Category Archives: mirrors

What does that mean?

Tonight FMC asked me why I call them “angel”. I asked them if they know what an angel is and they said not really.

I told them that angels are spirits. Mostly they are basically good but some of them are dark. Angels bring gifts like joy and love.

I said that they brought joy and love and happiness into my life. So it’s like they are an angel sent to me.

They asked me, “Am I like a dark angel? Like a demon?”

I asked them what they think. Like I do.

They said, “I don’t know. I do the wrong thing a lot.”

I said, “That’s because there are a whole bunch of things you want to learn and you can’t learn without making mistakes. Wanting to learn doesn’t make you a demon. Trying something that turns out to be the wrong thing doesn’t make you a demon. Setting out to be cruel is different. Setting out to hurt and damage people is different. Purposefully trying to destroy people…. that’s evil.”

“I don’t do that!”

“No. You don’t. You are a kid who is trying to learn who you want to grow up to be and sometimes in that process you make choices that are not like the choices you hope you will make as a grown up… because you have to learn. The fact that you keep trying to be better… sweetheart that is about you reaching for the light. Dark angels don’t do that.”

Their face relaxed and they smiled at me. They told me that they love me.

I love you my baby.

Compartmentalization failure

It occurs to me this morning that it would be a lot easier for me emotionally if I were mad at Person X for not supplying me with Y help. That would be something I could unpack and deal with and rationalize and figure out why it was not a good thing.

What I have instead feels like a weird amalgamation of feeling sad that my mother never wanted to take care of me the way a mother should with feeling sad that I can contribute to communities for years and never feel like part of them.

I often think sadly that I would be in a much better position to just take care of all of my own needs if I stopped helping other people so much. If I didn’t drive so far to help people who are falling down in their lives. If I didn’t go clean peoples houses. If I didn’t sit and spend hours helping other people process their emotions. I’d have more to give myself and I don’t think I would feel such an emptiness.

But giving to other people is a lot of how I buy my right to be alive. Not because they care. Because I have to perceive me as having something to give.

This is a problem.

I’m genuinely not mad at Sarah or Taylor or Michelle or or or or or. All of my friends are busy. They are doing things they must do. None of them are short changing me. No one is neglecting me or failing to give me what they should.

Folks like Rose continue to show up in ways that blow my mind. I’m going to spend about a thousand dollars total on baby gear (mostly diapers cause they ain’t cheap) and supplies because she gave me everything else. That was fantastically kind and generous of her. The babysitters mama sends me a text message and we have a 10 minute or so conversation every other week. I’m not completely ignored. Some folks check in periodically over IM. It’s not that I have nothing and no one.

The universe does give to me. I don’t want to make it sound like I get noooooooooooothing. That’s bullshit and not true.

The problem is that I spend a lot of time in my head not being able to talk about most of the things I’m thinking and that feels isolating and alienating and bad.

I’m rarely alone. I have a lovely family and I have good friends. I know it isn’t fair that I complain so much. I know that a lot of people have it worse than me.

My massage therapist told me that when I feel sorry for myself I should just focus on how much better I have it than other people. Uhm. I have never found that to help me even a little. “Other people suffer! Awesome that means I can’t.”

Yeah it doesn’t go like that.

This is part of why I feel so much shame about ever asking for any kind of support. I don’t deserve it because I already have it better than a lot of people.

People were telling me that when I was homeless and starving though. It’s true of my life now… but people have been saying it to me so long and through so much suffering that it doesn’t mean to me what it does to other people.

It is hard feeling like if I can’t get my thoughts and feelings to conform to what other people think I should be thinking and feeling that I should eliminate myself so that people don’t have to deal with me.

I am too much trouble. I’m not worth the effort.

Thank you, my love.

Today at the end of my chat with Jenny she expressed very mild and loving exasperation that I haven’t approved her as a friend on Instagram. She strongly hinted/pushed that I should get on putting pictures up for her including pictures from the wedding renewal she missed last year due to Zika concerns.

You don’t know how you made my heart explode with joy. You love me so much that you are demanding (in a loving non-aggressive sort of way) that I share more of myself with you.

I spend so much time feeling like I am a bad person because I share as much as I do and no one wants/needs to see this shit. I think back to the therapists who have told me that I shouldn’t share the things inside me because I hurt people and that makes me bad.

But you love me so much that you ask for more.

I’m going to cry about that for a while. But it’s a good kind of crying.

I love you, Jenny. Getting to know you in this life has been so wonderful.

On busses and hurricanes

Yesterday I had a visit with the pain management doctor. It was a brief check in. It did not quite go how I expected on a few levels. He’s very interested in the totality of my health so he asks a lot of questions about my mental health. I was blunt in saying that I’ve been very depressed. He got really intense and asked me what is going on?

I told him that my husband and I are in a rough spot in our sex life. That things have been rocky on and off in that department from the beginning because I am so fucked up.

I started crying.

The doctor did this thing where he swelled like a lizard trying to intimidate a predator. He started saying with great emphasis, “YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR ANY OF THIS. THAT’S NOT OK. BAD PEOPLE DID BAD THINGS TO YOU. YOU BEAR NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE RESULTS.”

He tried to present a metaphor to me about who is responsible for sexual health and that kind of failed when I rattled off loudly and emphatically that if you don’t ask someone’s STD status and you choose to not wear a condom… you kind of deserve what you get. He didn’t think I would feel like that at all.

He decided to switch gears and explain this a different way since I wouldn’t go along with his beliefs about sexual responsibility.

He said, “Ok fine. Imagine you are a bus. Your responsibility in this life is to drive the bus and stay on the road. Well guess what? Your bus happens to be going through a hurricane. The hurricane isn’t your fault. The hurricane is what other people have chosen to do to you and there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to stay on the road. That’s your task. You can’t control how hard the winds buffet you and you can’t control how much debris whacks the outside of the bus and you can’t control if pieces fly off the bus because of outside elements attacking your bus. Ok, you with me? Ok. Here’s my point: YOU KEPT THE BUS ON THE FUCKING ROAD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.”

He then asked me if I had disclosed about my background before I married Noah, essentially… was I allowing him to have full consent when he married a crazy person. I said oh yes. I told him all about my fucked up history and mental illness and my issues. I mean, as best as I could.

