. I’ve been feeling better. All of a sudden I feel completely not ok. But I’m going to sit on this.

How I feel doesn’t really matter. What matters is what I do. I noted to Noah, “I’ll write about it later. This is when it started.” I’m pretty sure that other than blinking more times than usual I didn’t otherwise act inappropriately.

Right this second I’m scared of going so long without a consistent witness. Who will make sure I’m appropriate?

Well tonight Noah asked/gave Calli permission to call me on having a negative attitude. I suppose she will be the one to make sure I’m not too much of a bitch.

Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking love that my children have the courage to stand up to me? Grown men are afraid of me. Not my bad ass little babies.

Shanna is developing a very negative attitude about the trip. She doesn’t want to leave Noah. I’m… trying to be ok with it. I’m being supportive of her having feelings. I am sympathizing. I’m still implacable. “We’re going. Why? Because we have things to learn.”

I feel like I am drowning in waves of guilt. We are leaving because I want to run away. Because I need a break. Because I’ve been standing in one place too fucking long. Because I have always wanted to see what the country is like. Because I wanna.

Because I wanna and I’m selfish and you have to come with me.

For just a few years you have to keep me company. I hope it isn’t too awful. I hope you will have some fun. Calli is acting like she will have fun.

I’m trying not to be an asshole about “At least one daughter likes me.” Shanna does like me. But she really likes her dad and her computer and she wants to stay. Not too long ago she was happy to follow me to the ends of the earth and I was enough. I’m having feels. I’ll get over them. This is appropriate.

I hope we will have fun together.

I hope she will not remember this as something her crazy mother dragged her through. I pray.

Both kids are still absolutely adamant that they want to keep home schooling. I’m not dragging them through everything. Shanna says that if Noah were coming with us more she wouldn’t feel resistant to the road trip. That makes sense. She says the around-the-world trip sounds awesome because he will be with us.

Yeah honey… but there are steps here we need to figure out. If we can’t make this work we can’t spend a year away. We have to manage five months away first.

We can do it. But will you still like me?

I like you. I know there are going to be years where you don’t like me much. I’m trying to be ok with it. I know it isn’t personal. It’s normal and appropriate. Lots of books tell me so.

Sometimes I find it startling how “normal” and “text-book” my kids are. They have normal, happy people problems. I love watching it. And I will continue to do whatever I must to not beat my head in front of them. I will not cut. I will not let them see me harm myself on purpose. Just no.

I will not be how you learn about these behaviors. Or, rather, you will not learn about them by watching me.

I will teach you to love your body, to say kind things about it, and to be gentle with yourself. That’s my job.

Every single time I’m having a hard time emotionally I want to say mean/petty/vindictive things. So far I have managed to bite my tongue because I chant in my head, “Their negative inside voice will not come from you.”

My goal is to ensure that my children never hear nasty tapes in their head of my voice dressing them down. That will not be our relationship.

I hear my mom scream that I am a stupid cunt. A bitch. Unwanted. Dirty. Nasty. Pathetic. I don’t know how to stop those tapes.

I can’t stop them in my head but I can make sure I don’t put them in my daughters’ heads.

I mean… I tell my kids that they are obnoxious and annoying… just like their parents. I grin while I say it. It generally comes out something like, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TURN OUT AS ANNOYING AS ME?!?!?!” They laugh.

“You are supposed to be obnoxious. If you weren’t obnoxious you would have to turn in your kid-badge.”

When I’m being scary my kids will stand there, straight and tall, and tell me, “You are using a mean voice and you need to stop.” Sometimes they are crying… but they do it. I tell them they are right and I do stop. Thank you for telling me.

I’ve had an interesting thing with Shanna lately. I love her hair. I have always loved to stroke her head and she has mostly barely tolerated me touching her. Since it was dyed… I uhm… I’m being annoying. I want to play with it and braid it. I PAID SO MUCH MONEY! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE COOL TOY!!! Uhm… Shanna has these opinions about it being her body or some bullshit.

Who has been telling her this crap?!

Anyway, I was trying to cajole her into letting me braid her hair. Cool pink and blue streaks are super duper fun and I like playing with plaiting. Shanna resisted some and I cajoled some.

At some point I said, “You know what… I’m pestering which isn’t cool; it is your body. If you really don’t want me to play with your hair I won’t.”

She said, “I feel like you haven’t been very respectful of my body lately.”

I felt like I got sucker punched.

I said, “Oh. Well, I think what is happening is that your boundaries are changing and I didn’t notice. We are going to have to have lots of conversations over the years. We started out with you being a little lump I carried around at all times and it was ok for me to touch you whenever I wanted. That will change slowly and sometimes quickly and I’ll need to be told. I can’t read your mind to know when you change. Also, I’ve been pushing harder on brushing your hair for a few reasons. Know how we make a lot of unconventional choices like not going to school?”

She nodded.

“Well, when you choose to not do what most people do most of the time then you risk people having to come check up on you. Unfortunately when folks from the government come to check on kids… one of the first things they look at is whether you are clean and your hair is brushed. It’s stupid. It isn’t a measure of how well you are taken care of, not really. But people can look at it from a distance. I’ll try to be more respectful though.”

