Category Archives: gardening

Another good morning.

Gardening is the best work I do. I feel so happy with the results. I get results so quickly. Ok, there are some pieces that are about long-term-settle-in-and-wait… BUT IF I SPREAD COCOA MULCH DOWN IT INSTANTLY LOOKS PRETTY AND GROOMED. It’s magic. And it smells so good.

I love my garden. Some day I may get to the point of loving my garden more than my children. I love my garden so very much. It’s so pretty. I get to have an almost creepy level of control and I’m not hurting anyone. It’s glorious. I’m allowed to kill plants that irritate me and I’m not evil. I’m allowed to stomp on things if I’m pissy and mean feeling and then I have to deal with the consequences but I haven’t hurt a person.

My garden will forgive me and love me even though sometimes I take big axes to it and chop pieces of it away. I don’t like pomelos. Get the fuck off my tree you mean old bastard.

I’m allowed. It’s ok here.

I love gardening. I don’t know of many better activities in this world. And my children help more and more with every passing year. You don’t know what this means to me.

I love my garden.

Busy busy

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and started painting. I did it by candle light because the breaker in the kitchen is turned off. I need to finish the ceiling today so we can turn the light on and put the fridge back.

I painted behind the fridge first. Both to get it done and so I could practice some techniques. God damn I’ve improved. I’m way the hell better at painting than I used to be. It’s a shame that tree will be covered. It’s gorgeous.

I finished the first layer of ceiling color and stopped at 6:30 for a break. My shoulders ache. This is going to be slooooooooooooooow because I have a lot of work on vines and leaves I want to do. Not to mention that Eldest Child wants me to go back over everything with glitter. We’ll see.

This project is going to take many days. I look forward to it. I want to finish the ceiling today. I want the light back on.

Which means I need to figure out where the trees are coming from on the walls so I can plan animals, and plants around them. Argh. IF ONLY THIS WEREN’T FUN.

With every passing year I like my painting more. The moss is downright eery and pretty.

Combine this with how much yard work I’ve gotten done this year… 2016 is a beautiful year of growth. And houseguests.

I bought the plane tickets for my friend and her kids yesterday. They are coming out for most of July. Originally I had kinda expected them to drive… with all the health problems involved that was a stupid and unsafe thought. I’m so happy she was brave enough to ask for plane tickets. I know it is hard to ask people to spend money on you. It’s hard to feel worthy. But I’m bugging her about coming to visit and there’s no way she can pay. So I bought tickets. I get them for 18 days. Sounds wonderful to me.

I’m just sad the house is in chaos. But oh well. Life is what it is.

Oh crap. I need to clean up the spare room for Dad today. Whoops. That’s kinda important cause he arrives tonight.

It will be fun. Maybe he’ll sit in a chair and talk to me while I paint. I will enjoy that.

Oh crumbs. It is the end of the school year. We need to go through boxes of saved materials for the year and cull for the portfolio. That can wait till I’m done with painting.

Side note: I feel good about life when I can look down and see paint splotches on my hand.

Other random thought: my Dad has met all of my Serious Relationships in the past 12 years. It sorta makes me think I ought to invite folks over for supper this week to meet him. I’d invite you-who-plays-with-Noah too. Cause I’m like that. Tuesday or Friday would work. What do y’all think? I’m only sorta kidding. Not really. I’d do it.

When I say “I’d do it” I really mean “How serious do you consider yourself to be?” Because no really, my Dad has met every even slightly serious relationship I’ve had as an adult since I met him. And he lives in Washington. So. How serious do you consider yourself to be in my life? This might be something worthy of direct conversations instead of passive aggression but whatever.

It’s a bonus that Dad already knows my submissive and Cupid. He’d like Daddy and Deity just find. I need a nickname for you Ms. You, the one I talk to so much in DMs on Twitter. You come up in conversation in our house at least four times a week… so you are totally in need of a blog name. Who do you want to be?

Sarah is just Sarah because she happened long before nicknames for me. And Jenny. And fuck Noah’s privacy. He gave it up with the marriage contract.

Really, if anyone in our sexin-web wanted to come, please do. We obviously want you.

Ahem.

Sometimes I stop and wonder why do I feel alone? I’m not alone anymore. Not emotionally, physically, energetically… not even spiritually. I may not be Dagora, I may not have my ancestors following me around like a flock of crows waiting to hear from me. I may not be a Christian who believes that Jesus will carry me when I falter.

But I have you. That’s enough.

Then why do I still have this keening alone alone alone feeling? Why am I so scared of myself? We are born alone and we die alone and I’m afraid afraid afraid of when I will make myself die. Please, not too soon. Don’t do it until I am completely out of good days.

Why am I so afraid of being alone? Because I’m not very nice to me. Alone means hitting, cutting, burning myself. It means the meanest words I know said over and over and over. Because I believe I deserve that.

But when I am not alone I know that it is not ok with Person X that I do that to myself. They love me and need me to at least pretend I love myself too.

I am so afraid of being alone.

I feel so lucky that I found people who want to be nice to me. I feel so lucky that I found people who, when I explain how I am being hurt by something, work to change problematic behaviors.

It isn’t that this behavior is wrong for all people. It is that it hurts me and I need you to notice that you are interacting with me.

I am not just like everyone else. I fall far outside the standard deviations in almost every metric. I have to be learned.

The trouble is that I do not believe I am worthy of such effort, time, and commitment.

My friends show up for the amount of time, with the amount of effort and commitment they have to give. Thank you. I appreciate your generosity. You don’t owe me the time of day let alone what you actually give me. Thank you.

I know I sound ungrateful. I’m not. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. 

Please don’t be mad at me for not being grateful enough. I’m trying.

On Wednesday I am leaving the kids home with Grandpa and daddy and I get to go help my friends for a change. Including driving (ugggggggg) I’ll probably take about six hours to go help them with a project that just exploded in their life.

I feel honored to be asked. They don’t ask for help much. They instead offer a lot of help. I am so grateful to not just be sponging off of them. Instead I have something to offer. This feels so good.

It hurts me when I ask people if I can help them with a project and they refuse. It feels like they do not trust me. It feels like I am not worthy. The quality of my work is too poor. I do not deserve to have that time with them.

I am sorry that I insulted you by offering you substandard, inadequate help. I will not trouble you further.

And that globalizes. It becomes hard to ask for other things. I am not good at asking for help. I am good at offering help. I kinda need people to let me help them so that I can get to a place where I am able to accept help in return when someone sorta bossily pushes it on me.

Oh I love bossy people. Love love love.

The satisfaction of people believing that my help is worth something…. that is huge. Whether it is a wood working project, organizing, writing, parenting, bdsm, whatever.

When people act like I hold wisdom and experience that is useful… I feel like my life has value. I should not die. See… I have things left to give. I am still a useful tool.

I need to be useful.

This isn’t a “healthy” part of my makeup but it’s there.

Ok, I’ve been writing for about 40 minutes. 1400ish words. Should I stop now and save spoons for painting? Yes I should. Future me needs these arms. I typed slow so I wouldn’t hurt myself too much. I was careful.

I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art.

Ok. Now I’m ready to stop resting.

Forward, ho

I’m moving forward. The remodel stuff is creaking along the lines of “I’m about to fire your ass” and I have support. Today two grown ups are coming over and they will help with yard work and painting tasks.

Yard work tasks:

  1. transplant the blue agaves
  2. transplant YC’s plant
  3. fill the palettes with dirt and transplant the strawberries
  4. finish moving the remaining dirt into more planters for YC’s “own bed for growing things”. Sorry it has to be divided up.
  5. Some weed pulling and moving of yuck to the green waste bin
  6. Filling all the bird feeders
  7. Trim the roses and distribute the thorns so I get fewer cats. Fucking neighbor cats
  8. Water both yards

Painting tasks:

  1. Remove cupboards & hardware
  2. Scrub walls with intensive cleanser
  3. Sand walls
  4. Rescrub with cleanser

Doesn’t that sound like a full enough damn day?

Regular chores:

  1. Laundry (must strip bed) working on this
  2. Load dishwasher
  3. Hand wash sink of dishes
  4. Clear counters and finish finding “during painting” homes for everything

Contact peeps chores:

  1. Where am I sleeping on the 25th? Must look at options on a map. Thank you generous, kind friends. Decision made. Beginning of the parade route.
  2. Write a letter. To whom is yet to be decided but I should do it. Wrote 2
  3. Look at Jenny’s birthday box, see what has to be added and make the shopping list. I should fucking mail it this weekend. I’m already in the next month. I know she forgives me, but I’m feeling like an asshole.
  4. Schedule acupuncture
  5. Schedule pampering w/Sarah

To be fair! The kitchen prep is only from my waist up today. Because I’m painting in stages for reasons of not exhausting myself.

Noah told the kids yesterday that surely we were about out of room for plants. The kids both argued. He argued back. I said, “I expect we’ll have 40-80 more plants before I’m done.” Noah said, “Whoa.”

Well, after the house is painted I’m ringing the fucker with plants. There are going to be a lot of indoor plants once we are done painting this time.

I’m going to spend the next year of my life trying to learn how to take proper care of my garden. This is going to take a fuck-ton of time.

I’m looking forward to it.

These are a few of my favorite things…

Lest I sound like a one trick pony… My Bonus Kids spent the night! As usual, this is thrilling and wonderful. I’m doing my best to smile pretty at their parents and say, “Wouldn’t split custody be niiiiiiiice?” Not 50/50 custody… but couldn’t I have them like 10% or 20% or 30% of the time?

It’s rather awkward to be all, “Hey I’d like to have more kids but I would die… can I borrow  yours?”

So far they are willing to share somewhat. How much we will find out in the fullness of time. I’m thrilled.

Part of what I love so much about my Bonus Kids is that I am not the mama so problem solving is an entirely different process. I have mad respect for their relationship with their mama and I can see how she is the best mom in the world. She knows them to the marrow of their bones in I way I just can’t. They are foreign to me.

But it makes me think of my kids differently. Oh. That’s why things are so easy. That connection.

I don’t think that having biological children is the be-all/end-all of all of life… but I’m having a lot of fun.

My kids validate my existence in a way nothing else can or will. They needed me for survival. They have a lot of my weird/wacky traits without having lots of complex trauma stories behind them. That’s fascinating to watch.

My kids don’t need me for survival any more. They still need me, but it’s different.

A friend was over helping me with tile on Monday. All four of us got hungry. I asked the kids to make lunch and they did and it was good. (My hands were doing gross things.)

Tile plugs along. I probably have 15-20 more hours of removing backing from tile. I’m working on taping spring down. Then I want to finish winter. Then autumn. Then I have to figure out summer.

Oh goody.

Four more hours of taping spring? I think the mountain will take 4-8 more hours. Autumn is probably 10 hours away from done.

So that’s like eight days of work before I get to summer. No… closer to two weeks with how slow I’m going. Depends on how much help I get unbacking tile. Fudge. Uhm, at least the remodel is stalled and I don’t have to hurry. Ugh. This Friday I’ve been waiting nine weeks for a letter.

Once they move back in to start work they have about three weeks to go. So… I need to get my butt in gear. I need to be only working on summer when they get back started. Or be done with summer.

I think summer is going to need to be a different style of mosaic. I am looking at different techniques and options. It is so much fun to not have any idea what the hell I’m doing and just… make something cool.

Fuck yeah.

My garden is coming right along.

Last night I only got 7 hours of sleep, but I still feel better after two nights of sleep. I felt much better by yesterday afternoon.

I appreciate when I can misunderstand something and get over it in a 24 hour period. That was quite literally not possible 10 years ago. Progress is awesome. Noah patted me on the back and said he was really surprised how well I handled it. That’s nice of him. Thanks Noah.

I really have worked hard on mellowing out. It’s a process. You need to be safe to be mellow.

Thank you, Noah.

Oooh, another sweet point. Two wonderful friends asked me how I would feel about them asking Noah to play. Awwwww aren’t you the sweetest things? I feel charmed and delighted. You asked me first. Nobody is asking Noah first. But my friends ask me first before they go slide on up to my husband.

That was not required but hot damn you managed to slide into my magnanimous zone. Now you were so awesome that I’m going to put a lot of pressure on Noah to handle things right and be deserving. “Do you know how lucky you are to get women like that?! BE NICE.” Or not nice. Whatever y’all negotiate. Have fun!

Slutty women deserve to be treated like the angels of mercy they are. Be grateful. Or I’ll be pissed all the way off.

All hail slutty people of all possible gender configurations. Huzzah!

I love you all.

Not just because you are slutty… but that does make you feel like kin and I like that feeling.

What makes me happy? Noah. Noah is handling me hunting better than I am. When I over react and want to flip out over something he patiently reels me back in and explains why my feelings are out of proportion and I really should be giving people chances.

Maybe the reason I am more calm now is because someone is intimately aware of my thinking process and he helps me manage it. “Ok so you read this in an upsetting way. Let’s talk about that.”

For the record, folks, I don’t have a lot of privacy from Noah. Partially because I just don’t desire that kind of privacy but mostly because I need help managing my disordered thinking and Noah is willing and that requires access. So I give it to him.

If I keep secrets from Noah I will need some way of color coding that information in my brain so I can keep it from Noah. That sounds hard. I have enough hard in my life. I’d rather keep letting information pass through me like a sieve when it comes to Noah. That is the most comfortable part for me.

So that when I screw up and don’t tell him something right in the first place it’ll still come up because I have complete diarrhea of the mouth and I tell him everything so even if I do it in a dick way… everything is coming out and we can process it. Sometimes part of the processing is, “You told me that in a dick way.” Yeah. That’s true. I did.

I remain convinced that no one on this planet could love me like Noah does. Thank you Noah. I am so grateful for you.

Other happy news! We are going to be house-guest central. (Finish the bathroom, damnit!)

In April Dad is coming down to spend a weekend. This will be entertaining because he wants to see his bio-kids a fair bit too and they are having big feelings about me since my kids were born. They can ignore the slutty daughter-girlfriends. I’m… something different. They aren’t so sure they are ok with him adopting an adult child and being a grandparent. That is stepping on their toes. But it also looks somewhat like I may be the only one of the three of us to have kids. So yeah. Complicated. I’m trying to be as nice and accommodating as I can there. I like his bio-kids and I hope that we can long-term get more friendly. I hope. *cross fingers*

In May a friend from the Bay who moved east then moved west (but way the fuck north of here) is going to stay with us for a weekend. I’m excited about that. I haven’t seen her since before the kids were born.

Also in May we have a fun overnight adult-only camping thing I’m wicked excited about. I don’t know how it will go. When I used to go to these events, in the dim recesses of my memory, I remember lots of bdsm and fairly little sex. Some, but not a lot. These days… I’d uhhhh… yeah. I’m no longer content with a weekend of bdsm and no sex. I’ve changed. So yeah. I have no idea how this will go.

I had this really slutty idea about how to handle play at that party. Maybe I’ll write about it separately. Maybe I’m not quite that brave. Ahem.

Ahem.