He said, “Then it is your husband’s fucking fault he married you and he NEVER GETS TO BITCH ABOUT YOU HAVING PROBLEMS.”

I felt… completely stunned. I was sobbing at this point. I don’t think I have ever in my life had a doctor explode and swear at me so much. That was fairly shocking. Holy tomato. I mean, I swear… but doctors don’t usually swear back.

He told me that he has trauma in his background… not like mine but really severe trauma of a slightly different kind. He looked rather haunted when he referenced it. He did that brief almost hollowed out looking thing that people do when they think back to the ghosts that haunt them.

He told me that it isn’t ok for people to be angry with us for coping with what was done to us by bad people. If we react in a bad way at some time… it’s not our fault. We are doing our best to cope with what has been thrown at us and no one gets to judge us for this.

I told him that being married to a mentally ill person is very rough even if no one is to blame. He glowered and said that even if it is rough they don’t get to bitch. This is what they signed on for.

I just… kind of stopped arguing and kept crying. Because goodness. I don’t agree that mentally ill people are never to be held responsible for their behavior. That’s fucked up.

But Sarah’s probably right and I’m taking on a bullshit level of responsibility here.

I came home last night and told Noah that I’ve been having the thought process that… I didn’t cause the shame he feels about his sexuality. But I did fail to heal it and that was something he dearly wanted our marriage to accomplish. And I feel like there is some element where he is very upset with me for failing to fix that. But I can’t. That’s not in me to fix. That’s not about me, not really. That’s not even about how often I fuck him. That’s bigger than me. That’s bigger than me having physical problems.

If we could both get past feeling so bad about ourselves… it wouldn’t be a big deal if he wanted to masturbate with/near me when my cunt is not up for sex. I like mutual masturbation a lot. I think it’s a great game. And frankly… when I know I’m really not expected to take my pants off I have a lot of fun playing with a cock. They are neat. That’s not something I react negatively to. When I feel I really don’t have to take my pants off.

But that’s the rub. I self impose this feeling that I’m bad if I don’t escalate the sex as quickly as possible.

The pressure doesn’t come mostly from Noah. It is about what I feel is mandatory.

And given that we have records going back to day one of our marriage… I think we can count on our fingers how many months we have skipped sex in 11 years (including that 6 month road trip). There is no case whatsoever for sexual withholding. That is just literally not happening. We don’t have sex 2-3 times a day like Noah would prefer… but Jesus H Christ on toast.

Most bad months we still have sex 2-4 times.

Noah has genuinely never had to cope with a real drought. The longest periods of celibacy we have experienced are immediately post-partum and if you want to complain about that I get to beat you until you are black and blue because MY GOD DAMN CUNT WAS RIPPED APART AND YOU ARE A STUPID SELFISH PIECE OF SHIT IF YOU DON’T FUCKING CARE.

That’s the one time in my life that I will defend my pussy like a god damn honey badger. You don’t get to complain that my cunt isn’t performing well enough right after I give birth. Fuck you all the way to hell and back. NOT OK.

I know women who were not ok with having their cunt touched for a god damn year. I wait like 3 months.

No bitching about my post partum recovery time. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. (Not that Noah has ever complained. He was willing to try when the doctor gave us the go ahead with the first kid and I declared it a failed attempt and made him stop and he was patient until I was ready to try again. He did not ask to try so early the second time. Noah actually did just fine in this department. So my ranting is at the generic universe and isn’t about him.)

Yesterday when I was talking to my various medical people (acupuncture, pain doctor, and sleep people in one day) and they asked me about how my marriage is going… I was conscious of how much of a problem it was that my former shrink thought Noah could do no god damn wrong and I needed to always compromise in his favor. I said, “He’s a good husband but he’s a person so he screws up sometimes.” That got nods and acceptance. That’s a much more fucking realistic picture of him.

He is a good husband. But he’s a human being so he fucks up sometimes. That’s not the end of the world. I don’t reject people out of hand for fucking up sometimes. That’s life.

But sometimes I cope very poorly with the set of skills I have within me. I cope in ways that hurt me and people around me because I don’t have a better way of handling what is happening to me. Sometimes all the ways I have to cope seem to fail and I feel like I need the big guns and those are never fucking pleasant to be around.

I don’t always cope in nice ways that make other people feel comfy and happy. Sometimes I just keep the fucking bus on the road and that’s the god damn best I can do.

The doctor got really quiet and intense near the end of the appointment. He looked at me for a long minute or so. He said, “I hope you understand how impressive it is that you are still here. The problems you cause by being here are nothing to compare to the miracle of your presence. Most people would die if they went through the size of hurricane you went through. You may not always be convenient, but it’s not your fault and I’m really glad you are here.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a non-psych doctor make me cry like that. That was so intense.

Can’t make you feel

Something was occurring to me this morning. I have long accepted that no one can “make me” feel loved. I often don’t feel loved. Not because no one loves me–I think I am incredibly loved. There is a sensor inside of me that is broken.

Maybe Noah is broken too and I can’t fix it. Maybe Noah can’t feel loved because something got broke a long time ago and it’s really not about my broken cunt.

I know that the feeling that your sexual expression is 100% accepted and acceptable and ok at every moment is lovely… but I don’t know a human being who gets that. If it is necessary for you to feel loved…

I can’t fix that.

I feel less shitty about myself right this moment than I have in a few weeks.

Really lucky

Holy smokes. This pregnancy has been… so incredibly supported. My friends are stepping up in ways that shock me. One gal in particular, Rose, has delivered: a bassinet, changing table, a swing, most of the clothes we will need for the first year, bedding, a baby carrier, toweling, and maternity clothes.

I wasn’t looking for this support. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t beg. It just arrived as this beautiful gift from the universe. I have a wonderful friend who saved everything from her last kid and she wants to share.

I first met Rose in I think 2001ish. She doesn’t remember me from that period. We started talking a lot more last year. She has spare maternal energy lying around. I appreciate such folks.

Other fabulous friends have passed on more maternity clothes and supplies I’ll need before/after the birth.

It’s starting to look like the only thing I’m really going to have to buy are diapers. That’s ok. I love buying Rumparooz because they are the cutest darn thing ever. The prints! Oh they are so cute. There’s not much in this world I think is more precious than an enormous cloth diaper butt on a baby. It’s weird… but man that sight makes me choke up with joy.

