Noah is currently trying to get to where a typhoon is happening (Japan–Hiroshima) and weather is not cooperating. It’s going to be hard for him to arrive for the speech he is supposed to give.
I just hope he’s ok.
Noah is currently trying to get to where a typhoon is happening (Japan–Hiroshima) and weather is not cooperating. It’s going to be hard for him to arrive for the speech he is supposed to give.
I just hope he’s ok.
I am heading off to hang out with a friend in about half an hour. When I get home we are going to start driving to SoCal. I am not bringing my computer. I may or may not use my phone for brief updates but I rarely enjoy the interface so probably not.
I’ll be back online by the 11th.
Love you all. Have a good week.
We all hung out for a few hours yesterday. I think four hours total in the day. They had other stuff to go do. I rested because that’s seriously what I need to be doing with my life right now.
The time we spent together was… a little awkward sometimes but ok. I think the conversations were all positive if occasionally stiff and the specific behaviors that had been bothering me previously were not repeated.
I understand that they had a very stressful week aside from me being here. Recovering from surgery while doing two weeks worth of work in a week… that’s stressful. It is very important for me to keep in mind that these people are 99.99999% not reacting to me. They are reacting to what is going on in their lives.
It was a good trip. I’m glad I came. There were a few hours with a few tense interactions because we don’t actually know one another. I think that’s pretty damn good if that is as negative as it got. There was no open hostility. There was no fighting or bickering. I had moments of feeling triggered.
That’s really not the end of the world. I kept my feelings and behavior in check.
Well done on being a grown up, everyone. That was nice.
Because I’m a narcissistic asswipe I feel good about the fact that part of the tension in the trip was about me emphatically stating a point of view that had not been previously been considered because it necessitates life experiences they haven’t had. By the end of the trip the conversation evolved to the point where they figured out a way to include my point of view while maintaining their own standards and beliefs about something that is coming up in their life. I don’t want to give specifics about the situation so cryptic shit is cryptic. But my take away is that I did not necessarily share my point of view in a tactful way (I vary in presentation) but they did really hear me. And they listened because I was talking about a type of interaction with vulnerable populations that they care about getting right.
You really can’t ask for anything more than being heard.
So a lot of my preparation for walking away was bitchy and totally unnecessary. I’m glad I didn’t manifest those feelings more loudly. I think I managed to keep those feelings like 98%-99% under wraps. I’m glad.
These folks were nice to me. I hope I didn’t communicate my distress more than I meant to. Y’all know. But my IP tracker says these folks haven’t checked out my blog. Given how overwhelming their life is just the now that makes sense. I’m kinda hoping it stays that way. But if they do come reading, hi. You are lovely people and I appreciated the time with you. I learned more about controlling myself and being a grown up. Thank you for the opportunity.
I see my family in 11 hours. I can barely wait.
I’m not having a bad trip. I’m just trying to manage some feelings I’m having and I’m trying to figure out what set of behavior is what I consider an appropriate reaction to situations that have bumps.
Bumps are part of life.
I have been incredibly cordial on this trip. I have managed my moods beautifully, in my opinion. I’m proud of myself. But I’m feeling some feelings and processing them here helps me not explode inappropriately.
I want to learn how to save my explosions for appropriate situations where they are both effective and useful.
I don’t think I want to stop exploding… ever…
It’s a fucking useful tool to have in my tool box and I don’t care who thinks it isn’t nice. Life isn’t fucking nice.
But I want to learn to have better control over it. A tank is not a bad weapon for a military to have. It’s a shitty fucking tool for a police force to have.
I mean… I don’t think we should make war in most of the places our country chooses to make war… but that’s a different conversation.
I’m a violent person. But my goal is that someday I will have such control that my violence only comes out when it is absolutely necessary for serious protection or someone says pretty pretty pretty please and they are very cute and my husband says it’s ok.
That seems reasonable.
I’m not completely there yet. But I’m getting closer.
I did not explode with violence last summer even though someone escalated to threatening physical violence to my family. I deescalated and just got her the hell out of there.
I’m irritated right now. I’m not threatened. No one is going to hurt me. Nothing bad is going to happen to me. I don’t have to like the way everyone behaves. I need to learn how to not give a shit.
Honestly… fuck. This is like when y’alls boyfriend who moves to Australia used to be in a room with me. I feel like I’m in his position. I want to pick and pick and pick and just point out little irritating things about the stuff that is bugging me.
This is why I don’t campaign against him. Because I know I’m irritating as shit and it makes sense that I irritate him and he wants to pick on me.
CAUSE I FEEL THE SAME FUCKING FEELING SOMETIMES.
I get it. Irritating people are irritating. Sigh. And I need to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. It’s fine. I can be nice.
24 more hours. If I feel like I might get rude I’ll just opt in to a hotel for the night.
I don’t need to be an asshole. It’s entirely optional here. I get to decide what kind of grown up I want to be. I am capable of changing the conditions if they stop working for me.
It will all be fine.
I want to be charming. In exactly that way that monsters are dangerous for being charming. Is it manipulative? Well… yes. Charming is more likely to coax the behavior I want.
Long term enlightened self-interest, mother fucker.
I checked out ACAL. (Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles) It was more a walk through than a visit to a play space because while I was there the woman who runs the space was there and setting up but she says local players don’t show up until later. I was not feeling physically up to waiting a few hours for folks so I stayed about an hour and looked around then I left.
First: the equipment and the art are absolutely top notch. I’ve seen some shitty bdsm equipment over the years where you are taking your life in your hands to use it. This place had quality gear. The art was 100% done by local folks (she said) and it was really good. Even the art that was consciously copying the Tom of Finland style was localized and fabulous.
I’ve seen a lot of art here in Alaska. The use of color and bold statements are amazing. Now that I’ve gone to museums and galleries this house seems… more like a product of its place than an aberrant freakishly impossible art compendium. I still think this house is amazing… but all of the art in Alaska is amazing.
The lady who runs the play space is definitely connected to the wider world of bdsm. She could talk a really good game. She can rattle off all the big name presenters and talk about different play styles and the fads that come and go. She gets out to big conferences all over the place and she brings a lot of teachers up here. She has a great patter.
I hear that she’s really shitty at paying people and that she threatens to out people who don’t comply with her demands. So she had a fantastic first impression… but I’d be wary if I seriously had to deal with her.
She’s definitely charming, I’ll give her that.
The space reminded me of the last Castlebar space. It was cold. The roof drips so there are puddles of water all over the place. It was a huge warehouse kind of feel and it was cold and kind of spooky. I thought it seemed like the kind of place I’d love to get tied up and hit. The dirty/industrial look is very much part of my kink milieu.
Their rules were unusually flexible and tolerant. They permit types of play that many play spaces won’t like water sports and messy blood scenes. The only serious no’s on the list: guns, scat, and inverted self suspensions while you are alone.
Err, that’s all legit. Sure.
She says she can’t allow scat because like someone bringing fish into the office break room and microwaving it… that’s a smell that doesn’t go away and it’s not fair to force other people to smell it. I thought that was incredibly civilized of her.
And on a slightly different note: I have recently learned that a bdsm group in Canada has to include carefully differentiating between puppy play and bestiality in 101 classes because bestiality is legal in at least some parts of Canada and there is a local K-9 sex group and they want to make sure the newbies understand the difference. I FIND THIS DISTURBING.
Shit dude, tell me your friends fuck dead people and I’ll shrug. Not my thing but whatever. You aren’t impacting a living creature who can’t consent. Kinda gross… but whatever. DOGS ARE NOT CAPABLE OF MEANINGFUL CONSENT AND THAT’S JUST COMPLETELY FUCKED UP.
We all have our weird little lines.
B is the publicly acceptable way to refer to my friend’s wife so I’m going to say that. I haven’t asked my friend how he feels about being mentioned by name so I’ll still refrain. This is only a bdsm crossover because I know these folks through that community.
B is a HUGE patron of the arts. In her house and in her office there is a ton of art. Her office has a bunch of fancily painted walls by a variety of artists she knows. There are multiple murals or small pieces in different rooms.
She offered me space to paint, if I want. On one hand… I want to say no. I’m tired and that would be work. On the other hand… this beautiful, talented, interesting woman who works with a demographic I target heavily for influencing with my life has invited me to have space to influence how people feel.
She told me that if it would make me happier to do the work they could chain me while I work. I said that is not permitted within the current boundaries of my relationship but thank you for the offer.
That’s… that’s a really cool offer. I have art installations in California. Would I like to also have an art installation in Alaska?
Oh gosh. When I phrase it like that….
My friend who invited me up here to stay… he has a voice. He influences lives all over the world and he has done so for going on twenty years now. He has spent years encouraging me to share my voice with the world because he thinks I have lessons to teach.
I feel really validated here.
These people who are doing the real work are validating that even though I am hiding at home for a few years so I can learn the things I want to learn… I still have a lot to offer. They invite me back into the wide world.
But I’m afraid of the wide world. The wide world is big. The wide world doesn’t want to do shit for me. The wide world wants to know what I’m going to do for them.
That’s how it works with everyone. I don’t think I’m persecuted or anything.
I like my bubble.
I like having a family.
I like the friends who seek me out and ask to be part of my life. I like the people who actively invite me into their lives because they perceive me as being someone they want to be near.
The wide world…
But I’m not truly contemplating the wide world. I’m contemplating a wall. Maybe I should go make some sketches. I’m having some ideas. Butterflies and change and growth.
Cause I brought quite a few art supplies…
I spent the whole first day I was away from my family feeling both elated and like I was longing for my kids so much it ached. It was a funny feeling. I spent a lot of the plane rides thinking about baby names. Thinking about how my big kids are going to adapt. Thinking about how much I like the way Noah’s eyes look when he smiles.
I got up to Alaska and got settled in the house. I walked to the grocery store and bought a backpack full of food. If I had to walk to the store and I was shopping for a family… I’d need to go daily. It’s hard to carry enough food.
It’s really beautiful here. The woods are magnificent and the local flora and fauna are breathtaking. The colors are so vibrant and intense.
MY FRIEND’S HOUSE IS THE COOLEST HOUSE EVER. Ok, I like my house a lot. My house suits me and is perfect for how I’m living my life. I couldn’t live in this house. Too much is breakable. But every single thing in this house was selected for beauty. Even the fucking extension cords are neat and light up and fun. The furniture is gorgeous. There is art on every wall, window sill, cabinet, shelf, and hanging from the ceilings. The art is very different and yet it all goes together in a very magical-feeling way. This is a house full of pagans who take their witchery seriously and it feels magic.
My kids would break half of it in an hour. Maybe less time on a bad day. lol.
My kids asked me if it was ok for me to touch the art here since I’m not in a museum and I showed them around the art in the room I’m staying with and we talked about which pieces could be touched without destroying them (like the simple wood carving of a bear) vs the oil paintings or the delicate paper work or the fantastic wood/lacquer/veneer stuff…. Mostly… this isn’t stuff to touch. It’s stuff to see and enjoy and get the fuck away from.
