Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On the job training

Some day I would like to like myself. Some day I would like to be willing to try and convince someone that they should want to spend time with me. Right now my impulse is, "If you don't want to fucking spend time with me then don't". Not always a useful response. In fact, rarely. I won't say never. I have a hard time with trying to figure out why my existence is a net positive for the universe. I feel like a drain of energy and resources. I take up space. I don't make things. I don't produce things. I am a consumer. It is an existential complaint.

Yesterday I went to the park with the home schooling group. I ran laps. I was the only parent to rough house with the kids. I pick up the rough and energetic boys and throw them around for a while. I feel far more comfortable interacting with the kids than I do the other mothers. I assume the other mothers would dislike me and think I am bad if I talked to them. I have already outed myself as ok with the idea of nonmonogamy and been given the stink eye for that. There was a conversation a few weeks ago with all the mothers chuckling together about telling their kids "You have to pick one person (of the opposite gender) to marry." I said that I don't tell my kids that because it woud make it very confusing to explain why their Grandpa ____ has a wife and a girlfriend. I figure they have to decide their own configurations. You could have picked the chins up off the ground.

So I don't talk to the other mothers much. I don't want to poison the well for my kids. I am their biggest liability in life. I may always be. Who knows. The kids are getting to know me and they like me. I like to play. I like to run. I had a pack of kids running laps with me yesterday. Most of the kids ran at least 3/4 of a mile. They would run a lap then rest then run another. It was really cool to have this ever-changing group of children with me. They wanted my company. What I was doing was way more interesting than their other options. That feels rather weird.

I enjoy talking to the kids about their bodies. About why they should consciously try to be stronger. It felt really amazing to practice sprinting as fast I could go to keep up with the little kids. This one boy is five and a half and he sprints like a cheetah. He has no stamina, but holy moly he hits high top speeds. When I caught up with him I felt like my heart was going to burst but then I just kept going past him. And I kept going for a long time after that. Ok, I slowed down a lot after I passed him, but I fucking did it. At the end of the run I fell to the ground and told all the (ebullient, proud) children that I was really afraid of what was going to happen in a few years because they are all going to keep improving rapidly and I'm only going to get older. I won't be able to outpace them for long.

I spend my life wishing that I was the kind of person who was a leader. I don't want to be a boss. I don't want to tell people what to do. I want to do the fucking right thing. I want to live my life in a way that inspires emulation. I feel vain and over proud because of this.What a conceited asshole, right? I don't seriously look up to very many people. Even fewer of them are alive. I don't feel this way because most people are bad or doing things wrong. I have had an unusual life. I have weird calibration on needing inspiration and teaching. I need to develop non-standard skills. To me, learning how to do the right thing and I mean the right thing is the most important thing I can do. The right thing for me isn't the right thing for other people. Life circumstances are like that.

What I mean when I say that I want to be a leader is I want to be someone who does very hard things and causes other people to realize that they, too, can do very hard things. Yes, it is going to hurt. I know. I truly do. Things that are worth doing are often hard. It means you have to figure out how to get stronger.

Some day when I am a grown up I will figure out how to actually do work that improves the world around me. Between now and then I need to study as much as I can and work as hard as I can to be stronger. Some day when I am grown up I will have a better idea of what I will be specifically working for. Right now all I know is I need to be less ignorant and I need to be stronger.

I don't have to care that other people have different priorities. I should encourage it. Stay out of my specialty. Don't crowd me out. I don't know much about anything yet. It's going to be interesting to go learn. I want to learn about the real world. I want to know things about plants and survival. I want to feel comfortable with the idea that I will actually be able to survive. I have already proven to myself adequately that I can get a job and make money if that is what is necessary for survival. I want to see for myself if I am a brighter-than-most animal that can survive. Modern society is weird. My daughter adamantly denies that she is an animal. Many pundits do the same. Uhm. I'm made of meat. That means I am an animal. I am an animal that needs to eat food. Can I provide it? Do I have the skills to go out into the world (instead of Safeway) and actually continue to live? What good am I?

I live in a strange world. I have been inside of many homes that were worth upwards of $5,000,000. My mother made more than $30,000 in a year for the first time when she was fifty one. People like me should only get into the kinds of homes I have been invited into if they are being paid to clean it. Or if there is a whole class birthday party when you are little. It's complicated.

I was not brought up learning how to be successful in the world. I was not brought up learning actual skills that would benefit me. I was taught to watch television and eat cheap, unhealthy food. Occasionally you would go to some shopping space (outdoor "festivals" are generally just portable malls) and spend money you don't really have to spare on something you don't even remotely need. That was what we did and that was all we did.

