Moving the needle

I’m trying to figure out how to get things to improve in my marriage. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m scared. At this point we are most of the way through arguing about all of our done-me-wrongs over the last ten years. There’s been an absolute fuck ton of arguing this year.

I don’t know about you, but I have let a lot of things slide over ten years because I didn’t want to argue. Then when things kinda hit a boil… everything comes out. We’ve had little and big problems that I’ve bit my tongue and la-la-la ignored. I’m not so sure it was useful.

At some point last night I realized that we have fairly equivalent lists of “you did _____” for one another. So we have hit the point where we have fairly well hashed out the problems and we are getting to… we have to forgive to move on.

Fuck.

I both am and am not a forgiving person. There are lots of things that I don’t really forgive. Lots. Shit dude, I cut off my family. There are things I won’t forgive. But I don’t think Noah has done anything that heinous. Everything that has been hurtful has individually not been over my threshold, but collectively… oh that’s harder.

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

I did something, well said, something horribly awful this year. I screamed at Noah that I wished he would die. I didn’t mean it and in less than five minutes I was crying and apologizing and saying I wanted to take it back.

I don’t have a high horse for sitting on here. I don’t think I have been less hurtful than Noah. I have been differently hurtful at different times… but I have been a horrible person. I’m really not denying that.

If we are going to move forward we have to forgive.

Oh fuck.

One of the biggest problems we are dealing with isn’t really Noah’s fault but he’s done some awful things because of it. Me saying no. I don’t really speak up when things make me uncomfortable all that well. My early life taught me that life is uncomfortable. Full stop. Speaking up about it just means people punish you for not complying faster because my comfort is irrelevant.

This is creating problems. I have done a lot of things while feeling wildly uncomfortable because I don’t react to that feeling as if I have any right to be defended. So I put myself in situations where I don’t believe I can say no and I do it over and over.

Sex. Oh sex is a fucking mess. Well, our sex life has been better between us lately than it has been in years. Which is fascinating given how much we are fighting. I feel like everything is my fault. I’m not sure it is but I feel like it.

How are we going to learn to have boundaries around “us” as a collective instead of maintaining individual boundaries and I’m supposed to learn to speak up more, and earlier, when I’m uncomfortable? I really don’t know. Yes, unicorn hunting is hard but both of us completely flip out when the other goes off to play alone.

It is both of us.

I feel really ashamed of how strongly I react to Noah playing separately, which is kind of funny because his reaction isn’t… that much less intense. Not really. It feels like imminent death for both of us. So why do I need to feel ashamed of that feeling?

Because I feel like I’ve been exposed to poly for my entire adult life WHY HAVEN’T I MATURED PAST BEING AN INSECURE TWAT WAFFLE? It isn’t lack of effort or time. I just… I’m just so insecure that it’s ridiculous. It isn’t Noah’s fault, not even a little bit. If anything were going to make me feel secure it is Noah’s behavior in aggregate.

Yet here I am. Feeling like I really should jump off a bridge so that Noah has more space in his life to replace me with someone who is less of a colossal loser. He doesn’t want that. Not even a little. But it is very much how I feel. He… doesn’t feel that differently about me dating.

Why do I feel so ashamed of having the same feelings he has?

Because I believe I am supposed to feel supportive. I believe I am supposed to be willing to support him finding every scrap of happiness he can in this life. That’s what a good wife/partner would do.

I am not a good wife. I am small, selfish, insecure, and so very sad.

Do you know what is incredibly fucking complicated? The fact that… we don’t really have many platonic friends. If we are going to be controlling as fuck about one another, how do we handle the fact that we are mostly only friends with old lovers/play partners? It is hard. We both have a habit of acting like people on our side aren’t as threatening as people on the other persons side.

I was listing off the people I feel closest to… all of them I’ve been intimate with. I haven’t had SEX with all of them. But I’ve been intimate. I like crossing boundaries with people. I like bonding.

After this year I wouldn’t be surprised if none of our friends ever want to play or have sex with us again. Oh the drama.

Noah is right that I can’t ever have sexual contact with someone again without his consent. I ignored his no this year. I can’t do that again.

That’s a mistake I get to make once this lifetime.

Last night’s conversation hurt a lot. But I feel like we got closer to understanding, “I did x because y.”

We really are getting to the point where the only step left is forgiveness. If we want to move forward, and shit we are talking about another god damn kid, we have to forgive. What does that look like? What does that mean?

It means tearing up the tally marks for who has done what wrong to whom. That’s pretty scary.

I know I have behaved abusively in the last ten years. I believe there have been times when Noah has too. Should we be carefully keeping lists of documentation so that we can hurt each other as much as possible with these actions? Is this how abuse is normalized and tolerated and excused on a wide spread basis?

There are lots of kinds and types of abuse. Our marriage has not included the deal breakers I experienced early in my life. We both abuse in the ways we do rarely and only after a lot of pressure builds up that we haven’t figured out healthier ways to manage. Does that excuse it? No. I don’t know what to do.

Noah is right that in order to know what is going on with me, sometimes he has to listen to venom and sort through it for the truth. That really sucks. But there are a lot of things I just can’t talk about until I am so angry I am almost frothing at the mouth.

In arguments Noah keeps saying, “You knew it was hurting me and you wouldn’t stop.” But I have stopped. I stopped months ago. I have not continued leading people on in conversation. I’m not making promises I can’t keep with other people. I certainly haven’t been on a date recently. I did stop. I just didn’t stop on a dime the way he wanted me to. Something is going on currently that I feel will do a lot to decide how we move forward. If boundaries can be expressed in a way that actually supports our marriage going forward… that’s going to be a big deal. If I feel that it isn’t managed well…

I’m scared. I’m bitter. I’m frustrated and angry.

I work all the god damn time and I really don’t have much in my life that is about letting off steam. Most of my work demands that I project happiness and cheer whether I feel it or not. I don’t show my emotional range to my kids much because I don’t think it would be very fair. I’m a god damn roller coaster and they don’t need to be on the trip with me. So I shove my feelings in a box and I smile and I keep my voice pretty calm and level. Are there cracks in my armor? Sure. I’m not perfect. But my kids seem to genuinely not understand how upset I get and how often.

I am a very good liar.

I spend a lot of time hugging and snuggling when I would like to be shoving my head through a window. When I would like to be raging and crying and cutting myself up. I pretend that I enjoy being a loving mother instead.

How in the fuck am I supposed to learn to care about being uncomfortable when pretty much my whole life is set up around, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters how you support the people around you.”

I honestly don’t want as much physical contact with my kids as they want with me. It feels alienating and hurtful. Partly because I am so jealous I didn’t get it that I feel like I am going to burst into flames. My needs didn’t matter. Why in the mother fuck are yours so god damn important?

Why is everyone more important than me?

I’m supposed to make other people feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting there thinking about the various pitfalls of ways to kill myself.

I don’t matter.

But Noah has built a life around how much I matter to him. I am seriously impressed with the amount of work he has put in to being a good partner. It’s a lot of why I feel he deserves someone better. Someone who can meet him halfway honestly instead of with a forced smile.

It isn’t that I don’t love Noah. It is that I spend so much time shoving down how uncomfortable I feel that there is often not room for authentic emotions near the surface. I have to have a layer of pretense over everything in order to cope.

This is how I have survived. This is how I have accomplished as much as I have. I pretend that how I feel doesn’t matter even a little bit, I put my head down, and I work.

A lot of my work is consciously projecting emotions I don’t feel: happiness, comfort, feeling secure. Because I am so good at pretending I feel these things I’m very good at helping other people feel this way. From what I understand from the people I weirdly interrogate: their feelings seem to be more authentic than mine.

Uhm I guess that’s good. I can pretend to be ok and help other people feel actually ok.

It all comes down to how I actually feel is irrelevant.

As a result I hurt and hurt and hurt and hurt.

It’s been a bad year in pretty much every way. Well, the cruise was lovely. We made promises for the next decade of our life that we need to figure out how to keep.

Otherwise 2016 has been overwhelmingly shitty. I’m so god damn over this remodel I could scream and never stop. Today they finish the initial drywall installation in the bathroom. They have finished the stucco outside. They will be here till January at least. We have a hearing in January and doing work communicating with the lawyer saps my will to live. It feels so mentally taxing and draining.

In retrospect… I’ve done an amount of work this year that I probably shouldn’t have been able to get done. I’m so tired.

I’m on the verge of collapse.

And I don’t really know what feeds me at this point. From where am I drawing energy? From the clear blue sky and I don’t god damn know how much longer I can continue.

I miss socializing. I miss my friends. I miss community. I don’t in any way shape or form have the ability to do more of it right now. Because as much as I get something back from that there is also a cost associated and right now I can’t pay.

We haven’t even been inviting people over to dinner much. I just can’t.

I have felt existentially lonely for a long time. The road trip was really hard in this way.

Noah desperately wants to be enough all by himself for me. But Noah has a lot on his plate. I can’t ask for any more of Noah. It isn’t fair or appropriate or ok. So I feel like I have spent a lot of time trying to make myself smaller. So that what Noah has to spare is enough.

I’m hurting so much.

I feel like a real schmuck in our conversations sometimes. I know he has made enormous leaps of progress in the past year since we’ve been back from the road trip. He is organized and efficient and he’s trying so god damn hard. The trouble is I have a back log of hurt and frustration and need and sadness and I don’t know how to deal with it. If I weren’t dealing with years of hurt… would this be enough? I don’t know. It is closer to enough than it ever has been before. But I don’t know how to evaluate it given how much I’m flailing.

I feel like I’m reaching the part where I’m genuinely in a family and I genuinely need to figure out the coping skills for forgiving and staying that other people have. I’ve never developed these skills. They have never been relevant to my life.

I need to stop making Noah cry. I don’t place it as a goal that I will feel happy. But I need to stop making Noah cry. Because Noah having a minimum bar of ok is more important than me being happy.

And this is how things fuck up. This is how I build up backlogs of things that hurt me until I explode. Because I don’t think I am important enough to deserve support on the smaller stuff. There is just so much that makes me uncomfortable that I really don’t believe I have the right to ask for consideration. It would be a job and not a fun one.

I’m not sure how forgiveness ties in to being able to respect or like myself. Can I forgive if I think I deserve the bad treatment? If I think it will never stop because it is just that I receive it?

My heart and my head and my stomach hurt. I feel physically sick and I don’t think it is illness. I think it is sadness. I think it is the feeling that I matter so fucking little. I feel worthless and pointless and stupid. I feel like I should die.

I feel like death is the only route to stop hurting. Life is pain.

Forgive. I have carved forgive on my body in more than one place because I feel like if there is a lesson I am supposed to learn in this lifetime it is how to forgive. But am I forgiving Noah or am I forgiving myself? I sorta feel like I will not ever be able to forgive anyone else, not really, until I forgive myself.

Forgive myself for being petty and weak and insecure and so very damaged by the experiences I’ve had. How do I forgive myself for not being whole when I have never been whole and I don’t really even understand what that might be like?

I feel so very sad. And my arms hurt like a motherfucker. I need to stop.

Pride, among other topics

Do you know what I like about my marriage? We are the sort of people who want to schedule a 12 hour day of emotional processing and then we just do it. Hammer away at topic after topic after topic.

I haven’t been posting that much. Part of that is I feel like kind a fuckwad for how many ups and downs there have been. I understand that most relationships have ups and downs and all, but most people don’t publish them on the internet. I get to feeling self conscious and stupid.

I feel kinda bad about being a train wreck sometimes.

Things are improving a lot. I think. I don’t get to speak for Noah. We are doing a lot of bonding sorta stuff. We are talking about the nitty gritty of our insecurities. “I’m sorry I flip out when you date.” “Yeah but I do it too…”

It’s complicated.

What do we want from one another or from other people in our lives? Shit if we had an easy answer to that we wouldn’t need to spend so god damn much time talking.

