Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We all have things we want to do in this life.

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of support. I think about it in terms of the idea of being a main character. If you are someone who says, "I want _______ but I can't have it because ________ won't help" then you won't ever have what you want. If you depend on someone else to do work in order for you to go get your dreams then you are dead in the water on the first day.

I want to be a writer. I want it so badly that my fingertips itch. I want people to know my name. I have a lot of book ideas swimming in my brain. I'm working on different story arcs. I know what I want to say. I just have to find time to go say it. That is hard and frustrating. It's easy for me to say, "I could do it if only I wasn't stuck with my kids all the time."

That's a cop out. That's saying that I am entitled to not have to do the work I signed up to do now that there is more interesting work available. Sometimes people get away with this trade. If you can go earn a bunch of money then eventually you can say that your time is worth money and it is worth paying someone with fewer skills to do the easy stuff. You can't say that until your time is worth enough money though. Before your time is worth money you are a whining twat.

That's more or less how it seems to me. When someone comes to me and complains that they could be more creative if only they had more spare time I blink then want to laugh then want to punch them in the face. Don't fucking talk to me. I haven't had spare time in more than four years and I'm unlikely to for another eight or so years. If I sit here and get nothing done I have no one to blame but myself.

I am to the point where, quite bluntly, someone whining at me that I'm not doing enough for them makes me violent. Very violent. I don't have an extra five minutes of support to give myself let alone anyone else. But it's not fair. I haven't noticed life being very fair.

Is it fair that I have to frequently go pause my day in order to hide in another room because I am completely physically overwhelmed by the physical sensation of being raped again that I can't really see the people in front of me and I can't respond to them? Is that fair? It doesn't matter. It is. I can't stop it. I'm thirty and I don't know if my body will ever let me stop feeling like I am being raped. It seems pretty unfair to me. It makes my life pretty hard.

If I don't do anything it is my own fucking fault and I have no one to blame. I can sit here and be useless and cry about how hard my life is or I can do something. I choose to work. I choose to take home schooling seriously so I spend a lot of time that way. I paint my house a lot. (And painting multiple murals with two little kids is pretty fucking hard work.) I write. My first book has been downloaded well over a thousand times. I have worked on my house to the point where there is a place for everything and if the house is destroyed I can pick it up in about an hour. That was a really hard place to get to in a house this small with this many people and this much shit.

If I give excuses for why I can't do things I am just giving them to myself. I am just telling me that I can't do things. Fuck that. I can do things. Not if only I had support I can fucking do things. I am buff. I am strong. I am inventive. I am creative. I am determined and stubborn and very dedicated. If I want something I go fucking do it.

I'm getting a little tired of being told it is my fault other people can't do what they want. If only I was willing to work a little harder. If only I would float a little more money... No.

No.

I'm not going to be devalued. I put up with Noah needing a lot of time "off" because Noah's time is quite literally worth a lot of money and the more politely and respectfully I "tolerate" him having extra time to work the better my life is. It's different. Noah is working himself into the ground in service of communal goals. I can uhhh, not be an asshole about that. I can be enthusiastic support. I can see what we are doing here. He's not acting entitled. He's acting like he has a really hard project in front of him and he needs to get it done. Supporting a family is harder than I thought. My naiveté was influenced by never seeing a financially stable house during my childhood.

It is interesting to me to watch entitlement in other people. Which people think they deserve more than they currently have without being willing to do any work for it?

My nephew started working at a movie theater when he was eighteen years old. He broke some expensive equipment because he wasn't paying attention while he cleaned it. He quit after eighteen months because he wasn't a manager yet and that proved they didn't respect him enough. He didn't have a steady job for the two years after that I knew him. No one would hire him.

If you want to "start a business" in the bay area I believe you should expect a minimum of 80 hours a week of work. I have seen successful business owners and I have seen unsuccessful business owners. I would have to hire a babysitter with money I don't have in order to go work in an adult-only environment. That makes it financially impossible for me. So I do the stuff I can do at home. I write. I paint. I run. I do the things that are physically possible in my life right now. I can't add more. I physically can't. I already rarely get more than six hours of sleep in a night. I can't cut time with my kids. House remodeling is on pause for a few years.

For someone to act like I am a big meanie for not taking on their burdens right now is really making me feel violent. I'm very angry and feeling very unappreciated and used. For something that will never give me anything beyond a warm fuzzy feeling and an occasional milkshake. I could pay for the milkshakes myself if I didn't have to pay $10 fucking dollars on public transit every time I have to go to work.

I don't really think I need people in my life who let me know that my time and energy are worth far less than theirs. With Noah it is literally true and the mother fucker still gets up every day and makes me breakfast. He doesn't act entitled to my fucking service. He's nice to me. He's apologetic about needing so much time. He puts a lot of effort into working efficiently and productively. He acts like him having time "off" from the kids is putting strain on me and he tries to do what he can to minimize that. He's a god damn nice man. I really like him.

Then there are these other... I'll stop. All the words I want to fill in with are not nice. Thumper's father says, "If you can't say something nice don't say nothing at all."

