Category Archives: white trash

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.

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.

Blathering

Today on Twitter folks are going to be mourning yet another black woman killed by police. This time her name is Sandra Bland and she was killed in Texas. So I’m not going to be over there being neurotic and self involved. So I’ll blather here instead.

Apparently we should go swimming tomorrow and Monday. Those are going to be the only two days that the weather is above 80 and I want it above 80 before I go swimming. I don’t go swimming when it is 70 or I end up with so much pain I can barely move. My joints are *not doing well* with the weather. The nights are only dropping down to 60 and I wake up feeling stiff and painful and I can barely move.

I walked into the house this morning and my friend giggled about my warm footie pajamas. I said, “What you don’t know is I have a full set of long johns on under this.” Her eyes bugged out. Yeah. I’m from California. I don’t do cold.

The longer I’m out of California the more I appreciate the weather. My friend keeps talking about how sometimes it feels really nice and balmy to have the weather creep up to 0. Shoot me now.

In South Dakota, apparently it doesn’t snow that much and when it does it melts within a day or two. I’m telling you, Noah, South Dakota sounds better by the minute. What with that whole west coast falling off into the ocean or getting buried under a tsunami thing.

You didn’t see that cheerful article? You should. Ok, in this article the bay area isn’t going to be hit that bad. BUT THEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE OTHER FAULTS. I’m sorry, if the Seattle area fault flips out that bad, I don’t think California’s faults will be all “This is a great time to be chill.” No! This is terrifying!

Then I read an article about Black Twitter. It was fascinating and sad to me. The part that makes me sad is, am I destined to poison things if I touch them? Is that what being white means? If I look at something that other people who are not like do or like or whatever… am I making it less good by standing near it?

Like over the last few days there has been some kerfluffle over how white girls shouldn’t style baby hairs around their face because supposedly white girls have to cut hairs to make them look like that and that’s just dumb. Uhm… I have constant new hair starting. I have those damn baby hairs. I can’t put my hair up without a halo of the fuckers. But apparently if I put gel on my hair to make them do something other than puff into a halo… I’m appropriating.

This is why I identify as white trash. Most of the things white culture does or recommends doesn’t work for me (yeah, straight hair styles don’t work) but if I do things like people who have hair more like mine, I’m an appropriating bitch.

Maybe eventually I’ll just keep my head shaved full time. I’m sure that would offend someone else.

When white people sit around and talk about their childhoods I rarely have much to compare unless someone came from deep poverty. Even then I usually have more in common with black people who talk about deep poverty. But that’s a problem for everyone. No one wants me in their group. Which is why I consider myself trash. Pretty much everyone thinks the way to deal with square pegs like me is to just throw them away because they don’t fit.

But yup, I’ve got a shit ton of white privilege. And I know it.

It’s complicated. My white privilege functions only as long as I can keep my fucking mouth shut. As soon as I start talking peoples opinion of me steadily drops…

Which is my own damn fault. I know. Culture is a funny thing. Behavior is a funny thing. There is a video on youtube I like, it talks about code switching for culture and language.  

On one hand my life would be easier if I stopped talking about my history of violence and poverty. But then, if I stopped talking about who I am and the experiences I’ve actually had, people would start to assume I was *like them* when I’m not. Then they start having expectations I can’t meet.

Kind of like people thinking I could have a civilized negotiation in email about something highly emotional. Uhm, yeah, no. I can’t. Doesn’t mean I think that no one should. I think it is a skill I should Probably Work On. But quite frankly managing my moods with the kids is more important and that’s where I put my energy.

Today is a storm day. We aren’t doing much. We’ve been doing chores every day since we got to Duluth. It’s ok that I’m not rushing around doing shit. We have five more days here. A rest day will do us some good. Now my eldest is back to sitting next to me pressuring me to give up my computer.

Oh man. This part sucks.

Not here

I think it is going to be a very good thing to take a break from my life this year. I understand why people idealize the solo traveler adventure shit. It is a chance to stop dealing with all of the expectations of you. I’m not going to be alone. But I’ll change the rules.

I won’t have to fucking vacuum a floor for months.

Some of my friends would cheerfully tell me to hire a cleaner and never clean the floor again! I have big issues with that idea. Big ones. I’m not so fucking good I deserve to never fucking clean a floor again. I don’t know that I think you are too good to clean your own floor either.

Yeah yeah, time management. I have class issues.

I feel worry that I upset a friend when I said I could never live in Alameda. She (potentially, I project that she) felt I was disparaging her home. I’m not trying to disparage the town. The architecture is lovely. I hear the schools are fine.

That doesn’t mean I would feel comfortable there. I would feel dramatically uncomfortable living there because it is beautiful and fine and I am not.

I’m aware that people in the 1% would not especially perceive me as “rich”. Compared to everything I knew before marriage I am filthy, stinking rich. It depends on your perspective. That said I will never have the attitudes, morals, and behaviors of a rich person. I have been white trash too long. Could I act the part in severely delineated ways? Probably. But I can’t carry the ruse on forever. My neighbors have to accept me leaving piles of shit around for months.

I’m gross. I think bodily functions are just fucking fine and if you prompt me to apologize for farting or burping I may get mean. I’m not going to accept being shamed over stuff I cannot fucking help. “I’m not shaming you. I’m just trying to teach you good manners.” You are just trying to get me to apologize for existing. Fuck you. If you want to do it, whatever. I’m not going to. Although I would appreciate you not doing it in my house. Here we are all mammals and unashamed of that.

(Not really fuck you. I’m going to be cussing more than usual for a few days. I have some frustrated energy to deal with. I can’t talk about it. So instead I will sublimate a few extra “fuck yous” into every other part of my life. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.)

I have no desire to have the house of a rich person. I would feel wildly uncomfortable. When I am in a rich house I feel like I am there to be a servant. I *have* had that job. (Cleaning houses.)

And it doesn’t really take being that high on the hog before I feel wildly uncomfortable. I live in a lower middle class tract house. Now that I’ve put a bunch of plants in the yard I’m very content. I have a desire for a bigger bathroom, but otherwise… I don’t want a bigger/nicer house.

I would spend my time there feeling like I was polluting it. That house should be filled with someone who has the decency to apologize for farting.

Noah told me that reactions to farting are class based. Rich people pretend it doesn’t happen. Middle class people apologize for it. Poor people laugh. I laugh. Noah used to apologize, now he ignores it.

I feel … not exactly “anonymous” here where I live. I feel … more acceptably average. There are more genuinely poor people here. There are actual derelict buildings. We have a lot of multi-generational living. Most houses in my neighborhood have extended family living with them. Only a few of us don’t.

When I ask to spend time with my neighbors they assume the kids will play in the yard not that we will go somewhere and fork over a bunch of money to be “entertained”.

I have no desire to raise children who expect frequent entertainment. Ha ha ha. Make your own entertainment. As a result they are really good at entertaining themselves. We don’t go to many shows. We go to the park.

We do go to Disneyland. That’s more so I can have the cheerful ambiance, let’s be clear. That good cheer boosts me up. I think as much because I can dream about my next trip on hard days than because being there is actually that magic. Being there is work. But it is work in a friendly environment and I totally love that shit.

I frequently have the feeling “I am not supposed to be here.” I am not part of the “us” for this location. I am an outsider. I do not belong. I should go.

Alameda is like that for me. I recognize that there are good restaurants and good people who like me and other fine benefits. They are not for me. I don’t belong in Palo Alto either.

I couldn’t have a wacky ass yard full of weeds I don’t pull in Palo Alto. My neighbors would make me very sorry. And my kids wouldn’t be allowed to play with their kids. It would be lonely and hard. My behavior would be “wrong”.

No one in my neighborhood gives a shit what I do with my yard. They are nice to me when I’m out front. They stop to chat about the weather and the kids and they admire the flowers. They don’t complain about how unprofessional and unfinished it looks. They tell me it is wonderful to see me playing with the kids. Then they smile and go on their way.

I fucking love my neighborhood. Have I had issues with people here? Yeah. But not big ones. The hardest-to-deal-with issue moved away. They said they were up for being pen pals but we were never given an address and we’ve never gotten a letter. I don’t think they were telling the truth about being up for writing. I really wish people wouldn’t lie.

That said, I totally forgot to write to Pam when she was overseas. Because I am a douche.

I tell her about my life here in the blog! Although, to be fair, when I’m talking to her one on one she gets way more details than the rest of you get. That’s the benefit of sticking around for 17 years.

Well, there are other people who get the same level of disclosure as her. But lately she spends the most time here so she gets the most stories. That’s just how that works out. I can’t put a lot of the stories in writing.

You think I have no tact?

Oh man.

I want to be not-here for a while. Where “here” is my life. I’m not feeling suicidal–which is frankly wonderful. I feel like I got more of a burst of fighting spirit. It’s more that I’m spending too much of my life feeling like I’m about to do the wrong thing and destroy everything. I want a break from this tension.

I don’t know how tenuous the connections in my life are. So I will spread them really thin. And see who holds.

The people who want to come back will come back. And I can maybe not be such a jackass. Ha ha ha. The people who don’t reintegrate into my life… weren’t meant to be. Worrying won’t change what happens. Well, worrying is more likely to make bad things come true.

I need to stop looking around me all day every day with this whining feeling. I feel anxious and like I need to run away before everyone discovers I’m bad, bad, bad, bad.

I didn’t do anything wrong. This time. But that hardly matters, does it? I will do something wrong soon enough. I’m just getting a little bit of it back in advance.

It isn’t that I think I can’t visit places like Alameda. But have you noticed that I start wanting to tidy? Obviously I should be there to be the help. It’s a thing. Ok, that’s a complicated reaction on my part. Part of it is just obsessive control issues. Order! Must! Impose! Order! I’m a lot better than I used to be…

I want to go out into the rest of the country and remind myself that I live in a bubble. A wonderful bubble where I am more safe than I would probably be anywhere else. My specific flavor of weird is so well suited to exactly where I live. Fremont is a small town in a big urban metro area.

So it turns out I have two friends who live on Alameda about five houses away from one another. They all have little girls who are the same age. They don’t know each other.

We know all of our neighbors. Ok that’s not true. There are houses we don’t know. We make up for it by knowing more than 60% of the people on every street within our whole housing development block. I don’t see that happening elsewhere in the bay area. Folks are too pissy about being interrupted. There are a high number of questionably employed people in my ‘hood. Lots of them are retired folks and my kids will get to understand the circle of life through losing these dear people. We’ve already had some have to move into assisted care.

I think it helps that a very high percentage of our neighbors are immigrants and they are thrilled someone wants to meet them. Fremont is the second most language diverse city in the country. In addition to trying to meet the new folks I have introduced folks who have been neighbors for 30+ years. “Stop calling her the Chinese lady on the corner. Her name is _____. Come over here and say hello. Yes, now.” I love playing social director.

One of the good things about hanging out with folks who are in their 70’s… they don’t really give a shit if you throw the occasional temper tantrum. They shake their heads and snort. They mutter, “kids” under their breath and don’t hold a grudge. I feel… tolerated. I’ve talked to the old dudes about being suicidal. They were more comforting than you might expect. They didn’t have solutions or answers but they listened and have been really nice to me for years since. They make a point of walking by and yelling a “hello”.

They want me to stay. So they show up.

I really like my neighborhood. I’m scared of how it will change over 30 years. Because it will totally change. I’ll have to keep being the welcome wagon. Maybe over time the percentage of people I know will increase instead of decreasing.

I think that part of my problem is… I know I’m a lot of work to be friends with. I am hard along a whole bunch of different axis. I do not know how to spell the plural of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up.

I’m always afraid of when other people will run out of spoons for dealing with me and abruptly drop me. They have to for their own self-preservation. I get that.

I think that is one of the reasons Pam feels so safe. She has a huge family that constantly fill her spoon drawer. She has more surplus than anyone I know.

Everyone else has a lot less support of their own. How in the world can I expect them to support me when they aren’t getting the support they need? And I do need a lot of support from friends. I need a lot of listening. I need a lot of accommodation in terms of physical behaviors and verbal mannerisms. I’m complicated.

I get why it isn’t worth it to most people. I really do.

It is hard to see what other people get out of bothering. I get it with Noah and Shanna and Calli. I see the biological imperative I fill for them.

I’m not even fucking any of my friends these days. Why do they bother?

I want to run away from these feelings. But I’ll come back. Because I know that my feelings are lying to me. I know that people clearly love me and find value in a relationship with me. They are still here. Whether I understand it or not is beside the point.

But I really want a break.

The joy of traveling is reinventing yourself every day. The impact of a given mood on the rest of my life is likely to be zero. What-fucking-ever! Freedom.

Not that I plan to act psycho across the country. I want to make new friends and strengthen old ties. But I can be pretty wacky and intense. People can handle intense in a nice, safe, time delineated box. And I come in with my built-in reality distortion field. I have to be “appropriate” for my kids. Which makes for a very specific kind of intense that is different from my previous more inappropriate modes.

Life is always changing. But sometimes it is hard to see how much you’ve changed if you always stand in the same place.

Race is awkward

Race is a hard topic. All the time in any forum or under any subtopic. Recently on the internet some of the black women I follow (it’s totally kosher–I’m not stalking) have been talking about why black people are under represented in home schooling. I did not join in the conversation, I sat back and watched. I really didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Many of the new families joining our home school group are not white and I think that is a good thing.”

A new family who wasn’t white showed up today. Shanna commented on the little girls hair, which I found kind of weird because… her hair was almost exactly like mine. How in the world could you ‘other’ that little girl for having hair just like me?!

I feel awkward about it, but when people who aren’t white show up I make extra effort. I know that joining white-dominant groups can be intimidating. (Joining any group where you feel like you visually don’t fit in is hard.) I’m kind of a professional new kid. After 25 schools I recognize the signs of someone showing up going, “I’m scared but I’m trying oh please let this work out.”

One of the first things I stress when new people show up (regardless of race) is you don’t have to make any permanent decisions immediately and you are allowed to try lots of different things to see what works for your family. Everyone is different. Sometimes I can visibly see people relax. Giving people permission to make mistakes is a big deal. Even though I’m just some bitch at the park.

The funny thing is… anyone can nominate themselves as appropriate for giving other people permission for making mistakes. It’s not a position I earned. I just do it. I act like I have the right. Weirdly, lots of people react as if I do. (I’m sure there are people I annoy with my presumptuousness… but they don’t say much about it.)

