Category Archives: watching the sky

Mostly parenting babbling

I’m trying something different this morning, my wonderful daughter Shanna is cuddled up next to me on the couch watching Fraggle Rock.  I’m going to see if I can usefully write with her in the room.  I’m not sure.  I feel very self-conscious about how often I cry in the process of writing.  Often I’m sobbing the whole time.  I’m kind of weird about crying around my kids.  I do it sometimes, but I go to great lengths to avoid it because I feel so terrible about my moodiness.  I wish I could manage consistency.  I think the only baseline I could have would be anger.

That is what I am having so much trouble with.  I feel guilty that I will never be able to be a placid, mellow, just happy mom.  That’s not an option this lifetime.  I am often happy.  I am sometimes mellow.  But I am also quick to anger.  My anger burns hot.  I get very sad.  I may be one of the only women I know who isn’t bothered by the term “hysterical”.  Even though I know it has nothing to do with my uterus, I really do get a kind of freaked out that men don’t get.  At least not in places I can see.  Sometimes it seems like I am the example of what is wrong with women.  I should try to be more stable.  More like the men in my life and all.  Because the women in my life are more stable than me, but not by much.  I’m sure that’s not a nice thing to say.

I’ve been really enjoying reading Austen novels lately.  That’s funny because I avoided them like the plague when I was in college for that English degree.  I’m enjoying seeing how very slow their lives are.  It feels like it is giving me permission to strive for less.  If I want to be a developed and accomplished person I need to have a lot of time spent in my house just improving myself.  If I am running around with too many things I am obliged to get done in a day I will spin my wheels in place and not improve much.  I’ll be too angry and frustrated to get the lessons from things I want to get.

Writing with Shanna here is different.  I’m being vague and that’s funny because she can’t read yet.  I’m not trying to spare her.  If I want Shanna to grow up reading I need to read in front of her.  If I want her to grow up being curious and interested in everything she can reach her hands out and touch I have to be free to walk with her and talk about the things she sees.  I have to be non-distracted enough to focus on her questions.  If I’m busy then I snap at her to leave me alone.  I don’t want that to be our relationship.

I want my daughter to be one of the blessed few.  I’m not striving for a “normal” childhood.  I don’t think I could create one if I wanted.  But she will grow up in this cocoon of love and acceptance and constant education.  That’s why I am drawn to Unschooling.  We really do sit and talk about things happening all day long.  I’m learning how much I know as I talk to her.  I know a great deal more about biology than I would have guessed.  I am thinking about getting a few books so I can learn more.

Now I am in the garage.  Calli called for me after that last paragraph and I spent an hour nursing and cuddling.  I got to sit and think about how weird and defensive I feel right now.  I’m often not sure what I am writing about until I am done.  Randomly: last night I was thanked for writing the post about admiring women.  I was weird and awkward and I almost cried.  But I didn’t.  Self control!  I have it!

I don’t think I know how to be a mother, exactly.  I’m not sure I know what that means.  But I do know how to talk to my children as if they are humans-in-progress and someday, not that long from now, they will know everything I know and more.  I tell Shanna every day that my job is to teach her everything I can so that she can be any kind of grown up she wants, regardless of my preferences.  I talk to her constantly about how different people have different things they like and she gets to decide how much she will agree with my opinions.  I feel weird about how often she wants to be like me.  It feels like a lot of pressure for me to think hard about why I have the opinions I have.  I don’t want her to have opinions based on my ignorance and bigotry.  I don’t want her to become an angry person because I am angry.

I feel like there is a certain level of anger that is normal and occasional and everyone gets to have.  I have no idea what that line is because I am often derided for any show of anger about any subject.  There doesn’t seem to be a consistent scale.  Or, whatever the scale is, it is also combined with the rule “And you are never to express any anger where any one else can hear you.”  I missed the rule if it exists.

I often feel like it is perfectly appropriate for me to be angry, but I should probably max out at seven when I express it and I seem to read to other people as much higher than that.  What am I teaching?  The funny thing is, I don’t have much desire to change this behavior pattern of mine for the sake of the relationships I’m missing out on because people are uncomfortable with my anger.  At this stage of my life I really and truly have to just be ok with making people uncomfortable, period.  I don’t want to teach my children to do the same thing though.  Or, rather, I want them to be able to make a decision for themselves.  I want them to have an understanding that I may get intensely angry but most people don’t and most people dislike it.  They get to have their own lives and figure out if they are angry or not.

Calli is at a different stage of development.  She has grown increasingly cuddly and desirous of physical contact with me.  She is starting to imprint pretty rapidly.  She is absolutely copying my physical movements, facial expressions, and tone of voice.  I have to stop yelling.  I don’t actually want to live in a house where yelling happens so quickly and constantly.  That places it on my head.

I’m dealing with a lot of my sources of anger.  I am going to decide by the end of today if I think I am willing to do the books for the business.  The answer is probably.  I would like to have a way to be involved with the community.  The owners and managers would become people I communicated with more.  I would be able to go visit when I wanted.  I was told that it isn’t reasonable for me to spend my only off-time doing more dishes.  I feel valued.  Thanks D.

I am figuring out my limits with regards to house cleaning and how I will manage that.  I can’t live in a big mess and Shanna was born messy.  When I make sure that Shanna and Calli are the only ones I’m cleaning up after, it’s a different conversation.  This is my job.  This is what I am doing with my life.  I am caring for my children.  That means I do have the entire obligation for the tornado.  I’m talking to Shanna about why I clean.  I show her how I do it.  I am increasingly asking her for help.  Often she is told, “I will clean up everything but _________.  If you want to go to the park today, you need to help me clean up.”  I work hard at encouraging her to play with one thing at a time and clean it up when you are done.  But that’s not how Shanna plays.  When Shanna plays the whole damn house is part of the game and every item of clothing and block and blanket and item of furniture is part of the story.  It’s amazing to me that she really and truly has an explanation of what everything is doing.  It’s not that she’s messy.  She is highly creative.  She needs to interact with a lot of items in order to fill her need to manipulate things.  I’m trying very hard to talk to her about cleaning in a neutral tone of voice.  I only manage when I’m alone.

When I’m not alone I’m angry that the other adults aren’t helping and it creeps into my voice.  When I’m alone with the kids I don’t expect any one else to be doing anything so I don’t have a reason to be upset.  I’m just muddling along doing my job.  I care about doing my job well.  When I worked at Ross Dress for Less as a teenager I was a ridiculously good employee.  I kept my areas spotless and I always covered more area than I was technically assigned.  I knew they weren’t giving me enough work because they were assigning work based on how much other people could get done.  I have never been able to tell if I have much more energy and ability to work than other people or if other people are lazy.  I think that most of it is that other people just aren’t as invested in (thing of the moment) as I am.  I was told over and over and over, “If you are going to do a job, do it right.”  And I consider so many parts of life, and therefore work, not optional.  If it’s not optional and you have to do a job right… that means you put 100% of your energy into everything you touch, right?

