Category Archives: home school group stuff

As usual, I leapt to conclusions.

Well fuck me. So I’ve been very angry at someone about reporting things to the group leader and I had the wrong person. That makes me a big fucking asshole.

You know what? I know I’m jumping to conclusions based on small amounts of text. That’s what I can do right now.

Kind of why I didn’t want to address any of this right now because it is incredibly stressful, distressing, and horrible.

But get up and drive tomorrow, bitch. Don’t go off the road.

Tut, tut, looks like rain.

I keep losing attempts at posts because my internet is spotty. Who knows if this will go up or not.

The tent is covered with a tarp. There is an 80% chance of rain today. We are inside with our screens plugged in so we don’t run out of battery. I have a power cable that can handle being snaked outside and all the “in door” cables are inside the tent. Modern living is awesome.

We went to the Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument. It was a fascinating experience. We spent a lot of time talking about the “need” to fight. The Native Americans who fought the US government… did they have a choice to fight? Did the white people have any real justification for trying to force the Natives onto reservations that eliminated their way of life?

Complicated. “We needed room to grow” only holds water if you assume the folks you step on don’t matter. What about the needs of the people who were here first?

At this point there is a good argument to be made that none of us have anywhere else to go. This globe is round. We are out of room to send people to the corners.

I don’t know what to suggest. But when the park ranger says, “But this is my home” I want to throw up on the floor.

No it isn’t, you colonizing piece of shit.

If you steal something, does it become yours? If you take a piece of earth that folks believe belongs to no one and decide that now it is all yours… does anyone else have to care about your broken as fuck beliefs? You are disgusting.

I am disgusting. I am a white colonizer. But I have no where to go. Europe doesn’t want me.

I don’t know what a vibrant, loving multi-cultural community would look like. I’ve never seen one. I want to know where such a place is. It’s not about carefully balancing “We need 54% of this kind of people and 13% of this kind of people and…” it’s bigger than that. It’s more about finding a way to make diverse people feel welcome and comfortable. I don’t know how to do that.

I have been reminded recently that I’m intimidating. So clearly I will not be the one to create this multi-cultural nirvana. I will probably not be allowed to go. It will only be for people who can get kicked in the throat and then keep their voice soft so no one has to know it hurt.

I am incredibly hurt. I was pretty sure that folks would care way more about the feelings of the other family. I was right. I’m the problem. I’m intimidating. Even though I am not the one committing assault I am the scary and dangerous one.

What the fuck does “scary” mean to you? It means that someone isn’t passive when they are attacked? What the fuck do you really expect from people?

Why is it that I’m a problem and the kid who assaulted someone isn’t a problem? This sounds to me like when black churches are burnt down and the news says, “HEY BLACK PEOPLE, DON’T GET UPSET!!!!”

Why the fuck don’t you focus on the people who are a violent problem instead of acting like the victims are the problem?

Because that would upset your social order. Much easier to say that folks like me are the problem. Go fuck yourself.

I’m not saying my issues with the home school group are like systematic racism. Not even slightly. But the coping methods work similarly.

Folks who like how things are going are similar, no matter which broken system they are defending.

Noah asked me if I wanted to buy a year book for the group. Good thing I already deleted my membership so I won’t have to decide. No one from the group will ask me. Noah won’t make a decision. I can just… not do anything. Let it be.

I sorta wish that the woman who decided that while I was on the roadtrip was a good time would have instead said, “Stop SMSing me because you make me uncomfortable” instead of sending a message to the leader of the group and asking for me to be taken to task. If you didn’t feel the need to handle this in four months, then it wasn’t that critical. You made a choice.

I don’t think it is critical that this issue be handled. I don’t think there is any handling to do. The parent of the kid who committed assault said it didn’t happen and if it did happen it was all my fault. The leader of the group says *I* can’t intimidate people. The co-leader says “Thanks for not interrupting the birthday party to tell me you are assaulted.”

There is nothing for me there. I’m sorry I spent so many years trying so hard. I am not valued. I am apparently no more valuable than a piece of dog shit.

I’m due to start my period any day now. Back in Utah when I got the original email setting off this cluster fuck of upset I tried to talk about it slowly and logically with a few people. Mostly I just didn’t sleep and I felt like shit. Now I’m sleeping, thanks to mega doses of pills, and I feel less crazy and less like I will do something frantic. But I want to hurt myself really badly. I am never going to be worth defending. No one is ever going to give a shit about people hurting me. I am just not important enough.

I don’t know how to stop hating myself for this. I don’t know how to stop hating me for being a worthless piece of shit.

If I mattered, maybe the folks in the group would care that I was almost killed instead of saying things like, “He’s just a skinny kid”. That phrase describes many of my rapists. I’m not impressed.

You believing he couldn’t have hurt me as much as I claim… that’s insulting. You think I am unable to perceive what happens to my body. The intensity of me wanting to defend my body isn’t ok. Talking about what happened to me publicly isn’t ok.

If you don’t want me to talk publicly about you… don’t fuck with me.

I didn’t think the mother of the boy brought it to your attention. I know who did that. Don’t worry. She’s on my shit list now.

Specifically I was told, “I’m not saying that there couldn’t have been an accident, but I’m saying that perhaps it didn’t happen on the scale or with the intent in which it has been presented.”

Then in the next email, “I’m not minimizing!”

Actually, that is a textbook minimizing. Good job illustrating my point.

I’m not saying the little kid had intent. I’m saying the actions of all the adults near the kid are teaching the kid that he’s allowed to assault people without consequence. When he hurts people you will drive them from the group rather than allow them to be angry. Because he must be protected from the consequences of his actions.

You don’t believe I am in any danger. But I was assaulted and you are telling me it isn’t as bad as I think it is. You don’t care about how much danger I’m in or not. You only care about not having to deal with conflict in your group.

There is no chance that anyone in this group could possibly demonstrate that they care about my health or safety. They had a chance and blew it. That’s life.

If you want to come to me to address my behavior without telling me about the elaborate plan you have created to ensure that the next time this kid assaults someone he goes to jail then you don’t care about my safety or the safety of other people in the group. You care about the abuser. And you have to live with being that kind of person.

I feel sick to my stomach. I’m shaking and anxious. I want to cut so badly. I’m really sorry I tried so hard for people who are going to prioritize the “fear” of the mother of someone who assaulted me over me. I will never matter to these people.

I feel like shit. I’m sure they are rolling their eyes and talking about how melodramatic I am. I am deleting the mean things I wish would happen to you. I’m not going to do any of it.

This is the part that really drives me up a wall. DO YOU REALLY THINK I AM SO STUPID AS TO PUNCH THIS FUCKING CUNT AND GO TO JAIL? WHAT HAVE I DONE TO CONVINCE YOU THAT I AM SO MAGNIFICENTLY STUPID?!

I imagine horribly violent things to do to y’all. I won’t do them because I won’t go to jail over pieces of shit like you.

I feel so full of anger and rage that I feel poisoned. I hate you so much right now.

How dare you wait until I was on the road and my childrens’ physical safety depends on my ability to focus? You are a selfish piece of shit and I hope bad things happen to you.

I am so angry I can barely sit still. I can barely have a conversation. Mostly I’m just not talking today beyond necessary logistics.

I am so angry.

It’s that time of the month. I can clock this shit.

Only it isn’t just that time of the month. This shit started in what, February? And then the group organizer decided to “resolve things” on my nephew’s birthday. I love it when there are holidays where I’m going to feel bad and people send me shitty emails. That just makes the whole day awesome.

None of this was handled well. No, I don’t handle it well when I’m assaulted. The fact that you expect me to handle this well and there is nothing happening to the person who assaulted me…

Nope. I don’t want to know you. I really don’t. You are icki people. I may or may not talk shit about you for decades. Maybe I’ll decide you aren’t worth remembering. But you can bet your fucking buttons that I will tell other families I meet home schooling to be careful of that fucking family.

You don’t want me to talk publicly about the fact that I think I should call CPS on a family where the kid commits assault and there is no consequence? Oh well!

I feel bad that I didn’t call. I should have. I didn’t because I didn’t want the consequences. Now that I’m out of the group anyway I really wish I had just up and called the next day when an investigator could have come to my house and seen my injuries. Maybe then this kid would be given intervention from the state so that he doesn’t fucking think his behavior is ok.

For a while I was working hard on getting the kids to write letters to people. Then they asked to write the boy who kicked me. Or the kids of the woman who emailed the group organizer to force this issue to a head right now. Or the group organizers kids.

