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.