Category Archives: breakdown

You want specifics

With my primary partner (this was true with my Owner, Daddy James, and Puppy too) I have a fairly specific set of feelings when they want to play with other people. Looking at the NVC book, here are some of the feelings I go through: agitated, anxious, aroused (yes in the positive sense), ashamed, distressed, downhearted, fearful, fidgety, frightened, furious, guilty, helpless, hostile, hurt, jealous, lonely, mad, overwhelmed, repelled, resentful, sad, sorrowful, spiritless, uncomfortable, uneasy, unhappy, unnerved, unsteady, upset, vexed, wistful, withdrawn, woeful, worried, wretched.

See why I don’t find this real helpful? How in the fuck does a block of text help? It isn’t one thing.

It is hot. I do feel aroused. It is terrifying. I am scared and fearful and I don’t know what is going to be the long-term result.

In my life I have not done very well when it comes to comparisons. I am not picked. I am too much trouble. So when it looks like Noah is going to go start having lots more comparisons to make…

I’m about to lose and lose big and I am completely and totally freaked out.

(It doesn’t help that my Owner spent years telling me I was “the One” then changed his mind because I was too much trouble.)

It doesn’t matter if Noah comes home and says I’m still his favorite. I’m being compared now. I may have “won” this round but I’m going to lose. I always lose. I am a fucking piece of shit and I don’t win competitions. I don’t fucking compete because I lose and lose and lose and lose and lose.

People around the world have very different amounts of contact with their loved ones. Here in America it is very common to spend 40-80 hours a week away from your family. Noah usually spends 45-65 hours away from his family because that’s my god damn limit.

I wish I got way way way more time around him. I have a hard time with the fact that I have to work really hard to get consistent adult contact in my life. I want there to be adults who help regulate me. I regulate my emotions partially off the people around me. I know I’m dysregulated because no one else is freaking out. I want them to be around a lot and arranging that has been so fucking hard in this lifetime. I never manage for very long.

For Noah to want to date means that the hours I already think are too many are going to grow. The hours I already think are too few are going to shrink.

Yeah, I know I’ve been dating. That’s been just about entirely absorbed by me giving up the alone time Noah facilitates. Which is fucked up and is going to cause me problems and isn’t sustainable. But hasn’t impacted how much time we spend together very much. And I’m using babysitters to cover a lot of the time. So whereas I admit that we are losing together time because of me… it isn’t that big of a percentage of the time I’m gone.

He doesn’t have that option. His time is already spoken for. I know I’m lying to myself about my time being away not counting as much. But, no really, him being gone is a huge thing. It’s bullshit and I see that. He shouldn’t be tied to the house just because I want him to be. But he was gone for about 12ish hours in each week he goes on dates. That’s like another part time job on top of his part time job on top of his job. And he likes picking up other outside jobs sometimes.

It all adds up. It all has to come from somewhere.

I have been bitterly fighting for a bigger piece of Noah’s attention for 10 years. Everything that threatens that is hard for me.

Whereas I feel like my time where I am not being Noah’s wife or a mom… usually can get counted on my fingers in a week.

I understand that his job(s) aren’t vacation time. I get it. But he doesn’t work that much because he has to. He picks up side jobs where he has to work alone because that is part of how he enforces alone time.

There is no fair here.

I have tried a lot of things over the years to fill that… awful feeling of having nothing outside my family. Writing… sorta helps? Not really. I tried filling it with relationships with home schoolers. Guess how many of them are still calling?

I tried filling it with platonic relationships with women in a variety of different scenarios. Most of them are… too busy or it didn’t work or…

I try.

I don’t feel secure. Which really sucks for Noah because he’s been trying for ten years. A long time ago I was told that trust is like dripping water in a bucket. Once it gets full enough any tiny nudge will cause lots of water to come spilling out.

It isn’t fair that I don’t believe Noah really wants me. I think, much like a guy I once dumped, he married me because he didn’t have someone better immediately lined up. (The dude I was dating was describing his first wife. He married her when he was young and not very accomplished. As he aged and… “improved” he felt he deserved better. I wasn’t interested in being wife number two under such an arrangement.)

Noah is not a monster who hurts people just because he has feelings. I think he deserves to have a partner who doesn’t hurt people constantly.

I hurt people by wanting things and not being able to handle it. I am not an adult. I do not know what my boundaries really are because pretty much the only thing I’ve ever done when someone crossed a boundary was just leave.

Because I have never really had other options.

And now that I can’t leave I’m hurting people so much more. Because I still don’t know what my boundaries are. And I can’t get out of the way and let other people have what they know they want and can handle without me being a problem.

I am the problem. If I weren’t in the way things would be fine.

This feeling goes back to my mom crying because she couldn’t go rescue Tommy from my dad because she had to stay and take care of me.

It was my fault Tommy was hit by the car. My mom couldn’t keep him because of me. Because I was such a fucking asshole I caused fights and Uncle Bob hurt Tommy and we couldn’t stay together. Because of me.

I always hurt everyone.

And I never ever ever ever feel like I get enough attention and I am always trying to manage that and when I try to get attention from more sources Noah deserves attention from more sources and all the sudden he is gone for 20-24+ hours in a month dating.

Because I was a stupid whore who couldn’t keep it in my pants.

And when he tells me he isn’t going to and he tells someone else he really wants to….

I feel like it is all my fault he can’t have the things he wants and I should die to get the fuck out of the way. Everything would be better without me.

I am the problem. I have been the problem since the day I was conceived.

I ruin everyone’s life. I ruined my mom’s life. My brother’s life. Ok, not everyone. But I’m afraid I’m ruining Noah and my kids.

I am a selfish piece of shit. Who in the fuck am I to model what it means to be a healthy, functional, or good person.

I understand why people choose to not trust me with their children. I do not understand why people trust me with children.

My children should be taken away and given to someone who does not deserve to die.

There have been times in my life when it wasn’t hyperbole to say I had nothing. I am deeply aware of how much I do not need or deserve what I have right now. Everything in my life should belong to someone who is not a piece of shit. Someone who is better than me.

I know these people exist. I have met them. It isn’t hard. You can’t really swing a dead cat without hitting someone who is better than me.

I may or may not be a more effective tool than average. But I am not a better person.

You know what sucks about freaking out like this? I’m shooting myself in the foot. Because I don’t want monogamy.

I don’t know what I want. But I don’t want or need Noah to be monogamous. But at this point he’s pretty much convinced that is what he needs to do to keep me from hurting myself.

I’m not sure that would be an effective life-long way to keep me from hurting myself. Not really. I think other things will come up. I think that locking yourself in a box will… not actually make it go away as a problem.

I don’t know what the fuck would.

I don’t know what the fuck would.

