Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last post here.

I apologize for this jumping all over the internet business. I understand that updating RSS stuff is annoying. But now I have my very own website. www.krissygibbs.com It feels pretty neato to me.

I moved everything from blogger and everything from livejournal. The old livejournal posts require a password, which I will never post openly on the internet. If you are interested in those archives shoot me an email and I will cheerfully share the password.

It's been a decent run here at Blogger but I hate the comment interface. I hate that I don't fully own my work. So now it's time to go to my own sandbox. It feels really exciting.

I'm figuring out how to add things. The site will change a lot over time. Woo.

Bye Blogger, it's been great knowing you.

Poverty, religion, and community building

The last article I read on HuffPo was about how atheists should care more about poverty. In my head that lead to this whole leapfrog experience of thoughts about things that have been happening in my life lately. A bunch of things happening off-line mostly to other people. So I can kind of comment in person but writing about other peoples lives is rather rude. See, I do have tact.

Recently I was reminded that one of the big upsides of Catholicism over the Protestant approach is that Catholics believe you are not saved by faith alone--you have to do good works. I feel like telling the Protestants that they don't need to behave like Jesus, just believe in him, was one of those crucial "missing the point" movements in history.

At this stage of my life I am standing very near the cliff of atheism. I think that if someone is as angry at G-d as I am can't really fall off that cliff. It's like having an airplane cable around my waist as I try to jump off the cliff. I won't get far enough and it's going to fucking hurt trying.

And by the way, if you have ever said, "Catholic or Christian" then you can picture me screeching at you with great fervor for at least half an hour about how ignorant and stupid that sounds. Just sayin'. You believe in and follow Christ? Christian. Moving on.

I believe that nothing and no one is going to save me. No one is watching me and giving a shit. If someone had been watching me through my whole life with dispassion I would have a nice big scythe with that persons name on it. My life is, in my opinion, proof that there could not be a compassionate all knowing G-d. It's enough proof for me at least.

That means I am left in this position of not being good for my big invisible sky friend. Why should I be good? Who defines good? Ah... now we get to the crux of the question. Most people live according to moral structures they have never really thought about. What does being good mean anyway?

I will say that I know profoundly ethical sex workers. I believe they are good people providing a service human-kind needs. If it weren't such a needed field it wouldn't have existed for all time. Give me a break.

I know people who are "good" in my estimation who regularly break the law. The law does not define good for me. The law is a codefied way of protecting assets not a way of ensuring that people are nice to each or that we each have a minimum amount to survive. The law protects people who already have power and mostly screws over people at the bottom. I don't have that much respect for the law.

The law cares way more about the rights of rapists than rape victims. And everyone you can talk to about this will tell you that it should. It must. Otherwise there would be a complete breakdown of law and order. We have to assume innocence. But we must not protect the innocence of young girls and boys who are raped. They are on their own.

We will blame their parents for not cloistering them. We will blame co-ed education. We won't blame the completely idiotic school system that will not allow adults to talk frankly about sex. We won't actually teach these children the difference between consensual sex and rape. We won't talk to the girls and teach them, "If you don't want it you really and truly have to say NO because he won't understand on his own. You will be thinking, 'Can't he see that I don't want this?' and you will cry later because no he won't see. What he sees is that his dick might get wet. You don't really matter. If you want to matter you have to matter to you first and you have to defend yourself. Start by saying 'no'."

Why don't people say this to young girls? Why don't people sit and talk to children for years and years beforehand about consent? Why don't we talk about self-sovereignty? Oh. Because then we might give the children the idea to have sex--right? They won't come up with it on their own. Whatever.

When I was younger, before I knew my sister had raped our brother or her children, when her kids were in the 7-11ish range I started pulling the kids aside and talking to them about consent and sex. I showed my nephew how to put condoms on a banana and I made him practice till he could do it without faltering. I told him I'd be happy to give him boxes to use while masturbating so he could continue practicing and get proficient so he doesn't feel silly once he has a partner. He said no thanks and looked freaked out.

My understanding is his step-father raped him within six months of that conversation. Based on my memories and the stories I was told. I guess he didn't need to worry about being awkward with his first partner. That was all awkward.

My sister's loud public attitude was that "there should be a veil between the knowledge of parents and children. In the mind of a parent every child should die a virgin." But she raped her children. The public discourse and the private actions don't line up even slightly. Honestly, to me this kind of attitude is pretty much what I hear when I hear Protestants talk about the poor. When I hear my atheist friends talk about the poor.

"The government shouldn't steal my money." Because it is better for you to have a second fancy sports car than for some kids to eat. Right.

There has been wealth distribution since the dawn of time. There have always been rich people and there have always been poor people. But in some eras the difference is less stark.

We have more wasteful shit in our lives than was ever fucking possible at any other point in history. What do we do with this wonderful excess? We hoard it. We are stingy and selfish. We are short-sighted.

I get the short-sighted self-absorbed attitude on the parts of my atheist child-free friends. In very specific ways they are only kind of part of the human race. They are an end point. They are not part of the future and they know it. Why should they care?

I don't get it from parents. I don't at all. Your children will have better lives if there is less distribution of wealth. Not if they have more and more and more compared to those around them. Their lives will become increasingly a slice of humanity. You can't associate with people who are too socio-economically different from you. That's scary. People in different classes behave differently.

I like living in a not-great neighborhood. I like that my kids are meeting a very wide range of people. Our neighborhood is definitely *not* primarily white. Some of the folks around here are comfortable financially but they are in the minority. We have a lot of vacant foreclosed houses. We have a lot of derelict houses kind of falling apart. We talk to everyone. My kids are learning how to behave with as many people in the world as I can possibly expose them to.

I want my children to have an in-their-gut understanding that having "things" is not because of entitlement or privilege. You don't automatically get these things in life. Some people make the choice to prioritize having things--that's a choice not a right. And if they don't get it--that's the breaks. There are no guarantees. There are no promises. And Paris Hilton no more "deserves" what she has than I deserved to be raped over and over.

It's a lottery. It's not about deserve. Things just happen.

