Category Archives: race

Now I know.

I’m white as shit.

Apparently shit like Renaissance Faires *are* cultural for me.

My mom thought she was more than half German. I don’t think that’s possible if I’m only 13.7% French/German. My grandfather wasn’t wrong about there being someone non-white somewhere in the family tree.

I’m pretty excited about this. I’m very British apparently. I’m wondering if the 26.4% Broadly Northwestern European is Scottish. This would lend some support to the stories about my family being British colonialists.

Perspective

I know that many of my perceptions are wacky. That’s a lot of why I record them obsessively. I can track where I’m wrong and where I turn out to be correct. I often notice that I’m about to get dumped by tracking my perceptions. I notice that I need to leave relationships because I track. I notice that I need to give people more chances because even if I feel worried that I’m bothering them… look at how they still show up.

I track my life because moment by moment I can’t tell how I feel about my life or what is happening to me. Moment by moment I’m swimming in an intense soup made up of lots of chunky flavors, many of which are a distraction instead of being the focus of the soup. Because really, do you want huge chunks of iceberg lettuce floating in your tomato soup? Not so much.

There are moments when I’m capable of feeling bathed in the love of my friends. That moment is not always when I’m talking to my friend. Sometimes when I’m talking to a friend I feel lost in my own self-contempt and I can only perceive that in my mind my friend should revile me. I’m not capable of having feelings beyond that in many moments of being with/near my friends. It isn’t because my friends are doing a thing wrong. It is because my brain, even after all these years of friendship and living in a forever-home, still doesn’t register moment by moment that I’m safe. It’s not as pervasive or awful as it was…

But it is absolutely true. I have difficulty perceiving people as doing anything other than shunning me. Even when they are inviting me to their house for a chat. Even when they are making appointments to see me.

It isn’t your fault and I try not to take it out on people when I feel like I’m about to be shunned. But god damn if I don’t think I should be shunned basically all of the time. When you do not do so it just feels like you haven’t done it… yet.

feel like I am constantly about to have everyone I love tell me to go die in a fire. I’m afraid of this because if I felt like this really came from other people who I’ve set up as the important judges of my life and I got this message on the wrong day… I might go do something like that.

I have a weird thing in my behavior. When I feel unworthy I am more likely to comply with indications that I should hurt myself as punishment. I know I’m bad. I know I’ve hurt people. Of course I deserve punishment for that.

Isn’t that just how it works? You are bad. You deserve punishment?

Only it never worked out that way for the rich white people I knew. They were given more chances to abuse again. Only trash gets punished severely for stepping out of line. Or non-white people. They get punished extra for daring to not be exalted and white. I hate systems of authority so much.

When I was a kid and I fucked up in some standard kid way (like “painting” the bathroom walls with my Barbie hair and water) it always came with intense screaming and hitting. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes that impacted other people.

Why the fuck didn’t my mom hand me a stack of towels and tell me I had to clean it up then I had to wash the laundry?

Why did I have to be beaten?

Last year I tried to make friends with someone. But it got complicated by extreme lack of sleep. When they got angry with me and started berating me in public I reacted like they were my mother. Because she is the same size and shape as my mother. I was told I was just a racist bitch who was behaving the way I was because she was brown.

Sigh.

These things are so complicated. I’m not going to defend my story to her. She gets to think I’m just another racist white bitch. That’s fine. Am I a racist? I sure as shit am not going to deny it. I try hard to look for signs of racial prejudice and stamp them out. I definitely know that I have escaped some of the standard racist white person actions.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not racist. I participate in a system that on a large scale penalizes people of color. I never get to claim to be not a racist. As long as I am ok with buying things made in sweat shops over seas and I never have to figure out how I feel about exploiting people of color for my ease…

I never get to say I’m not racist. Because it’s a lot bigger than “Am I upset with this person because they remind me of my mother or am I upset because they are a brown person daring to yell at me”.

I don’t think I get to say that she is “wrong” in her perceptions of me as a racist. I just don’t. I put scare quotes around that word because when one person judges another person’s motives right/wrong become so complicated and layered and…

I was told that being upset about being yelled at and threatened was the same thing as police shooting innocent black children.

Maybe that’s true.

Maybe it is all part of a continuum and I don’t get to pretend I’m right or innocent. Maybe I did something heinous and awful and terrible.

I was told I was going to harm them with my venom after the fight. I was told I was going to refuse to feed them, like other white people have; I was going to throw them out to be homeless and at risk… like other white people. But I continued to provide tasty, nutritious food after the fight. I asked, “When would you like me to arrange your flight home?” I didn’t say, “Figure out your own way, bitch.”

I tried my best to be honorable. But I’m being honorable within a racist system that prioritizes my feelings about someone else’s literal safety.

I don’t get to say I’m not racist. Even if I’m trying. That doesn’t really matter.

I do struggle to get past the set of statements that her hitting me would be “education” but white people looking at her is violence and she’s allowed to defend herself however she sees fit… but she’s not violent; we are.

I struggle with the belief that only white people are ever violent. The history of the world kinda shows that not just white people perpetrate wars and genocide. But I’m racist if I bring that up.

Ok. I’m racist.

Now what?

What is the point of declaring someone racist or bad? What do you do with that? Shame, clearly, but since when has shame motivated positive change.

I’m not saying “Be nice to me or I’ll stop being your ally.” I’m not your ally now. I may or may not be your friend but I didn’t sign a contract saying I will provide specific aid in exchange for you providing specific aid. That didn’t happen. We ain’t allies. And if I do sign such a contract you being nice won’t be the point. It’ll be that I absolutely must depend on a set of aid from you so I simply must do my share. It’ll be selfish as shit.

Will I stop making friends who are not white because some not white people have told me I’m a racist bitch? Well, no. That would be mean to the people in my neighborhood and my life who are not white whom I’ve been friends with for many years.

I don’t think that having a negative experience with one person needs to define the rest of my life. I’m not afraid of brown or black women or men or nonbinary people in aggregate or even singly unless they start yelling at me that they will hit me.

I feel like… I feel like it’s ok that I feel like this. I don’t get scared until you start telling me that you will “teach me how to behave”. I know you hit your kids. I know you hit your kids and tell them they aren’t allowed to cry because you don’t want to hear it. They told me. In front of you. And your facial expression clearly indicated that you knew it was a problem and you were not happy with your kid saying that in front of a white bitch.

Boy you were pissed when I told your kid that anyone who tells them not to cry when they are in pain is wrong.

Oh well. He needed to hear that for once in his fucking life.

You were wrong to lie and tell your son you weren’t crying when we fought. You were lying. I don’t give a shit if I pissed you off by saying, “Of course we were crying. We had really big feelings and when you have big feelings they need to go somewhere. Crying is one of the most healthy ways of dealing with those feelings. When you cry you don’t need to move the feelings into another area of your life and act out badly.”

I thought your head would spin around and pea soup would start flying across the room. You were so pissed that I thought I had the right to share “my” culture with your son.

I’m sorry I traumatized your family by saying it’s ok to cry when people hit you. I will probably do that kind of shit again.

Even though you hate me and view this as one more usurpation of your right to indoctrinate your kid into your culture. You spent many of the hours you were here complaining about how it is fucked up that your culture has no support for your mental illness and it is fucking terrible that you have to go to white people for help… but you hit your kid and tell him he isn’t allowed to act like it hurts.

Fine, I’m racist. But that doesn’t absolve you of doing your own work within your family.

Other people being fucked up does not absolve me of my responsibility to deal with my behavior within my family. I still have to look at my children and see what I’m doing wrong. I still have to grow and change. I have to give my children support against me. I am not infallible. I am not perfect.

If you believe that mothers cannot be questioned no matter what… I’m pretty sure that’ll lead to a few problems sometimes. Especially if you think it’s fine to beat your children.

But I’m just a racist white bitch so what do I know.

I wish I could stop thinking about this interaction. I really do. I waited almost a year to write this explicitly about it. I rarely avoid thinking about it for more than a few days. Is this one more demonstration of how evil I am?

I don’t care if it makes you mad I am going to use my reality distortion bubble to tell kids that it’s ok to cry when they are in pain. Even if they are black. Black children deserve to be able to acknowledge to themselves that they are in pain too. I know you think that I’ve never raised a black child so I don’t deserve to have an opinion. I’m sure you are right. But I’ve been around human beings and all the human beings I’ve known have had emotions and they had to deal with them.

