Friday, November 30, 2012

Guys aren't the only predators


(disclaimer! I only share private emails without permission if they are nasty. I asked if I could share this.)

This was all an email sent to me by a friend/former lover (emphasis his):

"I get self-conscious about posting comments on your blog. I don't want to post anything that would make you uncomfortable in public, like some of the things I say in this comment... so I don't. This is what I wrote:

About getting to "yes:" What if a woman climbs on top of me and starts tearing my clothes off? Despite the fact that I am, like, a 3 at best, this does happen occasionally. Generally, I am so shocked that I can't speak a word at all. Do I need to get a verbal yes from her? Does she need to get a verbal yes from me? How do I know who needs to do the asking and who needs to do the consenting? I suppose everyone should ask and everyone should verbally consent. But then, no woman but you has EVER verbally asked for my consent.

About you: You are not optional. I've sometimes been around you and not liked the emotions I was feeling, but in the end being your friend has never failed to make me a better person, and that is my criterion. Throw you under a bus? NEVER EVER. And I'm certain I'm not the only one.

Be well. May I give you a big, big hug? 

Krissy, I am terribly frightened about my friend I told you about who said I was creepy. She's my best friend in Ithaca, and I know I haven't raped her because we've never so much as touched. But I think I leaned WAY into her and did the emotional equivalent, whatever that is. I need to learn that consent is not just for sex. I spent all this week 3000 miles from home being horrified at myself as the emotional realization of what I had done struck me. It was the worst Thanksgiving ever, for both of us. I seem to hurt everyone I ever care about and I can't stop hurting them. I think that being human might be the unlimited capacity to hurt others. :( 

She reminds me of you. If I have EVER hurt you in any way whatsoever that we haven't talked about and resolved, I am really sorry for whatever it was. I never mean to hurt you."


Ok! I've been thinking about this for six days. Hopefully that is enough time to digest my thoughts. We'll see. First of all I am a lot harder to make uncomfortable than this. Heh. I love comments and questions. They validate my existence. 

Second: rating your attractiveness then self-denigrating is beside the point. If multiple women have climbed on top of you and pulled your clothes off there is virtually a 0% chance they rate you so low. So when you turn around and do so you then you are handicapped in being able to respond because you are not thinking about their actual motives. That's not helpful.

Third: if women are climbing on top of you without your consent, how do you feel about it? Are you upset? Is this something you want to make go away? Is this something where you wish you understood the mechanism because HOW CAN I MAKE THIS HAPPEN MORE?! I can't tell exactly from your message. It seems to be something of a mixed blessing for you. 

If someone is climbing on top of you and moving full stream ahead there is *no reason* for you to freak out and worry about consent in my opinion. In my opinion the more passive "moving slowly" person (regardless of gender) needs to give consent. 

In my experience most sexual scenarios start out with one person being sure and the other person being convinced. Because I have frequently been the more interested party that is why I ask for consent.

I am pleased to hear that you remember me asking you for your consent. That means I did it properly. It was memorable. You were god damn sure you wanted to fuck me before I started doing things to your body. That's the proper way, in my opinion.

If women are doing things to you that you don't like, please for the love of shiny green apples, tell them to stop. No woman is owed a ride on your dick no matter how attractive it is. Seriously. I am not making fun of you even slightly. You do not owe a woman anything. Ever. If you are not enjoying everything that is happening then say no. 

Given what I know about you I think that some kind of assertiveness training might be helpful. You live in an area of the country I know little about so I can't tell you specifically where to go. Non-Violent Communication might be good. If you were here I would tell you to go to HAI (Human Awareness? Institute--something like that) because HAI is all about the naked touchy feely and learning to have boundaries. I think you would fit right in but I don't know if they exist where you are.

I had to sit on this for a week because I had to sit here and think really hard about what I think guys should do if women are initiating sex too quickly--boy howdy that happens. I've had men tell me to slow down in a wide variety of ways. Some of them respectful and some of them not. 

I have had times when I was being very sexually aggressive and the guy in question put his hands on my hands and said, "As much as I am enjoying this--because I really am--I want to get to know you a lot more than I know you right now before we do this. I'm not feeling safe."

On one hand I kind of felt like I had been smacked in the face with a big trout. On the other hand, I didn't take it personally and I didn't feel bad. He didn't shame me. He didn't act like I was doing something bad. He acted like I was doing something he probably would enjoy... after knowing me for longer. I'm absolutely ok with people telling me that. For someone else to tell me what makes them safe is for me to be able to say what makes me safe. 

I've had guys pull back and say, "Ew. Why would I fuck a troll?" Those guys should be smacked. Just sayin'. Don't be like them.

How should you deflect if you aren't enjoying things? I'm shitty at polite/tactful rebuffs. For this I commend you to other places on the internet. (Maybe Captain Awkward?) I am good at forceful rebuffs that freak out people who weren't trying that hard and are barely effective against predators. It's uhm, not a great situation.

Does that at all answer what you were thinking about? You don't need to feel guilt whatsoever. If you are the more passive partner during sex FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS DON'T FEEL LIKE A PREDATOR. I don't care if your bits are innie or outie. That's not what decides power, control, or aggression. Or even just plain selfishness.

On to this other friend you have. I don't know. You are prone to be very nasty to yourself even when you don't deserve it so I'm having trouble judging how bad this is. You might be feeling like it is a 9 on the scale of awful and she might think it is a 2. I have no way of judging. You assume people get extremely angry with you and hate you pretty frequently (I have a lot of sympathy for this paranoia) but I haven't seen much evidence of it in your life. So on one hand I'm being kind of dismissive but not totally.

I don't know how bad this is. I don't have enough information. I believe it is possible that you leaned in and made her uncomfortable. Should you be crucified for doing so? Oh good grief no. I have ridiculous personal boundaries and I don't crucify people who stand too near me. So I counsel finding a middle ground there.

Have you talked to her? Have you said anything along the lines of, "I have been following the cultural norms for behavior I had previously been taught. I'm getting the impression you have different preferences. May I ask you for assistance in determining how I should shift my boundaries to make you more comfortable? It seems like right now I'm doing stuff that bothers you and I'm not sure what it is that I'm doing and I'm not sure how bothered you are."

Yes, I talk like that.

That's all I've got about her.

Oh good grief no you've never hurt me. You are a gentle, kind, compassionate man. You have taught me a lot of very interesting and useful skills (backpacking, survivalist, physics, relationship skills) all the while being far more physically appropriate and kind than almost any man I've ever been involved with. Do you not understand that part of the reason we didn't have more of a relationship was because you were so nice to me and it made me wildly uncomfortable? I don't know how to act with passive kind men. I always feel like I am stomping on them and hurting them. So uhm I ran away.

No, you never hurt me. I think you are wonderful. I am so thrilled that you are married now. I think your wife is a very lucky woman.

No, you never hurt me. You were very very kind to me. Thank you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

have to unload brain.

Sleep was very out of whack. I'm out of it. I have little time for writing. I used up most of my time responding to emails. I go through phases of being able to respond quickly and periods where I cry thinking about responding and can't do it. Today is functional though exhausted.

I babysat for a friend last night. I feel greatly relieved that there is less screaming as time goes by. We are adjusting to one another. It helps that he does genuinely like me--it's getting easier to bear being away from his mother. It is so hard to be away from your mother. I think it helps our relationship that I get that. I understand him getting upset and I don't feel mad at him for it. I feel bad that I can't make it all better.

He does let me hug him and kiss his head and play with him. It's not that he dislikes me. It's hard to not take screaming like that personally--but it's important. He's not trying to hurt me. He's not trying to frustrate me. He has no way of coping with these humongous feelings inside his body. I get it. So we can sit together and he can cry and tell me he is sad. I tell him I understand. He has the best mommy in the whole world and she isn't here right now--that is very sad. Luckily sand storms of blocks chased the tears away last night.

I think last night was the most comforting he has ever accepted from me. That felt really good.

His baby sister is a doll. She is super sweet and cuddly. She's six months old and just getting mobile and frisky. I don't have to live with her so her general lack of sleeping isn't an issue for me. We had a late night dance party together. It was fun.

Being able to care for people and comfort them has value. It is worth doing. I wish I was able to see how that fits into my concept of self. If these are valuable skills then they should convey status of some kind. That is how valuable things work.

I am very good at sitting with people who are hurting and ignoring my own shit. I can just empathize with what they are feeling. I have felt bad a lot. It's easy for me to project that other people have similar kinds of bad feelings and I try hard to do the things I wish people did for me.

I think I wrote half of a childrens book in my head while I was playing with the kids last night. I should write it down on paper today.