If I were to list what I’m feeling right now: afraid, aggravated (with myself), agitated, alarmed, anguished, annoyed, anxious, apprehensive, ashamed, bewildered, blue, brokenhearted, chagrined, confused, cross, dejected, despairing, despondent, disappointed, discouraged, disenchanted, disgruntled, disheartened, disquieted, distressed, disturbed, downcast, downhearted, embarrassed, exhausted, forlorn, frightened, frustrated, gloomy, guilty, helpless, horrible, horrified, hurt, keyed-up & lethargic AT THE SAME TIME, listless, miserable, mournful, panicky, pessimistic, sad, shaky, sorrowful, sorry, spiritless, tired, troubled, uncomfortable, unhappy, weary, wistful, withdrawn, worried, wretched.

You want feeling words, motherfucker.

This stupid book tells me I’m supposed to make requests.

I have none to make. Because anything I request might blow up and then it is my fault I have hurt more people.

Because I never seem to get this right. I just do it wrong and wrong and wrong and I hurt people. Because I am a selfish, insecure, petty piece of shit.

I feel like the fact that Noah is willing to give me more attention because I lost my shit means I neither deserve nor want the attention. You didn’t want to give that to me freely of your own will. You want to give that to other people. It is now not for me and I DON’T WANT IT. I do not want to receive attention because I have extorted it. I do not want to steal the attention my friends deserve from them. They are fascinating, wonderful people and if they have earned that attention they deserve it.

I know how worthy they are.

You showed me that you didn’t want to give it to me. You wanted to give it to other people. All the nope.

It isn’t mine now.

I feel like I need to plug that gaping black hole of need for attention with anything painful I can find until I finally get it through my stupid, piece of shit head that it is never going to be filled and I need to stop fucking asking.

And now I’m deleting thousands of words at a time because I’m not sure who I’m going to hurt with that digression. Good job, bitch.

Well. At least I knew enough to delete that wander. I really don’t want the consequences.

Fuck. I should stop.

I am pretty sure I am not ever going to feel like I deserve to be actually important.

 

“Recovery” and a brain dump about being an asshole.

Resurrection After Rape puts forward this explanation for how one will recognize “Recovery” when it happens:

  1. When you can face the thoughts of rape rather than having to avoid them;
  2. When you understand the connection between your current self-concept and your rape, so that when you feel down on yourself you won’t accept that as a “permanent truth” of who you are;
  3. When you no longer engage in self-harming behaviors (including substance abuse) to manage emotions and memories;
  4. When flashbacks have diminished to the point they either no longer happen, or no longer interfere with your life and emotions;
  5. When you can appropriately respond to people’s ignorant attitudes about rape, rather than withdrawing from them and wilting in lonely shame;
  6. When you have begun to offer support to other survivors;
  7. When you have begun to view your body as a valuable thing and not as a betrayer or curse, and you take care of its needs;
  8. When you learn to recognize the warning signs of dangerous men and avoid them, no matter how charming they appear to be;
  9. When men no longer have control over your opinions of yourself;
  10. When you are able to confront, challenge, and speak proudly to men;
  11. When you make your own choices whether to disclose your rape to someone because of something you need to say, not something you need to hear for you to make progress;
  12. When you no longer feel guilty for asking for help, or for having rough days, or for taking the length of time needed for growth.

This organization does not recognize the medical studies showing marijuana to be the most effective drug for PTSD apparently. They exist. If you can’t find them then you are too ignorant to be allowed on the internet.

I think I’m fairly solid on 1, 5 (I have some inappropriate mixed in with my appropriate responses but I think I’m in “recovery” territory on this one.), 6, 7 (I thank the marathon for this. I was not capable of properly taking care of my body when I was pregnant–I didn’t know how. I learned during the marathon. It was a weird change.), 8, 11.

I’m working on 2, 3 (I have prescriptions from doctors for all of my drugs. I do use as minimally as I can get away with but I absolutely need these meds at this point. Is that abuse?), 4 (I have the ability to not react to them in front of anyone else. I can’t make them stop. They increase my overall stress levels slowly. I have to periodically go allow myself to consciously think about them or I start having ranty inappropriate outbursts in random settings.), 9 (onman don’t get me started), 10 (Often I am shitty at talking to men.), 12.

Mixed bag as usual. I’m just like that. And this guy doesn’t have a monopoly on definitions.

I will say that I appreciate the section on managing panic attacks. Education + replacement of negative self-talk with positive self-talk has been my approach. Glad to get my little gold star there. I read everything looking for confirmation bias to prove I am “right” like every other human. I like to blame it on public education but that’s a straw man argument.

A question from the book. If rape is a form of theft, what did it steal?

I am afraid of men. I do still stand near them–but I do so uneasily and with great anger. I feel that rape stole my faith in men. People can rant at me all day and all night about how women rape too and that won’t change the fact that I was raped by twelve men not twelve women.

Are twelve men a representative sample of all men? Can I judge all men based on them? Of course not. I don’t actually judge all men. I just avoid the ones who are not already through the barriers of trust. They have to come in sideways. Usually they have to fit in a nice, neat little box so that I can trust how they will behave. I really like men who are emphatically not interested in me even though they like me. When they feel the need to mention that I am completely not their type I feel a little relaxation of tension.

I am not a nice person. I yell. I say mean things. I say hurtful things. I am a dick. I am an asshole. I am a bitch. Pick a word. White trash whore. Sure. I say mean, nasty things. Sometimes there is a very small grain of truth in what I say and I use that as justification for my hurtfulness.

I’m not a sociopath. I don’t deny my actions or the results of my actions. I don’t deny my blame. I just don’t seem to be able to adequately shut my mouth. I think it would take suturing. Luckily I have friends who are into that sort of thing because they agree with me that women should just shut the fuck up. I would be a much nicer person if I just shut the fuck up.

Today I yelled what my mother yelled at me. I feel pretty ashamed of myself.

I have no excuse. I do not get to deflect blame. I could give a laundry list of reasons why I was out of patience. Doesn’t matter. Being mean isn’t ok.

I will never be good enough. Ever. I’m literally not capable of it. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have had kids. I don’t deserve them. I am not capable of being nice enough. I pray that the damage I cause is slight in the scope of their lives. I cross my fingers that I am a net positive for them. I’m scared.

I feel very ashamed of myself for not being good enough. I’m just not. Just work harder is the only message I have on this score. I weigh, eternally, in my mind if my children would be better off if I got a job and let them go to school. Would they be better off if they didn’t have to deal with me so much of the time?

I don’t know. Every decision is so layered, so complicated I’m not sure I can know what the right decision is. I know what I am doing. I know why. Today was a rocky day. I think I have been over extending myself and I ran out of spoons. I was mean and nasty.

It’s not ok. It’s not justified. I’m not claiming any expiation. My choices and my behavior are my god damn fault. I don’t get to say, “Well I was just acting like my mother” like that excuses anything.

It’s really stupid but I think my next therapy session will be a whole long conversation about hair. About my mother screaming at me and hitting me and cutting my hair into ugly hair cuts on purpose as punishment so people would mock me and the nasty shaming that happened for months when I shaved my bangs off in fourth grade. My mom was so fucking pissed when I shaved my head when I was seventeen. She liked my hair about an inch long so she didn’t have to take care of it. I wanted to be pretty. When my hair was long it wasn’t pretty it was matted.

