Category Archives: answering questions

Clarity is good

On the topic of invitations. Because maybe it’ll help me be less fucking pissed at my OB.

I think that there is a huge difference between a mass email invitation and a personalized invitation. Personalized invitations have degrees of formality. An individual email is less personal than a phone call is less personal than a written invitation sent via snail mail.

I send paper invitations when I’m like “This is truly a limited event. You are invited.”

I think that most people in the modern world are used to being herded along in big groups and the occasional poke and nudge that JUST THIS PERSON is worth a bunch of extra steps for the fun of their company feels really good.

If I send a mass email to the Wonderland list I do not expect all (now only 40-something) people to respond with a yes/no. I expect most people to blow off the email. I sigh deeply occasionally… but that’s my expectation. I think I will only hear from the people who are excited to be asked.

When I send a paper invitation I do not expect someone to go to as much effort as me to respond. I generally indicate that an email or phone call response would be dandy. It’s easier on the person responding and I get the message. Cool, cool.

But when I send you a paper invitation… I am an entitled twat waffle and I expect you to decline if you aren’t going to show up. Because I’m reserving space for you. If you don’t want the space please tell me.

Mass emails… whatever.

If you want to respond to an invitation in the negative “I am unable to attend” is the most non-offensive response in the world. It’s just a statement of fact without any attempt to explain why this event is not good enough for you. That’s a five star response.

Other completely acceptable responses: “I already have plans. I will catch you on the next one.”  “Thank you for the invitation but this is not a good weekend.” Anything of that nature is totes sweet.

“I wish I could but I am unable to get there” invites the response “What if we helped you with transportation” and should only be invoked if you really do wish you could go. Some hosts will feel a little passive aggressively pushed but I won’t. I will hear “Hey transportation is a fucking bitch and it limits my life” and I will deeply identify with this statement and I will think back to all of the awesome people who drove to pick me up in the mountains when I was a trapped teenager and I will probably try to help. Cause I invited you because I want to see you and transportation is a valid thing to need help with.

I don’t expect anyone to always say yes to me. If I have a 0% yes rate from someone… I will stop asking after some period of time because that sucks ass. There are a few people over the years who have never been willing to do anything with me but they frequently tell me they want to and I should invite them to something. So they can tell me no. That starts feeling incredibly shitty. If you have a 5% yes rate because (Reasons) that’s fine. That’s an effort back.

Hell if you always respond no and you send me long chatty emails about how frustrated you are with your life for getting in the way of hanging out with me because that’s what you wish you got to do and instead you have obligation X… I’ll probably still keep you on the list forever and hope for your company.

It’s the “Sorry we were invited to another event and we are WAY closer to them” that makes me want to set bridges on fire.

Cause what the fuck. Do I fucking tell you that you are only a Tier D friend and I only invite you to things when no one better is available? Hell fucking no. That would be messed up.

I don’t actually have Tier D friends. Not really. This shifts over the years. At this point I have my family, I have my very closest friends, and then there’s just everyone else I love. I see them when it works and that varies dramatically and isn’t a reflection of how much I love them or how much they love me. Life is complicated, yo.

I am super blessed with having awesome people in my life. They are hella busy. I accept and appreciate and support this. I’m not the center of everything.

But there’s rude and polite, yo.

Chasing and being ok

I should be sleeping, but I’m awake. I’m thinking about how much I’m shoving on my friend while she’s here. So here’s the sitch. I met this woman on Twitter during my road trip. Towards the end the kids and I realized we were going to have a miserable time camping at the snowy Grand Canyon and decided to detour. I asked the universe (and Twitter) where we should go. This woman popped up and said, “Pick me! Pick Phoenix!” So I did.

We spent a few days together and it was lovely. I think she is great. I think her kids are rad and super smart and really engaged in life. I honestly don’t meet that many public school kids who are that good at asserting themselves. I was seriously impressed with these kids. They are just… there’s a lot of there there.

So I asked my friend to come visit. Thing is, the entire time I’ve known this family they’ve been on my monthly donation list because of disability issues. The mama hasn’t worked in a while and that is indefinite. So this trip is horrifyingly prohibitively expensive.

So I said, “Can I bring you to California. You and your family. You need a break from life.”

We are going all over the bay area and down to Santa Barbara with a stop in Monterey on the way home. We will spend close to a week driving into San Francisco to see the museums.

These kids showed up at my house and with glowing faces they said, “Can we homeschool every day?!” They are so excited they can barely speak. Only they talk just as much as my kids do so this is a hilarious time. Oh so much volume. But fascinating! The opinions! The independent thought going on!

One of the first questions was: “Does your little boy still wear dresses?” Answer: “That question is more complicated than you think. My kid wears dresses sometimes. But I only sometimes have a little boy. Let’s talk about the gender binary and people who do not fall on it at either end.”

It was lovely.

I sat down after dinner and started listing off the cool things to do within an hour of driving… we filled the trip days fast. We have a full itinerary.

I am 100% convinced my friend never would have asked for something like this in her life. I’m spending around $1200-$1500 for them to have this vacation. Folks I don’t know that well that I met through the internet.

Why?

I am ruled by my impulses. Because it breaks my heart that my children get to have the life they have and children this god damn smart and talented don’t get to have as much opportunity. Yes, I’d love to bring you out here for three weeks for as much information as we can pack into your little skulls. It would be an honor.

I do these things to pay back the child I was. The child who felt so bad that everyone else got to go do fun things and take classes and go to museums. I got to move again.

Part of what is helping is that I’m not having to chase this family. I offered and she accepted… but I didn’t have to chase her and keep offering.

Being able to accept a gift this big is hard. Pride is a big deal. Accepting this much love and help from someone is hard to feel ok with. People can only take so much then they need to give. Not necessarily back to the person they received from… paying things forward is more important

I am running into asking rev limiters within myself. I can ask different people and it isn’t scary. I can’t ask a small group of people for things repeatedly. That’s too much hard; I feel too much like I’m hurting people.

Unless I get asked back. I need to be asked for things in exchange. Do you know one of the reasons it is easy for me to help this family have this trip? They are kind of assertive about how things need to work for them. “I need _____. I can’t do _____.” Even if receiving a gift they are directing it to be more useful for them. That melts my butter. I feel like they seriously are trying to get what they need from this gift.

I have probably asked many hundreds if not over a thousand people to spend time with me in my life. I don’t ask everyone for sexual attention. Unless I feel an energetic push back… I feel like I am hurting people by sticking around.

If I initiate all of our, “Hey let’s hang out” it will get more and more sporadic over time. My give runs out. My ask runs out. I wish I still had it in me to ask you over lots… I don’t. I don’t think you care. I think you’d rather do something else.

I think you’d rather not put your pants on and walk three blocks to see me after I drive multiple thousands of miles. That’s what I’m worth.

That’s from someone who has been publicly calling me “family” for over a decade. Yeah. That’s what I’m worth to my family.

But not Noah. And not my kids. They would do a whole hell of a lot to see me.

Noah crisscrossed the country chasing me. It was glorious.

Even though they live with me every day. If I start getting distracted by life or people they do tricks until I stare at them again. Please look at us. We need your attention. Yes my loves. I will give you my attention too.

Yes, I like pushy. Yes, I want people who say hey I’m here and I want your attention. Yes, that is risking rejection. Welcome to my god damn life.

It occurs to me that I could create a calendar for the house hold and share that with folks who are interested. Dates when people are free to invite themselves over could be clearly marked.

I can’t keep inviting the way I have for years. I’m tired and it hurts.

Noah says I’m just ditching my friends for lovers. I don’t think that is true. I can list off lots of friends talking and visits in the past few months. It is true that I’m putting less effort into my friends.

But I think I was there anyway. I think there was just a brief surge for dating. I think that is going to… change as time moves on anyway. I’ll run out of ask there too. I don’t get the impression that most of the folks I date are going to feel ok being pushy with asking for dates. My submissive. My glorious submissive. Thank you for being so brave so far. I know I’m busy and asking me means risking me being overwhelmed and kind of a twerp on a given day. I’m grateful you ask. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m not always good company but I’m so glad I get to know you. Sometimes when I say I’m not good company it isn’t about me not liking you it is about me wanting to keep my nasty moods away from you. I know you are comfortable with getting the less than sweet parts of me, but I don’t want to take my feelings out on anyone like that. I don’t want to start using you for that kind of thing.

I love you too much.

I’ll hit you; I’ll carve my name into your flesh with a scalpel; I’ll kick you as hard as I can in the testicles. I do not want to hurt you. I want you to feel loved. I can’t be nasty to you when I’m having a bad day. That’s not cool.

I need to be nasty to you on good days when it is a positive, loving choice for both of us.

I’m going to run out of chase on dating for the same reason I always do. Most people… aren’t as into me as I want them to be. They like me ok, but they don’t really seek me out. I seek them out as much as I can… then I can’t anymore.

Usually that’s about three months.

The people who have gone longer than that… my first fiancé, my Owner, Puppy, Spot, Noah… they always act like they are drawn to me. I don’t think my first fiancé would have fallen out of love with me. I think he wanted to marry me and he was going to be ok being that person forever. I think I could have had that. But he needed me to not change very much. He needed me to calm down and not be so crazy. He needed me to be very conservative sexually. I couldn’t do that for him. I think I could still be with my Owner if I hadn’t wanted kids so much. Puppy was the only one who dumped me. He has some serious issues and that was for the best. He would have been very abusive. Spot… that one did run its course. There was no more there for that relationship. But we are still friends.

Noah came back when I shoved him away as hard as I could. He was still my friend even though it hurt because not knowing me was more painful than dealing with me rejecting him as a boyfriend. Then after a while of being my friend he noticed that I was single for five minutes and he took a chance on offering me the best deal of my whole damn life. Would I like to marry my best friend and have the babies I’ve been dreaming of? Yes. Yes I would.

I like sudden intense protestations of devotion that I end up being able to count on. That works for me.

And Noah has chased me ever since. I do not always honor his efforts as I should. But I take breaks to admire just how forking nice to me he is. He chases me. He feels like he would die without me.

It makes it kind of hard to keep chasing people who are not that enthusiastic about seeing me, who do not push for time or attention, who do not make it clear that they want to know me.

I’m spoiled as fuck.

My submissive chases me à la Pepé Le Pew. Slow and patient and just there for my entire adult life.

You know who else chases me? Sarah. That’s why she is My Sarah. Because she has chased me and pushed and offered and grabbed chances to see me for over twelve years.

Lots and lots and lots of people can ask me once or twice a year for a visit. That’s so wonderful and sweet and generous. They give me what they have to spare. They ask for how much of me they want. I’m grateful for every person who gives me a three hour visit a year because they want to know me and that’s all they have spare. That is a gift.

It is so glorious having people in my life who want more and more and more of me. The number of people who feel that way is growing and I can’t help but think that is so wonderful. One of the women I look up to most described knowing me as being like watching the birth of a planet. I’m developing my own gravity.

So this ADD book I’m reading keeps saying, “There is something special about a lot of people with ADD. You can’t put your finger on what it is. It’s just there.” I find that hilarious.

When you look at comorbidity things: ADD is highly correlated with trauma which is highly correlated with being targeted which is highly correlated to being something that attracts notice.

Being special/different/weird is threatening as fuck. Lemme tell you.

Hey, is that a self love moment there? Did I just admit that I know I’m special?

Whoa.

I am. I always have been. I do radiate energy like the sun. Either I freak people out or I draw them in. I pay attention to people. I want to know them and love them. Just looking at people as hard as I do is special. Not many people are even capable of really looking at everyone around them and paying attention the way I do. It is some trick of attention and hypervigilance and empathy.

And where in the hell did I find the well of love I seem to have for people? Despite everything. Recently someone said I didn’t break; I broke open.

I need to be needed or there isn’t a lot of point in me. I think that the majority of creatures who are ever born live and die not having a point. I think that the creature has to make their own point, their own purpose, their own meaning.

Am I doing it?

So far people in ten states and a few different countries have told me that knowing me has changed them for the better. It’s a start.

I can say with great certainty that the three people who live here, my submissive, and My Sarah will chase me just about to the ends of the earth. Jenny has flown out to rescue me when I was in danger even though she isn’t by nature a chaser.

I still call her Jenny because I’m the only damn one who can. To you, she is Jennifer. You do not have leave to address her familiar. I think the only reason I can’t mature into the grown up name is because it was a very young person who first opened her heart to me. It was a very young person with intense wounds of her own who learned how to put up with me. When I cry and think of how very much I miss my friend I am dimly aware that we are grown ups now… but I miss her from that place of being very young. Because that is where she first touched me. I met her when I was twelve. I feel like twelve was for me the absolute last gasping breaths of my childhood. That was right as I started seriously dating.

Jenny managed to catch the last bits of me that could love as a child. And I love her with all the intensity of a child for their best friend still. Thank you.

Despite how not chaste I am… I am still chased. I am deemed worthy of love. And by people I respect and love in return. People who absolutely thrill me to my toes that these people think I am worth enough of their energy to chase me. People who are impacted by my gravity pull and just have to be near me.

Oh I love you I love you I love you.

That’s at least six people who will… chase me pretty fucking far. Blacksheep has jumped enormous hurdles to be my friend. DSH has gone waaaaaaay far past her comfort zone for me even though she isn’t one to chase people like me.

I could keep going.

I am blessed and blessed and blessed. My Bonus Family. It would take a few pages to go through all they have done for me. Even though I’m god damn difficult and sometimes they need some boundaries. That’s healthy.

Most of the people who love me with great intensity have rev limiters of their own. They have lives. Part of the reason I love them so much is because they are intense people with a lot going on. They give me what they can. Even if they can’t chase me the way I like to be chased…

Really, how spoiled can someone be? I get chased. I have three people chasing me 24/7. Quit being so greedy.

And yet I’d still kinda like to set up a calendar that says when folks can invite themselves over and see what happens.

I don’t want to decide who it is and how many people. I just… want to see what happens. I assume not much. I assume a few people sometimes but not much.  The key to happiness is low expectations.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks. I’m nervous because this is a lot of time to be “on” with folks I don’t know that well. But I know this mama through mental/physical disability support. At least we are both very understanding of our mutual shortcomings. Ha.

I am so grateful that they accepted my invitation. This is going to be a lot of fun for me. I can’t wait to homeschool her kids. I feel like a walking encyclopedia and that is one of my favorite feelings. See how useful I can be. I am a good tool!

One of the things that makes me special is how fast I can access disparate topics in my brain and explain them in simple or complicated ways for just about anyone. I can make connections between things that seem unrelated… until I explain… faster than the vast majority of people I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a lot of people. I am not an expert in almost anything. Instead of going deep I go wide. That allows for a different kind of thinking, a different kind of intensity.

Ok, reading this book on ADD is making me question something about my long term mental health diagnosis: depression. I don’t do the torpor kind of depression. I do the head-down-keep-working-as-you-hate-yourself-and-want-to-die kind. Apparently that is a pretty standard ADD thing. Oh. Huh. That’s supposed to be one of those things they kinda look for. I hate them and their not looking.

If you loathe yourself: you are depressed. Sorta. Maybe.

I made Noah listen to this song. I can’t find it easily on the internet so you get lyrics.  The thing is… I need to be loved. And I need it from lots of people because I’m trying to push past a whole lot of not being loved.

There is some interesting research out there on preverbal trauma and early formative trauma. I feel like I still need to be filled with as much love as an infant. I was not wanted. Not from conception. I only exist because a bad thing happened. What do I have to do to make up for that? What do I have to do for the world to make up for the harm I caused by coming into being. For declaring, “I don’t care that this hurts you. I need to be here.”

It’s not like I think I really deserve to be punished for choosing to be born. It was an accident. A surprise.

To be fair, my mom told me over and over I was a surprise. She didn’t know she wanted me till she had me. Sissy is the one who told me over and over that I was an accident. My mom just admitted it was rape. My mom tries to make sense of her life given the stories she has been given. God wanted her to have that child. Me.

I have been crying for my mother for over 31, almost 32 years. My mom was 32 when I was born. I might be 35 or 36 if I have another child.

Am I a grown up yet?

When my mama was 35 years old she had four children. She locked her abusive husband out of the house and sued for divorce. On the grounds that he had been raping their children. He was still given partial custody. He refused to pay alimony or child support so my mom lost the house and we ended up living in the car. Well, he would pay it. In exchange for sex.

Sometimes I think I judge my mother far too harshly for surviving a world of horror.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it neither? Is it both? Does it depend?

I think that if I don’t have that much pull… I should probably just be ok with that. It is probably healthier that way. Maybe. Who knows.

Yes. Yes, I want pushy.

I think people misunderstand suicide prevention. There is a lot of shaming. “Don’t do it because it is selfish. You hurt people.” I hurt people by living too. I promise. It’s always complicated. It is always about the balance of hurting people vs being hurt.

I think it should be framed as enlightened self interested selfishness. Someday I will get to the point where I am out of good days. I’m not there yet. I’m trying to construct a future so fantastic that I absolutely want to stay alive to see it.

I know we are giving up the WWOOF year I’ve always wanted because of a baby I want more. You know what? I bet I will still go to Africa with Sarah someday. I bet I will still go to Taiwan to see Pam someday. I bet I will still go to South America someday. I don’t know who will go with me or who I will see… but it’s probably going to happen.

I’m like that.

I go do things.

No more travel for a long time though. I need to save money. We don’t really travel cheap.

The kids and Noah have promised to veto all requests for travel in 2017 even if I say, “but we could…”

Ha.

I love my reminders.

My Eldest Child likes to say, “You should listen to yourself more, mom. You are a smart lady.” But I don’t listen to myself. I need to hear it from you. I need to hear it in your voice. I need to have you replace my inside voice. Do you know why? Because when I talk to me I’m so god damn mean. When you remind me of something I just said a few minutes ago… you usually sound so nice.

I know I sounded nice when I said it to you. That’s because it is easy to be nice to you. No, I can’t remind myself in that same nice way. I need you on a tape in my head. Because my tapes are all so bad. Thank you for reminding me.

I never mean that sarcastically.

Well… maybe once in a while but I’ll make it obvious with a funny voice.

Shiny change of topic. I feel like it is wise to restate a thing about voice in my blog. I talk to “you” a lot. That’s a moving target. I often consciously create sentences so I’m addressing multiple situations and multiple people at once and I phrase it as a singular. So if you feel paranoid that I’m talking to you… maybe…. inclusively…

Or maybe you’re the one. Noah gets a lot of direct address. Ok, other people do too and I hide behind the group thing. Let’s be honest. But I do the group address thing too!

