Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last night I dreamed about my dad all night.  I was a kid and he came up to Aunt Vonnie's house to visit (which never actually happened).  I asked Auntie to stay with me and never leave me alone with him.  In front of him she said, "Stop being so nasty to your father."  Then she walked out.  It was bad.

And I was awesome about sticking my fingers in my ear and going "lalalala".  Jenny's wedding coincided with the 13th anniversary of Tommy's suicide.  And my brother Jimmy's oldest son turned 10.  I will never know him because it is all my fault that Jimmy's kids don't get to have an uncle or a grandfather.

I suspect I will have a bad day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

And my Jenny is married.

Yesterday was the wedding!  It was glorious.  I was so happy to be part of the ceremony.  I was even the official witness signing the marriage contract along with the Best Man.  Jenny was gorgeous and cheerful and elated.  I have never seen her so happy.  It's hard not being able to see her much, but I leave her in such good hands that I know she is in the best place in the world for her.

I was amazed that several times she sat down and took moments out of her insanely busy schedule to help me deal with my anxiety.  I felt so very loved.  Then I discovered that I had made some suboptimal choices with regards to planning... but folks helped out and I think that we will actually enjoy the changed plans more.

Traveling is challenging, but it's a lot easier with wonderful people.  I feel quite blessed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More introverted than I think

Noah and I tend to read different things.  Sometimes he sends me a link that I find really interesting.  Today's link is about Introvert/Extrovert stuff.  I'm shocked by the fact that according to his definitions:

  1. require a minimum period of isolation every day to survive psychologically
  2. are energized by weak-link social fields, such as coffee shops, where little interaction is expected
  3. are energized by occasional, deeper 1:1 interactions, but still at arm’s length; no soul-baring
  4. are energized by such 1:1 encounters with anyone, whether or not a prior relationship exists
  5. are drained by strong-link social fields such as family gatherings
  6. are reduced to near-panic by huddles: extremely close many-many encounters such as group hugs
  7. have depth-limited relationships that reach their maximum depth very fast
  1. need a minimum amount of physical contact everyday, even if it is just laying around with a pet
  2. are energized by strong-link social fields such as family gatherings
  3. like soul-baring 1:1 relationships characterized by swings between extreme intimacy and murderous enmity
  4. are not willing to have 1:1 encounters with anyone unless they’ve been properly introduced into their social fields
  5. are made restless and anxious by weak-link social fields such as coffee shops unless they go with a friend
  6. are reduced to near panic by extended episodes of solitude
  7. have relationships that gradually deepen over time to extreme levels
From the Introvert list I have: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.  From the Extrovert list I have: 3, 6, 7.

What does that make me?  I have always thought of myself as an extrovert and yet, I tend to feel like larger groups don't like me.  I don't feel safe when I have to figure out how to relate to more than one person at once.  I used to love big groups.  I was good at them.  Not anymore.  Anxiety has pushed me towards isolation and it really sucks.  I often feel better connecting briefly with a stranger because I don't have to worry about offending them.  I don't have to worry about them learning to be disgusted by me.  I'm trying to cobble together a mental support team without overly depending on any one person.  Because if I depend too much on one (or three) people I will exhaust them, they will get sick of me, they will move on.  If I can get bits and pieces from many, many people, I can pretend that is enough.  

I think that a lot of my conflict with Noah is because I swing hard between the sort of energetic transactionalism this essay talks about.  What an interesting thing to consider.  I can't decide if we should have one "bank account" or separate accounts.  I suppose it makes sense that I gravitate heavily towards folks with Aspergers and I am absolutely terrified of being codependent.  I would rather learn Aspie coping mechanisms because they make me feel safe.  They make me feel less vulnerable.  I wish every single day that I could take my extrovert needs and burn them out of me with a poker.  It has been the work of a lifetime to stop being an extrovert.  Being an extrovert is dangerous.  It's not safe.  I can't depend on people.

I can go weeks without talking to people I don't live with.  Most of the people I depend on heavily rotate in and out of my life.  My friends all have their own mental health issues and they will go radio silence for months or years.  I poke at them every so often to see if they are still around, but almost none of them come back to me.  I'm too hard.  When I lose contact with people it is because *I* stop forcing a relationship.  That hurts.  That hurts a lot.  I don't have many people who reach out to me unless I post excessively on the internet about how I may not make it to tomorrow.  Otherwise people just don't have room for me in their lives.  I've never been able to figure out what to do about that. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Everyone goes through life with a picture of his or her self.  Sometimes these pictures are elaborate paintings, sometimes they are stick figures, sometimes they are swirls of color.  People vary.  What is consistent is the sheet of glass over the picture that is protecting this core of self.  For most people, when they are children their parents carry this picture for them.  That's the purpose and work of parenting.  It's to protect this tiny little person as they go through the early parts of life.  My parents dropped my picture.  Many times.  They shattered the glass.  They did their best to scatter it to the winds so that I had no protection left.

On my bad days I feel like I am on my knees in the Sahara frantically digging, looking for the lost pieces.  There are some very large shards missing and I don't know what to do about them.  My picture isn't protected.  I'm not protected.  I'm scared.  I'm vulnerable to being destroyed.

On my good days I look at the missing pieces and I think, "Well... all I've got is a five gallon bucket of dry wall putty.  It's not really the best thing to use to fix glass, but it's what I have.  Maybe if I add some neat Rit dye it will at least look interesting."

I don't know who I was meant to be.  Yes, that hurts.  I often wonder what I would have turned out like if I had been loved and protected appropriately when I was a child.  But that's a door forever closed.

Today my Jenny told me that if she can read my story and feel bad so that I can feel a little better, it's worth it.  Because I'm worth going through some pain for.  I'm not sure how to believe that is true.  How could it ever be ok for other people to hurt because of me?  How in the world could I ever be worth enough that other people should suffer just to lighten my load?  My brother made it very clear that I was to shut my mouth because it is more important that other people not hurt.  I have no right to make other people hurt by telling my story.  The therapist I saw once before this trip told me that I have to be very careful about sharing my story because sharing stories like this traumatizes the listener and I shouldn't do that to people.  It's why she is completely against support groups.

Shouldn't I just shut up?  Shouldn't I try to pretend I'm just like everyone else?  Isn't that the right thing to do?  Thing is, I have these really big pieces of my protective coating missing.  I'm not like everyone else.  It is harder to know me than it is to know other people.

And I'm not sure how to believe that is ok.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lesser evils.

Alright, so when I left off I was freaking out in France and desperate to get out.  It was festive.  We checked out of the hotel 3 days early and asked to speak to the manager about why.  Turns out he was the guy who had located the ethernet cable.  Ha.  When I explained my issues and told him we were leaving he offered us fastpasses.