I sure hope that you are right that your black sons need to be beaten and told they don’t deserve to cry when they are in pain because that is the only path to black manhood. If you are wrong… that’s going to suck for your kids.

But you’re right. I don’t get to decide you are wrong. That’s one of the many things that white people do. We think we know best in all situations and we don’t.

I’m still going to be that asshole who tells these kids that their feelings are legitimate and they get to have them even if they inconvenience the people around them. Even if their mother doesn’t want to hear it.

If talking to your children this way means I am a racist pig, just like the police who shoot black children, as you screamed at me, then ok.

Ok.

One of the advantages of not believing that I am a good person is that when I fuck up… it is basically par for the course. If I do something awful…. well… bad people can’t do good all the time. That’s just not a reasonable expectation. I’m a bad person doing my best to do good things as often as I can.

I’m going to miss the mark a lot. Maybe this is one of the times.

I hope I didn’t actually hurt those kids by telling them that it’s ok to cry when they are in pain. But I might have. I don’t have the scope to know.

That’s the thing about actions. It’s hard to predict how they are going to go in the long run.

I’m sorry that I could not care for your children all day, then listen to you process how white people have wrecked your whole life and culture all night long and do that while providing the chipper physical demeanor you needed in order to be happy. When I started crumbling and you screamed at me that it wasn’t ok… yeah I finished crumbled. Like a fragile whiny white bitch. It’s true.

I will fail under a lot of kinds of pressure. That’s true.

Is that part of being racist? Probably.

You asked how my friends handle me having strong opinions because when you screamed at me and shamed the shit out of me it didn’t get you what you wanted. Well… they start by letting me sleep so I can have rational conversations instead of losing my mind.

I’m terrible about boundaries like that. If someone is a guest in my house and they want to sleep all day I cover for them with their children. When that same person then has the energy to stay up all night and I’m supposed to be an audience… I’m shit at saying no. Even though I should have said, “You know how you slept all day and I didn’t? I need to go to bed now.”

I was wrong to not enforce those boundaries. It is part of why things ended so badly. I absolutely deserve responsibility for all of my failures around not being able to regulate my voice anymore after days of no sleep.

I wanted to listen to you. I hurt myself to do it. I listened patiently for long enough to know for absolute certain you were never interested in a conversation. You just wanted me to listen to how white people are shit and they’ve ruined your life.

I did listen. Night after night. I know. All white people are shit. We should all die. I know.

I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know

White people traumatize you by existing and they should disappear so you can go back to living how you want to live.

Only that’s not possible for eleventy million reasons I’m not getting into and oh man.

I honestly don’t know where to go. There isn’t another country in this world that wants me. If I wanted to leave this continent so I stopped being a colonizing piece of shit… I don’t know where to go. Which doesn’t mean that things should continue as they are.

I’m not your ally. But I do think the US government needs to give more land back to the Indigenous people. I do think the US government owes reparations to the descendants of Africans we kidnapped and enslaved and dragged here against their will.

Oh fuck yeah. Not because I’m an ally. Because I think that is how the US will move forward as a powerful country. It’s enlightened self interest. I want to live on a continent of people who are treated honorably and who live with dignity and safety. It’s a selfish motivation.

I want the police disarmed partially because the motherfuckers need to stop shooting black people and partially because they need to stop shooting ANYONE. WHAT THE FUCK. Your job is to protect and serve, not to feel intimidated at the slightest provocation and shoot innocent people. What the fuck.

But part of living with dignity and safety means that when someone hits you, you get to decide if you are in enough pain to decide if you need to cry or not.

It’s all so complicated.

When you take two people with chronic severe physical and mental disabilities and you put them together…

Sometimes there are fireworks.

Is that because of racism? I think it can be and I think it might be influenced by more factors. How many people are truly motivated only along one axis?

I’m not saying I’m a good person and you are bad. I don’t believe that. I’m saying I think that situation went to hell in a hand basket and I know I did wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

I’m pretty sure that there is rarely a situation in which I am genuinely The Problem. I think that problems arise based on difficult interactions between people. All people have problems and that doesn’t mean that it is all their fault entirely when things are wonky.

Sometimes people can do the best they can and they are still embedded in the broken systems that created them and they are still acting out oppression even if they don’t mean to at all.

My intentions aren’t important. Not even to me. The results of my actions are important. And I don’t get to decide what those results are.

Not good enough.

I don’t know about you but I live with this permanent Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough for Noah. I’m not good enough to live in a nice, safe home. I’m not good enough to be loved. I’m not good enough to deserve to live. I’m not good enough to _____________. Fill in the blank how you please and I’ve probably thought it.

I learned something interesting from Occupy. I didn’t have to be good enough. I had to be there. I had to be there with thousands of other people and we shut down the port of Oakland. Was that long-term impactful? It depends on who you ask. There were consequences to an awful lot of people. Did it change politics as usual? No. But Mayor Jean Quan sure didn’t last long. Did it fix the problems with the police? Ha. Ha. Ha. No.

My neighborhood is different than it was before Occupy. Why? Because more people talk to each other. I’ve had a bunch of neighbors tell me that they hadn’t spoken to anyone in our neighborhood ever before I started introducing them around and now they talk on a regular basis. They used to walk past each other and not even nod. They needed someone to do an introduction and explain why they should be friendly. Now they are.

I was deeply inspired by Occupy. I watched the protests with love in my heart and amazement that so many humans came together in one place to say, “How things are happening is wrong.”

We need to show up like this with the current problems. Trump and his transition team are seriously talking about putting Muslim people on a list. This isn’t ok. This isn’t a little ok. Haven’t we learned from our history? It was wrong when we put Japanese people in internment camps. It was wrong when we herded up Native Americans and put them on reservations. Wrong wrong fucking wrong.

We just can’t do this again. No. We have to fight against this. All of us. Each of us who feel too small and too insignificant and too unimportant to be able to help. We need to show up. We need to protest. We need to write letters and call our congress critters. I think I should follow up with letters and calls to my state and local government officials too though I have not done so yet. I should do that this week.

We have to show that we are never going to commit that particular set of evils again. We need to stop breaking our population down into subgroups and then punishing them for sins they have not committed. It was not the fault of Japanese Americans that we went to war with Japan. It is not the fault of Muslim Americans that we fight wars with Muslim countries.

It’s just bullshit. It’s not ok. Not unless we round up every god damn white man because those mother fuckers are dangerous.

Do you know what I am good enough to do? I am good enough to say that these people matter. They matter to my community, my country, and my world whether or not they ever have a conversation with me or touch my life. It isn’t about me. They don’t have to be my friend to be ok and accepted. They just have to exist.

I’m good enough to believe that and act on it and try to make it so people in my community have increased safety.

If I do not work towards the people in my community having this kind of safety, maybe I am not really much good for much else. If I do not work to help those who are currently suffering… maybe I can’t be good. Maybe I have to earn it. Maybe I’ll never do enough to earn it but I have to stay on this treadmill trying until I collapse and die and then I’ll be good enough to deserve a great memorial at my death services.

Krissy was a bad ass motherfucker. All of you remember that. At my funeral. That’s what you say.

Life is complicated and big and we all have so very much to do. But this action is important. This is about our future. This is about the collective soul of our country. What kind of people are we?

White people elected a frightening white supremacist to the White House. Shit. We suck.

I strongly suspect that was possible because of the large scale disenfranchisement of citizens. Half of all citizens aren’t allowed to vote. That’s fucked up. We have just continued our racist paradigm straight on from slavery.

This is one of those times. This is when you stand up. If you hear someone express hate towards a less powerful group, take a god damn risk. It’s important. The god damn president is a scary man who really wants to hurt a lot of people. It will take a full scale resistance from every part of the nation to overcome the force of the tidal wave he wants to create.

It doesn’t matter if we are tired and hurting. We have to fight this or the children of people who are not white Christians will pay and pay and pay. It’s horse shit. It’s time for this country to change its tune. We have always been an evil nation but we could be better.