I’m just tricksy.

I sat here for a while and just went through some visuals of stuff I’d like to have happen in my life. Oh let it be so.

And Noah speaks

I asked Noah for a guest post. So. Instead of my projecting all over him. Here is what he thinks:

 

To Krissy’s various beaus, suitors, sweeties and/or flings of the present, and possibly of the future,
I am asked for a guest post on why I am recommending a Mardi Gras month, nearly free of rules, for Krissy. To explain will require me to write a fair bit, including things I should have explained to all of you before. It is a great opportunity for me and an honor, and really past time. So: yes, and here you are.
I am specifically writing to those gentlemen (and occasionally ladies) joining me in the grand project of making Krissy happy in a lifetime-sustainable way, mostly through romantic means. I have made it a large part of my life’s work, and I’m honored to serve alongside other people doing the same. Some of the things I say here may sound a bit distressing, but understand I hold each of you in the highest esteem. I shall try to keep your distress in reading to a reasonable minimum… As long as I successfully describe the difficulties, anyway.
And let me say to those of you I have met that I’m impressed with all of you. Krissy has managed to find people with good boundaries, with a genuine interest in being good to our marriage, with a genuine interest in supporting her. Please do not take anything I say here as reflecting badly on you. You are all very clearly good people, coming to this with the very best of intentions. And if I were to chase you away for that, I would not enjoy the qualities of your successors nearly so much. I appreciate you, individually and collectively.
Those of you I’ve met are wonderful. Those of you in the future will still have been selected by Krissy, and her taste is excellent.
So: some background.
Krissy and I are easy-going, fun, sex-positive people with our flings and secondaries… And dramatic, possessive and intense with each other. This has all the obvious problems with non-monogamy that you’d expect. We were both vigorously, happily polyamorous when we got together, and after a few years of trying that while married, we shut it down and went monogamous — as much to avoid drama with each other as for any other reason.
We still spend a *huge* amount of time focusing on each other, resonating off each other, and generally having the sort of extremely enmeshed, codependent marriage that every therapist will tell you isn’t healthy. We love it, naturally. And we’d like to keep all that. It’s been a great ten-plus years.
We’re both very sensitive to our spouse being full of “energy that’s not for us.” When I come home jazzed from a date, Krissy doesn’t want to *touch* me — that’s “somebody else” energy. My reaction to her is often similar, if less intense. But the more she “glows” after a date, the more she’s unable to focus on me, so instead we do a bunch of talking through the date with the other person, and generally focusing on her and them. That’s what she’s up for at that point.
I’m more okay with that than she is — that is, she wants to leave the room and sob when I come home like that. I’m okay with some glowing, but me talking through how much she likes you gets old, as a way to spend her-and-me time. In large amounts it gets threatening, because we’ve been together over ten years — she does not, as a rule, glow like that after a date with me. The glow is about novelty, and after ten years I don’t compete well on “novelty.” Which is all as it should be. I can compete very successfully on things like “safety” and “reliability” — it was a very conscious tradeoff. Again, all as it should be.
There’s also another variation on that: sometimes she has a *bad* date and comes home vibrating with other-person energy. She didn’t get what she wanted and I’m no help with that, or something went wrong and they said something stupid, or… So, the “glowing” thing isn’t the only kind of “focused on other people, even when she’s with me” going on.
As a rule, it lasts about an evening. If she comes home from a date, it’s usually gone by morning unless it was an unusually good or bad date. Even then, it’s rarely more than a day or two.
Right now, novelty is feeling very important to Krissy. This makes a lot of sense after a few years of highly-constrained, drama-prone poly early in our marriage, followed by years of monogamy, followed by a very rocky start to the current non-monogamy.
Ah, the *current* non-monogamy…
Right now, Krissy is dating individually and I am not. Remember that bit about her being Very Not Okay with me coming home feeling like somebody else’s energy? There is absolutely no way for me to date and enjoy it much without some of that happening. More to the point, I won’t know when it *will* happen.
She has made it clear how bad that is for her. I need to at least try hard to not date individually, essentially indefinitely, to avoid an Unacceptable Outcome. Am I going to be able to be upbeat, constantly-supportive and so on about her having something I would also really like and can’t have, while simultaneously losing a bunch of my own support? We’ll see, won’t we?
(“Losing a bunch of my own support?” Yeah, when she’s glowing/moping about you guys, she’s a lot less into me — fair. It means I’m supporting *her* a lot more because bad dates need it, and a lot of my “I can do anything because the woman of my dreams is way into me” energy is out to lunch either way. I run a *lot* of my life on “Krissy likes me” energy. Again, see that enmeshed/codependent thing that we do and prefer.)
We also go out together to events/parties/etc. For a bit, that was “she’ll play with me and then maybe other people”, but at this point it’s generally that she’ll play with somebody else and I’ll play with Beautiful, who feels very non-threatening to Krissy (hey, Beautiful!) Or, in some cases, I don’t play. And that mostly needs to be how it goes. Me picking up somebody new, clicking well, coming home glowing and wanting to find ways to do more of that would be… destabilizing, in a not-okay way.
(Wait, “not dating”, but also a specific partner I play with repeatedly? Yeah, assume I’m playing fast and loose with the word “dating” here.)
She also wants to see a lot of you folks more socially, which makes sense. That’s mixed for me — it means increasingly often, I’ll be dealing with “not about me” in my house. Like, not just “not centered on me”, but often “I need to back off from Krissy” and “me being too assertive is a problem and I need to not do it.” That’s all the obvious kinds of complicated.
I’ll plead a bit of bias on this one as well because last week had three successive days with a play event that didn’t go well, followed by a dinner at our house where she didn’t get other-people energy she wanted, followed by an long-planned-ahead playdate with extensive work and negotiation, and then sleeping apart.
We don’t sleep apart well. *I* don’t handle Krissy being disconnected from me that way well, and three days in a row is really hard. And she wants things that seem to lead inevitably to more of that, including a lot more having her lovers in our house.
Couldn’t we just *stop* this and go back to monogamy? No. Krissy has done the whole “being off with just me and platonic friends” thing quite extensively. That turns out to lead to another Unacceptable Outcome. No, as wonderfully selfish as that sounds to me right now, it’s cutting off my nose to spite my face. Or, more likely, cutting off my head to spite my nose.
Which leads to the question, if this is causing me distress, why am I suggesting a Mardi Gras month? Why am I advocating *more* of this?
Krissy says it’s to prove to myself that she’s an asshole when she’s seeing a lot of other people. And hey, maybe we’ll get some idea of how much of her seeing other people is okay with me. Hard to say.
A lot of it is trying to make this style of nonmonogamy work for the long term. The attempt may work, it may not. But I’m going to do everything I can to give it a fair shake, and I think a Mardi Gras month is going to be required for that.
I want to know how much of “novelty wins over me” is because Krissy is deprived of that novelty. Right now, it’s a *really* distinct and obvious thing. Even somebody who’s not otherwise particularly attractive is suddenly very attractive compared to time with me, because Krissy wants that and has been deprived of it for so long.
I think that highly-restricted novelty isn’t doing much to reset the clock on that. I think that having more time and fewer restrictions will help.
I also think that the disconnection will become more obvious to *her* when there’s more of it, more consistently. So that’s probably the closest to what she means when she says I just want to prove she’s an asshole.
Right now it’s hard for her to see the disconnection, because when she comes home and we mostly talk about how great her other boy is for a day or two, it feels plenty connected to *her*. She’s getting perfectly reasonable support.
But there are limits on how much of that I can do. If it happens twice a month, we’re well within my limits. If it happens twice a week, I’m going to be providing a lot less support per time; I don’t have four times as much to give, so she doesn’t get four times as much.
So perhaps it’s also to show that *I’m* an asshole when she’s constantly vibrating with other-people energy.
She’d say she already knows that. Given that I haven’t said, “look, I don’t want to hear any more about (boy)” even once during this whole thing, I’m thinking we’re both wound up about small stuff. It’s hard to have good perspective on being nasty to each other since we’re usually so over-the-top awesome. I don’t know that either of us got to the “asshole” point as most married people would measure it, not at any point in this whole business.
Well, okay. There are some particular things that I could easily paint that way. But in context it’s mostly not true.
I want Krissy to get more of a feel for getting more support from other people *instead of me*, because that’s more like the tradeoff we’re talking about. I want me to get more of a feel for what it will be like to have her lovers as a major part of our socializing — I need to figure out if *I* can do this longer-term, too. When Krissy is specifically trying for other-person energy, I have to take a big step back or she doesn’t usually get it. Having regular social gatherings at our house that work like that is… new.
I want to reset the clock on novelty, somewhat. For her to feel less restricted so that new-person sex is just less appealing. Not *un*appealing — I get it, new-person sex is awesome. But right now it’s getting an enormous boost from long deprivation. I think the boost would be smaller if it weren’t so long since she could find lovers without all the restrictions.
An unrestricted month is a chance for Krissy to maybe get some of what she’s been cut off from — at least, a little more. And it’s a chance for me to figure out how often we *can* reconnect. We figured out how to reconnect when she’s sad or angry, but not when it’s over a lover. Maybe it will get easier to do it even after she’s seen somebody else? It hasn’t before, but we haven’t tried hard. This would be a reason to try hard.
And maybe it turns out that I’m allergic to having her lovers over two days a week and I explode. That would be… sub-optimal, but this would be a much better time to learn than six or ten or twelve months from now. I truly don’t know how I’m going to respond to this being a regular, constant drumbeat in our life. But we expect Unacceptable Outcomes if we just nix it.
So… Questions from the audience?

Questions

Do you know what I think is funny? When someone I’m sleeping with tells me that I’m a selfish slut for saving hand spoons for jilling off instead of immediately answering their questions. That’s hilarious.

Also: I’m quite thrilled that Cupid says it is ok to answer questions he asks me here. Good. Noah will like reading this too.

“I could be meaner in where and how fast I punch, but I don’t have a lot more strength.”

I feel like I live for statements like that. Fuck yes. Good. I’m glad to feel where that is. This is going to be a beautiful play relationship if that is as hard as you can punch me. Because you won’t be frustrated that my limits are short of yours. Yes, you can hit me with nastier toys and wear me out faster than you but it is much hotter to wear us both out.

I love it when the rev limits are similar. It’s so satisfying. Can I take more hitting than that? Yes. I still haven’t really cried. But the bruises on my thighs tell me I don’t need to be whiny about not getting harder. Yeah. That’s hard enough to be incredibly satisfying. Like satisfying.

[I wrote all that before the radio show. Now that Noah and I have had quite a week of talking about how much he doesn’t like it that I want to play with other people heavier than I want to play with him… I feel like it is important to point out that Noah hits harder than Cupid. I’m thrilled to hear Cupid say he can’t punch harder than that because I very rarely can max someone out. Usually I have to cry uncle. And then, if it’s Noah, he feels sad he didn’t get to max out his rev limit but jeezus I can’t take that. It hurts too much. Which is complicated.]

Why is being hit so satisfying? I don’t know why. I just know that when I have to lower my pants to go to the bathroom and I see blooming bruises I want to stop doing chores and go masturbate. (I usually don’t because I spend all day with my kids and that would be rather inappropriate.)

I’m glad that Noah has been able to see the last two times I played with Cupid. [Well, honestly I have slightly more mixed feelings now. But hopefully it’ll go on to being just good.] It’s lead to interesting questions about my level of being overwhelmed. Post-kids for quite a few years there I told Noah “no intensity”. I needed him to be… really gentle. Like shockingly gentle for me. It was a uhhh hard adjustment for both of us. Him because it meant trying to learn new techniques, me because it fucked with my self-identity. What is this I can’t do intense bullshit?!

The road trip just reset things and I don’t feel like I understand why. It was starting to build before then? But something about being that kind of independent and just doing stuff really changed how I felt in my body. I want to feel things again.

Parenting has been fascinating. I’ve worked hard on learning a lot of boundaries around intensity and sex and gentle handling. I didn’t have many of those skills pre-children. Integrating who I want to be with who I already am has been jagged and uneven. I feel like pieces of who-I-was are creeping back and reintegrating those things is complicated.

I was thinking earlier that part of the reason that going to more intense space with Noah is terrifying is because of how the rape went. I’m not upset with Noah. But that… broke something in me. In December it’ll be ten years. It still impacts me. That’s… that’s fucking scary. Noah is really strong and really intense.

I don’t know how many more things like that I can take in this life from my safe person. Which makes really intense edge play with Noah scarier than it is from anyone else. Which is becoming stickier and more complicated and harder by the day.

If someone else fucks up and breaks me… Noah can fix me. What do I do if Noah breaks me? That… that scares the ever loving shit out of me. It’s not fair in a whole bunch of ways and I know that. It means I kinda cock block him from a lot of stuff both of us might enjoy because I’m scared.

It means he has no idea that I like being overwhelmed… a little. Because when he overwhelms me it doesn’t go to 11 it goes to 16 and I just… can’t.

Because I can’t let him overwhelm me like that. Because if something breaks I have no safe place to go to get away from it. Noah is my home.

I’m not sure what this will mean. I think I understand more about why my play with my Owner often left me feeling so shitty afterwards. I had no safety to come back to. When I felt like I was drowning in fear and anxiety I was supposed to shut up and go back to serving his life.

I can do that in a limited sense as long as there is space for me to be nonfunctional for long periods of time. When I lived with my Owner I had… a lot of alone time. I was usually alone in the house for 10+ hours at least three days a week. I had time to go hide in the bathroom and cry by myself. I don’t have that kind of space in my life right now. I must function. Every day. All day. Despite shitty mental illness stuff I have made it so I have a life structure where I must function.

Home schooling my kids is kind of my way of forcing myself to have no choice but to deal with a lot of my problems. I have to get up at a reasonable time and interact and be cheerful and explain things and help them with things and … be a person who takes responsibility. That’s my life. I want it and I like it, but I didn’t have that kind of frame without them. I spent a lot more time being… well… a huge asshole.

Being hit the way Cupid hit me at the last party, till I’m having trouble standing because I’m in so much pain… that feeds me and I don’t know why. That kind of being overwhelmed. Being beaten until I really can’t take a lot more without passing out or going to a hospital is as satisfying or more than the marathon. Because when all is said and done that allows me to access more positive brain chemicals. Running is less fun. Ha. And often when someone beats me like that they also want to get me off and that’s just fantastic when I am limp and empty and drained and I have nothing more to be taken from me and then they just keep taking from me.

I’m feeling this hunger still. Not super intense. I need to heal first. I still haven’t been hit till I cry. Not really. A little bit of vocalized sobbing without tears barely counts.

Are you giving me enough time to process, oh sweet Cupid? That depends on your goal. I look forward to when we get around to having our first dinner date and we can have a conversation in person with our clothes on. Ha.

Are you missing more subtle reactions? Certainly. Absolutely. You are missing tons of subtle reactions. You aren’t hearing gasps or moans or sighs. You probably aren’t noticing a lot of grimaces and flinches.

Is that a problem?

Meh.

Depends on how much you like those reactions and are motivated by them. If what you want is to get to a place of overwhelmed and intense and sobbing… honestly you’ll have an easier time if you aren’t hesitating every time I gasp.

How much pleasure do you want me to have?

Cause I’ll tell you. Once my body hurts like that coming is… honestly not that much pleasure. It can be a fun kind of not pleasurable. The kind of not-pleasurable that makes me masturbate like crazy for a long while to come.

(Oh man. Noah and I have a do-whatever-he-says-date coming up. Recently we did a forced orgasm scene. I hit 78 orgasms. He is currently threatening me with needing to beat that number. Ow. Ow. Ow. Yeah, there’s a point at which orgasming isn’t pleasurable. But I sure find it entertaining that people want to do that to me.)

Will I enjoy it in the moment? Not once we get much over 60. It starts just… cramping…

But I’ll beat off thinking about it afterwards and that’s fun.

No Cupid… I’m not trying for a resistance scene and I’m not hoping you’ll chase me when I collapse. I’m… in too much pain to stand and I’m trying to breathe. Sometimes my leg is genuinely collapsing under me from cramping. Please oh for the love of toast don’t hit me when I’m down.

Although god it was hot the other night when you knelt behind me and hit me in a different spot…

Do I want you to stop or not?

Yesnoyesnoyesnoyesnoyesno.

Like that.

(By the way it is charming as all get out to have Cupid’s other play partner be so enthusiastic about sharing. I’m enjoying the heck out of talking about his sexual preferences behind his back. That’s hot. “No he likes sex! You aren’t disappointing him!” What a nice lady. Yay.)

The reality is that I’m coming up on my physical limitations more than the limits of my spirit. I probably should at some point acknowledge that it may not be good for my body to have this many contusions this often.

Whatever.

Noah says I need to start worrying when the bruising stops healing fast. So I’m fine. Snicker.

Oh, yes I did explain to the other person with your name about the cramping/fisting. We exchanged delightful supportive messages. I’m shocked by how… caring he is being? I don’t know. I feel like he changed over the last decade and some. Maybe being a father was good for him? Ha. He is quite thrilled we had such a good time at his party.

Growing up is good for all of us. I’m feeling so dang loved lately. I have awesome friends.

I am thrilled to hear that you would consider fucking me in public. That’s great to hear. Swoon. I get your unthrilledness about fucking where there is no shower. It is… inconvenient. I can live with that pickiness. We are old people. I like having things just so. (We are old…. Lol. I’m so funny.)

I… don’t think I want to try fisting when I’m already in that much pain to begin with again. And better lube.

I’m totally cool with trying again since that’s something you are into. But… I’m always going to be more fond of fucking. I like feeling a body on me. I like feeling someones hot breath on me.

Belief

I was asked what I believe in. If I’m not a Christian, what am I? Where do we go? Why are we here?

I believe we are here because of a series of accidents, some terrible and some wonderful.

I believe the only meaning that exists is the relationships we create while we are here. I think we are alive as long as we live in the hearts and minds and souls of whatever we have touched. I think that we die when our last breath leaves our body. I think that we become one with everything that has ever been and will ever be.

I think that connection is enough for me to want to make things better for the other results of accidents. They didn’t choose this either. There is no deserve. There is no plan. But we can try to make it better.

It takes all kinds. I don’t need you to be like me and I don’t need to be like you. But I want you here.

That is what I believe in.

Things I learned today.

The scene was quite lovely. It was shorter than I was hoping for but I hear that’s my fault for being inspiring.

No, that’s not what he said. I’m being an asshole. But it is why I’m soliciting people who will beat me until I actually cry instead of barely stop mewing in resistance. It’s a very different experience. Noah is great at mean sex.

