Everything is gray

And I’m getting that broken glass under my skin feeling again.

Normally I would try to talk with my wife about this, but I feel like I can’t, because she needs to heal, and this is so early for her.

And Scott has so much on him.

God damn the person who hurt my wife.  Who hurt us all, but my wife is the center.

Feeling isolation urges, trying to fight them, but also right now basic care is hard.

TW/CN: Abuse/IPV/manipulation

I’m letting the title stand as my trigger warning here because I’m going to be writing about some things that have happened over the past month and years. I was in an abusive relationship. It didn’t get physically abusive, but toward the end I was afraid that it might. I need to write about it. It might come out disjointed. I’ll probably talk about my remaining partners’ experiences and feelings as I know them, too. Mostly, I just want anyone who reads this to know and have really fair warning that I’m going to be talking about this experience–for my own health and sanity if nothing else. And I’m a little afraid that said partner will actually come read this and say things or .. I don’t know. I have fears I don’t want to give expression to, I guess.


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Anger and Stories


This image lives on my desktop. It’s not my background, but it lives as an icon, a thumbnail reminder to myself.

And yet, I rarely obey it.

I’m afraid. I am afraid.

I am afraid of my anger. I’m afraid of all the anger inside me that will come pouring out when I open up about all the ugly, unbeautiful parts of my life. I’ve opened up about some of them, but there are more.

I am afraid of others’ reactions–not necessarily those of strangers, though there’s a certain fear of not being believed. I’m more afraid of those I love–what would they say?

And I know, I know: if they wanted me to say nice things about them, they should have treated me better.

But what about forgiveness?

But forgiveness shouldn’t be compulsory, either. And some things cannot be forgiven at all, and some things cannot be forgiven without being worked through. And some things just aren’t forgiveable things, even if I am angry about them, or hurt about/by them. It’s complicated.

I want to be compassionate. I want to be loving. I want to be a good person.

I know that good, loving, compassionate people also get angry.

And yet, there’s so much messaging that says the opposite–that love and anger don’t go together, that compassion and anger don’t mix, that being a good person and being an angry person aren’t the same thing.

I don’t want to be an angry person. I am an angry person. I hate being so angry all the time. I am so sad that I am so angry. I am so angry that I am so sad. And I am so so tired.

I wish I could just let go of the anger. I tried. I tried to just…put it aside. I tried. But that ended up just building walls inside me, walls I didn’t even realize I was erecting until almost too late, until I almost took my life because I cut myself off so far from everyone and everything around me.

I have to deal with all of these things, but dealing with them means being angry, and I really, really don’t want to be angry.

Gun Violence and Missouri

Dear Legislators,

SB 656 has very real and terrifying connotations for me.

I am a white, cisgender, married woman in her thirties. I’m educated; I’m Christian. I love my family very much–and that’s where the first issue comes in.

My wife is very precious to me. She is my rock, my partner, my strength. Since I met her, I have not be able to imagine my life without her.

She’s also transgender.

Normally, that wouldn’t be any of your business, but right now it is: trans women are at risk of violence always (http://lawstreetmedia.com/issues/law-and-politics/transgender-murder-crisis-many-murders-2015/), and you are working to make them more vulnerable with this law.

My wife and I have to fear any time she goes out alone that she may never come back because someone decides they don’t like the fact that her gender is different than the one assigned to her at birth–a thing that is entirely out of her control. You make this threat ever more present, ever more real. That’s not how this should work. You should be on the side of liberty and safety for all citizens, not just the cisgender, white, and male.

Moving on from discussion of my wife: I am a person who deals with depression and anxiety and suicidal ideation. I can tell you that when I come out of the fog of suicidal thoughts, I’m happy to be alive–but when I’m in them, the grip of the conviction to die is strong. It is a mental health challenge.

You have made that challenge much harder to bear, much worse, by making it easier to get guns into the hands of people like me who would harm ourselves, who would–under that terrible fog–end our own lives. And you have not done anything to improve mental health care services, nor access to them.

Moving on from my mental health: my city, St. Louis, has been rocked by racial tensions. We are the home of Ferguson, which exploded open the conversation about race and police brutality. We are one of the cities that has put racial education on the tip of so many Americans’ tongues.

I know the history runs deep here. I do not believe this will solve it. Instead, it will make things worse. We should not have the distinction of being the first state since Trayvon Martin was murdered to pass Stand Your Ground legislation.

We already have so many stories of our black citizens–male, female, trans and cis, child and adult–being killed by gun violence. And this is not about intraracial violence (most violence is intraracial, because proximity matters for crime, and most of us live in proximity to our own racial groups, which is a thing to tackle on a different day). This is about how we set up groups of people to be killed, and then we kill them–either by pulling the trigger ourselves, or by signing the legislation that allows for that to happen so very easily. Please, let’s work to end gun violence by putting restrictions in place, instead of making it easier for people to kill one another.

Race is such a big issue, so huge, and race and violence–I could go on about how we make those things linked for a long time. But there’s are a couple more things I want to cover before I close: violence against LGBTQIA persons and intimate partner violence.

I am a bisexual woman. I have so many queer friends and loved ones in Missouri–including, of course, my wife. The violence at Pulse in Florida occurred just three short months ago. While that scale of violence has not happened here, you make it easier for something like that to happen. My queer loved ones and I are not safe in Missouri. We experience threats and harassment and outright violence all the time. The victory of so-called ‘gay marriage’ did not fix LGBTQIA rights for all time. We are still at risk for violence, and this legislation makes that violence even more likely, even more of a threat, even more present and real and deadly.

