This is the gap

This is the gap that pot fills. I wish I were a more patient person. I put myself into positions constantly where I need buckets of patience and…. I’m not the most patient person.

I love the Bonus Kids with all my heart. It is challenging that every parent socializes their kid differently. The Bonus Mama and I have different things that bug us. Neither of us are right nor wrong, we just are. We train our kids differently. This visit… the four kids are all in fucking bad moods and I’m having to stopthink, process, Ok…. why do the Bonus Kids have different expectations in this moment and what do I need to do to fairly express my expectations… which are not what they are used to.

There is no right or wrong in this equation. Everyone is completely fine. But these are young kids and if I want them to adapt to me I have to god damn explain what that means. I have to do it with a smile and gentle hands.

One family that I’m friends with believe it is never ok to touch their child when giving directions. They have worked out methods that manage their expectations with their kids. I’m a toucher. I’m big on a gentle guiding hand to push a child into the direction/expectation I have. Watching my friends has caused me to seriously question whether I’m appropriate or not. I don’t think my preferences are right. They are what work for me.

I touch for a lot of reasons. (I’m talking head/shoulder/arms/back. It is touching without consent but it isn’t nasty or mean or touching sensitive areas.) My experience of working with children is you have to get their attention before giving a correction. The fastest/easiest/most connecting way to do that effectively that I know… is touch. I don’t touch all day long and I work really hard to make sure these are gentle touches. I’m just redirecting attention. “Hey, listen to me for a minute.”

I will walk up to a kid and put my hand on their shoulder when they are screaming and flipping out and say, “Hey… do we scream in this house?”

If I want to get their attention without touching…. (I feel like I should put a bag over my head)… I usually end up screaming when they are really self focused.

I’m not proud. I think I’m a loser.

But I have found a system that works well for me. I don’t touch kids I don’t know. That’s over the line. This is in my house with kids I work with a lot.

My little niece in Scotland? I want to see her again. I won’t touch her. Not unless she initiates. Children of strangers…. I don’t touch them at all. That’s a troublesome line.

But kids I’m attached to who are in my house who spend a lot of time pawing at me? Yeah. I touch them without consent to get their attention sometimes.

I know that two wrongs don’t make a right, but somehow I’m learning something new about consent in this space too.

I can get the attention of lots of children, no matter how dysregulated they are, without touching. But I get fucking loud. I can project amazingly, fantastically well. I can quiet down thousands of screaming children because….I’m louder. This was a job skill in years past. At the beginning of rallies the bullhorn wasn’t loud enough to get any attention. But I can.

I’m strangely proud and ashamed of this. Fucking a I’m loud.

I try to not bring out the bellow unless there is a good reason. (Thousands of screaming children in an enclosed space….) But when I’m dysregulated the first thing to go is… voice volume control. I’m much better than I used to be but I still seriously struggle.

I think this is why I do so well with children who have emotional problems. Dear God I understand. Let’s sit around and commiserate on how hard it is to control ourselves. If you need to have a good cry because you are frustrated go right ahead. I do it all the time. It’s ok.

But pot gives me this extra lake of patience. I don’t have to consciously freeze my body before I do something inappropriate. Instead I have a blinking few seconds where I don’t know what to do but I’m not poised to SCREAM AS IF MY LIFE IS THREATENED. Ok, I’ll tell you the truth. Post-journey I’ve had a tiny amount of pot every day. I’m… inspired by what I am reading of microdosing. Ok, so normally when folks talk about microdosing they are referring to lsd or mushrooms and I am not using either of those. So I’m stealing a term that isn’t really mine. Gosh I’m an asshole.

Anyway. I’ve been consciously using very tiny amounts. I’ve been spreading it out. I’m using the vaporizer pen because it is a lot easier to give small doses. And I don’t have any smokable product in the house. This is the last of what was supposed to last me a month. This product comes in .5g quantities and I worked on it for weeks before I ran out of bud and I’ve used it for a week now. That’s a huge reduction in usage this week. If I were to use this pen as my primary method two months ago a cartridge lasts about a day and a half. This week it has been my only method and I didn’t use half a cartridge.

I’m looking forward to seeing where my tolerance is after two weeks of not having a choice because I don’t have any and I’m traveling. (How’s that for a convoluted sentence?)

I’m looking forward to having a frank discussion with my med-doctor about pot and pregnancy. All the other meds she wants me on are known to be bad for pregnancy. At this rate… I probably feel comfortable. Especially if I can force myself to make .5g last a month because I’m just using barely enough to impact my behavior and not enough to make me high…

Oxytocin is going to be a big deal. But that’s complicated right now.

Everything is always complicated.

Folks decided to change some of their travel plans during the upcoming trip. So I get to cancel a reservation and get some time share points back. They have to be used within 60 days. I’m thinking maybe Noah and I will sneak in a trip to Las Vegas. Use the points or lose them.

If you want to keep friends, flexibility is key. I understand why they want to come back. They are the only ones not home schooling.

Thank you for coming at all.

I’m packed. I’m excited. In 49 hours we are boarding the plane. Squeeeeeeeee.

This is going to be a ridiculously fun trip. We will rest. I know that many of my friends don’t like restful vacations. I need one. I’ll be a better, nicer person after serious rest. It’s been a lot of years of not resting. As all three of my therapists have said to me recently, “Rest is mandatory. You don’t rest. You need to find a way to rest.” (With minor wording variations and different accents and inflections. But whatever. Same message.)

I’m taking doctors orders. This is my happy face. I’m going to go play on a boat for a week. A ship. A floating hotel. I’m going to be pampered. My kids will be entertained. We won’t be bringing screens. Interact with your environment. Learn how to find things to look at.

Only boring people get bored. Entertain yourself.

We can do it with sticks and rocks. We can do it in a hotel room. Now we’ll go do it on a boat with theaters and pools and a frickin water slide that goes over the edge of the boat so you can see all the way to the ocean.

Ridiculous. We are spending what used to be 6 months of my income on this trip. I saved up for years. And then the damn clothes ended up being way the fuck more expensive than expected. Shit. So I’ll be paying the trip back for a while too. Sigh. But I’m going to wear this fucking outfit forever. (The dress will cheerfully accommodate an 80+ weight gain! This sucker is roomy because that was the cut of the era. Ahhhh, room for pregnancy. Ok, not the corset dress. That I’ll have to stay about the same size for. Whatever. I really wanted it.)

I’ve returned to this size and shape over and over again since I was 15. I’m comfortable calling it my approximate size even if I do fluctuate in actual weight.

Ok. Time to focus again.

So much I want to say

My hands hurt. My head is full. My heart is confused.

I don’t do things because I want to hurt Noah. I do things for lots of reasons. The fact that I hurt Noah in the process isn’t the goal, but yeah it happens. How much do I need to not do what I want/need to do in service of Noah? That’s a complicated negotiation.

There’s a lot I need to agree to if I want to be considered in the exact same way.

Noah’s not wrong when he points out that he used to be more ok with poly because he was less enmeshed and I didn’t like it. I wanted more of him. So I need to act like I’m getting more of him.

An awful lot of what we like about one another is that we really see one another. There isn’t a lot of “Oh you’re so awesome!” without specific support for why we think that. We temper our positive beliefs with “And by the way you suck at _____, _____ and ______. Fix that.”

Neither of us desire being seen as better than we are. We are both fuck ups who want to fuck up less over time. That takes honesty and perception.

I don’t get that from anyone else and I know it.

If you can’t look back on yourself 18 months ago and say “Wow I really sucked” you aren’t trying hard enough. 18 months ago I was still willing to put my head down and grit my teeth through stuff that was hurting me that I didn’t like. I managed to get to a point where I can’t do that anymore.

I hope it is progress. I’m backsliding in other areas. Is it backsliding? I’m reverting and going back to tricks that worked well for a long time in different settings. I haven’t tried them much in a long time because they wouldn’t have helped. Did they help this time?

Yes and no.

God that’s hard.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Are we changing for the better? I hope so. We are talking about some things. Oh! And Noah has a therapy appointment scheduled.

We are trying.

Do or do not. There is no try. Oh fuck off.

How do you manage to do stuff without trying and failing a lot? I’ve never found a way. Is that a justification for fucking up? I kinda think being alive is the only justification that someone needs for fucking up. We all do it.

Bossy friends, sleep, and the big D

Do you know what I hate about blacksheep telling me to do stuff? I pretty much always listen. I stopped using the Afrin. (@#$#$@$#$ bossy friends)

I am happy to report that with Zyrtec and saline nasal spray (to irrigate and moisturize, naturally) nightly I’m still getting 8-10 hours of sleep. Like fucking magic. I haven’t slept this well… ever.

(I wouldn’t listen to blacksheep so much if she weren’t usually fucking right.)

I find it funny how my initial response is always I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU then two days later I’m doing what she told me to do. I’m so mature.

