Category Archives: marathon

So tired.

I am so tired there aren’t many parts of my body that aren’t in overwhelming pain. A 5 is probably the average level of pain for my body parts with some pieces spiking to 8 and 9. I didn’t really follow the elimination diet in Hawaii–I had too little control over cooking. As a result most of the time I had the most heinous gas pain I think I have ever experienced. Double over in pain and can’t breathe bad pain.

I am much more motivated to figure out the food stuff. I’m going to get strict on food again and work through this puzzle.

I am not going to do the full marathon in March. I feel like a steaming pile of dog shit. I can’t eat adequate calories for the amount of physical activity I’m doing let alone marathon training. I’m hurting my body with pushing myself to continue to exercise long after every part of me hurts.

The surfing was rad, but I was in so much pain when I arrived that by the time I left I felt nearly incoherent. And today is worse. The abdominal muscles you use to push yourself up over and over on a surf board hurt so bad that my kids gently touching my chest causes me to shriek with pain.

I tried not to whine too much, I think I did ok. I did do some whining about being in pain, but I didn’t make it the focus of the whole trip. I still participated. I did have fun. I don’t think I brought everyone down.

It was a nice trip. I’m glad I went. I had fun talking with grown ups without having to filter. I was blurty and I over-shared a lot of things, but I rarely have a safe environment to do that any more. Luckily these are people who have been through the crucible already and they aren’t too freaked out by my stories. *phew*

I’m glad I went. I really want to bring my kids there.

Hindi study

Last year we somehow stumbled across an advertisement for Hindi lessons at the local temple. (It is on the end of our block.) All four of us went to the first round of classes and it was pretty fun. This year Shanna said she didn’t want to sit still every week and only Calli asked to enroll.

I find the study of Hindi to be stimulating in a way that few things have been. Having to memorize different letters and connect them to sounds that don’t exist in my language feels an order of magnitude different from studying languages with a similar alphabet (like Spanish). I’m not saying harder–I’m not sure if it is harder. But it feels different.

I studied Spanish in school–both high school and college. I am nothing near fluent. But the study of Hindi is teaching me that I have a significant vocabulary–my problem is verb conjugation. When the teacher asks us to create a sentence in Hindi to answer a question I always have a complete sentence in Spanish pop into my head and I have to consciously not say it. Wrong language. But having these little epiphanies over and over that I could probably actually go to South America and communicate fine after a month is pretty huge for me. I have lots of impostor syndrome. I think I am stupid and incapable of learning many things. Then I find out that I ALREADY KNOW THINGS!!!

It is hard to explain how exciting this feels. On one hand, people regularly tell me I am intimidating because I am smart/educated. On the other hand, I feel like I’m not talented nor smart nor educated because I know people who have gone way deeper into almost any topic than I have. I’m good at viewing things in the way that makes me look bad.

Hindi is causing me to feel pride in my ability to learn in a way that few things have. For one thing: I’m turning around and teaching Shanna once we get home. She is making progress as fast or faster than Calli and Calli is actually attending the class. It is like ASL only better. ASL was harder for me to feel pride in because Shanna picked it up at two or three times the rate I did and I always felt stupid and like I am too slow to be able to say what is happening in my mind. I just can’t make my hands go fast enough.

Hindi isn’t like this. I shouldn’t feel so much pride that I am picking up concepts faster than many of the 6-7-8 year old kids in the class.. but they are growing up in houses where this language is a daily occurrence. I do feel pride that I am managing to study on my own well enough that I am picking things up faster than people who are learning more about their native language. (They all speak English in most of their lives and Hindi almost exclusively at home based on what they say in class.)

I’m not competing with the kids. That’s not the point. But I have fairly clear proof that I am learning and I am not stupid. I’m progressing quickly. Having it be so crystal clear that I am learning is… it feels really good. I feel proud of myself.

Today we had kind of a weird class. Some of the teachers were ill so they combined levels 1, 2, 3, and 4. This meant that the class was too slow for half the people and way too fast for the other half. Ahhh group teaching. The teacher who teaching level 4 was disappointed in me that I couldn’t come up with a Hindi sentence describing what I will do on Halloween. Uhm, the only verb I know is “is”. I know colors. I can count. I’m on my way to knowing the alphabet. No… I don’t yet know how to say, “On October 31st we will dress up and go trick or treating.” Nope, don’t have that vocabulary yet. But I may work on it this week and write down the phonetic sentence and say it next week. Because she’d be thrilled I looked it up.

I find it strange that I feel so good about the positive affirmations from the teachers. Why do I care? They are strangers and it’s not like this is going on my permanent record. But I care.

Hindi requires a similar kind of discipline as training for the marathon. I have to show up consistently and do the study. Every single day. I have to train. I have to live my life as if attaining mastery of the language is a goal. Just like training for the marathon. I have to not skip runs because I feel whiny. I have to do it anyway or my body will not be ready on the crucial day. If I don’t study Hindi I won’t ever be able to go to India and study farming with people who have questionable English. I want it so bad I feel an ache in my bones.

I want to be able to talk to people in other countries about farming and incest. I’m kind of weird. I want to go meet people when I learn farming and build relationships and come back years later after they know me and trust me and then get their communities to talk to me about incest. I have a plan.

I feel grateful that some days I wake up and it doesn’t feel like I’m trapped in limbo. I’m on a journey. I’m not waiting for the future to happen to me. I’m living my future. I am doing what I always wanted to do. I am home schooling my children in security and love. I am learning languages so I can go learn from people who have entirely different life experiences than me. I am getting to enjoy the companionship and growth of my children such that I am truly getting to see a happy, healthy childhood up close. I am ridiculously blessed.

When I have conflicts with my kids and I feel very anxious about them it is important to keep in mind that I get along with them better than I’ve ever gotten along with anyone. That doesn’t mean it is always smooth sailing. I am pretty sure I will never have a relationship that is all smooth sailing. That doesn’t mean I should opt-out of relationships and it doesn’t mean I should try hard to keep people away from me.

Life is complicated. I’m grateful that this portion of my journey involves getting to engage in study that improves my sense of self esteem while also significantly furthering my life goals. Often those two aspects do not move in tandem. I am lucky.

Ok, now that I’ve done my Hindi for the day time to run. It’s a wonderfully easy Saturday. This is my shortest Saturday run until April. I should find joy in that. From here on out it gets harder.

Luckily, I can do it. I already have so I have no fear. The half marathon Thanksgiving weekend (my race is on Saturday) will be easy. My informalish goal is to manage a 11:50 or better pace. I was super close last time until mile 11 when my ankles seized. More stretching this training schedule. I’m also doing more weight lifting. Being stronger seems mandatory for more speed at this stage. And 26.2 miles just doesn’t sound that far any more. March will be here soon and I’ll run that far and be fine. It blows my mind.

I am more than I ever thought I could be.

So much happens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drifting

This medication is kind of weird. The strains vary a great deal. One experience is not like the next. Dosage is kind of complicated.

All of my life I have had periods where I feel kind of dreamy and disconnected. I imagine it like floating on top of a still pool. I can kind of hear what is going on around me, but I’m not part of it and it can’t touch me. Maybe I’m swimming in a pool encased in glass? Other people can see me. I can see them going on about their daily labors.

I drift.

It only comes on during moments of repose. I suppose this is dissociation. Disorientation. I feel dizzy.

When I’m having one of those days before I ever touch the medication I know I’m in for a ride.

It’s been kind of weird over the last few years to go from getting the traditional sit-on-your-ass-couchlocked-stoned to being very functional while high. At this point it doesn’t slow me down. But I had to learn how to focus intensely through the pot.

I like it because it derails all of the “side conversations” my brain normally comes up with. My inside voice isn’t very nice to me.

With pot I can forget about the nastiness or stop listening. Something like that. It doesn’t hurt in the same way. I feel less paralyzed in some ways, yet I feel like my legs are jello. Moving is hard.

My kids are off playing by themselves. I told my shrink that I get a good 2-3 hours every morning where they go play hard after breakfast and they don’t talk to me much. Her jaw dropped and she said, “How did you manage that?!” “Consistency.”

I’m starting to feel guilty about how much time I am building into their lives away from me. I feel this nagging guilt that I should be more present. While they are happily playing with Lego’s I should be in there playing with them or I am not properly appreciating the time I have with them.

Oh fuck that noise. People have to learn how to do shit on their own without turning and saying, “Here do this for me.” When I’m there, that’s how it goes.

After the fifteenth time of saying, “No I don’t want to play for you I want to build my own” I am really whiny and annoying and I’m ready to huff out of the room. Better to just let them play.

Normally this is when I bustle around and do my chores. Today… I sit. I slept in. I didn’t medicate or have my silent time before everyone got up.

Getting up in the morning and setting up my little “space” and sitting down for a smoke and some time to write makes me feel centered in a way little else can. Smoking alone isn’t nearly as good. Writing alone isn’t nearly as good.

I know that folks like Steven King exhort me to stop thinking I need the drugs in order to write well. I don’t think I need the drugs to write well. I think I need the drugs in order to have patience, not scream, and not cry throughout the day. But the ease it gives writing is pretty convenient too.

Most people, as part of the normal maturation process, learn how to have a pause in between experiencing things and reacting. I’m kind of broken there. I don’t have the “pause to process”. I have instant extreme reactions. Medication helps with that.

It’s kind of weird yelling so much less. When I do raise my voice I feel horribly self conscious. I feel like I have broken a rule. It is not as normal for me to be screaming across a building at someone. So I feel like I’m bad for doing it in other spaces.

I used to yell all the time. I’m loud. I have been for a long time. That was the ricochet after mumbling my way through childhood. Am I learning voice modulation or am I just feeling more shame about new topics?

Oh, when I say they will “play by themselves” I mean that I will have to go in and moderate several squabbles, help them find something, help them get dressed, sometimes wipe a butt, and say in an irritated voice “If you are hungry you can finish eating the breakfast that is still sitting on your plate.”

So when I say I get 2-3 hours of them being busy… Sigh. That’s what this life means. That’s what I mostly want. I feel bad that I force them into so much independence but I would lose my mind if I tried to be “more present”. I would have to just listlessly go through the day not moving much or thinking. I can’t play their games with them at the speed they go while also cleaning up after them, preparing for them, and being dispatched to the kitchen every 5-10 minutes for more snacks.

Demanding doesn’t begin to explain what this is. Dictators. I’m the fucking lackey. (Actually… no… that’s different. I’m just the lackey.)

For the last few days I haven’t been sure if I was getting sick or just running too hot.

It honestly makes sense that I’m canceling as many things as I am this week. All of my time with Jenny was added after the schedule was made. Much of my additional babysitting was added after the schedule was made. So I made a schedule I could keep for the month, then I added in 60-70 hours of socializing/baby-sitting/driving. No wonder I’m so tired.

It was worth it. I don’t feel bad about missing the county fair this year. I don’t feel bad about missing a park day. I don’t feel bad about skipping Aqua Adventure for a week if my kids outright refuse to do their chores.

If I have to do three peoples worth of work, I am not going to have the energy to go drag you around a water park, sorry. My body has limits.

So instead of leaving the house at 10 am for the fair then going to Aqua for a few hours after that then going to San Francisco for a concert… I’m just doing the concert. Oh man I’m so glad I am smart. I may even take a nap.

I’ll finish painting the door I currently have on saw horses. The kids and I are going to do another toy cull. Their grandmother has sent them six or seven large boxes and we’ve had a birthday since our last cull. It is getting really hard to clean again. Toooooooooo much stuff.

If I can’t get the house clean on Monday because it is more than a day of work to get the house clean… that’s not ok. I start working at 7:30 in the morning. If I can’t get it done by 5 pm, we have too much shit. Some of it has to go. And y’all have to fucking help me because this is fucking ridiculous. I didn’t make the fucking mess.

We clean once a week to vacuum and sweep/mop because otherwise we get swarms of ants. I’m not hysterical. I’m not fussy. I’m not particular about everything being fancy. But we do have to clean. It isn’t an optional thing.

Every house, every family has different circumstances. Not everyone has ant problems. Some people have the luxury of being more relaxed. I’m sorry your dad bought a house directly on top of the entrance to ant heaven and all of them traipse through our property on their way out into the wide world. We get so many fucking ants.

I’m not nearly as phobic any more. I suppose exposure therapy is uhm useful. I no longer scream and claw and fight to get away from them. Wheeee. Now I sigh and clean them up.

Getting older is weird. There are so many things I thought I “couldn’t” do when I was younger. Now… I recognize my limits. But they are much broader than I ever imagined as a kid. I do have limits. I have finite access to money. I have finite strength. I have finite time.

But with proper training, my abilities are many and varied. All I have to do is find a teacher and devote the time to practice. I could do so many things. I’m not afraid of programming or rock climbing or advanced math or learning languages or performing physical feats. I’ve already completed one marathon. A friend is talking pretty hard about getting good enough for Big Sur. 26.2 miles of frightening hills. You HAVE to finish in less than six hours. That’s serious training. (J- I think we should try to get to the point where we can do a half marathon in two hours before we switch to training for the marathon. We will need some speed to go with our endurance for the hills. And oh man we are going to need to find horrible hills for training.)

You know what? I could do that. It would take training. Cross training. Conscious development of my body. But I could do that. Sure.

Give me a calendar, a list of tasks, and I’ll give you a schedule to get it done. Sure.

It is weird having this space in my mind where I know I can do things right next to this place of feeling like I can’t reach out and touch reality.

It doesn’t matter how I feel. It matters how I can make other people feel. That’s what they remember. They remember what I accomplish and my ability to encourage them to feel good about themselves.

I don’t blow your skirt up over nothing. I will tell you the bad right along with the good. Everyone has both.

I was asked yesterday why staying with Noah is worth it if he not the type of partner who would be “defensive” of me if someone got aggressive or hostile in conversation.

I think that if someone tried to hit me Noah would attempt to intervene. I think if Noah say Joe Blow preparing to hit Josephine Blow he would probably intervene.

But the verbal shit? Naw. He comes from a world where that sort of … “conversation” is normal. That’s just how they talk. No, he doesn’t defend me from assholes. I’ve made my peace with that. If I say, “So and so is not welcome in my home ever again.” He doesn’t balk or argue or try to persuade me. I get to have boundaries.

If your partner won’t let you have those kinds of boundaries… well… yeah. I need to feel safe in my home. That includes being able to decide who is and isn’t welcome. It’s a deal breaker.

I don’t have to know everyone. If you want to maintain relationships with people I don’t like, whatever. Do it on your time and away from me.

I have friendships that aren’t during shared time.

I’m still (barely) active in the bdsm community. I go to be social. Mostly I sit around and talk to old play partners and we remember how fun things were. We get cheesy grins. Sometimes there is some fond hugging. There are always the reminders “If you change your mind on this monogamy bullshit… let me know.”

I know. And I love you.

For all that I’m a fucking asshole when I talk about the idea of “chosen family” I have a friends circle that blows my mind. I have so many embedded layers of people who love me. When I think about it at all, I feel really happy.

I haven’t driven everyone away. Not everyone can handle the intensity frequently. And I can’t handle the intensity of everyone frequently. Ow tired.

But they come when I need them or ask them. And I come when they need me or ask me. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Sometimes I think it is kind of a miracle that I have managed to find so many wonderful people to love me. That… doesn’t always happen for girls like me.

It is humbling to think about how lucky I am. All of the accidents and choices that had to happen to get me where I am.

Never new that it was so far from 6 Flags Magic Mountain (the one near Disneyland–I was born biking distance from this amusement park so that is where my siblings talked about “being from”) to Fremont.

Sometimes I feel part of the flow of my life. Sometimes I feel like I float above it. Outside it. Watching it. When I’m not busy telling myself how terrible I am for every mistake I think, “Hm. Not bad.”

It’s a start.

Control

I’ve been thinking a lot about behavioral modification and control. I mean, these are frequent topics for me but they’ve been using a lot of bandwidth lately.

What do I want to be? Who do I want to be when I grow up? Am I allowed to be that person while I am fulfilling the same roles I have always filled for people who will not meet my needs?

I have some friends, at least a few, and many of them are guys. Not all of them. I’m not one of those women who “can’t get along with women”. Which I always hear as “it is easier to manipulate men so I stick with them”. I like and hate everyone equally. At least in terms of group identifiers. I like Christians as much as I dislike some of the dogma associated with the religion. I like guys as much as I hate them. Individuals of course all get their own readings.

