Category Archives: co-parenting


I’m running into a problem in my sex life. I’m closer to a vanilla bottom a lot of the time and that’s some serious mixed signals in my little world. I like sex. I don’t need it to be that harsh. I don’t need to be hit all the time. I really totally don’t fucking need to get pinched a bunch. My body lives in a lot of pain a lot of the time. I spend a lot of time trying to manage my pain levels. Getting hit is complicated.

But I’m a masochist. I really am. Sometimes it is the best thing ever.

I’m not that much of a sadist either. I have times when I get really super duper in that mood and when I’m in that mood absolutely nothing else will do…

But if you look at the last 15 years… I’m not a serious sadist. Lots of years involve no sadism and only a little bit of missing it.

And I’m heading back into another breeding period. My masochism and my sadism went on walkabout last time. I still like sex. And I want kissing like I want air. I want lots of gentle touch because my whole body is going to fucking hurt for nine months. I am not an easy pregnant person.

I’m even more weepy and sad and isolated feeling. I want my mother and I can’t have her and that hole in my heart eats at me so badly when I’m pregnant.

It has been hard for me my whole life that when I feel worst I am the most isolated. It happens over and over. If I’m sick… I’m usually alone.

I’m looking forward to a pregnancy with a work-at-home partner and older children. I hope it won’t feel so sad. I’m kinda hoping that we can find a way to have people come over that isn’t a problem.

I don’t know what the future will hold and I’m feeling like a huge selfish asshole. I’m worrying about my needs and I’m being really ungracious and fussy about other peoples needs. I’m not being generous or loving. I’m such a fucking asshole.

Part of the problem is I have a very long list of people who want me to consider their needs and feelings. They conflict–I promise you. I have to kinda prioritize and then where in the hell do I fit in?

I don’t know. But I’m sharp and difficult when I say no because I hate saying no. I feel like such an asshole. “Hey you are being brave and wonderful and asking me for this thing that is really important to you. OH MY GOD DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKING TIRED I AM!?”

I can’t remember the last time I got more than six hours of sleep in a night. It’s been a bit. I’m dealing with 2-4 hours a lot of nights. What can be done about it? Well I see a whole bunch of doctors and I try what they tell me to try and…. here I am.

My shrink wants me tested for ADD because in her opinion it is not fucking normal to go on 2-4 hours of sleep a night, hold together (mostly) my normal life and have sex for an hour or more most days of the week. She says that is an excessive amount of energy. Really outside the range of normal.

I wouldn’t fucking know.

I am not as toppy during sex as some folks would like.

The other night with Sweet Boy he really wanted me to top all the sex. I could for a few minutes then I untied him and said, “No I can’t do this anymore.”

I don’t like running the fuck very much.really don’t like it much past the first or second time of having sex together. I get it the first time… I’m weird to fuck. Past that, I’m seriously a bottom when it comes to sex. And that passivity goes on turbo when I’m pregnant. I’m receptive but initiating feels so awful.

And if I have to tell you what to do and how to do it? Shit. I’d rather pick my nose.

No offense. It’s not about you. It’s about me.

When I quit my job when I was pregnant with Eldest Child I had severe nausea (I was puking multiple times a day) and I was falling asleep at work, in traffic… everywhere. I could not stay awake. A friend who was a nurse asked me what job I would go get instead because “gestating isn’t a job.”

Many other friends were… happy to share with me their opinion that pregnancy isn’t a disability and I should buck up.

You know what, motherfuckers? If you don’t live in my body…. shuddup. I god damn start out disabled. Pregnancy is a nightmare.

Pregnancy is horrible. And I’m looking at it again. I was kinda thrilled by the idea of never being pregnant again.

But baby.

I want the baby. I want the baby of my body. But I hate pregnancy. I am so sick when I’m pregnant. I am in so much pain. It is such a difficult process. According to natural selection I should already be dead from this.

But fuck natural selection. Science.

When I started looking for people to date I wanted play partners. For very sadomasochistic sex. Then Noah changed his mind about a baby.

That’s seeming like a dumb thing to hunt for at this point. I can’t live up to that. I… will really not be able to live up to that starting in a few months and it will probably be years before I’m back up to speed again. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I feel like I’m jerking people around and being a terrible person.

I went and had lunch with Daddy James. I wanted to touch base with him in a I’m-not-just-in-your-life-to-use-you-for-sex way. He told me it was ok to keep changing what I’m negotiating for because life keeps changing what I have to offer. Thank you Daddy. He also told me it is ok that I am difficult to put up with. People get other things in trade and it is worthwhile for them.

I don’t see how what I have for trade that could possibly be enough to justify putting up with me.

Especially as I’m about to revoke a lot of what makes me a fun toy. I’m not so fun when I’m not up for play. I’m… a lot more boring. Hey, let’s garden or watch Netflix. woo.

Noah wants me to take a month and date as much as I want so that he can experience the full terror and find out just how bad it is going to be. The kids are asking for us to be home 4-5 days/week with no visitors.

How the fuck do I balance that? I’ve got easily dozens of people I’d like to see who’d like to see me. Some of the activities they want to see me for are high energy and some are low energy and I’m kinda flipping out about both kinds equally. “Hey drive to my house and sit around” is just as intimidating as “Let’s do x super high intensity activity.”


I want to I want to I want to but I haven’t got it to give.

What I have to give is very narrow and particular and time limited. Like, why in the fuck am I up at this time of night? Because three hours of sleep is enough, apparently. Fuck.

I feel so sad that I am so inadequate to meet the needs of the people I love.

I am inadequate. It’s funny how nonmonogamy is just a chance for me to feel inadequate with more people. Wheeeeeee

I can’t do/be what Noah wants and I can’t for anyone else either. I’m feeling really sad about that right now. I can’t ever be good enough. I can’t ever do enough. I will never be able to satisfy people or make them happy. I will never be enough.

I feel like I’m in a weird transition. I thought I was transitioning out of intensive parenting into more independence and abruptly… I’m in reverse going back into the most restrictive part of this job and lengthening my time of indentured service. What the fuck am I thinking signing up for thirty god damn years of home schooling.

Twenty years sounded awful enough.

Holy shit.

I was really enjoying the expanded freedom of the Bonus Family. That’s not really a thing for a few years again. I hope I will still get my Bonus Kids sometimes. I hope that maybe the older kids can go for a night or two a month still just a way of having “their” time and space away from being in baby-land. But I won’t want or need a couple of weekends. I’m sitting here with a baby anyway. I’d rather have all my babies around more.

Fuck. This is a huge change. This is a massive upheaval. Why are we doing this?

Because I can deal with transitioning back into the world in ten more years. If the IDB (incest data base) takes me a little longer… oh fucking well.

I want this baby. And Noah keeps saying, “Two?” I don’t know. I can’t commit to that till I get through a third pregnancy. But more than likely if Noah asks me in two years if I want another baby he won’t be able to keep me off of him.

Because yeah. I get quiverful. I get wanting more babies. I get it. I get it. I get it.

I’ve already had one person who is not-breeding say it’s ok if I replace them in the population. Anyone else want to volunteer as well to justify my second kid?

I’m not even joking very much.

Parenting is the one thing I genuinely feel like I am excelling at doing. I’m far from perfect but I adapt and I grow quickly. I see problems and I address them.

I think I could handle four kids just fine. I think it would be wonderful. No Pam, I don’t want to hear your negative Nancy shit. I’m aware that you are now a voice of dissent. Ok. Heard. Now don’t bring it up again.

I feel like such an asshole for being mixed when a friend told me she wanted a fourth baby years ago. Fuck. See, the ways in which I am an asshole always come back to bite me in the ass.

I should have said, “I support you.” I’m sorry. I did that wrong.

I know there will be problems. There will be problems with or without another baby. I asked the magic 8 ball and it is never wrong.

There will be problems with or without two more babies. That fucker was consistent in its answers.


“Will there be problems if we have a baby?” Yes.

“Will there be problems if we don’t have a baby?” Yes.

“Will there be problems if we have two babies?” Yes.

I’m telling you. The magic 8 ball knows.

I don’t feel confident in the choices I’m making. A lot of what I can see is that each of my choices hurt other people for a cascading list of reasons. I’m not going to be available for what they want…. and I don’t even know how to say what I need.

I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know how any of this will balance out. Between the kids, Noah, me, and all the god damn people I care about how is this going to balance?



Why isn’t everything all about me? Because it isn’t and it shouldn’t be. Even if I am the main character in my story… I’m not the center of anyone else’s story. Not even Noah’s. Not really. I’m his wife. That’s an accessory to his life and story not the point of the story.

I gotta be honest with y’all. When I think of what I’d like it’s not that much one on one date time. I’d like more people around and carefully managing people one to one… is a job. Especially within the framework of 4-5 days/week are just not options I wish that there were a bunch of people who said, “X day works for me. Are you free?” And it’s ok for me to say yes to three or four people because… quite frankly… that means that there is a lot of kinds of attention to give and get all at the same time.

That feels like Auntie’s house when I was a kid. Only no one checked if it was ok to come over in advance. They called and said, “You home?” then they came over. Auntie knew a lot of people. I loved my Auntie and of the people in my family she’s the only one I’d want to be even a little bit like.

She’s honorable. She takes care of people. She gets shit done.

She’s enabling as fuck and that’s something I struggle with emulating too much.

I’d like to have open houses on Friday’s. Some people can bring their kids with laptops and sleeping bags and the kids can have a LAN party before going to sleep. The adults can talk or play games. I’d like to not have to be careful about managing invites or treating it like a “party”.

I like to keep the house company-ready just as a matter of course so that having people over isn’t extra work. Then it is less stressful. Cleaning up for people feels bad.

It’s interesting reading this book on ADD my shrink gave me. Driven to Distraction. Reading it is making me cry because it sounds so much like me. Bits and pieces and here and there. But… it would make a lot of sense. My list of flame outs is long and inglorious. My self esteem is shit (at least in part) because I spent my whole life being told I was bad for the ways I deviated from normal.

My shrink is calling my psych to say, “Instead of an SSRI (which has a proven problem history) how about trying a stimulant?”

I’m excited to have someone case managing me like this. She’s known me for years and her feedback feels very useful when dealing with a prescribing person. I’ve always wanted a case manager.

Really I’ve always wanted a knowledgable pushy mother. Kinda like I am. Deep sigh.

Go be what you want to see in the world.

This biology shit is hard core. I want to be a parent. It’s the most important thing I do. I learn the most from it. I grow the most because of it. I have to or I will be a shitty parent.

I don’t want to be one more shitty parent.

I owe them more than that. Because I made them out of pure selfishness. I owe them every ounce of work I can put into being a good parent.

And I have a lot of work in me. How do I focus it more? What do I want to focus it on? My kids. For a lot of years to come they get the lion’s share. They deserve more than I have to give. That’s a lot of why I want to add other adults.

Beautiful tells me she will feel more free to invite herself over. Fuck yes.

I guess I did something right for once.

The Quiet One is an increasing factor. I don’t know what the fuck. But not saying anything here at all feels like lying because this is part of how I keep accountable with Noah. Fuck. I feel like this miraculous available during the week day, local, oriented towards care taking of children person just fell out of the clear blue sky and I don’t know what the fuck.

I really don’t. Because he has some boundaries that are going to make him tricky as heck to negotiate with in particular ways. It is none of the internet’s business because he’s going to be one who doesn’t want to be written about in the same way as a lot of other people I see. Some folks ask for more explicit reports. Some folks believe they deserve privacy. But there is a balance for me.

I don’t want to be a liar about what I’m doing. For good or for bad.

That road is straight to hell.

Kisses. More kisses. More kisses.

I go through waves of needing to not be hit because I need to not think I deserve to be hit. It’s complicated.

If you couldn’t hurt me I wouldn’t be interested. Danger. Danger. Danger.

Words and asking

Yesterday Noah asked me why I didn’t use my words to ask him for something if I wanted it. I hissed, “How well does that go?” He said that I get a lot of little things I ask for and almost none of the big things. I just about screamed, “That’s why I didn’t fucking ask.”

There is this story about my mom that goes around and around in my head. My mom got tired of having her little boys play with their Matchbox cars in the kitchen, the only non-carpeted room. She knew my dad would tell her no to ripping the carpet out of their bedroom. “It would hurt the resale value of the house.” So she waited until he went to work (he worked graveyards), put the kids to sleep in her bed, took speed, and ripped the floor up by herself. She had the laminate mostly installed before he got home.

I asked my mom why she didn’t ask him. She snorted and said, “If I ask then I get told no, then the consequences are big. If I just do it… he’s not going to undo it.”

I think that’s a lot of why when I decided I couldn’t be monogamous right now I said I just couldn’t follow rules and I needed to try stuff. I needed to see what felt right and not say no to things before I even really decided what I felt about it.

And that backfires. Like such arrangements do.

Sometimes. And sometimes it is absolutely the only way to get what you want at all. Yeah, I was a serious asshole. I really was.

I feel like the fact that my sex life has been entirely measured in someone else’s satisfaction for many years now has broken something in me. Something I don’t know how to fix. I’m bitter about how much “taking one for the team” I’ve done.

I guess the thing I’m getting from the team is physical support through disability. Oh.

It is interesting having a friend visiting for the weekend (sorry I’m puking) who is an absolutely ardent feminist. Of the take-no-shit-variety. I was doing my expounding on trying to figure out what I “owe” Noah.

She looked so pissed. I said, “It’s ok. Say it. Even if it’s mean.”

“I want to punch you in the face. You don’t owe him shit.” She went on at more length. But that bit is enough.

An awful lot of our relationship is predicated on transactional trades. We spend a lot of time talking about how much we owe one another. It’s complicated. It is a lot of what allows both of us to feel safe.

But there is no fair.

How much of everything in life has to be changed just because of one shift. I don’t know.

Yesterday I emailed all of my folks and told them I am not going to go out on a date again in May. We need to actually negotiate. This is involving some really long, rough conversations in person and a shit ton of livejournal entries on our private filters. There are things my kids don’t need to see someday.

I am so weird about boundaries.

I think that part of the problem right now is I have made a lot of deals over the years I probably shouldn’t have made. Not how I did. They took from me in ways I didn’t really have that much to give. And I feel long term hurt by them. And I’m feeling bitter. And I’m holding it against Noah.

That list of done-me-wrongs never needs to be part of the public record. That’s kinda like crying rape because you didn’t like the sex. The fact that these are in retrospect not deals I should have made…

That’s not something I’m going to publicly take Noah to task for. That’s complicated.

I made choices. I made choices I shouldn’t have made, but I didn’t know that till it was too late. That isn’t something to punish Noah for. But I clearly do.

Recently Noah made a list of shit he was holding over me (good god that. STILL?!?!) and I should probably do the same.

That won’t be public.

Noah and I are in a funny place. We both understand very clearly that if we don’t make this marriage work… we will just not ever be ok again. We won’t get over this failure. Neither of us would remarry and have more kids. We would date and be complete assholes about never trusting anyone again. This is… one of those things about our personalities. We both walked into this not sure that it was really a good idea to be taking a risk on even one person when we have been burned and burned and burned and burned.

When you learn before age 3 that you are not loved, not likable and all you are worthy of is abuse and contempt…

Trying once is really what you have in you. Getting over that is brutally hard. You can try once. After that it will be broken in a way that can’t be got back.

We get one shot at happily ever after.

No pressure.

To be fair most of the first ten years have been excellent. This really has been a good marriage. But some things need to change and how they need to change and what that shape will look like is… in flux and that’s god damn terrifying. Change sucks donkey dick.

I find it… interesting… that Noah is really willing to talk about a third kid lately. Yeah. That would put me right back on a choke chain. It’s true. I would go home with my baby again.

I want another baby. I’d see a high risk OB. I’d be at a hospital the whole time. I’d follow orders so I wouldn’t die. But… yeah. I don’t think it is going to happen for lots of reasons.

I know my friends are starting to talk to me about adoption but I’m really not done grieving the son I wanted to give birth to.

This is complicated with a gender fluid kid who really… is on their own journey.

I wanted to work through my shit with a little boy. I know that isn’t “fair” either. But I did. I have to grieve not getting that. I mean, I have a great relationship with my Bonus Kid and I’m really happy he visits more lately. But it’s not the same.

I have never been allowed to love a little boy of my blood. My nephew was the closest I came to that and… complicated. My brothers were violent monsters. I had no other family contact.

This is just a thing.

I dreamed about my son for years. Sometimes I wonder if I was dreaming about the sons I could have had with previous partners and that just wasn’t meant to be part of this story with Noah. I don’t know.

It’s complicated.

Yes I know there are lots of kids who need homes. They are going to have different problems genetically than my family. I don’t already intimately know what needs to be done to correct their unavoidable issues; I have researched everything that has touched my family extensively over the past fifteen years. It is going to be a very different very hard problem to work with a different child.

I am so tired.

Now that I have an almost 8 year old and an almost 6 year old, do I really want another baby?

Yes. I really do. But it isn’t going to happen. Sometimes I wonder if wanting space away from Noah is part of grieving that. He doesn’t want another baby.

I get why. There are good reasons. I feel sad.

Being a mom is kinda the thing I think I’m best at. I get quiverfull. I get it.

This is all so complicated. Because if Noah was all “Fine let’s have a kid” I’d be all “Bye side-boys. I’ll see you in 5-7 years.”

Even though the rest of the deals are still not where I need them to be long-term. I wouldn’t care.

Life is so complicated.

My biology understands that I exist to breed even if the rest of me would like to do other things with this meat sack.

People are so fucking weird. Even though I don’t really have the spoons to have a baby I would. I’d start trying this month if Noah consented. He’s about to be 40. Time’s a wastin’. I turn 35 this year.

But that ship has sailed. We need to figure something different out. Shit. That’s hard. It hurts.

We construct these careful houses where we can be safe. Do this, don’t do this. So we try to draw as little negative attention and as much positive attention as possible while maintaining stasis. We accept limits that may not be sustainable in service to particular goals.

I don’t know what sustainable means. I am not the best sustainer in the world. I work best in sprints followed by periods of collapse. Parenting that way sucks. So I have to be more level for them. Which is an interesting thing to balance. I can stay level if I stay small. Or if I get bigger with support.

I can’t be a bigger person and take up more room and get no more support and stay completely level. I can’t. [delete text that doesn’t go into the record].

I’m having feelings.

Thank you to everyone for the extent of the “I know you two will solve this” message I’m getting from a variety of folks. From folks we date/play with to other friends. It’s kinda funny. I feel all y’all believe in us far more than I do right now.

Thank you. I need you to carry that belief for a bit. It is hard for me.

Part of being able to construct your own reality rests on the basic requirement that you must be able to believe in what you are doing. I have a pretty good reality distortion field. But it’s flickering and I feel like I am not able to believe in what I am trying to make true.

I don’t know how to feel more safe and open right now. I feel closed off, defensive, scared. I’m not negotiating from a mindset of generosity. I have a scarcity mindset and I feel so tired of always having to take one for the team.

But Noah takes a lot for the team too. I’m not acknowledging that enough. We have both been running deficits for years. It isn’t just me. I… I don’t even know where to begin in this negotiation. This is so hard. Do we make lists of things we have been missing/pining for and then rank them in importance?

How do we deal with time? Is it about how much time we spend together? Is it about “how dare you spend time with someone else?”

Honestly I was out too much at night in April. I wasn’t touching base with the kids the way I want to. I have arranged all the night time babysitting we are going to have till the end of July, I think. I’m not going to go out more than that. No matter what it is for.

This time with my children goes so fast. If I miss much of this time I can’t ever get it back. I don’t get a second chance. I do remember that priority.

But I don’t ever get back the chance to have the sex life I want to have in this life either. If I just… don’t… that’ll be a thing.

How much do I want? I don’t know. Honestly given how busy my life is… I literally don’t have time for as much independent dating as I did in April. That’s going to kill me. No hyperbole. My body will give out if I don’t sleep more than that.

What does sustainable mean?

What is a need and what is a want?

I feel like I need to have some kind of nonmonogamous contact in my life. What that is… I don’t know. I think the need level is probably actually fairly low. I think one date a month probably would be ok. I’d like to go to parties at other times and be allowed to play then. I could accept having to play together. That would be fun to figure out. It would change who we play with somewhat and what kind of play we do. Maybe?

I can deal with evolution. I don’t have to play how I used to play, not exactly. I don’t anyway. So much has changed.

I feel like I did need to go try. It was wonderful and I’m really glad I got to be reminded of what SM means to me. And I got off a lot.

I do need some of this in my life. I may increase how much I need as my children need me less.

For now I do know that my time and energy is still… mostly going into the kids. I choose this. I want this. This is who I want to be. When I finish growing up I will be able to look at incontrovertible proof that I can sustain something. I need to see the real evidence of that before I will believe it. I’m not even halfway there yet. Don’t get cocky, wench.

Hubris is dangerous.

I have about three more years till I hit the halfway point. I believe I have about four more years with Eldest Child and about six more years with Youngest Child to teach them what they need to know to keep themselves safe… or they will have to learn it on their own painfully. That’s my window. Either I help them establish the habits that will carry them through a lifetime… or they have to learn them later, painfully, on their own.

Development is a funny beast. I’ve studied it a lot. I have incredibly strong opinions about brain development and attachment and behaviorism and emotional health and mental health and…

And I get one chance to do this right. Period. If I fuck it up I will forever more be trying to heal damage I caused.

No pressure.

I love unschooling. I’m not even being sarcastic. This is my kind of pressure chamber. I thrive under this specific kind of “Succeed. There is no or else. Succeed” pressure. I just… do it. Ok.

If you can’t find a way you make a way. The most resilient people are the ones who believe they have no choice but to make something work.

This whole “owe” thing is complicated. I get the anti-feminist bits of it. I do. But you probably don’t see how much it gives too.

Ugh. Systems. They exist for reasons and some of those reasons are good and some are shitty. WTF

But I really do need to think about this “you don’t owe him shit” thing. What do we choose to owe and what is being extorted from us? I think that is the more crucial distinction. I think making conscious trades and feeling indebted for them is not specifically evil. I think that having someone extort recompense for trades… is a problem.

Where is the line?

Shit monogamy is easier. You give what you have to give and that is that. Kinda end of discussion.


My kids are asking me a lot of questions about Lemonade. Yes they get to hear it with the swearing. There are some fucking subjects that deserve swearing. The work is to figure out context. We talk about that a lot. Code switching is a big topic around here. If you maintain super formal “nice people” manners 100% of the time… a whole lot of people will think you are a snob. Having multiple kinds of approaches to talking to people is handy.

I said to a friend “We only fight about nonmonogamy.” The response: “So you only fight about sex.”

Ok, yeah. That’s true. Not money. Not kids. Not housework (if I start feeling peevish about not getting enough help I can ask for it and get it with great civility).


Sex is so annoying.


I really do.

I like what happens in my body when I’m having sex with more than one person. I like it a lot. I like what it does to my general energy level. Is it worth this fight?