So we just aren’t writing letters because I don’t want to try and talk them into thinking about other people.

Thanks so much for caring about my safety and health. So glad you wanted to resolve issues for the good of the group.

Watch how people act.

I’m glad I have Noah to bounce things off of. He reminds me: watch how people act. If folks had four months to resolve an issue and they chose not to then it isn’t that they want to solve the problem so bad. It’s that they want me to not want to solve the problem. They waited until it was literally impossible to have a conversation. That means they don’t give a shit about me.

I was the only person actually harmed. But other people have feelings. So they have to write me an email telling me how bad I am for upsetting people. So that I don’t sleep for days when I am responsible for driving my children across the country.

These people don’t want to be my friends. All I have to do is look at how they treat me.

No. That’s my line

.I deleted my membership to the home school group. My safety isn’t important. I can’t stay. It is a much bigger problem for me to get angry about being assaulted than the assault. That’s not safe for me. Im glad I don’t have to drive today. I didn’t sleep and I am going to need a lot of medication so I don’t spend the whole day sobbing.

luckily the nice lady I’m staying with has panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. If I need some alone time she will get it.

Not the center

Sometimes a reminder that I’m not the center of peoples lives is useful. I’m not the reason people do or don’t do things. I’m just standing there.

Today went much better than I expected. Phew. I needed a better day with the home school group.

Apparently the remodeling company’s vice president is pretty unhappy that I want to cancel the contract because I’m pissed about how I’m being treated. He was apologetic in Noah’s direction. I ducked the meeting. He offered ways of making it all better.

Delays happen. I have never expressed anger at the people in the company I have simply expressed that I would like things to move along. When the response is “Well it’s your fault” that’s a problem.

Yes, some of the delays have been my fault. It is true. It is not my fault the first contract was stolen out of the car of the first project manager. I’m not saying it is your fault. I am saying it happened. Can we talk about delays without you leaping to saying that it is all my fault? Clearly it is not accurate that all of the delays are my fault.

Unless you are implying that I broke into the car and stole the contract? How would this serve my ends?

It is not my fault that my project manager left the country for a month. Don’t god damn act like everything is all my fucking fault. Fuck you very much.

So they are fired. I get to deal with this when I get back. Oh. Joy. Can’t. Wait.

Grr and whine and fuss. It’ll get done. Eventually. I’m a tight fisted bastard anyway and I’m not that sad about delaying the expense. I’m sad that we will be breathing black mold indefinitely.

Houses are a giant pain in the ass. No I can’t just fix the mold. It involves taking the walls and flooring apart. If I have to gut the bathroom… I need to just do the whole bathroom.

Houses! Oh man!

 

Good & Bad

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about something. Most things are neither good nor bad as part of their intrinsic “existence”. They are good or bad in the eyes of someone who is judging.

For example: my kids can’t sit still to save their fucking lives (literally) so they can’t move up to a booster seat from a car seat even though they are WAY big enough compared to the legal minimum. I could be really annoyed with them for being so immature. I could be frustrated that they won’t “grow up”. Or I could recognize that I live full time with ants in my pants and I can be glad that they are in an environment where they aren’t punished for the nature they have. I just keep them in car seats. (This goes through my head because I have to install four carseats in the van again. Sigh. I loathe installing carseats. I always break half my nails and have numb fingers for days. CAN’T WE MOVE INTO FUCKING BOOSTERS ALREADY?!?!?!!!!!!)

I sent a reference to a study to a friend. She was afraid I was trying to say something mean. It was a study that finds that how much time parents spend with their kids has little effect on outcome for life. Being a working parent is no worse than being a stay at home parent according to this study–specifically they found that socio-economic level is most of what decides how your kids will turn out. (Shocking, I know.) I sent this to a friend who works in a “See! You were right all along!” sort of way. She didn’t read it that way. I’m sorry it seemed hurtful. I meant it more like, “I’m totally wasting time obsessing over my kids. I should get a job.”

I more meant to poke fun at myself. But things are neither good nor bad in a vacuum. They are good or bad depending on how they are received.

I pick sensitive people to be friends with. That means there are times when we all feel thin skinned. I keep praying that I will get better at riding through these times.

Shanna asked me if she was stupid for loving the boy she’s had a crush on for years. I told her that if loving him brings both of them joy and happiness… it isn’t stupid even if you don’t love him forever. It is never stupid to enjoy the time you have with someone. Even if it isn’t forever.

I need to work on my perspective around the home school group. I fear that we are nearing our exit date. This feels so sad. I’m not going to be an asshole about doing anything dramatic before the trip. I just don’t know that I will try hard to rejoin the group when we come back. I really don’t know.

On one hand I’m having a hard time with this because I feel like a quitter and a bad person. My kids NEED FRIENDS. But… my kids have friends with or without this group. And really… they didn’t bond that much with anyone. Near as I can tell most of the group doesn’t like us very much. It is hard that we have put in the time to get established in the group. It’s been four years. If we have more problems than good times… why bother?

This is still going to be the school group I’ve been associated with the longest for my life. Maybe I’ve hit the limit of what I can handle. If my kids were going to preschool then regular school we wouldn’t get upset about graduating from one group of people to another. Why do I feel like such a quitter with this crowd?

I’m tired of driving 40+ minutes to sit at a freezing cold park. I’m the one with the problem so I’ll solve it by backing away.

Apparently I’m the one with most of the problems. I should promise to not be a problem any more.

Maybe I should just stay home.

Maybe I’m just the problem.

The group doesn’t care about having institutional memory as to which kids have done what. I need to not care either. I have no power, influence, or status. Shut the fuck up you stupid bitch.

I …

I feel sad.

So I’ll say that today I took the trailer to the CHP station to get the VIN verified. On Friday I get to visit the DMV for registration and licensing and what-not. I’m excited. I get to run away from home soon. So I can forget that I’m not very wanted.

Tonight my bonus kids will come to visit. They stay till Friday. I’ll drop them off on our way to PonyCon (Officially named BabsCon but who knows what the hell that means). I’m so excited about seeing them. I haven’t been feeling very successful with kids lately other than them. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong because I’m bad. Because I deserve to be kicked. Because I am bad. Because I’m angry that I was told to promise not to be a problem any more. I don’t know how to stop feeling angry about this.

I’ll stop eventually. I’m just not there yet.

Next week a different set of kids is spending the night. We have never kept this pair before. I have more apprehension than with my bonus kids just because I’ve never been alone with these kids for long. They have very different rules in their family. (Not evaluating them as better or worse.) It’s going to be an exercise in “setting expectations”. I love those. I do better with kids than I do with adults.

With kids I’m good at saying, “Oh! I didn’t explain this right. That was my mistake. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you how to be successful.” With adults I’m all, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Why did you fuck up?” Which is… not so helpful. I’m such an asshole.

I feel very good at handing patience to people I perceive as younger than me and horrifyingly bad at doing it with people who are older. One trick to force me out of this pattern is to have someone older than me as my designated student. (I have taught writing classes to adults much older than me.) Then I know going in that I have the “power” in the exchange and I can be gracious.

Such an asshole.

We got our summer sandals yesterday so we can work on breaking them in before the trip.

The thing about not feeling wanted… I spend a fair bit of time feeling like Noah doesn’t want me around. If ever there was an irrational, unfounded feeling… this is it.

The problem lies in my ability to perceive. Part of the trouble is people are so spread out that everyone needs a lot of driving from me in order to facilitate relationships. That hurdle means I need to feel pulled like a magnet. If I don’t feel wanted like that… it gets harder and harder.

I called my friend on the phone every day for over a year. We had a hard communication issue. We are still friends. I love her so much. I don’t really call any more. I can’t. I’m not punishing her. I just… can’t. I start crying as soon as I pick up the phone because I don’t feel invited enough so I put it down without dialing. Which isn’t her fault and I don’t want her to do anything to try and change this. It just is. Instead we are emailing a bit more often and trying to arrange in person time. I can feel wanted enough for that. Once I get there her facial expression lets me know that she really wants me there. But a hurdle got put in front of the phone. And I don’t know how to get over it.

I do this with people and methods of communication. This is a constellation of problems I have over and over with a wide variety of people. This isn’t someone else’s fault. It just is.

