Bathroom and kids

I’m using most of my time and energy on designing the bathroom remodel. I’ve done three drawings so far (scale looking down from above) and now I need to draw looking at the walls. It takes me many many hours because I’m researching all of the actual items I will use. So I get to look at toilets and vanities and sinks and bath tubs and…

I came down like a box of hammers on the kids, “Actually it’s not ok for you to do that” and all of a sudden we get along really well. The last two days have been smooth. Hilarious. They don’t fight me when I give firm boundaries. Mostly only when I’m being squishy. I’m rereading the development books. I need to back the hell off of Calli. She’s only just turned four. I have six or seven year old expectations of her and it isn’t fair. Time to stop that crap. She’s doing great.

Both of them blow me away every day. I feel so grateful that I get to be with them for so much time. I enjoy their company so much. I feel guilty for enjoying my time alone in the garage so much. Ok, sure I wish someone else entertained them for 3-5 hours a day. I get the appeal of school. I just wish the American school system wasn’t going to hell in a hand basket.

Bounce (as usual)

Holy Irritation, Batman! Irritated. Like, crawl the walls and stab people irritated. My kids are jumping up and down on every hot button I have.

I went away. Kids need to be irritating to people who leave because they want to see if the person who left did it because the kids aren’t loved. I get it. It’s normal and developmental and all that. OH MY GOD.

Last night Calli got to have her FIRST EVER experience of going out with allowance money to buy things she wanted to buy. My baby is growing up. She picked out a Rainbow Dash wallet (got to have somewhere to keep your money) and a present for her friend. I’m not saying what the present is because the mom reads here. Suffice to say: it is very kid appropriate. Calli will probably come visit and want to borrow it. Oy.

I’m having very mixed feelings about a way that I’m disciplining Shanna. I have rules about taking food out of the refrigerator without asking. If you ask 9/10 times the answer is yes. Sometimes I’m saving something for a particular meal and I really don’t want you to take it. But, ASK. Shanna… Shanna really thinks it is ridiculous that she isn’t allowed to do anything she wants at any moment. So when she got into the fridge yesterday I said, “Ok you just gave up dessert for the weekend.” I’m having second thoughts. I *really* am not sure it is right to punish with food at all. Plus, we are going to a birthday party. I feel like a giant asshole.

But holy hell the girl doesn’t take me seriously. Maybe I am being inappropriately controlling. I am open to that argument. Maybe I should just relax about the food stuff…. but then they would never eat real food and I would never be able to complete a meal because pieces would be gone. Never the raw meat or veggies. I would live on meat and veggies and they would eat all the cheese and yogurt when I wasn’t available. Then they would never ever sit down to a meal with me.

I kinda tried seeing if it would work better for a few days once. My kids are too little. Self control they do not have. And when they aren’t hungry they just can’t sit down to have the pretense of a meal.

So I feel like a giant asshole. I told Shanna that if she is respectful about turning down the dessert at the birthday party today I would probably relent for Sunday. I told her, “If you cry and make the mom feel bad for you… forget Sunday. No way. You earned this. I’ve talked to you about the fridge 47,839 times. If you are polite, I will not be a jerk about the whole weekend. I know it is hard to remember things.” I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve punished infractions with regards to the fridge. Well, I’ve yelled before. They’ve probably had time out. But I don’t think I have withdrawn privileges before. That feels more like a punishment.

And I never ever feel good about taking dessert away. I believe that we live in a culture that is super saturated with sugar. I try to limit how much my family gets because it isn’t good for us, but we have a fairly high sugar diet. My limits are higher than some people allow in the first place by a huge margin. Sometimes I will say, “Because we went to ___ and there was a river of sugar we are skipping after dinner dessert tomorrow” but that is as far as I try to go with withholding dessert. It’s a trade more than a withholding.

I feel really uncomfortable with power struggles over sugar. And yet I believe it is a highly addictive substance that my species has proven issues with and these are my kids and it is my job to take care of them. Complicated feelings.

At some point in your life you need to deal with the fact that there are arbitrary rules sometimes. My refrigerator rules are close to arbitrary. I could afford to replace food at whatever rate they consumed it. But man, when do I get to say, “You have to respect what I say at least a little.”

If I punish them for not respecting me I’m not exactly earning respect, now am I? Only I kind of am. If I say something a few thousand times and never back it up I’m teaching them that I don’t really mean it. If I back it up then they do believe me when I say things. Shanna does express appreciation for the fact that she knows I really mean what I say. I don’t bluff. I don’t try to stretch my reach slightly beyond where I can actually reach. I have my boundaries and they are god damn brick walls with sentries on top.

I won’t know if I’m doing the right thing until it is far too late to course correct. I have horrifying anxiety and guilt around punishing my kids. It seems like such a bad idea. This is why I don’t hit. I’m never sure I’m in the right. You shouldn’t hit people unless you are 150% sure it is necessary. With my kids I never have more than a 10% sure impulse because I KNOW hitting isn’t the answer.

But taking dessert away… that is a lot more muddy. I’m not *hurting* her. I’m not saying she can never have it again. I’m saying, “you took a sugary thing out of the fridge without permission, fine. You traded that for your next dessert. Sucks for you that it was going to be at a birthday party.”

I worry about my need for control. Worry. Worry. Worry. But I worry a lot more about parents who abdicate control over their children. My kids need me. They are not yet able to care for themselves or make decisions about their best interests. They just don’t have the full scope of information yet. I don’t control everything. I fear I try to control too much. Which is hilarious considering that I control a very small fraction of how much most parents control.

My kids have an amount of freedom nearly unheard of in their generation. And I feel guilty for trying to control them too much. Irony.

We are still going to the birthday party. We still went to the mall and had fun shopping. We will still have a wonderful time at a birthday party. And Shanna will have the opportunity to practice her self control. It is a very hard skill. I get it. I have to practice too. It is really hard. I told her, “Next time you are tempted you will be more likely to think about the potential consequences. Is it really so hard to come and say, ‘Mom, can I get ___ out of the fridge?’”

I say yes 9/10 times. I try so hard to say yes. It is a serious, conscious priority in our relationship. But when there is a boundary and you ignore it… watch out.

It probably doesn’t help that there has been an argument raging on my PTSD support site since before I left for my birthday. One dude asked those of us who were habitually abused as children if any of us feel we have gone on to be more successful than our abusers. Of course this means lots of people who don’t feel successful have been yelling at us for days that we are mean and saying bad things about them for not doing… something. This morning I snapped and said it isn’t much of a support site if I am never allowed to talk about the things I’m proud of and I can only talk about what a worthless whore I feel like.

I’m sorry you feel so broken you can’t do exactly the same things I can do. If I try I can hold the bar of “success” such that I never ever ever appear to hit it. I totally can do that. I feel like life has actually landed me in a slightly more successful than average position (college degrees aren’t held by more than 50% of the population, I’m not struggling financially in a time when most of my generation can’t get a toe hold) but I still have a lot of issues.

I still spend a lot of my life crying in the garage because I feel like a pathetic, worthless whore who should die. How do you define “success”?

I feel like if I can’t talk about the things that I feel proud of doing then I don’t really have a lot of reason to hope. I could look at people who have done more than me and decide that I should give up because I haven’t done what they have done. I could. I really could.

I understand that it isn’t fair that I have a partner who can support me financially and many people with similar mental health issues do not have such a luxury. I get it that the roll of the dice is terribly unfair. For the record, I sign every petition to congress about a mandatory minimum income I find. I think everyone needs more support than they have.

If you hate me because I managed to find someone to support me, ok. That’s fine. You can hate me for that. I don’t “deserve” to be in the position I am in. I’m not a successful person because Noah wants to fuck me. I think that my success is mostly orthogonal to the fact that Noah helped me.

I graduated from college before I met Noah. I entered into the teaching program without him. The strides I have made in emotional control have been more possible because of him, but I did the work on my own.

