Category Archives: birthday

Just another day.

I have a birthday coming up in a few hours. I’m ignoring it.

Do I feel more mature? More ‘together’ than I did a year ago?

I feel like I have more self control in some areas and I also feel like I am running out of fucks to give on social stuff. I’m increasingly isolated and pretty happy about it. I see people… but not like I have for most of my life.

I’m Skyping regularly with some of my closest friends. I have delightful people who come over for walks and for dinners. I visit people when they invite me. I’m not inviting folks over as often. It’s me, not you. I’m feeling distant.

A few years back my birthday was this fevered pitch of need. I don’t feel loved and I need people to jump through hoops to PROVE THEY LOVE ME. Folks jumped through the hoops. In the end I felt worse because I know they jumped those hoops for me and I still struggle to feel love at all.

It’s not what anyone else is doing. It’s in me. I don’t want anyone to jump through hoops anymore. I know the love is there… when I don’t feel it isn’t your fault and you shouldn’t try harder. It’s me.

Sometimes I feel kind of dirty and ashamed because I can see how loved I am. But feeling it is more complicated.

How much of learning to love yourself is learning to set boundaries to prevent people from hurting you? How much of learning to love yourself is learning to accept responsibility for the problems you cause?

I’m a judgmental piece of shit. I judge people left and right, often when I have no right at all. When it won’t even impact me.

Where is the line between judging whether something should work for you, judging whether something is a Problem, and judging whether something is just… suboptimal but fine. I’m struggling with this. I still catastrophize more than I should. Oh no! If you haven’t helped this person be independent by age ____ then they will have x or y or z problems!

Bitch, put your crystal ball away. You aren’t right all the time. And if they do have those problems… how is it your fucking problem?

Mostly it isn’t. And I need to chill the fuck out. There are things I need to judge, when small children are behaving in a terrorized fashion. But mostly… folks are doing their thing and it isn’t about me and I don’t need to be so reactive and bitchy.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m willing to put up with in the past few years. It’s shifting. It drifts. What I would tolerate three years ago I’m completely done with now.

I don’t know who I’m going to be by the time I hit 40. It isn’t that far away. 4 more years.

I’ve been out for 18 years. I’m still having to try and learn how to not pick codependent, dysfunctional relationships. I’m still trying to learn how to not judge things that are none of my business.

I don’t hit like I did. I don’t scream like I did. I don’t hurt myself anymore. I will tell someone to stop contacting me instead of cutting myself to manage the dysregulation I feel when someone I love tells me that their problems are allllllllllll my faaaaaaaaault.

It’s some kind of progress.

I’m not that great. Some day will I be able to feel less hatred for how far I have to go to be who I want to be?

Sometimes lying is the truth.

Today I am going to smile. I am going to laugh. I am going to be encouraging and I am going to seem happy.

It is my baby’s birthday party. I can’t make this about me. My baby needs love and support and to feel like they are delightful for being alive.

Yes beloved. I will put my shit in a box. I’ll deal with it later. Today it is about you. And you are glorious and a source of joy.

The happiest days of my life.

Eight years ago today I was arguing with a doctor about whether or not they should just up and take me to surgery or if they should check my cervical progress again. Around this time, I hit 10 cm and I told her (the doctor) off.

It took three hours of pushing, including taking a break in the nap to be given more pain meds because I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open let alone push. I get why they wanted to operate on me.

Luckily while I was pushing there was a shift change for the doctors and the nurses. The new doctor on shift said, “You are a transferred home birth? Do you want the placenta?” then things started looking up.

When my baby was born she was put on my belly and she army crawled up to my breast, lifted her head and immediately latched on. It was a moment out of an idealistic-birth-story. If you ignore that it took me 49 hours to get there. The folks in the delivery room said they had never seen a baby do that before. I didn’t know how to tell them that I did expect that. It was what the books said would happen if you made sure you put the baby on your belly right away.

Ok, it doesn’t always look like that. But the books said it could.

My sweet girl. Born hungry. Born interested in going out and getting what she fucking wants instead of waiting for it to come to her.

I love you so. Every day with you blows my mind and teaches me new things. You are inspiring to me. You teach me who I want to be. Thank you for continuing to prefer my company above all others. I feel the same way. I’m so glad we agree.