Seriously, we had to get the kids out of the house so that we could talk and talk and talk without interruption. It is glorious having a Bonus Family in our lives. I gotta say. Support is fucking awesome.

Today we took turns wrecking our bodies and taking care of each other. Because it facilitates bonding in some weird ass way. When you are helpless, sick, and incapable of caring for yourself it just feels different having someone take care of you. We take care of one another all the damn time. We have an incredibly codependent relationship and we like it that way. But it’s different. If you can get up and do it for yourself… it’s a lot easier to take it for granted when someone does it for you. But if you are stuck sitting in one place as you kinda flail and you are incapable of doing for yourself…

You take care of me. I love you.

It’s complicated, yo.

We talked about M/s stuff and what it means to me. We really didn’t get that into what it means to Noah. Not really. I think that needs to move up the agenda in importance. Luckily we have another trash our bodies and talk all day event coming up soon.

These events have to go away soon. This is our last shot for years cause I don’t act like this while pregnant or nursing. I want to say and/or nursing because I know how it goes for me. Oh boy.

Anyway. We are trying to get a whole bunch of processing in before my body only kind of belongs to me. We tried doing a bunch of “set the rules and coast” ten years ago. It was mixed. I wonder how it will work this time. I made deals I could not keep. I was stupid. I was… uhm, I’ll call it optimistic to be generous with myself.

I thought I could take one for the team. Whenever it was needed. Forever. Guess what? I really fucking can’t.

But what does that mean?

Noah asked me what M/s means to me. I said it is kind of like a highly bred puppy. If the right person buys the puppy and trains them and enters them in contests… that puppy could be a shining star. That puppy could enrich the life of its owner both literally and metaphorically.

But if the puppy instead ends up in a shelter and is adopted as a random mutt… guess what? That puppy probably won’t hit its potential. I’m not saying it will be completely worthless and have nothing to offer in terms of companionship… but the animal probably won’t be as healthy. The animal will not be as comfortable or as cared for.

M/s, to me, is a way of taking responsibility for one another. It is a way of saying, “As the slave it is my job to serve you and make your life better and make us as a unit better than we can be alone. It is your job as the Master to look at me and sometimes know better than I know myself what I need to be ok and successful.”

It’s not really a fair deal, is it?

There is no fucking fair.

We are doing a lot of specifically talking about the work we do for one another. It’s a fucking long list. I used to be an asshole and say that Noah was lazy… uhm, err I haven’t thought it in years and I’ve been a terrible influence on him. At this point he probably works far past the point of healthfulness.

Dude, he showed me the scheduling program he uses to track how to be an adoring husband and how to be a devoted father (in addition to a wide variety of more selfish/not me related topics) and… I swear I got an organizational hard on. Holy shit. I’m a job.

He has taken notes for years on how to be a better partner for me. He writes down what brands and styles of things I like. He tracks what kinds of prep to do before dates (take a shower, trim beard, research activities… he lists it all).

I god damn know I’m unworthy. Holy fucking shit.

I feel kind of guilty for not having taken more notes. heh (I keep it in my head better.)

Noah knows that one of the straws that broke the camels back when I left my Owner was that after four god damn years of eating together at McDonald’s together the bastard had no idea what sauce I ate on my nuggets week after week after week. That… that showed me how little I existed in front of my Owner.

Noah has heard all of my stories and he makes damn sure I don’t have to complain about the same problem repeatedly.

Except for the things where I do. Because life is like that. Damnit.

But there are some things that are easy to fix. He can see the simple stuff and make sure he doesn’t fuck up there. Holy tomato that’s a lot of effort.

We were talking about how hard it is when the other of us falls in love. He kinda asked why I fell so hard for Deity. Oh, that’s easy. Deity managed to jump up and down on one of my big buttons in life. He talks to me and about me like he is proud of knowing me.

I’ve fucked a lot of people. Do you know how many of them announce in public that they are connected to me and they are proud of that and they think I’m just so god damn awesome. If I stretch I could definitely get off a second hand of partners. Which means I’m probably under a 10% rate.

The vast majority of people who fuck me act kind of embarrassed about it later. They don’t introduce me to their families. They don’t bring me around their friends. They don’t talk about me in public.

Even most of my friends don’t introduce me to their families. I feel like Sarah, Jenny, and Pam stand out in that arena. They are the friends who have absorbed me seriously into their families. Blacksheep has done this to a slightly less extreme degree but I get the impression that if she liked her parents more I would have been introduced. I certainly know her moms-in-law.

It’s complicated.

I feel shitty about myself a lot of the time. I steal pride from the people who love me and pretend I felt it all along. Even though I didn’t. So having people be all, “Dude, you are AWESOME” is a completely self absorbed reason for loving them. They see me as lovable and that makes me love them.

I’m not sure if it is pathetic or just kinda normal.

I don’t want to make it sound like no one else has introduced me to their families. That’s hyperbole. It’s… there is a difference between, “Here is my buddy. You’ll probably never see them again” and “This is MY Krissy. You will be nice to her. She’s mine. I’m keeping her.”

I get that sometimes. I am that fucking lucky sometimes.

Pam treats me that way. Sarah treats me like that. I’ve known Jenny’s family so long that… if I’m around for family events I do feel invited even if I’m kinda sorta inviting myself. The trouble is physical proximity not emotional distance.

Noah didn’t have a great relationship with his family before me but when his family acted like I was to be shunned he ditched them and kept me. It’s a big deal.

As we look at having more children and we talk about why we want it so much and why our kids blow our minds… Our children don’t have that hollow, brittle, breakable feeling that people like us have. Noah and I both act like we are empty inside and we desperately need to chase love in order to be accepted. We manifest this drive differently but it is a very similar motivation.

Our kids don’t have that. Our kids glow with feeling loved and accepted.

I’ve been trying hard to reach out to adults who might be able to help me understand Youngest Child’s journey better. I need to write a whole separate post about this process, but in very short I’ll say: I’m hearing from a lot of different people that the fact that I want to help and I want to accept my kid however they feel they are… that’s going to make the difference.

I really and truly hope they are right. I’m trying so fucking hard to provide support. I want my kid to feel like whatever they needed, I found a god damn way to provide. I mean… I’m going to not do everything right. They will hurt and fail sometimes.

I recently read a thing. I feel bad about plagiarizing but I seriously can’t remember where I read it. It talked about how someone was reading The Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls wasn’t traumatized by her life it was Just Something That Happened. It made me think about a thing.

People aren’t traumatized by bad things happening to them. It is bad things happening when they really should’t that traumatizes people.

That is complicated. There is a difference between everyone everyone starving because there isn’t food that is different from sexual assault. My whole life will be colored by that sexual assault shit. But why? When will it stop mattering? When it stops impacting how I interact with other people and it really still does.

I was talking to Noah about religion. I won’t tell his story because that is his to tell, but I keep coming back to how humanity is my religion. Not individuals. People. As a whole. I work and I try and I grow because I want to be better for people as a whole. I want to do better for you. I want to help all of us. From some person I’ve never met in Maine (I recently met a lovely Mainer for the first time) to people in Africa and Australia. It doesn’t matter to me that your life isn’t about me. I want to be better for you when I meet you someday because maybe I will. I do like to travel.

Do you know what I really suck at? Understanding that everyone has individual temperature comfort ranges. But anyway.

I should stop typing but I’ve missed you, internet. Thank you for being here. Thank you for giving me a place to feel like I get to exist even as fucktastically weird as I am.

We are made entirely of flaws stitched together with bad intentions. (And I didn’t make that phrase up either.) I meant good intentions. Now there is a slip…

Not good enough.

I don’t know about you but I live with this permanent Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough for Noah. I’m not good enough to live in a nice, safe home. I’m not good enough to be loved. I’m not good enough to deserve to live. I’m not good enough to _____________. Fill in the blank how you please and I’ve probably thought it.

I learned something interesting from Occupy. I didn’t have to be good enough. I had to be there. I had to be there with thousands of other people and we shut down the port of Oakland. Was that long-term impactful? It depends on who you ask. There were consequences to an awful lot of people. Did it change politics as usual? No. But Mayor Jean Quan sure didn’t last long. Did it fix the problems with the police? Ha. Ha. Ha. No.

My neighborhood is different than it was before Occupy. Why? Because more people talk to each other. I’ve had a bunch of neighbors tell me that they hadn’t spoken to anyone in our neighborhood ever before I started introducing them around and now they talk on a regular basis. They used to walk past each other and not even nod. They needed someone to do an introduction and explain why they should be friendly. Now they are.

I was deeply inspired by Occupy. I watched the protests with love in my heart and amazement that so many humans came together in one place to say, “How things are happening is wrong.”

We need to show up like this with the current problems. Trump and his transition team are seriously talking about putting Muslim people on a list. This isn’t ok. This isn’t a little ok. Haven’t we learned from our history? It was wrong when we put Japanese people in internment camps. It was wrong when we herded up Native Americans and put them on reservations. Wrong wrong fucking wrong.

We just can’t do this again. No. We have to fight against this. All of us. Each of us who feel too small and too insignificant and too unimportant to be able to help. We need to show up. We need to protest. We need to write letters and call our congress critters. I think I should follow up with letters and calls to my state and local government officials too though I have not done so yet. I should do that this week.

We have to show that we are never going to commit that particular set of evils again. We need to stop breaking our population down into subgroups and then punishing them for sins they have not committed. It was not the fault of Japanese Americans that we went to war with Japan. It is not the fault of Muslim Americans that we fight wars with Muslim countries.

It’s just bullshit. It’s not ok. Not unless we round up every god damn white man because those mother fuckers are dangerous.

Do you know what I am good enough to do? I am good enough to say that these people matter. They matter to my community, my country, and my world whether or not they ever have a conversation with me or touch my life. It isn’t about me. They don’t have to be my friend to be ok and accepted. They just have to exist.

I’m good enough to believe that and act on it and try to make it so people in my community have increased safety.

If I do not work towards the people in my community having this kind of safety, maybe I am not really much good for much else. If I do not work to help those who are currently suffering… maybe I can’t be good. Maybe I have to earn it. Maybe I’ll never do enough to earn it but I have to stay on this treadmill trying until I collapse and die and then I’ll be good enough to deserve a great memorial at my death services.

Krissy was a bad ass motherfucker. All of you remember that. At my funeral. That’s what you say.

Life is complicated and big and we all have so very much to do. But this action is important. This is about our future. This is about the collective soul of our country. What kind of people are we?

White people elected a frightening white supremacist to the White House. Shit. We suck.

I strongly suspect that was possible because of the large scale disenfranchisement of citizens. Half of all citizens aren’t allowed to vote. That’s fucked up. We have just continued our racist paradigm straight on from slavery.

This is one of those times. This is when you stand up. If you hear someone express hate towards a less powerful group, take a god damn risk. It’s important. The god damn president is a scary man who really wants to hurt a lot of people. It will take a full scale resistance from every part of the nation to overcome the force of the tidal wave he wants to create.

It doesn’t matter if we are tired and hurting. We have to fight this or the children of people who are not white Christians will pay and pay and pay. It’s horse shit. It’s time for this country to change its tune. We have always been an evil nation but we could be better.

If we fight. Get involved in your local government. Get involved in your community. Talk to people. Build connections. Find a way to have impact on peoples lives. Don’t know what to do? Start by reading this.

Occupy the space you are in. Take up room. Make the world you want to live in. Or President Trump will make the world he wants to see.

What does individuation mean anyway?

I have been thinking about this constantly for months. What is it I got out of fucking people other than Noah? How does that help me have an individual self?

For one thing, it is about making a choice with my body about my body that isn’t about Noah.

I haven’t made many choices in the last ten years that didn’t have Noah as a strong influencing factor if my choices didn’t flat revolve around him. I moved into his house. I manage his money as respectfully as I can to ensure that he has a safe and comfortable old age. I do a lot of cleaning and organizing because it makes the house easier to live in and he agrees that I’m right. My work does improve his life.

