Category Archives: marriage

I don’t know what to do.

If Noah really believes I hate him this much then I should either divorce him or kill myself because doing this to him is cruel.

It doesn’t seem to matter what I feel. He believes what he believes. And I’m hurting him by staying. I’m wrecking his life. He feels abused. And it’s my fault. He believes that no one could love him and believe he should stay with me.

That really means I should go, one way or another.

Divorcing him with a third child who is a baby seems like a really big problem. Leaving him with two children who can basically care for themselves seems like a much smaller problem. That means I have four months to get it done.

This is going to be muddled and non-linear

These issues stack in my brain in weird ways. They combine and intertwine such that my memories are sometimes amalgamations of conversations and impressions and I know that’s not great. But trying to sort it out is the only thing I know to do.

Ok, marital problems.

I don’t think Noah spends a lot of time getting really upset but we’ve had a few conversations over the years that struck me as particularly intense and I’ve latched on to them in memory in ways that bother Noah a lot.

I feel like Noah values me (or at least he valued when he married me) for the fact that my consent is kinda not important. My cunt is just available whether I like it or not. We’ve talked about how monogamy is not celibacy a lot. We’ve talked about how it isn’t ok for me to deny Noah sex for any reason, including medical reasons, on a long term basis. He will give me a grace period of a year and then things are Just Going To Change. That has become a sword of Damocles over my head. My cunt has to be available or I am not worthy of being a wife.

I feel like Noah has some fairly set ideas of what bdsm is and they don’t always overlap with mine. Last night we had a fierce conversation where I asked him what the orgasm control and the denial of personal right to determine masturbation and the degrading sex and the name calling and the hurting me is if it is not bdsm. Because if we have been in an M/s contract for going on a year and you still feel like it is appropriate to yell at me that we will never get around to doing bdsm because I don’t want him enough…. what the fuck do you think bdsm IS?!?! Noah does hurt me sometimes. Not in extreme ways because I haven’t been up for it, but our sex is not pain-free. I submit to a lot of stuff. I bathe him. I’ve followed various other rules for a long time. If absolutely everything I do is devalued and “doesn’t count” towards us having a bdsm relationship… then fine. I guess you are right after all and we will never be doing bdsm. Even though I met a quota for years about having sex ten times a month whether I wanted to or not… nothing counts.

When we first got married I was still very much in a period where I was not comfortable with most casual touch. For the first three or so years we were married if Noah wanted to cuddle… we’d sit on opposite sides of the couch and he could touch my feet. That was what I could bear. It is very hard for me that Noah has repeatedly over the years stated emphatically that sex is what makes him feel loved and the other things don’t count. So I’ve worked very hard on my panic disorder and I’ve learned to cuddle him because he wants it… but it doesn’t count towards making him feel loved. Even though it was incredibly hard for me to learn to do and it literally took years of effort.

Noah used to complain a lot that I didn’t share his interests. So I can discuss most of the comic series he reads and I’ve watched his favorite movies and I listen to him read the books he wants me to know about. I would say that he has only started really trying to do the return favor since the road trip and that’s still… I think I put more effort into sharing his interests but I’m not sure I’m evaluating fairly. And none of this time or effort counts as showing love for him.

Noah talks a lot (fairly and reasonably) about how hard it is for him to be emotionally level for me and that’s a huge gift he gives to me. I agree that it is a huge gift. I do understand that it is a lot of effort for him. It’s visible effort… I know how he struggles with being upbeat and cheerful for my sake so I can sponge off of his good humor. But the thing is… I have put in equally as much work if not more. He may have started off this marriage not being as good natured as he currently behaves… but I started out a basket case who cut myself and isolated myself constantly in between crying jags and screaming at people. I haven’t injured myself in… I don’t know how long. It’s been a long time. That was a multi-decade habitual response to dysregulation. I have replaced it with fucking typing. I used to need full days of hiding alone in my house in order to go manage a two hour munch. Now I am “on” and I have to be cheerful and helpful and loving and physically affectionate…12-14 hours a day every single fucking day and I don’t get breaks. I don’t get an hour off a day to hide in a room and work on my feelings. I have to just fucking show up and act nice and put my shit to the side ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

I don’t feel I get a lot of credit for this. When I am minimizing things that will serve to dysregulate me (like heavy SM scenes) I feel like the response is that I am being mean and taking a toy away from Noah. When I feel like I am trying to be able to show up and do my primary job every day without fucking up.

Would it be more fun for me to have more babysitting and do more dysregulating things with my body? Yes. But my parenting would go downhill faster than an Olympic skier. We have collectively decided that for a few decades here it is more important that I show up for my kids than that I have fun. But I feel like I get punished for sticking to that. Punished isn’t the right word. I feel like I am resented for it. And I was getting to the point where I had more space to be able to do that without being a fucking asshole…

But now I’m pregnant and the whole fucking thing is starting over. I won’t have that much bodily privacy for another five fucking years.

And I feel like that means I am doing something terrible to my husband and I feel incredibly resentful of that. Yes, I want this kid really really badly. But I want this kid fully seeing how shitty it makes my life to have another fucking baby. Babies make my life shitty. I am not the kind of mother who says, “My life barely changes”. EVERYTHING CHANGES when I have a baby. I give up independence and autonomy and I am a fucking life support device. I don’t have bodily privacy. I don’t have space for myself. I am subsumed into the me-not-me who is currently in that state of need. There is no fair here.

I know it isn’t fair to have your sex life derailed from where you want it to be. I know it isn’t fair that when your body is still doing the normal same old same old you don’t get what you want and need under those circumstances. I know that sucks.

But I fucking started this journey with chronic pain and then I exacerbate it in every way. I start out emotionally dysregulated and I stick a fucking rocket launcher on the back of that when I’m pregnant. I can’t fucking sleep well. I can’t eat well. I feel like fucking shit just about every moment of the day.

But I’m so meeeeeeaaaaaaaaan if I don’t want to have sex.

Clearly I don’t love Noah if I’m not having sex.

I kind of want to jump off a bridge.

So I can stop grocery shopping and doing laundry and cleaning and home schooling the kids and putting a death grip on my behavior so that I’m not mean to people around me and I can stop dealing with how hard it is for me to accept casual touch and I’m going to start fucking masturbating three fucking times a day and I’m never asking for permission again and…..

I’m really frustrated.

I feel really sad that I’m a failure as a wife because my cunt is defective and that is all that I am judged by.

I feel desperate and sad and hopeless. I feel like I will never be able to make Noah feel loved so why in the fuck am I beating my head against that rock?

Because I love him so much and I’ve still never had anyone in my life be as nice to me as he is. Even though he is kind of an asshole sometimes. Perspective is a big thing.

Noah does a lot for me. Noah is incredibly helpful and kind to me most of the time.

But I have a hard time with how many of my friends are all #TeamNoah and Krissy should stop being such a bitch to that poor sainted man.

I’m not saying I should be pitied or that Noah should be denigrated to hell and back. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that I don’t ever write the Full Story because I can’t. I write my current thoughts and feelings and impressions and that’s fucking limited. I don’t have enough god damn time in the day to write the Full Story.

This. Is. My. Alone. Time.

I have learned how to be regular for this marriage. I have learned how to show up every day and deliver on my promises even when I don’t want to. I take care of my family whether I want to or not. (Noah does too… I’m not saying that I’ve done more than him.) I’m saying that I did not grow up seeing people show up through the hard stuff. I’m making this up out of whole cloth and I’m doing it because of how much I love Noah and how much I want this to work.

When it was very clear that I had to stop fucking around or my marriage was basically over… I stopped on a dime.

I feel like I get all the credit for fucking up and being wrong and no credit for how far I’ve come or how much I do.

I can do something…

I may be a shitty wife who rarely does the work that a wife should do, but once in a while I try. I screwed over Noah’s day by fucking up the timing of when EC needed to be somewhere so I’m making dinner while he’s out and about.

Holy fucking shit this stock smells SO GOOD. I may not be the greatest cook in the world… but I’m pretty bad ass at making soup.

*pat self on the back*

Yay another year passed.

I’ve now been married for eleven years.

I like Noah. I don’t just mean I like what he does for me. I like him. I like the way he smiles. I love the way he softens around me like butter, as if I’m safe.

I like that even though I sometimes get very mad at him for having different opinions than I have, he doesn’t back down and he stubbornly defends his sources because he came to this conclusion for reasons. I like that he doesn’t bend at my whims.

I love watching him parent. I picked Noah as a coparent and I made a really god damn good choice. He’s such a good parenting partner for me. Our kids shine with love and that isn’t all me.

I appreciate how much work he’s willing to do to help me figure out my complicated body.

I like how hard it is to go to sleep sometimes because I wannna keep taaaaaalking to hiiiiiiiim.

If you had asked me when I was 10 years old if I believed I would grow up to have a good marriage I would have fallen down laughing. But here I am.

Things I appreciate about my husband.

He’s consistent. He remembers the promises we make to one another and follows through on them better than I do. I think our relationship would have disintegrated without him holding it together saying, “Nope. We promised X, Y, & Z and so we’re gonna do that.”

He is kind. Sure, he gets on my nerves in lots of ways… but he is consistently kind to people. He slows down and explains. He will help anyone who asks him for help. He’s getting waaaaaaaaaay better at volunteering help without needing to be asked. He watches for ways to make life better for people inside of our family and out of it.