The taxi driver took us to the wrong train station and told us to take a bus to the correct one.  We missed our train.  I lost my shit and hysterically sobbed on the floor for a while.  Then once Noah dealt with stuff the customs lady yelled at me a lot because I didn't have access to Jenny's address yet.  She told me that I shouldn't be so disorganized because I am a mother.  Great.  Thanks.

What I'm leaving out of that bit is the awesome Armenian guy who sat down with me and talked to me and tried to cheer me up.  He was pretty rad.  He also hates the French but he has to work with them so he is submissive to the system and recommended that I do the same.  No thanks!

Once we got to London a porter found us, noticed that we had first class tickets, and whisked us away to the first class lounge.  He all but washed our feet for us.  I was ebullient!  A country with customer service!  Thank you!!!  The train ride to Edinburgh was smooth mostly because Shanna slept a lot of the way.  We found a random hotel there for one night because we missed the last train to Inverness.

So we woke up the next morning and set off.  There was fuss with not eating but I wasn't completely psycho.  Luckily for the last bit of the trip this wonderful old couple in their 70's came into our car and regaled us with fun stories and anecdotes.  They played with my kids.  They smiled at me and were nice.  I was so very happy.  We got to Jenny's and enjoyed seeing her.

Thing is, by the time we arranged the hotel situation for the unexpected three extra days (literally the only family room available in the city--lots of phone calls) and dealt with all the other stupid bumps I wasn't really functional any more.  I ended up sitting on the grass outside in the garden for I don't know how long sobbing hysterically.  It sucked a lot.  I was crying about my mom and my family and feeling bad and feeling like I can't deal with life because I am such a loser and...

I came back inside when I realized I was walking around the property trying to examine my options for killing myself.  I was at the point of walking towards the street looking for a bus.  It's really bad.  But I slept 8 hours before commenting on someones facebook that I don't think she is going to change society into finding overweight submissive men visually appealing on a mass scale.  Of course I was told I am vitriolic and nasty and I don't care about anyone but myself.  Right.  That started today so well.

But I went off to Jenny's house.  And I got to spend the whole day with her.  And it was wonderful.  Both Shanna and Calli are sick (running fevers, runny nose, not to mention that Calli is teething and constipated--it's a banner day) so the day was a bit whiney.  Luckily that means they slept a lot. :P  Unfortunately they slept in turns so I still didn't get time off.  But that's why I'm up now.  It's not even 8:40 yet so I don't feel too guilty yet.

I am titling this lesser evils because I decided after losing my shit last night that I need some other tools for dealing with my shit right now.  So I sent Noah to the pharmacy for sleeping pills and razor blades.  I need to sleep.  Period.  And I need a hand grenade size stress relief that doesn't require me to be alone for more than a few minutes because I am only allowed enough privacy to pee.  And sometimes not that.

I've been a cutter for over 20 years.  It's not going to kill me.  I was not the one responsible for buying the sleeping pills so there are not enough in this room to kill me.  I'm not happy about preplanning cutting this way, but I need something.  Anyone know someone in Scotland who smokes pot? :P  We've debated going to Amsterdam but I actually think that a week in the Orkney Islands will be more relaxing.  There really isn't that much to do but rest.

Today was good.  I need more like today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not sleeping

I realized tonight that part of the problem is, I'm still grieving and freaking out. And I don't get *any* time to sit and process during the day.  So as soon as the kids are safely in bed all of the thoughts come out.  I spent a lot of time in the hotel in London in the middle of the night trying not to be very aware that we were 8 stories up and our window was definitely big enough for me to go through.  I'm really glad the window in this hotel isn't big enough.

I'm not doing well and I don't know what to do about it.  Pretty much the only reason I am typing instead of jumping is because I can't do it to my kids.  But I'm running very low on reserves of desire to live right now.

A few hours later and a whole lot of crying.  I looked into it and I think we will be leaving France tomorrow.  It's not going to be a financial hardship, really it's about the same price as staying the whole time.  I'm done.  I can do something about feeling shitty in France.  I'm going to.  I don't have to be a victim.  I'm not trapped.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why did I come to France?

Ok, to be fair I came to Disneyland Paris, not really France.  But the thing is, I came here because I wanted to have the Disney experience while dealing with the time change.  I figured that here my kids crying wouldn't be that big of a deal.  To be fair, that part is fine.  But when I have to make 8 phone calls (many to an outside company because Disney doesn't want to be involved?) and go down to the lobby and throw a HUGE temper tantrum and tell them that I will check out of the hotel if they do not find a god damn ethernet cable longer than 18" so that my husband can actually usefully work... that's not the Disney experience.  If I had called from a room in California and said, "Hey.  Our internet isn't working and my husband has to work remotely.  What can be done about this?"  The problem would have been fixed.  Pretty much instantly.  They would have brought me a 30' cable in 10 minutes and said, "Oh Ma'am!  I hope this is adequate!"  And I would think, "Whoa.  Overkill much?"  And *that* dear friends, is why I pay for Disney.

But this is France.  And here you have French people.  French people who when you are wandering the hotel in the middle of the night and you say, "Hey, because you are behind the bar putting away stuff can you hand me a glass so I can help myself from the tap?"  They tell you to go to the restaurant.  At 3 in the morning.  When the restaurant won't open for 4 hours.  Bitch.  Seriously.  Fuck you with your fucking broom you petty bitch.  Because she understood enough English to communicate.  I had to seriously browbeat the shit out of the staff before we got an ethernet cable and when we did, most of the staff was maintaining a stone wall that there was nothing they could do for us.  Some random bellhop went and found a cable and brought it out.  Then of course reception tried to act like they had been great.

In the park people keep staring at me.  Ok yes, my hair is AWESOME.  But when you stare at me with a sneer on your face so intense that your upper lip never comes off your nose?  Fuck you too.  And throughout the park I swear to God people are getting whiplash because when one person from a group spots me they say something and then the whole group turns to stare at me with fairly hostile expressions.

I feel the need to point out that I'm being oversensitive and such right now, but no really.  They aren't subtle.

Of course I'm meeting a lot of fun British and American people.  I suspect that part of it is, this is the *cheapest* time of year to be here.  So you have fancy International people who can afford to travel (even with the discount it's still expensive) and the cheap ass local assholes.  I am not seeing France at its best.  But right now I believe I will never set foot in this country again and I will talk a lot of shit about it.  At this point I'm frustrated with a lot of things.

But you know what?  I'm really enjoying the time with the girls.  That is quite lovely.  Shanna and I are getting along really well.  Even with the massive sleep deprivation.  Calli is cutting two teeth while massively jet lagged.  We're having *fun*.  Actually we are.  :)  She thinks that Disneyland is the coolest thing EVAR.  She loves all the rides.  A few employees have tried to discourage me from putting her on rides and I tell them to back off and she laughs through the whole thing.  It's wonderful to be near.