Things with Noah are… rocking back and forth in a gradual upswing. God damn that was some unfun conversating we did this weekend. (Yes I know that isn’t a word.) But it was important and useful and we said stuff we needed to say. There were moments when I asked questions about divorce, but suicide wasn’t the answer. This still needs to be considered progress.

No we aren’t getting a divorce. But I’m scared that I’m so bad for him that he really should get away from me. He doesn’t want to. We are both… crazy attached. Is this good? I don’t know. But I know I like Noah more than I like anyone else.

This is so complicated.

No real time…

But I want to point out that I got through Suicide Tuesday Friday without feeling drop or depression or a reversion to suicidal ideation. (For those of you who haven’t spent years doing drugs, MDMA is a drug that causes a massive surge in serotonin. If you have a massive surge of serotonin… you will have a corollary time when you will have a decrease in serotonin. This is known in rave circles as Suicide Tuesday assuming you did your trip on a Saturday.)

I’m having big feelings this morning because I got to do a walk through Noah’s brain that makes me feel sad, but not in a way that makes me feel worthless and like I should die.

I feel sad that Noah genuinely believes that he isn’t allowed to have friends because if he were honest about our relationship anyone/everyone would tell him to get the fuck out of our marriage because I am so horrible.

That’s… that’s a real problem. I don’t know what to do about it. Am I really as bad as all that? He thinks so. And that means it is true enough.

If I’m sitting with this and I don’t feel like I should off myself… that’s progress.

Searching for safety and consent

I want to write this for strangers. Which means I need to give context that might be annoying for folks who know me well. Sorry about that.

It’s been a long journey. I’m only 34. I turn 35 in just over three weeks, so I’ll call myself 35. I’ve spent  almost 33 of those years in therapy, much of it court ordered. I have long been considered “treatment resistant” with my many mental and physical problems. For those who don’t know my diagnosis list includes (in no particular order): Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, fibromyalgia, TMD (jaw problems), and Pre Menstrual Dysphoria Disorder. Recently my therapist and psychiatrist are starting to suggest ADD. Because I need more letters in my alphabet soup.

Pretty much what all that can be summarized as, “I’m a highly traumatized person who is fairly fucked up.”

When I say traumatized I mean both long-term severe neglect as well as periodic extreme trauma. Things like having my face ripped off by a pit bull (117 stitches were necessary to put it back on). Things like having my biological father rape me and hold a gun to my head. Things like moving more than 50 times before I was 18 and attending 25 schools. I mean things like having to steal food in order to not starve. It was bad. If you want to read more about it… I wrote a book.

I mean things like I am the product of rape. Fairly recent studies show that being completely unwanted by your mother during pregnancy can have a permanent lifetime impact.

All of these things combine to create a person (me) who has had a lifetime of very little intrinsic self worth, very few self protection mechanisms, and very little inherent ability to figure out what is healthy for myself.

It’s complicated.

I’ve been raped a lot. Starting when I was a toddler and moving into my 20’s. Some of these rapes were very clearly RAPE. Some of them were… kind of muddy. Guess who gets to define them as rape or not? Me. No one else. I wish I had a scale for talking about my experiences, not because I want to invalidate the experiences of other people but because talking about my personal experiences is really hard because they all sound… kind of equivalent when I’m speaking about them to other people. Or someone will think that some of them don’t count because on their personal scale, some of my rapes “don’t count”.

You know what? People are differently traumatized by experiences based on a wide variety of personal factors.

I’m not going to bounce back from some things as easily as some people. I’m going to bounce back from other things far more easily than most people. Because we are all different and that is normal, healthy, and ok.

It has been a long journey for me. It has been hard for me to manage my severe self hatred, self mutilation, and disordered thinking. I’ve had a freakish amount of support for someone as traumatized and poor as I was. I prosecuted my father. As a result I was able to get my therapy paid for by the state because I was the victim of a violent crime. My therapists submitted paperwork year after year after year to request continuances on my treatment because they knew I would probably die if I was left to make it through my early years on my own. I am very lucky. The state only wanted to pay for a few months of treatment. Instead they paid for almost ten years. Then I had private insurance and could handle the co-pay. More recently I just pay out of pocket because incest/severe trauma specialists often won’t fuss with insurance.

I’m very lucky I can afford the support I need.

Not everyone is so lucky.

I did not report most of the rapes I experienced. Why? Because I didn’t think anyone would believe me. Because the circumstances were convoluted and complicated and layered. Because after the one attempt at prosecution (which wasn’t actually successful because he committed suicide instead of going to court after fully confessing to the detectives who interviewed him) I tried again when someone spiked my drink and raped me when I was unconscious.

The detectives I worked with as a 16 year old were supportive, caring, and wonderful. The detectives I worked with as an 18 year old told me “What did you expect would happen when you went on a date with a guy to a party?” and “We aren’t going to ruin that nice boy’s life for you.”

I never again attempted to use the legal system to defend myself and I don’t know that I would ever have the courage again. The only reason I had the nerve with my father was because he raped me for so many years and it was so egregious. The detectives who interviewed him came to me afterwards and told me, while pea green, “I have never heard something so horrifying in my whole life. He corroborated every story you told and added details and told us many stories you don’t remember.”

I’m glad my brain decided I don’t need to remember everything. But sometimes I think about going through the legal channels to get the police report. Because… frankly with this much distance I sort of wonder what did I survive?

I came into the bdsm community at 18. By 19 I was in a 24/7 M/s relationship with a man almost 13 years my senior. He had been in the community for many years and had a really established reputation.

I would like to formally say that my Owner probably fucked up a few times with very minor negotiation details because we are all human but he never ever harmed me. He was the first person who respected my boundaries and lived up to his commitments with me. I’ll be grateful for him for the rest of my life. He did not abuse me. He did not rape me beyond carefully negotiated rape play scenes. They were never traumatizing and in fact helped me work through a lot of trauma.

Outside of my relationship with him my experiences have been more muddy. I would say that the vast majority of my bdsm partners have been respectful, honorable, wonderful people. Thank you for honoring me by sharing the gift of play.

Then there were the people who heard “Don’t do X” and did X after restraining me so I couldn’t resist. One of the people who did this has apologized profusely, publicly and in a way that made me feel like he really did misunderstand and fuck up. I’ve known him for 16 years after that event and I’ve never heard a single other story about him fucking up like that. It was a genuine mistake, he learned from it and I healed and life moves on. I don’t want to make it sound like all people who violate consent are horrifying unrepentant monsters who should be burned at the stake. I don’t believe that.

I have committed rape. I was a child. Five years old to be specific. I didn’t know it was rape for many years. When I found out it was rape I denied it and called the person who was accusing me a liar. I was twelve when I denied it up one side and down the other. I called the parent of the person I raped and said that the person was lying about me. I feel so much shame for my actions that I cannot possibly express the extent of my feelings. But now, as a 35 year old who has not (to the best of my knowledge) ever done something like that again… I am trying to forgive myself. I was doing what my father told me to do. I was trying to be good.

I understand that a great many rapists are following the scripts they were given by their family, by society, and by the media for how to be a good/strong man/person/dominant/whatever.

When I became an adult I reached out to the person I raped and I spoke to them. I apologized up one side and down the other for raping them and for denying it and getting them in trouble. I didn’t and don’t think I deserve forgiveness from them. That is up to the person I hurt.

You can never undo a wrong that big.

Back to my adulthood. During my relationship with my Owner I had the great fortune to be introduced to a number of professional sex workers. These women were the first people to really explicitly talk in front of me about boundaries, how to enforce them, how to keep yourself safe, and how to not give a shit about not meeting someone else’s needs. I’m still in touch with many of them. I count them as friends and I’m grateful for their presence in my life.

When I left my Owner I… didn’t do a great job of keeping myself safe. I had friendships with several men that involved a lot of small slow increases in boundary violations and I didn’t retreat from the relationships. I didn’t really know how. I was still in contact with my biological family. I was still trying to figure out how to separate my feelings of worthlessness/feelings of deserving to be hurt from whether or not I should put up with the person in front of me hurting me.

I still struggle to identify within myself when my desire to engage in bdsm practices comes from a Harm Reduction desire to have someone else hurt me (because they will probably do less damage to me than I will do to me) or when it comes from a place of just genuine sexual desire. I do genuinely get off on bdsm. It isn’t all bad. It isn’t all trauma and fuss. Bdsm has been the door to me learning a lot about my own strength, worthiness, and genuine friendships.

I am grateful for my friends in this community. Your faith in me has carried me when I could not carry myself.

One particular rape sticks out in my mind. It happened when I was 24. I was at a public sex party. I had decided to do GHB with a few friends at the party. When the party host (who was a sometimes sex partner of mine) asked me to go to a back room with him I thought nothing of it. I was completely ok with the idea of having sex with him. With a condom. I was not on any form of birth control and as a fertile womb carrying person… I needed a condom to be used. He knew that about me. He had unprotected sex with me while I said “No no no no” and tried to push him off. I wasn’t strong enough, not at all with the drug in my system.