Sometimes it is hard to feel like our children aren’t his children. Which is stupid and bullshit. I wanted these kids. I want them so much my heart aches. But I still feel like a nanny to his kids a lot of the time. It doesn’t help that just recently I’m feeling shitty about the fact that I’m the awful parent who enforces rules and academics and he is fun. I’m not very fun.

I interact with a lot of people. Is it for me? That’s such a weird question.

I spend a lot of time listening to people. I love it. I seek it out. I’m a great listener. I often wonder if people see me when I’m listening to them or am I taking the place of a useful stuffed animal? Sometimes I wonder who there is to see if someone looks at me.

I’m told I am “so strong” because I have “overcome” so much. I don’t feel strong and I don’t feel like I have overcome. Yes, I’m not poor anymore. Yes, I did get an education. So?

What do any of these things mean? I know people who went through college and had absolutely no individuation in any way. They participate in their parents sorority/fraternity and hang out with the children of people their parents knew. They marry the kind of person they are supposed to and occupy the position in society that was more or less carved for them at birth.

I really do know a lot of kinds of people.

I know people who live in extreme generational poverty and who will probably never escape that cycle even though they have “overcome” great hurdles in terms of mental health problems or domestic violence.

What are we overcoming? What does that mean?

I’m not in a political fight. There is no competition in my life. What have I overcome? My family of origin? My own inner desire to ensure that everything in my life turns to shit as proof that it was all meant to be to start with?

Not everything I touch turns to shit. There are things I do well. I am a good teacher. I was a good teacher to other peoples’ children and I think I am a good teacher to my children.

What does it mean to be a teacher? For me, part of being a teacher has always been the ability to set aside my point of view and figure out why someone isn’t understanding something then back fill the schema necessary to help them understand.

It’s god damn exhausting.

Am I an individual when I do that? I feel like I give up bits of my personality over and over in this process. I am not an individual. I am a sliver of a thing greater than myself and I need to tap into that connection we all share in order to help you.

Is that individuation or melding?

I am scared to fucking death that when people think/say/hear “Krissy Gibbs” they will think, “Oh–Noah’s wife” or “______’s mom”.

I feel selfish and terrible because I want to be something other than an accessory to their lives. I don’t want to be the brood mare. I really don’t.

Which is kinda stupid. There are people all over the damn country who know me and who barely know Noah and who have only a nodding relationship with my children. Why isn’t that enough? Why do I feel so damn small?

Because for a very large chunk of the last 10 years my life has been inside my house cleaning. Woo.

Sometimes one of my female friends will indicate that the level of cleanliness in my house causes them to feel bad. Want to know something funny? When I go to their houses and I see the chaos I feel like, “Ah. Signs of someone with something better to do than clean. I feel envy.”

The grass is always greener.

I hate myself for my feelings. I feel deeply inferior to the women in my life who have jobs and careers and who help people and who accomplish things other than cleaning the kitchen.

But I don’t want to stop home schooling my kids. I really don’t. I would not give this up for a $250k/year job. I really wouldn’t.

So what the fuck. I created this bind and now I bitch and bitch and bitch about it.

Having babies is not a thing to do with a life. A life is bigger than that.

I miss teaching. I miss that feeling of connection. I god damn loved having a benevolent dictatorship where people came to learn in an environment where I set the rules. Ok, my house is that exact same dynamic only bigger. My students had a very strong sense of me as a person.

Sometimes I wonder if my students had a better sense of me than my children because my students had more perspective. My children barely view me as a human being separate from them. My children barely perceive me as getting to go pee without them.

Fuck. I’m about to lose the ability to use the toilet alone again for years. Sob.

I feel so incredibly torn. I want another baby. I really do. I want to meet this child. I love my kids so much I feel pain when I think of them and I definitely want to sign up for more of this. But I have such mixed feelings. Noah calls the way we handle babyhood the “high intensity version of parenting” and I call it “idiocy combined with little support network”.

I kind of give up the idea that I get to have needs in the first year of life. I exist as a life support unit. It really sorta sucks. But I pray it pays off in the long run. To be fair, my two existing children glow with attachment and health and love. Could I have done that with less effort? I’ll never know.

I am curious how it will go with two older children in the house who desperately want to bond with a baby. They won’t be adult support (I wouldn’t know what that was like anyway–not in an ongoing way) but they will be there to help play with a baby while I do the dishes. It’ll be different.

I’m still grateful that Sarah, Jenny, Andrew, and Paula babysat when Eldest Child was under a year old. Y’all are wonderful, amazing people to sit through that damn much crying. Holy shit that kid was hard. I did have some support. I can remember all the dates I got to have that first year. There weren’t many.

It isn’t that I have no support. I have some support. It is that it is sporadic and I can’t depend on it in an ongoing way. Not Sarah, not Jenny, not Paula nor Andrew will be around for Next Kid.

I’m not mad. I’m reflecting upon reality.

Why is it not worth it to me to let Noah date so that I can date if that is the easiest/best way for me to feel individuated at this stage?

Because I am honestly afraid I will not see my children become adults if I do. I really don’t like me very much. I’d kind of appreciate it if Noah replaced me so I could go. I can’t set up that possibility. It isn’t fair to anyone involved.

But that doesn’t mean I get to date and Noah doesn’t. That ain’t happening for a whole bunch of reasons.

Instead I’m flipping out in my house. I’m brittle and difficult and snippy. I’m being awful.

I need to find something that I can do by myself outside of my house that has no connection to my family or sex.

You know… maybe I could tutor at the library. It’s a small commitment. It’s local. It’s not a BIG THING. It’s not something Noah would find threatening. It would be small scale teaching. It would be contact with people outside my family.

I’ve been flailing for a while. I need to find an option to consider that is very different from what I’ve thought about so far. I’m not sure I can handle a hobby. They tend to consume my life. But I could find a way to have a 2-4 hour/week commitment to a volunteer thing. Noah would absolutely support that. He would shove my ass out the door with a big smile saying, “Have fun!”

It wouldn’t be threatening at all.

I think this is one of the more positive options I’ve come up with in a while. Maybe I should look into that. Do I have spare time? No. I really don’t. But 2 hours/week? That I could do. That wouldn’t eat me alive. It would be a commitment to something outside my family. I really fucking need that right now.

Don’t pick a side.

What I really wish I heard more of is, “You both try. You both fuck up sometimes and do it right sometimes. You both do the work and yet still fall short.”

It isn’t that I feel that I am right and Noah is wrong. Oh goodness, no. I’m a fucking asshole and I do awful things.

I just don’t know how to deal with feeling like I am the one who fucks up.

Criticism

I’ve always been shit at taking criticism. That’s not new. But I feel like an old habit is popping its head up and making trouble lately. I can sometimes take criticism well. Sometimes I just… I feel like every specific “You could do x better” is the same as “You are a piece of shit who should die.”

This is kinda shitty for the people in my life.

Noah is still justifiably upset about a lot of what I did during nonmonogamy. I’m not upset that he is upset. He’s allowed to have feelings. What I’m not handling is long lists of “And then you did this and then you did this and then you did this” because I want to turn around and deflect blame. MAYBE I DID THAT BECAUSE I WAS SO FUCKING SICK OF YOU FUCKING ME WHILE I CLENCHED MY GOD DAMN FISTS AND GRITTED MY TEETH. IF YOU ARE SO PISSED OFF AT WHAT I DID MAYBE LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID TO ME FIRST.

It’s like my shrink immediately jumping to assuming Noah has ADHD (because I was diagnosed and we suspect he has it) and he needs to have his behavior excused for it but I still need to work on my behavior because my behavior isn’t good enough.

I’m feeling…

I feel like I’m standing next to the fucking golden boy who can do no wrong and I’m the evil bitch who is ruining his life by not being passive and accepting and giving enough.

I’m feeling really angry.

If I respond badly to being hurt I am bad.

I’m sorry I am not a fucking saint. Noah is the one campaigning for sainthood, not me. Yes yes, he’s perfect. He tries so much harder than other men so he can’t be criticized whereas I’m just an ungrateful bitch who is not trying hard enough to deserve him.

I’m feeling…

like shit.

I don’t feel good enough for anything and it makes me feel really mean.

I feel overwhelmed with waves of sadness.

I asked the construction workers how much longer this would take yesterday. I was told 5-6 more weeks. I wrote 7 on the calendar. They will be here till January. I’m living in hell till after Christmas. Weee.

Well, on the upside I only have ~20 hours of tile layout left and 3 weeks in which to do it. But a lot of the other settling can’t happen yet. I’m going bananas. We are on week 9. Of a 6-8 week project. And we have 5-7 weeks to go.

I want to put my head through a window.

Be cheerful! Be chipper! Wait on everyone! Do it with a smile! Come up with intellectual exercises to stimulate and develop your children constantly without rest! Do manual labor all day then throw your legs up in the air with a smile! Don’t be ungrateful!

Fuck gratitude.

I am very seriously struggling with the fact that I’m not allowed to self harm to force myself back into the small box I’m supposed to be living in. I’m supposed to do it with just force of will.

I’m running low on willpower.

I should get everything done without being obnoxious about scheduling and neurotic about following through on things.

Oh yeah. That’ll be effective.

Geez Krissy. How dare you show your strain and inconvenience people. How rude.

I’m having big feelings.

I’m hiding from my neighbors because quite a few are Trump supporters and I just can’t talk to them right this minute or I will scream at the top of my lungs that I hope they die slowly in a lot of pain like they want to cause to minority groups. Not really useful. I’ll get back to useful dialogue. Right this second I have no persuasion or tact or diplomacy in me.

Fuck you and your bigoted actions that have damned millions of people. Fuck you with a fucking chain saw.

I have no patience for fools.

Not gentle

I’m not good at asking for what I need. I would go so far as to say I am a complete asshole. I bottle things up until I explode and then I’m mean.

Not good at asking for my needs. Not at all.

This is complicated. The reasons I am this way are many and beside the point. I can stand up for some needs in some ways. I’m way better at advocating for other people than I am for myself. But I can stand up for myself in some ways. In some specific ways it is harder than other areas of my life.

I am bad at telling someone I am deeply emotionally involved with about my sexual needs. Especially if I perceive my needs as being different from theirs and I am not supposed to make things difficult.

I’m really compulsive about responsibility for sexual gratification. Having a father who tells you over and over again that it is your responsibility to get people off makes that hard. I know that a great many folks have gotten the message in some way in some spaces but it’s different when it is your father and you are a toddler/young child.

Imprinting, yo.

I have tried very hard over the years to live up to my end of the bargain. I have tried to be always-available-at-your-pleasure-cum-dumpster. I was told by my mother that when you get married you agree to whore for that person forever, so pick wisely.

I have spent a lot of my marriage feeling like I married someone who wants sex every day and that means I get to do that. Because as my shrink says, Marriage is about meeting your partner’s sexual needs.

I’m hurting myself really badly in service of this belief.

I mean, I think I have slowed the damage. I think things are improving. Our sex life is getting less frequent and a lot better when it happens.

But no, I’m not good at asserting boundaries until I am attacking you because how the fuck dare you do that to me.

No it isn’t fair.

Do you know how hard it has been for me to learn the academic skills and organization stuff I do? All of a sudden I’m getting validation that yeah it is shittier for my brain to do these things and it feels like it comes way too late to do any good. I feel like I missed a lot of windows on being able to be functional or more adult than I am because I couldn’t fucking settle down and just do the thing.

I am as defensive and nasty as I am because my entire sense of self is built out of match sticks and playing cards. If you breathe on it too hard it might fall down. Then I have to build it again painstakingly. It is fucking annoying to do at this point.

I think that in life you pick your battles. You can’t have everything you want. You can’t win every fight. So be careful what you argue about.

I have not wanted to argue with Noah about the sex stuff harder than I have for a lot of very complicated reasons. And I hit a wall. A wall where I needed to see what is me and what is us.

