Apparently I was quoted in an article on Salon.com
Apparently I was quoted in an article on Salon.com
Many… many years ago I copied the idea of a users guide from my friend because I know that I am difficult to figure out when it comes to sex sometimes. I’m picky and fussy and just generally demanding. Therefore it seems like a lovely idea to have some sort of cheat sheet about how to handle me in general. Some of these things I have figured out on my own, some of these things I have had pointed out to me by friends and/or lovers/husband, some of these things are constantly in flux and will no longer be true in just a few months. Of course this is a living document and therefore subject to change and revision without notice. Just because something is in here doesn’t mean you should assume that for now and all times this is the only thing I like/want/don’t like etc. After the roller coaster that was pregnancy and giving birth, I promise you things change in my body over time.
A. Before sex (including courtship/getting to know one another)
1. Just meeting and assumptions.
2. Appearance stuff and attraction.
f. Oral Hygiene
3. STIs/safer sex
b. Ways to turn me on
B. During sex (including bdsm play)
1. Oral sex
5. Group Sex
8. Care of the delicate bits
C. After sex. (including relationship level interactions)
A. Before Sex
1. Just getting acquainted
Never assume that you are going to get to go to bed with me. Yes, I go to bed with quite a few people—that doesn’t mean I will choose you. I expect and require that people treat me as an equal, and more importantly as an intelligent, thoughtful, responsible human being until otherwise negotiated. Please don’t act like I ought to be honored to teach you whatever it is you want to know about play/sex/whatever. I have taught classes and initiated virgins and newbies alike. I’ve put in my time to the community. I can coast on doing what pleases me and only what pleases me.
b. Specifics in a Having-Kids-Lifestyle
I don’t have a lot of free time. What free time I have is mostly spent alone because I have a very high intensity life that requires me to be well regulated emotionally despite stress. I can’t focus on getting to know new adults in a really concentrated way. I’m not flakey, but I don’t have much availability. And to be honest I’m a little flakey. My priority at this stage of my life is being nice to my kids. I have to keep the rest of my life quiet enough for that to happen or I have to drop other stuff. That is the deal for another ten years.
2. Appearance stuff and attraction
Once upon a time I said that I prefer clean shaven men, but that has radically changed during my adulthood. My opinion now varies tremendously based on personal attitude, grooming standards, and just plain what suits each face. As for the hair on other peoples heads: I don’t care anymore. I barely notice. I’m interested in your mind. I like body hair on anyone. Pubic hair doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I sometimes shave large portions of my body. I sometimes skip shaving for over a year at a go. You have to be totally ok with either or go away.
My weight goes up and down in a 40 pound range like a yo yo. Almost annually. You can’t be attracted to me for a specific look of my body. It will be different next month. I don’t know what the fork is up with it. Yes, I talk to doctors about it. I like people with bodies. I like fat bodies. I am…more appreciative of slender bodies than I used to be, but I still prefer some heft. I used to be a bit hung up on height and now I don’t care. I like people.
I am a cis-gender woman. If you haven’t picked up on the fact that I am queer then you haven’t been reading closely. I have had strong attractions to people at every point on the gender spectrum. I am completely comfortable having sexual contact that begins with, “What words do you want me to use for your body parts and how do you want me to touch you?” because I can’t guess. Everyone is unique.
d. Cocks (What the hell—since I am listing my preferences…)
Everyone should remember that the vagina is all about potential space. Yes, it can technically stretch, but in a normal resting spot it isn’t particularly large. My body doesn’t stretch terribly well or willingly (even after giving birth to two children) so I am not a fan of overly large cocks. Period. If it is going to cause my jaw to be sore within five minutes of oral sex I will probably experience a lot of pain during sex and that isn’t good for me. I am so not a size queen. I do not have lower limits on the size of cocks I can figure out how to enjoy. Not all sex is about penis in vagina sex. But I do have upper limits. Ow. No thank you. It’s not personal.
This is complicated. I am aware that I am most comfortable treating heterosexual white men like pieces of meat. If I fuck them and don’t call later… I don’t feel real bad. I have major hang ups around using people of color and women and gender ambiguous people in the same way. I feel tremendous shame and guilt around hurting already marginalized people. Which is to say… I really like having sex with people who are not het white men. I have a hard time approaching them. I don’t want to hurt them and I am less clear on the boundaries. I err on the side of not being a using asshole. But if you are interested… let me know.
f. Oral Hygiene
YES. Bad breath/teeth that look unclean is really really really repellent to me. I generally won’t kiss someone with bad breath. I will elect not to even if you are a nice person. Just no. I smoke pot and that has impact on my mouth. I do not mind kissing other people who smoke pot. I still really am not fond of kissing tobacco smokers. I don’t like the taste at all.
