Category Archives: goals

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.

Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, maybe that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

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

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

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

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

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

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m kinda weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the line?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

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

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

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

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

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

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

That seems smart just now.

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

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

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

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Bitch Better Have My Money

Thank you Rihanna, you inspire me. Nicki Minaj does too.

I’ve been thinking… it would be interesting to go through our financial records. Sometime in the next year before our 10th anniversary it would be interesting to see what we each started with, compare it to Noah’s salary, look at investments, look at the gains and losses for businesses tried and failed…

Who is responsible for which? Noah makes a pretty astronomical salary… but our investment portfolio is growing at a prodigious rate. Some of that is stuff he owned pre-me. Not all of it.

What have I done in the last ten years? Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I have done much.

Ok… even I know that sounds stupid.

I have a hard time being a dependent. I know I “get” 50% of his salary. But what have our separate investment choices resulted in? At this point we can figure out data to see who is actually better at those sorts of decisions so we can assign more of that work in the correct direction to maximize for growth.

I’ve been talking to a lot of womyn about independence and I’ve been listening to a lot of very intelligent women who want me to get my money for my labor.

What has been my cut?

I think I’m going to do that. Oh dear. Another Fucking Project.

And y’all just know I’ll tell you all about it.

Moving south

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says he is with me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Got it.”

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

I miss you.

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

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

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

Yay babysitting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

swoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope.

Please, oh god, oh god.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel like shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Balance?

I’ve got to tell you… adding a surprise trip to Hawaii when we are going to do the bathroom remodel and go on a big trip next year and and and…

It feels like a manic cycle. It feels dangerous and stupid. But I’m looking at Mint and jumping up and down and yelling “But I have saved up my god damn fun money!!!!!!!!! I have not been having fun! Clearly! There are MANY hundreds of dollars sitting there waiting in that part of the budget!!!  Why is it god damn mental illness to want to go have fun with my fucking friends without being  MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY?”

I sure don’t want to be nice to me. But this trip is going to be fun. Even though I don’t like being nice to me D and A do. (Being nice to them is easy.) They are both very bossy-plan-having women. If I want to be passive and let someone take care of me I picked a rather good duo. Not that I’m planning a codependent weekend. But if I said, “I’m getting to the point of being hungry where I can’t think and I’ll get angry if I have to make decisions. Can you arrange for us to magically arrive in an eating establishment. I’ll find something on any menu” they would drag me off. They wouldn’t turn and ask me fifty fucking questions or expect me to make a long series of nuanced decisions. They wouldn’t need me to be the boss.

I was a 24/7 slave for years. I am deeply ok with not being the boss in a way that makes my current life very difficult at times. And Noah and I do not have an M/s dynamic. We have agreed that regardless of what we will do in the future, while we have young children we will have an egalitarian relationship. That is what we want to model and teach.

I’m not saying people who make different choices are bad. I’m saying this is what we decided. Ok?

I am the boss around here. We have an egalitarian relationship except for the part where I’m a bossy pain in the ass and Noah follows my orders. Ahem. I love my husband.

My friends want very badly to be respectful of me. I make it clear that I have a huge long list of picky ways I need to be in control and they tactfully make room for that. Which leaves me feeling like the boss a lot of the time. I miss being a slave sometimes.

I don’t think that A or D are going to be my short-term owners or anything but it is going to be really awesome to follow other people who have a plan. I like being a follower. I really do sometimes. I rarely let myself get into it. Normally I resist for reasons I don’t even understand. When I can really do it I love it.

Three bossy, controlling women. It’ll be awesome (and I have zero sarcasm in my voice there–I’m vibrating with excitement). Yeah, the plans are flowing now (they are SMSing me while I type). I pinned them down and booked everything. They are off like rockets. Oh this is so wonderful to watch.

I’m scared I’m going to fuck everything up. Luckily, when I do stupid shit A has this death glare that is followed with, “You need to stop” and then … all of a sudden I haven’t fucked everything up because there is a brick wall in front of my face and we are back on neutral territory.

I admire people with strong boundaries so much.

Noah has been commenting that this down cycle has been longer than almost any I’ve had during our marriage. I’m partially doing this trip because I need something to change the way my hormones are working. Long term stuff is not feeling satisfying. Small petty stuff doesn’t help. I saved up the money.

Is it really ok to be selfish?

This is one of those times when I feel like I have a split life. I have this self-perception that I have nothing and no one and I’m worthless and I should die. Then I notice that I’m incredibly well off financially, I have amazing friends and I have a husband who says go have fun.

I’m not very good at living in the now when the now isn’t very exciting. When the now is a fuck-ton of work… I get worn down. My bucket is empty. There’s a hole in the bottom. It’s a metal bucket and they spent a lot of time dragging it back and forth across concrete and now… not so water tight. That’s just how it works sometimes. They didn’t mean to do it. They were just trying to reach the dipper and couldn’t quite get there and the bucket slid. It was an accident.

But here I am.

I’m ridiculously excited that I get to run away with two wonderfully fun women. They will even do part of the long run with me on Saturday. My life is pretty ridiculously blessed.

So much happens

When I’m not posting. I still haven’t successfully found additional baby-sitting. I’m trying. I either helped out our nice handyman or I got screwed by a con artist. I’ll find out next week. The wait as I find out is excruciating.

Shanna is now in size 7 and Calli is wearing size 6. Holy toledo. Calli turns 4 in another week and a half. Shanna is 6 1/4. I think Calli will be taller in the long run.

Stuff brewing with my shrink. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to keep seeing her. Festivity. This isn’t *about me* but it involves me and there might be fall out and fuss. It’s not my fault there are sometimes consequences for talking about clients in ways you shouldn’t. Not my story to tell.

We went to a party for one of Noah’s oldest friends last night. Ran into his ex who has become a good friend. (That lot went to college together.) I feel kind of funny that I still identify this nice lady as Noah’s ex-girlfriend. She’s married and has three kids. Why is that relationship from her past so important? Because it still defines how she came into my life. She is someone who can understand why Noah (the most important grown up in my life) is so lovable. That makes her different. She is going to share some of my innate biases, surely. There must be a kinship there. Ok, so she decided she didn’t want to marry him–that’s great for me! But there is still an ability to appreciate that not everyone has. Noah, much like me, is not always an easy person to like. People who are capable of liking us more than average are to be treasured.

Now everyone in the crowd has kids. Lots of kids. Our kids were the oldest in the pack and the current youngest is 4 months old with a pregnant woman due in December and several parents of onlies talking about when to start trying for new babies. Whoa. The crowd switched from non-breeders to ALL PARENTS ALL THE TIME really fast. We talked a lot about sleep deprivation. (Including the very hot guy I almost nailed right before we shut things down for the breeding period. Deep sigh. He’s still very cute. He seems kind of overwhelmed by parenthood. Heh. He’ll adjust.)

In some crowds I’m the only home schooler and that’s weird and people are kind of rude. In other crowds I’m the only home schooler and that’s interesting and they would love to hear why I make such choices. They aren’t necessarily going to be moved to change their own decisions, but it is interesting to hear about other peoples lives. Guess which kind of crowd I like hanging out with more? Last night was definitely of the, “I don’t understand but I’m curious” blend. It felt so nice. I’ve been feeling really defensive.

I DON’T THINK EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD HOME SCHOOL. IT WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE. When I talk about home schooling I am NOT TRYING TO RECRUIT. I DON’T GIVE A SHIT HOW YOU RAISE YOUR KIDS. (I mean, if you live within five miles of me I might half-heartedly hint that it would be cool if you home schooled because, hey–resources! Otherwise I truly don’t care because I won’t be driving to your house to hang out a lot anyway.)

I don’t think home schooling is THE BEST or THE ONLY way of raising kids. It is just the way that works best for my family for a lot of reasons that don’t necessarily apply to other people.

Tell me about this preschool your kid is in. You seem to be excited about the process. Lots of it sounds fun. I’m totally enthusiastic about you doing this. Put your kid in preschool and work. That’s important. Truly. I’m not criticizing. 

I think my daughters need to see that women work too. Not all women live like me. Their Godmama is starting medical school right now. The kids are looking at the pictures and thinking, “Yeah. I could do that. I can be like Aunt Kitten.” Their lives aren’t going to look like mine. (Not because mine is shitty–they have different interests.) My kids will probably be working parents if they have kids. I’m really grateful we know so many kick ass women who are modeling how to make that work.

Even if my kids argue when they are visiting, they still speak well of all the working moms in our lives. “Why can’t you be a nice mom like _____?” “Because you were not blessed in this lifetime. Let’s move on.”

Oh man. Since I borrowed my friend’s stick shift I have been itching to drive again. I hate automatics. I don’t feel like I’m driving. I’m steering at best. I want to drive. Oh man she had a fun car. I keep finding my hand going to the stick shift. Then I sigh and let my hand drop. Nothing to do in my stupid boring mini van. Deep sigh. The memory of a fun, zippy blue car keeps me smiling.

I am not being good about training for the 10k. I wonder if I will get more serious as I get closer to the half marathon or full marathon. (Next half marathon: 14 weeks. Next full marathon: 7 months.)

Sometimes I’m supposed to run 3 miles on two consecutive days. Some weeks I’m in a mood so I run 6 miles one day and nothing the other day. I’m not sure how useful that is. I feel like a sick, sick puppy because I’m really looking forward to the long training runs again.

I still remember the first time I ran 18 miles. The marathon was hard and shitty and I felt like crap. The first time I ran 18 miles I felt like a God. I felt so strong and capable and competent. I strutted when I walked for days. I CAN RUN EIGHTEEN FUCKING MILES MOTHERFUCKER! 26 was brutal in comparison. I’d like to get to the point of 26 miles feeling how 18 miles felt. An extra 8 miles is really rough. I don’t want it to be so rough.

My “goals”: 10k in 75 minutes. I’m running with a friend who is still working up. (She’s doing great!) Half marathon in 2:40. Full marathon better than 6 hours. That’s 46 minutes faster than my first marathon. It shaves almost 2 minutes off each mile meaning I will have to maintain faster than 15 min/mile. Doesn’t sound that hard. Ha. Piss off. You do it if it isn’t that hard. It’ll be hard. Very hard. But I can do it.

Lately my short runs are 13:30 minutes/mile or faster. I really want my short runs to be faster than 12 min/mile. I can’t shake this feeling that at some point in my life it will be necessary for me to run or I will die. It’s a horrible feeling but it puts some pep in my step.

I have already been a hunted animal. I do not have so much hubris as to believe it will never happen again.

I want to travel. I am white and a woman. There are going to be people who don’t like me on sight. Then you combine that with the fact that I rarely shut my fucking mouth. It doesn’t seem like paranoia. It seems like basic caution.

I am now officially in the database of potential speakers for RAINN (rape and incest national network), which I have mixed feelings about. But I’ll put my hat in the ring anyway. If they get a request for my area I will hear about it.

I still haven’t turned up a picture of me alone from within the last two years I can send in for the interview. Whinge.

I am making progress on back-stage stuff for the blog. I not show you now. Neiner. (That grammar error was on purpose.)

Sometimes I feel overwhelming anxiety because I’m redesigning my website. The number of things I teach myself to do is kind of crazy. Yes, lots of other people have already taught themselves this skill. I’ve been a serious asshole about resisting picking up computer skills over more than a decade.

I use word and a web browser and not much else! Damnit!! Only now it is becoming handy to know all this back end stuff. Shoot me now.

I have quite a few things I’m working on right now. I’m trying to put together a book of pictures of our house. I’m trying to figure out how to organize them. We are going to visit a lot of relatives who will never make it to our house. I’m a vain bastard and I like my house a lot. I want to be able to show the great grandmother what I’m doing and she will never travel again due to age.

