Category Archives: bucket list

Chasing and being ok

I should be sleeping, but I’m awake. I’m thinking about how much I’m shoving on my friend while she’s here. So here’s the sitch. I met this woman on Twitter during my road trip. Towards the end the kids and I realized we were going to have a miserable time camping at the snowy Grand Canyon and decided to detour. I asked the universe (and Twitter) where we should go. This woman popped up and said, “Pick me! Pick Phoenix!” So I did.

We spent a few days together and it was lovely. I think she is great. I think her kids are rad and super smart and really engaged in life. I honestly don’t meet that many public school kids who are that good at asserting themselves. I was seriously impressed with these kids. They are just… there’s a lot of there there.

So I asked my friend to come visit. Thing is, the entire time I’ve known this family they’ve been on my monthly donation list because of disability issues. The mama hasn’t worked in a while and that is indefinite. So this trip is horrifyingly prohibitively expensive.

So I said, “Can I bring you to California. You and your family. You need a break from life.”

We are going all over the bay area and down to Santa Barbara with a stop in Monterey on the way home. We will spend close to a week driving into San Francisco to see the museums.

These kids showed up at my house and with glowing faces they said, “Can we homeschool every day?!” They are so excited they can barely speak. Only they talk just as much as my kids do so this is a hilarious time. Oh so much volume. But fascinating! The opinions! The independent thought going on!

One of the first questions was: “Does your little boy still wear dresses?” Answer: “That question is more complicated than you think. My kid wears dresses sometimes. But I only sometimes have a little boy. Let’s talk about the gender binary and people who do not fall on it at either end.”

It was lovely.

I sat down after dinner and started listing off the cool things to do within an hour of driving… we filled the trip days fast. We have a full itinerary.

I am 100% convinced my friend never would have asked for something like this in her life. I’m spending around $1200-$1500 for them to have this vacation. Folks I don’t know that well that I met through the internet.


I am ruled by my impulses. Because it breaks my heart that my children get to have the life they have and children this god damn smart and talented don’t get to have as much opportunity. Yes, I’d love to bring you out here for three weeks for as much information as we can pack into your little skulls. It would be an honor.

I do these things to pay back the child I was. The child who felt so bad that everyone else got to go do fun things and take classes and go to museums. I got to move again.

Part of what is helping is that I’m not having to chase this family. I offered and she accepted… but I didn’t have to chase her and keep offering.

Being able to accept a gift this big is hard. Pride is a big deal. Accepting this much love and help from someone is hard to feel ok with. People can only take so much then they need to give. Not necessarily back to the person they received from… paying things forward is more important

I am running into asking rev limiters within myself. I can ask different people and it isn’t scary. I can’t ask a small group of people for things repeatedly. That’s too much hard; I feel too much like I’m hurting people.

Unless I get asked back. I need to be asked for things in exchange. Do you know one of the reasons it is easy for me to help this family have this trip? They are kind of assertive about how things need to work for them. “I need _____. I can’t do _____.” Even if receiving a gift they are directing it to be more useful for them. That melts my butter. I feel like they seriously are trying to get what they need from this gift.

I have probably asked many hundreds if not over a thousand people to spend time with me in my life. I don’t ask everyone for sexual attention. Unless I feel an energetic push back… I feel like I am hurting people by sticking around.

If I initiate all of our, “Hey let’s hang out” it will get more and more sporadic over time. My give runs out. My ask runs out. I wish I still had it in me to ask you over lots… I don’t. I don’t think you care. I think you’d rather do something else.

I think you’d rather not put your pants on and walk three blocks to see me after I drive multiple thousands of miles. That’s what I’m worth.

That’s from someone who has been publicly calling me “family” for over a decade. Yeah. That’s what I’m worth to my family.

But not Noah. And not my kids. They would do a whole hell of a lot to see me.

Noah crisscrossed the country chasing me. It was glorious.

Even though they live with me every day. If I start getting distracted by life or people they do tricks until I stare at them again. Please look at us. We need your attention. Yes my loves. I will give you my attention too.

Yes, I like pushy. Yes, I want people who say hey I’m here and I want your attention. Yes, that is risking rejection. Welcome to my god damn life.

It occurs to me that I could create a calendar for the house hold and share that with folks who are interested. Dates when people are free to invite themselves over could be clearly marked.

I can’t keep inviting the way I have for years. I’m tired and it hurts.

Noah says I’m just ditching my friends for lovers. I don’t think that is true. I can list off lots of friends talking and visits in the past few months. It is true that I’m putting less effort into my friends.

But I think I was there anyway. I think there was just a brief surge for dating. I think that is going to… change as time moves on anyway. I’ll run out of ask there too. I don’t get the impression that most of the folks I date are going to feel ok being pushy with asking for dates. My submissive. My glorious submissive. Thank you for being so brave so far. I know I’m busy and asking me means risking me being overwhelmed and kind of a twerp on a given day. I’m grateful you ask. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m not always good company but I’m so glad I get to know you. Sometimes when I say I’m not good company it isn’t about me not liking you it is about me wanting to keep my nasty moods away from you. I know you are comfortable with getting the less than sweet parts of me, but I don’t want to take my feelings out on anyone like that. I don’t want to start using you for that kind of thing.

I love you too much.

I’ll hit you; I’ll carve my name into your flesh with a scalpel; I’ll kick you as hard as I can in the testicles. I do not want to hurt you. I want you to feel loved. I can’t be nasty to you when I’m having a bad day. That’s not cool.

I need to be nasty to you on good days when it is a positive, loving choice for both of us.

I’m going to run out of chase on dating for the same reason I always do. Most people… aren’t as into me as I want them to be. They like me ok, but they don’t really seek me out. I seek them out as much as I can… then I can’t anymore.

Usually that’s about three months.

The people who have gone longer than that… my first fiancé, my Owner, Puppy, Spot, Noah… they always act like they are drawn to me. I don’t think my first fiancé would have fallen out of love with me. I think he wanted to marry me and he was going to be ok being that person forever. I think I could have had that. But he needed me to not change very much. He needed me to calm down and not be so crazy. He needed me to be very conservative sexually. I couldn’t do that for him. I think I could still be with my Owner if I hadn’t wanted kids so much. Puppy was the only one who dumped me. He has some serious issues and that was for the best. He would have been very abusive. Spot… that one did run its course. There was no more there for that relationship. But we are still friends.

Noah came back when I shoved him away as hard as I could. He was still my friend even though it hurt because not knowing me was more painful than dealing with me rejecting him as a boyfriend. Then after a while of being my friend he noticed that I was single for five minutes and he took a chance on offering me the best deal of my whole damn life. Would I like to marry my best friend and have the babies I’ve been dreaming of? Yes. Yes I would.

I like sudden intense protestations of devotion that I end up being able to count on. That works for me.

And Noah has chased me ever since. I do not always honor his efforts as I should. But I take breaks to admire just how forking nice to me he is. He chases me. He feels like he would die without me.

It makes it kind of hard to keep chasing people who are not that enthusiastic about seeing me, who do not push for time or attention, who do not make it clear that they want to know me.

I’m spoiled as fuck.

My submissive chases me à la Pepé Le Pew. Slow and patient and just there for my entire adult life.

You know who else chases me? Sarah. That’s why she is My Sarah. Because she has chased me and pushed and offered and grabbed chances to see me for over twelve years.

Lots and lots and lots of people can ask me once or twice a year for a visit. That’s so wonderful and sweet and generous. They give me what they have to spare. They ask for how much of me they want. I’m grateful for every person who gives me a three hour visit a year because they want to know me and that’s all they have spare. That is a gift.

It is so glorious having people in my life who want more and more and more of me. The number of people who feel that way is growing and I can’t help but think that is so wonderful. One of the women I look up to most described knowing me as being like watching the birth of a planet. I’m developing my own gravity.

So this ADD book I’m reading keeps saying, “There is something special about a lot of people with ADD. You can’t put your finger on what it is. It’s just there.” I find that hilarious.

When you look at comorbidity things: ADD is highly correlated with trauma which is highly correlated with being targeted which is highly correlated to being something that attracts notice.

Being special/different/weird is threatening as fuck. Lemme tell you.

Hey, is that a self love moment there? Did I just admit that I know I’m special?


I am. I always have been. I do radiate energy like the sun. Either I freak people out or I draw them in. I pay attention to people. I want to know them and love them. Just looking at people as hard as I do is special. Not many people are even capable of really looking at everyone around them and paying attention the way I do. It is some trick of attention and hypervigilance and empathy.

And where in the hell did I find the well of love I seem to have for people? Despite everything. Recently someone said I didn’t break; I broke open.

I need to be needed or there isn’t a lot of point in me. I think that the majority of creatures who are ever born live and die not having a point. I think that the creature has to make their own point, their own purpose, their own meaning.

Am I doing it?

So far people in ten states and a few different countries have told me that knowing me has changed them for the better. It’s a start.

I can say with great certainty that the three people who live here, my submissive, and My Sarah will chase me just about to the ends of the earth. Jenny has flown out to rescue me when I was in danger even though she isn’t by nature a chaser.

I still call her Jenny because I’m the only damn one who can. To you, she is Jennifer. You do not have leave to address her familiar. I think the only reason I can’t mature into the grown up name is because it was a very young person who first opened her heart to me. It was a very young person with intense wounds of her own who learned how to put up with me. When I cry and think of how very much I miss my friend I am dimly aware that we are grown ups now… but I miss her from that place of being very young. Because that is where she first touched me. I met her when I was twelve. I feel like twelve was for me the absolute last gasping breaths of my childhood. That was right as I started seriously dating.