3. STIs/safer sex
The first thing that ought to happen in foreplay is a discussion of STI’s and safer sex expectations. I have honestly not been tested that recently but I was monogamous until the last month so I don’t feel too guilty. I’ll get back on a regular testing schedule. My habit is every six months if I am being promiscuous. (As of 4/2 waiting on results but I have been in for testing.)
I am a big proponent of the idea that we are having “safer” sex. The only safe sex is with your hand. There is risk involved in the play I do and I acknowledge it and try to minimize it. I do not have a desire to play with people who are in denial about said risk.
Gloves… ok honestly we probably won’t be 100% sticklers about gloves but we do use them in party environments because they are safer and more hygienic in a group atmosphere.
Condoms are not negotiable.
I have HPV. I have tested clean since 2003, but technically you always kinda have it? I am very very very upfront with this information. I am happy to provide you with access to information. You are an adult and you make your own decisions based on how much of a risk you are willing to take. Given the prevalence of HPV I think it isn’t that big of a deal, but I don’t have to live in your body for the next umpteen years and you do. I never want someone to regret having been intimate with me and I will defer to the stricter preference for barriers. I also test positive for HSV1, commonly known as oral herpes. I have had a few cold sores as an adult but they are rare and I feel them coming.
This is really funny… but I feel like I should start tracking this on my period application on my phone. How much breast stimulation, and what kind, varies dramatically through the month. There are days when I will claw your eyes out if you brush near them too hard. There are days when I really want gentle stimulation and lots of it. There are days I want to be hurt very badly. Sigh. I married the most wonderful, flexible guy.
I love playing with breasts/tits. I like on the rough end but I’m not married to it.
b. Ways to turn me on
First and foremost: talk to me. Tell me how hot you think I am. Tell me what you want to do to me. Tell me what you are doing while you are doing it. Just hearing you narrate how wet I am when you slide your finger into my cunt will increase the quantity of wetness. Read me porn. Have me read you porn. My brain is the most potent sexual organ in my body. Pay attention to it. Do you know why I like having sex with my friends? Because the ones I have sex with are the ones who have spent years buttering me up talking about what they like from sex.
Stroke my legs, particularly behind my knees. It is very easy to turn me on when I am lying on my stomach and my legs and back are stroked lightly. This is by far the most sensuous activity for me. I love having my neck and head stroked gently. It’s not a massage–it’s… waking up sensual contact.
Biting is hard. I like it but I get hurt really badly too easily in a way that causes me to go to dark mental places and I dissociate. It isn’t off the table… but it’s complicated. Be really careful. Watch me. Make sure I am still “there”.
Tell me how to please you. I love having someone tell me how to get them off—it will usually be enough to get me off. An awful lot of what I get out of sex with people other than my husband is that thrilling feeling of, “Hey here is someone I haven’t practiced on for years and I’m still talented enough to get them off. Yay!” So lots of instructions about what you want and how you want will… turn me into butter. (Once you have permission to talk to me like this. If I indicate a boundary you had better back off like you hit an electric fence or you’ll get the full taser.[not literally])
B. During Sex
1. Oral sex
I like giving blowjobs. A lot a lot a lot. I like them the most if there is some degree of being “forced” involved. I’m not talking about serious forcing, but pushing my head down on your cock is going to get me all wet. Telling me to suck your cock will get me all wet. Asking me politely if I would mind will probably cause me to lose interest in giving you oral sex. If I do it at all it will be a lackluster job and I dislike performing poorly. OH! These suggestions apply to people I have already had sex with. If I have not had sex with you, you bloody well need to ask. For those of you who have already had sex with me, guiding my head down slowly is giving me plenty of time to say, “Not today.”
For the record: if I have given you a blow job I consider you one of my sexual partners. None of this “oral sex doesn’t count as sex” crap. Don’t bloody ever tell me that we haven’t really had sex. You have fucked my body and probably (hopefully) come inside me. We have had sex. Sure, it was a different hole. Whoopie. It was still penetrative sex. Don’t worry about asking me if it is ok to come in my mouth. If I like you enough to let your dick in my mouth, I’m happy to have you come. I do prefer being told when it is happening so I can synch my breathing, but it is just a preference.
