Category Archives: put on the mask

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.

Sadomasochism, mental health, chronic pain and calibration.

I am a hard fucking pet to own. Noah and I discuss this in detail. He has spent ten years trying to learn how to properly feed me, exercise me, get me to sleep, and take care of me better than ever before. It’s been hard for both of us.

I am an emotional and physical masochist. Does it turn me on when my back hurts? No. What that means is I have learned how to eroticize kinds of sensation (physical and emotional) that other people don’t experience as sexual. This is good and bad.

Within certain contexts I enjoy being hit fairly hard in the scheme of things. Within certain contexts being degraded will make me orgasm like a geyser. But these are not all the time fun things for me. In the wrong times these sensations can be highly damaging. Only the right people get to tell me I’m a good whore. Preferably after role play when their cock (bio or not) is inside me. Then, it works great. If someone random brings that up… the fur’s gonna fly.

I have been suicidal and self harming for almost thirty years. When I talk about my problems, they are not in reaction to my current life. They did not form in context to what is happening now, but I have to deal with them now. PTSD, for me, means that I have a hard time telling what is past tense and what is current tense and what is future tense a lot of the time. I’m just… trying to be a version of me that won’t be too problematic in all times. That’s rough because what was needed from me as a child is different from now.

I don’t think it is possible to over state the impact of my early childhood sexual abuse on my personality formation. I know I lived with my father until I was three. I know the abuse was frequent before he was kicked out. I know it was every time I saw him after that until about twelve.

My father telling me over and over that I exist to get men off and I don’t have the right to say no…

That has absolutely shaped my life.

Noah and I were talking tonight about “What he can get away with” now vs when we got married. I’ve learned to say no. I used to not say no to anything he wanted no matter how much pain it caused me. It really never seemed important that I was in pain. I was going to hurt anyway. He might as well be getting what he wants.

Fibromyalgia fucks all of this up too. I’m in pain a lot of the time. As I age my joints are on fire more days of the month. PMDD complicates my life. (That’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder for those who don’t know.) It means that for roughly 3-10 days a month my brain would kind of like to kill me. I feel useless, worthless, and like I should die. I feel like I am bad. I feel like I hurt people by existing.

This isn’t about reality or rational thinking. This is pure hormonal/chemical hell. And I’ve done everything that I can do about it. I keep trying new things. It does improve over time. But it is pure shit when it is happening.

I live in a kind of chemical soup that doesn’t want me to be alive very much. I live in a chemical state that doesn’t see much purpose for me.

But then there are the happy chemicals. Oxytocin. Endorphins. Serotonin. I can get them. But it’s hard hard hard hard hard.

Something that is complicated and hard and not fair…

I can do the spike up and down thing pretty easily. Ecstasy and despair are easy for me. It’s being ok I suck at. Noah has helped me make more progress on being ok than anything and everything else in my life. But doing so has worked a lot like a standard antidepressant in that it makes the ecstasy part harder. Not impossible, but more complicated.

Noah and I have very deeply connected sex. There’s a lot of “I see you as a whole person with flaws and merits and I love you for being more than one thing.” It is wonderful and life affirming. It helps me feel like I can climb into a box and be safe. Desafortunadamente (why is this word so much better in Spanish?) that box isn’t able to be everything.

Why do I need more?

Why does a Porsche need more maintenance than a Toyota? It is the result of engineering.

Why am I so complicated? Why am I so hard? Engineering.

I need a lot of connection with people. I need lots of people in a way that is hard for Noah to understand. I think Noah is an actual introvert and I am actual extrovert who behaves like an introvert because of trauma and avoidance.

I fucking need people. I need to talk to them. The kissing and sexing is awesome, but I’d say they are part of less than 1% of my relationships. I need connection. Mostly it isn’t sexual. But good golly the sexual connection is so good at making all of those chemicals I suck at making on my own.

Why do I want to date? Because I want massive injections of oxytocin. Because I want to see you and feel so excited you are alive. Because I want you to look at me the same way. Because I need to see that look on your face because there will probably be minutes between this time and next time I see you when it is very hard for me to remember at all that anyone is ever happy to see me.

What I feel right now is what I have always felt and will always feel. Until it changes. Then that is what I feel and have always felt.

You can see how I might try to stack the deck with experiences that land me squarely in the happy brain chemicals column because when I’m there I don’t have to deal with the depressive and anxious symptoms in the same way. It’s like they went on vacation and forgot to write.

So I had multiple possible kissing opportunities go by without kisses. Internally my narrative around this is melodramatic, stupid, and whiny. “See. They’re done.”

I feel like I should stop bothering them.

I feel like what I am is a bother.

Incidentally: shiny change of topic to drop a cryptic comment at someone from yesterday. When I say that someone is giving me “reminders” I don’t mean that in any kind of negative way. My kids and I give each other reminders. It is a way of noticing someone and saying, “Hey do you remember this thing you want to remember?” Because…. most people suck at that. It is a loving thing to do, in my mind. Let me remind you about who you want to be because that makes it easier to stay on track. Let me remind you that I see you and what you are doing is real and has impact on the world so I remind you of what you need to be thinking about.

I sure didn’t mean it as a complaint or as a criticism or an attack or anything negative. Reminders are intensely positive in my life. But I had two hours of sleep and my ability to explain is uhm compromised at such times.

End of shiny change of topic.

I like to be hit. I crave it like other people crave… whatever the fuck they crave. It’s a powerful force in my life. My absolute favorite is hitting with hands. Punching is such a vicious, visceral, vivacious connection that I feel like it makes me more alive. Punching helps me stop dissociating. Punching helps me feel the muscles and the tendons and the bones in my body. Punching helps me feel alive.

I can enjoy being hit with toys but it is a lot more difficult for me. I don’t process it as connection. It tends to increase my dissociation because mostly it hurts more in a way that I have to escape my body in order to tolerate very much of it. I don’t feel connected that way. I feel like I am a thing that a tool is doing a thing to. Sometimes that is hot too. Sometimes I do want to be beaten until I go away. It is like a vacation from the tyranny of living in a brain that hates me this much.

It feels like atonement for being so bad all the god damn time.

But atonement needs to be a sometimes treat or it means that I am shit and I should spend all my time apologizing for being shit.

Constant atonement means I am constantly bad enough that I need to atone.

That hurts.

That hurts my soul as much as it hurts my body.

I don’t always need to atone. Mostly I need to connect with people who want me to be alive and who aren’t shy about telling me so. Because I’m not so sure I want to be alive. But I don’t want to hurt people in this web more than I want to stop being in pain. Right now the balance is very much on the side that my pain doesn’t matter. I need more reason to believe that. And I need less pain.

The happy chemicals make me feel less pain. Less emotional pain and less physical pain. It’s a virtuous cycle.

I feel so very guilty that even when I’m having sex with Noah basically every day and sometimes several times a day… that isn’t enough chemical in the soup to push me over the rim of the pot and out of the boiling water that wants to kill me.

But adding more people… well… it’s variable… but it does more than anything else.

I have managed to long since get the soup down to a simmer from a hard boil, but I haven’t been able to get out of the pot.

Thank you Noah. That is mostly because of you. It is because of the children you have given me. It is because of the life you have given me.

But yeah. I need more relationships. I need people I can talk to and connect with and feel like I matter to them.

Because being a wife and a mother is not enough for me.

Do you know why I think that sport fucking isn’t going to work out for me the way it used to? Because these days even when I fuck someone at a swing party and intend to not really see them again (and hell they gave me a fake name anyway)…

They end up telling me their real name and coming over for lunch with their whole family so we can talk about life balance and problems and how to deal with different life issues and… we are turning into friends.

Noah I know I kinda wanted to just be fuck buddies with people. I went out looking for that.

FUCK ALL OF YOU FOR BEING SO AWESOME.

But I feel small and scared and ashamed. Because asking for support, asking for connection with these other people feels like it is almost specifically designed to be about hurting Noah. I don’t want to hurt Nah. He is the air I breathe. No, he isn’t every ounce of chemical I need… but he is the basis. He is the start. He is safety. He is the love that reminds me to take care of myself when I am failing at doing so.

I feel ashamed of how much I need him. I would be willing to sacrifice other parts of myself for that safety. But I’ll be down in the simmering soup forever. That’s just… true. One of these days the soup is going to finish boiling me and I will die.

I need more chemicals to raise the water line and get the fuck out of the pot.

I am so sorry I need an amount one person can’t supply. I have no idea what is enough.

I am feeling really scared. I want to reach out and I don’t. I am so weary of being a bother. I feel so much like people “put up with” me.

I’m so sorry that I am so horrible.

I want to be good. I want to be just a source of happiness. But the truth is I’m not. I’m full of sadness I don’t know what to do with. Mostly I try to get enough when I feel it is ok to touch people and can access more of those fucking chemicals I can’t produce on my own.

If I walk in wearing makeup and I walk out with a bare face that means I removed it all because I didn’t want it to be obvious I was crying. Part of the reason I have been wearing more makeup is because I’m trying to control the crying. I know I can’t cry without it being obvious and that’s too public for me. I can cry without people seeing with a bare face. I do it a lot.

I want to stop crying some year. Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying you fucking baby.

Why do I want to date? Because I had to marry someone as broken as me. I had to marry someone who has so many pieces chopped out of him that he has huge gaping wounds where we can grow together and meld and heal into a new shape that is one thing instead of two broken things.

But how in the mother fuck do we teach our kids about a happy or healthy or normal childhood? By saying “Be grateful you aren’t getting what we got?” Oh goodness no. So I go date (in very small part) because that way I can find people who aren’t broken in the same ways and ask question after question after question. I get the impression people think I’m weird. Tell me how you turned out the way you did. I like you just fine and if I could manage to interact with a mini human to help them turn out like you… that would be a positive in this world.

I can’t make babies with everyone. But I can take the example of what kind of life experiences someone would bring to parenting and try to bastardize that onto my life. It is variably successful piece by piece. Overall it has been wildly successful.

I learn things from Cupid and Deity about a quieter happiness than I have known. They are very different men but they both come from backgrounds they are basically happy about. Do you know how fucking weird that is in my life? Dating them is almost like getting to have a koala bear accidentally fall out of a tree on your head and so see you’ve proven drop bears exist.

Whoa

My submissive inspires me with his passionate devotion to things. He has picked just a few people in his life to pour devotion into and I admire him. I both love and struggle with the fact that his core kinks are around degradation and “dirty” things. I absolufuckinglutely love that I get to do these things… I wish they weren’t degrading or dirty. I think they are fun. I do them from love. I do them out of service because you want to be treated this way and so ok I’m happy to be in that role for you.

So where does the sadism come into all of this? I am a sadist… but I am more of a service top. I do things because I think the person I am playing with wants/needs to experience them. I like being a guide on a journey. Even more I love being lead on a journey but with every passing year I intimidate people more and I get fewer offers.

The sadists are going to be happier with the people who aren’t physically and emotionally damaged at the beginning. I can’t take what a lot of people like to do on a regular basis. I can take it sometimes. I can take it when I’m doing well. Then I can’t for a while.

And the bubbling of the soup has a huge impact. The more emotionally dysregulated I am the more my entire nervous system flares up.

That’s why I want the kissing so much. It calms my central nervous system down. It distracts it from feeling pain.

And when there are chances to do the kissing and someone doesn’t want to… that feels really super out of proportion huge for me. I’m not saying anyone is obligated to make out with me for hours. Hell. I’m not saying you have to spend fifteen minutes kissing me.

But if you tell me you are romantically interested in me and you have a chance to kiss me and you’d rather not….

I feel that in my body and I feel it for days and I feel so sad.

All of this is complicated by the fact that we can’t kiss in front of my kids. So if we see each other a few times when kisses were possible but didn’t happen and then we see each other around my kids… that’s complicated torture. That’s a complicated thing that feels a lot like how I couldn’t hug or kiss or be affectionate around the kids when they were very small. I could do some but I would freak out if I heard them. It took a long time before I decided it was more appropriate for them to see that folks do those things when they like each other.

I have been good about slowly developing these boundaries and I’m going to keep being good about them. That’s important to me. I came from a place of severe inappropriate connection. I have inched my way towards letting my kids see different actions. But my kids have always seen me hug my friends. That’s just a standard thing. Even long hugs. So whereas kissing feels like it is a big boundary for me… my kids aren’t dumb. They will figure things out.

All of this is also complicated by my general problem with time distortion. I mentioned that in a few ways up-post: living in more than one time at once, feeling like how I feel in this moment is how I feel in all moments… but there is also the problem that when I’m really happy, time flies. I feel like I am getting so much input I can barely take it in. I struggle with feeling like hard packed clay soil. If you dump a deluge on me, it’s mostly going to just run off and not impact the plants. When I am depressed and/or anxious time drags on and on and on and on. It feels like there will never ever be a cessation of pain and god I can’t do this.

I have seriously been hurting most of my life. It’s hard to keep carrying that load.

But I have so much good that sometimes I am able to just sling all that hurt into a rucksack, toss it on my back and say, “It doesn’t matter how you feel it matters what you do.”

I think it is a problem that I associate not wearing makeup with a need to hide crying.

When I’m riding high in the pot and I feel relatively happy for me, then I want to beg someone to hurt me.

Why was it at such a sharp edge when I started hunting? Because I have been so safe for so long. I need the sharp and the soft. I got so much soft. I know it wasn’t fair that I didn’t know how to talk to Noah about being the sharp.

But it’s getting better pretty quickly, I think.

I need to not do anything melodramatic around this kissing thing. But I need to have some conversations. I need to talk about some pieces of this in real time with people.

The not kissing when the kids are around: kosher. The not kissing when the kids aren’t around? No. Not ok. I can’t think of you as someone I want to be kissing and deal with feeling like you don’t want to kiss me.

I had to turn off thinking about the Professor like that. He feels whatever he feels and I have no window into that but his behavior is that we had opportunities and there were no kisses and I need to treat that like “We are not people who will be kissing” and move on with my life. I have to compartmentalize like that or I get my feelings hurt.

He’s still my friend though. I still like him a lot. I will… poke at him less for a while because I’m still in the sticky he doesn’t like me that much stage.

I’ll get over that bit. I always do. It’s ok for people to like me how much they like me. But sometimes I have some sad that I am only liked as much as I am. I need to deal with that sad. I need to stay friends. Because that’s dealing with your shit. Because good grief I’m dealing with a lot of people and if I got bitter about everyone who doesn’t want to kiss me I’d have a shitty life. It’s ok.

But I’ll poke the Professor at a slower rate for a bit. I’m not going away;I enjoy the conversation too much. I just need to do some self management.

Even if I stop feeling like I have the right to look for kisses… I don’t want to stop being friends. I went hunting for friends with benefits. I want friends. I want benefits. Largely, apparently, in the form of kissing.

Wouldn’t it have been god damn handy if I could have phrased it that way in like March.

I’m going as fast as I can.

I want more hitting and I want more being hurt. But I want it in between kisses from someone who very much likes me. That’s complicated.

