Category Archives: being a chick

Boundaries on and off screen

I am somewhat hyperaware that someday my kids may grow up and read this. It could happen. That means I actually… edit… maybe more than you might think of my life here. I’m nervous about how I present Noah. I talk about him in terrible ways sometimes. I also very carefully avoid saying a lot of terrible things about him.

I do not want sides taken. I do not want back and forth bickering in public. I do not want my children seeing the depths to which we sink when we are being fucking petty. Why not? It’s complicated.

We haven’t fought like this since we closed our relationship. Fighting like this is why we closed our relationship. Because we didn’t think we could stay married through fighting like this.

But that was when we had babies and it just wasn’t ok at all for me to have emotional variance because of my relationship with Noah. I had to be regulated because I was teaching emotional regulation just about 24/7.

That was kind of a difficult thing for someone who is as dysregulated as I have been all my life. I look at my children and feel that I succeeded. Clearly they got the lessons they needed developmentally when they were needed. I did it. I stayed calm. I taught them how to handle conflict and big feelings without flipping out.

I did it.

Which means I can have more things in my life that cause my feelings to fluctuate. Which is fucking tricky.

Nonmonogamy is going to be hard. There are a lot more insecurities here than either of us are really having fun talking about.

What does safety mean? What does connection mean? What are we working towards? What do we want? What is the purpose of sex in our relationship? What do we do for one another versus for ourselves?

I sure wish that these conversations could come with a little more sleep for me. Out of the past three nights I’m now only down about one night of sleep. That’s improving…

But we talk all night long because we can’t talk in front of the kids.

I am not sure either of us are being fair. Yeah, I’m being an asshole. I’m not in denial. I’m not trying to say that I’m being fine and he’s the asshole. I’m really not saying that.

I cheated and broke his heart. He thought he was going to get to be my one and only forever and ever amen.

He’s allowed to be absolutely furious about that.

I know.

I’m trying very very hard to not get into done-me-wrongs. I will talk about what I know I have done wrong. I don’t need to get into done-me-wrongs.

It won’t help. I hiss those often enough in person. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the list. I just don’t need to write it down.

How do you fight in civilized fashion when you are a compulsive over-sharer? Like this. You say what you did wrong and talk about being angry without placing blame. I’m not saying that Noah is to blame for my feelings. He isn’t. I mean… a couple of his particular phrase choices were infuriating… but whatever. I’m being a right bitch in this fight.

How do you build towards a vision of self that may not be what your partner wants? How big do you want your partner to be? How small so you can feel bigger? I don’t know.

Who is pulling whom around on a chain.

I don’t want to leave. That’s part of the reason I have no particular reason to bad mouth Noah up one side and down the other. I don’t want to leave. Even though I’m angry about some stuff right now… that’s life. I flipped the canoe of our life over. There are going to be some feelings we have to deal with. I’m ok with that. I’m not enjoying this process but I see it as necessary.

I’m not afraid of conflict.

I’m afraid of not getting my needs met.

I’m afraid of not being who I want to be because I am afraid that someone else doesn’t want me to be.

I’m afraid of making myself small and unthreatening and never doing anything with my life again because I have decided I don’t deserve to ask for what I really want.

What does necessary even mean?

I’m sure I don’t know.

Am I fucking everything up permanently? Well. I guess we will find out. There is the non-zero possibility.

It is hard when I feel like I’m absolutely the bad guy here. I’m the one insisting on change because the status quo wasn’t working. I feel like a fucking asshole for not making it work. For not deciding that it was just good enough because that was all I agreed to this life.

I did not promise sexual fidelity in my marriage vows. Yeah. I slammed the door four years ago when we were having screaming fights about lying and … shit don’t rehash it. It wasn’t well done.

I feel like everything bad must be all my fault. I feel like I am a monster. A selfish, disgusting monster.

Day 38. Still no bleeding. PMDD means that right before I start bleeding I tend to have intense spikes of depression and anxiety. My suicidal urges go through the roof. This is a well documented phenomena.

I need to be something other than a cum dumpster who can’t cum. This just… isn’t working any more.

I wish I didn’t feel so fucking bad about that.

Sometimes people ask why I write such whiny melodramatic stuff. Aren’t I embarrassed? I’m documenting what living with an acute stress disorder is like. The kind that results from brain damage. If you think I should be embarrassed that says more about you than it does about me. No, it’s not fucking smooth. Yeah I’m a lot of fucking drama. Lots of ups and downs.

That’s what brain damage does. Pieces of it are absolutely my fault in an ongoing way I really don’t deny that. But I’m also trying to deal with my problems. That means I’m going to flail and do things that don’t work sometimes and I will document those fuck ups so I don’t forget and have to make the same mistake over and over.

I’m not writing for you.

I’m writing for me.

Feeling more complete

At the conclusion of Cranky Day I went up to Wicked Grounds and had dinner with two wonderful women. We had a great conversation. I felt seen. I felt like I had friends. I felt like I know these peoples stories and they know mine and they want to know more. I know I want to know more about them.

It isn’t just about hunting. It is about needing something bigger than a four person nucleus family with a babysitter.

My submissive walked in, surprised to see me, on a date. I was tactful I think. Barely grabby enough to remind him that I can but not stepping on the toes of his date. I think. I hope. *cross fingers* (No complaints from him.)

I think it is funny how I’m kinda putting people in boxes they didn’t ask to be put in. I don’t know if those are boxes they want to be in.

I am sorta doing with my submissive an intensified, deeper, adult, more intimate version of what I barely hinted at with my best friend in junior high. My poor best friend. I spent so much time hitting him. He told me that it didn’t hurt that much and clearly I needed to be hitting someone so it was ok. But I never kissed him. I never got even close to being sexual with him. That was completely off the table. (I actually went and stayed with this friend on the road trip. His wife is awesome and he has a darling baby boy. I’m so happy for him.)

I’ve never really soaked in wanting without hurrying up to sex. I don’t even really know how to do that. I feel like I’m signing up for the most torturous science project of my life. How does one sit with desire and coax it without indulging it completely?

I don’t know and I want to find out.

When I am grinding on your crotch and you can smell me the thing isn’t that I lack desire to fuck you.

I want to fuck you. But much more than that I want the power to decide not to fuck you. The first power like that I’ve ever really had in my life.

That’s a kind of intoxication I don’t know how to describe.

I love that I can lay on you and kiss you as much as I want to and you will gasp and moan and pant and start crying… but you won’t grab me and force me to do more than I am ready to do.

This is an utterly novel experience for me.

It is gross and creepy and yucky but I feel like the seeds of wanting this came from being a parent. I kiss my kids without escalating. But it isn’t passionate. It is loving and tender without being remotely sexual.

It really taught me a lot about the variety of love I can feel. I am curious about the extent of that variety in a way I was not before having children. How many ways can love?

Am I physically capable of passion without hurrying to get it over with?

And it will be complicated to figure out the dynamic of pain and tenderness. When I say that I haven’t really dominated you in the past, the tenderness is a huge chunk of what I mean. I have tried very hard to give you the kind of pain I thought you wanted. I wasn’t there just being selfish. I like that kind of play and I thought you only wanted a specific thing from me.

If what you want is to do what I want, then this is going to be a whole lot more gentle. Because you don’t understand what I want as much as you think you do. Yes, I want to hurt you. I’m going to fuck you up severely. But that will be like 10% of our relationship.

I’ve watched you for a decade and a half. I’ve watched you be a man of integrity, honesty, character, and dedication.

Why in the world would I want to spend the majority of our time together degrading you?

Just got off the phone with my shrink. That was a lovely phone call. I gave her an update on the folks I’m pursuing. She said, “Oh I know these names.” That makes me happy. She thinks it is a good thing that I am taking my sexual satisfaction this seriously. “If this is what it takes and you can do it… do it.”

She also said that the thing I was cranky about is something we’ve discussed in therapy many many many many many many many times and yup I’ve been cranky about it for a long time. That is an accurate perception on my part. I’m not being hysterical. This is an issue.

I described my April and said, “Ok that is 0-60.”

I said, “IT IS ONLY ON 3 DAYS!!!!”

“Oh. But it is so much emotional intensity… it feels like a lot more than three days…”

Deep sigh.

You don’t understand. I used to do this 5-6 nights/week.

Three nights in a month doesn’t feel like 0-60 for me. And two of those nights I’ll be with the kids for most of the day anyway.

So it doesn’t represent that much time away from my normal life except in the form of lost sleep.

So it feels different to me.

I’m being real careful to catch up on sleep first.

My shrink said yeah, just use Lorazepam every night for a while. Catch up on lost sleep. Just doooo eeeet.

None of this, “But I’m overmedicated” bullshit. I’m not.

I think I have decided to try the Gabapentin. I’m scared shitless. But I seriously need a break from smoking. This is killing my lungs. Edibles are so expensive.

I would much rather give my money away than hemorrhage it on pot. Realistically: I’d rather pay chiropractors.

I’m not sure I will ever stop completely. I like it. But I don’t want to need this much of it. At this point it is hurting me.

My lungs are so pissed.

I won’t be on the computer today. K is bringing the Bonus Kids over. We haven’t had a visit in a while. I’m really happy about it.

Last night two wonderful women decided to come talk to me just because I said in a public way that I would be out of the house.

I feel so lucky.

Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for loving me.

Arms hurt. Love you so much. Bye.

Peace

This morning I had a peaceful moment. One of those true, Zen moments of “I am happy and this is where I want to be.” Eldest Child woke up to use the restroom too early. I was awake doing chores, like usual. She asked me if I would climb in bed with her so she could sing me a lullaby. Twinkle Twinkle was the song of choice. Then she spent a while talking to me about why she likes me.

This is kind of a habit I have with the kids. I don’t put them to bed all the time, probably not even half the time these days at home. Maybe a quarter of the time? But we had the road trip and all the years before that of shared bed times. At bed time, what we do is we cuddle up close and spent 15-20 minutes talking about all the reasons we like each other. “You did ____ and I was so impressed with your thoughtfulness. You did ______ and I was shocked to see that you have made that developmental jump. I thought that was a (age inflation) thing and I’m really wow’ed. You said ______ word today and that was surprising because I didn’t know you knew that word!”

We bookend that with waking up to morning snuggles. During morning snuggles we talk about what we need to do today and how the schedule will work.

I can understand why my children insist I’m not an asshole and I just have bad moments. I don’t understand it so much from other people. Sometimes I feel like my children get to have a relationship with someone that no one else even gets to meet.

Sometimes I am capable of seeing myself as kind, giving, and loving.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m an asshole.

Contradiction is necessary for life. For survival. You can be kind and an asshole.

Why am I so convinced I’m an asshole? Because I lawyer up fast when my contractors give me trouble. Because I find that swearing at men really harshly is one of the best ways to convince strange men I’m not interested in their attention. Because I find that sometimes it is necessary to kick people really hard to get them to let go and I’m willing to do it. Because I’m going to keep talking about why the word whore is eating my brain even though people with sex work careers twitch and feel really upset about it.

Want to hear something wild? Yesterday one of the most famous sex workers of our era gave me permission to use the word whore however I need to in my processing. She says if anyone questions me again I can send them to her.

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to pull that card. But I may print out that tweet and cut it up small and put it in my wallet next to the permission slip from Noah. Just so that I think about it.

I have permission to look at this however hard I need to in order to get over it. She said so.

I am so fucking weird about permission. I’ve spent my whole life cringing, crying, and hurting myself because I felt that was the only thing I was allowed to do without permission. I need permission to stop. I need permission to feel something else about myself.

Why does that have to be the default? I mean, blame your parents yada yada, why does that have to be my default?

Why do I have to assume, in every moment, that I am the least valuable person present and if someone should die it should be me?

Not that I want to get to the point of wanting to sacrifice other people for myself.

Wait, maybe that is it.

I have never known a white person with really high self esteem who isn’t willing to throw other people under the bus for their own advancement. I have known people of color with high self esteem whom I have never seen sacrifice a friend. I know people of color who are exploitive assholes, too.

I’m trying to think through my white friends… y’all make very self absorbed choices. I do too. I’m not sitting on a high horse. I’m sitting flat on the ground. I’m not high and mighty here. I’m trying to figure out how this works.

I am willing to throw people under a bus if I feel I have to do so in order to be effective.

That’s why I’m an asshole. I need accurate labeling so other people know they have to protect themselves from me.

want to help you. I will try to help you. But if I feel I have to be effective in some area for Reasons…

I’m a selfish piece of shit. That’s why I’m alive. I’m willing to say that Safeway doesn’t matter as much as me, I’m stealing food. I’m willing to say, “Being around people who make choices like x is so problematic to me that I will bug and bug and bug people who make choices like that until they don’t want to know me any more.”

I’m an asshole because I make a lot of assumptions about people and I don’t check my privilege nearly often enough. I’m trying to get better. This is hard.

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

I spent my childhood moving like a ghost through different communities. I never stayed long enough to belong. I lived in a lot of neighborhoods where we were the only white family. I grew up feeling like being white was a bad thing. Know why? White people don’t care about their kids very much. That was how I experienced it as a child. I don’t think that is literally true across the board. That was my experience. In white neighborhoods there were always packs of unsupervised children doing horrifyingly inappropriate things. In neighborhoods of color there might be much older teenagers or 20-somethings causing trouble, but the kids were god damn watched.

I was chased out of so many homes for having bad behavior. I was told I was a bad girl dozens, maybe a hundred times.

It’s funny how my memories of these things change and drift. I remember them very differently as my understanding of the situation changes.

When I was 21ish I honestly didn’t remember all those lectures about being bad. I had kinda blocked them out. I knew I was bad but it was a fog hanging over my life. I didn’t have all those disparate voices going through my head.

As a parent watching my children be children (by which I mean breaking rules and fucking up) I hear those people in my head over and over more and more clearly. Oh. That was why they said that.

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

I have always felt like I was living in many ages at once. But I feel like my future selves have changed a lot over my life. My ability to perceive who I could be has changed.

These days I can picture having grandchildren who scornfully tell my children that they should be more patient, like Grammie. I will giggle. My children will say, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS LIKE TO GROW UP WITH.” I will giggle.

Do you have any idea what having that vision in my head means to me? I have the belief that I might be able to arrive at having the kind of experience of being in my body that I want to have. I believe that I might get to the point of being actually regulated and calm.

I have hope for something I was not capable of dreaming up 20 years ago.

It’s amazing what ten years of safety can do for a body. I see it in myself. I see it in my children. That is something that home schooling does for me that isn’t necessary for almost anyone else I know.

I require this specific time to be set aside in my adult life where the entire point of my day is to model how to have big emotions, get them under control, deal with them appropriately when they come up, and then keep working.

Not suppressing. Not denying. Not minimizing. Not avoiding until it comes crashing down on you at some inappropriate time in the future. Your feelings matter. They live in you and they serve a purpose. If you ignore them in the moment you will pay a price later. There are times and places where emotional displays are not appropriate, but get that stuff out as fast as possible so it doesn’t become a poison.

I am grateful every day for the life I am leading right now.

I have the safety, the money, the access to care providers, and the education to do something about the trauma in my body.

That is magical. This should be available to everyone who has experienced trauma. We would be a better world.

People deserve to be seen in context and understood. Most people who seem “crazy” to you wouldn’t seem so crazy if you knew more about their story. I tell my children all the time, “Weird just means you aren’t used to it yet; eventually it is just normal.”

My mom used to say, “The only norma people are the ones you don’t know very well.”