I have to believe this. This is the entire foundation upon which I build my survival. I don't deserve things. If I have them it is an accident. If I have knowledge within my head that could make someone else's life better and it's doing nothing for me--isn't it selfish nearly to being criminal to withhold it?

I believe that we are social animals. We are a social species. We need community. We need to belong. Unfortunately people usually choose "people who feel like me" without ever really examining what that is founded on. Are you saying you only want to know people who were fortunate to have parents who were born into a certain class? How un-American of you.

It's funny sitting near geek culture. I'm not really a geek. I've lived in the Silicon Valley my whole life and I'm only quasi-participating in making my first website. Mostly I'm making my husband do it. But I have watched this culture emerge. I have seen it from the outside since I was twelve.

I hear the Oppression Olympics a lot. When geeks get together the subject of childhood bullying comes up constantly. No one remembers the times when they were taunting people because they were smarter and they weren't going to be stuck being losers like those other kids. I remember hearing that. The geeks who got beat up used to sneer when tests were handed back. See, here's proof that even if you can beat me up I am better than you and I will be through my whole life. So that childhood bullying, that largely grew out of the rage of frustrated children, is carried forward in life. Only who is on top changed.

In America we are very careful about Might Makes Right at this stage. We want it for the police--thus we are increasingly militarizing them. That's the wrong direction. People listen to rules that feel fair, not to things that are imposed under military guard. We like having our rights, motherfuckers.

I watch my kids moving through our neighborhood and I wonder what kind of adults they will be. Will they be selfish? There is no way to predict. Will they feel this terrible compulsion to build community? Will they already have that community?

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I should do to find a way to fit into the community I have more. I don't mean the people I know. I live somewhere. I live in a place and a time. How do I fit in this? If you restrict your friends to only people who are like you and you spend all your time in the car going from very carefully selected place to place... that's not community.

Community is the weird neighbor we always have long conversations with as we walk to and from the store or park. He gives my kids advice and talks to them about what it was like to work for PG&E as it was really spreading through the state. He's in his 70's and he worked for them for decades. He has great stories.

Months ago the topic of suicide came up kind of randomly. I was blunt, as I am wont to be. Since then he makes a point of saying, "Gosh I'm glad you are still here so I can talk to you. And your babies still need you. Keep going."

That's community. I don't have to go out of my way to see him. I don't have to laboriously schedule around our "activities". We just see him in our life. It feels good. I'm trying to get to know more neighbors. I think that at some point I may offer tutoring at the elementary school across the street. It would be fun. It would be a really nice way of getting to know more of the neighborhood kids. My children will need to know those kids whether they go to school with them or not.

Everyone is on a different path. I understand that everyone has a different load to carry. Different things they could share. Different needs and wants. I do understand that. But everyone has something that they could give to make someone else's life better. Not in a codependent way. I'm not recommending one more poly enmeshed hysterical relationship.

There are people in this world who are almost certainly actually suffering because they do not have a piece of information that is in your head. Is that your responsibility? Only if you want it to be. Only if you want to be part of something bigger than yourself. Only if you want to be humble about the fact that maybe all you have to give is that scrap of information and you can't construct an identity around helping people all the time.

Anger, frustration, entitlement, privilege--I believe they are all so entwined it is almost impossible to take them apart.

Privilege, in my parlance, is the lucky accidents in your life. Maybe you are white. Maybe you were born to wealthy parents. Maybe you were raised in an area with excellent public schools. Maybe your parents could afford to put you through college.

Can you see how these things don't just happen to everyone? That makes having them double plus awesome. Only if you were handed a huge bag of candy when you were five and you refused to ever share it you would be kind of an asshole. Privilege is like that bag of candy. You can share it. I'm not saying give up on having things or benefiting.

I own a house--well, there is still a mortgage. It will be paid off in less than ten years. Someday I will own a house. Because my husband bought it and paid for it and lets me live in it. I don't really feel like I should get too cocky about this.

Humility. I didn't do it. Taking too much pride in it--as if it were my accomplishment--would be ridiculous. This will be Noah's accomplishment. I can be proud of him and I can be grateful I benefit but I can't act like it is my right or just or natural that I get this.

Most of my anger displays come at the heels of feeling thwarted. My need for control is interrupted and the fireworks inside my skull are fantastic. I'm not trying to claim that I am superior or above these things.

But what do I do once I feel like that? When my privilege feels attacked? When I feel like I'm not getting something I feel entitled to?

That is what decides what kind of human being I am. I don't think that all child-free people are dead ends in the human race. I believe that a great many of the most important people throughout all time were child-free. But they made a choice to be part of something. Something that actually makes the world a better place.

I've been watching Burning Man for years. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think about how many millions of dollars have been spent on a temporary city that damages the natural environment and is basically just about distraction.

If you need that kind of display and outlay and expense in order to find your "tribe" then I argue that your tribe is pretty artificial. That is not a sustainable kind of community. That is a mass waste sort of community. Welcome to America.

How many cities or even small poverty-stricken countries could be run for a year on what is spent on Burning Man?

Which isn't to say that I never entertain myself. I spend money I don't need to spend. I bought into the freakin Disney time share. That's elite privilege at its very snootiest if you ask me. I don't think that everyone who goes to Burning Man is bad. I don't think that everyone who goes to Disneyland is bad.

But what could we be doing with this time and money that wasn't so completely selfish? What could we be doing with this time and energy that isn't just about being entertained for a few days?

I'm not trying to sit on a high horse. I am part of my cohort. I pick up trash and talk to my neighbors. It's a slow start on building community. I donate a lot of money. I try to help people one-to-one whenever I can.

But I have to have resources to draw from in order to have anything to give. Honestly the trips to Disneyland make me feel more cheerful about the endless amount of giving I have to do in the rest of my life. Burning Man provides a lot of people with massive emotional support--I hear. Or it's a total flop. Apparently it's a coin toss year by year. But people still go back--like addicts.

What does caring about the poor mean? What does caring about someone other than yourself mean? Caring doesn't accomplish a lot. You have to work. What can you do to make the world better?

I keep trying to remind myself that I am not really past the point where I have to be completely focused on my kids. It's a privilege. It's a species-preference for children to be intensely cared for in the first few years. My oldest is almost five. My youngest is two and a half. I only have a couple more years before I won't be nearly as necessary.