And I want to write about Sweet Boy. Because that was awesome. But I’m closing in on four thousand words and my arms need me to stop soon. He’ll be a lengthy story.

In three and a half hours we leave to go see the doctor about Noah’s vasectomy reversal. Holy shit.

How is this all going to work? Fuck if I know. But I guess we’ll figure it out. It’s that or die and I’m not ready. Even if I want to. I’m not ready. There is so much left to do. I’m not one to sit around when there is work to be done.

Do you know what is the part of our family culture that I am proudest of? “We are workers not shirkers.” When my kids say this, when Noah models it and repeats it… oh my soul glows. Yes. I read this hilarious book called How to Raise the Perfect Children Through Guilt and Manipulation and it is as much a memoir about her childhood as it is written by a parent about parenting. I don’t want to do anything how the sports-fanatic-Catholic author does things in her life…. but I do want to set a strong family culture the way she talks about. I do want to indoctrinate with my ideals the way she talks about. Yeah. Like that. Only something different.

Cause that’s what I am. Like you. Only something different.

Today is the 18th anniversary of Tommy’s suicide. I can’t say I miss you. I am glad you don’t have to be hurting any more. Self immolation. What a way to go.

Boundaries on and off screen

I am somewhat hyperaware that someday my kids may grow up and read this. It could happen. That means I actually… edit… maybe more than you might think of my life here. I’m nervous about how I present Noah. I talk about him in terrible ways sometimes. I also very carefully avoid saying a lot of terrible things about him.

I do not want sides taken. I do not want back and forth bickering in public. I do not want my children seeing the depths to which we sink when we are being fucking petty. Why not? It’s complicated.

We haven’t fought like this since we closed our relationship. Fighting like this is why we closed our relationship. Because we didn’t think we could stay married through fighting like this.

But that was when we had babies and it just wasn’t ok at all for me to have emotional variance because of my relationship with Noah. I had to be regulated because I was teaching emotional regulation just about 24/7.

That was kind of a difficult thing for someone who is as dysregulated as I have been all my life. I look at my children and feel that I succeeded. Clearly they got the lessons they needed developmentally when they were needed. I did it. I stayed calm. I taught them how to handle conflict and big feelings without flipping out.

I did it.

Which means I can have more things in my life that cause my feelings to fluctuate. Which is fucking tricky.

Nonmonogamy is going to be hard. There are a lot more insecurities here than either of us are really having fun talking about.

What does safety mean? What does connection mean? What are we working towards? What do we want? What is the purpose of sex in our relationship? What do we do for one another versus for ourselves?

I sure wish that these conversations could come with a little more sleep for me. Out of the past three nights I’m now only down about one night of sleep. That’s improving…

But we talk all night long because we can’t talk in front of the kids.

I am not sure either of us are being fair. Yeah, I’m being an asshole. I’m not in denial. I’m not trying to say that I’m being fine and he’s the asshole. I’m really not saying that.

I cheated and broke his heart. He thought he was going to get to be my one and only forever and ever amen.

He’s allowed to be absolutely furious about that.

I know.

I’m trying very very hard to not get into done-me-wrongs. I will talk about what I know I have done wrong. I don’t need to get into done-me-wrongs.

It won’t help. I hiss those often enough in person. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the list. I just don’t need to write it down.

How do you fight in civilized fashion when you are a compulsive over-sharer? Like this. You say what you did wrong and talk about being angry without placing blame. I’m not saying that Noah is to blame for my feelings. He isn’t. I mean… a couple of his particular phrase choices were infuriating… but whatever. I’m being a right bitch in this fight.

How do you build towards a vision of self that may not be what your partner wants? How big do you want your partner to be? How small so you can feel bigger? I don’t know.

Who is pulling whom around on a chain.

I don’t want to leave. That’s part of the reason I have no particular reason to bad mouth Noah up one side and down the other. I don’t want to leave. Even though I’m angry about some stuff right now… that’s life. I flipped the canoe of our life over. There are going to be some feelings we have to deal with. I’m ok with that. I’m not enjoying this process but I see it as necessary.

I’m not afraid of conflict.

I’m afraid of not getting my needs met.

I’m afraid of not being who I want to be because I am afraid that someone else doesn’t want me to be.

I’m afraid of making myself small and unthreatening and never doing anything with my life again because I have decided I don’t deserve to ask for what I really want.

What does necessary even mean?

I’m sure I don’t know.

Am I fucking everything up permanently? Well. I guess we will find out. There is the non-zero possibility.

It is hard when I feel like I’m absolutely the bad guy here. I’m the one insisting on change because the status quo wasn’t working. I feel like a fucking asshole for not making it work. For not deciding that it was just good enough because that was all I agreed to this life.

I did not promise sexual fidelity in my marriage vows. Yeah. I slammed the door four years ago when we were having screaming fights about lying and … shit don’t rehash it. It wasn’t well done.

I feel like everything bad must be all my fault. I feel like I am a monster. A selfish, disgusting monster.

Day 38. Still no bleeding. PMDD means that right before I start bleeding I tend to have intense spikes of depression and anxiety. My suicidal urges go through the roof. This is a well documented phenomena.

I need to be something other than a cum dumpster who can’t cum. This just… isn’t working any more.

I wish I didn’t feel so fucking bad about that.

Sometimes people ask why I write such whiny melodramatic stuff. Aren’t I embarrassed? I’m documenting what living with an acute stress disorder is like. The kind that results from brain damage. If you think I should be embarrassed that says more about you than it does about me. No, it’s not fucking smooth. Yeah I’m a lot of fucking drama. Lots of ups and downs.

That’s what brain damage does. Pieces of it are absolutely my fault in an ongoing way I really don’t deny that. But I’m also trying to deal with my problems. That means I’m going to flail and do things that don’t work sometimes and I will document those fuck ups so I don’t forget and have to make the same mistake over and over.

I’m not writing for you.

I’m writing for me.

Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, maybe that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

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

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

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

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

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

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m kinda weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the line?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

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

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

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

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

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

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

That seems smart just now.

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

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

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

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Day off- watched Mississippi Damned

The kids and I took yesterday afternoon off. We got back to the room around 2 and we stayed in from then on. Now it is noon and the kids don’t have any interest in getting dressed.

So after a light breakfast of Lucky Charms I made myself a huge lunch. I had orange juice, two cups of tea, a ham and cheese sandwich, an apple, and carrots with hummus.

I am stuffed and I haven’t drank all my orange juice yet.

And just now my meds hit.

Hallelujah. Today is awesome.

I actually think I might try to talk them into getting dressed around 4 or 5 and heading into Magic Kingdom for the parades and fireworks. That’s going to be our best shot at seeing them.

So of course, being me… I’m watching Mississippi Damned which is about a dysfunctional family. I hear there will be intense incest and beatings later in the movie. (I’m going to spoiler the fuck out of this movie as I watch it. Just so you know.)

I’m in my feels.

It’s not much like my family or my story. But it is based on a real story and I’ve read a lot of responses from women who say this is like their stories.

This is intense. Like, whoa.

This… you know what? I feel like my mama did me a mountain of favors from the simple fact that she stopped dating.

I’m really glad I only had to deal with one crazy abusive father and one demanding controlling step-father and one inappropriately sexual boyfriend. That’s a short list compared to many women.

She had other relationships in her lifetime, but they predate my memory. Like the father of my sister, who denied that he had ever had sex with her.

My mama did find it in her to go it alone. In some ways… I think that was the biggest gift she gave me. She taught me how to be ok alone. I mean, she’s not ok and she’s not really completely alone. But she doesn’t need Romantic Relationships.

Many women my age believe they aren’t safe unless they have a man. My mama taught me that having a man around is never fully safe.

I feel deeply conflicted about what it is that I’m teaching my children.

I’m going to keep doing it. I’m in it. I’m in it till the end. I’m committed. But I don’t know I’m right. You never know until it is over and it is too late to do anything different.

But as I watch a screaming fight over interrupted sex between folks who are married to other folks and a miscarriage and…

You know what? My mama ran from trouble. She taught me that the safest way to deal with most problems is to run.

I don’t know if she is still running. I know I am. But right now I’m sitting on a porch in sunny Florida at Walt Disney World.

Running has worked out okay for me so far.

This movie is about people who can’t run from their problems. They are deeply invested in their local community. They have roots.

I wonder what that would be like.

What would it be like to believe that leaving everything you know means “moving to a fairytale world”.

No, that’s just life. You move. You start over. You meet new people.

You don’t stay in a small town if you are a dyke with a big mouth. You move on. I didn’t have problems for being queer. No one ever gave a shit about that part of my identity. They were too overall baffled by my presentation to figure out what the hell to object to.

(The dyke in the movie just got in a fist fight.)

And she goes home to get hit more.

I left home when I was 18. I didn’t get out because I was smart or because I was more deserving. I got out because I had the resources to do it.

I believe every one deserves a basic income. I really do. People stay in the most horrifying traumatic situations because they don’t have better options. Money is a disgusting tool.

“If anyone is to blame it is you” said to the woman who interrupted the sex that shouldn’t have been happening. Because the problem is the person pointing out the problem, not the problem.

Yeah. I know that dynamic.

Oh god. Murder. Well, that’s one way to deal with cheating. But why did you shoot the woman who was being cheated with instead of the damn man?

You know what? Fuck the sisterhood.

Shoot the man. Don’t defend the sisterhood of “don’t sleep with my man”. No. Fuck that noise. He’s the problem. She is not someone you have the right to demand such loyalty of that the punishment for disloyalty is death.

No. No. No.

I have not signed such an oath.

You know what? I’ve fucked married men. I’ve fucked cheaters. I don’t owe the sisterhood nothing.

Does that make me a bad person? Add it to the list. Whatever.

Oh golly I respect this man. His daughter flat out asked, “Are you a good father?” He said, “Sometimes. Sometimes not.”

Thank you for that self reflection. I appreciate it even though it isn’t for or about me.

“Some daddies aren’t good at being fathers.”

Yeah. That’s the truth.

I’m having feels about Noah. But I’m not going to write about them. I want to forget them.

Oh no. Here is where the incest stuff comes up. This boy was already victimized. He knows how things work. Now he’s the initiator because he thinks it is how it is supposed to work.

Fuck.fuck.fuckity.fuck.

“Get me a beer.”

Words I’m glad I didn’t have to hear much.

“2nd Notice of Eviction” oh I’ve seen that on my door a lot.

“At least I didn’t let some high school crush be the highlight of my life.” Oh that’s something I was afraid of.  I’m pretty sure I’m safely past that accusation.

This fight right here, between the destitute convict and her mother about money and childhood abuse… that’s part of why I never asked my mama for nothing.

“You gotta watch your back in places like that…. As long as you’re next to family you got heart.”

Oh. My. God. From a family with a lot of trauma and incest and abuse. You know what?! Strangers in the big city are not a bigger risk than your family.

Why do I say that? Because being raped by my “friends” was less traumatic than fucking my actual biological father was. (Friends is in square quotes because at this point I no longer perceive that people who would do that were ever actually my friends. They were guys I knew.)

Hell yeah. Grandmama just brought out a shot gun on the man who was throttling her daughter. ROCK ON!

You know what? I’m not that violent of a person. I try hard to find a way to find solutions without violence. But if you are being attacked I think you have every right to a full throttle defense, from yourself or from a nearby person. And besides the bitch didn’t defend her daughters from her own husband. I’m glad she will at least defend them from their husbands.

Yeah, I do believe in bystander intervention sometimes. I know it isn’t popular. I know that it is frowned upon in some circles. I know why. It is dangerous.

Life is dangerous.

It’s not about being a hero and you can’t think about it that way. That isn’t the point. It isn’t about “being a rescuer”.

It’s about paying attention to the people around you and giving a shit about what happens to them.

But people are so complicated. This movie is reminding me how very complicated people are. We are all so hurt.

“You’ve always gotta make it about you, right?”

Well, we are the main character in our own story, right?

But not everything that happens near me is about me. Sometimes it is, but mostly… I’m not the center of everything. I’m just some chick.

It is complicated how some people are in a position to care more about your intentions and some people are in a position to care about the results of your actions and fuck your intentions you son of a bitch.

Now a woman is fighting cancer. Watching how her family copes with it…

That’s why other people believe they need family. They believe they cannot get such support any other way. But I showed up in the queer community at 18. I watched tight, fierce, chosen families.

I’m an asshole about them. But I know they exist. You just have to show up for them. If I wanted to keep showing up in those communities things would have been different.

I ran away. I went home. I built Wonderland and I had babies and I stopped seeing a lot of the people who were my “chosen family”. A few of the people from back then still come around. Not many.

The number drops by the year.

My loyalty to the people who have made the transition into parent-age with me is decidedly impacted.

And more cheating. More screwing underage inappropriate women. Yeah this movie is a humdinger. I believe this is based on a true story. I know men like these.

I am so grateful I am not prey any more.

I am even more grateful my daughters never will be. It won’t happen.

But doesn’t every mother want to believe that? Even when it is right under their noses and they can’t possibly not see.

I try to tell myself that my children are too blurty. Too prone to share all their business with everyone who walks by. Including every factoid I’ve ever taught them about anatomy or bodily autonomy or bodily integrity or…

I try to tell myself that even though I can’t save everyone… I can keep them safe. Yes, I know I’m throwing everyone else under the bus. I’m sorry.

I didn’t throw them there. I just didn’t roll under with them.

But isn’t that how white feminists justify most of what they do?

What we do.

I’ve got skin in this game and make no mistake.

Oh no. Now we get to the college acceptance letter that decides if the next generation of abuse victims is getting out or staying home to just pass it right along.

She did it. She got in.

In time for her most supportive aunt to die from poverty and diabetes.

Yeah. Life is a real shithole.

The aunt didn’t wait until she actually ran out of insulin. She stopped taking it because she didn’t want the end to be slow and by drips. She had no more money for food anyway.

Yeah. Life is like that.

The last thing she did with her life was tell the girl to “get out. Get away. Go be what we couldn’t.”

Perspective is a nasty son of a bitch. I begged my niece to get out. She wouldn’t.

Ok. I can’t go under the bus with you. I can’t.

I won’t make that choice for my children.

Oh god. The most supportive aunt did have some money left. She left it all to the niece in a lump sum for college.

Yeah. That’s how you get out. You have some support appear.

And the lesbian is in the psych ward. Because she can’t move on from her one high school crush.

Life sucks so fucking much.

Do you know what watching these kinds of movies makes me want to do? Log on to my bank account and transfer more money into long-term investments.

I do not want to end this way. They are killing themselves left and right.

I do not want to end this way. I want something different. And that takes money.

Just like my father in the movie the serial predator kills himself instead of taking his punishment and giving that respect to his victims. Fuck you. Yeah, I know bad shit happened to you too. I know.

Take your fucking punishment you son of a bitch. You earned it.

God damn bastard.

I believe people need to be held accountable for their behavior. So I write mine down as it happens so that I can’t rewrite history. Yeah. I fuck up.

