Bombarded with TG dreams, today

It’s taken me a while to get around to even writing this, but:  I’m feeling all right, right about now.  For a bit I was thrown off by a couple of dreams about gender transition, and myself as male.  I am guessing…this means that my gender identity is still fluid?

I think I actually had three gender-related dreams, over the last 24 hours.  I can’t remember all of it, though, save a reflection of myself with my hair down and my face dark and barely visible, with an eye partially blocked by blood.  The second was an insight that the major thing blocking me from testosterone (in the dream) was the idea that if I were male, I would have cultural limitations imposed on me (like not being permitted to wear dresses [without ridicule]) which would then require other manners of expression which I did not yet know.  The third thing was the insight that even if testosterone administration made me go bald, I’d still have extra facial and body hair to cancel it out…so I’d actually be growing more hair.  😉  (I was assuming that I’d eventually gain a full beard…which I shouldn’t bet on.)

And I am not sure about this, but…I found an old post relating to getting a casual linen blazer…for $60, which (at the time) I thought was too much.  (On top of this, it was dry clean only, and too casual for job interviews; and I wasn’t planning on going on any dates.)  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t pick it up, because it would likely not fit me, right about now.  But I’ve got an idea to go out and pick up something like it, plus an actual nice tie of my own.  I’ll have to have D show me again how to tie it, but it will be nice to have a (personalized!) dress shirt, jacket, and tie which I can wear with slacks.

I’ll have to remember to measure my neck and shoulders before shopping for a Mens’ dress shirt, though.  I wonder if my neck has now reached at least 14″ in circumference?  (This is the smallest size in Mens’ dress shirts in my country.)  Or — it is possible that there will be something comparable in the Womens’ section.  I just have not tried on too many Womens’ button-up dress shirts — they can be really expensive, and they tend to limit movement because of the shoulder construction; plus, they’re not made to wear with ties (meaning I can’t properly tighten the tie), and they fit closer to the body than I’m comfortable with.

Yeah, I should try for Mens’.  Especially as I now wear a Mens’ M from the store I’m planning to visit, and have sized out of their Womens’.  I haven’t mentioned it, but I’m hovering around 161-162 lbs. right now.  (Though most of the belly weight which I have been concerned about, doesn’t look bad when I’m standing with good posture — it just looks terrible with poor posture.)  I’m sure that if I exercise more than I need to in order to simply stop the weight gain, and keep drinking water instead of sweetened drinks, I should actually go down in weight.

I’m starting to wonder if some of it is hormonal — I do deal with hirsutism (the reasons for this [other than a naturally high testosterone count and apparent predisposition to high testosterone sensitivity] have never been explained to me, but other people with hirsutism whom I’ve known, have had PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome]…which apparently, I don’t.  PCOS can cause people to become overweight [insulin resistant?], grow extra facial and body hair, and have acne, like myself).

The medications can’t be helping, though, either.  One of the major factors in my gaining weight, has been an unchecked amount of sweet drinks.  Eating ice cream and a conscious, sparing, mindful amount of candy will actually have less effect on me than drinking two or three sodas a week — or one Frappuccino — even though that sounds ludicrous.

I also have found older postings here related to working out for muscle mass…which sounds pretty good about now, as I do have a bench and weights, and it would be simple to add in upper body exercises to my routine.  It would be nice to have a couple of set days of the week to do this, though, so it isn’t just “whenever I feel like it.”  I started out working out about every other day (sometimes every day), but now it’s just like “whenever I see myself getting out of shape.”

Hopefully, I can get more motivated on gaining muscle mass, at least, even if I’m not going down in weight:  my fasting glucose numbers were fairly excellent, considering the medications I’m on.  So I shouldn’t have to worry too much about insulin resistance or diabetes, for now (to which weight gain from my medications can predispose one).  My counselor also wanted me to get out in the fresh air.  It would be nice to go walking or running, and it would help my cardiovascular development, as well as likely helping me get to sleep and feel better in the daytime.

