Category Archives: coping mechanisms

On busses and hurricanes

Yesterday I had a visit with the pain management doctor. It was a brief check in. It did not quite go how I expected on a few levels. He’s very interested in the totality of my health so he asks a lot of questions about my mental health. I was blunt in saying that I’ve been very depressed. He got really intense and asked me what is going on?

I told him that my husband and I are in a rough spot in our sex life. That things have been rocky on and off in that department from the beginning because I am so fucked up.

I started crying.

The doctor did this thing where he swelled like a lizard trying to intimidate a predator. He started saying with great emphasis, “YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR ANY OF THIS. THAT’S NOT OK. BAD PEOPLE DID BAD THINGS TO YOU. YOU BEAR NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE RESULTS.”

He tried to present a metaphor to me about who is responsible for sexual health and that kind of failed when I rattled off loudly and emphatically that if you don’t ask someone’s STD status and you choose to not wear a condom… you kind of deserve what you get. He didn’t think I would feel like that at all.

He decided to switch gears and explain this a different way since I wouldn’t go along with his beliefs about sexual responsibility.

He said, “Ok fine. Imagine you are a bus. Your responsibility in this life is to drive the bus and stay on the road. Well guess what? Your bus happens to be going through a hurricane. The hurricane isn’t your fault. The hurricane is what other people have chosen to do to you and there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to stay on the road. That’s your task. You can’t control how hard the winds buffet you and you can’t control how much debris whacks the outside of the bus and you can’t control if pieces fly off the bus because of outside elements attacking your bus. Ok, you with me? Ok. Here’s my point: YOU KEPT THE BUS ON THE FUCKING ROAD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.”

He then asked me if I had disclosed about my background before I married Noah, essentially… was I allowing him to have full consent when he married a crazy person. I said oh yes. I told him all about my fucked up history and mental illness and my issues. I mean, as best as I could.

He said, “Then it is your husband’s fucking fault he married you and he NEVER GETS TO BITCH ABOUT YOU HAVING PROBLEMS.”

I felt… completely stunned. I was sobbing at this point. I don’t think I have ever in my life had a doctor explode and swear at me so much. That was fairly shocking. Holy tomato. I mean, I swear… but doctors don’t usually swear back.

He told me that he has trauma in his background… not like mine but really severe trauma of a slightly different kind. He looked rather haunted when he referenced it. He did that brief almost hollowed out looking thing that people do when they think back to the ghosts that haunt them.

He told me that it isn’t ok for people to be angry with us for coping with what was done to us by bad people. If we react in a bad way at some time… it’s not our fault. We are doing our best to cope with what has been thrown at us and no one gets to judge us for this.

I told him that being married to a mentally ill person is very rough even if no one is to blame. He glowered and said that even if it is rough they don’t get to bitch. This is what they signed on for.

I just… kind of stopped arguing and kept crying. Because goodness. I don’t agree that mentally ill people are never to be held responsible for their behavior. That’s fucked up.

But Sarah’s probably right and I’m taking on a bullshit level of responsibility here.

I came home last night and told Noah that I’ve been having the thought process that… I didn’t cause the shame he feels about his sexuality. But I did fail to heal it and that was something he dearly wanted our marriage to accomplish. And I feel like there is some element where he is very upset with me for failing to fix that. But I can’t. That’s not in me to fix. That’s not about me, not really. That’s not even about how often I fuck him. That’s bigger than me. That’s bigger than me having physical problems.

If we could both get past feeling so bad about ourselves… it wouldn’t be a big deal if he wanted to masturbate with/near me when my cunt is not up for sex. I like mutual masturbation a lot. I think it’s a great game. And frankly… when I know I’m really not expected to take my pants off I have a lot of fun playing with a cock. They are neat. That’s not something I react negatively to. When I feel I really don’t have to take my pants off.

But that’s the rub. I self impose this feeling that I’m bad if I don’t escalate the sex as quickly as possible.

The pressure doesn’t come mostly from Noah. It is about what I feel is mandatory.

And given that we have records going back to day one of our marriage… I think we can count on our fingers how many months we have skipped sex in 11 years (including that 6 month road trip). There is no case whatsoever for sexual withholding. That is just literally not happening. We don’t have sex 2-3 times a day like Noah would prefer… but Jesus H Christ on toast.

Most bad months we still have sex 2-4 times.

Noah has genuinely never had to cope with a real drought. The longest periods of celibacy we have experienced are immediately post-partum and if you want to complain about that I get to beat you until you are black and blue because MY GOD DAMN CUNT WAS RIPPED APART AND YOU ARE A STUPID SELFISH PIECE OF SHIT IF YOU DON’T FUCKING CARE.

That’s the one time in my life that I will defend my pussy like a god damn honey badger. You don’t get to complain that my cunt isn’t performing well enough right after I give birth. Fuck you all the way to hell and back. NOT OK.

I know women who were not ok with having their cunt touched for a god damn year. I wait like 3 months.

No bitching about my post partum recovery time. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. (Not that Noah has ever complained. He was willing to try when the doctor gave us the go ahead with the first kid and I declared it a failed attempt and made him stop and he was patient until I was ready to try again. He did not ask to try so early the second time. Noah actually did just fine in this department. So my ranting is at the generic universe and isn’t about him.)

Yesterday when I was talking to my various medical people (acupuncture, pain doctor, and sleep people in one day) and they asked me about how my marriage is going… I was conscious of how much of a problem it was that my former shrink thought Noah could do no god damn wrong and I needed to always compromise in his favor. I said, “He’s a good husband but he’s a person so he screws up sometimes.” That got nods and acceptance. That’s a much more fucking realistic picture of him.