This is hard to sustain.  I feel like I am deficient as a person if I leave a job half done.  I do it sometimes but I beat myself up for a long time.  I’m learning how to put the housework into categories for myself.  Right now the living room is a disaster.  It looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks.  The entire house was completely spotless and I vacuumed and dusted and swept and mopped yesterday.  I just can’t get upset.  I have times of the day where I am supposed to get up and clean until the house is clean again.  Then I am supposed to stop at a certain time.  The house always has areas I could be doing more in.  I need to deal with filing again, for example.  Right now I am trying to not worry about those things because I have (deleted future stressful event) coming up.  Lots of feelings.

But it’s time to get back to where I was before I dropped my basket.  My kids are getting easier to care for.  Calli is still a baby, but barely.  She’s very nearly a kid.  I realized this week that I need to get my sign language books out.  She’s not going to match Shanna’s early learning curve so I need to teach her more signs.  She wants to learn them but I haven’t been modeling them this time.  That is something I should do.  Calli clearly has opinions and wants to communicate.  I haven’t been giving her enough scaffolding for being able to do that.  I get the impression that her tantrums would disappear if she could just bloody say what she is thinking.  Development is an interesting thing.

I’m developing an increasing appreciation of having two girls.  I think I would have been the kind of asshole who thought they had boys and girls figured out because they have one of each.  Calli is emerging more by the day and I find her so fascinating.  She moves like me.  By which I mean, she moves like my mother.  I see so much family resemblance in her.  I see my brothers.  I don’t remember what my father looked like, not really.  I don’t see my sister.  She strongly resembles her biological father.  But Calli has the same skull shape as me.  I have a picture of me at thirteen months up on the wall in the hallway.  Right next to Calli’s six week pictures.  It looks like it could be the same kid.

Part of the reason this feels weird is because Shanna has always felt like a mini-me.  But Shanna and Calli don’t share any of the things that make Calli feel so very startlingly like me.  It feels like a strange split personality situation.  They each took very different things from me.  Shanna has a lot more of my personality.  Shanna acts like me on my very best days.  She is friendly and empathetic and eager to bring joy to people.  Calli looks and moves like me but is much more reserved.  She is very clearly going to be an introvert.  She’s seventeen months old and she needs alone time.  It’s funny because I have only started to recognize how clearly I need that as an adult.  So Calli then feels like more a reflection of my moody and difficult days.  That terrifies me.

I have a friend who has a very troubled relationship with her teenage daughter.  I’m terrified.  I’m terrified of how I will manage to get through the next two decades of trying to impersonate a stable and good mother so that my adult children will want to know me.  I don’t exactly take that as a given.  When I talk about my fears it’s funny how people always say, “Your kids obviously know they are loved.”  My mommy does love me.  She just couldn’t take care of me.  And when she didn’t take care of me she told me it was my fault bad things happened to me.  I’m not afraid of my kids not knowing that I love them.  A lot of the reason that incestuous families are so intense is because there is just so gosh. darn. much. love.  I’m not worried about my children knowing that I love them.  I’m worried about my children only being exposed to age appropriate things.  I’m worried about my children being told that they are to blame for circumstances beyond their control.

My children are bright and curious and indulged in activities that encourage both.  That means they are going to fuck up a lot as they figure out how everything works.  I get to decide what their experience of fucking up is.  Do they grow up learning that perfectionist attitude of: if I ever fail I am a Failure?  I think not.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Kids and grown ups alike.  Shanna broke a glass yesterday.  I can’t remember the last time she broke a glass.  I think it has only happened once before.  I didn’t yell.  I didn’t shame.  I didn’t say anything nasty.  I said, “Ah man!  Ok, that’s why I ask you not to set your glass on the edge of the table.  Can you look around and see how far the glass shards went?  Don’t get off your chair!  I’ll get the broom.”  Then we talked about what it means that we have broken glass on the floor.  We talked about safe clean up.  We talked about where glasses are supposed to sit on the table.  And she got a hug and a kiss and a hope that I got all the glass shards up because I don’t want my sweet girls getting cuts on their feet.  I did it right.  I don’t do that every time.

But isn’t teaching interactions one of those things I’m supposed to be teaching?  Ok.  So I don’t do it right every time.  How badly do I fuck up?  How often?  I don’t know.  How badly do I fuck up?  Not very.  Not really.  How often?  Enh, depends on what you mean.  How often do I use a tone of voice I regret?  Daily.  How often do I say something I regret?  That’s hard to measure.  It goes in bursts.  I’ll have like five of them in two days because I’ll feel guilty and off-kilter after the first one.  Then I won’t have one for a long time.  How often do I do something I regret?  Very rarely.  I don’t spank not because of some crunchy ideal but because I don’t think I could use it appropriately as a consistent tool and there are much more effective tools out there.  My big punishment is three minutes of time out.  I lost my temper and kicked things where the kids could see once.  And then I dealt with the consequences.  If it happens again then there can be a reevaluation of my monster status.  Everyone gets to fuck up once.

Right now I feel like I am drowning in my feelings of obligations.  I can’t have interactions with people unless I am working to earn them.  I’m not sure exactly what the mechanism of this is for me.  But I sure treat it in-my-head like I am required to always work in exchange for someone tolerating my company.  I must be paying for the effort of dealing with me.  I’ll make dinner.  I’ll wash your dishes.  I’ll do the driving even though you are a single person and this is going to be a nightmare for me with my two kids.

I have friends who have helped me massively.  I now have this huge feeling of guilt.  I have been in this needy phase of life for a few years now and I feel terrible that I require so much help and I can give so little.  I will never discharge this guilt though.  And I don’t want to pass it on.  I don’t want to feel it.  I feel so much less deserving of help than other people.  Other people don’t have to rely on their friends so much.  Other people have families.  My family wouldn’t really be able to help me even if they wanted to.  Sure, they could provide “babysitting” but it would be in a neglectful and abusive environment.  No thanks.  I feel so much jealousy and rage that other people have families and I don’t. To that end I’m supporting Noah’s fledgling efforts to introduce our kids to his family.  They aren’t perfect, but they are something.  And they want to love the girls.  I don’t want my kids to grow up like me.  I don’t want them to grow up knowing that there are all these relatives but none of them have any interest in them.

All these feelings around housework and obligation and love and caring for people and physical limitations and support and abandonment… it’s all one big mess.  I’m going to be an asshole for a minute and say that acts of service is probably my primary ‘spoken’ love language.  Having someone see that I am tired and offer to carry my load?  That is a lot of what lets me feel loved and seen.  I’m not invisible.  Yes, I am happy to do all this work because I love you.  But I need to be coaxed too.  I need to be coddled too.  I am tired too.