Jenny managed to catch the last bits of me that could love as a child. And I love her with all the intensity of a child for their best friend still. Thank you.

Despite how not chaste I am… I am still chased. I am deemed worthy of love. And by people I respect and love in return. People who absolutely thrill me to my toes that these people think I am worth enough of their energy to chase me. People who are impacted by my gravity pull and just have to be near me.

Oh I love you I love you I love you.

That’s at least six people who will… chase me pretty fucking far. Blacksheep has jumped enormous hurdles to be my friend. DSH has gone waaaaaaay far past her comfort zone for me even though she isn’t one to chase people like me.

I could keep going.

I am blessed and blessed and blessed. My Bonus Family. It would take a few pages to go through all they have done for me. Even though I’m god damn difficult and sometimes they need some boundaries. That’s healthy.

Most of the people who love me with great intensity have rev limiters of their own. They have lives. Part of the reason I love them so much is because they are intense people with a lot going on. They give me what they can. Even if they can’t chase me the way I like to be chased…

Really, how spoiled can someone be? I get chased. I have three people chasing me 24/7. Quit being so greedy.

And yet I’d still kinda like to set up a calendar that says when folks can invite themselves over and see what happens.

I don’t want to decide who it is and how many people. I just… want to see what happens. I assume not much. I assume a few people sometimes but not much.  The key to happiness is low expectations.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks. I’m nervous because this is a lot of time to be “on” with folks I don’t know that well. But I know this mama through mental/physical disability support. At least we are both very understanding of our mutual shortcomings. Ha.

I am so grateful that they accepted my invitation. This is going to be a lot of fun for me. I can’t wait to homeschool her kids. I feel like a walking encyclopedia and that is one of my favorite feelings. See how useful I can be. I am a good tool!

One of the things that makes me special is how fast I can access disparate topics in my brain and explain them in simple or complicated ways for just about anyone. I can make connections between things that seem unrelated… until I explain… faster than the vast majority of people I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a lot of people. I am not an expert in almost anything. Instead of going deep I go wide. That allows for a different kind of thinking, a different kind of intensity.

Ok, reading this book on ADD is making me question something about my long term mental health diagnosis: depression. I don’t do the torpor kind of depression. I do the head-down-keep-working-as-you-hate-yourself-and-want-to-die kind. Apparently that is a pretty standard ADD thing. Oh. Huh. That’s supposed to be one of those things they kinda look for. I hate them and their not looking.

If you loathe yourself: you are depressed. Sorta. Maybe.

I made Noah listen to this song. I can’t find it easily on the internet so you get lyrics.  The thing is… I need to be loved. And I need it from lots of people because I’m trying to push past a whole lot of not being loved.

There is some interesting research out there on preverbal trauma and early formative trauma. I feel like I still need to be filled with as much love as an infant. I was not wanted. Not from conception. I only exist because a bad thing happened. What do I have to do to make up for that? What do I have to do for the world to make up for the harm I caused by coming into being. For declaring, “I don’t care that this hurts you. I need to be here.”

It’s not like I think I really deserve to be punished for choosing to be born. It was an accident. A surprise.

To be fair, my mom told me over and over I was a surprise. She didn’t know she wanted me till she had me. Sissy is the one who told me over and over that I was an accident. My mom just admitted it was rape. My mom tries to make sense of her life given the stories she has been given. God wanted her to have that child. Me.

I have been crying for my mother for over 31, almost 32 years. My mom was 32 when I was born. I might be 35 or 36 if I have another child.

Am I a grown up yet?

When my mama was 35 years old she had four children. She locked her abusive husband out of the house and sued for divorce. On the grounds that he had been raping their children. He was still given partial custody. He refused to pay alimony or child support so my mom lost the house and we ended up living in the car. Well, he would pay it. In exchange for sex.

Sometimes I think I judge my mother far too harshly for surviving a world of horror.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it neither? Is it both? Does it depend?

I think that if I don’t have that much pull… I should probably just be ok with that. It is probably healthier that way. Maybe. Who knows.

Yes. Yes, I want pushy.

I think people misunderstand suicide prevention. There is a lot of shaming. “Don’t do it because it is selfish. You hurt people.” I hurt people by living too. I promise. It’s always complicated. It is always about the balance of hurting people vs being hurt.

I think it should be framed as enlightened self interested selfishness. Someday I will get to the point where I am out of good days. I’m not there yet. I’m trying to construct a future so fantastic that I absolutely want to stay alive to see it.

I know we are giving up the WWOOF year I’ve always wanted because of a baby I want more. You know what? I bet I will still go to Africa with Sarah someday. I bet I will still go to Taiwan to see Pam someday. I bet I will still go to South America someday. I don’t know who will go with me or who I will see… but it’s probably going to happen.

I’m like that.

I go do things.

No more travel for a long time though. I need to save money. We don’t really travel cheap.

The kids and Noah have promised to veto all requests for travel in 2017 even if I say, “but we could…”


I love my reminders.

My Eldest Child likes to say, “You should listen to yourself more, mom. You are a smart lady.” But I don’t listen to myself. I need to hear it from you. I need to hear it in your voice. I need to have you replace my inside voice. Do you know why? Because when I talk to me I’m so god damn mean. When you remind me of something I just said a few minutes ago… you usually sound so nice.

I know I sounded nice when I said it to you. That’s because it is easy to be nice to you. No, I can’t remind myself in that same nice way. I need you on a tape in my head. Because my tapes are all so bad. Thank you for reminding me.

I never mean that sarcastically.

Well… maybe once in a while but I’ll make it obvious with a funny voice.

Shiny change of topic. I feel like it is wise to restate a thing about voice in my blog. I talk to “you” a lot. That’s a moving target. I often consciously create sentences so I’m addressing multiple situations and multiple people at once and I phrase it as a singular. So if you feel paranoid that I’m talking to you… maybe…. inclusively…

Or maybe you’re the one. Noah gets a lot of direct address. Ok, other people do too and I hide behind the group thing. Let’s be honest. But I do the group address thing too!

I’m just tricksy.

I sat here for a while and just went through some visuals of stuff I’d like to have happen in my life. Oh let it be so.


I asked my current longest running friend how she experiences my emotional ups and downs. She said “Peripherally because mostly I’m focused on me.” It was… humbling in exactly the right way. It was a reminder that the people who love me don’t have to come on the emotional roller coaster with me. They can love me and hear about my life and support me without being traumatized. My experiences are peripheral to their lives. It’s… kind of a freeing way of looking at it.

I don’t know how much to center myself. I don’t know how much impact I have on other people. I don’t know how much they can withstand from me. I don’t know this partially because people are all so different. I have been blessed with friends who can hear about some severe traumas without being damaged. But lots of people can’t even handle mildly upsetting things without freaking out, let alone trauma. So calibration is a bitch.

On the way home from the grief ritual on Saturday I got news that I didn’t like. If I was under the delusion that talking about a road trip for multiple years before I did it would result in people making sure they were home when I come to their city….uhm I am now back in tune with reality. The folks I know make their plans without consulting with me. Lots of folks I wanted to see (I’m up to like 8 different people across the country) aren’t going to be home when I come through town. The… ironic part is how many of them will be in the bay area when I am in their home states. I am having a hard time not feeling specifically avoided. I live in the bay area and you don’t come when I’m there to see me. You come when I am in your city. It… it is hard to not take personally. I’ve been planning this road trip for years. People could have asked me about conflicts. They didn’t. Now I can either change my plans (to make a long trip even longer) to see them or give up the idea of seeing them.

Which is why it is good to be reminded that I am peripheral to other peoples lives and I shouldn’t act like I am at the center. I’m really not. Folks don’t schedule around me. Hoo boy folks don’t schedule around me.

I think this would be easier if it were one person I was having this experience with. Then I could decide how much I prioritize that specific person and make a decision and move on. But once you start stacking that many people and that many conflicts… it gets exponentially more complicated.

I’m having conflict with my plans from five separate people in Portland. That’s… that seems to be a sign I shouldn’t go to Portland. If 5/8 of the people I go there to see won’t be available and one of the people I do want to see has been coming to the bay area without talking to me over the last year so I’m all butt hurt… Maybe Portland wasn’t meant to be part of the road trip? I could take it as a sign to save myself a thousand or so miles of travel. But then I feel like I’m not proving my love to the 3/8 people who are still there.

I’m having internal conflict over my adopted dad coming to the bay area multiple times without bothering to have dinner with us. Why the fuck should I keep trying to create a relationship with you when you come to my area without even the smallest of effort in my direction? It’s not a relationship if I am carrying all of it. But you know what? He didn’t ask me to be my dad. He didn’t ask to adopt my kids. I asked him. And I have to take what he feels like giving. I don’t get to demand more.

But I spent this weekend at a grief ritual. And I spent this weekend reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Fucking Palmer. So I’m in a funny place with regards to my feelings about “just stop asking people for love.”

That’s what cutting Portland out of the road trip would mean for me. It would mean that I am not able to go to that city with my heart in my hands saying, “Please love me.” I feel pathetic about it, but that’s a lot of what I do with my traveling and my life experiences. I go about and meet people I’ve known for a long time and people I have just met and I energetically ask them to love me. Please think I am worthy of humanity and decency and love. I’m scared that I am not deserving. And I need it affirmed over and over.

