Category Archives: milestones

Testing documentation

I got an email from our educational specialist (ES) today. She tested both kids last time she was here. The results both surprise me and don’t and I feel like a huge asshole.

I expected Future Middle Child to not do well because they aren’t reading yet. If we had tested Eldest Child before we left on the road trip… she would have been at a similar level for grade. My kids are late readers and that impacts their ability to take tests. FMC did so poorly on the reading test that I wasn’t given a result and instead I was told that kiddo needs to start remediation… which I’m unhappy about. Kiddo is where I expect them to be. I don’t think forcing them through not-very-effective “support” is going to help. I think it is going to make the process of learning to read shittier. They tested at the 65% for math and that shocks me because they stand behind their sister giving her answers to her math problems that are two grades ahead of them. I think it is because they don’t read and that messes up their ability to test in anything.

I feel like a huge asshole because I’m shocked by EC’s results. Uhm. She is higher than I expected by a lot. She is at the 98% for math and the 97% for reading. I……. honestly expected her to be at closer to the 60% for math. She complains all the fucking time about doing math of any sort for any reason. She tells me all the time how bad she is at math.

Uhhh… guess not.

She started out 3rd grade significantly behind. The Stanford evaluation proved that. She was way below grade level in every area. That was one fucking year of trying to do academic work.

I expect a similar dynamic from FMC and I’m seriously bummed that I put them in a charter school this year to fuck with my system. IT WAS WORKING.

Ok, I thought I wouldn’t tell EC her actual test scores. (I took a break right there to go talk to her while FMC is asleep.) I asked her how she thought she did. She’s all “Meh. Probably around 60%.” Ok, if you are going to underestimate yourself by that much… I need to tell you the score.

I feel bad that I have communicated my low expectations so accurately. I’m a shitty mother.

She is ebullient. We talked about how this is not about her being “smart”. One year ago she was tested as below grade level in every area. Stanford wanted me to get her into tutoring because she was so below grade level and I saw, “Naw I just haven’t started teaching that yet.”

EC attaining this is about the hard work she has put in. It’s not about smarts. It’s work. She has worked very hard for the past year and it shows. It has tangible results. FMC has not yet begun that work and it shows.

And that’s how it should be.

Before you are taught something of course you do poorly when tested on it.

But when EC is struggling with a math problem FMC stands behind her and rattles off the answer to the problem.

I think this is going to get interesting.

I told EC that I am very proud of her. She attained this on her own because she was willing to work so hard. Her face lit up like the fourth of July.

Err, if it isn’t clear from elsewhere in the post the scores aren’t 98% out of 100% of points earned. That’s the percentile for how the kids did compared to the expectations for their grade.

I wanted to get my kids caught up by 4th grade so that if they had to transfer to a school they wouldn’t be ashamed of being “stupid”.

Achievement partially unlocked. My 2nd grader is on track where I expect them to be. And my 4th grader god damn did it.

I didn’t do it. She did.

I mean… there’s this niggling part of me that says “I’m fucking brilliant and so is Noah so of fucking course our daughter is this fucking good at this shit.” And then there’s the bigger part of me that says, “You know how you’ve been underestimating her and acting like she isn’t that smart? You fucking suck rocks.”

More than one thing can be true.

I need to write Noah’s grandmother a letter. She will appreciate hearing this more than basically anyone else.

That’s a lovely milestone.

Today my daughter was talking about something… I can’t quite remember how we got to this, but I handed her a textbook I read in my junior year of college so she could find out how different the original stories of Beauty and the Beast are from the Disney version. She said there were a couple of words she didn’t know, but that was fun to read.

Two years ago she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book independently. Now she’s reading from my college textbooks and understanding almost all of it.

I’m glad I trusted her to learn at her own pace. I’m really glad I didn’t push her beyond what she felt she could do.

I don’t fail at everything.

Home. And Petty.

I’ve spent most of the last week grateful I didn’t have a computer. I would have written some incredibly unkind things. I wanted to stoop to a level of petty that would be darn near epic. Why?

Because people get all twisted up in my head. I’m never responding to one thing at a time.

I’ve spent the last few years in therapy doing a tremendous amount of work around the fact that the Bonus Mama triggered all of my “like my sister” buttons, minus the sexual assaults. She has quite a few of the same problems and in my ridiculous codependency I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to fix her problems.

It is a gift from the universe that I am now done with that set of behaviors. I never need go clean her house again. I never need try and help her children emotionally cope with neglect. I never need try and pretend that I am unaffected by the physical violence in her marriage again.

I am free.

I think this is a positive step in my life. I need to stop trying to cover for broken people. It’s a real problem I have.

I need to stop investing my life into trying to make up for people who won’t even admit that I’m doing a back breaking amount of work for them. It’s stupid. It’s self defeating. I have spent a lot of time and energy and money over the past few years trying to do something for the ephemeral child self I still have. Other people helped me so I helped her kids.

But I’ve given what I can and it’s time to move on.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Part of what this relationship came into my life to teach me is that when my children say, “I don’t want to associate with this person because she is mean” I need to never overrule them again. I need to never ignore such a signal again. I feel deeply ashamed of myself for telling my children to cope with behavior that made them feel diminished because I wanted weekend babysitting. That was wrong of me. My behavior was selfish and disgusting.

I was wrong.

I will never deliberately send my children to the home of someone who speaks to them with contempt again. I. Was. Wrong.

Hopefully I have learned the lesson I needed to learn and in the future when someone triggers my “like my sister” buttons I will run like my tampon string is on fire.