Noah spent a while last night laying out his timeline on burdening me.  We talked about how it has gone in the past, how it is currently, and how things will go in the future.  Noah went down a long list of reasons explaining why he thinks he needs to just step up and do a bunch of things right now.  Noah specifically talked about the things I have done for him and why he wants to turn around and help me.  I can’t ask for that help.  I can’t direct it.  I don’t know why.  I know that is a failure on my part.  Noah explained in detail that he has learned over time to notice a variety of signs that my difficulty level is much higher than I am expressing.  On one hand it feels kind of weird being decoded and on the other hand I didn’t know how much I was apparently hiding or lying about or something.

Yesterday I found out that one person recognizes that I am past my breaking point and I am going to get help.  In the past week I have made it such that I am not going to be providing much help to anyone but the kids any more.  It feels needlessly extreme, but it seems to be necessary for me.  I can’t be one of the modern women who gets everything done for everyone.  I don’t want to figure out how to rescue an unproductive day.  I want to revel in days where we spend all day lying in the sun talking about all the things I see.  I talk about plants and clouds and buildings.  I talk about how people behave.  I talk about how things are made.  I talk about metal and plastic and rubber.  I talk about what it means to be responsible.  Unproductive days mean I am too busy enjoying what I am doing.  I can live with that.

I want my daughters to learn that for everything there is a season.  Some day they will work.  I will almost certainly work at some point.  I’ll get bored without something to do.  But for now what we are doing is learning together.  I have to spend all the time that I can with my kids learning about the world because there is so much to learn.  How will we get it all done?

I have let Shanna have basically unfettered access to the iPad.  She watches a lot of Fraggle Rock, Thomas, She-Ra and then she has her movies.  She is increasingly playing with games.  She is doing the letter tracing.  She’s fascinated with youtube and what she can learn there.  I uhhh don’t know how she found nail polish and makeup tutorials, but she has had fun playing with those.  I don’t let her have access to youtube on the iPad.  That has to be used with an adult because bad links pop up.  I feel comfortable with this now because she uses it for a variety of things and she is incredibly physically active.  She likes to go on multiple mile walks with me.  I keep telling Calli that iPads are three year old toys.  We’ll see how long that goes.

So much is in my head and so much of it I can’t write about.  Life is really complicated.  I keep telling myself that everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

From here on out Noah is the person I have lived with the longest of anyone in my life.  With the exception of Jenny and our other housemate, I don’t have contact with anyone I have ever lived with.  Ok, sometimes I run into Tom, but our lives have diverged.  Noah is the only carrier of my story.  Noah is the only one I have to worry about being appropriate for.  Wow.  That’s actually an interesting thought.  When I’m having my ambient feelings of guilt for my behavior, Noah is the only one I will really have to worry about.  I have the kids for ~17 more years and then they are adults.

That’s a lot more pressure than it seems like.  A specific kind of pressure I don’t do well with.  I feel I owe my children a decent childhood.  I brought them into a world they didn’t make.  I have obligations to them.  I have a very different relationship with Noah.  I owe him nothing but what I choose to owe him.  Yet in every way that matters I would be a fool to not see Noah as “rescuing” me.  I feel like he took a chance on a stupid gutter kid, and this is how I repay him?  By being needy and whiny and incompetent and angry?  I feel like he is getting a bad deal.  And that makes me feel savagely angry that all I have to give is a bad deal.  I am a bad deal.

I was certainly a bad deal for Sarah.  I failed her.  I need far more help than she can give and I can’t help feeling angry about it.  That’s not her fault.  That’s not something she is actually to blame for.  She’s not doing anything wrong.  But I feel it.  And I take it out on her.  And that’s wrong.  I am wrong.  I don’t know why I need so much help.  It doesn’t seem like other mothers I know get even as much help as I get.  They don’t seem to fail as often.  They seem to be able to handle getting things done in a lot of different places.  I can’t track it.  I need to have my responsibilities all lie pretty close to one source.

There are a lot of things I don’t know or understand.  Right now I know that the sun is up and the sky is a beautiful blue.  The clouds are all drifting out of sight.  It’s been raining for a few days here.  For once I don’t hear a bunch of people whining about rain.  Almost everyone who has commented on the weather has been grateful for it.  I feel like for one storm we are all collectively breathing a sigh of thanks.  We need the rain.  The drought is ongoing.  I hope the clouds come back.  We need more rain.  Besides, when it rains I don’t have to go outside and water.  I’ve made a bunch of progress on the front yard recently.  Now that the rain washed all those obnoxious white rocks clean, I should probably take pictures.  It’s looking more like a garden.  I don’t know when I will get the playhouse made.  I screwed up billpay and we had some unexpected expenses.  The house part of the budget is overspent for many months.  I’m sad about that.  Oh well.  It just means I have more time to dream about it.  My kids are getting the house and yard I would have enjoyed growing up in.  I hope they like the experience.  I’m trying to not be oppressive about it.

Time to go inside.

Suppression has limited usefulness.

It’s interesting.  People keep asking me how I am doing, that’s predictable (and appreciated!).  I’m not sure what to say a lot of the time.  “Well, I’m behaving as if I feel more cheerful.  I am less explosive.  I am not nearly as angry.  I also feel completely dead sexually.  When people touch me I feel my skin crawl.  But I’m way more calm with way less time in time out!”  Is that a win?

A number of people have expressed how impressed they are that I can simply suppress these memories.  I can stop having flashbacks.  I can black the body memories.  But it comes with a price.  I don’t get to really be me when I’m doing this.  I’m just a shell.  You see, my therapist is on vacation till August 1st.  Perfect timing.  I don’t really feel up to seeing a new person right now.  I’m… yeah.  I’m just not up for that.  I miss people and I miss going out but I am so happy to be home that I’m kind of afraid to leave.  I haven’t even been up to Oakland yet to see the friend I normally see at least once a week because leaving the house is insurmountable.

Why is leaving the house insurmountable?  Because I only have so much patience right now and at home I can ask Shanna to do a very limited number of things so we have a limited number of fights.  Once we leave the house all bets are off.  We might have a great experience; we might have a horrible time.  By “horrible time” I mean that she will pick a fight in front of other people and I will feel intense shame and humiliation that my child is such a brat.  And I will end up yelling at her with far more intensity than the situation warrants because I am feeling shame and humiliation.  So I would rather not take her out.  It’s not that I never yell at her at home, but it’s far less.  And when I can tell that I am starting to internally escalate things that don’t need to escalate I can safely separate us until I calm down more and can talk.  It’s seamless and non-dramatic at home.  Well, three year olds are dramatic.

I’m experiencing a lot more sympathy for why other people give in to their kids to stop the freaking constant whining.  I still won’t, but my alternative is to send her to her room until she can talk in a tone of voice that doesn’t sound like nails on a chalk board.  I don’t have that when we are out.  Oh it feels like pressure.  It feels like overwhelming-I’m-drowning-where-is-the-air pressure.  It’s not a rational reaction.  It is, in fact, completely irrational.  I am comforted by books that tell me that three is just like this.  Get through the year and it improves.  Please G-d.

