Placeholder Post, Jan 2018: List

Just what it says on the tin; I’m trying to get back into doing this regularly (not least of all, because I think it helps me keep track of my mood over a reasonable period of time) and I have a few minutes, so I’m jotting down some thoughts.

As I’ve got you here (hello again, dear reader) I may as well let you know some of the other things I need to do (dare I say, plan to do?) in the coming weeks:

  1. Join a gym. I’m not likely to go more than about twice a week, but if I get back into the habit of twice-weekly gym attendance (as per last summer) history shows me that I will tone up significantly, slim down a little, feel a lot better on my good days, and not dip quite so low on my bad ones.
  2. Start volunteering at that charity I’m doing an induction for tomorrow. If I can’t hack it, if the emotional strain is too much, I’ll give it up, I promise… but I don’t have a psych degree for no reason at all. I always intended to do something like this, regardless of my own anxiety and depression (or undiagnosed Bipolar Type 2, which is what I still reckon it is).
  3. I was gonna put something here about increasing the number of nights per week I actually cook, but I became disheartened just trying to explain my kids’ sensory issues. It happens. I’ll try to cook at least 1 more night per week, and not explain in heart-rending detail what it’s like to watch your children uncontrollably vomit when trying to eat about 98% of all known foods.

I think that’ll do. Thanks for having a gander at my post, and hope you’re having a solid day. Mine’s been alright, thanks for asking, and hope to see you around.

 

Comment Too Long, Sexual Assault

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I read an article and was replying to a comment underneath that asked “Why are so many of you having humiliating, painful sex? We didn’t do it like that in my day,” (rough paraphrase) and I wrote too much. Here is my reply:

For me, it was because when I was a (fat, shy, Star Trek book-reading, nervous) teenager, with bad skin and a flat chest who never wore make-up, NO ONE at my school wanted to date me. One of my male friends ditched me (we’d been really good friends since we were 13 or so) because he just kept being so embarrassed by people linking our names together (years later, he apologised for that and other things, and he’s a great guy now, and he was pretty good then, but… no one wanted their name linked with mine). I asked out more than one guy, never got asked out myself, and until my senior year of high school, never got a yes.

When someone finally noticed me, I was so pathetically grateful that I didn’t even care whether I was in the mood or not. I had genuinely expected to die a virgin, untouched and unloved and unwanted, for about 5 years by this point… Obviously, I then married the first guy who had sex with me (and moved 4,000 miles away from home, age 19) and the first year of my first marriage, I actually wound up cheating on my husband with a guy I didn’t even like in that way (who left bruises on me and told me I liked it, and I just let him) because he was the only one who would talk to me every day, and who seemed to want to have sex with me.

I did not like him sticking 4 fingers in my rectum and telling me that he could just tell that I was the kind of girl who was up for that. I did not like him jerking off on me and telling me I was a dirty little whore. I did not like him giving me a backrub for 10 minutes and then demanding a blow job because “fair is fair”. I didn’t like him not taking no for an answer multiple times a week, and coercing me into blowjobs, because “well why did you come over then/I gave you a lift to work/I bought your dinner didn’t I” etc.

However, I was still overweight, still had acne, my husband had all but stopped having sex with me 6 months into our relationship and the thing I had KNOWN would happen had (the idea that any man would want me had been proved to be a mirage, no one would ever really love me and want me) so I’d take what I could get. Even if that was continual humiliation while being told I liked it (that’s the bit that really gets me–it’s less what he did, it’s the fact that he kept insisting that I’d done it all before, was “that kind of girl” and knew the score, when actually, I’d been raised in Bible Belt USA, had suffered the loneliest of adolescences, and had married my first sexual partner).

I’m 34 now. The last time I let someone do things to me because I didn’t say no was last year: my stepdad had died the month before, we were friends of friends at a wedding, I was hanging around after everyone else had gone to bed because I was trying to get alone with another guy, and when guy-I-wanted-to-talk-to went to the bathroom AFTER walking me up to my room (because I’d lain down drunk in the middle of the floor downstairs–it took both guys to get me up said stairs and to my door) friend-of-friends helped me back downstairs and we had sex.

At one point I had my eyes closed and was counting to ten because he was hurting me, and he didn’t think to stop… still not rape. I was falling down drunk, but he was pretty drunk as well. I’m more upset that he won’t add me as a friend on Facebook, so I can talk to him about what went wrong, and ask him whether he *really* couldn’t tell that I was trying to hang out with the other guy. As to why all that happened… he and I were both former fat kids, drunk at a wedding (and in my case, I’d just had a relationship come apart at the seams, like, literally the week after my stepdad’s death) and we just wanted to feel like someone liked us. It was the first time I’d done that in about 5-6 years, in my own defence, but… the ability to feel so shitty about yourself that you’ll do anything to alleviate it is still obviously a part of me.