No more hoarders. No more people who refuse to acknowledge that they are literally physically, emotionally, and mentally unequipped to take care of their children while they brag about how great they are. No more people who are in a marriage that involves domestic violence, gaslighting, stone walling, and screaming matches that the children can hear only to turn around and tell me that if the marriage is destroyed it’ll be my fault. Sure. Because y’all had none of these problems the day I arrived. Right. Who is the one with the convenient memory? I write down all my bad shit so I can’t claim it didn’t happen. Remember how I’ve begged you to document your DV for 7 years because shit like this comes to a head and you always said, “But I don’t want to remember.”

Sure. If your marriage is destroyed it’ll be my fault. Yup. Right. Because I’m the one sitting there filled with contempt. Yup. That’s me.

Take your guilt trip to someone who is stupid enough to be buying. I’m fresh out of money for such bullshit.

I am free.

Do you know when I freaked out and started demanding that your kids be put in school the fuck away from you? When you took them to Moana and came home crying because you believe your children are incapable of understanding and appreciating the story. Guess what? Your kids are capable of understanding. You are incapable of teaching and your children need to spend time with competent teachers who can teach them. Stop fucking over your children because you are fucking broken and you want your children to be as limited as you are so you feel comfortable. Your children have more potential than you do. Let them go be taught by someone with actual ability to teach and they’ll be ok.

The worst thing that ever happened to you was someone telling you that your IQ is high. You use that number as an excuse for why you are better than people as you cannot fulfill basic life functions. It’s sad and pathetic and your fucking children need to be educated by people who have the humility to say, “I don’t know everything so I’d better study.” You think that if you buy all the books and don’t read them it’s just as good.

Your children deserve better than to be locked in your company all the time.

And after this I need to never ever write about your family again.

I’m done.

An interaction

Holy tomatoes on toast I hurt. So this’ll be brief.

I had an interesting interaction with a dude today. So I found a guy through my massage therapist who specializes in personal training to help people with injuries/problems. I figure that if I can’t get a doctor to prescribe honest to fucking god physical therapy for me so that I can heal some of my injuries… I can hunt on the outskirts of the system. I can find someone who doesn’t really mesh with the gate kept, abusive system.

Sure, I can try this out.

Thing is, he’s a white guy. You know how I am about getting my hackles up with white guys. Especially athletic white guys. I am hostile until I have a reason not to be.

But I desperately need someone who can do what this guy advertises. So I gotta put my personal shit in a box and shove it in a closet and see if I can handle dealing with him.

Sigh. Fuck being a grown up.

So I gotta say, he has an aura. He’s pretty clearly an orphan. The loss of all family came up several times in the conversation. He’s got that… edge of “I have to be cheerfully polite in order to earn money to survive because there’s not a person in the world who values me enough to support me but I’m so sad.”

I mean, he seemed genuinely sweet and caring. I’m not denigrating that at all. He seems incredibly sincere. He wants to help. And he wears grief like a mantle. He advertises his loss openly on his skin. He is reminded all day every day. Grief, even if you smile, leaves tracks on your face.

But he did something that crossed a boundary and it was interesting. I didn’t call it out. I didn’t assert the boundary so in one sense… he didn’t cross a boundary he nonverbally negotiated a boundary change and I didn’t rebuff it to indicate where my boundary actually was.

To be more clear: he asked me about my arm tattoo. I explained it and started tearing up, like I do sometimes. Suicide is sad, yo. And… he leaned in and gave me an incredibly respectful, incredibly gentle, incredibly touching hug. It was the hug of someone who works with bodies and knows how to make touch 100% NON SEXUAL, OKAY?!?!?!

He reminds me just a tad of Taylor. One of the few men I trust almost as much as Noah.

It was absolutely incredible to realize that in a moment of indecision of “should I panic and fight or should I accept this as connection?” in my head my brain wrapped around a man who has loved me as a friend for a long time.

I didn’t feel scared.

I felt uncertain. I felt like I needed to make a decision. I felt like I had a chance to… figure out how this is going to go. Is he allowed to touch me?

I desperately want this man to help me learn how to hold my body in ways that will hurt me less. I need to trust him. I need to trust that he is going to touch me in appropriate ways or this just isn’t going to work.

This, now that I think about it, is scary as shit.

I wasn’t scared in that moment. I just felt it as a moment of choice, “Am I going to surrender to this process or not?”

I used to lash out at dance teachers who wanted to correct my form. I wasn’t there to look perfect I was there to have a chance to talk to people for 2-4 minutes while I did something more healthy than be a slug staring at my god damn computer.

This is different. I know what my goals are here. I need this process.

I need to figure out how to be in less pain.

So maybe he didn’t cross a boundary. But maybe he and I will have a funny conversation about how I normally react to people in a few weeks and we will laugh. He will probably apologize and feel embarrassed. He strikes me as that sort.

It felt like Joey. The 7th Day Adventist boy who was best friends with my brother Tommy and with whom I later lived. (We were both boarders in a house owned by someone at the church–it wasn’t like we were romantic or anything. I was 13.)  He was the one who took me to church and taught me to sing about Jesus loving me no matter what.

I know I have a lot of issues with hating white men because some of them have been complete motherfucking pieces of shit.

But some of them genuinely don’t suck. #Notallmen and all that.

I really hope I’m not making a mistake. But here I am documenting it so that in the future I will have to remember: I made a choice.

I’m trying to surrender to a process.

Please, if any deity exists, let this not be an awful thing.

I’ve stacked the deck in my favor by receiving this personal training with my kids in the room and my husband in the house.

I know how the patriarchy works.

Fuck.

Do you understand how much of my childhood people denied? Something huge and dramatic would happen and folks flat denied it. I need to make sure I can never rewrite history.

I did what I did. Here, I wrote it down.

Lessons I’ve learned

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

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

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

Find some gratitude

Oh my goodness. Noah got news tonight that is going to do a lot to change our lives. I’m… excited. Thrilled. Nervous. Overjoyed. Proud of him.

