This is my Life

On September

Sometimes I have these weird time-based memories, and it makes some months (like this month) weirdly difficult, and I don’t really have a good reason for it, except it probably has something to do with being like “okay, don’t think about X too much during Y” and then…yay depression because of COURSE I’m thinking about X during Y and generally feeling shitty and sad and overwhelmed.

September 21, 2001 – the day the first stillborn was…stillborn. I’ve written about it before, I don’t know why this one hurts more than the other one. Maybe because the second one is in February and February has more generally happy memories and I’m usually distracted by my birthday anyway, and maybe it’s because I selfishly didn’t want to share a birth-month, but mostly, it’s probably just because, I was able to grieve for her.

Mikiah Faith would have been 10 on Valentines Day this year. But I let myself cry at her funeral, and I held her, and I didn’t pray for her to come back.

I think the biggest difference is, I never really got to grieve Elijah’s…not existing. On one hand, it still feels silly to me to – because it’s not like I ever knew either of them…

But at the same time, both of their pregnancies meant 9 months of misery, and then sudden mourning, and then sudden spiritualization and evangelism. So even though I never knew them, I still experienced……..the whole thing.

I don’t even know if it makes sense.

I raised my siblings during those pregnancies, as I had all the others…

My life ended as our family prepared for another one to enter, and then it didn’t.

I never grieved Elijah because he was never really dead to me…

When I was still a christian I believed I’d see both my siblings again when I died…after I prayed really hard and there were no screams from the casket.

I feel like maybe I’m just having delayed grief phases.

Elijah’s death was the catalyst for so many personal changes, not the least of which was my deconversion.

It’s been over a decade, but I’m still confused by it, it still affects me, it still…weirdly, hurts.

And maybe it’s just taken so long because I spent so long not feeling. Not crying. Not grieving. Not coping….

So now as I evolve and change, and his stillbirth was the string that unraveled everything else, I’m hit with new grief and I have to start processing it…over and over, because I never had the chance to before.


And somehow this makes me miss my siblings who do exist (and currently live at home – the one who is an adult I’ve been talking with and it’s been so so good <3) so much more. And I just want to hug them and hold them and find out who they are and what they like and know them as people, and I’m experiencing a similar loss – though (hopefully) temporary, because I can’t…talk to them. Because parents. Because my sanity is important and my family is unhealthy.

September is hard, and all the feels feed into eachother and I don’t really know what to do.

It’s weird not knowing so many of my siblings, when I used to be their caretaker.

I suck at everything

Ever have one of those unshakable moments – but the kind of moment that lasts for days, and then weeks, and hopefully not longer than that?

When you just feel like everything you touch turns to ashes? even if it’s not objectively bad? it just feels like everything about you is burning everything you’re trying to create?

Lately, despite some cool accomplishments, I feel like I can’t do anything right, or like I’m letting people down, or like I’m behind, or stupid.

Because I haven’t learned javascript yet, because I haven’t used git, because terminal still makes me a little uncomfortable, because I haven’t finished the codeacademy ruby course, because my websites aren’t perfect, because I miss things, because I don’t know everything about servers and I’m probably the worst tech person ever, because I spend more time creating than working on SEO, because my (awkwardly sized) book on drawing people depresses me, because I don’t “draw through” enough, because I haven’t gotten to the point where under-layers work for me, because my drawings still look like scribbles compared to other people’s art, because as soon as I make something and release it into the void I feel almost lost, because because because…

Because I’m not good enough.

I need to do bug fixing on E.R.A. and I’m sad because it worked when I tested it locally. I feel like any progress I’ve made on the web-development and creative fronts have just vanished and I’m the worst who ever existed.

sigh.

Being a Girl is Just Better

I found our last two bibles in the closet the other day, one of which is KJV (of course). I spent this evening trying to do art with/deface it, and I got up to leviticus before getting bored/having it in my face started getting to me. It’s weird how triggering objects can be – bibles, dental floss, strollers, big vans…

I’ve felt weirdly out of it this week, kinda listless and unfocused, but antsy. So I’ve been puttering. Puttering is a weird word, it’s really fun to say, but it was also a word my parents used a lot, but it’s also a word I don’t know how to replace. Puttering: doing random busy work/cleaning that doesn’t require too much thought or result in much stress energy. I putter around on the sites I manage – make tweaks and updates, I’ve been de-cluttering random stuff IRL (actually only have two reachable surfaces left)…puttering. The phrase is like a low grade trigger.

And maybe it’s that, and a run-in with general triggery things this weekend that’s been making the phrase my dad repeated ad-nauseam stuck in my head all day.

Being a girl is just better

I don’t know what made him think that – maybe a little bit of jealousy because my mom got to stay home and sit in a recliner in a state almost-constant pregnancy, or maybe because in their sexist complimentarian marriage, he had to carry all the weight?

What wasn’t said at the end of the phrase was strongly implied:

Being a girl is just better:

  • because you don’t have to worry about responsibility
  • you don’t have to make hard decisions
  • you don’t have to fight or stand up for yourself or your family
  • you always have a man to protect you
  • you don’t have to get a job or do anything but homemaking (fun?)
  • you don’t have to think about anything
  • you don’t need to be smart or have thoughts of your own
  • you get to be served by men (by staying home and doing what they want you to do in exchange for dates and some of their income?)

Being a girl is just better because who needs autonomy anyway?

