Getting this stuff out of the way…

WordPress says that three hours ago, I started working again on my Final for Instructional Design. (I opened a window here to vent thoughts which should not make it into my paper!)

The good part is, this is now mostly done…but I have realized that it’s easier to teach something I know little about and am learning about alongside others, than something I’ve accumulated knowledge about for well over a decade, and others know nothing. Or maybe it’s just a sensitive issue for me, due to the content and audience (the topic of my Instructional Design seminar is gender variance).

I suppose that if I hadn’t gone through what I have, though, I still might not know anything about LGBTQIA positionality, beyond the GLB portion of that. But I was pushed by necessity: something which most non-trans* people don’t seem to experience.

And I think I would rather not be teaching this stuff, but it’s something I have specialized knowledge about, and which I can see an obvious knowledge gap about.

Anyhow…I can now read this over, make any final changes, and submit it. I’m hoping to get this done by tonight or tomorrow so that I can get back to studying for my Database Final, and get that turned in tomorrow night. This is largely so I can stop thinking about it. I would like to get on with Summer, sooner rather than later.

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Seeing family, set off thoughts on gender.

Over the last week, I’ve been visiting family, which has been more educational than it has been a holiday. Accordingly, I haven’t had all that much time and energy (or internet connectivity) to spend on studying. Starting tomorrow, I’ll have to get back on it.

Tonight after work was spent venting confusion and participating in conversation about gender-nonbinary positionality. I needed this, regardless of how much study is piling up. I haven’t yet checked to see where I stand as regards my current workload, but I know I was only given a half-week for Spring Break.

Overall, I feel like I’m doing pretty well, though that wouldn’t be the case without accommodations. I do have the excuse as well that a large part of the reason for the visit was to attend a memorial, though no one has asked me for that information, yet.

Anyhow. Now I’m back, albeit touched more than a bit by being read as woman-by-default, by my extended family.

We didn’t really get to my topic at the gender group tonight, and I’m okay with that, because I did get to engage in conversation and feel heard. Basically…I’m coming to a realization that I’m more of a soft guy than a hard woman, although historically and contemporarily speaking, I am gender-fluid.

My thing is that I don’t fit into any ready-made gender category; I have more like a mixture of traits (and whatever else one may use to determine gender). My identity itself is clearly not-girl (to me), but that doesn’t make me a woman or a man, either. And yeah, that sounds (and looks) about right. My body is mostly typically female, but not entirely so…and I’m okay with that. I relate to my body as my own body, not the body of anyone I’m assumed to be which I’m not. I’m lucky that way.

I’m also lucky that the people closest to me understand (and normalize) where I’m coming from, which eases a lot of tension I might otherwise have.

The issue I’ve been having recently is not knowing how to present. Particularly, while on break, I started thinking about differing versions of femininity. This was mostly tipped off by visiting a number of Japanese(-American) markets…and identifying with red and pink and violet. (In particular, Japanese clothes tend to have some really beautiful shades of red, for reasons I’ll get into below.)

I was remembering what my Japanese-American grandmother told me about colors of clothing when I was little; that red was a color used in girls’ clothing, and that the colors became more subdued as one married and aged. This sounds ridiculous to the parent I have who isn’t Japanese-American…but I must have learned this when I was 6 years old, and aside from Inu Yasha (which was written by the female author behind Ranma 1/2), the red-clothing thing seems to be a pattern which conforms to what my grandmother said.

I think I still have my first red kimono with white flowers all over it (my grandmother tried to shape me to become as ethnically Japanese[-American] as possible, regardless of my race; though notably, she never did introduce me to maru obi [a woman’s waist wrap] or obijime [a waist-cord accessory], though I still have the kanzashi [hairpin] she gave me).

But there’s a lot of drama and ambivalence around this. In Japanese culture, it isn’t a good thing to be mixed-race (as I am), at least unless one is mixed with White; for what reason, I don’t know. I’m thinking it may have to do with war, and also with ethnic pride. I know that my grandmother wanted 100% Japanese(-American) grandchildren, but because of the family having been in the U.S. so long…it’s very common for families by the third or fourth generation to begin marrying and having children who aren’t fully racially Japanese. It doesn’t always go over well with the rest of the Japanese(-American) family, though.

I did get to see both sides of my family over the last week, I should state. There were race tensions, and general tensions that had to do with long-standing family dynamics, which I won’t get into here (if I can help it).