Everyone does. Some of us do it big. Some of us do it over and over. Very very few of us tell the truth about it.

I need truth. Even though truth is sometimes not the same thing as fact. Something can be distorted and still be a truth. Because in every truth there is room for many interpretations. It doesn’t mean it is a fact.

How am I defining these.

It can be true that I need to defend myself even if people don’t feel like they are attacking me. I have more than once needed to physically force people off my body on dance floors because they landed on me and didn’t notice that they were crushing a person and, “Hey why are you so mad?”

I wasn’t assaulted. That’s a fact. There was no intent to harm. It is still true that I had to defend myself. Because they were hurting me and I had to make it stop.

There can be more than one truth. Near as I can tell there is no end to the amount of hurt that can be passed around. I think that means there is room for a lot of different truth.

As I sit here in my posh Walt Disney World condo I reflect on how I don’t deserve to be here.

There is no deserve. Jenny, you asked why I conflate people saying I deserve things now with meaning that I deserved things that happened a long time ago. I love you very much and I take the question very seriously and I may bring it up for years as I try to explain it. I hope it doesn’t get annoying. Tell me to get over it if you need to. I love you.

Saying it is a trigger is short hand. Most people who deal with mental illness can tell you that something is a trigger and that’s about as much as they can follow that path. “I have BIG FEELINGS.”

Well, I’m not like that. I was told that I would know when I was in real labor when I was no longer able to speak. Bitch I was articulately yelling instructions while I was pushing. I was popular for bdsm demonstrations because you can beat the shit out of me and in between screams I can drop down into normal speech and clearly articulate what hurts and where and what is positive and negative about various sensations for what reasons.

I’m special.

I can talk when I’m hurting.

I learned. I taught myself. I worked on it because I was told and told and told to be quiet and I noticed that I only got help when I could tell enough of the story fast enough to get peoples attention. I have to be good at an elevator pitch.

And that skill plus running away has provided the most safety I’ve found.

Let me tell you, things work so well with Noah largely because we are both talkers. Speaking of which, I should go call him. Big feelings.

I want to write more about triggers. But I also want to rest my arms.

Family

Dealing with Noah’s family is complicated. I am not that inclined to shut my mouth and put up with awful because… I get no positive out of knowing them. I mean, his parents send money and his aunts send boxes of candy around holidays. If these windfalls evaporated from my life I wouldn’t miss them. I don’t plan for the money. I feel awkward about accepting it. I accept it because they are Noah’s family and they have the right to give him things.

I don’t care. If I never heard from any of them again I would be just fine. They are not integral to my sense of self. They aren’t my family. Why should I make myself smaller in order to make them feel like they are correct?

Nope.

I have nothing to gain by keeping my mouth shut and letting the status quo continue. The status quo is not a good place for me.

Silence in the face of atrocity is how I ended up with the horrifying childhood I had. I’m never going to be silent again. Even if it offends the shit out of everyone. Even if I never get another box of candy.

Right now I’m watching a movie about Grace of Monaco. It is fascinating watching Nicole Kidman pretend to learn the history of the country so she can take on the role of princess. I can see why she learns what she learns for the sake of her children.

My children don’t need me to learn how to be a serene highness. Thank G-d.

But I need to consciously try to facilitate them having relationships with these racist fuckers. Why? Because they are family. I’m not part of the family. Not really. I am a facilitator. I am an extension. I am Shanna and Calli and Noah’s family. I am not Aunt Cookie’s family. I am not Aunt Candy’s family. I’m the mother of their great-nieces which isn’t the same as family. I’m unavoidable but I am not likable.

So I drive the kids around the country. And I take dictation as they write letters to these people. I will help them make phone calls when they get just a bit older. And the whole damn time I will be arguing with the messages they receive.

No, your family is not superior to other people. The relatives who tell you that you are better are lying. You are just a person. A wonderful person, but just a person. You need to earn your own merit. It is not automatic based on your appearance.

We had an interesting conversation yesterday. The Godmamas came up again. In reference to some people are ok with mellow yellow and some people really aren’t. Shanna made a comment to the effect that we are better people if we are more worried about the drought than the cleanliness of our toilet.

I told her that the two have no relationship whatsoever and she is very wrong if she believes that one measure like that decides what makes a good person. I am *not* a better person than your Godmamas. Well, they aren’t the Godmamas any more. I’m still not a better person. I worry about different things. I focus on different things. I spend my time and energy in different ways. Doesn’t mean I’m better. I’m different.

I don’t think I’m better than Aunt Cookie or Candy either. Even if they have opinions that are distinctly racist. Even if they have dozens of opinions that make me sick to my stomach… that doesn’t mean I’m a better person.

I’m a person with giant flaws, just like everyone else.

I need people to call me on my flaws in order for me to grow and change and become better. I am better than I was. I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do not aspire to perfection. I’m an asshole and ok with that.

The difference between me and the aunts is… I know I’m an asshole. They would hotly deny that they are. Even though they believe that people who end up homeless deserve to suffer. They think that their beliefs are just “justice”.

But I’m the only one who knows I’m an asshole. I think that human beings deserve dignity and support so I’m an unconsciounable asshole. Good thing I can live with that. I can be the kind of rude where I challenge racists in my life. I can’t be the kind of rude where I just shut up and allow people to be awful. I do not choose going along with the flow for the good of bigots. I do not care about avoiding conflict. If you want to avoid conflict with me you can leave the room.

That is the assurance that men walk around with. If you want to avoid an argument with them you can leave the room. I’ve decided that it is a trait and I want it. So I adopted it. I don’t back off.

I wouldn’t be here if I were more namby pamby.

I’m not important. I’m not special. I’m not someone who changes things. My reality distortion field only extends as far as my voice can reach. Maybe that is why I am so fucking loud now.

I didn’t used to be loud. When I was a child I was constantly in trouble for mumbling. No one could ever hear me. I got yelled at by dozens of teachers because I would raise my hand and then no one could understand me.

I don’t have that problem now.

I’m also getting better about being able to challenge people without having to scream at them. It’s progress. Now I can challenge in a flat voice. That’s a big improvement and I’m happy about it.

I have no interest in learning to avoid conflict. I do have interest in learning how to have conflict without acting like a harpy. Conflict is fine. Conflict is about challenging the status quo. I have a serious problem with the status quo. I want to change it.

The status quo involves too many people suffering terribly because of structural inequalities. I’m not ok with that. Structural inequalities need to be addressed. We are at a point in history where we have no justification beyond pure greed for continuing to allow this many people to live with starvation and homelessness.

We have major structural racial problems in the world. Not just in my country. Acting like they aren’t real is… not something I can do. Not even to make someone feel more comfy about how short sighted their world is. Can’t do it.

I will always be willing to point out real, hard things. Even if that makes me an asshole. I think that is my role here. Sometimes I’m wrong about the things I think I see. That’s highly inconvenient.

Sometimes I don’t know how to translate what I see into useful words that other people can understand. Frequently I don’t know the approach that will spur other people into seeing things as I see them. I don’t know how to be the universal translator. I wish I could be.

I wish I could be.

Lots of big feelings

The trip is going well. I am so gosh darned tired I feel like I might slip into a puddle and never solidify into a solid being again.

I had a hard time with Noah’s aunts. They grew up in particular times and places and they believe what they believe. Unfortunately for them there is a whole bunch of evidence proving that their beliefs suck.

I am highly dysregulated. I am having a hard time calming down. Too many conversations about poverty and homelessness and race. I really don’t respect the opinions they have.

One aunt spent a long time telling me about how much she enjoys reading the journals of settlers and colonials. They only killed people when they had no choice.

Uhm… go read something written by the folks that the settlers barely avoided killing. You will hear a very different story.

No. The white assholes who showed up on this continent because they were being chased out of their European homes did not kill Native Americans because the Natives were trying to persecute the white people. No. No. No. No.

We are interlopers here. We do not get to claim that our existence here is just about our basic survival. We are stealing in order to survive.

Depending on how you look at it, all humans have been thieves since the beginning. We steal from plants and animals in order to survive. That’s complicated. It’s a hard ethical conundrum. Vegetarians believe that by not eating flesh that you are fine for how you are stealing. Vegans think it must be even more strict and milk and eggs are also over the line.

But no one ever objects to stealing from the artichokes or carrots or cauliflower. We’ve decided they can’t matter.

But that’s kind of funny.

Throughout history many groups of human beings have decided that other groups of human beings don’t matter in similar ways. Sometimes we make these evaluations based on race. Sometimes based on economic privilege. Sometimes based on work choices. If you look around the planet, folks feel free to shit on sex workers in almost every country that exists. Even though sex work is one of the most universal, oldest professions that exists. We still want to punish any individual who engages in it.

Why?

One of the aunts spent a lot of time telling me that she hated the Occupiers and she thinks folks who are homeless are just lazy and they need to get a job.

I told her, are you aware that it takes two or more full time jobs to afford rent, not including utilities or food or a car in most states for people who work minimum wage? You bought your property in 1981 with help. No, other people can’t do what you did. It is really awful for you to think that people who can’t do what you did are lazy. How dare you.

You bought a property for fairly cheap. You had help for 20 years of your mortgage. How dare you say that other people who can’t do what you did are lazy.

Are you aware that historically speaking black people have been shut out of owning property?

This is not about lazy.

Are you aware that the largest race riot in our American history was white people who were jealous that black people were doing too well? But we’ve had a lot of race riots. Mostly they erupt because white people are persecuting non-whites. It is bullshit.

I don’t deal well with people who are incapable of seeing the layers of privilege that built their lives. We are all made up of support and relationships with people. Unfortunately there are major demographics who have traditionally not received support. And they are currently struggling much more significantly than demographics that have traditionally received more support.

I want to equalize that. We can’t go back and fix everything bad that has ever happened. I don’t want to. That’s not the point of life. But we can make it so the people who are alive right now have more access to ways to better their lives.

We don’t have to punish people for being disadvantaged. We don’t have to punish people for being icki and poor and not what we want to look at. We can choose compassion. We can choose to help people just because they exist and they should exist.

I want you to exist. Even when I don’t like you. Even if I want to shout at you because your opinions are just flat terrible.  You do worthy things. Even if those things don’t benefit me in any way shape or form. Not everything is about me.

Not everyone has to benefit me in order to be worthy.

I’m getting better at defending the intensity of my opinions without having to scream at people and tell them how much I hate them for having the opinions they have. I’m glad for that. I am modeling better behavior for my children. I am teaching them to be fierce, but not mean.

I’m trying. I’m trying to model what I think should exist. Have strong opinions. They matter. They help. They are important. But try to express them in a way that will educate instead of alienate.

I really suck at that.

Last night was so awesome. Dad and I got stoned together and I unloaded on him. He’s not an emotional guy. He doesn’t really want to hear about feelings. Ha ha mother fucker. You adopt me and you get what you get. If you want to be my Dad you get to find out what I’m like. And that means listening to an hour or so of emotional unloading every other year or so. Suck it, buddy. Just cope. You can manage.

He did. He’s wonderful to me. I listened to what was going on with his life. He is struggling more than I am. That’s… kind of weird to me. He’s supposed to be the stable grown up. Only now I’m the stable grown up. How the fuck did that happen?

He’s had a hard time since his wife died. Things have been rocky. It makes sense. That has been seven years now. His business failed and that was really hard financially and emotionally. He likes his current job, but it doesn’t pay that much and he has a lot of bills. Complicated. He’s really depressed.

He expresses admiration for my obsessive saving. Which is awkward. I appreciate his positive feedback on my skills but it is uncomfortable too. I don’t think I should be doing better than other people. That is not my self-perception. If I do something well, emotionally, I want it to be because any one can do it and it isn’t very hard. That isn’t true any more though. I’m good at a lot of things that most people suck at. I am an incredibly skilled person.

That’s hard to accept sometimes. I don’t ever get to use the excuse that I just can’t any more. I can find a way. That’s daunting. Overwhelming. Too much pressure. I don’t want to be able to find a way. I want to have the excuse that I don’t have to.

But I’m exceptionally competent. If I don’t do something it is probably because I choose not to and not because I can’t. That’s…

Shit. I’m out of excuses. I like excuses.

Talking to Dad is intense on a variety of levels. As the years go by I am increasingly willing to share my opinion on what I see. “You are selfish in a short sighted way. If we could get your selfishness to see the long-view then I think your romantic life would improve.” He is strangely willing to listen to me now whereas ten years ago he snorted and said what the hell do I know.

Now he’s had two marriages go badly and mine is doing well and he’s willing to listen.

He spent a lot of time questioning whether I was on the road trip because my marriage is rocky. He had a really hard time believing that Noah would be ok with this kind of separation unless we were on the verge of divorce.

Nope, we are very happy together. Lots of sex. Lots of good conversation. We really enjoy one another’s company. But I’m a traveler and he’s not. He loves me anyway just like I love him for being a home body. We are ok with supporting one another through divergent experiences. We don’t have to do everything together. It’s ok if we are different.

It is part of why I am so very happy to be married to Noah. He doesn’t want a Mrs. Noah Gibbs who is there to facilitate his life. He wants to be partnered with Krissy Gibbs. Who is bad ass and does cool things.

He’s bummed when people think I’m cool because he married me. He thinks that is missing the point of me. I am not cool because he sticks his dick in me. I’m cool so he wants to stick his dick in me. People should get the order right.

I really like Noah. I am ridiculously happy to be married to someone who trusts me and who works as hard as he works. I like hard workers. I like people who pick goals and then put their head down and accomplish them come hell or high water. I really like Noah. He inspires me. He also taunts me and I want to punch him for it. But I don’t because we do not have that kind of relationship.

Noah causes me to think really hard about my ever expanding repertoire of skills. He isn’t ok with me minimizing my abilities. He says, “Nope. You don’t get to think you are incompetent any more. You probably never were but you don’t get to think it now.”

I cannot express what knowing him has meant to me. He believes in me. He believes in me the way other people believe in G-d. He thinks I can just do things. So I can.

Thank you.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to the world if everyone had someone who believed in them as much as Noah believes in me. It would be a really incredible planet. I wish I could see that planet.

I want to be part of a world where people build one another up instead of tearing each other down. That was the hard part of dealing with the aunts. I didn’t want to tear them down in the process of educating them and that is hard. Tearing people down is so much easier than building them up.

How do you teach people to see that they are privileged because they grew up with a highly educated parent who had the ability to teach them a variety of skills that other people never know exists? How do you teach people to see that they are lucky and blessed because they got to have abusive help for a period of time?

Some people get no help at all. Not even packaged with abuse. No one wants to help them from the get-go.

Can we get over this idea that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? That’s a crock of shit. The people who survive and who do well are people who have neighbors who show up to help. Not people who do it alone.

I’ve tried doing it alone and I’ve tried finding a network of support. Finding the network is horrifyingly hard. It is emotionally draining and hurtful. There are hundreds of false starts. It feels hopeless most of the time. But then you notice that this time when you fell down someone was there to grab your elbow and keep you from landing on the concrete.