If we fight. Get involved in your local government. Get involved in your community. Talk to people. Build connections. Find a way to have impact on peoples lives. Don’t know what to do? Start by reading this.

Occupy the space you are in. Take up room. Make the world you want to live in. Or President Trump will make the world he wants to see.

Race

Periodically someone will tell me that I think I am a “Strong Black Woman”. No. No I really don’t. I don’t think I have lived under structural oppression. I don’t think I have lived as the victim of racist beliefs. I don’t think I have experienced federal housing discrimination.

I’m not Black.

But I learn a lot from Black women and that’s a tricky thing. There is a line where if you adopt mannerisms, words, behaviors, or anything else from a Black women you are said to be appropriating.

Instead we should all limit ourselves to learning from white people?

Why?

How can we change things if we continue to act like everything that Black people know is only for Black people and instead if you want to learn from someone, go pick a white person.

What?

Some of the very best teachers, spiritual leaders, and therapists I’ve interacted with have been Black women. Why should I pretend I have not learned from these wise people? Because they are Black? Because if I use a word they have taught me I am doing something wrong?

Really?

I am not stealing their words and trying to make a profit from it. I am trying to learn to live with a traumatized body. I’m trying to learn to live with brain damage in a very sick and twisted world.

Who in the fuck has more experience surviving in traumatized bodies than Black women?! (Which is yet another stereotype. Many Black women haven’t been traumatized that much.)

I think that Black people, and especially women, need to be fairly compensated for their contributions to society and embraced and used as models.

Is that appropriation? Well I don’t think that white people should go to their classes, pick up a few tricks, then put out a shingle teaching a mangled version of the lessons they learned. That’s appropriation. That’s fucked up.

I may admire the clothes, jewelry, or makeup tricks that Black women use… but I don’t try to emulate them.

I feel quite sad about not being “supposed” to emulate many hairstyles because with 3b curly hair I could definitely use access to some Black hairstyles. But I understand that Black women are still fired from jobs for wearing the hairstyles I could get away with… so I don’t.

Where are the lines? What is fair? What is right and what is wrong?

I don’t think I am a strong Black woman. I think I am a white woman who is trying to see the world in it’s myriad existence. I am trying to learn from some of the wisest sources available to me.

Let me tell you, I don’t get a lot of good out of listening to most white guys. I just… don’t. Is it fair?

There is no fair.

There are many other groups I “could” listen to more than I do. I try to listen to Latina voices. I listen to First Nations writers. I listen to folks who follow a variety of faiths. I listen to a lot of sex workers.

Mostly I listen to women. A lot of them happen to be Black. So periodically someone will say to me, “You think you’re a Strong Black Woman.”

Uhm… no.

What is this misogynoir bullshit? If I learn from Black women I must think I’m one of them? Dude, I’m not publicly performing to Formation or anything stupid like that.

No one would ever say that I thought a was a white man if I quoted them more often.

I think that it is kind of bullshit how often people comment negatively on the fact that I like to learn from Black women. If you think it is worthy of mockery, that’s about you. And it says nothing good. I know who and what I am. I don’t think I am something other than what I am.

If you can’t figure out who or what I am… maybe that’s about your perception of the world and not me.

White trash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boundaries and race.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have different boundaries for different people based on their race. One prominent example I still won’t write about. But yesterday on the train I had an experience.

I was sitting there minding my own nevermind when I looked out the window and noticed a reflection of a guy looking at me and… gesticulating with his hand. I… thought “Surely he isn’t doing what I think he’s doing.” But I turned my head and yup, there was his cock out.

I sat there for a few minutes and thought about what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I was going to be accosted, there were at least five or six other people in the same train car and I always sit in the car closest to the driver of the train. I never ever sit farther back in a train.

So I decided to look at him kind of fiercely and flounce to a seat where I was facing him and looking none-too-pleased. My back was now directly to the train operator. If dude had continued I could have reached my hand back to tap on the window. Instead he got off the train at the next stop while carefully not making eye contact.

This was remarkable to me specifically because… he was black. I had a whole thought process around, “He’s got bigger problems than some white woman objecting to seeing his cock.”

If it had been a white man I would have been banging on the driver window and calling BART police. Because my experience with white men is that if they cross some boundaries they will cross more.

I feel very weird about the fact that I will not willingly bring a person of color to the attention of authorities… but I won’t. I’ll throw a white person under the bus, sure. They’ll get a “fair hearing”. Statistics strongly indicate that a person of color won’t.

Life isn’t fair. But I get to decide how I’m going to interact with that. Did he hurt me? No. Did he scare me? Not really. Did he irritate me? Yes. Do I want to see that? Nope.

But me not wanting to see something doesn’t mean I should work to ruin his life. That’s an over reaction. Being caught for flashing means a permanent record of being a sex offender. It means impact on jobs, housing…

You know what? I’ve had sex in public. I’ve totally done things that could make me a permanent sex offender and I just wasn’t caught.

I can’t turn a black man in for something that minor. I just can’t. Even though I feel weird about ignoring it. I know I wouldn’t for a white man. Why? Because I’m a judgmental as fuck asshole who is fucking sick of white men treating me like a piece of meat.

I can honestly say to the best of my knowledge this is the most boundary crossing a black man has ever done towards me.

Why am I willing to give non-white people a pass? Because the whole system is set up to fuck them and if I turn them in I’m part of the system of oppression.

Why am I so willing to throw white men/women under the bus? Because the system is set up to judge you as fairly as possible. So take your medicine. You did what you did. Suck it the fuck up if there are consequences.

In my experience and in my understanding of the world… the consequences for people of color are never fair.

So even though I had an experience that was maybe “not fair”… I’m not hurt. It’s ok for me to suck this up and move on with my life. I don’t need to end his life over this.

I’m not that important. What he did is not that important.

Context matters.

Tiny bit of background reading.

Some of my friends asked me why Formation isn’t for non-Black people. (Incidentally one of the people asking wasn’t even white. So there are layers to these kinds of questions.

First read this article by Mikki Kendall.

Then read this one about what Scotland wants to do. 

Then read this one.

Another.

I’d kinda like to link to writing from Black writers all day long to explain this because the reasons shouldn’t really come from a white face. But in short I’ll say: why shouldn’t non-Black people steal this song? Because it isn’t our culture to rebelliously claim. This is a rebellious song. This is a song directed from a marginalized group to the dominant paradigm saying, “I’m not going to stop existing for you.”

That’s not a struggle that should be co-opted. In this country our history of racial tension is such that non-Black people co-opting this specific flavor of rebellion is disrespectful in the extreme.

No one who isn’t Black should be dancing to a song in which a woman proudly claims that she loves her negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils. If you don’t have ’em, shut up. I love you. I love the song too. I’m singing kinda under my breath because it is catchy and beautiful and full of self-love and I totally love that thing. Hell if you don’t understand what it means to mix Creole and negro… stay the fuck out. For reals. Why? Because white culture steals fucking everything and we need to stop.

But I’m going to keep my awareness of the song low key because this isn’t for me. Just like I don’t try to co-opt other life-struggles. I’m not Black. That’s never been my battle and it never will be. If it isn’t your battle, if you don’t understand that the Black Panthers were huge social organizers…

This isn’t for you and that’s ok.

This song is about a culture of diaspora trying to say, “We are here even though you’ve spent hundreds of years using us and trying to kill us. Fuck off. We ain’t changing.”

Read about the insults Beyonce deals with. If these things escape your attention… then you shouldn’t sing this song. Just like white people should spend a lot of time singing Strange Fruit. (It’s on my playlist as a reminder of history. I wouldn’t act like it was my culture.)

These things only matter if you think every culture is equally worthy of respect. If you look at history, ain’t many folk who treat American Blacks like they have a culture worthy of respect. That really has to change.

(For the record: the video was actually filmed in Pasadena in a house that was converted to a set, not IN New Orleans.)

Ok so Scotland isn’t really pushing to extradite her (I get that it is satire). But if you look through the history of American Blacks… they often were held to ridiculous measures. American Blacks have lived with threats, terrorism, and genocide since their forced arrival here.

And we still want to steal every fucking song and make money off it while leaving American Blacks in grinding, nauseating poverty. If American Blacks start catching up on the system we will change the rules until we can fuck them for another generation.

