Saturday, January 14, 2012

How you spend your days is how you spend your years.

I don't see very many people.  In many weeks I only speak to the people I live with.  Soon that is going to narrow to a pool of one adult again.  I have a friend who is wonderful and amazing and has been coming down to visit me for years.  He's been one of the thin threads holding me to the world sometimes.  I got to see him yesterday.  The visit was wonderful.  There was one line in particular that tickled my fancy: "It seems like monogamy is so... hasty."  He's not the first friend to tell me pretty much exactly that.

Non-monogamy means that for the rest of my life I need to think about what I have to do to be attractive to people other than Noah.  That sounds a lot like work.  Not to put too fine a point on it.  Non-monogamy means having to think about my boundaries a lot as they shift.  I have to figure out how to explain where I am to new people.  I have to always expect that after new-sex I may be in pain for days. I can find lovers who don't hurt me even slightly (thank you Daddy) but it's rare.  And scheduling with those people is a constant drain and stress.  Or I can stay home and fuck Noah.

I can't express what it is like for me to have a partner who is interested in sex any and every time I look at him.  Monogamy with Noah is not signing myself up for years of deprivation.  It is a different situation.  My previous experiences of monogamy were that monogamy mostly meant "celibacy".  I am rabidly against getting myself into that situation again.  This isn't that situation.  If we had adequate childcare we would find a way to have sex three times a day every day.  It's different.

I have sex with lots of people because that is the only way for a woman to have control over how much sex she is having, in my experience.  My experience is that men are just as big of withholders as women supposedly are.  I think the Embargo is kind of a crock of shit because guys tend to like the idea of a woman who wants sex all the time but they turn nasty if you say, "Again" before they want it.  They can't handle the pressure.  It emasculates them.  Monogamy with Noah is not as hasty as it sounds.

The only thing standing between Noah and the bondage abilities of my dreams is me developing the patience to teach him.  Noah is ok with being bad at things before he is good.  I'm not ok with bad experiences.  I am too cocky because I spent so long as a bottom I didn't need much time to get good as a top.  Noah is interested in keeping me happy.  He puts great effort into doing so.  I didn't know a man could feel that way about me.

Most of the men I have dated put very little effort into me.  There are some that are better at putting up with a lot of me, but they are not interested in changing for me.  They are just mellow guys who can ignore the difficult parts of women and enjoy the good parts.  Good for them.  I'm really glad they exist in the world.

Noah is the only person who doesn't tell me that I am too angry.  Noah asks for clarification if my anger is about him.  If it is, we try to fix it.  If it isn't he just goes about his life and acts like it is perfectly fine for me to feel that way.  Ok, he doesn't talk much when I rant.  But he genuinely thinks it is ok I feel that way.

It's really hard being told you are too angry all the time.  I was just barely angry enough to save my life.  I threw my fiancé against a wall when I was eighteen; that's a lot of why I ran away from that relationship so hard.  I have kicked holes in drywall at least five times over the last fifteen years.  This week I kicked the cabinet doors.  The 1/4" screws in the hinges didn't appreciate that.  I punch things like trees more often.  I punch metal things so that I can't break them.

That's the whole extent of my acting out as an adult.  Other than that I just yell.  I don't even yell all that much.  I just have a nasty tone of voice.  I was interested in the fact that people with Borderline Personality Disorder are known for their loneliness and it seems to be tied to growing up neglected and sexually abused.

Do you know why I feel lonely all the time?  Because I was angry as a child because I was being continually sexually assaulted and no one believed me.  No one had any interest in protecting me or stopping the assault.  When I lived in a house with twelve people I was told to stay in my room alone while everyone else had dinner downstairs because "no one wanted to put up with my mouth."  When people constantly tell me I am too angry... fine.  I'll just leave.  I know that no one wants to put up with my mouth.

I'm told I should just stop being angry and learn to be "nice".  Be pleasant.  Don't ruffle feathers.  I'd rather stay home.  I lost a friend this year because I got to a point where I could no longer be nice about behavior that was bothering me.  I was told adamantly that he was never sexist, racist, and he has absolutely no privilege at all.  I am just wrong.  There is nothing wrong in his behavior.  I disagree.  It is to the point where spending the afternoon together and having dinner is too much time because by the end I am so enraged at your casual dismissal of all experiences that differ from yours drives me insane.  I cannot sit near someone so encased in his own world he refuses to even acknowledge that other people are allowed to have different experiences.  I can't do that any more.

I just stay home.  Not very many people visit and I think that will trickle away when Sarah stops inviting people over.  I don't know how to have friends.  Apparently it involves feeling something I don't feel: lack of anger.  I'm stressful to be around.  It's really not worth it.