One of my neighbors is stepping up the offer of maternal-nature-friendship. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Thank You Oh Universe, You Sure Do Like To Hear My Calls, Don’t You?

On the other hand… I’m scared of blowing up what we currently have if she finds out more about me. I’m not exactly the uhhhh conservative type and she is quite shy, scared, and sheltered. I don’t want to hurt her. She will need a lot of boundaries around the kinds of things she can handle hearing and I’m not sure how to find those boundaries without fucking up pretty badly. Once you say something it can never be unsaid.

We have a really solid, positive relationship. Losing it would be brutal. This feels really tricky. Our families are fairly strongly connected at the level we have now. I feel really like this is a big risk. Much bigger than telling all the strangers on the internet about my raunchy sex life and habit of beating people up for fun.

I’m kinda weird.

My superego is fucking developed at this point, ok? I’m growing up.

I’m an asshole and she is not. She wants to mother me. What will she do when she finds out I have approximately 500 x’s as much life experience as her?

There is a thing I think about. When I was in the bdsm community I was really serious about learning all I could as fast as I could. I played a lot with a lot of people. Basically I spent more time on bdsm than I spent on my college education, which I was pursuing simultaneously. Much Much Much more time on bdsm.

I was a serious slut and it was really fun and I have no regrets. I learned what I wanted to learn from that experience. I’m shocked at how often I find ways to apply the lessons I’ve learned, not in ways you’d expect.

I had more life experience at 25 than many people have at 50. It isn’t hyperbole, it is simple fact. I say yes to almost anything that comes up. I know very diverse people in many communities. I’m a moody bastard with a short attention span.

I’ve done a lot of things. It is something I notice when I meet new people these days. I sound like a lying braggart. Nope. I got receipts. I did all that. Why? Because I never felt like I had a better choice than to do what I was doing so I did it all in. As soon as something stops feeling like the best choice in the moment I break down, fall into a deep depression. Go home. Hurt myself until I figure out that the boundaries required in that community are not things I can maintain long-term. Then I heal. Then I try again.

It goes faster and faster as I age and get boundaries carved out of granite. It is harder to change them. I am less tolerant of my internal, “I need to conform by doing x in this environment” sensor and I just flee.

I have a home now. I have less reason to tolerate your bullshit rules. Wanna know why I know they are bullshit rules? Cause this ain’t my first rodeo. Don’t worry, I think the rules in my house are bullshit too. They are all weird and arbitrary. They are made to suit the moods of whichever asshole in the vicinity is loudest.

I know.

I used to know a man who liked to say, “I’m the only psycho in this relationship” or maybe he said he was the only one who gets to be crazy? I may be misremembering. I’ll cop to that.

I need to be the biggest asshole in the space I’m in. So Noah is an asshole, but I know that I’m much more likely to be the one to bulldoze than him.

It works for us. Picture a heart emoji here, but I have technically banned them so this will have to do.

He doesn’t think I’m an asshole. That’s part of why this works. I think we are both assholes and I’m just a bigger one. But he’s all mellow and tolerant so it works out. Do you however you need to, ok?

I’m going to be kinda passive aggressive here and say: if you are one of Noah’s friends… this is a great time to ask him to go out some time. He needs to talk. To more people than just me right now cause life is like that sometimes.

I can’t fill his tank as much as he needs me to right now. Because I’m dealing with the remodel and and and. His job is kinda hard.

I need to go beat the shit out of people. I don’t know what he needs. But right now, he’s wilting like a flower and that’s a serious bummer. I don’t know what it is that is missing right now, but clearly all the right nutrients aren’t in place.

This is the kind of micromanaging, paying attention that I want in my life. It is why I appreciate the people who have stuck with me and really got to know me so much. Because I’m more pushy like this by the year. Because people do it more with me. It’s a careful balance. How much controlling and influencing other people should we do?

I really don’t know where those boundaries ought to be. I’m not pulling up Noah’s email account and making plans for him. That’s over the line.

Where is the line?

Everyone is different. I want you to get to be who you need to be. I want to figure out who I need to be and I want to just do the shit out of it.

This feels like baby steps towards self love, doesn’t it? This morning feels good. I have to say that these piles of tile are inspiring. I may be jaunting off to get more sparkly tiles today. I’m really excited about the snow wall. I want to build that first because I have so much white and it would be nice to get it mostly used up and out of the way so I see how much I need to still buy in terms of tile for the rest of the bathroom. I really can’t tell yet.

It depends on how high up the walls I want to go, right? We’ll see!

Youngest child’s half bathroom is spring. Other half bathroom is summer. The bathing room is going to have autumn and winter. I can’t wait to look at the sparkly snow while I take baths in candle light at night. That will be so beautiful.

I’m serious my friends, if you want to come take a bath… let me know.

I’m thinking hard about how I want to make the tree of life that will climb up the wall over the bath tub. I need to look at more pictures. That will probably be that last bit I design because much of it might be painted, I haven’t decided.

I know that “traditionally speaking” you want flat walls. I’m not going to have flat walls with perfectly level tile. It’s going to be pretty rough and it will be on purpose and structured and artistic. I think it will work.

Oh please God let this work cause this puppy is going to be expensive if I fuck up.

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

Have I told you that the floor will have a stone path lined with green tiles to look like grass?

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

If only the roof weren’t uhm, being tricky. We are still negotiating. I’m blathering on Twitter but I won’t rehash it here. Just… gotta keep walking on. I’m trying to not be angry. At this point all of the guys in the company have apologized for making decisions without me when clearly they made the wrong choice at a critical juncture. I had preferences and they didn’t ask. Even though I’ve told them over and over and over I want to be asked.

Ok. Trying to move on. Have to get this shit finished. If it’s beautiful… I will still write positive reviews with caveats about how I had to be fierce in advocating for myself.

I made it very clear that from here on out the crew was not to dump their lunch garbage all over and leave it here for weeks. Saw blades are all over the ground and that’s not cool. My lawyer was at this meeting. I should stop talking about it for all kinds of reasons.

I wanted to write something down here for documenting purposes. Instead, I hit cut’n’paste and sent it to my lawyer.

That seems smart just now.

Past self, you picked this woman out based on proximity and hope. Well done!

Today will be a good day, I think. I hope. I believe. Oh yeah, a friend asked if she could come over to dinner. I should tell Noah. Ha. Surprise. We have six people coming over for dinner.

Roll with it. Life flows like that. If people ask to come over for dinner the next night and I have no plans…. I’m weak. I have no willpower for that kind of rejection. Because you hit my sweet spot. Basically no output of energy and lots of input of attention. Yeah, you can do that. Sounds awesome. I have to cook anyway. Don’t worry. I always have enough food around.

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Totally flooded.

I haz big feelings. My stomach hurts. But I feel like I worked out this awful thing that has been in my neck/shoulder for years. I feel like I did a major trauma release in this class. That’s kinda intense. Exposure therapy for the win.

This is what exposure therapy means. The attackers are safe guys in suits who maintain their distance so they can maintain their aura of scary. But they are monitored by women the whole time. It isn’t some guy deciding to do something to a woman when he feels like it and she should have to react right. That’s not exposure therapy. Exposure therapy means a female coach kneeling with her face next to your face whispering, “Remember to breathe. Stop. Wait for the moment. You can do this.”

Stop calling real life abuse exposure therapy. It isn’t. Ok, digression over.

My second experience at Impact was fairly different from the first. I didn’t have a friend in the class. It felt like the group warmed up slower but then made more genuine connections once we did warm up. Everyone started off tentative and not too chatty but by the final day we were pretty friendly. That felt nice.

I took a risk the morning of the third day. I said that the cheering wasn’t making it through to me during my fights and I really needed the line to get louder and more encouraging because it’s scary to fight in quiet. I feel alone. I have to say, those women came through once I made a specific request. They did great.

I didn’t ask for more than one extended fight this time. I literally just… couldn’t. By the time I got through the one extended fight my body was saying, “Let the men make them easy from here on out.”

The guys… they have to work ridiculously hard to do an extended fight with the people who really want blood. They do extended fights to teach women that even when you feel exhausted (this is as close as they will get to the exhaustion of a fight where you will be dealing with someone hitting you) and tired and worn out you can still defend yourself. I think I have a better understanding of fighting from a place of exhaustion from the get go, so I didn’t need the exercise this weekend.

I chose to leave a few spoons in my drawer. Because today I seriously need to pay attention to the kids and if I had left it all out on the mat I would spend today in bed crying. I just couldn’t. This wasn’t a real fight to the death so it would have been inappropriate to wear myself out that hard so I couldn’t hang with the kids.

I pay attention to these things.

Topic switch. Back to hitting.

Yes, I think (upon further reflection) what I am doing with Noah unconsciously probably would be better termed a tap or a light smack… but that is still putting my hands on someone else’s body in a way I’m not paying attention to. In a way that he chooses to describe as being hit. Because he gets that choice. I need to stop it.

Just like people don’t get to tell me that when the kid kicked me in the throat it wasn’t assault. Yes, actually it was an assault. I’m not going to prosecute because I don’t think the kid had malicious intent. But it was an assault.

It is possible to hit and not be causing (permanent) damage. Not be hurting people. Still be a problem. Still need to stop.

I need to have so much fucking control over my body that I do not put my hands on people at all unless I am doing it in a way that I am highly conscious and in control of exactly what I’m doing. I can’t be muddy. I can’t be like “Close enough is good enough.” Not with what I want to do with my life.

So maybe I’m over reacting and maybe I’m understanding how much work I have left on this problem. I need to stop hitting people. Entirely. 100000% unless someone is directly threatening my physical safety.

I know I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to live in gray areas but this is a black and white thing. I’ve done too much hitting in my life. I need to get this under control.

I mean, not that I’m going to cancel that nice date with my friend. I’m going to do everything in my power to get to the point where I only hit people (even lightly) when they say, “Pretty please”. Or they start a fight.

I spent a lot of this class thinking about escalation. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I escalate.

I know it’s all victim blamey and shit, but yeah a lot of the fights, a lot of the rapes kinda happened because I had no ability to deescalate. It hurts seeing that so plainly over time. I am not good at managing peoples emotions in a deescalating way. I’m good at cranking the volume up. I stimulate feelings I don’t settle them. This is a problem.

I think about things like the neighbor who has been sexually harassing me. Did I encourage him? I don’t think so. 90%+ of the time I talk to him my kids are standing right there and I don’t encourage displays of sexuality in front of my children. So I’m inclined to believe this is his desperate fantasy that he isn’t dead yet and he’s still sexually interesting instead of this being about me. But do I deescalate properly when he brings stuff up? Mostly I call the kids and keep walking when he gets rude. What else should I be doing?

Well I think kicking the crap out of him then telling him I cannot be in control if a man grabs me may have been effective. He’s keeping more physical distance these days.

But is he going to creep again? My guess is yes. Because creepers gonna creep. Does it make it all my fault if it happens again because I’m stupid enough to talk to him?

You know what? I get to walk around my god damn neighborhood without having to physically fight off unwanted sexual advances. That’s fucking ridiculous. No this isn’t my fault and I should not have to avoid walking down my own god damn street to avoid being sexually harassed. That’s not reasonable. If he starts shit I’m not the one escalating. He is. I’m just not going to fucking be passive. I’m very friendly and non-threatening with him. I have no desire to hurt him. I’m just not going to let him do shit to me I don’t want to have done.

That has to be ok. No matter how old he is. No matter how much I like him. No matter if I know any man ever again.

I get to say yes to everything that happens to my body. Or I get to fucking hurt you. That’s the deal.

I’m getting closer to the point where I feel I could actually do it in a fight.

It was hard having Noah there. I asked him if he thought I could stop him if he tried to rape me at this point. He isn’t convinced.

I need to take more classes. It is 100% my goal to be able to so deeply scare men that they do not believe they could successfully do that again.

Not because I want to hurt men. Because I’m not going to be raped again. I’m done. The passive has been raped right the fuck out of me. I’ve taken all I can take.

It is quite literally my goal to die before letting someone rape me again. I want to fight to the point where someone has the choice to kill me or leave me alone.

I’m done.

Something broke and it can’t be fixed.

To be fair, Noah didn’t see my extended fight. He saw the easy peasy fights the instructors give you to blow off steam so you walk out of the room feeling strong so you don’t leave feeling like you should walk in front of a bus. They plan this shit. They know the roller coaster they put people on. Noah didn’t see quite how effective I am at kicking peoples skulls in. I practice from a variety of angles. I’m semi-worried that I will actually kill someone because I’m going to be kicking with such incredible force and anger. I may well shove someones face into their brain.

I won’t lose sleep over that. Ok, yes I will. I will be convinced I’m a monster who should be killed. Maybe I’ll go to jail and think that’s fair.

But I won’t be god damn raped that day.

I feel dangerous and horrible. But yes I am prepared to use deadly force to prevent someone from raping me again.

I have to believe I deserve that or I need to die today because I cannot endure another rape. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

I’m done. I have to believe I am allowed to kill someone to stop them if necessary. I know that in an actual fight I will have to use the minimum amount of force necessary to stop a fight. I know that. The chances I will get to a fight that results in death are incredibly freakishly low. Only I’m going to pursue a career that will make people hate me with the power of the sun.

So maybe my chances aren’t vanishingly small. Maybe they just aren’t that high?

I don’t know that I am yet at a point where I am capable of holding the adrenaline in and just doing the necessary hurting.

During one of my fights the suited instructor literally ran out of the room to get away from me because I was chasing too much.

I mean, I didn’t chase him off the mat. But I did take steps in his direction. I hear that the expression on my face was uhhhhh… terrifying.

I don’t know if that is a regular schtick of theirs to try and break the tension because it’s funny. Or if he felt like that is actually how an attacker would respond because holy shit.

I don’t know.

You never know.

They call the rape prevention moves “reversals”. Because you are reversing the power. Those are the ones where you have to stay still on the floor and use physics and it’s scary and complicated and fairly precise. I find them horrifyingly triggering.

It’s really hard to say, “I tried that and what happened was…” I failed. That’s what happened. I failed when I tried to do that. I didn’t prevent a rape that day.

Ahhh. I tried to move long before I felt weight. There was no physics to help me. Fuck everything. Well, specifically he fucked me. After slamming my head into the ground so hard I saw stars. I stopped fighting.

I don’t know if it would be different today. I don’t actually feel confident. That was just a fucking class. I was chanting to myself the whole time, “There is no chance this man would actually rape you. There are witnesses. He’s wearing very difficult clothing. This isn’t real.” Because I wanted to run screaming I was so fucking freaked out. But… that means it isn’t that real in my body.

Would I be able to access this when I’m scared? I’ve worked so hard for so many years to break the freeze response. I’m tired of going numb. But it is a genuine survival skill. I have worked hard to make it less likely I will survive.

I’m ready to die or assert myself. One or the other. But I do not yet know for sure that I’d win.

It is hard believing that I would kill to defend myself and that is part of why I am a disgusting person. I don’t know that I really believe I have the right. I am bad. I want to hurt people.

Not really. I’m just god damn done letting them hurt me.

That’s not true either. I do want to hurt people. I want to hurt people who like being hurt because it released kinetic energy from my body and it allows me to be more calm and gentle when necessary and appropriate.

Hitting is all of these things. It is tapping Noah when I shouldn’t. Even though it doesn’t hurt I’m touching someone without consent in a way that can be described as hitting. My friend who is inviting me to a lovely session of testicle kicking, that’s hitting too. It is completely consensual. He’s going to have a good time, I’m going to have a good time–it’s going to be fun! And being willing to beat someone unconscious for trying to rape me.

