Category Archives: fighting demons

What does that mean?

Tonight FMC asked me why I call them “angel”. I asked them if they know what an angel is and they said not really.

I told them that angels are spirits. Mostly they are basically good but some of them are dark. Angels bring gifts like joy and love.

I said that they brought joy and love and happiness into my life. So it’s like they are an angel sent to me.

They asked me, “Am I like a dark angel? Like a demon?”

I asked them what they think. Like I do.

They said, “I don’t know. I do the wrong thing a lot.”

I said, “That’s because there are a whole bunch of things you want to learn and you can’t learn without making mistakes. Wanting to learn doesn’t make you a demon. Trying something that turns out to be the wrong thing doesn’t make you a demon. Setting out to be cruel is different. Setting out to hurt and damage people is different. Purposefully trying to destroy people…. that’s evil.”

“I don’t do that!”

“No. You don’t. You are a kid who is trying to learn who you want to grow up to be and sometimes in that process you make choices that are not like the choices you hope you will make as a grown up… because you have to learn. The fact that you keep trying to be better… sweetheart that is about you reaching for the light. Dark angels don’t do that.”

Their face relaxed and they smiled at me. They told me that they love me.

I love you my baby.

But on the upside…

I get to leave for BART in a few minutes. Pam’s baby sister is coming over to visit. Assholes on the internet think I suck but my friends love me. Sometimes even the siblings and parents and aunts of friends love me because they see that I have been a good friend.

Some people don’t think I am completely bad.

Thank you, my love.

Today at the end of my chat with Jenny she expressed very mild and loving exasperation that I haven’t approved her as a friend on Instagram. She strongly hinted/pushed that I should get on putting pictures up for her including pictures from the wedding renewal she missed last year due to Zika concerns.

You don’t know how you made my heart explode with joy. You love me so much that you are demanding (in a loving non-aggressive sort of way) that I share more of myself with you.

I spend so much time feeling like I am a bad person because I share as much as I do and no one wants/needs to see this shit. I think back to the therapists who have told me that I shouldn’t share the things inside me because I hurt people and that makes me bad.

But you love me so much that you ask for more.

I’m going to cry about that for a while. But it’s a good kind of crying.

I love you, Jenny. Getting to know you in this life has been so wonderful.

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.

Oh what tangled webs we weave…

Something occurred to me recently, as Noah and I are in round 45,203 of our Epic Conversation. This has been going on since we met. We… we like to talk. A lot. We are cutting into our sleep patterns in ways that might prove to be a problem because we censor ourselves in front of the kids and they WANT US ALL THE TIME.

Side note: I am feeling surprised by my interactions with the kids’ therapists. I keep expecting them to think I’m doing something horribly wrong and I keep thinking they will give me feedback that indicates I’m totally fucking up. Instead they say things like, “Things seem pretty developmentally appropriate but gosh your kid wants to spend more time with you.” We then had a civilized adult conversation about how there are not more hours in a day and I’m with my kids all the fucking time. So I guess that means it is time to talk about how feelings and wants are valid and real even if they can’t be acted upon. I can’t spend more time with you. That time doesn’t exist. But I get that you want more from me. That makes sense. I’m really glad that the big feedback from your therapist is, “Gosh your kid likes you and wants to be with you all the time.” I love you too.

Back to main topic for this babble. My marriage.

I realized something when we were talking. Noah was emphatically talking about a current set of priorities and I realized… I don’t have a good map in my head of who Noah really is at this point. That’s complicated. I still think about conversations from 13 and 11 and 8 and 3 years ago when Noah expressed different preferences and needs and… I get it all mixed up. That’s really not a great thing for facilitating good communication.

Noah was asking me how many times he had said a particular thing and I had to admit that I don’t know for sure. It may be once. It may have been an almost flippant thing one time 11 years ago but for some reason the phrasing stuck in my head like glue.

It’s making me feel really shitty and awful. I don’t know what set of “requests” and priorities I’m supposed to follow at this point. That’s… overwhelming and kind of scary.

When we first got married I felt very much like what I had to offer was constant sex. We did… a pretty terrifying amount of it in the first year. We went to work and we fucked. We didn’t see our friends much. I felt like it was very clear that I was expected to maintain that pace. I… can’t. It’s not physically possible.

Later in marriage I was told that at least 10 times a month would be… acceptable. So I hurt myself keeping to that schedule for many years through times when my body literally was not god damn interested in sex because I believed that I had to.

Then I kind of collapsed under the weight of that and Noah tried to pull back from his demands. But I could still see the tally system and that was enough for me to pressure myself and it just kept going badly.

So I decided that since what Noah cared about most was me being constantly up for sex I should find a way to make that happen. Sex with lots of people will make that work for me pretty much regardless of other stressors. I’m still getting hurt by the sex, but I go into this hypomanic state where I’m highly dissociated from my cunt and it isn’t the same problem in terms of my daily life. I’m hurting myself, but I’m numb to the damage.

That blew all the way up. Ok, that’s not the solution.

But now what. What is the most important thing? I don’t know.

This is complicated by the fact that Noah has spent a lot of time telling me that sex is how he motivates himself. He rattles off the stuff he does for me (much of it without me directly asking for him to do) and explains that doing ALL THAT makes him tired and he needs something to make up for it. So I respond by taking over as many of the chores as physically possible until I overstrain myself and collapse because I am just not great with the dynamic that I owe sex in exchange for him doing the dishes. I’ll do the fucking dishes.

Man those Cosmo articles that tell men to do housework to earn sex are complicated.

Because the thing is, if I’m falling down on my share of housework because I don’t feel good, the housework being done isn’t going to make me feel good and make me feel sexy and make me feel like I want sex. But if I have to feel up for sex in trade for housework then I’ll do the god damn housework if I have to drag my nearly corpse-like body around to do that shit.

But the thing is… me doing more and more and more of the housework so that he’s not worn out so that I don’t owe him more motivation… yeah that fails completely and totally. There is never a reflection (that I see) that I am taking strain off of him. Nothing I do removes strain. The only thing I can to do to make his life better is add sex. Everything else seems to be basically worthless.

