Category Archives: mi casa es su casa

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.

Chasing and being ok

I should be sleeping, but I’m awake. I’m thinking about how much I’m shoving on my friend while she’s here. So here’s the sitch. I met this woman on Twitter during my road trip. Towards the end the kids and I realized we were going to have a miserable time camping at the snowy Grand Canyon and decided to detour. I asked the universe (and Twitter) where we should go. This woman popped up and said, “Pick me! Pick Phoenix!” So I did.

We spent a few days together and it was lovely. I think she is great. I think her kids are rad and super smart and really engaged in life. I honestly don’t meet that many public school kids who are that good at asserting themselves. I was seriously impressed with these kids. They are just… there’s a lot of there there.

So I asked my friend to come visit. Thing is, the entire time I’ve known this family they’ve been on my monthly donation list because of disability issues. The mama hasn’t worked in a while and that is indefinite. So this trip is horrifyingly prohibitively expensive.

So I said, “Can I bring you to California. You and your family. You need a break from life.”

We are going all over the bay area and down to Santa Barbara with a stop in Monterey on the way home. We will spend close to a week driving into San Francisco to see the museums.

These kids showed up at my house and with glowing faces they said, “Can we homeschool every day?!” They are so excited they can barely speak. Only they talk just as much as my kids do so this is a hilarious time. Oh so much volume. But fascinating! The opinions! The independent thought going on!

One of the first questions was: “Does your little boy still wear dresses?” Answer: “That question is more complicated than you think. My kid wears dresses sometimes. But I only sometimes have a little boy. Let’s talk about the gender binary and people who do not fall on it at either end.”

It was lovely.

I sat down after dinner and started listing off the cool things to do within an hour of driving… we filled the trip days fast. We have a full itinerary.

I am 100% convinced my friend never would have asked for something like this in her life. I’m spending around $1200-$1500 for them to have this vacation. Folks I don’t know that well that I met through the internet.

Why?

I am ruled by my impulses. Because it breaks my heart that my children get to have the life they have and children this god damn smart and talented don’t get to have as much opportunity. Yes, I’d love to bring you out here for three weeks for as much information as we can pack into your little skulls. It would be an honor.

I do these things to pay back the child I was. The child who felt so bad that everyone else got to go do fun things and take classes and go to museums. I got to move again.

Part of what is helping is that I’m not having to chase this family. I offered and she accepted… but I didn’t have to chase her and keep offering.

Being able to accept a gift this big is hard. Pride is a big deal. Accepting this much love and help from someone is hard to feel ok with. People can only take so much then they need to give. Not necessarily back to the person they received from… paying things forward is more important

I am running into asking rev limiters within myself. I can ask different people and it isn’t scary. I can’t ask a small group of people for things repeatedly. That’s too much hard; I feel too much like I’m hurting people.

Unless I get asked back. I need to be asked for things in exchange. Do you know one of the reasons it is easy for me to help this family have this trip? They are kind of assertive about how things need to work for them. “I need _____. I can’t do _____.” Even if receiving a gift they are directing it to be more useful for them. That melts my butter. I feel like they seriously are trying to get what they need from this gift.

I have probably asked many hundreds if not over a thousand people to spend time with me in my life. I don’t ask everyone for sexual attention. Unless I feel an energetic push back… I feel like I am hurting people by sticking around.

If I initiate all of our, “Hey let’s hang out” it will get more and more sporadic over time. My give runs out. My ask runs out. I wish I still had it in me to ask you over lots… I don’t. I don’t think you care. I think you’d rather do something else.

I think you’d rather not put your pants on and walk three blocks to see me after I drive multiple thousands of miles. That’s what I’m worth.

That’s from someone who has been publicly calling me “family” for over a decade. Yeah. That’s what I’m worth to my family.

But not Noah. And not my kids. They would do a whole hell of a lot to see me.

Noah crisscrossed the country chasing me. It was glorious.

Even though they live with me every day. If I start getting distracted by life or people they do tricks until I stare at them again. Please look at us. We need your attention. Yes my loves. I will give you my attention too.

Yes, I like pushy. Yes, I want people who say hey I’m here and I want your attention. Yes, that is risking rejection. Welcome to my god damn life.

It occurs to me that I could create a calendar for the house hold and share that with folks who are interested. Dates when people are free to invite themselves over could be clearly marked.

I can’t keep inviting the way I have for years. I’m tired and it hurts.

Noah says I’m just ditching my friends for lovers. I don’t think that is true. I can list off lots of friends talking and visits in the past few months. It is true that I’m putting less effort into my friends.

But I think I was there anyway. I think there was just a brief surge for dating. I think that is going to… change as time moves on anyway. I’ll run out of ask there too. I don’t get the impression that most of the folks I date are going to feel ok being pushy with asking for dates. My submissive. My glorious submissive. Thank you for being so brave so far. I know I’m busy and asking me means risking me being overwhelmed and kind of a twerp on a given day. I’m grateful you ask. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m not always good company but I’m so glad I get to know you. Sometimes when I say I’m not good company it isn’t about me not liking you it is about me wanting to keep my nasty moods away from you. I know you are comfortable with getting the less than sweet parts of me, but I don’t want to take my feelings out on anyone like that. I don’t want to start using you for that kind of thing.

I love you too much.

I’ll hit you; I’ll carve my name into your flesh with a scalpel; I’ll kick you as hard as I can in the testicles. I do not want to hurt you. I want you to feel loved. I can’t be nasty to you when I’m having a bad day. That’s not cool.

I need to be nasty to you on good days when it is a positive, loving choice for both of us.

I’m going to run out of chase on dating for the same reason I always do. Most people… aren’t as into me as I want them to be. They like me ok, but they don’t really seek me out. I seek them out as much as I can… then I can’t anymore.

Usually that’s about three months.

The people who have gone longer than that… my first fiancé, my Owner, Puppy, Spot, Noah… they always act like they are drawn to me. I don’t think my first fiancé would have fallen out of love with me. I think he wanted to marry me and he was going to be ok being that person forever. I think I could have had that. But he needed me to not change very much. He needed me to calm down and not be so crazy. He needed me to be very conservative sexually. I couldn’t do that for him. I think I could still be with my Owner if I hadn’t wanted kids so much. Puppy was the only one who dumped me. He has some serious issues and that was for the best. He would have been very abusive. Spot… that one did run its course. There was no more there for that relationship. But we are still friends.

Noah came back when I shoved him away as hard as I could. He was still my friend even though it hurt because not knowing me was more painful than dealing with me rejecting him as a boyfriend. Then after a while of being my friend he noticed that I was single for five minutes and he took a chance on offering me the best deal of my whole damn life. Would I like to marry my best friend and have the babies I’ve been dreaming of? Yes. Yes I would.

I like sudden intense protestations of devotion that I end up being able to count on. That works for me.

And Noah has chased me ever since. I do not always honor his efforts as I should. But I take breaks to admire just how forking nice to me he is. He chases me. He feels like he would die without me.

It makes it kind of hard to keep chasing people who are not that enthusiastic about seeing me, who do not push for time or attention, who do not make it clear that they want to know me.

I’m spoiled as fuck.

My submissive chases me à la Pepé Le Pew. Slow and patient and just there for my entire adult life.

You know who else chases me? Sarah. That’s why she is My Sarah. Because she has chased me and pushed and offered and grabbed chances to see me for over twelve years.

Lots and lots and lots of people can ask me once or twice a year for a visit. That’s so wonderful and sweet and generous. They give me what they have to spare. They ask for how much of me they want. I’m grateful for every person who gives me a three hour visit a year because they want to know me and that’s all they have spare. That is a gift.

It is so glorious having people in my life who want more and more and more of me. The number of people who feel that way is growing and I can’t help but think that is so wonderful. One of the women I look up to most described knowing me as being like watching the birth of a planet. I’m developing my own gravity.

So this ADD book I’m reading keeps saying, “There is something special about a lot of people with ADD. You can’t put your finger on what it is. It’s just there.” I find that hilarious.

When you look at comorbidity things: ADD is highly correlated with trauma which is highly correlated with being targeted which is highly correlated to being something that attracts notice.

Being special/different/weird is threatening as fuck. Lemme tell you.

Hey, is that a self love moment there? Did I just admit that I know I’m special?

Whoa.

I am. I always have been. I do radiate energy like the sun. Either I freak people out or I draw them in. I pay attention to people. I want to know them and love them. Just looking at people as hard as I do is special. Not many people are even capable of really looking at everyone around them and paying attention the way I do. It is some trick of attention and hypervigilance and empathy.

And where in the hell did I find the well of love I seem to have for people? Despite everything. Recently someone said I didn’t break; I broke open.

I need to be needed or there isn’t a lot of point in me. I think that the majority of creatures who are ever born live and die not having a point. I think that the creature has to make their own point, their own purpose, their own meaning.

Am I doing it?

So far people in ten states and a few different countries have told me that knowing me has changed them for the better. It’s a start.

I can say with great certainty that the three people who live here, my submissive, and My Sarah will chase me just about to the ends of the earth. Jenny has flown out to rescue me when I was in danger even though she isn’t by nature a chaser.

I still call her Jenny because I’m the only damn one who can. To you, she is Jennifer. You do not have leave to address her familiar. I think the only reason I can’t mature into the grown up name is because it was a very young person who first opened her heart to me. It was a very young person with intense wounds of her own who learned how to put up with me. When I cry and think of how very much I miss my friend I am dimly aware that we are grown ups now… but I miss her from that place of being very young. Because that is where she first touched me. I met her when I was twelve. I feel like twelve was for me the absolute last gasping breaths of my childhood. That was right as I started seriously dating.

Jenny managed to catch the last bits of me that could love as a child. And I love her with all the intensity of a child for their best friend still. Thank you.

Despite how not chaste I am… I am still chased. I am deemed worthy of love. And by people I respect and love in return. People who absolutely thrill me to my toes that these people think I am worth enough of their energy to chase me. People who are impacted by my gravity pull and just have to be near me.

Oh I love you I love you I love you.

That’s at least six people who will… chase me pretty fucking far. Blacksheep has jumped enormous hurdles to be my friend. DSH has gone waaaaaaay far past her comfort zone for me even though she isn’t one to chase people like me.

I could keep going.

I am blessed and blessed and blessed. My Bonus Family. It would take a few pages to go through all they have done for me. Even though I’m god damn difficult and sometimes they need some boundaries. That’s healthy.

Most of the people who love me with great intensity have rev limiters of their own. They have lives. Part of the reason I love them so much is because they are intense people with a lot going on. They give me what they can. Even if they can’t chase me the way I like to be chased…

Really, how spoiled can someone be? I get chased. I have three people chasing me 24/7. Quit being so greedy.

And yet I’d still kinda like to set up a calendar that says when folks can invite themselves over and see what happens.

I don’t want to decide who it is and how many people. I just… want to see what happens. I assume not much. I assume a few people sometimes but not much.  The key to happiness is low expectations.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks. I’m nervous because this is a lot of time to be “on” with folks I don’t know that well. But I know this mama through mental/physical disability support. At least we are both very understanding of our mutual shortcomings. Ha.

I am so grateful that they accepted my invitation. This is going to be a lot of fun for me. I can’t wait to homeschool her kids. I feel like a walking encyclopedia and that is one of my favorite feelings. See how useful I can be. I am a good tool!

One of the things that makes me special is how fast I can access disparate topics in my brain and explain them in simple or complicated ways for just about anyone. I can make connections between things that seem unrelated… until I explain… faster than the vast majority of people I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a lot of people. I am not an expert in almost anything. Instead of going deep I go wide. That allows for a different kind of thinking, a different kind of intensity.

Ok, reading this book on ADD is making me question something about my long term mental health diagnosis: depression. I don’t do the torpor kind of depression. I do the head-down-keep-working-as-you-hate-yourself-and-want-to-die kind. Apparently that is a pretty standard ADD thing. Oh. Huh. That’s supposed to be one of those things they kinda look for. I hate them and their not looking.

If you loathe yourself: you are depressed. Sorta. Maybe.

I made Noah listen to this song. I can’t find it easily on the internet so you get lyrics.  The thing is… I need to be loved. And I need it from lots of people because I’m trying to push past a whole lot of not being loved.

There is some interesting research out there on preverbal trauma and early formative trauma. I feel like I still need to be filled with as much love as an infant. I was not wanted. Not from conception. I only exist because a bad thing happened. What do I have to do to make up for that? What do I have to do for the world to make up for the harm I caused by coming into being. For declaring, “I don’t care that this hurts you. I need to be here.”

It’s not like I think I really deserve to be punished for choosing to be born. It was an accident. A surprise.

To be fair, my mom told me over and over I was a surprise. She didn’t know she wanted me till she had me. Sissy is the one who told me over and over that I was an accident. My mom just admitted it was rape. My mom tries to make sense of her life given the stories she has been given. God wanted her to have that child. Me.

I have been crying for my mother for over 31, almost 32 years. My mom was 32 when I was born. I might be 35 or 36 if I have another child.

Am I a grown up yet?

When my mama was 35 years old she had four children. She locked her abusive husband out of the house and sued for divorce. On the grounds that he had been raping their children. He was still given partial custody. He refused to pay alimony or child support so my mom lost the house and we ended up living in the car. Well, he would pay it. In exchange for sex.

Sometimes I think I judge my mother far too harshly for surviving a world of horror.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it neither? Is it both? Does it depend?

I think that if I don’t have that much pull… I should probably just be ok with that. It is probably healthier that way. Maybe. Who knows.

Yes. Yes, I want pushy.

I think people misunderstand suicide prevention. There is a lot of shaming. “Don’t do it because it is selfish. You hurt people.” I hurt people by living too. I promise. It’s always complicated. It is always about the balance of hurting people vs being hurt.

I think it should be framed as enlightened self interested selfishness. Someday I will get to the point where I am out of good days. I’m not there yet. I’m trying to construct a future so fantastic that I absolutely want to stay alive to see it.

I know we are giving up the WWOOF year I’ve always wanted because of a baby I want more. You know what? I bet I will still go to Africa with Sarah someday. I bet I will still go to Taiwan to see Pam someday. I bet I will still go to South America someday. I don’t know who will go with me or who I will see… but it’s probably going to happen.

I’m like that.

I go do things.

No more travel for a long time though. I need to save money. We don’t really travel cheap.

The kids and Noah have promised to veto all requests for travel in 2017 even if I say, “but we could…”

Ha.

I love my reminders.

My Eldest Child likes to say, “You should listen to yourself more, mom. You are a smart lady.” But I don’t listen to myself. I need to hear it from you. I need to hear it in your voice. I need to have you replace my inside voice. Do you know why? Because when I talk to me I’m so god damn mean. When you remind me of something I just said a few minutes ago… you usually sound so nice.

I know I sounded nice when I said it to you. That’s because it is easy to be nice to you. No, I can’t remind myself in that same nice way. I need you on a tape in my head. Because my tapes are all so bad. Thank you for reminding me.

I never mean that sarcastically.

Well… maybe once in a while but I’ll make it obvious with a funny voice.

Shiny change of topic. I feel like it is wise to restate a thing about voice in my blog. I talk to “you” a lot. That’s a moving target. I often consciously create sentences so I’m addressing multiple situations and multiple people at once and I phrase it as a singular. So if you feel paranoid that I’m talking to you… maybe…. inclusively…

Or maybe you’re the one. Noah gets a lot of direct address. Ok, other people do too and I hide behind the group thing. Let’s be honest. But I do the group address thing too!

I’m just tricksy.

I sat here for a while and just went through some visuals of stuff I’d like to have happen in my life. Oh let it be so.

Inclinations

I’m running into a problem in my sex life. I’m closer to a vanilla bottom a lot of the time and that’s some serious mixed signals in my little world. I like sex. I don’t need it to be that harsh. I don’t need to be hit all the time. I really totally don’t fucking need to get pinched a bunch. My body lives in a lot of pain a lot of the time. I spend a lot of time trying to manage my pain levels. Getting hit is complicated.

But I’m a masochist. I really am. Sometimes it is the best thing ever.

I’m not that much of a sadist either. I have times when I get really super duper in that mood and when I’m in that mood absolutely nothing else will do…

But if you look at the last 15 years… I’m not a serious sadist. Lots of years involve no sadism and only a little bit of missing it.

And I’m heading back into another breeding period. My masochism and my sadism went on walkabout last time. I still like sex. And I want kissing like I want air. I want lots of gentle touch because my whole body is going to fucking hurt for nine months. I am not an easy pregnant person.

I’m even more weepy and sad and isolated feeling. I want my mother and I can’t have her and that hole in my heart eats at me so badly when I’m pregnant.

It has been hard for me my whole life that when I feel worst I am the most isolated. It happens over and over. If I’m sick… I’m usually alone.

I’m looking forward to a pregnancy with a work-at-home partner and older children. I hope it won’t feel so sad. I’m kinda hoping that we can find a way to have people come over that isn’t a problem.

I don’t know what the future will hold and I’m feeling like a huge selfish asshole. I’m worrying about my needs and I’m being really ungracious and fussy about other peoples needs. I’m not being generous or loving. I’m such a fucking asshole.

Part of the problem is I have a very long list of people who want me to consider their needs and feelings. They conflict–I promise you. I have to kinda prioritize and then where in the hell do I fit in?

I don’t know. But I’m sharp and difficult when I say no because I hate saying no. I feel like such an asshole. “Hey you are being brave and wonderful and asking me for this thing that is really important to you. OH MY GOD DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKING TIRED I AM!?”

I can’t remember the last time I got more than six hours of sleep in a night. It’s been a bit. I’m dealing with 2-4 hours a lot of nights. What can be done about it? Well I see a whole bunch of doctors and I try what they tell me to try and…. here I am.

My shrink wants me tested for ADD because in her opinion it is not fucking normal to go on 2-4 hours of sleep a night, hold together (mostly) my normal life and have sex for an hour or more most days of the week. She says that is an excessive amount of energy. Really outside the range of normal.

I wouldn’t fucking know.

I am not as toppy during sex as some folks would like.

The other night with Sweet Boy he really wanted me to top all the sex. I could for a few minutes then I untied him and said, “No I can’t do this anymore.”

