Category Archives: thanksgiving


I think yesterday is going to be a shining memory for me. That was one of the least stressful and least anxious holidays I’ve ever had. My kids got to watch cartoons on grandpa’s giant tv screen which seemed like a ridiculous luxury to them. My lovely men cooked me dinner. (I did a little prep work but they did all the cooking.) I cleaned up because it seems all nice and such.

Dad and I are still working out our little I-have-anxiety-so-I’m-a-control-freak issues. It is a more relaxed process than it sounds like. “Oh. You have strong opinions about how this soup gets microwaved. Ok. Show me how you want it done then. No, I’m not cranky–I just don’t know what you want and you have a specific process in mind because you complain when I deviate. Just show me the process.”

We don’t actually know one another that well. If you add up all the hours we’ve spent together in all the years it is a lot less than a month of time. Getting to know someone is effort.

I went on a run. This place is fucking cold and I hate the hills. I love Fremont more with every passing year. Lovely perfectly flat Fremont. Ahhhhh. But I could feel my ass muscles going, “Oh YES! THIS IS WHAT WE NEED” so it was kind of weird.

Dad is trying so hard to make me feel comfortable. He flat asked why I was reacting so anxiously. I think I managed to explain sufficiently that he understands that I vibrate with anxiety when I’m alone in a room. He doesn’t have to do anything for me to react anxiously. When I’m kind of freaking about my kids playing with the random glass “art” shit you have sitting around? That’s not because you have been a stress monkey. I just do that.

It was a really peaceful, nice day. The three grown ups were mellow. The kids played and seemed pretty happy all day. We had extremely tasty food. Most of it made by Dad.

I somehow managed to escape feeling like I did everything wrong. I’m nervous about our plans for today. I am afraid of a misstep around this family. I like them so much. I don’t want to become uninvited because I screw up around a member of the extended family.

I can usually manage to not horrify people who like me. I’m not so suave at meeting the extended families of my friends. I often manage to say something horrifically inappropriate and then I’m not invited back again. Woo anxiety.

The stakes seem so much higher now. I don’t want to uninvite my kids. Every person I offend and run off from here on out is an injury I am doing to my children.

Dad and I were talking about how perception of risk changes over time. He made a comment about how I’m feeling my mortality. Oh, we were talking about seeing a doctor and doing the elimination diet stuff. He said that of course I care more about my body now because I recognize that I’m mortal.

I said, that’s not it. Before now I wanted to die so much that being in pain was just part of the process. I didn’t care about maintaining my body because I hoped I would die. It isn’t that I thought I was immortal. It is that I wanted to die. Right now. Today. So why fix things?

Now I want to see my kids grow up. Now I know that I have to stop feeling this much pain in my body so that I can be a nice person with them. I don’t have enough reserves of patience to deal with chronic pain and be nice. Some people can. I can’t. You have to know your limits. I need to feel less pain.

In general I feel that 2013 has been one of the kindest years I have lived through. Fewer big blow ups than usual. Less drama. More effective planning and work. I don’t think I have done anything to earn additional opprobrium this year. It hasn’t been my highest sex-having-year ever but it would be hard to top the first year of my marriage. Really hard. We would have to consciously work for a whole year in order to beat that year. It was a really good year. That will probably be a project one year. Just for fun. When the kids are older.

Life is always about moving towards new things, right? You can’t spend your life focusing on what is behind you.

But what is behind you shaped who you are. If you never figure out why you behave the way you do then it is harder to adapt to your current circumstances.

I’m trying. I’m trying as hard as I can.

Next year I need to figure out how to manage my shit without pot. The money I save on pot can be spent on a big fancy Disney cruise for my 10th anniversary.

I have things to look forward to. I want to figure out how to hurt less. I don’t want to need a crutch.

My life is really good. I need to walk unassisted now. Even though it is scary.

When I am feeling kind towards myself I acknowledge that for me to want the degree of control over my anxiety that I want will be not that different from people who are severely disabled working towards the Paralympics. My brain was severely damaged by my childhood. What I want it to turn around and do is hard for people like me.

I’m going to do it anyway.

Be thankful

Yesterday one of my favorite people asked me what I am thankful for. (Other than her of course. Even if she does split my personality.)

I’m thankful for so much. I’m thankful for my husband and my kids and my house and my yard and my life.

I’m thankful that I have a Dad now who wants me to come see him for holidays. I didn’t spend holidays with a Dad for more than 25 years.

