Category Archives: book ideas

Tone is absent

For the record, I thought “Ha, ha, ha, no” was hilarious. Pam said it was really sad. Oh. Whoops. This is why I have no future as a funny writer. I think it is pretty funny how out of commission I am for sex. (For the record, my ankle only hurts when I’m sitting cross-legged and my foot is pushed sideways. It no longer hurts when I’m sitting in a chair or when I’m walking. Some improvement!)

I went to the grocery store with a FODMAPS shopping list and sauntered through Whole Paycheck practically kicking my heels together. I have so many new options!!! Nothing like extreme deprivation to make you think mild deprivation is awesome. (That’s a for-real-studied-phenomena. If you really get to thinking your life sucks. Take a deprivation vacation and you’ll think your life is awesome when you go back to it.) FODMAPS allows many types of cheeses and low-lactose yogurt and raw milk is probably fine so it barely feels like dairy restriction. No cream cheese or sour cream. Big whoop.

It also helps that Whole Paycheck can accommodate any weird food limitation/need so I was reminded that if you are rich you can eat no matter how annoying your body is. I constantly have feelings about that. I’ve been talking to a lot of the moms in the home school group about body-issues. Many have issues in the same league as mine even if they aren’t exactly the same and… they just can’t afford to follow what they know is “appropriate” for their body. They literally cannot buy the food.

I am so lucky at this stage of my life. My privilege comes from Noah. And I didn’t earn it. And I’m not better than anyone else. And I don’t deserve it more than anyone. I just have it.

I don’t know how to live with it. I mean, I’m living with it. But I don’t know how to be… sensitive? Appropriate? Not an asshole? I don’t know. I don’t have rich people skills.

Rich people and poor people talk about money differently. Not long ago I was talking to one of the wealthier moms and she mentioned that she was interested in buying a set of camping dishes like the set we had. I told her, “How funny because I think I’m getting rid of the set we have because it is too hard to pack due to size–want it?” She offered to pay me.

When poor people hand stuff to their friends, it is rare to expect payment (unless someone starts out saying “I want to sell ____” the expectation is that when you hand stuff off… you hand it off) but with wealthier people I notice that they often offer to pay for things. They want to feel less beholden.

I give things to friends a lot. I donate a lot of things. I don’t do a lot of reselling my stuff any more. Partially because I feel like a leech. I could extract money from the women around me when I have extra stuff, but most of the stuff came to me for free. I have plenty of money and extra. Why should I sell things under those circumstances? It seems… like the reason people hate rich white people. I have extra. I don’t need to wring pennies from people for my cast-off stuff.

But if I needed the money more I’d have no shame about selling stuff. I did it when Noah made a lot less money and there was more of a gap in the budget.

I just… I’m in a weird position and I don’t know how to handle it. I feel awkward when people give me a break financially. Last night the server didn’t charge me extra for the gluten free bread even though she was supposed to. I pointed it out to her. The guy on the Christmas tree lot undercharged me and I pointed it out to him. People are always shocked when I say, “Hey. You undercharged me. This is supposed to be +$10 and you didn’t get what you are supposed to get. Here.” Often they try hard to talk me out of giving them the additional money.

I don’t want to take from people. I don’t need the charity any more. Save your charitable impulses for someone who needs it, they will be along soon. I’m glad you want to be nice and all. If you don’t want me to pay for mine, can I pay for the next persons so you can let them have the benefit?

I owe the world something. I leapfrogged up the ladder so hard and so far that I need to not be selfish about landing where I land. I don’t need to act “deserving”. I need to be humble. Pride means it all goes away. I am so influenced by all the time I spent reading the Bible. (I’ve read that bastard cover to cover. Many parts of it I read many times.)

I spend time talking about the people in my life. I talk to my shrink, my other friends, Noah… I talk about the people in my life. I talk about my feelings and what my behavior should be. I’m not a huge fan of the golden rule (treat others as you want to be treated) I like the platinum rule (treat others as they want to be treated) but that takes a lot of thinking and work and making mistakes and trying other tactics. It takes processing.

One of my friends said something interesting to me about a situation I’m struggling with. She said, “Maybe she needs to not think about the road not taken. Maybe she needs to forget that they exist.” That was kind of startling for me. I… I’m not capable of not thinking about the road not taken. I’m completely fucking obsessed. I’m always in the mode of preparing for additional options. Other people… they don’t work that way.

Lots of people get through their days by putting their heads down and not acknowledging that there are other options possible. That’s how they endure.

I’m sort of vaguely aware of this. I have book learnin’ that tells me this is so. I think it is so fucking weird. But I try to understand people. I try to understand why this works so well for people. I don’t get it. I really don’t. But whether I get it or not, I can clearly see that it is the coping method of choice for many people. Oh. Yeah, that’s probably part of what is going on in that situation over there. Yeah, I would be quite distressing under those circumstances. Whoops. Crap.

I had a different conversation with a different friend about how we can manage our interesting overlapping PTSD triggers. I like treating these things like they matter and will take work. That way I don’t just hurt someone and then tell them to go away when we have overlapping issues.

Today I have lots of babysitting time and no ability to do outside work. I think today is a day for me to work on getting my book out to publishers. I have eight hours of babysitting today (in split shifts with more than one person) so I should be able to get some work done. That will be exciting. I haven’t made book progress in many months. I completely stalled.

Other than book stuff I can’t think of much I have to do today. The storm cancels out the majority of the tasks sitting here waiting for me. (There are many things I need to do… most of them are outside. Like putting together the travel trailer. I bought it then got really sick and haven’t had the physical strength to go move around the huge pieces of metal alone. I’ll get back to it. Damnit.)

I have made contact with a nutritionist who was recommended by a friend. She’s in Chico. She gave me contact information for people in Oakland and Berkeley. Someday some interesting people will move to Fremont. That day hasn’t come yet. Well… I’m here…

Another friend passed along contact information for a doctor who could help me out with fecal transplant, I just have to get to Portland, Oregon. (I do that pretty regularly.)

Being rich changes things. “Just suffer” isn’t really the same sort of situation. I have options that exist in the world. There are more things to try… if you have time and money. It feels crazy to me.

I want to talk to a nutritionist because I don’t really understand what the symptoms of having specific food problems look like. I was told yesterday that if dairy doesn’t give me horrible smelling gas I almost certainly don’t have dairy problems and I should reintroduce it to give myself more variety. (The person who said this has been to college for a medical degree so I’m less snotty about her telling me her opinion on this sort of thing than I could be.)

Why do I go back and forth between believing people with medical degrees more and hating them so much? Because it feels like they have the knowledge to help me it is just whether or not they think I am actually worth thinking about. I’m a hard puzzle. I’m work to figure out. They went to school to help them learn how to figure out puzzles like me. Most of them have decided that I’m too much trouble and I should be silenced. “Just eat more cereal” is a silencing sort of answer.

When someone tries everything they can think of and it all fails… I don’t get mad in the same way. I’m sad, but grateful they tried. I understand that different methods work for different people. I’m ok with the knowledge that some of the things I try will fail. I’m not ok with the feeling that the doctors don’t care very much and aren’t willing to try very hard. When someone isn’t willing to try very hard I hate them and hate them and hate them and hate them. I hate them with all the fury I normally reserve for my mother and father.

Because they don’t love me enough to try. Big theme.

My needs are too big. So they just aren’t worth trying to meet. Ok.

I have several tabs open on my Chrome screen for doctors I will call in January. That’s when I get my new insurance information. My neighbor has had a nightmarish journey over the past few years on her journey to a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis. Her husband said she found a great gastroenterologist in town and I’m going to try talking to the woman. Worth a try. I’ll talk to the nutritionist in Chico (and hell, maybe the one in San Diego my other friend recommended). I’ll talk to the poop-transplant-doctor in Portland.

Because that is what privilege gives you. The ability to pay for the time of professionals. Sometimes it feels crazy.

I am very grateful that I get to keep trying things. That is such an unbelievable gift. That is hope all wrapped up in a shiny wrapping with a string.

I got to wake up and eat a cheese stick this morning. There is still hope.

This sucks.

I have had so much diarrhea in the last 24 hours that it is kind of horrifying. It burns and burns and burns and burns. Based on the color of things coming out of me, the blue jello went through me in under an hour. I would guess that the extreme burning is stomach acid coming through with the poop.

Noah and I had a very unfun conversation about “support” and medical procedures. Namely: that begging on my blog for a friend to come with me is how I get support during medical procedures and I’m not all that happy about that. He agreed that it kind of sucks. That said, we both think DSH may be slightly more useful in managing Kaiser anyway.

Basically I said, “Remember me begging for you to be more involved in Calli’s pregnancy and you remember how you didn’t do it? Yeah. At this point begging other people for help seems more productive so I don’t waste my breath asking you any more.” That can’t be fun to hear.

When my family sat down to a lovely dinner I wanted to go in the bathroom and cut. I didn’t, but that was all I could think about. Not being able to eat is becoming a real problem for me. Psychologically this is getting really bad.

Yes, I know that I was going to have nasty diarrhea right now by design. They made me take a fucking laxative (as if I need help causing diarrhea) and I’ve had no fiber in four days, going on five. Apparently no fiber also causes me major diarrhea. So I’m going to have diarrhea right now. This is for a medical procedure.

But my poop book is an exercise in crying and feeling bad. I have a few days in a row that are ok then I’m back to diarrhea and I haven’t cheated on wheat or dairy in a while. And I still have wicked diarrhea all the time. Somehow I am finding it hard to believe that wheat and dairy are the problem when I’m up to day 55 and I still mostly have diarrhea. Yes, I did cheat a few days so I suppose there are going to be people who tell me it is all my fault I haven’t really cleared my system so I can’t truly be sure. But give me a fucking break.

I’ve had wheat on five or six days out of the last 55. I don’t think wheat is the current problem. I really don’t. Yes, I understand that a lot of the current problem is stress (when I’m not preparing for a medical exam) and I don’t know how to get that out of my life.

Part of the problem is, if you start telling me how anxiety causes my diarrhea you spike my anxiety… and my diarrhea… and you convince me that the only solution is dying. It is my fault I suffer. The only way out is death.

Now, after several mugs of broth I know I just couldn’t do the GAPS diet. If I tried drinking straight broth daily I would throw up after a few days. Just like I can’t consistently take multi-vitamins or I projectile vomit them. Festive!

I’m scared that I am going to get to the end of this procedure and have the same diagnosis I have now–IBS. The thing about IBS, they don’t know what causes it and other than managing stress and trying to figure out which foods trigger you the worst… nothing can be done. And the foods that trigger you aren’t true allergies. You just have to play with food forever and someday something will give you wicked diarrhea and sometimes not. (Some people get constipation. The internet makes me think that I am starting to alternate constipation and diarrhea because that would explain the massive uptick in gas pain. Since starting this elimination diet the pain in my belly is 4 or 5 times as bad as it was. I *never* got abdominal pain like this from gas before the elimination diet. Sometimes I double over in pain and have to breath for a while.

Sometimes I think the gas pain is worse than labor. I think it is funny that I am developing this list of things that have happened to me that actually hurt worse than labor. Given that I had a 9 day unmedicated labor at home followed by a hemorrhage that left me unable to walk for two weeks… that really is kind of saying something.

Right now it is 3am. I woke up at 2am to drink as much as I can. Only clear fluids at this point. No liquid past 4am. Not till after lunchtime. Seemed important to tank up now. And quite frankly: when you have this much diarrhea, getting dehydrated hurts. Yay Sprite! I am drinking Sprite! Even though it has carbonation. Fuck the universe. I already hurt. I need calories. If I have more apple juice I will puke. (I’m also drinking home made stock. Which, at the bottom of the cup, makes me totally fucking gag. It’s great in soup. By itself… not my thing.)

I’m going to drink a minimum of four cups of liquid. Maybe I’ll try to force six cups into me. Phew. Now the broth is gone. Bleh. Yuck. Ew. Cover the taste with SUGAR!

We had a great interview with a babysitter last week and she no-showed last night. I looked at her profile again last night and I’m the fourth one star review saying she interviews great then never shows up to work. At least it isn’t personal? A different babysitter no-showed an interview yesterday.