Yeah. It is.

If we are going to be married for many more decades… I’m not spending them always taking one for the team. I need my sex life to be about my pleasure.

And pain.

I’m pretty sure I know who I want to hurt on a longer term basis. I am less convinced I know for sure what I need from my bottoming/submitting/etc. I have some idea of pieces I’d like. But are those all needs? Not really. I could be pretty flexible. I could adapt.

I am weirdly conscious of how much of my sexuality formed around my Owner. I’m ok with lots of those buttons shifting. I have no attachment to them staying where they are. But I need them moved and not just… ignored. If that makes sense.

I am a cheerful situational pervert. I’m happy to please the one I’m with. I don’t need all aspects of my experiences to be the same.

I’m not the kind of fetishist who collects the garments and sized toys that all future partners will wear one right after another.

But I’ve sure worn a lot of them. For a little while. I have never been willing to do that for very long.

I don’t like anyone that much.

Do you know why some of the awful stuff between Noah and I really doesn’t need to be published? It’s bad enough that I’m an abusive bully. I don’t need to publicly humiliate him. That’s a very different sort of line. I say some awful things some times. It’s bad enough that he can hear it in his head. He doesn’t need to see it. And know that lots and lots and lots of his friends are going to see it. Know his children can read the things that hurt him the most.

Oh JesusFuckingChrist No.

No. There are things that can’t be taken back. I can say that things are hard for me. I can’t list done-me-wrongs. Not publicly. No.

owe my family better than that.

See how the owe is complicated?

It is useful and problematic at the same time. Just like me.

Boundaries on and off screen

I am somewhat hyperaware that someday my kids may grow up and read this. It could happen. That means I actually… edit… maybe more than you might think of my life here. I’m nervous about how I present Noah. I talk about him in terrible ways sometimes. I also very carefully avoid saying a lot of terrible things about him.

I do not want sides taken. I do not want back and forth bickering in public. I do not want my children seeing the depths to which we sink when we are being fucking petty. Why not? It’s complicated.

We haven’t fought like this since we closed our relationship. Fighting like this is why we closed our relationship. Because we didn’t think we could stay married through fighting like this.

But that was when we had babies and it just wasn’t ok at all for me to have emotional variance because of my relationship with Noah. I had to be regulated because I was teaching emotional regulation just about 24/7.

That was kind of a difficult thing for someone who is as dysregulated as I have been all my life. I look at my children and feel that I succeeded. Clearly they got the lessons they needed developmentally when they were needed. I did it. I stayed calm. I taught them how to handle conflict and big feelings without flipping out.

I did it.

Which means I can have more things in my life that cause my feelings to fluctuate. Which is fucking tricky.

Nonmonogamy is going to be hard. There are a lot more insecurities here than either of us are really having fun talking about.

What does safety mean? What does connection mean? What are we working towards? What do we want? What is the purpose of sex in our relationship? What do we do for one another versus for ourselves?

I sure wish that these conversations could come with a little more sleep for me. Out of the past three nights I’m now only down about one night of sleep. That’s improving…

But we talk all night long because we can’t talk in front of the kids.

I am not sure either of us are being fair. Yeah, I’m being an asshole. I’m not in denial. I’m not trying to say that I’m being fine and he’s the asshole. I’m really not saying that.

I cheated and broke his heart. He thought he was going to get to be my one and only forever and ever amen.

He’s allowed to be absolutely furious about that.

I know.

I’m trying very very hard to not get into done-me-wrongs. I will talk about what I know I have done wrong. I don’t need to get into done-me-wrongs.

It won’t help. I hiss those often enough in person. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the list. I just don’t need to write it down.

How do you fight in civilized fashion when you are a compulsive over-sharer? Like this. You say what you did wrong and talk about being angry without placing blame. I’m not saying that Noah is to blame for my feelings. He isn’t. I mean… a couple of his particular phrase choices were infuriating… but whatever. I’m being a right bitch in this fight.

How do you build towards a vision of self that may not be what your partner wants? How big do you want your partner to be? How small so you can feel bigger? I don’t know.

Who is pulling whom around on a chain.

I don’t want to leave. That’s part of the reason I have no particular reason to bad mouth Noah up one side and down the other. I don’t want to leave. Even though I’m angry about some stuff right now… that’s life. I flipped the canoe of our life over. There are going to be some feelings we have to deal with. I’m ok with that. I’m not enjoying this process but I see it as necessary.

I’m not afraid of conflict.

I’m afraid of not getting my needs met.

I’m afraid of not being who I want to be because I am afraid that someone else doesn’t want me to be.

I’m afraid of making myself small and unthreatening and never doing anything with my life again because I have decided I don’t deserve to ask for what I really want.

What does necessary even mean?

I’m sure I don’t know.

Am I fucking everything up permanently? Well. I guess we will find out. There is the non-zero possibility.

It is hard when I feel like I’m absolutely the bad guy here. I’m the one insisting on change because the status quo wasn’t working. I feel like a fucking asshole for not making it work. For not deciding that it was just good enough because that was all I agreed to this life.

I did not promise sexual fidelity in my marriage vows. Yeah. I slammed the door four years ago when we were having screaming fights about lying and … shit don’t rehash it. It wasn’t well done.

I feel like everything bad must be all my fault. I feel like I am a monster. A selfish, disgusting monster.

Day 38. Still no bleeding. PMDD means that right before I start bleeding I tend to have intense spikes of depression and anxiety. My suicidal urges go through the roof. This is a well documented phenomena.

I need to be something other than a cum dumpster who can’t cum. This just… isn’t working any more.

I wish I didn’t feel so fucking bad about that.

Sometimes people ask why I write such whiny melodramatic stuff. Aren’t I embarrassed? I’m documenting what living with an acute stress disorder is like. The kind that results from brain damage. If you think I should be embarrassed that says more about you than it does about me. No, it’s not fucking smooth. Yeah I’m a lot of fucking drama. Lots of ups and downs.

That’s what brain damage does. Pieces of it are absolutely my fault in an ongoing way I really don’t deny that. But I’m also trying to deal with my problems. That means I’m going to flail and do things that don’t work sometimes and I will document those fuck ups so I don’t forget and have to make the same mistake over and over.

I’m not writing for you.

I’m writing for me.

These are a few of my favorite things…

Lest I sound like a one trick pony… My Bonus Kids spent the night! As usual, this is thrilling and wonderful. I’m doing my best to smile pretty at their parents and say, “Wouldn’t split custody be niiiiiiiice?” Not 50/50 custody… but couldn’t I have them like 10% or 20% or 30% of the time?

It’s rather awkward to be all, “Hey I’d like to have more kids but I would die… can I borrow  yours?”

So far they are willing to share somewhat. How much we will find out in the fullness of time. I’m thrilled.

Part of what I love so much about my Bonus Kids is that I am not the mama so problem solving is an entirely different process. I have mad respect for their relationship with their mama and I can see how she is the best mom in the world. She knows them to the marrow of their bones in I way I just can’t. They are foreign to me.

But it makes me think of my kids differently. Oh. That’s why things are so easy. That connection.

I don’t think that having biological children is the be-all/end-all of all of life… but I’m having a lot of fun.

My kids validate my existence in a way nothing else can or will. They needed me for survival. They have a lot of my weird/wacky traits without having lots of complex trauma stories behind them. That’s fascinating to watch.

My kids don’t need me for survival any more. They still need me, but it’s different.

A friend was over helping me with tile on Monday. All four of us got hungry. I asked the kids to make lunch and they did and it was good. (My hands were doing gross things.)

Tile plugs along. I probably have 15-20 more hours of removing backing from tile. I’m working on taping spring down. Then I want to finish winter. Then autumn. Then I have to figure out summer.

Oh goody.

Four more hours of taping spring? I think the mountain will take 4-8 more hours. Autumn is probably 10 hours away from done.

So that’s like eight days of work before I get to summer. No… closer to two weeks with how slow I’m going. Depends on how much help I get unbacking tile. Fudge. Uhm, at least the remodel is stalled and I don’t have to hurry. Ugh. This Friday I’ve been waiting nine weeks for a letter.

Once they move back in to start work they have about three weeks to go. So… I need to get my butt in gear. I need to be only working on summer when they get back started. Or be done with summer.

I think summer is going to need to be a different style of mosaic. I am looking at different techniques and options. It is so much fun to not have any idea what the hell I’m doing and just… make something cool.

Fuck yeah.

My garden is coming right along.

Last night I only got 7 hours of sleep, but I still feel better after two nights of sleep. I felt much better by yesterday afternoon.

I appreciate when I can misunderstand something and get over it in a 24 hour period. That was quite literally not possible 10 years ago. Progress is awesome. Noah patted me on the back and said he was really surprised how well I handled it. That’s nice of him. Thanks Noah.

I really have worked hard on mellowing out. It’s a process. You need to be safe to be mellow.

Thank you, Noah.

Oooh, another sweet point. Two wonderful friends asked me how I would feel about them asking Noah to play. Awwwww aren’t you the sweetest things? I feel charmed and delighted. You asked me first. Nobody is asking Noah first. But my friends ask me first before they go slide on up to my husband.

That was not required but hot damn you managed to slide into my magnanimous zone. Now you were so awesome that I’m going to put a lot of pressure on Noah to handle things right and be deserving. “Do you know how lucky you are to get women like that?! BE NICE.” Or not nice. Whatever y’all negotiate. Have fun!

Slutty women deserve to be treated like the angels of mercy they are. Be grateful. Or I’ll be pissed all the way off.

All hail slutty people of all possible gender configurations. Huzzah!

I love you all.

Not just because you are slutty… but that does make you feel like kin and I like that feeling.

What makes me happy? Noah. Noah is handling me hunting better than I am. When I over react and want to flip out over something he patiently reels me back in and explains why my feelings are out of proportion and I really should be giving people chances.

Maybe the reason I am more calm now is because someone is intimately aware of my thinking process and he helps me manage it. “Ok so you read this in an upsetting way. Let’s talk about that.”

For the record, folks, I don’t have a lot of privacy from Noah. Partially because I just don’t desire that kind of privacy but mostly because I need help managing my disordered thinking and Noah is willing and that requires access. So I give it to him.

If I keep secrets from Noah I will need some way of color coding that information in my brain so I can keep it from Noah. That sounds hard. I have enough hard in my life. I’d rather keep letting information pass through me like a sieve when it comes to Noah. That is the most comfortable part for me.

So that when I screw up and don’t tell him something right in the first place it’ll still come up because I have complete diarrhea of the mouth and I tell him everything so even if I do it in a dick way… everything is coming out and we can process it. Sometimes part of the processing is, “You told me that in a dick way.” Yeah. That’s true. I did.

I remain convinced that no one on this planet could love me like Noah does. Thank you Noah. I am so grateful for you.

Other happy news! We are going to be house-guest central. (Finish the bathroom, damnit!)

In April Dad is coming down to spend a weekend. This will be entertaining because he wants to see his bio-kids a fair bit too and they are having big feelings about me since my kids were born. They can ignore the slutty daughter-girlfriends. I’m… something different. They aren’t so sure they are ok with him adopting an adult child and being a grandparent. That is stepping on their toes. But it also looks somewhat like I may be the only one of the three of us to have kids. So yeah. Complicated. I’m trying to be as nice and accommodating as I can there. I like his bio-kids and I hope that we can long-term get more friendly. I hope. *cross fingers*

In May a friend from the Bay who moved east then moved west (but way the fuck north of here) is going to stay with us for a weekend. I’m excited about that. I haven’t seen her since before the kids were born.

Also in May we have a fun overnight adult-only camping thing I’m wicked excited about. I don’t know how it will go. When I used to go to these events, in the dim recesses of my memory, I remember lots of bdsm and fairly little sex. Some, but not a lot. These days… I’d uhhhh… yeah. I’m no longer content with a weekend of bdsm and no sex. I’ve changed. So yeah. I have no idea how this will go.

I had this really slutty idea about how to handle play at that party. Maybe I’ll write about it separately. Maybe I’m not quite that brave. Ahem.


Then in May I’m going to the grief ritual with Sarah. I’m so grateful she wants to come with me. I anticipate a full weekend sob/hug fest. That’s going to be magical. At the other grief rituals I have attended, I always went alone. The organizer always encourages hugs/physical support and… I’m me. Don’t fucking touch me who the hell are you? Especially when I’m freaked out and feeling vulnerable. Strangers just shouldn’t touch me. That’s not safe for any of us. Don’t do it. Sarah is safe. This is going to be a night and day different experience. It’s a full weekend retreat instead of going to and from a college campus every day on bart.

I’m looking forward to this. We have so much to talk about. So many different levels of wounding. We’ve already looked at a lot of this together over the 12ish years we’ve been doing whatever it is we are doing. But this is going to be super intense and heavy. In a way we both need. Thank you my friend. I am so grateful.

June is blissfully unscheduled and I think it should stay pretty close to that way.

July I get to host my friend and her two sons for three weeks. They are coming in from Arizona. I’m so excited. I met her on the road trip and we’ve talked a whole bunch since then.

I am really proud of how well I’m keeping the house up despite the chaos of the remodel and the amount of work I’m getting done. This is remaining a good work space. It feels accessible and functional. *pat myself on the back* (Let’s be real here: the kids are amazing these days. The road trip was worth it.)

I haven’t been gushing about the kids lately. Mostly cause my arms hurt and I’m obsessed with my sex life. But the kids are knocking my socks off. They are making such tremendous progress.

I’m happy that both kids say, “Can we take a break from classes?” It isn’t just coming from me and financially motivated. *phew* We could all use a break from trying to become something different and just… be for a little while.

August/September is the cruise. Looks like another family might be joining us after all. I am completely fucking thrilled and surprised and happy. I think that all four families might stay in Florida for a week after the cruise to see stuff. 7 grown ups and 6 kids sounds way more like a party.

My life is so ridiculously good I just don’t understand how I got here.

A child is waking up. It is time for the day to begin.

Glitter, expectations, potential, and success.

Well this is going to be a bragging asshole kind of post. I already feel guilty. But I’m going to do it anyway. Why? Because people are complicated and shouldn’t be treated like single issue focused creatures.

I’ve been touching base with some of my boys. This is always a little bit of a weird experience for me. It’s not that they sit around and wait for me but… they leave a space in their life for me. In case I should ever choose to step back in. That is daunting, flattering, and exciting. It means I should consider how to manage the situation so I don’t hurt anyone in a way they don’t need to be hurt.

The goal here isn’t to break as many hearts as possible. The goal is to make as much love as possible so that everyone can be happier, right? But happiness is one of those tricky things. Sometimes it is zero sum game and sometimes more happiness multiplies the happiness. It depends on who you are dealing with, what makes them happy, and what kind of happiness they aspire to in the future.

I feel that if my hoohaw is glittery enough that people are trailing me for decades… I can be gracious. That’s an honor, yo.

But it’s kind of a weird honor. It’s an honor that for at least a few months in a row I stopped wanting. (May I say how tactful my boys were. They stepped right back and didn’t re-present until I started sounding feisty again.)

My boys were respectful about the difference between “no” and “not now”. Thanks!

That’s… well done. Fabulously done. I’m impressed. No one pissed me off with their tenacity. They just kinda… hung out till I was ready to interact with them how they like to be interacted with again.

Oh. Well shit.

I’m feeling feisty. I don’t know what this is going to mean. I’m not feeling slutty, it’s different. Noah really does a good job of fucking me how I want to be fucked so I don’t feel like I’m missing much in the sex department. But I miss bdsm. I miss being that person. I love watching folks eyes light up when they see me because they know I’m about to send a chemical storm of awesome through their body.

There isn’t much else like it.

I think it is funny how the boys stick around and the girls swim on. I don’t have a single girl waiting around on me. (Actually one spoke up!) Even though I like playing with girls more than I like playing with boys.

Want to know one of the sad facts about the patriarchy? Men and boys are conditioned to get by on the scraps they receive from people every great while. They are good at self-sustaining in between bursts of what I feel like giving them. Women are more complex and either give up on sex and decide they aren’t worthy so they don’t stay in the queue or they move on and slam the door behind them.

That’s my slutty experience.

I don’t think my boys should wait around. I think it just happens. I think it is more that they don’t slam the door behind them than that they are waiting. If that makes sense. It’s not that they are aggressively chasing me at this point. (I’d be fucking rude if they were.) But they… let me know that if I ever change my mind…. here they still are.

I appreciate you so much there aren’t enough words.

You definitely do something for my self esteem that other parts of my life don’t impact. *puff chest*

Very very hot people are thoroughly convinced that they deeply want something I have to offer. Yeah. I feel cocky about that.

Noah and I were talking about the concept of potential the other day. He said that he’s pretty sure he’s used most of the potential he was born with in this life (I must say he’s done well by it) but he isn’t sure about me. He can’t tell at all where the limits of my potential are he just knows I’m not there yet.


Oh. Yeah. This is why I like being married to you so much. It’s not just that you waited for me and came back. It’s not just that you fuck like my favorite porn star. It’s not just that you work and work to help make my dreams a reality…

It’s that you genuinely believe my potential is so great that you are going to work your whole life and feel like you are doing the right thing to help propel me forward.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

That’s intense, yo.

I am not just a slave put here to serve the interests of narcissists. heh.

To be fair that narcissist gave me the best possible start to my adult life. He gave me safety, boundaries, and the requirement of developing limits. I’m grateful.

I’m also ready to be something different.

That is feeling quite complex.

My friend asked if were going to be monogamish going forward. I feel guilty because I was the one who closed the relationship because I didn’t think we could recover from more mistakes any time soon. Now I’m the one most antsy. Typical.

I don’t know what we are going to do. I look forward to figuring it out with Noah though. He’s the best person I’ve ever met to talk to.

I have a lot of things on my to do list. They will all get done. I have a lot of things on my bucket list. Most of them will get done. Mostly because I get to do all this planning with Noah and between the two of us… we are quite remarkable.

Noah tells me that the secret to happiness is low expectations. It’s true and not true. On one hand, I expect Noah to be obnoxious and I used to think of him as lazy. (I’ve stopped.) On the other hand I kind of expect him to jump through flaming hoops… and he does.

He has risen to the level of father I demanded of him. I am constantly blown away by what a good father he is. He decided he was doing that shit and he does it like whoa. He’s serious. We made these people. We want to pay as much attention to them as we can possibly stand for their childhood. We pick the high intensity version of parenting. Can we have more time with them? Do we really need to sleep? Can we spend more time with them?

They will grow up so soon. They will go off. They will have to do their best with the lessons we have taught them. It is such a short time.

I don’t want to waste very many minutes.

If I could be lying prone snuggling up with my babies or I could be doing something “productive”? Guess what… productive will be here later. My babies will move on. I pick my babies.

I pick my babies.

I pick my babies.

So what the hell is up with my boys?

I’m a complex woman. I might be a gentle earth mama but I’m also a nasty predatory sadist. These days I know how to hunt for prey that really really really wants to be caught so I don’t feel bad.

Dude. They’ve been fucking waiting for almost two decades. I’m not hurting them by playing games that we both like. I’m having fun. I’m having a kind of fun other people don’t want to have and that’s ok. They don’t need to do it.

As for me, I’m going to beat a nice cock for hours and hours. I’m going to kick it until I have no more kinetic energy left in my body. When I’m done I’m going to snuggle my wonderful friend and feed him snacks and thank him for being so wonderful as to share this experience with me.

I appreciate you. I’m glad we can have this time together doing something we both like so much.

It can’t happen until I seriously catch up on sleep. I feel like a zombie.

Why do we pursue health? What does health mean?

Fuck if I know.

I don’t know what I expect from the future other than I will find adventures. Know what I know about adventures? Sometimes they are a much better story after the fact than a good experience while it is happening.

I have felt a lot of cognitive dissonance lately because people are feeling free to tell me that they had low expectations and high expectations and I’m exceeding them. All of them. I’m just… more than anyone thought I could be.

I don’t know what that means exactly. Doesn’t everyone have this potential? You can write your own story. All you need to do is take every opportunity to act upon the world, right?

I want to learn how to be a tactful ensemble character. I’m not going to stop being a main character. But I don’t want to treat people like they are disposable. Some chapters are short and we part ways and I’ll never talk to you again; that’s ok.

But some chapters pause then resume. Some characters come back in over and over again.

I see you. I am grateful.

Rape & privilege

I’ve been talking about rape a lot on Twitter lately. I want to organize my thoughts a bit more, even though my arms burn like fire. So this may be a bit choppier than I normally blog. The Twitter character limit formatting is changing my writing. I hope in a positive way. I know I get too verbose for most people a lot of the time.

Noah spends a lot of time telling me that I spend too much time trying to figure out “who is to blame” for various problems. He’s right and he isn’t.

Thing is, dealing with rape is complicated. It is complicated at a personal level and it is exponentially more complicated at the level of a city and … then try to solve that for a state or a country.

My therapist tells me that it isn’t a good thing that the only way I know how to keep myself safe is to keep actual walls between me and other people. Well, it is the only effective method I’ve ever discovered.

That said, I travel more than the vast majority of people ever do. It’s just too expensive for most people. So I put myself in lots of situations. I put myself in situations where I have to keep, not only myself, but my children safe. Am I willfully putting us into danger just to… I don’t know… prove some macho ass shit to myself?

I genuinely don’t think so. Stranger assault is statistically rare. We don’t invite people into our tent/room. We talk to people in crowded public places then move on. It genuinely doesn’t feel risky.

Do you know what was risky? The way I was taught to walk into bedrooms with people because you wanted “privacy” after just knowing them for a few hours. That was how I spent my childhood. Asking to go into peoples rooms and initiating as much sexual contact as I could get away with and only acknowledging rebuffs grudgingly.

Sometimes it makes my heart beat fast when I enforce boundaries with my kids. They are not allowed to walk up and sit on laps any more. Not with a complete stranger. They can’t jump on strange men. Playing for two minutes doesn’t make them close enough to jump on, nope. You have no idea what is going on with their bodies. You don’t know if they just had surgery on their back. Nope. Don’t jump on strange people.

It is really weird to feel like the biggest god damn hypocrite on the planet. Don’t do anything I did.

This experience is how I understand the neglect I experienced. I completely lacked a frame for it before I was a parent. The awareness comes in stages of dawning horror.

How fucking formative that trauma was. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

I’ve been acting like a bully with the kids. I’m not asking them to do things I’m ranting that I’m sick of them not doing the thing without being asked. We are talking about it.

I feel really guilty that Eldest Child said, “It’s getting to the point where it’s almost 50/50 nice and mean and that has to change. I know you are tired. Maybe we shouldn’t go out of the room much for a few days.”

I feel this horrible mixture of pride and guilt that she has to help manage me. She can be aware of those kinds of needs. That’s amazing. I don’t want her to parent me though. I’m not using emoticons even though I want to put like 75 frowny faces in a row.

I try to tell myself that the feelings of guilt and shame are because I was raised to believe it is not ok for anyone to ever have to pay attention to me and take care of me. It is not ok for me to want anyone to help me.

