Category Archives: grief

End of pain

I hadn’t realized how much anxiety I’ve been carrying around about Puff suffering. I hadn’t realized how much I was listening all the time for her to cry and need me.

That feeling is gone. She isn’t hurting any more. There is nothing more she needs from me. She’s done being in pain. I have given her everything I had to give. It was enough to take her from having her eyes closed to having her eyes close.

My baby is free.

Suck

In an hour I see the pain doctor. In 4 hours I see a shrink for somatic work. In 7 hours my cat will die.

I slept for 3 hours and I can’t eat. I feel so bad.

eta:  pain doctor says I need to go home and research HPA axis dysfunction. He thinks that’s what’s going on.

Do you know my cat?

Puff isn’t doing very well. She’s 19 years old. She’s been in pain for quite some time. We’ve had her on a lot of medication for a bit now.

In the past couple of days she is having a harder and harder time walking. Her back legs are just…. crumbling. She can barely lift her claws out of blankets when she wants to stand up and she cries because the effort hurts.

It’s time.

Puff isn’t going to be around much longer. I might go to an event this weekend or I might (accurately) claim grief and stay home.

It’s time to say goodbye.

An interaction

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

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

Sure, I can try this out.

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

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

Sigh. Fuck being a grown up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t feel scared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m trying to surrender to a process.

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

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

I know how the patriarchy works.

Fuck.

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

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

This is why I like to schedule things at my house.

When it all goes to pieces, I still have chores to do. One of the difficulties in trying to be someone who organizes get togethers is… you have to deal with other peoples schedules. Whether I schedule in advance or at the last minute this sucks.

Yesterday we were supposed to have a playdate with five families. All bailed at the last minute. I think one is in labor (good reason to skip the park! Good luck!); another has to wait on a bureaucrat who is making her life hell (good golly that sucks. Good luck!); another forgot it was election Tuesday and oops she always works (ok, this one kinda bugs me a bit); another was just running behind and she could have showed up two hours late if we waited (no, I’m not gonna); last but not least one family said they were technically happy to show up… with hand foot and mouth disease–that cancellation is my fault.

But I was on my way to babysit other kids and see another family. Picking up a highly communicable disease on the way seemed rude.

Nobody did anything wrong. But it still feels hard.

Sometimes people ask me why I’m not more willing to drive for park playdates these days. I stop laughing eventually.

Because driving far from my house for a park play date is a variable experience at the end of a hard experience for my body. Nope.

Last time some of these folks missed a playdate I scheduled over near them and they asked if we could come back the next week to see them.

Funny how folks don’t generally say, “Know how we broke our plans? How about if we offer this super convenient for you alternative?” That’s not how it works. I offer to come to them and do a bunch of work and they expect me to just do it again. Because clearly it wasn’t that hard the first time so just keep doing it. But it’s too hard for them to come to me.

Ok.

I would like to take this moment and say “Thank you” to all the people who come visit me on a regular basis. Thank you for helping me feel like maybe I do have some value to someone.

Last night Noah and I had it out a bit more. This is going to be a rough year. I’m not writing them down here but I sure went down my list of done-me-wrongs. I did that after running four miles because I was afraid I would otherwise do something drastic and awful.

That’s like healthy progress, right?

It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss.

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What does it mean?

How do I fill my bucket without hurting Noah? That seems to be where we are stuck. Yesterday a solid 8 people asked me why I was wearing braces. I begin to understand Mitrian’s anger and frustration. I tell people because I type too much. They ask why. I say because it is better than screaming at people. They say, “Yes. Keep typing.”

I’m so glad to hear that more people agree that me harming myself is superior to me impacting other people with negative emotions. Now we just dicker about methods.

This became absolutely crystal clear to me when I was talking to someone about cutting the other day.

Cutting actually heals pretty easily in the scheme of things. I am permanently crippling myself in the name of self harm that is more socially acceptable. Because the only place I’m actually allowed to exist is here. Everywhere else is a compromise.

I’m having huge feelings about my date with Cupid not including any intimacy. I’m not upset that we didn’t play. I’m not even cranky about not having sex. He’s not a life support unit for a dick. But we didn’t hug or kiss. So I feel like I didn’t really fill my bucket. And that’s the date I get this month.

I mean, I feel like an asshole for feeling that way because I came off an excellent group date with Noah and Deity and playing with the Sweet Boy.

But that was my only option for one to one serious adoration this month.

Noah and I do adore each other sometimes, in the middle of being cranky and fussy. Right now it’s hard. I know we aren’t actually usually cranky and fussy but I am today and so it feels like always.

What is it that I need here? What isn’t being met? Why do I feel so empty and fussy and sad?

This is a brutal period. I am soaking through pads and that hasn’t happened since I was postpartum. I’m a light bleeder.

I feel like…

I feel like that stone that was sitting heavily in my breast got too heavy and burst through the lining of my body and fell through my organs and out my cunt.

I cannot give that gift away. It is not mine to give. I cannot make that promise. Probably not ever. I wanted to. I can’t. That is not a promise I know I can keep and not being a liar is more important than making anyone feel better for a moment. Even for many moments. Not if it comes at the cost of a lie.

I have been trying to see if I could find a way to promise that I would not end my life early by choice. I have been trying to see if I could find a way to make it bearable to carry this pain no matter what because it would be too selfish to leave the people who love me.

I cannot make that promise. I am selfish. And I hurt. I have hurt all my life. I have never been free from pain.

Some day I will have a bad day. That day will be too much for me. Yeah, there probably could have been more good days on the other side of that bad day. Probably. But I don’t know where my limit of carrying bad days is. That has to matter.

Do you have to be ok with it? No. Do you have to like it? No.

All that matters is that on the bad days I am alone. I will carry what I can carry until I can’t carry it any more and then I will set it down.

I need to not give a shit that it might hurt you.

Re-enter the world

That was different. I’ve been to two grief rituals held on a university campus where you have to go home in the evenings. This was deeper, more intense, and more valuable. I’ll be back. I’m bringing my kids. Noah can come if he chooses.

There is stuff that is worthy of learning from this woman. Sobonfu has perspective on life. It isn’t that she has “all the answers” because there is no such thing. But she’ll help you look at your life. She doesn’t need to hear all of your grief. She can talk to you about how to shape a container for carrying it anyway.

She talks about many different kinds of grief and gives you opportunities to feel communion and support for people who have grief that is nothing like yours. This world needs more of that.

As usual, lots of us white folk were all, “Oh shit are we appropriating assholes?” (Phrased with more tact.) She said that her village (in Burkina Faso–specifically from the Dagora tribe) has sent her out into the world to share this knowledge and they are glad we are listening.

So.

I thought about a lot. I thought about things I didn’t expect to think about, exactly, because that is how grief flows.

When I carved forgive onto my arm I wasn’t sure what or who I needed to forgive. There is this theme in my life. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Who? For what? Why? How?

I need to forgive myself for being born. For being an unwanted burden from the moment of conception.

That is a wound on my soul. Knowing that I wasn’t wanted from the moment of conception eats at me. It lives under all of the other feelings of worthlessness and despair. I shouldn’t be here.

Forgive me for not being good enough to die when I should have.

Noah and I talked last night about my suicide attempt. I don’t feel I need forgiveness for that. I was trying to get out of a nightmarishly hard situation. I tried suicide before I tried prosecuting my father and I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel bad about hurting my mother or sister or brother or Auntie or uncle Bob with that suicide. If y’all were hurt by how badly I wanted out of life that is at least partially your fault and I don’t care.

Am I sorry I survived?

I wouldn’t have Noah. I wouldn’t have my kids. I think the world would be ok without this family unit. But since I didn’t die I’m really grateful I get to be here.

This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

But I don’t believe in “It Gets Better.” Sometimes. For some people. Don’t count on it.

I thought a lot about the deals I have made with my cunt. I thought about the core belief I have that unless I am servicing someone else’s sexual needs… I have no value. I thought about the core belief that if someone wants to hurt me with sex… maybe that is just how it is supposed to feel for me.

Shouldn’t sex be burning pain? Isn’t that what sex is?

Forgive who for what?

