Category Archives: food issues

Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, maybe that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

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

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

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

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

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

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m kinda weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the line?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

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

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

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

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

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

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

That seems smart just now.

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

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

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

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Med evaluation

I have a med evaluation appointment in a week. I’d better get my thoughts together.

I’ve been using pot for almost eight years. It changed my life. I use pot to help me sleep, increase my appetite so I can eat healthy balanced meals (I have terrible stomach pain from anxiety), as a pain medication, as an anti-anxiety medication, as an anti-depressant, and just generally to give me a slight pause in between experiencing something and needing to react. Without the pot I respond reflexively to a lot of things in ways that are problematic.

I don’t know what to do about this cocktail.

I am at the point of diminishing returns. I have to consume so much and it is so expensive that it takes too much time and money away from my life. At the very least I need a solid several months off. I tried taking time off earlier and it failed hard.

I need a bridge. I need a different crutch on my way to walking.

Isn’t this what harm reduction is about?

I have dramatically improved my relationship with food over the last few years. I get far less diarrhea now. I have periods of relatively normal bowel function for the first time in my life. I’m going to be working on that in an ongoing way for a while, though. I’m seeing a nutritionist.

I need help sleeping. That’s the first and most important key to this lock. When I go off pot I stop sleeping. Over the counter sleep aides aren’t very effective. I build tolerance really quickly and it just goes up and up. I think a week of sleep aide is a pretty good nightly dose. I may or may not be able to get enough sleep that way.

I need help with my anxiety. I am terrified a lot of the time and it manifests as me being bitchy. I can’t do that to my family or friends. My life is safe now but I haven’t talked my body into understanding that yet. I’m 10 years into safety after 25 years of problems. I’m seeing improvement but I’m not done.

I think that I should probably stick with St. John’s Wort and/or 5-HTP to replace the anti-depressant. I’ve tried most families of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and many anti-anxiety meds. I can take some but not many. I have horrible side effects from medications that end up being much worse than just living with the problems.

I’m hard to medicate.

Long term I’d like to be able to do serious international traveling. The pot isn’t very helpful under those circumstances either.

Ideally I’d like to find two systems that kinda sorta work but aren’t great. One being using pot for all of the above. The other being some complicated system of other meds that are used as needed while I go on long fast periods.

I think I will be a life long pot user. I think I need to have options for when pot isn’t an option because sometimes it isn’t.

I’m not sure what that is going to look like.

But I need to be able to take 6+ off from pot and have that work. I need to be able to do that for efficacy reasons.

My tolerance is just…. not sustainable at this point. I’m back to where I was before the break a few months ago. I don’t want to pay for this every month and I’m doing lung damage.

Balance the harm.

Try to reduce it.

Try to manage the risks so that you still get the upside without so many penalties. Life is just a game, right?

 

Too much, again. Damnit.

Stuff is creeping in. Today: having lunch with a friend then we are getting tattoos. Tonight I’m having dinner with a lovely friend. Tomorrow is all the massage. The kids also have stuff to get to.

It isn’t that what I’m doing is hard, it is that I’m having to switch gears on what I’m thinking about. I was thinking about that process lately: transitioning. I’ve been staring at the kids all week and thinking about the idea of transitioning from one activity to another and how do we do it?

A friend asked me how I feel about classes that my kids sign up for. Do I insist on attendance? Err… it doesn’t come up much? My kids aren’t very scheduled. Our classes are exciting treats that we are very happy to learn about. There is no dragging. It isn’t hard for us to get out of the house (mostly) because I start getting ready about three hours before we need to leave.

Most days we sit down at breakfast and talk about the structure of the day. What are we doing? Where are we going? I give the kids an idea of what to expect and when I’ll start prompting them to get ready.

Very rarely I run into the room and say, “Oh shoot! I didn’t look at a clock and I forgot _____ and we need to walk out the door RIGHT NOW!!!”

I am shocked that when I do this the kids usually jump up in the air and start rushing to get ready like someone is chasing them with a hot poker. They have bought in to “this is our life and we are obligated to show up when we say we will”.

I talk a lot about respecting teachers because they choose to share what they know with people who want to learn. That’s a gift and an honor. You must respect the efforts of teachers.

Kinda funny given how anti school I am, right? I’m not anti teachers. I’m anti-Industrial-Era-conformity-brainwashing.

That’s not the same thing as learning or education or teachers. In fact I have incredible respect for the process of learning.

Not that every school (public or otherwise) works the same way. I know. But it’s a crapshoot year by year. In “school” you don’t get to pick your teachers, mostly. In life you do. College is a weird hybrid of “school” and life because you have some choice but not that much. You pick your place of education more. (Not that most people research the teaching staff much before picking a university.) You get to drop classes and take a different teacher if you don’t like an approach… sometimes.

I have multiple bad grades (D or F) on my record because of personality conflicts with teachers. Does that mean I know nothing about those subjects? Nope. It means that bitch didn’t like me.

That happens.

School is about measuring how you jump through the random hoops that someone decides to set for you. You think it is even and fair how those hoops are divvied out? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Standardized tests are flat out abusive to most minority populations. Why? Because they say, “Hey, how quickly can you identify all this random shit from White American Culture? Not fast? Then you’re stupid.”

That’s abusive.

And school in America in the year 2016 is about, “How fast can you regurgitate facts about this culture to prove you are ‘smart’.

Yes there are exceptions. Yes there are good teachers in public schools and there are good private schools.

Are those private schools available to people who are very poor? No? Then school in America is about regurgitating facts. I don’t care that your kid might be getting away with having a good experience. The majority of American children are not.

How do I know this? Why am I so god damn confident of what I know? Because I went to 25 schools. Then 7 universities. Then I substituted in about 8 schools. Then I taught in 4 schools.

It’s not a huge sample size. But it’s big enough to let me see a diversity most people get to pretend doesn’t exist. I went to schools in rural areas, in neighborhoods of a predominate ethnic identity other than white, in rich schools, in poor schools, and many levels in between. I’ve seen Silicon Valley, Compton, and rural Oklahoma.

I can’t speak to the east coast from personal experience. But I read a lot of teachers. I’m pretty sure I’m right from coast to coast. Teachers are talking about the problems in the system. All you have to do is go look a little bit and you’ll find criticism. You’ll never run out of it to read.

I don’t think my way is right or mass actionable. I don’t think the solution to our broken schooling system is everyone opting out to home school. But I don’t know how to force the solutions that are necessary. I don’t know how to force a non-abusive mechanism on top of an abusive system and I just can’t be part of that abusive system any more. Not as a student and not as a parent.

Could I be a teacher in that system? Sure. Why? Because I’m subversive as fuck and I think the kids who are there need people like me whenever possible. Will I sacrifice everything in my life on the altar of helping other peoples kids?

No. I made these two people. I’m responsible for them.

Yesterday I cracked. I stopped asking the kids to help and I sent them outside to play. They had a glorious day and I got the house like 75% of the way to clean. Yes, I know people believe that I clean frantically full time and my house is always spotless so it isn’t that much work (or something). Well, actually…. (I find myself using that more often because it is now a banned phrase in many places. I try to only do it when I’m being a snot and refuting ideas about myself that annoy me.) I don’t clean that much. My house turns into a pit just like everyone else’s house. But I host big parties pretty frequently and I usually spend about a week cleaning before hand. So people think my house is always clean.

It’s a ruse.

I can usually flight of the bumblebee and feel presentable for dinner guests. And my kids have to pick up their toys before they get screens so our house doesn’t get that bad. Only mostly they clean by shoving whichever behind whatever and into wherever. So every so often we have to dump ever drawer, every shelf, every everything in order to find things. Because seriously after a while we can’t find anything and then everyone expects me to be a fucking homing beacon and they ask me 9,032 times a day where “x” is.

can’t.

They ask me to buy them new shoes because they can’t find any to wear. I clean their room and find four pairs. That kinda thing.

So a few times a year we face overwhelming chaos. For the love of toast I don’t know how families with two working parents ever clean at all. When it gets bad (like me being gone two weekends in a row so things kinda pile up extra hard, and we are remodeling, and school level transitioning) it will take a solid 8-10 days of me cleaning for 4-10 hours/day.

(There’s always a day in the middle where I clean for four hours then collapse in a heap and cry for a while.)

This cleaning is extra epic because Youngest child has to be entirely moved out of that bedroom indefinitely for the remodel. They are currently replacing the wall/window and that room is not sealed to the out doors. (They have built the new bathroom walls/front wall in front of it, but it’s not all done and everything.) Lots of construction debris in there. Kiddo can’t use that room.

So they are sharing again for a bit. Which was ridiculous extra cleaning and sorting. Frankly I think they were god damn awesome.

At one point Eldest Child started crying and said, “I’m just not good at cleaning. I’m not smart at this and I never will be.”

I laughed and laughed and laughed. She looked at me and said, “WHAT?!”

“You act like I fell out of my mother’s womb being able to clean. I couldn’t do it when I was seven. Frankly I think you have more skill than I had at that age.”

She blinked for a bit, dried her eyes, and got up and made tremendous progress all in a big burst. At the end she grinned at me and said, “Ok I am getting better.”

Cocky little thing. Yes, you are. Every day. Every year. You are getting better.

So I think about these things because transitioning eats into progress. The more times I have to transition in a day the less progress I make on all tasks. This is a well documented phenomena. You can spend four years taking a Spanish class, or four months of immersion. And after the immersion experience you will be far more fluent.

