Category Archives: unschooling

Family, opinions, planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes it is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard not sharing my opinion.

Suck it up, wench.

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

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

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

I wanted my kids to skip the imprinting of kindergarden.

Achievement: unlocked.

Now what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they prefer loyalty to rapists over me.

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

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

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

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

I’m working towards it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will be a drama filled adventure. Oh fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to stop typing. I missed you, internet.

White trash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chasing and being ok

I should be sleeping, but I’m awake. I’m thinking about how much I’m shoving on my friend while she’s here. So here’s the sitch. I met this woman on Twitter during my road trip. Towards the end the kids and I realized we were going to have a miserable time camping at the snowy Grand Canyon and decided to detour. I asked the universe (and Twitter) where we should go. This woman popped up and said, “Pick me! Pick Phoenix!” So I did.

We spent a few days together and it was lovely. I think she is great. I think her kids are rad and super smart and really engaged in life. I honestly don’t meet that many public school kids who are that good at asserting themselves. I was seriously impressed with these kids. They are just… there’s a lot of there there.

So I asked my friend to come visit. Thing is, the entire time I’ve known this family they’ve been on my monthly donation list because of disability issues. The mama hasn’t worked in a while and that is indefinite. So this trip is horrifyingly prohibitively expensive.

So I said, “Can I bring you to California. You and your family. You need a break from life.”

We are going all over the bay area and down to Santa Barbara with a stop in Monterey on the way home. We will spend close to a week driving into San Francisco to see the museums.

These kids showed up at my house and with glowing faces they said, “Can we homeschool every day?!” They are so excited they can barely speak. Only they talk just as much as my kids do so this is a hilarious time. Oh so much volume. But fascinating! The opinions! The independent thought going on!

One of the first questions was: “Does your little boy still wear dresses?” Answer: “That question is more complicated than you think. My kid wears dresses sometimes. But I only sometimes have a little boy. Let’s talk about the gender binary and people who do not fall on it at either end.”

It was lovely.

I sat down after dinner and started listing off the cool things to do within an hour of driving… we filled the trip days fast. We have a full itinerary.

I am 100% convinced my friend never would have asked for something like this in her life. I’m spending around $1200-$1500 for them to have this vacation. Folks I don’t know that well that I met through the internet.

Why?

I am ruled by my impulses. Because it breaks my heart that my children get to have the life they have and children this god damn smart and talented don’t get to have as much opportunity. Yes, I’d love to bring you out here for three weeks for as much information as we can pack into your little skulls. It would be an honor.

I do these things to pay back the child I was. The child who felt so bad that everyone else got to go do fun things and take classes and go to museums. I got to move again.

Part of what is helping is that I’m not having to chase this family. I offered and she accepted… but I didn’t have to chase her and keep offering.

Being able to accept a gift this big is hard. Pride is a big deal. Accepting this much love and help from someone is hard to feel ok with. People can only take so much then they need to give. Not necessarily back to the person they received from… paying things forward is more important

I am running into asking rev limiters within myself. I can ask different people and it isn’t scary. I can’t ask a small group of people for things repeatedly. That’s too much hard; I feel too much like I’m hurting people.

Unless I get asked back. I need to be asked for things in exchange. Do you know one of the reasons it is easy for me to help this family have this trip? They are kind of assertive about how things need to work for them. “I need _____. I can’t do _____.” Even if receiving a gift they are directing it to be more useful for them. That melts my butter. I feel like they seriously are trying to get what they need from this gift.

I have probably asked many hundreds if not over a thousand people to spend time with me in my life. I don’t ask everyone for sexual attention. Unless I feel an energetic push back… I feel like I am hurting people by sticking around.

If I initiate all of our, “Hey let’s hang out” it will get more and more sporadic over time. My give runs out. My ask runs out. I wish I still had it in me to ask you over lots… I don’t. I don’t think you care. I think you’d rather do something else.

I think you’d rather not put your pants on and walk three blocks to see me after I drive multiple thousands of miles. That’s what I’m worth.

That’s from someone who has been publicly calling me “family” for over a decade. Yeah. That’s what I’m worth to my family.

But not Noah. And not my kids. They would do a whole hell of a lot to see me.

Noah crisscrossed the country chasing me. It was glorious.

Even though they live with me every day. If I start getting distracted by life or people they do tricks until I stare at them again. Please look at us. We need your attention. Yes my loves. I will give you my attention too.

Yes, I like pushy. Yes, I want people who say hey I’m here and I want your attention. Yes, that is risking rejection. Welcome to my god damn life.

It occurs to me that I could create a calendar for the house hold and share that with folks who are interested. Dates when people are free to invite themselves over could be clearly marked.

I can’t keep inviting the way I have for years. I’m tired and it hurts.

Noah says I’m just ditching my friends for lovers. I don’t think that is true. I can list off lots of friends talking and visits in the past few months. It is true that I’m putting less effort into my friends.

But I think I was there anyway. I think there was just a brief surge for dating. I think that is going to… change as time moves on anyway. I’ll run out of ask there too. I don’t get the impression that most of the folks I date are going to feel ok being pushy with asking for dates. My submissive. My glorious submissive. Thank you for being so brave so far. I know I’m busy and asking me means risking me being overwhelmed and kind of a twerp on a given day. I’m grateful you ask. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m not always good company but I’m so glad I get to know you. Sometimes when I say I’m not good company it isn’t about me not liking you it is about me wanting to keep my nasty moods away from you. I know you are comfortable with getting the less than sweet parts of me, but I don’t want to take my feelings out on anyone like that. I don’t want to start using you for that kind of thing.

I love you too much.

I’ll hit you; I’ll carve my name into your flesh with a scalpel; I’ll kick you as hard as I can in the testicles. I do not want to hurt you. I want you to feel loved. I can’t be nasty to you when I’m having a bad day. That’s not cool.

I need to be nasty to you on good days when it is a positive, loving choice for both of us.

I’m going to run out of chase on dating for the same reason I always do. Most people… aren’t as into me as I want them to be. They like me ok, but they don’t really seek me out. I seek them out as much as I can… then I can’t anymore.

Usually that’s about three months.

The people who have gone longer than that… my first fiancé, my Owner, Puppy, Spot, Noah… they always act like they are drawn to me. I don’t think my first fiancé would have fallen out of love with me. I think he wanted to marry me and he was going to be ok being that person forever. I think I could have had that. But he needed me to not change very much. He needed me to calm down and not be so crazy. He needed me to be very conservative sexually. I couldn’t do that for him. I think I could still be with my Owner if I hadn’t wanted kids so much. Puppy was the only one who dumped me. He has some serious issues and that was for the best. He would have been very abusive. Spot… that one did run its course. There was no more there for that relationship. But we are still friends.

Noah came back when I shoved him away as hard as I could. He was still my friend even though it hurt because not knowing me was more painful than dealing with me rejecting him as a boyfriend. Then after a while of being my friend he noticed that I was single for five minutes and he took a chance on offering me the best deal of my whole damn life. Would I like to marry my best friend and have the babies I’ve been dreaming of? Yes. Yes I would.

I like sudden intense protestations of devotion that I end up being able to count on. That works for me.

And Noah has chased me ever since. I do not always honor his efforts as I should. But I take breaks to admire just how forking nice to me he is. He chases me. He feels like he would die without me.

It makes it kind of hard to keep chasing people who are not that enthusiastic about seeing me, who do not push for time or attention, who do not make it clear that they want to know me.

I’m spoiled as fuck.

My submissive chases me à la Pepé Le Pew. Slow and patient and just there for my entire adult life.

You know who else chases me? Sarah. That’s why she is My Sarah. Because she has chased me and pushed and offered and grabbed chances to see me for over twelve years.

Lots and lots and lots of people can ask me once or twice a year for a visit. That’s so wonderful and sweet and generous. They give me what they have to spare. They ask for how much of me they want. I’m grateful for every person who gives me a three hour visit a year because they want to know me and that’s all they have spare. That is a gift.

It is so glorious having people in my life who want more and more and more of me. The number of people who feel that way is growing and I can’t help but think that is so wonderful. One of the women I look up to most described knowing me as being like watching the birth of a planet. I’m developing my own gravity.

So this ADD book I’m reading keeps saying, “There is something special about a lot of people with ADD. You can’t put your finger on what it is. It’s just there.” I find that hilarious.

When you look at comorbidity things: ADD is highly correlated with trauma which is highly correlated with being targeted which is highly correlated to being something that attracts notice.

Being special/different/weird is threatening as fuck. Lemme tell you.

Hey, is that a self love moment there? Did I just admit that I know I’m special?

Whoa.

I am. I always have been. I do radiate energy like the sun. Either I freak people out or I draw them in. I pay attention to people. I want to know them and love them. Just looking at people as hard as I do is special. Not many people are even capable of really looking at everyone around them and paying attention the way I do. It is some trick of attention and hypervigilance and empathy.

And where in the hell did I find the well of love I seem to have for people? Despite everything. Recently someone said I didn’t break; I broke open.

I need to be needed or there isn’t a lot of point in me. I think that the majority of creatures who are ever born live and die not having a point. I think that the creature has to make their own point, their own purpose, their own meaning.

Am I doing it?

So far people in ten states and a few different countries have told me that knowing me has changed them for the better. It’s a start.

I can say with great certainty that the three people who live here, my submissive, and My Sarah will chase me just about to the ends of the earth. Jenny has flown out to rescue me when I was in danger even though she isn’t by nature a chaser.

I still call her Jenny because I’m the only damn one who can. To you, she is Jennifer. You do not have leave to address her familiar. I think the only reason I can’t mature into the grown up name is because it was a very young person who first opened her heart to me. It was a very young person with intense wounds of her own who learned how to put up with me. When I cry and think of how very much I miss my friend I am dimly aware that we are grown ups now… but I miss her from that place of being very young. Because that is where she first touched me. I met her when I was twelve. I feel like twelve was for me the absolute last gasping breaths of my childhood. That was right as I started seriously dating.

Jenny managed to catch the last bits of me that could love as a child. And I love her with all the intensity of a child for their best friend still. Thank you.

Despite how not chaste I am… I am still chased. I am deemed worthy of love. And by people I respect and love in return. People who absolutely thrill me to my toes that these people think I am worth enough of their energy to chase me. People who are impacted by my gravity pull and just have to be near me.

Oh I love you I love you I love you.

That’s at least six people who will… chase me pretty fucking far. Blacksheep has jumped enormous hurdles to be my friend. DSH has gone waaaaaaay far past her comfort zone for me even though she isn’t one to chase people like me.

I could keep going.

I am blessed and blessed and blessed. My Bonus Family. It would take a few pages to go through all they have done for me. Even though I’m god damn difficult and sometimes they need some boundaries. That’s healthy.

Most of the people who love me with great intensity have rev limiters of their own. They have lives. Part of the reason I love them so much is because they are intense people with a lot going on. They give me what they can. Even if they can’t chase me the way I like to be chased…

Really, how spoiled can someone be? I get chased. I have three people chasing me 24/7. Quit being so greedy.

And yet I’d still kinda like to set up a calendar that says when folks can invite themselves over and see what happens.

I don’t want to decide who it is and how many people. I just… want to see what happens. I assume not much. I assume a few people sometimes but not much.  The key to happiness is low expectations.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks. I’m nervous because this is a lot of time to be “on” with folks I don’t know that well. But I know this mama through mental/physical disability support. At least we are both very understanding of our mutual shortcomings. Ha.

I am so grateful that they accepted my invitation. This is going to be a lot of fun for me. I can’t wait to homeschool her kids. I feel like a walking encyclopedia and that is one of my favorite feelings. See how useful I can be. I am a good tool!

One of the things that makes me special is how fast I can access disparate topics in my brain and explain them in simple or complicated ways for just about anyone. I can make connections between things that seem unrelated… until I explain… faster than the vast majority of people I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a lot of people. I am not an expert in almost anything. Instead of going deep I go wide. That allows for a different kind of thinking, a different kind of intensity.

Ok, reading this book on ADD is making me question something about my long term mental health diagnosis: depression. I don’t do the torpor kind of depression. I do the head-down-keep-working-as-you-hate-yourself-and-want-to-die kind. Apparently that is a pretty standard ADD thing. Oh. Huh. That’s supposed to be one of those things they kinda look for. I hate them and their not looking.

If you loathe yourself: you are depressed. Sorta. Maybe.

I made Noah listen to this song. I can’t find it easily on the internet so you get lyrics.  The thing is… I need to be loved. And I need it from lots of people because I’m trying to push past a whole lot of not being loved.

There is some interesting research out there on preverbal trauma and early formative trauma. I feel like I still need to be filled with as much love as an infant. I was not wanted. Not from conception. I only exist because a bad thing happened. What do I have to do to make up for that? What do I have to do for the world to make up for the harm I caused by coming into being. For declaring, “I don’t care that this hurts you. I need to be here.”

It’s not like I think I really deserve to be punished for choosing to be born. It was an accident. A surprise.

To be fair, my mom told me over and over I was a surprise. She didn’t know she wanted me till she had me. Sissy is the one who told me over and over that I was an accident. My mom just admitted it was rape. My mom tries to make sense of her life given the stories she has been given. God wanted her to have that child. Me.

I have been crying for my mother for over 31, almost 32 years. My mom was 32 when I was born. I might be 35 or 36 if I have another child.

Am I a grown up yet?

When my mama was 35 years old she had four children. She locked her abusive husband out of the house and sued for divorce. On the grounds that he had been raping their children. He was still given partial custody. He refused to pay alimony or child support so my mom lost the house and we ended up living in the car. Well, he would pay it. In exchange for sex.