This is hard because when we got married I was touch averse in a big way. I would have freaked out and physically attacked someone for trying to get me to snuggle as much as I do in an average day now. I could handle sexualized touch or a bdsm scene, sure. But I didn’t do casual just sit around and touch each other shit. It was a big concession for me to sit on the far side of the couch and let Noah touch my feet all the time because that was something I had to work through. That was overwhelming.

But I’ve worked on that. At this point I snuggle my kids and Noah so much that I feel like I spend almost 1/4 of my waking time with one or the other of them touching me. Some days it’s a much larger block of time.

And that doesn’t count as being something I’ve done to increase connection and that’s really god damn hard for me. Noah was touch starved and that wasn’t ok… I had to figure out how to touch him. But I don’t get credit for that being part of what I have done for him. That doesn’t count as connection when he wants sex.

(Disclaimer: We’ve had good sex this month. Lots of masturbation near one another without it having to escalate. We are trying.)

And when I say “It doesn’t count” I don’t necessarily mean that Noah has never acknowledged it or has never commented on it. I mean that in aggregate I feel like conversations about his needs always come down to one kind of need and all that I do to meet his other needs is kind of hand waved away. I *feel* like this happens. I’m not sure it is the only thing that happens but my emotions camp right there and throw a mean as fuck party.

I’ve worked on being kinder to Noah. For all that I worry that I am still abusing him terribly… I know I am better than I was early on. I’m not as negative. I don’t bitterly complain about him as much. I don’t swear at him as much. I don’t call him names like I did. I’m still not where either of us want me to be in terms of my treatment of him… but it’s come a long way and I still don’t think that is good enough.

I feel like no matter how hard I try to change it will never ever ever ever be enough. No matter what.

But a lot of the current problem is I’m still tied up in my head in trying to meet demands that were made a decade ago and he doesn’t really still feel like I should be doing that. But I don’t know what I should be doing.

I don’t know how I could be good.

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.

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.

Really lucky

Holy smokes. This pregnancy has been… so incredibly supported. My friends are stepping up in ways that shock me. One gal in particular, Rose, has delivered: a bassinet, changing table, a swing, most of the clothes we will need for the first year, bedding, a baby carrier, toweling, and maternity clothes.

I wasn’t looking for this support. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t beg. It just arrived as this beautiful gift from the universe. I have a wonderful friend who saved everything from her last kid and she wants to share.

I first met Rose in I think 2001ish. She doesn’t remember me from that period. We started talking a lot more last year. She has spare maternal energy lying around. I appreciate such folks.

Other fabulous friends have passed on more maternity clothes and supplies I’ll need before/after the birth.

It’s starting to look like the only thing I’m really going to have to buy are diapers. That’s ok. I love buying Rumparooz because they are the cutest darn thing ever. The prints! Oh they are so cute. There’s not much in this world I think is more precious than an enormous cloth diaper butt on a baby. It’s weird… but man that sight makes me choke up with joy.

WHEN DID I BECOME THIS PERSON. Err, over a decade ago.

And my Jenny is even going to be sending me super tiny diapers so I don’t need to get any for the first few weeks.

I have arrived. I am there in life. I have friends and family and support and love.

I feel so incredibly lucky. I didn’t think this would happen to me. But here I am.

Do you know what is incredible to me? When I started on the parenting journey some of the folks I loved the most told me they didn’t approve. They thought I was going to do a horrible job. In the past nine years of parenting what has happened is I started off doing ok and I’ve improved. I am way more calm. I am way more able to communicate in useful, effective ways that are appropriate for children (or for anyone, really).

I got my first real shot at learning and growing and developing in a stable environment. And I have blossomed. And my friends tell me so and can point out specific ways I’ve changed and grown and they can tell me why they are impressed with my progress.

I’m not sure I’ve changed my spots. But I have developed some interesting stripes to go along with the spots.

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…

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.

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.

An interaction

Holy tomatoes on toast I hurt. So this’ll be brief.

I had an interesting interaction with a dude today. So I found a guy through my massage therapist who specializes in personal training to help people with injuries/problems. I figure that if I can’t get a doctor to prescribe honest to fucking god physical therapy for me so that I can heal some of my injuries… I can hunt on the outskirts of the system. I can find someone who doesn’t really mesh with the gate kept, abusive system.

Sure, I can try this out.

Thing is, he’s a white guy. You know how I am about getting my hackles up with white guys. Especially athletic white guys. I am hostile until I have a reason not to be.

But I desperately need someone who can do what this guy advertises. So I gotta put my personal shit in a box and shove it in a closet and see if I can handle dealing with him.

Sigh. Fuck being a grown up.

So I gotta say, he has an aura. He’s pretty clearly an orphan. The loss of all family came up several times in the conversation. He’s got that… edge of “I have to be cheerfully polite in order to earn money to survive because there’s not a person in the world who values me enough to support me but I’m so sad.”

I mean, he seemed genuinely sweet and caring. I’m not denigrating that at all. He seems incredibly sincere. He wants to help. And he wears grief like a mantle. He advertises his loss openly on his skin. He is reminded all day every day. Grief, even if you smile, leaves tracks on your face.

But he did something that crossed a boundary and it was interesting. I didn’t call it out. I didn’t assert the boundary so in one sense… he didn’t cross a boundary he nonverbally negotiated a boundary change and I didn’t rebuff it to indicate where my boundary actually was.

To be more clear: he asked me about my arm tattoo. I explained it and started tearing up, like I do sometimes. Suicide is sad, yo. And… he leaned in and gave me an incredibly respectful, incredibly gentle, incredibly touching hug. It was the hug of someone who works with bodies and knows how to make touch 100% NON SEXUAL, OKAY?!?!?!

He reminds me just a tad of Taylor. One of the few men I trust almost as much as Noah.

It was absolutely incredible to realize that in a moment of indecision of “should I panic and fight or should I accept this as connection?” in my head my brain wrapped around a man who has loved me as a friend for a long time.