Am I not allowed to feel pride about any of that? Really? I should decide that because I have PTSD I should give up trying and hide at home forever because people like me can’t be successful.

Fuck that noise.

I’ve studied a lot of history. I like history. History fascinates me. History is the story of the people who would not fucking give up. Human beings have incredible powers to adapt and change and be different than they are originally.

I can tell you a story that makes me sound pathetic, hopeless, and entirely unsuccessful. I can tell you a story that makes me sound nearly heroic, inspiring, and really successful.

Point of view matters. I don’t want to be told I should be trying to sound pathetic. I’m pretty angry about the number of people attacking this thread because “All of you successful people just want us to feel bad.”

No. I don’t want you to feel bad. If you feel bad, that probably happened before you read my posts. If you feel bad that is probably related to your life circumstances and not mine. Don’t fucking act like if I ever have a positive thought I’m shitting on you.

I hate forums.

But I really struggle with feeling alone. And forums are there 24/7. I love forums.

I’m a serious pain in the ass.

I’m god damn allowed to feel proud of myself for graduating from college (first of my direct line that I know about–I have three aunts/uncles who went to college and that’s it in the entire extended family to the best of my knowledge). I don’t need to feel kind of embarrassed because someone else didn’t manage. I don’t need to feel guilty that I am leaving behind my compatriots.

That is the kind of shit that keeps communities down. Why in the hell are we so angry, as a species, at people who do well?

The fact that you feel suicidal doesn’t invalidate all of the things you do with your time while you are feeling suicidal. The fact that I feel worthless doesn’t mean I am. I don’t need to define myself as unsuccessful to earn party loyalty points. I just don’t.

I fucking hate party loyalty.

The West Wing is my best friend. So the series was kind of ridiculous in having Bartlett replace three Supreme Court Justices. But in the process the president interviews different candidates. A rejected one said that some people are moderates because sometimes they go the left and sometimes to the right. A true centrist doesn’t position him/herself on issues.

I think that one of the things that makes me hardest for people to deal with is that I am very difficult to predict on how I will land on issues. And I tend to land really strongly with whatever position I take.

I have positions that are all over the political map. And I’ll get into screaming matches defending all of them. I dislike leftists and right-wing people equally.

Shanna just woke up. She is now telling me that she is going to learn how to write and teach me how to write in a way that doesn’t hurt my hands so I no longer need to keep an online journal.

“Talking with my parents is more fun than anything else. More fun than playing with friends or having tea parties or watching Minecraft tutorials. I love my parents.”

Kid, you make my heart explode with joy. I am so grateful that you are in the world. Now I will pay attention to you instead of the screen.

Great birthday

I am pretty sure this officially qualifies as the best birthday of my life. At the very least it was the lowest stress. I’ll take it. No, I will not be repeating the experiment next year. Next year I will be traveling alone with the kids and it won’t be an option.

I drove up to Guerneville on Tuesday afternoon. I decided to make as little camp as possible. I set up my privacy pop up (it is just big enough to stand up inside and change your clothes if you have what some people might refer to as “modesty”–obviously I got dressed out in the open because that wasn’t my purpose) for my little travel toilet. I’m telling you, as lame as I feel that travel potty opens up a whole new world for me. (I have bladder issues. Being too far from a toilet is an issue for me.)

So outside the van I had the little toilet area, my chair and an ice chest. Everything else stayed in the van and I played with where things might live. I have some ideas for long-term living in the van.

First: I need an air mattress that will fit appropriately in the van. Sleeping on just the tumbling mats is very uncomfortable. Not going to work for months. Shanna says just bring more pillows and my thought is: but what do we do with them when we aren’t sleeping?

Tuesday I stayed near camp and didn’t do much but read. It was lovely.

On my birthday I woke up and sang happy birthday to me. I didn’t manage that day of silence thing. Ha. I am constitutionally incapable of silence, apparently. I talk to myself a lot.

I walked for a few hours. I walked past a spa place on my way out of town (I was just walking wherever) and I had the thought, “hmmm… do I want to waste money?” Short answer: yes.

On the way back into town I stopped and asked if it was possible to get any last minute spa services. Turns out that the person working the desk called around and one nice lady could come in.

Once I met her it felt very serendipitous. Turns out it was also her daughter’s birthday. She told me very specifically that she was so happy to be able to share her mother-love for another daughter on her birthday. I didn’t respond, exactly.

During the massage she asked about my tattoo, like body workers do. I gave very vague hints, like I do when I’m trying to not overwhelm people. She was very nice to me. She was very encouraging. She told me she was proud of me for picking my kids over grown ups who need to be able to take care of themselves. I cried on the table. Later I nearly fell asleep because I was so relaxed.

She totally undercharged me so I left a bigger tip to make up for what she was supposed to charge me. Because that’s how a rich person should roll. I honestly believe that. I hugged her when I left and thanked her for being part of the best birthday of my life.

I walked around for a while longer and got a single scoop vanilla ice cream cone (of *course* vanilla) and walked around town singing happy birthday to myself.

I bought a postcard and wrote on it and sent it to Shanna and Calli and Noah. It has already arrived at the house. The kids… really didn’t care. Oh well. So much for that effort.

I also bought a couple bumper stickers. Now I have reason to clean my disgustingly filthy vehicle. Once upon a time I had a car covered in bumper stickers. I took them all off when I started teaching. I have no one who can fire me now. Maybe time to be obnoxious again. Goodness knows I will drive this vehicle until it completely dies just like I did my last one.

I went back to camp and emptied my potty and got things ready for an easy pack-up-and-go experience.

I went to sleep around dinner time and woke up at 11pm. I drove home. I talked to Pam from 1-3, then went in and seduced Noah. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep during the night so Thursday I was a zombie.

All in all an entirely satisfactory birthday. Two thumbs up. Would do again.

I look forward to taking my kids up to the Russian River now that I understand a little bit more about what that means. We are going to have a lot of fun together.

So now I’m 33. I have weird feelings about 33. My parents were 32 when I was born. It feels like now I have lived through all the prerequisite time they had before me. Now I’m seeing the part of life that they lived through too. Now I’m comparing their direct actions to mine.

Someone on the PTSD forum asked if people are more successful than their abusers. Of course mostly people exploded at him because they feel they aren’t and they have deep shame around that. A few of us said, yes–we are more successful. And it’s ok to ask that question.

Why do some people experience trauma and curl up in a ball without ever being able to function again and some people bounce higher? I don’t know. I wish I did.

Yes, I think I am more successful than anyone else in my family. It’s not about my bank account balance. I am better at managing my impulses. I have managed to stop abusing people. (Yes, I freely acknowledge that I have abused people and I have the potential to do so in the future. I stomp on that like fuck.)

Dwayne. That was the name of the student I talked out of committing murder. I will never forget him. I don’t know if he went on to do it later or not. I hope not. I know that I talked him into a reprieve.

I may feel like a success for the rest of my life because of that moment. On that day I said the right thing. On that day I was able to share the enormity of pain he was in and show him that there were other options.

I wonder what happened to him. I have looked his name up on the internet and so far no murder convictions appear.

I feel successful because even though I *feel* alone sometimes I know that throughout my adult life there have been times when I have whispered “help” and closed my eyes and fallen backwards into a tightly woven web of love. I have the most amazing friends a person can have. I may not be blessed in the blood-relative department (though Shanna and Calli are pretty rad) but I have amazing friends. I have friends who will walk through fire for me.

It was sorta funny when I got to the camp ground. The guy who worked there gave me shit at first and sorta indicated I may not be welcome. Then I said, “Daddy James said I could come.” “James who….?” “James _______”  “Oh!  Of course you can stay! Tell him to come up here soon and visit me!”

It isn’t what you know, it is who you know. And I know some really wonderful people.

I got many wonderful emails and SMSs that I haven’t responded to yet. I’m still just kinda floating in the sleep deprived haze.