Sometimes I think I judge my mother far too harshly for surviving a world of horror.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it neither? Is it both? Does it depend?

I think that if I don’t have that much pull… I should probably just be ok with that. It is probably healthier that way. Maybe. Who knows.

Yes. Yes, I want pushy.

I think people misunderstand suicide prevention. There is a lot of shaming. “Don’t do it because it is selfish. You hurt people.” I hurt people by living too. I promise. It’s always complicated. It is always about the balance of hurting people vs being hurt.

I think it should be framed as enlightened self interested selfishness. Someday I will get to the point where I am out of good days. I’m not there yet. I’m trying to construct a future so fantastic that I absolutely want to stay alive to see it.

I know we are giving up the WWOOF year I’ve always wanted because of a baby I want more. You know what? I bet I will still go to Africa with Sarah someday. I bet I will still go to Taiwan to see Pam someday. I bet I will still go to South America someday. I don’t know who will go with me or who I will see… but it’s probably going to happen.

I’m like that.

I go do things.

No more travel for a long time though. I need to save money. We don’t really travel cheap.

The kids and Noah have promised to veto all requests for travel in 2017 even if I say, “but we could…”

Ha.

I love my reminders.

My Eldest Child likes to say, “You should listen to yourself more, mom. You are a smart lady.” But I don’t listen to myself. I need to hear it from you. I need to hear it in your voice. I need to have you replace my inside voice. Do you know why? Because when I talk to me I’m so god damn mean. When you remind me of something I just said a few minutes ago… you usually sound so nice.

I know I sounded nice when I said it to you. That’s because it is easy to be nice to you. No, I can’t remind myself in that same nice way. I need you on a tape in my head. Because my tapes are all so bad. Thank you for reminding me.

I never mean that sarcastically.

Well… maybe once in a while but I’ll make it obvious with a funny voice.

Shiny change of topic. I feel like it is wise to restate a thing about voice in my blog. I talk to “you” a lot. That’s a moving target. I often consciously create sentences so I’m addressing multiple situations and multiple people at once and I phrase it as a singular. So if you feel paranoid that I’m talking to you… maybe…. inclusively…

Or maybe you’re the one. Noah gets a lot of direct address. Ok, other people do too and I hide behind the group thing. Let’s be honest. But I do the group address thing too!

I’m just tricksy.

I sat here for a while and just went through some visuals of stuff I’d like to have happen in my life. Oh let it be so.

Words and asking

Yesterday Noah asked me why I didn’t use my words to ask him for something if I wanted it. I hissed, “How well does that go?” He said that I get a lot of little things I ask for and almost none of the big things. I just about screamed, “That’s why I didn’t fucking ask.”

There is this story about my mom that goes around and around in my head. My mom got tired of having her little boys play with their Matchbox cars in the kitchen, the only non-carpeted room. She knew my dad would tell her no to ripping the carpet out of their bedroom. “It would hurt the resale value of the house.” So she waited until he went to work (he worked graveyards), put the kids to sleep in her bed, took speed, and ripped the floor up by herself. She had the laminate mostly installed before he got home.

I asked my mom why she didn’t ask him. She snorted and said, “If I ask then I get told no, then the consequences are big. If I just do it… he’s not going to undo it.”

I think that’s a lot of why when I decided I couldn’t be monogamous right now I said I just couldn’t follow rules and I needed to try stuff. I needed to see what felt right and not say no to things before I even really decided what I felt about it.

And that backfires. Like such arrangements do.

Sometimes. And sometimes it is absolutely the only way to get what you want at all. Yeah, I was a serious asshole. I really was.

I feel like the fact that my sex life has been entirely measured in someone else’s satisfaction for many years now has broken something in me. Something I don’t know how to fix. I’m bitter about how much “taking one for the team” I’ve done.

I guess the thing I’m getting from the team is physical support through disability. Oh.

It is interesting having a friend visiting for the weekend (sorry I’m puking) who is an absolutely ardent feminist. Of the take-no-shit-variety. I was doing my expounding on trying to figure out what I “owe” Noah.

She looked so pissed. I said, “It’s ok. Say it. Even if it’s mean.”

“I want to punch you in the face. You don’t owe him shit.” She went on at more length. But that bit is enough.

An awful lot of our relationship is predicated on transactional trades. We spend a lot of time talking about how much we owe one another. It’s complicated. It is a lot of what allows both of us to feel safe.

But there is no fair.

How much of everything in life has to be changed just because of one shift. I don’t know.

Yesterday I emailed all of my folks and told them I am not going to go out on a date again in May. We need to actually negotiate. This is involving some really long, rough conversations in person and a shit ton of livejournal entries on our private filters. There are things my kids don’t need to see someday.

I am so weird about boundaries.

I think that part of the problem right now is I have made a lot of deals over the years I probably shouldn’t have made. Not how I did. They took from me in ways I didn’t really have that much to give. And I feel long term hurt by them. And I’m feeling bitter. And I’m holding it against Noah.

That list of done-me-wrongs never needs to be part of the public record. That’s kinda like crying rape because you didn’t like the sex. The fact that these are in retrospect not deals I should have made…

That’s not something I’m going to publicly take Noah to task for. That’s complicated.

I made choices. I made choices I shouldn’t have made, but I didn’t know that till it was too late. That isn’t something to punish Noah for. But I clearly do.

Recently Noah made a list of shit he was holding over me (good god that. STILL?!?!) and I should probably do the same.

That won’t be public.

Noah and I are in a funny place. We both understand very clearly that if we don’t make this marriage work… we will just not ever be ok again. We won’t get over this failure. Neither of us would remarry and have more kids. We would date and be complete assholes about never trusting anyone again. This is… one of those things about our personalities. We both walked into this not sure that it was really a good idea to be taking a risk on even one person when we have been burned and burned and burned and burned.

When you learn before age 3 that you are not loved, not likable and all you are worthy of is abuse and contempt…

Trying once is really what you have in you. Getting over that is brutally hard. You can try once. After that it will be broken in a way that can’t be got back.

We get one shot at happily ever after.

No pressure.

To be fair most of the first ten years have been excellent. This really has been a good marriage. But some things need to change and how they need to change and what that shape will look like is… in flux and that’s god damn terrifying. Change sucks donkey dick.

I find it… interesting… that Noah is really willing to talk about a third kid lately. Yeah. That would put me right back on a choke chain. It’s true. I would go home with my baby again.

I want another baby. I’d see a high risk OB. I’d be at a hospital the whole time. I’d follow orders so I wouldn’t die. But… yeah. I don’t think it is going to happen for lots of reasons.

I know my friends are starting to talk to me about adoption but I’m really not done grieving the son I wanted to give birth to.

This is complicated with a gender fluid kid who really… is on their own journey.

I wanted to work through my shit with a little boy. I know that isn’t “fair” either. But I did. I have to grieve not getting that. I mean, I have a great relationship with my Bonus Kid and I’m really happy he visits more lately. But it’s not the same.

I have never been allowed to love a little boy of my blood. My nephew was the closest I came to that and… complicated. My brothers were violent monsters. I had no other family contact.

This is just a thing.

I dreamed about my son for years. Sometimes I wonder if I was dreaming about the sons I could have had with previous partners and that just wasn’t meant to be part of this story with Noah. I don’t know.

It’s complicated.

Yes I know there are lots of kids who need homes. They are going to have different problems genetically than my family. I don’t already intimately know what needs to be done to correct their unavoidable issues; I have researched everything that has touched my family extensively over the past fifteen years. It is going to be a very different very hard problem to work with a different child.

I am so tired.

Now that I have an almost 8 year old and an almost 6 year old, do I really want another baby?

Yes. I really do. But it isn’t going to happen. Sometimes I wonder if wanting space away from Noah is part of grieving that. He doesn’t want another baby.

I get why. There are good reasons. I feel sad.

Being a mom is kinda the thing I think I’m best at. I get quiverfull. I get it.

This is all so complicated. Because if Noah was all “Fine let’s have a kid” I’d be all “Bye side-boys. I’ll see you in 5-7 years.”

Even though the rest of the deals are still not where I need them to be long-term. I wouldn’t care.

Life is so complicated.

My biology understands that I exist to breed even if the rest of me would like to do other things with this meat sack.

People are so fucking weird. Even though I don’t really have the spoons to have a baby I would. I’d start trying this month if Noah consented. He’s about to be 40. Time’s a wastin’. I turn 35 this year.

But that ship has sailed. We need to figure something different out. Shit. That’s hard. It hurts.

We construct these careful houses where we can be safe. Do this, don’t do this. So we try to draw as little negative attention and as much positive attention as possible while maintaining stasis. We accept limits that may not be sustainable in service to particular goals.

I don’t know what sustainable means. I am not the best sustainer in the world. I work best in sprints followed by periods of collapse. Parenting that way sucks. So I have to be more level for them. Which is an interesting thing to balance. I can stay level if I stay small. Or if I get bigger with support.

I can’t be a bigger person and take up more room and get no more support and stay completely level. I can’t. [delete text that doesn’t go into the record].

I’m having feelings.

Thank you to everyone for the extent of the “I know you two will solve this” message I’m getting from a variety of folks. From folks we date/play with to other friends. It’s kinda funny. I feel all y’all believe in us far more than I do right now.

Thank you. I need you to carry that belief for a bit. It is hard for me.

Part of being able to construct your own reality rests on the basic requirement that you must be able to believe in what you are doing. I have a pretty good reality distortion field. But it’s flickering and I feel like I am not able to believe in what I am trying to make true.

I don’t know how to feel more safe and open right now. I feel closed off, defensive, scared. I’m not negotiating from a mindset of generosity. I have a scarcity mindset and I feel so tired of always having to take one for the team.

But Noah takes a lot for the team too. I’m not acknowledging that enough. We have both been running deficits for years. It isn’t just me. I… I don’t even know where to begin in this negotiation. This is so hard. Do we make lists of things we have been missing/pining for and then rank them in importance?

How do we deal with time? Is it about how much time we spend together? Is it about “how dare you spend time with someone else?”

Honestly I was out too much at night in April. I wasn’t touching base with the kids the way I want to. I have arranged all the night time babysitting we are going to have till the end of July, I think. I’m not going to go out more than that. No matter what it is for.

This time with my children goes so fast. If I miss much of this time I can’t ever get it back. I don’t get a second chance. I do remember that priority.

But I don’t ever get back the chance to have the sex life I want to have in this life either. If I just… don’t… that’ll be a thing.

How much do I want? I don’t know. Honestly given how busy my life is… I literally don’t have time for as much independent dating as I did in April. That’s going to kill me. No hyperbole. My body will give out if I don’t sleep more than that.

What does sustainable mean?

What is a need and what is a want?

I feel like I need to have some kind of nonmonogamous contact in my life. What that is… I don’t know. I think the need level is probably actually fairly low. I think one date a month probably would be ok. I’d like to go to parties at other times and be allowed to play then. I could accept having to play together. That would be fun to figure out. It would change who we play with somewhat and what kind of play we do. Maybe?

I can deal with evolution. I don’t have to play how I used to play, not exactly. I don’t anyway. So much has changed.

I feel like I did need to go try. It was wonderful and I’m really glad I got to be reminded of what SM means to me. And I got off a lot.

I do need some of this in my life. I may increase how much I need as my children need me less.

For now I do know that my time and energy is still… mostly going into the kids. I choose this. I want this. This is who I want to be. When I finish growing up I will be able to look at incontrovertible proof that I can sustain something. I need to see the real evidence of that before I will believe it. I’m not even halfway there yet. Don’t get cocky, wench.

Hubris is dangerous.

I have about three more years till I hit the halfway point. I believe I have about four more years with Eldest Child and about six more years with Youngest Child to teach them what they need to know to keep themselves safe… or they will have to learn it on their own painfully. That’s my window. Either I help them establish the habits that will carry them through a lifetime… or they have to learn them later, painfully, on their own.

Development is a funny beast. I’ve studied it a lot. I have incredibly strong opinions about brain development and attachment and behaviorism and emotional health and mental health and…

And I get one chance to do this right. Period. If I fuck it up I will forever more be trying to heal damage I caused.

No pressure.

I love unschooling. I’m not even being sarcastic. This is my kind of pressure chamber. I thrive under this specific kind of “Succeed. There is no or else. Succeed” pressure. I just… do it. Ok.

If you can’t find a way you make a way. The most resilient people are the ones who believe they have no choice but to make something work.

This whole “owe” thing is complicated. I get the anti-feminist bits of it. I do. But you probably don’t see how much it gives too.

Ugh. Systems. They exist for reasons and some of those reasons are good and some are shitty. WTF

But I really do need to think about this “you don’t owe him shit” thing. What do we choose to owe and what is being extorted from us? I think that is the more crucial distinction. I think making conscious trades and feeling indebted for them is not specifically evil. I think that having someone extort recompense for trades… is a problem.

Where is the line?

Shit monogamy is easier. You give what you have to give and that is that. Kinda end of discussion.

I NEVER EVEN TOOK CALCULUS. FUCK THIS ADVANCED VARIABLE BULLSHIT.

My kids are asking me a lot of questions about Lemonade. Yes they get to hear it with the swearing. There are some fucking subjects that deserve swearing. The work is to figure out context. We talk about that a lot. Code switching is a big topic around here. If you maintain super formal “nice people” manners 100% of the time… a whole lot of people will think you are a snob. Having multiple kinds of approaches to talking to people is handy.

I said to a friend “We only fight about nonmonogamy.” The response: “So you only fight about sex.”

Ok, yeah. That’s true. Not money. Not kids. Not housework (if I start feeling peevish about not getting enough help I can ask for it and get it with great civility).

Sex.

Sex is so annoying.

WHY DO I LIKE HAVING SEX SO MUCH!??!?!?! Sigh.