He is a good husband. But he’s a human being so he fucks up sometimes. That’s not the end of the world. I don’t reject people out of hand for fucking up sometimes. That’s life.

But sometimes I cope very poorly with the set of skills I have within me. I cope in ways that hurt me and people around me because I don’t have a better way of handling what is happening to me. Sometimes all the ways I have to cope seem to fail and I feel like I need the big guns and those are never fucking pleasant to be around.

I don’t always cope in nice ways that make other people feel comfy and happy. Sometimes I just keep the fucking bus on the road and that’s the god damn best I can do.

The doctor got really quiet and intense near the end of the appointment. He looked at me for a long minute or so. He said, “I hope you understand how impressive it is that you are still here. The problems you cause by being here are nothing to compare to the miracle of your presence. Most people would die if they went through the size of hurricane you went through. You may not always be convenient, but it’s not your fault and I’m really glad you are here.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a non-psych doctor make me cry like that. That was so intense.

Cutting back on driving…

I consider my massage therapist who is technically in the next town local because I can get there in under 15 minutes.

November has 5 planned drives outside of our city, not including therapy and school. Including the school and therapy (which I’m still doing a lot of but not all) there are 8 possible school/therapy drives. So 13 possible that I won’t do all of by myself. These will be split up between me and Noah depending on my level of exhaustion.

Ok, in December I will leave the city I live in 5 mandatory times if I dump Noah with the out of town therapy appointments for the kids. I will probably still do a bunch of the in town class driving for the kids because that’s fair. 13 possible drives again. I will try to help with the therapy/school stuff but I make no promises.

In January I already have 1 thing on my schedule that’s a bunch of driving out of town and I’m going to try to limit it to 1 or 2 more trips out of the city. Noah will have to do therapy. School stuff may discontinue for a bit. The out of city school classes are a pain in the ass in terms of scheduling.

I have 1 (possible) drive scheduled for February and that’s absolutely it. And I won’t go if my kid is born early because the scheduled drive is 4 days before my due date.

The kids still have a pretty busy schedule through this time period. Their in town classes are 4 days a week and they both have an out of town appointment every week and sometimes 2 or 3 more.

I’m feeling a lot of anxiety about forcing Noah to do all the out of town driving for nearly half a year. That’ll carve something like 6+ hours a week out of his work schedule and that’s going to suck. That time will have to come from somewhere. It’s going to be a big deal that I keep doing all the in town driving as long as I possibly can so he doesn’t have more interruptions. He’s down almost a full day of work per week on driving. That’s not sustainable. It’s going to negatively impact our life in other ways.

This is why I do the driving even though it hurts. I have time to burn and he doesn’t.

March and April will be completely bare. I’m not sure if I’ll go somewhere in May from sheer ennui or not.

We’ll see.

To contrast, I left the city 16 times in October.

We have to reframe this.

We are having a problem because EC is pushing for more individual space and boundaries. It isn’t a problem because she wants it. It’s a problem because FMC is uhhhh not interested in allowing their sister any space at all.

We have been talking about this in the house for a while. We keep coming back to “We are not willing to escalate punishments to the point that they are more effective and the ways we have tried to punish for this interruption are failing entirely.”

We need to find a way to incentivize instead of punishing away this behavior. I believe in behavior extinguishment… but it’s complicated. Punishing often makes a behavior more entrenched and resistant. (For one thing our “punishments” are pansy ass and we know it. We are not here to hurt or shame our kids.) We need to find a way to make giving someone else space something that gives FMC more of what they want in life. We have to find a way to frame this/phrase this as “Here let us show you how you will get what you want if you go along with this boundary.”

I know that some people don’t like how manipulative I train my children to be. I respect that opinion. But I think my behavior as a human being improved when I learned how to think about my behavior in terms of “Will this help me meet my goals or will this create problems for me?”

I don’t believe in training children to follow rules because they are rules and you must follow rules. That’s bullshit. Some rules need to be broken. Some rules need to change. Some rules just don’t fucking apply to the situation we are in.

Why does this rule exist?

I’m not saying I have to fully agree with every rule in order to follow them… but I am more likely to follow a rule if I understand why the rule exists and I am at least in agreement that following it is in line with who I want to be in the world.

How do we teach FMC that giving their sister space is going to create the relationship they want in the future?

Punishing is not going to teach this.

Heh. Punishing me is a great way to ensure that I’m going to do what you don’t like….. where you can’t see me.

Enlightened self interest babe, how can we teach this to you.

For EC I have been chanting since they were 2 years old, “If you want to have a good relationship with your sibling when you are an adult you need to think about whether or not this action is likely to make your sibling want to know you.” The same chant really hasn’t worked with FMC. When they look up at their sister they see an unfailing flow of love and support and I think they genuinely don’t believe that their sister would stop providing it. They identify less with the fact that I walked away from my family and rejected everyone. EC knows that I refuse to know my big sister and that haunts her. FMC… doesn’t care?

FMC doesn’t believe they have to earn love in the same way. Uhm… I guess that’s good? It’s mixed. Noah and EC and I all act like we have to do a shit ton of work to earn being loved in the long term. It’s questionably healthy. Near as I can tell FMC is the only person in this house who believes in unconditional love. They think we will love them and take care of them and be with them no matter how big of an asshole they are.

I mean… that’s… good…

I’M SO CONFUSED.