And my hair…still hasn’t been trimmed.  I found that it is long enough for me to braid most of it back, however…which I haven’t done in a really long time.  I may do it more often, as it allays the fact that my ponytail insulates my upper back.  It will probably keep it cleaner at work, too.

I’ve found a trick that helps me braid my own hair as well:  basically, putting loose ponytail holders around two out of three bundles of hair, and sliding them down as I braid, eventually sliding one of them off and using the other to bind the end of the braid.  It’s not easy to braid my own hair without seeing it–! and it doesn’t help that it doesn’t get regularly taken care of, either.  Maybe I can have M actually straighten and trim it, if I’m going to wear it braided!

But anyhow…I’m doing okay.  If anything, I’ve found that my gender identity kind of wobbles, and it is nice to have a fully intact body.  But I super would like to get back to the version of myself with big muscles, and the physical power that goes with them, without trying to appear stereotypically male.  I think that — and wearing more clothes which fit, allow movement, and are masculine (whether from the Mens’ or Womens’ sections) — would actually go a long way toward helping me feel better.  Right now my hips are the biggest thing disallowing me from wearing long-hemmed Mens’ shirts easily, but I kind of like my hips.  I also like the long hems.

Yeah, that’s getting into TMI, but, well, you know–!

It isn’t as bad to gain weight there as it is to gain weight, some other places…

And I really do want to get back into running, as well…I’m missing the speed and agility of my youth…

This is tiring.

I think I have somehow surpassed the correct time to write about this, but I’ll give it a shot, anyway.  Leftovers are better than nothing.

I had intended to write this in hard copy offline and then see what I could make of the most salient parts for an online post…but I think I’ve gotten used to immediate feedback as motivation, and so it didn’t get done at all.

One diversion first:  what has been going well, is schoolwork.  I’ve found that it works very well for me to mark the places where I start and stop reading, along with a time marker and the date (meaning having my phone near me to mark the time, helps).  I’ve also had a beneficial time with trying to stick to my assignment for at least 30 minutes, before taking a break.  It parallels my exercise work, where I will try and keep pushing for incrementally more difficult goals.

It also has helped for me not to beat myself up for only having gotten a little bit done, when I’ve only been awake for 2-3 hours.  It may be 4 PM and “all this” is undone, but seriously…when you got up at 2 PM, it’s unreasonable and universally disappointing to expect things to be done like you got up at 7 AM.  In one scenario, you had nine hours to get things done; in the other, you had two.  Seriously.

I also need to sleep with the blinds open, or else it’s very easy to sleep into the afternoon because my room is so dark.

And, back to the writing thing…which I kind of don’t want to talk about, but…again.  Leftovers.  I kind of don’t like to show the world the depths of …THIS, but it is authentically part of who I am.  It also shows up whenever I write for a length of time in the first-person, and I’m not writing as myself.

And then there’s the fact that when I let one portion of my mind act through my body alone, I might as well be a different person with the same mainframe, or a disembodied soul (“potential” of the Infinite) exercising power over a living host.  Which happens to be the paradigm under which my writing makes the most sense, which is probably why I have such a tendency to trip out when I’m writing.

https://encodey.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/wasting-time/

I clipped this paragraph out of my last post because I found it to be particularly salient and ripe for further expression.  I believe that if I were in a Writing group, others would grab on to this passage; if I were in therapy, I would hear, “say more about that” (or not, if they didn’t want to get into the crazy; depends on the therapist).

After I wrote this, I began thinking about it…it’s basically granted in my mind that we don’t really understand all that much about the phenomena of consciousness or of creativity.  These are, however, two of the main problems I start puzzling over when I start thinking about the nature of (my) life…when I don’t start tripping out over physically existing.

Because of the places where I’ve learned the framework under which I might express the thoughts I have, in addition; there is something of a block here where it comes to fully elucidating my meaning.  (Although I have realized after a number of years that there is no conflict between my inner experience and the group within which I partially discovered myself…quite frankly, I don’t know if they want to be found.)

