Obviously, this post is just a break…

I’ve just completed two more essays. Go me! But this post isn’t about them. It’s about the fact that I have recurrent dreams about aquariums and purchasing fish and feeding fish and having fish die because I forget they’re there…this is between dreams, now, all right: I have the dreams and I set up the aquarium and then in another dream I realize I’ve forgotten about the little fish and I go back and some, or all, are dead. 😦

I’ve had a few little fish in my life. Well…maybe just two? I had two goldfish, once: one died early on, and the other lived until it tried to commit suicide and jumped out of the tank. (The tank was way too small, and it needed more space, more plants, and companions. M was not great about empathizing with the needs of an animal, though. Having a fish at all, something that could be contained, was her compromise.)

My experience in caring for my plants has kind of gotten me to the point where I am at least on the verge of wishing to care for an animal. Why? Why would I voluntarily take on responsibility for caring for an animal?

Because I get annoyed with people?

Because I kind of pity little things born into captivity and want to give them a happy, safe and comfortable life?

Because I’m lonely?

Last time I had this dream, I was looking through the cupboards for a teacup to half-bury in the gravel, so that my fishes could hide in there. I only had two, and they kind of were these guppy-type things.

I used to be set on Tiger Barbs, but they’re aggressive fish that need to school. Even though they are, from what I’ve seen, more intelligent than most; I kind of don’t want to witness any fish (let alone my fish) being ganged up on by them. It’s kind of like dealing with crows: they’re really intelligent, but they have a bad reputation.

What’s funny is that in the dream, I keep going back to these one or two pet stores, and I have one or two aquariums in the house which I can use (in the dream); usually, they take up a good amount of table space. (I don’t know yet what that means, but I have an idea.)

Someone else on WP just posted about Zebra Finches. If I weren’t concerned about mites and parasites, and allergies, and the food finches [and other birds] routinely throw all over the floor, I might be more tempted to get a pair of finches. But finches…I don’t think you can even play with finches, which puts them at about fish level, for me.

And…it is advancing towards 2:30 AM, here. I should get some rest.

Advertisements

Inspired, after a trip to Japantown.

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, but with good reason. I had to take some time off to reconnect with physicality. I thought that if I wasn’t going to be actively working, I should be actively resting, so I put some time into re-learning how to knit. Tomorrow, I’ll be going in to pick up some multicolored solid fabrics on which to practice more needlework (specifically, embroidery).

I guess if it’s just to unwind and have fun (and do something I actually want to do, or self-soothe using fine motor movements), it doesn’t have to be marketable.

I also, today, just got off of coming from Japantown…where I got the first fountain pen I ever bought for myself. It’s a Pilot Metropolitan (Fine nib) with Iroshizuku ink. I’m pretty sure the ink is some kind of Phthalocyanine color, because I stained my hands filling it (It’s a familiar problem), and fountain pen inks are known for being highly water-soluble. (Solubility may be a different variable than staining, though.)

But the set is…really nice. I found that the Pilot CON-40 converters work with the Metropolitan, so I’m using that instead of the little squeezy converter that came with the pen.

I also found a number of craft books, and remembered why it was that I wanted to learn Japanese in the first place: It’s tough going into Japanese bookstores and not being able to read over half the titles! Anime and manga were just a start: there’s just so much I don’t know, and I want to read it!

I’m also to the point where I recognize certain kanji even if I don’t know what they sound like or signify — and I’m up to the point of being able to get a gist of the meaning of snippets of speech, even though I haven’t been taught all the rules of grammar, technically. I’ve also started reversing the speech in English-dubbed anime to try and figure out what the original speech might have been.

Also, I now have a nice pen…with bottled ink…and a point fine enough to write some decently complicated kanji. And I will have to use that pen, in order to keep it in working condition. (I’ll also need to clean it at least once a month, I think.) I picked up a dotted journal so that I could have some help in writing Japanese. I’ve started reviewing this, in hopes of continuing hardcore.

I’m thinking that if reading English has become so easy as to no longer feel magical, learning another language could disrupt that…until I become highly proficient and fluent. It would also allow access to a different culture (I need this — I mean, I really think I do), which happens to be one half of my diaspora.