Why shouldn’t non-Black people dance to this song? Because it is a song documenting a very specific struggle. That isn’t ours.

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.

Self care for the win.

I have been trying hard to take care of myself for the past few days. And I just went on a run to get my meds because why punish myself longer?

I’ve been trying to be careful about eating. I’ve been careful about water. I’m making sure I sleep a lot. That’s what you do when you are a grown up, right? Or a “healthy” person of any age?

One big example of whiteness working is the fact that when I’m out with my kids I don’t get catcalled. It doesn’t happen. When I go out for a run by myself… men yelled their phone numbers out the window of trucks. I watched a dozen or more guys almost get whiplash checking me out.

That doesn’t happen when I’m with my kids. It is like I have a magical cloak of protection. My understanding from the women of color that I know is… they don’t have that cloak. It doesn’t matter if their kids are with them or not. They are treated like a piece of meat.

I think about that as I move about the world. What influence can I have on the people around me to change how things work?

I really don’t know yet. But I think about it.

Hey, white people…

We kinda have a problem in our country. We have major racial segregation and stratification.

That’s a big problem.

In my opinion, if you want to think you are a good person… you have to believe that black lives matter as much as the lives of your children. If you don’t think that then…. yeah. You aren’t that good of a person.

Why?

Because the children born of my body (or yours) are exactly as important as the lives of children born to non-white mothers. And that is why we must scream from the top of our lungs that Black Lives Matter. (Yes, I know that other minority races are killed at rates that need looking into. We need to go after the police.)

Why?

Because that is just how it works. There is no superiority hierarchy. There is no reason to believe that being white is better than being any other race. If you think that people are more deserving of a good education if their parents can pay more money, either through private school tuition or through higher taxes in a “better” school district, you aren’t that good of a person and you need to work on that.

This shit really is that basic.

“Higher property taxes mean better schools” but then later you say that black people earn less money as adults because they are lazy.

Bullshit. They earn less money because people like you, with money, are selfish about it. That fucking sucks.

If we want to have a country where everyone has genuinely equal opportunity to succeed you have to start with the basic premise that the schools in Compton, Detroit, or East Palo Alto should be as good as Beverly Hills High, Hunter in New York, or Los Gatos High School.

Or you aren’t that good of a person. You should work on that.

I’m not saying I hate you for having biases towards your kids/clan. I’m saying you need to work on that. It’s a character flaw. I have tons. I know how much it sucks when they are pointed out to you.

Nevertheless… get busy working on that. I love you. You can do better. We can do better.

We, as white people, make up more than 70% of the country. If we don’t get our heads out of our asses we are going to be on the wrong fucking side of history.

While I’m at it: police violence. Why in the motherfucking hell did a black woman get vaginally searched on the side of the road for marijuana?! Her name is Charnesia Corley. She deserves better from her government. She deserves to get the same therapy for the rest of her life paid for by her government that I got because I was a victim of a violent crime that was sent to court. She was raped by a police officer. On the side of the road. Let me motherfucking tell you. Having someone you do not know, like, trust, or want to be intimate with shove their fingers into your vagina is rape.

Over marijuana. Which is rapidly being legalized around the country.

This situation is insane. This is absolutely around the bend terrorism.

This has to change.

If you aren’t willing to make some noise about this needing to change… then you aren’t being a very good person.

I hear folks regularly try to justify the police killing citizens because “They have a dangerous job.” LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE DANGEROUS JOBS. THEY DON’T GET TO SHOOT PEOPLE WITH IMPUNITY WHEN THEY GET SCARED.

What a ridiculous, nonsensical, mean-spirited justification. No, not mean-spirited. It is evil.

Yeah. If you defend the American police institution… you are on the wrong side of history. Look into that. The police kill 25 citizens for every 1 of them that die. That means you are ok with your government executing people when they feel scared.

Really? You believe it is ok for government officials who are sworn to serve and protect to execute people when they feel scared?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Whoa.

We have to change this. Seriously.

Things I learn from the internet.

I’m kind of full of myself. I like to think I get hit on too much. Because it bugs me how often men proposition me.

But you know what? The magic aura of white motherhood means that when I’m with my kids it pretty much doesn’t happen.

I’m reading a bunch of black women talk about the intensity of their street harassment. When they are with their kids.

Whoa. You know what? I don’t have guys lining up to give me their numbers “just in case” things go south with Noah.

Goodness. I’m getting into the privileged class in all kinds of ways.

Living in an ivory tower; race, privileges, and advantages.

First: I am going to reflect that people who say, “In the past women had to say no when they meant yes or they weren’t worth having” are perpetuating bullshit. Say it to someone other than me, please.

I don’t believe that I am a worthy person despite my promiscuity because I was born at the end of the 20th century. I’m worth what I would be worth no matter what. I’m offended by the (probably true fact) that if my behavior were discovered one hundred years earlier I would have been murdered to protect the “purity” of the people around me.

Awesome!

But that isn’t even what I want to talk about. I want to talk about race. I see race. As I drive across this country it is stark where people feel comfortable and where they don’t.

I counted 86 people in Duluth who looked like they had African ancestry. In almost two weeks of being out every day. In a town of 86,000 some people. I started counting on the second day when I happened to notice a large group of black teenagers standing together. Biggest grouping of black people I’ve seen since I left California. I wanted to walk over and say hi and I decided that was a bit weird.

I told my friend I would stop counting if I hit 100. Didn’t happen. So Duluth is much more diverse than many of the places we’ve been but it isn’t what I’m used to.

Milwaukee! We are staying in a historically black neighborhood. I can tell. It’s great! I haven’t counted because out of the first 15 people I saw 13 were black. I counted that high and stopped and thought, “Ok I feel good here; I like Milwaukee already.”

My childhood was so fractured. I spent time in so many places. Sometimes I was in all black neighborhoods. Sometimes I was in all Hispanic neighborhoods. Sometimes I was in all white neighborhoods. I’ve never hit an Asian enclave but not for reasons of specifically rejecting them. Just didn’t happen.

I feel most comfortable in Hispanic neighborhoods. I love the music. I love the smell of the cooking. Spanish, for me, is the language of loving mothers. The loving, considerate, caring mothers I knew were mostly Hispanic. So very loving. I spent much of my childhood crying and wishing I was born a Mexican so I’d have a mother who wanted me. I didn’t understand why my mom didn’t love me the way the other mothers loved their children.

I no longer believe that only Hispanic mothers love their children. But it was weirder and harder to shake than you’d think. Black mothers always seemed more fierce and less… gentle. They had too much shit to get done to baby your ass. Get your shit done. Of course I have known black mothers who weren’t good at mothering, but mostly I’ve known a lot of black women who are very good at passing on what they know about living in a hard world. I admire that.

I don’t especially want my children growing up in a white bubble. There are good things, yes, but lots of bad too.

The family we are staying with for two nights (we aren’t talking to them much) are incredibly involved in their church. My kids are asking me about how that works. It’s fun talking about the roots of community support and engagement that grow from religion. It’s easy to talk about why people would want it and what it does. I get the appeal of religion. I just… don’t believe.

My kids asked me if only people who aren’t white go to church. I about fell off my chair laughing. Kiddo, lots of white people go to church. Remember how we went to your friend’s first communion just a bit ago? Oh. Yeah. Ok, I guess they do.

That was funny.

Someone on line said something that made me think really hard. Privileges are things you are born with. You can’t change them. Things you earn after you are here are advantages.

I was born white. In this place and in this time that means I’m given certain structural support and acceptance. I’m not trailed in stores. People will assume I’m the victim in an altercation with someone of color. I’m more likely to be thought “honest” than someone who isn’t white. (Despite the fact that white people are huge fucking liars. Oh my god.)

It is fascinating to think of my life since 18 as being one long series of advantages rather than privileges.

I wasn’t born with the accident settlement, but it changed my fate. So it isn’t a born privilege but it is an advantage I earned through violent attack? Man that’s how I get lots of my friggin advantages. Assault the shit out of me. I’ll make you pay.

Only.. that’s bullshit. Mostly I shut my stupid mouth and walk away and I don’t make people pay. I go home and cry and cut on myself and hate me for being so stupid I let that happen again.