“When women say “all men” they hurt the feelings of the nice guys.”

Maybe the nice guys need to learn that when people are writing something they aren’t always writing to and for you. If you can’t handle reading something unless it was specifically written to coax you then you have bigger problems than anyone else can solve for you.

I read a lot of very anti-white writing. I read a lot of people of color who have tremendous chips on their shoulders. They just fucking hate white people. I’m white. Do I feel like I should get defensive and try to get them to prove that they don’t hate *me* because I’m *special*.

Or would that make me a self-involved asshole? Think hard here.

I know more men who are not rapists than I know rapists. By a large margin. That does not mean I should give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Sorry. Even if it hurts your widdle feewings.

I don’t figure out who the predators are by looking at them. I do default to assuming that the less physically attractive someone is the lower the chances they are a successful predator. I am more relaxed around men who seem non-sexual enough.

Which is probably something that causes those men enormous pain in their lives. See how I can’t fucking win? The signals that do signal safety are things that are offensive to really judge.

But even that isn’t full proof. I know better. So I’m paranoid.

I don’t think that most of the men in my life would have the balls to attack me at this stage. I have done my best to develop a somewhat scary reputation and those things spread. Folks who know me are fairly safe. But a lot of my male friends are what I’d call Alpha. They are bossy motherfuckers and by and large that works for them. They don’t get called on it much. They have carved out little lives where they are tyrants and everyone around them does what they say and falls in line and things work out. They aren’t violent or “abusive”. But they will grind on you till you verbally give them what they want. I know a lot of men like this. Only a few women.

These men take a lot out of me. They take as much out of me emotionally and mentally as managing a large group of children. For one person. Seriously–I can manage six kids on a day trip by myself far more easily than I can have a friendly chat with many of my male friends individually.

I’m starting to see that as a problem.

As I get older the needs in my life are becoming more predictable. I have more of a schedule. I’m not always moving. I’m not always adjusting to an entirely new cast of characters. I have added in the home school crowd in the last three years and then a running buddy after that. Otherwise I haven’t been picking up new relationships lately. That’s weird. I have been dusting off older friendships. I have been spreading myself out differently.

Sustainability is more of an issue now. I can’t drop many balls in order to completely adapt to a new environment. That’s a privilege I have lost. I didn’t know it was a privilege when I had it. Now “normal” people make more sense to me. Why they say “I can’t” to so many of the things I propose.

Life is different now. I have to have a very different amount and kind of control. Now it’s a marathon, not a series of sprints.

My running buddy and I have decided that it is more sane (given our life constraints) for us to do a 10k at the beginning of October and a half marathon at the end of November. She thinks we will be walking. I don’t think so. I think our first 10k time was pretty fast. I think we will be able to train up to having my third official half marathon be as fast or faster than the second. We’ll see.

Running with her is fun. She and I have a lot in common. If our lives were more similar I think we would conflict like oil and water. Luckily our life constructs are so entirely different that we don’t have to worry about our (ridiculously firm) opinions getting clashed with. We are both very encouraging of taking up space and what that means. We are both also working on control in a variety of parts in our lives. But very differently so we can talk without feeling judged for how we do it. Our circumstances are entirely different. We need different tactics.

A lady I like and respect says she is thinking of starting a discussion group for women once a month. I would drive to Redwood City for that. I would feel comfortable and safe talking to people that woman would invite. I would be different from most of the people she invites. I may or may not be the emotionally explosive (we’ll see) but I will be able to blurt something, then apologize for tone and rephrase and they will try to hear me. The stakes will be low.

When I get too tired from the emotional labor of translating from my brain into “difficult self-centered man language” (obviously not all men or I wouldn’t be bothering to specify a sub-group) I get really testy and pissy. I take it out on everyone who walks by. I feel brittle and made of glass. Like the slightest lean of an arm on my boundaries might shatter them. Then I withdraw and spend a lot of time crying.

I probably need to pay more attention to who makes me react that way and pull back from all of those relationships. I’m starting to see how the cost is becoming higher than I can pay. I don’t have enough spoons to have to process someone that much. And the only way to get them to stop hammering on you is to keep arguing until you win or meekly say they are right a few times so they will back off.

I’m not fucking letting them win their bullshit arguments. I could start using some variation of “You are being an asshole. Shut the fuck up.” But I don’t think that would go over that well.

My other option is to drop the friendships. Which will result in its own bitterness and trauma. Because life works that way.

Knowing you and being your friend is very hard work. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can’t. Being friends with me is very similar, so clearly it isn’t an “only men” thing. But aping this form of masculine behavior (because clearly what the people who object to my attitude are really objecting to is that I am a woman with this attitude–from a man it’s ok) causes me other problems.

Men don’t like losing dominance challenges to women (unless they really like it and that’s a whole different ball of string). Although many men are just flat used to losing dominance challenges and they sort of sigh with resignation and get on with it. The fight has long-since gone out of them.

Then there’s Noah. He neither likes it nor has a desire to deal with it much. We try to solve this by not challenging one another because neither of us appreciate losing dick contests. We have different strengths. Cool. You go be awesome over there and I’ll be awesome over here and we can wave. Both of us are grudging losers. But we don’t hold grudges. And we are willing to be convinced when someone has good data. So it works out.

So clearly not all men suck. Yeah, I get it. But some really do.

I have control over very few things in this life. I sorta have control of my mind and body. I mean, I’m not crazy effective with my body but I’m relatively fit. Not mentally. Oh man. But I get by. My deficiencies exist in ways that I can work around and develop counter-balancing strengths that balance things out. Life works that way.

We aren’t all cookie cutters. Trying to develop the control to just do what others tell you is antithetical to developing the control that allows you really define yourself.

You must pick one or the other. If you want to be obedient, you give up the ability to really judge what you are. Your very essence and priorities and impulses have to be secondary to what someone else wants.

I am not a secondary character.

I have been. I was because I wanted to fully embody what that meant. I wanted to understand it.

Apparently I decided I don’t want to be it. That’s been an interesting process.

I don’t know what my very-argumentative-men friends get from knowing me. I think I need to stop caring. They take so much from me that I don’t have enough left to do what I need to do. That’s not fair to me.

I don’t really care if cut-off culture is “mean”. It is mean of you to come to my house and argue with me for hours such that I spend hours crying. For years.

Why do I accept every friendship on offer?

Because I do. Because I always have. I let people come until they don’t want to come any more. But sometimes they have to put up with me being explosive while they are here because I am just fucking out of cope. Lots of people take that as a sign and never come back.

I drive people away. I don’t do it on purpose. I do it when I lose control. When I can no longer choke down how bitter and angry and violent and hateful I feel.

It doesn’t have to be at the person in the room. Maybe I’m just having a day where I’m heavily processing stuff about my biological family. If I’ve done a lot of very hostile writing that morning the whole day might be off. Then I’ll lose the reins on my tongue. Something that is highly tinged by my ambient hostility will come out. Whoops. I didn’t really mean it. No really, I didn’t mean it. I said it because I’m feeling spiteful and that was twisting the way I think about you. I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry.

Is isolation really the best solution? Just work on cutting people out of my life until I get to the point where I can always control my mouth when I am with people?

When I hear people complain that someone requires them to “walk on egg shells” I hear “I don’t want to have to care about who is listening before I speak”.

Yeah, some people personalize everything they hear and decide that the speaker must be talking about them personally and therefore the speaker hates them and is a Mean Evil Person. Yup, I know.

I read a lot of rabidly anti-white writers. They are fully unapologetic as they rant about how evil they perceive white people to be, yes, all white people.

I read this and I try to understand why they believe what they believe. Why it has come to be unavoidably, undeniably true for them.

Everyone has a story. Their story makes sense for them whether you like it or not.

What kind of control a person has decides a lot about what kind of life they have. How do you teach self-control? Financial control? Work ethic? The ability to be adaptable and able to just make something work with whatever it is you have in front of you? These things are all experiential. You have to do them and make mistakes and learn how to do it right. The younger you start the better.

I confess that I feel a little growing anxiety around Shanna not reading yet. I’m reading dyslexia information with dismay. Most of the markers for a diagnosis of dyslexia involve social problems caused by the social stigma of being slow. I am choosing to just read the development books that say “It’s normal for many children to transpose letters till seven or eight.” I notice. But I’m not “doing anything” to correct her.

Everything I have read says that some children are just not physically ready to read until seven or eight. Their brains are too busy doing other things and when you try to force it, you lose a lot of self-confidence that can’t be gotten back.

I’d rather have Shanna deciding what she should be doing with her time right now. She wants her parents to read to her. She isn’t ready to start reading. Ok. I didn’t start reading until the end of first grade. I didn’t really expect her to be required to start reading before I did even though so many of her little friends read. We know a high number of hyperlexic children.

I need to not look at hyperlexia and think my kid is slow. That’s not rational. Good grief.

Shanna’s comprehension skills are several grade levels higher than her physical ability. Lots of research says that will equalize if she’s given the time and space to live and be and learn what she needs to be learning right now instead of worrying about that.

I read the nay-sayers too. I know the con arguments favor conscription into the systematic learning enclave for the sake of party unity.

I don’t think everyone is the same. And I don’t think that everyone has the same ability to be able to conform. I know what the standards are. My kids are always going to be above and below their peers in varying metrics. People are like that. The hope is that they will come away without the bullying and belittling that exists in public schools for any variation.

I’ve been to a lot of public schools. They are all brutal. Some people get lucky and they are in the middle or they are high in the pack so they do ok by the system.

I don’t think my kids will be in the middle.

I don’t think they will always be high across the board. Ha. Shanna isn’t that coordinated. She makes up for it with tenacity and endurance. She’ll try again. And again. And again.

Sometimes watching her fail at things fills me with awe. She knows it is possible for someone to do this. So even though this hurts (and occasionally out will pop “shit”–I ignore it) she keeps trying. I’ve seen her whack her head dozens of times trying to do something. She did get it right eventually. Stubborn fucker. My kid.

Calli, by contrast, is slightly less persistent but much more initally successful. I’m in trouble. I think Calli stands and watches Shanna’s fuck-ups and learns. She is much more able to figure out how to do something right after Shanna has figured it out. Ha.

School is almost out. We are going to be riding the bikes in the parking lot every day. Side walk learning was just a non-starter. She kept falling into driveways. Lots of scrapes. Lots of not-willing-to-keep-doing-that.

She sees no upside. “But I can already run to all the places you want to ride bikes to. It’ll be fine. I’ll just run along side you.”

Only then I have to go at the speed of your running compared to the speed of bikes. NO.

Calli can outdistance her with a balance bike. It’s pretty impressive to me.

In the last month I’ve had a whole bunch of people ask me “Is Calli tall?” Uhh, I don’t know? For the comparative age she is much taller than Shanna was. She’s wearing size five clothes and she turns four at the end of the summer. I think they are only 5″ apart in height. I don’t know what the average gap is between siblings who are two years apart in age. And I don’t know if Shanna is tall. I haven’t been paying attention to such metrics. I could go look it up. I mean, I am on a forking computer. Shanna is in the 88% and the 24% for weight. Calli is in the 96% for height and 57% for weight.

Holy shit. I guess they are tall. And I was right for perceiving that Calli was on a faster growth curve than Shanna. I think Calli will be the taller adult. That’s my current crystal prediction.

On the last few pediatrician visits we haven’t talked percentiles. I didn’t ask and it didn’t come up. I suppose he isn’t worried so he doesn’t say? He just says, “They are growing well. Good job.” and does a no-touch pat on the head.

Wow. I haven’t looked at percentiles in years. I’m writing it down mostly because this is the only way I will have later record.

Since Calli is by far the more coordinated one we should put her in basketball. Ha. I play more catch with Calli. Shanna has never liked it much. I’ve always tried. She likes “fetch” more than catch. It’s kind of hilarious. She’s happy for the interaction. She’s happy to be met where she is. She doesn’t like having balls thrown at her. But she’s happy to chase one for the fun of it.

I can understand that.

 

Running is so different now.

That first year I was running I felt like I was being hounded by demons on every step. I spent most runs sobbing and crying and spitting big gobs of mucous out of my mouth so I could breathe. It was a regular occurrence for me to fall to my knees and cry for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes and sob as hard as I could in the middle of a run. I spent a great portion of every run planning how I could kill myself with the handy materials (jump off an over pass, eat poisonous plants, deliberately step in front of a Mac truck among other ideas).

I think that happened because I was training so I could run with my brother. I know my brother hates me and blames me for a lot of things that couldn’t possibly be my fault. So training to run with him was really hard. I’m kind of glad he flaked.

Instead of having a gut wrenching awful experience I had a very hard experience with someone who loves me an awful lot. She must or she wouldn’t have flown from out of state to run an awful marathon with me. It was not convenient for her to do. She went through a lot of trouble.

And all through that difficult race (it was a very hard race for experienced marathoners–the conditions were just awful) she was there with me coaxing and playing and keeping my spirits up. She sang to me. She told me funny jokes. She would gently and lovingly coax me into a minute of running… just a minute… to speed up our pace from the crawling walk I mostly managed. I would not have been an official finisher of that race without her. It was too hard for me alone.

So now when I run I notice that my internal dialogue is different. Instead of hearing what a lazy, fat, stupid, disgusting, waste-of-time bitch I am the whole way I have Blacksheeps gentle voice instead. “You can do it! I have so much faith in you. Small steps, just move ’em quick. Just a minute of running then we can walk again. You can do it. I believe in you.”

I don’t cry when I run any more. Sometimes I’m still pokey and slow and that’s ok. I get a little more of a questioning eyebrow response back now. I don’t get told I’m fucking pathetic for going so slow. I get more of a, “Are you sure you can only move that fast?”

Right now I’m training for my training half marathon. I’m going to do another half marathon later in the year with Blacksheep. I’m doing this one with the mindset of getting into better shape so I can go closer to her pace. I know she will be patient with me no matter how fast I will go–she will not shame me. She will not degrade me or act disappointed. She will be encouraging and enthusiastic about me trying so hard because she knows how long the journey has been.

When I think about reparenting stuff this kind of thing is kind of what I mean. Blacksheep talks to me the way I talk to my kids. Like they will mistakes and get back up and try again because that is what you do.

Making mistakes does not define you. Refusing to correct your mistakes does define you. There are choices in life.

I’m looking forward to both 1/2 marathons this year. And…. I’m thinking that I might go right from the second 1/2 marathon into training for a full marathon again. I like how my body feels when I’m doing the long-distance running. I’d like more of that with tapes of Blacksheep playing in my head. I need that in my life.

It’s not like she’s with me on every run. But I can remember and draw strength from the love that is there.

I do that with cooking and Sarah. When I’m feeling scared and I can feel myself wanting to curl up in a ball and cry because I feel stupid and like I can’t I can’t I can’t. Sarah comes and whispers in my ear, “Yes you can. It’s easy. Here let’s read the recipe together.”

This is how I piece together my reparenting. I’m going to go have my glass of tea now.

Thank you so much for loving me.

post-therapy (more) hobbies and yay friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Greenery Press.”

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

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

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

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

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

Damnit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need different coping skills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fake it.

I worry about how much I worry about how I affect other people. I don’t work nearly as hard on being nice to my body. I pay a lot of attention to how my behavior impacts my kids. For a while now Shanna has had an occasional eye tic. It is a stress response. I feel that this is a sign that I am not behaving how I should.

It is hard having to pretend that I experience less stress than I do just because it hurts other people that I run so hot. Hot in the sense of high stress load.

I feel very guilty that I had kids because I wanted to have a relationship that was intense and all day every day. I wanted to have the company. I wanted to have to learn how to be nice. I wanted to learn what it means to teach people without shame and resentment. I want it still.

It feels like I created people just so I could perform a science experiment. That doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do. But I’m not sure that the reasons that other people have kids are “better”. I know that I feel guilty that I am not better. I am not fully arrived at behaving how I should for my kids. I don’t deserve them.