I feel this terrible existential keening because I think I’m too demanding and boring to deserve friends and I feel like I should stop bothering people because I don’t have enough to offer…

And I live with this fucking kid who believes that them existing is their fucking gift to this world and now what does the world have to offer them.

It’s… weird.

Really weird.

Like… WHO THE FUCK MADE YOU weird.

It’s funny how they feel like me and not like me and like my chance to rewrite my history and like an alien and…

I love them so much. I feel bad when I target a specific behavior and assert my will as if I actually know things and I’m right about my judgments. What fucking hubris. Who in the fuck am I to decide that they are not good enough?

I’m their fucking mother and if I say they need to god damn learn how to let their sister have boundaries I’m fucking right and you will motherfucking do as I say.

Only I say it to them with less swearing.

One of the few things my mama said right to me was, “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it.” My mama, for all the bad things I can and do say about her… she only kind of sort of wanted to silence me. She was afraid of me speaking truths that would make her already shitty life harder… but otherwise she encouraged me to speak up. When teachers would complain I was too mouthy my mama would say that they must not be a very good teacher then because I do just fine in a classroom with a good teacher.

My sweet little baby. I don’t want to punish you for crossing boundaries. That makes me feel like shit. It makes you feel like shit. You then proceed to cross the next boundary like clockwork and we start the whole shitty cycle over again.

What can I do to help you believe that following these boundaries is the thing that you want to do?

Because I want to manipulate the shit out of you. I have no pride. I will not dissemble. My sweet love I want to manipulate you until you believe that it is just absolutely the right thing to give people space when they ask.

How can I do this?

This is my next hobby horse to ride. Because if we don’t figure this shit out… I’m afraid you and your sister are going to get into a big bloody fist fight. And frankly… y’all don’t need that.

Even if you might kinda deserve having someone punch you for being so disrespectful of their boundaries. I won’t do it or condone it… but I’m capable of seeing why someone else might think it was the best reaction to your behavior.

God you are so much like me.

I’m sorry kid.

I wish I could have given you easier genetics. Sigh.

How can we teach you without you having to get as many black eyes as I did? Or maybe you just need to get them and I can’t protect you from that. I’ve always needed to learn from experience too.

I hope this hubris I have in believing I know best for you doesn’t fuck up our relationship forever. I try hard to limit my control areas… I know I don’t know best in all areas… just a few.

I love you. I’m trying. I know I’m failing to meet your needs in that way that all mothers fail their children. I hope you can forgive me.

owie seks

So yesterday I initiated sex. I was interested. I had been thinking about it. We didn’t have a lot of time in between kid drop off and pick up so I tried to get things going quickly (even though that hasn’t been working well for my body.)

It started hurting. It started hurting in that “Are you fucking me with a sawzall dildo covered in fucking sand paper??!?!?!!” way. (I have in fact been fucked with a dildo on a sawzall. It did not have sand paper on it.)

My first instinct was to slam my eyes shut and grit my teeth and start praying it would end soon.

My second impulse was that I really should let him know it hurt so that he wouldn’t try to draw it out and make it last longer.

My third impulse was, Hey wait… this is hurting in a bad way.

My fourth impulse was, “WAIT! THAT HURTS! I DON’T WANT IT TO.”

He stopped.

That entire first through fourth impulse process probably didn’t have two minutes of time lapse. I’m pretty impressed with myself. Ok, that’s kind of pathetic. But it’s not. This is incredibly hard for me. This is changing a lifetime of specific training.

Noah was really nice about it. He responded as soon as the message reached his brain. He was patient and kind and non-demanding. We both sat there kind of stunned for a minute or two after we paused trying to figure out what it meant.

I told him he could finish… my body just isn’t up for participating. I nuzzled him and encouraged him and he masturbated and I think it was good.

I wasn’t mad at him for the pain. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. I don’t think he messed up at any point.

I think we both had a hard moment when we tried to parse “What do we do about exclamations of ‘It hurts’?” because I’m a masochist fucking a sadist and sometimes that’s the point. But there are very different kinds of pain and we are still trying to tease out what that means.

The cunt hurting pain is…

different.

It’s damage, not fun pain.

I sort of feel like when my cunt hurts like that it is kind of like the equivalent of erectile dysfunction… only mine hurts a lot. It’s a sign the body just says “not today” and that means you need to do something else.

It’s still complicated. But we did well yesterday. Yay us.

Can’t make you feel

Something was occurring to me this morning. I have long accepted that no one can “make me” feel loved. I often don’t feel loved. Not because no one loves me–I think I am incredibly loved. There is a sensor inside of me that is broken.

Maybe Noah is broken too and I can’t fix it. Maybe Noah can’t feel loved because something got broke a long time ago and it’s really not about my broken cunt.

I know that the feeling that your sexual expression is 100% accepted and acceptable and ok at every moment is lovely… but I don’t know a human being who gets that. If it is necessary for you to feel loved…

I can’t fix that.

I feel less shitty about myself right this moment than I have in a few weeks.

Appropriate exposure?

Last night I kind of exploded at EC. By exploded I mean that she was taunting me in a way the kids have been enjoying irritating me for a few weeks now and I asked why they are doing it. She giggled and said “To irritate you”.  I said, “Go somewhere else. Go sleep in the backyard, on the couch, in the garage, in my bed… I don’t care. Go somewhere else.”

That was the explosion. I didn’t even yell. FMC was asleep.

After 15 or so minutes of crying I felt really bad so I went and found her. She was in the garage bed. (We have beds all over our house.) She was defensive and kind of pissy at first, which was appropriate and fair.

