Sunday, March 04, 2007

If I was Queen

If I Were King
by A. A. Milne

I often wish I were a King,
And then I could do anything.

If only I were King of Spain,
I'd take my hat off in the rain.

If only I were King of France,
I wouldn't brush my hair for aunts.

I think, if I were King of Greece,
I'd push things off the mantelpiece.

If I were King of Norroway,
I'd ask an elephant to stay.

If I were King of Babylon,
I'd leave my button gloves undone.

If I were King of Timbuctoo,
I'd think of lovely things to do.

If I were King of anything,
I'd tell the soldiers, "I'm the King!"

If I were queen of the world: what a game to play. If I could be a fairy godmother and grant all the world's children with the ten things I think would be the greatest gifts a child could receive, what would they be?

Really what I wish for children, all children, can be summed up in one paragraph about a stimulating, challenging and sometimes nurturing community of which they are a part, but I think I can break it down into ten individual points:

10) I wish every child responsibility.

It may sound completely against the grain of current popular opinion to suggest that I don't mean responsibility for trivial tasks such as cleaning their room or themselves, or doing their homework. The kind of responsibility I mean runs much deeper than that.
Taking care of one's own concerns isn't really true responsibility. The kind of responsibility which I wish for children, even from an early age, are responsibilities that are external to the child themselves.
Responsibility nurtures empathy, independence and a sense of interconnectedness that builds strong, healthy individuals. While these external responsibilities might seem like a drag to the kids at the time, I also feel that the sense of being needed, being a part of their external surroundings makes for a happier, more fulfilled individual overall.

9) I wish every child conflict

This again, sounds totally counter to the popular idea that children need peace. Fact is, our minds are stimulated by conflict. I don't mean the kind of conflict that is over ANY individual's head, be they adult or child. I don't mean violence.
It's hard it seems, in this day and age, to separate violence from conflict, but the fact is that the two ideas are not interdependent. Violence is often born out of conflict, but I suspect that as we as a society continue to back away from conflict or challenges we are going to become less and less able to deal with it when it comes up. I suspect this will lead to more and more violence, as we begin to mutually associate the two.
Conflict teaches us resolution, it teaches us grace in victory and defeat and it teaches us what makes us the same and what makes us different. It teaches us where our boundries lie and where we are strong and determined. We can never learn to negotiate, speak and be free if we are never challenged.
If we surround ourselves with only those things which never countermand our self-interest we become complacent and self-important.
A good story has to have a conflict, and what is life for if you don't have a good story at the end of it?

8) I wish every child time to just be

Apart from the time they might spend struggling and caring for others, which might sound like I want kids to have pretty bleak lives so far, they also need time to process their input. Everything to them is so much newer than it is to us, which might seem like it goes without saying but the way kids are scheduled these days fails to take this very basic concept into account.
Kids need time to just exist in the moment. We all do, of course, but kids need a bit more of it. So many bits and peices of input which we all take for granted still need to be sorted and processed in a kid's mind.
Some folks might say they wish children time to just be children. That's too exclusionary. Children are not some other strange species which was undiscovered before the industrial revolution and they are not lumps of unmolded clay who are going to use that time in the ways our adult minds have predetermined befit their childish identities.
Children need time and freedom to just be creatures of this world, this society, this community, this family and this body.

7.) I wish every child exploration

This ties into the previous one a bit. I'm not all for completely unguided learning, though my own educational philosophy tends toward the "unschooling" model, but independent exploration is a powerful intellectual stimulator.
They won't always come up with the "correct" theories on how things work, but they'll surprise you every once in a while and even the wildest flights of fanciful pseudo-science stimulate creativity and the imagination.
Children are born scientists and out of that science is born art and spirituality and most of all, questions. A child who doesn't explore will never have any questions worth asking.