I don’t know how to forgive myself. Sobonfu told me that when I forgive myself I will feel free. I feel like I am bowed under the weight of a huge burden. I cannot even stand up straight let alone feel free. I am buried under the weight of expectations and woundings I can barely name, let alone untangle, let alone set down.

I feel so sad.

I feel ashamed of the things I can’t be supportive of.

I feel ashamed that I am so small and so needy.

I am not generous. I am not giving. I am stingy and paranoid and selfish.

Noah and I are probably getting closer to rules we can live with. I wish I felt good about them. They are highly asynchronous and that feels terrible. I shouldn’t have bits of freedom he doesn’t have. Even though he has bits of freedom I don’t have. Even though he doesn’t experience the same burdens and problems I feel.

I shouldn’t ever have anything better than anyone else. I’m not worthy.

I appreciate very much that the Dagora tradition talks about how you need to forgive yourself. You need to grieve. You need to commune with your ancestors. And you need to forgive yourself. Forgiving other people is… less the point.

I have feelings.

Sometimes I feel like I am swimming in an ocean of grief and the waves keep swamping me. I will go down soon and there will be no recovery.

Going to these grief rituals shows me that there are currents in the ocean. There are other creatures being moved by these same currents. Even though it feels so overwhelming and so terrifying and so overpowering… I’m not alone. I can see them. Sometimes I can even stretch out my hand and feel the strands of their hair as they slip past.

I don’t know that we can help each other… but we aren’t alone.

Is that enough?

Totally flooded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I pay attention to these things.

Topic switch. Back to hitting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m done.

Something broke and it can’t be fixed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know.

You never know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That makes all the difference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’M TALKING TO THOSE ASSHOLES ON NEXTDOOR.

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

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

This is my cranky face.

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

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

I can’t absorb any more.

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

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

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

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

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

I bring all the fun jokes to an end.

God I suck.

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

That’s ok.

But god I can kill any joke.

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

It is kinda funny sometimes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need something different.

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

I have enough brain damage for one lifetime.

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

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

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

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

Things change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m really trying.

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

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

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

That’s just prudence.

Is that close enough to self love to count?

I’m trying.

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

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

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

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

Stomach hurts

I’m sick. I feel awful. Like normal when I’m sick I’m beating myself up emotionally. I woke up this morning missing my biological family something fierce. It hit me like a freight train.

I miss them but I can’t be part of the family. I won’t keep secrets. I won’t act like everything is fine.

The generation after mine got raped too. I can’t pretend everything is fine.

But they can. So they get to have a family and I don’t. Because that’s how the cookie crumbles.

How ungrateful. I have a family. I have Noah. I have my kids. I had sure better not fuck it up. This is all I have.

I feel completely and totally certain that if Noah and the kids all died I would not live 24 hours.

I feel like this is the most sad I have been in a while. This feels brutal. I hurt so much. Part of it is weird bitterness over adopted family stuff too.

I walk away from people so they can’t walk away from me. Which makes it my fault relationships don’t last. Which is easier to bear than the fact that people just don’t like me very much.

I’m in a god damn mood. Pity party, table of one.

I feel sad, keening grief. I feel like I want to cut and beat my head on the floor and…

It’s just there this morning. Just because.

Sometimes I think I beat my head on the floor because I’m hoping I will damage my brain enough that I will stop thinking because what I think hurts me so much.

I am really grateful that today is a slow pace. We’ll have some nature time. It’s the first day of my officially reduced schedule. I’m on the day planner. It’s here. I mean, I haven’t done that much for weeks, but it was an unstructured kind of not doing that much. And not doing that much means I did a fair bit. Cause I’m like that.

But I have big blocks of the day marked as rest. In between other “healthful” activities and shit that I’m supposed to build into my life because supposedly I might hate myself less some year if I keep this bullshit up.

With every passing year I feel more and more ashamed of myself for not talking to my mother. I understand her neglect so much more. She was doing her best.

Her best wasn’t good enough. Is that really her fault?

I don’t know. But I can’t have her in my life and I feel like that makes me a piece of shit. It is hard to not feel like that fact is reason enough to deserve death on its own. I hurt my mama. I am bad.

If I wanted to I could crawl in bed with any of three people and they would hug me and love me and I wouldn’t have to be alone right now. The trouble is, I want my mother. I have wanted my mother my whole life.

It never goes away. Sometimes I don’t think about it. But then a quiet moment comes along and I check in with my body and there it is. This ache that never goes away.

Mama.

There was a woman, for a few years, who told me she wanted to be my adopted mom. I haven’t heard from her in a long time. She has a life of her own. She’s busy. She doesn’t actually have room for me in her life. I’m not really worth the effort.

My adopted mom and my biological mom share a birthday. So every year I keen for the two women I don’t deserve to have love me. I could reach out to them. But I’m kind of done chasing love that isn’t really meant for me.

I was never really wanted. Not really.

But Noah wants me. However I got here. And my kids are stuck with me till they aren’t. We’ll see what happens.

I think a lot about what my mother’s life would have been like if she had aborted me like she should have. It would have been better. Maybe she could have saved Tommy and he wouldn’t be dead. Maybe she could have kept the other kids together after the divorce instead of just getting the “girls”.

If I hadn’t been there so many things would have been different. Easier. I have not been worth the trouble to take care of, ever.

I want to cut really badly. I haven’t wanted to like this in a while. It’s been such a nice Christmas.

Mama mama mama mama.

It always comes back to you. I love you. I love you with all of my black soul.

But you don’t get to hurt my babies. My babies live in a state of perfect trust where the unreliable people are outside the family. Inside their family they are safe and they believe that people tell them the truth. If you were considered inside their family bubble that would be shattered.

You can’t tell the truth to save your life. Because lying was necessary to save your life and you don’t seem to be able to stop now.

Now. What do I know. I haven’t talked to you in five years. But you couldn’t tell the truth then. Given your age I doubt it has changed. It’s not like you are ready to go through puberty now and see the error of your ways.

You had to lie all the god damn time and I get that and I can forgive you for the past. I can’t let you lie to my children like that going forward and you are literally not capable of telling the truth. I think it is because you are incapable of perceiving the truth. If you did you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

Can I really judge that?

Yes and no.

I have to do what I have to do to get out of bed in the morning, so yeah I judge. I judge that your way of being is not for me and I have to find something different and do it with a vengeance.

That intensity I have that bothers people so much? A lot of that exists because overcoming inertia is hard. It is a basic physics problem. I don’t like me very much. In order to talk to people I have to first pretend I like myself (because if you don’t formulate your interactions based on the premise of liking yourself you will get abused again) then decide what treatment would be right for me if I liked myself then figure out how to manipulate people around me into behaving in a way that will be comfortable for me. That takes a fuck ton of energy, thought, and consideration.

Yes I think about how to manipulate you. I think about how to cause you to have the set of emotions I want you to have so that you will continue to enjoy my company. I’m going to cause you some set of emotions. Indifference. Irritation. Joy. Love. Contempt. Anxiety. Something. Yes, I think consciously about what I would like to be causing and I work towards it. If I don’t do that… I bother people so much.

have to think about this if I still want to have friends in the future. Even if manipulate is a dirty word. What-fucking-ever.

I think about which people need me to physically move slowly and which people like that I’m generally a quick darting person.

I think about which people can handle which portions of my range of emotions. Some people can only handle the joy. Some people can only handle my anger.

I think about which people will feel tolerant of which parts of my past experiences and I try to cull my stories carefully these days. I have improved these filters tremendously since having children. I used to uhhhh have fewer appropriate stories for all topics. I’m branching out.

I have noticed lately that I have two distinctly different somatic experiences of my approaches to people. Sometimes I don’t feel safe …. engaging. So I don’t say much. I look at the floor and I don’t make eye contact with people. I have a permanent fucking crick in my neck.

Then there are times when I’m ok pretending I’m a main character and I look everyone in the eye and I insert myself into peoples way and I seem to be more charming than not.

I don’t know how to get that pretense of comfort sometimes. Like today I couldn’t do it. Today if I had to be in a group of people I would be monosyllabic. I’d probably cross my arms and rock in the corner. Like I do when I’m uhhhh feeling mature.