I had a lot of time to think while he was in Cincinnati because I apparently just don’t need sleep if he isn’t here. I also didn’t eat much. It was swell. Anyway, I spent a lot of time thinking.

I have always assumed/acted like Noah not having much natural empathy means he doesn’t have the same feelings I have. Which has apparently been causing some problems and serious misunderstandings. Whoops.

It did take the second time of crying to feel like Holy shit this is really real and isn’t going to go away as a source of pain. Maybe that’s because I’m a self absorbed piece of shit. Noah sat here in this house and waited for me to go have an adventure on the road trip and then I came home and treated him like shit.

This has not been one of my best years.

I don’t understand why Noah thinks that being married to me is much better than not being married to me but as long as he’s staying, I am.

But we do need to find a way to build more separation into our relationship. We are merged to a point where it is causing problems. I don’t really have a me left and I need one.

Yeah yeah I went on the roadtrip… I worked in my mom role 24 hours a day 7 days a god damn week. It was me-not-me. There wasn’t room for just me. I had a handful of adult conversations that were not on the internet but not that many in 5.5 months.

I like my kids. I’m grateful I get to be with them as much as I do. Sometimes I feel like I am going to lose my god damn mind because I am with them too much.

More than one thing can be true.

Noah is making fun of me because he doesn’t think I will ever slow down my rate of working. Is the work enough to feel like “me”? Not really. What would be enough? I don’t know.

I tried going back to one of the most successful ways of solving problems in the past. It failed really big time this time. I really wasn’t trying to be more malicious than that. I was being selfish, I was being short sighted, I was callous. I was not consciously malicious. I wasn’t trying to get even. I was trying to find a different way of coping with a problem that is frankly bigger than me.

What is abuse and when should you flee from it and never look back?

Who gets to decide?

My mama had to run because her husband beat and raped her children. That seems pretty clear cut. Noah’s parents don’t split up despite periodic stretches of interpersonal violence directed at one another.

Who gets to decide what is abuse? Culturally these things vary.

Recently someone was trying to describe me unfavorably and they said that I give people money because I feel guilty.

That’s pretty damn accurate. I feel guilty in an existential sense. I have survivors guilt like a motherfucker. I was the beneficiary of a lot of help I didn’t deserve more than other people and they don’t get the help. I don’t know how to pay it back other than to pay it forward. There isn’t a rational system of “I help you because you deserve____” It isn’t that methodical. It is about giving what I can even knowing it is never enough. It is better than nothing. It isn’t enough. It really isn’t. I don’t think I’m solving a problem. I’m not a hero.

I’m just trying to not be a complete piece of shit given the options available to me in life.

I have put my money where my mouth is when it comes to supporting diverse businesses. I support communities I am not part of. I don’t think all help has to be for me or people like me. There are a lot of underserved populations out there.

It’s not all about race. There are other demographic factors involved. This isn’t that post.

But this money stuff is part of the sex stuff with Noah. I have incredibly mixed feelings about the fact that I am entirely dependent. Noah tells me frequently that I am entitled to half of his salary. He says I have earned half his salary.

Bleh.

I mean yes, I’ll take it. But it almost feels like blood money. Noah loves his job. I don’t want to denigrate that. But it’s a system I have resoundingly rejected being part of, only it is making me rich. I am complicit.

Noah is going to work in the industry he’s going to work in. It’s not about a particular company. I don’t want him to quit. He loves his work. It feeds a part of his soul and that’s super important. But it is super super super not my culture. Only I sorta married in. I have feelings about that.

What have I done with my life? I married a tech boy and had babies. Oooh. How original.

Ok so there are some fun details that I left out in that sentence. But I need to have more of an identity than wife and mother and I’m really not feeling it and I don’t know how to fucking feel it.

Slut has been comfortable for most of my life. That was a separate me. But it comes at too high a price.

The threat of him fucking people is good for our sex life. The reality of him fucking people often tanks our sex life and I go on a bender of suicidal ideation. If I could press a button and make this cycle go away I would.

If I could just be ok with him falling in love so fast and wanting to be there for someone else and…

I’m a bitter asshole about the fact that I’m with the kids more and getting the kids alone for a bunch of extra time so he can go be lovey dovey just fucking rains on my parade. Even if it is in trade for me getting time off to do the same thing. It isn’t the same kind of balance. He doesn’t spend as much time with his fucking kids. I mean, ok he spends a lot more now that he works in the house but still….

It’s different, yo.

When he says he wants to go see friends, that’s fine. He gets a kind of support from that interaction that he really can’t get from me.

I swear to fucking god I don’t feel suicidal because I want to manipulate him into doing what I want. I’m inconvenienced by this. It sucks. I am at a point where I am doing better than I have ever historically done and I still don’t like me an awful lot. I perceive him finding romantic happiness with someone else as a relief. Maybe I can be done here. He found someone better.

Pretty much anyone would be better.

Yeah yeah I don’t think that in reality it would be so simple. I’m not replaceable. It’s complicated. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Impulse problems. I’m trying to cope.

I have spent most of my life dealing with my self hatred by hurting myself in a myriad of ways that are basically completely off the table right now. If you eliminate all the small reactions then you get build ups and big reactions and those cause fucking problems.

It isn’t that Noah is hard to talk to. This is me. This is about my internalized inhibitions and prohibitions and safety and brokenness. But I think there is stuff he has had trouble communicating about too.

I’m being an asshole about “But we both suck” lately. I’m cool with taking responsibility as long as it is crystal fucking clear that I am not the only asshole in this relationship. I’m not sure it is a positive place to be.

I’m jumping up and down demanding credit for the parts I did do right. I canceled dates. I stopped doing things. I stopped seeing people. It was a collapse which is mixed… it isn’t sustainable either. But I stopped without being told to.

I didn’t make him veto people. I didn’t make him demand that I stop dating.

I just… stopped with the understanding that I’m not going to be monogamous and we’ll figure out what that means exactly later.

Noah wants to be the center of my world and he is. But what does that mean. How consuming does that need to be?

Too much to think about. But at least I started bleeding and I feel slightly less depressed.

Distance

Noah got the book Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. I’m almost half done with it and I swear this woman knows my life. Yes. A lot of what I did earlier this year is explained in the book.

I’ve spent my whole life being textbook, why stop now?

You just have to find the right textbook. So I’m weird, I’m a statistical outlier… in a completely predictable set of ways. Humans are funny.

I desperately want to study other people who grew up in incestuous households and find out what else we large scale have in common. Anyway.

I have spent most of my marriage parenting. I have spent most of my marriage in my house relating to the people who live here and not many other people. If you look by time spent… I seriously don’t have that tight of relationships with anyone else. Attachment. Attachment. Attachment.

But who am I? Where did I go? Where is the space for me to have separation? Does it exist? In some ways this is like a teenage rebellion and in some ways it really isn’t.

I feel bad coming back to this over and over, but Noah has a career. He has a career where the best in the world in his field invite him to join them at lunch because they understand he is the up and coming in the field and they want to share his knowledge. Sure, he feels insecure about how much he “deserves” to be at the table… but he also has the job that was hotly contested and his heroes are glad he got hired.

Uh. Yeah. I’m a great mom.

Wooo.

You know what kinda sucks? I know a lot of great moms. They manage to do it and still have jobs and friends and hobbies and…

I spend a lot of time shutting everything else down to focus on parenting so that I don’t blow up inappropriately at my children. I go months without touching dirt in my back yard because I can’t even find time to garden because I need to keep my workload low or I will freak out at my kids and that isn’t fair.

What does “being disabled” mean?

What does individuation mean?

I have my friends. That’s kinda what I have. And it’s very important that I not depend on any of them too much so I need to have a really large number of them so that I can have a part time job in managing my connections to people because…

Otherwise there isn’t a me that is separate at all.

This is hurting me.

I mean yes, I write. I write a lot. Furtively. Usually before everyone has woken up or in stolen moments like these.

I feel shamefully small and unimportant and useless.

And I’m going to have more babies to compound my sense of being trapped and useless and limited with nothing to offer.

I have nothing to give beyond what I give to my children. I feel really bad about that.

I sideline sex with Noah too. There isn’t enough me in my life for me to desire sex for myself. Which means I have sex “for him” “for my marriage” a lot of the time and I feel sad and withdrawn and frustrated.

I used to have sex because I wanted to get off.

For a long time now it hasn’t been like that. Ok, things improved this year. This year has been great.

I’m scared about the previous 2-5 years and what is going to happen again.

We spend so much time quantifying our sex that we don’t pay a lot of attention to the quality of our sex.

And it is hurting me very much. I’ve done it. I’ve been complicit. In many ways I’ve helped drive it. I’m not denying that.

I have always been partial to self harm.

How I whine with insufficient sleep

Hunh. I think I just figured out part of a dynamic we deal with. When I feel overwhelmed with work… I’m not great at recognizing that it is my project and I have to deal with it. I get kind of pissy and I push other people to work more. It’s not a great/healthy approach to life. I don’t care what you’re a workaholic about… just work. But the thing is, if I am the only one working, meaning not resting, people want me to take breaks to entertain them because they’re bored. Noah expects me to still have the same energy for sex even when my body hurts and I’m exhausted.

So yeah. I push them to work until they understand how I feel so they don’t fucking have the expectation of me that I feel as rested as them.

I don’t think I push the kids as hard as I push Noah. But that is something I’m going to have to watch because I get around my impulse to do so by reminding myself “Their work is play”. How will I behave when I perceive their work differently?

When I finish the remodel… I’m going to be directing Eldest Child’s screen time for the first time ever. She will be specifically encouraged to start working on a set of concrete skills and I’ll be supervising it like academics. She has stuff she wants to be able to do. The way you do that is to build the habits.

Guess what I know how to do like a motherfucker? Build habits. I’m not sure how I developed such a rigid, workable, way to acquire skills so quickly. In retrospect probably moving schools so much.

I went to 25 schools before I dropped out of high school at 16. Later I went to 7 colleges and universities.

I can adapt to environments and expectations and new rules. Sure.

That kind of flexibility is part of why I like traveling with my kids so much. I’m there with them for a much more structured, supported version of being dropped in a variety of environments.

Since we aren’t going to be going around the world doing work on farms with a tiny baby or a toddler… I just… can’t… I wonder what we will do with that allotment of energy and mental planning around. Hm. There was a lot I wanted to learn. A lot I wanted to do with my body. I won’t be able to a) manage my mood & b) manage my pain levels & c) learn & d)effectively transcribe for my older children & e) care for a baby. Nope. That’s… too much. I can’t.

Home schooling my kids is my primary job. Not learning a skill I want to have. Even if that feels frustrating.

I “say” that we take it year by year and I don’t know how long we’ll home school. As long as the kids want. I’m setting up for the long haul.

I did an awful lot of training so I could shepherd my children through this process. As I go through the experience and I bring dusty plans out of a box because, “Hey I’ve already worked through part of my plan for this situation. No trouble” and I can handle things that would be too hard to deal with one after another after another if I didn’t know what I was doing.

I’m not perfect. Not by a long stretch. But I have Plan A and Plan B and Plan C and Plan D… because I know I suck. I know I will fail. That’s why I make so many fallbacks. And when I run out of plans I just improvise at full speed. Sometimes I’m shocked/thrilled by what comes out of my mouth. I have better impulses at a lot of this than I expected.

Expectations. That’s where we get into trouble. We the collective we, not me and my intestinal parasites. My family builds around getting a certain portion of support from me. When I don’t feel like I have it to give, because I feel under too much strain for whatever reason…

I don’t know how we figure out that fallback. That’s something I don’t have a plan for and we are fucking it up. I feel pressured all the time to be a god damn wind up toy for their pleasure. And we are together 24/7. I need to have less to do. I’m not sure how I feel about being so depended upon to be amusement and stimulation of all types.

I feel…. pissy. I was at the point where my kids were getting old enough to have some space from me. I was individuating and it was rocky and it sure as fuck wasn’t Noah’s favorite…

Baby.

I feel like I reached the end of a tether while wearing a choke chain.