6) I wish every child life

I don't mean that I wish that children were immortal. People, sometimes even young people, die. In the words of Neil Gaimen's Death: "You get what everyone else gets: a lifetime."
I mean that I wish for them to be surrounded by life. All of life which does include illness and death and birth and reproduction.
I wish for them to have wilderness to observe and explore and connect with, I wish for babies and geriatrics, those adolescent balls of unfocused energy and middle-aged determination.
I wish for them to have the opportunity to take each and every stage of it completely for granted on one level, so that they understand that none of it is completely granted on another.

5) I wish every child dominion over his or her own person

I'm not sure I need to explain this except that it only works if the next few wishes are already granted.

4) I wish every child adequate access to nutritious food and clean water and freedom from the fast food nation

When children's initial experiences with food are with healthy, fresh foods presented in a low-pressure manner, they develop the ability at a very young age to be in touch with how to properly nourish their own bodies.
It's only when the waters are muddied by the introduction of foods deliberately engineered to exploit the evolutionary cravings (salt, fat) for things that were once hard to come by that this instinct is derailed. Advertising and bribery with bright and shiny toys undoes the rest of it.

3) I wish every child casual, loving touch

Studies show over and over again that children from cultures where they are hugged and kissed and cuddled often turn out much lower rates of physical and sexual violence than those who are more physically reserved.
Freedom from bodily shame and anxiety born of feeling unrooted in their environment will enable children to make the decisions about their bodies that are right for them, and to leave other children to do the same.

2) I wish every child a local community to which they are an active, participating member

This ties into the responsibilities one way up there, but again it is important not just to raise children who can see how their actions and lack thereof effect those around them but also that they experience recognition of their own personal milestones.
Organized religion isn't necessarily the only way to go on this, but in marking the people in our surroundings at their key stages of development and growth (think birth/naming ceremonies, first communions, barmitzvahs, weddings, funerals) we help create fully engaged individuals. Furthermore, in a fractured society such as the one we live in, children and parents miss out on the kind of personalized support they need in times of difficulty.
It truly does take a village to raise a child, and children are increasingly denied the wealth of other people in their lives.

1) I wish every child clean, breathable air, forests, farms and fields, mountains, rivers and oceans full of fish...I wish every child a living, sustaining beautiful earth to walk on and enjoy.

It's been a long time, but now I'm coming back home.

So it's been a while since I penned a post just for Spunsideways, and it's probably going to be longer still. In the meantime, I have a cross-post or two to share with the one or two folks who might actually stumble across this humble blog.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wake for RAW

I'm planning a wake to coincide with the memorial service on that side of the continent.

Text reads:
Wednesday February 7th 2007
Imperial Library pub
54 Dundas st. E. upstairs (Toronto)
coinciding with his hometown memorial service,
join us in celebration of the life of
Robert Anton Wilson
Author of Illuminatus! Trilogy, Prometheus Rising
Wake the Dead
Raise a glass
7pm - close

If others would like to do the same in their city, they can contact me through my blog and I'll provide start-up information and poster files. It'd be really cool to link all the parties up, but I'm not sure if my venue has the internet capacity for streaming video. If it does, you can bet I'll find a place to stream it.

There will be no admission charged. There will be a donations jar to defray costs with any leftover donated either to Sister Magdalen's custody battle (her child was taken from her based on photos of a SubGenius event she participated in -the child was not at the event-) or to a charity of Bob's family's choosing (if I can contact them efficiently)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson
January 18, 1932- January 11, 2007

Philosopher, author, teacher, lifetime student. Contemporary of Timothy Leary, Hunter S. Thompson, George Carlin. Astral explorer, Erisian, Human Rights Campaigner. Widower, Father, Friend, Reluctant Hero.

The Chaos Without claimed Bob in the early morning hours. On his own passing he said:

"Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.

Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd. "

He touched my life, and the lives of thousands, if not millions of Erisians, Discordians, Sub-Geniuses and sundry left-thinkers worldwide. I am not unique in my devotion to the man and his ideas, but my own experiences with his literature are.

He acted as both an inspiration and an intimidation in my own writing. How I could weave such stories with so many ideas, subtle irony and humour, to infuse my own characters with so much lovable and unlovable fallibilities. He inspired me in my life as well, to reach higher, to strive further, to question everything.