A friend asked me recently if I even had any black friends. I felt… kind of startled. YES. OF COURSE I DO. Which, as soon as I responded with such intensity, made me think “Are you treating them like fucking collectible cards? Why did you react that way?” Race is so hard. It is important to me that I not decide that people in my life have to be “just like me”. I tend to my best to befriend anyone who stands near me for any lengthy period of time–you never know who you will need as an ally in the future and you never know who you can help without effort, worth getting to know people–and they are a range of ethnic backgrounds. To me, for me to not have people of many races represented in my life would be a reflection of a conscious choice to exclude them.

Like: what am I going to get to know only my white neighbors?! Within ten houses of me on both sides of my street I have families from three or four Asian countries, India, Persia (I didn’t ask for a narrowed down country designation but I assume Iran–I know I could be wrong though), black Americans, and white Americans. I talk to everyone. I think that not talking to everyone would make me a piece of shit.

I have one next door neighbor who is white who is chummy and likes to loan tools. I could have settled into a long-term relationship with him and called it good. No. I’m not that kind of girl. Instead I will befriend the nice Indian lady next door who is very lonely in this country. She’s having a really hard time transitioning to being a stay at home mom. Sounds awesome.

People are people. The shell of them isn’t what makes them interesting to me. The emotions, the personal experiences are what make people interesting. And I live in an incredibly diverse area. Not having black friends would need to be a choice.

And yet talking about it makes it seem like trying to gain a full set of collectible trading cards. That’s not what it is about. I want to hear diverse points of view so much. It is so important to me. I spend my life searching out “other” points of view. I do make friends with white people even though I generally don’t like them much. Well, at a distance. I like them fine once I get to know them.

Yesterday I read about an interesting study about learned aversions. They are very difficult to overcome. Nearly impossible in many cases. It is sometimes hard for me that basically all of my trauma came from white people and specifically white men. Dealing with my learned aversions is work. I can walk up to a group of hispanic men and sit down and feel totally comfortable. I don’t feel that way with white men. When I’m looking to sit down in cafeteria’s, I look for where non-whites are sitting unless I specifically already know someone. Then I’ll be sociable.

And yet, my kid still comments awkwardly on mixed race hair. I see we will need to have more conversations. To be fair, she sometimes makes stupid comments about the hair of white kids. I think we need to talk more about how you don’t comment on other peoples bodies at all, period. Not your business.

It’s not like my kids shy away from playing with kids who aren’t white. Shanna walks right up to the first kid she says and asks to play no matter what they look like. It helps that she is successful most of the time so she has positive associations with people of all varieties. She loves people and they love her right back. It is so wonderful to watch. Calli plays with people who ask her, but she is less outgoing. That’s ok too.

I feel like pretending I don’t see race is… kind of stupid. I’m aware of race. I don’t “ensure I have a set” of kinds of people. I take whoever walks by. I want to learn how to be appropriate with all kinds of people and visual markers exist. Yes, I’m sure I have some stereotypes.

I try very hard to ensure that my stereotypes are things like, “In general Asian immigrants are less forgiving of me swearing so I need to try harder to watch my mouth.” They flinch more. Asian Americans who grew up here don’t care. So I only seriously modify if I hear an accent. Then I try very hard to make my language more approachable. I don’t want them to retreat from my ambient anger and I’ve seen it happen.

I don’t deliberately swear at people. I just… kind of have a potty mouth. I’m not calling people names or anything.

I just talk like I grew up where I grew up sometimes. I’m articulate. (Not that I’m claiming I can pick up dialects as well as she can. That woman is amazing.)

I feel like part of my problem is I feel more awkward being this friendly when I have a lot of money than I did when I was poor. I have always been the sort to be bossy and interfering. That feels like much more of a problem now that I am upper middle class. I was always white and that was always an issue with regards to my point of view when it comes to bossing people who are not like me. But I recognize how many privileges I have now. I recognize how often I solve problems by throwing money at them and I know it is simply not an option for most people the way it is for me.

I feel pretty ashamed of myself for that and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel very bad that I have so many more resources than other people. I don’t want to be in the 95%-98% for wealth… but I don’t want to be poor either. That scares the shit out of me. I’ve been homeless and starving and I don’t want to ever do it again.

But I don’t think I’m “better” than people who haven’t figured out how to get out. I very clearly see how being white played into my story every step of the way helping me find allies who helped me survive.

I would not be alive without my friends. Many of whom are white. And I spend a lot of time shit talking white people. I’m an ungrateful bastard.

Even beyond being white, I had help. Some of it was weird and unconventional. I got out because I was perfectly ok using any fucking available resource. Most people have more scruples about being “users” than I do. My mama taught me that beggars can’t be choosers and you use the people in front of you.

I’ve lived in a lot of areas where non-white people abound. I frequent communities where non-white people exist.

Err, why wouldn’t I have black friends?

Because lots of people don’t and that is very weird to me. To me that is like saying, “How about if you banish some of the most chatty and fun people you know.” Uhm, no. No, no no. I find chatty people of every race and I love them dearly and I’m not giving them up. It was hard to track down that many talkative people. Taciturn people abound.

Apparently I’m having a love affair with the word abound today.

I talk to whoever walks by. I keep the people who like to talk. I don’t really care what they look like because once I get past the first few sentences, the shell of a person isn’t what makes them interesting. I like people for their stories. I learn so much from the generous people who talk to me about their lives. I learn how to be a better person. I learn about options in life I have never even considered. What are the parameters that shape your decisions? I can’t imagine. Tell me. Please.

People are the reason I’m alive. Because there are more stories to hear and create and experience. I feel awkward about race but I feel awkward about race towards my race while being it. I feel othered. I feel like when I’m talking to a white person I need to assume that their life has been nothing like mine.

What does having it “better” or having it “worse” even mean?

I don’t really know but near as I can tell other people have pretty firm opinions about their own life in relationship to the people around me and they are happy to tell me. Great. I’ll listen. I’ll only judge a little bit and I will keep 99% of my judgments to myself. I’ll only let the tactful ones slip out; I hope.

I’m much better than I used to be! It’s all the practice.

I feel like part of what I have learned is how to let other people be the ones who dictate the opinions about their lives. My judgments are about my ability to see a scope into their life and have nothing really to do with their actual life. I don’t know all the pieces of their real life because they can never tell them all. I’ve been writing for years and I’m still uncovering nooks and crannies about why I do shit. I’ve been working on this as a concentrated area of study for years and I’m still surprised regularly by new triggers and new layers of, “Now I have to unpack this shit. Ew.”

I project like crazy though and that’s a real problem. I think my ability to handle things is reflective of what other people can handle and I’m dead wrong. In positive and negative ways.

I don’t believe in a color blind world. I believe that people look different because they have different family histories and that makes them interesting and unique. I tell my kids, “A persons skin color just tells you that their ancestors stayed closer to the Equator than our ancestors did.” When we ask someone where they are from we say, “Where in California are you from?” No one needs to feel like an outsider. But you may not be from my city. People who are immigrants but who have moved around California consider this a wonderful opening for long and interesting stories.

Race is hard to talk about. But it shapes all of our lives and I think I won’t understand people unless I ask questions that are kind of sticky and I learn how to listen respectfully. I want to feel bound to people. I want to feel like I understand people. It has to come one at a time and it will come best with as many different kinds of people as I can.

Race is always going to be awkward. Good thing I’m comfortable with being awkward. It is a pretty permanent part of my affect.

 

Rape, rape culture, and home school dynamics. (What a fun title.)

If I sat down and delineated all of the relationships that are bumpy right now… I wouldn’t have many people willing to talk to me next week. I feel like if I am having this many problems all at once it must be me. I’m doing something. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing wrong.

Is it oversharing? I haven’t even done that much of it lately. Not for me. Not in the scope of my level of over sharing.

I don’t know.

Passive aggression today. (Err, obviously not with the person who might read this.) There is one mom in particular who likes to make cracks about me. In the past it was a comment about how it isn’t possible to tell the difference between when I whine and when I talk. Today it was how no one will miss me if I disappear for a month. “Oh I’m kidding.”

I would cheerfully like to lock my front door, set up grocery delivery service, and maybe come out next year.

At least someone else, who I consider more friendly to me, looked kind of shocked when she said no one would miss me. I don’t think I was the only one who thought the “joke” wasn’t funny.

I’m sorry I’m not the quality of person you wish you got to associate with. What would you like me to do about that?

I’m feeling really really sad about some scheduling things. I don’t think anyone did anything wrong. Sometimes scheduling is hard and makes me sad.

I am happy that I got to speak with someone else on the unschooling list who felt very upset about the whole exchange. She felt that his “I’m not defending what he did to Krissy… but this show is great! He won an award!” was pretty disgusting. I’m so grateful to hear that I’m not the only one. I’ve been feeling really bad about the fact that I live in a world that prioritizes the funny rapists. I don’t feel like I want to live in a world like that. She said she wouldn’t care if I was the only victim this guy had–the fact that he has many such stories from many women isn’t more problematic. The fact that people will cover for him even for one rape is seriously a disgusting thing. She said she doesn’t want her kids in a room with someone like that and she’s grateful I spoke up.

Mostly I get crickets back. So I never know how much of what I say harms people or helps them. The people who do speak up are usually men telling me to shut up because I might hurt one of the poor men folk. I have less sympathy for this point of view than many might hope.

I don’t go out of my way to hurt any individual men. Well, or at least it has been a great many years since I have. (And all of those guys had to ask VERY NICELY.)

If I hurt my rapists by talking about them… sorry dudes. You made this bed, not me. I didn’t tell you to do what you did. So I get to talk about it. You get no privacy from me.

The vast majority of men in the whole wide world haven’t done a negative thing to me. So mostly I think guys are ok. I wish they would yell at one another for inappropriate sexist behavior more often but no one is perfect. I’m a yeller. I understand it isn’t everyones thing.

I feel scared. Unimportant. Stupid. I feel like if I got raped so many times it must be all my fucking fault and there is nothing I can do to take away me deserving it. I feel like maybe I wasn’t clear enough with Paul. Or with Dan. I told them so many times that I didn’t do bareback sex. Over and over I said, “This is a cover required portal. Thanks.” I thought I was funny. I said that I only have sex when two forms of birth control are used. (I sure as shit knew I didn’t want to coparent with either loser. Having protected sex is one thing. Having a baby with a loser is different.)

Am I allowed such fine tuned boundaries? Or is that breaking some rule such that it’s ok when guys want to stick it in any way?

“He won an award! He’s so funny!”

I hate you. I’m glad I don’t even know who you are, funny unschooling asshole dad, but you can jump right off a cliff.

Wait. Isn’t that me wishing harm on an individual man? Didn’t I just try to claim I don’t do this?!?!?!

Well, ok I’m a fucking liar. It’s unusual for me to wish harm on someone. And I don’t wish to go harm him. And I don’t wish to have someone else go harm him for me. But I’d be cool with him jumping off a cliff. Ok, no I wouldn’t. He’s a parent. That would be horrible and I would be a horrible person for being cool with him committing suicide.

Ok… uhm… don’t jump off a cliff. But shut the fuck up, okay? Stop endorsing rapists. It makes you look like a Very Bad Person with Questionable Judgement. Now that I know that you will send your kids to Paul I think I need to make sure my kids are never alone in a room with you.

And yet I live with someone who has committed rape. What kind of fucking hypocrite piece of shit am I? I really wonder sometimes.

Why can I forgive one rapist and not another? Well. I don’t have a good answer to that question but it fucking keeps me up at night.

Noah is not the only rapist I have forgiven. Life is very complicated. Why in the hell do I carry around a grudge bigger than Alaska for some of the dudes who raped me? Why do I pick and choose?

I want to believe that part of it is, I don’t forgive the ones who have a long list of victims. I don’t forgive the real predators.

So Noah isn’t a real predator? Enh, not really. Noah learned boundaries slow and hard but he has shown continual progress across the board in his life. He hasn’t sat in one place doing the same thing with chick after chick after chick. I have seen no sign of my kids having anything like inappropriate sexual knowledge and I bloody well look for signs. I believe that he has been as honorable within our family as one can be.

This unschooling dad who is defending Paul probably has many years of positive experiences. Lots of trust. Why shouldn’t he defend his friend?

Do I really believe that rapists deserve to be shunned for all time and banned from all gatherings?

I can’t say yes with a straight face, now can I?

I think this is where I sit in the hamster wheel. I can’t say that all rapists should be banned. This is what is keeping me up at night. Then what do I think should happen?

I’m not shy about outing Noah. Which means that I am inviting other people to shun him if I say that rapists should be shunned. Is that what I want? Do I believe that secretly it would be better for them if they just got the fuck away from Noah? Err, no. I think he’s a really interesting person with a lot to offer.

Why don’t I want to see Paul in such a light? Why do I want him to be cast in the role of villain so I can rant and rail and hate him so much? Is this misdirected shit at my dad?

I think that part of it is–I can forgive someone for raping me. I know that my behavior “invited” such response. When there is a whole string of other women… you know… no. You are hurting people. I know of three other specific women who have been extremely fucked up by you. You are a bad person. You are a liar and a cheat and a fraud as your profession. You say hateful nasty things that you really believe with a smile on your face and people laugh because they think you are “joking.”

If you make a big chunk of your living from being a jerk… I don’t think that is funny. Clearly lots of other people do because you have made a career out of this. People are fucking weird.

But given the things I like to do… I can’t say that much.

Only clearly I can say a lot.

I sat a friend’s sister down before Burning Man last year and gave her an intense conversation about always having a sober trip sitter if you do drugs so you can be safe.

You never know when there will be someone around who just wants to “stick it in a few times. It’s no big deal.”

Because too many people, me included, don’t think all rapists should be banned from all spaces. So they are everywhere.

I know there is a large demographic who believes that it is my fault or the woman Paul raped before me’s fault or the woman before that’s fault. We didn’t report. We haven’t put Paul in jail. It is our collective fault that he is out there raping a whole string of women.

Cause uhm, yeah. That makes sense. It is his dick and it is our fault we have cunts he can put it in. Like, duh.

Something like that.

My heart hurts. I feel so sad. But at least when I can write about it Noah knows why I’m so tetchy. It’s easier to accommodate my anxiety du jour if he knows what it is shaped like.