I try to tell myself that this is ok. It is a kind of enmeshment, yes, but we talk about how this is not her job and she is going to not be responsible for me long term. I thank her for feedback about her perception of being around me. I seem tired. I should rest. Yeah, thanks.

She acts like I am worthy of paying attention to. I wish that didn’t make me cry.

I’m going to jump back to rape. Why am I confident that my children will not have a life like mine? A kid kind of grabbed at my kids crotch. The instantaneous response was, “You do not have my consent! Get your hand off!”

I win.

I couldn’t save my niece nor my nephew. But my kids don’t think that anyone who wants to is allowed to have access to their crotch. They believe their consent is vitally important.

I win.

That doesn’t mean they will never be raped. I understand that. Let me tell you, I’m not done educating them. I’m just going at an age appropriate rate.

A lot of “staying safe” is a complex web of knowing the right words to say at the right time. If you have highly specific technical language you don’t seem like a good victim and any good predator will walk right by you. Obviously you have the support to protect you. You are not going to be easy to intimidate.

People comment, just about daily, that my children are so aware and ….themselves. It is funny how often the wording is almost exactly that. Another friend commented that it is amazing that people don’t think Eldest Child is bossy. She just has a good plan she wants everyone to follow.

I talk to them about what they want to get from life all the time.

Eldest Child and I have been talking a lot about what she wants to do school-wise when we get home. She has specific requests. She wants to work on languages more. She is frustrated by the limitations on who she can play with. She freaking asked if we can look for a Chinese class (I can hear Pam cheering from here) so she can work on that more consistently. She said we all should take Spanish together (I’ll see what I can do, Youngest child wants Spanish and is not up for Chinese). She said maybe on Hindi for a while. She said we should practice the alphabet and such at home but she thinks we don’t need that as a formal class. So I guess that will be some structure in our days.

We all want martial arts. The kids want gymnastics as well. I can’t teach them many skills like that. I’m happy to pay someone who can.

And she wants to play the violin.

I said we would add lessons one a month until we got up to the full load because all of that at once would crush her. She says that is probably smart.

I appreciate how often she tells me I’m smart.

You know… I think that’s why she does it. She’s a perceptive little thing.

My kids are not going to look like good victims. Not ever. They are going to seem like… they have all the support in the world. It’s only sorta true, but I’m going to give it my all.

But you know what? This option isn’t exactly available to most people. My kids get a full life of having a Ladies Illustrated Primer walking around with them. That’s not what most people experience.

Holy tomato I love my job.

My kids are in touch with their bodies. They know what they like and don’t like and they consider their preferences to be absolutely worthy of consideration at all times. Good prey act like it doesn’t matter what happens to them. They often don’t know what their preferences even are. And as much as we cannot guarantee our own safety in this life, we can build resilience to weather what may come.”

I can never guarantee that my children will be safe. Not truly. Not completely. But I can teach them a variety of skills that will increase their likelihood of not only escaping from a lot of traumas but being able to cope with the inevitable tragedies in life.

My children will experience loss and pain. That is a non-negotiable part of the human condition. I know that. I’m trying to teach them how to ride the waves.

We took a break from the screens. The kids begged me to go back to the beach. It’s supposed to start storming tonight and rain mostly till we leave so I said yes. Even though it scared the absolute shit out of me. The kids kept asking me to go sit with the grown ups and just let them play.

No. No. No.

I sat between them and the ocean. There were four good waves where they started getting dragged out to sea and I grabbed them and bodily pulled them back to shore. They stopped arguing with my presence after the second grab. But they really didn’t want to stop working on the dam they were building.

They are fucking obsessed with building dams this trip. They have built them in little itty bitty creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It was awesome watching them lecture much older girls about how “We have to find a variety of materials to help provide structural integrity! Just sand won’t hold!”

That was why I had a hard time stopping the play. It was so… intense for them. But that ocean doesn’t fuck around. Lots of places are currently flooded and people die from being swept into the ocean all the time. It’s not a game. There are no take backs. The ocean is bigger than all of us.

After the fourth time when I grabbed them and I felt like barely pulled out of the wave I said, “Ok! That’s it! I’m done!”

The kids didn’t really argue with me. They spent over an hour saying repetitively after we got back to the hotel room, “I think you just saved my life. Wow. You care that much. You are going to stand right there so you can save my life. I think you just saved my life.”

My response is, “I brought you into this world and I’m not giving up on you yet.”

They snuggled with me and looked a bit stunned.

The ocean is not something to fuck around with.

Want to know something kind of hilarious? I had a similar experience with the kid who kicked me in the throat at a group beach trip.

The ocean is bigger than you. I don’t give a shit how strong you think you are. The ocean is bigger than you. Never fight the ocean. You will lose.

So yeah. I think I’m done. If it is storming I am definitely not going down there with the kids. If we want to swim in between rain bursts they have a pool. That is risk enough with a damn thunderstorm.

You have no idea what you mean to me. No forking duh I am going to keep you out of the ocean when it is dragging you like that and you are screaming out in fear. That is my job.

It is both my job to teach you to respect that power and my job to protect you from it as you gain enough experience to have proper respect. It’s a complicated operation.

I think I am really feeling the need to cross reference all of these experiences because I am trying to understand the scope and effects and structure of rape culture. What does it even mean?

Do you know who really taught me I didn’t deserve rape? Sex workers. Grown ass women who were god damn sure what was and wasn’t ok to do to them. I know women who have been sex workers for decades and members of the kink communities for decades who have never been assaulted. I study them with a more than just friendly interest. I want to understand their instincts.

I want to teach those instincts to my children and people who aren’t sex workers have never been able to break them down in a way I can understand. They specifically can talk about what they do to manage risk. I know vanilla women who have never been assaulted. They don’t understand why that is true. They just got lucky.

So I talk to the people who can actually give me the information I seek. I am shameless and mercenary about it.

I’m not teaching my kids to be sex workers. I’m teaching them to think of their body as belonging only to them and never to anyone else.

I am doing my absolute best to raise people who will react indignantly if someone tries to abuse them. My kids interrupt me if they think my behavior is getting near a line. They are immediate in their ability to say what is or isn’t ok about what is happening to their body. It is stunning to see.

I have labored for so many years to try and develop those skills.

Sometimes I feel so jealous I want to shove my head through a window. Just to get that feeling away from me.

My brother used to put his head through windows. They made him wear a helmet whenever he wasn’t in a building with safety windows.

We have really liked hurting ourselves in my family for a long time. I feel so grateful that my children showed mild inclination and were quickly reassured that it is not the right decision to hurt yourself when you are upset. Ask for help figuring out how to handle your feelings when you feel overwhelmed to that point. Your parents will listen to you no matter what.

You don’t have to feel pain. We can maybe help.

I feel so grateful that I found a sperm donor who had excellent genetics and sincere interest in being a really involved parent. This is a wonderful experience to watch.

But Noah has committed rape. And so have I.

Do I think all rapists belong in jail?

Jimminy Christmas don’t ask me. 

This rape culture shit is complicated.

I want my children to be able to do better. I want all the children to have better. Education is the single best route to understanding diverse people and life experiences.

I honestly don’t know what else to do. I need to pick up the kids soon. I’m going to stop.

Verra good convention

It has been occurring to me for a few weeks that I should probably buy some clothes before the road trip. This is because I do not have a pair of non-yoga pants that fit me. All but one of my “casual” dresses has multiple holes in the seams and they are fraying. The one casual dress that is still in good shape… I’ve had since I was 14. I need to find a seamstress and have them make four copies of this dress and I’ll be set for clothes for life. But that one dress isn’t going to be enough clothing for a five month trip—even though it is awesome.  I am not especially comfortable in yoga pants and t-shirts because “Why yes, this is my butt. Why don’t you COMMENT ON IT BECAUSE APPARENTLY IF A WOMAN WEARS FUCKING YOGA PANTS ASSHOLES HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMMENT ON HER BUTT.”

Being at the con is fascinating for me on this front. I dressed up more than usual. I have read lots of studies about how people treat women better if they dress better. When I’m feeling scared and unsure of myself, I’m more likely to put on makeup. Because I’m me, that means lipstick and eyeliner. I wipe anything else off by accident. Doesn’t look so hot after a while. I can keep on lipstick and eyeliner.

In the past when I’ve gone to conventions dressed very schlub-like (as in: more normal for me) people didn’t talk to me much. I haven’t walked more than a few feet this time without people wanting to talk.

I like wearing knee length dresses over yoga pants. That’s kind of the ideal coverage for me. Folks don’t comment on my ass and I still have as much comfort plus freedom of movement. In this environment I look quite conservative, which is sorta funny to me. I look so unusual compared to the crowd that women feel free to tell me that I’m overdressed and how I must by overheating. Uhm, actually I’m cold.

Just because I’m at a convention does not mean I should be running around in a bikini or similar cosplay. Not My Scene. (I’m totally ok with folks doing that. I’m not hating! I just don’t want to be told I should be doing it just because other people might enjoy looking at me dressed that way. Your fantasy should stay in your head and I shouldn’t have to hear about it.)

This con has been a weird hybrid space for me. Lots of the adults are con-regulars. They go to lots of kinds of conventions and the conversations get pretty racy. There are also a lot of kids here. This is hard for me to handle. So far I’ve been directing my kids away from festive conversations “They are talking about boring grown up stuff” or I try to watch my mouth in front of the teenagers who are here.

Had an incident with Shanna and Calli running ahead of the child care people to get on an elevator alone. Cue heart attack. Layers of adults were upset. Shanna…. Kid…. This needs to stop. This is not the first time this month you have run off. I think the leash is going to have to be tightened up a lot because you are not behaving responsibility. If you want a longer leash and more responsibility, you need to bloody well act like you can handle it. Right now that isn’t happening. If I spent over an hour (cumulatively) in the past month searching for you because you disappeared… this is becoming a problem.  No. No. No. It has happened on multiple outings.

Do you really want to go back to not being allowed to be farther from me than being able to touch me? I thought we outgrew that space. But we can go right back to it if necessary!  It is more important to me to keep you safe than to give you distance. You bet your buttons little missy. At like 10 we can renegotiate checking in before you wander off. Not at 6. Not when we are places we have never been before. No.

I bought too many books. By “too many” I mean… it’s a good thing Noah came on Friday and brought a load of books back with him mid-weekend because I bought more and I probably would not have been able to get them all home on public transit alone….

I found SO MANY wonderful looking books I’ve never heard of. And many of the authors were right in front of me! How could I turn down such an opportunity.

For the record: I am not alone at the conference with the kids. Sarah has been a lifesaver on so many levels. She did kid programming with the kids while I was doing panels. She hangs out with them when I want to do stuff. This is so awesome. I am having a lot of fun and a lot of that is because of Sarah’s company and help. I’ve missed her a lot.

It is funny to me how relationships drift and change. There are folks who have passionately made declarations of loyalty and love to me. Most of them have left nothing but a vapor trail to remember them by. Some people have said, “Motherfucker you treat me right or I’m walking”… and mostly they are still here. Because I’m working hard on how to treat them. I think it is important that they be treated well and I’m really sorry when I fuck up.

I feel guilty for waking Sarah up so early this morning. Otherwise it’s been a great trip. This convention has been wonderfully fun for me.

Reading kids books was fun and it was a super good idea that I brought a whole stack. We went through lots. I thought that one of my co-readers in particular put me to shame. She works at a childrens book store and she can read upside down so the kids can see the pictures better. I’m so spoiled with sitting on a couch with two kids. Totally different reading experience. I suppose saying she shamed me is an awful way of putting it. Ok, better reframe: I saw someone truly inspirational. She was amazing at reading aloud and making it accessible to kids. She also picked hilarious books I will have to look around for and get. I will try to steal tricks from someone who is so wise in the management of young feral animals. The other reader brought some really interesting books. I will look for the one on Chinese musical instruments. And his other book, The Shy Creatures went through all kinds of nifty, historical, fantastic monsters. It would be a great introduction to all sorts of Western Lit stuff.

I was alright. I had too much caffeine so I was literally shaking the whole time. Good things kids don’t care. I was “a little tired”. Next time I’m a “little tired” I’m having more tea and not a damn Foosh mint.

Then I went to the imposter syndrome panel! Apparently we were up against the most popular event on the schedule. Whoops. But we had a full room! People were standing against the back wall and sitting on the floor on the sides! That was SO COOL! Not that they were there for my star power or anything. But it was great to have a packed room. I’ve been to lots of panels with 3 person audiences. They turn into group discussions instead of panels.

The chair of the convention asked me to moderate, which is my idea of a good time. So I wrote up a document with information about imposter syndrome statistics and data, ways to deal with it, and ways to assess how much danger you are really in. I made a point of saying that there is a difference between imposter syndrome and feeling incompetent. If you have a long and impressive resume and you tell yourself that you suck… you have imposter syndrome. If you haven’t done anything yet…. you don’t have imposter syndrome you have low self esteem. BUT! The treatment for low self esteem looks VERY SIMILAR to the treatment for imposter syndrome so let’s tackle both problems.

I talked about how to tell the difference between ambient fear/anxiety that “I’m not good enough” vs. evaluating that some demographics are in *real danger* when they write. You need to honor the fear that is trying to keep you alive. There are reasons for some demographics to be terrified. It *is* dangerous. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are being melodramatic. Writers are killed to be silenced on a fairly regular basis. History is littered with such stories.

I talked about how different people have different intersections to explain and why that is so important. Often in that intersectional identity is where you feel the most repression and you must get over it. Your voice must be heard. You are needed.

We talked about dealing with emotional blocks. We offered suggestions from video games to hysterical crying. Truly we covered all the bases. Ha. (Obviously I was the crier.)

Afterwards a bunch of people came up and told me they got a lot out of the panel and they were so glad to hear me speak.

*happy dance*

Also, yesterday in the con suite I had a long chat with another mom. We were both in the disabilities in writing panel and she mentioned having a disabled son and how that impacts her life/reading/writing/etc. When I saw her later I felt a little awkward interrupting… she was sitting there typing and minding her own business. But it was super wonderful. We had a great chat. We talked about dealing with the special ed system and home schooling and unschooling and benefits and pitfalls. We talked about having PTSD and managing that.

I love conventions. I meet such interesting people.

I specifically love writing conventions because THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE TOLD ME COLLEGE WOULD BE LIKE only they were fucking liars. Smart people getting together to have fun conversations about books. My college experience wasn’t much like that. But how much of it is my fault because I went through college sleeping in a steel cage.

Ok, I didn’t sleep in the cage every night. It hurt my back too much. It was only 3’x3’x4′. When I wasn’t in the cage I was chained to the foot of the bed. I wasn’t sitting out all night long having fun conversations about books.

Maybe this is why I love conventions so much. It is the ideal of what college could be if college weren’t so shitty.

Kind of like how every once in a while there is a positive medical experience and you’re like WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME?!

Next con, I am not going to have working shifts on every day. It means I miss a lot of stuff because I’m in transition periods to and from work shifts and I can’t really engage in other things. 6 hours of working split over three days doesn’t sound like a lot. But it always blocks me from doing things I want to do… I like volunteering. I’m not complaining about helping. But I think I need to work on how I schedule my time.

I feel like this convention has been very positive for me. I’ve had a lot of fun. I have felt included in community. I have felt like my tribe is happy to have me back. I’ve run into a lot of folks I met when I was 19. It is shocking to me how happy they are to see me. They are thrilled to meet my kids. They want to hear all about home schooling.

Sometimes I think I am entirely blind to what I mean to other people. I really don’t see or understand the impact I have on other people. They are interested in me–even though I think everyone has no use for me. A lady writer I have admired for many years said, “Send me an email. We need to have dinner together. I want to spend more time with you and your wonderful children.” My heart went pitter patter. She’s one of those awesome educators that taught me about having boundaries and having a self. And she wants to come hang out with me and have dinner.

Squee, flap hands, jump up and down, all those mature things. Yes. Yes I will invite you over.

Because clearly I have buckets of free time. But, like the smallest chicken says in Chicken Big “But we’ll make room!”

Today is our last day of the con. I work in child care. Not sure if I will see another panel. The final panel I could go see is one that I was supposed to be on but I backed out because I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not sure I can name any Sci/Fi Fantasy books set in suburbia…

That’s ok. The kids and I can go swimming instead. I arranged for late check out so that pool access will be easy. Whee!

It has been a good weekend. A really good weekend. I remember why I used to go to these sorts of things more often. I’m a writer. I like talking to other writers. We are a weird breed. In particular this crowd is very ok with the mentally ill existing. I feel safe here. I feel like announcing that I have PTSD is just a way for more people to know to introduce themselves and say, “Me too.” I don’t get shamed here. I don’t get put down. No one makes fun of me for being crazy. The attitude is a sage nod of the head and “That sounds hard.”

I love my tribe.

This is so rad

I spend a lot of time feeling like I do everything wrong and I am “bad”. When I was a kid I was told I was bad a lot–so that made sense then. I haven’t been told I was bad in a long time. It’s just not a current issue in my life, but the feeling still continues.

This trip to Disneyland is going phenomenally well. I’m having fun, looks like most everyone else is having fun too. I’m getting to have a lot of the kinds of interactions that specifically make me feel better about myself as a person. Even more specifically: I feel useful.

JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” I have spent most of my life feeling like I have very little to offer that is of any value at all. This feels tied in with the general devaluation of women, but on steroids. I’ve always noticed that the men in my life expected me to cook and clean for them like magic so I had skills they just weren’t valued.

Yesterday was our first day in the park. It was the very first day ever for the dad and two kids I’m with. The mom has been here before, but she hasn’t been in decades and she has fuzzy memories. This means that I’m getting to play tour guide. I feel like my sense of direction is paying for its keep.

Not only do I feel useful because I know where the physical locations of things are: I get to interpret the park. I get to teach this family about the Disneyland that I am obsessed with visiting. I get to talk about waiting in line. I get to talk about having patience and preferences and no we don’t have to do it all to have fun.

I got to talk about things like, “Yes eating protein is important… but today don’t get upset at your kids for carbo loading. Let’s talk about the physical strain we will be under for the next few days and why it is unusual for our bodies. Carbs are appropriate.”

I have worked so hard for this knowledge that seeing it be useful for not just me feels really wonderful.

Like waiting in lines. One of the things that I like most about myself is that I take the party with me wherever I go. “The whole point of Disneyland is you hurry up and wait. But while you wait, they play music because they want you to dance!” I play games with the kids in lines. I give kids snacks every 15-20 minutes (not a lot at a time… but I ensure that they will be in a good mood) and I insist on frequent sips of water even though I normally don’t micromanage that kind of thing. But like I tell my kids (and I told the other family today) “We will be walking several miles on concrete in the sun in a huge crowd–we need to adapt how we treat our bodies.”

I didn’t learn that till I was an adult and my friends had problems with me not taking care of myself very well. I learned from my friends what I should have been doing all along.

Shit dude, even I wear sun block in Disneyland. And a hat. Don’t bitch about your hat buddy, you want to have a nose when you are 70.

All of these stupid little things were so hard for me to learn. I feel really good about myself when I can turn around and verbally instruct someone into having a better/easier time than me.

My friend’s husband is not going to experience the miserable trip I’ve had several times. I don’t want to go through it again and he’s going to get dragged along on the benefit of my experience. Yes, I know you are feeling no pain at four hours in on the first day.

Trust me.

After the multi-hour nap in the afternoon he decided I was probably right about pacing. It wears you out more than you think at first.

The other couple got to have a date night last night, so I got to put their kids to bed. It was lovely. It gets more lovely with every visit we have. Bonus Boy asked to not sleep with my kids tonight (four in the bed was a bit crowded the other night) and he was sad that his sister didn’t want to sleep with just him so I offered to stay with him. He was really excited. He chattered my ear off for over half an hour. We talked about the visit to Disneyland and having preferences (he did not like the rides that were dark) and how to phrase those preferences so you get to have the most fun.

Things like: “I have learned that I don’t have fun on rides that are really dark. I want to ride things that are outside in the sunshine because those are fun for me.” We talked about what kinds of questions he should ask about rides before getting on them so he can decide what he wants to do. I told him, “You are not required to go on every ride here. You only have to go on the things that interest you. But you will have to figure out what interests you and you will have to say no in a polite way to things that do not interest you.” He practiced a few different ways of doing that. I told him about different rides in the park and asked him which sound interesting. It was a great conversation. It may be the most intense conversation we’ve ever had about something other than going to space.

I’m enjoying this trip so much. A big part of what I’m enjoying about it is introducing the kids and making it good for them. I have weird, mixed feelings about that. It feels a bit creepy.

In particular, I have known these kids for a long time. I pay a lot of attention to them and I try very hard to really see what kinds of accommodations they need. The IEP/504 training that was part of my teacher credentialing was my favorite part. How do you look at a child and decide what kind of scaffolding this child needs to learn best?

It feels creepy because it makes me think about my Owner, who only really enjoys introducing people to new things. He doesn’t enjoy doing things with people who already know what they are doing. It’s boring. He doesn’t want to follow other peoples preferences, he wants to inculcate people in his preferences.

It’s a lifestyle choice.

I want to like people at all stages of life, not just a stage where I get to control them. That’s pretty wacky. I think I do. I certainly didn’t go into preschool teaching or anything.

Good golly do I enjoy helping other people get the support they need to be successful. I live for that feeling. No, I don’t. That’s a lie. But I feel rejuvenated by that experience. Validated. All the years of reading and study and practice and failure have paid off.

Is Disneyland the real world? No. But the skills you learn in this safe environment are directly applicable to the real world. Making mistakes is safe here. It is like what school should be if it were done right. Mistakes are part of learning and you should be forgiven instead of shamed.

This environment is dripping with privilege. Only privileged people are allowed to fuck up. That is so sad. Poor people can’t afford to make a mistake in the process of learning. It isn’t fair.

Yesterday when I was feeling cranky Noah spent time with the kids while I got to be alone. This entire situation is dripping in privilege. It is smoothing over the rough spots and making everything easier and more fun.

Sometimes I am confronted with how wrong I am about people when I assume they are like me. I forget that anger is a privilege too. One afforded to women in different ways than men. Women and men are taught different appeasement strategies. I am sometimes so wrong in my assumptions about men. This trip is going well on a variety of levels. Because sometimes it is a very good thing to find out you are wrong. Then you can work on changing your beliefs.

For a little while I was afraid I should cancel this trip. I was convinced everything would blow up and it would be all screaming and fighting and awful. Of course my assumption is that I would be an irrational crazy bitch who exploded at something that is no big deal–I’m not saying stuff about other peoples behavior.

Instead I am asking for support and getting it. I am napping when I need to. I am saying, “I need to sit here and read and not have a conversation for a little while” instead of being mean. I am eating regularly and staying well hydrated. When I started feeling tired I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I husbanded my strength really well. We had a really great day from start to finish.