I don’t like running the fuck very much.really don’t like it much past the first or second time of having sex together. I get it the first time… I’m weird to fuck. Past that, I’m seriously a bottom when it comes to sex. And that passivity goes on turbo when I’m pregnant. I’m receptive but initiating feels so awful.

And if I have to tell you what to do and how to do it? Shit. I’d rather pick my nose.

No offense. It’s not about you. It’s about me.

When I quit my job when I was pregnant with Eldest Child I had severe nausea (I was puking multiple times a day) and I was falling asleep at work, in traffic… everywhere. I could not stay awake. A friend who was a nurse asked me what job I would go get instead because “gestating isn’t a job.”

Many other friends were… happy to share with me their opinion that pregnancy isn’t a disability and I should buck up.

You know what, motherfuckers? If you don’t live in my body…. shuddup. I god damn start out disabled. Pregnancy is a nightmare.

Pregnancy is horrible. And I’m looking at it again. I was kinda thrilled by the idea of never being pregnant again.

But baby.

I want the baby. I want the baby of my body. But I hate pregnancy. I am so sick when I’m pregnant. I am in so much pain. It is such a difficult process. According to natural selection I should already be dead from this.

But fuck natural selection. Science.

When I started looking for people to date I wanted play partners. For very sadomasochistic sex. Then Noah changed his mind about a baby.

That’s seeming like a dumb thing to hunt for at this point. I can’t live up to that. I… will really not be able to live up to that starting in a few months and it will probably be years before I’m back up to speed again. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I feel like I’m jerking people around and being a terrible person.

I went and had lunch with Daddy James. I wanted to touch base with him in a I’m-not-just-in-your-life-to-use-you-for-sex way. He told me it was ok to keep changing what I’m negotiating for because life keeps changing what I have to offer. Thank you Daddy. He also told me it is ok that I am difficult to put up with. People get other things in trade and it is worthwhile for them.

I don’t see how what I have for trade that could possibly be enough to justify putting up with me.

Especially as I’m about to revoke a lot of what makes me a fun toy. I’m not so fun when I’m not up for play. I’m… a lot more boring. Hey, let’s garden or watch Netflix. woo.

Noah wants me to take a month and date as much as I want so that he can experience the full terror and find out just how bad it is going to be. The kids are asking for us to be home 4-5 days/week with no visitors.

How the fuck do I balance that? I’ve got easily dozens of people I’d like to see who’d like to see me. Some of the activities they want to see me for are high energy and some are low energy and I’m kinda flipping out about both kinds equally. “Hey drive to my house and sit around” is just as intimidating as “Let’s do x super high intensity activity.”

OH MY GOD I CAN’T RIGHT NOW.

I want to I want to I want to but I haven’t got it to give.

What I have to give is very narrow and particular and time limited. Like, why in the fuck am I up at this time of night? Because three hours of sleep is enough, apparently. Fuck.

I feel so sad that I am so inadequate to meet the needs of the people I love.

I am inadequate. It’s funny how nonmonogamy is just a chance for me to feel inadequate with more people. Wheeeeeee

I can’t do/be what Noah wants and I can’t for anyone else either. I’m feeling really sad about that right now. I can’t ever be good enough. I can’t ever do enough. I will never be able to satisfy people or make them happy. I will never be enough.

I feel like I’m in a weird transition. I thought I was transitioning out of intensive parenting into more independence and abruptly… I’m in reverse going back into the most restrictive part of this job and lengthening my time of indentured service. What the fuck am I thinking signing up for thirty god damn years of home schooling.

Twenty years sounded awful enough.

Holy shit.

I was really enjoying the expanded freedom of the Bonus Family. That’s not really a thing for a few years again. I hope I will still get my Bonus Kids sometimes. I hope that maybe the older kids can go for a night or two a month still just a way of having “their” time and space away from being in baby-land. But I won’t want or need a couple of weekends. I’m sitting here with a baby anyway. I’d rather have all my babies around more.

Fuck. This is a huge change. This is a massive upheaval. Why are we doing this?

Because I can deal with transitioning back into the world in ten more years. If the IDB (incest data base) takes me a little longer… oh fucking well.

I want this baby. And Noah keeps saying, “Two?” I don’t know. I can’t commit to that till I get through a third pregnancy. But more than likely if Noah asks me in two years if I want another baby he won’t be able to keep me off of him.

Because yeah. I get quiverful. I get wanting more babies. I get it. I get it. I get it.

I’ve already had one person who is not-breeding say it’s ok if I replace them in the population. Anyone else want to volunteer as well to justify my second kid?

I’m not even joking very much.

Parenting is the one thing I genuinely feel like I am excelling at doing. I’m far from perfect but I adapt and I grow quickly. I see problems and I address them.

I think I could handle four kids just fine. I think it would be wonderful. No Pam, I don’t want to hear your negative Nancy shit. I’m aware that you are now a voice of dissent. Ok. Heard. Now don’t bring it up again.

I feel like such an asshole for being mixed when a friend told me she wanted a fourth baby years ago. Fuck. See, the ways in which I am an asshole always come back to bite me in the ass.

I should have said, “I support you.” I’m sorry. I did that wrong.

I know there will be problems. There will be problems with or without another baby. I asked the magic 8 ball and it is never wrong.

There will be problems with or without two more babies. That fucker was consistent in its answers.

Yes.

“Will there be problems if we have a baby?” Yes.

“Will there be problems if we don’t have a baby?” Yes.

“Will there be problems if we have two babies?” Yes.

I’m telling you. The magic 8 ball knows.

I don’t feel confident in the choices I’m making. A lot of what I can see is that each of my choices hurt other people for a cascading list of reasons. I’m not going to be available for what they want…. and I don’t even know how to say what I need.

I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know how any of this will balance out. Between the kids, Noah, me, and all the god damn people I care about how is this going to balance?

WHY DO SO MANY OF YOU BASTARDS KEEP LATE HOURS. THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF Y’ALL WERE AVAILABLE AT MORE LIKE 7-10AM!

Ahem.

Why isn’t everything all about me? Because it isn’t and it shouldn’t be. Even if I am the main character in my story… I’m not the center of anyone else’s story. Not even Noah’s. Not really. I’m his wife. That’s an accessory to his life and story not the point of the story.

I gotta be honest with y’all. When I think of what I’d like it’s not that much one on one date time. I’d like more people around and carefully managing people one to one… is a job. Especially within the framework of 4-5 days/week are just not options I wish that there were a bunch of people who said, “X day works for me. Are you free?” And it’s ok for me to say yes to three or four people because… quite frankly… that means that there is a lot of kinds of attention to give and get all at the same time.

That feels like Auntie’s house when I was a kid. Only no one checked if it was ok to come over in advance. They called and said, “You home?” then they came over. Auntie knew a lot of people. I loved my Auntie and of the people in my family she’s the only one I’d want to be even a little bit like.

She’s honorable. She takes care of people. She gets shit done.

She’s enabling as fuck and that’s something I struggle with emulating too much.

I’d like to have open houses on Friday’s. Some people can bring their kids with laptops and sleeping bags and the kids can have a LAN party before going to sleep. The adults can talk or play games. I’d like to not have to be careful about managing invites or treating it like a “party”.

I like to keep the house company-ready just as a matter of course so that having people over isn’t extra work. Then it is less stressful. Cleaning up for people feels bad.

It’s interesting reading this book on ADD my shrink gave me. Driven to Distraction. Reading it is making me cry because it sounds so much like me. Bits and pieces and here and there. But… it would make a lot of sense. My list of flame outs is long and inglorious. My self esteem is shit (at least in part) because I spent my whole life being told I was bad for the ways I deviated from normal.

My shrink is calling my psych to say, “Instead of an SSRI (which has a proven problem history) how about trying a stimulant?”

I’m excited to have someone case managing me like this. She’s known me for years and her feedback feels very useful when dealing with a prescribing person. I’ve always wanted a case manager.

Really I’ve always wanted a knowledgable pushy mother. Kinda like I am. Deep sigh.

Go be what you want to see in the world.

This biology shit is hard core. I want to be a parent. It’s the most important thing I do. I learn the most from it. I grow the most because of it. I have to or I will be a shitty parent.

I don’t want to be one more shitty parent.

I owe them more than that. Because I made them out of pure selfishness. I owe them every ounce of work I can put into being a good parent.

And I have a lot of work in me. How do I focus it more? What do I want to focus it on? My kids. For a lot of years to come they get the lion’s share. They deserve more than I have to give. That’s a lot of why I want to add other adults.

Beautiful tells me she will feel more free to invite herself over. Fuck yes.

I guess I did something right for once.

The Quiet One is an increasing factor. I don’t know what the fuck. But not saying anything here at all feels like lying because this is part of how I keep accountable with Noah. Fuck. I feel like this miraculous available during the week day, local, oriented towards care taking of children person just fell out of the clear blue sky and I don’t know what the fuck.

I really don’t. Because he has some boundaries that are going to make him tricky as heck to negotiate with in particular ways. It is none of the internet’s business because he’s going to be one who doesn’t want to be written about in the same way as a lot of other people I see. Some folks ask for more explicit reports. Some folks believe they deserve privacy. But there is a balance for me.

I don’t want to be a liar about what I’m doing. For good or for bad.

That road is straight to hell.

Kisses. More kisses. More kisses.

I go through waves of needing to not be hit because I need to not think I deserve to be hit. It’s complicated.

If you couldn’t hurt me I wouldn’t be interested. Danger. Danger. Danger.

Busy busy

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and started painting. I did it by candle light because the breaker in the kitchen is turned off. I need to finish the ceiling today so we can turn the light on and put the fridge back.

I painted behind the fridge first. Both to get it done and so I could practice some techniques. God damn I’ve improved. I’m way the hell better at painting than I used to be. It’s a shame that tree will be covered. It’s gorgeous.

I finished the first layer of ceiling color and stopped at 6:30 for a break. My shoulders ache. This is going to be slooooooooooooooow because I have a lot of work on vines and leaves I want to do. Not to mention that Eldest Child wants me to go back over everything with glitter. We’ll see.

This project is going to take many days. I look forward to it. I want to finish the ceiling today. I want the light back on.

Which means I need to figure out where the trees are coming from on the walls so I can plan animals, and plants around them. Argh. IF ONLY THIS WEREN’T FUN.

With every passing year I like my painting more. The moss is downright eery and pretty.

Combine this with how much yard work I’ve gotten done this year… 2016 is a beautiful year of growth. And houseguests.

I bought the plane tickets for my friend and her kids yesterday. They are coming out for most of July. Originally I had kinda expected them to drive… with all the health problems involved that was a stupid and unsafe thought. I’m so happy she was brave enough to ask for plane tickets. I know it is hard to ask people to spend money on you. It’s hard to feel worthy. But I’m bugging her about coming to visit and there’s no way she can pay. So I bought tickets. I get them for 18 days. Sounds wonderful to me.

I’m just sad the house is in chaos. But oh well. Life is what it is.

Oh crap. I need to clean up the spare room for Dad today. Whoops. That’s kinda important cause he arrives tonight.

It will be fun. Maybe he’ll sit in a chair and talk to me while I paint. I will enjoy that.

Oh crumbs. It is the end of the school year. We need to go through boxes of saved materials for the year and cull for the portfolio. That can wait till I’m done with painting.

Side note: I feel good about life when I can look down and see paint splotches on my hand.

Other random thought: my Dad has met all of my Serious Relationships in the past 12 years. It sorta makes me think I ought to invite folks over for supper this week to meet him. I’d invite you-who-plays-with-Noah too. Cause I’m like that. Tuesday or Friday would work. What do y’all think? I’m only sorta kidding. Not really. I’d do it.

When I say “I’d do it” I really mean “How serious do you consider yourself to be?” Because no really, my Dad has met every even slightly serious relationship I’ve had as an adult since I met him. And he lives in Washington. So. How serious do you consider yourself to be in my life? This might be something worthy of direct conversations instead of passive aggression but whatever.

It’s a bonus that Dad already knows my submissive and Cupid. He’d like Daddy and Deity just find. I need a nickname for you Ms. You, the one I talk to so much in DMs on Twitter. You come up in conversation in our house at least four times a week… so you are totally in need of a blog name. Who do you want to be?

Sarah is just Sarah because she happened long before nicknames for me. And Jenny. And fuck Noah’s privacy. He gave it up with the marriage contract.

Really, if anyone in our sexin-web wanted to come, please do. We obviously want you.

Ahem.

Sometimes I stop and wonder why do I feel alone? I’m not alone anymore. Not emotionally, physically, energetically… not even spiritually. I may not be Dagora, I may not have my ancestors following me around like a flock of crows waiting to hear from me. I may not be a Christian who believes that Jesus will carry me when I falter.

But I have you. That’s enough.

Then why do I still have this keening alone alone alone feeling? Why am I so scared of myself? We are born alone and we die alone and I’m afraid afraid afraid of when I will make myself die. Please, not too soon. Don’t do it until I am completely out of good days.

Why am I so afraid of being alone? Because I’m not very nice to me. Alone means hitting, cutting, burning myself. It means the meanest words I know said over and over and over. Because I believe I deserve that.

But when I am not alone I know that it is not ok with Person X that I do that to myself. They love me and need me to at least pretend I love myself too.

I am so afraid of being alone.

I feel so lucky that I found people who want to be nice to me. I feel so lucky that I found people who, when I explain how I am being hurt by something, work to change problematic behaviors.

It isn’t that this behavior is wrong for all people. It is that it hurts me and I need you to notice that you are interacting with me.

I am not just like everyone else. I fall far outside the standard deviations in almost every metric. I have to be learned.

The trouble is that I do not believe I am worthy of such effort, time, and commitment.

My friends show up for the amount of time, with the amount of effort and commitment they have to give. Thank you. I appreciate your generosity. You don’t owe me the time of day let alone what you actually give me. Thank you.

I know I sound ungrateful. I’m not. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. I‘m grateful. 

Please don’t be mad at me for not being grateful enough. I’m trying.

On Wednesday I am leaving the kids home with Grandpa and daddy and I get to go help my friends for a change. Including driving (ugggggggg) I’ll probably take about six hours to go help them with a project that just exploded in their life.

I feel honored to be asked. They don’t ask for help much. They instead offer a lot of help. I am so grateful to not just be sponging off of them. Instead I have something to offer. This feels so good.

It hurts me when I ask people if I can help them with a project and they refuse. It feels like they do not trust me. It feels like I am not worthy. The quality of my work is too poor. I do not deserve to have that time with them.

I am sorry that I insulted you by offering you substandard, inadequate help. I will not trouble you further.

And that globalizes. It becomes hard to ask for other things. I am not good at asking for help. I am good at offering help. I kinda need people to let me help them so that I can get to a place where I am able to accept help in return when someone sorta bossily pushes it on me.

Oh I love bossy people. Love love love.

The satisfaction of people believing that my help is worth something…. that is huge. Whether it is a wood working project, organizing, writing, parenting, bdsm, whatever.

When people act like I hold wisdom and experience that is useful… I feel like my life has value. I should not die. See… I have things left to give. I am still a useful tool.

I need to be useful.

This isn’t a “healthy” part of my makeup but it’s there.

Ok, I’ve been writing for about 40 minutes. 1400ish words. Should I stop now and save spoons for painting? Yes I should. Future me needs these arms. I typed slow so I wouldn’t hurt myself too much. I was careful.

I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art. I love making art.

Ok. Now I’m ready to stop resting.

These are a few of my favorite things…

Lest I sound like a one trick pony… My Bonus Kids spent the night! As usual, this is thrilling and wonderful. I’m doing my best to smile pretty at their parents and say, “Wouldn’t split custody be niiiiiiiice?” Not 50/50 custody… but couldn’t I have them like 10% or 20% or 30% of the time?

It’s rather awkward to be all, “Hey I’d like to have more kids but I would die… can I borrow  yours?”

So far they are willing to share somewhat. How much we will find out in the fullness of time. I’m thrilled.

Part of what I love so much about my Bonus Kids is that I am not the mama so problem solving is an entirely different process. I have mad respect for their relationship with their mama and I can see how she is the best mom in the world. She knows them to the marrow of their bones in I way I just can’t. They are foreign to me.

But it makes me think of my kids differently. Oh. That’s why things are so easy. That connection.

I don’t think that having biological children is the be-all/end-all of all of life… but I’m having a lot of fun.

My kids validate my existence in a way nothing else can or will. They needed me for survival. They have a lot of my weird/wacky traits without having lots of complex trauma stories behind them. That’s fascinating to watch.

My kids don’t need me for survival any more. They still need me, but it’s different.

A friend was over helping me with tile on Monday. All four of us got hungry. I asked the kids to make lunch and they did and it was good. (My hands were doing gross things.)

Tile plugs along. I probably have 15-20 more hours of removing backing from tile. I’m working on taping spring down. Then I want to finish winter. Then autumn. Then I have to figure out summer.

Oh goody.

Four more hours of taping spring? I think the mountain will take 4-8 more hours. Autumn is probably 10 hours away from done.

So that’s like eight days of work before I get to summer. No… closer to two weeks with how slow I’m going. Depends on how much help I get unbacking tile. Fudge. Uhm, at least the remodel is stalled and I don’t have to hurry. Ugh. This Friday I’ve been waiting nine weeks for a letter.

Once they move back in to start work they have about three weeks to go. So… I need to get my butt in gear. I need to be only working on summer when they get back started. Or be done with summer.

I think summer is going to need to be a different style of mosaic. I am looking at different techniques and options. It is so much fun to not have any idea what the hell I’m doing and just… make something cool.

Fuck yeah.

My garden is coming right along.

Last night I only got 7 hours of sleep, but I still feel better after two nights of sleep. I felt much better by yesterday afternoon.

I appreciate when I can misunderstand something and get over it in a 24 hour period. That was quite literally not possible 10 years ago. Progress is awesome. Noah patted me on the back and said he was really surprised how well I handled it. That’s nice of him. Thanks Noah.

I really have worked hard on mellowing out. It’s a process. You need to be safe to be mellow.

Thank you, Noah.

