Surprise! Accidentally falling asleep.

I’m not entirely sure what happened — I lay down a little after 6 PM last night and slept all the way through to 4 AM this morning, despite being woken twice. I did have an assignment due that I was at least going to attempt to accomplish, but it obviously didn’t get done.

Right now I need to finish normalizing a database, as I had realized the night before that I had inadvertently missed a step for at least one of our tables. As this is the component I’m working on…I should try and attempt it.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m still tired, which is mostly due to having taken medication about 10 hours ago (at 4 AM), and likely because I didn’t get up to be active at 4 AM, but instead went back to bed until 11-something AM.

I also have a cramp starting in part of my lower back (I spent too long in bed)…and a lot of stuff to do, today. Which I don’t want to do. But.

It’s kind of hard for me to put everything into words, right now, so I’ll try and stop staring at the screen, and try to do something useful.

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(Preliminary) reasons to write

I just got back from a library more useful than the one I work at 😉 (I forgot how nice that library is), and am going to take a quick break here to note down some things I found last night, when writing.

I took about 20 minutes last night to begin writing out the narrative of the story I’ve mentioned recently. I’m actually feeling very good about it, and about having taken some time last night, to read in Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt in fiction, but the value of it came to me when I was trying to fall asleep.

Fiction allows one to try out being different people and making different life decisions than the ones one has made, or possibly might make. It allows one to look at life from multiple perspectives, without necessarily validating one over the other (though to be honest, I don’t particularly strive for objectivity in my fiction!).

One of the things which has stopped me from reading fiction in the past has been the sense that some authors (particularly in the Classics) wrote for the reason of reinforcing and validating their own worldviews. I’m not sure anymore that this is the case; as I’ve mentioned before, my memories of my young adulthood are distorted by untreated illness affecting my cognition, and as such, they’re unreliable.

This is kind of a difficult truism to combat, though. If one believes it, it may prevent them from reading fiction at all, and from writing it as well. If one doesn’t read any more narrative after that, one just continues to hold the belief while the world around one moves on. It might not even help if one tries to get out of it by reading creative prose; often, we see what we are looking for, particularly when there is no one “right” interpretation of a text.

It’s generally accepted that in literary arts, as in fine arts, there is no one “right” or “correct” interpretation, by the way…because not even the author can know such a thing. There’s just too much subconscious and unconscious content for this to be true, and often the interpretation of a text has as much or more to do with the reader than it has to do with the writer.

In order for multiple divergent readings to be possible, we have to grant that the work stands on its own (that is, in fiction, we don’t judge the author for what they have written, even if we do judge the work itself) and that not one reading is “right.”

Hmm. Maybe that’s where I get my philosophical relativism from.

I also at times have felt a bit of…trepidation at letting the reader inside of my head, because I’ve attempted literary analysis on my own work before, and in the past it hasn’t been pretty. (Don’t do that, by the way. Especially not if you’re concurrently dealing with mental illness and cognitive distortion, as I was.)

What I have found is that taking time out to write enhances my productivity, rather than reducing it, as I had assumed. It takes time to write, but then it also helps when you come to things with a fresh mind, not burdened by unexpressed ideas. (Unexpressed ideas can turn into unexpressed obsessions, which is where writing serves well as a method of exorcism. Once you write it down, you can stop repeating it to yourself in an attempt to remember it.)

The problem with unexpressed ideas, as well, is that before they’re put into a format where they become objects, it’s difficult to manipulate them and see the deeper meanings behind them. Whereas, I know as a writer that when I encode things into English (as my first language), I start making connections and realizing ideas that I didn’t know were there.

And these two reasons can be enough reason for me to write, for now. I’m sure more (real) reasons to write will arise as I actually get back into fiction writing.

In any case, last night I didn’t get a lot written, so far as length was concerned — I was writing (legibly) by hand in a small sketchbook, which reduces my writing speed significantly. In turn, that makes me think about my phrasing (not to mention the art of handwriting), more.