I didn’t ever anticipate growing up to be an artist. I was pretty spiteful and nasty about the whole concept of art for most of my life. (That is what comes of having art teachers tell you that you are stupid for many years for not following their directions more carefully.) I’m big on shooting myself in the foot.

Hardly anyone gets to grow up how my kids do. They live in a weird little house where they get to ask for paintings on the wall (they help more by the year). Just about everything they can reach is kid friendly and they are allowed to grab at will. (They are tall so now there are a few things they just have to respectfully not touch.) They get to decide how they want to spend their time. They have only a few outside schedule impositions.

I’m pretty jealous of my kids. I didn’t have anything like this. But I get it now. I try to let that be enough. I think I’m nice to them even though I feel jealousy. I’m glad they are here as an excuse so I can live this way. I have to be grateful for that. I wouldn’t have allowed myself to do all this without kids. I’m really happy I get to live here doing this. I’m having a lot of fun.

I won’t know for decades if I did the right thing or not. That’s rather annoying. (And that is why no one should write parenting books while their kids are under five. I’m JUST SAYIN’.)

I think it is funny how my mental picture of my reading audience changes over time. I see how many page hits I get. I can tell when a new/random person shows up. (A lot of reading old entries, maybe following a tag for several entries.) Over time people volunteer “I haven’t been reading lately” or “Your blog is too much for me” or “Wow. You write a lot. It’s…. something. To read. Ahem.”

Hi. Thanks for slogging? I know it is random. Thus my desire to somewhat split the blog out pouring into more manageable for other people chunks. Maybe it will get easier. We’ll see!

I wonder too much about what other people think of me. I hope that I surprise people. I hope that they had dire predictions and then… I just… do better than they expected. I’ve been told over and over that people thought I would crash and burn. When I keep turning up at parties people are surprised. “You aren’t dead!” Not yet. More and more I hope I make it to a “natural” death. (i.e. one not caused by me.) My kids asked me to promise that I would never leave them on purpose. That’s a big promise.

I have held my right to end my pain as one of my most sacred rights. And now they want me to give it up. Just because they need me.

As I stay up late at night composing mental letters I wish I could send to my mommy I think… maybe their need is real. They aren’t pretending this love. They are too young to be able to maintain a charade.

Things are always changing rapidly here in Wonderland. Lots to do. Lots of stuff to learn. I feel so inadequate for the list of jobs in front of me. But I won’t get more adequate if I sit on my ass doing nothing. So I run towards each new difficult opportunity.

If you want to make sure we visit you on our cross country road trip you should probably email me pretty soon. I’m making reservations for some places starting in another month. I’m firming up a lot of plans. Yes, some people like to do things fly-by-night making it up as they go. I like going places that you have to reserve a year in advance or ha ha go somewhere else. That means making firm plans.

If we go the northern route then we won’t see friends in Utah. That would be a huge bummer. There is also a stop I’d like to make in Missouri. (Err, not because of the recent issues in Ferguson. Those are terrible and sad. I don’t intend to be a tourist next year to see the carnage. I know someone.)

So I’m making some decisions. If you are sure you want on the route, speak up soon or you may get skipped. That’s how life goes.

Morning routine

Here is my list of “it would be nice” if I did them in the morning.

  • Run
  • Write on blog
  • Medicate
  • Write on books that are in my head screaming to get out.
  • Water the plants (not *Every* day but most days and I’m struggling to be consistent)
  • Yoga
  • Eat breakfast

The problem is I want to get this all done by 7am and it’s just not happening. Past 7 I have the kids and…. everything gets harder.

Shanna has been making noise about wanting to get more serious about “school”. She understands that she is “going into first grade” and other kid have a lot of work to do at this stage.

I’m sorta wondering if I should mostly cut out socializing this school year. We should do classes and stay at home to practice things. She specifically asked if we could start reviewing Signing Time again.

I’m going to need to limit socializing to maybe two days a week. One week day and one weekend day. Noah desperately needs a weekend day of down time. It’s not fair to blast through the weekends. I think it is good for all of us.

We want martial arts. I’m thinking parkour to start just because it sounds so fun. I’m going to have to email the mom of a boy in our homeschool group. He’s doing lessons already in Fremont. He and Shanna are sorta close in age and they get along pretty well. (At least when they are alone. Not when the (insert winking lights here) wonderful second boy in their triad shows up though. Then they fight over the other boy. Sigh.

Both kids want to stay in swimming lessons over the fall/winter.

Calli will be in HIndi.

Both kids are asking for music classes and there is a place in Fremont that does birth-6 years olds in one class. It isn’t one instrument focused. They kind of move around between a few different kind of instruments. And they are big on ukeleles! I need to get both of ours fixed.

If we start doing language videos every day and practicing together, that will be like another class.

That is on top of our constant outpouring of history and math and science and art.

My kids have memorized the low level addition tables to the point where they are sometimes faster than me. We do not table work on addition. We just talk about math all the time. We count and do addition problems back and forth. They have never ever been asked to do a worksheet.

I got them a geometry set with a compass and man these words are escaping my brain today. Whoa. Uhm, those stupid plastic things you use to help you draw angles. Whatever. We have played with that though.

I would like to take a moment and thank genetics that my kids are *not* primarily visual learners. Many children *need* to see things in front of them in order to understand. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them. I’m more literal like that. My kids are incredibly good at picking up concepts from hearing and talking about them. It is luck.

But I feel like it fits in with why I haven’t encouraged Shanna towards reading with more vigor. She’ll get there. Until then she has had to develop her memory with greater enthusiasm. She has memorized most of the books we own so she can “read” them to her sister. But she gets enough words wrong that I know she is remembering and not reading.

We have hundreds of childrens books. We have a bigger library than some elementary schools I went to. If Shanna has most of these memorized that means she has had them read to her. That feels good to me.

Our house rule is that any given book is read ONCE per day. I do not reread. Period. So they memorize these books without the benefit of having it repeated over and over and over in a short period. I am so darn envious of Shanna’s memory. She got it from her dad. I sorta glare at them on the sly sometimes but I don’t bitch. It’s a cool talent.

Sometimes when I watch interactions in other families I feel like there is something wrong with us. We are too touchy. Too affectionate. Am I going too far in the affection direction? We don’t “make out” (extended kisses on the lips with lips closed) and tongues belong in your mouth but beyond that if you want to give someone 500 kisses on their face, go for it.

Even in sex communities I have never seen a group of people as physically demonstrative as this family. I feel a little weird about it. Noah says that he and I both came into parenting with major touch deficits. That’s true enough.

But these means my kids are having a hard time learning that you can’t be that affectionate with EVERYONE. It’s a work in progress.

I keep telling Shanna, “When you are a baby it is ok to push until someone tells you “no”. That’s how you learn boundaries. As you get physically bigger the power dynamic shifts. You don’t get to push. You can only do things to people if you ask in advance and they say “yes”. Otherwise you are potentially violating their boundaries and that isn’t ok. People shouldn’t have to say “no” and shove you off of them once you are bigger. That’s only for babies.

This morning at breakfast we had a clarifying conversation about the whole “fucking kids” thing. I asked if it was ok to say “darn kids” and Shanna emphatically said “no.” It is unacceptable to call them anything. The only thing I am allowed to say is, “I am really frustrated with you kids.”

I can’t die. I want to see what she becomes as a grown up. She is so fucking cool.

I think I have talked myself into limiting socializing outside the house to two days a week during the next season or so. Tuesdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays partially because I have therapy on that day and it is park day so I should just assume that day is out of the house.

We have one or two things already scheduled I won’t cancel. I just won’t add more.

I think that partially I’m trying to see if the kids and I can get into a more regular rhythm because we will have to have one next year on the road trip. Just over ten months to go.

I would like it if we were better able to communicate in languages other than English. We will have to just practice. Oh I finally have an in-house study group. I feel so grateful. I don’t have to feel stupid or embarrassed.

When I stay home more I’m slightly less volatile. I think? I wish I remembered this kind of thing better. I know I go stir crazy. But this period of at-home is going to be forcefully ended by being out of the state for five months or so. Maybe I should build up some reserves so that I don’t leave depleted.

Life is complicated. I should pay attention to mis hijas. I don’t know why but I’m not that fond of the word “daughter”. I like hija. I always have. When I was a little girl wandering around the barrio I would hear the Mamas yelling, “Mijas! Ven ahora!” It is one of the most comforting sounds.

My mom didn’t yell for me to come in much. She was happy for me to be out of her face as long as I was willing to be gone. When she did yell at me it was a harsh “Kristine Lenora!”

I like that mi hijas are so tender and gentle with me. Time for snuggling. Maybe after I shower. Phew. (Hey–I already got my running in.)

Comorbidity

That word is awesome. Comorbidity. It means the simultaneous presence of multiple conditions. Such a fabulous word. Like juxtaposition only in one spot.

My shrink and I were discussing my hypomania yesterday. Hypomania isn’t true mania. It means that you have an elevated activation of your nervous system but you aren’t necessarily doing anything rash or dangerous. I just flip between feeling happy and pissed off with a gentle breeze. I may be spending a “lot” of money but given that all of my big purchases in the last few months are things like “items I will use on cross-country trip” and “shed to prevent bicycles from disintegrating” I don’t really count as manic. I’m not blowing thousands of dollars on the lottery.

I have a lot going on. I have a lot of people in my life and I have dramatically different feelings about different people. Keeping all those feelings inside me and more or less cogent is really hard. It is very disruptive. If I knew fewer people maybe this would be easier… ha. Never happen.

The kids have been pretty explosive too. They are feeding off of me and I take responsibility. It’s like when Jenny copied my tone of voice and we had a bad first 24 hours. It sucks knowing that you are the one triggering the bad interactions in the whole house.

My attitude needs to change, and fast. I have about 18 people coming over in five hours. I haven’t made the food yet. I haven’t moved the tables yet. No biggie. That’s all there is left to do. It’ll get done. But I need to have a good attitude.

There is a family in our home school group who says that a lot when we are doing stuff like hiking and camping, “It’s important to have a good attitude.” I try really hard to listen to them. They have a good point.

So of course I woke up and at 5am I am standing at the freezer saying, “How should I medicate today?” Modern science is wonderful. The variety the dispensary has… it takes my breath away. I am thrilled. Cupcakes and rice crispy bars and brownies and cookies and about 10 different kinds of candy and chocolate bars and pills and oil and wax and ice cream and…

Whoa. All so I don’t have to give myself lung damage. Well done legalization industry.

I’m not a mellow person. I never have been. I am more calm and reflective than I used to be by a large measure. I no longer feel like someone not-paying-attention-to-me-right-now means death.

My shrink and I did several body-calming-exercises. Trying to help my central nervous system calm down. Sometimes I don’t think I could be more activated if I were hit by lightning. I’m already vibrating with energy. (Ok I know that actual lightning would be more… but you understand the metaphor.)

One of the things she had me do was visualize kicking someone. The thing is, that brings up my mental Rolodex of so-and-so and him and her and them and… Memory lane is a funny thing for me.

I will probably never do that again. I will probably never kick anyone in the nuts again. I will probably not kick someone in the chest hard enough to fracture ribs again.

Although I could do martial arts or kick boxing. Maybe that is a work around so that I can still beat the crap out of people but I’m being “monogamous”. As long as I claim I don’t get off on it–it’s fine, right?

Once my Owner watched a Famous Fetish Model/Educator (I’m capitalizing it because she’s a big deal in his little world and he nearly genuflects when he talks about her–whatever.) and her partner do a scene in which she only used her feet. Given how obsessed with feet my Owner was… well, nothing would do but that I do something similar to him. I learned that I liked it. I’ve done a lot of scenes where I didn’t touch someone with my hands.

Not to mention that I have literally had my ass kicked by many people. It feels awesome.