Living with it is hard. Is my over sensitivity a good thing or a bad thing? It just is. Being this sensitive is part of what makes me me. It’s part of what makes me good at being empathetic in the ways I am. I wouldn’t give up that part of me for anything. It just means that I am hypersensitive to feeling like my presence is not making peoples lives better.

I want to make peoples lives better. I’m terribly afraid that mostly I make the world a worse place. I drain people of energy and resources and I’m really not worth it. I’m a needy motherfucker.

Someone I know was talking about how she has “no friends” but I know of her knowing a lot of people. Near as I can tell she meant, “I don’t have anyone I can call on a bad day for support”. Uhm, do you know what I do on my bad days? I talk to the internet. I don’t get a response the vast majority of the time. I don’t call anyone. I don’t have anyone in my life right now that I feel that comfortable with. I’ve had it at points for periods of time, but it comes and goes.

Mostly on bad days I isolate myself and cry and try to wait for it to end; I hope it ends fast.

Does that mean I have “no friends”? Well that seems mean to all of the people who give what they can.

My bad days are just too much. They are too bad. They are too frequent. It isn’t fair to burden people. My shrink tells me over and over that I just can’t expect to ever have that kind of support. Period.

So I stay home. And I cry. And I write. That’s how I get through bad days now.

Well, at least it is better than cutting myself as a reminder that everyone would be happier if I was dead. If I stopped being such a problem.

My feelings are all over the map. High and low at the same time. This is overwhelming and shitty.

Just run away. Just run away. Just run away.

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.

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.

Avoidance

This is feeling pathetic and lame. I’m feeling intensely suicidal. Because I don’t want to deal with resolving how to handle stuff with the home school group. That’s not cool. (I’m not threatening anyone or anything. I’m just having stupid shit in my brain.)

I feel trapped. I feel like nothing will ever be better for me. I feel like I should just go because of course it will come out that it happened and then everyone will tell me it is my fault.

I told exactly two people in the group. I asked them not to intervene. One of the first responses was, “You could promise the mom you would never go near the kid again.” (To be fair the other response was THAT MOTHER IS TOTALLY RIDICULOUS.) I told them only because I’m about to leave for five months and I’m afraid that if I leave with no one knowing I will return to everyone knowing that I did a bad thing.

I want to slit my wrists. Someone assaults me and I’m supposed to promise to never go near him again?

I want to never go back to the group. I want to never ever talk to anyone from that community again. I’m supposed to promise to not be a problem after someone almost kills me.

I’ve never been anything but a problem. I should just go. I am clearly, obviously, not as worth keeping.

I want to beat my head on the floor.

More than 50% of what is on the schedule for the rest of the month is babysitting. I anticipate a lot of time sitting in the garage and crying. I’m due.

We have three home school events on the calendar. We’ll see.

I asked the kids if they would mind staying home more for a while and they both cheered. Maybe they don’t need those kids as much as I think. They have friends who are not dependent on me being part of that group.

Maybe I shouldn’t make any decisions when I’m triggered like this. My shrink calls it “abreaction”. She says that I get so upset about things that are happening now because I was not allowed to react when things happened to me when I was a kid. The throat kick qualifies as an assault. If I was still a mandated reporter my happy ass would be on the phone with CPS. Because I’m not a mandated reporter I get to be one in a long line of people supporting that abusive people don’t get consequences for their behavior.

Whee.

I am honestly not sure if a CPS call is the “right thing” but it would cause drama in the home schooling community that would affect my kids for years. Do I care enough about that boy not being a future abuser to risk my kids getting targeted because their mom is a whistle blower?

That’s what I’m looking at.

Do I think that kid will assault other people in the future? Unequivocally yes. I’ve seen him hit a lot of people.

But am I willing to put my kids in a position where they will be punished because I spoke up about this pattern? How many people is it ok for this kid to hurt without consequences?

I don’t think I’m going to intervene. I’m going to say this is a fucked up world where people are allowed to do bad things every day without consequences. One more rich bastard will get away with being a bad person. Shocking. It’s not because of me. It’s because that is how the world works.

And the home school group likes them more than me. They don’t rock the boat. They aren’t a problem. Just me. I’m the one who should promise to not be a problem.

I want to die.

Just because in this moment in time I can’t see the road forward doesn’t mean there won’t be one. I’ll stop acting like I have friends there. It isn’t safe for that kind of trust. I’m not there because I will gain friends. I’m not good enough to be friends with.

I’m just a fucking driver for my kids.

It’s not ok for me to create drama. No one fucking cares. Just shut up you stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid bitch.

I’m actually glad I’m able to write this down as it happens this time. Usually it takes such a long time.

I’m really looking forward to running away from home. I can stop dealing with the fact that I don’t think people like me very much. I can stop dealing with the fact that I feel like it would be ok in my community if I died as long as no one had to be punished for it.

I don’t know how to stop this panic in my belly.

Deep breaths. That is step number one. Stop the shallow breathing, nit wit.

Groups care more about preserving the group than any individual member. It’s not personal. It is how all institutions work. Doesn’t matter if that behavior will damage individuals. It is how groups work. Group harmony over the defense of the individual. Completely standard human behavior. It isn’t personal. No one is acting that way out of specific hatred of me.

I don’t think there is a grudge. I don’t think there is spite.

I think there is apathy. And I’ve had so much of it that I want to die.

I’ll stay home instead. With the three people who would be completely devastated if I were to hurt myself or die. They are the only people whose opinion I should court. They are the only people who have an actual stake in my life.

Looking outside these walls is seeming pretty dangerous. But then I want to run away from home? I’m a conundrum.

It will be safe to ask for my needs on the trip. Every request will be fleeting and brief. If someone says no I will be on to the next town tomorrow and whatever.

Here, with people I was trying hard to be friends with… having my physical safety be …. uhm… as important in the discussion as it is…

I can’t cope with that. I feel disposable. Promise to stay away from him. I’ll stay far far far far far away.

I’ll stay so far away that you may never see me again. Is it avoidance if I’m doing what they want? They don’t like me that much anyway.

For a while I was trying to form a more core group of Fremont people. That didn’t pan out.

That’s just how life goes. The people who live near you are not always palatable. I’m not. So I guess that’s just how it goes. I believe that writing as much as I’m writing will mean that I will have consequences. I believe I will be punished for saying this. And maybe that belief is enough that it will become true. Maybe it would have happened no matter what I said and now my words can be used as the justification.

That’s what happened with the Godmamas. They pulled away and turned down all help and refused any gestures from my side and then said I never did anything for them. They said I talked about how they wanted to leave so fine they are leaving.

I expect to be fully shunned in the home school group. I had a problem. Thus am the problem.

Haven’t beat my head yet this morning. That’s an act of will.

Maybe I’m just a melodramatic bitch. Probably. Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up you stupid cunt. Don’t you know no one fucking cares.

I’m scared and I’m sad. There is probably going to be a lot of fall out from this. We won’t be invited to parties. We won’t be the ones at the big group events. They will be. Because I’m the problem. I feel like I should apologize to my kids for belonging to me.

I feel like any community that chooses someone who behaves like that… deserves what they get. And if I’m stupid enough to stand near someone whom I’ve seen kick other people viciously, maybe I deserve what I get too.

Of course I deserve to be kicked in the throat. How could it be any other way?

It was my fault. I rough housed. What else did I expect?

That phrase haunts me. It echoes through the years. You went on a date with a boy. What else did you expect? You drank alcohol (three shots over multiple hours!). What else did you expect?

I expect to be treated like shit. I expect to be treated like if I die it is no big loss any way.

That’s what I expect. And that means I’m “scary” and I should be punished for scaring people.

And so the world turns.

Only good things

– I forking love my mechanic. I walk into the door and it is, “Hey Kristine!” I don’t have to fill out paperwork when I drop things off he just says, “Yeah I’ll call you when I’m done.” He knows me well enough that he doesn’t need a reminder of my name or number. It’s easy to reference. (I don’t think he memorized my number or anything…) It feels nice. It feels like community. I told him he’s undercharging me and he laughed.

– Park day today was unusually awesome. My bonus kids were there! I got extra snuggles! (Thank you so much for letting me borrow them to the degree I do. You made good kids.) The mother of some of my former high school students was there! I’m always so excited to see her. I got to ask about the boys and hear that my name comes up once in a while. They remember me very fondly. I remember them equally as fondly so it’s all good. One of them was my co-counselor at Camp Everytown. That was intense bonding. The other was my student for English and then my TA because he wanted to stay with me for another year. I’m always so happy to see this mom. I told her she needs to show up more because I want to learn how to parent like her. She laughed and told me I’m doing well enough as it is.