I'm really struggling with my feelings.  I feel like everyone in the world hates me.  Noah and I have been having a hard time finding the right balance of needs.  In the past 4 nights (it is currently 12:40am) I have had ~12 hours of sleep total.  And I can't sleep.  I'm listening to "Born This Way" on repeat.  It's not really a great song.  But I'm really struggling right now.  I'm closer to the edge than I want to admit out loud.  I don't feel like I'm at 50% right now and sleep deprivation doesn't help.

Yeah.  But I love my hair.  Even if the asshole French people are sneering at me.  :)  I don't know how I'm doing.  The good moments are starting to outnumber the bad but the bad are still really intense for me.  I kind of feel like right now I'm a plant that was blown flat in a storm.  I'm not ready to push up straight again, but I'm growing in any direction I can.  It has to be enough because I don't have anything else.

Oh, and we couldn't stay in the hotel I booked in London because we showed up and were told that when we went from 3 to 4 people in our party we had to be bumped to a 6 person dormitory.  If we wanted privacy we could pay for all 6 bunkbeds.  Uhm, no thanks.  So poor Shanna had to be drug out into the freezing rain again.  Other than that London was ok when I wasn't being overly anxious.  But then again... we weren't there 24 hours.  Obviously, not sleeping.  Oy.

Monday, June 6, 2011

This is why I sprint.

I'm tired.  I am bone weary.  I am exhausted to the marrow of my bones.  I feel like I can barely stand.  I've been up since 1:15 this morning.  It's a long story.  I should start at the beginning.

Yesterday was Family Dinner.  I asked Alex to cook because I spent all of yesterday painting and Noah is really fried as well.  The first problem is that he showed up nearly an hour and a half late.  That's a big hot button for me.  I ask them to come over at 4 because that way we eat around 5:30/6 and the kids get to play after dinner before bed.  That's a good routine for me.  If we vary from that we have a hard time.  But Alex usually eats dinner at 10pm.  You can see where there is an issue here.

So there is a basic conflict of schedules there.  And then you add on that we are all human beings with big quirks and not-so-awesome coping mechanisms.  Well, that just leads to trouble.  I will say that I grabbed a granola bar when they arrived.  By the time it was 7 and we still didn't have dinner I did sit quietly on the floor whining at Yani, but I didn't hurt Alex's feelings.  He was trying.  He went really far out of his way and comfort zone for me and I need to respect that.  I need to love him for how hard he tried, not yell at him for how much he inconvenienced me.  That's hard when my stomach is hurting because I am hungry.  If I am asking Alex to make dinner maybe I need to assume that my whole family should have a noticeable snack at 3:30.  That is probably the right choice for how to solve this.  Alex is not going to be able to shift his rhythm to a 5:30 dinner.  Maybe some day, but not right now.  He has shit of his own.  And I need to love him enough to make that accommodation.  Because I do love him that much.

Dinner went well though.  Once I started eating I was ok.  I fell asleep on the couch before they left.  heh.  I used to do that in high school.  I had similar disordered sleeping habits then.  This way of sleeping makes me feel on edge and ready to snap all the time.  But last night Noah woke me up when he went to bed.  Normally that is something I like.  I've asked him to do that.  But right now I'm having major insomnia issues; if I wake up I can't get back to sleep.  Noah woke me up at 1:15.  See the problem?

I realized at some point in the night, thanks to medication, that I was done with my mandatory work other than packing.  I have a whole bunch of things I want to do, but if they don't get done it's not the end of the world.  If I want I can sit on the couch all day and play with my kids while watching movies.  See, this is my privilege.  I am this lucky.  I can do this today.  I'm not up for dealing with the world today.

So I decided that instead of acting like a martyr I would look at the needs of my family members.  Noah is also struggling with sleep issues because of stress.  I yelled at him a lot in the middle of the night because he woke me up and disrupted my sleep.  But he was trying so hard to be kind.  That's how things have been around here lately.  Because I'm brittle and snippy.

I thought about this for hours and I decided that the right decision was to let Noah sleep as late as he was able to given work constraints and treat that like personal time.  He's bloody well entitled to time off.  I decided by fiat that he should have some today in the form of sleep.  That's what I can provide to him to relieve the pressure on him.  And my pressure just dramatically lifted.

That's how you learn to marathon, right?  And I needed to get so tired that I can't be frantic right now if I want to.  Maybe if my house was on fire.  Maybe. :)


I just figured out why I am an unschooler.  Shanna is watching Ponyo for the... 11tybillionth time.  *sigh*  Hm.  She hasn't figured out yet that this movie is actually in Japanese.  She will.  It's not going to take much longer before Noah carping on how bad the voice acting is will start to bug her.  Because he is really obnoxious about it.  I'll bet that soon he is going to get annoyed and sit her down and show her the movie in Japanese.  He will be sitting there explaining his value system of why he believes the acting is better.  Why it is more effective, etc.  However... Shanna doesn't speak Japanese.  So he is telling her extensively how much better the movie is... if she can read subtitles.  So then she will discover a motivation for learning to read.  We are taking her to Europe for a month.  That kind of travel will continue to happen for us because I really prioritize it.  My kids are going to have a lot of exposure to a lot of different cultures.  Shanna is going to want to be able to talk to people.  She is going to be able to keep watching Ponyo when we are home.  She will want to learn how to "talk" to the characters.  I am fully capable of providing her with the curriculum for learning Japanese.  There are websites, books, dvds, classes.. If she wants to learn I can absolutely provide access.

I don't need to put her into a language immersion preschool to provide her with access to learning other languages.  I've been kind of stressing about the fact that there is a Chinese Montessori preschool opening up a few blocks from my house.  That would be a "good opportunity".  But there are a lot of reasons that it is a complicated decision.  Not least of all is money.  I would have to increase our income or completely give up on all travel.

I'd rather travel.

And that sounds capricious and like I don't care about my kid, right?  But have you met me?  Have you read my blog for more than about 30 seconds?  Do you really think my children will grow up illiterate and out of touch with the world?  I can casually reference topics from politics, religion, history, math, science, english... We talk about the molecular structure of water as we are practicing pouring into cups.  My children will have weird spots in their education because I do.  But I can promise you that moving through 25 schools taught me that not everyone is learning the same things anyway.

And that's ok.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Where is my fight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weird creepy shut in

I don't think people understand what I mean when I describe myself this way.  I mean that most years we watch one, maybe two new-to-us movies; Shanna has settled into about five movies that she watches on rotation.  I find new music when people post a link to a video on livejournal, I follow almost no music links from facebook.  I don't read the news.  I reread books I already own.  I don't turn the radio on.  My link to the outside world is livejournal (rapidly dying) and facebook (I have cut most people from my reading list because I am too argumentative).  Sometimes I read blogs but right now I feel attacked from all sides so I'm not doing that any more.

