Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crossed wires

I have a thing for difficult people.  I am not an easy person to be friends with and I tend to like people who are also difficult to like.  Sharp people with a lot of edges and defenses.  I understand them.  Unfortunately there are some down sides to hanging out with folks like that.

Last night I invited a good friend over.  The support group I am in is going to involve me sitting down and trying to tell my 'whole story' some week soon.  I haven't spoken these things out loud much.  The majority of my communication about these topics has been through writing.  I feel like I go mute when I want to speak of them.  It is very difficult to overcome a lifetime of taboo and speak the words.  I need practice doing it.  The thing is, I like difficult people.  People with sharp edges and defenses.  It didn't go so hot.  Basically what happened is that this friend and Noah both have similar geek tendencies and in order to feel optimally comfortable they don't step outside those patterns when they are in the same room.  But uhm, those geek tendencies make it so I am completely unable to speak about my stuff.

So when things weren't going particularly well and they were not reacting in the ways I needed I got very frustrated.  And then Calli woke up and I had to go nurse.  We had been sitting in the hot tub.  I was hoping the dark would make it easier for me to talk.  When I got out of the hot tub I realized that I was pretty much done outside anyway.  I tried to communicate that I did not intend to come back and they should follow me in fairly quickly.  I didn't mean for them to do so instantly because I needed to nurse the baby anyway.  But the wires got crossed.  They didn't come in for about an hour.

So I sat on the couch and rocked and felt increasingly invalidated.  This isn't exactly something I do much.  I don't even say the details out loud to Noah much when we are doing our metaconversations.  No really, I am not able to physically speak about these things well.  As time passed I felt increasingly unsafe and like I had made a bad decision to try.  They came  in and acted like little kids who broke a window and are hoping no one noticed.  I flipped out.  I called them names and ran to the office and sobbed.  Then I got up and I went to the cupboard for a towel and I walked back into the office and I picked up the scalpel.

I don't know what it is like for other cutters, but I love it.  I love the fact that for those seconds the only thing in the world is the hot, terrible burn on my leg.  I can't think about anything else.  By the time I get to cutting I am no longer capable of finding the words to talk about the monsters.  I can't.  I am too much absolutely in the present.  I cannot think about the past because I am unrelievedly in the present.  I feel like cutting is a gift.  Cutting allows me to walk away from any situation in my past and not think about it.  No matter how intense my feelings are, I can make them stop.  I can go completely and totally flat line.  It's not disassociating.  It is forcing my body to have no space for anything other than the pain.  That may sound unpleasant, but I promise you that emotional pain is harder and hurts more.

I yelled at Noah that he said... something.  I don't even remember what.  Something about them wanting to hurt me.  Noah's response was, "No.  We didn't say that.  And you will know it later."  I thought that was wonderful.  It gave me space to think it then without trying to demand that his reality supplant mine right then.  My friend apologized profusely and genuinely was upset.  He is a wonderful person and he would move mountains for me.  He loves me a lot.  But you see, I like sharp, difficult people.  And they often have a lot of defenses.  He was trying to make himself feel comfortable because the things I was talking about upset him.  He wanted to comfort me, but he didn't know how.

I spend a lot of time living at that juncture.  That is what living with an Aspie is like.  They can stand near you and really not understand at all that you are having a whole emotional experience in front of them.  I don't know how to describe what that is like on a day to day basis.  To be fair, Noah has learned my "tells" for when I am having an emotional experience at this point.  Noah is quite good.  It took him years and we've had some awful arguments.  But he learned.  My friend hasn't learned my tells.  And when Noah is distracted by other people he stops staring at me intently looking for tells.  So they both managed to miss almost all of the signals from start to finish.

They didn't mean to, but they did actually create a space where it was unsafe for me to talk.  And they are big boys and get to put on their big boy panties and deal with feeling bad about that.  And I need to put on my big girl panties and accept the fact that I set them up to fail.  Talking about this stuff is hard for me.  I need very specific kinds of support to do it.  There is not a worse possible two person combination for creating that space amongst my entire network.  Both of my boys can be wonderfully supportive and safe to talk to... one on one.  When I get to dictate 100% of the terms of the conversation.  Heh.  But when they are standing next to one another (or sitting, whatever) they all of a sudden have to take one another into account and I feel like they are both pathologically unable to be safe for me around another alpha male geek.  I'm not sure why.  But they trigger the fuck out of one another.  (Ok, I have suspicions as to why, but that's not part of this story.)

Thing is... this isn't news.  At all.  And I invited these two men to be the ones I tried to practice telling my story to?  Awesome way to ensure that absolutely everyone is upset.  That was the wrong decision.  I could have invited just about anyone else.  I could have invited that friend and sat with him in a separate space from Noah.  I could have told them early on in the night that I need them both to take a vow of silence because if they talk over me I will be unable to speak--and they would have done it.  They love me.  They love me so much that they have both been through years of me being nasty and mean to them.  The friend in question?  Uhm, I cracked a few of his ribs years ago when I was overly rough with him.  He wasn't thrilled, but he has never ever been nasty to me because of it.  (It was an accident.  Really.)  Naw, it is part of this story.  I think this friend would have walked away from whatever else he was doing and married me if I had asked him to.  He loves me.  A lot.  And Noah and he kind of have a low level dick contest when they are together.  And they are both socially clueless all the time anyway.  Yeah.  I really invited the wrong combination.

Why do I do that?  Why when I get to the point of wanting to spill my guts, do I need to talk about my sexual abuse in front of men who feel slightly competitive towards one another and are unwilling to be flexible when the other is present?  Maybe because I don't want to tell the story and I want reason to be upset and angry instead so I can focus my energy there.  I want to be mad at my boys because they love me so much and I want to hurt them badly for committing the unforgivable sin of loving me.  I want to start getting hyperbolic now because that's the headspace I am in.  I think that is the underlying reason.  I think I picked them because talking about these things is horribly painful and I would rather derail onto another strong emotion than look at them.  I would rather look for any reason in the world to turn around and start emotionally kicking the people who love me as hard as I can.  I am quite certain my friend didn't sleep well and he probably feels very bad for hurting me.  At this point he probably is blaming himself for being a terrible friend.

Or not.  Or maybe that is my story and he went home and slept great and he thinks that I am in a place where I am hurting and he is sorry that I am hurting so much and it's not about him.  I hope that is what happened.  I'm not sure he has boundaries that strong, but I'll hope for him.

And that leaves me.  In the office.  With a leg I can't let my kids see for a long time.  Right before our big European vacation.  Awesome.  It won't blow up my life, but it is going to add a low level of stress for a long time.  I am going to be freaked out about the possibility of Shanna seeing it.  We are kind of a naked house.  I am more of a clothes person, but when it is hot I don't have a problem with stripping.  I often work in the yard with no clothes on because I'm easier to wash off.  It just seems practical.  But that's off the table for a while.

It's really not big as far as patches go, at least not for me.  I was pretty tentative last night.  I haven't used a scalpel in a long time and I was having trouble figuring out how I wanted to hold the blade.  You see, as much as I may be suicidal, I am a perfectionist.  I am not interested in going in deeper than I intend.  I want to be very particular about going through just one layer of skin at a time.  It makes it a much longer more burning process.  It also requires more self control to move very slowly.  That is what gives me the intense focus that severs my connection to the memories.  My old therapist, Traci, was a Harm Reduction person.  She didn't think that addicts or cutters, or whatever other self destructive behavior pattern you have, necessarily needed to stop.  Obviously they were filling a need.  You just should be aware and careful of how you use it.  Obviously it is better to find other ways of coping.  But if this is what you got, you use it.

I haven't needed to cut in a long time.  Last night it didn't feel optional.  Last night I felt like I was completely unsafe and in danger of being actively hurt or reprimanded or something if I continued to feel those feelings.  It was not ok to be in that part of my brain.  I'm not even sure I understand entirely why.  Ok, yeah... their behavior was sucking.  But I know that about them.  My entire relationship with both of them is predicated around me bullying them into acting how I want them to act.  I'm probably not supposed to admit that out loud, but no... really.  The default expectation when we are together is I decide how they are allowed to behave.  I give them longer and shorter leashes depending on my mood. Really.  That is pretty much the only way I can stand being around them and oh man that sounds horrible.  I'm feeling terribly guilty right now.  But the thing is, I'm setting boundaries.  And it's ok for me to set boundaries.  The boys don't notice when I try to set my boundaries in subtle, nuanced ways because that is not part of their language.  They both really appreciate a 2x4 upside the head because otherwise they do not notice what is going on.  They cannot step outside their own stuff to listen to other people unless the other person bullies them into silence.

What an interesting symbiotic relationship.  To be fair, I am describing them while picturing them at the absolute worst of their combined behavior while together.  Both of them are much easier to communicate with one on one and I normally only need a flyswatter and not a 2x4.  Ahem.

Through the writing of this I have gone through feeling hurt, angry, sad, melancholy, amused, and at this point I'm shaking my head with resignation.  My boys were my boys.  The problem is, I wasn't me.  The little girl who was badly sexually abused and who was badly emotionally abused at home isn't part of who I am on a regular basis.  I am not a hesitant person.  I am not withdrawn.  I am engaged with the world.  I am strong and assertive.  I have opinions and by Gawd I'll not hesitate to share them.  But I'm also nice.  I believe in justice and bullying is one of the fastest ways to make me stand up and shout someone down.  My boys are bullies.  Lovable bullies, but bullies.  Normally I am great with that dynamic.  I think it is fun and funny.  It is endearing.