– There were a LOT of new people at park day. I had pleasant conversations with a whole bunch of new-to-me people. It was quite gregarious.

– I had acupuncture done. I went from feeling pain in the 7-8 range to being down in the 3-4 range. This is wonderful and miraculous and I worship her. Know what a lucky bitch I am? I’m getting *more* acupuncture next week and probably again the week after. The naturopath fell through because they accept 0 insurance. I’m not real willing to pay that much for insurance and then pay for 100% of my health care out of pocket. This is my grumpy face. Wait! Only good things! So I’m getting more acupuncture. I’m going between two ladies because I know and love them both and I find they tend to be most miraculous in slightly non-overlapping ways.

– Acupuncturist told me my children are by far the easiest to work with she’s ever had in her office. I’ll smile a little about that one. Yay! We work on it.

– Shanna was her normal “I’m going to be the president some day” self and she introduced herself to 2/3 of the restaurant before we sat down for lunch. While we were eating one of the two people she didn’t meet came over to introduce himself. He uhm, tried to invite me to a HAI workshop. First he was shocked when I knew what it was then he kept trying to tell me more. He really wanted me to go to one. Ok, that was kind of creepy instead of good, but it was really funny.

– I have gotten good support from every person I have asked recently. That feels pretty fucking miraculous. I was careful to only need drips and drabs from different people… but I asked enough people for advice/feedback/support that I feel like I got what I needed. Thank you everyone. I am so grateful.

– This is a good/bad thing. The bad part is I haven’t been very nice to Noah recently. The good part is he points it out in a very non-threatening way. He is very good at inspiring me to want to treat him how he deserves. I am sorry I am not always the wife you deserve. I will keep trying.

– Another good/bad thing. A dear lady I don’t speak to nearly enough is entering the hospital for an extended stay. That’s bad. The good thing is, I managed to email her three days before she went in (just randomly) and she gave me the address of the facility. She will not be able to access email while she is in care. She will be there for quite some time. Life is complicated. I am so glad I thought of her in time to be able to send her letters over the next few months. She’s going to be in a position to need some good cheer.

– Despite not medicating today until dinnertime (driving day) I had very low symptoms. I feel like I got through today with very low activation. That’s really awesome.

That said I’m equally grateful to come home and medicate because I really need sleep and the brain hampsters started around dinner time. Which is kind of ironic. They started around when I swallowed the pill. I don’t feel it yet. I will soon though! YAY! It is like my body relaxed into the anxiety as soon as it knew that I wouldn’t have to feel it for long. Kind of funny.

– Today started out with Pam. It’s a good way to start the day.

– Even with a few brain hamsters… this is my zen place. I am where I want to be. I am doing what I want to be doing. The bumps are just bumps. We keep right on moving. Today is a very good day. I don’t feel giddy, it’s not hypomanic. I just feel… relaxed. Acupuncture before the park was smart.

– Full marks for brains today, Krissy!

I’m a talker.

I read a nice article on parenting and princesses and race and I had lots of thoughts.

The first “Barbie” that came into our house was black. The first cuddly dolls I bought were black and asian. Eventually white dolls filtered into the house too. I didn’t buy them.

My children are white, privileged, and upper middle class. They will see the world I present as the default world.

I have pictures of naked fat people hung in my house. I love the work that Adipositivity does and I’m very happy to have my children grow up seeing the beautiful art work. Naked people are not a big deal. My children have been to naked bathing places. Yes, even ones that have both genders present. They are pretty good about how to behave. They’ve seen a lot of kinds of bodies. They think that people are beautiful in lots of different shapes and colors.

I can’t imagine living in a world where you must be thin, blonde, blue eyed, and white to be beautiful. That repels and disgusts me. No. I will not live in that world. You can’t fucking make me.

And thanks to the wonders of home schooling… my kids are growing up in a bubble of my reality distortion field. My six year old comments on being too skinny after her latest growth spurt, “I should eat more.” At a time when 1 in 4 girls under the age of seven have been on a diet. My kid has never heard about calorie restriction for the purpose of losing weight.

Food is fuel. My kids would tell someone that they were loco for not eating. “Without fuel you can’t use your body or your brain. You can’t grow. Don’t get dumb, eat something.”

I feel like I am living a science experiment. With enough privilege… is it possible for someone to grow up with the benefits of modern life while largely skipping the cultural framework?

I’m going to fucking find out.

From the time my kids were curious about bodies and asking for the names of parts they have been able to recite, “Most boys have a penis but not all. Most girls have a vulva but not all. Some people don’t really want to be a boy nor a girl and you have to ask them for their word.”

Ok, that third bit wasn’t there in the first year or so. I didn’t think of it then. We grow with time. But the kids have known it for a while now.

No, I’m not good at asking everyone their preferred pronoun.

I believe it is my job as a parent to prepare my children for the world. That doesn’t mean I need to immerse them in the toxic waters before they even know how to swim. My kids will deal with the fascist beauty standards at some point. But until them I will tell them that my mom-apron is a badge of honor and you have to “level up” or be born lucky enough to be fat enough to get one.

When your kids love on your belly this much… it is sad to see it shrink. I’m not having fun with losing weight.

I believe it is my job to set the terms of reality for now. In our experience of life people have different skin because their ancestors emigrated at different speeds away from the equator. No more, no less. If you meet someone in a given place it doesn’t matter what they look like, assume they are from here and act like that is true. They will tell you if they were not born here. (Wherever here may be.)

Boys and girls are both interested in My Little Ponies. It is always ok to ask if a kid wants to play a pony game. Some boys love playing “poor boy in distress” and you can totally ask if you can be his Princess-to-the-Rescue.

You are allowed to want to be the boss. That doesn’t mean other people at the park will listen to you. Good bosses learn how to be pleasant while they get people to do what they want. Sometimes a bossy voice is the best way to get your way and sometimes it will block you. Think about how you interact with people.

Science, math, and engineering are the building blocks of life. We talk about them all the time. There will never be a thought that “girls can’t do that”. Pshaw. Watch us.

My children are growing up with a very dynamic woman who does things. I declaim intentions and I get shit done.

I feel very conflicted about the not earning money bit. I really do feel like I’m letting down the feminist cause. I speak very positively about the benefits of being a working woman. My kids very much admire the working moms we know. Sometimes my kids ask to move in with them. Then I say, “Know how much time dad is at work? She wouldn’t be with you for that many hours of the day. You’d go to daycare with other kids.”

“Oh. I want to stay with you.”

Ok then. We’ll keep doing what we are doing so long as it suits us all so well. Calli and Shanna chafe at how many hours I spend “away” from them now. I don’t get 20 hours a week off between Noah and baby-sitters. They are really not up for less parental time. It is interesting to watch.

It is hard for me to live with the perfect seriousness of their declarations. They have no sarcasm yet. “I love you. You are the very best mom for me. I’ve looked at the other options. I’m so happy I have you.” Heh. I’m not the platonic ideal of motherhood. I would not be a good mom for many many many many children. I’m so lucky and so happy that I ended up with kids who are such good personality matches. That doesn’t always happen. It’s a gift.

Yesterday Shanna and I had a neat exchange. I don’t remember the segue but she said, “Yeah and if you did x like me you would have been beaten. I’m glad you don’t beat me.”

I said, “Is it kind of weird that I talk about that? I will never harm you like that. I will poke you. I will be obnoxious in your direction. But I will never harm you like that. I talk about it because it lives inside of me and I’m trying to make sense of it. I’m trying to figure out why they did it and why I am not going to make the same choices. I need to figure out what I’m going to do instead. I’m not very graceful about the process. I’m trying.”

She looked up at me and beamed she said, “I know you will never hit me. But it does make me have big feelings when you talk about it.”

I told her, “I’m glad you know that. I’m really sorry I scare you.”

“I’m really sorry they hurt you.”

Then she leaned her head on me. I hugged her. Then we went on with our chores.

I feel guilty about not earning money, as a feminist thing. I’m one of those terrible, disgusting upper class bitches. I’m a sponge “living off” my husband. I’ve read lots of nasty nasty thoughts about people in my position. In a lot of spaces I move through it would be more respectable if I had weekend shifts as a sex worker. At least then I would have the potential for autonomy and I wouldn’t be a dependent.

I live in a very specific, very specifically chosen world.