I’m thankful that I can break contact with my biological family and not end up alone for the rest of my life. That was what I expected. That is why most people don’t maintain no contact. The being alone is too hard.

I’m thankful for all the beautiful flowers I have been able to plant in my yard. I am looking forward to next spring. I feel antsy and joyous about seeing all the bulbs come up. Next spring when the tulips and narcissus and wildflowers (a “variety” bag of seeds) and marigolds and hydrangeas and lilies and roses and blue potato vines all bloom I will get to sit outside and know that I’m allowed to pick those flowers if I want to. I’m allowed to look at them as long as I want to without creeping anyone out. I’m allowed to be here.

I’m thankful for that. I didn’t expect to ever have this feeling. This is my home.

Shanna told me yesterday that she was nervous about going to Portland because she doesn’t want to leave Wonderland. “But this is my home. It won’t be the same to sleep somewhere else. I will feel like I’m not as safe.”

I asked her what about Wonderland makes her safe. She said, “Wonderland is magic because it is so full of love. No where else has as much love.”

I just about burst into tears. I did that. I made that come true for someone else. I’m thankful for that.

She eventually decided that since I was going with her the love would come with her and she can consent to the trip. Oh good.

This morning before we go I will churn the custard into ice cream and put it in the freezer (we had a bunch of milk and cream and eggnog–my life is made of awesome). I have more bags to throw in the back of the van. We have food to eat before we leave. But mostly we are ready to go.

I packed yesterday. The older I get the harder time I have doing my packing in advance. It doesn’t help that my kids and I each have less than a week of warm-ish clothes. So I had to wash and pack absolutely at the last minute because… that’s all the clothes I have.

Ok, I have more warm weather clothes. I could go at least two weeks without doing laundry in the summer. In the winter I have about six days of clothes. It’s all coming to Portland.

I’m thankful that I once again have a washer and dryer in my garage. Witness my happy dance of joy.

I’m thankful for every person who works at Apple creating the products that make my life better.

I’m thankful that I can decide to go on a four mile run uhhh jog energetic walk and my body is able to carry me through. I am so glad I have the strength to get through the distance even though I am not fast. It is a step in the process. Not everyone is able to do what I can do. I’m thankful for the strength in my body.

For a large portion of my “runs” I act like a whack job extra who got off the set of Swing Kids. I like dancing down the side walk. It’s a lot of fun.

I think it is funny that I so strongly reject the label of “dancer” because I dance all the fucking time. I love to dance. I just can’t be part of the dance community any more. I know too many rapists there. Not my own–thankfully. That community was easy on me. But I take sides. I have had too many women come to me with the stories of what is happening to them. I can’t pretend it isn’t true or real.

I can’t let the rapists touch me. I can’t be nice to them. I can’t pretend we are friends. I also don’t have the right to confront them. It isn’t my story.

I’m thankful that I can flee from communities and still have friends.

At this stage of my life I don’t get to complain much about what is happening to me. I am safe. I am loved. I am thankful for that.

I’ll finish Outrunning in another day or two. I feel scared and like it is the right thing to do.

One of the ladies on one of my sex abuse support forums (I have such a cheerful life) was relaying a case in her community. An 11 year old girl pregnant by a 15 year old boy. Neither of the kids knew you could get pregnant the first time. Now the boy is in jail for rape even though it was consensual sex.

Do I believe that an 11 year old can consent?

Does it matter if it was consensual? How would their lives be different if they had read a nice book by a weird lady telling them to use two forms of birth control even for the first time you have sex? Would that have helped?

Well, whether or not an 11 year old is ready for sex is debatable. It is not debatable that she is not ready to be a mother. No one is at 11. Your brain isn’t ready to treat someone else as more important than you.

I will try to publish. Even though it is scary. I believe it is the right thing to do. I don’t want to micromanage how people run their lives. I want them to have more information before they make decisions. I want them to understand the choice they are making before they make it. I’m not sure if I can fully help them with that but I can give them some of the first inklings. I can give them some of the outlines of what they need to know.

I’m thankful for all of the people who have written books that I have been fortunate enough to read. I’m so glad I know the things I know. I like my brain.

As I get older I’m not even as angry about being raped. I learned so many things about myself and about human nature. I don’t think I would have been able to learn those lessons from a book.

I feel really bad for the people who raped me. They are all people who are so full of hurt they are incapable of seeing how they hurt other people. I am thankful I am not like them. I am thankful that I can see the hurt I cause. I am grateful that it is not invisible to me. It seems like that would be a terrible burden. I don’t want to be unaware.