My friend’s wife is a very neat lady. I will not disclose her profession, but I’ll say she’s a helper in the world and she takes it very seriously. She delivers facts and support with great force. I like that.
My friend that I’m visiting is such a good listener. He is good at that intense, deep listening where you are trying to hear the story and the story behind the story. It’s nice to see him. The last time I saw him I was 6 months pregnant and running a bdsm convention. He definitely hasn’t met my kids.
I have interesting feelings about so many of my friends really not wanting to meet my kids. I know a lot of non-breeders. Some of my non-breeding friends like kids and some want to avoid children as if they might be contagious.
Thanks to the lovely grown ups who show up and treat my kids like people. I see you. I appreciate you. My kids appreciate you too.
Clearly these folks have a full life and don’t need children friends. They are full up on their friend-slots being full of grown ups.
It’s interesting being in a house of folks who do bdsm full time and professionally again. It took me multiple walk throughs of the house before I noticed how full of gear and equipment the house is. I looked right past the spanking bench and the piles of rope and the beautiful St Andrews Cross. I would have thought that I would be more paranoid about such things these days but… nope. The things in this house are selected with such an eye to beauty that even the bdsm equipment just seems lushly in the correct place.
Once upon a time I aspired to a life like this so much. But kids were more important to me. I think my Owner would have allowed me to have this kind of life. He would have always been a distant, non-supportive boyfriend. He didn’t want me to leave.
I wanted kids.
I’m so grateful for my kids. I don’t think I would have been physically capable of maintaining the interest in life it takes to stay alive if I had continued living for bdsm. It’s a great hobby. I like it. It’s fun.
It can’t be my life. I think it is awesome that it is my friend’s life. He is a fabulous teacher and he helps people connect with their bodies and their souls; I admire the work he is doing and I think it is truly spiritual work. I definitely don’t feel I am doing something more worthy with my life. He is a much bigger fish in a much bigger pond and he is changing the world.
I am learning how to feel loved.
It’s a different journey, is all. I’m really glad he is on the journey he’s on. I admire him. I learn so much from him.
I really appreciate that people allow me to learn from them. I am a better person because of the people in my life.
Random aside that may or may not make sense completely out of context and I don’t want to give context: It may not occur to you that I’m not worried about your ability to set boundaries. I know you can do that. You may not understand that if I asked for more and I hit more boundaries (because you appropriately and rightly need to have them) I will stop being able to ask for even what I ask for now. I will withdraw. Not to punish you. To punish myself. Because I asked for too much and I am bad. When I talk about relationships not being able to withstand the strain of more… I am often talking about myself. I ask for the absolute limit of “no” I can handle hearing. If I get more of it than I feel like I can carry… I have to pull back on the relationship hard and I have to convince myself to not be so involved. That’s me. I’m not saying that the blow ups would have to be about other people rejecting me.
I kind of pre-reject myself.
And now I’m crying. Luckily they sleep hella late.
I will take yet another detour into a different direction and say I’m pooping great. My body tends to be incredibly happy with how I eat when I’m traveling. It makes me wish I could duplicate this better at home.
At the grocery store I bought: 1/2 gallon of whole milk, 1/2 gallon of oj, a small piece of salami, cheese sticks, a small tub of potato salad, an individual caesar salad with chicken, bananas, pistachios, two packets of ramen, a tub of mixed pre-cut fruit, a tub of yogurt, and a baguette sandwich with brie and ham. I have not yet touched the pistachios, ramen, or salami. The caesar salad, a bunch of fruit and yogurt, the sandwich, the potato salad, and a lot of the liquid are gone.
I’ve also walked a lot in the past two days. I haven’t been hitting my 10,000 step goal very often lately and I’ve gone over the past two days.
But walking a lot by itself really doesn’t cure my poop issues. And I pooped great on the road trip when I was not exercising much at all.
I’m eating every 4-5 hours, which is counter to the medical advice I’ve been given lately that says I should REALLY be eating every 2 hours due to how low my sugar levels are.
But at least I have been eating protein constantly. That’s something. And outside the sugar in the oj, fruit, yogurt, and milk…. it’s not exactly a sugar tastic spree. I was offered cookies and dessert. It sounded horrible.
I mean… the cookies look good. But my belly is completely opposed to processed sugar right now.
I had some hfcs on the plane and that didn’t even bother me. I drank a soda bottle, two oj bottles, a powerade bottle, three water bottles, and cups of ginger ale on the flight. I’m amazed I only peed once per flight. That’s probably 120 oz of liquid… while I was in the air. Bodies are weird. But I’m not as dehydrated as I usually am when I fly!
And I totally had more to drink once I landed and went to the store. I even drank more water after I landed. I went through three more fill ups on my water bottle. So 72ish oz of water in the day. Yes, yes people “should only drink water” but I have a hellish time eating enough calories and I’m fucking pregnant. I’m going to keep drinking the sugar and salt so I don’t pass out.
I feel like today needs to be a lower energy day. I’m wiped.
We leave the house in less than 12 hours. I won’t be blogging again. I’m not bringing a phone.
This is going to be one of my most fun years ever for this list. 😀
San Pablo, Ca
Twin Falls, Id
Salt Lake City, Ut
Paris Springs, Id
Just east of Yellowstone’s entrance, Wy
Palmer Gulch, SD (Mt Rushmore)
Eagle River, Wi
North Bergen, NJ
Pigeon Forge, Tn
Vero Beach, Fl
New Orleans, La
Fort Worth, Tx
San Diego, Ca
Is that it?
Where did you sleep?
There are bombings all over the world in the last few days. People are dying from no reason bigger than hatred that some people think differently.
There was an earthquake in Japan.
I’m… at Knott’s Berry Farm. Well, I was.
And now I’m rocking and crying. Today was horribly triggering. But it feels so very selfish and stupid and petty. God, my whole life is pretty fucking ridiculous these days. Yeah, it will take a whole book to figure out why this trip was worth this for me.
We get home in seven days. I’m triggered as all fuck. This place is hurting me.
We had a wonderful day. I completely held it together. I mediated like a god damn champ when they had a hard time.
And now I’m rocking and hurting because keeping it together today was so god damn hard.
That’s where my father used to finger me. I haven’t been there in more than ten years. I actually come to SoCal pretty frequently. I choose to not go there most of the time.
That’s my mood right now.
I think that I’m going to finally find the motivation to get the money from my father’s money that the state is holding. It has waited a lot of years. I think I’m ready to take my payment for what he put me through.
I don’t think the kids know how upset I was. I think I did well. They both gushed all the way back to the hotel about how absolutely fantastic today went. And I really agree.
But there is that part of me and this part of me and today I realized that I… completely missed the anniversaries this year. I think this is the first year I’ve ever just sailed right the fuck past them without noticing.
Am I who I thought I would be by 33?
Is my daddy still the monkey on my back?
What the fuck did I learn out in the Wild Wild West? Oh. Lots.
Hungry for a life I’m not ready to begin.
But it’s time to start anyway.
What does it mean. How forking shallow is it. I don’t know. I don’t know.
You know, it is fucking awesome that I learned how to cry completely silently a long time ago. Otherwise this crying in the room with the kids thing would be pretty fucking awkward.
I’m sorry James. I had to.
I hurt. I shouldn’t be typing nor looking down. And I should be sleeping.
But crying alone is hard. Thank you for keeping me company, internet. I love you.
Noah. I have so many stories.
My fingers hurt.
Must haz self control. Seven more days.
It was really hard going through layer after layer of memories of my father. I think they have substantially changed the area where he used to sit me on his lap. I want to write more. The basic allusion to this is in the book. But oh.my.god I could give a lot more details. Especially right this moment.
I’m having some really really really really really really really big feelings. And I have to just calm right the fuck back down and go to sleep. Tomorrow I have work to do. It is not yet time for me to rest. Only seven more days.
I want to write but my thoughts are scattered and my arms burn like fire. This hotel room table is at a bad height for me ergonomically and I never let that slow me down. I’m kinda dumb.
I’m over reacting to a lot of things. I’m having trouble not screaming over little, stupid things. It doesn’t help that the kids truly are being irritating. What is happening is: I’m pushing them away because I need space and time to calm down in my body. When I push them away they feel freaked out, rejected, and needy so they cling harder and whine the whole fucking time they are grabbing at me in ways that hurt and piss me off.
Next week the kids have scheduled child care. They asked. I feel a little guilty because Eldest Child flat said, “Mom can we arrange a bunch of childcare next week? I know it will be expensive but I’m pretty sure it will be good for all of us.”
Holy crap. How did I get a child this wonderful? This insightful? This aware?!?!?
My shrink regularly tells me that Eldest Child is preternaturally aware of how people work. “7 year olds just don’t care that much about other people. She’s unusual.”
This because my kid can graphically go through verbally describing why people get upset and which contributing factors are likely to bother which person. “It makes sense that you are angry mom. It is very frustrating when I do _____.”
I don’t know if it is weird. This is all I know. My kid behaves this way because I model it. I don’t really know another way to parent.
My kid understands that in some situations she messed up, sometimes I’m the one who messed up, sometimes Youngest Child messes up… the kid is just good at saying, “Ahhh I think this mistake happened because x person was tired and we haven’t eaten. Let’s fix that.”
I worry about teaching her to take too much responsibility for other peoples stuff, but at the same time she’s quick to not take responsibility when she wasn’t involved so… I don’t know. Maybe it will all work out? Who knows. But she is an amazing person. I am so grateful I get to stand near her.
My Eldest Child is so breathtakingly willing to accept consequences for screwing up that I can’t possibly avoid them for myself when I screw up. When I am inappropriate with the kids we discuss making amends. “What do you think I should do to help make up for this mistake?” Because I talk to them the same way about their behavior. No one is above making amends.
If you screw up you must take responsibility and find a way to solve the problem as best you can. Some problems can’t be fixed and you just have to live with the guilt of knowing you hurt someone/broke something. But you can learn how to not make that mistake again.
Everyone makes mistakes. The best people make mistakes every day and learn from them and make new mistakes tomorrow.
You can’t get through life without mistakes. You will never learn all you need to know. Mistakes teach you about fringe cases and important details. Mistakes teach you about how your awareness needs to spread to more areas.
Mistakes are as mandatory as breathing. You can’t grow without breathing and you can’t grow without making mistakes.
It’s ok. We all mess up. Sometimes the mistakes kinda suck and someone gets mad and maybe there’s screaming or a fight or grounding. But then you pick yourself and you keep going. Because that is what life is.
I check in with the kids after I scream at them. “I was a jerk and I was too loud… but I didn’t go over the line and start insulting you or calling you names, right? Was I in bounds that way?”
Once Eldest Child said, “Actually you slipped and called us brats. Don’t do that again.”
I haven’t done it since.