My long hair was the long unkept hair of a neglected child. I can’t figure out how to care for my children’s hair. And I can’t keep everything in the house under lock and key. My kid has some interesting impulse issues.

And I have a bad temper.

I need to get my temper under control. I need to not say the things my mother said to me. It’s hard having to stop and think carefully about everything you say because what comes out of your mouth naturally is poison. I know how to say what I was taught to say. Do you know why I cuss so much? My entire childhood was full of being told what a fucking rude ass bitch I was.

I’m struggling with the me-not-me boundaries. I know what I was taught to say in these scripts. The scripts I have are bad. I am not ad-libbing well. I am not trying to excuse or justify myself. I certainly don’t think I can continue.

Feeling guilty isn’t good enough. Crying for hours after I am nasty really isn’t good enough. It isn’t even remotely helpful.

This is broken. I don’t know how to fix it. I feel really stupid and pathetic and useless and bad.

You can’t just stop being something. You have to pick what you want to be and move towards that. I don’t want to say what I said today again. I don’t know what I’m going to say instead. That will take thinking. I don’t know what to do.

I have been told that people pity my children for having to live with me. Why do I feel free to say whatever comes into my head? Because people tell me things like that. I feel like I have listened to enough diarrhea of the mouth that I get to have it too. No I’m not taking the fucking high road. Instead I am the crazy ass old lady with the big knife who makes the punks run away in fear.

When it comes right down to it… I don’t actually want to be a nice person. I’m a dick. But I don’t want to be one with my kids. I want to treat them like they have earned better treatment than that from me. They have. They have a variety of character flaws, most of them age related, which I can’t exactly hold against them. That’s the revenge of grandmothers every where. “Ha ha. You used to do that.” And now my daughters do to me what I did to my mother.

Of course my daughter pushes every boundary to the point of breaking at all times. She’s related to me. And I want her to be that kind of adult. Yup, she’ll be somewhat sociopathic. But I hope she understands that I have earned consideration other people haven’t earned and she will be nice to me.

I want to be nice to my kids because I am a selfish son of a bitch and I want to have good relationships with independent adults. I don’t want them to be like me and I don’t want to decide what they should be.

I can’t insult their choices even though I find them frustrating. But what does that mean?

I don’t know. I fucked up today. I’m reading a book on rape recovery that harps up one side and down the other how one must be completely sober forever and ever amen or you are not “healed” and it makes me want to drink a bottle of wine. I don’t actually drink much–alcohol gives me terrible stomach aches. But I was told not to. So I want to.

How in the fuck can I get mad at my kids for being exactly like me? Punishing them for being something I will encourage in adulthood is kind of ass backwards. I am not actually working towards my long-term goals.

I think I need to do some work on my attachment to how my kids look.

didn’t yell “You are a reflection of me and I’m fucking tired of walking around with an ugly little brat.” I just said that it was ugly hair cut and she looked funny and people were going to laugh at her.

I got mad because we are going to be in a wedding in two weeks. I said, “Now you will look ugly in the pictures forever.” That was what my mother said to me when I gave myself a haircut two days before school picture day. You know what? I don’t look any worse than I do in any other awkward school photo. It really hasn’t wrecked my life.

I shouldn’t have said that to my daughter. I have already apologized. But you can’t actually take it back. You can’t unsay things.

I’m not a monster. I’m self aware enough to really understand that on a primal level. I have not done monstrous damage to my children. But sometimes I take a little spike and a mallet and I insert those mean things she will hear in the back of her head forever. I hate myself for that. I don’t want to be her mean inner voice. I want to be the voice inside her head that makes her feel good about being alive.

I don’t want my daughter to hear what I heard. I don’t want her to have these tapes. Mostly she won’t–I get that. I’m already through a lot of important hurdles and I understand it looks like relatively smooth sailing through the next few years of non-anniversaries.

I’m going to freak out. She is going to do things just like me and I will react blindly. I will play the tape that is instantly related to the behavior. I don’t know how to completely circumvent this. Do I just stop speaking at all?

I need more of a plan than I currently have. That’s kind of a horrifying and overwhelming thought.

I need to schedule less. I’ve gotten schedule-happy again. I schedule things because I feel guilty about isolating my children. I know a lot of home schoolers who are out all day every day. I feel kind of uncomfortable about how much socialization my kids get.

I feel like what I am doing is not good. I don’t know why. It’s kind of a creeping fungus feeling. I’m not giving my children what is “normal” for their peers.

I don’t want to in some strong idealogical ways. But I think I drank the Kool-Aid on “Home schoolers aren’t at home”. I feel like I should be more active in the communities that exist. I should present a large peer group to my kids and then consistently expose them many times a week.

I’m struggling. I feel existentially not-ok. I have a really high level of self-loathing. My self-talk is all mean and nasty. It’s been on an uptick for a bit.

I want relationships but I can’t handle them and I don’t deserve them. Life isn’t really about deserve though.

The future isn’t written yet. Maybe my children will remember me as an abusive bully. Maybe not. They are certainly clear on the point that Mommy is not always nice. Sometimes Mommy is mean.

If I ever get dragged in front of a judge in a CPS court all they will have to do is print my blog. I don’t want secrets. I didn’t hit. I didn’t go on an extended tirade. Noah did step into the room and signal me that it was time to stop. Good for him. I’m glad he was home.

It feels very bad sometimes knowing that I am simply not a nice person. I would have died if I had been “nice”. If I had been more passive my life would have been so much worse. Being defiant and nasty has truly been useful.

It is still useful sometimes. Not all the time. It’s a hard character trait to keep under control.

People alternate between telling me I’m a bitch/dick/asshole/whatever and telling me that they like that they always know where they stand with me.

When I get up from this keyboard I need to be mostly done processing this. I need to talk to my therapist about it but I can’t keep going on and on with my daughter. That would be dragging her into my emotional quagmire. She doesn’t have the attention span to still be upset about a random one off comment she will probably never hear again. If I don’t turn it into a thing.

If I drop it and never say it again then I will have succeeded in not passing this tape on. If she wants to cut her own fucking hair she can cut her own fucking hair. I do. I have since I was a very young child. For me to get angry about it is so over the top ridiculous that there aren’t words.

But my tape for mothers is rabid anger because now people will think my child is unsupervised and ugly. She is neither. She does have access to scissors. She is out of my line of sight during the day. We have a small house and they wander at will. I work wherever I am working. I don’t pen them right with me–it seems silly.

If I want children who are autonomous and independent in their actions I need to give them more direct supervision (which would drive me ape shit) or farm it out or be ok with what they do.

Those really are the only options. It is not ok to expect micromanaged results from a free range kid. I honestly don’t want kids who require direct supervision at all times. My kids entertain themselves while I work. I can clean/cook/garden and they run around and play.

Short of putting padlocks on everything in the house, which I am morally opposed to doing, there is no “putting things up” at this point. Kid is too big. Yes, there will be consequences and occasionally fury over her decisions.

You can’t learn without making mistakes.