When I'm alone with the kids that's just not part of what is going on.  Ok, I'm overly huffy as I move around doing chores but when I have the schedule down I'm not even real huffy.  I clean for 1-2 hours every morning.  I have a circuit I do.  I go check the white board and I do my chores.  Part of what appears "huffy" is that I am concentrating really hard because I am trying to figure out how to make the process go faster.  Where are the pieces where I can develop faster coordination (folding laundry) and where are the pieces that I have to go slooooooowly or it is pointless (vacuuming) etc.  When I am alone with the children they get up and help with a chore a day.  It's different from day to day.  Sometimes they want to "help sweep".  Sometimes they want to "help vacuum".  Shanna is actually helping occasionally.  There are tasks I can trust her to do.  I stand there and watch her and talk to her about it.  She beams.  I thank her and tell her I'm so glad I get to have a little girl who wants to help me.

These things fall apart when someone else is here.  As soon as there is another adult in the room watching me work the children stop asking to help.  It is culturally normal to sit and watch the work, not do the work.  That's what I grew up with.  When I lived alone with my mother, we worked together. When she was off at work I learned to take care of house stuff for her.  When she got home we read or watched tv together.  We were partners and buddies.  I could clearly see how my efforts resulted in her having more time and energy to devote to me.  And she did.  She had no one else.

When we lived with other people there was always something wrong with me and I should go away.  Groups are so terrifying to me.  I'm well aware of how it goes when one person dislikes you.  Soon there are two.  Then three.  After all, I am so angry and difficult.  Aren't things much smoother and nicer and more fun when I am gone?

When I stay home with the kids alone we schedule fun.  We go to museums and parks and the zoo.  We go for walks.  We make big elaborate snacks together.  I know that I am solely responsible for providing all amusement.  Except when I'm not.  And my kids are ridiculously good at entertaining themselves while I do other things.

When I know that I am the only responsible one I make sure I am balancing their needs.  We need to do "learning type" activities.  I'm pretty vague at this point.  Mostly that means that when I read aloud I talk about letters more than normal and I sound words out and talk about phonics a little.  Like two sentences.  But my kid knows that there are two ways to learn words.  You can either memorize the whole thing, like Daddy, or sound it out, like Mommy.  I told her that Daddy actually has way more words in his head than I do.  But I get to sound just as smart because I can sound them out anyway.  She deemed that a neat trick.  She still isn't interested in learning to read.  She is adamant.  That's ok.  Even though it feels like pulling teeth I initiate art activities and sit and do them with the kids.  I am drawing.

I actually think that the next book I put together should be a childrens book.  I told my story in an adult way.  What can I say to my children to help balance out the things I do that are broken?  How do I make them understand that warriors are sometimes grumpy because they do hard things.  Warriors can be anyone--even Mommys.  It's not about kids.  Kids didn't do anything wrong.  Sometimes warriors are just grumpy.  You can choose if you want to be a warrior or not.  There are other paths available.

I don't know how to explain to my children that my battles are just in my head at this point.  I actually already won.  I just don't know how to believe it.  I don't know how to feel safe.  I never have.  I don't know how to learn that feeling.  I'm trying.  Part of how I am trying is monogamy.  I am deciding that from this moment forward I never have to worry about pleasing anyone other than Noah and myself.  It gives me a lot of freedom to try things.  And if people don't like my anger, fine.  Don't come over.  But I should invite more people over.  I don't think it is truly that no one likes me.  I don't exactly extend invitations.  I'm sure people feel like they would be rudely inviting themselves over.

True story: on Monday a friend showed up for dinner.  We uhm, were supposed to have dinner together, out, on the following Monday.  Instead he showed up right as things were tense and hard and uncomfortable with Sarah.  Because telling someone that moving is in their future is a god damn unpopular thing to say.  We had plenty, because Sarah is awesome like that.  I keep going back and forth between saying in my head, "Oh no!  What will we eat now?!"  And trying to acknowledge to myself that I am actually a good cook.  It's just not my favorite chore.  We will eat just fine.  Like we did before Sarah moved in.  I was getting it done.  Just not with as much good cheer as Sarah.  That's going to have to be ok.  It has to be ok to be me in my house.  I can't spend the rest of my life apologizing for my tone of voice.  I need to figure out how to raise children who can know in the pit of their stomach that I am truly not angry with them when I have a negative tone of voice.  I need to figure out how to raise children who can love me for who I am and love themselves and know they get to choose whether they are angry or not.  So do I.  I choose to continue being angry.