Did you know that he tutors people in programming stuff all the time? Sometimes locally and sometimes long-distance. All folks who really can’t afford to take a class. They need help and they reach out to him and he almost never says no. He wants as many people as possible to have access to the kind of fantastic life he has gotten to have because of programming.

He will stop and talk to anyone about ways to improve their career trajectory. He has lists of articles he sends out to people who are in various transitions whether in his field or not. He really wants to help other people do better. Even when they aren’t programmers.

He goes really far out of his way to try and find ways we can do things together. Naturally we have very different temperaments and interests. He keeps trying to find things we can share. Most of it doesn’t work out, but he keeps trying anyway.

 

Family, opinions, planning

There isn’t much in this world I like as much as I like how much my children want to spend time with me. Last night they begged me to sleep in their room between them. I was there for six hours until my back was hurting enough that I needed to change beds. I was sad to leave them, but gosh I get to hurting.

I read a lot of development stuff. There are some seriously contradictory opinions out there. Some folks (who will remain nameless cause I ain’t sending support their way) really believe it is terrible for me to provide as much support and physical affection as I provide. “Children need to get used to being alone.”

I got used to being alone. It broke something inside of me I don’t know how to fix. Naw, I’m good with not doing that to my kids. We deal with the separation that we need to deal with, but I don’t force space between us. My kids ask for space as they desire more of it and I let go and give them a little push. “Sure! Try your wings! Jump out of the nest! Do it! Do it!” But I’m standing behind them at first before I fling myself headlong at the ground to be there to catch them if they need it.

My children aren’t really alone as they try things. Sometimes I stop and reflect that my children are some of the least-alone people I’ve ever personally known. I did that. Wait: I did that.

Holy tomato. I took this hole inside of me and I decided “Ok that piece is not getting passed on” and I haven’t. I have been able to do what I set out to do.

My kids treat one another like they are a matched set. They get whiny about how much time they are separate for camps a few times a year. They are together and happy about it every day. My constant harping on how they are a team must help. I tell myself. Because I want to feel useful. It’s working.

I have children who believe deep in their bones that we are happier, stronger, and better together as a group than we can be alone. After I grew up feeling like I poisoned everything I touched. How did that come to be?

It started with Noah. It started with the fact that I don’t poison him, I help him. I make him feel more motivated and alive and inspired than he has ever been in his whole life. Nothing ever jump started him like me.

That’s pretty cool because he was a neat guy when I met him. He’s grown up so beautifully. I’m not entirely sure I married a man. He really may have still been a boy. At this point, he’s a man and it is so beautiful. He’s responsible. He’s diligent. He’s caring. Where he has tendencies towards flakiness or fucking up he has devised elaborate systems of checks and balances so he can’t drop anything important on accident. He taught himself how to stop fucking up. That’s huge, yo.

I appreciate how self-reinforcing our family values are. We value hard work and the pursuit of health. We think exercise and outside time are necessary to health and if the grown ups are slacking and lazy the kids tell us to get off our butts and do it. It is a glorious system. My kids think that life is a balance of work and rest and if you do too much of one or the other you develop problems so you have to pay attention to your schedule. When I work too much, they come down on me to rest. “Mom you will get sick. Don’t act like this.” My kids will comment on how we need more protein and vegetables to balance out the sugar we eat.

They are going to be some micromanaging motherfuckers when they are grown. It will allow them to be excellent at a wide variety of careers.

My kids are fierce. They are always the most female-presenting looking kids in the fighting group at whatever kid event we go to. They love to fight and they are getting better and better at sportskidship. Less gloating over winning. More “that was a really fun game, thank you for playing with me”. It is a work in progress. I use the word fierce because that is the most common word that random parents observe about my kids. “Wow they are fierce.” “Yup, they are.”

My kids have never been taught to soften themselves because people expect that from folks born with a vulva. Psh. Whatever.

In our house we talk about what it means to be a person born with a vulva and a uterus and what it means to be a girl and a woman. We are very clear that there are some maintenance acts that happen to anyone with these body parts but that doesn’t make you a girl or a woman just like having long hair wouldn’t make you a boy or a girl. But whether you are a boy or a girl you have to care for long hair–it’s just something that takes effort. Bodies take work and the nature of that work does not define who you are.

I’m well aware that there are people in this world who do not approve of how I am raising my children. I’m well aware that there is no “right way” to parent. I don’t think I’m doing it th One Twue Way. I think I’m adapting to my quirks and issues and my childrens’ quirks and issues and my partner’s quirks and issues and devising a system that makes us happy. That doesn’t mean it applies to other people.

Sweet cheese I don’t think I know what you should be doing. You are so different from me. You have such wildly different needs from this parenting journey. If I told you what to do I would hurt you and I would probably hurt your kids.

I need to remind myself of that more often. Even when I have a very strong opinion about an aspect of other people’s parenting I need to shut my fucking mouth. I’ve been failing at that lately in a specific case. I need to back all the way off. I can’t control other peoples actions. I need to stop trying.

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

I know there are a multitude of reasons I would make different decisions. Just one small aspect of our life would have to change and I would believe I needed to alter almost everything. I don’t think my path is the right one. It’s just the one I’m on.

I ask my kids about school regularly. I am not married to home schooling (even though I love it for entirely selfish reasons and I would cheerfully keep them around forever) I am choosing it as the right path for now. I really didn’t want to send my children to school before the age of 7 or 8 for a variety of developmental reasons… but past that… school is probably fine or healthy unless you have reason to know that a specific school is a bad match for a given kid. I just seriously think the US fucks up early education.

Up until I started painting my house like mad I flat yelled at anyone who hinted in any way that I was an artist. Because in kindergarden I was told I couldn’t do art right and I would never be good at it.

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

I’m pretty sure I should stop calling us unschoolers. We are eclectically home schooling. We aren’t following a formal curriculum but we are borrowing aspects of a bunch of different curriculums and wandering back and forth as I see fit. I’m also making a bunch up because I’m totally trained in how to do that.

This is getting way fun. Youngest Child is being allowed to very slowly work through first grade. Kiddo is in first grade and I don’t need to push at all. Kiddo opts in to doing work. (I said kiddo didn’t need to start till next year but they were bored.) So I pushed Eldest Child a bit and at this point she is solidly where she would be if she had been doing academics for the last three years.

The amount of progress they have both demonstrated this year kind of blows my mind. Eldest Child started off the year seriously delayed academically and she isn’t anymore. Holy crap. I have always been just praying I wasn’t fucking her over too much. I was totally taking it on faith that things would work the way they did.

Thank. Fucking. Goodness it worked out. That wasn’t actually guaranteed. Science experiments involve the possibility of complete failure.

I’ve been aware from day one that I’m not raising my children in a given cultural tradition. I’m raising them as a science experiment in which I get to control the variables. Yeah, yeah I researched a ton of theories first. I’m not just flying blind. I’m making conscious choices. This is a science experiment. Let’s see if I can hold it together for 20 or 30 years. 30 god damn years. I didn’t want that many years of parenting. I wanted to have kids closer together than that. Sigh.

I want more kids. I want them so much it is a constant ache inside of me. People tell me to adopt. People tell me to find “Chosen Family”.

I want more people who are related to me. Who come back. Who want to see me. There is a fierce ache inside of me.

I have so many cousins and aunts and uncles and a mother and a sister and a brother and nephews and a niece…

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

I want to have children. This is my only chance at having the kind of family that other people get to have. I know people who adopt and have it go well. I know people who were adopted who had a shit show of a life experience because they never ever got over the fact that they didn’t get to stay with their mother.

It’s a roll of the dice with someone’s life. I respect people who can do it. I’m not in that place.

I wouldn’t write about it so often but someone or other brings it up with me every god damn week.

Noah and I talk about moving somewhere more rural in a few years. Somewhere we could have a much bigger house and spending a decade or two fostering kids. Fostering children is different. I have always felt a call towards fostering. But I’m not in the right place in my life for it for a variety of reasons.

I’m working towards it.

But I want more children and my window on that opportunity is not going to be open much longer. My body is not exactly in perfect working order and that’s not going to improve when I hit 40.

Hey I’ll be having kids in the same age range as most of my friends who have kids who are the same age as my older kids. See, I do want to emulate your life experiences. Sorta. In that way that my emulations usually barely resemble the originals.

I like that we are all different. I like that we need such different kinds of support. I learn so much from knowing you. I learn about things that I could never understand without your explanations. Thank you for your patience with me.

I try to not be too obnoxious with my lack of initial understanding.

Individuation is going to have to be a thing next year. I’ve subsumed in a way that is eating me. I noticed something yesterday. I completely flipped out and started dating when Pam left. I think that Pam was filling a huge intimacy hole in my life and I didn’t know or understand what that meant until she was gone.

I miss you Pam. I support you in what you are doing. I know it has value and I know you need to do it. You are learning things you need to learn. I miss you. You have value all the time. You have extreme value to me personally. I support you in not always prioritizing my needs. I really do. But I’m allowed to miss you. That’s ok.

Everyone who loves me is busy as fuck. It isn’t personal. It has nothing to do with me and I’m not allowed to be cranky about it, not really. I pick people who have a lot going on to love intensely. That’s something I do.

I need to figure out how to have consistent contact with folks. We are going to try some arrangements of inviting folks over. We’ll test some approaches. Some things will work. Some things will fail. Both results will teach us stuff.