I tell other people that the way to get good at something is to make as many mistakes as possible as fast as they can–they will learn the most the fastest that way. Somehow that approach doesn’t seem suitable in parenting.

I’m off to feel awkward and uncomfortable and like I’m the biggest asshole in the room. Cheers.

Anxiety, spike.

Today I am going to go see a psychiatrist.  The medical group I work with made it very difficult to get this appointment.  I was interrogated by multiple people and it was very obvious that if I didn’t answer in a way they liked I was going to be locked up whether I like it or not.  Self-harming is illegal, you know.  It’s pretty terrifying to me that I have to be careful in how I word things or I won’t be coming home today.  The terror is enough that I kind of want to cancel the appointment and continue to hide in my house forever smoking pot.  At least right now I don’t have to worry about someone else deciding they know what is best for me and forcing my lock-step through their program again.

For me the institution and the group home and public school were all pretty much cut from the same cloth.  Obviously there were degrees of seriousness for how they slapped people down for stepping out of line.  For the whole god damn rest of my life “help” means people doing things to me against my will.  That is what help is.  It doesn’t matter if I am crazy or sane, it doesn’t influence how people treat me.  Do you know what does influence how people treat me?  How much they actually listen to me before they start acting.

I don’t know how to make any part of my life or experiences or needs or whatever into brief little sound bites that keep me out of trouble.  That is a lot of what other people seem to have that I don’t.  It’s not that no one else had anything shitty happen to them.  It’s that no one else seems to have diarrhea of the mouth and the compulsive desire to tell everyone in the world, “My dad raped me and I still can’t sleep at night because of it.  It’s not so bad really.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I don’t wake up at 3 am unable to go back to sleep because I am no longer stoned and I can’t bear the nightmares.  Luckily I went to bed at 7 last night.  I got in a lot of sleep.  It seems to be the only way to hack the system.

I am afraid that if I tell the truth today I won’t be coming home.  I have responsibilities.  I have people to care for.  An institution isn’t a “break” it is a horrible rending and tearing of not allowing me to have contact with the few people in the world who love me and are nice to me.  Please God, I never want to be in an institution again.  Never.  Never.  I am really afraird of talking to a psychiatrist today.  I know that if I’m honest about how I have been since April they will talk to me about my “options” by which tell me what they are considering forcing me to do.  Because the minute I walk into this doctors care I no longer get to have the final say about my mental health.

I feel like I am about to puke on the floor.  I have six hours of terror to get through until I meet this doctor.  How this goes depends on the psychiatrist I see.  If this is an open minded person who believes there are many roads to an acceptably good life, I might get some actual help.  If this person believes that all people must be like _____ or they need “help” I might be walking into an actually dangerous situation for me.  And I don’t know in advance what kind of person this is.  And dear god the power she will weird.  I’m actually more scared because it is a woman.  Despite the fact that every sexual assault was perpetuated by men, I still feel much more terrified of women.  Women are meaner.  Women hurt other women and girls just so they get the rush of feeling bigger.  I have some issues with women.

I am aware that the most likely result of today is that I will come home with a prescription of some sleep and/or anxiety medication.  I’m willing to bet money that the doctor will be fine.  That I will talk about my horror story of a life, say that I self harm in limited ways because of a life of horror and right now the pressure is simply too much for me to cope with “healthy” coping mechanisms on my own and I need help.  This doctor would probably be ok with drugging me into a zombie state for the rest of my life if I need that to stop being angry all the time.  I don’t want that either.

What do I want?  What do I hope for?  If I don’t know I can’t ask.  I want to sleep better, longer, and in the middle of the night rather than through the evening.  I miss Noah on nights I go to bed with Calli.  I want to be able to control my anger.  I want to not hide at home because I am terrified people will dislike me and be mean to me.  I am so afraid of people being mean to me.  Sometimes I think I have picked the wrong friends groups.

People I know hurt my feelings a lot.  I’m really over sensitive.  I try hard to keep it as just my problem because I know I am over sensitive.  But that means I don’t go out.  Because people hurt me casually without noticing.  I notice.  I stop going out.  This is the flip side of “blunt”.  An awful lot of things that people say attached to the phrase, “I’m just being honest” are awful.  Awful.  Awful.  “I don’t think you are a bad person or anything, I just think it is a sign that you have no respect for yourself if you have slept with so many people.”  I don’t think that is true.  If it was true, thank you for telling me that you think I treat me like a piece of shit because I don’t have the same attitude about sex that you have.  Obviously us whores are lower life forms.

I do speak negatively about women who have sex with the guys I sleep with.  Not to put them down, but rather I refer to us collectively as whores.  I’ve noticed lately that I am inadvertently thinking negative-ish things about women I really have no negative thoughts by.  Especially over the past three years, I just don’t have negative thoughts about the women Noah sleeps with.  D is not a whore.  She’s a very nice lady who sometimes sleeps with my husband when the idea of sex makes me cranky.  The only exchange is stress relief.  That’s not being a whore.  It’s being an unconventionally awesome friend.

I have some mixed feelings about sex.  I can’t imagine why.

That last sentence makes me smile.  People like to talk about the things that are important to them.  Most people seem to find books, movies, their kids, their jobs, and their hobbies to be the extent of what they do with their talking.  I’m important to me.  Trying to figure out how to hack my system and behave how I want to behave is my hobby.  Other people seem to not have the road blocks to existing that I have.  I can get things done.  I can be productive.  I can even seem happy.  But I have to rig the game.

I can visit with friends.  I can deal with all the stuff that needs to be done to keep two little kids growing like weeds and healthy.  I can’t go meet new people by myself.  I can’t handle things that feel high pressure.  New people are terrifying.  New people represent this constant low level risk of nastiness.  Either I will be stupid enough to say something about myself and they will be disgusted and not like me or I will be stupid and comment on their life choices in a way that is inappropriate.  The internet is not doing wonders for my social skills.

There is a local meet up group for home schoolers.  Sarah tried to go to one of their events yesterday and missed them in the crowd.  The organizer sent me this email asking if Sarah is…. part of my family?  Because then she can just be accepted into the group instead of being a provisional member.  They’ve met me and the kids and if she’s attached to us she is obviously not a predator or creepy person.  They don’t have to meet her first if she is attached to us.

That honestly makes me feel weird.  I told her, “Yes Sarah is part of our family.  I’m sorry we don’t get to more events.  That is when the baby naps.  We are hoping that now that she has crossed into toddlerhood that naps will drift and we will be able to come to a lot more events.”  That’s a good way of not sounding like a crazy fuck up.  “Actually I usually skip your events because there is this one cunt I am afraid of meeting up with and it keeps me at home shaking with terror.”  You know that friend who dumped me with the nasty dear Jane email?  She’s active all over the bay area with anything vaguely crunchy and parenting.  I don’t really want to run into someone who will tell me that I am such a bad parent she doesn’t want to know me.