I do have a strong gag reflex and if I seriously fight to bring my head back after you have forcibly shoved my head down on your cock… let me go. I may be on my way to run to the bathroom and vomit. It has happened. It will probably happen again. I’m ok with this. Please don’t let the possibility of this happening prevent you from fucking my mouth with enthusiasm. It is great for me. This being said, I’m not terribly thrilled with having a relationship centered solely around me giving blow jobs. I will eventually feel kind of used (after a year of being in that kind of relationship I really didn’t like him anymore and I didn’t like me much more).
I haven’t played with someone who had a cunt in many years. Sigh. I remember them fondly.
Also: I really like getting oral sex while wearing a strap on. That is fucktastically hot.
I am old, cranky, and in chronic pain. There are times when I am up for acrobatic porn-star sex. There are days when it is, “I am here. What more do you want from me?” I can be fun enough whatever my range for the day. But you will have to respect where my body is on a given day. Your fantasies take a back seat to my physical limitations.
In this post kid era, there are times when penetrative sex alone is not enough to get me off. Mr Hitachi, however, never lets me down. (Well, Mr. Hitachi IV is dying a pathetic death right now so he is in fact letting me down. But I have Mr. Hitachi V lined up and he is just dreamy.) I think the point of me having sex is so that I can get off. I know that other people have different beliefs about the purpose of sex, that is fine for them. I’m here to get off. If I’m not going to get off with you alone I will not hesitate to whip out my friend. Don’t worry. You will like the feeling of me orgasming enough to get over your ego at not being able to do it alone. It isn’t you. My body is kinda annoying at this stage. (For the record, when I want to be fucked while using a vibrator I almost always want to be face down.)
Complicated. Once upon a time I spent a lot of time tying people up and being tied up. It isn’t really Noah’s thing so I don’t really do it any more. But I miss it fiercely. I really like being tied up. I really like being suspended. I really really like being suspended and fucked. Oh the good old days.
5. Group sex
Why yes, I would love to engage in group sex. Thank you for asking. I will make everyone talk more than they feel comfortable talking about wants, limits, permission, consent, etc. Because I need to hear all of those things said out loud. But then hell yeah.
What a difference ten years makes. Wow. Reading my old section here…. delete.
I am in a marriage that has power differential within tightly negotiated boundaries as we model a highly egalitarian marriage in front of our children. It will change after they grow up and we don’t have to look like such nice people any more. We have plans. Ahem.
I uhm, appear to have distinct interest in exactly one submissive man. How the hell did that happen? So I’m really not hunting for more in that department. I think my dance card will be full.
If I am playing with you on a more one-off basis it is very ok to negotiate for a D/s dynamic and tell me what kinds of things you fantasize about. I can be almost anyone for an hour.
Post-children my body has changed dramatically and I honestly don’t know what I like. Well, I know I still like single tails and canes. Those are my perennial favorites. My husband doesn’t know how to use a single tail. Do you? Choking is completely off the table. I have pre-stroke symptoms that are very concerning and I have young children. We cannot risk my life.
8. Care of the delicate bits
Due to some of the stuff that happened when I was very young I have a whole lot of scar tissue throughout my vagina/labia/anus. Scar tissue is like a dotted line in the skin that means, “Please tear here.” Despite my very strong desire for rough, and rougher, and rougher sex… I can’t actually handle all that I would like to handle. (Damnit.) Don’t pull roughly on my labia. Don’t pull my ass cheeks apart with any speed or force. Just DON’T. I will tear open and it will hurt and hurt and that will mostly curtail sex for hours if not days. It sucks ass and so I try to avoid massive tearing. Gentle handling of the bits is important.
That is the paragraph from the pre-kids era. The only update I will give to that is: having children did do some work to break up the internal scar tissue inside my vagina. (Hurray!) But I am still delicate in a way you would not expect from someone with my overall temperament. I’m a fragile toy. Treat me with care.
C. After Sex/play
Immediately after sex/play I will want to breathe and hug for a few minutes. I will want a check in email afterwards for any bdsm play–I do not need it for vanilla sex. I like being friends with people but that has to happen around my schedule. It is highly limited. I’m not rejecting you. I’m dealing with the fact that right now my life is about figuring out how to be healthy around my kids and that is much harder for me than you might think. It takes a lot of time and energy. It is very important to me that I do this right. It will remain my focus for quite some time.
It has been occurring to me for a few weeks that I should probably buy some clothes before the road trip. This is because I do not have a pair of non-yoga pants that fit me. All but one of my “casual” dresses has multiple holes in the seams and they are fraying. The one casual dress that is still in good shape… I’ve had since I was 14. I need to find a seamstress and have them make four copies of this dress and I’ll be set for clothes for life. But that one dress isn’t going to be enough clothing for a five month trip—even though it is awesome. I am not especially comfortable in yoga pants and t-shirts because “Why yes, this is my butt. Why don’t you COMMENT ON IT BECAUSE APPARENTLY IF A WOMAN WEARS FUCKING YOGA PANTS ASSHOLES HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMMENT ON HER BUTT.”