I really do.

I like what happens in my body when I’m having sex with more than one person. I like it a lot. I like what it does to my general energy level. Is it worth this fight?

Yeah. It is.

If we are going to be married for many more decades… I’m not spending them always taking one for the team. I need my sex life to be about my pleasure.

And pain.

I’m pretty sure I know who I want to hurt on a longer term basis. I am less convinced I know for sure what I need from my bottoming/submitting/etc. I have some idea of pieces I’d like. But are those all needs? Not really. I could be pretty flexible. I could adapt.

I am weirdly conscious of how much of my sexuality formed around my Owner. I’m ok with lots of those buttons shifting. I have no attachment to them staying where they are. But I need them moved and not just… ignored. If that makes sense.

I am a cheerful situational pervert. I’m happy to please the one I’m with. I don’t need all aspects of my experiences to be the same.

I’m not the kind of fetishist who collects the garments and sized toys that all future partners will wear one right after another.

But I’ve sure worn a lot of them. For a little while. I have never been willing to do that for very long.

I don’t like anyone that much.

Do you know why some of the awful stuff between Noah and I really doesn’t need to be published? It’s bad enough that I’m an abusive bully. I don’t need to publicly humiliate him. That’s a very different sort of line. I say some awful things some times. It’s bad enough that he can hear it in his head. He doesn’t need to see it. And know that lots and lots and lots of his friends are going to see it. Know his children can read the things that hurt him the most.

Oh JesusFuckingChrist No.

No. There are things that can’t be taken back. I can say that things are hard for me. I can’t list done-me-wrongs. Not publicly. No.

owe my family better than that.

See how the owe is complicated?

It is useful and problematic at the same time. Just like me.

Limits are funny

My code switching skills are variable. Sometimes I’m excellent. Sometimes I really suck. I have managed to compartmentalized enough that I can have wild sex in every part of my house when my kids aren’t home. That is new. For years it was behind a locked door even when they weren’t home. Noah can testify that it was wacky.

I have serious issues with sexuality and children. This is about me and it isn’t fucking rational.

I don’t want either of us to be having sex any more in places where we bring the kids. I know our house is different… whatever. I don’t care. It makes me uncomfortable. That means I have to stop having sex at the house of friends who invite the kids over. It means Noah does too.

But that doesn’t mean I have to stop going to every person’s house. But it’s an A or B choice. Sex or kids.

Some of our sex-having-friends were tightly involved with our children before sex. That makes the boundaries… interesting to figure out.

I’m having an interesting time figuring out which parts bug me and why.

Like, my kids are never ever ever ever ever going to Cupid’s house or Deity’s house. It’s just not an option. Period. Because I go there for sex.

I have a very visual memory. When I think of places I think of what I have seen there. I am an asshole about getting mental pictures of what Noah is doing.

I’m weird about how that overlaps with my kid-memories of a place.

So like… my kids have been to my submissive’s house. It was a while ago though and so that means we need to decide… is it a sex house or a kid house. Cause right now it’s time to decide.

My kids go to Daddy’s house. I won’t fuck there again.

Is it fair?

Life isn’t fair.

Someday I will just know what these boundaries are and it won’t feel so angsty. I look forward to that day.

How in the hell am I going to be a slut and a good parent. How. How. How.

In no way shape or form do I think that the path I follow is the “One Twue Way“. I think there are many ways to be a good parent.

I’m just trying to figure out how to manage me.

My emotional volatility is a real thing. It’s well documented through lots of life circumstances and events and ups and downs and unrelated situations. And to get a handle on that I picked a life where it isn’t ok to be emotional volatile so I have no choice but to god damn figure out how to be more stable. That means other peoples choices don’t need to look like mine.

Human beings are complicated systems. I’m getting my digestion in order. I’m working on sleep. I’m increasing how much sex I have and the variety because it dramatically improves my mood. Even with the odd fight.

We genuinely don’t fight often. And when we fight it is because we are both feeling insecure and threatened and we don’t know how to ask for reassurance without being kind of an asshole. I think everyone feels taken for granted sometimes.

Maybe I’m projecting.

I’m trying to get things in place for me to handle the next stage of child rearing. We are done with babies. Next year Youngest Child is going into first grade. Kiddo will be 6. Not quite time for academics… but we can see it coming. Kiddo is decidedly resisting being asked to do any academics before 7. Adamant. “Do you want to try a little?” “Nope.”

Well done kiddo. I’m proud.

But Eldest Child is teaching herself to read increasingly complicated books at a rapid rate. This month I should figure out what I need to do to get her a tour at the part-time-homeschool-through-the-district program. She’s interested for third grade. So it sounds like we are going to slide towards school instead of waiting and going all at once when she’s older.

I don’t mind.

Limits are interesting to find. She wants more consistent push now. And she wants it to be with peers in a group. I’m ok with that. I wanted to wait until she was ready. She is now. I’m completely forking ok with the amount of separation she’s asking for. I might balk if she asked for full time school. I don’t think it would go well. Part time sounds great.

It will be nice to spend more time with Youngest Child alone. That kid blows my mind all the time. The jokes. The connections. The desire to have a sunny spirit even though the child has mood swings like a mofo. This is a kid who will have a journey in life. I hope I am going to be able to be the kind of support I need to be. I’m trying.

Part of the reason we need to cut back on dating in terms of time is because we can’t date that many nights and exercise and pay attention to the kids and date each other and have friends and get alone time.

Holy crap.

We need alone time for different reasons. But we both have times when we really need time alone in a room. Preferably with our computers. Our one true love.

I see you, Noah.

Although really if I had to give up my computer or Noah I’d bin the computer without thought. Even you, oh internet, are not as wonderful as Noah. You don’t get me off like that. Speaking of which I should stop typing for the day.

Our kids were invited for an extra night at my friend’s house. So Noah left me an assignment. I’m supposed to get off 30 times. That’s hard masturbating. So I’m going to need to spend a lot of time. Sigh. Poor me. Bye.

Ok, yeah. My life is awesome. It isn’t perfect every minute. But I really don’t get to complain. Not really. I can process the parts I don’t like… but good grief.

I am where I want to be. I have support. I have friendship. I have love. I have the freedom to try things and course correct when I figure out which parts work and don’t work for me. Because it only has to work for me and Noah. Well, and the folks we go on to negotiate with. Their consent matters too.

But we have to figure out our limits and boundaries first and then negotiate from that position. Which has been tricky over the last few months because we didn’t know. I wanted to go fuck around and see what would stick. I have a better idea now.

That’s the point of trying things, right? It isn’t that you have to be committed to always doing something the same way if you try it once or twice.

Hell, even if you do something for a few years you don’t have to keep doing it that way forever. You can renegotiate.

 

Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is… incredibly validating. Wow. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, maybe that is it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life has been kind of hard to adjust to.

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

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

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

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

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

Click.

Now I get it.

Shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m kinda weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the line?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go big or go home, bitch.

Oh goodness what did I get myself into?!

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

I’m having SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN.

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

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

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

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

That seems smart just now.

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

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

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

You never know who might be coming to dinner.

 

Too much, again. Damnit.

Stuff is creeping in. Today: having lunch with a friend then we are getting tattoos. Tonight I’m having dinner with a lovely friend. Tomorrow is all the massage. The kids also have stuff to get to.

It isn’t that what I’m doing is hard, it is that I’m having to switch gears on what I’m thinking about. I was thinking about that process lately: transitioning. I’ve been staring at the kids all week and thinking about the idea of transitioning from one activity to another and how do we do it?

A friend asked me how I feel about classes that my kids sign up for. Do I insist on attendance? Err… it doesn’t come up much? My kids aren’t very scheduled. Our classes are exciting treats that we are very happy to learn about. There is no dragging. It isn’t hard for us to get out of the house (mostly) because I start getting ready about three hours before we need to leave.

Most days we sit down at breakfast and talk about the structure of the day. What are we doing? Where are we going? I give the kids an idea of what to expect and when I’ll start prompting them to get ready.

Very rarely I run into the room and say, “Oh shoot! I didn’t look at a clock and I forgot _____ and we need to walk out the door RIGHT NOW!!!”

I am shocked that when I do this the kids usually jump up in the air and start rushing to get ready like someone is chasing them with a hot poker. They have bought in to “this is our life and we are obligated to show up when we say we will”.

I talk a lot about respecting teachers because they choose to share what they know with people who want to learn. That’s a gift and an honor. You must respect the efforts of teachers.

Kinda funny given how anti school I am, right? I’m not anti teachers. I’m anti-Industrial-Era-conformity-brainwashing.

That’s not the same thing as learning or education or teachers. In fact I have incredible respect for the process of learning.

Not that every school (public or otherwise) works the same way. I know. But it’s a crapshoot year by year. In “school” you don’t get to pick your teachers, mostly. In life you do. College is a weird hybrid of “school” and life because you have some choice but not that much. You pick your place of education more. (Not that most people research the teaching staff much before picking a university.) You get to drop classes and take a different teacher if you don’t like an approach… sometimes.

I have multiple bad grades (D or F) on my record because of personality conflicts with teachers. Does that mean I know nothing about those subjects? Nope. It means that bitch didn’t like me.

That happens.

School is about measuring how you jump through the random hoops that someone decides to set for you. You think it is even and fair how those hoops are divvied out? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Standardized tests are flat out abusive to most minority populations. Why? Because they say, “Hey, how quickly can you identify all this random shit from White American Culture? Not fast? Then you’re stupid.”

That’s abusive.

And school in America in the year 2016 is about, “How fast can you regurgitate facts about this culture to prove you are ‘smart’.

Yes there are exceptions. Yes there are good teachers in public schools and there are good private schools.

Are those private schools available to people who are very poor? No? Then school in America is about regurgitating facts. I don’t care that your kid might be getting away with having a good experience. The majority of American children are not.

How do I know this? Why am I so god damn confident of what I know? Because I went to 25 schools. Then 7 universities. Then I substituted in about 8 schools. Then I taught in 4 schools.

It’s not a huge sample size. But it’s big enough to let me see a diversity most people get to pretend doesn’t exist. I went to schools in rural areas, in neighborhoods of a predominate ethnic identity other than white, in rich schools, in poor schools, and many levels in between. I’ve seen Silicon Valley, Compton, and rural Oklahoma.

I can’t speak to the east coast from personal experience. But I read a lot of teachers. I’m pretty sure I’m right from coast to coast. Teachers are talking about the problems in the system. All you have to do is go look a little bit and you’ll find criticism. You’ll never run out of it to read.

I don’t think my way is right or mass actionable. I don’t think the solution to our broken schooling system is everyone opting out to home school. But I don’t know how to force the solutions that are necessary. I don’t know how to force a non-abusive mechanism on top of an abusive system and I just can’t be part of that abusive system any more. Not as a student and not as a parent.

Could I be a teacher in that system? Sure. Why? Because I’m subversive as fuck and I think the kids who are there need people like me whenever possible. Will I sacrifice everything in my life on the altar of helping other peoples kids?

No. I made these two people. I’m responsible for them.

Yesterday I cracked. I stopped asking the kids to help and I sent them outside to play. They had a glorious day and I got the house like 75% of the way to clean. Yes, I know people believe that I clean frantically full time and my house is always spotless so it isn’t that much work (or something). Well, actually…. (I find myself using that more often because it is now a banned phrase in many places. I try to only do it when I’m being a snot and refuting ideas about myself that annoy me.) I don’t clean that much. My house turns into a pit just like everyone else’s house. But I host big parties pretty frequently and I usually spend about a week cleaning before hand. So people think my house is always clean.

It’s a ruse.

I can usually flight of the bumblebee and feel presentable for dinner guests. And my kids have to pick up their toys before they get screens so our house doesn’t get that bad. Only mostly they clean by shoving whichever behind whatever and into wherever. So every so often we have to dump ever drawer, every shelf, every everything in order to find things. Because seriously after a while we can’t find anything and then everyone expects me to be a fucking homing beacon and they ask me 9,032 times a day where “x” is.

can’t.

They ask me to buy them new shoes because they can’t find any to wear. I clean their room and find four pairs. That kinda thing.

So a few times a year we face overwhelming chaos. For the love of toast I don’t know how families with two working parents ever clean at all. When it gets bad (like me being gone two weekends in a row so things kinda pile up extra hard, and we are remodeling, and school level transitioning) it will take a solid 8-10 days of me cleaning for 4-10 hours/day.

(There’s always a day in the middle where I clean for four hours then collapse in a heap and cry for a while.)

This cleaning is extra epic because Youngest child has to be entirely moved out of that bedroom indefinitely for the remodel. They are currently replacing the wall/window and that room is not sealed to the out doors. (They have built the new bathroom walls/front wall in front of it, but it’s not all done and everything.) Lots of construction debris in there. Kiddo can’t use that room.

So they are sharing again for a bit. Which was ridiculous extra cleaning and sorting. Frankly I think they were god damn awesome.

At one point Eldest Child started crying and said, “I’m just not good at cleaning. I’m not smart at this and I never will be.”

I laughed and laughed and laughed. She looked at me and said, “WHAT?!”

“You act like I fell out of my mother’s womb being able to clean. I couldn’t do it when I was seven. Frankly I think you have more skill than I had at that age.”

She blinked for a bit, dried her eyes, and got up and made tremendous progress all in a big burst. At the end she grinned at me and said, “Ok I am getting better.”

Cocky little thing. Yes, you are. Every day. Every year. You are getting better.

So I think about these things because transitioning eats into progress. The more times I have to transition in a day the less progress I make on all tasks. This is a well documented phenomena. You can spend four years taking a Spanish class, or four months of immersion. And after the immersion experience you will be far more fluent.