When it was over I stumbled out, grabbed my clothes and went to sleep off the drug in my car before I began the 35ish mile drive home. I cried a lot. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time.

I thought I deserved it. I didn’t think I had the right to call it rape.

It was rape. I didn’t deserve it. After a while I started writing about it publicly and I used his full name. Some of our mutual friends brought it to his attention, asked him about it, and asked him to contact me. He said, “I don’t remember that happening but if you feel hurt by something I’m sorry”.

I… didn’t feel better. In the years since I have had to deal with his name coming up in a variety of contexts and I feel sick to my stomach every time I hear about him. He is a serial predator and I’ve heard about a number of other women with similar and worse stories.

I am very lucky that a number of party hosts know me, trust me, and based on my story and other stories they have banned him. Thank you my friends.

Recently on Fet I’ve been reading about cases of “consent violations” that turn my stomach. The part that turns my stomach is all the people saying, “Oh don’t condemn the person who made a mistake.” Wow. I…

“When do we forgive people who have made a consent mistake?”

I cringe. I cry. Do you know who decides when someone needs to forgive someone who harmed them? The person who is harmed. No one else.

I may want a scale so I can talk about the effect my rapes have had on me, but I don’t want a scale so I can judge whether or not someone else’s experiences “count” or not. I do not have that right. Only the person who is harmed gets to decide that. I wish I had a scale for talking about my experiences. But I sure as shit don’t want someone else deciding for me.

When people say, “Did you go to the police? No? Then it’s not real rape” my stomach clenches. I tried twice. Once successfully. Once I was rebuffed. There were many other rapes. Starting when I was seven years old.

I didn’t think anyone would care about a piece of white trash. My reading of statistics and police policy indicates that I was right on the money. I’m very lucky I was supported in prosecuting my father. Very few victims get that kind of support.

I’m writing this because right now I feel on the crux of changing things within myself. I have managed to hit a fairly major breakthrough in my therapeutic process. I did actually find a way to release some of the shame, blame, and guilt I feel over existing. I have managed to get a break (at least for a few days… so far…) from the horrifying voices in my head that tell me I’m worthless and should die.

I’m very grateful after so many decades of being considered near-hopeless.

All of this to say that I feel like I might get to enter a new stage. I might get to figure out more about what bdsm, sex, connection, and intimacy might mean to me. This is exciting and terrifying.

I don’t know how other people figure out what drives them. I don’t know how other people figure out what they need vs what they want vs what would be tolerable if someone else really wants it but they don’t care about it.

I have had a very hard time differentiating these things in my life. I’m not blaming anyone, not any of my abusers, but I’m trying to be honest with myself about the difficulties I have experienced so that I can hope to make progress. If you can’t be honest with yourself how can you grow? If you can’t understand where you come from how can you figure out how to get where you want to go?

I need to find some compassion for myself. I have not traditionally had a lot of compassion for myself. I have felt contempt. I have felt fury. I have felt disgust and hatred. Right now I am empty of contempt, fury, disgust, and hatred. I don’t know what will come next. There is this void inside me where I am waiting to see what comes next.

What does being an integrated person mean?

It means having emotions in my body and being able to identify them without scorn. It means being able to have limits and boundaries without hating myself.

I haven’t had much time in my life where I haven’t felt consumed with self hatred. I’m having a fairly surreal couple of days here. I wonder how long this will last.

I’m writing this in this way because I feel heavily triggered by public conversations somewhere else and I’m trying to not wade in deep. There is no win for me in wading in there. So I stay here in my sandbox and talk to myself. This isn’t about my reaction to your journey. This is about me trying to figure out what I’m doing on this journey of my own.

Where am I going? What am I doing?

I’m trying to figure out how to have connection without needing people to harm me. I’m trying to figure out how to love myself. I’m trying to figure out what I have to give back in this life. Yesterday Noah reminded me of a quote from The Last Unicorn ““No,” he repeated, and this time the word tolled in another voice, a kings’s voice; not Haggard, but a king whose grief was not for what he did not have, but for what he could not give.”

I am at a fairly unique point in my story. I can perceive how lucky I am… and not hate myself for it. I want to move forward with this feeling. I want to figure out how to use the extraordinary luck I have been granted in this life to help others. Others who have not been so lucky.

Not everyone who suffers terribly has years of therapy paid for. Not everyone who suffers terribly is awarded money in court, enough to keep them safe for more than a decade. Not everyone who suffers terribly ends up financially secure, nay rich. I’m not in the 1%. But there is the non-zero possibility I’ll get there. I don’t need many more years at the rate of income we have coming in before I will be able to manage that.

That is astounding to someone who once stole food to eat, to someone who slept in cars and on couches and floors in other peoples homes for years.

How did I get here? One step at a time.

Not everyone can do this. Why did I? It’s not because I’m a better person. It’s not because I’m more deserving. It might be, in part, because I am in fact smart. I am constantly shocked by the number of people who email me, call me, or show up at my house to say, “I don’t understand this and I know you will be able to explain it to me.” I wouldn’t be doing so well financially if I didn’t have brutal self discipline with money.

I taught myself first. That’s part of why I’m a good teacher. I’m a hard, resistant, obnoxious student. If I can get through to me… most other people are a cake walk.

Why am I still writing on this? Apparently cause I want my hands to hurt.

I think I’m just enjoying how it fees to be inside a head that isn’t screaming with hate. I’m enjoying the feeling of exploding possibilities.

I appreciate how many people who work professionally in mental health are excited about what I want to do with the incest data base in the future. I’m told over and over and over that there is a serious need for someone to go do that work. I want to do it. I want to learn how to be worthy of hearing the stories. I don’t want to interpret them. I just want to help those of us in the cohort feel less alone. I want us to understand the commonalities in our experiences. I guess I want to codify the stories? Is that the same as interpret? I hope not. I hope I can be more truthful than that. So much is lost in interpretation. I don’t want to lose the truth that each story carries on its own. I just want to…

Help us figure out what kinds of things tend to happen. I want to know how the others are doing. I feel kinship. I feel relationship. I feel connection with other incest cohort folks.

Even the perpetrators.

I’ve been reading a lot about forgiveness. Who should forgive the perpetrators? Maybe that forgiveness needs to come from elsewhere in the community and not from the folks they acted upon.

Notice how hard I’m trying not to say victims or survivors?

Perpetrators still… seems relevant and fair.

I need more words. I need to hear more stories. I need to hear what people call themselves. I don’t know.

I think I’m so god damn lucky in this life that survivor and victim are seeming less relevant by the year. It’s complicated.

Does that mean I need to forgive my father? I don’t know. Do I need to forgive Paul or Kevin or Michael? Or. Or. Or.

I think maybe they need to be forgiven by someone. Not necessarily by me. Even if I do forgive them that needs to be about me. It doesn’t mean I ever need to talk to them again. I don’t have to. I owe them nothing.

This is all so complicated.

What do I believe in?

I believe in my children. I believe in my infinite capability to adapt. I have proven to myself that I can adapt long past when other people freeze up and just can’t.

I can.

Why?

I don’t know. Will I become exactly what other people want? Fuck no. I didn’t say I would conform. I said I would adapt. Because I do. Over and over and over again.

The more I read about developmental trauma the happier I am with myself as a parent. I am doing the work. I am adapting as they need me to. I hold them close and let go whenever they need me to. I react to their emotions and mirror them. I teach them how to identify and deal with their emotions. I teach them all the things I had to learn painfully out of books and in therapy. I do it with a great deal of gentleness and love.

I’m not perfect. But that would actually be a problem too. I’m not supposed to be perfect. I’m supposed to screw up and grow. So I can model how that works.

We all violate consent sometimes. We all have to apologize.

That’s part of life.

Right now my beloved children are gathering milkweed seeds and spreading them all over the yard (and our neighbors yards… whoops…). They are dancing and spinning and singing.

This moment is perfect.

Yes, I am.

Several kind people have asked me if I’m taking all the supplements I should be taking to rebuild after using MDMA. Yes, sweet friends, I am. I know that fucking with your brain is complicated business and I am currently taking like 41 pills a day, two kinds of powdered supplements, some weird shit suspended in honey, and many kinds of homeopathic drops. I don’t “believe” in the homeopathy shit, but I have to admit I feel a lot physically better since I’ve been seeing this woo nutritionist. So I do it. (One Zyrtec, one stomach acid reducing pill, the rest are vitamins and nutritional supplements. Yes. I’m fucking taking the pills.)

I feel that I have been lucky in that all of my drug experiences have been with people who worry a lot about front loading and rebuilding after using drugs. The people who introduced me to drugs are functional people with jobs, children, and relationships who can’t afford to fuck themselves up. I was taught quite a bit about managing ones body when one makes alternative choices.

I wish my siblings had “grown up” around such advice. Maybe their lives would be different with their addictions.

