Category Archives: teaching

Family, opinions, planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

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

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

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

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

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

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

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

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

I’m working towards it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

Trauma recovery

I’m going through a trauma recovery workbook.  I’m probably going to read it six times. On page 47 it says,

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Betrayal occurs at the hands of a trusted caregiver or supporter.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Youth feel betrayed by the organization, program, or provider.

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Reality is reconstructed to represent the values and beliefs of the abuser./ Events are reinterpreted and renamed to protect the guilty.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Reality is reconstructed to match the needs and values of the provider or agency, not the youth.

 

I have feels. I’m not a youth any more. I don’t deserve to be centered any more. But these parts of me are still broken.

“In order to protect themselves, consciously or not, many youth act out to speed up the rejection that they are convinced is coming anyway.”

Like talking about the Godmamas being on their way out and then I got a nasty fuck you letter because I had talked about their attitude in a way they didn’t like. Like that. I do that. I do that a lot.

If we don’t exit/punish youth when they break the rules, aren’t we enabling them? No. When a youth that is highly impacted by past trauma is exited, what is the lesson? Although providers may believe youth are learning they can’t write on walls or disrespect providers, mostly providers are just confirming a youth’s belief that they are unlovable and undeserving of attention and support. It is not suggested that agencies and providers ignore inappropriate behavior. Instead, it is recommended that providers work with youth to identify problematic behavior, put it in the context of trauma, and help youth find different ways to express anger, frustration, or sadness. The goal is for youth to know that providers can see far beyond the problem behavior, and see the youth’s capabilities and potential to succeed.”

Feelings. What is my fault? What isn’t my fault? What should I be punished for? What shouldn’t I be punished for?

I don’t really know.

Reading stuff like this reminds me of when I was teaching. I was very good at working with gang kids because when they walked in angry… I assumed it had nothing to do with me and I offered support instead of punishment. What happened? Why are you so upset? It must be something awful; this isn’t like you. Then they will crumble into a ball of tears because the anger was just an attempt to hold it together.

People want to be seen so badly. It’s not just me.

Most of the people who try really hard to seem tough are people who have been beaten down. Life is really hard.

I’ve talked to several former students in the past few days. I ran into one at the convention. We were very happy to see one another.

I don’t fuck everything up. I fuck things up when my boundaries get muddy. When I want too much. When I’m too needy. When I ask for help or love or support that I know I have no hope of getting. Because I really don’t matter that much.

Only good things

– I forking love my mechanic. I walk into the door and it is, “Hey Kristine!” I don’t have to fill out paperwork when I drop things off he just says, “Yeah I’ll call you when I’m done.” He knows me well enough that he doesn’t need a reminder of my name or number. It’s easy to reference. (I don’t think he memorized my number or anything…) It feels nice. It feels like community. I told him he’s undercharging me and he laughed.

– Park day today was unusually awesome. My bonus kids were there! I got extra snuggles! (Thank you so much for letting me borrow them to the degree I do. You made good kids.) The mother of some of my former high school students was there! I’m always so excited to see her. I got to ask about the boys and hear that my name comes up once in a while. They remember me very fondly. I remember them equally as fondly so it’s all good. One of them was my co-counselor at Camp Everytown. That was intense bonding. The other was my student for English and then my TA because he wanted to stay with me for another year. I’m always so happy to see this mom. I told her she needs to show up more because I want to learn how to parent like her. She laughed and told me I’m doing well enough as it is.

– There were a LOT of new people at park day. I had pleasant conversations with a whole bunch of new-to-me people. It was quite gregarious.

– I had acupuncture done. I went from feeling pain in the 7-8 range to being down in the 3-4 range. This is wonderful and miraculous and I worship her. Know what a lucky bitch I am? I’m getting *more* acupuncture next week and probably again the week after. The naturopath fell through because they accept 0 insurance. I’m not real willing to pay that much for insurance and then pay for 100% of my health care out of pocket. This is my grumpy face. Wait! Only good things! So I’m getting more acupuncture. I’m going between two ladies because I know and love them both and I find they tend to be most miraculous in slightly non-overlapping ways.

– Acupuncturist told me my children are by far the easiest to work with she’s ever had in her office. I’ll smile a little about that one. Yay! We work on it.

– Shanna was her normal “I’m going to be the president some day” self and she introduced herself to 2/3 of the restaurant before we sat down for lunch. While we were eating one of the two people she didn’t meet came over to introduce himself. He uhm, tried to invite me to a HAI workshop. First he was shocked when I knew what it was then he kept trying to tell me more. He really wanted me to go to one. Ok, that was kind of creepy instead of good, but it was really funny.

– I have gotten good support from every person I have asked recently. That feels pretty fucking miraculous. I was careful to only need drips and drabs from different people… but I asked enough people for advice/feedback/support that I feel like I got what I needed. Thank you everyone. I am so grateful.

– This is a good/bad thing. The bad part is I haven’t been very nice to Noah recently. The good part is he points it out in a very non-threatening way. He is very good at inspiring me to want to treat him how he deserves. I am sorry I am not always the wife you deserve. I will keep trying.

– Another good/bad thing. A dear lady I don’t speak to nearly enough is entering the hospital for an extended stay. That’s bad. The good thing is, I managed to email her three days before she went in (just randomly) and she gave me the address of the facility. She will not be able to access email while she is in care. She will be there for quite some time. Life is complicated. I am so glad I thought of her in time to be able to send her letters over the next few months. She’s going to be in a position to need some good cheer.

– Despite not medicating today until dinnertime (driving day) I had very low symptoms. I feel like I got through today with very low activation. That’s really awesome.

That said I’m equally grateful to come home and medicate because I really need sleep and the brain hampsters started around dinner time. Which is kind of ironic. They started around when I swallowed the pill. I don’t feel it yet. I will soon though! YAY! It is like my body relaxed into the anxiety as soon as it knew that I wouldn’t have to feel it for long. Kind of funny.

– Today started out with Pam. It’s a good way to start the day.

– Even with a few brain hamsters… this is my zen place. I am where I want to be. I am doing what I want to be doing. The bumps are just bumps. We keep right on moving. Today is a very good day. I don’t feel giddy, it’s not hypomanic. I just feel… relaxed. Acupuncture before the park was smart.

– Full marks for brains today, Krissy!

Bragging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

I don’t know.

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

What do you mean you are done?

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

Right. Uhm. Yeah. I’ll uhhh shut up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awkward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop judging, Krissy.

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

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

This is so rad

I spend a lot of time feeling like I do everything wrong and I am “bad”. When I was a kid I was told I was bad a lot–so that made sense then. I haven’t been told I was bad in a long time. It’s just not a current issue in my life, but the feeling still continues.

This trip to Disneyland is going phenomenally well. I’m having fun, looks like most everyone else is having fun too. I’m getting to have a lot of the kinds of interactions that specifically make me feel better about myself as a person. Even more specifically: I feel useful.

JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” I have spent most of my life feeling like I have very little to offer that is of any value at all. This feels tied in with the general devaluation of women, but on steroids. I’ve always noticed that the men in my life expected me to cook and clean for them like magic so I had skills they just weren’t valued.

Yesterday was our first day in the park. It was the very first day ever for the dad and two kids I’m with. The mom has been here before, but she hasn’t been in decades and she has fuzzy memories. This means that I’m getting to play tour guide. I feel like my sense of direction is paying for its keep.

Not only do I feel useful because I know where the physical locations of things are: I get to interpret the park. I get to teach this family about the Disneyland that I am obsessed with visiting. I get to talk about waiting in line. I get to talk about having patience and preferences and no we don’t have to do it all to have fun.

I got to talk about things like, “Yes eating protein is important… but today don’t get upset at your kids for carbo loading. Let’s talk about the physical strain we will be under for the next few days and why it is unusual for our bodies. Carbs are appropriate.”

I have worked so hard for this knowledge that seeing it be useful for not just me feels really wonderful.

Like waiting in lines. One of the things that I like most about myself is that I take the party with me wherever I go. “The whole point of Disneyland is you hurry up and wait. But while you wait, they play music because they want you to dance!” I play games with the kids in lines. I give kids snacks every 15-20 minutes (not a lot at a time… but I ensure that they will be in a good mood) and I insist on frequent sips of water even though I normally don’t micromanage that kind of thing. But like I tell my kids (and I told the other family today) “We will be walking several miles on concrete in the sun in a huge crowd–we need to adapt how we treat our bodies.”

I didn’t learn that till I was an adult and my friends had problems with me not taking care of myself very well. I learned from my friends what I should have been doing all along.

Shit dude, even I wear sun block in Disneyland. And a hat. Don’t bitch about your hat buddy, you want to have a nose when you are 70.

All of these stupid little things were so hard for me to learn. I feel really good about myself when I can turn around and verbally instruct someone into having a better/easier time than me.

My friend’s husband is not going to experience the miserable trip I’ve had several times. I don’t want to go through it again and he’s going to get dragged along on the benefit of my experience. Yes, I know you are feeling no pain at four hours in on the first day.

Trust me.

After the multi-hour nap in the afternoon he decided I was probably right about pacing. It wears you out more than you think at first.

The other couple got to have a date night last night, so I got to put their kids to bed. It was lovely. It gets more lovely with every visit we have. Bonus Boy asked to not sleep with my kids tonight (four in the bed was a bit crowded the other night) and he was sad that his sister didn’t want to sleep with just him so I offered to stay with him. He was really excited. He chattered my ear off for over half an hour. We talked about the visit to Disneyland and having preferences (he did not like the rides that were dark) and how to phrase those preferences so you get to have the most fun.

Things like: “I have learned that I don’t have fun on rides that are really dark. I want to ride things that are outside in the sunshine because those are fun for me.” We talked about what kinds of questions he should ask about rides before getting on them so he can decide what he wants to do. I told him, “You are not required to go on every ride here. You only have to go on the things that interest you. But you will have to figure out what interests you and you will have to say no in a polite way to things that do not interest you.” He practiced a few different ways of doing that. I told him about different rides in the park and asked him which sound interesting. It was a great conversation. It may be the most intense conversation we’ve ever had about something other than going to space.

I’m enjoying this trip so much. A big part of what I’m enjoying about it is introducing the kids and making it good for them. I have weird, mixed feelings about that. It feels a bit creepy.

In particular, I have known these kids for a long time. I pay a lot of attention to them and I try very hard to really see what kinds of accommodations they need. The IEP/504 training that was part of my teacher credentialing was my favorite part. How do you look at a child and decide what kind of scaffolding this child needs to learn best?

It feels creepy because it makes me think about my Owner, who only really enjoys introducing people to new things. He doesn’t enjoy doing things with people who already know what they are doing. It’s boring. He doesn’t want to follow other peoples preferences, he wants to inculcate people in his preferences.

It’s a lifestyle choice.

I want to like people at all stages of life, not just a stage where I get to control them. That’s pretty wacky. I think I do. I certainly didn’t go into preschool teaching or anything.

Good golly do I enjoy helping other people get the support they need to be successful. I live for that feeling. No, I don’t. That’s a lie. But I feel rejuvenated by that experience. Validated. All the years of reading and study and practice and failure have paid off.

Is Disneyland the real world? No. But the skills you learn in this safe environment are directly applicable to the real world. Making mistakes is safe here. It is like what school should be if it were done right. Mistakes are part of learning and you should be forgiven instead of shamed.

This environment is dripping with privilege. Only privileged people are allowed to fuck up. That is so sad. Poor people can’t afford to make a mistake in the process of learning. It isn’t fair.

Yesterday when I was feeling cranky Noah spent time with the kids while I got to be alone. This entire situation is dripping in privilege. It is smoothing over the rough spots and making everything easier and more fun.

Sometimes I am confronted with how wrong I am about people when I assume they are like me. I forget that anger is a privilege too. One afforded to women in different ways than men. Women and men are taught different appeasement strategies. I am sometimes so wrong in my assumptions about men. This trip is going well on a variety of levels. Because sometimes it is a very good thing to find out you are wrong. Then you can work on changing your beliefs.

For a little while I was afraid I should cancel this trip. I was convinced everything would blow up and it would be all screaming and fighting and awful. Of course my assumption is that I would be an irrational crazy bitch who exploded at something that is no big deal–I’m not saying stuff about other peoples behavior.

Instead I am asking for support and getting it. I am napping when I need to. I am saying, “I need to sit here and read and not have a conversation for a little while” instead of being mean. I am eating regularly and staying well hydrated. When I started feeling tired I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I husbanded my strength really well. We had a really great day from start to finish.

I anticipate napping again today given my sleeping schedule. Apparently I needed to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to Noah. Sorry, Noah. If you weren’t such a conversational studmuffin… I wouldn’t bug you so much. (Now that’s victim blaming.) (Noah will probably provide a link to the comic where I get the conversational studmuffin reference in comments. He’s like that.)

I write so much about my bad days, I like to make sure I record good ones too.

Morning routine

Here is my list of “it would be nice” if I did them in the morning.

  • Run
  • Write on blog
  • Medicate
  • Write on books that are in my head screaming to get out.
  • Water the plants (not *Every* day but most days and I’m struggling to be consistent)
  • Yoga
  • Eat breakfast

The problem is I want to get this all done by 7am and it’s just not happening. Past 7 I have the kids and…. everything gets harder.

Shanna has been making noise about wanting to get more serious about “school”. She understands that she is “going into first grade” and other kid have a lot of work to do at this stage.

I’m sorta wondering if I should mostly cut out socializing this school year. We should do classes and stay at home to practice things. She specifically asked if we could start reviewing Signing Time again.

I’m going to need to limit socializing to maybe two days a week. One week day and one weekend day. Noah desperately needs a weekend day of down time. It’s not fair to blast through the weekends. I think it is good for all of us.

We want martial arts. I’m thinking parkour to start just because it sounds so fun. I’m going to have to email the mom of a boy in our homeschool group. He’s doing lessons already in Fremont. He and Shanna are sorta close in age and they get along pretty well. (At least when they are alone. Not when the (insert winking lights here) wonderful second boy in their triad shows up though. Then they fight over the other boy. Sigh.

Both kids want to stay in swimming lessons over the fall/winter.

Calli will be in HIndi.

Both kids are asking for music classes and there is a place in Fremont that does birth-6 years olds in one class. It isn’t one instrument focused. They kind of move around between a few different kind of instruments. And they are big on ukeleles! I need to get both of ours fixed.

If we start doing language videos every day and practicing together, that will be like another class.

That is on top of our constant outpouring of history and math and science and art.

My kids have memorized the low level addition tables to the point where they are sometimes faster than me. We do not table work on addition. We just talk about math all the time. We count and do addition problems back and forth. They have never ever been asked to do a worksheet.

I got them a geometry set with a compass and man these words are escaping my brain today. Whoa. Uhm, those stupid plastic things you use to help you draw angles. Whatever. We have played with that though.

I would like to take a moment and thank genetics that my kids are *not* primarily visual learners. Many children *need* to see things in front of them in order to understand. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them. I’m more literal like that. My kids are incredibly good at picking up concepts from hearing and talking about them. It is luck.

But I feel like it fits in with why I haven’t encouraged Shanna towards reading with more vigor. She’ll get there. Until then she has had to develop her memory with greater enthusiasm. She has memorized most of the books we own so she can “read” them to her sister. But she gets enough words wrong that I know she is remembering and not reading.

We have hundreds of childrens books. We have a bigger library than some elementary schools I went to. If Shanna has most of these memorized that means she has had them read to her. That feels good to me.

