I have so much going on in my head and I am alone a lot. If I don't type then I just don't express anything. My friend who was supposed to come over yesterday was sick so he cancelled. (Good! Take care of yourself!) That was going to be my first sit down and really talk to an adult other than Noah this month. Today another friend wants to come over but I don't think she should because Noah, Shanna, and Calli are all pretty sick and she's 29 weeks pregnant. Don't come over and get sick.
So I released the book and then... sat at home. Alone. Thinking. I'm really grateful that a number of people have called or messaged me to tell me that they read the book. There are a few different pieces of this that I'm focusing on. First: it was readable, right? I'm kind of insecure about my writing style. I'm worried it is difficult to follow. I'm rather abrupt. Second: I really am curious which parts of the story bother people the most or stick with them. Third: I am curious what people think about their own lives as a result. I've had two conversations in particular where people used the book as a springboard to talk about a lot of stuff from their childhoods. I felt my heart soar. I made them think.
I had a good therapy session this week. I'm glad I got to go this week. We spent a lot of time talking about how becoming an adult involves a lot of shitty work no one wants to do. You are an adult once you learn the systems involved in surviving and you can do them without thinking or complaining. Because as long as you still don't know what you are doing, you are a child. And if you are complaining? You still aren't an adult. These things simply have to be done and complaining about them is pretty ridiculous. Who am I going to bitch at because I have to dust? Really?
We talked about how I have areas of my life where I have strong beliefs about what makes a good person and they make it kind of hard to actually be a good person. I give other people more slack than I give myself. I have these really strong beliefs because of the circumstances of my life. I would have different strong beliefs if I had different circumstances.
I have had a hard time learning the tasks of being a house wife. The repetitive nature is daunting. How do you actually get to the point of having a system? Of knowing how and when all these tasks should be done? Once upon a time girls were trained in how to do these things, I wasn't. I just have to kind of guess. I am happier in a tidy house because then I spend less of my time hunting for things. Less time tripping and hurting myself. Less time breaking things because it is impossible to be careful in a mess. It's not a moral judgment, exactly. I have a lot of anger built up around people being able to say, "Well I can't find it so I don't have to deal with it."
Last night Noah tactfully didn't point out that I want him to do more and more work while being cheerful. Maybe I shouldn't be so fussy that I have to do more and more work while being cheerful. That's what being a grown up means in this house. It means that there is a lot of work to be done, and you do it, and you need to be a pleasant person while you do it. None of this work is a personal affront. None of it qualifies as an indignity or imposition. At this point the house is really forking tidy. It's not much work to keep clean.
I care a lot about tone and attitude. My kids are going to learn their entire approach to life from me. I am keeping them home from preschool and elementary school. I am teaching them what it means to be a mother and an adult and a citizen. I don't want to teach them to stuff their feelings or hide their emotions and pretend to be happy. I want to model what it looks like to build a life where you are genuinely content. No, not everything is ever perfect. But I've picked my burdens in life, it seems like even a bit more so than most people. I really went out hunting for what I wanted. And I have it. It's a good life.
My beautiful Shanna is on my lap right now. She is engaging and fun. She's trying to talk me into letting her put the NaNoWriMo bumper sticker on the wall. I think I'm going to decline. She makes me smile. I have begun to notice that the lines on my face do not easily settle into smiling. That feels sad. I want to work on that. I have so much to smile about.
I grew up going between living in truly isolated circumstances and Auntie's house. Auntie's house was always busy. There were a lot of people coming and going. I miss people. I miss feeling like part of a hive. I live a very quiet life. I hang out with my kids and that is pretty much it. It's hard figuring out what conversations are appropriate for Shanna.
Yesterday she asked me if my mother is dead. I told her no. She asked why we don't see my mother. I told her I would explain more when she gets older. I don't know how to have this conversation yet. My mother lives thirty minutes away and you can never see her because she will tell you that small stupid things are your fault because you deserve to suffer. I don't want Shanna to grow up thinking she is bad or to blame for adult matters.
Part of the reason I am alone so much is because I allow other people to have inappropriate influence over me. I try and try and try to do what they want, long after it is bad for me to try. I'm not actually good at boundaries, no matter what I try to claim. I keep my boundaries by keeping my front door shut. I only have to worry about the people and things inside this house. I don't have to bend to anyone else's needs or whims.
One of my high school boyfriends told me yesterday that I was always good at boundaries. Ha. The reason I stopped talking to you was because I continued to feel like I had to have sex with you because you wanted to have sex and it's not very nice to tell people they can't have what they want.
Noah doesn't really want to talk about monogamy anymore. He agreed to it under duress and he'll do it, fine. But he doesn't want to talk about it. I feel scared. I feel like at some point in my life someone is going to tell me that they want to and I won't feel like I get to really say no. People like me don't get to say no. I rehearse in my head, "I'm in a monogamous marriage. I don't have sex with people any more." I pray to god I never get in a situation where saying that is ignored. I'm afraid it will. I'm afraid to ever be in a situation where I might be vulnerable to someone asking. I'm so scared. Because I'm afraid that I will say no once and it will be ignored and I will do what I do and I'll put my head down and shut up and try not to cry and just get through it. And afterwards I will talk about it like it was consensual and I deserve all the damage done. Because I do. Because I always deserve what I get, right?