You need ten positive things to balance out every negative thing you hear about yourself. I spent the first 25 years of my life hearing 1,000 bad things for every good thing I heard. I am spending my adulthood trying to convince myself I am not what I was told I am.

But asking people to love you this way means risking rejection.

Part of my problem is that I have too many expectations of people. I really do. If I were actually content with five minutes of attention from the people I love I wouldn’t feel so disappointed. They can eke out five minutes. They can’t eke out two days. I’m not saying anything bad about them for that. They are where they are. And I am where I am.

I have spent most of my life using physical pain to remind me that I can’t ask for help because people don’t actually care very much. Now everyone in my life really wants me to stop hurting myself. And things are better than they were–more people are willing to demonstrate caring than I have ever experienced. It is getting better year by year. But I am not good at keeping my needs in check. I’m not good at ensuring that I don’t overwhelm people.

I am trying to learn the skills to deal with rejection without feeling like I should die. My hyperbole is not because of anyone in my life right now. It is because I have felt like I should die since early childhood. I’m looking for signs that I should or shouldn’t die. As soon as I feel like there is more weight on the side of no really I shouldn’t be here any more I try to leave. I haven’t tried to leave in 18 years. I was taught that the penalty for trying to leave and failing is really bad. Unless I’m willing to go swim out into the ocean until I can’t come back… I probably won’t attempt suicide again. My gestures are used up. Next time it has to be effective and no take backs.

I’m still weighing every rejection. I’m still tossing evidence into a sack towards the inevitability that I should die today because some day that day will come. Some day it will be the day I should die. It is not avoidable.

I notice something in the cycles of asking for support that I go through. If I ask a lot of people at once for something I don’t want very much… it usually works out. If I ask one person for something I want very much… it rarely works out. One example that is shallow and petty but small and easy to describe is the leather dress. I lived with my Owner for three years. We had a very intense relationship. I did not ask him to buy me things. He bought food for me in restaurants and that was it. I bought all groceries for the house. We were both incredibly sensitive to the idea that he was my Sugar Daddy and he was therefore careful to not pay me.

Isn’t that kind of funny? He wanted to make sure our relationship was “clean” so he would safely not provide very much support. Ha.

Anyway after being together for just shy of 4 years we were at a leather conference. I found a leather ball gown I was simply in love with. It was gorgeous. It was way out of my budget. I had never before asked him to pay for any of the ridiculously large fetish wardrobe I bought because he wanted me to wear those clothes. I didn’t ask him to pay for the 20+ pairs of shoes I bought because he wanted me to wear them. I didn’t own any of those shoes two years after I left him. Most of them were gone in three months. I hated those shoes. But I had to buy them to make him happy. I lived on $14,400/year and he made over $250,000. Anyway.

So I wanted this dress and I asked him to buy it for me. I said it could be my birthday and Christmas and everything put together. He said no. He said it wasn’t worth it to him to buy it for him. This happened in July. We broke up in August. Want to know what is funny? Noah organized my other-lovers and bought the dress for my birthday in September. I didn’t ask my other-lovers for the dress. I just cried on my blog.

I still have the dress. I wear it sometimes. It is one of the few items of fetish wear I have left. Mostly I’ve passed things on to people who are actually into that kind of thing. I used to have a wardrobe that made fetish models and professional dominatrixes drool. I’m not a fetishist though.

I spent a lot of this grieving ritual thinking about how I need to forgive myself for having needs that are in specific shaped boxes. I am not going to get those boxes filled because friends don’t work that way. I could maybe get the needs met if I was open to the universe supplying some random person–that’s how things work out for me. But as long as I get into this place where I create fantasies of doing x, y, and z with a, b, and c because I love them… I’m mostly going to be disappointed. My friends are not programmable. They don’t have the same interests and impulses as me.

This is what makes things so tricky. I have very specific needs and wants. People aren’t Burger King. You can’t have it your way.

A friend suggested that I negotiate differently. Instead of offering a Thing I’m up for, try to negotiate two or three things that might work for both. Thing is, I’m negotiating with anywhere from 3-25 people in a week. I can’t be that flexible. I run into bandwidth limitations.

I am not physically nor emotionally capable of being that open-endedly flexible with that many people. Maybe other people could… I can’t.

I will lose me. I understand that other people can keep themselves while being very flexible. That is awesome for them. That’s not me.

As I read Amanda Palmer’s book I kept thinking, “I have tried to have similar trust in the universe. That is part of how I got raped by 12 people. Uhm… This doesn’t work equally well for everyone.”

I feel like the term “Survival Sex” is only fairly recently added to my working vocabulary. It is… not exactly sex work because money doesn’t exchange hands. It is having sex with people in trade for food or housing. I’m struggling with not having the right goods to trade for my needs any more. Once upon a time I could trade sex and get most of the immediate needs I had met. Now I can’t trade sex for a variety of reasons and I don’t know what currency I have that is of value. My attention? But I bother people so much.

If you look at history there are people who can ask and have their needs met and it is like magic and then there are people who ask and get spit on. A lot of it depends on who you know. How magical is your safety net? The fact that Amanda Palmer had so many people with extra money to throw at artists is part of why she has done so well. If she had not grown up in that net… it would be a very different story.

It is a lot easier to trust that people will meet your needs when your needs have been basically met your entire life. It is not so easy to believe when there have been brief shining moments when all of your needs were met for brief moments and mostly… not so much.

I don’t know how to stop taking it out on my friends that my needs are too big for any of them. If my friends meticulously did every single thing I wanted from them… I would probably still feel this way. My problems are existential and not logistical. I get a lot of assistance and cooperation from friends. My friends do wonderful things with and for me. I can pinpoint problems in the system but… mostly my friends are ridiculously good to me. No, people don’t schedule their lives around me. I’m peripheral. But what they have to spare they hand me generously. It isn’t their fault that it isn’t enough to meet my needs.

Is it my fault? Is it anyone’s fault? I worry about fault so much partially because when I talk about how people aren’t meeting my needs people are quick to assume I’m blaming them. If they feel blamed for my problems they are more likely to cut me out of their lives and then I will be that much further from having my needs met.

You can’t talk about the fact that what you are getting in inadequate. You will cease getting any help at all.

Watch how people treat people of color who complain about the system. If you say, “This isn’t meeting my needs” people will say, “Fine then I won’t help you at all you ungrateful bastard.”

I don’t know what I want from people. Not really. I can come up with imaginary scenarios that would take 20 years of back story to make possible but beyond that… I don’t really know.

I want to feel seen.

In the class part of the ritual Sobonfu said, “If someone is crying and alone in my village someone will come and sit with them. If they don’t start talking, the listener will go get more people. If a small group isn’t enough to get the person to start talking we will get the whole village together to listen. Some problems are so big they cannot be carried by one person or by a small group. The whole village has to see and hear the problem before it can be resolved.”

I feel like that. I feel like there isn’t much of anything that people can do for me at this point beyond seeing and hearing me. I want to feel like an integral part of the system. I want to feel like my pain is so important that many many people care enough to take time out of their day to just see it. So that it can feel real. So that I can put it down. So that I don’t have to metaphorically spend all day clutching it and screaming “Look! Look Just fucking look.”

I don’t want to be disposable.

I’m afraid of treating my friends like they are disposable. I’m afraid I have no path to being correct and meeting my needs and their needs.

Part of my problem dealing with people comes from scale issues. I have an unusually large net of people. They are all fairly loose connections, but I have them all over the place. Weak connections lead to a safer and happier and more successful life. But how do you decide how much energy to give to weak connections?

I think that part of the relief when the Godmamas dumped me is like when a company fires an employee and gets to wipe their vacation time off the books. It is no longer an outstanding debt the company might have to face at any point. I left space in my heart and mind for them. They didn’t want it. They told me no over and over for years. But I left that space open. I tried to cram other people into gaps and holes around the area I was leaving for them. It’s like doing a computer defrag on my emotional priorities.

Ok, you want to be not important. Ok.

All of the people who have made conflicting plans are people I really like and I don’t want to defrag them out of my life.

I feel like there is no way to win.

Either I absorb all the disappointment and sadness and regret and keep coming back to beg for love another time or I give up on the person as a source of support.

This is that black and white thinking that mentally ill people are supposed to “work on”.

It’s not either/or. But I don’t know what it is.

Why am I doing the road trip? For a whole bunch of reasons. Because I want my kids to meet people all across the country and find out that their social skills need heavy adaptation from environment to environment. Because I want my kids to physically see this country so that when we talk about geography and history they have real schema to match things up with. Because I have wanted to do a trip like this my whole life and I never had anyone who wanted to do it with me and I’m too chicken shit to go alone. Because I can. Because I think we are going to reach a point in history where the carbon cost is going to be too high and people can’t do this any more. I want to do it while I can.

Because my cousin sneered at me while we were preparing for the New Zealand trip, “Why are you going overseas when you haven’t seen all of this great country.” Bitch, I’ve seen more of this country than you. It isn’t that great. Shut up.

That cousin hasn’t ever liked me. It wasn’t my fault she disliked me. She moved to Georgia not long after I moved in with Auntie and Uncle Bob for the first time. She cried telling her father that she was sorry she was taking his grandchildren away from him. He said, “That’s ok. I have Krissy.” My cousin never forgave me.

You know what? Uncle Bob dropped me when a younger and more sycophantic girl came along. He dropped that girl when another younger girl came along. You can get over hating me for stealing his love. I didn’t steal it. It was never really mine. He wanted a role and I couldn’t give him the role he wanted. I’m not grateful enough.