Oooh, another sweet point. Two wonderful friends asked me how I would feel about them asking Noah to play. Awwwww aren’t you the sweetest things? I feel charmed and delighted. You asked me first. Nobody is asking Noah first. But my friends ask me first before they go slide on up to my husband.

That was not required but hot damn you managed to slide into my magnanimous zone. Now you were so awesome that I’m going to put a lot of pressure on Noah to handle things right and be deserving. “Do you know how lucky you are to get women like that?! BE NICE.” Or not nice. Whatever y’all negotiate. Have fun!

Slutty women deserve to be treated like the angels of mercy they are. Be grateful. Or I’ll be pissed all the way off.

All hail slutty people of all possible gender configurations. Huzzah!

I love you all.

Not just because you are slutty… but that does make you feel like kin and I like that feeling.

What makes me happy? Noah. Noah is handling me hunting better than I am. When I over react and want to flip out over something he patiently reels me back in and explains why my feelings are out of proportion and I really should be giving people chances.

Maybe the reason I am more calm now is because someone is intimately aware of my thinking process and he helps me manage it. “Ok so you read this in an upsetting way. Let’s talk about that.”

For the record, folks, I don’t have a lot of privacy from Noah. Partially because I just don’t desire that kind of privacy but mostly because I need help managing my disordered thinking and Noah is willing and that requires access. So I give it to him.

If I keep secrets from Noah I will need some way of color coding that information in my brain so I can keep it from Noah. That sounds hard. I have enough hard in my life. I’d rather keep letting information pass through me like a sieve when it comes to Noah. That is the most comfortable part for me.

So that when I screw up and don’t tell him something right in the first place it’ll still come up because I have complete diarrhea of the mouth and I tell him everything so even if I do it in a dick way… everything is coming out and we can process it. Sometimes part of the processing is, “You told me that in a dick way.” Yeah. That’s true. I did.

I remain convinced that no one on this planet could love me like Noah does. Thank you Noah. I am so grateful for you.

Other happy news! We are going to be house-guest central. (Finish the bathroom, damnit!)

In April Dad is coming down to spend a weekend. This will be entertaining because he wants to see his bio-kids a fair bit too and they are having big feelings about me since my kids were born. They can ignore the slutty daughter-girlfriends. I’m… something different. They aren’t so sure they are ok with him adopting an adult child and being a grandparent. That is stepping on their toes. But it also looks somewhat like I may be the only one of the three of us to have kids. So yeah. Complicated. I’m trying to be as nice and accommodating as I can there. I like his bio-kids and I hope that we can long-term get more friendly. I hope. *cross fingers*

In May a friend from the Bay who moved east then moved west (but way the fuck north of here) is going to stay with us for a weekend. I’m excited about that. I haven’t seen her since before the kids were born.

Also in May we have a fun overnight adult-only camping thing I’m wicked excited about. I don’t know how it will go. When I used to go to these events, in the dim recesses of my memory, I remember lots of bdsm and fairly little sex. Some, but not a lot. These days… I’d uhhhh… yeah. I’m no longer content with a weekend of bdsm and no sex. I’ve changed. So yeah. I have no idea how this will go.

I had this really slutty idea about how to handle play at that party. Maybe I’ll write about it separately. Maybe I’m not quite that brave. Ahem.

Ahem.

Then in May I’m going to the grief ritual with Sarah. I’m so grateful she wants to come with me. I anticipate a full weekend sob/hug fest. That’s going to be magical. At the other grief rituals I have attended, I always went alone. The organizer always encourages hugs/physical support and… I’m me. Don’t fucking touch me who the hell are you? Especially when I’m freaked out and feeling vulnerable. Strangers just shouldn’t touch me. That’s not safe for any of us. Don’t do it. Sarah is safe. This is going to be a night and day different experience. It’s a full weekend retreat instead of going to and from a college campus every day on bart.

I’m looking forward to this. We have so much to talk about. So many different levels of wounding. We’ve already looked at a lot of this together over the 12ish years we’ve been doing whatever it is we are doing. But this is going to be super intense and heavy. In a way we both need. Thank you my friend. I am so grateful.

June is blissfully unscheduled and I think it should stay pretty close to that way.

July I get to host my friend and her two sons for three weeks. They are coming in from Arizona. I’m so excited. I met her on the road trip and we’ve talked a whole bunch since then.

I am really proud of how well I’m keeping the house up despite the chaos of the remodel and the amount of work I’m getting done. This is remaining a good work space. It feels accessible and functional. *pat myself on the back* (Let’s be real here: the kids are amazing these days. The road trip was worth it.)

I haven’t been gushing about the kids lately. Mostly cause my arms hurt and I’m obsessed with my sex life. But the kids are knocking my socks off. They are making such tremendous progress.

I’m happy that both kids say, “Can we take a break from classes?” It isn’t just coming from me and financially motivated. *phew* We could all use a break from trying to become something different and just… be for a little while.

August/September is the cruise. Looks like another family might be joining us after all. I am completely fucking thrilled and surprised and happy. I think that all four families might stay in Florida for a week after the cruise to see stuff. 7 grown ups and 6 kids sounds way more like a party.

My life is so ridiculously good I just don’t understand how I got here.

A child is waking up. It is time for the day to begin.

Peace

This morning I had a peaceful moment. One of those true, Zen moments of “I am happy and this is where I want to be.” Eldest Child woke up to use the restroom too early. I was awake doing chores, like usual. She asked me if I would climb in bed with her so she could sing me a lullaby. Twinkle Twinkle was the song of choice. Then she spent a while talking to me about why she likes me.

This is kind of a habit I have with the kids. I don’t put them to bed all the time, probably not even half the time these days at home. Maybe a quarter of the time? But we had the road trip and all the years before that of shared bed times. At bed time, what we do is we cuddle up close and spent 15-20 minutes talking about all the reasons we like each other. “You did ____ and I was so impressed with your thoughtfulness. You did ______ and I was shocked to see that you have made that developmental jump. I thought that was a (age inflation) thing and I’m really wow’ed. You said ______ word today and that was surprising because I didn’t know you knew that word!”

We bookend that with waking up to morning snuggles. During morning snuggles we talk about what we need to do today and how the schedule will work.

I can understand why my children insist I’m not an asshole and I just have bad moments. I don’t understand it so much from other people. Sometimes I feel like my children get to have a relationship with someone that no one else even gets to meet.

Sometimes I am capable of seeing myself as kind, giving, and loving.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m an asshole.

Contradiction is necessary for life. For survival. You can be kind and an asshole.

Why am I so convinced I’m an asshole? Because I lawyer up fast when my contractors give me trouble. Because I find that swearing at men really harshly is one of the best ways to convince strange men I’m not interested in their attention. Because I find that sometimes it is necessary to kick people really hard to get them to let go and I’m willing to do it. Because I’m going to keep talking about why the word whore is eating my brain even though people with sex work careers twitch and feel really upset about it.

Want to hear something wild? Yesterday one of the most famous sex workers of our era gave me permission to use the word whore however I need to in my processing. She says if anyone questions me again I can send them to her.

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to pull that card. But I may print out that tweet and cut it up small and put it in my wallet next to the permission slip from Noah. Just so that I think about it.

I have permission to look at this however hard I need to in order to get over it. She said so.

I am so fucking weird about permission. I’ve spent my whole life cringing, crying, and hurting myself because I felt that was the only thing I was allowed to do without permission. I need permission to stop. I need permission to feel something else about myself.

Why does that have to be the default? I mean, blame your parents yada yada, why does that have to be my default?

Why do I have to assume, in every moment, that I am the least valuable person present and if someone should die it should be me?

Not that I want to get to the point of wanting to sacrifice other people for myself.

Wait, maybe that is it.

I have never known a white person with really high self esteem who isn’t willing to throw other people under the bus for their own advancement. I have known people of color with high self esteem whom I have never seen sacrifice a friend. I know people of color who are exploitive assholes, too.

I’m trying to think through my white friends… y’all make very self absorbed choices. I do too. I’m not sitting on a high horse. I’m sitting flat on the ground. I’m not high and mighty here. I’m trying to figure out how this works.

I am willing to throw people under a bus if I feel I have to do so in order to be effective.

That’s why I’m an asshole. I need accurate labeling so other people know they have to protect themselves from me.

want to help you. I will try to help you. But if I feel I have to be effective in some area for Reasons…

I’m a selfish piece of shit. That’s why I’m alive. I’m willing to say that Safeway doesn’t matter as much as me, I’m stealing food. I’m willing to say, “Being around people who make choices like x is so problematic to me that I will bug and bug and bug people who make choices like that until they don’t want to know me any more.”

I’m an asshole because I make a lot of assumptions about people and I don’t check my privilege nearly often enough. I’m trying to get better. This is hard.

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

I spent my childhood moving like a ghost through different communities. I never stayed long enough to belong. I lived in a lot of neighborhoods where we were the only white family. I grew up feeling like being white was a bad thing. Know why? White people don’t care about their kids very much. That was how I experienced it as a child. I don’t think that is literally true across the board. That was my experience. In white neighborhoods there were always packs of unsupervised children doing horrifyingly inappropriate things. In neighborhoods of color there might be much older teenagers or 20-somethings causing trouble, but the kids were god damn watched.

I was chased out of so many homes for having bad behavior. I was told I was a bad girl dozens, maybe a hundred times.

It’s funny how my memories of these things change and drift. I remember them very differently as my understanding of the situation changes.

When I was 21ish I honestly didn’t remember all those lectures about being bad. I had kinda blocked them out. I knew I was bad but it was a fog hanging over my life. I didn’t have all those disparate voices going through my head.

As a parent watching my children be children (by which I mean breaking rules and fucking up) I hear those people in my head over and over more and more clearly. Oh. That was why they said that.

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

I have always felt like I was living in many ages at once. But I feel like my future selves have changed a lot over my life. My ability to perceive who I could be has changed.

These days I can picture having grandchildren who scornfully tell my children that they should be more patient, like Grammie. I will giggle. My children will say, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS LIKE TO GROW UP WITH.” I will giggle.

Do you have any idea what having that vision in my head means to me? I have the belief that I might be able to arrive at having the kind of experience of being in my body that I want to have. I believe that I might get to the point of being actually regulated and calm.

I have hope for something I was not capable of dreaming up 20 years ago.

It’s amazing what ten years of safety can do for a body. I see it in myself. I see it in my children. That is something that home schooling does for me that isn’t necessary for almost anyone else I know.

I require this specific time to be set aside in my adult life where the entire point of my day is to model how to have big emotions, get them under control, deal with them appropriately when they come up, and then keep working.

Not suppressing. Not denying. Not minimizing. Not avoiding until it comes crashing down on you at some inappropriate time in the future. Your feelings matter. They live in you and they serve a purpose. If you ignore them in the moment you will pay a price later. There are times and places where emotional displays are not appropriate, but get that stuff out as fast as possible so it doesn’t become a poison.

I am grateful every day for the life I am leading right now.

I have the safety, the money, the access to care providers, and the education to do something about the trauma in my body.

That is magical. This should be available to everyone who has experienced trauma. We would be a better world.

People deserve to be seen in context and understood. Most people who seem “crazy” to you wouldn’t seem so crazy if you knew more about their story. I tell my children all the time, “Weird just means you aren’t used to it yet; eventually it is just normal.”

My mom used to say, “The only norma people are the ones you don’t know very well.”

One of my neighbors is stepping up the offer of maternal-nature-friendship. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Thank You Oh Universe, You Sure Do Like To Hear My Calls, Don’t You?

On the other hand… I’m scared of blowing up what we currently have if she finds out more about me. I’m not exactly the uhhhh conservative type and she is quite shy, scared, and sheltered. I don’t want to hurt her. She will need a lot of boundaries around the kinds of things she can handle hearing and I’m not sure how to find those boundaries without fucking up pretty badly. Once you say something it can never be unsaid.

We have a really solid, positive relationship. Losing it would be brutal. This feels really tricky. Our families are fairly strongly connected at the level we have now. I feel really like this is a big risk. Much bigger than telling all the strangers on the internet about my raunchy sex life and habit of beating people up for fun.

I’m kinda weird.

My superego is fucking developed at this point, ok? I’m growing up.

I’m an asshole and she is not. She wants to mother me. What will she do when she finds out I have approximately 500 x’s as much life experience as her?

There is a thing I think about. When I was in the bdsm community I was really serious about learning all I could as fast as I could. I played a lot with a lot of people. Basically I spent more time on bdsm than I spent on my college education, which I was pursuing simultaneously. Much Much Much more time on bdsm.

I was a serious slut and it was really fun and I have no regrets. I learned what I wanted to learn from that experience. I’m shocked at how often I find ways to apply the lessons I’ve learned, not in ways you’d expect.

I had more life experience at 25 than many people have at 50. It isn’t hyperbole, it is simple fact. I say yes to almost anything that comes up. I know very diverse people in many communities. I’m a moody bastard with a short attention span.

I’ve done a lot of things. It is something I notice when I meet new people these days. I sound like a lying braggart. Nope. I got receipts. I did all that. Why? Because I never felt like I had a better choice than to do what I was doing so I did it all in. As soon as something stops feeling like the best choice in the moment I break down, fall into a deep depression. Go home. Hurt myself until I figure out that the boundaries required in that community are not things I can maintain long-term. Then I heal. Then I try again.

It goes faster and faster as I age and get boundaries carved out of granite. It is harder to change them. I am less tolerant of my internal, “I need to conform by doing x in this environment” sensor and I just flee.

I have a home now. I have less reason to tolerate your bullshit rules. Wanna know why I know they are bullshit rules? Cause this ain’t my first rodeo. Don’t worry, I think the rules in my house are bullshit too. They are all weird and arbitrary. They are made to suit the moods of whichever asshole in the vicinity is loudest.

I know.

I used to know a man who liked to say, “I’m the only psycho in this relationship” or maybe he said he was the only one who gets to be crazy? I may be misremembering. I’ll cop to that.

I need to be the biggest asshole in the space I’m in. So Noah is an asshole, but I know that I’m much more likely to be the one to bulldoze than him.

It works for us. Picture a heart emoji here, but I have technically banned them so this will have to do.

He doesn’t think I’m an asshole. That’s part of why this works. I think we are both assholes and I’m just a bigger one. But he’s all mellow and tolerant so it works out. Do you however you need to, ok?

I’m going to be kinda passive aggressive here and say: if you are one of Noah’s friends… this is a great time to ask him to go out some time. He needs to talk. To more people than just me right now cause life is like that sometimes.

I can’t fill his tank as much as he needs me to right now. Because I’m dealing with the remodel and and and. His job is kinda hard.

I need to go beat the shit out of people. I don’t know what he needs. But right now, he’s wilting like a flower and that’s a serious bummer. I don’t know what it is that is missing right now, but clearly all the right nutrients aren’t in place.

This is the kind of micromanaging, paying attention that I want in my life. It is why I appreciate the people who have stuck with me and really got to know me so much. Because I’m more pushy like this by the year. Because people do it more with me. It’s a careful balance. How much controlling and influencing other people should we do?

I really don’t know where those boundaries ought to be. I’m not pulling up Noah’s email account and making plans for him. That’s over the line.

Where is the line?

Everyone is different. I want you to get to be who you need to be. I want to figure out who I need to be and I want to just do the shit out of it.

This feels like baby steps towards self love, doesn’t it? This morning feels good. I have to say that these piles of tile are inspiring. I may be jaunting off to get more sparkly tiles today. I’m really excited about the snow wall. I want to build that first because I have so much white and it would be nice to get it mostly used up and out of the way so I see how much I need to still buy in terms of tile for the rest of the bathroom. I really can’t tell yet.

It depends on how high up the walls I want to go, right? We’ll see!

Youngest child’s half bathroom is spring. Other half bathroom is summer. The bathing room is going to have autumn and winter. I can’t wait to look at the sparkly snow while I take baths in candle light at night. That will be so beautiful.

I’m serious my friends, if you want to come take a bath… let me know.

I’m thinking hard about how I want to make the tree of life that will climb up the wall over the bath tub. I need to look at more pictures. That will probably be that last bit I design because much of it might be painted, I haven’t decided.

I know that “traditionally speaking” you want flat walls. I’m not going to have flat walls with perfectly level tile. It’s going to be pretty rough and it will be on purpose and structured and artistic. I think it will work.

Oh please God let this work cause this puppy is going to be expensive if I fuck up.

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

Have I told you that the floor will have a stone path lined with green tiles to look like grass?

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

If only the roof weren’t uhm, being tricky. We are still negotiating. I’m blathering on Twitter but I won’t rehash it here. Just… gotta keep walking on. I’m trying to not be angry. At this point all of the guys in the company have apologized for making decisions without me when clearly they made the wrong choice at a critical juncture. I had preferences and they didn’t ask. Even though I’ve told them over and over and over I want to be asked.

Ok. Trying to move on. Have to get this shit finished. If it’s beautiful… I will still write positive reviews with caveats about how I had to be fierce in advocating for myself.

I made it very clear that from here on out the crew was not to dump their lunch garbage all over and leave it here for weeks. Saw blades are all over the ground and that’s not cool. My lawyer was at this meeting. I should stop talking about it for all kinds of reasons.

I wanted to write something down here for documenting purposes. Instead, I hit cut’n’paste and sent it to my lawyer.

That seems smart just now.

Past self, you picked this woman out based on proximity and hope. Well done!

Today will be a good day, I think. I hope. I believe. Oh yeah, a friend asked if she could come over to dinner. I should tell Noah. Ha. Surprise. We have six people coming over for dinner.

Roll with it. Life flows like that. If people ask to come over for dinner the next night and I have no plans…. I’m weak. I have no willpower for that kind of rejection. Because you hit my sweet spot. Basically no output of energy and lots of input of attention. Yeah, you can do that. Sounds awesome. I have to cook anyway. Don’t worry. I always have enough food around.

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

We’re heeeeeeeeeeere.

At Disney World that is. Yesterday was intense. It took more than eight hours to get from one hotel room to the next. It was about four and a half hours of freeway driving. I’m not counting the driving time where I got lost in forking Orlando. That took a while. Grocery shopping was sorta epic.

As we drove out to the resort I started shaking and my stomach hurt and I felt like I was about to puke. I kept up a steady chatter to myself, “Krissy it’ll be ok. This will go fine. This is Disney. You are late for check in… they will have people waiting around who are happy to help you. It’ll be fine.”