I tell myself that my kids are having a good childhood in the scheme of their species. I am nice to them. I do take care of them. They have a wide variety of healthy, good tasting food. They don’t get yelled at much. They have appropriate clothing for the weather. They are allowed to play all day almost every day. (By “allowed” I really mean “forced”.) They are given all the kisses and hugs they want every day. They are allowed to tell me to stop doing anything except for cleaning their bodies. And I don’t even do that much. Usually I default to “fine if you want to be dirty it is your body.” Once in a while the filth gets to be a bit much. And I’m fanatical about teeth care.

I’m doing “better” than I used to be able to do. But it really doesn’t matter. I need to be enough better to stop scaring my kids. If I am producing stress in my kids then my behavior is a problem. I am not behaving good enough. It’s not ok.

My kids should not have to watch me like a weather vane hoping to determine how difficult I will be to put up with that day. That’s not ok. That is a level of crazy I don’t get to inflict on them. I actually really appreciate that Shanna has such “tells”. She is not nearly old enough to talk to me about the stress she is feeling. But I can just look at her face and know whether I am “soft” enough. When she looks nervous I have to visibly calm down and retract the energy I am sending out into the room. It is hard to do. It is a very conscious decision to “look” like I am not angry or upset or anxious.

I can’t just decide to not feel angry or upset or anxious. I feel that way most of the time. I feel scared. I feel like everyone is going to be angry with me soon because I am going to break a rule and then they won’t want to know me any more. I am scared shitless my kids will grow up and not want to know me because I am such an asshole.

But I can’t act like I am having the feelings I am having. I have to fake it.

I saw a friend yesterday I don’t see much. Usually I contain my shit better. This time she saw me right after therapy. She got to see all the messy shame and crying because I don’t know to be “better” already. I feel pretty pathetic that I have been in therapy for almost three decades and I’m still crazy. I still spend a lot of my time shaking in fear. I still spend a lot of time hiding in dark rooms so I can sob uncontrollably. I hide it better. I keep it in a box better.

I fake it better.

Not well enough. My kids see the stress. It isn’t ok for my stress to impact them.

My shrink wants me to look for a meditation class to attend with my kids. I wish that such a thing would not involve a drive to Berkeley. I will look though. It is a good suggestion.

Shanna has been asking more questions about my mom. “Did your mom love you?” “What good things happened to you when you were a kid?” “What did your mom do that was so bad?”

I told her that I don’t actually know if my mom loved me or not. I think she did. I hope she did. I believe she loved me as well as she could and it is really hard when that isn’t enough. I wrack my brain trying to come up with positive stories. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m just a whiny bitch and someone else would have been able to find a lot more joy in my childhood or if it was really bad enough that I should have trouble remembering anything positive. I tell her flat out that she isn’t going to know about the really bad stuff until she is an adult. I told her she doesn’t need to think of me that way.

I’m not always very rational about food so I talk about the food insecurity issues a lot. I feel relatively unashamed of them. The more I read about foster children the more I feel “ok” about having the food issues I have. They make sense in context.

I talk to Shanna about control. Like I ask her how she feels about being directed and forced to do what other people want during a specific period of time. I ask her how she would feel if she never got to pick what she was doing. I ask her how she would feel if she came home and ALL of her toys were gone. Stuff like that. I talk about how when I was a kid I felt very out of control so I controlled what I would put in my mouth.

I talk to her about how sad it is for me that I didn’t get to have any of these good foods when I was a kid. She pities me. I talk about the ways my body has problems because of the food I have eaten. My kids are very aware of nutrition and the things they need to eat. “You have to eat green stuff because it helps you poop!” We do talk about other aspects of nutrition but that is their favorite. Neither of my children have my constant-diarrhea problem (I am hoping this is because of lower stress). They instead are mildly prone to heading in the other direction so I repeat things I have learned from friends with constipation issues.

My shrink says I should answer every question and not dance around things. Well, she doesn’t think I should say I was raped until they are more like puberty age but she is less convinced I need to wait for the magic number of 18. We’ll see.

I cancelled park day for next week. Half of playgroup for next week cancelled. I won’t be sad if the other half cancels. Having five kid-social events in a two week period is too many for me.

I am doing too much. I can’t keep doing these 12+ hour work days. Social time counts as work time whether I like it or not.

I’m having a hard time with the balance of life thing. I have a lot of things I want done. I am having trouble with the fact that it takes a while to get all the things done. In order to put it in perspective I asked Noah about how many man-hours it takes to produce an iPhone for people to bitch about not working magically enough. He said probably in the neighborhood of 500 man-years not including factory work. That’s software/hardware design.

Stuff takes time. Not everything that can be done by a group of humans can be done by a singular human. No matter how much you want it. There just aren’t enough hours in a life. Figure out what you want to build and how you want to spend your time.

Sometimes Shanna asks me about my crying. I tell her that every body is different. When I feel too much emotion inside my body I cry no matter what the emotion is. Sometimes I’m happy; sometimes I’m sad; sometimes I’m angry; sometimes I’m frustrated. My body has just decided that all of these things come out as tears. Sometimes I am crying because bad things happened a long time ago and I was not allowed to cry then and my body needs to let go of that piece of being sad or scared so I’m doing it now. I’m safe now. It’s ok in my life now to just have feelings, so I do.

She gives me a lot of hugs. I am trying so hard not to turn her into a major source of emotional support. I don’t talk about specifics. I talk about how to be an adult and deal with the body you have. I’m very afraid of emotional incest. I know that it is a common “next generation” away from incest mistake.

I am an intensely overly sexualized person. More than that, I tend to not know how to be friends without sexualized touching. I have a lot of big needs that have gone unfilled for my entire life. I feel kind of desperately needy sometimes.

I can’t treat my kids like they are here for my support. I created these relationships because I need to learn how to give support, not because I think I can or should get much back. I’m here for the satisfaction of giving. I have to have the quiet glow that comes from a job well done. I am not going to get a lot else. Not from my kids. Well…. years of kisses and hugs. That’s nice. But at some point they will pull back and that has to be ok.

It is hard learning to be this kind of self-contained. It means I am talking to Noah a lot less about what is going on with me. I can’t breach the defenses at all. We don’t have time. What time we are together we mostly talk about his work and the basics of project stuff or kid stuff. I am very much hiding in the roles I created for myself. I don’t have room for my crazy there. I have to mostly take the crazy off-stage.

I can’t just make the crazy go away this way. But I can damn it up until I have a better space to deal with it. I had better let steam off once in a while or I will be sorry. Very sorry.

I woke up this morning dreaming about cutting. I don’t dream much any more. I rarely remember them at least. Not since I started pot. But this morning I woke up with my hand already moving along my other arm. I’m not sure where that came from. I stopped cutting my arms by early high school. I moved on to my legs because that was easier to hide.

My therapist wants me to go find more things to do as “self care” and I wake up wanting to cut. I do need more stress relief. That has always been my tool of serious self care. That is how I let the steam off. I go off in private and I make sure I am not anyone else’s problem. And I let myself feel how much I hurt all the time. But I have to hide it because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.

Fake it till you make it.

I’m not making it.

If I knew what I “needed” I would do whatever I had to go get it. I would do it. Even if it sucked. Really if you could arrange extra suck just for me that would make me feel better.

Sometimes it is hard knowing that the journey is the point. I am making it. I am nice to my kids and random people in restaurants and my neighbors when they aren’t being racist assholes. I only yell about things that need to be yelled about. Silence is consent. I am not going to leave people ambiguous about how I feel on some topics. Even if that means I’m not nice. If you have never upset anyone then you have never stood for anything.

I have nothing to lose at this stage.

Sometimes it is kind of weird knowing that Noah is the linchpin. All of the luxury and privilege of my life is based on his ability to earn money. I groom him like a friggin race horse. He has more than doubled, nearly tripled, his salary since we met. Because I’m pushy and I give him feedback on what he should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s kind of weird. We really are good for one another.

I’m having a lot of anxiety about spending all of the money Noah earns. I’m not looking forward to my end of year reckoning on Mint. I mean, in terms of petty cash we are higher than we were at the end of last year. We retired a lot of extra mortgage. But I did not save all that I wanted to save.

I kind of went nuts in the back yard instead. And this Texas trip isn’t cheap. I’m going to have to deal with my anxiety. I am fucking thrilled with my yard. Not a single dollar was wasted. I am ecstatic. The only thing between me and what I see in my head is a lot more work on my end. I’ll get there. It will be really pretty. But it is man-years ahead of me and that is sitting hard. It feels like I wasted the money because I didn’t finish the project and now it’s just kind of half-way and limbo sucks.

I do this. Don’t mind me.

At the end of the year I always feel like I am a bad person for spending money on things I wanted. I don’t deserve all the money I spend. I feel really bad that I am not more frugal with Noah’s money. I should make it spread farther. I should be saving more for the kids. I shouldn’t be so selfish.

But really… is building a playground in my back yard purely selfish? My anxiety yells at me that I shouldn’t be doing the work. I’m stupid for adding all the work.

But I want a pretty yard. I didn’t inherit one. I have to make it. Yeah, it will be back breaking work for a decade or so. Stop bitching and do the work. Don’t feel bitter you twit. This is a choice. Beauty doesn’t just happen automatically for most people. And most of what I want is stuff that wouldn’t have been in place anyway.

I’m just being a whiny bitch.

I’m thinking that there will be the Friday Funhouse version of Wonderland. I close my eyes and see kids running around in packs. I hear the laughter and shouting. I turn around and see grown ups playing games and talking and laughing.

I want the laughing so much. I want it so much I ache inside. Crying isn’t really the way to get people to feel good. Laughter doesn’t come from the places I dwell.

It is a little weird to me sometimes that my therapist knows so little about me. Ha. She continues to be shocked by how many people I know. People with as much trauma as me usually hide in their houses for the rest of their lives. They don’t go out and meet social group after social group. People like me usually can’t fake it well enough.

Am I faking it or am I “learning social skills”? I’m not sure they ever really feel natural for anyone.

One of the things I like the most about Noah is that he doesn’t flinch around me. I don’t scare him. I don’t intimidate him. I go back and forth between wanting my kids to have a similar level of toughness and knowing that it usually comes from trauma. And I just can’t traumatize them. I can’t.

Stop clenching your jaw, Krissy. Deep breaths. Whatever you are feeling is just a feeling. It will pass. This moment isn’t forever. You aren’t faking it. This is the process. The frustration is part of the process.

Time to stop typing.

Walking on eggshells

I do a lot of defining myself in negatives. I don’t just mean that I am derogatory towards myself. I mean that I think of myself in terms of, “I am not like _____; I do not do _____” It is one way of making yourself different. Not a useful way. It means that you are constantly placing how other people are as primary. I’m not like you. People take it as a rejection or as a negative statement about them. Going out and creating an identity without negatives is much harder. It takes tremendously more emotional and psychological energy to go create something from scratch rather than just reject everything that walks by as being “not you”.

I was asked how the party went. Well. Where in my stress cycle should I answer that question from? I think that most people had fun. I absent mindedly made a minor social faux pas early on and never stopped hearing in my head how stupid, rude, domineering and offensive I am. When everyone finally left I cried for hours because I felt so guilty for offending someone.

If you are going to move through life being an asshole but you cry every time someone lets you know that you are crossing their boundaries… you aren’t giving people a way to have a relationship with you that is not basically subservient. If I don’t want subservient relationships (I don’t) then I can’t keep doing this bullshit. It’s not ok to cause other people to feel guilty for having boundaries. They need to have them. I need to take my wrist slap and move on. That is the adult way to handle such things. That is how you have relationships.

This is why my therapist wants me to stop socializing for a while. I spend a lot of time examining all of my interactions with people and looking for reasons that person is very likely to walk away from knowing me any minute for a long list of good causes. I know that I push my luck every day and in every way. When will people be sick of my shit? I get that a lot. My paranoia is not baseless. Is it paranoia to watch for tornados in tornado country?

But the paranoia drives people away as surely and as quickly as if I was chasing them away with a fire hose.

On my last day of teaching English at the Hindu temple one of the kids brought up suicide. A kid from their school jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge last year. They are all still thinking about it. I talked to them about how hard it is to get help when you are mentally ill. It wears people out. They want you to hurry up and get better already so that you don’t inconvenience them. What do you do if you can’t just snap out of it and behave the way other people want? Either you can put up with being punished for being how you are or you do what you can do to get away from the pain. Sometimes that is suicide. Not that I know exactly why that girl jumped. There are as many reasons to do it as there are people who do it.

Walking on eggshells means trying to place someone else as the primary character in the story and not being sure what your lines are. “What do I say so that this delicate and sensitive individual is not upset?” Can’t be done. As soon as you are reacting from that place you have already assumed that offense is likely and just assuming that means that the offense is already communicated. Game over. You lose.

Sometimes people snap at my social faux pas because they are not feeling patient today but they feel patient on other days. I am probably similarly obnoxious on both days but the difference is not about me. If people try to pick their behavior towards me based on my mood they will mostly pick wrong. It drives me batshit. You can only act how you feel like acting. Faking it will make neither of us happy. And acting like you have already been kicked makes people want to kick you. Really hard.

Some days I am going to wander off and cry if someone blinks too hard in my direction. It isn’t about someone letting me know that I crossed a boundary. When I have been crying two, three, four hours a day for over a week… my emotional reaction is not about you and I’m sorry that I’m standing near you when it starts such that you will feel responsible. You aren’t. My feelings come from inside me. The kind of shame I feel isn’t something that people I know now put on me. It is about old tapes.

I don’t keep people in an ongoing way if they seriously shame me. I don’t fucking think so–I don’t need that crap.

I think very hard about every person who is in my life. If I invite you to my house (even if you think you are one of the casual people) I have spent many hours thinking about you. I have mulled over every piece of data I have ever acquired and I have carefully weighed it. I know you because I want to know you. I don’t have accidental friends any more. I have people in my life because I choose them out of a long list of ever rotating acquaintances.

I am mercenary. I do not see any benefit to being less than frank about this. I don’t pick my friends based on them being able to wait on me or do work for me or babysit or give me social status. I pick my friends based on them having character traits I desperately admire and want to be able to watch develop more closely. I don’t understand. I want to. Please let me stare at you until I understand.

I don’t think that most people in my life understand this. I want you near me because I want to figure out how and why you do _________. This is something I want to understand in this lifetime and I don’t know another way of accessing this information. I want to know why you want to do the things you want to do. I want access to your motivations. I’m trying to hack my own motivation system. What makes you do the things you do? It isn’t that I will use your motivation to do exactly the same thing as you, but clearly you have learned some neat tricks I don’t know.

I never really understand what I have to offer though. That end of the deal keeps me up at night. I see what I get out of knowing people. I see clear value. I don’t understand what I have to offer. I don’t understand why anyone bothers to know me. I don’t see how the unpleasantness of my company could possibly be balanced by anything I know or do.

I can understand that Shanna and Calli are tied to me. Children need their moms. I get that. I can certainly understand how Noah finds enough value in the trade. Past that… I don’t really get it. I think that is part of the reason I read as mean. I am sad and bitter that I have nothing that is worthy of trade for a relationship. I feel broken and angry about it. I don’t know how to build people up and make them feel happy about being themselves while standing next to me. I know how to make people feel angry and irritated and like they don’t want to stand next to me any more. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. I do this a lot.

I can’t be perfect in order to not annoy people. I can only be. I have to accept the rebuffs when someone lets me know I am crossing a boundary without turning that into a federal case or people won’t feel comfortable communicating boundary incursions and they will just stop talking to me. No one likes drama. No one wants to feel guilty for having boundaries.

Not everything is about me, yo.

I woke up early because I have to get my crying over early before a busy day. Not many left before I hit “vacation” for a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to this. I need to get my stress levels down to the point where I am not crying for multiple hours a day as a way of avoiding beating the shit out of people.

I cry partially from frustration. I don’t know how to let the intensity of my emotions defuse without doing something. I used to cut. I like being beaten. I have punched holes in a lot more walls than I should admit. These days I feel like I live in a glass cage. If I hit anything it will break and I will be in a shower of shards. So I cry. And cry. And cry. I don’t know if it is healthier or not but it is certainly less violent. Progress?

See, this kind of thing is actually huge progress. I don’t know that I would give myself much credit for it without writing. I have progressed past hitting other people constantly to deal with my frustration through punching walls to crying. I have progressed past cutting myself into letting other people hit me in consensual and pre-agreed ways into crying. Progress, not perfection? I am moving in a less self-hating direction.