Being at the con is fascinating for me on this front. I dressed up more than usual. I have read lots of studies about how people treat women better if they dress better. When I’m feeling scared and unsure of myself, I’m more likely to put on makeup. Because I’m me, that means lipstick and eyeliner. I wipe anything else off by accident. Doesn’t look so hot after a while. I can keep on lipstick and eyeliner.
In the past when I’ve gone to conventions dressed very schlub-like (as in: more normal for me) people didn’t talk to me much. I haven’t walked more than a few feet this time without people wanting to talk.
I like wearing knee length dresses over yoga pants. That’s kind of the ideal coverage for me. Folks don’t comment on my ass and I still have as much comfort plus freedom of movement. In this environment I look quite conservative, which is sorta funny to me. I look so unusual compared to the crowd that women feel free to tell me that I’m overdressed and how I must by overheating. Uhm, actually I’m cold.
Just because I’m at a convention does not mean I should be running around in a bikini or similar cosplay. Not My Scene. (I’m totally ok with folks doing that. I’m not hating! I just don’t want to be told I should be doing it just because other people might enjoy looking at me dressed that way. Your fantasy should stay in your head and I shouldn’t have to hear about it.)
This con has been a weird hybrid space for me. Lots of the adults are con-regulars. They go to lots of kinds of conventions and the conversations get pretty racy. There are also a lot of kids here. This is hard for me to handle. So far I’ve been directing my kids away from festive conversations “They are talking about boring grown up stuff” or I try to watch my mouth in front of the teenagers who are here.
Had an incident with Shanna and Calli running ahead of the child care people to get on an elevator alone. Cue heart attack. Layers of adults were upset. Shanna…. Kid…. This needs to stop. This is not the first time this month you have run off. I think the leash is going to have to be tightened up a lot because you are not behaving responsibility. If you want a longer leash and more responsibility, you need to bloody well act like you can handle it. Right now that isn’t happening. If I spent over an hour (cumulatively) in the past month searching for you because you disappeared… this is becoming a problem. No. No. No. It has happened on multiple outings.
Do you really want to go back to not being allowed to be farther from me than being able to touch me? I thought we outgrew that space. But we can go right back to it if necessary! It is more important to me to keep you safe than to give you distance. You bet your buttons little missy. At like 10 we can renegotiate checking in before you wander off. Not at 6. Not when we are places we have never been before. No.
I bought too many books. By “too many” I mean… it’s a good thing Noah came on Friday and brought a load of books back with him mid-weekend because I bought more and I probably would not have been able to get them all home on public transit alone….
I found SO MANY wonderful looking books I’ve never heard of. And many of the authors were right in front of me! How could I turn down such an opportunity.
For the record: I am not alone at the conference with the kids. Sarah has been a lifesaver on so many levels. She did kid programming with the kids while I was doing panels. She hangs out with them when I want to do stuff. This is so awesome. I am having a lot of fun and a lot of that is because of Sarah’s company and help. I’ve missed her a lot.
It is funny to me how relationships drift and change. There are folks who have passionately made declarations of loyalty and love to me. Most of them have left nothing but a vapor trail to remember them by. Some people have said, “Motherfucker you treat me right or I’m walking”… and mostly they are still here. Because I’m working hard on how to treat them. I think it is important that they be treated well and I’m really sorry when I fuck up.
I feel guilty for waking Sarah up so early this morning. Otherwise it’s been a great trip. This convention has been wonderfully fun for me.
Reading kids books was fun and it was a super good idea that I brought a whole stack. We went through lots. I thought that one of my co-readers in particular put me to shame. She works at a childrens book store and she can read upside down so the kids can see the pictures better. I’m so spoiled with sitting on a couch with two kids. Totally different reading experience. I suppose saying she shamed me is an awful way of putting it. Ok, better reframe: I saw someone truly inspirational. She was amazing at reading aloud and making it accessible to kids. She also picked hilarious books I will have to look around for and get. I will try to steal tricks from someone who is so wise in the management of young feral animals. The other reader brought some really interesting books. I will look for the one on Chinese musical instruments. And his other book, The Shy Creatures went through all kinds of nifty, historical, fantastic monsters. It would be a great introduction to all sorts of Western Lit stuff.