No really, I don't have contact with anyone outside my family if I don't talk to people on IM most days.  I am incredibly isolated.  Up until starting Sunday Dinner with A and Y the only people we see most weeks is K and her son.  And we do skip weeks.  I get 0-2 phone calls most weeks and I don't call people for social anxiety reasons.

Given how much I write people feel like they have contact with me.  And if no one comments, I feel like I am screaming into the void.  If I didn't exist, would anyone other than my children and husband notice?

And the more and more time I spend alone the more socially awkward I am.  Making it harder and harder each time I try to talk to people.  Till I don't really want to try at all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's a process

I keep getting stuck on "I was raped""I was raped""I was raped""I was raped".  Ok.  So what?  What does that mean?  Why is that the sticking point?  What is rape?  Why do I get to make rape jokes and no one else does?  Because every time a different survivor starts making the (really good) case for why rape jokes are never ok... I get my hackles up.  Hmm.  That's interesting.  There is a lot of competition between my family members.  There is one victim at a time.  No one else is allowed to have needs while that one person is being the victim.  I would be lying if I said I never had my turn.  My family acknowledged, sometimes, that something happened to me.  Sorta.  Really what they acted like is that it was a shame I was such a precocious whore, but they'll try not to hold it against me.

My body.  This frail shell that houses a tremendous spirit was violated.  Things were put in me.  Fingers.  Penises.  Tongues.  I was not allowed to have the sacred space of my own person.  My body was made to hurt.  I was taught to hate my body and use my body.  I struggle with dealing with my body.  I don't mean, "Man, I think I'm ugly."  I mean, my back and neck hurt very badly right now.  I just finished a massage.  He did help, but I still hurt quite a bit.  I have bruises all over.  I don't know how or when I got them.  I don't shower regularly.  When I am in a young place I have to be careful what clothes I wear because if something is even slightly uncomfortable it will send me into a rage.  Because something has happened to cause me pain again.  Kind of weird from a masochist.  I have food issues.  When I am young like this I eat about as much as Shanna.  And society thinks that is great.  I'm not sure.  I need to figure out the doctor situation.  I am so very uncomfortable working with anyone in that kind of authority.  They scare the ever-loving-shit out of me.  And I feel like a complete nutcase saying that.  I used to scoff at people who admitted they felt that way about doctors.  I didn't feel that way.  But I also have never been able to see a doctor in a consistent, healthy way.  Hell, even my beloved midwife isn't so happy with me these days.  I soured the end of that relationship, with help.  It feels like my body is more of a deficit than an asset in life.  It's too much work and only brings me pain.

But I was taught to suck dick while my father held a gun to my head.  I had tears running down my face and snot dripping and mixing in with the semen and saliva.  I was nine.  Is it any wonder I like violent sex?  Is it any wonder that I want my lovers to hurt me in ways I frankly hate to prove that they love me?  I'm not even sure I am a masochist exactly.  It hurts and it is horrible and I want it to stop.  But I want to date people who want to do that to me.  I want to find people who literally get off on watching me suck their cock while I sob and cry and snot mixes in with the semen and saliva.  That's pretty broken.  [Disclaimer!  Not all people who are into bdsm had horrific childhoods!  Do not use my case as an example of how no one who does this can be healthy!]  *ahem*

Do you know what is really awesome about dating men who get off on treating me that way?  When they don't do it... they are making a special effort for me.  They are showing me that even though they are absolutely monstrous they care about me more than they care about getting off.  It's pretty odd.  Because, if you do it right, bdsm involves a lot of communication.  I was shown porn, raped, molested, given graphic historic romance novels to read full of really kinky shit.  I was allowed to read those books when I was eight.  I was absolutely being primed to be ruled by my sex life.

That's why my sister is a whore and my mom is celibate.  Those were presented as my options.  Which would you choose?  I have a high sex drive.  Pre-kids my sex life was shaped primarily about dealing with the demons in my head even though I usually didn't tell my partners that.  That's where Noah comes in.  I don't know how to describe my experience of Noah.  I'm not even sure if I should try.  If I do it badly he looks like shit.  We are intense people.  But he isn't shit.  He is wonderful.  And he loves me so much.

My husband married a tremendous pervert.  Now I kind of want to take it all back.  But that's not how it works.  I don't know what to do.  I don't like being touched much.  Having someone touch me is scary.  I try to have sex even though it is hard.  We have to stop a lot.  We are definitely only having fluffy gentle bunny sex right now.  That's not something I have much experience with.  Sometimes having gentle sex makes me cry.  Because I realize that is probably how most people learned about their bodies.  Other people mostly discovered sex as something kind of weird and awkward but fun.  I think.  I'm guessing.  I don't know.  Mine was pain.  Because once I got past the point of being raped and I asked to have sex I was too young.  It hurt so much.  But that is what I was brought up to do.  So I did it.

Today is a hard day.  Today I have no defenses.  Today I feel sad and scared and like any minute now someone is going to turn around and hurt me.  Want to know how today has really gone?  I woke up at a normal time and did some writing.  Then everyone else woke up.  Noah decided that he just didn't feel like cooking so we went to our local breakfast place.  Shanna was a bit moody and particular about things, but not that bad.  And when I made my boundaries clear she figured out how she could deal with her part of it.  (Yes, you can be sad about something.  No you may not scream in the van or in the restaurant because you are sad.  That hurts.)  We did ok with breakfast.  I was overly touchy and edgy but I didn't blow up.  I didn't let it escalate.  I said I couldn't continue a chain of conversation instead of yelling or being nasty.  At home I had a massage and ate lunch.  There has been various talking to people in there.  But I had to tell Noah and Taylor that I was feeling young and I needed them to be careful with their tone of voice.  I had to say that.

Because I was raped.  I remember.  When I was very very young, must have been four or five, my father would pick me up and swing me through the air and I loved it and then he would lower me to his lap.  If I had pants on it was a little bit of rubbing and it felt good and I didn't say anything.  If I had a dress on, which was basically all the time.  My mother describes me as refusing to wear pants.  She says, "Oh you were such a girl.  You wouldn't wear pants at all."  And when I wore a dress my father would support me on his leg with his hands on my hips.  I remember the feel of his knuckle shoving deep into my thigh as he tried to get the right angle.  It hurt and I would bite my lip.  If I cried out with the pain he would flick me in the head and tell me to stop whining.  Then he would go back to holding my hips.  Sometimes he would stay external and play with my clitoris.  I hope I don't need to explain the basic human physiology of why that feels good.  That is where I learned about sex.  And I feel so very dirty.  Because I liked it.  Because I still like sex.