I anticipate napping again today given my sleeping schedule. Apparently I needed to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to Noah. Sorry, Noah. If you weren’t such a conversational studmuffin… I wouldn’t bug you so much. (Now that’s victim blaming.) (Noah will probably provide a link to the comic where I get the conversational studmuffin reference in comments. He’s like that.)

I write so much about my bad days, I like to make sure I record good ones too.


The kids have blasted through a few different milestones this week. I should record this so I don’t forget. Both kids are now swimming without a life vest. This is huge. Both kids got off the bucket support in ice skating (Calli is doing better than Shanna). Last, but not least, both kids have suddenly decided they are interested in long bike rides.

I find it fascinating how neck and neck they are for physical skills. In a few years Calli will probably be far more advanced than Shanna at the rate she picks things up. They aren’t equally skilled in all areas of knowledge, but Calli has a great relationship with her body. Shanna reminds me of me. Ha.

I feel guilty anytime I say that they can be assholes, but when it comes to dealing with people who might take care of them it seems like fair warning. They can be sweet as pie and they can be serious assholes. You have to be prepared to hold boundaries and really fucking mean your “no” or they will make you sorry. They are tenacious and pushy in a way rarely tolerated in children.

I’m crossing my fingers it will work out in the long run. For now there are days when they are pretty hard to handle.

It isn’t about you (whoever you are) because they do it with me, Noah, K, and everyone else who has ever baby-sat. Children are supposed to test limits. I also believe that children are supposed to run smack into the brick wall of limits and be told NO. Because that is part of life. You don’t always get what you want and learning to manage that frustration is easier when you are under ten than it is over thirty.

I feel scared that I am doing them a disservice by allowing them to push as hard as they do. Most children are “broken” of that habit. I try to break my kids of the habit of shitting in the back yard. Backtalk is ok with me.

Pick your battles.

I want my daughters to be able to grow up and speak as assertively as any man. I don’t know many women who can. I know a few, because I hunt for such Amazonian Goddesses.

They bug me and delight me. They frustrate me and fill me with so much hope I feel like I will explode. Every day. I am grateful every day that I get to be with them. I stop and make time even when I’m being a pissy bitch.

“Today is kind of hard. But it is the best kind of hard I can imagine. I am grateful I get to be here doing what I’m doing.”

Shanna and I had a fight about something…can’t remember what about. It wasn’t a big one. She went to her room to cry. When I checked on her after a few minutes she said, “It feels like no one loves me today.”

I said, “Do you love me?”


“Do you get mad at me sometimes?”

“Yes. You deserve it.”

“I’m not quibbling. But you can get mad at me without it taking away from how much you love me. Why do you think it works differently for me? You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I love you to the moon and back. And sometimes you piss me off. Life is like that.”

She kinda laughed and hugged me.

When I really think about it… I feel bad for my mom. She probably does still love me. Even though she didn’t want me to start with. Even though she wasn’t very good at taking care of me. Even though I have pissed her off, maybe more than all her other children combined. She probably loves me.

I really hope my kids never need to pull away from me for their own safety.

This week has been tumultuous emotionally. But we’ve had internet connectivity stuff that prevented me from boring anyone with it. Huzzah?

Apparently today we are going dancing. Because someone finally responded with a yes. I was getting emotionally ready to back out on going. We don’t really have appropriate costuming. And Noah is not interested in dancing. And managing the kids while dealing with Noah’s unhappiness about being dragged to something he hates is always fun.

I was hoping that everyone would tell me no they weren’t going so I could skip it too.

I like to dance. I love dancing. Sometimes dragging a whole crew of people who need care of coaxing isn’t very fun. It is sounding really hard today. But a posse was formed so now I can’t back out. Even though it sounded like way more fun when I first heard of it months ago it doesn’t sound real fun today.

Noah didn’t go to bed last night. He’s probably going to be cranky. There is always the double whammy that being sleep deprived makes him cranky and then he’s extra cranky because I woke up in the middle of the night and yelled at him about not sleeping. Because when he doesn’t sleep at night he sleeps through the weekend. And we don’t have children who wake up at night anymore so I’m really sick to death of a partner who is cranky because of sleep dep. There is no excuse.

Only there are dozens of excuses and I’m an asshole for wanting to control his sleep so much.

Well, there are weeks when he naps enough during the days to make up a whole extra work day of time gone. Given that his time off amounts to a day of work amount of time off… he is effectively not available 7-9 hours of the day 7 days a week. And it’s not like he hangs out with them for all of the 4-6 hours he overlaps awake with them. Not even close.

The mothers helper kid stopped showing up. That’s a write off.

Getting actual, consistent support is hard. I’m tired.

I’m having a hard time with some communication stuff too. I don’t feel heard very much. When other people act like “they’ve heard all my shit because they’ve read the blog so when we get together it is their turn to talk” I feel… really shitty.

Writing on the blog doesn’t increase my sense of being seen all that much. I think it is important. I think it is helpful with a lot of my relationships. But I never blog about everything going through my head. I have so many layers of filters. If I mentioned x on the blog there is usually about fourteen layers of shit associated with x that I didn’t dare write about.

And people don’t really want to hear about it. I’ve already used my word count up for the day. Without ever once opening my mouth.

I’ve been wanting to bang my head a lot lately as a reminder to shut up. Shut up. Just shut up you stupid bitch.

I’m supposed to stand there and smile and be supportive about someone else’s issues and not say anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable. Just shut up shut up shut up.

I don’t think it is “personal”. If I asked people about why communication stuff is wonky I would be dismissed or told I was imagining it or it was just my perception.

Ok fine. Maybe I should just stay home with my perception then. In my home with just my kids it doesn’t feel nearly as bad that I’m not allowed to talk about my shit. I knew that was the deal before I got into this situation. It doesn’t bother me very much with kids. I don’t want to hurt them and I know that knowing too much about people like me will hurt kids.

It is harder with adults. So much harder.

Today I run 4.5 miles before the dance event. Thank goodness today is a massage day.

For all that I seem to live at my pity party table I know I have a pretty fucking good life.

I’m going to go cry out my misery at Disney next year. Hilarious.

If I could stop wanting people and if I could start being happier with just being alone as I do things my life would probably be perfect. I really like what I get to do with my time in the main. Yeah, I won’t fill my hours exactly the same way when the kids are grown but I’m content with where I am for now.

If I could just stop feeling sad. If I could stop missing my mommy so much.

Shanna and Calli call one another “Sissy”. I’m not entirely sure how/where they picked it up but now I’m copying it with both of them.

That was what my sister wanted to be called. She would hit me if I used her real first name when I was little. She was Sissy. End of story.

Sometimes when I hear Shanna and Calli say ever so sweetly, “Sissy will you please help me?” “Oh Sissy I’d love to” I walk away and cry.

I feel like an asshole. Why am I crying? Because I’m so fucking jealous. My Sissy hated me so much. Get over it. I’m trying. Thus the crying in the early morning hours. Because crying is how you get over it.

I feel really sad. I did sleep well last night. A good 7.5 hours. That has been my sleep cycle for most of my life. I’ve been trying to eat those shitty vegetable things everyone tells me are “good for me”. I’m mostly eating them cooked, so I don’t get massive diarrhea but sometimes people put them in front of me raw and I try to be all GGG and eat them anyway. And I burn with punishment.

It is funny how suicidal thinking works. There is a difference (for me) between suicidal ideation where I feel like I am working on A Plan and the sad anxious feeling of wanting to give up. The wanting to give up feels like a dog whining in the corner. Small, helpless, not able to get up and do much for itself. Pitiful and pathetic and not worthy of notice. It isn’t threatening. It isn’t real.

There is a difference between the days when I have to more or less crawl across freeway overpasses because I want to jump so fucking badly and the days when I want to just hide under the desk rocking and crying and beating my head.

Hiding this from my children for 7-9 hours a day 7 days a week is really hard.

I need to just be grateful that I don’t have to do much cooking. That is the most frequent point at which I fail to keep my shit together. Thank you, Noah. I really appreciate it.

I need to give my arms a break. Is it bright enough outside to run yet? This time I need to eat something before I leave. That last weekend run where I took off having eaten nothing felt really bad. You require fuel in your tank.

Good thing I pack little squeeze packets of peanut butter and chocolate just in case. I’m smarter than I look. Or, more accurately, I’ve been stupid a lot of times and eventually I learned. So I’m probably not smarter than I look.

I need to give Noah a chance with today. No, he doesn’t like dancing. He tries to be nice about it. He will help with the kids. He will in general be reasonable company.

My expectations of him are really unfair and ridiculous. I’m sorry. I expect Noah to be cheerful and upbeat about pretty much everything and it isn’t very nice of me.

When I’m around someone who is in a shitty mood I tend to sink to their level and keep on sinking. When I’m around people who are upbeat and perky I can ride the wave with them. I feel like a jerk for needing other people to lead my emotional experience.

Sometimes it is hard for me to feel happiness at all without someone modeling how it is supposed to work. That’s a lot of what I like about my kids. They are so happy. Yes, they can be abrasive assholes and they will scream when they don’t like something. (working on that) But mostly minute by minute they are just…. happy. Life is really good. They get their needs met.

That’s a lot of why I like hanging out with them so much. I will fake happiness in order to buy the relationships I want. It is part of why I have such trouble at jobs. I don’t care that much about money. Beyond subsistence and minimal safety I was never real motivated to work hard for money. Enough was good enough.

At every job I’ve ever had there is far less impetus to be in a good mood. Why, so I can make a customer happy? What fucking ever.

But if my attitude is the difference between Shanna and Calli having a good day or a bad day, then I need to work on my attitude. As one of the moms in our group says, “You’ve got to have a good attitude…”

I can’t control the fact that I have mental illness and it has impact on my kids. What I can do is work to mitigate the damage. What I can do is behave in such a way that they will grow up and be able to understand how hard I worked at being good to them. I hope. Who knows. Maybe they will never give a shit. Most kids don’t seem to care about their parents much.

Doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated?

One of my neighbors is talking about home schooling her kids next year. She talked about wanting to do it from the first day we met. I asked her what was stopping her and it came down to fear that she couldn’t do a good enough job.

Then last year she had a bunch of problems with the school. Her children are really not being appropriately served. So she’s considering home schooling a lot harder.

She asked a lot of questions. I feel I was pretty balanced. I started with my normal, “Of course there is a whole spectrum of opinions from radical in the direction of no direct teaching to school-at-home with every minute scheduled. I’ll talk about what I do first and then I will move on to different points in the spectrum and talk about the pros and cons. The important thing is to figure out what works for you and your child because there is no universal right answer.”

I’m a good advocate.

I really hope she will consider it because she REALLY WANTS TO and she is incredibly organized and focused. She would be good at home schooling. She’s big on answering questions with, “I don’t know the answer to that yet, let’s find out.” Perfect. That is the attitude you need. And she’s super happy to hang with her kids all the time.

I told her the only think she is potentially going to lose out on for her kids is the time they get to spend with her. If you miss a year of public school you can catch up in summer school if you are bright and motivated. Whoopie. Her kids are quite smart (fully literate in two language before third grade is amazing–she mostly taught them) and I don’t see a down side. The only thing holding her back is fear. (That’s what she said. I’m not projecting.)

But it is her life. Who knows. It would be cool though. Even though we probably wouldn’t be live-in-your-pocket besties (even though she lives ONE BLOCK AWAY) it would be nice to have another home schooler in Fremont.

We are going to have to join or create a Fremont home school group or something. Yes, we will still love all the Castro Valley and San Leandro and Oakland people…. but the road is equidistant in both directions. I can only do so much driving.

I wish I felt less desperate. I know that desperation is one of the fastest way to drive people away from you. The depth and intensity are scary. I don’t have a good reason. I’m sorry. Just breathe. Go get some food. Read a few chapters. In about 40 minutes it will be time to run.

Now I will nom a muffin that is poison for Jenny.

Easter morning

Kids will start arriving in five hours. I feel pretty ready. I counted the eggs. I do, technically, have 300 but 15 of them are out of general circulation because I turned them into games. I can live with that.

I’m putting 100 in the front, 100 in the back, and 85 in the house.

Big kids will be told they musn’t look lower than their waists. There are plenty of high up eggs and then some. You can only pick low lying fruit after the little kids give up. There is plenty of candy. If you get zero candy from eggs, go take some off the table. I have enough to cause comas in at least ten kids. Hopefully spread out among 20 kids and 20 + adults it will just lead to stomach aches. Or people will be smart and take most of their share home to savor over multiple days. We’ll see.

Other people are bringing most of the real food. Thank you all. I’m so glad someone is a responsible adult around here. Yay!

It should be a lot of fun. The house is ready. I have ~30 minutes of decorating to do once the sun is up. You can’t put crepe paper outside before the day you want it. I learned that the hard way.

I’m sending Noah and the kids to the farmers market so that I can stay home and hide eggs and finish the clean up. I will assemble the fruit and vegetables we have in the house while they are gone and Noah will finish the food set up when he gets back. By that point I will be on the driveway trying to corral a growing horde of children. It will be fun. I’m going to put the giant chess set out there and chalk. I can keep them entertained for at least 15 minutes. I will probably also get the kids to chant the guidelines in a group. That way they won’t break things. “The top shelf of EVERY BOOK CASE is off limits to kids.” “Big kids look for eggs above their waist.” “No eggs in the bedrooms or pantry or bathroom.”

As of this moment I have had 45 people say they are coming. Want to make bets on it being closer to 20 people? People like to change their minds at the last minute.

Either way it will be fun.

The preparation for parties is hard. Yesterday I was grumpy. I yelled three times. Four? Maybe a fourth. Once when Shanna was hitting me with a balloon and accidentally knocked over something breakable. I yelled to get out of the kitchen. Not great.

I wasn’t even that *mad*. I just screamed it. I had been in the process of asking her nicely to take the balloon out of the kitchen and then there was a loud noise then broken glass then… I screamed. Get Out Of The Kitchen.

When I was cleaning up their stuff and sorting things into piles to be put away properly Shanna came over and spread all the piles out and started recombining them because she was making an “art gallery”. When I noticed I yelled at her to get away from my piles. That’s not nice. I could have asked.

I don’t feel like I had a lot of “ask nicely” left. The kids have fought me really hard on every step of party prep this time. When I say, “Please pick up x” instead they go dump the whole box that x goes in and leave that in the middle of the floor.

I don’t think I’m up for more parties this year if this is how they are going. I’m not going to fight the kids tooth and nail so they can have birthday parties. That sounds hellish.

Lately we are having a hard time with them believing they should not ever have to do anything. I understand this is a common belief and all but I don’t share it and I kind of don’t like people who have it. I know lots of grown ups who think it is fine to not do anything. I am not nice to them.

Entitlement is a real issue for me. I am not here to serve you.

I am being strict but I don’t think I’m being completely unreasonable. I’m not making them clean up stuff that is my mess. I want them to pick up their toys and empty the dishwasher and set the table. If that is too much to ask then I think that I am all of a sudden out of energy to cart you around to do every fucking thing you want.

I just…

I don’t know if I am being a petty asshole or if I am setting appropriate boundaries. I don’t make them pick up every single toy every single day. I do ask that they keep the main walkways clear because I don’t appreciate hurting myself just because they wanted to dump out a tub of Lego’s and walk away. Not cool.

I’ve screamed a lot this week. Way up from average. But I feel more pressure to clean up the house. And when I feel more pressure to clean up the house and the kids consciously go on a destruction binge…

I don’t know how this should be handled. But maybe Step A is that if I am going to be fought every step of the way for parties we won’t have them. I’m not up for battles like this. It’s shitty and no fun and stressful and it does a lot of damage to our relationships.

I can’t do all the work with a smile on my face while I am also tripping over the stuff I have asked you 1,362 times to clean up because it is hurting me and you haven’t played with it in three days anyway.

I get mad. Very mad. I hate you and don’t want to be in a room with you because I am afraid I will lose control and do something I will regret.

I regret yelling. I don’t want it to escalate. I can live with some regrettable yelling. That’s not going to convince me I’m a shitty parent who should die.

I don’t call them names. I don’t say things that attack their character. No matter how angry I am I stop to clarify. “I love *you* but right now I am very angry about the way you are behaving. Your behavior is not working for me.”

And when we are not stressed we talk about the whole “sometimes your behavior won’t work for people and you will have to decide how much you care. Sometimes it is expedient (yes I defined it for her) to conform and do what people want and sometimes you have to harden your heart and do what you know is right.”

Life is complicated.

Mostly we get along so well I feel like the fact that we usually get along so well handicaps me for handling it when we are in discord.

Last night as we were going to sleep Calli stroked my face and said, “Mommy, sometimes when you get mad you are SO FIERCE. I like it. It makes me feel safe.”

That kind of statement both comforts me and scares the shit out of me. Am I training them to be attracted to intense, violent, angry people? Oh that’ll go well.

Sometimes it is really hard to know if I am doing right. I don’t want them to believe that it is ok for people to scream at them. We talk a lot about how it ISN’T OK EVER for someone to scream at you. Sometimes it happens anyway because bad things happen to everyone. You can either internalize it as a sign that you deserve such treatment or you can think, “Wow they are having a bad day.”

You can’t do anything to deserve people treating you badly. Them treating you badly is about them.

Sometimes that is hard. Sometimes the only thing you can do is get away from the person. That is so very hard.

But that’s not true. There are things you can do. You can ask for boundaries. You can ask for concessions. You can state what you need and you can leave if you don’t get it.

You have lots of options.

When I’m getting too nasty my kids stop me and say, “Mom I think your tone of voice is way more fierce than you mean it to be. I feel scared.”

I stop and hug them and apologize for scaring them.

I am a very fierce person.

Is it ok to be fierce and a mother? I’m not sure I have a point at this time. I will never be one of the gentle ones. I will always be one of the loud, scary, aggressive ones. I will always be one of the ones who startles you and challenges you and makes you think about why you are doing what you are doing. I don’t take excuses well.

You did what you did and now take the consequences. I’m not going to make this easier on you. Sometimes consequences suck ass. I’ve received a lot of them. I know very well how much it can suck to be held accountable for your behavior. But that’s the way the world works.

Shalyndra–you are right that people in a social setting penalize women for displays of aggression more than men. We are silenced. We are told that it is unseemly for us to be so angry or difficult or nasty. The men are encouraged to be manly. (insert grunting noise)

But when it comes to things that sound like *threats* women are given a pass. People do not believe they are capable of “true” violence. Men are told that their random jokes are threatening and that they must now be punished.

It occurred to me while I was running yesterday–this situation is kind of like the BMI.

Individual women want to punish individual men for the reality that statistics say men commit more crime. Whether or not that man is a criminal.

Women are given a pass on being believed as violent–we are shushed and told just to calm down now, we know we couldn’t do anything violent anyway. Women aren’t that way.

The BMI is applied to individuals without regard to individual factors. Many people in the obese category are far more healthy than people in the thin category and yet… stigma.

Us/them. The enemy.

Noah told me he doesn’t know how things will ever change as long as us loud yelling women on the internet think of him as the enemy.

I went running with another angry woman. (I hope that description doesn’t bother you. You aren’t “always” angry. But you can do the angry woman stuff.) I told her what Noah said. She said, “He engages in behavior that reinforces the status quo. He doesn’t want to give up what he has so that someone else can have a more fair share. That means he is the enemy.”

Wars start over resources. At this point the United States is going through one of the harshest equality differences we’ve seen.

Is Noah is the enemy? Sometimes I think so. Sometimes I understand that he is just a symbol and *he* is not at all my enemy. But he’s done bad things.

He hasn’t done anything that is worse than things I’ve done. Not even close. So if he is the enemy… am I?

Monsters, monsters everywhere and not a one to beat.

Drips, drabs, ups, and downs.

We went up to San Pablo yesterday to see some friends. This is after that specific friend coming to my house monthly for ohhh four years now? I am starting to try and do some trips up there in exchange for all the trips to my house. The distance between us is not shorter just because he is a guy with no kids. I can do effort too.

And when I drive up there I get to spend time with his lovely wife. I find the visits to be highly educational in diverse arenas. For one thing: she knows way the fuck more about gardening than I do and she’s happy to talk about plants. Lately getting near someone with lots of plant knowledge who does not eschew my children is somewhat tricky. I’ve tried to sign up for gardening classes THAT ARE BEING ADVERTISED ON AN UNSCHOOLING MAILING LIST and I was told I would have to get babysitting. Stop fucking advertising in this space if my fucking kids aren’t welcome you fucking fuckers. I didn’t say fuck to the people in question. I just dropped it.

Beyond the gardening stuff, I am having a bit of trouble with Callidora. Well, phrasing it that way sounds more extreme than it is. Many of my parenting approaches work really well for Shanna and don’t work at all with Calli. Luckily my friends’ wife seems to identify really strongly with Calli. They are very similar temperamentally and she is giving me a lot of feedback for how to tweak our interactions so they work better.

I feel so much gratitude I don’t have words. Someone is willing to look at me and look at my daughter and look at our relationship and say, “You are doing ok, but you both might be happier if you did……”

Err, in defense of my hubris more than once I have said, “I’m afraid I am going to have to do ____” and her response was “Yes. That is exactly what you have to do.” So she isn’t entirely telling me new information. But she is very good at skimming out the bullshit and getting to the heart of the matter. “This is failing because of x.”

I don’t trust many people to give me feedback. I’m not sure why I trust her feedback as much as I do. For one thing she doesn’t use the word “should” and I’m not sure if that has become a specific trigger. Maybe I explode at people for that word rather than because I am completely unwilling to accept advice? It’s hard to tease out.

Also, she tends to say “Calli seems to be a lot like me. When I was a kid I had x and y and z experiences and this is how it went well and this is how it went badly. If Calli is as much like me as she seems right now, you are going to have to deal with a and b and c. It’s not a good idea to do d.”

I guess there is an implied “should” in that but she doesn’t say it.

It also occurs to me that I push Calli in a way I have never pushed Shanna. When Shanna was three I had a one year old. We did not spend a lot of time pushing the absolute physical limits of what she could accomplish until she collapsed in frustrated tears.

I’m having a hard time understanding fully that Calli wants to be able to do things she isn’t ready to do yet and I need to find a tactful way of bailing her out even as I push Shanna to try. Differentiated instruction is a bitch.

(Err, the bicycle riding project is coming along. We’ve hit a few hiccups. As my wise new running mate commented, “Dude. You’ve been out with them four times? Relax and do more low pressured practice.”

Yeah yeah. You may have a point. But we bought the bikes because we want to ride to the park. I need to decide in my adult brain that even if that is the eventual goal… we sure as shit can’t start by doing that. I should probably not try to leave our housing development again until June. We need more low-stakes practice than we have had. Hours and hours and hours and hours.

It is not just a form of transportation. It is about entertainment. It has to be about entertainment at first or they won’t gain enough proficiency to use it as transportation later. The transportation part doesn’t have to be worked out at three, instantly. Relax you bitch.