Today I feel like I’m stuck in an elevator. Wait, let me back up. Know how I talk about feeling present with many selves/ages all at once? Right now I feel like I’m stuck on elevator between selves. If all the various permutations of me are floors on a building, I’m stuck between Neurotically In Control Adult and Weak And Defenseless Child. Neither is true. Both are true. Fuck everything.

I’m sad. My arms hurt like a mother fucker but I couldn’t sit on this today. I have to let it pass through me and move on. Writing it down helps so much.

I try hard not to make it obvious in my day to day life that my literal survival depends on the survival of the people in this house. That’s creepy. You have to go about your life as if that were incidental to your own survival. But I know it.

I have some incredibly dramatic ideas about how I could ensure that I would absolutely not risk being rescued in time this time. It’s not a call for fucking help. I don’t want help any more.

I want my family and that’s it. If I can’t have them then that’s it.

So yeah. I’m not writing this down because I’m very certain that I would follow through and if you forewarn people they feel duty bound to stop you and fuck that.

But, my family is alive and it doesn’t matter. Hopefully they won’t all die and it will absolutely never be necessary. I want to be with them.

I feel incredibly angry with people who call suicide selfish. Fuck you with a pogo stick. People who commit suicide are people who are in pain they cannot bear. Fuck you for being so selfish that you think they should continue to suffer in order to spare you even the slightest discomfort.

I don’t owe you that.

I owe you neither continued suffering nor silence. I owe you nothing. I do not owe you my life. There are things I’d like to do. I’m going to keep busy as long as I’m alive. Not because I owe people. Because I’m having fun. Because I’m finding out what it feels like to be loved. Actually loved. Shows up every day loved.

Yes Noah, I would throw myself against any rock for that. It is true. Yes I would damage myself over and over and over for that. I did so in the search for it. I didn’t think it would come true. I expected to off myself in desolation and despair before now because no one would ever actually love me.

Lots of people like to fuck me. Some people like to talk to me. It’s different to really love and take care of someone.

Sometimes I stop and realize… my body count is bigger than some peoples whole Monkey Sphere. No wonder I’m capable of seeing more people as real people.

I searched high and low for someone who could love me. Then when he started creeping on me I dated him for a bit and dumped him.

The other day in the car Eldest Child wistfully said, “I hope I grow up and meet someone as perfectly suited to me as you two found.” We both kinda went, “Bwuahahaha. No. We were not suited when we met.” She was shocked.

We changed. We became something different for one another. We became our better selves because that is what we agreed to do for one another. Having someone make that promise and then deliver and deliver and deliver and deliver for a decade now…

This is what trust feels like.

It’s so new.

Sometimes I ask my kids if they can trust me. They tell me that they know I’m telling the truth unless I’m using a silly voice then they know I’m lying. I said, “Actually sometimes when I use a silly voice I’m still telling the truth. Just to mess with you.” They glared a little. But I feel ok with this arrangement. Treat pronouncements in silly voices with great caution. Important life lesson.

I tell my kids that we won’t do everything I plan but we will do everything I promise. There’s an important difference there. I always over plan. I’m an ambitious motherfucker. No matter what you are referencing I over plan. It’s a lifestyle. It’s part of how I save money hand over fist. I plan for 60%-80% of our income. Then whatever comes in over that is extra and I invest it. And I have plans and plans and plans for investing stuff.

You don’t do the things I’ve done if you are a meek or under planning sort of person. That intensity that bothers people? It’s a mixed bag. It drove me around the country despite overwhelming pain. It causes me to get up and try again on being nice every single day with my kids. Because I’ve decided I’m all in for this thing.

There are times when I fail. I’m very careful what I promise. An awful lot of what I promise is that I will always try. I will always apologize when I fuck up. I will not promise perfection. That is folly.

I won’t promise and promise and promise for years that I will take you to do X thing and never do it. Even when the money is there because Other People Come First.

I won’t be my mother. It’s not just about the sex abuse. I know that casual readers often think that preventing sexual abuse is kinda my hobby horse to ride with my kids.

I mean, it’s important. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s really just the tip of the ice burg.

Eldest Child just ran in and jumped on my lap. I may be out of steam for the morning. Hard to hold the laptop on my lap while she wiggles. She is staring intently at the screen and trying to read what I’m writing. She’s getting a few words. Ahhhhh. Time to close this window. My time of hiding in plain sight with my feelings is just about over.

I love you kid.

Kids are wonderful and tiring

I want to write but my thoughts are scattered and my arms burn like fire. This hotel room table is at a bad height for me ergonomically and I never let that slow me down. I’m kinda dumb.

I’m over reacting to a lot of things. I’m having trouble not screaming over little, stupid things. It doesn’t help that the kids truly are being irritating. What is happening is: I’m pushing them away because I need space and time to calm down in my body. When I push them away they feel freaked out, rejected, and needy so they cling harder and whine the whole fucking time they are grabbing at me in ways that hurt and piss me off.

Next week the kids have scheduled child care. They asked. I feel a little guilty because Eldest Child flat said, “Mom can we arrange a bunch of childcare next week? I know it will be expensive but I’m pretty sure it will be good for all of us.”

Holy crap. How did I get a child this wonderful? This insightful? This aware?!?!?

My shrink regularly tells me that Eldest Child is preternaturally aware of how people work. “7 year olds just don’t care that much about other people. She’s unusual.”

This because my kid can graphically go through verbally describing why people get upset and which contributing factors are likely to bother which person. “It makes sense that you are angry mom. It is very frustrating when I do _____.”

I don’t know if it is weird. This is all I know. My kid behaves this way because I model it. I don’t really know another way to parent.

My kid understands that in some situations she messed up, sometimes I’m the one who messed up, sometimes Youngest Child messes up… the kid is just good at saying, “Ahhh I think this mistake happened because x person was tired and we haven’t eaten. Let’s fix that.”

I worry about teaching her to take too much responsibility for other peoples stuff, but at the same time she’s quick to not take responsibility when she wasn’t involved so… I don’t know. Maybe it will all work out? Who knows. But she is an amazing person. I am so grateful I get to stand near her.

My Eldest Child is so breathtakingly willing to accept consequences for screwing up that I can’t possibly avoid them for myself when I screw up. When I am inappropriate with the kids we discuss making amends. “What do you think I should do to help make up for this mistake?” Because I talk to them the same way about their behavior. No one is above making amends.

If you screw up you must take responsibility and find a way to solve the problem as best you can. Some problems can’t be fixed and you just have to live with the guilt of knowing you hurt someone/broke something. But you can learn how to not make that mistake again.

Everyone makes mistakes. The best people make mistakes every day and learn from them and make new mistakes tomorrow.

You can’t get through life without mistakes. You will never learn all you need to know. Mistakes teach you about fringe cases and important details. Mistakes teach you about how your awareness needs to spread to more areas.

Mistakes are as mandatory as breathing. You can’t grow without breathing and you can’t grow without making mistakes.

It’s ok. We all mess up. Sometimes the mistakes kinda suck and someone gets mad and maybe there’s screaming or a fight or grounding. But then you pick yourself and you keep going. Because that is what life is.

I check in with the kids after I scream at them. “I was a jerk and I was too loud… but I didn’t go over the line and start insulting you or calling you names, right? Was I in bounds that way?”

Once Eldest Child said, “Actually you slipped and called us brats. Don’t do that again.”

Yes ma’am.

I haven’t done it since.

And my children have never had the experiences I had at their ages. They have never been told that they are stupid, worthless, unworthy, a bitch, a cunt, a whore or that they are too pathetic to deserve life.

I have to tell myself that an occasional errant “brat” isn’t the end of the world. Especially when my children have the self confidence to turn around and tell me that saying “brat” is over the line and I need to knock it off right now.

This trip is causing me to see both of my children in a bunch of different settings so I’m feeling increasingly certain that Eldest Child needs to be evaluated by someone other than me. She has a lot of sensory issues and avoidance behaviors that she is developing to cope. I don’t want her to get locked into avoidance as the only way to cope with sensory overload. I did that with food as a kid and it is part of why I have so many health issues.

I’m really grateful that for all that she is hypersensitive to a lot of things… she doesn’t have the food texture issues I had. Thank goodness.