It was rather ridiculous but hey, do what you gotta do.

We got to the driveway and I started asking just about anybody in a uniform, “I’m new here, which step do I do first?”

They all smiled at me and directed me to where I needed to be.

They are all thrilled to get a Californian. These are the Disney Vacation Club properties, so they see owners and that is a fairly set group of time share people. Variety isn’t as common as you’d think for a hotel.

I had a lot of questions and I said flat out, “I’m going to feel anxious until I have a few concerns addressed.”

You know what? Like magic extra employees kind of backed over to where I was talking to the nice desk clerk. They all smiled like they were super excited that they might get to help.

fucking love this place.

You know what? They addressed every concern right down the list. I do have to unhitch my trailer, but that’s ok. It means we will be more likely to sneak off to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter exhibit and that’s exciting.

Oh, parking is right next to our room. This is so fabulously convenient I have no words. I thought it would be a hike. I feel so spoiled. After three months of continuous travel I now think that one of the biggest luxuries in hotels in nearby parking.

I had a very nice person help carry my stuff in from the van with a dolly so I didn’t have to make eleventy billion trips. He thought it was hilarious that I wouldn’t let him carry the heavy stuff up the stairs. It was his first day back at work after a back injury. You aren’t carrying my heavy fridge up the stairs! Heck no!

He thought that was funny. He asked a lot of questions about me and what I do. He was thrilled to meet a writer. He said he had never met one before. Over and over he said, “Whoa. You are one hard working woman. I’ve never seen a woman rush to carry heavy stuff up the stairs for me before. And you home school your kids. And you travel around the country. And you write books. Whoo. You wear me out.” He must have said it twenty times. I laughed.

He asked for information about my books. I gave him all that he needed to find me. Who knows if he will follow up.

It’s a bit awkward to tell people, “I wrote about my experiences growing up in an incestuous family. It’s intense.”

Trigger warnings, baby.

This was all after a hilarious incident with a conservative postal employee in Georgia. I’ve never seen a federal employee retract their implication that there is anything wrong with being queer so damn fast in my life. With a smile.

It’s funny what conclusions folks jump to when they find out you are home schooling.

Nope. I ain’t teaching the Bible. We don’t pray.

I mean, we have many Bibles in the house… but I teach it as one set of mythology among many that humans have come up with over many thousands of years.

It’s just one path out of many. They are all ok.

We were kind of a hilarious experience for my newly adopted niece in Georgia. (Long story.) she is growing up with a Baptist mother and a Catholic father. They attend church regularly. It’s a big deal.

I leaned over and said, “I’m a Godless Heathen.”

Her eyes went wide.

Yeah. That was wonderful.

I said, “You are going to hear a lot about people like me and when you hear those things you can decide for yourself if you agree or not. I’m just one person out of many. I don’t represent ‘all the weirdos’ of the whole world but I do represent a lot of them. When you hear people say nasty things about people like those know that they are talking about me. And think about that.”

She nodded slowly. I was an intense experience for a 9 year old.

I really loved settling into the room here at the resort. We have a system. I explained it to the kids. We all relaxed once the system was discussed and the kids stopped chafing at boundaries every other second.

It was palpable. I didn’t take my medication until after this experience occurred so it wasn’t just that all of a sudden I was stoned and I didn’t care any more. The kids stopped fighting.

It’s been a rough few days. I’m not proud but I screamed and screamed and screamed in the car. They would not stop beating on each other. I mean… they stopped when I went a little nutty. But they would not stop until I went berserk screaming about how they had to Stop Stop STOP.

I felt kind of bad about it until we talked about it later in the evening. I said I was sorry that sometimes I was an asshole when more gentle methods failed but sometimes I really need to be effective. You can’t hit each other.

Eldest Child nodded and said, “Oh I know. We really couldn’t even hear you until you broke our concentration.”

Youngest Child nodded and said, “Yeah… uhh… it’s hard to hear you sometimes when we get into it.”

Then my eldest child looked down, and brushed her head bashfully like we were in a damn movie and apologized.

It was… kind of weird.

YC didn’t apologize exactly but there were amends made. At five it isn’t always a verbal apology yet and that’s ok.

I asked if we could make an agreement to ask for rest any time and every time we feel tired so we don’t whine or get cranky with each other and everyone agreed. They know where their free feeding snack food is. They don’t have to ask me every other minute if they can have _______. It’s glorious freedom.

I think it is hilarious that they both, separately, echoed something that Noah said to me a long time ago in almost exactly the same tone of voice.

“One of the things I like about you is that you make every place feel like home” with a happy sigh to follow. This is in reference to how I set up and organize hotel rooms to within an inch of their lives if I am going to be in them long. I have to or I can’t find shit and that makes me crazy. I have to know where all my stuff is. We have a lot of stuff. That’s a lot of things to put my hands on over and over and over so I can know exactly where it is when I need it.

This is how I comfort myself. This is how I create the order I need. This is how I create the structure and the scaffolding to teach the lessons I want to teach. We are not working on the in-the-room-manners here. That lesson happens elsewhere. Here, we rest. It’s so relaxing and nice.

Only we rest and relax with a pool and a playground a 3 minute walk away so we get lots of exercise right before bed so we go to sleep easily.

This is why I pay for this. Because having people leap to help me with a smile has a cost and I am happy to pay it. I’m told that privilege can’t be bought, but advantages can. If I’m going to be a fucking rich person I’m going to occasionally pay for some fucking advantages.

Oh this is wonderful. And I have to not swear so I’ll get it out now.

Ahhh. Maybe not. I’m feeling pretty mellow. That was a happy fuck.

Cause I’m like that.

Thank you Noah.

I have quite the set up for our little mini kitchen. We don’t get a stove or a full size fridge so I brought our fridge up. The freshest food goes in the apartment fridge so the kids eat it first. The stuff they are allowed to grab at will is in an open container at a tempting eye-height. Other snacks are organized by priority in drawers cause I’m a neurotic fuck.

Tier two foods are things that we will access a lot on the trip for breakfast but they shouldn’t be freely snacked on during the rest of the day or we won’t have breakfast for the rest of the trip. We’re here almost three weeks. Be strategic.

Tier three foods are meal foods that probably require adult help because the microwave is hecka high.

Seems reasonable, right?

Ahhhhhh. Freedom.

It is funny watching them stop asking for things every few minutes. It is kind of weird every time I see this tremendous example they just want to find out what the boundary is.

I can work with that.

Apparently, there is a certain level of beating on one another in the car that brings very unpleasant screaming.

Dude, I was going 60 miles an hour on the freeway, how am I supposed to react? I’m in an unfamiliar area during a frigging interchange. STOP FIGHTING RIGHT NOW.

I get kind of upset sometimes. I’m told I can be intimidatingly loud.

Well if you’d stop when I asked in a more moderate tone dozens of times.

I genuinely don’t know what else to do. I mean, sometimes I use the radio to startle them. But a good loud blast of sound is the only thing I can figure out to do when they go at it in the car.

I do not use the screaming method outside of the car. I separate them. In the car… THEY HAVE A TUMBLING MAT BETWEEN THEM AND THEY STILL REACH AROUND IT TO BEAT ON EACH OTHER.

Oh my. Yeah. Sibling stuff is complicated.

Mostly they get along really well. Sometimes… yeah. We have a long way to go on impulse control. But I don’t have a lot of room to complain. I was way the heck more violent than them.

This trip has had highs and lows, like all trips. I think being at the resort is going to be a high point. We are really excited to explore. We are ready to not be in the car.

The first thing we are doing is going over to child care to talk about options and schedules so the kids can pick times they want to be there.

I’m not sure what I’ll do. But I’ll go do something.

I feel a little weirdly guilty and ashamed. This is such a stupid thing to want to do. What a waste of money and time.

But it will be… so fun.

I love you Disney. Thank you for smiling at me.

Bitch Better Have My Money

Thank you Rihanna, you inspire me. Nicki Minaj does too.

I’ve been thinking… it would be interesting to go through our financial records. Sometime in the next year before our 10th anniversary it would be interesting to see what we each started with, compare it to Noah’s salary, look at investments, look at the gains and losses for businesses tried and failed…

Who is responsible for which? Noah makes a pretty astronomical salary… but our investment portfolio is growing at a prodigious rate. Some of that is stuff he owned pre-me. Not all of it.

What have I done in the last ten years? Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I have done much.

Ok… even I know that sounds stupid.

I have a hard time being a dependent. I know I “get” 50% of his salary. But what have our separate investment choices resulted in? At this point we can figure out data to see who is actually better at those sorts of decisions so we can assign more of that work in the correct direction to maximize for growth.

I’ve been talking to a lot of womyn about independence and I’ve been listening to a lot of very intelligent women who want me to get my money for my labor.

What has been my cut?

I think I’m going to do that. Oh dear. Another Fucking Project.

And y’all just know I’ll tell you all about it.

Yay babysitting

Part of what I like so much about taking care of kids is that you have to deal with different layers of your own “shit” in order to look at them as individuals. The wonderful kids who visited last night have an entirely different structure to their lives compared to most of the kids we hang out with and as a result it was neat seeing some of the social differences.

These kids… respect authority. Holy shit. And they are capable of sitting still and focusing. Whoa. Unschoolers that I know are capable of intense focus but it’s kind of random when it happens. It is an accident rather than how they approach most problems. These kids sit down and do an activity to completion then do another activity to completion. They aren’t hummingbirds.

I think it is good for my children to learn how to deal with this very different attitude towards life. The kids who visited last night are being socialized such that they will be capable of being successful in a school environment. They show me some of the layers of why I think I would fail at teaching my children how to be successful in that environment.

Hell, these kids have a better attention span than me.

And I could assume that they just aren’t comfortable enough to be sassy yet (probably partially true) but I think it is mostly true that they just aren’t permitted to be assholes in the way I let my kids get away with pushing boundaries. I see layers of learned behaviors that I couldn’t even begin to duplicate. These kids are not rule breakers in the same way. I don’t think they’ve been told that breaking rules is part of life. *Ahem*. (I won’t tell them.)

I think I uhhh disrupted the social order enough by telling them that actually, yes men can be queens too. Doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of it before, I’ve met some.

I will barely wave my gender-freak flag. Just a little bit. A tiny bit. Just barely a wave. No, boys don’t have to be one way and girls don’t have to be another way. Uhhhh Forget-That. (Which is way better than Fuck That to my friend’s children because boy howdy are they not allowed to talk like that. I was good!)

It is very hard to be a good example when these children need to turn out in a way that I completely failed at. The life they are leading is a life I am singularly unqualified to be a good example of living. I fail. Over and over at school after school. I don’t know how in the hell to handle that social dynamic. I hate jumping through hoops just for the sake of jumping. I get very angry with busy work. It’s taken multiple decades to squash my rage over being bitched out because I was “doing art wrong” and it’s hard for me even now to do group art activities.

I have finally learned how to make art for myself. I still can’t bear to have anyone in control of what or how I am doing my art because I’m fucking tired of being told I’m doing it wrong.

These kids are a challenge to me because I have to manufacture behavior I have specifically rejected. Oh shit. I have to watch my fucking mouth. Which is obviously not something I enjoy doing. But I do it for them because they would be in a lot of trouble if they picked up my language. That’s not fair. My kids don’t really get in trouble for saying fuck. So they do sometimes. I can’t slip in front of these kids because they would get no end of trouble and that’s just shitty and awful. I don’t want to be a bad influence for them.

I want to be a good influence. And that means consciously choosing behavior that is opposite of my normal priorities.

Weird.

think this is part of what being community means. We don’t have to be exactly alike. We don’t have to be on exactly the same path. We are very different and that’s ok because it takes all kinds. Being these different ways involves different skill sets so we don’t act very similarly day-to-day and that’s ok.

It might even be optimal and make the world a better place or some shit.

I talk to my kids about the fact that I am a stay at home mom because *I* want to do it. Because *I* have things to learn here that I won’t learn in other environments–about patience, forgiveness, trying and failing, and attachment. Those aren’t lessons other people need to learn at the same time in their lives so staying home is NOT the right path for every mother.

They are very curious how the dynamics work in other families and I’m really grateful we are being allowed this window into how it works. I don’t pretend we understand from one night of visiting…. but we got a peek.

These kids are different from my bonus kids. The only people who got into trouble for screaming last night were my progeny. Because we are so fucking loud all the fucking time. Ahhh, I’m so proud. These borrowed kids…. would not be permitted to be loud like that. They looked a little stunned by the volume. We did work on it. I’m so sorry. I hope we didn’t burst your ear drums.

We really need to learn how to tone down better. It wasn’t as upsetting as it was to my niece, Jenny’s daughter, but it was… over the top. We get so excited about seeing people and then our volume just goes up. It’s not a good approach to life.

I’m starting to work with Shanna on such things and I haven’t really started working with Calli yet because I think that the easiest developmental window for dealing with the loud is 5-7 when they are doing an awareness shift, cause/effect thing in their brain. Clearly it could be taught much younger. But you sacrifice other benefits if you squash this young.

I want kids who are capable of being as aggressive as they need to be. You can’t develop that later if it is squashed out of you young. You also can’t be very good in a school environment while young if it isn’t squashed out of you. Life is complicated.

I say you “can’t” and that’s bullshit. Lots of people learn how to be more aggressive as adults because they have to do it. I would prefer if my kids just have that force of personality from the get-go.

I asked Shanna why she is so good at knowing that other peoples feelings aren’t her fault and she laughed. She said that I taught her. I laughed and said that is funny because I’m not very good at actually believing that. She said, “I’ve noticed. You should work on that.” I said I was not very good at listening to my own advice. She said, “You know, you should listen to you. You are a pretty smart lady.”

I started crying and she hugged me. I don’t know if she is 6 or 26 sometimes. I’m very grateful for these children I have born. They make every day a pleasure and a joy. Even when they bug the shit out of me.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to deepen our relationship with these kids. I’m afraid I didn’t reach out as much to them as I wanted to. My back hurts wicked bad and I spent part of the visit lying on the ground trying not to cry. That sucked. I am going to call local chiropractors on Monday. I’d like to not be hurting like this before the trip. It would be very hard to do the work.

The older girl plays with my two very easily. I’m going to have to work harder on finding games and activities for the two youngest (my youngest and the borrowed youngest) because they aren’t figuring out friendship as easily. The two oldest and Calli are all bossy, pushy kids. The other younger girl is… just not. She’s not “LOOK AT ME” in the same way. I’m going to have to work really hard at getting to know her over the years because she doesn’t shove her personality in everyone’s face and say, “NOW LOOK AT ME” the way the others do. I will have to decide to work at getting to know her. I only know her a little at this point and I feel kind of ashamed of that. Maybe I should have asked to hold her more as a baby. I don’t like asking to hold babies. I feel presumptuous. I take offers. I help when people need help. This mama is very competent when she has her kids so I would never presume to snatch her babies from her. So I didn’t bond as young with this kid.

That’s ok. We aren’t dead yet. There is still time. She’s a nice kid, just a lot more shy and reserved. That personality type isn’t really my specialty but I am always in the market for new skills. I’ll figure something out. It will be something that will require thought is all.

They have much better manners than my kids and they can sit still. It’s a bit dreamy. They sat in a chair for a meal without needing to be pestered.

swoon

I have some parenting envy right now. HOW DID YOU DO THAT?! But to some degree I understand part of how it was done and it was done in a package with stuff I don’t want and so… I have to deal with some behaviors I don’t like as much because I get so much that I do like. That’s life. I can live with the end of the stick I’m carrying these days.

I don’t feel like I have the short end of the stick any more. Not that I think this mama does. Maybe that’s a bad metaphor. Uhm, I don’t feel like I’m parenting all wrong because my kids are much more annoying than these kids. I feel like I have very different goals. I don’t think that my goals mean my kids will be “more successful” or “happier” or “fill in the blank”. Well… I think my goals are aligned with creating people I can live with. That means very weirdly attuned to the world. It doesn’t mean better. It means better-for-me which is SO MUCH not “BETTER”. If you know what I mean. It wouldn’t work for everyone.

I like these kids and I can see how their mom is doing a good job of preparing them for the life they lead. They are learning the skills that will allow them to do the things their parents want for them. It’s really neat to watch. It is fascinating having that next to my kids for a day. We want different things and that’s very ok. It’s good. It’s wonderful. It is how the world should work.

The world requires folks like their parents. IT workers and engineers. They are important. They build things and keep things up and running so other people can get the health care they need. Those are real skills that are actually impacting the world. In order to get to such a point you have to have a whole framework of skills… I pretty much lack.

Starting with the sitting still. That’s been a problem for me all my damn life. I can’t teach it to my kids because I haven’t mastered it. I can’t model it. Sometimes I feel kind of ashamed of myself when I deal with five year olds who can sit still and I just fucking can’t.

I try to just feel happy that their mother is past the horror of car seats. I too will someday arrive at the coveted world of booster seats.

I hope.

Please, oh god, oh god.

It is hard feeling like you are doing the right thing. Especially when everyone around you is on a different path. It is hard to see what the path even is. The path I want to be on includes community building. Which means figuring out having community members who aren’t friends. It means supporting my friends. It means figuring out how to support people in gaining skills they need that I do not have. It means being supportive of all different kinds of ways of handling situations.

It’s hard. Because I’m really a judgmental asshole and I have these kneejerk, “I couldn’t sustain that” feelings about behaviors and then I want to loudly comment on how they aren’t sustainable. When really they aren’t sustainable for me and other people don’t have a problem. That’s kind of embarrassing to announce out loud. (Ask me how I know. Or don’t. Just assume it is an embarrassing story, ok?)

If my back pain were below a 4 I would feel like I was having a party. My back pain is hanging out this minute around a 6 and yesterday was up to 7/8 so I didn’t feel like I was having a party. I didn’t feel like I was having that much fun. But it went really well anyway. I tried hard to be aware that my cloud of “ugh” was pain.

Also, my period finally started. Only a measly 7 days later than expected. And it is slow going this month. Hardly anything is coming out of me and that’s kind of weird. At 36 hours into my period this time I’ve lost about as much blood as I usually lose in the first 6 hours. I know because of how fast I soak the pads.