His intelligence was tempered with humility and his cynicism with love, both of life and of the world he saw as clearly flawed.

Go in Peace Bob, to whatever it is that awaits you now. You will be remembered.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Visit to learn your Lustsign!

Did I stalk you like a tiger, with no thought for your own inner being?

It didn't feel that way at the time. Never did it feel like a conquest borne of right or entitlement. It was a pleading with you to share all you had to share with me, a deep longing to visit inside your whole self, to experience your being. To try to understand what made you tick, to intertwine my energy with yours, not to steal yours, or secrete it away inside me, but to feel it, the ebb and flow. To rush through your arteries as your blood did, to build up in your groin as semen does when your balls draw up in that moment before orgasm, when everything is open to the world, before the doors begin to close again.

I was so fascinated by you, I wanted to be closer and closer still. I wanted you inside me in hopes that I might glimpse what was inside of you. Never to conquer, or to possess, but to simply be at one. Was this a selfish desire? Did it come at the risk of something of yours? I never wanted to be a risk. I have yet to find my balance, but I do not consider myself a danger to others. Is this naive? Do I fail to recognize the power I might have? I have never felt any power in me but that to banish and drive away. I'm good at driving away, it would seem.

How sobering to find that I may indeed be a destroyer.

Plants fail to thrive around me. People complain of my coldness, how I seem to calculate and run reckless with the delicate humans with whom I come in contact. I am perceived as indestructible, yet chaotic, dangerous and yes, sometimes predatory. None of it feels right.

I don't lurk in the bushes, lying in wait for moments of weakness to exploit.

I try to hide myself, tuck my humanity deep iniside, for what? So that the predators cannot prey on me.

What is it they say? About how what we see most often when we look at others is merely a reflection of ourselves, distorted by that which we cannot fathom? Do I see predators and destroyers everywhere because I myself am one?

I feel threatened by the friendships built by those I feel attempted my destruction. One such person told me that I always landed on my feet, that my life was charmed. It wasn't meant as a compliment. Despite a dearth of complimentary things to say about my friends at the time, I feel as though this same person now stalks them, wanting to win them over to a side of a battle I don't want to be in.

In the past, these people were a symbol of my descent into the animalistic, the hedonistic and predatory. Now they are friends to be won, why do I feel threatened by this? Why do I imagine a battle here at all? I don't imagine myself a warrior, and yet I see battles. Might they be giants, disguised as windmills? If I see that they are only windmills, then why do I continue to be afraid of them?

I want my friends to be mine, without chance of their swaying by the rumours and incharitable comments which alienated past friends. But perhaps my friends need warnings that I am not what I appear. Perhaps I am not.

I wish I knew.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blood Sugar Sex Magick

Since before my sexuality came to the surface, I've felt a certain affinity to the idea of sex organs as power centres.

As I grew into a sexual being, I strove to draw from my partner the tremendous energy that I could feel, vibrating there, barely contained within the lingam. Call it gnosis if you will, but the combining of two entities to share energy and gain a power that neither could ever acheive alone is the primary goal of all my sexual exploits. There's just a lot more to sex than the old in-out.

I once had sex in a temple.
I have never experienced anything quite like it before or since.

Despite my general scepticism of people claiming communion with the gods, there was something to be said for the energy which flowed through the room, through our bodies, from one spirit to another and back again.

At times, the energy mingled freely, building and compounding, stretching towards a moment of oneness. At times we struggled for control of that energy, giving one moment, then taking the next, grasping not just at flesh but at one another's essence and self.

The magician had gathered there the gods of whom he requested favourable attentions. I had listened closely as he called for the attendance within the carefully struck circle of things both fearful and wonderful. My job was simple: to generate energy. I never enquired as to what purpose the energy would serve. I trusted that his purposes were not counter to my interests.

Candles flickered when I arched my neck, the light that came through my eyelids faltering a moment, reminding me not to keep that energy for myself but to surrender it to the greater cause.

