Category Archives: breastfeeding

Those wonderful kids

Recently Shanna asked me why I am so grumpy. This was at a time when she had asked me fifteen times in five minutes if she could have a cookie with her snack. I laughed. I told her that I was far less grumpy than I used to be. I asked her why I sound grumpy. She told me that my tone of voice made her think I don’t love her. I stooped down to her level and grabbed her up in my arms. We sat on the floor and I said, “I have never been happy in my life the way I am happy now. Before you were born I was far more grumpy. I sound grumpy because I have a sharp tone of voice and it has nothing to do with how much I love you. I love you more than I love breathing. More than I love ice cream. I love you bigger than the whole sky. It’s annoying to be asked the same thing over and over and I do sound sharp when you do it. Please know that never for one second do I stop loving you.”

She smiled and then buried her face in my neck while she hugged me.

You know how I ranted about nursing Calli? I was going to wean early this time! She’s almost nineteen months and still nursing. I can’t cut her off. It’s just too mean. We nurse once most days but she sometimes pitifully asks for a second time and I can’t tell her no. Pretty much every nursing ends with deep teeth marks on my nipples and me saying ouch. She always gives me a kiss when I say ouch. She never did learn how to nurse very well. When people talk about how wonderfully bonding nursing is they don’t explain that it is bonding because it is horrible and you do it anyway. Horrible experiences that are shared are the most bonding kinds of experiences I know of. You have gone through something together. Yes, there is sweetness in cuddling up to your wonderful baby and having them lie still for a few minutes. Mostly nursing is bonding, for me, because there are these two people on the planet who are alive because I went through the discomfort and awful to keep them that way. I did that. I made you from scratch. Every piece of you started out inside my body. It was uncomfortable and crappy. Then you came out and caused me way the heck more pain. Then you latched on to one of the most sensitive parts of my body and hurt me more. For years. I let you because I love you so much. I let you because keeping you alive is far more important to me than any momentary discomfort. All of this pain is temporary. My relationship with them isn’t temporary.

I think they are worth suffering for. I think their needs are important enough to let my nipples be gnawed on daily for almost four years straight (so far) and counting. Because this precious time won’t last forever. Some day I won’t be able to actually satisfy their needs. Some day the things they need will be outside of this house and outside of me and there will be nothing I can do. I can do this. I can do this thing over and over even though it really isn’t my favorite. I can. I choose to partially just so that I can look back with absolute certainty for the rest of my life and know that for at least a short time in their lives I really and truly did meet all of their needs. I am good enough. I am enough. Maybe just for now and not for always, but I have done this thing.

Nursing is one of the hardest things I have done. It has been a daily invasion of my body for year upon year. I’m not good at that kind of thing. I did it anyway because the most important thing in the whole world to me is that I be a good mother. Is nursing “full term” really what defines a good mother versus a bad mother? Of course not. That’s silly.

I am going to walk a harder road than many other mothers. I am going to be insufficient in ways that other mothers will not be. Life is a balancing act. I will not be able to meet needs that other mothers meet with little or no effort. I will simply be unable to. But I can meet this need, even though it is hard for me. I can. I do.

Irrational feelings

Noah made the comment that our nonmonogamy rules are based on polite fictions.  I did not yell or scream or hit or punch or any of the things that went through my impulse queue.  He just called me a liar.  But he did it in one of those civilized ways you can’t really argue with.  He can get away with it.

He’s not calling me a liar.  He’s pointing out that my emotional experience and the actual real experience often differ and we planned for my emotional experience.  He’s kind of a fucker that way.

We originally said we wouldn’t date until Youngest Child (whoever that would be) was five.  We think that little kids need a lot of attention from their parents.  I’m starting to realize that I overestimated how much I would be able to give to my kids without getting anything for myself.  I planned on seven to ten years of me not getting any attention.  Maybe that was poor planning.

Noah points out that I’m being unfair and dishonest about how I’m representing the breakdown of our respective time off.  Maybe.  I’m not going to say yes to that yet.  I have too many years of him having a lot more time and space than me.  I’m still dealing with being completely overwhelmed and unable to function.  I’m trying to figure out where the happy medium will be.

The class he signed up for?  The one we thought was six week?  It goes till March.  So much for carefully figuring out how our reserves of energy will be spent over the next few months.  Not how I have been planning.  Ok.  I can regroup.  That’s fine.

Noah is going to want to go out on a date.  I don’t know when.  Not this year.  It will probably come up some time next year if I’m even vaguely honest with myself.  With how much time I have spent on okcupid lately I understand why women will line up to date my husband.  I don’t like feeling like part of a group.  I have trouble with being out with my family of five sometimes.  If I wasn’t so clearly a huge needed constantly necessary part of the group I wouldn’t be comfortable.  Parties are hard.  I feel like I never fit in.  If I go to a party and I feel awkward and uncomfortable from the time I arrive but Noah looks like he fits in I feel like I should leave.  I should let him have this space he is comfortable in.  It’s his.  Not mine.

That’s kind of how I let Tom have the south bay bdsm community.  If I am attached to someone and they disengage from me in any way when we are out with a group I feel the instant need to panic and leave.  I can’t be there.  I’m not wanted any more.  I have no place.  No identity.  I’m nothing.  I vanish once the identity I have in the group leaves.

I can’t be one of Noah’s girls.  If I am one of Noah’s girls I don’t exist when he is not with me any more.  I feel like I am watching someone else live my life.  Someone else gets to be Noah’s partner.  I guess that means I stop existing as his partner.  When he was dating W. I sat at home crying and cutting.  I didn’t tell him about the cutting much.  Everyone knew about the crying.  I wanted to have as much physical pain as emotional pain.  I wanted to see how big of a wound I had inside.  I couldn’t tell.  I couldn’t tell how big, how destructive the pain was until I saw how much of my leg I had to sacrifice to it.  I had to know how big it was.  Do you know why I stayed?  It was never more than a two or three slice date.