I haven’t been able to eat much lately. And most of what I can eat without feeling really sick is fruit and vegetables. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH MY BODY?!?!?! THIS IS NOT LIKE ME. I’ve been a carbitarian for most of my life. I live on wheat, meat, and dairy. Those are my three main food groups. I grudgingly eat vegetables because I have to and I rarely eat fruit. I just…. don’t really do it. The textures bug me.

Until now. When dinner is artichoke and orange. Or strawberries and fennel. I ate fucking strawberries and fennel for dinner. What the motherfuck is wrong with me?!

I’m not feeling ok. I’m eating what I’m craving because if my body is craving fruits and vegetables after 30+ years of treating them like poison… ok I’ll go along with this but I don’t feel ok. And my digestive system is so fucking whacked. I’m barely pooping because there isn’t enough mass to move. I can feel my system feeling pissed off at me.

I’m eating what I can eat. It’s just not a lot right now. I feel like I’m dropping weight again. I might actually buy a scale just because I feel like it is bad to not know when I’m doing these sudden intense weight drops. I feel like I should “work harder” at keeping my weight stable and I don’t know what that would mean.

I’ve never had a not-eating-month in the spring before. It’s always October. It’s usually around my dad’s suicide. I have always thought it was partially emotional and partly that I don’t handle that weather transition well. October is the most miserable month weather wise where I live. This year the weather is awful in spring…. maybe the weather transition impacts it?

I don’t know. But I’m eating like a fucking vegan and this isn’t working for me.

I feel like shit.

(Not saying veganism is bad or that no one should be vegan. I have nutritional issues. It would be very hard for *me* to be a healthy vegan given the texture issues I have and aversions to some flavors.)

You have to deal with the whole system you have. Even if it is annoying. One of the things I feel most comfortable about as I get older–life is annoying and that’s ok. Just breathe through it.

I went to Outrageous Outgrowns yesterday morning before the folks arrived. I was actually tardy getting home because the line was insane. Good thing Noah was here. I would have timed differently if I hadn’t had the slack.

The girls are mostly set on dresses through size 10 now. Yee haw. And I got a whole huge stack of neat looking books. Yay! If you can get 20 items of clothing and 30+ books for $200 that’s a good shopping day. Especially because most of the items of clothing were fancy dresses because that’s what my kids live in. I really got the daughters of my dreams. I wanted to dress like that as a kid and I couldn’t. I’m very grateful I can buy them a closet full of fancy $5 dresses they can wear any way they want without getting in trouble. That’s a special kind of privilege.

And legging. Always leggings because you little twerps never keep your legs down. Under clothes should be under your clothes and if you can’t keep your skirt down, pants! Yay!

Then I got home to a box from Amazon. Because I’ve been on a book buying spree. All multi-cultural stuff. In the past few weeks I have picked up a bunch of books on Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism for kids. I already have Christian stuff aimed at kids because I had it from my childhood. Books on mindfulness and meditation and Zen and all that good stuff.

I will be reviewing them on the kid-friendly blog because most of them are excellent. I’ve perused them all but I haven’t shared them with the kids yet. I’m excited about reading these together.

I’ve gotta say, it’s convenient that there is a Hindu temple on the corner because the more I read about the faith the more it actually sounds the closest to the hodge-podge of my beliefs. It’s kind of funny. I should go more often. They are happy to have sincere visitors of any stripe.

These kids do not provide the euphoria of my Bonus Kids. That’s partially my fault. I spent a lot of time holding my Bonus Kids when they were really tiny because I went over to their house and helped their mom do work. That creates a very different kind of bond.

These kids instead provide a different kind of opportunity. I missed the window to get in on the baby-bonding. I didn’t understand that I was missing it. I didn’t understand how I should have tried to assert myself. The oldest girl is older than my kids and I really didn’t have the confidence to assert myself as “someone who should hold babies” then. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost! Hey, I’m good friends with their mom and I met her as an adult. Clearly the possibility of a relationship isn’t over.

But it is interesting seeing how I will have to work for these relationships. I will. I want to. It is a specific thing I have as a goal in this lifetime. I knew when they were born that these were kids I wanted to know for a long time. I just didn’t know how to insert myself into their life. That is hard.

I have learned from this visit that I am not who I want to be to these kids yet. I will have to work harder. Good thing I know how to work hard.

The visit has gone very well. I hope this is a sign of many wonderful visits to come. We are a long way from grown up. There is a lot of time left to bond before they run off to the wonders of their own lives. I haven’t missed the window yet. But I better not get snotty about that belief or I will miss the window.

Thank you so much for the gift of time with your children.

+/- FogCon and health

+ Spending time with Sarah at the conference was lovely.

– Working on all three days meant I spent a lot of time working and very little time enjoying panels. That was poor planning on my part. I only made it to panels on one day.

+ Going on the train with the kids. That was fun.

– Next time I will not pick restaurants that are so far away and make reservations so I feel like we HAVE TO do the whole fucking walk. That was dumb.

+ Took the girls swimming and we had a lot of fun.

– Boo stupid hotel telling us the pool was closed on the website so we had to buy new damn bathing suits.

– Kids taking off from the adult they were supposed to be with and getting in an elevator alone.

+ Didn’t have many hypervigilance symptoms all weekend. I wasn’t scared. I was very relaxed. I even slept fairly well even if I didn’t sleep enough. I did have some anger surges but they were usually… connected to things that kind of deserved some anger. LIKE KIDS RUNNING OFF AND GETTING IN A FUCKING ELEVATOR ALONE. So I don’t feel like it was PTSD symptomatic. And I calmed down and didn’t rant.

-/+ Started bleeding Saturday morning. This is actually a really good thing because my pattern with the PMDD is the day I start bleeding I have pain, but all of a sudden my mood improves. I’m much more tolerant that day. I’m kind of self-absorbed thinking about the physical pain so I don’t react to what other people are doing as much. But it means I am in a lot of pain.

– This gets another negative. This sucks. So much pain. Insane pain. Holy fucking shit can I beat my joints with hammers so that they stop fucking hurting hurting hurting hurting. They would hurt less if I hit them with hammers.

– Naturopath won’t work with insurance even a little bit.

– Not happy about some kid interactions. I intervene faster than some other parents. I have a very hard time with the fact that other people are fine with their kids experimenting with hitting and kicking my children. If it was once I wouldn’t even notice. It’s not once. It has happened almost half a dozen times. I’m not sure how to address this. Yes, kid is very young. That means it should be the parents responsibility to be shadowing the kid at all times to be preventing that behavior in my opinion. That’s how I got my kids through those phases. Yes it was labor intensive. Yes, it kind of sucked for me. I wanted the kids. There is no such thing as “helicopter parenting” with the under 3 set. That’s called “parenting”. That’s not even true. Helicopter parenting is not letting your kid climb the ladder to go down the slide. Helicopter parenting is not letting your ten year old walk to the convenience store. Helicopter parenting is calling to yell at the college professor for not giving your kid an “A”. But if you watch your kid kick someone else and choose to not intervene the first time that’s a problem. It’s not free range parenting either. I think what I’m really doing is hoping that we will come back from the trip and this problem will have evaporated as a “stage”. (No I haven’t talked to the parents. I don’t know them that well and I feel awkward as fuck. It’s never a good time.)

+ I bought so many cool books. I’m terribly excited. Including a new comic book series about a neat sounding re-imagining of Beowulf. Looking forward to sharing it with the kids.

– Books are heavy. I feel like I practically broke my back on the train on the way home carrying the books. Yes, I know that e-reading is a solution to this. It really isn’t a good solution for me for a variety of reasons. Everyone is different!

+ So forking proud of the kids for how they handled carrying their stuff on the trip. They were pretty good about staying on task and focusing and carrying on when they wanted to quit.

+ I had an alcoholic drink on two of the nights of the conference and throughout the whole weekend I HAD SOLID POOP. I don’t understand. Yes, I stuck with whiskey because it is on the IBS approved list, but sometimes it is still problematic. Belly, I give you gentle and loving pats. Good job. Maybe it was all the fucking vegetables and fruit I ate. I tried so hard to be good to you even though we were traveling. I love you. Please be nice to me like this more often.

+ I had a lot of neat conversations with people. I miss those kinds of environments so much. One of the harder things about home schooling is the lack of colleagues. I talk to home schooling parents, but I don’t don’t use curriculum. So we aren’t talking technique all that much. This weekend was really fulfilling in that way. I felt like, Yes I have studied this shit, By Gawd.

+ A writer I have long admired caught me in the hallway alone at a random moment and all but invited herself over to dinner to see what I’ve done with my house after I described the painting. My heart went pitter patter. Oh yes. You did that. You totally just did that. You said, “I want to come over for dinner. Send me an email so we can match up our schedules.” Oh. Oh. *fluttery hands* You did that! It’s my dream come true and she doesn’t even read my blog. *swoon*

+ The panel I was on went so well. I’m really happy it worked out. True to form people came up to me and said, “I got a lot out of it. It was really intense.” That’s me. I may not be able to bring the funny but I’ve got bushels of intense. 

+ Got an email this weekend inviting us to a speaking gig on Tuesday. I found baby sitting. I need to make a resume. Even though this event isn’t a “Stanford” event… it’s at Stanford. I was invited to speak at Stanford. I need a resume. Yeah, I’m a “stay at home parent” but I’m doing shit.

+ It was neat seeing the evolution of people. I saw a lot of people I have known very distantly for my entire adult life. A number of folks I met when I was 18 or 19. They seemed… maybe confused by my lifestyle choices? I couldn’t read the facial expressions that well. The comments were mostly neutral with a hint of snark and that is downright positive for most of them. I feel like I am on the path I want to be on. It was neat feeling very affirmed in that.

+ It is nice feeling like looking around at other people convinces me that I am growing past role models. The things I want to do are not things that other people want to do. So I don’t have role models. I need to just do them and be ok with that. It’s funny to me how I can feel that in some communities and I’m still struggling to be “ok” with my identity in other parts of my life/self.

(Which isn’t to say that I think I am “better” than other people. I’m not. But I’m dealing with very different logistics and that’s ok.)

+ I am so grateful that I live in the time and place I live. And I’m really happy to be home.

The five month trip is going to be hard. I’m thinking hard about how we can bring home with us. It’s coming up soon. 17 weeks until we leave. That doesn’t feel like very long. Four more months. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I have wanted to do this for so long. How are we going to keep up our Adventurous Spirits!?

Time will tell.

Not here

I think it is going to be a very good thing to take a break from my life this year. I understand why people idealize the solo traveler adventure shit. It is a chance to stop dealing with all of the expectations of you. I’m not going to be alone. But I’ll change the rules.

I won’t have to fucking vacuum a floor for months.

Some of my friends would cheerfully tell me to hire a cleaner and never clean the floor again! I have big issues with that idea. Big ones. I’m not so fucking good I deserve to never fucking clean a floor again. I don’t know that I think you are too good to clean your own floor either.

Yeah yeah, time management. I have class issues.

I feel worry that I upset a friend when I said I could never live in Alameda. She (potentially, I project that she) felt I was disparaging her home. I’m not trying to disparage the town. The architecture is lovely. I hear the schools are fine.

That doesn’t mean I would feel comfortable there. I would feel dramatically uncomfortable living there because it is beautiful and fine and I am not.

I’m aware that people in the 1% would not especially perceive me as “rich”. Compared to everything I knew before marriage I am filthy, stinking rich. It depends on your perspective. That said I will never have the attitudes, morals, and behaviors of a rich person. I have been white trash too long. Could I act the part in severely delineated ways? Probably. But I can’t carry the ruse on forever. My neighbors have to accept me leaving piles of shit around for months.

I’m gross. I think bodily functions are just fucking fine and if you prompt me to apologize for farting or burping I may get mean. I’m not going to accept being shamed over stuff I cannot fucking help. “I’m not shaming you. I’m just trying to teach you good manners.” You are just trying to get me to apologize for existing. Fuck you. If you want to do it, whatever. I’m not going to. Although I would appreciate you not doing it in my house. Here we are all mammals and unashamed of that.

(Not really fuck you. I’m going to be cussing more than usual for a few days. I have some frustrated energy to deal with. I can’t talk about it. So instead I will sublimate a few extra “fuck yous” into every other part of my life. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.)

I have no desire to have the house of a rich person. I would feel wildly uncomfortable. When I am in a rich house I feel like I am there to be a servant. I *have* had that job. (Cleaning houses.)

And it doesn’t really take being that high on the hog before I feel wildly uncomfortable. I live in a lower middle class tract house. Now that I’ve put a bunch of plants in the yard I’m very content. I have a desire for a bigger bathroom, but otherwise… I don’t want a bigger/nicer house.

I would spend my time there feeling like I was polluting it. That house should be filled with someone who has the decency to apologize for farting.

Noah told me that reactions to farting are class based. Rich people pretend it doesn’t happen. Middle class people apologize for it. Poor people laugh. I laugh. Noah used to apologize, now he ignores it.

I feel … not exactly “anonymous” here where I live. I feel … more acceptably average. There are more genuinely poor people here. There are actual derelict buildings. We have a lot of multi-generational living. Most houses in my neighborhood have extended family living with them. Only a few of us don’t.

When I ask to spend time with my neighbors they assume the kids will play in the yard not that we will go somewhere and fork over a bunch of money to be “entertained”.

I have no desire to raise children who expect frequent entertainment. Ha ha ha. Make your own entertainment. As a result they are really good at entertaining themselves. We don’t go to many shows. We go to the park.

We do go to Disneyland. That’s more so I can have the cheerful ambiance, let’s be clear. That good cheer boosts me up. I think as much because I can dream about my next trip on hard days than because being there is actually that magic. Being there is work. But it is work in a friendly environment and I totally love that shit.

I frequently have the feeling “I am not supposed to be here.” I am not part of the “us” for this location. I am an outsider. I do not belong. I should go.

Alameda is like that for me. I recognize that there are good restaurants and good people who like me and other fine benefits. They are not for me. I don’t belong in Palo Alto either.

I couldn’t have a wacky ass yard full of weeds I don’t pull in Palo Alto. My neighbors would make me very sorry. And my kids wouldn’t be allowed to play with their kids. It would be lonely and hard. My behavior would be “wrong”.

No one in my neighborhood gives a shit what I do with my yard. They are nice to me when I’m out front. They stop to chat about the weather and the kids and they admire the flowers. They don’t complain about how unprofessional and unfinished it looks. They tell me it is wonderful to see me playing with the kids. Then they smile and go on their way.

I fucking love my neighborhood. Have I had issues with people here? Yeah. But not big ones. The hardest-to-deal-with issue moved away. They said they were up for being pen pals but we were never given an address and we’ve never gotten a letter. I don’t think they were telling the truth about being up for writing. I really wish people wouldn’t lie.

That said, I totally forgot to write to Pam when she was overseas. Because I am a douche.

I tell her about my life here in the blog! Although, to be fair, when I’m talking to her one on one she gets way more details than the rest of you get. That’s the benefit of sticking around for 17 years.

Well, there are other people who get the same level of disclosure as her. But lately she spends the most time here so she gets the most stories. That’s just how that works out. I can’t put a lot of the stories in writing.

You think I have no tact?

Oh man.

I want to be not-here for a while. Where “here” is my life. I’m not feeling suicidal–which is frankly wonderful. I feel like I got more of a burst of fighting spirit. It’s more that I’m spending too much of my life feeling like I’m about to do the wrong thing and destroy everything. I want a break from this tension.

I don’t know how tenuous the connections in my life are. So I will spread them really thin. And see who holds.

The people who want to come back will come back. And I can maybe not be such a jackass. Ha ha ha. The people who don’t reintegrate into my life… weren’t meant to be. Worrying won’t change what happens. Well, worrying is more likely to make bad things come true.

I need to stop looking around me all day every day with this whining feeling. I feel anxious and like I need to run away before everyone discovers I’m bad, bad, bad, bad.

I didn’t do anything wrong. This time. But that hardly matters, does it? I will do something wrong soon enough. I’m just getting a little bit of it back in advance.

It isn’t that I think I can’t visit places like Alameda. But have you noticed that I start wanting to tidy? Obviously I should be there to be the help. It’s a thing. Ok, that’s a complicated reaction on my part. Part of it is just obsessive control issues. Order! Must! Impose! Order! I’m a lot better than I used to be…

I want to go out into the rest of the country and remind myself that I live in a bubble. A wonderful bubble where I am more safe than I would probably be anywhere else. My specific flavor of weird is so well suited to exactly where I live. Fremont is a small town in a big urban metro area.

So it turns out I have two friends who live on Alameda about five houses away from one another. They all have little girls who are the same age. They don’t know each other.

We know all of our neighbors. Ok that’s not true. There are houses we don’t know. We make up for it by knowing more than 60% of the people on every street within our whole housing development block. I don’t see that happening elsewhere in the bay area. Folks are too pissy about being interrupted. There are a high number of questionably employed people in my ‘hood. Lots of them are retired folks and my kids will get to understand the circle of life through losing these dear people. We’ve already had some have to move into assisted care.

I think it helps that a very high percentage of our neighbors are immigrants and they are thrilled someone wants to meet them. Fremont is the second most language diverse city in the country. In addition to trying to meet the new folks I have introduced folks who have been neighbors for 30+ years. “Stop calling her the Chinese lady on the corner. Her name is _____. Come over here and say hello. Yes, now.” I love playing social director.

One of the good things about hanging out with folks who are in their 70’s… they don’t really give a shit if you throw the occasional temper tantrum. They shake their heads and snort. They mutter, “kids” under their breath and don’t hold a grudge. I feel… tolerated. I’ve talked to the old dudes about being suicidal. They were more comforting than you might expect. They didn’t have solutions or answers but they listened and have been really nice to me for years since. They make a point of walking by and yelling a “hello”.

They want me to stay. So they show up.

I really like my neighborhood. I’m scared of how it will change over 30 years. Because it will totally change. I’ll have to keep being the welcome wagon. Maybe over time the percentage of people I know will increase instead of decreasing.