And my children have never had the experiences I had at their ages. They have never been told that they are stupid, worthless, unworthy, a bitch, a cunt, a whore or that they are too pathetic to deserve life.
I have to tell myself that an occasional errant “brat” isn’t the end of the world. Especially when my children have the self confidence to turn around and tell me that saying “brat” is over the line and I need to knock it off right now.
This trip is causing me to see both of my children in a bunch of different settings so I’m feeling increasingly certain that Eldest Child needs to be evaluated by someone other than me. She has a lot of sensory issues and avoidance behaviors that she is developing to cope. I don’t want her to get locked into avoidance as the only way to cope with sensory overload. I did that with food as a kid and it is part of why I have so many health issues.
I’m really grateful that for all that she is hypersensitive to a lot of things… she doesn’t have the food texture issues I had. Thank goodness.
I’m watching her struggle with the same things I struggled with as a child. The things that made me feel helpless, incompetent, and like I was a failure as a human being. I have enough education and awareness at this point that I recognize that these patterns mean there is something not wired correctly. Help is available in the world. We just have to figure out what kind of help is needed and access it.
She struggles at the same things that used to cause my brothers to laugh at me and tell me if I “couldn’t even throw a ball I was too pathetic to deserve to live.” I’m not really sure why sports are so fucking important.
She doesn’t need to have the years of self-hatred I had. We can find help.
I feel sad and happy at the same time. I know enough that my kids won’t have to suffer like I did. But there is this part of me that can’t stop grieving over the fact that no one gave a shit about me for decades.
I know it isn’t true now. I know that I am loved and cared for now. I know that if I am in need of help now I can find it and/or pay for whatever I need.
But I still hurt. I feel like a pathetic, self-pitying bastard. It doesn’t feel like it is ok for me to keep mourning all these layers of shit from my childhood. But I hurt so much.
I’ve barely cried in months because I don’t like doing it around the kids and I don’t have privacy. I’m sure that is contributing to how backed up I feel emotionally. I don’t have a lot of release available to me when I’m alone with the kids. I really and truly need private space for the ongoing processing of trauma.
I have really big feelings about that. I’m feeling a lot of shame and guilt that I’m sitting here crying and whining like a dog because I can’t stop because I haven’t cried in a while.
The kids and I have been watching a new show, “Call the Midwife”. It’s borderline inappropriate for the kids because it deals with some really harsh truths about life in poverty. But I’m not one to shelter my kids from the fact that other people suffer terribly. They don’t deserve to go through life not knowing that other people have it shitty. No one deserves that, in my opinion, and I kind of hate the parents who bring their children up in a bubble such that the kids can’t understand suffering of other people.
Last night the episode talked about the “Workhouse Howl”. The keening, crying screaming noise that only happens when people suffer horribly for years with absolutely no chance of ever stopping that suffering.
I felt kind of freaked out because when the character started the cry… I knew that I make that sound. My kids kinda looked at me when the crying was explained. Yes, I make that sound sometimes.
It isn’t true that I have no chance to stop the suffering any more. But once your body starts crying like that… stopping it isn’t a voluntary thing. It just happens. Once you have been in that much pain for that long… you can’t always keep it in for the convenience and happiness of everyone around you.
Suffering and pain are really complicated and layered. I would like to believe that some day I will get to the point where I no longer hysterically scream/cry sometimes without volition because I have so many pent up emotions I can’t suppress the noise.
Being rich doesn’t fix these problems. Being rich means you can slowly begin to get help, but getting help is a confusing, horrible process. Even though I can pay for help, I have to know where to go for help, who to ask for help, and what kind of help I need to ask for.
I have to find the solutions and then find people to help me implement the solutions. It’s hard. I understand why people who are struggling with poverty just can’t.
Trauma impacts you forever. I’m kind of tired of people acting like trauma isn’t a big deal and you should just “get over it”. You know what, motherfucker? I am getting over it. I am making progress. It’s still a nightmare. It’s been a nightmare to be in my body for decades. It is slowly improving but I have trouble believing that being inside my body is ever going to be a pleasant experience.
I wish I could stop crying.
At Disney World that is. Yesterday was intense. It took more than eight hours to get from one hotel room to the next. It was about four and a half hours of freeway driving. I’m not counting the driving time where I got lost in forking Orlando. That took a while. Grocery shopping was sorta epic.
As we drove out to the resort I started shaking and my stomach hurt and I felt like I was about to puke. I kept up a steady chatter to myself, “Krissy it’ll be ok. This will go fine. This is Disney. You are late for check in… they will have people waiting around who are happy to help you. It’ll be fine.”
It was rather ridiculous but hey, do what you gotta do.
We got to the driveway and I started asking just about anybody in a uniform, “I’m new here, which step do I do first?”
They all smiled at me and directed me to where I needed to be.
They are all thrilled to get a Californian. These are the Disney Vacation Club properties, so they see owners and that is a fairly set group of time share people. Variety isn’t as common as you’d think for a hotel.
I had a lot of questions and I said flat out, “I’m going to feel anxious until I have a few concerns addressed.”
You know what? Like magic extra employees kind of backed over to where I was talking to the nice desk clerk. They all smiled like they were super excited that they might get to help.
I fucking love this place.
You know what? They addressed every concern right down the list. I do have to unhitch my trailer, but that’s ok. It means we will be more likely to sneak off to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter exhibit and that’s exciting.
Oh, parking is right next to our room. This is so fabulously convenient I have no words. I thought it would be a hike. I feel so spoiled. After three months of continuous travel I now think that one of the biggest luxuries in hotels in nearby parking.
I had a very nice person help carry my stuff in from the van with a dolly so I didn’t have to make eleventy billion trips. He thought it was hilarious that I wouldn’t let him carry the heavy stuff up the stairs. It was his first day back at work after a back injury. You aren’t carrying my heavy fridge up the stairs! Heck no!
He thought that was funny. He asked a lot of questions about me and what I do. He was thrilled to meet a writer. He said he had never met one before. Over and over he said, “Whoa. You are one hard working woman. I’ve never seen a woman rush to carry heavy stuff up the stairs for me before. And you home school your kids. And you travel around the country. And you write books. Whoo. You wear me out.” He must have said it twenty times. I laughed.
He asked for information about my books. I gave him all that he needed to find me. Who knows if he will follow up.
It’s a bit awkward to tell people, “I wrote about my experiences growing up in an incestuous family. It’s intense.”
Trigger warnings, baby.
This was all after a hilarious incident with a conservative postal employee in Georgia. I’ve never seen a federal employee retract their implication that there is anything wrong with being queer so damn fast in my life. With a smile.
It’s funny what conclusions folks jump to when they find out you are home schooling.
Nope. I ain’t teaching the Bible. We don’t pray.
I mean, we have many Bibles in the house… but I teach it as one set of mythology among many that humans have come up with over many thousands of years.
It’s just one path out of many. They are all ok.
We were kind of a hilarious experience for my newly adopted niece in Georgia. (Long story.) she is growing up with a Baptist mother and a Catholic father. They attend church regularly. It’s a big deal.
I leaned over and said, “I’m a Godless Heathen.”
Her eyes went wide.
Yeah. That was wonderful.
I said, “You are going to hear a lot about people like me and when you hear those things you can decide for yourself if you agree or not. I’m just one person out of many. I don’t represent ‘all the weirdos’ of the whole world but I do represent a lot of them. When you hear people say nasty things about people like those know that they are talking about me. And think about that.”
She nodded slowly. I was an intense experience for a 9 year old.
I really loved settling into the room here at the resort. We have a system. I explained it to the kids. We all relaxed once the system was discussed and the kids stopped chafing at boundaries every other second.
It was palpable. I didn’t take my medication until after this experience occurred so it wasn’t just that all of a sudden I was stoned and I didn’t care any more. The kids stopped fighting.
It’s been a rough few days. I’m not proud but I screamed and screamed and screamed in the car. They would not stop beating on each other. I mean… they stopped when I went a little nutty. But they would not stop until I went berserk screaming about how they had to Stop Stop STOP.
I felt kind of bad about it until we talked about it later in the evening. I said I was sorry that sometimes I was an asshole when more gentle methods failed but sometimes I really need to be effective. You can’t hit each other.
Eldest Child nodded and said, “Oh I know. We really couldn’t even hear you until you broke our concentration.”
Youngest Child nodded and said, “Yeah… uhh… it’s hard to hear you sometimes when we get into it.”
Then my eldest child looked down, and brushed her head bashfully like we were in a damn movie and apologized.
It was… kind of weird.
YC didn’t apologize exactly but there were amends made. At five it isn’t always a verbal apology yet and that’s ok.
I asked if we could make an agreement to ask for rest any time and every time we feel tired so we don’t whine or get cranky with each other and everyone agreed. They know where their free feeding snack food is. They don’t have to ask me every other minute if they can have _______. It’s glorious freedom.
I think it is hilarious that they both, separately, echoed something that Noah said to me a long time ago in almost exactly the same tone of voice.
“One of the things I like about you is that you make every place feel like home” with a happy sigh to follow. This is in reference to how I set up and organize hotel rooms to within an inch of their lives if I am going to be in them long. I have to or I can’t find shit and that makes me crazy. I have to know where all my stuff is. We have a lot of stuff. That’s a lot of things to put my hands on over and over and over so I can know exactly where it is when I need it.
This is how I comfort myself. This is how I create the order I need. This is how I create the structure and the scaffolding to teach the lessons I want to teach. We are not working on the in-the-room-manners here. That lesson happens elsewhere. Here, we rest. It’s so relaxing and nice.
Only we rest and relax with a pool and a playground a 3 minute walk away so we get lots of exercise right before bed so we go to sleep easily.
This is why I pay for this. Because having people leap to help me with a smile has a cost and I am happy to pay it. I’m told that privilege can’t be bought, but advantages can. If I’m going to be a fucking rich person I’m going to occasionally pay for some fucking advantages.
Oh this is wonderful. And I have to not swear so I’ll get it out now.
Ahhh. Maybe not. I’m feeling pretty mellow. That was a happy fuck.
Cause I’m like that.
Thank you Noah.
I have quite the set up for our little mini kitchen. We don’t get a stove or a full size fridge so I brought our fridge up. The freshest food goes in the apartment fridge so the kids eat it first. The stuff they are allowed to grab at will is in an open container at a tempting eye-height. Other snacks are organized by priority in drawers cause I’m a neurotic fuck.
Tier two foods are things that we will access a lot on the trip for breakfast but they shouldn’t be freely snacked on during the rest of the day or we won’t have breakfast for the rest of the trip. We’re here almost three weeks. Be strategic.
Tier three foods are meal foods that probably require adult help because the microwave is hecka high.
Seems reasonable, right?
It is funny watching them stop asking for things every few minutes. It is kind of weird every time I see this tremendous example they just want to find out what the boundary is.
I can work with that.
Apparently, there is a certain level of beating on one another in the car that brings very unpleasant screaming.