I was asked if I look at these sweet innocent little boys I know and see potential rapists.

Uhm, yes. Don't you? You don't? Really? You think your little boy would never? Oh. well then. I should probably stop talking and walk away fast.

I have known a lot of rapists. I have had a lot of explicit conversations with them about where/why/how and as a result I see pretty much every boy and man as a potential rapist. The men I know who have never raped are generally a kind of paranoid I have trouble with (if they are out in the sex communities--I assume a large number of men have two or fewer partners so they have a very different lifetime experience of rape) so I get why men rape. I do.

Because of my life experiences I don't call something rape unless I have actively said no. In cases where things were squidgy and I didn't consent but I didn't say no I don't use the word rape. I just don't. That's my personal line.

That's uhm, not the life experiences of a lot of women. Because they are trained to not say no to things in general they just don't deal with the consent issues around sex and they feel raped.

I believe that if you did not actively consent to sex and you don't want the sex to happen then you are allowed to call it rape. I don't do that in my life because, quite frankly, even with the much harsher line my life is still hard to believe.

When I was teaching the concept of rape came up a couple of times. An awful lot of the ways I personally talk to teenagers about rape and consent are deliberately manipulative. When I have a group and I am"lecturing" the boys I am really talking to the girls; when I am "lecturing" the girls I am really talking to the boys. This is because, in my experience, people blow off a lot of what they are told to do but they are kind of nosy about what the other side is told to do. They will think about, "Huh- why was I given different advice?" Then I get follow up questions.

It varies by age and my level of closeness so these conversations are kind of weird to generalize about.

I think the way to greatly lessen the number of rapes is to get men/women/boys/girls more towards the ideas that bodies are wonderful fabulous private things you should only share by choice. And you should own that choice loudly. You should say YES! to sex you want. None of this hard-to-get shit. I mean, you don't have to jump in bed right away or anything. But the more clear you are about what you want the more likely you are to get it. If you aren't both on the same page... well...

This is where the hard part comes in. If the girls wants a relationship and the boy just wants sex then we run into the Embargo and bitterness and entitlement and rage and just not-noticing those subtle body signals.

I want girls to be more explicit with their no's and with their yes's. I want boys to think about the fact that sex often has very different consequences for girls and if you are not a fucking asshole you will behave respectfully.

I encourage girls sharing information about boys being safe or not. I do it blatantly. "If you are raped no one will know but you. If you have problems with a boy who rapes you he is very likely to go on to rape more girls. Tell. Tell someone safe first. Probably tell the police. If you can't handle prosecuting I won't hate you and I'll still support you. That's a rough road. But you need to talk about it. There need to be consequences for those kinds of actions.


I want boys to have this thing in the back of their head, "Ah. If I act inappropriately I will no longer get the sex I want. Got it."

I also tell teenagers that mutual masturbation is pretty much all of the fun of intercourse for the first few years with much lower chance of pregnancy or STIs.

I don't say that to little kids.

What I say to little kids is, "If you don't like how I am touching you, please tell me. I want to make you feel comfortable." I give them a lot of feedback about how they touch me. I want that kind of conversation to be casual, comfortable, and instinctive. "Oh gosh. When you touch me like that it hurts. Please stop."

Most of the violent rapists I know were terribly abused. That's a lot of why they hunt for me. I see the hurt little boy still. So yes, when I look at sweet little boys--I see what they could become.

I feel very blessed that I am allowed to have relationships with little boys. Whether I am lying to myself or not I feel better about the world knowing there are little boys running around who have started their life journey around body autonomy hearing my message of consent. I'm a good story teller.

My favorite part of teaching (in retrospect) is how many students have come and found me to tell me about their intense memories of me and they credit me with helping them learn how to make decisions.

I did actually influence their lives.

One of the things I like about not having a set and solid place in any specific community is that I have very few expectations to live up to. I'm allowed to reinvent myself every time I show up. If there are many years in between visits then I get to select which stories to tell.

Unless you decide to wade through my blog it is very hard to tell how crazy I am. I mean, there are signs. But not really. People tend to be shocked when they start reading.

I write because otherwise I don't exist as a whole person. I'm a set of semi-fake semi-forced behaviors that I have somehow weirdly associated with groups of people in specific communities.

When I was a child the normal I learned was that my mom had to go have sex with my father in order to get money for food. Even though the court system said he owed us that money no matter what. "It may be illegal but no one will prosecute." Yes, I know.

I have to try to pretend I understand other peoples normal. I have to try to blend in. But when you move through communities people are so wildly different. And they all get upset if you are too weird and aggressive. At this point I'm fairly aggressive.

So I'm trying to be better about keeping up with email so that I can have one on one relationships with people since on an individual basis people have very little invested in maintaining that 'other' group identity.

Two people sitting in a room together form a 'we'. There is the desire to probe for similarities and minimize differences. I know how to fish. I know how to let someone else do a lot of the tone setting. I don't always do it, but I know how.

Yesterday I was talking to a mom from the homeschooling group. She was relaying that a young girl (I was confused about what the relationship was) went on a sleep over and in the morning woke up before everyone else and went to get donuts with the dad. My mom friend felt bothered by this. She won't let her daughters be alone with men.

I think "floored" is the best word for how I felt. I... I can't imagine living in a world where I would never allow my daughter to be alone with men.

Don't I seem like that type though? I can't. Often men have been the reason I limped along and did better for a while. Like Joey? My brother Tommy's friend who brought me to the Seventh Day Adventist church for a while. He unquestionably made my life better. I was alone with him a lot. Uhm we prayed a lot. And read the Bible. And he was so very nice-without-touching. Awesome person. I hope his life is going well.

I don't want to deny my daughters relationships with men. I want them to not look like prey. Different.

I think that boys, girls, men and women are all animals. We are part of the animal kingdom and all. Unless we are specifically domesticated and socialized then we revert to self-serving behavior. Yes, I think pretty much any boy or man is capable of rape.

And then I start to get around in my head to DAs questions. And it's 10 and I have stuff to do. Tomorrow I will answer his questions.

I've been having trouble getting past "Other than you no woman has ever asked for my consent." I think it is not obvious in my writing that I think women are equally as capable of being predators but their hunting is different and I have never been their prey. It is hard for me to write about. But I definitely have some things to say.

And buddy--I have fucked some 3's. You aren't a 3. Knock off the self-denigration. It isn't helpful.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

scope

I told my therapist last night that I feel like what I am struggling with right now is understanding the scope of my life. I want to feel like I really understand kind of "my position" in the realm of trauma.

All of my life I have had people telling me that what happened to me "wasn't so bad" and I should "quit whining". First my family and then as an adult people have practically fucking lined up to tell me I am hysterical and I should "just get over" my childhood.

I told my therapist that I feel very self conscious but it feels like the only people who may have some idea of what my childhood was like is people who grew up in war zones. She asked me if I have ever known someone who grew up in a war zone. I said no--that is a lot of my guilt. I'm one of those white American--who in the fuck am I to act like my life has been as bad as someone else.

She said she knows quite a few people personally and professionally who have grown up in war zones. She feels quite confident telling me that any of them would say that hands down my life experiences were out-of-this-world traumatic compared to what they lived through.

How do I assimilate that?

It was hard watching her face as she said it. Like she was breaking bad news to the poor bereavement victim.


She said she knows a Tibetan man who lost his entire family. They were all blown up in one go. She said that she is pretty sure he would feel great compassion and tell me that what he suffered was nothing like what I went through.

He had a community who reached out to him and mourned his loss and grieved with him. He was supported. It was awful but the people around him helped.

I cry alone in a room. I have for my entire life. There is no community support in that. There is no reason for my brain to treat me like someone who should continue living. I am given no data to support the premise that I deserve to live.

It makes a lot of sense that I am suicidal. I am treated like I am disposable in the world I was born into.

Have you ever watched chickens go at each other? I am at the bottom of the pecking order. In almost every other species I would be dead already. It is kind of weird knowing that it is not hyperbole.

I was a high school teacher. I am quite familiar with the depths of despair into which people throw themselves. I hate feeling like that kind of whiner.

No, recovering from trauma is not whining. It is.... wait for it.... recovering from trauma. And sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it is impossible to move past. That's only about 6% of people who end up with PTSD. Only about 20% of people who live through trauma move into PTSD. There is hope.

I have to trick my brain into believing that I should be here despite this many years of evidence that I shouldn't be.

It is normal for my species to be pack animals. I have to not need that in order to feel worth. It's kind of weird but I have try and gain a more masculine approach to life. In general (certainly not in all cases across the board) it is more common for men to eschew the societal view of them than women. Women need the herd for safety more than the men.