Medication has been spotty this week. I (re?)noticed a pattern. Whenever I get to the point of using sufficient medication that I actually feel good instead of having just the edge of the pain taken away I punish myself for days with under medicating so I feel a lot more pain. I’m not supposed to be using pot like a pot head. I’m not supposed to be trying to get high. I’m supposed to be just managing the pain.

I think I am too much of a Puritan. My sister told me I had ancestors on the Mayflower (Not her–different fathers.). Maybe it is too deeply buried within my DNA? I can’t stop believing that I must suffer. Anything that feels good MUST BE BAD.

I have been very consistent lately about giving up my morning “off time” to wake up with the kids. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. On one hand I’m more frazzled and I’m not taking a compensatory amount of time later. On the other hand… we are getting along better. When the kids open their eyes in the morning to me in their bed smiling at them… the whole day is easier. The first thing they hear every day is, “Good morning. I’m so glad to see you again. I’m looking forward to our wonderful day together.”

They smile back and say, “Me too!” then grab my neck and pull me close. Then I get a sleepy “Good morning.”

Sometimes it feels weird knowing that I do this as a parenting gesture in large part to make up for the hole in my heart. No one was ever happy to see me during my childhood. I was a terrible, unwanted burden.

I completely support mothers who need to abort children born of rape. I wish my mother hadn’t allowed her religion to force her to keep me. I was not wanted. And they made my life hell.

Now I have something different. It is so very nice. But it’s a lot of emotional and mental and physical work. And I get really tired.

When I’m tired it is harder to be consistent. When I’m scared I start screaming. That’s consistent.

Calli has asked me to stop raising my voice at her when I’m repeating orders/requests/whatever you want to call them. Demands? She told me (while making eye contact so this is serious as a fucking heart attack) “I will be able to listen to you better if you get close to me and whisper in my ear that it is important.”

If a three year old can so clearly ask for the kind of interaction she needs then I am a fucking asshole if I ignore the request. This is how I teach them ownership of their body and consent and boundaries.

I’ve been working on it. I kind of feel that I should create some accountability tool for myself. Maybe another sheet of paper on the wall. I can ask Calli to help me decide whether I approached her correctly or not and we can decide if I get a mark in the “right behavior” column or the “not so right” column. It will also help her clarify which aspects of the raised voice stuff are a problem for her.

My kids are not going to grow up thinking adults are perfect and kids need to bend to the adults around them. Ha. Ha. Ha. No. We want to live together. We need to adapt to one another.

I’m happy about the upcoming social stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed that people are agreeing so delightedly to come to my events. My RSVPs fill up fast. (Err, RSVP for Easter if you are coming… not many spaces left.)

I have had something like six people in the last two weeks get really excited when I confirm that I’m hosting Easter again. “OH! You throw the best parties!”

I do?


Well that’s awesome. How do I do that? What makes them “the best” for you? Because I spend my parties in kind of an anxious hell hoping I don’t offend everyone and run them off such that they never want to come back.

And yet I keep hosting. Irony.

I don’t seem to be running people off. I mean… I do… but I don’t. I run some people off.

I feel very guilty when I admit to myself that I run off people who need things from me that I can’t give. My anxiety and shame around not being able to meet their needs makes me angry and cruel. It isn’t my fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault they have needs. I have needs they can’t meet either. But I get mean. This is a major character flaw of mine.

I don’t do this with people who have small needs I can easily meet. If people need something from me that is going to be an up to five hour commitment one time… I love doing that. That helps me feel like I am part of a community and I’m useful and all kinds of good feelings. When someone starts to need 3-10 hours of work from me every fucking week in order to have a relationship with them…

I get mean. I am awful. I am not a nice person. I don’t know how to have healthy limits without being an asshole. I’m not making excuses or justifying my behavior. It’s wrong.

I have been talking to a friend a lot about how different it is in America versus other more crowded countries. Americans apologize for bumping into someone. In China you would never say any word other than “sorry”. So they don’t bother.

I spend a lot of time apologizing for taking up space. I spend a lot of time apologizing for being inconvenient. I spend a lot of time apologizing for not being able to do/be what someone else wants/needs.

I am sorry I am so inadequate. I clearly see that I am.

Right now I’m having anxiety attacks because some folks are mad at me. Folks I don’t really need to “care” about per se. They aren’t my friends. They are the close friends of one of my friends. They are mad at me because my vomiting on Friday caused them some inconvenience. I have apologized profusely for inconveniencing them. I’m sorry they were brought into the situation by our mutual friend. But yeah. I’m the bitch.

And I feel consumed with shame and I have for days. I inconvenienced them. I stole hours of their life and made them about me when they already kind of hate me. I’m really sorry. I did apologize. I have not been acknowledged and that is what I assumed would happen.

I get into these situations. I’m sorry I inconvenienced you. I have very little control over when I vomit. I’m just glad I didn’t make a mess on my floor.

But it impacted your life. And you wish I didn’t impact your life. So you are angry with me because I popped up and existed in a way you couldn’t tune out.

I’m really sorry.

This is more or less why I avoid that whole segment of the “community”. I don’t really like feeling like I am doing something wrong by breathing in a way they can hear.

So yeah. I don’t think I will teach with my friend again. There is a bunch of stress in the lead up and if I get sick there is lots of acrimony, blame, and anger. Not from my friend. He was mellow about the situation. But he didn’t feel qualified to handle the class alone and those are the other people he has in his life to turn to for support.

Yeah well, me hanging around near them feels like an abusive family reunion where they all wish I would drop dead. The sooner the better.

More one of them than the other but… well that’s not a story I’ll write down yet. Maybe a few more decades. It being thirteen years ago still isn’t long enough. Some day.

It’s not all her fault. I was a bitch. But man. Oh man. Ok. Shiny change of topic.

I’ve been having a lot of feelings all week over that. I was doing great last week until I started vomiting on Friday.

I associate vomiting with letting people down and being a bad and weak person. When I get sick my association is that I will also be in trouble for some reason. I am inconvenient when I’m sick.

Noah is working hard to change some of these patterns. He’s nice when I’m sick. He does a lot of telling me that it isn’t my fault and I didn’t do anything bad. I feel really pathetic for needing it. But I do. And he does it. I am so grateful for him as a partner.

I like teaching though. I will look for more opportunities to teach. Just no co-teaching in a situation potentially wrapped in shame-inducing trauma. When I had to cancel a class as a professional teacher… no one made me write a formal apology. I’d like to go back to that kind of treatment. Thanks.

My running mate wants me to stop thinking of writing as a hobby and start thinking of it as a business. I’ve sold enough forking copies of my book that I can stop pretending I’m not a real writer. I shouldn’t have to pay for my book editing and publishing stuff out of my “fun money”. It’s not my hobby. Noah doesn’t take his business expenses out of his fun money. It’s a separate category in the budget. It’s not very healthy for me to demean myself in this fashion.

I will severely limit my career as a writer if I can’t employ an editor until I save up enough fun money by denying myself everything. Denial as a full-time lifestyle in a household that otherwise has a lot of privilege… that’s kinda self-hating. It’s being weird. It’s unhealthy.

Why do women do this to themselves? My writing “doesn’t count”. It’s just… something I do. Like the laundry. And when there are expenses for it, well, they are “mine”, right?

I developed a lot of habits over the years of having the annuities and living with men. What I could have was very strictly limited to what I had in that $1200 every month. I didn’t over extend. And now I have no real personal income and… I’m flailing. The $100/month of fun money is… not enough. Not for me to feel like I can track all of “my” spending separately from household stuff.

We just have a clothes budget. It is for all four of us. If someone gets something then the other three have to wait a while. *shrug* But it changes how I think of things. Although… when I bought the pretty clothes in Portland I took a big chunk out of my personal money. I spent more than $500 on two items of clothing. It didn’t seem fair to make my family give up that large a share of the clothes budget on me getting two items. So more than $300 came out of my fun money. That seemed fair to me.

When the kids really get a big clothes splurge… it goes in the “kid” section even though mostly they come out of the main category.

The kids have a big section of the budget that is amorphously used for classes, home school supplies. books, toys, gear of whatever kind (was baby carriers and diapers now it has moved on to bikes), and rarely clothes.

A long time ago I consciously went out and started spending time with older men. They could talk to me about money. How they got it. What they did with it. I made my own judgments about who lived in which kind of house and who had how much money. I’ve always been tactless as fuck. I would point blank ask them how much cash they had in the bank and whether or not they had investments.

I didn’t understand most of what they told me. But I remembered it. It’s kind of funny to have little memories float up now and again as I’m trying new things with investing.

Be sure you are right, then go ahead. I will, Davey. I will research and research and research and I’ll figure out what I think is right. Of course I know I could always be wrong. Some minute change in my life might make all of my careful risk calculations moot and irrelevant.

I have no way of predicting that. So I have to just act and hope for the best.


Debt is evil.

Make your money work for you.

Pay yourself first.

Sometimes I think I turn to these mantras as the only way I have of blocking out all the voices in my head who want me to think I am stupid and a bitch and I should just stop inconveniencing them by breathing.

I’ve been really stunned by the intensity of my suicidal ideation this week.

I also haven’t been doing my daily check in calls with my friend. She’s really busy on a project. She’ll be back in a week or so. I support and respect her participation in this event and that means she has no time to think about me. I am a big girl and I’ll keep my big girl panties on.

It is interesting how suicidal ideation is not always about depression. I don’t feel like I am feeling depression symptoms. This is more on the anxious/overwhelmed side. Manic is a word people like. But I’m not… doing anything manic.

Just out of the blue driving on the freeway I see a weird opening where it would be possible to turn and be hit by a semi-truck and I want to do it more than I want anything in the world. I want in that moment to feel a lot of pain and then die. I want it as much as my heart wants to beat. It is immediate and visceral and all encompassing.

I have to breathe very lightly and lift my hands so I have a very light guiding pressure on the steering wheel. Sometimes I get off the freeway to breathe and stretch my neck and remind myself, “Not today.”

The reasons I don’t like driving are varied and complicated and… I’m willing to bet that someday I will not be able to drive any more. It is part of the reason I am as strongly motivated to make friends near my house as I am. Walking will always be a good idea. Forever. For my health.

Thanks, Pam, for letting me write this morning.

My head feels better. I feel a lot less shame. Writing it down helps.

I don’t need to feel shame because other people would prefer that their world didn’t overlap with mine. I could reject our mutual friend so that they never have to hear about me again, but given that he values his relationship with me that seems kind of awful.

But I think I should have different boundaries. Still working on where those need to be. Boundaries are tricky things. You only find out you have them when they are transgressed. Ha. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CLASS. And what I got out of it is: I need to make sure I never have to deal with your extended friends again. Awesome.

That’s a lesson I can learn.

They aren’t going to like me. No matter what. Ever. I need to not care about that. They are allowed to have their experience of the world where I am… something. I don’t know what. I shouldn’t speculate. I would surely overstate my importance. I certainly don’t suspect that either of them while away hours just hating me. I’m not that important.

So I don’t need to feel shame because they are feeling irritation. That’s not something I need to take on. I gave an apology. I offered restitution to the best of my ability. That’s what I’ve got. Move on. I didn’t vomit on purpose.

And when I feel shame for my social behavior I rush home to assure myself that I am managing my money properly. No one is going to be able to force me to move. I’m allowed to stay here. I’m jumping through all the hoops that actually matter for my life. I don’t have to care that they dislike me. There won’t be any consequences.

And then I can stop thinking about it.

Thank you internet. That’s the end of my confession for today. I have some dirt to play with and a fence to sand. Tomorrow a bunch of little kids are going to come paint a few sections. We are adding more year by year. Drips and drabs. It’s really fun.

Saturday is the Girl Genius Volume 1 read aloud. Email me for details if you want to come hear Noah do all the hilarious voices.

bitterness and “family”

I have an unusual amount of hostility towards the concept of family. I understand very well that family is not just made up of blood and dna. Family is about showing up consistently and keeping commitments.

I have a lot of expectations about family.That’s my problem.

When people occasionally say things like, “I could stay with you for a holiday because I don’t have to visit my family this year” I know I am not family. Even though they might extensively (when it is convenient) talk about how I am chosen family. No I’m not family. You leave me behind when you go back to your family.

I suppose most people are used to having a “mothers side” and the “fathers side” and they don’t cross pollinate much so it makes sense that people think they can have me as “family” even though I am not integrated in any way with anyone else in their family. Noah has a great aunt who doesn’t talk to any of the relatives who live within walking distance of her house.

I grew up with my Auntie living in a house full of my family. They were my family. They were there. They didn’t take care of me much and mostly they hated me but they were actually there. I don’t even know how to describe what makes it so different. My “cousins” were related neither by blood nor marriage (though my cousin and their mom finally got married a couple years ago after more than twenty years together so now we are related by marriage).

They were around. I ate my meals with them. I talked to them. I dealt with problems with them. I didn’t like them and they didn’t like me but that is life. It doesn’t matter if you like your family you show up and do things to help them anyway. When I had spare weekends it was expected by my entire family that I would spend them at my sister’s house cleaning because she needed help. Family just shows up to make sure you don’t fail because you are too weak to handle everything alone. Family doesn’t need to be invited. They are just there.

Outside of registering for a school at some point I am pretty sure I will never again ask anyone for any kind of long term commitment to my kids. That hasn’t gone so well. It goes well until people are out of spoons and then my kids get dropped. Their needs aren’t truly “mandatory” for these other people, just me. I’m the only family my kids have. I’m the only one who will just show up and make sure they have what they are supposed to have.

I feel very sad about that.

It feels like it is all my fault. If I hadn’t been such a needy piece of shit…

Dude, my needs are nothing compared to the needs my sister had as a parent. She had aunts, uncles, her mother, and her siblings all show up constantly because she needed help. My sister didn’t spend a lot of time dealing with the problems in her life because there were always people there trying to help.

I’m not saying I’m looking for codependence. I think I have alienated enough people by not wanting their help that the door couldn’t even be opened for me at this point.

But I notice that when people are having a hard time with meeting their life obligations they are absolutely ok with just dropping the commitment to my kids. They weren’t the idiots stupid enough to get knocked up. This is my problem.

People have to put their own oxygen mask on first. I get it. But I’m sitting in a row where I’m the only one available to help my kids. So maybe I’ll get mine on first and maybe I’ll make sure my kids are ok first. Because if I don’t take care of them no one will. I am thoroughly ok with the idea of them surviving and having to navigate the world without me over the idea of me living and them dying. Oh fuck no. I won’t save me first. I wouldn’t be able to live with the loss.

I’m very scared because we need to update the custody paperwork stuff with our lawyer. One person who was supposed to be a point person for our estate up and moved to the East Coast and we don’t really speak any more. One person no longer speaks to me because she didn’t like what I had to say about her family in the first book. (Fair enough.) And the other folks are just getting… busy. They aren’t available any more. Sorry.

But if I want to call and chat that would be ok.

Wait… you gave me a lifelong commitment that you are now backing out on and you think I could call you to chat for emotional support?!

I’m sorry, have we met? I’m Krissy Gibbs. I have severe trust issues and if you don’t jump my hurdles then no we will never be having intimate chats about my personal problems. I can write them on the internet for anyone at all to see–that’s different.

I only sit down for intense one on one conversations when the person has shown a pattern of showing up for commitments and prioritizing me in their personal life. Prioritizing my kids is awesome and I’m grateful but it is different from prioritizing me. There aren’t many people in this whole world I have sat down and actually talked about my issues with.

People can’t handle it and I’m not going to open myself up for more rejection from someone who is already in the process of rejecting me. I’m not stupid.

I have to keep this train running. Whether any one else wants to help or not. That means that I can’t lean outside my comfort zone for something that for someone else would be support and for me just creates more stress.

I support other people managing their boundaries with me. By all means push me away when I get intense. (But do people really have to keep telling me, “I stopped reading your blog. It’s too intense.” Do you not understand that my assumption is that people don’t want to read it and I am shocked by the people who continue to keep up? You don’t need to tell me. That was already what I assumed.)

“Here confide your sadness and lack of coping skills while I flip you off with both hands the whole time.”

Err, I’ll pass. Thanks. I don’t exactly feel like I have a warm and fuzzy welcome.

I’m scared of the future. I feel it was inappropriate for me to have children because I have no where for them to go where they are actually wanted and safe if something happened to me. They have their choice of abusive biological families or my friends who don’t really want them. Some of my friends would do it if it meant keeping them from being abused but they don’t want them. And the joint custody stage is just over.

I’ll adapt. I always do.

Sometimes I draw great comfort from the fact that whatever things happen to me at this point–no matter how unfortunate they might be–I have been through worse and I ended up on top. I will continue to reinvent myself to be whatever I need to be.

Yeah, I will always have rocky periods. I will always struggle with general self-worth, I’m afraid. But I will keep going and I will keep changing whatever I need to change about myself in order to meet the carefully very small list of things I have agreed to do.

Under promise and over deliver. That’s my motto.

I have a great network though. And talking about my issues with the word “family” is probably pretty alienating. There have been a fair number of people who have told me they consider me “family”. My response, “Really? And just how many of your “family” functions have I been at? None. Yeah. We aren’t family.”

We are friends. We can be tribe. I love the word tribe. We can be contacts. We can be a network. We can be part of a community together.

I love and respect you and think you are doing as well by me as you should be to some random friend. But you don’t treat me like family and don’t demean me and your family by conflating the two.

Friends share what they have left over. Family keeps giving whether they have “extra” or not.

My aunt didn’t take me in to live with her because she had extra spoons. That was not a woman who had a spare *anything* in her life. She took me in any way. Even though I was violent and reactive and difficult and I acted out sexually all over the place. She let me live with her until *I* left. She never asked me to leave. Auntie never withdrew her support. That was all me.

When Auntie was sick she fucking got out of bed and took care of everyone anyway. That’s what you do. (As I got older I sent her back to bed and I did her chores. Because that is also what you do.)

It is hard feeling simultaneous gratitude for what people have given me and sadness that they are done. It is hard dealing with the bitterness of being told I’m family and watching as I’m dropped. That’s what you do with friends when you want to do the slow fade because you don’t have the ovaries to say, “I want to end this relationship because I can’t handle how crazy you are.”

Fair point. No one needs to handle how crazy I am. I get it. I’m sorry I have impacted you so negatively. Please take care of yourself.

I need to stop looking around me for the help that will not come. I’m it. Whatever will be rests on my shoulders.

I don’t feel bitter about that. I feel kind of sad. I had quite a group of people I used to spend a lot of time with. I was told adamantly how they would all “be there for me” when I had kids.

Don’t listen to what people say. Look at what they do. Many of my friends are faaaaaabulous occasional babysitters and they’ve made very careful sure that they never even hinted at being available for more than that. They are under promising. I could probably ask for more help in an emergency but they haven’t promised me a god damn thing because they are smart.

I think that my fascist attachment to “but you promised!” probably makes people feel bad. They meant it when they promised it but they didn’t understand what they were actually promising. They meant it for a while and then life circumstances changed and they can’t handle it any more. There is probably at least some piece of shame or inadequacy or disappointment or sadness or something in there. When folks have those kinds of feelings the standard response is to look around and see who you can blame for them. I kind of assume that’ll be me. I shouldn’t remember and hold people to promises. They didn’t really mean it and I’m being a control freak asshole by bringing it up.

Geez. Don’t I understand that they are just available when they have nothing better to do? Geez.

Raising kids is hard. It doesn’t wait until you have nothing better to do. It is the better thing you have to do.

I can no longer plan my life around the idea of having breaks provided by other people. Well, I can hire the neighborhood kid for babysitting. I’m going to be doing more of that. That is one of the only options that is close to within my control. But I won’t think of it as a big break either. It’s an hour or two off at a time so I don’t lose my fucking mind.

“I can see you are struggling and I don’t want to watch.”

Story of my fucking life.

You know what? For all of my struggling I’m still here. I’m not dead yet. I may swear a lot but I don’t hit people any more. I have completed life phases successfully. I have set a lot of goals and met them. I have done what I have said I would do.

The next thing I need to do is get a handle on the yelling in this house. I’ll do it. I’ll find a way. I can’t handle that as a trigger any more, not without anxiety medication.

I sat Shanna down and started talking to her about what coming off the medication means and that I am doing it right now.

“A long time ago–way before you were born–stuff happened to me that kind of changed the chemicals in my brain. I get TOO angry. I get TOO sad and I have a hard time calming down. This is not your fault at all in any way. It is just how my brain works. It is really hard for me to have patience. You know the medicine I take? That medicine gives me more patience and helps me not feel so angry or so sad. It has helped me to be patient while you were a baby and you just flat needed my patience. But every medication is good and bad at the same time. This medicine is hard on my body in some ways that aren’t good for me in the long run. I can’t take it for the rest of my life. I have to come off it. It’s going to be hard to adjust as I have less patience and I feel more angry and more sad but we will have to find a way. Step one: no really you can’t scream in my face any more. I’m afraid I will hit you out of reflex because I am no longer taking a medication that gives me extra pause. Hitting is wrong and I don’t believe it will ever be ok to hit you. We can’t do this screaming any more. Stuff has to change.”

So I’m reading up on screaming in children and adults. I will make plans upon plans. I have to eliminate the screaming. I’m going to break every wall in the house if we don’t.

It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

Talking over

Yesterday Noah was kind of annoyed because he was trying to talk to me and both kids were trying to talk to him at the same time. He expressed some frustration.

I said, “Do you understand why I don’t try to force them to wait their turn?”

He said, “No, I don’t. Why?”

“Have you ever noticed how the people at work who “wait for their turn” just never speak? I want our children to grow up into the kind of adults who are pushy and bossy and who think their ideas are worth pursuing. You can’t get that way after a lifetime of being told to shut up and wait your turn.”

“Oh. That’s a good reason.”

“I think so.”

Not proud.

In my continual efforts to not have secrets about which I feel shame, yesterday we had kind of an incident.

I had to dismantle the slide. An adult friend who was far above the weight limit decided to take a ride. It broke. No fucking shit. It ripped some of the bolts through the plastic and fucked up the wooden support under the slide. So it had to be taken apart. I could fix it with much larger washers, but it was a pain in my ass.

The entire time I was working on the slide, ok that isn’t fair–the first half of the time, the kids were not very happy with me. I tried to patiently explain what I was doing and why. I explained every tool and piece of equipment I was using. I showed them the damage and told them why I had to dismantle it in order to fix it.

The kids stood there and YELLED at me that I was mean for breaking their slide as I took it apart. Even though I had explained why and showed them how I would put it back together.

I fucking lost it. They have been yelling at me that I am mean a lot lately. Basically every time I do not instantly comply with their demands.

I turned around and started screaming at them that if I am so fucking mean go in the fucking house and leave me the fuck alone while I do this fucking work for your fucking play structure.

I don’t feel proud of myself.

I am not sure what the right thing to do there would be but I wasn’t capable of turning around and being nice. I just couldn’t. I am so fucking tired of being yelled at that I am mean while I am in the middle of doing demanding physical labor for someone else’s benefit. I just can’t sit there and tolerate that. I fucking can’t.