Bdsm gives me a fully consensual and appropriate space to work through my feelings of aggression. Not having it is hard. Cause seriously, if someone sidled up to me and begged me pretty please to knee them in the balls and slap them around right now… Oh I would have trouble saying no. That would be so much fun.

Ahem. Tea Party. Get your head on straight. Sweetness. Light. Gentle hands for the love of toast.

I’m irritated. That’s the only word I can come up with. My shrink wants to stick with activated. Wired for sound.

But these ups and downs, this is why there is so much conflicting opinion about my diagnosis. I’ve heard just PTSD. I’ve heard PTSD and GAD. I’ve heard bipolar. I’ve heard borderline personality disorder (but never from a qualified professional so I’m more doubtful of this one). While on a terrible psych medication I was told borderline schizophrenic but never while not on the evil psych med so that one I get to say isn’t mine.

I swing from depression and suicidal ideation to anxiety and hypomania. This is more tiresome for me than for you. I promise.  I can’t get away.

I’m a weird balance between extrovert and introvert. Finding the right balance is hard. I need people something fierce. But they are draining and tiring.

I am so very driven by my attachment needs. I am driven towards and away from people at the same time. It feels like a war inside my brain. I am afraid to attach too much to any one person. I’m afraid to not try with everyone because you never know who will fit.

But I have a full time job plus overtime of socializing and it is not actually good for me. But culling people feels brutal. Even just putting people on a longer rotation feels hard.

And now that my kids are bonding with my friends… kicking them out of my life is a whole different story. Just like I’m not real approving of polyfuckery in front of children I’m not that thrilled about the idea of a revolving character cast of friends. Kids need to know who is in their lives. Kids needs to have relationships that are not just instant-friends.

So I’m trying to be ok with some people being on a longer leash but not out of my life. It is a really hard transition in thinking.

I think Pam hit level 2 because I completely discounted her as a friend many times over the years and she kept reappearing. We would have intense conversations and I would assume that she never wanted to speak to me again after what I said and… there she was calling me again.

From across the world she kept calling me. So I developed the habit of dropping whatever I was doing because Pam wanted to talk to me.

It was like how Air Force Michael managed to call me from Turkey spontaneously several times while I was institutionalized as a teenager. Only I didn’t get to talk to AF Michael because… I wasn’t at home to take the calls. And he stopped calling after that.

So I fucking answer the phone for Pam. Because I can say whatever crack-brained shit that comes to mind and she keeps calling.

I don’t remember if I wrote what was so amazing about Shanna’s second birthday yesterday. I think I kind of hinted but didn’t get to the meat.

I emailed my friends and said: “My kid needs a party and I don’t want to do it. You do it.”

So they did. And I sat in a chair. And it felt like magic. I felt loved. I did feel supported in that net feeling.

I don’t know why I have such a violent need to hurt myself if I try to get that feeling from a party that is actually literally about me. But I have some suspicions.

I don’t want this feeling for the rest of my life. But you can’t decide to “just stop feeling something”.

You have to decide what you want and move towards it.

Time to go set up for the Tea Party.

Logistics

Thank you for all the comments. I certainly know I am not alone in experiencing social anxiety and group troubles. I read textbooks. I know how common my issues are. Heh. It is interesting seeing where other people are with handling it. I go in and out of phases where I can handle putting myself out there. Sometimes I can and sometimes not so much.

Tomorrow is a tea party at our house. The current RSVP count is maddening because it never stays the same in the last 24 hours. This group is… really big on changing their minds in the final hours. Which means if I start baking this afternoon there is a non-zero chance I will make two or three times as much food as I need because half or more of the people will cancel.

But the house is pretty much ready. I’ll choose to just be happy about that. I am ridiculously impressed by how helpful the kids are becoming. Shanna washes dishes now too. With every party that goes by they do more and more of the work.

My secret plan is working. My kids are going to be entirely adept at hosting before they are ten.

My kids are going to have very different issues than me. I really can’t predict what they will be like. But I know they will show up as adults with a large variety of skills.

We aren’t going to the park today because Shanna’s favorite girl in the neighborhood is only available to play on Tuesdays. Shanna asked if she could stay home to see her friend and that will make my life easier. I don’t know what it will mean about the whole shape of the day.

The kids were going to K’s while I have therapy before the park then Aqua Adventure. Now… I’m not so sure. We’ll see.

I finished all the invitations for Calli’s birthday yesterday. I feel on the ball on that one because I’m a month early. *phew*

I need to make a list of foods I’m making for tomorrow so I can email people. Folks always ask what they can do. The thing is, given how high the flake rate is for events… I hesitate to share duties. If someone decides not to show up at the last minute then I have to scramble and I don’t like that much. Tea parties aren’t like pot lucks. They aren’t events that can have a completely random menu. Says my little control freak brain.

I’m sorta thinking that I could say, “You can contribute $5-$10 on a sliding scale for what your family can afford per kid if you want to defray the costs. I do not require that any kid pay. If I couldn’t afford the parties I wouldn’t have them.”

I like them being just so. That makes it easier for me to get set up in advance. If I am reacting to an unpredictable amount and quantity of food from other people… I experience a lot of anxiety. What if someone else has a bad morning and brings their six kids without having made the food they agreed to make? I’d be uhhh up a creek. Either I would spend the whole party making food such that I didn’t get to talk to anyone or have fun, or kids would be standing there picking through my snack cart for the whole time. Neither option pleases me.

(I specifically said six kids because at this moment in time no one in the group has six kids. [Err, at least not that have all six active within the homeschool group…] So I’m not picking on anyone. It’s a metaphor. It could be one kid. But it would be more likely with six kids because man I have a lot of sympathy for moms with that many kids. I can’t imagine keeping up with that workload.)

I would be just as fussy with two or three kids.

I can create a smoothly ordered system if I am in control of all the pieces. I’m shitty at adjusting to, “Well I forgot to buy cucumbers so I made pb&j’s instead” when I already made the pb&j’s for the party and now that’s all we have to eat….

People are variable. And if I just do it then I don’t get mad at anyone for being human. I get that they are human and all. I need to be loving and accepting of people being where they are.

I’m probably better off saying that people can give $ if they really want to contribute. I totally don’t think I want help. Maybe some help. Not really. Go away. Don’t help me.

I’m kidding. Don’t go away. Come to my party. Enjoy yourself as a guest. Don’t pressure me to make-work for you because that’s hard. I’ll get to the work at a pace I can handle. Then I don’t have to stop my train of thoughts to create something for you to do. That can be pretty frustrating.

When I want help I ask for it. Shanna’s second birthday was awesome. I told my friends to come over and do everything for the party because I was very pregnant and I planned to sit in a chair.

They did.

It was really pretty breathtaking. The fact that I have social anxiety and insecurity about my relationships is pretty much horse shit. They show up. They work like dogs. I am so grateful.

I suppose that yesterday when I thought of the wedding reception and my 30th birthday I was looking for mass. At that quantity of people I start cracking.

The birthday parties for the kids have all been really great. I know that the parties aren’t for me so a lot of my anxiety goes away. I have a much narrower parameter of acceptable behavior “Ok for my kids” and that relieves the pressure of what to say to people.

As I look at the group of people who is working hard to know my kids throughout their lifetime… I feel quite humbled. My kids have an extensive network. There are a lot of grown ups who have been there over and over for six years running for Shanna. She trusts and loves them with absolutely no limits.

I feel so grateful that I get to see what that looks like. Even as I go through my feelings of rage that “chosen family is bullshit” these people show up for my kids. And they show up. And they show up.

Even my worry about an “appropriate place” for them to go should I die… they have options. They have lots of aunts who would make it work. My kids may not get to have the life I would give them, but they would be loved and cared for. They would be told good things about me.

I’m so grateful that I have gotten to this point. Even though sometimes I feel like I am going to have to leave because I am a monster who will hurt people.

Other people have to decide for themselves if I am hurting them or not. I should not proactively withdraw just to keep them safe. That isn’t actually what they want. They would rather tell me to knock it off if I start over-stepping. Well, maybe they don’t like doing that.

But I’m not shitty company all the time. Clearly folks like talking to me once in a while. I can stop pretending that I am torturing people just by existing near them. It is a really annoying habit of mine.

And I settled the menu for the tea party and followed up with sending my address to all the guests. Checking things off lists.

The kids have been staying up till 9 pretty consistently. Stupid Day Light Savings. They are sleeping later. It’s pretty awesome.

Oh, it’s official. I will not drink hard alcohol anymore. I had one fucking drink and it made me puke. I can have a glass of wine on rare occasions. When we run out of what is in the house I should probably stop buying it. Noah likes his rum and that’s his call. My body doesn’t like it. I had horrible diarrhea for more than 24 hours. It is time to recognize this limit. Yes, body. You win.

Ok. Time to go start the day.

The lucky one

I woke up feeling positive affect. (That means I’m in a good mood.) Since I spend so much time feeling shitty (and writing about it) sometimes I like to make sure I show some balance. I feel some balance. My feelings aren’t *balanced* but there are representative samples from many points on the spectrum.

If you know what I mean.

Anyway, really it started yesterday. Yesterday was a fairly mellow day. I did gardening and some house cleaning and the kids and I read and played. Nice day.

At one point I was getting angry with the kids for outright refusing to clean up so we could go do something I wanted to do I started getting loud. At one point I started shrieking, “Am I going to have to scream? Is that the..” I cut myself off. I stood very still and took several deep breaths.

“No one ever has to scream. That is a false choice. No, I can ask this without screaming. That would be a failure on my part. Baby, please just pick stuff up.”

Shanna smiled huge, gave me a big thumbs up, winked and said, “Good job mom! You totally calmed yourself down there and I’m really proud of you for recognizing that you never need to scream.”

We only got like 70% of the picking up done. I let it go. I felt a little embarrassed by Shanna’s commentary. And happy at the same time.

I like and appreciate and value people watching me enough to make positive comments on my behavior progress. It’s a little weird having my kids give me those sorts of compliments. But I take positive opinions where I can get them.

At bed time Shanna asked me something about the time before kids. I said, “Know how I get grumpy sometimes” “Yeah” “Well… I was way more grumpy and mean and I used to hit people pretty frequently when I was mad.”

She looked at me with as much shock and horror as if I said I like to sit around dumping salt on snails all day long.

Then I said, “You know how I am sad sometimes and I cry pretty often?” “Yeah” “Well before you were born I cried a lot more. I was very sad about most of the things in my life.”

She looked kind of troubled.

Then I said, “Know how I am mostly happy and cheerful these days?” “Yeah!” “That’s because of you. That started when you were born. Your dad helps a lot because he is the nicest person to me I’ve ever met. Your sister helps. All three of you give me so much love that it feels like maybe some day I will be able to stop crying.”

She hugged me fiercely.

I am deeply aware that people who are as broken as me usually don’t get to “pass” into happy families. That’s not usually a life path that opens up in front of us. Some days I understand in the depths of my soul that I am one of the lucky ones.

For every bad thing that has happened to me I have had some other corollary thing that was positive. I have had an unusual amount of privilege. Not just white privilege, not just female privilege (which exists in my entirely judgmental opinion) … it’s more than that.

Sometimes I feel like a cuckoo. I can be dropped in any nest and I will manage to survive. I have had access to some ridiculously prestigious spaces. I was trailer trash for a long time. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been in a wide variety of $5million + homes. I’ve been in $20 million homes. That is a kind of access that isn’t available to everyone.

I’ve seen enough things to continually inspire me. I can walk into any situation and find the perks and downsides. There are always perks. There are always downsides.

They say that people who deal with depression perceive the world far more accurately than average. In reality, the world sucks.

I go back and forth between feeling flattened by the limits I perceive and knowing that if I can’t find a way I will make a way. All of the limits you perceive are just obstacles. No matter how big or frustrating.

We sent someone to the moon. What the fuck else can our species do?!