Today, we paint. Some friends are coming over to paint the planter boxes with us. It will be a lot of fun.

Life keeps plugging along.

Leaving on a jet plane… not really. In the van.

Today I am free to leave whenever I want to go. I’m going to take the kids to park day first. Noah took the day off work, partially because he wasn’t sure when I was leaving. Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m turning 33.

I’m going to be by myself from when I wake up until I go to sleep. I’m hoping I will be able to think about positive things in addition to my normal free-flowing self-hate.

Shanna helped me pack. She was most insistent. She picked out my clothes and carried things out to the van and she set up my bed. She told me she wanted to make sure I knew how much she loves me.

I don’t deserve her. But I’m going to keep her anyway.

I over reacted at dinner the other night. Shanna used her dress as a napkin. I was kind of a jerk face about it because she happened to be wearing one of the few dresses I have bought for them–it was overpriced but so stinking cute I relented even though I generally don’t buy them clothes. We get so many hand-me-downs and gifts that I don’t have to spend money. But I did on this dress. And she wiped her tomato soup covered mouth on it.

So I went through her closet trying to see how many clothes she has wrecked that way because I was sorta ranting that she was ruining “everything”. When I was done checking I figured out that she has seven dresses that are stained beyond redemption out of… 30 or so? Can’t recall.

So I had to apologize. “I was a jerkface. I ranted about you ruining “all your clothes” and that was inappropriate. You clearly haven’t actually done that. I am so sorry. I totally over reacted. Besides, you are a kid and they are your clothes. I’m not being very nice.”

I told her a bit about when I was a kid. My mom had to buy me things because we moved all the time and I didn’t get hand-me-downs and we were very poor so she couldn’t replace things. My mom was constantly very worried that we not *look* poor. (People who look poor get beat up more often. It’s just true.) So I would get screamed at for days and hit if I did exactly what Shanna did. I told Shanna that I am sorry I am passing this on because I don’t actually *need* to. I’m just repeating what my mama did without thinking about it and that’s wrong.

I’m sorry.

She hugged me and said, “If you feel anxious that Calli should get some hand me downs that aren’t stained maybe we could go through the clothes and pick out a few to keep special and then I get to just wear the rest.”

I told her that it isn’t right that she is more mature than I am. I thanked her for being so thoughtful and generous and kind. I told her that is a brilliant solution.

I like my daughter so much. I feel so grateful for being near her every day. I feel like my kids are the first people in my whole life who not only can bear my company they like me. All the time. Every day. Even Noah needs a lot more breaks from me than they do.

I think it is funny that I will probably spend most of my day away missing the girls. That is what happens on Godmama weekends. I spend a lot of time thinking about them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I still don’t know what I’m bringing for my dinner. I also haven’t heard back from the camp grounds. Hm. Maybe I should have called more than a few days in advance. Whoops. I didn’t think mid-week would be a problem. I may need a plan B.

Don’t worry. I’ll come up with something. I’m resourceful. And rich. This whole “I can throw money at problems” thing is like magic. Thank you, Noah.

I will be getting off the internet soon. First I will be printing some maps. I am debating if I want to bring my phone “just in case” I get lost and need directions (that totally fucking happens) but leave it on airplane mode (or just turned off) for most of the weekend. Do I have the self control? Not sure.

I would strongly prefer to just not have screens with me at all because I don’t want to use one the whole time I am gone. I need a break. My arms fucking hurt. I brought plenty to do.

I haven’t had a whole day to fill just by myself in… years. Many years. Almost a decade I think. More than 24 hours alone with no agenda of work in front of me? Weird. I’ve had time alone. I haven’t had idle time alone. I don’t generally do idle time. I think this is partially in retaliation for how much idle time I had as a child. I’m ready to fucking do something.

But not tomorrow. Tomorrow I will do… only whatever feels nice that second. I’ll get bored (ha–probably not) and see where it takes me. I don’t get bored. I get busy. Being bored is a product of not having enough work to do. I always have work in front of me. Challenging, interesting work that I create for myself to do because I am not a get bored kind of person.

I have seventy bazillion things I want to do, build, see, hear… I don’t have time for boredom. But I do need rest.  Somehow I doubt it will be boring.

Lal is Hindi for red. Ungli is finger. I brought language workbooks. Working on building Hindi vocabulary. Working on Spanish grammar. My grammar sucks so much in other languages. I’m trying though. Some day I won’t sound like a slow 6 year old. Learning Hindi is giving me renewed confidence in my Spanish vocabulary, which is kind of funny.

I have all these words in my head but I don’t know how to put them together so I don’t use them. I *did* memorize a huge chunk of the Spanish language in all those years of study. I surprise myself. I didn’t think I managed. I just… don’t know how to speak. But I can pick out words in a newspaper with the best of them. I can get up to 70% in a lot of stories. Luckily there are lots of cognates that help me with the other 30% so I can usually understand the gist.

I’m 33. I used to believe that if I wasn’t multi-lingual as a child it just couldn’t happen. Now I think that by the time I am an old woman I will be able to interview people in several languages. It will happen.

It feels kind of weird, this preparing for old age thing. It is weird wanting to live. Expecting that I will live. Expecting that unless a tragedy occurs to rip me from my children… no pain is enough to justify leaving the world just because I want to.

I want to see if Noah is ever going to be able to work with teenagers to help them learn how to code the way he wants to.

I want to see what Shanna actually reaches given her ambitions. Will she change her mind and do something she has never even heard of yet?

Calli is an ever expanding mystery for me. I am continually shocked at her depth and intensity. I underestimate her and I look forward to finding out what she becomes. It is going to be a surprise to me no matter what it is. I was surprised she was a girl. I haven’t stopped being surprised since the day she was born. On the second day it was, “What do you mean you are ok sleeping on the bed without touching me? Whoa. That’s a whole new world of possibilities.”

I tend to think Calli is sad when she is angry or angry when she is sad. She generally screams the difference at me. We’ll figure something out. I will learn to say, “I can’t tell what you are feeling–are you willing to share with me how you are feeling?”

I can be taught.

Noah told me the other day that he draws great comfort from the fact that as the years progress, I keep trying new things. Like starting birth control as an experiment with my hormones. I look for new and different therapy styles and options. I *do* see doctors–a whole variety of them. I have been willing to accept the hit in overall lifestyle choices to pay for more body work because it makes me easier to live with if I’m in less pain.

I don’t just accept that how I am is how I will always be.

I believe the future has an endless array of options. I believe that how hard I work every single day matters to my future. I understand that making one mistake ten thousand times won’t get me where I want to be. I need to make ten thousand different mistakes. (Luckily I’m already well into the process. I fuck up so much.)

Yes, I try to keep my sense of humor about my mistakes. Otherwise I cry and want to hurt myself. I hear little voices. Bye.

Sad and scary

The Godmama is still in the ICU. On the 3rd she was in a terrible motorcycle accident while riding her motorcycle. She is still not doing well. She is no longer required to use a breathing tube, which is progress. No idea how long her recovery is going to take. This is really sad partially because her wife moved to the other coast a month ago for medical school. So much for medical school for a while.

I feel sad and helpless. I can’t even visit her because she isn’t stable enough.

bodies and food and sleeping

I slept from 7-5:30. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was awake for a little bit around midnight. I wandered in to put the chicken broth in the fridge because I forgot to do it earlier. Then I woke up around 4 and climbed in bed with Calli because Shanna had come into my bed and I couldn’t move any more. But I still got more sleep than average. I assume this is good for me.

I’m not shaking/trembling. I neither feel self-hating nor like I want to set things on fire. Watching the hormonal cycles come and go is pretty awful.

Maybe it is partially because Noah gave me time off yesterday. I got time alone. Maybe it is mostly just that I passed the worst few days of my cycle. Maybe it is that I am *really* excited for the trip I’m leaving for on Tuesday. Only gone two nights. But I get to be alone. Blissfully, entirely alone. No one will scream in my face. No one will hurt me on accident.