But my little girl doesn't need a bully.  I shouldn't have invited that friend.  That was a very hurtful thing for me to do to both of us.  This is the kind of thing that is normally a stumbling block to forward progress.  I know that the friend in question doesn't know this blog exists let alone read it.  So I could go forward feeling like I made my mea culpa to the world and "oh look how evolved I am for dissecting my feelings" and then I will stop trying for a while because I proved that talking about these things in person is unsafe.  But the thing is, I picked someone who doesn't know how to talk to a little girl.  That's not really his fault.  He doesn't have that life experience and he doesn't recognize whatsoever that I'm having a massive psychological experience in front of him.  He thinks I'm me.  And I'm just as much of a bully as him and I love him for it and he loves me for it.  We accept and like that part of one another.  In respectful ways.  Our dynamic has gotten much healthier over the years.  I still have to set the terms for our interactions.  And I didn't last night.  I'm not sure I would have been able to keep it up even if I had tried because the space where I can talk prohibits that kind of strength.

I need to talk to someone else.  And that's normally the stumbling block to progress.  I need to create space in my life to talk about this more.  It's hard though.  Calli is uhm, resisting weaning efforts.  I think she is nursing twice as much as she was three weeks ago and I'm ready to put my head through a window.  She is, in fact, in the living room with Noah fussing loudly.  But I have 2 more minutes of personal time.  Damnit.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Important parenting realization.

I may get demonized for this, but oh well.  I realized this morning that I am not interested in living in a consensual living family.  Not with small children and maybe not ever.  Most likely not ever.  I believe that parents deserve to put boundaries up that seem completely over the top inappropriate to the kids.  I am  not being mean I am preserving my sanity so that I do not lose my shit and beat her some day many years hence because it is just the last @#%#@# time she is going to come in my room and destroy my belongings.

My room is off limits.  Period.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Being bad

I've always had a thing about being called a bad girl.  There is no quicker way to get me to modify my behavior.  If someone even strongly hints that what I am doing is bad I disintegrate.  I am instantly ready to appease that person pretty much no matter what they require of me.  A lot of the anger people see in me is because I have no other way of defending myself from the overwhelming pressure of feeling I am bad all the time.  I am not bad.  I am not mean.  I am not a terrible person.

These thoughts haunt me.  And the thing is... mostly I'm just upset at myself for my thoughts.  I guess that Catholic baptism really took.  I imagine doing bad, violent things.  I imagine starving my baby because I hate her so much for wanting to come near my nipple.  What I actually do is go to my baby and nurse her.  I might delay for a minute or two as I try to gain physical control over myself so that I can sit through the painful experience without lashing out at her.

But from Calli's point of view I am a slightly dotty but affectionate and thoroughly adequate mother.  But I still feel like I am bad because I have thoughts towards her that I consider inappropriate.  I shouldn't ever feel that way about my beautiful, wonderful baby.  I am a monster.

I even went out and bought formula.  But she didn't like it.  So I grit my teeth and I went back to nursing.  I need to be careful about that gritting my teeth thing.  I've cracked two teeth and my dentist is rather upset with me.

I am doing it.  I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I am providing not quite instant, but fairly rapid care around the clock.  I even mostly smile while I am doing it.  I cuddle her.  I wear her on my back for hours every day.  I kiss her.  I hug her.  Why do I feel like my very existence is a terrible horrible thing and will hurt her.  Post partum depression, blah blah blah.  No.  Because it isn't just Calli.  And it isn't just right now.  This isn't all the time, but it's a lot of the time.  And it is far less true now than at any other point in my life.  (Except the first year of Shanna's life.  That was the longest period I have ever gone without a depressive episode and it was still brutal.)

I'm telling stories about my father.  That's wrong.  I know that is part of it.  But why do I like to have my lovers do obscene things to me while telling me I am a good girl and I thank them and call them Daddy? (Uhm, not every lover.  Just some special ones.)  And then there is that eternal quest for Daddy.  I want to name them all.  I want to point out that two of the most important ones have the same name as my father/brothers.  In retrospect that has been interesting.

I had to break there because Calli woke up crying again and again last night.  I have now had a relatively full night of sleep despite her having a lot of wake ups.  I had to sit in here and cry hysterically for a few minutes while Noah rocked the baby.  And then as her cries got increasingly distressed I realized that this is one of those chop wood, carry water moments.  My baby needed me last night pretty desperately.  She is just hitting a bunch of new milestones.  She is teething.  She is hitting separation anxiety like a brick wall.  So I got my crying under control and I started chanting, nurse baby, cuddle husband.  And I did.  And I didn't sleep well but I got through the night and Calli got to nurse as much as she needed (which was a lot) and Noah got to have the kind of cuddling that makes him feel better.

And I still feel bad.  I did everything I was supposed to do.  I'm beginning to feel like there isn't a way for me to truly be right.  At least on my bad days.  Good days are fine.  I suspect today will be another bad day.  But my friend is coming over so I will hold it together.  Enh, I would mostly be fine whether she is here or not.  But I will fake cheerful better with her here.

It's weird to be deliberately faking my emotions.  I do a lot of it with the kids.  They don't need to know what I'm really feeling most of the time.  So of course there is this big part of me which feels like I am a terrible awful liar.  Is it lying if I never tell my children about my self-loathing?  Or is that just good boundaries?  Does that fall into the category of not telling the cashier in the grocery store?  I'm really struggling with understanding appropriate disclosure right now.  I'm really struggling with the idea that most of the time I shouldn't disclose because other people will be made to feel uncomfortable.  I shouldn't even be allowed to talk about being assaulted because other people feel bad.  I am making people feel bad.  It's all my fault.  If I could keep my stupid, pathetic mouth shut I wouldn't be hurting other people.

There.  That's why I've never been able to get deeper into my shit than this.  I hit this brick wall.  I feel like I should shut up.  I feel like what I am doing, even if I am doing it just on my journal on the internet, makes me a terrible person because people feel bad when I do it.  The logical part of my brain understands that people an opt out of reading this and the logical part of my bran understands that people aren't feeling bad because of my actions.  They are feeling bad because horrible things happened to me and they are sorry.  But that doesn't seem to matter.  It's not really about other people.  It's about me.  It's about my family telling me that I should keep my dirty laundry in the closet.  It's about being told that it is embarrassing for me to tell anyone what happened.  How's that.  My mom doesn't want me to talk about this stuff because she thinks I should be ashamed of it and she doesn't want people to know about my shame.

I am ashamed.  I do feel like it was my fault.  There is some part of my brain that decided that the stuff with my father had to be my fault.  And as a result I have spent 17 years fucking men I shouldn't and often calling them Daddy.  I want my Daddys to hurt me.  No, I don't want it.  I need it.  I require it.  If they do not violently abuse me I don't want to call them Daddy.  That is one of the biggest triggers for me.  If someone scares me just right during a relationship they instantly feel like Daddy.  This is so Electra Complex.  So standard.  But it is standard.  I have been trying like hell to find a Daddy to fuck since my father killed himself.

I started dating a man when I was 18.  He was 30.  He had ten years experience in the bdsm scene when I met him.  He was my first Daddy.  He absolutely followed the campsite rule, so don't start jumping to awful conclusions about him.  He left me much better than he found me.  I dated him for four years and lived with him for three years and I was in a 24/7 Owner/slave relationship with him for two of those years.  We engaged in some really intense play in that period.  I will say that for all we played absolutely to the edge of safety, he was very serious about safety.  He let me play with fire (literally) and do terrible self-destructive things and he kept me safe.  He let me grow up in a safe, secure environment where I was very loved.  He was very anti drugs and he didn't drink while I was under 21.  I cannot stress enough that despite there being all the hallmarks of it being a terrible situation to outside vanilla folk, that was a very stable healthy relationship.  He taught me how to ask for what I wanted in very detailed and specific ways.  He taught me what communication looked like and didn't look like.  (Which is not to say that he was always perfect at communication.)

But because society in general isn't so big on relationships like that I fear it was "bad".  I fear I am "bad" for having it and liking it.  Am I bad because of the things I do and the things I like?  I like to be beaten.  I like to have friends and lovers take implements like a cane or a single tail whip (I hate floggers) and beat me until I cry and scream and struggle to get away but the pain just keeps happening.  I feel very comforted by being completely overwhelmed with pain and having it stop.  I feel like that is a way for me to have control over an unavoidable physical process.  I cannot help the fact that I am in pain a lot or most of the time.  I have lower back pain from one of the assaults when I was a child.  I don't even know if it is really physical pain from an injury at this point or if it is psychosomatic, but still hurting.

Specifically when I was a little girl there was a neighbor boy.  We were living in Whittier and I was in 4th or 5th grade, so whatever accompanying age that is.  He was 17.  He was a high school football player.  I talked to most of my neighbors because I was pretty desperately lonely.  This was after Tommy's accident and he was living with us at home.  Tommy terrorized me.  He repeatedly tried to kill me.  He hurt me constantly in big and little ways.  My sister was dating the drug addict loser who gave her her second child.  She had no time for me because when there is a dick around she can't think straight.  She never knew that the loser drug addict asked me for sex too.

Tommy would come into my room at night with knives and try to stab me.  I have never been able to get passed that in any way.  My brother literally wanted me dead.  He hated me that much.  How in the hell could I have deserved that?  Why did he feel that way?  Why did he think I was so awful?  It doesn't really matter.  He was a kid with a lot of problems.  He was a boy with an evil father who was deliberately twisting him into a monster.  Tommy hurt me early and often.  And I had to get away from that.  So I wandered the neighborhood.  I left to get away from being physically hurt constantly.

And I wandered the neighborhood and I played sex games with adult or nearly adult men.  There were the neighbors a few doors down.  We played strip poker.  Obviously I lost basically every time.  They taught me a lot of sexual positions with my clothes on.  They thought it was fucking hilarious that I was willing and interested in having them teach me how I was supposed to have sex.  I'm pretty sure I've never told anyone in the world about them because I am so ashamed I did that.  I was what, 8? 9? 10?  Something like that.  And I went to any man available to learn what I was supposed to be doing.

I have treated basically my entire life as an apprenticeship to be a good enough lay for my father.  Before I had kids probably more than 75% of my masturbation involved thinking about my father fucking me.  Thinking about me begging my father for forgiveness for hurting him while he hurt me and fucked me.  While he did humiliating things to me.  While he forced me to perform for his friends because he believed I was his whore to do what he wanted with.