I think I like kinky sex because as long as someone is hurting me at the same time it's ok for me to like it.  I have to have that trade or I don't deserve it.

What is rape, anyway?  Is it just penis in vagina intercourse?  Do fingers count?  I say they do.  I say that when you are four and your father puts his finger inside your vagina and makes it hurt deep inside you and then punishes you for reacting to the pain you are raped.  And sometimes my body remembers.  Something I'm really glad about is since Calli was born sex doesn't hurt as much any more.  I no longer get the tiny little tears all through my vagina during sex.  You see, when your father starts raping you that young you develop a lot of scar tissue.  A gynecologist who specialized in dysfunction once used a clear speculum and a flash light to show me the spider web of scar tissue all the way deep into my vagina.  That's not normal.  Those little scars become little dotted lines that break over and over and over again.  But if you do deep enough massage you can break up scar tissue.  It's possible that having kids healed that pain.

Before children I had physical discomfort with basically every sex act to a greater or lesser extent.  But I didn't cry during sex.  I felt ok with myself because I dissociated away from that pain and I didn't notice much.  It's different now.  I'm trying so hard to not dissociate and sometimes it doesn't feel worth it.  I'm tired of trying to force myself into a body that hurts this much.  But I have to because that is the only way to deal with this shit.  I thought that being a grown up was supposed to make this easier?

How do I help?

I was asked: "I do wonder, what would be the appropriate action to take if I see similiar signals in dc or their friends as they get older? If I suspect something is happening do I go to the teacher? That didn't work for your friend's mom. Principal? CPS?"

I think that question is my life's quest.  I feel absolutely entitled to rail at my family for not protecting me.  I was raped over and over again as a small child.  No part of that is my fault.  It is the fault of the people who sent me into life threatening situations and abandoned me.  I am an extreme case, and I'm aware of that.  Now.  I wasn't aware of that before.  Whenever I hinted at my story people would say, "Oh me too!"  They don't say that any more.  Now I'm hearing, "I had stuff happen... but nothing like yours."  It's isolating.  I feel increasingly like a freak.  My paranoia is (hopefully almost done) peaking.

What do I wish people had done?  I wish that me telling this story now was so far outside of everyone's lives that it felt like science fiction.  And it kind of does.  It kind of does because of how many different things went wrong--the intensity is the issue.  Everyone has bad things happen.  If I had one story to tell about this one thing this one time... most of my stories are not actually that severe.

It's that I'm not done telling them.  It's that I have memories in my head that I have never spoken of.  I do not have words for them yet.  They are feelings in my body.  Violations that just about severed my body from my soul.  And that doesn't mean they were more violent or physical.  They are the scars I have emotionally from being made to believe from the time I was born that I deserve to have my father hold a gun to my head and rape me.  That is what people like me deserve.  I am an extreme case because of the degree to which I believed that was true.  But I got out.

What do I wish people had done?  I wish that all of the individual people who knew I was being molested would have done anything possible to bring attention to my life.  If the teacher refuses to intervene, call the principal.  If the principal refuses to intervene, call the police.  Make. Some. Fucking. Noise.

And for god's sake, if someone has a bad day and says, "I want to kill my kids" do not call the police "just in case" because what you are doing is abdicating responsibility.  You are saying, "I think what you said is bad, but I don't know if you will actually do anything bad or not so I'm going to threaten you with this Big Scary force and make you shut up.  That way if you do something bad I won't have to feel responsible for not acting."  It's a cop out and a waste of resources.  Just about every parent has times when they feel rage, overwhelming frustration, and has violent ideation.  I'm not glorying in this.  I don't think it is a good thing.  I think it is a serious problem that has to be addressed.

If you see someone acting out like that, I believe that communities should get involved.  It should not be shrugged off.  Do not start gossiping.  Fuck gossip.  If you are genuinely worried, get involved with the kids and/or the parent.  It may mean you have to make space in your life by giving up things you would rather do.  I really don't care.  There is no way that the police can adequately protect all of the children who are being harmed.  Do you know what helps?  Not being isolated.  Not be stuck in that house with the crazy all day and all night.  Offer to babysit.  Yes, babysitting that child will be a nightmare.

You are going to have to be careful because your first responsibility in life is your own children.  At this point one of my life goals is to add on to this house in a few years and once my girls are well into their teen years we will start fostering.  I have wanted to foster since I was in the system.

Do.Not.Risk.Your.Children.  I'm not saying that.  But there are ways to integrate abused children that does not put them at risk of aggressing and does not put your children at risk of being a victim.  It's complicated though.  I'm asking people to learn how to speak honestly about very hard things.  And you have to learn how to do it without shaming or silencing people who have been hurt pretty badly.  Little kids who have been abused can act like wild animals if challenged.

Educate yourself on what danger signs actually are.  Get to know the kids who go to school with your children.  Learn their personalities so that if something changes, you can say to the teacher, "Have you noticed a change in Betsy?"  Ask the teacher if she knows what is going on.  Be pushy.  No really.  Get over this idea that you don't interfere in other peoples lives.  I'm not saying be an asshole.  But be persistent.

But don't over react either.  It's a balancing act.  It's very hard.  Ok.  I'm not saying that anyone has to feel like they are required to troll the neighborhood looking for children.  But if your friends have kids?  Don't let them fall of your radar.  Include those kids in gatherings.  Even if you think you know your friends and you love them and trust them.  Act like the kids are real people who are worthy of attention.  Every child will benefit.  If you know that someone you like, or even love is hurting their child?  Speak up.  I'm serious.  Don't dither.  Don't be an asshole, but do it.

I'm not saying micromanage everyone else's parenting.  You don't have to like everyone on the planet.  Some personality types clash.  That's not what I'm talking about.  Let me knock that strawman off the pole.  I'm talking about actual abuse.

Everyone has bad days and people shouldn't be crucified for them.  But even good people can slip.  Even good people can become monsters.  I have monsters in my head.  I could very very easily be an abuser.  And no one would ever know.  Because if I did that, I would listen to all of the advice that is thrown at me from everywhere in the world and I would shut up.  As long as I am holding myself publicly accountable I know I won't slip.  Too many people would catch me.  I need that safety net.  I need to *know* that people give a shit about my kids.  Because let's be clear here, it's not about me.  I was brought up and trained to hurt people.  That is what the grown ups do in my family.  Even if we don't actively abuse our children sexually ourselves, we are supposed to think of ourselves as weak and powerless.  We are supposed to believe that we have no power or control over our lives.  We are supposed to think that things just happen to us.  We are not supposed to examine our own choices.