Many  years ago Noah came to me and said, “There is this thing I want to learn. It means I’m going to ignore you a lot. But I think it’s going to be important.”

I grumbled. I griped. I was pissy for a long time. I learned how to support him and I got over my attitude.

Today that paid off. All those years of effort. Ok, Noah maybe the books aren’t doing what you hoped (they aren’t nothing!) but some of your bets… have paid off. Well done.

Then we used our babysitting date time to go to a wet munch and I got a lovely spanking. It wasn’t intense or mean. It was just a lovely spanking.

Why do so many good things happen to me? Ok… some of this is happening to Noah and I’m just standing near him. But this is going to change my life too. I’m so excited. We’ve wanted this for so long. You just don’t understand what this means to me.

It means I’m thinking about space in the house again. How are we going to handle this change? Don’t worry. I’ll make a way for this to work. I’ll make this work.

I have wanted this for years and years and years.

Oh I’m so happy. This is going to be great. Ok. We’ll figure out nonmonogamy. We have too much good stuff going on for us to not do it.

This news is so big. Oh my goodness.

First date: the deity.

How do I even begin this review? Uhm… it was good. Fantastic. Incredible. Four years of hype paid off.

Someone fell out of the Top 5 last night. They were replaced. Not telling you who because I’m barely tactful enough.

What was so good? Everything. Everything from the second minute I walked in until I left was that good.

Ridiculously good kisser. Our mouths are just the same size. I really like how much he uses his tongue. I like the way he uses his tongue. The kissing experience was just wicked good. I didn’t want to stop.

I am so happy that after that much lead up he seriously just said “How are you doing?” twice before starting to kiss me.

He wasn’t paying attention to the first answer because he was thinking about kissing me.

I was correct in my guess that this would be a French vanilla experience, but such a glorious experience.

I like how he pinches. I like his fingernails. I like the way he alternates fucking and pain. I like the way he fucks me.

Oh my goodness he felt good on top of me. Like, intensely overwhelmingly good. That was just a good fit.

I liked sucking his cock. I liked the noises he made.

I appreciated being allowed to put the condoms on because I just have more experience. Ha. I tried to be fun in the process.

He taunted me until I wanted him incredibly badly. Then he fucked me for a while. Then he took a break from fucking to hurt me more. Then he fucked me for a while. Then he came (glorious sounds–oh yes). Then he took a break to hurt me some more. Then he fucked me again.

Oh wow.

Do you know what completely knocks someone else out of the Top 5? The talking. Oh the deity gives good talk. He wasn’t even very repetitive. Good whore/good girl/ Oh my god you’re so responsive were the main repeats and otherwise he said a variety of complimentary things.

I don’t remember when I’ve been so complimented. He thinks I live up to the hype and make no mistake. I felt so adored.

I feel like I want to go back.

He said so many nice things and I really liked the way he hurt me. And even though in general I’m really content with the size of Noah’s cock…

it was hot to feel split open. It’s always funny when guys are like, “What do you mean I have a big cock?” Know how I can barely get my hand around it? That means it is big. Know how you have to buy Magnums? THAT MEANS IT IS BIG.

hahahahahahaha

I am fairly terrified that he wants to put that in my ass. Oh. My. God. I’m not sure that is going to work.

But everything else was so hot that I’m ok with him trying in the future. He’ll just have to be incredibly patient and slow. Luckily he showed me last night that it is fairly likely to go well.

I have so long until our next date. At least I know what I’ll get for my anticipation. Fucked six ways from Sunday in a truly delicious manner.

I can’t wait to kiss him again. I feel like I want to drown in kissing him. I want more I want more I want more.

I like what he did with his hands, his words, his cock. Oh I want more.

Please. More.

Here I was wondering if I’d be all “Meh. Once is good.” Once is not enough. I have no idea how much will be enough.

Users Guide 3.0 Married with Children Edition

Many… many years ago I copied the idea of a users guide from my friend because I know that I am difficult to figure out when it comes to sex sometimes. I’m picky and fussy and just generally demanding. Therefore it seems like a lovely idea to have some sort of cheat sheet about how to handle me in general. Some of these things I have figured out on my own, some of these things I have had pointed out to me by friends and/or lovers/husband, some of these things are constantly in flux and will no longer be true in just a few months. Of course this is a living document and therefore subject to change and revision without notice. Just because something is in here doesn’t mean you should assume that for now and all times this is the only thing I like/want/don’t like etc. After the roller coaster that was pregnancy and giving birth, I promise you things change in my body over time.

Index:
A. Before sex (including courtship/getting to know one another)
1. Just meeting and assumptions.
2. Appearance stuff and attraction.
a. Hair
b. Weight/height
c. Gender
d. Cocks
e. Race
f. Oral Hygiene
3. STIs/safer sex
4. Foreplay
a. Breasts
b. Ways to turn me on
B. During sex (including bdsm play)
1. Oral sex
2. Positions
3. Vibrators
4. Bondage
5. Group Sex
6. D/s
7. Pain
8. Care of the delicate bits
C. After sex. (including relationship level interactions)

A. Before Sex
1. Just getting acquainted
a. General

Never assume that you are going to get to go to bed with me. Yes, I go to bed with quite a few people—that doesn’t mean I will choose you. I expect and require that people treat me as an equal, and more importantly as an intelligent, thoughtful, responsible human being until otherwise negotiated. Please don’t act like I ought to be honored to teach you whatever it is you want to know about play/sex/whatever. I have taught classes and initiated virgins and newbies alike. I’ve put in my time to the community. I can coast on doing what pleases me and only what pleases me.

b. Specifics in a Having-Kids-Lifestyle

I don’t have a lot of free time. What free time I have is mostly spent alone because I have a very high intensity life that requires me to be well regulated emotionally despite stress. I can’t focus on getting to know new adults in a really concentrated way. I’m not flakey, but I don’t have much availability. And to be honest I’m a little flakey. My priority at this stage of my life is being nice to my kids. I have to keep the rest of my life quiet enough for that to happen or I have to drop other stuff. That is the deal for another ten years.