WHEN DID I BECOME THIS PERSON. Err, over a decade ago.

And my Jenny is even going to be sending me super tiny diapers so I don’t need to get any for the first few weeks.

I have arrived. I am there in life. I have friends and family and support and love.

I feel so incredibly lucky. I didn’t think this would happen to me. But here I am.

Do you know what is incredible to me? When I started on the parenting journey some of the folks I loved the most told me they didn’t approve. They thought I was going to do a horrible job. In the past nine years of parenting what has happened is I started off doing ok and I’ve improved. I am way more calm. I am way more able to communicate in useful, effective ways that are appropriate for children (or for anyone, really).

I got my first real shot at learning and growing and developing in a stable environment. And I have blossomed. And my friends tell me so and can point out specific ways I’ve changed and grown and they can tell me why they are impressed with my progress.

I’m not sure I’ve changed my spots. But I have developed some interesting stripes to go along with the spots.

Random art/bdsm cross over.

B is the publicly acceptable way to refer to my friend’s wife so I’m going to say that. I haven’t asked my friend how he feels about being mentioned by name so I’ll still refrain. This is only a bdsm crossover because I know these folks through that community.

B is a HUGE patron of the arts. In her house and in her office there is a ton of art. Her office has a bunch of fancily painted walls by a variety of artists she knows. There are multiple murals or small pieces in different rooms.

She offered me space to paint, if I want. On one hand… I want to say no. I’m tired and that would be work. On the other hand… this beautiful, talented, interesting woman who works with a demographic I target heavily for influencing with my life has invited me to have space to influence how people feel.

She told me that if it would make me happier to do the work they could chain me while I work. I said that is not permitted within the current boundaries of my relationship but thank you for the offer.

That’s… that’s a really cool offer. I have art installations in California. Would I like to also have an art installation in Alaska?

Oh gosh. When I phrase it like that….

My friend who invited me up here to stay… he has a voice. He influences lives all over the world and he has done so for going on twenty years now. He has spent years encouraging me to share my voice with the world because he thinks I have lessons to teach.

I feel really validated here.

These people who are doing the real work are validating that even though I am hiding at home for a few years so I can learn the things I want to learn… I still have a lot to offer. They invite me back into the wide world.

But I’m afraid of the wide world. The wide world is big. The wide world doesn’t want to do shit for me. The wide world wants to know what I’m going to do for them.

That’s how it works with everyone. I don’t think I’m persecuted or anything.

I like my bubble.

I like having a family.

I like the friends who seek me out and ask to be part of my life. I like the people who actively invite me into their lives because they perceive me as being someone they want to be near.

The wide world…

Is hard.

But I’m not truly contemplating the wide world. I’m contemplating a wall. Maybe I should go make some sketches. I’m having some ideas. Butterflies and change and growth.

Cause I brought quite a few art supplies…

Oh here we go

So The Guardian came out with a thing saying that if you care for the planet you should have fewer children. Enter judgmental shaming.

I’m having a third child. I still don’t know if I’m having a fourth child.

Is this a tremendously selfish choice? Absolutely. Am I contributing another body to the planet when there are already a lot of bodies? Yup.

But you know what? Not that many people in the world were genuinely wanted. I’m going to be a selfish piece of shit and bring another person or two into this world who is desperately wanted. Because I need to stand near that so that I can try to learn how to fix my fucked up brain. I’ve made a lot of progress… but I’m not done growing up.

I am teaching myself attachment with my children. It isn’t the most recommended way to heal developmental trauma but I’m doing a surprisingly good job based on the evaluations I get from a wide variety of health practitioners.

I should be dead. This still comes up.

But I’m not dead. I’m instead making progress on my mental and physical health. I continue to make progress.

My children talk frankly about how they love how much I focus on them but I’m clearly going to need more people to balance the load in a few years because they are going to want more time away from me. This is a conscious thing we work on. We support one another while giving space for someone to pull away because that’s healthy.

I think it is funny that I sometimes make progress because a therapist helps and I sometimes make progress despite a therapist being an obstacle. Both seem useful.

My shrink said something that is burning in my brain and bugging me. “You are obsessed with being unique.”

Oh bitch, please.

I have spent my life meeting people and trying desperately to find reasons that I am like them. I can usually find somewhere between 5%-50% of similarity in experience and then I say something else about myself and the person starts doing the loud, “NOT LIKE THAT. I’M NOT LIKE THAT. NO. NOTHING LIKE THAT.”

I’m not obsessed with being unique. I am resigned. I am aware. I am trying to find ways to move through the world that allow me to get hurt less while also hurting other people less and that’s complicated because I don’t have that much in common with almost anyone so finding a way to interact without mutual pain is fraught.

A fucking psychiatrist who tells me that two dozen medication trials mean that I’m just getting started and I should do two or three dozen more trials before I’m allowed to say that medication doesn’t work for me… that’s someone who is obsessed with not seeing me as unique. That’s a problem. Given that a high number of these pills make me intensely suicidal and your advice is, “Well, go to the ER”…. naw. Nope. No fucking way.

Pot works. It’s not perfect, NONE OF THESE DRUGS ARE PERFECT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, but it is less harmful than basically anything else available. The problem with pot is that it is illegal in a bunch of places. So I “should” get on a legally recognized drug. That will wreck my whole fucking life. Just so I can be legit.

But I’m unhealthily obsessed with seeing myself in context of my life?

I have some feelings here.

My shrink telling me that maybe I only need three hours of sleep so I shouldn’t use pot to help me sleep… that’s fucking bothering me. Chronic sleep deprivation is torture,. It literally makes people go insane. BUT DON’T USE POT.

I don’t think the bad thing here is my insistence that I be seen in context of my life and my experiences. We all have our own unique life experiences. Most people have life experiences that fit within a bell curve of normal. Then there’s me.

But I should stop paying attention to that so people can streamline care right the fuck over me. If I die that’s just collateral damage.

I am still alive because I god damn insist on seeing myself as unique. You bet your fucking buttons.

I don’t think everyone “should” have lots of kids because having kids is a good thing. I don’t think that adoption is bad.