I was alright. I had too much caffeine so I was literally shaking the whole time. Good things kids don’t care. I was “a little tired”. Next time I’m a “little tired” I’m having more tea and not a damn Foosh mint.
Then I went to the imposter syndrome panel! Apparently we were up against the most popular event on the schedule. Whoops. But we had a full room! People were standing against the back wall and sitting on the floor on the sides! That was SO COOL! Not that they were there for my star power or anything. But it was great to have a packed room. I’ve been to lots of panels with 3 person audiences. They turn into group discussions instead of panels.
The chair of the convention asked me to moderate, which is my idea of a good time. So I wrote up a document with information about imposter syndrome statistics and data, ways to deal with it, and ways to assess how much danger you are really in. I made a point of saying that there is a difference between imposter syndrome and feeling incompetent. If you have a long and impressive resume and you tell yourself that you suck… you have imposter syndrome. If you haven’t done anything yet…. you don’t have imposter syndrome you have low self esteem. BUT! The treatment for low self esteem looks VERY SIMILAR to the treatment for imposter syndrome so let’s tackle both problems.
I talked about how to tell the difference between ambient fear/anxiety that “I’m not good enough” vs. evaluating that some demographics are in *real danger* when they write. You need to honor the fear that is trying to keep you alive. There are reasons for some demographics to be terrified. It *is* dangerous. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are being melodramatic. Writers are killed to be silenced on a fairly regular basis. History is littered with such stories.
I talked about how different people have different intersections to explain and why that is so important. Often in that intersectional identity is where you feel the most repression and you must get over it. Your voice must be heard. You are needed.
We talked about dealing with emotional blocks. We offered suggestions from video games to hysterical crying. Truly we covered all the bases. Ha. (Obviously I was the crier.)
Afterwards a bunch of people came up and told me they got a lot out of the panel and they were so glad to hear me speak.
Also, yesterday in the con suite I had a long chat with another mom. We were both in the disabilities in writing panel and she mentioned having a disabled son and how that impacts her life/reading/writing/etc. When I saw her later I felt a little awkward interrupting… she was sitting there typing and minding her own business. But it was super wonderful. We had a great chat. We talked about dealing with the special ed system and home schooling and unschooling and benefits and pitfalls. We talked about having PTSD and managing that.
I love conventions. I meet such interesting people.
I specifically love writing conventions because THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE TOLD ME COLLEGE WOULD BE LIKE only they were fucking liars. Smart people getting together to have fun conversations about books. My college experience wasn’t much like that. But how much of it is my fault because I went through college sleeping in a steel cage.
Ok, I didn’t sleep in the cage every night. It hurt my back too much. It was only 3’x3’x4′. When I wasn’t in the cage I was chained to the foot of the bed. I wasn’t sitting out all night long having fun conversations about books.
Maybe this is why I love conventions so much. It is the ideal of what college could be if college weren’t so shitty.
Kind of like how every once in a while there is a positive medical experience and you’re like WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME?!
Next con, I am not going to have working shifts on every day. It means I miss a lot of stuff because I’m in transition periods to and from work shifts and I can’t really engage in other things. 6 hours of working split over three days doesn’t sound like a lot. But it always blocks me from doing things I want to do… I like volunteering. I’m not complaining about helping. But I think I need to work on how I schedule my time.
I feel like this convention has been very positive for me. I’ve had a lot of fun. I have felt included in community. I have felt like my tribe is happy to have me back. I’ve run into a lot of folks I met when I was 19. It is shocking to me how happy they are to see me. They are thrilled to meet my kids. They want to hear all about home schooling.
Sometimes I think I am entirely blind to what I mean to other people. I really don’t see or understand the impact I have on other people. They are interested in me–even though I think everyone has no use for me. A lady writer I have admired for many years said, “Send me an email. We need to have dinner together. I want to spend more time with you and your wonderful children.” My heart went pitter patter. She’s one of those awesome educators that taught me about having boundaries and having a self. And she wants to come hang out with me and have dinner.
Squee, flap hands, jump up and down, all those mature things. Yes. Yes I will invite you over.
Because clearly I have buckets of free time. But, like the smallest chicken says in Chicken Big “But we’ll make room!”
Today is our last day of the con. I work in child care. Not sure if I will see another panel. The final panel I could go see is one that I was supposed to be on but I backed out because I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not sure I can name any Sci/Fi Fantasy books set in suburbia…
That’s ok. The kids and I can go swimming instead. I arranged for late check out so that pool access will be easy. Whee!