All of these things are related and combined in my head.  People are terrifying.  At any random moment people who are staunchly my “friend” will turn on me and start telling me how bad or gross or wrong or… something.  I’m inappropriate.  I should be kept away from decent people because I am so bad bad bad.  That’s why I am so afraid of the institution.  It feels like just one more way that society wants “people like me” to be eliminated.  If I can’t control myself well enough to pretend that I am just like everyone else they are going to put me in a place where I will god damn get control.

It’s hard to explain to people what the institution was like for me.  You can’t go to the bathroom without permission.  You can’t eat without permission.  When food is put in front of you, you are required to eat all of it or you get punished.  A lot of the girls in psych wards are there for eating disorders.  As a result every person there is given the same food and you have to eat every bite whether you like it or not.  I was told very clearly that if I refused food I would be strapped to a table and a feeding tube would be inserted.  That was what I was told when I said I didn’t want to eat the scrambled eggs because they were too soft and I thought they tasted bad.  All of my life I have hated scrambled eggs that were too soft.  I like them burned.  I like them absolutely hard.  The institution made them really runny and slimy in a huge batch.  They wouldn’t even microwave the fucking things for me to cook them more.  The employee told me that I had to eat all of it or I would be forced to eat through a tube.  When I started eating with tears running down my face and I was actively fighting my gag reflex… the employee smiled and called me a good girl.

That’s fucked up.  I’m sorry.  That is not about helping me be “better”.  That is about helping to break my spirit and force me to conform to someone else’s idea of being a good person.  Seriously?  My mental health is related to me being able to choke down under cooked eggs?  Why in the fuck was that important?  Why was that a battle?  Why did I have to eat or risk more invasive medical procedures?  Why should I believe anything other than Western Medicine is Evil.  Giving that much power to people is wrong.  No one should have been able to do that to me.

I’m sorry, but suicide and self-harming should not be punished the way they are.  Do you know why people are punished this way?  Because it is disruptive to society for people to be unpredictable.  People who commit suicide or self-harm are likely to be different and cause waves.  We certainly must stomp that right the fuck out.  No disruptions of routine.  Everything.Must.Flow.Like.Clockwork.  Or you are bad.  And we will force you back into line.

You can’t eat when you want to.  You can’t go to the bathroom when you want to.  You can’t sleep when you want to.  You can’t play games when you want to.  You can’t listen to music when you want to.  You can’t decide who you talk to.  You can’t decide what you eat.  You can’t decide what clothes you wear.  You can’t decide how to treat your body–your decisions are substandard.

That’s what an institution is like.  You are expected to slowly shuffle from activity to activity (eating is an activity) exactly how and when they say.  You cannot question anything.  You cannot have a body that likes to eat every four hours instead of eating at 6:30, 12:30 and 6:30.  You cannot have any privacy in your head.  If an employee (it probably is only supposed to be the therapists, but the orderlies are assholes too) decides to start interrogating you about what you are thinking you had better have an acceptable answer.

When I was institutionalized the story was that I had a rough life but no one knew what that meant.  They knew I moved around a lot.  They knew that my brother had been hit by a car.  There was some vague talk that maybe some sexual abuse had happened.  I hadn’t told anyone about being raped.  Not by anyone.  I went into the institution and was told to lay out all my secrets on a table for them to judge and decide about.  Of course I didn’t tell them shit.  They were forcing me to eat runny eggs and walk from room to room under their command.  There was no safety.  There was no room for me to exist at all.  I’m just glad it was only two weeks.

I can play the game if I have to.  Of course I can.  I wouldn’t be alive and outside of jail if it wasn’t true.  But I break the social contract in a lot of ways.  A lot of ways that are easy to ignore when I am at home by myself in the garage.  No one will hurt me here.  No wonder Alex’s therapist said I am like the crazy ass Vietnam vet who stockpiles food and ammunition.  I don’t think our larder is especially bursting with stores and I don’t own a gun.  But I do very careful limit how much I deal with people.  I only invite a few people to my house and I don’t go out often.  You never know who is going to be nasty to you.

I remember not caring about the fact that people judged me badly.  I mean, I can deal with the random public and I do.  I go to the grocery store and have pleasant interactions.  I can take my kids to the zoo or museum and we do fine and have fun.  I can’t go to a big party with a bunch of “friends”.  I can’t go meet a medical practitioner because this person will abruptly have “authority” over me.

I’m tired of feeling like I am wrong or bad just for existing.  For saying the things I say.  For taking up the space I take up.  Even if I do go to an event I feel this constant pressure to sit in a corner and not say anything awkward or uncomfortable.  This is hard.  If someone says, “So what have you been up to lately?” it’s a huge anxiety bomb.  Well I’ve spent most of 2011 having a mental breakdown and I wrote about it on my blog extensively.  Want to hear about my long list of rape experiences?  No, no one wants to hear that.  But it’s what I want to talk about.  So I stay home by myself and I write.  I can’t offend anyone if I am writing alone in a room.

Cue chorus of snickers.  Ok, if people are offended by what I write when I am alone in a room I don’t feel much responsibility for that.  Stop reading then you stupid asshole.  No one is dragging you to a computer and chaining you there until you read all my inane drivel.  My whining.  I’m not feeling good about myself today.  I’m really afraid of this doctor.  I’m really afraid that this doctor has the power to say, “You know how hard you are working on being a stable mother?  Well… someone like you shouldn’t have had kids and we are going to protect your kids from you.”  I have to be careful what I say in front of this doctor or I risk CPS.  I’m afraid that it doesn’t matter that I only self harm behind closed doors away from my children.  I’m afraid I am going to be told that someone like me is too toxic to share the same air.  It’s for everyones good that I be removed from the home.

I was often taken away from my family as a child “for my own good”.  I was always sent back after a while because there aren’t enough tolerance for me anywhere else either.  Difficult.  That’s me.  Always have been.  Always thinking I get to have an opinion and preferences.  Always thinking that it matters what I want.  Stupid me.

There are few things in my life more terrifying than the institution.  I know it would be a different one this time.  A “better” one.  It wouldn’t really be better though.  It would just be the system trying to convince me that as long as they don’t force me down on a table we are all doing what we want to do.  It’s a lie.  Me doing what I want to do involves hiding in my house and beating my head on the concrete floor when I can’t handle the anxiety.  Ok, that’s not really what I want to do.  But I prefer beating my head at home to beating my head in the institution and I wouldn’t stop just because they told me to.

In fact if a group of doctors told me I had to stop or else… all of a sudden my skull would be covered with scabs because I would do it a lot harder.  Or else what?  What are you going to do to me that is going to be worse than what has happened to me?  Do I really need more people hurting me?  Do I really need more people trying to impose their will upon me?  That is how to make me a healthy person? For yet more people to try to control me when they don’t know what happened to me?

Coping mechanisms can be good and useful and necessary at one time and become less good over time.  Self harming has kept me able to function and go about life.  It *is* a stress relief.  I have done a lot of good in my life.  Why is any of it negated because I had to self harm in order to have the focus to work? Why?  I can see telling me that there is a better way and offering me other options.  That’s awesome.  I want to have other fucking options.  I’m tired of my head hurting.  But I can’t just find this self control out of thin air.  I’m out of will power.  There isn’t enough lemonade in the world. 