Warmth burst not just from sex organs but from every extremity. My fingers trembled slightly as I wove them into his, briefly touching fingertip to fingertip, aware of ten circuits completing, of a connection less superficial than our skin betrayed. Lips barely touching but buzzing as though they'd been busy for hours. Aligning foreheads, noses, lips, chins, breasts, abdomens, pelvises, each point of contact hyper-sensitive.

Colours danced in my periphery and my senses challenged the integrity of that which they perceived. The walls of the temple seemed to shimmer and shift outside the bounds of our circle, imitating the wavering of the air above a flame. The energy that built around us consumed me, feeding off me as I fed off it. With one deep intake of breath from the organism we had created, the energy dissipated all at once, channelled into whatever place it was being sent and we returned to our individual selves, breathless and wet from exertion, but oddly alert and energetic.

I was high for days afterwards. My head floating, but not in the clouds, instead clear and sharp-witted. Everything I saw gleamed with a newness, an aura of power that I felt I could just reach out and grasp.

My mood has never before or since been so consistantly good for so long. I hope I adequately thanked the gods for that. Remind me to pour a bit of my next drink out, as a particular thanks.

And maybe a shooter for the Mage.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Round Peg, round hole?

"You're not helping matters any by being all complex and multifaceted you know. My life is much easier when I can fit round peg you into the round hole."

-Elasticlad to me upon recieving my advice on his newest relationship crisis.

I've never been a round peg in my life. I've never fit in. Sometimes I wish that I could disregard the meaninglessness of small talk and join in a group. Just slide in there and just "fit". Be someone who is called up and invited places. Be someone who men want to hang out with after the boinking is done. To NOT be the person about whom it's asked "well, is so and so going to be there?" I mean, ouch.

When I turned 10, I threw a birthday party and noone showed up.
It happened again when I turned 14.
Clearly, I was hard to like.

By the time I reached 18 or 19 I thought I'd finally found a good group. People who hugged me and told me they were happy to see me and joked with me. I guess it was just all the E. As soon as I got pregnant they were gone like a puff of smoke.

I thought I had another group. Supportive, kind people. People who'd made it through the baby years, or people I'd met since. As soon as Dorian and I split. Another puff of smoke.

Sometimes I feel as though people are just waiting for that out. Like the patient whose therapist keeps looking at their watch. Just a few more minutes left in your session. Just a few more minutes left in my friendship.

Fact is, I don't do well in groups.

I get nervous, I say the wrong things, or I say the right things in the wrongest possible way. Recently I tried tell a new friend that I thought her husband was an interesting guy. It came out sounding like I was interested in pursuing her husband. This is typical.

When I observe a group, trying to suss out its dynamic, all I see are various primal behaviours. People leaping up and down and making the biggest stir for attention. They all seem to be born with it. This primate socialization. Sometimes I find it cause for pity, other times, awe.

I don't wish to act on my baser instincts. I try not to; though possessing them, I often fail. Problem is, without those baser instincts to work on, I feel simply out of place. I don't belong here, I don't belong there. I just can't seem to get it right.

I try on various group experiences and they all feel like a variation on high school to me. The ultimate test of social conformity. The one where I always come up lacking.

These ones are so desperate for ANYONE's attention that they'll do anything for it. I don't fit there, though I often find myself drawn into other folks pleas for validation.

These ones have their hierarchy already figured out and require a big impact to shake it up enough to reform it to fit another person. I'm not a "get out there and wow them" kind of person. I don't fit there.

I do it to myself, and that's what really hurts.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Barbara Imperiled

The piercing shrieks of her companion grew fainter as the icy cold water rushed over her head, carrying her further and further down the river.

The torrential rain had only recently subsided and she was dashed against rocks as drainage from the nearby mountain pressed the waterway into action. Struggling, she nearly reached shore and the hands of another of her hiking team reached out, almost grasping her. Hysterical, the youngest member of the tribe collapsed into sobs as her dear friend, unable to free herself from the current, quickly approached a waterfall twice the height of the helpless Barbara.