Sometimes I feel very sad and very scared that at the end of the day I belong with the rapist camp. I know so many rapists because, well duh. I just would. That’s just the shape in the world I belong in.

Why do I only forgive some of them? Noah’s not the only one. But the others in my life have more right to privacy. Noah’s a sucker for marrying me. Marrying was like the opposite of an NDA. “I agree to having my life discussed in detail on the internet. Even the embarrassing shit. Ok, maybe mostly only those bits.”

Is it just because I like Noah’s jokes more? He doesn’t make jokes that make other people look small or pathetic. His jokes are about bicycles. And smart ass parrots. He doesn’t want to denigrate people.

Is that enough of a difference? Does that justify my attitude?

“Get over it.”

I’m trying. It’s complicated.

Paul and I had sex several times. It wasn’t a stranger rape. He was a sometimes-partner at sex parties. He is less than 1% of my sexual partners. Why do I care so much that one time he did something that was against my boundaries? Why is it such a big deal that I want to keep my children and the children of my friends away from him?

Because he bloody well groomed me into inappropriate displays of trust followed by an action that could have resulted in an STD or a baby. He’s a big whore. He has no right having bareback sex.

Paul feels like a legitimate threat. Not to me–never again. I’m no longer in a vulnerable demographic as far as he is concerned. But there are a lot of nice young girls out there. Waiting to be groomed.

That scares me silly.

I feel attacked even though I am not the one at risk. Even though no one is attacking me. Even though instead of attacking my character or criticism instead only support was voiced. I en’t saying my feelings are logical so don’t nitpick.

How do I get over feeling attacked? Anxiety is energy stored in the body that needs to be used somehow. Well, I have a 10k race tomorrow. That should help.

It is hard to stop feeling attacked when I continually run into people who make little “jokes” about me. Oh I’m sure she doesn’t mean it. (See–it’s totally not just men I have trouble with. I have troubles with all possible gender configurations. I’m flexible like that.)

Deep breath. In. Out. Not here to make friends. Here to provide children with opportunity to make friends. I don’t have to be friends with the parents. It is not a requirement.

Would it really be that tacky if I started bringing a book and sitting off to the side? I feel like speaking in the group is resulting in people disliking me and I would prefer to just opt out.

I’m tired of feeling scared of every word out of my mouth. I’m tired of feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

This is why I loudly say I’m poor white trash. Or I used to. I’m not any more. Now I don’t get to say that and my lack of cultural mesh is just my fault. I’m just… wrong.

I’d rather be wrong because I said I’m poor white trash than because you’ve just decided to despise me despite my best efforts at being sociable. I’m not as good at the social slams and I don’t really like being around it.

I need to make some different choices. What the fuck.

I feel sad. I feel bad. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. Define “everything”. I can’t.

I could come up with complaints about my parenting, but they are all fairly minor complaints. In the scheme of things I’m doing ok.

I don’t think I’m doing everything wrong with Noah. He keeps telling me he likes me. When I crawl back into bed after one of my many trips to the bathroom he snuggles me like a teddy bear. Clearly this is a man who has jumped over hoop after hoop after hoop to demonstrate his love for me. Clearly.

Do I think everyone should put as much effort into me as Noah does? Nah. That would be hella annoying. I don’t have anything to exchange on that level and the exchange is most of why it is important.

I want my belly to stop hurting. It’s not food. It’s anxiety. I want my teeth to stop chattering like I am on the verge of crying. I want to stop crying. I want to be less testy.

Where’s my god damn zen state?

Up your butt and around the corner. That’s where it fucking went.

I am so mature.

In other evasive news, I have started making more editing progress. I’m not making it shorter. That will be why I pay a real editor. But I am doing a lot of editing and clarifying points. And this coming week I have three separate days where I have babysitting so I will have more space from the kids. One of those days is just an hour for therapy. Two of the days I will use the time for editing. I have a local teenage baby-sitter and I found a local stay at home mom who wants to do trades. Awesome. She has work she needs to get done too.

I’m not actually doing everything wrong. I just feel like it. I just feel like I’m walking with a black cloud over my head.

I’m not doing everything wrong. When I am less able to be stimulating to my kids, I make sure they have lots of contact with other adults and children. They aren’t being isolated. Yeah, some weeks they get more screen time than they “should”. But they are still well under national average so whatever.

My kid is going to go run a 1.5 mile race tomorrow because she really wants to. I know she can do this distance because I have run much farther with her. I’m not worried about them getting some screen time. Balance, grasshopper.

I’m not eating a balanced diet. I haven’t done meal planning in a while. I’m not sleeping adequately or evenly. I’m not exercising consistently enough. Basically I’m not doing anything to keep my body on an even keel.

See, we all fall down sometimes. It’s not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get up.

Why do I think Paul should be shunned and not Noah? That question keeps me up at night. How can I justify my own nitpicky hypocrisy? Why are some people beyond redemption and other people aren’t? I don’t know. Why the fuck are they?

“I’ll just stick it in a little.”

Because I still want to beat my head when I think about how stupid stupid stupid stupid I was for being near a piece of shit like you in the first place. Wanting to be near a dirt bag like you sure seems to be indication enough that I deserve whatever I get.

Now I’m picturing Agatha Heterodyne chasing my brain hamsters screaming, “DIE!!!!” (Noah will probably provide a link to an appropriate web page tomorrow. He’s cute like that.)

Why does my cunt matter so much? Because I god damn say it does. Because it does. Because it is part of me. Because I get to decide what is and isn’t important as it goes in and out of there. No one else.

If you don’t understand that basic ownership violation I just… maybe I’m finally out of words.

Reflections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I consciously and deliberately always specify why a rule exists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that means I frustrate the shit out of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I like the Biblical phrase “a house divided”.

Fall. Fall. Fall.

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

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

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

This is big.

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

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

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

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

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

Nope. Not so much.

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, I over think things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I worry about these bounces.

We’ve had a very good weekend. I medicated so my mood was better. I worry a lot about how I fuck with medication and go up and down in mood. My shrink confirms for me that the unpredictability of mood swings are some of the most damaging parts of having a parent with mental illness. A parent who is just *depressed* is one thing. A parent who goes up and down with little apparent cause is much harder on a child.

But we’ve had one of those “just another day in paradise” weekends. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Noah and the kids. When we get to just be together and we don’t have to get a lot done I am completely and totally sure that my life could not be better. This is what I’ve always wanted. I belong here. I am loved here. I am wanted here. These three people are just about as obsessed with me as I am with them. It’s a mutual admiration society.

We’ve been doing a lot more with neighbors. I am consciously not writing about those experiences despite the fact that I like record keeping. Writing about people is… mixed. Sometimes people don’t mind and are positive or neutral about me writing about them. Sometimes I upset people and I really don’t mean to. I don’t feel like it is safe to talk about people right now. It would hurt too much if my current connections blew up. I can’t absorb another big loss right now.

The biggest pull back going on in my life right now has been honestly discussed and a frame work has been put around it. I respect and support all of the reasons for the pull back so I have to just live with my feelings of terror. No one can take those away from me.

I’m scared of the future. I have so little control.

But what I know for sure is that I had a really great weekend with my family. I feel loved and wanted and supported by the three people in this house. My kids are getting big enough that sometimes they will say, “What could I do to make your day a little easier?” If I tell them a chore they go do it in order to bask in the glow of my gratitude. They do it because I ask them similar questions and do similar sorts of work for them.

I’m hoping that the fact that I usually can talk about my mood swings in advance before I snap will mitigate the damage I do.

All parents damage their children. I am told this over and over by people who are much wiser than me.

I apologize for my moodiness. I acknowledge that it isn’t their fault. If I say something in a nasty way I will apologize and try again. “I am sorry that came out really hostile and you haven’t done anything at all to provoke hostility. I’ll try again.”

Today I believe that I am doing ok. I’m never going to nominate myself for mother-of-the-year. My kids are happy, healthy, able to adapt to a wide variety of situations and people, and they are learning about as fast as I can put material in front of them.

We’re doing ok. Even if it isn’t the same path as everyone else. There isn’t actually a monolithic path any way. We are all doing our own thing.

I talked to a new-to-homeschooling mom recently. She said she was researching and she felt very unsure about which direction to head in terms of unschooling vs. curriculum. I said, “Don’t worry about picking a label. Do what works for your family and be prepared to try something different every year if you have to and let your labels come after the fact. Labels should be descriptive and not prescriptive. Don’t pick a label and then force yourself to make those choices.”

I say that even though I’m pretty married to unschooling. Not radical unschooling. Not Unschooling. We are unschoolers. I don’t believe that learning fits in a nice pre-ordered box. We learn all the time and we take our sources from sometimes unorthodox locations and I think that is more or less the right way to go through life. But I understand that sometimes you have to jump through hoops and I’ve been able to do enough of it for myself that I’m satisfied I understand the process.

I’m going to spend February editing. I hope to ship it off to a friend to edit by June. I should probably negotiate with her. Ha. She told me to my face she was interested in working with me and given that I plan to pay her I don’t think it will be a hard sell. She’s a professional and all. This time I’m picking an editor who has written and edited a lot of books and run a publishing company. I hope that I do better with the next round of editing process.

It has been a good weekend. I ordered a toddler back carrier. Shanna and I want to walk farther than Calli can manage and my arms go numb holding her. I found a spiffy one more appropriate to her very large size. I only had little baby carriers before. This has a very high back. More supportive and safe and all. It’ll be good to wear her again.

It’s interesting how regressing stuff works. Sometimes they are so clingy. And I soothe them and hold them and talk to them and then eventually they want to run away again. I’m home base.

I have wanted this feeling for my whole life.

Please love me.

It’s hard that the intensity of their love sometimes feels like it is drowning me. People are not meant to raise children alone in nuclear families. It is not right or normal for our species. Children should have a tribe. They should have a wide variety of adults they spend time with so they can find out more about the world-that-is-not-their-parents. I’m doing the best I can. I’m trying like fuck not to drive away the people who know my children.

I can’t always invite. I’m sorry. I think it is pretty ridiculous how often I cry because I miss people I could call and invite over. They would probably say yes. But I can’t invite them because they might say no and that would hurt so very badly. I can’t handle a no. So I can’t ask for a yes.

I think that is part of why I throw parties. If someone tells me no for that at least I can tell myself that they didn’t want the crowd. I can take the no. It is less of a personal rejection.

I feel so scared. How long can I manage to be good enough for my kids? Am I good enough? Who is going to even notice if I start fucking up? Will my kids be left to the mercy of me self-reporting on the internet to get intervention on their behalf? (I’m paranoid so I ask professionals and I’m told I haven’t done anything that merits a CPS call. I ask, “Are you sure? I’m not very nice.” Sometimes they snicker and then tell me about their problem cases. Ok. I’m pretty nice.)

I don’t know if I am teaching codependence or healthy interdependence. I’ve not had a lot of healthy interdependence. But I believe in it as a concept. I’m fucking trying.

Sometimes I wonder what I will be like when I grow up. I’m very much using this time as my incubation period. I’m not grown up yet. Maybe by 60? Heh.

Sometimes I think it is confusing when people talk with horror about aging as if it were a bad thing. Childhood was terrible. I want as far away from it as possible. I was 29 once. I want to move on. I want something different.

My early teens and 20’s were spent in a masochistic/self harming/promiscuous blur. I’m ready for something different.

But when I see girls like me who get up and out of all that they stop talking about their perspective. They learn to pass and I’m not trying for that. Not really. I don’t want to pass. Or I’d stop telling people that my culture of origin is poor white trash.

It’s time for dinner.

Not sleeping well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Those parents hit those kids?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What am I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet.

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

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

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

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

Using people as models

I don’t mean in the photography or drawing sense. I mean as in patterning behavior off of people. I do a lot of this. I do a lot of this but I consciously do not do it in order to “blend in” or become “like” other people. I pick a behavior that I like and I try to copy it. I don’t pick up associated beliefs or qualifications because I don’t understand what they are.

For a few days Noah and I have been talking about why I don’t try harder to blend in. I would probably be capable–step one would be no longer telling people I am white trash. But that would eliminate a bunch of useful safety mechanisms for me.

This morning I read a random internet article about how much people hate the Google commute busses. Apparently people would like to firebomb them as symbols of hating people “with power”.

I don’t feel it would be particularly a good idea for me to try to blend in with the upper classes. I don’t understand them. I don’t have their support systems in place. I would be in a lot of trouble if I tried. As long as I announce periodically who and what I am then people have expectations I can meet.

I offend people. Heck I did it at Disneyland. We hooked up with a random home schooling family (yay internet!) and I had the audacity to hotly defend adult men liking movies/television programming “designed for children”. This mother absolutely would not permit any possibility that adult men watching these shows was a reasonable situation. At one point I said, “You are standing in Disneyland! How in the world can you believe that only children should be allowed in?!” She said, “But Disney stuff is for children of all ages. My Little Ponies is not for children of all ages.”

I had to restrain myself from hitting my head on the brick wall.

I did not say, “Can you hear how mentally deficient you sound?” I have tact! See!  I HAS TACT!

A few minutes later she told me that her daughter has been molested. That’s why adult men should not watch childrens television shows. Because there are pedophiles and obviously the only kind of men who would watch such shows are pedophiles.

My daddy didn’t watch childrens shows. I’m just sayin’.

Noah asked me why I don’t grease the path for myself. I’m a good mimic. It’s not like random people actually give a shit about me. I could easily go through life playing roles and not get push-back. I could lie and fake being acceptable if I just STOPPED FUCKING TALKING.

Noah can’t blend in as well as I can when I want to. I think he feels some envy. But I can’t really do it forever. I will do it for a while and then something will slip. I will say something inappropriate. Then after a year or three or seven years of being on my best behavior I’m bad and someone doesn’t want to know me any more.

I don’t see a point in trying very hard for people. I try for Noah. I try for my kids. Beyond them I sincerely doubt that anyone will be in my life long enough for me to worry about them. If they don’t like me, fine–go. If you do like me, fine–stay. I can’t be invested. You will do as you like.

I won’t abandon considering myself white trash because I still get a cheap thrill when I see how people react. Because in that moment of repulsion I find out what that person will actually think of someone like me.