I want to get beaten.

The spanking and the punching was really awesome. I felt like I could have rocked back and forth on that for hours. Ok the stomach punching was like fucking woah I almost puked. But you know… shit happens. I didn’t come close to ending the scene. The punching on my shoulders was holy shit intense because I have a bunch of adhesions up there from injuries I’ve sustained over the years. I don’t think he was hitting me that hard but holy crap.

I’m not saying no. It felt positive. But it was really sensitive.

During the scene I had this thought, “I have this vague memory of something called a ‘warm up’. Maybe? What is that? Hmmmm….” Because I am that much of a smart ass. I didn’t tell him that I thought it till the scene was all the way over because I’m  barely polite.

I did tell him I was going to write it. He laughed.

I’m so glad Noah thinks I’m funny instead of gross or offensive.

Like that. But more. Longer. Harder.

I think the problem came up because once he started caning me… yeah… that’s it. I want to fuck. I want want want want to fuck.

BUT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL ME NO FOR A WHILE!!!!

I mean, really.

Denial is not in Noah’s vocabulary. I don’t want to be denied denied. I want to be teased for a little while.

Oy.

It’s uhm, a subtle distinction.

Noah’s like, “You’re ready? Ok!”

I love you so much. Thank you for liking me this much. I do like it. The reality is my cunt can’t handle hours of wear and tear on a regular basis so you are perfect.

But variety.

The clothespins were fantastic. Oh please more of that.

I hated them and hated them and hated them and hated them until I was begging for more and fuck I love that.

I was asked recently if I liked anal sex and separately why I like anal sex. Because anal sex makes me come so hard that I get muscle cramps through most of my body. Yeah. I like it. Not cause it’s dirty. Because nothing else makes me feel like that. The fact that it is dirty just means you take a shower right after. Not a big deal.

Ok, we did great today with the anal. Full marks. Slow, patient, lots of lube. Well done.

Oh I’m so well done.

The role play started out vicious. Midway I really needed him to switch from telling me that I was worthless to telling me I was good because, see I had been following your rules I just didn’t understand you thought I should be doing that with you.

So I made that switch work well in the scene and I got the cosseting and good girls I needed. That was really nice.

Yay. Happy dance. Now I get to… go pick up a kid for a picnic in the park and a very different kind of play date. 

Snicker.

I think this is the best I’ve felt in my body in a very long time. Thank you Noah. I know I’m teasing you a little. I don’t mean to be a jerk. It was really good. Like that. But more.

Abuse & therapy

I was asked for a little advice. A friend is getting to the point where (s)he believes that (s)he can no longer be in denial about being in an abusive relationship.

I’m going to use very gender ambiguous language here. As ambiguous as possible because this is not a gendered issue. Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.

Abuse can happen to anyone and it is not your fault. You cannot control the behavior of other people. If other people decide to abuse you… you have control over how you react. You do not have control over their behavior.

This is a website that goes through some things to think about with regards to abuse. What things count as abuse. I am intensely bothered by this attitude we have in America that abuse is always (or even mostly) perpetrated by men upon women.

I think we can only say “mostly” if we ignore a lot of more subtle forms of abuse. Yes, men tend to be more physically violent than women or non-binary people. I think that is a result of enculturation as much or more than biology.

Men are abused. Non-binary people are abused. We need to get rid of the narrative that only women are abused.

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship you need to start thinking about some aspects of your life differently. You can no longer consider your partner before yourself. If you are being abused you must act to protect yourself. What does that mean?

Well, I think most people who are being abused would be best served by getting into therapy with a skilled and educated provider because such a person can help you access resources in your area I can’t know about because I’m some chick on the internet who doesn’t live near you.

But I’m 30+ years into my therapy career and I’ve seen 21 therapists and I’m well aware that skilled and educated providers are thin on the ground.

Be ok with firing a therapist if they turn out to not be skilled or educated in the kinds of stuff you need help with. Therapists are service providers and if a service provider doesn’t have the skills you need… move on. You wouldn’t hire someone to dye your hair if the only skill they have is doing a buzz cut.

It’s not about being mean to the therapist. You don’t owe a therapist anything other than appropriate compensation for the time you spend with them. Beyond that you don’t owe them anything. Move on if a given provider isn’t fitting. Therapy is about helping you develop the skills you want to have and you don’t currently have. Their feelings are irrelevant.

I mean, they are people and they matter… but don’t keep seeing  a therapist because you feel bad about breaking up with them. They really should have at least enough training to encourage you to move on to someone who is a better fit. If they are clingy… run fast. Consider reporting them to the state board.

Ok, how do you interview therapists to see if they are right for you? There are a bunch of factors to consider.

  1. Are you looking for help working through a short-term crises or are you looking for a long-term therapy relationship? It is best if you can screen for suitability for your needs early on. If you don’t go in with expectations set it can really be hard. Most people who are not mentally ill can have 3-6 months of supportive sessions to get through a crises and then move on without therapy. Not everyone is a lifer. I am, and if you are then you need to learn how to look for that. At this point I tell new potential therapists, “I’m looking for a long-ish term commitment from therapy. I need an intense relationship with a lot of transference because I’m trying to heal wounds from neglectful parenting. I need a relationship with someone who can be supportive and enthusiastic about me being genuinely a non-standard person. I need a parental substitute who can help guide me without trying to control me.”
  2. Do you know much about different therapy types? It might be most effective if you do a little bit of research before you go in. CBT, DBT, psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy, Existential therapy… there are as many different models of therapy as there are people who need help, just about. Google these terms. I don’t want to put just random links up next to the terms and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. You have to be educated because most therapists aren’t capable of telling you, “I know x but you probably need y.” You have to learn what the options are and you have to proactively say, “I think I need help with changing my behavior. I believe a dialectical behavior therapy approach would work best for me.” Then go shopping for people who have specialties that match up with your best guesses. Your best guesses are all you have at first. (Personally I now say, “I need Harm Reduction therapists. Period. I don’t work with abstinence only people.”)
  3. Be ok with making mistakes. Life is about screwing up and then learning to do better. You’ll screw up as you try to figure out how to stop being abused. It is really hard.
  4. Document as much as you can force yourself to. If you are married and especially if there are children involved things may get to court. If you go to court you want to have documentation of when you have what kinds of arguments. Write down as much as possible about what you are saying and about what your partner is saying. Date everything you write down. If you are dealing with a bad co-parenting situation, write down every time your partner demonstrates neglect towards your children because it could be vitally important in court for protecting your kids. It’s time to stop thinking about what you want instead you must think about what is best for your children. If you have no children… well, documenting will save you headaches in court. If you aren’t married and things are bad enough for documentation… maybe just run. Rebuilding may not be harder than what you are doing.
  5. If you decide to pursue therapy as a short term process, go in with as much supporting documentation as you can so your therapist can jump in full speed with you. Write up documents. Write up a cast list for your life. Write up diagrams explaining how people are connected. Mention major traumas that may be applicable. Talk about how your work/school/friendships are being impacted by this problem. You need to explain to this professional how much of your life is being impacted. They can’t know unless you tell them. If you write this stuff down as a document they can read it outside of session and you probably won’t be charged for the time. My current shrink read my whole auto-biography when we started working together. Now that’s professional dedication.
  6. Be aware. Joint counseling is NOT RECOMMENDED in abusive relationships. Couples counseling often just adds fuel to the fire. Get yourself in order.
  7. If you are being abused the best advice I can give you is don’t try to change your abuser in any way. That’s a waste of your energy and time and you need to throw as much energy and time as you have at yourself. You need to prioritize you. You matter.
  8. If it is bad enough, you can call your domestic violence shelter in your area and ask for help finding resources.
  9. Calling the police is a very mixed experience. I can’t say if you should or shouldn’t. It depends on how bad the abuse is.
  10. Be aware that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you leave. That is when the most folks are killed. Be careful. Read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker and learn how to listen to your gut. You can’t move on in life if you are dead. Take threats seriously, but don’t get paranoid. Learn how to evaluate threats.
  11. Reach out for help. Tell your friends. Don’t get isolated. You’re going to need help. It’s ok to need help. Helping you is part of the glue that holds social communities together. Helping people in a time of need is bonding. It’s ok to ask for help. You are still a grown ass woman or a grown ass man or a grown ass person not on the binary. You are not diminished by needing help. You are humanized.

I love you. You need to love you too.

To clarify a point

Pam asked me to clear up a point. In my previous post I mentioned Blacksheep and I mentioned having trouble with a friend not respecting a soft no.

These are two separate people. I’m not being more specific about the soft no problem because I’m having very large feelings and I could be Miss Ranty Pants but I’d prefer to preserve the friendship and figure out a way to manage my expectations and needs that doesn’t torpedo the relationship. So I’m being a bit vague.

Ms Blacksheep is a good Jewish mother. If you hint that something is a no she immediately is there noticing with the, “Oh this doesn’t work for you? Should I try ____ or ______ or ______ or if you don’t want any of those options I’ve got ______ in the freezer.”

No, my big feelings about Blacksheep just come up for me a lot because I can tell I am triggered beyond what is proportional to what is happening in the relationship. I’m really afraid of fucking this one up. Hysterically afraid of fucking it up. So afraid of fucking it up that when I’m with her I’m triggered and ranty and more likely to fuck it up. Because I’m awesome.

I do that with some relationships and not with others and it isn’t clear to me when or why it is different.

I’m trying to figure out why though. Maybe I can do something about it.

Does that help, Pam? I love you. Thank you for asking me questions.

Peripheral

I asked my current longest running friend how she experiences my emotional ups and downs. She said “Peripherally because mostly I’m focused on me.” It was… humbling in exactly the right way. It was a reminder that the people who love me don’t have to come on the emotional roller coaster with me. They can love me and hear about my life and support me without being traumatized. My experiences are peripheral to their lives. It’s… kind of a freeing way of looking at it.

I don’t know how much to center myself. I don’t know how much impact I have on other people. I don’t know how much they can withstand from me. I don’t know this partially because people are all so different. I have been blessed with friends who can hear about some severe traumas without being damaged. But lots of people can’t even handle mildly upsetting things without freaking out, let alone trauma. So calibration is a bitch.

On the way home from the grief ritual on Saturday I got news that I didn’t like. If I was under the delusion that talking about a road trip for multiple years before I did it would result in people making sure they were home when I come to their city….uhm I am now back in tune with reality. The folks I know make their plans without consulting with me. Lots of folks I wanted to see (I’m up to like 8 different people across the country) aren’t going to be home when I come through town. The… ironic part is how many of them will be in the bay area when I am in their home states. I am having a hard time not feeling specifically avoided. I live in the bay area and you don’t come when I’m there to see me. You come when I am in your city. It… it is hard to not take personally. I’ve been planning this road trip for years. People could have asked me about conflicts. They didn’t. Now I can either change my plans (to make a long trip even longer) to see them or give up the idea of seeing them.

Which is why it is good to be reminded that I am peripheral to other peoples lives and I shouldn’t act like I am at the center. I’m really not. Folks don’t schedule around me. Hoo boy folks don’t schedule around me.

I think this would be easier if it were one person I was having this experience with. Then I could decide how much I prioritize that specific person and make a decision and move on. But once you start stacking that many people and that many conflicts… it gets exponentially more complicated.

I’m having conflict with my plans from five separate people in Portland. That’s… that seems to be a sign I shouldn’t go to Portland. If 5/8 of the people I go there to see won’t be available and one of the people I do want to see has been coming to the bay area without talking to me over the last year so I’m all butt hurt… Maybe Portland wasn’t meant to be part of the road trip? I could take it as a sign to save myself a thousand or so miles of travel. But then I feel like I’m not proving my love to the 3/8 people who are still there.

I’m having internal conflict over my adopted dad coming to the bay area multiple times without bothering to have dinner with us. Why the fuck should I keep trying to create a relationship with you when you come to my area without even the smallest of effort in my direction? It’s not a relationship if I am carrying all of it. But you know what? He didn’t ask me to be my dad. He didn’t ask to adopt my kids. I asked him. And I have to take what he feels like giving. I don’t get to demand more.

But I spent this weekend at a grief ritual. And I spent this weekend reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Fucking Palmer. So I’m in a funny place with regards to my feelings about “just stop asking people for love.”

That’s what cutting Portland out of the road trip would mean for me. It would mean that I am not able to go to that city with my heart in my hands saying, “Please love me.” I feel pathetic about it, but that’s a lot of what I do with my traveling and my life experiences. I go about and meet people I’ve known for a long time and people I have just met and I energetically ask them to love me. Please think I am worthy of humanity and decency and love. I’m scared that I am not deserving. And I need it affirmed over and over.

You need ten positive things to balance out every negative thing you hear about yourself. I spent the first 25 years of my life hearing 1,000 bad things for every good thing I heard. I am spending my adulthood trying to convince myself I am not what I was told I am.

But asking people to love you this way means risking rejection.

Part of my problem is that I have too many expectations of people. I really do. If I were actually content with five minutes of attention from the people I love I wouldn’t feel so disappointed. They can eke out five minutes. They can’t eke out two days. I’m not saying anything bad about them for that. They are where they are. And I am where I am.

I have spent most of my life using physical pain to remind me that I can’t ask for help because people don’t actually care very much. Now everyone in my life really wants me to stop hurting myself. And things are better than they were–more people are willing to demonstrate caring than I have ever experienced. It is getting better year by year. But I am not good at keeping my needs in check. I’m not good at ensuring that I don’t overwhelm people.

I am trying to learn the skills to deal with rejection without feeling like I should die. My hyperbole is not because of anyone in my life right now. It is because I have felt like I should die since early childhood. I’m looking for signs that I should or shouldn’t die. As soon as I feel like there is more weight on the side of no really I shouldn’t be here any more I try to leave. I haven’t tried to leave in 18 years. I was taught that the penalty for trying to leave and failing is really bad. Unless I’m willing to go swim out into the ocean until I can’t come back… I probably won’t attempt suicide again. My gestures are used up. Next time it has to be effective and no take backs.

I’m still weighing every rejection. I’m still tossing evidence into a sack towards the inevitability that I should die today because some day that day will come. Some day it will be the day I should die. It is not avoidable.

I notice something in the cycles of asking for support that I go through. If I ask a lot of people at once for something I don’t want very much… it usually works out. If I ask one person for something I want very much… it rarely works out. One example that is shallow and petty but small and easy to describe is the leather dress. I lived with my Owner for three years. We had a very intense relationship. I did not ask him to buy me things. He bought food for me in restaurants and that was it. I bought all groceries for the house. We were both incredibly sensitive to the idea that he was my Sugar Daddy and he was therefore careful to not pay me.

Isn’t that kind of funny? He wanted to make sure our relationship was “clean” so he would safely not provide very much support. Ha.

Anyway after being together for just shy of 4 years we were at a leather conference. I found a leather ball gown I was simply in love with. It was gorgeous. It was way out of my budget. I had never before asked him to pay for any of the ridiculously large fetish wardrobe I bought because he wanted me to wear those clothes. I didn’t ask him to pay for the 20+ pairs of shoes I bought because he wanted me to wear them. I didn’t own any of those shoes two years after I left him. Most of them were gone in three months. I hated those shoes. But I had to buy them to make him happy. I lived on $14,400/year and he made over $250,000. Anyway.

So I wanted this dress and I asked him to buy it for me. I said it could be my birthday and Christmas and everything put together. He said no. He said it wasn’t worth it to him to buy it for him. This happened in July. We broke up in August. Want to know what is funny? Noah organized my other-lovers and bought the dress for my birthday in September. I didn’t ask my other-lovers for the dress. I just cried on my blog.

I still have the dress. I wear it sometimes. It is one of the few items of fetish wear I have left. Mostly I’ve passed things on to people who are actually into that kind of thing. I used to have a wardrobe that made fetish models and professional dominatrixes drool. I’m not a fetishist though.

I spent a lot of this grieving ritual thinking about how I need to forgive myself for having needs that are in specific shaped boxes. I am not going to get those boxes filled because friends don’t work that way. I could maybe get the needs met if I was open to the universe supplying some random person–that’s how things work out for me. But as long as I get into this place where I create fantasies of doing x, y, and z with a, b, and c because I love them… I’m mostly going to be disappointed. My friends are not programmable. They don’t have the same interests and impulses as me.

This is what makes things so tricky. I have very specific needs and wants. People aren’t Burger King. You can’t have it your way.

A friend suggested that I negotiate differently. Instead of offering a Thing I’m up for, try to negotiate two or three things that might work for both. Thing is, I’m negotiating with anywhere from 3-25 people in a week. I can’t be that flexible. I run into bandwidth limitations.

I am not physically nor emotionally capable of being that open-endedly flexible with that many people. Maybe other people could… I can’t.

I will lose me. I understand that other people can keep themselves while being very flexible. That is awesome for them. That’s not me.

As I read Amanda Palmer’s book I kept thinking, “I have tried to have similar trust in the universe. That is part of how I got raped by 12 people. Uhm… This doesn’t work equally well for everyone.”

I feel like the term “Survival Sex” is only fairly recently added to my working vocabulary. It is… not exactly sex work because money doesn’t exchange hands. It is having sex with people in trade for food or housing. I’m struggling with not having the right goods to trade for my needs any more. Once upon a time I could trade sex and get most of the immediate needs I had met. Now I can’t trade sex for a variety of reasons and I don’t know what currency I have that is of value. My attention? But I bother people so much.

If you look at history there are people who can ask and have their needs met and it is like magic and then there are people who ask and get spit on. A lot of it depends on who you know. How magical is your safety net? The fact that Amanda Palmer had so many people with extra money to throw at artists is part of why she has done so well. If she had not grown up in that net… it would be a very different story.

It is a lot easier to trust that people will meet your needs when your needs have been basically met your entire life. It is not so easy to believe when there have been brief shining moments when all of your needs were met for brief moments and mostly… not so much.

I don’t know how to stop taking it out on my friends that my needs are too big for any of them. If my friends meticulously did every single thing I wanted from them… I would probably still feel this way. My problems are existential and not logistical. I get a lot of assistance and cooperation from friends. My friends do wonderful things with and for me. I can pinpoint problems in the system but… mostly my friends are ridiculously good to me. No, people don’t schedule their lives around me. I’m peripheral. But what they have to spare they hand me generously. It isn’t their fault that it isn’t enough to meet my needs.

Is it my fault? Is it anyone’s fault? I worry about fault so much partially because when I talk about how people aren’t meeting my needs people are quick to assume I’m blaming them. If they feel blamed for my problems they are more likely to cut me out of their lives and then I will be that much further from having my needs met.