What I can do is try and explain my meaning as best I can without revealing the keywords which relate to them.  Those who have the experience to know what I’m talking about, will know; those who do not, will likely be able to grasp what I’m saying with more clarity than they would if I related the associated context.

My immediate thought, when I wrote the above quote, was “possession,” but I am not sure that actually cuts it.  For one thing, with rare exceptions, I tend to retain self-control.  The “exceptions” had to do with strong external input which pushed me into an, “uncivil,” state of mind.  All had to do with one particular “spirit,” and in all cases there was either a decision made to act out of order (I normally have ground rules against this), I could feel the rage rising up in me prior to anything actually happening, or…I was operating on a base others did not expect.  (I, perhaps for a reason, actually just forgot the third incident I was meaning to reference, there.)

“Operating on a different base,” is probably self-protective (say, operating as an apparently 27-year old adult male [in terms of maturity level — though I/we were probably closer to 23 at the time], while being seen and expected to behave as a helpless young “girl” — although being [constantly] mistaken for the latter will bring up its own rage).  But it also brings up the idea of “triggers” and the way in which external stimuli can push one into a mental space where one would do something one normally would not.  These triggers allow certain states to rise to the fore more easily; so that out of all possibilities for whom one can be at any given time, one defaults to a smaller set of personae.

This also, though, means that one has the option — or the possibility, at least — of being something superior to that.

I had thought that this part of me was in my past, but now that I’m writing about him, I can still sense him.  He was a, “villain,” in one of the stories I wrote as a youth…and later came to be a more developed persona which I would take on (rather like a bit of clothing) when feeling threatened (I’ve also had dreams as him, and with him in them).  This is the persona which most strongly wanted this body to be physically male, but he’s not what I would consider “permanent” (if any state could actually be permanent).  The conflict I had for years over whether to transition or not was embodied in the conflict between this persona and another, more femininely-oriented, one (which even now sounds distasteful to me; could I be in his mindspace, now?).

Yeah, one of my problems is that one of my selves is a jerk…to the point that I’ve heard that it’s OK if I transition to male, so long as I’m not a jerk.  Um, okay.  Though the only reason he likely is as much of a jerk as he is, is that only by being an *** was he able to be recognized as, “not a ‘girl’/woman.”

My point of view is that there is a range of possibilities out there as to who a person can be:  the acquisition of memories and identity in life normally whittles this “infinite” (not really infinite:  human physiology limits this) set of possibilities down to a much more narrow expression of the Infinite.  Focusing on a few sets of memories can then give rise to specific identities, not all of which have to be cohesive with each other.  The discovery of this — the ability to contain selves which are not cohesive with each other (or, at least, not well-adapted to one’s form and assumed station in life) — in turn, has turned me back to the nature of the Infinite…though it’s difficult to say anything about the Infinite!  Except that anything that is defined is necessarily lesser.

In essence, I kind of feel like I have a bit of insight into why people are the way they are — or, at least, why I am the way I am.

AND WHICH “I” AM I TALKING FROM, NOW?

Jh.

Okay, this is starting to get a bit creepy for me, so I’m going to sign off, now.  I should have known that I start talking about this stuff and thinking about the context, and it pulls up that guy…whom, shall I say, my parents don’t particularly like, but — it’s the way he is, right now.

Before I go, though:  there is the unanswered question as to whether the “soul” I feel over me is one soul with all faces, or whether they are multiple souls…in which case, the nearest framework I can find…is a very misunderstood one.  Also, there is a question as to whether my identity is Earthly/bodily, or with the souls I feel; whether the nature of consciousness is spirit paired with life, or just spirit.

Finally uploading some of…what I do naturally, I guess?

Why…can’t some things be simple…?

In any case, I’ve just spent the last hour or so figuring out how to avoid having a browser program which I dislike, open immediately without my prompting.

On the bright side! — I have for you a page of scribbles.  (Sorry about the lack of focus.  Well, mine; and in the photo, let’s say.)

3103-lw
Ah, yes. the scribblies.