Dude, I was going 60 miles an hour on the freeway, how am I supposed to react? I’m in an unfamiliar area during a frigging interchange. STOP FIGHTING RIGHT NOW.
I get kind of upset sometimes. I’m told I can be intimidatingly loud.
Well if you’d stop when I asked in a more moderate tone dozens of times.
I genuinely don’t know what else to do. I mean, sometimes I use the radio to startle them. But a good loud blast of sound is the only thing I can figure out to do when they go at it in the car.
I do not use the screaming method outside of the car. I separate them. In the car… THEY HAVE A TUMBLING MAT BETWEEN THEM AND THEY STILL REACH AROUND IT TO BEAT ON EACH OTHER.
Oh my. Yeah. Sibling stuff is complicated.
Mostly they get along really well. Sometimes… yeah. We have a long way to go on impulse control. But I don’t have a lot of room to complain. I was way the heck more violent than them.
This trip has had highs and lows, like all trips. I think being at the resort is going to be a high point. We are really excited to explore. We are ready to not be in the car.
The first thing we are doing is going over to child care to talk about options and schedules so the kids can pick times they want to be there.
I’m not sure what I’ll do. But I’ll go do something.
I feel a little weirdly guilty and ashamed. This is such a stupid thing to want to do. What a waste of money and time.
But it will be… so fun.
I love you Disney. Thank you for smiling at me.
I don’t understand why some places and some people feel comfortable and others feel so deeply invasive and hurtful I just have to run away. I don’t understand this mechanism very well.
My friends are combative people. Not 100% of them, but I pick people who prefer direct conflict and resolution over people who want to … avoid talking about the elephant in the room. As a result I’m very accustomed to people dressing me down. I’m very comfortable with someone saying, “You fucked up and I’m going to explain how in great detail.” I’m great with that.
I don’t do so hot with “You are rude.” Most people who say that are unable to even flesh out what they mean by it. It is some weird “not comfortable” feeling. I’m different from people they are used to and that means I’m rude.
I’m not a conformist. I do not have a desire to blend in with the crowd and avoid rocking the boat. I want to point out that the boat already has cracks in it and maybe we should rock it a bit more to test the breaking point so it doesn’t break all the way out at sea. Let’s do it near the shore and find out how safe we really are.
Tension, stress, and conflict all enable people to find out who they are. Your reactions when you don’t have time to think really define who you are. That is your Lizard brain in action. That’s the part of you that you don’t have full control over.
My Lizard brain tells me that if people think I’m rude I should be scared. I should be afraid of what they will do to me. When I was a kid being rude was greeted with soap in the mouth, a slap in the face, or a spanking. Hilariously, most of my beatings happened in school. I was not very respectful.
So I distrust and dislike people who want me to conform to middle class mores about avoiding conflict and trying to not be rude. I’d rather just be rude and take the punishment. I’m used to punishment.
Sometimes I think it is interesting how people don’t go looking for the best treatment they can get. They go looking for the treatment that makes them comfortable. For me, a lot of what makes me comfortable is pissing off people. I’m a contrarian. I spent my childhood being told that I was a rude asshole. Now I’m doing my best to prove people right because that’s my identity, right?
If you tell a little boy that he’s aggressive and awful because boys are like that… you are affirming that he should feel comfortable with that behavior.
I was told and told and told how rude and stupid and awful I am.
Why do I have so many assholes in my life? Because they make me comfortable. I can handle them better than I can handle the faux-polite people who want to shame me into conforming. The assholes will just yell at me and let me go about my business.
But I want to be a different person. I want my children to be different people. I want my children to get their sense of belonging from people treating them kindly not from people being abusive. I’m accustomed to abuse. It feels natural and appropriate. Both being abused and being abusive.
I have many abusive tendencies and I work very hard on controlling them. I do not want to pass on the hurt that was given to me.
But in order to learn different patterns you have to be around different kinds of people. I don’t really feel like I belong around people who aren’t direct, confrontational, and rather abrasive.
Part of what I love so much about the friendships I have developed is my friends don’t tend to hold back. They “tell me how they really feel”. I love it. I feel safe. I feel comfortable knowing that when I cross a line I’ll be told in blinking neon so I can’t miss the hint. They don’t soft shoe around problems and that means I trust them. I feel like I belong. I can be a bit explosive and say, “X is not ok for me” and my friends can hear that without shutting me down.
The visit in Nashville was wonderful. This visit in Georgia is shaping up to be amazing too.
Why are these visits so much easier? Oh lots of reasons. These are women I’ve known a long time. They are women that are very comfortable with me being direct because they are direct too. There is no shaming about how I’m doing everything wrong. They are ok if I want to do things for them and they are happy to help me since I’m so tired. I don’t feel like a burden and I don’t feel like I am being inappropriately self sufficient. This is wonderful.
I’m glad I didn’t wuss out and go home and miss these wonderful women. I feel so much love for them. I’m so glad they are in the world reminding me of the fact that there are intense wonderful people littered across the globe. You can’t tell how much you will like someone based on anything about their appearance or where they are standing. It’s a surprise.
I can talk about my insecurities and they aren’t minimized. I can talk about what I really want to do today and they don’t tell me they are disappointed because I don’t want to do something that is 20 times as energetic.
Tomorrow is my birthday. My friend has all the stuff in the house to make me a nice pineapple upside down cake. They are my favorite. And ice cream. Because yay ice cream!
It is funny to me that my friend feels safe in her neighborhood partially because there are a whole bunch of cops nearby. My eyes went wide and I said, “If I found that out about my neighborhood I’d move.” We had a fascinating conversation about relative safety and what makes each of us feel like we belong.
I’m mentally ill. I have to deal with the fact that people think I’m scary. Police officers shoot mentally ill people when they feel like it. It happens weekly if not more often than not. It’s not rare. The police scare the shit out of me. It’s odd to me that other people feel safer around police. I feel like having police officers in your neighborhood is kind of like living on an old mine field. You don’t know if you will explode as you walk around.
My kids feel like they belong anywhere. They are genuinely able to conform in a not-threatening-their-core-identity way.
Their core identity is still shifting so fast that who knows who they will turn out to be. I know that I really fucking like them. I respect them. I admire them. I’m grateful they exist and that I get to know them.
We didn’t hit homesickness until day 89. Until that point it felt very much like we bring the sense of home with us as long as we are together. I believe at this point that if Noah were with us… yeah we could travel indefinitely.
“Anywhere beside you is the place that I call home.”
I miss Noah. I miss the feeling that being around Noah gives me. Not the irritated with a cis-het-rich-white-man feeling. That bit I try to ignore. I’m more talking about the fact that Noah acts like it is an awesome thing that I’m in the world. Noah acts like his world is literally less bright without me. It is fascinating how hanging out together means that both of us fill with energy to go out and do things and create things and talk about things and change things.
We give one another energy. We give one another a sense of belonging and acceptance that neither of us are used to.
I miss Noah. Today is day 91. We see Noah again on day 133. That sounds heinous right this second. 42 days to wait? Evil. Terrible. Not. Cool.
But you know what? I’m glad I’m doing this. It won’t be hanging over my head as that thing I always wanted to do and I never did because I was afraid. I’ve thought about doing this every year since I turned 18. I was always too afraid.
My children give me courage. For you, I can do anything. I want to teach you about the world. I will be brave for you.
You are the reason I belong in a family. I will do anything I must do to have this continue in a manner that is healthy for both of you. You make me want to keep breathing. You make me want to get up and eat healthy food and be physically active and sleep well so I can find out what you are like in 40 years. I want to know you.
I’m so grateful I belong somewhere.
Maybe my internet will work well enough to hit post. Maybe not.
Noah told me a few weeks ago that he had a lot of anxiety heading into this trip. He thought that either I would decide that I was done with him and not really come back or I would decide that I never want to be away from him again.
Let’s go with option B. I can see why he was nervous about me wanting to leave–I’m kind of an asshole like that. But let’s go with option B.
The things about Noah that please me fill a very long list.
I am pleased by the fact that he puts a lot of effort into being cheerful for my benefit even though he might instinctively default to having a resting bitch face. Instead he knows that I am severely impacted by what he tries to reflect into the world and he works hard on being cheerful for me. The longer I am away from him the more apparent it is to me that this aspect of our interactions has a massive impact on my whole life. I feel so sad right now.
Noah cares about my body. I don’t mean he thinks I’m hot and he wants to fuck me. I mean that he has put a lot of effort into learning how to cook for me so that food can taste good and not make me sick. Literally no one else has ever put the amount of effort into caring about my body that Noah has. I don’t think I have tried as hard as he has to figure out my food issues. He’s … he is so nice to me.
Noah can listen to my words and not get tripped up by my tone of voice. This is wonderful and terrible, as I mentioned before. I feel safe with Noah because I can tell him why I am having an issue and I don’t have to worry about him getting upset with me because I expressed my issue in a tone of voice that would bother someone else. He just doesn’t care.
When something bothers me, there is a very short window where I can try to say something about it before it becomes a BIG DEAL and I will start yelling. I usually handle this badly. (I handled it horribly with Sarah and she’s the grown up other than Noah I’ve had to work on this the most with. I’m still trying. At this point I feel like my failures with Sarah are the biggest and most important fuck ups of the last decade and I am trying to compile a list of “No really fix this” so I can maybe one day actually deserve the honor of her friendship. I know I am not there now.) I kind of whisper/hint that I’m having a problem. If someone doesn’t jump on it and ask for more details and try to figure out just how big of a deal this little issue actually is… I stop talking about it. I won’t talk about it again unless I hit a point of screaming and screaming and screaming such that I can’t stop without just leaving. It really sucks. I wish I was better at this. I’m better than I was but I’m still in a really shitty spot. Once I get to the point of screaming it is really hard for me to calm down. I scream like that because I feel unsafe, intimidated, and like I don’t matter. It is really hard to get out of that mindset.
I know it isn’t fun for other people that I act like an animal in a trap. Noah can catch the whisper window and say, “Wait… I think you just brought up an issue. Is this a big issue or a little issue? How much should I pay attention to this?”
You know what? I didn’t even fucking realize I did it this way until I noticed Noah’s consistent reaction. He is very good at paying attention to me and noticing, “Ahhhh. If I catch her in this window it is easy. If I wait… it gets bad.” I don’t notice those windows very well. I don’t think I am very important. I don’t think that the first whispered request for someone to please pay attention to _______ is very important because I’m not very important.
Which means I either stop dealing with someone and walk away or I scream and then they don’t want to be my friend any more. Because I’m scary. Because I’m mean.
I’m leaving triggering situations on the trip as fast as I can. I got away from the guy who called me stupid. I have no reason to pursue a relationship with your family now. It would be toxic for me. Nope, there isn’t a second chance on this. There was a very small window during which I could find out if I can get along with your family and now I know y’all ain’t safe. You think I’m stupid and your wife thinks, “He wouldn’t say that.” Ok, I’m moving on.
