Category Archives: codependence

Family ties

I did not write my usual epic-length letter to Noah’s grandmother. Only three pages. She understands my worries as a teacher and a parent and she is emotionally invested in my progeny bringing her glory.

I know some people hate that shit. I’m glad there is someone in the world. The kids haven’t seen her in two years. I’m sorta feeling like even though I don’t care if I never see Noah’s parents again… I should send Noah and the kids to visit his grandmother again soon before she dies. She is so very old and she’s been a great inspiration to me. I appreciate how she has been emotionally supportive of home schooling after her initial reservations.

She appreciates how I’m raising her great grandkids. I’m really grateful someone in this world cares.

I like getting to tell her how much my kids love science and clearly they inherited that from her. I hope it feels as good to her to see that connection as it does to me.

Lessons I’ve learned

This is a very edited version of something I wrote for a particular person. I took the shell of that message and expanded it here for my own record keeping.

This year has been kind of a horrible and traumatizing adventure.

The line between what makes a “friend” and what makes a lover/partner are often difficult and hard to see. I freely say I love you to my friends and they say it back. There is hand holding and snuggling even when I go through long periods of monogamy because my friends are the reason I stayed alive through a multitude of traumatic experiences.
With that in the background Noah and I met and started our marriage with an open relationship. We agreed to be monogamous through the breeding period (for lots of complicated reasons) with the idea that we would probably date later. About five years ago (when did Occupy happen?) I asked for us to open a bit and try things out. We proceeded to hurt each other a lot with the choices we were making around dating and we decided to close the relationship.
I have a variety of extreme mental illness problems. Treating myself like I matter is not easy for me. I would much rather sustain physical damage than inconvenience someone. As part of the agreement for being monogamous we agreed that I needed to provide sex for Noah at least ten times a month. The quota was hard to fill. It meant I had sex that was significantly painful on a regular basis. I was not honest about how this was impacting me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I mean, that’s true and not true. I’ve written all over my blog about having problems with it. But I also said I wanted to do it. I’m very conflicted on this issue.
Anyway. I came back from the road trip and discovered that six months of having my body be mine was absolutely transformative. I hit the wall. I’m done taking one for the team.
 
I had been bottling up a lot of desires for a long time. (I’m extremely sadistic. Noah is not masochistic.) He is kinda sorta willing to let me hit him if I really want… but he doesn’t enjoy it and I feel like a really gross person. Instead I have a long-term friend/play partner who likes to be kicked in the nuts, who wants me to slice him open with scalpels and drink his blood.
I started negotiation for the right to play with my friend. Then I went to visit a friend out of state and I cheated. When I say I cheated I mean I spanked two friends at a party. I did not have Noah’s consent to play outside the marriage. I didn’t have sex. I didn’t even kiss anyone. But I cheated anyway. It hurt Noah a lot.
Then I announced high handedly that I was done following rules and I was going to go date. I did. A lot. For about three months. Most of the people I dated are people I have known for many years. They are all deeply ingrained in my life. Some of them I have known for literally my entire adult life. Some of them were brand new and had boundaries Noah didn’t like.
 
By the end of this Noah had spent a lot of time screaming at me in the middle of the night, sobbing hysterically on the floor while wanting to die, and slamming walls to shut me up when I was arguing nastily with him. I can be pretty fucking nasty.
I made a deal with the devil. I made a deal I couldn’t keep and there were consequences for me and I didn’t communicate about them. I just completely exploded.
Noah asked me to stop going on solo dates. Noah asked that we not do solo sex unless we were at a party together and we just happen to also want to play with friends while there.
My friends know in ridiculous detail how these fights went because I usually wrote all the details down the next day. Which is why all my friends and play partners stopped calling for a few months. They were all, “Krissy stop fucking around and go fix your marriage.”
It has been a solid wall of support for I’m the asshole of the year. I’m not proud.
Hey friends, thank you for caring about me enough to tell me that I have to fix my marriage. That is loving me in a real and true way that isn’t selfish. I really appreciate it.
On the day Noah asked me to marry him he asked me to be his slave. I told him not yet. I said we weren’t ready for those kinds of roles yet. But I wanted to be someday. All this year we have been intensely focused on “It’s time to shit or get off the pot.” We’ve had written agreements in place for a while now that it isn’t ok to do ownership or possessiveness with other people at all.
That’s something that all of my partners know about. Casual sex: excellent. Intensely loving friendship: sure thing. But there are hard lines. Noah is getting a lot more honest about what he wants from me too. Last night we had a really excellent experience with a dear friend who helped us do an intense amount of processing.
Noah doesn’t want us to date alone. At all. I think having it be very clear that Noah wants nearly-monogamy is useful. I think that I have been kind of moving along on the assumption that I married a poly guy and I threw a fit a few years back and closed the relationship on him. There were things exploding. It wasn’t good.
We learn lessons in stages.
It probably isn’t going to be happening soon but someday we will have sex with our friends again. But we’ll find ways to do it together. I don’t get to have a boyfriend ever again. He doesn’t want to have a girlfriend ever again.
Which is an interesting way of phrasing it.
I need to go put some serious effort into learning how to get my intimacy needs met without sex. That sounds kind of obnoxious, I’ll be frank.
But I’ve learned harder subjects.
I hurt Noah a lot this year. I need to learn from this experience and not do it again. We are still working on the forgiving bit.
I’m utterly exhausted but I feel glowy and at peace. We didn’t sleep much. The kids went to their Bonus Family so we could have the space to talk without having to think about their needs. We also fasted for 24 hours. Shocking that it didn’t make us cranky.
Instead I feel like we were able to be very clear about some things that we have been talking around for a long time.
That’s all I’ve got for now.

Moving the needle

I’m trying to figure out how to get things to improve in my marriage. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m scared. At this point we are most of the way through arguing about all of our done-me-wrongs over the last ten years. There’s been an absolute fuck ton of arguing this year.

I don’t know about you, but I have let a lot of things slide over ten years because I didn’t want to argue. Then when things kinda hit a boil… everything comes out. We’ve had little and big problems that I’ve bit my tongue and la-la-la ignored. I’m not so sure it was useful.

At some point last night I realized that we have fairly equivalent lists of “you did _____” for one another. So we have hit the point where we have fairly well hashed out the problems and we are getting to… we have to forgive to move on.

Fuck.

I both am and am not a forgiving person. There are lots of things that I don’t really forgive. Lots. Shit dude, I cut off my family. There are things I won’t forgive. But I don’t think Noah has done anything that heinous. Everything that has been hurtful has individually not been over my threshold, but collectively… oh that’s harder.

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

I did something, well said, something horribly awful this year. I screamed at Noah that I wished he would die. I didn’t mean it and in less than five minutes I was crying and apologizing and saying I wanted to take it back.

I don’t have a high horse for sitting on here. I don’t think I have been less hurtful than Noah. I have been differently hurtful at different times… but I have been a horrible person. I’m really not denying that.

If we are going to move forward we have to forgive.

Oh fuck.

One of the biggest problems we are dealing with isn’t really Noah’s fault but he’s done some awful things because of it. Me saying no. I don’t really speak up when things make me uncomfortable all that well. My early life taught me that life is uncomfortable. Full stop. Speaking up about it just means people punish you for not complying faster because my comfort is irrelevant.

This is creating problems. I have done a lot of things while feeling wildly uncomfortable because I don’t react to that feeling as if I have any right to be defended. So I put myself in situations where I don’t believe I can say no and I do it over and over.

Sex. Oh sex is a fucking mess. Well, our sex life has been better between us lately than it has been in years. Which is fascinating given how much we are fighting. I feel like everything is my fault. I’m not sure it is but I feel like it.

How are we going to learn to have boundaries around “us” as a collective instead of maintaining individual boundaries and I’m supposed to learn to speak up more, and earlier, when I’m uncomfortable? I really don’t know. Yes, unicorn hunting is hard but both of us completely flip out when the other goes off to play alone.

It is both of us.

I feel really ashamed of how strongly I react to Noah playing separately, which is kind of funny because his reaction isn’t… that much less intense. Not really. It feels like imminent death for both of us. So why do I need to feel ashamed of that feeling?

Because I feel like I’ve been exposed to poly for my entire adult life WHY HAVEN’T I MATURED PAST BEING AN INSECURE TWAT WAFFLE? It isn’t lack of effort or time. I just… I’m just so insecure that it’s ridiculous. It isn’t Noah’s fault, not even a little bit. If anything were going to make me feel secure it is Noah’s behavior in aggregate.

Yet here I am. Feeling like I really should jump off a bridge so that Noah has more space in his life to replace me with someone who is less of a colossal loser. He doesn’t want that. Not even a little. But it is very much how I feel. He… doesn’t feel that differently about me dating.

Why do I feel so ashamed of having the same feelings he has?

Because I believe I am supposed to feel supportive. I believe I am supposed to be willing to support him finding every scrap of happiness he can in this life. That’s what a good wife/partner would do.

I am not a good wife. I am small, selfish, insecure, and so very sad.

Do you know what is incredibly fucking complicated? The fact that… we don’t really have many platonic friends. If we are going to be controlling as fuck about one another, how do we handle the fact that we are mostly only friends with old lovers/play partners? It is hard. We both have a habit of acting like people on our side aren’t as threatening as people on the other persons side.

I was listing off the people I feel closest to… all of them I’ve been intimate with. I haven’t had SEX with all of them. But I’ve been intimate. I like crossing boundaries with people. I like bonding.

After this year I wouldn’t be surprised if none of our friends ever want to play or have sex with us again. Oh the drama.

Noah is right that I can’t ever have sexual contact with someone again without his consent. I ignored his no this year. I can’t do that again.

That’s a mistake I get to make once this lifetime.

Last night’s conversation hurt a lot. But I feel like we got closer to understanding, “I did x because y.”

We really are getting to the point where the only step left is forgiveness. If we want to move forward, and shit we are talking about another god damn kid, we have to forgive. What does that look like? What does that mean?

It means tearing up the tally marks for who has done what wrong to whom. That’s pretty scary.

I know I have behaved abusively in the last ten years. I believe there have been times when Noah has too. Should we be carefully keeping lists of documentation so that we can hurt each other as much as possible with these actions? Is this how abuse is normalized and tolerated and excused on a wide spread basis?

There are lots of kinds and types of abuse. Our marriage has not included the deal breakers I experienced early in my life. We both abuse in the ways we do rarely and only after a lot of pressure builds up that we haven’t figured out healthier ways to manage. Does that excuse it? No. I don’t know what to do.

Noah is right that in order to know what is going on with me, sometimes he has to listen to venom and sort through it for the truth. That really sucks. But there are a lot of things I just can’t talk about until I am so angry I am almost frothing at the mouth.

In arguments Noah keeps saying, “You knew it was hurting me and you wouldn’t stop.” But I have stopped. I stopped months ago. I have not continued leading people on in conversation. I’m not making promises I can’t keep with other people. I certainly haven’t been on a date recently. I did stop. I just didn’t stop on a dime the way he wanted me to. Something is going on currently that I feel will do a lot to decide how we move forward. If boundaries can be expressed in a way that actually supports our marriage going forward… that’s going to be a big deal. If I feel that it isn’t managed well…

I’m scared. I’m bitter. I’m frustrated and angry.

I work all the god damn time and I really don’t have much in my life that is about letting off steam. Most of my work demands that I project happiness and cheer whether I feel it or not. I don’t show my emotional range to my kids much because I don’t think it would be very fair. I’m a god damn roller coaster and they don’t need to be on the trip with me. So I shove my feelings in a box and I smile and I keep my voice pretty calm and level. Are there cracks in my armor? Sure. I’m not perfect. But my kids seem to genuinely not understand how upset I get and how often.

I am a very good liar.

I spend a lot of time hugging and snuggling when I would like to be shoving my head through a window. When I would like to be raging and crying and cutting myself up. I pretend that I enjoy being a loving mother instead.

How in the fuck am I supposed to learn to care about being uncomfortable when pretty much my whole life is set up around, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters how you support the people around you.”

I honestly don’t want as much physical contact with my kids as they want with me. It feels alienating and hurtful. Partly because I am so jealous I didn’t get it that I feel like I am going to burst into flames. My needs didn’t matter. Why in the mother fuck are yours so god damn important?

Why is everyone more important than me?

I’m supposed to make other people feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting there thinking about the various pitfalls of ways to kill myself.

I don’t matter.

But Noah has built a life around how much I matter to him. I am seriously impressed with the amount of work he has put in to being a good partner. It’s a lot of why I feel he deserves someone better. Someone who can meet him halfway honestly instead of with a forced smile.

It isn’t that I don’t love Noah. It is that I spend so much time shoving down how uncomfortable I feel that there is often not room for authentic emotions near the surface. I have to have a layer of pretense over everything in order to cope.

This is how I have survived. This is how I have accomplished as much as I have. I pretend that how I feel doesn’t matter even a little bit, I put my head down, and I work.

A lot of my work is consciously projecting emotions I don’t feel: happiness, comfort, feeling secure. Because I am so good at pretending I feel these things I’m very good at helping other people feel this way. From what I understand from the people I weirdly interrogate: their feelings seem to be more authentic than mine.

Uhm I guess that’s good. I can pretend to be ok and help other people feel actually ok.

It all comes down to how I actually feel is irrelevant.

As a result I hurt and hurt and hurt and hurt.

It’s been a bad year in pretty much every way. Well, the cruise was lovely. We made promises for the next decade of our life that we need to figure out how to keep.

Otherwise 2016 has been overwhelmingly shitty. I’m so god damn over this remodel I could scream and never stop. Today they finish the initial drywall installation in the bathroom. They have finished the stucco outside. They will be here till January at least. We have a hearing in January and doing work communicating with the lawyer saps my will to live. It feels so mentally taxing and draining.

In retrospect… I’ve done an amount of work this year that I probably shouldn’t have been able to get done. I’m so tired.

I’m on the verge of collapse.

And I don’t really know what feeds me at this point. From where am I drawing energy? From the clear blue sky and I don’t god damn know how much longer I can continue.

I miss socializing. I miss my friends. I miss community. I don’t in any way shape or form have the ability to do more of it right now. Because as much as I get something back from that there is also a cost associated and right now I can’t pay.

We haven’t even been inviting people over to dinner much. I just can’t.

I have felt existentially lonely for a long time. The road trip was really hard in this way.

Noah desperately wants to be enough all by himself for me. But Noah has a lot on his plate. I can’t ask for any more of Noah. It isn’t fair or appropriate or ok. So I feel like I have spent a lot of time trying to make myself smaller. So that what Noah has to spare is enough.

I’m hurting so much.

I feel like a real schmuck in our conversations sometimes. I know he has made enormous leaps of progress in the past year since we’ve been back from the road trip. He is organized and efficient and he’s trying so god damn hard. The trouble is I have a back log of hurt and frustration and need and sadness and I don’t know how to deal with it. If I weren’t dealing with years of hurt… would this be enough? I don’t know. It is closer to enough than it ever has been before. But I don’t know how to evaluate it given how much I’m flailing.

I feel like I’m reaching the part where I’m genuinely in a family and I genuinely need to figure out the coping skills for forgiving and staying that other people have. I’ve never developed these skills. They have never been relevant to my life.

I need to stop making Noah cry. I don’t place it as a goal that I will feel happy. But I need to stop making Noah cry. Because Noah having a minimum bar of ok is more important than me being happy.

And this is how things fuck up. This is how I build up backlogs of things that hurt me until I explode. Because I don’t think I am important enough to deserve support on the smaller stuff. There is just so much that makes me uncomfortable that I really don’t believe I have the right to ask for consideration. It would be a job and not a fun one.

I’m not sure how forgiveness ties in to being able to respect or like myself. Can I forgive if I think I deserve the bad treatment? If I think it will never stop because it is just that I receive it?

My heart and my head and my stomach hurt. I feel physically sick and I don’t think it is illness. I think it is sadness. I think it is the feeling that I matter so fucking little. I feel worthless and pointless and stupid. I feel like I should die.

I feel like death is the only route to stop hurting. Life is pain.

Forgive. I have carved forgive on my body in more than one place because I feel like if there is a lesson I am supposed to learn in this lifetime it is how to forgive. But am I forgiving Noah or am I forgiving myself? I sorta feel like I will not ever be able to forgive anyone else, not really, until I forgive myself.

Forgive myself for being petty and weak and insecure and so very damaged by the experiences I’ve had. How do I forgive myself for not being whole when I have never been whole and I don’t really even understand what that might be like?

I feel so very sad. And my arms hurt like a motherfucker. I need to stop.

What does “dating” mean anyway.

I kinda had this epiphany yesterday.

“Hey Noah. Have you passed up chances to play with Beautiful?”

“Not really.”

“Meaning you take them any time they come up.”

“Yeah.”

“And that’s been happening for eight years. Yeah. You’re dating.”

But not dating in a way that scares the shit out of me and causes me to have panic attacks and freak out. Because it’s very low key.

It was just funny to think about. Because if I’m dating my submissive… I have only had like two more dates with him than Noah has had with Beautiful and I’m definitely dating him.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO USE THESE WORDS. FUCK ALL THE EVERYTHING.

But I don’t think this idea that Noah isn’t going to date is tenable. It’s a nice idea. But yeah. It’s not going to be uhhh accurate. Right now the person he is dating is comfortable with it being at the whim of my mental health (thank you, thank you, thank you) but that’s a messy thing. I don’t want to be the weather vane controlling everyone’s lives as I go up and down the roller coaster.

Oh fuck everything.

The more honest with ourselves we are about what we are doing the less likely it is to blow up.

WE AREN’T DATING WE ARE JUST VERY GOOD FRIENDS WHO HAVE VERY INTIMATE CONTACT. FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS.

Yeah. You just tell yourself whatever the fuck you need to say to get through today. The truth will still be sitting there.

Dating.

What does dating mean anyway? I used to get so mad at my Owner when he would say he hadn’t dated someone. I was all, “You had a three month period where they were at your house three nights a week. You dated for a brief period.” “Oh but it wasn’t serious dating so it’s not dating.” That conversation made me want to break glass.

Thing is, Beautiful is mostly happy with group dates where they just split off to play for a while and otherwise we are together. I like that. I like that a lot and I’d like to see if anyone could fit into a similar sort of role in my life. If these people want to come hang out with us when I am pregnant and miserable or in the babymoon year…

I wouldn’t be alone this time.

I mean, I’m not going to be alone this time. I have the big kids and Noah works from home. It is going to be different from top to bottom. But the kids aren’t company and… Noah still has to ignore me for a large chunk of the day. That’s fine. I miss talking to more people.