I believe in the MonkeySphere. I believe my connections to human beings are the reason I am alive. Mostly through Shanna and Calli and Noah, but my friends are important. My friends matter so much.

If I weren’t at Dad’s house I wouldn’t be able to see the extent of how much he loves me and would do if I needed it. He’s never going to be able to provide financial support–he might need it in the future. But he has been emotional support for almost 16 years. He has supported me through many different changes in my life. He adapts with me as I change radically and he really wishes he didn’t have to.

I see you. I appreciate you.

Looks like my kids are going to be his grandkid experience. His bio-kids are respectively one and two years younger than me. His son is only going to have children if there is a catastrophic accident and he’s considering pre meditative surgery. Just to be safe. Dad’s bio-daughter is 30 and doesn’t have a partner. Her mom would like her to have kids but she isn’t real interested in single parenting and things aren’t lining up.

It is weird seeing that I am creating a place for myself. I am in the middle of generations. I help interpret going up and going down. I really appreciate that I get to spend so much of my life teaching people how to get along. Kids and adults. That probably isn’t how other people see how I spend my time… but it is how I see what I’m doing. I give other adults a lot of feedback. I try to do it in ways that won’t cause them to turn around and yell at me to back off (I’m pretty deft) but I’m a bossy motherfucker. I’m going to volunteer my view whether you like it or not.

And there are people who keep me around even though I’m highly obnoxious. My life is great.

Last night I told Dad that I feel very safe unloading on him at this point because I know that he likes having me around. He laughed and asked why I am so sure. I said, “I’ve watched you for a lot of years. When you are done with people you get mean. Your jokes are more and more cutting. You point out their flaws more frequently and with more venom. It is hard to watch when you are doing it to people I like. It is part of why I don’t spend more time with you. I don’t want to wear out my welcome. You have never treated me that way and I want to continue this trend.”

He got quiet and thoughtful. After a while he nodded and said, “You are right. I do like you a lot. I’m not sick of you.” He didn’t say that much more about it. He’s not the sort.

I’m sitting in Dad’s back yard resting. I’m thinking about doing some weeding. He’s been really sad and just isn’t keeping up with the house and yard. I cleaned his pipes this morning. If you are going to pollute your lungs, at least don’t do it through an inch of tar, come on.

I’ll clean the kitchen after lunch and before I make dinner. Boy it needs it. I’ll probably clean the bathroom tomorrow because there is mildew starting. This house is more than twice the size of my house, I can see why he is having a hard time keeping up. He used to be able to pay help and now he can’t. I think he should down size but it’s complicated.

Everything is complicated.

Maybe the girls and I will come out here and weed his beds and run over to a nursery. We can put a handful of low-maintenance veggies in so he continues to feel loved after we leave. It is weird how plants do that. I don’t understand it, but I’m starting to see it and exploit the loop hole. Yay for exploitable techniques.

Holy moly we’ve been seeing great yards. Aunt Cookie and my friend W have gorgeous yards. These ladies are accomplished. It was a real treat to visit and see the results of their hard work. I feel so inspired. I need to touch some dirt. I need to put in more plants. The planet needs more plants.

Maybe I can ask him if one of his beds can be a wild flower seed mix for birds and butterflies. So when the flowers come up he can think of us.

We love you and we want you to be here.

I love pot. Today I’m not driving so I’m heavily medicated. Right in this moment I feel like if the biggest burdens in my life are dealing with some classist, racist, mostly decent people… I can work with that. I like educating people. I will learn how to talk about these topics. It is very important to me that people like them learn why they are wrong. I understand that they will be more likely to listen to someone they perceive as being like them. They see me as being like them.

They are wrong as fuck, but that’s ok.

It’s an exploitable loop hole. No, I’m not like you. But I know how to ape some of your class markers and I have learned to do so out of self-preservation. I have learned how to make people like you stop hitting me. I’m not like you.

I’m never going to stop being a fierce person. I believe it is necessary. But I want to learn how to temper it when I choose. I want it to be more under control. I want it to be a tool in my tool box and not the defining explanation of what I’m like. I believe that being capable of violence is necessary for self preservation. I’m going to get better at being lethal and learn how to stop the bullshit posturing.

I don’t need to win the dick contests. Even though mine is bigger.

I don’t like what I win. How is being the biggest dick a good thing?

Well, it’s a good thing when I can get men to back the fuck off of being bossy and/or controlling but quick. There has to be another way.

I struggle with the grey area of wanting to be more open and inviting and wanting to be all go the fuck away.

What is the path? Who knows. I’m just walking.

Holy crud out of the blue

I was sitting at dinner with my lovely family and out of the blue I had really strong visualization of cutting myself really badly. Cutting myself in flamboyant, very attention-getting ways. Razor blades from the wrist to the elbow. Screaming and flailing at the same time.

I have no idea where this visualization came from. It was sudden. It was intense. I had to really consciously choose to not beat my head on the table because my first impulse was to try and get it out of my head by beating my head on the table. Like I almost slammed my face into my dinner. It was disorienting and weird.

I have no idea what the fuck is up with that. Not fun.

Otherwise I’m pretty sure I’m done packing other than perishable food. It will take about 15 minutes to round it up.

We leave in just over 17 hours. I’m tired and feeling kind of flattened.

I’m going to sleep a lot. Tomorrow I want to take a very very very long bath. With epsom salts.

I find it weird that I had the intense visualization given that my general anxiety level has been going down all day. As I get closer to “go” I’ve been settling down. I’ve been feeling better. All of a sudden I feel completely not ok. But I’m going to sit on this.

How I feel doesn’t really matter. What matters is what I do. I noted to Noah, “I’ll write about it later. This is when it started.” I’m pretty sure that other than blinking more times than usual I didn’t otherwise act inappropriately.

Right this second I’m scared of going so long without a consistent witness. Who will make sure I’m appropriate?

Well tonight Noah asked/gave Calli permission to call me on having a negative attitude. I suppose she will be the one to make sure I’m not too much of a bitch.

Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking love that my children have the courage to stand up to me? Grown men are afraid of me. Not my bad ass little babies.

Shanna is developing a very negative attitude about the trip. She doesn’t want to leave Noah. I’m… trying to be ok with it. I’m being supportive of her having feelings. I am sympathizing. I’m still implacable. “We’re going. Why? Because we have things to learn.”

I feel like I am drowning in waves of guilt. We are leaving because I want to run away. Because I need a break. Because I’ve been standing in one place too fucking long. Because I have always wanted to see what the country is like. Because I wanna.

Because I wanna and I’m selfish and you have to come with me.

For just a few years you have to keep me company. I hope it isn’t too awful. I hope you will have some fun. Calli is acting like she will have fun.

I’m trying not to be an asshole about “At least one daughter likes me.” Shanna does like me. But she really likes her dad and her computer and she wants to stay. Not too long ago she was happy to follow me to the ends of the earth and I was enough. I’m having feels. I’ll get over them. This is appropriate.

I hope we will have fun together.

I hope she will not remember this as something her crazy mother dragged her through. I pray.

Both kids are still absolutely adamant that they want to keep home schooling. I’m not dragging them through everything. Shanna says that if Noah were coming with us more she wouldn’t feel resistant to the road trip. That makes sense. She says the around-the-world trip sounds awesome because he will be with us.

Yeah honey… but there are steps here we need to figure out. If we can’t make this work we can’t spend a year away. We have to manage five months away first.

We can do it. But will you still like me?

I like you. I know there are going to be years where you don’t like me much. I’m trying to be ok with it. I know it isn’t personal. It’s normal and appropriate. Lots of books tell me so.

Sometimes I find it startling how “normal” and “text-book” my kids are. They have normal, happy people problems. I love watching it. And I will continue to do whatever I must to not beat my head in front of them. I will not cut. I will not let them see me harm myself on purpose. Just no.

I will not be how you learn about these behaviors. Or, rather, you will not learn about them by watching me.

I will teach you to love your body, to say kind things about it, and to be gentle with yourself. That’s my job.

Every single time I’m having a hard time emotionally I want to say mean/petty/vindictive things. So far I have managed to bite my tongue because I chant in my head, “Their negative inside voice will not come from you.”

My goal is to ensure that my children never hear nasty tapes in their head of my voice dressing them down. That will not be our relationship.

I hear my mom scream that I am a stupid cunt. A bitch. Unwanted. Dirty. Nasty. Pathetic. I don’t know how to stop those tapes.

I can’t stop them in my head but I can make sure I don’t put them in my daughters’ heads.

I mean… I tell my kids that they are obnoxious and annoying… just like their parents. I grin while I say it. It generally comes out something like, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TURN OUT AS ANNOYING AS ME?!?!?!” They laugh.

“You are supposed to be obnoxious. If you weren’t obnoxious you would have to turn in your kid-badge.”

When I’m being scary my kids will stand there, straight and tall, and tell me, “You are using a mean voice and you need to stop.” Sometimes they are crying… but they do it. I tell them they are right and I do stop. Thank you for telling me.

I’ve had an interesting thing with Shanna lately. I love her hair. I have always loved to stroke her head and she has mostly barely tolerated me touching her. Since it was dyed… I uhm… I’m being annoying. I want to play with it and braid it. I PAID SO MUCH MONEY! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE COOL TOY!!! Uhm… Shanna has these opinions about it being her body or some bullshit.

Who has been telling her this crap?!

Anyway, I was trying to cajole her into letting me braid her hair. Cool pink and blue streaks are super duper fun and I like playing with plaiting. Shanna resisted some and I cajoled some.

At some point I said, “You know what… I’m pestering which isn’t cool; it is your body. If you really don’t want me to play with your hair I won’t.”

She said, “I feel like you haven’t been very respectful of my body lately.”

I felt like I got sucker punched.

I said, “Oh. Well, I think what is happening is that your boundaries are changing and I didn’t notice. We are going to have to have lots of conversations over the years. We started out with you being a little lump I carried around at all times and it was ok for me to touch you whenever I wanted. That will change slowly and sometimes quickly and I’ll need to be told. I can’t read your mind to know when you change. Also, I’ve been pushing harder on brushing your hair for a few reasons. Know how we make a lot of unconventional choices like not going to school?”

She nodded.

“Well, when you choose to not do what most people do most of the time then you risk people having to come check up on you. Unfortunately when folks from the government come to check on kids… one of the first things they look at is whether you are clean and your hair is brushed. It’s stupid. It isn’t a measure of how well you are taken care of, not really. But people can look at it from a distance. I’ll try to be more respectful though.”

She asked a few more questions about the government checking up on families and then agreed that a basic brushing is reasonable daily. I’m to back off on wanting to play though.

It sucks.

I have watched a lot of movies about mothers and daughters this year. Lots. Dozens maybe. I’m on a kick. It is surprising to me how mother/daughter relationships are twisted around appearance and hair and the perceptions of other people. My relationship with my mom was complicated. She wanted my hair to be about 2″ long so that she didn’t have to be embarrassed all the time about how bad I looked.

I have to respect it when my daughters say no. Even if I don’t want to. Even if it would make *me* happy to ignore their wishes. I’ve got a long game going. I want them to be my friends in thirty years.

Given how cool I am at 33 I bet Shanna is going to be way fucking cooler at 37. Yeah, I really want to know them in thirty years. I want to be friends. And that means I have to be appropriate when they are kids.

It is harder some days than others. Today being appropriate is hard. I think I did ok though.

We went to get passports. We went to the bank; both girls are now square when it comes to allowance. Their savings accounts are up to date. My kids get $2/week for saving. So Shanna has over $700. It’s… honestly a bit weird. I couldn’t have imagined having so much when I was that age. Heck, it isn’t real to her. The $5/week of walking around money is what she sees. I’ve been talking to them about the save money for a while. They only kind of get it.

I drew the watering diagrams for the yards. I’m ready. It’s time to go.

I love you, Wonderland. I’ll come back.

Yay babysitting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

swoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope.

Please, oh god, oh god.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel like shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words, definitions, insults

Bitch, asshole, cunt. Why do we love these words so much? It isn’t just me who has a love-affair. I self-identify easily as an asshole. Yup, I’m self-absorbed and I’m going to default to thinking my needs are more important than yours. I’m not sorry. Bitch is harder for me. Asshole I view as more passive–not attacking anyone but not doing anything unless motivated by selfish need. Bitch is more aggressive. Bitches attack. Bitches are willing to savage people just because they are having a bad day. Notice how gendered these assumptions are? When men withdraw and refuse to engage… they are an asshole. When a woman chases cause she’s pissed… she’s a bitch.

Even that paragraph isn’t really true. Many men are called assholes when they are aggressive. So it’s not like being an asshole is just a passive retreat thing. Men are assholes and women are bitches. Even though some assholes can be loud about it, I feel like assholes are still in the “resistant” role. Assholes “are how they are and you can fuck off if you don’t like it”.

Bitches are different. Bitches want to control. Bitches try to make people do things they may not want to do. Bitches are manipulative (in that bad way.) Really, isn’t being a bitch just a short hand way of saying, “You there, with the vulva, shut your mouth.”

Bitches are women who talk when other people wish they would shut up. Bitches are the women who won’t sleep with you even though, don’t they know you are a Nice Guy?!!?!? 

Those bitches.

P said I call myself a bitch a lot here. So I did a search find on the front page. Do I do it “a lot?” My off-the cuff guess was five references. I was wrong. Eleven references. Only one of them about a person other than myself (and she deserved it–actually she probably didn’t and I’m being a jerk. My only saving grace is I did it in an anonymous way about a stranger and she’ll never know or care.)

Three of the references were “bitchy”. That leaves me with seven times I called myself a bitch. And given how long my entries are… not many entries stay on the front page.

Ok, I call myself a bitch frequently.

I think I partially use these words as self-descriptors because if I say it first… other people are just being “unoriginal” when they use them–it hurts less. I say them because sometimes my reactions seem scary and out of proportion to people (if they knew the whole back story I don’t think my reactions would seem so out of proportion) and if you tell people you are a bitch/asshole they just kind of shrug off the “over” reactions. “Assholes/bitches do that.” It’s a different kind of privilege to opt-in to. The kind of privilege where people stop pressuring you to change so much.

People tell “nice” or “kind” people how they should be all day long. It’s disgusting. When you are a known asshole… people tend to mostly keep their opinions to themselves unless you have a firmly established relationship. My close friends say things to me that would probably shock the fuck out of people who know me casually. It’s about getting used to different peoples tolerances. My tolerances are very unusual. It’s not really that I can “handle more” than other people because I can’t. But the things I can handle are things that are different from what most people can handle. Non-overlapping circles of cope.

I desperately, desperately, overwhelmingly, chokingly want to a good person, but I don’t think I want to be “nice”. I’m an asshole. Assholes can be good people too. Assholes can be personally abrasive and difficult and still do lots of good for the world. Nice people are pretty locked into being nice. They don’t get the dynamic personality I want to have. They have to care too much about the feelings of people around them.