This is fairly…well, random, but I was trying out inks and brushes, and it came to my mind that this is a fairly good representation of the acrylic inks I was playing with the other night (before I decided that I really should look at my homework pile, again).

Speaking of which, I have less of that (homework) than I thought.  I’m not entirely certain how I convinced myself that I hadn’t actually read what I had read…but right now I’m on the last reading for last week, and it doesn’t promise to be long.  I did, however, have to find a way to lock my screen so that I could read it in landscape format…

Well, anyway.  The black and grey marks on this page are Yasutomo non-toxic liquid Sumi ink.  I guess…maybe it would work alright for comic layouts?  Given, that is, that it shows up clear enough, here.

(I keep having dreams about xeroxing and displaying comic layouts, for some reason…)

The colors are all FW acrylic inks by Daler-Rowney; and I’m certain that light pink tone in there (and some of the violets I mixed with it) has shimmery bits.

I was just trying to see what I could get out of these inks, though it should be noted that I didn’t use a midtone or cool yellow here (as the dropper for my Process Yellow ink was still gunked up).  So everything which is mixed with a yellow is mixed with…I think they call it “Deep Yellow.”  It looks really similar to a yellow I got for watercolor painting — one of the deeper Hansa Yellow variants.  Though…that’s all from memory.  Don’t bet on it being true.  😉  The FW inks do come with pigment codes on the bottles, though; I’m just being lazy.  If anyone wants me to look it up, I can.

There are a number of interesting bits that I can see in the play above…but maybe I’ll get to describing them, another time.  (I’m almost ready to get back to studying.)  The one thing I did want to note, though, is that my use of negative space seems to be improving.  And the black with white showing through, glazed over with color…that’s a really interesting effect.

As regards markmaking, I used a small flat brush, an angled shader, and a small-to-medium-sized filbert (which is the one which made the marks which look rather blunt).

And one other thing to note is that my Sumi ink didn’t move much at all with the quick application of acrylic ink over the top.  I am not sure if I can always expect it to hold up this well, though?  🙂

These dreams will draw you in…

What a difference not-writing makes, eh?

I’m becoming much more aware of what happens when I don’t write every day.  I still have my Random Thoughts journal…which is in the blue book I meant to begin a larger project within (the “how to survive when you have a brain like mine,” project).  The major issue with this is that I have been feeling it is a large risk for me to put those latter thoughts to paper (or keyboard)…at least in a place where they may be seen (as when I may take this book and write within it, in public).

The positive thing is that, without the grounding of writing something related to hard reality each day, my thoughts are actually breaking free of the limitations of what I see as the physicality of my situation.  I am not sure if this means that I’m breaking further from reality or not…

In particular, I slept for quite a while today.  I’m trying to keep my immunity up, as yesterday was particularly weird where it came to trying to keep hydrated (I had a sore throat, and trouble speaking, for no discernible reason except dehydration…but I ended up drinking at least 36 ounces of water at work).

While I was asleep, I found a…recurrence of a bit of a story I had been thinking about for years as a teen and young adult.  It started out as a response to vampire fiction (I was that young), then moved into urban paranormal fantasy.  At this point, I’m seriously considering making it about aliens — because it is, basically, about aliens and alienation, hidden worlds, etc.

I have two lead characters…one of whom is human, one who is not.  (In my Creative Writing program, we were given a quote which said that writing a book was a disease that you’re only cured of once the piece is finished…but I can’t remember who it was attributed to, or the exact wording.)  The second started out as a strong side character, but that…led into more.  He had the ability to enter and determine the environment of dreams…and in this, his character design was clearly non-human; his reach and interactions, fairly intimate.

It would be interesting to write this.  There is that thing about Proxima Centauri b being within the habitable zone for life, though at this point in our technological development, it would take until 2060 to hear back from any probes.  Meaning, obviously, that by the time we hear back, most of us who are presently cogent enough to understand the significance of this, will be either old or dead.  But something like that could be used as an excuse to write a story which may actually not be sci-fi (as to be sci-fi, I’ve heard, it has to actually be possible), but rather paranormal urban fiction involving aliens.