But feminism is about everyone getting to make the right choices for them. Yeah, I’m a dependent. I went hunting for a partner who was interested in supporting me as a home schooling parent. That was what I advertised myself as looking for. Usually I would bring it up by the third date. The only times I didn’t was when I knew before asking it just wasn’t an option for Reasons. I didn’t provide false advertising. I didn’t say I wanted 50/50. I didn’t look for equality.

Yet I did. I also said that I wouldn’t be in a power unequal relationship during the time I raised my children. Some SM or some roleplay is different. I don’t want to be a slave during the time I have children. They will not grow up with a subservient woman as an example. Nope, nope, nope. That was a conscious choice.

Other people feel like the job they do is enough reason to stay alive. Or they don’t think there is a reason to die, so whatever–they are here. They don’t question it. I think I need Reasons to stay alive. I need specific, conscious things that are pulling me here. Because I don’t have a powerful urge to stay. I need to know things will be better/different in the future. I need to. I need to work towards that reality about as hard as I can.

I don’t know how to shape a healthy family in the toxic stews of mainstream American culture. I see people who mostly do it… but I don’t understand how. That’s not a slam on them.

I need to pull out. (And we all know how well the pull out method works, don’t we?) At least for a little while. At least for personality formation stages. I want my kids to learn from me for a while. I want to teach them what the world is like. I don’t want to risk an apathetic kindergarden teacher. That damage can’t be undone.

My children are learning that boundaries are appropriate, even talking up the power structure. When I’m in a bad mood my kids will say, “Mom I think your tone of voice is a lot harsher than you mean.” They feel totally comfortable saying, “You need to calm down before you talk to me.” But they also deal with the fact that sometimes people sound angry without taking it personally. They have lots of practice with, “Mom is in a bad mood. Tone of voice will suck for a bit. It’s not you. I’m really sorry.”

They know that when you do something wrong you apologize, and try to do better. You don’t say, “Well you deserved it.” “I only hit you because you broke a rule.” That doesn’t happen here.

In our house if someone says, “Stop it” you must stop. Period. Even if you are the larger, more powerful grown up. We are past the dental wars, thank goodness. I hope to never have to overpower them again.

I am so grateful I get to have this experience. And I know that I mostly get to have it because of Noah. I am totally aware. That’s a lot of why I try so hard to be nice to him. He has been very good to me.

Life is very complicated.

Sarah brought up a point. She said (roughly), “So I was concerned after the day where you said 8 hours out of the house was rough. How is five months going to go?”

I’ve thought of that. It’s complicated. Part of it is: on the road trip we won’t have the socializing obligations that take so much out of me. We’ll have brief periods of seeing people, but not really. I work hard with the home school community. I have horrible anxiety there sometimes. Not with the women I know well, I’m pretty comfortable with them. But there are some of them that… well… I’m terrified of saying the wrong thing and having them tell their kid(s) to shun my kid(s). It’s very hard for me emotionally to interact with them. And sometimes… it isn’t appropriate to opt-out of interacting.

So spending 3 hours in a group outing is more like 15 hours of being out while alone with the kids.

Spoons, glorious spoons, we have to count them.

But I also won’t have the support I usually have. I have no idea. This could blow up in my face. I’m open to that possibility! I’m hoping that by being open to the idea of failure it will be less likely to happen. Realistically, I think there is the non-zero chance I will get to Noah’s first visit with us and cry and say, “You have to help me drive home.” Then we’ll spend 5-6 days coming home. I’ll give him at least two weeks notice of this.

Failure is always an option… otherwise you can’t try. That said! If we can’t do this trip I have to stop talking about the around-the-world-trip. So there is a fair bit at stake here. Either we can do it or we can’t. What kind of bitch am I? The kind who claims she can do cool shit and then fails?

think not.

I’m not really a bitch. I’m not sure why that word felt appropriate there. Trying to convince myself I’m more macho than I am? Something.

Every time I look at the map I rethink sections of the trip. “Oh! I forgot about so and so! They live right over…”

I’m kind of working on Plan B.2 right now. Because the detour I thought of last night only involves detouring off the main inter-state freeway onto more local highways so we can see some friends on the way past their state. That’s not anything big enough to justify calling it Plan C.

Because I labeled a Plan A. And that got shot to hell by thoughts of international border crossings and a strong need to re-see the Grand Canyon. “Mom it’s kind of ridiculous that you think that me seeing it when you were pregnant with Calli is good enough.” Strong opinions. We have them.

You saw snow when you were 2! What do you want from me?!

Every year snow trips, apparently. Oh well.

Can’t have everything, kiddo. The sooner you figure that out the better. Your life is not exactly lacking in experiences. There will always be people who have done things you haven’t. Don’t get competitive about life experiences. You’ll sound like an asshole. Do what you want even though that will mean ruling out options. You have that luxury.

Rough day

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

AND IT IS ALWAYS WHITE MEN.

I find it pretty stressful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t shame.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Race is awkward

Race is a hard topic. All the time in any forum or under any subtopic. Recently on the internet some of the black women I follow (it’s totally kosher–I’m not stalking) have been talking about why black people are under represented in home schooling. I did not join in the conversation, I sat back and watched. I really didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Many of the new families joining our home school group are not white and I think that is a good thing.”

A new family who wasn’t white showed up today. Shanna commented on the little girls hair, which I found kind of weird because… her hair was almost exactly like mine. How in the world could you ‘other’ that little girl for having hair just like me?!

I feel awkward about it, but when people who aren’t white show up I make extra effort. I know that joining white-dominant groups can be intimidating. (Joining any group where you feel like you visually don’t fit in is hard.) I’m kind of a professional new kid. After 25 schools I recognize the signs of someone showing up going, “I’m scared but I’m trying oh please let this work out.”

One of the first things I stress when new people show up (regardless of race) is you don’t have to make any permanent decisions immediately and you are allowed to try lots of different things to see what works for your family. Everyone is different. Sometimes I can visibly see people relax. Giving people permission to make mistakes is a big deal. Even though I’m just some bitch at the park.

The funny thing is… anyone can nominate themselves as appropriate for giving other people permission for making mistakes. It’s not a position I earned. I just do it. I act like I have the right. Weirdly, lots of people react as if I do. (I’m sure there are people I annoy with my presumptuousness… but they don’t say much about it.)

A friend asked me recently if I even had any black friends. I felt… kind of startled. YES. OF COURSE I DO. Which, as soon as I responded with such intensity, made me think “Are you treating them like fucking collectible cards? Why did you react that way?” Race is so hard. It is important to me that I not decide that people in my life have to be “just like me”. I tend to my best to befriend anyone who stands near me for any lengthy period of time–you never know who you will need as an ally in the future and you never know who you can help without effort, worth getting to know people–and they are a range of ethnic backgrounds. To me, for me to not have people of many races represented in my life would be a reflection of a conscious choice to exclude them.

Like: what am I going to get to know only my white neighbors?! Within ten houses of me on both sides of my street I have families from three or four Asian countries, India, Persia (I didn’t ask for a narrowed down country designation but I assume Iran–I know I could be wrong though), black Americans, and white Americans. I talk to everyone. I think that not talking to everyone would make me a piece of shit.

I have one next door neighbor who is white who is chummy and likes to loan tools. I could have settled into a long-term relationship with him and called it good. No. I’m not that kind of girl. Instead I will befriend the nice Indian lady next door who is very lonely in this country. She’s having a really hard time transitioning to being a stay at home mom. Sounds awesome.

People are people. The shell of them isn’t what makes them interesting to me. The emotions, the personal experiences are what make people interesting. And I live in an incredibly diverse area. Not having black friends would need to be a choice.

And yet talking about it makes it seem like trying to gain a full set of collectible trading cards. That’s not what it is about. I want to hear diverse points of view so much. It is so important to me. I spend my life searching out “other” points of view. I do make friends with white people even though I generally don’t like them much. Well, at a distance. I like them fine once I get to know them.

Yesterday I read about an interesting study about learned aversions. They are very difficult to overcome. Nearly impossible in many cases. It is sometimes hard for me that basically all of my trauma came from white people and specifically white men. Dealing with my learned aversions is work. I can walk up to a group of hispanic men and sit down and feel totally comfortable. I don’t feel that way with white men. When I’m looking to sit down in cafeteria’s, I look for where non-whites are sitting unless I specifically already know someone. Then I’ll be sociable.