Then in May I’m going to the grief ritual with Sarah. I’m so grateful she wants to come with me. I anticipate a full weekend sob/hug fest. That’s going to be magical. At the other grief rituals I have attended, I always went alone. The organizer always encourages hugs/physical support and… I’m me. Don’t fucking touch me who the hell are you? Especially when I’m freaked out and feeling vulnerable. Strangers just shouldn’t touch me. That’s not safe for any of us. Don’t do it. Sarah is safe. This is going to be a night and day different experience. It’s a full weekend retreat instead of going to and from a college campus every day on bart.

I’m looking forward to this. We have so much to talk about. So many different levels of wounding. We’ve already looked at a lot of this together over the 12ish years we’ve been doing whatever it is we are doing. But this is going to be super intense and heavy. In a way we both need. Thank you my friend. I am so grateful.

June is blissfully unscheduled and I think it should stay pretty close to that way.

July I get to host my friend and her two sons for three weeks. They are coming in from Arizona. I’m so excited. I met her on the road trip and we’ve talked a whole bunch since then.

I am really proud of how well I’m keeping the house up despite the chaos of the remodel and the amount of work I’m getting done. This is remaining a good work space. It feels accessible and functional. *pat myself on the back* (Let’s be real here: the kids are amazing these days. The road trip was worth it.)

I haven’t been gushing about the kids lately. Mostly cause my arms hurt and I’m obsessed with my sex life. But the kids are knocking my socks off. They are making such tremendous progress.

I’m happy that both kids say, “Can we take a break from classes?” It isn’t just coming from me and financially motivated. *phew* We could all use a break from trying to become something different and just… be for a little while.

August/September is the cruise. Looks like another family might be joining us after all. I am completely fucking thrilled and surprised and happy. I think that all four families might stay in Florida for a week after the cruise to see stuff. 7 grown ups and 6 kids sounds way more like a party.

My life is so ridiculously good I just don’t understand how I got here.

A child is waking up. It is time for the day to begin.

Totally flooded.

I haz big feelings. My stomach hurts. But I feel like I worked out this awful thing that has been in my neck/shoulder for years. I feel like I did a major trauma release in this class. That’s kinda intense. Exposure therapy for the win.

This is what exposure therapy means. The attackers are safe guys in suits who maintain their distance so they can maintain their aura of scary. But they are monitored by women the whole time. It isn’t some guy deciding to do something to a woman when he feels like it and she should have to react right. That’s not exposure therapy. Exposure therapy means a female coach kneeling with her face next to your face whispering, “Remember to breathe. Stop. Wait for the moment. You can do this.”

Stop calling real life abuse exposure therapy. It isn’t. Ok, digression over.

My second experience at Impact was fairly different from the first. I didn’t have a friend in the class. It felt like the group warmed up slower but then made more genuine connections once we did warm up. Everyone started off tentative and not too chatty but by the final day we were pretty friendly. That felt nice.

I took a risk the morning of the third day. I said that the cheering wasn’t making it through to me during my fights and I really needed the line to get louder and more encouraging because it’s scary to fight in quiet. I feel alone. I have to say, those women came through once I made a specific request. They did great.

I didn’t ask for more than one extended fight this time. I literally just… couldn’t. By the time I got through the one extended fight my body was saying, “Let the men make them easy from here on out.”

The guys… they have to work ridiculously hard to do an extended fight with the people who really want blood. They do extended fights to teach women that even when you feel exhausted (this is as close as they will get to the exhaustion of a fight where you will be dealing with someone hitting you) and tired and worn out you can still defend yourself. I think I have a better understanding of fighting from a place of exhaustion from the get go, so I didn’t need the exercise this weekend.

I chose to leave a few spoons in my drawer. Because today I seriously need to pay attention to the kids and if I had left it all out on the mat I would spend today in bed crying. I just couldn’t. This wasn’t a real fight to the death so it would have been inappropriate to wear myself out that hard so I couldn’t hang with the kids.

I pay attention to these things.

Topic switch. Back to hitting.

Yes, I think (upon further reflection) what I am doing with Noah unconsciously probably would be better termed a tap or a light smack… but that is still putting my hands on someone else’s body in a way I’m not paying attention to. In a way that he chooses to describe as being hit. Because he gets that choice. I need to stop it.

Just like people don’t get to tell me that when the kid kicked me in the throat it wasn’t assault. Yes, actually it was an assault. I’m not going to prosecute because I don’t think the kid had malicious intent. But it was an assault.

It is possible to hit and not be causing (permanent) damage. Not be hurting people. Still be a problem. Still need to stop.

I need to have so much fucking control over my body that I do not put my hands on people at all unless I am doing it in a way that I am highly conscious and in control of exactly what I’m doing. I can’t be muddy. I can’t be like “Close enough is good enough.” Not with what I want to do with my life.

So maybe I’m over reacting and maybe I’m understanding how much work I have left on this problem. I need to stop hitting people. Entirely. 100000% unless someone is directly threatening my physical safety.

I know I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to live in gray areas but this is a black and white thing. I’ve done too much hitting in my life. I need to get this under control.

I mean, not that I’m going to cancel that nice date with my friend. I’m going to do everything in my power to get to the point where I only hit people (even lightly) when they say, “Pretty please”. Or they start a fight.

I spent a lot of this class thinking about escalation. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I escalate.

I know it’s all victim blamey and shit, but yeah a lot of the fights, a lot of the rapes kinda happened because I had no ability to deescalate. It hurts seeing that so plainly over time. I am not good at managing peoples emotions in a deescalating way. I’m good at cranking the volume up. I stimulate feelings I don’t settle them. This is a problem.

I think about things like the neighbor who has been sexually harassing me. Did I encourage him? I don’t think so. 90%+ of the time I talk to him my kids are standing right there and I don’t encourage displays of sexuality in front of my children. So I’m inclined to believe this is his desperate fantasy that he isn’t dead yet and he’s still sexually interesting instead of this being about me. But do I deescalate properly when he brings stuff up? Mostly I call the kids and keep walking when he gets rude. What else should I be doing?

Well I think kicking the crap out of him then telling him I cannot be in control if a man grabs me may have been effective. He’s keeping more physical distance these days.

But is he going to creep again? My guess is yes. Because creepers gonna creep. Does it make it all my fault if it happens again because I’m stupid enough to talk to him?

You know what? I get to walk around my god damn neighborhood without having to physically fight off unwanted sexual advances. That’s fucking ridiculous. No this isn’t my fault and I should not have to avoid walking down my own god damn street to avoid being sexually harassed. That’s not reasonable. If he starts shit I’m not the one escalating. He is. I’m just not going to fucking be passive. I’m very friendly and non-threatening with him. I have no desire to hurt him. I’m just not going to let him do shit to me I don’t want to have done.

That has to be ok. No matter how old he is. No matter how much I like him. No matter if I know any man ever again.

I get to say yes to everything that happens to my body. Or I get to fucking hurt you. That’s the deal.

I’m getting closer to the point where I feel I could actually do it in a fight.

It was hard having Noah there. I asked him if he thought I could stop him if he tried to rape me at this point. He isn’t convinced.

I need to take more classes. It is 100% my goal to be able to so deeply scare men that they do not believe they could successfully do that again.

Not because I want to hurt men. Because I’m not going to be raped again. I’m done. The passive has been raped right the fuck out of me. I’ve taken all I can take.

It is quite literally my goal to die before letting someone rape me again. I want to fight to the point where someone has the choice to kill me or leave me alone.

I’m done.

Something broke and it can’t be fixed.

To be fair, Noah didn’t see my extended fight. He saw the easy peasy fights the instructors give you to blow off steam so you walk out of the room feeling strong so you don’t leave feeling like you should walk in front of a bus. They plan this shit. They know the roller coaster they put people on. Noah didn’t see quite how effective I am at kicking peoples skulls in. I practice from a variety of angles. I’m semi-worried that I will actually kill someone because I’m going to be kicking with such incredible force and anger. I may well shove someones face into their brain.

I won’t lose sleep over that. Ok, yes I will. I will be convinced I’m a monster who should be killed. Maybe I’ll go to jail and think that’s fair.

But I won’t be god damn raped that day.

I feel dangerous and horrible. But yes I am prepared to use deadly force to prevent someone from raping me again.

I have to believe I deserve that or I need to die today because I cannot endure another rape. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

I’m done. I have to believe I am allowed to kill someone to stop them if necessary. I know that in an actual fight I will have to use the minimum amount of force necessary to stop a fight. I know that. The chances I will get to a fight that results in death are incredibly freakishly low. Only I’m going to pursue a career that will make people hate me with the power of the sun.

So maybe my chances aren’t vanishingly small. Maybe they just aren’t that high?

I don’t know that I am yet at a point where I am capable of holding the adrenaline in and just doing the necessary hurting.

During one of my fights the suited instructor literally ran out of the room to get away from me because I was chasing too much.

I mean, I didn’t chase him off the mat. But I did take steps in his direction. I hear that the expression on my face was uhhhhh… terrifying.

I don’t know if that is a regular schtick of theirs to try and break the tension because it’s funny. Or if he felt like that is actually how an attacker would respond because holy shit.

I don’t know.

You never know.

They call the rape prevention moves “reversals”. Because you are reversing the power. Those are the ones where you have to stay still on the floor and use physics and it’s scary and complicated and fairly precise. I find them horrifyingly triggering.

It’s really hard to say, “I tried that and what happened was…” I failed. That’s what happened. I failed when I tried to do that. I didn’t prevent a rape that day.

Ahhh. I tried to move long before I felt weight. There was no physics to help me. Fuck everything. Well, specifically he fucked me. After slamming my head into the ground so hard I saw stars. I stopped fighting.

I don’t know if it would be different today. I don’t actually feel confident. That was just a fucking class. I was chanting to myself the whole time, “There is no chance this man would actually rape you. There are witnesses. He’s wearing very difficult clothing. This isn’t real.” Because I wanted to run screaming I was so fucking freaked out. But… that means it isn’t that real in my body.

Would I be able to access this when I’m scared? I’ve worked so hard for so many years to break the freeze response. I’m tired of going numb. But it is a genuine survival skill. I have worked hard to make it less likely I will survive.

I’m ready to die or assert myself. One or the other. But I do not yet know for sure that I’d win.

It is hard believing that I would kill to defend myself and that is part of why I am a disgusting person. I don’t know that I really believe I have the right. I am bad. I want to hurt people.

Not really. I’m just god damn done letting them hurt me.

That’s not true either. I do want to hurt people. I want to hurt people who like being hurt because it released kinetic energy from my body and it allows me to be more calm and gentle when necessary and appropriate.

Hitting is all of these things. It is tapping Noah when I shouldn’t. Even though it doesn’t hurt I’m touching someone without consent in a way that can be described as hitting. My friend who is inviting me to a lovely session of testicle kicking, that’s hitting too. It is completely consensual. He’s going to have a good time, I’m going to have a good time–it’s going to be fun! And being willing to beat someone unconscious for trying to rape me.

It’s all hitting. It is all violence. But do they mean the same things? Should they be treated the same way legally? Should they be treated like trauma because “hitting”?

Everyone gets to decide for themselves what is traumatizing. I’ve done bdsm scenes that were WAY more intense/painful/fucking out there than my rapes. My rapes traumatized me. My rapes were an action that I did not consent to happening to my body in a way that proved to me that I do not have the right to have agency over myself or my life. My bdsm scenes were done with friends and they were fun. Even if they were painful and scary. I knew what I was signing on for. I did it on purpose. I did it with full force and vigor and choice.

That makes all the difference.

I don’t feel traumatized by the throat kick. I feel like I learned something about boundaries.

If you fuck up and assault someone… that isn’t the end of the world. How you respond afterwards is what matters.

If you fuck up and assault someone on purpose… that’s different.

I genuinely believe there are accidental assaults all the time. Just like there is involuntary manslaughter.

Ok, I have one specific complaint about the class this time: I really didn’t appreciate the “boogeyman homeless guy” thing. That fucking pissed me off. The vast majority of assaults are someone you know. Leave the fucking homeless guys alone. They are doing their fucking best and I’m god damn tired of the nastiness of housed people.

Being homeless does not mean you are a god damn rapist.

That’s the attitude though. Homeless guys are creepy and scary. Do you know why they creep you out? Because you feel like they aren’t like you and that’s gross. I feel like they are like me and they are in a hard place right now.

I don’t need to feel scared of someone who has so little power and authority in life compared to me. Am I prepared to defend myself if someone does start something? Sure. But I’ve been interacting with homeless people for decades. I’ve done so all over the country and in other countries.

I’m not scared of homeless people. They are scared of me.

Why? Because they know I can call the cops and have them put in jail. That’s how the power dynamic works. Can I really? Would the cops do it? Maybe. But it’s pretty likely. If any of you dressed-like-you-live-in-a-house-people called the police on a homeless person there is a high chance the homeless person is getting arrested.

For vagrancy. For loitering. For trespassing. For intimidation. For assault.

Even if that assault was accidental. Who cares? It’s a homeless person. They are creepy and icki. We don’t want them around, prosecute.

Stop. Calling. The. Cops. On. Creepy. Homeless. People.

Unless you see them commit a serious crime, just leave them the fuck alone. Ok? They have enough god damn problems without whiny people harassing them.

(I’m not really talking to a specific person or even the folks in the class. I’m mad at the universe over this one.)

I’M TALKING TO THOSE ASSHOLES ON NEXTDOOR.

“I saw a homeless person on my street so I called the police.” I hope you die slowly in a lot of pain.

Like those assholes who called the cops on me in Virginia. I looked suspicious. I had out of state license plates and camping gear. Clearly I was up to no good.

This is my cranky face.

It is weird trying to find a place where compassion and the right to break your face live right side by side. Because in being able to defend myself like this… I’m trying to have compassion for myself. I’m allowed to say that 12 rapists in one life is enough. I’m allowed to say that I was 25 when I was last raped and that’s god damn when it ended. I’m allowed to absolutely fucking harm anyone who tries again.

That is what compassion for myself means. Maybe another woman could passively permit a rape and not kill her attacker and later prosecute and that would be the most “ethical” choice of all… or something.

I can’t absorb any more.

I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

How do you get ready to actually be able to kill someone if you have to? I don’t want to. I really don’t want to.

Shit I already feel guilty that people seem to kill themselves after dealing with me.

(Yes, I know I am not “at fault” for any of these suicides. Life is complicated.)

In class someone thought it was funny to make a joke about fire. I sure know how to shut down jokes about fire. It was asked “Does anyone have any trauma around fire? No? Good….” Then I raised my hand. “Yeah, my brother self immolated.”

I bring all the fun jokes to an end.

God I suck.

Hell, I’m not even saying to stop using the joke. It’s ok to jokingly tease a group of people and tell them the final test will involve jumping through a fiery hoop. That’s not a bad joke. That’s not a real threat.

That’s ok.

But god I can kill any joke.

I am so not funny that it is really really funny. It is to the point where my litany of traumas is becoming almost hysterical. I have a trauma for any god damn situation.