I care exactly how much it is prudent for me to care and maybe a little less.

I have people I latch onto emotionally and my tolerances are vast and broad for people who are in the inner circle. I’m not “nice” but I am tolerant, accepting, and loving. But I’ll be rough and uncomfortable in the process because I just am.

I choose to be effective over being well-liked. If I am liked, bonus. I care way more about being effective.

Someone I spend a fair bit of social time standing near was making conversation. She asked what we are up to lately. I talked about having three conferences in five weeks and can’t these people work together to spread this shit out?! No. They are three completely separate communities. I am probably going to be the singular overlap between events. Sigh. She asked what I am doing at the conferences. I said presenting. She expressed surprise. (Not shock or anything insulting… she just hasn’t heard much about me doing that kind of thing.) I told her I am talking about imposter syndrome in writers and sustainable ambition. She asked me what sustainable ambition is. I gave about a 30 second run down. She kind of hinted, “Uhm… why did they ask *you* to present on that topic?” (She’s really good at asking questions in polite ways so my rephrasing is almost certainly more insulting sounding. She’s super sweet.)

I told her that I got married less than 9 years ago and at that time we had an on-paper net worth of around $300k and over $350k in debt including the mortgage. Now we have a net worth of $1.3 million and $150,000 in debt. We are doing pretty well.

Her jaw dropped.

“Wow. I guess you do have stuff to say on this topic then. Go you. That’s incredible.”

Yeah, I have a few opinions around managing money, savings, investments, and ambition. My opinions are not THE RIGHT OPINIONS EVERYONE MUST SHARE OR FAIL!!!!! But maybe someone will hear a useful tidbit. I was asked to come talk. Other people think they will enjoy hearing me talk about this topic.

Total anxiety fest.

As I’m heading into three conferences (technically at the third one I’m only on the hook for the Easter egg hunt) I feel a little bit more like “People are ok with me being part of their communities.” Even more so…. some of them want me to talk about my experiences. That’s very validating.

If I’m getting positive feedback like that, why do I need to hold on to the bitch/asshole thing?

Because I’m a woman. I will never get away from being a bitch no matter what I do. If I willfully take asshole along with it and I label myself as I see fit in a conversation (When you tell someone, actually I’m not being a bitch I’m being an asshole they tend to be so startled the insults trail off.) then I have a lot more control around my self-perception and around the perception other people have of me.

If I were trying and trying and trying to be nice I would fail and people would flay me with it. Instead I tell people I’m an asshole and they celebrate any ounce of niceness. Fucking awesome.

Ma-nipulation it is fun for me

I like to get my way and it is so fun-ny

(Ok, that rhymes into a little song I sing… Not sure that the tone carries through in writing…)

It is funny for me that if I spend a lot of time telling people I’m an asshole the primary thing people want to do is argue, “Oh no you aren’t…” and then when I do something that is an asshole move they look at me with shock. “Wait… you are… actually an asshole?!”

Truth in advertising doesn’t result in people believing you.

Yesterday I was skirting the bitch/asshole line pretty hard. We were at a trampoline place with friends. There were no employee monitors. So the little kids wanted to stay together in a pack. Which meant 3-7 kids bouncing on one trampoline at a time. I consider this very unsafe. I consider it very unsafe because I’ve seen awful trampoline accidents. (I spent time rurally in Texas. Those kids did stupid shit because they were bored.)

My kids don’t like being bounced. So my kids spent half the time screaming/crying “Get away from me” and “Leave me alone” because they kept getting hurt. If I tried to physically block off ONE GOD DAMN SQUARE other kids just would not leave them alone. I got so fucking mad. STOP BOUNCING MY KID SHE FUCKING SAID NO.

I didn’t curse once. I like these kids. But man their behavior was sucky yesterday. When someone says No, that means fucking no. What is your problem? Also I was extra triggered because one kid I like wrestling with (we’ve done it a lot over many years) kicked me in the throat and wouldn’t talk about it at all. Kid ran away laughing at me. I felt ridiculously triggered and upset. I’m going to need to talk to Parent and Kid about this. I am sincerely worried about accidentally hurting one of these kids some day because they are too rough with my body. I have a lot of reflexes that I’ve toned down but not eliminated. The kids are getting bigger. When they kick me in the throat now it feels like a real threat and I have to do a lot of cognitive processing to recognize that this child is not trying to start a fist fight. It’s hard to sit on. I need some better boundaries here and I’m not being effective at making them without Parent’s help. We’ll see how it goes.

It was at least 9 kids doing doing the chasing-jumping it so it’s not like I’m mad at one person. It was just stressful after a while. And I didn’t want to stomp down to the parent area and tell them, “Will you make your little assholes behave? My little assholes are trying and failing and they are getting hurt.”

Which isn’t an appropriate thing to say at all. No one likes you if you talk about their kids that way. Even though in my opinion EVERY KID IS AN ASSHOLE. I’ve met them. I’ve watched how they behave. Assholes. All of them. It’s not a huge insult it’s just an evaluation of their behavior. They don’t care at all how their actions impact the people around them. It’s a learned process to care about people.

I actually really like the kids that were there. I play with them a lot. We have many good and wonderful games. I feel like I have learned more about how to “play” with this crowd than I ever understood as a child. I really like these kids a lot. Losing contact with them would be devastating. So I have no intention of ever walking up to the group of moms and saying, “Your little assholes….” even though I wouldn’t mean anything that bad by it. That’s how I talk. That’s how I describe the mood of the moment, not their personhood.

I have lots positive to say about every single kid there. But sometimes their behavior sucks. Kinda like me.

I know they meant well. They wanted us to play their game with them. But I’m too big and Calli is too small and Shanna is just too much of a whiner. If I jump with five kids on a trampoline, we may end up with a trip to the hospital and the kids would not back off. Calli got hurt several times because she is just smaller than everyone else. She doesn’t want to feel like a piece of popcorn being tossed about without her will. And Shanna is… Shanna. “I went into the dodge ball area and they THREW BALLS AT ME. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

Uh, yeah. That happens.

This is the trouble with not sticking kids in public school; they never get the cold hard reality that sometimes balls will come crashing into your face because obviously, “Ha ha” this is such a great game.

I may opt out of the next trampoline group event. We can go by ourselves. We have fun when we go alone. Then I can be as nasty as necessary to defend ONE DAMN SQUARE and Calli will get to jump without sobbing hysterically. We have tons of fun with these kids in every other setting. Maybe we are just not trampoline compatible. That happens.

I’m kind of mean to little kids I don’t know. They won’t fucking listen if you don’t have a harsh tone of voice. “Please stop” is ignored full speed ahead. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR HEARING I SAID STOP.” is listened to much better. I can’t be as harsh with folks we know because then their moms might develop a problem with me. It’s a balancing act of trying to be effective vs. trying to maintain on-going relationships. I really and truly think that children wandering around in the community need to run into the brick wall boundaries of strangers. My kids have gotten yelled at by strangers. Usually my response is, “You deserved it. You ran into someone who owed you nothing and you pushed your luck. Yup, that happens sometimes.”

My shrink and I had a long talk about “You like being that way”. Ok, it wasn’t a long talk. It was just a few minutes. But it was a good talk. Her point is that everyone has some sets of behaviors that feel more natural, more “ok” than others. When a new coping method comes up it can either feel like it overall matches “your approach” or it will feel alien and wrong because it is counter to your impulses. What she meant by “You like being that way” is, I am far more comfortable defaulting to an aggressive way of handling problems. It’s true. I am not always angry and I don’t always curse and I haven’t used actual violence in many years. But if I see a problem my response is probably going to be to walk up to someone and say, “I see we have a problem.”

And even when I do that in nice ways I get called a bitch.

Women are not supposed to be pro-conflict. That is espoused all over the world. Women should shut up and be passive. Yeah, right. (Yes, there are pockets where women are encouraged to be louder and more assertive. Yes, there are men who totally fucking love dominant women. These things usually fall outside the norm.) I haven’t heard that much about it, but I hear that in Chinese culture there is a stereotype that would work for me: Dragon Lady. Usually a grandmother/mom who runs a business? That’s the gist I’ve gotten. A woman who is good at being loud and in charge. Excellent.

I think that conflict moves the world forward. I think that right this minute the world isn’t that great and we need to change a lot of things. Yes, I understand that historically speaking we are at a great place for the rights of white women in first world nations.

I’m, uhm, less satisfied by that level of success than one might assume. It’s not like white women have achieved parity… they are just doing better than other races. Not ok. This has to change. Women in India still have to deal with the very real threat that if they talk back to a man he might throw acid on her face and receive no punishment. Feminism is Not. Fucking. Done. Women of color in this country get thrown under the bus by white feminists all the time and it isn’t fucking ok.

The fact that 91 people were killed by the police in January of 2015 is an atrocity. Most of them were men of color. Black and First Nations men die at a disproportionate rate from being killed by police officers. That’s an outrage. That is abominable, disgusting, and horrifying. There are more black men in prison now than there were black men as slaves! This is not ok. Just not fucking ok.

I think we need change. In our country, in our world. The only way to spur change is to make people uncomfortable with the status quo. George Bernard Shaw says (barely paraphrased): “The reasonable person adapts themself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to themself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person.”

I’m an unreasonable person. Sometimes this manifests as being a bitch or an asshole. Then we come to cunt.

When I was a little kid there was one word that would cause my mother to drag me to the kitchen by my hair, yank my head back, and fill my mouth with Palmolive. Cunt.

The dirtiest word in our (my bio-family) lexicon. That is the lowest, most disgusting, most degrading thing you can call a woman. That is what I was taught. A cunt is the lowest social position available to a woman and it means contempt and violence at every opportunity.

Being a cunt means being a scapegoat. A cunt is someone who is conveniently assigned every negative behavior and mannerism one wishes to punish. Promiscuity, too loud, too abrasive, too self assured, too “mean”…. It’s complicated. It’s always sexualized. A cunt is a home wrecker.

I’ve never identified as a cunt much. I’ve never been able to get past my childhood conditioning. Even when I was out hunting for married men I was never interested in home wrecking. I usually fucked the wife too. I left them with happy memories and a kiss on the cheek.

Cunt changed for me after I read the wonderful book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. At this point I fairly freely refer to my anatomy as my cunt, especially during sex. But I don’t call people that.

Because I can never forget that the name of the most wonderful part of my body is supposed to be the worst, most terrible, most degraded thing a person can be called. Not cool.

So I conflictedly stick with bitch and cheerfully stick with asshole.

I manage this with the kids slightly differently. I don’t tell them I’m an asshole all day long. I nod and sagely say, “I can be quite annoying, this is true.” Why doesn’t it work that way when I talk to adults? Because I have to defend myself with adults.

I don’t have to defend myself with my kids. I have to explain what I need. Sometimes a few million times… but I don’t need to defend myself. (Ok, the odd sword-fight excepted.) They aren’t attacking me. They are looking for loving connection, even when they bug the shit out of me. So I don’t get as offensive. I don’t need to. It wouldn’t help.

I really like getting to have this experience. I like feeling loved like this, in gentleness and kindness. In this house, the best days involve the four of us piling on top of one another and talking for hours. Eventually we get a bit antsy and want to play again. Then, always, we wind up in another snuggle pile.

It is like a dream come true. I don’t know how to take this wonderful feeling out into the world and give people the benefit of the doubt. It has hurt me so much.

Bragging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

I don’t know.

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

What do you mean you are done?

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

Right. Uhm. Yeah. I’ll uhhh shut up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awkward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop judging, Krissy.

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

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

This sucks.

I have had so much diarrhea in the last 24 hours that it is kind of horrifying. It burns and burns and burns and burns. Based on the color of things coming out of me, the blue jello went through me in under an hour. I would guess that the extreme burning is stomach acid coming through with the poop.

Noah and I had a very unfun conversation about “support” and medical procedures. Namely: that begging on my blog for a friend to come with me is how I get support during medical procedures and I’m not all that happy about that. He agreed that it kind of sucks. That said, we both think DSH may be slightly more useful in managing Kaiser anyway.

Basically I said, “Remember me begging for you to be more involved in Calli’s pregnancy and you remember how you didn’t do it? Yeah. At this point begging other people for help seems more productive so I don’t waste my breath asking you any more.” That can’t be fun to hear.

When my family sat down to a lovely dinner I wanted to go in the bathroom and cut. I didn’t, but that was all I could think about. Not being able to eat is becoming a real problem for me. Psychologically this is getting really bad.

Yes, I know that I was going to have nasty diarrhea right now by design. They made me take a fucking laxative (as if I need help causing diarrhea) and I’ve had no fiber in four days, going on five. Apparently no fiber also causes me major diarrhea. So I’m going to have diarrhea right now. This is for a medical procedure.

But my poop book is an exercise in crying and feeling bad. I have a few days in a row that are ok then I’m back to diarrhea and I haven’t cheated on wheat or dairy in a while. And I still have wicked diarrhea all the time. Somehow I am finding it hard to believe that wheat and dairy are the problem when I’m up to day 55 and I still mostly have diarrhea. Yes, I did cheat a few days so I suppose there are going to be people who tell me it is all my fault I haven’t really cleared my system so I can’t truly be sure. But give me a fucking break.

I’ve had wheat on five or six days out of the last 55. I don’t think wheat is the current problem. I really don’t. Yes, I understand that a lot of the current problem is stress (when I’m not preparing for a medical exam) and I don’t know how to get that out of my life.

Part of the problem is, if you start telling me how anxiety causes my diarrhea you spike my anxiety… and my diarrhea… and you convince me that the only solution is dying. It is my fault I suffer. The only way out is death.

Now, after several mugs of broth I know I just couldn’t do the GAPS diet. If I tried drinking straight broth daily I would throw up after a few days. Just like I can’t consistently take multi-vitamins or I projectile vomit them. Festive!

I’m scared that I am going to get to the end of this procedure and have the same diagnosis I have now–IBS. The thing about IBS, they don’t know what causes it and other than managing stress and trying to figure out which foods trigger you the worst… nothing can be done. And the foods that trigger you aren’t true allergies. You just have to play with food forever and someday something will give you wicked diarrhea and sometimes not. (Some people get constipation. The internet makes me think that I am starting to alternate constipation and diarrhea because that would explain the massive uptick in gas pain. Since starting this elimination diet the pain in my belly is 4 or 5 times as bad as it was. I *never* got abdominal pain like this from gas before the elimination diet. Sometimes I double over in pain and have to breath for a while.

Sometimes I think the gas pain is worse than labor. I think it is funny that I am developing this list of things that have happened to me that actually hurt worse than labor. Given that I had a 9 day unmedicated labor at home followed by a hemorrhage that left me unable to walk for two weeks… that really is kind of saying something.

Right now it is 3am. I woke up at 2am to drink as much as I can. Only clear fluids at this point. No liquid past 4am. Not till after lunchtime. Seemed important to tank up now. And quite frankly: when you have this much diarrhea, getting dehydrated hurts. Yay Sprite! I am drinking Sprite! Even though it has carbonation. Fuck the universe. I already hurt. I need calories. If I have more apple juice I will puke. (I’m also drinking home made stock. Which, at the bottom of the cup, makes me totally fucking gag. It’s great in soup. By itself… not my thing.)