I think I need to have more biological children because I have terrible problems in my brain that will only be fixed through long term exposure and work. I need to work on my family’s genetic problems and I need to find compassion for myself and the psychological and physical problems that come from being like me.

I’m not completely unique. I have children who inherit a lot of what it means to be me. And that means I need to work on what it means to be me.

I don’t think this is a journey that everyone needs to go on. I don’t think it is a journey that most highly traumatized people should engage in. I think it is what I need to do.

I think there is the distinct possibility that if I do move somewhere and get a big house… I will foster. I have always wanted to foster when my children are older and can be positive role models to the kids I’m fostering.

It isn’t that I’m opposed to helping kids who need a home. It is that I need to fix my home first or I’ll just fuck them up more than they’ve already been fucked up and that’s not fair. Not to them and not to me.

Today I see the pain doctor and the woo nutritionist. I’m going to tell her I need fewer pills. I’m gagging and choking and it makes eating a nightmare. My gag reflex goes into hyper drive during pregnancy and I’m tired of retching at the table.

Slight side note: Future Middle Child had their first solo therapy appointment. They told me they didn’t want to talk about it. They want privacy. I told them that is a jim dandy thing. I may sometimes say, “How did it go?” because I’m nosey and curious but telling me “I don’t want to talk about it” is ALWAYS ok. Telling me no when I want to know something is fine. You are allowed. You are permitted to have space where I am not.

Having children is complicated. There are consequences across many planes. Yes, I’m increasing my effective carbon footprint.

I’m also trying to learn how to feel ok. That’s really hard. I’m selfish and I’m terrible and I’m going to do what I need here.

“If you really want to have more children, just adopt. There are many children in the world who need good homes.”

That is… such a complicated statement, folks. Cross cultural adoption is complicated. Adopting older children who have major trauma is complicated.

Losing your mother is traumatic. Getting an adoptive mother is…. not the same thing as getting to be with your mother. I’m not knocking adoption. It’s wonderful. It’s important. Lots of people are effectively “saved” through adoption. But it has bad sides too.

In order to be a good adoptive parent you need to be able to put your shit aside and focus on the needs of this important person you brought into your life. They are not there to meet your needs and what is going on with them may not help you heal your ancestral trauma.

I have a lot of ancestral trauma to heal and I’ll be fucking frank that it is easier when I deal with my children. My children make me believe that I deserve to heal. That my family deserves to have better than we have always had. Not in terms of money or “things”. But in terms of love and consideration and mutual aid.

My grandmother fostered when my mother was tiny. My mom was highly damaged because her mother (my grandparent) spent a lot of time acting like the kids who were there to be fostered were special and needed special treatment but her kids needed to be slapped into silence.

My family has a lot of baggage in our bones and in our brains and in our blood. I want to see if that can be healed. I will not be able to do that through surrogate children. Only through children of my blood.

Which does not change the essential worthiness of all other children. But I’m not ready for them. It’s not them, it’s me.

people.

Yesterday one of my former students told me I wasn’t accepted into SFSI because I’m not a “real sex educator.”

I countered with, “I was teaching at national bdsm conferences when you were in junior high. So you are more real than me?” I laid out a whole bunch of my other sex education CV. She said, “Oh my god I didn’t know any of that.”

Yeah. Fuck your assumptions. I think I didn’t make it into SFSI because they had to reject more than 50% of people applying and my availability was very limited.

But whatever.

GET OFF MY LAWN.

Waaaaaaay better than anticipated.

I have been terrified of talking to CPS all of my parenting life. Tonight I called CPS to talk about something that happened in my house. I went into it hyperventilating. I came out of it feeling really reassured.

The lady asked me a ton of questions. Both about the incident, about life in general, about handling the incident.

No I’m not telling the internet what happened.

By the end of the conversation she said, “You are doing everything you can do to handle this. Kids do these kinds of things. Then you educate them. You are doing that. We really couldn’t add help for your family.”

I hate that I want outside validation so much. Am I doing this right? Am I handling this right? This is absolutely the biggest hiccup of our family experience so far. Did I handle it right?

According to CPS they don’t want to open a case file. I called for a consultation and that’s good enough. Keep doing what I’m doing.

That’s not what I expected at all. She was really nice and supportive. She was glad I called to check and see if there is more I should do.

Lady if there is more I have to do for these kids, just give me a check list. I will learn how to do backflips through flaming hoops for them if I have to.

We also had our first visit with the therapist who will be working with Future Middle Child tonight. It went well. I think they will be a good match for my busy, fidgety, impulsive sweetheart.

You don’t have to be a good person to keep improving.

Sleeping is for when Noah is home.

I really should sleep. Instead I’m…. uhh… reading Reddit. It’s a fascinating thread about poverty.

But this other one is one is a super neat thing about educating students who come from a variety of kinds of poverty. This is good stuff for anyone who provides direct instruction. How do you help your kids overcome deficits?

And miles to go before I sleep.

I’d say that my friends added about 7 hours of painting to the walls. (Thanks, y’all. I appreciate it.) I’ve done about 20 hours of painting so far.

I think it’s going to be 100-250ish hours of painting on the whole damn project. Do you know how much that sucks to think right this minute?

Because I also need to clean the mold and repaint my bedroom. Cause mold treatment. Hi, breathing problems.

And the hallway is jacked up and needs to be fixed. And they damaged the walls in the garage and I want to fix that.

No rest for the driven. Whyyyyyyyyyy do I care so much? I don’t know. But I’m going to get dressed in painting clothes right now and get started because I’ve got shit to do.

Today I’m going to finish the ceiling in the playroom, then move back to the bathroom. Oh the bathroom needs to be finished before I finish all the rest of the house. Maybe I’ll carefully lay out some drop cloth and work on the willow tree. That would be lovely.

The floor will either be finished today or tomorrow, as I predicted. The boss wanted it done by Wednesday. Ha. Not even. Actually… if I go look at the floor… definitely not finishing today. He might finish laying the tiles today but then he has to grout and do additional steps. He’ll finish the floor and do permanent toilet installations tomorrow, I hope.

I hope. I hope. I hope.

With luck on Tuesday he will start the wall tiles and that’ll be all that there is left to do. The death march of tile laying. Dum dum de dum dum de dum de dum de dum.