It’s going to be an adventure to start trying harder to have non-sexual relationships with some folks I like having sex with. For a lot of the past ten years I have just avoided specific people at times when it wasn’t opportune to be jumping them. I have treated more than one man kinda like a meat stick and I need to stop that. I need to expand some of my comfort zone. I need to get better at enforcing boundaries other than with actual walls.

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

I hope we don’t fuck up too badly. Erf. I hope that I manage to learn these lessons without more turnover of friendships.

like the people I know. I would prefer to keep them.

Sometimes people ask me with paranoia about my agenda for wanting to know them. What I want to get from you is pretty simple: understanding of how and why another person makes the choices they make. If you let me learn about you I will be able to make better, kinder decisions in the future because my understanding of what people might need will be expanded. Thank you.

And if there is anything I can do for you that helps reduce the pain you feel at being alive, let me know. I fucking live for that shit.

Life is hard. I need you. I am a selfish bastard and I wish you needed me too. Most of you don’t need me and I get that. I accept it because there really isn’t another option. But I wish you needed me the way I need you. I cannot be an understanding person without trying to understand you.

I really want to understand people as a larger group. As a collective. I have to do that through individuals. My data is entirely made up of anecdotes and I’m ok with that.

Only in the anecdotes do I hear the why behind peoples beliefs and actions.

I’m going to rewrite Outrunning Suicide next year and I’m going to do it through talking to children. I’m going to find some and work through the chapters one by one with kids. If I can’t explain it in a way that the younger kids can get… it is still too advanced. Right now it is challenging for some adults to read. That’s not the book I’m trying to write. So I need to rip it apart and break it down into smaller pieces.

It’s going to be a lot of work. That’s ok. It is worthy work.

I need to feel like I am doing more in this world than just being super nice to my crotch droppings. I mean, it’s a good thing to do… but I need more than that. Writing the books I have in my head is part of how I will establish the reputation and credibility I will need for building the incest database. My runway on that is extending by an extra ten years. I should put that time to good use and write some of the other books I need to write.

I know I have at least ten books in me and I’m still working on the second one. Time to get the lead out.

I’m getting closer to being able to understand how to tell Part 2.

I know there are several books in me about family dynamics aimed at children. Aimed at teaching them a vocabulary with which to seek out help.

I think I have a truly terrifying children’s board book to graphic novel series in me that slowly unveils layers of stories of abuse. It’s going to be really god damn disturbing. But educational. “When I was a child I spake as a child; when I became a man I put away childish things.” How does understanding of these topics grow and change and morph? What does the boogeyman mean? How is it used? How could it be useful? What is just… entertainment? What do we owe as family obligation?

Am I ever going to be the grownup I see in my head? Will I ever feel like I am a real person who deserves to be loved because they have ruddy well earned it?

I frequently see people espouse the view that no one should have to earn love. We all just deserve it. Well. I can see how you would want to believe that. Sure. I haven’t experienced a world where that is how it works. I could rail at the world for existing in this form or I could work really hard to try and earn love. I’m going to fuck up sometimes. It is going to backfire sometimes. Standing still and stomping my feet and saying, “But I deserve it so give it to me” hasn’t ever worked for me.

I’ve had to work on my behavior. My mood swings. My actions in the world. My fucking facial expressions. My kids won’t even let me fucking cuss much anymore. What the hell.

I have had to learn to tolerate types of touch that irritate me and I’ve had to learn how to reject types of touch I like a lot in order to have this life. It is a painstaking process.

There are people in this world who get to occupy positions they haven’t really earned. That hasn’t been my life experience very often. I work. That’s how I get things.

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

Love, friendship, dating, and sex.

This has been a year of trying things to see what fits. What improves situations. What makes things worse. I end the year with a lot of mixed feelings. I didn’t manage to love myself more.

After experimentation and months of talking… Noah has asked me to commit to never dating solo again. Polyamory is off the table. No, we won’t reevaluate that at year twenty. When I go out on dates Noah feels like he wants to die and that’s not ok. When Noah dates I feel relief that he has found someone better than me and it is ok for me to die.

Dating… doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Ok.

What does love mean then? Because we both have intense feelings of love for many people in this world. We both say “I love you” to people and mean it with our whole hearts.

Noah got to relearn this year that other people think that saying that means you want to Commit To A Relationship. I am lucky in that most of the folks I say it to accept it as a gift and don’t really think of it as meaning more than that. I get to be a comet in your life. Not a girlfriend.

I feel like my impulse to avoid women for casual sex was a good one right now. Both times Noah really reached out to women this year… they weren’t looking for casual. They wanted to be important. They deserve to be treated like they are important–no argument from me. But that doesn’t mean that we have it to give in the way they need to receive it.

I’m feeling pretty shitty about the way we hurt some folks this year. We needed to learn more about ourselves and that is a messy shitty process sometimes.

I find it fascinating that the men I reached out to have universally said, “Don’t worry about me. Fix your marriage. I’ll still be your friend in whatever capacity later.”

That hasn’t been the response of the women. I lost a friend. Noah learned that he isn’t going to be able to continue a friendship he wanted to continue.

That’s fair. It’s ok that there are consequences to our actions. We earned them.

But this is why I didn’t pursue women. I knew that what I was doing was messy and complicated and I didn’t know how it would end up. Thank you, lovely forgiving men.

I completely and totally understand why the women who were approached responded the way they did. I get it. I do. I think their reactions are understandable, fair, and appropriate.

Frankly the men involved could use with a little more self-protection mechanisms. Y’all deserve more consideration than I can give you.

We like having sex together with friends. It feels fun. It feels validating. It feels like having an adventure together. I think it is funny that my friends (whether conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, monogamous or VERY POLY) and my therapist are all coming down hard on “Y’all are swingers and that’s ok.

Many of you were not the sorts of people to say that sort of thing when I first met you. I’d like to believe I’ve had a positive impact on you. I love you.

I love my relationship anarchist friends with all my heart. I can’t live like you. I think it is cool that you make the life and love and relationship choices you make. Go you. But I have to make the choices that make me ok and that make Noah ok.

We started out completely open. We have rocked back and forth on the pendulum trying to figure out what works for us from completely closed to “I can’t follow rules right now”.

I feel like a serious asshole, but it really did take the second time Noah completely broke down sobbing hysterically on the floor before I got it. I can’t date. Never again. I can’t have a boyfriend. It will rip him apart and I can’t do that.

Ok.

That is the deal. I needed to see that laid out plain as day.

We have friends who are happy to have sex with us together. If I need to individuate so badly (and I totally fucking do) maybe I need to do it in a way that respects this boundary for Noah.

I’m good at having sex with a friend and continuing to love them forever while having a 99.99% of the time platonic relationship. Even my platonic is effusively affectionate and supportive. I show up for my friends.

As long as everyone understands that if Noah needs me that is my first priority. Balancing my kids and Noah is weird sometimes. Early on when my children are infants they come first because triage of needs and all there is to a power struggle of importance. But frankly with six and eight year old children… Noah doesn’t have needs very often. When he does I tell the kids they have to wait. Yes, yes preservation of the species and all that…

Noah is the only person on this whole earth who is committed to taking care of meI’m not fucking with that.

I’m a needy thing. I can’t guarantee that my kids will take care of me. Barring his death or incapacitation… Noah will take care of me until I die. That’s the deal. Noah isn’t the sort to wander off if it gets hard. Noah isn’t a quitter. I started out hard. There have been no misrepresentations here implying I might be easy in any way.

I’m hard.

And he picks me over and over every day. Year after year. His intensity and commitment grow instead of diminishing.

I haven’t worn him out. Not in ten years of hard and shenanigans and fuckery.

I have a really good deal. It is a deal I want. It is a deal I like. It is a deal I appreciate.

There are limits within that deal.

It was really good and important to get to the point where Noah could actually admit out loud that he does not want polyamory at all, ever. That was important to hear. It’s important to document as a shift in what he wants. It’s important for my future behavior that I internalize what that means.

We aren’t looking for a unicorn. We aren’t looking to date. We are just the kind of friends who are fun to have sex with sometimes. Ok.

I need to internalize what that means. I need to figure out how to shift my behavior set so that I accurately signal what is on the table instead of leading people on.

We’ve hurt enough people this year. I hurt the Quiet One. We hurt our friend. I’m going to go ahead and be a shit and say that Noah hurt the out of state person.

Fuck. We did that. I’m sorry. There isn’t much I can do to fix any of it.

But I can move forward and try to figure out how to not do it again. You can’t always repair the damage you cause. Sometimes there are good reasons you can’t fix things with someone you have hurt or traumatized.

That doesn’t mean that you should pretend it didn’t happen. Acknowledge the pain you cause. Even if part of acknowledging it means stepping back and not inflicting your presence on people who don’t fucking want to deal with you.

That’s legit, yo.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Thank you, Bailey.

Some people are in our lives so we can learn lessons. Sometimes that lesson is, “I’m an asshole who hurts people in ________ ways.” I feel really bad about the number of people who have been in my life to demonstrate to me that I am a disrespectful bully.

I’m sorry. I think I do better about that now than when I was younger. I’m still not perfect.