I didn’t feel scared.

I felt uncertain. I felt like I needed to make a decision. I felt like I had a chance to… figure out how this is going to go. Is he allowed to touch me?

I desperately want this man to help me learn how to hold my body in ways that will hurt me less. I need to trust him. I need to trust that he is going to touch me in appropriate ways or this just isn’t going to work.

This, now that I think about it, is scary as shit.

I wasn’t scared in that moment. I just felt it as a moment of choice, “Am I going to surrender to this process or not?”

I used to lash out at dance teachers who wanted to correct my form. I wasn’t there to look perfect I was there to have a chance to talk to people for 2-4 minutes while I did something more healthy than be a slug staring at my god damn computer.

This is different. I know what my goals are here. I need this process.

I need to figure out how to be in less pain.

So maybe he didn’t cross a boundary. But maybe he and I will have a funny conversation about how I normally react to people in a few weeks and we will laugh. He will probably apologize and feel embarrassed. He strikes me as that sort.

It felt like Joey. The 7th Day Adventist boy who was best friends with my brother Tommy and with whom I later lived. (We were both boarders in a house owned by someone at the church–it wasn’t like we were romantic or anything. I was 13.)  He was the one who took me to church and taught me to sing about Jesus loving me no matter what.

I know I have a lot of issues with hating white men because some of them have been complete motherfucking pieces of shit.

But some of them genuinely don’t suck. #Notallmen and all that.

I really hope I’m not making a mistake. But here I am documenting it so that in the future I will have to remember: I made a choice.

I’m trying to surrender to a process.

Please, if any deity exists, let this not be an awful thing.

I’ve stacked the deck in my favor by receiving this personal training with my kids in the room and my husband in the house.

I know how the patriarchy works.

Fuck.

Do you understand how much of my childhood people denied? Something huge and dramatic would happen and folks flat denied it. I need to make sure I can never rewrite history.

I did what I did. Here, I wrote it down.

oh goodness

I saw my woo nutritionist for what turned out to be basically a hypnosis session. Ok. That’s what she means by coaching sessions. Lots of inner child sort of work. I have trouble discussing this shit with a straight face even though I do it and know it is kind of effective. I want to mock myself the entire time because it sounds so hokey and silly. But it does help.

So if you try to reduce the complexity of my problems down to a core issue it might look like: I do not feel worthy. I do not feel worthy of being alive, of being loved. I do not feel like I can be competent enough to deserve the amount of resources it takes to keep my sorry ass alive. I feel alone, different, disgusting.

That’s kind of a brief summary of my issues, if they are boiled down to just some of the basic essence of this shit.

Let’s start with the word alone. Because it is important. It is tied to the idea of *importance* and then to the other idea of *relationship*.

My worth is tied to how important I am in a relationship.

Shit. That’s not so good. That’s very much how I’ve run my life. I deserve to die because I am not important in relationships.

But it just isn’t true any more. I’m important to Noah and my kids in a way I’ve never been important to anyone else and I never will be important to anyone else and that’s how it should be. But WHY should it be that way?

So my woo work yesterday spent a lot of time focusing on this idea of aloneness.

My woo manifests as feeling like I am connected to everyone and everything. I don’t have to like you or appreciate you. I just have to spend a few seconds near you and I can point out things we have in common. Traits, needs, desires, core components of existence, habits… I can find a way we are similar whether I’m talking about a plant, an animal, a mineral, a planet, whatever. I’m woo as fuck.

If I literally believe that I am made up of component pieces of other things and those other things are made up of similar component pieces that all came from similar or the same places…

I’m not alone. I’m a piece of a whole at all times. I am no more alone than one spoke on a bicycle wheel is alone if it isn’t actively touching the other spokes. You are all connected, even if you aren’t really touching each other or interacting. You all play a part and none of you are expendable.

This shit is how I get through the day.

I am not alone. I have birds that need me to put food out because other humans destroyed their habitat. I have flower seeds that call out begging me to plant them because they want to help give food and shelter to the bees and bugs and birds.

I have neighbors who are thousands of miles from their homes and it hurts them sometimes very badly to feel alone and unloved and far from where they belong. They need me to welcome them and tell them I am glad they are here. Thank you for beautifying this neighborhood. We needed you so much and I didn’t know until I met you. You are so important. I’m glad you are here.

Life is complicated and hard. But even if you aren’t talking to someone right now, how can you be alone? There are 7 billion humans on this planet and so many more animals I can’t imagine their numbers.

Just the ants. I can’t bear to think of how many trillions of ants. *shiver*

I lined my house with diatomaceous earth yesterday. Eldest Child helped. (I should preface most stories of “I did _____” with “Eldest Child helped more than expected” lately. Youngest Child is still… more play than help. 8.5 is a rad-tastic helpful age.) We love you ants, but stay out of my house. For goodness sake.

The kids are over the moon about their big kid sized bunk beds. It is a little odd to have their room feel so grown up. Nothing is little kid sized in there anymore. *sniff*

So yeah. My woo is weird and it continues on its way.

My woo person wanted me to do a lot of nurturing my inner child. That’s an interesting thing for me. My reaction to myself has usually been violence. If I have a need, the correct response is to punish me for having that need. If I ask someone for something that means I have been bad. I was stupid. I was pathetic. I didn’t take care of myself. I inconvenienced someone.

So trying to do inner child work is kind of tough. Having to think of myself as a small vulnerable person… that wasn’t a good time for me. When I was small and weak and vulnerable… that’s when I spent a lot of time being told I was stupid and worthless. That’s when I spent a lot of time being hit and raped. That part of me is buried really deep and really doesn’t want to come out.

That part of me doesn’t believe in safety.

Safety is for other people. People who are worthy.

People like my children.

That really hurts.

How can I be a conduit for people who deserve safety but I can’t be one?

WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST. But not you. Monsters go last.

I am evil. I am scary. I am bad. I am not worthy of being saved.

I sincerely don’t believe that a pill will ever be invented that will take this from me.