Anyhow…we went to a couple of different Japanese markets…and, well, you can see on this blog that I have a big thing about colors and their psychological effects. This may even overrule the subject matter of some of my work (or attempted work), at least in my mind. It’s something that has had me looking at artists like Mondrian. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned anything about color symbolism before now, though.

Kandinsky went into an actual book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, about symbolism, including his personal meanings behind his use of colors in his art. I’m not rigid enough about it to really codify it in a book, at this point (like I say I could never run a cult because I change my mind too often), but this, and Josef Albers’ works, in addition to color-field artists…they’re things I keep in mind. Even if I haven’t deeply read Kandinsky’s book. 🙂

While I was at one of these markets, I found a beautiful little incense burner which was a glossy red-violet ceramic dish with white glaze highlights. I was immediately attracted to it. Now that I think of it, I remember thinking that it must have been made for someone like me, because of its color.

Which, in turn, brings up the question of what exactly a woman is. Especially, what it means to be a woman outside of the U.S.

Like I said earlier, there is a large emphasis on red and pink in a lot of Japanese stuff (like clothing, in particular) because of its symbolism and relation to girls and women. Red stands for blood; it also stands for power, fire, and fertility. I’m uncertain if it is linked to Amaterasu, the sun goddess in Shinto faith; but the Japanese flag’s red circle is meant to represent the sun.

Anyhow…I wish I had taken a picture of this incense burner. I ended up putting it back because it cost $14, and I ended up spending about $22 on a metallic pink water bottle instead. I could use the water bottle (and actually, already have). I don’t need another incense burner (I don’t even know how long it has been since I burned incense). I think I even commented that I could “reinforce my gender another time.”

The thing is that I don’t know if I’m walking a line here of appearing to be a cis woman even though I’m gender-fluid with very apparent forays into femininity. The thing is, “femme,” is not the same as, “woman.” I’m comfortable being femme. I can even like to be femme, but I have to remember that I’m not a woman, or else I get into dangerous territory where other people are treating me like a woman and I go along with it, and start to think of myself as a woman. The major problem here is that the term, “woman,” for me, carries with it a lot of social expectations, expectations of myself, and cultural baggage. That is, I disidentify with it in order to preserve my own identity, or sense of myself.

And then I talk about making jewelry and sewing and embroidery and becoming a Librarian. But none of that makes you a woman. The way I’ve thought of it is that being a woman is something that comes from inside. At least it has been that way, for the transgender women I have known. According to another source, though, who happens to be a Second-Wave feminist, people are born and then they do what the society tells them they should…that, for example, women don’t wear “Women’s” clothing to express something inside of them, they do it because of societal and cultural power constraints, and because they don’t consider other options.

The thing is…my disidentification with girlhood and womanhood…(I will say I was at one time a girl — but a thirty-something-year-old human is no longer a child, regardless of sex)…doesn’t extend to eschewing femininity. I’ve lived through a time where I was “dressing to character,” so to speak; where I chose and wore clothes because of their gender designation (as masculine).

At this point, I feel like I’ve grown beyond that; literally, because of age and lack of exercise, my body is no longer androgynous; figuratively, because I like certain clothes regardless of what message that sends to other people. I haven’t yet learned how to deal with the responses from others that come with this, though. In particular, I get a lot of positive attention for being femme while being female, which means I’m being seen as a cis woman, and I don’t know what to do with that.

Maybe that’s why I dislike it.

In addition, though: I also want to dress in more red and pink and purple (with green and blue), as versus the cool and neutral colors I had been drawn to and which make up most of my wardrobe.

I guess it actually literally is, “passing,” as a woman, only I’m not trying, and I don’t have a history of living in a male body. But if, “passing,” is being seen as something you’re not…which seems more accurate to the origin of the term as regards race relations…(that is, transgender women are women, they are not men, “passing,” as women)…

Is that what I’m dealing with? Passing privilege? It would make sense, then, why I would have a great deal of trepidation toward being seen as male and presenting femme at the same time. Transitioning to male seems like it would put me into the space of a pre-transition, gender-nonconforming, assigned-male person. And that is a very difficult space to exist within in my culture, even where I am. Let alone, the possibility of living permanently that way, as versus as a transitional phase.