I’m going to drink a minimum of four cups of liquid. Maybe I’ll try to force six cups into me. Phew. Now the broth is gone. Bleh. Yuck. Ew. Cover the taste with SUGAR!

We had a great interview with a babysitter last week and she no-showed last night. I looked at her profile again last night and I’m the fourth one star review saying she interviews great then never shows up to work. At least it isn’t personal? A different babysitter no-showed an interview yesterday.

I’m kind of amazed by how many people will email me telling me they want a job and they they either don’t show up to interview or they interview and don’t show up for work. It is just about impossible to find people who want to show up consistently and earn money. They want money but they think that an exchange of their labor for the money is ridiculous. Given that I pay right in the middle of the babysitting scale for my area it isn’t that I’m under paying.

My shrink keeps telling me that I have to find another babysitter. Given that I can spend 10-20 hours a week on hunting for a babysitter only to end up with no babysitter (there have been a minimum of six weeks that I’ve tried this since Shanna was like two) I’m starting to question the point of the search. I could find a daycare to drop them off at, no problem. I can’t find people who want to consistently come to my house to babysit. That’s just… onerous. (Thank goodness for the homeschooled teenager three doors down. But her parents are looking for a house in Modesto. I’m going to cry a lot.)

In positive news: we got a Christmas tree yesterday. I put up the lights and garland and I let the girls decorate the rest. So we have kind of a hilarious band of ornaments. It actually makes me feel very happy. This is the range of their current competence, neatly illustrated. so cute.

In general I feel the kids deserve medals for how patient they are being with me lately. When I start crying when I’m eating (because man my food doesn’t taste good anymore) Shanna comes and pets my shoulder and tells me, “Mom I know this elimination diet is really tough. But it’s not forever. You can get through this. We will figure out how to make you hurt less. Then we’ll figure out how to make it taste good.”

I feel so guilty for my suicidal thoughts. How could anyone want to get away from someone as wonderful as Shanna? Or Calli. Oh man Calli has been the biggest love bug lately.

I feel grateful all the time that I get to be with my kids instead of people who wouldn’t appreciate them as much. Sometimes my friends tell me they would “shut Shanna up” and I think “That’s why I’m so glad she’s my daughter and not yours. I don’t want to shut her up.”

Calli has been trying to figure out volume stuff lately. She’s experimenting with whispering voices and how close to someones head you have to be for what volumes. I think it is wonderful.

Once in a while Shanna asks me what’s wrong. I suppose at those times I don’t have a great facial expression. I tell her, “Something isn’t going right with my body or I would be smiling. You are enough reason to smile all day every day. But my body isn’t.”

Recently a woman I know was talking about her experience moving through the world with what she described as “resting bitch face”. I don’t think I have that. Of all the ways I trigger people to be more hostile to me, I at least skip one magnetic pull for hostility. I’m a smiler. Big time. Safety decision. A very long time ago I figured out that doing something other than smiling was kind of dangerous.

I feel weird about what I’m teaching my daughters. Don’t be quiet. Smiling is safer. Take up space in the world. People will protect you more if they have more of an emotional bond with you and the way to create that bond is to seem personable and friendly no matter how you feel. Your feelings don’t matter; the feelings you cause other people to have matter.

I’m glad my kids are getting to the point where they will rattle off that clothes don’t make you pretty; your behavior, or not, makes you pretty.

It has taken many many many times of saying, “I’m not going to tell you that you are pretty because you changed your clothes. I’m going to tell you that you are pretty if your behavior is awesome.” Earn it or you don’t get it.

I’ve had many people tell me over the past 15 years that I’m not one to give idle praise and that is part of why people trust my praise. I won’t say you are awesome until you are and then I will say it thousands of times.

If you believe suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems then I want to live with you for 15 years and cause you as many emotional and physical problems as I have before we have a conversation. And fuck you while we are at it.

I want to stay. I want to see my kids grow up. More than anything I want to find out what Shanna is like as a 35 year old woman. Whoa. What will Calli do with her life? I can’t guess. She doesn’t even have any “When I grow up” beliefs yet. Other than wanting to be near me.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not had children I would be dead. Sometimes it seems like cheating that having kids is not only as good as I hoped it would be, it is better. I could never have imagined all of the life I have now. I didn’t have the imagination. And I’m going to do some intensely cool things in the future. Even if I do have diarrhea.

My shrink tried to tell me that if I get a “real diagnosis” that means I’m likely to have diarrhea forever that will be the end of travel. I laughed. I told her that I have a travel toilet. I’m going.

My kids are going to see this country. And many others. My kids are going to find out what a range of humans exist here. My kids have so much privilege that sometimes it kind of breaks me. My kids are growing up being told that with great privilege comes great responsibility. I say things like, “There are a lot of people in this world who are so hungry they are not able to think of solutions to the larger problems. It is the responsibility of people who have enough and more to solve these problems because you have the ability to think. If you waste what you have, that is terrible. That is hurtful. You are damaging the people who cannot do what you are doing just out of… what? Not wanting to? Not wanting to deal with making mistakes and having to learn from them? You are going to fuck up in ways big and small. Try to change things. The world needs changing.”

A former student told me that Outrunning Suicide is the book she wishes she had read when she was twelve. She said she cried because of all the mistakes she made during her teen years that could have been avoided if she had read this book. I need to find the time and motivation to submit this for publication. Man it takes spoons. She described it as “It’s like The American Girl Body Book but grown up…”

She says I’m very good at presenting facts and options and not telling people what to do. *phew*

I don’t want to tell you what to do. I don’t know what you should do.

H’okay. 90 minutes since I’ve been in the bathroom and 5 cups of liquid later time to leave the garage. Have a good day, y’all.

Two realities

Yesterday the cookie exchange was rad. I had a great time. Only two families showed up so I got to have lots of real talking time with the moms. Yay! And they accidentally staggered arrival so I got one hour alone with each family. That was really nice too.

Something that is still sticking in my head is about the conversation where one mom (a blog reader) expressed that has a hard time seeing me interact with people in person sometimes because I seem to be lying. I will type for hours about how depressed and shitty I’m doing and then come to the park and say everything is “great”. This dichotomy seems like lying to her. (Very reasonable association.)

I told her it isn’t lying. It is accurately representing the two parallel realities I live in. It is kind of confusing sometimes. There is the simple and literal reality I live with: I have mental illness and often I will be able to say that my life is really shitty and I don’t feel even remotely “ok”. But there is the parallel reality that right now people are nicer to me than they’ve ever been. I’m more stable than I’ve ever been. I’m more loved than I have ever experienced. I am doing great.

Sometimes it is hard for me to live with this dichotomy. I am doing shitty and great at the same time. Neither is lying. Neither negates the other reality.

But if I spent a lot more time verbally telling people about the shitty parts I would rapidly find that my life went back to how it used to be. People would want to talk to me less. I would not have as firm of support.

If I told strange moms at the park all about my mental illness there would be backlash. Period. If people wade through the blog, then they are almost certainly capable of being supportive. They have already invested a lot of time in my stories and they are more likely to give me slack. People who have no patience for the blog in general have no patience for me. I know that if I want them to be nice/polite to me I have to maintain a front they can handle interacting with. That means “everything is great”. Whether it is or isn’t.

Paul Graham’s essay on “Mean People Fail” (not linking to it because I did yesterday and his writing isn’t that good) kind of relates. I have to maintain a front that people want to interact with or I will fail.

If I talk about my problems without respecting the fact that most people don’t care then I will be seen as mean. I will fail socially and it will be “all my fault” because I don’t have “appropriate boundaries”.

Sometimes I think that the best thing that happened to me was going to 25 schools so I could test a lot of social approaches without truly having to bear the long-term consequences of being shunned. I’ve been shunned in a lot of places. Whatever. I’ll move on. There are freaks somewhere who like me. I don’t think I would be capable of being as resilient as I am if I hadn’t had to learn.

I try to talk to my kids about this and it is hard to find the words. I can be having a basically good day and feel happy about it and have this simultaneous terrible day where I am angry and hateful and I want to go break a big pile of dishes. Living with both contradictory emotions is just my life. I don’t have many unmixed feelings.

“I’m not acting snippy or angry because of you. I’m really sorry that will slip out. That’s about other chemicals in my brain being wacky and I will try as hard as I can to sit on it. If I sound nasty, feel free to tell me and I’ll try to soften. You don’t deserve a single nasty syllable and I’m sorry they live in me.”

I cancelled the woo doctor for this week. All of my downtime lately has been driving around to doctors so I can feel worse. I need a baby-sitting session where I’m not frantically cleaning or going to a doctor to feel worse. I will be seeing Mockingjay 1 at the 9:30 showing. I read the trilogy this week. I’m very interested in seeing the first part of the third movie.

I think it is funny that my adult friendships have been kind of rocky lately but my relationships with former students are blossoming. Several of them have done their occasional “pop out of the woodwork” thing. See, two realities. I feel continually shocked by how many students think it is worth their effort to hunt me down to talk to me. They miss me when they don’t talk to me for a while.

I shouldn’t even say all of my adult relationships are rocky, only a few. I’ve had two long-term friends tell me that they have very specifically kept me in their life because I make them want to be a better person. That blows me away. Funnily enough, both of the two who said that happen to live in Tennessee right now. Maybe I’m easier to bear with a lot of distance? One is a friend from middle school. I don’t drive everyone away.

Thank you. I keep trying because of the people in my life. The people who show me day after day who I want to be and how I want to live.

A very wise woman once told me, “Friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and you won’t find out until you die who is in which category.”

When I am across the board doing well, I can sit lightly on my paranoia about everyone leaving–about everyone ceasing their love for me. Sometimes I’m capable of mostly merging the two realities and telling myself that the people who leave (now) are doing so for complex reasons and they usually aren’t about me. People who leave my life now aren’t usually rejecting me. They are losing focus on me because they are entrenched with what is right in front of them.

I don’t go put myself right in front of people much. They have to come looking for me. That means I’m going to lose a lot of people. That has to be ok or I have to change my approach.

I feel like part of what I have learned is how to step back and not force people to deal with me. I have become a much better wallflower. As a woman, the older I get the more I will be relegated to such a role anyway. I’m no longer hunting so there isn’t much reason to talk to me for lots of people. Not everyone.

I’m kind of shocked by how many people are happy with platonic relationships, actually. When I was younger I didn’t believe it. I probably actually alienated a lot of people by pushing sexuality on relationships where it wasn’t actually wanted.

Ok, time to go update the poop book. Ugh.

Alone.

Sometimes I am reminded that people with mental illness are not always good for people to be around. Sometimes it seems like being alone is really the only option if we want to stop the pain. Our pain, the pain we cause other people just by existing.

I have spent a lot of my life literally alone. I have spent years sitting alone in rooms. Yet I contrast that with the wonderful people in my life. I have friends. I am unusually blessed.

But I feel alone. Because it isn’t ok to make anyone else’s life all about my pain and I don’t know how to get past my pain to focus on connection with people. Some days I can kind of get there, I haven’t been doing so well lately.

I absolutely understand the feeling I do everything wrong anyway–the world would be better if I was dead. But I’m not supposed to say that out loud. It is manipulative. It is hurtful. It damages people if you scream at them that you want to die. It isn’t ok to take ones pain out on the people around one.

But there is so much pain. I saw a sign today, advertising a suicide prevention walk. I stood and stared at the sign for a while. I thought about a conversation I had this weekend with two women who expressed how hard it is to deal with suicidal people. Those who want to be supportive of the suicidal person can be absolutely wrung dry. That isn’t fair either.

We (the mentally ill or “crazy” as I think of myself) are told over and over that we should ask for help. Those of us with extreme trauma in our background are also told over and over and over and over again in therapy that it isn’t appropriate for us to talk about our experiences in front of “normal” people because we will hurt them just by admitting that people like us exist.

Shut up. And it is your own fault that you are crazy. And it is your fault if the pain is too much and you die. Why didn’t you get help? And while I’m at it, shut up.

I’m having a hard time with the kids. My shrink is encouraging me to consider getting a job so I can pay for private school because I need a break from my kids. I’m not entirely sure how adding a job to all of my current work would make my life easier. It isn’t like work stress is less impactful than kid stress. And the main job I have prepared to do is teach children. If I went back to doing that all day long I would not be a very nice person to my children. All of my patience would go to my job and by the time I got home I would be screaming and nearly psychotic.

It was funny how at first my shrink tried to talk me into just putting them in public school. She works with the school across the street from my house. It took me staring her down for a while before she admitted that the school is entirely substandard academically and it probably wouldn’t all “work out just fine”.

If my interactions with my kids all of a sudden had to go from just me enforcing about an hour a day of chores to me having to enforce an hour of chores AND force them to do homework that I know to be ineffective and damaging during the 3-4 hours a day I see them… I don’t see how we would get along better. Yes, I may feel less stress. Maybe. I haven’t at any other point in my life when my work situation has been different, but what the hell.

I don’t think sending my kids to a shitty school for babysitting is a good option. I don’t think that is in anyone’s best long-term interests. Would I do it if I HAD TO, yes. No one would die. It isn’t the end of the world. But no, it is not ideal. That is not for the best.

Is home schooling? Mostly we get along. We’ve had a hard few weeks. That happens every so often. I’m not sure we would get along better if our relationship involved me having to force them to get ready for school every day. I am not good at that.

I feel like a failure. I feel like I should die. But I don’t want to leave my kids. I don’t want to hurt them like that. I don’t know how to stop feeling like I am poison to everyone around me. I hurt people so much.

Maybe it would be better if I …… I don’t know.

Being alone is a weird thing. I don’t spend that much physical alone time these days. But I feel very alone emotionally. Is it because I can’t physically talk about almost any of what goes on in my head? I don’t know. I know that when I get together with other people there is usually a very clear dynamic that I am there to listen to them and be supportive of their issues. I need to not overwhelm people or bother them. I need to not be boring with this constant I want to die I want to die I want to die.

My throat hurts. My head hurts. My belly hurts. I want to puke. I want to beat my head so bad that I have to sit very still to not do it. I’ve been thinking about cutting all day. I want to bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed.

I don’t like me very much and it feels very much like I haven’t been punished adequately lately for being a piece of shit.

I can’t burden people with these thoughts. That’s not fair.

In the store, Calli was having a hard time. Calli said something–I forget what–and Shanna responded with some nonsense syllables and Noah, Shanna and I laughed. Calli sobbed. It felt like we were laughing at her and being mean. I pulled her into my arms and I carried her for the next half hour and I talked to her quietly. I apologized over and over. We didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. We were laughing at the silly sounds. I’m so sorry we hurt you. Clearly we did.