Since I’ve unburdened my entire soul here, I have to end on the happy note; that guy I was actually trying to get close to, I sent him a message after he walked in on me and other guy, and asked him to come to my room. I told him what happened, and he got it, that it wasn’t a thing I’d wanted, but rather, a thing I didn’t know how to avoid–he slept (fully clothed) in my bed that night, we became proper friends after that weekend (having known each other 2.5 years, but superficially) and I kid you not, we got married 7 months later after a whirlwind courtship.

A couple of nights ago, we were doing some kinky stuff and afterwards it occurred to me–I hadn’t even bothered to shave my legs or armpits, or put on mascara, before doing all manner of things to him (handcuffs and insertables were in play). I felt sexy, I felt powerful, he felt desired, he felt loved, we both had a crackin’ time, and I’d not even bothered to “prep” for sex. The next day, we were talking about it, and it occurred to me that he’s maybe the first person I’ve ever had sex with, just because I wanted to, and AS MYSELF, not some version of me that I’m desperately hoping will be sexy and intriguing and skilful enough to hold a man’s attention.

And THAT is why we have sex that’s humiliating and painful and all manner of shameful–because deep down, we believe that we’re supposed to, and if we don’t do it like this, maybe no one will ever want us again. Loneliness. Fear. Wanting to look like a party girl. Insecurities about how we look/feel. Being so shy that we regularly get too drunk at parties, and forget how to say no. Realising we have actually become “that girl” in our circle of friends, and (this is so fucked-up) wanting to live up to our wild reputation.

What was different about it, when you were young? I really want to know.

Husband Poems, 1

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I have written a poem about myself, from the perspective of my husband, who is not plagued with insomnia (unlike yours truly). Enjoy, or not:

Last night, I had a little nap;
Still clothed, I took to bed.
My head was resting in her lap,
Because it was nice, she said.

Confused, I woke at dawn today
The duvet tucked around me,
My naked form was snugly wrapped,
Security abounding.

My clothes were folded neatly, near
My wallet, watch, and keys;
I half-recall her whispers, small,
As she tidied them for me.

A smell of her wafts to my nose,
When I idly lift my hand.
Ylang ylang and jasmine flow
As I start to understand.

She bid me: rest, go take a break,
Then into bed she crept–
To throw her arm about my waist,
And hold me while I slept.

He likes it, anyway. And I’m glad I’m doing something productive, if I’ve got to have insomnia.

Before I Continue…

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….the potential pregnancy saga, I have to get something off my chest. It’s about the last guy I was seeing, before I started seeing my now-husband. We’ll call the previous guy, “The Spin Doctor,” because literally everything he says is spun to his best advantage, and he is a master of PR.

Essentially, I started seeing someone who turned out to be the aforementioned Spin Doctor. I didn’t realise at the start of the relationship, but in hindsight, the SD decided they understood me based on a few factors, and treated me “accordingly”. As he’s also sort of an accidental misogynist, that did not go well.

I’d love to post this on Facebook, get some support from my real-life mates, but the last time I did that, I just got a list of reasons from The Spin Doctor (and his new girlfriend–well, not new, since he started seeing her the day after convincing me to take him back, which was in April, but you take my point) why it was perfectly acceptable that he behaved that way. I can do without the hassle. I’m going to post here, and just hope he never sees it. I digress. Moving swiftly on.

In a writing prompt, the question was asked: “What do you want to say to the person who broke you?” And this was my response:

“It was domestic abuse EVERY time you screamed and shouted at me when I hadn’t raised my voice or even said anything unkind. It was abuse every time you blamed me for something I didn’t do. It was abuse every time you stomped around your house, looming over me, leaning into my face, slamming doors and cabinets and generally making me feel unsafe, when you were meant to be offering me a room 3x a week so I could finish my degree.

It was abuse when you said I ‘couldn’t be raped’. It was abuse when you, months later, proved that you weren’t joking, when you forced my hand onto your dick and told me that ‘you can’t dip in and out of people like that’ (in other words, finish jerking me off and I don’t care about your RSI pain) and later berated me for being upset about it. It was abuse when you were screaming at me so loudly in the car, for 10 solid minutes, while I begged you to pull over and let me out, that eventually I lightly tapped your face to get you to stop, and it was definitely abuse when you blacked my eye nearly shut in retaliation.