At home we do ok!  Really!  We have have far more good days than bad.  Even our bad days at home aren’t that bad because I am way more liberal with “room time” than any “real” crunchy parent would be.  What the hell is gentle discipline anyway?  I don’t hit her.  I do my best not to yell.  But oh man I need space and the only way I know to get it is to tell her that she has two options: she can be civilized and polite, or she can be in her room.  It’s not that all expressions of emotion are uncivilized or impolite.  However, if you have to reach volumes that are harming my ear drums in order to express yourself you can do that outside the main room, sorry.  No, I don’t think that children deserve to terrorize everyone around them as they develop emotions.  And I cannot sit down and patiently let her do everything she wants to do.  Sometimes things have to get done.  I’m almost sorry.  But mostly because it means that not only do I have to do an avalanche of work, I have to argue with her all day about whether or not she will let me do it without being a whiny brat because she wants me to do nothing but pay attention to her. Ugh.

I swear to G-d I do things with her.  I play games.  I teach her gardening stuff.  We play on the swing.  I read to them.  I bake with her.  Et cetera.  Nothing is enough so I need to just say that I’ve had enough.  My needs matter too.  And she needs to deal with that disappointment because life is going to hold a whole lot more disappointments in it.

I think that is what the current rash of articles on over attentive parenting is saying.  I feel like I am trying (and failing) to meet all of her needs because my needs were so extensively ignored and unmet.  But there is a happy medium.  My family didn’t know how to meet my basic needs and Shanna is not in that position.  Shanna never has to wonder if she will have a place to live, food to eat (that is palatable), if she will see her mother or father or sister, or if she will get several hours of positive attention every day, or if she will be abused.  Shanna is safe.  Shanna really and truly is getting the basics that I didn’t have.

It impacts the whole rest of your life to not have those things as a child.  That is why I still identify as white trash even though I feel guilty given the extensive privilege I enjoy now.  I still feel like I’m not sure I will have a place to live or palatable food (this is a serious issue at this point in my life).  Noah went to great lengths to create a family trust and he put all of his separate property I was previously not entitled to, all the inheritance stuff, into community property.  No really, all stay at home moms are not created equal.  I am not taking the risk that other people take.  He truly can’t screw me, no matter what.  I will never be destitute again.  But I still go through periods where I am afraid to do things in the house because I think I will get in trouble.  I angst and dither over doing things because I fear that everyone will be mad at me and make me go.  This is not rational.  This is in my bone marrow.  This is why I feel like white trash.  I feel like a dirty little imposteur and at any moment I will be made to go away from decent people.  I’ve been told I wasn’t welcome before.

I was asked to leave the Seventh Day Adventist church when I was a kid.  As an adult I would say that a small minded bully with no actual authority told me that she didn’t like me… but that’s not how it felt at 12.  I was pushing to do a lock-in with the youth group.  I had been to one at my friend Yvette’s church and I really wanted to do it again.  A woman in an authority like position in the group took me aside and told me how offensive and inappropriate that was.  It was disgustingly sexual and then she told me that I would feel more comfortable in a place that was less Godly.

So I went and fucked Sean.  That’s pretty much the timeline on that.  Super Bowl Sunday was a few weeks after that.  I went and visited family friends who were not making great life choices.  Lots of drugs.  Lots of risky behavior.  My family thought it was great for me to go stay with them!  They were also hosting a different family friend for the weekend.  He also happened to be their drug dealer.  On Superbowl Sunday I told him that I wanted him to do something to me.  He asked what.  I said I was too shy to say the word.  He asked me what letter it started with.  I said “F”.  He started saying the predictable ones: fondle, feel, finger… then he got to fuck.  I said yes.

He turned all the lights off.  He did basically no foreplay.  He didn’t use a condom.  I lay there and physically did all the things I “knew” I was supposed to do.  All the things I had learned from years and years of reading porn romance novels, and stealing my uncle’s pornography.  But I cried while I did it.  I kind of thought that was just how it was supposed to go.

Apparently I unsuppressed some memories.  I don’t want to be dead inside.  I don’t want to feel like I am buried under the weight of all of the bad things.  If I suppress them I say that they are unimportant.  Not worth looking at.  But it is important that these things happened to me.  Maybe it is only important given the whole scope of my life, but that’s ok.  Maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world story for someone else to say that the cried through losing their virginity.  It’s kind of a different story for me.  I was told over and over from when I was a baby that my only value was in having sex.  At 12 I felt like my attempts to be good and I really and truly was trying, resulted in being kicked out and told that God didn’t love me.  So I turned around and fucked a 25 year old drug dealer–without a condom.  That’s why mental health professionals think I should be dead.  If I started off making choices like this when I was 12?  12!  Oh my fucking god.  I always thought I was so adult.  That I was so mature.  Everyone agreed that I was precocious, advanced, remarkably adult… No.  I was heinously abused.  It’s different.

When I kick myself over and over for sending my daughter to her room because screaming when you dislike something is not an option… I feel like I am crushing her spirit.  I feel like I am abusing her.  I feel like I am not just on a slippery slope, but rather everything I do is inherently abusive because I am an abuser.  No matter what you do as a parent you can find someone to flog you and tell you that you are ruining your children.  I insist that she not yell at me, not use a volume that causes me physical pain, and that she not hit or kick anyone.  Ok, let’s tack on pestering.  I really don’t allow pestering.  Pestering is given warnings.  If you cross these lines, that means you need some time to see if you like being alone more than you like being polite to me.  No no no no.  I AM NOT ABUSIVE BECAUSE I HAVE BOUNDARIES.  I’m not.  I’m not.  I’m not.  I feel like me asserting myself is bad.  Like I don’t deserve to do it.  Like when I inconvenience the people around me for my own comfort, “Shanna you don’t get to play the screeching game inside” I am doing something terrible.  If I have to physically carry Shanna outside or to her room because she has decided to grab onto furniture and get louder?  Well… I still don’t think I have crossed the line of abusive at that point either.  I’m not going to be chased from room to room in my house by a screaming child.  Just no.