Happy birthday my love. I hope we still love each other this much in eight more years.

Mellow birthday

Oh today has been divine. I went to a chiropractor and a massage therapist. I feel like they did wonderful work. We went out to a nice lunch. My friend made dinner and a pineapple upside down cake. I took a nap. I feel loved and cared for.

I contrast this to previous years. There have been previous birthdays where tons of people went to tons of effort… and I spent the entire day in a hell of anxiety because I was convinced that everyone was about to hate me any second.

I’m so ridiculous.

My friend asked me why I conflate people telling me that I deserve what I’m getting now with the implication that I deserve what I got when I was a kid.

Because it is a trigger. It isn’t rational. It isn’t because I “want” to conflate the two. Because when someone says that they are so happy I’m getting what I deserve my central nervous system goes live like touching a match to the end of a fire cracker. It’s a trigger. And people say it to me a lot. So I flip out over that one a lot. So I vent about it on places like Twitter, and here, and… y’all get to see it.

Sorry. Trying to document the fun of PTSD. Why do I continue to conflate those two things? To show how fucking frustrating it is that I have this central nervous reaction year after year after year after year.

I’m tired of reacting to these things. I react to fewer things than I used to. I am improving. But some reactions are still there. Some triggers are huge. “Deserve” is a rather large trigger for me. It’s not rational. It’s just there.

Hey I no longer flip out when people say, “Don’t hold back tell me how you really feel.” I’m improving. Things are changing.

But change isn’t constant. Change isn’t easy to measure. Change comes in fits and starts. Change often hurts.

I’m trying. Documenting things and venting actually helps this process. I hope you notice that I’m bitching about slightly different things over time…

Maybe we dodged a bullet.

When I was pregnant with Shanna Noah and I seriously considered moving to Pittsburgh. We flew out here in January to visit snow and see if I could maybe stand it because it is so much cheaper. Right now I feel like we dodged a bullet. I don’t think I would have done well here. I’m not sure what all it is, but I think I would wither here.

For one thing, driving around the city is panic attack central. I haven’t had panic attacks in months and months (I can’t remember the last one–but I wrote about it so it was a while ago) and I’ve had two here while driving. That sucks. The roads are super narrow. Sometimes intersections are absolutely terrifying and I’m convinced I’m going to kill everyone. That’s not even an interpersonal thing–that’s just about the lay out of the city.

It is so dark. It is summer time and it is uncomfortably warm… and it is still dark. The buildings obscure the sun.

I have met some nice people. I met an awesome woman I know from Twitter. I know I could find people I would like. It’s not just that the folks I wanted to stay with didn’t work out.

It’s complicated.

I’m glad we get to move on to New York now.

I feel guilty that I haven’t already written long thank you notes to everyone who participated in my birthday present. My mind is blown. 44 letters submitted by people who like/love me. That is very intense. I love you all so much. Thank you. I will be writing to everyone individually.

Holy tomato thank you. Thank you for loving me. I will spend my birthday reading and rereading your letters.

Yes, I choose you. I choose being in your life and I hope I can invite you into mine.

Great birthday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life keeps plugging along.

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.

Like it goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…..ok.”

“Shanna is in her bed.”

“….. ok.”

“I don’t want to be alone in my bed.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh man, $

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logistics

Thank you for all the comments. I certainly know I am not alone in experiencing social anxiety and group troubles. I read textbooks. I know how common my issues are. Heh. It is interesting seeing where other people are with handling it. I go in and out of phases where I can handle putting myself out there. Sometimes I can and sometimes not so much.

Tomorrow is a tea party at our house. The current RSVP count is maddening because it never stays the same in the last 24 hours. This group is… really big on changing their minds in the final hours. Which means if I start baking this afternoon there is a non-zero chance I will make two or three times as much food as I need because half or more of the people will cancel.

But the house is pretty much ready. I’ll choose to just be happy about that. I am ridiculously impressed by how helpful the kids are becoming. Shanna washes dishes now too. With every party that goes by they do more and more of the work.

My secret plan is working. My kids are going to be entirely adept at hosting before they are ten.

My kids are going to have very different issues than me. I really can’t predict what they will be like. But I know they will show up as adults with a large variety of skills.