I had too much abuse mixed in with my not-really-good-enough support. Some boxes of Fruity Pebbles didn’t solve my problems and everyone kind of hated me for that.

If I could be blithe and capricious with seeing my friends things would work out much better. If I could accept the gift of their friendship and hold it in my open hand without grabbing and crushing it… things would work out better.

But I’m needy and desperate and sad and lonely. Even when I’m in a house full of people who love me. This is clearly not about the people who are currently in my life. This is not about the deficiency in behavior or planning or whatever from the people I know.

This is about a hole inside of me the size of Alaska.

If I’m going to be kind of an asshole about it I would say, If my friends weren’t so cool I wouldn’t be so upset about only getting a small slice of them. But man that’s a dick move.

I can’t actually handle that big of a slice of most of my friends. I start flipping out. I literally shake and I get nasty and difficult. Which is part of what makes my entitlement and possessiveness such a problem. I want them. I want all of them. Then I’m an asshole.

Like I did with Sarah. I want Sarah. I want to live with her and be with her all day every day. Just because I want it that doesn’t mean I can do it in a way that is healthy for both of us. My needs are too big. Her needs are too big. Our needs conflict in very complicated ways. It isn’t about either of us doing something wrong we just aren’t compatible as house mates. That happens.

I need a degree of rigidness and predictability that is very hard for almost everyone. That isn’t about anyone doing me wrong. It’s a recognition of the fact that people can be very complicated. If I don’t have that rigidness in my life then I have breakdowns in my behavior. That rigidity is how I have learned to compensate for not having the support I needed. I created the structure and support I needed for myself by myself but there is a cost.

That cost comes in how much I can trust other people. I have to be able to pick up the pieces if their best isn’t good enough. I have to be able to recover from feeling rejected. I have to be able to feel like I still have a self who is deserving of life at the end of the day. That is not something that other people are responsible for nor can they have serious impact on how it turns out.

The thing is, if everyone I knew catered their whole lives around me and scheduled around me and constantly pestered me to center me in their lives… I would implode. I could not do that. I would reject everyone, stop answering the phone and email and hide in my closet for months.

My friends really aren’t put in a position to be very successful with me. I’m sorry for that.

What I want is friends who are off doing their things. Their things inspire me. Their things remind me that it takes all kinds and all of these diverse, interesting, busy people are necessary to have the world be this fabulous.

And that means I have to take what is left over and find a way to cobble it into enough.

I am really scared that I will have to bail part way through the road trip because I will not have the emotional nor physical stamina to do such a journey alone with the kids. In order to spend quality time with the people we love in Portland I would have to make the trip longer and show up earlier. I don’t think I can bear that cost right now. I think that given that 5/8 of the people we love in Portland will not be available… I should take that as a sign from the universe to come back to Oregon another time. I will not run out of chances.

But I’m scared that if I make that choice I am giving up on those friends. I’m afraid that not putting in the extra effort to force it to work means I am not dedicated enough and I do not deserve those relationships and I will not be given access to them in the future.

I’m afraid that if I decide to not go to Portland during the road trip it will be in large part because I’m saying “Fuck you” to Dad because he didn’t see me when he came to the bay area. He was about 1/3 of the reason I deleted my Fetlife account. I don’t want to see evidence that I’m not that important to you. I don’t want to know. I mean, I know I’m not that important. But I don’t want to read about you talking to your friends about your excitement about visiting them. You don’t visit me. You don’t call me. You don’t email me. I contact you. Or we have no contact.

Yeah, that’s how my relationships with “fathers” go.

Portland is very wrapped up in my feelings about Dad. We usually stay with him when we go up. And right now…

Right now I can’t ask. I can’t ask him for love or support or anything. I can’t ask him to acknowledge that I am alive. I just can’t. He doesn’t want to. If he wanted to be part of my life he knows where I am. He chooses not to.


It isn’t something he has to give.

So when I’m talking about Portland all of my conflicting feelings about all of the wonderful people there crash into each other. And it makes all of the processing ramp up several notches in intensity. I’m not processing how I feel about accommodating Person A. I’m thinking about how I can fit in Person A, Person B, Person C, Person D, Person E, and all of them have conflicting schedule limitations and issues.

Cutting Portland out would mean we had time to get to Missouri. Where one of my online-support-group friends lives. She has twins who are right in the middle of the ages of my kids. I’ve been talking to her about parenting stuff for years. She mailed me artwork for my wall when I was having the break down around Uncle Bob’s death and divorcing my family. She has sent me letters and emails over the years.

So cutting out Portland isn’t just about whether or not I want to say “Fuck you” to Dad or whether I want to try to work around everyone else’s travel schedule. It’s also about whether or not this road trip is about cementing old connections or making new ones.

Portland will still be there in the future. I guarantee that even if this trip doesn’t work out… we’ll get back to Portland. The folks who live there are an intense draw. Even if I get mad at them sometimes. Even if sometimes I feel feelings because I am not the center of their life and THAT TOTALLY SUCKS, YO. I will get back to Portland.

Missouri… maybe. Maybe not. This may be the only or one of two times I will ever go there in my whole damn life.

What is this trip about? Fuck if I know.

But you know what? I walked out of the weekend feeling less upset. I stopped feeling really guilty about how I’m handling the throat kicking incident. If I lose the home school group that’s ok. They were never mine to begin with.

I’m going to be really sad if I lose some of the important Portland people in my life. I can live with not seeing them this year, even if it is disappointing. I don’t want to live with losing them forever. That’s so much harder.

I’m going to close with a quote from Amanda’s book:

We make countless choices every day whether to ask or to turn away from one another. Wondering whether it’s too much to ask the neighbor to feed the cat. The decision to turn away from a partner, to turn off the light instead of asking what’s wrong.

Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability.

Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:

I deserve to ask


You are welcome to say no.

Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.

This is what is so hard about me asking my friends for things. I wait to ask until the no hurts me. I have refrained from asking for thousands of small, petty things because I was afraid. Because I don’t want to overwhelm or bother people. So I wait until it is a crises. Then I ask. Then I can’t absorb “no”.

Which means I’m damning everyone from the beginning. I’m not asking for gifts. I’m asking for… investment. I’m asking for responsibility.

You can’t ask your friends to be responsible for you. Then they aren’t your friends any more. They are your wards or your parents or your guardians or something.

I damn myself over and over again. Because I cannot ask when it is just a gift. Because I am so scared. Because my needs have never been very important, even when they really needed to be.

This weekend I had an interaction with a person in which they expressed that part of their goal during the ritual was to not feel pain. I kind of scoffed at that, because I’m an asshole. The person said it at the beginning of the day on Saturday before the ritual proper had started.

I found those words sticking in my head all through the day. I just… couldn’t make myself grieve the way I did last time at the ritual. I didn’t have the hysterical screaming and flailing in me. I didn’t need to beat my head until I couldn’t raise it from the pillow anymore. Instead I found myself just curling up in the fetal position to cry softly.

It was… kind of weird. I’m not really a “let it flow gently over you” kind of person.

The next morning I found the person and told them about my experience the day before. Their face lit up. They were so glad to have had that impact on someone. I apologized for scoffing and said, “I think I needed to hear exactly that. Thank you.”

On Sunday, Sobonfu asked everyone to touch one another more. Even if you are normally a non-touching person… let people touch you. You need to feel like you aren’t alone. You need to physically feel that a person is there with you in your grief.

I’m really a no-touching person.

At one point in the day I was grieving and it turns out that the person who had said they didn’t want to experience pain was my supporter. (Part of the purpose of the grief ritual is that when you are grieving you are always supported. There is a person there to help you however you need.) This person decided to do massage work on me while I was crying. Eventually I moved around so I was lying on my belly just letting it happen.

It was almost magical. I get a lot of body work done. I experience a lot of physical pain and I know a lot of ways to manage it. I do a lot of yoga/stretching… All The Things. I’ve been getting somewhat regular massages since I turned 18 because other wise I get back spasms and spend a lot of time lying on the floor crying and unable to deal with my life.

This was a really transformative body work experience. I walked in with multiple places screaming out in intense pain. I walked out having my pain halved. She didn’t work on me for very long and it wasn’t intense work. But she knew where to press. And it was the physical contact in conjunction with the crying.

In that moment it was ok for me to be asking for support. It wasn’t pathetic. It wasn’t inappropriate. It was what we were all there for. It was entirely appropriate.

I feel like part of my problem is that asking for support puts people in the position where they might have to say no to me. People don’t like saying no. I try not to put them in that position. Which means I wait until it is too urgent. Then I can’t hear no.

It’s a problem. It’s a bad cycle. I’m having a hard time climbing out.

Part of the difficulty springs from the fact that there is no right answer. You just do your best. That’s all anyone has to give.

post-therapy (more) hobbies and yay friends.

It made me very happy to tell my therapist “My friends and I are in a fierce and loving argument/discussion about hobbies and how I should learn to manage time better.” She thinks it is great that you all interact with me. Heh.

Then when I explained the “I can’t do fiddly shit” she said, “Oh of course not. Your flavor of PTSD should be kept as far away from those kinds of actions as possible. If someone has dissociation issues then often things like knitting can help them be more present. You are so hyperaroused that it will drive you crazy. Don’t do that. Try martial arts.”

See, the knitting is very good and healthy for lots of my friends and not for me. I appreciate my pats on the back. Validation is my friend.