I did, however, begin to lay the foundation for a larger story…and I was surprised at how much was already there, going unexpressed. It might actually turn into a novella (or alternately, graphic novel series).

In addition, I was immediately able to see opportunities to expand on what I had begun. This is where my degree in Creative Writing actually helps!

I guess it’s nice to feel multi-talented. 🙂 Or that my undergraduate degree is actually useful for something.

I think that’s about enough time spent, here. Of course, there’s always more to say, but I will post it when it’s ready to come out. 🙂

Distractions

You know how I wrote that identity piece a couple of days ago?

Now I’m having issues with fantasy. It’s making it difficult to concentrate, so I thought I might write a bit here and see if I can get it out of my system (though maybe I should be writing out the story, offline). I won’t be writing the actual story, here, because I’m not sure if WordPress allows erotica.

The original basis of this was a story I began when I was — I think — in high school (I have records, but they’re on 3.5″ floppy disk[!], and the writing quality is probably horrible). The major issue I can see with it is that at the time, and even recently, I’ve had difficulty conceiving at least one of the relationships in the story as outwardly mutual. Emotionally, it is mutual; but that doesn’t translate to what one of the characters says.

Because I’ve needed to take several (?) Title IX trainings, by this point, I can see where this is problematic. The solution to this, however, is simple: my character just needs to realize that as long as he keeps saying, “no,” and backing away, nothing is going to happen.

It shows a measure of respect that his partner believes him and keeps withdrawing when he tells him to stop (even though the main character doesn’t really want him to stop, but he’s frightened and doesn’t want to take responsibility for the situation). If he did anything else, it would be a violation of safety, trust, and intimacy.

The tension, here, is largely focused on the main character, and it’s largely an internal conflict. I can foresee a resolution, but then: that can’t be all the story is about, right (unless it’s a one-shot type of thing)? The characters I’ve mentioned have a more overarching relationship. It would make sense for this to be one episode in a larger series, or a drawn-out conflict in the background of a series (I’m reminded of FAKE by Sanami Matoh.)

Anyhow, I think that came up because I had been thinking about the possibility of what might happen in my own life if people saw and respected me for who I actually am (as versus assuming who I am, based on what I look like).

I’ve gotta either get back to work, right now, or if I can’t do that, write some of this stuff out.

Sleep dysfunction?

Alright, I was up until about 2:30 AM Sunday morning…and slept almost all the way through the daylight hours, yesterday (it is now early Monday morning, here). I’ve got to remember not to do that again. The major issue, on top of staying up so late, was taking (sedating) medication so late, as well. In light of that, I’ve just taken it for tonight, which will hopefully not knock me out until 5 PM.

Yesterday’s post, I now realize, was full of relief: I had planned to stay up late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, doing the aforementioned group assignment in preparation for a meeting, later Sunday morning. I had essentially given up hope of being able to complete it on time, meaning being resigned to getting a B or C in this class. However, I wasn’t the only one having problems.

Now the deadline is Thursday night, and since I basically squandered most of my working time today (in what I believe was stress-related comfort hiding/sleeping: it’s a pattern), that means I’m going to have to do what I can online tomorrow, and then hit the library on Tuesday. Wednesday I work, Thursday is the meeting.

And this is on top of all my other assignments.

I’m kind of ticked at myself for not looking at my other group assignment, which will be due at an inopportune time: I could have started my part anytime earlier this week (after having completed my individual exercise which prepared me for it), but I didn’t. I’m still a bit upset at myself for having been as non-helpful as I was, in the last phase of the same group assignment. The issue was having been so far behind that what we were doing (and why) was almost indecipherable to me. And if I had tried to help, it likely would have been more like unintentional sabotage.

Don’t believe the Professor when he tells you that you don’t have to do the reading!

At least, though, I only have to worry about three classes, now. I went over what is coming due, but I haven’t noted it down in my Bullet Journal, yet. It’s just overwhelming.