I have thirteen chapters left to edit for the book. Many of them are only two or three pages long so that’s not so bad.

Then I need to do the pull out sections. Definition pages. Resources lists. Bibliography. Ew. Ew. Ew. Writing sucks.

But! I’m thinking about doing one of those fancy-ass annotated bibliographies. Where I not only give them a list of resources (internet, book, phone) but give short descriptions of how and when they are useful and where they fail. That saves other people a lot of time trying things out that won’t be a good fit.

It is hard to talk about this book. If I get a few more readers who tell me that they like it and think it is full of useful information I hope it will be less hard to talk about. Yesterday I tried to explain it to our teenage babysitter. She’s a religiously home schooled sixteen year old. Ok fine, my kids aren’t sheltered in the scheme of things.

But she asked me what the book is about. I said it is a book about harm reduction aimed at middle school kids. I asked her if she is sort of familiar with the Alcoholics Anonymous method where you must be 100% abstinent forever and convince yourself that you are powerless. She said yes. I said, “Well… not many people do well with AA. It doesn’t have the highest success rate. Most people do negative things: drugs, alcohol, cutting themselves, other bad coping methods because they have things going in their lives that are genuinely causing them pain. Telling them to stop the coping method without solving the pain is really stupid. It’s not that you need to just learn to bear this pain forever all day with the grace of god. It’s that you need to lessen how much pain you are in so you don’t need to be doing the bad things.”

She said, “That sounds like a really good book. I hope I get to read it soon.”

If I can help other people feel less pain, that’s a mitzvah. That’s a life’s work. That is worthy.

Even if there isn’t a lot of money in it. I have Noah. I have the privilege to not care.

I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel because I get to live my life any fucking way I want. The limits I run into are more self-imposed then exterior.

could go buy a fancy RV. But I’d rather put that extra $20k into my mortgage so I can stop paying fucking interest. Maybe after the house is paid off and my kids are teenagers the four of us will have an interest in a bigger RV as a way of longer term traveling. If I want to waste money on it then it will be ok. It will be after the WWOOF year. So if I am on track for college savings and retirement savings… why not?

After I remodel my house. I don’t want to spend $25,000 on a vehicle before I spend $25,000 upgrading my bathroom.

If these are the limits of my life… I really have no room to bitch. First World Problems as they like to say.

I look at all the books in my house and I feel lucky. I get to read… almost as much as I want. The kids complain if I read too much.

Today, if the kids are willing to clean up, we are going to the water park. (Last night I only asked for the living room to be cleaned up so that their poor gimp-tastic father could walk around without injury. If you want me to take you to a kids play place… pick up ALL of your stuff. Or no.)

Then this afternoon our beloved Taylor is coming. My back is looking forward to this. I should probably get dressed and go run right now before breakfast. Then it will be done for the day.

I am so grateful that I’ve found a sometimes-running buddy. I’m looking forward to a half marathon with her in October. I am looking forward to training again. My body feels a lot better under those conditions.

Ok, go run.

my life is good when I’m not chemically out of whack

The new ergonomic keyboard doesn’t have all the parts necessary to work. This is annoying. That is going to be the low point of my day. Which is really cool. I can exchange my biggest problem of the day.

Every single day I wake up grateful for Noah. He is so nice to me. He is so kind. I have received more love and caring in the past seven years than in the previous twenty-five years put together. I am so lucky.

Many people have childhoods as bad as mine. Most of them don’t go on to have happy adult lives. At this point in time my strife feels like stuff I’m opting into or it is so structurally vast that it isn’t really a day-to-day problem for me. I have conflicts with my friends because I pick intelligent, opinionated, fierce people for my life. I go out and hand select them out of the bunch of quieter and more complaisant people. I can’t bitch that we have conflict. I can learn how to manage it without having a heart attack–damnit. Or I’m fighting things like rape culture and whereas it is a problem every day it isn’t a Daily Problem if you know what I mean.

If I was hungry that would be a Daily Problem. If I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent that would be a Daily Problem. I don’t have those kinds of problems anymore. My big problems are that sometimes my kids scream more than I like or I am inconvenienced by a major electronics retailer.

I just can’t bitch too loud, you know?

My garden is so beautiful lately that it takes my breath away. I MADE THAT MOTHERFUCKER!!! WHOO HOO!!!!!!!!! *happy dance*

I no longer feel like everything I touch turns to shit. Some stuff doesn’t work out. It isn’t all my fault and I am not poison. I can do things. My corn is popping up. Clearly I can do something.

I see so much green. I have more plans. It’s going to take years and every day of work will be a joy. I get to stay here long enough to make long-term plans. I get to dream about the future. Shanna likes to talk about building one of the houses next door so we can tear down the fence between the yards and build a second story walkway between the houses. (Technically she just wanted to fully connect the houses. I voted for the second floor walkway so we could still have the side yards in between for plants. She decided that I am smarter than I look. She is my kid.)

I think that sounds pretty magical and wonderful. When I remodel my house I am getting a sound proof room so my husband can beat me and no one will hear. I want to have that privacy in the future (I’m kind of sick of not being able to play at home) but I also want to have the connection with my kids. I like them as people. It’s not about having control over them forever. I enjoy their company. If they enjoy mine I’d be thrilled to keep hanging out with them. I genuinely like them.

I feel so lucky.

When you decide at seventeen that what you want is to be a home schooling parent there is a lot of room for things to not work out. I feel blessed that not only did I find a partner who is supportive but my children and I happen to have compatible temperaments. They have a lot of freedom to do things that bug me without penalty. Frequently I will acknowledge, “This is not my favorite thing. But I don’t get to control everything you do. I hope it goes well. I can’t watch.”

I feel incredibly lucky that my dreams are coming true and it’s actually a pleasant process. That is a rare dichotomy. Usually if you get what you want you find out it isn’t that great.

Noah is that great. The joy I feel spending all day with my kids is that great.

This weekend was basically perfect. I ran 12 miles. Socialized with a very old friend (16 years and counting–more than half my life now) for three hours; rocky stuff happening in her life but I’m glad she has the fortitude to take the steps she needs to take. It is kind of amazing the way her life is 100% different than it was three years ago. She has a new job in an entirely new field (she left theatre) she has a kid and she’s about to be single for the first time in a very long time. That’s a lot of big changes. Got an ergonomic keyboard and new running shoes. Otherwise we hid in the house. That’s a very slow weekend for us. Eight hours of bustle for me and no one else.

Of course because I was in the house and only busy for eight hours out of forty-eight I did a bunch of yardwork. Grow wildflowers, grow. Damn you. I hung up the hanging pots! I’ve had them for over a year and I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m getting all my residual chores done that I’ve been procrastinating on now that I’m procrastinating on editing. Doo de doo. I’ll get it done.

And the petition. I’m going for upbeat, friendly, everyone should get to live here without pain.

I’m really grateful that my neighbors are becoming so much more friendly over time. I will know everyone on the block some day. We have a new family! With kids! They are visibly Islamic so I will cross my fingers that I can behave in a socially appropriate enough way to manage to not offend the parents so our kids can be friends. My lifestyle is different. I won’t corrupt your young children.

I will wait until they are teenagers.

Ahem.

I will corrupt them with ideas like, “No one gets to touch any part of your body unless you actively want it to happen. If someone does so, find other adults who can help you deal with the situation.”

And, “Sex is awesome and if you want to have it then that is between you and your conscious. If you are going to have heterosexual sex, use two forms of birth control every single time you have sex. Always a condom no matter what. Always another form of birth control for the woman. If you are going to have homosexual sex then one barrier is fine. Use barriers. Every time. Even for oral.”

When you are young you don’t know what is going to happen to you 50 years from now. You won’t know you want to do until you get there. Leave as many options open as possible. Protect your body and your sexual health. There are no take backs once you contract a disease and you can’t tell by looking at people who has what. Even medical testing is iffy for a lot of diseases. Protect yourself until you are ready to have children. Or you get married and are on permanent birth control because you have ruled out kids. I don’t care what married people do. When you are a kid and you can’t take care of a kid, USE BIRTH CONTROL.

I support you having one kid, two kids, twelve kids, twenty kids (though I will instinctively wince just because oh man I can’t imagine that) or no kids at all because oh man kids are icki.

Maybe I will corrupt your kids. I want to introduce them to the concept of plurality. There can be more than one right answer. Your way isn’t the only way. My way isn’t the only way.

I admire many of the tenants of faith from all of the major religions. I think religion is mostly a set of written down rules on how to be good. Every one has their own idea of what “good” means. I think there need to be many sets of rules because we need many kinds of people.

All progress depends on the unreasonable (wo)man. If no one has a belief that is unreasonable to you then progress won’t be made. We have to stretch the borders of acceptable parameters.

Yes, autistic ways of being should be better understood and supported from earlier in life so that folks have an easier adulthood. I struggle with how to deal the bitterness from the current adults who didn’t get any help.

I understand what it feels like to desperately need help during your childhood and to not get it. I have more options for help now that I’m an adult. Autistic adults… not so much. The vast majority of all people with mental illness do not have the resources I have.

I am one of the lucky ones. How much of that is privilege granted to me by the color of my skin? How much of that has been my ability to meet the right people so I can get help? How much of that is that I first had access to state funded therapy and then I had good health insurance and then I had a rich husband?

If you prosecute your rapist then you get state funded therapy. You will be part of the victim-witness support network. That shit is worth its weight in gold. My PTSD has been classified as severe for more than half my life. The state has a vested interest in keeping me off of a bell tower with an Uzi. The state also wants me to not kill myself. The state put a lot of money into educating me and the state wants a productive citizen out of the deal, damnit.

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” JFK was a guilt trippin’ motherfucker. But he’s right.

My autistic friends teach me over and over and over and over that it really doesn’t matter what you “mean” when you say something. It matters what other people see, hear, and feel as a result of you saying something. If you play it right then you get the reaction and relationship you want. If you play it wrong then you alienate people and they hate you and blame their feelings of discomfort on you.

I’m such an asshole. I totally treat other people the way I am treated. Them’s just the rules of the jungle.

But if you consciously believe with your whole heart that it takes all kinds and there is value to every life then you ought not to be that kind of asshole. This is troubling. This is where my ethics and morals and behavior don’t line up. This is not so cool. Ok. When your behavior doesn’t match your ethics you have a few choices.

A) Ignore the mismatch and be a flaming hypocrite.

B) Acknowledge the mismatch and say, “But I have REASONS” and be a flaming hypocrite.

C) Acknowledge the mismatch and decide whether to change your ethics/morals or your behavior. This has mandatory follow up steps if the goal is to change your behavior. If you have no later checks then you will resort to “easier” instead of doing what is right.

Well, as much as I believe that it takes all kinds and everyone is valuable and shit I think that people have the right to reject me. I believe that people have the right to not want to know me. I believe that people have the right to not invite me to their parties and not invite me to their homes because I am rude and offensive. They don’t even need a reason. They can just be not that interested in me.

They have the right to not want to be my friend. I don’t get to take that away from them just because I long for community.

Like my neighbors. Some engage with me more than others. Even the ones who are clearly uninterested in a relationship they have gotten to the point of obvious recognition and acknowledgment of humanity.

My monkey sphere is pretty fucking full. It’s ok that not everyone in the whole world wants to be my best friend. I am incredibly overwhelmingly lucky to have the diverse relationships I have.

Not all of my friends are “nice people”. Some of them are canonical “nice people”. I like variety. I have something to learn from everyone. I am imperfect but striving. That is all I can do.

I’m glad when the anger passes. When the sudden rage dissipates. I don’t really “know” what causes it. It’s about a lot of different factors all exploding at once. It’s different every time.

In the wake of it I feel gratitude for the absence. I’m glad I didn’t fuck up a relationship. I didn’t scream. (One yell. But it was of the “I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH A SENTENCE WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED” variety and there are much worse things I could have done. Not great but I call it a win anyway.)