You can’t talk about the fact that what you are getting in inadequate. You will cease getting any help at all.

Watch how people treat people of color who complain about the system. If you say, “This isn’t meeting my needs” people will say, “Fine then I won’t help you at all you ungrateful bastard.”

I don’t know what I want from people. Not really. I can come up with imaginary scenarios that would take 20 years of back story to make possible but beyond that… I don’t really know.

I want to feel seen.

In the class part of the ritual Sobonfu said, “If someone is crying and alone in my village someone will come and sit with them. If they don’t start talking, the listener will go get more people. If a small group isn’t enough to get the person to start talking we will get the whole village together to listen. Some problems are so big they cannot be carried by one person or by a small group. The whole village has to see and hear the problem before it can be resolved.”

I feel like that. I feel like there isn’t much of anything that people can do for me at this point beyond seeing and hearing me. I want to feel like an integral part of the system. I want to feel like my pain is so important that many many people care enough to take time out of their day to just see it. So that it can feel real. So that I can put it down. So that I don’t have to metaphorically spend all day clutching it and screaming “Look! Look Just fucking look.”

I don’t want to be disposable.

I’m afraid of treating my friends like they are disposable. I’m afraid I have no path to being correct and meeting my needs and their needs.

Part of my problem dealing with people comes from scale issues. I have an unusually large net of people. They are all fairly loose connections, but I have them all over the place. Weak connections lead to a safer and happier and more successful life. But how do you decide how much energy to give to weak connections?

I think that part of the relief when the Godmamas dumped me is like when a company fires an employee and gets to wipe their vacation time off the books. It is no longer an outstanding debt the company might have to face at any point. I left space in my heart and mind for them. They didn’t want it. They told me no over and over for years. But I left that space open. I tried to cram other people into gaps and holes around the area I was leaving for them. It’s like doing a computer defrag on my emotional priorities.

Ok, you want to be not important. Ok.

All of the people who have made conflicting plans are people I really like and I don’t want to defrag them out of my life.

I feel like there is no way to win.

Either I absorb all the disappointment and sadness and regret and keep coming back to beg for love another time or I give up on the person as a source of support.

This is that black and white thinking that mentally ill people are supposed to “work on”.

It’s not either/or. But I don’t know what it is.

Why am I doing the road trip? For a whole bunch of reasons. Because I want my kids to meet people all across the country and find out that their social skills need heavy adaptation from environment to environment. Because I want my kids to physically see this country so that when we talk about geography and history they have real schema to match things up with. Because I have wanted to do a trip like this my whole life and I never had anyone who wanted to do it with me and I’m too chicken shit to go alone. Because I can. Because I think we are going to reach a point in history where the carbon cost is going to be too high and people can’t do this any more. I want to do it while I can.

Because my cousin sneered at me while we were preparing for the New Zealand trip, “Why are you going overseas when you haven’t seen all of this great country.” Bitch, I’ve seen more of this country than you. It isn’t that great. Shut up.

That cousin hasn’t ever liked me. It wasn’t my fault she disliked me. She moved to Georgia not long after I moved in with Auntie and Uncle Bob for the first time. She cried telling her father that she was sorry she was taking his grandchildren away from him. He said, “That’s ok. I have Krissy.” My cousin never forgave me.

You know what? Uncle Bob dropped me when a younger and more sycophantic girl came along. He dropped that girl when another younger girl came along. You can get over hating me for stealing his love. I didn’t steal it. It was never really mine. He wanted a role and I couldn’t give him the role he wanted. I’m not grateful enough.

I had too much abuse mixed in with my not-really-good-enough support. Some boxes of Fruity Pebbles didn’t solve my problems and everyone kind of hated me for that.

If I could be blithe and capricious with seeing my friends things would work out much better. If I could accept the gift of their friendship and hold it in my open hand without grabbing and crushing it… things would work out better.

But I’m needy and desperate and sad and lonely. Even when I’m in a house full of people who love me. This is clearly not about the people who are currently in my life. This is not about the deficiency in behavior or planning or whatever from the people I know.

This is about a hole inside of me the size of Alaska.

If I’m going to be kind of an asshole about it I would say, If my friends weren’t so cool I wouldn’t be so upset about only getting a small slice of them. But man that’s a dick move.

I can’t actually handle that big of a slice of most of my friends. I start flipping out. I literally shake and I get nasty and difficult. Which is part of what makes my entitlement and possessiveness such a problem. I want them. I want all of them. Then I’m an asshole.

Like I did with Sarah. I want Sarah. I want to live with her and be with her all day every day. Just because I want it that doesn’t mean I can do it in a way that is healthy for both of us. My needs are too big. Her needs are too big. Our needs conflict in very complicated ways. It isn’t about either of us doing something wrong we just aren’t compatible as house mates. That happens.

I need a degree of rigidness and predictability that is very hard for almost everyone. That isn’t about anyone doing me wrong. It’s a recognition of the fact that people can be very complicated. If I don’t have that rigidness in my life then I have breakdowns in my behavior. That rigidity is how I have learned to compensate for not having the support I needed. I created the structure and support I needed for myself by myself but there is a cost.

That cost comes in how much I can trust other people. I have to be able to pick up the pieces if their best isn’t good enough. I have to be able to recover from feeling rejected. I have to be able to feel like I still have a self who is deserving of life at the end of the day. That is not something that other people are responsible for nor can they have serious impact on how it turns out.

The thing is, if everyone I knew catered their whole lives around me and scheduled around me and constantly pestered me to center me in their lives… I would implode. I could not do that. I would reject everyone, stop answering the phone and email and hide in my closet for months.

My friends really aren’t put in a position to be very successful with me. I’m sorry for that.

What I want is friends who are off doing their things. Their things inspire me. Their things remind me that it takes all kinds and all of these diverse, interesting, busy people are necessary to have the world be this fabulous.

And that means I have to take what is left over and find a way to cobble it into enough.

I am really scared that I will have to bail part way through the road trip because I will not have the emotional nor physical stamina to do such a journey alone with the kids. In order to spend quality time with the people we love in Portland I would have to make the trip longer and show up earlier. I don’t think I can bear that cost right now. I think that given that 5/8 of the people we love in Portland will not be available… I should take that as a sign from the universe to come back to Oregon another time. I will not run out of chances.

But I’m scared that if I make that choice I am giving up on those friends. I’m afraid that not putting in the extra effort to force it to work means I am not dedicated enough and I do not deserve those relationships and I will not be given access to them in the future.

I’m afraid that if I decide to not go to Portland during the road trip it will be in large part because I’m saying “Fuck you” to Dad because he didn’t see me when he came to the bay area. He was about 1/3 of the reason I deleted my Fetlife account. I don’t want to see evidence that I’m not that important to you. I don’t want to know. I mean, I know I’m not that important. But I don’t want to read about you talking to your friends about your excitement about visiting them. You don’t visit me. You don’t call me. You don’t email me. I contact you. Or we have no contact.

Yeah, that’s how my relationships with “fathers” go.

Portland is very wrapped up in my feelings about Dad. We usually stay with him when we go up. And right now…

Right now I can’t ask. I can’t ask him for love or support or anything. I can’t ask him to acknowledge that I am alive. I just can’t. He doesn’t want to. If he wanted to be part of my life he knows where I am. He chooses not to.

I…

It isn’t something he has to give.

So when I’m talking about Portland all of my conflicting feelings about all of the wonderful people there crash into each other. And it makes all of the processing ramp up several notches in intensity. I’m not processing how I feel about accommodating Person A. I’m thinking about how I can fit in Person A, Person B, Person C, Person D, Person E, and all of them have conflicting schedule limitations and issues.

Cutting Portland out would mean we had time to get to Missouri. Where one of my online-support-group friends lives. She has twins who are right in the middle of the ages of my kids. I’ve been talking to her about parenting stuff for years. She mailed me artwork for my wall when I was having the break down around Uncle Bob’s death and divorcing my family. She has sent me letters and emails over the years.

So cutting out Portland isn’t just about whether or not I want to say “Fuck you” to Dad or whether I want to try to work around everyone else’s travel schedule. It’s also about whether or not this road trip is about cementing old connections or making new ones.

Portland will still be there in the future. I guarantee that even if this trip doesn’t work out… we’ll get back to Portland. The folks who live there are an intense draw. Even if I get mad at them sometimes. Even if sometimes I feel feelings because I am not the center of their life and THAT TOTALLY SUCKS, YO. I will get back to Portland.

Missouri… maybe. Maybe not. This may be the only or one of two times I will ever go there in my whole damn life.

What is this trip about? Fuck if I know.

But you know what? I walked out of the weekend feeling less upset. I stopped feeling really guilty about how I’m handling the throat kicking incident. If I lose the home school group that’s ok. They were never mine to begin with.

I’m going to be really sad if I lose some of the important Portland people in my life. I can live with not seeing them this year, even if it is disappointing. I don’t want to live with losing them forever. That’s so much harder.

I’m going to close with a quote from Amanda’s book:

We make countless choices every day whether to ask or to turn away from one another. Wondering whether it’s too much to ask the neighbor to feed the cat. The decision to turn away from a partner, to turn off the light instead of asking what’s wrong.

Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability.

Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:

I deserve to ask

and

You are welcome to say no.

Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.

This is what is so hard about me asking my friends for things. I wait to ask until the no hurts me. I have refrained from asking for thousands of small, petty things because I was afraid. Because I don’t want to overwhelm or bother people. So I wait until it is a crises. Then I ask. Then I can’t absorb “no”.

Which means I’m damning everyone from the beginning. I’m not asking for gifts. I’m asking for… investment. I’m asking for responsibility.

You can’t ask your friends to be responsible for you. Then they aren’t your friends any more. They are your wards or your parents or your guardians or something.

I damn myself over and over again. Because I cannot ask when it is just a gift. Because I am so scared. Because my needs have never been very important, even when they really needed to be.

This weekend I had an interaction with a person in which they expressed that part of their goal during the ritual was to not feel pain. I kind of scoffed at that, because I’m an asshole. The person said it at the beginning of the day on Saturday before the ritual proper had started.

I found those words sticking in my head all through the day. I just… couldn’t make myself grieve the way I did last time at the ritual. I didn’t have the hysterical screaming and flailing in me. I didn’t need to beat my head until I couldn’t raise it from the pillow anymore. Instead I found myself just curling up in the fetal position to cry softly.

It was… kind of weird. I’m not really a “let it flow gently over you” kind of person.

The next morning I found the person and told them about my experience the day before. Their face lit up. They were so glad to have had that impact on someone. I apologized for scoffing and said, “I think I needed to hear exactly that. Thank you.”

On Sunday, Sobonfu asked everyone to touch one another more. Even if you are normally a non-touching person… let people touch you. You need to feel like you aren’t alone. You need to physically feel that a person is there with you in your grief.

I’m really a no-touching person.

At one point in the day I was grieving and it turns out that the person who had said they didn’t want to experience pain was my supporter. (Part of the purpose of the grief ritual is that when you are grieving you are always supported. There is a person there to help you however you need.) This person decided to do massage work on me while I was crying. Eventually I moved around so I was lying on my belly just letting it happen.

It was almost magical. I get a lot of body work done. I experience a lot of physical pain and I know a lot of ways to manage it. I do a lot of yoga/stretching… All The Things. I’ve been getting somewhat regular massages since I turned 18 because other wise I get back spasms and spend a lot of time lying on the floor crying and unable to deal with my life.

This was a really transformative body work experience. I walked in with multiple places screaming out in intense pain. I walked out having my pain halved. She didn’t work on me for very long and it wasn’t intense work. But she knew where to press. And it was the physical contact in conjunction with the crying.

In that moment it was ok for me to be asking for support. It wasn’t pathetic. It wasn’t inappropriate. It was what we were all there for. It was entirely appropriate.

I feel like part of my problem is that asking for support puts people in the position where they might have to say no to me. People don’t like saying no. I try not to put them in that position. Which means I wait until it is too urgent. Then I can’t hear no.

It’s a problem. It’s a bad cycle. I’m having a hard time climbing out.

Part of the difficulty springs from the fact that there is no right answer. You just do your best. That’s all anyone has to give.

Words, definitions, insults

Bitch, asshole, cunt. Why do we love these words so much? It isn’t just me who has a love-affair. I self-identify easily as an asshole. Yup, I’m self-absorbed and I’m going to default to thinking my needs are more important than yours. I’m not sorry. Bitch is harder for me. Asshole I view as more passive–not attacking anyone but not doing anything unless motivated by selfish need. Bitch is more aggressive. Bitches attack. Bitches are willing to savage people just because they are having a bad day. Notice how gendered these assumptions are? When men withdraw and refuse to engage… they are an asshole. When a woman chases cause she’s pissed… she’s a bitch.

Even that paragraph isn’t really true. Many men are called assholes when they are aggressive. So it’s not like being an asshole is just a passive retreat thing. Men are assholes and women are bitches. Even though some assholes can be loud about it, I feel like assholes are still in the “resistant” role. Assholes “are how they are and you can fuck off if you don’t like it”.

Bitches are different. Bitches want to control. Bitches try to make people do things they may not want to do. Bitches are manipulative (in that bad way.) Really, isn’t being a bitch just a short hand way of saying, “You there, with the vulva, shut your mouth.”

Bitches are women who talk when other people wish they would shut up. Bitches are the women who won’t sleep with you even though, don’t they know you are a Nice Guy?!!?!? 

Those bitches.

P said I call myself a bitch a lot here. So I did a search find on the front page. Do I do it “a lot?” My off-the cuff guess was five references. I was wrong. Eleven references. Only one of them about a person other than myself (and she deserved it–actually she probably didn’t and I’m being a jerk. My only saving grace is I did it in an anonymous way about a stranger and she’ll never know or care.)

Three of the references were “bitchy”. That leaves me with seven times I called myself a bitch. And given how long my entries are… not many entries stay on the front page.

Ok, I call myself a bitch frequently.

I think I partially use these words as self-descriptors because if I say it first… other people are just being “unoriginal” when they use them–it hurts less. I say them because sometimes my reactions seem scary and out of proportion to people (if they knew the whole back story I don’t think my reactions would seem so out of proportion) and if you tell people you are a bitch/asshole they just kind of shrug off the “over” reactions. “Assholes/bitches do that.” It’s a different kind of privilege to opt-in to. The kind of privilege where people stop pressuring you to change so much.

People tell “nice” or “kind” people how they should be all day long. It’s disgusting. When you are a known asshole… people tend to mostly keep their opinions to themselves unless you have a firmly established relationship. My close friends say things to me that would probably shock the fuck out of people who know me casually. It’s about getting used to different peoples tolerances. My tolerances are very unusual. It’s not really that I can “handle more” than other people because I can’t. But the things I can handle are things that are different from what most people can handle. Non-overlapping circles of cope.

I desperately, desperately, overwhelmingly, chokingly want to a good person, but I don’t think I want to be “nice”. I’m an asshole. Assholes can be good people too. Assholes can be personally abrasive and difficult and still do lots of good for the world. Nice people are pretty locked into being nice. They don’t get the dynamic personality I want to have. They have to care too much about the feelings of people around them.

I care exactly how much it is prudent for me to care and maybe a little less.

I have people I latch onto emotionally and my tolerances are vast and broad for people who are in the inner circle. I’m not “nice” but I am tolerant, accepting, and loving. But I’ll be rough and uncomfortable in the process because I just am.

I choose to be effective over being well-liked. If I am liked, bonus. I care way more about being effective.

Someone I spend a fair bit of social time standing near was making conversation. She asked what we are up to lately. I talked about having three conferences in five weeks and can’t these people work together to spread this shit out?! No. They are three completely separate communities. I am probably going to be the singular overlap between events. Sigh. She asked what I am doing at the conferences. I said presenting. She expressed surprise. (Not shock or anything insulting… she just hasn’t heard much about me doing that kind of thing.) I told her I am talking about imposter syndrome in writers and sustainable ambition. She asked me what sustainable ambition is. I gave about a 30 second run down. She kind of hinted, “Uhm… why did they ask *you* to present on that topic?” (She’s really good at asking questions in polite ways so my rephrasing is almost certainly more insulting sounding. She’s super sweet.)

I told her that I got married less than 9 years ago and at that time we had an on-paper net worth of around $300k and over $350k in debt including the mortgage. Now we have a net worth of $1.3 million and $150,000 in debt. We are doing pretty well.

Her jaw dropped.

“Wow. I guess you do have stuff to say on this topic then. Go you. That’s incredible.”

Yeah, I have a few opinions around managing money, savings, investments, and ambition. My opinions are not THE RIGHT OPINIONS EVERYONE MUST SHARE OR FAIL!!!!! But maybe someone will hear a useful tidbit. I was asked to come talk. Other people think they will enjoy hearing me talk about this topic.

Total anxiety fest.

As I’m heading into three conferences (technically at the third one I’m only on the hook for the Easter egg hunt) I feel a little bit more like “People are ok with me being part of their communities.” Even more so…. some of them want me to talk about my experiences. That’s very validating.

If I’m getting positive feedback like that, why do I need to hold on to the bitch/asshole thing?

Because I’m a woman. I will never get away from being a bitch no matter what I do. If I willfully take asshole along with it and I label myself as I see fit in a conversation (When you tell someone, actually I’m not being a bitch I’m being an asshole they tend to be so startled the insults trail off.) then I have a lot more control around my self-perception and around the perception other people have of me.

If I were trying and trying and trying to be nice I would fail and people would flay me with it. Instead I tell people I’m an asshole and they celebrate any ounce of niceness. Fucking awesome.

Ma-nipulation it is fun for me

I like to get my way and it is so fun-ny

(Ok, that rhymes into a little song I sing… Not sure that the tone carries through in writing…)

It is funny for me that if I spend a lot of time telling people I’m an asshole the primary thing people want to do is argue, “Oh no you aren’t…” and then when I do something that is an asshole move they look at me with shock. “Wait… you are… actually an asshole?!”

Truth in advertising doesn’t result in people believing you.

Yesterday I was skirting the bitch/asshole line pretty hard. We were at a trampoline place with friends. There were no employee monitors. So the little kids wanted to stay together in a pack. Which meant 3-7 kids bouncing on one trampoline at a time. I consider this very unsafe. I consider it very unsafe because I’ve seen awful trampoline accidents. (I spent time rurally in Texas. Those kids did stupid shit because they were bored.)

My kids don’t like being bounced. So my kids spent half the time screaming/crying “Get away from me” and “Leave me alone” because they kept getting hurt. If I tried to physically block off ONE GOD DAMN SQUARE other kids just would not leave them alone. I got so fucking mad. STOP BOUNCING MY KID SHE FUCKING SAID NO.