Let me break to say that I don’t think she is being malicious.  She’s enjoying the feeling and trying to get a rise out of me.  I still don’t have to like it or tolerate it.  But I worry about my reactions when we are out.  Like on the train when she wants to get to me the easiest way is to start getting loud.  She knows that it is a huge hot button.  So I picked her up and carried her to the vestibule area.  So far still ok.  But then she wouldn’t stop screaming and I wouldn’t stop yelling either. So I made her stand in the corner.  Which she didn’t want to do and she fought me.  Thankfully Noah interceded because it wouldn’t have been pleasant for either of us if he hadn’t.  I got my back up over something stupid.  That was not the hill to die on because I had no method of enforcement that was appropriate and safe for all concerned.  So I was going to lose no matter what.  But the real problem was that we hadn’t given her proper breakfast and she was hungry.  And that’s all our fault.  And the real solution was to be more patient with her when we had inappropriately taxed her physically.  But instead I hissed unpleasantly at her “You are in public and you need to be quiet.  No.  You don’t get to make the people around you miserable.  That’s not ok.”  Over and over. That’s not an acceptable reaction.  That reaction is coming from my own intense fears about being looked at.  That is me being told that I was never allowed to talk about the abuse or unpleasant things in a way that would make people look at me.  I’m passing on that abused feeling.

I think that “abuse” makes you feel smaller, weaker, and less than.  Abuse is being told in some way that you are a less than person.  I feel like I don’t deserve to take up space in the world.  That’s a lot of my suicidal feelings.  I feel like I am a toxic force.  Like I am a toxic waste dump that should be eradicated for the good of the herd.  That’s how I feel about myself.  No, I don’t have the expectation that I will be “nice” when I meet new people.  I expect that I will feel awkward and uncomfortable and I will act out in some way because I am just that kind of stupid fucked up loser and I always make bad first impressions because I am just bad bad bad bad.

I don’t know that I’m going to have a good day.  Who knows.  Maybe I will purge my bile on the internet and then go on with my day.  It could happen.  I’m hoping that purging my bile works.  Noah is home and my no-t-twin is having a house warming.  Maybe we could have a good day and go after nap time.  That would be really nice.  I can do two things at once when I am out in public.  I can watch one child and interact with an adult or I can watch two children.  That means that socializing in public is hard.  But life is hard and this is really a first world problem.  Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you stop doing it.

I’m watching the sky.  I’m torn between disappointment and elation.  Lately the mornings have been feeling like a beach summer.  It’s slightly humid but very chilly.  It’s uncomfortable to move around the house in summer clothes.  But it’s summer, damnit!  And I keep wearing my summer clothes with layers because I am so eager to strip down to as little as possible.  I miss warmth.  I want it on my skin and I almost never feel this way.  It’s really bothering me this year in a way it never has before.  So the thing is, I want it to be warm in the morning so that I feel comfortable moving around and doing my work and then I can have the afternoon sloth to lie on the couch or play with the kids.  I do most of my big chore jobs in the mornings because the children have more patience and I’m tired of having freezing cold toes.  It’s freaking July.  What the heck.  Right now it is 57 degrees.  That’s pitiful!  (I’m working on the distracting part of suppressing.  The kids will wake up soon.)

I spend a lot of time thinking about why I feel the need to process what I went through the way I do.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant thing to do.  At this stage of my life I feel like I am not in a position to take up a spiritual leader because I would need an intense cult… and yeah.  Like that’s a good solution.  I don’t want a religion to give meaning to my life.  I am not a glory to anyone else.  I can’t come up with any way in the whole fucking world to talk any kind of good about a spiritual practice that does not tell me to pick up a big stick any time someone from my family comes near me.  No, I don’t need to turn the other cheek.  And I’m not in a place where there is enough value there for me to deal with my current issues with organized religion.  Really.  In the cost benefit analysis, I lose.  Just no.

But there has to be some fucking meaning in this story.  Something.  Some reason I did this and survived.  I have to find something worth knowing in the mess.  I have to find a way to believe that being me and existing is a right and good thing.  That I am the right kind of me.  Because being a mother is not going to cut it forever.  I have to be alive and living in my body for me.  And I don’t know a way to be me other than to tell my stories.

The part of me that I like the most is the part of me that looks at my behaviors that I dislike and I try to figure out why I do them so that I can either figure out how to stop doing them –and for real stop doing them, with accountability–or change my opinion of doing the behavior.  In some way it is kind of awful.  I’m developing situational ethics.  But I am trying to reframe it as, “I want to do this, but it is at priority level 9 and right now 3 conflicts with it.  Ok.  Well… shit.”  Because then I have reason to examine my options more carefully on how I am doing 3.  Sometimes I am going to feel like a terrible person and feel a lot of guilt because… 9 is still a priority and I’m failing.  I’m bad.  I’m terrible.  I deserve all manner of evil and badness rained on my head.  That my friends, that is the crunchy guilt for me.  If I do something in a less-than-crunchy way… say only use a plastic bag once and then throw it away.  I have horrible anxiety and terrible self thoughts.  If I only cared more… Ugh.  There isn’t enough time in the day for me to handle my mental health shit and my crunchy guilt.  Ha.

Talking about these things in the ways that I do is part of being me.  I need to stop feeling like I should be silent in public; it’s not like I ever really followed that rule anyway.  Rather I need to stop feeling guilty for taking up space.  Other people are just going to have to deal with their own feelings of shame when I talk about their actions.  That’s not my responsibility.  If you feel ashamed of the things you did to me when I was a child it is right and just.  I get to be that judge and jury.  I’m the only one who experienced it.  There will be people who agree with me and there will be people who disagree with me. That’s life.  And in order to be me and find my own reason for living, I have to learn how to live with that.  I have to stop feeling terrified of the fact that people will disagree with me and dislike me.  I hide at home because I am white trash.  Because I am dirty.  Because I am low class in public.  I explode and yell.  I never can make my children look clean and put together.  I can’t look clean and put together without professional help.  The less said about my husband the better.  *ahem*  (I’m kidding!  I like my husband!  It’s just kind of rare for him to shave.)  We all fit in well together.  We are all similarly messy looking.

That was anxiety producing for me in the UK.  The only time I saw a family that kind of resembled my mental picture of mine in terms of being messily put together they were… very attention grabbing in obviously low class ways.  I had to stop and breathe for a moment as I realized that I shush my children in public and try to talk very quietly when I’m out because I don’t want to be that any more.  I experience so much shame when I feel like people are looking at me the way I look at that woman.  That was my experience of growing up.  My sister was the loud “mother figure” bossing everyone around in this over the top domineering voice so that she could “sound like the boss”.  She’s got a complex.  Oh wait!  She is probably acting like my dad.  I was never really around him so I actually don’t know.  I don’t know what my dad sounded or acted like around people.  I don’t think I saw it more than a few times.  I can’t remember living with him.  So yeah.

My journey is really about finding balance between sharing the stories and working on my behavior while still having control when I need to have control.  Which is pretty much all the time right now.  Rats.

Where is my fight?

I’m watching The Color of Freedom.  It’s interesting for me to watch this.  I’m sitting here with enormous privilege.  Oh dear God I am privileged.  I am rich, secure, safe.  I have basically nothing that I want or need that anyone can take away from me.  I am really a sanctimonious bitch whining about my suffering.  No part of this is rational.  Sort of.  My brother Tommy was hit by a car in May of 1989.  In my head I was 8 already, so in my stories I am 8.  I remember how old I am based on what birthday I’ll have that year, but my birthday isn’t till September.

