Monday, December 31, 2012

Sitting on a high horse

I don't check much. It's just not where I am right now. When I log in and see a discussion about "What is your favorite punishment" and the asshole I know responded with, "I like to punch them in the face until their eyes swell shut."

I wish I thought he was kidding. I know he isn't.The prevailing attitude in the community is that if he can get someone to say yes--it's all good.

I don't think it is all good. I unfriended him today so that I don't have to see this shit any more. When I read things like that I can't help but feel like I would be doing the world a favor if I shot him and then myself. Not because I hate him--I really don't. He's quite charming and fun to talk to. I'm just thinking about killing people a lot lately. I think it's the news. See--I will never own a gun. It's a good thing.

Of course I played with him. I played with all the assholes. I meticulously went after all of the heaviest players in the scene. I was rather invested in being one of the heaviest players. Like I do. I like setting the edge of the bell curve.

Four years in that community convinced me that I don't want to be the most extreme in that community. I don't want to be the most degraded. I don't want to be hurt the most. I don't want to give up more of myself into a subsumed identity. No no no no no. No thanks. I'm going to take a nice comfortable walk back towards Normal. I won't get there--of course--but I will head in that direction. It's All Good.

T asked me if I think I am a better parent than others. The easy answer is "Yes. Of course." If I want to avoid the real question I can include "There are people who rape and beat their children. Of course I am better at parenting than them." But that's the asshole response because I bloody well know that is not what she meant. Alright-I'll stop stalling.

Yes. Sometimes. I try not to but I do. I try very hard to keep that judgment in my head because I am not perfect and my opinion is not very helpful to people most of the time. But it informs my parenting. I see other people do things and think, "Ah. Don't do that." I look at children who are in their early teens and I ask the parents how they have handled things up to know. I judge which kids I would want to live with and which kids I wouldn't.

How would I treat them differently? I think that all the time. How would I treat these kids if they were handed to me.

Of course I know people who are much better parents than me. I don't think I'm that great. I just think that there are a lot of people in the world who were very badly parented and they have not done work to deal with that. It makes them not particularly successful. It's sad but it's something I can't fix for people so I need to keep that judgment to myself.

And there is the fact that I am extremely conscious of the fact that my behavior and approach to life is non-standard and I don't think that people should try to solve problems like me because you probably shouldn't twist yourself around to having my issues. Just sayin'.

I am ridiculously conscious of the fact that I have the luxury to be exactly the kind of parent I want to be because I have a partner with a ridiculously high income. Noah went out and brought home a bit over $130,000 this year. By himself. That gives me a lot of freedom and flexibility to sit around and plan the best ways to handle every little problem that comes up for me because I know my instincts are shit.

Most people really don't have the time or inclination to sit around thinking about the correct response to various kinds of backtalk or misbehavior from their children. I have spent hours rehearsing the correct tone of voice, facial expression, and body posture for responding to misbehavior. This isn't to say that I nail what I am aiming for every time. I really don't. But I practice. I take it seriously as part of my job and it is hard for me so I work at it constantly.

I started when I was pregnant with Shanna. I've been doing it for five years. I don't do it every day but I do it multiple times a week--whenever I have space. I uhh started rehearsing how to do it for "Shanna and Calli" before I was even pregnant with her. I didn't tell Noah. I didn't even tell him that when we were selecting names when I was bleeding out during delivery.

The second name was supposed to be his choice. We had a few options. We put combinations together. I was so grateful he picked my first choice. It felt a lot more special. I may have had to push harder near the end if he had gone with something else. Ha.

So, yes. I think I am a better parent than a lot of people who respond instinctually to problems. I think their instincts weren't programmed well and that isn't their fault. What is their fault is not changing it. (Incidentally, I'm reading a book right now that focuses on this exact problem-- it's called Giving the Love that Heals and I recommend it. I don't get paid for this ad. I'm not that kind of blogger. No one pays me anything. Ha.)