Fuck that noise.  I don't really care if the things I admit here are embarrassing to me.  I don't care if it worries people and makes them wonder about calling the police.  What I care about is keeping my children safe.  And yes, I have to write on the internet to do that.  I don't know any other way of building that safety net for my children.  I grew up alone and isolated.  I am weird and touchy.  I'm quirky.  I don't do very well with a wide variety of personality types.  I'm just not comfortable around them and I get angry instinctively.  I don't want to teach my daughter that.  So I invite people back to my house instead.

I invite people who are very different.  We have friends who are very different from me but they all have one thing in common.  They love me and they love my kids.  They are choosing to be invested in watching my children grow.  They are ensuring that my children are safe.  They watch me.  They watch my kids.  And the only reason they continue to know that it is important to do so is because I write about how very hard this is for me.  If I stop writing, people will no longer know how hard this is for me.  They will stop making the extra effort to come see my kids.  My kids will have to depend on *just me* to monitor my behavior.  I wouldn't have had kids if I believed I lacked the self control to raise them.  But man I like backup plans.

I have contingency plans for everything in my life.  What do I want people to do?  I want people to learn how to look at their lives in a more objective way and evaluate how they are creating the same situations over and over again.  I'm not saying that everything is their fault.  But lack of planning creates a lot of problems.  If you recognize your patterns you can make plans well in advance for how to change them.  It's pretty much impossible for me to improvise how to change my patterns.  I can't.  I have to preplan or I'm screwed.

Right now I am a weird creepy shut in because until I had children I believed that being sexually assaulted as a small child was my fault.  I don't think I understood that I wasn't responsible.  I didn't see how weak and powerless I was.  And right there, I had to go back and capitalize all of those I's in this paragraph.  I always capitalize I.  It's absolutely ingrained in my touch typing.  Maybe.

Right now I am parenting three kids all day every day.  Two are perfect, wonderful, shining examples of a healthy childhood.  The other was horrifyingly abused and she wants to lash out at everyone else because it is just not fair that she hurts so much.  Why do I always have to be the one who hurts?  Why me?  I don't want to be the vessel for this pain.  It is too much.   And I'm angry.  Oh my god I'm angry.  My mother knew he was a monster and she violated court documents to send me to him.

And I'm doing it.  I'm parenting all three of these kids.  Sometimes that means that when the hurting child needs attention I arrange for help with the other two.  That's how you balance everyones needs.  I can't give up on this hurting child.  Everyone else already did.  I'm the last one standing.  If I give up on her too, there is no way through this.

Why I'm not going to read any websites for a while.

Every so often someone will tell me that I am "really good at anger".  I'm never entirely sure what they mean by this.  Are you saying that I walk around ranting all the time?  Are you saying that I don't feel bad about myself for being angry?  Are you saying that I try to say why I'm angry out loud more than other people?  It's kind of ambiguous whether it is a compliment or an insult.  I think it probably varies depending on who is saying it.

Yeah, I have a lot of anger.  Sometimes I feel like I have a halo of anger around me.  That's not very often. I don't go through my life feeling that way.  But I can get there.  Quickly.  I refer to those times as being incandescent with rage.  I worry about that.  I worry because it has been made very clear to me throughout my entire life that I shouldn't be angry.  That being angry isn't good for me.  Thing is, my mom is the one who started delivering that message.  I hurt people when I am angry, so I should learn to control my anger. I'm getting kind of tired of people telling me that if my story worries, annoys, or hurts other people it is all my fault.  It really isn't.  Right this minute, oh people on the internet, I'm getting these stories out of my head so that I don't drown in them.  When I write them down I begin to understand what I am dealing with.

Most of the time, most of my life I have no active physical connection with these memories.  When I do I am small and scared and oh so very angry.  I feel increasingly like there was a giant conspiracy.  There are more and more people coming out of the woodwork saying it wasn't a secret.  I wasn't invisible.  People knew.  And I'm feeling angry.  People knew that I was being molested.  They didn't know the details.  But no one ever intervened.  It was never bad enough.  What exactly qualifies as bad enough?  My sister thinks that CPS is the devil and evil and only out to destroy families.  I prayed over and over throughout my childhood that someone would take me away.  Maybe that is when I lost faith in God.

I am hostile to people telling me to go to church.  I'm really ok with other people finding consolation anywhere they can.  But I can't.  I have been burned a few too many times in my life.  And before someone says, "Well one bad experience doesn't mean you should give up!" There was never just one try.  Fuck anyone who ever in the slightest way says I haven't tried hard enough.  Fuck you.  Fuck you.  Fuck you.  I was raped over and over.  I was moved around all the time so that I had no support network.

I survived.  I survived being told when I was 12 that the only viable career for me was prostitution.  That would be my brother Jimmy, the still alive almost-ally.  The one who is ok with me talking about my childhood assault to a couple of people, but I can't broadcast the story because then I am going for shock value and I am trying to hurt people.  How is that for an assumption of motives?  I'm not doing this because I need it to heal.  I'm doing it because I want to hurt people.  That, right there.  That is what my family thinks of me.  When people on the internet tell me that I shouldn't be telling my story... imply that there is no value in it.

I feel like there is a giant conspiracy.  Since I had the bad... manners? juju? luck? to have my father rape me I should just shut up about it and not compound the situation.  I should shut up.  I should spare their feelings.  I shouldn't talk about the bad things in my head because if I think them and admit them out loud I am already damned as an evil abuser.  If I say them I might incite someone else to act on my fantasies.  And that would be ALL MY FAULT.  Because everything is my fault.  Even the actions of strangers on the internet who read my writing.  I have been told this constantly my entire life.

Fuck you Olivia, whoever the fuck you are.  How dare you sit there in your pretention and your privilege and ask me if what I am doing is really necessary.  Don't tell me that talking about violence on the internet in an adult-only opt-in space is damaging to my children.  That is bullshit.  That is kyriarchy bullshit.  That is telling me that your pain is more important than mine.  Threatening to call the police on me because I blog about the effects of being raped and raped and raped and raped.  This is why people like me kill themselves.  Because I feel like the whole world wants me dead.  I feel like people would really prefer that I take my pain and my anger and I just go die.  Get the fuck out of their pretty world so that they no longer have to look at my ugliness.

No.  I'm not going to do that.  I am going to continue to write on the internet.  I am going to say all of the things that are going through my head because I haven't done anything wrong.  And when I do actually fuck up, I'm pretty savage with myself.  It's not like I am excusing a lifetime of fucking up.  It's not like I am sitting here blaming my family for my problems.  I am holding my family accountable for their actions.  I am talking about their actions (in a very judgmental way) in public.  I'm allowed.  I'm allowed to talk about the things that were done to me.