That birthday was horrible.  My mom sent me to Aunt Vonnie’s house.  So I was in Los Gatos.  I had a slumber party with all the girls from Lakeside.  Aunt Vonnie bought me a cake.  It really should have been a great party, you know?  But this was less than six months after Michael raped me.  Tommy had been hit by a car and I didn’t understand what that meant–he was still in a coma.  I was supposed to put all that aside and act like a normal kid.  I wasn’t allowed to speak about any of that.

So do you know how the party went?  I spent a lot of it crying in the bathroom.  I said awkward things.  I was weird.  The other little eight year old girls had in-jokes and long-standing friendships.  They didn’t much like me.  I was this strange child.  I didn’t know what was true and what was lies.  I didn’t know what input from my body was real and what was imagined.  When I came home from being raped my mother beat me.  I felt like I was being punished.  I don’t remember what I said to her at the time.  I’m very certain that I vomited at that birthday party.  My family was angry with me for acting out.  I was so ungrateful.  Every human being wants to be free from suffering and pain.

When I think of myself as a grown up, you know… some day I will grow up… there is a dignity to people who know in their soul that they are working to reduce the suffering of other people.  A peace.  At this point my suffering is only in my head.  I am trying to lance the wound so the poison can seep out, but I need to go do something to help it heal.  I don’t know what yet.

I know that most of the things that are argued about on the internet really don’t matter.  Is circumcision an injustice?  Yes.  Should people stop doing it to their sons?  Yes.  But they should stop because there really isn’t medical benefit to doing it.  They shouldn’t stop because they will be joining a monolithic evil cabal.  It’s a shitty part of our culture and it should change.  It already is.  Rates of it are dropping like dramatically.  I think it is ridiculous to try to push through legislation banning it.  It’s a waste of time and effort.  By making it illegal there springs up potential for an underground, illegal network.  People would still do it.  It is cultural.  You can’t do away with culture by making a law.  Instead you will have people become intensely devoted to Their Right To Circumcise!!!  Yeah, like we need anyone jumping on *that* bandwagon.

Pretty much everything about attachment parenting.  I’m feeling very bitter.  I’m not able to do the super attached thing this time.  I feel bad about it.  I’m going to have a different relationship with Calli than I have with Shanna and a lot of it is that I literally haven’t spent as much time with Calli.  I did not ignore Shanna the way I ignore Calli.  Calli has had to learn to get her needs met by people other than me.  I have mixed feelings about that.  On one hand, I feel like I have let her down.  On the other hand… she’s happy and thriving and really loves the people she hangs out with.  She gets really excited to see people in a way Shanna didn’t.  Shanna was a limpet.  She didn’t warm up to anyone, not even Noah early on.  I’m so glad to not go through that again.  I feel freaked out even thinking about how much touch I endured then.  Right now I’m not sure how I managed.  But the reality is, right now I can’t do that.  I loved it.  I mean, I did get overwhelmed.  But I thought Shanna was doing everything exactly right and I was happy to meet her needs.  Even though I got overwhelmed and cried.  Now I hand Calli off to Noah to soothe when she doesn’t want to nurse and I hide and write.

I must say, when I go back into the house it’s nice to notice how much they missed me.  Sometimes I have to fight the urge to burst into tears as I realize how much my kids love me.  Because I love them just as much.  It’s actually hard to take the time to write.  I feel guilty for doing it.  I feel like I am abdicating my responsibility as their mother.  I feel like I am a stay at home mom so I should be available to my children 24 hours a day.  This is the job I picked.  And I want this job, kind of.

I have a compulsion to be more than this.  It sounds horrible to me for no logical reason.  Because I was told I was small and petty and mean and vindictive and angry and evil and a bitch and a whore and that I would die alone and bitter.

But I’m not.  I’m not mean.  I’m not petty.  I’m not vindictive.  I’m not evil.  I’m not a bitch.  I’m not a whore.  I am not alone.

I am angry.  I don’t know if I’m bitter or not.  What does that mean exactly?  I am sad.  I am very sad that my family is not able to acknowledge what happened to me.  I am sad that they are still destroying one another.  I’m sad that Jimmy and I cannot heal together because he is not ok with me telling my story.  As I watch these movies about social injustice something I’m noticing is that, people don’t go looking for a fight.  The truly great leaders are not people who went looking for a cause.  They can be helpful, think of things like union organizers.  Union organizers bring matches.  They light a fire where there is already a huge powder keg.

I need to stop looking away from my life for my reason for living.  I’m complicated.  A lot of things have already touched my life.  I moved away from all of those communities because they weren’t my fight.  I need a fight.  That is how I will learn to be not bitter.  That is how I will grow past this.  I can’t do anything about what has already happened to me.  But I need a fight for someone else.  I have to believe that I picked this life for a reason.  No one goes through what I did for nothing.  I can’t let this be senseless.  If this is senseless, if there really is no reason behind my father raping me over and over from when I was a toddler until I forcibly stopped him at 16 then I really should kill myself because that is not something I can bear for no reason.  I just can’t.

Thing is, I don’t really believe in God.  Not really.  I kind of do.  I think there is something.  But I’m not sure if it is anything beyond plain old animal instinct.  I don’t want to die.  I feel like a wolf caught in a trap.  I am flailing around blindly at a pain I cannot get away from.  It’s like my life blood is leaking out.  I am trying to contain my pain in too small of a space.  Pain has to be transformative or else it has to kill you.  You might die very very slowly in inches.  Mostly your spirit will die.  People who are in pain are not pleasant.  It hurts and they are rarely all that nice about it.  (Caveat here: I do not have any real disabilities.  I speak here with the hubris of someone who is not actively hindered by my body in any way.  Well, I have inflexible shoulders.  But yeah, that’s my limitation.  Someone else will have a different story here.)

So then there is the conflict.  A big part of what I’m trying to do right now is just figure out the parenting thing.  And I need to stop listening to experts.  I am sitting here in weird isolation because I read and read about norms and averages and obsess over whether I am doing things right.  When the truth is that my kids need me to hang out with them and not lose my shit.  Yeah, we should learn some manners eventually but if they fuck up at three… who gives a shit?  I need to find a way to balance the fact that I like being home and I like spending so much time with my kids but I really need to be part of a fight.

I can’t just sit here and be the kind gentle mommy all the time.  I really can’t do that.  I don’t want to be that.  I have to do something bigger than this.  So I’m looking at my life.  The thing is, an awful lot of fights were brought to my door.  It depends on how intellectually masturbatory you want to be about it.  But I know that my sister is really not a healthy person.  I know what she has been part of in the past.  I know what she is capable of.  If I have this much rage and anger and fury inside of me… I don’t think you can safely say that I am just projecting.  My sister lived with my father until she was 16.  He gave her a swimming pool for her 16th birthday.  He offered me a computer.  I wonder what she had to do to get the pool.  I wonder what he would have expected for the computer.