Then Calli asked me if it was right that she hurt herself. I felt utterly crushed. Did I teach you this? I try so hard not to talk about it. I don’t know if I have slipped or not. I may have. I told her that it was not right for her to hurt herself on purpose. I told her that her body is her constant companion–her body will be the only thing with her every minute of her life. She needs to be kind and loving to her body so that it can be strong and do all the things she wants to do in this life. We talked about how being kind to your body means eating healthy foods (we had a long chat about why Ho-Ho’s don’t count as “healthy food”) and drinking good water and exercising and sleeping and relaxing. We talked about balance. I told her that if she hurts herself, she won’t be as strong. I told her that if she hurts herself, she is hurting something that has only done kindness to her–her body has carried her through everything that has happened to her.

By the end she said it made sense and she said she would be careful and loving with her body.

Why can’t I talk me into feeling compassion for my body? I barely ate today. I just… couldn’t. Even though I rode 8 miles on my bike and ran just under 5 miles. I ate one piece of bread pudding and about 1/3 of a package of ramen. I don’t feel physically able to eat more. I feel sick and weak and nauseous and disgusting.

And yet I feel like there are pieces of my life pulling at me from every direction telling me that I have failed. I am not managing to make time for my friends in the ways they want me to. It’s very annoying that I get up so fucking early and I am not available to suit their needs. I am having trouble with home school social stuff. Not because anyone is doing anything. Because I feel like a feral animal in a trap and my stomach hurts all the time and I feel like I just can’t be around good, kind people. I will hurt them.

The world would be a better place if people like me didn’t exist.

More than once this weekend I felt crushing guilt. Some of the kids in the group are *gasp* normal kids and they push boundaries. Any time I enforced a boundary I felt like I should die. (To be fair, none of their parents objected and the kids aren’t upset with me to the best of my knowledge.) I’m not saying this is rational. I am more saying the opposite. None of this is rational.

I don’t know if that “alone” feeling can go away.

I feel a lot of guilt for not doing the 10k this week. But things just kind of fell apart. My running partner and I are both having feelings. We are both having stuff happen in our life and the race just didn’t quite happen for us. I feel like I let her down. I feel like I am a shitty piece of shit who should be run over by a Mac truck.

I can’t do everything. I can’t be every where. I can’t …. I just can’t. Yes, my failures suck. I know.

Yesterday I commented to Noah that I am feeling the lack of Godmama break. My shrink today commented, “It sounds like you really need a break.” Finding other options just isn’t happening. I don’t have the spoons to deal with trying to find babysitting. It is fucking hard. And people lie to me. And people steal money. And people don’t answer their phones. And… Yes, I need some kind of break from my kids. My time off is mostly the 8 hours/week I pay the neighbor but I work like a dog the whole time she is here. It is not rest time. It is “do things that I can’t do with my kids jumping on top of me” time.

I feel weary. I don’t think getting a job is actually the answer. For a hundred reasons. Yes, there would be good aspects. Right now, all I can think is, “What would I start failing on?” I have absolutely no extra spoons. I’m really far into spoon deficit.

Mostly I just pray that I don’t fuck up my kids too badly and I hope we can all make it through the next decade while still liking one another.

You know, me having a “really hard time” with my kids is about on par with the most stable, best parts of my childhood. That’s hard to wrap my head around. I feel so much guilt and so much shame for being a yeller. I don’t call my kids names.

I would have given anything to have my mom say that she was mad at what I did. Instead she told me that she was mad because I was a stupid bitch.

I yell things like, “I am not your fucking maid. Pick up your own shit.” That is what I say when I *lose it*. When I am really harsh. When I am so mean.

I wish my mama was that nice to me. I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish. That doesn’t excuse me being this way with my kids. I want to do better. Because I believe they deserve better.

I don’t scream all day long. I don’t scream every day. I scream too much. And I am really struggling with how to stop. I don’t think that adding the stress of a job would somehow magically make it easier for me to have patience. Maybe if I got to be a rural librarian who dealt with very few patrons on a day and who got to sit in a calm, orderly environment all day long. But I don’t actually have that option. I trained to do something high stress.

The idea that I would be less stressed if I went back to dealing with 150 teenagers a day is hilarious. At this point, with how teachers are getting screwed, I’d probably be up to 170 teenagers.

I told my shrink point blank that I want my next career to be in incest research and I cannot start on that path while I have little children. She countered with telling me about women who are public about intense issues getting killed. She had to agree that I should wait at least ten years before seriously starting the incest research for the safety of my children.

Yeah, I’m overly invested in the idea of home schooling. I have wanted to home school my kids since I was 17. I’m pretty devoted to this idea and I’m willing to try pretty hard to make it work out. Yes, putting my kids in school would be a failure. I have been preparing for home schooling for almost 16 years now. Yes, putting my kids in school would be a failure.

I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. I really don’t. I don’t know what the future will bring. I’m very afraid that none of it will work out and I will end up alone and bitter and hateful.

I would much, much rather die. Life is such a risk. I feel like such a failure each and every day. Ok, there are days I don’t feel like a complete loser. It hasn’t been a good month so far.

I barely talked to the kids today. I was gone five hours for therapy. I can’t do that again. Two hours of exercise/transportation between bart and destinations. One hour of therapy. Two hours of train. I really need to find an incest specialist closer to my city. Why aren’t there tons of psychologists who specialize in incest sitting in my city?! Geez. Very inconvenient. Then I came home and went in my room and cried. Because it is that kind of day.

Noah is home. I did snuggle the kids before and after. We have talked. We have interacted, but not that much more than if they were in school all day.

I can’t talk without saying things I shouldn’t. So I’m not talking. Some days are like that.

And right there, right that minute, that is when the medication hit. Now I’m hungry. Now the pain in my head is mostly muddy noise I can ignore except for the throbbing spot. I still feel sick. But I feel like maybe I will be able to eat dinner.

Calli came into my room this afternoon and asked why I was crying. I said that in my head I was hearing mean things about me and they make me feel very sad. She said, “Like what?” I smiled and told her that she doesn’t need to hear those words come out of my mouth. I don’t need to be the one who teaches her to apply those words to me, or to herself.

I worry about both of my kids, but I worry more about Calli. On one hand I feel like the worst possible mother for her. She clearly has tendencies that I could uhh encourage. In bad ways. On the other hand, how many other people can talk to her about the problems of hurting yourself?

Baby I can’t make you like you any more than I can make me like me. But know that I like you. I love you all the time even when I don’t like something you have done. I am glad for you every minute of the day. I am grateful I get to see you again. You are a good girl who is trying to learn about a complicated world and no one can learn without making mistakes.

I don’t think I am good enough to be their mom. Unfortunately I don’t know who else to nominate for the role.

Also: my kids and I had a long chat about swear words because they are both becoming quite proficient at using shit, fuck, damn, hell, and crap. We talked about the penalties they might experience for using these words. I told them about all the ways I have been punished for talking this way. Shanna asked why I still use the words if so many people have hurt me to try and make me stop. I told her that when people try to force me to do things that is a guarantee I will do the opposite–even if I’m kind of hurting myself in the process. It isn’t smart, but it is how I operate.

Now my kids have decided that since language is all about modeling I have to stop swearing because I am teaching them the words too often. I am not happy about having my kids police my language this much. I’m really not happy about it. But I’m trying to go with it. I think Shanna is being proactive in an overall healthy way.

For the first time in my life I feel like the person who is telling me to stop swearing is doing so because she loves me and she wants more people to be nice to me.

It is very hard being aware that much of what my mother did was not out of love for me, was not out of desire to make me a better person, was not in the service of my best-self.

I look at my kids and I think of the awesome, overwhelming obligation they represent.

I am not sure I’m up for this, but there’s no way out but through.

Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick your battles.

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

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

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

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

I said, “Do you love me?”

“Yes.”

“Do you get mad at me sometimes?”

“Yes. You deserve it.”

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

She kinda laughed and hugged me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is harder with adults. So much harder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated?

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

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

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

I’m a good advocate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comorbidity

That word is awesome. Comorbidity. It means the simultaneous presence of multiple conditions. Such a fabulous word. Like juxtaposition only in one spot.

My shrink and I were discussing my hypomania yesterday. Hypomania isn’t true mania. It means that you have an elevated activation of your nervous system but you aren’t necessarily doing anything rash or dangerous. I just flip between feeling happy and pissed off with a gentle breeze. I may be spending a “lot” of money but given that all of my big purchases in the last few months are things like “items I will use on cross-country trip” and “shed to prevent bicycles from disintegrating” I don’t really count as manic. I’m not blowing thousands of dollars on the lottery.

I have a lot going on. I have a lot of people in my life and I have dramatically different feelings about different people. Keeping all those feelings inside me and more or less cogent is really hard. It is very disruptive. If I knew fewer people maybe this would be easier… ha. Never happen.

The kids have been pretty explosive too. They are feeding off of me and I take responsibility. It’s like when Jenny copied my tone of voice and we had a bad first 24 hours. It sucks knowing that you are the one triggering the bad interactions in the whole house.

My attitude needs to change, and fast. I have about 18 people coming over in five hours. I haven’t made the food yet. I haven’t moved the tables yet. No biggie. That’s all there is left to do. It’ll get done. But I need to have a good attitude.

There is a family in our home school group who says that a lot when we are doing stuff like hiking and camping, “It’s important to have a good attitude.” I try really hard to listen to them. They have a good point.

So of course I woke up and at 5am I am standing at the freezer saying, “How should I medicate today?” Modern science is wonderful. The variety the dispensary has… it takes my breath away. I am thrilled. Cupcakes and rice crispy bars and brownies and cookies and about 10 different kinds of candy and chocolate bars and pills and oil and wax and ice cream and…

Whoa. All so I don’t have to give myself lung damage. Well done legalization industry.

I’m not a mellow person. I never have been. I am more calm and reflective than I used to be by a large measure. I no longer feel like someone not-paying-attention-to-me-right-now means death.

My shrink and I did several body-calming-exercises. Trying to help my central nervous system calm down. Sometimes I don’t think I could be more activated if I were hit by lightning. I’m already vibrating with energy. (Ok I know that actual lightning would be more… but you understand the metaphor.)

One of the things she had me do was visualize kicking someone. The thing is, that brings up my mental Rolodex of so-and-so and him and her and them and… Memory lane is a funny thing for me.

I will probably never do that again. I will probably never kick anyone in the nuts again. I will probably not kick someone in the chest hard enough to fracture ribs again.

Although I could do martial arts or kick boxing. Maybe that is a work around so that I can still beat the crap out of people but I’m being “monogamous”. As long as I claim I don’t get off on it–it’s fine, right?

Once my Owner watched a Famous Fetish Model/Educator (I’m capitalizing it because she’s a big deal in his little world and he nearly genuflects when he talks about her–whatever.) and her partner do a scene in which she only used her feet. Given how obsessed with feet my Owner was… well, nothing would do but that I do something similar to him. I learned that I liked it. I’ve done a lot of scenes where I didn’t touch someone with my hands.

Not to mention that I have literally had my ass kicked by many people. It feels awesome.

Bdsm gives me a fully consensual and appropriate space to work through my feelings of aggression. Not having it is hard. Cause seriously, if someone sidled up to me and begged me pretty please to knee them in the balls and slap them around right now… Oh I would have trouble saying no. That would be so much fun.

Ahem. Tea Party. Get your head on straight. Sweetness. Light. Gentle hands for the love of toast.

I’m irritated. That’s the only word I can come up with. My shrink wants to stick with activated. Wired for sound.

But these ups and downs, this is why there is so much conflicting opinion about my diagnosis. I’ve heard just PTSD. I’ve heard PTSD and GAD. I’ve heard bipolar. I’ve heard borderline personality disorder (but never from a qualified professional so I’m more doubtful of this one). While on a terrible psych medication I was told borderline schizophrenic but never while not on the evil psych med so that one I get to say isn’t mine.

I swing from depression and suicidal ideation to anxiety and hypomania. This is more tiresome for me than for you. I promise.  I can’t get away.

I’m a weird balance between extrovert and introvert. Finding the right balance is hard. I need people something fierce. But they are draining and tiring.

I am so very driven by my attachment needs. I am driven towards and away from people at the same time. It feels like a war inside my brain. I am afraid to attach too much to any one person. I’m afraid to not try with everyone because you never know who will fit.

But I have a full time job plus overtime of socializing and it is not actually good for me. But culling people feels brutal. Even just putting people on a longer rotation feels hard.

And now that my kids are bonding with my friends… kicking them out of my life is a whole different story. Just like I’m not real approving of polyfuckery in front of children I’m not that thrilled about the idea of a revolving character cast of friends. Kids need to know who is in their lives. Kids needs to have relationships that are not just instant-friends.

So I’m trying to be ok with some people being on a longer leash but not out of my life. It is a really hard transition in thinking.

I think Pam hit level 2 because I completely discounted her as a friend many times over the years and she kept reappearing. We would have intense conversations and I would assume that she never wanted to speak to me again after what I said and… there she was calling me again.

From across the world she kept calling me. So I developed the habit of dropping whatever I was doing because Pam wanted to talk to me.

It was like how Air Force Michael managed to call me from Turkey spontaneously several times while I was institutionalized as a teenager. Only I didn’t get to talk to AF Michael because… I wasn’t at home to take the calls. And he stopped calling after that.

So I fucking answer the phone for Pam. Because I can say whatever crack-brained shit that comes to mind and she keeps calling.

I don’t remember if I wrote what was so amazing about Shanna’s second birthday yesterday. I think I kind of hinted but didn’t get to the meat.

I emailed my friends and said: “My kid needs a party and I don’t want to do it. You do it.”

So they did. And I sat in a chair. And it felt like magic. I felt loved. I did feel supported in that net feeling.

I don’t know why I have such a violent need to hurt myself if I try to get that feeling from a party that is actually literally about me. But I have some suspicions.

I don’t want this feeling for the rest of my life. But you can’t decide to “just stop feeling something”.

You have to decide what you want and move towards it.

Time to go set up for the Tea Party.

Neighborhood happenings

The tweens didn’t show up today. While telling their parents that they would be here. I know this because a parent showed up looking for them. Whoops.

We went for a walk to the dollar store. So Shanna could get a few things before the next tea party. She’s pretty obsessed with crepe paper and it is her allowance, so whatever.

Along the way we met a new family with a three year old and a nearly seven year old. Both boys, but still promising.

Made plans with another little girl who is a friend on the way home.

Even if I feel like a worthless piece of shit I can go out and still act like everything is fine. I’m the biggest fucking liar ever.

And then you stop crying and go hang out with a kid.

Calli only had two hours of iPad time. Then we went to the park. I walked around Lake Elizabeth pushing the stroller. My shoulders forking hurt. I covered about three miles all told. We didn’t make it to the water park because it took too long to walk from summer camp and change clothes.

It’s been a really nice four days alone with Calli. She spent a lot of today telling me over and over, “It would be ok for Shanna to go to more summer camp. You’re my favorite and I like being with only you.”