But I should figure out how to handle it without yelling “fuck” at children. On one hand I feel bad. On the other hand, wow have I never yelled fuck at my kids like that before. That was special. I’ve been remarkably good for me about swearing over the past few years.

I called K to calm me down. These days it feels like she is the only stress relief I have. The Godmamas are overwhelmed by familial need (that happens) and Noah is working a lot. A lot. A really really lot. He works his primary job, comes home for an hour or so then goes in the garage to do different work. This weekend he’s at a conference.

I used to get 3-5 hours of not-parenting every day. These days I’m under two hours. I do all of my work while managing the kids. Which isn’t something I deserve pity for. I wanted this and all. But it is hard to have enough patience for everything.

We did another hour or so of painting on the play structure. Calli has painted most of the stairs by herself. I was very impressed. I “helped” by doing a last few smoothing strokes on each board but she put the paint down and mostly spread it around by herself. Her paint clothes are now solidly covered in paint because she sat in it while she was painting. It was totally adorable.

Shanna painted the kid-side hand rail mostly on her own. I came along and did a little edging of the parts she had trouble seeing. That’s ok. There were a lot of little corners. Those are easy to miss.

I’m working on the rainbow. It’s a pain in my ass. But it’s coming along. I have used three fucking ladders in order to reach everything. I could have gotten away with two ladders if the thing was about three inches shorter. But it isn’t. So I needed a third ladder. C’est la vie.

I’m starting to have trouble sleeping again. Once I get six or so hours of sleep I feel like my sleep gets lighter–I come up to a lighter sleep cycle and then I just can’t really rest more. I get up to use the bathroom and then I fret. And fret. And fret.

Do you know what makes me feel worst about yelling at Shanna like I did? She came back to me and apologized for yelling at me about an hour after I yelled at them. I apologized to her too. I told her that I was sorry for yelling “fuck” at her because that isn’t very nice or respectful or loving. She said, “Well, we weren’t being very nice to you.”

I said, “No you weren’t. But you are kids. Kids push grown ups. It is my job to be the grown up and hold boundaries. It isn’t very cool of me to scream at you for being a kid.”

She told me she forgives me.

I don’t know how to be a better mother than I am. But I feel she deserves better. She is such a wonderful kid. It is kind of funny that I feel like I am mean to them. But never for the things they yell at me about. Those things are never the mean things. They yell at me that I am mean when I am doing nice things. If they yelled at me while I was actually being mean I think I would just nod and agree.

I think that when they start yelling at me I need to immediately separate us whenever possible. Not because they are “getting in trouble”. If you have feelings like that go express them somewhere else. You are allowed to have them. You aren’t allowed to yell at me like that. Hell, I barely yell at them the way they feel free to yell at me.

My kids are so fucking not abused. The cocky little… oh man. Clearly not abused. Abused children aren’t this god damned demanding.

I haven’t made progress on the book this week. I am thinking about it a lot. I know what I want to say. I just haven’t sat down to write. The minute I sit down the kids jump on top of me and demand that I do _________. (The list is long.)

I feel like we have phases where I can do independent work (like the mural on the fence) and then I just can’t for a while because they feel clingy and upset about being ignored and they won’t allow me to focus on anything. Right now I can’t do the dishes without them bugging the shit out of me to entertain them in some way.

I spend a lot of time saying, “It is not my job to entertain you. Go entertain yourself.” Sometimes it works. Sometimes not so much. That’s the process.

This is hard. I absolutely understand the impulse to just “put them in school”. I feel like there is stuff here to learn. There are lessons in this learning-to-put-up-with-people that I have to learn. I need it. NEED.

When I am an old woman I hope I will be proud of myself for doing the things that I knew were things *I* needed to do. I don’t in any way think that other people should mirror my path. I need to figure out how to be with kids.

When I lose it, which doesn’t happen very often–I do record pretty much all of them–I feel like I am proving that my children deserve to be removed from my care and given to someone who could treat them better. Only when I talk to so-called-“normal” (not diagnosed as crazy from a young age) mothers most of them spend a lot more time screaming at and/or punishing their kids. There is no way in hell I could treat my kids the way I hear/see other mothers doing it. I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror.

But I don’t think they are abusive. I don’t think their kids are damaged or fucked up in any way. So why do I feel so strongly that if *I* behaved that way I would be an abusive monster?

Is it the slippery slope argument? I can’t scream at my kids frequently because screaming just makes me more and more angry (being the one to scream means I am the one to escalate) and I have a really hard time controlling my urge to hit when I get too angry. And when I start screaming I am more or less incapable of screaming without cursing every other word. That is just part of the whole dynamic for me. I see other mothers who are able to scream or discipline and they don’t have to chant fuck fuck fuck over and over.

Right now my kids are sleeping in the cutest way possible. Shanna is “normal” direction but curled up in child’s pose. (Now I get why that is named that way.) Her nightgown is rucked up around her waist and she didn’t wear panties to bed. So she’s mooning the hallway. Calli is also in child’s pose but her head is firmly up against Shanna’s side so they are at a 90 degree angle to one another. They make a T.

I love how connected they are. They fight more now. But holy tomato they are attached to one another. They want to be near one another. Even when they are mad they don’t like separating. They do play in different rooms sometimes (Calli is very willing to run her own games when Shanna is being too bossy) but mostly they don’t like being away from one another.

Shanna keeps telling me that when she is a grown up she is going to go find my big sister and teach her how a big sister should act.

I tell my kids a lot, “How you treat your sister teaches her how to treat you. If you hit, pinch, kick, or shove you are saying that it is ok to do to you. I will not intervene until you get to the point of serious injury. You need to learn how to be nice.”

It is really interesting how Shanna is starting to take responsibility for “I am older and have more self control so I have to teach my sister how to act.” She frequently tells Calli, “Oh Calli! Please stop pinching me. It is hard to not pinch you back when you do that.” Once in a while she does pinch back. Then Calli wants to cry foul. I play at being deaf.

Today is a weeding day. The front yard is really bothering me. I haven’t weeded all summer. My pansies are getting choked out and fuck that noise.

The asparagus are growing like mad. I had no idea they looked like that. They kind of look like fennel as they grow up. It’s really neat. No one believes me that they are asparagus.

Tomato season is (thank goodness) nearly over. I will probably get another 5-10 lbs this year. One more batch of sauce. I’m ready to stop processing.

I am learning a lot about how I feel about food preservation and eating from my yard. I don’t know where I am going to put more raised beds in the future (maybe my roof?) but I think that long-term I will mostly want to figure out how to eat what is in season and do staggered planting. Like putting lettuce out to start every three weeks. Eat it as it comes ripe. We tend to not preserve a whole lot of fruit from the yard so far. Partially this is just current production size but partially it is that we gorge when things are in season. It feels nice. Then we have a break and that feels nice too. Preserving and eating the same things all the time causes me to get really bored and not want to eat at home.

I am sorta keeping to the schedule I drew up. That makes me feel good. I haven’t worked on Outrunning this week but that is the most serious deviation.

I’m having a hard time writing. I think that I’m actually feeling writers block about the book. I’m scared. I’m scared of really and truly committing to what I think a 12 year old should know. That feels like a heavy responsibility. I don’t want to do it wrong. I don’t want to give too much information and push kids towards making bad decisions.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot is that no one wants to seriously think about how much power they have. People don’t like acknowledging to themselves who and what they really are in the scope of things. People either under or over rate themselves. It’s hard to be accurate.

I don’t know how much influence I might potentially have and that is really scary. If Torque (the guy who publicly apologized to me and who gave me specific permission to use his handle whenever I talk about him) had understood how much it meant that he publicly say, “I screwed up and I am sorry” he would have done it ten years ago. If he had been willing to actually deal with me, what difference might that have made in my life?

Sure, he was a softball sized trauma. He violated my consent in a painful way. But he didn’t have sex with me. He didn’t rape me. He did beat me… but I had asked him to so it is a really weird thing to figure out how upset I am allowed to get about the whole situation.

I asked him to do a scene. Scenes are potentially fraught. Everyone has to be responsible for themselves or they SHOULD NOT ENGAGE IN BDSM. If you need to be taken care of then you are not someone who should engage in bdsm. Period.

But he did stuff I told him not to do. And when I screamed “no” and “stop” he ignored me until I said “red” even though I had negotiated not using safewords. But I did have a safeword. I did make it stop.

Recently I was thinking about the last rape. What I really really really hope will be the last rape.

I gave permission in advance for a rape scene. I didn’t understand the difference between compliant rape and a rape I would actually fight against. I never fought before that. I was trained to not fight from when I was a toddler. I was literally physically taught to not fight against being raped from when I was a toddler. When I was twenty-five I finally fought back.

I still lost.

I still got raped. Even though that time I didn’t want it and I was upset enough to fight and I fought as fucking hard as I was physically capable of fighting.

I haven’t ever done that before. I always give. I always know that it is right that I lose. I know I deserve to be raped. I know I deserve to service the needs of people around me because I am a whore and that is what whores are for.

But that last rape was different from all the others. That is the only time I can look at and really believe in my heart, “I was not able to stop that.”

Every other time I acted like it was like the scene with Torque. If I knew the safeword I could stop it but I don’t play with safewords so mostly I will eventually go limp and try to not die.

I don’t say “no” to sex. Well, I do now. Rarely. Barely. I started in pregnancy. I made Noah promise in advance that if I decided to not have sex from the date of conception to three months after delivery that he wouldn’t divorce me. I knew there was the non-zero possibility. I know that happens for some people. I was really scared. I made him promise because clearly he picked me because I am sexually compulsive and at that point we were still non-monogamous and I was pretty scared that he would wander off and not come back if I cut him off.

He didn’t.

I went and did a lot of bdsm because I wanted to find out what it felt like to believe you were allowed to say “stop” and have it work. When that mechanism failed me…

I don’t say “no” much. I learned how to say “stop”. Barely. It took a lot of effort and work. It took really consciously trying to do it. My Owner worked with me. He did a lot of very dangerous things where I HAD to say stop or he might end up in jail for manslaughter and we don’t want that now, do we?

It is kind of funny because outside of sex I say “no” more easily than almost anyone I’ve ever met. I’m pretty happy to add a “and go fuck yourself while you are at it!” But that sex button thing is old.

Lately I’ve been waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror and saying repeatedly, “You will not be held accountable for your feelings; you will only be held accountable for your actions.”

I have big feelings. I have mean feelings. I have sad feelings. I have hateful feelings. I have painful feelings.

I’m not hurting anyone else by having these things inside of me. If I control my temper and manage to not lash out (screaming that I am not fucking mean for fixing the fucking slide aside) then I am not hurting people. If I am not hitting anyone I am not hurting anyone. If I control my tone of voice such that I do not sound mean or hateful then I am doing fine. It’s ok that I am playing a game.

That’s the point. It is all a game.

No one is against you. They are for themselves. Don’t take it personally.

You will only be held accountable for how you act. I don’t know how you feel. I can’t know. That is forever a shut door. I just know how you act. I care about how you act.

That is comforting and very disturbing.

Not sleeping well.

I don’t sleep much while it is hot. My err internals are unhappy. I worked on a book for a while this morning. *pat self on back* Now if I can just keep this up I might be more than a one hit wonder. Not that my book was a hit. You know what I mean.

I’m kind of tired and mellow feeling. It is actually nice. Noah is going to take Shanna to camp today (she said please and all) so I will be at the nursery at 8:30 when it opens. A friend asked to come over and garden with me today. I can barely contain my squee. We will be weeding and mulching and such. (Yes, Pam I saw your note about “just use cardboard.” All of the cardboard on my property is still in good shape and the kids play with the boxes.)

I absolutely HAVE to work on the fence today. No excuses! I was productive all of yesterday… just not on the fence. This is going to be difficult to force myself to do. I can tell. I’m terrified of fucking up and having people make fun of me or hate me. Oh well. Keep working.

This morning I was foolish and I read some of that nasty anti-home schooling stuff. Oh boy are some people pissed off about even the *idea* of home schooling. Has someone tried to force you into something? Is there a reason you are SO ANGRY with people who make this choice? No? Ok then.

I get the logic that putting my kids in school would be better for the other kids in the school because then I would be forced to be involved with the school and I would make it better for not just my kids. I absolutely agree with every step in that process.

I just can’t get onboard with the part where I am supposed to throw my kids under a bus because it would be better for someone else. My experiences of public school have been bad. Not just for me as a student, but as a teacher and as a person in the credential program.

I won’t force my kids to be part of that system. I don’t believe it is healthy for our species to be forced to sit in chairs for 6+ hours/day while quietly listening to someone else. Nope. Not what we are meant to do this lifetime.

I understand that this is a privileged position. I believe that I am stinking with privilege. I have choices that many people can’t even dream of. I think that is positive and I am not going to give up my choices just because they aren’t available to everyone.

I don’t see 5 star restaurants going to a McDonald’s level of pricing (and food quality) just so that it is faaaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrr to everyone involved.

Life isn’t fair. At all. Ever. There is no fair.

That said, I am pretty happy that Noah’s obscene raise came with a much lower than expected amount of money. Ahhh skipping tax brackets. That’s ok. We don’t actually need all of the money. It’s ok that it is being used for services for people who need them. I feel pretty good about that.

I can give some things in some ways. I can’t necessarily give what someone wants or needs. I don’t want to be responsible. I am too selfish. I will donate money and food. I will assist with my labor when I have extra spoons and not when I don’t. I am not going to be forced to sign up for working all the god damn time for someone else’s benefit. I don’t care enough about other people.

I can say that out loud. I don’t care enough about other people to give them the time and energy I want to use on my own selfish pursuits.

Could I donate more time so that I am making other peoples lives at least slightly less awful if not better? Probably. Almost certainly. There is no shortage of suffering in the world.

Some people feel motivated to help a lot a lot of the time. That’s awesome. I’m glad you have so much to give. I don’t have it. If I try to do that I end up spending a lot of time cutting my body to remind me that I don’t matter so I don’t forget who I am supposed to be focusing on.

Cutting really is a useful tool. I think about it a lot. I think about what it does and why it is useful in the ways it is useful. Self-control is both under rated and under valued by most people. Very few people have the self-control to abruptly shift large chunks of their behavior. It is the same thing as not that many people are truly good actors. Same mechanism.

Cutting influences a lot of brain chemicals. Cutting is a dramatic shift to the body chemistry makeup. It induces calmness and a feeling of focus–tunnel vision, really. When your body is in shock it tends to shut down a lot of your nerve endings. You stop getting a lot of distracting messages from your body.

Cutting allows me to borrow spoons of self-control. I don’t really have that kind of calmness in my body without something to trigger a much-larger-than-usual grab of chemicals. Yay drugs! Due to experimentation I have learned a lot more about what my base level is vs. what is my elevated mood vs. what is my depressed mood. It’s a process.

Sometimes it is very powerful to stop and really concentrate on how powerful my brain is (your brain too; just sayin’). The brain scans they are doing these days feel like magic to me. You can see what is happening. The most magical part is you can see how people have the sheer willpower to change things.

I believe that my brain was altered by trauma. What I mean by that is I believe my brain adapted to living in an environment with a freakishly high level of stress. That is the level of stress my brain believes is necessary/appropriate to common life.

If my brain adapted to stress, how can I consciously choose to change the adaptation again? Studies show that mostly people don’t change much. It is hard. It takes will and effort and work and misery.

Being inside my brain sucks bowling balls through a hose. It isn’t fun. The difficulty of changing things is really hard to notice when stacked up to how shitty it is to live here.

I believe in magic. I believe that people make things happen when everyone else believes that it can’t. It happens all the time.

I have had the good/bad privilege of spending a lot of time with people who have experienced severe traumatic brain injuries. I have seen people survive the most horrifying accidents with terrible injuries. Their lives are forever altered. They can’t get back to being who they were.

I have no before picture I am struggling towards. That isn’t part of my story. I don’t have a base line to return to. All I have is the absolute all encompassing belief that I can change the story. I can learn how to be a good parent and I can be present through a healthy and happy childhood. This is not about a return to anything. This is about consciously choosing something different from my life.

Last night we read the part in the Little House in the Big Woods where Pa teases Laura about the kids getting only a switch in their Christmas stocking if they are bad. Shanna’s eyes went wide.

“Those parents hit those kids?”

“Yup. A long time ago people believed that if a kid did something bad the parents were required to hit the kid to teach the kid a lesson. It never worked very well.”

“Gosh I’m glad that no one has to be hit in this house.”

Me too. She cuddled up really close after that and told me that she would never hit me because I have been hit enough. I didn’t really know how to respond. I kept reading.

I’m reading my friend’s book. It is a rather fun read so far. I’m about 20% into it. He combines irreverence and history in his fabulous manner. (He intersperses national/international news events on the time lines to let people get a scope on what is happening. He said which year (I’ve already forgotten–1800’s, I think the last number is a 4 or a 6 but the decade escapes me and that is pretty important.) that Beethoven began de-composing. Similar gems are liberally sprinkled. I’ve always liked his writing. That’s why I know him in the first place. Yay for internet friends.

Why is it that I feel like I am standing still and free falling at the same time? I feel like I am not doing enough and I am terribly bored and I feel like I am doing too much and I am so overwhelmed I cannot possibly keep functioning at this rate.

I’m not balancing the marathon vs. sprint timing thing very well. I’m not actually talking about running–it’s one of those metaphor things.

Gardening has a rhythm and I am struggling to learn it. Some months of the year I need to spend 40 hours/week in the garden. Some months I spend more like 1-2 hours/week. I don’t yet feel this rhythm in my bones but it is coming. Spring is like a drug for me these days. Must move. Must plant. It is weird and primitive.

Summer is feeling different. I am a delicate and trembling flower and I wilt in the heat. More accurately I have attacks of horrifying bowel pain. I HATE SUMMER. I spend hours a day not sure if I am on the verge of spontaneously vomiting or shitting my pants because I won’t make it to the bathroom in time. It is hard to keep a schedule when I feel like this. (For the record I have only had one bathroom accident since childhood. The first day Noah went back to work after Shanna was born I had not yet learned that post-children the urgent signals are uhhh less timely and more actually urgent. Eww. Eww. Eww.)

But I have managed to go to the water park at least one day a week since it opened for week days. *pat self on back* That is a summer routine that I want to start. We only stay for an hour to an hour and a half. We might stay longer if the kids could do more swimming on their own and I had to do less work. As is I don’t have the physical ability to manage entertaining them in water for four hours. I take this as a sign that I am out of shape.

I feel like what I should do is make up a variety of different schedules–the way I did when I was teaching. Year planning was my favorite step. <3 It is like a puzzle! What do you want to do and when? How does it all fit together to make a cohesive picture of education? How do I fit in all of the standards and methods of teaching I want to hit?

I used to list: poetry, grammar, writing, reading boring analytical non-fiction, reading novels, reading short stories all as separate units. How many weeks to spend on each? How many hours in those weeks? How do I pre-test to figure out what people already know so I don’t bore the shit out of people? How do I evaluate people accurately to find out what they really learned?

If I had a dick this process would give me a hard on. It is a control thing. I like feeling like I am dotting all of my i’s and crossing all of my t’s. (I understand that in that case the apostrophe isn’t strictly appropriate but it looks bad any other way of writing it. See, this is what many years of obsessively worrying about grammar gives you. You know the rules and don’t follow them any way because the rules suck. Go English?)

I probably should get out some paper. It is easier without typing.

What are my categories now? Gardening, schooling, social activities, making food, cleaning house, money (there are a lot of once a year payments, for example, so budgeting is kind of weird), kid-separate-from-adult-time (my kids are *not* actually attached to me at the hip very consciously), reading, writing, running, hygiene (this takes time! Every Damn Day!), and I could come up with more if I tried.

They are all on slightly different schedules. Some things are scheduled and balanced on a month to month basis, some things are scheduled and balanced weekly or even daily. How do you balance all of the daily obligations against the weekly and monthly and annual?

Near as I can tell most people do more or less what their parents did because that is what they know of life. Thus I do a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul because that is what I learned. I do it while squirreling away a lot of money which is, strangely, also what I learned.

I don’t usually mention that my father was rather well off throughout my childhood. I lived in poverty. I ate nothing but ramen and free lunch. I moved every three months because we were couch surfing and my mom couldn’t pay rent. He would tell my mom he was too poor to pay for things but he had a lot of savings. My mom just flat never had enough money to live.

Shanna sees me play with Mint a lot. She asks what it is. I talk to her about the balance of wants and needs and future savings. I tell her, “If you save money and you have a buffer then you don’t have to feel afraid when unexpected things happen. You can just shrug and move on with your life. Not having savings is one of the scariest things in life. It means you can not go out and solve the problems that come up and that is really hard.”

When I lived on $1200/month I had $3,000 in the bank at (almost) all times in a savings account I otherwise didn’t touch. My theory was that I might have to leave suddenly at some point in time and I needed a buffer. I burned through the buffer when I left my Owner. I got down to the point of my bank account only having four digits.

My friend offered me $100. He said that was his friends-need-help emergency fund. I wouldn’t let him give me money. I told him that I would make it come out ok in the end. I was right.

It is harder to deny yourself things you can afford to buy than it is to not buy things when you have no money. That has been my experience. It is harder and harder for me to save money. (In my defense the largest chunk of my spending is going to paying the mortgage off faster. I shouldn’t feel so upset with myself for not “saving” when I am spending the money on debt pay off instead of consumer spending but there you go.)

A while back I read a book, Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation and whereas I am not up for adopting most of her methods or practices (I’m not taking up Catholicism nor sports) I really latched on to a few important points in the book. If you are really nice to your kids and you are interested in them and you share things with them then they will want you to like them. If they want you to like them then they will make choices that are in line with your values.

Oh man.

What are my values then? I want my kids to be interested in life and in people. Most people are good. Most people are pretty kind when given the opportunity. If someone is not kind to you, pull back first but be able to attack to defend yourself. You are worth defending. Read as much as you can–as many different kinds of things as you can. I believe that there are more things to learn than there is time in the day to learn it. I want my children to believe that their body is theirs to do with as they please–not as someone else pleases (unless it is fun and then I just don’t want details–m’kay?). I want my children to believe that work is necessary and fun. I want them to understand that different people are good at different kinds of work and that is no judgment one way or another on the people or the work. Do what you like.

I want my children to understand that they have privilege. That their ancestors have been privileged for quite some time. What does that mean about our place in the world and in history?

I check a lot of books out of the library that deal with African American issues. Seeing my little Aryan baby read, “A long time ago before you or I were born our people were enslaved” makes me wince. I told her that actually her ancestors were the slave owners. She asked if my ancestors owned slaves and I got to say no. (Yankees, more-recent-immigrants, and prostitutes for the win.) There goes white guilt in full form! But it’s true. Noah’s family owned slaves.