Some guys I know were bitching at me that I should really stop what I’m doing with my life and learn all about the influential music from 1968.

I told them I don’t have time and they demanded that I justify what is more important than that. I rattled off what I’m doing with my life. They kinda blinked at me and said, “Ok maybe you don’t have time.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Everyone has different stuff going on in their lives. Everyone has a different comfort level of transitions. I don’t need to judge what other people need in order to feel comfortable. That internal Holy Fucking Shit No reaction needs to be turned off. Ain’t nobody trying to tell me that I need to pick it up. Not really.

My inside voice is changing. I do hear you.

Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

Why do I talk to myself? Because over time I am changing how I react to different stimuli. It was said that a lot of what is interesting about me now is that I do fewer global freak outs. When something is upsetting to me I don’t scream about everyone and everything. I can say exactly what I’m upset about and why and I can usually trace it down to the root. That’s letting me pull the weeds. I can tell which tendrils are a problem.

It’s ok that I failed in the school environment. I mean, I was usually an A/B student (except for personality conflicts) and I’m still a failure in the school environment. It isn’t that I’m unintelligent. But I cannot conform in the ways required to go period to period learning in the teeny chunks that can hopefully be absorbed by a large enough percentage of people to not be a complete waste of time to everyone. Woo.

Do you know why I was a good teacher? Because I met before school, during breaks, after school, and on Saturdays with students who could not understand what I was teaching and I helped them catch up on foundational information they missed along the way.

I can’t give that much of myself to people outside my family right now. My kids need that time from me. Why? Because we have some fucked up brain chemistry and DNA from generations of trauma. We need to do what we are doing right now.

We are learning how to adapt to life. We are learning how to learn. We are learning shit loads of stuff that we will be able to use later. We are planning. We are growing.

And we are doing it slowly. We are doing it by concentrating on one thing at a time for a few weeks.

That way we can spend many hours a day on one task and make substantial progress at it instead of spending 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

It is hard. It is physically and mentally and emotionally taxing. But I enjoy it. I feel rewarded. I feel like my reward is the conversation I get to have around the table every meal. My kids fucking think.

I know so much intense analysis of My Little Pony characters that it is ridiculous because I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode. I know their back stories, motivations, and things that are being foreshadowed. Yeah. My kid told me, “They are seriously foreshadowing something about her in this episode….” Then later I heard, “In this episode they broke the fourth wall to…”

I asked her if she knows what breaking the fourth wall actually means. Nope. So I explained. In great detail. With lots of examples. Afterwards she started rattling off examples.

Yup. Like that.

I treat my children like if they don’t know something yet it is because I have not yet done a good enough job of talking about it. So I’d better get on that.

I really like my life.

I like feeling responsible. Resiliency experts say that people are most likely to be successful if they internalize that they must be responsible. In other words: we must find a way or make a way. So we do.

I feel that way about anti-racist stuff. Incest research. Home schooling. Teaching my kids how to take care of their shit.

I believe I must make this work. Period. So I will.

What does that actually fucking mean? It means that I picked this life. Who the fuck knows why. So I’m going to live it to the absolute fullest. With great privilege comes great responsibility. I’m one of the luckiest mother fuckers born in the history of all time.

How did that happen?

Even with all the trauma. So fucking what. Every level of person experiences trauma. That’s universal. Not every being experiences trauma (lucky bastards) but every level of human experience has trauma.

What traumatizes one person is standard, normal, and appropriate to someone else. So check your fucking judgment, wench. (talking to myself…)

I have an idea for the tattoo. I’m not going to write it out in advance. But I’m going to have a wonderful time talking to my artist today. He’s so wonderful.

And I’m having lunch with a friend first. Then dinner with a different friend.

I don’t in any way want to complain about the fullness of my life. I am blessed. I am loved. People seek out my company on my terms. Because they consider the effort to be worth what they get in return.

I can’t judge that. I need to just say thank you.

I’m trying to slow down. Frankly the remodel is driving me batty. They are banging all day long. So every second all day long I have to process hitting sounds and decide they aren’t a threat.

That wears me out.

But I have to be home. For Reasons.

So I’m doing what I can to destress in the house. My anxiety is spiking like a motherfucker. But! I know it is temporary so I can have something I badly want and I’ll get to have it as long as I live here. Sounds worth putting up with.

But it hurts my body. It’ll end soon.

Every time I transition from thinking, “Is that the door?” back to whatever I’m doing… it takes a penalty spoon.

So I’m thinking about transitions like fuck right now. How many activities can I manage to get done in a day? How much work? How many different kinds of tasks? I think it is funny how different stages of cleaning feel different to me. I can’t declutter a room, organize it, then remove filth all in a go. I just can’t transition like that. I have to declutter the house. Then organize it. Then clean. I can’t go back and forth because I experience distress physically and psychiatrically.

Transitions are that hard for me. I will fall to the floor and sob and not be able to do whatever it is you want of me because I just can’t.

That’s something that has been a pattern in my life for a very long time and I’m just kind of recognizing what that means in my head. Oh. Flooding. Oh. That’s…

Oh.

Yeah. That.

I like intense connections with a lot of fucking bandwidth. So when I need to spread that bandwidth out between 37 different distractions instead of 2-3…

I hurt.

It isn’t anyone else’s fault. But I’m trying to figure out what managing that means. I need this to get better. I need to stop flooding when I walk near someone else’s life because I feel like I should try to conform and I can’t I can’t I can’t.

No one god damn asked you to. Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

I’m trying.

It’s funny to stop and think, “This is actually a huge improvement!”

Good grief.

There are a high number of specific high intensity things I want to get done in this life. I won’t get them done in 15 minutes of prep at a time. That’s ok. I don’t need to schedule my life how other people do. It is working for them. Stop projecting.

We all want different things. Health means something different to every person.

I’m trying to figure out what it means to me. This is proving to be more complicated than expected. Not sure if that is because I was naive to start with or what. Anything is possible.

I’m making a lot of progress with my pain stuff. (The overall refraining from typing is helping. Hey–it’s Friday. I kinda took a few days off… I am trying to moderate…)

I’m making progress on pain stuff. My bowels are… well… I’m told this is progress? I don’t fucking know. But it is weirder than hell. I mostly stopped with the pills for a few days (because obviously my body was freaking out) on the doctors recommendation and the freak out ended right away. This is supposedly a sign that things are working right on schedule. I will resume sloughing the parasites from my liver later today. Oh joy. But! I’m seeing… uhm… something fucking weird that I’m told is results?

Pooooooooooooooooooooop.

We talk about poop while eating all the time.

Muahahahaha

My kids are very comfortable saying, “I’m going to eat lots of vegetables because your body sucks.”

If you can’t be a good example, be a horrible warning. Do one or the other and then do that motherfucker.

I guess?

Yesterday I screwed up. I put in a load of laundry and I didn’t even think about what I was washing. A new dress up clothes thing was put in the basket. It had never been washed. It was bright fucking red. So all the martial arts uniforms were very pink.

Oooooops. Shit. Like rose colored pink. Dark rose. I was all, “NOOOOOOOO!”

Then I thought about my mama and I breathed a prayer of thanks. “Hey kids? Want to learn how to fix a mistake?” I used oxygen brightener and bleach and I boiled it on the stove top and those fuckers are white as snow once again.

Because my mama taught me what to do.

That’s a good memory. Thank you, mama.

Thank you for teaching me how to do my laundry on the stove because that was what we had and you were going to make sure I had the skills to be presentable no matter what happened to me or how bad my life was. You tried. Thank you.

During this process my friend was over and she asked if I wanted her to do the poking/stirring over the fire. I didn’t want her to. I felt entirely Zen in that moment. I am where I want to be doing what I want to do. I’m showing my kids how I fix a mistake. It takes time and effort. But it’ll be ok.

It was one of the most intensely blissful moments I’ve experienced in a while. That’s flow.

If I cared very much about getting out of my house and not being “stuck” with these experiences as the woman… I wouldn’t get to have that. I’m glad I get to have that. I’m glad I get to see the value in my mother.

I miss you, mama.

I miss all the friends I’m not reaching out to because I’m overwhelmed. I’ll come back. I’ll have spoons some day.

In March we have social stuff planned on the first two days. Then… uhm… I don’t know about the Easter party. Wonder how my bathroom will be? Err… I’ll let people know two weeks before?

I think that I need to not schedule anything else in March. Which is intimidating. I’m not resting. I’m working and socializing because I’m so desperate to catch up on the work. I need to rest and I won’t stop working so socializing needs to be back burnered for a few weeks. Just Do Eeeet.

What work do I feel so pressed to do? Well… we are transitioning from preschool to elementary school. Which is a fuck ton of work for me. (I don’t know how you folks who home school with kids in preschool, elementary, middle, & high school do it. How do you find space?! )

The thing I miss the most about teaching in a school is the prep time plus the right to control what everyone was going to be learning. This is much harder. I have to prepare on the fly for a range of topics. It’s brutal some days in terms of cognitive load. It is fucking hard breaking down every little thing into schemas and concepts and repeatable skill training.

This is why other sane people outsource this shit. But we have some genetic stuff to consider that will make us always on the edge of the bell curve. I’m glad the training exists for people in the center of the bell curve. Yay you!

Hi, I’m Krissy. I’m an outlier.

Name the metric.

I just uhm…. like to be difficult?

IT ISN’T PERSONAL, OK!?!