That's why I am bad.  Because I'm fucking pissed off that he killed himself and I will never get to do it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

I'm pretty excited about the party today.  I probably should be off starting to prep for it right now.  The reason I am not doing so is because it is still pitch black outside.  I think the first thing I do should be to hide the eggs so the girls aren't woken up by me moving around in the house before then.  Excellent.  Time to think.  One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately is food.  Seems normal, I think everyone focuses on food.  Especially when they are about to host a party.  But that isn't really what I mean.  I mean that I'm thinking about food in the abstract.  I'm thinking about what it means to me.  See, I'm doing that because I'm not really eating.  Yesterday I had an egg mit from Noah's Bagels and a 16 oz drink from Jamba Juice for breakfast.  For the entire rest of the day I had a slice of cheese, a couple bites of sausage, half a bowl of ramen, and about 5 bites of meat at a Japanese restaurant.  I am not a small chick.  I am breastfeeding.  That is simply not an adequate number of calories for a day.  Right before going to bed I asked Noah to bring me food and he did and I ate a sandwich.  I did that because I knew Calli would be up all night nursing (I was mostly right) and I didn't want to deal with the level of stomach pain I get if I let her keep nursing when I'm over hungry.

Maybe that is part of why I hate nursing her so much.  And that's why my jeans are falling off.  It's this weird thing.  I am so clearly punishing myself.  Wait.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'm not telling the story right.

I've been thinking about food a lot.  I've been thinking about food a lot because I've been playing games with denying myself food.  This feels unsettling and weird to me because... it's not October.  I accept that I do things like this every so often, but it never crossed my mind until this morning when my wonderful online girlfriend asked me about it.  My father committed suicide in the beginning of October.  I think I have spent every October since his death not eating.  This was actually an issue with Tom.  He got very worried and upset the first two years of our relationship when I didn't eat for a month.  I mean, I do eat some.  But I eat 25-50% of what I normally eat.  And my weight tends to plummet rapidly during this time.  I've always gotten a lot of positive feedback about that and uhm, that's weird.  It's weird that I get so much overt societal approval for being that specific flavor of fucked up.  Society as a whole would love for me to develop this kind of overwhelming shame at all times so that I could finally have the appropriate body size.

And yet I'm not real inclined to do that.  I have very quiet anxiety that I don't express to almost anyone about being "too fat" where I don't know where the line is.  And I don't even know exactly why I feel so bad about this anxiety.  Ok, here's the thing: my actual shoulder bones are very narrow.  And for whatever reason I don't tend to put on much weight in the very upper arms/shoulder/upper back areas.  So my upper body is always going to look funny in larger sized clothes because they hang wrong.  And I feel like I can never look attractive in my clothes.  And that really bothers me.  It really and truly bothers me that when I am heavy it is literally impossible to find things that fit me in the shoulders.  I'm starting to wear strapless dresses/shirts because then I can wear an open size medium sweater that doesn't hang off my shoulders.

So obviously this is a complicated issue.  Food is love for me.  Very very much so.  I love to feed people and I surround myself with people who think food is love.  And then I do things like telling Noah last night that if he ever tries to get me to eat Japanese food again it will be proof that he is a terrible person who doesn't love me because something in the flavor palate really bothers me.  Ok, I didn't use exactly those words but that was strongly the gist of it.  And for the record I apologized as soon as my brain caught up with what my stupid mouth had just said.  I was horrified.  Oh man.  For the record the Japanese food thing is almost certainly connected with my overall food issue right now.  Nothing tastes good to me these days.  It's complicated.

And that's a lot of why I feel so awkward right now.  I'm really nervous about my ability to pull off being adequately social for the party today.  I don't know how to talk to people because I am leapfrogging from one yucky thought to another about food stuff.  Why do I surround myself with feeders and then refuse to eat?  Because I don't deserve love.  Because I'm saying bad things about my Daddy.

And that is why I don't eat in October.  I am paying penance for killing him.  Without ever having considered if I should or shouldn't, I am.  That's an awful thing to think about.  I don't think he deserves it in my big kid brain.  I don't know where to begin to find a road around this obstacle.  Even if he doesn't deserve it the little girl inside me is really upset about hurting her Daddy.

I'm kind of twitching about using that name for him.  You see, I tend to refer to him as my father.  Because he fathered me.  He spawned me.  That sort of thing.  I have had multiple Daddys at this point and they've been good men.  It's kind of an odd story really.  Even I am not slow enough to have missed the connection between me having multiple friends and lovers I call Daddy and thinking about my father molesting me.  It's kind of odd that the process has healed me in many ways.

Side note: I noticed that it was 5:30 and that I was kind of hungry.  I made a conscious decision to get up and get something to eat because it is absolutely mandatory that my mood be stable today.  I don't want to eat it.  It actually tastes disgusting enough that I am having difficulty chewing and I feel nearly unable to swallow.  I'm eating a Vanilla Chip Chewy Granola Bar made by Cascadian Farms.  Normally I think these things are just about heaven on earth.  Right now my mouth feels coated and waxy and I feel repulsed and I am having minor gag reflex responses at the idea of taking a third bite.  But I don't want to be a nasty bitch to my friends today so I took my damn third bite and I will just try not to think about the taste.  Because if I do this, if I allow myself to sit in this cycle today, I will cause a nasty big blow up fight in public and I will feel humiliated and proven right that I am an unstable bad person.

No thanks.  I'll eat the fucking granola bar.  And every time someone tells me to eat today I will.  Because even if my little girl thinks I deserve to lose all my friends and be punished because I am a terrible person for prosecuting my father my big girl says fuck that shit.  I am not going to do this to myself any more.  I have people in my life who are just itching to feed me and love me.  I really should let them do both.  Even if I can't love me when I am breaking family taboos and talking about family or relationship secrets.  But I don't even know if that is it.  I just know that I feel upset enough when I am processing abuse stuff that I begin to withhold food from myself.

Hmm.  Interesting thought.  I wonder if part of the reason I am so prone to attach strongly to people who show love with food because I know I do this to myself and I know that *for me* it is necessary for me to have a cushion of fat to deal with these times of punishing myself.  Years ago I did Weight Watchers and I lost 50 pounds.  It was rather dramatic.  I was also doing a lot of intense exercise and I got into rather good shape.  (I realize now as I mourn that vigorous body.)  I'm trying to get back to feeling like I have that kind of energy.  Though now it occurs to me that it will probably not happen as long as I am waking up at 4 in the morning to write about being sexually assaulted while I was little.

But I have to wake up at 4 and write about it or I will answer cashiers in grocery stores with, "Hi, I'm Krissy and I'm a sexual assault survivor.  Specifically incest that primarily happened in the first ten years of my life, and multiple horrifying rapes when I was 7-10 years old, and a few date rapes and near misses as a teenager.  And then I prosecuted my father and he killed himself and I've been a hot mess ever since.  But thanks for asking how my day is!  I hope you are having a good one!"  That wouldn't be ok, you know?

I hold that boundary.  And I don't talk about my abuse and trauma very much during the day.  Even though this is an intense period of processing I don't allow myself to talk about it during the day outside of therapy much because it isn't appropriate for my kids to hear.  That has to be a boundary.  So instead I just punish myself.

And I grow to resent my children.  Especially nursing.  They are taking so much from me right now but I keep picturing this wonderful scene from a movie I recently watched.  The movie was Mother and Child with Annette Bening.  I sobbed my heart out through the whole story.  But specifically towards the end a woman is successful in adopting a baby after great personal sacrifice trying to do so.  She calls her mom in the middle of the night and throws a temper tantrum about how needy the baby is.  The grandmother in question, S. Epatha Merkerson, pulls back into this stern dignified look.  She then proceeds to tell her daughter off up one side and down the other for daring to have the gall to complain about a baby having needs.  These days when I start to feel pissy with the girls I close my eyes and picture that stony face of disappointed fury telling me to get off my ass and take care of the god damn baby.  And I plaster a smile on my face and get over myself.  I am not always as fast in some of my responses as I would like because I have to stop and take deep breaths to deal with my frustration level sometimes.  But everyone here is happy and healthy and growing and feeling really loved and supported as part of a whole unit.  A big part of that is I have decided that the version of Attachment Parenting we want to practice does not involve all the extremism that some loud voices in the "Natural Family Living" community think it should.  And that's ok.  I don't have to think that everything in the mainstream is wrong just because it is a common thing to do.  That is conforming to a specific kind of non-conformity and oh man it is killing me.  So I'm not doing the perfectly available 24/7 thing anymore.  And you know what?  It's helping a lot.

You can see why I feel that thinking about food is complicated?  But the sun is stealing slowly over the horizon.  I can now clearly see the outline of the tree in our yard.  It is time for me to get up and go hide Easter eggs for a party.  I have something like 12 kids coming on a hunt today.  It will be super fun.   Luckily 5 of those kids are too young and 1 is probably mostly too old because I only have 48 eggs.   Always look on the bright side I say.  The kids will all have a wonderful time and it will be a great party.  I will eat every time someone mentions that I should.  The awesome thing is, no one who loves to feed me will have a chance to read this journal entry before the party.  But they will read it later.  Then the game becomes, do I tell them this morning what stupid destructive game I am playing so they can help me break the cycle?  Or do I act like a crazy person and create drama.  Yeah.  I think I'll be talking to them as soon as possible.  I wish I didn't need as much support as I do but I'm really glad that I can get it since I need it.  I am very lucky.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nursing


This picture was taken the day Calli was born. I was so proud to be nursing both of them. I could do it. I didn't really imagine then I would be looking for information on early weaning eight months later. I have been nursing for two years and eleven months straight. I want to blame tandem nursing being hard on just doing it too long, and that's part of it. Mostly though Calli is rough with me and it hurts. She wants to be up and moving around and doing something more exciting.  I get that, I feel the same way.  But when she yanks my nipple a dozen times in a nursing session I don't really want to pick her up the next time she starts signaling hunger.  I'm raw.  And it is getting to the point where I am angry with her over this.