Being a girl meant:

I didn’t get to decide anything (and that was better because decisions are hard)

I always had someone to take the fall (which was better than me having responsibility for myself)

I didn’t need to learn “male” skills – like basic building, or how to pump gas or change a tire (I could just have a guy do it for me)

If I could cook, hold my tongue, and produce children, I would be a success (because women don’t need their own thoughts)

My dad/husband/brother could/would get me out of any situation and defend me (because I couldn’t defend myself)

In exchange for my autonomy I get a pre-defined life of luxury (if luxury = breeder, chef, teacher, house keeper, and sex toy)

 

Even though no one has told me that phrase in years, sometimes, with conversations with people, it’s still a really strong undertone.

Because even though other people never phrased it quite like my dad did, this insidious patriarchal brain worm, this line they tell people-born-with-uteri: Life is better for you, great for you even, just stay in line, and you’ll never want for anything.

I think being reminded that I’m not what any of the parent-figures in my life had planned for me to be, is just another version of the same line.

Being a girl is just better: just stay in line, and everything will be perfect*.

But even when I was a little kid, and I was told that my lot in life was just better… I knew it was a lie.

Maybe some people can happily trade their autonomy and agency for being “taken care of”, but that deal never seemed sweet to me, it seemed wrong and unfair, though I didn’t have any words for it or any way to express it.

Being a human adult may be more work, require more effort, and mean I have to own my decisions, but I lived without autonomy for my whole childhood, and I’d much rather own my decisions than be denied my agency.

I don’t care if that means I’m not who I was planned to be.

Fuck the patriarchy.

Fault and Educational Neglect

I don’t usually post about things Kevin Swanson says, and I usually try not to pay attention to it, but this week’s broadcast…hurt more than usual. For a synopsis/highlights that will keep most of your eyeballs intact, you can read this post from HA.

One of the highlights, and…what’s sort of turned me into an odd little puddle, is this bit (emphasis mine):

Kevin: when someone says, I could have had a better education than that provided by my mother or by my father, that’s really, really, really hard to prove. How, how, how do you know that? Maybe it was a character problem on YOUR part. Maybe you didn’t obey your parents! Maybe you didn’t study your books like you were told to! And to think that you could have had a better education if you had done it this way versus that way is extremely hard to prove.

Steve: Right!

(laughter)

Kevin: Extremely hard to prove!

Steve: Because you can’t go back and do it that way!

Kevin: You can’t! (laughter) You can’t… and even if you could have, you would have dragged your same old person, with your same old character flaws, with your same old slothfulness issue, into the public school or private school setting or other setting ‚ and you could have done worse…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …than you did with your parents — trying to do whatever they could have done with you, even with all of your character issues that you’re dealing with. It’s fun to blame your parents for your OWN lack of character!

And then there’s this charm (emphasis mine):

Kevin: I’m talking about Christian homeschool families. Their values are primarily first and foremost not to get their kid into Harvard or get them a good job.

Steve: Right.

Kevin: That’s not primary. It’s not being sure that the kid can read Plato before he’s 12 years of age…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …and get really messed up with the wrong worldview. (laughter) That’s not the goal. See, homeschoolers bring in other values: like relationship building, character building, work, worship. These are important.

What struck me is my parents have said essentially the exact same thing that Kevin did in the second quote. Multiple times. I remember in no uncertain terms hearing that the most important thing educationally was that we were able to read and understand the bible, write just enough to communicate, and do basic math. NOTHING ELSE MATTERED. This is what Kevin Swanson advocates, this is what my parents believe, and importantly: this is not a full, well-rounded education.

He talks about how fake educational neglect is, makes fun of the people who have pushed through it, pretends the people living in it don’t exist, and blames the (current and former) students with little to no power over their own education, for their own neglect.

He talks about how children should be learning “work, relationships, character, and worship”….

Well sir, that was my entire childhood, and you know what, I was educationally neglected! I taught myself and my parents bragged about it from the age of 10, I did everything I could possibly do, everything I knew to do, and it doesn’t change the fact that my education was neglected. It was not my fault. I’m not lazy, and wasn’t a lazy student – I was  an over-worked student who’s parents cared more about being served and looking good than their children and the quality of their education.

Swanson is advocating for educational neglect, and then turning a blind eye to the people who say, no, my parents did do what you said and that’s the problem, and instead labeling them whiners, traitors, and Benedict Arnold’s.

Well if talking about my lack of education and working to put regulations in place so my siblings and other kids have a chance means I’m a traitor, so be it.

But don’t you tell me that my lack of education was my fault as a child. That was out of my control, it’s not blaming my parents for my flaws, it’s abuse.

 

P.S. I would have done amazing in a traditional school setting, before my parents took me out of pre-k, it was amazing and I loved it. No one asked me if I wanted to be homeschooled, they just said “we’re gonna homeschool you from now on” and being the ripe age of 3 or 4, I just wanted to make sure I could be picked for Show-and-Tell still. I don’t remember doing show-and-tell after leaving school though.

Humorotica + Patreon

 

So, as Humorotica turned one and is becoming a thing Matt and I thought it would be a good idea to launch a patreon specifically for our comic. We have high hopes and plans and honestly, it’s a really cool patreon, so you should check it out, share it – every little bit helps – my (somewhat) selfish goal is to be able to get Matt a computer that isn’t on it’s last breath so we can hangout and write comics without wondering if it’ll signal an unintentional break because, well, we don’t make the comics together IRL so without a computer we haz nothing.

Anyway, there’s also some really cool rewards that involve Matt writing things and exclusive patron only (and inspired/derived) comics!

Become my patron