I didn’t curse once. I like these kids. But man their behavior was sucky yesterday. When someone says No, that means fucking no. What is your problem? Also I was extra triggered because one kid I like wrestling with (we’ve done it a lot over many years) kicked me in the throat and wouldn’t talk about it at all. Kid ran away laughing at me. I felt ridiculously triggered and upset. I’m going to need to talk to Parent and Kid about this. I am sincerely worried about accidentally hurting one of these kids some day because they are too rough with my body. I have a lot of reflexes that I’ve toned down but not eliminated. The kids are getting bigger. When they kick me in the throat now it feels like a real threat and I have to do a lot of cognitive processing to recognize that this child is not trying to start a fist fight. It’s hard to sit on. I need some better boundaries here and I’m not being effective at making them without Parent’s help. We’ll see how it goes.

It was at least 9 kids doing doing the chasing-jumping it so it’s not like I’m mad at one person. It was just stressful after a while. And I didn’t want to stomp down to the parent area and tell them, “Will you make your little assholes behave? My little assholes are trying and failing and they are getting hurt.”

Which isn’t an appropriate thing to say at all. No one likes you if you talk about their kids that way. Even though in my opinion EVERY KID IS AN ASSHOLE. I’ve met them. I’ve watched how they behave. Assholes. All of them. It’s not a huge insult it’s just an evaluation of their behavior. They don’t care at all how their actions impact the people around them. It’s a learned process to care about people.

I actually really like the kids that were there. I play with them a lot. We have many good and wonderful games. I feel like I have learned more about how to “play” with this crowd than I ever understood as a child. I really like these kids a lot. Losing contact with them would be devastating. So I have no intention of ever walking up to the group of moms and saying, “Your little assholes….” even though I wouldn’t mean anything that bad by it. That’s how I talk. That’s how I describe the mood of the moment, not their personhood.

I have lots positive to say about every single kid there. But sometimes their behavior sucks. Kinda like me.

I know they meant well. They wanted us to play their game with them. But I’m too big and Calli is too small and Shanna is just too much of a whiner. If I jump with five kids on a trampoline, we may end up with a trip to the hospital and the kids would not back off. Calli got hurt several times because she is just smaller than everyone else. She doesn’t want to feel like a piece of popcorn being tossed about without her will. And Shanna is… Shanna. “I went into the dodge ball area and they THREW BALLS AT ME. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

Uh, yeah. That happens.

This is the trouble with not sticking kids in public school; they never get the cold hard reality that sometimes balls will come crashing into your face because obviously, “Ha ha” this is such a great game.

I may opt out of the next trampoline group event. We can go by ourselves. We have fun when we go alone. Then I can be as nasty as necessary to defend ONE DAMN SQUARE and Calli will get to jump without sobbing hysterically. We have tons of fun with these kids in every other setting. Maybe we are just not trampoline compatible. That happens.

I’m kind of mean to little kids I don’t know. They won’t fucking listen if you don’t have a harsh tone of voice. “Please stop” is ignored full speed ahead. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR HEARING I SAID STOP.” is listened to much better. I can’t be as harsh with folks we know because then their moms might develop a problem with me. It’s a balancing act of trying to be effective vs. trying to maintain on-going relationships. I really and truly think that children wandering around in the community need to run into the brick wall boundaries of strangers. My kids have gotten yelled at by strangers. Usually my response is, “You deserved it. You ran into someone who owed you nothing and you pushed your luck. Yup, that happens sometimes.”

My shrink and I had a long talk about “You like being that way”. Ok, it wasn’t a long talk. It was just a few minutes. But it was a good talk. Her point is that everyone has some sets of behaviors that feel more natural, more “ok” than others. When a new coping method comes up it can either feel like it overall matches “your approach” or it will feel alien and wrong because it is counter to your impulses. What she meant by “You like being that way” is, I am far more comfortable defaulting to an aggressive way of handling problems. It’s true. I am not always angry and I don’t always curse and I haven’t used actual violence in many years. But if I see a problem my response is probably going to be to walk up to someone and say, “I see we have a problem.”

And even when I do that in nice ways I get called a bitch.

Women are not supposed to be pro-conflict. That is espoused all over the world. Women should shut up and be passive. Yeah, right. (Yes, there are pockets where women are encouraged to be louder and more assertive. Yes, there are men who totally fucking love dominant women. These things usually fall outside the norm.) I haven’t heard that much about it, but I hear that in Chinese culture there is a stereotype that would work for me: Dragon Lady. Usually a grandmother/mom who runs a business? That’s the gist I’ve gotten. A woman who is good at being loud and in charge. Excellent.

I think that conflict moves the world forward. I think that right this minute the world isn’t that great and we need to change a lot of things. Yes, I understand that historically speaking we are at a great place for the rights of white women in first world nations.

I’m, uhm, less satisfied by that level of success than one might assume. It’s not like white women have achieved parity… they are just doing better than other races. Not ok. This has to change. Women in India still have to deal with the very real threat that if they talk back to a man he might throw acid on her face and receive no punishment. Feminism is Not. Fucking. Done. Women of color in this country get thrown under the bus by white feminists all the time and it isn’t fucking ok.

The fact that 91 people were killed by the police in January of 2015 is an atrocity. Most of them were men of color. Black and First Nations men die at a disproportionate rate from being killed by police officers. That’s an outrage. That is abominable, disgusting, and horrifying. There are more black men in prison now than there were black men as slaves! This is not ok. Just not fucking ok.

I think we need change. In our country, in our world. The only way to spur change is to make people uncomfortable with the status quo. George Bernard Shaw says (barely paraphrased): “The reasonable person adapts themself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to themself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person.”

I’m an unreasonable person. Sometimes this manifests as being a bitch or an asshole. Then we come to cunt.

When I was a little kid there was one word that would cause my mother to drag me to the kitchen by my hair, yank my head back, and fill my mouth with Palmolive. Cunt.

The dirtiest word in our (my bio-family) lexicon. That is the lowest, most disgusting, most degrading thing you can call a woman. That is what I was taught. A cunt is the lowest social position available to a woman and it means contempt and violence at every opportunity.

Being a cunt means being a scapegoat. A cunt is someone who is conveniently assigned every negative behavior and mannerism one wishes to punish. Promiscuity, too loud, too abrasive, too self assured, too “mean”…. It’s complicated. It’s always sexualized. A cunt is a home wrecker.

I’ve never identified as a cunt much. I’ve never been able to get past my childhood conditioning. Even when I was out hunting for married men I was never interested in home wrecking. I usually fucked the wife too. I left them with happy memories and a kiss on the cheek.

Cunt changed for me after I read the wonderful book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. At this point I fairly freely refer to my anatomy as my cunt, especially during sex. But I don’t call people that.

Because I can never forget that the name of the most wonderful part of my body is supposed to be the worst, most terrible, most degraded thing a person can be called. Not cool.

So I conflictedly stick with bitch and cheerfully stick with asshole.

I manage this with the kids slightly differently. I don’t tell them I’m an asshole all day long. I nod and sagely say, “I can be quite annoying, this is true.” Why doesn’t it work that way when I talk to adults? Because I have to defend myself with adults.

I don’t have to defend myself with my kids. I have to explain what I need. Sometimes a few million times… but I don’t need to defend myself. (Ok, the odd sword-fight excepted.) They aren’t attacking me. They are looking for loving connection, even when they bug the shit out of me. So I don’t get as offensive. I don’t need to. It wouldn’t help.

I really like getting to have this experience. I like feeling loved like this, in gentleness and kindness. In this house, the best days involve the four of us piling on top of one another and talking for hours. Eventually we get a bit antsy and want to play again. Then, always, we wind up in another snuggle pile.

It is like a dream come true. I don’t know how to take this wonderful feeling out into the world and give people the benefit of the doubt. It has hurt me so much.

Bragging.

I was feeling kind of angsty. So I used an 18 year old coping method and I went and found a chat room. I sure like talking to people. That lead to a series of weird feelings.

I can’t get into specifics for Reasons because I was hanging out in a mental health support chat room. Folks care about their privacy a bit more than average.

I talked to a person who had an experience with abuse masquerading as bdsm. We had a long conversation. This person had no idea that such things happen to other people because this person was never part of “the scene”. I think I blew that persons mind a bit. I was casual and up front with all kinds of general attitudes and problems the community has. I feel guilty that I may have dove into the deep end of their trauma just casually answering the questions I was asked. They didn’t feel that heavy or intense to me because bdsm wasn’t traumatic to me. The community wasn’t traumatic to me. So I feel pretty guilty that I might have hurt this person by my indifference to the intensity that they experienced. I shared links to articles written by folks in the scene about the kinds of problems this person experienced. Mind blown. “This happens to other people?!?!?!” Yes. There aren’t that many truly singular human experiences. Most experiences happen to many people and you just have to ask around until you find your tribe.

That was actually a neat conversation for me. I’m very into talking about community dynamics. But it was so personal for them…

But more than that… I felt like I was bragging. When I’m asked, “How do you know so much about this topic?” “Uhm… I’ve been to a lot of national bdsm conferences. I’ve taught bondage and suspension classes. Go to a kinky book store, read the names of the authors… those are my friends.” And uhm, many of them have played with me. I feel like I must be lying or exaggerating but it is just plain true. I used to go around the country tying people up and being tied up for fun.

Then the topic morphed because the people in chat morphed. Chat rooms are like that. We talked a lot about travel and different climate zones and how food migration works and…

I have a lot of stories. When I get into a chat room and people are just casually going through lots of little references to get to know one another… I have a lot of stories. I think I sound more interesting than I am if you just listen to the things I’ve done.

I think I sound like a liar. I talk casually about travel all over my country and the world. I talk about good and bad things as casually as if they had equal impact on me and people react very oddly to that. I’ll go from telling a story about a principal being on first name basis with me in 5th grade to talking about being beaten daily by a different principal and neither mention feels “important” to me in the way it seems to hit other people. “Your principal hit you!” Uhm, it was Texas. They did that as of the 1990’s and I’m pretty sure they still do it now. It’s not a big deal.

That “it’s not a big deal” is part of why I feel weird. I moved so many times that I seem to have picked up pieces of a lot of different life stories and then I shoved them all together in a way that sounds… frankly impossible to casual listeners.

I have been called a liar to my face many times, that’s why I think I sound like a liar. I couldn’t possibly have done all the things I say I’ve done.

Dude, I really don’t exaggerate for effect much. I don’t have to.

Yes, I really was a teacher. Yes I really was a stage manager too. I’ve had people challenge that I could have done all the things I did. Uhm… I went to college. I did theatre in college. Being a stage manager is not exactly rocket science…. they let teenagers do it. Depending on how liberal you are with the definition of “teach” I have worked in an educational capacity with kids from 1st grade to community college. (I was a substitute for a while. That’s a hard fucking job.) In the community college I was the youngest person in my classroom. My students loved me. I can encourage you through writing a much more… assertive view than you even knew you had.

Yesterday I felt waves of shame, like I should stop bragging. I was just participating in a conversation. But that feels like shoving things in peoples faces. Other people participate in conversations by mostly listening. I should do more of that. Obviously me talking is a problem.

Why?

I don’t know.

I didn’t dominate the conversation. I wasn’t the only one talking. I wasn’t the only one with stories. But I was talking with up to five or six people and I dropped the most stories. I suspect this is related to typing speed in addition to other people being shocked that I just kept going. Nope, I’ve got lots more stories than these. I’ve barely shown you the tip of the ice berg.

What do you mean you are done?

Oh. I’ll shut up now. Uhm… I guess people are going to talk about tv characters now because they are out of personal stories.

Right. Uhm. Yeah. I’ll uhhh shut up.

I really like talking about myself. I really like hearing other people talk about themselves. Why do other people want to spend so much time talking about celebrities? It is very confusing to me. I only vaguely know the names of the people they are talking about from magazine covers in the grocery store. I’d rather chew my arm off than research these people so I can join in the conversation.

Uhm, I’ll go clean my house now. Thanks.

flat refuse to spend time researching so I can join in slut-shaming other women. Fuck. That. Noise.

I think women get to fuck as many people as they want and it is none of your god damn slut-shaming business. Go straight to hell.

In my defense… I did not say that in the chat room. I did get quiet.

WHY DO PEOPLE GET SO UPSET THAT A WOMAN THEY DON’T KNOW IS HAVING SEX WITH A MAN THEY DON’T KNOW!!!!!!

I feel pretty upset by how much of this I’ve seen in the last day. That woman you are describing as a whore has fucked way fewer people than me. What do you want to say to me now? Nothing because I’m different? Fuck you with a chain saw.

Oh, you judge her because she was “stupid” enough to let her boyfriend take naked pictures of her? THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF SUCH PICTURES OF ME. FAR MORE EXPLICIT PICTURES. Fuck you very much.

I feel pretty pissy about this topic. Thus the shouting.

The only reason I’m “different” is because I’m not doing it today. If I was still behaving that way you wouldn’t think I was different. I am making different choices now for specific reasons related to managing my trauma. Not because I am a morally superior person who has conquered my base urges. Fuck you with a 2″x4″.

Even when I get ranty like this… I feel weird shame like I’m bragging. I’m just talking about my life but it feels like I’m exaggerating to make a point.. I’m not. These are just my thoughts and experiences. Ok, plus a few vague general threats at non-specific people. Not real threats. I don’t plan to shove anything forcibly into anyones orifices without permission ever in this life. But I’m colorful in how I bleed off stress.

This article right here is part of why I defend sex work so vigorously. It has a place in society. Women who have sex with lots of people have a place in society no matter why they are having that sex. Sex is one of the most primal urges we have and I don’t see how suppressing it does folks good. Let’s look at the history of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic church in the name of suppressing sexual desire. Not good juju.

I will not join in on dog piling on someone to tell them they are bad for making a choice you don’t agree with. That is not my job here on this planet. I really don’t want to tell people how bad they are.

I want them to feel like they are ok. And feel like there are probably other people like them and they are ok too.

I want people to feel ok with existing. I want people to believe that a community exists for them even if it is hard to find.

To me, the sum of my stories is a search for a place in community. I have tried a lot of things looking for community. Some tricks worked and some tricks failed spectacularly. I talk about both sides equally as freely. If other people can learn from my failures that makes them even more valuable.

I learn from other peoples failures. Part of the reason I haven’t really been in a relationship with intense domestic violence is because I watched it happen to other people and I made different choices.

The first time a boyfriend slapped me I exploded like a hurricane and ended the relationship. I am not going to fucking let anyone get away with slapping me and saying it doesn’t count as “really hitting”.

I have a very strong ability to set the reality of my life. I don’t let other people define what happens to me. My words. My opinions. My life. Fuck Right Off.

Why haven’t I had an abusive boyfriend? Because I only date people who force me to beg for my beatings. Or I walk. If I hint a little that a beating might be nice and you start hitting me… I leave. That’s not a safe situation. I often talk about deserving things I don’t really deserve or want. A partner who took such musings as hints to hit me… would not be safe.

I pick partners who make me beg for my beatings. I have to give explicit directions about where and how I want to be hit or they just don’t hit me. I really like the boundaries I’ve developed.

BDSM is not abuse. The difference between bdsm and abuse is educated consent on the part of the bottom. I have a real problem with experienced dominants manipulating inexperienced submissives. I think uneducated consent is basically invalid.

But I have strong opinions. When I play with newbies I give them a fucking lecture a mile long before I touch them. I want educated consent.

I learned by giving a blowjob to a little boy in kindergarden. Later he told everyone I raped him. From where I was standing…. he hadn’t said no. From where he was standing…. he hadn’t said yes.

I have a hard time forgiving myself for a mistake I made when I was five. I don’t get to make those kinds of mistakes ever again. Period.

Barely a topic switch… whether I am ever promiscuous again may actually revolve around how my kids turn out. If they are happy, healthy people who don’t give a shit… I might do it. If they would be horrified if they found out… I’m probably done.

I can’t hide who and what I am. I choose a relationship with my children over other aspects of myself. Even though I’d love to convert half the women in my future nursing home to lesbianism. That would be hawt. At least bisexuality if they didn’t want to swear off men. Personally I like people at all points along the gender spectrum. Yay people! Yay bodies!

When I first came into the bdsm community/public sex community I met this lovely woman. She was in her late 60’s when I arrived. I think she was 69 when I was 18. So that’s 15 years ago. I am pretty sure she’s still active. I saw her not that long ago. She is my hero.

I want to be playing with hot young 40 year olds when I’m in my 80’s. I’ll play with old people too… but that would be really fun. I think it is gross that the old men want teenage girls. I’ve done my virgin initiations. They weren’t the most interesting sex I’ve had. I’ll take grown ups, thanks.

The breeding period requires particular behavior sets from me. I chose it willingly with my eyes wide open. The boundaries do not yet chafe.

I get cranky about incidentals in my life. I get frustrated by details of my life. Overall I am so very happy that I’m doing what I’m doing. I like where I am. I’m learning how to be appropriate. I’m doing so in an environment that is actually safe for me. I will always have a version of appropriate that doesn’t match up with other peoples perfectly.

Like last night I apparently educated a local middle schooler about the basics of sex ed. Whoops. Hadn’t really set out to do that. But she asked direct questions. I’m not going to give evasive or shameful answers. Her friend freaked out and tried to shut me up. “SHE DOESN’T KNOW THESE THINGS YET!!!”

Yeah. And that’s dangerous. She needs to know these things so she can keep her body safe.

Someone with fully developed breasts and an hour glass figure needs to know the basic technical non-salacious names for sex. And if someone stands there and asks me direct questions… I’m going to answer them in plain language.

Awkward.

So yeah. Last night I was taught why my friend said, “Your kids are not sheltered.” No, but they are protected. I believe ignorance is dangerous. This is a big, scary fucking world. There are ways to minimize your risks.

I’m not blaming victims. I’m talking about how some women can walk through life making seemingly dangerous choices and they never get assaulted once. There are ways to minimize your risks. There are tricks to keeping yourself safe. I’ve talked to a lot of women about how they manage their lives.

I want to protect my kids. I believe that knowledge is power. They have all the age appropriate books on sex that exist. They know that sex makes babies. They can look at an anatomy drawing and show you where the vulva, labia, clitoris, prostate, anus, urethra, or penis is. Technically, Shanna has memorized more of the specific names than I have. I always have to reread the book to see what a lot of the accessory names are. I know fallopian tubes, but there are some tubes in guys that I don’t remember. She does. But I’m not the one who spends a lot of time talking about wanting to be a doctor.