I’m told “Oh but you aren’t white trash” occasionally. I do not have all the obvious visible markers these days. All you have to do is cherry pick through my life and you can either decide that I am or am not white trash. As long as I cannot erase my past I will just claim it.

The alternative is trying to come up with alternative “safe” stories to tell in basically every and any situation. That sounds like a lot of work and like it would be hard to keep straight. I don’t wanna. That’s too hard.

After thirty years of being repulsive I think I will just stick with being who I am. I’m used to it. I’m used to how to manage my issues. I’m used to how to manage people no longer wanting to know me. Believe me I am good at understanding how not-important to everyone around me. I will just disappear. I understand that people like me are uncomfortable to have around. I will go. I will not remind you that not everyone has a life like you. I’ll shut up.

Or I won’t. Depends on the day and what I feel like. Some days I really don’t give a shit that you dislike me because I’m not like you. I don’t particularly like you either. I dislike that you do ____ and _______ and ______ and I’m not going to model off those behaviors because frankly I think you are a fucking asshole. I don’t want to be like you.

I’d rather be like me. It’s more comfortable. I’m an asshole too. I’m not pretending otherwise.

Let me be clear that there is no sense of superiority. I’m not better. I’m just me. I’m an asshole. You’re an asshole. You are a different kind of asshole that I can’t be. The reason you are that kind of asshole and I am this kind of asshole is because we have had very different life stress. We have very different support systems.

I like casual relationships. In casual relationships people don’t expect much from me. I don’t expect much from them.

Why don’t I try harder to act normal? Because I’m not normal. And if I try really hard I will sometimes fail. Then I will face ostracism and humiliation after doing everything I can to make other people happy. There really isn’t an upside that makes up for the inevitable ending.

I’m very happy that today I get to stay home and garden. I won’t talk very much. It will be ok that I am broken and difficult. It won’t impact anyones life. No one will be mad at me. I won’t have failed before I even open my stupid mouth.

If a plant dies no one gives a shit. My failures are limited in scope. The farmers market guy told me to stop watering my jasmine so much. That’s the kind of scope of failure I’m looking at right now. It’s pretty comfy and benign.

I understand hating the elite. Believe me I do. I understand feeling like they live in a walled and gated community designed to keep out the lesser people. I will never be interviewed at let alone work at some place like Google. People who know the things I know are not really …. err useful?

I live with someone who probably could scale that ladder if he chose to. He’s weird though. And he has trouble dealing with people so that will always hold him back. We fit so well. We do well enough.

I think we need to change the tax code in this country. I should probably be paying higher taxes. I absolutely know without a doubt that most of my friends who earn tons of money could absorb more taxes. Would they like it? Of course not. They would whine about how the government is stealing from them and it isn’t faiiiiiiiiiiir.

I have different interpretations of fair. As long as children in my neighborhood starve and get an inadequate education because that’s just the breaks then I don’t give a flying fuck if you think you should be able to live in an elite private home with a really expensive car and travel and eating out every night and and and. Bite my ass. We don’t live in a pure capitalist society. If we do then your ass should be paying back the free public education you got. I sincerely doubt that YOUR parents actually paid for it.

We all give and we all take. I’m not all the way to socialism. But I think we have all the resources to make sure that children don’t starve. And we don’t care enough to fix this problem.

We are too busy whining about how not fair it is that you can only live in a 2,000 sq ft home by yourself. It isn’t fair that studio apartments are sooooo expensive.

How do you think the people who don’t have an expensively trained brain feel about it? I can count on one hand the people I know who have done well in the tech industry without going to an expensive college.

All of this succeeding took someone helping you a long time ago. Help that most people don’t get. Yes, I get why people hate you.

Living with Noah has caused me to look very differently at the rich. I’m glad he didn’t tell me he was rich until after he asked me to marry him. I probably would have ran. I still kind of want to run. I don’t want to stand next to this much responsibility. I have not been trained in how to manage it properly–I feel a fraud.

It doesn’t matter. Near as I can tell we are all frauds. We are all playing one game or another. Some people play games on purpose and some people think this is real. I’m not sure what is wrong with them. If you want to change the rules all you have to do is change where you are standing. I promise you that the “elite” in Dayton Ohio bear little resemblance to the elite in San Francisco. Ha.

Why don’t I just try to change so that my life can be easier, better, people like me more… etc? Because I will inevitably change where I am standing soon and then all the rules will change anyway. The only reason to conform like that is if you will still know the same people in five, ten, twenty years and you will benefit from bending your neck to the weight of their expectations.

I sincerely doubt I will know the same people in twenty years. I don’t see a point in bending my neck to the yoke of expectations I do not want to bear. I don’t get the benefit only the downside. Just the neck pain and back pain and knowledge that I didn’t get to act how I wanted to act. What is the upside?

But the alternative is that my life continues on as is. I will be lonely a lot. I will be sad a lot. The thing is, I can’t make other people want to be tolerant of me. I can’t make other people adapt to me.

Noah says I require people to go through a very long process of acculturating to me. He thinks I expect from other people what I am unwilling to do. He’s right and he’s not. I do bend a little to other people. I don’t really expect other people to bend to me. I expect them to leave. I’m going to be as difficult as possible and let you see how hard I am as fast as I can so that you will leave as early as possible so I won’t be stupid enough to spend years and years and years trying hard to be good enough for you. Only to find out that I’m not good enough.

I can’t work hard enough to deserve you. So I have to be alone. It’s all my fault for not conforming enough. For not being tolerant enough. For not being willing to do enough. For not shutting my stupid bitch mouth enough. Don’t I know that no one gives a shit about my opinion?

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot. Disneyland is like that. I know which benches she likes to sit on and watch the crowds. I sat there with my children eating beignets and I cried. Thankfully the sunglasses hide a lot of that. I’m sorry mommy. I’m sorry I can’t be good enough for you. I’m sorry that I hurt you so much.

Really after you destroy your mother the way I destroyed mine there isn’t a lot of redemption left this lifetime. I don’t have it in me to try to be nice to other people. I know what I did to my mother. I am not going to act like other people deserve better than my mother. Fuck all of you. You do not deserve more effort from me than my mother.

But she doesn’t deserve much. So I end up in this pickle.

Hatred and entitlement and ignorance. Deserving and getting and suffering.

Sometimes when I watch how people interact I think, “What has happened in your life to allow you the scaffolding to get to that behavior? That isn’t a first level behavior. You had to have support in order to get there. How did that happen?”

I don’t ask. It doesn’t matter what they got it isn’t available to me.

Why won’t I stop identifying as white trash? Because I spent my first two decades of life actively prepared to fight at pretty much any minute of the night or day. I am still hostile and nasty. Because I would much rather be mean to you than try to understand where you are coming from. I try not to actually be mean…. but man it is easier.

I try to understand where people are coming from. It is hard because I have this huge chip on my shoulder. I think almost everyone had it better than me and then they want to come and tell me about how haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard it was. I’m supposed to be nice and supportive and such. I am supposed to bite a fucking hole in my tongue rather than say that I would kill or die to have 1/10 the support they had. It doesn’t matter.

I had some support. I had Auntie. My sister was support when she wasn’t on drugs or engaging in promiscuous sex or telling me how to go out and find sex pre-puberty. My mom was support sometimes when she could manage. Not much.

Today I feel very self-pitying. Why? I think I’m having one of those resent-my-children days. Sometimes I have a hard time with their entitlement and demanding ways. I’m creating these little creatures so I try not to lash out at them.

I am teaching them that they are entitled to being treated well. As a result sometimes they demand better treatment than I strictly speaking want to give them that minute. It’s an interesting dynamic.

I have to support them. I have to give to them. I have to just keep on doing it. I have to meet their needs all day every day. Even if in my head there are all these evil voices whispering about how no one gave a shit about me. No one needs to give a shit about these little brats. Obviously our species doesn’t require as much as these little assholes ask for.

They aren’t brats and they aren’t assholes. They are so polite. They are so kind. They are so gentle. For the life of me I don’t understand where they came from. They are so nice to me. They are kids so they have their moments–but they are genuinely nice to me.

I don’t feel like I deserve their love. Even though I give them love all day every day. I give them all the love I have in my body to give. All the love I couldn’t give my mother or my sister or my brothers or my father. The consequences of my behavior all of a sudden matter.

I don’t have a lot left to give to anyone else. The kids take all I have spare and more.

I can’t pretend to be what I am not with what I have left. There is too little left. I feel worn down to the bone. All I have left is the structure of myself. I am white trash. I am violent. I am mean-spirited. I am harsh. I have an entitlement complex and an asshole because of it. I don’t understand the scope of my own ignorance very well. I’m trying to understand it better, ok that isn’t very white trash. White trash is willful stupidity–not just ignorance.

Do I expect people to change for me? I don’t know. Noah says I do. I think I expect people to just leave. I don’t expect people to change. I expect them to think I am not worth the effort. I sure as fuck don’t think they are worth the effort to completely change for.

I have to make it through my life. I have the coping methods I have because they allow me to keep moving. Everyone is different. I don’t have to make it through anyone else’s life. As much as I don’t expect other people to be in my life other people would be wise not to expect much from me either. I’m not promising anything.

I promise two people that I will be in their lives for another fifteen years. I will get them raised. That is all I can promise. I may be married but I am not sure I actually believe it is permanent. I hope it will be, but I’m not stupid enough to assume. I sure like him. I know it doesn’t matter how much I like people. I like my mom, too.

Time to go move a mini-fridge before I start gardening. Today is a day full of self-serving work. I will be made happier by everything I do. I have a good life. In this space I do not have to pretend I am anything but what I am. I can just exist without artifice or effort. It’s nice.

“Recovery” and a brain dump about being an asshole.

Resurrection After Rape puts forward this explanation for how one will recognize “Recovery” when it happens:

  1. When you can face the thoughts of rape rather than having to avoid them;
  2. When you understand the connection between your current self-concept and your rape, so that when you feel down on yourself you won’t accept that as a “permanent truth” of who you are;
  3. When you no longer engage in self-harming behaviors (including substance abuse) to manage emotions and memories;
  4. When flashbacks have diminished to the point they either no longer happen, or no longer interfere with your life and emotions;
  5. When you can appropriately respond to people’s ignorant attitudes about rape, rather than withdrawing from them and wilting in lonely shame;
  6. When you have begun to offer support to other survivors;
  7. When you have begun to view your body as a valuable thing and not as a betrayer or curse, and you take care of its needs;
  8. When you learn to recognize the warning signs of dangerous men and avoid them, no matter how charming they appear to be;
  9. When men no longer have control over your opinions of yourself;
  10. When you are able to confront, challenge, and speak proudly to men;
  11. When you make your own choices whether to disclose your rape to someone because of something you need to say, not something you need to hear for you to make progress;
  12. When you no longer feel guilty for asking for help, or for having rough days, or for taking the length of time needed for growth.

This organization does not recognize the medical studies showing marijuana to be the most effective drug for PTSD apparently. They exist. If you can’t find them then you are too ignorant to be allowed on the internet.

I think I’m fairly solid on 1, 5 (I have some inappropriate mixed in with my appropriate responses but I think I’m in “recovery” territory on this one.), 6, 7 (I thank the marathon for this. I was not capable of properly taking care of my body when I was pregnant–I didn’t know how. I learned during the marathon. It was a weird change.), 8, 11.

I’m working on 2, 3 (I have prescriptions from doctors for all of my drugs. I do use as minimally as I can get away with but I absolutely need these meds at this point. Is that abuse?), 4 (I have the ability to not react to them in front of anyone else. I can’t make them stop. They increase my overall stress levels slowly. I have to periodically go allow myself to consciously think about them or I start having ranty inappropriate outbursts in random settings.), 9 (onman don’t get me started), 10 (Often I am shitty at talking to men.), 12.

Mixed bag as usual. I’m just like that. And this guy doesn’t have a monopoly on definitions.

I will say that I appreciate the section on managing panic attacks. Education + replacement of negative self-talk with positive self-talk has been my approach. Glad to get my little gold star there. I read everything looking for confirmation bias to prove I am “right” like every other human. I like to blame it on public education but that’s a straw man argument.

A question from the book. If rape is a form of theft, what did it steal?

I am afraid of men. I do still stand near them–but I do so uneasily and with great anger. I feel that rape stole my faith in men. People can rant at me all day and all night about how women rape too and that won’t change the fact that I was raped by twelve men not twelve women.

Are twelve men a representative sample of all men? Can I judge all men based on them? Of course not. I don’t actually judge all men. I just avoid the ones who are not already through the barriers of trust. They have to come in sideways. Usually they have to fit in a nice, neat little box so that I can trust how they will behave. I really like men who are emphatically not interested in me even though they like me. When they feel the need to mention that I am completely not their type I feel a little relaxation of tension.

I am not a nice person. I yell. I say mean things. I say hurtful things. I am a dick. I am an asshole. I am a bitch. Pick a word. White trash whore. Sure. I say mean, nasty things. Sometimes there is a very small grain of truth in what I say and I use that as justification for my hurtfulness.

I’m not a sociopath. I don’t deny my actions or the results of my actions. I don’t deny my blame. I just don’t seem to be able to adequately shut my mouth. I think it would take suturing. Luckily I have friends who are into that sort of thing because they agree with me that women should just shut the fuck up. I would be a much nicer person if I just shut the fuck up.

Today I yelled what my mother yelled at me. I feel pretty ashamed of myself.

I have no excuse. I do not get to deflect blame. I could give a laundry list of reasons why I was out of patience. Doesn’t matter. Being mean isn’t ok.

I will never be good enough. Ever. I’m literally not capable of it. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have had kids. I don’t deserve them. I am not capable of being nice enough. I pray that the damage I cause is slight in the scope of their lives. I cross my fingers that I am a net positive for them. I’m scared.

I feel very ashamed of myself for not being good enough. I’m just not. Just work harder is the only message I have on this score. I weigh, eternally, in my mind if my children would be better off if I got a job and let them go to school. Would they be better off if they didn’t have to deal with me so much of the time?

I don’t know. Every decision is so layered, so complicated I’m not sure I can know what the right decision is. I know what I am doing. I know why. Today was a rocky day. I think I have been over extending myself and I ran out of spoons. I was mean and nasty.

It’s not ok. It’s not justified. I’m not claiming any expiation. My choices and my behavior are my god damn fault. I don’t get to say, “Well I was just acting like my mother” like that excuses anything.