That would also explain why I even have the ability to feel, “normal,” because my difference can be (and is) glossed over. That is, the erasure and lack of understanding of my identity grants me a level of relative safety (as most who don’t know about transgender people will see me as a lesbian woman when I complain of being misgendered by straight men — and most people here accept lesbian women; at least, heteronormative lesbian women). But it’s still very apparent, when I speak, to those who are also gender-variant, that I’m coming from a gender-variant viewpoint. My appearance just doesn’t fully disclose my identity; and if it did, I run the risk of presenting as a stereotype — for the sake of other people — in order to be socially intelligible. And, given the risks of being readable, it’s to my benefit not to be so.

I guess you can kind of get a glimpse of what I’m going through, here.

I think…I should look back over this tomorrow, and see if I can draw any further conclusions out of it. Right now, I think I’m in it too deep, and I’m probably up too late to think clearly, in any case.

Maybe fiction provides a safety vent.

There are a couple of things I’ve realized recently, or am in the process of realizing, though I’m not sure they all need to be written out for the world to see. Well, maybe they need to be written out for me to see, then.

One of the major realizations is that I can be healthier (and more myself) when I express myself through fiction writing. In the rest of my life, I find it relatively more difficult to break through and do something I normally wouldn’t. I feel like it’s as close as I would get to acting…at this point in my life, at least!

But I do kind of have this really…this side that I think of as deep, dark, and rich, that normally doesn’t see the light of day. I can’t maintain it continuously for more than 3-4 days at most, as well. This is part of what originally caused me to identify as gender-fluid. It also caused me a lot of confusion in my younger years, before I had enough context and experience to know I wasn’t transsexual and in denial.

These days, I feel solidly genderqueer, if anything. I’ve found that I’m relatively comfortable with my physical body, but…I’m not a woman or a girl, even if I take on femme (feminine, regardless of physical sex) attributes from time to time. And that doesn’t mean I have to be a man or a boy. Nor does it mean that I’m obligated to look like, or model myself into, a man or boy.

I fall into the category which is presently called “gender non-binary” in forward-thought U.S. culture. Even so, this term isn’t widely known: there is presently very little recognition that anyone like me could exist.

Anyhow, there are aspects of myself which are untenable in a normal, everyday environment. Fiction is one of the outlets I have in which to express character which can’t fit (in a cohesive/coherent or safe way) into my day-to-day persona.

That is, I have a lot of complexity in my character, and the embodiment of all of it in my daily persona would result in confusion in the outside world (not to mention cognitive dissonance within my own mind: say, from holding space for two or more realistic options to both be potentially valid [even though mutually exclusive] and operating on that). I believe I’ve tried this already…it’s not easy, especially when your future potential embodiment is at stake (I was considering testosterone at the time…long story [spanning about 20 years]).

What fiction allows me to do is let these portions of myself out to play in a controlled (and somewhat contained) environment. I have noticed my own tendency to take small cues and work off of those in fiction, as well. It’s kind of like a real-world Rorschach thing: seeing a shape on the wall which continuously looks like Q-Bert (I have one of these, I’m not kidding), but instead of visual interpretation as in a Rorschach test, the interpretation is of situations and motivations.

I used to have such strongly ingrained negative thoughts that I’d have trouble dealing with realistically considering any other option when they would arise by suggestion. They often (or inevitably) result in half-truths or false-truths that can make sense within the narrative, but might not (or would not, depending) be defensible in reality. This is why I like using unreliable narrators; though usually they aren’t outright lying, more than voicing something that won’t leave me alone, and of which I question the truth value.

But, as I have learned within the last decade, just because I (or anyone else) think(s) something, that doesn’t make it true — no matter how true it seems or how much you do or don’t want it to be true. (In fact, an enhanced sense that something is real [say, in hallucinations and delusions] can be a red flag that it may not be.)

I think I’ve gotten everything out, on that point, that I needed to.

There’s another question that has arisen for me recently, which is whether it is actually to my benefit to be a freelance writer instead of being on payroll. The major reason I’m in my LIS program is that due to my condition, I need a stable source of income, and benefits. I’ve just been thinking, though, about the amount of pressure a writer might face to write what their employer wants them to write, should they be salaried.

It just seems like as a freelancer, one retains a certain amount of autonomy, even though there is an exchange there where it comes to financial security.

I’m losing my train of thought, right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and post…

Solid footing…?

I’m thinking again about female-to-male gender transition, a.k.a. gender reassignment, a.k.a. gender confirmation.