I find that as I get older and as I read more feminist writing I realize that if I were to fall into the most obvious trope presented to me I should hate Noah. I should hate everything he stands for and everything about him.

That is really hard to live with. I’m sure that is as hard to live with as the trope that women are just meant to be props for a man’s life.

I don’t hate Noah. I like Noah. Having the life of privilege he has had has made him one of the kindest and most considerate people I have ever had in my life. But maybe he just treats me that way because I put out. I’m only sort of kidding.

I am nice to Noah and he is nice to me and we have a whole virtuous cycle thing going on. Different people care about different kinds of “being nice”. Different people want different kinds of support.

In the past three days I have talked to four different women who have all been extremely upset with their (male) partners because of a lack of support. In most of these cases the woman can’t even put her finger on what more support would look like but they know they aren’t getting it. (Mothers of many children can come up with a list of what they want without having to pause for breath.)

When I think about how upset these women are I stop and think about how tired Noah is. Then I cycle through my male friends who are working as hard as they physically can to support their partners.

Yes, yes I know that the “love languages” crap plays in with it but it feels bigger than that. I think that evolution wants us to feel like what this person is giving us isn’t enough so that we will go shopping for someone who provides us with more. I think that it is just a good bet in terms of producing prosperous off-spring.

Only it doesn’t work. Because splitting up families is hella complicated. I think about the interweaving needs that exist in a family. I think about how children learn to care for themselves and for one another earlier when there are more of them around.

Then I come back to the fact that Noah started off in this world no bigger or stronger than me but he is now in some ways. He may or may not have a higher IQ. I definitely have a higher EQ. He has a higher earning potential at this stage. I can run farther. We are different. We are not equal.

How does one measure worth? I can hate him as a symbol of oppression or I can recognize that he personally isn’t oppressing anyone and he hasn’t spent a lot of time actively doing any oppressing. Living with me has dramatically changed how feminist he is at work. (I feel damn proud of that.)

He is moving in the direction of having power and influence. And I stand behind him filling his ear with my opinions. Does that make me a prop? Is he a prop? Is he just a paycheque to support my lavish lifestyle?

We are good at very different things. We like very different things. We complement one another. And because we are white that means that we have what is sometimes presented as the widest array of options in life.

My demographic is mocked up one side and down the other in the media. I am an upper middle class rich white liberal. I am a stay at home mom and I home school my kids. I am a punch line and a punching bag. Waa waa poor me.

Do I want to be a caricature? Do I want to treat Noah like he is a caricature? Noah is an upper middle class rich white liberal gamer geek. Doesn’t that make him kind of icki by definition? And don’t let that sicko watch My Little Ponies!! Ahem. Sorry.

What does being anything mean? I never identified as trailer trash despite living in trailers off and on and despite white trash being so much less “ok”. I am not defined by the box in which I sleep. Or in which I fuck random men I just picked up.

What am I?

I told Noah the other day that most of the people in my family would describe themselves as good people who sometimes do bad things. They are rapists and pedophiles. Ok, most of them aren’t rapists. But even the non-rapists adamantly defend the rapists.

I think of myself as a bad person who doesn’t really do bad things very often. I believe I am inherently unworthy of any relationship. It is inevitable that I will kick the cabinet off the wall. Duh. Being the kind of person who can, has, and may do so again means that I am just bad.

Do I rape people? Well, I’m pretty confident that I have not raped anyone since I was eighteen. I am pretty sure that I did commit rape before then. I am so sorry. I didn’t understand what I was doing. I didn’t understand power differentials. I didn’t understand that I was ever capable of having power.

Sometimes I look at Noah and I understand on a gut level that he doesn’t see himself as someone who has or has ever had power. He is still in that timeless place with the little boy who wasn’t treated all that well.

I mean, not that he’s immature or anything–that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m saying that ones internal perspective doesn’t much resemble other peoples view of one. See how that non-gendering thing is awkward?

I do not believe I am a good person. It is, frankly, freeing. I get to make selfish and self-interested choices without caring that much about the effect. I generally do take the effect into consideration because I will have to live with it and all. That is one of the best parts of getting older. You have had a chance to learn from more mistakes.

Every time someone tells me not to dwell on the past I wonder what they mean by that. The people I know who tell me, “I don’t think about the past” are people who have the same little cycle of life over and over with people who are practically paper dolls. People who are roles.

I don’t hate Noah. I don’t feel I can. The longer I know him the older and more grizzled he becomes. (He’s got quite the beard these days.) But I see him as younger and softer as time goes by. I see more of his innocence and his desire for simple connection. I see more of him wanting to be liked and feeling sad because he knows most of the world doesn’t like him very much. (I mean, he’s charismatic and has friends and all–but he’s a symbol to be hated.)

What does any of it mean? Nothing? Everything? Who knows. I like him. I like the life I get to share with him more than I have ever liked anything in my whole life. I feel grateful for the peace and joy in my life. I have stability, safety, and privilege. I can write for six hours straight (in various places on differing projects) when I have insomnia (or intestinal pain–let’s be clear here) after getting almost six hours of sleep because my husband helps so much.

I can invite two kids over for the weekend and trust that my husband will just be around making food and cleaning up messes and playing with kids as much or more than I do.

Sex. That is the thing to schedule that didn’t make the list. I’m sorta interested in my cycles around that as well. Obviously I am more interested in sex around ovulation. We often have most of our ten times a month sex in a four day period. It’s awesome. But he would prefer other spacing. I struggle internally with treating sex like a chore to cross off the list like brushing my teeth.

And yet.

Why am I having sex ten times a month? (Ok, I’ve actually had at least two months in the past year where I didn’t put out ten times and I’ve had paroxysms of guilt. I try to compensate by some months getting up to more like fifteen. Noah agrees that it balances and all is copacetic.) Because sex is a lot of where Noah gets positive energy. He is drained and tired all of the time. If I put out more he would have more energy. This is a pretty trackable situation in our life.

But it is different for me. Sex is different than it has ever been. HA! I’ve been trying to think for days what base lines I have in my life. People revert to base line when they are under stress. I finally came up with one: picking up strangers for sex. That is probably the primary base line behavior I have had in life. I did it for 27 years.

Monogamy is weird. I’m not even going to call it boring because it isn’t that it is boring. It is consistent, but not boring. It feels different in a lot of ways I don’t feel up to putting into words right now. I hear breakfast finishing up and my arms hurt.

And then I’ll just abruptly stop. Because I can’t end for shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I have a bad temper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can’t learn without making mistakes.

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

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

There are no personal problems; all problems are community problems.

Yesterday I found out that some folks I love are struggling with domestic violence. That scares me pretty bad. I was aware that I wouldn’t sleep for fretting about them so I called them up and asked if I could drive up to their house after dinner for a meddlesome conversation. They consented. I’m so glad.

The whole drive up to their house I chanted a variety of phrases. “I will be kind. I will be thoughtful. I will be helpful. I will be useful. I will be considerate. I will say only necessary things. I will say kind things. I will be helpful. I will only be compassionate. I will be calm. I will be loving. I will be a friend to their marriage. I will be supportive. I will be kind.” etc. I chanted it over and over as I drove.

I fetched ice cream as part of the preparation for the conversation. We sat down and talked about why things are hard. Life is really hard sometimes. Some of us have very good reasons for the way we panic and over react and freak out.

One of the folks in this couple is like me. There were very serious childhood issues. Well, they both had hard childhoods. One of them clearly doesn’t have PTSD and one clearly does.

I talked about the amygdala. I talked about self-control. I talked about how if your brain was damaged in these ways approximately 50% of people cannot change their behavior without conscious professional help–read that as therapy. I am not qualified to be anyones guide. I do not have specific training on how to help other people heal from PTSD. I am just not adequate. I can love you and support you and help you find the help you need but I am not capable of giving it. That’s over my head.

I talked about how the only way to still be married in twenty years is to deal with these emotional issues. If y’all continue to be unable to keep your hands to yourselves you will not be married in twenty years. You will flee an abusive relationship and spend the rest of your life bitter and angry. Is that really what you want?

Changing your behavior is hard. I no longer hit people. I hit people a lot–basically constantly–for about twenty years. I understand how hard it is to stop hitting. I really do. When your brain was damaged by being severely abused and neglected as a child you have to consciously work at changing your behavior to be more appropriate. You have to go out and learn what is appropriate and how to get there from where you are. It has to be a conscious journey and you need professional help. This isn’t optional for us.

50% of people who have PTSD cannot get better without help. That is not because we are weak or because we failed. Anyone who implies that I struggle because I am stupid or because I lack willpower is welcome to sit on this greased fire hydrant I have over here. I am not lacking in willpower. Not all things can be changed through willpower.

I don’t want anyone to get in jail. I don’t want CPS invading the lives of my friends. I don’t want my friends divorcing because they are both sad and angry because of things that happened long ago and they are unable to truly understand what is going on right now because everything is still seen through the lens of “must survive.”

I meddled. I pushed. I interfered. It isn’t my place and yet if I don’t do it who the fuck will? Who will show up and say, “Let me explain the results these behaviors will have on your children. This is very well studied. I can tell you each of the different patterns your kids might follow. There aren’t many options.”

I love you all. I do not want any of you to be hurt. I do not believe any of you deserve more pain. I think you have been through enough pain and that you desperately need a reduction in pain. We really really really need to figure out how to reduce your pain. You can’t live with this much pain.

I feel wildly resentful that no one ever tried to help me. I cannot do that to children I love. I have to talk to their parents about things that happen. I have to. I did not lose this friendship over my meddling. Instead therapy appointments are being made. It’s not that I am “right”. It’s that everyone needs help. Everyone needs help on their path. Please oh please find the help you need so you can help your children. You cannot teach them how to be a functional adult if you are only quasi-functional yourself. You cannot teach what you do not know.

Hands are not for hitting. (Ok, unless you negotiate a bdsm scene. Different.) Love one another. Listen for why the misunderstandings are happening. Respect boundaries. Set them earlier and more firmly.

This life business is hard. I want all of us to have the support we need. Sometimes that is having someone who loves you say, “I can see the road you are on and I don’t see it going somewhere you want to go. Would you like to diverge onto a different path?” It’s not that I have a crystal ball. It’s not that I know everything. For the love of Christ I want to be wrong about my predictions.

Let’s make me wrong. Let’s sit next to one another holding hands at your childrens’ high school graduations. Let’s still know one another in twenty years. Let us choose who we want to be instead of ending up like our parents.

We are better than them.

Enlightened self-interest

Mostly I understand that everyone has different things they want from a partner. When I tell a man that he should expect to help his pregnant wife with diapers, dishes, etc the most common reaction is, “Yeah right”. My husband is better than that. My husband has no desire to sneer at helping me. I try not to judge husbands out loud because they all have different strengths (and it isn’t like Noah is a saint) but man I judge this.

The idea of standing on the precipice of parenthood and thinking, “I’m not going to help” makes me want to spontaneously vomit on the floor. What is wrong with you that you begrudge your partner and your child this help? I fucking guarantee you that it is in your long-term interests to help. To be accommodating. To do way the hell more than you have ever done before.

It strikes me as “That’s your job” thinking and that means these people believe they are responsible for only certain things. If Noah needed my assistance in making money I would do so–I couldn’t make as much as him but I would do it. I wouldn’t be pissy and whiny about how it is supposed to be his job to earn money so whyyyyyyyy do I have to do it too? It wouldn’t occur to me.

Noah has responsibilities with our children. He does a lot of work. He’s part of a family–he is not the lord of some fucking fief.

Marriage is about each person giving absolutely to the maximum of their ability in order to allow both of you to maximize your potential and happiness in life. That is what my marriage is like at least. Kinda socialist because I steal his money and I still make him do work.

I have the general sense that I could have talked a few former partners into kids with me–they wanted kids in general or were on the fence when I knew them. I didn’t want to just have kids with someone. I either wanted a partner or I was going to do it alone.

Yesterday I had a first visit with a new dental hygienist. She has been seeing Noah for almost ten years. She made a crack about how I have “three children” and I almost bit her head off. Don’t you fucking talk about Noah that way. (I didn’t curse at her.) I was adamant that I do not have three children. I have two children and a partner who blows my mind with how enthusiastic he is about participating in my life.

I know dads who work two and three jobs in a day and come home and wash the dishes. That’s a man right there. If you sit on your ass all day doing a computer job and then you whine about how when you come home you need time to go play your video games because you’re tiiiiiiiired then you aren’t a man. We are all tired. That’s the parent condition. Yes, parents need down time. But the dishes also need to be washed and unless you have god damn fairies visiting your house (send them to my house when they are done with you–ok?) by saying that it isn’t your problem you are dumping it all on your partner.

The families I know where the husband stays home and the wife works all seem to involve the wife coming home and helping. Why do husbands resist? Oh yes, women’s work and all that crap.

This is why I hold no desire in my heart to “have it all” in terms of a serious career and doing the domestic shit. There is so little value or respect given to domestic work and yet it must be done. If a woman takes on a job it doesn’t seem to lessen her share of domestic work in most cases and gosh that sounds like she is getting screwed to me.

I like my feminist husband who looks at how many hours we each have to “work” during the day and divides tasks with me and values what I do. My work makes his life better. He is happy about that. So he’s grateful and helpful.

Noah’s work makes my life better. I am ridiculously privileged and lucky. I happened to find someone who has the ability to make a lot of money. I don’t think my expectations of him are less because he makes a lot of money. I treat him like he gets forty hours to go do his job and then he needs to be at home with his family doing his share of the work to raise our kids–you fucking wanted the kids and you want a relationship with them when they are adults. That means bonding and labor while they are children.

Children bond most strongly with the people who meet their needs as opposed to their wants. Weekend-entertainment-daddies aren’t respected and loved the way dads are who are serious caretakers. You can’t trust a weekend-daddy the way you can trust someone who has protected you and cared for you and kissed away your owies.

I looked at my slave contract and realized that was what I was doing with my Owner. I was creating the structure of artificial exchange of needs on a predictable schedule so that I could learn to trust him. I’m glad I did that when I did it. I’m glad I’m not still clinging to the idea of slavery.

I have decided that a life lived as a support source and that is all is not a life I want. I don’t want to be an invisible support leg holding up someone else’s life. I want to matter. I want to be irreplaceable.

If someone is just a paycheque then they are easily replaceable. I am increasingly certain that no one else could ever feel good enough after Noah. I don’t think anyone else will ever do so much to take care of me and make me feel important. No one else will ever have a window into my needs. This breeding period is a uniquely vulnerable time. I have needed help and my husband came through over and over instead of saying it wasn’t his problem. I didn’t think I would ever deserve that.

Marriage is not a proposition where you should each contribute your “half” of the labor. Each of you should act like you have to keep the ship afloat and you are responsible for noticing when things start sliding. You can have frequent role assignments but they are not set in stone.

If Noah walks in the door from work and it looks like a bomb exploded he gives us each hugs and starts working. I don’t think there are any words in the English language to adequately describe what that means to me. What that feels like. I feel honored and seen and loved and respected and acknowledged and appreciated and like he believes that my work is important. Validated may be the closest.

On days when he walks in and everything is nice and tidy and cleaned up and dinner is ready and he gets to just sit around and rest he beams at me all night. He’s thrilled with what I accomplished. He is grateful and flattering and appreciative. He comments and notices me.

I don’t want it to sound like Noah spends allllll his non-work hours slaving around after me. He gets time off. Up to ten hours in a week that he can use for video gaming if he wants to.  For someone with as many irons in the fire as he has that still isn’t enough time but this is the rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul part of our life. We aren’t doing it financially, thank goodness, but we do it with energy stores and finishing projects.

I don’t hate guys who do less than Noah. I’m just deeply grateful I will never have to live with any of them. I would rather live on the streets and openly deal with the fact that other people do not care about my needs than live with someone who will put on a pretense and abandon me when I am desperate. I feel that strongly about it.

I like knowing people who are different from me. They tolerate different things. They like different things. They seek out different things. It isn’t that other people have bad marriages–they have a marriage they are willing to be in. They are happy. That makes it a totally acceptable marriage. But it lets me know how I need to phrase things with Noah. It gives me kind of a shadow edge around our relationship to remind me where I need to encourage and discourage Noah.

Oh my god I appreciate Noah. Knowing that I get to come home to Noah makes any trip out feel ok. I can be brave and go to places even though I am scared. I worry about stupid things like falling in the parking lot. I fell yesterday and hurt my ankle. I had this overwhelming rush of terror and I sat on the curb having a panic attack because I believe so strongly that if  I was desperate people would ignore me. If I had fallen and hit my head and been unable to call for help, would people pass by and leave me? I do not trust my fellow humans much.

Sometimes when I am out I have to sit down and reread the note Noah gave me. I asked him to give me permission to be places. He wrote it down. I carry it in my wallet. When I am scared and I feel overwhelmed with how lonely and isolated and estranged I feel while standing near people I excuse myself to the bathroom and I take out the note and I read it. I remind myself that I can come home and deal with my needs later. I won’t be alone. Noah gave me a pass. He wrote down on a piece of paper that I am allowed to be here. Whichever here I happen to be at right now. He signed it. It’s official. So I’m allowed to go out and I am allowed to be places.

I don’t believe that other people are responsible for my needs but I feel sad that I don’t matter to them. When any partner finds out that his/her partner is about to have increased needs and they respond by saying it isn’t their problem… It isn’t that I think everyone “has” to care. There aren’t rules like that. I just feel this wild grief. I feel like weeping and throwing myself to the floor because there is such a vacuum of love in this world. Everyone is so miserly with their love. I could help but that is icki so I won’t help. I know fathers who have never changed a diaper and they have multiple children over five. That turns my stomach. I know fathers who have never put their child to bed. I know fathers who have never prepared a meal for their child.

I’m glad those children have a mother who is perfectly able to meet their needs full time. I could not do that. I am not competent enough. I would crack. I would be mean. I would get vindictive and nasty. I’m not nice enough to do that. I don’t have enough to give. If I had done single parenting I would have had to work and the kids would have been in daycare. I could not have done the 24/7 available thing.

I have needed help in order to not be abusive. I have needed help in order to be a good mother. I’m very grateful that my partner is invested in his children enough to care about them getting a high level of quality of care. That means he sees me as a person who has needs. If my needs aren’t met the children will suffer. Letting me suffer is not really in his long-term self interests. He has a lot more to lose by being selfish than he has to gain.

I believe it helps enormously that we have a time limit on this all-in period. We would both like it if he was independently employed and did not need a 40 hours/week commitment. In order to get to that point he is going to have to take a big scary leap and pull all his energy away from things he is currently spending energy on and focus on this stuff I can only sort of help with. All of a sudden my support will have to come from elsewhere.

This is what enlightened self-interest looks like. I want a fairly specific life. I’m working like a dog to get there. So is my partner. We have drawn up a list of goals together. We have things we want for both of us. Noah specifically came and asked me to marry him because he wanted to have children and I wanted to have children and he thought I would be a good mother. I was right in thinking he would be a good father. Folks who didn’t see him as I did–well jokes on you. (The hygienist really kind of irritated me. I hate the “all men are immature children” trope. Yes, I bloody well argue with it when I hear it.)

I feel so lucky that I found someone who looks at me and sees my potential. Who sees what I have to give and says, “That would make my life better” and who sees that I am a weak and frail creature. I need help. I am not weak and frail because I am a woman I am weak and frail because I am animal. All animals can only handle a limited amount of work if they are going to perform at a high level. Noah gives unstinting support; that means that I have to do the same.

Gratitude on my part usually translates to sex. You can see where this is going. Enlightened self-interest.

Noah gets up and makes breakfast for us five or six days a week. He says, “I want to make sure that life without me would be so unpleasant that you never ever want to leave. Ha! You would have to make your own breakfast!” And he has over time adjusted his recipes to my taste. Insert swoon here.

Not everyone wants the things I want and not everyone has the needs I have. I can see why people end up partnered with the people they do–they balance one another differently. Their relationship works for them. I am still a judgmental asshole. I can’t understand an attitude of not wanting to help. I don’t think it is good. I judge it. I’m an asshole. Ok fine. I can live with that. I’m trying to be less rude about it in other peoples houses and I failed yesterday thus my outpouring of whining on the internet.

Do other people get to vent about me in the ways that I vent about people? They have to be able to or I have to shut up. That’s only fair.

End rape culture at the playground

Sometimes I feel a little weird on park days. I make a conscious effort to always trudge out and rough house with the boys. Ok, I do miss some days when I’m being whiny and want to talk to grown ups. But I try to do at least a little rough housing every week.

I talk to all the little boys. They are getting used to me. I’m pretty different from their moms–that’s cool. We wrestle. Some new ones got brave yesterday and joined in. We had to negotiate. I talked about how breasts are really sensitive so be careful not to whack them and never grab a woman or girls breasts without permission. That’s a private area. But I did it with a smile on my face and a gentle voice and I went right back to wrestling and rolling around like puppies.

I think this is what really influences character. I feel like a lot of the rape culture ranting that yells at adult men about how terrible they are for the patriarchy is missing the point. I don’t want all of the adult men in my life to feel terrible and guilty for having a penis. That’s not what I’m interested in. That won’t make anyones life better.

One of my buddies in the home school group told me that she likes talking to me because I am very opinionated and very different from her but I’m not trying to convert her–I have no interest in having her be like me. So she gets to listen to things that are totally outside her experience and think about them without feeling pressured to change. I feel like that means I am doing exactly the right thing and I am tuning my message appropriately. Good.

I want to exist loudly in front of people. I want people to understand just how different from them the people around them actually are. I want it to be ok that I exist. I don’t need a whole bunch of mini-me’s running around. I’m not trying to become the dominant culture–I’m trying to be allowed to exist. I’m trying to stop feeling like I should die.

Playing with the little boys is part of this. I hug them. I will even kiss the top of their heads when they are being very affectionate (Err, this has only happened with boys I have known multiple years or who were under one year old I’m not incredibly creepy or anything.) I don’t kiss their faces. I don’t get into long embraces and I talk about body autonomy all the god damn time. I am very conspicuous about asking for hugs before I touch them. I model how I want to be treated. How else can they learn?

I have been seeing a lot of things on the internet advising parents to work on boundaries with their own kids–I agree with that message whole-heartedly. I just think it doesn’t go far enough. I don’t have responsibility just to and for my children. I need to talk to the kids at the park. I need to talk to talk to the kids in our neighborhood. I need to talk to all of the children who could be the ones my kids will sneak off and play sex games with.

I need for everyone to be playing by the same rules. No one but me is standing up to loudly announce the rules so I’m happy to do it. I go to the park and I don’t care if I know the kids or not I referee. I don’t micromanage or anything–I stay out of 80% of the arguing. But I intervene when they can’t share. I intervene when hitting starts. I intervene when someone is on the side-lines crying because they are too young to understand how to join the game.

I don’t favor my kids–Shanna is pretty bitter about that–because I care a lot about being neutral. I don’t pick sides. I model how to work things with words. I give lots of examples, “So you could say____ or ____ or ____ what feels closest to what you are actually feeling? Or something else entirely! I could be wrong.”