I think I’m done with writing about when I started cutting, for the book.  I haven’t continued to bring it up because it seems weird to do so.  For about seven years I cut more days than I did not.  Do I really need to say that over and over through the story?  Should I talk about the fact that I learned to measure my emotional pain by how many cuts it took to get me to calm down?

I am nonmonogamous and deal my intense jealousy and emotional break downs around Noah dating because it is only a two or three cut activity.  That’s not that bad.  I didn’t need to cut every date.  I established how much pain it was.  There were times when I used to make cross hatches on my thighs that were five or six inches long.  I would make hundreds.  Two or three cuts that are only an inch or so long?  Psh.  This really isn’t so bad.

It’s hard when Noah says that are rules are based on fictions.  What he is saying is that I was making up a part of me.  Or making up what I thought I should say.  I was lying.  I don’t want to be a liar.

I don’t want to be a liar.  But I can’t figure out how to explain what is going on with me.  I’m saying the closest thing to the truth I can at any given moment.  Sometimes, when I’m dealing with my emotional experiences, the truth is like water.  It flows wherever it wants to paying no attention to previous course corrections.

I’m dating.  I shouldn’t lie about it.  I haven’t found a boyfriend, but I’m dating.  Maybe I should stop trying to set rules about how long we have to endure any given state of life.  I keep fucking up my guesstimates.

I said five years because I was hoping that by then I would feel secure enough with Noah that I wouldn’t feel so threatened every time he looked at another woman.  So scared of losing him any minute.  I don’t think time is really going to give me that though.  I would feel just as paranoid in twenty years.  And I can’t seem to be monogamous.  I’m not ok with being a hypocrite.  That’s a lot higher in my personal scheme of sins than almost anything.  I’m acting like a hypocrite.  Shit.  I don’t wannnnnnnna stop.

I didn’t ask for monogamy as part of our marriage.  I specifically excluded it from our wedding vows.  I knew I didn’t want it.  I have to let Noah figure out what he wants without dealing with temper tantrums.  It’s not fair.  It’s not the kind of marriage I want to have.  I can’t freak out in front of the kids when he is out, either.  Luckily it will be a smooth transition for them because they already don’t see him several nights a week.

Speaking of appropriate topics, I won’t be able to make fresh references to Noah’s whores.  That uhh won’t go over well.  Maybe I’m going to have to work on that whole thought process a lot over the next few months.  I doubt he would try before the end of the class he is working on.

I’m weaning at eighteen months.  I’ve decided.  That’s the end.  I’m gradually working her down.  I’m only allowing her to nurse twice a day right now.  It will be once a day for the last while.  There are things I want to do with my body that I don’t want to do while nursing.  It’s time to stop.  I want to be able to make choices based on what I want rather than on what I have to do.  Do I get tossed out of the crunchy mom club for not doing child lead weaning?  I’m not making it to two years either.  Calli is fifteen months tomorrow.  I feel like I will lose my mind in the next three months.  I hate nursing.  That’s all I’ve got in me.

I’m going to try stopping the pot in December.  I am going to start actually training for running.  I need to stop coughing.  Eek.  I’m nervous.  I’m going to talk to my psych about that and using Ativan more than I am.  I was given six pills for a month and I still have two left.  But I’m still smoking pot every day because of the writing.  I’m going to stop writing on the 30th.  I’m going to switch to using Ativan instead.  With the goal of not needing anything at all in the next few months.  I’m already cutting the Ativan in half and I may need to cut them into quarters if I use them more.  Right now they make me fall asleep.  I really and truly am not safe to drive within four hours of taking one.  That limits my life.

So I need to be able to cope if I want to go off and do the things I want to do.  It’s time to get off the crutches.  That’s going to be explosive for a while and I’m scared.  I smoke pot because I have a temper problem.  Because it’s hard for me to be calm and patient 24/7.  I just don’t have that naturally.  I’m going to need to find other ways of dealing with my anger.  Running is going to be a lot of it.  But I also seem to be using dating to fill a lot of my energy input needs.  I feel deeply conflicted about it.  But I am.

I fucking need something.  I don’t want to just sit here and eat and try to convince my brain that I’m happy that way.  It’s a false association.  Being fatter doesn’t actually make me happier even though I have this really strong self-belief that it is true.  My weight is pretty irrelevant but the other circumstances in my life matter.  I have usually been happier while I was fatter.  It wasn’t because of the weight though.  I need to stop feeling bad about not being fat.  Yeah, that convoluted.

I’m bigger than my mother.  I’m not fat.  I need to let go of her endless lectures about what a cow I am.  I’m not.  I’m a fairly average sized woman.  My mother is extremely petite.  Let it go Krissy.

Tonight we are going to spend money we really shouldn’t be spending this month on an over the top luxury meal with my lovely Complication.  She’s worth it.  I’m going to enjoy every fucking minute of it.  Later I will have a panic attack at the AmEx bill.  Then I will stop, breathe, think of the sight of my Complication eating good food and pay the bill without complaint.

That’s what you do as a rich person.  You facilitate life being good.  For yourself.  For other people.  Because you can.  Because why the fuck not.  There is no deserve.  There is no “right” to these things.  I’m not bad for spending this bonus money on an over the top good meal.  I’m not wasting it.  I’m enjoying it.  I’m enjoying every bite.  I’m enjoying every minute that I can of a life that is full of a lot of ups and downs.

When you have much greater lows than normal it only seems fair that you get to have better highs, right?  I’m about to go to the French Laundry for the second time in two years.  I am a lucky bitch.  I have a husband who loves me tremendously and is willing to spend most of his spare time on figuring out how to earn more money so he can pamper me more and more.  Because he wants to.  Because he thinks I deserve it.  Because he thinks it is great that he can do that for me.  Because wanting to give to me makes him want to go out and conquer the world so that he can give it to me.