It’s really stupid but I think my next therapy session will be a whole long conversation about hair. About my mother screaming at me and hitting me and cutting my hair into ugly hair cuts on purpose as punishment so people would mock me and the nasty shaming that happened for months when I shaved my bangs off in fourth grade. My mom was so fucking pissed when I shaved my head when I was seventeen. She liked my hair about an inch long so she didn’t have to take care of it. I wanted to be pretty. When my hair was long it wasn’t pretty it was matted.

My long hair was the long unkept hair of a neglected child. I can’t figure out how to care for my children’s hair. And I can’t keep everything in the house under lock and key. My kid has some interesting impulse issues.

And I have a bad temper.

I need to get my temper under control. I need to not say the things my mother said to me. It’s hard having to stop and think carefully about everything you say because what comes out of your mouth naturally is poison. I know how to say what I was taught to say. Do you know why I cuss so much? My entire childhood was full of being told what a fucking rude ass bitch I was.

I’m struggling with the me-not-me boundaries. I know what I was taught to say in these scripts. The scripts I have are bad. I am not ad-libbing well. I am not trying to excuse or justify myself. I certainly don’t think I can continue.

Feeling guilty isn’t good enough. Crying for hours after I am nasty really isn’t good enough. It isn’t even remotely helpful.

This is broken. I don’t know how to fix it. I feel really stupid and pathetic and useless and bad.

You can’t just stop being something. You have to pick what you want to be and move towards that. I don’t want to say what I said today again. I don’t know what I’m going to say instead. That will take thinking. I don’t know what to do.

I have been told that people pity my children for having to live with me. Why do I feel free to say whatever comes into my head? Because people tell me things like that. I feel like I have listened to enough diarrhea of the mouth that I get to have it too. No I’m not taking the fucking high road. Instead I am the crazy ass old lady with the big knife who makes the punks run away in fear.

When it comes right down to it… I don’t actually want to be a nice person. I’m a dick. But I don’t want to be one with my kids. I want to treat them like they have earned better treatment than that from me. They have. They have a variety of character flaws, most of them age related, which I can’t exactly hold against them. That’s the revenge of grandmothers every where. “Ha ha. You used to do that.” And now my daughters do to me what I did to my mother.

Of course my daughter pushes every boundary to the point of breaking at all times. She’s related to me. And I want her to be that kind of adult. Yup, she’ll be somewhat sociopathic. But I hope she understands that I have earned consideration other people haven’t earned and she will be nice to me.

I want to be nice to my kids because I am a selfish son of a bitch and I want to have good relationships with independent adults. I don’t want them to be like me and I don’t want to decide what they should be.

I can’t insult their choices even though I find them frustrating. But what does that mean?

I don’t know. I fucked up today. I’m reading a book on rape recovery that harps up one side and down the other how one must be completely sober forever and ever amen or you are not “healed” and it makes me want to drink a bottle of wine. I don’t actually drink much–alcohol gives me terrible stomach aches. But I was told not to. So I want to.

How in the fuck can I get mad at my kids for being exactly like me? Punishing them for being something I will encourage in adulthood is kind of ass backwards. I am not actually working towards my long-term goals.

I think I need to do some work on my attachment to how my kids look.

didn’t yell “You are a reflection of me and I’m fucking tired of walking around with an ugly little brat.” I just said that it was ugly hair cut and she looked funny and people were going to laugh at her.

I got mad because we are going to be in a wedding in two weeks. I said, “Now you will look ugly in the pictures forever.” That was what my mother said to me when I gave myself a haircut two days before school picture day. You know what? I don’t look any worse than I do in any other awkward school photo. It really hasn’t wrecked my life.

I shouldn’t have said that to my daughter. I have already apologized. But you can’t actually take it back. You can’t unsay things.

I’m not a monster. I’m self aware enough to really understand that on a primal level. I have not done monstrous damage to my children. But sometimes I take a little spike and a mallet and I insert those mean things she will hear in the back of her head forever. I hate myself for that. I don’t want to be her mean inner voice. I want to be the voice inside her head that makes her feel good about being alive.

I don’t want my daughter to hear what I heard. I don’t want her to have these tapes. Mostly she won’t–I get that. I’m already through a lot of important hurdles and I understand it looks like relatively smooth sailing through the next few years of non-anniversaries.

I’m going to freak out. She is going to do things just like me and I will react blindly. I will play the tape that is instantly related to the behavior. I don’t know how to completely circumvent this. Do I just stop speaking at all?

I need more of a plan than I currently have. That’s kind of a horrifying and overwhelming thought.

I need to schedule less. I’ve gotten schedule-happy again. I schedule things because I feel guilty about isolating my children. I know a lot of home schoolers who are out all day every day. I feel kind of uncomfortable about how much socialization my kids get.

I feel like what I am doing is not good. I don’t know why. It’s kind of a creeping fungus feeling. I’m not giving my children what is “normal” for their peers.

I don’t want to in some strong idealogical ways. But I think I drank the Kool-Aid on “Home schoolers aren’t at home”. I feel like I should be more active in the communities that exist. I should present a large peer group to my kids and then consistently expose them many times a week.

I’m struggling. I feel existentially not-ok. I have a really high level of self-loathing. My self-talk is all mean and nasty. It’s been on an uptick for a bit.

I want relationships but I can’t handle them and I don’t deserve them. Life isn’t really about deserve though.

The future isn’t written yet. Maybe my children will remember me as an abusive bully. Maybe not. They are certainly clear on the point that Mommy is not always nice. Sometimes Mommy is mean.

If I ever get dragged in front of a judge in a CPS court all they will have to do is print my blog. I don’t want secrets. I didn’t hit. I didn’t go on an extended tirade. Noah did step into the room and signal me that it was time to stop. Good for him. I’m glad he was home.

It feels very bad sometimes knowing that I am simply not a nice person. I would have died if I had been “nice”. If I had been more passive my life would have been so much worse. Being defiant and nasty has truly been useful.

It is still useful sometimes. Not all the time. It’s a hard character trait to keep under control.

People alternate between telling me I’m a bitch/dick/asshole/whatever and telling me that they like that they always know where they stand with me.

When I get up from this keyboard I need to be mostly done processing this. I need to talk to my therapist about it but I can’t keep going on and on with my daughter. That would be dragging her into my emotional quagmire. She doesn’t have the attention span to still be upset about a random one off comment she will probably never hear again. If I don’t turn it into a thing.

If I drop it and never say it again then I will have succeeded in not passing this tape on. If she wants to cut her own fucking hair she can cut her own fucking hair. I do. I have since I was a very young child. For me to get angry about it is so over the top ridiculous that there aren’t words.

But my tape for mothers is rabid anger because now people will think my child is unsupervised and ugly. She is neither. She does have access to scissors. She is out of my line of sight during the day. We have a small house and they wander at will. I work wherever I am working. I don’t pen them right with me–it seems silly.

If I want children who are autonomous and independent in their actions I need to give them more direct supervision (which would drive me ape shit) or farm it out or be ok with what they do.

Those really are the only options. It is not ok to expect micromanaged results from a free range kid. I honestly don’t want kids who require direct supervision at all times. My kids entertain themselves while I work. I can clean/cook/garden and they run around and play.

Short of putting padlocks on everything in the house, which I am morally opposed to doing, there is no “putting things up” at this point. Kid is too big. Yes, there will be consequences and occasionally fury over her decisions.

You can’t learn without making mistakes.

I tell other people that the way to get good at something is to make as many mistakes as possible as fast as they can–they will learn the most the fastest that way. Somehow that approach doesn’t seem suitable in parenting.

I’m off to feel awkward and uncomfortable and like I’m the biggest asshole in the room. Cheers.

Triggers

I’m reading from Resurrection After Rape it is available online for free.

“But in addition to the physiological and chemical basis for triggers, there is another way to look at them. Your rapist, through his act of violence and invasion, has tried to create a “map” for you of what your life is. His actions are his efforts to define you to himself, to yourself, and to others. You are naturally trying your very best to resist his map of your life, but triggers are those occasional moments when something seems to confirm his view rather than yours. The reason they cause so much panic and distress is that for a flicker of a moment, something around you seems to suggest that his world, not yours, is the real one.”

I consciously tell people that I am white trash because I will explode with anger when people do things in front of me that I don’t approve of. If I set the bar of expectation low for my behavior then I am at least in character. Seriously–what else did you expect from white trash?

The more I read about the amygdala and primitive reactions the more I feel like my understanding of white trash is inexplicably linked with this idea of being unable to move forward with modern ideas. Unable to join the less violent modern era.

I formed most of my early understandings of social hierarchy from reading The Clan of the Cave Bear. Even if status is not explicitly stated in terms of a numerical hierarchy I feel like I can see the imprint of such importance in every gathering.

I believe that the only reason people are ever lower status than me is because they are younger than me and we live in a place where children are always below adults but as soon as they grow up they will be better than me.

Ok, I don’t rationally believe that. But in the pit of my stomach that is true. That is my self belief. That is what I was raised to believe. Someone has to be on the bottom. It might as well be me.

In some way there is an element of wanting to protect other people. I can take more pain than other people so if I deliberately stay on the bottom I can protect people who could not take the strain of being in this position–they would die. It happens.

I think I am just flat triggered by men. I think I am angry with them for existing. I am angry with them for allowing women to wait on them. (Note I did not say forcing women to wait on them.) I am angry with them for not seeing the work they create by existing.

But none of them have to give a shit that I am feeling that way. I have a partner who treats me how I want to be treated. Why do I give a fuck if other people have different relationship styles?

I think this is part of why I left the bdsm community. I couldn’t handle watching relationships that felt like train wrecks in slow motion. I watched people do horrible emotional damage to themselves over and over. Not everyone but the people like me. The people who really didn’t have a lot of self esteem. The people who believed they deserved to be treated like a piece of shit.

I have learned a lot about geek culture since I got married. I finally have a mole in that camp. None of my ex’s were proper moles. They treated me like the enemy. Noah isn’t in a camp other than his own but he likes to go spy sometimes. We are so freakishly well suited.

I have a lot of empathy for people who feel like me. That’s normal and natural for my species. I treat everyone who is different from me like they are sub human and a potential threat. Men feel different–scarier, more powerful, inherently threatening. Men never seem to understand the amount of power differential I see between us. Men never seem to understand why I feel scared by them just assuming someone else should have to do everything for them.

I have to get control over this. I don’t think Noah would appreciate it if I ran off and joined a lesbian separatist group. So I have to stop feeling scared and mean and combative around men.

Oh good fucking luck.

Get over yourself.

So like yesterday when I post something ranty about other people I then have this huge rush of shame and guilt. Who the fuck am I to judge other people? Why in the god damn hell does my fucking judgment matter? Who the hell wants to hear it anyway.

It’s weird writing about what I see in the world. Because a lot of the writing process for me is narrowing down who I want to be. I get the impression that other people can do this narrowing down without being a judgmental asshole out loud.

I don’t think I am better than anyone else. I do think I have a strangely functional marriage–I take very little credit. Noah is amazing and flexible and supportive. That isn’t about me. That’s luck. I found someone who is worried enough about his own future that he will defer a lot of short-term satisfaction in favor of future success. That’s not about me.

No one has to change their behavior to make me happy. No one has to alter the course of their life for me. I am aware of this. I don’t think people need to change because of me. I write because these are the things in my head and if I don’t write them down I feel like I have these fifteen different television stations all playing loudly in my head simultaneously. I can’t hear what I am supposed to be doing over the cacophony.

I hope like hell that I don’t hurt peoples feelings by saying stupid self-absorbed things. I’m afraid I do sometimes. I’m really sorry. I am not trying to hurt anyone.

I want there to be room for me to exist and room for other people to exist. I want it to be ok that I have my opinions (even if my opinion is negative about someone’s behavior) and it isn’t something that people have to take personally.

I don’t think you (generic you) need to give a shit about whether or not I judge you harshly. I truly don’t. I know that I am not the judge nor the jury. If I make you angry I’m sorry.

I want to be allowed to have strong opinions and be a judgmental asshole without actually being an asshole. I really want my writing to be the place where I get to be as loud and offensive as I want.

I promise I will try harder to reign in my mouth when I am in other peoples houses. You did not invite me over to hear my asshole opinions. I hate it when I fail at the basics of civility. It feels like proof that I am a worthless white trash asshole. I am not capable of being nice to decent people.

I swear to god that I walk into some houses and I feel like, “Oh my god these are decent people” and I feel my hackles go up. It isn’t their fault. It is not anyone else’s fault that I walk into their house and feel like I am a lower class than them. It is not their fault that feeling lower class makes me hostile and nasty. I know I have to “get over” this. I really do. I’m better than I used to be. I know that isn’t adequate. I can’t take my class issues out on people and have friends.

I have learned to stop picking on Noah because I developed some enlightened self-interest in that department. I need to understand how other people fit into this. I feel like a complete failure because I am not yet good at understanding in the pit of my stomach how important each different piece of the puzzle is. I still don’t value the contributions that other people give sufficiently. I need to learn how to do that. I need to learn how to stop judging everyone for their ability to meet *my* needs. My needs are not the only important needs in the world.

I’m sorry I am such an asshole. Thank you for tolerating me. I’m really sorry it takes such effort.

Before you speak evaluate if what you want to say is: true, necessary, kind. If it isn’t all three it had better god damn need to be said. It has to be really fucking necessary if it isn’t kind. Mostly saying unkind things is just a way of kicking people. I have to stop kicking people verbally. I have stopped hitting people with my hands. I need to stop kicking them with my words.

GAD sucks.

I need to leave in forty-five minutes. Book club. We read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Woo! One of my favorites. I’m excited.

Then I will come home and get the girls and go to a fantasy faire. So like a Renaissance Faire (has anyone ever told these people that the Renaissance mostly took place in Italy?) but even more obviously based on people just liking the clothes. Fairy tales and princesses and pirates. It’ll be fun.