Am I addicted to MDMA? I go years without using it. I use it for personal growth and it has helped quite a bit in that department. I feel it has worked better than all the psych drugs psychiatrists have ever put me on with lower side effect profiles.

How am I feeling? I slept well last night. I had a dream that has been recurring since I was young. It’s a fully fledged story about a homeless girl and a boy she falls in love with. Someday I will try to write it down to do it justice. It heavily features pistachio cake for reasons passing my understanding. I had to look up pistachio cake recipes this morning to see if such a thing actually exists and apparently it does.

How am I feeling? I still feel… calm. Not detached, exactly, but at a slight remove from my normal sense of being. I feel… empty but not in a bad way. I feel like I am not consumed with thoughts of self hatred and wanting to die. Instead there is room inside me. I don’t know what will fill that space.

I’ve been spending way the fuck too much time on Fetlife because I’m avoiding Twitter for reasons of it ripping my self esteem to shreds. There are a couple of scandals blowing up in my community. A rape case, which happens every so often in the community. And a case of a top using a technique they should not have used and almost killing people. I won’t get more specific because holy shit I don’t have the right. But these things are weighing heavily on my mind.

Holy crap for Crisco. Eldest Child just woke up and can read the paragraph about my dream. Time to close this forking screen.

———————————————————————

Took a break for snuggling, map reading, and breakfast.

Today is going to be nice. I get to go do post-trip-processing with the therapist I worked with and a lovely friend is coming over for dinner. It’ll be good.

My children are reading books right now. They should be getting dressed, brushing their teeth and hair, and otherwise getting ready for the day. I’ve already done some of that and we have to leave in an hour. I also need to water the plants before I go.

I asked Eldest Child this morning if she understood that her dad and I are constantly studying stuff the same way she and Youngest Child do. She said she didn’t know that. I started rattling off all the stuff they see me doing that I’m just learning and her mouth fell open in shock. “Really? You’ve only been gardening as long as I’ve been alive? Ha! No wonder you kill so many plants!”

Watch it, girl.

But… yes. That’s why I kill so many plants. I really don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

I feel so lucky to live the life I’m living. Loving and learning is what I do with my time. I… I don’t do much stuff I don’t want to do any more. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with housework and I feel like I don’t want to do it right now or I feel cranky about the fact that I have to clean up other peoples messes… but even that is progressively more rare. My kids clean up after themselves and I really don’t mind doing my share. I like living in a tidy space. We have a small house and living in a mess means it is hard to do art and projects and play. If we keep stuff picked up our house is incredibly versatile. If we don’t put things away our house is soon an impassible pit and I don’t like that. So cleaning is something I mostly do because I want to. Because I really want the result.

How many people really feel like their life is full of what they want to do instead of what they have to do?

If you list the things I “have to do” it consists of sleeping, eating, paying taxes, shitting, peeing, breathing….

I’m a lucky bitch.

I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

These days with Noah doing so much of the cooking… seriously my have to chores are negligible.

God I’m grateful for that man.

I’m not going to finish painting the kitchen before we leave. Deep sigh. Noah has been pushing me to rest before/after the MDMA experience. Thank you, love. In general Noah has been actively encouraging me towards less workaholism. (I suspect this is partially selfish because when he demands that I rest I often want him to rest near me… which means I’m not working until I cry and yelling at him for resting while I work… no… I’m not always nice.)

Noah is trying to express more of what he wants from me in terms of bdsm. This is important. It means I can have a better idea of what he wants and try to figure out how it is different than what I want. This is complicated but important.

I have more work to do.

But this space I’m in right now, where nothing in my head is telling me that I should die… I think that might make it easier.

I have picked a lot of bdsm in my life because I actively wanted to do that instead of self harming. I have picked a lot of the bdsm I have engaged in because I wanted to be hurt.have not done all of my bdsm from a nice happy place of feeling good about myself and wanting to have my needs met. Having someone else hurt me in ways that were not fun or gratifying or enjoyable… was Harm Reduction.

You know why? Because mostly I pick people who genuinely don’t want to harm anyone let alone someone they like. I mostly have been fortunate enough to play with people who like me a lot as a friend even if they aren’t in love with me. And I would say that the majority of my play partners have loved me. Even if they did not want to marry me and settle down love me.

That is so easy to see today. My owner, my monkey fucker, Daddy, Puppy, Daddy James, Miss V, Dad… I could go on for a while but I’m running out of easy pseudonyms and I don’t want to actually out my play partners.

These people love me enough to want me to be healthy and ok. These people want to know me still.

That’s… a big deal.

Do you realize that I’m not many years away from knowing my scene friends for as long as I knew my biological family?

That’s…. a harsh thing to think about.

Beautiful let me know that Kacey Musgraves has a new album out (yay!) but she warned me to be careful of the song on the album about family. I’m so glad she did. I listened to a minute of it and turned it off.

My blood… is not there for me. And never has been. My children will be. Maybe. If I don’t fuck this up.

Do you know who has been there? Sarah. Jenny. My play partners and my lovers. Noah.

I feel like there is space inside of me to feel that love in a way I haven’t before. Like there is this chasm on the other side of a mighty dam just waiting to be filled with all the love that has been there for so very long.

Jenny has loved me since I was 12 years old. Jenny was there the night my brother killed himself. The night my father killed himself. I went to her right after Uncle Bob died and I cried on her shoulder again.

I am not alone.

And now I’m crying. But it’s not a bad cry.

I feel really lucky.

Boundaries and race.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have different boundaries for different people based on their race. One prominent example I still won’t write about. But yesterday on the train I had an experience.

I was sitting there minding my own nevermind when I looked out the window and noticed a reflection of a guy looking at me and… gesticulating with his hand. I… thought “Surely he isn’t doing what I think he’s doing.” But I turned my head and yup, there was his cock out.

I sat there for a few minutes and thought about what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I was going to be accosted, there were at least five or six other people in the same train car and I always sit in the car closest to the driver of the train. I never ever sit farther back in a train.

So I decided to look at him kind of fiercely and flounce to a seat where I was facing him and looking none-too-pleased. My back was now directly to the train operator. If dude had continued I could have reached my hand back to tap on the window. Instead he got off the train at the next stop while carefully not making eye contact.

This was remarkable to me specifically because… he was black. I had a whole thought process around, “He’s got bigger problems than some white woman objecting to seeing his cock.”

If it had been a white man I would have been banging on the driver window and calling BART police. Because my experience with white men is that if they cross some boundaries they will cross more.

I feel very weird about the fact that I will not willingly bring a person of color to the attention of authorities… but I won’t. I’ll throw a white person under the bus, sure. They’ll get a “fair hearing”. Statistics strongly indicate that a person of color won’t.

Life isn’t fair. But I get to decide how I’m going to interact with that. Did he hurt me? No. Did he scare me? Not really. Did he irritate me? Yes. Do I want to see that? Nope.

But me not wanting to see something doesn’t mean I should work to ruin his life. That’s an over reaction. Being caught for flashing means a permanent record of being a sex offender. It means impact on jobs, housing…

You know what? I’ve had sex in public. I’ve totally done things that could make me a permanent sex offender and I just wasn’t caught.

I can’t turn a black man in for something that minor. I just can’t. Even though I feel weird about ignoring it. I know I wouldn’t for a white man. Why? Because I’m a judgmental as fuck asshole who is fucking sick of white men treating me like a piece of meat.

I can honestly say to the best of my knowledge this is the most boundary crossing a black man has ever done towards me.

Why am I willing to give non-white people a pass? Because the whole system is set up to fuck them and if I turn them in I’m part of the system of oppression.

Why am I so willing to throw white men/women under the bus? Because the system is set up to judge you as fairly as possible. So take your medicine. You did what you did. Suck it the fuck up if there are consequences.

In my experience and in my understanding of the world… the consequences for people of color are never fair.

So even though I had an experience that was maybe “not fair”… I’m not hurt. It’s ok for me to suck this up and move on with my life. I don’t need to end his life over this.

I’m not that important. What he did is not that important.

Context matters.

Now that it’s done…

I’ll talk about it. But posting “I’m about to go do something basically illegal” is silly. Instead, write about it after the fact. Ahem.

Err, this is why I wanted three days of complete sobriety. To make it so the experience was more intense. No pot, alcohol, or caffeine. Wheeeeeeee.

So I managed to turn up a therapist who does guided MDMA journeys. It’s one of those things that is talked about in PTSD circles. You can do years of processing work in an afternoon. After 33 fucking years of therapy I could use some god damn short cuts.

It was… much less intense than I’m used to. I think he gave me a low dose.

It was good though. I stepped out of my box and talked about a lot of developmental trauma stuff. (It helped that I’ve been rereading the Healing Developmental Trauma book…) We talked a lot about some of my core wounding stuff. The shit that just doesn’t heal. We talked about volition, consent, responsibility, shame, and all those other awesome things.