I don't want to wean before we go on the trip because that would be a hot mess.  But I don't think this baby will get much passed her first birthday with nursing.  And I feel bad about that.  Unfortunately I have already hit my lifetime capacity on accepting unwelcome painful touch.  I love you, but no.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Personal time

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

Upcoming project schedule.

I have a pretty fantastic amount of work to finish and I am running out of time. There are some upcoming tasks that I quite literally cannot do alone because it requires moving big heavy things like furniture so here I am laying out my basic schedule and saying, "Hey! Does anyone have any time to come help on these projects?" I figure it's worth asking, people frequently say yes. :)


4/18-4/24- This week is devoted to getting my house ready for the Easter party. :)
4/25-5/1- This week I need to get a move on sorting things from the garage into other parts of the house or getting rid of them. If they are in permanent storage, then obviously we don't need them.
5/2-5/8- I need to paint Sarah's room and prep for the hot water replacement and drywall repair over the weekend. A professional will have to do the hot water replacement bit. Oh shit. I think I need to call the city about that. Ok, something just got added to today's list. The little bit of drywall fixing around the hot water heater I can probably do by myself thanks to Taylor's excellent instruction. :) But I would take help if someone was bored.

The next week is the most important one that I need help on!

***5/9-5/15- During this week I need to get all of the furniture and fixtures and such out of my garage (big heavy awful lifting), finish painting (there won't be much left--just about a wall), clean and fix any problems with the flooring that have to be dealt with, install carpet, move furniture and fixtures back onto carpet, and install dryer venting or it'll never get done.

See why I'd love to have as many people as possible scheduled periodically throughout that week? It's going to be a really hard job and it pretty much has to be done all in one go like that.

Uhm, anyone? :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The end of the all depression all the time hour.

I mention, in the long serious trauma posts, that I kind of have a split personality thing going on right now. I am sleeping weird hours (but getting more sleep than it probably sounds like) and working constantly on a humongous list of stuff. That's why I am not posting during the day about all the cheerful stuff going on in my life. I appreciate the phone calls I've been getting, but really... it doesn't matter how suicidal I fell, I won't allow myself to be the kind of person who hurts my kids that way. That is not my story. So even though I have really bad times I am not going to give in to this compulsion. I have an awful lot of will power. I've been using the home improvement stuff to kind of meditate and stay present during the day and it's really awesome. I may not chop wood and carry water but I do a lot of dig dirt, carry bucket. I say that over and over all day. And I smile while I do it. And I feel at peace with the world. And I enjoy my beautiful children. And I really and truly am genuinely happy.

But! Today is a slack day! Thanks to the efforts of our wonderful friends Paula, Andrew, Alex, and Yani we get to have a day of rest. Noah suggested that folks might find it kind of cool to see what I've been up to so here I go. I have thusly suffered through the agonies of technology. It took me over an hour and a crying fit at Noah before it occurred to me that if a program wasn't working... maybe I should restart my computer. I'm a quick one I am. So I didn't have three days of everything going right, but uhm as a bump that one is ok by me. I uploaded a bunch of pictures on flickr. I'm going to try to write commentary.

Mostly I have relaxed and read web articles. It's been a blessedly work-free day. Sometime soon I will have to figure out dinner, but not yet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Evil Soul

So I’m a counter phobic 6, as least that is what Noah tells me. And Rebecca. And other people concurred. Maybe someday I will study the Enneagram and I will decide if I agree or not. Until then all I know is the more something scares me the more intensely focused on it I am. And right now I am so terrified of what I am currently thinking about that I am shaking. It is difficult to type. The thing is, what I am afraid of is being called a liar. I’m afraid of someone reading this and saying it isn’t true. When I first starting writing about things like this I was in graduate school. It was actually a fiction writing class. I chose to write creative non-fiction, basically telling stories about my trauma, because I couldn’t think of anything else to write. I didn’t present it that way to the class. One of the other students was very assertive in her position that what I was writing was unrealistic and not very good. I haven’t ditched that criticism yet, though I should.

I’m scared to write about these things because they are crazy. Really, seriously crazy. Why do I think they are that crazy? Because I have spent my adult life around atheists who have no patience for the woo. But I believe in the woo. And I need to own that and stop beating around the bush and just… say it.

Oh god this hurts. I found it. I had to come back to it. I had to come looking for the dark place instead of waiting for it to find me. That was harder than I thought. It was a lot harder than I thought to get back to this frantic state where I have to type or I am going to explode. It is even neat to me that I can’t say these words, I do need to type them. Thank god for computers. Fuck computers. That’s my life. And I’m already losing it. Shit.

After therapy this week Noah and I decided that it was a great night to go do more of the two chair thing starting at about 10. I was wired for sound. Something that came up a lot in therapy and then later with Noah was thinking about my current level of suicidal ideation. It’s really at an alarmingly high level. I feel more active compulsion than I have in years. My therapist asked me if I wanted to get into it with her and I told her no. When I told Noah that I had done that he responded with, “Ah! A challenge!” or the slightly less bombastic equivalent, which nonetheless means the same thing.

I am suicidal. Statistically speaking it’s really quite unsurprising. My particular brand of suicidal seems to be spurred mostly by shame. But here I am using my analytic voice. And each word of composition is ponderously considered, difficultly spelled, and not conducive to actually doing this. Let’s try something else.

It’s really scary to let these feelings come up. I feel intense pressure in my chest. I feel my throat tighten. I want to sob uncontrollably and yet I can’t breathe enough to get out sound. This is one of the feelings that produce intense, copious liquid tears. Often in other times when I cry I rack with sobs but no liquid comes out. I wonder why there is such variation in crying. And oh look. That was a really weak ass, uninteresting derail. Maybe some discomfort? Ha.

I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna talk about being terrible. I don’t want to say out loud that I believe I am evil. I believe my brother and my father are dead because I was loud and drew attention to myself and everything bad that came after is all my fault. I believe I am evil because my father whispered into my ear from when I was a tiny child that I was a witch. I have casually told stories for years about my maternal grandmother being a witch and I’ve told stories about things she supposedly did.

I learned every single one of those stories from my father. And the grandmother in question was not his. He was villainizing—no… he was literally demonizing my mother’s bloodline. He bloody well convinced me that I cannot escape being evil. He repeatedly encouraged me to seek out black magic because I had powers. When I was a teenager I read a bunch of books about Wicca, Shamanism, and a few other off-shoot pagan religions. I tried to cast a spell on a then-boyfriend to make him become obsessed with me. Hey, The Craft had just come out. He did become pretty obsessed with me. I think it’s much more likely that he became obsessed with me because I was a pretty girl who was willing to have sex with him.

But oh my god. I have built up this entire narrative in my life about how that scared me off of trying to pursue more magical endeavors because I have power. That is the crux of it. I have power. I do. The fact that I have survived my life is pretty much proof. I have survived my father molesting me all through my earliest memories. I have survived risky sexual activity during the periods of intense acting out I have had. The 25 year old man who fucked me at my request when I was 12 years old didn’t wear a condom. He was a drug dealer in Santa Clara. His name was Sean David Segura. And no, I don’t feel bad for naming him. Yes, I do. I hate that I feel like he deserves the shield of anonymity. He didn’t rape me and I’m not claiming he did. Only I was 12 years old and reeling from the last time my father sexually assaulted me and I wasn’t being supervised because no one gave a shit about me and I ran wild. I did it because everyone in my life was forcing me to be a grown up but I wasn’t fucking ready. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. I have been having sex as a consenting adult since I was 12 years old. That’s 18 years. Super Bowl Sunday is my “anniversary”. No wonder I feel so.fucking.old. I started working when I was 15. It was intermittent at first, but I contributed an awful lot towards my support. My mother would pick up my paycheques and dole out my $20/week allowance. It was festive. This is relevant, but not what I am doing tonight.

I have power. I have gone through fucking hell. My early childhood was abusive in ways I am just beginning to be able to understand. I became an adult at 12 years old. I made some really really bad choices along the way. I did not choose the straight and narrow at pretty much any point. Why did I survive? How was I able to keep so much of me private from my family and the abuse? I think I have power. I don’t know how to explain this and I’ve spent my lifetime wracking it back and forth in my brain. I don’t even know if this is just how it works for absolutely everyone on the planet. But when I decide I want something I god damn make it happen. Whether it is good or bad. The only thing really big goal I have set that I haven’t made was getting my masters. But I started grad school because I wanted to have more knowledge before I started being a teacher because I felt unqualified. Uhm, well, I met that goal. Why again am I a failure because I didn’t obtain a piece of paper that would impress other people but not improve my life? Yeah, scratch that. I am a god damn rock star. When I say I am going to do something, I do it.

Only that’s not true. That’s the positive side of my brain. I’m there maybe 70% of the time when I’m doing extraordinarily well. I’m there like 45% of the time right now. It’s odd to flipflop back and forth between that kind of optimism and the kind of overwhelming self-hatred I have. I don’t have ‘meh’ feelings about myself. I either think I am amazingly wonderful or I am so despicable that I am using the power I have to do evil. Oh, and I have lots of silly examples of things that I decide I want and then they magically appear in my life (no really) but the best one is the dream about Tommy’s accident. I haven’t explained that yet. It’s 11:43 pm on a Thursday night and my children will be awake (possible multiple times) within 6 hours. Why the hell not tell that story. (Editing note: it is now 3:48 am on Saturday and I haven’t slept much since starting this.)

(Minor background note: my parents divorced when I was 3. There was knowledge at the time of the divorce of sexual abuse but the belief was it only happened to my sister. Or at least that is what I was always told growing up. I am currently struggling with my feelings around what I think my mom did or didn’t know and that’s challenging for me. But that’s a digression for a different day. My mom and I bounced around moving a lot. I went to 25 schools before dropping out of high school in my junior year. My brothers mostly lived with our father.)