I should stop now. If I get up and start moving now I’ll have all my morning prep done before Noah finishes breakfast and I will be able to eat at the same time as them instead of sitting down as they finish eating. I’m a pain in the ass to take care of. I struggle to think the effort is really merited.

Know something that I find wacky? Youngest child just fucking loves to stand there and hand me pill after pill after pill. Kid says, “You have to fix the problems. You have to get your poop better so you can digest food. I want you to die when you are very very very old. So here.” It varies somewhat, but this entire experience is just…

validating as fuck.

I’m trying to figure out what I need. My issues are complicated, layered, and difficult to solve. I know you are doing what you need to do to solve your issues and it doesn’t look much like what I’m doing.

I need to figure out how to not feel so fucking bad about that. It’s ok that I need stuff other people don’t need. That doesn’t mean I’m bad. That doesn’t mean I should die so I stop stealing resources from more worthy people. It has to be ok that I need what I need.

It isn’t fair that I have the money to pay for it and other people don’t. There is no fair. There is no deserve. There is no way to have things come out even.

I had to believe there is no deserve when it was really bad. I have to believe it about the good stuff too. Or …. or I just can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t get fucking pompous and shitty and “Oh I have a good life because I deserve it. Because I worked harder than other people.”

Gag. Cough. Puke. Bullshit.

No. I really didn’t work harder than other people. Ok, I worked harder than some people. But not harder than everyone. Some people worked ten times as hard as me. They didn’t get where I am.

It’s not because I’m getting what I deserve.

Nothing is fair.

4,050 words. I should stop anyway. Oh my poor wrists. But I feel better. I feel like I’m finding the words to the parts I need to talk about without talking about what I don’t need to talk about.

That feels better.

How do I get to be me without hurting other people?

That’s the journey.

Moving south

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says he is with me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Got it.”

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

I miss you.

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

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

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

Should I stay or should I go now

I leave in 32 days. On one hand… I’d like to leave tomorrow. On the other hand… I am scared. I’m scared of pain and failure. My hands hurt. Sometimes gripping things is a problem. Notice how good I’m being about not typing much? Trying to heal.

My belly hurts. I’m hungry. Dinner was light.

So many feelings. My shrink is pushing me to change how I interact with people. Make my plans and move forward. Don’t try so hard to get people on the same page. Don’t ask for specifics. Don’t try to nail people down to actual agreement. Either they show up or they don’t. Either their plans work or they don’t. She wants me to stop canceling a whole day of plans when someone in an inner circle speaks up and wants time. She wants me to reserve less time for people based on the emotional weight I give the relationship.

People will show up or not and I burn a lot of energy on planning and trying to get people to commit. Folks don’t like committing.

I feel like my shrink is being really fucking bossy lately. She’s given me more specific feedback on “X friendship doesn’t seem to be meeting your needs and you should step back” over the past few months. She’s pushing me to push people away. I have feelings about that.

She wants me to have more boundaries around me.

One of my lovely neighbors asked if I wanted her to come over so she can help me weed the garden. We will work on my abysmal Mandarin and her moderate English at the same time. Sounds fabulous. (Oh, Pam: she was sad when I said you were not available to join us. She wishes your grandmother a speedy recovery; she wishes more grandchildren were so dutiful.)

Splitting the kids into separate rooms was the right choice. As was coming down like a box of hammers over eating out. That stopped the fighting that was reaching a fevered pitch. Calli hasn’t felt the need to get in my face and tell me off since. Thank goodness. Having separate space is such a fabulous novelty that when I declare cool-off-time in separate rooms everyone is cheerful and excited. I’m aware that it will change over time.

We are going to have adventures with “I get to decide who is allowed in my room”.

We are still slowly dividing up belongings to figure out what gets stored where. It’s a process.

I think it is funny that Shanna wanted her bed flipped back into a bunk bed because this way it has sides and she doesn’t fall off the platform. A low bed isn’t safer for her.

Calli has been exhausted lately. She must be growing. She’s been napping more days than not for a week or two. Good timing. Outgrow your clothing now, before we leave on the trip.

I’m bleeding. This will be my last period using cloth pads until December. It’s disposables for most of the year. Ew, tampons. Owie, yucky, fuss, and ick. And yet the cloth pads hurt my tail bone.

32 days to go. I’m slowly getting the house cleaner. I’m not sure why I prioritize this as much as I do other than… when we come home it will be such a pleasure. I won’t have cubbies of delayed work waiting to crash on my head. I’m even doing my fucking filing.

My garden is wonderful. I have taken pictures. I should post them. Which means I should plug my phone in and transfer pictures. erk.

Yay babysitting

Part of what I like so much about taking care of kids is that you have to deal with different layers of your own “shit” in order to look at them as individuals. The wonderful kids who visited last night have an entirely different structure to their lives compared to most of the kids we hang out with and as a result it was neat seeing some of the social differences.

These kids… respect authority. Holy shit. And they are capable of sitting still and focusing. Whoa. Unschoolers that I know are capable of intense focus but it’s kind of random when it happens. It is an accident rather than how they approach most problems. These kids sit down and do an activity to completion then do another activity to completion. They aren’t hummingbirds.

I think it is good for my children to learn how to deal with this very different attitude towards life. The kids who visited last night are being socialized such that they will be capable of being successful in a school environment. They show me some of the layers of why I think I would fail at teaching my children how to be successful in that environment.

Hell, these kids have a better attention span than me.

And I could assume that they just aren’t comfortable enough to be sassy yet (probably partially true) but I think it is mostly true that they just aren’t permitted to be assholes in the way I let my kids get away with pushing boundaries. I see layers of learned behaviors that I couldn’t even begin to duplicate. These kids are not rule breakers in the same way. I don’t think they’ve been told that breaking rules is part of life. *Ahem*. (I won’t tell them.)

I think I uhhh disrupted the social order enough by telling them that actually, yes men can be queens too. Doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of it before, I’ve met some.

I will barely wave my gender-freak flag. Just a little bit. A tiny bit. Just barely a wave. No, boys don’t have to be one way and girls don’t have to be another way. Uhhhh Forget-That. (Which is way better than Fuck That to my friend’s children because boy howdy are they not allowed to talk like that. I was good!)

It is very hard to be a good example when these children need to turn out in a way that I completely failed at. The life they are leading is a life I am singularly unqualified to be a good example of living. I fail. Over and over at school after school. I don’t know how in the hell to handle that social dynamic. I hate jumping through hoops just for the sake of jumping. I get very angry with busy work. It’s taken multiple decades to squash my rage over being bitched out because I was “doing art wrong” and it’s hard for me even now to do group art activities.

I have finally learned how to make art for myself. I still can’t bear to have anyone in control of what or how I am doing my art because I’m fucking tired of being told I’m doing it wrong.

These kids are a challenge to me because I have to manufacture behavior I have specifically rejected. Oh shit. I have to watch my fucking mouth. Which is obviously not something I enjoy doing. But I do it for them because they would be in a lot of trouble if they picked up my language. That’s not fair. My kids don’t really get in trouble for saying fuck. So they do sometimes. I can’t slip in front of these kids because they would get no end of trouble and that’s just shitty and awful. I don’t want to be a bad influence for them.

I want to be a good influence. And that means consciously choosing behavior that is opposite of my normal priorities.

Weird.

think this is part of what being community means. We don’t have to be exactly alike. We don’t have to be on exactly the same path. We are very different and that’s ok because it takes all kinds. Being these different ways involves different skill sets so we don’t act very similarly day-to-day and that’s ok.

It might even be optimal and make the world a better place or some shit.

I talk to my kids about the fact that I am a stay at home mom because *I* want to do it. Because *I* have things to learn here that I won’t learn in other environments–about patience, forgiveness, trying and failing, and attachment. Those aren’t lessons other people need to learn at the same time in their lives so staying home is NOT the right path for every mother.

They are very curious how the dynamics work in other families and I’m really grateful we are being allowed this window into how it works. I don’t pretend we understand from one night of visiting…. but we got a peek.

These kids are different from my bonus kids. The only people who got into trouble for screaming last night were my progeny. Because we are so fucking loud all the fucking time. Ahhh, I’m so proud. These borrowed kids…. would not be permitted to be loud like that. They looked a little stunned by the volume. We did work on it. I’m so sorry. I hope we didn’t burst your ear drums.

We really need to learn how to tone down better. It wasn’t as upsetting as it was to my niece, Jenny’s daughter, but it was… over the top. We get so excited about seeing people and then our volume just goes up. It’s not a good approach to life.

I’m starting to work with Shanna on such things and I haven’t really started working with Calli yet because I think that the easiest developmental window for dealing with the loud is 5-7 when they are doing an awareness shift, cause/effect thing in their brain. Clearly it could be taught much younger. But you sacrifice other benefits if you squash this young.

I want kids who are capable of being as aggressive as they need to be. You can’t develop that later if it is squashed out of you young. You also can’t be very good in a school environment while young if it isn’t squashed out of you. Life is complicated.

I say you “can’t” and that’s bullshit. Lots of people learn how to be more aggressive as adults because they have to do it. I would prefer if my kids just have that force of personality from the get-go.

I asked Shanna why she is so good at knowing that other peoples feelings aren’t her fault and she laughed. She said that I taught her. I laughed and said that is funny because I’m not very good at actually believing that. She said, “I’ve noticed. You should work on that.” I said I was not very good at listening to my own advice. She said, “You know, you should listen to you. You are a pretty smart lady.”

