And of course the first thing I do is plop myself down in the middle of a big thought process around priorities. I'm thinking about my priorities in life because right now I have to start acting on them in terms of living my life. I no longer have a brick wall event coming that forces a reordering into crisis mode. How do I actually want to live? Priority number one: deciding my priorities needs to not become an obsessive thing that disrupts my life. (Here I will make a side note: I have already had multiple funny asides I wanted to make but I can't remember the code for how to create a footnote and trying to think about how to make them is derailing my thought process. I'm annoyed. I may have finally found a motivation for learning how to code.)
It is 10 pm and my entire family is asleep. Seems quite reasonable. Only... the kids and I went to sleep at 1pm. We are going to have an interesting adjustment from jet lag. I'm up thinking about the patterns of our days and unschooling and my mental health and getting the house ready for Sarah and food and gardening and...
So I am thinking about priorities. Sarah will be in our house within 20 days. I am so excited I can barely sit still. But that's not a hard dead line in any negative traumatic way for me. I don't have to have the house to a certain "readiness". She could move in today and it would all be handled. I can do work before then that will make the integration process easier, and I'm doing that. But it's not an emergency. It can happen or not in whatever time or order I want. I'm done with the scary bits of that project. I just get to anticipate having Sarah here. Everything else is gravy. So right now I really am at the place where I get to sit down and think about how I want my life to look just because I get to start making it real now.
While I was on the trip I spent an obscene amount of time on Mothering.com because I was stuck in hotel rooms. I don't have any idea how much I posted and I don't want to think about it. I also wandered around the net looking at other parenting websites. I learned that I need to stay on MDC. I do not have the time or energy to go find a new forum. My story is long and complex. And I can't tell people little comfortable sound bites that ensure that they feel comfortable enough with me for me to say things without being attacked. I have a long posting history on MDC. Folks recognize me. It feels like a community to me. I have noticed it becoming more close knit after the recent mass evacuation. A whole bunch of people have reached out to me during the decline of the site. I feel increasingly seen there and I like it. I suppose that means I am moving up the hierarchy of the clique? But in a war of attrition I will lose. I have too many other things to do and I am going to go do them. I don't want to prioritize the kind of time it takes to stay popular on MDC. I have a life to live.
I started this blog because I wanted a place to feel accountable to so that I could document my life. I am not good at staying productive in a vacuum. I need a boss. Which isn't to say that I think I owe accountability to anyone specific on the internet. Y'all can kiss off. (said with love) But I am choosing an unorthodox path for my family. I want to prove to myself that I am actually doing what I say I am doing. I don't know another way to give myself the motivation to keep working without trying to produce some result. I want to talk about what I'm doing. I miss the camaraderie of having a job. Raising my kids is my job. And sweet sony Jesus don't make this into a stay at home mom versus a work out of the home mom thing. That's not what I mean. I mean that I have decided to not only stay home, but I am educating my kids. That's a separate job as well. I am responsible for preparing them for the world. Every parent is responsible for raising their children, and we all get help along that process. Each parent chooses a different amount of help. There is nothing wrong with that and I'm not judging how much "time" people spend with their kids. I'm really not. I'm trying to figure out what parts of raising them, educating them, preparing them for the world, entertaining them, etc. I actually have to do on a day to day basis and what parts of that can I and/or should I farm out? There is no need for me to be a martyr.
My other job is being me. Being me is high maintenance. Being me (near as I can tell) is a lot more work than it is to be someone else. I can't get good trade in value, so I'm sort of stuck with being me. If I want to be me well I have to put a lot of work into that. I am trying to get to the point where I respect and like myself enough that I feel good about all the time and effort I put into me instead of feeling ashamed that I require so much effort. That is complicated. Since we got home I have been doing a lot of emotional eating. I can tell. I can feel it. I can look at what I am eating and see why it is making me physically feel bad. But I can't seem to motivate myself to deal with it because of all the complicating factors around being exhausted from the trip. But tomorrow we have a local farmers market. And I'm working on giving myself permission to make specific choices that are short term suboptimal in favor of preparing for the marathon. It's weird.
I don't know if I am making any sense. I am also, once again, able to medicate for my anxiety. Thank you California for recognizing that I should be able to have control over whether or not I have to feel that upset all the time. I haven't yelled since we got home. And my stomach isn't hurting all the time. I've been able to slowly start stretching out the muscles in my head and neck and I no longer have a headache. I had that headache for a month straight. I'm fighting with my guilt to allow me more than the absolute bare minimum to be not full of rage. It's 10:23 and my kids are likely to wake up in the middle of the night. So I will be on duty and that requires being mostly sober. But then I will get edgy. Ah fuck it. It is better for me to ensure that my stomach stops hurting. That requires more than the amount that takes the edge off of my anxiety. Tonight, that is the right decision.