I believe that if I am ever going to change this it will be through time and experiences. It will be through having life experiences that show me that my father was about as wrong as a person can be. My mother was about as wrong as a person can be.

Maybe they even did their best. That doesn’t make it good enough. Not even close.

I do not look at my children and see people who have failed to live up to the standards of adulthood already. How could my parents look at me as a tiny child and tell me I had failed to accomplish things that many adults never do? That’s not a failure. That’s not even getting started on trying. That’s bullshit. That’s mean.

That’s not fair.

Yeah, yeah life isn’t fair. I know.

But fuck that shit. Fuck grown ups expecting children to be grown ups. They aren’t. They are kids. They are in the process of becoming. They are trying.

Fuck you for telling them that they are failures. The only thing that is a real failure from a child is giving up. As long as you are willing to keep trying you haven’t failed yet. You just haven’t succeeded yet. It takes time.

I am not alone and I am not a failure.

I am not worthless.

And I don’t have value because I am so good at getting people off.

For so many many many years I defined myself thusly: if I can get people off it is ok that I am still alive. That was enough. That was what I had.

I am good at many many tasks. In the process of living with my consuming terror that I would never be competent at anything I have managed to become competent at an amusing array of tasks.

Instead of being nothing, I am a lot.

*I* am not the roles I fill.

I am pure energy.

I spend a lot of time wondering if I would be able to get through life as anything other than a speeding train of energy. It is hard for me to slow down. It is hard for me to do anything in a slow, gentle, careful way. I have to rush and push as hard as possible or I can’t overcome my own inertia.

I use this language: speeding train, the energy of a combusting star, the force of a jet engine… because others have used this language to describe me. Internally mostly I feel this as pressure and force. MOVE OR DIE. Noah, when Zola drank the Movit #11. Like that. I live like that.

I think a lot about the whole extrovert/introvert thing. I feel absolutely driven to go out and meet people, to spend time with them, to delve into relationships… but it wears me the fuck out. I get so tired.

Connection. Force. Worth. Energy. Relationship.

What do these things mean anyway? I don’t know but the water is done boiling and I’d like tea.

Wrong again

It’s one of those times when my anxiety is on hyperdrive. I’m doing everything wrong, right? Every interaction I have with people seems to be fraught.

One problem is that I’m struggling with how much control and influence and power I have. There are times and places when I don’t agree with how something is being handled and I shut up because there’s nothing I can do. Then there are times and places where I feel like I am a bad person if I shut up because someone is being harmed and if I ignore that… I’m part of the problem.

I’m part of the problem. If I see people being harmed by others in their life and I do nothing… I’m saying I basically agree.

What if I don’t agree that something is being handled right?

Good luck with those feelings.

Because I don’t get to decide. And I’m afraid that by talking about what I see I am going to become the problem and then I won’t be able to help in any way because I was stupid enough to talk about the problem.

Not everyone can do everything. We all have limits. We all have things we can’t do. I can’t teach fussy, fiddly little activities that involve a high amount of fine motor control. Even if I can do it (under protest) I can’t teach it because I get frustrated and angry and explosive. So I outsource that shit. I can’t teach everything. My kids take classes because I can’t teach everything. I am not that cool. That’s why as they get older they will spend more and more time away from me. Because they will have mostly learned what I have to teach.

I don’t think there is one Twue Way that parenting or schooling should happen. Some people like home schooling and it works well for their family. Some people need to have their kids in school. Some people need to have their kids in school and after school care every day for any one of millions of potential reasons.

None of these choices are wrong if they work well for the child and the family. It’s when the solution is clearly not working for either the parent or the child that you need to look at making changes.

It is easy for me to sit on my high horse and see the problems in other peoples systems. I’m afraid I am failing to see the problems in mine. I was honestly hoping for more criticism from Stanford because other than “Do more academics” which was the plan anyway and which we have already caught up on…. What do I change now?

I have no feedback to help direct me. Just… do something. What you are doing seems to work ok.

THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Everyone fucks up. Everyone has things they don’t do well and things they do very well. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!

I shout more than I should. But professional evaluators tell me I don’t shout as much as other people and it isn’t that big of a deal.

So what does should mean anyway?

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

So anxious. So worried that I’m going to hurt everyone and wreck their lives and make it so they are not ok later.

This is eating me alive. It has been for a couple of days now? Turbo anxiety. How am I hurting everyone?

I want to run away. I want to disappear. I want to go somewhere that no one knows me. (Good luck, motherfucker. Name a continent (other than Antarctica) and I will name countries I need to avoid if I want to make sure I don’t see anyone I know. I run into people I know most times I travel internationally. I know too many fucking people.)

I love you all. It’s just hard to run away from you.

I want to run away from my own self perception. Because I’m afraid I’m doing everything wrong. I’m afraid I’m hurting people. I’m afraid I’m a giant let down. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to make things worse. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to be hated so much that hating me becomes the problem instead of fixing the problem.

Fuck.

I think I’m going to take a week or so off from reaching out. I feel like I am hurting people by existing. Maybe if I hide in my house and keep my crazy to myself that will feel less true. Don’t interfere with other peoples lives. Even if there are problems.

It isn’t my place.

Looking forward

Goodness. I feel kind of like a bastard because 2016 has had some serious high points for me. It’s been a dumpster fire of a year, don’t get me wrong… but I had more good than many. I feel pretty good about where 2016 is ending on a variety of levels.

I would say that my marriage needed the strain it experienced this year. I think we both learned a number of things we weren’t really on our way to learning. We decided to have more kids. We decided to stop waiting on M/s stuff. (That’s going. And going pretty well so far… we are going slow.)

Things with the kids are…. well… I’d say that I couldn’t expect better. In pretty much every way I feel like things are going better as a parent than I expected they would. I thought we would have way more problems. Our relationships are pretty good and improving. We are getting better with every year at talking to one another about what we need. They are really excited about the prospect of more kids.