And yet, my kid still comments awkwardly on mixed race hair. I see we will need to have more conversations. To be fair, she sometimes makes stupid comments about the hair of white kids. I think we need to talk more about how you don’t comment on other peoples bodies at all, period. Not your business.

It’s not like my kids shy away from playing with kids who aren’t white. Shanna walks right up to the first kid she says and asks to play no matter what they look like. It helps that she is successful most of the time so she has positive associations with people of all varieties. She loves people and they love her right back. It is so wonderful to watch. Calli plays with people who ask her, but she is less outgoing. That’s ok too.

I feel like pretending I don’t see race is… kind of stupid. I’m aware of race. I don’t “ensure I have a set” of kinds of people. I take whoever walks by. I want to learn how to be appropriate with all kinds of people and visual markers exist. Yes, I’m sure I have some stereotypes.

I try very hard to ensure that my stereotypes are things like, “In general Asian immigrants are less forgiving of me swearing so I need to try harder to watch my mouth.” They flinch more. Asian Americans who grew up here don’t care. So I only seriously modify if I hear an accent. Then I try very hard to make my language more approachable. I don’t want them to retreat from my ambient anger and I’ve seen it happen.

I don’t deliberately swear at people. I just… kind of have a potty mouth. I’m not calling people names or anything.

I just talk like I grew up where I grew up sometimes. I’m articulate. (Not that I’m claiming I can pick up dialects as well as she can. That woman is amazing.)

I feel like part of my problem is I feel more awkward being this friendly when I have a lot of money than I did when I was poor. I have always been the sort to be bossy and interfering. That feels like much more of a problem now that I am upper middle class. I was always white and that was always an issue with regards to my point of view when it comes to bossing people who are not like me. But I recognize how many privileges I have now. I recognize how often I solve problems by throwing money at them and I know it is simply not an option for most people the way it is for me.

I feel pretty ashamed of myself for that and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel very bad that I have so many more resources than other people. I don’t want to be in the 95%-98% for wealth… but I don’t want to be poor either. That scares the shit out of me. I’ve been homeless and starving and I don’t want to ever do it again.

But I don’t think I’m “better” than people who haven’t figured out how to get out. I very clearly see how being white played into my story every step of the way helping me find allies who helped me survive.

I would not be alive without my friends. Many of whom are white. And I spend a lot of time shit talking white people. I’m an ungrateful bastard.

Even beyond being white, I had help. Some of it was weird and unconventional. I got out because I was perfectly ok using any fucking available resource. Most people have more scruples about being “users” than I do. My mama taught me that beggars can’t be choosers and you use the people in front of you.

I’ve lived in a lot of areas where non-white people abound. I frequent communities where non-white people exist.

Err, why wouldn’t I have black friends?

Because lots of people don’t and that is very weird to me. To me that is like saying, “How about if you banish some of the most chatty and fun people you know.” Uhm, no. No, no no. I find chatty people of every race and I love them dearly and I’m not giving them up. It was hard to track down that many talkative people. Taciturn people abound.

Apparently I’m having a love affair with the word abound today.

I talk to whoever walks by. I keep the people who like to talk. I don’t really care what they look like because once I get past the first few sentences, the shell of a person isn’t what makes them interesting. I like people for their stories. I learn so much from the generous people who talk to me about their lives. I learn how to be a better person. I learn about options in life I have never even considered. What are the parameters that shape your decisions? I can’t imagine. Tell me. Please.

People are the reason I’m alive. Because there are more stories to hear and create and experience. I feel awkward about race but I feel awkward about race towards my race while being it. I feel othered. I feel like when I’m talking to a white person I need to assume that their life has been nothing like mine.

What does having it “better” or having it “worse” even mean?

I don’t really know but near as I can tell other people have pretty firm opinions about their own life in relationship to the people around me and they are happy to tell me. Great. I’ll listen. I’ll only judge a little bit and I will keep 99% of my judgments to myself. I’ll only let the tactful ones slip out; I hope.

I’m much better than I used to be! It’s all the practice.

I feel like part of what I have learned is how to let other people be the ones who dictate the opinions about their lives. My judgments are about my ability to see a scope into their life and have nothing really to do with their actual life. I don’t know all the pieces of their real life because they can never tell them all. I’ve been writing for years and I’m still uncovering nooks and crannies about why I do shit. I’ve been working on this as a concentrated area of study for years and I’m still surprised regularly by new triggers and new layers of, “Now I have to unpack this shit. Ew.”

I project like crazy though and that’s a real problem. I think my ability to handle things is reflective of what other people can handle and I’m dead wrong. In positive and negative ways.

I don’t believe in a color blind world. I believe that people look different because they have different family histories and that makes them interesting and unique. I tell my kids, “A persons skin color just tells you that their ancestors stayed closer to the Equator than our ancestors did.” When we ask someone where they are from we say, “Where in California are you from?” No one needs to feel like an outsider. But you may not be from my city. People who are immigrants but who have moved around California consider this a wonderful opening for long and interesting stories.

Race is hard to talk about. But it shapes all of our lives and I think I won’t understand people unless I ask questions that are kind of sticky and I learn how to listen respectfully. I want to feel bound to people. I want to feel like I understand people. It has to come one at a time and it will come best with as many different kinds of people as I can.

Race is always going to be awkward. Good thing I’m comfortable with being awkward. It is a pretty permanent part of my affect.

 

Dropping off the van adventure

My friend said her son wanted to know why she was laughing and she couldn’t tell him because she was reading one of my adult-only posts. That made me think, “I really should try for more kid-friendly writing. I’ve been being lazy.”

Today I dropped the van off to have a tow hitch installed. Since I have a camp trailer put together on my driveway I should probably have some way of moving it around other than me picking it up and pulling it by hand. I am thrilled to once again be using the nice mechanic right on the other side of the railroad tracks. Kris is really nice and competent. We’ve been working with him for years and haven’t had a complaint. For me that is just about a miracle. I can find something to complain about with just about anyone.

As I was getting ready to leave the shop to walk home Kris offered to give me a ride home. I told him I was looking forward to the walk and I brought a brand new book to start. He asked how I could read while I walk. I laughed and told him that I’ve been doing it for decades. I told him I wouldn’t be able to read 50-200 books a year if I didn’t know how to multi-task reading and other tasks. He looked shocked and said he doesn’t read one book a year. He said, “That must be why you are a reader–because you are a writer.”

I said, “Actually you have it backwards. You can’t be a writer without being a reader. You have to have the fluency with words and it only comes from exposure to other peoples writing.” He looked kind of puzzled but he nodded and smiled and waved.

It was an adventure because I realized on the walk home that I left the keys in my pocket. Whoops. The walk should have been right around two miles. Instead it was 3.6 miles. That’s ok, the exercise is good for me. I read 80 pages of my book. (Book 4 in the Immortals Quad. Yay Daine!)

While I was walking the kind babysitter was at home doing one of the sewing projects the kids got for Christmas. This kit is hard enough that Calli really can’t do most of the work. She’s thrilled with the results but I’m kind of a whiny butt about doing the work. I was so happy to pawn it off on the babysitter today. Calli and the babysitter had fun. They both learned new skills. Before I left the house to drop off the van I had to teach them back stitches and running stitches. I had no idea I even know that much about sewing. I surprise myself all the darn time. Shanna regularly comments when I’m doing these projects with them, “You complain a lot but you seem to know what you’re doing.” Yeah. I’m like that.

Noah tells me that I like to have something to complain about. I wish he weren’t right.

On Friday I go to have the last board cut to fit the trailer. I should probably schedule an appointment with DMV to bring the trailer in so I can get a license plate. I am feeling overwhelmingly like a grown up.

We won’t be able to get a schedule match with home schoolers for a camping trip this spring, well not a group trip. One family says maybe… but they hate to camp and they don’t know if they can because of custody. Heh. I appreciate that you are willing to consider it at all given that you hate camping.

I’m torn between wanting to ask other (adult) friends and being scared of more rejection. Being a grown up was supposed to be easier than this! (Err, we are looking at the weekend of April 17/18/19 and I have a spare tent and an extra air mattress…)

What a day.

The first conversation of the day went well. We didn’t yell. We kept our voices quiet. We both talked about our big feelings and why we have been behaving the way we have. I feel like I heard her boundaries (there are several topics of conversation I just won’t bring up again and if she brings it up my role is, “ok”). One can never tell if one is heard or not. We cried. We hugged. The future will tell what comes of all that.