I’m not sure I will ever stop being a bully 100% of the time. That shit can be effective, yo. There are times in life when you need to be able to stand up and demand your way. Bullying behavior works very well. Like, when Noah was in the hospital and none of the nurses would take me seriously that he needed a non-Opioid medication. I had to all but throw a temper tantrum to get them to call a doctor and evaluate him. I don’t feel bad. I brought chocolates and apologized later.

They said they deal with worse all the time.

Life is funny.

Bullying is a complicated subject. We present it in school as “evil” and The Behavior To Avoid when the reality is that the world is full of bullying and being able to manage it is important. Sometimes bullying is not evil. A lot of really important stuff only gets done because there is a bully shoving everyone along.

It’s like manipulation. It gets a bad rap but I think there is some utility there.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to add anything else to this topic. Cheers.

Lessons I’ve learned

This is a very edited version of something I wrote for a particular person. I took the shell of that message and expanded it here for my own record keeping.

This year has been kind of a horrible and traumatizing adventure.

The line between what makes a “friend” and what makes a lover/partner are often difficult and hard to see. I freely say I love you to my friends and they say it back. There is hand holding and snuggling even when I go through long periods of monogamy because my friends are the reason I stayed alive through a multitude of traumatic experiences.
With that in the background Noah and I met and started our marriage with an open relationship. We agreed to be monogamous through the breeding period (for lots of complicated reasons) with the idea that we would probably date later. About five years ago (when did Occupy happen?) I asked for us to open a bit and try things out. We proceeded to hurt each other a lot with the choices we were making around dating and we decided to close the relationship.
I have a variety of extreme mental illness problems. Treating myself like I matter is not easy for me. I would much rather sustain physical damage than inconvenience someone. As part of the agreement for being monogamous we agreed that I needed to provide sex for Noah at least ten times a month. The quota was hard to fill. It meant I had sex that was significantly painful on a regular basis. I was not honest about how this was impacting me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I mean, that’s true and not true. I’ve written all over my blog about having problems with it. But I also said I wanted to do it. I’m very conflicted on this issue.
Anyway. I came back from the road trip and discovered that six months of having my body be mine was absolutely transformative. I hit the wall. I’m done taking one for the team.
 
I had been bottling up a lot of desires for a long time. (I’m extremely sadistic. Noah is not masochistic.) He is kinda sorta willing to let me hit him if I really want… but he doesn’t enjoy it and I feel like a really gross person. Instead I have a long-term friend/play partner who likes to be kicked in the nuts, who wants me to slice him open with scalpels and drink his blood.
I started negotiation for the right to play with my friend. Then I went to visit a friend out of state and I cheated. When I say I cheated I mean I spanked two friends at a party. I did not have Noah’s consent to play outside the marriage. I didn’t have sex. I didn’t even kiss anyone. But I cheated anyway. It hurt Noah a lot.
Then I announced high handedly that I was done following rules and I was going to go date. I did. A lot. For about three months. Most of the people I dated are people I have known for many years. They are all deeply ingrained in my life. Some of them I have known for literally my entire adult life. Some of them were brand new and had boundaries Noah didn’t like.
 
By the end of this Noah had spent a lot of time screaming at me in the middle of the night, sobbing hysterically on the floor while wanting to die, and slamming walls to shut me up when I was arguing nastily with him. I can be pretty fucking nasty.
I made a deal with the devil. I made a deal I couldn’t keep and there were consequences for me and I didn’t communicate about them. I just completely exploded.
Noah asked me to stop going on solo dates. Noah asked that we not do solo sex unless we were at a party together and we just happen to also want to play with friends while there.
My friends know in ridiculous detail how these fights went because I usually wrote all the details down the next day. Which is why all my friends and play partners stopped calling for a few months. They were all, “Krissy stop fucking around and go fix your marriage.”
It has been a solid wall of support for I’m the asshole of the year. I’m not proud.
Hey friends, thank you for caring about me enough to tell me that I have to fix my marriage. That is loving me in a real and true way that isn’t selfish. I really appreciate it.
On the day Noah asked me to marry him he asked me to be his slave. I told him not yet. I said we weren’t ready for those kinds of roles yet. But I wanted to be someday. All this year we have been intensely focused on “It’s time to shit or get off the pot.” We’ve had written agreements in place for a while now that it isn’t ok to do ownership or possessiveness with other people at all.
That’s something that all of my partners know about. Casual sex: excellent. Intensely loving friendship: sure thing. But there are hard lines. Noah is getting a lot more honest about what he wants from me too. Last night we had a really excellent experience with a dear friend who helped us do an intense amount of processing.
Noah doesn’t want us to date alone. At all. I think having it be very clear that Noah wants nearly-monogamy is useful. I think that I have been kind of moving along on the assumption that I married a poly guy and I threw a fit a few years back and closed the relationship on him. There were things exploding. It wasn’t good.
We learn lessons in stages.
It probably isn’t going to be happening soon but someday we will have sex with our friends again. But we’ll find ways to do it together. I don’t get to have a boyfriend ever again. He doesn’t want to have a girlfriend ever again.
Which is an interesting way of phrasing it.
I need to go put some serious effort into learning how to get my intimacy needs met without sex. That sounds kind of obnoxious, I’ll be frank.
But I’ve learned harder subjects.
I hurt Noah a lot this year. I need to learn from this experience and not do it again. We are still working on the forgiving bit.
I’m utterly exhausted but I feel glowy and at peace. We didn’t sleep much. The kids went to their Bonus Family so we could have the space to talk without having to think about their needs. We also fasted for 24 hours. Shocking that it didn’t make us cranky.
Instead I feel like we were able to be very clear about some things that we have been talking around for a long time.
That’s all I’ve got for now.

Moving the needle

I’m trying to figure out how to get things to improve in my marriage. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m scared. At this point we are most of the way through arguing about all of our done-me-wrongs over the last ten years. There’s been an absolute fuck ton of arguing this year.

I don’t know about you, but I have let a lot of things slide over ten years because I didn’t want to argue. Then when things kinda hit a boil… everything comes out. We’ve had little and big problems that I’ve bit my tongue and la-la-la ignored. I’m not so sure it was useful.

At some point last night I realized that we have fairly equivalent lists of “you did _____” for one another. So we have hit the point where we have fairly well hashed out the problems and we are getting to… we have to forgive to move on.

Fuck.

I both am and am not a forgiving person. There are lots of things that I don’t really forgive. Lots. Shit dude, I cut off my family. There are things I won’t forgive. But I don’t think Noah has done anything that heinous. Everything that has been hurtful has individually not been over my threshold, but collectively… oh that’s harder.

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

I did something, well said, something horribly awful this year. I screamed at Noah that I wished he would die. I didn’t mean it and in less than five minutes I was crying and apologizing and saying I wanted to take it back.

I don’t have a high horse for sitting on here. I don’t think I have been less hurtful than Noah. I have been differently hurtful at different times… but I have been a horrible person. I’m really not denying that.

If we are going to move forward we have to forgive.

Oh fuck.

One of the biggest problems we are dealing with isn’t really Noah’s fault but he’s done some awful things because of it. Me saying no. I don’t really speak up when things make me uncomfortable all that well. My early life taught me that life is uncomfortable. Full stop. Speaking up about it just means people punish you for not complying faster because my comfort is irrelevant.

This is creating problems. I have done a lot of things while feeling wildly uncomfortable because I don’t react to that feeling as if I have any right to be defended. So I put myself in situations where I don’t believe I can say no and I do it over and over.

Sex. Oh sex is a fucking mess. Well, our sex life has been better between us lately than it has been in years. Which is fascinating given how much we are fighting. I feel like everything is my fault. I’m not sure it is but I feel like it.

How are we going to learn to have boundaries around “us” as a collective instead of maintaining individual boundaries and I’m supposed to learn to speak up more, and earlier, when I’m uncomfortable? I really don’t know. Yes, unicorn hunting is hard but both of us completely flip out when the other goes off to play alone.

It is both of us.

I feel really ashamed of how strongly I react to Noah playing separately, which is kind of funny because his reaction isn’t… that much less intense. Not really. It feels like imminent death for both of us. So why do I need to feel ashamed of that feeling?

Because I feel like I’ve been exposed to poly for my entire adult life WHY HAVEN’T I MATURED PAST BEING AN INSECURE TWAT WAFFLE? It isn’t lack of effort or time. I just… I’m just so insecure that it’s ridiculous. It isn’t Noah’s fault, not even a little bit. If anything were going to make me feel secure it is Noah’s behavior in aggregate.

Yet here I am. Feeling like I really should jump off a bridge so that Noah has more space in his life to replace me with someone who is less of a colossal loser. He doesn’t want that. Not even a little. But it is very much how I feel. He… doesn’t feel that differently about me dating.

Why do I feel so ashamed of having the same feelings he has?

Because I believe I am supposed to feel supportive. I believe I am supposed to be willing to support him finding every scrap of happiness he can in this life. That’s what a good wife/partner would do.

I am not a good wife. I am small, selfish, insecure, and so very sad.

Do you know what is incredibly fucking complicated? The fact that… we don’t really have many platonic friends. If we are going to be controlling as fuck about one another, how do we handle the fact that we are mostly only friends with old lovers/play partners? It is hard. We both have a habit of acting like people on our side aren’t as threatening as people on the other persons side.

I was listing off the people I feel closest to… all of them I’ve been intimate with. I haven’t had SEX with all of them. But I’ve been intimate. I like crossing boundaries with people. I like bonding.