I ran. 5.85 miles in 80 minutes. I will be more enthusiastic at the race because I will be trying not to hold my friend back so I think it will be fine. *cross fingers*

My inadequacy is trying to drown me lately. Every playful jab feels like a slap in the face and a refresher of the idea that people don’t like me. People aren’t trying to hurt my feelings. I’m just over sensitive don’tyouknow? I don’t feel likable. I feel like the cracks about, “Wow. You’ve got some issues to work out” just don’t really seem necessary. I want to turn around and snap, “What’s your fucking point? Just because you don’t want to work hard that doesn’t mean you should fucking mock me for doing so.” (Err, we were weeding at an apple tree orchard. It was an off-hand comment. No one meant any harm. I shut my mouth and put my head down. I didn’t say a word.)

No one ever seems to mean their harm. So if you are harmed shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up.

I can see myself hiding in a lot of corners. I am worried about people being behind me. I feel unsafe. I feel like people are going to talk badly about me. I hate feeling like walking into a room is going to result in a rush of whispering as people talk shit about me. I understand that at this stage of life a lot of this is paranoia. But it isn’t all paranoia. I piss people off.

And they don’t ever have the fucking balls to talk to me about it. I hear about it through back channels and gossip. It insults the fucking shit out of me. It makes me feel much less happy about seeing people at all.

If everyone expects me to yell at them all the time I feel like there isn’t really a point in showing up. Obviously my company can’t be much of a pleasure. I’ll stay home and not inflict my unpleasant nature on anyone.

I’m sorry I exist.

I know I’m too loud. I know I’m too harsh. Why do you think I consciously identify as white trash? I’m explaining to you that I do not share your middle class values. I do not think I should be quiet. I do not think my household should be quiet as people tiptoe around trying to “not bother” anyone.

If someone is fucking bothered they either need to god damn deal with it or not snidely fucking imply that I should fucking share their culture. I don’t. I don’t know your fucking culture and I couldn’t fucking conform to it if I wanted to. I don’t have the instincts. I will never have the instincts. I don’t want them.

I don’t want to be like you.

It’s not because I think there is something in particular wrong with you. You are fine and all. But I can’t be you. If I tried to be like you I would have to sit down and consciously think all the time about how I had to behave. I would have to work really hard for months or years on learning to modulate my voice–all activities you did in your culture in the first five years or so of your life.

I learned that I had to yell or I would be hurt really badly. I learned that I had to make some fucking noise. I have to be obnoxious and pushy and difficult and demanding. I have to or I will die. That is what I learned.

It’s interesting as I study child development and as I watch my kids and as I think about my own life.

I won’t ever be like you–whoever you are. I can’t. I don’t have your culture. That has to be ok. It has to be. I can’t change it.

Threads.

Yesterday I was hanging out on youtube because what else do you do when you kill your social networking sites? I watched Miranda Lambert (I need to buy more of her albums–I have one but I think she is one of the only actual “country” singers of my generation) and Kelly Clarkson (I don’t need to buy any of her albums) sing Strawberry Wine. (I linked to the original sung by Deanna Carter because it is better.) This song came out when I was thirteen.

I spent weeks crying hysterically when this song came out. I knew that I was not someone who would ever have those memories. At thirteen I had no idea who my “first kiss” was. Those memories are gone.

I can’t remember clearly the first time I felt “loved” in a physical way. I knew long before puberty that I was never going to be the kind of girl who was involved in that kind of love story. I would never be loved like that. I was already dirty.

I thought that I would have a never-ending stream of men and women. I thought there would be no love for me. I thought of myself already as a whore. I didn’t think anyone could love someone like me.

I’ve been reading a lot more writing from sex workers lately. I’ve been reading about their issues with the word whore. I don’t know if I will ever be able to stop thinking of myself as a whore. Just like being white trash–this is part of me. It’s part of me that other people tell me I am not allowed to have because it might reflect badly on them.

I don’t know how to feel like people aren’t telling me to stop existing. What they are really saying is, “Create a world in which I feel always comfortable–never do things that bother me.” They aren’t saying I can’t exist. I should just shut the fuck up.

The song doesn’t make me cry anymore. Instead it makes me think of what I did as a teenager. It’s not bittersweet it’s just sad. I’m exactly the kind of girl that boys like to fuck and then never acknowledge again. I got the few cards and letters from Michael–until I scared him off.

Be quiet Krissy. Don’t be crazy. It don’t matter how you feel. It matters how you look. This is why I have no interest in being a lady. No thanks. God that’s a lot of rules. I’ll stick with being white trash. And offensive.

A friend sent me a link to a gofundme campaign for a book I would probably enjoy reading. I’m nervous about it. But it sounds interesting.

One of the things I am enjoying about getting older is how I see that my feelings of alienation are pretty standard. As bad as I think I feel–it’s pretty common. The things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us.

I think that parties make me feel so bad because I notice over and over how other people can casually tell stories about themselves and their lives without having to carefully look around the room and check to see if everyone in the room is of an appropriate age. I feel dirty and gross. I can’t talk about myself or what I have done in my life. I’m just disgusting. I will horrify people if I do it too casually.

I don’t know how to stop feeling bad about that.

Dear anonymous person on the internet,

You challenged me on Twitter. You told me that Occupy was dead and why should you care about some guy being tortured by the Police in Maine–it’s not your government.

Given that we live in a country where part of our civil war was based on the fact that some states were engaging in inappropriate activity and other states decided to stop them… I can’t imagine not feeling like part of the United States. Maine matters to me like California matters to other people.

Do you think that everyone else in the country watched the Rodney King riots and thought, “Good thing it isn’t my government doing this to someone.” Whoa. I can’t understand that thought. The militarization of the domestic police force is of enormous national concern. It quite literally keeps me up at night. How the police act in one city influences how they feel it acceptable to act in all other cities.

I have been thinking for days about how to talk about this subject. I have a strong tendency towards tl;dr so I’ve been struggling to find a pithy argument. It is quite frustrating that someone on the internet argues with me and demands a counter argument but I can’t count on someone to read more than three or four hundred words. That’s not an argument it is an exchange of theme songs.

For me, not caring about the police in Maine is like someone in Germany not caring about the first few train loads of Jews being abducted. I understand that I just lost this argument based on Godwin’s law. I spend my life living as if I am one of the first ones called. I can’t afford to think that the first few groups of people the police harass are acceptable collateral damage. My life won’t let me think of any situation like that.

I have had extremely damaging run-ins with police in my life. White trash whores are not really respected by local police forces–they decided who and what I was before I hit puberty. They were not interested in protecting me from rape or sexual assault from childhood. I live enmeshed in rape culture in a way that very few people can understand because very few people have more rapists than fingers.

I believe that a boy being tortured by the police in Maine matters because I have to believe that I would matter in his place. That it wouldn’t be ok for them to do it to me. I live in a time and a place where I can not have the hubris of saying, “Oh it wouldn’t happen to me so it is ok that they do it to someone else.” If they were going to do it to someone they just might do it to me. It wouldn’t be the first time I have had my rights taken away and I’ve been strapped down by government forces.

I understand that my life experiences are unique and unusual. My opinion intensified by one hundred after having children.

My then three year old marched with the Port Shutdown in Oakland. She remembers Occupy. We talk about it. I was one of the first people at the General Strike port shut down. I watched the thousands of people stream into the port. I watched what happens when people say, “It doesn’t matter that you say this doesn’t effect me and I should shut up–I have a voice and you can not silence me.”

I hear that Occupy is dead. I do not believe this. I believe that Occupy lives in the heart of every person who will not be silenced. This summer I will be painting a mural on a neighborhood fence because some kids keep putting graffiti on it. The elderly lady who owns the property is not up to maintaining a fence free of graffiti. I’m going to use neighborhood children to help me paint.

Occupy is not just about living in tents and existing to annoy city hall. Occupy is about seeing something in your community and trying to fix it. Maybe I would feel less personally connected to the boy in Portland Maine if I had not just mapped out how I would drive there a week before seeing this video clip. I was specifically planning on going to that city. In my country. In my car with my kids. How could I not feel like what happens to him matters to me?

Why should you care? I haven’t been able to figure out how to convince you. I ask that you be polite about my belief. I should get angry when the government tortures people because it is wrong. That is just how the world should work in my head. Ok, that’s as pithy as I can manage. You see why I didn’t respond on Twitter.

I heard from my brother; Christmas loot; bdsm semi-graphic recollections; and asking for what I want.

Last night my brother sent me a text message. “Merry Christas. I heard you put out a book, can you send it to me.”

I haven’t spoken to him since right after Uncle Bob died. Not since he told me that telling my story was just melodrama. 
I responded “Google: “No Secrets, No Shame, No Silence.”
Now I’m scared. I feel like I should have just ignored it. But I can’t. Fuck him. I don’t need to hide. I told the absolute truth to the best of my memories. I acknowledge in multiple places that I might be making mistakes in details because it was all so long ago–this is what I remember about my life.
I’m not making mistakes about being raped or molested. I’m just not. I’m forgetting the order of when I lived places. I moved more than fifty fucking times. I challenge anyone to keep that straight when they are talking about their lives between the ages of birth and eighteen. Impossible. 
I’m shaking. I wonder if I will sleep again tonight. I feel like I am going to vomit. I have the bucket with me. Oh my trusty bucket.
I’m scared. But strangely I want to find the self-motivation to start editing again. I know I’m not done. I know I have more work to do to make it actually polished. It is still kind of hard to follow. I can do better. I know it. How in the heck will that fit into the schedule next year? Who knows. But I need to do it. Maybe that can be what I mentally put into my “break time” during the day. (The kids get two hours of iPad usage from 2-4 so I can have quiet in my brain and not kill anyone as I’m making dinner.)

I want the book in paper. People have suggested a Kickstarter campaign to me. I’m thinking about it. It honestly isn’t quite good enough yet. There are a lot of stupid mistakes I PAID AN EDITOR TO FIX AND YET HERE THEY FUCKING ARE. Sigh. Oh well. I’m reread sections on my phone when I’m feeling freaked out by other people getting to read it. “Oh shit, what did I say?!”

Now my brother knows. He isn’t talking to the rest of the family (last I heard) so who knows how this will go.

But now he knows. That can’t be undone. If you haven’t bought the book or left a review go do so. Please.  Somewhere between one and three people buy the book every week. I’m up to almost 1700 downloads. That’s pretty cool. But mostly people won’t know about it unless you tell them. I’ve told the people I know. Now it’s about other people telling the people they know.

And don’t freakin tell me “I don’t have a kindle“.Whatever. They have an app for that.

I finally had that crying jag.  The one I predicted a couple of days ago. Noah took the kids to the park for a few hours and I spent the time wandering around in chores. In the middle of trying to   fold the clothing I noticed that I was crying so hard I could barely see. I set the clothes on the bed then I noticed that I was thinking to my knees. I could feel myself starting to crawl towards the side of the bed but there is always this other part of my brain off on the side that says hey Krissy maybe you should use the bathroom  and get a few napkins for your nose. So I did that first with tears streaming down my eyes then I went straight back to the side of the bed. The side of the bed next to the window is barely big enough to walk through when I’m scared it seems like a good place to hide. It isn’t a lot bigger than my body when I was younger I would have been under the bed.

I cried and cried and cried. I thought a lot about my mom; I miss her so much. It’s worse at Christmas. Really I thought a lot about everyone in my family. I feel like all of their stories are so sad. I think I found the “can’t commit suicide point” though.  if I ever commit suicide my family will rush to tell their side of the story and they will try very hard to make me look like a liar. I am not a fucking liar. I have to outlive them, all of them. If I don’t they will try very hard to make sure I don’t exist; they will erase me. No.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Not nearly enough sleep. I’m tired and sleepy all day long. Because Noah is here I’m taking more naps than usual.

I feel like a ghost. I feel like a strong wind could push me away. I don’t want to die. But I want to stop fighting. I want to stop defending my right to live. I want to stop having to earn the right to be not hurt. I am tired of trying to beg and beg and beg for people to love me and not hurt me. I’m so tired. So very tired.

It’s hard for me to read more than a couple of pages of my book at a time. I don’t want to identify with that story. Mostly I kind of put it out of my head. I am not that broken, destructive little girl anymore.

Yesterday my daughters broke the light fixture in their room. Glass showered a huge pile of stuffed animals, bedding, Lego’s, Barbie clothes, etc. Double Plus Not Good. Noah helped me. Cleaning it up wasn’t that big of a deal. Having help changed the scope of the problem significantly.

When I was a child I would have been beaten and screamed at for hours. We shook our heads and told Shanna that this was “not good” then we sighed and cleaned it up. We talked about why it wasn’t a good idea. We said we hope she doesn’t do something like this again.

That’s it. Moving on.

Every day that I am in this life feels like a fraud. I am not nice. I am violent. I am angry. I am mean and hateful. But I just can’t be with my kids. That’s wrong.

Noah gave me a parenting book for Christmas. Giving the Love That Heals so far it seems reasonable. But then I got to the part where they explicitly say this is not a book for people who have been severely wounded by their childhood–that is a different journey. Should I just quit reading? I feel so bad. I spend a lot of time feeling like the universe wants me to quit. I am broken beyond redeeming.

Fuck you all. as

I want my brother to know what I said about him. I don’t mean to hide anything. I have no secrets, right? I have a lot of stories I haven’t told yet but that is different.

Sometimes people ask me if I am afraid, what with being so out and all. They ask me if I am afraid of being stalked. Not really. If someone comes to my house intending to scare me I might walk outside with a baseball bat and say, “Unless you start running really fast you won’t be walking away from here.”

I’m not very scared of random people any more. Unless they want to shoot me there isn’t a lot they can do to scare me. And I’ve been very suicidal for a long time. I’m not going to run away from someone threatening me. That’s a way to die without having the whole guilt of suicide. It wasn’t my fault–it was some crazy gunman. That will be much easier for my kids to live with.

What, you don’t think about this shit?

I am afraid of being ostracized. I am afraid of being alone. I am afraid of being unloved. I’m not afraid of dying. I think I will welcome that.

It makes for a very different set of behaviors.

I’m afraid of ending up like Puppy’s mom. She has a job she is ok with but doesn’t love. She sits at home and reads books and chain smokes and drinks coffee and eats cookies. She doesn’t do a lot else. She is bitter and angry. She has been treated quite badly in life though I don’t know or care about the whole story. (Puppy was the serious boyfriend right before Noah asked me to marry him. He dumped me on Thanksgiving. Good riddance.)