I want the baby. I want the child. I want the person. I’m god damn pissy about the timing. I’m frustrated there was no warning so that I could have mental plans around this.

I spent so much energy mourning a future I wanted and couldn’t have and now it is kind of landing in my lap. I feel like an ungrateful piece of shit. But it’s complicated.

What will it be like going through those early triggering stages again with a different child? Will I reprocess them again? Oh goodness. I hope not. All I know is they will be something different. I like something different.

It is funny to me how much I’m not saying right now. So many specifics I’m not writing down. I’m already the problem. How deep do I want to dig myself?

Tile is coming along. Shifting stuff to more permanent homes is happening. I’m creating space in sections that are likely to expand. I haven’t done any painting lately because at this point I need to reclean the walls in the kitchen before I paint again and… oh man. It’s just a whole process and I’m tired. I have to get tile done. That’s soon. That’s other people work. I’ve done one whole wall of the wet room. I’ve done more than half of the wall next to it and the shower wrap around wall. I have done part of the facing wall.

I need to do: the small partial wall between the toilet and the shower. The walls around the bathtub and up near the sliding door.

I’ve done partial/decorative pieces for both spring and summer and I honestly think that’ll be fine.

A friend is currently remodeling their home and is interested in maybe having me use a whole bunch of my leftover tile for that project. Which is kinda thrilling to me. But crazy. I’ll probably ask to go lay out the tile and oh will that be fun for my back.

At least they are getting the 3″ tiles instead of the 1″ and 1/2″ tiles. That has been the hard part. All those tiny little fuckers to pinchy maneuver. Oh my hands.

There’s going to be a lot to look at in my bathroom. I’m so excited.

Last night the kids and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time. In the bath tub. It was glorious.

I like my life. I like the people in my life. I just…

I was individuating. Now I can’t again. It is feeling really hard. I know that the attachment is important. I know I want the long term relationship with adult children. I know it is worth it to me to put in another 20 years on kids. But I’m chafing. I was down to like 12 on a lot of measures.

I want to meet these people. These people who are like me but who aren’t touched by incest.

I really want to know people like that. I know that probably seems like a weird thing to motivate wanting children. But it is a huge factor for me. A lot of my feelings that I’m a monster originate in this idea of being “tainted”.

I’ve been thinking about cultural perceptions of violence and intimidation. By a great many measures I’m… not a particularly violent or controlling person. Not compared to some norms that exist.

What is the norm against which I ought to be judged? I’m really not sure.

I’m really not sure.

I’ve come really far from where I started. But is it far enough?

I don’t know.

I’m sure not. There is more I have to fix. Problems I need to solve. Ways of being that I have to root out and excise.

It’s an obnoxious process.

I’m tired. Most of the time that Noah has been gone I’ve been working very long hours. I have to put in my hours with the kids, then after a while they watch screens for about three hours while I work. Then I stay up long after they are asleep working. I’ve not gotten a lot of sleep in the past week. My body hurts. But I got a lot done.

It’s funny how resetting the house lets me see lots of things that I would like to “fix” long term. Not this year. Not next year. I’ll start a list for maybe 2019. Maybe that can be a project year. Maybe.

We’ll see how much slack I manage to keep in my schedule for how long. We’ll see how much debt I manage to pay off between now and then. Breathe in, breathe out.

The kids will wake up soon and I don’t have a buffer grown up. I should get off the computer now.

He can’t help it.

I’m finding myself extremely distraught over the reality that I’m told I have to just accept everything that other people do because they can’t help it but I need to hurry up and change.

I am the problem. No matter what I give or how much I give it will never be enough. No matter what I accept or adapt to, I still need to be more accepting.

I still need to change because I can’t expect other people to.

I’m the abusive monster. This is apparently a reality that… just is. I’m the problem.

I don’t feel any kind of hope right now.

Shut the fuck up you stupid bitch. Open your legs. Shut your mouth. This is what you are good for.

On phone: lotsa thoughts

I don’t feel like things are hopeful. I feel like the next few years will be a nightmare of hyper vigilance trying to not be an unwitting part of a giant Milgram experiment.

Then there is my personal life. I still don’t know but I’m scared of that too. I’m scared because I opened Pandora’s box.

I’m fantastically angry about some things. I’m angry about being told that other people “can’t help” what they are doing and that means I have to accept things they do. How come I always get told that I have to change but others can’t help how they are? Am I magic?

I’m not saying I shouldn’t have to change anything. I’m just feeling annoyed about some dynamics.

I truly wish I had more ability to just change how I’m told. I wish I were less impulsive. I feel sad.

 

What is the end goal?

I think it is pretty funny that I pushed Noah to go see a therapist so the therapist could encourage him to leave me. Because his life might be better without me.

I wonder about that. If I thought that disappearing from life would improve Noah’s life I would probably do that. I’m not convinced though. He’s pretty fucking dependent on me. Not as dependent as I am on him–I know.

It’s complicated. We depend on one another for validation of our existence. We depend on one another for a listening ear and support for growth. Not many people, in my experience, want to push others into growth as aggressively as we do with each other. Does it always go well? What is life without a little risk.

We talked a lot last night, after our dance lesson. After a stormy relationship around the entire concept of dancing Noah went and scheduled an Arthur Murray dance lesson for us. We went to the place that is just over a mile from our house. We had a lot of fun. The instructor seemed quite impressed that we were “new students” but we actually can dance. Woo. The instructor there is probably the best dance instructor I’ve ever personally worked with. He can evaluate things like “You are technically on the beat but you are arriving as soon as the thought of the beat arrives which is a little fast.” He took feedback really well. When I said, “You can’t explain it to Noah like that. You need to say concretely, ‘Ok that trick didn’t work. Let’s try something different’ to let Noah know that you are no longer trying to get him to do the same adaptation.”

I understood that he was drifting from “try walking past her” to “stand in one place” but it was fuzzy and Noah just can’t have fuzzy dance instructions. I was impressed with how well the instructor took it when I said that Noah has baggage around bad dance instructors and he needs clear instructions. Super flexible guy.

Not that I really want to spend money right now. Ugh.

We might do it for a month or two because it sounds fun but I don’t think we are signing on for a serious many months long commitment. If you pay for four private lessons in a month you can get as many group classes as you want. I could handle dancing a lot more for a bit… I miss dancing. If he is finally coming around I don’t really want to miss the gravy train.

My end goal is to stay married to Noah. Why?

It’s so many things. I feel deeply selfish for most of my reasons. No one else on this whole planet looks at me the way Noah does. I want that. More than the sex or the money or the weight of shared history… it is the way Noah looks at me. I’m not sure I would be able to be as good of a parent without him. The way he looks at me creates the possibility for me being the best me I can imagine.

I can’t do that without Noah. Without Noah I get the me that is reflected off the rest of the world. I’m kind of a petty bitch in that light.

People who have known me for a very long time sometimes tell me how shocked they are by how much I have changed. Noah believed I had the potential all along. He isn’t shocked.

I need that.

I feel like I spent the first 25 years of my life being almost completely underestimated then Noah married me and said, “Alright. Now you’re off leash. Run.”

I need that.

I will accomplish, I will be exponentially more in life if I stay with Noah. I’m selfish. I want to see what that means.

I went and saw my massage therapist. I said, “My elbows and low back are killing me”. She said, “Ah. You are back to tile I see.” Like a clairvoyant genius.

I gotta stop fucking up my body. Oh yeah. I’ll stop typing now.

Just another morning navel gaze

I’m thinking constantly about distance and closeness; individuation vs attachment. The depth of Noah’s devotion to me blows my mind. He’s obsessed with me after a decade of marriage, but not really in a creepy stalker sort of way. In a way that means that he cares what I want and will religiously center me in his decisions. That is both terrifying and wonderful as his therapist suggested.

Noah centering me as much as he does means I kinda have to center him as much, which is complicated.

I have spent ten years doing an awful lot of work to try and make Noah happy. I really have. I’ve tried to create a safe and secure little home where he doesn’t have to do that much work to have a really nice experience. I’m a pretty damn rad home maker.

But it isn’t all that I am. A long time ago I heard a little truism-quote “Women marry men hoping they will change and men marry women hoping they never will.” Sometimes that feels kind of true. Noah has changed during our marriage and I celebrate those changes and I’m grateful. I’ve changed and it seems to be… more of a problem.

Noah adapts to me then it kinda sucks if I keep changing.

We are in a weird spot. I was starting to try and do the hard work of changing out of the young-kid stage because I believe that’s a fairly unique stage in life. I shut everything down for a baby. Other people know how to attach to an infant and still participate in the world and I am a stunted loser. If I’m going to get to know my baby I have to eliminate most distractions and just sit with the baby.

My attention is a fascinating topic.

Recently I’ve been thinking very hard about my ADHD diagnosis and what it means about many of the PTSD symptoms I’ve had all my life. I’ve been told and told and told that I’m trying to extinguish these PTSD symptoms. What if they are ADHD symptoms and permanent? How much effort have I put into trying to change parts of my behavior/personality that can’t really change?

Shit.

For all that I don’t try to conform to be “normal” much… I have put a tremendous amount of time and energy into changing and trying to be a better me. How much of that time and effort was completely wasted because psychiatrists wouldn’t bother to give me accurate diagnosis because surely all of my problems come from trauma.

This is far more upsetting to me than it might seem.

I feel like I have wasted literally decades of therapy trying to extinguish behaviors that are permanent parts of my anatomy and I need to learn to manage instead of just thinking I’m fucked up and I need to be fixed.

Maybe I’m less broken and more nonstandard than I’ve ever been allowed to think.

That actually hurts very very very much.

I’ve seen 21 therapists and probably another 9 psychiatrists. No one has ever seen this. That sucks.

When I needed accommodations there was always this cloak of “Because you are so Fucked Up” whereas my kids get to grow up with behavioral and emotional support and get told, “Meh every brain/body combination needs something different. This is what you need. Ok.”

The amount of shame I have always felt about my inability to focus the way other people wanted me to. It was always claimed to be about me being damaged.

Brain damage.

How much of it is brain damage and how much of it is innate?

How much of it is because of my father’s behavior and how much of it is because of both of my parents genetics?

I was thinking about something recently. My father’s suicide. You know what? In some way… him doing that was a really kind, generous thing. Know why? Because we got money. Lots of it. When he died my mom started getting his social security. That was the most stable money my mom had access to in my childhood. It was four or five times what he irregularly sent in childhood. His death was one of the fortuitous events that let me stabilize around 17/18.

If he had lived; if he had gone to prison… things would have been different. They would have been bad.

He died a month after I turned 17 and that money let me go to a stable school for a year and build bonds with people, many of whom I still know.

I honestly believe that part of the reasons rape victims are prevented from prosecuting is because the system knows that recognized victims get help and financial support and the government doesn’t want that many new sources of financial obligation.

We are an ungenerous nation.

I am an ungenerous person. I do generosity wrong. I do it to fill a hole in myself instead of focusing on filling what other people need. I do it from a place of insecurity, fear, and trying to earn the right to take up space and resources.

It’s not really generosity if I do it because I have to.

Shiny change of topic. I think I know what I want to talk to my psychiatrist about. I’m not going to be starting any new drug regimes staring down a pregnancy. But I want to have a seriously outlined, well thought out plan to handle my next end-of-early-childhood-stage emotional boredom explosion. Cause it’ll happen as sure as rain.

My impulses go towards sex. Always have. But not sex with Noah because frankly there’s not much novelty left there. Marriage is like that.

So what the fuck do I need to do?

I need a whole series of plans for how to manage this. I will want Plans A-J at least. I will need them in writing with directions on how to bail out of a plan into the next plan when things break down.

Because that’s how plans go.

That’s how I go.

I fail a lot. I fail at a lot of things. The only reason these failures do not end my progress is because I always have another plan. I live by my plans. I live for my goals and I rigorously follow some kinda path towards them. I don’t make it to completion on every plan. Sometimes I just fail. Like the around-the-world trip. I had $40,000 saved towards it. Now that’s been rolled into my bathroom. Because we aren’t going around the world. We are having babies.