That’s my mother’s story.  She tells people I prosecuted my father because he wouldn’t buy me a computer.  My dear Aunt Vonnie told me that.  Years later in a conversation.  She thought that I was lying about being molested and I prosecuted my father because I was petty and mean and I wanted revenge because he wouldn’t buy me a computer.  I shit you not.  That is what my family thinks of me.  They are all MAD AT ME for prosecuting because I disrupted their lives and created drama.

This is my fight.  I am petty or vindictive in telling my story.  This is righteous anger.  I am really tired of being told I should just get over it and move on with my life.  No.  I shouldn’t.  Because that is what allows me to move on and “be free” while my sister rapes another generation.  Do I know for a fact that she is doing that?  No.  I will, most likely, never know.  Because even if she swears up and down that she never did that she will say the same thing about raping my brother Jimmy.  And according to him, it was rape.

I am tired of being told I am bitter because I want to blow my family to hell and back.  I am not bitter.  I am angry.  I am not vindictive.  I am not mean.  I don’t want to hurt my family because of what they did to me.  I want to do anything I can to prevent them harming another generation.  I stopped my father.  Prosecuting him was the right thing to do.  No one in my family is going to be willing to step up and prosecute my sister, even though she is a multiple repeat offender.  She participated in the sexual assault of her children.  Did she do all of it completely directly?  No.  She didn’t rape her own son.  Quite frankly given how they stand near each other I’d be fucking shocked if they aren’t having sex.  Or if they won’t get to it some day.  When you live hard and do a lot of drugs you get uglier and uglier.  Soon you can’t go out and find people any more.  When you can’t find people to fuck and you have those urges, well… you know…

Do I know my family is doing this?  No.  But let’s just say that I have seen enough that I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest.  And that’s a problem.  If almost anyone says “I wouldn’t be surprised if my sister fucks her son or if my mom and my sister fuck sometimes” that would be horrifying, right?  But I know what I grew up with.  I know what kinds of books I read and I know how graphically they portrayed incest.  I know that I learned to read those books because I was borrowing them from my mother and sister.  I know that my father raped me more times than I can count.  More times than I remember.  I know that he did the same to my sister.  I know I liked it sometimes.

So.  Maybe I’m not bitter.  Maybe I’m fucking terrified and angry.  I know how stressed out I feel in my life sometimes.  I know how very close to the edge of doing terrible things I have been in my life.  I know exactly what kind of monster I could become.  I don’t walk down that road right now because I have resources.  I have people and money.  I have time.  I have the glorious luxury of time.  I do not have to earn money.  I can write because I feel compelled to tell my story from the depths of my soul.  Maybe some day I will get past rambling and find some truth.  Something that will alleviate someone else’s suffering.

I’m a weird creepy shut in who cannot handle being touched by other human beings.  How can I go out and join the world?  There is a time honored tradition of people writing inflammatory things while isolated off in a weird bubble.  Maybe that is the only fight I need to be looking for.

Because you see, I’m trying to learn how to do the marathon thing.  The thing is, I want my children.  I have a lot to give children.  I have a lot of love and ability to keep people safe.  And I need to know that some day there will be two people walking this earth who grew up in absolute safety while being taught to care about other peoples pain.  Shanna is deeply empathetic.  She gets other people.  I want to know what her spirit will look like if she is allowed to chase every dream she has.  She will be educated to within an inch of her life.  It won’t be (much) in a brick and mortar building, but I promise you she will be well educated.  The act of learning will be what we do.  I believe that other people can do this with their children in a traditional school setting.

But we’ve all learned that I’m special, right?  Special little snowflake, that’s me.  But I am.  My needs and dreams are different.  Not better, not worse.  If you spend much time looking at actual human history you will see that as long as people are given love and the basics, they can turn out ok.  I mean hey–look at me.  I’m “ok”.  I lead a more functional life than an awful lot of people.  But I don’t think my life can look like other peoples lives.  I don’t have the same rhythms.  I wasn’t raised in that culture, not really.  When I read about other peoples lives/causes/whatever I feel like I am being sold a product.  I feel like I am supposed to conform to being like them.  If you look back on my family life, you can see why I have a lot of issues with conforming.  If I am told that something is a rule, the first thing I want to do is break it to see what happens.  I shit you not.  I don’t do it (mostly) because I have a highly developed superego.  I should really read some psychology people other than Freud.  It might be good for me.  I like Logotherapy a lot.  It seems to be my approach to life.

And I’m looking for my meaning.  I’m trying to figure out what I have to say that might actually help someone else.  I have no idea.  It’s 5:45 and I just noticed that the birds are chirping like mad.  I can see the sky getting lighter.  It’s not going to really get bright today because of the clouds.  But morning is pretty clearly here.  Today I need to patch the drywall in the garage and paint Sarah’s room.  Those are the things that I can’t do here alone with the kids without a big fight.  And we leave for Europe in 6 days.  I think I should cancel the second therapy appointment on Thursday because it will wipe out most of the day for me in terms of productivity (trips to Oakland do that) and child care would be tough.  I like this lady, but she’ll be here when I get back.  For me to prioritize therapy over getting ready for this trip is for me to derail my life right now.  I will have a ridiculous amount of anxiety over losing a day of prep time. Things are already slipping in the schedule because Noah really needed a day of rest yesterday.  We all need rest.

Noah is nervous about the trip.  He’s worried about how stressful it will be.  He has (only half-joking) asked about rerouting and spending part of the trip in Amsterdam so I won’t be so stressed.  It wouldn’t honestly make the trip much more expensive.  Ha.  And that’s the kind of thing we can talk about, casually.  That is what I mean by privilege.  I feel guilty that I have such enormous privilege at this point in my life.  I feel guilty because I feel like I don’t deserve it.  Just like Aunt Vonnie.  Aunt Vonnie is going to die penniless and stepped on because she supports the whole lot.  Although, I don’t know.  If Auntie is lucky she will take her kids and move out of state to a place where they can be more secure financially.  That will only be lucky if she leaves my mother and sister behind.  Otherwise they will follow and be a barnacle on her until she dies.  Then they will find someone else to leech on.  I married a rich guy, who in the hell am I to judge?  Right?

I don’t know.  I don’t know if I should judge or not.  But I know that whether or not I judge them, their actions are not honorable.  My sister and mother both “borrow” money as often as people will let them.  I know that part of the problem is that my mother spends money she doesn’t have spare on frivolities because she wants to.  And then I talk about doing the same thing.  But spending the money that way isn’t going to hurt my life.  The only debt we have is mortgage and that will be paid off by the time I am 40.  At that point I don’t know what we will do.  I know that I am in this position because I live in a small house and I fix a lot of things myself.  We lived with one car for years.  I am not rich because Noah makes such an obscene amount of money, though he does make plenty.  I am rich because I look at our income and I make choices that look like they belong to a lower tax bracket.  That is a lot of why I have the freedom I have.  I know my limits.  I don’t know where or why I learned that sense.