What will I do with my time and energy? I don't think it will involve getting in my car and driving thirty or forty minutes until I get to a white neighborhood so I can feel comfortable. I wouldn't. I want to find a way to matter where I am. I may not be willing to enroll my kids in the school directly across the street but I want my kids to spout off, "My mom knew she wanted to homeschool her kids from when she was seventeen so please don't think this is any kind of negative judgment on the school--it's just a personal choice." And yes, it is a weird choice. Ask questions about it.

Part of the problem with "helping the poor" is that most of the time there is this tension between helping individual people and helping a systemic problem. The approaches are completely different and going in either direction means that a lot of people fall through the cracks.

What is the road forward?

I was having a chat with some women this weekend. One of the comments that sticks in my mind is a woman was saying that she has evolved in her life to the point where she doesn't feel like there is much point in being angry about injustice and trying to fight. Just love. Go through your life doing what you think is right and loving people and it will all work out.

I... I don't think I am capable of believing such hubris. Unless the "all work out" is that we all end up dead. Sure, that I believe. What will the world be like in fifty or a hundred years? I want to influence that. I truly do. And I don't think that sitting in my house or school in a carefully chosen neighborhood and driving in my car to meet up with carefully pre-selected people is the way to do it.

Chaos theory. Maybe I should study some.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Post-EMDR

I should have taken a knee-jerk sleeping pill. I didn't. I had therapy in the morning and I went to bed at my normal time. I've been mostly awake since 12:45. I just wasn't able to get back to sleep today. That's ~5 hours of sleep. Not enough but not completely insignificant either.

She asked me about the last time I seriously cried. It was that last post on the parenting book. The one that ended with my self-pity running like the river of my snot. Cause I'm classy. I had to sit and think about the things I was thinking about that day. While I had headphones beeping weirdly into my ears and little gizmos were alternating vibrating in my hands. It's kind of a weird system. It does work though.

Part of what came up for me while reading the book is how fucking jealous I am of my kids. Why didn't anyone love me enough to take care of me and keep me safe? Why am I the product of rape and I got to grow up and be raped by my father and everyone else who wanted to take a turn? Why was I not worthy of protecting as a child?

In situations like mine I have seen adults consciously choose that they want their child to understand them so the child needs to be abused too. I don't want my kids to understand me. I want to be a confusing non-sequitur in their lives. No one is quite like me.

I told my therapist that it's really hard that in order to feel understood I have to go looking for the people who have been beat on and raped repeatedly. I need to go find the people who have been habitually abused their entire lives. "Normal" people literally cannot wrap their brains around me. There is something wrong with me.

We spent a fair bit of time talking about the point and purpose of confrontation. My therapist enthusiastically agrees with me that I should confront if and only if I feel I need to and not if someone I know who is kind of weirdly overly enmeshed with my life feels I should. That's not my problem.

I can love people. I can wish that I was good enough for them. I can't jump through the hoops they put in front of me. I just can't. Maybe someone less broken could, but I can't. It is something that would cause me to hate myself more than I do right now. Right now I have a grudging respect for myself. Even I have to admit that I really am doing what I said--and I'm doing it well. I have respect for that.

I respect myself because when I fuck up I say, "Ok, I screwed up by not doing ______. I'm really sorry I made that choice. I can't fix it this time. But next time I will do ______ so that I don't hurt you again. I'm sorry I screwed up. I didn't mean to."

I don't immediately start blaming someone else.

We had issues yesterday with the kids. We didn't make it to Fairyland. We had food issues. It was my fault. I should have packed lunch before we left in the morning. Then we would have done ok. But I didn't. So we stopped at the store to buy food. It was Whole Foods so the lunch was kind of ridiculously expensive. Then Shanna refused to eat anything because it was "yucky". After she picked the damn sandwich. I told her that I wasn't going to take her to Fairyland hungry so she could immediately start whining at me to buy her something--no. I just wasn't up for being patient with that.

But it was all my fault. I didn't prepare for the consistent and predictable needs of my children. If Shanna decides to be a bit fussy on a given day that is an annoyance--but it isn't her fault that I'm unprepared to handle her. I know the drill. I know how things work. If I don't handle it there is no one to blame.

My children are never to blame for my temper and my ability to handle their needs. If I fail to plan or if things happen that surprise me... they are just being normal kids. It is all part of the deal. I have no choice but sucking it up and coping. Because that is life when you are the god damn grown up.

But sometimes I feel so jealous of my kids. And it's hard to be nice when I'm feeling that way. Why are you good enough and I'm not?!

I thought about this a lot during EMDR.

By the end of that session I was instead stuck in the thought loop that even though I didn't get to have it as a child--I do get to have it now. My children give it back to me.

In our house every day starts with hugs and kisses and cuddling and, "Good mownin! I missed you. Did you sleep well?"

My kids greet almost every meal with, "This looks delicious. Thank you!"

I am really nice to them. They don't see other examples of behavior. I don't model being an asshole. I am considerate and loving.

And when they are screaming at me that they hate me and I am the biggest stupid ever and they think I am the worst mother on the planet my response is, "It's fine for you to say you hate me--I did something that made you really upset. But I am not stupid and it is not ok to call me that."

And I have to do it without screaming or getting fiercely upset. I have to do it in a reasonable voice.

I will admit that I more or less dragged Shanna across the street because she decided to throw a screaming fit just as we were crossing a street. As soon as we got across the street I let go of her hand and apologized for pulling so hard. It's a short light. We had to hurry.

My self-pity is kind of interesting to navigate. I feel like I constantly come across reminders that at this point my life is ridiculously privileged. I am lucky. I am fortunate. I have an easier life than almost anyone in my age cohort.

So much for me being that fucking loser my whole life.

When the movie The Craft came out the kids at school started calling me Nancy and trying to avoid me. I was "that scary girl on the bus."

I'm not really friendly or personable. Only I am.

You choose your behavior. You choose what you want to send off into the world. Sometimes I need to be scary. It has been a survival trait. One I don't know if my kids will ever need so I haven't taught it yet.