I told her, “There’s something I need to talk to you about. You know how I tell you that sometimes my brain is an asshole to me? (Assume she interrupts with a lot of “yeahs” and “uh huhs” and “oh that’s what that means” but doing the actual dialogue is a pain in the ass.) First of all: do you know what a cycle is? Like a butterfly’s life cycle. (Oh yeah!) Well, my mental health stuff comes in cycles. I have long periods where I do ok and then for a while I do poorly. For a few weeks now I’ve been having a problem with my brain being an asshole to me. Part of my mental health stuff is called depression. It’s kind of like being sad but sad turned up to the max plus not liking myself very much and feeling REALLY irritable because my brain is being such an asshole all the time. Imagine walking through your day with your brain constantly screaming that you are bad and worthless and you deserve to be in a lot of pain. (At this point she interrupted to exclaim that she hasn’t known!) Of course you haven’t known. It isn’t real appropriate for me to tell you this stuff most of the time. It’s not your business. You can’t change it. You can’t make it better. It doesn’t happen because of you. Why should I act like you should walk on egg shells because it is happening? That would be wrong. So I do my best to be cheerful and loving even when my brain is telling me really vicious things. But sometimes when this happens… I’m going to be over sensitive and I’m going to over react to you trying to irritate me because… I’m already dealing with the maximum load of irritation I can bear. Just because my brain is being an asshole.”

She was really sweet about it. She said that she’s sorry my brain is doing that to me and she’ll try to not be extra irritating for a bit.

I reminded her that it is in fact her job to irritate me… she’s a kid. I am not telling her this so that she will change her behavior a lot. She’s doing what she is supposed to do. I’m telling her so that she understands that I’m not blowing up because she deserves it. I’m blowing up because my brain is being such a raging asshole that I wish I could blow up almost every minute of every day and I’m fighting that urge and sometimes I lose. I don’t want her to feel like my loss of control is her fault. It’s something that *I* have to get a hold of. It’s not a problem she can “not irritate” me out of. I’m going to struggle forever and there’s not much she can do about that. My problems aren’t about her.

She said it made sense. She asked if it was ok for her to come back in the bedroom. I said of course. We went to bed.

I hope I handled that right.

I do some weird things to avoid feeling weird.

I now have 28 weeks worth of drugs in my house. Because I have 20.5 weeks to go until I’m done being pregnant and I’m super uncomfortable going to the dispensary when I’m really pregnant and I barely leave my baby in the fourth trimester. So… I will probably go back one more time in the next week or two before I get any bigger to buy another 4-5 weeks worth of meds.

It’s like prepping for the road trip.

That’s a really lot of drugs to buy in like 4 shopping trips. I assume the folks who work there think I am either a MASSIVELY heavy user or that I’m reselling.

Actually I’m staying on the lowest consistent dose I’ve managed in years…. I kind of love buying my drugs this way because I count everything out super carefully and I package things up so that I don’t get too heavy handed and use it up too quickly. When I buy like this, I’m deciding for 4-6 months EXACTLY how much I get in a day. The only way to get a day that is a heavy use day is to balance it with low use days.

It keeps me within the range I think is optimal.

I wish this was the kind of thing that medical people patted me on the back about instead of clutching their pearls. I am able to buy 6 god damn months worth of medication and eke it out even though it might be super fun to do it ALL in a month. I don’t do that because this isn’t a party fun thing it’s a medication that keeps me functional.

Why isn’t that perceived as different from addiction?

I banned myself

I blocked the forum site and Twitter and Facebook from my computer. I have been reading folks Twitter without logging in and I shoulder surf Noah’s FB account.

I need to stop.

It exacerbates my feeling that I don’t belong anywhere and I am not important to anyone’s life.

I’ll see who is still in my life, I guess. Oh! I’m going to go see one of my buddies from junior high this weekend. She’s moving and I’m going to haul my trailer down to her place so she can move all her schtuff in one load. That’ll be fun. I’ll be glad to see her. Things are looking up in her life. She says that being able to buy the car opened the door to super wonderful things.

I feel so grateful I was able to help my dear old friend.

Why?

Today Future Middle Child asked me why I read forums since I think most of the people who post there are mean and unpleasant.

I told them it is a distraction. Sometimes the words I hear inside my head about my head aren’t very nice. I feel happy when I think about my kids or my husband and sometimes with some of my friends. But there are times when my brain is kind of mean to me and every thought about myself is really mean. When that is happening… I read stuff about other people so I don’t have to think about me.

Home. And Petty.

I’ve spent most of the last week grateful I didn’t have a computer. I would have written some incredibly unkind things. I wanted to stoop to a level of petty that would be darn near epic. Why?

Because people get all twisted up in my head. I’m never responding to one thing at a time.

I’ve spent the last few years in therapy doing a tremendous amount of work around the fact that the Bonus Mama triggered all of my “like my sister” buttons, minus the sexual assaults. She has quite a few of the same problems and in my ridiculous codependency I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to fix her problems.

It is a gift from the universe that I am now done with that set of behaviors. I never need go clean her house again. I never need try and help her children emotionally cope with neglect. I never need try and pretend that I am unaffected by the physical violence in her marriage again.

I am free.

I think this is a positive step in my life. I need to stop trying to cover for broken people. It’s a real problem I have.

I need to stop investing my life into trying to make up for people who won’t even admit that I’m doing a back breaking amount of work for them. It’s stupid. It’s self defeating. I have spent a lot of time and energy and money over the past few years trying to do something for the ephemeral child self I still have. Other people helped me so I helped her kids.

But I’ve given what I can and it’s time to move on.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Part of what this relationship came into my life to teach me is that when my children say, “I don’t want to associate with this person because she is mean” I need to never overrule them again. I need to never ignore such a signal again. I feel deeply ashamed of myself for telling my children to cope with behavior that made them feel diminished because I wanted weekend babysitting. That was wrong of me. My behavior was selfish and disgusting.

I was wrong.

I will never deliberately send my children to the home of someone who speaks to them with contempt again. I. Was. Wrong.

Hopefully I have learned the lesson I needed to learn and in the future when someone triggers my “like my sister” buttons I will run like my tampon string is on fire.

No more hoarders. No more people who refuse to acknowledge that they are literally physically, emotionally, and mentally unequipped to take care of their children while they brag about how great they are. No more people who are in a marriage that involves domestic violence, gaslighting, stone walling, and screaming matches that the children can hear only to turn around and tell me that if the marriage is destroyed it’ll be my fault. Sure. Because y’all had none of these problems the day I arrived. Right. Who is the one with the convenient memory? I write down all my bad shit so I can’t claim it didn’t happen. Remember how I’ve begged you to document your DV for 7 years because shit like this comes to a head and you always said, “But I don’t want to remember.”

Sure. If your marriage is destroyed it’ll be my fault. Yup. Right. Because I’m the one sitting there filled with contempt. Yup. That’s me.

Take your guilt trip to someone who is stupid enough to be buying. I’m fresh out of money for such bullshit.

I am free.

Do you know when I freaked out and started demanding that your kids be put in school the fuck away from you? When you took them to Moana and came home crying because you believe your children are incapable of understanding and appreciating the story. Guess what? Your kids are capable of understanding. You are incapable of teaching and your children need to spend time with competent teachers who can teach them. Stop fucking over your children because you are fucking broken and you want your children to be as limited as you are so you feel comfortable. Your children have more potential than you do. Let them go be taught by someone with actual ability to teach and they’ll be ok.

The worst thing that ever happened to you was someone telling you that your IQ is high. You use that number as an excuse for why you are better than people as you cannot fulfill basic life functions. It’s sad and pathetic and your fucking children need to be educated by people who have the humility to say, “I don’t know everything so I’d better study.” You think that if you buy all the books and don’t read them it’s just as good.

Your children deserve better than to be locked in your company all the time.

And after this I need to never ever write about your family again.

I’m done.

Sometimes lying is the truth.

Today I am going to smile. I am going to laugh. I am going to be encouraging and I am going to seem happy.

It is my baby’s birthday party. I can’t make this about me. My baby needs love and support and to feel like they are delightful for being alive.

Yes beloved. I will put my shit in a box. I’ll deal with it later. Today it is about you. And you are glorious and a source of joy.

Calm or productive

This morning started out a little rough for me. I asked EC a couple of weeks ago to cull the multiple boxes of school stuff from last year and pick out which items she wants to put in her portfolio. I guess she didn’t understand what I meant. She threw away all of her previous work from grades K-3 and she threw away her sibling’s portfolio work (only kindergarten) and she filled the portfolio’s with random memorabilia and knick knacks. I didn’t discover this till today, so there’s no chance of climbing through the recycling and getting stuff back.

I about blew a gasket.

I didn’t call names. I didn’t scream about how terrible they were. But I did scream that I was very angry. When I calmed down I said (perhaps inappropriately) that a lot of the reason I am so meticulous about keeping this documentation is because I need to make sure no one can ever say I’m not educating my kids and take them away. EC internalized this as “I threw away the portfolio documentation and that means I’m going to be taken away.” We’ve since talked about how there aren’t actually legal requirements to keep this documentation and my fear of CPS is very irrational given that we are unlikely to be looked at as a family at risk. We talked about the difference between a rational fear and an irrational fear.

I think we’ve all calmed down. But I’ve been the opposite of productive since then. Because I need to put most of my mental and emotional energy into calming down. I uhhh also neglected to take any pot till 1pm, which doesn’t help.

Noah says I didn’t cross a line but the line was getting reeeeeal close and I was teetering.

It’s weird having another adult in the house to walk around following me as I rant. It makes me think I’m glad he missed the first three years of my parenting because I was a much bigger bitch.

My poor children.

I sent out another email looking for a therapist for EC. She has fallen through the cracks in the past few months because the folks who looked possible for her didn’t pan out. I need to get that in line though. It’s not ok that she justifies me screaming at her. That’s fucked up and not ok and she needs to have her own therapist who can help her feel like no one should be screaming at her. Not even her mother.

She isn’t always ok with me screaming at her. I don’t get a free pass. But if I’m yelling at her about something she really did she will often say, “Oh I deserve this one.”

NO. YOU MAY DESERVE TO HAVE SOMEONE TALK TO YOU SHARPLY BUT NO ONE DESERVES TO BE SCREAMED AT UNLESS THEY ARE COMMITTING ASSAULT. SCREAMING IS A SIGN THAT SOMEONE HAS LOST CONTROL AND THAT’S BULLSHIT.

She needs a therapist. I say it to her all the damn time. I phrase it as, “I lost control and I was wrong.”

She doesn’t want me to feel bad.

That’s broken and we need to fix it. I get to feel bad for my shitty actions, too.

Grown ups

We all hung out for a few hours yesterday. I think four hours total in the day. They had other stuff to go do. I rested because that’s seriously what I need to be doing with my life right now.

The time we spent together was… a little awkward sometimes but ok. I think the conversations were all positive if occasionally stiff and the specific behaviors that had been bothering me previously were not repeated.

Phew.

I understand that they had a very stressful week aside from me being here. Recovering from surgery while doing two weeks worth of work in a week… that’s stressful. It is very important for me to keep in mind that these people are 99.99999% not reacting to me. They are reacting to what is going on in their lives.

It was a good trip. I’m glad I came. There were a few hours with a few tense interactions because we don’t actually know one another. I think that’s pretty damn good if that is as negative as it got. There was no open hostility. There was no fighting or bickering. I had moments of feeling triggered.

That’s really not the end of the world. I kept my feelings and behavior in check.

Well done on being a grown up, everyone. That was nice.

Because I’m a narcissistic asswipe I feel good about the fact that part of the tension in the trip was about me emphatically stating a point of view that had not been previously been considered because it necessitates life experiences they haven’t had. By the end of the trip the conversation evolved to the point where they figured out a way to include my point of view while maintaining their own standards and beliefs about something that is coming up in their life. I don’t want to give specifics about the situation so cryptic shit is cryptic. But my take away is that I did not necessarily share my point of view in a tactful way (I vary in presentation) but they did really hear me. And they listened because I was talking about a type of interaction with vulnerable populations that they care about getting right.

You really can’t ask for anything more than being heard.

So a lot of my preparation for walking away was bitchy and totally unnecessary. I’m glad I didn’t manifest those feelings more loudly. I think I managed to keep those feelings like 98%-99% under wraps. I’m glad.

These folks were nice to me. I hope I didn’t communicate my distress more than I meant to. Y’all know. But my IP tracker says these folks haven’t checked out my blog. Given how overwhelming their life is just the now that makes sense. I’m kinda hoping it stays that way. But if they do come reading, hi. You are lovely people and I appreciated the time with you. I learned more about controlling myself and being a grown up. Thank you for the opportunity.

I see my family in 11 hours. I can barely wait.

Random art/bdsm cross over.

B is the publicly acceptable way to refer to my friend’s wife so I’m going to say that. I haven’t asked my friend how he feels about being mentioned by name so I’ll still refrain. This is only a bdsm crossover because I know these folks through that community.

B is a HUGE patron of the arts. In her house and in her office there is a ton of art. Her office has a bunch of fancily painted walls by a variety of artists she knows. There are multiple murals or small pieces in different rooms.

She offered me space to paint, if I want. On one hand… I want to say no. I’m tired and that would be work. On the other hand… this beautiful, talented, interesting woman who works with a demographic I target heavily for influencing with my life has invited me to have space to influence how people feel.

She told me that if it would make me happier to do the work they could chain me while I work. I said that is not permitted within the current boundaries of my relationship but thank you for the offer.

That’s… that’s a really cool offer. I have art installations in California. Would I like to also have an art installation in Alaska?

Oh gosh. When I phrase it like that….

My friend who invited me up here to stay… he has a voice. He influences lives all over the world and he has done so for going on twenty years now. He has spent years encouraging me to share my voice with the world because he thinks I have lessons to teach.

I feel really validated here.

These people who are doing the real work are validating that even though I am hiding at home for a few years so I can learn the things I want to learn… I still have a lot to offer. They invite me back into the wide world.

But I’m afraid of the wide world. The wide world is big. The wide world doesn’t want to do shit for me. The wide world wants to know what I’m going to do for them.

That’s how it works with everyone. I don’t think I’m persecuted or anything.

I like my bubble.

I like having a family.

I like the friends who seek me out and ask to be part of my life. I like the people who actively invite me into their lives because they perceive me as being someone they want to be near.

The wide world…

Is hard.

But I’m not truly contemplating the wide world. I’m contemplating a wall. Maybe I should go make some sketches. I’m having some ideas. Butterflies and change and growth.

Cause I brought quite a few art supplies…

I like how I handled that.

I was talking on the phone to someone I love. They were expressing frustration about a girl in their life. They decided that the way to deal with their frustration was to repeatedly call this girl a whore.

I told them to stop denigrating sex workers. If you don’t like that this girl runs her mouth off, say you don’t like how she runs her mouth. If you don’t like how lazy she is… say you don’t like how lazy she is. If you think she sleeps around too much… just shut up that’s none of your business. Don’t call people whores.

They defended their right to do so. “I’ve been at the bottom of the barrel and I didn’t have to stoop to that so I don’t approve of sex work.”

I said, “I need to get off the phone and not have this conversation. I love you and I’ll talk to you later.”

Boundaries.

I’m kind of ridiculously proud of myself for being clear and direct and unequivocally setting my boundary without attacking. Naw. You don’t get to bad mouth sex workers to me. Nor do you get to bad mouth women by placing them sex worker adjacent. That shit just won’t fly.

Notes

Today’s doctor visits were lovely. The pain doctor is going to become my favorite medical provider of all time if he keeps going like this. He’s upset with the psychiatrist I fired last. He thinks it is fucked up (not the word he used) that she did a genetic test on me that showed I wasn’t processing folic acid but she didn’t bother to find out how deficient I am and she didn’t recommend supplementation. Folic acid deficiency can wreck your mood all on its own. And she KNEW I had it but she was way more focused on getting me on heavy psych drugs. He asked me, “Did she know you were trying to get pregnant?” I said, “Yup!” He put his head in his hands and stayed that way for a few seconds.

That right there is enough to make me want to kiss his feet.

He was upset that my shrink is so anti-pot that she told me that 3 hours of sleep is fine. He said he doesn’t want me on anything else for sleep, no sleep aid. BUT USE THE POT. He told me to stop feeling ashamed and medicate how I need to for myself and my baby’s health.

I’m going to be having words with my shrink.

He went through why he believes that pot is the best choice for me. He had specific reasons. He went through other medications that I “could” use and he flat said that he wouldn’t give any of them to a pregnant woman and he’s upset that other people want to. He said, “I know that I have colleagues in the medical field who are not convinced about pot but I am. It is the safest medication we have for your issues.”

He used to be a pharmacist. He can go off on drug side effects all day.

Do you know what he did after going through my test results with me? Order more tests! Because these results mean that he knows which questions to ask next! He won’t be giving me any supplements or treatments till he has a whole cascade of questions answered!

I want to kiss his feet.

He’s starting to outline treatment option possibilities but he’s very clear that he’s not sure where he’s going yet. (I love this man so much.) He is being super specific that there are a bunch of treatments that might be useful that he won’t do till after I give birth. But he’s got a bridge plan to get me there. Stuff to start out with. Gently encourage balancing instead of brute forcing.

I want to kiss his feet.

He told me “Stop listening to people who tell you that pot is wrong. It may be wrong for someone else but it is right for you.”

I feel pathetic that I feel like a drought stricken plant being hit with a nice rain storm.

A doctor isn’t telling me that I’m bad for not wanting to take drugs that make me feel worse. A doctor isn’t shaming me for doing something that helps with my pain and my psychological problems.

And he isn’t pussy footing around and refusing to give me a sleep study and telling me to “Try Zyrtec”.

I feel respected. I feel like this is medical care for me.

Then I went to my woo nutritionist and said “Noooooooooooooooo mooooooooore pills. Can’t. Nope.”

She said, “That’s fine. We’ll do this and that and you’ll put some in juice and some in a smoothie and you’ll be great.”

Fine. I can do a smoothie a day. I can do a cup of juice with powder in it. Sure. That’s less likely to make me puke.

I am at the point where my body associates meal times with pills so my body is starting to gag as I get hungry in prep for the pill madness. It has to end.

I also spaced out the next appointment so I have time to be less than perfect on dosing all the medication daily. Ahem.

Then I went to the dispensary and noticed that I have gotten my pot consumption down to a practically economical $250/month. I feel I’ve been doing well with two pills a day. I’m relatively stable. (That means I actually spent less than that over the past 6-8 weeks because I’ve been not doing the night pill because I’m ashamed. So this is good.) This is a lower place than my tolerance has been in a very long time. This is great. I’m excited.

I don’t feel good. I’m tired as fuck. But I feel hope. It’s a nice feeling.

I had an interesting conversation with the nurse who drew my blood. We talked about what “healing” the body means in context of developmental trauma. I told her, “What does it even mean to “heal” someone like me who never had periods of normal or good health from birth?” She had never read books about developmental trauma. I recommended several. I told her, “In your job, in this office, a huge percentage of your patients are going to be here for trauma whether they can word it that way or not.”

She blinked slowly and had an intense look on her face. She said, “I’ve never thought about the things you are talking about. I have literally never considered what it does to the body to be traumatized so young. What are those book titles again? I need to write them down so I can read them.”

I feel I did a good thing today.

Oh here we go

So The Guardian came out with a thing saying that if you care for the planet you should have fewer children. Enter judgmental shaming.

I’m having a third child. I still don’t know if I’m having a fourth child.

Is this a tremendously selfish choice? Absolutely. Am I contributing another body to the planet when there are already a lot of bodies? Yup.

But you know what? Not that many people in the world were genuinely wanted. I’m going to be a selfish piece of shit and bring another person or two into this world who is desperately wanted. Because I need to stand near that so that I can try to learn how to fix my fucked up brain. I’ve made a lot of progress… but I’m not done growing up.

I am teaching myself attachment with my children. It isn’t the most recommended way to heal developmental trauma but I’m doing a surprisingly good job based on the evaluations I get from a wide variety of health practitioners.

I should be dead. This still comes up.

But I’m not dead. I’m instead making progress on my mental and physical health. I continue to make progress.

My children talk frankly about how they love how much I focus on them but I’m clearly going to need more people to balance the load in a few years because they are going to want more time away from me. This is a conscious thing we work on. We support one another while giving space for someone to pull away because that’s healthy.

I think it is funny that I sometimes make progress because a therapist helps and I sometimes make progress despite a therapist being an obstacle. Both seem useful.

My shrink said something that is burning in my brain and bugging me. “You are obsessed with being unique.”

Oh bitch, please.

I have spent my life meeting people and trying desperately to find reasons that I am like them. I can usually find somewhere between 5%-50% of similarity in experience and then I say something else about myself and the person starts doing the loud, “NOT LIKE THAT. I’M NOT LIKE THAT. NO. NOTHING LIKE THAT.”

I’m not obsessed with being unique. I am resigned. I am aware. I am trying to find ways to move through the world that allow me to get hurt less while also hurting other people less and that’s complicated because I don’t have that much in common with almost anyone so finding a way to interact without mutual pain is fraught.

A fucking psychiatrist who tells me that two dozen medication trials mean that I’m just getting started and I should do two or three dozen more trials before I’m allowed to say that medication doesn’t work for me… that’s someone who is obsessed with not seeing me as unique. That’s a problem. Given that a high number of these pills make me intensely suicidal and your advice is, “Well, go to the ER”…. naw. Nope. No fucking way.

Pot works. It’s not perfect, NONE OF THESE DRUGS ARE PERFECT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, but it is less harmful than basically anything else available. The problem with pot is that it is illegal in a bunch of places. So I “should” get on a legally recognized drug. That will wreck my whole fucking life. Just so I can be legit.

But I’m unhealthily obsessed with seeing myself in context of my life?

I have some feelings here.

My shrink telling me that maybe I only need three hours of sleep so I shouldn’t use pot to help me sleep… that’s fucking bothering me. Chronic sleep deprivation is torture,. It literally makes people go insane. BUT DON’T USE POT.

I don’t think the bad thing here is my insistence that I be seen in context of my life and my experiences. We all have our own unique life experiences. Most people have life experiences that fit within a bell curve of normal. Then there’s me.

But I should stop paying attention to that so people can streamline care right the fuck over me. If I die that’s just collateral damage.

I am still alive because I god damn insist on seeing myself as unique. You bet your fucking buttons.

I don’t think everyone “should” have lots of kids because having kids is a good thing. I don’t think that adoption is bad.

I think I need to have more biological children because I have terrible problems in my brain that will only be fixed through long term exposure and work. I need to work on my family’s genetic problems and I need to find compassion for myself and the psychological and physical problems that come from being like me.

I’m not completely unique. I have children who inherit a lot of what it means to be me. And that means I need to work on what it means to be me.

I don’t think this is a journey that everyone needs to go on. I don’t think it is a journey that most highly traumatized people should engage in. I think it is what I need to do.

I think there is the distinct possibility that if I do move somewhere and get a big house… I will foster. I have always wanted to foster when my children are older and can be positive role models to the kids I’m fostering.

It isn’t that I’m opposed to helping kids who need a home. It is that I need to fix my home first or I’ll just fuck them up more than they’ve already been fucked up and that’s not fair. Not to them and not to me.

Today I see the pain doctor and the woo nutritionist. I’m going to tell her I need fewer pills. I’m gagging and choking and it makes eating a nightmare. My gag reflex goes into hyper drive during pregnancy and I’m tired of retching at the table.

Slight side note: Future Middle Child had their first solo therapy appointment. They told me they didn’t want to talk about it. They want privacy. I told them that is a jim dandy thing. I may sometimes say, “How did it go?” because I’m nosey and curious but telling me “I don’t want to talk about it” is ALWAYS ok. Telling me no when I want to know something is fine. You are allowed. You are permitted to have space where I am not.

Having children is complicated. There are consequences across many planes. Yes, I’m increasing my effective carbon footprint.

I’m also trying to learn how to feel ok. That’s really hard. I’m selfish and I’m terrible and I’m going to do what I need here.

“If you really want to have more children, just adopt. There are many children in the world who need good homes.”

That is… such a complicated statement, folks. Cross cultural adoption is complicated. Adopting older children who have major trauma is complicated.

Losing your mother is traumatic. Getting an adoptive mother is…. not the same thing as getting to be with your mother. I’m not knocking adoption. It’s wonderful. It’s important. Lots of people are effectively “saved” through adoption. But it has bad sides too.

In order to be a good adoptive parent you need to be able to put your shit aside and focus on the needs of this important person you brought into your life. They are not there to meet your needs and what is going on with them may not help you heal your ancestral trauma.

I have a lot of ancestral trauma to heal and I’ll be fucking frank that it is easier when I deal with my children. My children make me believe that I deserve to heal. That my family deserves to have better than we have always had. Not in terms of money or “things”. But in terms of love and consideration and mutual aid.

My grandmother fostered when my mother was tiny. My mom was highly damaged because her mother (my grandparent) spent a lot of time acting like the kids who were there to be fostered were special and needed special treatment but her kids needed to be slapped into silence.

My family has a lot of baggage in our bones and in our brains and in our blood. I want to see if that can be healed. I will not be able to do that through surrogate children. Only through children of my blood.

Which does not change the essential worthiness of all other children. But I’m not ready for them. It’s not them, it’s me.

It’s a whole new world.

It took me 15 minutes to get a video chat appointment to renew my marijuana card. We talked for 2 minutes. He said, “Hi, what do you use it for?” I said, “PTSD, ADHD, and fibromyalgia. This is my 7th renewal.” He said, “Ok I’m emailing your rec. Have a nice day.” Then he hung up.

Wow.

Waaaaaaay better than anticipated.

I have been terrified of talking to CPS all of my parenting life. Tonight I called CPS to talk about something that happened in my house. I went into it hyperventilating. I came out of it feeling really reassured.

The lady asked me a ton of questions. Both about the incident, about life in general, about handling the incident.

No I’m not telling the internet what happened.

By the end of the conversation she said, “You are doing everything you can do to handle this. Kids do these kinds of things. Then you educate them. You are doing that. We really couldn’t add help for your family.”

I hate that I want outside validation so much. Am I doing this right? Am I handling this right? This is absolutely the biggest hiccup of our family experience so far. Did I handle it right?

According to CPS they don’t want to open a case file. I called for a consultation and that’s good enough. Keep doing what I’m doing.

That’s not what I expected at all. She was really nice and supportive. She was glad I called to check and see if there is more I should do.

Lady if there is more I have to do for these kids, just give me a check list. I will learn how to do backflips through flaming hoops for them if I have to.

We also had our first visit with the therapist who will be working with Future Middle Child tonight. It went well. I think they will be a good match for my busy, fidgety, impulsive sweetheart.

You don’t have to be a good person to keep improving.