Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Tuesday morning ramble.

I've had several nearly-fully-formed posts running around in my head for days. Now that I am at the computer? Nada. Typical.

I have been increasing the amount I socialize lately. That is a mixed bag. It means more dealing with people. That's hard. Being around large crowds of people who are questionably friendly to me is exhausting. The funny part is, one of my default "I'm hiding how I feel" mannerisms is to smile and nervously giggle a great deal. It seems like other people can't tell the giggling is nervous. So they think I am having a fabulous time. It's a great cover and I have been working on it for a long time.

I went out dancing on Saturday night. I explicitly told the two friends I was meeting there, "I am here because you two will keep me from hiding in the bathroom and crying." They were shocked to find out that was a possibility. I don't have the heart to really explain that without them doing that it isn't a possibility it is an inevitability. Getting to the dance event is hard. Once I'm there it's not like I'm out of danger.

I asked two men who were strangers-to-me to dance. Both of them looked at me, kind of twitched, then said they were sitting this dance out and walked away from me quickly. After the second one I didn't ask again. I danced with my two girl-friends, and three male friends who remember me and generally try to get in a dance with me when they see me. I was grateful for dancing at all. When I come alone, I don't always get in 1/2 of the dances I did on Saturday.

Sometimes I picture that seem from The Cutting Edge (a cheesy partner ice skating movie) where the coach says about the bitch woman, "We should have been making her a singles skater." I wish I liked more solo dancing styles. I kind of hate that I like partner dancing and thus I have to deal with other people. It doesn't help that I will probably never get Noah past his innate feeling that dancing is horrible. A long time ago he tried the dance community and discovered that they are all liars. I'm not going to argue with him, not really. Dancers say that they are happy to see new people and dance with them. In practice this is not so much. They want to dance with the good dancers--the ones they see all the time. Their friends. It's ok. I just wish they wouldn't lie about it.

I've become cautious over the years. I no longer can act like my actions will have no long-term effects. I want to raise my children in this area. I really can't continue to just act however I please. It has consequences. I'm left in this place where I don't know how to behave. I'm afraid. I don't know what I am or am not allowed to be without the consequences for my children being terrible.

Those same two girl-friends ran a 5k with me on Sunday morning. All three of us kept up a nice steady 5 mph pace the entire way without walking at all. I've never run that far without walking. It felt really good. Maybe I should pay more attention to pacing, eh? It seems to work fairly well. Normally I mix in sprints randomly and I have to walk after them to get my breath back. This felt really good. I felt like I could run forever.

And there was a handfasting this week. I got to see all the people who chat with me during the day (*wave*) as well as a lot of People I Kind Of Know. Which is to say, people I have seen around in communities for about a decade but I don't really know them. I'm fairly certain people think I'm snotty but most of the time I don't talk to people because I'm not interested in being criticized or told I am wrong. I'd really rather stare at the wallpaper, thanks. It feels like I already, long ago, figured out who would tolerate me and I just don't talk to new people much.

I have to say that Sarah moving in renewed a bunch of tentative distant connections and they have greatly increased in intensity. I finally had a reason to get over the hump with a few people. That's good. I'm trying.

It's kind of weird how much time I spend around former lovers when I go out in public. That's what happens when you fuck your way through every community. It's harder to deal with them now. Monogamy is... different. I was "monogamous" with Tom. But girls didn't "count" and he didn't care about anything shy of a penis in my vagina. That's not what Noah and I are doing. I'm no longer really supposed to sit on laps and wiggle. Kissing is out. It's different. It's a whole different way of thinking about relationships. I feel terribly uncomfortable. For the love of Christ what else do I really have to offer?

That's the crux. I offer sex because I believe I have nothing else. That I am nothing else. The reality is I don't have the time or space in my life to be that any more. I consciously chose to stop offering that. To stop being that. I'm left with not knowing what to do. I have been having sex by choice (rather promiscuously) for my entire life. I go out and find it. When I am not looking for sex and I try to deflect it I usually get raped. So I stopped deflecting. Going out in public is terrifying. I don't know what to do now. It's hard and scary telling men to desist in doing things that I used to tolerate. They protest--I like it don't I? That means they should do it. Even though I said "no". They know more about what I want than I do, right?

Poly gatherings feel like a meat market even when one isn't at a sex party. There is a lot of frank appraisal in the gaze. People are hunting. They act available. It's an undercurrent. When people are interested in sex I can tell. I used to feel like those people were looking for someone like me. Now I don't. I don't know how to relate to them any more other than to avoid them. There is no good to come of having to point out that they don't want me. How could that help anything? Just don't talk to them.

It doesn't help that I like talking about sex. It's one of my favorite topics. I know a lot about it and I like broadening what I already know. It makes life awkward. I have consciously sought out knowledge and experiences my whole life. I fell like sex is one of the strongest biological impulses I have and I like thinking about it and talking about it. I like talking about food, too. Why is one shameful and the other isn't?