It has been a good weekend. A really good weekend. I remember why I used to go to these sorts of things more often. I’m a writer. I like talking to other writers. We are a weird breed. In particular this crowd is very ok with the mentally ill existing. I feel safe here. I feel like announcing that I have PTSD is just a way for more people to know to introduce themselves and say, “Me too.” I don’t get shamed here. I don’t get put down. No one makes fun of me for being crazy. The attitude is a sage nod of the head and “That sounds hard.”
I love my tribe.
When I’m not posting. I still haven’t successfully found additional baby-sitting. I’m trying. I either helped out our nice handyman or I got screwed by a con artist. I’ll find out next week. The wait as I find out is excruciating.
Shanna is now in size 7 and Calli is wearing size 6. Holy toledo. Calli turns 4 in another week and a half. Shanna is 6 1/4. I think Calli will be taller in the long run.
Stuff brewing with my shrink. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to keep seeing her. Festivity. This isn’t *about me* but it involves me and there might be fall out and fuss. It’s not my fault there are sometimes consequences for talking about clients in ways you shouldn’t. Not my story to tell.
We went to a party for one of Noah’s oldest friends last night. Ran into his ex who has become a good friend. (That lot went to college together.) I feel kind of funny that I still identify this nice lady as Noah’s ex-girlfriend. She’s married and has three kids. Why is that relationship from her past so important? Because it still defines how she came into my life. She is someone who can understand why Noah (the most important grown up in my life) is so lovable. That makes her different. She is going to share some of my innate biases, surely. There must be a kinship there. Ok, so she decided she didn’t want to marry him–that’s great for me! But there is still an ability to appreciate that not everyone has. Noah, much like me, is not always an easy person to like. People who are capable of liking us more than average are to be treasured.
Now everyone in the crowd has kids. Lots of kids. Our kids were the oldest in the pack and the current youngest is 4 months old with a pregnant woman due in December and several parents of onlies talking about when to start trying for new babies. Whoa. The crowd switched from non-breeders to ALL PARENTS ALL THE TIME really fast. We talked a lot about sleep deprivation. (Including the very hot guy I almost nailed right before we shut things down for the breeding period. Deep sigh. He’s still very cute. He seems kind of overwhelmed by parenthood. Heh. He’ll adjust.)
In some crowds I’m the only home schooler and that’s weird and people are kind of rude. In other crowds I’m the only home schooler and that’s interesting and they would love to hear why I make such choices. They aren’t necessarily going to be moved to change their own decisions, but it is interesting to hear about other peoples lives. Guess which kind of crowd I like hanging out with more? Last night was definitely of the, “I don’t understand but I’m curious” blend. It felt so nice. I’ve been feeling really defensive.
I DON’T THINK EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD HOME SCHOOL. IT WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE. When I talk about home schooling I am NOT TRYING TO RECRUIT. I DON’T GIVE A SHIT HOW YOU RAISE YOUR KIDS. (I mean, if you live within five miles of me I might half-heartedly hint that it would be cool if you home schooled because, hey–resources! Otherwise I truly don’t care because I won’t be driving to your house to hang out a lot anyway.)
I don’t think home schooling is THE BEST or THE ONLY way of raising kids. It is just the way that works best for my family for a lot of reasons that don’t necessarily apply to other people.
Tell me about this preschool your kid is in. You seem to be excited about the process. Lots of it sounds fun. I’m totally enthusiastic about you doing this. Put your kid in preschool and work. That’s important. Truly. I’m not criticizing.
I think my daughters need to see that women work too. Not all women live like me. Their Godmama is starting medical school right now. The kids are looking at the pictures and thinking, “Yeah. I could do that. I can be like Aunt Kitten.” Their lives aren’t going to look like mine. (Not because mine is shitty–they have different interests.) My kids will probably be working parents if they have kids. I’m really grateful we know so many kick ass women who are modeling how to make that work.
Even if my kids argue when they are visiting, they still speak well of all the working moms in our lives. “Why can’t you be a nice mom like _____?” “Because you were not blessed in this lifetime. Let’s move on.”
Oh man. Since I borrowed my friend’s stick shift I have been itching to drive again. I hate automatics. I don’t feel like I’m driving. I’m steering at best. I want to drive. Oh man she had a fun car. I keep finding my hand going to the stick shift. Then I sigh and let my hand drop. Nothing to do in my stupid boring mini van. Deep sigh. The memory of a fun, zippy blue car keeps me smiling.
I am not being good about training for the 10k. I wonder if I will get more serious as I get closer to the half marathon or full marathon. (Next half marathon: 14 weeks. Next full marathon: 7 months.)