Then it turns out my therapist and I got off-schedule and she had a different client in for an appointment and I didn’t get to have the second difficult conversation of the day. Instead I felt upset. Which is… not an improvement over getting to be done with the second difficult conversation. I have since emailed her and discovered that we got off-kilter enough that we won’t be seeing one another at all in January. I… am strangely kind of happy about that. No problem.

Then I went to the park. Today was A Day. I had Big Feelings. I don’t think I shit all over anyone. But man I had Big Feelings.

A few days ago I messaged the group and asked if we could start negotiations for the spring group camping trip. Some people in the group read that as I was proposing that we start talking about the whole group trip. Yay! The organizer of the group read it as, “Krissy is going to go do her thing with a few people.”

I’m having feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings. They will be going camping without me. The four weekends in April/May that would work for me don’t work for anyone else. That isn’t anyones “fault” and I’m not angry with anyone but I’m having feelings. I feel disappointed. I feel like I should stop trying to host things through this home school group because sometimes they go well and frequently I end up feeling like I’m trying to be part of a group but I’m not really and would I just stop interrupting what THEY want to do already?! (Scheduling is fucking hard with this big of a group. Everyone has conflicting schedules. I don’t think that everyone needs to be available at my beck and call. I feel grumpy that five months of notice isn’t enough to get people to even be willing to talk to me. I feel grumpy that when I say “group camping trip” that is read as “Krissy doing her thing”.)

Jokes were made multiple times today such that I spent a lot of time literally bite my tongue hard enough to draw blood to keep from responding nastily because I didn’t think they were funny. I finally left the park when one mom asked me where I had been and I said, “In the bathroom” and she responded, “Well we didn’t know where you were. Next time check in.”

I almost lost my shit.

I “understand” that she was “playing”.

I have huge triggers around bathroom control. When I was a high school teacher I had a sheet of paper on a table by the door. If you have to go to the bathroom, sign yourself out and just go. Legally I have to be able to say I knew where you were the whole time but I don’t want to talk about it–just go. I don’t want someone asking me about my bathroom habits. I have huge issues going back decades to bathroom control issues. I am completely not fucking ok with someone telling me that I should check in before going to the bathroom. I almost went up like a fucking Roman candle.

My cheeks hurt really bad from biting myself. My tongue hurts really badly. Eating will be festive for days.

In better-news I spent a while talking to a mom who has a background kind of like mine. Incest/many rapes. One of the biggest differences between us is she has been much less stable during adulthood. Many active suicide attempts after having many children. So a whole order of magnitude more complicated than my issues, in my opinion. I’m an asshole and I’m convinced I don’t matter and I cry a lot and I don’t have a lot of will to live… but I don’t have a lot of active will to go die. That’s impetus I lack. I am glad that I can be someone to listen to her when other people can’t handle it. I am glad that she can hear my stories and not flinch. I told her that she and I should make a date with no kids around to really get into details and specifics. I spend a lot of time hushing her at the park because I don’t let kids hear details at all. We go off and sit a ways away from people before we talk about the gory bits.

I’m having huge feelings. I don’t think they are anyone’s fault. Even though there were a bunch of people I wanted to rage at today… I don’t feel like I am actually mad at them.

I genuinely don’t feel like I am mad AT someone. I just have a lot of anger in my body.

It really sucks feeling this angry. I don’t think it is anyones fault. I am genuinely convinced that no one today did anything genuinely “bad” or even “jerk-like”. I’m just…

Oh, I started bleeding today. That was early. But a friend pointed me at a new period tracker app that tracks mood. I’m going to start tracking things like rage, feeling suicidal, etc. I am not tracking food anymore (even though I probably should) and I’m a tracker.

I need to get a handle on my mood swings. If I can better predict them maybe I can figure out a better way of managing them. I hope. Whether anyone else has hope that I can change… I see nothing but a whole lot of changing behind me. I don’t see that trend stopping.

Just another morning.

This morning in Ferguson no one gives a shit about my intestinal issues. So I sit here and wonder how important, really, are my problems? Well, they are important to me.

But the world is so big. And so much is going wrong that is much bigger than me. I sit here in my highly privileged life. I hide in my nice safe home. I hide in my now-safe life from the ills of the world. Not my dog I say.

I think I will get off my ass and take the kids to the park today. Park day is just under thirteen miles away. That’s not exactly in town but that’s throwing me a bone considering many of the parks are more than twenty five miles away. I’ll consider it a gift. I don’t need to prepare much for dinner tonight now; we’ll scrounge leftovers and make room in the fridge for Thanksgiving foods.

I am arranging interviews with potential baby-sitters. Maybe I’ll find someone who will follow through. If I do then Noah and I will enjoy more date time. We will also get a night to work without tag-teaming the kids. Instead of tag team parenting we’ll abandon them at the same time like normal parents.

If this works out (ha ha ha–how often do things work out?) I’ll have 16-20 hours of kid care a week over four days. I balk at paying for it, but I suspect it will be healthy for all concerned.

Right this minute Calli has the iPad, Shanna is on Noah’s computer (playing Minecraft) and I am typing. I find this… weird. Noah is, of course, on his other computer.

I don’t have the spoons right now. I need a way to create more spoons for me. I feel selfish and guilty for paying for child care when I don’t earn money but I need help. The downside of Noah earning buckets of money is he works a lot of hours. I don’t complain (much. anymore.) but it is hard sometimes. The kids are very extroverted. Being in school for those hours wouldn’t be fun for them. Being with a baby sitter who plays with them is rad. I’m trying to find a solution that works for all of us.

I’m getting pickier about baby sitters. No screen time with baby sitters. Do projects. Make shit. All those things I’m lukewarm about. I am best at teaching the underpinning layers of work associated with life and I’m good at some artistic endeavors but my range is limited. Baby sitters have different skills. Perfect.

Oh! Shanna got most of the way through making a pillow yesterday. She stitched together a whole bunch of scraps of fabric. We haven’t stuffed it yet because I think she should add another layer of seems a little closer together, but Shanna made a pillow. Completely of her own initiation and design. It’s pretty rad.

I like that my kids think, “I want to make ___” and then they do it. They don’t create elaborate fantasies about how they would do it if they did it… they do it. Bam.

I tell my kids not to expect everyone in the world to be as interested in them as I am, but if you ever feel like you need to have someone tell you that you are wonderful you know the way home.

I can pick you apart into little pieces and make you squirm when I talk about the shitty things you do. I can also tell you in exquisite detail why you make the world a better place and why I’m proud of you and why I love you so very much that it is worth living through any amount of pain just to get to look at you for another day.

You are going to piss me off because that’s how it goes. People annoy me. It isn’t personal. What is personal is that I would do anything for you and your sister. You are special.

I am listening to Shanna complain about the terrible winter. As it is a bright sunny day in California. Apparently there has been a lot of snow and ice in the game. I am going to find it funny living with so many gamers. It is going to be a serious act of will to stop reacting to all game references with hostility.

My earliest memories of video games were of my brothers hitting me when I asked for turns. They called me names and told me that I was too stupid to play. I’ve managed to learn to be ok with some games but not many. Most cause a visceral repulsion.

It is weird living with so many gamers in a gamer culture. The plain truth is I kind of hate gamers in that kind of anonymous “I hate group even though I can say I don’t hate a, or b, or c who are members of that group.” My uncle was a terrible racist. But he got along fine with the individual members of other races he knew. Funny man. I’m pretty sure I’ve moved my intolerance onto another group but kept the venom and idiocy.

Well this wandered. I do that.

Sometimes I sort of feel like that awful Meatloaf song. I would do anything for love, but I won’t be nice.

Good grief. I should get up. If only I knew where I left my willpower. But I have to get ready for the park. We should leave in two hours. Blergh and blick.

Today is a loss.

My doctors appointment didn’t happen and otherwise I’ve mostly been reading. When I stop reading I get cranky and pissy and my tone of voice sucks and I sound like a bitch. I feel guilty that when I apologize for my tone (which I’m doing every 2.4 minutes) Shanna says, “Mom you are only grumpy because your body doesn’t feel good. Soon you will get through the elimination diet and you will feel better. It’s ok.”

I don’t feel deserving of their patience or love. Never the less, Shanna has oceans of love and patience to give.

I feel confused and out of sorts and anxious. I feel like I don’t know what to do or when to do it.