I started crying and she hugged me. I don’t know if she is 6 or 26 sometimes. I’m very grateful for these children I have born. They make every day a pleasure and a joy. Even when they bug the shit out of me.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to deepen our relationship with these kids. I’m afraid I didn’t reach out as much to them as I wanted to. My back hurts wicked bad and I spent part of the visit lying on the ground trying not to cry. That sucked. I am going to call local chiropractors on Monday. I’d like to not be hurting like this before the trip. It would be very hard to do the work.

The older girl plays with my two very easily. I’m going to have to work harder on finding games and activities for the two youngest (my youngest and the borrowed youngest) because they aren’t figuring out friendship as easily. The two oldest and Calli are all bossy, pushy kids. The other younger girl is… just not. She’s not “LOOK AT ME” in the same way. I’m going to have to work really hard at getting to know her over the years because she doesn’t shove her personality in everyone’s face and say, “NOW LOOK AT ME” the way the others do. I will have to decide to work at getting to know her. I only know her a little at this point and I feel kind of ashamed of that. Maybe I should have asked to hold her more as a baby. I don’t like asking to hold babies. I feel presumptuous. I take offers. I help when people need help. This mama is very competent when she has her kids so I would never presume to snatch her babies from her. So I didn’t bond as young with this kid.

That’s ok. We aren’t dead yet. There is still time. She’s a nice kid, just a lot more shy and reserved. That personality type isn’t really my specialty but I am always in the market for new skills. I’ll figure something out. It will be something that will require thought is all.

They have much better manners than my kids and they can sit still. It’s a bit dreamy. They sat in a chair for a meal without needing to be pestered.

swoon

I have some parenting envy right now. HOW DID YOU DO THAT?! But to some degree I understand part of how it was done and it was done in a package with stuff I don’t want and so… I have to deal with some behaviors I don’t like as much because I get so much that I do like. That’s life. I can live with the end of the stick I’m carrying these days.

I don’t feel like I have the short end of the stick any more. Not that I think this mama does. Maybe that’s a bad metaphor. Uhm, I don’t feel like I’m parenting all wrong because my kids are much more annoying than these kids. I feel like I have very different goals. I don’t think that my goals mean my kids will be “more successful” or “happier” or “fill in the blank”. Well… I think my goals are aligned with creating people I can live with. That means very weirdly attuned to the world. It doesn’t mean better. It means better-for-me which is SO MUCH not “BETTER”. If you know what I mean. It wouldn’t work for everyone.

I like these kids and I can see how their mom is doing a good job of preparing them for the life they lead. They are learning the skills that will allow them to do the things their parents want for them. It’s really neat to watch. It is fascinating having that next to my kids for a day. We want different things and that’s very ok. It’s good. It’s wonderful. It is how the world should work.

The world requires folks like their parents. IT workers and engineers. They are important. They build things and keep things up and running so other people can get the health care they need. Those are real skills that are actually impacting the world. In order to get to such a point you have to have a whole framework of skills… I pretty much lack.

Starting with the sitting still. That’s been a problem for me all my damn life. I can’t teach it to my kids because I haven’t mastered it. I can’t model it. Sometimes I feel kind of ashamed of myself when I deal with five year olds who can sit still and I just fucking can’t.

I try to just feel happy that their mother is past the horror of car seats. I too will someday arrive at the coveted world of booster seats.

I hope.

Please, oh god, oh god.

It is hard feeling like you are doing the right thing. Especially when everyone around you is on a different path. It is hard to see what the path even is. The path I want to be on includes community building. Which means figuring out having community members who aren’t friends. It means supporting my friends. It means figuring out how to support people in gaining skills they need that I do not have. It means being supportive of all different kinds of ways of handling situations.

It’s hard. Because I’m really a judgmental asshole and I have these kneejerk, “I couldn’t sustain that” feelings about behaviors and then I want to loudly comment on how they aren’t sustainable. When really they aren’t sustainable for me and other people don’t have a problem. That’s kind of embarrassing to announce out loud. (Ask me how I know. Or don’t. Just assume it is an embarrassing story, ok?)

If my back pain were below a 4 I would feel like I was having a party. My back pain is hanging out this minute around a 6 and yesterday was up to 7/8 so I didn’t feel like I was having a party. I didn’t feel like I was having that much fun. But it went really well anyway. I tried hard to be aware that my cloud of “ugh” was pain.

Also, my period finally started. Only a measly 7 days later than expected. And it is slow going this month. Hardly anything is coming out of me and that’s kind of weird. At 36 hours into my period this time I’ve lost about as much blood as I usually lose in the first 6 hours. I know because of how fast I soak the pads.

I haven’t been able to eat much lately. And most of what I can eat without feeling really sick is fruit and vegetables. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH MY BODY?!?!?! THIS IS NOT LIKE ME. I’ve been a carbitarian for most of my life. I live on wheat, meat, and dairy. Those are my three main food groups. I grudgingly eat vegetables because I have to and I rarely eat fruit. I just…. don’t really do it. The textures bug me.

Until now. When dinner is artichoke and orange. Or strawberries and fennel. I ate fucking strawberries and fennel for dinner. What the motherfuck is wrong with me?!

I’m not feeling ok. I’m eating what I’m craving because if my body is craving fruits and vegetables after 30+ years of treating them like poison… ok I’ll go along with this but I don’t feel ok. And my digestive system is so fucking whacked. I’m barely pooping because there isn’t enough mass to move. I can feel my system feeling pissed off at me.

I’m eating what I can eat. It’s just not a lot right now. I feel like I’m dropping weight again. I might actually buy a scale just because I feel like it is bad to not know when I’m doing these sudden intense weight drops. I feel like I should “work harder” at keeping my weight stable and I don’t know what that would mean.

I’ve never had a not-eating-month in the spring before. It’s always October. It’s usually around my dad’s suicide. I have always thought it was partially emotional and partly that I don’t handle that weather transition well. October is the most miserable month weather wise where I live. This year the weather is awful in spring…. maybe the weather transition impacts it?

I don’t know. But I’m eating like a fucking vegan and this isn’t working for me.

I feel like shit.

(Not saying veganism is bad or that no one should be vegan. I have nutritional issues. It would be very hard for *me* to be a healthy vegan given the texture issues I have and aversions to some flavors.)

You have to deal with the whole system you have. Even if it is annoying. One of the things I feel most comfortable about as I get older–life is annoying and that’s ok. Just breathe through it.

I went to Outrageous Outgrowns yesterday morning before the folks arrived. I was actually tardy getting home because the line was insane. Good thing Noah was here. I would have timed differently if I hadn’t had the slack.

The girls are mostly set on dresses through size 10 now. Yee haw. And I got a whole huge stack of neat looking books. Yay! If you can get 20 items of clothing and 30+ books for $200 that’s a good shopping day. Especially because most of the items of clothing were fancy dresses because that’s what my kids live in. I really got the daughters of my dreams. I wanted to dress like that as a kid and I couldn’t. I’m very grateful I can buy them a closet full of fancy $5 dresses they can wear any way they want without getting in trouble. That’s a special kind of privilege.

And legging. Always leggings because you little twerps never keep your legs down. Under clothes should be under your clothes and if you can’t keep your skirt down, pants! Yay!

Then I got home to a box from Amazon. Because I’ve been on a book buying spree. All multi-cultural stuff. In the past few weeks I have picked up a bunch of books on Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism for kids. I already have Christian stuff aimed at kids because I had it from my childhood. Books on mindfulness and meditation and Zen and all that good stuff.

I will be reviewing them on the kid-friendly blog because most of them are excellent. I’ve perused them all but I haven’t shared them with the kids yet. I’m excited about reading these together.

I’ve gotta say, it’s convenient that there is a Hindu temple on the corner because the more I read about the faith the more it actually sounds the closest to the hodge-podge of my beliefs. It’s kind of funny. I should go more often. They are happy to have sincere visitors of any stripe.

These kids do not provide the euphoria of my Bonus Kids. That’s partially my fault. I spent a lot of time holding my Bonus Kids when they were really tiny because I went over to their house and helped their mom do work. That creates a very different kind of bond.

These kids instead provide a different kind of opportunity. I missed the window to get in on the baby-bonding. I didn’t understand that I was missing it. I didn’t understand how I should have tried to assert myself. The oldest girl is older than my kids and I really didn’t have the confidence to assert myself as “someone who should hold babies” then. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost! Hey, I’m good friends with their mom and I met her as an adult. Clearly the possibility of a relationship isn’t over.

But it is interesting seeing how I will have to work for these relationships. I will. I want to. It is a specific thing I have as a goal in this lifetime. I knew when they were born that these were kids I wanted to know for a long time. I just didn’t know how to insert myself into their life. That is hard.

I have learned from this visit that I am not who I want to be to these kids yet. I will have to work harder. Good thing I know how to work hard.

The visit has gone very well. I hope this is a sign of many wonderful visits to come. We are a long way from grown up. There is a lot of time left to bond before they run off to the wonders of their own lives. I haven’t missed the window yet. But I better not get snotty about that belief or I will miss the window.

Thank you so much for the gift of time with your children.

+/- FogCon and health

+ Spending time with Sarah at the conference was lovely.

– Working on all three days meant I spent a lot of time working and very little time enjoying panels. That was poor planning on my part. I only made it to panels on one day.

+ Going on the train with the kids. That was fun.

– Next time I will not pick restaurants that are so far away and make reservations so I feel like we HAVE TO do the whole fucking walk. That was dumb.