But I am teaching them how to get along. It feels like teaching them to lie. It feels like teaching them that other people matter more than them. I don't matter more than them.

I tried to explain to Shanna (but she found it scarce comfort) that when we go out for a long time I have to be able to get them both home at the end. If they don't eat and end up freaking out a long way from the car I can't physically carry them the whole distance any more. I'm not strong enough. I have to plan around my limits even though that is really inconvenient. It's ok to get mad that I have these limits. But next time we will pack a backpack with food so Shanna can be responsible for carrying around her own food so I will know she has enough to keep going even if she doesn't feel like sitting down for a meal.

Dealing with kids is weird. They are semi-rational and increasingly difficult to just manage. You need cooperation. You have to convince them to take care of themselves so that your fuck ups have less impact. "I'm sorry that I planned poorly. In the future we really have to remember to pack a lunch because this isn't a fight I want to have again." "That's right. Next time I will pack my own lunch." I hope she does. That would be cool. She can make her own pbj, grab an apple, string cheese, and a couple of carrots and call it good. That is entirely within her range of coping. And no one will end up getting screamed at. Life will be better. I don't enjoy being screamed at.

Why does thinking about my kids make so jealous? My therapist says it is totally normal only most people don't admit what is going on and instead they are just mean to their kids. I don't want to be mean to my kids. If I'm mean to my kids they have the right to walk away from me when they are 18 and never speak to me again. I want a relationship. I would like to someday be friends. Not that they will ever be my "support" but I would like to be friends someday. That means we can't be friends now. I have to be the mom.

I feel completely inadequate to this task. Reading parenting books, especially ones that specifically lay out "If you were wounded during this phase of development you will act out in these ways: x, y, and z" is hard because I can't really deny how fucked up I am. Oh. That part of being broken is probably related to ______ trauma. Oh. Ok, the next part of being broken is probably related to ______ trauma. 

The best this husband/wife team recommends is to become more and more aware of how and why you are broken so you can consciously choose to not pass it on to your kids.

God I'm so broken. So very broken. I am "disrupted" at every god damn stage of development. It is weirdly miraculous that I am so high functioning at all. I shouldn't be. I should be so broken I can't see anyone but my own pain. But I don't actually work that way.

It's weird to be told so emphatically how and why I am fucked up while being told, "Now just think about it and don't be broken like that anymore!"

*beat head on wall*

I'd love a good head banging session right now. My lesser demons are outshouting my greater angels. I'd love to beat the noise out of my head. I would like to cut and experience the tunnel of attention--the inability to notice or think about anything else. Pretty much any source of pain would work--I want to stop thinking. I want to be distracted.

Only I don't. I did that for a long time. It made nothing better and it lowered my opinion of myself.

I have carved out a path for me. It's slow progress. I haven't backslid in a long time. I have rather good control of myself these days. I avoid the situations that would make me lose control. My kids can't be that kind of trigger. They are allowed to exist without my emotional turmoil. I respect myself for that.

I may be someone that other people look down on--I can do nothing about that but I don't feel particularly ashamed of myself lately. What do I do? I homeschool my kids. I garden. I keep the house tidy and organized and don't complain about huge messes because that is how the kids learn. I am polite. I am kind. I think really hard about the conflicting needs that exist in my house and I try to meet them in a way that is fair to everyone. I'm not the only important one.

Children do what is modeled for them. My children wake up excited to see me and they hug me and gently stroke my face and tell me they love me. I do get to have this during this lifetime. I didn't get to have it when I was little but I get to have it now. Some people never get it at all. Some people have never gotten to have the magical experience of having someone tell them day after day that they are loved and wonderful.

I am privileged. I am lucky. Very few people have as much safety and security as I have now. Few people get to just sit around and love on their kids the way I get to. My whole job is watching them grow and exclaiming how wonderful their progress is. It's a fucking good gig if you can get it.

One of the women in my incest support group looks like my mom. I'm going to have an interesting time with her. She's the other really angry person. And she wishes that she had children. But she's 50 and she doesn't. She's gay so the kids thing would have been challenging and expensive to arrange. She is really angry and sad because she is as emotionally damaged as I am and there is no one hanging out telling her how beautiful she is all day.

I am one of the lucky ones. It is so weird to look at the intersection of life experiences. Isn't it kind of weird for me to think of myself as lucky? But I am. I'm lucky that I managed to catch the eye of someone who is a good provider. Noah has basically doubled his income in the six years of our marriage because he takes it very seriously that he has to support us.

I feel so overwhelmed. It's hard to wrap my brain around how undeserving, how unworthy, how bad I feel while knowing that I am in a position that women of my species have viewed as the the ultimate goal for most of history. I have a provider who is very skilled. I am lucky. I have someone to give me children and give me support and give me love. I am treated very well by my husband.

My husband wakes up every day and makes breakfast for our family. Then he works hard all day. Then he comes home and plays with the kids or reads to them. He isn't doing anything extra right now. We get to monopolize all of his time. I feel so lucky and so loved.

So feeling jealous of my kids feels kind of extra bad. If I have it so good it makes me a ridiculous asshole to be jealous. They may be having a more secure and loving childhood than I had but that is no guarantee of anything for their future life. Ask me how your childhood is no guarantee of anything about your future. I'll cheerfully tell you.

My therapist said to expect sleep disturbance and dizziness and fuzziness for a day or two after EMDR. My brain is rewiring. I have to be patient. All this damage happened over a long period of time. Fixing it is hard.

The goal is that some day I can think about my children having it better than me without losing three hours to crying and self-pity. It's a goal. I haven't cried more than a few individual tears today. I guess that's a start.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I read. I swear.

Book #5: Over Sea, Under Stone

Book #6: Giving the Love That Heals

Technically #5 is one that Noah read to me. But it's new to me. :) I'm glad that #6 is over. Woof. It's a good book--I highly recommend it if you have kids. I promise you that you are doing shit instinctively you shouldn't be doing and they are constructive about how to handle those situations.

Still readin Mindstorms, Collapse, and I have The Myth of Ability out from the library. That will satisfy February I think.