I feel like the fall no-eating period is starting early this year. I feel like it happens more in October, but maybe I am misremembering. This has happened every year for many years. The season shift from summer to fall isn’t good for my appetite.

I think of it as my yearly punishment for my father’s death. I am not sure how it is going to work with running this year. Yesterday I ate pancakes for breakfast (with yogurt and strawberries) and pad see ewe for lunch and I *could not eat* dinner. Even though I ran six miles yesterday. I did a bunch of other random chores too.

So it begins. My stomach hurts. I don’t remember it starting before my birthday in the past, but my memory is far from perfect. Noah says that the no-eating thing is hard for him to track because my eating is tied to my mood and stomach pain and illness. When I’m not feeling good I don’t eat.

Why does food feel like something I have to earn by being “good” enough? I’m not very good. That’s an ongoing problem.

My arms hurt really badly. I think I slept wrong and my right shoulder is jacked up.

I did my best to consciously *not* pay attention to anniversaries this summer. I noticed they were coming and deliberately distracted myself so I missed the days. Dad’s death is harder. I wish it was as easy to pretend I don’t notice as Tommy’s death.

Oh man. Why do I feel overwhelmingly like I killed my father this year? I didn’t. He killed himself.

Stupid hormones.

Also: I submitted my book to one publishing house. I have my eye on a second. Those two are the only ones for a little while.

Space

I agonize about how to emotionally handle people needing space (and I worry about the logistics too) because I don’t have good models. I don’t know what being appropriate for that person in the future means. I don’t know how I will change or improve to be less of a problem.

I don’t think that someone needing space from me is a sign of deficiency or badness on their part. I don’t think I could put up with me if I weren’t me. But I don’t know what to do. I want people to feel safe. And I manifestly cannot create such a feeling in all people.

The run today was such a good idea. It helped my mood tremendously. I started out with my knees feeling like water. I felt like there was no way I could run up that hill. But I ran up the hill any way. By the end I felt a lot better.

In the past, I did genuinely hurt people in ways that required them to need space. At this point in my life I am challenging for people who have a lot going on in their own lives. I require a lot of energy to put up with. But I’m not hurting people (to the best of my knowledge). I’m causing them to have more emotions than they can handle. That happens. I do tend to stir up emotions in people.

That doesn’t mean I’m a piece of shit. It doesn’t mean I do everything wrong. It means sometimes I am hard for people and they need space. Sometimes I have to take space from people. I try to come back.

Even if I’m awkward and stilted and unnatural because I’m afraid of doing something wrong again. I try to come back. And people let me. That has to be good enough. That is all there is.

This morning Calli yelled at me that she wished I wasn’t her mother. I cried and cried and cried. On the heels of a friend standing us up last night (it was an accident–they feel bad) and a friend saying she needs space (totally makes sense–her life is exploding) it just sucked.

When I kind of surfaced Calli came to me and said, “Mom, I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings. You have to know that when I say things like that I’m just mad. I don’t really mean it. I love you very much and I want you.”

How can she be only four?

I don’t want to bang my head because someone asked for space. I want to bang my head because it is the week before my period and that happens to me. It is important for me to remember that. The circumstances are just standing near the inevitable.

Like it goes.

Yesterday was a banner day. One friend said she isn’t going to be able to see me for a while. That whole I’m too intense thing. It’s appropriate, fair, and the right thing to do if someone needs space. Other friends stood us up for dinner.

Mostly it wasn’t a bad day. I spent time with home schoolers. (I managed to spend a lot of the time discussing house organizing strategies–that was fun.) Sometimes I think it is very important that I not spend too much time around the home schoolers. I don’t want them to have to tell me to go away too. That would hurt my kids. So I have to very carefully divvy out how much time I spend there so my kids don’t get told to go away too.

One mom is not real happy because apparently Shanna and the boy she has had a crush on for over a year ran out to the field and kissed. There’s a milestone for you. The other mother expressed displeasure and said that wasn’t to be happening.

My point of view is so skewed. Someone else is really upset because a six year old and an eight year old had a chaste peck. I know that by that age I had given blowjobs to…..at least five or six boys and girls (That I have strong memory of and I get the impression more was happening in my first neighborhood than I remember because we moved when I was three). Perspective is important. Not that I’m saying it would be ok for Shanna to upgrade her sexual activity because I did. That is NOT my point. My point is that a chaste peck is… not alarming to me.

I told Shanna that it is very sweet that she loves him so much, but for a few more years she should limit herself to hugs because kisses are for grown ups. She looked at me like I was a big fat liar. Fair enough. She was more willing to admit that if the boy’s mother is upset about it then it shouldn’t happen again. She doesn’t want to get him in trouble. I feel kind of sad that I am already teaching my daughters to be careful with their sexuality because people around them will punish either them or their partners if they do it in a way that isn’t “approved”.

I feel sad and empty. I feel like I am stupid for reorganizing my life because I want to facilitate relationships with people only to have them tell me that they can’t.

I want to beat my head right now. I feel so stupid.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been thinking that I should finish the letter to Noah’s parents. And I’ve been thinking about the letter I wrote to my mother that I haven’t had the guts to send. The feelings about those two letters could fill thousands of words by themselves.

So I feel shitty with a pile of crap on top. Thinking about how much I wish my mommy loved me will pretty inevitably make me want to hurt myself.

At 3am Calli came and found me. She said, “I’m alone in my bed.”

“…..ok.”

“Shanna is in her bed.”

“….. ok.”

“I don’t want to be alone in my bed.”

“Ahh, now we come to the crux of the matter. You want me to come to bed with you.”

“Yes. And I want you to cuddle me and I want you to sleep with me all night long.”

“Well, I can’t promise all night long. But I will snuggle you back to sleep.”

I had to leave the room when I couldn’t control my crying any more and I didn’t want to wake her up.

Mama mama mama. Every time my kids say it I think of how many millions of times I said it only to not get my mother. I’m torn between feeling like I am “healing my inner child” by facilitating this for my kids and feeling so jealous of them I can barely breathe.

I remind myself over and over that I have three people who love me. That is three more people than a lot of people get. Don’t be greedy.

But today I’d like to beat my head. I think it is kind of interesting how head beating wasn’t much of a thing for me as a kid. When I was a kid I was more focused on cutting, burning myself, biting myself (to the point of blood), and hitting myself with large blunt objects.

Now those activities are less appealing. Now I just want to kneel on concrete and beat until I am not capable of thinking any more. I don’t know if this is a step up or down.

I don’t think the birth control pills are helping very much so far. I can technically understand that I have this dip monthly. These feelings aren’t “real”. But they are.

I am struggling with how to deal with the people who ask me for space. This is not just one person. There are a lot of people in this camp. More than a dozen. I overwhelm people. This is a known issue.

Once people ask for space I try to turn and walk away. They will ask me to come back if they want me to. Only people don’t really. So usually I wait a year or so and I ask again. Then I’m told I’m too intense again. Then I wait a year.

Am I ever going to get to the point where I just walk away? I don’t know. It is so hard for me to walk away from people. I don’t want to feel more alone and unloved than I already do. So I maintain tenuous contact with people who may or may not actually like me but who definitely can’t really handle me. Is that fair to me or them? I don’t know.

I feel tremendous guilt when I ask any of these people to spend time with me a year later. Like I am inflicting an unwanted burden on someone who has already told me they don’t want it. There are always mixed signals. I’m always told that they just need a little break. And then they wait for me to initiate contact and I get kind of passive aggressive comments in public later if I don’t keep pursuing them for a relationship even though they told me to go away.

I don’t feel like I am capable of doing much right. I feel like I hurt people just by existing and that isn’t very nice of me. I should shut my stupid piece of shit mouth because no one wants to fucking hear it.