Some guys I know were bitching at me that I should really stop what I’m doing with my life and learn all about the influential music from 1968.

I told them I don’t have time and they demanded that I justify what is more important than that. I rattled off what I’m doing with my life. They kinda blinked at me and said, “Ok maybe you don’t have time.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Everyone has different stuff going on in their lives. Everyone has a different comfort level of transitions. I don’t need to judge what other people need in order to feel comfortable. That internal Holy Fucking Shit No reaction needs to be turned off. Ain’t nobody trying to tell me that I need to pick it up. Not really.

My inside voice is changing. I do hear you.

Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

Why do I talk to myself? Because over time I am changing how I react to different stimuli. It was said that a lot of what is interesting about me now is that I do fewer global freak outs. When something is upsetting to me I don’t scream about everyone and everything. I can say exactly what I’m upset about and why and I can usually trace it down to the root. That’s letting me pull the weeds. I can tell which tendrils are a problem.

It’s ok that I failed in the school environment. I mean, I was usually an A/B student (except for personality conflicts) and I’m still a failure in the school environment. It isn’t that I’m unintelligent. But I cannot conform in the ways required to go period to period learning in the teeny chunks that can hopefully be absorbed by a large enough percentage of people to not be a complete waste of time to everyone. Woo.

Do you know why I was a good teacher? Because I met before school, during breaks, after school, and on Saturdays with students who could not understand what I was teaching and I helped them catch up on foundational information they missed along the way.

I can’t give that much of myself to people outside my family right now. My kids need that time from me. Why? Because we have some fucked up brain chemistry and DNA from generations of trauma. We need to do what we are doing right now.

We are learning how to adapt to life. We are learning how to learn. We are learning shit loads of stuff that we will be able to use later. We are planning. We are growing.

And we are doing it slowly. We are doing it by concentrating on one thing at a time for a few weeks.

That way we can spend many hours a day on one task and make substantial progress at it instead of spending 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

It is hard. It is physically and mentally and emotionally taxing. But I enjoy it. I feel rewarded. I feel like my reward is the conversation I get to have around the table every meal. My kids fucking think.

I know so much intense analysis of My Little Pony characters that it is ridiculous because I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode. I know their back stories, motivations, and things that are being foreshadowed. Yeah. My kid told me, “They are seriously foreshadowing something about her in this episode….” Then later I heard, “In this episode they broke the fourth wall to…”

I asked her if she knows what breaking the fourth wall actually means. Nope. So I explained. In great detail. With lots of examples. Afterwards she started rattling off examples.

Yup. Like that.

I treat my children like if they don’t know something yet it is because I have not yet done a good enough job of talking about it. So I’d better get on that.

I really like my life.

I like feeling responsible. Resiliency experts say that people are most likely to be successful if they internalize that they must be responsible. In other words: we must find a way or make a way. So we do.

I feel that way about anti-racist stuff. Incest research. Home schooling. Teaching my kids how to take care of their shit.

I believe I must make this work. Period. So I will.

What does that actually fucking mean? It means that I picked this life. Who the fuck knows why. So I’m going to live it to the absolute fullest. With great privilege comes great responsibility. I’m one of the luckiest mother fuckers born in the history of all time.

How did that happen?

Even with all the trauma. So fucking what. Every level of person experiences trauma. That’s universal. Not every being experiences trauma (lucky bastards) but every level of human experience has trauma.

What traumatizes one person is standard, normal, and appropriate to someone else. So check your fucking judgment, wench. (talking to myself…)

I have an idea for the tattoo. I’m not going to write it out in advance. But I’m going to have a wonderful time talking to my artist today. He’s so wonderful.

And I’m having lunch with a friend first. Then dinner with a different friend.

I don’t in any way want to complain about the fullness of my life. I am blessed. I am loved. People seek out my company on my terms. Because they consider the effort to be worth what they get in return.

I can’t judge that. I need to just say thank you.

I’m trying to slow down. Frankly the remodel is driving me batty. They are banging all day long. So every second all day long I have to process hitting sounds and decide they aren’t a threat.

That wears me out.

But I have to be home. For Reasons.

So I’m doing what I can to destress in the house. My anxiety is spiking like a motherfucker. But! I know it is temporary so I can have something I badly want and I’ll get to have it as long as I live here. Sounds worth putting up with.

But it hurts my body. It’ll end soon.

Every time I transition from thinking, “Is that the door?” back to whatever I’m doing… it takes a penalty spoon.

So I’m thinking about transitions like fuck right now. How many activities can I manage to get done in a day? How much work? How many different kinds of tasks? I think it is funny how different stages of cleaning feel different to me. I can’t declutter a room, organize it, then remove filth all in a go. I just can’t transition like that. I have to declutter the house. Then organize it. Then clean. I can’t go back and forth because I experience distress physically and psychiatrically.

Transitions are that hard for me. I will fall to the floor and sob and not be able to do whatever it is you want of me because I just can’t.

That’s something that has been a pattern in my life for a very long time and I’m just kind of recognizing what that means in my head. Oh. Flooding. Oh. That’s…

Oh.

Yeah. That.

I like intense connections with a lot of fucking bandwidth. So when I need to spread that bandwidth out between 37 different distractions instead of 2-3…

I hurt.

It isn’t anyone else’s fault. But I’m trying to figure out what managing that means. I need this to get better. I need to stop flooding when I walk near someone else’s life because I feel like I should try to conform and I can’t I can’t I can’t.

No one god damn asked you to. Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

I’m trying.

It’s funny to stop and think, “This is actually a huge improvement!”

Good grief.

There are a high number of specific high intensity things I want to get done in this life. I won’t get them done in 15 minutes of prep at a time. That’s ok. I don’t need to schedule my life how other people do. It is working for them. Stop projecting.

We all want different things. Health means something different to every person.

I’m trying to figure out what it means to me. This is proving to be more complicated than expected. Not sure if that is because I was naive to start with or what. Anything is possible.

I’m making a lot of progress with my pain stuff. (The overall refraining from typing is helping. Hey–it’s Friday. I kinda took a few days off… I am trying to moderate…)

I’m making progress on pain stuff. My bowels are… well… I’m told this is progress? I don’t fucking know. But it is weirder than hell. I mostly stopped with the pills for a few days (because obviously my body was freaking out) on the doctors recommendation and the freak out ended right away. This is supposedly a sign that things are working right on schedule. I will resume sloughing the parasites from my liver later today. Oh joy. But! I’m seeing… uhm… something fucking weird that I’m told is results?

Pooooooooooooooooooooop.

We talk about poop while eating all the time.

Muahahahaha

My kids are very comfortable saying, “I’m going to eat lots of vegetables because your body sucks.”

If you can’t be a good example, be a horrible warning. Do one or the other and then do that motherfucker.

I guess?

Yesterday I screwed up. I put in a load of laundry and I didn’t even think about what I was washing. A new dress up clothes thing was put in the basket. It had never been washed. It was bright fucking red. So all the martial arts uniforms were very pink.

Oooooops. Shit. Like rose colored pink. Dark rose. I was all, “NOOOOOOOO!”

Then I thought about my mama and I breathed a prayer of thanks. “Hey kids? Want to learn how to fix a mistake?” I used oxygen brightener and bleach and I boiled it on the stove top and those fuckers are white as snow once again.

Because my mama taught me what to do.

That’s a good memory. Thank you, mama.

Thank you for teaching me how to do my laundry on the stove because that was what we had and you were going to make sure I had the skills to be presentable no matter what happened to me or how bad my life was. You tried. Thank you.

During this process my friend was over and she asked if I wanted her to do the poking/stirring over the fire. I didn’t want her to. I felt entirely Zen in that moment. I am where I want to be doing what I want to do. I’m showing my kids how I fix a mistake. It takes time and effort. But it’ll be ok.

It was one of the most intensely blissful moments I’ve experienced in a while. That’s flow.

If I cared very much about getting out of my house and not being “stuck” with these experiences as the woman… I wouldn’t get to have that. I’m glad I get to have that. I’m glad I get to see the value in my mother.

I miss you, mama.

I miss all the friends I’m not reaching out to because I’m overwhelmed. I’ll come back. I’ll have spoons some day.

In March we have social stuff planned on the first two days. Then… uhm… I don’t know about the Easter party. Wonder how my bathroom will be? Err… I’ll let people know two weeks before?

I think that I need to not schedule anything else in March. Which is intimidating. I’m not resting. I’m working and socializing because I’m so desperate to catch up on the work. I need to rest and I won’t stop working so socializing needs to be back burnered for a few weeks. Just Do Eeeet.

What work do I feel so pressed to do? Well… we are transitioning from preschool to elementary school. Which is a fuck ton of work for me. (I don’t know how you folks who home school with kids in preschool, elementary, middle, & high school do it. How do you find space?! )

The thing I miss the most about teaching in a school is the prep time plus the right to control what everyone was going to be learning. This is much harder. I have to prepare on the fly for a range of topics. It’s brutal some days in terms of cognitive load. It is fucking hard breaking down every little thing into schemas and concepts and repeatable skill training.

This is why other sane people outsource this shit. But we have some genetic stuff to consider that will make us always on the edge of the bell curve. I’m glad the training exists for people in the center of the bell curve. Yay you!

Hi, I’m Krissy. I’m an outlier.

Name the metric.

I just uhm…. like to be difficult?

IT ISN’T PERSONAL, OK!?!

I should stop now. If I get up and start moving now I’ll have all my morning prep done before Noah finishes breakfast and I will be able to eat at the same time as them instead of sitting down as they finish eating. I’m a pain in the ass to take care of. I struggle to think the effort is really merited.

Know something that I find wacky? Youngest child just fucking loves to stand there and hand me pill after pill after pill. Kid says, “You have to fix the problems. You have to get your poop better so you can digest food. I want you to die when you are very very very old. So here.” It varies somewhat, but this entire experience is just…

validating as fuck.

I’m trying to figure out what I need. My issues are complicated, layered, and difficult to solve. I know you are doing what you need to do to solve your issues and it doesn’t look much like what I’m doing.

I need to figure out how to not feel so fucking bad about that. It’s ok that I need stuff other people don’t need. That doesn’t mean I’m bad. That doesn’t mean I should die so I stop stealing resources from more worthy people. It has to be ok that I need what I need.

It isn’t fair that I have the money to pay for it and other people don’t. There is no fair. There is no deserve. There is no way to have things come out even.

I had to believe there is no deserve when it was really bad. I have to believe it about the good stuff too. Or …. or I just can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t get fucking pompous and shitty and “Oh I have a good life because I deserve it. Because I worked harder than other people.”

Gag. Cough. Puke. Bullshit.

No. I really didn’t work harder than other people. Ok, I worked harder than some people. But not harder than everyone. Some people worked ten times as hard as me. They didn’t get where I am.

It’s not because I’m getting what I deserve.

Nothing is fair.

4,050 words. I should stop anyway. Oh my poor wrists. But I feel better. I feel like I’m finding the words to the parts I need to talk about without talking about what I don’t need to talk about.

That feels better.

How do I get to be me without hurting other people?

That’s the journey.

Rape & privilege

I’ve been talking about rape a lot on Twitter lately. I want to organize my thoughts a bit more, even though my arms burn like fire. So this may be a bit choppier than I normally blog. The Twitter character limit formatting is changing my writing. I hope in a positive way. I know I get too verbose for most people a lot of the time.

Noah spends a lot of time telling me that I spend too much time trying to figure out “who is to blame” for various problems. He’s right and he isn’t.

Thing is, dealing with rape is complicated. It is complicated at a personal level and it is exponentially more complicated at the level of a city and … then try to solve that for a state or a country.

My therapist tells me that it isn’t a good thing that the only way I know how to keep myself safe is to keep actual walls between me and other people. Well, it is the only effective method I’ve ever discovered.

That said, I travel more than the vast majority of people ever do. It’s just too expensive for most people. So I put myself in lots of situations. I put myself in situations where I have to keep, not only myself, but my children safe. Am I willfully putting us into danger just to… I don’t know… prove some macho ass shit to myself?

I genuinely don’t think so. Stranger assault is statistically rare. We don’t invite people into our tent/room. We talk to people in crowded public places then move on. It genuinely doesn’t feel risky.

Do you know what was risky? The way I was taught to walk into bedrooms with people because you wanted “privacy” after just knowing them for a few hours. That was how I spent my childhood. Asking to go into peoples rooms and initiating as much sexual contact as I could get away with and only acknowledging rebuffs grudgingly.

Sometimes it makes my heart beat fast when I enforce boundaries with my kids. They are not allowed to walk up and sit on laps any more. Not with a complete stranger. They can’t jump on strange men. Playing for two minutes doesn’t make them close enough to jump on, nope. You have no idea what is going on with their bodies. You don’t know if they just had surgery on their back. Nope. Don’t jump on strange people.

It is really weird to feel like the biggest god damn hypocrite on the planet. Don’t do anything I did.

This experience is how I understand the neglect I experienced. I completely lacked a frame for it before I was a parent. The awareness comes in stages of dawning horror.

How fucking formative that trauma was. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

I’ve been acting like a bully with the kids. I’m not asking them to do things I’m ranting that I’m sick of them not doing the thing without being asked. We are talking about it.

I feel really guilty that Eldest Child said, “It’s getting to the point where it’s almost 50/50 nice and mean and that has to change. I know you are tired. Maybe we shouldn’t go out of the room much for a few days.”

I feel this horrible mixture of pride and guilt that she has to help manage me. She can be aware of those kinds of needs. That’s amazing. I don’t want her to parent me though. I’m not using emoticons even though I want to put like 75 frowny faces in a row.