I don’t know how to talk about the advantages very well. I’m trying to get better. We frequently offer to pay for things for folks. We asked to take my friend’s family out to dinner in Duluth and she was clearly not sure. She hemmed and hawed and talked about how expensive it was and how hard it was and…

I said, “Sweetie I feel weird saying this but I grew up starving and now I’m rich and I can pay to let others eat. It makes me feel very good about myself that I’m in a position now where I can feed other people, please let me have that feeling.”

She looked at me for a long minute, evaluating, then said yes. We had a great time! Oh and the food was so good. The Smokehouse in Duluth makes ridiculously good meat. And the tapenade… drool.

When I walk through upper class white neighborhoods I feel afraid. I feel like someone will set a dog or the police on me at any second. When I walk through a lower class white neighborhood I feel tense. I feel like someone could be looking for a territorial fight at any minute. Lots of bullshit posturing. This wouldn’t be a big deal only I don’t walk away from a dick contests. I’m going to win, motherfucker, because mine is bigger.

When I am in black or Hispanic neighborhoods… I feel comfortable. I can say “Hello!” to everyone and smile and they will probably smile and wave back. It will smell like the best food ever as you walk down the street. People will be playing and interacting in public like they aren’t ashamed to be seen existing.

I feel much less anxiety.

I spend a lot of time thinking that if I ever move I’d like to move to a historically black or Hispanic area but then I’m a piece of shit gentrifier.

So complicated.

Most of what I initially liked about my neighborhood is that it feels like the United Nations. Lots of us are outside just living in front of our neighbors. I like it.

Communities that want to have people living outside right next to each other are ok with interventions. If you see a kid doing something they ought not be doing… you comment. Period. Everyone does. They jump on my kids like white on rice and I smile benevolently and nod, “That’s RIGHT!” Listen to that woman. She knows what she’s talking about.

I like messy community involvement. I’ve already “stood alone” for most of my life. I’m good.

This is uncomfortable to talk about because all racial concepts are loaded in this country. Probably in the whole world, but I live in the US.  I don’t know what to do about the fact that my presence would pollute the environment I wish to be in. Most folks in historically black neighborhoods don’t want bitches like me moving in.

I’m not trying to co-opt your culture. I try like fuck to not appropriate. But there are things I want to emulate and I want desperately to believe I am doing it in a respectful way. Not sure I am. That bothers me.

I grew up reading books centering the Black experience. Those mothers are who I liked and respected. I don’t think I’m black. I don’t think that is a decision I can make. Black isn’t a religion. I can’t convert.

But I can choose my words and tone to try and be respectful in the ways I’ve heard people hit respectful along with very forcefully effective. Damn I admire that.

I hope beyond hope that I’m not just mocking AAVE (African American Vernacular English); I’m sincerely not trying to be disrespectful.

Where is sharing respectful? Where is stealing disrespectful?

I have a hard time with this because adopting white culture is ok across the board. I have a hard time with this because that means everyone gets to be more rude and demanding and self-absorbed.

Maybe white culture shouldn’t be the one we pick as the one to shoot for? Just sayin’?

White culture is shit at community engagement. I believe this is partially related to capitalism. Whites have traditionally lived in areas where they don’t have to work in large groups for the basics of survival so they distrust and dislike groups.

If you look at the living conditions in Africa and South America… group cooperation was more useful.

For white people we aren’t big on group cooperation. We are big on one asshole getting an idea then buying slaves and forcing the slaves to do what that one asshole wants. And that asshole could be male or female. Everyone sucks. Yay!

That’s not the same thing.

I’m tired of the idea of bootstrapping. I’ve never seen a bootstrapper who didn’t have some systematic support.

LIKE THAT ASSHOLE THOREAU AND HIS GOD DAMN DONUTS. AND HIS FUCKING LAUNDRY.

“I wish to live simply. And let my mama take care of me forever.”

Yeah, that sounds like a white guy. Fuck everything.

He was considered one of the leaders of thought! He is to be emulated! I WANT A FUCKING MOMMY TO TAKE CARE OF ME FOREVER TOO, MOTHERFUCKER.

When we drove up in front of the AirBnB place Eldest Child said: “I don’t think that house is the one we are looking for because the guy standing outside is white and we aren’t staying with a white family, right?”

I said, “You need to stop pointing out race when we are looking at the same person. You can say, “That guy doesn’t look the people in the picture we saw” and I’ll agree and you won’t be classifying everyone by their race.”

She wanted more explanation about that. I said, “Mostly if you are looking at groups of white people you don’t feel the need to point out they are white. Yes, this time it was a white guy. But mostly humans do that. White people are people and then other races are black people or brown people or or. It’s not ok. People are people. That’s a dude regardless of race. Unless race is a necessary part of the conversation like, “I was assaulted and the police are looking for the person ok I’ll mention the race of the person.”

Peoples personality and appealingness and behavior have nothing to do with their race.

I feel scared that I make people feel uncomfortable because I am comfortable in other cultures. My anxiety levels go down.

I don’t fear I’m about to be assaulted in mixed race groups. Just in groups of white people. I’ve only ever been assaulted by white men. I know there are non-white rapists (come on here) but they are very unlikely to target me so it’s a non-existent threat to me. As long as there are no white men around I can relax.

White men usually make sure I know that they think I’m less than them. It happens in a remarkably diverse group of settings. Pisses guys off when I won’t let them win. “Start telling me how bad ass and tough you are. I’ll tell whatever stories I have to until we prove that my dick is twice the size of yours, motherfucker.”

I am starting to notice that I have lived an extraordinary life. My stories are endless. Let me freak you out.

I was not worried about dying for many years. I made a lot of choices that were stupid and could have killed me because I wouldn’t consider it a bad thing anyway. I’ve got some intense fucking stories.

Mostly I try to leave them out of daily life because they bother people. But when I want to, I have ’em.

My kids were asking me yesterday if they would grow up to be rich. I said, “Well you are privileged enough to start out life with parents who are good at amassing money and conserving wealth. Statistically, if you pay attention to your parents, you will end up rich. We have skills that are making us rich. If you copy those skills you will probably do well. Most people who are poor have poor parents and they just don’t know how to do differently. But sometimes kids of rich parents have no money sense and they are always broke. It’ll be up to you.”

They both promised to listen to me about money. I’m not sure that is the point either.

Advantages are things you get for yourself. I was privileged enough to go through basically competent schools. I earned the advantage of my college education. It was paid for by the accident, but I did the work. I wasn’t born with the privilege of a trust fund, but I’ve managed one very well once I had the advantage of access to one.

That’s an interesting nuance to think about. I’m going to be puzzling that one over a lot.

I want to make the world better. I want people to be treated better. But what does that even mean?

I’m not sure. I want everyone to have the same feeling of peace and happiness when they walk through neighborhoods of people who don’t look like them. I want everyone to see a black man and smile and assume they are still safe.

I want black women to be paid what they are worth.

I want latinx women to be paid what they are worth.

I want trans* folks of every persuasion to be allowed to have jobs where they are respected and admired. Because there is something to admire in just about every human.

But I don’t know how to get there.

I tell my kids that you can’t look at someone and tell what kind of life they’ve had. Be careful how you ask people where they are from because exterior tells you little. “How long have you lived here?” is better than “Where are you from?” It means people can smile and say, “All my life” without deflecting the idea that they don’t belong here.

We all belong here and we all don’t belong here. It’s complicated.

Help people feel like they belong here on this planet. That’s what I want to do.

How do you get to know people without having them feel used or exploited? How do you have reciprocal relationships?

I don’t know.

I assume, with every person I meet, that there is something I could do for them. Maybe it is helping them weed their front yard. Maybe it is carrying heavy boxes. Maybe it is making food. Maybe…

I can do things that make life better. I have mad skillz, yo.

But I no longer need much help so I don’t ask for as much.

A nice young man helped me push the trailer up the driveway yesterday. He saw me struggling and offered. Thanks! That was super useful. I can get it but it is hard and wears me out. It was so kind.

I have to ask for that kind of help in white neighborhoods. I have to go bang on doors and intrude on peoples lives and say, “Will you please help me?” I do it because I’m assertive as fuck and when I need help I’ll ask anyone. When I broke my arm and I was living alone I wandered through the apartment complex looking for someone to open my jar of spaghetti sauce. I’m totally cool with taking my needs to anyone who is there.