I talked a lot about the rape I committed when I was a kid. I talked a lot about my brother and my dad’s suicides. I talked about my internal core lack of worth. Recent studies show that the fact that I was the product of rape, my mother seriously contemplated aborting me, and I wasn’t loved much once I arrived… that’s really enough to create that worthless feeling forever.

But! Brains are plastic! They can change.

You just have to work both hard and smart to figure out how the fuck to change it. It’s complicated as fuck.

I feel… like maybe some of it budged today. We talked a lot about my children in context of my experiences. I literally can’t imagine my children forcing oral sex on other children at five. That’s a taught behavior.

My father taught me. I was doing my best to be good. I’m not evil because I had an evil father who taught me things I shouldn’t have been taught. I have been fucking scrupulous about consent for a lot of years now and that is unlikely to change.

I am not a serial rapist. My father was. I am not.

I may be a monster, but I have my limits. I do not want to destroy another person’s soul.

Yes I fucked up really really bad and there were consequences. A little boy was hurt. But I was five. Five year olds… can’t be held to the same standard as an adult. I say that as someone who has been privileged to see a number of five year olds over the last few years. None of them, even if they did something so horrible, would be to blame. The person who taught them to do that would be to blame.

If I had done it again at 15 or worse yet at 25 this would be a different conversation.

I was five.

It isn’t my fault I was born. I did not choose to punish my mother with my birth. That’s not how it works. I did not rape my mother. My father did.

Maybe it’s ok that I was born. I was the only person who was willing to stop my father from raping more people. Not a single other person was going to step up and do that.

Maybe I’m not so bad.

I did the right thing. Even though it hurt. Even though there were consequences. I had to do it. I really did.

We talked about how there is no such thing as “the best mom” because every child has different needs… but I’m a good mom. I’m responsive to my children. I have put a lot of my mental health problems into cabinets and drawers and I god damn show up for my kids. Even when it hurts and I want to dissociate and hide. Even when I feel depressed. Even when I feel anxious. I stomp my shit, explain that my tone of voice will suck because I’m having a rough day, and I fucking show up.

I’m too privileged not to. In my opinion. I have so much support. I can’t let my support down by being a bad mom. I need to be worthy of this life I find myself in the middle of. My children and my husband act like I am good. I am blessed beyond measure.

I have the kind of family that many people dream about and never get. That has to count for something. It didn’t happen by accident. I made this. I made this home. Noah supplied the house. I made it a home for my family. I made these little people and I’ve managed to care about their needs for years and years and  years. Eight years and counting of doing the work.

Pieces of shit don’t do that.

I’m not 100% down yet (halo is niiiiiiice) but we’ll see how I feel over the next few days. We’ll see how this sticks.

I just feel slow, not hungry, and kind of at a distance still. I don’t hear any of the voices in my head that hate me.

I’ll take any break I can get.

Indirect

There’s something I want to write about desperately and it feels unwise to do so just now. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts while being all vague and confusing to other folks. Cause I’m all awesome like that.

Long time readers know that I struggle a lot with self worth. This is a pervasive problem that comes up over and over for me. Do I deserve to be alive? Am I a waste of resources/oxygen/life/etc? I read lots of books about developmental trauma so I’m well aware that my issues are textbook for people who live through the kind of early life I had.

Sometimes I need to step out of the box in which I live. I stepped out of my bubble last year. I went across the country. But I was in my box the whole time. The box that tells me that I’m not as good as people around me. The box that tells me that I am a worthless whore who should be giving up the good things I have to people who are better and more deserving than me.

That’s pretty much anyone. It’s why I give so much money away. It’s why I help people to the point where it is almost damaging to myself. I do not see myself as a person who “deserves” anything good.

But I have a lot of good in my life. I have a husband and children who adore me.

{Side note: after a screamtastic/difficult morning the afternoon and evening improved. I ended up having a conversation with my five year old that blew my forking mind. This morning during one of my shitty moments I said, “I’d really like to say screw you”. Kiddo asked what that meant and Noah… delicately explained that it is an adult colloquialism that means I don’t care about you and you should go away. Later this same kid flipped me off. I said, “Are you flipping me off?” [A few days ago the kids asked what flipping someone off was/means and we explained in fair detail.] In the afternoon kiddo said, “I need you to never say screw to me again. That’s not ok. And I’m really sorry I flipped you off. That wasn’t nice.” This is what my five year old child says. Holy shit. I hope I can grow up to be as wonderful as this person someday. I said that I was very sorry too. I really didn’t mean it. I care about my kid so so so much and I’m really sorry I lost my temper and said hurtful things. I said that I can forgive flipping me off. I have done much worse. We have had a few good snuggles this evening. Kiddo asked if flipping me off was worse than running away. I said, “No. Running away means you don’t feel safe in your home and you have to get away from people who are hurting you. Flipping someone off means you are feeling angry. It’s ok to feel angry. If you feel unsafe we are doing something very very wrong and you should be protected from us. I really hope you never feel so unsafe in your home that you have to run away.” Kiddo turned to face me full on, grabbed my face with both hands and said, “Mom. I feel safe with you. You won’t hurt me. Even though you get mad you just raise your voice. That’s not nice but it’s not hurting me.”

How did I get such a child?}

I need help to step out of this box I live in. The box that says absolutely anyone could be a better mother to my children because I am such a nasty harpy. Sometimes it is hard to view their devotion as anything other than proof of how little I deserve them. Because, as I was told over and over as a child… abused children are the most loyal. This was always said with the implication that if I was not yet loyal I needed to be abused more.

Sometimes I wonder what in me is so broken that I could severe what bond I had with my mother entirely. That’s a huge thing for a person to do. My mother lives 30-some miles away and I haven’t seen her in over five years and I may never do so again in this life. That’s a big fucking deal.

People don’t abandon their mothers easily. There are mountains of literature on this.

How could someone who abandoned their mother like that turn around and create true, lasting bonds with anyone? I wonder and wonder.

I’ve read a lot about attachment theory. Not being attached to your mother usually means there won’t be a lot of attachment for you in this life.

I was reading just this morning about how women like me usually can’t pay appropriate attention to an infant and we pass the damage down generation after generation.

Do you know how I managed to pay a lot of attention to my infants? I all but stopped all other relationships. I went into my little cave and I met every need. I held every gaze with love. Every squawk of discomfort was met with concern. “Hey little person. What do you need? I love you. I want you to feel safe.”

Through this process I hoped to heal myself. I hoped that by handing this love and care to another person I would be able to plug the hole at the bottom of my leaky bucket and learn how to feel the love that people pour into it.

I know I am loved to an uncommon degree by my friends. I have fucktastically loyal friends. They have weathered storms of emotion and drama and fuss. They love me, warts and all. They love me even though I make it so very difficult to love me. They show up. They show up in my life and my house and my adventures.

Why can’t I feel this?

My submissive and his slave both love me to a degree that is nearly palpable when we are all in a room. Why don’t I feel it more?

I can see it. I know it is there. Why don’t I feel it?

Why do I build these walls between me and Noah?

Why do I persist and persist and persist in not feeling loved.

Jesus. I’m a fucking asshole.

Or maybe I’m brain damaged.

Can I be utterly worthless and priceless at the same time? Can more than one thing be true? Can I be loved and not deserving of love at the same time?

Is anyone deserving of love? What does it mean to be deserving of love? Do you have to do anything other than exist?

I love you because you exist. Not because of what you have done for me. I may be grateful for what you have done for me. But the love is separate. The love just happens. Why can’t I feel it from other people. I can feel the love I have to give to you.

I feel it like a cauldron bubbling inside me. It is going to overflow the pot and cascade all over the counter.

Side note: I just got a message from one of the folks I donate to every month. I make a difference in her life and in the lives of her children. I don’t give a lot of money, when you are that poor it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. It is so easy to say to her that I give her help because she deserves to get it from the universe and I wish I could do more.

Why don’t I feel that way about myself? Why don’t I feel like I deserve love or support or care? I don’t think I deserve it. I think I get it. But deserve is… orthogonal to getting.

They just aren’t on the same axis at all.

I need to get out of this box. This box that says I should die because I do nothing but hurt people.

That’s a fucking lie. I just got a god damn email like to fucking minutes ago saying that I do a lot to help this person. And she’s not the only person on my donation list. And I have a lot of people that I help in other ways. My god damn neighbors wouldn’t be inviting me in to tell me that they have a whole bunch of questions about life and they just know I’ll have interesting answers if all I did was hurt people.

I struggle a lot with the idea of grandiosity. Many disorders I don’t want to be diagnosed with involve feelings of grandiosity. I don’t think I’ll be president. I don’t think I’ll be famous. I don’t I’ll be important to massive numbers of people.

I just think that I’ll have maybe a larger than average impact on the folks I do touch. The dozens or hundreds or maybe thousands of them.

Is that grandiosity?

I don’t leave a large impression because I’m important. I leave a large impression because I’m unapologetically weird as fuck. That seems to be utterly shocking for folks. I stick in the mind because I really don’t want to conform and I’m fucking mouthy about it. I can’t be like you. I can only be like me.