I’m kind of amazed by how many people will email me telling me they want a job and they they either don’t show up to interview or they interview and don’t show up for work. It is just about impossible to find people who want to show up consistently and earn money. They want money but they think that an exchange of their labor for the money is ridiculous. Given that I pay right in the middle of the babysitting scale for my area it isn’t that I’m under paying.

My shrink keeps telling me that I have to find another babysitter. Given that I can spend 10-20 hours a week on hunting for a babysitter only to end up with no babysitter (there have been a minimum of six weeks that I’ve tried this since Shanna was like two) I’m starting to question the point of the search. I could find a daycare to drop them off at, no problem. I can’t find people who want to consistently come to my house to babysit. That’s just… onerous. (Thank goodness for the homeschooled teenager three doors down. But her parents are looking for a house in Modesto. I’m going to cry a lot.)

In positive news: we got a Christmas tree yesterday. I put up the lights and garland and I let the girls decorate the rest. So we have kind of a hilarious band of ornaments. It actually makes me feel very happy. This is the range of their current competence, neatly illustrated. so cute.

In general I feel the kids deserve medals for how patient they are being with me lately. When I start crying when I’m eating (because man my food doesn’t taste good anymore) Shanna comes and pets my shoulder and tells me, “Mom I know this elimination diet is really tough. But it’s not forever. You can get through this. We will figure out how to make you hurt less. Then we’ll figure out how to make it taste good.”

I feel so guilty for my suicidal thoughts. How could anyone want to get away from someone as wonderful as Shanna? Or Calli. Oh man Calli has been the biggest love bug lately.

I feel grateful all the time that I get to be with my kids instead of people who wouldn’t appreciate them as much. Sometimes my friends tell me they would “shut Shanna up” and I think “That’s why I’m so glad she’s my daughter and not yours. I don’t want to shut her up.”

Calli has been trying to figure out volume stuff lately. She’s experimenting with whispering voices and how close to someones head you have to be for what volumes. I think it is wonderful.

Once in a while Shanna asks me what’s wrong. I suppose at those times I don’t have a great facial expression. I tell her, “Something isn’t going right with my body or I would be smiling. You are enough reason to smile all day every day. But my body isn’t.”

Recently a woman I know was talking about her experience moving through the world with what she described as “resting bitch face”. I don’t think I have that. Of all the ways I trigger people to be more hostile to me, I at least skip one magnetic pull for hostility. I’m a smiler. Big time. Safety decision. A very long time ago I figured out that doing something other than smiling was kind of dangerous.

I feel weird about what I’m teaching my daughters. Don’t be quiet. Smiling is safer. Take up space in the world. People will protect you more if they have more of an emotional bond with you and the way to create that bond is to seem personable and friendly no matter how you feel. Your feelings don’t matter; the feelings you cause other people to have matter.

I’m glad my kids are getting to the point where they will rattle off that clothes don’t make you pretty; your behavior, or not, makes you pretty.

It has taken many many many times of saying, “I’m not going to tell you that you are pretty because you changed your clothes. I’m going to tell you that you are pretty if your behavior is awesome.” Earn it or you don’t get it.

I’ve had many people tell me over the past 15 years that I’m not one to give idle praise and that is part of why people trust my praise. I won’t say you are awesome until you are and then I will say it thousands of times.

If you believe suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems then I want to live with you for 15 years and cause you as many emotional and physical problems as I have before we have a conversation. And fuck you while we are at it.

I want to stay. I want to see my kids grow up. More than anything I want to find out what Shanna is like as a 35 year old woman. Whoa. What will Calli do with her life? I can’t guess. She doesn’t even have any “When I grow up” beliefs yet. Other than wanting to be near me.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not had children I would be dead. Sometimes it seems like cheating that having kids is not only as good as I hoped it would be, it is better. I could never have imagined all of the life I have now. I didn’t have the imagination. And I’m going to do some intensely cool things in the future. Even if I do have diarrhea.

My shrink tried to tell me that if I get a “real diagnosis” that means I’m likely to have diarrhea forever that will be the end of travel. I laughed. I told her that I have a travel toilet. I’m going.

My kids are going to see this country. And many others. My kids are going to find out what a range of humans exist here. My kids have so much privilege that sometimes it kind of breaks me. My kids are growing up being told that with great privilege comes great responsibility. I say things like, “There are a lot of people in this world who are so hungry they are not able to think of solutions to the larger problems. It is the responsibility of people who have enough and more to solve these problems because you have the ability to think. If you waste what you have, that is terrible. That is hurtful. You are damaging the people who cannot do what you are doing just out of… what? Not wanting to? Not wanting to deal with making mistakes and having to learn from them? You are going to fuck up in ways big and small. Try to change things. The world needs changing.”

A former student told me that Outrunning Suicide is the book she wishes she had read when she was twelve. She said she cried because of all the mistakes she made during her teen years that could have been avoided if she had read this book. I need to find the time and motivation to submit this for publication. Man it takes spoons. She described it as “It’s like The American Girl Body Book but grown up…”

She says I’m very good at presenting facts and options and not telling people what to do. *phew*

I don’t want to tell you what to do. I don’t know what you should do.

H’okay. 90 minutes since I’ve been in the bathroom and 5 cups of liquid later time to leave the garage. Have a good day, y’all.

Day 11

Breakfast: last of the peanut butter puff cereal with corn so corn should be out of my diet at this point, I think it is the last item. I also had rice porridge for second breakfast.

Lunch: rice, chicken (more of yesterday’s recipe) with stir fry (bok choy, carrot, bell pepper, and cabbage) and a banana.

Dinner: exactly the same as lunch, including another banana.

Only two poops. My 4:30 poop was a soft cloud at the bottom with one floating chunk. Pretty brown. My 6pm poop had multiple discrete chunks! That were brown! They are still very soft of course, but any sign of packing-together is a good sign. I’m still crossing my fingers as I feel hopeless and dispirited.


I just spent more than two months of personal money on books about suicide. I haven’t read these ones yet. At this point I am fairly sure I have read more than thirty books about suicide. Thirteen more will be arriving in a week. I have never been good at writing down how many books I read (I’m trying a thing this year!) so I read books and then can’t remember if I have read them or not until I get ten pages in. Then I can tell you most of what happens in the book.

What is the book about? (My book–the next.) It is a book for twelve year olds that is mostly about social engagement and harm reduction but it looks like it is a book about dealing with suicide and mental health issues. I specifically and in great detail go into different problems that come up for people. I talk about how to handle them. I talk about how to get adult support when you need it.

I talk about which kinds of adults are good for asking different kinds of questions. I tell kids to go spend a lot of time sitting alone in a room so they can figure out what *they* believe. Then go out into the world and act like it is true.

It is a book that is a twelve year old level introduction to the fact that every person occupies a very individual sized hole in the world. What you can do is not an option for other people. You have a unique ability to be helpful and loving.

And if you aren’t feeling helped or loved there are people in your world who would like to help. Sometimes finding them is really hard. You have to be persistent. You have to believe that your needs matter.

I talk about sex enough to say that wanting it is good and natural and nothing to be ashamed of but you need to realize that there are adult consequences. I talk a little about STDs and pregnancy and tell people that they are going to have to live with the results of their actions. There are ways to “experiment” and have fun that do not have permanent risks. Make conscious decisions. Don’t let things “just happen” to you.

As medical science advances suicide is becoming one of the most common ways people die. It is the only form of death we can’t seem to reduce the rate of in our population.

That’s really sad. That’s a whole lot of people who feel worthless and unwanted.

The Golden Gate Bridge is being retrofitted with dividers between the traffic lanes. I read somewhere that this will prevent an average of seventeen deaths in a year. (Maybe in a two year period?) But they have more like two thousand suicide deaths a year and they don’t want to put a suicide net up even though it is much cheaper than the traffic divider.

It’s not pretty.

No, suicide isn’t pretty. It’s not pretty how many people feel like they have nothing of real value in themselves. It’s not pretty that people go off to die alone because they are so convinced that it is the only way out of hurting.

It’s not pretty.

I tell my children every single day that I love them and I am glad they are here with me. I somehow suspect that this will continue for the rest of their lives. I’ll send emails when it becomes creepy to call. Maybe letters.

My kids are not going to be afraid that no one will care if they die.

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……

book thoughts

I just had an interesting thought about my relationship with my Owner. He ended the M/s portion of our relationship in July of 2003. I didn’t leave until October of 2004. He didn’t want me to go when I did. He wanted me to stay with him until I was completely done with college.

But he didn’t want to meet any of my needs or have any of the kinds of relationships I wanted to have beyond kind of vaguely being my Daddy. He wanted to give me a secure place to live. He wanted to be able to hurt me when he wanted to. He wanted me to wear his fetish items and look like a doll. He didn’t want to get married and have kids. He didn’t want me to have any kind of security or hope for my future. I was to just exist as someone he could hang out with and not have to talk about anything.

He wanted to have just the appearance of a “girlfriend”. But he had nothing to give. He didn’t even want to have sex. We had sex once a month because I begged.

He didn’t want anything from me other than pain and laughter. I was supposed to enjoy being hurt, not feel bad about it. It wasn’t ok to treat pain like it was a bad thing in my body.

I don’t know how to turn this into a book arc.

Now I understand “fuck cancer”

For most of my life I have been kind of confused by the “fuck cancer” emphasis people have. They seem to be more upset by it than other kinds of death. I’m a death-is-death-how-doesn’t-matter person. Only in the past couple of weeks Kate Bornstein (who is one of the most important voices in gender deconstruction) has had a crowd source fundraising effort because she has cancer–we need her. She has the courage to speak about things that must be spoken about. She is really important.

And another person I know has 6, 4, and 2 year old children. Kate is very likely to survive. She has a very survivable kind of cancer and now the outpouring of love and money she will need to fight for life. His survival chances are in the single digits.

I can’t stop weeping. I “know” my grandmother died from cancer. I don’t know what kind–not breast cancer. I know that much.

The kind of knowing I want my children to have for me is something that cannot come until they are adults and putting it all together in retrospect. I think that I all of a sudden just received a catapulted stone of fear in my belly. How will his children know him?

He told me just before he found the lump that I had inspired him to start marathon training. That process was more or less how the lump started bothering him. That’s why they found this. I told him to start making videos for his kids. One for each birthday up until they are 25 or 30. They need to know you and get the advice you would give them.

Shanna was asking me about parents yesterday. Kind of the standard kid question kinds of things: do only Mommies take care of babies? Oh dear goodness I hope not or a lot of kids would starve to death. I told her that some babies have only one mommy or only one daddy and some babies have a mommy and a mommy (or mama) and some babies have two daddies and some babies have more than two parents of any possible gender consideration. What matters to a baby is that consistent grown ups hold and care for and love the baby. That is all that is needed to make a parent. Not biology. Not anything else. I said that babies are designed to fall in love with the grown ups who care for them because that is how the baby will ensure survival. Mutual love with a grown up means the grown up becomes invested and puts a lot of time and energy towards the baby.

She said, “So it doesn’t matter if it is a boy or a girl?” I asked her how many times it has mattered whether I have a penis or a vulva while I change diapers. I asked her if she thinks our female friend K is too stupid to figure out how to clean her son’s penis. Shanna laughed. I asked her if her father has ever had trouble wiping her butt. She confirmed that he is a poop wiping expert. I said, “Anuses are universal.”

She asked if girls are supposed to stay home with their babies. The timing on this conversation was just hilarious considering what I have been reading on the internet lately. I said girls are supposed to do the things that make them happy. By being happy in front of their kids they are teaching their kids the right way to live. For some mothers this means staying home and for some mothers this means working outside the home for a company. All mothers work. All mothers do a back breaking amount of work. If a mother has an outside job then the children can either stay with dad (I cited families we know) or if both parents work day care of some kind can be arranged (I explained several different examples we know).

Every family looks different because every family is made up of different people. Different people are made happy by different things. That is what makes life beautiful. If everyone was exactly the same life would be really crappy. Every person is on a completely individualized path through life.

I said that different people have different advantages. I talked to her about money. I talked to her about how some people have large extensive families and that is a different very important kind of support. It gives different life options. For example: single parenting is a very different experience if you are rich than if you are poor. Single parenting is a very different experience if you have a large and involved family than if you have no family support. I went on and on. She asked more questions. It kept going.