Now I cry over someone pointing out that I said something four times. (Which is annoying. I know.) You know… at least it is much better than my previous coping methods of hitting her or cutting myself would have been much more inappropriate. Both are ways that I would have dealt with that interaction in the past.

Most of my friends have social anxiety to some degree or another, I think this commonality increases their patience for me. But it means that some days my anxiety runs into their anxiety and then things just get worse. Neither can break the cycle. Awkward.

In my life the only thing I have found that really and truly breaks the stale mates and allows relationships to continue is time. If you both continue to spend time together despite acknowledging sometimes feeling awkward… you continue to have a relationship. Not every relationship is comfortable every moment. If you choose to have the relationship then you look for ways to spend time together even if it is kind of weird. Even if you do have some defensive conversations.

I need to get my stress levels down. It is a physical limitations thing. I can only monitor my social behavior so closely if I am doing a lot of major physical work. I have been using my body unusually hard for the past few weeks. The mural and the backyard work have both used a lot of muscles I’m not used to moving. They have both taken a lot of patience I didn’t actually have going spare.

I need to figure out what it means to do projects as a parent. I’m still not handling the energy allotment thing very well.

I feel scared a lot of the time because I can’t control what other people do and I am worried about driving people away from relationships with my children. I do not want to isolate them. But it seems pretty awful for me to expect people to put up with me being an asshole just so they can help take care of my kids when no one but me and Noah owes my kids anything.

My kids are neat. They will be more neat if they know people like you. You are neat. This is all stuff that floats around in my head making me vulnerable and scared all the time. I feel my children deserve relationships that I do not have or know how to create.

I don’t think my kids want to see their grandparents because they want to hurt me. I think that one or both of them will decline to go when they finally understand that I’m not going. I will do my best to not share how I feel about the trip. What they need to know is that they have grandparents who love them and a mom who loves them and their mom is very happy to help them pack and I will kiss them goodbye and tell them to have fun. That is more or less the end of the story in our house.

But I am still going to cry when they are gone. I am still going to be very sad that it has worked out that I just don’t get extended family this lifetime. I’m grateful that I managed to get a nuclear family thing. I get to be sad about this. I get to grieve about that. It doesn’t hurt my kids if I spend my alone time crying.

If I describe visiting their grandparents… I don’t have to sell it or try to make it sound fun in a fake way. When they go see their grandparents they need to remember a bathing suit because they have an indoor pool. They need to remember clothes appropriate for riding a horse because they have horses. Not to mention cows and I don’t know what other animals. There is a whole floor of a house that is just toys. You and your dad and your sister will stay on an apartment by yourselves and you will be able to go play with the toys probably anytime you want while you are visiting.

I mean, shit dude. I don’t talk about the people much or try to predict how the relationships will be. I don’t know these people. I say that her aunts and uncles all play music–maybe she should bring her uke so they can teach her cords.

I think my daughters are very lucky to have connection to a lot of rich, talented people. She should take advantage of the fact that she was born into that family. She should go meet the old Great Aunt who has traveled all over the world doing whatever the fuck she wanted for most of her life. She’s a neat lady. Maybe if she met Shanna and Calli she would be more enthusiastic about coming to California for visits. So far she is kind of lazy. I’ve asked.

My children will not have my story. My children will not grow up without a family. They have connections. My children have people in the world tracking them and caring. I am not going to do anything to make that network smaller than I have to. I cut my family off because I don’t think my family is going to stop passing on the incest without some kind of intervention I don’t know how to do. So I’m keeping my kids the fuck away from them. I feel very sad that this is required but it is. It just fucking is.

Whenever someone tells me that I should forgive my mother because she won’t live forever I see my adult nephew breaking down as he told me about his rape experiences. No. No. No. No. My children will be kept away from them. All of them. I don’t think it is their fault that it happened to them but we haven’t had someone avoid incest in a few generations. I’m keeping my kids away from all of them.

When people tell me to just “get over it” and “stop thinking about it” I think “That shit is why it keeps happening generation after generation.”

I think about my mom a lot. I miss her. It doesn’t help that my Leather Mom is going through a lot of strife and I’m not helping very much (partially because of my limitations partially because she is telling me no). My Leather Mom and my birth mother share a birthday. I find that thinking about one or the other of them brings up a lot of really strong feelings.

Why do I think about my mom so much? Because everyone else gets to talk to me about their moms all the time. It’s just normal conversation. So I think about my mom and try to stay silent. I feel bad. I feel like a dirty terrible person.

One of the last things my mother said to me was that she would kill herself if I took my kids away from her. I keep checking on the internet and she isn’t dead. I guess that is just one more broken promise.

Broken promises are a big thing right now. What does it mean to say, “I will do _____.”

Relationships are about choices. Sometimes they are uncomfortable. Often that discomfort comes from inside me and is about the fact that I am thinking three hundred painful things all while I’m trying to have a relationship. When I can get those three hundred thoughts under control and actually focus on the person in the room I am grateful to have that relationship. I am glad it is still there. But it feels like I’ve been phoning it in from somewhere else for a while. I never understand what benefit there is to other people in putting up with me.

I am scheduled to be at Dad’s for Thanksgiving. How long is this going to continue? I have had him in my life more or less for going on fourteen years. We have a fairly distant relationship but honestly I do better with those. I have a hard time with being good-enough when people are around more often. I am able to behave perfectly appropriately for my target audience when I only see people once or twice a year. I feel ashamed that I can’t keep up the game with people I see more.

It makes me wonder if I have my anxiety as under control as I think with my kids. Some of my recent frustrations have made me realize that I need to start writing names on the white board in our room. I don’t want to discuss my relationship fluctuations in front of the kids any more. Shanna is starting to sorta follow and have her emotions influenced. I’m having to do a lot of backpedaling and defending of people with her and that’s… awkward.

I don’t want my kids to share my emotional experiences of people. My children are having different experiences. My experiences are my problem. My experiences are distinctly shaped by having an anxiety disorder. I do not want my kids learning my emotional dysregulation. If they develop their own later I don’t want it to be clearly my fault.

This is part of what I like about Unschooling. I have to pay attention to what I am doing, all DBT like. I have a bad habit of loving and hating people. My kids don’t need to hear about it. I don’t need to teach them to obsessively over analyze every conversation before and after it happens. So far they seem pretty good at talking to people.

I went to a book club meeting yesterday. I need to update my reading list, I’ve added three or four. Book club always turns into a small scale therapy/support group. I find it interesting how the folks who are consistent are unschoolers who come from abusive backgrounds. Other folks come and go. Not that I’m consistent enough to actually say that. Maybe my few attendance points are flukes. I should probably keep that up. My therapist wants me going out and doing stuff without my family. Book club is not terribly threatening. Most of the places I would choose to go involve fending off sexual advances and I’m not in the mood.

What the hell else do people do?

Suicidal ideation

I love getting eight hours of sleep by 3am. It makes my whole day better. It makes my whole life better. Then I am more cheerful and enthusiastic about what I have to do. I consider it the first thing I must do in a day in order to have a good day. The second thing I must do in order to have a good day is get more than 75% of my chores done by 9am. I have a thing in my head.

I participate in a variety of online support groups–or rather I have over the years, not so much at this second–and it has been a fairly big thing for me over the past ten years “I am more productive by 9am than a great many people are all day.” It’s a thing in my head. I work very hard on it. That way I feel I have the freedom to do with the rest of the day as I please.

Pretty much every online support group has strict rules about talking about suicide. Really, pretty much everyone everywhere believes it isn’t ok to talk about–especially if you are seriously thinking about it.

My furnace dries out the air terribly. I’ve spent all winter coughing and hacking and feeling unhappy about it since I moved into this house. Now my kids join me. So they’ve been waking up a lot at night. It means I have a lot of time in the middle of the night to think about them and to think about suicide and for me to think about what happiness means.

There are a lot of parenting books on the market that will tell you that you are bad bad doomed if you have children because you want to give yourself a reason to live. BAD. DON’T DO THAT! That’s what the books say.

To that I say: becoming a parent is always a selfish decision. Why is my selfish decision worse than yours? I have promised myself and my kids that I will absolutely not kill myself until they are adults because they require care and I am the one who has to give it. I have to say that it gets easier by the year. I’m learning what happiness feels like.

I know a lot of people who work very hard to ensure that they don’t have to “deal with” their kids in the middle of the night. Gosh that is my favorite time. I love feeling like my mere presence keeps the monsters at bay. Because I do. In Calli’s mind and in Shanna’s mind if I am in the room then they are safe and life is good. That’s just the end of the debate.

That feeling is better than every drug I have ever taken and I’ve tried a really lot of drugs. A lot. A really lot. Ha. But I did the vast majority of my drug taking (other than this stoner thing)  in under two years after I was a college graduate. Let me get on my pulpit for a second to lecture anyone younger than me about how you should wait until your brain is done forming before you use drugs. Wait until your brain decides which connections it wants before you break sections. Just do. I’m serious. You have a long fucking life in front of you. You don’t need to try everything in the first twenty years. Good grief.

I have never believed that I had a long life ahead of me. I have wanted to die since I was seven years old. For the past twenty-four years I have wanted to be dead more than I have wanted to be alive. Well, I would say that the percentages kind of rock back and forth staying in the 40’s and 50’s. I wanted to die a lot and I didn’t want to live very much but actually killing yourself is harder than it looks sometimes. I did not overdose as a teenager as a cry for help. I simply vomited up the drugs and was found before I could finish dying. Different.

Now I’m really glad I’m not dead. I feel like getting to sleep with my little girls, with their faces pressed to mine as they mumble over and over while falling asleep, “Mommy love you so much. So much. Sooooooooo much” this is the reason that people live. This feeling of love and happiness. This is why people stay alive. The hope of this. The belief that some day they will get to have this feeling. This is the increased joy that parents have that non-parents don’t get. That is one of those things they find in studies. Over a lifetime parents have more joy than non-parents–a shitload more stress too… but it’s worth it.

I never thought I would actually experience having someone love me like this. I believed this would always be for someone else. I’m very concerned that I not alienate my children… ever. I have to behave appropriately in order to deserve a relationship with them. But I’m not very good at acting appropriately.

Sometimes I feel like the biggest fucking hypocrite in the world when I get mad at my kids for breaking rules. Ha.

I told Shanna, about the stealing candy thing, it is my job to teach you the rules of society. I get angry because I feel afraid. If you steal as an adult there are serious consequences. I have to teach you that it is not a good thing to steal or the rest of your life will be harder and you will have a lot of very unpleasant experiences. I don’t want you to suffer. How can we work on you not doing this? I told her that I really don’t know “how this should be taught” because when I was a child the way I was taught was to be hit. I don’t want to hit her and I’m not really sure what the other options are and I feel kind of overwhelmed sometimes as I try to deal with it. I’m sorry I scream so much. I know it is annoying or scary depending on the day.

I asked her if she knew that how much I love her is completely unaffected by whether or not she perfectly follows the rules. I do not perfectly follow the rules and I hope she will always love me. She told me that somewhere else there are kids who always do exactly what their mothers say and they never break rules. I laughed and said those must be the most boring, uncurious children on the planet and how sad for their mothers’. She looked very confused.

I have not thought about killing myself in a bit. Certainly weeks. But I was asked to reaffirm that I understand and will follow the rules of forums and I WILL NEVER POST THAT I AM FEELING SUICIDAL. Thus I am thinking about the concept though I am not experiencing it. I have felt shamed and bad for being suicidal for pretty much my entire life. I’m aware that people are uncomfortable with the fact that I feel this way and their discomfort is the most important thing here.

Talking about it, or not, has not even slightly increased my self-harming behaviors. Over time my self-harming behaviors have kind of melted away. I’m not hurting myself anymore, I’m really not. It was a process I had to go through. I had to be whiny and angsty and I had to really process how much I wanted to die. This process is simply part of being alive for me. I understand that other people don’t like it. I feel very uncomfortable about being told over and over and over and over that because I make other people feel uncomfortable when I talk about it I shouldn’t talk about it.

Well, how much do you enjoy being surprised by someone offing themself? Wouldn’t you have preferred a warning? Dude, seriously.

P!nk has a song on her new album about drinking and doing drugs and running away and I feel suicide is strongly implied. I really appreciate it when people admit in public that this struggle is part of their life. The song is The Great Escape and I listen to it a lot right now. I’ve been thinking about how I understand this whole “creation of something new” thing now that I didn’t understand before. I have a family now. I have never had one before. Oh wow. This is how they are supposed to look? I’ve been thinking about having something to live for.

It’s really interesting watching how the percentages change. Feeling suicidal vs. wanting to live. That’s a ratio I’ve been actively tracking for most of my life. I have visualized it a lot of different ways over time. These days I think wanting to die falls into the teens. I’m very happy about that. That’s a ridiculous amount of progress for me.

But I’m not supposed to talk about it. I’m not supposed to be graphic about my ongoing struggles to not kill myself. Someone else might feel uncomfortable. Welcome to my sandbox, motherfucker. Here the rules are that I get to talk about whatever gets me through the night. If I am sitting here and writing something then I am not cutting. I am not hitting my body against a large blunt object. I am not soliciting some piece of shit to hurt me. I am not offering up sex to people I don’t know just to get through the night without having to be alone.

I’m not alone. I really love that my kids need me in the middle of the night because I need them in the middle of the night. I need to feel love in the middle of the night. I need to feel wanted. I need to feel like it matters that I not die.

The passion and the pain are going to keep you alive someday. I honestly don’t know how someone in my position would work through this without children. I can understand putting off the decision to die because you still have things you want to do–that is more or less the path I was on pre-kids. I made deals with myself, “I want to do ____. ____. and ____ then it doesn’t matter.” I was very selfish and random about the deals over the years and that’s ok. It was a deal with me about how much pain I have to endure.

That’s the plain and simple reality behind my suicidal ideation. Do I or don’t I get to decide how much pain I have to be in? Am I or am I not in charge of this decision? I think this is where I make the jump to atheism entirely.

I want to be the one who decides when my pain ends. I hold that right. I consider it one of my basic rights. Other animals do the same thing. It is natural just like infanticide is natural. It exists in every species. In America there are approximately thirty seven children killed by their parents every week. You don’t see headlines very often. Every fucking week.

Parenting is hard but I fucking guarantee you that no part of this journey has been remotely as difficult as what came before it so I’m still coasting. My second labor was nine days long followed by a blood hemorrhage that left me unable to walk to the bathroom for weeks. I crawled. Otherwise I simply did not leave my bed. But my friend K delivered enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three weeks. It was a calm but peaceful period. I learned my baby. I didn’t mind the work. It was nice.

Life is about work. Life is about creating and the things you want to do. I freakin love Richard Scarry. Everyone is a worker. All the work must be done. Some of the work is not more honorable than anything else. There is a hierarchy in pay–that tends to exist because some jobs can be done by many people and some jobs can be done by smaller and smaller groups of people and when you have to compete for the talents of a small group… you have to pay a lot of money.

You have to think about those people. The ones who are so selfish. Wait… that’s my husband. He has spent our entire marriage working his ass off to increase his income. Isn’t that selfish? He didn’t do it until he had a reason to. He didn’t care enough to bother. He wasn’t driven by love of acquisition on its own. But now he has this wife with really expensive travel interests and uhm he has decided that he wants to provide for me. He knew that was who I wanted to be before we married.

He doesn’t want me to spend time wanting to die. He wants me to have a list of things I want to do that is really long and complex and it’s ok if it is also expensive–he knows I am overall frugal and I am providing for our long-term safety before I take travel money out. It’s cool. He told me so. Explicitly. He reminds me every few months. It’s weird but really cool. I appreciate how explicitly my husband wants me to be happy.

He wants to keep me. He thinks that the likelihood is higher if I have a sandbox where I can say whatever I want and not get kicked off a support forum for it. He gives me resources I don’t have to have in my head.

I feel like both of us really changed when we got married. We have someone to work for and that is a powerful motivator for both of us. It has been interesting to see as a progression. We get better and better at not hurting one another as we make mistakes and learn how to talk about them. We really don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over.  We make new ones! heh

So, to continue on the P!nk trend: Slut Like You is fun. When you are looking to ensure that you don’t have to be alone tonight it dramatically changes how you act. The stakes are different. You’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. You have to get through tonight in order to get there.