I am seriously thinking of no longer participating on MDC. I'm tired of getting spanked by moderators because I am jolting. Yeah. I talk about rape. I guess I should learn how to be quieter and more euphemistic so you never have to feel jolted. Or I could just stop posting there and go back to my sandbox and say fuck the fascists. That will feel more satisfying.

Weighing the cost of confrontation.

Whenever someone has their boundaries violated, whether sexually or otherwise, that person (male or female) has to decide whether a confrontation is worthwhile. In my extremely judgmental opinion such confrontations should take place if: a) the victim/survivor/experiencer-of-boundary-violation feels there is value in saying their side of the story OR b) the perpetrator can be stopped through the action of speaking up.

It is hard to get truly accurate statistics no matter what you do. In the areas of rape and sexual assault these numbers are extra fuzzy. There are a few studies but they are small and I feel weird about judging from those studies.

Almost all of the studies about rape and sexual assault I have read (and I'm pretty sure I've read every big-name one in existence) involve fewer people-who-have-been-victimized than I have talked to in my lifetime.

I go find these people. It's not just women. I want to hear their stories. I truly do. So I've heard hundreds. Probably a few thousand at this point. Most of them on the internet--I haven't met all of these people in person. I think about what they tell me with regards to their particular situation. Everyone has a slightly different circumstance to their assault.

Over all, near as I can tell, the number of successfully prosecuted rapes is around 3%. That means that if you have been raped you have around a 97% chance that your rapist's rights are more important than yours.

Oh gee, why don't more people try to press charges? I wonder.

I have confronted. I have pressed charges. I have spoken to police officers on multiple occasions. I have chosen to not confront sometimes. I have had people say, "Hey you didn't want to confront so I went and told this person you have been talking about him so here, now you can talk to him about it!"

Uhm, what is there for me in this potential discussion? Confirmation that this person did a lot of drugs and alcohol so "can't remember" and thus it isn't supposed to matter what happened between us. Yeah. That will make me feel better.

I get to choose what I do with my time. I'm pretty sure that I should be doing things that make me feel better about myself and not things that confirm that in the opinions of other people I am a worthless whore who isn't even worth remembering.

Yeah. I think I would rather shove rusty nails in my veins. But it could be just me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

book review as timeline

I'm reading this book Giving the Love That Heals by Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt. I have no idea why I need to say the names. Any who. I think that books like this could potentially be labeled with a full page in the front Dangerous for Incest Survivors. I'm just saying.

I'm getting to the parts where they go through the developmental stages that children go through. They detail the problems that come out of interruptions of the appropriate pattern. I really have lead a text book life. I really have tried hard to be good in exactly the ways I was taught.

Every so often I sit on the floor in my room and I think about all the events they have already missed. They are already that much more whole than me. I tick them off. My father teaching me to be silent and unresponsive while he penetrated my vagina. I wasn't even allowed to cry. If I did I would be given a reason to cry.

My kids have already escaped that. They believe that someone hurting them is a good reason to say, "Stop right now. That hurts me." I wasn't allowed to. I was taught to be passive with anyone who was willing to hurt me sexually. I can be extremely aggressive as long as someone does not go for my cunt. Then I feel my arms lock in as tight as possible to my sides and my neck muscles completely lock. I can move my hands, but not my arms. I feel my voice box basically go limp. I can whisper, "Please, no. Stop. I don't want this."

It started when I was younger than Calli. Both of my children already know a freedom I can't know. This book puts a lot of emphasis on understanding that your children are not you are not going to turn out much like you. Appropriate control and such as children age.

I am absolutely sure that my children will be different from me. They have a whole branch of genetics I don't share. They are growing up with different stories in their heads. Different experiences in their lives.

My kids get two hours of "unsupervised" (I can hear everything they say and do but I don't have visual contact and there is a closed door) time with the iPad every day. My therapist says this is an extremely good idea and I absolutely need to keep doing it.

I treat my therapists as a mixture of older sibling/parent who gives me permission to do what I want to do. Is this really an ok thing to want? Am I allowed to do this without being bad? My therapist thinks taking two hours of downtime in the middle of the day so that I can be patient and loving all the rest of the time is just necessary and will be fine. Till they break the iPad. Ha. They lose it if they start bouncing or kicking the walls.

I'm being evasive. I'm afraid the kids will interrupt and the next part of the book is weighing heavy on my heart. "7-12: The Stage of Concern"

They say you never get "past" the stage you were when you were wounded. Surely I have made some progress beyond Callidora's current level of development. I think I show significantly more sophistication in how I go about getting my way. I haven't bitten anyone in the face in a very long time.

I worry about when my kids each hit seven. I fear that I am reversing the minimizer/maximizer thing with each kid. I don't know. I fear that I will go to extremes and be wrong in every way. I've been thinking about rape a lot.

Apparently Paul Nathan, the last person who raped me before I ran off from the community is back in town. I'm really grateful I was told. I have one birthday party on my radar and she has already specifically told me that he isn't invited. Or the other guy who sexually assaulted me. She was quite thoughtful. I'm not sure I will play at the party anyway. I plan to bring food, talk, and cuddle with Noah. I don't have a fucking thing to prove. So I feel no real desire to play in public right now.

Oh that's defensive and asshole-ish. I have something to prove. I don't have to do it just because other people want me to. I've been listening to P!nk a lot lately. I'm not here for your entertainment. It makes me think about clothing. I've always dressed like a fucking nun. Only in the end--the last two was I finally dressed in provocative clothing.

So what are my kids going to wear in life? Being covered sure as shit didn't save me. Uncovering in what I was told was a "safe environment" wasn't.

It is interesting looking at how I have learned to set boundaries. It's been a slow and painful process. I've been a major asshole. How do I want that to work for my kids? How am I going to behave?

Shanna recently told me that when it comes time to go shopping that she wants to do all the picking. There will of course be some guidance whether that's her favorite or not. She might not like owning a pair of jeans--but she wears them when we are playing in the mud. You have to learn how to accommodate the life you have instead of the life you wish you had.

We will have to negotiate money in advance. Then she can spend it how she wants. Ok. Sure. Why not? It's going to be a gigantic pain in the ass, but that's ok too.