Sometimes I’m supposed to run 3 miles on two consecutive days. Some weeks I’m in a mood so I run 6 miles one day and nothing the other day. I’m not sure how useful that is. I feel like a sick, sick puppy because I’m really looking forward to the long training runs again.
I still remember the first time I ran 18 miles. The marathon was hard and shitty and I felt like crap. The first time I ran 18 miles I felt like a God. I felt so strong and capable and competent. I strutted when I walked for days. I CAN RUN EIGHTEEN FUCKING MILES MOTHERFUCKER! 26 was brutal in comparison. I’d like to get to the point of 26 miles feeling how 18 miles felt. An extra 8 miles is really rough. I don’t want it to be so rough.
My “goals”: 10k in 75 minutes. I’m running with a friend who is still working up. (She’s doing great!) Half marathon in 2:40. Full marathon better than 6 hours. That’s 46 minutes faster than my first marathon. It shaves almost 2 minutes off each mile meaning I will have to maintain faster than 15 min/mile. Doesn’t sound that hard. Ha. Piss off. You do it if it isn’t that hard. It’ll be hard. Very hard. But I can do it.
Lately my short runs are 13:30 minutes/mile or faster. I really want my short runs to be faster than 12 min/mile. I can’t shake this feeling that at some point in my life it will be necessary for me to run or I will die. It’s a horrible feeling but it puts some pep in my step.
I have already been a hunted animal. I do not have so much hubris as to believe it will never happen again.
I want to travel. I am white and a woman. There are going to be people who don’t like me on sight. Then you combine that with the fact that I rarely shut my fucking mouth. It doesn’t seem like paranoia. It seems like basic caution.
I am now officially in the database of potential speakers for RAINN (rape and incest national network), which I have mixed feelings about. But I’ll put my hat in the ring anyway. If they get a request for my area I will hear about it.
I still haven’t turned up a picture of me alone from within the last two years I can send in for the interview. Whinge.
I am making progress on back-stage stuff for the blog. I not show you now. Neiner. (That grammar error was on purpose.)
Sometimes I feel overwhelming anxiety because I’m redesigning my website. The number of things I teach myself to do is kind of crazy. Yes, lots of other people have already taught themselves this skill. I’ve been a serious asshole about resisting picking up computer skills over more than a decade.
I use word and a web browser and not much else! Damnit!! Only now it is becoming handy to know all this back end stuff. Shoot me now.
I have quite a few things I’m working on right now. I’m trying to put together a book of pictures of our house. I’m trying to figure out how to organize them. We are going to visit a lot of relatives who will never make it to our house. I’m a vain bastard and I like my house a lot. I want to be able to show the great grandmother what I’m doing and she will never travel again due to age.
I didn’t ever anticipate growing up to be an artist. I was pretty spiteful and nasty about the whole concept of art for most of my life. (That is what comes of having art teachers tell you that you are stupid for many years for not following their directions more carefully.) I’m big on shooting myself in the foot.
Hardly anyone gets to grow up how my kids do. They live in a weird little house where they get to ask for paintings on the wall (they help more by the year). Just about everything they can reach is kid friendly and they are allowed to grab at will. (They are tall so now there are a few things they just have to respectfully not touch.) They get to decide how they want to spend their time. They have only a few outside schedule impositions.
I’m pretty jealous of my kids. I didn’t have anything like this. But I get it now. I try to let that be enough. I think I’m nice to them even though I feel jealousy. I’m glad they are here as an excuse so I can live this way. I have to be grateful for that. I wouldn’t have allowed myself to do all this without kids. I’m really happy I get to live here doing this. I’m having a lot of fun.
I won’t know for decades if I did the right thing or not. That’s rather annoying. (And that is why no one should write parenting books while their kids are under five. I’m JUST SAYIN’.)
I think it is funny how my mental picture of my reading audience changes over time. I see how many page hits I get. I can tell when a new/random person shows up. (A lot of reading old entries, maybe following a tag for several entries.) Over time people volunteer “I haven’t been reading lately” or “Your blog is too much for me” or “Wow. You write a lot. It’s…. something. To read. Ahem.”
Hi. Thanks for slogging? I know it is random. Thus my desire to somewhat split the blog out pouring into more manageable for other people chunks. Maybe it will get easier. We’ll see!
I wonder too much about what other people think of me. I hope that I surprise people. I hope that they had dire predictions and then… I just… do better than they expected. I’ve been told over and over that people thought I would crash and burn. When I keep turning up at parties people are surprised. “You aren’t dead!” Not yet. More and more I hope I make it to a “natural” death. (i.e. one not caused by me.) My kids asked me to promise that I would never leave them on purpose. That’s a big promise.