It is kinda funny sometimes.

WHEN WILL THE INSANITY END?!?!!? is most of the joke.

Well, I’m still having an extraordinary life… but I’d say it is mostly no longer traumatic. I have boundary violation issues every so often that must be managed.

I don’t think I’ve been traumatized in while. I think the last trauma was severing with my family. (I think I traumatized Sarah after that… but that’s a different discussion.)

Why do I split hairs like this? Because my shrink tells me to break everything down into its smallest compartments and then sort them out.

What is hitting? What is violence? What is trauma? These things are so broad and yet so very specific.

Random defensive pissiness: I read an article yesterday. Don’t remember where or by whom and I don’t care. The person was pretty much saying, “Stop talking about your white privilege because you are just grand standing. If you were really doing anything to dismantle structural racism you would do it silently.” Oh fuck you.

I’m trying to fund the revolution, motherfucker. I am putting my money where my mouth is. I do more with every year and I track it better so that I can know that I am doing more with every year.

Recently Noah told me, “If you don’t feel like you do anything in the world… you are giving more and more money away every year. You are financially impacting the lives of more and more people. That is doing something.”

I don’t do this because I’m a nice person. I don’t do this to be good. I do this because I can never help the child I was. I do this because it needs to be done and other assholes aren’t stepping up.

I’m an asshole. I can live with that. But I want to be an asshole who has specific boundaries around where and how I hit people, how I escalate fights, and when it is appropriate for me to use force.

I think that hitting people to teach them is a shitty way to teach them if you want an ongoing relationship. That style of teaching instill anger, fear, distrust, and the belief in the person you are educating that they deserve to be hit.

Ask me how I’m feeling about Noah right now.

We need something different.

I do not feel traumatized. I feel like I discovered a boundary. I need something different. This isn’t working for me.

I have enough brain damage for one lifetime.

I think that hitting should be used when you are ok with ending the relationship and not before.

If you don’t think I should be packing to leave then we should not be in a physical fight. That needs to be a boundary. And no, that does not mean I should get free hits without retribution. That’s not what I’m saying.

I need to stop hitting casually. I need to be taught through repetition and mostly through words. This behavior will mostly be extinguished through catching the “taps” that “don’t count” because actually they do. They teach muscle memory. They remind me that hitting is ok.

I used to hit ineffectively so I thought it was fine for me to hit people. At this point I’m very effective and that means I need to treat my hands like weapons and be in full control of them.

Things change.

Noah hit back because I hurt him. He has the right. I’m not really mad that he believes he has the right to defend himself.

I’m mad that men start out able to defend themselves with so much force without having to take class after class after class and work and work and work.

I’m not sure that I’m mad at the men. I’m just mad.

I know that I need to get over all the shit that happened to me. But a lot of the places I hurt almost every day are from specific assaults.

Do you think you would be able to forget if you were reminded by your body every day?

Maybe if I can actually heal I stand a chance. Maybe.

Chiropractic appointment in 3.5 hours. I’m going to call and schedule acupuncture for this week. I don’t see a massage therapist for a while but I’ll be ok. Two weeks? I’ll live. Ha.

Cause the next time I see massage therapists I’m uhm seeing two in one day because I didn’t really look at the calendar before booking the second one. That’s ok. One person works on a very small area for the full hour and the other person does a more general massage for an hour and a half. It will feel like magic. I will need to drink so much water that day.

I’m really trying.

Some day I would like to spend less money on health care and spend more money on donating to communities of color. They need the money. I’d rather not need to spend it on my body.

I really don’t think I’m the best place to spend all these resources. But I recognize that it is literally necessary for a time if I am going to heal and be able to do the work I want to do. If I want to stop feeling suicidal because I cannot deal with how much pain I experience on a daily basis… I need to spend the money since I have it. I don’t have a justification for giving it away instead of fixing what is wrong.

Not at this point. Not really. I will be a more effective tool if I stop and do maintenance.

That’s just prudence.

Is that close enough to self love to count?

I’m trying.

Today I am going to spend with the kids. Except for the chiropractic appointment. They’ll do bookwork during that time. We’ll be together the rest of the time. I think we should garden. We’ll read. We’ll snuggle.

I will remind my body that despite these training exercises… I’m safe now. I am safe now.

We need to meditate tonight. During the class I was fucking whigging out for a while. Then I remembered what I’ve been saying to myself when we meditate. “I breathe in nothing that will pollute me; I breathe out the nothingness that has consumed me.” It helped. It helped a lot. The fact that I’ve been practicing at night has helped. I calmed down much faster than I used to be able to.

Jenny tells me that I look at how far I have to go. She looks at how far I have come. I write it down so I can see too.

A new normal

Well since I blocked IP addresses and referrer sites I’m no longer having panic attacks about the number of hits my blog is getting. Want to know something funny? The number has climbed. I just don’t know where it is coming from. I used to average 40-80 hits/day fairly consistently. That’s been true a long time–like, years.

Now over 200 hits a day is rather common. But I don’t have a trail directly from me to people mocking me.

I’m cool with this. I can live with lots of people coming around. Just don’t… directly leave a trail to being mean, ok? Then we can all live and let live and it’s all good.

I hired a contracting company. I scheduled gardening stuff. I did an hour of clean up/weeding yesterday and I felt so happy about how my yard is coming along. I really have created a magnificent experience in this tiny little yard.

Oh! I had the most exciting thing happen this morning!!!!

 

I woke up to this really strong mental picture. Of a giant drawer that is almost entirely empty, but rattling around on the bottom… there was one spoon!!!!!

I haven’t woken up to having a spoon in my drawer in a long time. I’ve been dealing with very painful deficit for a while here.

But this morning I woke up with a spoon. It isn’t enough for what I’m going to do today. I’m going into deficit already.

But I WOKE UP WITH A SPOON.

That means I’m generating more than I’m burning for the first time in a long time.

YESTERDAY WHEN I WENT TO SEE MY CHIROPRACTOR MY HANDS WEREN’T BURNING.

That hasn’t been true in months.

My tolerance for pot is way lower than it was. In the past two days I’ve been using 10%-20% of what I was using a week ago and I feel about as high as a kite. Which… is a little mixed. I haven’t been high in a long time.

I’m one of those highly functional heavy users most of the time. I lost a little of that. It’s a hilarious mixed bag.

It is going to be a truly exciting day. I have a different doctor appointment this morning. Then I get to do a little bit of gardening. Then a little bit of writing. Then I get to go to tile stores and ask for the leftovers from boxes. Then I get to have dinner with some of my former students. Some of the ones who build me up and make me feel like clearly I am an important person in their lives because they have made great effort to keep me present.

I am really hopeful about the possibility of today being a good day.

Stupid hormones.

Well, I’m feeling better than I did when I woke up yesterday. Instead of taking a whole handful of sleeping pills last night I took barely any sleeping pills and melatonin. It was an experiment and I slept for 8 hours and I feel a bit better. Sleeping for eight hours is vitally important to my health and continued ability to travel. I will literally go crazy with sleep deprivation. I just can’t fuck around with it. Even though I’m scared to death of how many sleeping pills I’m taking.

When my friend saw me pop the handful she looked a wee bit alarmed. Maybe because I almost threw them back up all over her floor. My gag reflex is mighty. “Yeah I overdosed on sleeping pills once. My body is afraid I’m doing it again with every pill I swallow. Let alone a handful.”

I had a wonderful time in Georgia despite being incredibly emotionally volatile. I felt like I was flipping out, but seeing my friend was really nice. I finally got a little pushy and asked if I could weed her beds on the last day because I knew I was so full of nervous energy I was about to explode. Weeding calms me down.

Georgia red clay is a motherfucker. I see why she imported bought dirt for her beds. That clay is tough. I’ve read about it in hundreds of books, how punishing it is. I’m grateful I got to get down on my hands and knees and rip plants out of it. That gave me a perspective I can’t get any other way. That was wonderful.

Since many of you know Mitrian I’m going to talk about her directly just a little bit. I’m probably not the only one who misses her a lot since she has had a reduction in spoons and she isn’t blogging much.

She has a wonderful set up for her life. She has a beautiful three bedroom two bathroom house she can afford without roommates. That is such a blessing after the whack jobs she lived with in California. She had some scary housemates.

She has 2/3 of an acre? I may be remembering that wrong. But she has enough land for a small orchard (we helped her plant the first fig tree!), many raised beds of vegetables (as a vegetarian she can go most of the way to producing her own food with this much land), and a great chicken coup for her five birds. She will end up with more birds in the future. She has Lots Of Plans.

Her house is just about big enough for all of her spinning wheels, heh. She has tons of room to do her work. She thinks she isn’t well organized, but compared to many of the houses I see I would say she is about at a B-. She doesn’t have the money to go to Ikea and just buy a place for everything, but she does really really well with what she has. I think she’s doing wonderfully. I was really impressed.

Not in a condescending “I think of course you must suck” sorta way. More in a “Life is hard and you have eleventybillion demands on your time and arms and you have limited spoons so you are doing GREAT” sorta way.

Mitty was less depressed acting than I’ve seen her in many years. Her chickens are obviously wonderful for her.

And she gets to spend a lot of time with her niece, which is very valuable and healing. From what I can see, Mitty gets to feel like a good role model and that is a powerful spur to grown ups getting their shit together. It worked like magic on me. Not that Mitty “didn’t have her shit together” before… but I sense extra motivation now. Before she left California she really didn’t know what direction her life was going to take and limbo is hard.

Now she has a place. She’s creating an amazing extended network of people to barter with. I feel like I learned a lot just listening to how she is constructing a life. She has thought of possibilities that would completely miss me. I’m so grateful I got to visit. She said we are the first visitors she’s had in her guest room in the two years since she bought the house.

Gosh I want an RV. I want to be able to visit Duluth and Covington more often. Luckily the other people I really want to see are moving back to California and they will be more convenient soon. Excellent.

I’m super happy we made it to Georgia. Even though we are home sick and getting punchy.

Tennessee was a different kind of nice. I’ve known that friend since I was 10/11 years old. (We can’t remember exactly but she’s a year older than me and I was at her 12th birthday.) It was more of a “Let’s see if we are anything like we remember” tentative visit. No, we aren’t like we were and that is a special kind of nice.

It’s wonderful seeing people go from fucked up kids to functional, awesome adults. My friend in Tennessee had a few reasons her life could have gone off the rails. She had her first child at 15. She wasn’t very savvy about keeping herself safe when we were young. (Nor was I so I’m not throwing stones. But I was on birth control from the age of 12.) She had a kid and grew up fast. I would say that hands down she is one of the best mothers I know. She’s super close with her kid but she isn’t controlling and neurotic. She guided her kid through life in a way no one helped her. I learned so much.

Most of my friends have little quirks. I am so grateful when my friends point out, “I have this quirk…” Instead of getting annoyed with me for not understanding. My friend in Tennessee is a hippy like me. She uses cloth stuff instead of disposable-almost-anything. I *loved* her set up. She’s really thought through her cloth usage. She has different piles of cloth all over the house with different textures for different purposes.

I feel inspired. Sorry Noah.

So the last two visits have gone very well. I’ve been irritable. Luckily my friends seem to believe me when I say, “I haven’t been able to fully medicate in months and as a result I’m kind of irritable and tense and cranky and it isn’t you and I’m really happy to be here. I’m sorry I’m not mellow but I literally can’t be right now.” My friends are saying that it sounds hard and otherwise we are having a wonderful time together.

I feel so lucky to know the people I know.

I got to have a fangirl dinner with someone I know through Twitter in Georgia too. That was nice. She really isn’t hopeful that things can change so that black women are abused less. I want to believe she is wrong. I’m afraid she is right.

Today we drive to Disney World. I wish I had more energy for excitement. Instead the main thing I’m excited about is that I won’t have to drive for almost three weeks so I can medicate more.

I talked to my friend in New York who is getting married this month. I told her I can’t do anything to help at the wedding because I’m too pressed for time, I have too many responsibilities, and generally I’m just fucking tired. I can’t do any favors right now. I hate myself but it’s accurate.

I’m going to get me and my two kids from Florida to New York for your wedding. That is what I can do right now. That’s all. I can show up.

I wish I could do more but I really can’t. I cannot have responsibilities for helping adults right now. I feel so guilty and ashamed of myself.

I’m sure that feeling of shame is part of why I felt so bad yesterday.

It’s not all of it, this is normal freaking out for me. It is cyclical. And yet. Yesterday was really intense. I don’t get the inside-a-round-room-with-videos-narrating-self-harm thing as often any more. I don’t even see that every month lately. (Thank you brain. I want to stop and notice that you’ve been pretty nice to me for a while. Most of this trip has gone super well from that point of view. Thanks!) I really hate having those kinds of thoughts when I’m driving.

seriously have to fight my urge to jerk the wheel sideways so we get hurt. It has to be a conscious decision to keep us safe.

We are still here and we are fine. So I made that choice. But I had to choose. I had to decide, “Not today. I still have shit to do.”

I want to research incest so much I can barely breathe. That means I can’t die yet. I want to see what my children are like as adults. We can’t die yet. I have to choose life. Even when it hurts. Even when I don’t want to.

Sometimes I feel bad that what I’m doing with home schooling at this point is working on emotional self regulation. Only I can’t regulate myself. Sad face.

You know what? I actually do regulate myself at this point. I no longer follow my impulses and self harm. I no longer walk along the outside of bridge railings for shits and giggles on days like yesterday hoping I fall. Regulation doesn’t mean avoiding having big feelings. It means dealing with them in a healthy way when they come up. If you avoid having big feelings that isn’t regulation–that’s suppression or denial. Neither is all that useful for life.

My kids have a very different load of emotions compared to me. I am completely confident that if Younger Child were abused in this period it would lead to all kinds of problematic personality formation issues later. That kid is volatile and extreme in a way Eldest Child never was. EC is placid and hard to disrupt most of the time. YC is a powder keg. Look at the child wrong and the child might explode into sobs. It can be hard to be supportive and caring as much as that kid requires. But I’m doing it. That’s the job. Ok, I’m not perfect every day. But I think I get it right more than 75% of the time. Sometimes I have to say, “I love you and I can see that you need __________ but right this minute I can’t give it to you. I’m sorry I’m failing you right now.”

I think it is very important that I not tell my kids that they are asking for too much. It isn’t that you are asking too much. It is that you are asking for something that I am not capable of giving. I’m sorry that I am failing you.

To me there is a huge difference between mean and abuse. I think about this constantly. Abuse makes you feel small. Abuse makes you feel unworthy. Abuse is about taking someone else’s inability to meet your needs and saying it is your fault for having unreasonable needs. Being mean is different. Being mean involves sometimes saying asshole things and admitting, “I’m being an asshole right now because I have x, y, and z going on with my body and I’m sorry I’m taking it out on you. You deserve better I just don’t have it to give.”

Sometimes I think I confuse having boundaries at all with being an asshole. I can’t tell how much they are the same thing and how much they are completely different things. I didn’t grow up with boundaries. Any and all application of boundaries feels like an asshole move to me. But a very healthy and appropriate kind of asshole.