It’s going to be brutal. And boring. And take fucking forever.

Yesterday I think we offended him. I was talking to him about child rearing. He doesn’t believe  young children should have to do anything for themselves. He thinks that little kids should be cosseted like the precious jewels that they are and helped at all times because soon enough they will have to make their own money and support themselves.

I can’t disagree with him. But I asked him how many adults are around to provide that kind of care. Quite a few. They live with family. There is always an adult free to help kids.

We… we don’t have that available in our life. We just don’t. Our kids have to be independent in a way that other children may not have to be. My kids have two parents who work a lot and… not really other people around. My kids have to be able to do for themselves. I get why that might bother someone on an emotional level because it feels overly harsh and unfair…

I do get it.

But I don’t know how to explain that my kids have significantly more support than I ever had and I’m not physically capable of providing more support. It doesn’t matter if I can explain that. If your culture says it is monstrous to not dote on children and I don’t dote on my children… There is no justifying that.

I come from the kind of culture where if you can’t do something for yourself you aren’t going to get to do it. Sorrynotsorry.

I suppose that makes us really mean. Just add it to the list of reasons that I’m a monster. I am not willing to spend my whole day assisting a child in playing. If you want to color, there are crayons available. I’m not going to sit next to you uncapping each marker as you want to use it. Errr, no. That’s not my job.

Which means we are mean. Ok.

If I do that work who is going to do the painting and the dishes and the picking up and the laundry and and and and and and.

If I do that for one child, I am not really available to serve the other three children in the same capacity. How is that really more fair?

Nope. I’m not a mobile entertainment device. You will have to figure it out. If that frustrates you… welcome to life, kid. It is frustrating as shit.

I say I think I offended him because after this conversation he put on very loud Christian music. It seemed like a message. I… I listened to the music and felt irritated. I did not feel a lot of patience in my soul for the message of Christianity yesterday. Even though I in general support religion for folks.

I was thinking about it. I wonder if Christianity/Islam/Judaism make sense to me because they seem to me to be forms of group magic. We believe in a thing so we will work to make it so because that’s how you make a thing.

I get magic. That’s just… that’s just how the world is altered over and over and over again. I believe in magic and most religions just seem to me to be a way to try and use magic in the world.

But yesterday I was feeling pissy about the message of submission. It’s ok to suffer because God wants you to.

Oh the feelings.

Family, opinions, planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

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

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

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

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

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

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

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

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

I’m working towards it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

Identity

My Jenny (she ain’t Jenny to you: she’s Jennifer) has been trying to convince me that the story of me isn’t about my family or my parents or what happened to me. She wants me to think of my story as being about what I have done with agency.

I see what you’re doing there.

What have I done with agency? How far back in my life does this go?

I’m going to try and talk positively about myself. So this is going to sound like bragging and I need to not give a fuck.

I am generous. I have spent my life trying to help people as much as I can. From when I was quite young I was always the person who jumped up to help if I noticed someone struggling with something, no matter what it is. I remember when I was 7 or 8 I noticed some women in a grocery store struggling to open the stupid plastic vegetable bags. (Now that I’m all old and I wash dishes and I have dry skin I get it.) I talked my mom into staying in the grocery store for extra time so I could stand there and open plastic bags for people. I mean, it’s kind of a stupid example and it isn’t one of my biggest helping people moments in my life but that’s the point. I don’t just help people in big ways.

I have helped a lot of people in big ways. I have given away a fairly extreme amount of money at this point and I’m going to give a lot more. I give of my physical service. I show up and help people who are struggling. I’ve had friends who needed to move house, but they were disabled and they literally could not do the work for themselves. So I showed up and did it all. Because I was not going to let them suffer. When my friend was in her absolute lowest place of dealing with her alcoholism I went to her house and cleaned up years of nasty filth because I knew that if she was in a nice clean house it would help her stop feeling like a disgusting loser who deserved every bad thing. (It worked. She’s in a fantastic place in her life now. It isn’t because of me but I’m absolutely part of what helped her.)

I provide emotional support to a lot of people. I have personally been the recipient of many incest stories that were never previously spoken aloud and that number is only going to increase with time. This matters. I help people who are highly traumatized feel normalized and acceptable in their struggles. That’s a god damn big deal.

I was a really good teacher. Even though I tend to not feel safe or comfortable almost ever I am extremely good at creating environments where other people feel safe and comfortable. I can’t count how many children I’ve helped cope with huge life problems and this number will only go up.

I am patient. Not universally. Not in every situation with every person. But I am very patient. This has been a big deal in a variety of job settings and personal relationships. I can sit and listen through things that bore the crap out of other people or traumatize other people and I can be patient and present with where someone needs me to be.

I am capable of imagining how things “should be” despite never experiencing it myself and I can hand a good experience to other people. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I absolutely fail at this because other people have a very different picture in their head of how things “should be” and I hurt them. I am so very sorry.

I am a loyal friend. I keep people. I reach out over and over and over again to people. I come back despite problems and fights and disagreements. I don’t let feelings of discomfort be the reason I abandon people once I feel bonded. I don’t end relationships until there is a Very Good Reason. Instead I write letters, emails, Christmas cards, and I drive all the fuck over the place to maintain contact with people.

I spend a lot of time explaining to people why they need to understand the points of view of people who are different than them. I’m very good at this. I’m good at helping people see the connections that exist between different groups. I can find compassion for almost anyone and I’m good at helping other people understand that they need to find more compassion than they might be otherwise inclined to feel.

I am a good mother. Not because of anything in particular that I do, mothering isn’t like that, but for very similar reasons to why I was a good teacher. I excel at really looking at people and adapting to why their needs are unique. I don’t really treat my kids the same because they have different personalities and needs. I try to give them what they need individually.

I am better and better at not blaming other people for my emotions and problems. I see how my ups and downs are because of things inside me and not because of exterior stimuli. I can explain this in detail at speed in most cases. It’s been an incredibly hard skill to learn and I’m not done improving it.

When I screw up I apologize without deflecting responsibility. Yup, I did that. I hurt you. Yup. I’m sorry. That was wrong. Is there anything I can do to help repair the damage that I caused?