Wow. Puppy dumped me more than seven years ago. Time sure flies when you are having fun. Tom and I broke up more than eight years ago. A different lifetime. Ten years ago for Christmas I was given a new ball gag, a portable tens unit, and the Uncle Kracker album with the song Follow Me. This year I was given bath scrubs and parenting books and an egg beater. I begged for the egg beater. That is the thing I have missed the most this year since Sarah moved out.

Once Shanna turned on her chair and sighed deeply and said, “Getting stiff peaks with a fork is sure a bitch.” She said it on the exhale of a sigh. It was hilarious. I almost fell down I was laughing so hard. Luckily she hasn’t said it again.

Oh! I got the dress I’ve been wanting for more than five years! I found it on etsy right around when we were starting to try and get pregnant. I decided I couldn’t have it till I had some idea what size I would be long term. I like it as much as I thought I would and it looks as good as I thought it would. Win. Noah did not nearly score so well.

The kids… well, they have generous grandparents. They made out like bandits and don’t appreciate it particularly though I have seen most of the new dress up clothes cycled through. Shanna is in love with the bead set–I thought she would be. She’s making jewelry constantly. It is great hand eye coordination practice so I’m trying to be permissive.

Really all of the new stuff is appreciated but they don’t react particularly in the ways I (apparently) “expect” children to act and that’s weird for me. I’m trying hard to just accept them and not try to direct this. That’s not useful. They are having the experience they are having. Go with it. I am making more comments than I should. It is hard to be as silent as I know I should be. Noah is continually pointing out my inherent hypocrisy; living with him is a mixed blessing sometimes.

He keeps me honest. I don’t want my kids to be particularly attached to things. And they aren’t. They don’t think that getting “more things” means someone loves them more. They just aren’t swayed by it. I should push them into that mindset. Not one little bit. LA LA LA. Move on Krissy.

My mom was very much of that mindset. I was pushed towards that mindset. I kind of have it but mostly don’t. Mostly I am quite low in my attachment to things. Except that egg beater. I really missed having an egg beater. But I don’t care much about which one I have. I’m not particular about “things”. If someone told me I had to walk out of this house with the clothes on my back I would probably clutch my laptop and go. I can deal with the loss of everything else. I would probably want to get dressed very carefully–I would wear several layers… I’m just sayin’.

I look forward to living out of a suitcase. When we went to Scotland for a month we had one large rolling suitcase and I think three small-ish backpacks. For a family of four. It would have been far less if I hadn’t needed all the baby shit. And we were going for a wedding so we needed fancy schtuff.

Someday Noah and I will go on long trips with a couple of backpacks. Well, they might be rolling bags because I am old and my back hurts. Maybe. We’ll see. Backpacks are better.

Notice how this digression happens? I start off with an SMS from my brother and I end up talking about how badly I want to run away. Predictable. I suppose that when it comes to my family  I will always want to run away. That is predictable.

I did something brave. I invited someone not already in my completely comfortable zone to go on a trip with me. I get to do a lot more in-advance negotiation than usual this time. (*wave to person*) I feel like most of my problems while traveling happen because I don’t negotiate my boundaries well enough. I also don’t anticipate a problem because this person is not someone who walks into my life and drops work on me. I’m trying to be more paranoid about that kind of thing. (No leaving two bowls to wash after making banana bread doesn’t count as dropping more work on me. It’s about scale.)

I’ve been listening to Mean by Taylor Swift on repeat for a few days. (Tay–I think you will like this a lot more than you like Lady Gaga. Ha.) I don’t want to be mean. I know a lot of mean people. What does it really mean that I get to pick who I know? Don’t you have to take the bad with the good if you want community? It’s all or nothing–right?

That’s why I like having parties.

Sobonfu told me to make my own community. She told me I would never fit anywhere and that’s fine–make my own. Bruce told me to start a religion. Noah gave me a book for Christmas about how people should be starting their own Tribes. I don’t think I want to start a religion. Sorry, Bruce.

Several times I have had people tell me that I inspire them. That they think of me when they are scared or weak and that helps them find the strength to go on. It is a staggering thing to be told. I don’t feel worthy. Heh. That’s kind of part of the whole thing–right?

Being told that is intoxicating. It is far more potent than any drug and I’ve tried a lot. Having in the back of my mind if I keep going maybe I will hear that again is heady. That’s an addiction too.

Part of the reason that I’m weird to Noah is when guys want the way I want it comes out very differently–it’s a very different search for status for a guy. They have to have money or position or esteem or something before they can have pretty much anything so their want gets directed toward things. (Of course this isn’t universally true: missionaries!)

When I try to think about what I want it is generally in the vague sense of relationships. I have caused quite a few people to not be interested in relationships with me because I like labels that are denotative rather than connotative. If you know what I mean. If you don’t, what I mean is: they say, “We are friends” and what that means is they will think about you when you are right in front of their face and at no other time.

I wish people were honest about that up front. If people referred to me as an acquaintance then I would have such an expectation. They know nothing about me and do not think of me but they have seen me and been introduced. I wish that word was brought back into wider usage.

I like having a large and charming social of social acquaintances. I don’t like having many friends. I am too demanding. I have too many little ticks and irregularities. People have to be willing to take notes and modify their behavior in order to become people I feel comfortable around. Folks who think that isn’t worth their time or attention aren’t actually my friends. If you know what I mean.

But that’s ok! There is this large miasma of people in the acquaintance category. I don’t expect them to give a shit about me. I don’t expect them to modify themselves for me in any way. I just privately (or not so privately) think of them as assholes. I’m civil. Barely. I just try to avoid them.

I have those specific coping methods from the sex communities. It is weird coming into the home schooling community. I have to change how I talk to people. When I take something badly I have to say, “I’m sure that I am not understanding you correctly but I thought I heard you say ____ and to me that sounded like ____ but I’m sure I am misunderstanding. May I ask you to explain?”

It’s fucking hard and embarrassing. But I have to do it otherwise I will start avoiding gatherings because people are there. I can’t do that to the kids.

I want to feel safe from sexual assault. I am going to be avoiding the sex communities for a while and I’ll see if it helps. (Not that I actually feel afraid of anyone in particular at those parties. I haven’t run into anyone who has assaulted me at a party since it happened.) But I’m obviously having conflicted feelings. I don’t need to feel pressure to be there. It’s an opt-in space. I’m doing something else.

It is giving up another piece of my identity. Am I not kinky any more? Am I no longer a pervert? Can I ever undo the things I have done. THAT’S WHY I LET HIM TAKE PICTURES. None of it can ever be completely forgotten. I have pictures. Hundreds. I have a lot of pictures of me fucking girls too. I had a really fun early twenties.

I’m not worried about blackmail because if someone released some of them publicly and it caught wind I would say, “Ooooh! It’s part of a set! Would you like to see the rest?!” Then I would send a lot more.

I used to sleep in a steel cage. I hear he finally made a more comfortable bottom for it. I had my ex-fiancé Steve make it–he was a welder by trade. With one inch steel tubes. It was a grid. It was 2′ x 2′ x 3′. It was a birthday present for Tom the year he turned thirty-two.

I need to not hear these things any more. I don’t really want to hear that Tom had a floor made for it because the current girl wants it more comfy. I want to pat her on the shoulder and say he is in the honeymoon phase. Be careful.

Edge play is something that is talked about a lot in the bdsm world. It is usually treated as what people should be trying to graduate towards. It is often used to mean heavy play. I wish it weren’t. In my opinion edge play is doing something that has a measurable risk of ending your life.

In the past few years a couple of close friends sat me down to lecture me on the escalating risk of me continuing to do breath play–you know, being choked out. It can be done in a variety of ways. I had to, in turn, go to Noah and talk about it. I have had to remind him a few times. It is hard. It is hard to have tears running down my face and have to say, “If you don’t want me to die while we are having sex then you should probably stop doing that.”

Yes, it turns you on. Yes, you want to do it to me. You can’t. Not if you want me to live. I am an animal. I have limits. I am skating near the edges of the amount of trauma a body can absorb. I wish that wasn’t true. But it is.

I have a lot of pictures of my life being risked so that someone could look at me and masturbate.

I have some interesting feelings about that. Ok, most of our play was extreme but not life-risking. We saved that for special occasions.

And I’m not saying it is his fault or that I was abused. My ex emphatically did not abuse me. I scripted most of our intense play. I’m not blaming him. I’m really not. I helped him build a lot of the equipment we used. I gave it to him as presents. I was not abused. I went to fucking Great America and had the bemused air brushing artist paint slave on my back. I wasn’t being abused. I was very proud of what I was doing.

Why did I want that so much?

When I look at the pictures (err, not that I do this often) I’m usually struck by how sad I look. Resigned. As a result he mostly liked to cover my face. He was into hoods. Made of leather, plastic and duct tape, rubber, vet wrap… whatever. As long as he didn’t have to look at me.

I like living with someone who likes looking at me. I like living with someone who likes listening to the sound of my voice. I get three of them. It’s like a god damn miracle. But in order for it to work I have to be just as interested in them.

How do you live like a main character in an ensemble cast? How do you balance all of the needs?

But that’s kind of a lie. Our needs are food, shelter, and water (even though Yakutat freaking Alaska thinks you just need food, shelter and booze). Noah would be supplying those needs if he slacked at work; I promise. But he does a lot more than that. And he comes home and works hard on having relationships with the kids even though he’s an introvert who would really like to be in a quiet dark room.

Because we need love too. And the only way for us to have it is to give it. And give it. And give it long past when we feel like we want to. Because the kids need it right now. They won’t always–eventually it will be cloying and stifling and inappropriate.

It feels really good that we get to be spending so much of our life on a love-in. I know that not everyone gets that.

I had this horrifying childhood but I always felt like there was a way out. How would life work if I didn’t think that?

Privilege. I have so much of it that it is coming out my ears. With great privilege comes great responsibility.

One of the movies I watched recently, I think Winter’s Bone had a scene that is sticking in my head. I couldn’t easily find it on youtube. The kids haven’t seen their father in weeks. Their mother is mentally ill. She hasn’t responded or moved in months. The oldest daughter is trying to figure things out. The three kids are standing near their house watching a neighbor butcher a venison he hunted. The son suggested that they should ask for some meat. They were starving. But the oldest sister said:

“Never ask for what ought to be offered.”

That has been rolling around in my head like a marble. Never ask for what ought to be offered.

But that assumes that everyone around you has the same culture and knows which things ought to be offered.

Tricky.

My culture is white trash. What is yours? Tay–if you say you are white trash I will smile, exclaim “brother!” and hug you to me. It’s an opt-in label. No I don’t get to define it for anyone else.

I just have to figure out who and what I am and what I need. Then I need to figure out how to meet my needs on my own. I understand that this should be obvious and all but it isn’t. I didn’t grow up like that. Now I have a great series of child development books and I get to find out how to forgive myself for being a child.

It is hard being endlessly nice as my kids do frustrating things. But childhood is full of such errors. If you make your kids feel bad for making mistakes then they will be afraid to try things. I don’t want my kids to be afraid to try. I want them to get better at risk evaluation. Different.

I want them to know lots of different kinds of people. That means I have to be able to figure out how to meet my needs no matter who is around. I don’t. Right now I hide behind needing to model for the kids.

I’m bad. What kind of model could I be? As long as all they see is love am I really bad? Do the things I have done define my worthiness to love now?

I hope to fucking hell that I will be good enough. I know I don’t have forever just because I want it. When I’m really maudlin I worry about the kids reading this whining some day.

The uncontrollable crying is because I hurt my mommy. I rejected her. Partially because of things that were outside her control. It’s not just that though. I rejected her because I don’t like being blamed for everyone else’s problems. It is not my fucking fault that my father raped my sister for three extra years.

But having kids who are 2.5 and 4.5 and thinking about my life then and what happened when I was a child…

I don’t need to forgive them. I need to forgive me. It was an accident. It isn’t your fault that they are so mad. They just aren’t allowed to be mad at anyone else.

I’m not allowed to be mad at my kids. And I’m not allowed to be mad at my husband. And I’m not allowed to be mad at my friends. And a parade of therapists, my husband, my friends, and my kids if they ever find out will all join the shouting that I must stop being mad at myself and I must stop hurting myself.

But I’m so fucking mad. I’m not even supposed to be mad at the people who hurt me? No. Being mad is poison. It does nothing to them and it hurts you.

It’s ok to remember and forgive myself for being a child. I don’t need to waste time thinking about whether or not I forgive my family. I don’t. They won’t accept responsibility and they won’t change. I won’t be at the bottom of the shit hill any more.

Good grief. Two hankies of crying. That’s probably enough for one day. I woke up earlier than usual. Wow. More than 4500 words. Don’t you wish you had that time back? Today friends will come over. I will ignore the fact that I wish I was hiding under the desk in the garage sobbing and beating my head on concrete. It will be fine. It will be a lovely day.

It really doesn’t matter how I feel. I want community. This is how you act if you want community. If you deviate you don’t have community. How badly do I want it? Enough to function? Well. Put on your game face. It will be fine. Really. Go in, Krissy. Everyone is awake now. (4635. Ha.)

Not competent enough.

Yesterday we were scheduled to go to two parties. I wanted to go to two parties. We went to one party. The kids were normal, healthy, active kids. By which I mean it was invasion of the brats. As we were getting in the car to head to the second party Shanna collected a whole big pool of saliva in her mouth and spat it on her sister. Then started laughing. That is specifically why I don’t hit my kids. Because in my heart of hearts I believe that is not worthy of being hit for but in the moment I had to clasp my two hands together because I wanted to slap her face.

This was after a day full of Shanna beating on people and occasionally getting hit back. She has a huge scratch down her face and she spent almost twenty minutes crying after she was kicked in the stomach. Of course it is all his fault only the moms were standing around watching. She ran up to the kid and hit him five times before he finally reacted. I’m just not mad at him for defending himself.

I didn’t stop hitting people until Noah. I used to hit people a lot. Ask Jenny. For years she flinched around me constantly. I was extremely violent. Noah hits back. Not over and over but once, decisively. Much like the kid who was getting sick of Shanna yesterday. Ha. Shanna is so much like me.

There was a laundry list of other similar preschool drama. It was just a bratty day. She was sneaking a lot of sugar–all the kids were. There were a lot of kids we didn’t know well. All kinds of stuff. I’m sure I wasn’t being appropriate with the kids either. I certainly did a lot of snapping out orders and telling Shanna to either help or go to her room as we were getting ready. That never sets a day up to go well. That’s my fault.