+ Took the girls swimming and we had a lot of fun.

– Boo stupid hotel telling us the pool was closed on the website so we had to buy new damn bathing suits.

– Kids taking off from the adult they were supposed to be with and getting in an elevator alone.

+ Didn’t have many hypervigilance symptoms all weekend. I wasn’t scared. I was very relaxed. I even slept fairly well even if I didn’t sleep enough. I did have some anger surges but they were usually… connected to things that kind of deserved some anger. LIKE KIDS RUNNING OFF AND GETTING IN A FUCKING ELEVATOR ALONE. So I don’t feel like it was PTSD symptomatic. And I calmed down and didn’t rant.

-/+ Started bleeding Saturday morning. This is actually a really good thing because my pattern with the PMDD is the day I start bleeding I have pain, but all of a sudden my mood improves. I’m much more tolerant that day. I’m kind of self-absorbed thinking about the physical pain so I don’t react to what other people are doing as much. But it means I am in a lot of pain.

– This gets another negative. This sucks. So much pain. Insane pain. Holy fucking shit can I beat my joints with hammers so that they stop fucking hurting hurting hurting hurting. They would hurt less if I hit them with hammers.

– Naturopath won’t work with insurance even a little bit.

– Not happy about some kid interactions. I intervene faster than some other parents. I have a very hard time with the fact that other people are fine with their kids experimenting with hitting and kicking my children. If it was once I wouldn’t even notice. It’s not once. It has happened almost half a dozen times. I’m not sure how to address this. Yes, kid is very young. That means it should be the parents responsibility to be shadowing the kid at all times to be preventing that behavior in my opinion. That’s how I got my kids through those phases. Yes it was labor intensive. Yes, it kind of sucked for me. I wanted the kids. There is no such thing as “helicopter parenting” with the under 3 set. That’s called “parenting”. That’s not even true. Helicopter parenting is not letting your kid climb the ladder to go down the slide. Helicopter parenting is not letting your ten year old walk to the convenience store. Helicopter parenting is calling to yell at the college professor for not giving your kid an “A”. But if you watch your kid kick someone else and choose to not intervene the first time that’s a problem. It’s not free range parenting either. I think what I’m really doing is hoping that we will come back from the trip and this problem will have evaporated as a “stage”. (No I haven’t talked to the parents. I don’t know them that well and I feel awkward as fuck. It’s never a good time.)

+ I bought so many cool books. I’m terribly excited. Including a new comic book series about a neat sounding re-imagining of Beowulf. Looking forward to sharing it with the kids.

– Books are heavy. I feel like I practically broke my back on the train on the way home carrying the books. Yes, I know that e-reading is a solution to this. It really isn’t a good solution for me for a variety of reasons. Everyone is different!

+ So forking proud of the kids for how they handled carrying their stuff on the trip. They were pretty good about staying on task and focusing and carrying on when they wanted to quit.

+ I had an alcoholic drink on two of the nights of the conference and throughout the whole weekend I HAD SOLID POOP. I don’t understand. Yes, I stuck with whiskey because it is on the IBS approved list, but sometimes it is still problematic. Belly, I give you gentle and loving pats. Good job. Maybe it was all the fucking vegetables and fruit I ate. I tried so hard to be good to you even though we were traveling. I love you. Please be nice to me like this more often.

+ I had a lot of neat conversations with people. I miss those kinds of environments so much. One of the harder things about home schooling is the lack of colleagues. I talk to home schooling parents, but I don’t don’t use curriculum. So we aren’t talking technique all that much. This weekend was really fulfilling in that way. I felt like, Yes I have studied this shit, By Gawd.

+ A writer I have long admired caught me in the hallway alone at a random moment and all but invited herself over to dinner to see what I’ve done with my house after I described the painting. My heart went pitter patter. Oh yes. You did that. You totally just did that. You said, “I want to come over for dinner. Send me an email so we can match up our schedules.” Oh. Oh. *fluttery hands* You did that! It’s my dream come true and she doesn’t even read my blog. *swoon*

+ The panel I was on went so well. I’m really happy it worked out. True to form people came up to me and said, “I got a lot out of it. It was really intense.” That’s me. I may not be able to bring the funny but I’ve got bushels of intense. 

+ Got an email this weekend inviting us to a speaking gig on Tuesday. I found baby sitting. I need to make a resume. Even though this event isn’t a “Stanford” event… it’s at Stanford. I was invited to speak at Stanford. I need a resume. Yeah, I’m a “stay at home parent” but I’m doing shit.

+ It was neat seeing the evolution of people. I saw a lot of people I have known very distantly for my entire adult life. A number of folks I met when I was 18 or 19. They seemed… maybe confused by my lifestyle choices? I couldn’t read the facial expressions that well. The comments were mostly neutral with a hint of snark and that is downright positive for most of them. I feel like I am on the path I want to be on. It was neat feeling very affirmed in that.

+ It is nice feeling like looking around at other people convinces me that I am growing past role models. The things I want to do are not things that other people want to do. So I don’t have role models. I need to just do them and be ok with that. It’s funny to me how I can feel that in some communities and I’m still struggling to be “ok” with my identity in other parts of my life/self.

(Which isn’t to say that I think I am “better” than other people. I’m not. But I’m dealing with very different logistics and that’s ok.)

+ I am so grateful that I live in the time and place I live. And I’m really happy to be home.

The five month trip is going to be hard. I’m thinking hard about how we can bring home with us. It’s coming up soon. 17 weeks until we leave. That doesn’t feel like very long. Four more months. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I have wanted to do this for so long. How are we going to keep up our Adventurous Spirits!?

Time will tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s pretty fucked up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When oh when will I stop looking for substitute parents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I’m kidding.)

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

Ok, now how do I get it done?

Without living on packed foods plus restaurants. Ahem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priorities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch me justify my awesome bun binge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know. I’m still a bitch.

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

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

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

Life is hard. 5010 words. Time to stop.

Not coping-methods

I’m reading this book on meditation. (Specifically because it is published by one of the publishing houses I think is most likely to be interested in my book.)

It is hard living with contradictory selves. I honestly and truly believe that people don’t want to be in my life unless they want something from me. And yet I think that the vast majority of people who love me want nothing more than to chat with me for a few hours a year. That doesn’t seem like much to “want” from me.

But it creates a suspicious feeling. I’m really having a screwy day. I’m most of the way through a whiskey sour (1 oz whiskey, 4 oz sours) so I’m feeling it.

My stomach doesn’t hurt like it did when I came home from therapy. Between the medication and the alcohol I don’t feel so much like I should die. I just feel tired, drained, and kind of sad.

I feel like my therapist believes that I experience suicidality because I “like” it. I happen to think it would be more convenient if I believed that I am exceedingly able to handle most things that come up. I think I would like it if I didn’t always feel like I am hurting people so much just by existing.

I don’t know how to gentle down enough to deserve to live.

It was interesting, actually, on Friday I went to a party. Winter Bash. The Renaissance Faire guild I used to work with has a party every year. It’s not really the guild–the guild mistress and her husband have a big party. They invite people from lots of parts of their lives… but I only talk to the guild people because that’s who I know.

I had some really great chats. I’m glad I made it. I haven’t made it up in several years and it was lovely to catch up with a few specific people. But everything is mixed for me.

I watched people flinch when I was too loud/extreme/strong in my phrasing or something. I didn’t feel like I was that bad. The people who already knew me didn’t really flinch. Strangers did.

I like being able to produce that reaction from people when I want to produce that reaction. I actually don’t like that it happens when I think I’m doing just fine.

I feel like a manipulative chicken shit for talking about wanting to die when I am merely being held responsible for my actions.

But that’s not really it. If a judge wants to slap a restraining order on me because I said things that were genuinely illegal… that’s reasonable. I think that if I were actually threatening to kill someone I would bloody well deserve a restraining order and I would accept it.

I have no interest in hurting that doctor. If I haven’t hurt the people who have raped me… If I haven’t driven up to my sister’s front door and caused her permanent damage… a doctor fucking up some instructions is not going to send me over the edge.

I’m not actually a violent person. I am an abrupt person. I am an angry person. I understand that other people have no way of knowing whether or not I am a threat to them when I am angry in front of them.

I only tell myself it is ok to drink for stress reasons every few years. I never feel good about it. Even though I am massively opposed to AA and I don’t think I’m an alcoholic I have just as much guilt about drinking when I’m upset as I read about in books. Which… depending on how I read different books… actually means I’m an alcoholic. Even though I’ve never had a problem with drinking very much. I think about alcohol a lot. When I have even one serving I feel enormous guilt–which kind of makes alcohol a problem. Which by some definitions means I have a problem with alcohol and I shouldn’t drink.

It’s god damn medicinal. I need to lower my anxiety level.

I’m all the way up to four drinks this week. One at the holiday party. Two last night. One today. This is how I keep me honest. Speaking of which: diarrhea this afternoon. With this much alcohol no duh. I haven’t had alcohol in months. Before I stopped drinking entirely I averaged 1-3 drinks/month. (Yo- whiskey, one drink a night, is FODMAP friendly…)

I’ll stop hurting myself after the court date.

See, part of the thing about my self-harm is: I do it as an outlet. Otherwise I have outbursts of inappropriate emotion around people who don’t deserve it. Then I get punished for not having enough control of my emotions. The punishment is inevitably much larger and more of a problem than my self harm.

I reiterate: what the fuck is so bad about me hurting myself so that I don’t react inappropriately around other people and end up way more hurt?!?!?!?!?!