I feel inadequate to the task of demanding a seat at the banquet of life. I feel like my responsibility is to carry platters so large and heavy that I can't see past them and accidentally fall down the stairs and break my neck. The big loss will be the meat I'm carrying on the tray. I am more easily replaced.

I think a larger chunk of that feeling than I would prefer to admit comes from my internal misogyny. Especially given that I have now successfully contributed to the gene pool my entire concept of self says that I have no further use. There are people more fit to perform the tasks I perform. Better to cull the herd for the good of the herd.

It's kind of weird but I have always kind of wished that I felt less comfortable as a girl. This fits. I am absolutely cisgendered. I'm a girl. I'm a chick. I'm a woman. Those fit. Maybe if I were more androgynous, maybe if I wanted to reject this inferior female body and instead I tried to move towards being a man then maybe I would be worthy of respect. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to work out a lot of the time either. Nothing about me makes sense as a man. I'm just a woman.

I feel actively demeaned by my lack of ambition. It shows how generally low in character I am. I have interest in money only in as much as it is a means to an end. I am pushing my family into excessively frugal living because I prioritize lowering our overall expenses. That is my first, central, and most fiercely held current life beliefs. The only way for us to be safe is to lower our monthly expenses.

We spent over $90k last year. Noah made a lot more than that. (I feel startled by him.) That is not something I can count on forever. In my defense 54% of our spending went towards mortgage/house. I did have to replace the washer/dryer and both heaters this year. If I don't have as many home repairs I anticipate putting at least $40k towards principal next year. Right now our mortgage is around $230k. About six more years. About two years before we want to go overseas.

For the year we are traveling I want our mandatory unavoidable expenses to be under $1500/month. That's an amount of money we can just float from savings for a year without it mattering. See, this is why it feels like it is inappropriate for me to talk about any part of my life is hard. Right now I have an easier set up than 99.99999% of all humans for all time. But that wasn't true when I was a child. How can a person have such completely different life experiences?

I don't know how to reconcile being at the bottom and at the top. It feels like I am unworthy of being on the top so I should jump off a building and let someone more deserving move into my place.

I feel very weird about so much of my psychological safety coming from Noah providing money. That seems prone to be problematic. I'm trying to play my part and rapidly pay off the mortgage so that the pressure is less extreme. When the mortgage is paid off I can support my family in this home without Noah forever if something bad happens.

I will have reduced my life to a scale appropriate for me. I feel kind of weird about what that means in terms of my life. My status. My right to live and take up space. My right to pursue happiness.

I feel stupid and weird because the things that I want in my life are common things to want. They are common hobbies and past times.  But I hold tremendous shame for wanting them because I was told over and over how stupid I was for wanting them.

When I was a kid I would try to get excited about moving. I tried to put plants in a bunch of places we lived. I was mocked and laughed at. My efforts were kicked up or ground into the ground. What the hell did I think I was doing? Stupid bitch go back in the house and shut up.

Why did I read all the time? Because I had to stay in a room silently all the time. If I made noise or a mess or was even seen doing anything other than going to the bathroom or fetching food I was yelled at or mocked or made the butt of some joke.

I'm having a hard time with a lot of my male friends. I don't particularly like being the butt of the joke. Yes, I'm over-fucking-sensitive. But they want me to know they like me. So they are sure to denigrate me as much as possible as fast as possible.

"Wow! I'm surprised you can get that!"
"Oh I'd better help you. You know how women are."

No, motherfucker, I don't know how women are. Why don't you fucking explain it to me.

But I want to have friends. So I shut my mouth and I bite the insides of my mouth until it bleeds.

I'm really tired of people telling me I have no tact. You have no fucking idea. I want friends. I want friends so badly that I hide for months because I am in a phase where if someone makes me the butt of the joke I am going to hysterically scream at them for an hour straight and possibly have to be pulled off of them as I beat the shit out of them.

I'll just stay home. I'm over-sensitive and folks are sure to let me know that it is my problem.

But I'm not supposed to talk about having issues with men. It hurts their feelings. All those poor innocent men who have never done anything feel terrible guilt when I talk about this and I am a mean person for hurting them.

I'm sorry I forgot. I wasn't silent enough. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid me.

Sometimes Noah will lean in and lovingly stroke my face and tell me that he likes that I talk. He likes what I think. No, he isn't tired of listening to me.

Honestly I think it makes him feel a lot more ok about the level of distrust of men I have because he has raped. He doesn't get to retreat into the shell of "How dare you say that about me" which makes him a lot more sympathetic to my struggle.

He is at least willing to admit that it happens. Men who have not raped are often not willing to admit that this is even a problem. They point at the fact that they haven't done anything and that means that people who want to talk about it should shut up because it isn't their problem and it makes them feel bad.

I think that men who have not raped are aware that the line between having not done so and having done so is not always as clear as one would hope and you don't always notice when you have done it. Whoops.

So how do you know you are a good person as a man? How do you know you have never raped anyone? I don't fucking know. I wish I did.

I know that one of my lovers told me this week that I am the only woman who has ever asked for his consent before having sex with him. I feel so sad about that I don't have the words.

When I was in kindergarden I had a "boyfriend" and I gave him a blowjob--like you do. When we were in sixth grade I moved back to the area to find out he had told all and sundry that I raped him.

I ask for consent before I have sex with people. I need people to tell me that they want to be there. That's a lot of the reason I haven't had sex with more women. They aren't willing to admit they want it. So I don't fuck them.

I told my friend's sister this weekend: "You need to go make a lot of mistakes. I get that. But only do the things that you feel drawn to. This 26 year old "Dominant" who is "training you" by making you deep throat him for excessively long periods of time even though you don't enjoy that activity... he's not a good person. Ditch him.

These guys who are older than you don't have the key to the castle. Find out what you like. If you want to have recreational sex it is a lot better to do it with guys near your age. Yes it is annoying to help them through the training wheels stage. But that is how you end up with a good man. The older guys hunting for 18 year olds who won't tell you anything about themselves but they expect you to show up and enthusiastically suck their dicks? Yeah they aren't nice men. They never will be. You can have a series of dicks that way and to them you will be just a pussy. Can you live with that?"

I think that people should have the logical results of their actions explained to them in meticulous detail so they can see the pattern emerging and make choices. When I was 18 and I came into the scene and I met up with a 30-something year old woman she introduced me to a series of men (including my shaman) and told me to have sex with them because I would learn. She told me that she appreciated the status bump she gets for bringing them fresh meat.

Can you live with being just a cunt?

There are no take backs. You can never un-live your life.

Last night as I was leaving I walked through the incest support group my therapist runs right after my session. I stopped and told them, "I hear she told you that my book had a nice ending. I don't know why she lied to you. It has a terrible ending." Then I laughed. One of the women jumped up and hugged me. She said, "Oh my God! That is you! I can't write about any of what happened to me. She (pointing) wrote a letter to her abuser and that is the most intense of anyone I have ever heard of. How could you write that book?"

I felt kind of stunned. I write because I can't not write. For me to not write would be for me to cease to exist. I mean, sometimes I have to give my wrists a break or life gets busy... but writing is how I live. Without writing I do not exist as a whole person. I only exist as fragments because in any given environment such a small part of my life is relevant.

If I look forward into the future, maybe what I really need is a Magic 8 Ball. I would put it on my desk and consult it regularly. Digression!

If I look forward into the future I try to imagine what kind of worth I might have. What good can I do? That is going to play a big part in me not-dying. I will have need to feel like I have work I am unusually well suited for. I need to create a life where I am important. Even though that feels weird and like I shouldn't say.

I have a very unusual set of life experiences. How can I use them to do good? I don't know yet. I'm not in the future yet.

It's kind of weird. When I look at the people I know I don't resemble any of them much. I don't have an even vaguely similar life path. How can I find a way to make it safe enough for me to exist even though I break all the norms of the herd?

I think the misogyny is part of it. How do I start valuing myself and other women equally as men even when they do not have the good fortune to be computer geeks. Many years ago a friend (a woman--of course) told me that I should expect to deal with sexism because I wasn't a geek but she was shocked and appalled that she had it happen to her at work. The strong implication (to me) was that she was obviously so much more on their level...

Yeah. I wonder why I value women less than men. Maybe because I live in silicon valley and even my female friends tell me I should. Unless someone is an engineer they just can't be all that bright--right. Oh I guess a lawyer would do. Or a doctor. A teacher is a lame person--"Those who can do; those who can't teach" and a stay at home mom is significantly more of a loser.