I’m trying to figure out what mental hurdle I have to working on the books right now. I know I’m overwhelmed by life. I think that I’m just too tired to think. I need to have some reason for a deadline so I can plan around it. I’ll figure it out. I need to decide how much I want to have done by December so I can backwards plan.

I need to feel like I am moving towards what I want to be moving towards. Right now I feel pretty out of control of my schedule. I’m not sure how to change that. Well no. That’s a big fat lie. I know how to change it. I am changing it. This is a process. The schedule will be back to being shaped how I need it to be shaped in about another two weeks. Then we leave town for a week. See how this goes? Oh man.

Portland, we are practically doing a drive-by. March 25th we drive north towards Eugene. We are sleeping there because the kids will be sick of the car. We are aiming to arrive at Dad’s house at 6pm on Tuesday the 26th. We are spending the day with Aunt Cookie, a truly delightful woman. I have an intense interest in hearing stories about Noah’s family. They shape my story now. I don’t have many sources of information.

Wednesday during the day we don’t have plans and we will probably want to go do something fun. Not sure what yet. Wednesday we should hang out with Dad. Thursday and Friday we are hanging out with A. Ha. I haven’t even emailed her to confirm that yet. But she offered it to me. I’m taking it. (pause. email sent.) We will spend Thursday and Friday nights walking around Dad’s neighborhood talking to him and playing with kids. On Saturday we drive allllllll the way home. With four kids who have had a long week and who will not be happy about being in the car. Thank goodness for iPads. Ha.

What we ask of our children is not natural. How we have to deal with the constraints of their lives is not natural. But beating them isn’t a better option. Sometimes you can’t let them have the pace of travel that is appropriate for them. You have to just get there. It is hard but life is that way sometimes.

Once upon a time travel involved physical exertion… even sitting in a wagon is fairly labor intensive compared to a car. We provide these children padded worlds of strapped in boredom. I am not capable of being entertaining for a twelve hour drive. Not even in shifts because then my “off” shift would be driving and I would have a stroke from road rage. That is not in anyone’s best interests. No, my kids can’t entertain themselves for that long. I understand that this is a tragic failing. Never the less… we are going to use them. They can’t use them for the whole trip so there will be other entertainment involved. It’ll work out. It will be one long day of our lives. No big deal. I’m trying to psych myself up for the trip. I’m trying to lay out in advance how much energy I am going to need for various stages. I’m trying to figure out how I will do it without getting punchy about having to teach my kids new situational manners over and over and over for a week solid. It’s a pain but worth it in the long run.

I need my kids to understand how to evaluate for situational manners. I need to consciously talk about how I am evaluating everything around me for clues about how I should behave. I do this every time we travel. It’s a lot easier at Disneyland because there are a lot of “let loose” places. We are going to be moving between environments that will have wildly different “grown up” rules that are going to feel unfair or inappropriately constricting because they aren’t used to those rules. I’m going to be tested over and over. It’s going to be fun.

But this is the whole process of life. I want to teach them how to do this while smiling. I want this trip to be a happy and joyful memory. Shanna is probably going to actually remember this trip for a long time. We will take pictures. She may eventually remember the pictures more than the day but she will have the same kind of connection to these people that I have to Brittney, the little girl who was born four months before me across the street from my family. I was set in my baby carrier next to her in her baby carrier. I have pictures of us when we are two and three and four and seven and and…

I want my kids to have that. I hope they never lose it.

I didn’t think I would lose Brittney. It is hard finding out how unforgivable existing is. Oh, that’s not true I would be told. I am allowed to exist. But I must be silent so no one ever has to actually find out the specifics because oh man that is over the line. The book. The fucking book. I’m having trouble going back through and editing. This is why I paid an editor. Unfortunately after reading the Kindle edition I am entirely unsatisfied with the job she did and I feel fairly back at square one. I thought I was getting an editor but what I got was a copyeditor and that’s a different job.

I wanted technical editing. I wanted someone to give me feedback on flow and let me know where I am being vague and random. I wanted someone to look at it as a work of art to be made better with a few tweaks. Ahhhhh. I get it now. I did get that. That’s what I asked for. She didn’t make many suggestions for changes. She treated it like it was sacrosanct as a poor incest victims story. It was allowed to ramble and be weird.

Ack. But then people don’t want to buy it and it isn’t actually telling the story I want to tell. I can’t always see when I’m doing that without this ridiculous analytical reading that is really hard to do. A page takes me multiple hours. Actually reading something and dealing with the errors is god damn fucking hard work. Why do you think the overall production values of everything in the everything has gone down? (And why I make no promises about my blog entries. These are not polished pieces, yo.)

But the book was supposed to be. And it so clearly isn’t. I feel kind of morally offended by that. In order to motivate that kind of interest you either need a True Fan or someone who is going to make money off the writing. I had neither. Such is life. I’m slowly progressing on editing. It’s hard. I need to set specific goals and plow through it though. Bleh. Yuck. Bleh.

I am running. I’m tired and I’m switching my days for workouts around like crazy but I’m getting through everything. I have a 10k at the end of April. So far my standard for 5ks has been “I pray for under forty minutes”. I’m hoping to do the 10k in eighty minutes.

That means maintaining a standard pace just barely faster than 1km in eight minutes. That means .62 miles in eight minutes. That means I’ll have to run at least 11:50 through the whole damn race. That is way way way faster than I did the marathon. (My marathon average was 15:40/mile. I’m serious when I say I walked a marathon. I’m still hella proud.)

This pace is going to be a huge stretch for me. My race partner may have a different set of goals and staying together is more important than time to me. Additionally: I’m all for wimping out at mile five and crawling the last mile if I feel bad. Flexibility.

What is the goal: the method or the result? Let’s be clear that when it comes to crossing six miles of distance speed vs. just reaching the finish line is a very different set of goals. I no longer fear not reaching the finish line physically… unless I push myself too hard. I am not in amazing physical shape. I’m in good shape. But I’m not an experienced athlete. I have ramped up at a pretty reasonable rate all things considered.

Every body is where it is. You can’t be too hard-lined about “goals” because progress not perfection kind of trumps any stuck on points. It is quite possible I’m not physically capable of running that fast for that long… yet. I may have to work longer before I reach that goal. I sure as fuck would not have been able to do the marathon at that pace. Not given the conditions (high eighties in temperature, high eighties in humidity, really terrible air quality, I started my period at mile thirteen along with horrible cramps). I just couldn’t expect different from myself that day.

I have to still be alive tomorrow to try again. I have to make it to today. If the pace is more important than anything else I might injure myself and then there won’t ever be another try no matter what. And maybe the rest of my life will be a lot harder. Because I was stupid and careless because I don’t care very much if I continue to stay alive.

I really can’t do that any more. Not if I want to be here for more nights of “I love you soooo much”. I want that more than I want anything else. So I will learn how to be good to my body. So I can have as many of those nights as I can.

The passion and the pain are going to keep you alive some day.

I should probably go start breakfast.

No one ever knows the long-term value of what they do. That knowledge is given to no creature. If I want to be a character that has existed then there must be record of that. Only I care to create that record. Noah is invested in supporting this branch of growth on his family tree. He sees it as vital to his long-term success. I’m not sure how I snow balled him.

I think that talking about suicide is something I need to be able to do. My grandmother killed herself. She overdosed. She had been trying for decades. My mother has stories of cleaning up blood after she got home from school because her mother was cutting her wrists again. My brother killed himself. He left the residential care facility where he lived because he had a severe brain injury and would never be able to care for himself again. He walked to a gas station and bought a can of gasoline. He went behind a local grocery store and lit himself on fire. My father sat in the garage with the motor running.

Have I mentioned that I have turned my garage into a really nice room? Ok, technically I have done nothing permanent because city ordinance says it must be able to hold a car at all times and my response would be “give me three minutes and a person to help me move furniture”. That’s not a permanent room. But it’s a really nice place to hang out. There are not likely to be cars in here.

Harm Reduction means being honest about the patterns of behavior in your life. It means setting specific goals and working to reduce the harm you are inflicting on yourself. Usually you are inflicting the harm (hair pulling, cutting, biting your nails, drinking alcohol, picking at scabs, doing most recreational drugs including pot, any obsessive repetitive damage to your body really) because you are trying to relieve stress from some other place in your life.

Noah said he read an article claiming that the first person likely to live over a thousand years is probably alive today. Think about mortality. It’s changing. The brackets are shifting. Where do I want to be on that scale? I don’t want to live a thousand years. That sounds like work. I would rather just live. But I have a rather lot of decades of work in front of me.

What am I going to do when I grow up? I will probably experience an unprecedented to my species amount of freedom after my children are adults. I will still be married to this guy who thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. I know the deall: there is some travel he wants to do and otherwise I have to do it alone and not be gone too long or too often. Too long is going to be tested a lot over the years as we figure out what that means.

Statistically speaking I am extremely likely to die by my own choice. Sometimes just sitting with that in the pit of my stomach is very hard. You know what they say about statistics? There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I believe in self-fulfilling prophesies. I believe the only thing that ever can or has changed the world is someone deciding they want to do it. Yes, of course coalitions are awesome and all… but it takes individuals having a specific vision. A dream, if you will. Otherwise there is no call to exit one’s torpor and do anything. If you are not living up to your vision of yourself… what are you doing instead? Why is there a discrepancy? Are you realistically going to change your life?

Then either change or decide to be happy, right? Happiness isn’t about getting what you want it’s about enjoying what you have. I think I saw that on Pinterest recently.

I want security. I want to have roots. I want a place to come back to. I want community. I want to be allowed to exist without carefully following the rules about what I am or am not allowed to talk about. I like fully informed opt-in relationships.

Now I’m just procrastinating. It was nice to write. I haven’t spent this much time on it in a while. Sometimes it is funny to me the way that writing is one of the most purely satisfying activities I do. I have thought. There. Evidence. Ha. Take that Universe. I have taken up space. In a technological world I have taken up a space smaller than a pin head. Whoop.

But we never know what our impact will be. We have to just exist. And get out of our houses. That’s important whether you like it or not. To be honest I don’t like it very much but I try hard not to take my dislike out on the people who are randomly unlucky and happen to be standing next to me. It isn’t dislike of the people. It is dislike of being out of my house.

It took me a long time to understand that and really fully feel it. I enjoy my work here. I enjoy feeling like I am doing things to work towards my long-term happiness. I am enjoying the physical work and when I am older and less able to work hard I will get to sit in my garden in the shade and enjoy a lifetime of work. Hopefully while babysitting for grandkids who will visit a lot so that I get to know other children deeply.

Now I get it. Now a lot more things make sense to me.

But I have other things I need to do first. Like breakfast. Ugh.

Bucket list: Run a marathon

 For many years I have said, “Some day I will run a marathon.” I’m aware that a lot of people say that. My ex-boyfriend said it all the time. He still hasn’t. I suppose the idea came into my head because my brother Jimmy is a runner. I asked him in February of 2011 to commit to doing a marathon with me. It was a tentative step towards developing a relationship. We have never been close. Kids in families like ours aren’t allowed to be close.
In May of 2011 my Uncle Bob died. Uncle Bob was the man in my childhood who loved me and cared for me without sexually assaulting me. My family didn’t tell me he was in the hospital or that they were taking him off of life support. My niece decided I should know and she called me. He died while I was stuck in traffic less than five miles away from the hospital.
Something inside me broke. My sister asked me if I had “ever lost someone close to me before” and turned red with fury when I responded, “like our father or our brother Tommy?” I wasn’t allowed to bring them up. They “didn’t count” because they both abused me and sexually assaulted me. I went home and outed myself as an incest survivor on the internet. My brother Jimmy didn’t think that was ok. He told me I was melodramatic and looking for attention. I haven’t spoken to him since. Since my family all decided they were done with me I figured it was a good time to finally write the story of my childhood. I did so in November of 2011.
In January of 2012 I asked my housemate/co-parent to move out, which was stressful and emotionally hard. I also started running. I decided that even though I wouldn’t actually be doing it with Jimmy I was going to do the marathon anyway. We were planning on Long Beach because it is one of the flattest marathons in the state. I registered. I looked up training plans and put them on my Google Calendar for the next ten months.
When you decide to do something there is this waiting period. You want to do it and it is going to be ridiculously hard—how do you get there? I’ve never done anything physically taxing like this before. The only running I previously had done was getting away from people who wanted to beat the shit out of me. I did one year of t-ball and less than a full season of little league. I was “catcher” for one pitch. I missed and it hit me in the stomach and made me puke and cry. They stuck me in the outfield and I got sick of going after a couple of weeks. So I had no basis of “fitness” to build on.
It’s probably worth mentioning that I am a stay at home mom with two kids. They are two and four. So I’ve been doing this running while trying to manage them. Finding time has been interesting. For the first five months I ran in the afternoons after my husband got off work because none of my runs took very long. Once the runs started getting longer and longer I switched to leaving my house by six in the morning. I have no childcare. I have to make use of what little time my husband has available. He is a software engineer so he is out of the house a minimum of 45 hours a week and often more than that. And he wrote a book this year so he doesn’t have a lot of time available for helping me. It’s been stressful.
I hear a lot of people talk about how running is supposed to improve a persons mood. I have no idea who these people are but it doesn’t bloody work for me. I have spent the year crying. I cry before I run. I cry while I run. I cry when I get home. I have a lot of grief. I’m crying for Uncle Bob. I’m crying for my father. I’m crying for my mother. I’m crying for my sister and my brothers. I’m crying for my niece and nephews. I cry and feel worthless and empty. It doesn’t matter how I feel on any given day. I know what I have to do. I schedule things so I don’t have to wonder what a day will require.
I have asked myself over and over all year why this is important to me. Why am I torturing myself? Am I running because my brother is a runner? Because I want to prove that I am a fucking Archer whether my family wants to acknowledge that I am alive or not? Because I want to be a bad ass? Because… I don’t even know. I said I would do it. If I quit or stop then I become just one more person who makes promises and doesn’t keep them. I said I would run the Long Beach Marathon.
About a month before the event a good friend ran a twenty mile race near her home in Portland, Oregon. I was kidding when I said, “Hey if you trained up to this mileage then a full marathon is easy. Come do it with me!” Surprisingly she said yes. Within hours she had talked to her husband and booked a flight.
The last month of training was both the hardest and the easiest. All of a sudden I wasn’t on this terrible solo death march of feeling abandoned. I had to keep training because Ali was coming. Ali loves me. I still had a lot of days where I cried so hard my knees buckled and I fell to the ground and cried until I couldn’t cry any more. Then I got up and ran again. The good days came more often.
Six days before the race I drove to Southern California with my family. We were off to Disneyland! The girls and I had a lot of fun getting in my last walking miles in the park. The day before the race Ali was supposed to fly down first thing in the morning. Her flight was delayed. At the first notice I started feeling a little worried but I thought she would make it and it would be fine.
Six hours later they cancelled her flight entirely. I was afraid that was the end. I didn’t sob on the phone to Ali. I only freaked out a little in text. Her amazing husband jumped on the internet and booked her another flight. It was later and going into a different airport and it would be a lot more complicated—but she would get to SoCal. Unfortunately she would get there too late to pick up her race bib. She emailed me a picture of her ID and her husband emailed me a waver to print so I could pick up her bib for her. We live in the future!
I drove down to the Expo by myself. I didn’t want to be focused on my kids while I was trying to figure out where to go. I wasn’t feeling patient. I checked the lists of people registered. My brother’s name wasn’t on it. After a year of heart pounding anxiety worrying about seeing him that was rather anticlimactic if you ask me.
So I picked up the bibs and went back to our hotel room. I angsted and fussed. Ali got to her moms-in-law’s house. I arrived around 7:30. We talked more than we should have. It would have been impossible to avoid. I hardly ever get to see her. Talking to her feels really good. So we didn’t get to sleep till around 11 pm. I slept till 2:30 am. Then I woke up to use the bathroom and the crying started. I cried until Ali woke up around 5:30. I cried because I didn’t have one more chance to see anyone in my family. They are just done with me. I think there was some big part of me that was praying that Jimmy would see me and hug me. I haven’t said that out loud all year. I was afraid to hope. I was smart.
We woke up and piddled around getting ready. Ali had trouble forcing her way through her breakfast so we left about fifteen minutes after we were supposed to. That’s ok, we left a little bit of a buffer. Then it turned out that the person driving the vehicle had a different opinion about the optimal way to get to the race grounds. An opinion that was unfortunately not born out in reality. We were blocked continually by the race track. Whoops. Eventually we went around on the freeway (what Ali was campaigning hard for from the beginning, apparently—I was fairly unaware of this subtext) and arrived at the race. We had just enough time to stop at the port-a-potties before the last wave started. We hurried. We made it into the last wave and settled in for our run.
I’d like to say it was wonderful because I was with Ali and in many ways it was. She sang me silly songs. She encouraged and coaxed. She helped me through the rough parts. There were a lot of rough parts. The first big problem was the air quality. I am not used to SoCal air quality. I felt like I had to chew each breath before swallowing. It was really hard to run. I was dizzy and nauseated. We walked a lot. It was also almost twenty degrees hotter than either of us are used to running in. Oh and the humidity. The humidity was nightmarish (thus the bad air quality). We were wet all day and crusted in salt. But the real kicker? I started my period at mile 13 along with terrible cramps that made me want to go to bed and curl up and cry. Luckily Ali had extra tampons. Yay for planning ahead. A medical station provided some ibuprofen. I had to finish.
It was beautiful traveling along the ocean. The city of Long Beach is certainly picturesque. One of the most disheartening moments of the race was when the half marathoners split off and we went from being part of a large crowd to being one of the stragglers. It was a little sad for me to realize how far behind the pack of “runners” we were for the marathon. Really we mostly walked. I ran as much as I could but I didn’t want to faint or puke so it wasn’t that much.
In the end our running time was 6:47. We finished seven and a half minutes before they closed the finish line. We were part of the last wave and they only keep the finish line open for 7:30 hours. It’s a darn good thing we weren’t just a hair later and that I managed to run as much as I did.
I did it. I finished the Long Beach Marathon. Thank you Ali. Near as I can tell this is the hardest thing I have ever done with another person. I’m so glad I had you. I won’t forget.
The flea had a gleam in his eye. (Silly song Ali sang.) I think it was because he was plotting. He was wondering how hard it was going to be to run. He wanted to know if he could keep up with you too.
I won’t do another marathon with you. Can we do a half next time? That’s only half as crazy. Next time on your turf with better air quality.