Tonight, for whatever reason — maybe because I’m feeling better, maybe because I slept so long, maybe because it’s becoming clearer life is transient…and the rebirth I’ve been hoping for in which I get to be male will never exist…

…and that my attempt to hold solidarity with all the people in the past who were female and did not feel themselves to be women; and with all the people now who feel the same way and don’t have the privilege of gender reassignment…

…and, because I’ve noticed relatively unhealthy coping mechanisms coming up (namely, the hope that having a girlfriend who can see me will be enough to fulfill me [usage, anybody?], but also that I compulsively try not to be “pretty” because I don’t want the attention [which usually invalidates my gender] and this is wrecking my body)…

…and because I’ve realized that I actually would rather have male parts than female, even though I don’t “hate” my body…nor do I know for a fact that being in between a fully male and fully female body will be inferior to what I’ve got now…

…and because I know that the reason to keep my chest the way it is, is to distract from my belly, when I don’t want either of them (and testosterone may actually help the belly flatten)…that is, the state I haven’t wanted to be in with a belly and breasts and apparently male, is the state I’m in now, as nominally female…

…and because being overtly MALE is a new thing…and would be a more vulnerable position than I’m in now…

…and because the main point of contention is that I don’t want to inject myself with hormones on a weekly basis for the rest of my life…(though this might be the “manly” route)…

…and because there is no way I want to be pregnant…

(…and because I did hear myself in a recording earlier tonight and realized that I don’t sound clearly male or female…)

…and because I don’t have to change my name…

I think I’ve realized…that this is serious. I have a very short jump to being fully legally, chemically male. Socialization comes after that. I have one year to get everything together before other issues may arise.

I first went into counseling specifically around gender, 15 years ago. (I haven’t yet actually taken testosterone, but it’s extremely fast-acting.)

The problem is that the situation is confusing and I was and am in the thick of it, without decent words to describe what I’m going through.

But I’m tired. I need sleep. The point of it or this is that I’m wondering if I am bordering being transgender and male as well as nonbinary, at least at this juncture.

I’m not certain getting further into this is warranted at this point, as I do notice my brain fogging up on me. I just wanted to note this. Before it went away.

(sorry for the partial sentences) 🙂

Loneliness?

Right now, I’m wondering if I’m actually just really lesbian, in a genderqueer way.  I generally don’t call myself “lesbian,” because to me that implies a “woman” gender identity…which I don’t have.  I’m gender-fluid with notable forays into femme presentation, but to me “femme” could be applied to persons of any sex status (femme men exist; but I don’t consider myself a man).  I have also been thinking about gender transition to trans* male, but I’ve been weighing that over about 15 years at this point.  I’m not doing it unless I have to, and I don’t think that social reasons are considered valid where it comes to gender transition (as society changes).  I could be wrong, though.

There are a few things going on here:

  1. Being irritated at men coming on to me (largely because they expect me to be a woman for them, and/or that the way I look says something about who I am).
  2. Experiencing strong feelings of attraction for someone I don’t know (repeated shock at their beauty every time I make eye contact:  maybe I’m not asexual; just “asexual” in a heteronormative context?), and not knowing what to do with them.  Also, I’m trying to deal with “what if’s” around whether I’m being perceived as predatory simply because I don’t know what to do in this situation, and I’m not perfect and I feel like I’m messing up and this is different if I’m being seen as male (or queer — I’m using this term in the U.S. reclaimed sense) as versus not.
  3. Not wanting to have my sex status shoved in my face, particularly where it could be used as a tool to try and subjugate me.
  4. Dealing with the after-effects of decades of sexual harassment.
  5. Trying not to take rejection as a personal failing or throw out vibes of frustration built up over long periods of isolation and unrequited crushes.
  6. Wondering what it would be like if it were OK for me to freely flirt with women on an equal-power basis, and about how my life might be different if they felt the same permission towards me.
  7. Wondering if I am socially lesbian (want an escape from heterosexual gender norms in my relationships) but not fully biologically lesbian (can still be attracted to men and masculine people so long as they don’t enforce or expect heterosexual gender norms in my relations with them).  I haven’t heard anyone express this point of view before me, though it could explain multiple phenomena.
  8. Identifying strongly with Vegeta…which probably won’t mean anything unless you’re a Dragonball (Z/Super) fan.  I’d probably have to explain it, anyway.

I’ll stop there.  I don’t think I’ll be able to touch on all this, tonight.

