This is a bad way to break the silence, but something has to be an impetus, i suppose (seriously. i didn’t even tell you about our third kid. i’ll get there, i think). So here’s the short version, as written when i found myself in need of a vent on accident:
this has been the most intensely emotional week i can remember. i can’t even process it.
last weekend was pretty intense anyway (wonderful, terrible, fun, difficult), but it also sparked something that i might actually call a fight (and in our five years, there is nothing else i would even sort of name that), which led to my realizing that i have some major anxiety problems. this should have been obvious, but at the moment that things go wrong it is very easy (for both of us) to view as “being stupid” “going crazy” “is an asshole” “sucks at this” or any number of specific, individual mistakes/faults. the problem is, viewing them that way made them impossible to fix (we’ve been trying for five years). within the context of an anxiety problem, we’ve made more progress in our relationship this week than in the last few years together, i think.
but. it also means i had my second ever full-on panic attack (first since i’ve been with my wife). and that i spent all day at work monday trying to swallow it and look like a human. which totally made it worse (that shit is not supposed to last 8 hours). and thinking about it all week has had me on some kind of anxiety code-red, which is exhausting. as are all of the conversations it has sparked. that part is at least good, but i feel like i’ve got emotional road rash; any slight emotion (i like you. that’s loud. i’m hungry. i’m not hungry. hi.) just starts everything bleeding again.
oh, and i cried in front of someone new this week. which brings my lifetime total (excusing the parts of childhood i don’t remember) up to six people who have seen me cry. i am surprisingly okay with that part.
I’m not sure i’m in a position to write the long version (seriously. i’m home alone with three kids who have had nothing but chickpeas and chicken to eat this week. plenty of it, off of paper plates, but it doesn’t speak to my sanity.), but i shall try to elaborate a bit.
For context: Jamie’s best friends broke up a few months ago. One of whom i know well and don’t terribly like and who instigated the rather awful breakup (and was a real asshole to Jamie in the process, which clearly helps my opinions), the other of whom i don’t know well, do really like, and was left in a rather bad place. Given all of that (and Jamie being a quintessential martyr sort), we spent a lot of time with the latter (what to call him?). A lot of very tough, lovely time (because holding up people’s emotions is difficult work, and he is lovely to spend time with). It has been draining, and i think has had an impact on our relationship: we’ve been more touchy, with less time alone and spending it less well (and by well, i obviously mean sex, because clearly).
I also think it is fair to say that we have both fallen a bit in love with him. We have been talking about the pros and cons and situations and theories around polyamory for a while, but it is notably different to be talking about something(one) specific. I also feel fairly confident to say that he loves us both, although i think he is in no place to be in love with anyone at the moment (excepting possibly residual love from the previous relationship).
So. Last weekend. Difficult. For starters, everything has been difficult recently. We have been…prickly…with each other, this weekend was no different. Saturday was odd with us and him. Sunday was mother’s day. The kids were with their mother. We spent the day trying to reconcile the weirdness and spending time together – not really “mother’s day” though (because Jamie thought father’s day was more appropriate to me and she is perfect, and because i suck at that “sweet” stuff). We (Jamie) did get our friend in question a mothers day gift, and he got us the sweetest gift.
And we slept together. Which, um, fun. If i weren’t crazy. But i’m crazy. And i’ve spent five years freaking out about how i am not capable of making my Jamie really feel good (and working my nuts off, to no effect, to rectify it). And here come friend-dude just being awesome at doing the exact same thing i try to do every damn time. So i panic. And my sweet Jamie, in the middle of all that, knows i’m freaking out (i really tried to hide it, but i suck at that as well. no surprise there.) and stops it (not the whole thing, but that part).
And i’ve reached my rational limit. Can we call this part one? ‘Cause i can’t terribly afford to lose it at the moment (while pissing your pants for no reason is frustrating, it really oughtn’t make my want to cry, so i’m taking a break. edit: i’m not he one pissing my pants. that’s totally worth crying. we’re referring to a 3-year-old here.).
"Sign on the Door" - Kasey Chambers
After all this time, and all the things that have happened, i’m going to come back with the most boring post on earth. I have been working on decluttering our house, and i feel the need to document (i think that means i am beginning to feel overwhelmed again).