 PS- Sharing is caring.

Three hours left

I’m scared. I don’t even know exactly why. I feel terrible sorrow that my family will never know nor care about anything I do. I slept for about three hours. Other than that I’ve been crying.

I feel so stupid. I’m 31. I’m about to run a marathon. I will do fine. I’ve trained and all. The only thing I can think about is how much I want my mother. I would give anything if my mother could love me. I could do anything.

This is why I am nice to my children. I don’t want them to spend their lives crying and wondering why they aren’t deserving of love.

Emotional volatility, yup that’s me.

My brother is not racing. Blacksheep’s plane was delayed six hours then cancelled. She caught a much later flight to a totally different airport. She will arrive at her moms-in-law’s house less than twelve hours before the race.

That’s pretty god damn intense. She is working hard to get here. Wow.

I can’t get more pot. Apparently SoCal dispensaries require you to have the Full Letter from your doctor. I’ve never been asked for it before. Fuck. I cried all the way back from the dispensary. I went to three checking.

I feel like I am supposed to be in many places at once, always being nice. I’m not nice. I want to scream and jump up and down and kick things.

I have completely shredded my cheeks, tongue, and parts of my gums from anxiety. I can’t cut anymore so I will apparently suck on my mouth like I’m on ecstasy. I guess I shouldn’t even have written the word yesterday. Ha. I’m not on e. I’m very sober. It’s shitty.

It will work out. I may go home a day early. Yes, I’m that lame right now. It’s either that or sit in the hotel room crying because there is no way I will be able to handle crowds the day after the marathon sober. Just no. I don’t have that to give right now.

We’ll see. I’m tired. My neck hurts. I’ve had a headache for days. I haven’t actually packed for the marathon yet (I’m not sleeping here tonight). I think I am avoiding doing so because I want to quit. I don’t want to run. But Blacksheep went to an awful lot of trouble. And I know my brother won’t be there. It’s a bucket list thing.

My brother decided not to do it. I don’t know why. I will never know why. I will probably never see anyone who shares my blood other than my children again. I’m really glad I have kids. A bucket list wouldn’t be enough today.

This is what I medicate away from. This sensation of being trapped in a rusty bear trap. I would like to chew off my leg just to get away from the trap. Surely whatever damage I do to myself doesn’t matter. I just need to get away.

Awake but too early to run.

Today is only fourteen miles. When did more than a half marathon become “only” fourteen miles? It was a gradual process. In my mind and body I am already looking ahead to running twenty miles in seven days. I want it. I want to run the marathon. I want it. I want to do it. I want it so bad I itch and twitch and nervously sweat thinking about it.  Twenty-nine days and counting.

I can tell that right now my depression is pretty bad. I kind of hate everyone and everything in the world. I hate that I am told over and over that I an only ______ if I have __________ and I never fucking have the prerequisites. I will never have “the support necessary to heal”. I will always be alone. No, I don’t have a higher power to depend on. At this point in my life that isn’t going to work.

Because when I think very hard about it–I am getting it done. But I’m getting it done with a lot of fear and effort and work and crying. But it’s getting done. I’m already 20% through my parenting time. This phase of my life is not going to be forever. I believe in my heart of hearts that once I am done with the baby phase things will be easier.

Babies and toddlers are triggering. Arwyn wrote about that first. Babies and toddlers hit you and scream right into your ear over and over. They hurt you and you can’t do anything to defend yourself. My relationships with Shanna and Calli are the last fucking time in my life I will god damn let any mother fucker hit me. Well, maybe Noah–but that’s different.

If anyone other than my kids treated me the way my kids do I would give them a black eye. I’m fucking serious. If a god damn adult or teenager hurt me casually, fucking constantly, I would deck them. This isn’t ok. But it’s not on purpose. It’s an accident. They don’t mean to be so rough. You can’t get mad at a baby. Thus I stay stoned. So I’m not angry. So I’m not hateful. So that my brain is able to understand, “Oh, you aren’t attacking me. You aren’t a threat.” Plus having my sense of touch deadened by the pot is a great thing for me. Heightened arousal is kind of a nightmare after a while.

I love them so much. I have to believe they are worth the time and energy I put into them. I have to. It means I don’t have much left for myself or any one else.

Shanna keeps asking me about my mom. And about us. “What do I do if when I’m a grown up I dislike you the way you dislike your mommy?” “Well baby, if you decide you feel about me when you grow up the way I feel about my mommy I’m not sure I am the right person to ask. You will need to ask Marcie and Kitten and P and K and those other people who love you very much to help you. You are not going to be alone in this world, ever. There are people who love you and who will help you. And I don’t dislike my mom. I’m just not going to let her hurt me or you and she can’t really help hurting people. I hope I never treat you the way my mom treats me. If I do you will be right to protect yourself. I hope you never need to.”

What else can I say? It’s hard. It’s so very hard. I miss my mom. I miss my mom in ways large and small. I don’t dislike her. How can I explain? My mom told me over and over from when I was tiny that I was bad and that everything was my fault. If there is a fucking tsunami is southeast Asia it is my fault for being disgusting. I am aware that she wouldn’t make Shanna or Calli the scapegoat–I would still be that. I don’t want her to teach my kids that I am to blame for everything bad in the world. I’m not. I’m really not.

I am not doing well with that whole “making friends” part of life lately. Talking to adults is hard. How do you carry on a conversation when all you can see in your head is slow moving pictures of all the gore involved in shoving a head through a window. I know what it does quite well, actually. That’s why Tommy had to start wearing a helmet. He put his head through several windows. I know exactly what it does because I have cleaned up blood and glass and hair matter before. This is not news. I want to hurt. I want to make a big mess. I want to fucking inconvenience people because I am hurting. But I won’t. I’ll just see it in my head a lot. To the point where sometimes it is kind of hard to see the people in front of me, honestly.

I’m having a very hard time with not mutilating. In my head the things I “should” do are escalating terribly. I want to hurt me so much I can barely breathe. I feel like I am choking on the need to feel pain. I am disgusting. I am bad. I need to stop looking for help. The harder I look for help without finding it the more I believe I am worthless. No one will help because I don’t deserve help. Maybe other people do, but not me. I should just die. It would be better for the entire species.

I’ve sent out a bunch of emails looking for therapists. I’ve left messages. I don’t get calls back. I really am just too much trouble. I really hate me right now. I feel like all I want to do is go through the litany of why I hate me. Why I am disgusting and bad. Why I deserve everything that happens to me. Why I deserve so much more bad than I have gotten lately. Why it is time for someone to brutally hurt me–because I’m a piece of shit and that is what I deserve.

This is when I used to describe really elaborate scenes to Tom. Then he would act them out and hurt me as much as I wanted to be hurt. Noah isn’t Tom. Things work differently between us.

I don’t know what the road looks like. But it’s 4:51 and I would like to be on the road around 5. I should probably stop typing and start getting dressed. I’m giving myself four and a half hours to leisurely stroll down the fourteen miles. I’m hoping I beat people there so I can sit on the ground and stretch for a while first. That makes the food experience more pleasant.

A friend said on facebook that she will meet us at the restaurant. It is still continually surprising to me–I have friends. I don’t really understand this “friend” thing. Friends give you what they have to spare. A different friend gave me arm braces (thank you J!) so I will hopefully not kill my body on the next book. I don’t understand people giving their spare to me. Shouldn’t they give it to someone who is capable of giving them something back? I feel like I have nothing to give. I feel like an empty shell. I try to just decide that I don’t need to decide what other people get from a relationship with me. If they pick a relationship with me they probably know what they are getting. I don’t really do a lot of misleading advertising or anything.

I am a needy piece of shit. I have nothing to offer. I’m hostile and angry and tense. My experience of the world has been pretty unpleasant and it shows. I try to hide it but I can only do so much. I don’t understand why anyone would want to know me. I’m not sure I would want to know someone as angry as I am.

I think this is going to be a very crying filled fourteen miles. Slow. Just walking. It will be fine. Even though I feel sad, even though I am going to move slowly I will still be going towards Noah. Noah wants me. Noah wants me more than he has ever wanted anything or anyone. (Ok, maybe he wants to be a programmer more than he wants to be with me–maybe.)

When people in the recovery world ask about “support” and I say “I have a husband” it’s not really what they mean. It’s not good to be as dependent on a partner as I am on Noah. But he’s all I have. He is the only person on this planet who picked me and wants me. It makes it a lot easier to keep going because I know he will be on the far side. I can’t repay Noah’s support by forcing him to clean up bloody messes as I hurt myself. He deserves better.

neeeeeeedy

I wanted to write about fifteen miles while it was fresh in my mind. I didn’t. It was euphoric and triumphant. Tomorrow morning I am going to do sixteen miles. I’m changing directions slightly for the early part and adding hill. I’m a little nervous. I’m hoping to once again make it in four hours. That’s cocky. That’s really cocky. We are meeting at the same place. Mmmm rewarding noodles.

It’s hard knowing that it is probably smart for people to keep me out at arms length. If you keep me out at arms length I never start to have expectations of you. I won’t let myself feel like I need something from you. For me to have needs in the direction of people is usually the kiss of death. Noah is the last man standing.

Does that make me straight?

I think about that a lot lately. I think about self-identity. What is the point? The point is that if someone wants to know what the difference is between having sex with someone who is transgendered, transvestite, or a butch dyke I can describe it in great detail from personal experience. It was all fun.

Sometimes I look at Noah and feel kind of weird. It’s sort of ironic that I married someone from a small Texas town who had some kind of semi-status from inherited position there. Given my history I mean. And together we are very cis-gendered.

What does being queer mean, anyway?

What does being a “runner” mean? If I walk sixteen miles tomorrow because I am tired am I a “runner”?

I have endurance. I am persistant to the limits I can achieve with my body. I’m not naturally athletic or gifted. I’m stubborn. I’m angry. I’m sad. I have so much grief. I want to prove to myself that I am as good as my brother. No, I’m not as fast as him. I hope he has matured to the point where he wouldn’t be an asshole about that. I think so.

I’m scared to see him and I’m scared not to see him. He despises me. He despises what I have done and who I am and that I had the utter gall to talk about it in public. But I’m going to drive my husband nuts with having to accomodate me as I train for a marathon on my brother’s turf.

Fuck you. You can’t tell me that I am weak. I am here. And at the end I will still be standing.

Lately I feel very weak. I have a lot of needs that are going unmet. I’m getting brittle. It’s hard because I can only handle asking someone to meet a need of mine if I am very ok with the answer being “no”. If I can’t take a no then I can’t ask. If I ask when I can’t afford to be told no and I don’t get help I will turn my frustration and rage on my unsuspecting friend. That’s not fair. I don’t do that.

Right now there is a towering avalanche of need. But I am so afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending people or being disappointed that I don’t know how to deal with any of it. There are a lot of different things going on right now I can’t talk about in writing. That’s hard for me. That feels silencing. That makes me feel angry on top of whatever I’m feeling anyway.

I’m sure some rational person would say, “Well why don’t you just write it and keep it private then”.

I don’t know. I learned a long time ago that I don’t write for me, exactly. I can only write if I believe someone is reading it. I have never been able to consistently maintain a paper journal but if someone speaks up and says, “By the way I read your blog every day. I care about you.” Motherfucker I’ll write every day. I’ll find the time. I will conjure it out of thin air.

It feels sick. This need in me to be seen. I started crying earlier when I realized I treat that ridiculous random validation as the closest thing I will ever have to a mother checking in on me. I feel so alone in the world. Multiple people asked me if I was ok.

It’s kind of hard for me when people notice me. I feel like Eeyore. I used to play games with not posting on my blog for months at a stretch and people didn’t notice. I took that as validation that people wouldn’t notice or be particularly impacted if I died. It actually made me feel better. Because suicide was an option that would be far less selfish for me than most people. Before I got married. Before I had kids.

I don’t have anyone in my life other than Noah with whom I have an intense on-going relationship. Ok, Shanna and Calli. Every other person in my life spends very few hours with me during the course of a year.

If I don’t write on the internet, do I exist?

If I don’t write on the internet I am surely invisible. My pragmatic self says that if I don’t write on the internet people only know the handful of sentences we exchange in person. That isn’t knowing me even slightly. From that I will decide I should be invisible. I will always believe that is just and right and the natural order of things. People like me are born bad. We should suffer in silence. If we talk about what is going on in our minds then we are traumatizing people and we don’t have the right to do that.

I’m scared of the hunt for a new therapist. During my last search I had a few one time only visits. Including with someone who told me point blank that I should never participate in group therapy or write about my experiences in a public way because that is abusive and traumatizing to the people who hear or read about my life. I don’t have the right to do that.

I have to be very careful who I allow to be an authority in my life. I have done too many things that make me already damned in the eyes of many. For a great many people I am already beyond redemption. If you think I am exaggerating then you have lead a very privileged life. I have to be careful who I allow to judge me. Well, I have to be careful if I am going to care about that judgment.

So when people tell me to just “get over” my experiences. Well, despite the fact that it makes me feel pathetic I may well be in therapy the rest of my life. They are going to always be the longest running relationships in my life outside of Noah and the kids. I need to have something. It’s very easy to deem this need pathetic if you have ways of getting your needs met that are simply not available to me.

I don’t know who are what I am defending myself against. The voices in my head. The reasons my throat feels choked all the time. I should be silent. Just shut up. Just listen. Nothing you have to say is interesting any way. Stop. Fucking. Whining.

I go to bed and wake up thinking that I want to die. I want to stop feeling this way. It hurts to move. It hurts all the time. And I don’t know what to do other than wait it out. That’s what I’ve always done. But this time I can’t do any of the impulsive things I have always done. It’s really hard. I feel like I am vibrating with tension. My muscles radiate.

I need to stretch more. I need to sleep more. I need to rest more. I need.. I need a mommy I can call and say, “Come love my babies for me so I can sleep.” But I don’t have one. And that’s just life.

I have to believe that my grief matters. Whether any one else does or not. I have to. I miss my mother. The price I pay for being allowed to go about my life without being abused is that aching hole inside me. There is a cost to everything. I miss my mother. I miss my mother like I would miss an amputated limb. I reach for her. I smell her. I see her in the mirror and in my children.