I find it very, very interesting, the way my thoughts have turned when I’ve had to keep them inside, and have not been presenting them to anyone.  Because of the lack of fear of judgment, I’m able to do certain things like fundamentally question key foundational tenets of belief systems which I had previously held without question.  Like the idea that actions taken in the past determine the future; that time is linear and only flows in one direction.  That everything in the universe is built upon and explainable via rationality and logic.  Or, and I was working on this one before — that the Universe is inherently moral.

I was having a conversation with M the other day where I said that it doesn’t matter if every decision made in a philosophical system is completely on it and accurate, if the fundamental tenets of the stance (or “canon”) are flawed.  If the fundamental givens aren’t accurate to reality, everything that unfolds from that point is also not accurate to reality, and the philosophical system may cease to apply to reality in any beneficial way.

I’m thinking that fiction writing might actually be a good place to work some of these issues out.  Once I start breaking fundamental rules of thinking, it helps to be able to work at this from several different angles (as I am not entirely certain that any one of them is correct, nor should I be).

So…maybe I’m migrating back to fiction as my art or craft of choice?  I’m not certain.  What I do know is that the dream I had impacted me fairly severely, in a beneficial manner.  …And hey, maybe I want to start work again on character designs.

I should also try and work some of this out in my head, so I can try and parse what the story is actually about…not to mention its optimal length, and format…

…and I should consider giving at least one of my characters the trait of being impacted by mental illness.  Guess which one…

Shifting into a femme space

Well…huh.

I’m trying to figure out how to approach saying what has come up for me, today.  There’s a lot of it, though maybe it doesn’t need so many words.

I have reached the point where I am able to look in a mirror and see myself as male — or as I would look if I were, physically, male.  The most surprising point I came to when I did this is that I would likely be seen primarily as a male of African descent…at least if the fat in my cheeks were redistributed to be leaner, and my chin developed a slight bit (cartilage growth happens on testosterone:  meaning it is likely my nose would develop a slight bit, as well).

Even prior to the protests in my country over police killings of men and boys of African descent, this had been pointed out to me by bystanders…that transitioning to male, for me, is not the same as it would be if I were White.

I may be wrong here, but I’m thinking that I remember something about how almost all of my male relatives on the Black side of my family have been in prison at one time or another.  This is basically not doable for me, but chances are that police would be paying more attention to me if I appeared to be a dark-skinned Black male than a dark-skinned Black female.  (Granted that my skin isn’t even that dark, but it is a good deep olive; deeper in tone than the vast portion of people I run across on a daily basis.)

Which, you know, brings up the point that I don’t even know how I come off to people, as things stand now.  It hasn’t been much of an issue except where it has come to privileged White peers — mostly in college (I still remember getting asked about how I got my “scar,” which was just a line where my melanin was lighter in the center of my chest.  Someone had never seen a brown person’s skin, before).

Let me get off of that.

In any case, today I have been thinking about what it would be like to be socially male, as versus (as things are now) socially female.  Although — it wasn’t really until I started making friends with guys in the Art program (some of whom had military experience) that I realized how distanced I was from traditional heterosexual male culture.  It isn’t especially that I saw their versions of masculinity as superior to mine, but my sphere of experience was definitely feminine in relation to theirs.  I do kind of like it that way.

The major issue here is that right now, I am more fully aligned with wanting to have a girlfriend who sees me as masculine, or to be a boyfriend (yes they are two different things ♥) than wanting to be someone else’s girlfriend.  (Quite plainly, I don’t know how to, “be a girlfriend.”)  This gets kind of sticky where it comes to being attracted to men (especially those who may see me as a woman; which in some cases is understandable due to the range of their experience.  For example, I have a depth of knowledge in feminism which may be out of the reach of most younger men, especially men who haven’t been exposed to queer community), but it’s pretty near undeniable that I’d rather be a guy’s boyfriend if I could.  (And I probably would bring in quite a bit of world-opening material for that guy…)  I’ve found other queer (cis) men to be actually kind of …intrigued by this possibility, by the way.