So to start this right, I have to set the stage. That’s what you do, right? I was either 6 or 7. Tommy wanted to come live with us for a while. We were living with Auntie and Uncle B. in Northern California in the house they still live in. One night Tommy and I were bickering, as a 6ish and 10ish year old sibling pair will do that sort of thing. My uncle intervened. Specifically speaking he started yelling at my brother and spilled a cup of boiling liquid on my brother. Luckily my brother escaped major damage. But that was it. We were out.

Basically, I baited my brother and then we had to move. But I don’t want to leave the story like that. There was a lot going on. My brother and I had weird sibling dynamics. I was significantly more intelligent than him and better in school but he was good at sports and charming and knew how to get along. I was prickly and difficult and acting out. I wasn’t an innocent victim in the situation, but neither am I to blame for all of it. And ultimately it was my mother, as the adult, who handled the situation badly and abused us and set us up to fight so… yeah. Maybe not any of it was really my fault. But it will always feel like my fault. It will always feel like I was mean to Tommy and then everything in my life blew up. That is my story. That is what is stuck in my head. That is the age I am. I’m 7. Maybe I should do some research on 7 year olds. And that is the end of where this digression is useful.

My mom packed up our stuff and drove south through LA to drop off Tommy back at our dad’s house. My mom and I went off to Oklahoma and Texas and that was a whole adventure. Texas is was where I was raped for the first time when I was 7. But one night in May of 1989 my brother Tommy was hit by a car. Specifically, he was hit by a drunk accident injury attorney. It’s almost comedic. Only it’s tragic. He was on drugs and the belief is that he was more or less trying to commit suicide. He succeeded. He was hit by a car on Imperial Highway, which if you know Southern California is a major road.

(Side note: shoulders, center of breath and ability to move between mindsets)

Tommy died. Sure they brought him back but he was never the same. He had a severe traumatic brain injury. He had a horrible life up until I prosecuted my father and Tommy once again tried to kill himself. This time he went out walking and bought a gas can. He went behind a shopping center. He doused himself in gasoline and he lit himself on fire. Tommy was still alive when they got him to the hospital even though 80% of his body was burned. My father, in one of the most magnanimous acts of his life, told them to turn off life support and let Tommy die.
The story in my head is that Tommy’s suicide was my fault because I prosecuted my father and Tommy couldn’t handle the idea of our father going to prison. But it’s total fucking bullshit. The truth is Tommy had been suicidal from when he was a small child and he tried over and over and over and over in more and less successful ways over the years. There was a long period where he had to wear a helmet and boxing gloves full time because he had a habit of shoving his head through windows for fun. How in the hell is it my fault that he finally succeeded?

But it is. And I am trembling with terror as I try to write this. My lizard brain is screaming out in terror no no no no no no I’m bad I’m bad I’m bad it’s all my fault. I killed Tommy. I killed Tommy twice with my selfishness. God gave him back and let me have a second chance at being a good little sister and I killed my big brother twice. And I believe this because I believe I have the power to influence things great and small. And I hated Tommy more than almost anyone on this earth.

Admitting that about my poor, dead brother makes me wrack with sobs. You are not supposed to speak ill of the dead. Tommy had a brain injury. It wasn’t his fault. I should be loving in my thoughts towards him. But I’m fucking glad the son of a bitch is dead. As much as my every memory of my father is laced with molestation, every memory of Tommy is laced with cruelty. He liked to see me in pain. Really it was my first SM relationship and I just didn’t know it. Tommy would arrange to have other people beat me up. Tommy was there the day I was thrown off the monkey bars and broke my arm when I was 6. He pretty much told the kid to do it. After the accident Tommy hated me with the intensity of the sun. He did things to me that hurt every single day. Practically any time I came within arms reach. As he got older and further through puberty he would attack me and try to knock me down so he could rape me.

Our father told him that if he couldn’t get sex outside the family it was my responsibility to provide it for him and he was allowed to take it.
This was my reality growing up. These were the things that went on behind closed doors. And I’m talking about them. I’m telling the secrets. And I feel like I will choke to death. I feel intense shame and horror. Seeing these stories in front of me like this hurts. When the stories just keep coming and there is detail after detail after detail and I know I am leaving 90% of the horror out of the story for the sake of time to write it all down…oh my god. It was monstrous. Why does this continually surprise me? Because day by day one atrocity at a time you can’t see the picture. You can’t see how horrible it is. And this is a nice digression and all, but it feels awfully comfy and that can’t be useful.

Yes, actually there is something very useful here. I grew up to have a four year long bdsm relationship with a man named (tbd). I called him Daddy. For two of those years (the middle two) we were in a 24/7 Master/slave relationship. Oh my god. There is so much there to write about. I need to write about him. But not today. Not till he says it is ok.

I’m supposed to be talking about being suicidal. But I really don’t want to. It hurts to talk about being suicidal. And I’m experiencing a lot of bursts of manic creativity in other directions and that is really rare for me so I am on to something big. This has to be huge. What the fuck is this.
I’m feeling a lot of internal pushback about talking about the witchcraft stuff. This is really hard for me. This is the part where I start to feel awkward and uncomfortable because I don’t feel secure that it is ok to have the beliefs that I have. Right this minute I’m feeling very freaked out because what portion of my very odd belief structure is taken directly from my father’s brain washing. Oh my fucking god I was brainwashed into believing magic and believing that I am an evil force in the world.

No no no no. Fuck you. I’m not going to do that. Saying that does not make it true. I feel incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of being brainwashed. I’m not going to let that be something I sit with right now. I’m allowed to make that choice.

I believe in magic. I believe that if you want something bad enough you will take action and create that thing in your life. I believe this is a
positive and good thing. Given that I have repeatedly managed to shove myself through ridiculous amounts of work in very short periods of time I would say it works for me. I’m allowed to have this belief without my father being allowed to take it away. I wonder if that is behind the current obsession with Alice in Wonderland. I’m playing in my mind with the idea of agency and Alice is certainly a very different character through the different representations of her. I feel like I am turning about looking in funhouse mirrors trying to figure out which version of my agency is the right one. How much control do I get to believe I have in the universe.

Oh god this hurts. I found it. I had to come back to it. I had to come looking for the dark place instead of waiting for it to find me. That was harder than I thought. I believe that my father’s death is my fault. I believe it with an intensity that consumes me. And I have a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome and I want my fucking Daddy. That is what is going on. I am thinking about him molesting me. I am thinking about him hurting me. I want him. I want to be hurt. I want to do an intense sm scene. I want to do something horrible and destructive.

I want to kill myself.

What other act is there in the world that I could commit that would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt to every single person in the whole wide world that I am a worthless piece of shit and my father wanted to rape me and I kind of wish he had. I wish he had raped me instead of killing himself because then I wouldn’t feel this fucking guilty. And that is what I am hiding from. And that. Oh dear god.

I believe that prosecuting him was an evil act that forced him to do it. I believe I had the ability, with my hate, to do that to him. But I don’t really have that power. And I wasn’t acting out of evil. I was a scared half-kid-half-adult who was flailing around trying to not die. There was no bad in defending myself. I’m allowed to say no. I know that now, as an adult.

The funny thing is, reading this… you’d think I have trouble expressing boundaries. But I don’t. I’m actually fantastically good at expressing boundaries. I explore how to expand and retract them as necessary on a frequent basis. I put exhausting quantities of energy into defending my boundaries in a way that I believe is in the “range of acceptable normal boundaries” and I have to see it that way or I can’t do it at all.

I’m going to take a break here to say that this piece of writing is brought to you courtesy of a California Medical Marijuana permit. Without it I would be crying and beating my head against a wall and trying to slit my wrists. Instead I am writing productively in a way that is completely outside the parameters of my normal life and I am able to carry on as a functional human being during the day. Right now I am fighting to save my life because if I don’t deal with the extent of my father sexually assaulting me I don’t know if I will see my daughters grow up because I don’t know where else to begin fighting the monsters in my head. I have to say all of this out loud. And that is hard. That means going places my brain doesn’t want to let me go. I have to hack my brain and it hurts a lot. I’m not sure I can say I recommend this method of dealing with trauma. But if you feel like you don’t have a lot of time, why the hell not. I think this is my favorite digression ever.

See, I don’t want to talk about being suicidal. Being suicidal hurts. It makes me cry. I feel like I am evil and bad. No really. I believe that with an intensity that overwhelms me at random points in my life and I cannot focus on what is before me. I think I am barely aware it is happening, but it colors my intense paranoia. I am not reaching out to specific people right now because I believe no one wants me to. And I truly know this is paranoia because I sent out an invitation to a birthday party on Labor Day weekend five months in advance and within 24 hours I had 27 people who said they wanted to be there. It is simply not possible that everyone in the world thinks I am bad. It is more likely that people are busy and don’t notice me. It’s not personal. But I am doing what my mother does. I am sitting at home feeling like everything is wrecked forever and ever and ever because this terrible thing happened to our family and I can’t get passed it. Only for me right now it is the story of my abuse. I am stuck in cycles that are not good for me. I am trying to blow up my life because I cannot handle stability. I cannot handle stability because I was horrifically abused. I need to work through that and it’s going to hurt.

I am suicidal because I am the victim of incest and sexual assault. I am suicidal because I believe the things my father told me. I believe I am evil and a witch. I believe it deep in my monkey brain and I don’t know how to get these things out of me.

No. Fuck that noise. I don’t know yet. I haven’t done it yet. Just because I haven’t done it yet doesn’t mean I won’t. It will just be harder. I’m really tired of harder. I’d like a break one of these years. But if I have to get stronger I will. Because that is what I do. Because that is who I am. I have a really good, really stable life now and I am not going to fuck it up. I am going to hold it together. And I am going to write in the middle of the night. And I will get passed this.