I think that part of my problem is… I know I’m a lot of work to be friends with. I am hard along a whole bunch of different axis. I do not know how to spell the plural of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up.

I’m always afraid of when other people will run out of spoons for dealing with me and abruptly drop me. They have to for their own self-preservation. I get that.

I think that is one of the reasons Pam feels so safe. She has a huge family that constantly fill her spoon drawer. She has more surplus than anyone I know.

Everyone else has a lot less support of their own. How in the world can I expect them to support me when they aren’t getting the support they need? And I do need a lot of support from friends. I need a lot of listening. I need a lot of accommodation in terms of physical behaviors and verbal mannerisms. I’m complicated.

I get why it isn’t worth it to most people. I really do.

It is hard to see what other people get out of bothering. I get it with Noah and Shanna and Calli. I see the biological imperative I fill for them.

I’m not even fucking any of my friends these days. Why do they bother?

I want to run away from these feelings. But I’ll come back. Because I know that my feelings are lying to me. I know that people clearly love me and find value in a relationship with me. They are still here. Whether I understand it or not is beside the point.

But I really want a break.

The joy of traveling is reinventing yourself every day. The impact of a given mood on the rest of my life is likely to be zero. What-fucking-ever! Freedom.

Not that I plan to act psycho across the country. I want to make new friends and strengthen old ties. But I can be pretty wacky and intense. People can handle intense in a nice, safe, time delineated box. And I come in with my built-in reality distortion field. I have to be “appropriate” for my kids. Which makes for a very specific kind of intense that is different from my previous more inappropriate modes.

Life is always changing. But sometimes it is hard to see how much you’ve changed if you always stand in the same place.

Bragging.

I was feeling kind of angsty. So I used an 18 year old coping method and I went and found a chat room. I sure like talking to people. That lead to a series of weird feelings.

I can’t get into specifics for Reasons because I was hanging out in a mental health support chat room. Folks care about their privacy a bit more than average.

I talked to a person who had an experience with abuse masquerading as bdsm. We had a long conversation. This person had no idea that such things happen to other people because this person was never part of “the scene”. I think I blew that persons mind a bit. I was casual and up front with all kinds of general attitudes and problems the community has. I feel guilty that I may have dove into the deep end of their trauma just casually answering the questions I was asked. They didn’t feel that heavy or intense to me because bdsm wasn’t traumatic to me. The community wasn’t traumatic to me. So I feel pretty guilty that I might have hurt this person by my indifference to the intensity that they experienced. I shared links to articles written by folks in the scene about the kinds of problems this person experienced. Mind blown. “This happens to other people?!?!?!” Yes. There aren’t that many truly singular human experiences. Most experiences happen to many people and you just have to ask around until you find your tribe.

That was actually a neat conversation for me. I’m very into talking about community dynamics. But it was so personal for them…

But more than that… I felt like I was bragging. When I’m asked, “How do you know so much about this topic?” “Uhm… I’ve been to a lot of national bdsm conferences. I’ve taught bondage and suspension classes. Go to a kinky book store, read the names of the authors… those are my friends.” And uhm, many of them have played with me. I feel like I must be lying or exaggerating but it is just plain true. I used to go around the country tying people up and being tied up for fun.

Then the topic morphed because the people in chat morphed. Chat rooms are like that. We talked a lot about travel and different climate zones and how food migration works and…

I have a lot of stories. When I get into a chat room and people are just casually going through lots of little references to get to know one another… I have a lot of stories. I think I sound more interesting than I am if you just listen to the things I’ve done.

I think I sound like a liar. I talk casually about travel all over my country and the world. I talk about good and bad things as casually as if they had equal impact on me and people react very oddly to that. I’ll go from telling a story about a principal being on first name basis with me in 5th grade to talking about being beaten daily by a different principal and neither mention feels “important” to me in the way it seems to hit other people. “Your principal hit you!” Uhm, it was Texas. They did that as of the 1990’s and I’m pretty sure they still do it now. It’s not a big deal.

That “it’s not a big deal” is part of why I feel weird. I moved so many times that I seem to have picked up pieces of a lot of different life stories and then I shoved them all together in a way that sounds… frankly impossible to casual listeners.

I have been called a liar to my face many times, that’s why I think I sound like a liar. I couldn’t possibly have done all the things I say I’ve done.

Dude, I really don’t exaggerate for effect much. I don’t have to.

Yes, I really was a teacher. Yes I really was a stage manager too. I’ve had people challenge that I could have done all the things I did. Uhm… I went to college. I did theatre in college. Being a stage manager is not exactly rocket science…. they let teenagers do it. Depending on how liberal you are with the definition of “teach” I have worked in an educational capacity with kids from 1st grade to community college. (I was a substitute for a while. That’s a hard fucking job.) In the community college I was the youngest person in my classroom. My students loved me. I can encourage you through writing a much more… assertive view than you even knew you had.

Yesterday I felt waves of shame, like I should stop bragging. I was just participating in a conversation. But that feels like shoving things in peoples faces. Other people participate in conversations by mostly listening. I should do more of that. Obviously me talking is a problem.

Why?

I don’t know.

I didn’t dominate the conversation. I wasn’t the only one talking. I wasn’t the only one with stories. But I was talking with up to five or six people and I dropped the most stories. I suspect this is related to typing speed in addition to other people being shocked that I just kept going. Nope, I’ve got lots more stories than these. I’ve barely shown you the tip of the ice berg.

What do you mean you are done?

Oh. I’ll shut up now. Uhm… I guess people are going to talk about tv characters now because they are out of personal stories.

Right. Uhm. Yeah. I’ll uhhh shut up.

I really like talking about myself. I really like hearing other people talk about themselves. Why do other people want to spend so much time talking about celebrities? It is very confusing to me. I only vaguely know the names of the people they are talking about from magazine covers in the grocery store. I’d rather chew my arm off than research these people so I can join in the conversation.

Uhm, I’ll go clean my house now. Thanks.

flat refuse to spend time researching so I can join in slut-shaming other women. Fuck. That. Noise.

I think women get to fuck as many people as they want and it is none of your god damn slut-shaming business. Go straight to hell.

In my defense… I did not say that in the chat room. I did get quiet.

WHY DO PEOPLE GET SO UPSET THAT A WOMAN THEY DON’T KNOW IS HAVING SEX WITH A MAN THEY DON’T KNOW!!!!!!

I feel pretty upset by how much of this I’ve seen in the last day. That woman you are describing as a whore has fucked way fewer people than me. What do you want to say to me now? Nothing because I’m different? Fuck you with a chain saw.

Oh, you judge her because she was “stupid” enough to let her boyfriend take naked pictures of her? THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF SUCH PICTURES OF ME. FAR MORE EXPLICIT PICTURES. Fuck you very much.

I feel pretty pissy about this topic. Thus the shouting.

The only reason I’m “different” is because I’m not doing it today. If I was still behaving that way you wouldn’t think I was different. I am making different choices now for specific reasons related to managing my trauma. Not because I am a morally superior person who has conquered my base urges. Fuck you with a 2″x4″.

Even when I get ranty like this… I feel weird shame like I’m bragging. I’m just talking about my life but it feels like I’m exaggerating to make a point.. I’m not. These are just my thoughts and experiences. Ok, plus a few vague general threats at non-specific people. Not real threats. I don’t plan to shove anything forcibly into anyones orifices without permission ever in this life. But I’m colorful in how I bleed off stress.

This article right here is part of why I defend sex work so vigorously. It has a place in society. Women who have sex with lots of people have a place in society no matter why they are having that sex. Sex is one of the most primal urges we have and I don’t see how suppressing it does folks good. Let’s look at the history of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic church in the name of suppressing sexual desire. Not good juju.

I will not join in on dog piling on someone to tell them they are bad for making a choice you don’t agree with. That is not my job here on this planet. I really don’t want to tell people how bad they are.

I want them to feel like they are ok. And feel like there are probably other people like them and they are ok too.

I want people to feel ok with existing. I want people to believe that a community exists for them even if it is hard to find.

To me, the sum of my stories is a search for a place in community. I have tried a lot of things looking for community. Some tricks worked and some tricks failed spectacularly. I talk about both sides equally as freely. If other people can learn from my failures that makes them even more valuable.

I learn from other peoples failures. Part of the reason I haven’t really been in a relationship with intense domestic violence is because I watched it happen to other people and I made different choices.

The first time a boyfriend slapped me I exploded like a hurricane and ended the relationship. I am not going to fucking let anyone get away with slapping me and saying it doesn’t count as “really hitting”.

I have a very strong ability to set the reality of my life. I don’t let other people define what happens to me. My words. My opinions. My life. Fuck Right Off.

Why haven’t I had an abusive boyfriend? Because I only date people who force me to beg for my beatings. Or I walk. If I hint a little that a beating might be nice and you start hitting me… I leave. That’s not a safe situation. I often talk about deserving things I don’t really deserve or want. A partner who took such musings as hints to hit me… would not be safe.

I pick partners who make me beg for my beatings. I have to give explicit directions about where and how I want to be hit or they just don’t hit me. I really like the boundaries I’ve developed.

BDSM is not abuse. The difference between bdsm and abuse is educated consent on the part of the bottom. I have a real problem with experienced dominants manipulating inexperienced submissives. I think uneducated consent is basically invalid.

But I have strong opinions. When I play with newbies I give them a fucking lecture a mile long before I touch them. I want educated consent.

I learned by giving a blowjob to a little boy in kindergarden. Later he told everyone I raped him. From where I was standing…. he hadn’t said no. From where he was standing…. he hadn’t said yes.

I have a hard time forgiving myself for a mistake I made when I was five. I don’t get to make those kinds of mistakes ever again. Period.

Barely a topic switch… whether I am ever promiscuous again may actually revolve around how my kids turn out. If they are happy, healthy people who don’t give a shit… I might do it. If they would be horrified if they found out… I’m probably done.

I can’t hide who and what I am. I choose a relationship with my children over other aspects of myself. Even though I’d love to convert half the women in my future nursing home to lesbianism. That would be hawt. At least bisexuality if they didn’t want to swear off men. Personally I like people at all points along the gender spectrum. Yay people! Yay bodies!

When I first came into the bdsm community/public sex community I met this lovely woman. She was in her late 60’s when I arrived. I think she was 69 when I was 18. So that’s 15 years ago. I am pretty sure she’s still active. I saw her not that long ago. She is my hero.

I want to be playing with hot young 40 year olds when I’m in my 80’s. I’ll play with old people too… but that would be really fun. I think it is gross that the old men want teenage girls. I’ve done my virgin initiations. They weren’t the most interesting sex I’ve had. I’ll take grown ups, thanks.

The breeding period requires particular behavior sets from me. I chose it willingly with my eyes wide open. The boundaries do not yet chafe.

I get cranky about incidentals in my life. I get frustrated by details of my life. Overall I am so very happy that I’m doing what I’m doing. I like where I am. I’m learning how to be appropriate. I’m doing so in an environment that is actually safe for me. I will always have a version of appropriate that doesn’t match up with other peoples perfectly.

Like last night I apparently educated a local middle schooler about the basics of sex ed. Whoops. Hadn’t really set out to do that. But she asked direct questions. I’m not going to give evasive or shameful answers. Her friend freaked out and tried to shut me up. “SHE DOESN’T KNOW THESE THINGS YET!!!”

Yeah. And that’s dangerous. She needs to know these things so she can keep her body safe.

Someone with fully developed breasts and an hour glass figure needs to know the basic technical non-salacious names for sex. And if someone stands there and asks me direct questions… I’m going to answer them in plain language.

Awkward.

So yeah. Last night I was taught why my friend said, “Your kids are not sheltered.” No, but they are protected. I believe ignorance is dangerous. This is a big, scary fucking world. There are ways to minimize your risks.

I’m not blaming victims. I’m talking about how some women can walk through life making seemingly dangerous choices and they never get assaulted once. There are ways to minimize your risks. There are tricks to keeping yourself safe. I’ve talked to a lot of women about how they manage their lives.

I want to protect my kids. I believe that knowledge is power. They have all the age appropriate books on sex that exist. They know that sex makes babies. They can look at an anatomy drawing and show you where the vulva, labia, clitoris, prostate, anus, urethra, or penis is. Technically, Shanna has memorized more of the specific names than I have. I always have to reread the book to see what a lot of the accessory names are. I know fallopian tubes, but there are some tubes in guys that I don’t remember. She does. But I’m not the one who spends a lot of time talking about wanting to be a doctor.

They also know that sex is something adults do for fun but it isn’t for kids because it can hurt kid bodies.

Why did this come up? Because there are sexual references everywhere and Shanna asks what they mean. I am not graphic, but I say, “Well grown ups like thinking and talking about sex. So that’s a reference to sex. You’ll understand it after puberty.”

I talk about sex as if it is a normal, natural part of life. I talk about choosing when to have children based on being able to take care of a family. I talk about having “kissed boys and girls other than your dad before him because I wanted to make sure I knew I found the right person”. I’m not graphic.

I don’t want to be “out” with my kids the way some of my friends are out with their kids. My kids won’t see deviant-from-normal behavior during their childhood. Regardless of what I do during baby-sitting time.

And a lot of it comes back to feeling weird for talking about this stuff. Am I bragging? No. I’m trying to work out the logistics of my life. I’m trying to get a clear picture on who and what I am. I am trying to prove to myself, Yup. Still here.

I’m in the breeding period. Most members of my species end up here on accident and they kind of chafe at the boundaries as a result. Their freedom was curtailed not by choice. I want this so much.

I want to know what a childhood is like when the parents are not having sex in front of nor with their children. I want to know what a childhood is like when there isn’t constant drug and alcohol induced partying going on. I use pot, but it isn’t a party drug for me. It is something I do in isolation or I take a pill. I’ve only smoked around a handful of people (the wonderful folks who come over for dinner) and it doesn’t happen until after the kids are asleep. My kids are not growing up in a party house.

Only they are. It’s kind of weird. I’m finding out what “vanilla” parties are like and they are pretty fun.

Not long ago my neighbors re-did their house. They were tired of “looking like a preschool”. But… you have young children. Ok, the materials should age up, but why in the world do you think that your house shouldn’t look like kids live there?

Stop judging, Krissy.

I like that kids like coming here. They feel comfortable. I like that I can invite a whole bunch of people over and it works out really well. Everyone leaves raving about how they’ve had a wonderful time.

I’m going to go have fun with my family now.

Race is awkward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Err, why wouldn’t I have black friends?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hoops, self-care, and being mercenary.

Today was the kind of day where I walk out of therapy saying, “That’s why I pay for therapy.” It doesn’t happen every time. I’ve spent the last two weeks wondering why I pay for therapy. Then I get reminded. Because I’m not good at framing things.

Today my therapist and I spent a lot of time talking about my friendships with women. She asked me if I have noticed that I like to pick (for my closest relationships) women who are not good at taking care of themselves, let alone anyone else. I reflected for a few minutes and said yeah, I’ve noticed. My “besties” have pretty much been universally people who can’t feed themselves regularly and appropriately, most of them can’t finish school or work or clean their own houses. They don’t exercise. Many of them have trouble with hygiene (and I have low standards).

I don’t say that to be mean, I say it because it is true. I pick a lot of people like that. I could go down a list. They are all functional in some ways at some times. But not consistently and not across the board. They are all people who struggle with the basics of their own self-care.

Then I enter into a relationship and turn my neeeeeeeeeeediness towards them and.. guess what? They let me down. Because they can’t take care of themselves or their actual dependents… let alone me. It isn’t a reasonable expectation of them. I don’t go pick people with a whole drawer full of spoons. Then when they can’t take care of me I feel like it is a statement of my worth as a human. I decide that since they can’t/won’t care for me in the ways I need/want I should die.

This has been a consistent pattern of mine for decades.

I get into relationships with people who can’t take care of themselves and then when they can’t care for me it feels like they don’t love me enough. Very much like my mom. It feels like no one will ever love me enough.

But Noah does. He can’t meet all of my needs, but he does love me enough. Getting one of those people in a lifetime is a lucky break not attained by most people. I shouldn’t complain. I shouldn’t be so greedy.

My therapist suggested that I need to stop thinking about these people as sources of support. The trouble is, I tend to treat people like they are on the inside or the outside. Either I can ask them for things or I can’t. So if I have to pull back from expecting things from someone, I push them all the way outside the box. I don’t know how to have a middle ground.

I’m struggling with this with Sarah. (Former housemate Sarah–remember her?) We are trying to find our way back to friendship. But she got shoved outside the box. How do I let someone in a little but not all the way? (To be fair, she’s gotta be in a similar position because I was more volatile and problematic when we had problems. I am inherently scarier.) It was nice taking the Impact class with her. When I started crying and feeling scared there was someone in the room who understood why I was crying. I didn’t have to explain anything. She just knows. She’s already put in all the hours and hours of time listening to the stories so she understands. Whatever difficulty we have in dealing with one another’s needs… we understand one anothers’ history. So in the class I could turn to her for physical comfort when I generally won’t let anyone touch me.

I feel like there needs to be an in between slot. Not in the box not outside the box. Part of the frame of the box. There and accepted and loved but… not to be depended upon.

I can’t expect people to know how to treat me even after many years of telling them. People don’t listen. I know that. They don’t actually care that much. They may “care” but they don’t care enough to adapt their style of interacting with people. (No shaming here, I am similarly entrenched in being who I am.) I don’t gentle-down very well for people. I struggled like hell to behave appropriately around Jenny and my niece when they visited. I am not good at adapting to other peoples needs. I don’t think that other people have trouble adapting to me because they are terrible, unloving people. I’m hard.

I know that I am hard. Sometimes Noah starts rattling off all the ways I need to be accommodated: all the things he has to pay attention to, all the topics he has to avoid, the body language he has had to carefully learn. I feel pretty bad for him, actually. I don’t entirely understand why it is worth his effort. But it is.

Why do I manage to ignore the fact that Noah thinks it is worth jumping through hundreds of hoops but I dwell on the fact that other people can’t clear some.

It isn’t that my friends do nothing for me. It isn’t that they don’t adapt in any ways. It isn’t that they don’t care. It isn’t that they aren’t trying. I am hard. That isn’t their fault and it isn’t appropriate to get mad at them for doing their best.