After this year I wouldn’t be surprised if none of our friends ever want to play or have sex with us again. Oh the drama.

Noah is right that I can’t ever have sexual contact with someone again without his consent. I ignored his no this year. I can’t do that again.

That’s a mistake I get to make once this lifetime.

Last night’s conversation hurt a lot. But I feel like we got closer to understanding, “I did x because y.”

We really are getting to the point where the only step left is forgiveness. If we want to move forward, and shit we are talking about another god damn kid, we have to forgive. What does that look like? What does that mean?

It means tearing up the tally marks for who has done what wrong to whom. That’s pretty scary.

I know I have behaved abusively in the last ten years. I believe there have been times when Noah has too. Should we be carefully keeping lists of documentation so that we can hurt each other as much as possible with these actions? Is this how abuse is normalized and tolerated and excused on a wide spread basis?

There are lots of kinds and types of abuse. Our marriage has not included the deal breakers I experienced early in my life. We both abuse in the ways we do rarely and only after a lot of pressure builds up that we haven’t figured out healthier ways to manage. Does that excuse it? No. I don’t know what to do.

Noah is right that in order to know what is going on with me, sometimes he has to listen to venom and sort through it for the truth. That really sucks. But there are a lot of things I just can’t talk about until I am so angry I am almost frothing at the mouth.

In arguments Noah keeps saying, “You knew it was hurting me and you wouldn’t stop.” But I have stopped. I stopped months ago. I have not continued leading people on in conversation. I’m not making promises I can’t keep with other people. I certainly haven’t been on a date recently. I did stop. I just didn’t stop on a dime the way he wanted me to. Something is going on currently that I feel will do a lot to decide how we move forward. If boundaries can be expressed in a way that actually supports our marriage going forward… that’s going to be a big deal. If I feel that it isn’t managed well…

I’m scared. I’m bitter. I’m frustrated and angry.

I work all the god damn time and I really don’t have much in my life that is about letting off steam. Most of my work demands that I project happiness and cheer whether I feel it or not. I don’t show my emotional range to my kids much because I don’t think it would be very fair. I’m a god damn roller coaster and they don’t need to be on the trip with me. So I shove my feelings in a box and I smile and I keep my voice pretty calm and level. Are there cracks in my armor? Sure. I’m not perfect. But my kids seem to genuinely not understand how upset I get and how often.

I am a very good liar.

I spend a lot of time hugging and snuggling when I would like to be shoving my head through a window. When I would like to be raging and crying and cutting myself up. I pretend that I enjoy being a loving mother instead.

How in the fuck am I supposed to learn to care about being uncomfortable when pretty much my whole life is set up around, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters how you support the people around you.”

I honestly don’t want as much physical contact with my kids as they want with me. It feels alienating and hurtful. Partly because I am so jealous I didn’t get it that I feel like I am going to burst into flames. My needs didn’t matter. Why in the mother fuck are yours so god damn important?

Why is everyone more important than me?

I’m supposed to make other people feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting there thinking about the various pitfalls of ways to kill myself.

I don’t matter.

But Noah has built a life around how much I matter to him. I am seriously impressed with the amount of work he has put in to being a good partner. It’s a lot of why I feel he deserves someone better. Someone who can meet him halfway honestly instead of with a forced smile.

It isn’t that I don’t love Noah. It is that I spend so much time shoving down how uncomfortable I feel that there is often not room for authentic emotions near the surface. I have to have a layer of pretense over everything in order to cope.

This is how I have survived. This is how I have accomplished as much as I have. I pretend that how I feel doesn’t matter even a little bit, I put my head down, and I work.

A lot of my work is consciously projecting emotions I don’t feel: happiness, comfort, feeling secure. Because I am so good at pretending I feel these things I’m very good at helping other people feel this way. From what I understand from the people I weirdly interrogate: their feelings seem to be more authentic than mine.

Uhm I guess that’s good. I can pretend to be ok and help other people feel actually ok.

It all comes down to how I actually feel is irrelevant.

As a result I hurt and hurt and hurt and hurt.

It’s been a bad year in pretty much every way. Well, the cruise was lovely. We made promises for the next decade of our life that we need to figure out how to keep.

Otherwise 2016 has been overwhelmingly shitty. I’m so god damn over this remodel I could scream and never stop. Today they finish the initial drywall installation in the bathroom. They have finished the stucco outside. They will be here till January at least. We have a hearing in January and doing work communicating with the lawyer saps my will to live. It feels so mentally taxing and draining.

In retrospect… I’ve done an amount of work this year that I probably shouldn’t have been able to get done. I’m so tired.

I’m on the verge of collapse.

And I don’t really know what feeds me at this point. From where am I drawing energy? From the clear blue sky and I don’t god damn know how much longer I can continue.

I miss socializing. I miss my friends. I miss community. I don’t in any way shape or form have the ability to do more of it right now. Because as much as I get something back from that there is also a cost associated and right now I can’t pay.

We haven’t even been inviting people over to dinner much. I just can’t.

I have felt existentially lonely for a long time. The road trip was really hard in this way.

Noah desperately wants to be enough all by himself for me. But Noah has a lot on his plate. I can’t ask for any more of Noah. It isn’t fair or appropriate or ok. So I feel like I have spent a lot of time trying to make myself smaller. So that what Noah has to spare is enough.

I’m hurting so much.

I feel like a real schmuck in our conversations sometimes. I know he has made enormous leaps of progress in the past year since we’ve been back from the road trip. He is organized and efficient and he’s trying so god damn hard. The trouble is I have a back log of hurt and frustration and need and sadness and I don’t know how to deal with it. If I weren’t dealing with years of hurt… would this be enough? I don’t know. It is closer to enough than it ever has been before. But I don’t know how to evaluate it given how much I’m flailing.

I feel like I’m reaching the part where I’m genuinely in a family and I genuinely need to figure out the coping skills for forgiving and staying that other people have. I’ve never developed these skills. They have never been relevant to my life.

I need to stop making Noah cry. I don’t place it as a goal that I will feel happy. But I need to stop making Noah cry. Because Noah having a minimum bar of ok is more important than me being happy.

And this is how things fuck up. This is how I build up backlogs of things that hurt me until I explode. Because I don’t think I am important enough to deserve support on the smaller stuff. There is just so much that makes me uncomfortable that I really don’t believe I have the right to ask for consideration. It would be a job and not a fun one.

I’m not sure how forgiveness ties in to being able to respect or like myself. Can I forgive if I think I deserve the bad treatment? If I think it will never stop because it is just that I receive it?

My heart and my head and my stomach hurt. I feel physically sick and I don’t think it is illness. I think it is sadness. I think it is the feeling that I matter so fucking little. I feel worthless and pointless and stupid. I feel like I should die.

I feel like death is the only route to stop hurting. Life is pain.

Forgive. I have carved forgive on my body in more than one place because I feel like if there is a lesson I am supposed to learn in this lifetime it is how to forgive. But am I forgiving Noah or am I forgiving myself? I sorta feel like I will not ever be able to forgive anyone else, not really, until I forgive myself.

Forgive myself for being petty and weak and insecure and so very damaged by the experiences I’ve had. How do I forgive myself for not being whole when I have never been whole and I don’t really even understand what that might be like?

I feel so very sad. And my arms hurt like a motherfucker. I need to stop.

Don’t pick a side.

What I really wish I heard more of is, “You both try. You both fuck up sometimes and do it right sometimes. You both do the work and yet still fall short.”

It isn’t that I feel that I am right and Noah is wrong. Oh goodness, no. I’m a fucking asshole and I do awful things.

I just don’t know how to deal with feeling like I am the one who fucks up.

Sex and fucking up

I had a great chat yesterday. It made me think about a lot of how I’ve screwed up this year.

Sex is complicated. We have sex for so many reasons. For connection, intimacy, orgasms, bonding, feeling-not-alone-in-this-minute.

The thing is, that’s complicated. Why didn’t I pick Noah for every time I wanted sex this year? Because that’s complicated. Sometimes sex with a particular person is loaded with implications across your whole life you can’t handle and you want the ease of sex with someone else. Sometimes I wanted to feel like I still had the ability to connect with new people.

New people have been very instrumental to my survival. I get that it isn’t something that is a big deal to everyone. I know that lots of people have been safer in the known communities of their lives. I have survived by over and over again throwing myself backwards into the arms of strangers and just praying they would catch me. At this point it is no longer a survival mechanism but it is an ingrained habit. That’s complicated.

I don’t think I chased sex as self harm this round but I have certainly done so in the past. Sometimes the choice is, “Do I hurt myself in a known and predictable way because I don’t like myself very much or do I take the risk that this person will be nicer to me than I am able to be to myself or maybe they will hurt me more than I would hurt myself. Roll the dice.”

That’s a choice I’ve made many times in my life. If you haven’t had to deal with the cognitive load of poverty plus severe traumatization… you probably won’t understand. It will seem baffling to you that someone would make such a choice.

I’m glad you’ve never been there. That’s awesome for you.

I’ve been there a lot. I’m not there lately, but I have zero judgment for someone else finding themself in that position. It happens.

There have absolutely been nights when I’ve picked up a stranger and fucked them instead of hurting myself because I didn’t think I could stop until I put me in a hospital.

Was that a bad choice? I really don’t think so. I think I made the best choice I could given all the circumstances of my life in that moment.