But it’s also pretty clear, from one of my past involvements, that I’m not actually fully a man (not to say that those who identify with me here are not fully men, if they do identify as such; but for me…the way I see myself [which goes to a depth I can’t relate in one post] cannot fully encompass “man,” in my mind).  I’ve been in nearly the exact reverse position in past experience, here, and it did not help me to think of the person I related with as their target gender.  There was something different about this person that taking on the label “woman” would not erase (but then granted, this person did not identify as a woman).

With me there would not be a clear switchover from female to male.  I have a surfeit of femininity to the point that I would be obviously abnormally feminine for a man — and this is what has held me back from asking to be referred to as “he,” in the past.  (If they call me “he,” what happens the next time I wear a bra and women’s shirt in Dusty Rose?)

It’s also why I haven’t taken testosterone, so far.  I’m not really a queen (and believe me, I have met FtM queens), but I do range into “femme” territory.  It’s like being just to the other side of the line of being “butch” but still female-identified:  hypothetically, this is occupying the position of being femme and male-identified.  The only wildcard is that the person is also trans* as well, which is a different variable:  one that has to do with history and the body, but not necessarily with identity.  It also means, though, that anyone who is going to — say — date me, is going to need to be informed that I identify as a femme man (or as a genderfluid person who ranges into femme/male territory), not as a straight woman or as a lesbian.

Seems that the most obvious route for me is to be a pretty man.  A pretty man on estrogen.  🙂  A PRETTY PRETTY MAN.  😉  I kind of wonder how to motivate myself to do this again, though.  When I went through weight training the first time, it was obviously to harden up and become more “butch,” as this was one of the things which both protected me and displayed my openness to relationships with women (the men were probably still largely too immature for me, then.  The one physically male person I did have a relationship with, was genderqueer).  This hasn’t been able to be a good motivator for me in more recent history, however.

And as idealistic as it would be to say that I’m doing it for myself and my health…is that holding a lot of weight?  And I mean, I’ve known guys who have worked out so they could be pretty men (for the ladies), and they didn’t seem to have a problem with it.  Then again, they were also about a decade younger than myself.

I could try and explore what it feels like to be a femme man, eh?  Might as well, while I can…

Digging out the needles

I really want to be drawing, but something is stopping me.

I spent most of today in bed…during which, I had another one of my “transition” dreams.  These (and the accompanying feelings) take a bit of time to negotiate, after the fact.

When I was younger (between 19 and 25), I thought I was FtM; that was, female-to-male transgender.  As I got older and gained more experience in transgender and genderqueer communities, that shifted to genderqueer, and at this point it’s settled on gender-fluid; with notable periods of feeling convincingly male.  The thing that holds me back, though — or, one of them — is that these feelings are intermittent.  If I wait long enough, the certainty of male identity passes (although much the same could be said for every other identity state I move through; hence, an identity as gender-fluid is my only stable point.  If and when one of these states sticks long-term, I’ll reconsider the label).

A series of dreams I’ve had, have me exploring the dilemma of testosterone usage.  The possibility of testosterone opened up when I was about 20…over about the last 15 years, I’ve been trying to let the process of my maturation take its course, regardless of the outcome with regard to what gender I end up appearing to be.

The story arc of this series is kind of long, as I’ve been having these dreams for probably over a decade, now.  At this point, in-dream, I’ve been given a vial of testosterone and a number of syringes by my last gender specialist as a going-away memento/gift.  (The last time I saw an experienced gender specialist specifically for therapy, was quite a long time ago.  The one I have access to now is so overloaded [presumably] that she doesn’t have time to help me work out my issues, except in a group setting.)  In these dreams, I have never actually used the testosterone (with the possible exception of one — but I never got to see the effects).

The point of my noting this is that I reached the conclusion, this time, that there are trade-offs to either using or not using testosterone, for me.  The point at which I may utilize testosterone (which will eventually make me look entirely male, except for some things I can’t change, or which I can only change with surgery) is the point at which my life will be better off even with all the drawbacks (most compellingly, a shortened potential life span), than my life without it.