The house remodel… is absolutely driving me bonkers. But every person who walks into my bathroom gasps. It is worth it. Just keep plugging along. Art. Moar Art. I guess at this moment that I have somewhere between 100 and 200 hours of painting ahead of me between now and the finish line. Fuck.

I’m a painter. It’s a thing I do. I do a lot of it. I’m an artist. How will this play into my future?

No clue yet.

We watched Rogue One today. It… it’s a heavy movie. I feel kinda stunned. I think this is the only Star Wars movie I’ve ever really liked. Of course I like the hit-you-in-the-head one.

I’ve said for a long time that I suspect I will live to see some kind of revolution. Then we elected Trump. You know what?

The next four years need to be full of active resistance. The next four years need to involve making concrete actions in the direction of living in the kind of world I want to live in.

It’s kind of funny that I started out vehemently hating the idea of the American Dream. When I studied it in college and grad school I felt so much anger. I did not think it was attainable for me or anyone like me.

Then I arrived.

Holy shit. How do I share this shit.

How can more people have this kind of safety and security? What can I do to help other people have more access to education and choices and medical care?

Revolutions are made by the people who show up. What does showing up mean? It means different things to every person because you can’t make a revolution out of people who are exactly the same. That’s how you create an empire. By wanting people to be all the same so you can use them interchangeably as spokes on a wheel.

I don’t want a well mechanized empire.

I know what that means.

Even if I would be considered one of the “winners”… no. No. No. No. No.

Fuck that. No. But when and where are different levels of aggression worth countering with other levels of aggression?

How do you have a revolution without having a war? How many people have to die to call it a war?

How do we even know what a war means anymore?

There were 10,000 casualties of the war with Kuwait. In the last one hundred years, how many black people has the US government killed when they weren’t doing a damn thing wrong?

What is a war?

I spent my childhood reading books about the Resistance in WWII.

I need to spend a lot more time thinking about what I’m going to do with my life. I know what i want to do with my life in the very long-term. But what am I going to do while I’m growing up? What will I do to shape the person I need to be someday?

Fuck. This will be a lot of work.

Lots of people do lots of things to shape history. Where do I want to stand?

Family, opinions, planning

There isn’t much in this world I like as much as I like how much my children want to spend time with me. Last night they begged me to sleep in their room between them. I was there for six hours until my back was hurting enough that I needed to change beds. I was sad to leave them, but gosh I get to hurting.

I read a lot of development stuff. There are some seriously contradictory opinions out there. Some folks (who will remain nameless cause I ain’t sending support their way) really believe it is terrible for me to provide as much support and physical affection as I provide. “Children need to get used to being alone.”

I got used to being alone. It broke something inside of me I don’t know how to fix. Naw, I’m good with not doing that to my kids. We deal with the separation that we need to deal with, but I don’t force space between us. My kids ask for space as they desire more of it and I let go and give them a little push. “Sure! Try your wings! Jump out of the nest! Do it! Do it!” But I’m standing behind them at first before I fling myself headlong at the ground to be there to catch them if they need it.

My children aren’t really alone as they try things. Sometimes I stop and reflect that my children are some of the least-alone people I’ve ever personally known. I did that. Wait: I did that.

Holy tomato. I took this hole inside of me and I decided “Ok that piece is not getting passed on” and I haven’t. I have been able to do what I set out to do.

My kids treat one another like they are a matched set. They get whiny about how much time they are separate for camps a few times a year. They are together and happy about it every day. My constant harping on how they are a team must help. I tell myself. Because I want to feel useful. It’s working.

I have children who believe deep in their bones that we are happier, stronger, and better together as a group than we can be alone. After I grew up feeling like I poisoned everything I touched. How did that come to be?

It started with Noah. It started with the fact that I don’t poison him, I help him. I make him feel more motivated and alive and inspired than he has ever been in his whole life. Nothing ever jump started him like me.

That’s pretty cool because he was a neat guy when I met him. He’s grown up so beautifully. I’m not entirely sure I married a man. He really may have still been a boy. At this point, he’s a man and it is so beautiful. He’s responsible. He’s diligent. He’s caring. Where he has tendencies towards flakiness or fucking up he has devised elaborate systems of checks and balances so he can’t drop anything important on accident. He taught himself how to stop fucking up. That’s huge, yo.

I appreciate how self-reinforcing our family values are. We value hard work and the pursuit of health. We think exercise and outside time are necessary to health and if the grown ups are slacking and lazy the kids tell us to get off our butts and do it. It is a glorious system. My kids think that life is a balance of work and rest and if you do too much of one or the other you develop problems so you have to pay attention to your schedule. When I work too much, they come down on me to rest. “Mom you will get sick. Don’t act like this.” My kids will comment on how we need more protein and vegetables to balance out the sugar we eat.

They are going to be some micromanaging motherfuckers when they are grown. It will allow them to be excellent at a wide variety of careers.

My kids are fierce. They are always the most female-presenting looking kids in the fighting group at whatever kid event we go to. They love to fight and they are getting better and better at sportskidship. Less gloating over winning. More “that was a really fun game, thank you for playing with me”. It is a work in progress. I use the word fierce because that is the most common word that random parents observe about my kids. “Wow they are fierce.” “Yup, they are.”

My kids have never been taught to soften themselves because people expect that from folks born with a vulva. Psh. Whatever.

In our house we talk about what it means to be a person born with a vulva and a uterus and what it means to be a girl and a woman. We are very clear that there are some maintenance acts that happen to anyone with these body parts but that doesn’t make you a girl or a woman just like having long hair wouldn’t make you a boy or a girl. But whether you are a boy or a girl you have to care for long hair–it’s just something that takes effort. Bodies take work and the nature of that work does not define who you are.

I’m well aware that there are people in this world who do not approve of how I am raising my children. I’m well aware that there is no “right way” to parent. I don’t think I’m doing it th One Twue Way. I think I’m adapting to my quirks and issues and my childrens’ quirks and issues and my partner’s quirks and issues and devising a system that makes us happy. That doesn’t mean it applies to other people.