There.  I've said it.  I don't see much point in pursuing this "nice" that other people espouse.  I'm always terribly unhappy.  I always feel stepped on and kicked and ignored and... No.  That doesn't work for me.  However, I want to be effective.  I choose to not try to give up anger.  I don't see a point.  I think that instead I should look very carefully at where I am angry and why.  Then try to change that situation instead of trying to change my feelings about it.  How about if for five fucking minutes in my life I acknowledge that my anger is generally in service of my overall well-being.  It truly is.  It burns so hot because I spend a lot of time actively damaging my well-being.  I don't think the problem is my anger.

In order to feel ok with myself when I am out dating I don't say "no" to many activities.  I'm well aware that "asking for vulnerable sexual acts is harrrrrrrd and people need to be supported in doing so.  Well, that's fine and all but I'm not new any more.  There is this major thing in the bdsm community around fetishizing "newness".  Everyone wants to be the first one to tie up, spank, flog, whatever the fresh meat.  I'm an experienced bottom.  My first time getting suspended was nearly twelve years ago.  My ex specifically was very into "firsts".  That's a lot of why I am so bitter.  Once he had done something with me once or twice he had no interest in doing it with me again.  He wanted to go find someone else who was new to do it with.  Do you know why that is?  (In my judgmental opinion.)  When you are playing with someone new they have few preconceived notions.  They will take what you give them and say thank you.  When you play with someone experienced they say, "You know, every time you put a rope across my right shoulder like that I end up with pain in my arm for days, how about if we move it like ____."  That's uhm, harder to feel like a stud with.

I long ago exhausted Noah's repertoire of standard tricks.  He's had to go find new and exciting ones for me.  He's had to adapt.  And in the process he has learned things about my body that no one else bothered to learn.  Even when I try to tell other people, they don't really listen.  They want to do what they want to do.  They don't actually have that much interest in me having the kind of experience I want to have.  No thank you.  I'm really ready to move into a period of my life where I only have sex with someone who thinks I am worth all the effort in the world.

Maybe monogamy is hasty and maybe it isn't.  I think that after five years of marriage we actually know what we are getting into.  I'm ready to stop being angry with Noah for pursuing other women.  I'm ready to stop being angry that I am not good enough for him.  Yes yes, I should just work on getting over those feelings so we can both continue to grow separately and change.  I'd rather put all that effort into working to grow together.  I think there will be more pay-out.

I have spent a lot of time living in an individualistic subgroup in an individualistic society.  I want to be part of something.  The only thing I will ever really have in the whole world where I know unconditionally that the other people truly want me to be there is my marriage to Noah.  I sincerely doubt I will ever feel accepted and loved the way I do by him by anyone else.  I will always be just wrong for other people.

I'm sure this is codependence.  I'm ok with that.  I do have friends.  They just generally live far away or they are very busy or they are chronically ill.  I talk to them online as we can.  It's kind of like way back in the day when people lived on more isolated farms.  I do see people occasionally.  But mostly I'm just going about the business of living with my family.  We are a fairly self-contained little unit.  We can figure out how to do this together.  I can't figure out how to do this if I am feeling the whole time like what I want is wrong to want.  I don't want to be pressured to be poly.  Do you know what pressure to be poly means?  It means that everyone else thinks I have no business closing my legs either.  I'd really like to set a high bar of entry for the rest of my life.  I am worth so much that the only person who gets to have sex with me is someone who was willing to marry me.  You have to be forever and ever madly passionately in love with me.  But I guess wanting that is too hasty.  I should leave room for the fact that in the future I will probably be in a different headspace.  I will feel compulsive.  Why should I shut down that compulsion?  Maybe because it isn't worth the cost.

If I want good sex I have to deal with the fact that it means major communication with Noah.  Not just lots of words.  But specifically saying the hard things I usually try to avoid.  Ew.  I can avoid talking about those things forever if I just go through a series of new partners hoping to strike gold and just find someone to "meet my needs" that Noah isn't meeting because he doesn't understand what they are or how to do so.

I don't want to be a complete individual.  I want to be part of a whole.  I want that with every piece of my soul.  I am tired of always fighting to stay separate.  Fighting to keep parts of me away from whoever I am talking to because they will criticize or tell me what I "should" do or tell me I am too angry or tell me "don't hold back, tell me how you really feel" or they will seem perfect and then in the middle of the marathon sex they will take a break for thirty minutes and watch tv and ignore me until they decide they want to fuck again.