I try to tell myself that the feelings of guilt and shame are because I was raised to believe it is not ok for anyone to ever have to pay attention to me and take care of me. It is not ok for me to want anyone to help me.

I try to tell myself that this is ok. It is a kind of enmeshment, yes, but we talk about how this is not her job and she is going to not be responsible for me long term. I thank her for feedback about her perception of being around me. I seem tired. I should rest. Yeah, thanks.

She acts like I am worthy of paying attention to. I wish that didn’t make me cry.

I’m going to jump back to rape. Why am I confident that my children will not have a life like mine? A kid kind of grabbed at my kids crotch. The instantaneous response was, “You do not have my consent! Get your hand off!”

I win.

I couldn’t save my niece nor my nephew. But my kids don’t think that anyone who wants to is allowed to have access to their crotch. They believe their consent is vitally important.

I win.

That doesn’t mean they will never be raped. I understand that. Let me tell you, I’m not done educating them. I’m just going at an age appropriate rate.

A lot of “staying safe” is a complex web of knowing the right words to say at the right time. If you have highly specific technical language you don’t seem like a good victim and any good predator will walk right by you. Obviously you have the support to protect you. You are not going to be easy to intimidate.

People comment, just about daily, that my children are so aware and ….themselves. It is funny how often the wording is almost exactly that. Another friend commented that it is amazing that people don’t think Eldest Child is bossy. She just has a good plan she wants everyone to follow.

I talk to them about what they want to get from life all the time.

Eldest Child and I have been talking a lot about what she wants to do school-wise when we get home. She has specific requests. She wants to work on languages more. She is frustrated by the limitations on who she can play with. She freaking asked if we can look for a Chinese class (I can hear Pam cheering from here) so she can work on that more consistently. She said we all should take Spanish together (I’ll see what I can do, Youngest child wants Spanish and is not up for Chinese). She said maybe on Hindi for a while. She said we should practice the alphabet and such at home but she thinks we don’t need that as a formal class. So I guess that will be some structure in our days.

We all want martial arts. The kids want gymnastics as well. I can’t teach them many skills like that. I’m happy to pay someone who can.

And she wants to play the violin.

I said we would add lessons one a month until we got up to the full load because all of that at once would crush her. She says that is probably smart.

I appreciate how often she tells me I’m smart.

You know… I think that’s why she does it. She’s a perceptive little thing.

My kids are not going to look like good victims. Not ever. They are going to seem like… they have all the support in the world. It’s only sorta true, but I’m going to give it my all.

But you know what? This option isn’t exactly available to most people. My kids get a full life of having a Ladies Illustrated Primer walking around with them. That’s not what most people experience.

Holy tomato I love my job.

My kids are in touch with their bodies. They know what they like and don’t like and they consider their preferences to be absolutely worthy of consideration at all times. Good prey act like it doesn’t matter what happens to them. They often don’t know what their preferences even are. And as much as we cannot guarantee our own safety in this life, we can build resilience to weather what may come.”

I can never guarantee that my children will be safe. Not truly. Not completely. But I can teach them a variety of skills that will increase their likelihood of not only escaping from a lot of traumas but being able to cope with the inevitable tragedies in life.

My children will experience loss and pain. That is a non-negotiable part of the human condition. I know that. I’m trying to teach them how to ride the waves.

We took a break from the screens. The kids begged me to go back to the beach. It’s supposed to start storming tonight and rain mostly till we leave so I said yes. Even though it scared the absolute shit out of me. The kids kept asking me to go sit with the grown ups and just let them play.

No. No. No.

I sat between them and the ocean. There were four good waves where they started getting dragged out to sea and I grabbed them and bodily pulled them back to shore. They stopped arguing with my presence after the second grab. But they really didn’t want to stop working on the dam they were building.

They are fucking obsessed with building dams this trip. They have built them in little itty bitty creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It was awesome watching them lecture much older girls about how “We have to find a variety of materials to help provide structural integrity! Just sand won’t hold!”

That was why I had a hard time stopping the play. It was so… intense for them. But that ocean doesn’t fuck around. Lots of places are currently flooded and people die from being swept into the ocean all the time. It’s not a game. There are no take backs. The ocean is bigger than all of us.

After the fourth time when I grabbed them and I felt like barely pulled out of the wave I said, “Ok! That’s it! I’m done!”

The kids didn’t really argue with me. They spent over an hour saying repetitively after we got back to the hotel room, “I think you just saved my life. Wow. You care that much. You are going to stand right there so you can save my life. I think you just saved my life.”

My response is, “I brought you into this world and I’m not giving up on you yet.”

They snuggled with me and looked a bit stunned.

The ocean is not something to fuck around with.

Want to know something kind of hilarious? I had a similar experience with the kid who kicked me in the throat at a group beach trip.

The ocean is bigger than you. I don’t give a shit how strong you think you are. The ocean is bigger than you. Never fight the ocean. You will lose.

So yeah. I think I’m done. If it is storming I am definitely not going down there with the kids. If we want to swim in between rain bursts they have a pool. That is risk enough with a damn thunderstorm.

You have no idea what you mean to me. No forking duh I am going to keep you out of the ocean when it is dragging you like that and you are screaming out in fear. That is my job.

It is both my job to teach you to respect that power and my job to protect you from it as you gain enough experience to have proper respect. It’s a complicated operation.

I think I am really feeling the need to cross reference all of these experiences because I am trying to understand the scope and effects and structure of rape culture. What does it even mean?

Do you know who really taught me I didn’t deserve rape? Sex workers. Grown ass women who were god damn sure what was and wasn’t ok to do to them. I know women who have been sex workers for decades and members of the kink communities for decades who have never been assaulted. I study them with a more than just friendly interest. I want to understand their instincts.

I want to teach those instincts to my children and people who aren’t sex workers have never been able to break them down in a way I can understand. They specifically can talk about what they do to manage risk. I know vanilla women who have never been assaulted. They don’t understand why that is true. They just got lucky.

So I talk to the people who can actually give me the information I seek. I am shameless and mercenary about it.

I’m not teaching my kids to be sex workers. I’m teaching them to think of their body as belonging only to them and never to anyone else.

I am doing my absolute best to raise people who will react indignantly if someone tries to abuse them. My kids interrupt me if they think my behavior is getting near a line. They are immediate in their ability to say what is or isn’t ok about what is happening to their body. It is stunning to see.

I have labored for so many years to try and develop those skills.

Sometimes I feel so jealous I want to shove my head through a window. Just to get that feeling away from me.

My brother used to put his head through windows. They made him wear a helmet whenever he wasn’t in a building with safety windows.

We have really liked hurting ourselves in my family for a long time. I feel so grateful that my children showed mild inclination and were quickly reassured that it is not the right decision to hurt yourself when you are upset. Ask for help figuring out how to handle your feelings when you feel overwhelmed to that point. Your parents will listen to you no matter what.

You don’t have to feel pain. We can maybe help.

I feel so grateful that I found a sperm donor who had excellent genetics and sincere interest in being a really involved parent. This is a wonderful experience to watch.

But Noah has committed rape. And so have I.

Do I think all rapists belong in jail?

Jimminy Christmas don’t ask me. 

This rape culture shit is complicated.

I want my children to be able to do better. I want all the children to have better. Education is the single best route to understanding diverse people and life experiences.

I honestly don’t know what else to do. I need to pick up the kids soon. I’m going to stop.

A writer I admire had a good post: http://www.raisingmyboychick.com/2015/09/on_dependence/

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about home schooling our children, a topic that comes up a lot at this stage of our lives. We were talking about how to help kids develop these specific physical skills and we were brainstorming approaches.

I remember, when I was a little girl, I used to go to my mother and cry and say, “But I’m not good at doing anything but reading. I’m so useless.”

My mama would tell me, “You aren’t useless. Maybe you don’t know for sure what you are good at yet but give yourself a few years. You aren’t dead yet.”

That’s an intensely positive memory of my mother and I’m grateful I have it.

At some point in the past few years I recognized my talent: I can teach. On one hand it doesn’t seem like a big deal. On the other hand… I’ve been teaching for a while and I recognize how few people really have it as a talent.

I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to be self aware.

I am incredibly good at seeing that someone has trouble doing ______ and helping them figure out how to do it. Not doing it for them but helping them brainstorm how to do the task. I’m good at showing people ways their bodies can move to accomplish things they didn’t know they could do. I coach people well.

I can do it with physical skills–even skills I’m not that great at. I can look at what a person is doing now, ask some questions about where they want to be, and help them bridge the gap. “Oh, you don’t see that you have to also move this finger over here like that in order to get it. Yup you nailed it!”

I am good at seeing the potential people have. That’s a real skill and not one everyone has.

Sometimes I don’t even realize how many skills I possess and how much stuff I know until I realize that someone else doesn’t know it yet and I can teach it. I am an accomplished, experienced person. I’m not a single subject expert at much of anything–my standards for “expert” are too high. But I’m acceptably good at a ridiculous range of skills.

Thank you, mama. You told me I’d figure something out and you were right. Thank you.

I am not always the best person to execute a plan of improvement. Sometimes I have to delegate to someone who has more steadiness for long-term execution.

A few weeks ago someone online said there are three kinds of leaders: visionaries, sustainers, and builders.

That really touched my heart. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

I’m not a sustainer and it breaks my heart. I want to be. I wish I was. I’m not. My Auntie was a sustainer and I have admired her and loved her my whole life, I can’t be like her.

I’m somewhere between a visionary and a builder. I’m not someone who feels strongly motivated to put a lot of physical energy into building things for other people. I’m a selfish bastard. I’ll build in my house and in my yard.

Which leaves me with visionary. I’d better start writing more.

I have some ideas for books. That’s pretty exciting for me. I should start making notes. I’m actually fleshing out a solid outline for a speculative fiction book in my head.

That’s kind of a departure from my normal…

I have no desire to work for policy change. I know that is the route to real difference in the future but I don’t have it to give. I get so agitated and angry and upset. I can’t sit in the room and be calm like that. But maybe I could give the people who do have such energy a few ideas? It’s worth trying anyway.

Never doubt that you can influence people. All you have to do is talk and talk and talk and then act in front of them. For better or worse you will influence them.

Seeing Frida Kahlo’s work in Washington DC motivated me in a profound way. I’ve had men flat tell me that women don’t do anything worth paying attention to.

Maybe for you. I disagree. Many women have done things I want to pay attention to. Let me cut you off instead.

I honestly believe that at this stage my primary duty as a home schooling parent is to teach my children self regulation. That means teaching them to be aware of their bodies and their emotions and figuring out how to manage them. It is hard. I learned most of these skills as an adult, I didn’t know how to regulate myself when I was a child and that fact complicated my whole life.

My children will never have such difficulties. They will be privileged to always have an awareness of themselves.

It can be taught from childhood, this privilege. I recognize it in healthy families and I try to emulate it. I see parents I respect talking to their kids about, “Well sweetie lets talk about what you ate today and lets see if we can figure out why your belly hurts.”

Don’t block them from having experiences. Stand there with them and help them interpret the experiences. Yes, that’s what we’re doing here!

If you do something for your child to make it “easier” for them you aren’t actually helping them. You are handicapping them. All children need to have the experience of struggling through difficulty towards mastery. This is how they learn to walk. This is how they learn to speak Hindi. This is how they learn to throw a ball. If someone helps you by doing it for you… you can’t learn.

Watching your children struggle isn’t always fun, but I’m finding it very validating and rewarding.

Oh. That’s why things were so hard for me as a kid. Because I was a kid. Oh. Ha.

The feelings, they burn in my belly.

I am really struggling with the fact that I can’t wake up and medicate because I’m never sure when or if I’m driving. That’s feeling really overwhelming right now. I’m crispy fried because of the emotional bouncing. It’s getting really hard. At home I create more of a baseline. On the road I don’t have a baseline. I’m taking medication to make sure I sleep every night (or else we would be aborting and going home) but the days are hard.

I’ve been diagnosed with multiple anxiety disorders. It is entirely reasonable that I feel so anxious I want to puke most of the time. It sucks, but it makes sense.

I feel like, if I lived in Duluth and could invite these folks over to my house so they could see my rules in action… we could get along like a house on fire and spend lots of time together. I think if the kids could experience the different sets of rules as a comparison, things would get easier.

I’m a bombastic person. When I am constantly, only, trying to meld into someone else’s rules (when I don’t really know what they are and I’m guessing and trying to not be too offensive) it’s hard. I am hard to deal with when I’m trying to gentle down to other people fast without really knowing the parameters of what is ok.

Different people have different boundaries. It’s hard figuring out. Some people don’t mind the fact that we suddenly shriek loudly in the middle of a game. Other people flip out and act like we are monsters who just burned their house down. Some people don’t care that I swear, some people spend their entire time near me giving me dirty looks and letting me know that they don’t approve.

It’s hard to guess what people will be like.

So we’ve been doing a lot of adapting and that’s super stressful and hard. We’re doing pretty darn well, I think, but my central nervous system is acting like I’ve been dancing on a telephone wire for a few days. I’m getting those bbbzzzzzzt jolts in my chest and I feel jumpy and twitchy and discombobulated.

I am grateful beyond the ability of words to convey that I am being given this opportunity. My wonderful friends are opening their homes and their kind hearts to me. It is stressful because I believe everyone in the world should hate me and want me to die. My friends are being wonderful to me. I am not complaining about my friends.

(I am complaining a little about my friend’s kids screaming “Go away” so many times. But they are kids. I have a “kids are being kids and that’s annoying” complaint about the kids. We’re negotiating and it’s going way better.)

Frankly, after I had some chats with the boys about, “If you want to get what you want to get… let’s find some different words and tactics. I can help you actually get what you want instead of just screaming and pissing everyone off.”