I told the home schoolers I wouldn’t stay for the whole camping trip. So I can go running with someone who doesn’t really want to see me any more. Yup. That’s how things go for me. This is the second time I have planned far in advance for a race with someone only to have them need space from me. I have had successful races with friends if we decide to do it together at the last minute. Planning to do things with me enforces more time spent and then I become a problem.

I’ll run the six mile loop today again. I still want to run a marathon in March. I’m pretty sure I will plan to do it alone. That seems like the best idea even if someone says, “Oh I will do it with you.” It’s just not a good idea. I’m too hard to deal with.

I feel so guilty for wanting people to be my friend. I am toxic waste and I should stop hurting people.

I am looking forward to my birthday this year probably more than I ever have in my life. I am going to be alone. I am leaving my house the day before. I am not bringing my phone or any other screen. I am going to spend the day of my birthday alone. I am not going to speak to anyone.

That way I will feel no disappointment about anything all day. I can have a day with no expectations from anyone else in the world. It doesn’t matter if no one else wants to talk to me or be nice to me.

Last year on my birthday I spent a week in advance telling the kids, “I want to do x, y, and z. Because it’s my birthday.” They yelled and screamed the whole time and made x, y, and z entirely unpleasant and terrible. I cried through the afternoon and evening because I wasn’t even allowed to eat the french fries I wanted to eat without getting berated.

I want to beat my head on concrete. I wonder how much this change in impulse has to do with a chance in circumstance. I only have privacy in the garage. There is no way in hell I would cut in the garage. Too messy. I only cut in the bath tub. I no longer have private access to a bath tub. I am old enough and wise enough that I am not going to burn myself in the house again (fire damage is real, yo). And frankly, after my brother burning himself alive… burning myself is less appealing. That habit mostly went away after Tommy died. It wasn’t a game any more.

Just like I don’t understand the appeal of video games where you shoot people and kill people. I’ve had a gun held to my head. It’s not a fucking game.

If you hit yourself with hammers or the like you get marks you can’t hide. Beating my head on concrete doesn’t leave appreciable external bruising. Perfect!

Because I haven’t beat my head on concrete in a while, instead I have developed a habit of sometimes sneaking out to the garage and eating a handful of chocolate chips. Mmm secret binge eating. That’s the ticket.

I am having huge feelings about the fact that I have concluded that I have to stop drinking alcohol. I can’t have the occasional glass of something. It makes me sick. Literally, physically sick. I am not physically well for days. That means I have to stop drinking. I am having huge feelings around this. I am anti-12 step programs. Yes, they work for some people. Ok, saying I am “anti” them is too strong. I have never wanted to participate. I think that is ok. I am not going to turn my authority over to a higher power. Nope. Not this lifetime.

So I’m having weird feelings around not drinking. It feels like the end of fun. Which is weird because… I’ve never been much of a drinker. I have always enjoyed feeling like I had it as an option even if I frequently didn’t take it. Now that I’m telling myself I “can’t” have it I feel rebellious and angry and like I want to sit down and drink a bottle of wine by myself.

My contrariness is a real problem. Well, and my self-harm urges are strong, If I truly crystalize that drinking is self-harm then of course it is suddenly more appealing. These fucking fuckers keep telling me I shouldn’t beat my head because I already have enough brain damage. Drinking it is!

Only I can’t beat my head and I can’t drink. I can’t keep increasing my stroke risk just because I want to. I can’t keep doing massive damage to my internal organs just because I don’t like myself very much.

Sometimes I wish that it was socially acceptable for me to sew my mouth shut and just go through life that way. People would like me so much more.

Shanna and Calli and Noah like me. That is three more people than a lot of people have. I shouldn’t be so greedy.

My kids are nice to me.

Yesterday I didn’t talk very much. I had headphones on for a lot of the day. I was in an evil, hateful mood and it was so clear to me that it wasn’t the fault of anyone I was standing near. (Sorry, Pam.) So the birth control pills haven’t leveled out my mood yet. But I’ve only been on them a week and I started mid-cycle so who knows. Next month will be more of a test. I haven’t felt suicidal so far, just homicidal. See, this is why I don’t own big weapons. Mood swings are bad.

I feel so much guilt when I unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe anything/anyone. Like I owe these people my attention. I really don’t. I don’t have enough time in the day to pay attention to everyone who is on the internet. I just don’t. I’ve cut my reading back substantially. If the people in my daily life wrote blogs I would follow them religiously. (You turkeys are not providing me with nearly enough voyeuristic delight.)

But I’m really tired of following people I don’t really know and I won’t know them better. Some people aren’t interested in me and that’s cool. I can be annoying.

I’ll just leave you alone. You can spend time with the people you actually like and I’ll be over here. Doing something else. Maybe alone and maybe not. Who knows. I don’t mind being alone as much as I used to.

Although the more alone at home time I have, the more lonely I feel. To this effect I’ve been back on Mothering.com. Mostly hitting up the unschooling board to talk about philosophies with people who aren’t going to send periodic reminders that if you aren’t TOTALLY AN UNSCHOOLER you should go somewhere else. My local list is not very inviting. There is some kind of metric of purity I don’t understand. If you say something too homeschooley that isn’t unschooley enough (No one is able to tell me an actual difference) the mods get really upset and tell you to take it elsewhere. They remind us extensively that there are other homeschooling-not-unschooling groups where we should be instead.

I’m getting really upset about feeling shoved out of a club I am clearly in. There are very few people on this planet who get to assign me hoops to jump to prove something. These women? Not so fucking much.

I would really like to know more unschoolers. Not because I want to ditch the school-at-home friend or because I want to fill up the time so we can’t see traditional schoolers.

There is a huge difference between talking to other unschoolers about school-related-anxiety than talking to someone who schools. Schooling parents (whether at home or brick and mortar) have different anxieties about learning or not. For me, is my child experiencing holes in her learning because I was really stupid and I missed something really important? I am responsible. And I’m not following a road map. That is scary sometimes. If you follow a curriculum… you have a road map. Your kid will vary, sure…. but you at least have the fucking map.

Someone drove me out in the middle of the desert, blindfolded, gave me a water bottle and a compass and said, “See you later, sucker!”

Other unschoolers have more of the same experience. Unschoolers make some stupid choices. We reinvent the wheel every fucking time. “Hey, there’s this great way to teach this subject you just buy this curriculum and…” “Oh no! NOT US!!!! WE WANT TO MAKE UP OUR OWN PATH.” Not so smart, I think.

Ok, I could defend it at great length. There are reasons I make the much harder choice of reinventing the wheel (twice–my kids have dramatically different education needs and not just because of the age gap) but it’s hard. I want advice. And if you don’t unschool… it’s conjecture.

I listen to conjecture with way more grace than I used to. Let us give me credit for that.

I think my social circle is probably pretty much set for the next ten years. But I’d like to find 2-5 more unschooling families. Preferably within five miles of my house. (Since I’m writing a wish list.)

I already know three home schooling families who live within a four mile radius of us. If you include further afield in Fremont, but still “local” we know four or five other families but we don’t see them as much.

If I got to write my future (not that I think I will necessarily get to do this, but this is my fantasy here) I would find two additional families to the ones I’m already really tight with. Eventually my cat will die (I feel so guilty every time I think of this) and the one family will be able to come over again. (My cat is causing them breathing problems and that is just Not Ok. I support them not coming over indefinitely until circumstances change. We meet at the park instead.)

Anyway back to what I want. I would love to have five families within a 6 mile-8 mile diameter circle so the kids would be able to ride back and forth to one anothers houses within a few years. What I would *love* is to have periods of time where we do co-op type learning. Mondays are at house A. Tuesdays are at house B. Wednesdays are at house C. Thursdays are at house D. Fridays are at house E (or alternatively–Friday could be “at home” day for everyone–maybe I just want one more family–ha).