I’m watching her struggle with the same things I struggled with as a child. The things that made me feel helpless, incompetent, and like I was a failure as a human being. I have enough education and awareness at this point that I recognize that these patterns mean there is something not wired correctly. Help is available in the world. We just have to figure out what kind of help is needed and access it.

She struggles at the same things that used to cause my brothers to laugh at me and tell me if I “couldn’t even throw a ball I was too pathetic to deserve to live.” I’m not really sure why sports are so fucking important.

She doesn’t need to have the years of self-hatred I had. We can find help.

I feel sad and happy at the same time. I know enough that my kids won’t have to suffer like I did. But there is this part of me that can’t stop grieving over the fact that no one gave a shit about me for decades.

I know it isn’t true now. I know that I am loved and cared for now. I know that if I am in need of help now I can find it and/or pay for whatever I need.

But I still hurt. I feel like a pathetic, self-pitying bastard. It doesn’t feel like it is ok for me to keep mourning all these layers of shit from my childhood. But I hurt so much.

I’ve barely cried in months because I don’t like doing it around the kids and I don’t have privacy. I’m sure that is contributing to how backed up I feel emotionally. I don’t have a lot of release available to me when I’m alone with the kids. I really and truly need private space for the ongoing processing of trauma.

I have really big feelings about that. I’m feeling a lot of shame and guilt that I’m sitting here crying and whining like a dog because I can’t stop because I haven’t cried in a while.

The kids and I have been watching a new show, “Call the Midwife”. It’s borderline inappropriate for the kids because it deals with some really harsh truths about life in poverty. But I’m not one to shelter my kids from the fact that other people suffer terribly. They don’t deserve to go through life not knowing that other people have it shitty. No one deserves that, in my opinion, and I kind of hate the parents who bring their children up in a bubble such that the kids can’t understand suffering of other people.

Anyway.

Last night the episode talked about the “Workhouse Howl”. The keening, crying screaming noise that only happens when people suffer horribly for years with absolutely no chance of ever stopping that suffering.

I felt kind of freaked out because when the character started the cry… I knew that I make that sound. My kids kinda looked at me when the crying was explained. Yes, I make that sound sometimes.

It isn’t true that I have no chance to stop the suffering any more. But once your body starts crying like that… stopping it isn’t a voluntary thing. It just happens. Once you have been in that much pain for that long… you can’t always keep it in for the convenience and happiness of everyone around you.

Suffering and pain are really complicated and layered. I would like to believe that some day I will get to the point where I no longer hysterically scream/cry sometimes without volition because I have so many pent up emotions I can’t suppress the noise.

Being rich doesn’t fix these problems. Being rich means you can slowly begin to get help, but getting help is a confusing, horrible process. Even though I can pay for help, I have to know where to go for help, who to ask for help, and what kind of help I need to ask for.

That’s hard.

I have to find the solutions and then find people to help me implement the solutions. It’s hard. I understand why people who are struggling with poverty just can’t.

Trauma impacts you forever. I’m kind of tired of people acting like trauma isn’t a big deal and you should just “get over it”. You know what, motherfucker? I am getting over it. I am making progress. It’s still a nightmare. It’s been a nightmare to be in my body for decades. It is slowly improving but I have trouble believing that being inside my body is ever going to be a pleasant experience.

I wish I could stop crying.

Peripheral

I asked my current longest running friend how she experiences my emotional ups and downs. She said “Peripherally because mostly I’m focused on me.” It was… humbling in exactly the right way. It was a reminder that the people who love me don’t have to come on the emotional roller coaster with me. They can love me and hear about my life and support me without being traumatized. My experiences are peripheral to their lives. It’s… kind of a freeing way of looking at it.

I don’t know how much to center myself. I don’t know how much impact I have on other people. I don’t know how much they can withstand from me. I don’t know this partially because people are all so different. I have been blessed with friends who can hear about some severe traumas without being damaged. But lots of people can’t even handle mildly upsetting things without freaking out, let alone trauma. So calibration is a bitch.

On the way home from the grief ritual on Saturday I got news that I didn’t like. If I was under the delusion that talking about a road trip for multiple years before I did it would result in people making sure they were home when I come to their city….uhm I am now back in tune with reality. The folks I know make their plans without consulting with me. Lots of folks I wanted to see (I’m up to like 8 different people across the country) aren’t going to be home when I come through town. The… ironic part is how many of them will be in the bay area when I am in their home states. I am having a hard time not feeling specifically avoided. I live in the bay area and you don’t come when I’m there to see me. You come when I am in your city. It… it is hard to not take personally. I’ve been planning this road trip for years. People could have asked me about conflicts. They didn’t. Now I can either change my plans (to make a long trip even longer) to see them or give up the idea of seeing them.

Which is why it is good to be reminded that I am peripheral to other peoples lives and I shouldn’t act like I am at the center. I’m really not. Folks don’t schedule around me. Hoo boy folks don’t schedule around me.

I think this would be easier if it were one person I was having this experience with. Then I could decide how much I prioritize that specific person and make a decision and move on. But once you start stacking that many people and that many conflicts… it gets exponentially more complicated.

I’m having conflict with my plans from five separate people in Portland. That’s… that seems to be a sign I shouldn’t go to Portland. If 5/8 of the people I go there to see won’t be available and one of the people I do want to see has been coming to the bay area without talking to me over the last year so I’m all butt hurt… Maybe Portland wasn’t meant to be part of the road trip? I could take it as a sign to save myself a thousand or so miles of travel. But then I feel like I’m not proving my love to the 3/8 people who are still there.

I’m having internal conflict over my adopted dad coming to the bay area multiple times without bothering to have dinner with us. Why the fuck should I keep trying to create a relationship with you when you come to my area without even the smallest of effort in my direction? It’s not a relationship if I am carrying all of it. But you know what? He didn’t ask me to be my dad. He didn’t ask to adopt my kids. I asked him. And I have to take what he feels like giving. I don’t get to demand more.

But I spent this weekend at a grief ritual. And I spent this weekend reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Fucking Palmer. So I’m in a funny place with regards to my feelings about “just stop asking people for love.”

That’s what cutting Portland out of the road trip would mean for me. It would mean that I am not able to go to that city with my heart in my hands saying, “Please love me.” I feel pathetic about it, but that’s a lot of what I do with my traveling and my life experiences. I go about and meet people I’ve known for a long time and people I have just met and I energetically ask them to love me. Please think I am worthy of humanity and decency and love. I’m scared that I am not deserving. And I need it affirmed over and over.

You need ten positive things to balance out every negative thing you hear about yourself. I spent the first 25 years of my life hearing 1,000 bad things for every good thing I heard. I am spending my adulthood trying to convince myself I am not what I was told I am.

But asking people to love you this way means risking rejection.

Part of my problem is that I have too many expectations of people. I really do. If I were actually content with five minutes of attention from the people I love I wouldn’t feel so disappointed. They can eke out five minutes. They can’t eke out two days. I’m not saying anything bad about them for that. They are where they are. And I am where I am.

I have spent most of my life using physical pain to remind me that I can’t ask for help because people don’t actually care very much. Now everyone in my life really wants me to stop hurting myself. And things are better than they were–more people are willing to demonstrate caring than I have ever experienced. It is getting better year by year. But I am not good at keeping my needs in check. I’m not good at ensuring that I don’t overwhelm people.

I am trying to learn the skills to deal with rejection without feeling like I should die. My hyperbole is not because of anyone in my life right now. It is because I have felt like I should die since early childhood. I’m looking for signs that I should or shouldn’t die. As soon as I feel like there is more weight on the side of no really I shouldn’t be here any more I try to leave. I haven’t tried to leave in 18 years. I was taught that the penalty for trying to leave and failing is really bad. Unless I’m willing to go swim out into the ocean until I can’t come back… I probably won’t attempt suicide again. My gestures are used up. Next time it has to be effective and no take backs.

I’m still weighing every rejection. I’m still tossing evidence into a sack towards the inevitability that I should die today because some day that day will come. Some day it will be the day I should die. It is not avoidable.