The water was so cold, she thought idly, as the sounds of rescue efforts faded from her consciousness.

The wounds sustained from the dingo attack earlier in the trip numbed. It was the first time she'd been able to forget the dog's huge teeth wrapped around her feet as her companions attempted to overpower the beast.

What was that about every cloud's lining?

She couldn't remember.

Her eyes gazed, unfocused towards the black storm clouds above.

At least she couldn't get any wetter.

She had resigned herself to the will of the river when large, strong hands grasped and lifted her, it seemed without effort, out of the water. She was returned to her friends, somewhat the worse for wear, her crown of golden hair streaming down her naked body.

Once she was dried, she resumed the hike, which had become more a death march to her, but in which she had no choice, if she wished to ever see home again.

Unable to move her legs any further, she fell behind. She could hear the cheerful laughter of her companions as they settled into their evening camp. The trip had been hard on her, but they were revived with a new lust for life, pumped up with the adreneline of the rescue.

Every second felt like an hour as she fell, motionless, into the wet grass. The night fell and with each camper retiring to their respective shelters, Barbara was left forgotten and shivering. She closed her eyes and waited for the trip to be over. She wondered if the light at the end of the tunnel would at least warm her frigid form. She was barely aware of hands lifting her and bringing her to the warmth and light of a giant bonfire. Relieved to experience the warmth but unable to thank her rescuer, she drifted off into a wary unconsciousness. As she fell into a fitful sleep, wondering vaguely what challenges would face her tomorrow and the following, seemingly endless days ahead, she heard her rescuer speak:

"Hey Sarah, I found this doll in the middle of the field, thought I'd grab it before the dog got it again. It's your daughter's, right?"

Monday, March 20, 2006


Women who adore the men they know are bad for them.
Women who want to say things until their hearts and breath are arrested by one flash of beautiful eyes, one room brightening smile, one set of kind words.

I've been there.
Boy, have I been there.

So desperately gone that forgiveness of factual manipulation comes before he even knows I've been made aware of it.

So completely enamoured with a shining set of eyes, and the soft parting of full, round lips that it's easy to believe. Even if the belief ebbs in his absence.

So fully in need of kind words, of sexual validation that morals almost become malleable.

So fascinated by mind and soul that I'll take anything offered, just to be close to him.

And so crushed when each and every one of these relationships or non-relationships falls to it's inevitable demise. So discouraged to be reminded that I knew I didn't measure up. I knew it could never work. I knew I was trading a moment of oblivious pleasure for a tiny shard of my own self worth.

I traded that self worth willingly. Gave it away to the highest bidder for the intoxication of exploration, of doors opened and paths explored. For the heady feeling of acceptance and belonging. For the privilege of my skin against his, my lips on his cock, my hands on his body and the blood coursing through my veins, charged with sexual hormones.

Sometimes I dream of the taste of your skin.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Comfortably? Numb.

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"Has he been treated for these issues?"

I'm sick of doctors. I'm tired of their waiting rooms, with tattered children's books of questionable intellectual merit and greying mismatched toys. I'm sick of explaining again and again my son's medical history, intellectual and social development, recapping his entire life within 15 minutes, praying that I haven't left out anything significant.

"Why don't you shine a tiny light into his ears? I don't think he's cured yet, maybe that will help" I want to shout, dripping sarcasm all over the inoffensive tan carpets, splattering my increasing cynicism on the walls, laden with proof of their certified competancy.

Nothing ever gets done.

"It's best to catch these things early"
Early. When he's screamed for 20 hours straight for the 6th week in a row and he's only 7 weeks old? Not that early. How about when he's barely walking and retaining his bowels and goes into fits of pure terror when you go through an automatic door or take an escalator? Not then either. You mean like, when he's 3 years old and throwing temper tantrums that convincingly mirror demonic possession? Clearly not. Howabout when a concerned mother brings their 5 year old to you, because noone can understand what he's saying most of the time, he won't make eye contact and has stepped up the tantrums to such a degree that her face is perpetually bruised. Nope. When he has a debilitating migraine at seven, we'll shine lights in his ears. We'll ask if he's ever been treated, we'll pretend to care.