It was abuse when you said, ‘I’ve come to terms with the fact that your kids might always be awful, and I have to protect myself from them.’ All of that was abuse. You didn’t ‘make one mistake’ (blacking my eye). You abused me repeatedly, for a year and a half, and threw money at me to ease your own guilt…. but *I* know, you’re an abuser.”

I still have mixed feelings about the guy–you always do, in a situation like that–and, as stated above, there were times when I screamed too, times when I almost struck him, and, once (under extreme duress) I even slapped at him (I say “slapped at” because it was the kind of tap you do to get someone’s attention, but it did knock his glasses off and I’m sure it was disorienting). I’m certainly not blameless, in that relationship.

The thing is, I wanted to be with him, and I made it very clear over and over again, but he just wanted to stick his dick in me; preferably, without ever having to deal with my actual life, or, God forbid, my children. Once he got tired of pretending to actually care, the gloves came off, the abuse escalated, he to the point of his taking shots at my kids. In the end, it was that comment about my kids being awful that made me walk out of his house and take a train back home, missing a uni lecture in the process; I stayed for months after he blacked my eye, but I was permanently gone as soon as I had somewhere else to stay, after the comment about my babies.

The last time I tried to talk to him about any of it, he showed no awareness of wrongdoing, nor remorse. He actually denied making that comment about my kids; awkward, as the comment was made in a conversation via Messenger, so…? I mean really, what *is* the point, I ask you? And I may as well ask you, the anonymous reader.

God knows, I’ll never get a straight answer out of The Spin Doctor.

Pregnancy…?

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So.

I’m now married, and just like that (not remotely “just like that”) I’m kinda sorta okay basically planning to have a 3rd child.

You may be able to ascertain from this statement, that I have 2 children already. Or, if you’ve ever read my blog before, you might know this fact already. You may also be aware that both of my children–one girl, one boy–are autistic, that my girl is the more severely affected, and since my kids’ diagnoses, I’ve more or less accepted the fact that I’m probably on the spectrum as well.

I’m also married to the son of an engineer; I almost never do this, but there’s some interesting reading on that subject:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1362361397011010

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/autism-experiment-reveals-people-in-technical-professions-are-more-likely-to-have-autistic-traits-a6719956.html

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0834/f49917d08fc12d8f8b85a8708017a11046a1.pdf

So. So, so, so.

Do I just *want* another autistic child? You must be asking yourself that question; I know I would be, in your place. The answer (answers, even) could be explained in many different ways, with a lot more background detail, but here’s the summation:

I want more kids–I want to have a child with the love of my life–and if said child happens to be autistic, well, it’s not like I’m ill-equipped to deal with that eventuality. Experts by experience, that’s the en vogue term, I believe… I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now (34 years, if we’re counting my obvious-in-hindsight experiences of social ostracization and issues with Theory of Mind, growing up and as a young adult). If experience can make you an expert, I am one.

And my kids go to a great school; they’re offering parents a chance to come take some workshops in sensory skills, basic Makaton, Numicon, etc etc etc, over the next couple of months, so in a few weeks, I could be even more skilled at parenting autistic kids… and. Even if I weren’t, I mean, I’m autistic myself. I’m seeing this in a pretty black/white way, and I’ve come down on the side of, “better another autistic kid, than no kid with the love of my life/no mini-husband/no one last chance to do it better, now that I understand the likely challenges we’ll face”.

I think I’ve made up my mind. If you know many autistic folk, or just one autistic person reasonably well, you’ll know what that means.

I’ll post as soon as I know I’m pregnant, alright?

And for my next post, I’ll talk about coming off my meds in preparation for gestation (look at that, it’s an approximate rhyme). Sounds fun, right?

Y’all wish me luck.

Getting Married Soon

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So. As I believe I have indicated in my previous post, I’ll be getting married soon.

VERY SOON.

(On Halloween. This year.)

It will be the 4th year in a row that I’ve spent Halloween with my soon-to-be-husband, but only the 2nd one since we met properly. Please, allow me to explain.

In real life, I have 2 speeds: 1, anxiety-ridden-and-hiding-inside-my-house, and 2, party-girl-making-sexual-innuendos-and-drinking-too-much. The 2nd is a mask, to hide the 1st… but I’ve been pretending to be that girl for so long, I have, Nathaniel Hawthorne-style, forgotten which me is the real one. Or at least, I had. Last year, at Halloween, just before things got *really* shit, I let a nice boy see a little underneath the mask… we had a lovely chat, but nothing came of it.