I don’t self harm every day.  Unless you count pot, which is kind of a weird thing for me.  On days when I am stoned I don’t self harm at all.  I haven’t beat my head against the floor in almost a month, actually.  Not since the day of the party.  That morning I lost it and I haven’t since.  Having all those people come over was… challenging.  It went well and everyone had fun.  I still spent most of the time freaked out waiting for something awful to happen.

Since then I say, “Sarah I need to tap out” and she says, “Ok!” and I go sit down and smoke and think for thirty minutes.  Then I’m cheerful again.

I want to work with a psychiatrist because I don’t know much about mood stabilizing drugs.  I need to learn.

Breakdown

I had my first breakdown when I was 15.  At that point I was not able to speak about why I was trying to kill myself.  Well, I mean, I could make allusions.  I talked about sex all.the.fucking.time.  Including talking extensively about sex with people I shouldn’t be sleeping with.  That’s what I did.  I treated all of the assault as consensual and I talked about it as if I liked it.

So when I was 15 I went to Los Gatos High School for my sophomore year of high school.  The only year of high school I completed in one school.  Go me?  I had friends in the theater group.  I even still talk to some of them.  Most of them I have lost contact with on purpose.  You see, they all hang out with the guy who tried to rape me at the end of that school year.  He’s a great guy, right?  I will never find out.  I did send him a message on facebook telling him that he contributed to fucking up my life when he tried to rape me.  He didn’t respond at all. I think that is the best possible result of me doing that.

So yeah.  LGHS kind of sucked.  The folks around me were spoiled rich kids.  Most of them had issues because rich parents are often shitty parents.  They have better things to do than pay attention to their kids, yaknow?  I was taunted and bullied a lot.  A really really lot.  I no longer remember what kicked it off, exactly.  But I remember sitting in my room.  I had my own room because no one could stand being near me.  Every other room in our house has 2-4 people in it.  But they all agreed I should have space.  Because I was such a nasty bitch and no one wanted to be near me.  That is what I was told.  I was told that I got my own room because I was a nasty bitch and no one could stand being near me.  I spent most of my time in that room.

So one night, not sure why that was the one, I was just done.  I couldn’t get up one more time.  I just could not bear any more pain.  So I went and found some sleeping pills.  My family shopped at Costco!  We had three boxes with 30 each.  I figured if 1 should help you sleep through the night, 90 would be enough to let me sleep forever.

Taking those pills was awful.  They were chalky.  There was no coating on them.  They were blue.  I experimented with how many I could swallow at a time.  I only had water because I was afraid to go down to the kitchen and get something else to drink.  I can’t swallow pills with water now.  I gag and vomit the pill up.  At that point it was the worst thing I’d ever had in my mouth.  Not anymore!  But it was still really disgusting.

And then I sat and I waited.  I waited to find out what it was like to die.  It was fucking terrifying.  I hallucinated all night long.  I was tortured with the darkest recesses of my mind.  I vomited repeatedly.  (And cleaned it up because I didn’t want anyone else to be burdened with my mess.)  I spent most of that night sobbing hysterically because the itching skin feel made me think there were thousands of ants crawling on me and I couldn’t get them off.  For many years I got hysterical if I found ants in my house.  It became a phobia.  If I saw ants in my house I could feel them crawling on my skin and I started to shake and scream.

I remember watching huge spider nests in the corners of my room explode with teeming bugs, a la Indian a Jones.  Horrifying.  I saw lizards mating on the floor and if I stepped off my bed they would bite me.  I saw kittens running around.  The kittens are why I was found.  You see, I didn’t die fast enough.

When morning came around and everyone got up, my mom came and told me to get ready for school.  And I wasn’t dead yet.  So I did what I was told.  I started getting ready for school.  In the process I started freaking out (uhm, still hallucinating, yo) about the kittens I saw darting out from under my mother’s bed.  She got understandably freaked out.  The next bits are very fuzzy.  I vaguely remember splashes from the ambulance trip and I remember flashes of having my stomach pumped.  I don’t recommend it.  You shit charcoal for a week.

Obviously I was put in a psychiatric hospital.  In Belmont.  I started to shake every time I drove past that town for a lot of years.  The hospital was really horrible.  When my anxiety is at its worst (clinical language applied now, I had no words for this then) I cannot eat a lot of foods due to texture issues.  And when you are in a psychiatric hospital as a teenage girl, they force you to eat.  It doesn’t matter if you have food preferences, you are required to eat what they give you in the quantities they give you.  You are no longer treated like a human being.  I could not eat that shit.  So I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I would not cooperate in group therapy with “drawing my feelings” so I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I spent two weeks there.  Twice I wanted to go to my room when it was not “room time” (sometimes you were locked into your room and sometimes you were locked out, depended on the time of day) and I got into kicking, screaming brawls with orderlies.  I have been strapped to a table in a mental hospital while I screamed and fought and sobbed.

That was my reward for surviving a lifetime of sexual assault.  That is why no matter how bad it gets I will never enter a treatment center again.  If someone implies too strongly that they think I should enter a residential treatment program I’m not sure I will ever be found again.  I caution my therapists and my husband not to even talk about it.

I know there are humane programs out there.  But the thing is, once you are there you don’t have any power.  I will never let anyone take my power again.  I may be fucking crazy, but I’m the kind of crazy where I GET TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BODY.  Motherfucker.  It’s kind of funny.  I have done a lot of being tied to tables as adults.  Once Tom tried to use “humane restraints” like they have in hospitals and I lost it.  He didn’t try that again.

I have been saying that this month I had a nervous breakdown.  I think that is an accurate assessment.  But it’s awfully nice to see how they are progressing over my lifetime.  My first real breakdown ended up traumatizing me more.  It compounded my problems in new and exciting ways.  The idea of having to ask to use a bathroom ever again fills me with so much rage I would like to commit murder.  No one gets to fucking control my body like that.

I will let people tell me I have to have sex with them.  But telling me that I can’t go to the bathroom?  Oh hell fucking no.  I guess you pick your battles?

I remember my family coming to see me in the hospital.  They all looked very confused and asked me why I did this.  They all acted like it was a total surprise. Group therapy was a fucking joke.  “I know Krissy hasn’t had an easy life, but I don’t see why she did this!”  What they meant was, her father hasn’t raped her for a few years.  Why is she bringing up old stuff?  They all got past it, why couldn’t I?  Why was *I* so dysfunctional?  My family actually believes they are stronger than me and I need to learn how to handle my shit more like them.

Right.

But there was good from that situation.  If you go into a psych hospital Kaiser requires that you go to group therapy for 8 weeks.  Because that’s an awesome way to solve your problems!  Let’s get all the families of the really fucked up teenagers together for a couple of months and pretend like the kids are crazy in a vacuum.  The kids are just fucked up out of no where.  None of the parents could understand why we were acting out.  It’s not like any of you abused us or anything.  But the nurse in charge was Tricia Perry.  I think she saved my life.