I think I will need to be ok with him sleeping with other people once in a while so he can come back and appreciate me more.  I really am unique.  When I sleep with other people I come back and tell Noah what they did wrong.  He does the same.  It’s a very bonding experience for us that we match perfectly for pretty much every part of sex.  The rhythm is ideal.  No one else quite gets there.  Those other people are fun and awesome, don’t get me wrong.  But Noah is home.  And I am that for him.

These irrational feelings are hard.

Feelings

I keep reading about how this stage of healing is normal and necessary.  I’m still pretty tired of it.  I’m tired of feeling fear and anger.  I’m tired of closing my eyes and seeing screaming in my head.  I bet you didn’t know someone could see screaming.  I feel trapped and overwhelmed and desperate.  I feel like an animal. I feel like I am barely connected to the thinking part of me.  All I want to do is hurt someone.  Myself, other people… it really doesn’t matter.  I just want to get this pain out of me.  I’m really worried about having to spend a week or more freaking out about each individual trauma in my life.  I probably don’t need to explain how awful that would be, right?  For each incident?  Oh god.

It’s interesting how the old processing gets mixed in with my current anxieties and worries and morphs.  I have a really high level of inappropriate anger.  I am seething with anger over things that happened over a decade ago and it makes me jitter.  I am really struggling not to do significantly more hostile things than I have already done.  I haven’t self harmed in the past day.  That’s my first big victory of getting through this patch.  Last night I was freaking out and wanted to self-harm.  I comforted Shanna instead.

I need to get a futon.  I actually suspect that if I had a sleeping space in the garage away from the kids I could sleep at night.  I can’t move in my bed because the little @#$# darling children kick me in the face.  Shanna has been joining us in the middle of the night lately because she’s scared.  She wants more time with me and she doesn’t know how to get it during the day.  There isn’t enough time for her to get as much attention as she wants.  I’m struggling with how resentful I feel.  This is why I can’t have a job.  If I had to deal with the clinging limpet thing after work every day I would be so very violent.  The job would take away all my people-cope for the day and I would come home and hate her for touching me.

I don’t want to hate my children.  Not at all.  Not even for five minutes.  I don’t hate them.  Oh god.  Sometimes I do.  I hate them for touching me sometimes because I am so angry and upset that I still don’t have any right to have my body treated gently.  Never in my life have I had the experience of people being kind and gentle to my body on an on-going basis.  The vast majority of my sex has been focused on me being as uncomfortable/in as much pain as possible.  That seems to be what most of my lovers want from me.  Maybe it’s just what I tell them I want.  Maybe it’s just what I was told I was allowed to have.  Maybe I’m so tired of my body hurting that I feel weak and defeated.  I feel like my option in life is to suck it up and adapt to being hurt more.

That’s why I’m flashing back to the institution.  My kids do a lot of sitting on me and hurting me.  The only thing I can really do is heavily dissociate so that at least I am not hurting them back.  Today is going to be hard.  I can already feel my throat closing in panic.  I can hear Calli in the kitchen with Noah.  I should go pick her up and take her off Noah’s hands while he makes breakfast.  Instead I am hiding in the garage while I sob.  I don’t want my baby to touch me.  I don’t want her to pinch me or hit me or kick me or roughly grab my throat if I don’t respond fast enough.  I don’t want her to bite my nipple or twist it or yank on it or grind it or roll it or…

Weaning isn’t going very quickly.  She’s a baby.  She’s not ready to lose nursing.  On the good days it’s alright.  She’s already done very well at adapting to other people putting her to sleep.  She loves outings with Noah for basically the entire day.  She can hang out with Sarah almost all day.  She’s pretty equally fussy for them as me.  She has cut down her nursing, but it’s still happening and I’m feeling very avoidant.  I’m really hoping that she passes this sensitivity to cow dairy.  That would make weaning easier.

Now I’m out of the body memories because I am listening to Noah and Calli play and talk.  It’s really nice.  Earlier on in Shanna’s life I felt this constant pressure to be present.  I couldn’t let them have their private time.  Life is a lot easier on me since I have gotten over that stupid hangup.  No, I don’t think mothers should be required to be on duty 24/7.  I kind of hate my life.  Sure I half-heartedly encourage other people to consider having a stay at home parent (doesn’t need to be mom) because I think there is a lot more focus on a family unit that way but it’s my stupid prejudice and there are studies that agree and disagree with me and people will do what they need to do.  So there.  Maybe I’m feeling defensive about something else-net and I’m now over reacting.  Charming.

Crossed wires

I have a thing for difficult people.  I am not an easy person to be friends with and I tend to like people who are also difficult to like.  Sharp people with a lot of edges and defenses.  I understand them.  Unfortunately there are some down sides to hanging out with folks like that.

Last night I invited a good friend over.  The support group I am in is going to involve me sitting down and trying to tell my ‘whole story’ some week soon.  I haven’t spoken these things out loud much.  The majority of my communication about these topics has been through writing.  I feel like I go mute when I want to speak of them.  It is very difficult to overcome a lifetime of taboo and speak the words.  I need practice doing it.  The thing is, I like difficult people.  People with sharp edges and defenses.  It didn’t go so hot.  Basically what happened is that this friend and Noah both have similar geek tendencies and in order to feel optimally comfortable they don’t step outside those patterns when they are in the same room.  But uhm, those geek tendencies make it so I am completely unable to speak about my stuff.

So when things weren’t going particularly well and they were not reacting in the ways I needed I got very frustrated.  And then Calli woke up and I had to go nurse.  We had been sitting in the hot tub.  I was hoping the dark would make it easier for me to talk.  When I got out of the hot tub I realized that I was pretty much done outside anyway.  I tried to communicate that I did not intend to come back and they should follow me in fairly quickly.  I didn’t mean for them to do so instantly because I needed to nurse the baby anyway.  But the wires got crossed.  They didn’t come in for about an hour.