2. Appearance stuff and attraction
a. Hair
Once upon a time I said that I prefer clean shaven men, but that has radically changed during my adulthood. My opinion now varies tremendously based on personal attitude, grooming standards, and just plain what suits each face. As for the hair on other peoples heads: I don’t care anymore. I barely notice. I’m interested in your mind. I like body hair on anyone. Pubic hair doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I sometimes shave large portions of my body. I sometimes skip shaving for over a year at a go. You have to be totally ok with either or go away.

b. Weight/height

My weight goes up and down in a 40 pound range like a yo yo. Almost annually. You can’t be attracted to me for a specific look of my body. It will be different next month. I don’t know what the fork is up with it. Yes, I talk to doctors about it. I like people with bodies. I like fat bodies. I am…more appreciative of slender bodies than I used to be, but I still prefer some heft. I used to be a bit hung up on height and now I don’t care. I like people.

c. Gender

I am a cis-gender woman. If you haven’t picked up on the fact that I am queer then you haven’t been reading closely. I have had strong attractions to people at every point on the gender spectrum. I am completely comfortable having sexual contact that begins with, “What words do you want me to use for your body parts and how do you want me to touch you?” because I can’t guess. Everyone is unique.

d. Cocks (What the hell—since I am listing my preferences…)

Everyone should remember that the vagina is all about potential space. Yes, it can technically stretch, but in a normal resting spot it isn’t particularly large. My body doesn’t stretch terribly well or willingly (even after giving birth to two children) so I am not a fan of overly large cocks. Period. If it is going to cause my jaw to be sore within five minutes of oral sex I will probably experience a lot of pain during sex and that isn’t good for me. I am so not a size queen. I do not have lower limits on the size of cocks I can figure out how to enjoy. Not all sex is about penis in vagina sex. But I do have upper limits. Ow. No thank you. It’s not personal.

e. Race/marginalization

This is complicated. I am aware that I am most comfortable treating heterosexual white men like pieces of meat. If I fuck them and don’t call later… I don’t feel real bad. I have major hang ups around using people of color and women and gender ambiguous people in the same way. I feel tremendous shame and guilt around hurting already marginalized people. Which is to say… I really like having sex with people who are not het white men. I have a hard time approaching them. I don’t want to hurt them and I am less clear on the boundaries. I err on the side of not being a using asshole. But if you are interested… let me know.

f. Oral Hygiene

YES. Bad breath/teeth that look unclean is really really really repellent to me. I generally won’t kiss someone with bad breath. I will elect not to even if you are a nice person. Just no. I smoke pot and that has impact on my mouth. I do not mind kissing other people who smoke pot. I still really am not fond of kissing tobacco smokers. I don’t like the taste at all.

3. STIs/safer sex

The first thing that ought to happen in foreplay is a discussion of STI’s and safer sex expectations. I have honestly not been tested that recently but I was monogamous until the last month so I don’t feel too guilty. I’ll get back on a regular testing schedule. My habit is every six months if I am being promiscuous. (As of 4/2 waiting on results but I have been in for testing.)

I am a big proponent of the idea that we are having “safer” sex. The only safe sex is with your hand. There is risk involved in the play I do and I acknowledge it and try to minimize it. I do not have a desire to play with people who are in denial about said risk.

Gloves… ok honestly we probably won’t be 100% sticklers about gloves but we do use them in party environments because they are safer and more hygienic in a group atmosphere.

Condoms are not negotiable.

I have HPV. I have tested clean since 2003, but technically you always kinda have it? I am very very very upfront with this information. I am happy to provide you with access to information. You are an adult and you make your own decisions based on how much of a risk you are willing to take. Given the prevalence of HPV I think it isn’t that big of a deal, but I don’t have to live in your body for the next umpteen years and you do. I never want someone to regret having been intimate with me and I will defer to the stricter preference for barriers. I also test positive for HSV1, commonly known as oral herpes. I have had a few cold sores as an adult but they are rare and I feel them coming.

4. Foreplay

a. Breasts

This is really funny… but I feel like I should start tracking this on my period application on my phone. How much breast stimulation, and what kind, varies dramatically through the month. There are days when I will claw your eyes out if you brush near them too hard. There are days when I really want gentle stimulation and lots of it. There are days I want to be hurt very badly. Sigh. I married the most wonderful, flexible guy.

I love playing with breasts/tits. I like on the rough end but I’m not married to it.

b. Ways to turn me on

First and foremost: talk to me. Tell me how hot you think I am. Tell me what you want to do to me. Tell me what you are doing while you are doing it. Just hearing you narrate how wet I am when you slide your finger into my cunt will increase the quantity of wetness. Read me porn. Have me read you porn. My brain is the most potent sexual organ in my body. Pay attention to it. Do you know why I like having sex with my friends? Because the ones I have sex with are the ones who have spent years buttering me up talking about what they like from sex.

Stroke my legs, particularly behind my knees. It is very easy to turn me on when I am lying on my stomach and my legs and back are stroked lightly. This is by far the most sensuous activity for me. I love having my neck and head stroked gently. It’s not a massage–it’s… waking up sensual contact.

Biting is hard. I like it but I get hurt really badly too easily in a way that causes me to go to dark mental places and I dissociate. It isn’t off the table… but it’s complicated. Be really careful. Watch me. Make sure I am still “there”.