"Yep, that's a migraine alright." Thanks, you overpaid goober. Clearly I need to put a pencil grip on his pencil, stock up on ibuprofen and hope he adjusts.

I'm tired of it.
I'm fucking numb.
I don't remember the names of all the doctors who have heard these reports. There's been too fucking many of them. Who cares what THEY thought? I'm asking YOU. What do YOU think? None of them seem to think anything at all. They all want to know what other doctors have said. Every. Last. One. Of. Them. Why yes, that does include the first.

"Let me write you a referral. This neurologist is highly lauded. This psychologist used to work for the board of education. This pediatrician specializes in that. It's a long way to go, but it's worth it."

"Now, Basil, I'm going to shine this little light into your ears. It won't hurt, I'm just taking a look."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Goodnight John

I was nearly 5 when it happened. It was my first experience with the idea of violent death. Murder. Murder of a hero of mine. A man who sang about peace and marmalade skies. A man who wrote a song about all the beautiful things he imagined for us, a man who led up a band that changed the face of music. A man with a little boy my age.

He never stopped being a key hero for me. I'm sorry he's gone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dead Or Alive

Imagine the sweetest boy you knew in adolescence.
Imagine that boy was like family to you. Not the kind of family you're forced to see, but the kind that's there supporting you when things get tough, the kind that you can trust with anything. Chosen family.
Imagine nights spent as frightened kids with parents who seemed again to be teetering on the brink of something terrifying. Imagine lying with that friend in bed, holding him, or he holding you, just for comfort.
Imagine you could trust this friend to never, ever try to betray the trust of that comfort. Imagine your relationship, intense but platonic.

Imagine around seventeen years old, a kiss. Imagine how confusing that kiss is. Imagine the thrill of knowing you already love each other and the fear of knowing that friendships were often ruined by the introduction of a sexual element. Imagine that by the time you decide to take the chance, this sweet boy, your most trusted friend, has picked up, without warning and moved across the country. Imagine he claimed it was because "there's nothing for me here".

Imagine beautiful letters describing the play of the sunlight over the ocean, whale watching during another perfect sunrise. Imagine a deep longing to see him again. Imagine giving up that dream as an impossibility.

Imagine how thrilled you are when he announces he's back. Distressed to hear that he left BC because "There's nothing left for me there anymore", but still, pleased to have him back, determined to show him that there are people here who love him and care about him and are here for him.

Imagine inviting him to your wedding and watching with amusement as he dances around the dance floor, waving the garter he caught over his head. Imagine wondering why he looks so haggard and ragged. Worrying, cuz he really kinda looks like shit.

Imagine how dissapointed you are, a year later, when he stands you up for the third time in a row.

A mutual friend from ages gone by informs you he's gay. You're blown away. A more reputable source informs you, less than a year later, that he's a crackhead. Tears well up in your eyes and threaten to spill down your cheeks but you hold it in. It's the first time you've seen this other friend in nine years and the first time you've met his wife and you're determined to have a nice day.

One drizzly morning a young, articulate panhandler approaches you, asking for change. You refuse, barely looking up, but something in his face catches your attention as he walks away. Another morning he approaches again and you try to get a good look at the face, but his eyes are downcast and he hurries off when you demonstrate your lack of change.

A friend of mine told me recently that the only reason we recognize friends who had faded into the deepest recesses of our memories is that they recognize us. It's that moment of mutual recognition that brings them to the forefront of your mind again.

Is it him? I've seen him a few times since. I've dug up old photos, wedding photos, to catch a glimpse of what his face truly looked like eight years ago. We made eye contact last weekend. The eyes were wrong. All wrong. My friend's eyes were bright and vivid. Lively. This man's eyes are sunken and dull. Then again, crack'll do that to you, now won't it?

He doesn't fit my stereotypical crackhead model, so I find myself in denial. THIS person is articulate and generally clean. THIS person has a clear sense of self awareness.