I want to have a life that is worthy of emulating. I want to be a good enough person. I want to do this mainly for my daughters but I think that you can't want to be that kind of person and only set your sights that low.

My world is small now. I have done that on purpose. It is hard to learn when you are distracted. It is hard to learn when there is too much going on. I have already limited my life a great deal and I am trying to embrace the freedom I have within the structure of my life. I have given myself the gift of sixteen years of safety and learning. I picked a job where what I supposed to do with my time is go out into the world and learn as much about it as I can because I am responsible for teaching my children far more than I currently know. Get busy.

I think hard about how I am going to teach maths and science. I talk about physics at the playground. I seem to be the PE teacher for the home schooling group. I think I should make a serious habit of that. I should just get up and do that. I shouldn't expect someone else to ask me to. I should do it. I should do my strength training exercises (mostly yoga, honestly) daily so my kids do it with me. They also want to do more things. Shanna is starting to eye the monkey bars but her arms aren't strong enough.

Life requires strength. How do I go about getting more of it? How do I teach my children? I am so lucky and so privileged that I get to sit around think about the structure of my life. I get to think consciously about what habits I want to have and figure out how and where they will fit into my life. I have increasing freedom to do most things I want to do with my kids. I think soon I will venture to dance events with them. It will be fun. I will finally have companions.

I have spent my entire life desperately wanting to do things with people. I simply don't enjoy doing things alone. Now the only thing I do alone is hide in the garage because I desperately need some time when I get to be alone. Even though it feels overwhelming at times I feel so much gratitude. Every morning and every night I hold my daughters close and tell them that I feel very lucky because I get to spend the day with them. I really enjoy their company. I am so glad I get to spend my life with them. This is exactly what I have always wanted.

But the thing is... this isn't going to continue on forever as it is. This is going to change dramatically and then end. Oh shit. I'm going to be kind of an asshole and say I can understand why people keep having kids. What am I going to do after this? It's terrifying. I have a lot of identity wrapped up in being the one to take care of my kids. For now. My kids are not going to be coddled forever. I don't have the patience for this shit.

I'm going to go on record saying that I think baby wearing, extended nursing, tandem nursing, home birth, and co-sleeping all suck rocks. They are horrible. My fucking back hurts. The problem is I don't think the other solutions are better.

I am starting to better understand the desire for a four year age gap between children, now that Shanna is basically there. Now she tells me she wants space at the park so she can play out of my eye sight and hearing range. We agree on check in times. She is pretty good. Now I can go focus on the other baby. Calli is so excited by this she can barely stand it. She likes being pushed in the swing and she will make me do it literally for hours. Yesterday she was in the swing for more than two hours. She laughs and laughs and laughs. She is so happy she nearly bursts.

I need to try and predict the future and know what kind of adult my grown up children will respect. How can I help them become adults? This is my job. I'm kind of a work-a-holic. It feels like my whole life right now is this really intense on-the-job training program. I can't stop. I can't take a break. This is my life. What kind of adult do I want to be? What do I want to teach my children to be like?

It means I'm thinking very hard about my self identity. I have been a nonmonogamous queer pervert for most of my life; a rather shocking majority of my life if you use liberal definitions for consent. My children see a monogamous heterosexual couple in a very standard male/female set of roles.

Why do I need to talk about how often I think about fucking women? Because if I don't then people think I am something I am not. If people think I am something I am not then they form a picture in their mind of who and what "someone like me" looks like. At some point the conflict will be realized and it will be shocking. Ok, so who am I? Am I really a nonmonogamous queer pervert? Not really. It means I don't know what I am. It means I don't know what I am. I'm not really a voyeur so I don't see much point in going out anymore. I don't know how to go out looking for conversation to a sex-oriented event where I am not looking for pick up play without feeling like I am doing something terrible in some way. But I honestly don't really know where else to go. I consider munches to be sex-oriented--I can't bring my kids. If I have to find non-kid hours to go to an event... that's a tough sell in my life. I don't get much time off and I desperately need to spend most of it alone. I'm exhausted.

I will never be nonmonogamous again. But I still think about sex just as much. No, that's not true. I haven't thought about sex much for a long time. My libido is starting to return. I am just barely starting to think about sex. It feels very weird to feel like I should actively state that I am queer. It is a political identity. I have these feelings. Biologically I am not exclusively attracted to any particular gender.

And.... that's when the kids missed me.

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