It is hard to keep the larger picture in mind when you are judging one particular choice. Choices that were completely reasonable for me at different points in my life shouldn’t be judged the exact same way at this point in my life. I’m in different circumstances. I have different options.

To put it bluntly: I can have an emergency “weekend trip to relax” at this stage of my life. If I feel like I’m going to freak out and do something drastic… I can make it a very safe kind of drastic. Because I’m rich.

But that was literally not available to me before marriage.

Money. Money. Money.

If you have enough money, time, support, fill in the blank to have better options… who the fuck are you to judge someone doing the best they can!?

Get off your high horse.

But I’m really not in the same position as I once was.

How in the hell is any of my behavior this year justifiable? Hunh, hunh?

I’m not sure I can “justify” my behavior. I think I can explain it. I don’t think my explanations are “good enough” from many points of view and there’s not much I can do about that.

I learned things I needed to learn. I was able to find words for problems I wasn’t able to find words for until I processed all the way through some extreme emotions. I was able to change boundaries that were a big problem for me.

Could I have found a way to do it without freaking out and breaking a lot of rules?

Maybe. I tried. I failed.

I succeeded when I blew the boat up.

Things are going a lot better in a variety of ways. Was it worth the cost? Yes. To me. Was it to Noah? He’s still deciding. He’s still raw. That’s fair.

Sometimes we don’t do things to people and they hurt anyway. I didn’t go out and fuck people to hurt Noah. That’s not why it happened. We are all autonomous beings running our own stories and our behavior is not always about our partners. We have our own narrative running. It isn’t about you.

Even if we love you. Even if there could be negative consequences for you. We can’t make every single choice only about you. That’s not a way to be a person.

Would it be nice if our choices didn’t hurt you? Yes.

Yes.

I played a very careful line this year. I didn’t actually do stuff that was that risky to my life. I mostly went out and spent extra time with my friends. People who have been good to me for a long time. I had a tremendous amount of fun. It will help keep me warm for years to come. Was it worth the price I paid?

Probably. Does that mean I can do it like that again? No. I really can’t. It would break Noah.

What does that mean? Our relationship functions based on a lot of trust and mutual worship. If I kill that then I’m kinda destroying both of our reason to live. Whether or not I’m doing something at Noah… I need to pay attention to the impact. My life is completely intwined with him.

If I rock the boat he feels every wave. There is not a lot of separation there.

I’m not sure we will ever get to the point of being “polyamorous” even if we are allowed to discuss it in ten years. But it is ok to have sex with our friends sometimes if we do it together. Is that my ideal? I don’t know. I don’t think my ideal is more fair so I guess it will have to be ok.

There is no fair.

I get why we are both so possessive. I see the holes in both of us that we use one another to fill.

Sex with friends is different than the anonymous sex I also like. They scratch different itches. Sex with friends is safer and more predictable (not in a bad way). Anonymous sex allows me to feel like I am touching the core of connection between strangers. It is both intimate and distant in a way that feels like a spiritual practice to me. The trust and risk are intense rushes.

But my life is wrapped around Noah. So whether or not I’m doing something at him… he will feel it.

Noah doesn’t feel so awesome about my having sex with other people. He wants me to keep my worship at home. When we are having sex with other people together, that’s ok. That’s not scary or hard. Well, sometimes it is logistically hard or a position is hard or… but it’s not threatening in the same way. We are having an adventure together. No one is left to sit with their imagination and fear.

Noah really doesn’t want me to go off alone any more than I want him to. Seems fair. Annoying, but closer to fair than most things ever get.

Why annoying? Because I am selfish selfish selfish selfish selfish. A lot of the reason I have sex is for the orgasm and changing partners increases that like a motherfucker. Sigh.

No life is perfect.

(For the record: Noah has been working hard on this and has had a pretty fucking outstanding success recently. There’s an A for effort and result.)

I know he’s trying. I can see it. I don’t think it would be possible to look at Noah and not see that he is trying as hard as he possibly can for me.

I’m so annoying and hard.

He works far harder than anyone can ask for; that kind of effort is a freely given gift. I know how lucky I am. My physical and mental health issues have not been easy. But Noah considers my companionship worth the cost.

How in the hell did I end up here?

I auditioned hundreds of people and Noah won the part.

I think we are much better and more interesting together than we ever were apart.

I’m looking forward to pregnancy. I get so exhausted that our pace of life will utterly collapse. Yeah, yeah, pregnancy isn’t a disability yeah yeah pregnant women should carry on as if nothing was happening…

I can’t. Gestating is fucking hard in my body. Remodeling and resettling the house has to be complete by January. Next year I’m going to work on academics with my big kids, sit around, sleep, exercise, eat and go grocery shopping.

I’m probably not going to get much else done, to be honest. And that’ll continue for at least 3-6 months after the baby is born.

I’m toast. Breeding is hard.

I’ve completed the cycle and come out the far side more than once so I’m very aware of what it looks like for me.

I’m really excited about the possibility of a pregnancy where I am in much better physical shape to start with (hello marathon and half marathons, you have halo effect I still feel) and I have my IBS mostly under control and I can breathe through my nose. This will be a different experience. I’m also older. This will also be a medicalized experience (hiya bleed out problems) which is kinda terrifying for me.

All the feelings. And my back is giving me trouble. I need to finish this damn remodel. But bending over really kinda sucks.

I’ll get through it. Put a corset on and get your work done, woman.

It’s kinda funny how we all adapt to the tasks life puts in front of us. This art shit weighs on my soul. I really am more calm in my home because of the art work. It is so easy to ground in my house. When you are here you are really in a particular, individual place. That’s a big deal for me. In other peoples homes, in most of the homes I’ve ever lived in… they all kinda blend together. Sure the knick knacks and furniture are sorta different… but the white walls meet the white ceilings and I want to crawl under a table and cry.

No, it’s not rational.

I do not want a fancy “nice” bathroom that looks like it could be in a hotel somewhere. And I’m willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for the experience I want to have. Every doctor I have wants me to take baths as often as I can. I spend time in my bathroom. I recycle the water too. To deal with my hippy guilt. (The internet tells me that epsom salts, baking soda, vinegar, and sugar are all fine for plants on a small scale so my bath water is fine  for my plants. Woo hoo.)

We’ve had a broken toilet for a long time. We’ve been using the grey water to flush the toilet. I’m thrilled that with the increased bath capacity of water I will also be able to use the water for more plants. I’ve always used some of it sometimes… but never for plants if someone has used shampoo or soap.

Why am I so tolerant of my friends having quirks or needing accommodation for their mental health needs? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Uhm, err, just because I’m a nice person?

*cough*

Because I fucking obsess over what to do with my bath water. I got no stones to throw on people needing to do their thing.

Oh man. I’m going to go through a pregnancy in a bathtub big enough to roll over in. Oh the glory.

Spoiled rotten motherfucker.

I really like my house.

Did I mention I’m having candle holders permanently installed on the walls of the bathroom? And there are skylights above it?

The walls are going to be glittering scenes of autumn and winter. I’m working on them.

My house is a very particular place. I like it so much.

I need to clean it. But that’s a problem for a different day. It won’t be really cleaned until the remodel is done. Too much dust and dirt is being generated every day. Not worth a deep clean. I’ll probably splurge on professionals in January at the start of the pregnancy.

Then I’ll spend a year basking in my family. In 2016 I was supposed to learn how to love myself. I don’t know that I managed, exactly. But I’ll spend 2017 hanging out and letting my family love me. That’s… almost the same thing?

Today will be a Zen sorta day. Noah has a dentist appointment. I’m watching a neighbor’s child in the morning and walking them to school. It’s kinda funny. Then I get to come home and get the kids onto chores and academics while I work. I will have to find a way to do work that is right next to them so we can talk while they do their stuff. They always have questions, which is very appropriate.

Tonight we are going to trick or treat with friends we haven’t seen much in the year since we’ve been back from the road trip. We’ve been really bad friends this year. I’ve dropped everyone and everything on the floor for this remodel. And I do it when I’m doing the breeding thing too.

Uhm, I’m sorry. I will crawl out of a hole again in the future. I hope you still like me then.

But yes. Touching base with old friends. Longevity is a big deal for me. A dear woman I know is deeply associated with a phrase: “Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

I’m really curious which threads are deep enough in the weave that I will know them for most of my life. I am made up of the people who know me. The people who carry my story with them when they go. I am made up of the people who sometimes ruefully think, “What would Krissy do?”

I am a creation in your mind as much as I am anything at all. And the fact that you think about me. That fact is enough to mean that even when I fuck up, I am maybe not beyond forgiveness.

Forgiveness

Noah wrote me one of those epic blog posts he writes to me. Noah is of the belief that if we had public back and forth about our issues it would go badly. Given that I write publicly… he writes to me. I worry about this dynamic.

He’s bringing a lot of reality into this relationship. What the ever loving fuck. He accurately catalogues some of the problems we have had over the years and says that it is less about forgiving me for these ways in which I have fucked up and more about exalting that no matter how big the bump we always find a way past it.

That’s… that’s deep, yo.

I’ve fucked up a lot. I have done some pretty awful things. Some of the things are ongoing problems and some of them were problems for a while and then I stopped.

Just like some of the ways in which Noah has fucked up are ongoing and some of them are stopped. But I have not been giving him a lot of credit for change and growth. I have been acting like every problem, every fuck up is about an escalating pattern. Is it?