Tell me how to please you. I love having someone tell me how to get them off—it will usually be enough to get me off. An awful lot of what I get out of sex with people other than my husband is that thrilling feeling of, “Hey here is someone I haven’t practiced on for years and I’m still talented enough to get them off. Yay!” So lots of instructions about what you want and how you want will… turn me into butter. (Once you have permission to talk to me like this. If I indicate a boundary you had better back off like you hit an electric fence or you’ll get the full taser.[not literally])

B. During Sex

1. Oral sex

I like giving blowjobs. A lot a lot a lot. I like them the most if there is some degree of being “forced” involved. I’m not talking about serious forcing, but pushing my head down on your cock is going to get me all wet. Telling me to suck your cock will get me all wet. Asking me politely if I would mind will probably cause me to lose interest in giving you oral sex. If I do it at all it will be a lackluster job and I dislike performing poorly. OH! These suggestions apply to people I have already had sex with. If I have not had sex with you, you bloody well need to ask. For those of you who have already had sex with me, guiding my head down slowly is giving me plenty of time to say, “Not today.”

For the record: if I have given you a blow job I consider you one of my sexual partners. None of this “oral sex doesn’t count as sex” crap. Don’t bloody ever tell me that we haven’t really had sex. You have fucked my body and probably (hopefully) come inside me. We have had sex. Sure, it was a different hole. Whoopie. It was still penetrative sex. Don’t worry about asking me if it is ok to come in my mouth. If I like you enough to let your dick in my mouth, I’m happy to have you come. I do prefer being told when it is happening so I can synch my breathing, but it is just a preference.

I do have a strong gag reflex and if I seriously fight to bring my head back after you have forcibly shoved my head down on your cock… let me go. I may be on my way to run to the bathroom and vomit. It has happened. It will probably happen again. I’m ok with this. Please don’t let the possibility of this happening prevent you from fucking my mouth with enthusiasm. It is great for me. This being said, I’m not terribly thrilled with having a relationship centered solely around me giving blow jobs. I will eventually feel kind of used (after a year of being in that kind of relationship I really didn’t like him anymore and I didn’t like me much more).
I haven’t played with someone who had a cunt in many years. Sigh. I remember them fondly.

Also: I really like getting oral sex while wearing a strap on. That is fucktastically hot.

2. Positions

I am old, cranky, and in chronic pain. There are times when I am up for acrobatic porn-star sex. There are days when it is, “I am here. What more do you want from me?” I can be fun enough whatever my range for the day. But you will have to respect where my body is on a given day. Your fantasies take a back seat to my physical limitations.

3. Vibrators

In this post kid era, there are times when penetrative sex alone is not enough to get me off. Mr Hitachi, however, never lets me down. (Well, Mr. Hitachi IV is dying a pathetic death right now so he is in fact letting me down. But I have Mr. Hitachi V lined up and he is just dreamy.) I think the point of me having sex is so that I can get off. I know that other people have different beliefs about the purpose of sex, that is fine for them. I’m here to get off. If I’m not going to get off with you alone I will not hesitate to whip out my friend. Don’t worry. You will like the feeling of me orgasming enough to get over your ego at not being able to do it alone. It isn’t you. My body is kinda annoying at this stage. (For the record, when I want to be fucked while using a vibrator I almost always want to be face down.)

4. Bondage

Complicated. Once upon a time I spent a lot of time tying people up and being tied up. It isn’t really Noah’s thing so I don’t really do it any more. But I miss it fiercely. I really like being tied up. I really like being suspended. I really really like being suspended and fucked. Oh the good old days.

5. Group sex
Why yes, I would love to engage in group sex. Thank you for asking. I will make everyone talk more than they feel comfortable talking about wants, limits, permission, consent, etc. Because I need to hear all of those things said out loud. But then hell yeah.

6. D/s

What a difference ten years makes. Wow. Reading my old section here…. delete.

I am in a marriage that has power differential within tightly negotiated boundaries as we model a highly egalitarian marriage in front of our children. It will change after they grow up and we don’t have to look like such nice people any more. We have plans. Ahem.

I uhm, appear to have distinct interest in exactly one submissive man. How the hell did that happen? So I’m really not hunting for more in that department. I think my dance card will be full.

If I am playing with you on a more one-off basis it is very ok to negotiate for a D/s dynamic and tell me what kinds of things you fantasize about. I can be almost anyone for an hour.

7. Pain

Post-children my body has changed dramatically and I honestly don’t know what I like. Well, I know I still like single tails and canes. Those are my perennial favorites. My husband doesn’t know how to use a single tail. Do you? Choking is completely off the table. I have pre-stroke symptoms that are very concerning and I have young children. We cannot risk my life.

8. Care of the delicate bits

Due to some of the stuff that happened when I was very young I have a whole lot of scar tissue throughout my vagina/labia/anus. Scar tissue is like a dotted line in the skin that means, “Please tear here.” Despite my very strong desire for rough, and rougher, and rougher sex… I can’t actually handle all that I would like to handle. (Damnit.) Don’t pull roughly on my labia. Don’t pull my ass cheeks apart with any speed or force. Just DON’T. I will tear open and it will hurt and hurt and that will mostly curtail sex for hours if not days. It sucks ass and so I try to avoid massive tearing. Gentle handling of the bits is important.

That is the paragraph from the pre-kids era. The only update I will give to that is: having children did do some work to break up the internal scar tissue inside my vagina. (Hurray!) But I am still delicate in a way you would not expect from someone with my overall temperament. I’m a fragile toy. Treat me with care.

C. After Sex/play

Immediately after sex/play I will want to breathe and hug for a few minutes. I will want a check in email afterwards for any bdsm play–I do not need it for vanilla sex. I like being friends with people but that has to happen around my schedule. It is highly limited. I’m not rejecting you. I’m dealing with the fact that right now my life is about figuring out how to be healthy around my kids and that is much harder for me than you might think. It takes a lot of time and energy. It is very important to me that I do this right. It will remain my focus for quite some time.

The world is burning down.