So I sat on the couch and rocked and felt increasingly invalidated.  This isn’t exactly something I do much.  I don’t even say the details out loud to Noah much when we are doing our metaconversations.  No really, I am not able to physically speak about these things well.  As time passed I felt increasingly unsafe and like I had made a bad decision to try.  They came  in and acted like little kids who broke a window and are hoping no one noticed.  I flipped out.  I called them names and ran to the office and sobbed.  Then I got up and I went to the cupboard for a towel and I walked back into the office and I picked up the scalpel.

I don’t know what it is like for other cutters, but I love it.  I love the fact that for those seconds the only thing in the world is the hot, terrible burn on my leg.  I can’t think about anything else.  By the time I get to cutting I am no longer capable of finding the words to talk about the monsters.  I can’t.  I am too much absolutely in the present.  I cannot think about the past because I am unrelievedly in the present.  I feel like cutting is a gift.  Cutting allows me to walk away from any situation in my past and not think about it.  No matter how intense my feelings are, I can make them stop.  I can go completely and totally flat line.  It’s not disassociating.  It is forcing my body to have no space for anything other than the pain.  That may sound unpleasant, but I promise you that emotional pain is harder and hurts more.

I yelled at Noah that he said… something.  I don’t even remember what.  Something about them wanting to hurt me.  Noah’s response was, “No.  We didn’t say that.  And you will know it later.”  I thought that was wonderful.  It gave me space to think it then without trying to demand that his reality supplant mine right then.  My friend apologized profusely and genuinely was upset.  He is a wonderful person and he would move mountains for me.  He loves me a lot.  But you see, I like sharp, difficult people.  And they often have a lot of defenses.  He was trying to make himself feel comfortable because the things I was talking about upset him.  He wanted to comfort me, but he didn’t know how.

I spend a lot of time living at that juncture.  That is what living with an Aspie is like.  They can stand near you and really not understand at all that you are having a whole emotional experience in front of them.  I don’t know how to describe what that is like on a day to day basis.  To be fair, Noah has learned my “tells” for when I am having an emotional experience at this point.  Noah is quite good.  It took him years and we’ve had some awful arguments.  But he learned.  My friend hasn’t learned my tells.  And when Noah is distracted by other people he stops staring at me intently looking for tells.  So they both managed to miss almost all of the signals from start to finish.

They didn’t mean to, but they did actually create a space where it was unsafe for me to talk.  And they are big boys and get to put on their big boy panties and deal with feeling bad about that.  And I need to put on my big girl panties and accept the fact that I set them up to fail.  Talking about this stuff is hard for me.  I need very specific kinds of support to do it.  There is not a worse possible two person combination for creating that space amongst my entire network.  Both of my boys can be wonderfully supportive and safe to talk to… one on one.  When I get to dictate 100% of the terms of the conversation.  Heh.  But when they are standing next to one another (or sitting, whatever) they all of a sudden have to take one another into account and I feel like they are both pathologically unable to be safe for me around another alpha male geek.  I’m not sure why.  But they trigger the fuck out of one another.  (Ok, I have suspicions as to why, but that’s not part of this story.)

Thing is… this isn’t news.  At all.  And I invited these two men to be the ones I tried to practice telling my story to?  Awesome way to ensure that absolutely everyone is upset.  That was the wrong decision.  I could have invited just about anyone else.  I could have invited that friend and sat with him in a separate space from Noah.  I could have told them early on in the night that I need them both to take a vow of silence because if they talk over me I will be unable to speak–and they would have done it.  They love me.  They love me so much that they have both been through years of me being nasty and mean to them.  The friend in question?  Uhm, I cracked a few of his ribs years ago when I was overly rough with him.  He wasn’t thrilled, but he has never ever been nasty to me because of it.  (It was an accident.  Really.)  Naw, it is part of this story.  I think this friend would have walked away from whatever else he was doing and married me if I had asked him to.  He loves me.  A lot.  And Noah and he kind of have a low level dick contest when they are together.  And they are both socially clueless all the time anyway.  Yeah.  I really invited the wrong combination.

Why do I do that?  Why when I get to the point of wanting to spill my guts, do I need to talk about my sexual abuse in front of men who feel slightly competitive towards one another and are unwilling to be flexible when the other is present?  Maybe because I don’t want to tell the story and I want reason to be upset and angry instead so I can focus my energy there.  I want to be mad at my boys because they love me so much and I want to hurt them badly for committing the unforgivable sin of loving me.  I want to start getting hyperbolic now because that’s the headspace I am in.  I think that is the underlying reason.  I think I picked them because talking about these things is horribly painful and I would rather derail onto another strong emotion than look at them.  I would rather look for any reason in the world to turn around and start emotionally kicking the people who love me as hard as I can.  I am quite certain my friend didn’t sleep well and he probably feels very bad for hurting me.  At this point he probably is blaming himself for being a terrible friend.

Or not.  Or maybe that is my story and he went home and slept great and he thinks that I am in a place where I am hurting and he is sorry that I am hurting so much and it’s not about him.  I hope that is what happened.  I’m not sure he has boundaries that strong, but I’ll hope for him.

And that leaves me.  In the office.  With a leg I can’t let my kids see for a long time.  Right before our big European vacation.  Awesome.  It won’t blow up my life, but it is going to add a low level of stress for a long time.  I am going to be freaked out about the possibility of Shanna seeing it.  We are kind of a naked house.  I am more of a clothes person, but when it is hot I don’t have a problem with stripping.  I often work in the yard with no clothes on because I’m easier to wash off.  It just seems practical.  But that’s off the table for a while.

