Thursday, May 31, 2012

anxiety purge

Living with Noah has changed how I think about computers. I don't think of them as magic anymore. I think about them as the result of a large set of mathematical equations. I'm getting closer and closer to being interested in thinking about that. Right now my brain is pretty full.

I've been thinking about what the gardening represents for me. It's a combination of learning biology, which feels like an intimidating "science" thing for me, and learning how to do manual labor. I haven't done this sort of physical movement much in my life. Uhm. It's hard. I feel like a tremendous loser because it is so hard. A lot of the time I feel frustrated and scared because I don't even know how I should begin. I feel like I am doing it all wrong. I lost two plants this year. Well, I wanted a place to put yellow roses any way. Noah's mother sent me $75 as a congratulations for finishing my book. I want to buy yellow roses with that money. It will make me happy. It will make me think of her gratefully when I am outside of my house. It will give me a reason to think of her positively.

I'm not going to have a relationship with Noah's mother. Not really. Noah totally has an Oedipal Complex because he went off and married his mother. When he talks about his childhood it sounds like something I could easily do if I didn't deal with my mental health issues. It sounds like it is hard to be his mom. Being in her head must hurt. She feels a powerful fear all of the time. I can understand that. I can't have a relationship with that. I have too much fear as well. Neither of us has the ability to make the connection.

The one time I went out to meet his family his mother spent three hours telling Noah how inappropriate I was. We were already married. I am poor white trash and his mama knows it. We will never have a relationship. I was out fucking every kid in the trailer park when I was young. They don't like my kind where his family comes from. Really, what mother wants a girl like that for her son?

So his mother and I will never have a relationship. There is too much fear between us. Too much judgment. Too much crazy.  We are both wounded animals. I don't know what wounded her and I really can't care. I'm too busy tending my own wounds. But I want to plant yellow roses in my yard and think of my mother in law in Texas sending me a very lovely gift.

I hate the color yellow. I have since I was a kid. I had a yellow dress and yellow earrings and a yellow headband and my mama told me, "Oh God. You're just like your father. You like yellow. Ew. That's his favorite color." I have had a hard time with yellow since. Occasionally I get yellow clothing as hand-me-downs.

I stopped dressing in hand-me-downs when I had kids. No one gave me adult sized clothes any more. Now I buy them. It's weird. I feel like I am supposed to develop "taste" and I don't know what that even means. I still want to dress like Punky Brewster. I want to go shopping each time and buy something weird and colorful and end up just... not... owning neutrals. I'll look weird. That will be ok.

But it isn't. Because I'm ugly and my mama dresses me funny. I was told that over and over and over and over.

Today isn't shaping up so good. I have a lot of insecurities. It's hard to access them one at a time. They are all interconnected. Why am I so afraid of rejection? Why can't I let that woman be part of the park group? Because I can't be near someone who is going to send of pot shots. I just fucking can't. I don't want positive comments from an insincere person. I want to be invisible. I'm really not invisible. I don't want to become invisible so that I avoid comments.

I know how to dress in ways that will not attract attention. I've been doing it for a while. I wasn't ok with that whole "I can touch you because you are pregnant" thing. So I can dress in ways that don't attract notice. Why should I have to? Because I don't want people to comment on me. But I like it. Oh fuck.

I don't want to have to think about how my actions are going to effect someone else. I want to just do what I like. When I know I am going to be around someone who is quite happy to be vicious and spiteful in my direction I am immediately hypervigilant and I have to think about every fucking aspect of this interaction from what I wear to what I say. I pick my kids clothes out. They are neutral and subdued. Gender neutral, even.

My kids pick their own clothes out 99% of the time. They are not remotely subdued or gender neutral. They both like dresses in neon shades of pink. I think it is hilarious given that Shanna didn't have them when she was smaller. I only had boy hand me downs for a long time.

I always liked wearing bright colors. I've always liked the casual, easy, positive interactions I get with value neutral people in public when I dress the way I like. I don't like comments from people I know. I don't want to have to store up in my head that they said something nice to me now I am expected to return the favor and next time I should probably start the nice exchange and. No. Just no. I can't. I have no fucking interest in getting on the manners bandwagon at this stage of my life. I have to stay here. My kids get to grow up in one place.

It is challenging to manage my emotional needs as my relationships get longer and longer. I have to not expect anything from people in order to continue to know them over time. It's a very hard line for me. If we are doing an activity together and have no outside connection it is easy. I have no expectations of people I see at an event. They don't owe me a smile or a conversation. Friends are hard for me.

It is hard having people visit my house. Part of the reason I stress about housework is because I want to have a house that is "company ready" all the time. Not for them, exactly. My friends don't give a shit. I've seen their houses. When my house is "messy" it's really not bad.

My friends are busy. They have shit to do. They hold down jobs. They have vibrant social lives. I uhhh hang out in my house with my kids. We do go places. But it goes in waves and it's rarely for more than four or five hours. We are here a lot. If I leave the house messy then I have to live in that mess. I have to work and think in that mess. I find it horribly distracting. I don't go to Noah's job and pick up all the stuff on peoples' desks and throw it in the air. That would make doing actual work hard.