No.  I want to know what I am going to get in my life.  I want to know what kind of support I can actually expect.  I want to know how much effort someone thinks I am worth.  I want to know that someone is really doing everything in his power to make my life good and wonderful and this is the limit and please-God-let-it-be-enough.  So far in my life it hasn't been enough.  I feel like that is a failing in me.

Noah has put more effort into accepting me for where I am than anyone else ever has in my life.  I will not get better than him.  Every day for the rest of my life I want to sit next to him.  I want to talk to him.  I want him to be the one I spend my time with.  I don't really want to have a whole separate life.  I spend time away from him because there are things that have to be done.  But I'm happier when I'm doing my work in the same room as him doing his work.

Other people don't have to live like me.  Other people don't seem to need this kind of scheduling.  This kind of isolation.  This retreat into the safety of being alone.  I don't feel lonely when I am with Noah.  Well, that's not true.  When I think too hard about the fact that I will never have a family because they think I am a liar and a terrible person for saying that my father assaulted me and pressing charges and forcing him to die and forcing them to know about it.  That makes me feel lonely in a way that nothing can ever repair.  Mostly I just don't think about it.  It is easiest to not think about it when I am with Noah.

Only now he is realizing that his childhood wasn't what he thought it was.  And the kind of hole I have in me is something we will create in our kids if we completely keep them away from his family.  The kids need to know they are loved and wanted by many people other than just me.  Although I would give anything to know my mother really wanted me in a way that allowed me to be safe.  My kids will at least start off with that.  Hopefully it is enough to keep them safe from being like me.  Apparently being like me is just about the worst thing in the world.  I certainly feel like I can't leave the house without people commenting on some part of me that is unacceptable.

I don't even know if it is true or not.  I don't know if it happens or not.  But Noah likes me and wants me and thinks I am worth a ridiculous amount of effort.  And a ridiculous amount of catering to.  Noah wants me to do whatever I want with my house.  And he wants me to have hobbies that make me smile.  And he is trying very hard to learn how to say and do things in a way that works for me.  He is trying to learn how to communicate in a way that promises only what he means to promise.  It means that some things need to be black and white because the gray is just too hard.  I don't think it is too hasty to decide that monogamy is a good idea.  I think it is a good way to decide that neither of us enjoy dealing with my emotional tumult around him being non-monogamous.  We could spend a lot of time saying there is something wrong with me because I have those emotional issues and I need to get over them.  Or he can say, "It hurts you.  I'll stop doing it."  That isn't healthy at all to do with everything.  He does still play video games and go see his friends and have time off and... He is very carefully picking his battles.  What are the things worth fighting for and why?  Fucking other people isn't worth the effort.  The payoff is way too low for the amount of effort.

I like the rhythm of days where we manage to work together and play together.  Noah likes to be told "Do this list of chores by x time."  He will wait till the last five minutes and rush.  I like to be given a really long period of time and I will space the work out so I get to rest in between.  That means I tell him, "On Thursday at 7pm I would like you to _______" not "Some time this week could you ____".  Because if I tell him "some time" he may not get it done till Friday at 9pm I will be angry at him.  He was shooting for Saturday evening.  Whoops.

I don't especially enjoy being angry.  I dislike the body load intensely.  But I think I'm done feeling upset with myself for being angry.  When I'm angry that means something is going on that I need to change.  I need to pay a lot more attention to that than trying to "stop feeling angry".  That's telling me to learn to dissociate more so that I just can't feel it.  I don't need that.

How can I build things that are just for me into my life while spending all my time with my kids?  I think this is going to be an interesting learning curve.  With every person who tells me that I shouldn't want to be monogamous, that it's too hasty, that it's too... something.

I know that I have strong mood swings.  I do significantly better when I take as many of the "reasons" for those mood swings as possible in my life.  Having to always sit around and wonder when my husband will get the itch to step out on me... it's not worth the cost.  Because the paranoia and fear can surface at any time because I really don't know when it will happen or have any control over it.  (Yet another) Tom told Noah that his incentives are not in alignment with his goals right now.

Time to go do something else.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I had like a day to read back over your recent posts and tell you all the things I think about them. I did want to tell you that strangely enough, james and I decided to be monogamous shortly before I started reading about it on your blog, for many of the same reasons. or rather, we decided to stop sleeping with other people so as to move toward being monogamous. no promises have been made and based on the way we make decisions it's somewhat unlikely that promises will be made, but still it felt a little like jumping off a cliff. It was just...yeah, feeling scared, angry, inadequate and closed off all the time was getting old, despite the obvious benefits.

    also, hair: the reason I keep bleaching and dyeing just the tips of mine is so I can have some color, then cut it off and keep some length after it gets totally fried... so far that's working pretty well for me :)