For this week my plans are getting cancelled. I will choose to not get upset because I’m all out of fucks to give. We are supposed to show up to help decorate the Christmas tree at Christmas in the park Wednesday after my dentist appointment. I suspect that I will bail on the park tomorrow and I may bail on the Friday evening event (seeing Christmas in the park get all lit up). If I stay home for those two events then I have way more down time this week. I feel like I’ve been mostly having down time lately. Some day I will be less sick.

In the mean time, I’m prepared to say that I’m not allergic to milk nor wheat. I’ve eaten some of both over the past week. A fair bit. And chocolate. I had a lot of milk and chocolate yesterday. I’ve pooped normally for 4 out of the previous 5 days. I choose to believe that milk and wheat are cleared now. THANK GOD.

This is good and bad. I’ve been cutting wheat, dairy, fatty meats, corn, garlic/onion, sometimes nightshades (mostly not), eggs, and anything else gluten contaminated.

At this point I’ve tested everything but corn. I don’t suspect an allergy to corn. I’ve had normal poop after wheat, dairy, fatty meat, eggs, garlic/onion, and nightshades.

So where in the fuck does this leave me? I’m clearing up the diarrhea and I’m slowly adding things back in and…. I still don’t know if it is all in my head. It is really looking like I don’t have an allergy I have too much anxiety. Which is something I was terrified of finding out from the beginning. Because if all of my diarrhea is caused by anxiety and not food… that’s quite a circle to get into. Then the diarrhea is all my fault because I have anxiety. I’m sure someone more rational could find a way out of that cycle that doesn’t sound like, “Then I guess I should die” but I’m not that person.

I’m really god damn struggling with suicidal ideation. I’m struggling with how much I’m bouncing up and down emotionally. It is hard to hurt this much. It doesn’t help that I feel like a whiny baby. My life isn’t hard. It really isn’t. I don’t have the right to complain so much.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Fucking whine. Whine. WHINE!

I can’t even go for a run because my MOTHERFUCKING ANKLE HURTS. (Really I shouldn’t run until my weight stabilizes. One of my friends [one of the few who frequently sees me naked] commented that my weight loss is becoming really apparent. Not with the additional exercise.)

I haven’t cut myself. I haven’t had alcohol. I did medicate more severely than I have in a while. Whoa. Right now it feels like self-care.

I don’t know why I’m pooping normally right now and I don’t usually. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I find this all very frustrating. I feel terrible. BUT I CAN POOP!

Pressure

I’m going to try and explain this better. We’ll see how spectacularly I fail.

I appreciate that people call/text to check on me. I do genuinely appreciate it. I appreciate that people notice me enough to care about my presence. That doesn’t change the fact that it can feel like pressure. Pressure is not always a bad thing. I have pretty severe mental illness. I have to work very consciously on not staying home and hiding from life. Knowing that people like me enough to reach out to me when I am bailing on social events is a positive thing.

That doesn’t change the fact that self-care is very hard for me. I tend to think that just about anyone else’s needs are more important than mine. If people want to see me it is incredibly rare for me to say no.need to have people need me. I need to have people like me. That is part of being part of a community and I want that so badly.

But when four people message me in an hour saying, “Why aren’t you coming?” it can feel like pressure. Pressure isn’t always bad. Noticing that it feels like pressure is important for me in particular.

Subtle small pressures build on me and I end up screaming and freaking out. I have to manage my emotional/physical load and that’s complicated.

For example, my ladies and I are negotiating for a trip (sounds like Hawaii is the current front runner on places to go) and we were giggling about the possibility of a bikini clad babes on the beach picture. I said I might be willing to buy a bikini and wear it for the picture and then I was putting my Islamic bathing suit back on. My friend… more or less tactfully expressed confusion as to why I feel the need to wear a modest suit.

I explained that it really isn’t about the modesty. I don’t like sun block. Putting sun block on my skin causes me emotional problems. I can feel it the whole time and I feel angry and frustrated. If irritation is on a scale of 1-10 and I start out the day feeling a 2 if I put sun block on I will instantly be at an 8. I will feel violent and angry and hostile. Nail polish makes me feel the same way. Having my pores feel clogged is just….. I’m not ok. I have sensory issues and I just cannot cope with having things on my skin. So I dress like a nice Islamic lady when I’m going to the pool.

She could understand that perspective. But it has to be explained or it really isn’t obvious why I care so much about the modest swimsuit thing. I’m not actually what you might call “modest”. If I’m going to places with hot springs I’m cranky if I must wear a bathing suit. I prefer being in water nekkid. But I don’t stay in hot springs that long and when I get out I get fully dressed so I don’t have to put sun block on. I’m kind of weird.

I’m perfectly happy to wear a skimpy bathing suit in front of people. I’m not ashamed. I like my body. (I actually do. My body has been very good to me.) But I have sensitivity issues and I’m trying my best to learn to cope with them in a way that makes me more socially appropriate.

It is a little odd socially that I wear modest swimsuits. People ask me questions about it a lot. It is clearly “weird”. (I don’t cover my hair so I am obviously not doing it for religious reasons so… why?) If I wanted to “fit in” better I should wear a more “normal” swim suit. Then people wouldn’t look at me funny and ask me “why do you want to do that?” But I am capable of being a nice person if I just accommodate my weird sensory issues. So you have to pick some kinds of weird in order to fit in with other metrics.

I need to be part of a community. I feel deeply grateful that the home schoolers have so cheerfully embraced me. Other communities have tried and I was more resistant. The pressure I feel from the home schoolers feels positive and life affirming. They want me to be part of their lives. They want my kids to be friends with their kids. They want me to not feel invisible. They want me to know that I am a noticeable part of their life–my absence is notable. That’s good. I’m not writing about it because I want to make people feel bad.

But I need to figure out how to balance the fact that sometimes I need to stay home with the fact that people like me and want to see me. That doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything wrong. It means I’m still working on my social skills and boundaries.

I consciously put similar pressure on people in my life. Especially those who suffer from mental illness. I try to make sure I reach out every so often and remind them that they still matter to me. I think it is important. I think it is positive. I don’t think people should withdraw such pressure. I think that loving people involves some pressure sometimes. Having relationships involves feeling the weight of the presence of the people in your life. That’s not bad.

But I am not particularly tactful in my process of learning to be. Having relationships is complicated and hard. Skills learned with a particular person may or may not be transferable to the next person. That is hard. You have to just keep trying things.

Limits

Or maybe we aren’t going to the pumpkin patch. My darling youngest daughter thought that it was a good idea to start off the day refusing to do any chores and yelling at me. Well, that’s fine. I’ll do the work. But then I’m not taking you to play with your friends.

I have trouble with this because I feel like I am letting down the other home schoolers who would like to see us. The thing is: I’m really tired of the back talk. I have a limited number of ways I can respond. The thing that feels least punitive is I just don’t go through extra labor for people who are refusing to do their share. I didn’t scream, threaten, or yell. I just said (very calmly for me) “If you refuse to do your work that is fine. I will do it. But then I will not be interested in taking you out to play with your friends for most of the day.” She screeched in response. Ok. That’s fine. You can stay home today.

If I felt more confident about doing this more often I think it would be a solid technique that dealt with a fair bit of *my* issues. But I frequently feel like it isn’t ok to flake on the people who saw our name on the RSVP list. So I go and feel bitter and angry and hateful. Today I’m not really in the mood to suck it up so that other people can have what they want regardless of how I feel.

We will leave the house because we have to go grocery shopping. But I don’t need to entertain people who are screaming at me. Nope, nope, nope.

In other news: Shanna spent the morning copying Eloise books because she wants the reading/writing practice. She asked me what she would be doing in school to learn more about writing. I said “practice”. As much time as you can spend looking at written words is best. Lots of time. Practice practice practice. If it turns out you aren’t picking it up in a year or so we will do an evaluation for dyslexia just because boy she reverses a lot of letters. But it is totally normal at this age so I’m not panicking yet. (Dyslexia is very common in my family.)

No matter what kind of facilitation she needs to help her make progress, I believe I am capable of giving it. That’s why I trained all those years. It’s just up to her to want it. I can’t make you want something.

And I can’t make you do your chores. But I can say, “If I do more than my share I will be tired and I will want to rest.”

This is what I mean. People are already sending me text messages to let me know they are upset we aren’t coming today. They mean well. They want me to feel loved.

I … I feel pressured. I feel like my exhaustion doesn’t matter. I feel like I don’t matter.