She asked a few more questions about the government checking up on families and then agreed that a basic brushing is reasonable daily. I’m to back off on wanting to play though.

It sucks.

I have watched a lot of movies about mothers and daughters this year. Lots. Dozens maybe. I’m on a kick. It is surprising to me how mother/daughter relationships are twisted around appearance and hair and the perceptions of other people. My relationship with my mom was complicated. She wanted my hair to be about 2″ long so that she didn’t have to be embarrassed all the time about how bad I looked.

I have to respect it when my daughters say no. Even if I don’t want to. Even if it would make *me* happy to ignore their wishes. I’ve got a long game going. I want them to be my friends in thirty years.

Given how cool I am at 33 I bet Shanna is going to be way fucking cooler at 37. Yeah, I really want to know them in thirty years. I want to be friends. And that means I have to be appropriate when they are kids.

It is harder some days than others. Today being appropriate is hard. I think I did ok though.

We went to get passports. We went to the bank; both girls are now square when it comes to allowance. Their savings accounts are up to date. My kids get $2/week for saving. So Shanna has over $700. It’s… honestly a bit weird. I couldn’t have imagined having so much when I was that age. Heck, it isn’t real to her. The $5/week of walking around money is what she sees. I’ve been talking to them about the save money for a while. They only kind of get it.

I drew the watering diagrams for the yards. I’m ready. It’s time to go.

I love you, Wonderland. I’ll come back.

Procrastinating

I still haven’t done the diagram for watering the plants when I’m gone. That is … man I just don’t want to fucking do it. Walk around the fucking yard and water the fucking plants. How god damn hard is that?

Only it is harder than that. Many of my plants have been selected because they are drought hardy. If you water them too often they will get root rot and die. I have one non-food high water plant that has to be watered just about daily. It’s special. I *fucking love* hydrangeas and I know I’m a selfish asshole for growing them here. I get *one* high water plant.

And then there is everything in the middle. And I should diagram the yard and explain it to Noah and the baby sitter. They need my explanation. But it sounds like work and I just don’t fucking want to do it.

I’m done packing. Well, except for perishable food. That’s the only stuff left to pack. I feel like I’m getting shit done.

But I don’t want to draw that god damn diagram. Don’t know why. I’ve been resisting for years. Every stupid ass gardening books wants you to diagram your land. Maybe that is why I am resisting. Because I’ve been told a lot of times by now. Anything I’m told to do many many times… I resist. No. Don’t wanna.

I really screw myself over. If my plants die, I will be the only one to cry.

The van is… perhaps more heavily loaded than is optimal. It will be good when we eat the food and finish reading the books so we can mail them home. We could easily/happily lose 200 lbs and the van would be happy.

I keep thinking, “Surely this isn’t as heavy as when I brought two cows home. Come on, van!”

I am truly astounded by what a work horse this vehicle is. I don’t think people usually buy minivans for the cargo abilities. They are for bodies, right? Hell no. You can put so much shit in there.

50 hours to go. That doesn’t feel like very long. I’m looking around the house. I should take pictures of the house and yard and post them so I can look at them when I’m feeling home sick.

I have spent most of my life feeling home sick even though I didn’t have a home to go back to. This is going to be a novel experience. I have a home. I belong here. I’m supposed to be here. I’m allowed to be here. I’m wanted here. It’s lovely.

Tomorrow morning Noah is going in to work a trifle late so we can renew the passports for the girls. I don’t need them for the road trip but we need them next year for the cruise. Best not to wait until we get back.

Tomorrow is up to three appointments. Passport, dim sum, and chiropractor. It’ll all work out. That’s not a hard day.

Wednesday I want to take a long bath and that’s it. I don’t want to do work. Poor Noah may come home to breakfast leftovers. Sorry, dude. We’ll see how antsy I feel.

Ok. Go do stuff.

That was lovely

Yesterday we had a going away party. It went pretty well. I had a lot of fun. I felt like I got to have interesting conversations.

It turns out that I am going to stay with some of my friends in New Hampshire. Friends from the bay area who go out there to vacation in the summer. They are going to make sure they line up with my schedule so we can hang out. That’s… that’s friendship.

There are even people who want to go on the cruise. I’m shocked people want to spend that much money.

I am enjoying looking around my life at the demonstrable evidence of people caring about me. I’m very happy that I can look at the behavior of many people and say, “Clearly when I doubt you I am being delusional. You love me.”

It was a good party. The people who are very sure they want me to come back showed up. I know who my friends are.

Thank you.

Today I packed again. Like I do. I am almost settled in the van. I can’t think of anything other than perishable food and water I need to add. I need to pack the potty and the bikes on the trailer. Then I’m ready.

I’ll deal with the potty and the bikes tomorrow, probably. Just get it done. If someone steals my potty on this trip I will cry but I will just have to take the risk.

Tomorrow I have to make the garden watering directions. I’m still procrastinating. I’ve been seriously resisting this process for years. Not for any particular reason, I just…. don’t want to do it.