I talked to her a lot about wanting to come off of pot. I’m past the baby stage. I told myself I was using pot to give me the self control I needed to get past the baby stage when the kids really couldn’t help how much they triggered me. I don’t have babies any more. Shit.

I think there is the non-zero possibility that I will stop using pot until my kids are adults and then start again. Being stoned is awesome but I want to teach my kids a different lifestyle.

My shrink says she has known people who have had good luck taking some melatonin during the day while getting off pot. You have to be careful to never take it for more than ten days in a row (I should research why) but it can be useful. I also have to up my B vitamins. I should be taking 1,000-1,500 units per day. Ew. Ew. Ew. I should double the fish oil dose. I should start 5-htp.

The idea is that this will probably take a full year. Not to get off pot. That will take less than a month. I have to get my bodily stress more under control. It is going to be a process and it is going to be hard. I will have to really retrain my body with new habits. New habits can be formed in as little as thirty days. I don’t think my lifelong habits will be undone in a month. Ok, I’ve already worked on a lot of the other big problem areas, but more to handle.

Yesterday Shanna kind of complained about me watching The West Wing. I told her I was watching it because I was frustrated and annoyed and I was trying not to yell at her. She said, “Turn it off and let’s talk about it. You won’t solve anything this way.”

I feel so lucky. I feel like I have so much reason to work on my issues. I finally have iron clad reasons to think that my emotional state matters. It impacts my kids hugely and massively all day every day. I matter.

My therapist continues her stream of being shocked by how many people I know. She has been sorta trying to talk me into working with a writing teacher she knows. He could edit my books. I told her I was saving money to work with my friend Janet. She has a lot of experience with writing and running a publishing company and she told me she wanted to work with me. I really want to try that avenue first.

My shrink said, “Oh, what publishing company?”

“Greenery Press.”

Her jaw dropped and her eyes bugged. “You know her?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve known her for more than ten years.”

“Uhm, yeah. Work with her. That’s amazing. Wow. You know a lot of people.”

really do. I know some ridiculously cool people. I get out and talk to people a lot. I am constantly out trying to pull more people into my tenuous web of connections. I like people. The more people I know the safer I am.

By contrast she (my shrink) told me it was pretty chicken shit to have relationships with people where I invite them over a lot and then I stop and expect them to invite themselves over. She said that’s not cool and I should stop it. I said, “But I’m scared.” She said, “So are they.”


She wants me to consider working with kinky survivors as one of the hats I put on some day when I’m a grown up. She thinks I would be uniquely well suited to being able to help people in that category. I’m flattered. This comes up because I spend a lot of time on the PTSD forum fielding questions about bdsm. It is hilarious to me that I hand out this long list of book recommendations and I am friends/former play partners with almost all of the authors. Yeah, I vouch for the information in the book and the integrity of the people giving the information.

I told my therapist about Noah’s reaction to me wanting to go to Islamic countries as an old woman as part of my work with incest. (Noah’s response was, “Ok we need to start martial arts. Now.) Her eyes teared up and she said, “You are so lucky to have a partner who is that supportive of you. Do you understand how rare that is?”

I do understand. I’m grateful every single day.

No, Noah doesn’t try to talk me out of things. I say, “I’m thinking about doing _____” and he says, “How can I help!?” (As a bonus he also makes cookies. So far this year: snickerdoodles (three batches [err… I ate a whole one alone…]), chocolate chip, haystacks, and he has made dough for refrigerator cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and molasses crinkles. He’s serious about liking my ass slightly more when it is bigger. Ha.)

I have friends who put up with me being rude, offensive, and foul mouthed.

I am ridiculously lucky in this lifetime. Not very many people receive as much non-family support as I get. It’s all about perspective, right?

Apparently I need to start a structured routine for a (long) while. I need to have “sitting on a swing for an hour” as part of every day. (Rocking motions are soothing to your brain. If you are upset, hug yourself and rock. You may feel lame but it does help.) I need to find a martial arts gym that will let us come in 2-3 days every week. I need to be running almost every day. (Rest days are important too.) I need to start teaching Shanna how to ride a bike and practice with her. (She has one… but she’s a wuss. She won’t try it unless I’m really bugging her. She likes going as fast as she can with her feet thankyouverymuch.)

I tend to have structure for a short period and then go off the rails when I add a big project. I can’t have any big projects for a year. This feels crushing and unfair. Waaa waaa waaa. Should I call the waaaaaaambulance?

I have to train my body to relax. I’m not sure I have ever been relaxed. Yeah, it will probably take a year. If I am fully relaxed at the end of a year it will be a G-d damn miracle. But I have to try. And this is the year. Go.

If I want to be able to do the serious international travel later I have no choice but to do this now. I can’t put it off any more. I don’t want to end up beating my head on concrete again the next time I leave the country. It is really unpleasant. In 2015 I want to travel with my kids for almost six months just to see if I can. I have to do this work in 2014. I’m feeling very annoyed with myself.

Why don’t I just give up on these hard things and have an easier life? What is wrong with me? Well, I don’t think that what I’m doing right now is actually easier. It is a different hard thing that I have slowly juggled towards as being the best I can get with my current coping skills.

I need different coping skills.

I feel like now it is finally safe enough to try. I have two kids who love me to the moon and back and who want to be nice to me. They just need me to teach them how. I need to teach without yelling or being nasty because then I will actually teach yelling and being nasty.

I feel so blessed that I have this time and this space. I don’t feel I have earned it. I don’t deserve it. But here it is. I have time. I have safety. I have money to fill in the gaps for when I can’t do everything for myself.

I have so much privilege that there is no longer any justifiable excuse for me not doing this work. Shit.

(I do believe it was justified earlier in my life. I was not physically or emotionally capable of doing the work before. I was never safe enough.) If you have to spend all day running to stay in one place someone who criticizes you for not finishing a marathon is a fucking asshole. You are doing what you can do.

I am seven years post rape. I have lived in this house for more than twice as long as I have ever lived anywhere else in my life. I have three people I get to live with who all think I am really nice and wonderful.

It’s time to stop being afraid all the time.

Being afraid makes me nasty. Being afraid makes me inclined to fight anyone and anything at any time because I perceive everyone as a threat. I am really sorry that I am so scared.

I’m going to work with a doctor on my body pain. Pam has offered to either go and hold my hand or babysit. I think I would prefer the hand holding. I’ll arrange the appointment on a day when Noah can stay with the kids.

I am very lucky. I am sorry I act so ungrateful so much of the time.

Now I understand “fuck cancer”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perspective if everything.

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

I hope she will forgive me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok, run.

Suicidal ideation

I love getting eight hours of sleep by 3am. It makes my whole day better. It makes my whole life better. Then I am more cheerful and enthusiastic about what I have to do. I consider it the first thing I must do in a day in order to have a good day. The second thing I must do in order to have a good day is get more than 75% of my chores done by 9am. I have a thing in my head.

I participate in a variety of online support groups–or rather I have over the years, not so much at this second–and it has been a fairly big thing for me over the past ten years “I am more productive by 9am than a great many people are all day.” It’s a thing in my head. I work very hard on it. That way I feel I have the freedom to do with the rest of the day as I please.

Pretty much every online support group has strict rules about talking about suicide. Really, pretty much everyone everywhere believes it isn’t ok to talk about–especially if you are seriously thinking about it.

My furnace dries out the air terribly. I’ve spent all winter coughing and hacking and feeling unhappy about it since I moved into this house. Now my kids join me. So they’ve been waking up a lot at night. It means I have a lot of time in the middle of the night to think about them and to think about suicide and for me to think about what happiness means.

There are a lot of parenting books on the market that will tell you that you are bad bad doomed if you have children because you want to give yourself a reason to live. BAD. DON’T DO THAT! That’s what the books say.

To that I say: becoming a parent is always a selfish decision. Why is my selfish decision worse than yours? I have promised myself and my kids that I will absolutely not kill myself until they are adults because they require care and I am the one who has to give it. I have to say that it gets easier by the year. I’m learning what happiness feels like.

I know a lot of people who work very hard to ensure that they don’t have to “deal with” their kids in the middle of the night. Gosh that is my favorite time. I love feeling like my mere presence keeps the monsters at bay. Because I do. In Calli’s mind and in Shanna’s mind if I am in the room then they are safe and life is good. That’s just the end of the debate.

That feeling is better than every drug I have ever taken and I’ve tried a really lot of drugs. A lot. A really lot. Ha. But I did the vast majority of my drug taking (other than this stoner thing)  in under two years after I was a college graduate. Let me get on my pulpit for a second to lecture anyone younger than me about how you should wait until your brain is done forming before you use drugs. Wait until your brain decides which connections it wants before you break sections. Just do. I’m serious. You have a long fucking life in front of you. You don’t need to try everything in the first twenty years. Good grief.

I have never believed that I had a long life ahead of me. I have wanted to die since I was seven years old. For the past twenty-four years I have wanted to be dead more than I have wanted to be alive. Well, I would say that the percentages kind of rock back and forth staying in the 40’s and 50’s. I wanted to die a lot and I didn’t want to live very much but actually killing yourself is harder than it looks sometimes. I did not overdose as a teenager as a cry for help. I simply vomited up the drugs and was found before I could finish dying. Different.

Now I’m really glad I’m not dead. I feel like getting to sleep with my little girls, with their faces pressed to mine as they mumble over and over while falling asleep, “Mommy love you so much. So much. Sooooooooo much” this is the reason that people live. This feeling of love and happiness. This is why people stay alive. The hope of this. The belief that some day they will get to have this feeling. This is the increased joy that parents have that non-parents don’t get. That is one of those things they find in studies. Over a lifetime parents have more joy than non-parents–a shitload more stress too… but it’s worth it.