I miss cutting. Instead, Eldest is building some pretty cool stuff in Minecraft and Youngest is enjoying having the power to steer the iPad. I’m hurting my arms (typing) or reading and not talking a lot. If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say nothing at all.

I made ramen for lunch. For one of the few times in my life… it didn’t taste good. I got no comfort from the experience. I don’t think wheat is going so well. Oh god.

It is kind of funny that this happened on “vacation” week. Most kids aren’t supposed to be “schooling” this week. So it is very typical of their generation that they will spend most of their time on the screen this week. Ha.

There is a part of my brain that knows I won’t be upset about any of the things that is happening in six months. I will dimly remember being upset.

It would be nice to borrow from future self. I think having the awareness of a future self who will not be upset about these things is the best I can manage. I should stop typing and start reading.

Lots of balls in the air.

We went to pick up the Prius because Toyota said it was fixed. Before it could be driven out of the parking lot a warning light came on. Toyota sent us home with a rental. But that’s pending more dealing with and maybe more paying for fixing things and who knows what.

The dishwasher is due to be installed today. I can’t wait. I have a full kitchen of dishes and I’m not fucking hand washing them all.

I have contacted half a dozen lawyers and left messages. Haven’t heard back. It’s kind of a bad week. Shit.

Talked to my shrink yesterday. I felt guilty because I try not to pester her outside of my sessions. She said it sucks but it isn’t as big of a deal as I’m afraid of it being. Oh god.

Oh, and Christmas is in three days. Maybe I should wrap more presents. I have everything. Although we haven’t discussed what we are eating on Christmas. Might be smart to plan ahead.

I haven’t heard back about the only plans I attempted for this coming weekend. I guess we are just sitting at home till the court date. That’s probably for the best.

I’m medicating and reading and trying to not cry or have a bad tone of voice. The kids are SUPER snuggly because they can tell I’m upset. I feel like I’m really getting to the point where I’m straining the amount of understanding kids should give their parents. This elimination diet has been rough in a few ways.

Luckily I’m on gluten, dairy, and eggs without a problem. I’m still wussing out about a lot of the high fodmap vegetables. I’m trying classes of food at a time. I should probably wait till after Christmas, chill on sugar, dairy, and eggs, and see if I can handle some of the known fruit/vegetable irritants. Have to get the body working better soon. Running out of time.

Too much to do. Can’t sit home being sick.

I haven’t looked around the house or the yards for all the projects I’ve made no progress on in months. I just can’t bear to look. I’ll get back to it. But it is hurting in the idle time.

I need to put together the travel trailer for one thing. Oh man.

I feel a lot better than I did. But I should stop typing. So much anxiety and sadness. I feel like a maelstrom about to explode.

This is one of those periods when I wonder “Is it really so bad if I back slide on some of my self-harming behaviors so that I have more spoons for dealing with the kids?” Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

If I went in the bathroom and cut my leg up I would have more patience and calm. I would be a nicer person.

If it’s ok for me to let doctors give me hormones to change how my brain works, why is it so fucking bad for me to do it with a razor blade for free?!

There are a lot more self-harming things I’m thinking about but listing them seems questionable right now.

I’ll sit very still and read young adult fiction. It’s “better”. I’m told.

Days 63-68

63- Instead of pills I ate the edible caramels. Om nom nom. Not as potent but way better tasting.

Brekkie: oatmeal (gf), strawberries, pecans, cinnamon, sugar, rice milk

Snack: peanut butter candy, banana, candy cane, Pepsi (it was a bad day)

Lunch: mashed potatoes (with dairy), spicy string beans, chicken, carrot, bell pepper, garlic?, broccoli

Dinner: gf English muffin, brie, cranberry, walnut, Canadian bacon, three cookies (with egg)

3:45pm- solid log! brown! totally poop

64- more caramels and a pill later in the day

Brekkie: gf English muffin, Canadian bacon, egg, brie, cranberry, walnut, tea, rice milk, sugar

Snack: candy cane, mozzarella, yogurt parfait (Regular) with lemon curd, raspberry jam, granola, peppermint hot chocolate

Lunch: chicken soup (home made, ibs compliant)

Dinner: tomato soup (with dairy), gf bread roll, butter

4:45am- mostly formed but kind of soft, clouded when flushed, yellowish brown

Had one experience of wicked bad smelling gas at 6:45 pm but just the one.

65- I’m still taking pot

Brekkie: oatmeal, rice milk, tea, sugar, blueberries, Canadian bacon

Lunch: gf pasta, tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, candy cane

Dinner: meatballs, sausage, beef satay, rice, green beans, lemon grass (may have had gluten in meatballs–we were at the company Christmas party and you eat what you get), drank a whiskey sour with cointreau.

5am- solid, brown poop. some smaller finishing pieces

9:15am- solidish, smaller, smooth like toothpaste, on the thin side, several pieces

2pm- brown, soft, many pieces, clouded when flushed

66- Brekkie: scrambled eggs, low-lactose yogurt, banana, cinnamon/sugar almonds

Lunch: hot chocolate, gf pasta, tomato sauce, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sweet potato (butter and sugar)

Dinner: roast beef, cheese, salami, yogurt covered gf pretzels (these are like *candy*)

2:30pm- solid brown log

67- Brekkie: ham and cheese omelette with hashbrowns and oj

Lunch: grilled cheese (gf bread), tomato soup

Dinner: pot stickers, rice, spring rolls (with gluten)

Dessert: regular cookies and gf brownies with egg

3pm- solid log of brown poop

?- not a solid log, but not diarrhea. wet and soft but formed little pieces, didn’t cloud when flushed

68- back to pills

Brekkie: waffle with gluten, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberry syrup, fried potatoes, Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs, Earl Grey (with caffeine), regular milk, sugar

Lunch: gf pasta, tomato sauce, chard, popcorn

Dinner: chicken soup leftovers. piece of peppermint roca

3:30am- solid dark brown log

7am- lots of little pieces, wet looking, semi-formed

7pm- rock hard, solid poop

 

I find myself feeling kind of overwhelmed by how much I can feel digestion now. I have a little bit of belly tenderness, not a lot–it’s not pain. But it is is like I can feel the food moving around now and it is a little weird.

I’m having big feelings about my poop settling down now after I reintroduce everything. So what the hell was wrong with all this the first time?

I’m eating fucking ramen for lunch.

Ok, poop chronicles aren’t over

But I lost my book so things will get confused.

This morning I had a lovely completely solid poop at 3:30am (which is way the heck earlier than I’ve been pooping but it was after almost 8 hours of solid sleep) then a not-so-solid at 7:20am. It’s not diarrhea, but it’s pretty soft and lots of air mixed in. Formed little soft pieces. Didn’t cloud with flushing though, which is a good sign.

Bummer.

Let the sun shine

Today, unaccountably, I’m waking up in a good mood. We can’t go anywhere because Noah has the only working vehicle. My day will consist of puttering around the house and yard. I have reading to do.

My bowels have worked in a perfectly acceptable manner for a week now. I haven’t pushed my luck with gluten but I’ve been having eggs and dairy (sometimes on purpose sometimes from stupidity) and I’m doing well.

I have a big bowl of oatmeal with candied pecans and strawberries. I will have a spiffy-as-heck new dishwasher in six days. The car should be done today or tomorrow. Tonight we will go see The Last Unicorn in Pleasanton.

What do I have to complain about? Pain in my arm? Pain in my ankle? Bah. I did those to myself. I’ll stop typing to stop exacerbating the one.

Days 59-62

59- Brekkie: oatmeal, strawberries, banana, pecans, almond milk, sugar, tea

Lunch: gf bread, soy cream cheese, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, ham, grapes

Dinner: chicken lettuce wrap, chicken fried rice (whoops with egg), Mongolian beef with lots of green onions

Dessert: peanut butter mochi balls

3:45am- long ribbon of yellow poop, formed but thin, smooth like tooth paste

8am- small ribbon of medium brown poop

12:30pm- long, banana-like pieces, smooth, shaped, tooth pastey

60- Brekkie: gf bread, egg replacer, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, lactose free yogurt, sugar, tea, candy cane

Lunch: REO Speedwagon on gf bread with no mayo, rice stick thing

Dinner: chicken, broccolini, mashed potatoes (made with regular dairy)

3pm- long, solid log. brown. minor cracking because it is so firm!!!!

61- Brekkie: Noah-special French toast, yogurt, canadian bacon, maple syrup

Snack: peanut butter candy and banana

Lunch: lettuce, strawberry, parmesan cheese, bleu cheese, pecans, balsamic vinegar, chicken

Dinner: yellow curry with chicken and no onions, spicy green beans, pineapple fried rice, sticky rice

6am- solid, two pieces, banana shaped–a little thin

3:45pm- multiple pieces, mostly formed, clouded when flushed

62- Brekkie: canadian bacon, gf pancakes with blueberries and butter, black tea, sugar, regular pasteurized milk

Lunch: pineapple fried rice, yellow curry,

Snack: banana and peanut butter candy

Dinner: chicken soup, stock, carrots, bok choy, broccoli, roasted tomatoes, potato, celery, celery root, probably garlic, bell peppers, brussels sprouts

Dessert: three cookies. Definitely has egg.

10:45am- very solid brown log

1:15pm- solid poop, on the thin side but formed and brown

 

As far as I can see, that’s seven days in a row of reasonable poop. It’s like fasting for the procedure cleared out my system such that I can poop now. Weird.