I know I should resign myself to the thought that my friend is dead. This is not the boy I used to sleep beside. I know that the last thing my life needs right now is for me to strike up a new friendship with an apparently homeless drug addict. Desperate people are dangerous. I know that I can't save him and I probably can't even help him. I know that trying is just setting myself up for heartbreak.

I know that I love that boy Steven as much as I ever did.
I know that the girl I used to be would be ashamed of me if I ever turned my back on him.

What I don't know, is what I'm going to do next, and that's a bit disorienting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Young Love

If you had been a fly on the wall in Hubris' kitchen the other night, you would have overheard me say, at one point: "Apparently I was dumb and inexperienced when I was 18...go figure" in reference to the age at which I embarked on what was an 11 year relationship.

I got married in June of '97 when I was 21 years old, a few weeks before my husband-to-be turned 23. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was filled with youthful idealism, a surety that love would find us a way through the issues that haunted our relationship. After all, I had always been "old for my age". I'd been looking after myself since I was eight. I knew the "appropriate" languages of disagreement. "When you focus on my flaws, I feel hurt". "When you assert that your way is the only way to do things, I feel frustrated and unappreciated". I was saying my piece, he was listening respectfully. We had things all figured out.

The minister who married us agreed to do so only if we took a pre-marriage counselling course with her. We learned, again, about respectful communication, we filled out questionairres independantly, to be sent off to a central marking facility which would gage our long term compatibility. We passed with flying colours. She came back to us in surprise and expressed a surety that, despite our age, we DID know what we were doing. We clearly were made for each other.

We were smug in our compatibility.

Thing is, we neglected to recognize that some of these recurring issues that haunted our relationship were simply too big to continue to hurdle, day in and day out, through housekeeping and child rearing. We didn't have a crystal ball into which we could peer and discover that the narrow channels of difference between our viewpoints would grow into huge gulfs as we matured and we didn't have the experience to know that that isn't unusual.

Codependancy seemed like a nonsense word. Something you were SUPPOSED to have in a relationship.

He didn't know that owning lots of expensive stuff would never be important to me, I didn't know that he would feel threatened by new friends I found from outside our existing high school social circle.

We fought, early on about a lot of the things that broke us up in the end. He would insist on "taking care" of me. His goal was to arrange it so I didn't "have to work". I would tell him that my independance was important to me and I didn't want to be taken care of. That never seemed to quite sink in, and when we started having children and I did stop working, part of him danced, the victor. Soon, he began to fill the role he'd wanted all along. The patriarch. I didn't have one growing up, and I certainly didn't want one now.

I responded the only way I had any experience with: the petulant child. Defiant, challenging. Resentment built. The more control he tried to seize, the more I resisted. The final year or two were ugly on the inside, while remaining quite cordial on the outside. Passive aggression, cutting remarks and physical control became staples of my life.

Still, I smiled. I grinned and bore it because, that's what I'd agreed to. After all, these were the same issues we'd always had. This WAS the man I'd married.

Our marriage vows included a bit about never putting one another down to outside parties. It was finding out that he'd been doing that that provided my out. Not the put-downs, not the constant reminders of my shortcomings, not the combined one-two punch of ignoring me for days on end, as I trailed after him like a lonely puppy dog then turning around and accusing me of not paying attention to him, not loving him, not being attracted to him when I finally gave up and pursued an activity of my own, but the breaking of that wedding vow, written by an inexperienced 22 year old boy-in-love.

Odd how the mind works.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Shrink My Kid

I have a really high needs kid. Allow me to describe high needs, for those who don't really understand the distinction between a "typical" kid (who still has much higher needs than, we hope, an adult) and the kid I wound up with.

He virtually shot out of my body, violently, causing a far greater level of damage than is typical even for a first child. He latched on within minutes and began nursing voraciously. He would practically drown himself in milk, he sucked so hard, leaving me with blisters and him with milk coming out his nose. His digestive system was underdeveloped. That meant he threw up constantly. Projectile vomiting after every feeding. After which he desperately wanted soothing. Nursing is soothing. See the cycle?