But not in this essay. Because it is now 5:22 am on Saturday morning. My agenda for today is rather a busy one you see. Today I get to: finish the side yard drainage problem no matter how long it takes me nor how much it hurts because otherwise I won’t have a smooth pathway for people to walk on when they come to my Easter party and it is very very very important to me in my neurosis that when people come to my home they have a smooth path. No one there would judge me poorly in any way if I said, “We had a flooding problem in the last rainstorm and the yard is full of weird potholes because I have been dealing with a severe mental health crisis and I haven’t had time to deal with it!” But that’s not ok to say. That would be stepping all over the boundaries of everyone who wants to be generically, softly encouraging of my life in a light social way. So instead I will write intense journal entries in the middle of the night. I will frantically repair my side yard until I believe that I will not be embarrassed to have people see it. Before anyone gives me a panicked phone call, I’ve got it mostly done. You see, I don’t have the luxury of sitting down to do a project all in one go in one day basically ever. I’ve been working on the side yard for days. My entire body hurts. I am physically and mentally exhausted. I feel like I have nothing left to give to any part of my life.

But do you know what I will do? I will finish the delicious scone I have been noshing on with a nod to my wonderful online girlfriend who is doing a lot to help me grow right now and I will plaster a smile on my face. This was a really really big success in the war for me. I’m proud of it. No one gets to make me be silent any more. I can talk about my demons. I can brainstorm ways to deal with them. I can invite commentary. I can be real about the fact that there are two sides to every story but the only one that matters in my recovery is mine. I have to be aware of not losing my story to thoughts of being the scapegoat. I am not to fucking blame for almost anything that happened to me as a child. And I have behavioral patterns that I watch like a hawk. Because I have come a long way. I do hold it together. Shit. Or maybe this will be a rough day. Fuck.

I don't know what to say

That is one of the most common things I've heard throughout my lifetime.  It's not a bad thing to say.  It's honest.  This stuff is scary and hard.  And I'm currently in the middle of writing one that is really hard for me so I'm hiding from it right this minute thank you very much.  Something scary enough that I can't face writing it for a few days is not my favorite.  Just sayin.  So that said, I am not going to say that this post is generally applicable to people other than me.  I will say that these are things that I have noticed over time that help me a lot.

I spend a lot of the time feeling very alone in the world.  Very unseen.  I'm not sure why but that is one of the hardest parts for me.  It's not true, but I feel like people are avoiding me because I am bad and dirty and gross.  I feel like people don't respond to the stuff I write because they think terrible things about me because these things happened to me.  It's very challenging to shout things into the deafening void.  I have virtually no contact with my family.  I have Noah.  I have the girls.  I have the friends who show up.  That is truly all I have in the world.  When people bitch about blahblahblah obligation with their family... I sit at home alone.  Seriously.  This sucks.

At this point I barely leave the house.  I do absolutely necessary errands and I usually make Noah come with me.  I go to therapy.  Otherwise people have to come to me.  Right now I do not have the extra patience, stability, reserves, whatever you want to call them to deal with the fact that life is uncertain.  When I go out somewhere with the kids by myself I have to be prepared to deal with Shanna having a melt down, or Calli having a massive poop explosion, or me having a panic attack.  Right now it's not worth it.  So I'm doing mad work on my house and yard so that being here is super fun and wonderful.  I really like visitors.  They make my day.  If you read this stuff and you feel genuinely uncomfortable talking about it but you like me and you want to be kind of vaguely supportive you could ask to come visit.  If you come during a time when my children are awake I won't get too intense on you.  Occasionally I cry but it's not the norm.  Especially if you have cheerful babble about your own life I am easily derailed onto fun topics.

If reaching out in person doesn't work for you (and that's ok, there are lots of reasons that is true) I really appreciate comments.  The stats page (God bless the stats page) lets me know that people are actually reading this.  But I don't know who they are.  I don't know what they think.  A lot of what is going on right now for me is that I am being slammed in the face over and over and over with these things that feel monstrous, but I'm not a monster.  So I have no scope for understanding how bad these things were.

I'm not sure if people understand that a lot of the reason I write this stuff down is until I write it down it doesn't feel like trauma it just feels like my life. I'm not sure if I can say that strongly enough.  Most of the time walking through my life I don't feel like a 'trauma victim' if you know what I mean.  I'm just me.  These are just the events in my life.  Everyone has events in their life.  It's really not something worth getting upset about.  Only... the stuff that happened to me is worth getting upset about.  And I'm already upset.  And I need to deal with that.  But how do you deal with it when you don't even know what it is that is upsetting you because it was just life stuff and no big deal?  So I write.  And I realize over and over and over that what happened to me was horrible.  And I have difficulty understanding the scope of it right now.  I don't know how to wrap my brain around stuff this awful being my story.

So what can you say?  You, oh lovely person on the internet.  You can say something as simple as, "You are right to be upset.  This is not within the range of normal treatment from a parent.  This should not have happened."  Do you realize that a lot of the time I don't even know what the range of normal treatment from a parent is?  When I ask about "normal" parenting I am really trying to ask what is the range of acceptable parenting behaviors that will not permanently damage your kids.  I really don't feel like I have a handle at all on what is "ok" behavior.  I'm guessing.  I'm reading and trying to figure it out.  But I still don't know.

I really like questions.  I'm aware that most people who are trauma victims are very afraid to talk about things.  I don't volunteer more details or information because I believe no one gives a shit.  Seriously.  I have thousands of pages of writing inside me about what my life was like.  About the stupid little indignities and how they complicated the larger issues of abuse.  I want to write about my experiences moving from the kind of poverty where you live in your car and take government cheese and steal food going to being a, frankly, rich suburban hippy housewife.  That's been fucking mind blowing.  The privilege I see in my day to day life now is... disconcerting.  I feel out of place.  I feel like an imposter.  I feel like any minute someone will show up and tell me that all these improvements I am making to the house and the property (even the weird ones) mean that I can't live here anymore because it's too good for me.  It's intense.

You can ask me questions about body memories.  You can ask me questions about details in the stories you don't understand.  If you want to understand this experience, I want to talk about it.  But I don't want to talk to people who don't want to listen.  I mean, be polite and all.  But it's ok to ask questions that feel weird and invasive.  I reserve the right to say, "I don't know how to talk about that yet but I'll think about it and get back to you."  I reserve the right to say, "That's too intense this minute."  I reserve the right to say, "Wow.  The way you asked that question made me feel defensive and I bet it's just me reading your tone wrong.  May I ask you to try again because right now that question feels attacking and I'm not sure how to respond."

Communication is good.  I want more of it.  Really.  It's ok.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Attention Whore

I struggle with my need for affection and love.  On one hand I know it is a perfectly normal, perfectly healthy urge.  So I just sent out a mass invitation to my birthday party in September.  I'm practically having a panic attack about it.  I am completely overwhelmed with terror and anxiety.  I'm terrified people won't want to participate.  I'm terrified that me asking for people to put out effort is just not ok.  I feel like if only 4 people show up I will feel let down and like it just isn't enough and that makes me a bad person.  Why aren't those 4 people enough?  On my birthday I will have Noah, Shanna, Calli, and Sarah all living in my house.  They love me to distraction.  They would walk through fire for me.  They can and do shape basically every single day of their lives around me if I ask for it or need it.

But it's not enough.

I need magic.  I need a ritual.  I need to be seen.  I need to say to the universe that I am here and I am good and I am wonderful and I want to see that affirmed in the love and faces of the people around me.  I want to go through the rabbit hole.  I want to wander in  Wonder Land with my friends.  I want to make my house fantastical and inviting and have many people come have tea with me.  I want to play.  I want to be a little girl.  And I want everyone to come and tell me how wonderful I am.  And I feel pathetic.  And I feel like I am loser for wanting that.  I feel like that is proof of my inadequacy as a person.

Why can't it just be proof that having people like you feels nice?  Why can't I let myself ask for this without such self contempt?  This is agonizingly hard.  Asking for support and love means risking having people be busy.  It means risking knowing for an absolute fact that you aren't the center of peoples lives.  Knowing that *hurts*.  But you know what?  It's true even if I never say it.  Even if I never confirm it.  Right now I am orbiting out here in space alone because I can't handle the fact that if I want attention from my friends I won't be their everything in the universe.  God.  That fucking sucks.  I don't want to do this.  I don't want this life.

I want to throw a great big party.  I want to invite everyone in the universe.  I want some of them to come.  I want some of them to genuinely want to come and not be able to due to conflict in scheduling.  I want those people to make some token for me.  It doesn't have to be big or expensive.  I want these to be fairly permanent, useful things.  It could be something artistic to go with the mural (I will finish the house project as quick as possible and get more pictures posted) or a neat random lamp you think just *fits* in a room.  I want to fill my house with love.  I want to look around my house and see magical tokens that will help me fight off the demons in my head.

I'm scared I'm losing the battle.  No.  That's not true.  I'm not losing the battle at all.  I'm just not making progress at the rate I want to.  I'm god damn tired of this inching progress.  I need something that will help me rewire my system.

I need help.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early morning demons

I am a Morning Person.  And becoming weirder about it as I get older and spend a lot of time alone at home.  I sit here nearly motionless and silent until the sun comes up.  Then I strap the baby on my back and start working as fast as I can.  It's pretty neurotic.

I feel like it is cheating to cut'n'paste that from the other window and yet, I've already typed it into the frickin phone!  It counts!

I have to do both.  In the silence and still I wrestle with demons and I have to move quickly once the sun is up or the demons will catch me and wrestle me to the ground and then they have control of the day.  If I work fast enough and hard enough I can escape.  I can instead find my Zen.  I can get lost in the methodic beauty of gardening.  Playing with the dirt helps me stay in the here and now better than almost any other activity.  That is interesting to know about myself.  For most of my life I have lived in a place where plants just kind of grew.  You didn't really do a lot to try to change what they were doing anyway other than beat them back a bit once in a while.  But you know what, that's not even true.  Folks up there did plant things and they did follow the seasons.  I didn't.  I moved so often that I have never before in my life felt the flow of the seasons before.

That's kind of an intense realization.  I'll tell you flat out that I'm looking for God in the flow of the earth.  Probably not God in the Judeo-Christian sense.  Maybe more of a Goddess.  Thing is, this shape in my head really doesn't have a gender.  And saying Goddess requires a gender in my head whereas God is basically neutered.  Even if you do think of God as inspiring men, God inspired women too and there aren't that many differences and it's not like God is out there flipping people for who gets to top, you know what I mean?