I notice something in the cycles of asking for support that I go through. If I ask a lot of people at once for something I don’t want very much… it usually works out. If I ask one person for something I want very much… it rarely works out. One example that is shallow and petty but small and easy to describe is the leather dress. I lived with my Owner for three years. We had a very intense relationship. I did not ask him to buy me things. He bought food for me in restaurants and that was it. I bought all groceries for the house. We were both incredibly sensitive to the idea that he was my Sugar Daddy and he was therefore careful to not pay me.

Isn’t that kind of funny? He wanted to make sure our relationship was “clean” so he would safely not provide very much support. Ha.

Anyway after being together for just shy of 4 years we were at a leather conference. I found a leather ball gown I was simply in love with. It was gorgeous. It was way out of my budget. I had never before asked him to pay for any of the ridiculously large fetish wardrobe I bought because he wanted me to wear those clothes. I didn’t ask him to pay for the 20+ pairs of shoes I bought because he wanted me to wear them. I didn’t own any of those shoes two years after I left him. Most of them were gone in three months. I hated those shoes. But I had to buy them to make him happy. I lived on $14,400/year and he made over $250,000. Anyway.

So I wanted this dress and I asked him to buy it for me. I said it could be my birthday and Christmas and everything put together. He said no. He said it wasn’t worth it to him to buy it for him. This happened in July. We broke up in August. Want to know what is funny? Noah organized my other-lovers and bought the dress for my birthday in September. I didn’t ask my other-lovers for the dress. I just cried on my blog.

I still have the dress. I wear it sometimes. It is one of the few items of fetish wear I have left. Mostly I’ve passed things on to people who are actually into that kind of thing. I used to have a wardrobe that made fetish models and professional dominatrixes drool. I’m not a fetishist though.

I spent a lot of this grieving ritual thinking about how I need to forgive myself for having needs that are in specific shaped boxes. I am not going to get those boxes filled because friends don’t work that way. I could maybe get the needs met if I was open to the universe supplying some random person–that’s how things work out for me. But as long as I get into this place where I create fantasies of doing x, y, and z with a, b, and c because I love them… I’m mostly going to be disappointed. My friends are not programmable. They don’t have the same interests and impulses as me.

This is what makes things so tricky. I have very specific needs and wants. People aren’t Burger King. You can’t have it your way.

A friend suggested that I negotiate differently. Instead of offering a Thing I’m up for, try to negotiate two or three things that might work for both. Thing is, I’m negotiating with anywhere from 3-25 people in a week. I can’t be that flexible. I run into bandwidth limitations.

I am not physically nor emotionally capable of being that open-endedly flexible with that many people. Maybe other people could… I can’t.

I will lose me. I understand that other people can keep themselves while being very flexible. That is awesome for them. That’s not me.

As I read Amanda Palmer’s book I kept thinking, “I have tried to have similar trust in the universe. That is part of how I got raped by 12 people. Uhm… This doesn’t work equally well for everyone.”

I feel like the term “Survival Sex” is only fairly recently added to my working vocabulary. It is… not exactly sex work because money doesn’t exchange hands. It is having sex with people in trade for food or housing. I’m struggling with not having the right goods to trade for my needs any more. Once upon a time I could trade sex and get most of the immediate needs I had met. Now I can’t trade sex for a variety of reasons and I don’t know what currency I have that is of value. My attention? But I bother people so much.

If you look at history there are people who can ask and have their needs met and it is like magic and then there are people who ask and get spit on. A lot of it depends on who you know. How magical is your safety net? The fact that Amanda Palmer had so many people with extra money to throw at artists is part of why she has done so well. If she had not grown up in that net… it would be a very different story.

It is a lot easier to trust that people will meet your needs when your needs have been basically met your entire life. It is not so easy to believe when there have been brief shining moments when all of your needs were met for brief moments and mostly… not so much.

I don’t know how to stop taking it out on my friends that my needs are too big for any of them. If my friends meticulously did every single thing I wanted from them… I would probably still feel this way. My problems are existential and not logistical. I get a lot of assistance and cooperation from friends. My friends do wonderful things with and for me. I can pinpoint problems in the system but… mostly my friends are ridiculously good to me. No, people don’t schedule their lives around me. I’m peripheral. But what they have to spare they hand me generously. It isn’t their fault that it isn’t enough to meet my needs.

Is it my fault? Is it anyone’s fault? I worry about fault so much partially because when I talk about how people aren’t meeting my needs people are quick to assume I’m blaming them. If they feel blamed for my problems they are more likely to cut me out of their lives and then I will be that much further from having my needs met.

You can’t talk about the fact that what you are getting in inadequate. You will cease getting any help at all.

Watch how people treat people of color who complain about the system. If you say, “This isn’t meeting my needs” people will say, “Fine then I won’t help you at all you ungrateful bastard.”

I don’t know what I want from people. Not really. I can come up with imaginary scenarios that would take 20 years of back story to make possible but beyond that… I don’t really know.

I want to feel seen.

In the class part of the ritual Sobonfu said, “If someone is crying and alone in my village someone will come and sit with them. If they don’t start talking, the listener will go get more people. If a small group isn’t enough to get the person to start talking we will get the whole village together to listen. Some problems are so big they cannot be carried by one person or by a small group. The whole village has to see and hear the problem before it can be resolved.”

I feel like that. I feel like there isn’t much of anything that people can do for me at this point beyond seeing and hearing me. I want to feel like an integral part of the system. I want to feel like my pain is so important that many many people care enough to take time out of their day to just see it. So that it can feel real. So that I can put it down. So that I don’t have to metaphorically spend all day clutching it and screaming “Look! Look Just fucking look.”

I don’t want to be disposable.

I’m afraid of treating my friends like they are disposable. I’m afraid I have no path to being correct and meeting my needs and their needs.

Part of my problem dealing with people comes from scale issues. I have an unusually large net of people. They are all fairly loose connections, but I have them all over the place. Weak connections lead to a safer and happier and more successful life. But how do you decide how much energy to give to weak connections?

I think that part of the relief when the Godmamas dumped me is like when a company fires an employee and gets to wipe their vacation time off the books. It is no longer an outstanding debt the company might have to face at any point. I left space in my heart and mind for them. They didn’t want it. They told me no over and over for years. But I left that space open. I tried to cram other people into gaps and holes around the area I was leaving for them. It’s like doing a computer defrag on my emotional priorities.

Ok, you want to be not important. Ok.

All of the people who have made conflicting plans are people I really like and I don’t want to defrag them out of my life.

I feel like there is no way to win.

Either I absorb all the disappointment and sadness and regret and keep coming back to beg for love another time or I give up on the person as a source of support.

This is that black and white thinking that mentally ill people are supposed to “work on”.

It’s not either/or. But I don’t know what it is.

Why am I doing the road trip? For a whole bunch of reasons. Because I want my kids to meet people all across the country and find out that their social skills need heavy adaptation from environment to environment. Because I want my kids to physically see this country so that when we talk about geography and history they have real schema to match things up with. Because I have wanted to do a trip like this my whole life and I never had anyone who wanted to do it with me and I’m too chicken shit to go alone. Because I can. Because I think we are going to reach a point in history where the carbon cost is going to be too high and people can’t do this any more. I want to do it while I can.

Because my cousin sneered at me while we were preparing for the New Zealand trip, “Why are you going overseas when you haven’t seen all of this great country.” Bitch, I’ve seen more of this country than you. It isn’t that great. Shut up.

That cousin hasn’t ever liked me. It wasn’t my fault she disliked me. She moved to Georgia not long after I moved in with Auntie and Uncle Bob for the first time. She cried telling her father that she was sorry she was taking his grandchildren away from him. He said, “That’s ok. I have Krissy.” My cousin never forgave me.

You know what? Uncle Bob dropped me when a younger and more sycophantic girl came along. He dropped that girl when another younger girl came along. You can get over hating me for stealing his love. I didn’t steal it. It was never really mine. He wanted a role and I couldn’t give him the role he wanted. I’m not grateful enough.

I had too much abuse mixed in with my not-really-good-enough support. Some boxes of Fruity Pebbles didn’t solve my problems and everyone kind of hated me for that.

If I could be blithe and capricious with seeing my friends things would work out much better. If I could accept the gift of their friendship and hold it in my open hand without grabbing and crushing it… things would work out better.