In the future, if I had a background in Japanese language (and culture), learning Korean or a version of Chinese could be a second step (and both of those, interest me). Then, if I wanted to work in an East Asian library, I could take a second Master’s in Japanese Languages and Literatures. After I build my skills with kanji and get up to fluency, that is.

There may be a terribly high number of individual kanji to, “memorize,” but each of those kanji are often made of individual radicals in unique combination…and I commonly see the same set of radicals used over and over again. So the different-appearing ones, stand out and should be relatively easy to memorize. And even without memorization, context helps a lot in deciphering what the meaning could be.

Or — after learning Japanese — I could head towards a different region of the world, and learn something like Hindi. I’ve checked this out before, because of Devanagari script’s similarity in appearance to Sanskrit. I got curious about Sanskrit because of my interest in Buddhism, though at this point I don’t think Buddhism is particularly, “true,” especially where it comes to the existence of a personal essence. This is a place where it significantly departs from Hindu beliefs.

I also am interested in the latter, which in turn are kind of tough to learn about without some knowledge of Hindi; at least, some key terms, which in turn — if it’s anything like Japanese — are likely tied to cultural aspects which I’m not fully familiar with. (Diwali is an obvious example, topmost in my mind.)

My first dotted journal went to become a Bullet Journal (which I need to start up again as soon as I possibly can: I need to set up a timeline to get the e-Portfolio done), and the second went to become my travel notebook (basically, what I use whenever I need to write, on-the-go, and have no other paper: it’s pretty torn up, right now).

With classes starting shortly, one of the notebooks I purchased today will be for my ePortfolio notes and writings, and the other will go to Collection Management, which is my final normal class. I think I’ll use the cheap Kraft-paper covered notebook, for the latter. The new one is just too nice not to use it for my portfolio. And it will be speshul. Just for that. The cover matches the color of the ink in my new pen.

What’s cool, too, is that a family friend has offered to teach me Japanese! So if I really need a conversation partner, I have one (who is a native speaker) waiting for me. Since my interests do lie, largely, in culture — arts, writing, spirituality, stuff like that — actually, learning a new language and new customs does seem like a good fit.

If I went after that and became multilingual in languages of cultures I’m interested in; reading — I wouldn’t say it would be a, “piece of cake,” but it would become very interesting! Much moreso than if I stayed confined to just English!

If I did that, I might not mind living in Hawaii, because I’d have plenty of opportunity to learn and practice Japanese language. If I knew that, travel to other places on the Pacific Rim become possible (and possibly, likely).

Anyhow, that’s kind of…a lot. I’ve only got about four months of this stuff with being an Aide and in classes, left: if, that is, I do my work. I don’t have too much further to go, where it comes to the Library Science program. I’ve just got to self-motivate, which I think will be easier if I let myself not do and not think about some of this stuff, for a while. That is, I need to be active in my rest, like I’m active in my work. Not just sleeping and glazed-over in front of the computer, because that isn’t really rest, when it comes to this!

Tired enough not to mark grammatical subject

Up again at midnight. Up again at midnight online. Up again at midnight not doing homework. Up again at midnight with work to go to in the morning. Up again at midnight writing instead of trying to sleep.

After looking over my Czech bead collection, it made me want to get more. Still haven’t photographed what I have; by the time I thought of it, it was on the cusp of evening. Sun was going down. Again.

Decided to stick with tried-&-true. Realized “Russian Spiral” stitch looks familiar from looking and not having done it…reminds me of Herringbone. (Sorry about the double pingback, Sam! You don’t need to link me twice…) This and Chenille stitch, I want to try. Pretty badly, want to try.

Went for regular rocaille (round) and Delica beads instead of the shaped/pressed Czech ones, this time around. Mix of Japanese and Czech, multiple sizes.

Really should get to bed. Really really should get to bed.

So guess, you, what I would do if I could…

Needing to work on my final project.

Sigh.

Went out to dinner tonight and saw a person I respect very much. Everyone is encouraging me to work on my ePortfolio. Ganbatte and all that. I suppose I should.