So I decided it was better to go home and have a quiet night so that I didn’t start screaming at them or inappropriately punishing them. Even though we all wanted to go to the party. It wouldn’t have gone well. When Shanna gets into the hitting stride she starts hitting every kid she sees–basically to learn what happens. I understand it as a learning technique. But I lose my patience and one of these days she will pick the wrong kid and end up with a bloody nose. I will not be indignant on her behalf and I think that is going to piss her off. I will of course talk with the kid and parent about it–but not from an indignant point of view.

Kids do this stuff. Let’s talk about it and try to avoid it happening again because it’s not ok to hit people. I do not think it is wise, reasonable, or even possible to prevent it happening entirely.

Part of the problem is that they both need a lot of active supervision and I’m one person. I get mentally fried trying to track them both in a large crowded area. That uses a lot of circuits at once. After a while I start shaking and crying when it is bad.

Part of the reason I bailed on the second party is because my kids don’t know those folks. Not really. No one would have really been able to help.

The main reason I had fun at the first party is because we have been playing at the park with those families for almost a year now. There is a particular family with two older girls who come and take Calli away from me. They adore her and play with her for hours. She loves them. She walks around the house practicing their (hard, many syllables and consonants) names.

That is what community is for. That is how it is supposed to exist. Kids have lots of people they like to talk to. They don’t have to be on top of me 24/7.

At the second party there is that community for other people. It is a party for a close knit group. I peripherally know a few people. The host and I adore each other–that’s why I go. But I think I will email him and ask about a visit while he is on vacation next week. We can handle that. A big party full of the people he knows is harder.

I feel like that is because I am a failure. I know a lot of very social people. And they bring their kids. If I could handle going eventually those people would love to be the kind of community I have with the home schooling group. They feel like they have been that community to me in the past.

I have a weird bonding experience that seems to be partially based on exchanged work. If I feel emotionally connected to someone I want to work for them. I come over and clean peoples houses. I bring food. Now I offer to baby-sit. Taking care of kids is brutally hard work and I try to help my friends who are freaking out. And I have a few who have helped me.

It is weird how baby sitting works. It is pretty rare that I find someone I exchange kids with. Usually it primarily goes in one direction or another and I think that creates (in me) weird feelings of not knowing how to trust the situation. I can only ask for help when I am ok with the answer being no. If I actually require a yes then I have a much more difficult time with asking at all. That’s dangerous. If someone tells me no to meeting a need then I hate that person and I don’t want to talk to them any more. It’s not particularly rational or nice. If I manage to keep my mouth shut and not burn any bridges I generally get over it with time… but it seriously takes me a while.

So I have to keep my needs small. I have to only share ‘wants’ with people. It’s a trust thing. It isn’t because anyone is doing something wrong or bad by saying no. I think people need to say no when they need to say no. I really do.

I don’t understand how other people manage to believe that everything that happens to them isn’t personal and doesn’t matter. It is happening to me of course it is personal. I don’t think it is mean or vindictive or calculated or anything like that. But it is personal. It is happening. I have been told that I am over-sensitive by entire fucking life. People told me that after sexually assaulting me. Just get over it. Don’t be so sensitive. It’s not a big deal.

I don’t react to anything like it is a small deal any more. My life is happening to me and it has to be important to me whether it is important to anyone else or not. Or I spend a lot of time cutting to remind myself that I am not important. That is part of how I keep myself in that box. Remember Krissy, you don’t matter. You don’t matter. You don’t matter. When I would start to get uppity in conversations and defend myself and people would get mad I would reach down and push on the cuts. That was how I could keep my mouth shut and my mind distracted.

I know that feeling as much anger and hatred as I do when someone can’t meet my needs is inappropriate. I don’t voice it much any more. I have learned how to silence that. It’s a set of feelings. It passes. I can’t help the fact that I have a lot of years of issues around no one being able to meet my needs. I’m sorry that my life has hurt me so much that I have really thin skin.

I wish I took things less personally too. I wish I was less sensitive. My life would be less tumultuous.

I frequently come back to this white trash thing. I identify my culture of origin as white trash. If I’m in a “consciousness awareness group” sort of thing (I live in California, this shit just happens here) and there is an ice breaker so people can start to understand one another and people talk about ethnicity or culture I always say white trash.

You should see the expressions on peoples faces. It’s an experience. I think that mostly people just dismiss it in their minds and ignore me. Often people will say, “I grew up in a trailer/poor/rurally/whatever and I’m not white trash so you aren’t either.”

I love how that works for people. Good luck with that.

I am white trash because not hitting people is constant all day effort. I want to jump on people and beat them to bloody pulps on a very regular basis. I have to consciously think about not hitting pretty much all the time.

I will never own a gun because I do not believe I have enough self-control. There are people in this world I would like to see dead and I would really like to be dead. It kind of seems like a no-brainer that I should avoid guns. If something inside me ever snaps and I beat my sister to death with a baseball bat to prevent her from ever raping another child I will be surprised. That’s a lot of hate. I will be surprised if I can summon the will to do that. It’s extreme. Shoot her? Oh shit yeah. That can be done impulsively with very little actual effort… if you have a gun.

Wait… not everyone thinks about this? Oh.

I have spent a lot of time studying the psychology of pedophiles. It seemed important. My sister is unlikely to ever stop. She is, essentially, a rabid dog. And there is nothing I can do about it. That scares me. My brother threatened to leave his wife if she pushed him on the issue of adopting a little girl. He doesn’t think he should live with a little girl. Ever. He believes they had three sons together because God knows he can’t have a little girl.

I’m not trying to say that everyone who grows up poor or everyone who lives in a trailer or everyone who is homeless or or or or or or or is white trash. I am saying that I am. I am saying my family is. We have a violence in us–a twisted perversion. A lot of it comes from entitlement. I deserve to have therefore I will take.

I feel very weird about having the life I have had and then marrying Noah. He didn’t tell me he was a trust fund baby until we were engaged. It was after I moved in and like a month or so before we eloped. We were having a conversation about long-term safety–specifically financially. He asked me how much money it would take before I felt “safe” quitting my job and staying home to take care of kids. How long I worked was going to be directly determined by how fast I could pay down debt (I paid off $100,000 in debt in the first year of our marriage–we lived on my teaching salary) and when we had enough of a savings buffer. He told me to give him a number. How much did I need to have before it would be ok. I told him that I really want to have a minimum of $250,000 in some kind of investment account before I will feel ok quitting.

He said, “Hold that thought” and left the room. He came back holding a piece of paper and said, “this isn’t actually all of it–but this is one account” and he handed me an account statement. He had like $257,389. I think. I may be mixing up a couple of numbers in the tens or ones column. Fucking close enough.

I almost had a heart attack. I started hyperventilating. Are you for fucking real? You want to marry me and hand me everything I have ever specifically planned how to get all nice and neat wrapped up with a pretty little bow?

After we were married and he heard me reading (cause I read out loud and react to things) MDC in the single parent forum about all the things women had wished they had done before they headed towards divorce (this was while I was pregnant with Shanna. When I tell you I plan ahead I’m fucking serious.)  he grew concerned. He figured out how paranoid I actually am. When Shanna was under a year old he dragged me to a lawyer. He put all of his inheritance and pre-marriage money into a family trust so there is no chance in hell I can ever walk away from him legally with less than half his assets. (I think he’s wrong. A judge would let me walk away. But I digress.)

Noah is very serious about wanting me to trust him. He works very hard at being dependable–something that is specifically challenging for him. I’m a kind of consistent he just isn’t naturally. But he does it for me. Because he loves me so much.

I feel so much guilt for needing so much help from him. I do need it. He is so patient with me. I don’t tell him about my needs until I am at the point of shaking and freaking out. He doesn’t take my behavior personally. I don’t really understand how he does that.

I feel a lot of guilt about asking him for more at any point in time. I know that when I complain bitterly about being a lot less interesting than _____ that in pretty much every case he places the needs of his physical body way below me. He hurts himself to do things for me. The things he places in his top priority spots are things that earn money.

He feels very driven by my insecurity. I feel like that is not a good thing. We are certainly long past the point where more money buys us more happiness. We have specific goals, yes. We are on track to meeting them. I think I’m the kind of crazy where I could die a billionaire but clutch a dollar bill to my chest and say, “Well at least they didn’t get all my money.” I don’t think Noah should feel like he has to work harder. Good fucking grief man.

More money won’t fill my needs. That’s not the point. What is the point then? I don’t know. The point is somewhere long out of focus. I will probably decide what the point was and construct the story around it in my seventies. Until then it’s a mystery.

I’m kind of ridiculously glad that it is pouring rain (and lightning! and thunder!) because now I don’t have to go to Fairyland. Yay.

I could decide that “God” wants me to stay home. See how this works? I don’t think I should start having an invisible sky friend to blame everything on. That could go badly. Sometimes things happen. It’s not about deserve. It’s not about what is right. They just happen. There isn’t a plan. I can’t believe there is a plan that involves raping little girls. I just can’t.

The loyalty trap

Recently a friend tactfully and gently pointed out that the way I write about family isn’t exactly standard. The kind of help I think I would get is fairly unusual. I couldn’t name a close friend who has the kind of relationship I write about wanting. No one has family who just shows up to take care of you–that isn’t how things work in America.

To this I reply: Ahh. You think that I have a mental model of a healthy family with boundaries. Hahahahaha. No. I come from a crazy enmeshed codependent family. What I talk about wanting is what I have seen. I get my longing for family from watching how people treated my sister having kids. Quite frankly folks worried about her being incompetent and immature. So they just showed up and helped. My mom did. My aunt did. My brother did. I did. Sometimes cousins helped too.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately trying to figure out what I mean when I say “white trash”. I’m trying to figure out how to explain it. Some day I want to have a concise definition that really explains what it means to me. I’m not there yet.

Movies I have streamed on Netflix recently: Winters Bone, The Poker House, The Burning Plain. All featuring the same actor (Jennifer Lawrence) and I feel kind of weird about her going on to be an action star. I probably won’t get around to watching the action movies any year soon. I care about the depictions of violence and family.

If you care about movie spoilers don’t read the rest of this post. That is your warning. That said, I think all three of those movies would be useful for people who want to understand me. Of course none of them is exactly right but there are interesting elements in each.

In Winters Bone she is trying to track down information about her father. She has to ask nosy questions. She lives in the Ozarks and she has to pester extended kin that don’t like to be pestered. She gets beaten by a group of women who do it so that her uncle can’t get mad at the men. There is this strong pressure through the whole movie that the police are the enemy. Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. My family used to do drugs like that. These days everyone has prescription meds.

In The Burning Plain you see seemingly disconnected stories that eventually make sense. It’s about mothers and daughters and feeling invisible and accidents and hating yourself and running away to deal with how much you hate yourself. Charlize Theron manages to look as empty as I feel. The way she self harms, the way she runs away because she is bad… yes. I understand that.

The Poker House is the most recent one. It is based on Lori Petty’s actual life. (The chick from Tank Girl.) Holy shit for shoe shine. My mother never prostituted herself and my mother never did drugs in front of me, so I had a very different set up than this movie. Nevertheless I had similar levels of neglect. Similar kinds of being abandoned in unsafe environments. I thought the rape was extremely well done and non-graphic but accurate. That is the truth. That is how fast and how easy it happens. I actively dislike the fact that Lori Petty’s take away message is “Don’t hold a grudge–forgive people for hurting you because they were hurt too”. To that I say: “Bullshit. I have children to protect.”

When I gave up on my family I gave up a lot. I gave up a support network that hasn’t worked in years and fucking loves hanging out with little kids. My family loves children under about eight. They are still cute and fun. Especially little girls. And my little girls are so angelic and wonderful that they would have done well.

But three people in my family have told me that my sister sexually abused them. I have fairly good reason to think that my kids would be good targets for her. The price of all the support is that you have to keep your mouth shut and understand that “people make mistakes” and ignore horrifying behavior year after year. If you need the support and you cannot survive without it this is the bargain that must be made.

I don’t fucking need the support that bad. I can sit home and cry from being overwhelmed instead. It’ll all work out. They are less overwhelming by the month. Shanna is much better at picking up after herself and my life is getting much easier on a day by day basis. Before too much longer they will actively make my life easier. They want to. They understand that doing so leaves me with more energy to do the things they want to do. Their mama didn’t raise no fools.

My sister hasn’t had a job since around when Shanna was born. She was laid off and lived off unemployment. I have the general impression that they are waiting for my mom’s social security to come in. She’s going to get my dad’s because they were married long enough. I think that is totally fair and it means that her retirement will be the most financial security she has had since divorcing him. I hope she finally settles down. I hope my sister isn’t molesting the kids she baby-sits. That’s what she does with her time. She stays home and takes care of little kids so their teen moms can go to school and/or work.

But I know she is a pedophile. I know how inappropriate she was with me. We didn’t have sex. But she did start telling me when I was four years old what I had to do to relax my anus so anal sex didn’t hurt so much. It was actually a thing for me for years. I didn’t manage to successfully have anal sex until Noah. (Violent sodomy as a small child doesn’t count. No, I didn’t relax enough to make it hurt less then either.) He was the first person who could work through that fear. A number of people tried before then. It always hurt too much and the hysterical crying freaked people out.

I felt specifically bad and like a failure because I was not able to have anal sex with the people who wanted to before Noah. I have had a lot of intense feelings of lack of worth because I was not able to do what people wanted. I was supposed to.

My sister is probably really who taught me this. I think she was the main consistent source of this. She talked about sex all the time and had sex in front of me and consciously and deliberately told me what I should go do.

I can’t play the game any more. She’s not ok. And my children do not deserve to be exposed to her.

But I’m losing out on cousins who fix my cars. And cousins who know how to help with plumbing. And all the free babysitting I want. And holidays full of people. And a niece and nephew who really need my help.

I can’t play the game any more. I’m not at the bottom of the shit hill any more and I won’t allow them to set the terms of reality. I just can’t. But it is hard.

You know how I moved around a lot as a kid? I was often staying with relatives. I didn’t know them well and I didn’t stay long so I never got to know them… but they took me in. Over and over. My family takes care of children. They would have been very happy to know my children.

But it’s a trap. It’s all or nothing. You have to play the game and keep the silence or you are out.

I’m out.