I tell my children frequently that while they are children they have a few specific jobs they have to work on. Their primary job is to play with the world. The process of play and exploration is the primary thing that children should be focused on. After that you have to learn how to have relationships with people; you have to learn how to be considerate. But the third thing is: with great privilege comes great responsibility. I tell my children explicitly that they are part of the most privileged cohort that has ever been born. They have more access to information and the ability to learn than any person has ever had at any point in history. And my kids have free access to it all day every day because they are not locked in an institutionalized setting following some bullshit agenda that is the resort of so much compromise nothing real is taught. I expect them to take learning seriously.

I talk about how the world is changing and there are a lot of people in the world who do not have access to information. There are a lot of big problems to be solved. People will have to be exceptionally able to synthesize large amounts of data in order to solve these problems. People will have to learn a bunch of cross-disciplines in order to solve these problems. The only way is to start young and take it seriously. Learn.

I tell my kids that I want them to grow up and be fierce and sure of their opinions. They should not believe they are “always right” because that is hubris–no one is always right. But listen to Davey Crockett: Be sure you’re right and go ahead. Plan at leisure; act with haste. If you hesitate then some someone less qualified will speak first and set the plan. That’s really not a great situation. If you can’t find a way; make a way. You will make mistakes or you will never learn and grow. You must make big mistakes. That is part of life.

Even if I get upset with you over a mistake I will get over it. I love you more than I love breathing. More than I love any thing in the whole world. I will get angry with you. I will shout at you. I will never hit you. I will always love you.

Thinking about cancer makes me feel so very afraid of my children not knowing me. Shanna proudly informed me that she was going to grow up and be a bad ass just like me. I laughed. I told her that would make me very happy. I want to see that. I want to see what she is going to be like. I want to know her. I want that so fucking much.

Getting to see what Shanna will do in the world will be my entertainment and reward for still being alive.

And that’s before I even get to Calli. Calli is a born engineer. She is going to need to have a woman behind her saying, “You can do it” for a great many steps in her life. She is going to live in a “man’s world”. Hell she already wants to be Diego–not Dora. Not Alicia. She’s Diego. She’s the god damn main character who rescues everyone.

They need me. It is so clear. Like my friend’s children need him. And I start weeping again and I understand fuck cancer.

There is no right. There is no should. There is no deserve in this life. There just is.

On April 1st it will be the birthday of one of the awesomest women I know. I’m sorry I won’t be in Portland with her. That would have been wonderful.

In other news I am exchanging books with a friend who is also a writer on April 1st. We are essentially work-shopping one another’s books. You know, a real forking editing job. I’m ridiculously excited. I want No Secrets to be finished and I have stalled. It has been almost a year and a half since I wrote it and it still isn’t in paper. Erf.

In September Noah is officially off the leash and he gets to start being a mostly absentee father/husband while he works on whatever he wants to work on. I’m thinking about treating July like my own personal NaNoWriMo. I want to write Outrunning Suicide before I have a hard time negotiating for time. A lot of the shape of it is working itself out in my head. Stylistically it will not resemble No Secrets. That’s for the best. I’ve been reading reviews of writers differently lately. “What will they bitch about with my content–repetitiveness. I can’t just tell the same stories. Hm. Interesting.”

Sometimes it is kind of convenient that I have been through such a ridiculous variety of kinds of extreme trauma. I always have another fucking story. Ha.

A few times lately I have thought about my mother. I’ve thought about what will happen when Shanna is eighteen. Shanna might want to meet my family. She will be allowed to. I’ll drive her to the house and wait at the bottom of the hill for her. She doesn’t have to share my views on them. She didn’t make my bed; I did.

Shanna asked me if I loved my mommy when I was a little girl. I told her that when I was a little girl I thought my mommy was the best thing in the whole universe. I loved her with my whole heart. She was my sun and my moon. Shanna then pointed out that I don’t feel that way now. I said, “No. I don’t. You will have different opinions when you are in your thirties than you have right now too.” She looked thoughtful.

It is really hard giving space for beliefs that are not your own. If I break the incest chain in my family I have absolutely done a measurable good in the world. I just found a biography from someone in the middle of a six generation chain. My stomach hurts too much to read it right now. At some point in the not-too-distant future I will have read everything easily findable on this topic. That’s a little weird to know. It makes me want to create more data.

Life goals:

I want to deepen and broaden the scope of information known about incestuous families. At some point I will figure out a measurable goal around this topic. I don’t have it yet.

I want to live outside my country of origin for a minimum of five years, preferably in one year chunks. I’ll get homesick bad.

I want to see what Noah can do. He has really impressed me so far. I want to see what he and I can do together.

You outrun suicide by giving yourself full permission to do it, but you keep moving the goal posts. “Ok I can do it. But first I have to do…” It’s on the to do list. But a lot of other things are going to happen first.

I want my children to be adults and to be able to say, “Yeah. I agree. It’s time. I love you. Do what is right for you.” Maybe I will have to move to Oregon once I hit 70. When I get there I will get to be near a friend of mine. She is partnered with one of the people who pushed that law through. I feel so grateful that I get to know people who change the world. They give me the courage to keep trying.

Holy fuck. I just had a thought. What age level is Outrunning Suicide aimed at? If I want a lot of people to be able to read it I have to think about that. My writing is rather obtuse most of the time. Well that will take some thought.

When I was a child there were very few periods of time when I didn’t want to die. I stayed alive mostly because I was too depressed to be expeditious. I didn’t know anything other than pain. I was not permitted to act like I was in pain. That was rude.

My life is different now. I didn’t understand what a life free from pain was. It was a myth. I wouldn’t say that I am exactly pain free at this point but I am probably at the lowest level of pain and the highest level of joy I have ever had. These are the best days of my life. And I know it while I am living them.

I keep wandering in my head to a Madeleine L’Engle book A Wind in the Door. The mitochondria are in trouble! The farandolae aren’t deepening! I just read Collapse by Jared Diamond. Help! The planet is in trouble! The humans aren’t deepening!

I don’t know. Lots of feelings. Today I don’t want to die. And I weep at the loss of a great mind. I hope he doesn’t read this. My grief is not his problem. I’m glad his wife has a very supportive family. I’m glad they live near her family and not his. I am so sorry it is happening.

I’ve read tragedies for years. I’ve taught units on tragedy. I never really got it before. I’ve never been deep enough into a community to really understand what the loss of a person means before.

He’s going to fight. He’s that kind of guy. My grief is entirely premature and I need to stfu. But this is where I feel.

I have spent most of my life believing very firmly that for me cancer was one of the goalposts. I wouldn’t fight. I would go quietly into the dark night because I’m not interested in more suffering.

Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.

Now I don’t know. When I think about the things I want to do. When I think about not seeing my daughters grow up to be fierce and bad ass? (She-Ra is pretty bad ass is a frequent comment around our house. I said it once. Oy.)

There is no right. There is no should. There is no deserve. There is only what is. And what you go do with it. We live in a time of practically preternatural access to science. If you have money. If you want to fight something bad enough we live in a time of honest-to-goodness miracles.

How much do I want to see my daughters at thirty? Forty? Fifty? Sixty? What will they do with their lives? I want to know so very badly. I am curious. I want to know. I want to see what this being I have unleashed on the world will do.

Somehow I don’t envision her walking onto the family compound at eighteen and not coming back. It’s thirteen years away. She’ll be able to evaluate people on her own at that point. She will have had a lot of practice with a lot of different kinds of people. She will be able to read people well. My family isn’t subtle. Even if she does want to get to know them–and why not, they are interesting people–she won’t want to stay.

She will have shit to do. My family has nothing to do but be unhappy. They will sit in one place doing that until they die. I don’t understand why. It’s like a clock that has run down. Poverty, physical health, mental health, and a kind of apathy I don’t understand. An anger about entitlement and responsibility I don’t understand.

I have had such a ridiculous amount of privilege. I’m only starting to understand the shape of it.

I have had the privilege of being able to set the goal post of “I’ll kill myself if” pretty low but I’ve been healthy enough to always meet a really ableist centric attitude. I have been able to be an asshole about independence. I’ve also had a guaranteed income for most of my adult life. I’ve been financially stable without having to have a job. That’s so fucking ridiculous.

I have no safety net though. I don’t have Bank of Mom and Dad. I don’t have emergency reserves beyond those I create. For most of my adult life I was inches above the poverty line living in one of the most expensive places in the world. I have never come close to bankruptcy and my credit score is ridiculous. I did that with a lot of seed capitol. I feel like an asshole for being glad that pit bull attacked me. It made the whole rest of my life better.

Perspective if everything.

I’ve been thinking about my mom. I have been specifically thinking, “I forgive you. I hope you forgive me.” If my kids ever go and meet her I hope my mom understands why I kept them away. My kids will be different. They will not have broken spirits. I hope she will be able to see that and be glad. I hope she will forgive me. I hope she understands wanting to keep your kids safe.

I hope she will forgive me.

I hope she will still be alive so that she will be able to meet my kids some day. I hope my kids want to talk to her a lot for a while. I bet she won’t live long after that but she will die happier than she has been in a long time. They will be like her. They will be able to ask her questions about things she has had great skill at doing. They will think she is an interesting person.

It’s kind of a weird balance. I have to tell the truth to my children. The truth is that no one is all bad. Everyone has good parts. The thing about life is learning how to find the good that balances the bad and evaluating if the value is high enough. In most families people decide that the kin alliance is worth putting up with the bad. That’s normal and right.

When my kids are adults they will not be children who are easy to mold. They will not be instructed in how sex is natural and fine between family members as long as you don’t breed because it is only in breeding too close to the line that you develop problems.

I hope that when my daughters are eighteen they will have the ovaries to say to a biological family member who solicits sexual contact, “You are a disgusting piece of shit and I hope you rot in hell.” Because yeah. That’s the reaction you should have to incest.

But I don’t think my family would dare at that point. And if everyone keeps their britches on, it’s fine… right? Oh fuck. *beat head on wall* Wait. I’m not supposed to do that any more.

Maybe I should get dressed and run. That would be all healthful and crap.

I want to live. I have stuff to do. I’m scared. Fuck cancer. I can’t be strong enough to outrun it. No one can. It just happens. Am I going to instantly stop smoking so I can lessen my risk of lung cancer? No. I wouldn’t be a nice person. (Vaporizer is still impact on the lungs. My lungs will tell you.)

On the way I will eat more Easter candy. My body says: “Hey, I know-instead of crying: sugar rush and endorphins!” Is this ideal? Nope. We recognize two candy-holidays a year in this house. Otherwise I would get in a long of trouble. I didn’t eat candy like this when I was a kid. It’s kind of weird.

Ok, run.

Brain dump + Bonus question.

Occasionally someone will say something to me along the lines of them being worried about Noah being supportive enough.

I just yelled at Noah for almost two hours straight about how mad I am at all men and how angry I am about the current ways of dealing with rape in larger society and I said a lot of thinly veiled mildly implicating things that were quite harsh about all men. One time he slapped the arms of his chair and had a sharp intake of breath and he stood up and took two steps around in a circle then set his face in stern lines and settled in for more listening.

And over and over he patiently explained all the flawed results of my incoherent half-plans. He wasn’t dismissive but he was insistent. I’m just not looking at the whole picture. He’s right. He wasn’t even slightly demeaning. He was measured and careful in his tone. His facial expression was carefully monitored.

And when I cried in frustration and said I don’t know what to do he shook his head and sadly said he doesn’t either.

Noah has limited capacity to support me because he is a human being. I can consciously see how he is working as hard as he can to be supportive. It’s not his fault I have this hole in my life that is supposed to be filled by other people. I can’t do anything about that either.

Shanna told me yesterday that she wants to see the Eiffel Tower some day and she doesn’t care that I don’t like Paris I will have to go with her and she will make sure I have fun. I bet you she would be right.

I don’t run in Fremont again before the marathon. I am supposed to walk nine miles in the next five days. We leave for Disneyland Tuesday morning. Piece of cake. The marathon is pretty much exactly seven days away. Nearly to the minute.

I feel disembodied and empty. Drained.