I saw Tricia as a therapist (jointly with my mother) on and off till I was thrown out of child and adolescent psychology for becoming an adult.  I never did tell her the big stuff.  We talked about my abandonment issues with my mom moving me around.  She did know I was molested, but she didn’t have any idea of the extent.  My mom made it sound like one thing happened one time, without details.  I never argued.  I just couldn’t describe it.  I didn’t have words for what happened to me.  Tricia taught me to draw spiderwebs and journal and read psychology books.  Tricia knew that if I got through my life it would be on my own.  I don’t remember if she ever said it or not, but now my sense is that she pretty much knew how bad my life was and she tried to give me tools to survive it.  She knew I wasn’t ready to talk.

While I was seeing Tricia I was raped three more times.  I don’t think the therapy was actually useful at getting me past my shit.  But I survived.  That’s what I do.

It’s kind of funny learning survivor language.  It feels so pedantic.  I mean, uhm, duh I survived.  Or I wouldn’t be writing this down, eh?  Being a survivor means I get up in the morning and I pay attention to my kids.  I am careful with my tone of voice.  If it sucks, I apologize for it.  I do my best to pay attention to the honest-to-god actual needs of my children.  I try to parent them with a respect I never had.

My bad days are days when I am incapable of being anything other than a self-obsessed, hurting, flailing child.  Sometimes I sit and I think about my needs in comparison to my children’s needs and I am able to triage without anger, blame, or feeling victimized.  I go through a lot of my life feeling like people are actively, deliberately trying to hurt me.  It’s not a fun feeling.  When people give me advice that would be flagrantly inappropriate if they knew my whole story… but they don’t… it feels like they are deliberately kicking me.

And the more I talk to people who knew me as a child the more that feeling grows.  It wasn’t really a secret.  I talked to a girl I went to elementary school with.  This school very rarely had more than 30 children in a grade so everyone knew everyone.  Apparently in second grade I told her that my father and brother went out at night to suck blood.  That was probably the closest I could come to saying that my father raped me.  Her mother went to the teacher and said she thought I wasn’t safe in my home.  The teacher said, “Those kind of people don’t exist in my world.”

I wasn’t invisible.  It wasn’t a secret.  But no one stopped it.  I was raped over and over and over.  No one stopped it.  No one ever gave a shit enough to stand up for me.  No wonder I feel worthless, useless, pathetic, dirty and bad.  My childhood was full of it and everyone acted as if it was right and proper that I be treated that way.  But I survived.  And now therapists want me to integrate my trauma so that I can heal.

Maybe I just don’t like that language.  Maybe it is valid and ok that I just can’t handle that language.  I don’t want a chakra cleansing because how can anyone think that something as simple as an “energy cleansing” will help me?  I am so very fucked up on so many levels.  And the vast majority of it was very important in my childhood.  I don’t want to give up my anger.  If I give up my anger then I am giving up this enormous source of Power.  No really.  I am incandescently angry that no one ever did anything to help me.  I consider that one of the greatest sins humanity has enacted.  I want to go find every person from my childhood who FUCKING KNEW and line them up in a row.  I want to tie them down into an all fours position and leave them in a prison shower.  I think they god damn deserve it.

Monsters in my head

In a former life I worked in theatre. I loved it. I loved the excitement, I loved the energy. Ultimately I didn’t love the long night hours [1] and I had to go find a different dream. Coincidentally that shift happened right alongside a romantic shift. Basically I jettisoned my whole life and started over. There’s a pattern for you. But anyway. The romantic relationship I had at that time was with a boy named Steve. He was in a band called Faith in Grey. I may be the only person who still listens to the album. Kind of semi-grunge rock but with a lot of blues/jazz feeling mixed in. I actually really liked their music. I’ve been thinking about them rather more than usual lately. I’m thinking about them because I’m thinking about the name.

You see, in my mind there is kind of a schtick to the name. Nothing is black or white, not really. Every important thing in the world is neither completely good nor completely bad. Everything is in the gray area in between. I have noticed that there is a rapidly decreasing amount of room in my life for black and white thinking. Everything exists in the shades of gray and to me that is becoming what I am holding on to in terms of faith in humanity. I seem to be endeavoring to turn into my obsession, if not my religion. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

This has been coming up for me a lot because I’m doing a lot of abuse processing lately. That isn’t actually news. I go in phases. What is new for me is that I now have to parent at the same time. I parent pretty much every hour that my children are awake. I have somewhere between 2 and 7 hours of truly non-parenting time during the course of a week. Back in the good old days pre-children during this kind of phase I would crawl into a dark cave for most of the hours of the day and not come out for weeks at a time. It’s rather difficult to compress the same amount of processing into 2-7 hours/week. Essentially I am incapable of doing the same amount of processing. This means I am having to keep my shit together under suboptimal conditions basically at all times. But no pressure.

Conditions are suboptimal because Shanna is in one of those periods that can best be described as ‘disequilibrium’. [2] She is off having her experience of the world. Right now she is falling down a lot. She is clumsy. She is having sudden bursts of super intense emotion. She is aggressive. She sometimes hits. This is very challenging. Here I want to pay homage to Arwyn of Raising My Boychick and call her triggering. Shanna yells at me.

However, thanks to aforementioned book, I have renewed patience with this stage! I am doing my best to just let her have her experience of the world quietly at home with great order and predictability for a while. At home I can cater her daily experience to her emotional levels and we can get a lot done and have fun together. It’s good. Going out can be very difficult sometimes. At this point she is large enough and heavy enough that if she doesn’t want to go somewhere… Well, it’s hard to just carry her. And besides, if I just carry her and demand that she go I know the whole experience will be hard for her. She really is thriving on our quiet routine at home. She likes having people come visit us for a few hours a day but it becomes disruptive to her behavior if they are here longer than about three hours. That’s a good pattern to observe.

I often wonder if I have the “right” to have chosen to have children, given how many issues I have. Then I continue editing and read these long rambly bits dissecting how little tweaks in her environment effect her mental health. I don’t really think I could be accused of being a neglectful mother. So what do I mean by “right”? I constantly question whether I am a good enough parent. Which is an important distinction. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am a good parent. However, I am not satisfied by being a good parent. I want to be a good enough parent. I want to be good enough for my kids. To me this is such a complex issue. I feel like I need to hurry up and get better so I can be good enough for my kids. So far my kid is pretty over the top wonderful and I have kept her safe and secure and happy for three years. That’s better than my parents did. Wow. Every day for the rest of Shanna’s life, as long as I avoid the Big Obvious Mistakes, I will have given her a substantially better chance at lifelong happiness. I’m already there. That’s a way to suddenly lower the bar in a really fabulous way.