It’s really not big as far as patches go, at least not for me.  I was pretty tentative last night.  I haven’t used a scalpel in a long time and I was having trouble figuring out how I wanted to hold the blade.  You see, as much as I may be suicidal, I am a perfectionist.  I am not interested in going in deeper than I intend.  I want to be very particular about going through just one layer of skin at a time.  It makes it a much longer more burning process.  It also requires more self control to move very slowly.  That is what gives me the intense focus that severs my connection to the memories.  My old therapist, Traci, was a Harm Reduction person.  She didn’t think that addicts or cutters, or whatever other self destructive behavior pattern you have, necessarily needed to stop.  Obviously they were filling a need.  You just should be aware and careful of how you use it.  Obviously it is better to find other ways of coping.  But if this is what you got, you use it.

I haven’t needed to cut in a long time.  Last night it didn’t feel optional.  Last night I felt like I was completely unsafe and in danger of being actively hurt or reprimanded or something if I continued to feel those feelings.  It was not ok to be in that part of my brain.  I’m not even sure I understand entirely why.  Ok, yeah… their behavior was sucking.  But I know that about them.  My entire relationship with both of them is predicated around me bullying them into acting how I want them to act.  I’m probably not supposed to admit that out loud, but no… really.  The default expectation when we are together is I decide how they are allowed to behave.  I give them longer and shorter leashes depending on my mood. Really.  That is pretty much the only way I can stand being around them and oh man that sounds horrible.  I’m feeling terribly guilty right now.  But the thing is, I’m setting boundaries.  And it’s ok for me to set boundaries.  The boys don’t notice when I try to set my boundaries in subtle, nuanced ways because that is not part of their language.  They both really appreciate a 2×4 upside the head because otherwise they do not notice what is going on.  They cannot step outside their own stuff to listen to other people unless the other person bullies them into silence.

What an interesting symbiotic relationship.  To be fair, I am describing them while picturing them at the absolute worst of their combined behavior while together.  Both of them are much easier to communicate with one on one and I normally only need a flyswatter and not a 2×4.  Ahem.

Through the writing of this I have gone through feeling hurt, angry, sad, melancholy, amused, and at this point I’m shaking my head with resignation.  My boys were my boys.  The problem is, I wasn’t me.  The little girl who was badly sexually abused and who was badly emotionally abused at home isn’t part of who I am on a regular basis.  I am not a hesitant person.  I am not withdrawn.  I am engaged with the world.  I am strong and assertive.  I have opinions and by Gawd I’ll not hesitate to share them.  But I’m also nice.  I believe in justice and bullying is one of the fastest ways to make me stand up and shout someone down.  My boys are bullies.  Lovable bullies, but bullies.  Normally I am great with that dynamic.  I think it is fun and funny.  It is endearing.

But my little girl doesn’t need a bully.  I shouldn’t have invited that friend.  That was a very hurtful thing for me to do to both of us.  This is the kind of thing that is normally a stumbling block to forward progress.  I know that the friend in question doesn’t know this blog exists let alone read it.  So I could go forward feeling like I made my mea culpa to the world and “oh look how evolved I am for dissecting my feelings” and then I will stop trying for a while because I proved that talking about these things in person is unsafe.  But the thing is, I picked someone who doesn’t know how to talk to a little girl.  That’s not really his fault.  He doesn’t have that life experience and he doesn’t recognize whatsoever that I’m having a massive psychological experience in front of him.  He thinks I’m me.  And I’m just as much of a bully as him and I love him for it and he loves me for it.  We accept and like that part of one another.  In respectful ways.  Our dynamic has gotten much healthier over the years.  I still have to set the terms for our interactions.  And I didn’t last night.  I’m not sure I would have been able to keep it up even if I had tried because the space where I can talk prohibits that kind of strength.

I need to talk to someone else.  And that’s normally the stumbling block to progress.  I need to create space in my life to talk about this more.  It’s hard though.  Calli is uhm, resisting weaning efforts.  I think she is nursing twice as much as she was three weeks ago and I’m ready to put my head through a window.  She is, in fact, in the living room with Noah fussing loudly.  But I have 2 more minutes of personal time.  Damnit.

Being bad

I’ve always had a thing about being called a bad girl.  There is no quicker way to get me to modify my behavior.  If someone even strongly hints that what I am doing is bad I disintegrate.  I am instantly ready to appease that person pretty much no matter what they require of me.  A lot of the anger people see in me is because I have no other way of defending myself from the overwhelming pressure of feeling I am bad all the time.  I am not bad.  I am not mean.  I am not a terrible person.

These thoughts haunt me.  And the thing is… mostly I’m just upset at myself for my thoughts.  I guess that Catholic baptism really took.  I imagine doing bad, violent things.  I imagine starving my baby because I hate her so much for wanting to come near my nipple.  What I actually do is go to my baby and nurse her.  I might delay for a minute or two as I try to gain physical control over myself so that I can sit through the painful experience without lashing out at her.

But from Calli’s point of view I am a slightly dotty but affectionate and thoroughly adequate mother.  But I still feel like I am bad because I have thoughts towards her that I consider inappropriate.  I shouldn’t ever feel that way about my beautiful, wonderful baby.  I am a monster.

I even went out and bought formula.  But she didn’t like it.  So I grit my teeth and I went back to nursing.  I need to be careful about that gritting my teeth thing.  I’ve cracked two teeth and my dentist is rather upset with me.

I am doing it.  I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I am providing not quite instant, but fairly rapid care around the clock.  I even mostly smile while I am doing it.  I cuddle her.  I wear her on my back for hours every day.  I kiss her.  I hug her.  Why do I feel like my very existence is a terrible horrible thing and will hurt her.  Post partum depression, blah blah blah.  No.  Because it isn’t just Calli.  And it isn’t just right now.  This isn’t all the time, but it’s a lot of the time.  And it is far less true now than at any other point in my life.  (Except the first year of Shanna’s life.  That was the longest period I have ever gone without a depressive episode and it was still brutal.)