Every postcard I wrote yesterday involved some variation of “I want to go home.” Which I find kind of hilarious. I hope my friends don’t get bored of my whining.

I love you all. The kids are waking up.

Lots of big feelings

The trip is going well. I am so gosh darned tired I feel like I might slip into a puddle and never solidify into a solid being again.

I had a hard time with Noah’s aunts. They grew up in particular times and places and they believe what they believe. Unfortunately for them there is a whole bunch of evidence proving that their beliefs suck.

I am highly dysregulated. I am having a hard time calming down. Too many conversations about poverty and homelessness and race. I really don’t respect the opinions they have.

One aunt spent a long time telling me about how much she enjoys reading the journals of settlers and colonials. They only killed people when they had no choice.

Uhm… go read something written by the folks that the settlers barely avoided killing. You will hear a very different story.

No. The white assholes who showed up on this continent because they were being chased out of their European homes did not kill Native Americans because the Natives were trying to persecute the white people. No. No. No. No.

We are interlopers here. We do not get to claim that our existence here is just about our basic survival. We are stealing in order to survive.

Depending on how you look at it, all humans have been thieves since the beginning. We steal from plants and animals in order to survive. That’s complicated. It’s a hard ethical conundrum. Vegetarians believe that by not eating flesh that you are fine for how you are stealing. Vegans think it must be even more strict and milk and eggs are also over the line.

But no one ever objects to stealing from the artichokes or carrots or cauliflower. We’ve decided they can’t matter.

But that’s kind of funny.

Throughout history many groups of human beings have decided that other groups of human beings don’t matter in similar ways. Sometimes we make these evaluations based on race. Sometimes based on economic privilege. Sometimes based on work choices. If you look around the planet, folks feel free to shit on sex workers in almost every country that exists. Even though sex work is one of the most universal, oldest professions that exists. We still want to punish any individual who engages in it.

Why?

One of the aunts spent a lot of time telling me that she hated the Occupiers and she thinks folks who are homeless are just lazy and they need to get a job.

I told her, are you aware that it takes two or more full time jobs to afford rent, not including utilities or food or a car in most states for people who work minimum wage? You bought your property in 1981 with help. No, other people can’t do what you did. It is really awful for you to think that people who can’t do what you did are lazy. How dare you.

You bought a property for fairly cheap. You had help for 20 years of your mortgage. How dare you say that other people who can’t do what you did are lazy.

Are you aware that historically speaking black people have been shut out of owning property?

This is not about lazy.

Are you aware that the largest race riot in our American history was white people who were jealous that black people were doing too well? But we’ve had a lot of race riots. Mostly they erupt because white people are persecuting non-whites. It is bullshit.

I don’t deal well with people who are incapable of seeing the layers of privilege that built their lives. We are all made up of support and relationships with people. Unfortunately there are major demographics who have traditionally not received support. And they are currently struggling much more significantly than demographics that have traditionally received more support.

I want to equalize that. We can’t go back and fix everything bad that has ever happened. I don’t want to. That’s not the point of life. But we can make it so the people who are alive right now have more access to ways to better their lives.

We don’t have to punish people for being disadvantaged. We don’t have to punish people for being icki and poor and not what we want to look at. We can choose compassion. We can choose to help people just because they exist and they should exist.

I want you to exist. Even when I don’t like you. Even if I want to shout at you because your opinions are just flat terrible.  You do worthy things. Even if those things don’t benefit me in any way shape or form. Not everything is about me.

Not everyone has to benefit me in order to be worthy.

I’m getting better at defending the intensity of my opinions without having to scream at people and tell them how much I hate them for having the opinions they have. I’m glad for that. I am modeling better behavior for my children. I am teaching them to be fierce, but not mean.

I’m trying. I’m trying to model what I think should exist. Have strong opinions. They matter. They help. They are important. But try to express them in a way that will educate instead of alienate.

I really suck at that.

Last night was so awesome. Dad and I got stoned together and I unloaded on him. He’s not an emotional guy. He doesn’t really want to hear about feelings. Ha ha mother fucker. You adopt me and you get what you get. If you want to be my Dad you get to find out what I’m like. And that means listening to an hour or so of emotional unloading every other year or so. Suck it, buddy. Just cope. You can manage.

He did. He’s wonderful to me. I listened to what was going on with his life. He is struggling more than I am. That’s… kind of weird to me. He’s supposed to be the stable grown up. Only now I’m the stable grown up. How the fuck did that happen?

He’s had a hard time since his wife died. Things have been rocky. It makes sense. That has been seven years now. His business failed and that was really hard financially and emotionally. He likes his current job, but it doesn’t pay that much and he has a lot of bills. Complicated. He’s really depressed.

He expresses admiration for my obsessive saving. Which is awkward. I appreciate his positive feedback on my skills but it is uncomfortable too. I don’t think I should be doing better than other people. That is not my self-perception. If I do something well, emotionally, I want it to be because any one can do it and it isn’t very hard. That isn’t true any more though. I’m good at a lot of things that most people suck at. I am an incredibly skilled person.

That’s hard to accept sometimes. I don’t ever get to use the excuse that I just can’t any more. I can find a way. That’s daunting. Overwhelming. Too much pressure. I don’t want to be able to find a way. I want to have the excuse that I don’t have to.

But I’m exceptionally competent. If I don’t do something it is probably because I choose not to and not because I can’t. That’s…

Shit. I’m out of excuses. I like excuses.

Talking to Dad is intense on a variety of levels. As the years go by I am increasingly willing to share my opinion on what I see. “You are selfish in a short sighted way. If we could get your selfishness to see the long-view then I think your romantic life would improve.” He is strangely willing to listen to me now whereas ten years ago he snorted and said what the hell do I know.

Now he’s had two marriages go badly and mine is doing well and he’s willing to listen.

He spent a lot of time questioning whether I was on the road trip because my marriage is rocky. He had a really hard time believing that Noah would be ok with this kind of separation unless we were on the verge of divorce.

Nope, we are very happy together. Lots of sex. Lots of good conversation. We really enjoy one another’s company. But I’m a traveler and he’s not. He loves me anyway just like I love him for being a home body. We are ok with supporting one another through divergent experiences. We don’t have to do everything together. It’s ok if we are different.

It is part of why I am so very happy to be married to Noah. He doesn’t want a Mrs. Noah Gibbs who is there to facilitate his life. He wants to be partnered with Krissy Gibbs. Who is bad ass and does cool things.

He’s bummed when people think I’m cool because he married me. He thinks that is missing the point of me. I am not cool because he sticks his dick in me. I’m cool so he wants to stick his dick in me. People should get the order right.

I really like Noah. I am ridiculously happy to be married to someone who trusts me and who works as hard as he works. I like hard workers. I like people who pick goals and then put their head down and accomplish them come hell or high water. I really like Noah. He inspires me. He also taunts me and I want to punch him for it. But I don’t because we do not have that kind of relationship.

Noah causes me to think really hard about my ever expanding repertoire of skills. He isn’t ok with me minimizing my abilities. He says, “Nope. You don’t get to think you are incompetent any more. You probably never were but you don’t get to think it now.”

I cannot express what knowing him has meant to me. He believes in me. He believes in me the way other people believe in G-d. He thinks I can just do things. So I can.

Thank you.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to the world if everyone had someone who believed in them as much as Noah believes in me. It would be a really incredible planet. I wish I could see that planet.

I want to be part of a world where people build one another up instead of tearing each other down. That was the hard part of dealing with the aunts. I didn’t want to tear them down in the process of educating them and that is hard. Tearing people down is so much easier than building them up.

How do you teach people to see that they are privileged because they grew up with a highly educated parent who had the ability to teach them a variety of skills that other people never know exists? How do you teach people to see that they are lucky and blessed because they got to have abusive help for a period of time?

Some people get no help at all. Not even packaged with abuse. No one wants to help them from the get-go.

Can we get over this idea that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? That’s a crock of shit. The people who survive and who do well are people who have neighbors who show up to help. Not people who do it alone.

I’ve tried doing it alone and I’ve tried finding a network of support. Finding the network is horrifyingly hard. It is emotionally draining and hurtful. There are hundreds of false starts. It feels hopeless most of the time. But then you notice that this time when you fell down someone was there to grab your elbow and keep you from landing on the concrete.

I believe in the MonkeySphere. I believe my connections to human beings are the reason I am alive. Mostly through Shanna and Calli and Noah, but my friends are important. My friends matter so much.

If I weren’t at Dad’s house I wouldn’t be able to see the extent of how much he loves me and would do if I needed it. He’s never going to be able to provide financial support–he might need it in the future. But he has been emotional support for almost 16 years. He has supported me through many different changes in my life. He adapts with me as I change radically and he really wishes he didn’t have to.

I see you. I appreciate you.

Looks like my kids are going to be his grandkid experience. His bio-kids are respectively one and two years younger than me. His son is only going to have children if there is a catastrophic accident and he’s considering pre meditative surgery. Just to be safe. Dad’s bio-daughter is 30 and doesn’t have a partner. Her mom would like her to have kids but she isn’t real interested in single parenting and things aren’t lining up.

It is weird seeing that I am creating a place for myself. I am in the middle of generations. I help interpret going up and going down. I really appreciate that I get to spend so much of my life teaching people how to get along. Kids and adults. That probably isn’t how other people see how I spend my time… but it is how I see what I’m doing. I give other adults a lot of feedback. I try to do it in ways that won’t cause them to turn around and yell at me to back off (I’m pretty deft) but I’m a bossy motherfucker. I’m going to volunteer my view whether you like it or not.

And there are people who keep me around even though I’m highly obnoxious. My life is great.

Last night I told Dad that I feel very safe unloading on him at this point because I know that he likes having me around. He laughed and asked why I am so sure. I said, “I’ve watched you for a lot of years. When you are done with people you get mean. Your jokes are more and more cutting. You point out their flaws more frequently and with more venom. It is hard to watch when you are doing it to people I like. It is part of why I don’t spend more time with you. I don’t want to wear out my welcome. You have never treated me that way and I want to continue this trend.”

He got quiet and thoughtful. After a while he nodded and said, “You are right. I do like you a lot. I’m not sick of you.” He didn’t say that much more about it. He’s not the sort.

I’m sitting in Dad’s back yard resting. I’m thinking about doing some weeding. He’s been really sad and just isn’t keeping up with the house and yard. I cleaned his pipes this morning. If you are going to pollute your lungs, at least don’t do it through an inch of tar, come on.

I’ll clean the kitchen after lunch and before I make dinner. Boy it needs it. I’ll probably clean the bathroom tomorrow because there is mildew starting. This house is more than twice the size of my house, I can see why he is having a hard time keeping up. He used to be able to pay help and now he can’t. I think he should down size but it’s complicated.

Everything is complicated.

Maybe the girls and I will come out here and weed his beds and run over to a nursery. We can put a handful of low-maintenance veggies in so he continues to feel loved after we leave. It is weird how plants do that. I don’t understand it, but I’m starting to see it and exploit the loop hole. Yay for exploitable techniques.

Holy moly we’ve been seeing great yards. Aunt Cookie and my friend W have gorgeous yards. These ladies are accomplished. It was a real treat to visit and see the results of their hard work. I feel so inspired. I need to touch some dirt. I need to put in more plants. The planet needs more plants.

Maybe I can ask him if one of his beds can be a wild flower seed mix for birds and butterflies. So when the flowers come up he can think of us.

We love you and we want you to be here.

I love pot. Today I’m not driving so I’m heavily medicated. Right in this moment I feel like if the biggest burdens in my life are dealing with some classist, racist, mostly decent people… I can work with that. I like educating people. I will learn how to talk about these topics. It is very important to me that people like them learn why they are wrong. I understand that they will be more likely to listen to someone they perceive as being like them. They see me as being like them.

They are wrong as fuck, but that’s ok.

It’s an exploitable loop hole. No, I’m not like you. But I know how to ape some of your class markers and I have learned to do so out of self-preservation. I have learned how to make people like you stop hitting me. I’m not like you.

I’m never going to stop being a fierce person. I believe it is necessary. But I want to learn how to temper it when I choose. I want it to be more under control. I want it to be a tool in my tool box and not the defining explanation of what I’m like. I believe that being capable of violence is necessary for self preservation. I’m going to get better at being lethal and learn how to stop the bullshit posturing.

I don’t need to win the dick contests. Even though mine is bigger.

I don’t like what I win. How is being the biggest dick a good thing?

Well, it’s a good thing when I can get men to back the fuck off of being bossy and/or controlling but quick. There has to be another way.

I struggle with the grey area of wanting to be more open and inviting and wanting to be all go the fuck away.

What is the path? Who knows. I’m just walking.

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.

Silver lining

The upside of extra time spent at home is we are getting along phenomenally well. I’m yelling much less than normal. The only screaming I’ve done lately was over dealing with the Apple website and I was alone in my bedroom for that. I hate their website.

And I’m getting a whole bunch of chores checked off the list. That’s useful.

Between the grief ritual and the spanking I feel purged. My anxiety level is much lower. I feel less desire to reach out to people. Less desire to be affirmed.

I have three people who love me very much. I have three people who prioritize my safety and well-being. I have three people who are just about at my beck and call. This has to be enough. And I don’t get them forever. I have less than thirteen years left where I have this much say-so over three people.

I’m enjoying this phase of life.

Next week my bonus kids will come for a long visit. I’m looking forward to it intensely. It’s like a weekend of intensive teaching. It feels time limited and thus safe. I can pour out all of my energy, all of my give into you for this time limited period and then send you home.

I feel kind of silly because hanging out with kids feels so rewarding. It is appropriate to help them. It is appropriate to teach them how to help themselves. I like teaching people how to do things for themselves.

In just a minute it is time to go inside and ice some cupcakes. Calli and I made them. We are going to have a tea party today.

We like them. It doesn’t matter if anyone else does.

It’s going to be hard to care less about other people liking me or not. So far, it feels pretty bad. Feeling disposable feels really bad.

Today Shanna woke up and said she didn’t feel very well. We were supposed to go to an event. Part of me wonders if she wasn’t feeling well because she loves me and she knows I’m feeling uncomfortable and she wanted to spare me in the only way she could.

I dinno.

All I know is my days are very good and very happy when I am home with my kids. My favorite view is my front porch looking in.

Although I’ve got to say… my garden looks great. Pretty much the whole view around here is awesome. I have more and more flowers in the yard.

I can see seven different kinds of flowers from where I am sitting. There are way more right around the corner. I should write down everything I have in my yard right now. Looks like the grapes I’ve been working on for a few years didn’t like how they were trimmed. They aren’t coming back. Crud.

Time to go ice a cake. My battery is almost dead.

I’m seriously worried about how I will handle my withdrawal from technology on this trip. I’m on a fucking screen all the time.

Guess I’ll have to pay more attention to Shanna and Calli. Oh darn. That will be such a bummer.

(That’s my sarcastic voice.)