Then, in March of this year, we saw each other on a night out, and by the end of the first hour, we were inseparable. We talked about everything: our shared religious upbringing, our similar thoughts on God/His potential existence, the state of the cosmos, socialism vs capitalism (I realise one is a form of government and the other an economic system, but let’s be serious, they don’t really mix well, now do they) the kind of books we like, the nature of love, the way we saw ourselves… I mean, we didn’t really leave anything unsaid… then he walked me home and we carried on talking until 9 in the morning.

Then he went home, and I sent him a message before I went to sleep. He replied, more or less instantly. I replied when I woke up. A few days later, we were at the wedding of 2 of our friends, and we more or less rinsed-and-repeated–it was officially morning before we stopped talking at the reception.

Who am I kidding. We *never* stopped talking, from that first night in March. I hope we never will.

And now, 7 months in, give or take, and he’s done me the incredible honour of letting me be his first serious relationship; he’s changed jobs, moved across the country to be with me, become integral to my kids’ routines, proposed, and we’re getting married in a couple of weeks. A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

The heck of it is, it actually feels like I’ve been waiting too long, to be with him. I mean, I’m in my 30s already–what if I only live another 50 years? That’s just not enough time to love him, and be loved by him.

For the first time in about a decade, I’m praying there’s an afterlife, just so I can kiss his face when we both get there… for the longest time in I don’t know when, I have no desire to send myself into that afterlife.

I keep saying I’m a born-again romantic, and it’s true–all the things I’d stopped believing in, I can at least hope for, now. And the one thing I always really wanted–unconditional love, from someone who wants the same from me–I’ve finally got. It’s not a cure for chronic depression and anxiety, of course it’s not… but it is, finally, after years of wishing, someone to share the load: a Peeta Mellark to my Katniss Everdeen, a Samwise Gamgee to my Frodo Baggins, a Perrin Aybara to my Faile Bashere, all rolled into one.

As an adult, I have never felt such joy, nor such peace. I didn’t think those emotions could be experienced, in an adult life… turns out, all it takes is finding your soulmate. Easy as¬† ūüėČ

I wish you all luck in finding yours¬† ‚̧

Update: Marriage Soon

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Before I talk about my new guy, a little background:

At the start of this year, I was with a guy who blacked my eye the week before Christmas, who continually made snide comments about my children, who regularly believed the very worst interpretations of my actions, who shouted at me and belittled me virtually every time I had the audacity to disagree with him… I remember lying on his couch, so many afternoons in January and February (because I was too lonely and unhappy to lie in the bed with him at night, so I was trying to get sleep during the day, sometimes skipping lectures at uni to do so) and listening to this song on repeat:

All I wanted, was someone who made me feel that way–someone who would feel that way about me. It sounds macabre, but this was the only song that would settle me, late last year/early this year. It was the only adequate lullaby, for sadness like mine… and you can call that maudlin purple prose if you want, because it is maudlin purple prose–it’s also true.

Then–I swear to all the gods that ever were–in February, on Valentine’s Day no less, my stepdad killed himself. Fella-who-hates-my-kids came to the States to hold my hand and whatnot, and he *loved* my sister’s (neurotypical, or near enough) kids. It just drove the point home, in a way I could no longer ignore–kid-hater didn’t hate ALL kids, he just hated MINE.

Because they’re autistic. Like that’s *their* fault.

I had no idea what to do, or how to feel, to be honest with you. But I came home from the States feeling closer to filling my pockets full of stones and walking into the ocean than I have in years. I spent 2 weeks, again, listening to the Death Cab song on repeat, pining for my kids while I was at uni, and trying not to think about the asshole lying in bed in the other room.

Then–at some friends’ Stag and Hen Night–a miracle occurred.

Back in the Saddle/Blogging for Mental Health

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So. Here I go again, on my own, etc etc.

If anyone’s been following me, they’ll know that I’ve largely been Missing-in-Action (MIA) for a while, now. If they’ve paid enough attention, they’ll even know the why behind the MIA-ness: I’ve been at university, full-time, and it has been really difficult, as well as extraordinarily time-consuming.

Of course, in¬†what spare time I have had, I’ve been going through men like hotcakes (i.e. I’ve started 3¬†and finished 2 relationships) as well as neglecting my children wherever possible.

That last bit isn’t true. It’s how I feel, because I’m a bit flat today. If I’ve done anything right, consistently, over the last decade, it’s looking out for those 2… thank all the gods that ever were, they’re such *happy* kids. I was much less happy, during my childhood.