There is some other stuff going on, as well; in fact, more than one major thing. I think what I’m going to have to do is try and just find some way to stay out of bed, tomorrow (even if it means doing something fun or necessary, instead of homework). And I’m going to have to set limits on time spent in social situations, even if they’re obligatory. I hate to look like a bookworm (or alternately, computer nerd), but right now I have obligations in a Master’s program, and I’m in an Honors society, and I would like not to get kicked out within the year.

Like I said, there’s more to this that I’m not saying. Responsibilities, family, adulting…it gets deeper, but that’s not my story to tell.

And I think now would be a good time for me to get some “rest”…or at least, stop thinking of things to do. I’ve done what I can for tonight, and it would be kinda dysfunctional for me to stay up until 5 AM working, just because I got out of bed around 7 PM and am feeling guilty. It actually might trigger relapse symptoms, as well, so…yeah, I should at least try and get some sleep…

Growing into myself: nonbinary gender presentation.

I am not sure if I have mentioned here, my recurring dream series in which I’m investigating (or considering) gender transition. I think it started when my first gender therapist retired. Since then, I’ve been through — a lot. Enough to cause me to wonder if I am following the pattern of having been gender-variant in youth (the stereotypical term is “tomboy,” but I wasn’t a jock), and mainstreaming a bit, in my adult life.

If I think about it, a lot of what was labeled, “queer,” in my youth is absolutely normal for an adult person — like wearing my dad’s old clothes. The kids I grew up with just had unrealistic gender expectations, I think.

It wasn’t until after I was 19 that I learned what, “transgender” meant, and though I feel like I synced very well with the student community at the time, I can’t really trust those memories. Back then, I had a mental condition which was going untreated, which affected my judgment and cognition.

As the memories formed, that is, they were formed on the basis of a messed-up input system, calling the validity of my judgments at the time, into question. The fact is, though, I still have the memories which were made with the invalid encoding…so I have to take that into account when I remember them. I don’t know how else I would remember them, though.

At this point in my life, I’m in a much more stable condition, but there is still the history of about two decades of experience in which I was learning all I could about gender variance. That was two decades of questioning my gender.

I know now that I am likely not a transgender man, even if I may want to be. I’m thinking that it must be simpler (no offense meant) for a person who identifies as something for which there’s already room in society, even if it is an expansion of an existing category. Whereas, from the place I sit, I see no clear and set (and desirable) path forward as regards nonbinary people.

I know that I feel most at ease when I consider myself nonbinary (that is, neither a woman nor a man) — the term “enby” has come up in relation to this on the Reader, apparently a reading of, “nb,” for, “nonbinary.”

Of course…that doesn’t mean that what I’m going through is necessarily any less intense than it would be, if I were a cisgender man or a transgender man. What I actually am is something that I’ve decided not to really advertise, because it could get actually intense. And I’ve had enough of that, in my youth.

I also still have anger problems. That’s relatively okay when you’re a kid. Not so much, when you’re a legal adult.

The thing is, it then becomes apparent, when I do come out, that I’m skating under the radar as a woman — when I do not consider myself a woman at all. Regardless of whether I’m obviously female, or whether I wear mainstream clothes. I have no obligation to mark myself. However, I’m not totally settled in this arrangement.

The thought has come up to partially transition (my dream was specifically about getting top surgery so that I could take testosterone and not appear as a man or significantly androgynous person with breasts), so that I’ll be more obviously nonbinary, but that is a uniquely dangerous position in this society. It would seem less dangerous, apparently, than being a transgender woman of color — except for the fact that I could then be mistaken for a transgender woman of color. (Then again, I’m uncertain of the statistics of societal violence against nonbinary people.)

Amazingly, I’m not alone in having a lot of trepidation about that. It’s one thing if you’re driven and need to transition. It’s another if you maybe somewhere in the back of your mind, want to transition, but see people being killed for transitioning.