Weirdly accomplished

You know what? I’m feeling proud of myself right now. I had a bad weekend emotionally. All I did was sit quietly and read and cry. That’s pretty fucking awesome. I had a lot of desire/impulse to hurt myself and I just let it be. I was not capable of letting these feelings just be ten years ago. I had to hurt myself.

Even three years ago.

I take this “modeling” thing seriously. I’m home schooling for reasons. Some of those reasons are so that I am forced to proactively deal with my mental health because I have genetically susceptible children and they need to be taught coping methods as easily as they are taught to tie their shoes. It’s just necessary for our genetic material. If you proactively handle your problems… they don’t turn into problems.

The funny thing is: I’m covered in bruises and I have no idea how I got any of them. So maybe I’ll dissociate a little and get in a tiny bit of self-harm. It doesn’t count though. I can’t remember it.

I played with the kids a little but not a lot. I participated in meals (that Noah made because he is so ridiculously nice). I didn’t spend the whole weekend ranting. I snuggled people. I wasn’t completely avoidant.

I just made sure that I spent time sitting in the sunshine enjoying my plants and bugs. Holy shit we have a lot of bugs in our back yard. I completely didn’t notice until I sat out there for a few hours. Then I realized that there were hundreds of bugs on each planter bed. Lots of different kinds! I need to figure out how to get more beneficial insects into my yard. Ladybugs, oh ladybugs… where are you? I saw a butterfly! My garden is attracting butterflies!!!!!! /me happy dance

(That’s an IRC reference; the /me thing. IRC is a chat room program. I’m kind of a nerd.)

I’m in a lot of pain, but it is an amount of pain I can work through. I will probably try to run when the babysitter is here today. I have been feeling yucky stiff. It is weird how much better I feel when I’m exercising more consistently. My foot is finally feeling better.

I made a DMV appointment to process the trailer. I’m plugging right along on getting ready for the road trip.

I have made most of my Disney World reservations. It’s kind of funny that I pushed Disney World further back date wise to accommodate other peoples needs. Now they don’t want to go. So I’m not going to be there on my birthday like I had originally planned because instead I wanted to be with friends. But now the friends don’t want to go. I didn’t want to be there in October. October is more expensive points-wise.

Yeah, that’s how scheduling goes.

Hell, I scheduled Calli’s birthday around being in Boston with the Godmama. Maybe I should just fucking change all of the scheduling again. I’m feeling shitty about scheduling around people who dump me.

I have feelings. I need to stop acting like people are ever going to be a significant part of my life. It is folly. I am going to do my shit alone. Why is this so hard for me to accept?

Because I know a lot of people who are part of tight friend-networks and I am so jealous I can’t see straight. I don’t even know how to follow a group to be part of events like that. I’ve tried. I just… never make it.

It’s a good thing I’m not the kind of person who requires other people to go do interesting things.

I feel sad in the same way I felt sad when I stopped hanging out with the people I knew at Los Gatos High School. I feel like I wasted a bunch of time and energy on people who are never going to think I am important. I feel stupid.

I’m taking the no-shows very hard lately. It is especially hard that the home school group is amorphous and I have a lot of very different experiences with the families in it. There are consistent, dependable people. But they are busy. The people who are eager to make plans are the same people who just don’t show up and never remember that they had plans in the first place.

Each no-show, unfortunately, balances out against 10 successes. It’s stupid. I should try to count them in the other direction. I should try to emotionally feel like each success balances out 10 no-shows but…

But I’m digging out of a big black hole anyway. I don’t have that kind of slack to give.

Outside of parks I have two home school events on the calendar between now and the road trip. That may be good enough.

I don’t think the people in the group are doing something wrong or terrible. I think they are living their lives as if I am not important to them… which is simply literally true and accurate.

Sometimes I can handle it and sometimes I can’t. When I can’t, best I stay home. No one is interested in feeling guilty or ashamed because they are not prioritizing me. They shouldn’t prioritize me. It would be kind of weird and fucked up if they did. I’m nothing to them.

That’s the problem. I’m nothing to pretty much everyone. It’s a lot of why I feel like I am nothing.

But I have three people. And they were so nice to me this weekend. That has to be good enough. It is what it is. It is all that I will ever have.

It is three people more than a lot of people get. My mom has never in her life had three people be nice to her the way my family is nice to me. I shouldn’t be so ungrateful.

Not here

I think it is going to be a very good thing to take a break from my life this year. I understand why people idealize the solo traveler adventure shit. It is a chance to stop dealing with all of the expectations of you. I’m not going to be alone. But I’ll change the rules.

I won’t have to fucking vacuum a floor for months.

Some of my friends would cheerfully tell me to hire a cleaner and never clean the floor again! I have big issues with that idea. Big ones. I’m not so fucking good I deserve to never fucking clean a floor again. I don’t know that I think you are too good to clean your own floor either.

Yeah yeah, time management. I have class issues.

I feel worry that I upset a friend when I said I could never live in Alameda. She (potentially, I project that she) felt I was disparaging her home. I’m not trying to disparage the town. The architecture is lovely. I hear the schools are fine.

That doesn’t mean I would feel comfortable there. I would feel dramatically uncomfortable living there because it is beautiful and fine and I am not.

I’m aware that people in the 1% would not especially perceive me as “rich”. Compared to everything I knew before marriage I am filthy, stinking rich. It depends on your perspective. That said I will never have the attitudes, morals, and behaviors of a rich person. I have been white trash too long. Could I act the part in severely delineated ways? Probably. But I can’t carry the ruse on forever. My neighbors have to accept me leaving piles of shit around for months.

I’m gross. I think bodily functions are just fucking fine and if you prompt me to apologize for farting or burping I may get mean. I’m not going to accept being shamed over stuff I cannot fucking help. “I’m not shaming you. I’m just trying to teach you good manners.” You are just trying to get me to apologize for existing. Fuck you. If you want to do it, whatever. I’m not going to. Although I would appreciate you not doing it in my house. Here we are all mammals and unashamed of that.

(Not really fuck you. I’m going to be cussing more than usual for a few days. I have some frustrated energy to deal with. I can’t talk about it. So instead I will sublimate a few extra “fuck yous” into every other part of my life. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.)

I have no desire to have the house of a rich person. I would feel wildly uncomfortable. When I am in a rich house I feel like I am there to be a servant. I *have* had that job. (Cleaning houses.)

And it doesn’t really take being that high on the hog before I feel wildly uncomfortable. I live in a lower middle class tract house. Now that I’ve put a bunch of plants in the yard I’m very content. I have a desire for a bigger bathroom, but otherwise… I don’t want a bigger/nicer house.

I would spend my time there feeling like I was polluting it. That house should be filled with someone who has the decency to apologize for farting.

Noah told me that reactions to farting are class based. Rich people pretend it doesn’t happen. Middle class people apologize for it. Poor people laugh. I laugh. Noah used to apologize, now he ignores it.

I feel … not exactly “anonymous” here where I live. I feel … more acceptably average. There are more genuinely poor people here. There are actual derelict buildings. We have a lot of multi-generational living. Most houses in my neighborhood have extended family living with them. Only a few of us don’t.

When I ask to spend time with my neighbors they assume the kids will play in the yard not that we will go somewhere and fork over a bunch of money to be “entertained”.

I have no desire to raise children who expect frequent entertainment. Ha ha ha. Make your own entertainment. As a result they are really good at entertaining themselves. We don’t go to many shows. We go to the park.

We do go to Disneyland. That’s more so I can have the cheerful ambiance, let’s be clear. That good cheer boosts me up. I think as much because I can dream about my next trip on hard days than because being there is actually that magic. Being there is work. But it is work in a friendly environment and I totally love that shit.

I frequently have the feeling “I am not supposed to be here.” I am not part of the “us” for this location. I am an outsider. I do not belong. I should go.

Alameda is like that for me. I recognize that there are good restaurants and good people who like me and other fine benefits. They are not for me. I don’t belong in Palo Alto either.

I couldn’t have a wacky ass yard full of weeds I don’t pull in Palo Alto. My neighbors would make me very sorry. And my kids wouldn’t be allowed to play with their kids. It would be lonely and hard. My behavior would be “wrong”.

No one in my neighborhood gives a shit what I do with my yard. They are nice to me when I’m out front. They stop to chat about the weather and the kids and they admire the flowers. They don’t complain about how unprofessional and unfinished it looks. They tell me it is wonderful to see me playing with the kids. Then they smile and go on their way.

I fucking love my neighborhood. Have I had issues with people here? Yeah. But not big ones. The hardest-to-deal-with issue moved away. They said they were up for being pen pals but we were never given an address and we’ve never gotten a letter. I don’t think they were telling the truth about being up for writing. I really wish people wouldn’t lie.

That said, I totally forgot to write to Pam when she was overseas. Because I am a douche.

I tell her about my life here in the blog! Although, to be fair, when I’m talking to her one on one she gets way more details than the rest of you get. That’s the benefit of sticking around for 17 years.

Well, there are other people who get the same level of disclosure as her. But lately she spends the most time here so she gets the most stories. That’s just how that works out. I can’t put a lot of the stories in writing.

You think I have no tact?

Oh man.

I want to be not-here for a while. Where “here” is my life. I’m not feeling suicidal–which is frankly wonderful. I feel like I got more of a burst of fighting spirit. It’s more that I’m spending too much of my life feeling like I’m about to do the wrong thing and destroy everything. I want a break from this tension.

I don’t know how tenuous the connections in my life are. So I will spread them really thin. And see who holds.

The people who want to come back will come back. And I can maybe not be such a jackass. Ha ha ha. The people who don’t reintegrate into my life… weren’t meant to be. Worrying won’t change what happens. Well, worrying is more likely to make bad things come true.

I need to stop looking around me all day every day with this whining feeling. I feel anxious and like I need to run away before everyone discovers I’m bad, bad, bad, bad.

I didn’t do anything wrong. This time. But that hardly matters, does it? I will do something wrong soon enough. I’m just getting a little bit of it back in advance.

It isn’t that I think I can’t visit places like Alameda. But have you noticed that I start wanting to tidy? Obviously I should be there to be the help. It’s a thing. Ok, that’s a complicated reaction on my part. Part of it is just obsessive control issues. Order! Must! Impose! Order! I’m a lot better than I used to be…

I want to go out into the rest of the country and remind myself that I live in a bubble. A wonderful bubble where I am more safe than I would probably be anywhere else. My specific flavor of weird is so well suited to exactly where I live. Fremont is a small town in a big urban metro area.

So it turns out I have two friends who live on Alameda about five houses away from one another. They all have little girls who are the same age. They don’t know each other.

We know all of our neighbors. Ok that’s not true. There are houses we don’t know. We make up for it by knowing more than 60% of the people on every street within our whole housing development block. I don’t see that happening elsewhere in the bay area. Folks are too pissy about being interrupted. There are a high number of questionably employed people in my ‘hood. Lots of them are retired folks and my kids will get to understand the circle of life through losing these dear people. We’ve already had some have to move into assisted care.

I think it helps that a very high percentage of our neighbors are immigrants and they are thrilled someone wants to meet them. Fremont is the second most language diverse city in the country. In addition to trying to meet the new folks I have introduced folks who have been neighbors for 30+ years. “Stop calling her the Chinese lady on the corner. Her name is _____. Come over here and say hello. Yes, now.” I love playing social director.

One of the good things about hanging out with folks who are in their 70’s… they don’t really give a shit if you throw the occasional temper tantrum. They shake their heads and snort. They mutter, “kids” under their breath and don’t hold a grudge. I feel… tolerated. I’ve talked to the old dudes about being suicidal. They were more comforting than you might expect. They didn’t have solutions or answers but they listened and have been really nice to me for years since. They make a point of walking by and yelling a “hello”.

They want me to stay. So they show up.

I really like my neighborhood. I’m scared of how it will change over 30 years. Because it will totally change. I’ll have to keep being the welcome wagon. Maybe over time the percentage of people I know will increase instead of decreasing.

I think that part of my problem is… I know I’m a lot of work to be friends with. I am hard along a whole bunch of different axis. I do not know how to spell the plural of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up.

I’m always afraid of when other people will run out of spoons for dealing with me and abruptly drop me. They have to for their own self-preservation. I get that.

I think that is one of the reasons Pam feels so safe. She has a huge family that constantly fill her spoon drawer. She has more surplus than anyone I know.

Everyone else has a lot less support of their own. How in the world can I expect them to support me when they aren’t getting the support they need? And I do need a lot of support from friends. I need a lot of listening. I need a lot of accommodation in terms of physical behaviors and verbal mannerisms. I’m complicated.

I get why it isn’t worth it to most people. I really do.

It is hard to see what other people get out of bothering. I get it with Noah and Shanna and Calli. I see the biological imperative I fill for them.

I’m not even fucking any of my friends these days. Why do they bother?

I want to run away from these feelings. But I’ll come back. Because I know that my feelings are lying to me. I know that people clearly love me and find value in a relationship with me. They are still here. Whether I understand it or not is beside the point.

But I really want a break.

The joy of traveling is reinventing yourself every day. The impact of a given mood on the rest of my life is likely to be zero. What-fucking-ever! Freedom.

Not that I plan to act psycho across the country. I want to make new friends and strengthen old ties. But I can be pretty wacky and intense. People can handle intense in a nice, safe, time delineated box. And I come in with my built-in reality distortion field. I have to be “appropriate” for my kids. Which makes for a very specific kind of intense that is different from my previous more inappropriate modes.

Life is always changing. But sometimes it is hard to see how much you’ve changed if you always stand in the same place.

Rough day

When I am out of the house for 8 hours and driving for over half the time… it’s probably not going to be a good day. The very best part is the drive only took 2+ hours each way and not a full 3 hours each way. Probably not going to be a good day because I’m in bay area traffic where driving appropriately has the people behind you shooing you out of their way the whole time and flipping you off and shaking fists at you. THERE ARE BUMPER TO BUMPER CARS IN FRONT OF ME. I CAN’T GO FUCKING FASTER YOU ASSWIPES.

AND IT IS ALWAYS WHITE MEN.

I find it pretty stressful.

But it would have been less stressful if I hadn’t had a panic attack at the museum. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time. I wrote about the last one and it’s been a few months, yeah? That is super awesome for me. I’m doing really well with a lot of my anxiety symptoms. I’m making progress on hypervigilance, I’m having fewer panic attacks… this is big progress for me. My childhood was a hot mess. I’m doing really well. I have phenomenal control considering where I started.

Mostly the visit to the museum was nice. They had great exhibits, nice activities for the kids, and the art of Charles Schulz really is worth examining closely anyway. We always have a great time running around the garden with friends. The ice skating was kind of frustrating because a bunch of big kids took all the “assistant” chairs and that means I had to hold Calli’s hand the whole time and not once get up to speed. That makes my feet hurt a lot. I’m not used to ice skates and they are only semi comfortable if I’m really moving. Trying to maintain balance while moving at a snails pace gets sore really fast.