It’s all hitting. It is all violence. But do they mean the same things? Should they be treated the same way legally? Should they be treated like trauma because “hitting”?

Everyone gets to decide for themselves what is traumatizing. I’ve done bdsm scenes that were WAY more intense/painful/fucking out there than my rapes. My rapes traumatized me. My rapes were an action that I did not consent to happening to my body in a way that proved to me that I do not have the right to have agency over myself or my life. My bdsm scenes were done with friends and they were fun. Even if they were painful and scary. I knew what I was signing on for. I did it on purpose. I did it with full force and vigor and choice.

That makes all the difference.

I don’t feel traumatized by the throat kick. I feel like I learned something about boundaries.

If you fuck up and assault someone… that isn’t the end of the world. How you respond afterwards is what matters.

If you fuck up and assault someone on purpose… that’s different.

I genuinely believe there are accidental assaults all the time. Just like there is involuntary manslaughter.

Ok, I have one specific complaint about the class this time: I really didn’t appreciate the “boogeyman homeless guy” thing. That fucking pissed me off. The vast majority of assaults are someone you know. Leave the fucking homeless guys alone. They are doing their fucking best and I’m god damn tired of the nastiness of housed people.

Being homeless does not mean you are a god damn rapist.

That’s the attitude though. Homeless guys are creepy and scary. Do you know why they creep you out? Because you feel like they aren’t like you and that’s gross. I feel like they are like me and they are in a hard place right now.

I don’t need to feel scared of someone who has so little power and authority in life compared to me. Am I prepared to defend myself if someone does start something? Sure. But I’ve been interacting with homeless people for decades. I’ve done so all over the country and in other countries.

I’m not scared of homeless people. They are scared of me.

Why? Because they know I can call the cops and have them put in jail. That’s how the power dynamic works. Can I really? Would the cops do it? Maybe. But it’s pretty likely. If any of you dressed-like-you-live-in-a-house-people called the police on a homeless person there is a high chance the homeless person is getting arrested.

For vagrancy. For loitering. For trespassing. For intimidation. For assault.

Even if that assault was accidental. Who cares? It’s a homeless person. They are creepy and icki. We don’t want them around, prosecute.

Stop. Calling. The. Cops. On. Creepy. Homeless. People.

Unless you see them commit a serious crime, just leave them the fuck alone. Ok? They have enough god damn problems without whiny people harassing them.

(I’m not really talking to a specific person or even the folks in the class. I’m mad at the universe over this one.)

I’M TALKING TO THOSE ASSHOLES ON NEXTDOOR.

“I saw a homeless person on my street so I called the police.” I hope you die slowly in a lot of pain.

Like those assholes who called the cops on me in Virginia. I looked suspicious. I had out of state license plates and camping gear. Clearly I was up to no good.

This is my cranky face.

It is weird trying to find a place where compassion and the right to break your face live right side by side. Because in being able to defend myself like this… I’m trying to have compassion for myself. I’m allowed to say that 12 rapists in one life is enough. I’m allowed to say that I was 25 when I was last raped and that’s god damn when it ended. I’m allowed to absolutely fucking harm anyone who tries again.

That is what compassion for myself means. Maybe another woman could passively permit a rape and not kill her attacker and later prosecute and that would be the most “ethical” choice of all… or something.

I can’t absorb any more.

I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

How do you get ready to actually be able to kill someone if you have to? I don’t want to. I really don’t want to.

Shit I already feel guilty that people seem to kill themselves after dealing with me.

(Yes, I know I am not “at fault” for any of these suicides. Life is complicated.)

In class someone thought it was funny to make a joke about fire. I sure know how to shut down jokes about fire. It was asked “Does anyone have any trauma around fire? No? Good….” Then I raised my hand. “Yeah, my brother self immolated.”

I bring all the fun jokes to an end.

God I suck.

Hell, I’m not even saying to stop using the joke. It’s ok to jokingly tease a group of people and tell them the final test will involve jumping through a fiery hoop. That’s not a bad joke. That’s not a real threat.

That’s ok.

But god I can kill any joke.

I am so not funny that it is really really funny. It is to the point where my litany of traumas is becoming almost hysterical. I have a trauma for any god damn situation.

It is kinda funny sometimes.

WHEN WILL THE INSANITY END?!?!!? is most of the joke.

Well, I’m still having an extraordinary life… but I’d say it is mostly no longer traumatic. I have boundary violation issues every so often that must be managed.

I don’t think I’ve been traumatized in while. I think the last trauma was severing with my family. (I think I traumatized Sarah after that… but that’s a different discussion.)

Why do I split hairs like this? Because my shrink tells me to break everything down into its smallest compartments and then sort them out.

What is hitting? What is violence? What is trauma? These things are so broad and yet so very specific.

Random defensive pissiness: I read an article yesterday. Don’t remember where or by whom and I don’t care. The person was pretty much saying, “Stop talking about your white privilege because you are just grand standing. If you were really doing anything to dismantle structural racism you would do it silently.” Oh fuck you.

I’m trying to fund the revolution, motherfucker. I am putting my money where my mouth is. I do more with every year and I track it better so that I can know that I am doing more with every year.

Recently Noah told me, “If you don’t feel like you do anything in the world… you are giving more and more money away every year. You are financially impacting the lives of more and more people. That is doing something.”

I don’t do this because I’m a nice person. I don’t do this to be good. I do this because I can never help the child I was. I do this because it needs to be done and other assholes aren’t stepping up.

I’m an asshole. I can live with that. But I want to be an asshole who has specific boundaries around where and how I hit people, how I escalate fights, and when it is appropriate for me to use force.

I think that hitting people to teach them is a shitty way to teach them if you want an ongoing relationship. That style of teaching instill anger, fear, distrust, and the belief in the person you are educating that they deserve to be hit.

Ask me how I’m feeling about Noah right now.

We need something different.

I do not feel traumatized. I feel like I discovered a boundary. I need something different. This isn’t working for me.

I have enough brain damage for one lifetime.

I think that hitting should be used when you are ok with ending the relationship and not before.

If you don’t think I should be packing to leave then we should not be in a physical fight. That needs to be a boundary. And no, that does not mean I should get free hits without retribution. That’s not what I’m saying.

I need to stop hitting casually. I need to be taught through repetition and mostly through words. This behavior will mostly be extinguished through catching the “taps” that “don’t count” because actually they do. They teach muscle memory. They remind me that hitting is ok.

I used to hit ineffectively so I thought it was fine for me to hit people. At this point I’m very effective and that means I need to treat my hands like weapons and be in full control of them.

Things change.

Noah hit back because I hurt him. He has the right. I’m not really mad that he believes he has the right to defend himself.

I’m mad that men start out able to defend themselves with so much force without having to take class after class after class and work and work and work.

I’m not sure that I’m mad at the men. I’m just mad.

I know that I need to get over all the shit that happened to me. But a lot of the places I hurt almost every day are from specific assaults.

Do you think you would be able to forget if you were reminded by your body every day?

Maybe if I can actually heal I stand a chance. Maybe.

Chiropractic appointment in 3.5 hours. I’m going to call and schedule acupuncture for this week. I don’t see a massage therapist for a while but I’ll be ok. Two weeks? I’ll live. Ha.

Cause the next time I see massage therapists I’m uhm seeing two in one day because I didn’t really look at the calendar before booking the second one. That’s ok. One person works on a very small area for the full hour and the other person does a more general massage for an hour and a half. It will feel like magic. I will need to drink so much water that day.

I’m really trying.

Some day I would like to spend less money on health care and spend more money on donating to communities of color. They need the money. I’d rather not need to spend it on my body.

I really don’t think I’m the best place to spend all these resources. But I recognize that it is literally necessary for a time if I am going to heal and be able to do the work I want to do. If I want to stop feeling suicidal because I cannot deal with how much pain I experience on a daily basis… I need to spend the money since I have it. I don’t have a justification for giving it away instead of fixing what is wrong.

Not at this point. Not really. I will be a more effective tool if I stop and do maintenance.

That’s just prudence.

Is that close enough to self love to count?

I’m trying.

Today I am going to spend with the kids. Except for the chiropractic appointment. They’ll do bookwork during that time. We’ll be together the rest of the time. I think we should garden. We’ll read. We’ll snuggle.

I will remind my body that despite these training exercises… I’m safe now. I am safe now.

We need to meditate tonight. During the class I was fucking whigging out for a while. Then I remembered what I’ve been saying to myself when we meditate. “I breathe in nothing that will pollute me; I breathe out the nothingness that has consumed me.” It helped. It helped a lot. The fact that I’ve been practicing at night has helped. I calmed down much faster than I used to be able to.

Jenny tells me that I look at how far I have to go. She looks at how far I have come. I write it down so I can see too.

Rape & privilege

I’ve been talking about rape a lot on Twitter lately. I want to organize my thoughts a bit more, even though my arms burn like fire. So this may be a bit choppier than I normally blog. The Twitter character limit formatting is changing my writing. I hope in a positive way. I know I get too verbose for most people a lot of the time.

Noah spends a lot of time telling me that I spend too much time trying to figure out “who is to blame” for various problems. He’s right and he isn’t.

Thing is, dealing with rape is complicated. It is complicated at a personal level and it is exponentially more complicated at the level of a city and … then try to solve that for a state or a country.

My therapist tells me that it isn’t a good thing that the only way I know how to keep myself safe is to keep actual walls between me and other people. Well, it is the only effective method I’ve ever discovered.

That said, I travel more than the vast majority of people ever do. It’s just too expensive for most people. So I put myself in lots of situations. I put myself in situations where I have to keep, not only myself, but my children safe. Am I willfully putting us into danger just to… I don’t know… prove some macho ass shit to myself?

I genuinely don’t think so. Stranger assault is statistically rare. We don’t invite people into our tent/room. We talk to people in crowded public places then move on. It genuinely doesn’t feel risky.

Do you know what was risky? The way I was taught to walk into bedrooms with people because you wanted “privacy” after just knowing them for a few hours. That was how I spent my childhood. Asking to go into peoples rooms and initiating as much sexual contact as I could get away with and only acknowledging rebuffs grudgingly.

Sometimes it makes my heart beat fast when I enforce boundaries with my kids. They are not allowed to walk up and sit on laps any more. Not with a complete stranger. They can’t jump on strange men. Playing for two minutes doesn’t make them close enough to jump on, nope. You have no idea what is going on with their bodies. You don’t know if they just had surgery on their back. Nope. Don’t jump on strange people.

It is really weird to feel like the biggest god damn hypocrite on the planet. Don’t do anything I did.

This experience is how I understand the neglect I experienced. I completely lacked a frame for it before I was a parent. The awareness comes in stages of dawning horror.

How fucking formative that trauma was. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

I’ve been acting like a bully with the kids. I’m not asking them to do things I’m ranting that I’m sick of them not doing the thing without being asked. We are talking about it.

I feel really guilty that Eldest Child said, “It’s getting to the point where it’s almost 50/50 nice and mean and that has to change. I know you are tired. Maybe we shouldn’t go out of the room much for a few days.”

I feel this horrible mixture of pride and guilt that she has to help manage me. She can be aware of those kinds of needs. That’s amazing. I don’t want her to parent me though. I’m not using emoticons even though I want to put like 75 frowny faces in a row.

I try to tell myself that the feelings of guilt and shame are because I was raised to believe it is not ok for anyone to ever have to pay attention to me and take care of me. It is not ok for me to want anyone to help me.

I try to tell myself that this is ok. It is a kind of enmeshment, yes, but we talk about how this is not her job and she is going to not be responsible for me long term. I thank her for feedback about her perception of being around me. I seem tired. I should rest. Yeah, thanks.

She acts like I am worthy of paying attention to. I wish that didn’t make me cry.

I’m going to jump back to rape. Why am I confident that my children will not have a life like mine? A kid kind of grabbed at my kids crotch. The instantaneous response was, “You do not have my consent! Get your hand off!”

I win.

I couldn’t save my niece nor my nephew. But my kids don’t think that anyone who wants to is allowed to have access to their crotch. They believe their consent is vitally important.

I win.

That doesn’t mean they will never be raped. I understand that. Let me tell you, I’m not done educating them. I’m just going at an age appropriate rate.

A lot of “staying safe” is a complex web of knowing the right words to say at the right time. If you have highly specific technical language you don’t seem like a good victim and any good predator will walk right by you. Obviously you have the support to protect you. You are not going to be easy to intimidate.

People comment, just about daily, that my children are so aware and ….themselves. It is funny how often the wording is almost exactly that. Another friend commented that it is amazing that people don’t think Eldest Child is bossy. She just has a good plan she wants everyone to follow.

I talk to them about what they want to get from life all the time.

Eldest Child and I have been talking a lot about what she wants to do school-wise when we get home. She has specific requests. She wants to work on languages more. She is frustrated by the limitations on who she can play with. She freaking asked if we can look for a Chinese class (I can hear Pam cheering from here) so she can work on that more consistently. She said we all should take Spanish together (I’ll see what I can do, Youngest child wants Spanish and is not up for Chinese). She said maybe on Hindi for a while. She said we should practice the alphabet and such at home but she thinks we don’t need that as a formal class. So I guess that will be some structure in our days.

We all want martial arts. The kids want gymnastics as well. I can’t teach them many skills like that. I’m happy to pay someone who can.

And she wants to play the violin.

I said we would add lessons one a month until we got up to the full load because all of that at once would crush her. She says that is probably smart.

I appreciate how often she tells me I’m smart.

You know… I think that’s why she does it. She’s a perceptive little thing.

My kids are not going to look like good victims. Not ever. They are going to seem like… they have all the support in the world. It’s only sorta true, but I’m going to give it my all.

But you know what? This option isn’t exactly available to most people. My kids get a full life of having a Ladies Illustrated Primer walking around with them. That’s not what most people experience.

Holy tomato I love my job.

My kids are in touch with their bodies. They know what they like and don’t like and they consider their preferences to be absolutely worthy of consideration at all times. Good prey act like it doesn’t matter what happens to them. They often don’t know what their preferences even are. And as much as we cannot guarantee our own safety in this life, we can build resilience to weather what may come.”

I can never guarantee that my children will be safe. Not truly. Not completely. But I can teach them a variety of skills that will increase their likelihood of not only escaping from a lot of traumas but being able to cope with the inevitable tragedies in life.

My children will experience loss and pain. That is a non-negotiable part of the human condition. I know that. I’m trying to teach them how to ride the waves.

We took a break from the screens. The kids begged me to go back to the beach. It’s supposed to start storming tonight and rain mostly till we leave so I said yes. Even though it scared the absolute shit out of me. The kids kept asking me to go sit with the grown ups and just let them play.

No. No. No.

I sat between them and the ocean. There were four good waves where they started getting dragged out to sea and I grabbed them and bodily pulled them back to shore. They stopped arguing with my presence after the second grab. But they really didn’t want to stop working on the dam they were building.

They are fucking obsessed with building dams this trip. They have built them in little itty bitty creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It was awesome watching them lecture much older girls about how “We have to find a variety of materials to help provide structural integrity! Just sand won’t hold!”

That was why I had a hard time stopping the play. It was so… intense for them. But that ocean doesn’t fuck around. Lots of places are currently flooded and people die from being swept into the ocean all the time. It’s not a game. There are no take backs. The ocean is bigger than all of us.