I also fairly obviously, to myself, have a mental map for a body that leans feminine, even though my gender identity does not coincide with “woman” (and seriously does not coincide with “straight woman”…I just don’t want what most straight men can offer me).

And yes, I do know that a lot of what I’ve been involved with, craftwise, is femininely-oriented. There’s a reason for that: I was trying to get as much out of being permitted to do things like sew and make jewelry as I could, to see if there could be any reason for me to stay female. So now I’ve got a history of crocheting, and stuff. 🙂 The art is more gender-neutral, but again, I have this attachment to flowers…

I mean, you see where I was going with my opening paragraph now, right? But still, those are hobbies, and not anything that tells me who I am. Even if I were male, I’d still be able to crochet, and sew, and make jewelry, and art with floral themes…people may just look at me weird. 😉 And that’s what I’m up against, when I’m thinking about transitioning to a male presentation.

And then there’s all the stuff about arteriosclerosis and acne and body hair, and I tend to back down when I consider that (though I did find my first coarse arm hair, the other day…I’m pretty sure that my body will take care of part of the masculinization process itself, as it ages).

Not that I wouldn’t like to be a buff, soft guy. I think it’s closer to where I am, than not. But that’s idealized, and it comes with a very high price. (It would also be easier for me to go to the gym if men [who see me as a woman] would stop hitting on me. Seriously.)

So at this point…I’m basically choosing not to disclose, or to selectively disclose, my gender status. And I’m not choosing my wardrobe (largely) based on what will get me pegged as a gender and/or sexual minority (GSM): mostly because I’ve aged out of being able to comfortably wear most mens’ pants and shorts (age means curves…and there isn’t anything wrong with wearing clothes that fit because they fit).

Of course, this means that I go around basically unknown; but I was unable to be unknown for years, in my young adulthood. It’s kind of nice not to be singled out.

Right now the thing I’m focusing on is…jewelry. Those of you who know me from a while back, know that I make jewelry. This is the place where I show that I’m different. The issue I’m having with this is that my piercings are now opened to 14 gauge, which is a little more than 1.5mm wide.

This means that if I do make jewelry for myself, I’m dealing with heavy wire and a wider surface which will be exposed to the metal. That’s an issue for me because I am currently unaware as to whether I can absorb heavy metals, like lead, through the tunnels of my piercings, at least if the metal tarnishes into soluble salts. I’m not sure of the chemical composition of the specific tarnishes I’m dealing with, though. (And it doesn’t give me a lot of comfort when some of my jewelry obviously has developed something like verdigris on it, which is slightly toxic.)

I do have heavy-gauge “Jeweler’s Brass” wire which may (at times) have a tiny amount of lead in its alloy, which has stopped me from making earwires out of it. I have read the MSDS, which says it should be fine to wear next to skin…but this is a piercing, a scar tunnel through the skin.

The obvious solution is to use Sterling or Fine Silver wire, but that limits my color options. Solid gold is out of the question, though gold-fill is not — it’s just exorbitantly expensive. In addition, all wire tends to take on a satin finish if you bend it enough…and I’m scared of polishing or burnishing the gold right off of gold-fill wire.

In the past, I’ve worked with craft wire (it tarnishes, even when it says it won’t; and never, never torch it [it’s noxious]), and copper wire. I’m certain that I don’t know what other metals besides copper are in the wire I’ve gotten from the home-improvement store, but the latter is what’s relatively safe to braze (torch). The other option is getting metals from a serious jewelry-supply store (not a craft store!).

Also, most places which sell earwires for the jewelry trade, do not sell heavy-gauge earwires. The heaviest I’ve seen in mainstream jewelry-supply catalogs is 18g, with the norm being 20 or 22g.

While it’s relatively easy for me to shape heavy wire…dealing with filing down the end of the wire and then shaping it may require annealing (softening), which requires a torch. Torching wire means having to pickle wire (remove excess oxidation and flux), and after that comes polishing (not to mention the fire-safety precautions that need to be taken when using an open flame).