I laughed and pushed her higher on the swing.  I said, “Are you sure? I don’t play princes and princesses with you.” I sighed deeply and said, “Well sister isn’t ready for school full time yet so you have to share me still.” I asked her if she would get lonely with how often I like to go in the garage if she was alone more.

She really said it over and over.

I feel like Calli has blossomed dramatically lately. She is all of a sudden way more charming. She broods less. She inserts herself and absolutely fucking insists on having her turn to talk. Sometimes I feel like she just doesn’t close her mouth for more than ten minutes in a day. She started talking a lot later than Shanna so this flood is sometimes surprising. Shanna was a chatterbox by fifteen months old. I feel kind of inured to her volume and pitch. Calli’s voice is a different pitch and I struggle sometimes with her max volume. But I think I remember struggling with Shanna.

It’s developmental. They literally can’t control their volume easily when they are small. It is a process. She’s doing fine.

Calli spent most of today smiling. We played a lot. Lots of tag and cuddling and talking. I even pushed her on the damn swing. I don’t do that every day. I probably don’t do it every week. There are swings. Go sit on them and figure out how to push yourself. So this was a kind gesture.

I got in the miles I needed to do. I’m staying on track for the exercise I need to be doing. I went slow today but I was pushing forty pounds. I am allowed to go slower.

Not too long ago a friend mocked me when I said that I had done a given day’s exercise at an 18 minutes/mile pace. He laughed and said, “That isn’t even walking speed. Are you crawling?” I managed to not turn around and nastily ask when was the last time he has gone further than a block so how would he know average traveling speeds.

It’s ok that I’m slow sometimes. I get there. Lots of people can’t. Sneering at me for not being faster is not going to actually motivate me to move faster.

Being really nice to myself when I average 21 minutes a mile because I completed the distance and I probably didn’t want to is more important than worrying about being a fast runner.

I’m not fucking trying out for a competitive event. That has nothing to do with what I’m doing. I’m trying to have enough energy to play with my kids. I’m trying to maintain some level of strength and health so that my life doesn’t turn into unending pain long before I die.

I know that not everyone can avoid the amount of physical pain they are in. When I am stronger my back hurts less. It is dramatic. It is one of the clearest connections to my back pain I can find. The more exercise I do the stronger my core is the less I hurt.

Every body has different needs.

I’m glad I let myself cry. I felt a lot better afterwards. Stress. Feelings. They impact a body. I can relax enough to go exercise and play with Calli after I cry. Before I got out the excess emotion I couldn’t play nice. I was snippy and over sensitive.

I’m feeling really rejected lately. Which is partially a delusional creation of my mind and partially an accurate reflection of some circumstances I’m standing near. I’ve had a lot of plans cancel in the last few weeks.

I back out of group events. I don’t back out on one-on-one dates unless there is an emergency. I’ve had three one-on-one things cancel in the last week. And a different set of complications with a different situation.

So I have some justification for feeling rejected. (One of them was even a total no-show in a public place. That sucked.)

But man I blow things out of proportion. And I always manage to find patterns in things happening close together in time. I personalize things I shouldn’t personalize.

The mom no-showed because she had issues with her kids. I haven’t talked to her yet but I can tell you that it is the reason. I can’t get mad.

Oh watch me.

But then I feel like a schmuck. Because I should be supportive. I do understand how challenging children can be.

In this garage, and by extension on this blog, I get to have some feelings. Writing means I take things out less on my kids. I vent my spleen here. Then I can stop thinking about me and focus on them in the moment.

Kinda like venting some steam before the nuclear reactor explodes. There is possibility for damage because writing about intense feelings is a mixed bag socially. It definitely limits ones scope in life. And it limits which people want to be in your life. I can live with the limits I have.

It’s not like I have a choice, right?

I’m looking forward to the upcoming schedule for the later summer/fall. It has already dramatically shifted from what I posted a few weeks ago. This makes me want to beat my head against the wall.

And we want to figure out how to schedule another day with the really fun traditional school friends who came over recently. Both of my kids have already asked.

Oh man. Things are just moving along at a blistering pace.

I feel excited about doing the Hindi class alone with Calli. She’s ready to have some things be just for her. She needs some skills Shanna doesn’t have. She told me that soon she wants to start a dance class. Shanna got to do a dance class and she wants to. Dangit.

She has done a summer rec kind of dance class. She longs for a more serious class. She fantasizes about it in front of me. I’m trying to wait out the lag time until we have some buffer in the kid budget because the bikes weren’t cheap. I’m not behind any more but I don’t have much buffer. I like buffer.

I feel a little weird about the fact that Shanna’s two weeks of summer camp was more than $700 but Calli’s sixteen weeks of language is only $100. Well, it’s 54 hours vs 16 hours.

How do we differently value time spent?

How do we differently value people?

I do think it is nice that the Mad Science summer camps are all run by women. Every teacher is a spunky lady.

I would pay more for the Hindi classes, just for the record. I think their time is worth something. I recognize that I’m kind of a pain in the ass add-on student and if they want me to pay a registration I will.

When I stop and take stock of how many skills my kids are working on right now: responsibility (chores), physical skills, emotional skills, and mental skills..

I’m kind of shocked they aren’t more neurotic. We grow in a lot of directions all at once. But we balance that with a lot of free play and time to be as silly as you need to be.

My kids are teaching me how to be silly. I have always been painfully literal. I don’t joke all that well. It is part of why I’m not really funny.

Sometimes I stop and ask Shanna, “Wait. Why are you making that face? How is it supposed to make me feel?”

She almost always says, “It is a silly face. You should laugh.”

And I do. I laugh because I’m so glad she wants me to laugh. She’s not being disrespectful. She’s trying to lighten the mood. She doesn’t want me to feel small or bad or stupid or…

She just loves me.

I can piss and whine and moan about the fact that people outside my home have the audacity to have priorities other than me but inside this house I’m pretty special.

I sure like being here. I’m a security blanket. I’m a soother. I’m comforting. I’m the one they like the best. (Except when they like someone else more. And that’s ok too. Someday I will be firmly supplanted.)

I feel so lucky that I like my kids as much as I do. A few times a mom has confessed to me that she just doesn’t like one of her kids. I always feel so sad. It happens. It is life.

I’m so grateful that I like my kids. I’m glad we have very compatible personalities. And all of us seem happy to jump through some behavior hoops to be loved so we are working out the difficult bits.

I sure hope I deserve them in the long run. I pray that I am good enough.

Distraction

If you do much research on mental illness, or really any undesirable behavior you want to eliminate, distraction is key.

This week in therapy my shrink spent a lot of time harping on the idea that I need to start being a lot more choosy about who I allow into my life. I always wonder how much my shrinks judge me. No, actually I don’t wonder very often or I would be very paranoid. Occasionally I wonder. When therapists very rarely encourage me towards squeezing people out of my life (it is rare but it happens) I always wonder how long they have sat on that impulse.

When did my description of my friend start bothering you? They never tell me, of course.

Therapy is such a weird beast. It is a relationship but not a a real one. It is unidirectional and unbalanced. There is honesty but not full honesty. Truth but not the whole truth. The whole truth involves someones opinions which I shouldn’t be taking into consideration.

I shouldn’t change to make my therapist happy. She otherwise isn’t part of my life. I should not alter the support I get to make her happy.

But sometimes you do have to follow their advice because they are right. She doesn’t say “so and so is icki” she says “what do you get from this relationship and what do you give to it? If the balance doesn’t work for you then you need to move on”. She says to me, “I know that for most of your life you have had to accept relationships with anyone who wanted to have a relationship with you. That is no longer true. You need to keep your children safe.”

I was raped over and over because I made a lot of stupid choices. Because I accept any relationship that is offered. Because I don’t say “no” when I should.

Yeah yeah yeah people think of me as being overly firm with my “no” delivery. You only know what my life is like after more than half a dozen rapes or more. The people who have known me the longest met me when I had been raped at least half a dozen times.

The things that happen to you change you. I did not know how to say “no”. I have learned to say it loudly and firmly. Loudly and firmly enough that I often bother people who wish I was “softer” about the process. Oh fucking well.

“Most people have no more than five people in their true inner circle.” (Quoting my shrink again.)

Jenny. Noah. K. My kids. Pam. That’s six. I have absolute trust in their love for me. Do I feel that way about anyone else? Not really. Jenny bought her way in by being the only person who comforted me during a horrible childhood. K has been the single most helpful person by a humongous margin during the parenting journey. I talk to her more often than anyone I don’t live with. I think she is the most motherly friend I have ever had. She has actually shown up when the rubber meets the road for the past few years. Pam has been with me for more than half of my life. To the best of my recollection I have gotten really pissed off at her, but never for actual boundary violations. I can’t remember one.

Other people were in the inner circle at other points. When they were able to show up. Life changes. I don’t stop loving them. Not a jot. But I don’t have trust any more. If I search my body this moment I’m not angry about the fact that I have seen the waxing and waning of so many friendships. They were with me when it made sense. It doesn’t make as much sense any more.

I can’t explain what it was like in my childhood. I was not allowed to cry. My crying irritated people and it was beaten out of me. That’s a lot of why I cry so much now. I was horribly brutalized and then punished if I grieved.

want to write in excruciating detail about my current emotional outpouring towards people. But I don’t want it as part of the record. There are names I don’t write about. Lots of them. There are lots of specific details I don’t want to announce in public. Mostly because I’m aware that my perceptions are highly biased and I’m a much bigger judgmental asshole than people understand and I need to keep it that way.

I don’t want the fall out. I’m that lame. So I’m having trouble working through the emotions. Writing things out is a lot of how I get rid of things. It has become very useful for me over the years. (Yes, people who like people journals get these things out without the public fall out. Clearly I don’t write that way. You don’t get to pick the writing talent you get. You just get it.)

So I’ve been looking for distraction. Painting went so breathtakingly well. The only time I raised my voice was when Shanna was backing into an open paint can. (It was a good save. She wasn’t cranky.) *phew* I did it.

I’m reorganizing toys again. Because I like playing house. Because it makes me happy. I refine how I organize as I watch them use things. I try to figure out where how to have things “live” where they are played with. I want to make their set up convenient for them so it is easy for them to clean up.

It is hard to find a system when you are a kid. You literally don’t have the schema to do it. Kids need to be shown how to find systems. Some people are naturally very gifted, but usually there is the overall framework of systemization within their life and that is why they are so accustomed.

I’m not very good at providing constant systemic living. I will never run a prison. I believe that needs and wants change dramatically over time and it is good to be constantly tweaking your system to be more appropriate for where you are today.

Sustainability is hard to find. What can you keep up? Deciding to be rigid in your system means you exclude millions of awesome options. I like trying lots of things. I need more flexibility.

It is hard reading my shrinks’ evaluation of me. I don’t think it is accurate that I can’t work because of relational issues. Although I had a lot of job volatility throughout my work life. Ha.

Today will be fun. I have babysitting time this morning. I am going to sit here and do all the work for the home school yearbook. (I’m a slacker. I should have done this a month ago.) I need to go to REI. That will be festive. I’m glad I can do it without the kids. I would like to work on the reading list for the book, but I only get three hours. I will need to get it done soon. Blah.

I need to do scheduling today. I need to plan out my running and exercise. I’m doing a half marathon with a friend in October and I’m really not doing appropriate exercise to support that. I have to start. It takes planning or I just don’t get it done. Deep sigh.

I don’t understand how other people naturally just do exercise. I have to plan how I will force myself. I have to have a reason to exercise–an upcoming obligation that will require my body to have something it doesn’t have right now. Long-term planning is too hard.

Distraction. What is distraction? What is focus? What am I doing with my life? Are the people who come and go the focus or a distraction? Is the painting a distraction or a focus? Is reorganizing the toys so they are easier for the kids to clean up a distraction or a focus?

Isn’t it all about your priorities? Isn’t it different for every person you ask?

Is writing a distraction from my life or one of the focuses in my life? Gardening? House maintenance (both of the repair and of the cleaning variety)?

What is life?

What does it mean to have a focus in your life? I read a lot about what other people do with their time. You can tell what people care about by looking at how they spend their time.

It’s ok that we are all different. If we were all the same that would be boring. We need symbiotic relationships.

The inner circle doesn’t mean that you only have relationships with people you trust that much. There are lots of other kinds of relationships. It is ok to share smaller pieces of yourself with people.

And it’s ok to walk away when it no longer works for you.

It doesn’t make me a bad person. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Not everyone will be there forever.

There are some perverts who probably shouldn’t be around my kids. I recognize that in a larger sense–my kids are not exposed to the broader bdsm community.

Things that are ok for me aren’t necessarily ok for my kids. My kids are impressionable.

Boundaries are complicated.

What makes someone an asshole? Caring about their own needs to the point where they are ok with other people getting hurt sometimes as they take care of themselves.

What makes someone a bitch? Saying or doing things to hurt other people on purpose to be spiteful.

Notice how the gendered one is a lot nastier? I notice that in my language.

I’m an asshole. I try hard to not be a bitch.

I don’t have time to explain why this dude is wrong. There are so many ways he is wrong that I would permanently damage my arms. Ain’t worth it.

I get to walk away. Yeah, it might hurt you but I am not obligated to sit around and tend your feelings. Notice how you have never tended mine? Fuck right off.

But spite isn’t necessary. What’s the difference? When you are writing, what’s the damn difference?

Well, I say fuck you to the universe but I don’t say it to people. I don’t publicly (or privately) slam people when I end a relationship. In general I maintain a policy of being very positive when I talk about former friends/partners/acquaintances. I’m well-fucking-aware that you are judged by how you judge other people

So I’m an asshole, but I try to limit the scope.

always have the right to walk away. It is the most American attitude one can have. Well, or the other American attitude “I have the right to own a gun so I can shoot people who seem scary“.

I seem scary to a lot of people. To the point where strangers will comment on it in public. I worry a lot about guns.

I kind of hope that the next revolution in this country is a call to disarmament. Citizens give up their guns so that police can de-militarize.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop hearing about mass shootings at schools?

And wouldn’t it be nice if white people were called terrorists when they instill terror just like people of other races? Parity in discussion would help us figure out the common solutions.

I need to answer a whole bunch of emails. I haven’t forgotten you. I just… haven’t scheduled yet. Scheduling goes in batches. I can’t handle adding things in between scheduling-fests. Then I get “over scheduled” and I’m shaking by the end of the month. It sucks.

Tonight I get to have dinner with an old friend before we go to the Diana Gabaldon reading. I’m excited. There’s a new book in a series I love.

This will be the very first time I’ve ever been to a reading for an author I know. I have heard random people at college but I had no previous knowledge of them. A step towards fandom I guess?

What is the focus of your life? How do your actions support that? How does your time spent support that? How does your energy spent support that?

When you are old, what will you appreciate more? That you spent time working in your garden or that you spent time with people you will definitely not know by then? Depends on the person. Depends on how the time with them is spent.

Sometimes you need to pick the garden.

Boundaries are hard. Being an asshole is hard.

Feelings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My stomach hurts so much.

I’m tired of feeling afraid all the time.

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