After the fourth time when I grabbed them and I felt like barely pulled out of the wave I said, “Ok! That’s it! I’m done!”

The kids didn’t really argue with me. They spent over an hour saying repetitively after we got back to the hotel room, “I think you just saved my life. Wow. You care that much. You are going to stand right there so you can save my life. I think you just saved my life.”

My response is, “I brought you into this world and I’m not giving up on you yet.”

They snuggled with me and looked a bit stunned.

The ocean is not something to fuck around with.

Want to know something kind of hilarious? I had a similar experience with the kid who kicked me in the throat at a group beach trip.

The ocean is bigger than you. I don’t give a shit how strong you think you are. The ocean is bigger than you. Never fight the ocean. You will lose.

So yeah. I think I’m done. If it is storming I am definitely not going down there with the kids. If we want to swim in between rain bursts they have a pool. That is risk enough with a damn thunderstorm.

You have no idea what you mean to me. No forking duh I am going to keep you out of the ocean when it is dragging you like that and you are screaming out in fear. That is my job.

It is both my job to teach you to respect that power and my job to protect you from it as you gain enough experience to have proper respect. It’s a complicated operation.

I think I am really feeling the need to cross reference all of these experiences because I am trying to understand the scope and effects and structure of rape culture. What does it even mean?

Do you know who really taught me I didn’t deserve rape? Sex workers. Grown ass women who were god damn sure what was and wasn’t ok to do to them. I know women who have been sex workers for decades and members of the kink communities for decades who have never been assaulted. I study them with a more than just friendly interest. I want to understand their instincts.

I want to teach those instincts to my children and people who aren’t sex workers have never been able to break them down in a way I can understand. They specifically can talk about what they do to manage risk. I know vanilla women who have never been assaulted. They don’t understand why that is true. They just got lucky.

So I talk to the people who can actually give me the information I seek. I am shameless and mercenary about it.

I’m not teaching my kids to be sex workers. I’m teaching them to think of their body as belonging only to them and never to anyone else.

I am doing my absolute best to raise people who will react indignantly if someone tries to abuse them. My kids interrupt me if they think my behavior is getting near a line. They are immediate in their ability to say what is or isn’t ok about what is happening to their body. It is stunning to see.

I have labored for so many years to try and develop those skills.

Sometimes I feel so jealous I want to shove my head through a window. Just to get that feeling away from me.

My brother used to put his head through windows. They made him wear a helmet whenever he wasn’t in a building with safety windows.

We have really liked hurting ourselves in my family for a long time. I feel so grateful that my children showed mild inclination and were quickly reassured that it is not the right decision to hurt yourself when you are upset. Ask for help figuring out how to handle your feelings when you feel overwhelmed to that point. Your parents will listen to you no matter what.

You don’t have to feel pain. We can maybe help.

I feel so grateful that I found a sperm donor who had excellent genetics and sincere interest in being a really involved parent. This is a wonderful experience to watch.

But Noah has committed rape. And so have I.

Do I think all rapists belong in jail?

Jimminy Christmas don’t ask me. 

This rape culture shit is complicated.

I want my children to be able to do better. I want all the children to have better. Education is the single best route to understanding diverse people and life experiences.

I honestly don’t know what else to do. I need to pick up the kids soon. I’m going to stop.

Bitch Better Have My Money

Thank you Rihanna, you inspire me. Nicki Minaj does too.

I’ve been thinking… it would be interesting to go through our financial records. Sometime in the next year before our 10th anniversary it would be interesting to see what we each started with, compare it to Noah’s salary, look at investments, look at the gains and losses for businesses tried and failed…

Who is responsible for which? Noah makes a pretty astronomical salary… but our investment portfolio is growing at a prodigious rate. Some of that is stuff he owned pre-me. Not all of it.

What have I done in the last ten years? Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I have done much.

Ok… even I know that sounds stupid.

I have a hard time being a dependent. I know I “get” 50% of his salary. But what have our separate investment choices resulted in? At this point we can figure out data to see who is actually better at those sorts of decisions so we can assign more of that work in the correct direction to maximize for growth.

I’ve been talking to a lot of womyn about independence and I’ve been listening to a lot of very intelligent women who want me to get my money for my labor.

What has been my cut?

I think I’m going to do that. Oh dear. Another Fucking Project.

And y’all just know I’ll tell you all about it.

Family

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

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t have that problem now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish I could be.

PMS

That’s what I get for being all snotty about us getting along well. I was a hormonal psycho this weekend. It was strangely comforting to pick up my phone to record “freakish anger” in my period tracking application and it said, “Yeah you will be crazy today. Sorry.”

Suddenly… I had a different perspective on my surges of emotion. It was easier to not take them out on the people around me. I’m not angry because of *you*. I’m angry because it is angry-day-of-the-month.

That’s… just easier.

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.

bodies and food and sleeping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stupid hormones.

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

My kids are nice to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who am I? What am I?

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

Transition stuff.

H’okay. I’m going to need to stop posting for a bit because I need to force myself to get some work done. I’m making checklists. I only have so many hours a day on the computer and I’m going to do shit that intimidates me for a while. Work on the web page.

I can work on a web page. I have a web page. Whoa. I still find this daunting. It’s not like it is hard. Only it seemed so hard for so many years.

I’m going to be splitting my blog stuff. There needs to be a kid-friendly space here. One that can be accessed from the front page or from a direct link. Once you go to the kid-friendly page it should be somewhat challenging to go to the rest of the website. Not sure how I’m going to set that up yet, I’ll be talking to Noah about my options. It is frightfully convenient living with him.

I do want to be able to talk about homeschool stuff more explicitly. I want to be able to talk about traveling with kids. I don’t want to toss it into the middle of my verbal diarrhea of self-hate.

It kind of weirds people out.

Boundaries, right?

And I have found the resolve within myself to take a good long hard look at our life and schedule. The road trip is ten months away. I am going to need to have a huge drawer full of spoons when I leave. I can’t be running a deficit before I even leave. Or I am going to end up calling Pam hysterically halfway through the trip and begging her to fly out to wherever the fuck I am to help me drive home. Like I did with Jenny in Arizona.

Thank you Jenny. I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life. If you ever need me I know for a fact I can be there in 72 hours. I’ve checked lots of options. There aren’t that many people I would drop everything and fly halfway around the world for but you are the top of the list.

(Err, when I was pregnant with Calli I went to Arizona to help a friend. I started having lots of contractions and they wouldn’t stop and it was mid-way through my pregnancy. I had two miscarriages in between having my children so early contractions were a serious concern. I couldn’t drive Shanna and myself home while contracting like that. So Jenny flew out and drove us home. I am so blessed in my relationships it isn’t funny.)

You know what? I know I have at least half a dozen people I could call at any time of the night or day. If I were truly desperate I could put the net out wider and probably come up with dozens of people who were willing and able to help me. Because I am truly blessed. (And because I could buy the plane ticket for someone. Having my own money means that the amount of help I need from someone else is very tractable. Thank you, Noah.)

It is weird living in this space where I feel like a lodestone for both victimization and for amazingly giving people. I have good friends. I am so lucky. I understand that not everyone is so lucky.

I’m going to start enforcing the rule that I don’t drive outside of Fremont more than two days a week. And we are going to stay home until at least 11am four weekday mornings. I have to stop having days where we are out of the house socializing/driving for eleven hours. This is killing me. We are out of the house for 8+ hours at least twice a week sometimes four times a week right now.

I want to know people so much that it is hurting me. Boundaries are good, right?

I need to save up my spoons. And I need to get work done. And I need to have lots of patient-at-home-time when I have the energy to help the kids with their projects. They can’t read. I can’t tell them they have to just do all the stuff by themselves. They needs help with directions. And uhm, I’m home schooling them not leaving them to school themselves. So I need to be more patient. And at home at least occasionally.

I’m not thrilled about this stupid insomnia tonight.

I should probably figure out how/when I am going to transition to travel screen time limits. I think I need to do it in advance so I don’t go through withdrawal during the first weeks of the trip. I’m going to be difficult to deal with as I go off my drugs. (Picture me tapping my arm like a heroin addict.) The internet is my friend. I am sad when I don’t have CONSTANT ACCESS. Not just sad… anxious. I use the internet to hide from real life and I know it.

I need to alter our schedule such that I am truly spending the amount of focused alone time I will have with the kids. I won’t have a garage to hide in for peace on the trip. I need to figure out how to transition towards creating the boundaries I need in different ways.

Although I am not canceling baby-sitting. That would be stupid.

I have to set myself up to succeed or I am going to fail. That is just how it works. It’s not personal.

Oh, and I started bleeding two days ago. How much of my shaking with need to self-harm was PMS? I really hate my body and my body hates meeeeeeee.

Maybe it is time to talk to a gynecologist about the mood swings around my period? Joint pain sometimes. Googling makes it sound like I incline in the direction of PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Here’s what Google tells me:

“The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.

Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:

  • No interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings with periods of crying
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating”

I hate my body and my body hates meeeeeeeeeeeee! I feel very mixed about all the advice to treat things with nutritional supplements. The other big option is an SSRI, which… I don’t want for Reasons Of Misery. (btdt got the t-shirt and I want my $ back.)

Here’s an article on PTSD and PMDD. Maybe I should talk to a groino about Propranolol. Or Prozac. Would I be willing to try it again? Probably not given this line from the article “The fact that data have shown a 40% nonresponse rate to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in PMDD”…means I should take the fact that I’ve already had no luck with Prozac as a sign. But Propranolol seems to be slightly more effective on the population with PTSD. Would I take a beta-blocker? Could it be used sporadically as needed or is it a daily pill? If I was going to take a daily pill–should I just go on birth control? That’s hilarious given that my husband has had a vasectomy. 

I should go talk to my groino. I feel that I have been really clear about this massive spike in horrible symptoms right before my period for a long time now. My suicidal thoughts and self-harm urges go through the roof. There have to be options I haven’t tried yet. I have an appointment. Monday the 25th during babysitting time. I gave myself a nice window so I can ride my bike there and back. The internet is magic.

Lots of transitions. Lots to do. So little time. I need more spoons. The only way to get them is to cut things out. Just because you don’t like the choices sitting in front of you doesn’t mean you don’t have choices. You are always making a choice. Even if it is to follow the status quo.

I can’t be super close friends with everyone in the world. I don’t have the spoons. I’m not slamming doors, but I’m going to stay home more. I need to. We have stuff to do.

Running and body stuff

Bodies are weird. People are weirder.

I spent 2012 running because I wanted to be able to check “run a marathon” off of my bucket list. I had not been much of a runner before that. In the process I found that my body changed substantially. I was already riding the wave of lower-than-usual-weight because my Uncle Bob had recently died and I had divorced my biological family and that was really hard on me and I lost a lot of weight from not eating. I was down to the weight I had previously only reached while starving myself on Weight Watchers and exercising five days a week.

So having the “thinner” body is associated with lots of bad stuff for me. I get there when I’m starving myself and/or dealing with a lot of psychological pain such that my stomach hurts too much to eat. It’s not fun.

Also: when I lose weight the amount of street harassment goes up.

Think about the implication of that. I lose weigh *because* I am already having problems and then all of a sudden the ambient harassment I get in public increases.

Folks ignore the chubby chick running around the neighborhood. When I get thinner men start telling me they want to “come with me” or “distract me” or they just yell shit. And my neighborhood is pretty safe. I know enough of the neighbors that if I have a problem I can go three or four doors down, bang on a door and say, “I’m sorry to interrupt but I’m having a problem.”

I love my neighborhood so much. I appreciate that my neighbors are so friendly with me. I’ve been here for eight years now. I know people.

So it’s not like I’m scared but I really don’t like dealing with it. I feel worn down and tired. Being “thinner” feels more like being a piece of glass that gets thinner and more breakable with time. It’s not a good thing losing mass.

I don’t own a scale and I haven’t in a while and I don’t want to. I don’t care about tracking the number. Knowing it occasionally is just to have data. My recent doctor visit says I went back up to 170. Given the running schedule I’ve put together for the rest of the year… that won’t be true long.

Right now I have a belly. I like my belly. It means my forking pants fit. At this weight my “skinny” pants are tight and my “fat” pants are a bit loose but I can wear everything. It’s convenient.

If I lose a bunch of weight again I should probably just buy some clothes that fit instead of holding my pants on with rope the way I have been doing for a while. I don’t like most belts. So I use the rope belt that Jenny made for her Renaissance Faire costume years ago. She made it by braiding really bright ribbons.

I use this belt all the time. Every time I run it holds up my pants.

Every time I wear the belt I think of Jenny. I think of her kind of silently blessing my endeavors. Jenny loves me. Jenny wants me to keep on keepin’ on.

Being smaller is a weird thing for me. For one thing it means I am more shaped like my mother and that’s a mixed blessing. On one hand, she’s pretty cute. On the other hand… when I catch a glimpse of my body abstractly in a reflection I miss her so much I feel like I get hit with a solid fist of pain.

I want my mommy. I’d much rather be fat and never see her in the mirror again.

But if I’m going to run I don’t think I’m going to pull off fat. No matter how much I eat and let me tell you I try to keep weight on while I’m running. I eat like a hummingbird–my weight sixteen times over a day.

Running puts a natural limit on how much I can eat. After I get accustomed to the pace again I won’t be able to over eat very often. When I’m running my stomach picks a size and that is the size it is. I don’t get to under eat and I don’t get to over eat any more. It’s a really weird feeling. I didn’t exercise as a kid enough to know if that happened then.

So I do my best to eat a lot. I up the calorie density of everything (mmmm butter). But it turns into muscle and I melt away. Because apparently the me I see in the mirror is composed up of a lot of fat.

I don’t actually come from a family of heavy people. The only people in my family background who are heavy are the people with severe mental illness who are entirely sedentary. Everyone who isn’t so depressed they stop functioning is pretty fit.

I think I’ve tried to ignore that most of my life. I’ve always been sedentary and chunky-to-fat.

Losing the label of “fat” is weird and hard. It has been part of my identity for most of my life. I’ve been one of those prideful and hostile people. I don’t mind being fat and I will yell at people who act like it is a problem.

The heavier I am, the less sexualized I am to random men. Of course, there are guys like Noah who like heavy women but they generally are the kind to be chatty and friendly at a party and not the kind who yell things on the street. Which is to say: getting laid isn’t a problem at any size. But I like the invisibility of being heavy in day-to-day life.

My joints bother me off and on. Particularly my hand joints. I now compulsively make the same hand gestures as my mother. This getting old business sucks. As a result I semi-regularly don’t wear my wedding ring set.

I picked a platinum monstrosity. It’s gorgeous and I still feel a giddy thrill of “ohmygod someone let me have this?!” when I look down but it’s solid. Some days I can’t wear it because it makes my finger burn like fire. Which is unpleasant.

Oh holy shit do men feel like it is ok to just get close to me. I don’t remember this from when I was younger. “Hi” is usually the limit of the conversation with the strangers because I think my facial expression is not “welcoming”.

That being scary business is useful.

I wish I could be friendly without getting harassed. Gosh that would be nice.

I can. When I’m fat. So I look at my running schedule for the rest of the year and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I sure like being fit and strong and there are a lot of things I want to go do with my body that require as much or more fitness than I have now. On the other hand… being attractive kind of sucks.

I’m really kind of funny. I spent most of my early life working as hard as possible to attract as much sex as possible and now that it is appropriate (hey–at least more than it was when I was a kid!) I’m trying to figure out how to make it go away. I’m kind of stupid.