Different people are good at teaching different things. I don’t mean English/Math/Science/History (although as the kids get closer to middle school that could be hella fun). I mean, I would love to really teach the kids about painting and building and gardening stuff. These are skills I like teaching to children. While they are small is a great time to learn it so they just have it in their back pocket for later. I am *not* the best mama to teach most cooking stuff. I mean, I can. But it’s not my passion. Other people want to do that crafty shit  I mean wonderful stuff. (I can’t sit down and work with my hands. So I’m kind of a jerk sometimes. I’m sorry.)

It’s a process.

I think I want this because I read about something similar in an off-beat parenting book. I think My Mother Wears Combat Boots but I might be wrong. She had lots of neat details about unschooling her kid.

I don’t necessarily mean spending 6-8 at the various houses. 3-4 hours might be plenty. Partially I would love to let Shanna have the experience of seeing *the same group of people* that many times a week. Mostly my kids have to be ok with the fact that people in their life are all on very long rotations. I just can’t handle driving more.

Noah and I have been having some pretty fierce debates about feminism and gaming and how when you support the system that helps the rapists (sure–you can have a great excuse but what about political dissidents?!) then… well. I was a dickhead. I said, “When the Nazi’s were killing Jews there were people who put the Jews on the train. And there were people who stood there and watched and said, ‘There’s nothing I can do.’”

So I lost that argument according to Godwin. I can live with that. For the record I’m not calling Noah a fascist. Nor a Satanist (which he shouted at me yesterday because he was using a straw man because he didn’t want to directly argue with my main point.) No, you aren’t a fascist nor a Satanist. But sometimes you are a rape apologist. Sometimes you think it is way more important to protect 10,000 guilty men rather than risk 1 innocent man and fuck how many women are thrown under the bus in the process.

No, I don’t think you are a Nazi. Nor a Satanist. I’m more realistic than that. You don’t do anything bad. You just stand there and say, “There’s nothing I can do.” That will always be hard for me. That will always feel like complicity. I know it isn’t *Noah’s* fault any of this happens. I know he isn’t the one out there harassing women.

But the men who do aren’t going to listen to women like me. They are going to listen to men. Only men are allowed to change male culture. Not me. And I’m really tired of being told that I should somehow come up with a way to fix something that exists before me, outside of me, and almost entirely out of my sight. I am not welcome in any of the circles where it could be fixed.

It isn’t my fight. Not really. I can fight defensively from my side. (Which means offense, but I’m learning to be more careful with that.) I can’t change that side. That is literally Not Within My Power.

I don’t think Noah is God or anything. I already gave that handle away. (And now God has a kid! The universe is really interesting sometimes. No, they didn’t name the kid Jesus. I did not pronounce that like Jesus Christ and more like Jesus who picks your veggies.)

My expectations are too high and thus I will be disappointed. I know that. I know it isn’t Noah’s fault. I don’t actually expect him to get on his white steed and run off to save all the womens. That’s not really a role I would assign him.

What do I even want him to do? Not defend the behavior that protects rapists. Reddit and 4chan are wrong for covering up the identities of people who steal pictures of women and putting them on the internet.

That’s not free speech. That’s permission to commit as many crimes as you want. Different. 

Stealing and displaying something isn’t free speech. It isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t.

(If you live in more than a bubble than I do–some asshole on 4chan hacked into Apple’s icloud storage and stole some naked pictures of celebrities from the database. Some have been claimed as true and some have been denied as fakes. I haven’t seen any and I don’t intend to. They were Not Made For Me.)

I am pro pornography. If you want good pornography I can ask you some genre questions and probably refer you to one of my friends who works in that genre so I can give you high assurances they aren’t being exploited and in fact they love their job.

I am going to submit my book to two publishing houses on Monday. Like, put it in the mail. I have almost all the stuff together.

I have a handful of early readers (no comments yet) so that is… nerve wracking. I’m pretty sure that me and the editor are the only ones to read it cover to cover yet.

The planter boxes are coming along. I’ve painted the pallets on top and one of the bases is about 85% done. The kids did it by themselves. They just missed a few small spots. No biggie. Easy to fix.

Noah, I think you are a saint for putting up with me. I’m really pretty harsh with you. You tell me that my level of happiness is directly tied my expectations and you are right.

And yet… I am a controlling person. I like having influence. Over the ten years you have known me, you have changed a lot. I wish my methods had been more gentle. I appreciate that when I hit something you are unwilling to change you are very clear so I can move on. I don’t like wasting my effort. I put a lot of effort into you. I want it to be useful instead of wasted.

I love you. I know I am not easy to live with. I know I move things around all the time and you have trouble figuring things out. I get the impression you grew up in a static environment. I’m sorry I can’t give you one. This is the least dynamic my living environment has been. I am practically static. All I do is shift my organizing stuff as the proportions change. Not that much real change. But sometimes the canned foods are in the kitchen and sometimes the garage. It sorta depends on how many we have.

I’m trying to figure out how to fit. I’ve never fit anywhere ever in my life. This is really hard. I don’t know what it even means.

I was on NextDoor last night (my shrink recommended it) and I sorta went off on the people who were being nasty about how poor people maintain their homes. “Don’t they have any pride?”

There were many years of my life when my food money per month was less than these women consider “just part of life” to spend on a gardner. And yet at this point, I do have a gardner. Whom I overpay because he doesn’t actually do almost anything. But I’m happy about it. He does whatever I want, he’s always super nice and he’s got a kid in UC Davis. I can overpay him a little.

I said that I spend a lot of time walking in our neighborhood and I talk to anyone who will put up with my chattiness. Many of the untended yards are due to poverty or disability or maybe both. Are these really people who need to be shamed because they do not have the resources to keep up with the Joneses?

I’m probably not going to be popular. I can tell.

I’m never going to be quiet again. I have all the privilege I could ever want and more. I am secure. It would be pretty hard to threaten me. Once someone starts threatening my life I will start practicing more with the cross bow I was kindly given and I’ll carry around my baseball bat.

You aren’t going to chase me out of my home. So I feel pretty fucking secure. Maybe it is hubris–if people with guns started hating me I could die. But there isn’t much I could do to protect myself from such men anyway. (Could be women but statistics say it is unlikely.)

Who am I? What am I?

Don’t know. But I’m going to be loud about it.

You obviously spend a lot of time writing….

That is the beginning of every spam message I’ve gotten recently. Then they want to tell me about shot cuts so I can spend less time writing.

I am very confused about how other people perceive the act of writing.

Very bad news about a close friend. If you ride a motorcycle it is not if you will get in an accident it is when and how bad. I’ll spend a lot of today thinking really hard about her. I don’t know details yet.

We had awesome plans for today, then the three kids from the other family all wound up puking. Whoops. Postpone. No biggie. We will still be here liking you when your bodies stop staging a revolt. I cancel stuff for illness sometimes.

But unexpectedly I get a day at home. I will make a lot more progress on painting the planter boxes. It is really cool having all these large art installations that the kids have helped me with. It won’t be as obvious to other people, but I am watching their abilities blossom.

Shanna’s art doesn’t look like a polished professional adult but it is better than anything I did as a child and it is close to being better than me as an adult. I’m sure she will be better by the time she is eight or nine. I’m not that skillful at representing things accurately. I like suggestions of things. I can’t do so much with the realism.

I feel like I should sit down with the kids and ask them a bunch of questions as a “beginning of school year” activity. I should collect writing samples/drawing samples and start the portfolio process. This is our first year registering as a school. Technically only Shanna will be enrolled. Time to start tracking so that if she has to transfer I can communicate well about her learning style, abilities, and deficiencies. (We all have them.)

I believe that my children will probably enter some sort of schooling at some point. They both express strong desire to do so “some day” but not yet. Transitioning can be bumpy if you aren’t sure how to set yourself up for success in your next environment.

It kind of sucks that in life, you usually only find out what you should know by the time you need it instead of with plenty of time to leisurely study. I’m trying to stack the deck in their favor.

Pull back

I’m going through a period where I make comments on things people post and they either ignore me (and me alone out of a crowd of people) or they respond with hostility. It’s time to unfriend a bunch of people and stop trying.