I'm tired of being told to shut up.  I'd really rather go find a podium.  Hi, I'm Kristine Lenora Gibbs and my father raped me.  Depending on definitions he did it many times or one big spectacular time after years of more mild molestation.  My family thinks I should be ashamed of myself because he did that.  I think they should be ashamed of themselves.  I think that anyone who allows a helpless child to be abused the way I was abused deserves to feel bad.  They deserve to feel as much pain as I do.  Yes, I want revenge.  I want my family to have no choice but to look in the mirror and see who they truly are.  I want them to know just how badly they hurt me.  They don't get to pretend my feelings don't matter.

And for this I am demonized.  I'm not suing.  I'm not trying to get money.  I'm not trying to get anyone fired from a job.  I'm not prosecuting for the outrageous abuse.  I'm telling the truth.  I am telling my life story with as little embellishment as I can manage.  If that makes you want to call the police?  Well... maybe you should think about that.  Maybe you should think about your own actions.  Maybe think about what things you aren't accepting responsibility for that maybe you should.

I am doing nothing wrong.  My children are a shining example of physical and mental health.  My house is kind of messy because we have small children, but we don't let food rot on the counter (uhhh.... outside the compost bucket).  No children here watch inappropriate movies.  No children here see inappropriate books.  No children here know words like sex, incest, rape, porn.  She does know how to talk about her vulva, vagina, anus, clitoris, and labia.  She knows that playing with your bits is an in your room activity like brushing your teeth is an in the bathroom activity.  I don't have sex in front of my children.  I don't talk to my children about my sex life.  Hell, I don't even make double entendres in front of my kids much.

But if I say on the internet that sometimes when my anxiety is high I start seeing pictures in my head of picking Calli up by the feet and hitting her head against the wall people think I should lose my children.  I deserve to have my whole life taken away because I have that go through my brain.  And yet no one ever took me away from my family.  I am so evil I deserve to lose my children for my (very rare) bad thoughts even though my actions are consistently good.  But my family committed atrocity after atrocity and I deserved to stay with them and take it.  And while I'm at it, why don't I shut up.

Fuck you internet.  I will not shut up.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Ok, the hits are still coming.  I ask you, gentle readers, how does hearing my story change your perception of me?  I really don't know.


I had my first breakdown when I was 15.  At that point I was not able to speak about why I was trying to kill myself.  Well, I mean, I could make allusions.  I talked about sex all.the.fucking.time.  Including talking extensively about sex with people I shouldn't be sleeping with.  That's what I did.  I treated all of the assault as consensual and I talked about it as if I liked it.

So when I was 15 I went to Los Gatos High School for my sophomore year of high school.  The only year of high school I completed in one school.  Go me?  I had friends in the theater group.  I even still talk to some of them.  Most of them I have lost contact with on purpose.  You see, they all hang out with the guy who tried to rape me at the end of that school year.  He's a great guy, right?  I will never find out.  I did send him a message on facebook telling him that he contributed to fucking up my life when he tried to rape me.  He didn't respond at all. I think that is the best possible result of me doing that.

So yeah.  LGHS kind of sucked.  The folks around me were spoiled rich kids.  Most of them had issues because rich parents are often shitty parents.  They have better things to do than pay attention to their kids, yaknow?  I was taunted and bullied a lot.  A really really lot.  I no longer remember what kicked it off, exactly.  But I remember sitting in my room.  I had my own room because no one could stand being near me.  Every other room in our house has 2-4 people in it.  But they all agreed I should have space.  Because I was such a nasty bitch and no one wanted to be near me.  That is what I was told.  I was told that I got my own room because I was a nasty bitch and no one could stand being near me.  I spent most of my time in that room.

So one night, not sure why that was the one, I was just done.  I couldn't get up one more time.  I just could not bear any more pain.  So I went and found some sleeping pills.  My family shopped at Costco!  We had three boxes with 30 each.  I figured if 1 should help you sleep through the night, 90 would be enough to let me sleep forever.

Taking those pills was awful.  They were chalky.  There was no coating on them.  They were blue.  I experimented with how many I could swallow at a time.  I only had water because I was afraid to go down to the kitchen and get something else to drink.  I can't swallow pills with water now.  I gag and vomit the pill up.  At that point it was the worst thing I'd ever had in my mouth.  Not anymore!  But it was still really disgusting.

And then I sat and I waited.  I waited to find out what it was like to die.  It was fucking terrifying.  I hallucinated all night long.  I was tortured with the darkest recesses of my mind.  I vomited repeatedly.  (And cleaned it up because I didn't want anyone else to be burdened with my mess.)  I spent most of that night sobbing hysterically because the itching skin feel made me think there were thousands of ants crawling on me and I couldn't get them off.  For many years I got hysterical if I found ants in my house.  It became a phobia.  If I saw ants in my house I could feel them crawling on my skin and I started to shake and scream.

I remember watching huge spider nests in the corners of my room explode with teeming bugs, a la Indian a Jones.  Horrifying.  I saw lizards mating on the floor and if I stepped off my bed they would bite me.  I saw kittens running around.  The kittens are why I was found.  You see, I didn't die fast enough.

When morning came around and everyone got up, my mom came and told me to get ready for school.  And I wasn't dead yet.  So I did what I was told.  I started getting ready for school.  In the process I started freaking out (uhm, still hallucinating, yo) about the kittens I saw darting out from under my mother's bed.  She got understandably freaked out.  The next bits are very fuzzy.  I vaguely remember splashes from the ambulance trip and I remember flashes of having my stomach pumped.  I don't recommend it.  You shit charcoal for a week.

Obviously I was put in a psychiatric hospital.  In Belmont.  I started to shake every time I drove past that town for a lot of years.  The hospital was really horrible.  When my anxiety is at its worst (clinical language applied now, I had no words for this then) I cannot eat a lot of foods due to texture issues.  And when you are in a psychiatric hospital as a teenage girl, they force you to eat.  It doesn't matter if you have food preferences, you are required to eat what they give you in the quantities they give you.  You are no longer treated like a human being.  I could not eat that shit.  So I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I would not cooperate in group therapy with "drawing my feelings" so I got in trouble.  Lots of trouble.  I spent two weeks there.  Twice I wanted to go to my room when it was not "room time" (sometimes you were locked into your room and sometimes you were locked out, depended on the time of day) and I got into kicking, screaming brawls with orderlies.  I have been strapped to a table in a mental hospital while I screamed and fought and sobbed.

That was my reward for surviving a lifetime of sexual assault.  That is why no matter how bad it gets I will never enter a treatment center again.  If someone implies too strongly that they think I should enter a residential treatment program I'm not sure I will ever be found again.  I caution my therapists and my husband not to even talk about it.

I know there are humane programs out there.  But the thing is, once you are there you don't have any power.  I will never let anyone take my power again.  I may be fucking crazy, but I'm the kind of crazy where I GET TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BODY.  Motherfucker.  It's kind of funny.  I have done a lot of being tied to tables as adults.  Once Tom tried to use "humane restraints" like they have in hospitals and I lost it.  He didn't try that again.