Sweet cheese I don’t think I know what you should be doing. You are so different from me. You have such wildly different needs from this parenting journey. If I told you what to do I would hurt you and I would probably hurt your kids.

I need to remind myself of that more often. Even when I have a very strong opinion about an aspect of other people’s parenting I need to shut my fucking mouth. I’ve been failing at that lately in a specific case. I need to back all the way off. I can’t control other peoples actions. I need to stop trying.

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

I know there are a multitude of reasons I would make different decisions. Just one small aspect of our life would have to change and I would believe I needed to alter almost everything. I don’t think my path is the right one. It’s just the one I’m on.

I ask my kids about school regularly. I am not married to home schooling (even though I love it for entirely selfish reasons and I would cheerfully keep them around forever) I am choosing it as the right path for now. I really didn’t want to send my children to school before the age of 7 or 8 for a variety of developmental reasons… but past that… school is probably fine or healthy unless you have reason to know that a specific school is a bad match for a given kid. I just seriously think the US fucks up early education.

Up until I started painting my house like mad I flat yelled at anyone who hinted in any way that I was an artist. Because in kindergarden I was told I couldn’t do art right and I would never be good at it.

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

I’m pretty sure I should stop calling us unschoolers. We are eclectically home schooling. We aren’t following a formal curriculum but we are borrowing aspects of a bunch of different curriculums and wandering back and forth as I see fit. I’m also making a bunch up because I’m totally trained in how to do that.

This is getting way fun. Youngest Child is being allowed to very slowly work through first grade. Kiddo is in first grade and I don’t need to push at all. Kiddo opts in to doing work. (I said kiddo didn’t need to start till next year but they were bored.) So I pushed Eldest Child a bit and at this point she is solidly where she would be if she had been doing academics for the last three years.

The amount of progress they have both demonstrated this year kind of blows my mind. Eldest Child started off the year seriously delayed academically and she isn’t anymore. Holy crap. I have always been just praying I wasn’t fucking her over too much. I was totally taking it on faith that things would work the way they did.

Thank. Fucking. Goodness it worked out. That wasn’t actually guaranteed. Science experiments involve the possibility of complete failure.

I’ve been aware from day one that I’m not raising my children in a given cultural tradition. I’m raising them as a science experiment in which I get to control the variables. Yeah, yeah I researched a ton of theories first. I’m not just flying blind. I’m making conscious choices. This is a science experiment. Let’s see if I can hold it together for 20 or 30 years. 30 god damn years. I didn’t want that many years of parenting. I wanted to have kids closer together than that. Sigh.

I want more kids. I want them so much it is a constant ache inside of me. People tell me to adopt. People tell me to find “Chosen Family”.

I want more people who are related to me. Who come back. Who want to see me. There is a fierce ache inside of me.

I have so many cousins and aunts and uncles and a mother and a sister and a brother and nephews and a niece…

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

I want to have children. This is my only chance at having the kind of family that other people get to have. I know people who adopt and have it go well. I know people who were adopted who had a shit show of a life experience because they never ever got over the fact that they didn’t get to stay with their mother.

It’s a roll of the dice with someone’s life. I respect people who can do it. I’m not in that place.

I wouldn’t write about it so often but someone or other brings it up with me every god damn week.

Noah and I talk about moving somewhere more rural in a few years. Somewhere we could have a much bigger house and spending a decade or two fostering kids. Fostering children is different. I have always felt a call towards fostering. But I’m not in the right place in my life for it for a variety of reasons.

I’m working towards it.

But I want more children and my window on that opportunity is not going to be open much longer. My body is not exactly in perfect working order and that’s not going to improve when I hit 40.

Hey I’ll be having kids in the same age range as most of my friends who have kids who are the same age as my older kids. See, I do want to emulate your life experiences. Sorta. In that way that my emulations usually barely resemble the originals.

I like that we are all different. I like that we need such different kinds of support. I learn so much from knowing you. I learn about things that I could never understand without your explanations. Thank you for your patience with me.

I try to not be too obnoxious with my lack of initial understanding.

Individuation is going to have to be a thing next year. I’ve subsumed in a way that is eating me. I noticed something yesterday. I completely flipped out and started dating when Pam left. I think that Pam was filling a huge intimacy hole in my life and I didn’t know or understand what that meant until she was gone.

I miss you Pam. I support you in what you are doing. I know it has value and I know you need to do it. You are learning things you need to learn. I miss you. You have value all the time. You have extreme value to me personally. I support you in not always prioritizing my needs. I really do. But I’m allowed to miss you. That’s ok.

Everyone who loves me is busy as fuck. It isn’t personal. It has nothing to do with me and I’m not allowed to be cranky about it, not really. I pick people who have a lot going on to love intensely. That’s something I do.

I need to figure out how to have consistent contact with folks. We are going to try some arrangements of inviting folks over. We’ll test some approaches. Some things will work. Some things will fail. Both results will teach us stuff.

It’s going to be an adventure to start trying harder to have non-sexual relationships with some folks I like having sex with. For a lot of the past ten years I have just avoided specific people at times when it wasn’t opportune to be jumping them. I have treated more than one man kinda like a meat stick and I need to stop that. I need to expand some of my comfort zone. I need to get better at enforcing boundaries other than with actual walls.

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

I hope we don’t fuck up too badly. Erf. I hope that I manage to learn these lessons without more turnover of friendships.

like the people I know. I would prefer to keep them.

Sometimes people ask me with paranoia about my agenda for wanting to know them. What I want to get from you is pretty simple: understanding of how and why another person makes the choices they make. If you let me learn about you I will be able to make better, kinder decisions in the future because my understanding of what people might need will be expanded. Thank you.

And if there is anything I can do for you that helps reduce the pain you feel at being alive, let me know. I fucking live for that shit.

Life is hard. I need you. I am a selfish bastard and I wish you needed me too. Most of you don’t need me and I get that. I accept it because there really isn’t another option. But I wish you needed me the way I need you. I cannot be an understanding person without trying to understand you.