I feel very angry with the world right now. I have a very unusual experience of the world only it isn't. I've been reading more on father/daughter incest. My experience of the world is pretty classic. We really are the victims of more violence. More people rape us. We are more likely to be shouted at as we run down the street. People can smell us. People don't like us. People blame us. We deserve every god damn bad thing that happens to us.

It's kind of funny that part of how I build "personal status" in my head is by knowing that I am well educated. I don't have degrees proving it. I used to have the books I have read as evidence. Not any more. We down sized. Now my library represents books from me, Noah, Shanna, and Calli. I own approximately 10% of what I have owned since I was eighteen--for books at least. I got rid of a lot when I left Puppy. I got rid of a lot more in my relationship with Noah. Then I got rid of more to make room for Sarah. Then Sarah took the things we had duplicates of (it was suggested by me in advance because long-term I will have more means of replacing them even though I don't right now).

Right now my library is pretty empty. It feels like my knowledge is pretty empty. I no longer have proof that I am well read and that I know things. I no longer have physical reminders, at least to me, that I am pretty fucking smart. I know a remarkable variety of things. I do deserve to be treated like someone worth talking to.

Yesterday at the park two of the moms were talking about opera--mostly they were kind of laughing that they both abstractly thought they should like it but they didn't know much. I uhhh started talking. The lecture ended about forty minutes later and their mouths were hanging open. "How do you know all that?" I used to be a technical theatre major and I did a lot of reading in my graduate program about traditional plays and I have had season passes to opera companies. That's how.

But it's really not a topic someone would think to come talk to me about, right? If I had my fucking library you would.

One of the things that I like and dislike about the minimalist approach to stuff is it forces me to build an additional layer between me and other people. I can't volunteer things about myself silently. I can't advertise with stuff. I have to prove stuff by doing. I don't get an out. I don't get to fish casually. If I want to be respected on a given topic and not be ignored I have to be willing to verbally, ever-so-casually, slap my dick on the table. It's pretty rare that I bother but sometimes I do. I have a really big dick.

One of the lasting effects of incest is the daughters always know and believe and carry within themselves the knowledge that their needs are just less important. They simply don't matter as much as other people. It's never confined to just the father. There is a whole family, a whole community involved in silencing incest and allowing it to happen. No one wants to be upset. No one wants to have to think about things like that. So they don't. So we know that we just don't matter compared to other people.

I'm in this weird position. It is not good enough for me that my kids be with a warm body and ill supervised. It is not good enough for me that my kids be parked in front of a screen all day so I can get work done. My first and most important job is taking care of my kids. And I have some extremely long days. That can't be helped. There is no one else to do it. I have to be nice to my kids.

I have to be nice to my kids no matter how high my panic levels are. No matter how high my stress levels are. No matter what is happening in the world around me. That is how you break cycles of abuse. My mother wasn't mean to me because she hated me. My mother simply took out her bad experience of the world on me. That's not fair.

I can't invite people into my life who treat me badly and tell me I'm not important. I just can't. Because I bring that rage and futility and anger into my home with my children. No one is worth that. No one. My kids need me to not be treated badly. It's a really nice experience, actually. I get to try to find out what it means to have a whole life where I'm not treated badly. Because when I'm being treated badly I get angry and I stay angry. It's the only way I know to protect myself. I don't need to protect myself from my kids. If someone is making me feel threatened then that's just not good and I need to not do that any more. It's not like I'm deeply enmeshed or anything.

In life you have to make choices. You can't have everything. You have to decide what you want and go get it. You can't let people or things get in your way. I want to be a good mother before I want to be anything else. That means that things that make it pretty much impossible to do that job well need to go. That's just how life works. I will meet my current obligations and be done.

I'm done going to a place where I am expected to care a lot about someone else's problems and do a lot of physical labor at my own expense in order to be supportive when said person knows jack shit about me and my problems and really doesn't care.

Done.

Even if no one else does, I have to care about me. I don't want to do that any more. It's time to stop. I don't want a toehold in that community enough to continue being treated like this.

2 comments:

  1. You are a writer and creator. You give life. You transmute pain into something beautiful.

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  2. Reading your ongoing commentary on the long-term realities of victims of father/daughter incest makes me think of this passage from _Trauma and Recovery_ (okay actually, there are a lot of passages I though of, but this was the one I tracked down first).

    "Repeated trauma in the adult life erodes the structure of the personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness. Unable to care for or protect herself, she must compensate for the failures of adult care and protection with the only means at her disposal, an immature system of psychological defenses."

    Basically, we get wired to be fucked up. But I think we can overcome that (I try to think that way, at least - if I didn't I would just keep on attempting suicide, and I think I only needed to almost die a couple of times to get the idea out of my thick head) - not saying it's a cakewalk, but think of this - you were so strong that you survived a horrific childhood, and then went on to tell the tale; and you didn't just survive, you wrote a fucking book that told your truth. You know how many people I've told about the abuse I experienced as a child? Six - I can count that on my fingers. And that is including therapists and psychiatrists. I have such respect for you for broadcasting your history - maybe someday, eventually, I will be in a place to do the same.

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