Monday, September 3, 2012


I met one of the home schooling moms at the park last week. It was nice. We talked about a myriad of things but one thing in particular: I think it will take seven years of involvement before the home schooling group is "used" to me and I will be allowed to get comfortable. I think it will happen right before we leave to go travel for a year. And I will come back and feel fine with them. They will feel like a reunion. We'll see if I'm right.

I'm really lame. Two of my favorite students are engaged. I met them six years ago. They have been dating longer than I have known them. One of them just graduated from college and the other is about to. I asked her if I could please come to the wedding. I told her that I don't have to bring my family and I don't have to eat anything. I'll even bring a flask so they don't have to buy my booze. I would just like to be at the wedding of people who can get it right that young. I would really like to see what that looks like because I admire them so much.

"No. I want you to come down here and spend the weekend by yourself. Alone." Slam.

Calli and I had a "date" earlier. The kids love to be split up. We went and did errands. She likes helping and going bye bye. Shanna is a homebody unless she thinks there will be someone to talk to on the far side of the trip. I like getting to go at Calli's pace. I feel fairly bad that I don't give Calli time to practice and perfect things like I did Shanna. Like walking on curbs. I had a lot of patience three years ago to walk through the parking lot from one end to the other while Shanna walked up and down the damn curbs. It could take an hour. Now I really want to move faster most of the time. Today I let her walk at her pace. My reward was her telling me that she was happy over and over while laughing. It was a really nice morning.

My kids both actively dislike their names and prefer Baby and Cupcake Girl. I protest greatly. But when I introduce them to people I say, "This is Shanna--but she prefers to be called Cupcake Girl." She beams at me. I don't like it. Her name is Shanna. But fine. It's your preference. Once in a while I whine at her that I really like the name Shanna. I liked it for years before she was even born. Now she tells me, "Stop whining mom." To which I say, "It's occasionally frustrating that you listen to me."

"Did you like it when your mom brushed your hair?" No. No I didn't. I hated it. My sister had a tough head. You could put a brush at the top of her hair and yank it straight down for a foot ripping the heck out of the snarls and she would just growl at you. I've seen her yank out handfuls in anger. My mom learned how to take care of little girl hair with her. I have a very tender scalp. If you pull very hard on my hair I get terrible headaches. More than one man in the scene told me that made me a very undesirable submissive while sneering.

I brushed my mom's hair a lot once I was a little older, and my sister's as well to a lesser extent. They both liked having me do it because I was very gentle, very slow. I did a lot of grooming for them. Curling their hair, braiding, that sort of thing. When my mom and I were in Bakersfield when I was sixteen we would sit and watch soap operas together and I would play with her hair. In the very apartment she lived in when she was unmarried and pregnant because her father wouldn't let her live in the main house because she was a shamed woman. She was a 1/4 owner of that property. We thought that even though our lives were pathetic we were pretty secure in having a place to live.

We paid our rent. They made us leave. Her brothers forced us off the property because I burned candles in the courtyard and made them think I was a witch. I was in my goth period. I haven't actively practiced Wicca in almost a decade and a half. I don't think I get to add any more identity labels that might get me burned this lifetime. I'm going to stick with "kind of spiritual don't want to talk about it."

It is probably time for me to stop researching PTSD. I have it. My constellation of symptoms has virtually no chance of improvement according to all of the studies I can find. (google scholar is *awesome*) Given how many traumatic events, how many years of symptoms, how strongly suicidal I am, given the lack of support network, etc etc etc et-fucking-cetera. "Patients feel a persistent sadness that is probably permanent."

broken. broken. broken. brain damage. permanent. broken.

It's a very good thing I have Noah.


  1. Re: last para ("It is probably time..."):

    When I was twelve or so, I contracted Reye syndrome following a bout of chicken pox. At the time, the encyclopedia I had access to said about it, "almost always fatal". I remember talking with my mom about it months? years? after, and her admitting the doctor who saw me wasn't too sure what to do with me. Apparently I got lucky. The newer research either wasn't in yet or hadn't been published just yet. Good thing I hadn't read the encyclopedia before I got Reye syndrome - I wouldn't have known I was supposed to survive. I know RS is no comparison to PTSD. I'm just thinking, maybe somebody forgot to tell them what Noah and Shanna and Calli and we reading this already know - that you're supposed to survive.

    1. I don't actually think it damns me, but I'm really frustrated with the world having no use or help for me.

  2. Oh, and thank you for the mention of google scholar - I had no idea! In two minutes, I found articles & papers on subjects I've been looking for for a handful of years, including hitting up two university libraries and everyone I know who's a researcher or specialist.

  3. Have you researched complex PTSD at all? I know you said you have researched PTSD, but I thought it was worth bringing to the table, so here goes.

    Complex PTSD is a concept predominately introduced by Judith Herman, who wrote a book called _Trauma and Recovery_. She spends a great deal of time discussing how single influences of trauma (being raped once, being in one traumatic situation) have a very different effect than long-term, repeated trauma does.

    PTSD is different from complex PTSD, according to Herman. I'm not going to list the whole thing here, but here's some highlights from the criteria:
    - History of subjection over a prolonged (many months to years) length of time
    - Chronic suicidality
    - Self-injury
    - Explosive or extremely inhibited anger (may alternate)
    - Reliving experiences through intrusive PTSD symptoms
    - Shame, guilt, self-blame
    - Alterations in relations with others

    I honestly don't know how helpful you would find the book (YMMV and all), but I wanted to throw out there that there is a lot of debate at this point about the PTSD diagnosis, and not every study is as bleak as the ones you are reading may be. Blah blah blah there is hope blah blah blah (I hate when people say that).

    Anyway, sorry to highjack your blog with a ton of psycho-babble (FWIW, I'm a research psychologist in training, and also FWIW, you do know me IRL - I just don't like putting my name up here).

    I guess I also wanted to tell you that I have complex PTSD, and yes, it sucks (hard core). I have days where I am completely non-functional. This is not, btw, a game of who-had-it-worse, because that's a stupid game. I just wanted you to know that I ABSOLUTELY do not think you are broken.

    I admire you greatly.


    1. Thank you! I'm guessing who you are (I'm pretty sure I'm right) and any opinion you want to give me about neurological conditions or effects on the brain I'll listen to. I have a lot of respect for what you know and how you have learned it.

      I'll go read more by Judith Herman, thank you. I read a lot of books that are only tangentially helpful because nothing is more helpful than that. You have to read everything and take the useful sentences out of each book.

      I don't think you are competing with me I think you are trying to comfort me with what you comfort yourself with. That's all friendly and shit. :)