But that wasn’t the frustrating part of the day. *beat head on wall*

Shanna has been chafing at following distance rules lately. She wants to think she is 16 and totally capable of just handling everything. In my opinion, I’m cool with a long leash if you tell me where you will be. But she’s chafing at this. So she wandered off when everyone was out in the garden. She wanted to go play with exhibits inside the museum. My point was, if you asked I would have said yes. Instead you didn’t ask me and completely freaked me out and now I am pissed.

I had a chat with her and she apologized and I let it go. I was calm and collected. I didn’t show my freak out much. I was still basically in control of my emotions. “That’s not ok. Don’t do it again.”

Then we walked across the street to the ice rink. Between the street crossing (where I saw her and knew she was fine) and the building (which really weren’t far apart) she stopped paying attention to me. She stopped to look at something. So she didn’t notice us go into the ice rink. And I didn’t see her not enter with me because it was super crowded and my arms were full of cold weather crap and trying to get Calli to stop whining.

So I got into the ice rink and couldn’t find her after a few minutes and I flipped. I looked all over the building and couldn’t find her. I went outside and didn’t find her. Went back inside and didn’t find her. Left Calli with other parents I know so I could hunt faster. Went outside again and started screaming her name frantically. Eventually she comes trotting up.

I made her sit with me while I calmed down. I sat outside and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I told her I didn’t know if I was up for more fun because I was so scared and being scared like that hurts my body so much. I told her that things can happen pretty fast and I need her to pay better attention to staying with me. I told her that losing her would be the most devastating thing that could happen to me. I told her that she and her sister are pretty much my reason for getting up in the morning and oh my god please don’t do things that scare me like this. Please. Please. Please.

Tell me before you wander off. I very rarely say no. I just need to know where you are. Please. Please. Please.

She apologized and hugged me and said she was sorry for scaring me. The second time really was an accident. I told her I understand, but losing her twice in one day is kind of a big deal for me. She said she understands and stroked my hair.

I got my shit together after 5-10 minutes. We hugged a few more times and apologized to one another. Then we went inside to play with our friends.

The drive home was not actually as terrible as the drive deserved to be because I brought the old iPod I bought from a friend years ago. I filled it with audiobooks and language lessons. We listened to fairy tales and practiced Hindi and Spanish before listening to Bowling for Soup. It was an entertaining and informative drive.

I kind of wonder if Shanna will be memorize all the language-on-tape stuff before me. She’s got such a phenomenal memory. Luckily I have a headstart with three years of Spanish study under my belt. *phew*

Yesterday was good and it was rough. But it was rough in a very manageable, can cope with it sort of way. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t react inappropriately. The only thing I screamed was her name when I was trying to find her. That’s not inappropriate.

I didn’t shame.

As we walked back to the car I told Shanna, “My mama used to tell me, ‘I never want to have to say to a police officer ‘I don’t know where my daughter is” and I want to have the same rule with you. I don’t want you to wander off without telling me. I’m very flexible about you wandering, but you have to check in so I know where to find you when I need to. Just check in.

She promised to try harder. I believe that we will have more mistakes in the future but I also believe she will try. I think we don’t have these kinds of problems very often. Shanna notices that when she asks I don’t flip out or try to be too controlling. I just want to be able to say I know where my kid is at all times.

Some day you will be big enough that I don’t have to know anymore. Six isn’t the right age for that separation.

Most of my friends have stories about wandering off/crossing the street without permission and getting spanked. (Err, I have these stories too. I was hit a lot.) I feel proud of myself for maintaining control and not hitting just because I was so scared. I’m not saying all spankers are bad people but I don’t want to be a spanker. And this was the exact type of situation that prompts people to spank and I didn’t do it. Go me.

Today my nice gardener is coming over and we will do some heavy work together. I don’t want to try to move the flowering maple alone. It isn’t that big yet, but it will be heavy enough to hurt my back alone. Yay help! When he is done with the stuff I want his help for the kids and I will probably move the reading circle.

Then the yards will be ready for the remodel to start. Just plugging right along.

Today won’t be rough. Today will be fine.

 

Not feeling productive.

I intended for Saturday and Sunday to be rest days. Then Monday became a rest day. And Tuesday. And now on Wednesday… I’m going a bit batty.

Did an hour of yard work this morning. Some planning stuff for trip. Crossed a bunch of tasks off my “to do” list. But I did most of it sitting still so I feel like a slug.

I need to find the energy to go move a bunch of plants in my front yard. But I’m feeling intimidated. That’s going to be a huge job.

I think that I am going to take cuttings from the rosemary to start over, but let them plow the sucker. It’s huge and I don’t really want to try and dig it out. Besides, I only need about 1/4 of that size of plant for my herb needs. I want to move the mums. They were a present from friends. I don’t think I’m going to worry about moving the cactii and geraniums. Those can be plowed. I’ll get more cactii in the future. Geraniums are a pain in my back side.

That leaves the oregano and the flowering maple. I’m scared of losing the flowering maple. It’s doing so well in my yard. But it’s gotten pretty big. I have no idea where to move it. Front yard? Back? I don’t have a good spot. The internet indicates it shouldn’t be too hard to move because I’m supposed to hack it back in March anyway. Awesome. Says up to 1/3 should be taken off. That will help me move the sucker. It can get up to 10′ tall! Maybe I do have a nice spot in the back yard…. Also sounds like maybe I should propagate a few branches in case my main plant dies. Then I have back ups.

I really like the flowering maple. It’s pretty. I’d be sad to lose it.

I also need to move my “reading circle” from the front to the back. That’s going to be some back-hurting labor. Oh-the-well. I’ll manage. We use it more than you’d think. We like playing on it.

Plugging along. I want to get up and DO stuff. But it’s still a good idea to rest. Sigh.

Whoa.

FYI: We will not be hosting Easter this year. Easter falls on the same weekend as the My Little Pony conference and our bathroom will be ripped apart for a remodel.

 

Mortgage is below $180,000 now. Whoa. And I am taking out a huge loan so I can be more in debt. Oh man that seems stupid. But I want to fix all this stuff. How am I going to pay off not only this $180,000 but an additional $100,000 in the next six years? Realistically… five years.

How am I going to do this? Technically, the HELOC is a lower interest rate than my mortgage. And the HELOC will have an early repayment penalty. It is kind of feeling like rolling a bunch into the mortgage is smartest. The HELOC has to take at least three years to pay off. And the more I send to the mortgage the faster I pay it off the less interest over time. I’m already to the point where each payment is way more than 50% principle.

I’m feeling ridiculously tempted to send $20k to the mortgage. I want to do it. I don’t want to do it. Oh man.

I have ~ $105k in cash and ~ $180k in current debt. That means that between where I want to be and where I am right now I need to come up with an extra $200k. Pretty much. In five years. On top of all the ridiculously expensive things I like to do, like travel.

To me, that sounds like this year I have to pay a minimum of $50k on combined mortgage/HELOC if I want to stay on track.

No pressure. It seems completely insane to me. I doubt my mom has ever made $50k in a year. I made that much money my first year working as a teacher, barely.

Hm. How is this going to work out?

And I will do this while maxing out 401Ks, IRAs, 529s, and doing some additional random mutual fund investing.

Ok, I just sent $10k to the mortgage. That means I’m flirting with $50k in our primary checking instead of $60k and I can live with that. That’s enough heading into the remodel and travel. At least $20k of that will go into the remodel and the traveling will be in the neighborhood of $10k. But the travel money will come out slowly and mostly just look like barely expensive months. By the end of this year I will probably be able to send an additional $10k to the mortgage. That means that by the end of the year my mortgage principle will be below $150k. With four years to go. I’m going to be paying $50k-$60k for the next few years. Ouch.

But then, before I’m 40 years old, we will all of a sudden have a place to live that is paid off. Our relative income requirements will drop through the floor. We will owe ~$6k/year for taxes and then whatever maintenance costs.

I’ve lived in the bay area my whole life and I’ve been poor for more than 2/3 of my life. Needing this much money is crazy to me. Some day my house maintenance plus taxes will be less than $1,000/month. That will include utilities because the solar on the roof is awesome. That’s an amount of money I can come up with to keep my family safe. Food will be a different challenge.

Right now mortgage plus taxes plus maintenance fees is more like $4k/month. I… I can’t be the sole wage earner and keep that ship afloat. I feel pathetic but I can’t.

I’m scared of the future. I believe this period of being rich will be brief. If I don’t secure my future I will be in a lot of trouble. I’d like to be relatively sure I will be able to live in the future on less than $30k/year. My garden is coming along! Not there yet, but I didn’t want to be there yet. I want my garden to be pretty much ready by the time I’m 50. I’ve got time.

Calli has been telling me frequently that I’m not allowed to die. When I raise an eyebrow at her and kind of smirk she says, “Well… you can die of old age when you are 90 or something. BUT NOT BEFORE THAT.”

That’s rather a big deal to someone like me.

I’m trying to prepare for a future even while I’m scared I won’t have one. Even while I’m scared I don’t deserve one. Even while I’m scared that some day I will be in too much pain to continue and I will kill myself early. I’m trying to live as if I will live until I am 90 so I must take steps. I’m trying to show my kids how to take care of yourself for your whole life.

Noah is home. I missed him. I feel very lucky that if I am going to be stuck on this stupid, hateful planet for 90 years–at least I get to do it while spending most of those years with Noah.

By the time I’m 90 I will have spent less than 2/9 of my life in horrible poverty. Whoa. Perspective shift.

If I live in this house when I’m 90 then I will have lived here for 65 years. Whoa. I’ve already lived here for 8 years and that feels wacky. In June, right before I run off on my road trip, I will have lived in this house for three times as long as I’ve ever lived anywhere else.

Wonderland is working for me.

Busy day.

This morning the kids and I woke up and did an hour or so of house work. Then we went out in the yard and did 3-ish hours of yard work. Then we went to a tea party with friends. Then the friends came back to the house with us to play for a while. Now the kids are with the babysitter and I’m hiding in the garage for a while.

When I say “we did yard work” I mean I told the kids they had to weed under the trees before they got screen time. I’m so mean.

I put up the travel trailer for the kids (and their friend) to play in. I put it up, took it down, and they had a lot of time to play in an hour. Yay! This sucker will work out.

I feel like today I’ve had more energy than I’ve had in months and months. Part of me wonders how much of that is related to mending bridges with a friend. Not sure.

I finished attaching the landscaping fabric to the pallets in the back yard. I lined the planter boxes with fabric then covered it with cardboard. I moved all the stupid decorative white rocks into one of the planter boxes and I probably have enough rocks for drainage in that one. I need more rocks for the other two boxes. Then I need fill-dirt. Unfortunately Fremont soil is a clay nightmare. Tomorrow we have a few hours in the morning to work before Lego Club. I’m not sure what we will work on. Probably housework. Lots of laundry to fold.

I miss Noah. But I’m actually having fun with him not being here. I cleaned the bathroom. I’m hoping to get the house really clean before he gets back because he likes coming home to a clean house. I haven’t had the house clean since the housewarming party at the beginning of December. I know people think I keep my house spotless all the time… not so much. I go months without cleaning up entirely.

Heck, I only file once a year. That mess gets kind of insane. I file right before tax time. Because I’m a lazy bastard.

My back hurts and my arms hurt. But my front yard has made lots of progress towards being ready for the remodel. (I cleaned up the front yard a lot.) I have a few plants I want to move. The mums can go further towards the street in the front yard. The rosemary and sage and oregano I hope to propagate and move them to the back yard. I want an herb garden in the back.

I’m probably still a few days away from being ready to plant the mushroom kit. I only have like three more weeks. Eek! I hope to be ready to plant it before Noah gets home on Monday. Oh crap. We should also do the carnivorous plants kit. The seeds are in the fridge. I forgot about them. Crap.

Today the kids impressed me. We were in the car and Shanna and I were bickering. Calli said, “Will you two stop arguing. I am hungry and I’m getting grumpy and I’m tired of hearing arguing.” Then Shanna said, “Yeah. I’m hungry and getting grumpy too. Can we stop arguing?” I thought that was awesome. Yes ma’am. I’ll stop arguing. So happy.

Holy crap my arms hurt.

My kids are nice to me.

Yesterday I didn’t talk very much. I had headphones on for a lot of the day. I was in an evil, hateful mood and it was so clear to me that it wasn’t the fault of anyone I was standing near. (Sorry, Pam.) So the birth control pills haven’t leveled out my mood yet. But I’ve only been on them a week and I started mid-cycle so who knows. Next month will be more of a test. I haven’t felt suicidal so far, just homicidal. See, this is why I don’t own big weapons. Mood swings are bad.

I feel so much guilt when I unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe anything/anyone. Like I owe these people my attention. I really don’t. I don’t have enough time in the day to pay attention to everyone who is on the internet. I just don’t. I’ve cut my reading back substantially. If the people in my daily life wrote blogs I would follow them religiously. (You turkeys are not providing me with nearly enough voyeuristic delight.)

But I’m really tired of following people I don’t really know and I won’t know them better. Some people aren’t interested in me and that’s cool. I can be annoying.

I’ll just leave you alone. You can spend time with the people you actually like and I’ll be over here. Doing something else. Maybe alone and maybe not. Who knows. I don’t mind being alone as much as I used to.

Although the more alone at home time I have, the more lonely I feel. To this effect I’ve been back on Mothering.com. Mostly hitting up the unschooling board to talk about philosophies with people who aren’t going to send periodic reminders that if you aren’t TOTALLY AN UNSCHOOLER you should go somewhere else. My local list is not very inviting. There is some kind of metric of purity I don’t understand. If you say something too homeschooley that isn’t unschooley enough (No one is able to tell me an actual difference) the mods get really upset and tell you to take it elsewhere. They remind us extensively that there are other homeschooling-not-unschooling groups where we should be instead.

I’m getting really upset about feeling shoved out of a club I am clearly in. There are very few people on this planet who get to assign me hoops to jump to prove something. These women? Not so fucking much.

I would really like to know more unschoolers. Not because I want to ditch the school-at-home friend or because I want to fill up the time so we can’t see traditional schoolers.

There is a huge difference between talking to other unschoolers about school-related-anxiety than talking to someone who schools. Schooling parents (whether at home or brick and mortar) have different anxieties about learning or not. For me, is my child experiencing holes in her learning because I was really stupid and I missed something really important? I am responsible. And I’m not following a road map. That is scary sometimes. If you follow a curriculum… you have a road map. Your kid will vary, sure…. but you at least have the fucking map.

Someone drove me out in the middle of the desert, blindfolded, gave me a water bottle and a compass and said, “See you later, sucker!”

Other unschoolers have more of the same experience. Unschoolers make some stupid choices. We reinvent the wheel every fucking time. “Hey, there’s this great way to teach this subject you just buy this curriculum and…” “Oh no! NOT US!!!! WE WANT TO MAKE UP OUR OWN PATH.” Not so smart, I think.

Ok, I could defend it at great length. There are reasons I make the much harder choice of reinventing the wheel (twice–my kids have dramatically different education needs and not just because of the age gap) but it’s hard. I want advice. And if you don’t unschool… it’s conjecture.