Children are supposed to test boundaries. That is the whole point of childhood. You learn what happens when you do things.

Shanna tries to be a joker. She likes to lighten the mood. She wants to make a face and make me laugh and have everything be all better now. It’s honestly kind of weird to me. Some of her “joking” faces have all the markers of “I want to start a fist fight”. I have taken to asking, “Is that a silly face or an angry face?” The answer is almost always, “Silly!” (She does get mad too–but that’s usually more clear and related to a situation I can understand.)

When my kids ask me to lighten up I either do so or leave the room until I can calm down because I’m flooding. They have a right to not be around a stress-tastic person. I want them to learn how to have boundaries too.

The thing about our relationship is that we always come back and snuggle after tense moments. We are incredibly physically affectionate. If my kids rejected my affection I would stop but they beg for more. I hug, cuddle, and kiss them hundreds or thousands of times a day. Maybe we have the odd day when I only kiss the top of their heads like ten times.

We check in and then we run off to do our thing again.

Are you still there? I still love you and want to be around you. Ok, I’m going to do my thing again.

I have wanted this my whole life.

I feel horrible guilt but at this point I can have two to three hours by myself on many days. My kids can be told to go in the back yard with snacks and they don’t come back for hours. I feel like I shouldn’t be abandoning them for those periods. But it’s good for all of us so I do it. Other parents don’t force their kids to be alone so they can get alone time. They put their kids in daycare so they can play with other kids instead of being forced into solitude. I don’t feel like a nice mom.

I would feel differently if Shanna were less social. I think Calli loves it. She checks in when she needs to for her hug and kiss and then she goes back to playing.

I spend my days making up songs about how much and why I love my kids. My children will not be the type to grow up and wonder if their parents loved them. My kids are more on the smothered end. Only I take them to the park and classes and parties and turn them loose. They are very engaged with the world and they do not allow me to mediate any more. Shanna flat tells me to leave her alone at parties. She knows that my anxiety cramps her style. It’s… a little weird. But she seems to be working with what she has so we’ll see where it takes her.

I’m not the boss of her life. I mean, I sort of am for a little while. But not for forever. It is my job to teach her the rote body memory necessary for caring for yourself with ease an adult. You will just be used to “This is what we do all day to take care of our bodies.” It won’t be this weird thing that involves transactions with other people all day long to get your basic needs met.

The thing I hate the most about all the American bastards who wrote about “self sufficiency” and “self reliance” and living out in the woods by themselves WOULD HAVE STARVED if not for the generosity of women in their communities.

Fuck your self reliance.

And yet! There is a basic level of self care that I believe that every human being should have. I feel rather disturbed by the number of adults I know who say, “I can barely boil water”. What the hell. That shows a dramatic and disturbing hole in your education. Your parents failed you. I’m sorry for that.

See, I’m a judgmental bastard all over the place.

And if you catch me on the wrong day I may rant at you about how debt (in particular consumer debt and school loans) is the boogeyman. It will eat your soul. It will force you into a crappy and terrible life where you have no ability to change the system. Debt will make you a slave.

Ugh and ick. I’m looking forward to the days of not having a mortgage. I feel grateful for this fact. I’m scared I won’t manage it in the five years I was hoping to do it. I’m afraid it may take six or seven because then we will have to come up with mortgage payments during the WWOOF year and that will be kind of annoying.

But it wouldn’t be the end of the year. And maybe if we rented out our house for pretty much the mortgage we could make it work.

“I will find a way or make one.” Roman Carthaginian general Hannibal didn’t fuck around.

The number of opportunities in your life increase as you build skills. I feel increasingly confident that I can meet the challenges that come my way. I may not get rich–but I think I will manage our resources well enough to not eat cat food in my old age. At that point my supposed food ethics may go to hell. I will eat what I can afford. I had better never develop actual gluten issues or I’m fucked. Giving up ramen would be traumatic.

I don’t have a lot of answers. I think I am ready to set some boundaries in a nice voice without being an asshole. I feel more relaxed after the weekend. I feel grateful that my problems are this small.

Six days till my next race. I’m ready but I may be slow. That will be ok too. I hope to best  three hours. We’ll see.

My life is pretty cool.

Not getting a lot shorter.

I am really bad at “editing to make shorter”. I’m all “What do you mean you want to delete some of my PRECIOUS WORDS”. The book may be longer than 30,000 words. Ahem.

The suicide book is hard to read. When I go through sections I stop to reflect on my grandmother, my father, my brother and myself and I put all the theories through the different forced perspectives.

I don’t know why my grandmother killed herself. I know she was the only illegitimate daughter of a prostitute. I know she was married to a Mennonite who was controlling. I know she had five kids and lost one. I know she was very over weight. I know she over dosed when my mom was pregnant with me. There is some possibility that it was an accident. My mom said she saw multiple doctors and had prescriptions for fucking everything. Maybe in the days pre-medication-databases people didn’t cross check her medications. Who knows.

My father killed himself the morning his trial was supposed to start. He didn’t want to go through being prosecuted for raping me. Even though he confessed to the police he wrote suicide notes denying his guilt and blaming me for being a liar who destroyed my family. He sat in his garage with the motor running. Everyone thought he would put a gun to his head but I suppose he was too much of a chicken shit.

My brother covered himself on gasoline and lit himself on fire. There is no accident there. There is no going gently into the good night. Tommy was fucking sure he wanted to die that day in a very painful way. Tommy probably didn’t want to find out what would happen when my dad went on trial. Tommy was very dependent on our father because of his brain injury. And if Tommy was put on the stand it might come out that our father was raping Tommy too. I doubt Tommy wanted to face that.

Suicide happens when someones pain is too big for them to contain any more. I don’t know what pain my grandmother was in. I don’t know what happened to my father in his life to cause him to become a monster. I don’t fault my brother for being done with his shitty life. It was really bad.

But I look at these different perspectives and then I think about me. I don’t know how my grandmother was treated in her life. I know that I went from being treated pretty badly to being treated extraordinarily well. Thank you, Noah.

Noah is sure he wants to keep me for as long as he can have me. This baffles me. I’m not easy to be around. I argue a lot. I can be fairly nasty. I am inherently biased against many of Noah’s points of view–which makes me an asshole on a regular basis. Well, sorta.

I’m careful not to attack Noah. I’m careful not to be mean to him. He has carved out an exception. If he was more sensitive to comments about groups he is sort of part of then we would have more trouble. Luckily being “sensitive” is not one of his strong suits. Phew. He ignores my sniping. Well until he doesn’t and then he argues and argues and argues until I back off. But boy howdy we are civil about it.

It’s kind of weird. Even when I think we are all set for an argument to clear the air… we have a civilized discussion where maybe we don’t like the topic but we can get through it without insulting one another or being a jerk. It’s weird.

I like Noah. He is worth modifying a lot of my behavior. He is very good at challenging me and not discounting me at the same time. We are very good at kicking one another in the ass.

So I don’t have good reasons to die any more. I have a really good life. I spend my days with people who are delighted to be in my presence. I spend my days with people who will cheerfully retry on word choice and tone of voice with a simple “Try again”. We all will. This is an even-steven job. We want to be nice to one another and we all recognize that sometimes that is hard. Sometimes things come out wrong and you need to try again.

No big deal.

It is really nice being able to assume the best of intentions. I think this is what my family resented so much. I never gave them the benefit of the doubt. Not once. Every nasty thing was taken at full face value with extra venom assumed. But they hit me a lot. And told me I was worthless a lot. They called me cunt and bitch and whore and stupid and told me they wished I had never been born.

I don’t think giving them the benefit of the doubt would have been wise. I still feel sad and miss them. That missing is the dangerous and scary part. I feel very bad for hurting my family. If there is a pain that will drown me still in my life that is probably it. Luckily I have three people who are very clear that I am not hurting them and they want me to stay very badly.

I try to remember that. I am important now. I am no longer just that stupid bitch at the bottom of the shit hill. I am not worthless.

It is hard to really believe and see myself as what I am. It would be easier to ignore the real self and try to build a grandiose persona.

But the simple realities of who I am are ok. I’m not as lame as I like to think. I am a teacher. I am a doer and a maker. I help start businesses. Some continue and some fold. I haven’t lost all my money on a business venture yet. I think I always believed I was not someone who “could” do things. I travel the world and my country. I am really good at talking to people. I’m not the best friend over time but I am good at meeting people. I’m a decent mother. I feel proud of the self control I have had in my relationship with my kids. Only fourteen and a half years to go.

Countries: Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Scotland, France. I am looking forward to finding out what it feels like to be in a place where white people are not the norm. I have been reading some interesting things about volunteering and the great white savior thing.

I feel some shame about what I want from the WWOOF year. Am I going to be exploiting people? I don’t know. I am not going with the assumption that I am there to save anyone. I am going as a student hoping to learn. I do not think I have the answers or that I will be the best helper they have ever had. I hope I don’t do something so badly that they have to fix it after I leave. That would be embarrassing and pathetic. I do have carpentry skills. I have helped build things.

I don’t know. No motives are above suspicion.

I don’t want to travel the world from tourist spot to tourist spot. That isn’t my way. I want to take my kids to where the poor people live and just meet people. Not because I think I will save anyone. Not because I think that their lives will be better if they meet me. I don’t think I will have a lot of impact on their lives. Not really. Maybe I might be a pleasant afternoon or few months of conversation but I am not going with the idea that I am so awesome that I will make everything better for the people around me.

I think that the people I meet will change me more than I will change them. I am selfish and selfish and selfish and I want to have that experience. I am privileged and I get to do it. Even though I have a lot of mixed emotions about the carbon footprint and economic impact and social implications and blah.

I’m not a hero. I just want to listen.

Ok, I hope I will know one or two small tricks that will be useful for people along the way. But I’m talking minor shit. I don’t think I will be what makes or breaks people. I don’t over rate my importance like that.

Sometimes my friends are very kind to me and they reach out to let me know that I have work to do when my fourteen and a half years of parenting are up. They need me to keep writing.

My not-so-secret wish (I am putting it on the internet and all) is that I want to help people deal with incest and suicidality. Some day I hope I can make a difference in some lives. I hope I can make it easier for people to live. I hope I can ease the burden of their pain.

I hope that some day I can help people feel less alone. And that the feeling of being not-alone will be helpful for them.

I hope.

I can’t solve your problems. But I can listen.

I go in waves of feeling surprised by how I feel about having my childhood story out there for people to read. People bring it up. I need to get it back out for sale very soon. Yeah, I’m just going to self-publish. Maybe by the end of this year I will have the nerve to do a Kickstarter to get it in print. Then I get to hawk it to book stores. Terrifying.

“Hey, want to read about my shitty life? I hope it will inspire you.”

Sometimes people tell me I’m inspirational. My heart soars. But I don’t want to go the televangelist route or anything like that. I don’t really want to be a life coach. I do fantasize about a part time job putting together displays at Ikea. That would be so much fun for me.

Today is long and busy. Woof. We start the day in San Pablo at 9:00. That means leaving my house by 7:30. We have to leave San Pablo by 1:45 because we have to be back at swim lessons at 2:10. Then we come home and a friend comes over for dinner and spending the night.

Someone commented that socializing is my job. I said that wasn’t far from the truth. I spend as many hours socializing as many people spend at their jobs. That is the only way I have ongoing relationships. I don’t know who will stay for longer stretches and who is temporary. If I’m overly selective then attrition means I spend a lot of time alone feeling very bad about myself. So I say yes. And sometimes lots of people are only available on the same damn day of the week so I have marathon days in order to not pick and choose between which relationships I want more.

I want them all.