They also know that sex is something adults do for fun but it isn’t for kids because it can hurt kid bodies.

Why did this come up? Because there are sexual references everywhere and Shanna asks what they mean. I am not graphic, but I say, “Well grown ups like thinking and talking about sex. So that’s a reference to sex. You’ll understand it after puberty.”

I talk about sex as if it is a normal, natural part of life. I talk about choosing when to have children based on being able to take care of a family. I talk about having “kissed boys and girls other than your dad before him because I wanted to make sure I knew I found the right person”. I’m not graphic.

I don’t want to be “out” with my kids the way some of my friends are out with their kids. My kids won’t see deviant-from-normal behavior during their childhood. Regardless of what I do during baby-sitting time.

And a lot of it comes back to feeling weird for talking about this stuff. Am I bragging? No. I’m trying to work out the logistics of my life. I’m trying to get a clear picture on who and what I am. I am trying to prove to myself, Yup. Still here.

I’m in the breeding period. Most members of my species end up here on accident and they kind of chafe at the boundaries as a result. Their freedom was curtailed not by choice. I want this so much.

I want to know what a childhood is like when the parents are not having sex in front of nor with their children. I want to know what a childhood is like when there isn’t constant drug and alcohol induced partying going on. I use pot, but it isn’t a party drug for me. It is something I do in isolation or I take a pill. I’ve only smoked around a handful of people (the wonderful folks who come over for dinner) and it doesn’t happen until after the kids are asleep. My kids are not growing up in a party house.

Only they are. It’s kind of weird. I’m finding out what “vanilla” parties are like and they are pretty fun.

Not long ago my neighbors re-did their house. They were tired of “looking like a preschool”. But… you have young children. Ok, the materials should age up, but why in the world do you think that your house shouldn’t look like kids live there?

Stop judging, Krissy.

I like that kids like coming here. They feel comfortable. I like that I can invite a whole bunch of people over and it works out really well. Everyone leaves raving about how they’ve had a wonderful time.

I’m going to go have fun with my family now.

Race is awkward

Race is a hard topic. All the time in any forum or under any subtopic. Recently on the internet some of the black women I follow (it’s totally kosher–I’m not stalking) have been talking about why black people are under represented in home schooling. I did not join in the conversation, I sat back and watched. I really didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Many of the new families joining our home school group are not white and I think that is a good thing.”

A new family who wasn’t white showed up today. Shanna commented on the little girls hair, which I found kind of weird because… her hair was almost exactly like mine. How in the world could you ‘other’ that little girl for having hair just like me?!

I feel awkward about it, but when people who aren’t white show up I make extra effort. I know that joining white-dominant groups can be intimidating. (Joining any group where you feel like you visually don’t fit in is hard.) I’m kind of a professional new kid. After 25 schools I recognize the signs of someone showing up going, “I’m scared but I’m trying oh please let this work out.”

One of the first things I stress when new people show up (regardless of race) is you don’t have to make any permanent decisions immediately and you are allowed to try lots of different things to see what works for your family. Everyone is different. Sometimes I can visibly see people relax. Giving people permission to make mistakes is a big deal. Even though I’m just some bitch at the park.

The funny thing is… anyone can nominate themselves as appropriate for giving other people permission for making mistakes. It’s not a position I earned. I just do it. I act like I have the right. Weirdly, lots of people react as if I do. (I’m sure there are people I annoy with my presumptuousness… but they don’t say much about it.)

A friend asked me recently if I even had any black friends. I felt… kind of startled. YES. OF COURSE I DO. Which, as soon as I responded with such intensity, made me think “Are you treating them like fucking collectible cards? Why did you react that way?” Race is so hard. It is important to me that I not decide that people in my life have to be “just like me”. I tend to my best to befriend anyone who stands near me for any lengthy period of time–you never know who you will need as an ally in the future and you never know who you can help without effort, worth getting to know people–and they are a range of ethnic backgrounds. To me, for me to not have people of many races represented in my life would be a reflection of a conscious choice to exclude them.

Like: what am I going to get to know only my white neighbors?! Within ten houses of me on both sides of my street I have families from three or four Asian countries, India, Persia (I didn’t ask for a narrowed down country designation but I assume Iran–I know I could be wrong though), black Americans, and white Americans. I talk to everyone. I think that not talking to everyone would make me a piece of shit.

I have one next door neighbor who is white who is chummy and likes to loan tools. I could have settled into a long-term relationship with him and called it good. No. I’m not that kind of girl. Instead I will befriend the nice Indian lady next door who is very lonely in this country. She’s having a really hard time transitioning to being a stay at home mom. Sounds awesome.

People are people. The shell of them isn’t what makes them interesting to me. The emotions, the personal experiences are what make people interesting. And I live in an incredibly diverse area. Not having black friends would need to be a choice.

And yet talking about it makes it seem like trying to gain a full set of collectible trading cards. That’s not what it is about. I want to hear diverse points of view so much. It is so important to me. I spend my life searching out “other” points of view. I do make friends with white people even though I generally don’t like them much. Well, at a distance. I like them fine once I get to know them.

Yesterday I read about an interesting study about learned aversions. They are very difficult to overcome. Nearly impossible in many cases. It is sometimes hard for me that basically all of my trauma came from white people and specifically white men. Dealing with my learned aversions is work. I can walk up to a group of hispanic men and sit down and feel totally comfortable. I don’t feel that way with white men. When I’m looking to sit down in cafeteria’s, I look for where non-whites are sitting unless I specifically already know someone. Then I’ll be sociable.

And yet, my kid still comments awkwardly on mixed race hair. I see we will need to have more conversations. To be fair, she sometimes makes stupid comments about the hair of white kids. I think we need to talk more about how you don’t comment on other peoples bodies at all, period. Not your business.

It’s not like my kids shy away from playing with kids who aren’t white. Shanna walks right up to the first kid she says and asks to play no matter what they look like. It helps that she is successful most of the time so she has positive associations with people of all varieties. She loves people and they love her right back. It is so wonderful to watch. Calli plays with people who ask her, but she is less outgoing. That’s ok too.

I feel like pretending I don’t see race is… kind of stupid. I’m aware of race. I don’t “ensure I have a set” of kinds of people. I take whoever walks by. I want to learn how to be appropriate with all kinds of people and visual markers exist. Yes, I’m sure I have some stereotypes.

I try very hard to ensure that my stereotypes are things like, “In general Asian immigrants are less forgiving of me swearing so I need to try harder to watch my mouth.” They flinch more. Asian Americans who grew up here don’t care. So I only seriously modify if I hear an accent. Then I try very hard to make my language more approachable. I don’t want them to retreat from my ambient anger and I’ve seen it happen.

I don’t deliberately swear at people. I just… kind of have a potty mouth. I’m not calling people names or anything.

I just talk like I grew up where I grew up sometimes. I’m articulate. (Not that I’m claiming I can pick up dialects as well as she can. That woman is amazing.)

I feel like part of my problem is I feel more awkward being this friendly when I have a lot of money than I did when I was poor. I have always been the sort to be bossy and interfering. That feels like much more of a problem now that I am upper middle class. I was always white and that was always an issue with regards to my point of view when it comes to bossing people who are not like me. But I recognize how many privileges I have now. I recognize how often I solve problems by throwing money at them and I know it is simply not an option for most people the way it is for me.

I feel pretty ashamed of myself for that and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel very bad that I have so many more resources than other people. I don’t want to be in the 95%-98% for wealth… but I don’t want to be poor either. That scares the shit out of me. I’ve been homeless and starving and I don’t want to ever do it again.

But I don’t think I’m “better” than people who haven’t figured out how to get out. I very clearly see how being white played into my story every step of the way helping me find allies who helped me survive.

I would not be alive without my friends. Many of whom are white. And I spend a lot of time shit talking white people. I’m an ungrateful bastard.

Even beyond being white, I had help. Some of it was weird and unconventional. I got out because I was perfectly ok using any fucking available resource. Most people have more scruples about being “users” than I do. My mama taught me that beggars can’t be choosers and you use the people in front of you.

I’ve lived in a lot of areas where non-white people abound. I frequent communities where non-white people exist.

Err, why wouldn’t I have black friends?

Because lots of people don’t and that is very weird to me. To me that is like saying, “How about if you banish some of the most chatty and fun people you know.” Uhm, no. No, no no. I find chatty people of every race and I love them dearly and I’m not giving them up. It was hard to track down that many talkative people. Taciturn people abound.

Apparently I’m having a love affair with the word abound today.

I talk to whoever walks by. I keep the people who like to talk. I don’t really care what they look like because once I get past the first few sentences, the shell of a person isn’t what makes them interesting. I like people for their stories. I learn so much from the generous people who talk to me about their lives. I learn how to be a better person. I learn about options in life I have never even considered. What are the parameters that shape your decisions? I can’t imagine. Tell me. Please.

People are the reason I’m alive. Because there are more stories to hear and create and experience. I feel awkward about race but I feel awkward about race towards my race while being it. I feel othered. I feel like when I’m talking to a white person I need to assume that their life has been nothing like mine.

What does having it “better” or having it “worse” even mean?

I don’t really know but near as I can tell other people have pretty firm opinions about their own life in relationship to the people around me and they are happy to tell me. Great. I’ll listen. I’ll only judge a little bit and I will keep 99% of my judgments to myself. I’ll only let the tactful ones slip out; I hope.

I’m much better than I used to be! It’s all the practice.

I feel like part of what I have learned is how to let other people be the ones who dictate the opinions about their lives. My judgments are about my ability to see a scope into their life and have nothing really to do with their actual life. I don’t know all the pieces of their real life because they can never tell them all. I’ve been writing for years and I’m still uncovering nooks and crannies about why I do shit. I’ve been working on this as a concentrated area of study for years and I’m still surprised regularly by new triggers and new layers of, “Now I have to unpack this shit. Ew.”

I project like crazy though and that’s a real problem. I think my ability to handle things is reflective of what other people can handle and I’m dead wrong. In positive and negative ways.

I don’t believe in a color blind world. I believe that people look different because they have different family histories and that makes them interesting and unique. I tell my kids, “A persons skin color just tells you that their ancestors stayed closer to the Equator than our ancestors did.” When we ask someone where they are from we say, “Where in California are you from?” No one needs to feel like an outsider. But you may not be from my city. People who are immigrants but who have moved around California consider this a wonderful opening for long and interesting stories.

Race is hard to talk about. But it shapes all of our lives and I think I won’t understand people unless I ask questions that are kind of sticky and I learn how to listen respectfully. I want to feel bound to people. I want to feel like I understand people. It has to come one at a time and it will come best with as many different kinds of people as I can.

Race is always going to be awkward. Good thing I’m comfortable with being awkward. It is a pretty permanent part of my affect.

 

Sick house

Shanna slept through yesterday. Calli woke up with a fever. I feel hot. We leave for Disneyland in 7 days, which means I am semi-amusedly looking for spots. 4 days till we would be able to tell. Whee? Sore throats, minor coughing. Shanna is just not eating and that bothers me. I’m forcing liquids into her though. I’m bribing with sugar-water. (Juice, ginger ale, Sprite, Izze sodas–I bought one of everything that had no hfcs. Hfcs triggers diarrhea so it doesn’t come into my house.) Sugar water just doesn’t come into our house that much so the kids are more willing than usual to drink.

I’ve spent a lot of the morning reading vaccine stuff. Because there is a big outbreak and life is like that.

It is weird to me to read this stuff. I don’t like the pro-vaccine lobby and I have barely less respect for the anti-vaccine lobby. I think they are both hysterical.

I’d like to stop thinking about this topic but I probably won’t until it is out of the news.

I feel very very very very angry when people say that a choice that is not theirs is a “no brainer”. Not your call. You don’t get to decide that for other people. You have no idea how many factors go into this decision and your response is dismissive, elitist, and obnoxious.

I go back and forth between feeling a lot of sympathy for people who have immune compromised children and thinking, “You expect the whole world to accommodate your kid. Good luck with that.”

Should unvaccinated infants *be* in places like Disneyland where there are routinely international travelers who may or may not be vaccinated? Is it really a smart choice? (I took my kid when she was 6 weeks old and completely unvaccinated so this is a question that isn’t just abstract.)

We can’t make the world safe and I feel like that is what the pro-vaccine lobby wants.

We freak the fuck out about controlling everyone near us so we can reduce “risk” but we get in our cars every day and don’t think about the fact that the car is the fifth most likely way we will die.

But man listening to anti-vaxxers talk about how “healthy diet” is the panacea to stop all illness… turns my stomach. If that were true, we wouldn’t have had disease pre-junk food, and pre-vaccines. And we did. So I don’t believe that eating healthy is the whole solution. Yes, it helps. It isn’t the whole story.

It is kind of funny to me that I put a lot of time, effort, and energy into promoting the idea that people get to make their own choices. I’m not sure why I care so much.

My kids have a pediatrician appointment coming up. Time for a check up. Time for more vaccines. Calli will get her last MMR (kind of ironic that it will happen after the trip to Disneyland given the current hysteria in the news) and Shanna says she wants chicken pox. I haven’t asked Calli very carefully how she feels about CP but she may or may not decide to get it the same day as her sister.

It is their body and their choice. I made the choices when they were too small and they aren’t so small any more. They have opinions. They don’t want to get sick. They want to take steps to prevent suffering.

Ok. Yes, ma’am. It is your body. I will treat it how you tell me to treat it. I did my best before I had your directions. I’m trying. I’m going to make decisions you don’t like. I’m trying to err on the side of not doing something if you can do it later. Kinda like you can never take back a circumcision. You can never unvaccinate someone. I’m not going to rush into doing things to your body unless I have a very good reason. Hell, I won’t pierce my kids’ ears until they are old enough to be responsible for the holes.

Your body. Your decision.

Which means that I could let my selfish, ignorant children make decisions that expose lots of other people to bad things.

Yeah.

I have really mixed feelings about Make A Wish sending sick kids to places like Disneyland and Disney World. Non-vaxxers go. Who should get banned for the good of the other side? The vaccination is a choice or not. No one has the choice about whether or not you have cancer. Should schools be allowed to ban kids? They are sending home non-vaccinated kids right now. I can’t say they are in the wrong.

People are going to die. I spend almost much time and energy worrying about how evil I am for giving my kids peanut butter as I spend worrying about whether we are vaccinated enough to protect other people.

I still won’t get the flu vaccine. The news reports about how, “Well… we picked the wrong strains and people are getting sick like crazy… but you should vaccinate anyway!” No. No. No. No. No. No.

Ok, it might decrease how many days I’m sick. I’d rather stay home an extra day. Yes, that’s a privileged position. I also feel incredibly uncomfortable with the fact that everyone is admonished to start anti-virals the minute they know they have the flu. HAVE ANTIBIOTICS TAUGHT US NOTHING?!?!?!?!

Also: I’m incredibly frustrated that almost every news report conflates “people who were one month late on one vaccine one time” with “non-vaccinated”. Because under-vaccination is just as big of a deal as not vaccinating at all.

I have a bone to pick with most of my atheist/science leaning friends. Scientific studies about vaccines tell us about what has already happened. They are not directions for the future. Many of my friends read scientific studies and say, “Now we know what to do!” No. Now you know what *is*. Science does not tell people what to do. That’s ethics. That’s philosophy. That’s… all kinds of other shit. That is fucking religion.

Science is about the process. Science is not about telling people what to do. That’s policy.

I can understand why you want to have your science influence policy… but science is not policy. There is not a direct, “Well if you look at the numbers it is a no-brainer.”

Actually… people are more complicated than that. There are always factors you aren’t considering because real life is not science. It is more complicated than a clinical trial.

Do I think that people who deny scientific results are making good choices? Sometimes. I’ve thought the salt hysteria was stupid for most of my life. I eat a lot of salt. Now scientists are abashedly telling me that it is ok even though for most of my life AVOID SALT was the mantra. Science changes its opinions pretty dramatically over time.

Before you say vaccines are “proven safe” I will say that formulas are taken off the market every few years because of problems. My children were NOT given the same vaccines I was given. They are rather different. To me, that means that the people who were worried about the vaccines… probably had some points. Are their points important enough to not vaccinate in comparison to the benefits of herd immunity?

We are *totally* talking religion and not science.

I’m ok with people believing in vaccines as their religion. That is completely ok with me. I’ll pat you on the head and say “Yay!” the same way I do with my Christians and my Buddhists and my Hindus and my Muslims. I’m super-thrilled you have a rule book for how to be a good person. Let me tell you that is great.

Don’t fucking tell me I have to follow your religion.

I vaccinate. But I am not a Pro-Vaxxer. It is not my religion. Just like I don’t identify as being a dancer. I just love to dance. I will dance all day long if I’m not tied up (and I can still dance while tied up–I’ve proven that lots and lots) but I’m not a dancer.

I’m not a Pro-Vaxxer.

I do not believe that my way is the One Twue Way and I do not get to force other people to be like me. People make decisions for very complicated reasons. Maybe other people think fear plays too big of a part in not vaccinating and I think fear plays too big of a part in vaccinating. We are all fearful. We are just different in how much I think I should get to control millions of other people over my fear.

I have a lot of fears. I’m aware that many of them aren’t rational. I think that many of them are perfectly rational and appropriate. Neither the rational nor the irrational fears are ones I should use as justifications for controlling millions of people.

But what about the poor children who are suffering from terrible diseases who can’t be vaccinated?

Life really sucks. It is sometimes way more unfair for some people than others. That is true. I weep for you. (I’m not being sarcastic. I spend time in my garage crying over the pain of people I’ll never meet. I’m kind of weird.) I will not force millions of people to make a choice they don’t want to make for you.

Wait… isn’t that what most social justice issues are framed as? I’m trying to think of how to frame it and I can’t come up with a good parallel.

Mostly though… no I don’t think vaccination is a social justice issue. Vaccination for other peoples benefit isn’t like anti-racist work. It isn’t like eliminating rape jokes from your vocabulary. I think it is a personal and a moral issue. I don’t think the government has the right to force people to be injected many dozens of times in their lives for the good of other people the same way I don’t believe in eugenics. Nope. This is not like gay marriage or inter-racial marriage or even immigration rights because those things are about not interfering in other people getting to have their lives. Vaccination is forcing someone to DO something.

Someone compared it to check ups for cars in Germany. I would say that driving a car is not a right. If you want to participate in the society of drivers, the society itself has a right to gate keeping. Society telling me I have to vaccinate or… what… exactly… is different. Right now there is no punishment. Let’s see when that changes.

We are want millions of people to go pay a doctor to inject them for the good of other people.