I do not hit my children as a matter of course. Which is apparently shocking to a large segment of the population because people comment regularly on how they expect me to do so. I slapped my daughter once. It was a grievous error. I have put tremendous effort into making sure I don’t let myself get that angry since and I will put more effort in that direction with every passing year. I do not justify my lack of control by saying it is her fault and I do not justify my lack of control by saying that I was trying to teach her a lesson. I think that acknowledging that I completely fucked up and lost control is a big deal. I cannot count how many parents have justified hitting their children in front of me. No, it’s not ok.

I am a hard worker. Every boss I have ever had has commented on how they have never had an employee who works as diligently as me. Didn’t matter whether I was working in a library, theatre, fast food restaurant, retail store, cleaning houses, or teaching school. I work and work and work. I’m really proud of this.

I am good at organizing things. I see patterns very quickly and I can manage space unusually well. It’s a visual perceptive ability that I am grateful for every day.

I have dealt with a pretty wide array of physical and mental health problems. I haven’t been able to “cure” myself but I put tremendous effort into improving.

I prosecuted my father, putting an end to his ability to rape children. I feel proud of this.

I have protected my children from my violent, rapist family.

I create beauty in the world. My house and yard were frankly ugly as shit when I moved in. Now my house is pretty magical. My yard is so beautiful that people who were driving by stopped and asked to buy my house. I said no.

I managed to travel extensively even when I was living on $14,400/year. I save money fantastically well and as a result I manage to make every penny count. I have managed to significantly increase Noah’s wealth during our marriage. Sure, this year I exploded our debt profile but I’ll have it paid off in five years (including my entire mortgage). Watch and see.

When a person told me to my face that they were going to threaten me whenever they felt like (and they offered to physically attack Noah) I managed to still deescalate the situation such that no violence occurred. Sure, I got called an evil racist because I described their behavior as inappropriate and said they should apologize, but you can’t win every fight. I feel good that despite the fact that I wanted to fly off the handle and beat the ever loving shit out of this person they confirmed that they never felt threatened by me. They felt traumatized, but maybe I can’t save you from feeling traumatized by situations you create.

I feel good about telling a child that when you feel scared and upset it is ok to cry. That is healthy. It is appropriate. When someone hits you and tells you not to cry that is abuse. I feel very good about being a voice expressing that sentiment to a child.

I’m proud of the road trip. I learned a lot. My children learned a lot. I did a fantastic amount of work to make that happen.

I feel weirdly proud of the library I’ve managed to acquire. Which is a shitty thing to feel proud of because it means I’m proud of spending money and that’s weird. But my library is incredibly diverse. My library normalizes a lot of human experiences. My library encourages thinking about a lot of different parts of life. I have created the home schooling environment of my dreams. I really have arrived at where I wanted to get. I picked this goal at 17 and I have diligently worked towards it ever since. I feel proud of how many skills I managed to pick up and consciously work towards so that I can be good at this.

I feel proud of the progress I have made in harming myself less over time. It isn’t that I have high self esteem and it isn’t that I am psychologically healthy but I do less damage to myself over time. That has taken enormous effort on my part.

I feel proud of myself for reaching out to someone who sexually harmed me and asking them to make it right. I couldn’t do it in every case with every person who hurt me, but I feel very proud of doing it once.

I believe that even if I do not think of myself as “a good person who sometimes does bad things” there is benefit to thinking of myself as an asshole who often does the right thing. I believe this has value because I am not justifying my fuck ups and sweeping them under the rug in the name of “but I’m good”. Instead I take full responsibility for all the harm I cause and I continue to fight like hell to do positive things. To me that is a healthier balance than believing I’m good and kind of ignoring the harm I cause. I like that balance.

I like how strong I am. I like that despite horrible pain I work fiercely and intensely and with dedication on whatever task is put in front of me. I’m not saying that I think all people with chronic pain should act like this… I think there is still some self harm going on in my behavior. But never the less I have to find ways to like myself and I like that I am capable of putting “But this is important” over “I hurt and I don’t want to”.

I am proud that I didn’t let a horrifying childhood break me entirely.

Since I’m trying to list shit: I feel like I have had a rather good track record on picking people to date. It isn’t that every person I’ve ever dated has been perfect, but I have been good at picking people who are loving, supportive, and usually good with boundaries. Given the relationships I saw modeled as a child… I’ve really picked fantastic people to date. Go me. (And my marriage was even smarter. Damn I picked a good spouse.)

I have not allowed my overwhelming longing for my mother trap me in abusive cycles. That’s a big deal.

That’s enough for now. I’m supposed to write some affirmations. I have the pushiest damn friends ever. (I love you. Thank you for caring about me and giving me homework.)

I am patient and generous.

I am a good mother for my children. (Which is to say, I don’t think I’d be as good for every kid… these things are complicated. Ok, you aren’t supposed to justify affirmations or minimize them but I’m still me.)

I am loved.

I create beauty and connection.

I am strong emotionally and physically.

I am good at loving people.

I am an outstanding teacher.

I fight the good fight.

I have a lot to give.

 

I’m going to sit down with the birthday book my friends gave me and remind myself of why other people love me. Thank you for loving me so much that you will go through so much effort to help me stay alive. I am grateful beyond the scope of expression.

Moving the needle

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

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

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

Fuck.

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

But I want him to forgive me. Damnit.

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

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

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

Oh fuck.

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

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

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

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

It is both of us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am a very good liar.

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

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

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

Why is everyone more important than me?

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

I don’t matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m on the verge of collapse.

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

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

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

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

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

I’m hurting so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Moms and art and adoption

I’m saving my hand spoons for other work; that’s why I’m not writing much lately. I’ve made progress on the kitchen painting. Last time I guesstimated I thought I had 20 hours of painting left. Then I did 6 hours. I think I have 14 hours to go. There have been a bunch of times over the years when I’ve sized up a project and thought “24 work hours” or whatever and I’ve been right to within an hour. I’m really good at guessing how much work something will take. *pat self on back*

I have finished the monkey. I think. Maybe. I’m not in love with the face. I still need to fix the banana tree as per the criticism from my submissive. He’s all, “Let me tell you about banana trees.” He used to work on a banana farm. Mine isn’t done yet apparently. Ok. I’ll fix it.