There are bombings all over the world in the last few days. People are dying from no reason bigger than hatred that some people think differently.

There was an earthquake in Japan.

I’m… at Knott’s Berry Farm. Well, I was.

And now I’m rocking and crying. Today was horribly triggering. But it feels so very selfish and stupid and petty. God, my whole life is pretty fucking ridiculous these days. Yeah, it will take a whole book to figure out why this trip was worth this for me.

We get home in seven days. I’m triggered as all fuck. This place is hurting me.

We had a wonderful day. I completely held it together. I mediated like a god damn champ when they had a hard time.

And now I’m rocking and hurting because keeping it together today was so god damn hard.

That’s where my father used to finger me. I haven’t been there in more than ten years. I actually come to SoCal pretty frequently. I choose to not go there most of the time.

So, the song I’m listening to on repeat is this one.  

That’s my mood right now.

I think that I’m going to finally find the motivation to get the money from my father’s money that the state is holding. It has waited a lot of years. I think I’m ready to take my payment for what he put me through.

I don’t think the kids know how upset I was. I think I did well. They both gushed all the way back to the hotel about how absolutely fantastic today went. And I really agree.

But there is that part of me and this part of me and today I realized that I… completely missed the anniversaries this year. I think this is the first year I’ve ever just sailed right the fuck past them without noticing.

Am I who I thought I would be by 33?

Is my daddy still the monkey on my back?

What the fuck did I learn out in the Wild Wild West? Oh. Lots.

Hungry for a life I’m not ready to begin.

But it’s time to start anyway.

What does it mean. How forking shallow is it. I don’t know. I don’t know.

You know, it is fucking awesome that I learned how to cry completely silently a long time ago. Otherwise this crying in the room with the kids thing would be pretty fucking awkward.

I’m sorry James. I had to.

I hurt. I shouldn’t be typing nor looking down. And I should be sleeping.

But crying alone is hard. Thank you for keeping me company, internet. I love you.

Noah. I have so many stories.

My fingers hurt.

Must haz self control. Seven more days.

It was really hard going through layer after layer of memories of my father. I think they have substantially changed the area where he used to sit me on his lap. I want to write more. The basic allusion to this is in the book. But oh.my.god I could give a lot more details. Especially right this moment.

I’m having some really really really really really really really big feelings. And I have to just calm right the fuck back down and go to sleep. Tomorrow I have work to do. It is not yet time for me to rest. Only seven more days.

Almost home

Record keeping

Shanna asked me if she is tall. I said, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” She is 51.25″ tall. For her age (7) she is in the 92% for height. I feel comfortable saying, “Yes. You are tall.” Even though, technically, if you are within the 95% then you aren’t considered “above average”. Still. If you are taller than 9/10 I think you are tall. Her weight has sat right at 50 pounds for a long time.

Calli is 45″ tall and that puts her in the 96% for height. She is 39.4 pounds. That bump up to 40 just isn’t happening no matter how much ice cream I give her. Calli is asleep and thus isn’t impressed by her own stature.

 

Just another morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well this wandered. I do that.

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

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

Space

I agonize about how to emotionally handle people needing space (and I worry about the logistics too) because I don’t have good models. I don’t know what being appropriate for that person in the future means. I don’t know how I will change or improve to be less of a problem.

I don’t think that someone needing space from me is a sign of deficiency or badness on their part. I don’t think I could put up with me if I weren’t me. But I don’t know what to do. I want people to feel safe. And I manifestly cannot create such a feeling in all people.

The run today was such a good idea. It helped my mood tremendously. I started out with my knees feeling like water. I felt like there was no way I could run up that hill. But I ran up the hill any way. By the end I felt a lot better.

In the past, I did genuinely hurt people in ways that required them to need space. At this point in my life I am challenging for people who have a lot going on in their own lives. I require a lot of energy to put up with. But I’m not hurting people (to the best of my knowledge). I’m causing them to have more emotions than they can handle. That happens. I do tend to stir up emotions in people.

That doesn’t mean I’m a piece of shit. It doesn’t mean I do everything wrong. It means sometimes I am hard for people and they need space. Sometimes I have to take space from people. I try to come back.

Even if I’m awkward and stilted and unnatural because I’m afraid of doing something wrong again. I try to come back. And people let me. That has to be good enough. That is all there is.

This morning Calli yelled at me that she wished I wasn’t her mother. I cried and cried and cried. On the heels of a friend standing us up last night (it was an accident–they feel bad) and a friend saying she needs space (totally makes sense–her life is exploding) it just sucked.

When I kind of surfaced Calli came to me and said, “Mom, I’m really sorry I hurt your feelings. You have to know that when I say things like that I’m just mad. I don’t really mean it. I love you very much and I want you.”

How can she be only four?

I don’t want to bang my head because someone asked for space. I want to bang my head because it is the week before my period and that happens to me. It is important for me to remember that. The circumstances are just standing near the inevitable.

Progress

The kids have blasted through a few different milestones this week. I should record this so I don’t forget. Both kids are now swimming without a life vest. This is huge. Both kids got off the bucket support in ice skating (Calli is doing better than Shanna). Last, but not least, both kids have suddenly decided they are interested in long bike rides.

I find it fascinating how neck and neck they are for physical skills. In a few years Calli will probably be far more advanced than Shanna at the rate she picks things up. They aren’t equally skilled in all areas of knowledge, but Calli has a great relationship with her body. Shanna reminds me of me. Ha.

I feel guilty anytime I say that they can be assholes, but when it comes to dealing with people who might take care of them it seems like fair warning. They can be sweet as pie and they can be serious assholes. You have to be prepared to hold boundaries and really fucking mean your “no” or they will make you sorry. They are tenacious and pushy in a way rarely tolerated in children.

I’m crossing my fingers it will work out in the long run. For now there are days when they are pretty hard to handle.