I haven’t been to my regular gender group in a while, so this stuff has been building up over…at least two weeks.  Chances are that I won’t be able to make it this next time, either.  The full version of this likely won’t get a chance to come out IRL, for another little while…so I thought that writing some of it out, would help.  I’m not sure at all, though, that actually publishing it will help…

I did talk to my folks about this, recently; they say that most people go through this stage (learning to deal with feelings other people don’t want to know you experience [in regard to point #2]) in high school.  I didn’t have the chance to go through this stage because of the massive sexual harassment and isolation and, pretty much, hostility that I had to deal with in that situation.  It just basically wasn’t safe for me to develop these skills, because it wasn’t safe to be anything other than cisgender+heterosexual.

Noting everything above…kind of explains where I’m at, right now.  I’m not sure if I need to go more into depth with it right now (it took enough effort to dig all that stuff out of my memory), but I will want to come back to it, later.

There is one thing that has come up, though:  and that is the possibility of trading out a gender-group night for a Ladies’ art night (I’m applying the term, “Lady,” loosely).  Right now I am not sure which I might need more…

I also think there are two separate Art Nights I can go to; one at a nearby cultural venue (much closer), and one at an artist-supply store.  I just am coming to feel like I need women, and I don’t know what that’s about.  I’ve never felt it, before.  But I guess I am getting into middle-age, and I do need to meet new friends, and rekindle old friendships…

A more complete update:

So I have had some time to reflect and think things over a bit.  This is a large part of why I write — even if what I am thinking at one point, at some later point comes to have little validity, at least I have a paper trail so that I can see where I’ve been.

When I’m writing about myself, I’ve found that it is best not to prematurely censor what I’m thinking or feeling…otherwise, I come out with a “sanitized” narrative, which may not actually reflect either reality or my own psyche.

After looking over my recent posts, I find it fairly evident that I’m not speaking from a woman’s perspective.  I have also been in Women’s groups before and found myself alienated; have taken a Women’s Studies class and did not know why I did not relate to the (female) Professor’s version of what “women” were, etc.  (I gave up on Women’s Studies after that experience in being, “othered.”)

Brief aside, as I seem to have lost focus for a moment:  I did end up getting the 30-pencil set of Supracolor II watercolor pencils.  I haven’t yet gotten the chance to try them out, though.  And yes, I do know that I only have one more week of freedom before school starts up again…

In any case, I’ve realized that there is no one perfect way to exist as myself.  And it’s very apparent that I hold a number of ideals which are given life in my own power of visualization, which — when taken literally — are not necessarily mutually compatible, in reality.  For instance, it would not be possible for me to start testosterone, then go off of it and get back to the way things are now.

Testosterone causes permanent changes, and my major fear is that I will not be able to return to my current state.  On top of this is the question of what to do with my chest, should I start and then stop testosterone (as I doubt I would be on it, long-term:  health reasons).  For me binding is effective, but uncomfortable; ranging into painful.  And I don’t dislike my chest as it is; the only reason I would get surgery, barring medical necessity, is to make things more convenient for other people.  And I don’t want to be berated and bullied into getting surgery that I don’t want and don’t need.

So either I go on testosterone for the voice drop and then move back to estrogens and deal with the hair redistribution (that’s a good way to put it) — and work out to retain some musculature — or I don’t go on testosterone, and I work my way up to bodybuilding as a reversible measure, and go without the voice drop, extra cartilage, and facial + body hair.  In addition to this, I would be going by a chosen name and gender-neutral or masculine pronouns.  I can anticipate push-back and sarcasm on the latter, however, without permanent physical changes.

What I really want is to be recognized as who I am, without having to do anything special to mark myself.  (That is, I don’t want people to see me and immediately slot me as a “woman,” regardless of what I’m wearing or what my body looks like.)  From what I can tell, I don’t think the sentiment is unusual.  Though I do happen to be lucky in that I do think I would be more than comfortable with a built body.

I think my brain is starting to fizzle out, about now, so I’ll get some rest…

Another gender-related post…

…stemming from another system of dreams.

This one had to do with two friends I had, one in Kindergarten (which I’ll refer to as K); the other, in High School (HS).  In the dream, both of them were “interested” in me…though HS had seen me in both male and female forms.  Because of the latter, I was more interested in her…and was trying to figure out how to break this to K.

What I remember most notably is a feminine hand on my chest, rubbing it as though I were male…recognizing me as male.  I think this was the HS friend.  The point was not that my chest was flat or rounded — the point was that my being was recognized…and maybe there was love coming from someplace I didn’t think to expect.  (I can’t even remember this person’s last name, anymore; then again, I did remember her from 18 years ago.)