I didn’t ask yesterday. He walked over and offered. That’s why I feel more comfortable in black neighborhoods. You are expected to offer help. That’s just how it is done. Which is why I offer so much help. Because I expect that it should be that way. That’s the world I want to live in.

Many years ago I was reading about an archeologist who moved to South America with his family. He thought it was weird that the natives, as they settled in, would come to visit and start doing work. Preparing the local foods was a many-step, time intense process. If locals saw that you were in progress they’d start helping without even asking. It needs to be done and isn’t done yet.

I want to live in a world like that. So.Bad.

I help neighbors with projects all the time. Because I want to. Because I like being able to help. Because I have layers of privileges and advantages and I can.

Kids up.

Blathering

Today on Twitter folks are going to be mourning yet another black woman killed by police. This time her name is Sandra Bland and she was killed in Texas. So I’m not going to be over there being neurotic and self involved. So I’ll blather here instead.

Apparently we should go swimming tomorrow and Monday. Those are going to be the only two days that the weather is above 80 and I want it above 80 before I go swimming. I don’t go swimming when it is 70 or I end up with so much pain I can barely move. My joints are *not doing well* with the weather. The nights are only dropping down to 60 and I wake up feeling stiff and painful and I can barely move.

I walked into the house this morning and my friend giggled about my warm footie pajamas. I said, “What you don’t know is I have a full set of long johns on under this.” Her eyes bugged out. Yeah. I’m from California. I don’t do cold.

The longer I’m out of California the more I appreciate the weather. My friend keeps talking about how sometimes it feels really nice and balmy to have the weather creep up to 0. Shoot me now.

In South Dakota, apparently it doesn’t snow that much and when it does it melts within a day or two. I’m telling you, Noah, South Dakota sounds better by the minute. What with that whole west coast falling off into the ocean or getting buried under a tsunami thing.

You didn’t see that cheerful article? You should. Ok, in this article the bay area isn’t going to be hit that bad. BUT THEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE OTHER FAULTS. I’m sorry, if the Seattle area fault flips out that bad, I don’t think California’s faults will be all “This is a great time to be chill.” No! This is terrifying!

Then I read an article about Black Twitter. It was fascinating and sad to me. The part that makes me sad is, am I destined to poison things if I touch them? Is that what being white means? If I look at something that other people who are not like do or like or whatever… am I making it less good by standing near it?

Like over the last few days there has been some kerfluffle over how white girls shouldn’t style baby hairs around their face because supposedly white girls have to cut hairs to make them look like that and that’s just dumb. Uhm… I have constant new hair starting. I have those damn baby hairs. I can’t put my hair up without a halo of the fuckers. But apparently if I put gel on my hair to make them do something other than puff into a halo… I’m appropriating.

This is why I identify as white trash. Most of the things white culture does or recommends doesn’t work for me (yeah, straight hair styles don’t work) but if I do things like people who have hair more like mine, I’m an appropriating bitch.

Maybe eventually I’ll just keep my head shaved full time. I’m sure that would offend someone else.

When white people sit around and talk about their childhoods I rarely have much to compare unless someone came from deep poverty. Even then I usually have more in common with black people who talk about deep poverty. But that’s a problem for everyone. No one wants me in their group. Which is why I consider myself trash. Pretty much everyone thinks the way to deal with square pegs like me is to just throw them away because they don’t fit.

But yup, I’ve got a shit ton of white privilege. And I know it.

It’s complicated. My white privilege functions only as long as I can keep my fucking mouth shut. As soon as I start talking peoples opinion of me steadily drops…

Which is my own damn fault. I know. Culture is a funny thing. Behavior is a funny thing. There is a video on youtube I like, it talks about code switching for culture and language.  

On one hand my life would be easier if I stopped talking about my history of violence and poverty. But then, if I stopped talking about who I am and the experiences I’ve actually had, people would start to assume I was *like them* when I’m not. Then they start having expectations I can’t meet.

Kind of like people thinking I could have a civilized negotiation in email about something highly emotional. Uhm, yeah, no. I can’t. Doesn’t mean I think that no one should. I think it is a skill I should Probably Work On. But quite frankly managing my moods with the kids is more important and that’s where I put my energy.

Today is a storm day. We aren’t doing much. We’ve been doing chores every day since we got to Duluth. It’s ok that I’m not rushing around doing shit. We have five more days here. A rest day will do us some good. Now my eldest is back to sitting next to me pressuring me to give up my computer.

Oh man. This part sucks.

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.

Violence and feminism

Yeah, Wendy is right. I was muddling together two topics in the last really big post. There are two separate issues: the interplay between a husband/wife (I’m being hetero/cis-centric here) and the interplay between men and women in terms of compensation for their labor on the open market. I’m muddying them and that makes it hard to follow. It, err made sense in my head. (This is why I don’t write for publication.)

Hispanic and Indigenous and Black women are kept in poverty through systematic means. I’m not saying that a specific person is to blame. I’m saying that we have a systemic problem where we do not value people as we should. This is a problem.

What should be done about it? That’s fucking complicated. But as long as Hispanic women are making 53% of what white men make we have a problem.

Noah thinks we need to have more of a plan before we shake things up. I can see why he thinks that. He lives in a very carefully ordered world. He makes specific products for specific markets and he needs those people to want to be invested in his ideas/plans.

I see that. Makes sense. He is doing a particular thing, namely trying to be successful in the current capitalist system.

I don’t see a way for this system to ever be fair. No, I don’t know what the alternatives are. I don’t know what we should do to solve all of the problems. But we need to stop acting like a significant portion of the globe deserves to be kept beneath the feet of white people.

White supremacy has simply got to fucking end. We are not better. If you look at the history of white people we are not nice people. We are not more pure. We are not more kind. We are not more worthy. We are just people.

For a very long time in this country we have had a system set up to make things work out best for white men. When things didn’t go well for the white men they would kill whoever was in their way.

Yes, yes there are murderers in every single race. I get it. I know. But would you like me to break down the ratio of prisoners in our country by race? White people do more than our share. We are disproportionately represented in the population and we pay for our crimes the least often.

Not. Fucking. Ok.

Why do I think the Silk Road guy should go to jail? Because how many millions of Black men are in jail because they sold drugs. He is not fucking more worthy of a light sentence. Do I think that all the Black men deserve their sentences? Good grief no.

But we are where we are. Unless you want to turn around and release millions of Black men fuck you and your sympathy for a rich white dude.

It would not be physically possible for me to have less sympathy.

Which brings me back to violence. And revenge, I suppose.

I’m ok with shouting at people. That’s the difference for me. Shouting is raised volume. Yelling is raised inflection and not necessarily about volume. (In my little head.) I’ve spent the last week reading a book about abusive men. Raising your voice is one of those questionable things.

I know people who are just about appalled by the volume of my voice on a regular basis. Many of those people are ok hitting their kids.

I find that… remarkable. Why do people tell me to hit my kids all the damn time? They tell me it isn’t ok to yell. I should hit the kid instead.

We live on different planets. My kids don’t flinch when I shout at them. Ok, occasionally… but not usually. We are loud all the time. It’s our normal. They don’t hear a shout and flinch like they know they are in trouble.

Frankly the kids flinch more when I lower my voice and say something with intensity. They don’t mind volume. They mind me sounding scary.

I sounded scary/mean earlier today. Shanna is obsessed with Minecraft to the point where she is becoming quite the little self absorbed asshole about it. No one is allowed to talk about anything else in her presence or she will talk louder to drown out your conversation. I’m done with this shit.

I kind of growled at her that it isn’t ok. You are not the only person in the room. You can stop acting like your thoughts are the only important thoughts in the world. I was harsher when I specifically said that she has to stop talking over her sister. I tolerate it a lot when she does it to me, but she’s really effectively silencing Calli and that’s just not fucking ok.

You don’t get to drown out your sister. That’s not acceptable.

I’m walking a fine line here with my kids. I want them to be able to shout people down to participate in conversations when that is necessary and sometimes it is in life. I also really need them to support one another. As time goes on… I notice that I expect Shanna to have a maturity she just doesn’t have yet. She doesn’t understand why it is a problem to never let Calli talk.