It's disconcerting to read parenting books--innocuous items and experience surges of vaginal pain. Original wounding indeed.

When I was in my early twenties I managed to find a leather dyke gynecologist to help me with vaginal pain problems. The first thing she did was tell me to start eating yogurt whether I liked it or not. Just do it. Experiment. You'll like something. And she told me to get off Depo Provera because it's terrible for women. It thins vaginal tissue in long-term use.

Then we got to the spiffy exam. She looked, said, "Hm. Hang on." She got up and took off her gloves one by one, slowly. Her brow was furrowed. She adjusted how I was sitting. She got a clear speculum and a mirror and a flashlight. She showed me the inside of my cunt.

She asked me, "How young were you when it started?"

There is so much wealth of knowledge in a question like that. But I lacked the ability to gather resources from her. I didn't know how.

So I am running into this problem where in order to process who I am as a separate individual I have to really understand the fundamental ways I will never have a reflection of me. It's all normal and shit but I have a lot of additional strong feelings. Being broken in plain sight does things to you.

Why is everyone else just more intrinsically deserving of love than I was? Because when I think twelve. Twelve fucking assholes raped me I know I'm not counting all of that right. I generally don't count guys who only forced me to give them blowjobs, no matter how violent it was. I don't want to think of that count. I don't like thinking about the neighbors who pee'ed with the door open and invited me in to "learn how to hold one" with that sly little grin.

Over and over. Neighborhood after neighborhood. It didn't matter if they were stinking unwashed alcoholic drug addicts in a trailer park or the nice little Catholic family or the rich old bastard in the mountains. And more. I moved more than fifty times before I was eighteen. I saw a lot of neighborhoods. I don't remember a lot of specifics of the times when I managed to startle but run off.

I was always asked. I said no as I got older. When I realized I could. The first few times I was told, "Come here. Touch it" I did it. Of fucking course I did. With my father ignoring such a command would have resulted in him hitting me in the head. My kids are pushy in ways I wouldn't have been able to pull off. I would have been black and blue. And sometimes it is hard to read these fucking development books and understand why Noah and I both are over sensitive to the noise in some moods and not in others. If Noah is happy he goes along with them playing. If not he's grumpy.

Me too. We are both a bit moody. I hear that's allowed. We'll see.

I think I should stop reading for today. I haven't even gotten through all the ways in which I am supposedly stunted yet. That's enough for one day. I'll finish it. I am finding value in it. They are right--this is all shit that must be kept away from my children.

This is my problem.

I think I need to get back to some extremist argument against educational standardization book after this light and fucking fluffy parenting book. You know, something cheerful.

I'm sick. And I'm crying. The snot is a river. Like my self pity. On that note I am going to go find more to eat.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

As often happens--I was interrupted. Bad mood.

Alright, internet, it's confession time. Sometimes I intensely dislike my husband. Parts of P!nk's new album The Truth About Love were written from inside my brain. If you haven't heard any of them and you are killing time on the internet, please do.

So end of digression. I've been having feelings. This isn't about Noah bashing. He hasn't done anything wrong. I just feel unsettled and angry and resentful and scared and hostile and like I want to fucking punch someone in the face and you are the only stupid fucker here. I don't hit Noah. Not in jest, not in retribution--nada. If I hit Noah he hits back. Harder. I don't really need to start a fistfight in front of my kids so I don't hit Noah.

But I'm having these feelings. I'm so angry. So angry. So fucking angry why can't I fucking hurt someone angry. But I can't. I will not. I am very aware that there is a very big part of my brain that wants to seriously hurt someone. Kicking the bag isn't really much of an outlet for this energy. Encouraging it is poison.

I've had friends in the bdsm community offer to "do a scene with me where I can get out those demons". I burst into spontaneous laughter at the thought. No. You only think you want that. I learned a lot of very specific skills during my time in that community. The first thing I would do is staple your mouth shut. So you can never revoke consent. Things would go from there.

I am an extremely violent person. This isn't something that feels good to me. I want to break someones nose specifically because I want to spit on the blood and grind it all over someones face. I want to damage someone very badly. And I learned how to tie people up very well. If someone was stupid enough to walk into that... that wouldn't be pretty. I would probably go to jail. And I'd accept that. It is appropriate to lock up people who want to do that. But there was consent.

I don't top from this place. And luckily I married into this situation that prohibits that from happening because Noah will never give initial consent. It is tidy.

I like those kinds of specific closed doors. They force me to think about no longer trying to hunt or ways of pleasing other people. Want do I actually want?

I don't know but I feel angry. I don't always feel like I want to punch the person in front of me and spit in the blood. Uhm, rarely even. Almost never? It's unusual? Ok. I think that one looks bad and can't be made better so I'm moving on.

I have a lot of unexpressed frustrations in my life and it's something I need to be more honest about. In the past few days I've been reading books about teaching computer programming to children as a way of teaching a specific style of thinking while also reading a book that railed against the entire mechanism and orientation of the modern school system. I've also been reading about how networks work versus how communities work. I live in an era and a place where people have a kind of basic orientation to friendship that is the exact opposite of what I grew up to expect.

I always thought I would kind of just jump into a camp. I'd find a partner and ditch my family and blend in to his. Well. So much for that. Ok. It's us. And the kids. That's my "family". When I need support I need to consciously think about how to meet it. I watched some terrible movie on netflix with rape as a plot twist and the only part of it that was in any way worth remembering was watching the mom try to support the daughter through the healing process after trauma. But she was fucking there. She crawled through the stupid window in a stupid plot device that is only found on movies.

But dude.

Isn't anger one of the stages of grief? All of the ways I look up for help are ways my mommy taught me to look up to her to for help. And right now I fucking hate her so much. Right now I wish she was dead. I don't feel this anger at my father any more. It won't be over until she is dead.

She was my mommy and she did not take care of me. Yes, yes you tell me... get over it. Forgive her. Oh fuck you. You forgive her. But this anger is eating me alive. I want my mommy.

When I was Shanna's age I had to learn to silently cry myself to sleep because I wanted my mommy. If I wasn't silent then "I was given a reason to cry" and I would be hit and the tv would be turned up terribly loud.