It’s one or the other.

Being a mother is the best route to happiness I have found in this life. I am going to follow that trail to its end. I’m not done.

And I picked Noah as a breeding partner, quite frankly. He didn’t ask me to spend my life hanging out with him. He asked me if I wanted to be his slave and have children with him.

We are still talking about that first part. What does it mean in the overall light of our parenthood and my unwillingness to be submissive in front of my children? But hoo boy we were serious about the kids part.

We like our kids and they are sunbeams of happiness.Their needs are met. They are getting the support they need to thrive. Not much makes me fee more like I am doing my life right.

We all set our own standards of judging ourselves. I judge myself based on how I parent. I’m not perfect. I fuck up. I am not always kind or generous.

I was thinking recently about how most strong leaders are raised in adversity. I don’t think my kids will grow up to be genuine leaders despite both of them saying they want to be president. I just… I doubt it. They just haven’t yet figured out that there are lots of ways to help people other than being president.

I think that’s ok. I talk a lot about the path they will need to take if they are serious about any career. It’s kind of remarkable that both of them have buckled down to daily academics with nary a whimper. I have not been this… pushy with book work ever. Now they both sit at the table and just plug it out, cheerfully. “I want x. This is the process. Ok.”

I feel like a terrible terrible person for admitting this, but I’m going to anyway. I have the strong suspicion that Youngest Child is far more globally gifted than Eldest Child. Eldest Child is starting to catch up on academics and Youngest Child is standing nearby looking over her shoulder and telling her all the answers.

Reminds me of me and my older brothers.

This is going to be interesting to watch. Eldest Child is precociously verbal and has a ridiculously strong EQ but academics are more of a slog. She isn’t coordinated. She is strong and she has endurance… but she’s still not comfortable with her body.

Youngest Child (oh crud the kid will need a new nickname) is fast and has endurance and they are coordinated and they pick up academics at the rate of whoever is standing near them because they want to be able to follow along and be right. This kiddo is much more emotionally stormy. They don’t understand their own emotions or other peoples emotions as well. They try really hard though, but despite tons of modeling and support… this is just hard for them.

We all have what we struggle with.

It is fascinating to me to look at my kids and see the distribution of my genetics. I have some prodigious athletes in my family. I’ve started talking to Youngest Child about going to middle school for sports. If you want to be good in high school and get a college scholarship for sports… start playing in middle school. I mean, ideally try lots of sports to see what you like in grade school.. but seriously start in middle school. And the kid will probably have an easy adjustment to school style academics.

Eldest Child… would love the social aspect of school and would fail academically. I think she will do fine in college. I don’t think she has the attention span to switch topics on demand like earlier levels demand. She gets frazzled and can’t follow things. She needs a very controlled pace. She can’t have distractions (like other fascinating people nearby) because she can’t focus. I do suspect she has a learning disability but I’m not entirely sure which one or if I’m handling it right. I’m handling it ok enough that it is mostly masked but I feel confident it will become more obvious how I’m failing her with time.

It’s remarkable what watching them causes me to forgive in myself. “You’ve got to work with what you’ve got kid. No point in longing for what someone else has.”

We’ll see. We’ll see. They are both fascinating to me. I assume children are fascinating like this to most parents. I certainly get told similar breakdowns of traits from most of my friends.

I have subsumed a lot of my identity into trying to figure out how to meet the needs of my children because through this process I will learn to identify my own needs and figure out what I need to be doing to meet them. I sure wish I could do this faster. It’s a process.

How does that interlay with all the kinky sex I wish I was having? Sigh.

I don’t know yet. It’s complicated. One of the shrinks I say keeps saying “It’s not complicated it is complex” which is a distinction that… I really just don’t buy into. La la la la.

Saying complexity is good and complication is bad seems like a shitty way to treat a language.

Yeah, anyway. Good morning.

work and worthiness

I believe with all my heart and soul that an advanced first world nation should supply a living wage to all citizens just for existing. You never know which poor kid will grow up to be a genius who can change everything. So support everyone.

To me it seems like self interest. Enlightened self interest, but whatever. I’m selfish as fuck. I think every citizen should be able to feel like their housing and food are secure so they can fucking think about other things. I think we will grow like nothing ever seen if we do this.

Can you imagine what it would be like if a country as advanced as us let the collective brainpower of a generation sit around and think in safety?!?!?!!? So many problems would get solved because people have time and bandwidth to do so.

Just about exactly one year ago today I picked up a hitch hiker in New Mexico. She was young. After a while, given contextual clues, I picked up that she was Navajo. She was trying to get from one reservation to another reservation in Arizona. Her only means of transport was walking or hitchhiking. 100 miles through the desert. At night. Oh honey. I’m going to drive you the whole way because I couldn’t live with myself for dropping you off in the desert in the middle of the night. I am not a monster.

I asked her what kind of work she does and she hung her head. She said, “I don’t have a job.” I laughed and said that just because no one is paying her that doesn’t mean she isn’t doing work. I don’t get paid for most of the work I do; it is still work.

She looked flabbergasted.

I think of this a lot.

I’m having one of those days, where for no reason at all, I feel like everything I do is pointless and I’m stupid and I’m not all the way back to worthless, but I’m having a day. Maybe I’m in the PMDD window? I’m on day 21 of my cycle. 31 day cycles certainly happen for me.

I don’t know. All I know is it is hard to feel like I’m being stupid and wasting time and refusing to do work that matters.

We live in a world that says ones value is largely calculated based on ones ability to earn money. I… I really kinda suck at that. Sure I can manage money like a bad ass. I can’t earn it though. I’m well aware that if I had picked a partner who also wasn’t good at making money… I would have had a very different life.

I’m having a hard time believing that this much time and effort on my house is really appropriate. I feel like I am doing something bad.

It is a frightful amount of money. I feel like I should settle for something 1/6 this price and do something worthy with the money. Too late.

I’m selfish. So very selfish. I want this. I spend a lot of time in my bathroom.

Unworthy.

People in Flint Michigan do not have clean water to drink. People in Haiti are struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives. 1 in 4 children in my county go hungry.

I’m part of the problem.

I’m not working to improve the lives of humanity. I’m… building a rad bathroom. Hey, if you want to come over and take a bath you can. I’ll share.

I’m feeling petty and small for needing to have a setting that reflects what I see in my head. All of life is a stage and I need specific stage dressings.

How do we figure out who we are? Is it based on our actions? Our relationships? What other people see in us?

How much do intentions matter vs effect?

Tricky.

My house is weird right now, because things can’t get put away right, yet. But when I’m done it is going to be incredible. There are different areas and different purposes and it is highly evocative of far away places. So as you are doing whatever you are doing, you always have the option of day dreaming. It is lovely.

I’m very close to thinking I have the prettiest house I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been in a lot of expensive houses. I’ve seen what wealthy people find pretty. Ugh. No. Not for me.

I have planted a jungle of plants in the yards. It is quite impressive how much diversity and color there is in the yard.

I feel so much potential in this tiny little space.

But that feels small and petty and selfish.

Sex and fucking up

I had a great chat yesterday. It made me think about a lot of how I’ve screwed up this year.

Sex is complicated. We have sex for so many reasons. For connection, intimacy, orgasms, bonding, feeling-not-alone-in-this-minute.

The thing is, that’s complicated. Why didn’t I pick Noah for every time I wanted sex this year? Because that’s complicated. Sometimes sex with a particular person is loaded with implications across your whole life you can’t handle and you want the ease of sex with someone else. Sometimes I wanted to feel like I still had the ability to connect with new people.

New people have been very instrumental to my survival. I get that it isn’t something that is a big deal to everyone. I know that lots of people have been safer in the known communities of their lives. I have survived by over and over again throwing myself backwards into the arms of strangers and just praying they would catch me. At this point it is no longer a survival mechanism but it is an ingrained habit. That’s complicated.

I don’t think I chased sex as self harm this round but I have certainly done so in the past. Sometimes the choice is, “Do I hurt myself in a known and predictable way because I don’t like myself very much or do I take the risk that this person will be nicer to me than I am able to be to myself or maybe they will hurt me more than I would hurt myself. Roll the dice.”

That’s a choice I’ve made many times in my life. If you haven’t had to deal with the cognitive load of poverty plus severe traumatization… you probably won’t understand. It will seem baffling to you that someone would make such a choice.

I’m glad you’ve never been there. That’s awesome for you.

I’ve been there a lot. I’m not there lately, but I have zero judgment for someone else finding themself in that position. It happens.

There have absolutely been nights when I’ve picked up a stranger and fucked them instead of hurting myself because I didn’t think I could stop until I put me in a hospital.

Was that a bad choice? I really don’t think so. I think I made the best choice I could given all the circumstances of my life in that moment.

It is hard to keep the larger picture in mind when you are judging one particular choice. Choices that were completely reasonable for me at different points in my life shouldn’t be judged the exact same way at this point in my life. I’m in different circumstances. I have different options.

To put it bluntly: I can have an emergency “weekend trip to relax” at this stage of my life. If I feel like I’m going to freak out and do something drastic… I can make it a very safe kind of drastic. Because I’m rich.

But that was literally not available to me before marriage.

Money. Money. Money.

If you have enough money, time, support, fill in the blank to have better options… who the fuck are you to judge someone doing the best they can!?

Get off your high horse.

But I’m really not in the same position as I once was.

How in the hell is any of my behavior this year justifiable? Hunh, hunh?

I’m not sure I can “justify” my behavior. I think I can explain it. I don’t think my explanations are “good enough” from many points of view and there’s not much I can do about that.

I learned things I needed to learn. I was able to find words for problems I wasn’t able to find words for until I processed all the way through some extreme emotions. I was able to change boundaries that were a big problem for me.

Could I have found a way to do it without freaking out and breaking a lot of rules?

Maybe. I tried. I failed.

I succeeded when I blew the boat up.

Things are going a lot better in a variety of ways. Was it worth the cost? Yes. To me. Was it to Noah? He’s still deciding. He’s still raw. That’s fair.

Sometimes we don’t do things to people and they hurt anyway. I didn’t go out and fuck people to hurt Noah. That’s not why it happened. We are all autonomous beings running our own stories and our behavior is not always about our partners. We have our own narrative running. It isn’t about you.

Even if we love you. Even if there could be negative consequences for you. We can’t make every single choice only about you. That’s not a way to be a person.

Would it be nice if our choices didn’t hurt you? Yes.

Yes.

I played a very careful line this year. I didn’t actually do stuff that was that risky to my life. I mostly went out and spent extra time with my friends. People who have been good to me for a long time. I had a tremendous amount of fun. It will help keep me warm for years to come. Was it worth the price I paid?

Probably. Does that mean I can do it like that again? No. I really can’t. It would break Noah.

What does that mean? Our relationship functions based on a lot of trust and mutual worship. If I kill that then I’m kinda destroying both of our reason to live. Whether or not I’m doing something at Noah… I need to pay attention to the impact. My life is completely intwined with him.

If I rock the boat he feels every wave. There is not a lot of separation there.

I’m not sure we will ever get to the point of being “polyamorous” even if we are allowed to discuss it in ten years. But it is ok to have sex with our friends sometimes if we do it together. Is that my ideal? I don’t know. I don’t think my ideal is more fair so I guess it will have to be ok.

There is no fair.

I get why we are both so possessive. I see the holes in both of us that we use one another to fill.

Sex with friends is different than the anonymous sex I also like. They scratch different itches. Sex with friends is safer and more predictable (not in a bad way). Anonymous sex allows me to feel like I am touching the core of connection between strangers. It is both intimate and distant in a way that feels like a spiritual practice to me. The trust and risk are intense rushes.

But my life is wrapped around Noah. So whether or not I’m doing something at him… he will feel it.