I’m under a lot of pressure. As soon as I say that I feel like a 50 lb. weight just dropped on my chest. So much pressure. I feel terrified of being a bad parent. I am truly afraid sometimes that I am going to destroy my children the way I was destroyed because it is an absolute inevitability. I feel like I am choking to death under the weight of the pressure and it makes me edgy. Having that physical sensation while parenting is extremely difficult. I have had bad days where I see her move, physically, and I have this physical sensation in my body of being molested when I was very young. Having a child this age is actually traumatizing for me. I am recognizing where all of my deep, dark body memories came from. I feel enough physical urge to vomit that I have to keep a trash can near me while I write this. I have had this hanging over me for my entire life. I think this is a lot of what has been so bad, always. It really did start when I was this young. And that is monstrous. And this is the kind of stuff that will cause people to kindly reach out to me and suggest putting her in preschool or daycare so I can “get some time for myself”. They absolutely mean the best in the world. There is love in every word of what they are saying. The thing is, what I *do* right now is take care of my kids. That’s my job. They are telling me that I need to get outside help for taking care of my kids. Because I need to go fix myself. Because I’m not good enough at my job. Ouch.

That means I come back to this idea of my father being a monster. I was certainly told, over and over, when I was growing up that he was. Well, my mother and my sister told me he was a monster. I didn’t know anyone else I could talk to about him. There was literally no other point of contact in my world with people who knew my father. That’s actually quite amazing. That leads me to all kinds of fun possible derails. I want to call my brother. I want to try to contact my father’s family. I want to dig into their history. I want to find myself! I want to learn what parts of me came from where. I want an explanation for all of it. But you know what? That would be a derail. That would be looking for excitement. I would be trying to distract myself from looking at my reality. My father is dead. Whatever he may have been is a book that is long closed and cannot be reopened. I doubt he was actually a monster. Most likely he was mostly an ok person who occasionally did horrifying things. I’m sure he was an addict. He probably had some serious mental health issues that he was not dealing with. But quite frankly, how the fuck would I know? He killed himself when I was 17. I had not seen him in person since my brother’s wedding when I was 13. My memories of him are few and far between and almost every single visit included him sexually molesting me in some way. It is a horrifying, awful thing for me to be present with. I am the victim of incest. My father sexually assaulted me. This is agonizingly hard to write. I want to take any derail in the whole wide world.

And that’s the point. I come back to the idea of my father being a monster because I want to derail my life. I want to run off and explore all of these things that have no relevance to my current life because I’m terrified that I am a monster and I am going to fuck up my life. I can’t bear to look too closely at what I am doing because I am convinced I am evil and bad. But I’m not. I’m a good mother. I have to deal with my memories though. I can’t avoid that. That’s the hard, scary monster in my head. I have to deal with how they impact my day to day life. And I have to do it in ways that are appropriate. I have to have boundaries around how I do this. That is how I will break the cycles of abuse. I god damn mother fucking refuse to blow up my life. And I cannot be forced to by anyone outside of me. Their actions are not my problem. I can only take responsibility for myself and my actions. I don’t know if my parents are or were monsters. I know what my perception and experience of them was. I was factually horrifically abused. That means that talking to people about my parents is unhelpful. There was plainly duplicity going on. No one outside knew the full story and no one can confirm or deny anything in a useful way. There was too much lying.

Dear God that hurts to write. I cannot hope to ever have confirmation for anything about my experience of my childhood. It cannot be had. The largest and most traumatizing part of my childhood was the experience of constantly lying and that is why I cannot rely on any version of the truth but my own. And that means I need to get back to talking about what I remember.

I remember, I must have been 8 or 9. No. Damnit. I’m doing it again. I wasn’t. We were living in Whittier. I must have been closer to 10. [3] I spent a weekend at his house. He gave me a milkshake that ‘tasted funny’ he insisted I go to bed for the night in a shirt and no underwear. In his bed. He spooned me. remember the feel of his body hair against me. He was naked. I remember him feeling all over my body. He put his fingers into my labia and vagina. And these are the memories I have talked about before. This is the kind of memory I can wrap my head around and put words to. But I have these intense body memories when I watch Shanna. I feel pain deep inside my vagina sometimes when I watch her. I feel like I am choking to death saying this. Admitting this. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that my father was sexually assaulting me when I was a toddler.

Part of why I am so convinced is one of my earliest memories is from when I was 3 years old. I know I was 3 because of a whole bunch of correlating information, but anyway. There was a little boy, I no longer remember his name. I think he was 4 or 5. I asked him to play behind the couch with me and he did. I then remember offering him a blow job. By name. I had to explain it to him. He said sure and then I proceeded to go right to it. I knew exactly what to do.

What fucking 3 year old should have that knowledge? None. No 3 year old should ever know those things. But the part that makes me shake and sob and despise myself–I am that boy’s monster. I don’t know what I did to him. And that. That is why I need to have faith in gray.

I am not a monster. I probably hurt that boy, yes. But it wasn’t my fault. I was doing what children do. I was exploring the issues in my world through my play. That is what a child that age has to do. I wasn’t to blame. But those are adult words. The little kid inside me who is still exactly that age, she knows that what she did was bad. She knows that she is a monster. She doesn’t know how she became that monster, but everything is all her fault. That is my legacy as the victim of incest. That is my family role. I am the scapegoat. I am the monster. This is mostly true because of my exquisitely heightened sense of shame and guilt. I am to blame for all of the evils in the world–even the things I didn’t commit. And this is another derail.

I can never truly make reparations for what I did. But that’s not the point. The point is that almost 30 years later I feel guilt for what I did and that guilt is poisoning me. For the most part when people tell me that I need to ‘let things go’ I think they are being fucking assholes and telling me not to deal with my shit because my shit makes them uncomfortable. However, in this case, I think I do need to let this part go. I need to recognize when I am derailing my life. I need to look at the ways in which I am wasting my fucking time. I need to understand what a derail is. I need to recognize when I am doing it. I need to give myself time and space for doing it. And I need to recognize when I am out of time for doing it and I need to hurry up and stop paying attention to it. Right now I have to go pay attention to my life.

I need to let go of feeling responsible for the actions of a fucking insane 3 year old who had sexual assault issues she was working through. My 3 year old has never been traumatized, I can absolutely promise you. She still acts out in really fierce ways. Maybe I wasn’t such a monster. Maybe I was just 3 and some of the stuff I had to process was really awful.

So then I come back to my dad. He probably wasn’t actually a monster either. He was a person. He was a person who had a favorite song. And a favorite color. And a favorite flavor. And a favorite movie. He had good points and bad. He helped people and he hurt people. Yes, he hurt me in ways that were monstrous. But does that really make him a monster? I don’t know. I can’t know. There is no way for me to know. Even if he was alive I would never be able to really judge him accurately. Because when I see my perfect, beautiful little girl rolling around on the floor feeling in her body the joy of being alive I feel a large invisible body pressing down on me. I taste hot, bitter acidic semen in my mouth. I feel burning in my vagina.

And I have to parent through that.

I’m rather significantly a morning person. Lately I have been sleeping 8-3:45. Evil.
Thank God and Shiny Green Apples for the book: Your Three Year Old by Louise Bates Ames
At some point I will try to write about the Tommy period of my life. But not today.