I come from a background of domestic violence. I literally spent my childhood moving every few months because my mother was running from a man who beat and raped her children.

Am I capable of looking at fuck ups and not wondering about the escalation potential?

Noah does not beat nor rape my children. I feel completely comfortable saying that. My children exhibit no stress signs of hidden trauma. I watch for it. My friends watch for it. My neighbors even watch for it because I’ve talked to many of them about my background and family history and I’ve flat asked to be monitored.

“I don’t know what healthy actually means. I’m trying to learn. I need feedback so I’d appreciate it if you commented when you see me doing something that might hurt my kids.”

People are always fairly stunned by this request, but they honor it. People call me on my shit.

I have all the potential in the world to be a monster.

So does Noah.

What does potential mean?

I don’t think I am a monster at this stage. Or maybe, I’m a monster kinda like the BFG is a monster. Are you a monster because you are in a category with other monsters based on demographic factors but you don’t enact monstrous behavior yourself?

Noah wants me to not forgive him but instead exalt him for getting past many of the ways he has hurt me. I get why he wants that. I get why it is important for the story arc. Given that we are fresh on the heels of several straight months of me being the problem and me hurting him far more than he hurt me… I get it.

2016 will go down as one of the years when I hurt Noah the most for our entire marriage. Was it worth it?

I don’t know.

If I had to do that in order to really force through the idea that I will never grit my teeth and take one for the team again? Yes.

Yes. A million times yes.

Noah may want me to not forgive and instead exalt that we got past our issues, then I need 2016 to be the last year I ever submit to sex that hurts me in a bad way. I’ve been having sex that caused me intense physical pain for more than 30 years. I’m done. If I had to blow the fuck up to convince the people around me that I’m done done done done done I can live with that.

Does that make it good or fair or right to blow up like that? Not really.

Sometimes there aren’t right choices.

I know that means I will have to change behaviors on my end as well as figuring out how to keep coaxing behavior from Noah that will work better. That will be really hard.

I’m off the team. I can’t ever take one for the team like that again. Whatever service of that kind I owed in this lifetime I have paid. I have paid and paid and paid and paid. I’m out of currency with which to pay.

My cunt is mine and I need it to not be treated like something that anyone has a right to use no matter how much pain they cause me.

I understand that a lot of this has happened because I “let” it happen. Because I was conditioned from toddlerhood that this was my lot in life so I encouraged and allowed this kind of behavior. Yeah yeah, it’s my fault. I know.

If we go seek out people to hurt us and they hurt us is it their fault or our fault? I don’t entirely know.

Exalting. I should exalt that Noah has gotten to the point when he can recognize that I am engaging in bdsm as self harm he stops participating.

Really if I want to talk about the things Noah has worked on to be better at being my partner… I won’t stop talking for a few weeks.

I know.

I know.

Bossy friends, sleep, and the big D

Do you know what I hate about blacksheep telling me to do stuff? I pretty much always listen. I stopped using the Afrin. (@#$#$@$#$ bossy friends)

I am happy to report that with Zyrtec and saline nasal spray (to irrigate and moisturize, naturally) nightly I’m still getting 8-10 hours of sleep. Like fucking magic. I haven’t slept this well… ever.

(I wouldn’t listen to blacksheep so much if she weren’t usually fucking right.)

I find it funny how my initial response is always I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU then two days later I’m doing what she told me to do. I’m so mature.

Things with Noah are… rocking back and forth in a gradual upswing. God damn that was some unfun conversating we did this weekend. (Yes I know that isn’t a word.) But it was important and useful and we said stuff we needed to say. There were moments when I asked questions about divorce, but suicide wasn’t the answer. This still needs to be considered progress.

No we aren’t getting a divorce. But I’m scared that I’m so bad for him that he really should get away from me. He doesn’t want to. We are both… crazy attached. Is this good? I don’t know. But I know I like Noah more than I like anyone else.

This is so complicated.

No real time…

But I want to point out that I got through Suicide Tuesday Friday without feeling drop or depression or a reversion to suicidal ideation. (For those of you who haven’t spent years doing drugs, MDMA is a drug that causes a massive surge in serotonin. If you have a massive surge of serotonin… you will have a corollary time when you will have a decrease in serotonin. This is known in rave circles as Suicide Tuesday assuming you did your trip on a Saturday.)

I’m having big feelings this morning because I got to do a walk through Noah’s brain that makes me feel sad, but not in a way that makes me feel worthless and like I should die.

I feel sad that Noah genuinely believes that he isn’t allowed to have friends because if he were honest about our relationship anyone/everyone would tell him to get the fuck out of our marriage because I am so horrible.

That’s… that’s a real problem. I don’t know what to do about it. Am I really as bad as all that? He thinks so. And that means it is true enough.

If I’m sitting with this and I don’t feel like I should off myself… that’s progress.

Now that it’s done…

I’ll talk about it. But posting “I’m about to go do something basically illegal” is silly. Instead, write about it after the fact. Ahem.

Err, this is why I wanted three days of complete sobriety. To make it so the experience was more intense. No pot, alcohol, or caffeine. Wheeeeeeee.

So I managed to turn up a therapist who does guided MDMA journeys. It’s one of those things that is talked about in PTSD circles. You can do years of processing work in an afternoon. After 33 fucking years of therapy I could use some god damn short cuts.

It was… much less intense than I’m used to. I think he gave me a low dose.

It was good though. I stepped out of my box and talked about a lot of developmental trauma stuff. (It helped that I’ve been rereading the Healing Developmental Trauma book…) We talked a lot about some of my core wounding stuff. The shit that just doesn’t heal. We talked about volition, consent, responsibility, shame, and all those other awesome things.

I talked a lot about the rape I committed when I was a kid. I talked a lot about my brother and my dad’s suicides. I talked about my internal core lack of worth. Recent studies show that the fact that I was the product of rape, my mother seriously contemplated aborting me, and I wasn’t loved much once I arrived… that’s really enough to create that worthless feeling forever.

But! Brains are plastic! They can change.

You just have to work both hard and smart to figure out how the fuck to change it. It’s complicated as fuck.

I feel… like maybe some of it budged today. We talked a lot about my children in context of my experiences. I literally can’t imagine my children forcing oral sex on other children at five. That’s a taught behavior.

My father taught me. I was doing my best to be good. I’m not evil because I had an evil father who taught me things I shouldn’t have been taught. I have been fucking scrupulous about consent for a lot of years now and that is unlikely to change.

I am not a serial rapist. My father was. I am not.

I may be a monster, but I have my limits. I do not want to destroy another person’s soul.

Yes I fucked up really really bad and there were consequences. A little boy was hurt. But I was five. Five year olds… can’t be held to the same standard as an adult. I say that as someone who has been privileged to see a number of five year olds over the last few years. None of them, even if they did something so horrible, would be to blame. The person who taught them to do that would be to blame.

If I had done it again at 15 or worse yet at 25 this would be a different conversation.

I was five.

It isn’t my fault I was born. I did not choose to punish my mother with my birth. That’s not how it works. I did not rape my mother. My father did.

Maybe it’s ok that I was born. I was the only person who was willing to stop my father from raping more people. Not a single other person was going to step up and do that.

Maybe I’m not so bad.

I did the right thing. Even though it hurt. Even though there were consequences. I had to do it. I really did.

We talked about how there is no such thing as “the best mom” because every child has different needs… but I’m a good mom. I’m responsive to my children. I have put a lot of my mental health problems into cabinets and drawers and I god damn show up for my kids. Even when it hurts and I want to dissociate and hide. Even when I feel depressed. Even when I feel anxious. I stomp my shit, explain that my tone of voice will suck because I’m having a rough day, and I fucking show up.

I’m too privileged not to. In my opinion. I have so much support. I can’t let my support down by being a bad mom. I need to be worthy of this life I find myself in the middle of. My children and my husband act like I am good. I am blessed beyond measure.

I have the kind of family that many people dream about and never get. That has to count for something. It didn’t happen by accident. I made this. I made this home. Noah supplied the house. I made it a home for my family. I made these little people and I’ve managed to care about their needs for years and years and  years. Eight years and counting of doing the work.

Pieces of shit don’t do that.

I’m not 100% down yet (halo is niiiiiiice) but we’ll see how I feel over the next few days. We’ll see how this sticks.

I just feel slow, not hungry, and kind of at a distance still. I don’t hear any of the voices in my head that hate me.

I’ll take any break I can get.

More than one thing can be true

Goodness. Yesterday… didn’t go according to plan. Well, we went to the party we meant to go to. I didn’t play with any friends. It didn’t seem…. wise. We fought again. It got to screaming again. I don’t feel like I’m in a position to be holier-than-thou about it.

The party was ok. We played some together and we socialized. Maybe that was what we needed to be doing just then.

Today we had a productive conversation. Like… the kind of productive conversation we haven’t been able to have all year. I sorta feel like we had to go through layers and layers and layers of nasty to get to this conversation. This morning we were able to just… lay it out. “This is a problem. This is a problem. This is a problem. Yes x, y, and z won’t solve it… but it’s a problem we have to fix.”

I feel like we are getting to layers of honesty we’ve been burying for years.

I didn’t even know we were concealing all of this. We have been trying so hard to protect one another’s feelings in so many areas. We have been doing our best to provide what we interpreted as what the other person needed. We have both been choosing to not ask for yet more support because we both feel like we ask for too much.