When the best you’ve got is a Dremel, and you’ve used a Foredom…you really want a Foredom (a flex-shaft rotary tool, usually with a pendant handpiece). But you only get a Foredom if you’re dealing with a lot of serious manufacturing, and it would take quite a bit of sales to make back the $350-$500+ invested. (It’s just cheaper to take a class or lab, at this stage.)

In short, it’s a lot of work. Though — I did just get an idea, which is to wear tunnels and then thread non-metal materials (like threads or cords attached to woven pieces) through there. I have been thinking of going up to 10g, so that should be possible.

Did I ever tell you why I write? Stuff like that comes out. I’m not even entirely sure why. 🙂

Because of my present size, I also have been taking the opportunity to wear mens’ shirts, partially out of necessity and partially because I can, and they’re more comfortable for me because they don’t show my body as much. It’s more of a comfort when I’m getting unwanted male attention, but that hasn’t happened for a while. (Apparently, it tapers off as a person ages.)

This doesn’t really range into anything where I’d obviously be, “cross-dressing,” however.

It’s kind of hard to do that when you’re female, as it’s relatively accepted for a female-bodied person to wear mens’ clothing, at least where I am. The trouble seems to come in when a person is obviously outside of gender norms and apparently not-male and is looking at mens’ clothing…though the most I’ve gotten are snickers, and the occasional curious guy hanging around.

If, though, if I started making my own clothes, that would open up the field to some experimentation! I would just have so many more options, and ways to self-define. I’ve seen some people doing stuff like this, here. Like I’ve experienced in other places, most of the sewists are female-presenting, though that often doesn’t mean what one might think it means!

I’m relatively new to using my presentation to display parts of who I am, as I’ve had so often to forego that in favor of just being clothed in the best available option (which often boiled down to “what fit”). It will be interesting to see where I take this, in the next few years.

Assignment recap, and an upcoming deadline:

The bright side of this: yesterday, I completed an assignment I had been very intimidated about for Database Management, and effectively showed myself that I could do it. I also completed my Discussion Post and comment. Both of those things were late. They also took all of yesterday, to complete.

The not-so-great side: Now I have a long-term project with an interim deadline of Sunday morning, which I know I won’t be able to complete adequately by then (this is a group project). It doesn’t help that I’m supposed to be using a print reference collection for part of the assignment, which is quite far away. Plus, I’m not really in any sort of hygienic condition to be going out.

I can get started on the Reference assignment. I have, I think, seven more questions to go, and many more which I will have to re-do because of inadequate direction on the part of the Professor.

Right now I’m typing this because I’m trying to stay out of bed. I got nine hours of sleep, even if I did go to bed after 2 AM last night. Nor am I tired, so I’m not sleep-deprived: I just don’t want to work on my assignment, and I’m trying to avoid going back to bed just because it’s my “safe place.”

The only ways I’ll be able to get this done before Sunday morning are 1) lucking out and finding a lot of digital reference sources; 2) not going to work tomorrow, or 3) pushing the interim deadline back.

This assignment is worth a lot of points, but then again…I can handle a B or C in this class, when most of my other grades are A’s. I just don’t want to, because I know I can do better.

Good work done today. Resting ’til tomorrow.

Today I dedicated a number of hours (approximately five) to getting a major research assignment done. I need to schedule approximately five more hours before Friday, to complete it (we have a meeting to discuss the results on Sunday, and on Saturday, I’m not available). The professor had said not to leave this assignment to the last minute because it won’t get done; at least now I know approximately how much time to dedicate.

Luckily for me as well, my next assignments aren’t due until Wednesday night (of course, it is now Tuesday morning!). I should still get on the other, weekly Reference Services homework — it shouldn’t be that bad, it will just take time. I also need to get back on my Database homework. For both of these classes, I have some pretty substantial work to do. My third class, Instructional Design, has more lenient scheduling, and nothing due for two weeks.