I seem to never be willing to do what is expected of me.

It is easy for me to be loving with my body when I’m fat. I feel less betrayed by my presentation to the world. When I’m fat it is easier to take long baths and rub in lots of lotion and give myself gentle touch. When I’m skinnier I tend to take showers and try to get “being naked” over with as fast as possible. I don’t really want to look at or touch myself.

I can tell by my clothing that my weight is shifting a bit. I’m trying to be conscious of the nicer things I do to myself and I’m trying to not stop.

I’m not sure if stopping the nice stuff is because I was that skinny during periods when I was insanely busy or depressed and most of my “me” time available was spent on exercising or working. I didn’t have as much time to sit around and take a bath.

So is it the chicken or the egg? I don’t know.

There are all these layers of things. When I’m running I mostly eat a reasonable diet… only I can’t keep my sugar under control. Sweet bread. That’s my down fall.

The difference is the exercise. When I get into a good routine for exercising, training for longer distances means specific conditioning, it’s a shit-ton of calories. Not to mention that I’m building muscle, which is more efficient at burning calories.

I think I partially stopped running cold because uhm… I was starting to have thigh gap. I think I stopped having thigh gap when I was eight. I don’t feel all that good about having it now. Yes, I’m aware some women are obsessed with it. I do not want to be in that camp. I don’t want to be associated with that camp.

I want to be strong and fit and have the fucking body I’m used to. God damnit.

If I could be a marathon runner with a size 16 body that would be perfect. That’s what I would want if I got to pick a body out of a hat. Unfortunately when I’m seriously training I’m more in the 8/10/12 range depending on brand. I hate the brands that tell me I’m an 8. First of all: no I am not. There are standards, you fuckers. Stop lying to people. Second of all: it is really fucking frustrating to have to take three or four sizes of something into the dressing room in order to find something that fits. Fuck all you fashion bastards.

I fucking hate buying clothes.

And where am I going to store my “fat” clothes? I sure as fuck am not getting rid of any of it. I’ve very carefully found my wardrobe. Maybe under my bed? Oh man.

I like being strong. I don’t like that it seems to come packed with being thin. That seems stupid to me. See, no one asks me what I want. Whine whine whine.

I understand that I live in a time and place where being thinner is a fucking billion dollar industry. (Many billions? I don’t track.) People seem to waste their whole lives on trying to lose weight. I don’t get it.

Ok, I did Weight Watchers when I hit my lifetime maximum weight and I could no longer ride the rides at Disneyland Paris. That bothered me. Being kicked off a ride because I was too physically big was uncomfortable emotionally. So I didn’t want that to be true. Also: I was in the bdsm community and I was on the verge of leaving my Owner and I needed to hunt. So I did lose weight on purpose then.

Then it came back and I was a lot happier.

Then it went away and I wasn’t so happy.

Then it came back and I was a lot happier.

Here we go round again.

I think my lowest adult weight was 148 when I was depressed after Puppy left me and I stopped eating for a month. I was living on a Jamba Juice a day. I got the big size. Sometimes I could swallow cheese. Sometimes it made me puke. This happened right after I moved out on my own to live alone for the first time ever. No one was there to care. So I didn’t care.

My highest non-pregnant weight was 218 as measured at Weight Watchers. I suspect I was a bit heavier a few weeks previously when I was at Disneyland Paris. Pregnant was 222. In between pregnancies and for a lot of my life I hung out in the 180’s. During my previous “more fit” periods I hung out around 165. Running leads me into the low 150’s.

I know some people gain and lose more than a hundred pounds. I know people who have gained and lost more than two hundred pounds. A range of 70 pounds isn’t that extreme. But my body changes a lot. I understand that in the world of Fat Acceptance I max out at what some people consider “skinny fat”. But if I’m fat enough to have employees of department stores sneer at me and tell me I won’t find anything in their store and if I’m fat enough to have people yell it at me while I walk by… it counts.

And every time I gain and lose my body changes shape. I’m hoping that soon I will look matronly enough to be left alone. I notice the dangling chicken wings below my arms with delight. I have old lady arms! Yay!

I’m not dead. I get to be an elder. Even though I’ve never respected my elders, most other people do. People are getting nicer to me with every passing year.

I note these changes with happiness. I feel kind of confused by the people around me who want to remain as young looking as possible. Being young has not been a good stage for me. I want to leave it behind. Far, far behind.

I like being bad ass. I even like being hot. I don’t like being treated like I am responsible for the random desires of men I don’t know. Yeah, I used to be interested and I didn’t mind so much then. Things change. Figuring out the signals is really hard.

I don’t want to be hostile but I haven’t found a better way of getting men to take “no” the first time I say it. Any softer “no” leads to extra pushing. If I am sure the answer is “no” the first time I must say it with great conviction. Otherwise they will push much farther than I want them to. This is consistent.

Anyway. I’ve been running on schedule for about a week now. I’d been running inconsistently one to three times a week for a while. I trained semi-efficiently for the Oakland half in March and I seriously hurt by mile 11. I need to treat my body with more respect and train better this time. Which means being a lot more serious about my cross training and weight training and stretching.

Which means my body is going to change pretty fast. My body, much to my surprise, likes picking up muscle. The more exercise I do the more it snowballs. I come from a family of fit people. My brothers were sports nuts. They had some talent. Tommy’s team was on its way to the Little League nationals when he got hit by a car. (Not literally on the way. The game was a few weeks? days? away. I can’t remember. I was little and living in a different state.) Oops. I never did hear what came of the team. I was too little to care. My other brother was sixth in the state for cross country in high school. But he was expelled two weeks before graduation for having alcohol on campus so it didn’t go anywhere for him. He could have gone to college on scholarship. Whoops.

I understand more now about genetics. When I was a kid I mistook the fact that I was learning for being unable to learn. I thought that because the people around me were so much better than me and they always won that meant I always would lose and I had no ability to improve or ever win.

Now I feel really sad that no one ever stopped and said, “Dude. You are four. Stop comparing yourself to people who are five and eight years older than you. Go compete with people your age. You are doing just fine. Keep trying.”

I gave up before I ever tried. And moving the way I did meant that I never had… anything. I just stayed home because it was the only way to be safe. Being sedentary was mandatory. So I never improved and it became a self-perpetuating “I can’t because I don’t”.

The things I know now…

If I had somehow had the will to exercise I probably would have been a much scarier kid. Probably better that I preferred reading.

But my kids are buff. My kids have so much freedom to move. Sometimes my inner eight year old weeps at how unfair it is that my kids have so much freedom compared to her. That was probably one of the worst periods of “can not leave my room without pain being inflicted on me”. That piece of me is specifically alive and well and bitter as a pull out of my inner child. It is as close as I come to having multiple personalities. The traumas I incurred at different ages have left specific big knots of scar tissue.

I wasn’t hurt physically for all of my life. For most of the time I was just left alone. Even though I am an intensely social person. Just like Shanna, I came alive at the sight of another person. Shanna can, and does, play alone–but it’s very different from her interactions with people. She gets to be with people all day every day. Well, sometimes I tell them to go play and I spend an hour in the garage. But they have never ever been left actually alone in the house. Well, not beyond taking the trash out. I don’t forking count that. I’m on the property. I can hear them.

Stopping to pay attention to this connection (my inner child acting up means my body has more activation and energy and I feel pissy) is part of the re-parenting process. I feel self-conscious and bad because this is part of what I want to get from the home schooling process.

I have to work through my resentment of other people getting “better” than I had. It is a lot of conscious effort to relax and calm down and be able to be present with my children. I have to actively forgive myself for having the childhood I had. It was not my fault. Both of my children are well into the ages when I was out finding neighborhood kids for oral sex. My kids don’t know what oral sex is. It has never entered into their fuzzy little brains. They are too busy whacking things with swords. As they should.

In being nice to my children through their developmental stages I work through understanding what should have happened to me. I learn what appropriate behavior is by reading multiple developmental books and educational theory books. I cross reference and design a model of an “appropriate” teacher for this stage. And I embody it to the best of my ability.

When I fuck up I apologize, explain what I should be doing and I do better next time. Just like my kids do.

We are all in progress here. I tell them, “I have never been a mother to a six year old AND a three year old at the same time before. I am still learning how it works. I’m sorry I made a mistake.”

Our mistakes are small and our forgiveness is huge. It works out.

My children will never remember anything other than a mother who is physically fit. They will not understand that I spent most of my childhood in a depressed haze sitting very still watching the same few VHS tapes over and over and over.

I’m in one of those phases where I understand why the “Trauma Recovery” people say that you have to forgive. My mom was not in a position to give me what I needed. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I can see why I was so hard for her. I’m actually impressed she didn’t beat me more often. Now that I understand the context of her life better… oh poor Mom. I’m not being sarcastic. I feel really bad for her. But I don’t think she could keep from fucking up my kids. Maybe in thirteen or so years I can look her up. We’ll see.

I am a very active person. It’s kind of insane that I spent my childhood as stationary as I did. I get why it happened. But it was really crazy-making.

I did have periods of activity. Auntie was good about making kids go play in the woods. Well, more accurately… she worked night shifts and I was alone most of the time when I lived with her. So I went out into the woods. I couldn’t wander neighborhoods in the random other places we lived because I got lost or got into fist fights. Auntie’s house was consistent enough that I could learn the lay out.

My relationship to my body has always been one of frustration. I have always been torn between being mad that I’m not bigger and being mad that I’m not smaller. Ok, I’ve lost the desire to be smaller. When I was younger and trying harder to pick up sex partners I was wildly jealous of the women who were 5’1″ or shorter. Now I think it would be inconvenient. I retain my desire to be bigger so that I could be more physically capable. I just don’t have the leverage to do some things. It is really annoying.

It has always been weird how much I trade off using my actual weight for using strength as I get smaller. Many of the tricks to use my weight as leverage stop working. Even twenty pounds of difference is a lot. That’s a lot of strength to make up.

Bodies are complicated.

Control

I’ve been thinking a lot about behavioral modification and control. I mean, these are frequent topics for me but they’ve been using a lot of bandwidth lately.

What do I want to be? Who do I want to be when I grow up? Am I allowed to be that person while I am fulfilling the same roles I have always filled for people who will not meet my needs?

I have some friends, at least a few, and many of them are guys. Not all of them. I’m not one of those women who “can’t get along with women”. Which I always hear as “it is easier to manipulate men so I stick with them”. I like and hate everyone equally. At least in terms of group identifiers. I like Christians as much as I dislike some of the dogma associated with the religion. I like guys as much as I hate them. Individuals of course all get their own readings.

“When women say “all men” they hurt the feelings of the nice guys.”

Maybe the nice guys need to learn that when people are writing something they aren’t always writing to and for you. If you can’t handle reading something unless it was specifically written to coax you then you have bigger problems than anyone else can solve for you.

I read a lot of very anti-white writing. I read a lot of people of color who have tremendous chips on their shoulders. They just fucking hate white people. I’m white. Do I feel like I should get defensive and try to get them to prove that they don’t hate *me* because I’m *special*.

Or would that make me a self-involved asshole? Think hard here.

I know more men who are not rapists than I know rapists. By a large margin. That does not mean I should give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Sorry. Even if it hurts your widdle feewings.

I don’t figure out who the predators are by looking at them. I do default to assuming that the less physically attractive someone is the lower the chances they are a successful predator. I am more relaxed around men who seem non-sexual enough.

Which is probably something that causes those men enormous pain in their lives. See how I can’t fucking win? The signals that do signal safety are things that are offensive to really judge.

But even that isn’t full proof. I know better. So I’m paranoid.

I don’t think that most of the men in my life would have the balls to attack me at this stage. I have done my best to develop a somewhat scary reputation and those things spread. Folks who know me are fairly safe. But a lot of my male friends are what I’d call Alpha. They are bossy motherfuckers and by and large that works for them. They don’t get called on it much. They have carved out little lives where they are tyrants and everyone around them does what they say and falls in line and things work out. They aren’t violent or “abusive”. But they will grind on you till you verbally give them what they want. I know a lot of men like this. Only a few women.

These men take a lot out of me. They take as much out of me emotionally and mentally as managing a large group of children. For one person. Seriously–I can manage six kids on a day trip by myself far more easily than I can have a friendly chat with many of my male friends individually.

I’m starting to see that as a problem.

As I get older the needs in my life are becoming more predictable. I have more of a schedule. I’m not always moving. I’m not always adjusting to an entirely new cast of characters. I have added in the home school crowd in the last three years and then a running buddy after that. Otherwise I haven’t been picking up new relationships lately. That’s weird. I have been dusting off older friendships. I have been spreading myself out differently.

Sustainability is more of an issue now. I can’t drop many balls in order to completely adapt to a new environment. That’s a privilege I have lost. I didn’t know it was a privilege when I had it. Now “normal” people make more sense to me. Why they say “I can’t” to so many of the things I propose.

Life is different now. I have to have a very different amount and kind of control. Now it’s a marathon, not a series of sprints.

My running buddy and I have decided that it is more sane (given our life constraints) for us to do a 10k at the beginning of October and a half marathon at the end of November. She thinks we will be walking. I don’t think so. I think our first 10k time was pretty fast. I think we will be able to train up to having my third official half marathon be as fast or faster than the second. We’ll see.

Running with her is fun. She and I have a lot in common. If our lives were more similar I think we would conflict like oil and water. Luckily our life constructs are so entirely different that we don’t have to worry about our (ridiculously firm) opinions getting clashed with. We are both very encouraging of taking up space and what that means. We are both also working on control in a variety of parts in our lives. But very differently so we can talk without feeling judged for how we do it. Our circumstances are entirely different. We need different tactics.

A lady I like and respect says she is thinking of starting a discussion group for women once a month. I would drive to Redwood City for that. I would feel comfortable and safe talking to people that woman would invite. I would be different from most of the people she invites. I may or may not be the emotionally explosive (we’ll see) but I will be able to blurt something, then apologize for tone and rephrase and they will try to hear me. The stakes will be low.

When I get too tired from the emotional labor of translating from my brain into “difficult self-centered man language” (obviously not all men or I wouldn’t be bothering to specify a sub-group) I get really testy and pissy. I take it out on everyone who walks by. I feel brittle and made of glass. Like the slightest lean of an arm on my boundaries might shatter them. Then I withdraw and spend a lot of time crying.

I probably need to pay more attention to who makes me react that way and pull back from all of those relationships. I’m starting to see how the cost is becoming higher than I can pay. I don’t have enough spoons to have to process someone that much. And the only way to get them to stop hammering on you is to keep arguing until you win or meekly say they are right a few times so they will back off.

I’m not fucking letting them win their bullshit arguments. I could start using some variation of “You are being an asshole. Shut the fuck up.” But I don’t think that would go over that well.

My other option is to drop the friendships. Which will result in its own bitterness and trauma. Because life works that way.

Knowing you and being your friend is very hard work. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can’t. Being friends with me is very similar, so clearly it isn’t an “only men” thing. But aping this form of masculine behavior (because clearly what the people who object to my attitude are really objecting to is that I am a woman with this attitude–from a man it’s ok) causes me other problems.

Men don’t like losing dominance challenges to women (unless they really like it and that’s a whole different ball of string). Although many men are just flat used to losing dominance challenges and they sort of sigh with resignation and get on with it. The fight has long-since gone out of them.