As for intimate partner violence: ‘castle doctrine’ and ‘Stand Your Ground’ did not save Marissa Alexander when she faced intimate partner violence/domestic violence. It did not save Bresha Meadows. I don’t think it would save very many of the most vulnerable in our homes–those of us who live with people who harm us and have so little recourse to get out.

You make it so much easier for intimate partner/domestic violence to occur, and so much more difficult for those who experience such violence to actually get free.

Compare the fact that George Zimmerman–who chased down Trayvon Martin, so how could it have been ‘defense’?–got away with ‘Stand Your Ground’ as his defense, but Marissa Alexander, who fired mere warning shots–shots that hit no one, shots that were intended to frighten and were meant to free her and her children from harm–was not shielded at all by either ‘castle doctrine’ or ‘Stand Your Ground’ despite the fact that she did face imminent danger. Consider that Bresha Meadows and her family had been facing imminent danger for so long, and yet she sits in a juvenile detention facility because she saw no other way to freedom for herself and her family–while George Zimmerman roams free.

These laws do not free us. They are not the path to liberty. They do not bring justice.

Please, legislators, understand that we all want to live and love and laugh. We all want to go out in the sunshine and the cool night air and be happy and free of fear. We all want to be able to break free of the harms that plague us. These things–Stand Your Ground and concealed carry without a permit–will not accomplish that for any but the cisgender, heterosexual, mentally healthy, white men among us.


Expectation weighs me down, freezes me, stops me in my tracks.

I am terrified of people expecting things of me.

I am terrified I will let them down. I am terrified I will disappoint them. I’m terrified I won’t do it ‘right,’ whatever ‘it’ is.

I’m smart. I know I’m smart. But I am afraid to try for any further schooling, because I am afraid of what that means. If I do that…then I have expectations to do things with that education. And that expectation is legitimate–because there’s expense and logistics and time and energy involved in all of that, and it’s not all mine. It’s mostly not mine except for the time and energy. But I am so afraid that I will…say it wrong, write it wrong, get it wrong.

I want so badly to make the people who got me to where I am, to where I would be, happy and proud.

That gets in the way of what I want, sometimes, because I don’t know if that always meshes. I don’t know if it always matches up.

Like, what I have to say isn’t always the same as what the people who gave me the money have to say. Or what I have to say ends up not being liberatory after all, and I fucked it up. Or what I have to say opens up some darkness, some painfulness, some scary things that people in my life don’t really want me talking about.

And that last–I keep trying to remember that I’ve lived it, I’ve earned the right to tell my story, but it’s hard.

And what if I start to do some things, and I’m feeling okay, and I do a few things, and then I wind up back in bed again? I don’t want to be inconsistent. I don’t want to be flaky. I worked in volunteer management, and while I loved every volunteer who showed up, I definitely would call my more reliable volunteers more frequently, because I knew I could count on them. I don’t want to be unreliable. I don’t want to be someone’s pain in the ass, someone’s ‘have to replace at last minute,’ because frequently my body and/or brain betray me day of, and I don’t know it’s coming until then.

And that’s just for volunteering–that’s not even getting into paid work, or academic life, or art. Even here, I’ve been so inconsistent. And I’m glad this space is here, and it’s mine, and I can do whatever I want with it–but I know I set some expectations for myself at the beginning, and I haven’t really met them, not with any consistency.

And all of that is tied to ability–mental and physical health, and I know that. And I know that all of this ‘expectation’ talk is tied to this idea that I have to somehow be ‘productive’ to be valuable, which is baloney. I know that. Intellectually, I know that.

But also, this fear of expectation–I think it’s tied to how I was abused as a child. I was ‘expected’to get straight A’s, and if I didn’t–punishment. I was ‘expected’ to volunteer, do church activities, be a straight arrow, etc. And if I didn’t–punishment. Even if my parents thought I didn’t, punishment. It didn’t matter if I actually followed the rules, because I was punished anyway. I was always punished for not meeting expectations, and rarely rewarded for meeting them or exceeding them.

My grandparents monetarily rewarded me, so there’s that–I would get something like 50 cents for an A and 25 cents for a B, and since I always got all A’s, that was nice. It all went into my college savings fund. So there’s that. But that came out of my grandparents, and not my parents.

I lived two separate realities, even though for me they were the same lived reality.

And I got punished for my grandparents loving me, too. I was mocked and torn down and humiliated for how my grandparents loved me. So that reward system became a punishment, too. That wasn’t my grandparents’ fault. That was my parents’ fault.

I think this system of tearing me down and so rarely praising me around expectations has made me scared to do, scared to try.

I’ve been thinking about art, and I’ve had some inclinations to try art classes again, to brush up on art skills. I did decently in art in 7th and 8th grade and for a little while after, and then I let my skills get rusty. I let them go in favor of the things that got the accolades I needed to get me out of the scary, awful, terrible place with some immediacy. Granted, that means I did theology and languages–which maybe wasn’t terribly practical, but it’s what I did. Anyway.

When I did art, no one thought I could do it. No one thought I had any talent, and I did it all on my own, all by myself. That was all me. And no one ever set any expectations on me about it. Kind of the opposite, really–Mom kept trashing my art. That was a little devaluing, but she never had any expectations that I’d be the next Great Artist or anything.

So I think that’s why I’ve been thinking about it. It’s a thing that no one else has ever given my any expectations around.

Of course, I have my own expectations now–things about race and gender and sexuality ability that go into all of this. But yeah.

Expectation scares me so bad.