But I’m needy and desperate and sad and lonely. Even when I’m in a house full of people who love me. This is clearly not about the people who are currently in my life. This is not about the deficiency in behavior or planning or whatever from the people I know.

This is about a hole inside of me the size of Alaska.

If I’m going to be kind of an asshole about it I would say, If my friends weren’t so cool I wouldn’t be so upset about only getting a small slice of them. But man that’s a dick move.

I can’t actually handle that big of a slice of most of my friends. I start flipping out. I literally shake and I get nasty and difficult. Which is part of what makes my entitlement and possessiveness such a problem. I want them. I want all of them. Then I’m an asshole.

Like I did with Sarah. I want Sarah. I want to live with her and be with her all day every day. Just because I want it that doesn’t mean I can do it in a way that is healthy for both of us. My needs are too big. Her needs are too big. Our needs conflict in very complicated ways. It isn’t about either of us doing something wrong we just aren’t compatible as house mates. That happens.

I need a degree of rigidness and predictability that is very hard for almost everyone. That isn’t about anyone doing me wrong. It’s a recognition of the fact that people can be very complicated. If I don’t have that rigidness in my life then I have breakdowns in my behavior. That rigidity is how I have learned to compensate for not having the support I needed. I created the structure and support I needed for myself by myself but there is a cost.

That cost comes in how much I can trust other people. I have to be able to pick up the pieces if their best isn’t good enough. I have to be able to recover from feeling rejected. I have to be able to feel like I still have a self who is deserving of life at the end of the day. That is not something that other people are responsible for nor can they have serious impact on how it turns out.

The thing is, if everyone I knew catered their whole lives around me and scheduled around me and constantly pestered me to center me in their lives… I would implode. I could not do that. I would reject everyone, stop answering the phone and email and hide in my closet for months.

My friends really aren’t put in a position to be very successful with me. I’m sorry for that.

What I want is friends who are off doing their things. Their things inspire me. Their things remind me that it takes all kinds and all of these diverse, interesting, busy people are necessary to have the world be this fabulous.

And that means I have to take what is left over and find a way to cobble it into enough.

I am really scared that I will have to bail part way through the road trip because I will not have the emotional nor physical stamina to do such a journey alone with the kids. In order to spend quality time with the people we love in Portland I would have to make the trip longer and show up earlier. I don’t think I can bear that cost right now. I think that given that 5/8 of the people we love in Portland will not be available… I should take that as a sign from the universe to come back to Oregon another time. I will not run out of chances.

But I’m scared that if I make that choice I am giving up on those friends. I’m afraid that not putting in the extra effort to force it to work means I am not dedicated enough and I do not deserve those relationships and I will not be given access to them in the future.

I’m afraid that if I decide to not go to Portland during the road trip it will be in large part because I’m saying “Fuck you” to Dad because he didn’t see me when he came to the bay area. He was about 1/3 of the reason I deleted my Fetlife account. I don’t want to see evidence that I’m not that important to you. I don’t want to know. I mean, I know I’m not that important. But I don’t want to read about you talking to your friends about your excitement about visiting them. You don’t visit me. You don’t call me. You don’t email me. I contact you. Or we have no contact.

Yeah, that’s how my relationships with “fathers” go.

Portland is very wrapped up in my feelings about Dad. We usually stay with him when we go up. And right now…

Right now I can’t ask. I can’t ask him for love or support or anything. I can’t ask him to acknowledge that I am alive. I just can’t. He doesn’t want to. If he wanted to be part of my life he knows where I am. He chooses not to.

I…

It isn’t something he has to give.

So when I’m talking about Portland all of my conflicting feelings about all of the wonderful people there crash into each other. And it makes all of the processing ramp up several notches in intensity. I’m not processing how I feel about accommodating Person A. I’m thinking about how I can fit in Person A, Person B, Person C, Person D, Person E, and all of them have conflicting schedule limitations and issues.

Cutting Portland out would mean we had time to get to Missouri. Where one of my online-support-group friends lives. She has twins who are right in the middle of the ages of my kids. I’ve been talking to her about parenting stuff for years. She mailed me artwork for my wall when I was having the break down around Uncle Bob’s death and divorcing my family. She has sent me letters and emails over the years.

So cutting out Portland isn’t just about whether or not I want to say “Fuck you” to Dad or whether I want to try to work around everyone else’s travel schedule. It’s also about whether or not this road trip is about cementing old connections or making new ones.

Portland will still be there in the future. I guarantee that even if this trip doesn’t work out… we’ll get back to Portland. The folks who live there are an intense draw. Even if I get mad at them sometimes. Even if sometimes I feel feelings because I am not the center of their life and THAT TOTALLY SUCKS, YO. I will get back to Portland.

Missouri… maybe. Maybe not. This may be the only or one of two times I will ever go there in my whole damn life.

What is this trip about? Fuck if I know.

But you know what? I walked out of the weekend feeling less upset. I stopped feeling really guilty about how I’m handling the throat kicking incident. If I lose the home school group that’s ok. They were never mine to begin with.

I’m going to be really sad if I lose some of the important Portland people in my life. I can live with not seeing them this year, even if it is disappointing. I don’t want to live with losing them forever. That’s so much harder.

I’m going to close with a quote from Amanda’s book:

We make countless choices every day whether to ask or to turn away from one another. Wondering whether it’s too much to ask the neighbor to feed the cat. The decision to turn away from a partner, to turn off the light instead of asking what’s wrong.

Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability.

Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:

I deserve to ask

and

You are welcome to say no.

Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.

This is what is so hard about me asking my friends for things. I wait to ask until the no hurts me. I have refrained from asking for thousands of small, petty things because I was afraid. Because I don’t want to overwhelm or bother people. So I wait until it is a crises. Then I ask. Then I can’t absorb “no”.

Which means I’m damning everyone from the beginning. I’m not asking for gifts. I’m asking for… investment. I’m asking for responsibility.

You can’t ask your friends to be responsible for you. Then they aren’t your friends any more. They are your wards or your parents or your guardians or something.

I damn myself over and over again. Because I cannot ask when it is just a gift. Because I am so scared. Because my needs have never been very important, even when they really needed to be.

This weekend I had an interaction with a person in which they expressed that part of their goal during the ritual was to not feel pain. I kind of scoffed at that, because I’m an asshole. The person said it at the beginning of the day on Saturday before the ritual proper had started.

I found those words sticking in my head all through the day. I just… couldn’t make myself grieve the way I did last time at the ritual. I didn’t have the hysterical screaming and flailing in me. I didn’t need to beat my head until I couldn’t raise it from the pillow anymore. Instead I found myself just curling up in the fetal position to cry softly.

It was… kind of weird. I’m not really a “let it flow gently over you” kind of person.

The next morning I found the person and told them about my experience the day before. Their face lit up. They were so glad to have had that impact on someone. I apologized for scoffing and said, “I think I needed to hear exactly that. Thank you.”

On Sunday, Sobonfu asked everyone to touch one another more. Even if you are normally a non-touching person… let people touch you. You need to feel like you aren’t alone. You need to physically feel that a person is there with you in your grief.

I’m really a no-touching person.

At one point in the day I was grieving and it turns out that the person who had said they didn’t want to experience pain was my supporter. (Part of the purpose of the grief ritual is that when you are grieving you are always supported. There is a person there to help you however you need.) This person decided to do massage work on me while I was crying. Eventually I moved around so I was lying on my belly just letting it happen.

It was almost magical. I get a lot of body work done. I experience a lot of physical pain and I know a lot of ways to manage it. I do a lot of yoga/stretching… All The Things. I’ve been getting somewhat regular massages since I turned 18 because other wise I get back spasms and spend a lot of time lying on the floor crying and unable to deal with my life.

This was a really transformative body work experience. I walked in with multiple places screaming out in intense pain. I walked out having my pain halved. She didn’t work on me for very long and it wasn’t intense work. But she knew where to press. And it was the physical contact in conjunction with the crying.

In that moment it was ok for me to be asking for support. It wasn’t pathetic. It wasn’t inappropriate. It was what we were all there for. It was entirely appropriate.