I listen to conjecture with way more grace than I used to. Let us give me credit for that.

I think my social circle is probably pretty much set for the next ten years. But I’d like to find 2-5 more unschooling families. Preferably within five miles of my house. (Since I’m writing a wish list.)

I already know three home schooling families who live within a four mile radius of us. If you include further afield in Fremont, but still “local” we know four or five other families but we don’t see them as much.

If I got to write my future (not that I think I will necessarily get to do this, but this is my fantasy here) I would find two additional families to the ones I’m already really tight with. Eventually my cat will die (I feel so guilty every time I think of this) and the one family will be able to come over again. (My cat is causing them breathing problems and that is just Not Ok. I support them not coming over indefinitely until circumstances change. We meet at the park instead.)

Anyway back to what I want. I would love to have five families within a 6 mile-8 mile diameter circle so the kids would be able to ride back and forth to one anothers houses within a few years. What I would *love* is to have periods of time where we do co-op type learning. Mondays are at house A. Tuesdays are at house B. Wednesdays are at house C. Thursdays are at house D. Fridays are at house E (or alternatively–Friday could be “at home” day for everyone–maybe I just want one more family–ha).

Different people are good at teaching different things. I don’t mean English/Math/Science/History (although as the kids get closer to middle school that could be hella fun). I mean, I would love to really teach the kids about painting and building and gardening stuff. These are skills I like teaching to children. While they are small is a great time to learn it so they just have it in their back pocket for later. I am *not* the best mama to teach most cooking stuff. I mean, I can. But it’s not my passion. Other people want to do that crafty shit  I mean wonderful stuff. (I can’t sit down and work with my hands. So I’m kind of a jerk sometimes. I’m sorry.)

It’s a process.

I think I want this because I read about something similar in an off-beat parenting book. I think My Mother Wears Combat Boots but I might be wrong. She had lots of neat details about unschooling her kid.

I don’t necessarily mean spending 6-8 at the various houses. 3-4 hours might be plenty. Partially I would love to let Shanna have the experience of seeing *the same group of people* that many times a week. Mostly my kids have to be ok with the fact that people in their life are all on very long rotations. I just can’t handle driving more.

Noah and I have been having some pretty fierce debates about feminism and gaming and how when you support the system that helps the rapists (sure–you can have a great excuse but what about political dissidents?!) then… well. I was a dickhead. I said, “When the Nazi’s were killing Jews there were people who put the Jews on the train. And there were people who stood there and watched and said, ‘There’s nothing I can do.'”

So I lost that argument according to Godwin. I can live with that. For the record I’m not calling Noah a fascist. Nor a Satanist (which he shouted at me yesterday because he was using a straw man because he didn’t want to directly argue with my main point.) No, you aren’t a fascist nor a Satanist. But sometimes you are a rape apologist. Sometimes you think it is way more important to protect 10,000 guilty men rather than risk 1 innocent man and fuck how many women are thrown under the bus in the process.

No, I don’t think you are a Nazi. Nor a Satanist. I’m more realistic than that. You don’t do anything bad. You just stand there and say, “There’s nothing I can do.” That will always be hard for me. That will always feel like complicity. I know it isn’t *Noah’s* fault any of this happens. I know he isn’t the one out there harassing women.

But the men who do aren’t going to listen to women like me. They are going to listen to men. Only men are allowed to change male culture. Not me. And I’m really tired of being told that I should somehow come up with a way to fix something that exists before me, outside of me, and almost entirely out of my sight. I am not welcome in any of the circles where it could be fixed.

It isn’t my fight. Not really. I can fight defensively from my side. (Which means offense, but I’m learning to be more careful with that.) I can’t change that side. That is literally Not Within My Power.

I don’t think Noah is God or anything. I already gave that handle away. (And now God has a kid! The universe is really interesting sometimes. No, they didn’t name the kid Jesus. I did not pronounce that like Jesus Christ and more like Jesus who picks your veggies.)

My expectations are too high and thus I will be disappointed. I know that. I know it isn’t Noah’s fault. I don’t actually expect him to get on his white steed and run off to save all the womens. That’s not really a role I would assign him.

What do I even want him to do? Not defend the behavior that protects rapists. Reddit and 4chan are wrong for covering up the identities of people who steal pictures of women and putting them on the internet.

That’s not free speech. That’s permission to commit as many crimes as you want. Different. 

Stealing and displaying something isn’t free speech. It isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t.

(If you live in more than a bubble than I do–some asshole on 4chan hacked into Apple’s icloud storage and stole some naked pictures of celebrities from the database. Some have been claimed as true and some have been denied as fakes. I haven’t seen any and I don’t intend to. They were Not Made For Me.)

I am pro pornography. If you want good pornography I can ask you some genre questions and probably refer you to one of my friends who works in that genre so I can give you high assurances they aren’t being exploited and in fact they love their job.

I am going to submit my book to two publishing houses on Monday. Like, put it in the mail. I have almost all the stuff together.

I have a handful of early readers (no comments yet) so that is… nerve wracking. I’m pretty sure that me and the editor are the only ones to read it cover to cover yet.

The planter boxes are coming along. I’ve painted the pallets on top and one of the bases is about 85% done. The kids did it by themselves. They just missed a few small spots. No biggie. Easy to fix.

Noah, I think you are a saint for putting up with me. I’m really pretty harsh with you. You tell me that my level of happiness is directly tied my expectations and you are right.

And yet… I am a controlling person. I like having influence. Over the ten years you have known me, you have changed a lot. I wish my methods had been more gentle. I appreciate that when I hit something you are unwilling to change you are very clear so I can move on. I don’t like wasting my effort. I put a lot of effort into you. I want it to be useful instead of wasted.

I love you. I know I am not easy to live with. I know I move things around all the time and you have trouble figuring things out. I get the impression you grew up in a static environment. I’m sorry I can’t give you one. This is the least dynamic my living environment has been. I am practically static. All I do is shift my organizing stuff as the proportions change. Not that much real change. But sometimes the canned foods are in the kitchen and sometimes the garage. It sorta depends on how many we have.

I’m trying to figure out how to fit. I’ve never fit anywhere ever in my life. This is really hard. I don’t know what it even means.

I was on NextDoor last night (my shrink recommended it) and I sorta went off on the people who were being nasty about how poor people maintain their homes. “Don’t they have any pride?”

There were many years of my life when my food money per month was less than these women consider “just part of life” to spend on a gardner. And yet at this point, I do have a gardner. Whom I overpay because he doesn’t actually do almost anything. But I’m happy about it. He does whatever I want, he’s always super nice and he’s got a kid in UC Davis. I can overpay him a little.

I said that I spend a lot of time walking in our neighborhood and I talk to anyone who will put up with my chattiness. Many of the untended yards are due to poverty or disability or maybe both. Are these really people who need to be shamed because they do not have the resources to keep up with the Joneses?

I’m probably not going to be popular. I can tell.

I’m never going to be quiet again. I have all the privilege I could ever want and more. I am secure. It would be pretty hard to threaten me. Once someone starts threatening my life I will start practicing more with the cross bow I was kindly given and I’ll carry around my baseball bat.

You aren’t going to chase me out of my home. So I feel pretty fucking secure. Maybe it is hubris–if people with guns started hating me I could die. But there isn’t much I could do to protect myself from such men anyway. (Could be women but statistics say it is unlikely.)

Who am I? What am I?

Don’t know. But I’m going to be loud about it.

My life is so full of awesome.

Yesterday was awesome with a side of awesome-sauce. When the only down part of the day is me bawlling out the kids for “pruning” (aka HACKING ALMOST TO DEATH) most of the food plants in the front yard. Shanna decided that it would be awesome to clean up the house to make it up to me.  I’m not sure some of the asparagus can recover. Luckily it is a spreading plant and even if those bits are dead, more will grow eventually. It’s going to take a good three years to get back to where the blueberry bushes were. My tomatoes are not going to be robust this year. (I’m ok with that. I didn’t want to grow any.) She pruned the apple tree that was just starting to do well. This is my sad face.

And that was my only bad. If that is the only bad in my day, well, I can get ten minutes of yelling out of it and then a little pout and move on. Ok, I’m done now. I really like problems that will fix themselves with time.

Otherwise the kids and I had a really nice day. We spent some time walking around Los Gatos. I talked to them about stuff I did as a kid. They were really interested in all the stories. I find myself perpetually in a state of confusion that they actually give a shit about me. They really do. They want to know about me. They want to know more than anyone other than Noah. It’s crazy. If anyone other than my kids followed me around asking for stories about my life it would probably be a little creepy. But my kids hunger for them.

I feel seen and valued. I tell them all the time that I am so glad that now I get to walk these places with them. Every memory that involves them is sweeter than what came before. I’m glad I get to show them things I like and places I have existed. I’m glad that they are happy I am with them.

It feels like it goes beyond the whole “If my mom hadn’t been alive I wouldn’t be alive.” They like me. They want to know me. I don’t feel I deserve it.

I’m probably going to apologize for yelling when they get home. I lost my temper. It’s ok to tell them why what they did was a bad idea. I probably didn’t need to shout it though. That wasn’t very nice of me. Sometimes, I’m not very nice. Which is a mixed thing.

My kids believe that it is ok for them to fuck up. They take it in stride, apologize, and then move on full stream ahead. “Oh shit. Mom is really mad at me because I did something I shouldn’t have. Hey! I’ll clean up all my stuff! Mom likes that!”

Repair attempts. I hear that acknowledgment of repair attempts are the strongest indicators of healthy and happy relationships. (Ok, mostly I’ve seen this with reference to marriage. If your spouse is TRYING to repair a fuck up, ALWAYS at least acknowledge that you see that they are trying–even if you kind of don’t want to let them make the repair yet. “I can see that you are trying really hard to help me stop feeling mad right now. I’m going to need to be mad for a few minutes. I appreciate that you are trying. I will be back to reciprocate in a few minutes when I calm down.”)

My kids try to repair. I try to repair. None of our fuck ups are that big. And our forgiveness is brobdingnagian. (That’s one of my FAVORITE WORDS EVER.)

Last year, when the awesome dad from the home school group was working in my yard, their teenage son came with him. At one point I told the boy to do something for his mom so she would get really excited. I did my kind of squeak and bounce thing. He his eyes got kind of wide and his head leaned back and he said, “Uhhh. My mom doesn’t get excited like that.”

I told him he obviously isn’t trying hard enough. He seemed skeptical. But I think about exchanges like that when I have my ALL CAPS LOCK ALL THE TIME days. I am that excitable in person. I understand why my kids are loud.

(Jenny–the town is so different. Next time you come to California we need to take Little Djinn there. It’s wacky how different it feels now. The Safeway has been totally remodeled. Now there is underground parking and the store is like twice the size. The Walgreens moved. That was kind of weird for me. Auntie shopped there a lot so the idea that it moved… No! Stop ignoring my sentimentality when you make business decisions!)

This year is fifteen years since I graduated from high school. Twenty years for Noah. Whoa. Time flies. Not that he graduated. And I graduated despite not going to high school. Life is confusing.

Clearly a high school education is not the make-it-or-break-it part of education. The pair of us argue with that idea pretty firmly. “Oh really? People can’t be successful or functional unless they can adapt to a toxic high school environment. Who was it that said it is no measure of health to be adjusted to a profoundly sick society?” (For the record it was: Jiddu Krishnamurti. I LOVE the internet. I never have to say I don’t know something again.)

Success is such a funny thing. The goal posts just move.

Recently Noah and I were discussing my lust for order. I wish I were someone who could be regimented and predictable. He commented that someone highly regimented can’t be successful in his profession. The point of his job is to imagine things. You can’t do that if you are predictable–not really. You can go down a checklist of possibilities, but you can’t imagine something different.

I suppose this is like the Imagineer vs. the Engineer. Ha.

These days when I set goal posts for the future I understand that they are mutable. My original goals of “save $250,000 and own my own house” were supposed to take me till I was sixty or so.  Sometimes it is hard holding in the impulse to just cash out stock and pay the house off tomorrow. I could. And I’d still meet that minimum barrier for safety.

But my goals changed. Yes, I want the house paid off. But holy crap I’ve learned what investing money can do to your overall security. Shanna’s college tuition is almost 1/3 there. She just turned six. I didn’t actually contribute that much. It grows. Like fucking magic.

I feel… less fanaticism about paying the house off Right Now. I’ll get it paid off soon enough. It’ll be fine.

For someone who doesn’t believe in God I spend a lot of time praying. Every month when I pay my bills I sit still and I close my eyes and thank whatever is listening that I can pay every bill without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

My mom got to have that feeling once a year. When she got her income tax return. It was spent the day it arrived catching up on things that had to be paid. Every year of my childhood. The eleven months in between were anxiety filled cry fests. What was she going to do wrong this month. She started out every month short. And she didn’t really have a way to get more money.

Today I went out to a lovely breakfast with Noah. I couldn’t eat very much of it because my stomach hurt. We put it in a to-go container for me to eat after I medicate. It’ll be awesome then.

I see every thread of privilege that runs through my life. I feel like the threads are interwoven with gratitude and sorrow and shame. I’m grateful I get to have the things I have. I appreciate them. I’ve seen the lack. I understand how good I have it. I feel really sad that most people never get to feel this easing of worry. When they say that money can’t buy happiness… it can buy you ways to not worry. I feel ashamed that I have all this and other people have so little. That feels disgusting and inappropriate and wrong.

I feel good that my kids know that when you walk buy a homeless person begging, you find something to give them. Food, money, some conversation if you really have nothing to give. You treat them like a person. We have so much extra. If we don’t share then we are shitty people.

I don’t think I will get my grocery bill under control. But I have relationships with a fair number of homeless people and I don’t feel bad about handing them bags of food. My kids see that a lot. That’s just part of their experience of the world.

We are very lucky. We have extra. If you have extra and you don’t share, then you are an asshole.

Yes, we need to have conversations about systemic solutions. But I am not a hive creature. I am an individual. I can’t solve whole systemic problems. Often, I don’t know what the answer is. But I can help the person standing in front of me.

Are they currently suffering as the “result of bad decisions”? Maybe. But I’ve seen an awful lot of people make the best god damn decisions they had available and they still didn’t work out so well. I’m not in a position to judge. If Noah didn’t like fucking me so much… I wouldn’t have so much extra.

I don’t really feel I have a lot of moral high ground. And I feel a great deal of dismay that I am supposed to feel superior to people who earn their living the same way I do only they don’t also have to do all the fucking laundry. Sex work really doesn’t seem that different to me.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” Sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt though no one knows for sure.

I have a small mind. Sometimes I think I glory in that. I like to discuss people. I try to do it as more than just gossip–I like looking for patterns and figuring out how people work and why they do the things they do.

I have a strong natural dislike of population studies. I like individual case studies, one after another. I think that in the generalizations you lose the truth. This comes of being an outlier on most scales. Not as many any more… I’m trending towards average as I age. At least on some metrics.

But if you can never undo what you have done, then there are scales on which I will be an outlier until I die. I’m not sure I will ever get over distrusting population studies. But I want to go do a study on a population. I want to do it one person at a time.