I want my mother so much I feel like I am going to explode. But contacting her would be the worst thing in the world. For everyone. For me. For my kids. For my mom. Because if I yo-yo back and forth and ask them to make it up to me I am setting myself up in the power position. I’m saying I want to be the next abuser. No. No. No.

There is a lot more I want to say. There isn’t much more I can dance around with anything resembling eloquence. And besides, I have to get up and walk (I will jog!) sixteen miles.

I will be able to call myself a marathoner. I’ll be crafty and specific. I didn’t saying “running”. That way I deal with no assholes and I still make my point.

It feels pathetic to want to figure out who I am. I am nothing. I came from nothing that should be. Nothing I can claim. I am nothing on my own in the world. I exist in relationship to three people.

I’m telling you people, my family had better not die in a freak crash without me. I won’t make it through the day. I’m only a little paranoid about them dying. But I do cry if the word comes through my head. I can’t lose them. They are all I have.

I need sleep. Sleep. Go to sleep. Stop crying. Sleep. Stretch first. It’ll be ok. Really. It’s always ok in the end. If it’s not ok yet, it’s not the end. If you’re going through hell, etc.

Mental illness is a liar.

Running buddy

I wrote up a long post yesterday. Apparently my computer ate it. Internet in my house is very flakey. I am not impressed. Thank you to the folks who are worried about me. I appreciate people checking in. It makes me feel loved. I was pinged more than once yesterday. It made me smile.

Life is really busy. I’m anxious and fussy and exhausted. I’m thinking a lot. I’m really struggling with the running. In a fit of desperation yesterday I poked a friend and strongly hinted that she would be physically capable of doing the marathon with me. I didn’t think it would go anywhere. I was being a pest. Within an hour or so she had arranged to fly from a different state and stay with her family so she can run with me. She’ll pretty much only be there for the race. So she can hold my hand.

I need to go run and cry about how very unworthy I am right now. I’m really grateful that I have her to look forward to at the end of this training, now. It gives me a lot more impetus to not quit. I’ve been feeling sad and overwhelmed. I can do the running. I am struggling to deal with the fact that this running is making me too tired to really be functional doing a lot of other things. I have seven weeks of training to go. It’s feeling too long. Too hard. But now I can’t quit. Now there is no option in any way shape or form of quitting.

I’m really glad. I was starting to feel like a quitter in my head. Like there isn’t a point in me doing this. There isn’t much point in me doing anything besides wiping other peoples asses and washing dishes.

But someone wants to run with me. I won’t be alone. I’ve been singing various songs about her. Her name rhymes with “don’t have to be alone” if you get the syllables right. I don’t understand why she cares enough about me to just up and do this. But I’m really grateful. I’m really grateful.

It will be a very long day.

I have a theory as to why significantly more men than women run marathons. It’s because men don’t have to bleed every month. Today I have to run a half marathon and then go work a full shift at Wicked Grounds (come visit, ok?). I started bleeding yesterday. I’m pretty fucking uncomfortable. My lower back is quite unhappy with life.

What I would like to do right now is get an old fashioned hot water bottle and fill it and a new fangled heating pad. I want to lie in the fetal position with the hot water on the front of my belly and the heating pad on my lower back. Instead I am going to get dressed in that rabidly uncomfortable sports bra (My last long run caused me to get a rash from rubbing) and run for three or so hours. Because of how my body feels I’m going to aim for three and a half hours. Which is more than twenty minutes longer than my previous time for this distance. I hurt.

I should probably take some pain medication. Today will probably also be a day for caffeine. I have to start running no later than 5:30 if I want to do everything on time today. It’s going to be a very long day. I’ve already been up for a while taking care of Calli.

But I’m a fucking bad ass and I can do anything. Time to run.

Compulsions

I’m obsessively staring at my training schedule. I’m scared. This week I run twenty miles for the first time this round. Woof. The peak of training gives me forty miles in a week. I am lovingly and loathingly (yes I know that isn’t a word) noticing that hell week is my birthday week. I turn thirty-one and then immediately have to run forty miles in the five days following. I don’t fuck around.

I’m scared and elated. I’m going to do this. It can be done by a human being therefore it is god damn going to be done by me. I will. I won’t fuck this up. Perseverance is one of my more admirable attributes. Tenacious as a honey badger. I tell myself while running in my “Badass as a Honey Badger” tshirt. I’m the exact opposite of sexy.

I don’t know how to be this person in the world. I don’t know how to be open to people and yet not available. I have committed my life and all that I am elsewhere. How do I have time for other people? You just do. You have to. You have to be part of something bigger. At least I do. I need to have friendships. I’m having trouble keeping my panties on. I have a hard time not sitting on peoples laps. That is how I break the ice. But that’s ice I don’t need to be breaking ever again. Awkward.

There is this reserve developing. Now there are parts of me I will defend with a machete. Off limits. It is scary for me to think about having to say no at some point. I am nervous because I like to stand in places where asking is significantly more friendly than not asking. Most folks go out to hunt. I don’t even know what I’m hunting for.

I want people who want to know my kids. Who want to part of my familial dynamic. Who want to have a real space in my life. Most people fill these roles with family. Most people think of friendships as low stakes. I will always be a low stakes relationship. I will always be who they see when people are “avoiding their family”.

Part of what I have been thinking about while running lately is how it isn’t my fault I don’t have a family. It’s not like I am less deserving than other people. But you roll the dice and you take what you get. There is no deserving in life. I am not physically capable of keeping the silence my family of origin required of me. That just can’t be asked of me. Too late. I’m an evil liar, blah blah, whatever. It doesn’t matter what I deserve. It matters what I can create with my hands and my mind. It matters what effect I have on the world.

When I ask former students what I taught them they say that I taught them to like themselves. That’s a fuck load more than my family did for me. My family taught me that when the men and boys in my family couldn’t find a willing pussy it was my job to lie down and provide.

What can I create? What can I be? What matters? If you can’t be a good example be a horrible warning?

I don’t know. I’m afraid to take pride in anything. I don’t want to develop a weak spot where I can be attacked. I don’t want to feel insecure about someone letting me know that I actually really suck at that thing I think I am good at. I am terrified to build myself up.

I’m well into training for a marathon. I don’t talk about it much in person. I don’t think anyone gives a shit. I think they listen with glazed eyes so I should just shut up and let them tell me what they are doing. That’s all they care about anyway. Why don’t I brag about this? I’m fucking doing it. I’m out running four days a week and stretching and doing strength training. I’m doing it. I’m not going to win speed records and that’s ok! Doing this is a fairly big deal. Why do I minimize this to myself? Why do I act like I’m not doing this good enough? Why do I feel like if I am doing it then it must not be that hard. I’m nothing special. If I can do it then it must not be a big deal. Talking about it is rather fraught, so I don’t.

It’s kind of weird, this being a writer. I have been blogging fairly consistently for nearly nine years. A number of people have read basically all of it. That’s a large body of knowledge about my life. But it was acquired in a room without me in it. There was no shared intimacy. This is very similar to the sexual exhibitionism. I feel like a freak because I can’t talk about a period of my life without talking about how and why my sexuality went through a massive change. And for me that has meant a lot of different partners and different approaches to sex. I understand why my former therapist asked me pointed questions about multiple personalities.

If I make sure people only see me in a certain set of circumstances with a certain environment I can tailor my behavior. I can be appropriate with great effort. If I keep people out at arms length. That’s kind of awkward with this whole out thing. Now I don’t really know what people are thinking about when they look at me. Oh holy fucking shit. For most of my writing life I’ve known the dozen or so people who seriously followed my writing. We had dinner so that I could fill in the bits on the stories I won’t tell in public. I tailor what I share with the world. I feel odd wondering what that actually looks like. How close is it to me?

What is more real, after all? The image that I carefully construct in writing (or rather the image that free form spews out of my brain never to be looked at or thought about again–I couldn’t reread the volume I produce; there isn’t enough time in the day) or how I behave? I’m never really sure. If you are judging me by how I behave then which group of friends will you judge by? I’m very different in different settings.

Compulsive hypersexuality is kind of a funny thing. If I think back I can see parallel lines between when I started smoking pot and when I stopped sleeping around. I guess I traded addictions. I am a very compulsive person. Right now I’m having a hard time with food. I’m having trouble respecting my body’s “full” signal. I’m making myself hurt. And I’m gaining weight… while training for a marathon. I’m eating a lot.

I’m scared because I think I’m getting closer to one of those periods where I feel the need to experience pain. That was how it worked with Tom. That was what our relationship did for me. I stayed with Tom instead of cutting. He was a reliable source of discomfort. He provided the hogties that fueled his masturbatory life and he was willing to play a lot harder to meet my needs. I think I came up with most of our heaviest play. In no way shape or form was I a victim. But I’m very compulsive. And I have a strong disinterest in my continued physical safety. Or had, anyway.

It is weird looking over at Noah. He’s biting his finger nail. He’s the only person I will ever have sex with again. Well, barring early death. If he kicks the bucket I’m not staying celibate for his memory. I’m not that devoted. He wouldn’t either and fair is fair. It’s weird looking at him. I get to sit here and have this intense feeling of power and ownership. He is mine. I don’t have to check his google calendar so I can schedule a date with my husband. I don’t have to know when he is out dating and fill that time carefully in a way I can handle without crying or freaking out. He does go out and do things occasionally, but it is rare. What he is doing with his time is hanging out with his kids and his wife. I feel really special. This really amazing person wants me. He does have kind of a funny hunch back. I guess we truly are perfect for each other. I’m not quite Beauty and he’s not quite the Beast. He’s not all the way to Quasimodo either so he still works for me. Definitely cute enough to be the hero.

While I’m running I’m playing over the years in my head. What am I going to write about? Which relationships are the most important? How can I show the pivotal times and places and people? How am I going to set the different tones of the different parts of my life? How am I going to make it obvious in text that my behavior radically changes based on where I am standing? How do I make an image of me that is real and true?

The first book was what happened to me. A lot of it I couldn’t change. I could have made different decisions, maybe. Whatever. It’s over. What happened when I was an adult is different. I had agency. I made choices. I acted. I wanted. I was compulsive. I learned to manage my compulsions in a variety of ways. What did that trial and error process look like? What bridges did I burn and when and how and why in the process? I’m trying to get my head around the whole story arc and it feels so large. So complex. I feel like a freak as I carefully compare the continuing evolution of my behavior in separate, non-adjacent parts of my life. What did I learn? How did I learn it?

I don’t know. I can’t find an object lesson in my life. I survived. I just did. That was all I did. I can’t make a lesson out of it. Maybe it is closer to a horrible warning. I feel bad about that though. I’m not. I have had a fairly decent adulthood. I want to explain why rape is just such a casual part of my life. I want to really work through all the connections between different parts of myself growing up.

Tom gave me a safe space to grow up. He hurt me when I asked nicely so that I could deal with my urge to self mutilate. After Tom I went on to drugs and a rather indecent amount of casual sex. And graduate school. And teaching. And dancing. More travel.

I’ve done a lot of things. Not all of it has been sex. Yet when I think of myself I see nothing of potential interest outside of sex. That says a lot about my priorities.

I am trying to figure out how to be proud of myself without sounding like I am bragging. I’m not bragging. I’m telling the truth. Sometimes the truth sounds cool and sometimes it sounds fucking embarrassing. Bah humbug. It’s time to go to sleep.

The half-marathon.

Three hours and eight minutes. I only went over three hours because I had to stop and wait in a huge line for a bathroom break.  That took quite a while, it was ridiculous. I did not enjoy yesterday. It was definitely one of my shittiest running days ever. I felt like I was at the wall the whole time. My body just felt off the whole time. I felt sad and lonely. I resented the hell out of the fact that most people (that’s pretty much a lie, but I’m going to ignore reality for a bit) were in groups and had supporters. I felt isolated and alone. I don’t feel alone when I go running most of the time. I feel like I am running and no one in my life can do that with me so ok, I happen to be alone right now. Thank god I don’t have to listen to their chatter.

When I am running in a big group of people it feels different. I feel like there is a glass wall between me and other people. I feel like they are on the other side, where people are loved and supported. Then there is me. Alone. Again. It’s really idiotic and self absorbed. There were a lot of other people there alone. A few of them talked to me!

My feelings seem out of place with my reality. Ok, I was alone at the race. I felt sad that no one came to watch me run. I mean, dude. It was in Oakland. It’s not like it is inconvenient to a large percentage of people I know. Someone could have. It’s always complicated, you know? Yesterday I felt like this running thing is a bad idea.

I like how I feel when I run by myself. When I run by myself I feel like I’m not trying to compete with anyone else. I’m just doing my thing. When I run with other people I see how our paces match up and as I drop back and back and back in the crowd… that makes me feel lame. Then I start feeling shame. This is pretty ridiculous. I have been running for less than four months. I don’t need to feel bad that I am not a better runner. It would not be particularly good for my body to try and insist that I be a faster runner right now.

I think I want to run the marathon because I am hoping I get to see my brother one more time. I’m not going to continue training so I can do it again. I saw my mother and my sister and my nephew and my aunt and my cousins once more before I broke ties. I haven’t seen Jimmy in a long time. I know that he looks like my father. I feel like I am already losing the picture in my mind that I have of what that part of my family looks like. I feel unspeakably sad. I feel like there is a weight on my chest. I’m still grieving.

I’m told that grief is kept in your lungs. Shallow breaths keep the grief inside you. Running certainly makes me breathe more deeply. I cried as I ran. I missed my family and I longed for them so much it hurt. My family is the kind of family that is intensely good and intensely bad. I miss the good. I can’t stay because of the bad. I’m really struggling with continuing to believe it is the right decision. I feel so much guilt. I feel so bad that I am keeping my kids away from my family. My mother lives in downtown San Jose. And she has never seen Calli. I feel so bad. I am a terrible person who is hurting my mother.

And I thought about that as I ran past all the cheering people on the sidelines. They were there to support someone they loved. I have driven off the people who would do that for me. And then I have a pity party about it. How pathetic. So I cried a lot while I ran. It was a very hard run.

I felt weird because I didn’t see anyone else eat. I start eating between mile three and four. I take two or three handfuls of trail mix every other mile after that. I run hanging on to my little baggy. Sometimes I feel lazy and I put it in my pocket for a while. In the race environment I felt like the country bumpkin come to town and I’m doing it all wrong. I don’t have sleek running gear. I’m not sure I’ve ever been that close to so much spandex in my life. And I ran in a cotton sweatshirt. I was given a lot of funny looks.  What? It’s what I own. Everyone else was advertising a cause or showing off former marathon shirts. This is also, not true; I wasn’t “the only one” but there really did seem to be a uniform and we were weird. Those of us who weren’t wearing the uniform were quite odd. Oh, and then there were the ladies who ran in tulle skirts. They were cute.

I feel weird running next to people for long periods and not talking to them. It feels awkward and uncomfortable. It feels like a lot of pressure to come up with something to talk about. If I don’t I feel gauche. And that distracted me from running, and them. I think that it is because people train at different paces. When you are in the group of people who are collectively running around fourteen minute miles that means there is a lot of walking. But people mix in their walking in different ways. It also felt like some people ran at a slow jog without really having to pause to walk. But they never went very fast. I’m a very impulsive runner. I run at the speed of the song on my headset. I have a lot of slow songs on purpose so I don’t try to sprint forever, but I do sprint. Mostly the songs are the latest albums from Lady Gaga, Adele, and Katy Perry with a few older songs I like mixed in. It’s a whole bunch of songs that cause me to sit and think about different relationships in my life. I like how I wander through different topics as time goes on. I’m not stuck thinking about the same person in the same way every time I hear any particular song.  It’s a slow journey through different situations.

If I try to run without the music I can’t do it. I can only kind of stumble along. I don’t have anything telling my body it is time to move. I don’t want to run. Not really. I rather hate how it feels some days.  But I don’t have another way of seeing Jimmy. I don’t really care if that is pathetic. I’m not magnanimous. I’m not sure that is a healthy reason. I need to see what Jimmy looks like. It won’t be true, but I will reconstruct a memory for myself of my father. It will be the only picture I will have.