I feel like part of my problem is that asking for support puts people in the position where they might have to say no to me. People don’t like saying no. I try not to put them in that position. Which means I wait until it is too urgent. Then I can’t hear no.

It’s a problem. It’s a bad cycle. I’m having a hard time climbing out.

Part of the difficulty springs from the fact that there is no right answer. You just do your best. That’s all anyone has to give.

Grief ritual, briefly

It is fascinating to me how the energy of the crowd is different than last time. Last time the crowd was generally young and very peppy. The singing and dancing and energy raising was super well done. They were into creating space.

Not this time. Whoa. This time there are people sitting on the floor with their phones ignoring the proceedings. Many people are “doing it for credit and you can’t make me do that spiritual shit.” Uhm, why didn’t you take a different class for credit? If you are so opposed to the curriculum why are you spending thousands of dollars to be here?!

People baffle me.

But on the other side of the coin, last time folks were pretty quiet and restrained about their grieving. Lots of crying, sure, but I was the only screamer last time. This time… I haven’t screamed. I didn’t feel the need. Lots of other people did though! This is a screamtastic group.

Which is fascinating.

I’m finding that whereas last time I was there very much to grieve about the assaults… this time not so much. This time I’m trying to work through how to forgive myself for following the lessons of my ancestors. Suicide is kind of a thing for my family. I feel a lot of shame for having so much suicidal ideation. I shouldn’t put my friends and loved ones through that. I’m a bad person for thinking/talking about it the way I do. But I talk about it so much because I’m trying to keep from doing it. Talking about my mental health problems is so much healthier than I used to be able to manage.

Suicide is a real problem. Existential despair is a real thing. It’s a complicated, layered thing. It’s not easy to manage alone in a vacuum.

So many thoughts.

Weirdly accomplished

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

Even three years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, that’s how scheduling goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No ones fault

I process my emotions in an outward fashion. It helps me gain distance and perspective. It means that people share their processes with me. I’m struggling with the Godmama separation. I’m processing that in a variety of places and ways. In one arena a kind friend suggested that I explain it to the kids as, “Sometimes people just can’t get along.” I said that I have not reacted well when people have said that to me and I don’t think I could say it believably. I’m not saying it is a bad suggestion or a wrong suggestion–it’s one I can’t really deliver.

I want to emotionally react to the phrase. Not because I’m attacking the person who said it (reasonable to share how you would respond! You didn’t tell me I “should” do it–totally respectfully suggested) but because I want to parse why I’m feeling feelings this big.

I cannot count the situations in my life that have ended with people saying, “Sometimes people just can’t get along.” I get told that a lot. My needs and issues are too complicated and big and people don’t have the spoons to devote to adapting to me and that is phrased as “people can’t get along.” It hurts me a lot.

I don’t believe in no-fault divorce. I think there is enough fault to go around. I think it can be both peoples fault and that’s ok. I have never had a break up in my life where I was blameless, and I’ve gone through a really high number of break ups. Do I think that I am completely and totally to blame for the friendships or romantic relationships that go south? Of course not. But saying “it’s no ones fault” is saying I didn’t do the shitty things I did. I’m not going to pretend I did everything right and by some magic of the universe it didn’t work out.

Do you know what is no one’s fault? Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Break ups are because of people.

I don’t want to tell my kids that sometimes things just don’t work out and people evaporate from your life. That has made me incredibly paranoid. It is part of the reason I don’t god damn call people to ask for help (unless I am desperate or I don’t really NEED the help–when the help is optional asking is easy) even though a variety of people have told me I am allowed to ask for help.

When I’m desperate I tend to throw a rope out into the universe not knowing who will catch it. I don’t pick a person and go to them. I don’t trust people enough. I don’t have the spoons to ask multiple people if I get told no. It hurts too much. So I don’t go to Person A and ask for help. I say, “Can anyone help?” and somehow magically Person P shows up. They say, “I was really bored today–I’m happy to get out of the house.” I may never see Person P again. That’s how a lot of the help I have received this lifetime shows up.

I’ve even gotten help grading papers that way when I was a teacher. Throwing a rope to the universe is the best approach I’ve used.

But my friends tend to be people who are barely sustaining their life and they don’t have spare spoons if you show up to ask for one. So I don’t walk up to specific people and ask. That results in people dumping me for over stepping.

I tell my children that sometimes people don’t want to be in a relationship with me because I am not an easy person and people have the right to make that choice. It doesn’t mean I’m wrong or bad or that no one can have a relationship with me–it’s just not something that is worth the effort for that person. Why? I don’t know. Life is complicated.

I can scare people. They have the right to opt-out of being scared. I do not “deserve” to make people feel that way. They have the right to opt-out of knowing me. I’m not going to pretend to my children that this isn’t true. I want them to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they do not have to stay in relationships with people who are hard for them and they don’t need to feel bad about being too hard for some people.

There are seven billion people on the planet. You won’t be too hard for everyone.

I believe that we all bear some fault. There is enough to go around.

Noah regularly tries to get me to believe that I care too much about blame. He thinks it is irrelevant. I say, “Awwww, what a position for a privileged white boy to have. ‘No one is to blame for bad things happening. They just happen.'” Nope. In my little corner of the world I can god damn point at why things happen and it isn’t because nature made it so. It’s because people acted. They made choices. Some of those choices sucked and had negative consequences. Fuck this “no one is to blame” bullshit.

People do things. They hurt people. It happens. That’s not “no one’s fault”. White politicians enact laws that harm people of color and want to claim it is no one’s fault too. Bullshit.

I’m not angry with the Godmamas for splitting the blanket. I’m hurt and sad. M in particular has been one of the Wise Elders of my adulthood and I feel very sad that I managed to not show this person enough respect. I feel very sad that I did such a bad job of demonstrating my love and devotion that she now feels the only way out of this bad situation is to not know me any more.

I’m not going to say there is no blame here. Instead there is enough blame to go around. I clearly did not meet the needs of the people I was in a relationship with. I tried and I failed. That happens. I’m not going to say it is no one’s fault. It is the fault of both sides.

You need more than one person trying very hard to have a relationship. You need two people trying hard and communicating about what they need. If you lose the communication or if you don’t have people try hard… relationships can’t be carried by one person. That’s not how they work. Is that a blameless situation?

I don’t blame my Owner because he was less invested in our relationship than I was. He was invested to the degree he wanted to be invested. It wasn’t enough for me to stay permanently. I need to have a partner who is more enthusiastic and devoted and he didn’t have that to give. I’m not angry with either side of us for the break up. But I’m not going to say it was no one’s fault. It was his fault he didn’t want to get married and have kids and it was my fault that I consider those things deal breakers.

I don’t think we are bad for each bearing our side of the break up. I think we want what we want and that’s ok.

I see a lot of good reasons for the Godmamas to feel hurt. I’m not pretending they have no right to feelings of their own. I’m not going to blame the break up all on them. But I can’t say it is no one’s fault. I did things wrong. They didn’t communicate about their needs. Sometimes things fail even though people are trying. To me that is materially different than “Sometimes people can’t get along.” I don’t know why it feels so different. I have to feel the acknowledgment that you tried and failed. I don’t want it to feel like some magical intervention is the reason it didn’t work out.

Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out.

Meh. Sometimes people can’t make things work out. One person can’t carry a relationship.

Feelings.

Move on

Since I’ve been predicting this one for a while I don’t feel particularly shocked. I don’t feel as upset as I often do at a break up. I don’t feel like I was perfect (I’m not a perfect person) but I feel like I tried. My trying wasn’t enough.

If one of the big complaints is that I didn’t provide enough support but I never turned down a request and you turned down dozens of offers of support… I have a clear conscious.

It hurts, but life hurts. I’ll keep walking.

I think it is funny how I react differently to each break up. Sometimes I feel completely devastated. This one should be HUGE. It is… but I’ve seen it coming for a long time and so I’ve had time to start my grief process.

With each person who dumps me I feel a little more afraid that in the end there will be just Noah because even my kids will get sick of me. Then I get scared that Noah will hit his limit too. I’m not a very nice person. This is proven to me year after year as my long-term friendships and “support” and “chosen family” can’t handle me. If you have the same problem over and over… it isn’t always someone else’s fault.

I’m really hard to put up with. It’s just true.