I’m telling stories about my father.  That’s wrong.  I know that is part of it.  But why do I like to have my lovers do obscene things to me while telling me I am a good girl and I thank them and call them Daddy? (Uhm, not every lover.  Just some special ones.)  And then there is that eternal quest for Daddy.  I want to name them all.  I want to point out that two of the most important ones have the same name as my father/brothers.  In retrospect that has been interesting.

I had to break there because Calli woke up crying again and again last night.  I have now had a relatively full night of sleep despite her having a lot of wake ups.  I had to sit in here and cry hysterically for a few minutes while Noah rocked the baby.  And then as her cries got increasingly distressed I realized that this is one of those chop wood, carry water moments.  My baby needed me last night pretty desperately.  She is just hitting a bunch of new milestones.  She is teething.  She is hitting separation anxiety like a brick wall.  So I got my crying under control and I started chanting, nurse baby, cuddle husband.  And I did.  And I didn’t sleep well but I got through the night and Calli got to nurse as much as she needed (which was a lot) and Noah got to have the kind of cuddling that makes him feel better.

And I still feel bad.  I did everything I was supposed to do.  I’m beginning to feel like there isn’t a way for me to truly be right.  At least on my bad days.  Good days are fine.  I suspect today will be another bad day.  But my friend is coming over so I will hold it together.  Enh, I would mostly be fine whether she is here or not.  But I will fake cheerful better with her here.

It’s weird to be deliberately faking my emotions.  I do a lot of it with the kids.  They don’t need to know what I’m really feeling most of the time.  So of course there is this big part of me which feels like I am a terrible awful liar.  Is it lying if I never tell my children about my self-loathing?  Or is that just good boundaries?  Does that fall into the category of not telling the cashier in the grocery store?  I’m really struggling with understanding appropriate disclosure right now.  I’m really struggling with the idea that most of the time I shouldn’t disclose because other people will be made to feel uncomfortable.  I shouldn’t even be allowed to talk about being assaulted because other people feel bad.  I am making people feel bad.  It’s all my fault.  If I could keep my stupid, pathetic mouth shut I wouldn’t be hurting other people.

There.  That’s why I’ve never been able to get deeper into my shit than this.  I hit this brick wall.  I feel like I should shut up.  I feel like what I am doing, even if I am doing it just on my journal on the internet, makes me a terrible person because people feel bad when I do it.  The logical part of my brain understands that people an opt out of reading this and the logical part of my bran understands that people aren’t feeling bad because of my actions.  They are feeling bad because horrible things happened to me and they are sorry.  But that doesn’t seem to matter.  It’s not really about other people.  It’s about me.  It’s about my family telling me that I should keep my dirty laundry in the closet.  It’s about being told that it is embarrassing for me to tell anyone what happened.  How’s that.  My mom doesn’t want me to talk about this stuff because she thinks I should be ashamed of it and she doesn’t want people to know about my shame.

I am ashamed.  I do feel like it was my fault.  There is some part of my brain that decided that the stuff with my father had to be my fault.  And as a result I have spent 17 years fucking men I shouldn’t and often calling them Daddy.  I want my Daddys to hurt me.  No, I don’t want it.  I need it.  I require it.  If they do not violently abuse me I don’t want to call them Daddy.  That is one of the biggest triggers for me.  If someone scares me just right during a relationship they instantly feel like Daddy.  This is so Electra Complex.  So standard.  But it is standard.  I have been trying like hell to find a Daddy to fuck since my father killed himself.

I started dating a man when I was 18.  He was 30.  He had ten years experience in the bdsm scene when I met him.  He was my first Daddy.  He absolutely followed the campsite rule, so don’t start jumping to awful conclusions about him.  He left me much better than he found me.  I dated him for four years and lived with him for three years and I was in a 24/7 Owner/slave relationship with him for two of those years.  We engaged in some really intense play in that period.  I will say that for all we played absolutely to the edge of safety, he was very serious about safety.  He let me play with fire (literally) and do terrible self-destructive things and he kept me safe.  He let me grow up in a safe, secure environment where I was very loved.  He was very anti drugs and he didn’t drink while I was under 21.  I cannot stress enough that despite there being all the hallmarks of it being a terrible situation to outside vanilla folk, that was a very stable healthy relationship.  He taught me how to ask for what I wanted in very detailed and specific ways.  He taught me what communication looked like and didn’t look like.  (Which is not to say that he was always perfect at communication.)

But because society in general isn’t so big on relationships like that I fear it was “bad”.  I fear I am “bad” for having it and liking it.  Am I bad because of the things I do and the things I like?  I like to be beaten.  I like to have friends and lovers take implements like a cane or a single tail whip (I hate floggers) and beat me until I cry and scream and struggle to get away but the pain just keeps happening.  I feel very comforted by being completely overwhelmed with pain and having it stop.  I feel like that is a way for me to have control over an unavoidable physical process.  I cannot help the fact that I am in pain a lot or most of the time.  I have lower back pain from one of the assaults when I was a child.  I don’t even know if it is really physical pain from an injury at this point or if it is psychosomatic, but still hurting.

Specifically when I was a little girl there was a neighbor boy.  We were living in Whittier and I was in 4th or 5th grade, so whatever accompanying age that is.  He was 17.  He was a high school football player.  I talked to most of my neighbors because I was pretty desperately lonely.  This was after Tommy’s accident and he was living with us at home.  Tommy terrorized me.  He repeatedly tried to kill me.  He hurt me constantly in big and little ways.  My sister was dating the drug addict loser who gave her her second child.  She had no time for me because when there is a dick around she can’t think straight.  She never knew that the loser drug addict asked me for sex too.