It isn’t that I will never change. I will change and change and change again. But I will do so to be ever more like me.

Whatever the fuck that means.

I keep wondering if I should stop swearing. I read about how swear words are implicitly violent. That swearing in a conversation is a way of establishing dominance and intimidating people. Well, shit.

I don’t want to intimidate anyone. I just fucking talk like this.

Sometimes it feels like my unwillingness to change for other peoples comfort is part of why I do not deserve to live.

I tell myself over and over and over that it takes all kinds. It takes all kinds. It takes all kinds. It’s ok for me to be alive. It takes all kinds.

But I don’t feel it.

When I look at Noah’s face I see my past and my future. I see the weight of inherited money. A while back he shaved his face and did it in stages to see what different kinds of facial hair looked like. More than one variation (I won’t even specify which historical figures he looked like) were… creepy as fuck. We are the very people who populate stories of horror. Money is made through exploiting labor which means exploiting people. We have to make choices. What are we going to do with the disproportionate privilege and security we have in this life? In Noah I see the challenge to be more than a white trash whore ever thinks she can be.

Noah doesn’t see me that way at all. I can tell by how he looks at me.

How can I climb out of this box?

I’ve been in therapy for more than 30 fucking years. (Approaching 33!) I’ve worked on behaviors. I’ve worked on learning self soothing techniques. I’ve learned how to be less black and white. I’ve learned about tolerance of myself and others. What I haven’t managed to conquer is this distorted thinking. This pervasive sense of worthlessness.

This fucking box. I’d like to fill it with dynamite and watch it explode. The only problem is I live in the box and that means killing myself.

Killing myself.

Killing myself.

Why does it all come back to the fact that being alive is a burden meant for people who deserve support?

Deserve.

Fuck deserve.

I want to see myself as the person my children see me as. I understand that my children are still young enough to see me with the besotted, unjudgmental gaze of the prepubescent. I understand that their gaze will grow more critical. At this moment of time, eight years into parenting, it is difficult to believe that my children will ever feel about me the way I feel about my mother. I don’t know what I would have to do, but it would have to be something powerfully evil to push them away from me. I think I’d rather cut my arm off than do something so horrifying to my children.

Did my mother really do something so horrifying? No. She didn’t. But she turned her back on other people doing so. She sent me from house to house and she did not protect me. My mother could not protect me.

Why in the world do I think I will be able to protect more children? Won’t it get away from me? Won’t the control and the power to protect be diluted with more children and I will be less capable? But instead of a big sister like my Sissy my children will have my daughter. My shining daughter who will lecture me fiercely when I’m being an asshole to my kiddo and say, “It is my job to make sure my sibling is safe. You can’t talk to them like that. Stop it.”

My daughter will never tell a younger sibling that they weren’t wanted and they should die. My daughter will never say, “It is your fault I was raped for more years.”

Maybe everything will be different.

It isn’t my fault that my father raped my sister. It really isn’t.

But I still feel so bad. Like my very existence causes more pain. I hurt my mother by being created. I hurt my sister by being born and preventing my mom from leaving. I hurt my brother by taking away my mother’s attention so that he was left to roam the streets and get hit by a car.

My fault.

My fault.

My fault.

I hate this box. I hate this box so much.

I don’t hate the bubble I live in. This elitist as fuck bubble of hypereducation and tolerance. God I love the bubble I live in. Bay Area, never change.

But I hate this box. This worthlessness. This despair and hopelessness.

I spent last night reading yet another book about suicide. I think it would be more useful to someone who hadn’t already read almost all of the books this author cites. Yes I know that Shneidman is one of the best minds to ever write about suicide. I’ve read his work. Stop quoting him and tell me something new, mkay?

But the one piece that jumped out at me over and over through page after page. Hope. Hope is the difference between someone who will navigate their way through mutilation, ideation, suicidal gestures…. and never complete a suicide attempt. Hopelessness seems to be the absolute hallmark of completed suicides.

Hope.

I think hope is why I want more babies. In these precious little lives I see a self I desperately wish is true. I want to be the person my children see me as. I want to be their mother. I want to be the one who protects them and nudges them towards freedom.

After the apologies my five year old started talking about private parts and consent. (It was just post-bath so the kid was naked and thrilled with this fact. Like children do.) Kiddo said, “My private parts are just for me and you.” I said, “Oh no no no. Your private parts are not for me. If there is a medical reason you need help with your private parts you can ask me for help with that. But it is never ever ok for me to touch you without your consent. It isn’t ok for a doctor or your dad or anyone to touch your private parts without your consent. Know how you can’t ever remember me touching you there?” Kid thinks…. then says, “Yeah I don’t think you ever have.” “Oh I did. Before you were able to care for yourself. Once you could take care of your body, there is no need for anyone else to touch your private parts unless you invite them to. And really you should only invite people to touch your private parts if you need medical help or if you are a grown person who really freakin wants to invite someone to touch you there. Once you are grown you might want to invite people to touch you there. That will be up to you to decide.” “So once I invite someone to touch me then they get to touch me whenever they want.” I almost squeaked with indignation at that bit. “NO!! Consent is not permanent. Consent is always something that has to be actively given. If someone has permission to touch your private parts sometimes and you fall asleep… they no longer have permission. If you grow up and drink alcohol and you can’t make a good decision… they no longer have consent. Your consent has to be given at every moment when someone is touching you.” The kid sat and thought about that for a while. Then hugged me. Then completely changed the topic.

I wish someone had told me that I had the right to not have my father’s fingers inside me.

This is my chance to create in the world what I want to see. Who I want to see. Who I want to be.

There’s a line in a Rihanna song that I like a lot. Ok, more than one line:

All that I wanted from you was to give me
Something that I never had
Something that you’ve never seen
Something that you’ve never been!

I feel like that about Noah. About my life. All I want is to have something that I’ve never had, never seen, and no one I know has ever been. I don’t want much, do I?

I need something different.

I’m just a giant pain in the ass.

I need to go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day. I’m nervous. But… such is life. Just go do what you need to do.

It has improved. Phew.

I only ranted for like an hour. Then things calmed down.

Sometimes I reflect on the fact that being the mom means you get the best and the worst. The most boundary pushing and the most love.

I like being mom. But there are days (like today) when I want to get on my knees and kiss the babysitter’s feet. Because she gives me a break.

Well that good bump didn’t last.

Sobriety sucks. Today the kids woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So they screamed and fought over everything. (Seriously. We need to have a screaming match over bowls?!)

So of course now I’m flamingly pissed. They are… calming down because once I’m in a towering ranting rage… they don’t really want to keep fighting.

And my wrists fucking hurt because I slept on them wrong. It isn’t even from typing. That pisses me off.

I just want today to be over and it is 9 in the morning.

I AM NOT REINSTALLING THE GOD DAMN CAR SEATS BECAUSE I AM THE ONLY ADULT IN THIS EQUATION WHO HAS THEIR ENTIRE HANDS GO NUMB FROM DOING SO.

But if I want to be able to walk through the house I have to put them back in the van.

I want to rant for hours. Only I don’t. Because my hands hurt and it is all petty and stupid and I know I’m just being an asshole.

Fuck.

More than one thing can be true

Goodness. Yesterday… didn’t go according to plan. Well, we went to the party we meant to go to. I didn’t play with any friends. It didn’t seem…. wise. We fought again. It got to screaming again. I don’t feel like I’m in a position to be holier-than-thou about it.

The party was ok. We played some together and we socialized. Maybe that was what we needed to be doing just then.

Today we had a productive conversation. Like… the kind of productive conversation we haven’t been able to have all year. I sorta feel like we had to go through layers and layers and layers of nasty to get to this conversation. This morning we were able to just… lay it out. “This is a problem. This is a problem. This is a problem. Yes x, y, and z won’t solve it… but it’s a problem we have to fix.”

I feel like we are getting to layers of honesty we’ve been burying for years.

I didn’t even know we were concealing all of this. We have been trying so hard to protect one another’s feelings in so many areas. We have been doing our best to provide what we interpreted as what the other person needed. We have both been choosing to not ask for yet more support because we both feel like we ask for too much.

Maybe we need to change what we are asking for. Maybe this is really complicated. Maybe instead of retreating and trying to make ourselves smaller we should be trying to be bigger.

This is my second day of complete sobriety. It is going better than anticipated… my stomach doesn’t hurt. I’m not feeling frantic. I’m not being nasty with my tone of voice. I’m not stomping out of the room before I have big feelings all over people. I feel like the taper plus using alcohol to smooth out some of the initial bumps of mood distortion helped. I feel like the sleep is helping. (8 hours again last night.)

I’m taking stomach acid reducing pills, nutritional supplements, and allergy medication. How come my complete sobriety involves popping so damn many pills?!

But none of them are fun.

Sigh.