I really want to understand people as a larger group. As a collective. I have to do that through individuals. My data is entirely made up of anecdotes and I’m ok with that.

Only in the anecdotes do I hear the why behind peoples beliefs and actions.

I’m going to rewrite Outrunning Suicide next year and I’m going to do it through talking to children. I’m going to find some and work through the chapters one by one with kids. If I can’t explain it in a way that the younger kids can get… it is still too advanced. Right now it is challenging for some adults to read. That’s not the book I’m trying to write. So I need to rip it apart and break it down into smaller pieces.

It’s going to be a lot of work. That’s ok. It is worthy work.

I need to feel like I am doing more in this world than just being super nice to my crotch droppings. I mean, it’s a good thing to do… but I need more than that. Writing the books I have in my head is part of how I will establish the reputation and credibility I will need for building the incest database. My runway on that is extending by an extra ten years. I should put that time to good use and write some of the other books I need to write.

I know I have at least ten books in me and I’m still working on the second one. Time to get the lead out.

I’m getting closer to being able to understand how to tell Part 2.

I know there are several books in me about family dynamics aimed at children. Aimed at teaching them a vocabulary with which to seek out help.

I think I have a truly terrifying children’s board book to graphic novel series in me that slowly unveils layers of stories of abuse. It’s going to be really god damn disturbing. But educational. “When I was a child I spake as a child; when I became a man I put away childish things.” How does understanding of these topics grow and change and morph? What does the boogeyman mean? How is it used? How could it be useful? What is just… entertainment? What do we owe as family obligation?

Am I ever going to be the grownup I see in my head? Will I ever feel like I am a real person who deserves to be loved because they have ruddy well earned it?

I frequently see people espouse the view that no one should have to earn love. We all just deserve it. Well. I can see how you would want to believe that. Sure. I haven’t experienced a world where that is how it works. I could rail at the world for existing in this form or I could work really hard to try and earn love. I’m going to fuck up sometimes. It is going to backfire sometimes. Standing still and stomping my feet and saying, “But I deserve it so give it to me” hasn’t ever worked for me.

I’ve had to work on my behavior. My mood swings. My actions in the world. My fucking facial expressions. My kids won’t even let me fucking cuss much anymore. What the hell.

I have had to learn to tolerate types of touch that irritate me and I’ve had to learn how to reject types of touch I like a lot in order to have this life. It is a painstaking process.

There are people in this world who get to occupy positions they haven’t really earned. That hasn’t been my life experience very often. I work. That’s how I get things.

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

Identity

My Jenny (she ain’t Jenny to you: she’s Jennifer) has been trying to convince me that the story of me isn’t about my family or my parents or what happened to me. She wants me to think of my story as being about what I have done with agency.

I see what you’re doing there.

What have I done with agency? How far back in my life does this go?

I’m going to try and talk positively about myself. So this is going to sound like bragging and I need to not give a fuck.

I am generous. I have spent my life trying to help people as much as I can. From when I was quite young I was always the person who jumped up to help if I noticed someone struggling with something, no matter what it is. I remember when I was 7 or 8 I noticed some women in a grocery store struggling to open the stupid plastic vegetable bags. (Now that I’m all old and I wash dishes and I have dry skin I get it.) I talked my mom into staying in the grocery store for extra time so I could stand there and open plastic bags for people. I mean, it’s kind of a stupid example and it isn’t one of my biggest helping people moments in my life but that’s the point. I don’t just help people in big ways.

I have helped a lot of people in big ways. I have given away a fairly extreme amount of money at this point and I’m going to give a lot more. I give of my physical service. I show up and help people who are struggling. I’ve had friends who needed to move house, but they were disabled and they literally could not do the work for themselves. So I showed up and did it all. Because I was not going to let them suffer. When my friend was in her absolute lowest place of dealing with her alcoholism I went to her house and cleaned up years of nasty filth because I knew that if she was in a nice clean house it would help her stop feeling like a disgusting loser who deserved every bad thing. (It worked. She’s in a fantastic place in her life now. It isn’t because of me but I’m absolutely part of what helped her.)

I provide emotional support to a lot of people. I have personally been the recipient of many incest stories that were never previously spoken aloud and that number is only going to increase with time. This matters. I help people who are highly traumatized feel normalized and acceptable in their struggles. That’s a god damn big deal.

I was a really good teacher. Even though I tend to not feel safe or comfortable almost ever I am extremely good at creating environments where other people feel safe and comfortable. I can’t count how many children I’ve helped cope with huge life problems and this number will only go up.

I am patient. Not universally. Not in every situation with every person. But I am very patient. This has been a big deal in a variety of job settings and personal relationships. I can sit and listen through things that bore the crap out of other people or traumatize other people and I can be patient and present with where someone needs me to be.

I am capable of imagining how things “should be” despite never experiencing it myself and I can hand a good experience to other people. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I absolutely fail at this because other people have a very different picture in their head of how things “should be” and I hurt them. I am so very sorry.

I am a loyal friend. I keep people. I reach out over and over and over again to people. I come back despite problems and fights and disagreements. I don’t let feelings of discomfort be the reason I abandon people once I feel bonded. I don’t end relationships until there is a Very Good Reason. Instead I write letters, emails, Christmas cards, and I drive all the fuck over the place to maintain contact with people.

I spend a lot of time explaining to people why they need to understand the points of view of people who are different than them. I’m very good at this. I’m good at helping people see the connections that exist between different groups. I can find compassion for almost anyone and I’m good at helping other people understand that they need to find more compassion than they might be otherwise inclined to feel.

I am a good mother. Not because of anything in particular that I do, mothering isn’t like that, but for very similar reasons to why I was a good teacher. I excel at really looking at people and adapting to why their needs are unique. I don’t really treat my kids the same because they have different personalities and needs. I try to give them what they need individually.

I am better and better at not blaming other people for my emotions and problems. I see how my ups and downs are because of things inside me and not because of exterior stimuli. I can explain this in detail at speed in most cases. It’s been an incredibly hard skill to learn and I’m not done improving it.