I never thought I would actually experience having someone love me like this. I believed this would always be for someone else. I’m very concerned that I not alienate my children… ever. I have to behave appropriately in order to deserve a relationship with them. But I’m not very good at acting appropriately.

Sometimes I feel like the biggest fucking hypocrite in the world when I get mad at my kids for breaking rules. Ha.

I told Shanna, about the stealing candy thing, it is my job to teach you the rules of society. I get angry because I feel afraid. If you steal as an adult there are serious consequences. I have to teach you that it is not a good thing to steal or the rest of your life will be harder and you will have a lot of very unpleasant experiences. I don’t want you to suffer. How can we work on you not doing this? I told her that I really don’t know “how this should be taught” because when I was a child the way I was taught was to be hit. I don’t want to hit her and I’m not really sure what the other options are and I feel kind of overwhelmed sometimes as I try to deal with it. I’m sorry I scream so much. I know it is annoying or scary depending on the day.

I asked her if she knew that how much I love her is completely unaffected by whether or not she perfectly follows the rules. I do not perfectly follow the rules and I hope she will always love me. She told me that somewhere else there are kids who always do exactly what their mothers say and they never break rules. I laughed and said those must be the most boring, uncurious children on the planet and how sad for their mothers’. She looked very confused.

I have not thought about killing myself in a bit. Certainly weeks. But I was asked to reaffirm that I understand and will follow the rules of forums and I WILL NEVER POST THAT I AM FEELING SUICIDAL. Thus I am thinking about the concept though I am not experiencing it. I have felt shamed and bad for being suicidal for pretty much my entire life. I’m aware that people are uncomfortable with the fact that I feel this way and their discomfort is the most important thing here.

Talking about it, or not, has not even slightly increased my self-harming behaviors. Over time my self-harming behaviors have kind of melted away. I’m not hurting myself anymore, I’m really not. It was a process I had to go through. I had to be whiny and angsty and I had to really process how much I wanted to die. This process is simply part of being alive for me. I understand that other people don’t like it. I feel very uncomfortable about being told over and over and over and over that because I make other people feel uncomfortable when I talk about it I shouldn’t talk about it.

Well, how much do you enjoy being surprised by someone offing themself? Wouldn’t you have preferred a warning? Dude, seriously.

P!nk has a song on her new album about drinking and doing drugs and running away and I feel suicide is strongly implied. I really appreciate it when people admit in public that this struggle is part of their life. The song is The Great Escape and I listen to it a lot right now. I’ve been thinking about how I understand this whole “creation of something new” thing now that I didn’t understand before. I have a family now. I have never had one before. Oh wow. This is how they are supposed to look? I’ve been thinking about having something to live for.

It’s really interesting watching how the percentages change. Feeling suicidal vs. wanting to live. That’s a ratio I’ve been actively tracking for most of my life. I have visualized it a lot of different ways over time. These days I think wanting to die falls into the teens. I’m very happy about that. That’s a ridiculous amount of progress for me.

But I’m not supposed to talk about it. I’m not supposed to be graphic about my ongoing struggles to not kill myself. Someone else might feel uncomfortable. Welcome to my sandbox, motherfucker. Here the rules are that I get to talk about whatever gets me through the night. If I am sitting here and writing something then I am not cutting. I am not hitting my body against a large blunt object. I am not soliciting some piece of shit to hurt me. I am not offering up sex to people I don’t know just to get through the night without having to be alone.

I’m not alone. I really love that my kids need me in the middle of the night because I need them in the middle of the night. I need to feel love in the middle of the night. I need to feel wanted. I need to feel like it matters that I not die.

The passion and the pain are going to keep you alive someday. I honestly don’t know how someone in my position would work through this without children. I can understand putting off the decision to die because you still have things you want to do–that is more or less the path I was on pre-kids. I made deals with myself, “I want to do ____. ____. and ____ then it doesn’t matter.” I was very selfish and random about the deals over the years and that’s ok. It was a deal with me about how much pain I have to endure.

That’s the plain and simple reality behind my suicidal ideation. Do I or don’t I get to decide how much pain I have to be in? Am I or am I not in charge of this decision? I think this is where I make the jump to atheism entirely.

I want to be the one who decides when my pain ends. I hold that right. I consider it one of my basic rights. Other animals do the same thing. It is natural just like infanticide is natural. It exists in every species. In America there are approximately thirty seven children killed by their parents every week. You don’t see headlines very often. Every fucking week.

Parenting is hard but I fucking guarantee you that no part of this journey has been remotely as difficult as what came before it so I’m still coasting. My second labor was nine days long followed by a blood hemorrhage that left me unable to walk to the bathroom for weeks. I crawled. Otherwise I simply did not leave my bed. But my friend K delivered enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three weeks. It was a calm but peaceful period. I learned my baby. I didn’t mind the work. It was nice.

Life is about work. Life is about creating and the things you want to do. I freakin love Richard Scarry. Everyone is a worker. All the work must be done. Some of the work is not more honorable than anything else. There is a hierarchy in pay–that tends to exist because some jobs can be done by many people and some jobs can be done by smaller and smaller groups of people and when you have to compete for the talents of a small group… you have to pay a lot of money.

You have to think about those people. The ones who are so selfish. Wait… that’s my husband. He has spent our entire marriage working his ass off to increase his income. Isn’t that selfish? He didn’t do it until he had a reason to. He didn’t care enough to bother. He wasn’t driven by love of acquisition on its own. But now he has this wife with really expensive travel interests and uhm he has decided that he wants to provide for me. He knew that was who I wanted to be before we married.

He doesn’t want me to spend time wanting to die. He wants me to have a list of things I want to do that is really long and complex and it’s ok if it is also expensive–he knows I am overall frugal and I am providing for our long-term safety before I take travel money out. It’s cool. He told me so. Explicitly. He reminds me every few months. It’s weird but really cool. I appreciate how explicitly my husband wants me to be happy.

He wants to keep me. He thinks that the likelihood is higher if I have a sandbox where I can say whatever I want and not get kicked off a support forum for it. He gives me resources I don’t have to have in my head.

I feel like both of us really changed when we got married. We have someone to work for and that is a powerful motivator for both of us. It has been interesting to see as a progression. We get better and better at not hurting one another as we make mistakes and learn how to talk about them. We really don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over.  We make new ones! heh

So, to continue on the P!nk trend: Slut Like You is fun. When you are looking to ensure that you don’t have to be alone tonight it dramatically changes how you act. The stakes are different. You’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. You have to get through tonight in order to get there.

I’m trying to figure out what mental hurdle I have to working on the books right now. I know I’m overwhelmed by life. I think that I’m just too tired to think. I need to have some reason for a deadline so I can plan around it. I’ll figure it out. I need to decide how much I want to have done by December so I can backwards plan.

I need to feel like I am moving towards what I want to be moving towards. Right now I feel pretty out of control of my schedule. I’m not sure how to change that. Well no. That’s a big fat lie. I know how to change it. I am changing it. This is a process. The schedule will be back to being shaped how I need it to be shaped in about another two weeks. Then we leave town for a week. See how this goes? Oh man.

Portland, we are practically doing a drive-by. March 25th we drive north towards Eugene. We are sleeping there because the kids will be sick of the car. We are aiming to arrive at Dad’s house at 6pm on Tuesday the 26th. We are spending the day with Aunt Cookie, a truly delightful woman. I have an intense interest in hearing stories about Noah’s family. They shape my story now. I don’t have many sources of information.

Wednesday during the day we don’t have plans and we will probably want to go do something fun. Not sure what yet. Wednesday we should hang out with Dad. Thursday and Friday we are hanging out with A. Ha. I haven’t even emailed her to confirm that yet. But she offered it to me. I’m taking it. (pause. email sent.) We will spend Thursday and Friday nights walking around Dad’s neighborhood talking to him and playing with kids. On Saturday we drive allllllll the way home. With four kids who have had a long week and who will not be happy about being in the car. Thank goodness for iPads. Ha.

What we ask of our children is not natural. How we have to deal with the constraints of their lives is not natural. But beating them isn’t a better option. Sometimes you can’t let them have the pace of travel that is appropriate for them. You have to just get there. It is hard but life is that way sometimes.

Once upon a time travel involved physical exertion… even sitting in a wagon is fairly labor intensive compared to a car. We provide these children padded worlds of strapped in boredom. I am not capable of being entertaining for a twelve hour drive. Not even in shifts because then my “off” shift would be driving and I would have a stroke from road rage. That is not in anyone’s best interests. No, my kids can’t entertain themselves for that long. I understand that this is a tragic failing. Never the less… we are going to use them. They can’t use them for the whole trip so there will be other entertainment involved. It’ll work out. It will be one long day of our lives. No big deal. I’m trying to psych myself up for the trip. I’m trying to lay out in advance how much energy I am going to need for various stages. I’m trying to figure out how I will do it without getting punchy about having to teach my kids new situational manners over and over and over for a week solid. It’s a pain but worth it in the long run.

I need my kids to understand how to evaluate for situational manners. I need to consciously talk about how I am evaluating everything around me for clues about how I should behave. I do this every time we travel. It’s a lot easier at Disneyland because there are a lot of “let loose” places. We are going to be moving between environments that will have wildly different “grown up” rules that are going to feel unfair or inappropriately constricting because they aren’t used to those rules. I’m going to be tested over and over. It’s going to be fun.