Why is the only work worth doing about sitting still and staring at a screen?

I think I want to step outside this hierarchy. I've been trying since I was fifteen and fucking the president of the computer club. I SAY AS I STARE AT THE FUCKING SCREEN. My hypocrisy must be lost on no one.

I feel like the path to self-acceptance for me has to be some kind of divorce in my head from the normal rules of status. I need to treat myself as more of a free floating free radical particle. I am potentially destructive to people around me. I just don't exist inside their system. There isn't a place for me. I'm just... kinda there.

There is no deserve. There is no should. There is only what is. I'm not dead yet. It feels like there are a lot of good reasons why I should be. But I'm not.

Now what?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas

Noah and I are having a hard time settling into Christmas. We both have a lot of baggage. Even though he is quite unfair and he doesn't have time to sit down and write me essays about what he is feeling I persist in laying my emotions before the internet.

Shanna has been asking me about Christmas. What it means. Why we do it. I told her that just about every religion has some kind of ritual in late December around the longest night of the year. Sometimes it is a few days away and folks try very hard to come up with some kind of "rational" story about why they need to have a celebration then. Stories are very easy to come up with.

I told her that just about every human being has trouble sustaining hope and through the winter is when it is hardest. You feel like everything is terrible and bad. There is no point in trying. Many people feel sad and rejected and unloved at this time of year. It feels like there will never be a return of light.

So in this country we call our mid-winter celebration Christmas (mostly, unless you have a specific reason to call it something else) and if you notice there are a lot of lights associated with it. People like light. It makes us feel like we don't have to be alone and scared in the dark.

I keep my Christmas tree lit for basically all of December. I understand that it is technically a fire risk. I also sleep out there near the tree several times. I always have.

I need the light. I need that renewal of hope every year. It is a subtle thing, but very important to me.

Then of course she wants to know why presents. I said that generosity (giving stuff) and avarice (getting stuff) both make people feel very good. It has to do with the chemicals in our brain. I said that people like combining symbols because that makes them more powerful. If you give gifts as part of a ceremony of lights that is about restoring hope it is like a promise every December that good things will come again.

Even though you are scared--even though it feels like there is no hope. There is always hope. The longest, darkest, most terrible day of the year always brings hope.

Thus we mark it with gifts. Both to keep us from being afraid and to make us happy. And because getting stuff is kind of fun.

In our house we use this as a time of restocking necessary things but getting slightly higher quality or fancier version.

Socks, underwear (if needed), pajamas, soap, consumable objects--both edible and otherwise--provide the bulk of gifts.

I really like giving food. There is something primal and intense for me about being able to feed people. I feel like that is one of the primary ways I have of actually being supportive and loving of the people in my life.

Almost no one in my life needs me to buy them soap or socks. They just don't have need in that area. They do need to eat multiple times a day every day. I can allow them to skip a step of work or save money. That is something I can actually do. That makes me feel good in the same kind of way that going out and picking up garbage in our neighborhood makes me feel good.

And sugar is just awesome. So I give a lot of sweets to go along with my lights and subliminal message of hope. No matter how bitter your life is right now, here is some sweet to go along with it. This too shall pass. Just like the long night will pass. There is always hope.

In our culture we have Christmas and New Years right together. What better hope is there than having a clean slate right after the festival of lights?

Oh, and there was this historical guy named Jesus and the Christians are very big on him so that's why you see Nativities. It's part of their mythology. Luckily we live right next to a Hindu temple so the expression, "It's part of their mythology" gets used a lot. Especially with the uber intense Christian homeschooling family a few doors down.

"Why does she talk about Jesus all the time?" Because it brings her comfort. Don't worry about it.

Our advent calendar is full of things to do. Like fill out Christmas cards. Put up the outside lights. Make cookies. Have a party. Go on a walk and look at the lights. I may try to talk my similarly-community-crazy neighbors into caroling. That would be rad.

I like for Christmas to be a time of spending time together. I have hope because of and for the people in this house. Let's be honest here. I'm a cold bastard. I may love people outside of my house but I can't spend much time having hope for them. It wears me out. I have no control over their lives.

I have to keep my hope in house. This is a far more pleasant experience now than it used to be. Trying to have a renewal of hope alone with yourself is very hard. Now I have these wonderful people to be with.

And I'm freaking out. The kids have broken four tree ornaments and two other decoration pieces in the first three days of having stuff out. I got mad. I yelled. Noah pointed out that I should put the breakable things away before I create a situation I will regret. He's a smart boy. They broke ornaments that were my mothers. They broke the stable that is part of the nativity set that belonged to my family of origin before I was born. I have no idea if it is 35 or 50 years old. Now it is broken.

It is just a thing. Noah is right that it isn't appropriate to get mad at the kids. They are two and four. If I have breakable things I need to keep them out of reach or it is on my head.

That's the part that is different from what I experienced. That is the most important part. I can't get angry with them for being two and four. Well, I can. But making a habit of it is stupid. I think it is ok that Shanna and Calli saw me get angry about so many things getting broken so fast. But that anger needs to stay in that ten minute period and I can't dwell on it.

I've been sick and the kids are cooped up and fussy. And we are all cold. The pilot light will be lit today. Woo.

Getting through all the tasks I associate with Christmas is overwhelming if not structured. That's why I do the advent calendar. Otherwise I freak out and get stuck doing too much on one day and I'm overwhelmed and I end up crying. I cry when I get frustrated being getting mad feels so unacceptable.

I don't feel like I wrapped that up coherently but I have to go start the day.

WWOOF babble

Shutting off facebook has created a very specific void in my life. Holy crap did I check it a lot. This has left me with a lot of time on the internet. I have been having one on one conversations on IM at a higher rate than usual this week. That's been nice.

A lot of what I am doing is reading WWOOF ads. I start out looking by continent and then I narrow down by country to see what kind of opportunities exist. I want to spend time in South America, Africa, and Asia. The continents I haven't been on yet.

When I look at what kinds of things exist in the world I feel excited. On one hand I think I need to be very careful about not acting like, "What these people need is a honky" but I do have skills and knowledge that could be useful.

How do I learn how to be (and teach my kids to be) humble about being diversely educated while still offering up the skills I have (and will have way more by then).

I want to learn about farming. I want to go out into remote, rural areas where they live in a climate I can't really wrap my head around and figure out how they survive. I want to learn the skills they know--not all of them. I don't want to act like a year of travel will teach me everything that everyone I encounter knows. Not even close. I want to understand which bugs live where and how they differently impact people. Sure, I could read a book. I'd rather have a ten year old explain it to me.

When you go hunting through the WWOOF sites you find a very high level of English compared to what (at least I) one might expect. Unfortunately you find very very few who are willing to accept a family of four--or children at all. That's because they are smart. Ha. Once you start winnowing down by "must accept a family of four" you actually find less of a concentration of English. Random families who need enough help to be willing to tolerate strangers coming in to help are not necessarily the most progressive, educated people in their country.

The most progressive, educated people speak English but they won't deal with kids. It's a tricksy system.

French scares me because my hearing isn't very good. I have a hard time picking out the morphemes in other languages. I started learning Spanish early enough that I can hear the differences. When I am trying to pick up yet a different language (I half-heartedly try every so often) I find that my sense of inadequacy overwhelms me and I cry and the learning part of my brain shuts off.

I'm going to have to find a way to change my attitude if I want to learn French. Given where we are going in the world it is potentially possible that we could get by with only English. Doing so would handicap us to such a degree that going there is much less useful than it could be.

So of the hosting sites in Africa that accept English and multi-person groups it sounds like mostly what we could do is travel around installing school gardens. On one hand that is a worthy, interesting activity. It's not as interesting as some of the ones that require French.

I'd love to spend a lot of time finding out how the locals deal with large scale growing crops. There are host sites that would hold our whole family and do a lot more rigorous farming--but you have to know French.

Also, several Asian countries (like Vietnam) strongly prefer French to English. Can you get by, yes. But I don't want to get by. I want to go as a student to learn as much as I can. I can only learn as much as possible if I ensure I can ask as many questions as I have. That will require being able to speak to more than just an interpreter.

So far I have done a lot of travel and relied on always being able to find an English speaker. It has worked. I want a different experience with the WWOOF trip. I don't think I want to spend my whole life as a mono-linguistic American who expects everyone in the world to learn my language in order to have the privilege of talking to me.

I really want to learn what is involved in farming in different places in the world. I don't know why I want to know with this intensity. Yes, I visit the U-pick places near my house. Yes, I talk to the local farms near me. I'm getting to know the farmers I buy from. Not quickly because I am shy. Yes, I am. Strangers are scary for me too. No laughing.

I would hate myself forever if I got there and found out that one member of the family we were staying with spoke English and everyone else speaks French and I spend the time learning through gestures, pointing, and grunting. Trying to learn through someone else grunting at me in a French accent would be ridiculous. Just no.

Part of the problem is I can't count on the present WWOOF hosts still being around in eight years. Right now reading the ads is just a way of figuring out what the range of possible activities are.

Like there is this place in Thailand where they welcome kids, want to be actively taught English, they teach organic farming classes, and they really want someone to come teach computer programming. Jackpot. Unfortunately Noah is not always going to have such a welcome situation. I bet you that when people around the world find out he is a computer programmer there will be at least one group of people in each place who wants to ask questions.

He has knowledge in his head that would allow people to completely change the life they have. Sometimes I feel a little weird about that. Hell, I know enough about computers to completely change the life of someone who has grown up in rural destitution.

But they know things about surviving and community that I don't. I want to learn so much I ache with wanting this.

Now I want to transition into Christmas and money. So maybe I should open a different screen. Travel babble is different.

Monday, November 26, 2012

People frequently ask me for shorter posts.

With the loss of facebook you may get them.

I asked Noah how he felt about the distribution of our time on the WWOOF year. I want to spend time in South America, Africa, and Asia. He said he wasn't sure about Africa because he knows the least about it. This morning of research lets me know that in order to get by in most of Africa we would have to know some French.

Oh shit.

South America sounds so awesome. I'm not fluent in Spanish but I know enough to get by and communicate reasonably well with patient people.

French scares me. Oh god.

I think I'm going to have to do it.

Bummer. I've been avoiding French for thirty years. It sucks to change such a good streak at this point.

Morocco. Madagascar. Tunisia. Don't those sound like places worth seeing?

Shit. I'm going to need French. Oh this will be hilarious.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

just stalling.

I'm struggling in ways I need to articulate. Right now it is just a lot of bad feeling in my stomach and it's not doing me any favors. I can't concentrate. I can't feel like I am even in the room I am in. It is so hard to stand near other human beings.

I want people to love me. They don't. I feel very sad about that. Ok--before that sounds like the ridiculous pity party that it is let me clarify. When I am standing in a random store in my town the people who are next to me in line don't love me. When I am a friend's party and I know the host and no one else in the room--mostly it is reasonable to feel like the people standing next to me don't love me.

Those are completely reasonable thoughts. No, it's not reasonable to expect people near you to just love you. I don't live in a small town. I have moved so much in my life that if it wasn't for blogging people would know almost nothing about me. I exist in peoples head as a full and complete construct because I add details off in the background.

Other people don't provide such insight to me. I find this quite frustrating. I'm stalling.

I'm angry and I'm sad. When I sit down with a new therapist and have to go through the list of things that happened to me as a child I used to have to sit through at least half an hour of someone exclaiming with great vigor, "Oh gracious child! How did you survive?! You should be dead!" I uhh had trouble bonding with most of  them. I learned to prescreen by saying, "I need to have a therapist who can work with very intense trauma without deflecting or derailing. I need a therapist who can listen without interrupting to project onto the story." I say that or very nearly that during phone screens.

It is hard to believe that it is ever ok to put down anything down on the internet as "your side of the story". They tell me that the internet is forever. I don't actually believe them or care very much. This is the only way I can exist right now. There is not enough time in the day for me to talk about the things that are going on for me emotionally and appropriately parent my kids. Right now the default is that I can't talk.

I'm struggling with how to set the behavior patterns I have to follow in different scenarios. I am acting like a selfish asshole. It's a step in the right direction but probably an overly large one. I am having a hard time with what it means to exist out in the world. If you tell too much truth it can never be taken back. It hurts peoples feelings.

Men have feelings too. The fact that I feel the things I feel is very offensive to many of them. Well, ok. I'll uhhh stop talking about it then. No, actually I won't. What I will do is not be on facebook and if you like my blog: tell your friends. I really can't be there to read the comments. I read everything through filters you don't know or care about. The same is true of others. It's ok.

In order to be a writer of the kind I want then I need to exist only for an opt-in audience. I'm not sure what that will mean exactly. Facebook isn't an opt-in audience. There are a lot of social conventions I don't fully understand. I can't feel like I need to balance as many roles as I currently have.

I have to reduce the number of roles if I want to actually tell the stories I need to tell so I can get on with my life. I want too much. I need to change my attitude about writing and why I am doing it. And I need to change how I am treating the circles of people in my life.

My opinion is often very unwelcome.  It is hard recognizing how hard a brick wall that is.

I want to be able to tell the stories I want to tell. I want to be allowed to continue to exist on the fringes of communities in a way that will allow my children  to have relationships I don't seem to be able to have.

But my arms hurt. That's my official evasion. Maybe I will be able to talk to Noah about it tonight. I don't know.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I should have seen this coming.

I have had several men ask me in the past day if they would be on the list of people I pulled into a room to "have a talking to".

I can't answer and that is really intense feeling. I want to answer. I desperately want to. I want to be able to absolve of guilt. I want to be able to hand down sentencing.

These aren't my secrets. If I go about telling men, "You but not you" then I risk revealing what has been told to me in confidence. The women who have confided in me did so with the rock solid belief that I would never betray them. I have to continue to earn that trust even though it is driving me insane.

I can't answer any of you. I can't say, "Oh of course I haven't heard anything about you!" because even if that is true--that just means I haven't heard anything. I can't give anyone a gold star that says, "Certifiably not a rapist" unless I go talk to every partner you have ever had.

Unfortunately in my little world the burden of proof isn't that I haven't yet heard anything. I have to know it is true or I won't say it is true. The emotional burden of guilt from being wrong is simply too high. The absolutely strongest recommendation I can give is, "I haven't been told anything about you."

And even that reveals the fuzzy outsides of what I have been told. It starts to narrow the field. What if guys start comparing notes to see what I said to whom? That's completely conceivable. How can I maintain confidentiality that way?

I just can't respond about this topic. Not really. I will respond to each of you individually (probably after finishing this blog--I haven't been at a computer since I hit post yesterday) because I appreciate that you are someone who cares about my opinion. But I can't answer this question. I just can't.

My honor doesn't look like the honor everyone else carries around but I will defend it tooth and nail. I gave my word that I was a safe space for these women. I can't dishonor that.

Even though I want to go beat some people over the head with big sticks because of what I know. I have to keep my fucking mouth shut. I have to smile and give that asshole a hug when he comes up to me at a party because if my behavior radically changes towards him he will probably figure it out.

I can't out people.

I can tell my secrets. I can tell my secrets all day and all night. I can write or scream them as much as I want. I can't tell other peoples secrets. That is an individual journey. If someone is forcibly outed that becomes a new trauma. It can't be a healing process. I don't get to hurt people like that.

The shape of this community role was actually discussed in my last therapy appointment. She asked me what I take pride in. I told her that I take a lot of pride in the fact that traumatized women find me and feel comforted by me. I wanted and needed someone to go to. I had no one. I have become what I needed. I work very hard at it.

Maintaining confidentiality is part of that. I cannot be trusted if I cannot keep my fucking mouth shut.

Have you noticed how hard it is for me to keep my fucking mouth shut? Oh man.

I was asked several specific questions by a good friend that he felt self-conscious leaving in comments here (totally ok!) about how consent works. He has had a very different set of life experiences than me (women don't tear my clothes off much--at one point in time I was very upset about that) and he has to cope with things I haven't imagined yet.

I think it is going to take a couple of days before I can fully answer the questions. I don't want to give a half-assed reply. I think it deserves serious thought. When men I already love bring me questions about how they can better understand consent in their life I feel a great responsibility to answer in a way that is a)useful b)non-harmful to the man (they do matter too) and c) something that has an actual set of logic behind it.

Thank you for caring about my opinion of consent. I am going to think very carefully and answer you fully. I don't want to be unclear or unable to explain my thinking. I hate it when I do that.

I have a ridiculously busy day off-line ahead of me. It is going to be a day that combines a wide variety of different high anxiety situations for me. But a kind of anxiety that centers around am I really good enough to be the person in this position in this interaction?

Today I have the opportunity to have a sit down with an eighteen year old girl with borderline personality disorder who is getting into drugs and casual sex via the internet. When she leaves me she is going to stay with her Master overnight.

I can barely stop myself from rubbing my hands together with glee. I have trained for this. I can't control her. I can't decide how her life goes. But what I wouldn't give to have had someone like me when I was that age.