But my family thinks that I have money in the bank because of dumb luck and that I don’t really deserve it so I should “loan” it to them.  They feel entitled because they “supported” me when I was growing up, don’t I owe them?  My impulse now is to promise publicly that I will send them money some day to prove that I’m not bitter.  I’ve started and deleted a lot of text going in that direction.  Fuck ’em.  I don’t have to prove I’m not bitter by doing what they want me to do.  Down that road lies madness.  So what do I do instead?  I go to Europe for a month.  I want to say I saved up for it, but that’s only sort of true.  I keep a lot of cash in reserves.  but on my birthday in September I’m being given a check for $35,000.  That is the final check on my annuities.  I am going to pay off the Disney Vacation Club mortgage (at 12%… ouch) and contribute some towards the college fund.  But I’m mostly going to rebuild the buffer because I have brought it frightening low (at one point we only had ~$3,000 in cash in bank accounts.  I almost had a heart attack from fear that month.) and it’s only back to about $16,000.  That’s not high enough you see.  If the buffer drops below $20,000 I feel like something terrible could happen and I would be screwed.  Yes, we actively invest.  If we were in any kind of trouble we could access lots of money.  But it never feels like enough.  So once in a while I blow a bunch of money on something like a big vacation and the rest of the time I control my emotional spending.

Maybe that’s why I judge.  Because when it is my family saying to me that I have no right to judge them, yes I do.  Because it’s not like I was brought up in some magical mythical land where money sense exists.  I grew up among them and I’m not like them.  I’m really tired of people ranting against the idea of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” because from where I’m sitting that sounds like the lazy cry of people who don’t want to work hard enough.  But I have so so so so much privilege.  I am white.  I grew up in places where I learned what it was like to not be white.  I learned what it was like being white in poverty stricken Hispanic and black neighborhoods.  I was treated like a dog.  People chased me home from school throwing rocks at me because I was a freak.  I moved back and forth from Los Gatos to the slums.  I was expected to learn how to go back and forth between fighting kids off of me as they beat me up as the representative white kid they could take out their institutional rage on and the rich, sheltered white kids in Los Gatos.  I was sexually assaulted over and over and no one ever said anything to me about it.  I believed no one knew.

I had help in unexpected places.  I am alive because I have had subtle advantages.  When I was five I was attacked by a pit bull.  There were 117 stitches in my face.  At the time there was a lot of doubt as to whether I would ever speak normally and there was some damage to my jaw and teeth were knocked out.  Kind of harrowing, don’t you think?  I don’t even think the dog bite story made it to my list of big life events.  Ha.  That’s telling.  It’s ironic that it didn’t appear in the timeline because it is such a huge part of my adulthood.

I have lived on the annuities from that settlement since I turned 18.  It has been almost the entirety of my income since I was 18.  I get $1200 every month like clock work.  Just think about what you could do with $1200 every month of tax free money.  Kind of nice, eh?  And I’m ashamed to talk about it.  My mother told me I musn’t ever speak of it because then people will want to steal it.  Kind of ironic how often she asks me for money.

There are things here worth telling.  It matters to me that I tell this story and make sense of it.  It matters to me that this story become something that people talk about.  It matters to me that my family come under intense public scrutiny because I believe that is the only way to curb the sexual violence in my family.  It’s time to clean out some closets.  I don’t get any dirty little secrets and neither do they.  Maybe the fight will find me.

Personal time

This morning I am enjoying my personal time while doing reading on the internet. I am appreciative of that for a few reasons. I’m going to be going over to try on the mock up of the bridesmaids dress that is being custom made for me. I cannot express the excitement I feel at the thought of having a custom tailored dress. And it will be a 50’s style dress. And it will fit me. And I can nurse in it. And I like it. And I like the material. And I like the color.

I think I just died and went to femme heaven. You see, I’m not normally much of a femme. I’m actually a low maintenance girl in that way. But, like most every woman, I have a funny shaped body and clothes are rarely comfortable. I talk to Noah dreamily about a custom made wardrobe all the time. It just occurred to me that it doesn’t have to be a lottery fantasy. If I do it slowly, one piece at a time… why not? The clothes I am ordering from a website are nearly as expensive. If I find a seamstress who is interested in a steady commission it’s totally possible. And that sounds really nice. I would like to be comfortable in my clothes for once.
I don’t even know where that came from, but I like it. I like that I have time to sit here this morning and think about taking on that kind of many-year-long project because I will be here. This will be my life going forward and I’m allowed to have things I like. Once we get through this early childhood period we will even be able to have extra time so things like that are easy to do. Oh that sounds wonderful.

I like that I have requested that I am not “on duty” until 6:45. If I want to hang out in a closed room by myself doing whatever it is I want, I get to do that. (OF course this is after nursing Calli.) I can sit here and stare out the window and watch as the sky gradually changes from black to purple to navy blue to a saturated blue with white showing through, and now I can see the shapes of the clouds. It will be very cloudy today and probably rain. I think the sky will stay at a blue tinted gray.

I was thinking about that faith in gray thing again today as I watched the movie The Karate Kid. It’s cheesy, but I feel vaguely inspired to do more reading about Zen Buddhism. I’ve been doing a lot of focusing lately on the task at hand as a way to stay balanced and focused. I like having my early morning time be fairly quick reading of the people I enjoy on the internet. I have a lot of time during my day when I have moments of being trapped under Callidora. I am really struggling with my resentment of nursing right now. If I have something to think about, something that connects me to the outside world then I don’t feel trapped and angry. This allows me to have a part of my brain that always feels like me and I can settle into having the whole rest of my attention focused only on the kids. I imagine it works the way I used to use knitting in class. If I have one other track plugging along I can settle into focusing hard on one big one. I am not good at having just one focus at a time if I dislike the task. I have to have something that makes me want to keep enduring. That is carrying and building part of me. If I don’t have this time then I spend Calli’s nursing sessions trying to surf the internet and she interrupts and I am angry the whole time and I resent her.

I like that I have this time to come in here and try to relax into the knowledge that I am not the only responsible person in this house. I don’t need to feel anxiety at all times that I have to be responding in whatever way my children want whenever they want. I don’t have to have a child centered house. Ok, maybe that sounds obvious and preferable to many if not most other people. I grew up in a child centered home. I think a lot of the problems in my family were because we moved at the whims of children. In order to have a peaceful house we need larger and longer patterns. Those can’t be set by children. That’s my job. Oh man. I’m not sure I’m ready to be a responsible adult yet. I have 16 more minutes! Until then, I can be as big of a slacker as I want. So I’ll close this, send a good morning message to my wonderful online girlfriend and have a great day with my friends and my kids.