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.