At the time, this may have been something to do with all the shouting and occasional hitting and general instability of my childhood, rather than any intrinsic fault in me–the damage is done now, though. There’s only so much happiness I’ll achieve; and I can say that with some confidence, as I’m coming to the end of a degree in Applied Psychology. What can you do?

Make sure your kids have a better childhood than you did, is the answer. And I have… thus far, anyway. We’ll see how puberty goes, for them. If they can come through that without any major dysfunction, I can die relatively at peace.

Not that I’m saying I’ll cause my own death, or anything like that. Just making the point that when the end comes, it’ll be nice if I’ve got something I can say I actually achieved.

In an effort to encourage more achievement and less wallowing, I’m going to start journaling for mental health (which is a thing, apparently, with some evidence to back it up).

Well, who knew. Letting things out in a neutral environment, rather than holding them in ad nauseam, can be beneficial to your mental health.

The answer is, of course; I did.¬†I knew. And I *still* let myself get so bad, again…

Anyways. Like the title says, I’m back in the saddle, now.

Fingers crossed I don’t fall off.

Things I Wish I Didn’t Know, 1

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It’s been a while.

I toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, even bought a domain, but in the end, this is probably my spiritual home. Today’s post is going to be about something that didn’t happen to me, but it really could have, and how/why that freaks me THE FUCK out.

I used to know this guy. Over time, it became clear that because we’d fooled around a couple of times after he’d split with his girlfriend, he couldn’t really be trusted to be alone with me. Even physical games (rough-housing–I don’t mean anything sexual) became about him trying to dominate me, in increasingly humiliating ways, and then being pissed off if I fought back.

Eventually, he spread a rumour that I’d said something about his new girlfriend (I hadn’t–if I had, I’d have owned up to it). He sent me a message in which he told me at least 1 lie that I can prove, and a couple of things that I’m 90% sure are suspect. Without giving me a chance to respond, he blocked me and warned me that if I contacted him in any way, he’d ignore it.

Even people accused of a crime have the right to answer their accuser, legally speaking. And this guy used to say I was one of his best friends.

A couple of months after this, I was complaining about one of the times this former “friend” of mine had pushed me up against a wall and tried to snog me. The friend I was telling then went on to mention a third friend of ours, who had been staying with ex-friend…. apparently, one night after getting outrageously drunk, he followed her up to her room, threw open the door, went inside, and shoved his hand down her pants.

That’s sexual assault.

And maybe if I’d said something about the… more than 5? fewer than 10?… times he’d done similar things to me (albeit, he never got as far as groping my vag, just other parts of me, plus holding me still and laughing while I struggled) maybe he’d have known better. A nice caution from the police might have made all the difference.

The worst bit is, she was staying at his while recovering from a life-threatening illness. She’d been hospitalized several times that year. And she has a history of serious, damaging sexual abuse. She was the epitome of a vulnerable person… and in hindsight, by not telling everyone what I knew about him, maybe even going to the police about it, I contributed to the ignorance that helped put her in that position.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s 100% on him, that he both did that and continues to deny it now, over a year later. But if I could’ve prevented it, I would have… I just (foolishly) believed him, all the times he said he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. But then, it’s not the first time I’ve fallen for that particular chestnut.

I have a history of being abused, too.

To summarise, the thing I wish I didn’t know: if someone sexually assaults you, no matter how minor the assault is (and there are scales to rate these things, so it’s legit to say some attacks are worse than others) you need to tell people about it. If not the police, at least the people likely to be at your abuser’s mercy. If you don’t, you’re still the victim and you mustn’t feel guilty about it, but… if you can, tell. Tell everyone.

And cut all ties with the abuser calling themselves your friend. Something like 80% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by people you know. They’re predators, they choose to prey on people they suspect won’t report them, won’t call them on their behaviour, due to misplaced loyalty.

It is in no way your fault if something bad happens to you–but please, if you can, get away from people you *know* actively want to hurt you.

Here are some groups who can help you move on:

SupportLine 01708 765200

Confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post.
Website: www.supportline.org.uk

**

CISters  (Surviving Rape and/or Sexual Abuse) 02380 338080

Answerphone 023 80 338080 is usually monitored daily during the week and callers can choose to leave their name and phone number, and we will call them back and will take care when doing so. Or can email admin@cisters.org.uk

The helpline is available to female adult survivors of childhood rape/sexual abuse, and others can call if they have a concern about such issues.  In the case of the latter we will seek to signpost them to appropriate services.

Rape Crisis England & Wales

Rape Crisis England & Wales is a national feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. They are a national umbrella body for their network of autonomous member Rape Crisis organisations across England and Wales and was set up to support their specialist work.
Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk