Category Archives: dancing

All she wants to do is dance.

We have four dance lessons left. Yesterday we had a lesson with a teacher we don’t normally work with because our usual guy was out of town at a competition. It was different and fun. She gushed over how excited she was to work with us. She’s been asking our main guy for months if she could borrow us, apparently.

It was a kind of weird session for me. She was SO EXCITED to work with us. She is delighted that we are rule breakers who are not trying to memorize how to do everything by the books. She says most of her clients want to be proper. I said I’ve been dancing for almost two decades. I can’t give a shit about proper. I’m having fun.

I feel like she explained some things better than our usual guy. I feel like she had some ability to break down a few steps that he isn’t quite as clear about. I felt like if we broke her in proper she could be a fantastic dance teacher for us.

By “break her in proper” I mean that Noah needs feedback in some very specific ways that do not meld well with normal dance teaching. Don’t tell him he’s doing great because he’s spirited when he’s doing a step wrong. He will get very upset. It is better to tell him 900 times that he’s doing it wrong. He’ll like you more. That’s not common.

She started to say, “If you practice for a while you won’t have to think about it anymore and you’ll just feel it.” I interrupted her to say, “Oh please god don’t say that to him. No, he won’t and he will hate you for lying to him.” She was a little startled but listened when we broke down how mechanical dancing is for Noah. There is nothing intuitive about dancing for him. He goes through obsessive lists in his head of what to do and how to do it. He thinks about his shoulders and elbows and hands and hips and feet and head and does checks every few seconds. I can see him twitch as he goes through the list.

But dance teachers want people to feel dance. Good for you dance teacher! What Noah gets from dance isn’t an intuitive floaty feeling it’s a “Yay my wife is happy with me.” Which isn’t fair and I think he puts way too much effort in for the amount of payoff he gets… but that’s what he gets. Let’s not act like he’s going to suddenly be in touch with his body, m’kay?

She told us that everyone in the studio likes watching us dance because we are really good and really confident and we don’t care if we are doing it right. Which I find funny. I will totally do things that go against their instruction. When they say, “You are supposed to do….” I say, “Yeah that doesn’t work for me and this does. So I’m doing this.”

Arthur Murray has Rulez. I don’t care. I’m not aiming for Arthur Murray competition so I don’t need to follow your rules. I’m looking to be vaguely physical and have more kinds of exercise that are fun with my partner. So rock on with your precision… I don’t care.

I phrase it that I am allergic to competition. I am not there to be judged.

The thing is: I know I’m shitty. I know I’m not a good person. I’m not a good technical dancer. I’m never going to win an award at anything in this whole shitty world. I know. I know I’m not good. That’s fine. I don’t need to stand in front of judges and have them tell me how shitty I am.

I just… don’t need it.

I need it to be ok that I’m mediocre and shitty and not that good and I don’t need to be. I’m having fun. My partner is having fun.

Who cares if I am “technically accomplished” at dance?

I don’t want to feel better than anyone. I don’t want to aspire to that feeling, ever. Could I put in shit tons of work and get better at physical skills and maybe win a contest? Maybe.

But then I’d make someone else feel like they were shittier than me.

No thank you.

Today has been an emotional journey.

I’ve been crying on and off for 13 hours now. It’s a day. I went to a tea party. I cried at the tea party. Even though strangers could see me. (Usually I have better control than that; mostly I get to a bathroom in time to hide my crying.)

One of my former flings was at the tea party. He spent a lot of the party hitting on me really hard. He remembers me very fondly. I feel like I should take a shower. (Although to be fair–the pride weekend we hooked up was wicked hot. He’s a switch and just as good at taking pain as he is at giving pain. We had a really ridiculously hot weekend of beating the shit out of each other in between rabid fucking. Ok, I remember him fondly too.)

But I still feel like I should take a shower. Which is becoming a thing for me. I was talking to Noah about this yesterday. I’m in a weird spot with sex. Sex is feeling weird and dirty and gross and like I am disgusting for having it and I don’t understand why anyone would want to do that. Which… isn’t really like me.

I have been having sex of some kind for over 30 years. I’ve been having vaginal sex of my own volition for 21 years. I feel very weird about having sex be this weird for me. I was never put off by sex and now I am. I feel like I’m in a really terrible rut for this. It hasn’t been going on for a super long time, maybe a few weeks?

It is very weird for me to feel repulsed by the idea of sex. And I’m feeling that way really intensely. It is making my relationship with Noah rocky. And then having an old flame hit on me magnifies it in intense and awkward and uncomfortable ways.

I’ve had some weirdness ever since getting pregnant the first time. Decreased libido, I don’t feel sexy when my kids are around, I don’t “turn on” very easily any more… there has been a lot of weirdness to adjust to, but the repulsion feels new. (I don’t think I have suddenly developed an aversion to Noah. I am much more repulsed by the idea of sex with anyone else right now.)

I feel dirty, bad, and like if I have boundaries I am a terrible person who deserves to be punished. Sex feels almost like a punishment.

Today has been such an explosion of self-loathing. In every way possible. I should die. I should die. I should die. I should stop being such a scary terrible person. I don’t know a way to stop being so fucking scary without dying.

This morning Noah made us a really elaborate breakfast. In the process he shouted at the kids a few times. From the other side of the house I felt shocked and afraid. When I came into the kitchen the kids were totally cool with it. I asked Noah if he needed time to go calm down and both him and the kids defended that he was fine.

If I say “empty the dishwasher” sometimes the kids will all but cower under the table. I don’t even have to raise my voice. (Actual screaming provokes less of a reaction.) Noah says it is because I am so intimidating. You know–like a large black man.

Are you fucking kidding me?

So I spent the day crying because I’m a piece of shit who should die because I can’t seem to do anything to stop scaring people. No matter how hard I try, I’m still that fucking scary bitch who should be punished for having emotions that are too big.

Sometimes I can whisper a request and the kids will react as if I have done something terrible. I feel manipulated.

I feel like I should die because it isn’t possible for me to attain behavior that would be considered “acceptable”.

I spent a bunch of time at the tea party talking to a woman I used to go dancing with. Both of us have been on mental health roller coasters over the last few years. When she has problems, her friends take her in. She has spent a lot of the last few years basically couch surfing with friends who cook for her and clean up after her and she has a great team of doctors she works with who are really nice to her. In the conversation I asked a little bit about what kind of traumas trigger what kind of things for her and she said, “I’ve never had a traumatic experience in my life.”

When she said how grateful she is that her friends have taken her in and supported her this way because it is really hard for her to take care of herself when she is depressed I said, “No one has ever loved me that much. Not my friends, not my parents. It doesn’t matter how I feel. I have to take care of myself.” Then I cried.

Noah takes some care of me, but he doesn’t do that much. People have done some things to care for me. One friend cooked me breakfast lunch and dinner for three weeks after my second child was born. When my uncle died and I dropped my basket I had friends show up for a week to baby-sit my kids.

But in between some pieces of help I have to get off my fucking ass and do everything else for myself. I don’t get months of support. I get a few minutes then a kick in the ass to get the fuck back up and take care of myself.

When my wisdom teeth were removed, I was 21 and living with my Owner. My mom came to stay with us to “take care of me” afterwards. I had four dry sockets. I was in horrible pain. My mom sat on the couch reading and I cooked and served her food.

I’m a self-pitying son of a bitch.

When I get really sick 9/10 times I drive myself to the hospital. I don’t really know who to ask for help. Even though doctors have told me flat out I can’t drive those days… I do it anyway because that is the only transportation I have.

I’m having a really hard time this week with the whole “scary” thing. I won the court case, but I don’t feel “cleared” at all. This is a consistent problem for me. Near as I can tell the only thing I can do to avoid scaring people is stay in my room without talking to people.

I want to die so much.

I’m having a really hard time with knowing that my therapist doesn’t have a lot of hope for me changing. That is really hurting.

If you ask my kids at any other time if they think I am scary they say no. They tell me they know I wouldn’t hurt them even though I get very angry sometimes. But man they cower. They cower like I chase them with a belt. Hell, they fucking cower more than someone who has been chased with a belt. If you get hit enough times you learn that cowering just pisses people off and they hit you more times.

Noah and I talked today about putting the kids in school. He asked what I would do during the day. I said cut. It would be totally easy to hide if I had that much alone time. We don’t want to put the kids in school. But if I think the kids are being damaged by being around me (uhm, cowering) then maybe school is more appropriate.

You never know what the “right” decision is until it is too late to do anything about all the wrong decisions.

Despite hearing today from a teacher who likes Common Core I remain unconvinced that school is currently the right choice for my kids. This teacher asked how my kids have learned to talk about math problems if they have never had a math class. If I’ve never sat them down with a textbook and worksheets, how can they learn?! It’s a miracle. But without curriculum assistance of any kind my kids can do addition, some subtraction, and the occasional multiplication problem. (The 4 year old isn’t doing multiplication yet, but she has demonstrated that she understands the principle.) We do them verbally.

I feel like I’m being mean and ungrateful towards Noah for having this many big, unpleasant feelings. I feel like I am doing something specifically objectionable because of disloyalty. I feel like when I talk about my lack of support I am implying that he isn’t doing enough and that isn’t true. I’m pretty sure there isn’t time in the day for Noah to do more.

But I still have so many needs and there isn’t anyone I can ask. I try really hard to build some of the consistency I need and it falls through over and over.

It isn’t that no one ever does anything for me. I know that I *do* get help. But I get one off help.

I want a god damn mother.

Right now I am feeling very self-pitying and sad. I wish I had the flavor of mental illness where people love me and take care of me and feel sad that I am hurting instead of the flavor where people think I am scary and intimidating.

I want to die.

My friend said she feels confident that with the help of wonderful doctors she will improve a lot and her life will get better and she won’t have so many symptoms.

If you read books about suicidality, there are specific “things” that are the reasons people kill themselves. There are only a few categories of spurs, really. I have most of them really active in my life. I don’t think I will ever stop feeling suicidal until I can find a way to meet the needs that are driving the impulse to die. My problems are relational and I can’t fix them by myself. And I can’t make anyone care about me that much.

I don’t know that I will ever get much better. I will never believe I am worthy of enough love to justify staying alive. “Never is a long time.” I don’t feel very hopeful today.

I hope that some day this will feel less intense. I hope that some day I will believe I am worthy of someone taking care of me and I will find a way to make that happen in a way that will benefit my mental health long term.

Right now I feel like no one loves me enough.

Which is of course all my fault and all my problem.

Three more days in the month, paint faster.

I am going to do 13-23 more hours on the fence. I want to finish this week. I suppose that means that I will be painting all day today and tomorrow and maybe Wednesday. The kids will *love* that. Not. They are very very done with me doing a task that requires intense concentration and that they not walk up and touch me. But it’s coming along!

Yesterday I started the work of unwinding the blackberry bramble from the trellis it has been on for the past year and a half. Hard to believe that the bush has been in my yard for only a year and a half. That’s one massive sucker. I have probably another five hours of work before it is transferred over to the new trellis structure (which mostly consists of retired Twisted Monk rope. Ha. My yard is visually full of it. My stuff is far too old for safe suspensions and I don’t do enough floor bondage to care. Not that I suspend anyone lately. Sigh.).

Ice skating was wicked fun and I didn’t fall *once*. I feel so proud of myself. I went off and did some speed laps on my own when the rest of my family was worn out from falling. I find it strange that my thirties are the decade of physical independence and strength. I have the courage to try things now. I am not so afraid of failing that I stay home and cry instead of showing up. I have always been afraid. It is weird to not let fear run very much of my life.

“Falling is part of the learning process. If you are afraid of falling you will never be good. You can’t get real mad either. You just have to accept it and try to do better.”

I learn these things as I teach them.

I went and talked to an old acquaintance who is a Contra dance leader person last night. I am curious about bringing the home school kids to a Contra dance because I think it is potentially interesting to them. It sounds like I should wait until more kids are closer to ten. That makes sense. That’s ok, I don’t need to do everything this year. I will start trying to teach some things in the park though as pre-prep.

It is kind of weird constantly thinking about scaffolding. What do I want them to be able to do when they are thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, fifty that requires preparation at this point. There are more things than anyone wants to think about.

Life is about a series of A/B choices. As you go on your list narrows. Do you want children–yes or no. Did you actually have children–yes or no. Do you want to work or stay at home–pick one. When you make choices you close a lot of doors. I get this. I don’t think that one road is morally superior than other roads. I don’t think that picking home schooling proves I love my kids more than anyone else. It is just the A/B choice I wanted.

Recently I wrote a fairly defensive six page letter to my grandmother-in-law. She has been expressing clearly that she has never seen home schooling go well and she does not approve. Ok. Well, I know a lot of people for whom it has gone well so if we are doing the anecdote thing I win. If we are looking at actual fucking data then I win and win and win and win. So fuck you. Home schooling has been around since the dawn of time so can we not act like the American public school system has a lock on education? Give me a break.

But I don’t say “fuck” in letters to the grandmother. Even I recognize some limits.

What I have been doing instead is writing long philosophical letters where I mention all the educational theorists and I talk about the strengths and advantages of different systems and I talk about schema and scaffolding and all the shit I’m doing.

I knew I wanted to home school my children when I was seventeen years old. I went to college, graduate school, and I got a teaching credential because I wanted to home school my kids and I believed it required preparation. No, I really and truly don’t believe that everyone should home school their kids. However I think I am fully fucking qualified and I’m not going to be nice to people who imply otherwise.

I prepared for this for more than ten years before having children. I did that knowing that there is the very real possibility that I will home school my kids till they are seven or so and then they will say, “Screw you mom, I’m going to school.” I did that knowing that if I had a child who was blind, deaf, autistic, fill in the blank special needs, I probably wouldn’t be able to home school. I prepared anyway and hoped for the best. My children appear to be very “normal” in terms of development. Shanna is advanced verbally but not emotionally or in terms of education. She just can talk. Calli is very on track to be average.

I can handle average kids. I really can. I understand that lots of people worry about home schooling as an educational choice–I worry too. But I have yet to meet someone who comes out of the public education without major gaps in their education… I can’t believe that home schooling would magically be worse. Not if I seriously undertake it as my profession.

I’ve tried to figure out how to use a word other than vocation. Now that I know I am using vocation wrong (it has way less emphasis than I want) I’m not even sure how to talk about it. Some children know very young they want to grow up and be a nun. It’s a calling. I knew I wanted to home school.

I want this intensity of relationship. I understand that not everyone wants it. I am not trying to claim that this intensity is the healthiest or the best or superior for everyone. Noah sure as shit couldn’t do what I am doing with the kids. He would go bananas. He gets very short with them by the end of a weekend. I would not leave Noah alone with the kids for more than a week by himself. I mean, no one would die or anything. They wouldn’t have much fun though.

I have been alone for most of my life in a way that other people can’t understand. Moving around all the time such that you literally don’t have friendships that last longer than three months is quite traumatic in and of itself without mentioning all the other shit in my life. I really am a freak. It is pretty verifiable if you go talk to medical professionals.

I want to be with people all the time. I want to be able to hug and touch people safely without them expecting me to offer blowjobs. I haven’t had a lot of that. I have spent most of my life believing that if I am not actively offering sex I should leave because no one is interested in my presence.

I don’t believe I “love my children more” because of the choices I make. I believe that I am using my children to meet my needs in some ways that could be massively unhealthy if I am not careful.

Shanna asks me why I see a therapist almost every time we go. She doesn’t want to be away from me for the hour of the appointment. She complains loudly. “You know how I cry all the time? Well, I cry because I’m thinking about things I need to talk about. No, I can’t talk to you about these things. It would be totally inappropriate. It is wrong for grown ups to bring their problems to children. I need someone to talk to. She helps me be a better mother.”

I am very careful that neither child becomes my “little mother”. That’s not what I want. I think that is very wrong. That is what my mother did to me. That is what my grandmother did to my mother. I am not passing on that generational wound. I believe that I (I’m not fucking talking about anyone else so don’t take this as a projection) would not be capable of taking care of my own shit and holding down a job. I think that if I had a job I would expect my kids to pick up a ton more slack than I do right now. I would expect them to “help me” because you have kids to help you–right? Isn’t that how the tradition goes?

I didn’t have kids to help me. I had kids because I want a life long relationship so bad it makes me shake with need. I had kids because I want a reason to not die and I don’t think I have very many good reasons. I don’t think other people are worth staying alive for. Other people don’t do much of anything to make my life a demonstrably better place to be. They can’t. It isn’t that they don’t care. It’s that they are living their lives and they can’t stop to take care of me. That’s not healthy in any way–there is even a word: codependence. I don’t expect people to do that. Hell, I don’t want anyone to stop their life to try and take care of me.

But being a parent means that I have to think about how relationships work all day every day. I have to do measurable work on myself to deserve this relationship. I have to change.

I was talking to a new person last night at a party. I don’t know how we got on this topic but we were discussing parental guidance with regard to reading. When I was eight my aunt (who was basically a foster mother) told me I wasn’t allowed to read Sweet Valley High books because they were too mature and graphic. (The kids made out in the sand at the beach or something.) I left her house and went back to my mother’s house where I read Bertrice Small books. Small is very into incest, pony play, harems, sodomy, raping, kidnapping, dildos, bestiality, LOTS of group sex.

That is, in a nutshell, the conundrum of my life. Those kind of hard-core pornography books were the only books my mom had in the house. I went between being punished for thinking about kissing a boy to being given a detailed instruction manual on how to have really graphic sex that I bloody well followed over and over.

I was eight when I started trying to memorize these books. What was I supposed to do in order to make people want me? I thought it was very important. I thought that was the only way people might let me be around. When the characters were taught how to behave in the harem I god damn took notes.

My children will not be reading Bertrice Small pre-puberty. The books are in my room up on a very high shelf. I still have them. I still wank to them. Oh man formative literature.

I no longer think I deserve to be beaten and raped. That is a fairly big step for me. That is how I found the bdsm community. I thought that was what I deserved and I went on the internet looking for men to do that to me. I was told to buy SM 101 and that was it. I found what I was supposed to be doing.

Let me tell you I have some cognitive dissonance sometimes. What am I supposed to be doing now? Well, painting a fence. Winding some blackberry bushes. Preserving tomatoes. Loving children. Teaching reading and writing and arithmetic.

I am supposed to figure out how to be stable and happy and a “good influence” whatever that means. Am I a good influence? I don’t know. I think that you, whoever you are, are someone who has unique gifts and talents and things to offer the world. I don’t know what they are so I can’t tell you what you “should” be doing. You have to figure it out for yourself.

When I was young I believed that my only talent/skill thing was being able to read fast. I didn’t see how that could possibly be a big deal later in life. I thought I was pathetic. Now I think that being able to read as fast I can has been an unbelievable gift in this lifetime. I can learn anything I want to know.

I am teaching myself gardening. It is complicated and there is a lot to understand. I’m learning it. I am teaching myself cooking. It’s fucking chemistry. I understand that these are things that humans have been teaching themselves without books for thousands, maybe a million years. But I am really progressing at these skills at a pace my forbearers could not imagine. That’s kind of cool.

It is hard believing in the pit of your stomach that you are stupid, worthless, and unworthy of breathing while also knowing that you are an unusual specimen of the species. It doesn’t fit in my brain. I am more competent at being able to learn things than average. Why do I feel so weak and pathetic? Because these things are impossible to measure in any useful way. Because the measurement of these qualities has nothing to do with feelings. Because I just think I suck. (Yes, but what do you suck? Suck is a transitive verb.)

I know a lot of people who make choices without thinking a lot about them. I’m not saying that is a terrible decision. If you are following the pattern you know and it works for you there isn’t a strong need to question the normal M.O. That’s fine. I can’t do that though.

I don’t think I am making the UNIVERSAL BEST CHOICES. I don’t think there is any such thing. I think I am making the choices that make the most sense for me given my set of issues and life circumstances.

I worry a lot about whether or not I am making the best choices for my children. I look at studies that say that children, in general, do “best” when they have a stay at home mother. I look at studies that verify that home schooled children, on average, do very well. But those things tell me literally nothing about whether or not I am meeting the needs of my children. I’m not sure if I am capable of knowing at this point.

My children are clean, well fed, and loved. That’s what I know. But that is pretty much exactly what the neighbor said about me to justify why she didn’t tell anyone I was being raped as a small child. How in the fuck do I know if what I am doing is right given that set of knowledge? Am I actually taking care of my kids? My mom thought she was and she wasn’t.

I tell my children that they don’t need to be like me even though I apparently have a desperate need to be like my mother. I am doing her job and I am doing it god damn better than she did. My children are safe in a way my mothers children were never safe. My children don’t need to grow up and do what I am doing any more than they have to grow up and do what Noah is doing. There is a whole wide world out there. There are so many people living in so many different ways. If you don’t like my approach, well let’s go study some other approaches. I can’t explain them like an insider so we will have to find people so you can ask your questions.

If I do anything right in this lifetime it will be to teach my children that being like me is not necessarily part of being an adult. I’m a special fucking snowflake. Don’t try to be like me.

It feels so sad that it always comes back to, “Don’t be like me. I am bad.” If you want people to like you, don’t be like me. If you want people to think you are a good person, don’t be like me. If you want people to let their children play with you, don’t be like me. Throughout my whole life people have been keeping their children away from me because I am a bad influence. From when I was three years old people have said to my face that they don’t want me around their children because I am a bad influence.

No, don’t be like me. There is no good to come of that road.

Am I really that bad? I don’t even know. I don’t know how these things are measured. I don’t know how they are decided. That process is invisible to me.

It’s kind of funny that I rarely decide that a person is “bad”. I frequently think that someone made a bad decision. I don’t conflate anyone else’s personhood with whether or not they make bad decisions sometimes. I do for me though. There is no redemption out of this pit.

Yesterday I worked on the fence for two hours. One of the old white guys who walks around my neighborhood chatted with me, as they all do, about the painting. He said that he recognized the Hindu Temple but “wished they would just go away.”

I went off. “Uhm, my family doesn’t share that opinion even slightly. I teach English classes there. My family has been taking Hindi classes there. We are glad it is on our street as a valuable resource to our community.” He looked gobsmacked.

I recently read a neat blog entry (I can’t find the link) about a white woman talking about her feelings of discomfort when people make racist comments to her and why she doesn’t say anything. Basically she wants to feel safe.

I don’t feel, as a white person, like it is ok for me to choose to feel “safe” rather than speak against racism. I think that is white privilege at its most insidious and disgusting. If another white person says something racist to me I do not keep my mouth shut. Silence is consent. When my neighbor told me his Hispanic gardeners trimmed his tree wrong and he threatened to kill them over it I told him that what he did was a criminal act and he should be ashamed of himself. He later told he apologized profusely to the gardner. You had god damn better. What the fuck were you thinking in the first place?

To me all of this consent-for-sex, racism, feminism stuff is all entwined. It’s not ok to have a better life at the expense of stepping on someone else’s neck.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be a long day of hard work. That will be ok. It will end. Tomorrow will be a long day of hard work. That will be ok too. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow I will finish the fence. *cross fingers* I want to be done in July. One month. I want to give this project one month of my life.

And my beloved husband has finished making me breakfast. This isn’t a eat-in-the-garage-alone-because-I-can’t-stop-crying morning. Time to go in and tell my children that I missed them while I was sleeping. I have hugs and kisses to give. I hear that they need them.

trust and not

There is a lot of heated argument on fetlife right now about being able to have a database of rapists. I want to volunteer to adjudicate but hello lawsuit which is why these things don’t get off the ground. It has to be anonymous. It has to be just data not the deciding vote in what happens.

I read something this morning by a large queer man who talks about his experience of being perceived as creepy.  It’s an intense read. I think he elicited far more emotional response of sympathy from me than any man in my life has ever done. I think it is because he is a stranger on the internet. I have never felt any kind of boundary incursion from him so I don’t have any defenses up when I read it. And he’s a very good writer. That sounds intense and hard in a way I can’t understand.

I’ve been raped by ten-ish male people depending on how you count. That’s a lot of rapists for someone not in prison or a war zone. That means there is something about me. What am I doing to get myself into these situations?

I have issues with learned behavior. I was taught to hunt for those feelings from when I was a very small child. It’s not about what I look like or even really who I am. My father taught me. That is really hard to wrap my head around. What does that mean about my thinking? About who I am?

No matter what my experiences as a rapist hunter isn’t about my personhood the way being viewed as threatening is for Gaze. (The guy who wrote the blog.) It’s external to me. I can pass when I want to. I can seem very non-threatening and unremarkable when I want to when I am out in public. He can’t. He has never done anything wrong and he is scary anyway.

I’m scary sometimes. When I was a teacher there were many times when the very large football players backed away from me cowering in fear. I was told, “You are the most intimidating person I have ever seen” by seventeen and eighteen year old boys who towered over me and weighed a hundred pounds more than me.

I worry about that with my kids. So far they show no signs of being afraid of me so I think I’m doing ok.

I’m getting away from what I was thinking about earlier.

Gaze inspired me to think about why I distrust men so badly. What are the levels of trust for me?

I think that it is important to note that I don’t believe or suspect random men are going to attack me. I walk around Oakland in the dark by myself. I don’t fear random men. Sometimes I wonder if I am fishing to see if I should start to distrust random men as well. Oh the self-harming methods are tricksy.

I distrust men I know because sometimes women in my communities come to me and tell me their side of events. Then I run into the rapists at parties. They lean in and quickly hug me–noticeably without my consent–while I cringe. Oh yeah. I believe her that he never bothered to find out if she wanted to say yes to sex.

Sometimes I would like to rent a hall and then drive around delivering invitations to men I know and bring them all to a room. I would like to give them a talk about why women have told me that they are rapists.

I honestly believe that most of them don’t understand that is what they are doing. A few are truly blatant and know and that’s the point. That’s Paul Nathan and Kevin Gilmore, fyi. (I use their names because they sexually assaulted me. I don’t out other peoples rapists.)  These two are blatant, many victims, many years, many locations. Hunters. Of course I found them.

I stay home because I am a lightening rod. It is because I draw predators. That makes the men who want to talk to me very suspect. I don’t, in my head, see a whole lot of reason why a guy would want to talk to me unless he is a predator. It is quite hard for guys to prove that they want to be my friend. Tay-that’s why you are so amazing. Holy shit you keep trying.

I have a lot of different levels of trust. That’s normal. The internet told me so. There is this weird grey area for me. I’m at the part in The Moral Animal where he goes over the purpose of the low-status throw away whore. The Madonna/whore dynamic. By most of those kind of caste systems I am untouchable but Noah married me anyway. I get why. I get why for him having such a partner was worthwhile.

I look with harsh suspicion on every other man who wants to talk to me. I know my place in society. But I can’t function as that any more. I quite literally feel panic and worry and terror because I feel like I might have to say no to sex at any moment because that is the only reason men approach me but I can’t do it anymore and saying no is so dangerous. Oh god. It makes my throat close.

But that’s all in my head. Most people who walk up to me want to say, “Hey! How are you?!” And not really listen to my semi-truth that only mentions up-beat positive highlights of my life for two minutes before they wander away.

That is what is going on in their head.

I think that I am actually successfully not a target anymore. I absolutely don’t spend time around the kind of scum who prey on mothers. Because I have a hard time figuring out in advance who they are we don’t spend time around very many people.

I spend a lot of time longing for orthodox religion of some kind. Some religion with a strongly divided male and female population so I can go meet women and hide behind them and never have to meet their men. And if I did they would be horrified by the idea of touching me. Holy shit that sounds good.

I want some way of knowing for sure that people aren’t sexually interested in me. I don’t want people to be sexually interested in me any more. I’m tired of having to field that energy. Why is this my bloody problem?

Because they are people who get to ask. I get to say no.

And over.
And over.
And over.

Oh what a pity party. Geez, if I didn’t get that attention wouldn’t I be longing for it?

After reading Gaze’s blog post I honestly believe that I will cheerfully stick with my side of the bargain and try to work on my attitude.

I can’t imagine feeling that much anxiety about the amount of space my body takes up.

I’ve got to tell you, reading the internet makes me think that I have one of the healthiest relationships with my appearance of anyone I know. That’s kind of hilarious. I think I am on the attractive side but not beautiful. I like my body and speak positively of it without having to force it. My kids will grow up hearing positive things about bodies in general. We don’t watch main-stream tv and don’t read magazines or diet books. My kids think fat is awesome and food is for eating. Not on the damn carpet. We get ants. Some day the outside of my house will be resealed and I will have insulation and hard wood floors. Then you can eat in any room.

So yes, I go to these parties and I see these men whom I know to have committed rape. I then feel on massive high anxiety about any and every man who talks to me. My feelings of distrust come from my perception of my very low status. Why else would men talk to a whore?

I have had a few male friends who have managed to show me that my company does have value to them without sex. It’s a hard battle. Mostly I just stay home and cry because I do not believe I am worthy of community because I can’t put a lid on my anxiety and be nice to men.

Having those rapists in the room really makes it hard. And that’s my problem. So I stay home.

I’d like to get those men together and talk to them. I’d like to be able to say, “I know most of you vaguely in a social way. I understand that we have never been close. I’d like to tell you why I keep you at least ten feet away from me. At least one woman has told me that you do not value consent when it comes to your sex life. That scares the shit out of me. What other consent do you not value? How many people have you targeted? If one in four women are raped and one in twelve men is a rapist that means each of you have probably been busy. Knock it the fuck off.”

Not that it would be very effective.

I don’t think men even know what looking for consent means. Obviously I’m generalizing. Unfortunately many men do not understand what looking for consent means. Is that better?

A woman has to actually say “yes” or you can’t have sex with her. It is a tried and true survival method for someone to go blank and unable to fight back when they are being assaulted. You have to get yes.

If you don’t get an enthusiastic yes you don’t deserve to have sex with her.

Why don’t I speak more about women predators? I don’t know as much about them. I don’t know if the dynamics are different or not. I assume not? I make people tell me yes.

I hurt a little boy when I was in kindergarden. I thought he was saying yes. He didn’t. It hurt him a lot. I didn’t understand. I have apologized to him but I can’t take it back. I have done my best to never do it again.

You have to get an enthusiastic yes or you can’t have sex.

You know how like two posts ago I said I have had sex with more men than any other gender presentation because they are easier to get a yes out of? I understand that women hem and haw. I know it is a big pain in the ass to get them to actually admit they want to have sex. You need to get that yes while their clothes are still on. Seriously.

Don’t be a rapist. Just don’t. If she doesn’t say yes you can’t have sex with her.

I’d really like to be able to leave the house again some day. I’d like to have fewer rapists in my communities.

I don’t know what can be done about rape in the large scale. On the small scale it seems like a smack on the back of the head is the very first step if the rapee doesn’t want the police involved.

People are so complicated. And now I have more sympathy for the male side than I did when I woke up this morning. I’m not sure if I’m grateful exactly. Ah yes, more internal pressure to be nice. Great.

Not everyone wants to have sex with me. I mean, I know this and all. But my inner social anxiety meter doesn’t. If I could blame it on the sex communities I would. I actually know about fewer rapists in the bdsm community than in the dance community. Or poly community. Or Dickens. Or Renaissance Faires. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed by what I know.

I wish I took this knowledge as security that I can trust the other men. There are probably only one or two rapists running around each community that I don’t already know about. Doesn’t that make all the other men safe by contrast? No. I don’t know who would throw me under a bus if something happened. I can’t feel emotionally close to any men. I am going to be the first bit of debris thrown from their life if they don’t like the emotions they experience while standing close to me. I’m optional.

It’s hard for men to convince me that they are invested in having a friendship with me. The series of hurdles are so convoluted and difficult that they are almost impossible to surmount. I don’t feel particularly good about that. But it is what makes me feels safe. And I generally have enough friends at any given point in time that I get by.

I feel weird about immersing myself in a kid-centric world. This is going to be my first experience through childhood. I didn’t draw pictures as a child because people were always nasty and critical. I didn’t play very much because the games I wanted to play were acting out my life experiences. I had to have another child around willing to consent to sex, essentially. That’s a hard sell for most kids. Good!

My kids won’t have a life like mine. I feel so bad that I don’t have things that I am good at to share with my children. But at least I have a lot of willingness to do things wrong and experiment and say I don’t know how to do something yet.

I have a hard time screening people for my life. I am a lightening rod for bad people. How do I adequately screen people in order to keep my kids safe? I’m pretty sure I have done it so far. Only fifteen years of hyperviligance to go. Deep breath.

Luckily I am getting older. I hear that men stop propositioning women at some point. As long as Noah still likes me that’s all I need.

I’m going to go climb back in bed with Noah. I have a Black Friday to ignore.

A Tuesday morning ramble.

I’ve had several nearly-fully-formed posts running around in my head for days. Now that I am at the computer? Nada. Typical.

I have been increasing the amount I socialize lately. That is a mixed bag. It means more dealing with people. That’s hard. Being around large crowds of people who are questionably friendly to me is exhausting. The funny part is, one of my default “I’m hiding how I feel” mannerisms is to smile and nervously giggle a great deal. It seems like other people can’t tell the giggling is nervous. So they think I am having a fabulous time. It’s a great cover and I have been working on it for a long time.

I went out dancing on Saturday night. I explicitly told the two friends I was meeting there, “I am here because you two will keep me from hiding in the bathroom and crying.” They were shocked to find out that was a possibility. I don’t have the heart to really explain that without them doing that it isn’t a possibility it is an inevitability. Getting to the dance event is hard. Once I’m there it’s not like I’m out of danger.

I asked two men who were strangers-to-me to dance. Both of them looked at me, kind of twitched, then said they were sitting this dance out and walked away from me quickly. After the second one I didn’t ask again. I danced with my two girl-friends, and three male friends who remember me and generally try to get in a dance with me when they see me. I was grateful for dancing at all. When I come alone, I don’t always get in 1/2 of the dances I did on Saturday.

Sometimes I picture that seem from The Cutting Edge (a cheesy partner ice skating movie) where the coach says about the bitch woman, “We should have been making her a singles skater.” I wish I liked more solo dancing styles. I kind of hate that I like partner dancing and thus I have to deal with other people. It doesn’t help that I will probably never get Noah past his innate feeling that dancing is horrible. A long time ago he tried the dance community and discovered that they are all liars. I’m not going to argue with him, not really. Dancers say that they are happy to see new people and dance with them. In practice this is not so much. They want to dance with the good dancers–the ones they see all the time. Their friends. It’s ok. I just wish they wouldn’t lie about it.

I’ve become cautious over the years. I no longer can act like my actions will have no long-term effects. I want to raise my children in this area. I really can’t continue to just act however I please. It has consequences. I’m left in this place where I don’t know how to behave. I’m afraid. I don’t know what I am or am not allowed to be without the consequences for my children being terrible.

Those same two girl-friends ran a 5k with me on Sunday morning. All three of us kept up a nice steady 5 mph pace the entire way without walking at all. I’ve never run that far without walking. It felt really good. Maybe I should pay more attention to pacing, eh? It seems to work fairly well. Normally I mix in sprints randomly and I have to walk after them to get my breath back. This felt really good. I felt like I could run forever.

And there was a handfasting this week. I got to see all the people who chat with me during the day (*wave*) as well as a lot of People I Kind Of Know. Which is to say, people I have seen around in communities for about a decade but I don’t really know them. I’m fairly certain people think I’m snotty but most of the time I don’t talk to people because I’m not interested in being criticized or told I am wrong. I’d really rather stare at the wallpaper, thanks. It feels like I already, long ago, figured out who would tolerate me and I just don’t talk to new people much.

I have to say that Sarah moving in renewed a bunch of tentative distant connections and they have greatly increased in intensity. I finally had a reason to get over the hump with a few people. That’s good. I’m trying.

It’s kind of weird how much time I spend around former lovers when I go out in public. That’s what happens when you fuck your way through every community. It’s harder to deal with them now. Monogamy is… different. I was “monogamous” with Tom. But girls didn’t “count” and he didn’t care about anything shy of a penis in my vagina. That’s not what Noah and I are doing. I’m no longer really supposed to sit on laps and wiggle. Kissing is out. It’s different. It’s a whole different way of thinking about relationships. I feel terribly uncomfortable. For the love of Christ what else do I really have to offer?

That’s the crux. I offer sex because I believe I have nothing else. That I am nothing else. The reality is I don’t have the time or space in my life to be that any more. I consciously chose to stop offering that. To stop being that. I’m left with not knowing what to do. I have been having sex by choice (rather promiscuously) for my entire life. I go out and find it. When I am not looking for sex and I try to deflect it I usually get raped. So I stopped deflecting. Going out in public is terrifying. I don’t know what to do now. It’s hard and scary telling men to desist in doing things that I used to tolerate. They protest–I like it don’t I? That means they should do it. Even though I said “no”. They know more about what I want than I do, right?

Poly gatherings feel like a meat market even when one isn’t at a sex party. There is a lot of frank appraisal in the gaze. People are hunting. They act available. It’s an undercurrent. When people are interested in sex I can tell. I used to feel like those people were looking for someone like me. Now I don’t. I don’t know how to relate to them any more other than to avoid them. There is no good to come of having to point out that they don’t want me. How could that help anything? Just don’t talk to them.

It doesn’t help that I like talking about sex. It’s one of my favorite topics. I know a lot about it and I like broadening what I already know. It makes life awkward. I have consciously sought out knowledge and experiences my whole life. I fell like sex is one of the strongest biological impulses I have and I like thinking about it and talking about it. I like talking about food, too. Why is one shameful and the other isn’t?

I feel like I am badly adjusting to the concept of having a private sex life. That must sound odd to people. Isn’t sex usually private? Well, not for me. Not really. I don’t want anything I do to be a secret. I used to write scene reports and send them in to mailing lists. (I should probably ask Marcie if I can access those archives and find the scene reports. I lost them many hard drives ago.)

I do not yet have a mental picture on what kind of person I will be in ten years. It’s kind of scary. I know that I will still be a lot like me. I hope I will be better. I hope I will have made progress I can feel proud of. Ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong. I want to feel pride in myself. I don’t want to be an asshole. I don’t want to brag. But I want to know that I can look around my life and see frequent signs that I am a competent human being.

Change topics. Food. I didn’t grow up around people who cooked. In my house dinner was taken out of the freezer and unwrapped before it was microwaved. That’s food. Or you just open a bag and eat. Sometimes you have to boil water first and then let the noodles “cook” for three minutes. No shit dude, top ramen was cooking compared to everything else I ate.

When my mom occasionally felt like she should do more it generally involved one step meat in the oven and opening a few cans of vegetables and microwaving them in bowls. No really, we didn’t cook. I don’t understand what that even means until I try to cook for my family. Yesterday was a great day. In the morning I put another trellis in the ground and yanked the blackberry shoots over so that they can start growing how I want. I spent a while trimming the rose bush. I’m not done because that sucker is huge. (Thanks, former housemates!) It’s an ongoing project. Then it started raining and I came in.

I took the bones out of the fridge and made stock. I put a whole bunch of spices and other vegetable remnants in the pot. I had to think really hard about what I was doing. I had to recreate in my head what I have seen other people do. I let that cook for hours. I started making cupcakes. It took me about two hours because the butter was cold and creaming cold butter by hand is kind of a nightmare. I kept covering the bowl and scooting it closer and closer to the simmering stock pot. Melt! Damn you! Eventually it worked out well. The cupcakes are awesome. I know because I ate four last night. I just couldn’t stop. Holy cow those are good. I don’t make cupcakes very often because four in one day seems a bit excessive. But on the first day, oh man. Have to.

Then I had to do a whole bunch of dishes. Then I immediately started the next few steps on making soup. I was in the kitchen processing food and dishes for at least six hours yesterday. To make cupcakes, stock, and soup. I did sit down in the middle and eat lunch. But that’s a full freakin job right there. No fucking wonder my family didn’t cook. They didn’t have that kind of time and energy to spare.

Cooking is so weird. It feels like an act that is either done from desperation because one is poor and can’t do anything else or it is an act of privilege. Only people have had to cook for a very long time. I don’t know why it feels this way. Why does it feel optional? Why does it feel non-mandatory if you can find a way out? I used to eat out a lot. Other people did my cooking. Cooking is low status unless you do ridiculous over the top stuff.

I feel so weird about food. It feels strongly related to class. It doesn’t help that I visit the kinds of playgrounds where people have to agonize for an hour over what they brought. “I know this isn’t good enough for ________ reasons but this other thing I brought is far superior to what that other woman brought. Can you believe she is letting her kids eat __________?” I don’t talk to other moms much. I read my phone or play with the kids. It seems for the best. They don’t want to god damn hear me tell them what I think.

It’s not that I never have those thoughts. I frequently have the thought, “Holy shit, that woman is letting her kid eat what?!” I’m ok with that. I don’t say it out loud where someone can hear me and feel scorned. I suppose that saying it on the internet isn’t really better. Doesn’t that make me two faced as well?

Women talk about that shit at the park so they can shame other women into getting into line. I talk about it because I want to decide what I want to do. Sometimes I think, “Holy shit, that woman is letting her kid eat what?!” and I decide that maybe I’ve been hyperventilating over something I can relax about. I don’t need to shame people into sharing my values. They might have perfectly fucking good reasons for what they are doing. My values tend to be so at odds with everyone around me that I don’t really want to talk about non-involved people. I can’t judge someone I’m not even in a conversation with. I will talk about my opinions with people, sure. I will share what I do and why. But I’m not going to evaluate a stranger and give them some kind of “score” to a third party. I see no benefit.

Today is park day. I’m feeling nervous. It will be fine. I doubt anyone will even know that I told that woman to take a hike. Lots of people show up once and never come back. I don’t think I am going to get into trouble. We’ll see.

Hm. I just had a thought that should be it’s own separate post. I’ll do that.