My mommy was getting married. Her other kids were at the wedding. I was too much trouble. I would get in the way.

Sometimes standing next to Shanna makes me shake. I feel so much anger at her entitlement. I feel like a gigantic jackass but I say, "Try again" is pleasant a tone as I can manage. Ok sometimes it is through gritted teeth. Rarely. She comes back with a please and a question instead of a demand.

I was not allowed to get into things. The food was for the family. But Auntie always had big tubs of red vines and vanilla wafers. And those delightful Fruity Pebbles. Oh man. I was never supervised all that well. I learned how to how to be sly and get my way very early. I stole so much sugar. Did I mention I've been hiding bags of chocolate chips in my shirt drawer and I come in and sneak handfuls? Oh internet I've been keeping a lot from you lately.

I'm having a lot of feelings. I'm baiting Noah. I think there are points where he could be persuaded to change his thinking but my current approach is nothing short of taunting him. I'm just not being nice. I must have been snippy with the kids because they are both clinging to me like mad all day every day. I'm trying to have patience. You teach patience by having patience. It is pretty much my meditation period during the day. Sit down and try to have an out of body experience so you don't beat the shit out of someone as they gouge you one more fucking time.

This is an investment in a future person who does not yet exist. That person is shaped, every day by how she is treated. My kids do not have lovies. They have me. Mt. Mommy. Apparently. It's quite uncomfortable and something I am struggling with how to have boundaries about. This is the kind of thing that is supposed to happen by the grandmother dragging the kid off the mom and saying, "Dude! You're getting heavy. You're mom asked you to sit next to her not on her." Then the kid listens. With mom it's a huge battle.

I could have had that. Fuck. She'd love to live here. Even the cold garage would be fine. She would constantly complain about me overheating the house just to get back at me.

But she is monstrous in her way. "Do you know what happened because of you" should never be followed with information about *anyones* finances. My niece feels a lot of obligation to support the family. I don't know how she is going to do it. I'm scared for her. But I need to be unaware of this situation. If she wants out she knows where I am.

But my sister and my mom are not welcome in my life. Not given the way they behave. It is hard knowing that they are monsters and I'm not allowed to kill the. We live in a time and a place that doesn't really allow that.

Ok, I don't want to go kill them. Not just because of the legal consequences. I'm angry but I'm not that angry.

But I will feel lighter when I find out each of them is dead. I suppose I should feel guilty about that.... Ok done.

I feel really angry that I wasn't taught what this life was like. My mom worked from the time I was four years old. I have no memories of spending days with her. I was with a series of indifferent, inattentive caregivers until I was entirely left alone. It was financial necessity. Just a high school diploma from Bakersfield was not really much to go on for employment.

I get "why I should forgive her". I can tell you that whole story. But it doesn't change the fact that she would try to make my daughter feel small. She does it to everyone around her. I don't want my kids to learn it. And when you have it around you are allowing it to be taught. I know that makes me rigid.

I mean, I am not open to that. But we have people in our lives. Am I treating my resources like a network or like a community? Who is open to what? I'm going to be let down. I'm going to have to be ok with hearing no. Is it terrible that sometimes I feel terrible about being turned down when I invite people over? Then I get to stay home. Without noise--ok, mostly without a huge din.

But I just wander around feeling this coiling, coursing snake. I want to attack someone so much.

I've been running a bit more. I'm hella slow. Ha. I'm going to be running a 5k with a friend... shit. Next weekend. Ack. Ha. Well, we'll make it through and have a lovely chat.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January reading officially done.

Only four weeks in the month. Woo.

Book #4 for the year: Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

That's technically a reread. So it's not a "new" book. But I read it in 2003 (I think) so it is practically new to me. It's for the book club next weekend.

I'm also half-way through Mindstorms in addition to still plugging away at Giving the Love that Heals. I expect to finish both this week. I will probably finish one tomorrow with the way the weekend is going.

I'm in a terrible mood. I am sick and skipping pot because my lungs are pissy. And I'm feeling massively resentful about all kinds of rational and irrational things.

I should probably try to go to sleep.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Storytelling and defensive rambling

I have known that I wanted to have children and homeschool them from when I was a teenager. That was what I wanted from life. When you combine that driving urge with my compulsion towards promiscuous sex you have a high potential for problems. Not a guarantee--there are people with split custody who have plenty of spare time for dating but I actively chose not to take that path. Let me back up.

When my husband and I met we each had other primary partners. I was living with my boyfriend. I was no longer his slave at that point so he was just my boyfriend. I was rather clearly shopping for the reason to leave him. He and I had blunt conversations about the fact that I didn't think we had a future because I wanted kids and marriage and he didn't. So my days were numbered. We knew that before I asked to open the relationship and sleep with other people. Really he stopped sleeping with me right after that.

He was done too. He didn't want to play with me any more. We had played to the utmost limits of what you can safely do to someone. You really can't play harder than we did. He wanted to start over again. He wants the excitement of the new experience, not the sad resignation to more pain. Fair enough.

So I met my husband. I think he became interested in me because I wasn't hunting for him but I was so clearly hunting and I was doing it awkwardly and blatantly in a way that was tailor made for him but I was trying for someone standing right next to him. That shit is catnip. The dude I was hunting for turned out to be spectacularly uninterested in me and that's all good.

So I met my husband. And we dated for the last six months of my relationship with my ex-Owner. And things got progressively more serious because he really liked me but his primary was not in a position to want their relationship to change. But he wanted me to be a co-primary. Err, not so much. My husband was in a horrible motorcycle accident while we were dating. I broke up with my Owner during the period of recovery. I kind of realized that if this "other boyfriend" was so much more important to me than my former Owner-turned boyfriend then it was time to leave. Because I was spending all of my time dealing with accident recovery care or going out in the evenings hunting.

I was done. I didn't want to use him as a crash pad so I broke up with him and moved out basically as soon as I could find a place six weeks later. He had been hoping we would remain roommates and friends and work out a house cleaning arrangement in exchange for rent. In other words I would still wait on him. Yeah. No. Time to leave.