We aren’t going to the park today because Shanna’s favorite girl in the neighborhood is only available to play on Tuesdays. Shanna asked if she could stay home to see her friend and that will make my life easier. I don’t know what it will mean about the whole shape of the day.

The kids were going to K’s while I have therapy before the park then Aqua Adventure. Now… I’m not so sure. We’ll see.

I finished all the invitations for Calli’s birthday yesterday. I feel on the ball on that one because I’m a month early. *phew*

I need to make a list of foods I’m making for tomorrow so I can email people. Folks always ask what they can do. The thing is, given how high the flake rate is for events… I hesitate to share duties. If someone decides not to show up at the last minute then I have to scramble and I don’t like that much. Tea parties aren’t like pot lucks. They aren’t events that can have a completely random menu. Says my little control freak brain.

I’m sorta thinking that I could say, “You can contribute $5-$10 on a sliding scale for what your family can afford per kid if you want to defray the costs. I do not require that any kid pay. If I couldn’t afford the parties I wouldn’t have them.”

I like them being just so. That makes it easier for me to get set up in advance. If I am reacting to an unpredictable amount and quantity of food from other people… I experience a lot of anxiety. What if someone else has a bad morning and brings their six kids without having made the food they agreed to make? I’d be uhhh up a creek. Either I would spend the whole party making food such that I didn’t get to talk to anyone or have fun, or kids would be standing there picking through my snack cart for the whole time. Neither option pleases me.

(I specifically said six kids because at this moment in time no one in the group has six kids. [Err, at least not that have all six active within the homeschool group…] So I’m not picking on anyone. It’s a metaphor. It could be one kid. But it would be more likely with six kids because man I have a lot of sympathy for moms with that many kids. I can’t imagine keeping up with that workload.)

I would be just as fussy with two or three kids.

I can create a smoothly ordered system if I am in control of all the pieces. I’m shitty at adjusting to, “Well I forgot to buy cucumbers so I made pb&j’s instead” when I already made the pb&j’s for the party and now that’s all we have to eat….

People are variable. And if I just do it then I don’t get mad at anyone for being human. I get that they are human and all. I need to be loving and accepting of people being where they are.

I’m probably better off saying that people can give $ if they really want to contribute. I totally don’t think I want help. Maybe some help. Not really. Go away. Don’t help me.

I’m kidding. Don’t go away. Come to my party. Enjoy yourself as a guest. Don’t pressure me to make-work for you because that’s hard. I’ll get to the work at a pace I can handle. Then I don’t have to stop my train of thoughts to create something for you to do. That can be pretty frustrating.

When I want help I ask for it. Shanna’s second birthday was awesome. I told my friends to come over and do everything for the party because I was very pregnant and I planned to sit in a chair.

They did.

It was really pretty breathtaking. The fact that I have social anxiety and insecurity about my relationships is pretty much horse shit. They show up. They work like dogs. I am so grateful.

I suppose that yesterday when I thought of the wedding reception and my 30th birthday I was looking for mass. At that quantity of people I start cracking.

The birthday parties for the kids have all been really great. I know that the parties aren’t for me so a lot of my anxiety goes away. I have a much narrower parameter of acceptable behavior “Ok for my kids” and that relieves the pressure of what to say to people.

As I look at the group of people who is working hard to know my kids throughout their lifetime… I feel quite humbled. My kids have an extensive network. There are a lot of grown ups who have been there over and over for six years running for Shanna. She trusts and loves them with absolutely no limits.

I feel so grateful that I get to see what that looks like. Even as I go through my feelings of rage that “chosen family is bullshit” these people show up for my kids. And they show up. And they show up.

Even my worry about an “appropriate place” for them to go should I die… they have options. They have lots of aunts who would make it work. My kids may not get to have the life I would give them, but they would be loved and cared for. They would be told good things about me.

I’m so grateful that I have gotten to this point. Even though sometimes I feel like I am going to have to leave because I am a monster who will hurt people.

Other people have to decide for themselves if I am hurting them or not. I should not proactively withdraw just to keep them safe. That isn’t actually what they want. They would rather tell me to knock it off if I start over-stepping. Well, maybe they don’t like doing that.

But I’m not shitty company all the time. Clearly folks like talking to me once in a while. I can stop pretending that I am torturing people just by existing near them. It is a really annoying habit of mine.

And I settled the menu for the tea party and followed up with sending my address to all the guests. Checking things off lists.

The kids have been staying up till 9 pretty consistently. Stupid Day Light Savings. They are sleeping later. It’s pretty awesome.

Oh, it’s official. I will not drink hard alcohol anymore. I had one fucking drink and it made me puke. I can have a glass of wine on rare occasions. When we run out of what is in the house I should probably stop buying it. Noah likes his rum and that’s his call. My body doesn’t like it. I had horrible diarrhea for more than 24 hours. It is time to recognize this limit. Yes, body. You win.

Ok. Time to go start the day.

In the midst of birthday season.

Our birthdays kind of bunch up. End of May, beginning of June. End of August, beginning of September. Then I have a blissful eight months to stop talking about them. Probably more like seven months.

Anyway. It is birthday season. So my birthday is on my mind. The kids are already telling me they don’t want me to go. I hear you. I want to go. I want to go off by myself.

I was thinking Harbin. But now I’m not. I looked around at other options. I think I am going to go to Calistoga. I think I will sleep in the van. I will splurge on body care awesome stuff. Because I get a personal budget and I’m allowed to use it. Noah buys video games. I buy access to mud. We are allowed to be different.

Looking at these websites is more fun than looking at porn. And I don’t twitch when my kids walk in the room.

euphoria and bouncing

Last weekend was great. This week has been kinda rough. Euphoric weekends tend to mean that I have slightly less energy the week after. So I want to do more retreating. Combine this with Calli going through some extra-needy period and whoa. Yesterday I probably spent five hours throughout the day cuddling Calli. Because she needed that much contact with me. She was pretty upset that I didn’t hold her more. I’m looking forward to the arrival of a back carrier that can handle her weight. My arms are numb.

I think this week has been kind of rough because I’m trying to shove Shanna through doing actual work. She signed up to send Valentine’s to all of her friends in the home school group. Great. That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit there and do 30+ fucking Valentine’s for you (including relatives). If you want to do this, then do it. But that’s a lot of work for a five year old. I have my part to play: I will do the envelopes and I will help when something is genuinely hard, but mostly if you want to do this then you have to do it.

I wrote all of the names down on her little white board and when she finishes copying the name onto a Valentine she erases it. She’s both enjoying and loathing the process, as life goes-right? But I am not being as patient as I could/should be. I’m working on it. I did screech once on the first day when she spread everything from all the craft boxes all over the living room and then left the room to go play dress up in a different room. I don’t f’in think so. Get your behind in here and clean this up before you move on. (Err, I don’t even say “f’in” in front of my kids much. I feel mingled horror and pride about the fact that I don’t cuss in front of my kids almost at all. I will rarely swear in front of them and I do not swear at them. That’s a boundary.)

So I snuggle Calli and hope that her development is doing what it should do. I alternate encouraging, nagging, and ignoring with Shanna depending on what I’m trying to get her to do/not do.

Mostly it was a good week. I don’t feel bad about my kids having the odd clingy week. It isn’t our norm and it makes me feel good about myself and so very loved and useful. It’s great as long as it isn’t every day for a month. If it’s five or six days a month then I can show up and meet the need and we both feel good about our relationship by the end. It’s nice.

I’m struggling with money feelings. I hooked up our investment accounts with my Mint account. So now I have a more real time picture of our net worth. I almost hyperventilated. We are more than likely going to be millionaires. We will have a net worth of more than a million dollars some day. If you hit one it is a lot easier to get higher than that. We will reach that point probably in the next decade. I don’t think it will take until I am in my 50’s.

That just blows my mind. In my head I’m still a dirty little street kid inclined to steal my supper. But I’m not any more.

I have enough assets that I could pay off my mortgage, remodel my house, and pay for all of the trips I have planned in the next ten years and still have money left over. I’m not going to touch those assets but I could. The money is there. Only it’s not really there. That money is about my future. Noah’s future. Forget the kids. That money is about Noah and I not having to eat cat food when we are in our 70’s. And more than half of our net worth is the value of the house which isn’t so useful in terms of preventing the eating of cat food. So I have a long way to go before our old age is secure and provided for.