I had a hard time with my friend’s dad in New Hampshire. I left days before I thought I would because I just can’t deal with being nice on his turf. Not when mild requests are responded to sharply. I’m going to just leave and deal with my body and my children where I don’t need to fucking ask for your permission.
So I feel like I’m improving. I’m not always looking for conflict.
I worry most about my handling of my friend in Ithaca. I was in a bad mental place before I arrived which means I had fewer spoons to give to dealing with him. I had a hard time with aspects of the visit but he wasn’t an asshole. He wasn’t insulting. He wasn’t a problem. He just… has preferences that aren’t mine. That is hard. When I say in a small voice that I think it is a good idea to stay in and cook and you insist on going out… well I will stop arguing because I can’t keep arguing and not turn into a raging bitch. That’s on me. But when I say no more than once…
I feel really sad. I don’t know how to defend my boundaries without behaving in a way that causes people to tell me that I’m a scary bitch. I’m really tired of people ignoring my soft “no” so that I can be told I’m a scary bitch when I say I SAID NO.
There is no way for me to win here. (This friend hasn’t ever called me a bitch. I’m conflating two situations. One current and one in the past. I’m not sure I will ever get over being pulled to the front of the room during a workshop on how to have boundaries as an example of what not to be like. “You don’t have to be like the biggest bitch on the beach when you say no”. Although the friend I was staying with told me repeatedly that I was scary. So it’s kinda triggering and these two events are kinda blurring together.)
I’m not feeling like I am ok.
In Pittsburgh one of my kids said something that was fairly rude to another kid. The other mother (appropriately and civilly) rebuked my kid. I am not upset about the actions of the mother–she was fine. I feel embarrassed and ashamed that my child behaved that way. I feel like it is a demonstration that I am a failure as a parent. I haven’t taught my kids how to be polite.
Noah is good at convincing me that I am not the center of everything and other people (including my children) are probably behaving as they are for reasons of their own and not because of me. I feel stupid that I need to be reminded of this so often and it really doesn’t stick as a lesson. Thankfully Noah keeps telling me.
Noah acts like being with me is pleasant. Not many people act like that. People tell me that they learn a lot from me. People tell me that I can be interesting or entertaining. But I wear people down. I scare them. I am disruptive and hard to get along with. Noah acts like I’m really an average level of difficult. The longer I travel the more I recognize what this means in my life. I’m tired of being just too much work for everyone.
Noah is patient with dealing with my body issues. I am frequently in overwhelming pain. He is nice to me about it. He doesn’t get impatient. He doesn’t act like I’m inconveniencing him… even when I am. When I was pregnant and so sick he acted like taking care of me was a necessary part of the deal and he wasn’t bitter.
For the whole rest of my life I am going to remember how nice Noah was about handling me when I was pregnant. I am so grateful that I never accidentally got pregnant with all of my slutting around. I have never in my life known another man who would have been as nice to me.
Noah is the only guy I’ve ever been involved with who liked that I was slutty and who didn’t try to control it. I feel completely offended by the many people I dated who thought they should be able to pimp me out when it is amusing to them. Never. Fucking. Tell. Me. I. Should. Fuck. Someone. Because. I. Said. They. Were. Cute. Who I fuck and when is under my control and your input is not welcome or wanted or appropriate.
I mean, I accept limitations better than I accept people telling me I should fuck another person. Never treat me like I am your whore to loan out. Never. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. This is an issue that makes me feel so fucking angry and degraded. How dare you think that you should have ANY input on what I do with my pussy.
My dad told me I should go fuck people. I don’t want to hear it from my friends or lovers.
Noah acts like my boundaries matter. He looks for my boundaries and he remembers them and he acts like they are important.
Noah acts like I am a person. Not a role to fulfill his needs.
I appreciate that Noah talks to me like I am smart. I think he is the man who has treated me like I am the smartest. I know a lot of smart guys. Mostly they think I’m stupid or they will give lip service to thinking I’m smart but in casual conversation it is obvious that they don’t think I’m that bright. Noah honest-to-fucking-Gawd thinks I’m smart. Noah is the only man I talk to on a regular basis who treats me like I might be an actual authority on some topics. Noah has physically watched me do research and no one else ever has. No one else has ever wanted to spend time with me when I’m not focused on them. Noah is ok with me being a complete person. Not every minute has to be focused on him.
Noah wants me to grow and change. He doesn’t want me to stay the same so that I can fulfill his bullshit adolescent fantasies forever. I’m not supposed to remain an immature 23 year old kid forever just obsessed with looking for new sex partners. It is ok with him that I change what I want and how I act. It is so very validating.
Noah encourages me to travel and have adventures. I haven’t met a man on this trip who is so encouraging of their partner. I am grateful I picked the man I picked.
To be fair, he is the one who showed up out of the blue to ask me to marry him–not the other way around. But I was going to ask him to knock me up. He was the best choice. I was so right.
I should… do something other than type.
Gosh I miss you Noah. I’m glad I get to see you in a week. I’m already fucking flipping out that I won’t see you at all in September. I’m a fucking idiot for planning a trip this long. WAAAAAAAAAAA
Today we leave Dad’s house. That will be hard. I have really enjoyed my time here. Although it will also be a good thing. I’m sleeping for shit. I’m thinking a thousand thoughts a minute about all the things I want to say to him and we save our conversations for after the kids are in bed so… I’m way short on sleep. I need to move on before I hurt myself.
The talking has been wonderful. You know how I sometimes go on these really big tirades and write and write and write about politics and race and rape and incest and money and class and… heh. You know how I “sometimes” do that? Yeah he got the in person version over the last week. He has looked kind of stunned. I’ve never uhm shared my opinions on such a diverse array of topics quite so freely before. He’s kind of re-meeting me.
You want to claim you are my Dad so you need to get to know me. We’ve had several pointed, “Are you committed to this relationship?” conversations.
Apparently his bio-daughter is not very happy about me. I can understand that and I hold no rancor in my heart. I’m sorry that my existence makes her uncomfortable. I can understand why it does. All of the other “daughters” have been girlfriends who moved on. I haven’t. I’m not a girlfriend and I never have been. I’m an adopted kid. Who he has beaten and fucked. Because that has been part of my relationship with all of my dads.
I can understand why that would make someone uncomfortable. I’m on a fucking weird life path.
But he’s ok walking that path with me and I don’t really care if other people approve or not. He is adapting to the changes in our relationship. We have had an incredibly frank and detailed conversation about the changes in boundaries in my sex life. “What if I did ____?” “Well you’d have a time of untangling your fingers from your internal organs after I ripped your arm off and shoved it down your neck.” “Ok then. So you’re saying that is off the table.” “Yup.”
Quite frankly I think this is an incredibly healthy transition for both of us. We are consciously committing to a mutually supportive relationship that doesn’t have to be based on hurting one another. The hurting one another wasn’t a problem when it was where we both were. I’m not there right now. Are you with me or not?
He says he is with me.
He is scared about some of my choices. He asked me last night if I was truly aware of how much I was risking my life with some of the choices I make in terms of activism. I said I was fully aware that women who speak publicly about the things I choose to speak about often get killed. I’m aware that the status quo doesn’t like what I think.
Dad got to hear about the full extent of my suicidality this trip. He’s had dim awareness that I was a cutter.
It is kind of funny to me how people claim to know me… but don’t read my blog… and wow… they don’t know shit. I think I unload my emotions on fewer people than I think. I’m really hard on the people I unload on… but the list isn’t that long. I think I perceive myself as someone who dumps on everyone who walks by… but that isn’t how it goes. I have more boundaries than I think I do.
I am continually surprised to find out that people have known me for a decade and a half and they don’t know major facts about my life.
I can recite your fucking bio in my sleep. I know details about your life before I met you. I can rattle off your hobbies and accomplishments and fuck ups with great specifics.
What the fuck do you mean you don’t know much about me?! WTF!?
I’m self absorbed. Everyone should function like me. Ahem.
I’m going to miss Dad. And I am never going to live near him full time. Our relationship would dissolve and I like it very much. I like the support I get when I see him. He doesn’t have the stamina for me. He can’t be the kind of consistent I need on a regular basis. I can handle what he has to give when I visit once a year. I don’t resent his limits this way. I just adapt while I’m here.
I ask tactless questions a lot to frame how ridiculous we both are. “So my control freak issues are running into your control freak issues. Which part of this one is your real bug-a-boo? The process or the result because you vary from issue to issue.”
He kind of glares at me for a minute as he thinks about it. Then we discuss it and work out how we can adapt to one another.
It is weirdly a lot of fun for me. He is really ok with blunt negotiations. The bdsm community has been good for him. If you can say, “What I really want to do is tie your legs wide open so I can single tail your clit” you can have a conversation about just about any stupidly specific and personal topic.
Ok.. that isn’t actually true about everyone in the scene. But it is true of the two of us and I love that about him.
We’ve talked a lot about eating and dietary choices with the kids. Exercise habits. Modeling and why we do the things we do. Being responsible to and for our kids and how that creates a permanent reason to take care of ourselves because… we owe them a long life.
He says I have made him think about many of his choices in new ways. I believe that.
Last night he told me he feels adrift and he isn’t sure how to get ahead of the curve. He’s had a really hard several years. I said, “That sounds like a request for advice.” He said yes.
Oh I gave advice. “What you need to do is over the next year ask for help from Person A and Person B and Person C and go through the house and the storage unit. Sell anything you don’t have a really strong desire to keep. Donate what you can’t sell. Time to downsize. You don’t need a big house and property and you can’t keep up with the work. Sell before you degrade the house and can’t make money back. Buy something outright. Buy something small and manageable.”
He has inherited the estates of three rich people. He has an overwhelming amount of stuff and he simply can’t afford to keep the shit. He didn’t get the money. That went to charities. He just got burdened with the shit.
People are hilarious. They really don’t think about what they are doing to the people around them.
Get it in your head that you are putting the house on the market in June of 2016. That will be the end of your time here. 14 years in one spot.
It’s going to be hard to leave. His second marriage had its whole life here. But she’s gone and he has to move on. He can’t support this household without her.
Life is about constantly changing your goals as your resources and abilities change. Things go up and down and you have to be realistic about your capabilities or you will over-promise and under deliver. Or you can sell yourself short and never attain the things you are capable of doing.
Re-evaluate yourself. Where do you want to be putting your time and energy? Do you really want to have to spend 30+ hours a week on cleaning and house maintenance only to watch it fall into constant decline because it really needs 60 hours of work every week? That’s depressing. You feel like a constant failure even though you really are doing your best.
I’m going to cry a lot when he moves. This is Francesca’s house. She loved me here. She made me feel safe here. She is a lot of the reason Dad and I worked out some bumps in the early years. I miss her very much. But our obligation to her is over. It is time to sell off her stuff and her step-dad’s stuff and her mom’s stuff and move on.