I moved out. I was dating my husband (with no premonition he would ever become such--I was one of like four women he was dating) and I immediately started a relationship with Daddy J. I was one of many for him too.

I was speaking bluntly with these men about my desires. They were enthusiastically agreeing that it sounded like fun--sure let's do that. I didn't see any desire to change their lifestyle though. They both actively plotted how to ditch future children for events.

I broke up with my husband. I broke up with Daddy J a month later. In this period there were a variety of one or two or three week affairs with other men. Two or three proposed marriage by the fourth date.

I don't think I've ever admitted that in public before. It's kind of awkward. I watched this movie Jolene on Netflix instant streaming (I love this service) and I felt this kind of weird throw up in my mouth. Holy shit that was the alternative path. Seriously. I had that offered to me.

I wanted children. I wanted them badly. I flat out told people that when I had kids all overt sexual behavior would end. Their reaction to that decided most of whether I kept talking to them. It's not about being in the closet--I'm really not in the closet but I don't model behavior in front of my children that I feel ashamed of them repeating with friends.

Then I met Puppy. On paper he looked a lot like my former Owner (gun nut, bondage as sadism, strong Libertarian) but in practice he had very different issues. When I would pester him about relationship questions things usually ended with me trying to apologize for asking then fleeing the room to hide behind a closed door while he shouted at me and beat on the door. It's probably a good thing he broke up with me as quickly as he did.

It's bad to go through life asking each guy you meet if he wants to support a stay at home wife. It just is. Wanting sex is partially, at least on a biological level, about wanting to make babies. That's how evolution works.

But as I was auditioning and rejecting these guys I went through college. I got a BA in English. I finished my course work early even though I skipped a semester or so in the middle because I always went double or more the full-time load. I finished my BA in 2003. I finished classes in March. I wasn't sure what to do next and I wasn't completely and totally convinced my relationship with my Owner was pointless yet (I hadn't started sleeping with anyone else yet) so I started the masters program. Officially I started it because even if I went into teaching primary school I didn't feel like I understood my subject well enough to deserve to teach it.

I missed a lot of school. When I was present I ignored my teachers by reading books in class. I knew I wouldn't be in the school long enough for it to matter if I was polite to the teachers or not. I'm not here for your entertainment. I didn't care about trying to fit in or learn social norms by the time I was about ten. I dropped out when I was sixteen after missing freshman year of high school.

It felt rather ironic that I wanted to go teach. I needed to learn more about literature. So I started graduate school. I decided mid-way through that semester that kids weren't optional and I applied to the teaching credential program. I told my Owner. He said he didn't think he was ready. That was the beginning of the end, really. He finally said it. I didn't leave for a year but it was inevitable. I hated the therapist who got him to admit that. She blamed me for forcing a lot of things that I wasn't forcing. I should at least appreciate that she got him to tell me the truth.

Fast forward. I broke up with Noah right in the middle of my year-long intensive teaching credential. What he wanted from me was too much work for too little reward with regards to my long-term goals. He wanted a lot of time and attention and to feel special but I was one of a harem.

I'm feeling quite guilty about how little sex I am up for this month. That's the problem with this tracking business. I told people up front that I would not commit overt sexual behavior in front of my kids but I thought poly would remain on the table. I thought I would want to have that as an option.

Then I realized that poly has a very hurtful learning curve. It's not a malice thing. Mistakes are part of life. I think that the stakes change when children are involved. If I am going to have to keep part of myself away from my husband in order to share it with someone else then that is a compartmentalization I have to keep alive all the time. It's not a sometimes food. And I have to always have a part of my heart ready to accept him being inconsiderate in how he pursues partners. It is impossible to be fully considerate without making mistakes and learning from the process.

That's life. The thing is... in order to do poly well you have to forgive for those mistakes. I don't forgive. I carry around a tally list of done-me-wrongs. It's not right. It's not a positive attribute of mine but it allowed me to decide that it was worth pressing charges against my father so it's not all bad either--ok?

Being a stay at home parent involves an enormous financial and career risk on the part of the person who stays home. It is risky in our culture to depend on someone. My husband works in an industry where people age out pretty young. He feels enormous stress to hurry up and be better than he is.

And I'm withholding what he has for stress relief. It feels like at the long end of this I should be absolutely a sex fiend--right? Sometimes I just don't wanna. And that feels like a dereliction of duty. I'm not being pressured. He went to the gym rather than even ask. Footie jammies are a fairly universal "I'm not having sex soon" signal.

And instead I tell pointless stories to the internet. Because I want to be seen. Even though it's not pretty. I need to tell the story as if someone has never heard any of it before. Even though I am afraid of being repetitive. It is ok to tell the story if I need to today.

I've been really sad lately. I have arranged to no longer fuck up my sleep schedule once a week. I think that will help. The vaporizer is... well. Doing this produces a different chemical reaction and I'm having a different and less useful effect. I suppose that what it is doing is reducing my anxiety but it is not elevating my mood. I don't get "high" at all. I miss being high. It's been over a week and man it is really feeling pretty awful. I'm crying a lot. And sleeping a lot during the day. Which is not great. The kids climb on me and whack my face. And they always decide that whatever they are eating for snack must be ground into the entire table cloth.

So. It feels like I have some kind of work to do. The vaporizer is a useful way to treat some set of problems but not all. The atypical depression characteristic of PTSD is usually a reaction of the body trying to regenerate after all the excessive chemical use. By chemical I mean things like adrenaline and oxytocin--all of those things involved in love and trauma and sex.

Life is long and really complicated. I need to believe that marriage is about building something that is greater than either of us could make on our own. I need to believe that we are choosing to become one thing that is acting for mutual good. Or I need to be protecting myself. This is a specific choice.

I don't mean to end on this kind of note but breakfast is ready.

I am struggling with the need to protect my body from being responsible for needs I can't meet. I feel brittle and defensive and unworthy. So unworthy.

But breakfast is on the table.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm trying to read more.

This month I have read all three of Stieg Larson's books in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.

I'm most of the way through Giving the Love that Heals.

I occasionally read a few more pages in Mark Twain's autobiography.

I want to finish at least one more book this month. I'm trying to do one book a week this year. We'll see.