This is a very different kind of self control. I have always had unusually good self control but this is different. Many of the people who have lauded my self control didn’t realize that I had self control because I knew that I didn’t have enough money to actually cover what I wanted and I’m not a big fan of buying on credit. There is one kind of “self control” associated with being poor and not digging yourself into a hole and there is a very different kind of self control associated with growing assets.

The middle ground is rough.

I mean, oh poor me now I have money. Err, or something. That’s not quite what I mean but it was the first thing I leapt to mentally after that last statement.

This is what people are talking about when they try to say that “there is no such thing as privilege there are just different life experiences”. Things are hard at every level of socio-economic privilege–they are just hard in different ways.

But I call bullshit. This may be hard but I’d pick this hard over my old hard every day of the week and twice on Sunday. That means they aren’t really equivalent. I see the privilege. I’m grateful and grateful and grateful for it.

And I’m very hyper aware that I didn’t earn this money and I would not be able to duplicate the earning of it. I could earn more money than I do but my max salary would always be somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of Noah’s potential max salary.

That means I feel much more impetus to save some for later. If something bad happens and I have to support my family we are going to need a buffer like mad because backing off our life expectations from this income bracket would be hard. I could get used to eating cheap shitty food again but my kids would rebel. They are spoiled entitled little things. I did that on purpose. My kids believe that they should have access to a wide variety of high quality food. They get kind of bitchy when they don’t have it. Their bodies don’t feel as good. Yeah, welcome to the life of a poor person. Suck it the fuck up. You will never feel “good” again.

But I want my kids to feel good. So I feed them well. Because I have the privilege. I don’t believe that people who have less money love their kids any less than I do but I think there is a real difference in how a body feels after eating a diet of high quality fresh produce and grass fed meat vs. mostly ramen and canned vegetables. That’s not about the love or caring of the parents. That’s the reality of food access. I have the privilege to provide my kids with better than I had and I want to so very badly. I prioritize spending obscene amounts of money on food because I want my kids to feel good in their bodies.

Maybe it matters less than I believe but I doubt it.

It’s going to be a fine day. We have some work to do. Noah is working from home. My mother’s helper is coming later.

I need to send an email to my potential editor. I’ve been thinking hard about my next response to her. I want to say it right.

I’ve been keeping up with my running. Tomorrow is 8 miles. I’m looking forward to the half marathon in March. I need to schedule the one in Portland. Haven’t done that yet. Bleh.

I’m having trouble figuring out when I want to go up there this year. Shanna vetoed her birthday weekend (which is when a cool unschooling conference happens in Dad’s town so *I* thought it might be a great time to head up there) and I don’t know that I want to be gone for over a week around my birthday. And if I went up to Portland around my birthday Noah wouldn’t be able to go and I wouldn’t be able to get 24+ hours off from the kids. So probably not early September.

Consult more calendars. Talk to Ms. Blacksheep. Figure it out.

I’m really looking forward to my birthday this year. My layers of disappointment and frustration and difficulty around my birthday are not the fault of a single solitary person in my life right now. But I still have the feelings I have. I can’t wish them away or successfully pretend I don’t have the feelings. I have them. They are shitty. I’m looking forward to being alone and not having my disappointment land on people who have not earned any disappointment. My kids and my husband are so unbelievably nice to me that I don’t want to be upset with them even a little bit for stuff that isn’t their fault.

If I could just fucking figure out what I wanted or needed from my birthday they would jump through hoops to provide it. This difficulty isn’t really about their failure. This is existential angst. I’m looking forward to keeping it to myself this year.

 

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.

Happy 2014.

I don’t really want to write a retrospective of the year. It was a better year than most for me. Maybe one of the happiest of my whole life. My PTSD symptoms continue to be challenging but I don’t think I got dumped by a long-term friend. I didn’t have to move. I got to buy anything I wanted. I did get support even if it didn’t feel like “enough” (that’s not really anyone else’s fault–I’m not even sure what “enough” would mean) and that is a big step up from most of my life.

We had dinner last night with my current “bestie” and her family. She’s the only person I talk to almost every day who doesn’t live with me. That person changes over the years. I try at this point to not hold on to attachment to a specific person needing to be there for me forever. I will never have a BFF. Britt decided she didn’t want me and that’s fine. My Jenny loves me and will love me forever but she’s far away and I won’t ever get to spend a lot of time with her again. That’s ok. I still love her with all my heart and soul. It is what it is.

My bestie told me she doesn’t think going cold turkey off pot is a good idea. She watched me cycle emotionally a lot yesterday and she flat told me that she thinks I am doing a self-hating thing. This is why I pick opinionated people as friends. They tell me what they really think. Even though sometimes I’m an asshole in response. I’m way better about the asshole thing than I used to be.

I am trying to let go of feeling sad about all of the relationships that have ended. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and you will never know who is in which category until you die. That’s when you finally have perspective on the story. It will all be ok in the end.

2014 needs to be a year of not spending money. I need to take the long term financial planning stuff seriously. I have some expensive goals.

Otherwise I think that mostly I need to work on being more brave. And kind. I need to yell less.

I happen to love a lot of other people who also have psychological challenges of their own. I’m not the only one with anxiety and panic disorder and PTSD and depression. If I want those people in my life I am going to have to consciously and deliberately keep inviting them in or they won’t be in my life. They can’t invite themselves in. Or they won’t. I don’t know which and from where I am sitting it doesn’t matter. It all comes out the same in the wash.

People are never going to be “all I want” from them. I have to manage that. It isn’t anyone else’s fault. It isn’t my fault either. It isn’t anyone’s fault near as I can tell. It just is. I can either be kind and loving or I can be nasty and alone.

I don’t want to be alone. I really don’t.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I have so much to look forward to. I love spending time with my kids so much. I am deeply grateful to the friends in my life. Noah is the source of all my safety and security. I cannot begin to express how much I notice that. I need to treat Noah as well as he treats me. I’m really grateful that I get to have someone who loves me this much in this lifetime.

I won’t keep everyone forever and ever. I need to not feel that it happens because I am a worthless piece of shit. That’s not it. Sometimes the people who can’t be in my life do truly love me… but sometimes love is not enough. I am hard. That will always be true. I need to transfer the bitterness about losing some people into gratitude for the people who can stay. It isn’t anyone’s fault that some people have to go. It’s just life.

Part of the challenge for this year will be to get my body to hurt less. I hope to get my brain to stop chanting that I am a worthless whore. It’s a goal.

I’m really looking forward to my birthday this year. I was talking to Noah about it this morning. It looks like I will take off for nearly a week alone because my birthday is on a Wednesday and I think it may be a good idea to schedule the half marathon in Portland the weekend before or the weekend after. I will check with blacksheep and race schedules and decide for sure. Shanna says she is not interested in going to the Unschooling conference in Washington the weekend of her birthday. She wants to be here with friends.

I’m looking forward to waking up alone on my birthday somewhere far from my home. I will have no one and nothing to take care of except my base bodily needs. That sounds like the best birthday ever right now. Maybe I’ll go dance in the trees all by myself.

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……

Well, I’m older.

I learned a few things on this trip. I will never again plan a trip around someone coming with me. I need to assume that I will be alone and I need to make my spoons cover the whole time I will be there. If I plan around not being the only adult and then I am stuck being the only adult things don’t go very well.

We were gone for 60 hours. I drove for 14 hours (traffic was heinous). Slept for 16 hours. ~6 hours of the kids yelling at me at the top of their @#$#%@#% lungs that they want to go into Disneyland NOW when they wake up 3 hours before the park opens (times two days–see how that works?)

3.5 hours in the DMV. That was entirely my fault for not doing better planning.

So that leaves ~20 hours to be in our hotel or in the parks. We made dinner in the room each day. The kids were very angry with me that I would not take them swimming at the exact same time as I was cooking dinner. It turned into two hours of Shanna yelling at me about how it wasn’t ok to bring bathing suits and not use them.

I think this is the worst set of behaviors I have ever dealt with during a short period of time from my kids. By the end of the trip I felt no love at all. I cried for five hours on the last day including about three hours of the drive home.

My kids were not nice to me. They both screamed a lot. I got hit multiple times when I said no to buying things. I don’t know what the mother fuck happened.

Well, I asked them to please let me pick what we did for one day. Please, just one day. Apparently that wasn’t reasonable to ask for. (The developmental books talk about all of their shit being right on target. Calli is right in the middle of the stage where my FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER says, “Put them in daycare and get a lot of babysitting because no one likes their kid at this age.” It is a rough stage. I remember it with Shanna. She outgrew it. She is currently in a different annoying phase but it is very very different. Give them credit and all.

But it was a rather shitty trip. A long ass time ago when I thought I was going alone I planned for five days in a studio. (Not a lot of points and I would get three days in the park without driving.) Because I asked people to go with me I ended up booking a one bedroom for three days because other people have obligations. Then I got cancelled on. Then I hunted hard for another person and got cancelled on. Then I asked dozens of people and was told, “How about the week after?”

I don’t think I will schedule with other people any more. I keep hoping that I will have the kinds of friendships where I can do that kind of thing. I don’t have them. Wanting them is hurting me very badly and I need to stop wanting that. I need to stop thinking I will ever be someone who is part of a group.

I feel pathetic for how jealous I feel of the big families at Disneyland. I’m not that jealous. I understand that a family that size comes with a dogmatic religion I don’t want to follow. But it looks so nice to have a bunch of people who love you and want to do things with you.

I need to assume my travel is alone and just for myself. This is a tree I have to stop beating my head against because I just flat don’t handle it well when people back out. Then I’m stuck with a reservation that I can’t handle very well. I didn’t plan around my spoons. I planned around someone else’s spoons. I shouldn’t have. That was stupid.

Most of the drive home pretty much all I heard in my head was how stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid I was for thinking that the trip would work out and be fun. Instead I spent the whole time being yelled at and feeling like I was about to burst into tears because no matter how much I do for my kids they yell at me and scream at me and tell me I am mean and nasty for not doing EVERYTHING they want RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. I know it is developmental and all. I think I deal with it ok most of the time.

It sucked golf balls through a tennis ball to have that happen on my birthday at Disneyland. At one point in the day when Shanna was being really snotty I started crying. Then she backed off. She said, “Oh, is this a big deal? I guess I don’t need it.”

I didn’t do very well with having to be the heavy mean person. I just wanted to be allowed to decide what we did on one day. My kids steer the vast majority of our days.

Next year I have every intention of waking up alone on my birthday and spending the entire day alone. Preferably hundreds of miles away from anyone I know so that I have no expectation of anyone being nice to me so that I won’t be disappointed.

Every year after my birthday I feel sad. It always feels like this sadness is all my fault. If I just chose to be happy everything would be fine. It is all my fault I am sad. Shut the fuck up you self-involved, pretentious, selfish bitch.

It really doesn’t help that driving down I-5 is a trip through my hellish past. “I was raped in that town. I was sexually assaulted but not raped in that town. I was beaten up every day by a group of six kids in that town. I was raped in that town. That is the town where my father held a gun to my head after raping me. That is where I was born and where my father started raping me.”

I don’t especially enjoy driving that freeway. It is very innately stressful for me. I have so much bad history there. And it all feels like my fault. If I hadn’t been so stupid…

I really don’t have a lot of respect for my intelligence right now. Right now it feels like there are lots of nice people in the world who like me and things don’t work out better for relationships because I am stupid and I want inappropriate things and I don’t know how to be nice enough so I just flat don’t deserve to have better relationships with all those nice people.

I want to cut so much. Still haven’t. Still not modeling it as a coping method.

People said happy birthday to me and I appreciated it. Thank you. I don’t actually think that “no one likes me”. I think my friends share what they have to give. Unfortunately sometimes I try to cobble what they have to give into what I need and it falls short. It isn’t my friends fault. I’m a black hole. I’m not sure there is “enough” anywhere in the world. So I have no right to complain about any of my friends.

But I’m still a black hole. And it hurts. It hurts.

I don’t know how to stop feeling like I should die because then the world would be better for everyone else. They wouldn’t have to hear about me and my stupid whining. I would finally shut the fuck up.

Assuming I will ever be anything but alone is stupidity. It is hubris. Stop being stupid, Kristine.

I’m not alone. I have Noah and the kids. But you know what… for the life of me they don’t seem to have much collective interest in being nice to me on my birthday.

I think that next year being literally alone is the right call. Less disappointment. Less being reminded that no, I’m not remotely special and people have absolutely no need to be nice to me on my birthday. It’s just another fucking day.