That was a rather profound realization, especially concerning all the drawbacks that I know about which have kept me from transitioning, thus far; and with the high rate of violence and murder, unemployment, underemployment, housing difficulties, harassment, etc., directed at transgender people.  This is magnified with trans* people of color, especially trans* women of color.  I don’t consider myself a woman of color, but I can easily be mistaken for one; and with my hirsutism (an effect which I let develop because of thinking my body was listening to my brain wanting it to be male), I can be mistaken for a male dressing as female.

(It’s been noted in my family that the cumulative effect of microaggressions, harassment, and being made to feel unsafe, committed by many members of society against specific stigmatized targets, is largely unrecognized by those who don’t have to experience it day in and day out.  If you happen to be one of those targets, and not only are you a target where it comes to race, but also where it comes to gender, assumed sexuality, class, etc., these pressures build up upon and magnify each other.)

Right now, I can blend in, relatively speaking.  Given enough time and experience, I would probably also learn how to blend in as male.  Clearly for me, though — I would never appear to be a cis (non-trans*) male, unless I went through some pretty gruesome surgeries…some of which are both prohibitively expensive and risky, with (usually, from what I’ve seen) relatively poor outcomes.

In my current state, in a pinch, I can claim that I’m a woman (though I’m not certain how much protection that actually affords, when one in four [cis, I assume?] women are raped in their lifetime and one in six trans* women of color are murdered), and pass as cis (although under my definitions, I know I’m not — being trans* or cis, in my mind, depends on identity, not bodily coherence).

If I took testosterone, I would not be able to be seen as cis with my clothes off, ever again.  And how much of people saying I “look nice” depends on their perception of my gender presentation coordinating with what is expected for a person with a female body?  If I dressed femininely after taking testosterone, I would easily be mistaken for a trans* woman of color (especially without voice training), which is not an enviable societal position (see above).

The point that I reached in-dream, though, is that for some people, a one-in-six chance of being murdered still holds the promise of a better life than the one they have.  If I ever took testosterone, bi-weekly injections and balding and heart disease and early death and top surgery and body hair and a hysterectomy with the risk of lifelong urinary incontinence would have to contain a better promise than what I’d be looking forward to, otherwise.

This insight makes it a bit more clear as to what separates those who need to transition from those for whom it isn’t clearly right.  Right now, I’m not sure on which side of that line I fall, though I lean toward the latter.  It’s hard to tell with my mind as it is; which is the majority of the reason I’ve waited 15 years.

Although it does sound stereotypical — maybe for me it actually is better to just exercise for strength and muscle mass.  I had been hoping in the dream that this would be easier without the parts of my body which mark me as female, but that cannot be guaranteed.  It looks very different to see a person with breasts and a built upper-body; especially as I don’t shave my body hair (I do clip it once it gets too long).  I kind of didn’t realize how it looked to have both feminine and masculine beauty at the same time until I saw a photo of someone else who had what I used to have.

I know for a fact that I need to get my gut under control.  If I could start walking and working out, I would probably feel better about my body in general, and maybe that would extend to other areas of self-care (particularly facial and hair care).  Right now I’m kind of disheveled and all over the place — including within the genders of my wardrobe (my chest has grown too big to easily wear mens’ shirts, anymore; my lower body is too big to wear mens’ pants — but mens’ and womens’ clothes come in different color schemes, which can often be implicit gendered signals).

Yeah, I…am getting kind of tired, so I’ll sign off.  I can only take so much thinking about gender at once.  😉

Getting my thoughts together.

(For those who couldn’t tell, that last post was meant to be a bridge between fiction and creative nonfiction.)

Saaa…I have two things to finish before Tuesday night.

  1. The final version of my Artist Statement.  (Versions 1 and 2 are done.)
  2. My Body/Humor piece.

I have not yet started my Body/Humor piece.  The vision is there; the execution is not.