How can you be considerate if you are unable to tell how your actions effect people?

I am thankful that despite lots of good reasons to be dead inside I am not. I can feel. I can be sad and angry and happy and joyous and miserable. Not everyone gets to have the full range. (Sometimes I wish my range was spread out a bit more over time but you can’t have everything.)

I like my body. I am learning to be grateful for my brain. I have a great brain. It has allowed me to do a wide variety of neat things.

Go forward. Do your best. It’s all you can do.

(I’m really not mad, Pam. I get why you say what you do to your mom. I love you to the moon and back.)


I sat down yesterday at my computer intending to buy three tickets to Texas for December. I said to Shanna, “You understand that I’m not going, right?”

Her eyes got as wide as saucers. “But you have to go. I can’t go meet new people without you. When I am talking to people I don’t know well and you are there I am brave because I know I am wonderful. When you aren’t there I am scared and I can’t do it. I need you.”

“If I went with you to Texas and I stayed in the hotel with you but you had to go to your grandmothers house with just your dad and sister would that be good enough?”

“Yes. That would be good enough.”

I’m going to Texas in three months, apparently.

I’m fucking serious about not setting foot inside that woman’s house again. Maybe I will go visit the great grandmother or great aunt instead. Or I will sit inside a fucking Starbuck’s.

I can be nice in letters–I think I am very fucking nice in the letters I send. I sent five to seven page letters about the kids a few times a year. I’m all neutral but upbeat and such.

I want my kids to know them. I want my kids to have a family. But I’m aware that they will never be my family. Such is life.

The whole rest of the year is travel heavy. So much for a save year. My end of the year reckoning on Mint is going to involve some head hanging with shame. It’s a good thing Noah is earning money at a faster rate than planned for. I’m not making every savings goal. But I do have a god damn fabulous back yard now. It’s a trade off.

We leave on Monday for Disneyland. It will be me and my girls. We will have fun together. Since Calli’s birthday Shanna has been drawing me picture after picture because she wants to decorate for my birthday. I think I will bring a stack of them and scotch tape and put them up on the windows in our hotel room. I am so fucking glad I get to be their mom.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Lots of mom stuff. The last three nights have been pretty bad. It’s lead up to my birthday so I’m not surprised. Six days and counting. I think that knowing that I will be alone with the kids is both helping and hurting. On one hand, I feel sad. But I don’t have the anticipation of waking up in my house with having it just be one more shitty day when I should do laundry and scrub the floor. (Not that my days are shitty–I like my life and I like my job. But man I’ve got this birthday thing.)

I don’t give very many birthday presents any more. I want to spend time with people on their birthdays (or near their birthdays) but gifts aren’t the thing. Only if I find something that seems talisman-like. That’s hard to just decide to find.

I have things scattered throughout my house. Talismans. I’m loved. I should keep writing. People want to know what I am thinking.

Connection. Multiplicity. Embrace plurality. So many things to think about. How to not be scary.

I feel like over the last year or so I have had to realize that all of those hours I spent during my childhood practicing my “scary” expressions worked. Becoming non-intimidating is taking a lot of conscious work.

I feel like I am walking this razor thin line. If I am intimidating then I run off the people I want to love. If I am not intimidating… well I know how that goes.

Better to be undefended and on the verge of death at any moment. That makes people like you more. Then you aren’t scary.

Maybe being scary is just one of those important parts of life. I’m pretty sure my kids aren’t actually afraid of me. When I ask them they emphatically say they aren’t scared. Shanna says, “Sometimes you startle me. But that’s not the same thing.” But I am scary to other people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen the fear.

Speaking of fear, I bought a bicycle. One that can have a kid trailer thing on the back. First I need to take Shanna out on her bike. After she feels comfortable riding then we will get the trailer for Calli. The bike store fellas told me I can’t have a kid being pulled and a kid on my handle-bars. Just one or the other. Bah humbug. I bet it would have worked two years ago. They are a lot heavier now. I went on a five and a half mile bike ride. I haven’t done that since high school. I only felt like I was going to die for 75% of the time. Hopefully that goes down.

People in my family get hit by cars while on bicycles. It happened to both of my brothers and my dad. My mom and sister were smart enough to stay off of fucking bikes. Now I’m stupid. And risking my kids. Oh god.