Drips and drabs

(The time references will be weird. This was written over multiple days.)

Yesterday morning my dishwasher broke. That sucker is D-E-D. And then last night the Prius died while I was driving on Alameda.

That was after a day of no-medication where I was shrieking and shaking and freaking out about making it to a dance recital on time. It was a festive start to the day. I don’t shriek or shake in front of people I don’t live with. I save that for the Gibbs.

But you know what? I can afford to fix these problems. They are very small problems in the scope of my life. Truly, these are problems that are tiny. I will barely notice the hit to my bank account.

We already bought a spiffy-as-heck dishwasher this morning. It will work better (not hard–ours was a piece of crap when it was new 15-18 years ago), be quieter, and use less water. A total win.

Tomorrow we have babysitting lined up that will make it easy to go back up to Alameda and figure out what the heck is wrong with the Prius. Noah will be slightly inconvenienced but it won’t be a big deal.

In the past two months I’ve had something like eight doctor/dentist visits. That’s a lot of driving. That involves going to Cupertino a few times and Pleasanton a bunch. That has massively cut into my spoons for driving.

One of my friends keeps prefacing comments with, “I’m sorry things are so hard right now” and I feel a little bewildered. On one hand, things certainly aren’t swimming along smoothly. On the other hand shit dude, do I even have problems?!

My belly isn’t being more cooperative than usual but it has calmed down from the serious trouble it was giving me. My ankle is feeling a lot better but I’m still not quite up for running/ice skating. (It twinges if I pull sideways at all–but I’m walking on it more.) I am now up to 7 straight days of pooping normally. I want to throw a party.

I fudged on egg in fried rice on Friday night. By Sunday night I’m still feeling good and pooping solid. I feel so confused by my food stuff. I think that eventually I will find patterns in “I can’t have more than x amount of y food” but right now it is still feeling tricky. At this stage I’m pretty darn sure I don’t have a real allergy. Real allergies are consistent instead of being about, “Well you can have 8 oz of z but not 10 oz.” I have irritation and sensitivity issues.

I’m reading yet more books on living with IBS. The doctors who specialize in it seem to be unsure if they feel hope or not. “You will never be cured. Stop looking for more medical tests to find out what is ‘really’ wrong with you. Learn what your body needs in terms of diet and then learn how to manage the pain. It will be part of you forever. The more you fight it the worse it hurts.”

Well shit, dude.

What I’m appreciating the most is how adamant the consensus is that there is no such thing as a standard treatment. Every individual with IBS has to figure out how it works in his/her body. Much like autism! If you know one person with autism you know one person with autism and you know nothing about the disorder. IBS seems to be somewhat similar.

I’ve got to just say that I felt super validated and supported by the specialists saying that IBS patients tend to be wicked sensitive to medication and are often unable to medicate for their problems because the medications are more problematic. That is a huge validation point.

I’ve already been on every medication they recommend. Can’t take them.

Why can’t I? Because as much familiarity as I have with diarrhea even I have limits. I need to be able to sleep. I need to not hate myself so much that I am incapable of thinking about anything but how much I should die. All the meds recommended for IBS treatment fuck me up. I live with enough suicidality. I don’t need a fucking antidepressant that makes me unable to function through the haze of wanting to die. No thanks. And oh man the insomnia. I went about two weeks without sleeping once in high school.

My longest span of sleeplessness during adulthood was eight days and that freaked my therapist out. I don’t need more meds that make it impossible for me to sleep.

And the drugs that completely kill the libido aren’t an option. I won’t be able to survive that. And my marriage won’t survive that. Just no.

They don’t improve my IBS symptoms so having all the extra shit dumped on my lap is self-hating to such a degree I won’t do it. I’m not going to do it just so I can make doctors feel better about having “managed” me.

The problem with IBS as a diagnosis is–they do have to check and make sure you don’t have other issues. But once they check you shouldn’t keep checking. That’s a hard balance. If you don’t check to start with you don’t know if you have IBS or something much worse. Tricky.

Ok, now it is another day. I’m only sorta still thinking about the things I wrote about above. And my arm hurts really badly. Like, can’t pick up a pitcher of water and pour it with one hand pain.

We spent many hours this morning trying to get the Prius fixed. The first shop couldn’t do it. The Toyota dealership in Oakland will fix it though. It may be expensive but  …

I keep feeling these waves of excitement. When something breaks I can FIX IT. That’s… a weird feeling. It’s an awesome feeling. This is privilege. When I have a problem I can just find pay to fix it. No big deal. My bank account will barely blip. I doubt that our petty cash will drop below six figures. This blows my mind every single day. I’m not poor any more.

Holy fucking shit I’m not poor anymore. When my car breaks I can just fix it. When my dishwasher breaks I can just replace it. Hell, I could walk out and buy a new car today. (I don’t want to do so and I won’t…)

I feel like I don’t have a lot of room to complain about my life this minute. Yes, things go wrong. But I have resources and the ability to fix problems. I am so very lucky.

This morning I got a call from the remodeling company. I should have an email today or tomorrow with the proposed design. Things are moving along.

And I figured out who sent the mushroom kit! It was my friend in Oregon (who is one of my big encouragers for gardening stuff). So exciting! We are supposed to plant on Christmas Eve.

food cravings

I’m alternating between feeling like I’m really craving low calorie foods (I’m weirdly drawn to vegetables–I totally WANT alfalfa sprouts) but I’m super duper hungry to the point where I feel almost frantic.

I feel lethargic and depressed, but better physically. I feel like I’m getting a low amount of bloating/abdominal discomfort but a high amount of the depression flattening.

I downloaded an application that is supposed to help you figure out some of your IBS symptoms. But in order to use the app you have to only eat the meals they tell you to eat exactly how they tell you to eat them. Well that won’t be a useful app for me. I don’t follow directions like that even if I “should”. I’m eating off the “appropriate” list–fuck you for saying it isn’t good enough because I’m not doing it in the way that is easiest for you to program.

I need a nutritionist/doctor who will do breath testing, apparently. IBS specialists say they can test your breath to see what you aren’t digesting properly–the problem is things fermenting in your gut.

Today I have nothing to give. No support. Nothing useful to say. I’m not good. I’m not kind. I’m not worthy. I really want to shove my head through a window. The kids finally cleaned up (took three days) so they are on the screen again. It was good to have that three day break.

Noah tells me that I am reacting to the books-should-be-free thing because I am objecting to what Ayn Rand calls spiritual looting. Great. That will be awesome for my reputation. I can channel Ayn Rand as I get older. That will make me more fucking popular.

I understand that lots of people hate her. I feel like reading Ayn Rand was what allowed me to see my family clearly and divorce them. Before Noah read me Atlas Shrugged I just didn’t see how clearly my family hated me and would wring me dry at the same time. Afterwards it was so crystal clear how they would live off my hard work and be nasty to me for working the whole time.

I’m not overall a Randian, but I think she makes some good points about human interactions.

My family would cheerfully act like Hank Reardon’s family. Be nasty, rude, and demeaning to him while asking him to pay for their extravagant idiocies. Yeah, I can cut off those blood suckers.

I’d like to spend the day in the bathroom cutting. I honestly can’t think of anything else I want to do. It isn’t that we are having a hard day–we aren’t.

Instead I will go make some food and reread a Tamora Pierce book. Thank you, K for the gift of Tamora Pierce. I didn’t know what I was missing.

Day 58

took: pot, fish oil, b-complex, multi-vitamin, probiotics

Pre-Brekkie snacking: mozzarella, banana, strawberry lemonade (for the swallowing of pills) Strawberry and lemons are both “ok” but I’m not 100% confident I should be having this in FODMAPS.

Brekkie: fried potatoes, ham, ghee, sugar, olive oil, cinnamon, tea, almond milk,

Snack: peanut butter candy piece

Lunch: oj x 2 (this was definitely not kosher), beef soup, gf roll

Dinner: spaghetti, tomato sauce, asiago, 1/2 a banana

4:30am- dark brown, toothpaste like, not very solid but fairly connected

10isham- long, thin, like a pencil. very dark brown. pieces were breaking off.

5:30pm- solid pieces, not big, not real hard, very dark brown.

Tone is absent

For the record, I thought “Ha, ha, ha, no” was hilarious. Pam said it was really sad. Oh. Whoops. This is why I have no future as a funny writer. I think it is pretty funny how out of commission I am for sex. (For the record, my ankle only hurts when I’m sitting cross-legged and my foot is pushed sideways. It no longer hurts when I’m sitting in a chair or when I’m walking. Some improvement!)

I went to the grocery store with a FODMAPS shopping list and sauntered through Whole Paycheck practically kicking my heels together. I have so many new options!!! Nothing like extreme deprivation to make you think mild deprivation is awesome. (That’s a for-real-studied-phenomena. If you really get to thinking your life sucks. Take a deprivation vacation and you’ll think your life is awesome when you go back to it.) FODMAPS allows many types of cheeses and low-lactose yogurt and raw milk is probably fine so it barely feels like dairy restriction. No cream cheese or sour cream. Big whoop.

It also helps that Whole Paycheck can accommodate any weird food limitation/need so I was reminded that if you are rich you can eat no matter how annoying your body is. I constantly have feelings about that. I’ve been talking to a lot of the moms in the home school group about body-issues. Many have issues in the same league as mine even if they aren’t exactly the same and… they just can’t afford to follow what they know is “appropriate” for their body. They literally cannot buy the food.