Doesn’t that sound like more something that should come from religion? You have a moral duty as a citizen to care about the health of your neighbors. It isn’t just about YOUR health–the good nutrition does nothing to help your poor neighbors. Your individual health isn’t the only health that matters, what about the people who will die in the next nasty epidemic unless they are shielded?

Does the whole fucking community really get dragged into protecting the most vulnerable whether they like it or not? That’s NOT SCIENCE. Not science. Not science. Not science.

I’m ok with people saying loudly and unequivocally that vaccination is the ONLY moral choice for all people who are healthy enough to vaccinate. I don’t have one ounce of complaint with that statement. Not ONE. THAT IS COMPLETELY OK. You can be a judgmental prick all day long and I will applaud your efforts towards a cause you truly care about. Knock yourself out.

But there are vaccine reactions. I know real live people who have had them. Fuck you if you don’t believe me. I knew a kid who got fucking polio from the vaccine. So don’t act like nothing ever happens. (Yes, I understand we no longer use live virus, yada yada–stuff happens and people try to say it “never” happens and yes it does.) I’ve known lots of other people with other reactions. I go hunting for fringe cases. That’s kind of the basis of most of my friendships. “Hey! You have this super weird experience in you background that other people will deny even happened because it threatens their view of reality. Tribe!!!”

But I know people who have had family members die from various vaccine preventable diseases too. Some of them are rabidly pro-vaccine and others still feel it should be a personal choice.

People get to pick how they die. And whether we like it or not… parents have a say in how safe their kids are kept for 18 years. That is how our country works right now. We would not like the alternative of kids being kept safe from their parents. It would be bad. I know a lot of really good women who are terrified CPS is going to come if they ever yell at their kids. This is not good for families either.

I should have been kept safe from my family. I went through absurdly extreme abuse. But… I have no idea what safeguards should exist to protect kids like me. Kids should have an easier time asking for help in their communities. People need to believe the kids who do come forward. We need to not ignore the kids we see who are struggling with abuse.

Kids should be allowed to ignore their anti-vax parents and get vaccinated if they want to long before they are 18. It should be a medically appropriate decision for a kid to make at 12.

Really, it is more like smoking. Only it isn’t. We don’t have the legal right to force people to never smoke. We just have the right to keep smoking out of most public buildings. With vaccines, you don’t have the choice to protect other people sometimes while still choosing for yourself other times. It is all or nothing.

I don’t think we should force. I really don’t. That’s bad juju. I think shaming people who make choices we don’t agree with will close the door to future conversations.

Isn’t this what people complain about with feminism? That feminists are too shrill and slam the door? The pro-vaccine lobby is too shrill. Instead of shaming and belittling people who make fringe choices we need to figure out how to get them to feel like they are part of an in-group with people who are vulnerable and need to be protected.

We don’t need to tell them how stupid and awful and selfish and bad they are. That has never improved a damn thing.

Do I really believe that everyone should vaccinate?

No. I don’t. I think that if you choose not to vaccinate then you need to voluntarily quarantine yourself at the slightest chance of illness though. If you want to go back to the old days, go back to the old days. People didn’t used to go to fucking Disneyland with the fucking measles. (Yes, I know you are infectious before you can see spots. Usually you have a fever.)

What am I going to do if we aren’t better by Monday? Am I going to go if we are still running fevers? Am I going to be one more selfish asshole going to Disney this year?

No. Probably not. I will probably tell my friend to start looking for possible people to go with them if we are sick on Thursday. I care about ethics. I do think about the Make A Wish kids getting to go to Disneyland.

I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt someone just because I wanted to go on “It’s a Small World”. What a selfish piece of shit.

And so, we all get to make our own choices. I do believe people get to be selfish. Not everyone has my options. Not everyone has the privilege to say, “Meh, if I miss this trip I’m still spending 3.5 weeks at Disney this year.”

Would I be so magnanimous if this was my only chance in a five year period? Man. I might wear a face mask and gloves. I wouldn’t go bare faced and cough on people. But probably… I would stay home. I’m like that. I’ve missed other big trips. I miss adventures because I get sick. I don’t do the walking wounded thing. I probably could but I see it as a problem. It ignores your impact on the people around you.

So. That’s my more than 140 character feelings about vaccines. Since I was asked.

 

Answering comment

Shalyndra–my shrink was frustrated because when I get upset and bad things happen I get in a loop tape of thinking that I want to die and she is tired of it. She wants me to move on so she can feel more successful as a therapist.

If I could break that fucking loop tape my life would be very different.

Thus the accusations of “You like being like this.”

That isn’t all she was frustrated about though. She wants me to believe that me getting angry in public is the same as her demanding to bring her dog into restaurants. She doesn’t understand why that is a problem for people and she thinks that me getting angry is a similar kind of blind spot. I’m not seeing how much of a problem my behavior is for other people.

But I get stuck on: it is god damn illegal for you to bring your dog everywhere and me getting angry is *not* illegal. So the parallel isn’t working to show me how not ok getting angry is. Because if you are telling me that I have as much right to anger as dog owners have to bring their dogs with them everywhere they go… we have a problem.

That’s not ok.

Letter writing

My generation is not so big on handwritten letters. In general we stick to email. It’s easier, less effort, less waste, etc. But I believe that letters still have a place in society.

I’m not big on the traditional “rules” around when and how to write so I ignore those. I have come up with my own general guidelines for writing letters. A bit ago a friend asked me about how writing letters worked and this is my attempt to respond. (Sorry it took me so long. I was thinking about it.)

We live in a time and a place where there are thousands of things competing for your attention. Being on the computer at all is an exercise in distraction.

Why: Why bother writing letters? It’s a pain in the hand. Mostly it is because the thrill of getting a personal letter doesn’t go away. Everyone is used to post-mail being bills and horrible advertisements. Getting an honest-to-goodness letter feels thrilling and exciting. Someone cared enough about you to write a letter. It is like a tiny little micro-gift of love and attention.

When: When do you write them? I don’t believe in hard and fast rules. We have too many things competing for our attention. I think that it is good to look at your calendar and spot areas where you have a good solid two hours. You don’t need to use all that time, but futzing with addressing an envelope, finding a stamp, etc adds at least half an hour. You want more than an hour because when you sit down you need to organize your thoughts a bit. Do you have to write a letter when someone gets married? When they lose a job?

Write a letter when you want to let someone know that you have been thinking about them. That’s really the only when.

Who: Who should you write letters to? Anyone! Older people appreciate it the most. If you know someone over 60, chances are they would appreciate a letter. It is a throw back to their childhood when communication was that way or no way. (Yes they had phones… but they were *expensive*.)

Kids love letters. Kids will save them and think of you throughout their childhood. Kids will know that you are an adult who cared enough to notice them. They remember.

Your friends will feel special and loved. An email is nice, but letters are so much nicer.

And I despise handwriting. I think that writing letters is torture. But it makes other people so happy. Writing someone a letter is a way of consciously demonstrating that they are important in your life. Sometimes there isn’t another way of doing so. Sometimes you don’t have the spoons to pay as much physical attention to someone as you wish you could.

But they can get a letter in their home. They can feel loved and seen and cared for. And it doesn’t take that many spoons.

I love writing letters. I love the feeling that, unlike my normal for the masses babbling, I’m specifically trying to create a relationship with a person. I only write a letter to further serve a bond. If I write you a letter it is because I want to show you about as much respect as I can show for a person.

Hand-written letters will never go out of style. Email will never take the place of walking to your mail box and seeing a letter from a loved one. It’s just… not the same.

What: What do you write though? It depends on who you are writing. For my in-laws I stick to mostly recounting what the kids are up to. I understand that they aren’t that into me. When I write to close intimate friends I tend to share feelings. I write to tell them why I was thinking about them–how it made me feel. “I was thinking about you last night. I was thinking about when we did _____. I am so glad you are in my life.” Lots of variation is possible there.

Letters exist to help people feel more connected. Reminding someone of a memory means they are very likely to remember it better. They will remember you better. They will remember how they feel about you.

Only it is tinged with the rosy glow of memory. Science has proven that it is much harder for us to remember bad things than good things. When you remind friends of times gone by, they tend to forget the irritations. The difficulties. They remember that you stayed. They remember that you were there. They remember that you were their friend.

That’s the important part.

Sharing memories is a lot of what relationships are built on. The more memories you share the deeper your relationship. The more reminders of your memories you have the stronger you feel about them.

How much: How much do you have to write? I’ve gotten six word postcards that made my day. I have had the good luck to receive twelve page letters. Frankly, that got a little overwhelming. He was an intense guy.

You are just writing to them to remind them to think of you the way you think of them. If you can do that in a few words, feel free. It is just as meaningful.

Yelling at people isn’t so bad.

Apparently things with Noah’s family are very different than my previous perceptions. Yes, I got a preview of this last week at dinner. This week my sister in law came over for many hours and told story after story. Noah is absorbing the stories and thinking about implications.

Apparently my words are being used to slap my mother in law around. (There isn’t much, if any physical abuse in the house–it’s a verbal abuse sorta space.) I told my father in law that I wasn’t interested in trading one abusive mother for another. I’m sorry that has been used by a gaslighter to punish someone.

But on the upside apparently me being a bitch in that way spurred my mother in law into therapy and there have been dramatic strides in her behavior. Kinda like when I yelled at Rebecca’s dad all those years ago.

I find it kind of… funny… that when I yell at people it sometimes spurs life changes. That’s like negative reinforcement all over the place. See, I should yell at people. It’s good for them.

No, no it isn’t. Only my kids show lots of signs of resiliency and part of it is that they are non-jumpy because of how desensitized to noise they are. Sudden yelling isn’t scary. They know that nothing bad will happen but they need to change their behavior.

I’m kidding about yelling being good for them. I think that it actually is more of a big deal that I don’t yell that much. They don’t get tirades about their behavior. I cut that shit off after a couple of sentences. It’s not ok to berate kids. I can express that I don’t like something and then I need to move on.

I told my sister-in-law to brace herself for kind of a dump on the way to the house. I’ve seen the house she has grown up in. I saw the house she was visiting in Los Gatos. My house is kind of a dump in comparison. Small, dark, and messy. Not to mention the chips in the paint all over the walls from my obsessive furniture moving.

Her response was, “I like this. It’s cozy and homey. I want a house like this.”

Oh, I forgot. She has had to grow up with cleaning a huge, empty, unloved house. Oh. Of course she doesn’t value them much.

Noah and I had a talk this morning about how it is working out that he still doesn’t have much of a relationship with his family… but I do.

I talk to his aunts and grandmother and parents more than he does. I haven’t reached out as dramatically to his siblings, but that is partially because they have reached out less to me. All the older generation women have put effort into me. They just… did. They send presents and letters and they volunteer their interest.

It is a lot more than I have ever gotten from a family member. So I respond. Noah kind of tunes it out because he has never experienced anything else so he doesn’t value it.

Contrast is useful.

Oh. Wow. A journalist in the UK (not from a very well developed site–it looks like they are just getting off the ground) found my blog and asked to interview me. Sure. I can do that. Incest, PTSD, and how it effects my life. I’m grateful I didn’t have to track a reporter down and say, “Please interview me” so I’m glad to have the practice. I don’t have to start with the NY Times.

Life plugs along. It isn’t a good thing I yell at people. It is a good thing I am in the world. I say things that make people think. I am a useful data point. It is good to have extremes. Without them the middle gets very boring.

It is ok to have us progressives in the world. It gives the conservatives something to contrast with.

I need you.

Those three words make my heart start racing like I just completed a sprint. You need me? OK! What do you need?! I CAN DO IT! This morning my baby woke up scared and needed to cuddle me. Easy peasy. I have a firm policy of waking up with a smile if my kids wake me up saying “I need you”. Ok. It’s my job to be there when you need me, so yes ma’am.

Do you know why my kids have good manners? Because I say yes ma’am and no ma’am to them for just about everything. If my kids scream at me I raise an eyebrow and say, “Try again” in a calm voice. If they scream a second time I say, “Do I respond well to screaming?” Then they visibly shake themselves off and calm down enough to ask for what they want.

Based on the dozens and dozens of books I’ve read about early childhood development the first 5-7 years of life should be spent on socialization, attachment formation, and learning to manage your emotions. I have gone through my life crippled by my inability to manage my emotions in times of stress and that is largely because I was not taught how to deal with my body. If I grew distressed I was punished.

I don’t let my kids have a lot of screen time because screen time is shown to increase emotional dysregulation. I feel it would be counter productive to hand them a bunch of emotional dysregulation during the period of their life when they are poorly regulated and struggling for basic control. I mean, they are pretty good and all… but they are 3 and 5. They are good for their ages and that means they have a lot of work left to do.

I think about this because when I babysit for other kids I learn that the short cuts I’ve worked on with my kids don’t work as well. My kids respond to “Try again”. “Will that work?” is enough to stop the vast majority of tantrums. “So what is your goal here?” is another favorite I lean on extensively. I talk them through how to get what they want without using methods that will result in escalation of conflict. That’s what I spend my days doing. I hang out with them and help them manage their emotions as they are doing what they want to do.

Other peoples children kind of look at me blankly if I just say “Try again” and that’s hard at this phase. I have to turn around and manage my own frustration and emotional dysregulation because my short hand didn’t communicate what I wanted it to communicate and so I am left struggling to find phrasing that will work which means a bunch of quick thinking. I shouldn’t complain. But man I am grateful I have been able to train my kids the way I have.

Yup, I’ve trained my kids. And it’s awesome.

I feel a lot of guilt for not actually having the control I wish I had. I feel a lot of shame for the fact that if my children were less well trained I would have a much harder time being nice. It is hard for me to be nice to other peoples kids who don’t respond to the training cues.

I *do not* yell or scream or shame or respond badly to children not understanding my cues. Instead I take a deep breathe and smile and out comes a whole flood of words that explains why I’m asking what I’m asking and I give them a whole bunch of suggestions for how to solve whatever problem is coming up.

But it’s hard. It wears my body out to emotionally flood that many times in a short period of time. I believe that the children deserve the respect so I’m going to deliver it even if it means I cry the whole way home because my body feels like shit and I’m tired and worn out. My stomach hurts so bad.

Sometimes my physical comfort is not the highest priority in my life. That’s hard. Sometimes my friends need help and I’m the one who could show up and supply the necessary help and I believe in Pay It Forward like I believe It Takes All Kinds. I HAVE to step up when friends have nowhere else to look for support. If I don’t then the ship will go down and it will be partially my fault.

No, not really. Other people having problems in their lives isn’t my fault. But if the reason I choose not to help is because it is hard and it makes me feel bad and I cry for an hour or two afterwards because of stress… that’s not a good enough reason to choose not to help in a crisis. That’s a good enough reason to not sign up for four home school outings in a week. That’s a good enough reason to not sign up for helping once a week indefinitely. But it’s not a good enough reason to refuse help in a crisis.

Which leads back to spoon management with my kids in my life.

I have to leave enough slack all the time to absorb occasional bursts of spoon excess in one area or another. This is part of why I’ve been reading so much lately. I’m trying to build slack into my spoon usage. There are times when all of a sudden I use extra spoons on a project or on driving or on helping other people and I have to be able to continue delivering the same quality and quantity of care to my kids.

Taking care of my kids is hard but worthwhile. I’ve been doing really well post-Christmas. I am staying more level. I’m responding in the right tone of voice and I’m responding in a timely fashion instead of sometimes choosing to let them fight it out because I can’t intervene in a timely fashion in the right way. (I don’t let them physically fight things out but sometimes if they want to have a screaming match over something I will tell them that they can scream at each other in the back yard.) Mostly I try to help them work things out. It’s exhausting to be a referee all day.

So given that my focus is on socialization, attachment formation, and emotional regulation it’s kind of funny when a friend says, “So how about their academics? When do you do that?”

Err… I don’t. Not really. I mean, I read to them a lot. I read to my kids for 5-15 hours a week depending on the week. Noah reads to the kids for an additional 5-10 hours a week. As often as possible I sucker my friends into reading to the kids.

I get workbooks when Shanna is given her “school allotment” and she goes shopping and says, “I think I should practice shaping letters so let’s get a workbook”. I never indicate that she should get out a workbook and practice. But the suckers are being used steadily. I feel kind of confused by her choosing to do worksheets, but whatever makes you happy kiddo.

That said: if you go through the kindergarten standards (Which I do–quite regularly) you would find that Shanna was more or less competent on the full curriculum before the start of her “kindergarden” year. Given that the state now believes children should be fluent readers in first grade she is *not* through the first grade curriculum but I think the state is on crack for expecting that anyway.

(I mean for science: one of the many things kids should know why different kinds of plants grow in different environments. Shanna can give you long lectures on the evolution of plants and animals. We watch a lot of documentaries and I feel pretty surprised by what she knows. She designs structures so she can talk about what things work better and why. Sure a lot of her structures are meant to be froofy princess shit, but whatever. I don’t care if you are building a castle or a space station–you are building. It works.)

I will confess that I need to get my hands on a globe so we can play with a flashlight and talk about the seasons more. We’ve talked about it representationally on flat maps… but that’s not the same. I need to get off my butt.

We work on the PE skills in malls all the time. How do you learn to be aware of your body? How do you move through crowds without bumping people? How do you decide which objects you can go under or over in a public place? Or must you go around them on the side? This is what kindergarden PE teaches. We play catch and kick ball. They do yoga and go on three mile walks a few times a week. (I’ve been better lately.) Sure, Calli gets piggy back rides for over a mile of the walk… but she’s hella short. She’ll get there.

I will confess that my kids are not fully versed on the “triumphs of American history” but they do know a lot about racial issues through the history of this country. Shanna call tell you about segregation and Jim Crow laws and why Rosa Parks was important. I’m going to keep doing things my way instead of talking about how awesome Paul Revere was. (I mean… really he was a patent thief and an asshole and there was a girl riding the alarm the same night as him but HISTORY IGNORES HER. Ahem.)

Given that all of the kindergarden reading/language arts standards are “With prompting and support” yes, Shanna can do all that is expected of a five year old. She can tell you about myths from different cultures. She can tell you that a poem rhymes and a narrative tells a story in plain English. She can identify the narrator and she understands “what’s the point” as “tell me about the plot”. She can count to 100 (and beyond, I think) and add and do basic subtraction. She understands the beginnings of numeral placement. She knows her shape and can talk about what is necessary for each kind of shape.

And no, I don’t spend time on academics. I’m not going to waste her time. But what I mean when I say “I don’t spend time on academics” is I don’t ever sit down with a curriculum written by someone else and say, “Ok now it is time for school.”