Tommy would come into my room at night with knives and try to stab me.  I have never been able to get passed that in any way.  My brother literally wanted me dead.  He hated me that much.  How in the hell could I have deserved that?  Why did he feel that way?  Why did he think I was so awful?  It doesn’t really matter.  He was a kid with a lot of problems.  He was a boy with an evil father who was deliberately twisting him into a monster.  Tommy hurt me early and often.  And I had to get away from that.  So I wandered the neighborhood.  I left to get away from being physically hurt constantly.

And I wandered the neighborhood and I played sex games with adult or nearly adult men.  There were the neighbors a few doors down.  We played strip poker.  Obviously I lost basically every time.  They taught me a lot of sexual positions with my clothes on.  They thought it was fucking hilarious that I was willing and interested in having them teach me how I was supposed to have sex.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never told anyone in the world about them because I am so ashamed I did that.  I was what, 8? 9? 10?  Something like that.  And I went to any man available to learn what I was supposed to be doing.

I have treated basically my entire life as an apprenticeship to be a good enough lay for my father.  Before I had kids probably more than 75% of my masturbation involved thinking about my father fucking me.  Thinking about me begging my father for forgiveness for hurting him while he hurt me and fucked me.  While he did humiliating things to me.  While he forced me to perform for his friends because he believed I was his whore to do what he wanted with.

That’s why I am bad.  Because I’m fucking pissed off that he killed himself and I will never get to do it.

Food, Glorious Food

I’m pretty excited about the party today.  I probably should be off starting to prep for it right now.  The reason I am not doing so is because it is still pitch black outside.  I think the first thing I do should be to hide the eggs so the girls aren’t woken up by me moving around in the house before then.  Excellent.  Time to think.  One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately is food.  Seems normal, I think everyone focuses on food.  Especially when they are about to host a party.  But that isn’t really what I mean.  I mean that I’m thinking about food in the abstract.  I’m thinking about what it means to me.  See, I’m doing that because I’m not really eating.  Yesterday I had an egg mit from Noah’s Bagels and a 16 oz drink from Jamba Juice for breakfast.  For the entire rest of the day I had a slice of cheese, a couple bites of sausage, half a bowl of ramen, and about 5 bites of meat at a Japanese restaurant.  I am not a small chick.  I am breastfeeding.  That is simply not an adequate number of calories for a day.  Right before going to bed I asked Noah to bring me food and he did and I ate a sandwich.  I did that because I knew Calli would be up all night nursing (I was mostly right) and I didn’t want to deal with the level of stomach pain I get if I let her keep nursing when I’m over hungry.

Maybe that is part of why I hate nursing her so much.  And that’s why my jeans are falling off.  It’s this weird thing.  I am so clearly punishing myself.  Wait.  I’m getting ahead of myself.  I’m not telling the story right.

I’ve been thinking about food a lot.  I’ve been thinking about food a lot because I’ve been playing games with denying myself food.  This feels unsettling and weird to me because… it’s not October.  I accept that I do things like this every so often, but it never crossed my mind until this morning when my wonderful online girlfriend asked me about it.  My father committed suicide in the beginning of October.  I think I have spent every October since his death not eating.  This was actually an issue with Tom.  He got very worried and upset the first two years of our relationship when I didn’t eat for a month.  I mean, I do eat some.  But I eat 25-50% of what I normally eat.  And my weight tends to plummet rapidly during this time.  I’ve always gotten a lot of positive feedback about that and uhm, that’s weird.  It’s weird that I get so much overt societal approval for being that specific flavor of fucked up.  Society as a whole would love for me to develop this kind of overwhelming shame at all times so that I could finally have the appropriate body size.

And yet I’m not real inclined to do that.  I have very quiet anxiety that I don’t express to almost anyone about being “too fat” where I don’t know where the line is.  And I don’t even know exactly why I feel so bad about this anxiety.  Ok, here’s the thing: my actual shoulder bones are very narrow.  And for whatever reason I don’t tend to put on much weight in the very upper arms/shoulder/upper back areas.  So my upper body is always going to look funny in larger sized clothes because they hang wrong.  And I feel like I can never look attractive in my clothes.  And that really bothers me.  It really and truly bothers me that when I am heavy it is literally impossible to find things that fit me in the shoulders.  I’m starting to wear strapless dresses/shirts because then I can wear an open size medium sweater that doesn’t hang off my shoulders.

So obviously this is a complicated issue.  Food is love for me.  Very very much so.  I love to feed people and I surround myself with people who think food is love.  And then I do things like telling Noah last night that if he ever tries to get me to eat Japanese food again it will be proof that he is a terrible person who doesn’t love me because something in the flavor palate really bothers me.  Ok, I didn’t use exactly those words but that was strongly the gist of it.  And for the record I apologized as soon as my brain caught up with what my stupid mouth had just said.  I was horrified.  Oh man.  For the record the Japanese food thing is almost certainly connected with my overall food issue right now.  Nothing tastes good to me these days.  It’s complicated.

And that’s a lot of why I feel so awkward right now.  I’m really nervous about my ability to pull off being adequately social for the party today.  I don’t know how to talk to people because I am leapfrogging from one yucky thought to another about food stuff.  Why do I surround myself with feeders and then refuse to eat?  Because I don’t deserve love.  Because I’m saying bad things about my Daddy.

And that is why I don’t eat in October.  I am paying penance for killing him.  Without ever having considered if I should or shouldn’t, I am.  That’s an awful thing to think about.  I don’t think he deserves it in my big kid brain.  I don’t know where to begin to find a road around this obstacle.  Even if he doesn’t deserve it the little girl inside me is really upset about hurting her Daddy.

I’m kind of twitching about using that name for him.  You see, I tend to refer to him as my father.  Because he fathered me.  He spawned me.  That sort of thing.  I have had multiple Daddys at this point and they’ve been good men.  It’s kind of an odd story really.  Even I am not slow enough to have missed the connection between me having multiple friends and lovers I call Daddy and thinking about my father molesting me.  It’s kind of odd that the process has healed me in many ways.