Then I get to go to Dickens Fair and apologize to the friend who kind of catalyzed my leaving Facebook because I deeply value the relationship and I don't want their to be hurt feelings over my deleting the stupid account. If I can't keep my emotions in check it is my responsibility to deal with the kinds of input I allow into my life. Facebook, for a variety of reasons, makes me significantly more unstable. I need to eliminate it from my life. I'm sorry she was the one standing closest when I noticed but it is really not her fault.

And she is one of the fucking coolest people I have ever met in my whole life and I don't want to drive her away because I am crazy and unstable and dramatic. How about if we just have those in person interactions that make us both feel good about ourselves. Facebook is not good for me. It's not about her. I have those kinds of issues with lots of people online. I don't read tone well. I hear it with the voices in my head.

Pretty much all the voices in my head hate my guts. Everything I read comes through that filter. It's very hard to circumvent.

I like in-person interactions. They are real. They aren't about me fighting with my ghosts while someone else is trying to have a conversation.

I don't want to detonate that relationship for a laundry list of reasons. In person I don't freak out about what she says to me because I can hear her voice. I hope that it will be ok that I can't handle facebook.

Sometimes it feels very humiliating dealing with the limitations of my brain. That is what this is. I have to accommodate what I need even though I am having a completely irrational reaction. Whatever. I can't rational my way out of it. It happens over and over uncontrollably. The only thing I can do is remove the stimulus.

And then enjoy people in person instead of clinging to facebook as a way of holding on to a thread of contact. I can't weave a tapestry out of those threads. I need the in person. I need to change what I have been doing. I hope this turns out to be a positive step.

And even if that friend decides she can't handle my drama (reasonable) I will still be at Dickens with someone who has a current higher thresh hold for my shit. I will accept the grace while I receive it. She knows she is chaperoning me so that I feel safe.

That's a pretty big gift. I need to walk through the day feeling that gift. When I feel really scared I know that I was given a participant pass by one friend and another friend is keeping the dark at bay. I am not the untouchable I believe I am.

These lies will pass.

Friday, November 23, 2012

trust and not

There is a lot of heated argument on fetlife right now about being able to have a database of rapists. I want to volunteer to adjudicate but hello lawsuit which is why these things don't get off the ground. It has to be anonymous. It has to be just data not the deciding vote in what happens.

I read something this morning by a large queer man who talks about his experience of being perceived as creepy.  It's an intense read. I think he elicited far more emotional response of sympathy from me than any man in my life has ever done. I think it is because he is a stranger on the internet. I have never felt any kind of boundary incursion from him so I don't have any defenses up when I read it. And he's a very good writer. That sounds intense and hard in a way I can't understand.

I've been raped by ten-ish male people depending on how you count. That's a lot of rapists for someone not in prison or a war zone. That means there is something about me. What am I doing to get myself into these situations?

I have issues with learned behavior. I was taught to hunt for those feelings from when I was a very small child. It's not about what I look like or even really who I am. My father taught me. That is really hard to wrap my head around. What does that mean about my thinking? About who I am?

No matter what my experiences as a rapist hunter isn't about my personhood the way being viewed as threatening is for Gaze. (The guy who wrote the blog.) It's external to me. I can pass when I want to. I can seem very non-threatening and unremarkable when I want to when I am out in public. He can't. He has never done anything wrong and he is scary anyway.

I'm scary sometimes. When I was a teacher there were many times when the very large football players backed away from me cowering in fear. I was told, "You are the most intimidating person I have ever seen" by seventeen and eighteen year old boys who towered over me and weighed a hundred pounds more than me.

I worry about that with my kids. So far they show no signs of being afraid of me so I think I'm doing ok.

I'm getting away from what I was thinking about earlier.

Gaze inspired me to think about why I distrust men so badly. What are the levels of trust for me?

I think that it is important to note that I don't believe or suspect random men are going to attack me. I walk around Oakland in the dark by myself. I don't fear random men. Sometimes I wonder if I am fishing to see if I should start to distrust random men as well. Oh the self-harming methods are tricksy.

I distrust men I know because sometimes women in my communities come to me and tell me their side of events. Then I run into the rapists at parties. They lean in and quickly hug me--noticeably without my consent--while I cringe. Oh yeah. I believe her that he never bothered to find out if she wanted to say yes to sex.

Sometimes I would like to rent a hall and then drive around delivering invitations to men I know and bring them all to a room. I would like to give them a talk about why women have told me that they are rapists.

I honestly believe that most of them don't understand that is what they are doing. A few are truly blatant and know and that's the point. That's Paul Nathan and Kevin Gilmore, fyi. (I use their names because they sexually assaulted me. I don't out other peoples rapists.)  These two are blatant, many victims, many years, many locations. Hunters. Of course I found them.

I stay home because I am a lightening rod. It is because I draw predators. That makes the men who want to talk to me very suspect. I don't, in my head, see a whole lot of reason why a guy would want to talk to me unless he is a predator. It is quite hard for guys to prove that they want to be my friend. Tay-that's why you are so amazing. Holy shit you keep trying.

I have a lot of different levels of trust. That's normal. The internet told me so. There is this weird grey area for me. I'm at the part in The Moral Animal where he goes over the purpose of the low-status throw away whore. The Madonna/whore dynamic. By most of those kind of caste systems I am untouchable but Noah married me anyway. I get why. I get why for him having such a partner was worthwhile.

I look with harsh suspicion on every other man who wants to talk to me. I know my place in society. But I can't function as that any more. I quite literally feel panic and worry and terror because I feel like I might have to say no to sex at any moment because that is the only reason men approach me but I can't do it anymore and saying no is so dangerous. Oh god. It makes my throat close.

But that's all in my head. Most people who walk up to me want to say, "Hey! How are you?!" And not really listen to my semi-truth that only mentions up-beat positive highlights of my life for two minutes before they wander away.

That is what is going on in their head.

I think that I am actually successfully not a target anymore. I absolutely don't spend time around the kind of scum who prey on mothers. Because I have a hard time figuring out in advance who they are we don't spend time around very many people.

I spend a lot of time longing for orthodox religion of some kind. Some religion with a strongly divided male and female population so I can go meet women and hide behind them and never have to meet their men. And if I did they would be horrified by the idea of touching me. Holy shit that sounds good.

I want some way of knowing for sure that people aren't sexually interested in me. I don't want people to be sexually interested in me any more. I'm tired of having to field that energy. Why is this my bloody problem?

Because they are people who get to ask. I get to say no.

Over.
And over.
And over.
And over.

Oh what a pity party. Geez, if I didn't get that attention wouldn't I be longing for it?

After reading Gaze's blog post I honestly believe that I will cheerfully stick with my side of the bargain and try to work on my attitude.

I can't imagine feeling that much anxiety about the amount of space my body takes up.

I've got to tell you, reading the internet makes me think that I have one of the healthiest relationships with my appearance of anyone I know. That's kind of hilarious. I think I am on the attractive side but not beautiful. I like my body and speak positively of it without having to force it. My kids will grow up hearing positive things about bodies in general. We don't watch main-stream tv and don't read magazines or diet books. My kids think fat is awesome and food is for eating. Not on the damn carpet. We get ants. Some day the outside of my house will be resealed and I will have insulation and hard wood floors. Then you can eat in any room.

So yes, I go to these parties and I see these men whom I know to have committed rape. I then feel on massive high anxiety about any and every man who talks to me. My feelings of distrust come from my perception of my very low status. Why else would men talk to a whore?

I have had a few male friends who have managed to show me that my company does have value to them without sex. It's a hard battle. Mostly I just stay home and cry because I do not believe I am worthy of community because I can't put a lid on my anxiety and be nice to men.

Having those rapists in the room really makes it hard. And that's my problem. So I stay home.

I'd like to get those men together and talk to them. I'd like to be able to say, "I know most of you vaguely in a social way. I understand that we have never been close. I'd like to tell you why I keep you at least ten feet away from me. At least one woman has told me that you do not value consent when it comes to your sex life. That scares the shit out of me. What other consent do you not value? How many people have you targeted? If one in four women are raped and one in twelve men is a rapist that means each of you have probably been busy. Knock it the fuck off."

Not that it would be very effective.

I don't think men even know what looking for consent means. Obviously I'm generalizing. Unfortunately many men do not understand what looking for consent means. Is that better?

A woman has to actually say "yes" or you can't have sex with her. It is a tried and true survival method for someone to go blank and unable to fight back when they are being assaulted. You have to get yes.

If you don't get an enthusiastic yes you don't deserve to have sex with her.

Why don't I speak more about women predators? I don't know as much about them. I don't know if the dynamics are different or not. I assume not? I make people tell me yes.

I hurt a little boy when I was in kindergarden. I thought he was saying yes. He didn't. It hurt him a lot. I didn't understand. I have apologized to him but I can't take it back. I have done my best to never do it again.

You have to get an enthusiastic yes or you can't have sex.

You know how like two posts ago I said I have had sex with more men than any other gender presentation because they are easier to get a yes out of? I understand that women hem and haw. I know it is a big pain in the ass to get them to actually admit they want to have sex. You need to get that yes while their clothes are still on. Seriously.

Don't be a rapist. Just don't. If she doesn't say yes you can't have sex with her.

I'd really like to be able to leave the house again some day. I'd like to have fewer rapists in my communities.

I don't know what can be done about rape in the large scale. On the small scale it seems like a smack on the back of the head is the very first step if the rapee doesn't want the police involved.

People are so complicated. And now I have more sympathy for the male side than I did when I woke up this morning. I'm not sure if I'm grateful exactly. Ah yes, more internal pressure to be nice. Great.

Not everyone wants to have sex with me. I mean, I know this and all. But my inner social anxiety meter doesn't. If I could blame it on the sex communities I would. I actually know about fewer rapists in the bdsm community than in the dance community. Or poly community. Or Dickens. Or Renaissance Faires. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed by what I know.

I wish I took this knowledge as security that I can trust the other men. There are probably only one or two rapists running around each community that I don't already know about. Doesn't that make all the other men safe by contrast? No. I don't know who would throw me under a bus if something happened. I can't feel emotionally close to any men. I am going to be the first bit of debris thrown from their life if they don't like the emotions they experience while standing close to me. I'm optional.

It's hard for men to convince me that they are invested in having a friendship with me. The series of hurdles are so convoluted and difficult that they are almost impossible to surmount. I don't feel particularly good about that. But it is what makes me feels safe. And I generally have enough friends at any given point in time that I get by.

I feel weird about immersing myself in a kid-centric world. This is going to be my first experience through childhood. I didn't draw pictures as a child because people were always nasty and critical. I didn't play very much because the games I wanted to play were acting out my life experiences. I had to have another child around willing to consent to sex, essentially. That's a hard sell for most kids. Good!

My kids won't have a life like mine. I feel so bad that I don't have things that I am good at to share with my children. But at least I have a lot of willingness to do things wrong and experiment and say I don't know how to do something yet.

I have a hard time screening people for my life. I am a lightening rod for bad people. How do I adequately screen people in order to keep my kids safe? I'm pretty sure I have done it so far. Only fifteen years of hyperviligance to go. Deep breath.

Luckily I am getting older. I hear that men stop propositioning women at some point. As long as Noah still likes me that's all I need.

I'm going to go climb back in bed with Noah. I have a Black Friday to ignore.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Good stuff

Today I am thankful that I get to cook a lot of good food today on basically no notice. I'm just stocked and ready. Sure, no problem.

Today I am thankful that my children are healthy and thriving. They are growing so fast I can barely stand it. I love watching how they change.

Today I am thankful that I have friends who call to check up on me because they worry. Thank you so much for caring about me even though I am so difficult.

Today I am thankful that slow roasting the turkey overnight made the house much warmer than it has been for the past few weeks.

Today I am thankful that Noah and Shanna and Calli are "surprising" me with crepes for breakfast. I'm supposed to wait until they are done to come out. The turkey will be cooked in time for breakfast. It's going to be a great day.

Today I am thankful that I have a secure roof over my head. Not everyone is so blessed.

Today I am thankful that I have the ability to decide who is in my life. I haven't been raped in five years. This trend is very likely to continue because I am now safe. That is not a gift I take lightly.

Today I am thankful for being able to live in this house forever if I want to. I'm just allowed to be here.

Today I am thankful for all the good things I have to look forward to. I'm going to have a really fun life. I am going to do interesting things. Just wait.

Today I am thankful for lots of therapy and medication. Hallelujah.

Mostly I'm thankful that Noah wants me. If Noah didn't want me in his life then this whole house of cards would collapse. I'm really glad he still wants me.

probably a good decision process

I am at a weird stage of thinking with regards to bdsm. I feel like I am slowly migrating into thinking that it's pretty broken and fucked up to be pining for people who will let you hurt them a lot. I mean, I get it as an urge. But it's broken.

What these people is for there to be more people who are broken inside who want to be hurt. Not every masochist is broken--but honest-to-dawg masochists are rare in my experience. Mostly if you want to be heavily beaten or made to bleed you are pretty broken. Sometimes it isn't directly related to any specific trauma--many masochists come from reasonably great homes. But they got broken somehow.

I don't feel equally about all kinds of pain. I'm thinking specifically about the heavy players. The ones who have less of a "let's play a game together" and more of a "I'm going to put you in your place." Traditionally I don't play very well with the "let's play a game together" people. I'm not playing a game. I think I should be hurt.

I feel very confused when someone "gives me a spanking" that doesn't even turn my ass red. I feel like, "Well there is an hour I can never get back." I feel compelled to hunt for the bruises. I'm not a stoic bottom so it takes someone who really wants to make someone cry for me to get there.

I want to digress and give a disclaimer: I use very heteronormative language most of the time. This is because I have had an easier time finding guys to play and/or have sex with. In my experience women and transpersons (going in either direction, with or without surgery) take a lot more energy from me to woo them. They want to be sure I like them before they give it up. I often go hunting with very low energy because I want the hunting to replenish my energy. Guys just need me to show up and not say no. So my language is very heteronormative. I don't know what to do about that. By the numbers I have slept with ~125 (+/-5ish?) people. I lost my excel spreadsheet years ago so yes it is approximate. I have slept with 5 glorious people who fell somewhere not on the binary and with 40-ish women. If women and people not on the binary were easier for me to pick up I don't think there is any chance the numbers would skew so high towards men. Anyway!

So when I talk about feelings about predatory people I am talking about my experiences with men and why those experiences bother me.

I wish it didn't come with a general distrust of men too. I truly do. But whether you like it or not I need to keep me safe. It is a slow and gradual process for me to trust a man. Mostly the harder I try the further away from trusting them I get. Very few men actually strike me as non-threatening. There are very few men I will cheerfully leave alone in a room with my kids.

Want to know the weird thing? I am ok sending my kids on a walk with someone I know to be a tremendous pervert because I know they will never be alone inside a private space and I know my neighbors are watching and I know my kids know their routine and Shanna is not ok with deviating from it. But I feel mixed about the conversations inside.

Every few years I have to drop a lot of balls. I think that is ultimately how I keep from killing myself. I just walk away from relationships and communities. I feel guilty for culling the bdsm community and I'm not sure why. Am I doing it because I think I'm better? I don't think so. I don't want my daughters to learn that women should be hurt at home. Including because my friends think it is fucking funny to insinuate all the fucking time.

But I'm too sensitive. Maybe so. Maybe I just can't accommodate your issues because I have to deal with my own.

I don't want to do the polarizing thing. I need this specific characterization of women to disappear from my life and that doesn't mean that all of the people who do it are terrible people who deserve to die or anything dramatic like that. What does rejecting/pulling back from the community even mean?

The vast majority of people involved in the bdsm community like to play games while having sex. Most of them are perfectly normal, happy, well adjusted people. Why am I tarring them all with the same brush? Why am I being like that? Because you still follow the trope that says it is fun and funny to hit people.

My kids don't hear that shit. In our life you learn how to hit people because you will, unfortunately, at some point need to defend yourself. There are bad people in the world who are not interested in respecting you or your body and you need to be able to handle that.

She can find out if she likes being spanked once she can kick the shit out of somebody who ignores her "no". And I feel weirdly like I hope she feels ok with talking to me about the experience and like I hope I never hear about any part of her sex life. I think that is a normal dual thought process and I can live with that discomfort.

I am having a hard time with how often conversations come up with some people. I feel like it is "my fault" because I bring it up. I don't think I always or even usually do. Sometimes I am stupid and I make the joke because I fell into feeling like I was one of them again. I am so institutionalized it's kind of ridiculous. I think I should be hurt.

Noah describes himself as being calculatedly self-interested. He isn't like the people who genuinely want to hurt people. I mean, we have done some fucked up shit--don't get me wrong. (And honey--don't try to prove you can ok?) You don't pursue doing that to the point that it drives people from your life over and over. You were overly aggressive and intense for a lot of the people you dated, yeah, but not because you were beating the shit out of them.

It's different.