My pot consumption is way the hell down. I’m thrilled. My taper plus abstinent periods have had a major impact on my tolerance. Yay! At this point I’m using 1/4 as much in a whole day as I used to use in my first smoke of the day. That’s a massive decrease. I’m using at the rate of less than an 1/8/week. That’s a huge drop for me. That’s… that’s pregnancy sustainable.

Do I like the fact that I use drugs during my pregnancies? Well… I use less harsh drugs than other doctors would really prefer I be on. I get through my life with a lot of sheer force of will. Doctors would like me chemically regulated so that my emotions are not so extreme and every single medication these fucking doctors suggest is significantly worse than pot for a pregnancy. I don’t have a great option here. But I’m using at a rate that isn’t particularly problematic again. In my judgmental as fuck stoner opinion. Uhm, I’m not judging someone else’s tolerance. I’m saying for me.

I’m using at a rate I will feel comfortable with for myself. Other people are totally allowed to have their own acceptable rates based on their needs and preferences.

I keep coming back to “Well at least I’m not increasing my drug usage during each pregnancy like my mom did…”

My mom used to joke that with her first pregnancy, she didn’t even smoke cigarettes let alone another drug and no alcohol. During her second pregnancy she smoked cigarettes and had alcohol. During her third pregnancy she smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and smoked pot. By her fourth pregnancy (me) she did all that plus speed. She would follow this up with, “And you are the smartest kid I had! So see, drug usage isn’t all that bad.”

I’m not being like my mom…

I will admit I don’t 100% abstain from alcohol with my pregnancies. But I have like 5 glasses of wine per pregnancy (not within a week or anything). That’s well within acceptable tolerances based on research.

Fuck. I’m not good at this whole abstinent life thing.

Guess what else I forking do? I eat soft cheeses. Nyah nyah.

I’m seeing my nasal surgeon today. I got a massive nosebleed this weekend and I called his office to see if they thought I should come in. The nurse started off with “His notes say you probably don’t need to be checked.” “Let me describe how much blood came out of my nose on Saturday.” “You should come in tomorrow.”

Oh, thank you.

I suspect we shouldn’t try for pregnancy until I get my nose under control. There is a substantial change in blood volume in the body during pregnancy and right now… my nose isn’t doing so hot. I don’t think a surge in blood volume would be awesome.

Damnit. And Noah is no longer shooting blanks so we have to…. use condoms for a while. Wheeeee.

It’s like the good old days.

I’m hopeful we can get started trying in November. *cross fingers* Don’t worry. I’ll tell y’all more details than you want to hear. Maybe.

I will definitely keep updating the tally: 7 months of trying, 4 pregnancies so far.

I may have a lot of problems, fertility isn’t on the list.

I’d kinda like to be done with remodel stuff when I get pregnant. This work is hard on my back and body. I don’t want to do it while pregnant very much. Oh god. Especially because all of my body work will pretty much go away in the first trimester. It’s too risky. Massage can absolutely trigger miscarriage. Both of my miscarriages were right after massages (I doubt they were related) but that history means my massage therapists say they won’t work on me till I’m about 16 weeks. Sob.

I watched Poverty, Inc on Netflix. It’s a documentary about how foreign aid is keeping people in poverty internationally. It covers things like up to 80% of all children who are internationally adopted have living parents and they are in orphanages due to poverty.

Adoption is fucking complicated. I’m not saying it shouldn’t exist at all. I’m saying… it’s really complicated and fraught. I’m saying it’s not like buying a car where it is “yours” now. There are people who make wonderful families through adoption. There are people who are adopted who love their adopted parents and never feel any lack in life. There are lots of other less pleasant endings.

I get through life through sheer force of will. I don’t know that I could manage to extend that halo to a child who had serious problems. Serious attachment disorder problems in particular and when you adopt… it’s a roll of the dice. I am great at teaching children who have a wide variety of mental or physical health problems… as long as they attach. It’s something I’ve noticed about myself. The kids who don’t attach… I keep my distance and I’m not that much help for them. I saw it in school. I saw it with my students. The children who attach… I can help. The ones who don’t… I completely fail them.

There are people who work well with kids/adults who have attachment problems. I’ve been blessed to witness some of these exchanges. I fail.

Why do I feel so drawn to fostering then? Because it feels different. If I fail them… it’s… kinda more expected that some foster parents fail. You can try a different foster family if one isn’t a fit. If you adopt someone and they no longer have a fall back position… that’s fucking traumatizing. A failed foster family placement isn’t awesome but it isn’t quite as damaging as a failed adoption. I say as someone with many failed foster family placements.

I feel I could foster a kid and be present with them for how much they miss their mother and how unfair life is. It would break my heart to adopt a kid and never be enough to fill that hole.

I am selfish.

I miss my mother so much. No surrogate mother has ever done much to fill this terrible hole in my heart. I’ve god damn tried. But everyone… fades away. I’m too much. Too demanding. Too needy. I was too hard as a kid and I’m an adult now and I need to take care of myself.

I’m 35 years old and I’m still waking up at 4am to cry about missing my mother.

I want to be seen in a way that only my mother would have been able to see me if she had actually known me throughout my life. The way that the parents of my students see them. (We went to a party with former students and their entire extended families. Their families are so thrilled I’m still around. I’m even in tight with the grandparents.)

I want my mama to see my art and feel proud that I came out of her.

I want my mama to see my children and feel proud that we came from her.

I can’t give her that.

Yesterday Eldest Child asked about writing a letter to my mom. I would send it. I don’t think I am in a place where I can write to her yet… but I won’t prevent a letter from my kid.

I will actively prevent contact with my sister. She participated in the rapes of her children. She is not allowed near my children. Period. But my mother… sending her a letter isn’t a problem. Especially if I don’t write it.

There is a part of me that is sad that I passed up the opportunity to ask my sister if she’d like to step outside for that fist fight she wanted to start when I was pregnant. I am not a mature or adult person.

Instead when I saw her I looked at the floor and treated her like she wasn’t present. Like she was a non person.

Maybe I’m a little mature.

Sure, you can validate me.

Well that was fucking awesome. Eldest Child had her evaluation at Stanford today. They told me everything I wanted to hear, everything I expected to hear, and then lots of nice things thrown in for a cherry on top.

Specifically: yes this child has ADHD. Both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive so she’s not one of those one sided ADD children.