One thing Noah promised to do for me (we’ll see) is set up a website and a mailing list. I’m going to start writing again soon. I have two very specific book ideas I’m playing with and I’m having trouble deciding which to write next.

My relationship with Tom will be a book by itself. It will be incredibly graphic and highly sexual.

The other book is one that Noah is encouraging me towards: Outrunning Suicide: A Harm Reduction Approach to Life. I already have the starts of the table of contents and multiple chapters partially written. I’ll be going through and examining all the ways I distract myself from killing myself. I think it is an interesting topic and so does Noah.

What do other people think?

Since I’m not sleeping I might as well write.

For the last day or so Noah and I have been talking about how he thinks the next book shouldn’t just be part two of the autobiographical series. He thinks the next book should be about suicide. So far this morning I’ve written about 2,000 words. I think there is a part of me that wants to hurry up and write about suicide now because I want to work on part two during NaNoWriMo. This isn’t the same kind of story telling. I want to tell stories! But he’s right. This is weighing heavily on my mind.

He keeps asking me who I want to talk to and why. Who do I want to talk to? People who think they have it so bad that there is no point in continuing to try. It couldn’t possibly ever stop hurting. Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

But how do you bear it? How do you keep going? How do you get through yet another shitty day? A big part of it for me is this obsessive, tenacious belief I have that I am not alone and there are people in the world who understand me, at least a little, and more importantly there are people who love me and need me. I don’t just mean the kids.

I was a teacher for two and a half years. Former students talk to me at least once a week telling me thank you for helping them with something or other. I’ve helped some of them become better educated about their birth choices. A student told me that she avoided a c-section because I gave her the strength and assurance to argue for her rights. I feel like that’s a big deal. She had the brass plated balls to argue with a doctor about her rights because I told her she could. Fuck yeah.

When people are very suicidal they call me. Even if we aren’t close. Even if they barely know me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I seem safe. I am not going to look down on someone no matter how low they feel because I feel like I’m sitting there in the gutter with them. You can’t look down when your chin is on the ground. Everything is level or up.

I feel pretty ridiculous sometimes because I feel like part of my gift this lifetime is the easing of other peoples pain. Even if I am not that important in and of myself I touch people. Maybe they will be important. Maybe they will be able to do something because they felt seen by me. Maybe I will be able to lend them some of my strength and stubbornness.

How do I make it through another day? By making deals and trades. Over time I have made some bad deals but all that mattered to me was making it through the day. By that metric I’ve been quite successful.

I feel pathetic because I measure my success in “not dead”. Seems like a pathetically low bar. Not so much of a high jump but rather something to trip you up. If you fuck up on “not dying” the consequences are bad. If you hit a trip wire it hurts even though it’s not a high bar. Landing on your face really really hurts.

I think a lot about survival. What does it mean to live? Why are we here? What am I doing? I feel overwhelmed by life. It’s too much and not enough. But I have to stay. I have things to do. There are people who need me. I have to believe in the pit of my stomach that somewhere out there in the world there is someone who needs me quite badly. I can’t die yet because I haven’t met that person. I want to. That’s enough to get me through today. I’ll find a reason to get through tomorrow then.

Chemical states and relationship transitions

Something that probably isn’t obvious is: the frequency I write is largely dictated by how much shame I feel about what is swirling around in my head. I haven’t been writing as much. I feel too much shame. I feel ashamed of who I am and how I experience the world. I shouldn’t talk about how I am experiencing things because that is drama. Which means I am running in little hamster circles in my head. It’s almost fun only it isn’t.

I think I am depressed. If I look at my physical activity lately and my attitude I have (for me) almost stopped moving. For normal people this means I am still fairly productive. I do this by sitting down in the morning and drawing up a schedule for the whole day and marking by the half hour what I should be doing. I put in a lot of reading on days when I have to do this. I can follow a schedule and “do what I am supposed to do” if I am just following a set of instructions. I no longer have to think during the day. I check the posted schedule at least five times an hour because I can’t remember what I should be doing.
I feel very sad and disconnected. On one hand I am seeing friends and trying to deepen relationships. On the other hand I spend all of my time with people experiencing a lot of physical distress because I believe in the core of my being that people actually think I am a piece of shit and they are just tolerating me because that is what you do in life. It’s what I do with the pieces of shit in my life. I don’t tell them I think that about them. But I think it. So I firmly believe I am not the only one in the world.
I’m trying. I’m trying to ignore the irrationality in my head but it comes at a fairly high cost. My stomach hurts right now. It has been hurting for quite a while. My throat hurts. My arms even hurt from clenching. My jaw hurts. I can taste the bitter metal of fear and adrenaline a lot of the time. I can’t help but feel like living with this much stress will kill me whether I commit suicide or not. My body is simply working too hard. And I won’t give myself much of a break on the other activities in my life.
It is my job to show my kids how to be productive, sensible, functional adults. That means I can’t really model getting depressed and sitting around with my books and movies for months. Even though I know I used to do exactly that for long stretches. I’d go to roost and avoid people. I can’t any more. My kids can’t deal with that kind of isolation. They actually need people. 
I suspect that part of my issue is around money. I use money to fill in the cracks on what I have to do versus what I want to do–I expect that is standard. Right now and for a while I can’t do that. I have to stay home and not spend money. That’s hard because it means I am making today and yesterday and tomorrow a lot harder than they “have” to be so that some day off in the distant future we can do as ok as we are right now while we have a dip in income. Self discipline is hard. It wears through my willpower. I get physically tired. And knowing that I can’t do much of anything with money to make my life better triggers a lot of feeling hopeless about situations in my life. Either I can figure out how to do everything by magic with no money or I can deal with them just not happening. Things won’t get fixed. It makes me feel bad.
I don’t like feeling thwarted. It makes me want to stop trying. But I can’t. It’s not fair for me to stop trying. It’s not fair for me to stop hoping. I provide the structure of everything for my kids. They need to understand that frugality is not a death sentence. They shouldn’t view it with abject horror as making their lives terrible. You need to live within your means. It’s not a harsh sentence. It’s life.
My tomato harvest will once again be epic. I anticipate begging access to a pressure canner this year. I have frozen enough fruit to get us through the winter. I feel good about that. We will need more meat before the end of the year. Ok, I just set up a beef pickup in September. I believe the internet is Magic. This means I can save up the $600 for the meat over more than one month. Woo. I am starting to build my stockpile again. I cleaned out all the food in the house for Sarah so we could build a stockpile of foods we both like to cook with together. That didn’t really happen and I haven’t had a full larder in a year. I have a fair bit of stuff in the freezer I will probably never use because it’s not stuff I like and I have otherwise been just trying to make up the deficit in the food budget for a long time. We’ve been buying week to week until last month. I would like to spend the summer/fall stocking up so that over the winter I can lower the food budget and eat out of stores. We’ll see. Temporarily I raised the food budget by taking it out of other places. Money is not infinite.
I think it is kind of weird that I feel bad for feeling frustrated about money. I have access to far more money than anyone in my family. By far. My mother broke $30k/year for the first time the year she turned fifty. My sister I think got up above $60k/year. Noah makes more than twice that by himself. 
When people tell me that they don’t see any relevance for feminism in the current era I think: “Why is everything that women do esteemed so little and why is the stuff men do esteemed so highly?” If you think it is because the men stuff is more important I might kick you in the shins. If the poorly-esteemed work that women do stopped happening then all of a sudden you would have MUCH BIGGER PROBLEMS than if your god damn magical phone stopped working. Or if you didn’t have a computer oh no what would you do?! What your fucking ancestors did for millenium. Stop whining. 
We have an interesting way of deciding what is important and what is worth money here. I’m grateful that I get to be on the receiving end of that money but I feel pretty ashamed of the fact that I would never have had a life this comfortable without Noah. No chance. Comparatively I am worthless. That feels bad to me. If I didn’t have Noah I would probably have to go on welfare for a while. I can’t just go get a teaching job. I would have to go back to school because my credential lapsed. 
I know that all of my status is worthless if I stop having this man stand next to me. I feel thin. I feel unimportant. I feel permeable and insignificant. So of course I’m binge eating and I’ve gained weight.
I am only worthy of low status occupations and activities. It’s certainly all I do with my time. I garden and clean. I play with my kids. Shouldn’t I pay a gardner and a housekeeper and a nanny so I don’t have to sully my hands with those activities? Ugh. Yet more evidence of my class issues; I suppose. I feel strongly pressured to be idle. That should be the point of all this status I inherited from Noah. Only I physically cannot handle idleness. It makes me feel terrible emotionally and physically.
If I am not working to make my home nicer then I sit here and stare dejectedly at all the things I can’t fix right now and I cry. It’s not better.
I feel really bad because I can’t handle dealing with new people right now. I am slowly moving around the people I’ve known for many many years deepening relationships but I’m terrified of new people. I don’t know how to act around them. I feel so physically bad that the experience is really unpleasant. I feel guilty about this. I don’t believe I am done finding the people I will be close to this lifetime. I’m just really scared right now and I can’t do it.
Well I know one thing I’m doing today. I’m getting rid of the spider web right above where I write that is currently home to a spider the size of the tip of my pinky finger up to the joint. That’s rather disturbing. Awesome.