Maybe we need to change what we are asking for. Maybe this is really complicated. Maybe instead of retreating and trying to make ourselves smaller we should be trying to be bigger.

This is my second day of complete sobriety. It is going better than anticipated… my stomach doesn’t hurt. I’m not feeling frantic. I’m not being nasty with my tone of voice. I’m not stomping out of the room before I have big feelings all over people. I feel like the taper plus using alcohol to smooth out some of the initial bumps of mood distortion helped. I feel like the sleep is helping. (8 hours again last night.)

I’m taking stomach acid reducing pills, nutritional supplements, and allergy medication. How come my complete sobriety involves popping so damn many pills?!

But none of them are fun.

Sigh.

I’m in a better mood than I anticipated first thing this morning. That was an incredibly positive after breakfast chat. No screaming. No fuss. Just…. this is a big fucking deal and we have to talk about it.

Why can’t we change one or two things at once instead of throwing the whole damn deck of cards in the air and saying “Let’s see what happens!”

Some seriously hurt feelings. But you know what? I don’t think I could have gotten to the point of being able to communicate some pieces of this without causing that much pain.

I don’t think I’m that good.

Noah keeps coming back to “But you say and say and say that this relationship has been the best years of your life. How can it also be so awful?”

This relationship has been the happiest period of my life. Full stop. No hesitation. That doesn’t make it perfect. That doesn’t mean it can continue as it has forever. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. Our kids are changing. There are specific pieces of the relationship that must change or else.

There are pieces of it that hurt and are damaging and just aren’t fucking ok.

That doesn’t take away the fact that this is the best I’ve ever known. Both of those things can be true at the same time.

Somehow… me wanting better… is all your fault Noah. If I hadn’t had ten years of this good, would I be capable of imagining better? I don’t think so. I really don’t.

I needed to have a best friend like you who would tear himself apart and rebuild to suit me. Just like I have done my best to change and grow for you. I have.

I am not the person you met. That’s part of why some of the things I could tolerate then I can’t tolerate now.

I don’t think that means either of us are evil. But it is true that we have to change and change again.

You are my monster and I am yours. Rawr.

What are we going to do? I don’t know. But I’m glad I get to do it with you. You are my best friend. No one has ever loved me like you do and no one else ever will.

Stay stay stay

So many feelings.

I’m up I’m down. I’m finding layers of peace. I’m still dysregulated and sensitive and whiny.

On the ride home yesterday I hit… an important piece, I think, around suicide and pain. I can kill myself if I am in so much physical pain that I will no longer have good days. I hold that right to be sacred. If I hit stage 4 cancer, I’m probably going to pick the day I go instead of letting fate decide.

But problems in my marriage aren’t like cancer. It is not inevitable that things will decline further until death. It’s not the same and I can’t act like it is. I spent a lot of time yesterday frantically wanting to end my life. Because I hurt. Because that is the well trod pathway my brain takes when it is in pain.

I can’t commit suicide over a problem in my marriage or a problem in my sex life. I am too big for that now. Maybe that would have been understandable at some point in my life. It isn’t now. I am too big.

I don’t mean I weigh a lot. That’s too literal. I mean metaphorically.

If I am in too much pain and I have to run away I have places to go. I have homes in the bay area that would take me in with no explanation needed. I could go to Oregon or Washington or Minnesota or Georgia and I’d find berth. No questions asked. Ok, they’d ask questions. But they’d ask questions after I got there because they care about me, not because they would gate keep based on whether or not my answers are good enough.

I am good enough.

That means that when I’m having problems… dying doesn’t need to be the answer. If I have to get away… I have options. I don’t need to die.

I’m rereading the speech I wrote when I performed a wedding. I am not being good at advocating for myself in my marriage. Not really. My second thought? Shit I rambled on too long about history and irrelevant shit. Good grief.

Hey, they asked their favorite teacher to officiate. They got a lecture.

Marriage is what you make of it. What kind of marriage do you want to have? One where you both hurt each other often as a lifestyle choice?

Not really.

It was really mean to come home from being gone for half a year and immediately leap into that much dating. Noah missed me and was faithful and that’s how I rewarded him. That sucks. There have also been a number of ways in which we haven’t managed to communicate well and I’m not always lying if we have different definitions. We are talking past each other but that isn’t the same as lying. And I’ve done a piss poor job of communicating the boundaries Noah wishes I had to people as I’ve gone off on adventures. That’s a huge problem. I know I need to fix that.

It is hard to talk about bdsm. It is hard to figure out how common sexual euphemisms like “first base” translate. If I have literally played like that with folks when I was in the quad when I was in high school… yeah I consider that first base. There were no genitals involved. No one was overtly sexy at all. Sometimes humans are just hella rough with other humans. That’s… ok.

I really did grow up brutalizing people for fun. The weird ass part is how many of those people still know me and have a good opinion of me.

No, kneeling on someones chest and laughing at them as they gasp for breath isn’t second base in my head.

I don’t know how this works for other people.

Punching for a few minutes on the thighs and the shoulders… doesn’t feel like sexuality. I mean yes? But no. But sorta. But not?

I did think I was being good and acting within the boundaries.

If I try that hard and I run into a place where you have a different definition that needs to be a conversation about definitions not an accusation of lying. I didn’t lie. I told you where I would set my boundaries, but apparently I didn’t define that well enough for you. That isn’t a lie. It is a failure to communicate. I came home and told you right away. There was no lying.

There also needs to be some room for “I expect I will do ____” and “Well I actually did _____.”

Between the two of us we need to figure that out because we’ve run afoul of it in both directions. That isn’t the same thing as lying either. Not when you did it and not when I did it and I’m being accused of lying up one side and down the other.

I have not ever said, “Oh I followed the rules” and then later you found out through dubious channels that I wasn’t doing so. That hasn’t happened. I said that I wanted to break rules and you found out in dubious ways. I think that’s different.

I’m the one telling you about every fuck up.

I’m not presenting them straightforwardly and simply. I am reacting with hostility when you challenge me on a variety of things.

I need to stop that.

I think I have had to get this angry to assert that I will not ever grit my teeth through sex again. Whatever I owed anyone on that score I have paid my debt many times over.

And I can’t even talk about what that means unless I talk about it in context of overall volition and other partners because I can’t just push back against Noah. I owe him too much. I don’t feel I have the right.

But I have managed to learn that I don’t owe Deity or Cupid or my submissive or or or or. I go when I want to and I don’t when I don’t. (Ok sometimes I don’t get to go when I want to but that’s different.)

This is so complicated and I need to go.

Layers

I know I make it sound like my sex life with Noah is awful and it isn’t. The vast majority of our sex together is terrific or I wouldn’t be so loyal. It’s just sometimes awful. And the sometimes is a significantly decreasing percentage of our sex life as the years pass.

But there are a bunch of layers to this.

I’ve been sustaining genital injuries during sex for over thirty years. I am no longer able to react to this moment when stuff like that is happening. I can’t. I get in the forever-place where this will never stop and I should just die to get away from it because nothing I can ever do will make people stop hurting me this way.

I do not pretend it is rational. I acknowledge that it is happening. Bodies aren’t rational.

Trauma living in the body is a well documented phenomena. If you don’t believe me you can do your own damn research. I’m satisfied.

I think there is some validity to “You’ve been safe for 10 years so you’ve finally been able to mature to about 13 and that means you are rebelling and individuating in asshole ways.”

I think there is validity to the point that was made last night: I had my first six months off from genital pain during sex during my lifetime on the roadtrip. There is the possibility that my body started to feel like, “Hey wait… maybe that doesn’t have to happen.

know it is happening much less. I only have two clear memories since I’ve been home from the roadtrip. So that’s way decreased frequency.

But if you look at dog training, intermittent reinforcement (negative or positive) is a much more effective teacher than constant reinforcement.

I’m fucking paranoid every time we have sex that this time is going to be another time and it takes me a while to unwind and get into sex and that’s hard for Noah. It makes it much more difficult to relax and get into anything.

The last date for slut month? Cancelled. Guess why? Illness in the Bonus Family and he is sick too.

I guess that’s… meant to be? Ha.

If I have to be monogamous, at least it is with Noah.

He’s a ridiculous amount of fun to have sex with. When I’m not paranoid I’m about to be a fleshlight.

(I have been feeling annoyed about the canceled/cancelled spelling distinction lately so I looked it up. Given that my audience spans countries where both spellings are valid I figure I will just go back and forth between the spellings forever. I don’t need to pick a side here.)

I suggested to Noah that for a while maybe he doesn’t initiate penetration at all until I verbally say “I’m ready.” This is going to be a stretch for both of us.

I think part of the reason I hide behind sex with new people is: it’s not hard to have boundaries with them. I can tell a new person “no” all day long. Once a relationship gets more complicated… my ability to say no kind of evaporates.

Hanging out with my kids full time is quite the adventure. I have to have boundaries with my closest people. But they aren’t sexual. I mean, the boundaries are brick wall clear and not ambiguous and I never have to wonder about how to enforce those kinds of boundaries. That’s the easy part.

I have placed an unfathomably unfair problem on Noah: I will not tell you no and you need to figure out how to not hurt me.

And I keep score. And I get bitter over the years.

Fuck I’m such a fucking bitch.