I am so lucky at this stage of my life. My privilege comes from Noah. And I didn’t earn it. And I’m not better than anyone else. And I don’t deserve it more than anyone. I just have it.

I don’t know how to live with it. I mean, I’m living with it. But I don’t know how to be… sensitive? Appropriate? Not an asshole? I don’t know. I don’t have rich people skills.

Rich people and poor people talk about money differently. Not long ago I was talking to one of the wealthier moms and she mentioned that she was interested in buying a set of camping dishes like the set we had. I told her, “How funny because I think I’m getting rid of the set we have because it is too hard to pack due to size–want it?” She offered to pay me.

When poor people hand stuff to their friends, it is rare to expect payment (unless someone starts out saying “I want to sell ____” the expectation is that when you hand stuff off… you hand it off) but with wealthier people I notice that they often offer to pay for things. They want to feel less beholden.

I give things to friends a lot. I donate a lot of things. I don’t do a lot of reselling my stuff any more. Partially because I feel like a leech. I could extract money from the women around me when I have extra stuff, but most of the stuff came to me for free. I have plenty of money and extra. Why should I sell things under those circumstances? It seems… like the reason people hate rich white people. I have extra. I don’t need to wring pennies from people for my cast-off stuff.

But if I needed the money more I’d have no shame about selling stuff. I did it when Noah made a lot less money and there was more of a gap in the budget.

I just… I’m in a weird position and I don’t know how to handle it. I feel awkward when people give me a break financially. Last night the server didn’t charge me extra for the gluten free bread even though she was supposed to. I pointed it out to her. The guy on the Christmas tree lot undercharged me and I pointed it out to him. People are always shocked when I say, “Hey. You undercharged me. This is supposed to be +$10 and you didn’t get what you are supposed to get. Here.” Often they try hard to talk me out of giving them the additional money.

I don’t want to take from people. I don’t need the charity any more. Save your charitable impulses for someone who needs it, they will be along soon. I’m glad you want to be nice and all. If you don’t want me to pay for mine, can I pay for the next persons so you can let them have the benefit?

I owe the world something. I leapfrogged up the ladder so hard and so far that I need to not be selfish about landing where I land. I don’t need to act “deserving”. I need to be humble. Pride means it all goes away. I am so influenced by all the time I spent reading the Bible. (I’ve read that bastard cover to cover. Many parts of it I read many times.)

I spend time talking about the people in my life. I talk to my shrink, my other friends, Noah… I talk about the people in my life. I talk about my feelings and what my behavior should be. I’m not a huge fan of the golden rule (treat others as you want to be treated) I like the platinum rule (treat others as they want to be treated) but that takes a lot of thinking and work and making mistakes and trying other tactics. It takes processing.

One of my friends said something interesting to me about a situation I’m struggling with. She said, “Maybe she needs to not think about the road not taken. Maybe she needs to forget that they exist.” That was kind of startling for me. I… I’m not capable of not thinking about the road not taken. I’m completely fucking obsessed. I’m always in the mode of preparing for additional options. Other people… they don’t work that way.

Lots of people get through their days by putting their heads down and not acknowledging that there are other options possible. That’s how they endure.

I’m sort of vaguely aware of this. I have book learnin’ that tells me this is so. I think it is so fucking weird. But I try to understand people. I try to understand why this works so well for people. I don’t get it. I really don’t. But whether I get it or not, I can clearly see that it is the coping method of choice for many people. Oh. Yeah, that’s probably part of what is going on in that situation over there. Yeah, I would be quite distressing under those circumstances. Whoops. Crap.

I had a different conversation with a different friend about how we can manage our interesting overlapping PTSD triggers. I like treating these things like they matter and will take work. That way I don’t just hurt someone and then tell them to go away when we have overlapping issues.

Today I have lots of babysitting time and no ability to do outside work. I think today is a day for me to work on getting my book out to publishers. I have eight hours of babysitting today (in split shifts with more than one person) so I should be able to get some work done. That will be exciting. I haven’t made book progress in many months. I completely stalled.

Other than book stuff I can’t think of much I have to do today. The storm cancels out the majority of the tasks sitting here waiting for me. (There are many things I need to do… most of them are outside. Like putting together the travel trailer. I bought it then got really sick and haven’t had the physical strength to go move around the huge pieces of metal alone. I’ll get back to it. Damnit.)

I have made contact with a nutritionist who was recommended by a friend. She’s in Chico. She gave me contact information for people in Oakland and Berkeley. Someday some interesting people will move to Fremont. That day hasn’t come yet. Well… I’m here…

Another friend passed along contact information for a doctor who could help me out with fecal transplant, I just have to get to Portland, Oregon. (I do that pretty regularly.)

Being rich changes things. “Just suffer” isn’t really the same sort of situation. I have options that exist in the world. There are more things to try… if you have time and money. It feels crazy to me.

I want to talk to a nutritionist because I don’t really understand what the symptoms of having specific food problems look like. I was told yesterday that if dairy doesn’t give me horrible smelling gas I almost certainly don’t have dairy problems and I should reintroduce it to give myself more variety. (The person who said this has been to college for a medical degree so I’m less snotty about her telling me her opinion on this sort of thing than I could be.)

Why do I go back and forth between believing people with medical degrees more and hating them so much? Because it feels like they have the knowledge to help me it is just whether or not they think I am actually worth thinking about. I’m a hard puzzle. I’m work to figure out. They went to school to help them learn how to figure out puzzles like me. Most of them have decided that I’m too much trouble and I should be silenced. “Just eat more cereal” is a silencing sort of answer.

When someone tries everything they can think of and it all fails… I don’t get mad in the same way. I’m sad, but grateful they tried. I understand that different methods work for different people. I’m ok with the knowledge that some of the things I try will fail. I’m not ok with the feeling that the doctors don’t care very much and aren’t willing to try very hard. When someone isn’t willing to try very hard I hate them and hate them and hate them and hate them. I hate them with all the fury I normally reserve for my mother and father.

Because they don’t love me enough to try. Big theme.

My needs are too big. So they just aren’t worth trying to meet. Ok.

I have several tabs open on my Chrome screen for doctors I will call in January. That’s when I get my new insurance information. My neighbor has had a nightmarish journey over the past few years on her journey to a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis. Her husband said she found a great gastroenterologist in town and I’m going to try talking to the woman. Worth a try. I’ll talk to the nutritionist in Chico (and hell, maybe the one in San Diego my other friend recommended). I’ll talk to the poop-transplant-doctor in Portland.

Because that is what privilege gives you. The ability to pay for the time of professionals. Sometimes it feels crazy.

I am very grateful that I get to keep trying things. That is such an unbelievable gift. That is hope all wrapped up in a shiny wrapping with a string.

I got to wake up and eat a cheese stick this morning. There is still hope.

Days 55-56

55 needs updating

From 2-4 am I drank Sprite and chicken broth. Then I gave myself enemas to make sure I had nothing in me. Many enemas. Oh god.

Lunch: mozzarella, goat cheese (fodmaps says these cheeses are ok and if fodmaps says so I’m fucking eating them), gf roll, ham, mustard, cabbage, olive oil

Dinner: rice pasta, tomato sauce, basil, carrot, paprika, asiago

I had diarrhea, just a little, over and over all day. I didn’t track. (Yellow bile. Hurt. Burned. No fun.) Not worth it. I also started bleeding like a stuck pig right after the sigmoidoscopy. This is the heaviest period I’ve had since my post-partum bleeding. I’m cramping like a mother fucker and I can’t take pain meds because of the scoping. Wheeee.

56- pills taken: pot, b-complex, multi-vitamin, Chinese digestion herbs (from acupuncturist), fish oil, probiotics

Brekkie: rice cereal, almond milk, mozzarella, prosciutto, black tea, sugar

Snack: peanut butter candy Noah made. mmmmm.

Lunch: gf roll, soy cream cheese, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts (this was hella good–I am craving raw green things something fierce), banana

Dinner: beef soup (home made stock, steak, bok choy, ginger, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers) gf. roll, lemonade

Dessert: brownies my friend made for the open house. Mmmmm tastes like love. And no egg brownies. Yay!

3am- solid log of brown poop

2:30pm- solid brown poop–not a full log. Dainty-like.

This morning wasn’t a solid log, but it was solid pieces and being on my period usually liquifies my bowels. So I thought that was pretty good.

 

Weird food cravings.

want salad. This is not a usual craving for me. Also: I don’t feel “hungry” but I feel drastically under-caloried, if that makes sense. I feel like I’m not eating enough to sustain my activity so I’m weak and tired. But I don’t feel like I have stomach capacity for more food.

I agree shalyndra–it is really unhappy making that no doctors seem concerned about my Rainbow o’ Poop. I see everything from reddish brown to bright bright bright yellow (it’s practically neon) to the weirdest green. Sometimes I get this intense maroon brown, which is supposed to be kind of bad but no doctors seem to care.

Man. Food.

Lettuce is actually on the FODMAPS list. I didn’t buy any today. Instead I got arugula and spinach and I hope that will satisfy the same craving. I know I need more greens than I’ve been getting. I know I also need way the hell more fiber but that’s tricky without gluten.

Working on it.

I find it funny that I was sent home from the appointment yesterday with guidelines for treating constipation. Since obviously if I have hemorrhoids I must have constipation. Actually, I’ve had them since Shanna’s pregnancy. And I don’t get constipated if by “constipation” you mean that it is difficult to poop or my poop is really hard.