We see our dear baby sitter twice more. Eek. Tuesday we have a date for dim sum and I have a chiropractic appointment.

We will leave right after eating lunch on Wednesday.

I absolutely over packed food. It is… kind of humorous just how much I over packed food. It’s going to take over a month for us to start making a dent in what I have packed. Once I lighten the food load I will probably be able to take half the stuff out of the sky box. We have a ridiculous quantity of food. I didn’t realize quite how overboard I was going. Whoops.

There is the non-zero possibility we will be eating the same fruit leather in February.

Good thing they like fruit leather.

I’m going to have to eat a lot of fruit leather. Oh crap.

Shanna seems to be unfazed by her tooth extraction. It’s hard to get her to stop running around in circles. She’s ready to chew again. She’s happy about the pain being gone.

I guess we’re ready.

I will be blogging mostly on medium because that’s where I’ve elected to shunt my kid friendly writing to for now. For this year. I’ve migrated so much around the net that I no longer assume I’ll stay somewhere forever. Well, I hope I’ll stay here.

This is the stuff I can’t say anywhere else. This is my proof for me that I’m here and thinking.

I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m ready. At this point we’re within the 72 hour window. Less than 68 hours to go.

Not that I’m counting.

Resources

I like talking to people on social media. Recently I came across a nice young person who is heading off to grad school. Yay! Good for you. I made a semi-off-handed comment about “Are you pursuing services?” and I was asked what I was talking about.

I brought it up because this is a person of color heading to a school in an extremely white state. I’m *sure* support exists.

This person expressed surprise. There are services? What kind of services? What kind of support exists? How can I get help?

We are exchanging emails now. I feel like a Grade A Asshole, but one of the first things I suggested was reaching out to the Black Student Union and asking them about the culture on campus. Then you can talk to a local doctor in your home state, get an official on-the-record diagnosis (of problems you have already had for decades–this isn’t about making shit up, this is about a paper trail) and get support.

This person was shocked. They had never considered reaching out for that kind of support.

I didn’t know this support existed when I went to grad school. If I knew then what I know now… I would never have had to take a hand written test. I could have typed the final exam and I would have a masters degree. With my history there is *no excuse* for a school withholding a degree because I can’t hand write. My future work will not depend on my ability to hand write.

I feel weird suggesting resources that are *not for me*. It feels.. inappropriate. And yet!

I want more people of color to succeed in college and join the well-paid labor market. Resources help that happen. It doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day to reach out on social media to strangers who mention that stuff is going on for them. I don’t spend an hour a day. And countless people have told me that I show up on the exact right day to tell them something useful.

I really appreciate social media.

Trying to be less arm-injuring

You may have noticed I’m not blogging as much. That’s related to a bunch of things. Some of which I feel comfortable writing about and other bits, yeah no.

I figure I will start blogging again when I’ve managed to move on to thinking about things I will get in less trouble over. For now, best to just shut the fuck up.

So I’m on Twitter a lot. I am really enjoying the interactions lately. Unlike my blog… people respond. I have conversations. I’m meeting interesting women all over the country. It isn’t just shouting into the void.

I doubt I will ever stop blogging, I need the long-form option sometimes. But I get tired of feeling like I’m alone in a room with my misery. On Twitter I’m never alone…

The fun never ends

Shanna is going in for a tooth extraction today. I’m grateful we found someone who could do it before we leave. She’s had intermittent discomfort and her dentist is worry about it exploding into a big problem while we are traveling. It’s a baby tooth and has to come out anyway.

Noah has a long day. We won’t see him today until bed time. I’m glad I switched weeks with the baby sitter so she will be with the kids for four hours tonight while I go see the chiropractor. I hadn’t been looking forward to bringing them with me.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to update my medical card. I forgot about that until this weekend. Whoops. I need it to be current. The place I had been going to for evaluations is closed and I am very sad. I liked the doctor I saw there. Even if he was getting a bit skeazy.

So I found a place in town and I can go during baby sitting time on Wednesday. And Pam is coming and it is Noah’s birthday. It’ll feel busy too.

Thursday is pretty insane. We have an appointment in San Francisco at 11. Then appointments back in Fremont at 4 and 6:30. Woof. The first and third appointment will take multiple hours.

At this moment I have no plans on Friday. We invited folks over on Saturday. Sunday is a maybe play date that has a high chance of not happening.

Only eight days to go.

Next week I have baby sitting scheduled on Monday and Wednesday and dim sum with a friend on Tuesday and that’s all. I’m packing and resting because we leave on Wednesday.

From here we go to Noah’s aunt’s house in Davis. She’s excited about seeing us. I will bite holes in my tongue to not yell at the homophobe. The very first time she met me she felt comfortable making very homophobic comments and she’s lucky I’ve worked hard on my manners.

I’m not done cleaning the house. It’s Noah’s birthday present. I’m leaving a very clean house. I worked a lot yesterday. Today I will work after we get home from the dentist. Shanna will be sitting still and feeling woozy.

Oh, and tomorrow morning before I go to the doctor my wonderful neighbor is coming over to weed. We’ll work in the garden together for a few hours.

I feel like things are set. I don’t have a lot left to do.