When I screw up I apologize without deflecting responsibility. Yup, I did that. I hurt you. Yup. I’m sorry. That was wrong. Is there anything I can do to help repair the damage that I caused?

I do not hit my children as a matter of course. Which is apparently shocking to a large segment of the population because people comment regularly on how they expect me to do so. I slapped my daughter once. It was a grievous error. I have put tremendous effort into making sure I don’t let myself get that angry since and I will put more effort in that direction with every passing year. I do not justify my lack of control by saying it is her fault and I do not justify my lack of control by saying that I was trying to teach her a lesson. I think that acknowledging that I completely fucked up and lost control is a big deal. I cannot count how many parents have justified hitting their children in front of me. No, it’s not ok.

I am a hard worker. Every boss I have ever had has commented on how they have never had an employee who works as diligently as me. Didn’t matter whether I was working in a library, theatre, fast food restaurant, retail store, cleaning houses, or teaching school. I work and work and work. I’m really proud of this.

I am good at organizing things. I see patterns very quickly and I can manage space unusually well. It’s a visual perceptive ability that I am grateful for every day.

I have dealt with a pretty wide array of physical and mental health problems. I haven’t been able to “cure” myself but I put tremendous effort into improving.

I prosecuted my father, putting an end to his ability to rape children. I feel proud of this.

I have protected my children from my violent, rapist family.

I create beauty in the world. My house and yard were frankly ugly as shit when I moved in. Now my house is pretty magical. My yard is so beautiful that people who were driving by stopped and asked to buy my house. I said no.

I managed to travel extensively even when I was living on $14,400/year. I save money fantastically well and as a result I manage to make every penny count. I have managed to significantly increase Noah’s wealth during our marriage. Sure, this year I exploded our debt profile but I’ll have it paid off in five years (including my entire mortgage). Watch and see.

When a person told me to my face that they were going to threaten me whenever they felt like (and they offered to physically attack Noah) I managed to still deescalate the situation such that no violence occurred. Sure, I got called an evil racist because I described their behavior as inappropriate and said they should apologize, but you can’t win every fight. I feel good that despite the fact that I wanted to fly off the handle and beat the ever loving shit out of this person they confirmed that they never felt threatened by me. They felt traumatized, but maybe I can’t save you from feeling traumatized by situations you create.

I feel good about telling a child that when you feel scared and upset it is ok to cry. That is healthy. It is appropriate. When someone hits you and tells you not to cry that is abuse. I feel very good about being a voice expressing that sentiment to a child.

I’m proud of the road trip. I learned a lot. My children learned a lot. I did a fantastic amount of work to make that happen.

I feel weirdly proud of the library I’ve managed to acquire. Which is a shitty thing to feel proud of because it means I’m proud of spending money and that’s weird. But my library is incredibly diverse. My library normalizes a lot of human experiences. My library encourages thinking about a lot of different parts of life. I have created the home schooling environment of my dreams. I really have arrived at where I wanted to get. I picked this goal at 17 and I have diligently worked towards it ever since. I feel proud of how many skills I managed to pick up and consciously work towards so that I can be good at this.

I feel proud of the progress I have made in harming myself less over time. It isn’t that I have high self esteem and it isn’t that I am psychologically healthy but I do less damage to myself over time. That has taken enormous effort on my part.

I feel proud of myself for reaching out to someone who sexually harmed me and asking them to make it right. I couldn’t do it in every case with every person who hurt me, but I feel very proud of doing it once.

I believe that even if I do not think of myself as “a good person who sometimes does bad things” there is benefit to thinking of myself as an asshole who often does the right thing. I believe this has value because I am not justifying my fuck ups and sweeping them under the rug in the name of “but I’m good”. Instead I take full responsibility for all the harm I cause and I continue to fight like hell to do positive things. To me that is a healthier balance than believing I’m good and kind of ignoring the harm I cause. I like that balance.

I like how strong I am. I like that despite horrible pain I work fiercely and intensely and with dedication on whatever task is put in front of me. I’m not saying that I think all people with chronic pain should act like this… I think there is still some self harm going on in my behavior. But never the less I have to find ways to like myself and I like that I am capable of putting “But this is important” over “I hurt and I don’t want to”.

I am proud that I didn’t let a horrifying childhood break me entirely.

Since I’m trying to list shit: I feel like I have had a rather good track record on picking people to date. It isn’t that every person I’ve ever dated has been perfect, but I have been good at picking people who are loving, supportive, and usually good with boundaries. Given the relationships I saw modeled as a child… I’ve really picked fantastic people to date. Go me. (And my marriage was even smarter. Damn I picked a good spouse.)

I have not allowed my overwhelming longing for my mother trap me in abusive cycles. That’s a big deal.

That’s enough for now. I’m supposed to write some affirmations. I have the pushiest damn friends ever. (I love you. Thank you for caring about me and giving me homework.)

I am patient and generous.

I am a good mother for my children. (Which is to say, I don’t think I’d be as good for every kid… these things are complicated. Ok, you aren’t supposed to justify affirmations or minimize them but I’m still me.)

I am loved.

I create beauty and connection.

I am strong emotionally and physically.

I am good at loving people.

I am an outstanding teacher.

I fight the good fight.

I have a lot to give.

 

I’m going to sit down with the birthday book my friends gave me and remind myself of why other people love me. Thank you for loving me so much that you will go through so much effort to help me stay alive. I am grateful beyond the scope of expression.

Moving the needle

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

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

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

Fuck.

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

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

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

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

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

Oh fuck.

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

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

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

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

It is both of us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am a very good liar.

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

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

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

Why is everyone more important than me?

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

I don’t matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m on the verge of collapse.

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

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

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

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

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

I’m hurting so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t pick a side.

What I really wish I heard more of is, “You both try. You both fuck up sometimes and do it right sometimes. You both do the work and yet still fall short.”

It isn’t that I feel that I am right and Noah is wrong. Oh goodness, no. I’m a fucking asshole and I do awful things.

I just don’t know how to deal with feeling like I am the one who fucks up.