I completed my final application for graduation, recently. It’s relatively important to family that I get this stuff done as soon as possible, as we may be moving, not long from now. If we do go to Hawaii, one of the things I can do is work on my Japanese language. I’m just not so hot on moving to someplace where I have to worry about Rat Lung Disease (brain worms). Although my partial resistance to malaria would come in handy, there.

There are a number of things happening at work, the specifics of which I probably shouldn’t share, given that this is a Public post. But staff looks like it’s turning over, again. I might be one to go this time…if I get a Library Assistant position. This is the fourth mass turnover I’ve been through; I’ve been working here about eight years. It’s really time that I get a higher position, even if it is a little intimidating right now.

So is the prospect of graduation.

And the prospect of being a Librarian, and actually being in control of (and responsible for) things.

I’m not sure if I should be taking a paid internship in place of keeping my current employment. But then…becoming a Library Assistant is basically like having an internship.

Something else that should be happening: family visitation, for about two weeks. It’s relatively important that I be accessible during that time. After that, school will restart, and it’s a straight run to the finish line. I can’t tell how much extra research I’ll have to do, for that.

But. There really isn’t a solid reason for me to be doing anything other than working on my ePortfolio right now (and trying to maintain my weight and hygiene), at least if I only consider myself. Coming up, I have a test for the Assistant position; that takes priority.

Tomorrow…I don’t know what’s going on. There is something to look forward to, but it isn’t school- or work-related. But to be honest, I’ve wanted to do things that were not related to either simply because my life has been revolving around school and work, to the point that I did not have time to have a say in what I actually wanted to do. This went on so long that I forgot what I wanted to do.

I’ve been trying to recover this, but maybe now isn’t the time. Maybe the time for this is after my ePortfolio has been submitted. My concern is that I will have a full-time job or two part-time jobs after this semester…and working 40 hours a week, is something I haven’t experienced, before.

On top of the prospect of having my free time cut down that way, I also am concerned that my work will spill over into more of my time (because of continuing education and needing to help with Reader’s Advisory). Not to mention learning Japanese.

Maybe I should be thinking of what doing that will enable me to do in the future, though, as versus what free time might or could be taken away from me.

But I suppose the alternative is kind of eternal adolescence, which is not something that is desirable. Especially as I know that it’s annoying to deal with unrelated people who want to be taken care of, when they’re able to care for themselves and just don’t. Hey, it’s annoying even when they are related. Which, I’m thinking, is another reason to become independent — so I don’t do that.

The thing is, I’m not aiming for a traditional heterosexual relationship where I can look forward to being married and raising kids. There are just so many more possibilities to my life that I can see, than that. But being independent means having my time taken up, surviving.

It would just be great if my method of surviving…was pleasant.

…Which is why I’ve tried to open a path to Web Design…and why I’ve got a degree in Creative Writing and another in Art.

I guess my deal is actually that I need to be creative, or at least, to produce, in a position that I’m going to be dealing with for so much of my waking life…

Aging artist?

I’m experiencing doubts. About the value of continuing to be creative, as regards the arts and crafts. Somewhat, as regards writing too, but like it or not, writing is something I’m always going to have to do.

(That doesn’t mean it’s ever easy.)

Of course, I know the doubts aren’t true. Arts have a way of guiding or prompting people to consider viewpoints other than their own. And as irritating as it is, I wonder how much of the present-day relative acceptance of gay and lesbian identity in U.S. cities has to do with early 2000’s mass media which presented stories of multifaceted (human) people experiencing homosexuality. (I’m thinking of Glee, by the way.)

I am old enough to remember that episode of Twin Peaks where two female people kissed and…that was the first time same-sex sexuality had been seen on U.S. broadcast television. It was incredibly controversial.

I’m old enough to remember Ellen DeGeneres’s coming out on her show. Again, incredibly controversial. Even though innocuous, as I think most people would see it, today. (Or maybe I’m giving America too much credit.)

Today I’m writing about this because I’m literally wondering why I am a creative person, if I am a creative person, what the worth is of being a creative person, whether to continue to be a creative person.

But I think every creative person who isn’t a constantly-inspired genius (read: pretty much everybody), deals with this.

And I think pretty much every creative person on the Internet has had to deal with people trying to shut them down.