Then there’s Noah. He neither likes it nor has a desire to deal with it much. We try to solve this by not challenging one another because neither of us appreciate losing dick contests. We have different strengths. Cool. You go be awesome over there and I’ll be awesome over here and we can wave. Both of us are grudging losers. But we don’t hold grudges. And we are willing to be convinced when someone has good data. So it works out.

So clearly not all men suck. Yeah, I get it. But some really do.

I have control over very few things in this life. I sorta have control of my mind and body. I mean, I’m not crazy effective with my body but I’m relatively fit. Not mentally. Oh man. But I get by. My deficiencies exist in ways that I can work around and develop counter-balancing strengths that balance things out. Life works that way.

We aren’t all cookie cutters. Trying to develop the control to just do what others tell you is antithetical to developing the control that allows you really define yourself.

You must pick one or the other. If you want to be obedient, you give up the ability to really judge what you are. Your very essence and priorities and impulses have to be secondary to what someone else wants.

I am not a secondary character.

I have been. I was because I wanted to fully embody what that meant. I wanted to understand it.

Apparently I decided I don’t want to be it. That’s been an interesting process.

I don’t know what my very-argumentative-men friends get from knowing me. I think I need to stop caring. They take so much from me that I don’t have enough left to do what I need to do. That’s not fair to me.

I don’t really care if cut-off culture is “mean”. It is mean of you to come to my house and argue with me for hours such that I spend hours crying. For years.

Why do I accept every friendship on offer?

Because I do. Because I always have. I let people come until they don’t want to come any more. But sometimes they have to put up with me being explosive while they are here because I am just fucking out of cope. Lots of people take that as a sign and never come back.

I drive people away. I don’t do it on purpose. I do it when I lose control. When I can no longer choke down how bitter and angry and violent and hateful I feel.

It doesn’t have to be at the person in the room. Maybe I’m just having a day where I’m heavily processing stuff about my biological family. If I’ve done a lot of very hostile writing that morning the whole day might be off. Then I’ll lose the reins on my tongue. Something that is highly tinged by my ambient hostility will come out. Whoops. I didn’t really mean it. No really, I didn’t mean it. I said it because I’m feeling spiteful and that was twisting the way I think about you. I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry.

Is isolation really the best solution? Just work on cutting people out of my life until I get to the point where I can always control my mouth when I am with people?

When I hear people complain that someone requires them to “walk on egg shells” I hear “I don’t want to have to care about who is listening before I speak”.

Yeah, some people personalize everything they hear and decide that the speaker must be talking about them personally and therefore the speaker hates them and is a Mean Evil Person. Yup, I know.

I read a lot of rabidly anti-white writers. They are fully unapologetic as they rant about how evil they perceive white people to be, yes, all white people.

I read this and I try to understand why they believe what they believe. Why it has come to be unavoidably, undeniably true for them.

Everyone has a story. Their story makes sense for them whether you like it or not.

What kind of control a person has decides a lot about what kind of life they have. How do you teach self-control? Financial control? Work ethic? The ability to be adaptable and able to just make something work with whatever it is you have in front of you? These things are all experiential. You have to do them and make mistakes and learn how to do it right. The younger you start the better.

I confess that I feel a little growing anxiety around Shanna not reading yet. I’m reading dyslexia information with dismay. Most of the markers for a diagnosis of dyslexia involve social problems caused by the social stigma of being slow. I am choosing to just read the development books that say “It’s normal for many children to transpose letters till seven or eight.” I notice. But I’m not “doing anything” to correct her.

Everything I have read says that some children are just not physically ready to read until seven or eight. Their brains are too busy doing other things and when you try to force it, you lose a lot of self-confidence that can’t be gotten back.

I’d rather have Shanna deciding what she should be doing with her time right now. She wants her parents to read to her. She isn’t ready to start reading. Ok. I didn’t start reading until the end of first grade. I didn’t really expect her to be required to start reading before I did even though so many of her little friends read. We know a high number of hyperlexic children.

I need to not look at hyperlexia and think my kid is slow. That’s not rational. Good grief.

Shanna’s comprehension skills are several grade levels higher than her physical ability. Lots of research says that will equalize if she’s given the time and space to live and be and learn what she needs to be learning right now instead of worrying about that.

I read the nay-sayers too. I know the con arguments favor conscription into the systematic learning enclave for the sake of party unity.

I don’t think everyone is the same. And I don’t think that everyone has the same ability to be able to conform. I know what the standards are. My kids are always going to be above and below their peers in varying metrics. People are like that. The hope is that they will come away without the bullying and belittling that exists in public schools for any variation.

I’ve been to a lot of public schools. They are all brutal. Some people get lucky and they are in the middle or they are high in the pack so they do ok by the system.

I don’t think my kids will be in the middle.

I don’t think they will always be high across the board. Ha. Shanna isn’t that coordinated. She makes up for it with tenacity and endurance. She’ll try again. And again. And again.

Sometimes watching her fail at things fills me with awe. She knows it is possible for someone to do this. So even though this hurts (and occasionally out will pop “shit”–I ignore it) she keeps trying. I’ve seen her whack her head dozens of times trying to do something. She did get it right eventually. Stubborn fucker. My kid.

Calli, by contrast, is slightly less persistent but much more initally successful. I’m in trouble. I think Calli stands and watches Shanna’s fuck-ups and learns. She is much more able to figure out how to do something right after Shanna has figured it out. Ha.

School is almost out. We are going to be riding the bikes in the parking lot every day. Side walk learning was just a non-starter. She kept falling into driveways. Lots of scrapes. Lots of not-willing-to-keep-doing-that.

She sees no upside. “But I can already run to all the places you want to ride bikes to. It’ll be fine. I’ll just run along side you.”

Only then I have to go at the speed of your running compared to the speed of bikes. NO.

Calli can outdistance her with a balance bike. It’s pretty impressive to me.

In the last month I’ve had a whole bunch of people ask me “Is Calli tall?” Uhh, I don’t know? For the comparative age she is much taller than Shanna was. She’s wearing size five clothes and she turns four at the end of the summer. I think they are only 5″ apart in height. I don’t know what the average gap is between siblings who are two years apart in age. And I don’t know if Shanna is tall. I haven’t been paying attention to such metrics. I could go look it up. I mean, I am on a forking computer. Shanna is in the 88% and the 24% for weight. Calli is in the 96% for height and 57% for weight.

Holy shit. I guess they are tall. And I was right for perceiving that Calli was on a faster growth curve than Shanna. I think Calli will be the taller adult. That’s my current crystal prediction.

On the last few pediatrician visits we haven’t talked percentiles. I didn’t ask and it didn’t come up. I suppose he isn’t worried so he doesn’t say? He just says, “They are growing well. Good job.” and does a no-touch pat on the head.

Wow. I haven’t looked at percentiles in years. I’m writing it down mostly because this is the only way I will have later record.

Since Calli is by far the more coordinated one we should put her in basketball. Ha. I play more catch with Calli. Shanna has never liked it much. I’ve always tried. She likes “fetch” more than catch. It’s kind of hilarious. She’s happy for the interaction. She’s happy to be met where she is. She doesn’t like having balls thrown at her. But she’s happy to chase one for the fun of it.

I can understand that.

 

Stupid body.

I suppose I shouldn’t call my body stupid just because I didn’t get pregnant this month. I have proof. And it hurts. It hurts so much it woke me out of a sound sleep in an agony of pain. Yeah, fuck you too uterus.

Today is my sister’s birthday. She is 45. I’m going to cry for a while about that.

Today is park day. I’m not looking forward to it because one of the moms has described me as whiny. I take this as my hint to not come within 20′ of her. I don’t want to go to the park. I want to stay home and cry.

I suppose the only part that matters is I’m not going for my sake any way.

Cutting and parties and the parasympathetic nervous system

My therapist, predictably, doesn’t want me putting a lock on the bathroom door. She is asking me to wait a few weeks. She has a list of things I just need to try before that step is a good idea. She was quite insistent in that way shrinks are which is why we pay them, no?

She mentioned a medication and I didn’t write it down immediately and now I am waiting on a response to an email. Research. She said there is an unusual drug that is not an anti-depressent/anti-psychotic/anti-anxiety that is sometimes used with addicts including severe cutters who can’t get past the “tension release” stage. Supposedly it acts on the mechanism in the brain that requires the brief releases from tension.

I mentioned that I pretty much always freak out like this right before a party and I feel really self-conscious and bad because it seems like inappropriate attention seeking behavior. Her response was, “Your parasympathetic nervous system is trying to get your attention and that’s not a bad thing.” Right before I have lots of people over my body prepares for the fight/flight/freeze thing and I get over loaded. In her opinion I need to figure out some larger structure around stress release particularly right before events–she says cutting isn’t a good option.

Psh. What does she know.

(That was my “I’m funny” voice.)

She says if I’m going off pot this medication may be an appropriate next step. It makes me want to cry. Western meds have completely wrecked my body every time I’ve tried. Name a side effect–I have gotten pretty much every non-fatal one.

I also talked to the home schooled teenager on our street yesterday. We are going to start weekly babysitting. I need more of a break than I’m getting. It is just fucking mandatory. People go insane in circumstances like mine even if they started out basically healthy. I don’t think I have been basically healthy… oh uhm, ever?

I pick my therapists very carefully so she asked me, “How did you and Noah use bdsm to manage these cycles in the past?” Bless her heart. If you have the wrong therapist for you they can be the most worthless excuse for a human being but if you have the right match you can make lots of behavioral progress. (That’s not really fair. They aren’t “worthless” just because they are a bad fit but when you are really upset and hurting it feels that way.)

So the topic of weekly canings came up. Not canning. Not putting food in jars. Being hit with sticks. This time the reference is more on the fun side, kind of like the swinging only this time she meant the other meaning.

I’m not opposed to giving it a shot. I pointed out that Noah and I have never done behavior management this way. I did that with my Owner. We had a very different dynamic.

I continue to have mixed feelings about the idea that it is better for someone else to hit me than for me to cut myself. I understand that a lot of people who generally support the idea of bdsm agree. If you believe that bdsm can be a healthy activity then you probably would side with it being superior to cutting. Probably. I can’t speak for everyone but I’ve been told that a lot.

I watch The West Wing too much so I am starting to explain things to myself in terms of the story arc. Cutting is about dealing with the pressure caused by a nuclear reaction. First the reaction goes into a series of containment devices (my previous/earlier coping methods) then eventually it gets to the point where the containment devices are full and there is more steam coming and either you vent to the atmosphere (causing possible massive damage) or you risk a full scale explosion which will absolutely for certain cause way the fuck more damage. Better to vent a little.

That’s what cutting is. Cutting brings all of my physical stress down to a level where I stop swearing and yelling and freaking out. I’m nice and calm. It’s better than a Valium.

It is hard being told “I know you have this awesome coping method that works better than everything else I am recommending put together… but don’t use it.”

That doesn’t feel like a supportive act. I’m trying to look at the big picture. One of the dominant symptoms of my various forms of mental illness is difficulty with tunnel thinking. When you are in the tunnel you don’t think you will ever be out again. You can only think in the panic of the Right Now. There is no larger picture.

My shrink confidently and manipulatively brings up phrases like “Harm Reduction.” Psh. Like I give a shit about that theory. Psh.

(Once again with the funny… If I didn’t tell you then you wouldn’t know that you are supposed to chuckle. I learn from television shows which tell their audience when to laugh.)

At this stage cutting would dramatically increase the harm I am doing in the process of coping. If there are any less harmful methods left to try I just can’t get to the last method yet.

I’m not really at a point where I’m thrilled about being told “Just be more patient” because that’s what it sounds like.

I’m trying to think about water flowing over obstructions. Sure, it could destroy one path by trying to send all the water one way in a jet or it could try to find another way around. Water is good at getting around whatever you try to block it with. Resourceful.

Last night was Noah’s company holiday party. I did better than I’ve done the last two years. Improvement is good, right? Once again it feels kind of pathetic that I have to struggle so much in order to not be inappropriate.

Last night I swore more than is probably strictly speaking ideal but I didn’t worry about it. I was at an adult party. Noah didn’t care or think I was too extreme. I can live with the other teacher/parent people looking a little shocked when I say “What the fuck?”

I think this party felt lower stress because I didn’t know anyone. For the last few years I had to manage the line between hanging out with people I actually knew and dealing with the amorphous boundaries of “work people”. That’s harder. This time I just go to try to censor appropriately and that’s easier.

When people tried to shock and titillate me by referring to going to a conference that had a leather track I got to cross examine and figure out that it must have been some kind of more general alternative lifestyle convention because I’ve never heard of a 10,000-15,000 person leather conventions in LA in the past few years and I’d be shocked if I missed that. When he tried to allude vaguely to other factors as proof I rattled off the names of all the big cons with their rough head count of attendees and expressed lots of support for my position. That’s always fun. No, I know this stuff. I don’t think you are talking about a just leather con.

In the conversational flow it would have made sense to bring up Debaucherama and I totally didn’t talk about winning Slut of the Year. I was very tactful and appropriate for work people. Ahem.

I turned to Noah and said, “You know which story they just lead me to the door of and here I am not walking through it.” He patted me on the back and all. The coworkers raised their eyebrows and said, “Maybe we can come visit on a different night.” Ha. Like I’ll tell them then.

That was a great party. Sigh.

Also, DA–because of you I get to tell the best stories at parties. I feel like a dumbass but people always bring up travel at these kinds of parties and getting to talk about going to Alaska in my friend’s private plane is rad. I feel officially cool when I tell those stories. Yup, I’ve done bad ass things. That’s right. Including hiking in the Alaskan wilderness. My life is awesome.

It is interesting trying to figure out how to “spin” stories so I can be appropriate for work parties. I’m not so good at this. I did manage to avoid bringing up sex last night. *pat self on back* The leather con attendance thing doesn’t count.

In preparation for the party I went shopping for a dress. Mostly because it kept me out of the house so I wouldn’t cry. I over-ruled the shop lady. She didn’t think the one I bought was the best idea. I’m a bit too lumpy for it in her opinion. She’s a skinny lady and thinks that style of dress is for more stick-shaped women. Psh. Whatever. It was a skin-tight little number with lots of boob attention. In a size medium. No wonder my clothes don’t fit if I can walk into some boutique shop and come out with a size medium. I haven’t been a size medium much in my life. This is weird. I’ve been a large/extra large (or bigger) for most of my adult life.

Noah was quite happy with my selection. That was the whole point.

Sometimes I feel weird about my mixed feelings around dressing frumpy versus wearing clothes that are sexy. When I’m feeling sad and anxious dressing up either feels soothing or stimulating depending on the context. Some days I do consciously think of the trophy wife thing. In general I’m not such a good trophy. But I try to clean up good once in a great while. In general I look frumpy and boring and that is for the best. Lately I’ve been wearing the skirts from my Renaissance Faire outfit over pants because I just want to be covered that much.

So going out in a dress that accentuated a figure I’m not used to having was kind of weird. Several coworkers stared a lot all night. That is always a little awkward. But if you go out dressed like that while wearing bright red lipstick you invite looking. It is a weird line.

I know that Noah gets a status bump from the Neanderthals he works with if they think his wife is hot. I have mixed feelings about this. But once a year I can dress up. Hell it isn’t even once a year that I dress that way now. But man the dress is hot.

I should take a picture. I look really good. If I had looked like this many years ago I probably would have gotten closer to a four digit number instead of a three digit number. Maybe it is for the best that I was chunky and had to win people over with my awesome personality. Snort.