It isn’t about you (whoever you are) because they do it with me, Noah, K, and everyone else who has ever baby-sat. Children are supposed to test limits. I also believe that children are supposed to run smack into the brick wall of limits and be told NO. Because that is part of life. You don’t always get what you want and learning to manage that frustration is easier when you are under ten than it is over thirty.

I feel scared that I am doing them a disservice by allowing them to push as hard as they do. Most children are “broken” of that habit. I try to break my kids of the habit of shitting in the back yard. Backtalk is ok with me.

Pick your battles.

I want my daughters to be able to grow up and speak as assertively as any man. I don’t know many women who can. I know a few, because I hunt for such Amazonian Goddesses.

They bug me and delight me. They frustrate me and fill me with so much hope I feel like I will explode. Every day. I am grateful every day that I get to be with them. I stop and make time even when I’m being a pissy bitch.

“Today is kind of hard. But it is the best kind of hard I can imagine. I am grateful I get to be here doing what I’m doing.”

Shanna and I had a fight about something…can’t remember what about. It wasn’t a big one. She went to her room to cry. When I checked on her after a few minutes she said, “It feels like no one loves me today.”

I said, “Do you love me?”

“Yes.”

“Do you get mad at me sometimes?”

“Yes. You deserve it.”

“I’m not quibbling. But you can get mad at me without it taking away from how much you love me. Why do you think it works differently for me? You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I love you to the moon and back. And sometimes you piss me off. Life is like that.”

She kinda laughed and hugged me.

When I really think about it… I feel bad for my mom. She probably does still love me. Even though she didn’t want me to start with. Even though she wasn’t very good at taking care of me. Even though I have pissed her off, maybe more than all her other children combined. She probably loves me.

I really hope my kids never need to pull away from me for their own safety.

This week has been tumultuous emotionally. But we’ve had internet connectivity stuff that prevented me from boring anyone with it. Huzzah?

Apparently today we are going dancing. Because someone finally responded with a yes. I was getting emotionally ready to back out on going. We don’t really have appropriate costuming. And Noah is not interested in dancing. And managing the kids while dealing with Noah’s unhappiness about being dragged to something he hates is always fun.

I was hoping that everyone would tell me no they weren’t going so I could skip it too.

I like to dance. I love dancing. Sometimes dragging a whole crew of people who need care of coaxing isn’t very fun. It is sounding really hard today. But a posse was formed so now I can’t back out. Even though it sounded like way more fun when I first heard of it months ago it doesn’t sound real fun today.

Noah didn’t go to bed last night. He’s probably going to be cranky. There is always the double whammy that being sleep deprived makes him cranky and then he’s extra cranky because I woke up in the middle of the night and yelled at him about not sleeping. Because when he doesn’t sleep at night he sleeps through the weekend. And we don’t have children who wake up at night anymore so I’m really sick to death of a partner who is cranky because of sleep dep. There is no excuse.

Only there are dozens of excuses and I’m an asshole for wanting to control his sleep so much.

Well, there are weeks when he naps enough during the days to make up a whole extra work day of time gone. Given that his time off amounts to a day of work amount of time off… he is effectively not available 7-9 hours of the day 7 days a week. And it’s not like he hangs out with them for all of the 4-6 hours he overlaps awake with them. Not even close.

The mothers helper kid stopped showing up. That’s a write off.

Getting actual, consistent support is hard. I’m tired.

I’m having a hard time with some communication stuff too. I don’t feel heard very much. When other people act like “they’ve heard all my shit because they’ve read the blog so when we get together it is their turn to talk” I feel… really shitty.

Writing on the blog doesn’t increase my sense of being seen all that much. I think it is important. I think it is helpful with a lot of my relationships. But I never blog about everything going through my head. I have so many layers of filters. If I mentioned x on the blog there is usually about fourteen layers of shit associated with x that I didn’t dare write about.

And people don’t really want to hear about it. I’ve already used my word count up for the day. Without ever once opening my mouth.

I’ve been wanting to bang my head a lot lately as a reminder to shut up. Shut up. Just shut up you stupid bitch.

I’m supposed to stand there and smile and be supportive about someone else’s issues and not say anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable. Just shut up shut up shut up.

I don’t think it is “personal”. If I asked people about why communication stuff is wonky I would be dismissed or told I was imagining it or it was just my perception.

Ok fine. Maybe I should just stay home with my perception then. In my home with just my kids it doesn’t feel nearly as bad that I’m not allowed to talk about my shit. I knew that was the deal before I got into this situation. It doesn’t bother me very much with kids. I don’t want to hurt them and I know that knowing too much about people like me will hurt kids.

It is harder with adults. So much harder.

Today I run 4.5 miles before the dance event. Thank goodness today is a massage day.

For all that I seem to live at my pity party table I know I have a pretty fucking good life.

I’m going to go cry out my misery at Disney next year. Hilarious.

If I could stop wanting people and if I could start being happier with just being alone as I do things my life would probably be perfect. I really like what I get to do with my time in the main. Yeah, I won’t fill my hours exactly the same way when the kids are grown but I’m content with where I am for now.

If I could just stop feeling sad. If I could stop missing my mommy so much.

Shanna and Calli call one another “Sissy”. I’m not entirely sure how/where they picked it up but now I’m copying it with both of them.

That was what my sister wanted to be called. She would hit me if I used her real first name when I was little. She was Sissy. End of story.

Sometimes when I hear Shanna and Calli say ever so sweetly, “Sissy will you please help me?” “Oh Sissy I’d love to” I walk away and cry.

I feel like an asshole. Why am I crying? Because I’m so fucking jealous. My Sissy hated me so much. Get over it. I’m trying. Thus the crying in the early morning hours. Because crying is how you get over it.

I feel really sad. I did sleep well last night. A good 7.5 hours. That has been my sleep cycle for most of my life. I’ve been trying to eat those shitty vegetable things everyone tells me are “good for me”. I’m mostly eating them cooked, so I don’t get massive diarrhea but sometimes people put them in front of me raw and I try to be all GGG and eat them anyway. And I burn with punishment.

It is funny how suicidal thinking works. There is a difference (for me) between suicidal ideation where I feel like I am working on A Plan and the sad anxious feeling of wanting to give up. The wanting to give up feels like a dog whining in the corner. Small, helpless, not able to get up and do much for itself. Pitiful and pathetic and not worthy of notice. It isn’t threatening. It isn’t real.

There is a difference between the days when I have to more or less crawl across freeway overpasses because I want to jump so fucking badly and the days when I want to just hide under the desk rocking and crying and beating my head.

Hiding this from my children for 7-9 hours a day 7 days a week is really hard.

I need to just be grateful that I don’t have to do much cooking. That is the most frequent point at which I fail to keep my shit together. Thank you, Noah. I really appreciate it.

I need to give my arms a break. Is it bright enough outside to run yet? This time I need to eat something before I leave. That last weekend run where I took off having eaten nothing felt really bad. You require fuel in your tank.

Good thing I pack little squeeze packets of peanut butter and chocolate just in case. I’m smarter than I look. Or, more accurately, I’ve been stupid a lot of times and eventually I learned. So I’m probably not smarter than I look.

I need to give Noah a chance with today. No, he doesn’t like dancing. He tries to be nice about it. He will help with the kids. He will in general be reasonable company.

My expectations of him are really unfair and ridiculous. I’m sorry. I expect Noah to be cheerful and upbeat about pretty much everything and it isn’t very nice of me.

When I’m around someone who is in a shitty mood I tend to sink to their level and keep on sinking. When I’m around people who are upbeat and perky I can ride the wave with them. I feel like a jerk for needing other people to lead my emotional experience.

Sometimes it is hard for me to feel happiness at all without someone modeling how it is supposed to work. That’s a lot of what I like about my kids. They are so happy. Yes, they can be abrasive assholes and they will scream when they don’t like something. (working on that) But mostly minute by minute they are just…. happy. Life is really good. They get their needs met.

That’s a lot of why I like hanging out with them so much. I will fake happiness in order to buy the relationships I want. It is part of why I have such trouble at jobs. I don’t care that much about money. Beyond subsistence and minimal safety I was never real motivated to work hard for money. Enough was good enough.

At every job I’ve ever had there is far less impetus to be in a good mood. Why, so I can make a customer happy? What fucking ever.

But if my attitude is the difference between Shanna and Calli having a good day or a bad day, then I need to work on my attitude. As one of the moms in our group says, “You’ve got to have a good attitude…”

I can’t control the fact that I have mental illness and it has impact on my kids. What I can do is work to mitigate the damage. What I can do is behave in such a way that they will grow up and be able to understand how hard I worked at being good to them. I hope. Who knows. Maybe they will never give a shit. Most kids don’t seem to care about their parents much.

Doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated?

One of my neighbors is talking about home schooling her kids next year. She talked about wanting to do it from the first day we met. I asked her what was stopping her and it came down to fear that she couldn’t do a good enough job.

Then last year she had a bunch of problems with the school. Her children are really not being appropriately served. So she’s considering home schooling a lot harder.

She asked a lot of questions. I feel I was pretty balanced. I started with my normal, “Of course there is a whole spectrum of opinions from radical in the direction of no direct teaching to school-at-home with every minute scheduled. I’ll talk about what I do first and then I will move on to different points in the spectrum and talk about the pros and cons. The important thing is to figure out what works for you and your child because there is no universal right answer.”

I’m a good advocate.

I really hope she will consider it because she REALLY WANTS TO and she is incredibly organized and focused. She would be good at home schooling. She’s big on answering questions with, “I don’t know the answer to that yet, let’s find out.” Perfect. That is the attitude you need. And she’s super happy to hang with her kids all the time.

I told her the only think she is potentially going to lose out on for her kids is the time they get to spend with her. If you miss a year of public school you can catch up in summer school if you are bright and motivated. Whoopie. Her kids are quite smart (fully literate in two language before third grade is amazing–she mostly taught them) and I don’t see a down side. The only thing holding her back is fear. (That’s what she said. I’m not projecting.)

But it is her life. Who knows. It would be cool though. Even though we probably wouldn’t be live-in-your-pocket besties (even though she lives ONE BLOCK AWAY) it would be nice to have another home schooler in Fremont.

We are going to have to join or create a Fremont home school group or something. Yes, we will still love all the Castro Valley and San Leandro and Oakland people…. but the road is equidistant in both directions. I can only do so much driving.

I wish I felt less desperate. I know that desperation is one of the fastest way to drive people away from you. The depth and intensity are scary. I don’t have a good reason. I’m sorry. Just breathe. Go get some food. Read a few chapters. In about 40 minutes it will be time to run.

Now I will nom a muffin that is poison for Jenny.

Great news

The kids rode their bikes to and from the farmers market. I am so happy I’m about to shit glitter. This is epic progress. I’m so happy Shanna was willing to give it a shot.

It was pretty fun listening to Shanna during the trip. “I was super scared to even get on the bike today. But look! I’m doing it! I just needed to have my mom walk next to me. Then I’m good. Now the scared feeling isn’t scary it is exciting.”

She talks all the time. And she has this self-help/you-can-do it thing that… I have trouble not making fun of her when she gets going. When I was a kid I would have been mercilessly taunted if I had said 1/10 of what she says. I was not allowed to think of myself as competent.

I like my life so very much.

Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m starting to see that as a problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not a secondary character.

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

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

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

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

Why do I accept every friendship on offer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can understand that.