I’m in a lucky phase. I don’t have to chase in order to be so busy I can barely manage. I have managed to talk people into inviting themselves over. I have managed to get enough reoccurring dates with people that I don’t have to ask much. Thank you all for consenting to the way I like to do things. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

There is, as always, a long list of people I wish I had the courage to approach right now. I miss them. So I passive aggressively hint about it in writing and put my head down and barrel through my day. Like I do. Of course I wish they would invite themselves over. And they wish I were less of a passive aggressive twat. It’s good to want things.

My shrink tells me that given how demanding my kids are I need to be ok with more of my friendships being on a long timer. Don’t think of them as “over” just because you aren’t being very active in them right now. Life is long.

But that is how I didn’t see Jill for almost two years and then she died and… I miss her. I miss Anna. I miss Brittney. And they are done with me.

Other situations seem a lot less like I should put a lid on the coffin and start nailing. Who fucking knows what the future might bring. Maybe we will get our heads out of our asses.

We all want community. When you start rejecting people for not being perfect you quickly find that you are all alone. It isn’t better. Sometimes we have to accept people warts and all and just find a way to get along. I don’t really like that idea very much. But I have several very close friends who have a +/- window on arrival time that would have caused me to jettison them from my life years ago. Punctuality was a bigger deal pre-kids.

I come to realize that part of my softening on punctuality is because I now have a place to wait where I don’t feel awkward, stupid, abandoned, and like I am on public display as unwanted goods. I like my house.

Stop typing, Krissy. You need to edit then start the day. Go.

All the things.

I finished The Cannabis Health Index. I may need to own a copy of my own. It was incredibly hard to just sit down and read it (I’m pretty sure I’m confusing a lot of cancer information in my head right now because I’m really not a medical expert.)

Mostly what I come away from the book believing is that I need to do the math on how much pills cost and find a way to earn that amount of money for myself so I get over my overwhelming guilt about taking family money for “drugs” (apparently that is the deal my brother had with his wife as a stay at home parent–he had to work enough to pay for pot and alcohol). I have a lot of “risk factors”. I can’t do anything about that. My body is not in great shape. I need to lower my stress and this is the most effective medication I know exists. Ok.

Apparently my shrink knows the author and she’s going to have lunch with him this week. She says she will pass on my opinions on the book. I feel a little weird about that.

I finished the first round of editing Outrunning a week early. That makes me feel happy with myself. I read through the essays and got rid of the worst of the grammatical weirdness and put keywords all over the place. Round two involves matching up key words and eliminating all the duplicate phrasings. Going through it once helped me spot some of the repetition. Key words will help.

It’s still kind of unorganized and there are a few sections I need to hack and write again to be more explicit. I’m pussy-footing and being vague in a few places where I should be more explicit. Kids won’t understand the PC hand-wavey shit. Say it like it is.

I do need to justify why arbitrary rules can be ignored. Don’t worry Pam. I’ll tell them why eating dessert first isn’t a big deal.

This week has been packed. I am very lucky that people ask to spend time with us. Very lucky. Overwhelmingly lucky. Sometimes lots of people ask for the same week. This week had 2-3 social engagements every day. It would have been three on almost every day but we had some blissful cancellations. Sometimes I feel weird about being glad for cancellations. At least it feels emotionally superior to my years-ago feelings of fury and hate. Easier to maintain friendships and be understanding.

People get sick. The parents of our little friends sometimes have to work. We can either be understanding and supportive or we can give up on them as friends.

I’m not really in a jettisoning people from my life stage. I’m trying to build. Tolerance is in my best interests. Enlightened self-interest and all that.

I do not worry that I am under socializing my kids. Oy. I don’t worry as much about me being isolated either. I’m starting to see my time alone as strictly self preservation against all the different things I have to think about all the forking time.

I appreciate that I am managing to build a life that mostly exists within ten miles of my house. It is a slow process but it is working. I’m existing in the space I’m in. I’m Occupying my space. I take up room and talk to people and get to know them and ask about their lives. I’m getting to know more home schoolers and better know the ones already in our lives.

I’m in the phase I’m in.

I want community. I want it so bad I can taste it. This is the process and I need to figure out how much of the cost I can bear.

It occurred to me that I should stop thinking of our food budget as an area to constrict. Part of the reason that we spend as much money as we do is that we have extra people at meals at least five days a week. Sometimes just one person but often up to twelve. We have several parties a year. That’s just part of our life.

We’re feeders. Come here hungry. We’re happy to fill that need. There are a lot of problems we can’t fix but you don’t need to leave our house hungry.

But I’m kind of a fascist about what I want my kids to eat. And I read too much about food quality to buy cheaper products full time. I have the luxury of buying food that I prefer. Ok, that still includes Kraft mac’n’cheese and ramen because I have some taste preferences I can’t seem to ditch. Also: when I’m very overwhelmed and I need to stay in emotional control I can’t cook anything more complicated than that. Even making sandwiches stresses me out more than that. Making ten sandwiches will result in my hands shaking by the end. Lame.

So I do what I need to do. I feed people. I have good nuts and fruit and cheese and meat and awesomely shitty starches. Take your pick.

We all make choices and set priorities.

I will continue to hemorrhage money on meat, fruit, and vegetables. I will source them as locally as possible. Dairy is more mixed for me. I’m going to keep buying my fucking ramen and mac’n’cheese.

If I want to be able to keep sharing this quality of food with my family I have to just accept that as the cost of doing business and not feel guilty. It is expensive to eat well. It sucks but it’s true. I need to get over my inclination to feel guilty about high grocery bills. I’m not wasting the money. Yes, we “could” spend less money on food. But I get to buy meat mostly outside the industrial meat complex. I get to support farmers trying to grow organic food for a living wage within 100 miles of where I live. I want that industry to succeed. I like shopping at my farmers market.

I have choices because I have privilege. I’m not doing what I “must” if I force my family to live on rice and beans all the time. I could do it. But I don’t see high moral value in doing it. It’s a perfectly valid choice. It is not, however, a more moral choice. It could be argued that a vegan diet would be more moral but I’m at peace with my status of omnivore. I try to make sure the cows, chickens, pigs, and lambs that make up most of my meals lived decent lives. It’s important to me.

I think that understanding my choices in context helps me appreciate my successes against my metrics.

If I had a different amount of money my metrics would change. Like they do.

Trying to look for some peace with my budget process. Looking for that Zen place.

It’s kind of funny. Today I sit down and feel like I’ve checked almost all the boxes for this month and it’s the 21st. I still have some seeds to get in the ground. Two or three hours of work, not bad.

Next week there are one or two things every day. Swimming counts as a thing. Dentist counts as a thing. It’s not all social. Looking at the number of hours of babysitting I think I should spent all day with the kids in between or they will flip out. Brace yerself, Eppie.

I’ve had a lot of alone time this week. (Thus the productivity.) Next week I need to be done at 6:30 and be more present with them during the day. Ok. That is the main job and all. Noah has been reading to them for hours every night and I either hide in the garage or go to bed.

But when I cycle this way sex gets fewer and farther between. (Last night was great, honey. Thanks.) It seems like the main way we can work it out now is to have me go to bed at 6:30 pm so I can take a three hour nap and wake up for sex when the kids are asleep. Ha. Disco nap.

Keep all the balls in the air. Haven’t had a panic attack in more than two weeks. That’s pretty good. I have been medicating. I haven’t felt the need to cut. It is nice to notice the absence of that wanting. I have other anxieties but it’s not extreme.

Just keep swimming swimming… something.

Ugh. Going in.

Paper work.

I need to work on editing the book. Due by June 1st. (In progress but this will use as many hours as I’m willing to put into it.)

I need to work on a design layout. (No firm due date. Soon would be helpful and shit.)

I want to put together outlines for a couple of speaking presentations and hand them off to people who would like me to speak. (One deadline is flexible the other is soon. I should look up when. That one may need to be project the first because it expires soonest.)

Should write letters to relatives. Been procrastinating.

Because I said I wouldn’t do arm intensive projects this year, right?

Happy 2014.

I don’t really want to write a retrospective of the year. It was a better year than most for me. Maybe one of the happiest of my whole life. My PTSD symptoms continue to be challenging but I don’t think I got dumped by a long-term friend. I didn’t have to move. I got to buy anything I wanted. I did get support even if it didn’t feel like “enough” (that’s not really anyone else’s fault–I’m not even sure what “enough” would mean) and that is a big step up from most of my life.

We had dinner last night with my current “bestie” and her family. She’s the only person I talk to almost every day who doesn’t live with me. That person changes over the years. I try at this point to not hold on to attachment to a specific person needing to be there for me forever. I will never have a BFF. Britt decided she didn’t want me and that’s fine. My Jenny loves me and will love me forever but she’s far away and I won’t ever get to spend a lot of time with her again. That’s ok. I still love her with all my heart and soul. It is what it is.

My bestie told me she doesn’t think going cold turkey off pot is a good idea. She watched me cycle emotionally a lot yesterday and she flat told me that she thinks I am doing a self-hating thing. This is why I pick opinionated people as friends. They tell me what they really think. Even though sometimes I’m an asshole in response. I’m way better about the asshole thing than I used to be.

I am trying to let go of feeling sad about all of the relationships that have ended. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and you will never know who is in which category until you die. That’s when you finally have perspective on the story. It will all be ok in the end.

2014 needs to be a year of not spending money. I need to take the long term financial planning stuff seriously. I have some expensive goals.

Otherwise I think that mostly I need to work on being more brave. And kind. I need to yell less.

I happen to love a lot of other people who also have psychological challenges of their own. I’m not the only one with anxiety and panic disorder and PTSD and depression. If I want those people in my life I am going to have to consciously and deliberately keep inviting them in or they won’t be in my life. They can’t invite themselves in. Or they won’t. I don’t know which and from where I am sitting it doesn’t matter. It all comes out the same in the wash.

People are never going to be “all I want” from them. I have to manage that. It isn’t anyone else’s fault. It isn’t my fault either. It isn’t anyone’s fault near as I can tell. It just is. I can either be kind and loving or I can be nasty and alone.

I don’t want to be alone. I really don’t.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I have so much to look forward to. I love spending time with my kids so much. I am deeply grateful to the friends in my life. Noah is the source of all my safety and security. I cannot begin to express how much I notice that. I need to treat Noah as well as he treats me. I’m really grateful that I get to have someone who loves me this much in this lifetime.

I won’t keep everyone forever and ever. I need to not feel that it happens because I am a worthless piece of shit. That’s not it. Sometimes the people who can’t be in my life do truly love me… but sometimes love is not enough. I am hard. That will always be true. I need to transfer the bitterness about losing some people into gratitude for the people who can stay. It isn’t anyone’s fault that some people have to go. It’s just life.

Part of the challenge for this year will be to get my body to hurt less. I hope to get my brain to stop chanting that I am a worthless whore. It’s a goal.

I’m really looking forward to my birthday this year. I was talking to Noah about it this morning. It looks like I will take off for nearly a week alone because my birthday is on a Wednesday and I think it may be a good idea to schedule the half marathon in Portland the weekend before or the weekend after. I will check with blacksheep and race schedules and decide for sure. Shanna says she is not interested in going to the Unschooling conference in Washington the weekend of her birthday. She wants to be here with friends.

I’m looking forward to waking up alone on my birthday somewhere far from my home. I will have no one and nothing to take care of except my base bodily needs. That sounds like the best birthday ever right now. Maybe I’ll go dance in the trees all by myself.

Mint review 2013

I was a spendthrift. I can tell the truth. Oh man I went over budget. It’s a good thing I budget for less money than Noah actually makes. It’s a good thing my budget involves a lot of “over pay the mortgage” so that when I need to fudge there is wiggle room.

I’m not going to do screen shots this year because I didn’t wake up before the kids. Oh well.