I’m scared.

I think it is interesting how much my suicidality is tied to hormone cycles. I don’t feel suicidal at all. This breakup isn’t one that causes me to feel like I should die because I hurt everyone. But I wonder if I am going to trot this one out when I’m already feeling bad as just one more reason to flagellate myself. This breakup isn’t trigger enough for a huge explosion of self-hate all by itself–which is probably healthy.

Quite frankly I’ve been trying too hard against too much rejection for too many fucking years. I god damn know I tried and was told no.

In some ways, it is a relief. I’ve been trying to offer help for years. It has been an open debt. Closing the account is like a company choosing to pay out all of the backlog of vacation pay. Ok. At least now I don’t have a potential energy sink I have to make allowance for. I did make allowances. I did reserve space. I offered it and offered it and offered it. You didn’t want it. And now you tell me I didn’t support you enough and you are done.

If I have to chase you that hard to support you… no I can’t do it. You are right that if you need that much chasing I can’t do it. I can’t give you what you need. Offering is all I have. If I have to insert myself and just do it without offering… I can’t. I don’t have that space in my life. I just don’t.

I’m sorry that you felt used. I thought the deal was pretty clear. If it feels bad to you then it should end. That is true.

I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the amount of support you provided. You made the last six years of my life much better than it would have been without you. I love you very much and I’m sorry things have worked out this way. I will always love you. I understand that the current deal isn’t working. Ok.

If you ever want to come back I will still love you. That will not change. I am sad, but I do not feel rancor.

I could, but I don’t. I think that your life changed. I think that you wanted to have a certain kind of relationship but I didn’t understand what you saw in your head and I’ve never had relationships that functioned that way. I don’t know what it is you wanted. You never told me. You never asked me for changes or differences, you just pulled away. You wanted me to manifest a relationship I have never experienced and I can’t do that.

It is interesting to me how there is a difference between someone pulling away and someone swiping at me. If someone pulls away and never swipes… I feel no desire to slam a door. There isn’t anything to protect myself against other than the black-hole-like draw of wanting to earn the love of someone who has proven they don’t love me enough. If someone says something that hurts I get scared and feel like I have to slam a door.

The funny thing is, the people who swipe are the ones who come back. They are the ones who show up. Is that why I want to slam the door? Because I want to prove the narrative that everyone leaves and if they don’t leave I will push them out and close the door behind them? I sure like believing I’m right and “Everybody Hates Krissy” is one of my favorite narratives whether it is true or not. I’ll find a fucking way to antagonize people until I make it true.

Today is a full day. Last Hindi class of the session. I’m making Noah go because I’m having trouble being patient in the class. I’m so ridiculous. I make my kids “behave” for the vast majority of their lives. I can’t enforce classroom behavior very well for a one hour thing in the middle of the week. My kids don’t adjust well and I get angry and I stay angry all day. So Noah is taking Calli to class. He takes notes. Then we teach one another at home. We’ve learned a remarkable amount of Hindi this way.

Then we get to go to a horse-riding birthday party! Super exciting. One of the home school families who we see the most. The party will be pretty smooth and easy. I get more support than I deserve from this crowd.

Tonight Caliban (an off-shoot of the Irish band Tempest) is playing in a local coffee shop and the Nextdoor crowd from our neighborhood is going to meet up there. It starts at bedtime which I’m not thrilled about, but we’ll stay for a little while. Luckily it is hella close to my house. At bedtime and less than 5 miles from my house is very different from starts at bedtime 40 miles from my house, which is how events in San Francisco work. The amount of time it takes to get home factors into how acceptable a late night is.

I don’t know what the future will bring. I have this weird feeling that if I can grow to be ok with an ever-changing cast of characters… I will never have to be alone. If what I want is a consistent group of very predictable people… I am doomed to disappointment.

The key to happiness is low expectations. That’s what my husband tells me. Noah makes me happier than anyone else ever has. He under promises and over delivers consistently. My dear friend would tell me that no one else can “make” me feel anything.

(See, I do listen to you.)

On the PTSD support forum there is always a thread from a female supporter dealing with a male sufferer and infidelity. Always. These women always want us on the PTSD board to say that the cheating is because of the PTSD. To our credit we present a universal front: PTSD does not CAUSE cheating. PTSD causes you to feel shitty and unconnected and then what you do with those feelings is a whole ‘nother layer of shit.

My PTSD causes me to not trust people and to feel paranoid that everyone is going to leave me because no one loves me. Then my behavior really sucks and some people have to stop associating with me because I am hurting them and I believe that I am justified in believing that I’m a bad person and everyone will leave me. It’s a “charming” loop.

Noah works hard at being consistent for me in a way that is literally not fair to him. I am so dysregulated that he overcompensates by trying to be regular.

Whether I feel happiness or not… Noah’s behavior is a constant reminder that I need to find it in me to feel like one person is going to stay whether I like it or not. I have to believe because there is evidence and proof and consistency there to back it up.

Noah makes me feel happy. Even I can’t discount his behavior. He doesn’t do it by jumping through spectacular hoops. He does it by making breakfast in the morning and smiling at me.

I’m going to have more relationship break ups. I have no idea who will be next. I see a few possibilities due to tempestuous interactions but who knows.

I will mourn the loss of this relationship. I will not feel like the loss of this relationship will end my life or substantially change things for me in how I cope. I’ve been effectively managing this loss for almost a year. I’m grateful it came in stages with death throws so I could adjust instead of it being sudden. That was a mercy.

I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I love you.

Today has been an emotional journey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you fucking kidding me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a self-pitying son of a bitch.

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

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

I want to die so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want a god damn mother.

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

I want to die.

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

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

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

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

Right now I feel like no one loves me enough.

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

Sad and scary

The Godmama is still in the ICU. On the 3rd she was in a terrible motorcycle accident while riding her motorcycle. She is still not doing well. She is no longer required to use a breathing tube, which is progress. No idea how long her recovery is going to take. This is really sad partially because her wife moved to the other coast a month ago for medical school. So much for medical school for a while.

I feel sad and helpless. I can’t even visit her because she isn’t stable enough.

bodies and food and sleeping

I slept from 7-5:30. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was awake for a little bit around midnight. I wandered in to put the chicken broth in the fridge because I forgot to do it earlier. Then I woke up around 4 and climbed in bed with Calli because Shanna had come into my bed and I couldn’t move any more. But I still got more sleep than average. I assume this is good for me.

I’m not shaking/trembling. I neither feel self-hating nor like I want to set things on fire. Watching the hormonal cycles come and go is pretty awful.

Maybe it is partially because Noah gave me time off yesterday. I got time alone. Maybe it is mostly just that I passed the worst few days of my cycle. Maybe it is that I am *really* excited for the trip I’m leaving for on Tuesday. Only gone two nights. But I get to be alone. Blissfully, entirely alone. No one will scream in my face. No one will hurt me on accident.

I feel like the fall no-eating period is starting early this year. I feel like it happens more in October, but maybe I am misremembering. This has happened every year for many years. The season shift from summer to fall isn’t good for my appetite.

I think of it as my yearly punishment for my father’s death. I am not sure how it is going to work with running this year. Yesterday I ate pancakes for breakfast (with yogurt and strawberries) and pad see ewe for lunch and I *could not eat* dinner. Even though I ran six miles yesterday. I did a bunch of other random chores too.

So it begins. My stomach hurts. I don’t remember it starting before my birthday in the past, but my memory is far from perfect. Noah says that the no-eating thing is hard for him to track because my eating is tied to my mood and stomach pain and illness. When I’m not feeling good I don’t eat.

Why does food feel like something I have to earn by being “good” enough? I’m not very good. That’s an ongoing problem.

My arms hurt really badly. I think I slept wrong and my right shoulder is jacked up.

I did my best to consciously *not* pay attention to anniversaries this summer. I noticed they were coming and deliberately distracted myself so I missed the days. Dad’s death is harder. I wish it was as easy to pretend I don’t notice as Tommy’s death.

Oh man. Why do I feel overwhelmingly like I killed my father this year? I didn’t. He killed himself.

Stupid hormones.

Also: I submitted my book to one publishing house. I have my eye on a second. Those two are the only ones for a little while.