Side note: I noticed that it was 5:30 and that I was kind of hungry.  I made a conscious decision to get up and get something to eat because it is absolutely mandatory that my mood be stable today.  I don’t want to eat it.  It actually tastes disgusting enough that I am having difficulty chewing and I feel nearly unable to swallow.  I’m eating a Vanilla Chip Chewy Granola Bar made by Cascadian Farms.  Normally I think these things are just about heaven on earth.  Right now my mouth feels coated and waxy and I feel repulsed and I am having minor gag reflex responses at the idea of taking a third bite.  But I don’t want to be a nasty bitch to my friends today so I took my damn third bite and I will just try not to think about the taste.  Because if I do this, if I allow myself to sit in this cycle today, I will cause a nasty big blow up fight in public and I will feel humiliated and proven right that I am an unstable bad person.

No thanks.  I’ll eat the fucking granola bar.  And every time someone tells me to eat today I will.  Because even if my little girl thinks I deserve to lose all my friends and be punished because I am a terrible person for prosecuting my father my big girl says fuck that shit.  I am not going to do this to myself any more.  I have people in my life who are just itching to feed me and love me.  I really should let them do both.  Even if I can’t love me when I am breaking family taboos and talking about family or relationship secrets.  But I don’t even know if that is it.  I just know that I feel upset enough when I am processing abuse stuff that I begin to withhold food from myself.

Hmm.  Interesting thought.  I wonder if part of the reason I am so prone to attach strongly to people who show love with food because I know I do this to myself and I know that *for me* it is necessary for me to have a cushion of fat to deal with these times of punishing myself.  Years ago I did Weight Watchers and I lost 50 pounds.  It was rather dramatic.  I was also doing a lot of intense exercise and I got into rather good shape.  (I realize now as I mourn that vigorous body.)  I’m trying to get back to feeling like I have that kind of energy.  Though now it occurs to me that it will probably not happen as long as I am waking up at 4 in the morning to write about being sexually assaulted while I was little.

But I have to wake up at 4 and write about it or I will answer cashiers in grocery stores with, “Hi, I’m Krissy and I’m a sexual assault survivor.  Specifically incest that primarily happened in the first ten years of my life, and multiple horrifying rapes when I was 7-10 years old, and a few date rapes and near misses as a teenager.  And then I prosecuted my father and he killed himself and I’ve been a hot mess ever since.  But thanks for asking how my day is!  I hope you are having a good one!”  That wouldn’t be ok, you know?

I hold that boundary.  And I don’t talk about my abuse and trauma very much during the day.  Even though this is an intense period of processing I don’t allow myself to talk about it during the day outside of therapy much because it isn’t appropriate for my kids to hear.  That has to be a boundary.  So instead I just punish myself.

And I grow to resent my children.  Especially nursing.  They are taking so much from me right now but I keep picturing this wonderful scene from a movie I recently watched.  The movie was Mother and Child with Annette Bening.  I sobbed my heart out through the whole story.  But specifically towards the end a woman is successful in adopting a baby after great personal sacrifice trying to do so.  She calls her mom in the middle of the night and throws a temper tantrum about how needy the baby is.  The grandmother in question, S. Epatha Merkerson, pulls back into this stern dignified look.  She then proceeds to tell her daughter off up one side and down the other for daring to have the gall to complain about a baby having needs.  These days when I start to feel pissy with the girls I close my eyes and picture that stony face of disappointed fury telling me to get off my ass and take care of the god damn baby.  And I plaster a smile on my face and get over myself.  I am not always as fast in some of my responses as I would like because I have to stop and take deep breaths to deal with my frustration level sometimes.  But everyone here is happy and healthy and growing and feeling really loved and supported as part of a whole unit.  A big part of that is I have decided that the version of Attachment Parenting we want to practice does not involve all the extremism that some loud voices in the “Natural Family Living” community think it should.  And that’s ok.  I don’t have to think that everything in the mainstream is wrong just because it is a common thing to do.  That is conforming to a specific kind of non-conformity and oh man it is killing me.  So I’m not doing the perfectly available 24/7 thing anymore.  And you know what?  It’s helping a lot.

You can see why I feel that thinking about food is complicated?  But the sun is stealing slowly over the horizon.  I can now clearly see the outline of the tree in our yard.  It is time for me to get up and go hide Easter eggs for a party.  I have something like 12 kids coming on a hunt today.  It will be super fun.   Luckily 5 of those kids are too young and 1 is probably mostly too old because I only have 48 eggs.   Always look on the bright side I say.  The kids will all have a wonderful time and it will be a great party.  I will eat every time someone mentions that I should.  The awesome thing is, no one who loves to feed me will have a chance to read this journal entry before the party.  But they will read it later.  Then the game becomes, do I tell them this morning what stupid destructive game I am playing so they can help me break the cycle?  Or do I act like a crazy person and create drama.  Yeah.  I think I’ll be talking to them as soon as possible.  I wish I didn’t need as much support as I do but I’m really glad that I can get it since I need it.  I am very lucky.

Nursing

This picture was taken the day Calli was born. I was so proud to be nursing both of them. I could do it. I didn’t really imagine then I would be looking for information on early weaning eight months later. I have been nursing for two years and eleven months straight. I want to blame tandem nursing being hard on just doing it too long, and that’s part of it. Mostly though Calli is rough with me and it hurts. She wants to be up and moving around and doing something more exciting.  I get that, I feel the same way.  But when she yanks my nipple a dozen times in a nursing session I don’t really want to pick her up the next time she starts signaling hunger.  I’m raw.  And it is getting to the point where I am angry with her over this.

I don’t want to wean before we go on the trip because that would be a hot mess.  But I don’t think this baby will get much passed her first birthday with nursing.  And I feel bad about that.  Unfortunately I have already hit my lifetime capacity on accepting unwelcome painful touch.  I love you, but no.