But this is the whole process of life. I want to teach them how to do this while smiling. I want this trip to be a happy and joyful memory. Shanna is probably going to actually remember this trip for a long time. We will take pictures. She may eventually remember the pictures more than the day but she will have the same kind of connection to these people that I have to Brittney, the little girl who was born four months before me across the street from my family. I was set in my baby carrier next to her in her baby carrier. I have pictures of us when we are two and three and four and seven and and…

I want my kids to have that. I hope they never lose it.

I didn’t think I would lose Brittney. It is hard finding out how unforgivable existing is. Oh, that’s not true I would be told. I am allowed to exist. But I must be silent so no one ever has to actually find out the specifics because oh man that is over the line. The book. The fucking book. I’m having trouble going back through and editing. This is why I paid an editor. Unfortunately after reading the Kindle edition I am entirely unsatisfied with the job she did and I feel fairly back at square one. I thought I was getting an editor but what I got was a copyeditor and that’s a different job.

I wanted technical editing. I wanted someone to give me feedback on flow and let me know where I am being vague and random. I wanted someone to look at it as a work of art to be made better with a few tweaks. Ahhhhh. I get it now. I did get that. That’s what I asked for. She didn’t make many suggestions for changes. She treated it like it was sacrosanct as a poor incest victims story. It was allowed to ramble and be weird.

Ack. But then people don’t want to buy it and it isn’t actually telling the story I want to tell. I can’t always see when I’m doing that without this ridiculous analytical reading that is really hard to do. A page takes me multiple hours. Actually reading something and dealing with the errors is god damn fucking hard work. Why do you think the overall production values of everything in the everything has gone down? (And why I make no promises about my blog entries. These are not polished pieces, yo.)

But the book was supposed to be. And it so clearly isn’t. I feel kind of morally offended by that. In order to motivate that kind of interest you either need a True Fan or someone who is going to make money off the writing. I had neither. Such is life. I’m slowly progressing on editing. It’s hard. I need to set specific goals and plow through it though. Bleh. Yuck. Bleh.

I am running. I’m tired and I’m switching my days for workouts around like crazy but I’m getting through everything. I have a 10k at the end of April. So far my standard for 5ks has been “I pray for under forty minutes”. I’m hoping to do the 10k in eighty minutes.

That means maintaining a standard pace just barely faster than 1km in eight minutes. That means .62 miles in eight minutes. That means I’ll have to run at least 11:50 through the whole damn race. That is way way way faster than I did the marathon. (My marathon average was 15:40/mile. I’m serious when I say I walked a marathon. I’m still hella proud.)

This pace is going to be a huge stretch for me. My race partner may have a different set of goals and staying together is more important than time to me. Additionally: I’m all for wimping out at mile five and crawling the last mile if I feel bad. Flexibility.

What is the goal: the method or the result? Let’s be clear that when it comes to crossing six miles of distance speed vs. just reaching the finish line is a very different set of goals. I no longer fear not reaching the finish line physically… unless I push myself too hard. I am not in amazing physical shape. I’m in good shape. But I’m not an experienced athlete. I have ramped up at a pretty reasonable rate all things considered.

Every body is where it is. You can’t be too hard-lined about “goals” because progress not perfection kind of trumps any stuck on points. It is quite possible I’m not physically capable of running that fast for that long… yet. I may have to work longer before I reach that goal. I sure as fuck would not have been able to do the marathon at that pace. Not given the conditions (high eighties in temperature, high eighties in humidity, really terrible air quality, I started my period at mile thirteen along with horrible cramps). I just couldn’t expect different from myself that day.

I have to still be alive tomorrow to try again. I have to make it to today. If the pace is more important than anything else I might injure myself and then there won’t ever be another try no matter what. And maybe the rest of my life will be a lot harder. Because I was stupid and careless because I don’t care very much if I continue to stay alive.

I really can’t do that any more. Not if I want to be here for more nights of “I love you soooo much”. I want that more than I want anything else. So I will learn how to be good to my body. So I can have as many of those nights as I can.

The passion and the pain are going to keep you alive some day.

I should probably go start breakfast.

No one ever knows the long-term value of what they do. That knowledge is given to no creature. If I want to be a character that has existed then there must be record of that. Only I care to create that record. Noah is invested in supporting this branch of growth on his family tree. He sees it as vital to his long-term success. I’m not sure how I snow balled him.

I think that talking about suicide is something I need to be able to do. My grandmother killed herself. She overdosed. She had been trying for decades. My mother has stories of cleaning up blood after she got home from school because her mother was cutting her wrists again. My brother killed himself. He left the residential care facility where he lived because he had a severe brain injury and would never be able to care for himself again. He walked to a gas station and bought a can of gasoline. He went behind a local grocery store and lit himself on fire. My father sat in the garage with the motor running.

Have I mentioned that I have turned my garage into a really nice room? Ok, technically I have done nothing permanent because city ordinance says it must be able to hold a car at all times and my response would be “give me three minutes and a person to help me move furniture”. That’s not a permanent room. But it’s a really nice place to hang out. There are not likely to be cars in here.

Harm Reduction means being honest about the patterns of behavior in your life. It means setting specific goals and working to reduce the harm you are inflicting on yourself. Usually you are inflicting the harm (hair pulling, cutting, biting your nails, drinking alcohol, picking at scabs, doing most recreational drugs including pot, any obsessive repetitive damage to your body really) because you are trying to relieve stress from some other place in your life.

Noah said he read an article claiming that the first person likely to live over a thousand years is probably alive today. Think about mortality. It’s changing. The brackets are shifting. Where do I want to be on that scale? I don’t want to live a thousand years. That sounds like work. I would rather just live. But I have a rather lot of decades of work in front of me.

What am I going to do when I grow up? I will probably experience an unprecedented to my species amount of freedom after my children are adults. I will still be married to this guy who thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. I know the deall: there is some travel he wants to do and otherwise I have to do it alone and not be gone too long or too often. Too long is going to be tested a lot over the years as we figure out what that means.

Statistically speaking I am extremely likely to die by my own choice. Sometimes just sitting with that in the pit of my stomach is very hard. You know what they say about statistics? There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I believe in self-fulfilling prophesies. I believe the only thing that ever can or has changed the world is someone deciding they want to do it. Yes, of course coalitions are awesome and all… but it takes individuals having a specific vision. A dream, if you will. Otherwise there is no call to exit one’s torpor and do anything. If you are not living up to your vision of yourself… what are you doing instead? Why is there a discrepancy? Are you realistically going to change your life?

Then either change or decide to be happy, right? Happiness isn’t about getting what you want it’s about enjoying what you have. I think I saw that on Pinterest recently.

I want security. I want to have roots. I want a place to come back to. I want community. I want to be allowed to exist without carefully following the rules about what I am or am not allowed to talk about. I like fully informed opt-in relationships.

Now I’m just procrastinating. It was nice to write. I haven’t spent this much time on it in a while. Sometimes it is funny to me the way that writing is one of the most purely satisfying activities I do. I have thought. There. Evidence. Ha. Take that Universe. I have taken up space. In a technological world I have taken up a space smaller than a pin head. Whoop.

But we never know what our impact will be. We have to just exist. And get out of our houses. That’s important whether you like it or not. To be honest I don’t like it very much but I try hard not to take my dislike out on the people who are randomly unlucky and happen to be standing next to me. It isn’t dislike of the people. It is dislike of being out of my house.

It took me a long time to understand that and really fully feel it. I enjoy my work here. I enjoy feeling like I am doing things to work towards my long-term happiness. I am enjoying the physical work and when I am older and less able to work hard I will get to sit in my garden in the shade and enjoy a lifetime of work. Hopefully while babysitting for grandkids who will visit a lot so that I get to know other children deeply.

Now I get it. Now a lot more things make sense to me.

But I have other things I need to do first. Like breakfast. Ugh.

Last night was a slight change in how we have been doing therapy. I told her I needed to take a break from history because I am struggling with boundaries in a few places in my life and I need help.

About the doctor–she says that I should carefully rehearse exactly what I need to say about this specific stomach pain, “It started right after my second daughter was born about two and a half years ago. It is a very specific sore spot that often feels like it is pulsing. It is usually in the 1-3 range of pain with it being more intense while I lie down. It isn’t majorly painful but it is tender and prevents movement in some directions and it causes me to be stiff and awkward so I don’t twist which is hurting my back. So yes, this spot riiiiiiiiiight here probably needs an ultrasound.”

She said to very consciously and deliberately decide for myself that all of the other parts of my medical history are a distraction to dealing with this problem and I don’t need to mention them until and unless I want that doctors help. She said if they try to shunt me off to psychiatry give them her number and she will deal with them.

I will feel like a deceitful liar but that is the least anxiety-producing way to get through this. I will actively feel like a lying liar but oh well. It will be ok. I can probably live with being a lying liar with people in the medical community.

We talked about friendships and how those are working for me. How I feel very obliged to offer help and assistance and compensation–essentially–in order to beg people to be my friend. I have a bad habit of “giving till it hurts” because I don’t tell people on day one that I can’t do what they really want to have someone do. Everyone needs support. I am not in a good place to support people. Not really in any way. I have to be ok with the cycle of life I am in and not beat myself up for how little I can do for people.

We talked about how when I think about people in my head and I kind of do the weighing and measuring sort of shit that I do I can think I am “higher” on 99 different topics but I will always be able to find some specific thing that makes this person is “better” than me. More essentially valuable or useful. More lovable. More worthy of help and assistance.