Kids like it when you teach them how to manipulate. Muahahaha.

I told my friend that I didn’t think her kids would like me if I stayed around here long term because they are very impatient and demanding when they talk to her and if I heard it a lot I would start working on them. “That’s not how you talk to your mother. She is not your employee. Try again.” She laughed and said she would love it and she thinks that they would long-term benefit and learn to see the value in me.

Heh.

I told her that lots of kids have strong feelings about me. I’m a polarizing figure. They can love or hate me. Sometimes both at the same time. It’s funny when kids can’t stay away from me because they are so drawn to me but most of what they want to do is hit me or slam things into my shins. Little bastards. We work it out.

Sometimes I wonder if those kids like that I will sit there and discuss boundaries with them verbally in great detail. “If you smack me this hard it feels like a love tap. If you smack me as hard as you did the first time it feels like you are saying you don’t like me and I’m going to get up and leave the room. Don’t do that to me again.” Kid goes back to give me 34,721 love taps.

Whatever.

I don’t know about other people but I’ve always had a bitch of a time figuring out how hard I should or shouldn’t touch people. Folks vary so much. Some people if you touch them gently they don’t notice. They will ignore you and go on with their day. You need to Get Their Attention with a firmness that would be a major boundary violation for someone else. It’s fucking complicated. The line between “Getting your attention” and “assault” is razor thin and you have to dance on top of it sometimes.

I think it is a lot of the reason I needed to hit people so much when I was a kid. I needed to have the experience of finding out that some people barely flinch when punched and some people are on the floor sobbing when you flick them with your finger.

We all get to be different. We all get to have our own experiences of living in our bodies. But I get why it is hard to talk about concepts like assault and rape. There isn’t a standard WAY TO KNOW about these issues because people vary.

If I were kicked in the course of a martial arts class… I would not feel assaulted. If I am kicked in the middle of what is supposed to be not-that-rough-play… it feels like assault.

Context is important.

So many of these things are about individual viewer judgment. I cannot count how many people have presumed to tell me that I haven’t been raped I just made bad decisions.

I’m the one who knows I *did not want* that to happen to me. You thinking that I should have magically found a way to fight harder in order to make it “count” as rape is… irrelevant.

Learning how to fight people off of your body is not an instinct everyone is born with. I’ve had to fight and struggle to learn very hard over many years to defend myself. I didn’t when I was a little kid. I just went limp and let it happen.

I don’t want to be that any more and I want my kids to never be like that.

So it’s my fault I just let it happen. It’s my fault I didn’t risk greater injury so that someone else would feel ok about calling what happened to me rape. I didn’t earn their regard.

I didn’t earn the right to call being kicked in the throat an assault. I would have had to be a perfect victim. I am not. I’m a complicated bitch. I would have had to… I don’t know… been kicked by someone who wasn’t white before people would have been willing to listen.

When I hear white women tell me they are afraid of men of color I snort in derision. I’ve never had a man who was not white touch me nor insult me nor assault me. I mean, I’ve been verbally approached but when I said no with a torrent of swear words they turned away with their hands thrown up. I don’t look like a target to them.

Just to white men.

My kids and the kids who had been screaming “go away” actually got along very well yesterday. I think this is mostly because I was a fascist and I managed to talk my friend into telling her kids to stay off the screens. We play nicely when folks aren’t screaming “Go AWAY” while playing a violent video game where they don’t want to be distracted. If we can’t game together in a friendly way then stop gaming. Go play instead.

I’m going to have to get to a point where I let my kids deal with the fact that if they want to be gamers they are going to have to learn how to deal with hundreds, nay thousands of fucking men and boys who are going to scream at them to go away. This is the softball early version.

This is why I don’t play fucking video games. Too many boys and men have screamed at me like this. It’s not a fucking fun sounding hobby any more. Sounds like a nightmare. I can get to the point of liking something only to have people of a different gender scream hysterically that I have to just GET OUT NOW.

I have huge triggers around this. I wish my fucking daughter didn’t want to be a fucking gamer. UGHGUGHGHGHFGHGHADfoihaweifkjhds;gfh;eovwaekln

AND I’M UN-FUCKING-MEDICATED AS I DEAL WITH THIS GAMER ASS HOLE BULLSHIT

Some day I will have to get over my brothers. Hopefully before my friend’s mother in law does. Holy crap.

In one place we visited we had tacos for dinner. Mother in law *shoved* everyone out of the way to fix a huge heaping plate of taco fillings, then she grabbed a big stack of taco shells and retreated into a corner. There was enough on her plate to feed my family of four at home. “When I was a kid I learned to eat tacos this way because otherwise my brothers didn’t let me have any.”

Aren’t you in your late 60’s? You know how you literally never leave the house because you are agoraphobic? There is some possibility you don’t need to eat like you are doing physical exercise in the Alaskan wilderness any more. You live in a big city and you never leave your house. You probably don’t need to rush to take four peoples worth of food and then eat it as fast as you can swallow.

Hopefully I will get to a healthier relative place than that with video games. I’m not nasty about my kids playing. I’m nasty about it turning into a nasty fight. If there is a lot of “go away” screaming I’m going to get really nasty.

Why are people so damn nasty to everyone? Why in the hell can’t we ask for things without being a complete asshole?

Oh man. Oh shit. The kids nailed me on something. I was talking to the two boys here about tone and shut up and what it means and how it is demeaning and “shut up” is something that is only supposed to be said by someone with power to someone they have power over and that’s a lot of why it is demeaning–it isn’t supposed to be used between equals. It doesn’t work. My darling children turned to me and said, “If it is demeaning you have to stop saying that to us. That’s not ok.”

Shit. I need to stop defining things for them.

First: I WISH I HADN’T PROPERLY EXPLAINED DEMEANING. Then I wish they would let me demean them just a little bit with the odd shut up. Kids say no. We are breaking up with that term.

THIS IS THE CONFORMITY I HAVE REFUSED FOR THIRTY FUCKING YEARS OF PEOPLE TRYING TO CLEAN UP MY POTTY MOUTH. YOU PEOPLE ANNOY THE CRAP OUT OF ME.

But I said I’d try. Eldest said she would be calling me on every slip and reminding me that it is not ok to demean them.

I love that child so much my heart soars. I look forward to knowing you as an adult my precious.

My kids have my fierce requirement to be respected… without all the breakage that makes me brittle underneath. It’s really nice to be around.

Eldest child told me she thought she was “bad” for coming and misrepresenting what the other grown up meant about leaving soon. I said, “Well–I wouldn’t call it bad. I would say it was annoying or irritating or selfish. I wouldn’t say bad. Let’s talk about “bad”. How about if you tell me a few things you think are bad then I’ll tell you a few things I think are bad.”

Every single example she gave me I told her, “Nope that’s annoying. Nope, that’s irritating. Nope, that’s selfish.” She finally said, “If being bad doesn’t mean being annoying or irritating or selfish, what does it mean?”

I said, “Remember how we were at the lake earlier and everyone was having fun throwing rocks?”

“Yeah.”

“Remember how once or twice you threw a little bit to close to someone and M and I both freaked out and said THROW AWAY FROM PEOPLE!?!”

“Yeah.”

Ok, let’s say… oldest boy from that family was being a jerk-face. People do that some time. Let’s say he did something you really didn’t like. If you picked up a rock and threw it at his head… THAT WOULD BE BAD. It could cause a concussion. It could cause him to drown and die. You don’t get to make choices that risk other peoples lives. THAT’S BAD. If I asked you to get out of the swimming hole and wait on the side while I went to the bathroom and instead of waiting you took off and went down the river because you want to see where the river meets with Lake Superior… that would be BAD right now because you are too little. Your body could easily be swept into the current and you could die. We wouldn’t be able to find you and save you. That would be BAD. If you did that when you were 16 and you had more body mass and more awareness of how to keep yourself safe… I’d be annoyed if you didn’t tell me in advance. It wouldn’t be bad.”

“Bad is about risking your life or someone else’s life because you just don’t care enough to treat life like it matters. Bad is not about being a little irritating or a little selfish or a little annoying. Those things are part of being human and people learning how to live with one another’s differences.”

“Many of the things that annoy me now, I will get used to and in the future I won’t feel annoyed. I feel annoyed now because I’m adjusting to a new person–I have to adjust to you every day because you change so fast–and that’s work. More work feels annoying. That doesn’t mean you should stop changing! It means I get to feel annoyed for a while and that’s ok.”

“I love you. I love that you have so much agency and strength and you want to go out and have impact on the world. Sometimes you are going to frustrate the shit out of me because you doing what you know to be right will not be the most convenient thing for me. That doesn’t mean you should change! It means I need to adjust. Adjusting can be a messy process.”

“I’m trying to have patience with you and sometimes I fail. That’s what me being impatient and fussy is about. It’s about me failing to have something I need to have. It’s not your fault and I’m not mad at you for being more than I can handle sometimes. I *want* you to be more than I can handle. But that means sometimes I’ll feel annoyed.”

“Me having feelings does NOT mean that you all of a sudden “are” something because of my fleeting feelings. You are who and what you are. You are not about me. My feelings are about me, not you. Your feelings are about you and not me. You want me to approve of you 100% of the time, so you feel kind of bad when I don’t. Sweet pea, you have to adjust to that too. You need to stop needing to have anyone approve of you 100%. It’s not going to happen in life. You still need to do what is right for you. Haters gonna hate. You need to be you.”

“And we’ve talked a lot about being selfish, right? You have to be a certain level of selfish or you will die. If you are too selfish then people don’t want to be around you. Selfish isn’t bad. Selfish is mandatory for survival. But sometimes you forget that an issue isn’t truly about survival and you are a little more selfish than strictly required and that’s annoying. It’s not BAD. It’s annoying. We all have to calibrate honey. Better to occasionally be a little too selfish because that’s annoying than to be not selfish enough… cause then your body and soul will get sick. It needs balance baby.”

Kiddo snuggled up to me with the biggest, warmest eyes and said, “I love you so much. I’m really glad I get you as my mom.”

I am so glad I get you as my child. Your kindness and generosity of spirit blow me away day by day.

Youngest child wanted to take care of me yesterday. This meant sitting in my lap and singing to me until I didn’t feel angry any more. It worked. I’m not sure I’ve had many times in my entire life when I have calmed down from feeling angry so fast. It was loving and sweet and wonderful and I am so grateful I get to know these people. I feel so loved and blessed. I don’t deserve them but I have them anyway and no one is going to take them from me. Mine.

I’m having feelings about push/pull. But you know what? People are worth figuring it out. The four kids watched All Dogs Go To Heaven together last night (on VHS–a first for my kids) and my friend and I had a wonderful grown up conversation. I really enjoy her company. She’s a delightful, well educated, insightful woman.

And it helps that she is hawt, hawt, hawt. It’s always kind of my friends to be so very easy on the eyes. Sigh.

Ahem. Not that I’m looking.

Ahem.

I’m being good.

I miss you Noah. Abstinence sucks. I can’t even masturbate. I don’t have enough privacy. THIS SUCKS. Eleven more days until I see Noah. And even when I see Noah I have no idea how we are going to make this happen.

Maybe I should go to a hardware store and get some lumber pieces so I can take everything out of the back of the van and put it on little risers under the side of the tent. Hmmmmm. Then I could have SOME horizontal space with a modicum of privacy. Won’t be fancy but I’ve fucked in smaller cars.

I’m thinking about you Noah. I’ll find a way. I’m climbing the walls.

This is the kind of problem I like solving.

Totally want a power strip. If I had a power strip I could put the plug in fridge under the awning and in places where I have an extension cord I could run my computer and the fridge. Like fancy.

I’m not sure what we are doing today. Probably more swimming. Even though everyone but me and my youngest burned a little yesterday. (We were napping in the shade. Like smart people.)

Maybe we’ll wait until a little later in the day and I’ll unload the back of the van and we can go to the farther sandy beach where you can have a bonfire and we can go/stay late enough for dinner. That might be fun. Apparently her family is into fire. I told her that if she and her kids are willing to build a fire my kids would be ecstatic because… I don’t do fires. We’ve been mostly camping for almost six weeks and not one fire to date. She looked shocked. She asked me why not. I said, “My brother self immolated. I’m just not real into fire.”

She agreed that it made sense. Oh good. But I don’t refuse to let my kids near fire…. I just want a responsible adult who is comfortable nearby.

Ha, yesterday at one point my eldest came in and said, “Her eldest (kid said name I’m not doing so) just hit me and I’m not sure why.”

“Well, was it an attempt to be playful?”

“I’m not sure. But it hurt.”

“Maybe you should go ask him, “Did you mean that whack to be playful? Because it didn’t feel playful–it hurt.”

So she did. Verbatim.

He said, “It didn’t hurt. I only did this.” and he did it again. And again my eldest said “OW!”

He looked surprised.

I said, “Well, different people are differently sensitive. My eldest has always had an extremely tender head. Brushing involves crying. She hates having people gently stroke her hair because it feels too intense… it may be that you were trying to be gentle and you didn’t know that you have to be even more gentle than that with her head. She really doesn’t like pressure.”

He looked a bit surprised. But then said, “Oh. Ok I can adjust to that.”

I said, “Yay!” My eldest hugged him. He looked… perplexed.

We are so funny.

Things improved after I got my head out of my ass. I’m telling you, ALL OF THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF I WAS STONED.

I am having a lot of fun here. My children continue to be the center of my world and I am so grateful for them. They make me feel so much joy and love. I feel appreciated. I feel valued.

I don’t feel like my kids are biologically dependent on me so ok fine we are together. I feel like my kids like me.

That doesn’t always happen. I’m very lucky.

Moving south

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.”

“Got it.”