Ironically one of our children said, “We should name the child (Beautiful’s real name) because that is a beautiful name.” I think this person is in our life. Ya’know…

loved working retail. I was good at connecting with people all day long one right after another. Being home is…. hard.

And begging friends for play dates is hard work. Mostly everyone is too busy. Or they only want to get together under some narrow parameters outside the house because they don’t want me in their house so they feel uncomfortable coming to my house. Sigh. I’m totally ok with always hosting. I don’t feel imposed upon. I feel catered to.

I feel really really guilty asking people to drive to me all the time. The road goes both ways and I should offer to reciprocate. But I really don’t want to. So I’m asking people less. Because I’m feeling bad about asking.

What is dating? Dating is an extra layer of “It is ok to inconvenience me as you ask me for something.”

Why do I think things with Beautiful aren’t just casual play partners? Cause when I ask if things will escalate when I’m pregnant and not interested he does that head duck thing where he doesn’t want to admit I’m right.

I guess it is good I haven’t managed to chase off every woman who was interested in Noah. Sigh. I swear I wasn’t trying.

I wonder if ADD meds would help with my urge to self harm. A quick search says it is inconclusive. I’d be happy to give it a go.

I don’t know if I want to continue Abilify. I still am not convinced it is doing enough positive. An inch of improvement isn’t worth it. And the kids say I’m getting crankier.

Ok, here’s some blatant honesty. One reason I have always harshly rejected the label of poly is because I have known some extraordinarily bad parents who happened to be poly. It is more important to me that I nail being a good parent than that I nail any other role. If I’m a bad wife, girlfriend, friend, whatever. I can live with that.

I don’t think I could live with myself if I really believed I was a bad mother. I’m a harsh critic. I work really hard on my behavior for my kids.

I’ve seen people do poly really wrong. I’ve seen it hurt kids a lot. I’m scared of that. I’m really really really scared of that.

I like nonmonogamy. It means that our lives aren’t just sexually exclusive. It doesn’t really make any promises about the size or shape or definition of what anything inside of that means. It can mean a lot of different things and a lot of different levels of friendship and love.

What does love mean anyway?

It means I want Noah to be happy and not depressed. That means that when my body goes completely to shit when I’m pregnant… either I encourage him to see Beautiful more (he slept with a different friend during other pregnancies) or I deal with him getting increasingly depressed. These are the options. We’ve been through this dance. I know what the choices are.

But what about the absolute freaking out I do when he comes home? Meh. Even that is muted when I’m pregnant. I don’t give a shit about much other than how much pain I’m in. Bitch come here and rub my back. And my arms. And my feet. Just don’t stop rubbing till tomorrow, ok?

My shrink said she didn’t know if I could get over my fear of Noah dating in this lifetime. But if it has already been kinda happening for eight years… (I actually have a specific brain hack plan in place for how to deal with moving through some of this fear and we have a phone called scheduled on Friday to find out if we will be able to do it.)

Where is the threat?

What is the threat?

What is there to be afraid of. Other than that he will be too god damn enthusiastic when biting my neck.

OW

When I come out of feeling asleep from the breeding period, I wake up with a vengeance. Noah doesn’t do that. If he falls asleep again… waking up would be hard. He’s going to get very habituated to his depressed habits and that doesn’t suit my lifetime goals.

Where is my enlightened self interest here?

I woke up after 6 hours of sleep, and ended up painting by candle light starting at 3am. I’m tired. But I think well in this kind of tired. I read that is an ADD thing too. Deliberately exhausting yourself before you can focus. If this is a lot of what the problem is… I’m going to be so bitter it hasn’t come up before now.

I’m almost 35 fucking years old. I had problems all the way through school because I was a disruptive little snot. Why didn’t anyone ever suggest this?

Ugh. Anyway.

I’m going to add to the data form for the Stanford folk that I think Eldest Child has it. Both she and I only skip one to two markers per person. Different markers. We both kinda scream it. If you sit and read books about case studies that is. That whole super high needs baby thing? Yeah.

Eldest Child doesn’t look like me but she has a lot of my personality and physical weirdness. A lot of extreme sensitivities and fussiness about needing things to be just so. She gets overwhelmed, but I manage her overwhelm so well that it is practically invisible at this point. I would not want her on medication. She is learning to cope with her body and she’s doing great for the life she has now.

But I bet I could learn some tricks to help both of us.

And you know what? Adding people into our lives will be adding people who might know more about this disorder than I do. People who can help me so that I don’t have to be the expert on everything.

I’d be ok deferring expert status on a whole lot of shit. I don’t need to know everything in the world. Ain’t my job. I have enough jobs. I’m tired.

I’m told it isn’t my job to meet everyone’s needs. Believe me I know. But I still feel like what I have to offer is so very inadequate. I am so high maintenance. What do I offer that is worthy of such effort?

And Noah speaks

I asked Noah for a guest post. So. Instead of my projecting all over him. Here is what he thinks:

 

To Krissy’s various beaus, suitors, sweeties and/or flings of the present, and possibly of the future,
I am asked for a guest post on why I am recommending a Mardi Gras month, nearly free of rules, for Krissy. To explain will require me to write a fair bit, including things I should have explained to all of you before. It is a great opportunity for me and an honor, and really past time. So: yes, and here you are.
I am specifically writing to those gentlemen (and occasionally ladies) joining me in the grand project of making Krissy happy in a lifetime-sustainable way, mostly through romantic means. I have made it a large part of my life’s work, and I’m honored to serve alongside other people doing the same. Some of the things I say here may sound a bit distressing, but understand I hold each of you in the highest esteem. I shall try to keep your distress in reading to a reasonable minimum… As long as I successfully describe the difficulties, anyway.
And let me say to those of you I have met that I’m impressed with all of you. Krissy has managed to find people with good boundaries, with a genuine interest in being good to our marriage, with a genuine interest in supporting her. Please do not take anything I say here as reflecting badly on you. You are all very clearly good people, coming to this with the very best of intentions. And if I were to chase you away for that, I would not enjoy the qualities of your successors nearly so much. I appreciate you, individually and collectively.
Those of you I’ve met are wonderful. Those of you in the future will still have been selected by Krissy, and her taste is excellent.
So: some background.
Krissy and I are easy-going, fun, sex-positive people with our flings and secondaries… And dramatic, possessive and intense with each other. This has all the obvious problems with non-monogamy that you’d expect. We were both vigorously, happily polyamorous when we got together, and after a few years of trying that while married, we shut it down and went monogamous — as much to avoid drama with each other as for any other reason.
We still spend a *huge* amount of time focusing on each other, resonating off each other, and generally having the sort of extremely enmeshed, codependent marriage that every therapist will tell you isn’t healthy. We love it, naturally. And we’d like to keep all that. It’s been a great ten-plus years.
We’re both very sensitive to our spouse being full of “energy that’s not for us.” When I come home jazzed from a date, Krissy doesn’t want to *touch* me — that’s “somebody else” energy. My reaction to her is often similar, if less intense. But the more she “glows” after a date, the more she’s unable to focus on me, so instead we do a bunch of talking through the date with the other person, and generally focusing on her and them. That’s what she’s up for at that point.
I’m more okay with that than she is — that is, she wants to leave the room and sob when I come home like that. I’m okay with some glowing, but me talking through how much she likes you gets old, as a way to spend her-and-me time. In large amounts it gets threatening, because we’ve been together over ten years — she does not, as a rule, glow like that after a date with me. The glow is about novelty, and after ten years I don’t compete well on “novelty.” Which is all as it should be. I can compete very successfully on things like “safety” and “reliability” — it was a very conscious tradeoff. Again, all as it should be.
There’s also another variation on that: sometimes she has a *bad* date and comes home vibrating with other-person energy. She didn’t get what she wanted and I’m no help with that, or something went wrong and they said something stupid, or… So, the “glowing” thing isn’t the only kind of “focused on other people, even when she’s with me” going on.
As a rule, it lasts about an evening. If she comes home from a date, it’s usually gone by morning unless it was an unusually good or bad date. Even then, it’s rarely more than a day or two.
Right now, novelty is feeling very important to Krissy. This makes a lot of sense after a few years of highly-constrained, drama-prone poly early in our marriage, followed by years of monogamy, followed by a very rocky start to the current non-monogamy.
Ah, the *current* non-monogamy…
Right now, Krissy is dating individually and I am not. Remember that bit about her being Very Not Okay with me coming home feeling like somebody else’s energy? There is absolutely no way for me to date and enjoy it much without some of that happening. More to the point, I won’t know when it *will* happen.
She has made it clear how bad that is for her. I need to at least try hard to not date individually, essentially indefinitely, to avoid an Unacceptable Outcome. Am I going to be able to be upbeat, constantly-supportive and so on about her having something I would also really like and can’t have, while simultaneously losing a bunch of my own support? We’ll see, won’t we?
(“Losing a bunch of my own support?” Yeah, when she’s glowing/moping about you guys, she’s a lot less into me — fair. It means I’m supporting *her* a lot more because bad dates need it, and a lot of my “I can do anything because the woman of my dreams is way into me” energy is out to lunch either way. I run a *lot* of my life on “Krissy likes me” energy. Again, see that enmeshed/codependent thing that we do and prefer.)
We also go out together to events/parties/etc. For a bit, that was “she’ll play with me and then maybe other people”, but at this point it’s generally that she’ll play with somebody else and I’ll play with Beautiful, who feels very non-threatening to Krissy (hey, Beautiful!) Or, in some cases, I don’t play. And that mostly needs to be how it goes. Me picking up somebody new, clicking well, coming home glowing and wanting to find ways to do more of that would be… destabilizing, in a not-okay way.
(Wait, “not dating”, but also a specific partner I play with repeatedly? Yeah, assume I’m playing fast and loose with the word “dating” here.)
She also wants to see a lot of you folks more socially, which makes sense. That’s mixed for me — it means increasingly often, I’ll be dealing with “not about me” in my house. Like, not just “not centered on me”, but often “I need to back off from Krissy” and “me being too assertive is a problem and I need to not do it.” That’s all the obvious kinds of complicated.
I’ll plead a bit of bias on this one as well because last week had three successive days with a play event that didn’t go well, followed by a dinner at our house where she didn’t get other-people energy she wanted, followed by an long-planned-ahead playdate with extensive work and negotiation, and then sleeping apart.
We don’t sleep apart well. *I* don’t handle Krissy being disconnected from me that way well, and three days in a row is really hard. And she wants things that seem to lead inevitably to more of that, including a lot more having her lovers in our house.
Couldn’t we just *stop* this and go back to monogamy? No. Krissy has done the whole “being off with just me and platonic friends” thing quite extensively. That turns out to lead to another Unacceptable Outcome. No, as wonderfully selfish as that sounds to me right now, it’s cutting off my nose to spite my face. Or, more likely, cutting off my head to spite my nose.
Which leads to the question, if this is causing me distress, why am I suggesting a Mardi Gras month? Why am I advocating *more* of this?
Krissy says it’s to prove to myself that she’s an asshole when she’s seeing a lot of other people. And hey, maybe we’ll get some idea of how much of her seeing other people is okay with me. Hard to say.
A lot of it is trying to make this style of nonmonogamy work for the long term. The attempt may work, it may not. But I’m going to do everything I can to give it a fair shake, and I think a Mardi Gras month is going to be required for that.
I want to know how much of “novelty wins over me” is because Krissy is deprived of that novelty. Right now, it’s a *really* distinct and obvious thing. Even somebody who’s not otherwise particularly attractive is suddenly very attractive compared to time with me, because Krissy wants that and has been deprived of it for so long.
I think that highly-restricted novelty isn’t doing much to reset the clock on that. I think that having more time and fewer restrictions will help.
I also think that the disconnection will become more obvious to *her* when there’s more of it, more consistently. So that’s probably the closest to what she means when she says I just want to prove she’s an asshole.
Right now it’s hard for her to see the disconnection, because when she comes home and we mostly talk about how great her other boy is for a day or two, it feels plenty connected to *her*. She’s getting perfectly reasonable support.
But there are limits on how much of that I can do. If it happens twice a month, we’re well within my limits. If it happens twice a week, I’m going to be providing a lot less support per time; I don’t have four times as much to give, so she doesn’t get four times as much.
So perhaps it’s also to show that *I’m* an asshole when she’s constantly vibrating with other-people energy.
She’d say she already knows that. Given that I haven’t said, “look, I don’t want to hear any more about (boy)” even once during this whole thing, I’m thinking we’re both wound up about small stuff. It’s hard to have good perspective on being nasty to each other since we’re usually so over-the-top awesome. I don’t know that either of us got to the “asshole” point as most married people would measure it, not at any point in this whole business.
Well, okay. There are some particular things that I could easily paint that way. But in context it’s mostly not true.
I want Krissy to get more of a feel for getting more support from other people *instead of me*, because that’s more like the tradeoff we’re talking about. I want me to get more of a feel for what it will be like to have her lovers as a major part of our socializing — I need to figure out if *I* can do this longer-term, too. When Krissy is specifically trying for other-person energy, I have to take a big step back or she doesn’t usually get it. Having regular social gatherings at our house that work like that is… new.
I want to reset the clock on novelty, somewhat. For her to feel less restricted so that new-person sex is just less appealing. Not *un*appealing — I get it, new-person sex is awesome. But right now it’s getting an enormous boost from long deprivation. I think the boost would be smaller if it weren’t so long since she could find lovers without all the restrictions.
An unrestricted month is a chance for Krissy to maybe get some of what she’s been cut off from — at least, a little more. And it’s a chance for me to figure out how often we *can* reconnect. We figured out how to reconnect when she’s sad or angry, but not when it’s over a lover. Maybe it will get easier to do it even after she’s seen somebody else? It hasn’t before, but we haven’t tried hard. This would be a reason to try hard.
And maybe it turns out that I’m allergic to having her lovers over two days a week and I explode. That would be… sub-optimal, but this would be a much better time to learn than six or ten or twelve months from now. I truly don’t know how I’m going to respond to this being a regular, constant drumbeat in our life. But we expect Unacceptable Outcomes if we just nix it.
So… Questions from the audience?

Inclinations

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.”

OH MY GOD I CAN’T RIGHT NOW.

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.

Yes.

“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 DO SO MANY OF YOU BASTARDS KEEP LATE HOURS. THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF Y’ALL WERE AVAILABLE AT MORE LIKE 7-10AM!

Ahem.

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.

Sadomasochism, mental health, chronic pain and calibration.

I am a hard fucking pet to own. Noah and I discuss this in detail. He has spent ten years trying to learn how to properly feed me, exercise me, get me to sleep, and take care of me better than ever before. It’s been hard for both of us.

I am an emotional and physical masochist. Does it turn me on when my back hurts? No. What that means is I have learned how to eroticize kinds of sensation (physical and emotional) that other people don’t experience as sexual. This is good and bad.

Within certain contexts I enjoy being hit fairly hard in the scheme of things. Within certain contexts being degraded will make me orgasm like a geyser. But these are not all the time fun things for me. In the wrong times these sensations can be highly damaging. Only the right people get to tell me I’m a good whore. Preferably after role play when their cock (bio or not) is inside me. Then, it works great. If someone random brings that up… the fur’s gonna fly.

I have been suicidal and self harming for almost thirty years. When I talk about my problems, they are not in reaction to my current life. They did not form in context to what is happening now, but I have to deal with them now. PTSD, for me, means that I have a hard time telling what is past tense and what is current tense and what is future tense a lot of the time. I’m just… trying to be a version of me that won’t be too problematic in all times. That’s rough because what was needed from me as a child is different from now.

I don’t think it is possible to over state the impact of my early childhood sexual abuse on my personality formation. I know I lived with my father until I was three. I know the abuse was frequent before he was kicked out. I know it was every time I saw him after that until about twelve.

My father telling me over and over that I exist to get men off and I don’t have the right to say no…

That has absolutely shaped my life.

Noah and I were talking tonight about “What he can get away with” now vs when we got married. I’ve learned to say no. I used to not say no to anything he wanted no matter how much pain it caused me. It really never seemed important that I was in pain. I was going to hurt anyway. He might as well be getting what he wants.

Fibromyalgia fucks all of this up too. I’m in pain a lot of the time. As I age my joints are on fire more days of the month. PMDD complicates my life. (That’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder for those who don’t know.) It means that for roughly 3-10 days a month my brain would kind of like to kill me. I feel useless, worthless, and like I should die. I feel like I am bad. I feel like I hurt people by existing.

This isn’t about reality or rational thinking. This is pure hormonal/chemical hell. And I’ve done everything that I can do about it. I keep trying new things. It does improve over time. But it is pure shit when it is happening.

I live in a kind of chemical soup that doesn’t want me to be alive very much. I live in a chemical state that doesn’t see much purpose for me.

But then there are the happy chemicals. Oxytocin. Endorphins. Serotonin. I can get them. But it’s hard hard hard hard hard.

Something that is complicated and hard and not fair…

I can do the spike up and down thing pretty easily. Ecstasy and despair are easy for me. It’s being ok I suck at. Noah has helped me make more progress on being ok than anything and everything else in my life. But doing so has worked a lot like a standard antidepressant in that it makes the ecstasy part harder. Not impossible, but more complicated.

Noah and I have very deeply connected sex. There’s a lot of “I see you as a whole person with flaws and merits and I love you for being more than one thing.” It is wonderful and life affirming. It helps me feel like I can climb into a box and be safe. Desafortunadamente (why is this word so much better in Spanish?) that box isn’t able to be everything.

Why do I need more?

Why does a Porsche need more maintenance than a Toyota? It is the result of engineering.

Why am I so complicated? Why am I so hard? Engineering.

I need a lot of connection with people. I need lots of people in a way that is hard for Noah to understand. I think Noah is an actual introvert and I am actual extrovert who behaves like an introvert because of trauma and avoidance.

I fucking need people. I need to talk to them. The kissing and sexing is awesome, but I’d say they are part of less than 1% of my relationships. I need connection. Mostly it isn’t sexual. But good golly the sexual connection is so good at making all of those chemicals I suck at making on my own.

Why do I want to date? Because I want massive injections of oxytocin. Because I want to see you and feel so excited you are alive. Because I want you to look at me the same way. Because I need to see that look on your face because there will probably be minutes between this time and next time I see you when it is very hard for me to remember at all that anyone is ever happy to see me.

What I feel right now is what I have always felt and will always feel. Until it changes. Then that is what I feel and have always felt.

You can see how I might try to stack the deck with experiences that land me squarely in the happy brain chemicals column because when I’m there I don’t have to deal with the depressive and anxious symptoms in the same way. It’s like they went on vacation and forgot to write.

So I had multiple possible kissing opportunities go by without kisses. Internally my narrative around this is melodramatic, stupid, and whiny. “See. They’re done.”