I’ve been watching more movies than usual and recently I heard the line, “You never stop needing your parents.” As I was running part of the reason I was crying was because I realized how far ahead of me Jimmy will be. I realized he will probably leave the race grounds long before I finish. Unless I spot him in the vast zoo of five thousand people right before the race I don’t really have a chance of seeing him. And I will spend that whole race hoping to see him at the finish line. I’m going to cry a lot. I kind of wonder why I do this to myself.

Why does every activity have to be viewed in the most self harming way possible? Why do I always have to have a tale of loss and woe? When will something I am doing be about something, anything other than grieving? My therapist, God bless her, heard that line and looked straight at me and told me that I will never stop grieving. When you were hurt like I was as a child you never stop feeling pain for very long. It feels like a cross between a harsh sentence and great comfort.

I don’t perceive reality very well. I feel isolated and alone when I stand near people. The fact that people are apathetic towards me hurts my feelings because I feel constantly reminded of the apathy I experienced as a child. It caused me a lot of damage when I was a child. The fact that people are apathetic towards me makes me not want to stand physically close to them. Running through the crowd was occasionally terrifying. I don’t like being near large crowds. I consider them dangerous and I’m not even sure why. I feel like I could all of a sudden have some need and people would run past and not care and I would feel devastated. The impending loss of trust feels overwhelming. Like if I fell and was injured. I feel like people wouldn’t stop for me. I feel like this mass movement of uniformed lemmings all run in pursuit of a time goal and that is what they are there for and please get out of the way. It’s not even slightly true. I look around at people and judge faces and there were a lot of people who looked like they would probably be the sort who stop. For someone else. Someone who deserved help. It’s not that I think that other people are deficient in being willing to help good people. It’s that I think I am the kind of person you step around on the side walk because of course this loser is on the ground again.

I don’t know how to change this feeling that I am a terrible person who does not deserve any human compassion and people are going to know that and treat me accordingly. I don’t know how to stop feeling dirty.

I’m glad I get to look forward to six months of running by myself. I need the time alone again to apologize to my knee for running according to trying to keep up with people. I wasn’t listening properly and that was rude. We’ll work it out. I need to figure out how to stop trying to run with anyone else. How do I have blinders on and ignore the people around me. I was seriously spooked by the crowd. I spent a lot of time looking at the spectators and feeling sad that I never saw people I knew. At least I won’t have that distraction in Long Beach. I will be just running to the finish line. I know the spectators aren’t for me and I can ignore them more comfortably.

I’m still not sure how to deal with pacing off of other people. That didn’t work out. And I think I should look up what “interval training” is. People kept asking me about it. I don’t understand why. Google is so cool. Hm. Five minutes on Google tells me I don’t think I will ever answer those questions. That’s not a kind of runner I want to be. Excellent!

I feel like I am feeling like I must run a fast marathon and I shouldn’t have that as a goal. If it takes me six hours that is ok. If I seriously feel compelled to go too fast I will hurt myself. I’ve never run long distances before. I don’t want to injure myself and prevent going to the race. That would be stupid. And I don’t want to find out about how much help my fellow runners would be willing to provide if I injure myself at the race. Both of those sound like Bad Plans.

It’s hard to actually stay on my pace but I need to learn how to do it. That is a lot of what I learned from this race. I am too distractible. I need to not feel hurt by the apathy around me. People aren’t mean, they are concentrating. I should be concentrating too. I did start singing along by mile ten. People smiled at me. It’s a lot of how I measure my running speed–how well I can sing along. I measure my heart and lung workload that way. I don’t have a good silent method. I suppose I have six months to practice, if I want. Or I can just sing along and let people smile. It’s not like I’m doing something terrible. I’m not singing loudly.

Time to stop whining and go inside.

Perspective is everything.

Jenny’s father is dying.  It’s at a somewhat unexpected time because he isn’t that old but he had a weird injury and it wasn’t treated and… that’s how life works.  There is nothing I can do to help her with this.  This is her own journey of grief.  I imagine what it would be like to lose a father at this age after having had a relationship with him, having lived with him, for so many years.  I can’t imagine that.  Not really.  It’s going to be bad when my mom dies.  I will feel so much guilt.  I don’t even know if I will be told.  For all that Jenny isn’t close with her family she has never broken contact.  She has always treated them appropriately and with respect.

Everyone has a complicated relationship with their parents.  It’s a difficult relationship.  I understand it more from the side I am on now.  It seems to me that parenthood is a relationship based on temporary, stored power.  Right now I have incredible power over my children.  I get to decide pretty much everything about their lives.  In fifteen years Shanna will be an adult.  My power over her will be limited to the amount of influence she chooses to allow me.  It will depend on how well I have earned that respect.

Yesterday I spent my off hour reading/watching videos about Steve Jobs again.  I like his Stanford commencement speech and his sister’s eulogy is gut wrenching.  I also watched a few random videos about happiness because D sent them to me.  What does it mean to live?

When we were up in Portland I broke a large relationship rule.  This is part of why I say I am not good at monogamy.  Noah was right next to me and handed me the implement so he’s not as angry as he could be.  What happened is we were at Dad’s birthday party (non-bio dad) and I got to talking to one of my sisters-in-perversity.  Dad has a whole harem of daughters you see.  The one in question is the youngest in terms of being newest to the family but she is a year older than me and thus technically the oldest of us.  I refer to myself as the senior daughter for clarity.  He adopted me first.  We like to ignore the one he adopted second.  She’s not my favorite sister.

I don’t keep in close contact with this sister most of the time.  Her life is in a very different place than mine and we are both busy.  It’s not a slam or a negative judgment.  It’s nice to catch up when we can.  At this party I heard a lot about this guy she had fairly recently broken up with–see, there he is.  She spent a lot of time watching his scene with another woman.  Her heart was on her sleeve.  One of the things that breaks my heart faster than anything is seeing a woman I love pining over a piece of shit man.  And from what I saw of this guy… yeah… he’s a piece of shit.

I don’t like men who pursue mastery to be degrading to women.  If you only want to own women you can insult then I have a low opinion of you.  I don’t mind that you want to use those names sometimes, but if that is what you think of your partners I think you have a personality disorder you fucking piece of shit.  You are not better than women.

My sister managed to kind of get involved in the scene.  She really wanted to play with him.  The girl he was playing with was slightly less extreme of a bottom than my sister and my sister pretty obviously wanted to show off.  The guy demurred.  He had been using his belt as a whip.  He gave it to his slave/submissive/bottom/partner/whatever her chosen identity label thing is.  He then taunted and forced her to hit my sister.  She did, but it was lackluster and obviously not that intense.  It was a giggly good time.  The guy started encouraging fairly random other people to hit my sister.  One got her in the eye because he didn’t know what he was doing.  I felt like I was watching a train wreck.

I nudged Noah and told him to give me his belt.  He did.  See how it feels kind of fuzzy for him to get mad at me for doing it?  But I’m not supposed to play with people any more.  It didn’t feel like a scene, exactly.  I sure didn’t do it for my sexual gratification.  I did it because I didn’t want to listen to those asshole men tell her that she was a dirty whore.  They didn’t mean anything nice by it.

My sister has had times in her life when she needed to feed her kid and she didn’t have a job.  She has sold her body to put food on the table.  I felt such an explosion of anger when he was picking on her for it.  They dated.  He knows her history.  He was explicitly picking on something that is a mixed circumstance in her life.

I changed the intensity of the scene.  I only used the belt and I stayed on her thighs: the fronts, backs, and sides.  I hit her hard and I hit her fast and I forced her emotional reaction towards panic as hard and fast as I could.  And while I did it I started a litany to her.  You are not bad.  You are good.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are fierce.  You have survived things that would take down lesser people.  You are strong.  You are good.  She tried to interrupt me and tell me that she was a whore.  I paused long enough to hold her face in both of my hands and tell her that even if she has had to prostitute her body to survive she isn’t a whore.  You are not defined by what you do.  She is a bad ass mother fucker.  She sobbed and clung to me.

Bdsm is rarely about sex for me.  That is not how I grew up in the scene.  I made every top who was kind of sort of leaning in to get in on the hot available action flinch and back off.  I was not going to be one more person starting a pile up on a poor girl.  I was nastier and meaner and harsher.  I kind of like being the visiting bad ass.  This wasn’t a game.  It was very serious business.

I do bdsm because it is one of the best ways I know to force the body to get rid of the excess energy that poisons people.  There is atonement and release and a journey to find the core of yourself.  When you are in the middle of a very intense scene you can’t hide who you are.  You react from the animal core of yourself.  I am a vicious animal who will strip you down to the bone and show you what it looks like.  I will tear the flesh from your body so that you know that I can see all the way through you.  I see exactly who and what you are.

And you are beautiful.  Your strength amazes me.  That you can allow me to do this to you amazes me.  I worship you.  I adore you.  I love you.  Thank you for showing me this fierce core of strength and intensity that other people simply don’t have.  It takes a warrior to experience pain like that over and over and over.  We don’t have a good place in our current world for people who have to suffer.  Even being a soldier is more about being a cog in the machine.

I see in my sisters-in-perversity a desire to be made clean through suffering.  Not all people in the bdsm world are after the same thing.  But I know my sisters when I meet them.  I see the same need in men, but I am less able to address it.  It has long felt like a flaw in me.  I can’t offer the same experience to men.  I am too locked in being afraid of men.  I can’t look at them the way I can look at a woman.  I can’t identify in the same ways.  I have always believed that is a grave failure.  I’m sorry for it.  There is a part of me that understands men as other and I don’t know how to change that.  I see a specific wildness in women.  I see women in bear traps thrashing about.  I understand their feelings.  I don’t have to know all their feelings.  I don’t have to really know everything about their lives.  I know that trapped.  I know that desperate need for release.

I know how to rip someone down until they can no longer stand nor defend themselves.  I know how to make them cry and hurt and wish they could do anything to get away from the pain.  The pain I am giving is just a stand in for all those things they can’t change in their lives.  All the things that hurt and hurt.  All those other things make you feel worse about yourself.  Because it hurts and you can’t stop it.  It weakens you over time because no one can stand up forever under an onslaught.

My beatings are short in duration.  And the whole time you are taking it you are being coaxed and reassured and told that what you are doing is impressive.  You are showing your mettle.  You are proving how very strong you are and I will delight in building you up with it.  By the end you know that you are an intensely strong person and you can go do fucking anything.  Anything in the whole world.  Most people are cowards compared to you.  Not very many people will permit a beating like I give.  I only hit the girls who can’t say no.  They have outrageous pain tolerances.  Other people want warm ups and I’m not here for that shit.  I’m here to prove that I can take you apart but it will be a lot of hard work for both of us because you are so god damn intense.

I always stay in contact with my sisters-in-perversity for a while after a visit.  It seems important.  They see a part of me I don’t reveal much in life.  It’s interesting for me to get perspective on how we are changing over time.  I learn a lot more from brief flashes of my wounded warriors than I do from dozens of conversations with people who have never been hurt.  This is the part I hesitate to say because it sounds so awful.  I learn what mistakes are there for me to make.  When I see my wounded warriors I see There But For The Grace Of God Go I.  In their struggles to perceive themselves as valuable I see what could happen to me if I had a lower opinion of myself.  I know that I was brought up to be one of them.  I was quite literally brought up to be competitive about being able to take more pain during sex.  Thank you, Jim.  You were an inspiring father.

I have been binging on sugar for the past few days.  It’s kind of obscene.  I came home from Portland and both girls are acting out in various ways.  I feel trapped and angry and frustrated.  My life fucking sucks.  But my life only sucks because I have a bad attitude.  I look at my sister-in-perversity and I have to understand that my life is quite cushy in terms of me having everything I want when I want it.  Sure, I have to do it with my kids along.  That just means I need to figure out how to work with my kids.

Someone on facebook linked to an article about why French parents are happier.  Apparently in French they do not have the concept of “discipline” the way we do here.  They constantly think that they are educating their children.  My entire life right now is an education to my children.  What am I teaching them?  Dissatisfaction.  The funny part about sitting in the garage as I write… it’s a constant reminder that I get work done with my children around.  I didn’t have child care when I insulated the walls and put dry wall up.  I didn’t have child care when I painted a mural.  I had help sometimes.  I had friends who did it with me.  But my children were around and under foot and I cared for them.  I had help for all the stuff that was genuinely beyond my ability to do it alone.  I could not have done the drywall without the consistent and reliable help of T.  He saved my ass.  I’m going to owe that man for a few lifetimes.  He doesn’t understand what he is to me.

I have been struggling for a long time with feeling trapped.  It’s been a lot of … well… all of it.  I have a lot more freedom than most.  More than most people for all of history.  I am somewhat unique in being financially secure in a tumultuous period of history.  Yes, we could be hit with disaster.  For now I am going to continue with the fact that I am ridiculously safe.  I have a lot of options.  Even as Noah and I fuss back and forth about the fact that we have to carefully budget… we have a lot of options.  Noah only  gets $600 to spend on a weekend trip with his buddy.  Cry me a river.  We have a really good life.

In every relationship I have in my life there is a mixture of uplifting and wearying.  I need to start thinking a lot harder about the uplifting or I am never going to get out of this muck.  I have a marathon to run.  I can’t be hanging out in the muck.  It’s too tiring.  I will injure myself.  I have to run five miles today.  You know–just get up and do it.  And tomorrow I’ll run three miles.  On Saturday I will run seven miles.  Next Saturday eight miles.  So on.

When I run I feel strong and capable.  What I used to get from getting my ass beaten.  I don’t know how to get it from getting my ass beaten any more.  Now I’m always mad that Noah isn’t doing _______ exactly how I would.  It’s kind of sick.

I don’t know how to be a follower right now.  But we don’t have room for much else in our relationship and I don’t know how to guide us.  I don’t know how to guide Noah.  That’s an interesting thought.  I resent being the guide for more than a couple of minutes.  I’m impatient.  I want to be lead.  There are journeys Noah simply can’t lead me on.  He doesn’t know how to get there.  I’ve had kind of this dawning horror around this topic recently.  I have some ideas.  I’m not ready to spill them yet.

I don’t know what the future will bring.  I hear that if you spent more time focusing on the positive you can change your life.  You can actually make things better.  I am fairly uniquely positioned to do so.  Dr. Frankl taught me that if you have something you are burning to do you can get through any circumstance.  Some dude on a Ted talk yesterday brought up the idea that everyone desperately wants to live.  Then I listened to Steve Jobs talk about how much he wanted to live.

How does one go about finding their own path?  Well, I think by definition I can’t ask anyone else.  Whatever it is they did or would do will be wrong for me.  That’s why I’m not fond of advice.  I do like hearing stories though.  I like finding out what other people have done and why.  I’ve been reading a lot more recently.

When I feel fussy about what I am doing I need to decide what I would rather be doing and do that.  That’s part of the binge eating of sugar.  The kids are pestering me for sugar.  We have a lot in the house that we don’t normally have.  I am tired of fighting the kids off of it.  I’m tired of being whined at for it.  I’m eating it with them them till it is gone.  Then we don’t get dessert unless you can talk me into making some with sweet behavior.  I like doing it when I have a cheerful house to do it for.  I won’t do it for whining.  It has worked for me in the past.  I think we ran out of chocolate last night.  Now the sweet snack in the house is fruit.  When the answer is, “We don’t have any chocolate in the house; would you like an apple?” The response is more positive than you think.  And then we just don’t think to buy it at the store.  It works out.  One of these days she will remember to ask for it at the store.  That will be figured out later.

I’m getting defensive already.  That’s lame.  I felt cheerful through most of the writing.  I’m tensing up as I think about going in.  The family is awake now.  The girls are extra clingy right now.  I will miss these days.  It’s a lot of physical contact for me.  I feel bad about how difficult it is for me to handle physical touch sometimes.  I wish I liked it more.  This is part of my feeling of inadequacy.  I’m not sure why I feel inadequate though.

I’m supposed to think about three things I am grateful for.  I’m always grateful for a white wall in my house.  I like thinking about how I will paint it.  I think I should paint it next month after I get the book edited and up on Amazon.  We’ll see.

I’m grateful that I get to raise two daughters in an environment where I am not under ridiculous stress all the time.

I’m grateful for stories to think about.  Something is bubbling in my head.  I’ll think about it on the long run today.  I’m going to run to Lake Elizabeth.  It is just over five miles roundtrip.  I hope it warms up soon.  I have to leave by nine.  Noah is having a late start day.  I should probably go see him for the time I can today.