Your Spending

CATEGORY SPENDING
Total $125,112.29
 

 

Home $50,405.35
Food & Dining $17,442.16
Health & Fitness $11,592.98
Taxes $9,023.36
Shopping $6,251.43
Financial $5,500.00
Kids $5,353.53
Auto & Transport $4,407.14
Entertainment $3,734.21
Gifts & Donations $3,519.97
Bills & Utilities $3,311.19
Travel $2,468.47
Business Services $1,384.35
Personal Care $385.00
Fees & Charges $233.15
Pets $100.00

I wish that “shopping” was broken down more in this table. Hey wait! I can do that.

Your Spending

CATEGORY SPENDING
Total $6,206.43
Clothing $2,824.77
Invisible $ – cash $2,473.00
Sporting Goods $532.92
Books $208.76
Electronics & Software $143.88
Shopping $23.10

Yikes that’s a lot on clothing. I am starting to buy clothing in the post-breeding-stage. That’s a lot of why that is so expensive. I am buying things I really like even if they are kind of expensive because my size has been stable for more than a year post-marathon and almost everything I own has been through a few pregnancies. When I started the pregnancy journey I was more than 30 lbs heavier than I am now. I’m trying to feel “justified” in spending money on clothes for me. Like, that really pretty sweater/dress I found in Portland. That was over $300 just for one thing. But I’m going to wear it daily for many years. Also lots of shoes this year. We don’t buy cheap shoes in general. Running shoes aren’t cheap and I’m trying to not fuck up my body more than necessary. But it feels like a lot of money. I bought more than one article of clothing from the local boutique place I can walk to. I look really hot in the clothes (I buy them for Noah to see–it results in him trying harder at sex.) but they aren’t cheap. I bought many more pairs of pants because my waist is approximately 5″ smaller than it used to be and I’m really tired of my clothes falling off. So I feel guilty and justified (kinda) at the same time. I know a lot of people who shop at thrift stores. I get violent and angry because I can’t shop and watch my kids at the same time. I wish I had more patience.

Because I’m not doing the screen shot of the pie graph you can’t see easily that home was 40% of our spending this year. That is way below where I want it to be. In order to get home to the solid 50% I want it to be I will have to noticeably cut back spending in other areas. And if I’m honest mortgage was only 62% of the “home” budget which means… I’m way under where I want to be on mortgage repayment. $30,000 in the year is only $4600 above on mortgage. Pitiful. I don’t think I put the overall mortgage below $200,000 this year. I think we are within a stone’s throw of it but we aren’t quite there. But I have the Backyard I’ve Always Wanted. Trade offs. The back yard I always wanted cost right around $13,000. Ouch. Good thing I get to keep it permanently and I had it constructed such that my grandkids will play on it.

We maxed out the 401k contributions permitted (I don’t even know what that is because I don’t see it–it happens before I touch the money and I’m too lazy to look up on the internet what the limit was last year) I put $5500 into an IRA in my name (w00t) and I thought I contributed to the 529 but I see no sign of it in bill pay. Shit. Ok, that’s going to be added to the budget for this year right now. Luckily what we have put in it so far has dramatically increased. We are something like 20%-25% of the way towards what we want to have saved for Shanna’s education. I need to figure out what kind of account to open in Calli’s name this year because I’m not sure we want another 529 in the family. They are difficult to use for anything other than school and there is the possibility that one or both of our kids won’t want college. 529s can have the name on them changed so I suppose I want to think of the two combined accounts as interchangeable between kids.

I spent $4800 at the dispensary last year. Thank goodness that California allows me access to a medication that makes my life so much better. Therapy was $4100. Massage was only $1400. I think I am going to mostly reverse the massage and dispensary quantities this year. That will mean Noah is also getting more body work. He’s making all this damn money he should benefit from it.

Because I simply have to start contributing more to kid college funds their slice of the pie will probably be higher next year. Oof.

Noah earned $115,001 his primary job in 2013 after taxes/401k/etc. He continues to shock me with how much his brain is worth. I mean, look at the guy–who would guess? (I kid. Obviously.)

  • Other Income
    $18,492

I don’t think I’ll call myself a professional writer any year soon. But that is how much I made from people randomly finding my book on Amazon before it was kicked off the Kindle store. This year I am going to deal with my fear of rejection, work on both books to make them slightly more marketable and start the process of getting rejected by every publishing house in America. This is not a fun anticipatory process.

We ended the year with $47,538 in cash. I think that is higher than the previous year and it is no thanks to my spendthrift ways. It is entirely because Noah is capable of out-earning my spending.

My stated goals for 2014 (maybe I’ll check this later and maybe I won’t): I would like “home” spending to be more than 50% of our spending and I would like “mortgage” to be more than 90% of the home spending. I would like to end 2014 with $55,000 in cash. I would like to contribute $5500 to my IRA and $4,000 toward kid funds with it being split between the 529 and some other kind of account in Calli’s name. I need to figure that out soon. I would like to overall spend less than $110,000 next year. Transferring money to the IRA and 529/other savings will not “count” against that total because Noah will earn more than $110,000 and I am trying to not beat myself up for transferring money. That’s not the same as “spending”. I’m trying to convince myself. We’ll see.

Let’s see how it goes. Just keep swimming swimming swimming.

Sensitivity

I don’t think that I am “responsible” for how other people feel. I don’t think I can “make” them feel comfortable or uncomfortable all by myself. This is a collaborative sort of dance.

That said, I take it very seriously when friends point out areas where I am making them feel uncomfortable. “I was just joking” brush offs are an easy way for conflict-avoidant people to state their issues without having to get into a full scale conflict. I get that people don’t want conflict with me. I’m annoying as fuck. Not only do I fight like the devil but I am incredibly defensive and prone to act like people are attacking me when they aren’t. Not an awesome situation.

So I try hard to pay attention to the fact that people who love me a lot are generally people who have worked hard at avoiding conflict with me. I only have one or two pro-conflict close friends. Mostly my closest friends are people who are willing to learn how to deal with what a special-fucking-snowflake I am. Noah says I take an unusual amount of energy to get to know. I believe him.

I worry. If you’ve read more than 100 words I’ve written you already know that. I worry about just about everything. I *really* worry about whether or not I am behaving in a way that is sensitive and respectful of the people around me. It may not seem that way to other people, because when I fail I fail big-time, but I swear I am working hard at tact and being kind to people who have different boundaries.

I wish that I just got to declare that my behavior was awesome and that everyone who interacts with me should feel comfortable and safe.

I don’t get to decide that. As a white person for me to *ever* declare that someone who is not white must accept my behavior… yeah no. That’s just not on. If I were a male I would think that was an additional strike against me. It may not be fair but life rarely is.

Do I get to decide that white people must accept my behavior? Oh heck no. But I think I have slightly more familiarity with the ways in which a white person is likely to take offense. I guess correctly slightly more often. Not usually and not most of the time but slightly more.

The older I get the more I appreciate that religion plays a big part in how people perceive my behavior. I didn’t understand that as a kid. Some religions are ok with people being obnoxious and questioning. Some religions not so much.

I can’t control what other people believe or think or feel. But I try really hard to examine what I am doing when they give me clues into what they are feeling or thinking. I’m trying to detect patterns that I can influence. Influence is very different from control.

I live in a time and a place in history where being sensitive to the needs of people who are not-your-race is important for everyone. I believe with all of my soul that it is most important for people who have privilege to struggle with understanding people who have less privilege. I think it is not always the responsibility of people on the bottom to be sensitive to those poor rich people. Or white people. Or whatever.

Privilege is a multi-faceted and complicated beast. I think that privilege comes in a kaliedoscope of colors. There is racial privilege, socio-econommic privilege, the privilege of having social connections, being neurotypical or not, ableism, sex privilege (which both genders have their own kinds of privilege) and I think the intersection matters a lot.

I can sit there and draw out diagrams for where I think I have privilege and where my friends have privilege. I’ve thought about it obsessively for years. Partially I’ve been trying to figure out why some things are easier for me and some things are easier for them. Partially I’ve been trying to figure out which behaviors are linked to which life experiences so that I can better plan out how to treat my kids and my friends.

I’m trying to fake how to be someone who has always had privileges I’ve never had. That’s really complicated sometimes.

For me, paying attention to how I make people of other races feel is absolutely vital and part of my learning-to-not-be-a-schmuck process. But talking about it makes people feel uncomfortable. Welcome to my catch 22. (Which I’ve never read.)

I’m deeply grateful that my friend felt comfortable enough to tell me that discomfort was experienced. That’s brave and hard. Then I go and write about it and make it all difficult and uncomfortable. Because I’m awesome.

If I want my house to be safe I need to figure out what that means. For one thing some people are ok being written about and some people not so much. I am crossing my fingers that this one doesn’t blow up in my face.

I don’t think I want to try to have a party in December again. I think that in the future I will shoot for January after people have caught up on sleep.

Part of that is honestly so I can shape the guest list more carefully. Lots of people were traveling.

There is this careful balance to walk. I can’t pressure POC to come to my parties because that is creepy, weird, and not so cool. But I feel like it would be smart to try and plan in advance around the schedules of people I want to have at the parties. And if I want my non-white friends to feel comfortable that means asking some point blank scheduling questions of only my POC friends. Which makes me feel weird and racist and like I am courting them as exotic pets.

I would not consciously schedule a party so I could have more white people present so it feels rather uncomfortable to schedule a party so I can have more POC present. But that may be the only way to tip the attendance balance so that people don’t feel like tokens.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I’m afraid that when it comes to dealing with issues around race I am going to lose no matter what I do. “Hey can you make sure you come to my party so my friends can see that I know more than one person who looks like you.” Wow. That’s an asshole move on every level.

But just inviting people and hoping for the best is questionable too. Sometimes that will mean that my events are more than 90% white.

I suppose it matters what my goals really are. Is my goal to be able to show off once a year that I know a diverse group of people? Not really. Who am I showing off to? The other people at the party? My white friends aren’t impressed and if that was my goal my friends who aren’t white aren’t impressed with me either. Because man that’s a shitty goal to have.

On a specific level I have the goal that my children will grow up having long-term intimate relationships with people of widely divergent cultures and races. That is a goal I feel more comfortable having. That’s less about impressing anyone and more about teaching my kids that people have more similarities than differences so look to anyone standing near you for relationships. Just love people. That I feel very much like I am accomplishing. My kids spend a large percentage of their time with other people around people who don’t look just like them. They see a lot of adults of various races on a regular basis. They interact with a lot of families of various religions and creeds. I feel good about teaching them to respect a lot of kinds of people.

I feel like I am walking my talk with my children. I am not doing a perfect job of teaching them about people of diverse lineage but I’m doing ok and they walk up to every kid at the playground and ask to play. They reach out to people whenever they get the chance no matter how that person looks. Ok. That’s a specific parenting goal met.

It is hard to figure out what being sensitive to my friends means. I am literally not capable of making everyone comfortable at the same time because people have conflicting needs.

But you pick your priority list and you go with it. You do the best you can. If I am making this particular person feel anything other than welcome and like (s)he belongs then I need to change something.

And at the same time I don’t want to start inviting people to my parties or not based on race. But what if inviting more people who are not white and *not* inviting so many white people is the only way to make some people comfortable.

It’s true and valid. Just like some women will never be comfortable interacting with some of my male friends and I have to decide who to invite because I can have one person or the other.

First I will eventually stop pontificating and I will ask my friend for feedback after these blog entries have been read. I’m sure this person will come up with something to say. That’s usually something I can count on. Lots of opinions from that one.

I think that as a white person it is never ok for me to just default to “I’m ok and you have the problem”. That is just not an acceptable starting position. Beyond that I really struggle with knowing what the next right step is.

I have a limited amount of control over who shows up at my parties and I have even less control over the feelings of the people who come.

But I want to be sensitive to the idea that I could do something better. I could make people feel more comfortable if I tweaked ______.