I feel like I should stop bothering them.

I feel like what I am is a bother.

Incidentally: shiny change of topic to drop a cryptic comment at someone from yesterday. When I say that someone is giving me “reminders” I don’t mean that in any kind of negative way. My kids and I give each other reminders. It is a way of noticing someone and saying, “Hey do you remember this thing you want to remember?” Because…. most people suck at that. It is a loving thing to do, in my mind. Let me remind you about who you want to be because that makes it easier to stay on track. Let me remind you that I see you and what you are doing is real and has impact on the world so I remind you of what you need to be thinking about.

I sure didn’t mean it as a complaint or as a criticism or an attack or anything negative. Reminders are intensely positive in my life. But I had two hours of sleep and my ability to explain is uhm compromised at such times.

End of shiny change of topic.

I like to be hit. I crave it like other people crave… whatever the fuck they crave. It’s a powerful force in my life. My absolute favorite is hitting with hands. Punching is such a vicious, visceral, vivacious connection that I feel like it makes me more alive. Punching helps me stop dissociating. Punching helps me feel the muscles and the tendons and the bones in my body. Punching helps me feel alive.

I can enjoy being hit with toys but it is a lot more difficult for me. I don’t process it as connection. It tends to increase my dissociation because mostly it hurts more in a way that I have to escape my body in order to tolerate very much of it. I don’t feel connected that way. I feel like I am a thing that a tool is doing a thing to. Sometimes that is hot too. Sometimes I do want to be beaten until I go away. It is like a vacation from the tyranny of living in a brain that hates me this much.

It feels like atonement for being so bad all the god damn time.

But atonement needs to be a sometimes treat or it means that I am shit and I should spend all my time apologizing for being shit.

Constant atonement means I am constantly bad enough that I need to atone.

That hurts.

That hurts my soul as much as it hurts my body.

I don’t always need to atone. Mostly I need to connect with people who want me to be alive and who aren’t shy about telling me so. Because I’m not so sure I want to be alive. But I don’t want to hurt people in this web more than I want to stop being in pain. Right now the balance is very much on the side that my pain doesn’t matter. I need more reason to believe that. And I need less pain.

The happy chemicals make me feel less pain. Less emotional pain and less physical pain. It’s a virtuous cycle.

I feel so very guilty that even when I’m having sex with Noah basically every day and sometimes several times a day… that isn’t enough chemical in the soup to push me over the rim of the pot and out of the boiling water that wants to kill me.

But adding more people… well… it’s variable… but it does more than anything else.

I have managed to long since get the soup down to a simmer from a hard boil, but I haven’t been able to get out of the pot.

Thank you Noah. That is mostly because of you. It is because of the children you have given me. It is because of the life you have given me.

But yeah. I need more relationships. I need people I can talk to and connect with and feel like I matter to them.

Because being a wife and a mother is not enough for me.

Do you know why I think that sport fucking isn’t going to work out for me the way it used to? Because these days even when I fuck someone at a swing party and intend to not really see them again (and hell they gave me a fake name anyway)…

They end up telling me their real name and coming over for lunch with their whole family so we can talk about life balance and problems and how to deal with different life issues and… we are turning into friends.

Noah I know I kinda wanted to just be fuck buddies with people. I went out looking for that.

FUCK ALL OF YOU FOR BEING SO AWESOME.

But I feel small and scared and ashamed. Because asking for support, asking for connection with these other people feels like it is almost specifically designed to be about hurting Noah. I don’t want to hurt Nah. He is the air I breathe. No, he isn’t every ounce of chemical I need… but he is the basis. He is the start. He is safety. He is the love that reminds me to take care of myself when I am failing at doing so.

I feel ashamed of how much I need him. I would be willing to sacrifice other parts of myself for that safety. But I’ll be down in the simmering soup forever. That’s just… true. One of these days the soup is going to finish boiling me and I will die.

I need more chemicals to raise the water line and get the fuck out of the pot.

I am so sorry I need an amount one person can’t supply. I have no idea what is enough.

I am feeling really scared. I want to reach out and I don’t. I am so weary of being a bother. I feel so much like people “put up with” me.

I’m so sorry that I am so horrible.

I want to be good. I want to be just a source of happiness. But the truth is I’m not. I’m full of sadness I don’t know what to do with. Mostly I try to get enough when I feel it is ok to touch people and can access more of those fucking chemicals I can’t produce on my own.

If I walk in wearing makeup and I walk out with a bare face that means I removed it all because I didn’t want it to be obvious I was crying. Part of the reason I have been wearing more makeup is because I’m trying to control the crying. I know I can’t cry without it being obvious and that’s too public for me. I can cry without people seeing with a bare face. I do it a lot.

I want to stop crying some year. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying you fucking baby.

Why do I want to date? Because I had to marry someone as broken as me. I had to marry someone who has so many pieces chopped out of him that he has huge gaping wounds where we can grow together and meld and heal into a new shape that is one thing instead of two broken things.

But how in the mother fuck do we teach our kids about a happy or healthy or normal childhood? By saying “Be grateful you aren’t getting what we got?” Oh goodness no. So I go date (in very small part) because that way I can find people who aren’t broken in the same ways and ask question after question after question. I get the impression people think I’m weird. Tell me how you turned out the way you did. I like you just fine and if I could manage to interact with a mini human to help them turn out like you… that would be a positive in this world.

I can’t make babies with everyone. But I can take the example of what kind of life experiences someone would bring to parenting and try to bastardize that onto my life. It is variably successful piece by piece. Overall it has been wildly successful.

I learn things from Cupid and Deity about a quieter happiness than I have known. They are very different men but they both come from backgrounds they are basically happy about. Do you know how fucking weird that is in my life? Dating them is almost like getting to have a koala bear accidentally fall out of a tree on your head and so see you’ve proven drop bears exist.

Whoa

My submissive inspires me with his passionate devotion to things. He has picked just a few people in his life to pour devotion into and I admire him. I both love and struggle with the fact that his core kinks are around degradation and “dirty” things. I absolufuckinglutely love that I get to do these things… I wish they weren’t degrading or dirty. I think they are fun. I do them from love. I do them out of service because you want to be treated this way and so ok I’m happy to be in that role for you.

So where does the sadism come into all of this? I am a sadist… but I am more of a service top. I do things because I think the person I am playing with wants/needs to experience them. I like being a guide on a journey. Even more I love being lead on a journey but with every passing year I intimidate people more and I get fewer offers.

The sadists are going to be happier with the people who aren’t physically and emotionally damaged at the beginning. I can’t take what a lot of people like to do on a regular basis. I can take it sometimes. I can take it when I’m doing well. Then I can’t for a while.

And the bubbling of the soup has a huge impact. The more emotionally dysregulated I am the more my entire nervous system flares up.

That’s why I want the kissing so much. It calms my central nervous system down. It distracts it from feeling pain.

And when there are chances to do the kissing and someone doesn’t want to… that feels really super out of proportion huge for me. I’m not saying anyone is obligated to make out with me for hours. Hell. I’m not saying you have to spend fifteen minutes kissing me.

But if you tell me you are romantically interested in me and you have a chance to kiss me and you’d rather not….

I feel that in my body and I feel it for days and I feel so sad.

All of this is complicated by the fact that we can’t kiss in front of my kids. So if we see each other a few times when kisses were possible but didn’t happen and then we see each other around my kids… that’s complicated torture. That’s a complicated thing that feels a lot like how I couldn’t hug or kiss or be affectionate around the kids when they were very small. I could do some but I would freak out if I heard them. It took a long time before I decided it was more appropriate for them to see that folks do those things when they like each other.

I have been good about slowly developing these boundaries and I’m going to keep being good about them. That’s important to me. I came from a place of severe inappropriate connection. I have inched my way towards letting my kids see different actions. But my kids have always seen me hug my friends. That’s just a standard thing. Even long hugs. So whereas kissing feels like it is a big boundary for me… my kids aren’t dumb. They will figure things out.

All of this is also complicated by my general problem with time distortion. I mentioned that in a few ways up-post: living in more than one time at once, feeling like how I feel in this moment is how I feel in all moments… but there is also the problem that when I’m really happy, time flies. I feel like I am getting so much input I can barely take it in. I struggle with feeling like hard packed clay soil. If you dump a deluge on me, it’s mostly going to just run off and not impact the plants. When I am depressed and/or anxious time drags on and on and on and on. It feels like there will never ever be a cessation of pain and god I can’t do this.

I have seriously been hurting most of my life. It’s hard to keep carrying that load.

But I have so much good that sometimes I am able to just sling all that hurt into a rucksack, toss it on my back and say, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters what you do.”

I think it is a problem that I associate not wearing makeup with a need to hide crying.

When I’m riding high in the pot and I feel relatively happy for me, then I want to beg someone to hurt me.

Why was it at such a sharp edge when I started hunting? Because I have been so safe for so long. I need the sharp and the soft. I got so much soft. I know it wasn’t fair that I didn’t know how to talk to Noah about being the sharp.

But it’s getting better pretty quickly, I think.

I need to not do anything melodramatic around this kissing thing. But I need to have some conversations. I need to talk about some pieces of this in real time with people.

The not kissing when the kids are around: kosher. The not kissing when the kids aren’t around? No. Not ok. I can’t think of you as someone I want to be kissing and deal with feeling like you don’t want to kiss me.

I had to turn off thinking about the Professor like that. He feels whatever he feels and I have no window into that but his behavior is that we had opportunities and there were no kisses and I need to treat that like “We are not people who will be kissing” and move on with my life. I have to compartmentalize like that or I get my feelings hurt.

He’s still my friend though. I still like him a lot. I will… poke at him less for a while because I’m still in the sticky he doesn’t like me that much stage.

I’ll get over that bit. I always do. It’s ok for people to like me how much they like me. But sometimes I have some sad that I am only liked as much as I am. I need to deal with that sad. I need to stay friends. Because that’s dealing with your shit. Because good grief I’m dealing with a lot of people and if I got bitter about everyone who doesn’t want to kiss me I’d have a shitty life. It’s ok.

But I’ll poke the Professor at a slower rate for a bit. I’m not going away;I enjoy the conversation too much. I just need to do some self management.

Even if I stop feeling like I have the right to look for kisses… I don’t want to stop being friends. I went hunting for friends with benefits. I want friends. I want benefits. Largely, apparently, in the form of kissing.

Wouldn’t it have been god damn handy if I could have phrased it that way in like March.

I’m going as fast as I can.

I want more hitting and I want more being hurt. But I want it in between kisses from someone who very much likes me. That’s complicated.

And I want to write about Sweet Boy. Because that was awesome. But I’m closing in on four thousand words and my arms need me to stop soon. He’ll be a lengthy story.

In three and a half hours we leave to go see the doctor about Noah’s vasectomy reversal. Holy shit.

How is this all going to work? Fuck if I know. But I guess we’ll figure it out. It’s that or die and I’m not ready. Even if I want to. I’m not ready. There is so much left to do. I’m not one to sit around when there is work to be done.

Do you know what is the part of our family culture that I am proudest of? “We are workers not shirkers.” When my kids say this, when Noah models it and repeats it… oh my soul glows. Yes. I read this hilarious book called How to Raise the Perfect Children Through Guilt and Manipulation and it is as much a memoir about her childhood as it is written by a parent about parenting. I don’t want to do anything how the sports-fanatic-Catholic author does things in her life…. but I do want to set a strong family culture the way she talks about. I do want to indoctrinate with my ideals the way she talks about. Yeah. Like that. Only something different.

Cause that’s what I am. Like you. Only something different.

Today is the 18th anniversary of Tommy’s suicide. I can’t say I miss you. I am glad you don’t have to be hurting any more. Self immolation. What a way to go.

Full head, full house, ouchie arms

If my arms were great I wouldn’t be able to type much because I have four kids here. My arms suck though. There are a few things I want to try and remind myself of, maybe so I can talk to Noah about them.

My shrink is quite perturbed by my level of interest in Deity. This is becoming A Thing We Talk About. She’s all: “Sport fucking! Yay! Falling in love. Boo.”

When I mention that I already love other partners she cocks an eyebrow and says, “You don’t blush and stammer when you talk about them.”

Well, maybe that is true.

I have a better idea of what I want from my submissive. I have times when I don’t feel I have the oomph to do what I want to do but I feel deeply secure that the line of stuff I’m interested in asking for are all things that are right up his alley.

I have… more comfort around Cupid. I think I’m a lot more into him than I should be. I’m tap dancing on a high wire trying to figure out how to keep him in a spot in my life even though he’s probably not going to be interested in the group stuff everyone else will put up with. I went from wanting someone to do something to wanting Cupid to do things but I’m not 100% sure what.

I’m really not interested in hunting just the now. I feel like I have a lot to explore and learn about and I’m really excited about that.

And I get to balance it with helping Noah feel secure. The whole ship won’t sail if he feels insecure. First I have to figure out how to help Noah feel loved. Then I can figure out what it means that I love these other people.

Because I do. I love my Daddy’s. Every single one of them for different reasons.

What do these loves, these attachments mean? I don’t know. Many of them have been there for a long time. (I messaged Daddy James today to say that even though I was in his neighborhood… I still am not fucking him. Sigh.)

I do love these people. But what does that mean?

What is love?

Some love is possessive and about ownership… but not all love. Sometimes love is about generosity and sharing and wanting them to get joy from anyone but you. Loving someone can include hoping they find the girl of their dreams and settle down and don’t have time for me.

But not Noah. He’s not allowed to run out of time for me.

I fall in love easily. I fall in love often. I fall in love with great intensity. Usually I love forever.

If I sat here and listed allllllllllllll of the people who have a piece of my heart… I’d sound like I was bragging. I would be bragging.

Aren’t I a lucky bitch? I have been able to love so many people.

Some of them even loved me back. At least a little. For a time.

Do any of those loves mean I do not love Noah? I don’t see why that would be true. I married one man. One man has seen me through hardship and illness and despair. One man helped me create the babies that give me life.

It really doesn’t matter how much I love other people this will always be true.

Noah is the only person who ever really looked at me and decided that he was going to prove to me that I am worthy.

Loyalty my friend, loyalty. But what does that loyalty entitle him to? My friend who was here the other weekend says jack shit. My shrink says definitely not sex.

I don’t know what I think.

I know I shouldn’t care what random people out in the world think. I really shouldn’t. I was stupid enough to read one of those “People who commit suicide are selfish” posts. I shouldn’t have. I should have opted-out and done some self-care.

Suicide has shaped my whole life. My grandmother killed herself by overdosing when my mom was pregnant with me. My mom dealt with that loss through my infancy. It was hard. She had been very close to her mother. I don’t really know why. My brother lit himself on fire because he could not cope with the pain of his life. Given how his life was… I don’t feel I have the right to anger. Was he selfish? Yes. But he had the right to be. He was left alone in care facilities where he was abused and that was all he would ever know. My father sat in the garage with the motor running and wrote notes to everyone in the world telling them that I was an evil liar and he was innocent. Even though he’d already confessed and collaborated every story. He wasn’t going to drive himself to the court room that day.

Selfish is just so beside the point.

My therapist OD’ed on heroin. She could not deal with the pain in her life. My adopted step-mom (long story) OD’ed on injected pain medication she was not prescribed. She could not deal with the pain in her life.

I have been institutionalized for attempting suicide. My stomach was pumped and I’m still here.

I don’t have a lot of the attachments other people have. I get what I create. I do the absolute best I can with the platonic friends I have…

Sharing sex and intimacy creates tighter bonds.

I don’t feel like I’m in a position to turn down a good twitterpation. Even if it makes my therapist uncomfortable. Am I going to wreck my life over it? No. I hope not.

Noah’s parents just sent us a cheerful letter to tell us about the cruise they are going on. The same month as the one we are going on. The one they won’t go on with us because they have to “get the hay in”. The hay they won’t touch with their hands because they have employees.

What is attachment?

I’m listening to the kids as they play in the back yard. I’m kinda ridiculous about enforcing outside time. “Y’all spend too much time inside. Get out into the sun. Go. Go. Go.”

I do go with them…

Right now I medicate. It was a long day of driving and being sober. Processing with my therapist. I feel like I’m almost ready to be happy. But not till I deal with Thursday. Oh Thursday.

I love you so. I have been such a twat waffle and I do not deserve your forgiveness. I have no. no. no. no idea how this will go.

Fuck.

I’m thinking of a pithy movie quote, I think from Girls Just Want to Have Fun “You always hurt the one you love.” Shannon Doherty? Is that it?

Anyway.

You know… I think I love my biological father. Even with everything. Most of the people who raped me… I loved them. Many of them I love them now. I might feel really angry with them… but I love them.

What is love?

Even though Tommy spent my childhood beating me and trying to rape me… I loved him. I’m sad his life was so terrible that he had to die to get away from it. I cannot bring myself to be angry with him for not wanting to suffer more for my convenience.

It is almost the anniversary of Tommy’s death. Next month. Eighteen years now. In three more years he will have been dead as long as he was alive.

Rest in Peace, Tommy.

What am I doing with my life?

I am trying to stop being a destroyer. I want to be a builder. I want to be someone who makes less pain in the world and not more.

There are reasons for temporary physical pain that alleviate intense emotional suffering and I don’t know how to deal with that dichotomy. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing.

I want to figure out how to help there be less pain. One of the ways I do that is to understand and find compassion.

I like loving lots of kinds of people. They all teach me different things. I learn best by being able to stand very close to someone and bask in their presence. I know this after many years of trying a lot of ways to learn. I will pick things up faster. I will learn more quickly. I will try to synch up with this person in any way I can because the drive to conform is what keeps our species alive.

The main reason I manage to be so god damn weird is because I have allowed myself to pattern off incredibly different people. Contradictions are ok. We can all solve different problems.

Ok. Time to be off.

I love you. Even when I have no idea what that means.

Selfish asshole

I’ve said for a while that I’m not interested in being polyamorous. I also say that I’m not good at being monogamous. These are still both true. Noah and I have been talking and talking and talking. We are both wicked insecure. We both have a lot of abandonment issues. It makes sense given that neither of us have relationships with our families of origin.

We both feel kind of at sea in the world. We both have a hard time feeling truly connected, wanted, important. This isn’t a problem that one or the other of us have.

I’ve been hurting Noah. He’s been hurting me. I kinda feel like we need to do that sometimes just so that we have to stop and scream LOOK AT ME. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Because over time we take one another for granted. We try to be grateful. We try to be aware and appreciative but it’s hard year after year. Sometimes we need to go do some asshole stuff so we can apprciate the fact that mostly we aren’t assholes to each other.

Last post I thought I’d have three dates a month and Noah would have one. Noah doesn’t really like what I will have to do to deal with that one date a month without being mean to him. Because I would have to take steps to deal with my feelings and not abuse him. I would need to create a lot of space around myself so I don’t lash out.

Because I would want to lash out.

Noah dating triggers so many insecurities for me. I don’t like it.

This is weird to me because I don’t freak out about him playing with friends at parties I’m at. That doesn’t bother me and I don’t god damn know why.

But Noah wanting to go out on a date with someone else… One on one time where he can pay attention to them because they are special…

I’m a fucking asshole.

Because I sure don’t mind me dating. Uhm, we decided I need to go down to two dates in a month. Because yeah. We aren’t cancelling May. Because that’s asshole shit. But starting in June we are going to… not be going out with other people so much. Because yeah. We may not be perfect at monogamy but spending as much time together as possible is really what we both want from life. If we feel that way we should act that way.

Going forward I am very happy about the boundary: no sex in places our kids go (other than our house). That feels… like a thing for me.

I’m trying hard. I’m trying to figure out what wants to bend and what needs to stay rigid and…

This is all hard.

But Noah doesn’t want me to hate him. Not even a little. Not even for a little while. So yeah. Him dating is complicated. Because I do hate him when he dates. It’s terrible. It feels awful. But it’s there. I fucking hate him. He is pretty confident I wouldn’t be able to compartmentalize that long term. Maybe he’s been looking at me for a while.

And hearing about his dates makes me physically ill.

So yeah. How much dating should we do? Maybe not so much.

Is this fair? I don’t think so. But life isn’t fair.

I kinda want to list all the things we talked about. All the levels of insecurities. But the thing is, talking about that has the possibility to hurt my friends and I don’t want to do that. I’m not insecure because of the people involved. The people involved being this safe actually makes it that much harder to feel this way.

All of the people involved are wonderful, safe, kind, considerate and loving. I’m the asshole.

I’m so sorry.

I spent a long time talking to the Professor yesterday and he tried very hard to talk me into thinking that it is ok for me to get angry with Noah. I don’t feel like it is ok. I feel like it is disgusting and shameful because he deserves better than that from me. He really does. He is my whole world.

Even if I like fucking other people. Noah is everything.

Yes we still have a lot of conversations ahead of us about play. The intensity thing is going to continue to be a … topic… for a long time to come.

Sunday and Monday were so awesome. Thank you K for letting me have this. Saturday was… mixed. Mostly good. (Thanks Deity.)

My feelings are not because of the people Noah plays with. My feelings are because I’m neurotic, insecure, and I have very little intrinsic self worth. This is not anyone else’s fault. This is my shit. And it’s shit.

Noah and I talked a lot about whether or not it is easier for me for him to date strangers or friends and…

It is easier to have him date friends. It isn’t that I think anyone he has seen has any desire to be a homewrecker or a problem or hurt me or anything like that.

My fear isn’t rational. My fear isn’t based on anyone doing anything wrong. But it is intense, all consuming and there. I have to act like it is there and deal with it. Or it leaks into my life and I am a seriously problematic person.

I can’t keep verbally abusing Noah. I just can’t. Which means I need to take steps to make sure that stops. It isn’t something that comes up very often. I think this is the third time we’ve had to work on this issue in about 12 years.

When I feel hatred like that… I am fucking mean.

Yeah. I know exactly what to say to make you feel like shit. I’ve watched you for years. Yes. I can take you apart with a verbal scalpel. Yup. No problem.

I need this to be the last time I ever talk to Noah like that. It just can’t happen again. He deserves and has earned better from me. Which means I need to be careful about the situations I put myself in. Because when I’m that angry… I need to put physical space between me and Noah. Because I’m a problem.

And I don’t handle him dating. I feel really ashamed of myself.

Noah wants me to be open, vulnerable, transparent, and relaxed. I can’t be any of those things when I hate him.

I just can’t.

Which isn’t to say that I think him dating deserves me hating him. It doesn’t.

I am such an asshole.

I’d rather be told, “No really this ‘I don’t want to follow rules’ shit is over. Follow some fucking rules” than be told, “Fine then I’m doing what I want.” One of those effectively reins me in. One of those means… our relationship kinda sucks. But it only effectively reins me in after I’m good and hurt and pissed.

Like the mature and responsible person I obviously am.

It isn’t that I feel I must own Noah’s cock solely and permanently. It is that… I want to be there. I don’t want to feel like I am being left so he can go find someone more interesting. Which makes me a flaming cunt for dating other people.

God I don’t like me very much.

I have no particular desire to stop seeing my submissive, Deity, Cupid, or Daddy. But if I only get to see them every other month… that I can live with. To be fair I’ll probably make damn sure I end up at parties with my submissive every month even if we don’t make dinner dates every single month.

Noah won’t let me hit him. Ok he would let me hit him. He told me so. But he wouldn’t like it at all and that feels terrible. I have absolutely no desire to hit someone who is tolerating being hit but who doesn’t like it. That’s disgusting.

I feel… like a piece of shit for wanting to date and not wanting Noah to date. I am not asking Noah to be monogamous.

I notice that he puts a lot of effort into dates with other people. We have dates if I go find an event and I go find a babysitter and I …

That hurts.

I feel selfish and terrible.

Yeah. This is who I am. I am selfish and terrible.

Good grief I am insecure.

You know… it would be super awesome if in some decade of marriage Noah and I got to the point of being able to say, “We need an epic 9 hour processing day because I HAVE FEELINGS” without the awful screaming. That’d be great. But this is like fight number 3? 4? 5? since we got married. So as bad as it is that we scream the way we do sometimes (and we are both assholes) it is rare and we apologize profusely and get through years of processing afterwards. So it’s not great. But it is unfortunately kinda effective?

We’ve been talking all day. It’s 5pm. We have not been apart for a solid 10 minutes today.

Yeah this whole “I don’t want to follow rules” thing is at an end. We gots rulez. Rulez and rulez and rulez.

I have this horrifying habit of not knowing where my boundaries are until I see them in the rear view mirror. This is a distinctly different problem now than it was earlier in my life because these days we are experimenting with people I have deep love and affection for. That means fucking up is way higher stakes.

There is absolutely no one involved in our lives right now who it would be ok for me to hurt with my flailing. No one.

Fuck.

That’s complicated. Because my boundaries and limits are squiggy and weird.

Like… I don’t want either of us to have a date in the house again. It’s not that I’m mad at the person who came over. I’m not. But I kinda wanted to cancel my date yesterday and stay home and mope because that was just where I was and I didn’t feel like I could because Noah had a date and… that’s not great on a lot of levels. I went to a date when I really wasn’t in the mood and I wasn’t nearly nice enough to my date and at the end I had a meltdown.

Seriously dude. Don’t ask if you need ear plugs to have sex with me. That’ll make me cry the whole way home.

I mean, I’m not overwhelmingly mad at you either. But I’m not going to be able to shake that off and go back to fun time. I can’t.

I’m really sorry that I’m so sensitive. I know I’m a baby.

But I’m 34 fucking years old and I think the chance of me getting over that hot button this decade is at zero.

Also: let’s say this plainly… I’m a selfish piece of shit. I’m dating people because without having sex with more than one person… I don’t really get off. And that *sucks*. That sucks for me and it makes me really resentful of Noah long term because he has no such trouble. I don’t know why I’m wired this way but I am. I have put a good solid college effort into trying to be compatible with monogamy and you know what… it doesn’t work. I just stop orgasming. It’s awful. This is a fact Noah and I have talked about a lot. It’s a problem.My therapist has been tracking this. It’s a problem.

But Noah isn’t having the same problem. So why in the fuck does he need to go off and date?

That’s what my selfish piece of shit self says at least.

So Noah is going to have one date a month. At a party. Because when Noah goes to our friends’ houses to have sex that means I then have feelings about going back to their house and that is not fair at all to our friends.

It isn’t that I need to be the only one touching Noah’s dick. That’s not it.

I’m weird about houses and personal space. I don’t mind him fucking people at parties. Not whether I’m there and not when I’m not. I don’t know why this works this way for me but after a couple of months of trying things this time and years of experience in the past….

I feel comfortable saying I have 0 issue with group sex with both of us (even in our house). I have a small problem with party sex I’m not involved in as far as I don’t want to sit and watch. I have a huge problem, apparently, with sex at peoples houses. Which makes me a fucking hypocrite because I don’t mind that I do it.

I was frankly shocked that Daddy fucked me. He hasn’t in over a decade. I didn’t expect that at all. I didn’t say no and I’m not upset but I didn’t go to his house expecting that even a little. We’ve had a tease relationship for over a decade. So I didn’t really stop and think about how I feel about having sex with him in a house where my children go. If I had thought about it hard in advance…

I feel very uncomfortable about the fact that Noah had sex in a house where I take my kids. I’m not mad at him or the person he had sex with. I just…

Now I’m going to think about that. And…

I rarely know what my boundaries are until I see them in the rear view mirror.

I know it doesn’t matter that they had sex and my kids go to that house once a year. It’s not a big deal.

Only it makes my stomach hurt a lot.

I have been emotionally unstable my entire god damn life. I have to take that into consideration when I decide what boundaries are appropriate for my life. It isn’t likely to just evaporate now. I need boundaries that allow me to go through life without feeling like I’m going to puke. (Especially because I just god damn started a medication that has a side effect of nausea and I need to be able to notice that.)

I don’t think anyone did anything wrong. I had not asked for any limits in any of these areas to begin with and not a single person broke a rule or was rude or bad or anything like that.

I just have these feelings. I’m not saying this is rational.

It’s really weird. I genuinely don’t mind Noah having sex at parties. It doesn’t make my stomach hurt. I kinda walk by the scene once or twice to wave and establish that everyone involved still likes everyone else and it’s cool.

God Noah playing with someone on my couch makes me cry and cry and cry and cry. That’s where I cuddle my kids.

(I’M NOT MAD AT YOU dear friend who is reading this.)

But I would be freaking out more if it had been in the bed. Yeah. Not in the house.

I had a hard time moving into this house. Noah bought this house for hunting. A whole parade of women came through here and that has been pretty hard for me. It took years before I stopped crying about just being the latest slut in the house. This is a thing.

I need it to not be in the house. I’m weird. It’s not that anyone is doing anything wrong. It’s not that I don’t want him to play with the people he’s playing with. Shit, he couldn’t pick nicer or safer or more awesome people. I really like the people he’s playing with.

I’m sorry I am such a baby.

I don’t think anyone did a thing wrong. I don’t think anyone should be in trouble or… I just had feelings I didn’t know I was going to have. Big feelings. The kind of feelings that make it hard for me to be stable and calm and normal. The kind of feelings where I cry a lot for a long time.

It’s not your fault and I’m not blaming anyone. This happens to me. This is my life. This is about me and my brain. But I need to manage it. And Noah has to live with me. He wants me to live for a long time. He has to make choices that reflect where I start melting down if he wants to keep me. Whether that is fair or not fair. What is fair?

I’m sorry I’m unstable and insecure. But that is kinda as advertised at this point.

Also: Noah and I are going to try to go to parties more often together and when we go together he is totally free to play with friends. He’s just only going to make sure he goes to one alone. This means we will only have one of us out of the house one night a week. It was really sucking having us collectively gone two or three nights in a week on dates. That just feels yucky right now. That’s too big of a change from what things have been. Hell, I haven’t been back from the road trip long enough to want that much space from Noah. Even if the dates are nice.

A lot of the kinds of trust Noah wants from me… with hypnosis and M/s in the future… that requires a level of trust that is very hard for me. I am literally not set up to be good at trusting like that. That kind of trust is broken for me.

But he wants it. Which means that the pair of us have to work on figuring out how to build it. And that means limits that may not seem “fair” because we have very different needs and very different reasons we are doing all this.

There is no fair. Just like there is no deserve.

There is what you can bear.

I feel really sad and scared. I don’t like that I need to ask Noah for these limits. But I need to if I am going to be able to build the kind of trust he wants me to build. I will not be stable with him having dates like this. I never have been. It is unlikely to start now.

These are the safest and most awesome women possible. It isn’t that I am insecure about the people.

I’m just… a selfish baby.

We are both taking a lot of comfort from the fact that even though we had a huge fight and said pretty awful things… neither of us at any point even a little bit felt like “I don’t want to be married.” The worst it got was “I need a few hours in a room away from you.”

That feels good.

We are insecure bastards. I’m glad he is finally admitting some of his points of insecurity. Much like Beyoncé, the Queen, I need him to show me that I can hurt him. So that I can stay.

Fuck that album is going to be huge in my life. Lemonade is everything. If you haven’t watched it, stop what you are doing and go watch. YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING BETTER WITH YOUR LIFE. JUST DO IT.

ok?

If you’re all “But I don’t know how” come to my house and you can watch it. I bought it. I’ll watch it hundreds of times. It’s ok if you are with me for one of them.

We spent a long time talking about Noah’s place in the hierarchy of my self destructive habits. It’s good that we are honest about that.

One of our new rules is that only Noah can cut me. We had quite a day. We managed to get through our proposed desired come-in-all-holes date… which is frankly shocking given how I woke up. I didn’t think I’d be interested in sex. Then he spent all those hours talking to me and trying to figure out what we both want.

Ok yeah I’ll suck your dick. And then you can fuck my ass. Then we can take a shower. Then you can hurt me really really really a lot and then fuck my pussy. And then later we christened the first of May in the back yard.

Yup. That’s a good day.

I don’t have any fresh bruises but I have lots of old lovely bruises still fading. (God damn Cupid.) (That was meant to be in a positive sort of way not in a damn you sort of way. More like hot damn. Ahem.) Then I have lots of cuts. I have marks from the clothespins. The caning wasn’t hard enough to leave a mark. That’s ok. I got no warm up. On purpose. Because any little girl who will speak that rudely to her Daddy should get a caning with no warm up.

Meaning I asked for it.

Because man atonement is a thing. Which totally doesn’t excuse my abusive behavior.

It’s not ok to scream at people like that. So we made some specific agreements about how I am going to handle my behavior in the future when I am that upset. We don’t like the agreements we made, but we talked it out. It’s not ok to scream like that. I am less ok with it than he is. Which kinda bothers me. He isn’t mad at me for screaming at him. I think it would be easier if he were mad.

Fuck.

Why is life so complicated?

Uhm. A lot else happened. Holy shit this was an eventful day. We talked about so many insecurities and paranoias and fears and wants and hopes and needs and coping methods and possessiveness and sharing and…

My hands is done. I wrote this during meals. That’s the only time I did much other than pay attention to Noah today. It’s been an epic 14 hours of talking. Sex didn’t start happening till 12:30 or so. I’m ready to go pass out now. I took the Gabapentin like half an hour ago. I feel like I’m walking into a wall of haze…..

Promiscuity and permission

I had a thought. And even though I’m trying not to type much this weekend I want to write this down.

The difference between me doing what I’m going to do and feeling good about myself and me doing what i’m going to do and feeling bad about myself… is mostly about how I’m perceived.

I’ve been a big slut chasing sex since I was in preschool. Rampant promiscuity is part of my life.

This time… I’m coming home to a safe home. With a partner who grins at me and who wants to hear every filthy detail. He’s concerned about my safety and my rate of adding partners. He’s concerned about me stepping outside my carefully vetted pool because in the past that has been a mixed bag for me.

He’s not telling me to stop fucking my friends.

He’s not sure what he wants and that is a slow process we are talking about a lot together. He’s not entirely sure what he thinks will be sustainable in terms of my behavior but we are talking.

There is no shame.

I need to say that again because it is so important: There is no shame.

There are uncomfortable feelings. There is a tinge of sadness on both or parts. We wanted the fantasy of monogamy. We liked it. We wanted it to work.

It didn’t work well for us. We are going back to stuff that has worked well for us.

But we are doing it from a framework of a very happy and supportive marriage. We like each other. It is a little weird going back to dating from the point of view that I’m blissfully happy at home and I love my marriage… I just do better with a variety of sex partners in my life. I like bouncing off of people.

It really helps that since I started fucking around Noah is inspired and he’s been fucking me more and better than he has since the first year of marriage. We are getting close to our pre-kids sex life.

Which is fucking awesome.

We are getting back to the sex life we had when I was dating Spot and…. I can’t remember who else. It’s embarrassing how bad I am at remembering who I dated when. I can remember that I dated someone, but I need to really think about it to figure out which period of my life. (Actually… it may have been just Spot and Noah because I was teaching. I was real busy then.)

“Which slut period did you overlap?”

But I remember Spot. He’s one of the few who made it to 9 months. I liked Spot a lot. He was… a nice break from the assholes I had been dating. Ultimately he was too nice for me and that’s ok too. I’m one of those terrible people who likes assholes.

I need you to have brick wall boundaries because I am going to throw myself at them. I don’t want them to collapse. Usually only assholes can do that. Assholes know “I go out this far and this is where I stop. Get the fuck off my wall.”

But this is what I was thinking about this morning. Permission. Noah gives me permission to exist in a way no one else ever has. I’m not sure it would have occurred to anyone else. I’m not sure anyone else would look at me and think, “Oh there’s a person quaking with fear because no one has given her permission to act how she wants to act.”

Snicker.

But it’s true. I do. I do what I’m going to do anyway. The difference is whether I feel ashamed of myself afterwards for acting in a way I think I’m not supposed to act or whether I feel fine because I was told I am fine.

Noah does that.

Noah gives me that.

He tells me I am fine.

But I like the telling part…

I went to a party last night. The kind of party where you aren’t supposed to talk about what you do. But how much do I respect those boundaries? Only by the skin of my teeth. Which has no skin. So I totally don’t get that expression.

It was hot. I had a lot of fun. It was interesting to manage my feelings and expectations. Noah had more uhm contacts than me (this was intentional) and we both left feeling like we had a really positive experience.

I do have explicit permission to write about one of my partners. He has given me blanket permission to write about him. But that’s complicated. You see, a lot of folks I know… also know him. I’m having big feelings. They come in waves and layers and they impact many different aspects of my life.

Who am I? What do I want? Am I good or am I a monster? Can’t I be both? Is it ok?

I’m not sure I want to stop being a monster. What I want to do is go bite him right on top of the bruise he has from me biting him last night. That’s what I want to do.

He said that for that night it was a 9 but in the future I can treat it like a 7 because he really wants to let me do what I want to do.

So. Hot. Explosively. Hot.

Well I had my first fuck since Muse. Not with my friend I am hurting. Why not?

Why not?

Why not?

Why do I need that to be a boundary? I’m still thinking about it. It’s complicated. It has to do with a sense of obligation, about boundaries, about my own limits around energetic output, and of course it’s about the fact that when I’m being super slutty… I wanna bottom.

Even though it is explosively orgasmic to fuck your throat, it is hard for me to turn around and say, “Ok now I want you to fuck me like this and like that and do it this way and harder and…”

When I’m fucking I want to drop like a rock.

That was part of the trouble with breaking the rule in Portland. I wanted to break so many rules. I wanted to cheat. Because he likes flipping people.

That’s where I get in trouble. My friend, who lets me hurt him so exquisitely, has absolutely no drive or desire or impulse to flip me. Not an ounce. None. I’ve looked in that well. I’ve dug out the bottom praying for brackish sips of toppy energy.

I love you so much. I want to drop when I fuck.

I feel bad for wanting that and I don’t want to feel bad for that.

I can do enough feedback to tell a stranger how to avoid land mines and encourage them to hit the tempo I want. That’s easy. I can’t tell a submissive how to fake being forceful enough to fuck me. I know folks who can. My hat is off to you. Sounds fucking hot. I can’t do it.

That was the thing with my Owner. He liked to submit to me. But when he was done he wanted to flip the table hard and have me go down.

I like that.

If I don’t feel a strong challenge, if I don’t feel like someone kind of wants to crawl inside me to eat my neck from the inside… meh. I’ll go find someone else to fuck. Don’t worry. There are more out there. Dick is the most plentiful thing on earth. As Feminista Jones recently pointed out, dick is more plentiful than drinking water.

And if what I want is someone who will fuck me like an animal then go away and not talk to me anymore?

I’m in a god damn buyers market.

This is part of why negotiating boundaries with Noah is so hard. I’m so touchy. I’m so sensitive. I need so much attention and energy and maintenance. We aren’t going to be polyamorous any year soon if ever. I have no desire to share that big of a piece of him.

But how does it work to fuck your friends? How does it work to keep people at a distance? I don’t know.

My kids are my secondaries. That sounds creepy. I don’t think we have an emotionally incestuous relationship. I think we have a lot of boundaries around what it means to be support for one another. I don’t think I am overly enmeshed or overly dependent on them. But I am really seriously teaching them how to take care of themselves. And I’m doing that by figuring it out (kinda) in front of them.

I believe with all my heart and soul that much of this journey needs to be off-screen for them. Sure, I write about it publicly and some day they may discover just how skanky their mom was/is…

I can live with that.

I believe I am allowing them to grow up in a world where sexuality is normal, healthy, private, and personal. People do it in a lot of different ways for a lot of reasons and there is no one way that is right or wrong. We have friends of quite diverse family arrangements. And I’m matter of fact and shame free about all of it. I explain why things I tried failed because of defects in my personality. It isn’t that those ways of existing are wrong.

I just can’t do them.

I don’t know why sex can be biting someone and slapping him and fucking his throat with my strap on and that’s enough. We didn’t even kiss.

But sometimes that is a complete sexual experience that needs to be respected within the boundaries that apply to it. Sex isn’t what you think it is. Sex is a lot of things.

I kissed his body. I kissed his neck. I licked him. Do you know the most contact I had with his cock? When he was wearing pants I kneeled on his crotch and jerked him off with my knees. I was still fully dressed.

Sex can be a lot of things.

Sex can be a lot of things it can’t be with Noah. That’s feeling interesting to me right now. And then the pick up sex.

Gosh. Feeeeeeeeeeeeelings. Where do these all fit in my heart, in my loins, in my life?

I asked permission for the pick up sex. Absolutely no cheating happened. This was all highly negotiated and safe and what not. Lots of condoms and covered oral sex. Ok we didn’t use gloves for fingering.

I swear to goodness driving across the country with my kids was more dangerous than fucking this dude.

Why didn’t I hunt for a woman?

Complicated.

Because there are more feelings involved. Squishy feelings. Feelings I have a harder time keeping at arms length. Because I want to fall in love with you. Because I miss women so much. Because I would want to… not have the boundaries I’m supposed to have. Because I do want to come over and bring my kids and all of us can cuddle because surely that’s not a problem, right?

A long time ago I went home with a couple after a wild drug fueled orgy. I shit you not. In the morning the three of us were lying in bed naked doing more drugs. In walked their eight year old kid.

No one blinked. This was just normal.

I left very soon after. I didn’t really keep dating them. I couldn’t do that.

My kids know I smoke pot. My kids know I have had sex. My kids see my casually naked because I genuinely see nudity as not a big deal.

My kids don’t walk in on me smoking pot with my lovers in the nude. Nope, nope, nope.

Do I think I’m better than them? No. Not really. Because you can go down a list of this for that wrong for right and… I’m not. I’m not better than anyone. I don’t have stones to throw. But I have decisions to make about where my boundaries need to be.

Isn’t judging kind of a necessary thing in life? It doesn’t have to mean someone else is in the wrong. But you have to judge anyway. You have to judge if something is right for you.

I asked very careful permission before I engaged in any sm play because this was not a bdsm party. I asked the host, I found a semi-private room. I asked the other people playing in the room for permission before I got started. When other people wanted to join us in the room I asked them if they were comfortable before things got going.

I want it to be ok for me to be in my place in the weird ass world and I want it to be ok that sometimes other people need to be protected from my baser urges. My baser urges are pretty wicked and I know that. Whoa.

I kept it light. I knew I was at a vanilla party. I’m told I only got up to a 3/4 for the hitting. The biting I got more fierce because that doesn’t scare people who are watching. Uhm, not as much?

No punching. No kicking. No serious choking.

I kept it kinda sensual mean.

aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. I’m going to beat off like a fiend for weeks thinking about this. I need to go to a real bdsm party with him so I can fuck him up. I feel like I’m fiending like a junkie. I like this feeling.

This used to be my life. Ok, I didn’t top that much. Enough. I topped as often as other people could talk me into it. Because people who really crave being hit can tell what I have hiding beneath my smile.

How am I going to keep boundaries around this?

I’ve already loved you for way more than ten years. I’ve known you for more than fifteen years. If this changes, what will that mean? How much of me is going to go to a relationship that has been… super low key for a long time?

That’s the rub. That’s where the negotiating comes in.

Last night I was teasing him and I was teasing me. I know what we both really want and I couldn’t give it to him there. It wouldn’t have been appropriate.

See: I can be taught.

He told me, “Many years ago I decided that even if I didn’t know what you wanted from me, I want to give you everything I have.”

Danger. Danger. Danger. Soooooooooooooooooo much temptation there. That could be so much fun. So much intoxication. So much excitement.

Crap.

It’s magical. It’s appealing.

I have at least ten more years before I will consider seriously dating. Realistically I’m not sure our marriage would survive a serious outside relationship for one of us. We are enmeshed mother fuckers.

But I don’t mind when he goes and does x with someone else.

Cause it isn’t cheating. I walked into the room. I saw what was happening. I saw who it was happening with. I grinned. I walked out.

I like watching other people but I honestly don’t like watching Noah have sex with a stranger. I like watching him fuck my friends because then I can tell them both what to do and be a bossy shithead. That’s kinda inappropriate when he’s banging someone I don’t know. Boundaries, bitch.

And the very best part is when we got home he wasn’t ready to get a hard on so he put on  a strap on and fucked me till he was ready to get hard again. Because I wasn’t done yet and if you aren’t hard that’s fine, we have equipment for that. I’m not done yet. And then we woke up and had frantic sex again in the middle of the early morning.

Because we feel cocky, snotty, insatiable, and completely and totally lucky that we get to come home and fuck each other.

I think it is hilarious that my shrink is shocked by how much sex we have considering how long we have been married. “Krissy, you know that people just don’t do that, right?” Meh. I know people who do. Maybe you don’ t know the right people.

It’s all about where you stand.

Noah likes to make fun of me. If I can find people who are more extreme at something I will loudly and prolifically say that I’m not that good at ________. Doesn’t matter what the topic is.

If there are fifty people alive who are better than me, clearly I’m not that good.

Uhhhh, right?

Depends on your scale. I’ve never ever tried to be a specialist. I’m a generalist. So what the fuck does that mean?

I don’t know yet.

Let’s find out.

Peace

This morning I had a peaceful moment. One of those true, Zen moments of “I am happy and this is where I want to be.” Eldest Child woke up to use the restroom too early. I was awake doing chores, like usual. She asked me if I would climb in bed with her so she could sing me a lullaby. Twinkle Twinkle was the song of choice. Then she spent a while talking to me about why she likes me.

This is kind of a habit I have with the kids. I don’t put them to bed all the time, probably not even half the time these days at home. Maybe a quarter of the time? But we had the road trip and all the years before that of shared bed times. At bed time, what we do is we cuddle up close and spent 15-20 minutes talking about all the reasons we like each other. “You did ____ and I was so impressed with your thoughtfulness. You did ______ and I was shocked to see that you have made that developmental jump. I thought that was a (age inflation) thing and I’m really wow’ed. You said ______ word today and that was surprising because I didn’t know you knew that word!”

We bookend that with waking up to morning snuggles. During morning snuggles we talk about what we need to do today and how the schedule will work.

I can understand why my children insist I’m not an asshole and I just have bad moments. I don’t understand it so much from other people. Sometimes I feel like my children get to have a relationship with someone that no one else even gets to meet.

Sometimes I am capable of seeing myself as kind, giving, and loving.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m an asshole.

Contradiction is necessary for life. For survival. You can be kind and an asshole.

Why am I so convinced I’m an asshole? Because I lawyer up fast when my contractors give me trouble. Because I find that swearing at men really harshly is one of the best ways to convince strange men I’m not interested in their attention. Because I find that sometimes it is necessary to kick people really hard to get them to let go and I’m willing to do it. Because I’m going to keep talking about why the word whore is eating my brain even though people with sex work careers twitch and feel really upset about it.

Want to hear something wild? Yesterday one of the most famous sex workers of our era gave me permission to use the word whore however I need to in my processing. She says if anyone questions me again I can send them to her.

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to pull that card. But I may print out that tweet and cut it up small and put it in my wallet next to the permission slip from Noah. Just so that I think about it.

I have permission to look at this however hard I need to in order to get over it. She said so.

I am so fucking weird about permission. I’ve spent my whole life cringing, crying, and hurting myself because I felt that was the only thing I was allowed to do without permission. I need permission to stop. I need permission to feel something else about myself.

Why does that have to be the default? I mean, blame your parents yada yada, why does that have to be my default?

Why do I have to assume, in every moment, that I am the least valuable person present and if someone should die it should be me?

Not that I want to get to the point of wanting to sacrifice other people for myself.

Wait, maybe that is it.

I have never known a white person with really high self esteem who isn’t willing to throw other people under the bus for their own advancement. I have known people of color with high self esteem whom I have never seen sacrifice a friend. I know people of color who are exploitive assholes, too.

I’m trying to think through my white friends… y’all make very self absorbed choices. I do too. I’m not sitting on a high horse. I’m sitting flat on the ground. I’m not high and mighty here. I’m trying to figure out how this works.

I am willing to throw people under a bus if I feel I have to do so in order to be effective.

That’s why I’m an asshole. I need accurate labeling so other people know they have to protect themselves from me.

want to help you. I will try to help you. But if I feel I have to be effective in some area for Reasons…

I’m a selfish piece of shit. That’s why I’m alive. I’m willing to say that Safeway doesn’t matter as much as me, I’m stealing food. I’m willing to say, “Being around people who make choices like x is so problematic to me that I will bug and bug and bug people who make choices like that until they don’t want to know me any more.”

I’m an asshole because I make a lot of assumptions about people and I don’t check my privilege nearly often enough. I’m trying to get better. This is hard.

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

I spent my childhood moving like a ghost through different communities. I never stayed long enough to belong. I lived in a lot of neighborhoods where we were the only white family. I grew up feeling like being white was a bad thing. Know why? White people don’t care about their kids very much. That was how I experienced it as a child. I don’t think that is literally true across the board. That was my experience. In white neighborhoods there were always packs of unsupervised children doing horrifyingly inappropriate things. In neighborhoods of color there might be much older teenagers or 20-somethings causing trouble, but the kids were god damn watched.

I was chased out of so many homes for having bad behavior. I was told I was a bad girl dozens, maybe a hundred times.

It’s funny how my memories of these things change and drift. I remember them very differently as my understanding of the situation changes.

When I was 21ish I honestly didn’t remember all those lectures about being bad. I had kinda blocked them out. I knew I was bad but it was a fog hanging over my life. I didn’t have all those disparate voices going through my head.

As a parent watching my children be children (by which I mean breaking rules and fucking up) I hear those people in my head over and over more and more clearly. Oh. That was why they said that.

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

I have always felt like I was living in many ages at once. But I feel like my future selves have changed a lot over my life. My ability to perceive who I could be has changed.

These days I can picture having grandchildren who scornfully tell my children that they should be more patient, like Grammie. I will giggle. My children will say, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS LIKE TO GROW UP WITH.” I will giggle.

Do you have any idea what having that vision in my head means to me? I have the belief that I might be able to arrive at having the kind of experience of being in my body that I want to have. I believe that I might get to the point of being actually regulated and calm.

I have hope for something I was not capable of dreaming up 20 years ago.

It’s amazing what ten years of safety can do for a body. I see it in myself. I see it in my children. That is something that home schooling does for me that isn’t necessary for almost anyone else I know.

I require this specific time to be set aside in my adult life where the entire point of my day is to model how to have big emotions, get them under control, deal with them appropriately when they come up, and then keep working.

Not suppressing. Not denying. Not minimizing. Not avoiding until it comes crashing down on you at some inappropriate time in the future. Your feelings matter. They live in you and they serve a purpose. If you ignore them in the moment you will pay a price later. There are times and places where emotional displays are not appropriate, but get that stuff out as fast as possible so it doesn’t become a poison.

I am grateful every day for the life I am leading right now.

I have the safety, the money, the access to care providers, and the education to do something about the trauma in my body.

That is magical. This should be available to everyone who has experienced trauma. We would be a better world.

People deserve to be seen in context and understood. Most people who seem “crazy” to you wouldn’t seem so crazy if you knew more about their story. I tell my children all the time, “Weird just means you aren’t used to it yet; eventually it is just normal.”

My mom used to say, “The only norma people are the ones you don’t know very well.”

One of my neighbors is stepping up the offer of maternal-nature-friendship. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Thank You Oh Universe, You Sure Do Like To Hear My Calls, Don’t You?

On the other hand… I’m scared of blowing up what we currently have if she finds out more about me. I’m not exactly the uhhhh conservative type and she is quite shy, scared, and sheltered. I don’t want to hurt her. She will need a lot of boundaries around the kinds of things she can handle hearing and I’m not sure how to find those boundaries without fucking up pretty badly. Once you say something it can never be unsaid.

We have a really solid, positive relationship. Losing it would be brutal. This feels really tricky. Our families are fairly strongly connected at the level we have now. I feel really like this is a big risk. Much bigger than telling all the strangers on the internet about my raunchy sex life and habit of beating people up for fun.

I’m kinda weird.

My superego is fucking developed at this point, ok? I’m growing up.

I’m an asshole and she is not. She wants to mother me. What will she do when she finds out I have approximately 500 x’s as much life experience as her?

There is a thing I think about. When I was in the bdsm community I was really serious about learning all I could as fast as I could. I played a lot with a lot of people. Basically I spent more time on bdsm than I spent on my college education, which I was pursuing simultaneously. Much Much Much more time on bdsm.

I was a serious slut and it was really fun and I have no regrets. I learned what I wanted to learn from that experience. I’m shocked at how often I find ways to apply the lessons I’ve learned, not in ways you’d expect.

I had more life experience at 25 than many people have at 50. It isn’t hyperbole, it is simple fact. I say yes to almost anything that comes up. I know very diverse people in many communities. I’m a moody bastard with a short attention span.

I’ve done a lot of things. It is something I notice when I meet new people these days. I sound like a lying braggart. Nope. I got receipts. I did all that. Why? Because I never felt like I had a better choice than to do what I was doing so I did it all in. As soon as something stops feeling like the best choice in the moment I break down, fall into a deep depression. Go home. Hurt myself until I figure out that the boundaries required in that community are not things I can maintain long-term. Then I heal. Then I try again.

It goes faster and faster as I age and get boundaries carved out of granite. It is harder to change them. I am less tolerant of my internal, “I need to conform by doing x in this environment” sensor and I just flee.

I have a home now. I have less reason to tolerate your bullshit rules. Wanna know why I know they are bullshit rules? Cause this ain’t my first rodeo. Don’t worry, I think the rules in my house are bullshit too. They are all weird and arbitrary. They are made to suit the moods of whichever asshole in the vicinity is loudest.

I know.

I used to know a man who liked to say, “I’m the only psycho in this relationship” or maybe he said he was the only one who gets to be crazy? I may be misremembering. I’ll cop to that.

I need to be the biggest asshole in the space I’m in. So Noah is an asshole, but I know that I’m much more likely to be the one to bulldoze than him.

It works for us. Picture a heart emoji here, but I have technically banned them so this will have to do.

He doesn’t think I’m an asshole. That’s part of why this works. I think we are both assholes and I’m just a bigger one. But he’s all mellow and tolerant so it works out. Do you however you need to, ok?

I’m going to be kinda passive aggressive here and say: if you are one of Noah’s friends… this is a great time to ask him to go out some time. He needs to talk. To more people than just me right now cause life is like that sometimes.

I can’t fill his tank as much as he needs me to right now. Because I’m dealing with the remodel and and and. His job is kinda hard.

I need to go beat the shit out of people. I don’t know what he needs. But right now, he’s wilting like a flower and that’s a serious bummer. I don’t know what it is that is missing right now, but clearly all the right nutrients aren’t in place.

This is the kind of micromanaging, paying attention that I want in my life. It is why I appreciate the people who have stuck with me and really got to know me so much. Because I’m more pushy like this by the year. Because people do it more with me. It’s a careful balance. How much controlling and influencing other people should we do?

I really don’t know where those boundaries ought to be. I’m not pulling up Noah’s email account and making plans for him. That’s over the line.

Where is the line?

Everyone is different. I want you to get to be who you need to be. I want to figure out who I need to be and I want to just do the shit out of it.

This feels like baby steps towards self love, doesn’t it? This morning feels good. I have to say that these piles of tile are inspiring. I may be jaunting off to get more sparkly tiles today. I’m really excited about the snow wall. I want to build that first because I have so much white and it would be nice to get it mostly used up and out of the way so I see how much I need to still buy in terms of tile for the rest of the bathroom. I really can’t tell yet.

It depends on how high up the walls I want to go, right? We’ll see!

Youngest child’s half bathroom is spring. Other half bathroom is summer. The bathing room is going to have autumn and winter. I can’t wait to look at the sparkly snow while I take baths in candle light at night. That will be so beautiful.

I’m serious my friends, if you want to come take a bath… let me know.

I’m thinking hard about how I want to make the tree of life that will climb up the wall over the bath tub. I need to look at more pictures. That will probably be that last bit I design because much of it might be painted, I haven’t decided.

I know that “traditionally speaking” you want flat walls. I’m not going to have flat walls with perfectly level tile. It’s going to be pretty rough and it will be on purpose and structured and artistic. I think it will work.

Oh please God let this work cause this puppy is going to be expensive if I fuck up.

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

Have I told you that the floor will have a stone path lined with green tiles to look like grass?

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

If only the roof weren’t uhm, being tricky. We are still negotiating. I’m blathering on Twitter but I won’t rehash it here. Just… gotta keep walking on. I’m trying to not be angry. At this point all of the guys in the company have apologized for making decisions without me when clearly they made the wrong choice at a critical juncture. I had preferences and they didn’t ask. Even though I’ve told them over and over and over I want to be asked.

Ok. Trying to move on. Have to get this shit finished. If it’s beautiful… I will still write positive reviews with caveats about how I had to be fierce in advocating for myself.

I made it very clear that from here on out the crew was not to dump their lunch garbage all over and leave it here for weeks. Saw blades are all over the ground and that’s not cool. My lawyer was at this meeting. I should stop talking about it for all kinds of reasons.

I wanted to write something down here for documenting purposes. Instead, I hit cut’n’paste and sent it to my lawyer.

That seems smart just now.

Past self, you picked this woman out based on proximity and hope. Well done!

Today will be a good day, I think. I hope. I believe. Oh yeah, a friend asked if she could come over to dinner. I should tell Noah. Ha. Surprise. We have six people coming over for dinner.

Roll with it. Life flows like that. If people ask to come over for dinner the next night and I have no plans…. I’m weak. I have no willpower for that kind of rejection. Because you hit my sweet spot. Basically no output of energy and lots of input of attention. Yeah, you can do that. Sounds awesome. I have to cook anyway. Don’t worry. I always have enough food around.

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Kids are wonderful and tiring

I want to write but my thoughts are scattered and my arms burn like fire. This hotel room table is at a bad height for me ergonomically and I never let that slow me down. I’m kinda dumb.

I’m over reacting to a lot of things. I’m having trouble not screaming over little, stupid things. It doesn’t help that the kids truly are being irritating. What is happening is: I’m pushing them away because I need space and time to calm down in my body. When I push them away they feel freaked out, rejected, and needy so they cling harder and whine the whole fucking time they are grabbing at me in ways that hurt and piss me off.

Next week the kids have scheduled child care. They asked. I feel a little guilty because Eldest Child flat said, “Mom can we arrange a bunch of childcare next week? I know it will be expensive but I’m pretty sure it will be good for all of us.”

Holy crap. How did I get a child this wonderful? This insightful? This aware?!?!?

My shrink regularly tells me that Eldest Child is preternaturally aware of how people work. “7 year olds just don’t care that much about other people. She’s unusual.”

This because my kid can graphically go through verbally describing why people get upset and which contributing factors are likely to bother which person. “It makes sense that you are angry mom. It is very frustrating when I do _____.”

I don’t know if it is weird. This is all I know. My kid behaves this way because I model it. I don’t really know another way to parent.

My kid understands that in some situations she messed up, sometimes I’m the one who messed up, sometimes Youngest Child messes up… the kid is just good at saying, “Ahhh I think this mistake happened because x person was tired and we haven’t eaten. Let’s fix that.”

I worry about teaching her to take too much responsibility for other peoples stuff, but at the same time she’s quick to not take responsibility when she wasn’t involved so… I don’t know. Maybe it will all work out? Who knows. But she is an amazing person. I am so grateful I get to stand near her.

My Eldest Child is so breathtakingly willing to accept consequences for screwing up that I can’t possibly avoid them for myself when I screw up. When I am inappropriate with the kids we discuss making amends. “What do you think I should do to help make up for this mistake?” Because I talk to them the same way about their behavior. No one is above making amends.

If you screw up you must take responsibility and find a way to solve the problem as best you can. Some problems can’t be fixed and you just have to live with the guilt of knowing you hurt someone/broke something. But you can learn how to not make that mistake again.

Everyone makes mistakes. The best people make mistakes every day and learn from them and make new mistakes tomorrow.

You can’t get through life without mistakes. You will never learn all you need to know. Mistakes teach you about fringe cases and important details. Mistakes teach you about how your awareness needs to spread to more areas.

Mistakes are as mandatory as breathing. You can’t grow without breathing and you can’t grow without making mistakes.

It’s ok. We all mess up. Sometimes the mistakes kinda suck and someone gets mad and maybe there’s screaming or a fight or grounding. But then you pick yourself and you keep going. Because that is what life is.

I check in with the kids after I scream at them. “I was a jerk and I was too loud… but I didn’t go over the line and start insulting you or calling you names, right? Was I in bounds that way?”

Once Eldest Child said, “Actually you slipped and called us brats. Don’t do that again.”

Yes ma’am.

I haven’t done it since.

And my children have never had the experiences I had at their ages. They have never been told that they are stupid, worthless, unworthy, a bitch, a cunt, a whore or that they are too pathetic to deserve life.

I have to tell myself that an occasional errant “brat” isn’t the end of the world. Especially when my children have the self confidence to turn around and tell me that saying “brat” is over the line and I need to knock it off right now.

This trip is causing me to see both of my children in a bunch of different settings so I’m feeling increasingly certain that Eldest Child needs to be evaluated by someone other than me. She has a lot of sensory issues and avoidance behaviors that she is developing to cope. I don’t want her to get locked into avoidance as the only way to cope with sensory overload. I did that with food as a kid and it is part of why I have so many health issues.

I’m really grateful that for all that she is hypersensitive to a lot of things… she doesn’t have the food texture issues I had. Thank goodness.

I’m watching her struggle with the same things I struggled with as a child. The things that made me feel helpless, incompetent, and like I was a failure as a human being. I have enough education and awareness at this point that I recognize that these patterns mean there is something not wired correctly. Help is available in the world. We just have to figure out what kind of help is needed and access it.

She struggles at the same things that used to cause my brothers to laugh at me and tell me if I “couldn’t even throw a ball I was too pathetic to deserve to live.” I’m not really sure why sports are so fucking important.

She doesn’t need to have the years of self-hatred I had. We can find help.

I feel sad and happy at the same time. I know enough that my kids won’t have to suffer like I did. But there is this part of me that can’t stop grieving over the fact that no one gave a shit about me for decades.

I know it isn’t true now. I know that I am loved and cared for now. I know that if I am in need of help now I can find it and/or pay for whatever I need.

But I still hurt. I feel like a pathetic, self-pitying bastard. It doesn’t feel like it is ok for me to keep mourning all these layers of shit from my childhood. But I hurt so much.

I’ve barely cried in months because I don’t like doing it around the kids and I don’t have privacy. I’m sure that is contributing to how backed up I feel emotionally. I don’t have a lot of release available to me when I’m alone with the kids. I really and truly need private space for the ongoing processing of trauma.

I have really big feelings about that. I’m feeling a lot of shame and guilt that I’m sitting here crying and whining like a dog because I can’t stop because I haven’t cried in a while.

The kids and I have been watching a new show, “Call the Midwife”. It’s borderline inappropriate for the kids because it deals with some really harsh truths about life in poverty. But I’m not one to shelter my kids from the fact that other people suffer terribly. They don’t deserve to go through life not knowing that other people have it shitty. No one deserves that, in my opinion, and I kind of hate the parents who bring their children up in a bubble such that the kids can’t understand suffering of other people.

Anyway.

Last night the episode talked about the “Workhouse Howl”. The keening, crying screaming noise that only happens when people suffer horribly for years with absolutely no chance of ever stopping that suffering.

I felt kind of freaked out because when the character started the cry… I knew that I make that sound. My kids kinda looked at me when the crying was explained. Yes, I make that sound sometimes.

It isn’t true that I have no chance to stop the suffering any more. But once your body starts crying like that… stopping it isn’t a voluntary thing. It just happens. Once you have been in that much pain for that long… you can’t always keep it in for the convenience and happiness of everyone around you.

Suffering and pain are really complicated and layered. I would like to believe that some day I will get to the point where I no longer hysterically scream/cry sometimes without volition because I have so many pent up emotions I can’t suppress the noise.

Being rich doesn’t fix these problems. Being rich means you can slowly begin to get help, but getting help is a confusing, horrible process. Even though I can pay for help, I have to know where to go for help, who to ask for help, and what kind of help I need to ask for.

That’s hard.

I have to find the solutions and then find people to help me implement the solutions. It’s hard. I understand why people who are struggling with poverty just can’t.

Trauma impacts you forever. I’m kind of tired of people acting like trauma isn’t a big deal and you should just “get over it”. You know what, motherfucker? I am getting over it. I am making progress. It’s still a nightmare. It’s been a nightmare to be in my body for decades. It is slowly improving but I have trouble believing that being inside my body is ever going to be a pleasant experience.

I wish I could stop crying.

Empathy is a mixed bag.

I’m having a special snowflake problem. One of the reasons my marriage with Noah works as well as it does is because I am overly sensitive to emotional nuance and he is… less sensitive than might be perhaps preferable. Which means I don’t set him off and he can just be kind of consistent as a reference for me. This is convenient for both of us. But I can tell him when someone in his life is looking for emotional response.

“Dude. So and so doesn’t come and say such and such without wanting some kind of response. You don’t know what kind of response so you have to ask, ‘Oh no. Would you like x or y?'”

Mostly I do this with the kids of course. I don’t micromanage every relationship he has. Ahem.

Disney World is incredibly hard because when people around me are having big feelings, my body surges with them. The World is pretty much all about big feelings.

This is exhausting. It’s pretty awesome, but it’s exhausting. Every kid who is shrieking sends my blood pressure skyrocketing.

Luckily I have naturally very low blood pressure and I know how to get it back under control relatively quickly… but I still have the reaction and I have to deal with it. Every kid who is crying causes an emotional surge.

I’m kind of tired of my body bouncing up and down because of everyone else’s emotions. It’s starting to physically hurt.

I’m not so good with “boundaries” in some big, dramatic, noticeable to me ways. If my friend is in a troubled relationship I fret and worry and spend almost as much time flipping out as if it were my troubled relationship and that’s inappropriate.

I feel connected to people. Their sorrows, their frustrations, their difficulties impact me.

Yesterday we had a server at breakfast who messed up everything about our order. Everything had to be sent back and redone. To the extant that I said, “May I have milk to go in my tea” and she brought me an additional pot of tea, with no milk.

Goodness woman. Are you listening at all?

But she looked really sad. She looked like she was having a rough time and having a hard time keeping her mind on her work.

I tipped 80% because we didn’t order much and that was about how much I would have left if we had ordered 3-4 breakfasts like a “usual” table for her.

My experience of working service jobs was that someone forgiving you for mistakes can turn a day around. It inspires you to keep trying.

I notice people feeling bad and I just… can’t ignore it. Even when it is to my detriment. Even when I cause myself problems because I’m not keeping my mind on my business and instead my mind is on everyone’s business but mine.

I think I’m getting better about this but this may be a lifelong struggle for me.

I kinda wish I didn’t love all you motherfuckers. My life would be easier.

Bitch Better Have My Money

Thank you Rihanna, you inspire me. Nicki Minaj does too.

I’ve been thinking… it would be interesting to go through our financial records. Sometime in the next year before our 10th anniversary it would be interesting to see what we each started with, compare it to Noah’s salary, look at investments, look at the gains and losses for businesses tried and failed…

Who is responsible for which? Noah makes a pretty astronomical salary… but our investment portfolio is growing at a prodigious rate. Some of that is stuff he owned pre-me. Not all of it.

What have I done in the last ten years? Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I have done much.

Ok… even I know that sounds stupid.

I have a hard time being a dependent. I know I “get” 50% of his salary. But what have our separate investment choices resulted in? At this point we can figure out data to see who is actually better at those sorts of decisions so we can assign more of that work in the correct direction to maximize for growth.

I’ve been talking to a lot of womyn about independence and I’ve been listening to a lot of very intelligent women who want me to get my money for my labor.

What has been my cut?

I think I’m going to do that. Oh dear. Another Fucking Project.

And y’all just know I’ll tell you all about it.

Moving south

Today we leave Dad’s house. That will be hard. I have really enjoyed my time here. Although it will also be a good thing. I’m sleeping for shit. I’m thinking a thousand thoughts a minute about all the things I want to say to him and we save our conversations for after the kids are in bed so… I’m way short on sleep. I need to move on before I hurt myself.

The talking has been wonderful. You know how I sometimes go on these really big tirades and write and write and write about politics and race and rape and incest and money and class and… heh. You know how I “sometimes” do that? Yeah he got the in person version over the last week. He has looked kind of stunned. I’ve never uhm shared my opinions on such a diverse array of topics quite so freely before. He’s kind of re-meeting me.

You want to claim you are my Dad so you need to get to know me. We’ve had several pointed, “Are you committed to this relationship?” conversations.

Apparently his bio-daughter is not very happy about me. I can understand that and I hold no rancor in my heart. I’m sorry that my existence makes her uncomfortable. I can understand why it does. All of the other “daughters” have been girlfriends who moved on. I haven’t. I’m not a girlfriend and I never have been. I’m an adopted kid. Who he has beaten and fucked. Because that has been part of my relationship with all of my dads.

I can understand why that would make someone uncomfortable. I’m on a fucking weird life path.

But he’s ok walking that path with me and I don’t really care if other people approve or not. He is adapting to the changes in our relationship. We have had an incredibly frank and detailed conversation about the changes in boundaries in my sex life. “What if I did ____?” “Well you’d have a time of untangling your fingers from your internal organs after I ripped your arm off and shoved it down your neck.” “Ok then. So you’re saying that is off the table.” “Yup.”

Quite frankly I think this is an incredibly healthy transition for both of us. We are consciously committing to a mutually supportive relationship that doesn’t have to be based on hurting one another. The hurting one another wasn’t a problem when it was where we both were. I’m not there right now. Are you with me or not?

He says he is with me.

He is scared about some of my choices. He asked me last night if I was truly aware of how much I was risking my life with some of the choices I make in terms of activism. I said I was fully aware that women who speak publicly about the things I choose to speak about often get killed. I’m aware that the status quo doesn’t like what I think.

Dad got to hear about the full extent of my suicidality this trip. He’s had dim awareness that I was a cutter.

It is kind of funny to me how people claim to know me… but don’t read my blog… and wow… they don’t know shit. I think I unload my emotions on fewer people than I think. I’m really hard on the people I unload on… but the list isn’t that long. I think I perceive myself as someone who dumps on everyone who walks by… but that isn’t how it goes. I have more boundaries than I think I do.

I am continually surprised to find out that people have known me for a decade and a half and they don’t know major facts about my life.

I can recite your fucking bio in my sleep. I know details about your life before I met you. I can rattle off your hobbies and accomplishments and fuck ups with great specifics.

What the fuck do you mean you don’t know much about me?! WTF!?

I’m self absorbed. Everyone should function like me. Ahem.

I’m going to miss Dad. And I am never going to live near him full time. Our relationship would dissolve and I like it very much. I like the support I get when I see him. He doesn’t have the stamina for me. He can’t be the kind of consistent I need on a regular basis. I can handle what he has to give when I visit once a year. I don’t resent his limits this way. I just adapt while I’m here.

I ask tactless questions a lot to frame how ridiculous we both are. “So my control freak issues are running into your control freak issues. Which part of this one is your real bug-a-boo? The process or the result because you vary from issue to issue.”

He kind of glares at me for a minute as he thinks about it. Then we discuss it and work out how we can adapt to one another.

It is weirdly a lot of fun for me. He is really ok with blunt negotiations. The bdsm community has been good for him. If you can say, “What I really want to do is tie your legs wide open so I can single tail your clit” you can have a conversation about just about any stupidly specific and personal topic.

Ok.. that isn’t actually true about everyone in the scene. But it is true of the two of us and I love that about him.

We’ve talked a lot about eating and dietary choices with the kids. Exercise habits. Modeling and why we do the things we do. Being responsible to and for our kids and how that creates a permanent reason to take care of ourselves because… we owe them a long life.

He says I have made him think about many of his choices in new ways. I believe that.

Last night he told me he feels adrift and he isn’t sure how to get ahead of the curve. He’s had a really hard several years. I said, “That sounds like a request for advice.” He said yes.

Oh I gave advice. “What you need to do is over the next year ask for help from Person A and Person B and Person C and go through the house and the storage unit. Sell anything you don’t have a really strong desire to keep. Donate what you can’t sell. Time to downsize. You don’t need a big house and property and you can’t keep up with the work. Sell before you degrade the house and can’t make money back. Buy something outright. Buy something small and manageable.”

He has inherited the estates of three rich people. He has an overwhelming amount of stuff and he simply can’t afford to keep the shit. He didn’t get the money. That went to charities. He just got burdened with the shit.

People are hilarious. They really don’t think about what they are doing to the people around them.

Get it in your head that you are putting the house on the market in June of 2016. That will be the end of your time here. 14 years in one spot.

It’s going to be hard to leave. His second marriage had its whole life here. But she’s gone and he has to move on. He can’t support this household without her.

Life is about constantly changing your goals as your resources and abilities change. Things go up and down and you have to be realistic about your capabilities or you will over-promise and under deliver. Or you can sell yourself short and never attain the things you are capable of doing.

Re-evaluate yourself. Where do you want to be putting your time and energy? Do you really want to have to spend 30+ hours a week on cleaning and house maintenance only to watch it fall into constant decline because it really needs 60 hours of work every week? That’s depressing. You feel like a constant failure even though you really are doing your best.

I’m going to cry a lot when he moves. This is Francesca’s house. She loved me here. She made me feel safe here. She is a lot of the reason Dad and I worked out some bumps in the early years. I miss her very much. But our obligation to her is over. It is time to sell off her stuff and her step-dad’s stuff and her mom’s stuff and move on.

She died before we could pay our debt to her. That’s a guilt we have to bear and move on with.

We can take that and pay it forward. That is how she would want us to do it. She wouldn’t want us to wither at home with shame and regret. She would want us to pay it forward. She would say we don’t owe her. We owe the universe. It’s never really a two way street.

That’s what is so hard about parenting. It’s never really reciprocal. I have taken more from Dad than I’ve given. Mostly… what I can give at this point is support as he transitions to a different sense of self.

He’s not a swinging bachelor of means. He needs to stop trying to act like he is. That time of life is over.

There are consequences to not seeing how you are changing. How many do you want to have smack you in the face?

He asked me if I believed he was capable of change at this point in his life. I laughed and said I wouldn’t be in his house if he hadn’t changed and changed again over the last decade and a half. Yes. I believe you are capable of changing. It’s not the tooth fairy. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen you adapt. I’ve seen you resolve to improve on how you manage specific issues. Yes, there have been back slides in some areas, but you continue to improve in broad swaths.

But life is complicated. As you improve in some areas you completely screw up other areas. That’s how it goes.

It seems to me that wisdom is partially understanding that you will never be good at everything. You will never have the inter-personal abilities plus money abilities plus physical abilities plus education abilities and and…

Look at what you actually do with your time. You are good at parts of it. The rest… well… it’s done enough. THE HOUSE DIDN’T BURN DOWN. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!

I don’t cook much. I can’t do it. I turn into a screaming banshee.

It’s not that I “can’t cook”. I can actually cook quite well. But I need to be calm and have a lot of patience and a lot of quiet and a lot of time and nothing else going on in order to do it in a peaceful way. Or I start twitching and shrieking things like, “JUST GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN BEFORE I STRANGLE YOU OH MY GOD WHY DID YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO DO?!?!?!!?!”

I understand that this is part of an age old tradition between mothers and daughters. But with the whole home schooling thing… it’s a problem if I won’t show them how to do things. So it’s complicated.

I’ve been priming the pump with the kids about how things will shift when we leave Grandpa’s house. We are going to a dun dun dun… screen free house. Ok, they own a tv. A big one. But they don’t turn it on. Or they use it for internet browsing. They watch very occasional cooking shows or Myth Busters. They are basically a kid screen-free house.

So uhm, don’t spend all day talking about video games and cartoons. You can talk about books, games you like to play, imaginary stuff you like to do… lots of topics. Don’t spend all day talking about the Minecraft tutorials. That is horribly boring when someone isn’t interested. We won’t be there very long. Be polite.

I have no idea if Shanna is listening. We’ll see.

We came here from Aunt Cookie’s and her only tv watching is Martha Stewart show reruns and Mayberry because her parrot will repeat things from the television. She won’t risk a peppery word in her house. (I kind of horrified her. And the kids taught the parrot to say “poop poop poop”. She was not pleased.) It’s not like we can’t get along with folks who don’t do video games. But she had to listen to a lot about the tutorial makers. Her eyes glazed over. I tried to rescue her.

Shanna can give you a full run down on the benefits and deficits of different tutorial makers and I think it is hilarious. I only half listen. I stood and listened to the new one for a few minutes last night. I wasn’t pleased. He’s an asshole. I told her flat out, “I like so-and-so and I like that other guy because they are silly and kind in how they give instructions. I don’t like this new guy. The way he is saying his friend might not really be a boy because he hasn’t seen proof? That’s bullshit. That’s a jerk thing to do. Questioning someone else’s gender is not ok. If I ever hear you do that, you aren’t watching this channel any more. If you want to know that assholes like that exist I’m not going to stop you from finding out they exist. But you had better not become one.”

Her eyes were kind of big. She nodded and said, “I wouldn’t do that. I just thought it was cool how he built _____.”

“That’s fair enough. He did build a cool ______. I can see why you would admire it. Feel free to learn his Minecraft skills. Don’t learn his interpersonal skills.”

“Got it.”

Man this is a quoting-myself-heavy-post. I want to share it with Noah. I miss you, oh my witness. I WANT TO TALK AT YOU FOR ABOUT TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT.

I miss you.

I’ve gotta say, it’s kind of wild talking about a lot of the things I write about. To an entrenched white male. Oh man. It’s interesting phrasing and efforts. I have extreme biases. I’m aware of that. I’m working on and with where I am right now.

Dad is a soft sell on many of my more radical ideas. He will listen and help me construct rebuttals to arguments. Not necessarily on purpose, but he argues with me and that gives me practice debating the things I’m going to need to be able to debate without shrieking.

Not sure I can ever be a cook in a high pressure situation though. That may be beyond me in this lifetime.

Holy crud out of the blue

I was sitting at dinner with my lovely family and out of the blue I had really strong visualization of cutting myself really badly. Cutting myself in flamboyant, very attention-getting ways. Razor blades from the wrist to the elbow. Screaming and flailing at the same time.

I have no idea where this visualization came from. It was sudden. It was intense. I had to really consciously choose to not beat my head on the table because my first impulse was to try and get it out of my head by beating my head on the table. Like I almost slammed my face into my dinner. It was disorienting and weird.

I have no idea what the fuck is up with that. Not fun.

Otherwise I’m pretty sure I’m done packing other than perishable food. It will take about 15 minutes to round it up.

We leave in just over 17 hours. I’m tired and feeling kind of flattened.

I’m going to sleep a lot. Tomorrow I want to take a very very very long bath. With epsom salts.

I find it weird that I had the intense visualization given that my general anxiety level has been going down all day. As I get closer to “go” I’ve been settling down. I’ve been feeling better. All of a sudden I feel completely not ok. But I’m going to sit on this.

How I feel doesn’t really matter. What matters is what I do. I noted to Noah, “I’ll write about it later. This is when it started.” I’m pretty sure that other than blinking more times than usual I didn’t otherwise act inappropriately.

Right this second I’m scared of going so long without a consistent witness. Who will make sure I’m appropriate?

Well tonight Noah asked/gave Calli permission to call me on having a negative attitude. I suppose she will be the one to make sure I’m not too much of a bitch.

Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking love that my children have the courage to stand up to me? Grown men are afraid of me. Not my bad ass little babies.

Shanna is developing a very negative attitude about the trip. She doesn’t want to leave Noah. I’m… trying to be ok with it. I’m being supportive of her having feelings. I am sympathizing. I’m still implacable. “We’re going. Why? Because we have things to learn.”

I feel like I am drowning in waves of guilt. We are leaving because I want to run away. Because I need a break. Because I’ve been standing in one place too fucking long. Because I have always wanted to see what the country is like. Because I wanna.

Because I wanna and I’m selfish and you have to come with me.

For just a few years you have to keep me company. I hope it isn’t too awful. I hope you will have some fun. Calli is acting like she will have fun.

I’m trying not to be an asshole about “At least one daughter likes me.” Shanna does like me. But she really likes her dad and her computer and she wants to stay. Not too long ago she was happy to follow me to the ends of the earth and I was enough. I’m having feels. I’ll get over them. This is appropriate.

I hope we will have fun together.

I hope she will not remember this as something her crazy mother dragged her through. I pray.

Both kids are still absolutely adamant that they want to keep home schooling. I’m not dragging them through everything. Shanna says that if Noah were coming with us more she wouldn’t feel resistant to the road trip. That makes sense. She says the around-the-world trip sounds awesome because he will be with us.

Yeah honey… but there are steps here we need to figure out. If we can’t make this work we can’t spend a year away. We have to manage five months away first.

We can do it. But will you still like me?

I like you. I know there are going to be years where you don’t like me much. I’m trying to be ok with it. I know it isn’t personal. It’s normal and appropriate. Lots of books tell me so.

Sometimes I find it startling how “normal” and “text-book” my kids are. They have normal, happy people problems. I love watching it. And I will continue to do whatever I must to not beat my head in front of them. I will not cut. I will not let them see me harm myself on purpose. Just no.

I will not be how you learn about these behaviors. Or, rather, you will not learn about them by watching me.

I will teach you to love your body, to say kind things about it, and to be gentle with yourself. That’s my job.

Every single time I’m having a hard time emotionally I want to say mean/petty/vindictive things. So far I have managed to bite my tongue because I chant in my head, “Their negative inside voice will not come from you.”

My goal is to ensure that my children never hear nasty tapes in their head of my voice dressing them down. That will not be our relationship.

I hear my mom scream that I am a stupid cunt. A bitch. Unwanted. Dirty. Nasty. Pathetic. I don’t know how to stop those tapes.

I can’t stop them in my head but I can make sure I don’t put them in my daughters’ heads.

I mean… I tell my kids that they are obnoxious and annoying… just like their parents. I grin while I say it. It generally comes out something like, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TURN OUT AS ANNOYING AS ME?!?!?!” They laugh.

“You are supposed to be obnoxious. If you weren’t obnoxious you would have to turn in your kid-badge.”

When I’m being scary my kids will stand there, straight and tall, and tell me, “You are using a mean voice and you need to stop.” Sometimes they are crying… but they do it. I tell them they are right and I do stop. Thank you for telling me.

I’ve had an interesting thing with Shanna lately. I love her hair. I have always loved to stroke her head and she has mostly barely tolerated me touching her. Since it was dyed… I uhm… I’m being annoying. I want to play with it and braid it. I PAID SO MUCH MONEY! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE COOL TOY!!! Uhm… Shanna has these opinions about it being her body or some bullshit.

Who has been telling her this crap?!

Anyway, I was trying to cajole her into letting me braid her hair. Cool pink and blue streaks are super duper fun and I like playing with plaiting. Shanna resisted some and I cajoled some.

At some point I said, “You know what… I’m pestering which isn’t cool; it is your body. If you really don’t want me to play with your hair I won’t.”

She said, “I feel like you haven’t been very respectful of my body lately.”

I felt like I got sucker punched.

I said, “Oh. Well, I think what is happening is that your boundaries are changing and I didn’t notice. We are going to have to have lots of conversations over the years. We started out with you being a little lump I carried around at all times and it was ok for me to touch you whenever I wanted. That will change slowly and sometimes quickly and I’ll need to be told. I can’t read your mind to know when you change. Also, I’ve been pushing harder on brushing your hair for a few reasons. Know how we make a lot of unconventional choices like not going to school?”

She nodded.

“Well, when you choose to not do what most people do most of the time then you risk people having to come check up on you. Unfortunately when folks from the government come to check on kids… one of the first things they look at is whether you are clean and your hair is brushed. It’s stupid. It isn’t a measure of how well you are taken care of, not really. But people can look at it from a distance. I’ll try to be more respectful though.”

She asked a few more questions about the government checking up on families and then agreed that a basic brushing is reasonable daily. I’m to back off on wanting to play though.

It sucks.

I have watched a lot of movies about mothers and daughters this year. Lots. Dozens maybe. I’m on a kick. It is surprising to me how mother/daughter relationships are twisted around appearance and hair and the perceptions of other people. My relationship with my mom was complicated. She wanted my hair to be about 2″ long so that she didn’t have to be embarrassed all the time about how bad I looked.

I have to respect it when my daughters say no. Even if I don’t want to. Even if it would make *me* happy to ignore their wishes. I’ve got a long game going. I want them to be my friends in thirty years.

Given how cool I am at 33 I bet Shanna is going to be way fucking cooler at 37. Yeah, I really want to know them in thirty years. I want to be friends. And that means I have to be appropriate when they are kids.

It is harder some days than others. Today being appropriate is hard. I think I did ok though.

We went to get passports. We went to the bank; both girls are now square when it comes to allowance. Their savings accounts are up to date. My kids get $2/week for saving. So Shanna has over $700. It’s… honestly a bit weird. I couldn’t have imagined having so much when I was that age. Heck, it isn’t real to her. The $5/week of walking around money is what she sees. I’ve been talking to them about the save money for a while. They only kind of get it.

I drew the watering diagrams for the yards. I’m ready. It’s time to go.

I love you, Wonderland. I’ll come back.

Modeling

I had a thought about things being easier with former-students than friends. People tell me that I sound like I think I am better than people–because I’m such a bossy know it all. Mostly I have massive inferiority complex issues. I think that other people are “better” than me: smarter, more deserving of love, kinder… etc. There aren’t that many people I feel “superior” to and I tend not to be friends with them. Mostly I maintain relationships with people because I look up to them. If I keep coming back to your house year after year… it’s not because I think I’m better than you.

This idiotic feeling that everyone is better than me makes me brittle and pissy. I get defensive. I get bitchy. I get offensive.

Former students usually feel like they are more deserving of love than me, but we have an established dynamic where me defaulting to sounding like a bossy know it all as a coping mechanism is acceptable. With my friends… I’m constantly anxious that I am going to say something that sounds like, “You should do _____” when I don’t have the right to do so. I do not have the right to boss my friends even if I have ideas about what I would do in their position. My advice should not come unsolicited.

I’m such a raging asshole about receiving unsolicited advice that I’m trying to be better about giving it. But holy fucking shit it increases my anxiety.

In the past seven days we have spent time around more than a dozen different families. As I watch my friends interact with their children, I often have intense “I could not handle ____” feelings. Sometimes I think in detail about how I would handle things differently. Not because I think that parent is wrong for doing what they are doing. Every parent has different tools in their tool box and every kid needs different kinds of parenting.

I sound like my way is the One Twue Way but it really isn’t. There are as many paths as there are people walking.

I’m just finding that I’m having problems because for most of my life I have tried to alter my behavior through picking people who do something in a way I admire and trying to copy them. This is working increasingly poorly as I get older. There aren’t models for who I want to be. That’s not a slam on anyone I know–y’all are lovely people. But I can’t do what you are doing. Not because it is bad or doesn’t deserve to be done… I can’t do it.

That whole “Be Yourself” thing. It’s shitty.

Some days I have a hard time standing next to people as they parent their kids because I am a buttinski. (That is a word that has no real meaning so-far-as-I-know but my mother said it a lot. Someone who likes to butt in to other peoples business.) Not because they are doing it “wrong” but because I have a hard time standing idly by when there seems to be A Problem. I think that is part of why other peoples kids screaming is harder for me to hear than my kids screaming. When my kids scream I generally have things I am allowed to do to try and fix the situation. Even if I will fail at fixing the situation… I am allowed to do something and that soothes my anxiety. With someone else’s kid… there is nothing I can do and my internal system gets hysterical. Can’t Fix Problem. GAAAAAAAH

I have to live with this discomfort. Other people are behaving totally appropriately. But it’s hard.

I feel like this is tied in with the food stuff somehow. Not sure if I’m saying that right now because I want to look for a theme or because there is a link.

Interference means love. Loving people means inserting yourself into their lives and helping them with their needs. Codependence. Feeding people is love. Sugar is love.

I want a mother figure to come in and boss me and tell me how to fix what is going wrong with my body because the person is able to observe me from the outside and make judgments about what is and isn’t good for me. Even though I react like you have thrown gasoline on me when people offer up their guidance. I’m such a fucking asshole.

I want to be part of an extended “chosen family” network and I want to be part of the lives of a lot of the children I know right now over a long period of time. I want to see them grow up. I want to know them for 20 years and that means not pissing off their parents too much. Cue anxiety explosion.

I piss people off. The more afraid I am of pissing people off and pushing them away the more anxious I am around them and the more likely I am to push them away. Self-fulfilling prophesies.

It also occurs to me that I probably had an easier time at dinner with my students because I a)had finally taken some medication right before picking Noah up (takes a while to hit my system so I don’t feel guilty about driving in the 30 minutes or so after popping pills–don’t feel them for 2+ hours) and b) had some rum with dinner. Both did a lot to level out my anxiety. That probably actually accounted for most of the euphoric difference from earlier in the day. Ahem.

Yeah, I’ve been drinking a little more. I haven’t recorded every drink. I’m still not averaging more than one or two in a week, but I haven’t written every single one down and that makes me feel like I’m hiding something.

Shame. Guilt. Bad. So very bad.

This round of middle-of-the-night-blather brought to you by, “I sure wish my kid turned the bathroom light off in the middle of the night after peeing because it wakes me the fuck up.” Although I do not complain loudly or fervently because I am SO HAPPY that she isn’t having accidents. But my sleep cycle is fucked. Good thing tomorrow has nothing planned.

Oh! The kids completed their first 5k. By which I mean Calli was carried for at least 1k and Shanna was probably carried for .5k. The race was kind of a logistical nightmare. They started us more than 40 minutes late so it was just about completely dark before the “day” wave started running. They didn’t light the course and it was super uneven and would change from gravel to dirt to huge random pits that you had to carefully skirt to avoid injury… it seemed like a liability waiting to happen. I wonder if there were injuries.

Despite some bickering with kids mid-race I had fun. It felt like a nice little bit of exercise to me. We did it with friends who were wearing rather heavy children on their backs. That takes an impressive amount of strength. Yay everyone!

In the past week I’ve been told about five pregnancies and two miscarriages. It must be that time of life. My heart aches for the losses my friends are suffering. It is hard living with joy and sorrow at the same time… but that seems to be the essence of life.

Almost out of battery and I’m too wussy to sit in the garage right now while my computer charges. Hopefully I can fall asleep again soon.

Food, connection, triggers, projecting, all the good stuff

It is very rare that I ask someone for permission before I write about something. Mostly I think, “If you didn’t want me to write about it you shouldn’t have done it.” Sometimes I try to recognize that my writing causes other people to have feelings and that’s a complicated thing. I don’t think I “make” people feel things. But I think that if you are going to put a whole series of bombs along the bottom of a building you can’t get upset when the building explodes.

I asked before writing this one. Because I’m going to touch on someone very dear to my heart whom I have hurt quite a lot around this topic. She’s not the reason or the center but people have feelings when they are mentioned in connection to big feelings. I need to process some layers though and she’s touched on in the layers. I’m trying to be gentle.

The other day I was sitting in the kitchen watching Noah, my husband, make breakfast for the family and I felt these waves of emotion. Gratitude. Relief. Appreciation. Surprise. Confusion. Sadness.

Why didn’t my mama want to feed me? That’s such a huge and pervasive thing for me. I can’t not think about the effect this has on my life.

It isn’t that my mom didn’t want to feed me. That’s not what happened at all. My mom ran out of spoons and money. My mom spent much of my childhood very depressed and very poor. She didn’t know how to deal with all the things that were happening to her (I don’t blame her for that) and she did not grow up learning how to cope with such problems.

My mom was thrown into the deep end of the pool without one swimming lesson. She went from being a sheltered, Mennonite hick to being married to a city boy who was a drug addicted, alcoholic pedophile. She really didn’t know how to cope. She didn’t know how to deal with her husband raping her. She didn’t think she had choices. She didn’t know how to deal with her husband beating her children. When she did try to get away, things got worse–not better.

I’m trying to tease out some of my food stuff. I had diarrhea this morning. I haven’t been eating off plan so I assume that it is at least partially because I’ve been thinking about how to talk about this stuff for a few days. But who fucking knows.

I don’t have an official diagnosis but I suspect I qualify as being a “highly sensitive person”. I’ve desensitized myself in many ways over the years–I’m way less sensitive than I was as a kid. When I was a child I had huge food issues. I couldn’t handle unfamiliar foods. I would completely freak out. The wrong texture in my mouth could set me off for hours. I couldn’t “get over” the wrongness of some things in my mouth.

As an adult I have tried really hard to expand my food palate–partially for my own sake and partially to model for my children. But trying new things is complicated for me. I have to be in the right emotional state or I will freak out or get physically sick. Just about anything can make me gag if I’m in the wrong emotional state. It makes me challenging to feed.

Noah surprises me all the time as I reflect on the enormity of the task he has taken on with regards to feeding me. He is mellow, flexible, and very happy to be experimental. He doesn’t take it personally when I have an issue. And he shows up the vast majority of the time to just make food. Even through the elimination diet when I was a moving target of problems. He responded with cheer and good humor and just asked for new directions. He likes them written down, please.

I don’t have to beg. I don’t have to coax. I don’t have to behave “good enough”. I don’t have to do a bunch of things I don’t want to do in order to try and talk him into it.

He just makes food. Because he wants me to eat. He wants me to live for a long time so I can be here with him hanging out.

Trusting someone around food is a process. I don’t like making food very much, but I would much rather have people come to my house where I control the food so I don’t have to wonder if I will be ok or if I will act like an ungrateful asshole at their house. This means I do a lot of inviting people over. I usually cook for those events instead of expecting Noah to cook for all of my friends. He has long days. I don’t need to be mean about him doing a lot of cooking. I probably make dinner 30%-40% of the time. Ok, usually more like 30%. But once in a while I’m nice and I do an extra breakfast shift. (Like, not even weekly. My husband is so nice to me.)

I feel a lot of shame a lot of the time around being ungrateful. I don’t deserve the effort people put into me. Shame is poison. When I feel ashamed, I tend to also feel anger. Shame isn’t guilt. Shame is believing that people are going to be upset with you for breaking unspoken societal guidelines… not breaking a Law or a Rule… just… people won’t like you for doing the wrong thing. Shame is poison. Shame is believing you aren’t good enough because you don’t conform enough to being just like other people. When I believe that other people think I’m not good enough… I get mad at them. Even when this whole cycle is just in my head. It’s part of the reason I’m so difficult to deal with.

A few years ago we tried to have a friend live with us. Part of the deal was: she would handle food. It would be off my plate. Then I could turn my attention elsewhere and do other things. It didn’t work out due to a lot of complicated things revolving partially around her being disabled and unable to just show up seven days a week like clockwork. Because I thought I had her at home to make sure the kids got fed, I started burning spoons I didn’t have to spare if I have to feed the kids. Then sometimes I had to feed the kids.

Oh I have the feelings. I still do. We are still trying to figure out how to mend our relationship. It happens in drips and drabs. Rebuilding trust is so hard.

Rebuilding trust is hard because I am unfair in how I ask people to be rigid in what they offer as my friend. I tend to require people to practically sign blood contracts that they will be present in my life x days per month/year and I need to be able to Trust That. That’s really a problem for people who have unpredictable illnesses like oh roughly half of my peer group. Right. Shit.

I was a monster. I exploded and kicked the cabinet door off. I’m not saying it is someone else’s fault–I lost control and that isn’t ok. It isn’t excusable. How do I move forward and not do that again? Moreover, beyond just never demonstrating that level of rage in front of my kids again, how do I learn to separate my feelings from other peoples actions?

I think about this and I feel scared. What am I going to do if Noah decides he is kind of done cooking for a few years? Am I going to explode at him? Am I going to expect him to just provide for me in that way?

At this point I’m pretty sure I exploded at my friend as harshly as I did because I have an enmeshed thing going on where she is both mother and sister and I have a lot of big, explosive feelings towards both of those roles. My friend wasn’t able to be the perfect Platonic Ideal… and I couldn’t cope. That isn’t her fault and I feel a lot of guilt around putting her in that position. I think that the enormity of what I did to that friend came into a kind of intense relief when I started doing a similar thing with someone else. (I mean the first noun definition of relief: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/relief “prominence, distinctness, or vividness due to contrast.)

I want other people to mend the wounds I have. But it takes a kind of consistency that literally isn’t possible for most people. It isn’t fair or appropriate to ask it of them. This is something I do over and over and I have to change how I handle this. No one can fix me and it is wrong of me to get so mad at people for failing to do so.

How do you heal and learn to trust people while knowing that you can’t trust them to be reliable? Not because anyone is doing anything wrong. Not because they are actually letting me down (I’m not their kid nor their boss so they don’t owe me a fucking thing) but because I have this crushing feeling of being let down.

I’m worried about this being the kind of thing I pass down to my kids. Entitlement about having other people feed them. Entitlement to explode when you don’t get what you want. The feeling that if people take care of themselves they are betraying you.

That’s pretty fucked up.

I’m too hard on my BFFs. Pam told me so. She has a lot of authority to speak about such matters because she has been standing close enough to be in the role for years only she doesn’t have room in her life. She has great boundaries. There is no enmeshing with Pam. She’s on her path. But she comes and looks at me over long periods of time and tells me when I’m doing stupid shit. That’s useful.

I enmesh unless other people have strong boundaries. That’s a lot of why I like people with strong boundaries as much as I do. But really, what I like are women who like making food who need me to clean their house. (Ok, they never need me to clean their house… but I pick people who don’t especially like cleaning so I can feel useful.) I look for people who have challenging relationships with their families–people who are also looking for substitutes to heal some wounds and I try to offer trades. Only I’m not direct or blunt or explicit… I just kinda move in. Until I’m scared that I’ve overstayed my welcome and I evaporate like I was never there.

I project onto people that filling my needs will fill a need for them, like it works in reverse for me. I like doing things for people. I like feeling useful. I like feeling like I have useful skills and abilities.

The ability to feed people is a thing. It’s a big deal. It’s a comfort thing, it’s a way of supporting life. I get why people feel good about being feeders. But I can’t assume that just because someone is a feeder they will reliably and predictably want to feed me. I can’t assume that they will always be able to. And it isn’t ok to punish people when they stop being able to.

I really struggle with how much of this feels like, “You just aren’t allowed to get angry when your needs aren’t met.” But that’s black and white thinking. That’s not very useful.

I’m writing this because I need to figure out a better way of handling my feelings before they get so big I explode. Lots of communal “eat together” stuff happens in my life. I have big, explosive feelings on a regular basis. People say they will feed me then cancel at the last minute. Plans change. I have to manage my feelings better.

Just because people enjoy making food doesn’t mean I can expect them to make food for me.

I’m not sure how to change my set of reactions. Food is primal. Food is necessary every day for life. But it isn’t necessary that other people provide food for me.

I am a little worried about how I will adjust to the road trip. I’ve gotten very used to Noah cooking breakfast and dinner. When I am responsible for providing three meals a day… am I going to expect the kids to do an inappropriate amount of work because I feel like I can’t cope? I’m worried. How much work is inappropriate?

Do I need to develop habits around snacking every x minutes so I don’t get hungry enough to react badly at people. (That actually first happened to me as an adult when I went back packing with a dear friend. He started insisting I eat every 45 minutes while hiking or I got bitchy and he was tired of me ranting at him. It worked really well.) I can’t expect other people to manage my food issues. They are mine. I get into so much trouble because I expect other people to handle me. I spend too much time acting like I am a child and everyone and anyone is responsible for me. Like I’m still wandering from house to house as an unwanted charity case.

I feel like it is vitally important for me to stop feeling like I am a charity case. I don’t know how. Having money isn’t doing it.

I feel like a ridiculous whiny baby when I write about these things. Just get over it already. But it’s hard to shame someone into being better. I have a lot of intense triggers around food. I have a low ability to discern my bodies signals around hunger. I have a lot of resistance to making food. I have a lot of anxiety around most parts of eating from the mechanics of chewing (I’m still worried that I might suddenly run into some awful texture by surprise–it’s part of why I can’t eat seafood.) to digesting to pooping. I don’t have a body that works how I think bodies “should” work and I feel like I’m still looking around for a mom who will help me fix it.

When oh when will I stop looking for substitute parents?

At this point I’m picking candidates who have as much or less life experience than me and that’s not really working and I have to stop. I get really upset with them and that’s wrong of me. I have to change this habit.

I feel scared. I want to say I don’t know how. I know what I want to stop and that doesn’t give me a roadmap of where to go and that feels really scary right now.

I don’t know how far back on the chain of my behaviors/emotions I have to go to start changing things. I feel very overwhelmed wondering how much of my basic personality is actually toxic and I need to change it.

The funny thing is: the shame around wanting people to take care of me by feeding me is wrapped up in the shame around being a loud person.

I have a voice designed for gathering up crowds in a large out door location. It’s a gift. It’s a wonderful gift when it comes to getting peoples attention when they are outside and spread out.

I’m not good at toning down. Then I married someone who has a habit of getting really loud and emphatic. Then we had two kids who think that what they are talking about can be the only important thing in the house so sometimes we kind of have four people shouting at one another. At that point Noah or I get overwhelmed and make everyone stop. It’s kind of funny. We all have to take some deep breaths.

I want my girls to be able to shout people down with their position. I mean, it would be better if they could communicate their position without shouting but I know too many women who are just flat incapable of strongly advocating for themselves. I want my girls to be able to shout people down. I want it to be a tool in their tool box. Boys are given that tool. It’s not a tool that makes you well liked, but sometimes it is a necessary tool. Folks who can’t do it say it isn’t useful but I’ve watched a lot of things get solved by who can shout loudest. I want my kids to be able to win.

I am torn between thinking that being a somewhat scary person is a good thing because it means my kids get acclimated so that maybe other people will be less intimidating in the future. Then I think, “Oh that’s an absurd justification you disgusting monster.”

When food is tied up with a loud voice it probably isn’t going to go well. Shame is a monster. Shame tells me that if I had the audacity to be too loud (for whom?!) I should be punished. I’m not really allowed to punish myself in most ways any more (I don’t have privacy). I used to be punished with food denial. I go through periods of intense anxiety where my stomach hurts really badly and I drop weight really quickly. It’s like I’m trying to punish myself–but I genuinely can’t eat more at those times or I vomit.

I probably eat more sugar than is “good” for me but I get the impression I’m still relatively low compared to the “average” American. (At least I see spreads of food in pictures representing what people eat and I eat WAY less sugar than those pictures ever represent. Whoa.) But frankly even though people want to think of eating as bad… if it gets calories into me sometimes I have to accept that as good enough. No, it isn’t perfect. I’m doing my best. I eat far more fruit and vegetables than I used to–it has to be ok that I snack on buns too.

I went to bed absurdly early last night. I think that partially happened because I wanted to work on this and I won’t get any other chance. I woke up at 2am. By 3 I feel like I am getting pretty hungry. My instinct is to just sit here and whimper as my body hurts. I had to think about it for thirty minutes before I got up to get a cheese stick. My impulse is to wait 5 hours for food. No wonder I’m so damn cranky all the time. I sleep weird. I eat irregularly and expect my body to just keep going regardless of how many calories I have in me.

I could have been a primitive hunter gatherer. “Didn’t find food yet. Keep walking.”

(I’m kidding.)

Maybe the road trip will be kind of like the fast. (The fast didn’t make it so I have solid poop every day forever, but I have a fair bit of it and I’m pretty happy with my current functioning.) I will have a huge break from how food normally looks in my life. I won’t have any of my normal crutches. I won’t have any of my normal support.

Ok, now how do I get it done?

Without living on packed foods plus restaurants. Ahem.

Ok, I feel a little guilty about this–it sorta feels like the first step to not having explosive reactions when people don’t meet my expectations is to just not have expectations of people but for me that results in treating people like interchangeable pieces. That’s not really cool either. “Who cares if you won’t come. Someone else with 2.5 kids will be invited in your place and no skin off my nose.”

I’m sorta ok thinking of people that way when it comes to hosting large group events with a maximum RSVP… it’s ok to just treat number of RSVPs as interchangeable and not act like there is an A and a B list.

But in general with personal relationships? That’s… kind of awful.

I’m going to flip to talking about road trip planning for a minute. I laid out the big map and showed the girls my proposed Plan A route. Shanna immediately had objections. “Why did you go this way? I’d rather go that way. What is this thing over here? I want to see that.” I took a deep sigh. Some of her proposals mean that I won’t be wandering through the cities of my random internet friends. This kind of bummed me out.

But the road trip isn’t about my personal tour through everyone I’ve chatted with on the internet. I don’t feel like I should be the One Who Decides. So if my kid says, “I don’t want to go that way I want to go up here and see the Grand Canyon” I can’t really say, “But then I won’t get to meet [screen name].” Suck it up, Buttercup.

Flexibility seems to be key to handling the food stuff. I don’t know how to become more flexible. I mean, I already have. I eat vegetables and maybe no one else is patting me on the back for that but I bloody well am. I can go over to a friend’s house and eat a whole spread of vegetables and not gag at all. I am quite impressed with my progress. Fifteen years ago I could not do that.

But it isn’t just flexibility. How do I stop trying to force my female friends into the role of mother/sister? How do I stop enmeshing and projecting and transferring and all those other fun psychiatric terms?

Part of it is that I want to feel part of something and I don’t usually feel part of anything. I barely feel like I am “part of” Noah and Shanna and Calli as a team. They are all related by blood to all those other Gibbs. I’m just an interloper. My mom was never accepted into my father’s family. She had it better than I do–but they made sure she knew she wasn’t truly family.

Strangely I have no trouble feeling “part of” just Shanna and Calli. They feel like mine in a way that changes when we are alone or when we are with Noah. When Noah is around I relinquish most of my hold. I don’t have to be as aware. I don’t have to be in control. I take my responsibilities as a parent pretty seriously. I notice a slump of relief when I’m not “on duty”. I drop hypervigilance when the babysitter is here, when other parents visit (they are generally more jumpy about what my kids do than I am so I can relax knowing that someone else will freak out for me), when Noah is here. It’s a nice relief but it is weird feeling these walls between my relative levels of attachment.

My relationship with Noah is so complicated. Recently I was talking to another woman about how she has to live at the whims of her husband. Him having a hard day kind of wipes the house out. I flinched because I was thinking, “That’s my role.” Noah and I have periodic discussions about how he isn’t allowed to be grumpy in an ongoing way… I can’t handle it. But he has to handle me being grumpy. He has to deal with me snapping and being difficult. I apologize constantly but sorry bakes no bread.

I’m thinking about how I want to handle food on the trip. How am I going to handle grocery shopping and cooking and food storage? That’s a long time to not have a system. But my system will have to adapt to the fact that I don’t have control over what kinds of things I will find where.

I will not be doing the Whole Paycheque tour of the US so I can stick with comfortable, over priced food. Yes, we will probably eat factory farmed meat. (Frankly I haven’t found a source of sausage for non-factory farmed meat so we always eat some. And restaurants. We’re going to hell; I know.)

You can’t make contact with local farmers to buy one steak at a time on the road. Doesn’t work. Or rather: I probably could but that would become the focus of the trip and then my kids would hate me.

Priorities.

Being a vegetarian doesn’t work for my body. Horrible digestion problems. Lots of doctors (including many who are vegetarians themselves) say I should not give up meat. That means accepting that I am part of the mass meat market. Ick.

Now I’m dithering. Am I dithering? Have I just reached the end of the processing for one entry? Am I dithering by thinking about logistics for food? Should I instead be bludgeoning myself in the head for my emotional problems? Are the logistics the point or aren’t they? I’m not sure.

Am I better off having a timer on my phone that goes off every x minutes and I need to eat something so I don’t run low on spoons and I can deal with more vagaries in other people supplying food or not? But people get upset if you start snacking because they are half an hour late on dinner. Saying, “I’m going to get psycho if I wait for you” doesn’t help.

I actually did that this week. A friend was bringing lunch and I was eating when she walked in. I felt like I was about to gnaw my arm off. It seemed stupid to wait so I could explode.

For the whole last week I’ve been starving. I’m eating larger than normal meals and snacking in between a few times. And I’m craving sugar like it is going out of style. I went to the store with the kids. “Can I have…” “Yes!” Bad news. Well, the kids thought it was great news. Ranch 99 has the best buns. You want to ask me for lots… I’ll say yes. Totally a sucker for the buns. And mochi. Say “YES!” to mochi. That’s my policy. I like mochi. I’m not sure why because it seems like it should be a weird texture for me only it is the best mouth feel ever.

Frankly I’m trying to build up familiarity with non-American foods so that when I travel it will be easier to find things that feel comfortable and “safe”. I don’t have that many more years until we want to leave for the year. If I don’t eat a fair bit of the stuff now I won’t build up that level of comfort-feel.

Watch me justify my awesome bun binge.

I could live on dim sum. I do order vegetables.

I’m getting the impression that food-wise I should stay out of Japan and Korea. I’ll have a hard time. And yet, Tokyo Disney calls my name. I can find a way to suck it up. They have chicken and beef. I’ll just have to patiently practice how to say, “no fish at all, please–not even broth”.

Now I’m dithering. But it’s after 4 and I’m tired. I’m ready to go back to bed.

I need something resembling a plan. I need to be more mindful of my expectations around people and food. I am already better about carrying snacks so I don’t get over-hungry as often as I used to (parenting helped me with that habit–specifically nursing).

How do I stop treating these women in my life like they have to be stand ins for other people? Why do I keep acting like they have the power to heal me?

Because I’ve watched too many movies and read too many books about the power of friendship. The reality is my life will never be the kind of life that is featured in a heart warming special about camaraderie. C’est la vie. (I’m pretty sure there should be an accent in there.)

I don’t think that means I should devalue what I get. I get friendship. I get shared adventures. I get journeys of self discovery walked side by side. I don’t get healed. I don’t get to have the feeling of connection I believe other people feel as represented by media. (If it happens on tv it MUST BE TRUE.)

Maybe the healing just has to come from always having such a plethora of snacks on hand that I don’t ever get to the point of low blood sugar. (Nuts are awesome.) Maybe the healing is about other people providing bonus food, not the mandatory-for-life kind. Maybe the healing comes from being safe?

I don’t know. I’m still a bitch.

I’m less scared than I used to be. I blow up less often. I am less destructive when I do blow up. I have fewer expectations of people.

Hey–I haven’t blown up at someone about tardiness in a very long time. That’s huge progress for me. It just isn’t a trigger in the same way. Having my kid have a sudden poopy diaper as we are about to walk out the door to be 1 minute late… teaches you that people are late. It’s ok. It has to be ok. All of a sudden you are 30 minutes late and there isn’t a thing you can do but slap a smile on and make the best of it.

I am not where I need to be. I need to work harder on treating my friends how they deserve to be treated. They are doing their best and I don’t have the right to explode when they don’t meet my demands. It isn’t their fault my mama wasn’t nice to me. I don’t have a fucking free pass.

Life is hard. 5010 words. Time to stop.