I'm afraid that part of the reason I stay home so much is because I can't control what happens to me when I leave home. Bad things happen and there is nothing I can do about it. Even stupid shit like losing my wallet. I feel like being out in the world is dangerous. Maybe it is for everyone. Maybe I'm just stupid and I deserve what happens to me. This is part of what I worry about passing on. Other people don't seem to be terrified that if they go out they are likely to be hurt. I feel like I don't have a lot of resiliency left.
The cease and desist letter feels kind of like a punch to my stomach. It didn't come from someone I outed as abusive in any way. He's more of a neutral-to-positive sort of character. And he still wants to silence me. I should just shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up.
How you spend your days is how you spend your years. I keep a tidy house. I garden. I run. I play with my beautiful daughters. I'm teaching them about the world. I'm teaching them about how all of life is a process. There are steps you can skip and steps you can't, the trick is finding out which is which. I read about twenty pages out of The White Trash Mom's Handbook yesterday. From the title it seems like the perfect book for me. It's not. It's all about how to stay within the system and look successful while taking short cuts. I suppose for someone who wants their kids to be "successful" in public school it is full of valid points. I don't want children who are successful at public school. I want children who are successful at life. Very few of the really successful people in our country went to public school. Think about that. It's a broken system. It manages to turn out most of the cogs in the machine but it doesn't turn out people who know how to run the system by and large.
I don't think there is anything wrong with people putting their kids into preschool and public school. I think it is the norm in our world. I'm not very good at fitting in with norms. I would not be able to "pass" enough for my kids to have a successful public school experience. As I read that book I noticed over and over how the author keeps saying that you have to "play the game" or your "kids will suffer". It's true. My kids would suffer because I am their mom in public school. I would do things wrong. They would be punished. They would almost certainly be weird and different and public school is not kind to such children. My children will most likely never appear normal. They are wonderful and great and awesome, but they will always be quirky.
For all that I whine about being alone, I have found a life and a space that fits me. When I am feeling self-confident I have places to go. I have friends. Lots of people like me. I stay home because *I* have issues. And because I'm shitty at managing my kids and doing anything else at the same time. At home I can be all "free range" and not feel guilty. My kids and I are working hard at learning how to coexist. How do I get my work done while they have their own work to do? How do we all get along?
From my daughter I learn that it is better to say, "Hey, will you please help me find the ipad?" rather than "You didn't put the ipad on the table." Because I sit here and listen to her talk all day long I am learning where my manners are disgusting. I'm learning where I am very rude. I'm working on it because I don't want to hear it from her. I think it is good for me. It's the least judgmental feedback I have ever received. I just have to sit around and listen to her ape my tone of voice and attitude. It's humbling. There is no one in the whole world I can blame anything on but myself in this house. My daughters have me for an influence. And Netflix. Thank goodness for Netflix. Shanna is learning how conversations go. It's dramatic to see how this is working for her.
I'm trying to understand better what my social needs actually are. I'm looking forward to the Storytelling at the end of the month. So far I have had one person tell me absolutely yes (yay!) and several others are strong maybes. I'll take it.
We are also going to a sex party at the end of the month. I'm intimidated. I don't think anyone will inappropriately push me (the host would kick anyone out who tried) but I think I will feel awkward and weird. What am I there for anyway? What business do monogamous people have being out in the sex communities? What is the point of going? Because that is my community, for better or worse. Even if I never have sex again in my life the alternative sex communities are mine. I belong in them. I am sexually deviant. But am I? I don't know.
I feel like I don't know who I am or what I want. I feel scared. I feel isolated. I feel like I should never do anything other than garden, hang out with my kids, run, and clean again. This is my life now. I chose it. I should stick with what is safe. I have never been this safe before in my life. What is wrong with me that I want to shake things up? What is wrong with me that I get bored?
I still don't feel safe. I feel like this could all be taken away from me if people knew how disgusting and broken I am.
Do you know why I keep my house as clean as I do? Because I live in terror of a CPS visit. I kicked cabinet doors, obviously I am an unfit mother. I have kicked holes in drywall (years and years ago). I yell. I get so very angry. Obviously I am unfit. I do not deserve the goodness and safety I have.
I should go somewhere sleazy and unsafe and become inebriated and unable to say no coherently and forcefully because that is what girls like me do, right? Is it even possible to hang out with people and do anything else? I don't know. I feel like I don't know anything at all.
I am never going to fit in. I am never going to be "normal". And I mourn that. I mourn that I can't give my kids that because I don't know what it looks like. Instead what I'm giving them is a very structured environment where we work all day long on communicating with one another in polite tones. How do you ask people to meet your needs in a civil tone of voice? We're working on it. We do a lot of "try again". Because here I get a lot of chances. Once I walk out of the front door I give up my right to be able to try things over and over till I get it right. I'm not practicing anymore. That's the real world. I'm not ready.
I have approximately fifteen more years to learn how to be a functional, polite grown up. Now that I'm thirty that doesn't sound like nearly enough time. I haven't managed yet, what hubris do I have to think I can learn in the next fifteen years? I have fifteen years to focus on how to teach my kids what they need to know in order to move off into the world. It doesn't feel like enough time.
So far I have made ~$140 on the book. That's about half of what I spent on ISBN and it doesn't even begin to pay for the editor. I have to figure out how to promote the book or I won't be allowed to leave the house to do anything fun until November. All of my spending money is pre-spent. I'm not sad though. Even though this is an expensive hobby it is one I needed. And I have eight more spiffy ISBN numbers. (You can buy one or ten and print vs. ebook needs two separate numbers.) I guess that means I should keep writing. I can't decide what to work on next.
I'm supposed to be resting my arms. But I'm so lonely.