September and October are probably as fully booked as I want them. November is probably already as booked as I want it. In December we will be out of state for nine days. I will probably not do very much other than travel in December. If I don’t decorate for Christmas in November I won’t do much beyond a tree. So realistically I have the next three and a half months scheduled. I won’t be bored. I have a lot to do.

It’s time to write Outrunning Suicide. I want it done before New Years. I have a rainbow castle to paint. (This sucker is huge.) I have to install a bunch of hardware for the swings in the back yard.

Not to mention educating my children. That is probably enough to do for the next three months.

Disneyland, two camping trips, over a week in Portland and a weekend in Texas. So much for 2013 being a light year.

I can’t go to Disneyland next year. (No time share points) I think the only traveling I want to do in 2014 is a half marathon in Portland with two of my very favorite ladies in the whole wide world. I hear I already have buy-in from the spouse of the one who will have to travel. This is a good sign.

I’m wussing towards encouraging the home schoolers who live within five miles of me to start thinking along the lines of a Free Democratic School. Driving is a real issue for everyone in the bay area. Having to drive 40-50 miles round trip in order to hang out for a few hours is prohibitive on a long-term basis. If you look at history a lot of who people know is based on who lives near them. It isn’t about “who is best“. Life is about making the best of who is there.

I think that part of the reason I am doing the stuff to my house that I am doing is because I think of future parties and events. I am not good at going out into the world. I am not good at feeling like the world wants me very much. If I make this a good place to be, people will come to me. That is just the nature of how things work. I feel like a spider spinning a web. Err…only I don’t want to eat anyone.

I want to know lots of kids and watch them grow up. I want to have them love visiting my house. So I build a playground. And I paint murals. And I provide endless quantities of fruit, vegetables, and cheese. I only rarely make guests eat ramen.

The part that makes me feel like a spider is how I know that I have to sit and wait. I’m not actually ready for the kinds of relationships I want to have with growing up kids. I don’t mean that my house isn’t ready–though it isn’t. If I went and grabbed people now and tried to fill my house with people… well… my kids would rapidly learn a lot of things I don’t want them to know. My kids are not yet ready to have their reality fucked with.

I’m fairly aware that I go through life with a big reality distortion bubble around me. (I think everyone does to a greater or lesser extent–you see the world from your point of view and not from an objective point of view.) Right now I am carefully crafting the reality my children will have as “baseline” for the rest of their lives. Based on everything I have read about child development and psychology this is important.

Most people don’t seem to think about this much. They just live their life and their kids share it and that is how reality is created thankyouverymuch. My childhood had no consistent reality. I moved more than fifty times. I got to see that every “reality”, every set of rules that people lived by were totally arbitrary.

That means that if I want to I can sit down and make up the rules for reality for my children in any fashion I want. There is no right way. I personally believe there are a lot of wrong ways but not any particular right way. What is right is so individual based on personality and inner strengths.

How I behave with my children is a carefully constructed little universe that isn’t a lot like how I am with the rest of the world. How I am with my children is how I am without defenses and without fear. I do not have the ability to extend that beyond my front door at this point in time.

I feel so lucky that I get to be alone with them so much. I feel so glad that we get to spend a lot of time in an environment where I set the rules. Pam says I am a permissive authoritarian. I think that will shift a lot with time. After a while it won’t be my place to set the rules with such fierceness.

Only I think in some ways I will get much more fierce. I told Shanna flat out one day when she was being very rough with me, “This is not an acceptable way to treat my body. If you continue to treat me this way as you get bigger I will eventually start hitting back. I am not your punching bag.” She stopped hitting me. She hasn’t tried to punch me over and over since.

I have no idea how this will go over the years.

I want my children to believe in the core of their body that they have the right to beat the living shit out of someone who crosses their physical boundaries. I want this to not be a question in their mind. It is just simple fact. We are animals and sometimes we have to defend ourselves. Yup. That’s part of how it works in the world.

But here in Wonderland we don’t hit. We don’t scream. This is a safe place. The violence needs to stay out there in the world. We do not hit our family members. Well, until they are clearly beating on you then go ahead and defend yourself. It needs to take a lot of provocation though. Don’t. Hurt. Your. Family. We are in this together.

I make a big deal out of this being a conscious creation because this is not like anything I have ever known. I was taught to expect people to hurt me. I was taught to hit people as a sign of affection. I was taught that the way to make yourself feel bigger is to hurt the people around you as much as possible.

It is hard for me to change. It takes so much conscious effort. But my children show me the fruits of my labor every day. It is worth it. They are worth it. This life is worth it.

I think about my mother a lot. I think about what she taught me and how she taught me. And sometimes when Calli moves her head just right I see my mother so clearly it is like she is in the room. I have no idea how this will all go.

In medias res. We are always in the middle of the story. There is no beginning and no end. My children have to go to Texas. That is part of their story. I get to choose how much disappointment mom delivers when. I will never be enough to meet all of their needs. That just isn’t how life works. But I have choices about how many needs I meet and when and which particular things I want to skip.

I have so. much. privilege.

All I’m doing right now with my life is hanging out and being available to meet their needs. This is surprisingly exhausting. And sometimes I pick up a side job or two. Mostly if I am not available to meet a need of theirs it is because I bloody well choose to not do it right now.

I sent Shanna to Texas once without me. Sending both seems different. And Shanna is a lot more sure she wants me to go. Some day she will want to do things I will not be up for doing. Then she will go without me. I can understand her wanting to stand near my reality distortion field. I am what she has always known and I have been really good to her. Other people are less predictable. She has figured that out already. I am always ready to smile at her. Other people… not always.

I will focus on this hurting me in my writing though. This is a choice. I’m not a victim here. But I’m making a choice that is questionably right for me. I don’t feel very good about having a relationship with Noah’s abusive mother after walking out on my abusive mother. I don’t know how to describe the kind of betrayal that represents.

My sister told me over and over and over “Abused children are the most loyal.” She said that consciously to tell me not to talk about what I saw in our house. I broke ranks. I broke fucking ranks. I can’t now go silently put up with someone else’s abuse. That’s just not ok. No. I’d rather punch the fucking bitch in the face. And it’s not really cool to fly from California to Texas in order to punch your mother in law in the face so I just won’t set foot in her house. I understand my triggering mechanism. I’m rather realistic all things considered.

“Just be nice” isn’t useful advice for me. Part of the reason that I don’t want to go is I know I have a rather lot of latent rage and she’s a nice safe not actually threatening target who likes to act like people are kicking her all the time. I’ve met me. If you stand in front of me and whine and cringe and cower as if I have been kicking you for hours… I will start kicking you. I understand this impulse only too well. I try to avoid kicked dogs for this reason. My experience of Noah’s mom is that she is a kicked dog.

I am a kicked dog. That is how I went through my childhood. I recognize it very well in others. Being a kicked dog is part and parcel with being a bully. You assume that people are mean to you so you push them towards being mean to you–you antagonize on purpose. Kicked dogs are the meanest little curs.

It’s a vicious cycle. I try to stay out of vicious cycles these days. I try very hard to stay in virtuous cycles.

A virtuous cycle, for the purpose of this essay, is one in which my positive behavior towards a person is rewarded by positive behavior and so on. I believe that kicked dogs need love too but they usually can’t get it from one another. They need to go find someone who isn’t a kicked dog, best if it is someone who is kind of bewildered by the experience, who will react in non-patterned ways.

Patterns are the problem. Patterns are how it keeps going. Vicious cycles. If you snap at someone and they snap back then it goes from there. If you snap at someone and they blink at you and say, “Are you ok?” well… that’s just not a similar sort of pattern. If you snap back it is obvious that you are a fucking asshole and that’s not good. Don’t do that.

Virtuous cycles involve people who are able to look at you and say, “You are having feelings. They are not about me. Would you like to talk about them?” Vicious cycles are more like, “You are clearly having feelings ALL ABOUT ME AND NOW I AM GOING TO YELL AT YOU ABOUT THEM.” Well, other people have other vicious cycles. But the ones I’m thinking about right this minute are like that. There are lots of other cycles. Don’t mistake me here as being the source of information about vicious cycles. Oh man.

I am home schooling my kids so that as they go through life they always have someone standing near them who will smile back. In my lofty experience there is always someone in the world who will smile back. Even if you happen to not be standing near that person right now. It is hard for me to keep faith in that belief sometimes. For most of my life it has been just a faith not unlike most peoples faith in G-d. Someone will smile back.

A while back I read some article about “computer face”. If you turn on peoples cameras secretly they all have the same slack jawed expression. I very consciously work on smiling the majority of the time. I try hard to have my muscles assume that position by default.

I have very deep grief lines. I turn thirty-two next week. If I am not careful I will be a very stern and unapproachable and lonely old woman. I know this to be true. If I want to have my future be the way I want it to be I will have to work hard on every aspect of my character. It feels so daunting.