Our house rule is that any given book is read ONCE per day. I do not reread. Period. So they memorize these books without the benefit of having it repeated over and over and over in a short period. I am so darn envious of Shanna’s memory. She got it from her dad. I sorta glare at them on the sly sometimes but I don’t bitch. It’s a cool talent.

Sometimes when I watch interactions in other families I feel like there is something wrong with us. We are too touchy. Too affectionate. Am I going too far in the affection direction? We don’t “make out” (extended kisses on the lips with lips closed) and tongues belong in your mouth but beyond that if you want to give someone 500 kisses on their face, go for it.

Even in sex communities I have never seen a group of people as physically demonstrative as this family. I feel a little weird about it. Noah says that he and I both came into parenting with major touch deficits. That’s true enough.

But these means my kids are having a hard time learning that you can’t be that affectionate with EVERYONE. It’s a work in progress.

I keep telling Shanna, “When you are a baby it is ok to push until someone tells you “no”. That’s how you learn boundaries. As you get physically bigger the power dynamic shifts. You don’t get to push. You can only do things to people if you ask in advance and they say “yes”. Otherwise you are potentially violating their boundaries and that isn’t ok. People shouldn’t have to say “no” and shove you off of them once you are bigger. That’s only for babies.

This morning at breakfast we had a clarifying conversation about the whole “fucking kids” thing. I asked if it was ok to say “darn kids” and Shanna emphatically said “no.” It is unacceptable to call them anything. The only thing I am allowed to say is, “I am really frustrated with you kids.”

I can’t die. I want to see what she becomes as a grown up. She is so fucking cool.

I think I have talked myself into limiting socializing outside the house to two days a week during the next season or so. Tuesdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays partially because I have therapy on that day and it is park day so I should just assume that day is out of the house.

We have one or two things already scheduled I won’t cancel. I just won’t add more.

I think that partially I’m trying to see if the kids and I can get into a more regular rhythm because we will have to have one next year on the road trip. Just over ten months to go.

I would like it if we were better able to communicate in languages other than English. We will have to just practice. Oh I finally have an in-house study group. I feel so grateful. I don’t have to feel stupid or embarrassed.

When I stay home more I’m slightly less volatile. I think? I wish I remembered this kind of thing better. I know I go stir crazy. But this period of at-home is going to be forcefully ended by being out of the state for five months or so. Maybe I should build up some reserves so that I don’t leave depleted.

Life is complicated. I should pay attention to mis hijas. I don’t know why but I’m not that fond of the word “daughter”. I like hija. I always have. When I was a little girl wandering around the barrio I would hear the Mamas yelling, “Mijas! Ven ahora!” It is one of the most comforting sounds.

My mom didn’t yell for me to come in much. She was happy for me to be out of her face as long as I was willing to be gone. When she did yell at me it was a harsh “Kristine Lenora!”

I like that mi hijas are so tender and gentle with me. Time for snuggling. Maybe after I shower. Phew. (Hey–I already got my running in.)

I think I use Twitter as the way to lean over and kind of whisper in Jenny’s ear. I know she reads my blog but it’s different. She interacts on Twitter.

Today is going to be a good day. I wish I hadn’t woken up crying, but there you go. I miss my mom. It is an inconvenient fact of my life. I can pretend it isn’t true all I want but that doesn’t alter reality. I will probably always miss her.

Thirty years so far.

Yesterday the kids wanted to talk about the Loma Prieta earthquake again. (We’ve been talking about disaster response stuff.) They finally got around to the point of asking why my cousin had to rescue me–where were my mom and dad?

I started crying. I was glad I was driving because they couldn’t see my face.

During the Loma Prieta earthquake I lived in a house built on the side of a mountain just a few miles away from the fault line. Our house rocked off its foundation. It was pretty scary. I was alone in the house and after the quake my cousin ran in and grabbed me and carried me out past all the broken glass and debris. I wouldn’t have been able to get out without injury. I was seven.

Some day I will write more about my cousin Daryl. It will sound exactly like all the “my cousin Daryl” jokes you have ever read only it freakin’ happened. I’m waiting until I see obituaries though because he’s a nice guy. He’s just… a little slow. Stuff happened. It’s a long story. Later.

But they’ve been asking for more details. “Where was your mom?”

I didn’t want to tell them that my mom was sitting Shiva next to my brother’s bed while he was lying in a coma.

Where was my father? Living not far from where my brother was in a hospital. He tried hard to keep my mother from being there.

I had just gotten back from Texas. I was with Auntie because no one else was willing to take me. I wanted to be closer to my mom but none of our extended family were willing to tolerate me because I was such an unpleasant child.

Sometimes it is surreal to me how often people comment on my children being good. I was told I was bad all the time by freakin’ everyone. I don’t understand how I have come through that with the ability to do anything right.

Now I understand why I set them off. I get it. I wouldn’t let a sexually inappropriate child in my house either. I need to keep my kids safe.

It’s a no-win situation.

Sometimes it is weird feeling like I am ok as an adult but even me-as-an-adult would shun me-as-a-child. It is right that all people shun such monsters.

The day is supposed to be good but it is starting out pretty mixed. I have medication to fix this.

I don’t choose to spend my day stewing about the fact that people I don’t know any more didn’t like me as a child. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it now.

Are those kids monsters though? I didn’t molest everyone. Just the other kids with poor boundaries. I did well with people who had firm boundaries.

By the time my kids are tweens I hope that if a young sexually inappropriate child came over things would be ok. My kids would understand about sex and boundaries and when the kid needed to be told to stop it would happen in a natural and appropriate way.

If there is a God–that is what I’m praying for. My kids will know how to have boundaries. Not because they have been hurt but just because they have been taught to know the limits of their comfort and prioritize their needs for safety. That sounds weird. I don’t know how to describe it.

I want my kids to learn who they are as being separate from the people around them. “Just because you want x doesn’t mean I have to want it.” “Just because someone asked me to do y doesn’t mean I have to.”

I struggle with this. Still. This is a pervasive problem. If someone asks me to do them a favor… I don’t really say no.

I no longer have sex with anyone who looks at me too long. I appreciate the buffer that is my kids. I’m aware that if I went longer periods without them around I would miss the hunt more. I worry about the future.

It scares the shit out of me that Noah is who I have. I have friends–but if things blew up with Noah I would be pretty much on my own. Not that we are having problems. Not that having Noah is bad (I can see how the wording of this paragraph is ambiguous.) it’s more that I worry about solitary systems. I like back ups. I don’t really have many back up plans.

I read in survivor books that “I have to make this work” is one of the keys to developing true problem solving resiliency in the face of serious problems.

This dude (Al Siebert is my favorite author on that topic) is almost exclusively talking about work problems. He’s not a trauma writer.

Trauma writers don’t really know how people get over things. It’s A Mystery. (Ok, some people believe they have the explanation but I’ve read enough directly conflicting accounts that I’m pretty skeptical.)

People write about getting through concrete business problems. They write about getting over financial hurtles. There is much less conflict on the resulting opinions. Which makes me feel a little more secure about thinking, “These tactics may actually have some level of moderate effect.”

I’m not a business. I’m just some chick. I don’t really have financial problems. In a time and place where many people are struggling we… aren’t. It’s because Noah picked the right obsession in early childhood. It doesn’t seem fair. But then again, what is fair?

I’ve read a lot of marriage advice books too. “We can’t get divorced” is as good a reason as any to stay married. Neither Noah nor I have anywhere to go if we left one another. He and I are both uhm weird in ways that make us very hard to match up. We would find other people to date–sure. We are both rather trampy like that. But we match.

Noah is the only person who has ever really wanted to know my story. He’s the only one who wants to be there every morning whether I want to have sex or whether I need to cry. He doesn’t need me to be a one trick pony. I can be a lot of different things.

My Owner could help me calm down after a nightmare but he explicitly didn’t want details and he went right back to sleep after the initial panic subsided.

Before Noah my Owner was by far the nicest person to me I had ever lived with.

Yes, there are other people who are caring in the world. It’s a big picture compatibility thing.

We are having a date tonight. It’s a Godmama weekend. I am kidnapping him and running away with him. We will return on Sunday. This is perhaps our last chance to do a weekend mini-break sorta thing for a while.

We are negotiating things we don’t seem to be able to do in our house. I seem to be developing a lot more boundaries around bdsm play in my house. It doesn’t feel like bdsm it feels like domestic violence. They are very different.

I think I need to know that it’s not ok to make me grovel in my house. Fuck you.

Which is weird considering some of the things we talk about doing after the kids are grown. Am I going to need all of it to be done while traveling? That’ll get weird.

I don’t know.

What I want is to someday build a room on a second story and that is the only place I’ll act like that. And my kids can’t come in. Ever. No matter how I’m dressed.

Boundaries are interesting. Everyone has their own. They are what make you interesting and unique.

I like being with Noah. I worry about it not feeling like a choice and instead it feeling like I “have to” stay. Because I don’t have anyone else.

It is hard to know that I probably could never again attain this degree of emotional intimacy with anyone else. Partially because of sheer time spent and partially because Noah went out and memorized a lot of things about behavior and human interaction and family dysfunction before he ever got to me.

Let’s not forget the massage training. And the cooking classes. I swear the boy trained up for me. And he didn’t even know me.

In turn, Noah’s grateful to have access to my uhhh range of skills. Trades are good.

It’s good to be valued for what you have to give. There are a lot of things I’m not. If Noah spent a lot of time pining for those things our lives would be pretty hard. Instead he says thank you for being what I am.

He wants me to pay attention to him. He likes that I track his projects and prod him along and care about the results too. It makes him feel important. He tries harder because I give him his gold star. (Although he came home with a work evaluation yesterday that makes my gold stars look as pathetic in comparison as they are. I’m too snarky. Apparently he deserves flowery florid praise. I’m not the girl for that.)

He probably eats more vegetables because I encourage it. He goes to the gym partially because I praise the efforts. “If I have to stay alive–so do you, motherfucker.” Staying alive is more effort than it looks. We have these kids to teach about life. Exercise is part of it.

I feel really proud of the way that Noah has kind of settled into the traces. That sounds bad. He’s not trying to merge the party lifestyle and the parent lifestyle and I’m fucking grateful. I don’t really miss it. I’m glad I’m not dealing with my kids on the weekend while hungover or tired.

Instead both of us decided that this portion of our life is the only time we will have to hang out with our little kids. So we are doing it. Because we wanted them so bad. It only seems fair.

Not many things in life are fair, kiddos, but every once in a while you luck out.

We will have a nice day. At some point I will stop crying. Stupid tears.

We are spoiled and pampered and I’m going to stop and notice that today. I feel very grateful for the life I have. Things haven’t always been this way for me. Today I’m going to drive past the house I lived in during the Loma Prieta earthquake and I’m going to think about how far I have come.

They are all still there. My Auntie and all of her kids. My mom is either there or with my sister.

And I will drive right by. Who is rejecting whom? It’s a whirlwind.

In twelve more years if Shanna wants me to take her, I will. I won’t bring it up. I kind of hope she doesn’t think to ask. They will not be able to hurt her and they will love her. They will think she is wonderful.

They will like Calli too. But I think Calli would like them less. We’ll see. There is a lot about her personality I can’t see yet. She’s not quite four.

I think Shanna will want to meet them at least a few times and she will feel basic affection. I get the impression Calli is going to hate them for hurting her Mama. That’s the vibe I get. I’m not really encouraging either response. I answer questions about my family with as few words as I can. I’m as neutral as I can be. They will make up their own minds as best as I am able to allow.

We are leaving our laptops home. I don’t plan to bring my phone out of my backpack all weekend.

Rest is good for you, I hear.

Teaching was fun.

The internet gave me the tentative go-ahead to carry on with my plans since they were more than 24 hours after the last uhm incident. So I taught a class yesterday. It was on boundary transgressions.

The word “rape” didn’t come up. I feel… fairly flabbergasted really. It was not that kind of crowd. We had eight students, so not a big class. Three women. Two of the women were ladies who have been around the block a few times and they were frankly inspirational. They frequently came up with better (more tactful, polite AND effective) responses to boundary violation situations than I did. I’m so glad they came.

This was mostly a new-to-bdsm crowd who wanted to learn more about social boundaries and trying new things. I hope I gave them some things to think about and some exercises to practice. *cross fingers* A couple of people left mid-way and the rest of the class said they were very happy to be there and they learned a lot.

I was surprised by how effectively I co-taught with my friend. I kind of thought that would be a bit rocky. I also kind of forgot “Oh yeah… I’m a writing teacher…” and most bdsm classes aren’t really writing classes. But mine involves writing! I brought paper and pens and everything. And they wrote. Like you do.

It was good though. Self-evaluation kind of stuff you don’t necessarily have to share with the class. They spent the time scribbling furiously so I don’t think they were completely unengaged.

So hard to judge.

There was a point about victimization I never made because it never fit appropriately in the conversation. It was a really… non-traumatized crowd. I remain shocked that most of the bdsm community does not come to bdsm through trauma. I *know* it is true… and yet I feel surprise. Every time I rediscover. “Oh wait. Not everyone is like me.”

But the point was: living in a state of perpetual victimhood will ruin your life. Yet sometimes you have to come to a place within yourself where you understand that for a limited time and duration you were a victim or you can’t grow past that place. You have to be able to recognize that everyone can be a victim but you don’t want to be a victim forever. You have to figure out how to change your mindset after a boundary violation and take back your right to respond.

You always have ways to respond you just haven’t thought of yet. Keep going back to your inner resources and brain storming ways to do it differently next time.

Alas. I made a similar sort of line of commentary but not explicitly that language. These people weren’t victims and they clearly didn’t understand the language of victimhood. It was interesting to adapt on the fly.

We did some fun role playing. Even though not everyone was eager to “act” everyone verbally participated a lot. I made everyone be talkative since the class was so small. I’m really good at that patient-smile-while-people-feel-pressured-to-talk. I’ll just grin expectantly at you while making lots of eye contact. We’ll see who can be silent. Muahahaha.

My co-teacher gave me some specific good feedback (less second person, he worried about one of my lack-of-eye-contact points I countered with “but if you make eye contact during writing assignments they stop writing because they think time is up” he said that was a good reason).

I had a great time. Lots of anxiety around the event for a variety of socially awkward reasons but it worked out. I’m glad I was well enough to attend.

And I signed the paperwork. I no longer have any legal ties to the coffee shop in San Francisco. It is being bought by two new enthusiastic owners. Everyone is excited. It’s staying within the community. Yay! I helped keep the coffee shop open because I wanted that to be a community space for all the young freaks who need it. I’m really glad that more people in the extended community are getting involved. It is more likely to last this way. Yay! Yay!

All in all, canceling Saturday was sad but we had a great weekend. We got to rest on Saturday and maybe that is for the best anyway. We have busy stuff coming up.

Oh! And the hot tub is gone! Hallelujah! I get to clean up and organize my back yard more. The Easter party will be epic. I’m growing to enjoy the Easter parties more by the year. I’m figuring out what I enjoy and what doesn’t work. I’m really pretty surprised that I can hide as many hundreds of eggs as I manage on my tiny property. But I find them for eight months.

I think that the Easter party is partially so fun because I’m not competing with much other holiday stuff. Ok, I lose people for Passover. That’s ok. It’s not Christmas-time. It isn’t over-all as stressful of a time of year.