She died before we could pay our debt to her. That’s a guilt we have to bear and move on with.
We can take that and pay it forward. That is how she would want us to do it. She wouldn’t want us to wither at home with shame and regret. She would want us to pay it forward. She would say we don’t owe her. We owe the universe. It’s never really a two way street.
That’s what is so hard about parenting. It’s never really reciprocal. I have taken more from Dad than I’ve given. Mostly… what I can give at this point is support as he transitions to a different sense of self.
He’s not a swinging bachelor of means. He needs to stop trying to act like he is. That time of life is over.
There are consequences to not seeing how you are changing. How many do you want to have smack you in the face?
He asked me if I believed he was capable of change at this point in his life. I laughed and said I wouldn’t be in his house if he hadn’t changed and changed again over the last decade and a half. Yes. I believe you are capable of changing. It’s not the tooth fairy. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen you adapt. I’ve seen you resolve to improve on how you manage specific issues. Yes, there have been back slides in some areas, but you continue to improve in broad swaths.
But life is complicated. As you improve in some areas you completely screw up other areas. That’s how it goes.
It seems to me that wisdom is partially understanding that you will never be good at everything. You will never have the inter-personal abilities plus money abilities plus physical abilities plus education abilities and and…
Look at what you actually do with your time. You are good at parts of it. The rest… well… it’s done enough. THE HOUSE DIDN’T BURN DOWN. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!
I don’t cook much. I can’t do it. I turn into a screaming banshee.
It’s not that I “can’t cook”. I can actually cook quite well. But I need to be calm and have a lot of patience and a lot of quiet and a lot of time and nothing else going on in order to do it in a peaceful way. Or I start twitching and shrieking things like, “JUST GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN BEFORE I STRANGLE YOU OH MY GOD WHY DID YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO DO?!?!?!!?!”
I understand that this is part of an age old tradition between mothers and daughters. But with the whole home schooling thing… it’s a problem if I won’t show them how to do things. So it’s complicated.
I’ve been priming the pump with the kids about how things will shift when we leave Grandpa’s house. We are going to a dun dun dun… screen free house. Ok, they own a tv. A big one. But they don’t turn it on. Or they use it for internet browsing. They watch very occasional cooking shows or Myth Busters. They are basically a kid screen-free house.
So uhm, don’t spend all day talking about video games and cartoons. You can talk about books, games you like to play, imaginary stuff you like to do… lots of topics. Don’t spend all day talking about the Minecraft tutorials. That is horribly boring when someone isn’t interested. We won’t be there very long. Be polite.
I have no idea if Shanna is listening. We’ll see.
We came here from Aunt Cookie’s and her only tv watching is Martha Stewart show reruns and Mayberry because her parrot will repeat things from the television. She won’t risk a peppery word in her house. (I kind of horrified her. And the kids taught the parrot to say “poop poop poop”. She was not pleased.) It’s not like we can’t get along with folks who don’t do video games. But she had to listen to a lot about the tutorial makers. Her eyes glazed over. I tried to rescue her.
Shanna can give you a full run down on the benefits and deficits of different tutorial makers and I think it is hilarious. I only half listen. I stood and listened to the new one for a few minutes last night. I wasn’t pleased. He’s an asshole. I told her flat out, “I like so-and-so and I like that other guy because they are silly and kind in how they give instructions. I don’t like this new guy. The way he is saying his friend might not really be a boy because he hasn’t seen proof? That’s bullshit. That’s a jerk thing to do. Questioning someone else’s gender is not ok. If I ever hear you do that, you aren’t watching this channel any more. If you want to know that assholes like that exist I’m not going to stop you from finding out they exist. But you had better not become one.”
Her eyes were kind of big. She nodded and said, “I wouldn’t do that. I just thought it was cool how he built _____.”
“That’s fair enough. He did build a cool ______. I can see why you would admire it. Feel free to learn his Minecraft skills. Don’t learn his interpersonal skills.”
Man this is a quoting-myself-heavy-post. I want to share it with Noah. I miss you, oh my witness. I WANT TO TALK AT YOU FOR ABOUT TWELVE HOURS STRAIGHT.
I miss you.
I’ve gotta say, it’s kind of wild talking about a lot of the things I write about. To an entrenched white male. Oh man. It’s interesting phrasing and efforts. I have extreme biases. I’m aware of that. I’m working on and with where I am right now.
Dad is a soft sell on many of my more radical ideas. He will listen and help me construct rebuttals to arguments. Not necessarily on purpose, but he argues with me and that gives me practice debating the things I’m going to need to be able to debate without shrieking.
Not sure I can ever be a cook in a high pressure situation though. That may be beyond me in this lifetime.
The trip is going well. I am so gosh darned tired I feel like I might slip into a puddle and never solidify into a solid being again.
I had a hard time with Noah’s aunts. They grew up in particular times and places and they believe what they believe. Unfortunately for them there is a whole bunch of evidence proving that their beliefs suck.
I am highly dysregulated. I am having a hard time calming down. Too many conversations about poverty and homelessness and race. I really don’t respect the opinions they have.
One aunt spent a long time telling me about how much she enjoys reading the journals of settlers and colonials. They only killed people when they had no choice.
Uhm… go read something written by the folks that the settlers barely avoided killing. You will hear a very different story.
No. The white assholes who showed up on this continent because they were being chased out of their European homes did not kill Native Americans because the Natives were trying to persecute the white people. No. No. No. No.
We are interlopers here. We do not get to claim that our existence here is just about our basic survival. We are stealing in order to survive.
Depending on how you look at it, all humans have been thieves since the beginning. We steal from plants and animals in order to survive. That’s complicated. It’s a hard ethical conundrum. Vegetarians believe that by not eating flesh that you are fine for how you are stealing. Vegans think it must be even more strict and milk and eggs are also over the line.
But no one ever objects to stealing from the artichokes or carrots or cauliflower. We’ve decided they can’t matter.
But that’s kind of funny.
Throughout history many groups of human beings have decided that other groups of human beings don’t matter in similar ways. Sometimes we make these evaluations based on race. Sometimes based on economic privilege. Sometimes based on work choices. If you look around the planet, folks feel free to shit on sex workers in almost every country that exists. Even though sex work is one of the most universal, oldest professions that exists. We still want to punish any individual who engages in it.
One of the aunts spent a lot of time telling me that she hated the Occupiers and she thinks folks who are homeless are just lazy and they need to get a job.
I told her, are you aware that it takes two or more full time jobs to afford rent, not including utilities or food or a car in most states for people who work minimum wage? You bought your property in 1981 with help. No, other people can’t do what you did. It is really awful for you to think that people who can’t do what you did are lazy. How dare you.
You bought a property for fairly cheap. You had help for 20 years of your mortgage. How dare you say that other people who can’t do what you did are lazy.
This is not about lazy.
Are you aware that the largest race riot in our American history was white people who were jealous that black people were doing too well? But we’ve had a lot of race riots. Mostly they erupt because white people are persecuting non-whites. It is bullshit.
I don’t deal well with people who are incapable of seeing the layers of privilege that built their lives. We are all made up of support and relationships with people. Unfortunately there are major demographics who have traditionally not received support. And they are currently struggling much more significantly than demographics that have traditionally received more support.
I want to equalize that. We can’t go back and fix everything bad that has ever happened. I don’t want to. That’s not the point of life. But we can make it so the people who are alive right now have more access to ways to better their lives.
We don’t have to punish people for being disadvantaged. We don’t have to punish people for being icki and poor and not what we want to look at. We can choose compassion. We can choose to help people just because they exist and they should exist.
I want you to exist. Even when I don’t like you. Even if I want to shout at you because your opinions are just flat terrible. You do worthy things. Even if those things don’t benefit me in any way shape or form. Not everything is about me.
Not everyone has to benefit me in order to be worthy.
I’m getting better at defending the intensity of my opinions without having to scream at people and tell them how much I hate them for having the opinions they have. I’m glad for that. I am modeling better behavior for my children. I am teaching them to be fierce, but not mean.
I’m trying. I’m trying to model what I think should exist. Have strong opinions. They matter. They help. They are important. But try to express them in a way that will educate instead of alienate.
I really suck at that.
Last night was so awesome. Dad and I got stoned together and I unloaded on him. He’s not an emotional guy. He doesn’t really want to hear about feelings. Ha ha mother fucker. You adopt me and you get what you get. If you want to be my Dad you get to find out what I’m like. And that means listening to an hour or so of emotional unloading every other year or so. Suck it, buddy. Just cope. You can manage.
He did. He’s wonderful to me. I listened to what was going on with his life. He is struggling more than I am. That’s… kind of weird to me. He’s supposed to be the stable grown up. Only now I’m the stable grown up. How the fuck did that happen?
He’s had a hard time since his wife died. Things have been rocky. It makes sense. That has been seven years now. His business failed and that was really hard financially and emotionally. He likes his current job, but it doesn’t pay that much and he has a lot of bills. Complicated. He’s really depressed.
He expresses admiration for my obsessive saving. Which is awkward. I appreciate his positive feedback on my skills but it is uncomfortable too. I don’t think I should be doing better than other people. That is not my self-perception. If I do something well, emotionally, I want it to be because any one can do it and it isn’t very hard. That isn’t true any more though. I’m good at a lot of things that most people suck at. I am an incredibly skilled person.
That’s hard to accept sometimes. I don’t ever get to use the excuse that I just can’t any more. I can find a way. That’s daunting. Overwhelming. Too much pressure. I don’t want to be able to find a way. I want to have the excuse that I don’t have to.
But I’m exceptionally competent. If I don’t do something it is probably because I choose not to and not because I can’t. That’s…
Shit. I’m out of excuses. I like excuses.
Talking to Dad is intense on a variety of levels. As the years go by I am increasingly willing to share my opinion on what I see. “You are selfish in a short sighted way. If we could get your selfishness to see the long-view then I think your romantic life would improve.” He is strangely willing to listen to me now whereas ten years ago he snorted and said what the hell do I know.
Now he’s had two marriages go badly and mine is doing well and he’s willing to listen.
He spent a lot of time questioning whether I was on the road trip because my marriage is rocky. He had a really hard time believing that Noah would be ok with this kind of separation unless we were on the verge of divorce.
Nope, we are very happy together. Lots of sex. Lots of good conversation. We really enjoy one another’s company. But I’m a traveler and he’s not. He loves me anyway just like I love him for being a home body. We are ok with supporting one another through divergent experiences. We don’t have to do everything together. It’s ok if we are different.
It is part of why I am so very happy to be married to Noah. He doesn’t want a Mrs. Noah Gibbs who is there to facilitate his life. He wants to be partnered with Krissy Gibbs. Who is bad ass and does cool things.
He’s bummed when people think I’m cool because he married me. He thinks that is missing the point of me. I am not cool because he sticks his dick in me. I’m cool so he wants to stick his dick in me. People should get the order right.