Noah doesn’t feel so awesome about my having sex with other people. He wants me to keep my worship at home. When we are having sex with other people together, that’s ok. That’s not scary or hard. Well, sometimes it is logistically hard or a position is hard or… but it’s not threatening in the same way. We are having an adventure together. No one is left to sit with their imagination and fear.

Noah really doesn’t want me to go off alone any more than I want him to. Seems fair. Annoying, but closer to fair than most things ever get.

Why annoying? Because I am selfish selfish selfish selfish selfish. A lot of the reason I have sex is for the orgasm and changing partners increases that like a motherfucker. Sigh.

No life is perfect.

(For the record: Noah has been working hard on this and has had a pretty fucking outstanding success recently. There’s an A for effort and result.)

I know he’s trying. I can see it. I don’t think it would be possible to look at Noah and not see that he is trying as hard as he possibly can for me.

I’m so annoying and hard.

He works far harder than anyone can ask for; that kind of effort is a freely given gift. I know how lucky I am. My physical and mental health issues have not been easy. But Noah considers my companionship worth the cost.

How in the hell did I end up here?

I auditioned hundreds of people and Noah won the part.

I think we are much better and more interesting together than we ever were apart.

I’m looking forward to pregnancy. I get so exhausted that our pace of life will utterly collapse. Yeah, yeah, pregnancy isn’t a disability yeah yeah pregnant women should carry on as if nothing was happening…

I can’t. Gestating is fucking hard in my body. Remodeling and resettling the house has to be complete by January. Next year I’m going to work on academics with my big kids, sit around, sleep, exercise, eat and go grocery shopping.

I’m probably not going to get much else done, to be honest. And that’ll continue for at least 3-6 months after the baby is born.

I’m toast. Breeding is hard.

I’ve completed the cycle and come out the far side more than once so I’m very aware of what it looks like for me.

I’m really excited about the possibility of a pregnancy where I am in much better physical shape to start with (hello marathon and half marathons, you have halo effect I still feel) and I have my IBS mostly under control and I can breathe through my nose. This will be a different experience. I’m also older. This will also be a medicalized experience (hiya bleed out problems) which is kinda terrifying for me.

All the feelings. And my back is giving me trouble. I need to finish this damn remodel. But bending over really kinda sucks.

I’ll get through it. Put a corset on and get your work done, woman.

It’s kinda funny how we all adapt to the tasks life puts in front of us. This art shit weighs on my soul. I really am more calm in my home because of the art work. It is so easy to ground in my house. When you are here you are really in a particular, individual place. That’s a big deal for me. In other peoples homes, in most of the homes I’ve ever lived in… they all kinda blend together. Sure the knick knacks and furniture are sorta different… but the white walls meet the white ceilings and I want to crawl under a table and cry.

No, it’s not rational.

I do not want a fancy “nice” bathroom that looks like it could be in a hotel somewhere. And I’m willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for the experience I want to have. Every doctor I have wants me to take baths as often as I can. I spend time in my bathroom. I recycle the water too. To deal with my hippy guilt. (The internet tells me that epsom salts, baking soda, vinegar, and sugar are all fine for plants on a small scale so my bath water is fine  for my plants. Woo hoo.)

We’ve had a broken toilet for a long time. We’ve been using the grey water to flush the toilet. I’m thrilled that with the increased bath capacity of water I will also be able to use the water for more plants. I’ve always used some of it sometimes… but never for plants if someone has used shampoo or soap.

Why am I so tolerant of my friends having quirks or needing accommodation for their mental health needs? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Uhm, err, just because I’m a nice person?

*cough*

Because I fucking obsess over what to do with my bath water. I got no stones to throw on people needing to do their thing.

Oh man. I’m going to go through a pregnancy in a bathtub big enough to roll over in. Oh the glory.

Spoiled rotten motherfucker.

I really like my house.

Did I mention I’m having candle holders permanently installed on the walls of the bathroom? And there are skylights above it?

The walls are going to be glittering scenes of autumn and winter. I’m working on them.

My house is a very particular place. I like it so much.

I need to clean it. But that’s a problem for a different day. It won’t be really cleaned until the remodel is done. Too much dust and dirt is being generated every day. Not worth a deep clean. I’ll probably splurge on professionals in January at the start of the pregnancy.

Then I’ll spend a year basking in my family. In 2016 I was supposed to learn how to love myself. I don’t know that I managed, exactly. But I’ll spend 2017 hanging out and letting my family love me. That’s… almost the same thing?

Today will be a Zen sorta day. Noah has a dentist appointment. I’m watching a neighbor’s child in the morning and walking them to school. It’s kinda funny. Then I get to come home and get the kids onto chores and academics while I work. I will have to find a way to do work that is right next to them so we can talk while they do their stuff. They always have questions, which is very appropriate.

Tonight we are going to trick or treat with friends we haven’t seen much in the year since we’ve been back from the road trip. We’ve been really bad friends this year. I’ve dropped everyone and everything on the floor for this remodel. And I do it when I’m doing the breeding thing too.

Uhm, I’m sorry. I will crawl out of a hole again in the future. I hope you still like me then.

But yes. Touching base with old friends. Longevity is a big deal for me. A dear woman I know is deeply associated with a phrase: “Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

I’m really curious which threads are deep enough in the weave that I will know them for most of my life. I am made up of the people who know me. The people who carry my story with them when they go. I am made up of the people who sometimes ruefully think, “What would Krissy do?”

I am a creation in your mind as much as I am anything at all. And the fact that you think about me. That fact is enough to mean that even when I fuck up, I am maybe not beyond forgiveness.

Race

Periodically someone will tell me that I think I am a “Strong Black Woman”. No. No I really don’t. I don’t think I have lived under structural oppression. I don’t think I have lived as the victim of racist beliefs. I don’t think I have experienced federal housing discrimination.

I’m not Black.

But I learn a lot from Black women and that’s a tricky thing. There is a line where if you adopt mannerisms, words, behaviors, or anything else from a Black women you are said to be appropriating.

Instead we should all limit ourselves to learning from white people?

Why?

How can we change things if we continue to act like everything that Black people know is only for Black people and instead if you want to learn from someone, go pick a white person.

What?

Some of the very best teachers, spiritual leaders, and therapists I’ve interacted with have been Black women. Why should I pretend I have not learned from these wise people? Because they are Black? Because if I use a word they have taught me I am doing something wrong?

Really?

I am not stealing their words and trying to make a profit from it. I am trying to learn to live with a traumatized body. I’m trying to learn to live with brain damage in a very sick and twisted world.

Who in the fuck has more experience surviving in traumatized bodies than Black women?! (Which is yet another stereotype. Many Black women haven’t been traumatized that much.)

I think that Black people, and especially women, need to be fairly compensated for their contributions to society and embraced and used as models.

Is that appropriation? Well I don’t think that white people should go to their classes, pick up a few tricks, then put out a shingle teaching a mangled version of the lessons they learned. That’s appropriation. That’s fucked up.

I may admire the clothes, jewelry, or makeup tricks that Black women use… but I don’t try to emulate them.

I feel quite sad about not being “supposed” to emulate many hairstyles because with 3b curly hair I could definitely use access to some Black hairstyles. But I understand that Black women are still fired from jobs for wearing the hairstyles I could get away with… so I don’t.

Where are the lines? What is fair? What is right and what is wrong?

I don’t think I am a strong Black woman. I think I am a white woman who is trying to see the world in it’s myriad existence. I am trying to learn from some of the wisest sources available to me.

Let me tell you, I don’t get a lot of good out of listening to most white guys. I just… don’t. Is it fair?

There is no fair.

There are many other groups I “could” listen to more than I do. I try to listen to Latina voices. I listen to First Nations writers. I listen to folks who follow a variety of faiths. I listen to a lot of sex workers.

Mostly I listen to women. A lot of them happen to be Black. So periodically someone will say to me, “You think you’re a Strong Black Woman.”

Uhm… no.

What is this misogynoir bullshit? If I learn from Black women I must think I’m one of them? Dude, I’m not publicly performing to Formation or anything stupid like that.

No one would ever say that I thought a was a white man if I quoted them more often.

I think that it is kind of bullshit how often people comment negatively on the fact that I like to learn from Black women. If you think it is worthy of mockery, that’s about you. And it says nothing good. I know who and what I am. I don’t think I am something other than what I am.

If you can’t figure out who or what I am… maybe that’s about your perception of the world and not me.

I feel so confused

Things are plugging along fast here at Wonderland. We no longer have a bed frame. We gave it to a buddy. Our mattress is back on the floor because now we have enough room to put a twin mattress next to us and a crib mattress at the foot of our mattress so we don’t have to fight so often about the kids wanting to be in our room.

I give up on trying to force independence for a few years. They’ll sleep without us someday. True this makes sex inconvenient. Which is why Noah put a lovely lock on the garage door. Once the tile is out of the way we will have a great bed in the garage for sex. It’ll be grand.

I understand why they want to be close to us while sleeping. It makes sense to me. I don’t feel like trying to sever that closeness. We all love to reach out a hand or a foot just to make contact.

Something like 13%(ish) of 8-12 year old kids sleep with a parent every night. I slept with my mother until I had boyfriends or girlfriends in my bed.

We are maintaining a separate bedroom for them. Everyone has their own sleeping space. But sometimes people sleep on the couch. Because they want to. Sometimes people sleep on the floor in the living room. Because they want to. Sometimes everyone wants to sleep in the grown up bedroom. Because they want to.

This isn’t anxiety related at all. It’s kind of fascinating. I have proven to myself that we can force sleeping alone. But it’s not that much fun for anyone so why am I forcing this? One of the top 10 best things about the road trip was getting to sleep with the kids basically every night. The only nights I didn’t were when Noah was there and we wanted some privacy.

Middle of the night sex isn’t what it once was for me. I don’t feel the need for the same level of privacy. If I want to elbow him and crawl out to go to the garage for a while… we can do that.

What am I confused about though? That’s why I started writing.

I’m confused because some of the most beautiful people I know are told frequently that they are ugly. I don’t get it.

I’m confused because I feel like I’ve been having sex for over three decades and I’m only starting to sorta get what sex might actually be.

I’m confused because I don’t understand what slutty means to my identity and how descriptive or prescriptive I need it to be. I don’t know why this is so much of me.

I’m confused because I don’t know what fucking color to paint my house. I can make a strong case in several directions.

I’m confused because now that I have this shiny ADD diagnosis… I can’t do much about it because I’m about to get pregnant. I can’t try any medications. Well, I could. But I choose not to.

I’m confused because I wonder which of the choices I’m making that are the-best-I-can-make are very wrong. That’s always true. It always happens. No one ever makes the Right Choices. Everyone makes the best-choice-they-can-make-that-minute. It’s based on so many factors and complications that… it’s huge. It just is. People do the best they can. Maybe not their ultimate best given specific training and feedback and effort on a thing but they do what they can given who they are and what they have and what support they have and what resources they have and the education they have and the family they have and…. It’s complicated. Some of these choices we make, that are the best we can do, are wrong.

My shrink told me that in her opinion… as long as I don’t blow up the boat in the same way again… maybe all the stepping out wasn’t so bad. Specifically because it made us talk about some sex stuff we have been avoiding for years but mostly because… that kinda helped push us into having more kids. And she thinks that given how much I wanted kids… it wasn’t too high a price to pay.

Learning experiences often hurt.

Now that the decision is made I feel confused and freaked out a little by having a baby. My head is spinning in circles of, “My house is not baby set up” and I’m feeling panic. But we’ll figure it out.

I’m thinking about how much I have enjoyed being touched less. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy not sharing my boobs. Oh god.

Hey, I’m just doing a bit more to help my lifetime diabetes and breast cancer rates go down…

Oh god.

What am I doing? My back god damn hurts. This is going to suck ass through a straw.

I’ll figure it out.

But I’m so excited I can barely wait till January to get started… but we need to for a variety of reasons.

Oh good golly I hate birth control.