I think the dress would not look out of place on the show Mad Men. Not that I’ve watched it. But I’ve seen a few references on magazine covers in grocery stores so I know the show exists and a brief google image search supports with my assumption.

Now I have fancy party dresses in size 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 sitting in my closet. Because who the fuck knows what size I will be next year. I no longer get rid of the fancy party dresses. My body changes dramatically over time.

I’m struggling with the fact that I “know” I am small but when I look in the mirror I don’t think I “look” small only I know I do to other people. I look like me and in my head I’m a fat girl (I have justifiably been for a lot of my adult life) so I still kind of see that. I have always been content and happy with being fat. Now I’m not fat and I miss it. On one hand I know that it is easier for me to find flattering clothing (based on the number of times I saw people do double takes when I walked by my dress was flattering) but I’m not sure if I like that. I am not good at guessing which dresses will be flattering. I have to try fifteen on.

My body is different and in ways that are somewhat more societally “approved” and that bothers me.

I don’t really want more approval in that area. Being thinner sure doesn’t get me more sex with Noah.

And yes, all of this is tied up with the whole parasympathetic nervous system and cutting. It is.

Does dressing up and wearing lipstick change how much I want to cut? I certainly feel less like I am about to blow my stack this morning, but how much is it related? How much is it about just getting five hours off of my kids yesterday between the party and therapy?

Those little thrills of recognition when a man checks me out function in similar soothing ways to the cutting. I feel kind of ashamed admitting it, but in for a penny in for a pound. It is the kid-version of what I used to do with finding promiscuous sex. “Whoo hoo people looked at me.” Less of a lift but a lot safer and lower effort.

(I spotted one last night who totally looked like my prey. It’s about the kind of smile. I miss hunting.)

I feel very conflicted about the whole “attention getting” behavior bit. I console myself with the idea that despite writing about what I am feeling/doing in the moment I don’t actually bring it up with people. When I am cutting I do it in a place on my body I can conceal and the vast majority of people don’t know. I write it down because I want proof that I’m not lying to myself about what I’m doing. I don’t think I get additional attention around self-harming behavior. Other than when I was institutionalized as a teenager because I wouldn’t promise to stop cutting I haven’t gotten a lot of “attention” based on self-harming.

Talking about it alienates people and ends friendships. I don’t think I talk about it for attention. I think I talk about it because the more silent and ashamed I act about my behavior the harder it is to control.

If I talk about wanting to cut sometimes that is enough to get me through that feeling of wanting to cut and maybe tomorrow I won’t feel that way any more. It does work for me. Today I feel less desire to rush to Home Depot and buy a lock. That’s enough of a pause to ensure that I probably won’t be cutting this week and probably not this month.

Is that enough?

It is a lot like how I manage my suicidal ideation. “This is how I feel right now and if I honor it maybe I don’t have to do it.” I don’t live well with secrets. Believing that I have to lie about what is in my head intensifies and strengthens all of my negative self-beliefs. Nice people are allowed to talk about how they exist in the world. Stupid, worthless pieces of shit like me should shut up and stop polluting the airways. Just stop fucking breathing so you don’t contaminate anyone.

I don’t know if everyone’s lives are careful balancing acts. For me I have to manage stimulus and soothing pretty carefully. Lack of either one is dangerous to my ability to function.

I schedule parties once in a while because I know so many people that slowly cycling through them all one on one is kind of impossible. I would have a date every day of the year if anyone at all was on a repeating weekly or monthly cycle. I know a lot of people. I like them all. I want to continue knowing them. Heck, I want my awesome friends to meet one another because networking is very important for a successful life. Everyone needs access to resources.

I told my shrink that I missed a flight to Oakland Airport and got rerouted to SFO and I managed to arrange a pickup at midnight through Twitter. Because I just have friends who can do that. She was surprised. I am beginning to think that her other clients live in caves because she spends a lot of time being surprised that I know so many people and that they do the things they do with me.

I get that my life is a weird and extreme place. It has extreme bad and extreme good. I am very lucky and I am very unlucky. I have a ridiculous amount of privilege and yet I don’t. It all depends on what you are looking at and judging right this minute.

As a child I learned that one of the main things I needed to do to keep myself safe was make sure I know as many people as possible. If one person is mad at me/doesn’t like me/doesn’t want to help me/doesn’t want to spend time with me… find someone else. There are always more fish in the sea. There are billions of god damn people on this planet. Surely I haven’t alienated all of them yet.

I think that moving more than fifty times made it so that I never got to sink in and decide “This is just the way life is.” There is no set way my life is. The circumstances vary so much that they are nearly unrecognizable from day to day or period to period. Folks who knew me primarily as a slave to my Owner are rather shocked by me these days.

Walt Whitman may have thought he contained multitudes. I think I may have lived more lives than him. Sometimes I feel like a cat only I’ve had far more than just nine lives.

Do you know where the cats have nine lives thing comes from? When cats experience injury or illness they hide somewhere while they heal–it is an anti-predator sort of behavior. Then they come out and are fine again. So people used to speculate that they could regenerate.

I hide to lick my wounds then I appear again. Often in very different circumstances with fairly different behavior. Going from theatre to bdsm to teaching to parenting has been pretty dramatic. From stage to stage there is almost no overlap in terms of behavior or activities.

I think that is part of the reason Noah and I don’t do bdsm better together. I compartmentalize and Noah is the partner who has been nice to me and that’s hard to change. Even if bdsm might have other benefits.

tl;dr: I’m mad at my therapist for trying to talk me out of cutting. But that’s pretty much what I pay her to do so it’s a wash. Stupid parasympathetic nervous system. Why the fuck can’t you just act nice?

Oh, and after completely freaking out yesterday morning and feeling like the best thing to do would be to see as much blood as possible… I started bleeding.

Any suggestions on how to manage the monthly depression crash I’m getting? Yay impending blood loss. It is becoming really predictable. Which is strangely comforting. Just because I haven’t hacked the system yet I appreciate that patterns are emerging.

My worst depression days are followed immediately by me bleeding. I feel comforted by the hormonal link. Less like I am just at the mercy of the waves of my insanity.

Just another whinging Friday

It isn’t that I think my kids are bad or anything. They are just excellent boundary pushers. I want them to push boundaries. I flat encourage them in that direction. I want children who are tenacious, stubborn, and sure that their idea is A Good One. But. But sometimes I wish I could say, “I know I’m willing to argue/negotiate with you all day every day but can I please have a friggin break on my birthday.” They just aren’t old enough to understand.

We did have good moments. I feel really bad that it seems like all I do is complain. Doesn’t anything make me happy? Am I ever satisfied? Is there any point in reaching for satisfied or is that just not something I can feel? I feel really guilty for not being able to turn this into a fun trip. It should have been a fun trip. I hate that I am such a downer all the fucking time.

But it felt really bad getting yelled at for what I wanted to order for lunch. I fucking told them four days in advance, “On my birthday I want us to have gumbo and papas fritas and beignets for lunch. That’s what I want.” They were enthusiastic and supportive until we got to the park. Then I was a mean and terrible person for not letting them have popcorn for lunch. Or ice cream. Or a Dole Whip. Or…

My kids rarely have extreme cases of the gimme’s. I don’t buy them things all that often on our outings and I’m kind of nasty about being pestered to buy stuff. Holy.Fucking.Shit. This trip was the most gimme-gimme-gimme I think Shanna has ever been. She actually sat on her ass in the middle of the store and started yelling at me because I wouldn’t buy her a FUCKING SECOND MUSIC BOX. SHE HAS ONE AT HOME THAT SHE BOUGHT WITH HER ALLOWANCE ON OUR LAST TRIP.

I almost lost my shit. If we had been within an hour of home I would have left the park fifteen minutes into the day.

The really funny thing is the DMV portion of the trip was the best natured and happiest all three of us were on the whole trip. We played games and met people and it was a really enjoyable 3.5 hours. Hell, I’m talking to a lady via email after that. She’s nice.

I think it is that whole kicked puppy thing. I was acting like a kicked puppy. I was begging them to please let me have a turn. When you act like a low status person you get kicked like a low status person. So my kids kicked me (only literally a few times figuratively much more often) all day.

It all feels like my fault. If things go badly it is because I planned wrong or anticipated wrong or… something.

Having them both scream at the top of their lungs that I was mean and nasty multiple times before 10am felt really hard. I know this is a current tick. I know that the best way to handle it is to not engage. At this point in time I am having trouble not bursting into hysterical tears or hitting them. I have strong impulses to do both. I’m not doing either but I want to.

Just breathe. This moment will pass.

I have spent ~15 hours over the past week and some working on scheduling. I’m getting close to knowing the shape of my days all the way through the end of the year. If I stick with my schedule. Ha.

In order to make it so that I can potentially accomplish what I want to accomplish I need a schedule with a lot of rest time scheduled. I need to not be booked all day every day. I have to have multiple days in a week where what I do is hang around the house and putter. I need to have scheduled “sit on the couch and read books and snuggle” time with the kids just about every day.

I have to run more. I just have to. Not running is feeling a lot worse than running. Which is hella funny. We have gone out all four of us a couple of mornings in a row. We hope to get the kids used to going for a morning jog. Noah and I take turns doing sprints up the block and back to the family because the kids are a lot slower.

Outrunning Suicide is starting to take shape. I have mostly written several chapters. I have a skeleton. This one is very different than No Secrets. The entire writing process feels different. This will feel more like a collection of essays than a story, but there needs to be some sense of story in it as well. I am trying as hard as I can to be conscious of the fact that I want this book to be appropriate for twelve year olds. Even though the mothers of twelve year olds will say that it is too mature. The mothers are wrong.

I need to start working on painting in the back yard. All of the stuff that was built this year needs to be painted so it doesn’t rot quickly. Oh man.

I don’t want to go out very much over the next few months. I want to get work done. I want to home school my kids. I need to stop looking outward for a while. We will go to park days. I will continue to try to make time for Noah’s friends who have all had kids and the few people I have hanging on who had kids.

I need to stop looking for new people. I don’t have the bandwidth. My monkey spheres are full.

I like having a lot of… I’ll call them third tier friendships. People generally don’t want to think of themselves as third tier, but oh well. At this point the only person I have near daily contact with who I don’t live with is K. Thank goodness for her. That is the first tier. Second tier are all of the people who have kept contact with me for long-stretches of time and they know real things about me and I know real things about them. These are people who very consciously schedule with me and make sure that I know that they think about me. The third tier are the people I don’t see a lot of and they know very little that is real about me but I want to feel acceptance and love so I try very hard to maintain Appropriate Behavior around them and I know there are consequences if I slip up.

The third tier is where you get into the idea of Community. These are people I want to know. They add value to the world and to my life in particular but I don’t think they actually like very much about me so I have to carefully construct what they see or I will be shunned again.

I can’t overload my second tier. When I overload my second tier then I see the ending of nearly-decade-long relationships and the backlash hurts me for years.

The third tier is where I spend most of my time. I carefully dole out just small bits of my personality to people. It all tends to feel very artificial. I know I need to be careful not to be too real. I need to not saying things that will upset people. Good fucking luck guessing who is sensitive to what.

Why is the third tier so important? Because I have absolutely stressed the first and second tiers to the limits of their ability to support me and if I have free-floating miasma of need and I get it met in bursts of random kindness from the universe. I depend on a lot of Pay It Forward. Mostly this has worked out fairly well. Humans in general are loving, kind, and they want connection.

But then we get to this punishment thing. I think that most people have trouble understanding that they are punishing people. I know that I struggle with understanding how and where I punish people. I do it but it is hard for me to understand the mechanism of it. It is hard for me to understand that I have the power to punish people. I don’t feel like I have such power. I feel weak and powerless.

My second tier has worked very hard to step up since I had kids. As much as I am still in a place of great hostility towards the idea of “chosen family” (given that most of the people who have emphatically told me that I am their family no matter what no longer speak to me I think I get to be hostile to this concept) I… feel conflicted. Clearly I have friends who have moved into family roles.

I feel like I am understanding how other peoples limitations work better as the years go on. Like, I’m not inviting people on trips. It isn’t that anyone wants to hurt me (I don’t think that the desire to hurt me played any part in people not being able to go on the trip–major health concerns came up for everyone) but I am still here hurting. How do I move towards hurting less?

I have been asking for help with things where I can’t handle the answer “no”. That is always where I get into trouble. This is consistent for me. I wait until the lack of support will be crippling then I ask for support then I get told no because other people don’t have the bandwidth and I crumble.

I need my life to require fewer spoons. I need to not need help.

Having children has been humbling and humiliating. The amount of help I have needed has been really hard. Things like going to the doctor for an ultrasound of my abdomen. That turned into a huge long lecture at Kaiser about how I need child care or I can’t get health care. I understand why my dentist pushed me to get the dental implant I needed while I was pregnant even though the pain meds aren’t optimal because “Mothers don’t take care of their teeth when they have children under ten.”

It is kind of weird and hard to talk about but since having children I am more house bound than I was before simply because of how my bathroom habits changed. I have always had a small and urgent bladder (common problem with early childhood sexual abuse) but after the kids my life-long diarrhea problem became urgent and explosive too. And then there is how my periods have changed. Having a body sucks.

Having kids is hard but I did not anticipate the specific ways this would be so hard. I anticipated getting sick of laundry and wiping up poop and being screamed at. I didn’t understand that after having children it would be a rare thing for me to be able to handle three hours between bathroom trips–I get a few freak days once in a while. I normally go to the bathroom every half hour or so. I don’t think I would physically be able to teach right now. I used to have 110 minute class periods. I can’t hold my bladder that long any more. And it is illegal to leave in the middle of a class to use the restroom. I did it anyway but you aren’t supposed to and there are severe potential punishments.

You want to know why I have so much anxiety about neglecting my children when they are playing in another room and I can’t see them but I can hear them? Because I went through teacher training and discovered just how much trouble I can get in if I don’t “properly supervise” other peoples kids. Apparently properly supervise means sit on top of the child and physically prevent them from ever breaking the rules. Good luck.

I swear this all ties together in my head.

I have historically depended heavily on the third tier. Why do I consider them third tier? What I can ask of them is much smaller and more limited and I have to be careful of watching how often I ask. The tiering is how much of my need they have demonstrated an ability to handle. It isn’t about me judging them negatively or thinking they are bad people. I’m intense. I hurt people without trying. I need to be careful to notice when I am hitting stress points for people and withdraw so there can be a next time. If I push third tier people too hard they eject me from their lives.

With children this is different and difficult. At this point I feel like a user if I ask people for anything. I try hard to bully K to let me come do work at her house because I feel like such a user all of the time given how much support she gives me. It isn’t actually a better dynamic.

I have a hard time knowing that at this point in my life I need more support than I give. It has been true for years. Maybe for all of my life. This totally plays into being financially dependent. I feel ashamed of myself. I look at the women in my life who are not dependent and I feel pathetic. This is part of that defining myself by being not-like other people. It isn’t good for me or anyone else.

I don’t feel like the things I do are good or worthy. And yet I really really really want to do the things I am doing. With fervor and intensity I want these things in the world and I don’t think anyone but me will do them. I take that as a sign they probably aren’t worth doing and I am just a waste of resources.

Part of the problem with an extensive third tier is someone always needs help. People are always struggling and I wish I could help more. I wish I had more to offer. I wish I had more energy. I wish I had more time to give them.