It’s not like I will run out of people who actually like me. I don’t need to beat my head against the wall of people not liking me. I’ve done enough of that. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I have to live with it because I can’t change it.

ETA: It isn’t that I think negative things about the people involved. I just don’t have a lot of spoons. Throwing them at people who don’t want them seems… kind of stupid.

Holy busy-ness Batman!

I’ve been getting stuff done, like whoa. I’m proud of myself. The site redesign is nothing resembling “professional” but it is moving in the direction I want and that is pleasing. I now have a kids-only blog section. I haven’t started updating it with fury yet. I’ll get there.

I want to have a blog that people can share with their kids. That means not juxtaposing the crazy with the kid shit. And the kid-friendly area will be no swearing. To this I say: fuck fuck fuck fuck. I will maintain a sandbox where I can be as crazy and grown up as I need and any motherfucker who doesn’t like it can stay in the kid section. (I love you. That was hyperbole for fun. I don’t think you are a motherfucker if you dislike swearing. I just really like saying motherfucker. It’s an awesome word.

There will be an RSS feed that filters out all the swearing and sex. But I’m not done yet. Give me time.

Especially when we are traveling, we will want to keep in touch with a lot of local kids. I’m hoping the blog will kind of work out. We’ll see.

The toilet the handyman fixed will not flush poop. Fuck my life. I’m feeling so much rage in his general direction. Oh. My. God.

The last few days with the kids have been really great. It is like we hit an oasis of less defiant. Oh thank goodness. I needed a couple days in a row of them acting like they like me.

Hilariously–I’m reminded that it isn’t all about me. Yesterday I was snuggling youngest child and she leaned her head back to look up at me and she said, “Mom, you know what?”

“What?”

“I really like me.”

I grinned and said, “Good! I like you too. You are super spiffy.”

And holy crap Shanna has been impressing me with her competence lately. She can do more work than many full grown adults I have had the misfortune to work with. I have no doubt that she is going to be a rather intimidating adult to know. I look forward to the honor.

I have a basically finished letter to my mother and an in progress letter to Noah’s mother sitting here. Both feel oppressive and horrible. It’s like carrying the One Ring around. Oh fuck.

Oh, speaking of Noah… today is our eighth wedding anniversary. These have been by far the best years of my life. I’m glad he asked. I’m glad I impulsively said yes. We have been so happy. It is so nice having an in house best friend who never ever calls me names in anger. (He only calls me mean names during sex and I’m ok with that–I got to pick the names. Uhm, and it is super hot.)

I am sorta keeping up with fitness stuff. I am maintaining enough training that the 10k won’t be a problem at all. I am going to have to get more serious during the half marathon training if I want to make a serious go at the marathon in March. Right now I would be walking the whole damn thing and I’d be lucky if I hit 16 minute miles. Running blows. Why do I do this? Oh yeah. I like how I feel in between running sessions.

It seriously makes my back hurt less. Fitness makes my body easier to live in. I don’t have to love it. I just have to be around for my kids for decades to come. If I’m in constant pain I won’t be much fun.

I feel like it is pretty ridiculous that I bounce the way I do emotionally. When I’m up, I can so clearly see that I am loved and supported and valued far beyond what someone like me could expect. I have a lot of good friends. I have a tremendous number of people who show up year after year after year. Yeah, I’m intense and people can’t really handle being my bestie–I wear people down. But even my burned out besties usually stay in my life, just with slightly more remove. They protect themselves (which is right) while letting me know that they do love me.

No one can ask for more than this.

I suppose this is why it is “mental illness”. I’m not capable of controlling my emotional state. Oh–I’m on birth control. I am heading into the period of time where I have been dropping like a stone into suicidal ideation. Let’s see if a week of pills is enough to deal with that or if next month will be better or the month after that or never.

You keep trying, even when things often don’t work out. Because there is nothing else to do but admit defeat. I don’t fucking like defeat.

I was looking at Mint yesterday and beating myself up for overspending my set budget this year. We have only saved $7,198. I had this moment of cognitive dissonance. Wait… is that a lot or a little? OH MY GOD.

And that money we only managed to save, that I don’t count or consider enough? That’s not including the approximately $19,000 earned from not-Noah’s-primary-job I don’t count in the budget and I treat like bonus money–all of which I saved.

I waver between feeling rage at my incompetence at saving more and delight that I’m doing so well. I can’t tell which side is right.

I feel like I’m not actually doing so well. If Noah weren’t capable of earning buckets of money I couldn’t keep the fucking ship afloat. Only some people can take whatever amount of money, blow it all, and end up in massive debt. I don’t do that.

Well, I’m about to take on a bunch of debt. Probably nearly $60,000. I want the bathroom I want. I will be happy with it for the rest of my life. It’s worth the money. Imagine how much nicer it will be to come to parties at my house if there were two toilets. Whoa. Big awesome improvement.

A long time ago a friend was studying Ayurvedic medicine and he asked to do my birth chart. I gave him the data. He came back and told me with eyes wide that I would never ever need to worry about money. He told me that if anyone ever came against me in court over money they would lose.

He didn’t know about the dog bite settlement that set me up for life.

The thing about fate or destiny or whatever you call it–is you can make just about any life seem “inevitable”. You can find ways to explain a life that make you “destined” for the specific person you are talking about. But what if you had been born a state over? Would you still have been destined?

Depending on how you tell it, my life can seem like a series of ridiculously lucky breaks or a series of tragic incidences where I am a complete victim. It is all in what you choose to believe is inevitable.

Sometimes I think that going to twenty five schools was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I learned, intimately, that schooling is an artificially constructed concept that has little consistency from location to location. Learning is completely separate from “schooling”.

When I worked in the scene shop in college, my technical director asked me every fucking day if I knew how to use x power tool for the project we were about to embark on. Three years in, “Do you know how to use a power drill?”

“I know how to hold it to your head to prevent you ever asking me a stupid question again.”

I had built this man complex sets. It was a really annoying daily question. But he had that pattern for the same reason my massage therapist is COMPLETELY FIRM about nudity rules no matter the comfort levels of his clients.

The consequence of not following the pattern with a new person is so dire that you are not allowed to drop the habit even if it would be convenient for someone else. I get it.

So I worry and worry and worry about money and yet… there is a part of me that sits back kind of smugly and goes, “I’ve got this. No sweat.” I didn’t only save $7k. I saved over $26k. But man I don’t want to give me credit. Maybe I would feel better if I did.

I’m super excited about the bathroom, actually. This is going to be the most intensive for-me thing I’ve ever built. Ok, I won’t be building it. But I will be heavily involved in design. I am probably going to drive several people crazy. Sorry. At least I pay well for my exacting standards.

The Wonderland we come home to at the end of the road trip is going to be pretty much my dream house. Which is kind of funny given how hostile I have been to this house over the years. It didn’t start out being what I wanted. To be truthful, probably no place would be. I am grateful that I have had the privilege to change my home into what I want it to be.

People keep commenting that it feels kind of like a school. I know. I want that feeling. When I was a child school was safer than home and some of my happiest moments were with good teachers. I am doing everything in my (considerable) power to take the best of the things I saw and share them with my children.

I got to see so many places.

I have been in this house for eight years. My child was born in the kitchen. I have trees and good fruit in the yard. I have swings. I have hoards of screaming children careening around the place. (They aren’t screaming because they are upset. They are just Fully Engaged.) Soon I will have a bathtub big enough for two grown ups and two toilets. Yup, that is pretty much my dream house.

If I wanted to, I could tell you a story about how this is all inevitable. This was just Meant To Be.

But I know I was frequently voted as “The Most Likely to Become a Drug Addicted Prostitute” by class mates from school to school, year after horrible year. So let’s not kid ourselves and say it was inevitable.

But it was possible.

Now my brain is going straight into the Lego Movie theme song: Everything is Awesome.