I know a large number of men and women who feel they cannot be happy unless they have many people in their life to beat at a moment's notice. I kind of feel live and let live about it. I mean I don't think they need to stop wanting what they want because I have issues with it. But I don't want to stand near it right now. It makes me feel intensely bad about the world and the people in it.

My masochism springs from a very deep self-hatred. This isn't true of all masochists so my opinions and experiences are far from universal. I want people to hurt me because I believe I should be hurt. I can come up with dozens of people in under a minute who would agree that I should be hurt. Just knowing that makes me want to walk in front of a truck.

I think I hate that they want me to be hurt even more than I hate myself. I am running out of feelings of compassion. I am running out of feelings of trust and friendliness and love. I can't keep ignoring how much this hurts me.

I don't think it has always hurt me like this. I think this is part of this whole identity crisis thing. Being a mom is very all encompassing. I can't model how to be a healthy whole person while nurturing the constant desire to experience pain. In order for me to figure out how to stop hurting myself I need to stop being around people who tell me continually that I should be in more pain. That really my life is not complete unless they get to hurt me. Preferably while I am sucking their dick.

I can't do this any more. Maybe I would hate men less if they fucking talked to me differently. If I am not supposed to generalize to all men then I do not understand how I am supposed to keep myself safe. How am I supposed to go out and figure out who the problematic people are? How am I supposed to identify danger if I am not allowed to talk about it or address it as an issue?

The bdsm community is very broken. And I can't fix it. I have other shit to do. That's not my battle this lifetime. Unfortunately it is a kind of broken that is a specifically delicious poison for me. I want it. I miss it. I am not willing to model this kind of life in front of my children.

What does that mean? Does that mean I will never go to parties? No. I will probably go to parties with Noah. We like to play games. I can't make much noise in our house because at this point we know all the neighbors and I get embarrassed. It's hilarious. And I do like having sex in public.

I showed up in the bdsm community looking for sex. I found something different and went with it. I ended up in a relationship with someone who would far prefer to masturbate while thinking about fetish items than have sex. Noah says that one of the reasons he married me is because I instituted a quota for sex in a previous relationship. After my long-term bdsm relationship I told my next serious relationship, "If you want monogamy that is fine. But I need to have a lot of sex. Either you do it or someone else will." Noah thought he could live with that.

All community, all family is a mixture of good and bad. If you throw out the bad you throw out the good too. But the ratio of good to bad has changed a lot for me. I need to keep my energy and my intentions to people who actually are part of my life. I need to stop waiting for people to care more and find time and... I don't know.

I am busy enough. I have a full enough life right now. I deleted my facebook account because at least once a week I end up sobbing about something from there. I feel minimized or dismissed and it's my own fucking problem. I read things wrong. I put half-assed stuff on there and people snap back. If I could shrug it off then it would all be fine. I can't. That means I need to be a grown up and stop putting myself in that situation.

I want to keep my friends. That means I need to keep them in the size and shape of container I can handle them in. I am over-sensitive to things I read in text. I pretty much always put the most hostile spin conceivable on anything I read. When I listen to someone speak I am not able to overlay their words with the hostility in my head in the same way. It makes me like people much more.

I'm mostly up because I'm basting the turkey soon. Noah has to do the next shift because I need the sleep.

It is not anyone else's fault that I hear a nasty, hostile track when I read things on the internet. I need to limit what I read on the internet. It's not about people being mean to me. This is a consistent problem I have.

I already limit my social life a lot. I think that I need to stick with how limited it is. I need to stop listening to the people who believe I should be hurt a lot more. What that means, exactly, I'm not sure. Does that mean severing contact? Ending relationships? I don't think I need to be dramatic about it. No one has done me wrong. I don't put a lot of energy in that direction already. I am not sure that anyone will notice if I drop what I still put in that direction.

Noah is the only one who gets explanations about this sort of crap. I don't tell other people that certain topics are off-limits. I just stop hanging out with them. I can't change anyone. I can just choose to be around people who are appropriate for my kids.

I don't want to be a grown up that bad it seems.

I think that when someone's words and behavior show me that they think my life would be "better" if I was less happy and in more pain then I don't have space for that any more. Is it mean of me? Maybe. But I need to matter some year.

I'm trying to stop wanting to be hurt. It is hard. I need to not be around people who tell me I should be hurt. If that bothers you, well, uhm, not to be an asshole or anything but go suck an egg.

That's the line. If people have these urges about other people that's not really my business. If it is kept away from my kids--whatever. Once you start talking to *me* about what I should do for *you* then I'm done.

I don't owe any one any more god damn pain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

fyi: facebook

I'm not handling it well. That means I need to step back.

sick = suicidal, apparently.

I hate being sick. At this point I am well past "too weak and dizzy to stand" but eating is still a problem. I ate ground beef and vegetable matter last night for dinner. I had to go to the restroom three times last night and cry as I paid for the hubris of believing I am able to digest roughage. Noah made oatmeal for breakfast. I ate five bites before my stomach is cramping and horribly painful. I've been crying a bunch.

I feel like crying just because my body is functioning in annoying ways means I am weak and pathetic. Just shut up Krissy. Everyone gets sick. Quit being such a fucking pussy.

I don't talk to anyone else the way I talk to me. This is probably a good thing.

Yesterday I managed to end up in a conversation with a woman who has been raped by the same people. Awkward. I feel terrible guilt for not supporting her more when she pressed charges against one of the guys. I was post-Puppy depressed and not functioning. I had not yet been sexually assaulted by that guy. At that point my basic understanding of the situation was, "Oh man signals got horribly crossed and she feels very hurt." Then he did the same thing to me. I tried to "fix it" and make sure my signals weren't coming across wrong. Actually, he just didn't care whether we were clear or not. He wanted what he wanted.

But what were we drinking. What were we wearing. How did we lead him on? She said she had depositions from ten other women he has raped but a woman in the bdsm community went to the police and discredited her by telling them that the rape-victim was a slut who must have asked for it.

That's what happens when you are stupid enough to go to the police after being raped in my community. The other women will ensure that you can't have justice because involving the police will create drama.

I spend so much time believing that the only thing I can do to prevent myself or my daughters from being raped is to drive off a cliff with them in the car. I don't actually intend to do it. But it breaks my heart that my girls will almost certainly be raped at some point. That just happens. And there is nothing I can do about it.

I feel terrible that I made little girls for this world. I could have created boys who were not rapists. But instead I bore little victims-to-be. I am going to put them in martial arts and have them learn how to operate every weapon we can get our hands on. I want them to be able to severely harm any guy who tries something.

Yes, yes women rape too. I know this. With a woman it is usually more about coercion. I think I can train girls who can resist coercion. I worry about them being small and delicate. They are so thin and frail seeming to me.

I keep them safe because I ensure that they have no contact with the world that does not involve me standing there and watching. Ok, sometimes I delegate to Noah and the Godmamas. And we've had other babysitters. Not in a long time. Not since the Godmamas stepped up. I figure if I get one weekend a month that has to be good enough. I don't really have anyone else dependable and trustworthy enough. I don't want them to get used to a string of random babysitters. The people who claimed they would be here are liars. I need to stop listening to what people say at all. Actions speak quite loudly.

My kids will bloody be kept safe. If I have to kill someone to do it. I hope it never comes to that. We stay home a lot in order to lower the chances it will happen soon.

When I am sick I feel pathetic and helpless and weak. I am reminded that I can do so little. I can't keep people safe. I can't protect anyone--not even me.

Someone I haven't talked to in years asked me how I have been. I said, "Well most of the past three years has been a series of mental breakdowns as I deal with being raped a lot. I wasn't allowed to deal with it when it happened and I've stuffed it for decades and now it is completely overwhelming me. If I didn't have kids I would be dead. If I didn't have kids it would not be worth dealing with any of this."

My male friends alternate between telling me that "it doesn't matter if it is illegal it will never be prosecuted" and "I won't take your rape seriously unless you prosecute." I want to jump off a very tall bridge. I want to jump off a building. Since I matter so little I want to cease to be.

Better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man go to prison. Better that tens of thousands of worthless whores be raped than one innocent man suffer.

I want to die. I want to die so much I feel like I am drowning. I don't matter. I am a worthless whore. My government tells me so. My community tells me so.

"I'm not going to ruin that nice boy's career for you." "You must have wanted it." "Well what position were you in that made these boys think it was ok?"

I existed. I'm sorry I was so stupid. I would like to change it.

But I have these kids. These little rape-victims to be. I hope not. I hope that they will inherit the status of their father and be safe. I inherited my father's status. I am nothing. I have no worth. No value. There is nothing about me that is worth defending.

No one wants to defend me. They just think I deserve what I get.

I want to die so much.