Yes, condoms can be sexy. They are also extra friction, which I hate. Even with lube; I know. Don’t give me the commercial, ok? I’m spoiled.

Life calls.

Forgiveness

Noah wrote me one of those epic blog posts he writes to me. Noah is of the belief that if we had public back and forth about our issues it would go badly. Given that I write publicly… he writes to me. I worry about this dynamic.

He’s bringing a lot of reality into this relationship. What the ever loving fuck. He accurately catalogues some of the problems we have had over the years and says that it is less about forgiving me for these ways in which I have fucked up and more about exalting that no matter how big the bump we always find a way past it.

That’s… that’s deep, yo.

I’ve fucked up a lot. I have done some pretty awful things. Some of the things are ongoing problems and some of them were problems for a while and then I stopped.

Just like some of the ways in which Noah has fucked up are ongoing and some of them are stopped. But I have not been giving him a lot of credit for change and growth. I have been acting like every problem, every fuck up is about an escalating pattern. Is it?

I come from a background of domestic violence. I literally spent my childhood moving every few months because my mother was running from a man who beat and raped her children.

Am I capable of looking at fuck ups and not wondering about the escalation potential?

Noah does not beat nor rape my children. I feel completely comfortable saying that. My children exhibit no stress signs of hidden trauma. I watch for it. My friends watch for it. My neighbors even watch for it because I’ve talked to many of them about my background and family history and I’ve flat asked to be monitored.

“I don’t know what healthy actually means. I’m trying to learn. I need feedback so I’d appreciate it if you commented when you see me doing something that might hurt my kids.”

People are always fairly stunned by this request, but they honor it. People call me on my shit.

I have all the potential in the world to be a monster.

So does Noah.

What does potential mean?

I don’t think I am a monster at this stage. Or maybe, I’m a monster kinda like the BFG is a monster. Are you a monster because you are in a category with other monsters based on demographic factors but you don’t enact monstrous behavior yourself?

Noah wants me to not forgive him but instead exalt him for getting past many of the ways he has hurt me. I get why he wants that. I get why it is important for the story arc. Given that we are fresh on the heels of several straight months of me being the problem and me hurting him far more than he hurt me… I get it.

2016 will go down as one of the years when I hurt Noah the most for our entire marriage. Was it worth it?

I don’t know.

If I had to do that in order to really force through the idea that I will never grit my teeth and take one for the team again? Yes.

Yes. A million times yes.

Noah may want me to not forgive and instead exalt that we got past our issues, then I need 2016 to be the last year I ever submit to sex that hurts me in a bad way. I’ve been having sex that caused me intense physical pain for more than 30 years. I’m done. If I had to blow the fuck up to convince the people around me that I’m done done done done done I can live with that.

Does that make it good or fair or right to blow up like that? Not really.

Sometimes there aren’t right choices.

I know that means I will have to change behaviors on my end as well as figuring out how to keep coaxing behavior from Noah that will work better. That will be really hard.

I’m off the team. I can’t ever take one for the team like that again. Whatever service of that kind I owed in this lifetime I have paid. I have paid and paid and paid and paid. I’m out of currency with which to pay.

My cunt is mine and I need it to not be treated like something that anyone has a right to use no matter how much pain they cause me.

I understand that a lot of this has happened because I “let” it happen. Because I was conditioned from toddlerhood that this was my lot in life so I encouraged and allowed this kind of behavior. Yeah yeah, it’s my fault. I know.

If we go seek out people to hurt us and they hurt us is it their fault or our fault? I don’t entirely know.

Exalting. I should exalt that Noah has gotten to the point when he can recognize that I am engaging in bdsm as self harm he stops participating.

Really if I want to talk about the things Noah has worked on to be better at being my partner… I won’t stop talking for a few weeks.

I know.

I know.

Racing thoughts

Well, it is official. I have ADD. I’m having some distinct mixed feelings about this. My therapist and psychiatrist both tried to uhhh “explain” why I didn’t get this diagnosis when I was younger in very CYA ways. “Well it is very hard to tell ADD and trauma apart.” “You didn’t show signs of distress.” Wait, whut?

She meant that I am very smart and I was able to pass grades in school so clearly I am totally fine.

But what the ever loving fuck?

I’m finding that I’m still having trouble shaking the strapping down during the second surgery. I keep feeling tightness in my body and when I check in with that part of me, I feel scared.

My shrink said, “It’s natural that you feel this way. Being strapped down like that is a major violation.” It wasn’t the second time. They were trying to keep me from falling off an operating table. That’s not a major violation. It was a major violation when they strapped me down just because they didn’t like my mood. I wish my body would forget. Not all strap-downs work the same way.

I’m having a lot of thoughts about intimacy, sex, love, wanting, keeping score, forgiveness… and I’m totally not ready to write about any of them. Oh the potential fall out.

My heart hurts.

I want my house back. It’s been so fucking long and I’m going stir crazy. I think I only have another week of major construction work before they start on tiling. Oh that would be lovely. I want my floor back in the garage. I want to have a play room so my kids can get their shit off the living room floor. Right now… the living room is the only place to play and we all think that sucks.

I haven’t been inviting people over. There isn’t space.

I am feeling weirdly kinda thrilled about Eldest Child and I both having an accurate diagnosis at this point. That means a lot of my weird rigidness around creating order is… a very functional adaptation to problems we actually have. I’m not just a fascist bitch. YAY! I’ve run across several mentions in the past few days that we all need separate work spaces and I think I’ve decided how I’m going to make that work space wise. Desks in every damn room. So, kid sized desks in the play room and in the sleeping room (which will have room once most of the furniture is taken out like we have scheduled to do…) and the coffee table in the living room and the red table in a corner of the garage where you can’t see Noah. Which will give me four work spaces for little people. Perfect when we have the Bonus Kids.

Cause I’m just a few weeks away from giving every one dedicated work time every day. Because I’ve almost got the bones in place for that.

The littlest two are too young for academics so they can work on art. Play Doh for hand eye acuity or drawing or painting. Sure, why not. I’ve got just about everything in the house. But the littles need their own work so they leave the biggest kids alone for a little bit. Eldest Child is kinda annoyed with me over having to do academics at the rate she is currently doing them. I said, “Hey I asked you if you wanted to start catching up in second grade and you said, ‘Naw wait till next year’ so that means you have a lot to do in one year. Take your medicine.”

I’m not entirely sure we are unschooling any more given that I’m trying to teach the habit of working every day so I mandate structure more than we used to. We are still studying the stuff she asked to study. She picked out the books she’s plowing through… not me. I’m just enforcing the creation of habits.

You are your habits.

I’ve always gotten my planning done in bursts. Noah has been working on developing the habit of checking in every Sunday with long lists of life-preparation-shit. I’m trying to join him and after a few weeks or months I’m going to push the kids to do it as well. Planning out your week just makes everything flow more smoothly. But I need to try and build the habit myself before asking the kids. Too much is changing for them. I need to change me before I can change them.

They both plan like I do at this point: in bursts at random times. It is wonderful for me to listen to them plan things out though. They think like me. It’s incredibly validating. They think about different scenarios and fall backs and logistics and… Oh my babies. You make my heart soar.

I’m a nerd.

I can’t figure out what to do with the bottom left corner of this mosaic. I hate what I have tried so far. Grouse, whine, fuss. Ok, maybe I don’t hate it… but it’s not right yet. I love how I’ve managed to create the idea of differing distances and scale and perspective. I’m a genius.

And so humble.

We’ve been slowly putting all our investment stuff on Mint. As more of our money becomes visible to me…

Holy Fucking Shit.

We have managed to save/pay down debt at the rate of over $100,000/year every year of our marriage. Given what else we’ve done… I’m both terribly impressed with how I’ve managed to stretch the money that far and ashamed I haven’t done better. Especially over the past few years as his salary has been so incredibly high.

I can only afford to do this because Noah happened to pick the most lucrative hobby of his generation as a seven year old kid, he was white, and he came from family money which allowed him to go to one of the best schools in the country.

Privilege is a mother fucker.

Next year, given that I won’t be traveling I hope I pay off/save a combined total of $150,000. (Specifically: investments go up by $50,000, debt will go down by $100,000. That will leave me with ~$60,000 left of debt. I’ll pay that off the next year.) That still, uhh, leaves us a lot to live on. More than I could earn in a year.

Either the year after that or maybe the year after that… we’ll probably hit a million dollars in investments.

Before I’m 40.

My shrink spent a while today trying to tell me that because I am so accomplished how could anyone have been able to tell that I had ADD? I’m so… capable.

I have found some fucktastically effective coping methods, it is true. What could I have done if I had better/more effective support? It’s either terrifying in a good way or maybe a let down. Noah tells me pretty frequently that he thinks I have not come close to my potential yet and he looks forward to seeing what that means.

Resilience. This word keeps coming up. What the fuck does resilience even mean? Don’t give me a text book definition. I can rattle that shit off. But what does it mean feeling like? Cause I’m resilient like fuck and I still feel like a loser.

I had structural power on my side, but that isn’t effective for everyone who has it. Most white people who start out poor like I did do not manage to leap frog to the other side of the socio economic spectrum. Try something. Fail. Get up and try something else. Fail. Repeat.

That’s resilience. It is being willing to try something else after failing. Holy shit I’ve failed so much.

I think I fucked things up with some friends. I think it is my fault. I’m not angry at anyone about the cock up. This is on me.

But I’ll try again. Maybe I won’t pester them, boundaries matter, but I’ll try again in life. It’s a long life. There are a lot of god damn people in the world.

I am propelled forward in life by this deep aching need. A need for love and connection and respect and to be treated well. These are not things I was handed easily or automatically. I’ve had to work.

Try. Fail. Try again.

Sometimes when I hear men complain about how unfair it is that they have to work hard to learn social skills I want to scream and break things. It has been so hard for me. I have fucked up over and over and over and it has been god damn painful.

No sympathy from this corner, buddy.

I have believed all of my life that my brain worked differently than other peoples and I’m getting increasing feedback that I was right. Yeah, things that might be easy for some people are genuinely harder for me.

I ALWAYS GOD DAMN THOUGHT SO.

But you know what, I got this far without outside help figuring out how to help me. That’s pretty good.

*pat self on back*

Good job, self. You aren’t a completely worthless shitpile. Well done.

I was sitting in the back yard recently and I thought, “Well done past self. You were so awesome to do all those hundreds of hours of work. It has really paid off.”

I need to find a balance between work and rest. My future health will depend on me pacing myself and I totally get into work-a-holic periods where I wreck my body. I can’t keep doing it. I need to get this cycle more predictable and workable and sustainable.

My body hurts so much. And there isn’t a lot of point in working hard to make it hurt less before the big work is done because I’ll just hurt myself again in a day.

I have about 14 hours of detail work left in the kitchen. I have to finish the mosaics. I have to paint the play room. I have to empty everything out of the shed so it can be moved then I need to reorganize it because damn my system collapsed. Then I need to sort most of the stuff in the entire house and put it away.

seriously hope we are done before Christmas.

I’m not sure we will be done with the arbitration which kinda sucks. Sigh.

I am so very weary. Why am I not sleepy?

Can’t sleep. Future will eat me.

Not to mention that this election cycle is awful. The internet is a sad place to be. I should probably stop reading Twitter until after November 8th.

I have filled out my ballot. I’m good.

There’s not a thing on this earth that could make me vote for Trump. Sweet sunny Christmas no.

I’m clearly going to have leftover tile. I’m going to talk to local art teachers. I’ve got enough stuff for several full classes to make reasonable sized mosaics if the tiles were broken up. I’m not sorry I didn’t end up using everything. I’m glad I had the variety. I am really excited about finishing winter. This is going to be so pretty. I have a lot of sparkly tiles. Let it snow; let it snow; let it snow.

I’m over you, autumn. That tree was a motherfucker.

But it’s so prettttttty.

I will be happy that I get to look at you. Making you was still evil.

I’m going to try again on sleep.