If I can’t handle driving I need to not feel like a pathetic person who is unworthy of relationships just because I can’t drive to people. I need to just deal with where I am.

We went through people in my life and made specific lists for her records of “I react to this friend like my sister. I react to this friend like my mother. This friend reminds me of my brother (now deceased). Etc. I did that because I feel like I put people in categories and then I just react to them without examining what I am doing. It’s not positive.

Side note–P, of course you are grandmotherly. You are extremely grandmotherly and wonderful. You are part of a small pool of women who kind of interchangeably provide similar sorts of interactions with my kids. You do it when you have time and space and energy–not when I need it per se. WHICH IS OK! This is what I am trying to figure out how to accept emotionally. My kids don’t have a “grandmother” who is specifically invested in their welfare. They have wonderful and kind women who for whatever reason love me and by extension are nice to my kids–absolutely. We have good and kind people.

There is a difference in actual family and people who are good friends who visit once or a couple of times a year. For one thing, I can’t talk about most of my friends with my kids. I don’t know stories about my friends lives that are appropriate to share with my kids.

My adopted Dad sent me an sms asking what stuff he should send to the kids. I called him back and left him a voicemail saying he isn’t getting the easy way out of this. He needs to talk to me. I’m not sending an sms list.

We had a lovely phone call over the weekend. I told him the best thing he could do for his relationship with my kids is to send them pictures of himself and his life along with little stories explaining the pictures.

The only stories I know about my Dad are stories I can’t tell my kids. They don’t want to hear about how hilarious it was that Dad went to a leather con in Denver Colorado and his biological brother ended up at the same event and found him while he was doing a labial inflation. And his wife was on stage (with me) screaming her fucking head off while I beat on her like a piñata and tried to all but rip her nipples off. It was a heavy scene.

Those are the kinds of things I know about my Dad. I can tell you his entire Leather history start to finish. I can describe who he has played with and what he specifically did. I know his partners and their partners and and and.

Not things I’m telling my kids.

Most of my friends come from sex communities. I have pretty much the same situation with most of them.

P–when I talk about the lack of grandmother I am not trying to demean our friendship nor how kind you are to my children. I am trying to explain that there is still a hole for me. You are good. You are wonderful. I am so grateful that I have you in my life that I would quite cheerfully kiss your feet. Please for the love of shiny green apples don’t decide that I am an ungrateful bastard who is unworthy. It may be so but I hope our relationship is little enough work for you that you can overlook that flaw.

I desperately need what you have to spare in your life. But beyond that I still have this cavern of need. You aren’t available to fill it. That is appropriate. I try very hard not to be bitter or demanding or difficult about the fact that my friends are clearly giving me the limit of what they have to give.

I am at a place where I don’t think any friendship can give me what I need. Having a mother is simply different from having a friend. That does not mean my friends are not doing their jobs. They are wonderful and kind and supportive.

You are still supposed to have a mom. And I don’t. And it hurts a lot. I know my whining gets old. I know that I am over thirty and I’m not supposed to still be whining about how much I miss my mommy. But I do. I started missing my mom when I was three and have never stopped.

I can only do what I can do. I have no one to catch the ball if I drop it. Thus I need to decide for myself what I can and can’t be responsible for. I can’t feel like I owe people things. Not reassurance, not comfort, not support. I don’t have enough reassurance or comfort or support for me. If I turn around and hand off what I have that is actively self-sabotaging myself and that’s not ok for me to do to my kids.

Even though my inability to follow through on relationships feels to me like absolute proof that I am a piece of shit I need to ignore that. I have to leave a lot of run-off room for my kids’ needs. They spike unexpectedly sometimes. I have to just have slack sitting around. I can’t run near capacity all the time. I just can’t.

My therapist and I talked a fair bit about how I value other people for having knowledge but I devalue everything I know. She asked me if I think a professor is a low status position. I laughed and said that I try to give occasional professors respect but mostly I’m not real flattering in their direction.

I read a lot and I know a fairly ridiculous array of things. Sometimes, like yesterday in my kitchen, I get to show off. I am perceptive. I can listen to under two minutes of a conversation other people are having and then go through and fill in the blanks on a whole bunch of behavior patterns in the life of someone I have never met before. That’s kind of cool.

That’s why I talk so much and so loudly about rape and incest and ptsd and all the other things I talk about as loudly as I can. Because I am not actually a special snowflake (Even though Lisa made me a very nice special snowflake ornament to argue with my premise.) because the things I experience are textbook and happen to other people too. And those people rarely have spent as much time reading about it as I have. Not very many people are as dedicated to studying their body as I am without getting into a profession where you settle in to one specialty and become a specialist in how you deal with people and their issues. You narrow down what it is you know.

I’m not a specialist. I can’t dive deep into one subject and immerse myself in the way that true professionals do. I’m not a doctor. I don’t have the memory or attention to detail. I will frankly say that when there are two things that have perhaps vastly different functions but nearly identical names… I’m almost certainly mixing a lot of those up. I’m sure I have mistakes in my brain. I am sure I read so fast that I kinda skim sections and miss important details.

I am not a doctor. I am not a psychologist. I am not any kind of specialist. But I’m good at recognizing my tribe. I can recognize our behavior and smell. I think it kind of weirds people out that I meet them and talk to them for a few minutes and decide, “Ah. You are my tribe. Ok.” because then I speak very familiarly. I make predictions. I talk as if I know things about them. I’m usually right.

I do get it wrong. Not everyone is my tribe. I have shitty luck predicting people who are not my tribe.

I obviously derive a lot of feelings of positive self-esteem from this knowledge. I obviously feel an elevation in worth or value or status because I really and truly can, occasionally, make peoples life better just by talking about things that I like to talk about.

Tell me there isn’t a career somewhere in that.

Bucket List (first draft in this journal)

run a marathon
have kids
travel for a year outside the country
live for one year in one place in a foreign country
hike a substantial portion of the Appalachian trail
drive cross country with my kids studying historical sites
do the training to be a first responder
reach at least the penultimate belt in a martial art
someday I want to read a whole new book every day for a year. this will have to be fluffy shorter books, obviously–yay for libraries.
I want to write a novel–like… fiction.
I want to write a graphic novel series. No, I’m not trying to be Neil Gaimon. I see pictures in my head and I want other people to see them and that is probably the best format.
I want to write a childrens book.
stop smoking or needing any anxiety medication–I will fucking shrink my life.
go to the Michigan Womyns Music Festival with my kids
go to all of the Disney parks in one year, err… maybe not Paris again.
go to all 50 states (I have seen 27 so far)

Those are all things I have already told Noah about. Well, I’m not sure he has been told about the hiking part. He has this magnificent coworker who did that after college. She has no idea how much she inspired me. As much as I overall am not in love with Noah’s current employer I have to admit that his coworkers here are way cooler than average.

On the train yesterday I was at the part of The Moral Animal where he talks about low self esteem as a survival trait. Ha. It is very probable that this pervasive belief that I am worthless is my way of trying to convince people that they no longer have to kick me to knock me down any pegs. I’m at the bottom. It’s cool. I know. Just leave me alone.

Then I came home from therapy and talked to Noah. I asked him to explain what kind of intimidating I am. Once a student (who was a large football player who dwarfed me) slowly backed away from me and told me that I looked like I was about to rip his head off and piss on his neck. What in the hell do I do that causes people to say things like that to me?!

He told me it isn’t that I am that intimidating looking. But I am very unpredictable and startling. I don’t fall into any of the obvious patterns for people who look like me and I very carefully mask how far off from the norm I am until I explode because I have carefully learned how to mask all the small distress signs. There is no sign whatsoever that I am feeling even slightly off until I am hysterical or screaming or something.

He said it is kind of like if a big guy was kind of vaguely menacing in the direction of a little bitty old lady and she turned around and snarled like a tiger and pulled out a large knife.

Clearly the guy is no longer in control here despite outward appearances of being more intimidating. Now there is no obvious script to follow. Oh shit. He says I’m like that old lady.

I didn’t say thank you.

I am so difficult to predict and when I explode it is so intense that people can’t handle it. They have no coping methods for people like me other than avoidance. And by the time the old lady pulls the knife–should you have been running thirty seconds ago? oh shit.

When I was a child I was literally taught that there is no such thing as a fair fight. If you fight you fight to win. You fight to cause as much injury as possible. You have to escalate with as much force as you are capable of instantly because otherwise someone will want to slowly escalate and walk up the ladder to find out what you are capable of and they will eventually find the ceiling. If you come back with an overwhelming show of force they don’t try again.

I want to learn a martial art because I have been practicing my physical approximation of the movements I will need since I was a child. Stomp their toes. Everyone has weak feet. If you are close enough and the need is dire enough pull your fingers in to make a hard line on your hand and you have to hit really hard to break their nose and hurt them enough to let you get away. Knees are weak.

When I used to walk through the mountains past kids who gave me shit I carried a stout stick. I took out several much bigger kids by hitting their knees.

I’m not trying to make it sound like I won most of the time. I didn’t. I lost. I got the shit beat out of me because there were almost always more of them and they were bigger. But I made sure they fucking hurt.

Now, as an adult, if someone attacked me I would find a way to rake them with my fingernails. That’s DNA. Even if it does result in a more severe beating. No one is getting away with it again. I will have evidence.

Sometimes I don’t like where the rabbit hole goes.