I had children so I would have a permanent motivating force to change and get better. So I’m going to fucking Texas. I’m not going in the house. My reality distortion field is big enough to extend that far. Yes, Shanna. I will go so you know you are wonderful.

In the end, she won’t remember it much. I’m only kind of sort of doing this for her. I’m doing this so that I know I made all of the choices about creating space between us for reasons I feel ok about.

Recently I was talking to a mother who was not feeling happy about her day care experience in one relatively confined way. Mostly she was satisfied so she said, “I just had to decide that when you are paying someone you have to accept that they are doing their best and let it go.”

That, in a nut shell, is why I cannot put my kids in day care. I would do it if I had no choice and I had to work because I needed the money. But that is why I have made the choice to stay home. (That and ridiculous financial privilege, let’s be clear here.) I don’t want to just put up with the best that someone else feels like giving me.

I need to know that when they are eighteen and I send them off into the world (really I doubt it will be that long) I need to know that my kids have had all of the experiences they need to have in order to be competent at handling themselves. I can’t live with trusting someone else to “do their best”. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I’m glad that other people have such loving trust. I think it is quite healthy.

I don’t know anyone I trust enough to have the charge of my kids like that.

I trust the Godmamas enough that I send my kids there unsupervised and I have legal documentation saying they are the next of kin. But I still don’t want them setting reality for my kids. I love them and I want their influence… but as an add on or in case of critical system failure. Err, I’ll be a dick and say I think that I will do better. But they will be getting traumatized kids and I can’t think of anyone in the world I would trust more to adequately and lovingly raise traumatized children who started out being raised by me. They will be the most gentle adjustment to not-Krissy reality of anyone in the world. So I don’t pick them to be like me. I pick them to love the results of being like me. It’s kind of a different metric.

But geezus on toast I don’t want someone else teaching my kid how to be a kid for eight hours a day. I don’t want my daughters going through life not sure if someone will smile back.

There are a lot of gifts I can’t give them. I don’t mean financially–I mean in terms of spirit and family and community and sense of place. I can give them Wonderland. Where they are wonderful to me. We do go out into the world lots. And they are doing more and more things away from me.

I’m going to Texas because I had to rock myself to sleep crying for my mother too many times. I need to be there. Just in case. She won’t always be little. I won’t fucking do this for a twenty-five year old I shit you not. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do it for a fifteen year old. This trip will hurt me. This trip will hurt a lot. This trip has the high potential to be miserable. I have to go through airport security. I probably should not fly with pot. Alcohol makes my stomach hurt and that makes my temper shorter. I do have trusty-dusty Lorazepam! I will have to cut the pills up substantially more to take them during the day. I take 1mg at night and that knocks me straight out. (Not every night. Thirty pills lasts me for four to five months.)

Texas really hasn’t been good to me. I don’t like going there. I must like these kids a whole lot. It won’t be very long. I will be there for moral support. I will read a book. Maybe five. Maybe I will spend a lot of quality time in coffee shops writing Outrunning. That would be kind of funny. Not ha ha funny. Just funny.

Time for breakfast. I have missed you, internet. I shouldn’t make a habit of this for a while. The book is going to eat my hands.

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?

Good stuff

Today I am thankful that I get to cook a lot of good food today on basically no notice. I’m just stocked and ready. Sure, no problem.

Today I am thankful that my children are healthy and thriving. They are growing so fast I can barely stand it. I love watching how they change.

Today I am thankful that I have friends who call to check up on me because they worry. Thank you so much for caring about me even though I am so difficult.

Today I am thankful that slow roasting the turkey overnight made the house much warmer than it has been for the past few weeks.

Today I am thankful that Noah and Shanna and Calli are “surprising” me with crepes for breakfast. I’m supposed to wait until they are done to come out. The turkey will be cooked in time for breakfast. It’s going to be a great day.

Today I am thankful that I have a secure roof over my head. Not everyone is so blessed.

Today I am thankful that I have the ability to decide who is in my life. I haven’t been raped in five years. This trend is very likely to continue because I am now safe. That is not a gift I take lightly.

Today I am thankful for being able to live in this house forever if I want to. I’m just allowed to be here.

Today I am thankful for all the good things I have to look forward to. I’m going to have a really fun life. I am going to do interesting things. Just wait.

Today I am thankful for lots of therapy and medication. Hallelujah.

Mostly I’m thankful that Noah wants me. If Noah didn’t want me in his life then this whole house of cards would collapse. I’m really glad he still wants me.