"Let him cry...don't overfeed him" some of the "experts" told me. "If he's vomiting, he needs more nutrition, plus the milk will neutralize the stomach acid and prevent damage to his esophogus" others said. Most of them, when I brought them my baby, who screamed 20 hours a day, between nursing and vomiting as if he was possessed by a greater demon (not shitting you, 6 inches when he was lying on his back), simply said: "This is your first right? Babies spit up. It's to be expected."

So here I have an infant who vomits constantly, sleeps a grand total of 4 hours out of every 24 and who I have to nurse every 20 minutes or so. Yeah, we both smelled of baby puke. Despite the fact that he was bathed twice a day and I showered regularly.

It doesn't end there though. At 5 months old he said his first word: "book" imagine how proud. (damned if we can shut him up, now). At 7 months old he displayed a fierce temper and several other hallmarks of Autism.

This temper didn't really abate. When he lost it, he LOST IT. I have suffered many a black eye, split lip, bloody nose or bump on the forehead from his early temper tantrums. Nothing the "experts" had to say worked, even a little. Most attempts to distract or "trick" him resulted in a redoubling of tantrum.

He was terrified ofanything automatic. The doors at a grocery store, elevators and escalators, riding in a car, the baby swing. It all reduced him to panicked cries consistantly until he was nearly 6 years old.

Water was horrifying to him. Strange adults terrible, strange kids even worse. Groups of people would have him running and hiding in genuine fear.

"He watches too much TV" The experts said, despite me exhausted repetitions of the fact that he didn't watch any TV. "Children that small have to eat very specific's pesticides/processed foods/sugars/dairy" other experts said, despite the fact that breastmilk was the only dairy he consumed up to three years old and all his food was organic, unprocessed and homemade. If it was sweet, it was because I mixed in bananas or applesauce. His birthday cakes were sugarfree banana bread and homemade organic frozen yogurt.

Today he exhibits far fewer symptoms of autism than 2 years ago, but it's been a long, hard road to get here. He's still got a temper on him, but he knows better than any kid his age I meet how to keep it in check, and I have to say, when he DOES lose it these days, while he still loses it completely, I can hardly blame him for losing it in the first place. We deal with the ACTIONS he takes when he's angry, rather than the anger itself. It seems to be working well.

His teacher tells me he's cooperative and helpful. Damn, I think I must be sending her the wrong kid or something. But dammit I'm proud of that. (now if only he was cooperative and helpful at HOME).

He's still a REALLY wierd kid. I mean, his odd knows no bounds. His mind works in bizarre ways, makes leaps that are, at the same time, unbelievably advanced and yet still wrong. He doesn't really understand how to interact with people beyond the ways he's been "trained" to interact. Conversations don't "flow" for him, that's clear in his speech. He still doesn't really make eye contact and he would still rather play alone than with other kids.

When I look at just how FAR he's come though, so far that the last shrink suspected he might be well on his way to outgrowing his autism, I feel great. That is, of course, shattered by nosy adults who assume that he's wierd because of something I'm doing wrong. We still hear about how damaging sugar and television are (incidentally, he's gotten a lot better since I eased the fuck up on both of those things...we still have to be careful about "overdoses" but a bit of each doesn't seem to do him any harm at all). I still hear that he's not very social because of having been homeschooled, no matter how often I tell people that he had opportunities to play with other kids EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK for the first 5 years of his life and that he only got less socially phobic when I cut that down to 3-4 times a week.

People refuse to believe that the "expert advice" isn't worth thousands, so they keep referring him to shrinks who tell me to do exactly what I've always done and then bill the province (or my MIL) thousands of dollars for the advice I got out of a book on child development in grade 9.

Incidentally, the jury is still out. We know that Basil is either wierd a) because he's overparented or b) because his needs are neglected. Thanks "experts", we'll keep that in mind while we keep doing what is OBVIOUSLY working.