Also: verbally she is incredibly high, right at the gifted level and academically she is all over the map. Her reading is at grade level (HA! That happened JUST RECENTLY) and her writing and math are both at first grade level. I said, “That makes sense because she’s working on the 1st grade workbooks in both of those areas.” They suggested that if she doesn’t catch up by the end of the school year I might want to investigate resources in the school district for helping in those areas. They think she might have a learning disability but they suspect that whatever I’m doing is helping her deal with it to the point where it isn’t particularly diagnosable at this point.

That was what I wanted to hear and what I expected to hear. That was very validating.

Then they threw in a bunch of nice stuff like, “We rarely get to see children as happy as her; it’s a real treat.” “I kinda wish you could teach classes to our other families, you really have a lot of this figured out.” “Most of the recommendations we are going to send you are things you are already doing–good job.”

All of the doctors we spoke to expressed that in their opinion with different parents or if she was in school… she would be struggling emotionally and academically. They said, “She is very lucky that you have been willing to build a whole world around her needs. It’s a wonderful thing to see.”

I honestly didn’t expect to get this much of a pat on the back. They literally had nothing to say that I was doing blatantly wrong.

I’m so forking glad that we did this.

White trash

I don’t know about you, but I am a social animal. I am so social that for many years I put myself in position after position to be abused because that was the only way I could understand social contact. I expected abuse. I would go so far as to say that I actively sought it out and tried to bring it into my life.

Abuse is… abuse is dramatic and exciting and volatile in a way I expected and needed from life. I went from periods of extreme isolation–the kind that is proven in prisons and mental hospitals and orphanages to cause extreme breaks in the mind–to periods of needing social contact so bad I would seek out the most extreme sorts I could find.

Is it my fault I was abused? Let us say that if abuse is a dance I was not always an unwilling partner.

Most of the men who raped me as an adult were people I wanted to have in my life. They were mostly people with whom I was eager to have sex. But I required a condom for my protection and theirs. I am one of the scariest vectors of potential disease in my community. The other trampiest people usually are around half my numbers. I default to safe choices because I love the people I sleep with and I need to consider their health.

I am thinking about this right now in context of how weird life is.

What does it mean to be treated like trash? It means that your life is not important. You are replaceable. You are just here to (be a hole/fill a role/do a piece of work) and when your usefulness is over you will be replaced.

I have dated more than one person who has shown me a series of photos from their past and all the women look the same and there are pictures of them doing the exact same thing… sometimes in the same clothing.

My family didn’t want me and made that clear. I’ve… been the fill in the blank woman.

I am hard because if I don’t maintain myself to a certain level so that I can find a different position somewhere else where I can be a differently effective tool…. Well this is the closest I have to a survival instinct. I still have work in me. Don’t throw me away yet. I know I’m not that shiny. I know I’m bent and deformed and prickly about how I am used… but I have value. Please need to have me around.

It has been fascinating over the last few weeks to have the din of self hatred in my head be gone. Worthless isn’t coursing through my neurons anymore. See, drugs aren’t all bad. I see much more clearly the various ways in which I am useful.

did get to grow up and be Mary Poppins. Only they are my children. Children do think their parents are perfect. Mine can now joke about knowing that I mess up and knowing that I’m not perfect… but they still express shock every time they witness a demonstration because in their heart I am perfect.

Holy shit.

I really like being a parent. I am grateful I get to be a parent with time and enough money and a secure place to live. We know a large majority of our neighborhood and they express happiness for our presence in the neighborhood.

I was given a tea plant for my birthday because I am nice to my neighbors. I feel like I have done something with the time I’ve had here.

I know that I was treated like I was disposable because now I have felt what it means to be treated like I have intense value. I know that my ability to have had the life I’ve had has largely been because of the color of my skin because I live in a racist system that will give a second chance to a piece of trash if it can pass into the main group without being visibly different.

I may be a bunch of weird things… but I don’t by and large look it. I look like I have been middle class or higher most of my life. I can code switch my language and sound knowledgable around a freakish variety of people.

I’m not treated like I’m disposable anymore. It is an odd experience.

It is odd knowing that I am raising children who have never had a single moment of feeling disposable. How can more people get to their level of safety? What about the kids who are growing up like me? How can they be seen more? I don’t know. But feeling a quietness inside my head makes me want to work a lot harder to find people who need help dealing with incest.

Once I grow up. Once I can actually have more of an idea what the stages of development feel like. I need to know what they mean for me so that I can hear what they mean for other people without interrupting. If I’m still trying to get to where they are… I will be self focused when I listen. It is part of my ability to be patient with children and not with adults who are older than me. I have a hard time being nice when I think someone “should” be better at something than me because they’ve had more time to practice. I am finally to the point where I am not a total asshole about t his because I’ve noticed that people are always asynchronous in their learning. Not knowing something is more normal than not. Just be glad they are trying to learn now.

But I’m impatient and an asshole so being nice is a challenge. When my friends are being kind they say I don’t suffer fools gladly.

I am feeling grateful for what I get to do with my house. I’m also feeling very narcissistic. Other people don’t demand turning their entire house into a lived art experience. But I am. I have had a kind of luck most people don’t get to have. I did figure out how to stop feeling like I deserved abuse and I have ended every relationship that was hurting me.

I may be impatient and chafe at boundaries in my life but by and large I have chosen them. I may have to figure out how to renegotiate some corners of the boundaries… I have really sucked at doing that this year. I have made a number of mistakes I need to make once.

What will the future look like? I don’t know. But I know it is from a perspective of not being even a little bit disposable. Really I am the linchpin. If I go the whole mechanism will break. Or really it will depend how I go.

I chose to bring children into the world knowing that I come from a whole many generations of intense abuse/mental health problems dna pool. I knew that the brain is malleable. I knew that as much as there are genetic predispositions but nurture matters too.

I’m not perfect. I’m not really supposed to be. I’m trying to show what it means to be good enough given the strictures of the world we live in. How do we go about changing this world? There are processes. Let’s talk about them.

What can we do to help other people know that they are not disposable either?

It’s a big hard topic. It’s going to take a lot of years to unpack. I need to think about it as I grow up. Growing up hurts. But if I want to be able to think about other people properly… I have to.

No real time…

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

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

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

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

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