This is an interruption in a long span of not being particularly attracted to anyone.

I realized that…maybe this is an effect of not having recently developed close enough relations with anyone, to the extent that they could see the whole of me.  The last notable relationship I had was with someone who insisted on seeing me as “lesbian,” thus — in my mind — as a woman.  Needless to say, this was not tolerable…

But in the dream, I did realize that the difference here was that of being seen as “lesbian,” as versus “trans* male who is primarily attracted to women.”  This also explains why I get set off by men hitting on me, as 1) they’re invalidating my actual gender (as versus the one they assume I have), 2) I don’t feel my wishes (to end the encounters) are respected, 3) I’m not interested, and 4) I feel inhibited from seeking female partners at the same time as men assume they have implicit permission to come after me.

It’s also apparent to me at this point that my dysphoria is social and not physical.  If I can keep having a rounded chest, and still be seen as masculine (as distinct from “butch,” which my experience suggests is more of a social role than a gender orientation)…that would work.  And maybe then I could have a sex life (or one that was enjoyable, at least).

Then…what to do about this?

Last night, I briefly considered low-dose testosterone, mainly for the voice drop…but I don’t want to lose what I have left of my hairline.  (Although male-pattern baldness should cease advancing when T administration ceases, I won’t get that hair back.)  Plus, there is the problem of being on T for too long, which can erase my visibility to the queer community, if I end up being a relatively straight trans* male.

Not to mention the fur that I’m pretty sure is going to pop up if I use T for any appreciable length of time, which will inhibit my ability to dress femme and get away with it (without shaving.  I dislike shaving).  On the other hand…fur.  🙂

I did, on browsing my own blog, find a number of places where I had been considering my gender presentation.  Fairly consistently, getting back into shape has been a goal, though it’s odd to track my weight changes.  I was able to find dress shirts that fit, in the Women’s section, by the way!  I wore one of them to the test I took today, but that’s another entry…in any case, it actually fits, and doesn’t restrict my movement.  The only drawback is that it feels synthetic.

Right now, I’m trying to get back to the point where I don’t feel undernourished and rapacious because of the fever I’ve had, along with the corresponding denial of food.  I seem to be hovering around 159-160 lbs. (down from 164-165), which gives me a lot of fuel to burn (especially in the mornings), but the last time I exercised, I became fairly short of breath after about 5 minutes.  I felt like my throat was closing up, but wasn’t sure if it was asthma, or what.  D says this is because I’m just getting over being sick.

And I know I’ve been slipping on the sugared beverages, now that I have wiggle room.  I need to cut it out.  🙂

The other thing I noticed was a question of…piercings!  I haven’t been wearing any earrings, for quite a long time, now.  And I’m not sure whether to go back to body jewelry, or to work with non-ferrous metals and make my own stuff.  I’m pretty sure that I did get a cup bur (a tool to round the ends of wire), and I know I have wire up to at least 18g…I can use copper, brass, or silver (though I think my thick jeweler’s brass wire has a small amount of lead in its alloy; I’m uncertain as to whether wear on my pillowcases or on the insides of my piercings will expose me to lead).

The only trouble I’m facing is seeing whether my piercings are together enough to avoid enlarging on their own, from the weight (or metal) of my jewelry.  (Right now I have a set of filigree sterling earwires in, just to open the space.  I have also experienced irritation at base metal wires causing the piercings to abnormally enlarge.)  If they’re going to open up anyway, I might as well go back to the 14g rings I had, before, and/or just forget about wearing heavy jewelry.

At this point, though — if that happens, I’m getting fancier rings; and then possibly getting a third lobe piercing (I’m hoping that an act like this will signal the women I might like as to my group status).  The major problem is that it becomes harder to get a job after the third piercing, which seems to be a legal way to discriminate against minorities who use piercings as code.  Not that it’s official, but I’m fairly certain that it does mean something, because I’ve seen enough people using it.

I can try and wear my normal jewelry, and then if — by October — I still want to or need to gauge up, I can set that in motion.  The major reason I’m not getting a piercing now is that cold weather may keep me from getting an infection.

I’ve also been thinking about the pronoun issue:  that is, dropping “she/her” from my list of approved self-applied pronouns, and going by “they,” exclusively.  This may be in addition to changing the name I go by, out in the real world…but I’m going to have to sit on the latter and see how it feels, before making any changes.