Noah just asked me, “Have you ever considered what a system would look like if it was set up to manage people like you?” (Meaning contrary and difficult people who are prone to do the opposite of what you tell them to do even when they are shooting themselves in the foot.) (We’ve been talking about systematic solutions Like You Do On A Sunday Morning.)

More choices. More money. I consider every child born to be an investment in the future of this country. Each individual person has the potential to do Great Things if they are encouraged appropriately. Maybe their Great Things will be in their neighborhood. Maybe in their state capitol. Maybe on tv. I don’t care. Whatever. Do what makes you feel like you are doing the thing that you are good at doing. It is different for different people.

Getting training in your life path is hard and costs money. I really believe in the basic income. I think that children as young as four and five should be allowed to petition the courts to be adopted by a guardian of their choice. Even if the court is a little worried. Kids who are adopted out should retain a child advocate who will work with them throughout their lifetime. Kids who need to leave their nuclear family will probably need a wide net of different kinds of support people.

Kids should be born with the ability to pay for their own day care and food, should such assistance be necessary. These kids will pay my social security. I need them to be as healthy and functional as possible.

Instead our system tries to tell people that they have as few choices as possible. We constrain learning and say that if you don’t learn well by listening to lectures and doing worksheets obviously you are pretty stupid.

Not everyone has that experience of the school system. Some people experience a bewildering array of options and learning possibilities. Guess how much money the parents of those kids usually have?

Maybe money does buy happiness. Or at least it can buy the ease of worry to the point where you are able to feel happy.

But people can learn with almost no money spent. Money isn’t the point. Having a truly engaged teacher is one of the main building blocks of education. The people who help you discover things on your own are the people who increase your options for the future. People who give you a checklist of what to do and what not to do are limiting you.

I think this is beyond me today. And I’m getting stabbing pain in my elbow. I’m going to stop now.

Put your own oxygen mask on first.

I used to think it was useful for me to think of people as “family”. Tonight I got to have dinner then go to the Diana Gabaldon speaking engagement with a woman I used to think of as a big sister. I talked to her a lot when I was younger. She did a lot to guide me in the bdsm community. She helped me learn how to keep myself safe.

It’s been a while now that I have consciously eschewed the chosen family dynamic. I have friends. I have really wonderful, excellent friends. I am truly blessed in my friends.

So it’s weird sometimes when I spend time with people I used to think of as “family”. I can feel how my inner walls and boundaries have shifted. In the main I feel like it is a positive thing because I have a lot less hostility towards the idea that my friends are giving me every speck they have to give me than I do towards the idea that they are my “family” and they uhhhh… don’t meet a lot of my needs.

Do I have entitlement issues? Rage issues? Oh yes. I have a firm idea of what “being family” means. I experience it with Noah. I am teaching my daughters how to do this, but it’s different with “chosen family”. I drive people away. Or I walk away.

I have expectations and that screws me every time. The secret to happiness is low expectations.

But you can only keep your expectations low if you get your needs met some other way or if you are so beat down you have stopped hoping.

Sometimes I’m afraid of the bottomless pit of need I feel inside me. The desperate need for attention, affection, love, permission to live, approval.

Yeah, I take any relationship that is offered. They all have things to teach me. They all have things I want. Every person I walk by on the street is a missed opportunity. Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of time grieving every single one of them.

I want you to love me. I want you to love me. I want you to love me.

I’m selfish. It’s not like I’m really walking around feeling like, “Oh man! Let me love you!” That shit sounds like work.

I really enjoyed getting to hear Diana Gabaldon speak tonight. She was very blatant in her enjoyment of the ego stroking she gets. It was hilarious to watch. She glowed. She’s 62 but from where I was sitting I would have guessed she was in her mid 30’s. She has a kid my age. And one older, I think–I may have misheard because it was loud.

She’s still happily and lustily married. I approve.

She talked a lot about her life and her career arc. She’s a good story teller and she’s obviously said that whole thing hundreds of times. Very smooth and entertaining.

I’m… too twitchy. I’m always afraid I’m on the verge of offending people.

I offend people. And then I feel very sad. Because that offended feeling is what they will walk away with. In their head, that feeling is me.

Oh man I hate that. It’s better to err on the side of being quiet. Only I don’t do that. Because I’m an asshole. But I’m a sad asshole.

Cause I embrace contradictory emotional states. I’m told by experts that such an ability is part of the reason I’m not dead.

Sometimes it feels weird understanding that historically, women like me rarely do as well as I have. I’m not talking about Noah’s money. I did get a bachelors degree and a teaching credential. I did successfully teach. I worked in theatre for several years and did just fine. I worked in libraries for years.

I go out and find ways to be part of things that work for me. I usually take small and/or support roles because I know I won’t be around long. I try my hardest to leave a good impression. I want people to think well of me. So I look for ways to work.

Often that work is social. I like seeing people. I feel validated by people in a way that is surely unhealthy. I do have crowd management skills. You can’t stage manage dance shows for small children without developing them. I like to believe that I’m charming. I like to believe I can turn out a descent conversation for a wide variety of people.

I’m not just a one trick pony. I’m Downer Debbie and I Deliver but I do also have other modes. I am not interested in online dick contests about academic theory (fuck you, grad school) so I don’t get into nuanced responses to the educational theory I read about but I’m happy to talk about it if asked. I travel and have neat stories that conveniently leave out the bits about hysterical crying and beating my head on the ground. These days I talk plants. That’s SO SAFE! It’s an awesome topic. Gardening! Running is safe to talk about.

I’m not just that skanky ho who talks about depressing shit any more.

More tracks. I still have great sex stories. But I need to be asked for them. Or I default to assuming people would retreat with their fingers in their ears screaming, “EWWWW TMI!” So I don’t write about sex much lately. Obviously sometimes I don’t give a shit and I tell stories, but only as they feel like a need to discuss topic.

I’m still obsessed with sex. But now it is legally and “morally” permissible because that just means Noah’s life is good. I do owe it to a man, don’t I?

Ugh and ick and weird. Sex is so fucking weird. It gets weirder every year. More complex. More complicated. Can’t I just go back to tracing the outline of a knot in a piece of wood on dicks and be done with processing this crap?

Even when sex was “simple” (ha!) it was never simple for me.

Sex is tied up in money and rage and entitlement and perversion and pain and love and tenderness and fear.

You don’t pick what you have the talent to write about. Or for fuck’s sake I would pick another talent.

Distraction

If you do much research on mental illness, or really any undesirable behavior you want to eliminate, distraction is key.

This week in therapy my shrink spent a lot of time harping on the idea that I need to start being a lot more choosy about who I allow into my life. I always wonder how much my shrinks judge me. No, actually I don’t wonder very often or I would be very paranoid. Occasionally I wonder. When therapists very rarely encourage me towards squeezing people out of my life (it is rare but it happens) I always wonder how long they have sat on that impulse.

When did my description of my friend start bothering you? They never tell me, of course.

Therapy is such a weird beast. It is a relationship but not a a real one. It is unidirectional and unbalanced. There is honesty but not full honesty. Truth but not the whole truth. The whole truth involves someones opinions which I shouldn’t be taking into consideration.

I shouldn’t change to make my therapist happy. She otherwise isn’t part of my life. I should not alter the support I get to make her happy.

But sometimes you do have to follow their advice because they are right. She doesn’t say “so and so is icki” she says “what do you get from this relationship and what do you give to it? If the balance doesn’t work for you then you need to move on”. She says to me, “I know that for most of your life you have had to accept relationships with anyone who wanted to have a relationship with you. That is no longer true. You need to keep your children safe.”

I was raped over and over because I made a lot of stupid choices. Because I accept any relationship that is offered. Because I don’t say “no” when I should.

Yeah yeah yeah people think of me as being overly firm with my “no” delivery. You only know what my life is like after more than half a dozen rapes or more. The people who have known me the longest met me when I had been raped at least half a dozen times.

The things that happen to you change you. I did not know how to say “no”. I have learned to say it loudly and firmly. Loudly and firmly enough that I often bother people who wish I was “softer” about the process. Oh fucking well.

“Most people have no more than five people in their true inner circle.” (Quoting my shrink again.)

Jenny. Noah. K. My kids. Pam. That’s six. I have absolute trust in their love for me. Do I feel that way about anyone else? Not really. Jenny bought her way in by being the only person who comforted me during a horrible childhood. K has been the single most helpful person by a humongous margin during the parenting journey. I talk to her more often than anyone I don’t live with. I think she is the most motherly friend I have ever had. She has actually shown up when the rubber meets the road for the past few years. Pam has been with me for more than half of my life. To the best of my recollection I have gotten really pissed off at her, but never for actual boundary violations. I can’t remember one.

Other people were in the inner circle at other points. When they were able to show up. Life changes. I don’t stop loving them. Not a jot. But I don’t have trust any more. If I search my body this moment I’m not angry about the fact that I have seen the waxing and waning of so many friendships. They were with me when it made sense. It doesn’t make as much sense any more.

I can’t explain what it was like in my childhood. I was not allowed to cry. My crying irritated people and it was beaten out of me. That’s a lot of why I cry so much now. I was horribly brutalized and then punished if I grieved.

want to write in excruciating detail about my current emotional outpouring towards people. But I don’t want it as part of the record. There are names I don’t write about. Lots of them. There are lots of specific details I don’t want to announce in public. Mostly because I’m aware that my perceptions are highly biased and I’m a much bigger judgmental asshole than people understand and I need to keep it that way.

I don’t want the fall out. I’m that lame. So I’m having trouble working through the emotions. Writing things out is a lot of how I get rid of things. It has become very useful for me over the years. (Yes, people who like people journals get these things out without the public fall out. Clearly I don’t write that way. You don’t get to pick the writing talent you get. You just get it.)

So I’ve been looking for distraction. Painting went so breathtakingly well. The only time I raised my voice was when Shanna was backing into an open paint can. (It was a good save. She wasn’t cranky.) *phew* I did it.

I’m reorganizing toys again. Because I like playing house. Because it makes me happy. I refine how I organize as I watch them use things. I try to figure out where how to have things “live” where they are played with. I want to make their set up convenient for them so it is easy for them to clean up.

It is hard to find a system when you are a kid. You literally don’t have the schema to do it. Kids need to be shown how to find systems. Some people are naturally very gifted, but usually there is the overall framework of systemization within their life and that is why they are so accustomed.

I’m not very good at providing constant systemic living. I will never run a prison. I believe that needs and wants change dramatically over time and it is good to be constantly tweaking your system to be more appropriate for where you are today.

Sustainability is hard to find. What can you keep up? Deciding to be rigid in your system means you exclude millions of awesome options. I like trying lots of things. I need more flexibility.

It is hard reading my shrinks’ evaluation of me. I don’t think it is accurate that I can’t work because of relational issues. Although I had a lot of job volatility throughout my work life. Ha.

Today will be fun. I have babysitting time this morning. I am going to sit here and do all the work for the home school yearbook. (I’m a slacker. I should have done this a month ago.) I need to go to REI. That will be festive. I’m glad I can do it without the kids. I would like to work on the reading list for the book, but I only get three hours. I will need to get it done soon. Blah.

I need to do scheduling today. I need to plan out my running and exercise. I’m doing a half marathon with a friend in October and I’m really not doing appropriate exercise to support that. I have to start. It takes planning or I just don’t get it done. Deep sigh.

I don’t understand how other people naturally just do exercise. I have to plan how I will force myself. I have to have a reason to exercise–an upcoming obligation that will require my body to have something it doesn’t have right now. Long-term planning is too hard.

Distraction. What is distraction? What is focus? What am I doing with my life? Are the people who come and go the focus or a distraction? Is the painting a distraction or a focus? Is reorganizing the toys so they are easier for the kids to clean up a distraction or a focus?

Isn’t it all about your priorities? Isn’t it different for every person you ask?

Is writing a distraction from my life or one of the focuses in my life? Gardening? House maintenance (both of the repair and of the cleaning variety)?

What is life?

What does it mean to have a focus in your life? I read a lot about what other people do with their time. You can tell what people care about by looking at how they spend their time.

It’s ok that we are all different. If we were all the same that would be boring. We need symbiotic relationships.

The inner circle doesn’t mean that you only have relationships with people you trust that much. There are lots of other kinds of relationships. It is ok to share smaller pieces of yourself with people.

And it’s ok to walk away when it no longer works for you.

It doesn’t make me a bad person. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Not everyone will be there forever.

There are some perverts who probably shouldn’t be around my kids. I recognize that in a larger sense–my kids are not exposed to the broader bdsm community.

Things that are ok for me aren’t necessarily ok for my kids. My kids are impressionable.

Boundaries are complicated.

What makes someone an asshole? Caring about their own needs to the point where they are ok with other people getting hurt sometimes as they take care of themselves.

What makes someone a bitch? Saying or doing things to hurt other people on purpose to be spiteful.

Notice how the gendered one is a lot nastier? I notice that in my language.

I’m an asshole. I try hard to not be a bitch.

I don’t have time to explain why this dude is wrong. There are so many ways he is wrong that I would permanently damage my arms. Ain’t worth it.

I get to walk away. Yeah, it might hurt you but I am not obligated to sit around and tend your feelings. Notice how you have never tended mine? Fuck right off.

But spite isn’t necessary. What’s the difference? When you are writing, what’s the damn difference?

Well, I say fuck you to the universe but I don’t say it to people. I don’t publicly (or privately) slam people when I end a relationship. In general I maintain a policy of being very positive when I talk about former friends/partners/acquaintances. I’m well-fucking-aware that you are judged by how you judge other people

So I’m an asshole, but I try to limit the scope.

always have the right to walk away. It is the most American attitude one can have. Well, or the other American attitude “I have the right to own a gun so I can shoot people who seem scary“.

I seem scary to a lot of people. To the point where strangers will comment on it in public. I worry a lot about guns.

I kind of hope that the next revolution in this country is a call to disarmament. Citizens give up their guns so that police can de-militarize.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop hearing about mass shootings at schools?

And wouldn’t it be nice if white people were called terrorists when they instill terror just like people of other races? Parity in discussion would help us figure out the common solutions.

I need to answer a whole bunch of emails. I haven’t forgotten you. I just… haven’t scheduled yet. Scheduling goes in batches. I can’t handle adding things in between scheduling-fests. Then I get “over scheduled” and I’m shaking by the end of the month. It sucks.

Tonight I get to have dinner with an old friend before we go to the Diana Gabaldon reading. I’m excited. There’s a new book in a series I love.

This will be the very first time I’ve ever been to a reading for an author I know. I have heard random people at college but I had no previous knowledge of them. A step towards fandom I guess?

What is the focus of your life? How do your actions support that? How does your time spent support that? How does your energy spent support that?

When you are old, what will you appreciate more? That you spent time working in your garden or that you spent time with people you will definitely not know by then? Depends on the person. Depends on how the time with them is spent.

Sometimes you need to pick the garden.

Boundaries are hard. Being an asshole is hard.