I feel like I am badly adjusting to the concept of having a private sex life. That must sound odd to people. Isn't sex usually private? Well, not for me. Not really. I don't want anything I do to be a secret. I used to write scene reports and send them in to mailing lists. (I should probably ask Marcie if I can access those archives and find the scene reports. I lost them many hard drives ago.)

I do not yet have a mental picture on what kind of person I will be in ten years. It's kind of scary. I know that I will still be a lot like me. I hope I will be better. I hope I will have made progress I can feel proud of. Ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong. I want to feel pride in myself. I don't want to be an asshole. I don't want to brag. But I want to know that I can look around my life and see frequent signs that I am a competent human being.

Change topics. Food. I didn't grow up around people who cooked. In my house dinner was taken out of the freezer and unwrapped before it was microwaved. That's food. Or you just open a bag and eat. Sometimes you have to boil water first and then let the noodles "cook" for three minutes. No shit dude, top ramen was cooking compared to everything else I ate.

When my mom occasionally felt like she should do more it generally involved one step meat in the oven and opening a few cans of vegetables and microwaving them in bowls. No really, we didn't cook. I don't understand what that even means until I try to cook for my family. Yesterday was a great day. In the morning I put another trellis in the ground and yanked the blackberry shoots over so that they can start growing how I want. I spent a while trimming the rose bush. I'm not done because that sucker is huge. (Thanks, former housemates!) It's an ongoing project. Then it started raining and I came in.

I took the bones out of the fridge and made stock. I put a whole bunch of spices and other vegetable remnants in the pot. I had to think really hard about what I was doing. I had to recreate in my head what I have seen other people do. I let that cook for hours. I started making cupcakes. It took me about two hours because the butter was cold and creaming cold butter by hand is kind of a nightmare. I kept covering the bowl and scooting it closer and closer to the simmering stock pot. Melt! Damn you! Eventually it worked out well. The cupcakes are awesome. I know because I ate four last night. I just couldn't stop. Holy cow those are good. I don't make cupcakes very often because four in one day seems a bit excessive. But on the first day, oh man. Have to.

Then I had to do a whole bunch of dishes. Then I immediately started the next few steps on making soup. I was in the kitchen processing food and dishes for at least six hours yesterday. To make cupcakes, stock, and soup. I did sit down in the middle and eat lunch. But that's a full freakin job right there. No fucking wonder my family didn't cook. They didn't have that kind of time and energy to spare.

Cooking is so weird. It feels like an act that is either done from desperation because one is poor and can't do anything else or it is an act of privilege. Only people have had to cook for a very long time. I don't know why it feels this way. Why does it feel optional? Why does it feel non-mandatory if you can find a way out? I used to eat out a lot. Other people did my cooking. Cooking is low status unless you do ridiculous over the top stuff.

I feel so weird about food. It feels strongly related to class. It doesn't help that I visit the kinds of playgrounds where people have to agonize for an hour over what they brought. "I know this isn't good enough for ________ reasons but this other thing I brought is far superior to what that other woman brought. Can you believe she is letting her kids eat __________?" I don't talk to other moms much. I read my phone or play with the kids. It seems for the best. They don't want to god damn hear me tell them what I think.

It's not that I never have those thoughts. I frequently have the thought, "Holy shit, that woman is letting her kid eat what?!" I'm ok with that. I don't say it out loud where someone can hear me and feel scorned. I suppose that saying it on the internet isn't really better. Doesn't that make me two faced as well?

Women talk about that shit at the park so they can shame other women into getting into line. I talk about it because I want to decide what I want to do. Sometimes I think, "Holy shit, that woman is letting her kid eat what?!" and I decide that maybe I've been hyperventilating over something I can relax about. I don't need to shame people into sharing my values. They might have perfectly fucking good reasons for what they are doing. My values tend to be so at odds with everyone around me that I don't really want to talk about non-involved people. I can't judge someone I'm not even in a conversation with. I will talk about my opinions with people, sure. I will share what I do and why. But I'm not going to evaluate a stranger and give them some kind of "score" to a third party. I see no benefit.

Today is park day. I'm feeling nervous. It will be fine. I doubt anyone will even know that I told that woman to take a hike. Lots of people show up once and never come back. I don't think I am going to get into trouble. We'll see.

Hm. I just had a thought that should be it's own separate post. I'll do that.


  1. The mom shame around food is so fucking repulsive. With a picky eater with sensory issues, I am constantly on the receiving end of that. I try not to let it bother me, always thinking those people do not fully understand my situation. But I still want to punch them in the face. I have to feel good about feeding my child whatever I can get her to eat in order to help her grow, even of its not the most healthy choice. I never thought I would be feeding my kid that (insert junky crap food here) either.

    1. No judgement here. She's probably eating better than I did as a kid. I like knowing a diverse group of people with different lives. It keeps me humble.