I have held my right to end my pain as one of my most sacred rights. And now they want me to give it up. Just because they need me.
As I stay up late at night composing mental letters I wish I could send to my mommy I think… maybe their need is real. They aren’t pretending this love. They are too young to be able to maintain a charade.
Things are always changing rapidly here in Wonderland. Lots to do. Lots of stuff to learn. I feel so inadequate for the list of jobs in front of me. But I won’t get more adequate if I sit on my ass doing nothing. So I run towards each new difficult opportunity.
If you want to make sure we visit you on our cross country road trip you should probably email me pretty soon. I’m making reservations for some places starting in another month. I’m firming up a lot of plans. Yes, some people like to do things fly-by-night making it up as they go. I like going places that you have to reserve a year in advance or ha ha go somewhere else. That means making firm plans.
If we go the northern route then we won’t see friends in Utah. That would be a huge bummer. There is also a stop I’d like to make in Missouri. (Err, not because of the recent issues in Ferguson. Those are terrible and sad. I don’t intend to be a tourist next year to see the carnage. I know someone.)
So I’m making some decisions. If you are sure you want on the route, speak up soon or you may get skipped. That’s how life goes.
I’m trying very hard to rest my wrists and I’m failing because I want to interact with the world and the only way I do that is through typing. Damnit.
Apparently on March 1, 2012 the following (heavily edited to omit all personalizing details) letter was sent to Amazon Corporation, On-Demand Publishing LLC, Book Surge LLC, and On-Demand Publishing LLC.
DEMAND TO CEASE AND DESIST PUBLICATION OF:
NO SECRETS, NO SHAME, NO SILENCE by: Kristine Gibbs
Dear Sir or Madam:
This notice is to call your attention that your organization is publishing and distributiing (sic) a book authored by Kristine Gibbs entitled “NO SECRETS NO SHAME NO SILENCE”. The book puts forth information about myself which are misstatements, untruths, and SLANDERIOUS (sic). This information can adversely affect my professional repretation (sic) as well as the professional repretation (sic) of other family members. The information contained in the book has NOT been authorized by any member of my family and has not been vertified (sic) for accuracy.
DEMAND IS HEREBY MADE that your organization Cease and Desist from the publication and distributuion (sic) of said book forthwith. Failure on your organizations’ part to comply with this demand immediately can subject your organization to general damages as well as punitive damages.
Dated: March 1, 2012 Signed: ________________________________
In response Amazon sent the following letter:
Re: NO SECRETS, NO SHAME, NO SILENCE by Kristine Gibbs
Dear Mr. ____________:
I am Senior Corporate Counsel for Kindle content matters at Amazon.com, and I am responding to your March 1, 2012 letter to Amazon Corporation, On-Demand Publishing LLC, and Book Surge LLC regarding the book No Secret (sic), No Shame, No Silence, by Kristine Gibbs.
As a bookseller, Amazon.com cannot be charged with reviewing, investigating, and determining the truth or falsity of the innumerable statements made in the millions of titles in our on-line catalog. The title you identify, which is just one of many thousands of titles independently published and offered for sale directly by a user of the KDP and CreateSpace services, illustrates that reality with particular force. In addition, we believe strongly that providing open access to written speech, no matter how controversial, is one of the most important things we do. It’s a service that the United States Constitution protects, and one that follows a long tradition of booksellers serving as guardians of free expression in our society.
We do not take lightly the serious concerns you have expressed regarding this title. Your remedy, however, lies in pursuing those concerns directly with the authors. Please find the author’s contact information so that you can contact her directly:
Kristine Gibbs (my gmail address)
You can be certain that, if the author elects to withdraw this title or a court determines based upon review of a full factual record that the book infringes your rights, we will promptly honor any corresponding direction not to distribute the item.
Please feel free to let me know directly of any such determination.
To this I say: Amazon, you have made me very very happy. Very happy. So happy I think I’m going to cry. Every single line of that book was written with my absolute best ability to tell the truth. The book is not very dramatic and there isn’t a lot of “characterization” because I didn’t want to exaggerate and say something that wasn’t true. I wrote the truth. I will stand by it. And now I feel like I had a fire lit under my ass. I’m going to call a print publisher today and get a quote.
It’s time to start approaching bookstores. The book is kind of hard to find in the kindle store. I need to start talking more.
I wish he had called me on the first day instead of sending that letter. If he had laid a huge guilt trip on me I could have edited the book when only thirty-something people had downloaded it. Now eight hundred people have downloaded it. The cat is out of the bag.