I have been saying that this month I had a nervous breakdown.  I think that is an accurate assessment.  But it's awfully nice to see how they are progressing over my lifetime.  My first real breakdown ended up traumatizing me more.  It compounded my problems in new and exciting ways.  The idea of having to ask to use a bathroom ever again fills me with so much rage I would like to commit murder.  No one gets to fucking control my body like that.

I will let people tell me I have to have sex with them.  But telling me that I can't go to the bathroom?  Oh hell fucking no.  I guess you pick your battles?

I remember my family coming to see me in the hospital.  They all looked very confused and asked me why I did this.  They all acted like it was a total surprise. Group therapy was a fucking joke.  "I know Krissy hasn't had an easy life, but I don't see why she did this!"  What they meant was, her father hasn't raped her for a few years.  Why is she bringing up old stuff?  They all got past it, why couldn't I?  Why was *I* so dysfunctional?  My family actually believes they are stronger than me and I need to learn how to handle my shit more like them.


But there was good from that situation.  If you go into a psych hospital Kaiser requires that you go to group therapy for 8 weeks.  Because that's an awesome way to solve your problems!  Let's get all the families of the really fucked up teenagers together for a couple of months and pretend like the kids are crazy in a vacuum.  The kids are just fucked up out of no where.  None of the parents could understand why we were acting out.  It's not like any of you abused us or anything.  But the nurse in charge was Tricia Perry.  I think she saved my life.

I saw Tricia as a therapist (jointly with my mother) on and off till I was thrown out of child and adolescent psychology for becoming an adult.  I never did tell her the big stuff.  We talked about my abandonment issues with my mom moving me around.  She did know I was molested, but she didn't have any idea of the extent.  My mom made it sound like one thing happened one time, without details.  I never argued.  I just couldn't describe it.  I didn't have words for what happened to me.  Tricia taught me to draw spiderwebs and journal and read psychology books.  Tricia knew that if I got through my life it would be on my own.  I don't remember if she ever said it or not, but now my sense is that she pretty much knew how bad my life was and she tried to give me tools to survive it.  She knew I wasn't ready to talk.

While I was seeing Tricia I was raped three more times.  I don't think the therapy was actually useful at getting me past my shit.  But I survived.  That's what I do.

It's kind of funny learning survivor language.  It feels so pedantic.  I mean, uhm, duh I survived.  Or I wouldn't be writing this down, eh?  Being a survivor means I get up in the morning and I pay attention to my kids.  I am careful with my tone of voice.  If it sucks, I apologize for it.  I do my best to pay attention to the honest-to-god actual needs of my children.  I try to parent them with a respect I never had.

My bad days are days when I am incapable of being anything other than a self-obsessed, hurting, flailing child.  Sometimes I sit and I think about my needs in comparison to my children's needs and I am able to triage without anger, blame, or feeling victimized.  I go through a lot of my life feeling like people are actively, deliberately trying to hurt me.  It's not a fun feeling.  When people give me advice that would be flagrantly inappropriate if they knew my whole story... but they don't... it feels like they are deliberately kicking me.

And the more I talk to people who knew me as a child the more that feeling grows.  It wasn't really a secret.  I talked to a girl I went to elementary school with.  This school very rarely had more than 30 children in a grade so everyone knew everyone.  Apparently in second grade I told her that my father and brother went out at night to suck blood.  That was probably the closest I could come to saying that my father raped me.  Her mother went to the teacher and said she thought I wasn't safe in my home.  The teacher said, "Those kind of people don't exist in my world."

I wasn't invisible.  It wasn't a secret.  But no one stopped it.  I was raped over and over and over.  No one stopped it.  No one ever gave a shit enough to stand up for me.  No wonder I feel worthless, useless, pathetic, dirty and bad.  My childhood was full of it and everyone acted as if it was right and proper that I be treated that way.  But I survived.  And now therapists want me to integrate my trauma so that I can heal.

Maybe I just don't like that language.  Maybe it is valid and ok that I just can't handle that language.  I don't want a chakra cleansing because how can anyone think that something as simple as an "energy cleansing" will help me?  I am so very fucked up on so many levels.  And the vast majority of it was very important in my childhood.  I don't want to give up my anger.  If I give up my anger then I am giving up this enormous source of Power.  No really.  I am incandescently angry that no one ever did anything to help me.  I consider that one of the greatest sins humanity has enacted.  I want to go find every person from my childhood who FUCKING KNEW and line them up in a row.  I want to tie them down into an all fours position and leave them in a prison shower.  I think they god damn deserve it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I hate you.  I hate you with a fury unseen since God wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah.  You are a worthless piece of shit and I hope you die slowly in a lot of pain.  Do you know what you did to me?  You beat me after I was raped.  You refused to help me when I was being raped.  YOU HUNG UP ON ME AND TOLD ME THAT I MADE MY BED NOW I HAD TO LIE IN IT.  You fucking stupid bitch.  How could you do that to your child?  Oh, of course.  You didn't know.  You.aren't.responsible.

Well guess what?  You are.  You are god damn responsible and I hope you rot in hell.  The thing is, you are already in hell.  You are pathetic.  You are a loser.  You are nonfunctioning because you know that you do not deserve to breathe.  You let your husband rape your children.  You continue to turn a blind eye to your daughter molesting her children.  You call me and tell me that I was not sexually assaulted as a little kid and I had better get my story straight.

Oh I have my story straight.  And you fucking know it.  You are fucking terrified of me.  And you should be.  Do you know why you should be afraid of me?  Because I know all of your dirty, shameful secrets.  I know all of the despicable things you have done.  It may take me the rest of my life but I will tell all of them.  You have no right to privacy any more.  You horribly abused me.  You are a monster.

You are just as bad as my father.  You spent my entire childhood ranting about how my father was evil.  AND THEN YOU SENT ME TO HIM SO HE COULD RAPE ME.  It's not like you can claim you were surprised!  I don't understand how you can stand to look in the mirror.

Do you know what he did to me, Mom?  Do you know?  Do you know that he used to finger me at any chance he could get?  Mom, he held a gun to my head and asked me if I deserved to live.  You know, because of how fucking badly you treated me I couldn't even say yes.  I didn't believe it.  You made me feel like I was worthless.  Less than worthless.  You made me feel like I deserved to be raped over and over and over.  You made me feel like I was a horrible person just by existing.  You are my mother.  Why did you do your best to destroy me?

You haven't won.  And you never will.  I am stronger than you.  I am smarter than you.  And by golly, I'm meaner than you.  You taught me well you fucking cunt.  I know exactly how to get under your skin.  And I'm going to.  Oh man I'm going to.  I may even send you all your own autographed copies of the book.

No love,
your last born.