I stopped growling. We kept talking. We agreed that I am going to start saying, “Topic” when she needs to change the topic from her perseverating. I told her that if she ignores me saying that tactfully I’m going to be sending her to her room. That will be awkward on the road trip. Uhm… I don’t know how the fuck that will work. We’ll see!

I’m going to physically prevent you from treating your sister badly. It is my job. I need to build both of you up. I need you both to learn that you are worthy of speaking and being listened to. Not just one of you. We are not going to have the golden oldest child here. Fuck that noise.

I told Shanna that this is a conversational skill that many adults still struggle with. I told her I struggle with learning how to keep the conversation interesting to other people.

I asked her how she would feel if every time she wanted to talk about Minecraft I started loudly talking about the book I am reading. Even though no one else in the room has read it or cares. I could talk all day long really loudly. Her eyes went big. “I wouldn’t like that very much.”

Yeah kid, that’s how I fucking feel about Minecraft. I figured out how to set up an account and establish a LAN connection. What Do You Expect Of Me?!

(I drop the “fuckings” when I’m talking to Shanna. Well… like 95% of them.)

I told Shanna that it is my job as her mom to give her feedback on her behavior so she can learn how to be respectful of other people. That process will not be comfortable for either of us and sometimes I’m going to be too harsh. I’m sorry.

She hugged my hand and said, “You mean well.”

We talk a lot about mistakes. You can’t learn without making mistakes. I tell her there are little mistakes, medium mistakes and BIG mistakes. BIG mistakes are usually the kind of thing that will risk your life. Let’s not do those. Medium mistakes might involve a trip to the hospital or a lengthy amount of cleaning/repairing to fix… but you’ll recover. (I told her about stealing my mom’s car. That’s a medium mistake.) And we talk about little mistakes.

Talking over everyone is a little mistake. If you don’t make it… you won’t learn what happens.

You have to make as many little mistakes as you can. It builds your character. Being perfect is useless.

I make lots of little mistakes. It’s just how life goes. It is part of why I can answer so many random questions people have. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

Raping the boy in kindergarden… I hesitate to call it a medium mistake. But no one died. If big mistakes are limited to things that cause death… that means committing rape is a medium level offense.

I have big feelings about that. Does that mean my dad raping most of his kids was just a medium mistake? Whoa.

Some of my friends, because they love me, want me to not feel permanently ashamed of committing rape when I was 5. They tell me that a 5 year old can’t be held permanently accountable. It’s different when it is an adult.

I believe that it is a difference of degree and not kind. I’m still a rapist even if I am not actively dangerous to anyone right now. There are rapists who are still an active threat and they have to be managed differently than me. I’m not scary in the same way. I think that is why folks want me to put it behind me.

Yeah, that’s what Josh Duggar tried to do. I don’t respect it from him and I wouldn’t respect it from me. I need to know what I am capable of and watch myself carefully for the rest of my life. I am a violent person.

It is hard for me that all of the literature about dealing with abusive men makes it sound like women are so rarely abusive as to be not worth addressing. That’s not fair. Women like me exist. We are a different problem but a problem nonetheless. And nobody wants to address us. No one. We don’t exist.

Which means that men believe that women are incapable of violence. Ha. Ha. Ha. Oh yes we are.

But then again… folks seem to believe that the only men capable of violence are Black men. Or maybe “scary looking” (left to the judgment of the viewer) guys are dangerous. Not “nice looking boys”. Oh you naive fuckers.

The innocent looking ones are often the most dangerous.

I think about violence a lot. I think about police brutality. I think about the fact that white men with heavy weapons were allowed to surround a Mosque and the police stood there and thought that was fine. But if folks are peacefully protesting a murder they will be put under curfew, arrested for going to work, and beaten.

I think that violence is a feminist issue. But holy shit I don’t know what to do about it. Do you ask the tiger how to become less violent? Not so much. We put violent people into our police force and then wonder why they behave like animals. We picked them based on that trait.

Honestly I’m not sure a whole country can become more equal. There will always be a hierarchy. But maybe the spread can narrow?

Running away from home

My kind friends are letting me hang out in their house for a few days as an escape from my life. It’s an adventure! They have a security system and in their opinion, in their neighborhood, it is incredibly important that it be turned on all the time. This is weird. I don’t always lock my house when I leave to run errands. I know all my neighbors. I’m just not real scared of what will happen to my house; but when in Rome do as the Romans do.

And they have lots of rescue kitties. You have to be very careful going in and out, which is very different from my swinging-open-door policy. I’m being careful. I want to be respectful of this kind offer.

This will not be like yelling at Rebecca’s dad. No sirree.

He was a total asshat. But I still shouldn’t have yelled at him while I was a guest in house.

Monetization. That’s been a big topic in my extended world lately. I hear about it a lot because I know a lot of people who want to start businesses. I live in an entrepreneur hot spot. This is partially because I live in the Silicon Valley and folks come here to do tech startups.

But I know independent operators of a lot of businesses. Acupuncture, massage, construction, book keeping, landscaping, providing day care…

Aren’t these all businesses? Don’t these things all count? Well, not if you listen to venture capitalists. The only businesses that “count” are the kind that will provide shareholder value. Mostly I know folks who want to provide a living for themselves and their immediate families. Mostly I don’t know very many people who want to “disrupt” society in order to make a lot of money. A few, not many. That’s a neurotic focus if you ask me.

Do you know the biggest difference I notice between people who have made a lot of money and people who don’t? The people who make a lot of money tend to start out feeling like they are worth a lot and they are pushy and aggressive about money from day one.

Doesn’t matter if you are a landscaper, a graphic artist, software designer or massage therapist. If you believe that you are good and people need to pay you a lot of money to interact with someone who is so good… you make more money.

Whatever you do, be good at it and require that people acknowledge how good you are.

That gets complicated in helping professions. The best day cares are not the most expensive–not really. The most expensive usually have complicated programs and materials but those things aren’t what cause children to learn quickly. Feeling loved, seen, and like it is safe to make mistakes–that’s what spurs massive learning. Often the people who are the best don’t know how to appropriately value themselves and they are ridiculously cheap.

I’ve been slowly working on my massage therapist for years. Sweetie, if you are booked more than six months in advance and you feel like you are drowning under the weight of people who want your time… raise your rates. (He does every so often. It’s wonderful for him.) Clearly what you have to offer is worth a lot of money.

He doesn’t want to raise his rates much because he cares about helping people and he doesn’t want to become a commodity that only rich people can afford. I hear that. I respect that. It’s going to kill him.

I think about this in terms of me showing up to clean my friend’s houses. I have promised myself that I will never again pick up a project-friendship. If someone needs me to come clean their house they need to pay me. At this stage of my life it is doing damage to my body that I have to pay doctors to fix. That means I need to be paid in exchange for the labor. I can’t just carry it any more. Not because I don’t care about people, but because there is a cost to me in doing the work. If I have to pay a cost… I can’t give it to you for free.

I am mercenary with my kids in this way. Everything I do for you has a cost to me. How am I going to pay it? The good thing is, mostly from the kids… I need love and attention. They have tons of that to spare.

The other day I asked Shanna if she wanted to go on a date after her dentist appointment. She told me no, she’d rather come home and spend time with her dad because he is her favorite parent.

I told her that even if her dad is her favorite parent… it’s rude and inconsiderate to tell me she doesn’t want to spend time with me because she only likes him. I told her that I work for her benefit every.single.day. and these dates are a way for us to pay attention to one another and enjoy one another’s company without having to do work right.now. I told her that I need dates to feel loved and it hurts my feelings very much that she thinks that talking to me for an hour is so horrible.

She looked shocked. She said talking to me isn’t horrible and she’s sorry she hurt my feelings. We had a nice date together.

We all work a lot. Housework, gardening, learning activities, the kids are learning computer skills… It’s work. We focus on our own things for a lot of the day. We work near one another rather than with each other for a lot of time. I need to feel like I’m worth paying attention to. Time spent is my big thing. People making time to come talk to me… that’s my structural support for life. I don’t need to be the center of attention all the time. (I would combust.) But I need dates.