I tell them over and over that they own their body and they have the right to dictate how people treat it. I say that the other kids they are playing with are in the same spot. You can’t touch someone without consent. You have to ask. Don’t assume just because you are “friends” that it is ok to touch someone.

(My kid is not picking this up fast. Oy. Touchy thing.)

I’m trying very hard to create the idea that everyone has preferences and you must follow peoples preferences–which means asking questions.

One of the boys was playing with my belly jiggle yesterday. He said, “You have fat.” He was smiling and laughing and delighted by life. Clearly he didn’t see this as a problem. I bet his mom has done exactly the same thing to his belly.

I laughed and said, “I do! I do have fat! I looooooove fat. Mmmm tasty delicious fat! Fat! Fat! Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!!!!” Then I grabbed him and rolled around on the ground with him. Other boys jumped on the pile, also laughing and started offering up types of fat:

“Like bacon?”

“Yes! Like bacon! And ice cream! MMMMMM”

Everyone was overjoyed.

A few minutes later after the crowd had dispersed one of the boys lingered and said, “I don’t think it was very nice of him to call you fat.”

My response was something close to: “Well he didn’t call me fat. He said I had fat and that is true. If he had said,” I deliberately made my voice all sneering and nasty, “‘Ewww you’re fat’ then I probably would have hurt feelings. Because he would be trying to make me feel bad about myself. But he wasn’t. He was just commenting on me. It’s like saying I have brown hair. I’m ok with him saying things that are true.”

He looked so confused. I’m sure he and his mom talk about me outside of actual interactions. Ha.

The reason going to the park is so “high spoons” for me is I believe with every fiber of my being that I am obliged to be nice to the kids. They are just learning and if I can seem positive and loving while I am giving instruction they will remember it and imprint on it more deeply. I am consciously didactically teaching children basically every time I am near them. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s what home schooling community is about. I think we are agreeing to teach one another’s kids. I realize not everyone feels the same way so I try not to say it too loudly. Ha. I’m not forcing them to memorize times tables or anything neurotic like that but I use group social outings as time to consciously work on the rules of society.

What the hell else are such times for? And if kids have to learn every rule completely on their own without adult help things turn all Lord of the Flies. Judicious adult intervention while mostly letting the kids direct and handle things is the optimal learning environment.

Studies god damn prove this.

It made me really happy when I commented to some of the moms that I was talking to their sons about boundaries and touching stuff she said that I’m going to teach sex ed when the kids are a little older. YES! Please! I’ve been training all my life. Ha. *beat head on wall*

The thing they don’t understand is I won’t be starting when the kids are older. I’m starting now. I’m starting when they are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, ,9, 10, and 11 because that is how old the kids are in our group. I’m talking to all of them about touching and consent. There are slightly different explanation levels–I don’t talk to the three year olds about nerve endings. I say sensitive.

Sex is part of life because touching is part of life. If you want your kids to grow up to be healthy adults who are good at sex then they have to be good at touching–that is how things work. I understand that most parents feel kind of nauseated at the idea of their kids growing up to have sex but I have my eye on the end goal.

I want healthy adult children.

I have to teach my children and their peers about healthy touch if I want that to be the norm for their world. That means I have to be didactic. I have to choose to send on a message. I can’t just ignore things and let them slide or I don’t get to be upset when the culture isn’t what I want it to be.

Am I changing the world? If my little cohort of kids manages to grow up together and everyone gets a fresh healthy launch together to go out and feel like they are allowed to have the sex they want within the boundaries they choose then maybe I will have done something.

You don’t know what someone wants by looking at them. You only know what they want if you ask. If you have never asked what they want then you have no business having your hands on them.

If people believed that in the core of their being–how would the world be different?

Intersection of privilege, feminism, and being “retro” as we head into the future.

I went and read the NY Magazine article on Feminist Housewives. I understand that some people feel insulted by the piece. I thought it was hilarious. Holy tomato do I fall into the demographic she is lampooning. Upper middle class and white. We started into this demographic when I was 27 (right in the middle of the 25-30 age group that is the fastest growing segment) when our combined household income was between $75,000 and $100,000. Over the last six years Noah has nearly made it to $200,000. We are absolutely the “kind of people” this article is trying to insult.

Wait, you didn’t think the author was trying to be insulting? Oh. I read it as if she was trying but failed because I really don’t care about her evaluation. Yes, I am a feminist who does not have an out-of-the-home job. What does being a feminist mean in my position? It means I lobby the shit out of my friends-in-similar-dynamics for them to have the autonomy and freedom I have.

On some levels my marriage is quite “retro” and in other ways it is anything but. Folks wouldn’t look at Noah and I and confirm that the patriarchy is in full force. I have agency. I make decisions.

If I were to work out of the house we would be in a worse place financially than we are right now. My salary would not cover how much we would end up spending on daycare, better clothes, eating out, a house cleaner, or a more active gardner. Let me tell you–if I had a job I would quite certainly do less cooking for the house than Noah does while having a job. My job was more hours in the week than Noah’s… for a lot less money. Really about like the social worker that was lampooned in the article.

I went into teaching for the express purpose of learning how to teach my own kids. I became a teacher because I knew I wanted to homeschool my kids someday and I wanted to be able to do so well. I did not go into a helping profession because I wanted to make the world better. I went into teaching to fulfill my own selfish desires and my own plans for the future.

I didn’t really live with my mother full time when I was a child. I grew up in extreme poverty and that means I often had to go live with virtual or literal strangers because she couldn’t care for me. This has created an ache inside me that time doesn’t seem to dull. I did not learn how to be a person from my mother. I learned how to be a person from books while I was alone in a room. I feel a physical need to have specific one-on-one relationships that facilitate personal growth. I need to see what it looks like when people go through the normal changes. I don’t need to spend the rest of my life looking at one cross section of life and only adapting to that. I was great with teenagers–I need to learn how to deal with all ages. I need to be exposed to all ages.

My life journey will never look anything like the typical journey. Even though I fall into specific demographics of high privilege now I will never be able to change who I am or where I come from. I am not like the other women in my demographic. Often I freak them out.

I can say without reservation that I have an uncommonly feminist marriage. My husband has permitted, encouraged, shoved me towards a degree of autonomy that I just don’t see in other marriages. It isn’t that he makes me do things by myself, though he does. It is that he has taught me about his own journey of aloneness. It is that he has made me understand why he has the limitations he has and he understands why I have the limitations I have and we seamlessly step in and rescue one another. He cares about my individual issues and he never assumes that I am a certain way “because I am a woman”.

I do not believe in biological determinism. I know men who are wonderful stay-at-home-dads (my brother has actually been a SAHD for the entire lives of his children) and I know women who are so non-maternal that I don’t understand why they had children. Because that biological clock thing is No Joke. These women wisely find very nurturing caregivers to provide most of the care for their kids and their kids grow up feeling loved and cared for. That’s what life is about, right?

There is no one path. I want to be near my children because it satisfies deep emotional needs for me. I was deeply neglected and abused as a child. I have baggage I am learning how to work through.

I have to stay home and take care of my children myself because otherwise I will never have the impetus to work on my hatred and rage towards working in groups. Without doing this I am unlikely to value the input of other people. Let me tell you I will never change my opinion if I just take a job where I have to work with people. I hate working with people. That’s my idea of hell on earth. I can be the boss and steer the ship in a group–but that’s different. I’m a harsh taskmaster.

I don’t want to be a harsh taskmaster with my children. I want them to learn how to be functional people. That means I have to model being a functional person. One of my biggest gripes about the American educational system is that we are turning out people who know how to be cogs in the machine–not people who can deconstruct the machine and build a new one.

I don’t know about you, but I think we need a new one.

I went on to read The Retro Husband and thought ouch. He’s talking about Noah. Only he isn’t.

Noah and I met during a period in our lives when we could lovingly be called fuck ups. We had a lot of relationship instability and we both treated people like they wouldn’t be in our lives very long. Mostly we were right. When we got married we both had to abruptly change a lot of things in our behavior. We went from not dating/just friends to engaged to married in five months. Our lives changed fast.

I picked a mate who has a profession that is best served by a combination of locking himself in a room to work alone and going out and teaching what he has learned while being locked in a room. Strip clubs don’t feature heavily. I’m pretty sure he has only been in a strip club once in his life. We went together on the first anniversary of our marriage. We had a lot of fun. (I’ve been to a lot of strip clubs and I love them.) We came home and conceived our first child. Amen.

I picked someone who has a dad who has never left his crazy mother. He understands what “for better or worse” means. I looked at the guys in my generation (and two generations above me) and found such understanding to be thin on the ground. I picked someone from inherited wealth who has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He was taught how to make money. That is a set of skills you either have or don’t have. I quizzed a lot of men. Let me tell you: financial acumen is thin on the ground. He wasn’t taught how to budget money. That’s one of the big downfalls of growing up with more money than you know what to do with. However he doesn’t track our money; I do. I budget well. We are very good partners.

I am self-aware enough to admit out loud that I would probably not be as happy if my partner made very little money. I would have different expectations. I think that  when you look at the demographic of “men who do very little housework have more sex” you have a combination of: women who are lavishly provided for feel grateful and men who philander. That’s my experience.

When I was eighteen I was engaged to my high school sweetheart. That was the price of shacking up and we both wanted away from our parents. I didn’t marry him because even though he made more money than me I paid more of our expenses and I did all the housework. He was really lazy at home. I went from that to a D/s or M/s relationship. (That’s Dominant/submissive or technically Owner/property in our case.) I have always fucking cleaned house for people. I’ve been doing it all my life. I even pick fucking friends who want me to come over and clean for them. (I offer. I am really good at organizing people’s stuff.)

I clean because I am an order Muppet. I have to see order in the world around me or I can’t focus and I can’t relax. I think I clean for other people because I am trying to bond with them. I am trying to offer what I have in terms of “benefits” so people will put up with being my friend. I believe I am intrinsically unpleasant. I must offer something in trade or being around me isn’t worth the cost.

I don’t want my children to feel this way. If I had to put my head down and work a full time job and take care of my kids and take care of my house and provide food… I would certainly never ever have reason to believe that people wanted me around for any reason other than I had work to do for them. “The worst burden for a woman is no burden.” She’s talking about privilege and idleness. She can’t shame and say it bluntly. I should be serving other people, not myself. I shouldn’t just exist for the pleasure of my company. Ha. I appreciate how much she believes women should be out working in the world–but I notice that in order to do it herself she had to give up on the marriage/kids thing. I wanted kids.

I don’t think the author of the NY Magazine piece means that I should be working for other people in order to help support the world. I just don’t.

What is the point and purpose of feminism if I am not allowed to say, “I have the financial privilege to stay home and be the primary caregiver for my children and more than anything in the world I want to do it” and have that be acceptable. I don’t want to have 18, 19, and counting so I am a perpetual breeding machine who never has to do anything else but be mommy.

I will engage in the world again. I will do it as a very different person. I am not allowed to fuck my way through the rest of my life. I spent my childhood assuming I would be a sex worker for most of my life. That was my actual plan. I decided to do something else because I didn’t want my children to believe they had to do it. I changed my behavior in large and dramatic ways because I wanted to be able to look my children in the face and say that acting like me is appropriate. Does that mean I think promiscuity is terrible or bad? No. But they should not expect it of themselves because it is not mandatory. It is not common. It is not standard.

I used two forms of birth control very consistently after I was eighteen (I was on hormonal birth control and ALWAYS used condoms for casual sex and used a diaphragm with longer term fluid bonded partners who refused to wear condoms any more because let’s be honest that is how that shit happens) until I was sure I wanted to have kids. I was not going to get caught with some kid I would resent and a lifetime association with a loser ex-partner. I was smart enough to fucking recognize that at twelve years old. That’s when I went on the pill for the first time. I sometimes used depo provera (to my detriment–that shit is bad for you) then I went back to the pill.

No one sat me down and taught me the facts of life. I found things out piece-meal. A little bit at school (I will say that Los Gatos had adequate public health education–that is a huge advantage not everyone has) but mostly through talking to people. I found out most of it by making mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes before I was eighteen. I had a lot of very risky sex. I made a number of stupid choices.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this rape/not rape thing. How do I differentiate between bad sex and rape? I don’t think it crosses the line unless I was saying “no”. I believe that I have to say “no” or it is my fault that something happened. I ascribe the responsibility and agency for such acts to myself.

When I was twelve I asked a twenty-five year old man to fuck me. That wasn’t rape. But it was still a crime. It was still illegal. It was his legal responsibility to tell me no. I was still a child and he is responsible for his actions. That other twenty five year old I dated when I was twelve. He was at least nice enough to not pressure me when I said I wasn’t ready to have sex yet, but he asked me to at least give him a blow job. I felt kind of guilty because he had taken me out to a meal (Johnny Rockets. I had a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and a milkshake) and he bought me a Christmas present so… didn’t I owe him? So I gave him the blowjob he asked for. It wasn’t rape. But it was a crime.

This is where rape culture blows my mind because of how pervasive it is. It’s all my fault those poor men committed a crime. I asked them to do it–literally in the first case and by inference in the second when I said I wasn’t ready for sex yet.

I brought it up, you see. I was out on a date–of course there were expectations, duh. How stupid am I to not have stayed home. My mother had given me permission for the date. She met him. She saw us off. I was home by curfew.

I know the difference between rape and not rape. If I said no and lay there crying while someone fucked me that is rape. Even if we are both adults now and I would have consented to the sex if he had just put a condom on. That’s not a mistake on my part. That is not something I invited. Unprotected sex is not a right that a man has. He does not have the right to risk inflicting a child on a woman. Period.

I think in my little corner of the world a rapist is somehow less of a piece of shit if he at least keeps his future-children to himself.

I stay home to take care of my children. They are my whole world for this brief window of time. I don’t think I would be able to handle raising the child of my rapist. My mother had a hard time raising me. She did not bond with me as much as she did other children. She had her tubes tied when I was born. You know how “some women rape easy”? That’s my family. We rape easy. I’m trying to do something different with my children. I am escaping into a different kind of social dynamic.

I really have a feminist marriage. Why do I say that? Because I started off in a marriage where it was ok to beat and rape me and then I decided those things weren’t ok and I put a stop to them. (Let’s be clear that I was ok with it to start with–I gave active consent. Well, ok I gave consent in advance for the rape and then changed my mind because I didn’t really think it would turn into a violent rape because I didn’t know I had been dealing with mostly wussy-assed-pansies trying to “play rape” in the past. Hoo boy.)

Folks have called my husband “whipped” and his response was, “damn right”. Only he is a very autonomous being. I don’t have a lot of control over him in general. I have a ridiculous amount of influence on how he treats me. And other men/boys feel the need to let us know that I shouldn’t have so much influence on how he treats me. He should instead align his preferences with those of other men/boys and treat me how those men/boys feel I should be treated.

I really like my husband. He is self-interested in a way I can work with. I can predict how he will react because he is consistent. He has stated goals. When he starts wandering off from them a brisk reminder gets him back on track. He isn’t particularly pulled towards any boys club. He has been alone too much. He has no faith that the boys club will really be there for him.

I have been with him more for more of his life than anyone else. I like him more than anyone else ever has. I really appreciate him. My life has gone from being a nightmare to being the punchline because I am so vapid and privileged. It is… interesting.

When people mockingly say that I am trying to live how my grandmother lived I would laugh and say that I picked an atheist–not a Mennonite or a Catholic. One grandmother was a printer in Pasadena after WWII (she was enlisted) and the other was the wife of a boxer turned dairy farmer. No, I don’t live like them. I neither have to work as hard nor am I oppressed as much. The Christmas before I divorced my family my mom made me a wonderful book. She hand wrote, in her beautiful hand writing–my mother has the most beautiful writing in the world–all of our family recipes into a recipe book. She gave me what she has to give.

I am a much better cook than any of them. They used shitty ingredients and too much sugar in freaking everything to cover up the bad quality of all the canned produce. I have had to learn how to cook from The Joy of Cooking and the internet. I live in an era where there is no fucking excuse for saying “I don’t know how to do _______.”

Yes, I choose to be a stay at home mom. I choose to homeschool my children with the financial support of my husband. I don’t want to have it all. I don’t want the pressure of more people having expectations of me right now. I only have so much energy to give. I know that makes me fairly pathetic but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. I am privileged. I am lucky that I get to make this choice. I wouldn’t have been able to do this in this way with someone who made a lot less money.

Only I probably would. I would live in a cheap rented apartment and I would probably never own a house. But I would still want to take care of my kids. I don’t live in a nice house now. I will never live in an expensive neighborhood. I would feel unwanted and like I didn’t know how to behave in that kind of environment. Here the kids play on the streets and we hear lots of loud music and lots of people. I feel comfortable. I see signs of people living and laughing and putting down roots.

Yes, I want to be a stay at home mom so I can get to know the seventy-six year old man down the street. I wouldn’t have time to stand around and pass the time of day hearing his stories if I had a job. My life would be less full if I had never heard his stories. I would understand people a little less. He is helping me hate men less. He feels pretty safe to stand around and talk with. He has no designs upon me and he would probably freak the fuck out if I made a pass at him. It is a very comforting exchange. I really value having him around. I think I am shoving him in the role of my Uncle Bob. I’m going to freak out when he dies some day. I’m glad my kids are getting to hear from him. They are learning a lot of history.

Speaking of Uncle Bob. Not mine. Uncle Bob Martin is a technical guy who absolutely means well but has a humorous opinion of women. I’m not a fucking lady. Ladies are expected to act in very proscribed ways I will never agree to behave. Men should not treat me like I am a lady. I want them to treat me like a person-who-is-not-like-them. Like a human from another culture. I am a person who has had a very particular set of lifetime experiences. I am not like other people. I am not like other women. I am not like men. I am also not working in the technology industry so obviously I don’t matter–right?

Only I’ve been coding some in secret (not a secret any more) because I didn’t want to tell Noah at first. I’m still not sharing. I am who should be courted into such an industry but they treat me like an insect. They treat me like my brain is rotting inside my skull because I am so mentally deficient as to want to be near children all day. Oh go fuck yourself. Mostly women are treated like they have no value after they have stayed home to take care of children. Only Uncle Bob wants us to be the ladies and spiffy up the place and nurture our cwute widdle pwojects along to help them actually happen. The boys club has noticed that when you get too many boys in one place you need a den mother.

Well he is asking women to come work in a hostile work environment. He isn’t really acknowledging how or why. At the edges of that hostile work environment (the gaming community is kind of the bastard son of the technology community) we have Anita Sarkeesian speaking about what happens to women who have the audacity to look at how women are treated in the gaming community.

I could stay in an underpaid, unappreciated profession where I get to care for other peoples children all day but not really form bonds because the kids are leaving at the end of the year–so I don’t have to grow as a person. I can remain static as I stand there doing the same thing year after year. Like I’m perfect already. ha.

Or I could stay home and raise children and figure out how to grow fruit and vegetables so that when I am old my property will be fairly self-sufficient. I am contributing to my long-term future. Could it all be yanked away from me? Anything could. You don’t have to tell me that. I don’t think many people understand having an uncertain future more than me. But things really and truly have improved. I have changed. I have learned from my mistakes.

Yes, I’m a feminist and a house wife. Being in this position allows me to acquire skills that I want to have. Having a career would not allow me to develop these skills. I want them. I want them with every fiber of my being. I want to have survival skills that are not taught in an office or a school. Those environments are artifacts of a culture that is dying. I want my children to be able to do something else.

We are at a turning point. We have to change. If that makes me “retro” then I’m ok with that. This essay from Michael O. Church is fifteenth in a series (now of sixteen and counting…) about how corporations need to shift from being part of an industrial model to being part of the technology era. He’s talking about getting rich. He’s not talking about my life any more than Sebastian Marshall is talking about my life. I am not part of the technological revolution these men are portending. Yet I am. I am raising the children who will carry it out.

I believe that women have as much of a place in the world as men. I believe that women are as intrinsically valuable as men–not “because we nurture” but rather because if the human race is to continue it requires men and women. We have not found a way to get around that yet. It’s not because we are both awesome “in our own ways” it’s because we simply cannot continue as a race without both genders. And subjugating women isn’t going so well. We live in an era where silencing us is harder than it has ever been before. We fight back now. And bear the consequences of that too. It’s still better than it was. There have always been consequences for standing up for yourself–that is not a man or a woman thing. Unfortunately the consequences for women tend to involve threats that involve her gender, especially rape.

I have never met anyone who has been actually raped more times than I have. Either that or no one has been willing to say it to me. Some day I will meet someone. I have very real reason to fear reprisals for speaking out–the threatened torture has already happened to me. What makes me think I will avoid it in the future?

Because I have learned more about privilege. I was silenced previously in my life because I was young, ignorant, and too weak to protect myself. I am no longer in such a position. Most women and girls do not understand what the process of learning how to protect themselves means. Unfortunately “protecting yourself” often means staying home and not getting to be part of communities and hobbies you would like to join because if you have a bad experience you are on your own. If you defend yourself people may threaten to kill and/or rape you.

In many ways I feel very consciously like I am choosing a life more like a religious life–I am mostly cloistered and I mostly have contact with women and children. I’m doing it as an increasingly zealous atheist which is kind of awkward.

There are many studies that say that men/women in highly defined relationships do better and are happier. So far in history those relationships have followed a pattern of men work- women raise children. It was a biologically unavoidable task. We no longer live in that world. Now men are no more suited to the weird ass work people do in offices than women are–often men are not as well suited. A great deal of technological work involves a kind of multi-tasking that women are shown to be better at. And as my husband shows me week after week after week in our marriage–he is a better cook than I am and he is quite capable of bathing children and changing diapers and cleaning the house. He doesn’t do as much of it as I do, no, and that’s ok with me. Doing those tasks requires time. I have more time to kill than he does. He is genuinely working his ass off for more structured hours of the day than me. I can pick up slack and increase our mutual leisure time because it makes my life better.

I don’t see how these choices are unfeminist. I am being cold, calculating, and I am serving my interests and the interests of my progeny. I am, however, not serving the interests of an Industrial Age leftover feminism. I am not trying to stamp out home life in service of people living in dormitories and working in factories. I don’t want my children to imprint on a group of people exactly their age so they have no perspective on how dramatic the changes in life are. I want my children to grow up understanding that people change constantly. They don’t settle in and “be the same” for decades. You have to grow.

I don’t see a structure for that in the current set-up. So I’m going to go make it up as I go. I understand that has been the normal human path since the beginning of time. I’m ok with being on The Road Not Taken by other people. I will always be weird. That’s unavoidable.

I wish you knew that you were actually on that road too. You are not actually on the same road as other people and you shouldn’t try to be. What do you want to do with your life? That’s what feminism is about.

At the end of that rant the kind of logical next question is: so what about all the people who don’t have my privilege? Fuck if I know. That’s a really hard question.