I’m in a better mood than I anticipated first thing this morning. That was an incredibly positive after breakfast chat. No screaming. No fuss. Just…. this is a big fucking deal and we have to talk about it.

Why can’t we change one or two things at once instead of throwing the whole damn deck of cards in the air and saying “Let’s see what happens!”

Some seriously hurt feelings. But you know what? I don’t think I could have gotten to the point of being able to communicate some pieces of this without causing that much pain.

I don’t think I’m that good.

Noah keeps coming back to “But you say and say and say that this relationship has been the best years of your life. How can it also be so awful?”

This relationship has been the happiest period of my life. Full stop. No hesitation. That doesn’t make it perfect. That doesn’t mean it can continue as it has forever. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. Our kids are changing. There are specific pieces of the relationship that must change or else.

There are pieces of it that hurt and are damaging and just aren’t fucking ok.

That doesn’t take away the fact that this is the best I’ve ever known. Both of those things can be true at the same time.

Somehow… me wanting better… is all your fault Noah. If I hadn’t had ten years of this good, would I be capable of imagining better? I don’t think so. I really don’t.

I needed to have a best friend like you who would tear himself apart and rebuild to suit me. Just like I have done my best to change and grow for you. I have.

I am not the person you met. That’s part of why some of the things I could tolerate then I can’t tolerate now.

I don’t think that means either of us are evil. But it is true that we have to change and change again.

You are my monster and I am yours. Rawr.

What are we going to do? I don’t know. But I’m glad I get to do it with you. You are my best friend. No one has ever loved me like you do and no one else ever will.

Ack, no title

This article about Susan from Narnia made my morning.

Yeah… you get no context on the music conversation yesterday. If you are close enough to ask me one to one I’ll tell you. If you are a blog reader you get a mystery.

14 days till we leave for the trip. I’m excited.

Things with Noah are going a lot better. A lot smoother. More gentle. Quieter. Less fighting and fuss. I’m not rocking the boat any more.

I read something a while back, I don’t remember who said it. “If you have a life better than most people can imagine, you don’t get to complain.”

I have a life, right now, that is far better than anything I could have imagined when I was young. Does that mean I don’t get to complain about it?

Does the fact that most of my sex life is good mean I’m not allowed to complain about feeling hurt or degraded sometimes?

I don’t know.

How much pain am I required to shut my mouth about because I have it so good? I don’t know.

I was thinking about this as I watched my whiny-baby-eldest-child do martial arts yesterday. She is in a new/harder class because she bumped up. She must have complained loudly, “OW THAT HURTS” more than a dozen times. Her classmates kept freaking out thinking she was seriously injured. No, that is her, “You want more energy than I feel like expending” voice. When she’s hurt she’s higher pitched.

I talked to her about crying wolf. If you say OW every time you round the corner as you jog around the room because you hit the edge of a pad, no one will notice when you break your arm.

I could barely talk my mom into taking me to the hospital when I broke my arm because I had such a habit of complaining about being in pain (Well, I was in severe pain but now I would say it was caused by trauma/anxiety.) that my mom didn’t believe me.

I believe my kid. But I think there is minor pain and serious pain. How do we learn to tune out minor irritations? My kids haven’t had to. Whatever is happening to them in this moment is all that matters and… oh sweetie. I’m not doing you favors. Some hurts you shrug off and keep moving. A paper cut doesn’t end the morning.

Instead of screaming and freaking out when you stub your toe, you learn to pick it up.

I think I’m sucking at teaching some kinds of resiliency. They are emotionally resilient and physically… not so much.

Hm. We should work on this.

I think keeping them in martial arts is the right first step.

I’m… feeling better? Less anxious. Less frantic. I don’t feel suicidal. I feel a little slow and sad but not overwhelmingly so.

I don’t think I’ve suffered from an intense long lasting depression or period of anxiety in years. I think the worst was after Uncle Bob died. Everything else… I can shake off a lot faster. I have more ability to be upset and then stop.

That’s progress, right?

I don’t know how the sex stuff is going to work out. I really don’t and that is hard and frustrating. But I think it is going to take a long time and I just can’t sustain burning energy on that problem all the time because I think it is going to be handled slowly, case by case over the next ten years.

I have no idea how much play we will do with others in that time period. I think we will play with friends this weekend. How much play? I don’t know. Will sex happen? I don’t know.

We’ll see.

And yes Noah, I’m being very selfish about this. We aren’t searching for people you want to play with while I help. I’m playing with my old friends and partners. I’m being utterly and completely selfish about this.

This Saturday I hope I will get to play with the very first person who ever put me in bondage. I love her with all my heart and I would really like to celebrate the 16th anniversary of that with play. She is a dear and beloved friend. I would not be who I am without her. Knowing her is an honor and a privilege.

I am a ridiculously blessed person.

This weekend is the 16th anniversary of meeting the group of people who changed my life. I’m pretty excited.

I’m probably going to bring my Owner flowers. We started dating a few days after that first meeting of the whole crowd. I ended our relationship on our anniversary. So 16/12 years ago respectively. I’ve sent flowers before.

But this year I’m thinking hard about myself and who built me and whether I am worthy of love or respect or… anything really.

I need to stop hearing in my head that I’m a worthless whore. I need it to go away.

Oh goodness. On the vein of sex work is completely separate from my issues with the word whore, recently a friend noticed that I was in distress and reached out to me. Unfortunately I can’t have dinner with her because she forgot I don’t live in her city/state, but it was lovely anyhow. I am… surprised sometimes that my network of support includes some of the most famous sex workers of my era. I like who I get to be. If these are the sorts of people who are like, “Gosh you look like you need some help” then I’m doing something right. Because I love these people so much. And they love me back.

Holy shit.

That one needs to go on my mental list of “See you can’t be all bad.”

I have friends reaching out to me from an incredibly diverse array of communities. My neighbors represent a rainbow of ethnicities and religions and I’m out about the kind of weirdo I am and they are all checking in on me because I am not being as social as usual and I seem down. They invite me into their homes and tell me all their problems and listen without judgment to mine. Even when mine involve promiscuity and drugs and their eyes bug out. “Wow. I have never… met someone who had any problems like that before. I… I have no advice. What do you think you will do?”

But they’ve already known me for years and years. I didn’t unload about this shit early on. At this point, they have this deep well of trust and affection for me.

It’s trippy as shit.

I’m out about being kinky. I’m out about being non-monogamous. I’m out about my mental health problems.

I get to normalize the fuck out of weird populations for these people. It’s hella cool.

I am trying to find a way forward that honors the totality of support I am getting. It blows my mind. I feel like I am living in a storybook. People don’t get to have this kind of real life.

Something I get told when I’m freaking out and they have no advice, “Krissy… I don’t know what you’ll do but you’ll find something. You’ve already figured out more hard things than I have.”

I get told minor variations on that over and over.

Why in the world do other people have so much faith in me?

Breakfast.

Layers of knowing

Have you ever had the experience where you “knew” something but you don’t believe it at all. So like, for example: my brother committing suicide. I wasn’t there. I didn’t pour gasoline on him and light him on fire. It is not my fault he died. He did that to himself.

But I don’t believe that. I believe he died because he was in so much pain from me and our father and our mother and our siblings that he had to. That’s what I believe. I believe I am to blame, in part.

So there is knowing and knowing.

At least I no longer think it is all my fault.

I came back from the road trip and things were much better in the sex department. It’s true. But then we had a triggering sex event. And I exploded. I can’t do that anymore.

I didn’t explode in a way that will really solve the problem and that sucks. I did what I have done since I was very young to try and solve sex problems. Add more sex with more people.

It did increase my overall responsiveness and readiness for sex. It did mean even a no-frills quickie can get me off because I’m just primed all the time. It did mean I wouldn’t get so mad at Noah for times when he… doesn’t do the work.

But at a cost Noah can’t bear. So it failed.

So it worked and it didn’t. I know that it didn’t work and I know that it sorta did.

Trouble.

Noah wants me to be fulfilled by him alone.

I know. But I don’t know how. I need so much connection. I need so much attention. I need so much love. I need so much adoration. I need so many people.

I am a black hole and I can consume him entirely.

I don’t know what to do.

Yesterday I discovered that some people consider the controlling of music to be a nearly unreasonable boundary.

No one else has ever wanted that before. Well I fucking do. I’m a special god damn snow flake.

If you want me to open my mind and my soul I’m not going to do it to shitty instrumental music of your choice. I will get up and start breaking things in frustration. No. No. No. No. No.

If you want me to go within and feel safe, I am going to set the terms.

It’s different at the grief ritual where I am part of the music being created. That isn’t shitty background instrumental music. That is life.

I’m  not going to relax in your environment unless I get to change it. Because if I can’t change it I can’t make it safe for me. Yes, the accommodations I’m asking for are bigger than normal. Deal with it or I walk.

He was surprised that I was so ready to accept, “Ok I’ll go” as the answer. Then he wavered and decided maybe it would be ok.