A woman I follow on Twitter named Lauren Chief Elk is a First Nations activist. For the past few days she has been writing quite a bit about how wives should get a pay cheque the same way husbands get a pay cheque. We are doing work that is equally as needed and essential for our families. Why are we expected to do so without compensation? It’s crap.

If a man fixing a car is worth paying… why isn’t a woman taking care of children? If a man making a video game is worth paying… why isn’t a woman who is at home doing his fucking laundry?

Short answer: you are only worth paying if you demand that people pay you. This is why people are rarely paid for the work they do for family. The attitude is that you owe your family this work and you don’t deserve any compensation. You can pour out the whole of your life into your family and you deserve nothing back. You “didn’t do anything”. But if someone makes a video game! Oh! That’s deserving of reward!

I don’t like my culture very much.

Even if raising your children well means that you are ensuring that you are promoting the general good of your country. Better that you be an absent parent allowing the state to raise your kids for you in centers. That will lead to healthy people. Uhm, not.

I really and truly don’t believe that mothers are uniquely suited to raising children. I think fathers are also fully equipped once you get past breast feeding. I think aunts and uncles are competent. I think adult cousins are fully capable. Grandparents are fucking amazing. I envy some of the families in my neighborhood with the super-involved grandparents.

You can’t pay someone to care. When your child is taken care of by family members… mostly the child is personally cared about more than if the same child were with strangers. But at the same time, you can’t force your family to go and get the education necessary so they can handle a lot of the situations that come up with kids.

It is so complicated.

Many families are not capable of providing the care their children need. Does that mean the child is better off with the state? I’m not convinced.

The simple truth is, there will always be children who fall through the cracks and receive no appropriate care or love during childhood. It’s going to happen. Forever. We can’t legislate that away. We can’t create programs that solve every problem.

But part of the solution involves women learning to think that their work is worthy of compensation. I say it as “women” but there are lots of men in this category. I don’t think this is a chick thing.

The problem with thinking about monetization is it quickly gets into “What is beneath me to do so I should pay someone lower on the ladder to do it for me”. This is why I don’t pay people to clean my house. I am not so fucking good I can’t scrub a toilet.

But the thing is… I will never have the time to do the things I want to do if I’m constantly trying to keep up with this ever-growing lists of things I “should” do for myself. Like scrubbing my toilet or washing my clothes.

I would not feel like I was less of a person if I went back to cleaning houses for a living. That’s honorable work to me. Why do I object so much to paying someone else to do it for me? It’s a weird conundrum. I really do mind.

There is a lady in my neighborhood. She’s a hair older than me. She has more kids. She has a job. Her husband has a job. With both of them working as many hours as they can manage they barely make ends meet. A few times I’ve been at her house and watched her frantically cleaning. I feel guilty for not helping but she won’t hear of it. I’d cheerfully stand there and do the dishes while we chat. She’s so tired.

Even though it is not currently a financial consideration… I’m not sure she would be willing to let someone clean her house even if she could afford it. She will do it. It is her work. Even though she has a job. I think she’s a bit nutty. If I were working 50+ hours a week plus raising a whole bunch of kids… I hope I’d be more ok with letting other people take on some of my tasks.

But probably not. I’m stupid.

(Not saying she is. Saying I am.)

Pride is a funny thing. Wanting to get paid for your labor. Wanting to do it for yourself combine in these funny ways that result in mostly just the sociopaths being paid well. They are the only people with the chutzpah to demand a lot of compensation. They are the ones who believe they don’t owe anyone anything and if folks want something from them… pay for it.

And then the rest of the non-sociopaths stand near the sociopaths with charming smiles and hope that they get tossed enough scraps to live on. This isn’t going so well. Look at how wealth distribution is happening in our country. We are in trouble if we don’t stop letting the sociopaths have all the wealth.

Yes, I’m comfortable saying that the 1% is comprised mainly of sociopaths. 

In contrast, another friend has found a house cleaner and someone to do her laundry and all of a sudden her life is much better. I fully support her taking these steps. Basically…. she hired multiple out-sourced people to be her substitute wife. I get why people need a wife.  “Wife” should be a job.

I believe with all my heart and soul that a minimum basic income for all citizens is the only way forward to economic prosperity and healthy lives for as many citizens as possible. I believe that as long as wealth concentration happens at the top, you poison the community. People see no point in working as hard when they are only working for the betterment of people who are already stepping on their necks.

People need to learn how to have their own worth and value appreciated. I wish that monetization were not part of this but it is. If we had another proxy for talking about why peoples time matters I’d use it but we don’t. For now, all we have is money to talk about the relative merit of someone’s work.

For example: I believe that picking up garbage from the street for 8 hours a day is a job that should provide someone with a living wage. We need people to do this. We have done so much ecological damage with garbage. I don’t think that job is worthless, I think it is very important. I can see why it is hard to get a company to pay someone to do this work… it doesn’t increase the bottom line for the company.

But as a society we all benefit. If people were paid enough to survive and live like human beings with dignity… would more people spend their time this way? If they did not feel downtrodden and abused?

When people feel good about themselves they have more energy. Their mental state is better. They want to work. Humans aren’t that idle of a species. We like moving around and doing stuff. I believe that if people were not brought low by the strain of poverty and mental illness… people would be more productive. Just because they can.

If someone is freed from the strain of earning a meager survival income… what could that person make to improve their life and the lives of people around them? We are at the point where we have the wealth to do this. If we just made the choice.

If we just chose to see people as people. Black people and white people and red people and yellow people and brown people. There are not more “worthy” people in the white race–what a crock of shit. There are more people who have experienced privilege in the last generation or so and as a result many white people have higher educations and they have fewer of the downsides of poverty.

Let’s equalize the playing field. I think everyone would be shocked in a generation. At the very least all the eugenics-leaning fuckwads would be disproven. White people aren’t better. They are just given more help and that allows them to accomplish things that aren’t available to people who lack the support.

As a white person who lacked most of the support of my compatriots… I see the difference between what I had and what the other whites had. I can see how what I had was still structurally easier than being black. The police told me that they wouldn’t ruin a nice boy’s life over me, but they didn’t throw me in jail for being a nuisance. They let me “slide” on my childish mistakes. That doesn’t happen if you aren’t white. You must be perfect from birth.

No one is perfect. You learn more from fucking up than you do from getting things right. This whole set up is horrifying.

If making mistakes is the way to learn and we have structurally created a system where black people are not allowed to make a mistake or they are punished for the rest of their lives… we can’t say that we have any ability to judge the “worth” of various races. We have not seen an actual demonstration of worth without active harm in centuries. When black people do incredible things a white person is there five minutes later trying to burn it down. Often out of spite and jealousy.

We have a lot of negative history to pay for in this country. Sweeping it under the rug won’t help anyone. Yes I believe we owe all African Americans reparations for slavery. Yes I fucking do.

First and foremost: we need to disarm the police. Clearly they are not big boys and girls and they cannot handle toys as powerful as they currently possess.

Noah argues with me. He thinks we need to have a fully formed plan before we start changing things. I think he believes that because he is a white man on the top of the pecking order.

I understand that burning everything down could result in me or my kids becoming casualties of the revolution. Do I want that to happen? No. But I would consider it morally acceptable to balance how things have historically gone. I will make choices that minimize our personal risk only to a limited degree. I’m more interested in steps that help other people. I’m just… not as focused on me.

I’ve been at the bottom and I’ve been at the top. I’m not too worried about staying at the top. I hope I never have to steal food again. It’s a lot of why I grow so much. I am not willing to shove someone else down so I can appear higher.

I was that stepped on person. I can’t and won’t do it to anyone else. Not on purpose. Not willfully. No. No. No. No.

If my government wants me to believe that it is serious about serving the needs of citizens I need to see a few specific steps: disarm the police. Take rape seriously and go through the backlog of rape kits. Release all non-violent offenders from prison. Shut down every for-profit-prison in the country. Revamp our immigration laws so that they are more fair and equitable. Restore funding for abortion providers.

I would believe that my government cared about me if they took those steps.

Shanna tells me frequently that she thinks I should be a politician. Unfortunately honey, there are too many thousands of naked pictures of me out there. That ship has sailed.

Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m starting to see that as a problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not a secondary character.

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

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

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

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

Why do I accept every friendship on offer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can understand that.