But instead I will stay home and weed my garden and write a book and paint. I am selfish and small. My life is limited and unimportant. I totally struggle with that Gen Y thing of, “But I am SPECIAL”. No. I’m really not. I don’t have anything unique and special to offer the world.

But sometimes I feel like I do. Sometimes I feel like I am good at helping people see their own value. Because I think so little of myself I view basically everyone in the world as higher status as me. When I explain to people all that I see about them that is good and wonderful they tend to be surprised. They are not able to see themselves that way. Isn’t that ability good and useful? Is that enough? What is enough? Enough of what? Enough for what?

I don’t know.

But I need to pull back into my little shell. I need to count my spoons and carefully lay them next to tasks. I want to read more books this year. I want to look out my back window on New Years Eve and see a rainbow castle. I want to finish writing the book that I really needed to read when I was twelve. I want to teach my children the daily habits of picking up after themselves. Even though it is hard. Even though you would rather do it later. If you do it now then you are free to go do anything you want on a whim. It takes practice to learn these habits.

I want my children to think that physical activity is just part of life. So I have to model it every day.

I want to not be fucking screamed at. I have already made a lot of progress on my own screaming. I will figure this out. It is going to be hard and it will take patience. We will figure this out. Without anyone getting beaten. There may be a fair bit of time out in our future.

I don’t think that anyone did anything wrong per se on my birthday. But I think that at this point my birthday is such a thing that I’m not sure anyone can do right. I don’t think it is anyone else’s fault at this point.

Rope bridges last a long time but eventually decay. You aren’t doing anything wrong by jumping up and down as you go across a rope bridge. Sometimes a log may break and you could plummet to your death. No one actually did anything “wrong” but there are still end results that suck.

I don’t know how to feel special. I want that feeling so bad. I want to feel loved and appreciated and like people are really really glad I am alive. I don’t feel that way. I feel like people tolerate me so long as I can fill their needs and not be too annoying. I know that people don’t actually feel that way about me. I don’t think I offer enough trade to actually justify that belief.

It isn’t that I believe that Noah and Shanna and Calli secretly hate me. It is clear that they all love me with great intensity. But something inside me is broken. It is like pouring boiling water into a tank of liquid nitrogen so that you can warm it up. That just isn’t going to work how you hope.

I feel raw. I know I am “over sensitive”. I know I “shouldn’t take things so personally”. But I am. I just am. Maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe I shouldn’t exist. But I do. And this is how I feel. And I can’t make it go away just because it is inconvenient for me or for other people. The only thing I can do is try to stop being in a room with anyone else on my birthday so that it is very very clear that this problem is in me and not because of anyone else.

My birthday is really hard for me. I’m afraid it always will be. I desperately desperately want a kind of feeling loved and cared for and appreciated that I’m not getting. I don’t know what it is or how to get it. Everything I have tried so far has failed miserably. I really and truly have tried to change this pattern.

I wish I could stop feeling like it would be better if I was dead. Then I wouldn’t be so fucking inconvenient.

I know it isn’t “true”. I had kids so that I would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my labor is necessary for a few decades. Nothing would be better right now if I was dead.

But I don’t know how to feel loved. I feel despised. I feel unappreciated.

Which is ridiculous. Noah couldn’t work harder than he does. And he clearly is doing it for me–he didn’t work like this before me. My Owner was a workaholic. Noah was kinda lazy when I met him. He was certainly unfocused–that is probably a better word than lazy. He works like a dog, largely because he is doing it for me. He wants to make all of my dreams come true.

And I reward him by crying and crying and crying and feeling like a worthless piece of shit. He is very confused. If I knew what to ask him to do he would do it. I don’t know. I don’t know how to stop feeling this way.

I mean, in the abstract I know how to deal with this feeling. Feel it. Cry while you have it. Wait. It will end.

That’s the awesome thing about feelings. They change.

Sometimes I do feel that Noah loves me. Sometimes I do feel that my kids love me. But somehow when it comes to my birthday that is broken. There is this big brick wall. I don’t feel attached. I don’t feel love or loved. I feel worthless and stupid and pathetic and bad and mean and unwanted and like I should just die.

And god I miss my mother. I miss my mother so much I want to curl up into a ball and never eat again. I am not worthy. I dishonor the woman who bore me. I am a piece of shit. I am not protecting her and taking care of her. I know she needs it. She has always needed it. She has always needed to be taken care of more than I need it.

And I think my kids need more taking care of than I need. Except for one day a year. Where I think I am going to need to have different boundaries.

I have started grieving really hard for the apology I was told I would get and I didn’t get. That guy in the scene I went and talked to who said he would write an apology. I’m sorry I made myself vulnerable to that.

I’m even more grateful for talking to the guy who made me uncomfortable at the wedding.

I know that I have to keep trying with people. Every relationship is unique. Every dynamic changes over time. I need people to jump over hoops for me. I need it. I’m pretty clear and direct about how and where I need it. I try not to be too demanding of any one person. But I do ask people to jump through hoops for me.

I want people to show me with their actions that I am actually as important as they verbally claim I am. I want my body to matter. This is a really dangerous kind of validation to want. Because I am not going to get it. People will say they will do ______ and not do it.

Do you know what makes people happy? Giving help to other people. Do you know what makes people feel shitty? Needing help. I hate my neediness as much as other people resent me inflicting it on them.

The kids are slightly sick. Runny nose on elder child, both are coughing. Younger child keeps telling us she needs a bucket but she isn’t vomiting. I’ve been crying so much I don’t know if I am sick or not. I scheduled a potentially light weekend because I am S-M-R-T.

I am looking forward to fall and winter. It will feel really nice after the frantic work pace of spring and summer. It is a puttering kind of day. I will go grocery shopping. I should wash the windows. Then they can color on them again. Ha. Right now they are too full to be fun.

I should stop typing. Annnnnnnny minute here……

That was so nice.

We went to a wedding yesterday. It was a gathering of people I have known through the bdsm community for most of my adult life. Many of the people there I met when I was eighteen or nineteen.

These were the people who were the honored elders when I arrived in the first place. These were my Old Guard people in the leather community. These are the people who set the parameters of my world. These are the people who taught me about communication and negotiation and doing what you WANT to do.

These are the people who taught me how to manage life as a masochist–how do you find people to beat the shit out of you without sending you to a hospital? These are the people who taught me how to be ethical in my sluttery. I stopped sleeping with people who were cheating because of people in the room yesterday.

It wasn’t the entire Who’s Who of my cultural indoctrination but it was a lot of the main people. A lot of the biggest influences were there.

Do you know how they responded to me changing so much? I was told over and over what a good mother I am.

I nearly cried. I care so much about their opinion. I shouldn’t–I know I am not supposed to care about what anyone thinks of me. But these are the people who taught me my first lessons towards being a grown up. And they think I am doing well.

These kind of random moments are the closest I will have to having the feeling that parents or authority or whatever else feels like I am good.

I want so badly to feel like I am a good mother. I’m kind of banking on it this lifetime. That is my only path to the kind of relationship intensity I want.

I talked to a variety of mothers yesterday all of whom said, “Oh my God I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I love my kids but spending all day with them made me want to stick forks in my eyes.”

I don’t feel that. When I think of how many days I am going to be able to just be with my kids I feel this intense joy. This feeling of thank goodness I won’t have to be alone.

Having a job is different. Being a teacher was lonely. I had horrible loneliness as a teacher. I always know how much of myself I had to hide as a teacher.

I don’t tell my kids details about myself as a child because at this stage they don’t care and wouldn’t be able to process those details and it wouldn’t do good things for their lives. But I feel in me a sense of waiting. Someday they will be adults. They will be allowed to read books about my life. They will be able to know me for good or for ill.

My children will have the experience of me they have and then they will get to find out the back story. I have to wait for an appropriate time–which is hard–but I don’t feel invisible. I don’t feel unimportant. I don’t feel like what happened to me didn’t matter I feel like this isn’t the time to talk about it. With teaching it would never have been appropriate. That was much harder.

I don’t do very well with handling the fact that a large segment of the population likes to just pretend that “people like me” don’t exist.

Validation is one of the most potent drugs in the world. I have spent my entire life feeling unredeemably bad. I was bad so early that there is no way to change. All of the kids were told all of my life that they couldn’t play with me because I wasn’t a good influence. I wasn’t good to be around.

I was beaten and raped if I didn’t have sex willingly whenever I was told to. When I did have sex willingly there was a huge backlash and many people would shun me and punish me.

I really like this monogamy business. I feel like it is my armor against those expectations.

One guy yesterday rained on my parade. Really he is one of the people who makes me feel unsafe a lot at those parties. I don’t think he would rape me. But I do think he would do things before I could react and say no. Things like hold a knife to my throat because he thinks it is hot.

Yesterday he leaned over my chair and whispered into my ear, “You are so hot I should drag you off to the coat closet.”

I completely froze. I stared at the floor and did not respond again until he walked away. I didn’t want to make a scene. I didn’t want to be a problem.

I am so fucking tired of this shit. I have kind-of-sorta played with that man in the past. When I was younger and I believed that a bottom has to bottom to all the tops in the room and I practiced a puppy-pile approach towards bdsm he and I played. It has been many many many years. A minimum of eight years. I think longer than that.

Ok, I just emailed the bride and asked about dude’s email address. I need to talk to him. I need to tell him to back the fuck off. I don’t seem to be able to do it in the moment.

Did I think he was actually going to drag me off and do things I didn’t want him to do? No. The consequences are too high. He’s not stupid. He is a former police officer. He knows how to only do things when he won’t get caught.

That doesn’t actually make me feel safer. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. I’m aware “he meant it as a compliment.”

A FUCKING COMPLIMENT IS “THAT’S A NICE DRESS” NOT “YOU LOOK HOT ENOUGH TO DRAG OFF.”

The fact that he is a former police officer actually makes me feel significantly less safe. I don’t see how police officers usually follow the rules. And LAPD has a serious rape problem. Being a police officer doesn’t imply that someone has a higher set of moral values. It may just mean you are a fucking bully who likes to pick on people.

He said that less than half an hour before I left. I didn’t really want to stay after that.

If wearing the dress I had made for Jenny’s wedding and red lipstick makes me someone who all of a sudden should be dragged off to a coat closet and raped maybe I should never dress that way again. Maybe it was stupid. Maybe it would be all my fault if something bad had happened. See–I was dressed in a way that encouraged it.

(I had a very modest dress made. Give me a break.) I may be done with wearing red lipstick outside the house.

Sometimes I think it is very funny that I study Muslim guidelines for women and I try to somewhat follow them. Maybe if I were more hidden I would be left alone. Don’t attract attention in public. It’s dangerous. If I didn’t think it would confuse the shit out of people I would just start covering my hair full time. I don’t want to have to talk about why I want to do it.

I am tired of men looking at me and evaluating whether or not they want to fuck me right now and then TELLING ME AS IF I SHOULD FUCKING CARE.

So most of the wedding was lovely. And then there was this asshole. Story of my fucking life.

I’m happy that people have sex drives. I’m ok with talking with them in the abstract about stuff they like (I’ve been in sex communities for a long time) but I’m really past the point of feeling personally responsible for other peoples sex drives and I want to be left out of it.

Why is that so much to ask?

Progress report.

So.Forking.Off.Schedule.

I did five hours of unexpected painting today. Now I think this will be a forty to fifty hour project. Oh man. I don’t think I booked enough time over the next month. I don’t know how this is going to work.

Well, no way to get through it but to just up and do it. This too shall pass.

I am always much happier about the idea of being done with a project than I am about the work. I was bitchy for over an hour of painting. Then I finally relaxed.

I had a lovely chat with the lady who lives there. She thanked me repeatedly for painting her fence and gave me three little tomato sprouts. I thanked her. I’m shocked she is letting me do this. So far she likes it. That’s good.

The old guy down the road wasn’t avoiding me. My paranoia can end. *Phew* He was just super busy and then out of town. I got to hear all about his travels to I-de-ho recently. He is getting bawdier and bawdier and he swears more and more as he talks to me. He is starting to think of me as One Of The Guys. I can tell. It is always a funny shift when older men realize they can’t shock me.

Today I feel so glad that I get to have this life. My therapist wants me to walk around my house with a video camera looking at the pictures on the wall. She wants me to tell a story with them. She thinks it will be good for me.

I told her that I put the pictures up because I have a hard time reminding myself that anyone would care if I died. I largely put the pictures up so I can’t walk through my house and pretend I don’t matter. There are a lot of pictures on the wall of people who would be very upset and hurt if I died. I need to remember that.

I tell my kids that I put them up so that the kids will learn who their family is. That’s a much better story for them.

I appreciate that my therapist validates me as a parent so much. I mean, I think I am doing a good job of meeting the goals I am setting for myself as a parent and as a person. I really and truly have gotten my temper under control. I don’t rant and scream. I don’t hit. I don’t terrorize my children. I just don’t. I have a very mellow relationship with them. We are all working hard on life together.

We have one more Hindi class before two 1.5 hour oral exams. Oof. I need to study more.

I start teaching English on Thursday. I need to copy the short story. I need to pick the short story. And put together questions. And decide what I’m going to teach. And, err, basically every other aspect of teaching. No big deal, right? It’s only in 36 hours. No rush or anything.

Enh, ten kids for two hours. No big deal.

I’m really grateful for my friends. I know some good people.

I had a raunchy good time at a sex party this weekend. My husband puts out very well. Yay! I continue to have mixed feelings about how much better sex is when someone is watching. That would be exhibitionism, ma’am. I feel quite grateful that I found a partner who is so sexually compatible. *swoon* I no longer need to find many men for a night. Ha. He’s enough.

I’m not actually that off-schedule. Just a bit. But I’m going to need to up how much I plan to paint this week. Oy. It will all work out. The work, it will get done. I will it so.

I feel weird about how much I feel like most of the effort of my hands “doesn’t matter” and “isn’t important” and “has no value”.  How much of that perception is tied to my internalized misogyny and devaluation of womens work?

Today I told a (female) friend that I am glad that my daughters are growing up in a little bubble where most movies/tv/books pass the Bechdel test (1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it. 2. Who talk to each other. 3. About something besides a man)

My friend said that sounded exhausting after we talked about the three movies she recently watched in one weekend all of which fail the Bechdel test. I kind of blinked. Exhausting? I think that my world is wonderful and comfy and carefully constructed over many years. I feel like I finally get to relax for the first time in my life. No one here is going to tell me that I can’t do _____ because I’m a girl. Noah assumes I am more generally competent at most of the butch tasks in our house… because I am.

I don’t live in a world of female side kicks. I’m not going to fucking be one. I don’t need women to be the only characters but it is very rare for me to watch an all male movie. (Big exception for Shawshank Redemption.)

I look at the world created in mainstream media and don’t see a place for me. So it isn’t part of my life. I don’t miss it. I don’t feel sad about not participating. I don’t see why that would be exhausting. It’s a good thing everyone gets to be different.

I want to learn about the wisdom of women. I have no grandmother to learn from. I read books and watch movies. What lessons have women learned before me? Which wheels do I not bloody need to reinvent? I don’t find those same lessons in male-oriented movies.

Given that I am not allowed to punch people randomly in the face when I’m in a bad mood I don’t find action flicks enjoyable. It raises that “want to punch people” feeling. It isn’t that fun to suppress.

August needs to be slower. Ugh. We have another wedding coming up. (I’m not the officiant but it will be great!) Lots to look forward to. Lots to do. I can’t die yet.

Day one of painting