It's always validating when I find a book written by real professionals that lays out what I am already doing on my own. I like validation. It's like my favorite cookie.

But my kids are 2.5 and 4.5. Let's not get all excited about how awesome I am as a parent yet. The baby stage is rough but there are some big hills coming up.

Like, actually homeschooling. That's intimidating. An awful lot of people have felt free to let me know that they don't think I will be up for the task. Disapproval is bracing like a chilly breeze. Alright. So I have to put on the heavy boots for this task, I see. There may be snow.

I'm very used to people thinking that everything about me is wrong and that I am disgusting and bad. Getting away from that feeling, and the corollary desire to feel like I respect myself more than I respect the people disparaging me, is what has pushed me through being successful. I have been successful. I did end up with a high school diploma. After twenty five schools that truly is an accomplishment. I have a Bachelors degree. I went through seven years of graduate school with high marks and earned respect from a lot of people in my potential academic field. I'm not fit for academia but we knew that. So I don't have that degree. I taught high school.

Given how many of my former students maintain contact with me I feel like I was successful as a teacher. I wonder how this will work post facebook. One has already tracked me down enough to invite me to her wedding and ask that Shanna be the flower girl. I think they'll find me. Several are in college working on teaching credentials because they want to be teachers like me. All of my students made substantial progress in my class. That was because if they didn't make substantial progress on their own then I made them stay after school for 8th Period Social Club.

I would sit there after school for an hour and a half every single day with kids until they brought their grades up. While they were stuck in prison with me I would have lively discourse with them about their friends, social lives, parents, issues that were going on. I would recommend books. I had all the anarchists reading John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. I feel good about that.

I helped girls through pregnancies, miscarriages, and abortions. I helped one boy put off the decision to shoot someone and buy his official entry into his gang. I feel intensely good about my experiences teaching. I helped people think that they were worthwhile. For many of those kids I was the first person in their whole life who told them they were smart.

I did manage to get married and do the kids thing. And I'm nice to them way more than I'm mean to them and they like me so I feel successful at that.

But it all feels like duh duh duh.... SO FAR......MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

My inside voice is a bastard. I'm just waiting to fail. Just waiting to prove that I was never really as good at anything as I thought. Sure I was a good teacher. Only for three years. That wasn't so hard.

This parenting gig is different. The super intense bit is for a minimum of ten years--more like fifteen. It continues on being hard for another five years.

Gulp. That's scary. That's a lot of hard. Well. I'm almost five years in. Only fifteen years to go. Oh god. That's overwhelming. One day at a time, Krissy, one day at a time.

Enjoy two and four. Enjoy three and five. You will never see this again. Enjoy four and six. Enjoy five and seven. They will never be dependent and ridiculously affectionate as a biological mechanism for survival again. Enjoy it. I do love the cuddling. I try to let them hug the part of me that was starved for attention for so many years instead of the hardened adult shell that is used to being hostile to all touch.

I took a break for kids and breakfast. Whatever I was thinking is gone. I should just sign off.

It's Monday. It's time to start working. I should probably solidify my weekly schedule outline today. I have to clean the kitchen and the bathroom. I know that much. Hooo boy do I need to clean the kitchen floor.

1 comment:

  1. "I just think that there are a lot of people in the world who were very badly parented and they have not done work to deal with that."

    Having spent all weekend thinking about therapy methodologies and goals and therapists... I think that it's really easy for someone to have room to improve but not really know what it is. How can a person look outside of theirself to be able to set goals or see where their past skills aren't up to the muster? It's really easy to look at your life and say "yeah, I can pretty much handle the things I have already signed up to handle; I'm good" - but that doesn't really say much, does it? Maybe I think I've signed up for spending all weekend knitting on my couch with my cat - is that because I want to, or because I cannot cope with the outside world? I think the former is fine but the latter leaves room for improvement. But they're sort of all mashed up together into "homebody". You know?