First he said I could send him a few tracks and he would decide if they were ok to include.

No. That’s a boundary. I am not doing work so you can approve or disapprove my inner journey. That’s not your place.

He looked fucking stunned.

“Is this journey about you or me? You don’t know where I am coming from and you don’t know where I’m going. Music sets mood. I set the mood or I’m not interested.”

Given that this is meant to be therapeutic I said, “I’m open to suggestions of listening to music or turning it off for a while to move into different stages of processing. I’m open to questions about ‘Why did you pick this song?’ I’m open to long periods of silence. But sometimes I’m going to want to turn it on and that has to be ok.”

I’m doing this because I need to be able to think about myself for a while in a state where I don’t hate myself and feel like a worthless whore. I don’t have access to very many states where that happens. So I’m going to god damn do it whether people approve or not. So don’t fucking share your disapproval.

I’m outwardly focused to such a degree that it creates problems. It’s because I don’t like looking in. It is like looking into a mouth full of decaying, rotting teeth.

I don’t like myself very much. Not because of the promiscuity, amusingly enough. The “whore” thing and the actual sex I have don’t seem to be related. I mean, sometimes they do? When I’m gritting my teeth it matters.

I don’t feel like a whore when I have joyous sex with my friends. It just… never becomes part of the dynamic. Even if they whisper that I am a good little whore. I’ll orgasm. But I don’t feel bad.

If only it were that simple, kids…

Breakfast is ready.

Stay stay stay

So many feelings.

I’m up I’m down. I’m finding layers of peace. I’m still dysregulated and sensitive and whiny.

On the ride home yesterday I hit… an important piece, I think, around suicide and pain. I can kill myself if I am in so much physical pain that I will no longer have good days. I hold that right to be sacred. If I hit stage 4 cancer, I’m probably going to pick the day I go instead of letting fate decide.

But problems in my marriage aren’t like cancer. It is not inevitable that things will decline further until death. It’s not the same and I can’t act like it is. I spent a lot of time yesterday frantically wanting to end my life. Because I hurt. Because that is the well trod pathway my brain takes when it is in pain.

I can’t commit suicide over a problem in my marriage or a problem in my sex life. I am too big for that now. Maybe that would have been understandable at some point in my life. It isn’t now. I am too big.

I don’t mean I weigh a lot. That’s too literal. I mean metaphorically.

If I am in too much pain and I have to run away I have places to go. I have homes in the bay area that would take me in with no explanation needed. I could go to Oregon or Washington or Minnesota or Georgia and I’d find berth. No questions asked. Ok, they’d ask questions. But they’d ask questions after I got there because they care about me, not because they would gate keep based on whether or not my answers are good enough.

I am good enough.

That means that when I’m having problems… dying doesn’t need to be the answer. If I have to get away… I have options. I don’t need to die.

I’m rereading the speech I wrote when I performed a wedding. I am not being good at advocating for myself in my marriage. Not really. My second thought? Shit I rambled on too long about history and irrelevant shit. Good grief.

Hey, they asked their favorite teacher to officiate. They got a lecture.

Marriage is what you make of it. What kind of marriage do you want to have? One where you both hurt each other often as a lifestyle choice?

Not really.

It was really mean to come home from being gone for half a year and immediately leap into that much dating. Noah missed me and was faithful and that’s how I rewarded him. That sucks. There have also been a number of ways in which we haven’t managed to communicate well and I’m not always lying if we have different definitions. We are talking past each other but that isn’t the same as lying. And I’ve done a piss poor job of communicating the boundaries Noah wishes I had to people as I’ve gone off on adventures. That’s a huge problem. I know I need to fix that.

It is hard to talk about bdsm. It is hard to figure out how common sexual euphemisms like “first base” translate. If I have literally played like that with folks when I was in the quad when I was in high school… yeah I consider that first base. There were no genitals involved. No one was overtly sexy at all. Sometimes humans are just hella rough with other humans. That’s… ok.

I really did grow up brutalizing people for fun. The weird ass part is how many of those people still know me and have a good opinion of me.

No, kneeling on someones chest and laughing at them as they gasp for breath isn’t second base in my head.

I don’t know how this works for other people.

Punching for a few minutes on the thighs and the shoulders… doesn’t feel like sexuality. I mean yes? But no. But sorta. But not?

I did think I was being good and acting within the boundaries.

If I try that hard and I run into a place where you have a different definition that needs to be a conversation about definitions not an accusation of lying. I didn’t lie. I told you where I would set my boundaries, but apparently I didn’t define that well enough for you. That isn’t a lie. It is a failure to communicate. I came home and told you right away. There was no lying.

There also needs to be some room for “I expect I will do ____” and “Well I actually did _____.”

Between the two of us we need to figure that out because we’ve run afoul of it in both directions. That isn’t the same thing as lying either. Not when you did it and not when I did it and I’m being accused of lying up one side and down the other.

I have not ever said, “Oh I followed the rules” and then later you found out through dubious channels that I wasn’t doing so. That hasn’t happened. I said that I wanted to break rules and you found out in dubious ways. I think that’s different.

I’m the one telling you about every fuck up.

I’m not presenting them straightforwardly and simply. I am reacting with hostility when you challenge me on a variety of things.

I need to stop that.

I think I have had to get this angry to assert that I will not ever grit my teeth through sex again. Whatever I owed anyone on that score I have paid my debt many times over.

And I can’t even talk about what that means unless I talk about it in context of overall volition and other partners because I can’t just push back against Noah. I owe him too much. I don’t feel I have the right.

But I have managed to learn that I don’t owe Deity or Cupid or my submissive or or or or. I go when I want to and I don’t when I don’t. (Ok sometimes I don’t get to go when I want to but that’s different.)

This is so complicated and I need to go.

What a day.

I started the day with chores. Watering the yards, making breakfast, showering, getting the kids ready for a day. Emailed with the contractor. I also arranged one leg of the shuttle journey for the Florida trip. The other two legs are proving cantankerous. So it’ll take more work. I tried for half an hour then had to leave.

We drove to Oakland. It wasn’t a fun drive. Gosh we have a hard time being nice to one another lately. We had a therapy session together. It was… so festive my therapist asked if Noah could pretty please come back again. (My therapist is feeling pretty freaked out the “Best Marriage She Has Ever Heard Of” is flailing so badly. She feels the need to uhhh intervene.) Then I drove him to a thing he had in El Cerrito and dropped him off.

Then I came back to Fremont. I scarfed food. Emailed insurance broker because we are getting harassed by the bank again. Went to the nutritionist to pick up yet more pills. Went to pick the kids up from the movie they were at with their babysitter. Had to sit and wait 20 minutes. Whee.

Dropped off the babysitter, went grocery shopping. Came home. Threw the food into semi-appropriate housing. Got the kid dressed for Tae Kwon Do. Went to class. Came home to get the thing we forgot for the girl’s class. Went back to Tae Kwon Do for a second class.

Came home. Cleaned up from enormous mess that arrived from the grandmother. When she sends us stuff it always comes with three garbage bags full of non-recyclable packing materials. Yay. And a full recycling can full of recyclable bits. All so the kids can have a third god damn horse for their dolls.

Assembled dinner for the kids. Assembled dinner for myself. Sat down. Ate three bites. Oh. Time to go pick Noah up from BART.

Did that. Now here I am. I’ve eaten half the bowl of soup. (Leftover split pea, hella good.)

I had a good time in the car on the drive home from El Cerrito. I spent a lot of time listening to Beyoncé sing about how her husband ain’t married to no average bitch.

I’m not married to an average bitch either.

I have a deal that is better than one could imagine if they made it up. Is it perfect? No. God no. But I need to figure out how to make this work.

I told the Quiet One I need to stop talking to him. I poisoned that well. It’s my fault and I’m not blaming anyone but me. But I’m hurting Noah by continuing any friendship at all there and I need to stop. I need to not make Noah veto someone. Making him feel backed into a corner is… something I need to not do casually.

There are a lot of things I don’t like in this life that I have to do anyway.

I’m trying to figure out what that means.

I can already feel the pendulum swinging back towards center on several points of my hysteria. I still don’t know what the answer will be.

But I feel a lot more sure I need to find an answer with Noah.

Shitty with a side of shit salad.

I didn’t have any alcohol yesterday. I proved to my satisfaction that it will be an ok way to help bridge the gap when I’m traveling and I don’t have other options. Beyond that it has a super high toxicity load and I just can’t drink all the time. I can’t be an alcoholic even though it sounds kinda nice right now. Maybe it’d help me die faster.

I self harmed yesterday. I’m not doing well. I don’t want to talk about it.

I can sorta hold my shit together when someone is looking at me. Then they stop looking at me and I crumble.

I can be trusted while someone is looking at me. Otherwise I’m pathetic, worthless and not worthy of trust. Only I didn’t do anything when I was out of eyesight last time either. I don’t really want to deal with it being all my fault when I get hit.

Fuck everything.