Ok, then what do I do? When I can’t get mad at other people because they are doing their best, that is when I tend to decide that I should die because I am so terrible for asking for my needs. Over reaction much?

My shrink suggests pulling back. She said that I put too much energy into wanting friendships because I don’t have anything else to distract me, like a job. I told her that it isn’t that I need a job. I don’t have much of a family and my friends get all the energy that I would put towards my family complete with all the broken that resulted from my actual relationships with my family.

I do have a family now. One complete with no abuse. I am the most potentially problematic person in the house and I actually manage to keep a pretty tight rein on my crazy with my kids. (Noah gets more backlash.) I’m not perfect, but I have it on good authority that perfect parents raise incredibly fucked up kids. I’m better off not trying for perfect.

My shrink then clarified that by “distraction” she meant interactions with adults. I pointed out that when I worked, I was a teacher and I had the same problem I have now. Clearly a job isn’t the solution.

What is the solution? It occurs to me that the highest possible payoff for my energy is to really focus on being appropriate with my kids and home schooling them so that in 20-30 years maybe they will be the relationships I have wanted my whole life. That really is my best shot.

It isn’t really worth putting that much energy into most friendships. I will know them for a few years, maybe a decade or so, and they will wander off to their Next Thing. I do the same thing. I’m not being judgmental. It is ok that people do that.

My shrink suggests that I should stop deciding that people are my friends and thus anything they do is ok. Instead I should look at their behavior and decide if someone is acting like my friend and when they aren’t I should create distance. Not because I’m being mean, because I am taking care of myself.

Recently I went off on poor Pam about hoops I don’t want to jump through. I was bitching and whining in context of home schooling. I want x kind of event but I only want it y distance from my house with z frame work and other people want me to do something else! What the heck! I don’t want to jump through their hoops! For example, today park day is 27 miles from my house. No, I don’t fucking want to drive that far to sit at a park. Not because I have a problem with anyone there (I actually feel like this group is remarkably delightful) but more because I have to drive past almost 100 parks to get to the one that is close to the house of the organizer and uhm… yeah no. Yes, they move around. But they generally stay closer to the house of the organizer. Cause she’s smart like that. She’s been doing this many years and she’s not going to drive all over the place because she’s gotten burned a lot with people not showing up. I get it. I’m not cranky with her. I’m sad that we don’t live closer to one another but I’m not angry and I don’t feel betrayed and she sure as shit doesn’t owe me anything. She comes to stuff at my house when it fits into her schedule.

Hoops are funny things. I use that word to mean a wide variety of things. It has been my experience that people in SF/Oakland act like the freeway only goes in one direction. I have to drive to them. (Not universally–there are some people who drive here from those places and I rarely go to them so I get that I’m a hypocrite here.)

With home schoolers, we all mean very different things when we say we home school our kids. Some use prepackaged curriculum and sit down to do school every day. Some people are Unschoolers Out In The World and they are almost never in their home. Most people are some kind of hybrid and things shift from year to year. I’m selfish and self absorbed so I want other home schoolers to live near me and mostly do things how I do them. When I want to socialize with other people I have to accommodate to their preferences (cause inviting people to just come hang out with me and the kids isn’t working very well lately).

I’d be thrilled if people would just come visit me more often. But, many of the home schoolers seem very uninterested in that and I’ve mostly stopped asking. I’ll try again at some point. Maybe. We’ll see.

Some days I think I would be better off if I actually lived more rurally so I would let myself stay home and not feel the constant anxiety that I am somehow “not doing what I should do” by not going to museums and zoos and and and and every fucking day.

I am not real big on entertaining my kids. I seriously expect them to learn how to entertain themselves. I really expect them to learn from any environment and I have stuffed my house full of good learning opportunities. I don’t need to take them to a museum every day for “stimulation”. They haven’t read every book in the house yet. We’re stimulated.

There are tons of science stuff I want to do with the kids, but most of it takes a lot of set up and clean up and I’m not willing to do it when I have only an hour or two in between other things I have to do. They would love to do bigger art projects. (Although man we already do big art projects.) There are hundreds of things we could do in our house. But I can’t do them in an hour or two. I really need whole days home and I just… don’t seem to be getting them. Even the days we are “home” we are invited to the park and I don’t want to say no because I’m scared shitless that I am going to isolate my kids. So instead we drift through socializing and don’t do a lot of the really interesting things I think of. We just don’t make the time.

My shrink told me to stop putting energy towards people who aren’t acting like my friends. Given that I’ve had to pause this typing multiple times because one of my former students is negotiating to come for a visit because she loves me a lot and she misses me… it is kind of a fascinating dichotomy.

Why do I chase people so hard when they don’t seem to like me that much when there are plenty of people who like me just fine? Because I feel more comfortable with people who will speak to me with contempt. Because that is how I feel about myself.

I need to stop feeling like I’m “doing everything wrong” when I don’t want to do the same thing as someone else. I’ve been pretty sure about the home schooling path I wanted to take for more than 16 years. Why do I let myself spend so much time feeling bad because I don’t do the exact same thing as other people? There isn’t a rule book. There isn’t a One Twue Way to homeschool. I don’t feel guilty when I stand next to traditional schoolers. I’m absolutely sure that isn’t the path for me. Why do I feel so bad about home schoolers who make different choices?

Because ours is a species of conformity. That shame feeling is biological.

I love my friends very much. Even when they aren’t very good at caring for themselves. I have similar issues and I don’t feel like I belong on a holier-than-thou-high-horse. I’m just a broken girl trying to put myself back together. Trying to make a coherent whole out of the broken pieces of my psyche.

If other people don’t love me enough, that just means I need to love myself more. I need to try harder to take care of me. Self-care is a radical act. It may mean I step back from situations because I need to care for myself. That’s ok. I’m permitted. Caring for me is hard. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed by how hard it is. Asking for help isn’t the most effective way of dealing with my issues. Not really. Staying home and taking care of me is much more effective.

And in the process, maybe I will teach my kids how to take care of themselves and they won’t have to learn it in their 30’s. I was not mothered appropriately. I can’t change that now. But I can change what I pass on. That is the only part I have control over. I can’t fix other adults just like they can’t fix me. It is self-hating to try.

I shouldn’t take them pulling back as a signal of my lack-of-worth. Instead maybe it is a sign that they are making healthier choices and I should be supportive. We aren’t teenagers any more. We can’t live in one another’s back pockets. We have very busy lives. Very full lives.

Friends show up when they can. They give what they have to spare. Family is on tap to give until it hurts… not friends. It is sad that I don’t have an adult family to depend on, but life works that way. Instead I have some of the best friends anyone has ever had. I should not take their best and bludgeon them with it. That’s not exactly gracious. That’s not a way to get more love from them in the future. I do want more love. Even if they have none to spare today.

That isn’t about me.

My worth is separate and distinct from the behavior of everyone in the world. That is hard to remember sometimes.

And then I come home from therapy and my wonderful daughters cuddle me and “read” me stories and tell me “funny” jokes. (I made a video today of Calli’s knock-knock jokes. They are “funny” and wonderful.)

I am financially stable. I have at least three people who love me intensely. I have a lot more people who love me at least a little. That’s more love than many people get. I haven’t been raped in eight years. I haven’t moved in over eight years. I exercise more than I ever have. I hate this elimination diet, but I’m making real progress on something that has been painful and exhausting my whole life.

Today’s run was nice. I like coming down the big hill and seeing the sun rising over the valley. I like where I live. I like my life. I’m whiny and I have trouble seeing the good parts on many days, but I don’t want to be any where else. I don’t want to do anything else. How many people can say that with a straight face?

Ok sure, I do want a vacation. Hawaii will be awesome. But I will come back. I will come back to Wonderland and the best family I’ve ever had.

How many people get to be so lucky?

Logistics

Thank you for all the comments. I certainly know I am not alone in experiencing social anxiety and group troubles. I read textbooks. I know how common my issues are. Heh. It is interesting seeing where other people are with handling it. I go in and out of phases where I can handle putting myself out there. Sometimes I can and sometimes not so much.

Tomorrow is a tea party at our house. The current RSVP count is maddening because it never stays the same in the last 24 hours. This group is… really big on changing their minds in the final hours. Which means if I start baking this afternoon there is a non-zero chance I will make two or three times as much food as I need because half or more of the people will cancel.

But the house is pretty much ready. I’ll choose to just be happy about that. I am ridiculously impressed by how helpful the kids are becoming. Shanna washes dishes now too. With every party that goes by they do more and more of the work.

My secret plan is working. My kids are going to be entirely adept at hosting before they are ten.

My kids are going to have very different issues than me. I really can’t predict what they will be like. But I know they will show up as adults with a large variety of skills.

We aren’t going to the park today because Shanna’s favorite girl in the neighborhood is only available to play on Tuesdays. Shanna asked if she could stay home to see her friend and that will make my life easier. I don’t know what it will mean about the whole shape of the day.

The kids were going to K’s while I have therapy before the park then Aqua Adventure. Now… I’m not so sure. We’ll see.

I finished all the invitations for Calli’s birthday yesterday. I feel on the ball on that one because I’m a month early. *phew*

I need to make a list of foods I’m making for tomorrow so I can email people. Folks always ask what they can do. The thing is, given how high the flake rate is for events… I hesitate to share duties. If someone decides not to show up at the last minute then I have to scramble and I don’t like that much. Tea parties aren’t like pot lucks. They aren’t events that can have a completely random menu. Says my little control freak brain.

I’m sorta thinking that I could say, “You can contribute $5-$10 on a sliding scale for what your family can afford per kid if you want to defray the costs. I do not require that any kid pay. If I couldn’t afford the parties I wouldn’t have them.”

I like them being just so. That makes it easier for me to get set up in advance. If I am reacting to an unpredictable amount and quantity of food from other people… I experience a lot of anxiety. What if someone else has a bad morning and brings their six kids without having made the food they agreed to make? I’d be uhhh up a creek. Either I would spend the whole party making food such that I didn’t get to talk to anyone or have fun, or kids would be standing there picking through my snack cart for the whole time. Neither option pleases me.

(I specifically said six kids because at this moment in time no one in the group has six kids. [Err, at least not that have all six active within the homeschool group…] So I’m not picking on anyone. It’s a metaphor. It could be one kid. But it would be more likely with six kids because man I have a lot of sympathy for moms with that many kids. I can’t imagine keeping up with that workload.)

I would be just as fussy with two or three kids.

I can create a smoothly ordered system if I am in control of all the pieces. I’m shitty at adjusting to, “Well I forgot to buy cucumbers so I made pb&j’s instead” when I already made the pb&j’s for the party and now that’s all we have to eat….

People are variable. And if I just do it then I don’t get mad at anyone for being human. I get that they are human and all. I need to be loving and accepting of people being where they are.

I’m probably better off saying that people can give $ if they really want to contribute. I totally don’t think I want help. Maybe some help. Not really. Go away. Don’t help me.

I’m kidding. Don’t go away. Come to my party. Enjoy yourself as a guest. Don’t pressure me to make-work for you because that’s hard. I’ll get to the work at a pace I can handle. Then I don’t have to stop my train of thoughts to create something for you to do. That can be pretty frustrating.

When I want help I ask for it. Shanna’s second birthday was awesome. I told my friends to come over and do everything for the party because I was very pregnant and I planned to sit in a chair.

They did.

It was really pretty breathtaking. The fact that I have social anxiety and insecurity about my relationships is pretty much horse shit. They show up. They work like dogs. I am so grateful.

I suppose that yesterday when I thought of the wedding reception and my 30th birthday I was looking for mass. At that quantity of people I start cracking.

The birthday parties for the kids have all been really great. I know that the parties aren’t for me so a lot of my anxiety goes away. I have a much narrower parameter of acceptable behavior “Ok for my kids” and that relieves the pressure of what to say to people.

As I look at the group of people who is working hard to know my kids throughout their lifetime… I feel quite humbled. My kids have an extensive network. There are a lot of grown ups who have been there over and over for six years running for Shanna. She trusts and loves them with absolutely no limits.

I feel so grateful that I get to see what that looks like. Even as I go through my feelings of rage that “chosen family is bullshit” these people show up for my kids. And they show up. And they show up.

Even my worry about an “appropriate place” for them to go should I die… they have options. They have lots of aunts who would make it work. My kids may not get to have the life I would give them, but they would be loved and cared for. They would be told good things about me.

I’m so grateful that I have gotten to this point. Even though sometimes I feel like I am going to have to leave because I am a monster who will hurt people.

Other people have to decide for themselves if I am hurting them or not. I should not proactively withdraw just to keep them safe. That isn’t actually what they want. They would rather tell me to knock it off if I start over-stepping. Well, maybe they don’t like doing that.

But I’m not shitty company all the time. Clearly folks like talking to me once in a while. I can stop pretending that I am torturing people just by existing near them. It is a really annoying habit of mine.

And I settled the menu for the tea party and followed up with sending my address to all the guests. Checking things off lists.

The kids have been staying up till 9 pretty consistently. Stupid Day Light Savings. They are sleeping later. It’s pretty awesome.

Oh, it’s official. I will not drink hard alcohol anymore. I had one fucking drink and it made me puke. I can have a glass of wine on rare occasions. When we run out of what is in the house I should probably stop buying it. Noah likes his rum and that’s his call. My body doesn’t like it. I had horrible diarrhea for more than 24 hours. It is time to recognize this limit. Yes, body. You win.

Ok. Time to go start the day.

Continuing on a theme

If the problem is that I just can’t scale my emotional connection rather than I can’t have individual connections with that many people, that is a very different flavor of possible. It’s not that I can’t love multiple people at once. (Maybe–hopefully) it is that I don’t feel it now. I can feel it with and for those people as pull-outs.

What is the problem with scaling and/or crowds?

I am probably more intentional with my behavior than average. I think really hard about what I can say and to whom. I mess up, sure, but I work very hard at being appropriate. It isn’t very natural for me. Noah says it isn’t for him either so I don’t know if it is easy for anyone.

I feel like I earn love in an ongoing way. On a daily, maybe hourly basis. I have to continue to behave in a way that will deserve someone loving me.

But I slip a lot. I’m not a polished person. I say things that are too harsh, things that are off-putting, things that are too intense. I’m a lot better than I used to be.

When I am in a group of more than four or five unrelated people (I do ok with a mom and her kids even if there are eight kids) I experience so much terror. Group think is so viscerally terrifying to me. It isn’t fear. It is terror. I shake.

Watch me at home school events. Or parties. It only happens when I feel like I “should” be able to be friendly and work the room but I don’t know what these people want from me. If I screw up I will be ejected from the group and everyone will hate me.

It is my perpetual new kid problem writ large. (25 schools before I dropped out of high school followed by five colleges/universities.)

Social group hopping is part of my problem. I only go to a given group long enough to get to know a very small number of people. Then I have a minor conflict with one person and I never come back. Because I’m scared.

Since I was 17, so in the last 15 years: theatre (first in college then moved on to the local community theatre crowd so this was two very distinct groups of people), bdsm (I have met people in dozens of states and multiple countries–my bdsm contacts are legion), a few different sex communities, vintage ballroom/ceili (they were very overlapping crowds but not identical), Renaissance Faire, Dickens Fair (some overlap but not identical), teaching (I worked at two schools longer-term and subbed at many more), libraries (I spent a lot of time in every school library–those librarians were big deals to me), Burning Man crowd, BaGG people (some overlap with bdsm crowd but mostly its own distinct group), home school groupings, the S&P crowd, poly people…

I have moved through a lot of groups. And they have such completely differing social values that anyone who can act the same way in every location… that person has super powers I don’t have. I act very differently from group to group. Social norms differ wildly.

You wouldn’t look at that list of group associations and assume that I have friends from every religion. Many of my friends are incredibly conservative. I walk quite the line with my friends. They are worth the effort.

Sometimes I feel weird about the degree to which I live in a bubble. I live in a unique time and place where someone like me is allowed to exist without continual punishment.

I am hyperaware that I live in a bubble. Bubbles can be popped.

The sufferance that allows me to be part of a given group can be revoked pretty fucking easily. Let me tell you.

Group think is terrifying to me. Groups are dangerous. Groups are very difficult to turn aside if they decide they are angry. Groups carry out lynchings and other reigns of terror. Individuals are… very differently dangerous. I can fight off an individual who has a problem with me, or I can run.

Groups are scary. Yes. Even groups of people who have been carefully selected to come to my house because I’m pretty sure they like me.

Want to know one of the problem with the wedding reception? We used it as a reunion of as many ex’s as we could invite. Noah and I are big whores (ok, I’m way friskier than him a few times over) so it was festive having all our men and women in one place. No potential for issues there. Some of my bio-family was there. That was awkward as fuck.

I think this problem is tractable. I may not ever get to the point where I can handle any group without terror but perhaps I could get to the point where my hand selected crowds are less intimidating.

I mean, good fucking grief.

I have had more than one woman over the years tell me that they dislike me because I am so bouncy and hyper around groups of people. I look like I am trying to get attention. I seem like I want to be the center of attention.

Err, my central nervous system is going haywire. My voice gets louder because I’m scared and I can’t keep it within a normal range when I am trying to control the shaking. Yes, I get up and move around a lot. I stand and sway. It’s better than trying to sit in a chair and letting everyone in the room hear it rattle because I am not physically capable of sitting still. I have to be so tired I can barely move before that goes away. Luckily I experience a lot of sleep deprivation at this point in my life.

Well, I can start consciously paying attention to what works and with whom. I can try to deliberately combine small groups of particular people. Perhaps if I can cross connect a couple of lines I can increase my feeling of safety.

The problem is that my friends are different. They vary from one another dramatically. It is hard to talk people into adding someone radically different from their norm into their life. I’m usually already the biggest aberration in their life.

It also doesn’t help that I’m not willing to blanket say, “If I know them that means they are wonderful and safe and a “good” person.” I try not to lie. I know a mix of people. Some of them are not actually “good” people.

I don’t require people to reach a certain level of “good” before I will know them. I simply interact with people differently based on how they interact with my neighbor.

I go from nice and friendly to hostile on a dime when my neighbor starts his racist shit. Sometimes I am pretty nasty. But when he minds his manners I’m happy to hang out with him.