I really like Noah. I am ridiculously happy to be married to someone who trusts me and who works as hard as he works. I like hard workers. I like people who pick goals and then put their head down and accomplish them come hell or high water. I really like Noah. He inspires me. He also taunts me and I want to punch him for it. But I don’t because we do not have that kind of relationship.
Noah causes me to think really hard about my ever expanding repertoire of skills. He isn’t ok with me minimizing my abilities. He says, “Nope. You don’t get to think you are incompetent any more. You probably never were but you don’t get to think it now.”
I cannot express what knowing him has meant to me. He believes in me. He believes in me the way other people believe in G-d. He thinks I can just do things. So I can.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen to the world if everyone had someone who believed in them as much as Noah believes in me. It would be a really incredible planet. I wish I could see that planet.
I want to be part of a world where people build one another up instead of tearing each other down. That was the hard part of dealing with the aunts. I didn’t want to tear them down in the process of educating them and that is hard. Tearing people down is so much easier than building them up.
How do you teach people to see that they are privileged because they grew up with a highly educated parent who had the ability to teach them a variety of skills that other people never know exists? How do you teach people to see that they are lucky and blessed because they got to have abusive help for a period of time?
Some people get no help at all. Not even packaged with abuse. No one wants to help them from the get-go.
Can we get over this idea that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? That’s a crock of shit. The people who survive and who do well are people who have neighbors who show up to help. Not people who do it alone.
I’ve tried doing it alone and I’ve tried finding a network of support. Finding the network is horrifyingly hard. It is emotionally draining and hurtful. There are hundreds of false starts. It feels hopeless most of the time. But then you notice that this time when you fell down someone was there to grab your elbow and keep you from landing on the concrete.
I believe in the MonkeySphere. I believe my connections to human beings are the reason I am alive. Mostly through Shanna and Calli and Noah, but my friends are important. My friends matter so much.
If I weren’t at Dad’s house I wouldn’t be able to see the extent of how much he loves me and would do if I needed it. He’s never going to be able to provide financial support–he might need it in the future. But he has been emotional support for almost 16 years. He has supported me through many different changes in my life. He adapts with me as I change radically and he really wishes he didn’t have to.
I see you. I appreciate you.
Looks like my kids are going to be his grandkid experience. His bio-kids are respectively one and two years younger than me. His son is only going to have children if there is a catastrophic accident and he’s considering pre meditative surgery. Just to be safe. Dad’s bio-daughter is 30 and doesn’t have a partner. Her mom would like her to have kids but she isn’t real interested in single parenting and things aren’t lining up.
It is weird seeing that I am creating a place for myself. I am in the middle of generations. I help interpret going up and going down. I really appreciate that I get to spend so much of my life teaching people how to get along. Kids and adults. That probably isn’t how other people see how I spend my time… but it is how I see what I’m doing. I give other adults a lot of feedback. I try to do it in ways that won’t cause them to turn around and yell at me to back off (I’m pretty deft) but I’m a bossy motherfucker. I’m going to volunteer my view whether you like it or not.
And there are people who keep me around even though I’m highly obnoxious. My life is great.
Last night I told Dad that I feel very safe unloading on him at this point because I know that he likes having me around. He laughed and asked why I am so sure. I said, “I’ve watched you for a lot of years. When you are done with people you get mean. Your jokes are more and more cutting. You point out their flaws more frequently and with more venom. It is hard to watch when you are doing it to people I like. It is part of why I don’t spend more time with you. I don’t want to wear out my welcome. You have never treated me that way and I want to continue this trend.”
He got quiet and thoughtful. After a while he nodded and said, “You are right. I do like you a lot. I’m not sick of you.” He didn’t say that much more about it. He’s not the sort.
I’m sitting in Dad’s back yard resting. I’m thinking about doing some weeding. He’s been really sad and just isn’t keeping up with the house and yard. I cleaned his pipes this morning. If you are going to pollute your lungs, at least don’t do it through an inch of tar, come on.
I’ll clean the kitchen after lunch and before I make dinner. Boy it needs it. I’ll probably clean the bathroom tomorrow because there is mildew starting. This house is more than twice the size of my house, I can see why he is having a hard time keeping up. He used to be able to pay help and now he can’t. I think he should down size but it’s complicated.
Everything is complicated.
Maybe the girls and I will come out here and weed his beds and run over to a nursery. We can put a handful of low-maintenance veggies in so he continues to feel loved after we leave. It is weird how plants do that. I don’t understand it, but I’m starting to see it and exploit the loop hole. Yay for exploitable techniques.
Holy moly we’ve been seeing great yards. Aunt Cookie and my friend W have gorgeous yards. These ladies are accomplished. It was a real treat to visit and see the results of their hard work. I feel so inspired. I need to touch some dirt. I need to put in more plants. The planet needs more plants.
Maybe I can ask him if one of his beds can be a wild flower seed mix for birds and butterflies. So when the flowers come up he can think of us.
We love you and we want you to be here.
I love pot. Today I’m not driving so I’m heavily medicated. Right in this moment I feel like if the biggest burdens in my life are dealing with some classist, racist, mostly decent people… I can work with that. I like educating people. I will learn how to talk about these topics. It is very important to me that people like them learn why they are wrong. I understand that they will be more likely to listen to someone they perceive as being like them. They see me as being like them.
They are wrong as fuck, but that’s ok.
It’s an exploitable loop hole. No, I’m not like you. But I know how to ape some of your class markers and I have learned to do so out of self-preservation. I have learned how to make people like you stop hitting me. I’m not like you.
I’m never going to stop being a fierce person. I believe it is necessary. But I want to learn how to temper it when I choose. I want it to be more under control. I want it to be a tool in my tool box and not the defining explanation of what I’m like. I believe that being capable of violence is necessary for self preservation. I’m going to get better at being lethal and learn how to stop the bullshit posturing.
I don’t need to win the dick contests. Even though mine is bigger.
I don’t like what I win. How is being the biggest dick a good thing?
Well, it’s a good thing when I can get men to back the fuck off of being bossy and/or controlling but quick. There has to be another way.
What is the path? Who knows. I’m just walking.
My overwhelming joy at adding Portland to the trip makes me feel like it is the right choice. I emailed folks with confirmation and received responses with lots of exclamation points.
I feel scared. Sometimes being scared means that I don’t feel brave enough to walk near people because I’m afraid that they don’t love me and really they wish I would just go away and stop bothering them. No, it’s not rational. Yes, it is very annoying.
I’m doing my best. I’m reaching out as much as I can. I am traveling as far as I can to meet people. If they want to meet me partway then I can find a way to include them. Partway doesn’t have to be in miles. It is emotional. If people let me know that I am important and they really want to see me…
I’m kind of like a stray dog. If you love me I am yours.
I am very happy we get to see Aunt Cookie. She has been a wonderful lady to me for years. I am very happy that blacksheep will be in Portland. Dad said he is going to take some time off work to spend with us. He apologized for being lame about writing.
I know that most of my friends have as many reasons to have psych problems as me. Ok, maybe not quite as many reasons… but enough. Plenty. A surfeit.
If I can’t love them where they are, how they are… then I get nothing.
I continue to struggle with the fact that people can only do their best. If it isn’t enough that isn’t their fault and you can’t punish them for that.
I get to see my friends. I will get loved on. I will get to hear stories. I will sit with people who have known me for all of the years of my adulthood. I will get to bring my children to the knee of people in their family for stories.
That’s a big deal to me. I want my children to find out about their family. Their aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. I don’t know much about my family and the bits I do know about I mostly won’t share with children this young. Noah’s family is what there is to offer. So I will travel far and wide to make it possible for my children to find out who they are and where they come from. This is as much of your story as I can make plain for you. I’m doing my best.
I have been feeling not ok about missing Aunt Cookie. I’ve been feeling sad about missing my friends.
It’s funny how sometimes making a decision lets you know that it is the wrong decision.
I feel so much gratitude that I get to go through this process. That I get to learn these lessons and see these people and have these experiences. I am going to have a lot of fun.
Today has been another emotional roller coaster. I’m glad it was a happy one.
It has been occurring to me for a few weeks that I should probably buy some clothes before the road trip. This is because I do not have a pair of non-yoga pants that fit me. All but one of my “casual” dresses has multiple holes in the seams and they are fraying. The one casual dress that is still in good shape… I’ve had since I was 14. I need to find a seamstress and have them make four copies of this dress and I’ll be set for clothes for life. But that one dress isn’t going to be enough clothing for a five month trip—even though it is awesome. I am not especially comfortable in yoga pants and t-shirts because “Why yes, this is my butt. Why don’t you COMMENT ON IT BECAUSE APPARENTLY IF A WOMAN WEARS FUCKING YOGA PANTS ASSHOLES HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMMENT ON HER BUTT.”
Being at the con is fascinating for me on this front. I dressed up more than usual. I have read lots of studies about how people treat women better if they dress better. When I’m feeling scared and unsure of myself, I’m more likely to put on makeup. Because I’m me, that means lipstick and eyeliner. I wipe anything else off by accident. Doesn’t look so hot after a while. I can keep on lipstick and eyeliner.
In the past when I’ve gone to conventions dressed very schlub-like (as in: more normal for me) people didn’t talk to me much. I haven’t walked more than a few feet this time without people wanting to talk.
I like wearing knee length dresses over yoga pants. That’s kind of the ideal coverage for me. Folks don’t comment on my ass and I still have as much comfort plus freedom of movement. In this environment I look quite conservative, which is sorta funny to me. I look so unusual compared to the crowd that women feel free to tell me that I’m overdressed and how I must by overheating. Uhm, actually I’m cold.
Just because I’m at a convention does not mean I should be running around in a bikini or similar cosplay. Not My Scene. (I’m totally ok with folks doing that. I’m not hating! I just don’t want to be told I should be doing it just because other people might enjoy looking at me dressed that way. Your fantasy should stay in your head and I shouldn’t have to hear about it.)
This con has been a weird hybrid space for me. Lots of the adults are con-regulars. They go to lots of kinds of conventions and the conversations get pretty racy. There are also a lot of kids here. This is hard for me to handle. So far I’ve been directing my kids away from festive conversations “They are talking about boring grown up stuff” or I try to watch my mouth in front of the teenagers who are here.
Had an incident with Shanna and Calli running ahead of the child care people to get on an elevator alone. Cue heart attack. Layers of adults were upset. Shanna…. Kid…. This needs to stop. This is not the first time this month you have run off. I think the leash is going to have to be tightened up a lot because you are not behaving responsibility. If you want a longer leash and more responsibility, you need to bloody well act like you can handle it. Right now that isn’t happening. If I spent over an hour (cumulatively) in the past month searching for you because you disappeared… this is becoming a problem. No. No. No. It has happened on multiple outings.
Do you really want to go back to not being allowed to be farther from me than being able to touch me? I thought we outgrew that space. But we can go right back to it if necessary! It is more important to me to keep you safe than to give you distance. You bet your buttons little missy. At like 10 we can renegotiate checking in before you wander off. Not at 6. Not when we are places we have never been before. No.