No matter what someone says, someone else is going to have some issue with it. No matter what is made, people are going to judge it and have something to say about it. No one on the Internet is immune from random abusive people trying to make it seem like the abuser’s problem is their problem. Someone’s always going to be offended by something, regardless of the offender’s intent. On top of that, no one knows everything, and creative expression often involves being wrong in some way — of necessity — because if we waited to be experts on everything we imagined in order to increase its “realism,” we would never imagine anything.

I realize I universalized a lot — or all — of that experience (gained from having grown up with a large online component to my socialization), and that itself tells me it may be wrong. It’s why I’m leaving it that way.

Prior to writing this post, I realized that there are a number of words which come to mind about being “out there” as a creator (at least as a creator of ideas), which everyone has to deal with:

  • Attack
  • Judgment
  • (Destructive) Criticism
  • Abuse
  • Wrongness
  • Offense

Given this, it’s amazing anyone makes anything. Or anything new, perhaps I should specify.

But then maybe it’s like my job, where most people are appreciative and kind, and then there’s a small percentage who are just “off” (and there’s no one way to be “off”). If I concentrated entirely on what to do about (or how to “solve” my relations with) the approximately <2-5% people (though actually, today it has felt more like approximately <1-2%) who either can’t or won’t behave appropriately, there is no way that I would even consider pursuing a front-line career in libraries.

There would also be no way I could work a service job at all…which would shunt me into the 20% of U.S. jobs that were either manufacturing or agriculture (the service sector is said to make up 80% of all U.S. jobs, though I’d have to revisit what I viewed in order to try and understand what they meant by “service”).

But the rewards (including the internal reward of not treating people with bias because of what I may be tempted to assume about them, which actually makes me feel pretty good, given my history) are greater than the annoyances.

And…is the reward of being creative, greater than everything I have to go through, in order to create? I think it is, though I couldn’t easily tell you how. I should probably start a file demonstrating the rewards of creativity, as well as the setbacks. Maybe you all could help contribute.

I have a tendency to focus on the negative, meaning it is going to be harder for me to describe these. The only reason I know that is that I’ve dealt with depression, in the past; and I know that sometimes it is literally not possible to think positive thoughts and (initially) believe them.

What I know is that artists and writers are both, as groups, more tolerant of personal irregularities than the general population. I think it’s because neither group can avoid confronting their own irregularities in the process of creating. Both, as groups, are also familiar with constructive criticism (as versus destructive criticism: criticism designed to destroy the author or artist or craftsperson).

I’m also starting to wonder if we’re just wired differently, but obviously I’m not a neurologist. Trying to read about cognitive function is also not easy. Right now I’m at the beginning of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty. It’s reading like a textbook which is also partly creative nonfiction…

But yeah…it’s difficult. I guess how do you describe the actions of the temporal lobes without introducing the overall structure of the brain…

Not to mention, just maintaining a creative practice, is difficult. Right now I don’t have any regular practice time set up to draw or paint. Generally I write at nighttime, before I go to bed. I did come up with an interesting twist to help me out with one of my stories, which helps it feel more legitimate and real…and human. It actually makes one character seem genuinely caring, as versus predatory or parasitic, and it shifts the narrative away from the main emotional problem in the story.

I’ve been going through some culture earthquakes recently, as a follow-up to some relatively recent posts. It’s probably because of my age. But someone I spoke with mentioned that my experience, being surrounded and influenced by so many cultures, as mentioned in backposts, sounded much like…an “American” experience (as versus a fragmented, complex, nameless mix of influences). I’m not quite used to the term “American” not being used as a conservative buzzword, but what they said felt accurate.

And it is odd for me to be called “American” without a qualifier, kind of like I didn’t expect that could be the case, I realize now. But what I’ve been reading about at work…is showing me that in some way, I am culturally American (for instance, in dealing with things like Freedom of Speech, freedom of inquiry, tolerance of dissent, and recognizing the existence of an educated public as essential to democracy).

Maybe what I’m dealing with now, is wondering about the possibility of my intended career, becoming more important than my art or my writing. As versus…just being a Librarian to survive, and having my main drive be my art and/or my writing.

I probably won’t be able to solve that problem, tonight, though.

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.

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.