I bought way way way less candy this year. Last year was overwhelming. See, I learn.

If the weather cooperates this Friday home schoolers will be coming over to paint the fence. This will be fun. I get the impression at least a few folks will come to hear Girl Genius.

This week is a running week with J. Maybe if we are going to do alternative weeks on Tuesdays and Saturdays we should make those running dates split up so we see one another once a week but not on the same day every week. Maybe. I’m going to keep up the running this year. Darn it.

It is time for the monthly pilgrimage to San Pablo this week. That’s a long drive. But seeing those folks in their home is important. The kids have to learn to manage grown-up-only houses. It’s a process.

It will be a very busy and hopefully fun week. Only four hours of driving scheduled over the next ten days. That should be nice. Yay for staying home and having people come to me.

Medication then catching up

I know I go through periods of fewer posts. Don’t give up on me. I will always come back to writing. My arms were really bothering me. Typing less has brought the pain down to the 1-2 level. Hurray!

Yesterday Shanna asked me about my medication again. It comes up once in a while. She knew I was tapering in December and that I was having trouble with being patient because of it. Now that I am medicating on a more regular question it feels more intrusive to her and so she asked me again why I need it.

I asked her, “Do you think our life together is scary?”

“No.”

“Do you think anyone in this house might hurt you?”

“Well, we have accidents and bump each other. That hurts.”

“Ok, fair enough. Do you fear that your Daddy or I might do something terrible to you?”

She started giggling.

“Ok, so you feel safe and happy and loved, right?”

“Of course I do. I am safe, happy and loved.”

(I swear to God my heart almost exploded.)

“Well I mostly feel that way now too. Our life is pretty wonderful together. But a long time ago before you were born my life was different. I wasn’t very safe. I wasn’t happy. And for a long time I wasn’t loved.”

She leaned in to hug me at that point.

“Thank you for the hug, honey. My point is that what you learn as a little kid is kind of hard to change when you are a grown up. You will probably always feel safe, happy and loved because you are getting used to it as a kid. I have a hard time not feeling scared and angry and unsafe because that is what my life was like when I was a kid. I have no good reason to be scared or angry or unsafe now. My life is awesome. But it’s hard to change what your brain thinks of as “normal” and the medicine helps me with that. The medicine kind of helps my brain ignore the parts that say BUT YOU SHOULD BE SCARED!!!!”

“Ok, so the medicine makes you feel less scared?”

“Sorta. Not exactly. The medicine helps my brain relax enough to really look around me. Is there any reason in my life right now for me to be scared?”

“Uhm, are you scared I will cut my hair again?” (Calli gave herself a haircut this weekend. Sigh. It’ll be fine. Today we will see the hairdresser and she’ll have sassy cute short hair. All’s well that ends well. I laughed when Shanna said this.)

“No I don’t feel scared that you will cut your hair. It’s your hair. If you want to cut it I need to suck it up and deal with that. Ok, let me try again. I don’t have any reason for my brain or body to be scared. But my brain forgets that I should stop being scared because it was scared for so long. The medicine is kind of a way of gently nudging my brain into saying–‘hey dude–look around, your life is awesome‘.”

“So the medicine helps you be less scared?”

“Sure. The medicine lets me be not-scared. Some bodies function differently and need medicine. Your uncle has problems with his blood sugar, right? He talks to you about how that works for him.”

“Yeah. He has diabetes. He has to check his blood sugar with a machine and then he has to be careful what he eats.”

“Right. So some people who have diabetes have to be on a medicine called insulin every single day and some people don’t. It depends on how the persons individual body is working–right? Because not everyone needs insulin.”

“Ok.”

“I need cannabis because my body needs the reminder to look around at how calm and happy my life is. This medicine allows me to do that whereas without the medicine I am too scared to notice how wonderful my life is. And that’s pretty sucky feeling.”

“That makes sense.”

“I think so.”

Then she handed me a book and expected me to shift gears.

I’m making steady progress on Outrunning. I will absolutely be done by June. Many people are bringing up the idea of self-publishing. I think I probably should do that for No Secrets but I’m still afraid that Outrunning will need established distribution networks.

I’m taking a few weeks off of social media. Stop fucking up your arms with lame attempts to connect that don’t really go anywhere, Krissy.

I’m reading, of course. Three books at once. Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth–it’s about System D economies. Piracy, non-registered, street vendors, all kinds of different subeconomies that operate outside the “legal” sphere. I’m also reading Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain by David L. Conroy, Ph.D. It is as fucking cheerful as it sounds. And last but not least: Playing Well With Others by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington. I feel like an asshole because I’ve owned the book for over a year and I haven’t read it yet. I’m telling newbies to go read the book without prereading it. I recommend it on the basis of, “I’ve known Mollena and Lee for almost a decade and a half and I’ve been to their classes and I’ve played with them and been friends with them so it must be good.” Good to actually read it though. Ahem. So far it is as good as I expected it to be. That is a good sign.

I have more work to do on the garden, of course. That never ends. I didn’t finish putting the last few seeds in the ground. And now it is hella wet which means I won’t have to soak the seeds when I plant them. Maybe I’ll get that done today.

The Prius is in the shop. New auxiliary battery, alignment, and brakes. Ouch. Today I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving that I am a rich person now and sudden car maintenance is ok. I don’t need to feel scared just because unexpected bills came up. That is such a luxury and I want to be conscious of it for the rest of my life. Relax. I don’t need to be scared. It is only money and we have enough. We have enough. We have enough.

First Sunday in April I am going to co-teach a bdsm class. It will be fun. It will be about boundaries and having them and dealing with people over-stepping them and such. Because that’s how I roll.

Running is going very well. My next race is only 19 days away. Eeep. I still haven’t scheduled the Portland race. I’m dithering for a variety of reasons. I’ll do it though. I have one friend coming over on Tuesday nights to walk five miles with me. That’s pretty exciting. She might make it a regular thing. I want to bully/beg my neighbor into going out with me on Thursday morning runs. His wife says that once my mileage comes down after the race she will shove him out the door for me because he needs the exercise. Saturdays will remain my long days and they might stay solo for a while because post-race I’m thinking I’ll keep to 10+ miles. I feel better physically and I man I like eating like a horse without gaining weight. I seem to have gained ten pounds from all the cookies I ate over the winter. My pants fit better. Yay!

I keep thinking that I should make up a few mailing lists. Shanna is enamoured with the idea of last minute invitations. I’m not so good at making those work. I only know how to get big groups to congregate if I start talking about an event a few months in advance because then I poke people slowly in person over a long period and get them to commit. I’m not good at “Let’s have a spontaneous large get-together tomorrow.” I… I fail. I don’t know who to call. I even feel awkward about individual emails. “If this person isn’t available will they be sad and feel kind of rejected if I bring it up?”

I have been debating with myself how I want to structure this. Do I want one big mailing list that people can sign on to and then they have to ignore the non-relevant emails? That seems like trouble. Do I want a working parents list and a stay at home parent list? That way I am not constantly spamming the working friends with, “Want to go to a museum on Tuesday at 10am?”

I have several friends who actively are trying to run large groups of people already. If I have a mailing list and I want to do things that conflict with their public schedule… am I being rude? Should I have people on a mailing list when I know in advance they will frequently already be asking me to do something else on that day but I don’t want to do what they want to do? That seems… problematic.

But I’m really not willing to drive far enough to just up and join someone else’s group full time. All the folks running active groups are at least thirty minutes from my house and I’m not up for an hour of driving (or more–sometimes two or three hours) of driving for socializing almost every day of the week. I’m just not up for it.

So it goes.

I feel stupid. I want it to be an opt-in thing. But I’m afraid that having it as an opt-in thing will mean that people will feel rejected because I didn’t seek them out and beg them to participate.

I’m being an idiot.

Heck, I’d kind of like to have a mailing list for “Adult friends who do not have children” but who like tagging along sometimes so they want to know what is going on so they can say, ‘That sounds like fun’ without me having to go through my damn Little Black Book thinking of everyone I know before I do stuff.

I like community but I’m shit at organizing it. Anxiety for the win. And I’m a bad joiner. And I want to put a sign in front of my house advertising that I will teach English in exchange for people teaching me their language and I haven’t gotten up the nerve yet.

So many things I want to do and so little time. And so little self-confidence.

Wait! It’s not just lack of self-confidence… it’s uhhh I’m already over scheduled. Yeah. That’s it.

Ok, I should go edit now that I have one more hour of work time left this morning. I miss you, oh blog, when I am not babbling into you constantly. I will always come back. This is an affair I can’t give up on.

Reflections

Today I took the girls to visit an old friend of mine. I haven’t seen her much since I had kids. She’s older than me and she has a grown daughter. Talking to her is different now than it used to be.

Now she actively tries to tell me not to use her as an example. I don’t know if she was simply unaware of how I tried to pattern match off of her in the past or if it seemed more harmless.

Now she adamantly tells me that I should not make similar choices to her. She is not all that happy with the far side of the parenting road and she thinks that she made a lot of wrong choices.

Given that she is a specialist who works with developmentally delayed children (wow I know a lot of them) I did my normal poke, “Several friends think I should have Calli evaluated as potentially somewhere on the spectrum or possibly a speech delay. What do you think?”

She snickered. She said, “I have a 3.5 year old client who can point and say “unh” when he wants something. She’s really not delayed.”

This was kind of weird because I realized how much I want to brush off the encouraging and/or positive comments I receive about my children. Instead I worry and worry about the outliers who tell me, “I think you should ____”.

I never know how to feel about that. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about it, but lots of strangers stop me to grab my shoulders and stare at me in a really intense way and say, “Do you know how exceptional your child is?”

It happens every few months. I uhhh don’t know how to react. This is usually after ten or so minutes talking to Shanna. Talking about that sounds like bragging but honestly it makes me uncomfortable.

It’s not like it only comes from the sweet old grandmothers. It comes from a wide variety of people in a wide variety of circumstances. They are a lot easier to brush off and not think about much. I worry about the criticisms.

I want to believe that people are seeing the real experience of my life when they see potential areas I’m fucking up and not when it’s going right. The going right must be a fluke, right? I don’t believe compliments or positive statements. Although I’m not looney–I know my oldest child is advanced in speaking. But yeah. Whatever. How’s that going to effect the price of tea in China?

When I first knew a lot of my friends as mothers they were still young-ish mothers. I knew them through the periods they talk of with regret. It’s weird to now hear that side of it because I didn’t know anything at the time. I thought they were so great. Now they tell me not so much.

I’m worried, like I am. What am I fucking up? What am I missing? What am I not catching that a competent professional would catch?

Then I went on to read a thread on a homeschool email list about the idea of seeing a speech pathologist/therapist/getting kids evaluated for autism/etc other labels. The point was made that many, most issues (like speech stuff) would naturally resolve around six but we put kids into therapy earlier than that “so they don’t get used to the stigma of being deficient”. (Not my phrasing–emphasis is mine.)

It was a long thread and I’m quoting a very small part and the person I’m quoting had many interesting ideas so I’m not trying to paint it badly. But it was one of those “howdy there, juxtaposition” moments. (I’m working my way through a book on how people reach insights. It’s fascinating how connections layer.)

Anyway. The point was I think it is kind of interesting that I’m dithering about getting Calli evaluated. I have not been able to make up my mind if I want to pursue it or not. If she has speech delay it is extremely minor and most kids resolve minor issues on their own by six. She doesn’t have a severe speech issue. That is clear. She seems to have some difficulty with some sounds, but we do exercises. I’m not sure speech therapy would have much to offer her. The pediatrician does the basic autism screening and has at every appointment. The pediatrician says Calli is fine. But I worry.

And I hesitate to put my sticky little feet near the waters of the system. Do I really want my local school system building a dossier on my kids so that they can pester me about what I’m doing and whether I’m doing it right?

I go back and forth about how I feel about working with charter schools and it comes down to, ultimately, the fact that if I got the wrong “supervising teacher” to work with I would explode with rage.

That’s not so healthy or functional, I know.

I don’t do well with people who have a small amount of arbitrary power and then are petty. It’s a super common trait though and not a situation I really want to deal with.

But I worry about the idea that I am flying blind with no one to supervise me. The trouble is finding someone I respect who would be in an appropriate position to work with me. Mostly I just ask different people who have different specialties for informal evaluations.

Yeah. I feel mixed about the “methodology” I’m following. It’s uhm. Well. It’s unschooling. I don’t have a rubric of right or wrong. I’m just… doing.

What I’m trying to do is teach me and Shanna and Calli how to be polite to people. We have very good manners together. We can go to a grown-up only house and behave exactly how we should because there are Rules and we gosh darn spend the whole car ride there going over them. There are different rules for different places

I consciously and deliberately always specify why a rule exists.

You know that obnoxious “why” phase parents bitch about? We don’t have much of that here. I explain why before they can ever stop to consider how to react to an arbitrary rule. We don’t have many arbitrary rules.

Even “no food on the carpet” is “except on party days or very rarely with something that has NO CRUMBS”.

I need my children to be able to pick up on subtle behavior clues. I need it like I need water. It is not normal or natural to be as obsessed with it as I am. That means that it is not acceptable for me to expect my children to just be able to do it.

It means I have to explicitly teach my children how to evaluate how to talk to people. It means I have to go through and explain detailed body language stuff. We work on it a lot.

It’s controlling and wacky and crazy. But I tell them a lot, “I’m teaching you what I have learned. I don’t know everything. Sometimes I’m just flat wrong. As you grow up you will have different experiences than I’ve had and you will decide that I’m very wrong about some things. That happens to the best of us. For now, try to get some idea of what I’m looking at. It will take time and practice and you are going to make some mistakes and feel embarrassed. Brush it off and try again. You have to fail a million times before you can be an expert at anything.”

I want my kids to have the self confidence that comes from being allowed to try 30 things that fail before you find something that works.

And that means I frustrate the shit out of them.

I sorta think of myself as aspiring to be a cross of Mary Poppins, Mr. Miyagi, and Professor McGonagall. But more cuddly than that list implies.

I’m very demanding and exacting and I expect that is going to suck to live with long-term. We’ll see.

I don’t like curriculum but we talk about history a lot. I believe that studying history is important because many of the mistakes that we might make were already made by other people–go see how it worked out for them and then decide if you want that kind of result. We talk about historical people and periods and events and we read biographies.

When Shanna makes a grammar error and I correct her she does actually say, “Why was that wrong?” so I guess I get some “Why” questions. Mostly she says “What does ____ mean?”

I set the framework in their heads. We talk about space and biology and evolution and chemistry and physics and botany.

We haven’t been seriously working on language stuff but our play sometimes includes bouncing between using all the words in our collective vocabulary in every language we know to name objects in a space. It’s fun. They teach me words. (I verify things on the internet…) That will only get bigger as they get older. It’s a great way of getting them to sit still and be patient. I start by pointing at something and I will say it’s name/color/some descriptive term and someone will respond with a variation or move to a new object.

Unschooling means we spend our lives learning. The kids have spontaneous jam sessions where they sit down and make up song lyrics for a half hour to an hour. I uhhh look askance from a distance as someone who has always felt excluded from the cliqueish world of playing music. Shanna really likes making music and making up lyrics to go with what she is playing. It is a lot of fun to watch. It’s not “serious learning” but I would argue that it’s also important. She’s only five. Yes, some disciplines believe you can force children to learn even younger than she is. There is also some reason to believe it is better to start at more like seven or eight when the kid will really understand the range of options.

For now I’m comfortable with dithering. Or maybe I just think eight because that is when public schools start music. Who knows.

Shanna’s learning enough right now. She really does have a lot she’s trying to do.

We play math games. I don’t start them. I would probably avoid math much more if I could. Ugh. Shanna is very focused on math to my jaundiced view. She probably sits down to spontaneously do math work every week or two. She’s not a prodigy or anything but she’s interested and she feels like she is successful at it and she knows that understanding math is important for many careers. She doesn’t have any opening for bias that might imply she might be potentially bad at math.

We spend our days moving back and forth between subjects all day long. Cooking is chemistry and math. We talk about how much food costs. We talk about why we make the choices we make with the money we spend on food. There are a lot of shoot-off topics from there. Sometimes I do sit down and draw out how something would visually look if I think it would be hard for them to imagine.

But it’s all organic. (I don’t mean the hippy dippy shit.) I mean it just kind of happens. I respond to their questions all day long. I alternate filling their heads with so much information they sometimes look like they might explode with telling them, “I don’t know how to do it. You figure it out.”

We are loud people. We want to be heard. That is the last trait I want to extinguish in my kids. Same with not punishing them for whining. *I* whine. I’m not going to forking punish my kids for doing what I model. That would make me a despicable hypocrite.

do not punish my kids for doing things I have taught them to do. Iron clad rule.

Does everyone live with rules? This many rules. So many rules. I feel like I am drowning in all the rules, rules, rules. Be this here. Be that there. Be something else someplace else. 

I like the Biblical phrase “a house divided”.

Fall. Fall. Fall.

Only I’m not divided. I promised me I’d never do that. I would never split off my memories so that only certain parts of me existed at a time. Apparently that is one of the main ways folks like me get out of childhood. That’s what the specialists tell me.

I’m not splitting. But I’m learning how to be polite in a wide variety of different cultures and it’s hard. I think I only get to like 70% correct anywhere I try.

I always say too much. I’m too forward. I’m too loud. I’m too inappropriate (although this one has faded now that I only over-share sexually with some of Noah’s random co-workers at Christmas parties. Surely that’s uhm not as bad as I’ve ever been before. That’s been it for the last several years running.

This is big.

And yet I shouldn’t talk about it because it is indiscreet. But controlling hypersexuality doesn’t go away when you are married and monogamous and having moderately good sex with your husband. (I post about bad spells and he goes, “Ahh. An opportunity. So if I put in more effort I get more sex? H’okay then!”) We’re too tired for the earth shattering kind of sex. Some day we’ll get back there. *cross fingers*

I feel like that is the main overwhelming fact of parenthood. Exhaustion. I actually sleep pretty well these days. What, I only miss 2-7 hours in the average week lately? I’ve been sleeping pretty well. I wake up when I want to and not because I have to. That’s doing ok. But I’m still exhausted.

Yes, it’s a running day and I’m tired after eight miles. But it’s not that. I think the running makes me feel better about being this tired because I am whether I run or not. At least when I run I get to have this macho swagger for a while as I feel my rock hard thighs. Holy crap. I didn’t know my legs did that. (They stopped being rock hard when I defrosted and relaxed after the run… but they had like an hour there.. Maybe I need more mid-run stretching breaks… hm.)

I think that the schedule I should keep is either run or edit seven days a week. I only predictably have till 6:30am to work. The whole rest of the day is too overwhelming with kid-need-to-communicate. I love them so much but sometimes I feel like a wrung out sponge.

When I look kind of deflated Noah says, “Well we didn’t pick the low intensity kind of parenting.”

Nope. Not so much.

If I get through this twenty year period and I end up with adult children who want to be my friends and who can go off into the world and have happy lives…

I don’t want a codependent relationship forever. I don’t want two dependents. I want to engage in loud, wild, crazy sex in the middle of my living room. You can move out some day, kiddos. I have plans.

But I hope and pray every day that they will want to be my friend. I want to hear about their lives. I want to know what happens to them. Sure, I hope that they will tell me sometimes that I am a good mom. Mostly I hope that I will look at what they do with their life and think quietly to myself “That was a good choice.” I should keep my mouth shut. It is not my job to judge who they become as adults. Not one way or another.

I don’t judge them much now. I evaluate them. But I describe everything in terms of progress and development. There is no “good” or “bad”. I’m just making sure you are doing what a three year old should be able to do.

I worry that if I decide to have her evaluated she will have a very small delay and I will be told that I “really should pay for therapy so she won’t be more delayed later” (when that is only a faint possibility).

Yeah, I over think things.

If she has a 10% or 20% delay then she is still in the range of normal. She’s just not right at the center line or above it. I don’t believe there is a chance that she is more delayed than that. And her expressive language is advanced. I think she just has to grow into her mouth.

I want to give her time. I think that is all I have to give her. I don’t want to think of her as “behind”. She’s Calli. She’s not the most advanced in every single part of human development but she is certainly not struggling to be understood.

If she starts having problems having conversations with strangers because they can’t understand her then I will take her in for an evaluation. That seems like a good bar. As long as strangers can understand her and have a pick up conversation she is doing well enough for three.

Ok. I think I can stop worrying about that now. (I can dream, can’t I? Actually I can’t because I’ve started having pot at night again. Thank you blissful slumber. Yes, my tolerance is lower.)

I feel like I am so tired I will go fall in my bowl of soup. Maybe time to start getting ready for dinner. I’m so glad it is a leftovers night.

I planned out dinners for February and March. I’m pretty good about sticking to my schedule if I make it. I’m hoping to uhm bring down my food budget a little. It’s hard given some of my food priority stuff. I do my best to buy my meat from actual farmers. I make a big exception for sausage. I’m going to hell for the sausage. I have some very strong feelings about the unsustainability of factory farmed meat. But man I know how expensive it is to be all prissy about “food ethics”. Maybe this year I should be better about tracking food spending. I wonder what I’m putting where. I could look at vendors. on Mint… Hmmm. Now I’m procrastinating. Put down the darn keyboard, Krissy.

Judgmental asshole.

(I’m talking about me in the title.)

This morning I woke up to Pinterest, like I do. I was looking through homeschooling links, like I do.

I am a judgmental asshole. I really am. What am I being judgmental about this morning? Well, we have bought into school culture in some really pretty funny ways.

Uhm, you don’t have to go buy a bunch of expensive Montessori approved supplies in order for your child to learn to read. It’s not required. Seriously. I wish that people did not talk about learning to read as if it was this crazy esoteric skill that requires tons of props. Uhm, it requires books. Paper is helpful for scribbling, yes. But you don’t have to go out and buy fifteen different kind of letter shape things for your kid to practice tracing with their fingers in order to learn to read.

Oh man.

I get that these moms mean well. I’m certainly not saying anything to them about it. I just closed the tab.

I understand why these mothers feel insecure but I think it is a trap. I think that believing that we must create a “school” type environment at home is part of the way that we limit real learning.

Real learning is not about sitting down with Montessori Brand Toys.

My kids learn to read from street signs and posters up on the wall out in public. We talk about the letters and the sounds all the time. We don’t need to buy special stuff.

I worry about creating a structure where learning has to be done sequentially in an order someone else approves of. That is not how I learned.

I was thinking about it this morning. Why am I so completely hateful of school and the whole school system? (I’m not attacking my many friends who use the school system. I swear I am not. There are lots of good reasons for participating in school systems. I recognize all of them as valid and good and worthy. I don’t think anyone I know is to blame for the school system. I really and truly don’t.)

I went to 25 schools, including 5 high schools. If you figure I met at least 200 people at each high school and more than a hundred people at each elementary school (I’m really good at meeting people) that means I met many thousands of people.

I went from teacher to teacher and I saw that there were these boring steps that everyone had to plod through even though most people in the room caught on in less time than was spent. There was always one or two people struggling so the whole class had to wait. And wait. And wait.

Learning is an organic process that happens at wildly different speeds for different people. Some people like to trace a lot of letters. Sometimes my kids go in the back yard and practice tracing letters using sticks on dirt. It’s something I have seen them spontaneously do.

I don’t force my kids to sit down and do tracing work. I think it is beside the point of learning. And I think there is overwhelming evidence on the side that pushing kids hard towards academics before they are seven is overall somewhat harmful in their full life of learning. A lot of people who are forced to do stuff early burn out. They weren’t ready and it wasn’t fun so they learn to hate “school”.

I feel that bopping in and out of schools so fast is part of why I like learning. I had to do it independently. I learned to read because I was hungry for the knowledge and companionship of books. I went from not reading to reading adult books in less than two years.

I am also very raw today because I read 2.5 books about suicide yesterday. Lots of feelings swirling around in my body.

Affiliations. Succorance. Those are the needs in me that create the gaping, yawning maw that threatens to eat me alive. Those are the human needs that have been my problem my whole life.

So I went to these schools and I met many thousands of people. Mostly what I learned from the school experience is that I am bad because I do not fall into line and do exactly what other people do. But I was never trained in one school for many years so that I could learn a culture. I was always wrong. Let me tell you, teachers at Lakeside in Los Gatos had different expectations than they did in Dennison Texas. (I can’t even remember the name of the school. I could look it up. I don’t care that much.)

I learned over and over that I don’t know how to make real friends who will be part of my life. I will always be a freak. And I will always Do Everything Wrong. I never make a picture that looks exactly like every other picture in the room. Mine is always different and thus it is wrong.

I can’t buy my kids a bunch of Branded School Supplies and tell them that there is the One True Way To Learn.

I can’t do it.

I don’t trust systems. Systems have hurt me so very badly. Systems have shown me how little *I* matter.

So when I read things written by very well intentioned, loving people… I have strong feelings of oh my god no.

I don’t think other people are bad for following a system that more or less worked for them. I really don’t.

I am an auto-didact. I teach myself. Thus I also teach my children to be. There are a lot of things in this world that are worthy of learning about. I don’t know what will interest you. But I will talk to you extensively about how to go about acquiring information you want to have. I won’t dictate what information you need or how you get it.

I won’t put a bunch of tracing things in front of you and say now it is time for you to trace. I can’t do that.

I’m not even sure if it is really because I am a judgmental asshole (but I am) or if it is just my horror of forcing my children into rote learning.

I don’t decide it is time for them to learn how to trace. That’s not my job. Sometimes at stores Shanna will browse through books and ask for workbooks. I’ve bought her a couple. She has chosen to sit down with them a few times and trace. I’ve never handed it to her or initiated her working with it and I don’t think I ever will.

I don’t do that. That is not my role here.

I don’t think other people are bad. But I think they waste a lot of their own time trying to do things “right” when there is no such thing as right.

I feel sad that I still feel like I am doing everything wrong. Clearly my kids are on the road to reading. But I can’t force them through an Approved Process Of Learning.

I just can’t.

I won’t.

What I learned from the school system is that the system itself is much more important than any individual child within it. No one cares about all the little individual people who may need help or attention or support. That’s not what the system does. The system says, “I’m a system and I run. If you have a problem it is your problem.”

I’m glad that my friends who put their kids in traditional school are the kind of people who pay attention to their kids and their kids won’t fall through the cracks. My friends’ children are not the kids who are going to suffer the most. My friends’ kids are already pretty privileged and supported.

If you have good parents who love you it really doesn’t matter where you spend your days. You’ll learn and you’ll get the support you need. I didn’t have good parents.

It isn’t fair to blame the system because of its failure to save children like me. But I do think it is fair because one of the reasons the school system exists is supposedly to help kids like me. Oh well.

I think that any system designed to apply to multiple millions of people at the same time is going to fail more than half of the people involved at any given moment.

Half of all people are below average. Half of all people are above average. How in the fuck are you going to design one system that will serve both sides of that equation? Especially since we are all anti-tracking now. Everyone gets the SAME THING BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL ALIKE, RIGHT?!

Do you know why my kids will learn to read and write? Because they see their parents obsessively doing both. They know that the way to access pretty much the whole world and all of the things they want to do involves reading and writing.

I don’t think I will have to coax them or go through an elaborate many year process of forcing them to trace letters long before their brains are ready to read. Give me a break.

fake it.

I worry about how much I worry about how I affect other people. I don’t work nearly as hard on being nice to my body. I pay a lot of attention to how my behavior impacts my kids. For a while now Shanna has had an occasional eye tic. It is a stress response. I feel that this is a sign that I am not behaving how I should.

It is hard having to pretend that I experience less stress than I do just because it hurts other people that I run so hot. Hot in the sense of high stress load.

I feel very guilty that I had kids because I wanted to have a relationship that was intense and all day every day. I wanted to have the company. I wanted to have to learn how to be nice. I wanted to learn what it means to teach people without shame and resentment. I want it still.

It feels like I created people just so I could perform a science experiment. That doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do. But I’m not sure that the reasons that other people have kids are “better”. I know that I feel guilty that I am not better. I am not fully arrived at behaving how I should for my kids. I don’t deserve them.

I tell myself that my kids are having a good childhood in the scheme of their species. I am nice to them. I do take care of them. They have a wide variety of healthy, good tasting food. They don’t get yelled at much. They have appropriate clothing for the weather. They are allowed to play all day almost every day. (By “allowed” I really mean “forced”.) They are given all the kisses and hugs they want every day. They are allowed to tell me to stop doing anything except for cleaning their bodies. And I don’t even do that much. Usually I default to “fine if you want to be dirty it is your body.” Once in a while the filth gets to be a bit much. And I’m fanatical about teeth care.

I’m doing “better” than I used to be able to do. But it really doesn’t matter. I need to be enough better to stop scaring my kids. If I am producing stress in my kids then my behavior is a problem. I am not behaving good enough. It’s not ok.

My kids should not have to watch me like a weather vane hoping to determine how difficult I will be to put up with that day. That’s not ok. That is a level of crazy I don’t get to inflict on them. I actually really appreciate that Shanna has such “tells”. She is not nearly old enough to talk to me about the stress she is feeling. But I can just look at her face and know whether I am “soft” enough. When she looks nervous I have to visibly calm down and retract the energy I am sending out into the room. It is hard to do. It is a very conscious decision to “look” like I am not angry or upset or anxious.

I can’t just decide to not feel angry or upset or anxious. I feel that way most of the time. I feel scared. I feel like everyone is going to be angry with me soon because I am going to break a rule and then they won’t want to know me any more. I am scared shitless my kids will grow up and not want to know me because I am such an asshole.

But I can’t act like I am having the feelings I am having. I have to fake it.

I saw a friend yesterday I don’t see much. Usually I contain my shit better. This time she saw me right after therapy. She got to see all the messy shame and crying because I don’t know to be “better” already. I feel pretty pathetic that I have been in therapy for almost three decades and I’m still crazy. I still spend a lot of my time shaking in fear. I still spend a lot of time hiding in dark rooms so I can sob uncontrollably. I hide it better. I keep it in a box better.

I fake it better.

Not well enough. My kids see the stress. It isn’t ok for my stress to impact them.

My shrink wants me to look for a meditation class to attend with my kids. I wish that such a thing would not involve a drive to Berkeley. I will look though. It is a good suggestion.

Shanna has been asking more questions about my mom. “Did your mom love you?” “What good things happened to you when you were a kid?” “What did your mom do that was so bad?”

I told her that I don’t actually know if my mom loved me or not. I think she did. I hope she did. I believe she loved me as well as she could and it is really hard when that isn’t enough. I wrack my brain trying to come up with positive stories. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m just a whiny bitch and someone else would have been able to find a lot more joy in my childhood or if it was really bad enough that I should have trouble remembering anything positive. I tell her flat out that she isn’t going to know about the really bad stuff until she is an adult. I told her she doesn’t need to think of me that way.

I’m not always very rational about food so I talk about the food insecurity issues a lot. I feel relatively unashamed of them. The more I read about foster children the more I feel “ok” about having the food issues I have. They make sense in context.

I talk to Shanna about control. Like I ask her how she feels about being directed and forced to do what other people want during a specific period of time. I ask her how she would feel if she never got to pick what she was doing. I ask her how she would feel if she came home and ALL of her toys were gone. Stuff like that. I talk about how when I was a kid I felt very out of control so I controlled what I would put in my mouth.

I talk to her about how sad it is for me that I didn’t get to have any of these good foods when I was a kid. She pities me. I talk about the ways my body has problems because of the food I have eaten. My kids are very aware of nutrition and the things they need to eat. “You have to eat green stuff because it helps you poop!” We do talk about other aspects of nutrition but that is their favorite. Neither of my children have my constant-diarrhea problem (I am hoping this is because of lower stress). They instead are mildly prone to heading in the other direction so I repeat things I have learned from friends with constipation issues.

My shrink says I should answer every question and not dance around things. Well, she doesn’t think I should say I was raped until they are more like puberty age but she is less convinced I need to wait for the magic number of 18. We’ll see.

I cancelled park day for next week. Half of playgroup for next week cancelled. I won’t be sad if the other half cancels. Having five kid-social events in a two week period is too many for me.

I am doing too much. I can’t keep doing these 12+ hour work days. Social time counts as work time whether I like it or not.

I’m having a hard time with the balance of life thing. I have a lot of things I want done. I am having trouble with the fact that it takes a while to get all the things done. In order to put it in perspective I asked Noah about how many man-hours it takes to produce an iPhone for people to bitch about not working magically enough. He said probably in the neighborhood of 500 man-years not including factory work. That’s software/hardware design.

Stuff takes time. Not everything that can be done by a group of humans can be done by a singular human. No matter how much you want it. There just aren’t enough hours in a life. Figure out what you want to build and how you want to spend your time.

Sometimes Shanna asks me about my crying. I tell her that every body is different. When I feel too much emotion inside my body I cry no matter what the emotion is. Sometimes I’m happy; sometimes I’m sad; sometimes I’m angry; sometimes I’m frustrated. My body has just decided that all of these things come out as tears. Sometimes I am crying because bad things happened a long time ago and I was not allowed to cry then and my body needs to let go of that piece of being sad or scared so I’m doing it now. I’m safe now. It’s ok in my life now to just have feelings, so I do.

She gives me a lot of hugs. I am trying so hard not to turn her into a major source of emotional support. I don’t talk about specifics. I talk about how to be an adult and deal with the body you have. I’m very afraid of emotional incest. I know that it is a common “next generation” away from incest mistake.

I am an intensely overly sexualized person. More than that, I tend to not know how to be friends without sexualized touching. I have a lot of big needs that have gone unfilled for my entire life. I feel kind of desperately needy sometimes.

I can’t treat my kids like they are here for my support. I created these relationships because I need to learn how to give support, not because I think I can or should get much back. I’m here for the satisfaction of giving. I have to have the quiet glow that comes from a job well done. I am not going to get a lot else. Not from my kids. Well…. years of kisses and hugs. That’s nice. But at some point they will pull back and that has to be ok.

It is hard learning to be this kind of self-contained. It means I am talking to Noah a lot less about what is going on with me. I can’t breach the defenses at all. We don’t have time. What time we are together we mostly talk about his work and the basics of project stuff or kid stuff. I am very much hiding in the roles I created for myself. I don’t have room for my crazy there. I have to mostly take the crazy off-stage.

I can’t just make the crazy go away this way. But I can damn it up until I have a better space to deal with it. I had better let steam off once in a while or I will be sorry. Very sorry.

I woke up this morning dreaming about cutting. I don’t dream much any more. I rarely remember them at least. Not since I started pot. But this morning I woke up with my hand already moving along my other arm. I’m not sure where that came from. I stopped cutting my arms by early high school. I moved on to my legs because that was easier to hide.

My therapist wants me to go find more things to do as “self care” and I wake up wanting to cut. I do need more stress relief. That has always been my tool of serious self care. That is how I let the steam off. I go off in private and I make sure I am not anyone else’s problem. And I let myself feel how much I hurt all the time. But I have to hide it because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.

Fake it till you make it.

I’m not making it.

If I knew what I “needed” I would do whatever I had to go get it. I would do it. Even if it sucked. Really if you could arrange extra suck just for me that would make me feel better.

Sometimes it is hard knowing that the journey is the point. I am making it. I am nice to my kids and random people in restaurants and my neighbors when they aren’t being racist assholes. I only yell about things that need to be yelled about. Silence is consent. I am not going to leave people ambiguous about how I feel on some topics. Even if that means I’m not nice. If you have never upset anyone then you have never stood for anything.

I have nothing to lose at this stage.

Sometimes it is kind of weird knowing that Noah is the linchpin. All of the luxury and privilege of my life is based on his ability to earn money. I groom him like a friggin race horse. He has more than doubled, nearly tripled, his salary since we met. Because I’m pushy and I give him feedback on what he should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s kind of weird. We really are good for one another.

I’m having a lot of anxiety about spending all of the money Noah earns. I’m not looking forward to my end of year reckoning on Mint. I mean, in terms of petty cash we are higher than we were at the end of last year. We retired a lot of extra mortgage. But I did not save all that I wanted to save.

I kind of went nuts in the back yard instead. And this Texas trip isn’t cheap. I’m going to have to deal with my anxiety. I am fucking thrilled with my yard. Not a single dollar was wasted. I am ecstatic. The only thing between me and what I see in my head is a lot more work on my end. I’ll get there. It will be really pretty. But it is man-years ahead of me and that is sitting hard. It feels like I wasted the money because I didn’t finish the project and now it’s just kind of half-way and limbo sucks.

I do this. Don’t mind me.

At the end of the year I always feel like I am a bad person for spending money on things I wanted. I don’t deserve all the money I spend. I feel really bad that I am not more frugal with Noah’s money. I should make it spread farther. I should be saving more for the kids. I shouldn’t be so selfish.

But really… is building a playground in my back yard purely selfish? My anxiety yells at me that I shouldn’t be doing the work. I’m stupid for adding all the work.

But I want a pretty yard. I didn’t inherit one. I have to make it. Yeah, it will be back breaking work for a decade or so. Stop bitching and do the work. Don’t feel bitter you twit. This is a choice. Beauty doesn’t just happen automatically for most people. And most of what I want is stuff that wouldn’t have been in place anyway.

I’m just being a whiny bitch.

I’m thinking that there will be the Friday Funhouse version of Wonderland. I close my eyes and see kids running around in packs. I hear the laughter and shouting. I turn around and see grown ups playing games and talking and laughing.

I want the laughing so much. I want it so much I ache inside. Crying isn’t really the way to get people to feel good. Laughter doesn’t come from the places I dwell.

It is a little weird to me sometimes that my therapist knows so little about me. Ha. She continues to be shocked by how many people I know. People with as much trauma as me usually hide in their houses for the rest of their lives. They don’t go out and meet social group after social group. People like me usually can’t fake it well enough.

Am I faking it or am I “learning social skills”? I’m not sure they ever really feel natural for anyone.

One of the things I like the most about Noah is that he doesn’t flinch around me. I don’t scare him. I don’t intimidate him. I go back and forth between wanting my kids to have a similar level of toughness and knowing that it usually comes from trauma. And I just can’t traumatize them. I can’t.

Stop clenching your jaw, Krissy. Deep breaths. Whatever you are feeling is just a feeling. It will pass. This moment isn’t forever. You aren’t faking it. This is the process. The frustration is part of the process.

Time to stop typing.

Walking on eggshells

I do a lot of defining myself in negatives. I don’t just mean that I am derogatory towards myself. I mean that I think of myself in terms of, “I am not like _____; I do not do _____” It is one way of making yourself different. Not a useful way. It means that you are constantly placing how other people are as primary. I’m not like you. People take it as a rejection or as a negative statement about them. Going out and creating an identity without negatives is much harder. It takes tremendously more emotional and psychological energy to go create something from scratch rather than just reject everything that walks by as being “not you”.

I was asked how the party went. Well. Where in my stress cycle should I answer that question from? I think that most people had fun. I absent mindedly made a minor social faux pas early on and never stopped hearing in my head how stupid, rude, domineering and offensive I am. When everyone finally left I cried for hours because I felt so guilty for offending someone.

If you are going to move through life being an asshole but you cry every time someone lets you know that you are crossing their boundaries… you aren’t giving people a way to have a relationship with you that is not basically subservient. If I don’t want subservient relationships (I don’t) then I can’t keep doing this bullshit. It’s not ok to cause other people to feel guilty for having boundaries. They need to have them. I need to take my wrist slap and move on. That is the adult way to handle such things. That is how you have relationships.

This is why my therapist wants me to stop socializing for a while. I spend a lot of time examining all of my interactions with people and looking for reasons that person is very likely to walk away from knowing me any minute for a long list of good causes. I know that I push my luck every day and in every way. When will people be sick of my shit? I get that a lot. My paranoia is not baseless. Is it paranoia to watch for tornados in tornado country?

But the paranoia drives people away as surely and as quickly as if I was chasing them away with a fire hose.

On my last day of teaching English at the Hindu temple one of the kids brought up suicide. A kid from their school jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge last year. They are all still thinking about it. I talked to them about how hard it is to get help when you are mentally ill. It wears people out. They want you to hurry up and get better already so that you don’t inconvenience them. What do you do if you can’t just snap out of it and behave the way other people want? Either you can put up with being punished for being how you are or you do what you can do to get away from the pain. Sometimes that is suicide. Not that I know exactly why that girl jumped. There are as many reasons to do it as there are people who do it.

Walking on eggshells means trying to place someone else as the primary character in the story and not being sure what your lines are. “What do I say so that this delicate and sensitive individual is not upset?” Can’t be done. As soon as you are reacting from that place you have already assumed that offense is likely and just assuming that means that the offense is already communicated. Game over. You lose.

Sometimes people snap at my social faux pas because they are not feeling patient today but they feel patient on other days. I am probably similarly obnoxious on both days but the difference is not about me. If people try to pick their behavior towards me based on my mood they will mostly pick wrong. It drives me batshit. You can only act how you feel like acting. Faking it will make neither of us happy. And acting like you have already been kicked makes people want to kick you. Really hard.

Some days I am going to wander off and cry if someone blinks too hard in my direction. It isn’t about someone letting me know that I crossed a boundary. When I have been crying two, three, four hours a day for over a week… my emotional reaction is not about you and I’m sorry that I’m standing near you when it starts such that you will feel responsible. You aren’t. My feelings come from inside me. The kind of shame I feel isn’t something that people I know now put on me. It is about old tapes.

I don’t keep people in an ongoing way if they seriously shame me. I don’t fucking think so–I don’t need that crap.

I think very hard about every person who is in my life. If I invite you to my house (even if you think you are one of the casual people) I have spent many hours thinking about you. I have mulled over every piece of data I have ever acquired and I have carefully weighed it. I know you because I want to know you. I don’t have accidental friends any more. I have people in my life because I choose them out of a long list of ever rotating acquaintances.

I am mercenary. I do not see any benefit to being less than frank about this. I don’t pick my friends based on them being able to wait on me or do work for me or babysit or give me social status. I pick my friends based on them having character traits I desperately admire and want to be able to watch develop more closely. I don’t understand. I want to. Please let me stare at you until I understand.

I don’t think that most people in my life understand this. I want you near me because I want to figure out how and why you do _________. This is something I want to understand in this lifetime and I don’t know another way of accessing this information. I want to know why you want to do the things you want to do. I want access to your motivations. I’m trying to hack my own motivation system. What makes you do the things you do? It isn’t that I will use your motivation to do exactly the same thing as you, but clearly you have learned some neat tricks I don’t know.

I never really understand what I have to offer though. That end of the deal keeps me up at night. I see what I get out of knowing people. I see clear value. I don’t understand what I have to offer. I don’t understand why anyone bothers to know me. I don’t see how the unpleasantness of my company could possibly be balanced by anything I know or do.

I can understand that Shanna and Calli are tied to me. Children need their moms. I get that. I can certainly understand how Noah finds enough value in the trade. Past that… I don’t really get it. I think that is part of the reason I read as mean. I am sad and bitter that I have nothing that is worthy of trade for a relationship. I feel broken and angry about it. I don’t know how to build people up and make them feel happy about being themselves while standing next to me. I know how to make people feel angry and irritated and like they don’t want to stand next to me any more. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. I do this a lot.

I can’t be perfect in order to not annoy people. I can only be. I have to accept the rebuffs when someone lets me know I am crossing a boundary without turning that into a federal case or people won’t feel comfortable communicating boundary incursions and they will just stop talking to me. No one likes drama. No one wants to feel guilty for having boundaries.

Not everything is about me, yo.

I woke up early because I have to get my crying over early before a busy day. Not many left before I hit “vacation” for a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to this. I need to get my stress levels down to the point where I am not crying for multiple hours a day as a way of avoiding beating the shit out of people.

I cry partially from frustration. I don’t know how to let the intensity of my emotions defuse without doing something. I used to cut. I like being beaten. I have punched holes in a lot more walls than I should admit. These days I feel like I live in a glass cage. If I hit anything it will break and I will be in a shower of shards. So I cry. And cry. And cry. I don’t know if it is healthier or not but it is certainly less violent. Progress?

See, this kind of thing is actually huge progress. I don’t know that I would give myself much credit for it without writing. I have progressed past hitting other people constantly to deal with my frustration through punching walls to crying. I have progressed past cutting myself into letting other people hit me in consensual and pre-agreed ways into crying. Progress, not perfection? I am moving in a less self-hating direction.

Now I cry over someone pointing out that I said something four times. (Which is annoying. I know.) You know… at least it is much better than my previous coping methods of hitting her or cutting myself would have been much more inappropriate. Both are ways that I would have dealt with that interaction in the past.

Most of my friends have social anxiety to some degree or another, I think this commonality increases their patience for me. But it means that some days my anxiety runs into their anxiety and then things just get worse. Neither can break the cycle. Awkward.

In my life the only thing I have found that really and truly breaks the stale mates and allows relationships to continue is time. If you both continue to spend time together despite acknowledging sometimes feeling awkward… you continue to have a relationship. Not every relationship is comfortable every moment. If you choose to have the relationship then you look for ways to spend time together even if it is kind of weird. Even if you do have some defensive conversations.

I need to get my stress levels down. It is a physical limitations thing. I can only monitor my social behavior so closely if I am doing a lot of major physical work. I have been using my body unusually hard for the past few weeks. The mural and the backyard work have both used a lot of muscles I’m not used to moving. They have both taken a lot of patience I didn’t actually have going spare.

I need to figure out what it means to do projects as a parent. I’m still not handling the energy allotment thing very well.

I feel scared a lot of the time because I can’t control what other people do and I am worried about driving people away from relationships with my children. I do not want to isolate them. But it seems pretty awful for me to expect people to put up with me being an asshole just so they can help take care of my kids when no one but me and Noah owes my kids anything.

My kids are neat. They will be more neat if they know people like you. You are neat. This is all stuff that floats around in my head making me vulnerable and scared all the time. I feel my children deserve relationships that I do not have or know how to create.

I don’t think my kids want to see their grandparents because they want to hurt me. I think that one or both of them will decline to go when they finally understand that I’m not going. I will do my best to not share how I feel about the trip. What they need to know is that they have grandparents who love them and a mom who loves them and their mom is very happy to help them pack and I will kiss them goodbye and tell them to have fun. That is more or less the end of the story in our house.

But I am still going to cry when they are gone. I am still going to be very sad that it has worked out that I just don’t get extended family this lifetime. I’m grateful that I managed to get a nuclear family thing. I get to be sad about this. I get to grieve about that. It doesn’t hurt my kids if I spend my alone time crying.

If I describe visiting their grandparents… I don’t have to sell it or try to make it sound fun in a fake way. When they go see their grandparents they need to remember a bathing suit because they have an indoor pool. They need to remember clothes appropriate for riding a horse because they have horses. Not to mention cows and I don’t know what other animals. There is a whole floor of a house that is just toys. You and your dad and your sister will stay on an apartment by yourselves and you will be able to go play with the toys probably anytime you want while you are visiting.

I mean, shit dude. I don’t talk about the people much or try to predict how the relationships will be. I don’t know these people. I say that her aunts and uncles all play music–maybe she should bring her uke so they can teach her cords.

I think my daughters are very lucky to have connection to a lot of rich, talented people. She should take advantage of the fact that she was born into that family. She should go meet the old Great Aunt who has traveled all over the world doing whatever the fuck she wanted for most of her life. She’s a neat lady. Maybe if she met Shanna and Calli she would be more enthusiastic about coming to California for visits. So far she is kind of lazy. I’ve asked.

My children will not have my story. My children will not grow up without a family. They have connections. My children have people in the world tracking them and caring. I am not going to do anything to make that network smaller than I have to. I cut my family off because I don’t think my family is going to stop passing on the incest without some kind of intervention I don’t know how to do. So I’m keeping my kids the fuck away from them. I feel very sad that this is required but it is. It just fucking is.

Whenever someone tells me that I should forgive my mother because she won’t live forever I see my adult nephew breaking down as he told me about his rape experiences. No. No. No. No. My children will be kept away from them. All of them. I don’t think it is their fault that it happened to them but we haven’t had someone avoid incest in a few generations. I’m keeping my kids away from all of them.

When people tell me to just “get over it” and “stop thinking about it” I think “That shit is why it keeps happening generation after generation.”

I think about my mom a lot. I miss her. It doesn’t help that my Leather Mom is going through a lot of strife and I’m not helping very much (partially because of my limitations partially because she is telling me no). My Leather Mom and my birth mother share a birthday. I find that thinking about one or the other of them brings up a lot of really strong feelings.

Why do I think about my mom so much? Because everyone else gets to talk to me about their moms all the time. It’s just normal conversation. So I think about my mom and try to stay silent. I feel bad. I feel like a dirty terrible person.

One of the last things my mother said to me was that she would kill herself if I took my kids away from her. I keep checking on the internet and she isn’t dead. I guess that is just one more broken promise.

Broken promises are a big thing right now. What does it mean to say, “I will do _____.”

Relationships are about choices. Sometimes they are uncomfortable. Often that discomfort comes from inside me and is about the fact that I am thinking three hundred painful things all while I’m trying to have a relationship. When I can get those three hundred thoughts under control and actually focus on the person in the room I am grateful to have that relationship. I am glad it is still there. But it feels like I’ve been phoning it in from somewhere else for a while. I never understand what benefit there is to other people in putting up with me.

I am scheduled to be at Dad’s for Thanksgiving. How long is this going to continue? I have had him in my life more or less for going on fourteen years. We have a fairly distant relationship but honestly I do better with those. I have a hard time with being good-enough when people are around more often. I am able to behave perfectly appropriately for my target audience when I only see people once or twice a year. I feel ashamed that I can’t keep up the game with people I see more.

It makes me wonder if I have my anxiety as under control as I think with my kids. Some of my recent frustrations have made me realize that I need to start writing names on the white board in our room. I don’t want to discuss my relationship fluctuations in front of the kids any more. Shanna is starting to sorta follow and have her emotions influenced. I’m having to do a lot of backpedaling and defending of people with her and that’s… awkward.

I don’t want my kids to share my emotional experiences of people. My children are having different experiences. My experiences are my problem. My experiences are distinctly shaped by having an anxiety disorder. I do not want my kids learning my emotional dysregulation. If they develop their own later I don’t want it to be clearly my fault.

This is part of what I like about Unschooling. I have to pay attention to what I am doing, all DBT like. I have a bad habit of loving and hating people. My kids don’t need to hear about it. I don’t need to teach them to obsessively over analyze every conversation before and after it happens. So far they seem pretty good at talking to people.

I went to a book club meeting yesterday. I need to update my reading list, I’ve added three or four. Book club always turns into a small scale therapy/support group. I find it interesting how the folks who are consistent are unschoolers who come from abusive backgrounds. Other folks come and go. Not that I’m consistent enough to actually say that. Maybe my few attendance points are flukes. I should probably keep that up. My therapist wants me going out and doing stuff without my family. Book club is not terribly threatening. Most of the places I would choose to go involve fending off sexual advances and I’m not in the mood.

What the hell else do people do?

Parental control

I LOVE teaching. I just do. We are reading a bunch of fairy tales by the brothers Grimm. Of course the topic of arranged marriages came up. I asked the kids why they think arranged marriages were so common. The response, “Because the fathers were controlling assholes.” Ha.

Property. If you let your daughter marry someone who does not have enough property to take care of her, or if you let your daughter marry someone who can not manage YOUR property for her… she will probably die.

Control is not always about being an asshole.

I feel lucky

It’s kind of weird, but with the letter writing I find that I am enjoying Noah’s family quite a bit. I had expected to spend most of my life quaking with terror when I saw his mom’s handwriting on a box. These days I take an intake of breath and prepare to manage the arguments (she sends a mish mash of stuff to “the girls” but often she doesn’t label what goes to whom or there isn’t something obvious in one kid’s size and there are a lot of tears) but I’m grateful to get the boxes. The letters from his grandmother are really nice too. (I got one yesterday. Thus I am thinking about it.)

I have a really good time describing the kids to them. They will never really know my children. They live too far away and don’t have any interest in visiting. *shrug* I have offered. After how many times I have been rebuffed, well, I’m planning a driving trip through there in 2015 and that’s all I’m promising in the next ten years.

Turns out I *totally* didn’t need to move the concrete this week. The dude who is picking up my hot tub came over to scout but he won’t be back for it for two weeks. I feel semi-stupid but really buff and I’m still riding that endorphin high. It was not necessary but I feel like it did measurable good for my body. Which is a little weird. Maybe I should take up weight lifting? I had no idea what a high I could get from that. (Way cheaper than pot–lemme tell you. Since weight lifting I’ve used about 1/2 of what I usually do in that time period. Ok, part of the reason for that is also because I have to go to the dispensary today. But I don’t feel undermedicated. This is nice.)

Yesterday the girls and I had a really great day. Most of our days are perfectly tolerable with some highs and lows. Yesterday was just freakin wonderful. I am so happy that I get to do this with my life.

I went and taught an English class at the Hindi temple. I get the impression that if I want a job teaching English there I can have it for as long as I want. I get the impression I could even negotiate for pay and everyone would be thrilled. (This first class was a test-run of a program that a woman is putting together. I knew it was a volunteer gig and I was cool with that.) Random people came in and asked me if I would provide tutoring. I refrained from committing.

The kids are fun. They are young. The kind of young I DELIBERATELY WENT INTO HIGH SCHOOL TO AVOID. Ahem. I’m forcing them to read Sherlock Holmes. And Grimm Fairy Tales. It’s fun. I’m forcing them to find connections in their lives and write a lot. I feel drunk from the power. 🙂 But apparently the kids are having fun and parents are already asking if I can continue this series during the school year.

My kids are remarkably good while I’m teaching. Shanna sets up “her classroom” on the other side of the room. Next time I am bringing stuffed animals for students. She goes back and forth between her different kinds of toys and “teaches” the “students” how to make things. It’s really fun. Sometimes she has to come and ask me a question about how to teach something and it is more fun than disruptive.

Then we came home for lunch and we waited around while lumber was delivered and the hot tub guy came scouting. Then we went to the water park! I am having so much fun with the girls at the water park. That season pass was the right choice. Both girls went around the lazy river once without a life vest! That’s huge. Then we went and got life vests and things were easier.

Calli begged for macaroni and cheese for dinner. I thought that might make me sick (hilariously I ate a three cheese pasta instead–I just couldn’t handle Kraft then) so we went to Applebee’s. Which is, in Calli’s opinion, the Mac’n’cheese Restaurant! Sure, why not.

I have been a lot more consistent lately with, “You must fulfill your responsibilities before you get your privileges.” I feel that is making the whole house run more smoothly. I’m not an arbitrary asshole deciding if you get stuff on a given day or not. There is a WRITTEN CONTRACT! WITH PICTURES! Things are just easier. Both kids are pitching in more with less fuss. We are still a house of screamers. Sigh. We are working on it.

I’m almost done with Little House in the Big Woods with the kids. Shanna loves it and Calli seems to only pay moderate attention. That’s on target. I haven’t done any personal new reading in weeks. I’m so tired. I can’t wait for July to end. This month is just brutal. My plan for the weekend is to spend as much time painting my neighbor’s fence as I can. Once I get that off my plate, and my friend’s husband is done at my house (I feel zero crankiness at his rate of progress–I think he is a small step down from Godhood for the rate at which he works. I don’t often feel impressed by peoples work ethics. I’m a really judgmental asshole on that front. This man impresses me a lot.) things will calm down again.

I still have more stuff I want to do in the yards but I think once he’s done with his current list I should be done for the year on yard stuff. (Monetarily–not in manual labor.) I need to talk to him about his company doing the bathroom upgrade (that wouldn’t be just him) and then that is all I can do to the house this year. (The bathroom damage from water leaking is obviously spreading now. Ah shit. It is becoming a very bad idea to put off longer. Crap crap crap. Well, good thing I have a well padded savings account.)

I feel so lucky. I have things go wrong. I have things I need to fix. I have things I’m making progress on. I can fix things. I have the money to hire people to fix things. I have the luxury to sit around just making progress on my own lists of things to do. This is not a life path every one gets. I get to decide how my time is used. I feel happy in a way I didn’t expect to feel. I feel so much gratitude for my life.

I think the PTSD support forum helps me keep this in perspective. For someone who has the symptoms I have I have a blessed life. Given how “crazy” I am–I’m doing so very well. I *am* nice to my kids. I *am* nice to my husband. Ok, I get grumpy too. On balance my grumpy days are infrequent, usually not too intense, and I apologize profusely for every word out of my mouth when I can feel that my tone of voice sucks. I know that the problem is inside me and not with anyone else. I am good at separating that.

I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to have a marriage where I can’t blame any of my mood shit on my partner. My husband is so nice to me. He is patient and kind. He is affectionate and loving without being demanding or pushy. Ok, sometimes he’s pushy. But he doesn’t push me for sex. He doesn’t push me to do things I don’t want to do. He pushes me to set higher goals. He pushes me to rest. He pushes me towards believing that I am competent and talented. He only hits me if we negotiate a lot and I ask very very nicely and then he only hits me in ways that I like. (I’m telling you, endorphins are your friend.)

Girls like me don’t end up like this. I am stable. I do my god damn meal planning a month at a time because my life is so stable. Every month when I put a new month on the white board I meal plan for the whole month and I try to invite people for dinner at the rate I like and I set up events for a whole month at a time. We have like a 75% success rate of following these plans. (Ok, I often reverse which order a given set of meals happen in but I don’t feel bad about that. We follow my plan on a month level, not on a day-by-day level.)

I’m going to travel this year to Portland to see friends. It is getting closer. This on top of having a Portland friend come down TWICE this year. That was rad. And a different Portland friend may be down here in about two weeks. I will travel to see the rest of the extended clan.  I feel very lucky that I have people who want to see me so much.

And I managed to get in some solid work on Outrunning Suicide this morning. I seem to be alternating between which book I’m writing. OS  is very different in tone, feel, and mostly in content from Part 2.

By the end of this year I hope to have another book finished.

Sometimes I feel mighty. I know I can’t do “anything” because I have limits. But I feel like my limits are so far out there that it is almost impossible for me to reach them. I don’t hit the wall very often. I just slow down and keep working.

I have these two amazing daughters. I have to be a mighty example. I have to show them that women are powerful and smart and competent. I have to show them that even if someone is financially a “dependent” that doesn’t make the person weak, ineffectual, lazy or stupid. It just means you have a contract with another person.

I want to be a positive influence so much I feel like I am choking on it. I want to be a person worthy of respect. That means I have to behave in ways that earn respect. I have to be consistent. I don’t have to be perfect.

Where are the lines? What is “good enough”?

I keep looking backwards over my shoulder at the pergola in the back yard. (Apparently that is the most accurate name for what this structure is.) I feel kind of shocked that I wanted something there and… now there is something there. It’s like magic.

In the past week I have given two mini-lectures on the topic of grafting trees. I had no idea I knew so much. But apparently I do. I read a lot. I’m very curious about how things work. I want to be able to do a lot of things. I want to be so competent that it is incredibly hard to kill me–even for me.

Martial arts are coming. Not this month. This month I can barely hold my head above water. Soon.

When I was a child there is no chance I would have believed that I could be a bad ass. According to my wonderful Shanna there is no doubt–I AM a bad ass.

I don’t know everything. I don’t know the right path for other people. I do have a lot of useful skills though. I do know a lot about human development. I do know a lot about the limitations of safety and strength. I do know how to teach. I do know how to break things down into pieces other people can grok. I’m not always good at taking things apart the first time–I need coaxing to keep taking things into smaller and smaller pieces. I can explain almost any topic to almost anyone. But it may take me a few rounds of getting deeper and deeper into the explanation in order to find the correct scaffolding for a given person.

You have to understand schema. It’s the fucking coolest concept.

I am not perfect. I am not ideal. I am not unreservedly good. I am an asshole. I am selfish. I am self-absorbed. I also stop to genuinely look at people and evaluate them–for good or for ill. I like to believe I can see people pretty well. (Not in the needs glasses sense.)

I’m good at guessing that people are underrating themselves. I’m sure I can encourage people towards being their better selves. But only if they can handle my extremely rough form of affection. I’m not sure the trade is actually worth it.

The more things change…

Lots of stuff changing in the house. My friend’s husband is a construction worker. He can do basically anything. He built me a beautiful shade structure right outside my back door. He fixed the sink I have hated for seven years. He changed the water heater filter. That was all just today. He has done more on previous visits.

Next week he is starting the kid play structure in the back yard (I am ridiculously excited about this) and fixing my fence and connecting my fence to the arbor so the grapes can grow over from the fence and shade the house. And another post will go in the ground for blackberry trellis. And he will fix the washing machine issue (it floods the garage–no bueno).

All of this can happen because Noah can afford to just pay someone to do these things. This is privilege. I can decide to make my life better and then… just do it.

I have pulled every extra dollar out of every portion of the budget to shove it into home for a few months. I think this is worth it. Ok, so it means less driving for a few months (gas is one of the easiest things to cut) but I will have these structures for years.

I feel lucky that I can make these choices.

I wouldn’t want to cut into my budget to provide me with more childcare. I would consider that a waste of money. There is a certain amount of childcare I would consider paying for if we didn’t have the Godmamas but I don’t feel that motivated as is. I *do* get down time almost every day.

Today hasn’t gotten above a two or three on anxiety. Given that I have driven and gone shopping with a list of things for someone else (something I usually seem to do wrong) and dealt with Hindi class that’s really good.

Ok, the Hindi class is pissing me off. The head of the program was gone for over a month. The class has been “taught” by whoever gets roped into it that day. On the FINAL DAY OF CLASS the head teacher decided to add 55 fucking words and tell us we will be tested on them in two weeks without a class in between for practice.

I feel pretty angry. There is no need to punish the students because they haven’t had a fucking teacher. You don’t fucking “test” people on material that has never been presented. Bad teaching makes me so mad.

Level one should be about the alphabet, colors, animals, foods, numbers, some simple phrases. She’s not doing that. I mean, those things are being covered, sorta. But then there is this pile on. And introducing sentence structure and grammar on the penultimate class?

I HAVE VIEWS ON THIS SHIT.

It was funny when I was talking to the teacher today about an email exchange we have had. She entirely talked to Noah. Cause those menfolk are the ones to focus on and all. It was weird and blatant enough that even Noah noticed.

Overall it has been a good day. Tomorrow is a wedding. Yee haw.

Not sleeping well.

I don’t sleep much while it is hot. My err internals are unhappy. I worked on a book for a while this morning. *pat self on back* Now if I can just keep this up I might be more than a one hit wonder. Not that my book was a hit. You know what I mean.

I’m kind of tired and mellow feeling. It is actually nice. Noah is going to take Shanna to camp today (she said please and all) so I will be at the nursery at 8:30 when it opens. A friend asked to come over and garden with me today. I can barely contain my squee. We will be weeding and mulching and such. (Yes, Pam I saw your note about “just use cardboard.” All of the cardboard on my property is still in good shape and the kids play with the boxes.)

I absolutely HAVE to work on the fence today. No excuses! I was productive all of yesterday… just not on the fence. This is going to be difficult to force myself to do. I can tell. I’m terrified of fucking up and having people make fun of me or hate me. Oh well. Keep working.

This morning I was foolish and I read some of that nasty anti-home schooling stuff. Oh boy are some people pissed off about even the *idea* of home schooling. Has someone tried to force you into something? Is there a reason you are SO ANGRY with people who make this choice? No? Ok then.

I get the logic that putting my kids in school would be better for the other kids in the school because then I would be forced to be involved with the school and I would make it better for not just my kids. I absolutely agree with every step in that process.

I just can’t get onboard with the part where I am supposed to throw my kids under a bus because it would be better for someone else. My experiences of public school have been bad. Not just for me as a student, but as a teacher and as a person in the credential program.

I won’t force my kids to be part of that system. I don’t believe it is healthy for our species to be forced to sit in chairs for 6+ hours/day while quietly listening to someone else. Nope. Not what we are meant to do this lifetime.

I understand that this is a privileged position. I believe that I am stinking with privilege. I have choices that many people can’t even dream of. I think that is positive and I am not going to give up my choices just because they aren’t available to everyone.

I don’t see 5 star restaurants going to a McDonald’s level of pricing (and food quality) just so that it is faaaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrr to everyone involved.

Life isn’t fair. At all. Ever. There is no fair.

That said, I am pretty happy that Noah’s obscene raise came with a much lower than expected amount of money. Ahhh skipping tax brackets. That’s ok. We don’t actually need all of the money. It’s ok that it is being used for services for people who need them. I feel pretty good about that.

I can give some things in some ways. I can’t necessarily give what someone wants or needs. I don’t want to be responsible. I am too selfish. I will donate money and food. I will assist with my labor when I have extra spoons and not when I don’t. I am not going to be forced to sign up for working all the god damn time for someone else’s benefit. I don’t care enough about other people.

I can say that out loud. I don’t care enough about other people to give them the time and energy I want to use on my own selfish pursuits.

Could I donate more time so that I am making other peoples lives at least slightly less awful if not better? Probably. Almost certainly. There is no shortage of suffering in the world.

Some people feel motivated to help a lot a lot of the time. That’s awesome. I’m glad you have so much to give. I don’t have it. If I try to do that I end up spending a lot of time cutting my body to remind me that I don’t matter so I don’t forget who I am supposed to be focusing on.

Cutting really is a useful tool. I think about it a lot. I think about what it does and why it is useful in the ways it is useful. Self-control is both under rated and under valued by most people. Very few people have the self-control to abruptly shift large chunks of their behavior. It is the same thing as not that many people are truly good actors. Same mechanism.

Cutting influences a lot of brain chemicals. Cutting is a dramatic shift to the body chemistry makeup. It induces calmness and a feeling of focus–tunnel vision, really. When your body is in shock it tends to shut down a lot of your nerve endings. You stop getting a lot of distracting messages from your body.

Cutting allows me to borrow spoons of self-control. I don’t really have that kind of calmness in my body without something to trigger a much-larger-than-usual grab of chemicals. Yay drugs! Due to experimentation I have learned a lot more about what my base level is vs. what is my elevated mood vs. what is my depressed mood. It’s a process.

Sometimes it is very powerful to stop and really concentrate on how powerful my brain is (your brain too; just sayin’). The brain scans they are doing these days feel like magic to me. You can see what is happening. The most magical part is you can see how people have the sheer willpower to change things.

I believe that my brain was altered by trauma. What I mean by that is I believe my brain adapted to living in an environment with a freakishly high level of stress. That is the level of stress my brain believes is necessary/appropriate to common life.

If my brain adapted to stress, how can I consciously choose to change the adaptation again? Studies show that mostly people don’t change much. It is hard. It takes will and effort and work and misery.

Being inside my brain sucks bowling balls through a hose. It isn’t fun. The difficulty of changing things is really hard to notice when stacked up to how shitty it is to live here.

I believe in magic. I believe that people make things happen when everyone else believes that it can’t. It happens all the time.

I have had the good/bad privilege of spending a lot of time with people who have experienced severe traumatic brain injuries. I have seen people survive the most horrifying accidents with terrible injuries. Their lives are forever altered. They can’t get back to being who they were.

I have no before picture I am struggling towards. That isn’t part of my story. I don’t have a base line to return to. All I have is the absolute all encompassing belief that I can change the story. I can learn how to be a good parent and I can be present through a healthy and happy childhood. This is not about a return to anything. This is about consciously choosing something different from my life.

Last night we read the part in the Little House in the Big Woods where Pa teases Laura about the kids getting only a switch in their Christmas stocking if they are bad. Shanna’s eyes went wide.

“Those parents hit those kids?”

“Yup. A long time ago people believed that if a kid did something bad the parents were required to hit the kid to teach the kid a lesson. It never worked very well.”

“Gosh I’m glad that no one has to be hit in this house.”

Me too. She cuddled up really close after that and told me that she would never hit me because I have been hit enough. I didn’t really know how to respond. I kept reading.

I’m reading my friend’s book. It is a rather fun read so far. I’m about 20% into it. He combines irreverence and history in his fabulous manner. (He intersperses national/international news events on the time lines to let people get a scope on what is happening. He said which year (I’ve already forgotten–1800’s, I think the last number is a 4 or a 6 but the decade escapes me and that is pretty important.) that Beethoven began de-composing. Similar gems are liberally sprinkled. I’ve always liked his writing. That’s why I know him in the first place. Yay for internet friends.

Why is it that I feel like I am standing still and free falling at the same time? I feel like I am not doing enough and I am terribly bored and I feel like I am doing too much and I am so overwhelmed I cannot possibly keep functioning at this rate.

I’m not balancing the marathon vs. sprint timing thing very well. I’m not actually talking about running–it’s one of those metaphor things.

Gardening has a rhythm and I am struggling to learn it. Some months of the year I need to spend 40 hours/week in the garden. Some months I spend more like 1-2 hours/week. I don’t yet feel this rhythm in my bones but it is coming. Spring is like a drug for me these days. Must move. Must plant. It is weird and primitive.

Summer is feeling different. I am a delicate and trembling flower and I wilt in the heat. More accurately I have attacks of horrifying bowel pain. I HATE SUMMER. I spend hours a day not sure if I am on the verge of spontaneously vomiting or shitting my pants because I won’t make it to the bathroom in time. It is hard to keep a schedule when I feel like this. (For the record I have only had one bathroom accident since childhood. The first day Noah went back to work after Shanna was born I had not yet learned that post-children the urgent signals are uhhh less timely and more actually urgent. Eww. Eww. Eww.)

But I have managed to go to the water park at least one day a week since it opened for week days. *pat self on back* That is a summer routine that I want to start. We only stay for an hour to an hour and a half. We might stay longer if the kids could do more swimming on their own and I had to do less work. As is I don’t have the physical ability to manage entertaining them in water for four hours. I take this as a sign that I am out of shape.

I feel like what I should do is make up a variety of different schedules–the way I did when I was teaching. Year planning was my favorite step. <3 It is like a puzzle! What do you want to do and when? How does it all fit together to make a cohesive picture of education? How do I fit in all of the standards and methods of teaching I want to hit?

I used to list: poetry, grammar, writing, reading boring analytical non-fiction, reading novels, reading short stories all as separate units. How many weeks to spend on each? How many hours in those weeks? How do I pre-test to figure out what people already know so I don’t bore the shit out of people? How do I evaluate people accurately to find out what they really learned?

If I had a dick this process would give me a hard on. It is a control thing. I like feeling like I am dotting all of my i’s and crossing all of my t’s. (I understand that in that case the apostrophe isn’t strictly appropriate but it looks bad any other way of writing it. See, this is what many years of obsessively worrying about grammar gives you. You know the rules and don’t follow them any way because the rules suck. Go English?)

I probably should get out some paper. It is easier without typing.

What are my categories now? Gardening, schooling, social activities, making food, cleaning house, money (there are a lot of once a year payments, for example, so budgeting is kind of weird), kid-separate-from-adult-time (my kids are *not* actually attached to me at the hip very consciously), reading, writing, running, hygiene (this takes time! Every Damn Day!), and I could come up with more if I tried.

They are all on slightly different schedules. Some things are scheduled and balanced on a month to month basis, some things are scheduled and balanced weekly or even daily. How do you balance all of the daily obligations against the weekly and monthly and annual?

Near as I can tell most people do more or less what their parents did because that is what they know of life. Thus I do a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul because that is what I learned. I do it while squirreling away a lot of money which is, strangely, also what I learned.

I don’t usually mention that my father was rather well off throughout my childhood. I lived in poverty. I ate nothing but ramen and free lunch. I moved every three months because we were couch surfing and my mom couldn’t pay rent. He would tell my mom he was too poor to pay for things but he had a lot of savings. My mom just flat never had enough money to live.

Shanna sees me play with Mint a lot. She asks what it is. I talk to her about the balance of wants and needs and future savings. I tell her, “If you save money and you have a buffer then you don’t have to feel afraid when unexpected things happen. You can just shrug and move on with your life. Not having savings is one of the scariest things in life. It means you can not go out and solve the problems that come up and that is really hard.”

When I lived on $1200/month I had $3,000 in the bank at (almost) all times in a savings account I otherwise didn’t touch. My theory was that I might have to leave suddenly at some point in time and I needed a buffer. I burned through the buffer when I left my Owner. I got down to the point of my bank account only having four digits.

My friend offered me $100. He said that was his friends-need-help emergency fund. I wouldn’t let him give me money. I told him that I would make it come out ok in the end. I was right.

It is harder to deny yourself things you can afford to buy than it is to not buy things when you have no money. That has been my experience. It is harder and harder for me to save money. (In my defense the largest chunk of my spending is going to paying the mortgage off faster. I shouldn’t feel so upset with myself for not “saving” when I am spending the money on debt pay off instead of consumer spending but there you go.)

A while back I read a book, Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation and whereas I am not up for adopting most of her methods or practices (I’m not taking up Catholicism nor sports) I really latched on to a few important points in the book. If you are really nice to your kids and you are interested in them and you share things with them then they will want you to like them. If they want you to like them then they will make choices that are in line with your values.

Oh man.

What are my values then? I want my kids to be interested in life and in people. Most people are good. Most people are pretty kind when given the opportunity. If someone is not kind to you, pull back first but be able to attack to defend yourself. You are worth defending. Read as much as you can–as many different kinds of things as you can. I believe that there are more things to learn than there is time in the day to learn it. I want my children to believe that their body is theirs to do with as they please–not as someone else pleases (unless it is fun and then I just don’t want details–m’kay?). I want my children to believe that work is necessary and fun. I want them to understand that different people are good at different kinds of work and that is no judgment one way or another on the people or the work. Do what you like.

I want my children to understand that they have privilege. That their ancestors have been privileged for quite some time. What does that mean about our place in the world and in history?

I check a lot of books out of the library that deal with African American issues. Seeing my little Aryan baby read, “A long time ago before you or I were born our people were enslaved” makes me wince. I told her that actually her ancestors were the slave owners. She asked if my ancestors owned slaves and I got to say no. (Yankees, more-recent-immigrants, and prostitutes for the win.) There goes white guilt in full form! But it’s true. Noah’s family owned slaves.

I find that as I get older and as I read more feminist writing I realize that if I were to fall into the most obvious trope presented to me I should hate Noah. I should hate everything he stands for and everything about him.

That is really hard to live with. I’m sure that is as hard to live with as the trope that women are just meant to be props for a man’s life.

I don’t hate Noah. I like Noah. Having the life of privilege he has had has made him one of the kindest and most considerate people I have ever had in my life. But maybe he just treats me that way because I put out. I’m only sort of kidding.

I am nice to Noah and he is nice to me and we have a whole virtuous cycle thing going on. Different people care about different kinds of “being nice”. Different people want different kinds of support.

In the past three days I have talked to four different women who have all been extremely upset with their (male) partners because of a lack of support. In most of these cases the woman can’t even put her finger on what more support would look like but they know they aren’t getting it. (Mothers of many children can come up with a list of what they want without having to pause for breath.)

When I think about how upset these women are I stop and think about how tired Noah is. Then I cycle through my male friends who are working as hard as they physically can to support their partners.

Yes, yes I know that the “love languages” crap plays in with it but it feels bigger than that. I think that evolution wants us to feel like what this person is giving us isn’t enough so that we will go shopping for someone who provides us with more. I think that it is just a good bet in terms of producing prosperous off-spring.

Only it doesn’t work. Because splitting up families is hella complicated. I think about the interweaving needs that exist in a family. I think about how children learn to care for themselves and for one another earlier when there are more of them around.

Then I come back to the fact that Noah started off in this world no bigger or stronger than me but he is now in some ways. He may or may not have a higher IQ. I definitely have a higher EQ. He has a higher earning potential at this stage. I can run farther. We are different. We are not equal.

How does one measure worth? I can hate him as a symbol of oppression or I can recognize that he personally isn’t oppressing anyone and he hasn’t spent a lot of time actively doing any oppressing. Living with me has dramatically changed how feminist he is at work. (I feel damn proud of that.)

He is moving in the direction of having power and influence. And I stand behind him filling his ear with my opinions. Does that make me a prop? Is he a prop? Is he just a paycheque to support my lavish lifestyle?

We are good at very different things. We like very different things. We complement one another. And because we are white that means that we have what is sometimes presented as the widest array of options in life.

My demographic is mocked up one side and down the other in the media. I am an upper middle class rich white liberal. I am a stay at home mom and I home school my kids. I am a punch line and a punching bag. Waa waa poor me.

Do I want to be a caricature? Do I want to treat Noah like he is a caricature? Noah is an upper middle class rich white liberal gamer geek. Doesn’t that make him kind of icki by definition? And don’t let that sicko watch My Little Ponies!! Ahem. Sorry.

What does being anything mean? I never identified as trailer trash despite living in trailers off and on and despite white trash being so much less “ok”. I am not defined by the box in which I sleep. Or in which I fuck random men I just picked up.

What am I?

I told Noah the other day that most of the people in my family would describe themselves as good people who sometimes do bad things. They are rapists and pedophiles. Ok, most of them aren’t rapists. But even the non-rapists adamantly defend the rapists.

I think of myself as a bad person who doesn’t really do bad things very often. I believe I am inherently unworthy of any relationship. It is inevitable that I will kick the cabinet off the wall. Duh. Being the kind of person who can, has, and may do so again means that I am just bad.

Do I rape people? Well, I’m pretty confident that I have not raped anyone since I was eighteen. I am pretty sure that I did commit rape before then. I am so sorry. I didn’t understand what I was doing. I didn’t understand power differentials. I didn’t understand that I was ever capable of having power.

Sometimes I look at Noah and I understand on a gut level that he doesn’t see himself as someone who has or has ever had power. He is still in that timeless place with the little boy who wasn’t treated all that well.

I mean, not that he’s immature or anything–that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m saying that ones internal perspective doesn’t much resemble other peoples view of one. See how that non-gendering thing is awkward?

I do not believe I am a good person. It is, frankly, freeing. I get to make selfish and self-interested choices without caring that much about the effect. I generally do take the effect into consideration because I will have to live with it and all. That is one of the best parts of getting older. You have had a chance to learn from more mistakes.

Every time someone tells me not to dwell on the past I wonder what they mean by that. The people I know who tell me, “I don’t think about the past” are people who have the same little cycle of life over and over with people who are practically paper dolls. People who are roles.

I don’t hate Noah. I don’t feel I can. The longer I know him the older and more grizzled he becomes. (He’s got quite the beard these days.) But I see him as younger and softer as time goes by. I see more of his innocence and his desire for simple connection. I see more of him wanting to be liked and feeling sad because he knows most of the world doesn’t like him very much. (I mean, he’s charismatic and has friends and all–but he’s a symbol to be hated.)

What does any of it mean? Nothing? Everything? Who knows. I like him. I like the life I get to share with him more than I have ever liked anything in my whole life. I feel grateful for the peace and joy in my life. I have stability, safety, and privilege. I can write for six hours straight (in various places on differing projects) when I have insomnia (or intestinal pain–let’s be clear here) after getting almost six hours of sleep because my husband helps so much.

I can invite two kids over for the weekend and trust that my husband will just be around making food and cleaning up messes and playing with kids as much or more than I do.

Sex. That is the thing to schedule that didn’t make the list. I’m sorta interested in my cycles around that as well. Obviously I am more interested in sex around ovulation. We often have most of our ten times a month sex in a four day period. It’s awesome. But he would prefer other spacing. I struggle internally with treating sex like a chore to cross off the list like brushing my teeth.

And yet.

Why am I having sex ten times a month? (Ok, I’ve actually had at least two months in the past year where I didn’t put out ten times and I’ve had paroxysms of guilt. I try to compensate by some months getting up to more like fifteen. Noah agrees that it balances and all is copacetic.) Because sex is a lot of where Noah gets positive energy. He is drained and tired all of the time. If I put out more he would have more energy. This is a pretty trackable situation in our life.

But it is different for me. Sex is different than it has ever been. HA! I’ve been trying to think for days what base lines I have in my life. People revert to base line when they are under stress. I finally came up with one: picking up strangers for sex. That is probably the primary base line behavior I have had in life. I did it for 27 years.

Monogamy is weird. I’m not even going to call it boring because it isn’t that it is boring. It is consistent, but not boring. It feels different in a lot of ways I don’t feel up to putting into words right now. I hear breakfast finishing up and my arms hurt.

And then I’ll just abruptly stop. Because I can’t end for shit.

Busy.

I got back fifty-two drawings from kids at the school. I’m excited about the mural. There were some duplicate drawings of the same place (most of the duplicates are of Mission Peak which I find kind of funny. Maybe they all just thought a mountain would be easy to draw?) but a lot of them are just little kids generically drawing a flower and writing, “Me gusta las flores.” I can totally work with that.

I think what I will do is map out how far apart I want to make the big monuments (I need to think of scale) then I will add in all the more abstract art and commentary as a sort of border. I have some interesting ideas I’m not sure if I am physically capable of following through on. No way to figure it out except to try!

When that is done I’m supposed to put together sample pieces for the local swim center. That space would like a mural too.

And the Hindu Temple on the corner has asked me to teach English classes this summer. The woman who runs their education stuff is fierce and dedicated in terms of getting her kids knowledge. As soon as she figured out that I used to teach her face lit up. “Oh I haven’t been able to find anyone to teach high school English! You will do it.” Oh. Well. That was kind of like “asking” I guess. Ha. She did ask me to narrow down when I was available so she could “let people know the time”. Ha.

I think I am nearly moved to tears. It is so usurping and kind of high handed but she has seen me take over and lead the Hindi level 1 class even though I don’t speak the language. I still know how to teach. (Our teacher went to India for a month. Good for her! Less good for us who still can barely count to ten without help. Ha. We are muddling through.)

It felt like being recognized as having a super power. “Oh man. You can DO THINGS!” Besides the whole English class thing will be twenty hours of teaching over the next two and a half months. It isn’t a lot of time. *phew* And they are thrilled to have my kids run around while I am teaching. Pretty much every one there has been gracious, welcoming, and kind to my children. I feel very grateful that we have such a kind Temple on the corner to become involved with.

Someone asked me today why we don’t join a church. I said we don’t fit in. She gave me a weird look then kind of said, “Ok.” I smiled. Big. Big big cheesy grin. I didn’t explain.

A good friend called yesterday. A good friend who was a forced child prostitute. We have very enlightening conversations about triggers. I told him that I am really struggling with being hit on because I am thinner now. I don’t know how to deal with it very well. All of my training on this topic is uhhh currently not-useful. He gave me some very good advice. I haven’t met very many people in my entire life who can talk frankly about their own compulsive sexual behavior due to childhood assault. He and I can sit around trade stories back and forth about why we are into things.

The hardest part of monogamy is that I can’t do what I have done my entire life. If you pay attention to me you’ll see that the sex is only the leading edge of my attention span. It isn’t a very big part of my overall attention span. I use sex as a way of sniffing people out and occasionally building social bonds. I rarely continue having sex with people. Only with people who have something I feel I want access to and I can’t get it any other way.

This good friend is one that I have done a fair bit of sleeping with because I want access to him. He has things to say that I really want to hear. It is hard getting him to talk in the same ways as “just a friend”. And I find it ridiculously flattering that he can travel around the world and be celibate because he didn’t find anyone he wanted to sleep with but he reminds me frequently that any time I’m sick of my husband he’s waiting.

I don’t want to cheat on my husband and I consider such comments to be really far in the “not a friend of my marriage” direction. Yet he can talk to me about things that other people literally can’t. So I mostly talk to him on the phone and remind him not to touch when we are in person. He does actually respectfully follow boundaries with his hands. Just not with his mouth.

Then again his patterns in life involve being absolutely unable to be long-term monogamous and every relationship blows up over cheating after a while. I don’t really want his pattern, thankyouverymuch.

Because it isn’t about the sex. It’s the attention. When I take sex outside my relationship I take my attention out of the relationship too. If I think back to my relationship with my owner I was pretty clearly side stepping out from the minute I started sleeping with other people. There was no chance of that lasting. “Oh wait, you don’t want to meet my needs but any of a variety of other people will? Why am I here again?”

I can’t go through that process with Noah. This is different. This is different from anything I have ever done. The majority of people I know who have been married have been divorced. I don’t want to divorce. I want to be married to Noah. I want the life we are dreaming up together. I like the way he makes me feel as a person. I like the way he makes me feel as a mother. I like the way he makes me feel as a wife. I do not want to replace him. Anyone else would be a major step down. I am used to how Noah treats me. Sometimes that is even a high bar for Noah.

Pulling in emotionally is hard but I have to do it. I’m running out of time for my crazy. I don’t have the support I need. Yay suppression. Yay denial. Handy-dandy tools in my tool box.

Reading the letter from my therapist hit me really hard. Yes, I abreact nearly every day. Sometimes to the point where I am immobilized. Yup. That’s my life. How do I shove that reaction into a smaller and small box? I was told to put it in a briefcase and carry it around with me so I can check that it is still there but it is contained. A little distance is good.

It does matter if my body physiologically feels like I am dying or like catastrophic things are happening. I don’t get to express that. It bothers people.

I have to be more calm. Stop reacting. Stop being such a fucking dick. Good luck. I’m trying to go in for lip suturing but so far Kaiser is cock-blocking me. Maybe I should go ask some of my friends. I do know people who specialize in that. That would ensure that my problems were my problems and no one else’s.

Sometimes it feels like I am in a huge hole drowning in water. People seem to think that the best way to help me is to throw dirt on my head. Surely the hole will fill in eventually and I can crawl out–right? Only if I’m not buried alive first.

Well… time to do something else. I need to start a book. Ha. With all that copious spare time.

I have been internally resisting something hard. Noah and I had an agreement that I was basically off-leash until September. I was supposed to have a lot of time off and be able to go Get Things Done. Unfortunately he burned out a while ago. He doesn’t talk about it and he won’t. But if I tried to delude myself into thinking I was still off-leash things would dramatically go down hill.

My time is over. *shrug* I get to try to not be bitter about this. He gave me more than a year. He’s tired. He’s worn out. I get it. Work loads never truly balance.

I only get to do things if I can do it with the kids. If I can’t do it with the kids while I am responsible for them then I don’t need to do it in the next fifteen years. I feel kind of sad about that. I mean, I still have a friend who is happy to babysit while I see my therapist and Noah works from home on Tuesdays so I am allowed to have doctors appointments. But that’s going to be the limit.

I feel a lot of feelings. He isn’t enjoying his life. He doesn’t get to do anything he wants. (I’m not sure how that many hours/week of video gaming counts as not getting to do anything but I am not the one with a math degree. We can feel free to minimize my opinion.)

Sometimes it feels really uncomfortable in the pit of my stomach because I agree with Noah that he should take a long view of his life. He needs to ensure he doesn’t burn out too badly. He’s likely to live for a very long time. I agreed to fifteen more years. What does it matter if my body burns out?

I have begged Noah to never let another woman live in this house as part of *this* family. If he wants to replace me he has to sell this house and do it somewhere else. Those of you who read this will be the only ones who can hold him to that.

I feel tired and anxious. I feel pointless and weary. I feel stupid and incompetent. Why does it feel like the world would be so much happier without me to drag everything down? I feel like downer girl on delivery. I can make any good thing bad.

A friend asked me why I tell doctors I have PTSD when their reaction is so bad. I tell because I cry through most doctor visits. Depending on how they react and physically present sometimes I cry a lot. They want to know why. It is very disconcerting for them to have a sobbing woman on the table. They figure they can’t talk to me until I am emotionally under control–so go to psychiatry.

When I was a child the worst thing a doctor could say was, “I can’t find anything wrong” because then I was punished and punished and punished. Obviously I was a lying hypochondriac. Err, stress is hard on a body. But I wasn’t allowed to manifest that in any way. I was supposed to pretend I wasn’t under stress. Everything was Great! After a couple of decades of pressure and bad experiences in my early twenties… I cry in doctors offices. Which is apparently a golden ticket to never be taken seriously.

I am sorry I am so broken. I keep thinking that I shouldn’t have had kids. If I were childless I think there is very little chance I would still be breathing.

It’s Fathers Day. Fuck you father. I hope you are rotting in hell.

I suppose it is a good thing Noah doesn’t care about the holiday. The kids and I will be going out. He doesn’t want to go with us. Shocking.

I need to stop asking him at all. I know what the answer will be and it is a rather dick move on my part to keep asking so that I get mad at him.

The last couple of weeks have been a reminder to me. Only ask for things if you are ok with the answer being no. If someone saying no will be a problem, don’t ask. Figure it the fuck out. It isn’t worth asking. I just get told no over and over and then I feel angry and hateful and I’m not supposed to. It is supposed to be ok for everyone to tell me no. That’s fine. They can have their boundaries.

I need to stop asking. It hurts too much. I can’t pretend I’m fine and pretend I am part of a community that will support me. I can do one or the other. For a few years now I have been leaning on people. I’m getting told no more and more. That makes sense. The needy period of my life has to end. People are out of the energy they will give to strangers.

If you can’t do it for yourself then you don’t deserve to have it. Isn’t that the American Way? Boot strap yourself up or fuck you. That’s how we do it here. Ok.

PSA: Exit plans

Sometimes talking to people makes my heart stop.

If your partner knocks you down that is domestic violence. That is something (s)he can go to jail for. If you do not know this already: please learn it from me. Your partner is not allowed to knock you down. Your partner is not allowed to knock you down. Your partner is not allowed to knock you down.

If you have a partner who has done so then you need to find a coffee can and dig a hole in the yard. You need to start hiding money in that coffee can because there is the very real and escalating possibility you will have to leave in the middle of the night or you will be killed.

I wish this was hyperbole. This is statistical fact. There are very distinct patterns to domestic abuse.

Does every single person who knocks his/her partner down once kill them? No. Of course not. And one is allowed to forgive such a thing happening once. We are human beings and we fuck up. We are allowed to forgive fuck ups. You can maybe even forgive the second time.

By the third time you need to have an exit plan. You need to have a diary where you record every incident of violence along with the date and time and description of what was going on before and after the incident. You very seriously need to find a way to hide cash. I’m not fucking kidding. If you are financially dependent on someone else you need to have as much cash physically hidden as you can. Multiple thousands of dollars if you can. If you can’t put that much in a can to hide then take $20 out of every paycheque.

You deserve to be safe. You deserve to not be hit in your home. Your children deserve to never see their parent get hit.

If your partner hits you and you need a place to go in the middle of the night, call me. If you have my phone number then you are welcome to show up in the middle of the night during an emergency. I swear to god.

Everyone should feel safe in their home.

If you build it; they will come?

My favorite thing about being married to Noah is that all of my dreams seem… so very attainable. We talk a fair bit about what will happen after the house is paid off, after the WWOOF year, after Noah feels he will no longer be likely to be a full time professional coder. We won’t be this kind of rich forever. We will be a different kind of rich. What will we do with it?

We have been talking for a while now–years–about wanting to open a school. At this point our language is solidifying around wanting to start the year that would be Calli’s freshman year of high school. This wouldn’t be the right kind of school for Shanna, anyway.

We would like to run a boarding school for nerds. The curriculum will not look a lot like most schools. Kind of a cross between a free democratic school and a vo-tech program. How do you teach entrepreneurship? Luckily we are getting to know the people who are important in those worlds. We are learning what people need to know.

How do you teach responsibility? How do you teach compassion? How do you teach teenagers to believe that their agency actually matters?

I really like being married to Noah. I feel like I could not have a better partner. I feel so very lucky.