I worry about putting things on the internet because I worry that I will only put the bad things. Or only the bad things will be true. I need to get back to a place where I am loudly doing the good things too. That's the only thing that will allow me to feel safe. And in order for me to feel like I am doing the good things loudly... I need to figure out what doing the good things are so I can know if I am actually doing them. Seriously. Do other people have to stop and think about this stuff? Do you just know? Ugh.
I don't think that today's noodling counts as a binding agreement. Just so it has been said. But I want to give my boss a status update. I'm like that.
I think that it's time to set priorities. What things actually matter to me. And I need to act like I really do believe my priorities. And if I can't act like I believe them... I need to decide how I feel about not believing them anymore because I need honesty. I can't deal with hypocrisy. But it's complicated because sometimes it isn't about hypocrisy, you just aren't meeting 'x' priority because you are still stuck on 'g' and it is more important. I want to be very clear with myself about when and where I am stuck on g and when I have simply stopped believing that x is important.
For example. The local food thing. Wait, no... I want to back up. I want to start at the beginning. It's my story.
So I spent a lot of time on MDC during the trip. One of the best things I got out of it (and the side track over to Trolls With Wooden Spoons) was to examine some of the ways in which I really did drink the Kool Aid at MDC. And some of the things I have gotten from the experience have been good for me and I'm thrilled, and others suck. But I've been forcing myself to take it as a package deal. It's not. No matter how rabidly people on the internet berate me for not meeting one specific point on a checklist... dude. Really. I'm not failing at life if I stop doing something perfectly. Uhm... not that I have been perfect at any step on this journey. I think I need to stop making perfection a goal or part of the conversation. I just need to figure out what it means to be me and do that. How pretentious is that?
I feel about as self-involved as an adolescent. Shanna and I are at the same space in development, and in some ways that's true. As I am discovering myself on the journey to recovering from incest, I really am starting in about the same place Shanna is. I am reparenting myself. But I'm far harder on myself than I am on Shanna. Maybe I should be a lot more gentle with both of us. My daughter is already a shining example of vitality. I need to stop acting like I need to feel guilty for neglecting her. I'm not neglecting her. I am treating it like my only job is to educate her and she's blossoming. Ok, she's weird... yes. But she's trying things out. None of what she is doing is for keeps. Geez, she's only three. But why can't I have the same latitude? Why can't I be just figuring out who I am too? That's also my job. I didn't get that when I was a small child the way normal kids do. I was too busy keeping secrets and trying to be the person other people wanted me to be.
The thing is, part of who I am is a responsible adult. I need to ensure that I am meeting the specific priorities that actually matter to me and to the people and community around me. I am quite literally responsible to and for the people and things around me. I have obligations. I have no interest in walking away from my obligations. I really don't want to leave. I have a wonderful life. But it is work. I have many jobs there. I have been hiding at home for a long time because I haven't been up to the work of being in a community and being me and being a parent all at the same time. I'll be frank and say that I worry about that decision. I worry about that decision partially because I know that I describe my life on the internet in ways that make some people worry about my children. I want witnesses. That sounds awful. I want there to be no way in the world for me to get away with doing anything bad to my children. I want there to really and truly be no way at all I could hurt my kids and it would be invisible. And that means a blog is not the whole answer. That means people who interact with my children a lot and watch them.
Side note: this blog post about being queer just made my day. I struggle a lot with queerness as an identity. I feel pressured to engage in homosexual sex in a way I don't feel pressured to engage in heterosexual sex. It's self-imposed. But that is part of me figuring out who I am. So maybe this isn't a side note after all. I'm crying because I know I am begging for permission for spending time on thinking about myself. I want to believe it is ok for me to take up as much space as I need to take up in my day. That's part of my job! Damnit!
Another side note: the more I think about Lady Gag's The Edge of Glory video the more I think that woman is a fucking genius. In most of her videos she hands you a fully fleshed out STORY and you are not allowed to project your own stuff. There is no room for you in her stories. She is sharing her fantasy. Not this time. In this one there is a lot of room for the argument that she isn't presenting a story at all. For once... she's just ... on the edge of a story with you. And this time you get to tell it. "I think that at this point in the video I would do..." And yet you can't get away from the fact that it is a Lady Gaga video because even when she is downplaying all the stuff that is her normal trademark she is still so very her. So in this video she is inviting collaboration. I don't think she made this video so simply because she is a cheap bastard. I think she wanted to give her fans a place to project themselves into a relationship with her. I think she is that willing to be vulnerable. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Seriously. This video is a love song to each and every fan. She didn't want it to be a big dance number song. This is how she feels about every person and she wanted it to be one on one. This is how she wants to fuck every single one of her fans. I think she is a genius. She wants to feel like she is in love with each person. She is Mother Monster and she wants to be lover as well. I really think I should take the trouble to learn more about her and become more of an actual fan. Because only in talking to other fans will avoid sounding like a lunatic. ha.
I need to not focus on what other people should or shouldn't be doing outside my family. That needs to drop off my priority list entirely. So when I notice at 11:22 that I am no longer able to coherently write I need to go to sleep instead of trolling the internet.