So I sit here and think. What is my job here? To educate my children. Basically. What do I want to educate them in? I want them to have the ability to have any kind of life they want to have. That means they need to start off in a whole lot of directions at once. Sure, we can do frilly princess and makeup. Her best (girl) friend is always the prince. They think role is about personal preference not about gender identity. That's fucking awesome. But I'm not trying to bring up a little gender queer so I can have street cred in those communities. I need to not be invested in any results.

I'm teaching the kids that your body has to be active if you want to engage in a lot of activities. I want us to go work on farms for a year. It would not be a kindness to bring the average kid around here to a rural farm where they don't speak the language. We have to be ready. We have to think about this in advance. What will that mean for our bodies? We should probably find a way to actually get ready. Which means that step one is for me to learn a whole lot more about gardening. Which is intimidating.

If you hadn't noticed I'm flooded with a lot of stress chemicals. Being in that state makes it harder to learn. This is a lot of how I live my life. But I really want to do this. I don't want to fail. I want to be able to be a productive and useful person on a farm. It's important to me. When people talk about their "roots" well, working on a farm is part of most of our roots. You may have to go back a bit, but really. People have to eat. Food has to be provided.

I didn't think about it very much until I had kids. I didn't think hard about where my food came from. When I look at their bodies I want to give them food that will help them grow up as strong as possible. I want them to be able to handle anything that life gives them. I won't be able to protect them forever. I have to do what I can now.

I don't understand how blasé other people seem to feel about parenting. When I talk about feeling insecure or doubting myself people quickly tell me they don't feel insecure. They must be lying. I can't be the only insecure person. Give me a break.

I talked about feeling kind of insecure about unschooling the kids. I'm going to spend a lot of time revisiting that concept. I'm going to think hard about what that means to me. "Back in the day" people raised their children to be just like them. Uhm. I don't want to raise my kids to be just like me, thanks. I want my children to live with fear like I do. Bad things happen. Then you move on. Normal people don't get caught in these loop tapes. Normal people have some normal to fall back on. Some sense of themselves that was formed during the long stretches of their lives without trauma. Depending on how you think about consensual bdsm I haven't had a period of my life without traumatic events. Hell, even having my second kid almost killed me. Woo.

I live in stress chemicals. They are all I know. I'm trying very hard not to teach that. The problem is, living in stress chemicals makes it hard to learn. All I am doing with my life right now is helping my kids prepare for life.

So I was looking at the California Content Standards for grade K. If I'm going to prepare her for being part of this society part of that includes having a vaguely similar knowledge base with her peers so that if anything happens she can transition back into a schooling environment. Things happen. I could have to work some day. Within the next two years (because she isn't old enough for kindergarten anyway) she has to learn hygiene and how to stand in line. She's otherwise pretty much there on the kindergarten standards for my subject. She has letters, morphemes, basic introduction to syntax, grammar... Math she isn't quite there yet on all of it. She's halfway there with two years to go. Obviously I have not failed her horribly so far.

Part of my weird social anxiety is that I really like being a teacher. That feels good to me. I don't like being didactic with peers so I feel like I have nothing to say. I don't know how to have conversations among peers. I can be a student or a teacher. That was, really, the primary positive relationships I had. That was my "normal" period that could be good. I had a lot of teachers who liked me. I had a lot of teachers who hated me.

There is a feeling I have when teaching. I am allowed to have intense bonding conversations within that format. I know there is a time limit on it. I know that the exchange is limited to what we are doing. I have no further expectations.

I get into a lot of trouble when I have expectations of people. I have to keep them further out at arms length. I can't handle being told "no". So I just can't ask. I think the intensity with which I feel this is somewhat higher than average but there is a constant component of it in my head. I have to keep in mind that I can't ask people for things. If they freely want to give me something I can take it, but I can't ask. It's hard to ask people to come over for this reason. I wouldn't want to insult something I have worked so hard for by having a messy house. I have no idea why I have picked this standard of measurement because I am otherwise a specifically crappy host.

I don't want my house to broadcast my social class. I want people to be continually surprised when I talk about how bad it was. That means I am living right. In my head I can't separate out the messy house from the overall neglect and abuse and poverty. In my experience my friends who have decidedly messy houses have issues with their mental health and/or control. That's not a nasty statement. *wave hand in friendly way* Whether people want to admit it or not, your perceived social class has distinct influence on your life. I am a stay at home mom. If I didn't clean my house that would have social class implications. There is still a very strong element of "What the hell do stay at home moms do anyway?"

The point here is to teach them to be functional adult. If you have your house so messy that you constantly have to buy new things to replace things you have lying around somewhere and you don't have the money to really support this behavior then you aren't functional. That's broken. It's not a huge broken in the scheme of things but it's a behavior I specifically don't want to model or teach. We don't have the money to be callous with our things. We can't just go out and replace things right now. I mean we have money in savings but we don't have any spare money in our set budget. It is not a responsible or mature decision to be callous with our things. We don't have extra any more.

When you live in a messy house you break things and lose things. Ask me how I know. I don't want to teach that. I really don't. That means modeling doing things differently and not being a preachy asshole about it.

Now I'm just ranting. Ugh. My stomach hurts. Time to go look for food.

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