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.

Holy crud out of the blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope we will have fun together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who has been telling her this crap?!

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

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

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

I felt like I got sucker punched.

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

She nodded.

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

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

It sucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verra good convention

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.

*happy dance*

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.

This is so rad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a lifestyle choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responsibility

If I think that everything is “someone’s fault” and I’m ok with people not vaccinating… do I believe that people damaged by a VPD (vaccine preventable disease) who are vaccinated have the right to sue a patient zero if that patient zero is unvaccinated.

I just had that thought.

Some folks on the internet wonder if everyone involved in the Disneyland measles outbreak should sue the woman who brought the disease. Especially because she exposed people on multiple plane flights and in multiple states. This woman put a lot of people in jeopardy. How should she be held accountable?

That’s a fucking good question. Have I mentioned how glad I am that I’m not a lawyer, judge, cop, nor politician?

I’m not sure what I think about that. I can come up with lots of points on both sides of the argument. I don’t think I have an opinion beyond I’m glad my opinion doesn’t matter.

Are non-vaccinated people required to act like ticking time bombs who treat every sniffle and fever like a reason for complete quarantine?

To be frank, when my children were unvaccinated… that’s how I treated it. If they seemed anything other than 100% healthy I just stayed home. But that’s a privileged decision. Well, maybe choosing to not vaccinate must be a privileged choice then? You only have the right to do it if you can keep yourself out of the general population at the slightest nose sniffle?

I don’t know.

Poor people get screwed in every fucking conversation. They aren’t allowed to make decisions based on *them*. They have to care about everyone else more than them.

Rich people get to say, “Well, my circumstances are special and I can accommodate all the ways I deviate from the norm so I’m allowed to have variation in my behavior.”

Poor people need assistance. They need it from the government, from friends, from churches, from schools… They have to cooperate. They have to jump the hoops put in front of them and they have to do it with a smile or they will be punished with the revocation of support.

Frankly, it would be a fascinating social experiment to segregate the non-vaccinating families into separate schools/public facilities. It is a choice to not vaccinate. Unless of course one of your kids had a nasty reaction then it isn’t safe to vaccinate the rest of your kids. Should you be punished if you physically can’t be vaccinated? Some people are too frail of health–the vaccine would probably kill them.

The arguments for vaccines include that “some people can’t be vaccinated thus it is MORE important for everyone who can to ensure that they are vaccinated”.

When folks are ranting and raving against non-vaccinators, they never actually qualify their arguments with, “I only mean people who don’t have a reason I believe in that supports their position.” Because I could come up with diseases a kid could have where people would say, “Of course that child should not be subjected to vaccines. It would be dangerous.” But where is the line? Who gets to decide?

If one child in a family has a reaction, do the parents have the right to withhold vaccines from their other children out of fear that it is a genetic issue that will also exist in the other kids? What if one child is specifically disabled and the others aren’t?

Who makes the rules?

I think that people need to do research for themselves. I am cheerful about explaining why I made the decisions I made, but I’m not going to bust out a long list of links to justify my decisions. I am not responsible to you. I do not owe you an explanation (Whoever you are) and coming up with that justification is work. You don’t have the right to demand that I stop what I’m doing and go do the work that is important to you.

I try very hard to qualify my statements with “My information may be out of date.” “This is what I remember.” “To the best of my recollection.” “I have read.”

I don’t know the One Twue Way and I don’t pretend I am representing The Twuth.

I have a hard time with the fact that if I write about my life in a public way periodically people expect to be able to walk by and assign me work to prove to them that my life is acceptable. (I’m not saying you did that Krish. You asked a polite question. I have conversations all over the internet. The non-polite people don’t last long in my sand box.) Err, I’m not going to prove to you that I’m allowed to do what I’m doing. You are not my boss. I already have a note in my wallet telling me I’m allowed to be here doing what I’m doing. I don’t need your permission too.

My arms hurt. But I’ve been having feelings. And vaccines are relatively safe to write about compared to all the other feelings I’m having. Ha.

It is funny how we deflect attention to keep going.

Both kids have been complaining about headaches and eye pain in the past couple of weeks. We talked about it and decided to limit screen time more. An hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Kind of funny that I have no interest in limiting their screen time and… they need me to do it. It makes my life easier for them to have days where they go from playing independently to the screen back to play to screen to play… they watch a show or two then get bored and go play. I think they are learning a lot about how to manage their time and resources. Only they’ve been on the screen too much and they are both hurting. That means it is time to change things.

Life involves a lot of testing things out to see how it works. Sometimes you try something and find out it didn’t work how you thought it was. Sometimes you have to change how you are doing something.

My life seems to be little other than change. I’m always adapting. I go through periods of using the screen for 10-15 hours a day for months and then I have months where I’m on the screen 0-1 hours a day.

Timer is about to go off.

Today has been an emotional journey.

I’ve been crying on and off for 13 hours now. It’s a day. I went to a tea party. I cried at the tea party. Even though strangers could see me. (Usually I have better control than that; mostly I get to a bathroom in time to hide my crying.)

One of my former flings was at the tea party. He spent a lot of the party hitting on me really hard. He remembers me very fondly. I feel like I should take a shower. (Although to be fair–the pride weekend we hooked up was wicked hot. He’s a switch and just as good at taking pain as he is at giving pain. We had a really ridiculously hot weekend of beating the shit out of each other in between rabid fucking. Ok, I remember him fondly too.)

But I still feel like I should take a shower. Which is becoming a thing for me. I was talking to Noah about this yesterday. I’m in a weird spot with sex. Sex is feeling weird and dirty and gross and like I am disgusting for having it and I don’t understand why anyone would want to do that. Which… isn’t really like me.

I have been having sex of some kind for over 30 years. I’ve been having vaginal sex of my own volition for 21 years. I feel very weird about having sex be this weird for me. I was never put off by sex and now I am. I feel like I’m in a really terrible rut for this. It hasn’t been going on for a super long time, maybe a few weeks?

It is very weird for me to feel repulsed by the idea of sex. And I’m feeling that way really intensely. It is making my relationship with Noah rocky. And then having an old flame hit on me magnifies it in intense and awkward and uncomfortable ways.

I’ve had some weirdness ever since getting pregnant the first time. Decreased libido, I don’t feel sexy when my kids are around, I don’t “turn on” very easily any more… there has been a lot of weirdness to adjust to, but the repulsion feels new. (I don’t think I have suddenly developed an aversion to Noah. I am much more repulsed by the idea of sex with anyone else right now.)

I feel dirty, bad, and like if I have boundaries I am a terrible person who deserves to be punished. Sex feels almost like a punishment.

Today has been such an explosion of self-loathing. In every way possible. I should die. I should die. I should die. I should stop being such a scary terrible person. I don’t know a way to stop being so fucking scary without dying.

This morning Noah made us a really elaborate breakfast. In the process he shouted at the kids a few times. From the other side of the house I felt shocked and afraid. When I came into the kitchen the kids were totally cool with it. I asked Noah if he needed time to go calm down and both him and the kids defended that he was fine.

If I say “empty the dishwasher” sometimes the kids will all but cower under the table. I don’t even have to raise my voice. (Actual screaming provokes less of a reaction.) Noah says it is because I am so intimidating. You know–like a large black man.

Are you fucking kidding me?

So I spent the day crying because I’m a piece of shit who should die because I can’t seem to do anything to stop scaring people. No matter how hard I try, I’m still that fucking scary bitch who should be punished for having emotions that are too big.

Sometimes I can whisper a request and the kids will react as if I have done something terrible. I feel manipulated.

I feel like I should die because it isn’t possible for me to attain behavior that would be considered “acceptable”.

I spent a bunch of time at the tea party talking to a woman I used to go dancing with. Both of us have been on mental health roller coasters over the last few years. When she has problems, her friends take her in. She has spent a lot of the last few years basically couch surfing with friends who cook for her and clean up after her and she has a great team of doctors she works with who are really nice to her. In the conversation I asked a little bit about what kind of traumas trigger what kind of things for her and she said, “I’ve never had a traumatic experience in my life.”

When she said how grateful she is that her friends have taken her in and supported her this way because it is really hard for her to take care of herself when she is depressed I said, “No one has ever loved me that much. Not my friends, not my parents. It doesn’t matter how I feel. I have to take care of myself.” Then I cried.

Noah takes some care of me, but he doesn’t do that much. People have done some things to care for me. One friend cooked me breakfast lunch and dinner for three weeks after my second child was born. When my uncle died and I dropped my basket I had friends show up for a week to baby-sit my kids.

But in between some pieces of help I have to get off my fucking ass and do everything else for myself. I don’t get months of support. I get a few minutes then a kick in the ass to get the fuck back up and take care of myself.

When my wisdom teeth were removed, I was 21 and living with my Owner. My mom came to stay with us to “take care of me” afterwards. I had four dry sockets. I was in horrible pain. My mom sat on the couch reading and I cooked and served her food.

I’m a self-pitying son of a bitch.

When I get really sick 9/10 times I drive myself to the hospital. I don’t really know who to ask for help. Even though doctors have told me flat out I can’t drive those days… I do it anyway because that is the only transportation I have.

I’m having a really hard time this week with the whole “scary” thing. I won the court case, but I don’t feel “cleared” at all. This is a consistent problem for me. Near as I can tell the only thing I can do to avoid scaring people is stay in my room without talking to people.

I want to die so much.

I’m having a really hard time with knowing that my therapist doesn’t have a lot of hope for me changing. That is really hurting.

If you ask my kids at any other time if they think I am scary they say no. They tell me they know I wouldn’t hurt them even though I get very angry sometimes. But man they cower. They cower like I chase them with a belt. Hell, they fucking cower more than someone who has been chased with a belt. If you get hit enough times you learn that cowering just pisses people off and they hit you more times.

Noah and I talked today about putting the kids in school. He asked what I would do during the day. I said cut. It would be totally easy to hide if I had that much alone time. We don’t want to put the kids in school. But if I think the kids are being damaged by being around me (uhm, cowering) then maybe school is more appropriate.

You never know what the “right” decision is until it is too late to do anything about all the wrong decisions.

Despite hearing today from a teacher who likes Common Core I remain unconvinced that school is currently the right choice for my kids. This teacher asked how my kids have learned to talk about math problems if they have never had a math class. If I’ve never sat them down with a textbook and worksheets, how can they learn?! It’s a miracle. But without curriculum assistance of any kind my kids can do addition, some subtraction, and the occasional multiplication problem. (The 4 year old isn’t doing multiplication yet, but she has demonstrated that she understands the principle.) We do them verbally.

I feel like I’m being mean and ungrateful towards Noah for having this many big, unpleasant feelings. I feel like I am doing something specifically objectionable because of disloyalty. I feel like when I talk about my lack of support I am implying that he isn’t doing enough and that isn’t true. I’m pretty sure there isn’t time in the day for Noah to do more.

But I still have so many needs and there isn’t anyone I can ask. I try really hard to build some of the consistency I need and it falls through over and over.

It isn’t that no one ever does anything for me. I know that I *do* get help. But I get one off help.

I want a god damn mother.

Right now I am feeling very self-pitying and sad. I wish I had the flavor of mental illness where people love me and take care of me and feel sad that I am hurting instead of the flavor where people think I am scary and intimidating.

I want to die.

My friend said she feels confident that with the help of wonderful doctors she will improve a lot and her life will get better and she won’t have so many symptoms.

If you read books about suicidality, there are specific “things” that are the reasons people kill themselves. There are only a few categories of spurs, really. I have most of them really active in my life. I don’t think I will ever stop feeling suicidal until I can find a way to meet the needs that are driving the impulse to die. My problems are relational and I can’t fix them by myself. And I can’t make anyone care about me that much.

I don’t know that I will ever get much better. I will never believe I am worthy of enough love to justify staying alive. “Never is a long time.” I don’t feel very hopeful today.

I hope that some day this will feel less intense. I hope that some day I will believe I am worthy of someone taking care of me and I will find a way to make that happen in a way that will benefit my mental health long term.

Right now I feel like no one loves me enough.

Which is of course all my fault and all my problem.

Just another morning.

This morning in Ferguson no one gives a shit about my intestinal issues. So I sit here and wonder how important, really, are my problems? Well, they are important to me.

But the world is so big. And so much is going wrong that is much bigger than me. I sit here in my highly privileged life. I hide in my nice safe home. I hide in my now-safe life from the ills of the world. Not my dog I say.

I think I will get off my ass and take the kids to the park today. Park day is just under thirteen miles away. That’s not exactly in town but that’s throwing me a bone considering many of the parks are more than twenty five miles away. I’ll consider it a gift. I don’t need to prepare much for dinner tonight now; we’ll scrounge leftovers and make room in the fridge for Thanksgiving foods.

I am arranging interviews with potential baby-sitters. Maybe I’ll find someone who will follow through. If I do then Noah and I will enjoy more date time. We will also get a night to work without tag-teaming the kids. Instead of tag team parenting we’ll abandon them at the same time like normal parents.

If this works out (ha ha ha–how often do things work out?) I’ll have 16-20 hours of kid care a week over four days. I balk at paying for it, but I suspect it will be healthy for all concerned.

Right this minute Calli has the iPad, Shanna is on Noah’s computer (playing Minecraft) and I am typing. I find this… weird. Noah is, of course, on his other computer.

I don’t have the spoons right now. I need a way to create more spoons for me. I feel selfish and guilty for paying for child care when I don’t earn money but I need help. The downside of Noah earning buckets of money is he works a lot of hours. I don’t complain (much. anymore.) but it is hard sometimes. The kids are very extroverted. Being in school for those hours wouldn’t be fun for them. Being with a baby sitter who plays with them is rad. I’m trying to find a solution that works for all of us.