I bought too many books. By “too many” I mean… it’s a good thing Noah came on Friday and brought a load of books back with him mid-weekend because I bought more and I probably would not have been able to get them all home on public transit alone….
I found SO MANY wonderful looking books I’ve never heard of. And many of the authors were right in front of me! How could I turn down such an opportunity.
For the record: I am not alone at the conference with the kids. Sarah has been a lifesaver on so many levels. She did kid programming with the kids while I was doing panels. She hangs out with them when I want to do stuff. This is so awesome. I am having a lot of fun and a lot of that is because of Sarah’s company and help. I’ve missed her a lot.
It is funny to me how relationships drift and change. There are folks who have passionately made declarations of loyalty and love to me. Most of them have left nothing but a vapor trail to remember them by. Some people have said, “Motherfucker you treat me right or I’m walking”… and mostly they are still here. Because I’m working hard on how to treat them. I think it is important that they be treated well and I’m really sorry when I fuck up.
I feel guilty for waking Sarah up so early this morning. Otherwise it’s been a great trip. This convention has been wonderfully fun for me.
Reading kids books was fun and it was a super good idea that I brought a whole stack. We went through lots. I thought that one of my co-readers in particular put me to shame. She works at a childrens book store and she can read upside down so the kids can see the pictures better. I’m so spoiled with sitting on a couch with two kids. Totally different reading experience. I suppose saying she shamed me is an awful way of putting it. Ok, better reframe: I saw someone truly inspirational. She was amazing at reading aloud and making it accessible to kids. She also picked hilarious books I will have to look around for and get. I will try to steal tricks from someone who is so wise in the management of young feral animals. The other reader brought some really interesting books. I will look for the one on Chinese musical instruments. And his other book, The Shy Creatures went through all kinds of nifty, historical, fantastic monsters. It would be a great introduction to all sorts of Western Lit stuff.
I was alright. I had too much caffeine so I was literally shaking the whole time. Good things kids don’t care. I was “a little tired”. Next time I’m a “little tired” I’m having more tea and not a damn Foosh mint.
Then I went to the imposter syndrome panel! Apparently we were up against the most popular event on the schedule. Whoops. But we had a full room! People were standing against the back wall and sitting on the floor on the sides! That was SO COOL! Not that they were there for my star power or anything. But it was great to have a packed room. I’ve been to lots of panels with 3 person audiences. They turn into group discussions instead of panels.
The chair of the convention asked me to moderate, which is my idea of a good time. So I wrote up a document with information about imposter syndrome statistics and data, ways to deal with it, and ways to assess how much danger you are really in. I made a point of saying that there is a difference between imposter syndrome and feeling incompetent. If you have a long and impressive resume and you tell yourself that you suck… you have imposter syndrome. If you haven’t done anything yet…. you don’t have imposter syndrome you have low self esteem. BUT! The treatment for low self esteem looks VERY SIMILAR to the treatment for imposter syndrome so let’s tackle both problems.
I talked about how to tell the difference between ambient fear/anxiety that “I’m not good enough” vs. evaluating that some demographics are in *real danger* when they write. You need to honor the fear that is trying to keep you alive. There are reasons for some demographics to be terrified. It *is* dangerous. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are being melodramatic. Writers are killed to be silenced on a fairly regular basis. History is littered with such stories.
I talked about how different people have different intersections to explain and why that is so important. Often in that intersectional identity is where you feel the most repression and you must get over it. Your voice must be heard. You are needed.
We talked about dealing with emotional blocks. We offered suggestions from video games to hysterical crying. Truly we covered all the bases. Ha. (Obviously I was the crier.)
Afterwards a bunch of people came up and told me they got a lot out of the panel and they were so glad to hear me speak.
Also, yesterday in the con suite I had a long chat with another mom. We were both in the disabilities in writing panel and she mentioned having a disabled son and how that impacts her life/reading/writing/etc. When I saw her later I felt a little awkward interrupting… she was sitting there typing and minding her own business. But it was super wonderful. We had a great chat. We talked about dealing with the special ed system and home schooling and unschooling and benefits and pitfalls. We talked about having PTSD and managing that.
I love conventions. I meet such interesting people.
I specifically love writing conventions because THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE TOLD ME COLLEGE WOULD BE LIKE only they were fucking liars. Smart people getting together to have fun conversations about books. My college experience wasn’t much like that. But how much of it is my fault because I went through college sleeping in a steel cage.
Ok, I didn’t sleep in the cage every night. It hurt my back too much. It was only 3’x3’x4′. When I wasn’t in the cage I was chained to the foot of the bed. I wasn’t sitting out all night long having fun conversations about books.
Maybe this is why I love conventions so much. It is the ideal of what college could be if college weren’t so shitty.
Kind of like how every once in a while there is a positive medical experience and you’re like WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME?!
Next con, I am not going to have working shifts on every day. It means I miss a lot of stuff because I’m in transition periods to and from work shifts and I can’t really engage in other things. 6 hours of working split over three days doesn’t sound like a lot. But it always blocks me from doing things I want to do… I like volunteering. I’m not complaining about helping. But I think I need to work on how I schedule my time.
I feel like this convention has been very positive for me. I’ve had a lot of fun. I have felt included in community. I have felt like my tribe is happy to have me back. I’ve run into a lot of folks I met when I was 19. It is shocking to me how happy they are to see me. They are thrilled to meet my kids. They want to hear all about home schooling.
Sometimes I think I am entirely blind to what I mean to other people. I really don’t see or understand the impact I have on other people. They are interested in me–even though I think everyone has no use for me. A lady writer I have admired for many years said, “Send me an email. We need to have dinner together. I want to spend more time with you and your wonderful children.” My heart went pitter patter. She’s one of those awesome educators that taught me about having boundaries and having a self. And she wants to come hang out with me and have dinner.
Squee, flap hands, jump up and down, all those mature things. Yes. Yes I will invite you over.
Because clearly I have buckets of free time. But, like the smallest chicken says in Chicken Big “But we’ll make room!”
Today is our last day of the con. I work in child care. Not sure if I will see another panel. The final panel I could go see is one that I was supposed to be on but I backed out because I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not sure I can name any Sci/Fi Fantasy books set in suburbia…
That’s ok. The kids and I can go swimming instead. I arranged for late check out so that pool access will be easy. Whee!
It has been a good weekend. A really good weekend. I remember why I used to go to these sorts of things more often. I’m a writer. I like talking to other writers. We are a weird breed. In particular this crowd is very ok with the mentally ill existing. I feel safe here. I feel like announcing that I have PTSD is just a way for more people to know to introduce themselves and say, “Me too.” I don’t get shamed here. I don’t get put down. No one makes fun of me for being crazy. The attitude is a sage nod of the head and “That sounds hard.”
I love my tribe.
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.
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.
I 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.
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.
FYI: We will not be hosting Easter this year. Easter falls on the same weekend as the My Little Pony conference and our bathroom will be ripped apart for a remodel.
Mortgage is below $180,000 now. Whoa. And I am taking out a huge loan so I can be more in debt. Oh man that seems stupid. But I want to fix all this stuff. How am I going to pay off not only this $180,000 but an additional $100,000 in the next six years? Realistically… five years.
How am I going to do this? Technically, the HELOC is a lower interest rate than my mortgage. And the HELOC will have an early repayment penalty. It is kind of feeling like rolling a bunch into the mortgage is smartest. The HELOC has to take at least three years to pay off. And the more I send to the mortgage the faster I pay it off the less interest over time. I’m already to the point where each payment is way more than 50% principle.
I’m feeling ridiculously tempted to send $20k to the mortgage. I want to do it. I don’t want to do it. Oh man.
I have ~ $105k in cash and ~ $180k in current debt. That means that between where I want to be and where I am right now I need to come up with an extra $200k. Pretty much. In five years. On top of all the ridiculously expensive things I like to do, like travel.
To me, that sounds like this year I have to pay a minimum of $50k on combined mortgage/HELOC if I want to stay on track.
No pressure. It seems completely insane to me. I doubt my mom has ever made $50k in a year. I made that much money my first year working as a teacher, barely.
Hm. How is this going to work out?
And I will do this while maxing out 401Ks, IRAs, 529s, and doing some additional random mutual fund investing.
Ok, I just sent $10k to the mortgage. That means I’m flirting with $50k in our primary checking instead of $60k and I can live with that. That’s enough heading into the remodel and travel. At least $20k of that will go into the remodel and the traveling will be in the neighborhood of $10k. But the travel money will come out slowly and mostly just look like barely expensive months. By the end of this year I will probably be able to send an additional $10k to the mortgage. That means that by the end of the year my mortgage principle will be below $150k. With four years to go. I’m going to be paying $50k-$60k for the next few years. Ouch.
But then, before I’m 40 years old, we will all of a sudden have a place to live that is paid off. Our relative income requirements will drop through the floor. We will owe ~$6k/year for taxes and then whatever maintenance costs.
I’ve lived in the bay area my whole life and I’ve been poor for more than 2/3 of my life. Needing this much money is crazy to me. Some day my house maintenance plus taxes will be less than $1,000/month. That will include utilities because the solar on the roof is awesome. That’s an amount of money I can come up with to keep my family safe. Food will be a different challenge.
Right now mortgage plus taxes plus maintenance fees is more like $4k/month. I… I can’t be the sole wage earner and keep that ship afloat. I feel pathetic but I can’t.
I’m scared of the future. I believe this period of being rich will be brief. If I don’t secure my future I will be in a lot of trouble. I’d like to be relatively sure I will be able to live in the future on less than $30k/year. My garden is coming along! Not there yet, but I didn’t want to be there yet. I want my garden to be pretty much ready by the time I’m 50. I’ve got time.
Calli has been telling me frequently that I’m not allowed to die. When I raise an eyebrow at her and kind of smirk she says, “Well… you can die of old age when you are 90 or something. BUT NOT BEFORE THAT.”
That’s rather a big deal to someone like me.
I’m trying to prepare for a future even while I’m scared I won’t have one. Even while I’m scared I don’t deserve one. Even while I’m scared that some day I will be in too much pain to continue and I will kill myself early. I’m trying to live as if I will live until I am 90 so I must take steps. I’m trying to show my kids how to take care of yourself for your whole life.
Noah is home. I missed him. I feel very lucky that if I am going to be stuck on this stupid, hateful planet for 90 years–at least I get to do it while spending most of those years with Noah.
By the time I’m 90 I will have spent less than 2/9 of my life in horrible poverty. Whoa. Perspective shift.
If I live in this house when I’m 90 then I will have lived here for 65 years. Whoa. I’ve already lived here for 8 years and that feels wacky. In June, right before I run off on my road trip, I will have lived in this house for three times as long as I’ve ever lived anywhere else.
Wonderland is working for me.