I should also upload my review of my classmates’ work.  The week after this, and the week after that, I’ll need to work on my final presentation and my final Sketchbook assignments.

I also need to go to the art store to pick up

  • envelopes for my watercolor work (9″x12″) — I’d say 10-15,
  • something to put those envelopes in (like a presentation case),
  • a small tube of Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue (I saw the new pigment mix via another student, and it is attractive enough and likely useful for what I’m currently working on in Watercolor class (a portrait).  I’m actively avoiding using what I have because I know it’s fugitive — just get a new tube already, right?),
  • possibly a small tube of a Cadmium Red Hue (Deep or Pale, I’ve not yet decided — it depends on pigment composition, ultimately — but I don’t absolutely need this NOW — especially not if I get a board rather than paper for my Body/Humor piece),
  • and a #8 or #10 pointed round watercolor brush — natural fiber, Taklon, or sablette preferred.  Ah, right; and
  • a long board, or piece of watercolor paper for my Body/Humor piece, would help.  I’d probably prefer the board…I want to use my acrylics, again.  GessoBord would be good for a quick setup, or I could get a piece of HardBord and a higher-quality gesso than Liquitex Basics.  I’ll have to see which is cheaper, though I will use the higher-quality gesso if I can get it.

As for the brush:  my #10 Utrecht watercolor round (a lovely responsive sablette brush which can handle detail well) is becoming loose at the place where the ferrule joins the handle.  It may be on its last legs, even though the handle does swell to fit after about 20 minutes of being wet.  I haven’t yet decided whether it is more worth it to get good art supplies (like a natural-hair quill round) now, or save to set up an aquarium.

(One of my co-workers gifted me with an aquarium, and is eager for me to use it.  I’ve set the goal of planting and cycling it in early Summer, and adding fish shortly after.)

I am thinking that I will be working a lot more during the summer, as I won’t have school to worry about.  The additional income could go to the equipment setup for fishes, which will probably be the biggest cost I’ll have to deal with, all Summer.  The aquarium itself would have been prohibitively expensive, though now that’s taken care of; then there are heaters, filters, air pumps, gravel that won’t hurt the fishes’ noses…I already know to use a biofilter (likely ~$60 for a large tank), and I would like to get an airstone.  I can handle siphoning out the poop and decay on the bottom of the tank on a weekly basis…the other major and ongoing cost is the heater.  The fish I want like the water a little warmer than the normal air temperature, here, though just slightly (and not at all, during the Summer).

I’m pretty sure that the ones I want to have are tiger barbs, particularly the green ones (though a mix of colors in a school could be awesome).  They seem really intelligent and active/playful, and I like it when I look at an intelligent (harmless) animal and the animal looks back at me with the same curiosity.  It happens with me and crows, all the time.  (I love crows.  They’re so curious!  I want to play with them when we pass them and they look at me looking at them.)  I kind of feel like tiger barbs will just be an energetic addition to the house (though I am not sure that M will be totally OK with them playing “tag” all the time, or doing other things that captive intelligent animals do).  They do shoal, though, so if I get enough of them (more than six), they may calm down.

I guess it is just one brush.  It would be a go-to, like the 1/2″ Jack Richeson synthetic flat I use generally — though that one has an acrylic handle, so there’s no loosening (or paint flaking, like I’m dealing with from the Cotman brushes, IIRC).  It’s different if I replace all of the synthetic brushes I actually use, with quality natural hair brushes, all at once; but I’m not planning on doing that.

I think Taklon will be good enough, though.  No reason to splurge — not at the end of the semester, at least.  Plus, I can use Taklon with both acrylic and watercolor:  a clear benefit.

It’s been predicted that I’ll need about one full paycheck to make it through my third semester at University.  This is pretty much, nothing…especially as I won’t be making loan repayments.  (I would, realistically, be paying more if I made loan repayments!)  I should try to save something, though.

I do feel like having pets would be a benefit to me, psychologically — like taking care of food and the house benefits me psychologically.

Ay, and then there is the situation with my “housemates”…not my story to tell, though…