I’m getting pickier about baby sitters. No screen time with baby sitters. Do projects. Make shit. All those things I’m lukewarm about. I am best at teaching the underpinning layers of work associated with life and I’m good at some artistic endeavors but my range is limited. Baby sitters have different skills. Perfect.

Oh! Shanna got most of the way through making a pillow yesterday. She stitched together a whole bunch of scraps of fabric. We haven’t stuffed it yet because I think she should add another layer of seems a little closer together, but Shanna made a pillow. Completely of her own initiation and design. It’s pretty rad.

I like that my kids think, “I want to make ___” and then they do it. They don’t create elaborate fantasies about how they would do it if they did it… they do it. Bam.

I tell my kids not to expect everyone in the world to be as interested in them as I am, but if you ever feel like you need to have someone tell you that you are wonderful you know the way home.

I can pick you apart into little pieces and make you squirm when I talk about the shitty things you do. I can also tell you in exquisite detail why you make the world a better place and why I’m proud of you and why I love you so very much that it is worth living through any amount of pain just to get to look at you for another day.

You are going to piss me off because that’s how it goes. People annoy me. It isn’t personal. What is personal is that I would do anything for you and your sister. You are special.

I am listening to Shanna complain about the terrible winter. As it is a bright sunny day in California. Apparently there has been a lot of snow and ice in the game. I am going to find it funny living with so many gamers. It is going to be a serious act of will to stop reacting to all game references with hostility.

My earliest memories of video games were of my brothers hitting me when I asked for turns. They called me names and told me that I was too stupid to play. I’ve managed to learn to be ok with some games but not many. Most cause a visceral repulsion.

It is weird living with so many gamers in a gamer culture. The plain truth is I kind of hate gamers in that kind of anonymous “I hate group even though I can say I don’t hate a, or b, or c who are members of that group.” My uncle was a terrible racist. But he got along fine with the individual members of other races he knew. Funny man. I’m pretty sure I’ve moved my intolerance onto another group but kept the venom and idiocy.

Well this wandered. I do that.

Sometimes I sort of feel like that awful Meatloaf song. I would do anything for love, but I won’t be nice.

Good grief. I should get up. If only I knew where I left my willpower. But I have to get ready for the park. We should leave in two hours. Blergh and blick.

Hindi study

Last year we somehow stumbled across an advertisement for Hindi lessons at the local temple. (It is on the end of our block.) All four of us went to the first round of classes and it was pretty fun. This year Shanna said she didn’t want to sit still every week and only Calli asked to enroll.

I find the study of Hindi to be stimulating in a way that few things have been. Having to memorize different letters and connect them to sounds that don’t exist in my language feels an order of magnitude different from studying languages with a similar alphabet (like Spanish). I’m not saying harder–I’m not sure if it is harder. But it feels different.

I studied Spanish in school–both high school and college. I am nothing near fluent. But the study of Hindi is teaching me that I have a significant vocabulary–my problem is verb conjugation. When the teacher asks us to create a sentence in Hindi to answer a question I always have a complete sentence in Spanish pop into my head and I have to consciously not say it. Wrong language. But having these little epiphanies over and over that I could probably actually go to South America and communicate fine after a month is pretty huge for me. I have lots of impostor syndrome. I think I am stupid and incapable of learning many things. Then I find out that I ALREADY KNOW THINGS!!!

It is hard to explain how exciting this feels. On one hand, people regularly tell me I am intimidating because I am smart/educated. On the other hand, I feel like I’m not talented nor smart nor educated because I know people who have gone way deeper into almost any topic than I have. I’m good at viewing things in the way that makes me look bad.

Hindi is causing me to feel pride in my ability to learn in a way that few things have. For one thing: I’m turning around and teaching Shanna once we get home. She is making progress as fast or faster than Calli and Calli is actually attending the class. It is like ASL only better. ASL was harder for me to feel pride in because Shanna picked it up at two or three times the rate I did and I always felt stupid and like I am too slow to be able to say what is happening in my mind. I just can’t make my hands go fast enough.

Hindi isn’t like this. I shouldn’t feel so much pride that I am picking up concepts faster than many of the 6-7-8 year old kids in the class.. but they are growing up in houses where this language is a daily occurrence. I do feel pride that I am managing to study on my own well enough that I am picking things up faster than people who are learning more about their native language. (They all speak English in most of their lives and Hindi almost exclusively at home based on what they say in class.)

I’m not competing with the kids. That’s not the point. But I have fairly clear proof that I am learning and I am not stupid. I’m progressing quickly. Having it be so crystal clear that I am learning is… it feels really good. I feel proud of myself.

Today we had kind of a weird class. Some of the teachers were ill so they combined levels 1, 2, 3, and 4. This meant that the class was too slow for half the people and way too fast for the other half. Ahhh group teaching. The teacher who teaching level 4 was disappointed in me that I couldn’t come up with a Hindi sentence describing what I will do on Halloween. Uhm, the only verb I know is “is”. I know colors. I can count. I’m on my way to knowing the alphabet. No… I don’t yet know how to say, “On October 31st we will dress up and go trick or treating.” Nope, don’t have that vocabulary yet. But I may work on it this week and write down the phonetic sentence and say it next week. Because she’d be thrilled I looked it up.

I find it strange that I feel so good about the positive affirmations from the teachers. Why do I care? They are strangers and it’s not like this is going on my permanent record. But I care.

Hindi requires a similar kind of discipline as training for the marathon. I have to show up consistently and do the study. Every single day. I have to train. I have to live my life as if attaining mastery of the language is a goal. Just like training for the marathon. I have to not skip runs because I feel whiny. I have to do it anyway or my body will not be ready on the crucial day. If I don’t study Hindi I won’t ever be able to go to India and study farming with people who have questionable English. I want it so bad I feel an ache in my bones.

I want to be able to talk to people in other countries about farming and incest. I’m kind of weird. I want to go meet people when I learn farming and build relationships and come back years later after they know me and trust me and then get their communities to talk to me about incest. I have a plan.

I feel grateful that some days I wake up and it doesn’t feel like I’m trapped in limbo. I’m on a journey. I’m not waiting for the future to happen to me. I’m living my future. I am doing what I always wanted to do. I am home schooling my children in security and love. I am learning languages so I can go learn from people who have entirely different life experiences than me. I am getting to enjoy the companionship and growth of my children such that I am truly getting to see a happy, healthy childhood up close. I am ridiculously blessed.

When I have conflicts with my kids and I feel very anxious about them it is important to keep in mind that I get along with them better than I’ve ever gotten along with anyone. That doesn’t mean it is always smooth sailing. I am pretty sure I will never have a relationship that is all smooth sailing. That doesn’t mean I should opt-out of relationships and it doesn’t mean I should try hard to keep people away from me.

Life is complicated. I’m grateful that this portion of my journey involves getting to engage in study that improves my sense of self esteem while also significantly furthering my life goals. Often those two aspects do not move in tandem. I am lucky.

Ok, now that I’ve done my Hindi for the day time to run. It’s a wonderfully easy Saturday. This is my shortest Saturday run until April. I should find joy in that. From here on out it gets harder.

Luckily, I can do it. I already have so I have no fear. The half marathon Thanksgiving weekend (my race is on Saturday) will be easy. My informalish goal is to manage a 11:50 or better pace. I was super close last time until mile 11 when my ankles seized. More stretching this training schedule. I’m also doing more weight lifting. Being stronger seems mandatory for more speed at this stage. And 26.2 miles just doesn’t sound that far any more. March will be here soon and I’ll run that far and be fine. It blows my mind.

I am more than I ever thought I could be.

Why unschooling?

I can’t sleep so I might as well pontificate. I wanted to unschool before I had a word for it. I knew in the pit of my stomach that the best way to learn is to be given access to materials that can help you learn and minimal instruction. I believed it was true and I felt overwhelming disdain and anger for the curriculum I was forced to follow in schools. I don’t think I can adequately describe the years of anger, frustration, and rage I felt about school.

Public school was an interesting journey for me. On one hand clearly I was exposed to concepts and I learned. On the other hand I was beaten, shamed, taunted, and bullied constantly by students and teachers alike. Ok, the California teachers couldn’t hit me. Just the teachers in Oklahoma and Texas.

I understand that my children would have different experiences. I also understand that public education has gone down hill in the intervening years between when I was in school and now. That’s not a good thing. It wasn’t great then.

Learning happens in so many ways I can’t begin to address them all in this blog entry. Suffice it to say that learning can be horizontal or vertical. You can go deep or you can go broad. You can find out everything about one species of dog or you can become obsessed with the organization of biological organisms and their relationships. Personally I’m a generalist. I don’t go deep on many subjects: the primary ones being education, incest, and suicide. Otherwise I tend to stick to having a better than average grasp of a subject then I move on. I don’t need to be an expert on everything. In schools they require you to do everything on a level before you move up. Rarely they will allow someone to bump up in math or reading if they are “very advanced” but mostly you have to “cover everything in the 3rd grade textbook before you can go on to 4th grade” and that just seems silly to me.

Shanna (my six year old) told me recently that she thinks maybe it would be easier to learn to read in school. I asked why she thought that would be easier. Her response was, “Well in school I would have to do it or get punished so I wouldn’t keep putting it off.”

You know what? I’d rather she learn to read for a reason other than avoiding punishment. I’d rather she learn to read because reading is wonderful and engrossing and a fabulous way to spend time. Could she learn to read at a faster pace than she is currently using? Yes. I could force her to learn reading faster. I don’t see a point. I think that as long as she is learning and progressing in many areas at a good speed it doesn’t matter when she learns that skill. She sits down with books every single day. We read to her. She has memorized a large percentage of our library and she “reads” to herself. She’ll get there. It’s ok that she isn’t an early reader. It doesn’t make her stupid and it doesn’t mean unschooling is failing.

I am deeply bitter that coloring is emotionally stressful and painful for me. I had too many teachers who told me “No no no. You are doing it all wrong.” So I’m afraid to try. I don’t want my children having such an experience.

I don’t think that home schooling is necessary for all children. I do not believe that unschooling is the One Twue Way. I think it is what will work best for my family. This is part of why I don’t want to be part of public policy decisions. What is best for me may not be best for you and I’d be a serious jerk to try and change the tone of education in a country based on my personal preferences. But I believe it is very important that people be allowed to participate in whatever educational path is most fitting for them.

I believe that other people have mothers who managed the public education system without trauma and those mothers are capable of dealing with the conflicts inherent within the system. I am not those mothers. I would be printing out whole trees worth of research and I would wall-paper the school with data about why homework is deeply harmful to children. I would not be popular. My kids would suffer for my behavior.

You have to make life choices based on a deep understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. I am not suitable for meekly going along with the public system. That doesn’t mean the public system should be burned down. The simple truth is that it is a necessary part of life for most of our society. I do not believe that every parent is constitutionally, nor financially able to home school. It’s a super hard job.

If I think back over my life by far the easiest job I’ve ever had was being a library “tech”. I don’t understand why I was called that. I fixed the copy machines and organized the magazines. I had lots of time to sit around and read and do my homework. Other than that I wouldn’t say I’ve had an “easy” job. Some of my jobs have been physically hard, some mentally hard, some emotionally hard, some have been a combination of different kinds of hard.

I don’t think I will ever pick an “easy” path. If I’m going to pick a hard path I might as well pick the one that has the most to offer me personally. I really should pick the path that opens up the most doors to the future. I should pick the path that will present the fewest obstacles for me.

It doesn’t really matter what someone else would prefer. No one else has to spend every day in my life. Just me. I have hard days, but I like what I’m doing. I feel very happy about unschooling my kids. I have self-doubt. I have periods where I am afraid I am not making the best choice. I genuinely do not see a better for my family option. There are other arrangements that could be made to work. But I don’t think they would be better and they would involve an enormous amount of stressful change and emotional separation.

I’m a selfish person. I don’t really want to allow anyone else to get most of Shanna and Calli’s time. I want it. I want to be the person who sees them all day every day. I want to be the one who knows exactly where every bump and scratch came from. I want to be the one who is available for hugs and kisses whenever they are needed.

Being present for that heals something in me. I can’t get this pit of need met any other way. I’ve tried.

Sometimes I feel a little weird about the idea that I am making the parenting choices I’m making partially because this feels like the road to my Zen. What I want from life is the ability to feel connection to people. Shanna and Calli are my best chances hands down. It is hard sometimes in the way that any spiritual path involves hardship and strife. It wouldn’t be worth very much if it was always easy.

Unschooling gives me time I can’t get any other way. I feel deeply grateful that Noah (my husband) is able to make this lifestyle easy and comfortable. It would not be possible for me to have this life without him.

Even on days when I’m not very good at interacting with my kids I feel good about the fact that they have freedom to explore and make mistakes without being told constantly how bad they are.

When Shanna breaks things, mostly I laugh it off and say, “Yup. You are my kid.” I’m a huge klutz. I break things frequently. I have no soap box to stand on for preaching about “be careful”. I break things so often. It is hard to handle sometimes but it feels like a journey we have to go on together.

I tell them sometimes, “I don’t know what to do in response to this situation. This is outside my entire realm of experience and I don’t know what the right answer is. Do you have any ideas?”

Whatever self-doubt I feel about whether or not I am making the right choice would be magnified if I gave up on home schooling. I would consider moving to an online charter with more interactive teachers long before I just up and put my kids in public school.

Can we try problem solving that doesn’t involve “Get a new life”?

Today these little unschoolers are going to spend the day at a pumpkin patch. There’s a maze and a huge corn kernel pit that the kids can play in. We’ve been before. We will be there with dozens of friends. It will be a long, hot, fun day.

Alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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