But I digress.  Only, it's only sort of the digression.  Maybe this is the point today.  Maybe this is why I haven't thought about abuse stuff in a few days.  Maybe I am looking for God instead.  Maybe I am trying to focus on the here and now with such intensity because if I don't I may not be here to have a future.  This is hard to say out loud.  Ha.  And I'm not even speaking.  As Alex said to me recently, "If I say it, I make it true."  But I think the important point he was missing is: if it's not true, you can't deal with it as being true... but it's still hanging over you thinking about being true.  Ok, so here's the truth.  I am more honest-to-God suicidal right now than I have been  in over a decade.  My mother called me to tell me that I was not sexually abused as a toddler.  She wants me to get my story straight.

Then why is he in my head and my body like this?  Then why do I so clearly remember the stages?  Why can I now sit down with a textbook on grooming a child for sexual assault and tell stories about every single stage?  There is no doubt in my mind that when I prosecuted my father he intended to rape me.

So here's the story on that.  When I was 16 I was living in Bakersfield and going all the way across town every day so that I could attend the best high school in the district.  Then our car broke down.  Of course it did.  Because that is what happens when you live in poverty and you do not properly maintain your possessions.  Which is to say, I don't blame my mother in anyway.  Our lives were really shitty.  It took an hour and a half each way on the bus to get to school.  I was in AP classes: English, US History, Biology.  I finally, for the first time in my life, was actually in the classes for the smart kids instead of sitting on the waiting list behind people who had lived there all their lives and never made the cut.  I loved it.  I blossomed.  I hung out intensely with the kids in the AP classes and they were all religious and obedient but open minded.  They were very interested in ska music and silliness and Veggietales.  Good clean fun.  But I was getting in trouble at school because I didn't have a computer for research or typing up my papers.  Given that I was spending 3 hours a day on the bus I didn't really have a lot of time to sit in libraries.  And did I mention that the public water was so disgustingly chlorinated I couldn't handle drinking the water?  So I spent hours a day making orange juice from the tree in our yard so that I could drink something that didn't make me want to puke.  We had no money for bottled water.

Anyway.  Not that those layers of poverty really affect the story anyway, right?  It's not like there are mitigating factors for your father sexually molesting you?  It's not like he got away with it because I was poorly supervised by a mother who is completely incapable of getting her shit together.  And there's a digression I'm not up for right now.

So I called my father and told him I needed a computer for school.  He wasn't paying full child support anyway, right?  He told me that I could have a computer if I came to visit him for the weekend.  I told him I would check with my mom and ask her when she could get a weekend off work so she could come down and supervise.  He said no.  If I wanted a computer I would have to come down there and spend a weekend with him alone, unsupervised.  I felt gobsmacked.  I felt like I was standing on the edge of a precipice and in that fucking moment I got to make a choice.  I could lay down and take my fucking.  Or I could shoot him in the face.  So I hung up on him and called the Sheriff's office to report my lifelong molestation.

The part of the story that is missing here is the part where I made that phone call to him in secret because I didn't want my mother to know I was doing it.  And I made that follow up call to the Sheriff's office before my mother came home.  When she got home the detective was in the living room asking me questions.  It was too late for her to do anything about it.  I think I knew I had to do it that way.  She would have talked me out of it.  She would have minimized what was going on.  She would have told me I was making things up or being melodramatic.  But I wasn't.  Every single memory of my father in my lifetime involves him touching me in a sexual way.  Ok, not every minute of every visit or anything like that.  But he snuck something in every time I saw him.  He fingered me while I sat on his lap while eating snacks at an amusement park when I was 4 or 5.  When I lived with him and Trudy he would come into my room to "tell me stories" that were about sex and sometimes about evil and magic.  For years he told me stories about my maternal great grandmother.  He said she was a witch and I inherited her powers so I should do some research on black magic.

All this to say that I was absolutely being groomed for rape.  Or, rather, I was being groomed to think it was totally acceptable for me to be my father's sexual partner.  He told me all about how incest taboos only exist because you don't want the genetic material to get to close.  But it's ok as long as the woman uses birth control.  He told me that when I was 12, not long before my brother got married when he came to visit us at our house in Apple Valley.  He came upstairs to my room and felt me up.  He told me that my breasts were going to be large because my chest felt like his older sister's did when she was my age and she ended up with large breasts.  I do wear an E cup.

My father had every intention in the world of raping me.  I needed to prosecute him.  Oh, and my father was stalking me while we lived in Bakersfield.  He would show up random places and just look at me.  I wasn't exactly hard to track.  He stood outside our house in the street sometimes.  If I didn't prosecute him he was going to rape me.  It was ok for me to prosecute.  My father sexually molested me for a decade starting when I was a baby or toddler and it was right for me to prosecute.  And now I'm sobbing.  Because Alex honey, saying it doesn't make it true.  I wish that saying it made it true.

And we come back to the faith in grey thing.  Was my father a monster for what he did to me?  What he had every intention of doing in the future?  I don't know.  What I can know is that only a rabid dog attacks with no provocation and at that point you put the animal down.  And I mean seriously no provocation not, "What?  I only acted in this way that in dog-language is really aggressive but seems fine to me as a human."  It wasn't actually about me just never calling him again and writing him off because he wouldn't buy me a computer.  And fuck you very much, Mom, for saying that to people.  He was going to rape me, and soon.  No matter what.  He had a history of molesting people going back decades before my birth.  If he was escalating to the point where he was stalking me?  Yeah.  I'm not even sure I would have survived.  I had to prosecute.  And I had to do it in secret because my mother wouldn't have allowed me to.  Once the ball was rolling there was nothing she could do about it.

And that right there.  That is why I sit here in silence every morning in the still, quiet time of the day and I think.  I have these horrible, gut clenching thoughts about assault and I try to work them out.  I try to find my peace with these things.  Even being angry with my mother the way I am is just a stage.  I'm so angry because I feel freshly hurt and she is the only one alive who can be blamed.  Isn't that what mothers do?  And the instant that thought goes through my head I realize that is part of breaking the cycle too.  I don't want to be blamed for everything that goes wrong for my children.  And I need to stop blaming my mother.  And she needs to stop calling me and telling me to get my story straight.  I have my story straight.  It's just not a story she can believe and maintain her thin hold on the world.  Even though it is complicated and I don't want to see her, I want to know my mother is in this world.  I want to hope she is finding some shreds of happiness to lighten her load.  I love my mother.  So being angry with her is almost a derailment... only it isn't.  I think it's a different project though.

Today I'm talking about prosecuting my father.  Today I am talking about how complicated all the factors are.  We were poor.  We desperately needed the financial support he doled out in fits of pique.  Prosecuting him was a complicated decision that I had to make in one big temper tantrum.  And in many ways that is what it looked like to people on the outside who didn't see how dense of a spider web I was standing in.  I had no where safe to step.  That was the moment that saved my life.  And it wasn't important because I prosecuted my father, per se.  It was the moment when I irrevocably broke the patterns of my family and decided to ACT instead of react.  That moment could have been then or it could have been later.  With my mother and my sister the battle to act instead of react is constant in every single conversation and I feel like a very hostile person.  Ultimately I'm not sure how much of it is their fault.  They are still in patterns of abuse and reconciliation with one another.  They really can't find a way out of that system.  I don't know why.  But I can't be part of it with them.  I feel like I am growing to understand Aunt Vonnie more.  I'm starting to understand that she was the one who stayed in one place and put down her roots in the community and she has a busy, involved life.  She was able to support so many people because she actually had very little involvement in the drama.  She just went about her business as the storms raged.  And she kept me afloat.  Well, her and a whole bunch of other random and semi-random people.  Whether I was in the cycles of abuse or not I was tolerated and supported and encouraged.  I feel I am lucky.  I was helped by more people than I can count.

And so now I wrestle with my demons until the sun comes up, and right now I see a faint hint of blue through the window instead of black.  It is time to go get dressed and start breakfast.  It's time to smile and kiss my children and sing silly songs.  It is time to hug my husband and wish I had the ability to be the sexual partner he deserves, one who is not held back by monstrous figures in the dark.  Yeah folks, even the freaks lose the ability sometimes.  And I have to smile while doing it.  I have to be cheerful.  My family deserves to live with someone who is pleasant to be around.  And that is the pressure.  How do I live a dual life like this?  When I want to snap because I feel tension and anger at my mother... Let's go use the rototiller for an hour.  My arms will hurt so bad I won't have the energy to be cranky.  I love you both, my darling babies.  I will struggle to hold you tonight so I may end up wearing both of you because my arms are weak.  But even if it's a cranky day.  I promise there will be snuggles.

Ideas

I've heard it's a good idea to keep a file of neat ideas if you ever want to write a book.  I'm not sure how consistent I will be with that, but I said something to my dear lady love this morning and she told me it should be the beginning of a book.  So I'm transcribing it.

"I am a Morning Person.  And becoming weirder about it as I get older and spend a lot of time alone at home.  I sit here nearly motionless and silent until the sun comes up.  Then I strap the baby on my back and start working as fast as I can.  It's pretty neurotic."

I think she's right.  Because I just found my words. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monsters in my head

In a former life I worked in theatre. I loved it. I loved the excitement, I loved the energy. Ultimately I didn’t love the long night hours [1] and I had to go find a different dream. Coincidentally that shift happened right alongside a romantic shift. Basically I jettisoned my whole life and started over. There’s a pattern for you. But anyway. The romantic relationship I had at that time was with a boy named Steve. He was in a band called Faith in Grey. I may be the only person who still listens to the album. Kind of semi-grunge rock but with a lot of blues/jazz feeling mixed in. I actually really liked their music. I've been thinking about them rather more than usual lately. I'm thinking about them because I'm thinking about the name.