We talk about cylinders as we are putting dishes away. We talk about the difference between a square and a rectangle when we build raised beds in the back yard. We do addition practice in the car because she starts it.

I do not direct her learning much. I don’t pick the whack job documentaries she watches, though I try to watch with her. She can talk to you about generations of animals dying out–whole species! She’s fascinated by the way animals change over time. She’s pissed off that evolution doesn’t happen fast enough for her to really watch it in her lifetime.

I talk to my kids all day long about everything I see. “Why do you think they made this bench out of wood and this other one out of metal?” “What is this made out of?” My kid can tell you the merits of using different kinds of spatulas to cook different foods.

We do science by cooking and gardening. We talk about history all the time. I’m fond of saying, “We study history because humans have been alive a long time. Almost every mistake that you will want to make has already been made by someone else. You can learn a lot if you just read about people and their choices.”

My kids are growing up in a house where “hacking” DOES NOT MEAN following directions on a kit that some forking grown up made for you. No. That’s not how life works. You are not going to spend your life just following directions that someone else makes up. You are going to have to make your own directions. How do you do that?

If you want to learn to sew (which Shanna does) I can show you the basics and I can provide you with materials, but no I’m not going to do it while you watch and I’m not going to stand next to you and micromanage you doing it perfectly. You are going to mess up and feel frustration. You are going to have to learn how to rip out your own seams and try again.

I can’t make things easy for you. I wouldn’t even if I could. Life isn’t going to be easy.

My job is to help you learn emotional regulation and help you feel like you matter in the world so that you won’t spend your life wanting to kill yourself because you believe you are a worthless piece of shit.

Everything else you can learn as you go. I promise.

At the end of kindergarden they wanted to hold me back because I wasn’t mature enough. I’d been to five fucking kindergardens, no I wasn’t as “advanced” compared to the kids in the tiny school I was in last that year. The teacher thought I was stupid because I couldn’t read yet. I picked up reading in first grade and by second grade I was testing at the 10th grade level.

I’m not worried about early asymmetrical growth. Don’t you understand that the standards were created by bureaucrats and *not* educational specialists? (Go ask education specialists. You will find a few who endorse the standards but mostly they don’t like the idea of a national curriculum–people don’t work that way.)

“The things that are the hardest to learn are often the most rewarding once you master them. You have to keep trying even when something makes you mad.”

That’s what my kids hear over and over. A far cry from “I guess I can’t do math because I’m a girl.” That’s what I believed as a child. Because I was told that math was hard for me because I was just a stupid girl. Word for word. Over and over.

When my kids try to do something that is way too hard for them they say, “Whoa. I think I need to learn a bit more before I understand this.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing when Calli said that. She was confused but delighted that she made me laugh.

I think my saving grace with children is I don’t expect them to do much or support me. I understand that the support is a one way street. I do the supporting. That means I never get disappointed and lash out at them for not helping me when I want/need help. I have internalized so thoroughly that it isn’t their job.

That said they have more and more chores. Shanna unloads the dishwasher, clears the table, and keeps her stuff tidy. When she has to clean up her toys she often says, “What am I, your maid!?” I tell her that until I start forcing her to do laundry for the whole family and do the sweeping and mopping and vacuuming she doesn’t get to claim maid status. I’m teaching her to clean up after herself which means she is being her own maid… not mine. She generally doesn’t argue much.

And now I have a wonderful girl on my lap. She says she wants to watch The West Wing with me. heh.

Looking for a threesome

A wonderful friend told me that she and her husband are interested in looking for a person to have a threesome with. After saying “It won’t be me” she laughed and said, “I just want advice.”

I can do advice! And while I sit here in Texas with my second drink of the day I’m feeling very full of stuff I want to share. Hiccup.

Group sex is complicated. More brilliant people than me have written about it. When you have group sex you have three people all of whom have very different pictures in their heads of what “group sex” looks like. My personal experiences involve every gender combination of up to seven people. Because my life has been awesome.

First thing first: having a threesome as a couple adding a third person is the *worst* way to do it. Unfortunately if you are part of a couple your partner would probably object to being ditched while you go find two other single people for such an experience. When you have a couple adding a third person you have all those messy couple issues on top of the simple sex issues.

The reason I say this is the worst is that almost every threesome horror story I have ever heard started from that configuration. Almost every successful story I have heard involves three single people getting together for one night.

When you are in a couple you have to stop and think, “How will I react if my partner spends more time paying attention to the other person? How am I going to feel if it starts feeling like those two are having sex and I am the audience?” That can be a sucky feeling. Figuring out how to turn a seeming-new-dyad into something that includes a third person is fun but hard.

In my opinion threesomes (or moresomes) work out best if someone is specifically designated as running the fuck. You need to have someone who is consciously paying attention to who is playing with whom and for how long. You need to suggest activities if someone looks left out. “Oh Sue over there isn’t touching anyone! What should we do to her?” Then drag the group focus onto the wallflower. Some people like being a wallflower and if that is your dynamic–negotiate that in advance.

Threesomes have the potential to have mixed signals in terms of barrier protection. A long term married couple doesn’t want to use a condom together even though they MUST use barriers with an extra partner. So in my opinion the polite way to handle this is to default to the strictest set of rules for everyone. Otherwise it feels kind of awkward and weird.

And that hot guy you brought home may not want to deal with a cock covered in cunt juice. Maybe he isn’t into that part of girls very much. It happens.

My experience of the best threesomes have been all female or two male/one female. I am an insecure nitwit and I really struggled with two girl/one guy. I really completely bombed when I was part of the couple adding a girl. I couldn’t get over my insecurities. With two (mostly) heterosexual guys and me there can be many hours of fun though. Ha.

I hunted very successfully on www.okcupid.com and Craigslist. Yes, it takes patience and time to find the right people. There are a lot of people in the world. If you want casual sex you will have to get up the courage to ask a lot. You have to be completely ok with dozens or hundreds of people telling you no. If you can’t handle no then you just don’t get to have group sex this lifetime and get over it.

It really doesn’t matter if you are fat, ugly, or generally low in social status. What I have seen teaches me that pretty much anyone can find someone to say yes if they ask a lot.

If you are looking for a threesome, or really any casual sex you need to get over the idea that you will be a special snowflake in the life of everyone you fuck. Just accept it. Be prepared for awkward waves on public transit sometimes. It’s ok. It truly is.

If what you want is an experience rather than a relationship then you have a few responsibilities. First and foremost: do not treat the person who is kind enough to share this experience with you badly. If you do then you are a piece of shit who deserves to be spit on. Someone who consents to having sex with you always deserves your kindness and respect.

ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL OF THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE HAD SEX WITH. REGARDLESS OF BAD BREAKUPS.

I try not to yell, but I’ll yell that. If you say bad things about people who have had sex with you then you say way more bad about you than them. Keep that in mind.

No one is a life support for a cock/pussy/tits for you to admire. That’s a real god damn person right there. They have wants, needs, aspirations. You need to treat them like someone awesome who is sharing a wonderful part of themself. Even your casual bar hookups. People matter. How you treat them *matters*.

I like casual sex and I am totally cool with people wanting it. But be nice. We are all humans. We all want to feel like we are respected. Start with that point of view and you will do ok with almost everyone you could ever want to have sex with.

Introduction to bdsm as a person with significant mental issues

I was asked a whole bunch of questions else-net. I will put the answer in both places because I think that this person is not the only one who will want this information from me in the future.

First and foremost: whereas my experience has been broad I am just one person. Your personal experiences are going to be different from mine in ways I cannot predict in advance. Take everything I say as very gentle guidance and not as an order. I am not the boss of you. Even though I speak in absolutes and I am a HUGE bossypants. I just talk that way. I don’t mean anything by it.

How do you find people? Well I started on the internet because I am a lucky duck and I came of age in that era. I went to www.bondage.com, www.alt.com, www.match.com (ironically where I met my first “online dom”–that’s a lame story if ever there was one), and IRC. I was pre-www.fetlife.com. I don’t actually recommend fetlife as a good place to meet people. It is moving further and further away from being a community space.

Go to munches. (Yes, I know people in NJ. Let me get in touch with people and I’ll see what I can find out about your area.) When you go to munches go with the expectation that most people will be really old, very over weight and fairly ugly. Of course that will not be even remotely true of a lot of people you meet. But if you go with that expectation then you will be prepared for the reality of the bdsm community. Also: expect that they will be a clique and hard to join. The sad fact is these are people who have been rejected a lot so they are prickly and nervous around new people.

We are not the beautiful people. But we are real people. We are creepy sometimes. We are overly intense. People who find their way to the bdsm community have almost certainly spent a lot of their lives feeling rejected, wrong, and disliked. Not everyone but a large chunk.

Go expecting to be your own entertainment when you get to a munch. Getting to know people sucks. It’s awkward and stiff and terror inducing. These are perverts. Many of these people would cheerfully tie you up and beat you until you scream bloody murder.

The good ones will only do so if you say “Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top.” There will be predators around though. You will have to keep you safe. Even beyond the predators there are a lot of people who have poor social skills for a wide variety of reasons. People are not going to be good at managing your boundaries. You will have to be pro-active and vocal from the very beginning. In my opinion it is ok to end up more on the bitch end of things. Keep YOU safe. Other people don’t know how to be nice to you unless you explicitly tell them.

That is one of the hardest parts of coming into the bdsm community as someone with significant mental health issues. You were probably exposed to things that made it hard for you to stand up for yourself. But when you engage in bdsm you have to do it from a place of absolute Trust. Bdsm is ALL about trust. The physical sensations are nice and all but really what we are playing with is power.

The sadomasochists are going to string me up from a tree. I’m not talking about Dominance/submission. Not all people are into specific consciously power differentiated roles. You don’t have to be a Dominant or Submissive. Maybe you are just into the physical sensations.

But I tell you that it feels different to be hit by a friend you love and trust than by someone who doesn’t like you very much. There is still power involved. Maybe it is the power of giving someone access to your body. You are relinquishing nothing. You are sharing the power.

That trust and power bit are very important. If you don’t think you have the power to keep yourself safe and decide what happens to your body then bdsm is maybe not the best place for you to come learn such power. Some people with extreme mental health problems do ok and become healthier as they have bdsm relationships and experiences. Some people tank really hard and implode. No one will be checking up on you other than you. You have to take it very seriously that you are responsible for your mental health. If you can’t manage your symptoms, then maybe right now isn’t the best time to start.

If you are officially diagnosed with mental health problems I can guess that you have a hard time picking people who are really safe to be around. I may not be right but I probably am. When you have mental health problems your perceptions of the world are always a bit at an odd angle.

It is hard to develop the conscious ability to be rational in judging whether someone is safe or not. You can’t necessarily go by the clues other people tell you to use.

For one thing the most important book you will ever read is The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker. When you have that small icki uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach get away from that person and that activity.

That doesn’t mean that a creepy guy at the munch means you never come back to the munch. But if you feel chased off by someone creepy (could be a woman or a person of non-binary gender) then the right choice is to network online and find a buddy for the next munch. You still should go meet people.

Munches aren’t for everyone. I have also had great luck hunting for partners on www.okcupid.com. Ostensibly it is a “vanilla” site but yeah right.

If you want to top you need to make sure you never inappropriately hit anyone. If that sentence makes you feel vaguely worried, well then you need to spend more time introspectively thinking about it.

Enthusiastic consent is the only way to begin a consensual bdsm scene. If someone is saying, “I’m not sure” then you don’t start. You have to both be completely sure that you want to be doing what you are doing. (I know a lot of experienced bdsm people who will reply that they start bdsm scenes with murky consent sometimes under some circumstances. The point of this essay is for people with mental health issues who are just starting. No, 301 play just isn’t a good plan.)

As a beginner negotiate for what you will do rather than what you won’t do. Creative sadists will make you very sorry you thought you could limit the things you don’t want to have happen to you. Take my word for it. Negotiate the activities.

Keep in mind that life is long. I have seen a lot of people enter the bdsm community and kind of go crazy. They are like kids in the candy store. I want to try EVERYTHING. I want to play with EVERYONE. (*ahem* This may or may not be what I did.)

As a result I had some very bad scenes that hurt me very much. I had one particular scene go very badly and I hung on to the trauma from that for over ten years. I finally went to the top and asked him to specifically, in writing, apologize for our scene because he made mistakes. I made mistakes too and I explained them in detail. But I needed to have him apologize to me and recognize that he did something he didn’t mean to do which caused me great harm.

That kind of thing doesn’t usually work out more than ten years later. If you think you need an apology for something that went wrong, I encourage you to get to know the experienced people in your community as mentors and ask someone to mediate a discussion. The way forward out of conflict is for everyone to feel heard.

In the bdsm community (at least where I live and it seems to be a national conversation but I could be wrong) there is a lot of conversation about consent and what it means. How do you say what you want and get what you want without someone coercing or forcing you to do things you don’t want.

I’ll tell you that those of us who struggle with “normal” life are at a severe disadvantage here. We have to work a lot harder. If we want to escape additional trauma we should move slowly. Glacially slow. I promise you, if you wuss into the community and slowly get to know people and don’t play for six or twelve months of getting to know people… in the scheme of your life that is not time wasted. That gives you a chance to really decide what you want to do.

Go to play parties if possible and watch people play. Go home and masturbate. Think about what things you like and which things made you feel uncomfortable. Avoid the fuckers who think “pushing limits is the best kind of play.” Maybe for a very experienced player with no psychological issues. Not for newbies. Not for people who struggle anyway.

All bdsm will throw you off balance. Your chemical balance will go all over the place. During play and right afterwards you may feel euphoric. Don’t expect that feeling to be permanent. It is often followed by a “crash” and depression. When your body is depleted of all those fun chemicals it is hard.

Figure out your aftercare. Aftercare is a real and serious thing. Aftercare is how you will take care of your brain and body in the few minutes, few hours, and few days after a scene. You will probably need different steps. Prepare nourishing food. Sit around cuddling under warm fuzzy blankets. Read your favorite soothing books. Listen to music that makes you feel safe and like you are a great person in the world.

Read books and websites. More research!

I think that is most of what I’ve got at this moment. Of course here is the obligatory reading list:

(Anything from Greenery Press)

Particularly: The New Bottoming Book and The New Topping Book both by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton.

Playing Well With Others by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington

Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

I happen to (luckily) personally know Janet, Mollena, and Lee. I have known them for a very long time. They are some of the most brilliant and inspirational people I know. I trust them absolutely without question or I would not send you to their books. I don’t know Philip and Molly but that was one of the first books I read and it stood me in good stead.

BDSM is about the people doing it. The people who are only into tickling count. The people who are only into bondage with NO PAIN count. The people who want to do roleplay rape scenes count. The people who want to have no roles they play but they stand there punching each other count.

What do you want bdsm to mean to you? The sky is the limit. But be careful. Watch yourself. I want you here for many years of kinky fun. You can be monogamous or nonmonogamous.

There are no rules beyond “Everyone must consent”. Go have fun.

I was also asked some particular other questions: do you have to have fetish clothes? No. You don’t have to have them. Many people think they are fun. If you go wearing basic black you will be fine. Avoid running shoes. I bought my first fetish items at Hot Topic.

I came into the bdsm community many years after I was diagnosed with mental health problems. I think that it would be different for people who were involved in bdsm before their trauma. For me all of my life has been post-trauma because it started so young.

Don’t hesitate to get into bdsm at any age. I know hot, festive people playing in their 70’s and 80’s. I hope to be one of them.

You say you want people to visit you yet you have no time; what gives?

Great question. How can I whine fucking constantly about being overscheduled and lonely at the same time. Totally reasonable to wonder about.

Ah! You assume me being “scheduled” implies social time! Well, some of it is social time. But an awful lot of the stuff that is on my “schedule” is work.

If I don’t schedule when I will do gardening work… it doesn’t get done. I have a crisper drawer full of daffodils and tulips. Those need to get in the ground in the next ten-ish days or I won’t have a spring crop. They had to sit in the crisper for approximately six weeks. I have to put “gardening day” on my calendar or I will have wasted a shit-ton of money on bulbs. I can’t just have stuff in the house and hope I will get around to it; I don’t.

I put “decorate for _____” as a scheduled activity.

Some days my scheduled activity is “go to therapy” because after therapy I’m kind of a wreck. I often spend hours crying and I can’t really change gears to “go do” something else because I can’t sustain the attention. Is it pathetic? Well, whatever. That’s beside the point. It is what happens. After therapy I need to cry and cry. Will I ever stop feeling crazy? Will I ever feel in control of my body? I don’t know. So I cry.

Some days we have home school events scheduled. I take it pretty seriously that I have to provide social interaction for my kids. They must get to know children. So I can’t be a hermit-crab. So we have home school park days and occasional outings and one day I invited people over to make gingerbread houses (which will involve two scheduled days of preparation in advance to *make* all the fucking gingerbread so I have to be home and working those days).

So when I say I am “scheduled” I don’t always mean “with people” or “with friends”. (I am maybe moving in the direction of friendship with some of the home school moms but mostly I try to not be offensive because I need my kids to have access to their kids. I may *like* a lot of the home school moms tremendously but being around them is an anxiety train wreck because I am so afraid that they are going to start hating me and then they won’t let my kids play with their kids and it will be all my fault. It is nothing resembling rest to hang out with them.)

I have a day set aside to pack for the Portland trip.

I have two days devoted to gentlemen doing work on the house. Plumbing and building an insulated wall behind my garage door because holy crap do I need my garage to be useable this winter instead of being a fucking refrigerator.

I have a trip to Portland that will take ten days and a trip to Texas that technically only takes three days but with packing and a rest day afterwards (our flights are late at night–the kids will be crispy fried) that is more like five days of commitment.

If you want to know about “social time” I have two friends who are coming over for tea in December. (One will be gluten free–which takes extra thought preparation for me.–TOTALLY worth the effort.) I have a friend who comes to dinner on Wednesday nights. Someone else is coming this weekend. I scheduled an open house in December. (I think that at least ten people will show up. I’m excited.) That’s my me-social-time till the end of the year.

I talk to K every day on the phone or I go absolutely crazy. That is one of the biggest supports in my life.

I even schedule days where the kids get to decide what I have to do all day because otherwise they feel ignored all the damn time. (They aren’t ignored… I talk to them all day while I’m doing other stuff but they really wish they were the center of the universe AT ALL TIMES.) I have to schedule playing with them because I am so tired all the time. If I don’t schedule it I don’t do it. That’s how spoon management works.

So that is how I can be overscheduled and lonely at the same time. I don’t see much of my “friends”. But I get a lot of work done.