I was also able to update my Instructional Design curriculum, which was great — it’s starting to actually look competent, now. I didn’t realize I had such a wide variety of information already available on the subject I chose to tackle. Nor did I realize that I had such a wealth of information accumulated from past study and experience (mostly extracurricular).

My workstation here, I’ve realized, isn’t designed perfectly ergonomically, so I have to be aware of how long I’ve been sitting and whether my body (particularly my back) is tightening up. It isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but the tension is enough to have caused me to wonder whether I should be spending any recreational time at the computer, at all. The alternative is saving my sitting hours for homework, and avoiding this seat as much as possible, in the meantime.

But…it’s not that bad, yet. As long as I keep changing positions, I can delay cramping.

What’s happened is that I think I just have made the decision that I have to immerse myself in this Library stuff if I want to get out with good grades, and with the experience I wanted when I signed up for the classes. I’m actually, honestly (really), 😉 getting to the point where I kind of do want to be a Librarian now, too.

I’m not sure where that puts me if I work in a Public Library: as Reference Librarians are also often responsible for Programming (like Library Programs, such as Movie Nights — not as in programs such as Java), and I’ve taken two Programming classes if you count Instructional Design (the other was Library Services for Diverse Communities). I don’t think Programming would be my strong suit, though.

I am more suited to work on the back end of things…it’s just kind of unreal, realizing that I’ve unwittingly developed skills in Public Service in the past seven years. I’m still an Aide, which is the lowest-ranking paid position I can be in at my Library (largely due to trepidation and fear and feeling like I need to be prepared before I move up — while others with less internal resistance and fear of incompetence take on higher positions), but I do have some of the duties of a Clerk. (Not all Aides at my branch, do.)

Surprisingly, that’s helped me. I know I’m not being compensated in a fair way for my work, being a kind of combination Aide/Clerk and paid as an Aide (although I am working very few hours, to be honest), but really I’m there for the experience, and to build myself up. I’ve grown a lot in this job.

I also only have one more year to go before I’ll be through with Library School. At that point, I’ll be able to become a Librarian (and before then, I’ll be able to become a Trainee, which will prepare me for the Librarian position).

After Library School…that’s still up in the air, particularly right now. But I think it’s best to concentrate on what I can see ahead of me, for now, and worry about the future when it’s closer. After all, between now and then, I’ve still got to get everything in order, including my ePortfolio.

As for creative work, I haven’t been doing much art, because I’ve been working hard at catching up on my assignments. Maybe tomorrow, though…maybe I can try and think of a silk flower arrangement (or more than one), and draw it out while playing with color schemes.

We have something that looks kind of like a hurricane lamp, which came with tulip bulbs which sprouted and bloomed, and is now empty. I want to fill it with some kind of pebble substrate (I’m undecided between glass pebbles and acrylic) and maybe some paper, and put silk flowers into it. I’m also thinking about clear acrylic tubing and shapes.

Eh, that sounds kind of expensive, doesn’t it? Hmm. I have enough to play around with sewing and embroidery again, and that is either noncommittal, or a long-term project — but it’s sounding good, about now! I have some beautiful fabrics; one looks like ikat, and the other is a batik, both deep indigo in tone.

I also found the unfinished toile (practice garment) I was making with the Folkwear Nepali Blouse pattern years ago, but I don’t even have to try it on to know it doesn’t fit, anymore. I’m fairly certain I’m a size 16, by now (and though I have reasons why, I’m not going to get into them; I’ve been over them, before). If I want handwork to do, I can complete the toile.

I’m still undecided as to whether I need to re-purchase the pattern. It depends on whether I kept the cutaway pieces, and I haven’t sought that out yet. Also, the sleeves are a bit tight, and I’m not sure I want them that way. But stitching that pattern by hand, could be very soothing. If I wore the piece, I would just need to wear a tank top or something similar and close-fitting underneath — there are slits at the side seams which show waist.

Right now I’m thinking about light organza bias strips to bind the seams…

hmm.

Yeah, that sounds good. 🙂

…really good. ^_^