I feel bad because Noah takes my fussing over money as sign that he is not providing well enough. I’m having trouble convincing him that I believe he is a good provider. I think that is kind of funny. He is supporting me with a degree of luxury I have never consistently experienced in my entire life. Yes, it’s adequate. Really. When my petty cash runs in the tens of thousands no one should feel guilty. Holy fucking shit. We have a high burn rate. In order to ensure that we will actually be ok in case of a temporary set-back we need a very large cushion. It’s simple mathematics. Why does it feel so emotionally complicated?
But he grew up with parents who didn’t work at all and dealt with family investments. It’s a whole different world. He grew up with parents who didn’t have jobs and still paid people to clean their house and work on their property. It’s a whole different world.
I think I don’t want to have an outside job partially because I don’t want my kids to believe that cleaning up after themselves is beneath them and should be done by a menial laborer who cannot aspire to better for complex reasons of race, class, shame, and bigotry. I don’t want to get a job so I can have enough money to pay someone to be beneath me. I never get what I want from those relationships and then I hate people. It’s not a good system. You can’t pay someone enough to care about doing their job. People are either interested in their work or they aren’t. I’m interested in the work of maintaining my house. No one else is. I have to live here. I don’t want to live in a piece of shit house that is falling down around my ears. Maintenance is god damn mandatory.
Part of what I am struggling with right now is the fact that I want my kids to have relationships with people. That means they are going to have to deal with the fact that people are not reliable. They can’t be trusted to tell the truth. You have to be very careful how you partition out trust. Look at what people do and not what they say if you want to know the truth of a person.
This is what I tell myself because I try so hard to do the right thing even though I feel my speech is often offensive and wrong. I say inappropriate things. But at least I am physically doing all the right things at the right times of the day. Sometimes it feels like all that I have to prop up my self worth. Of course I value it highly. 
I have been thinking about storyboarding for the book but I haven’t picked up a pen. I’m afraid. I have ideas and I’m afraid I’m not good enough to complete them. I think the best thing about NaNoWriMo is the structured pressure of it. Produce, motherfucker. I am really looking forward to being post-marathon and in a writing phase again. I need a better ergonomic system before November or I am going to damage myself. My arms are tingling as I type. Shit.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the structure and nature of my compulsive sexuality. When do I do it? Why do I do it? What are the lead-up events? It’s a group coping activity. I don’t do it one on one in the same way–even with prey. I do it as a way of finding a position in a group of people. I know how to be the slut. It’s pretty much the only group role I feel comfortable in. As an aging woman it is one I need to get out of before I look more desperate and pathetic than I already do. 
I slept. I swear I did. I still feel tired. I feel exhausted in the marrow of my bones. I’m going out tonight. Sigh. Like, after bed time tonight. I leave at dinner time. Lately I have been finding it very important to financially prioritize supporting the endeavors of long time friends. I’ve paid to attend several shows/events recently just because I wanted to be in the same physical space as specific people. I don’t care much about the activity. I never really have. I want the people. I want to stand in close physical proximity to people who know a lot about me and like me. I ache for it. Being an audience is a fairly comfortable role right now. Little is expected of me but I get to make someone else feel good by being present. Nearly half of the fun money I have had for the whole year has been spent on going out to see two people in particular. I like them. I need them. If you add in this one other friend you get to more than half of the money I have spent other than the book. That’s been my money for the year. I don’t go to Starbuck’s. I don’t treat myself to books or music. I did take Shanna to see Brave. That is our movie for the year. We go to the park and to the kid places we have memberships to. We pack lunch. I severely limit my driving. Yesterday we drove to Oakland then Oakley then Vacaville to see people and I don’t think I can drive much the rest of the month. I’ve used more than half of my monthly gas allotment on one day. Well, ok. It was worth it. I only see them two or three times a year. I only drive up once. It’s worth it. That is how I am setting my priorities.
I like relationships that have a lot of hurdles to existence. If they continue then I feel like someone truly loves me. It is hard for someone to prove they love me. I get into trouble with expectations. I try to keep them low but once in a while I am foolish and I expect more from people than they are going to do. I recover from that with ill grace. I’m never thrilled when someone shows themselves to be not worthy of trust I have given them. It causes me to feel a lot of self-doubt about my general worth. I thought I could trust this person to do what they say and I can’t. It must be because I am not worth telling the truth to. It must be because I am not worthy of even thinking about long enough to follow through on commitments. That must be it. I am so fucking pathetic.
At this point I can’t talk about my anger and frustrations about these situations because I can’t express it in front of my kids. My kids get to have their own reactions. They don’t need to learn my anger. So I am doing a lot of stuffing. That means it creeps out in little insidious ways. I’m snippier and shorter of temper. It feels so unfair to my kids. I’m not mad at them. I’m just out of patience because I wasted it on adults.
I feel like I should hide in my house with my kids and not deal with people because that is the only way I can ensure I am just reacting to my kids and not the other people in the world. Only it only kind of works. Because then I bring the trouble home. The kids need relationships too.
This too shall pass. One of the greatest gifts of getting older is I trust that this phase will end. I won’t always feel this way. It’s a cycle.  I still don’t think I have bipolar disorder. This is why I put myself on a schedule when I feel like this. If I haven’t gotten anything done by nine in the morning I have to write up a schedule or it will be a couch day. I know it. I have occasional couch days when I believe that physically the rest is probably a good idea. I try to keep those to once or twice a month. I don’t want to teach my kids that a great big part of life is just sitting around not being productive in any way. You need rest, sure. But find a way to get your rest in while still doing something. Reading does count as an activity. It’s a great excuse to rest. Watching movies… well, sometimes. When you are sick, sure why not. Otherwise you need to move your body more than that. We don’t stay in one position while we read. 
I love seeing my kids develop my physical mannerisms. I feel affirmed and loved and seen. They read like me. We like to change positions a lot. Sitting still is quite hard. We squirm and wiggle and roll over and over. We stretch at the same time. They get books and do yoga with me. I get to set normal for them. They will grow up believing that what I do is right and good. It makes me cry. I have always been different from everyone around me and I was viewed as bad and a threat to be stomped down. I was supposed to be more like them. My kids think I am great. They don’t know that I have never fit in any of the molds I have been shoved towards. They don’t care. We fit.
I strongly encourage my kids to be different from me. I support them having different opinions. I talk to them (mostly Shanna still) about how I have control over them for a very short period and then they get to make all of their own decisions. I talk about how I don’t want to have control over them because they will have different ideas and opinions than me and they should do what will make them happy. I also talk about how to coexist peacefully. I talk about having respect for people around you. I model what that means. I really love my kids. I get to be good and kind and respectful towards people who absolutely deserve it and have no ability to let me down. My expectations of them are that they are helpless little amoebas at this point who will flail and be random. I’m pretty much right. But they will become adults who understand in the marrow of their bones what it means that Mom does what she says
That freaks me the fuck out. That pressure. That is what gets me out of bed every morning. That is why I make schedules and get shit done no matter how I feel physically. I god damn need to have more people in the world who believe that I am trustworthy and good and kind. I say some very harsh things and as a result a fair number of people think I am an asshole. I can’t really say they are wrong. But that is such a small part of me. I feel defined by the negativity in me. With my kids I have a perfect chance to have a different experience. 
I must say it is going well. This is one of the hard phases. I can objectively understand that my emotional cycles and their behavior cycles are being wonky and I’m being patient with all of us. That is what a good mother does. Well, I’m not patient with the screaming. I will put my hand over a screaming mouth because otherwise I get horrible headaches to the point where I can’t really see straight. If I have to drive I cannot allow them to hurt me in that way. I just can’t. Why do I feel so guilty about covering their mouths? I don’t make it hard to breathe. I am not cruel. I don’t do it for an extended period of time. I don’t shake them. I don’t hurt them. I don’t yell at them. I try to calmly say, “That’s an outside voice. Inside you have to be more quiet.” “No really, that hurts me so you cannot scream in my ear.” I have to teach them boundaries, right?
I don’t feel worthy of defending and my kids are pushing boundaries all over the place. It’s a hard combination. I’m trying to live up to my end of the bargain. I have to teach them how to be respectful of other people. It’s my fucking job. One for which I have managed to trade having a very cushy life. I have an easy job. I shouldn’t bitch about it. 
It’s weird to think about how I would handle these emotional cycles if I had a job. I think I never would have found time and space to really write. I think that would be one of the things I had to drop. I would be more volatile. When Noah showed up and asked me to marry him I was trying to work up the courage to ask him to raise a child with me but I thought I had no right to ask him for what I have now. I planned to work and raise one kid by myself. That would have been a very different life. I’m really glad Noah actually wanted me.
It’s really odd to me when I think about how to write about the journey from eighteen to now. My different phases seem extreme. When I was eighteen I was engaged to Stephen and supporting myself by working in the library and the theatre. I planned to make theatre my life. I really wanted to run a spotlight for Cirque du Soleil someday. I knew I wanted kids but I had things to do first. I thought college was a good idea but I was nervous. I really wanted to go to CMU for technical theatre.
Then I left Stephen and found Tom and the bdsm community. I transferred to the English department. I went to college but I did not have the immersive college experience; I was a commuter student on campus two days a week and I took classes straight through from ten in the morning till ten at night. When I finished my BA I had a choice to make. If I wanted to be active in the bdsm community and be an Adult all the time then I should probably go through graduate school and try to work at the college level. Then I don’t have to be as paranoid about being outed. Or I could decide that I wanted children and go for a degree that will give me a schedule more potentially compatible with theirs. Tom was not open to me being a stay at home mom. I went through some graduate school. I decided that kids were more important than Tom. I broke up with him and started the credential program. In order to transition out of that relationship and emotionally distance myself from him I started having sex with a lot of people. It worked.

I dated Noah for the last six months of my relationship with Tom. I think that Noah was probably a lot of the reason I finally had the nerve to end things with Tom. Noah doesn’t permit me to be unaware of why I am doing what I am doing. He’s kind of annoying. I broke up with him for a lot of reasons. I can’t sum that up.
I went through the credential hunting hard for someone to have kids with. I wanted to start soon and I knew it. I was very frank about it when I talked to people I was having sex with. There are some men who ping hard for the idea of having kids and there are some who are repulsed. I needed to know who was potential prey. I was hunting.

Puppy was a mistake. I thought he was like Tom only younger and wanted kids. I was quite wrong. I should have never tried to date someone who thought it was funny that I was an actual Californian and would mock me and my vapidness for living here. And he thought I was fat even though I was at my lowest adult weight. He was very harsh about my body. He was very bitter because of his ex-wife and has a lot of mommy-issues. That relationship didn’t stand a chance.

After that I had a few months where I stopped hunting. Then I met Spot. I knew he wasn’t The One to have kids with. I made up my mind to ask Noah about having kids with me even though I didn’t think he was interested in the kind of relationship I wanted. He wanted the kind of relationship he wanted and I was not going to fucking be the Other Significant Other. Hell Fucking No. I’m not going to make someone my priority as long as I am their option. 
But out of the blue he asked me to marry him. Just like that. Five months later we eloped. I moved into this house more than six years ago. Our sixth wedding anniversary is in September. I have to say that it is going well. I have the wonderful four year old and two year old of my dreams. My two year old is currently yelling “baby! high!” because she wants to be pushed on the swing. I should go before she slams the laptop screen on my fingers.

But I’ll come back to edit and tag and add that it is because my life is so good that I feel so bad about feeling bad. I need to stop feeling like someone who has had my life. It’s really hard.

Working is fun.

I don’t know what I was thinking. How did I think I would get through over-night without Noah and the kids yesterday? Ha. I came home for bed-time. I called and told Noah to let the kids stay up a bit late and wait for me. When I got home I felt better.

I crawled into the lower bunk between Shanna and Calli. I cuddled both of them. Shanna rapid-fire told me all about her day. I wanted to know. I wanted to know about every second I missed. I was sorry that I missed them. I was sorry she got hurt yesterday and I wasn’t there to kiss it. She survived, of course. Kids get hurt. It’s ok. It sounds like she figured out most of the “class” parts of ballet. No more telling the teacher no one else was present. Ha.

I spent the day working in a coffee shop. That’s tiring work. I worked from the minute I arrived until I left. I took one ten minute break. I was in the shop for seven hours. Then I left to find food because I was starting to feel mean. I can understand why people in the community tell me that they don’t come in because they don’t like the food selection. We don’t have filling food. We have snack food. Hm. And I don’t want to take food from the shop because we need to make money and I’m too stubborn to pay for my food there after working that hard all day. Complicated. Luckily my share of the tip money (which I didn’t expect to get–that was kind) covered dinner. Woo.

At the shop I am working with Noah’s former partner. The one he was dating when he and I originally met. It was quite smooth. She has a very cheerful professional “face”. If she has a problem with me it was totally absent from her training me for the job. I wouldn’t say I felt comfortable but there is no way that I can say that any discomfort I felt was her fault. I was really impressed with watching her as an employee. That woman works like a demon. She takes pride in where she works. (Not this whole Gay Pride weekend stuff.) If something needs to be done she up and does it. She doesn’t wait for anyone else. She certainly doesn’t wait to be told what to do. I’m quite glad the coffee shop has her. I doubt we would have made it this far this year without people who just up and do things like she does.

It was kind of funny. When I got there an employee I don’t know was the only one working. I introduced myself as one of the owners and asked what work needed to be done. She gave me tasks and it worked out. She kind of fished around for how I got involved. I told her I met R many years ago at Shibaricon and then I ran TNG4 with him. D and I knew one another in junior college–we met when I was sixteen. She expressed surprise. Oh! Then you do know these people. Because she has never seen me around it is hard to understand that I existed all that time. Ha.

I like talismans. I like fetishes (in the traditional sense not in the modern “kinky” version). “An inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit” Like that. Noah and I do not have a formal all-the-time d/s or m/s relationship. We play with power exchange occasionally but it isn’t a formal all the time part of our life. This means that I have strong feelings about collars. 

In the bdsm world that I grew up in there are signals. Signs that help people understand how to relate to one another. Different collars are used in different ways. The thing is, this varies by person. I have seen patterns emerge but there are always people who break the pattern. Nevertheless I observe trends. I have given away most of the collars I shared with Tom. He wished that I gave them back so he could reuse them. I said hell would freeze over first. You are a rich guy. Fucking replace it if you care so much. No you may not use my god damn collars on your long-line of women. Just no. Anonymous people with little-to-no-connection can have them with pleasure. Enjoy them. I still have some collars we shared. I don’t think I will ever have them around my neck again.

When I am going out to a bdsm event and I do not want to be hit on I have to think about signaling. I have a Big Shiny Wedding Ring quite on purpose but in the poly world it doesn’t matter much. In the bdsm world many people are at least open to playing with many people even if they won’t have sex with them. If you represent yourself as property then you aren’t approached as much. People have to feel really fucking confident that it’s ok before they ask to play. And they don’t do things that are pushing my boundaries because they want to respect my partner. It’s hilarious. People don’t seem to care if they offend me but if I look like property they want to not offend my owner. Fuck all y’all.

So I wore a shiny padlock on my sternum. It’s a very simple, old fashioned sort of collar. Dog choke chains make a statement. It’s been a long time since I have gone out in public making this sort of statement. I notice that I have a different kind of wariness now. I assume I am invisible now. I feel like I have learned better camouflage as prey. I no longer feel hunted a large percentage of the time. The space I take up in the world has changed.

I have spent a lot of my life moving from place to place. I always meet people easily. Looking friendly and approachable was part of how I had friends at all. People see me from across the room and come over to say, “You look like a good person to talk to.” I can generally talk to just about anyone. I am quick with words. Part of this was because I was in the habit of scoping every room I was in for people to have sex with. It makes you look friendly. Seriously. You smile a lot. I don’t do it any more. I can feel my facial expression. I always look harried an frustrated. Ha. Harried and frustrated looks like it might bite your head off, not give you a pleasant chat.

I spend my life in a very small and secluded sphere. I live in my role of “mom” for the vast majority of my time. Even given how much time I spend on that role I give it a disproportionate amount of energy compared to any and every other thing I have done. I am no longer hunting. It’s quite simple, really. I am not looking for lovers but I’m also not looking for friends. I have a full roster right now and I don’t even feel the need to particularly seek out new acquaintances. People will wander into and out of places I am standing. I don’t feel the need to chase them any more. I don’t need to fill up idle hours of my life. I’d give anything to have more idle hours. Oy.

I have no interest in modeling m/s or d/s while my kids are little. I want them to see a partnership. I want them to think that women are bad ass, not obedient. I want my kids to see an actual long term partnership. Staying together is important to me. People get distracted and unhappy with one another and they turn to other relationships to keep things interesting. I want my kids to think that their parents find one another interesting. I want to spend a lot of time with Noah. I like him. Being near him and talking to him makes me feel far better than I have felt at any point in my life. There is no other person on this planet who is as willing to put a mountain of time and energy into me. I am special to him. If he took that energy and gave it to someone else I would know. It would be an active withdrawal. There is a limited amount of time and energy in this life. I have something really special. I want to nurture it, not ignore it.

I have learned a lot about being gentle from being with Noah. He is the only big-tough-guy I have ever dealt with who will actively tell me I am hurting him. He’s both extremely picky and not picky at all–meaning that he chooses when to talk about when he is feeling. He can endure things stoically like the next big-tough-guy. He just doesn’t do that with me. He thinks I shouldn’t hurt him. He doesn’t want to be hurt by me. So he tells me when and how I hurt him so that I can lean to do better. Mostly we don’t hurt each other any more. It’s rare to have a slip. I don’t even lick his nose.

I feel really glad that I get to model the relationship I have with Noah. Some day we will do more with other power structures because we want to. I really like that it will happen after many years of earning careful trust. In the modern USA “slavery” is kind of an ephemeral concept. It’s not real. It’s not binding. It’s a choice to have a conscious power structure with someone else. It’s just a consciously and specifically chosen relationship style. There are a lot of Father Is In Charge mentality left in this country, I’m not sure why people are surprised that people want to formalize this. The language is charged, yes. 

Right now I am using all of the caring-for-other-people energy I have for my children. They will not always need it and some day it will be unhealthy for me to pour this much energy into them all the time. I will still have this energy. I had this before I had kids. Noah spends a lot of time massaging me. He went to massage school as part of his learn-to-pick-up-chicks training. He really did go to school for how to be a better partner for me. I win. He also did hypnotherapy training. I’m totally going to be able to make him sound like a freakishly good fit when I write about him. I’m thinking about dialogue. I think I am hilarious. This will be a very different book to write.

I’m thinking very hard about what slavery meant to me. What did I do with Tom? How did that relationship fill my needs? I was under contract for two years. He ended that part of our relationship in a couples therapy session wherein the counselor told me that our problems were all my fault because I was asking too much of him by saying that he should follow the relationship rules of the contract we both signed. Needless to say, I felt quite good about myself at that point, right? That was when I started hounding him about kids. I was nearing the end of college. I had told him that I had no interest in getting married before I graduated from college. There was the strong implication that I wanted to get married after. He prevaricated for a while and pushed me to consider grad school. 

I decided I had two paths for teaching. If I was going to do the get married and have kids thing I should teach K-12 something. If I am going to “be a grown up” forever and build my life around the bdsm scene I should teach college so that I can be out. I decided to start the masters program first. Either way I didn’t feel qualified to teach much yet. I felt like there was some magical level of smart I would feel at some point and then I would be qualified to teach. I would know enough about a topic that I felt comfortable saying, “Yes! I know this!” It’s ironic that I failed the final test after years of getting good grades and being told I was good at this–writing, that is. Oh well.

I asked Tom if we could open our relationship in December of 2003. I didn’t technically have sex with anyone till January. I think I knew from the first person that I was hunting. I started the masters program first but I started the teaching credential the next term. I moved out of living with Tom in October about six weeks after I broke up with him. I started the credential and broke up with him at the same time. He would never answer the marriage and kids thing. So I disengaged. I threw that energy out into the world. I went hunting. I started dating Noah in February.

It’s going to be really fun to write about Noah. Knowing how this story goes it means that I am having an interesting time figuring out how to approach tone. This is going to be so different to write. How do I represent my time as a slave? What did I tell Tom? What kind of relationship was that?

I want to wear a lock on my sternum while I am working at Wicked Grounds because I want to announce that I am protected. I am wanted. Someone has already found me. When I was part of those communities I was always hunting. Always willing to say yes. It changed how I talked to people. In the past I have had issues with men taking liberties. I want to discourage it. Signaling is complicated.

I have been raped at a public sex party. I’m aware that it happens. A coffee shop isn’t a sex party. But I have had people casually touch my breasts. I have had people grab my ass. These actions aren’t “rape” but I’m kind of a ticking time bomb. One of these times I am going to break something on someones body as a result of them grabbing me. And it will probably escalate from there and be “all my fault”, right? I’m scared. I don’t like that I am scared. It is very hard for me to be in places I think of as hunting territory when I am not hunting. I feel physically sick. I feel scared. I am going to bring any fetish of protection I have.

Slavery is a way of acknowledging that someone is that interested in me. Different people do slavery differently. I’ll write more about that later. It’s time to start getting ready. Today will be a long day. I need to bring a water bottle and specifically drain it every so often. I think I was dehydrated yesterday. I know I was hungry. I ran five miles yesterday morning before working on my feet for seven hours making food and washing dishes. I ate a bowl of oatmeal, a thin slice of quiche… and that wall before dinner. By which time I was starving and had a raging headache. I think I should take better care of my body today. Today is supposed to be a “cross training” day. I hope this counts. I hope it will be fun. I had fun yesterday. It was fucking awesome to get to talk to people with a counter between us so they couldn’t touch me. I have serious issues. Whatever. It worked. I felt safe. I felt like I was doing something and I had a place and a purpose. I was using some of my caring-for-other-people energy on that community. Twelve years is a long time. I’m not gone. I’m on sabbatical. I’m training for my next relationship. It will be very different to use more of that energy on Noah. I feel specifically spooked. 

And I should go take a shower. 

Irrational feelings.

This is ridiculous. I am so angry with Tom I can barely see straight. I feel like I am getting angry with him for all the not-getting-angry I did during our four year relationship. He’s a fucking bully and I let him walk all over me for four years. I remember chanting in my head, “It’s not worth an argument.” That was how I got through most days.


I love Saturdays. Saturdays are the best days. Today he is going to stay home. I miss him. I’ve missed him all week. This new company takes a lot out of him. Twelve hour workdays are short.

It’s only eight. He won’t be up for hours. I should probably go downstairs and find something to do to amuse myself until ten or eleven when he will start waking up. I’m kind of sick of doing homework, but what the hell. This week I’m working on Taming of the Shrew. It seems apropos. I’m working on a D/s interpretation of the story. How do I convince the teacher that Kate really likes being stomped on. It gives her structure and safety. I understand that. Tom gives me that. He tells me what the rules are. He gives me a frame so I can be safe and know what to do.

“Hey! You’re up! I’m working on an interesting paper right now, do you want to hear about it?”
“Not really. What am I having for breakfast?”
“Oh. Uhm, would you like eggs and toast?”
“Yeah. And a Coke.” He flipped the tv on. Oh look. Blazing Saddles. Again.

I walked into the kitchen and started cooking. He was laughing before the opening scene was finished.

“Man. These guys really know how to act!” He laughed uproariously, again.

“Here is your breakfast.”
“So I’m trying to figure out how to explain that Kate, from Taming of the Shrew, really likes the D/s in her relationship. I found a neat article in Skin 2–that latex fetishist magazine–that has a paper written by a professor from Oxford and “
“Can’t you see I’m watching a movie?”

I lapse back into silence. I miss him so much and he is sitting right in front of me. All I want to do is share with him what I have been thinking about all week. I’m trying to find the words to talk to him about our relationship. I want to understand why I feel happier in this relationship than I felt with my family. But right now I just feel sad.

“I’m going to go upstairs.”
“That’s fine. I’m going to watch my movie.”

I go to our bedroom and open my upper drawer. The piece of cloth is shoved into the corner. Then I pick up the cloth and unroll it. I take a deep breath before grasping the scalpel firmly. I go in the bathroom and shut the door. I put the scalpel inside the bath tub.

It is so hard doing what he wants. I am a bad slave. I am impertinent and needy. I look in the mirror at myself. I stare as hard as I can.

“Shut up, Kristine. Shut up, Kristine. Shut up, Kristine. No one gives a shit what you fucking think. Shut up, Kristine.”

I turn around and climb into the bath tub. I shut the shower door completely. I run the bath water until the tub is completely full. I lean back against the wall and close my eyes. I can feel tears running down my face. It takes me a couple of moments to find the courage.

I make my cuts very carefully. From downstairs I hear the television say, “Mornin’, ma’am. And isn’t it a lovely mornin'” Tom drowned out the television as he roared, “Up yours, nigger!” and laughed. I fucking hate that movie. I’m allowing it to break my concentration so I shook my head quickly and started humming and then singing to myself so that I wouldn’t be distracted by the noise. I like a song I learned with the Seventh Day Adventist youth group.

“Father I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you.
Jesus I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you.
Spirit I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you.”

It is meant to be sung in rounds in a group. I use it to help me focus on the sensation of the cutting. My other senses don’t have to be as engaged. I want to be very careful. I can’t cut too deeply because that would scar and get attention. I need the wounds to heal quickly. I take my clothes off in front of other people at least once a month. I don’t want to draw attention to this so I am very cautious. I just barely break the skin. I cut barely until I get blood. Thin little cuts like these heal quickly and without a mark for me. I start on my upper right thigh. I like to start horizontally. I make cuts around three inches long. I make them slowly and carefully. I breathe deeply the whole time. I keep singing. In the background Tom is still laughing, or laughing again. I don’t know or care which.

When I am done there are usually three or four patches on my legs. They are usually three inches by five or seven inches depending on how hard the week was for me emotionally. I usually judge when to stop by how bloody the water is. I like to take breaks in the middle of cutting to play in the blood. I like the swirls in the water. The more blood I take out the less likely I am to do something stupid. What I mean by “something stupid” is try to flash my marks at someone. I know it is not ok to acknowledge I do this. I will get in trouble again. If I just have a couple of small marks high up on my thighs I might wear a short skirt or get out of the shower and walk around naked for a few minutes. When I make more and more marks I know how to adapt my behavior and I don’t take the risk of being caught. Tom doesn’t mind me wearing tights and long dresses all the time so it is easy to hide. We almost never have sex so it really doesn’t matter what happens to my body in between.

Eventually I stop cutting and lean back and cry. I don’t even know why I am crying. But I hurt so much. The cutting isn’t what hurts, but it gives me an excuse to cry. I’ll take it.

After even longer I stop crying and pull the drain plug. I watch my blood go down the drain. I get up and rinse off quickly. I dry off and get dressed in thick tights and an ankle length dress. I walk down stairs and sit down at the floor near Tom’s feet with my school books. Even though he doesn’t want to talk to me I miss him so much that I can’t bear to be away from him.

It’s not until he says, “Can’t you ever shut up?” that I realize that I’m still singing the song under my breath.

“Father I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you. Jesus I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you. Spirit I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you.”

Memory lane

I had dinner with my ex last night. That was interesting. I asked him a lot of questions and he answered as best he could. I told him point blank that I’m glad the kids thing worked out or I would have kicked myself for the rest of my life for leaving him. I actually kind of wonder if he lost a little bit of his sparkle for me last night. I think I had forgotten a lot of things. His opinion is the only opinion. I remember why we didn’t argue: I bit my tongue a lot. There was no point in discussing controversial topics because he has already made up his mind and he will be condescending, dismissive, and really pretty rude the entire time you talk about something that isn’t his thing. For example: organic farming. He believes it is going to be the destruction of the human race. He won’t talk about the problems from animal feed lots or mono-crops. He thinks there aren’t any problems. Right. I let it go because I don’t care about converting him.

Noah listens to any crack brained thing I bring up in a polite way and when he is doubtful he carefully says, “Can I see some of where you found this information?” If I’m using an idiotic source he lets me down gently. It’s nice to be reminded that for the first time in my life I live with someone who genuinely thinks of me as an intelligent person. I had forgotten. I had forgotten how much everyone before him made me feel like I should shut up and sit down and just let them speak because they are smarter than me. I didn’t always do it but I felt it.

There has been a lot of research lately on how hard it is to change peoples minds. The less smart someone is the more likely they are to be really entrenched in everything they know. Holy crap Tom is narrow minded. He knows what he knows and believes there is no validity in any point of view he disagrees with. It’s fascinating.

He wants to live in a Sci Fi future. He thinks things will be every increasingly technical and people will move to increasingly thinking jobs. I think that is folly. If you look a distribution of intelligence, 50% of people are below average. You really think that everyone in the world should sit on their ass and do a computer job? Really? Not all of us would even enjoy that let alone be capable. I think we should be encouraging people to work more with their bodies if they show the slightest inclination. We are a nation of people who are desperately unfit and unhealthy. The solution is not more sloth.

He wants to have fun. He doesn’t want to create anything in particular. His job is creative enough for him. Every year or so he has a new hardware design project. He is designing things that use basically entirely outside components. He’s figuring out how to assemble the right configuration of after market parts. He doesn’t have much desire to really grow the business. He wants to keep very busy (he’s a work-a-holic in my “I lived with him” opinion) at work and make a lot of money so he can have more and more fun. That means racing his Porsche, tying up and sexually controlling women, and working. I told him to go get a vasectomy so he can make damn sure he never accidentally ends up a parent because he wouldn’t be a good one.

Tom is a just fine person. I think I just got over him romantically. It was sudden. I no longer look up to him. He doesn’t have a talent or a skill I respect any more. That was weird to notice. I am now how old he was when we met. I feel disappointed looking at what he has done with his life in the last twelve years since we met. He doesn’t have to give a shit about my disappointment, in fact he doesn’t. He has enjoyed his life. He wants to keep doing the same shit for another thirty or forty years before he croaks. He is perfectly happy. Another woman will always come along, right? SM is more interesting with new people any way. I don’t want that life and I’m really glad I only stayed for four years. I have now been married for longer than I dated Tom. Noah is a larger influence on my character than Tom was. I’m glad for that.

I asked Tom what it was like living with someone as crazy as me. He said he was unaware of it. I cried alone and he didn’t know it existed. He didn’t know I was unstable.

I cut and was suicidal a great deal while I lived with him. I was still interacting with my family a fair bit. I was quite unstable. He didn’t notice. He didn’t fucking notice. You have got to be fucking kidding me. Seriously? You are that self-involved? You never noticed that your partner of four years was unstable emotionally? It makes me think I should feel a lot more confident in my acting skills. Maybe I am even harder to read than Noah says. I cultivate being hard to read. I practice. Really. I do not want to give away the intensity of my emotions when I am around people. It’s dangerous to be noticed for your strong emotions. I didn’t know I was that good though. Tom remembers that we had a lot of fun and got along well. That’s good.

Tom has never read any of my writing. He doesn’t want to know what goes on in my head. That may be brilliant of him. I didn’t understand how much my writing has always contained a plea for someone to read it and come talk to me about it. Noah does. Noah is the only fucking person who is interested in crawling as deeply into my head as possible. It was really wonderful to be reminded what it is like to be in the room with someone who requires me to have a brick wall between myself and him. Noah is interested in what I am thinking and feeling, pretty much at any point. Sometimes he is distracted with other bits of life but if I write it down and leave it for him he always catches up. He has read my entire archive on every blogging site I have ever used. Multiple times. That makes me cry. Oh my G-d he actually loves me. He thinks I am worth that kind of time and attention. I write a fuck ton and I’ve been blogging for over nine years. I need to poke around old storage disks and see if I can find my g-blog archive. I’m not sure if I still have it and that is sad. I should probably make another LJ book so that I have a copy of it. Other people write in paper journals and keep them.

All of a sudden I feel a little spark of interest in finding out what I actually like about bdsm. I spent a lot of time last night feeling like I’m just not a pervert any more. I have no interest in the kind of stuff Tom is into. I’m not interested in being degraded for someone else’s amusement any more. I think the joke is kind of thin at this point. Yes, yes, I know that I am disgusting and should suffer. Blah blah. I’m tired of the role I had to fill. I’m tired of having to denigrate my own thinking abilities in order to tolerate being bossed around by someone who is so not smarter than me. He knows different things than me and he believes that the only important things to know are the things he knows. He thinks my things aren’t worthy of much respect. That is probably hyperbole. He doesn’t bother to notice that my things are there so he doesn’t have to listen to me on any topic because I’m not very educated. Or something. “Sure I can “listen” to you blather on about something idiotic while I roll my eyes and don’t really listen.” It’s really very similar to how I feel with Alex. To be fair Alex has dramatically improved in this area in one on one conversations, in particular since he started working on it with his therapist. It’s still a thing.

Tom told me he hasn’t done Daddy/daughter play since me and he hasn’t been interested in rape play either. For all of the years I have known Noah he has been staunchly uninterested in Daddy/daughter play–not his kink. After he read the book and he understood the emotional power it has for me he is suddenly interested. Rape play has been a major component of our life. Tom didn’t think I was a fine instrument to be played. He wanted to have fun with a buddy. Noah is consciously working on helping me change because we both want me to. It was weird to understand that at this really deep level last night. Tom knows very little about me. He knows hand wavey bad stuff happened. He knows a few details and will admit knowing them after a lot of pressure. Holy shit. That is actually kind of amazing. I remember Tom’s life. I pieced it together very carefully. I have a whole timeline constructed in my head about his family and school experiences from very young. I wanted to know him so I could serve him better.

We went to McDonald’s a lot, probably every week. Tom wants to rest when he is at home. He wants to eat on the go as he dashes to and from work and parties. It’s a lifestyle. So one time I asked for chicken nuggets and he asked what kind of sauce I wanted. I responded with, “The usual” and he said, “What’s the usual?” and I could feel my face involuntarily fall. We had been dating for multiple years at that point. “Sweet and Sour.” There was some little flick of memory in his face as he recalled my voice saying that over and over for years in his memory. He looked kind of guilty but turned around to the cashier without saying anything.

If I walk into any restaurant with Noah that I have ever been to he can tell me which foods I enjoyed and for what reasons and which drinks I particularly liked or disliked. Sometimes he makes me cry. It’s kind of embarrassing in public. Noah knows what I like. I think that is the most amazing thing in the whole world. He pays so much attention to me. How can a human being be capable of paying so much attention to me? He has a catalog of my smiles. He knows what kinds of memories go with which expressions because he looks at me and asks what I am thinking over and over.

Having dinner with Tom was intense. And then not. And then it was kind of boring. I couldn’t have a conversation with him because he wasn’t interested in my point of view. He was dismissive and cold. He didn’t mean to be. He could speak perfectly politely as long as he could feel it was entirely “fun”.  He wanted to have an agreeable conversation and he was perfectly happy to bulldoze and be rude and ensure that I didn’t conversationally disagree with him. I am so happy that I now live with someone who values my opinions even when he doesn’t agree with me. It was really nice to see that I have found someone who suits me far better. I am glad I kept looking.

I have to go run.

In writing hell.

I find it funny that it is far easier to write on the internet and say over and over that my father raped me than it is to say just how much I loved Tom and why. Tom didn’t know my story. I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t. I don’t think he has read the book. Ha. Tom just treated me how he would treat a person from day one. I didn’t have to earn things. I didn’t understand that then.

How different my life would be without Tom. It’s hard to think about. I’m like 2500ish words into part two. This is slow and will be slow. I’m really struggling with how vulnerable I have to reveal myself as. I don’t want to feel that way. I am really struggling with how stupid and ignorant and god damn vulnerable I was. I didn’t feel that way then, of course. I feel vulnerable now.

How do I lay naked in public how disgustingly grateful I am because Tom did really awful things to me but he didn’t have sex with me afterwards. He took the trauma out of sex. He didn’t do it on purpose. He was just acting how he wanted to act. I’m having a hard time explaining in enough detail why things worked the way they did. I’m having trouble teasing out the threads from the weave of my life that were touched by Tom. He did a lot. I don’t think he understands how much. It is hard thinking about laying that bare before him. It’s not like doing so is going to alter anything in my life. I have ensured that I will never play or have sex with anyone but Noah. I have the safety of knowing one part of my future. It gives me a lot of peace. So what is the good in sharing any of this with Tom?

He owned me. Ultimately he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to be responsible for me. That was absolutely the right choice for him. But how do you get over that? This is going to be odd for people who don’t know much about bdsm. We had an intense relationship. I want to tell this story in a way that shows what he did for me. I want this to be a sympathetic love story. I feel like I owe my Owner that. I am struggling with explaining this.

What does it mean that this part of myself is gone? I’m trying to figure that out in the story. I’m having a hard time showing what I want to show. I can’t tell this story. It doesn’t work. I want that pathos. How can I tell the truth and show what happened? Gah. Sensory input. Not just what happened. Ack.


Dear Amazon, my life is not erotic fiction.

To whom it may concern at Amazon:

First, let me thank you for making it such an easy process to self publish.  I really appreciate that it is easy for a non-technically savvy person to get a book published.  Well done.

There is just one small issue.  It was quite difficult for me to write this story.  There were many many hours of crying involved.  I’m admitting, in public, to some pretty horrendous happenings.  I feel very upset that Amazon has decided to categorize this story is “fiction” first of all, it isn’t–I promise, but particularly “erotic” fiction.

If you find my life story erotic I don’t want to know about it.  I feel great nausea at the idea that people might think of my life story as “erotic fiction”.  That is completely inappropriate.  Please put my book into the memoir section where it belongs.

Direct link:

Thank you.

Kristine Gibbs

They switched categories.  Huzzah!  Working with Amazon has been such a pleasure.

Why should anyone read the book?

I’m on the train on my phone so this will probably be choppy.

Why would anyone want to read this book? I’ve been thinking of little else for weeks. I am unable to concentrate on other things while I have this puzzle in my brain. I know why I wrote it. I wrote it for my kids because someday they deserve to know the story of me even if I die and can’t tell them myself. That could be satisfied by hitting print and putting the book in a drawer for a few decades until they hit their majority.

Why should anyone else read this? I’m not sure there is a should. If there is a should involved it revolves around the idea that we are all locked in the perspective of our own narrow experiences. We can’t know what we dont know.  My life was not normal by any reasonable measure. Yet I’m not alone. Millions of children suffer like I did: in silence, alone, believing they deserve what happens to them.

My life journey seems to be learning how to find out what I don’t know, specifically how to be a good person. I don’t know now. I don’t know if I am a good person. I have never believed so. I would like to believe that. The first step is forgiving myself for the things I couldn’t control or change as a child. I had to write a whole book before I really understood what happened to me. I had to be thirty years old and have my husband explain to me that I was tortured. It never felt like torture it just felt like life.

You only know what you know.

It is hyperbole to say that I only knew pain until I was eighteen. Barely. I experienced more pain than I should have. Since adulthood I have slowly and carefully tried to learn how to stop bringing more pain into my life. When you have been tortured you go on to bring more pain into your life because it is uncomfortable to be in an unfamiliar state: namely lack of pain. I want to like me enough to stop inviting pain. I have good teachers.  My daughters teach me who I want to be. They are full of love and joy. I want to be like them.

Why should anyone read this book? To share my grief and provide me with invisible community so even if I never meet you my grief can be less because you carry a speck for me. Because people need to learn how to look at children and recognise signs of crisis so more children do not suffer like I did. The system failed me spectacularly. I don’t want all the other abused children to go unseen either.

Why should anyone read this book? Because you are part of the community of human beings and we are all responsible for one another a little.

Why should anyone read this book? Because it will probably make you very uncomfortable that things like this happen in the world. Silence is consent. Everyone who chose to remain ignorant and involved when I was a child damned me to living in hell. I don’t want anyone else to have that experience. The silencing of victims, no, of survivors has to stop. It has to.

It has to or we will continue to convince small children that they deserve to be raped and beaten for being bad. I was not bad. I just wasn’t.


I feel like I haven’t been blogging much lately.  There are a bunch of things happening I feel like I can’t talk about.  I’m really bad about that.  If I have to censor what I say and speak carefully I don’t see much point in talking at all.  If I have to do those things then my point of view isn’t actually desired and I’ll just shut up.  It’s part of why I don’t follow social conventions much on “appropriate topics”.

Life involves an awful lot of work.  I can only do so much and feel good in my body.  There needs to be a balance of different kinds of work: mental, physical, emotional.  Without balance it all falls over.

I’m trying to edit the book.  I have 13-14 pages left.  I’m struggling.  I’m feeling a lot of tremendous anxiety about the end of the book.  How do I ensure that all the right elements are in place to honestly lead to the rest of my life?

I’m thinking hard about the foreward.  Ok fine, I wanted to write this.  Reasonable, fine.  Why do I want to publish it?  Why do I want other people to know this story with me?  Because I’m tired of being alone with it.  I’m tired of having people giving me entirely inappropriate advice because they assume my life was like theirs.

Other people grow up with families who pass their stories on.  People know what “Bob” acts like; you can tell because they say things like, “Well you know how Bob is.”  No, I don’t know.  I have never been around long enough to find out.  And people haven’t really been around me long enough to understand me either.

No one can ever know these things about me unless I tell them.  I have spent my entire life feeling isolated and alone and scared.  Once this story has been set down there is no fucking way I wouldn’t publish.  I want to be known.  I want to be seen so much it makes me ache.  I’m publishing because I want to.  Because it is an interesting story and I want to share it.  Because people will finally understand my vague allusions.  When someone wants to give me advice I can ask them if they’ve read the book and then let them say what they want.  I don’t have to follow the advice.  But I get to know that this isn’t some random passerby who doesn’t know shit about me.  This is someone who cares enough to go read the backstory so that (s)he can be part of my life.

That feels really different.  Most of my family will be shocked if they ever read the book.  They have no idea about most of it.  They don’t know me and I savagely resent them for this.  I savagely resent that god damn everyone in my family will get to say, “But we never knew!” and be telling the truth.  I think that is what I can’t forgive them for in the end.  They managed to silence me such that I was never able to get proper help from all that psychiatric care for fifteen years.  They can’t silence me forever.  I want to tell my story.  I want to get very clear about what happened to me and I can’t do that in private.

That’s strongly related to why I am upset about some other things in my life.  I’m not happy about how I am being treated and I feel like I can’t talk about it in public and I don’t have anywhere else to talk.  I am talking in therapy and to Noah about this situation but that’s the limit of my talking to people.  I literally just don’t do much else of it lately.  All of my IM buddies have disappeared.  Fuck you all.  (I’m kidding. I love you and miss you intensely while you are having Real Lives.)

It’s time to go parent.

book thinking

I need to get the details of this down before I forget.  I’m not sure when I am going to be able to start.  The woman who is editing my book hasn’t responded to the last several messages.  Uhm.  Would anyone else like to do it?  I am partway through my first big round of editing.  It’s painful in a variety of ways.  I wrote the book in strange piecemeal fashion moving things around and adding in random order as I remembered.  Thus a given chapter might tell the same story three times in three different ways with different details every time.  I’m trying to consolidate and “improve flow” or some shit like that.

But the idea I want to get down is one that is making me feel pretty nervous.  Noah has been holding me down and forcing me to read comic books.  (Ok, not exactly.  But close.)  I don’t want to do an actual graphic novel, but I want to draw a series of pictures of houses that I have lived in.  Certainly not everywhere I lived, I moved too many times.  There will be a few “amalgam” houses as well.  I want to use the pictures as a base and produce many volleys of text that will eventually mostly fill the pages in a format that looks kind of like “pull out” descriptions of the houses.

The first book will have very few words.  It will be a general outline that is totally appropriate for a three year to look at while learning about my life.  Pictures can be pretty scary.  I’m scared because this is a serious artistic endeavor.  I’m not usually real fond of my art.  Eek.

I have always been obsessed with drawing houses.  Other people seem to have other things that they draw over and over or doodle.  For me it is houses.  I want to find a way to have my house pictures communicate a lot before I say anything about them.  I want to figure out a way to talk to my kids about my life.

Shanna asked me recently, after I apologized for yelling, why I yell so much.  She makes me happy.  I told her, “Well, when I was a kid people thought nothing of yelling at me, hitting me too.  It wasn’t nice.  It made me feel bad.  I decided that I didn’t want to grow up and do that to kids.  But I was yelled at a really lot and I wasn’t taught any other way of dealing with frustrations.  I’m trying to learn but it’s hard.  I’m hoping that if I work hard to learn and you help me learn, both of us won’t need to yell just because something frustrates us.”  She said that sounded like a good plan.

Children believe they have a lot of responsibility.  They think that things happen because of them.  It’s normal and healthy.  I want my daughter to really understand in her soul that when I over react to things it isn’t about her.  She is perfect.  She is exactly what a child and human should be.  I’m not.  Not “it’s not my fault I’m an asshole… I had a bad childhood!”  Rather, there are things that are genuinely harder for me than other people.  I work hard at them but I make mistakes.  I want my daughter to understand that I am making a mistake and there is an appropriate way of acting out there and we are striving towards it.  Everyone makes mistakes.  My mistakes are not because of her.  They are because I am trying so hard at so many things all the time that sometimes I’m not able to put my all into every step and I make a mistake.  How do I fix that?  How do I repair that?

I know other people don’t think that telling their story is a necessary part of that.  I guess that’s what makes me a writer.  I really want to put a smiley with a tongue sticking our right here.  But I won’t.  Because I am dignified and adult and I promised myself I would avoid them in my blog.  Damnit.

The house in Whittier needs to have a conspicuously open window on the side; it won’t be drawn the way my actual window worked because it would be hard to get the angles.  A lot of the focus of that picture will be the tree.  And the hill of gravel I fell down on rollerskates.  And the rock.

The houses in the mountains.  Oh those are going to have details.  I think the first book should say, “This is where I learned to love the trees.”

The apartment row in Apple Valley with that bitch sitting on my front walkway waiting to kick the crap out of me.  Early on Shanna will probably assume she is a friend.  I won’t mention the constant ass-kickings for a few years.

The best part is drawing pictures is something I can do with the kids around.  I’m thinking about playing with mediums.  Some crayon, some paint… not sure what else.  Pencils.  The house in Whittier is going to be the only picture done solely in black ink.  It was an evil place.

I’ve been thinking about this while running.  I’m really enjoying how much thinking I do.  I daydream more than I can at other times.  Usually I get interrupted.  I’m so glad today is a rest day.  I’m exhausted.  I need to stretch.  And I need to go edit that book.  If I want to release it on March 1st I’d better get my ass in gear.

Anything is possible

Tonight I’ve been working on editing the book.  Reading this makes me feel like I have been kicked in the stomach.  It’s hard to wrap my head around these things happening to me when I am not sitting very still and concentrating on the story.  I dissociate so well.

Sometimes Noah says things to me that really bother me.  He said that it isn’t actually surprising that things started so bad so early because otherwise I never would have adapted.  If you are treated well at all you can’t handle being hurt like I was when I was older.  You just don’t have the instincts for it.  I feel rather mixed.  Ok, that’s not what he said word for word.  But that is as close as I remember.

As I’m editing this book I’m thinking hard about what the next book will be.  I think it should be a children’s book.  I want to find a way to explain me to my kids in a way that is appropriate for very young children.  Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry is a good book, but it doesn’t feel all that applicable to my kids.  If I want them to have a story I think I have to write it.  I want to find a way to introduce the issues around my anger and defensiveness in a way that clearly lets them know it is never their fault and never about them.  It really isn’t.  I have issues.  That happens sometimes.  How do my kids grow up understanding that not everyone is like me?  Mostly they will meet lots of people and just notice on their own.  I don’t want to excuse my behavior.  But I do want them to have a chance of understanding.

I don’t take it for granted that I will have a relationship with any of the people I know today in twenty years.  Not Noah, not my kids, none of my friends.  I am still in contact with very few people I knew twenty years ago.  B.  That’s it.  Our contact is kind of tentative and nebulous and often absent for months or years.  I hope I deserve to still have a relationship with my daughters in twenty years.

I’m struggling emotionally with the vast array of things I have no control over.  Right now I am appreciating my therapist.  She’s good at kind of smirking at me in a way that lets me know that I am over-extending my desire to control.  There is so little I have actual control over in this world.  It’s hard to admit that out loud.  It’s galling.

I’m not sure if I am getting sick or if I am just having physical symptoms of stress.  I fell down today after a lovely dizziness episode.  I wish I hadn’t done it outside on a gravel bed, but oh well.  After that my abdomen was so sensitive my pants felt horribly tight.  I felt like I was very pregnant trying to wear too-tight pants.  That feeling seems to have stopped.  I have had a blinding headache since yesterday.  The muscles in my neck are locked up tight and spasming.  Good times.  I think I’ve been remarkably chipper.  I won’t be taking the kids to Fairyland tomorrow by myself.  Holy moly am I not up for that right now.  I didn’t even run today.  I’ve been managing three days a week of running pretty well but I am having a nasty transition to running four days a week.  I also feel kind of weird about my continued weight loss.  Today I dropped below 150 pounds.  That’s thinner than I thought I could maintain while actually eating food.  As I sit here about to polish off half a box of cookies… I’m just not concerned.  I primarily eat locally raised organic vegetables and fruit, local pastured meat, and a mildly excessive amount of noodles.  It’s ok that I eat cookies sometimes.  I’m dropping weight like I made a New Years resolution.  I swear I’m not trying to lose weight.

I feel really weird about how my body is changing.  I feel like I have lost any right to ever talk about my body experiences as a fat person.  I’m not fat any more.  I can’t use the terms for myself I am used to using.  I have been this thin as an adult.  The last time I was this weight my stomach was concave and you could count my ribs.  That isn’t at all what I look like this time.  I don’t understand bodies.  I’m not even eighteen months postpartum.  I still have a fair bit of belly, though it shrinks by the day.  I have had these firm beliefs most of my life that I simply couldn’t be a thin person.  My German-peasant-stock body just wasn’t going to do that.  I was wrong.  Apparently it just takes 10+ miles of running a week.  No wonder I never bothered doing this before.

I am finally getting to the point where I can attain runners high.  I’ve never pushed myself that hard before.  It’s an interesting experience.  I don’t think I am going to ever be passionate about running.  I’m doing it because I want to know that I ran in the same race as my brother.  I did it.  I can do this with him.  I am really and truly part of that piece of shit family.  It hurts to feel like you are never going to be allowed to think of yourself as part of the family.  Even though I don’t want them.  Even though I am going to avoid contact with my family for the rest of my life.  I love them and want them so much.  I wish they wanted me.  I wish they saw me and were proud.  I wish that at the end of the marathon my brother would smile at me and hug me.  I’m not going to hold my breath.

My brother believes that the only way for people like us to be good parents is to keep our fucking mouths shut and just not pass on the trauma to the next generation.  I disagree with him.  I think that part of being a good parent is talking about things.  I also think that part of being a good parent is going out and doing very hard things and showing your children that it is possible.  Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.  Even though I feel like a piece of shit now, I can change that.  I can find a way to have worth in my own eyes.  Eventually I will be able to feel like I am a good person.  Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.

Ok, I actually only ate two cookies.  But they were hella good.