Yes, my dear blacksheep, part of it is learning to care less and be more like a honey badger. I’m not sure that I am that kind of girl, you know? I’ve been taking apathy enhancement drugs for years now. I still care too much. I still care so much I can barely breathe sometimes.

I want the people I love to feel loved and supported and like I think the world (and this room) is a better place when they are in it. If I am communicating something else then I need to work on that.

It is hard to nudge people in the direction of feeling loved when you are as basically hostile as I am. I cause people to feel unsafe and nervous. I get it.

It’s kind of like my continued fondness for a man who has been blacklisted from all of the local events. He’s a predator. I still like him. I understand him and have compassion for him and I know how to play his game like a pro. The other women I know just want to pretend he doesn’t exist because his game doesn’t work for them. He means well.

It doesn’t matter what you feel it matters how you make other people feel. The best predators know how to induce feelings of calm and safety in their prey. Sometimes I feel tremendous guilt for the attitude that just about everyone in the world is prey and I’m a mean and nasty predator.

Only there isn’t much I want from people these days. I’m not hunting for anything other than positive regard. I don’t want to be anyone’s favorite (well, other than Noah) but I want people to think I am basically a net positive for the world.

I want people to think that talking to me makes them feel good about themselves. I want to help people to feel brave about making choices. I want to help people feel like they can stand up for themselves.

If I’m making you feel like a token, tell me so. If I make you feel like you are just something on a checklist “Make a friend who is brown” then I am not making you feel like you are important. I’m failing to do the stuff that is so important to me.

I need that feedback. Without being told that my current approach is failing it is hard for me to know.

It is hard hearing criticism. I won’t lie. I’m obviously very defensive.

(I still had a wonderful party and I don’t feel like this is a depressing/bad train of thoughts. I’m nervous and a little sad but I still have a lot of happy endorphins from seeing so many people. I talked to a lot of people and didn’t freak out so I’m proud of myself.)

But if you want to be consciously anti-racist you have to look at what that means. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate.

Don’t quit. Don’t decide you are obviously a worthless bad person because someone had enough feelings to make a joke. But think about what you will do differently next time to encourage more people to feel more comfortable.

Progress. Not perfection. Keep trying. That’s the whole point of life.

post-therapy (more) hobbies and yay friends.

It made me very happy to tell my therapist “My friends and I are in a fierce and loving argument/discussion about hobbies and how I should learn to manage time better.” She thinks it is great that you all interact with me. Heh.

Then when I explained the “I can’t do fiddly shit” she said, “Oh of course not. Your flavor of PTSD should be kept as far away from those kinds of actions as possible. If someone has dissociation issues then often things like knitting can help them be more present. You are so hyperaroused that it will drive you crazy. Don’t do that. Try martial arts.”

See, the knitting is very good and healthy for lots of my friends and not for me. I appreciate my pats on the back. Validation is my friend.

I talked to her a lot about wanting to come off of pot. I’m past the baby stage. I told myself I was using pot to give me the self control I needed to get past the baby stage when the kids really couldn’t help how much they triggered me. I don’t have babies any more. Shit.

I think there is the non-zero possibility that I will stop using pot until my kids are adults and then start again. Being stoned is awesome but I want to teach my kids a different lifestyle.

My shrink says she has known people who have had good luck taking some melatonin during the day while getting off pot. You have to be careful to never take it for more than ten days in a row (I should research why) but it can be useful. I also have to up my B vitamins. I should be taking 1,000-1,500 units per day. Ew. Ew. Ew. I should double the fish oil dose. I should start 5-htp.

The idea is that this will probably take a full year. Not to get off pot. That will take less than a month. I have to get my bodily stress more under control. It is going to be a process and it is going to be hard. I will have to really retrain my body with new habits. New habits can be formed in as little as thirty days. I don’t think my lifelong habits will be undone in a month. Ok, I’ve already worked on a lot of the other big problem areas, but more to handle.

Yesterday Shanna kind of complained about me watching The West Wing. I told her I was watching it because I was frustrated and annoyed and I was trying not to yell at her. She said, “Turn it off and let’s talk about it. You won’t solve anything this way.”

I feel so lucky. I feel like I have so much reason to work on my issues. I finally have iron clad reasons to think that my emotional state matters. It impacts my kids hugely and massively all day every day. I matter.

My therapist continues her stream of being shocked by how many people I know. She has been sorta trying to talk me into working with a writing teacher she knows. He could edit my books. I told her I was saving money to work with my friend Janet. She has a lot of experience with writing and running a publishing company and she told me she wanted to work with me. I really want to try that avenue first.

My shrink said, “Oh, what publishing company?”

“Greenery Press.”

Her jaw dropped and her eyes bugged. “You know her?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve known her for more than ten years.”

“Uhm, yeah. Work with her. That’s amazing. Wow. You know a lot of people.”

really do. I know some ridiculously cool people. I get out and talk to people a lot. I am constantly out trying to pull more people into my tenuous web of connections. I like people. The more people I know the safer I am.

By contrast she (my shrink) told me it was pretty chicken shit to have relationships with people where I invite them over a lot and then I stop and expect them to invite themselves over. She said that’s not cool and I should stop it. I said, “But I’m scared.” She said, “So are they.”

Damnit.

She wants me to consider working with kinky survivors as one of the hats I put on some day when I’m a grown up. She thinks I would be uniquely well suited to being able to help people in that category. I’m flattered. This comes up because I spend a lot of time on the PTSD forum fielding questions about bdsm. It is hilarious to me that I hand out this long list of book recommendations and I am friends/former play partners with almost all of the authors. Yeah, I vouch for the information in the book and the integrity of the people giving the information.

I told my therapist about Noah’s reaction to me wanting to go to Islamic countries as an old woman as part of my work with incest. (Noah’s response was, “Ok we need to start martial arts. Now.) Her eyes teared up and she said, “You are so lucky to have a partner who is that supportive of you. Do you understand how rare that is?”

I do understand. I’m grateful every single day.

No, Noah doesn’t try to talk me out of things. I say, “I’m thinking about doing _____” and he says, “How can I help!?” (As a bonus he also makes cookies. So far this year: snickerdoodles (three batches [err… I ate a whole one alone…]), chocolate chip, haystacks, and he has made dough for refrigerator cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and molasses crinkles. He’s serious about liking my ass slightly more when it is bigger. Ha.)

I have friends who put up with me being rude, offensive, and foul mouthed.

I am ridiculously lucky in this lifetime. Not very many people receive as much non-family support as I get. It’s all about perspective, right?

Apparently I need to start a structured routine for a (long) while. I need to have “sitting on a swing for an hour” as part of every day. (Rocking motions are soothing to your brain. If you are upset, hug yourself and rock. You may feel lame but it does help.) I need to find a martial arts gym that will let us come in 2-3 days every week. I need to be running almost every day. (Rest days are important too.) I need to start teaching Shanna how to ride a bike and practice with her. (She has one… but she’s a wuss. She won’t try it unless I’m really bugging her. She likes going as fast as she can with her feet thankyouverymuch.)

I tend to have structure for a short period and then go off the rails when I add a big project. I can’t have any big projects for a year. This feels crushing and unfair. Waaa waaa waaa. Should I call the waaaaaaambulance?

I have to train my body to relax. I’m not sure I have ever been relaxed. Yeah, it will probably take a year. If I am fully relaxed at the end of a year it will be a G-d damn miracle. But I have to try. And this is the year. Go.

If I want to be able to do the serious international travel later I have no choice but to do this now. I can’t put it off any more. I don’t want to end up beating my head on concrete again the next time I leave the country. It is really unpleasant. In 2015 I want to travel with my kids for almost six months just to see if I can. I have to do this work in 2014. I’m feeling very annoyed with myself.

Why don’t I just give up on these hard things and have an easier life? What is wrong with me? Well, I don’t think that what I’m doing right now is actually easier. It is a different hard thing that I have slowly juggled towards as being the best I can get with my current coping skills.

I need different coping skills.

I feel like now it is finally safe enough to try. I have two kids who love me to the moon and back and who want to be nice to me. They just need me to teach them how. I need to teach without yelling or being nasty because then I will actually teach yelling and being nasty.

I feel so blessed that I have this time and this space. I don’t feel I have earned it. I don’t deserve it. But here it is. I have time. I have safety. I have money to fill in the gaps for when I can’t do everything for myself.

I have so much privilege that there is no longer any justifiable excuse for me not doing this work. Shit.

(I do believe it was justified earlier in my life. I was not physically or emotionally capable of doing the work before. I was never safe enough.) If you have to spend all day running to stay in one place someone who criticizes you for not finishing a marathon is a fucking asshole. You are doing what you can do.

I am seven years post rape. I have lived in this house for more than twice as long as I have ever lived anywhere else in my life. I have three people I get to live with who all think I am really nice and wonderful.

It’s time to stop being afraid all the time.

Being afraid makes me nasty. Being afraid makes me inclined to fight anyone and anything at any time because I perceive everyone as a threat. I am really sorry that I am so scared.

I’m going to work with a doctor on my body pain. Pam has offered to either go and hold my hand or babysit. I think I would prefer the hand holding. I’ll arrange the appointment on a day when Noah can stay with the kids.

I am very lucky. I am sorry I act so ungrateful so much of the time.

I’m gonna be a super model.

Not a supermodel. That’s different. I frequently feel weird that I don’t do things for myself. I do them so that I can show my kids how it “should” be done. I need to show them how to eat healthy food. I need to show them how to exercise. I need to show them how to rest. The list keeps getting longer. All the “shoulds”. I won’t do them for myself.

Lately I’ve been thinking very hard about the fact that cutting is free and pot is expensive. Only there is a hidden cost. I teach my children by what I do. I don’t want them slicing themselves open. I want them liking their bodies.

Yesterday I randomly blurbed on Twitter about Calli telling me that we are both good girls. I said that it surprises me that people think I’m good. One of my Daddy’s popped up and told me that lots of people think I’m good. That one didn’t surprise me much. Another former lover piped up to tell me I’m awesome.

Uhh, what you know about me is that I showed up for sex when you wanted sex and I didn’t talk about myself and I didn’t stay longer than you wanted me around. Oh, then you went on to work with my husband which was hella awkward. What in the fuck are you basing the word “awesome” on? The fact that I’m good at showing up for sex and keeping it on the down-low so no one has to be aware that you touched me?

Feelings.

Sometimes when I stop and reflect on the fact that my writing makes other people feel judged, particularly that people think I am holding myself up as better than them…

Feelings.

I’m struggling to think that anything I do is “right”. I’m trying like hell to believe that it is ok for me to teach my children the way I am. I don’t know I am right. I’m just hoping that the best I can do is good enough.

Isn’t that what everyone is doing? We are doing the best we can every day. Everyone has something different they are good at doing. I’m not good at everything. I’m not good at all that many things. My list of failures is longer than my successes.

But that’s the process. Right?

Today I will try and rest more. It feels bad. It feels lazy. It feels like skipping out on life.

But I’ll cuddle more with the kids. The first year of my kids’ lives I sat still with them. That’s pretty much what I did. I sat still and managed my anxiety and let the world rush by without me.

No, mothers aren’t meant to be alone all the time with their children. I know. It isn’t best practice. I do not believe that the option of day care/school is the best way to solve this problem in our family. I don’t think they are bad or unworthy options but they aren’t options I want to pursue.

I don’t really want to go get a job so I can afford to pay someone else money to watch my kids for me. I don’t want to.

I have the privilege to make another choice. I want to make the choice I am making. I am not saying that the options shouldn’t be there for other people. I think they should. I think they should be government supported because it is best for all of society if children have access to such support.

I still need to do what I’m doing.

I need to learn how to be an adult. I want to do this so I can show my children how to be an adult. This is the best I can do.

I wish I were better too.