I know more than one rapist. My boundaries with them vary dramatically based on the context of the rape that I know about.

I know a lot of drug addicts. I think it is a really hard situation to struggle with. I watch my boundaries and try to be a good friend when I can do so in a way that is healthy for me.

I even know conservative Christians and instead of alienating them as my more liberal friends urge me to do, I nurture them close. I like these people. They are working hard to manifest what they believe in the world. Rock on. I am similarly interested in the teachings of people from every other religion. If someone is willing to sit and tell me about their life and their family then I probably want to listen.

I don’t allow people to attack me, but I like aggressive people. Almost every other detail is negotiable.

When you put a large number of aggressive people in a room, especially when they are all aggressive in different directions….

Well the two men who used to shout down all of my female friends in the room won’t be at events any more for very complicated reasons. (Ok, one moved. That’s not so complicated.)

I hope that means that some women will come back. I know more than one woman who stopped coming to avoid them.

How do I create an environment that feels safe? What kind of overlap works?

I’m not interested in being a recluse for the rest of my life. What will work?

I will probably keep trying. Life is long. I tell myself pretty often that if something doesn’t work out with one person there are 7 billion people I haven’t met yet. I don’t need to assume that I have to be alone if one person doesn’t like me. Even if a dozen people don’t want to know me. Even if a hundred people. Thousands. Millions.

There are more than seven billion people on this planet. I don’t have to be alone.

Even if I am annoying. I don’t need to feel so terrified that people are going to hate me and tell me to go away at the first sign of being annoying. Most people don’t actually do that. Most people are kind of lonely too. They can overlook some failings.

Just make sure the failings fall within a given, limited range of acceptable issues. It’s ok that my voice gets a bit too loud sometimes. People can either not be in my life or ask me to soften it. I can if given feedback. I do require feedback. I’m sorry. I know that can be annoying.

How do you learn the right list of disclaimers. “I am too loud sometimes. If my voice bothers you, please ask me to soften it. I’m happy to. I used to stage manage little girl dance shows and it has had a permanent effect on the volume of my voice. Sorry.”

“I have had an unusual life. If I ever start on a topic that feels uncomfortable for you it is ALWAYS OK to say shiny change of topic and we can abruptly switch to a neutral topic. It’s ok. I promise. I won’t be mad. I will be grateful you helped me learn about your boundaries.”

I want to know people and it is hard. You always start viewing people through the filter of how like you they are. Projection is almost always part of a relationship–in both direction. It isn’t just me.

I learn about their differences when they show me their boundaries. It is a valuable opportunity.

Thing is, in a group situation it is much harder to say shiny change of topic when you feel intruded upon so people have to withdraw to deal with problems. It’s not a great cycle.

I will always talk about things like incest and rape. It is ok if you don’t want me to have much of a conversation with you about those topics. Or any other topic I’m obsessed with. You are allowed to have different interests.

But I’m going to walk away if the conversation turns to World of Warcraft or other games I don’t play or movies I don’t watch or tv I don’t watch or gets too technical for me. I’m not going to say you shouldn’t have those interests. I will let you stay and talk to the people who share them and I will go stand somewhere else.

It’s ok.

But when people walk away from me because I said something… it usually isn’t neutral. I’m not upset by the gaming or technical stuff I’m just kind of burnt out on social listening to such topics. It isn’t visceral or anxious. When people pull away from what I am saying, often it is with churning guts.

I feel pretty bad about that.

I’m not going to stop talking about these topics. There are people who need to hear what I have to say. Sometimes I am the first or only source of information people have had. I’m really happy to get the ball rolling for people. I make sure I represent multiple points of view when I talk about stuff. “So I tend to agree with ______ but there any many opposing views such as _____ and _______ and people have different preferences because of _______. You have to figure out what will work for you.”

Balance. There has to be a point of balance somewhere. Ok I haven’t found it yet. That doesn’t mean I won’t. That doesn’t mean the balance doesn’t exist. I just haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not dead yet. Nothing is set in stone until I do.

Today is not always. What I am feeling right now is not what I will feel for always.

Today I get to make invitations for a birthday party. We have a joint birthday party coming up soon. Calli has a birthday twin and luckily, they like each other. *phew* Most of their friends overlap and it would be super awkward if they didn’t get along. This year the other family is hosting but I’m helping. It’s going to be fun. She’s getting a bounce house. I’m pretty sure I will never rent a bounce house. So I’m super happy we have friends who will.

I think I’m not doing goody bags any more. I don’t like the waste involved. Even if people get mad at me. I can live with that. I don’t need to contribute to a system I think is broken. My whole life is kind of that. I opt out of a lot of things. That’s ok.

My kids break everything in the goody bags before we get home. I collect the now-trash into the bag and drop into the trash on the way into the house. The madness has to stop. Yes, my kids are more destructive than average. All of my friends are drowning in schtuff. I don’t need to make their lives worse.

I’m taking a stand. Goody-bag free zone.

Luckily the birthday twins mom agrees with me. *phew*

I don’t have anything against bouncy houses. I think they are fun. I just don’t think I will rent one. There are lots of things I like and don’t do.

I feel freaked out the whole time my neighbor works on his boat because of the motor. I can’t imagine having a bouncy thing that close to my house. The noise would send me up the wall. I handle noise better out. There I have a very different level of sensitivity to intrusion. At home I keep it pretty quiet. We hear our neighbors walking by if they talk. I like being able to hear who is coming and going. They stop to chat. It’s fun.

I like hearing the birds. I like the train noise off a ways

And my time is up. Have a day. Cause I’m not the boss of how it goes for you.

Babysitting gets better

I started babysitting for K’s kids years ago. There have been up moments in every visit. Some of the early ones were hard. Her kids don’t spend a lot of time away from mom and dad and it was pretty traumatic early on. Hysterical screaming for hours. Spontaneous vomiting on the floor from fear. It was really hard.

I am really glad I toughed it out. Last night, there was less than ten minutes of crying total from both kids. Mostly combined spontaneous outbursts from hurting themselves. They just didn’t cry.

They both said they missed their mom and I sympathized and said I understood and they will see her again really soon. I asked if they wanted hugs, they said yes, and things went fine.

Neither kid woke up in the middle of the night. My kid was up half the night with nightmares but our borrowed babies slept right through. (Three is hard.)

This morning I offered both kids morning snuggles and they smiled so big they lit up the sky. They crawled into my lap and gave happy sighs.

It is hard sometimes because the “productivity” of my life is hard to measure. Many of the things I prize the most highly are things that are impossible to quantify.

Before I had children I dreamed of the day when I would be able to have little friends come spend the night. The playing and shrieking with joy. Little feet running as fast as possible through the house as wild giggles split the air.

I’m living the dream.

Kids like coming here. They have a lot of fun. They don’t get in much trouble. This is a “yes” environment.

I am so grateful that I get to build these relationships. These kids are really awesome and I’m glad I get to borrow them. I’m glad I get to have the experience of learning how to be safe for them. It’s a process.

Every kid (and grown up, but I’m not talking about them this morning) needs very different treatment in order to feel safe. It takes trial and error to figure out tone of voice and speed of movement. (Some kids need you telegraph every movement of your body or they get startled and scared.)

Every child who warms up to me is a balm to my soul.

My niece gave me a high five without touching another grown up. She just did it. That was huge progress from her. I am so grateful. If I lived around her, I feel pretty confident we could work through things.

Earning trust is the work of a lifetime. But it’s hard to measure the progress. It’s hard to feel “productive”.

But I am creating the relationships I want to have. I’m less worried about some of the other more easy to quantify measures of success.

Well, that’s a lie. I’m obsessed with financial security. But relationships are a big deal to me. And I’m starting from scratch on those skills in a way other people aren’t.

When I was a teenager, if I walked up to a baby they would start screaming and fighting to get away from me. It was consistent. It really hurt my feelings. Being on the “safe” side of things is … it’s a big deal. I’ve had to work very hard on changing myself so that I no longer ping the “dangerous” sensor in sensitive people.

I feel very grateful for my life. I feel like I am successful at some things. Today, after a night of getting four kids to bed without terrible upset (sure, it took the baby a while of rocking to go to sleep–but she wasn’t crying or freaking out) I kind of feel like a superhero.

Man I’m glad I don’t have to work this hard every day. Four kids would be so hard. But so worth it.

This morning I got my dear little “middle child” (his sister is my adopted “baby of the family”) a space book he hasn’t seen before and he’s super excited to be here. Life is good.

I tell both of them over and over, “I’m so glad you are here. Thank you for visiting us.” My middle child beams at me and says, “Thank you for having me. I like visiting.” My baby of the family just smiles and nuzzles me still.

It feels like having family.

Feelings

This week I read an essay by a female writer in which she mentions that she “never writes personal essays because she doesn’t want them to take away from her reputation”. She writes about “real stuff” don’tchaknow?

Well, I write personal essays. And bugger off if you have a problem with that.

So, that said, lots of feelings lately. Jenny and her wonderful baby visited us over the weekend. (Another mom friend came with her baby on Friday. It was baby central. Having the three of us together with our kids felt like a dream come true. I’ve been hanging out with those ladies (all of us have birthdays within four months of one another) for over ten years. Watching us grow up has been so neat.

Jenny (but mostly her baby) is used to a quieter life than we lead. My kids are *very* overwhelming for people who are used to quiet. My kids are shitty at respecting personal space. We are working on it, but this isn’t a skill that will come naturally to them. They want to be close to people. Like, on top of them close ALL THE TIME.

It is always an adjustment for us to try to tone down for other people. It is good for us but it is hard. If you throw in the whole fact that Jenny is one of the most important people in the world to me and losing her friendship would be devastating it makes for some tension.

I was too worried about the kids. So I started out sounding pretty nasty. Jenny heard my way of speaking and copied some phrasing and then my kids freaked out. That is not Jenny’s fault. But it made for a rocky first day. Jenny asked if they should leave early. I felt so sad that we are so hard to put up with.

So Jenny and I had a talk and then I had a long talk with the kids. Things went way better after that.

Shanna was inclined to get her back up. “This is my house and I shouldn’t have to change.” I said, “But Jenny is my best friend and I only get to see her every few years and I miss her so much it hurts and can we please try hard to make everyone feel comfortable?” Shanna agreed after that.

And the rest of the visit was great. But I had lots of leftover anxiety/stomach pain.

I feel pretty proud of all of us that we managed to have a good rest of the visit. It was really wonderful to see Jenny mother. I have known her for about twenty years now. It was like seeing, “Ohhhhhh this is what you have been building towards all these years. This is who you wanted to be.” It was really beautiful. She’s a very good mother. My friends inspire me to try harder for my kids. Jenny’s daughter is very shy. Jenny makes sure the world is appropriate for her kid and she does not back down. I have so much respect for that.

I have twinges of sad because, why didn’t anyone love me like that? but mostly I stomp on them and I’m just really glad to see that my friends are such good people.

I am so blessed in my friendships. I don’t know how I managed to meet such good people. I feel honored and unworthy at the same time.

I think that if Jenny lived closer we would adjust better and my kids would get used to the different rules. They have adjusted to K’s house (my friend who baby-sits while I have therapy) even though they really didn’t want to do so. (Shanna in particular is really stubborn about not wanting to adapt. It takes me explaining the consequences for not adapting before she is willing to try.)

Then yesterday after Jenny and her wonderful daughter left a different mom and kids came over. And we had a different friend planned for dinner last night.

Jenny was the last person added to the schedule and I was going to shoehorn her in no matter what. But if I had known Jenny’s schedule further in advance I wouldn’t have booked two social engagements the day she left. Holy crap I am tired.

The dinner was easy-peasy. He’s non-stressful.

The mom and kids… whoa. All the anxiety of the weekend multiplied by ten shoved into a 2.5 hour period.

When I get to the point of snapping, “I’m kind of tired of being wrong in my own house so can we just change the topic?” it’s not going well. (She apologized later for jumping all over me, but holy shit it was a stress monkey visit.) I feel like things must be kind of rocky for her, because she had a lot of anxious energy (shoot me now before I go all woo woo on you) and she probably wasn’t so much reacting to me as just in a room with me.

But the weekend with Jenny used up a lot of my ability to sit still even though I felt anxious. And there is the little fact that fucking up my relationship with Jenny would do a lot to ruin my life and fucking up almost any other friendship I have would have lower impact. Yeah, even though I don’t see Jenny very often.

The older I get the more I look at the pillars of self. The things that make someone “Them”.

Brittney was my oldest friend. But Brittney never did a god damn thing to help me. She wasn’t there after trauma. She didn’t want to know about my life. She wanted me to visit her upper middle class valley lifestyle and act like I fit in. I don’t.

Jenny, at this point in time, is the person standing the longest. Twenty years of friendship is an accomplishment for someone as unstable as I am. Especially because Jenny and I have never been the most obvious of friends. We have very different personalities.

But when I can’t function and I need help Jenny has shown up. The emotional support is as important (or more so) than other kinds of support. Jenny held me when my brother killed himself and when my father killed himself. Jenny has been there through boyfriends and friends groups and hobbies.

I am so glad the rest of the visit went well. I felt really happy about seeing her. I probably won’t see her again for two years. I feel like I already want to count the days.

They are going on a Disney Cruise with us in 2016. Because Jenny loves me.

I really don’t understand why. I don’t feel like I deserve her friendship and loyalty. I recognize that I have it, but I don’t understand. I hope I was as nice to her as I was trying to be. It’s always a bummer when I am an asshole on accident.

When I’m an asshole on purpose I don’t feel so bad.

I remain grateful that I get to have the lifestyle I want. I am so grateful that I get to home school my kids. I am so grateful that I can stay home and play and learn with my kids in a non-stressful environment for me most of the time.

The occasional stressy weekend reminds me that my life is so blessed. All of the Jenny stress was worthwhile. I feel anxiety about being nice enough. That is something I have to work on and be aware of. I understand it to be a legitimate issue for me.

It’s not like having to be in a stressful environment for no good reason. It’s not like dealing with school. It’s not like dealing with jobs. It’s not like dealing with extended social groups.

Jenny is one of the few people on the planet whose judgment I actually care about. I mean, yeah, I have issues around wanting people to like me but in general… I don’t actually feel it matters enough for me to change myself for other people.

Jenny is worth any amount of adapting I have to do no matter how hard it is for me. That feels hard. Over longer periods of time I can adjust and change more slowly and that feels easier and more manageable. Just having a weekend feels like “Be good or lose friends” and that is so hard.

I fuck up so much. I feel so ashamed of how bad I am at controlling my behavior. I’m too loud. I’m too aggressive. I say things people really don’t want to hear.

I feel ashamed that I live on the sufferance of people being willing to tolerate someone who is not very nice. I wish I were more worthy.

My stomach hurts so much.

I’m tired of feeling afraid all the time.

Hey, today is a therapy day. Maybe EMDR will help. Ha.

Less to read.

I miss g-blog. I don’t miss facebook. I’m having trouble adjusting to taking fetlife out of the loop but I think I will be a happier person in another couple of weeks.

I’m making it harder to casually maintain contact with me. That’s a mixed blessing. It means “catching up on the internet” doesn’t take very long. I am spending less time just staring at the screen.

But when I want to be distracted a shorter reading list is frustrating.

The last few days have been good and intense. It is always challenging to be around people who have very different physical boundaries. It is totally ok for people to have the boundaries they have–I support people being comfortable. But adjusting to new boundaries is work. I feel very tired. I’m really grateful I have had this opportunity. I had fun. I’m very tired.

Also: I have the cutest little niece and nephew. Life plugs along. It’s kind of crazy how many of my friends have wonderful children now. When in the fuck did that happen?!

Please sir, may I have some more?

After the Easter party I sat my little Shanna down and told her that there is no chance I can do three parties in a month if they all involve her being difficult, contrary, and defiant. I don’t have it in me to give. And given that her birthday was the third of the three… Watch it kid.

Then today we had a tea party. Shanna was angelic in the lead up to the party. She vacuumed. She swept. She picked her toys up with the slightest hint of a request. She made tons of food. She did a lot of the decorating. In short: she made sure I was happy and feeling energetic by the time the party arrived instead of being worn out and cranky. The day before the party both kids insisted that I spent hours resting so I would have lots of energy. They snuggled me while I read.

If every party went like that I could do it weekly. They made the whole process so very wonderful and painless. I was quite effusive in my thanks for their help.

The party was a smashing success–I would say one of the best kids parties I’ve put together so far. We had a range of kids from barely walking to eleven. Girls and boys all participating in every stage equally. The boys dressed up for the party. I thought the outfits were incredibly spiffy. One handsome lad came in a rather posh suit. We had a Hawaiian prince. Not to mention the rainbow gowned beautiful ladies. So much for just pink. All good. They had a wonderful time and dressed *to the hilt*.

They went through far more sugar than necessary. It was hilarious cleaning out the cups at the end. I think kids learned a lot about the solubility of sugar today. Science.

The gluten free cake was surprisingly good. I will get that mix again when I have similar dietary requirements in the future. When everyone else was satisfied after a small piece… I kept eating. I ate ~ 2.5 normal sized pieces. But with how the cake was cut up it looked more like 14 pieces. Ha. Yeah… I’ll buy that again. Mmmm.

When everyone finally trundled out after four hours of delightful fun I went into my room and fell into bed. My nap lasted three hours. When I woke up Noah was home and had done most of the rest of the cleaning up.

I feel so supported by the people in my house. This was a wonderful experience from top to bottom and a lot of it was the help I got from Noah and Shanna. (Calli was more iffi… but she’s three. She made a couple sandwiches and helped pick up toys with a lot more reminders. That’s cool. I am thrilled with her too. I thanked her for all her bits of help.) I think it is funny how strongly my “love language” seems to be “if you show up and do work with me then I will believe that you care about me”.

And it helps that at the end of four hours the mothers had to physically drag their children out because no one wanted to leave.

I’m really grateful that I get to homeschool and I get to build a community of people. My kids are growing up with a pack of children. They are not alone. They are not spending their days being quiet while they listen to boring people drone. They get to decide the flow of their days. I love seeing what they want to do with their time.

I look forward to the future with them so much.