I have been working on working on purging our crap for ages, but now i am really doing it. I mean, we have been getting rid of things, but it never seemed to make an impact overall, and now i am doing it systematically, which either works better or is more obvious and makes me feel better. I think the big difference is that i just became unafraid of the trash. I have a deep fear of throwing things away; i am terribly offended by wastefulness. My breakthrough has been along the lines of “sunk costs” – that it is just as wasteful to leave crap unused as to throw it in the trash. In the same vein, the crap is already here, so i just have to let go of my guilt over having things that are waste. Better trash in the trash than trash in the house. And in the future we can try to create less of it, but what’s done is done. This is the category of stuff that has always frozen my cleaning efforts: the stuff that can’t be donated, shouldn’t be kept, but isn’t really trash – it’s not food wrappers and dust bunnies; it’s underwear and socks that no one wears, things that are only a little broken, that pillow the dogs started sleeping on that, really, is beyond cleaning.
The other major improvement is that i think i’ve finally found a filing system that we will actually use.
(I think this entire process is actually about admitting your weaknesses, recording them in great detail, and tricking yourself into functioning despite them. At least, i’ve tried the “admitting your weaknesses and fixing them” route and it has always been an utter failure.)
Anyhow, filing. The main point of interest here is that i finally realized that having a filing system in your office is for organized people. It is not for people who create mountains of paper inside their door. So we have taken the filing to the mail, because clearly we do not take the mail to the filing. So, we have a file box and a recycle box directly inside the front door. i have also realized that file folders that tell you what is in them are also for organized people – mine need to tell me what the hell i’m supposed to do with all that paper as well, so everything is labelled not only “dogs” or “house” but also “scan” “replace” or “keep”. It’s a bit embarrassing to get direction from inanimate objects, but it seems to be working. Oh, and anything that we need to deal with stays on top of the table (because, really, how else are we going to remember that it exists?).
Other than that, it’s just a matter of doing it. I’ve been taking the house piece by piece with a pile of boxes and bags – “donate” “trash” “recycle” and then “stuff that has a place and needs to be put away” and “stuff that i don’t even know where it goes”. The first four categories are easy to deal with. The last so far just serves the purpose of getting all the place-less stuff in one place instead of all over the house – well, that and not sidetracking me trying to figure out what to do with xyz doodad. At some point, though, we will have to deal with it.
Overall i am really pleased with how it’s going – noting that i am terrified to deal with our craft supplies, and i have resigned myself somewhat to the kid shit (As foster kids, everything of theirs goes home with them – an important rule to keep shitty foster parents in line, but a bit excessive also. That and we are storing things like outgrown clothes and toys they’re too young for for future kids, and we have a lot of kid stuff just sitting in boxes.)
don't know where this is from, but it feels true. it's a good thing our kids are cute.
I love election day; it has an energy about it.
I am also, of course, dreading it – but mostly on a local scale. So, here’s to voting – you did vote, yes? And here’s to turning on our television again and to seeing if i still have the energy to stay up for the results (am i aging? oh dear).
-Wilma, Fred, BamBam and Pebbles, and Dino(saur).
Jamie found this a few days ago. It makes me giddy, still.
I have to brag on my boys.
This story is secondhand, as Jamie does most of the carting the kids about to various appointments. In this particular case, they were there with their sister, who is in another foster home, and her current foster sister and foster mom. Clear as mud? So the score is two parents, two two-year-old girls, and our boys (two and three).
After a few hours in a waiting room (and a number of other interesting forms of entertainment, such as making 9-year-olds cry) the girls decided to entertain themselves by pouring their chips on the floor and jumping on them, at which point Meathead marched over with his best angry face (and really, no one does angry face better) and yelled “NO!”. Mowgli followed up with “Make mess. Go timeout!”
I’m so proud. Being a hardass has it’s merits.
Man, sometimes i feel like an asshole, though. Of course, the only other person we know raising toddlers is also the only person who doesn’t think we are too hard on them. Coincidence?
"Lovers' Eyes" - Mumford & Sons (Jamie loves me; you can see this by my new CD)
In light of a bit more time to get to know the kids, and a new and truly awful haircut, i would like to properly introduce our boys:
The younger – the name is entirely the fault of the unfortunate haircut. We have been considering a leather helmet for him. Of course, his toddler pudge, angry face, bow-legged toddler swagger, slightly outgrown clothing, and grunt-point form of communication all play beautifully into the stereotype.
The elder – name coming from propensity to careen through muddy yard in a diaper or less waving sticks. Also, because the above may cross the line about no photos (and check that facial expression).