You see, in my mind there is kind of a schtick to the name. Nothing is black or white, not really. Every important thing in the world is neither completely good nor completely bad. Everything is in the gray area in between. I have noticed that there is a rapidly decreasing amount of room in my life for black and white thinking. Everything exists in the shades of gray and to me that is becoming what I am holding on to in terms of faith in humanity. I seem to be endeavoring to turn into my obsession, if not my religion. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

This has been coming up for me a lot because I'm doing a lot of abuse processing lately. That isn't actually news. I go in phases. What is new for me is that I now have to parent at the same time. I parent pretty much every hour that my children are awake. I have somewhere between 2 and 7 hours of truly non-parenting time during the course of a week. Back in the good old days pre-children during this kind of phase I would crawl into a dark cave for most of the hours of the day and not come out for weeks at a time. It’s rather difficult to compress the same amount of processing into 2-7 hours/week. Essentially I am incapable of doing the same amount of processing. This means I am having to keep my shit together under suboptimal conditions basically at all times. But no pressure.

Conditions are suboptimal because Shanna is in one of those periods that can best be described as ‘disequilibrium’. [2] She is off having her experience of the world. Right now she is falling down a lot. She is clumsy. She is having sudden bursts of super intense emotion. She is aggressive. She sometimes hits. This is very challenging. Here I want to pay homage to Arwyn of Raising My Boychick and call her triggering. Shanna yells at me.

However, thanks to aforementioned book, I have renewed patience with this stage! I am doing my best to just let her have her experience of the world quietly at home with great order and predictability for a while. At home I can cater her daily experience to her emotional levels and we can get a lot done and have fun together. It’s good. Going out can be very difficult sometimes. At this point she is large enough and heavy enough that if she doesn’t want to go somewhere... Well, it’s hard to just carry her. And besides, if I just carry her and demand that she go I know the whole experience will be hard for her. She really is thriving on our quiet routine at home. She likes having people come visit us for a few hours a day but it becomes disruptive to her behavior if they are here longer than about three hours. That’s a good pattern to observe.

I often wonder if I have the "right" to have chosen to have children, given how many issues I have. Then I continue editing and read these long rambly bits dissecting how little tweaks in her environment effect her mental health. I don’t really think I could be accused of being a neglectful mother. So what do I mean by “right”? I constantly question whether I am a good enough parent. Which is an important distinction. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am a good parent. However, I am not satisfied by being a good parent. I want to be a good enough parent. I want to be good enough for my kids. To me this is such a complex issue. I feel like I need to hurry up and get better so I can be good enough for my kids. So far my kid is pretty over the top wonderful and I have kept her safe and secure and happy for three years. That's better than my parents did. Wow. Every day for the rest of Shanna's life, as long as I avoid the Big Obvious Mistakes, I will have given her a substantially better chance at lifelong happiness. I'm already there. That's a way to suddenly lower the bar in a really fabulous way.

I'm under a lot of pressure. As soon as I say that I feel like a 50 lb. weight just dropped on my chest. So much pressure. I feel terrified of being a bad parent. I am truly afraid sometimes that I am going to destroy my children the way I was destroyed because it is an absolute inevitability. I feel like I am choking to death under the weight of the pressure and it makes me edgy. Having that physical sensation while parenting is extremely difficult. I have had bad days where I see her move, physically, and I have this physical sensation in my body of being molested when I was very young. Having a child this age is actually traumatizing for me. I am recognizing where all of my deep, dark body memories came from. I feel enough physical urge to vomit that I have to keep a trash can near me while I write this. I have had this hanging over me for my entire life. I think this is a lot of what has been so bad, always. It really did start when I was this young. And that is monstrous. And this is the kind of stuff that will cause people to kindly reach out to me and suggest putting her in preschool or daycare so I can “get some time for myself”. They absolutely mean the best in the world. There is love in every word of what they are saying. The thing is, what I *do* right now is take care of my kids. That’s my job. They are telling me that I need to get outside help for taking care of my kids. Because I need to go fix myself. Because I’m not good enough at my job. Ouch.

That means I come back to this idea of my father being a monster. I was certainly told, over and over, when I was growing up that he was. Well, my mother and my sister told me he was a monster. I didn’t know anyone else I could talk to about him. There was literally no other point of contact in my world with people who knew my father. That’s actually quite amazing. That leads me to all kinds of fun possible derails. I want to call my brother. I want to try to contact my father’s family. I want to dig into their history. I want to find myself! I want to learn what parts of me came from where. I want an explanation for all of it. But you know what? That would be a derail. That would be looking for excitement. I would be trying to distract myself from looking at my reality. My father is dead. Whatever he may have been is a book that is long closed and cannot be reopened. I doubt he was actually a monster. Most likely he was mostly an ok person who occasionally did horrifying things. I’m sure he was an addict. He probably had some serious mental health issues that he was not dealing with. But quite frankly, how the fuck would I know? He killed himself when I was 17. I had not seen him in person since my brother's wedding when I was 13. My memories of him are few and far between and almost every single visit included him sexually molesting me in some way. It is a horrifying, awful thing for me to be present with. I am the victim of incest. My father sexually assaulted me. This is agonizingly hard to write. I want to take any derail in the whole wide world.

And that’s the point. I come back to the idea of my father being a monster because I want to derail my life. I want to run off and explore all of these things that have no relevance to my current life because I’m terrified that I am a monster and I am going to fuck up my life. I can’t bear to look too closely at what I am doing because I am convinced I am evil and bad. But I’m not. I’m a good mother. I have to deal with my memories though. I can’t avoid that. That’s the hard, scary monster in my head. I have to deal with how they impact my day to day life. And I have to do it in ways that are appropriate. I have to have boundaries around how I do this. That is how I will break the cycles of abuse. I god damn mother fucking refuse to blow up my life. And I cannot be forced to by anyone outside of me. Their actions are not my problem. I can only take responsibility for myself and my actions. I don’t know if my parents are or were monsters. I know what my perception and experience of them was. I was factually horrifically abused. That means that talking to people about my parents is unhelpful. There was plainly duplicity going on. No one outside knew the full story and no one can confirm or deny anything in a useful way. There was too much lying.

Dear God that hurts to write. I cannot hope to ever have confirmation for anything about my experience of my childhood. It cannot be had. The largest and most traumatizing part of my childhood was the experience of constantly lying and that is why I cannot rely on any version of the truth but my own. And that means I need to get back to talking about what I remember.

I remember, I must have been 8 or 9. No. Damnit. I’m doing it again. I wasn’t. We were living in Whittier. I must have been closer to 10. [3] I spent a weekend at his house. He gave me a milkshake that 'tasted funny' he insisted I go to bed for the night in a shirt and no underwear. In his bed. He spooned me. remember the feel of his body hair against me. He was naked. I remember him feeling all over my body. He put his fingers into my labia and vagina. And these are the memories I have talked about before. This is the kind of memory I can wrap my head around and put words to. But I have these intense body memories when I watch Shanna. I feel pain deep inside my vagina sometimes when I watch her. I feel like I am choking to death saying this. Admitting this. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that my father was sexually assaulting me when I was a toddler.

Part of why I am so convinced is one of my earliest memories is from when I was 3 years old. I know I was 3 because of a whole bunch of correlating information, but anyway. There was a little boy, I no longer remember his name. I think he was 4 or 5. I asked him to play behind the couch with me and he did. I then remember offering him a blow job. By name. I had to explain it to him. He said sure and then I proceeded to go right to it. I knew exactly what to do.

What fucking 3 year old should have that knowledge? None. No 3 year old should ever know those things. But the part that makes me shake and sob and despise myself--I am that boy's monster. I don't know what I did to him. And that. That is why I need to have faith in gray.

I am not a monster. I probably hurt that boy, yes. But it wasn't my fault. I was doing what children do. I was exploring the issues in my world through my play. That is what a child that age has to do. I wasn't to blame. But those are adult words. The little kid inside me who is still exactly that age, she knows that what she did was bad. She knows that she is a monster. She doesn't know how she became that monster, but everything is all her fault. That is my legacy as the victim of incest. That is my family role. I am the scapegoat. I am the monster. This is mostly true because of my exquisitely heightened sense of shame and guilt. I am to blame for all of the evils in the world--even the things I didn't commit. And this is another derail.

I can never truly make reparations for what I did. But that's not the point. The point is that almost 30 years later I feel guilt for what I did and that guilt is poisoning me. For the most part when people tell me that I need to 'let things go' I think they are being fucking assholes and telling me not to deal with my shit because my shit makes them uncomfortable. However, in this case, I think I do need to let this part go. I need to recognize when I am derailing my life. I need to look at the ways in which I am wasting my fucking time. I need to understand what a derail is. I need to recognize when I am doing it. I need to give myself time and space for doing it. And I need to recognize when I am out of time for doing it and I need to hurry up and stop paying attention to it. Right now I have to go pay attention to my life.

I need to let go of feeling responsible for the actions of a fucking insane 3 year old who had sexual assault issues she was working through. My 3 year old has never been traumatized, I can absolutely promise you. She still acts out in really fierce ways. Maybe I wasn't such a monster. Maybe I was just 3 and some of the stuff I had to process was really awful.

So then I come back to my dad. He probably wasn't actually a monster either. He was a person. He was a person who had a favorite song. And a favorite color. And a favorite flavor. And a favorite movie. He had good points and bad. He helped people and he hurt people. Yes, he hurt me in ways that were monstrous. But does that really make him a monster? I don't know. I can't know. There is no way for me to know. Even if he was alive I would never be able to really judge him accurately. Because when I see my perfect, beautiful little girl rolling around on the floor feeling in her body the joy of being alive I feel a large invisible body pressing down on me. I taste hot, bitter acidic semen in my mouth. I feel burning in my vagina.

And I have to parent through that.


I’m rather significantly a morning person. Lately I have been sleeping 8-3:45. Evil.
Thank God and Shiny Green Apples for the book: Your Three Year Old by Louise Bates Ames
At some point I will try to write about the Tommy period of my life. But not today.