Did things go better because I managed to find the right time and place for me? If I had been born in Indiana and I had similar life experiences there… I don’t think I would have turned out as well. I wouldn’t have had the resources. Living in California, often in high affluence areas means I had access to support that just doesn’t exist in other places.

You never know what is “inevitable”.

I feel more interest in what is possible.

I have really good people in my life. I went to a party recently that is more like the parties I used to go to and not much like most of the parties I go to these days. It was intense. I was grateful to be there for a variety of reasons. Even though I don’t feel like I am currently “at the level” of most of the people in the room, they see no reason to exclude me for a blip. I had been really nervous about the party because I thought I wouldn’t know a high percentage of the people. Ha. I hadn’t previously known exactly one person there and he was new to everyone in the room from a foreign country.

Holy shit. I am part of the in-crowd. Not every in-crowd–there are lots I am not part of and I honestly don’t aspire to them. The group of people I picked when I was young and I have continued to chase long after it has been practical… they want me and love me and see me as an equal.

Recently I told a friend, “You may feel like you are a complete fuck up. You may feel like you never do anything wrong, but there is factual evidence to the contrary. So you can have your feelings. I’m sorry you feel that way. It isn’t fun. But I get to hold on to the fact that it isn’t factually true that you are a complete fuck up and you never do anything right. You have done things very right with me the vast majority of the time.”

It’s true of me too. I fuck up sometimes. Mostly I do pretty well. Some days I’m proud of my record. It isn’t that I hold on to every person I have ever known. I cull out the people who are most important to me. And year after year after year they return my affection. They tell me to knock it off when I’m out of line. And they continue to love me. Because I don’t do everything wrong.

I saw a neat Pinterest quote and I’m going to butcher it so I’m sorry oh gods of I could look it up but I’m too lazy.

If someone struggled with MS or (other horrible disease) for 63 years you would say they were inspiring and a fighter. When someone dies at that age of severe mental illness you call it a tragedy and they “should have gotten help”. Robin Williams did everything you are supposed to do. He saw psychiatrists. He got sober. He checked himself back into rehab to support sobriety. He jumped the hoops. He still died.

That is a rough paraphrase so I’m not even putting it in quotes. But, for the record, I did not come up with the idea in the previous paragraph.

That has been sitting heavily on me for a few days. I’ve been thinking very hard about that. Shanna is starting to specifically challenge me on, “You are going to stay with me as long as physically possible, right? You don’t have to be with me every minute. But you have to stay here in Wonderland so I can come back to you.”

I don’t think this is motivated by my suicidal ideation. I don’t talk to the kids about it *at all*. I get the impression that kids just go through these phases. But it is especially poignant for me.

I brought you into this world. It is a harsh and cold place. Yes, I will stay with you as long as I can so I can make your burden easier to bear. Yes. You are worth that. Even though there are going to be some very bad days I won’t want to get through.

It feels so tragically unfair that I can’t just give this promise to Noah, but I can’t. Luckily he is an opportunist and he’ll take whatever hook he can get. If I don’t die for the kids, at least he gets to enjoy me.

But mental illness is a (whole bunch of) serious disease(s). I have been dealing with it for multiple decades so far. 63 is kinda old for someone like me. So I watch the news coverage of Robin Williams (well, I read it) and I feel sad but like it is ok that he got his kids to adulthood and then took care of what he needed to take care of. Maybe he wasn’t able to promise his kids the way I am able to promise mine. I get the impression that sometimes dads don’t feel the kind of connection I feel. (Clearly many do.)

I don’t feel like he was selfish. He did raise his kids. He took care of his real responsibilities. Then he was done. I can’t be mad at anyone for that. I hope no one would be mad at me.

Well, Shanna could be mad because I broke a promise. No one else is entitled. I didn’t promise you shit. I bet Calli will climb on that bandwagon before too long. She will be worth a promise too.

I like Calli so much and I can’t wait to see what kind of grown up she will be. Intense and passionate and driven. We will get through the stickier parts of being helpless and our relationship will  change a lot. I’m looking forward to it.

But the girls are going to be intense and passionate and thankfully, not screaming in my face all day some year soon. I’ll be left in a lot of quiet with Noah. That sounds so nice. He can bore the shit out of me with comic books and I can bore him to tears with constant talking about plants. It’ll be awesome.

H’okay. Those back spasms that just happened aren’t awesome though. Crap crap crap. I get them periodically. I have since I was a kid. But it has been a while and I hoped I was doing stuff to make them not happen. Fucktastic.

Oh man, $

At the end of this December I will be hanging my head in shame as I reveal the extent of how far I fell off plan this year. I can’t bear to tell it before I have to. Oh man.

I feel so grateful that I am now in a position to throw money at my problems and have it actually go well. This is privilege.

I’m feeling scared that I won’t pay the mortgage off as fast as I want. Which means that it will still be paid off early but not as early as I WANTED. I am struggling with this internally.

As my checking account balance sinks… the investment account grows. Holy crap. Am I feeling “ok” about spending money on these things because I know it is kind of covered by invisible money somewhere else? Don’t fall into that trap, Krissy.

I’m fixing things on the house. I’m paying for help in that process. I’m moving forward on book stuff. I’m buying equipment we will need for the cross country trip. I’m not blowing money. I’m not being impulsive. I’m not wasting money. Although we have been eating out too much. Bleh.

Well, for my birthday I will be going to the $15/night place and bringing camping food from home. That’ll be good enough. I just want to not be near people.

I need to have a birthday entirely free of expectations of people. I am not asking for things. I am not organizing a party and asking people to prove they love me by showing up. I don’t want to feel like I have to perform happy in order to earn affection this year. If I want to lie in the fetal position and cry all day… I won’t be disappointing anyone.

I spend so much time and energy feeling terrified of disappointing the people I love. I stop talking to them rather than risk disappointing them.

I’m ready for a stay at home phase. Summer is ending. Thank goodness.

Baby sitting is awesome

I like giving and receiving baby sitting. It helps me feel like I am part of a community. I am a trusted adult who is permitted to bond with other people’s children. What a statement of trust. This feels like a big deal to me.

i would not be able to count nor name all the people who have thought I was less than trustworthy. This is a change. I have a wonderful two year old cuddled up with me, right this minute.

i am so lucky.

No time to really type

But I miss you, internet. You are my best friend.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how lucky I am. My life seems miraculous to me. I have so many things going right.

If my *biggest problem* of the last few weeks is that other people aren’t good at being as punctual as I like… I need to not bitch. My life is so wonderful. I am blessed. I am loved.

I am still in touch with at least a dozen people I was friends with in high school and middle school. Twenty years of friendship. I can’t be as bad as I think. They wouldn’t still be calling me and visiting. They drive far out of their way to see me. I can’t be nearly as bad as I think.

My kids are challenging sometimes. That’s normal, expected and for the best. I wouldn’t want them any other way. We are in a phase. A phase where lots of rules are broken and lots of glass gets broken. This phase will end. Thank goodness.

Lots happening. I miss you, internet. I promise I will be back soon.

I need to stop criticizing other people. I can have opinions about specific interactions I am involved in, but I can’t criticize the personhood of another person any more.

Noah reminded me that years ago I referred to someone as a poseur. I cringed when he repeated it to me. I am such a schmuck.

Mostly, mostly, mostly I need to not judge other parents. I am not in their homes. I do not know how they parent. I am not in a position to judge. I need to internalize that times about 50 bazillion. I think I’m not bad about it now but I do more than I feel ok about. I don’t need to judge anyone but me.

Doctor schtuff

Went to see the groino. She says she is not comfortable giving me what is essentially a blood pressure medication for mood management given that I have a long established history of very low blood pressure. So instead I am starting birth control pills. Which I find hilarious. I should bleed 3-4 times a year.

Let’s see how this goes.

(I’m putting this under doctors suck even though she was perfectly lovely. A very satisfactory visit. I shall go so far as to say nice things to Kaiser.)