Not wanting to get back to studying.

As I look over my bookcase…it is evident where my thoughts lie (and it’s not with what I need to do). I have major sections on learning Japanese language, Graphic Design, Web Design, Art, Writing. There is a Religion section mostly covering Buddhism, Daoism, Hindu beliefs. There is a section on Native American history (stuff I bought in American Indian Studies classes before I had to drop them out of psychological pain), Metaphysics, Psychology, and a small bit of fiction.

Then there are the textbooks for my Library & Information Science program, which are just crammed onto the shelves after the bookends (though these overlap with the Graphic Design books). In another bookcase I have a lot of Gender Studies books, and craft books (Jewelry, macrame, knotting, beading, wirework), along with old textbooks from my time in community college.

On a different shelf are sewing, knitting, and crochet books, along with one on bookbinding (! where did that come from?), career guidance, more Writing; and then there is the overflow shelf behind me where I’ve moved everything that I’ve taken off of my main bookcase (or which wouldn’t fit).

Right now, it’s obvious that I want to work with Writing, Art, Graphic Design, Web Design, and Japanese. But…that’s not what I have to do, right now. Right now I need to be working on my Instructional Design class, my Reference & Information Services class, and my Database Management class.

None of these are things I would have taken unless I thought I might need them. In particular, Database Management is difficult, and probably not something I would like to do for a living (or at all), but I’m dealing with trying to do the best I can, for my Vocational program (I didn’t realize it would be so difficult when I signed up for it — though at least now I know that I kind of don’t want to work with abstract mathematical thought, or to be a Full-Stack Web Developer).

Instructional Design prepares me to be an Academic Librarian instead of a Public Librarian, but this is hard as well, especially as I didn’t take Information Literacy, beforehand. Reference & Information Services is not hard, but it takes a lot of time and work, and the projects are intimidating for someone like me who is shy in dealing with people.

On top of this, I still have to complete Phase 2 of my Title IX training, in addition to dealing with graduation paperwork. Not to mention, my ePortfolio…and dealing with the Honors Society. Yes, it is a good thing that I’m only working 11 hours a week, right now. Especially as I haven’t been able to get much done on the studying front, for about a week, and am now actually behind (even though I was learning a lot by being with family).

I just don’t think I was up for getting heavily back into classwork, today. I have been awake for fewer hours than I would have liked, but then I kind of knew that would happen when I took medication around 2 AM this morning (after having written what I did last night, after the gender group: which was important).

The issue, I believe, is motivation…and intimidation. Whenever I get behind, I get intimidated away from dealing with it, and that in turn gets me farther behind — until about a week passes, and then somehow I get a second wind and blow through everything in one kind of frenetic, obsessive, somewhat-manic, pass.

Coming up, we’re going to need to go food shopping: and I am not sure if I should be helping, just to keep myself active and engaged; or working on my homework (the latter of which, seems to be the more responsible plan). However…we’re almost out of fruit, and I can’t trust people to buy anything more than apples, unless I tell them to. I actually may be more productive if I go out and move around, then come back to study; than if I stay unclean and in my pajamas all day and just try and plow through the reading.

I should remember though, that if I do go food shopping, I won’t have as much time as I’d like to do anything like painting or writing or sewing…but it may help get me out of bed, in a way that the lure of reading about Reference Management will not (and in fact, the latter may help drive me back to bed).

Which brings to mind, the awesome little (freakin’ expensive) Japanese stationery store that I went to while on Break. But…I think I can wait to expound upon that, another time.

Right now I’m writing because I’m trying to remember who I am, as versus what I have to do. They don’t totally line up. And I need to remember that although I am a bit unhappy at this point, wanting to do something for myself rather than someone else; I think I only have three or four weeks of this semester left to go, and then I’ll be released.

In about a week, I should be able to sign up for Summer classes. I’ve decided to keep Cybersecurity and Intro to Programming, mostly because I can’t think of anything better, I keep coming back to these, and together, they’re only two units. This should give me plenty of time to deal with my ePortfolio.

My major hesitation here is that I haven’t yet taken an internship, although I have plenty of experience working in Public Libraries, albeit at low levels. In particular, it could be really awesome to do an internship with the GLBT Historical Society — but I don’t know if I’ll have the time (or the transportation). Although I should remember that I can also apply to be a Librarian Trainee in my own system, which would be like an internship. The only drawback is not being able to broaden my horizons by meeting new people.

I think I feel a bit better. It’s a little before 11 PM my time (and I’m not supposed to be blogging late at night; much as I am supposed to be exercising — which I’m not, and I’m sure you can see why: too many demands on my time), so I should probably sign off and take my medication and get to bed; or get to studying, and then bed.

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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 kanzashiΒ [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. πŸ™‚

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.

(Preliminary) reasons to write

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ™‚

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.

Good work done today. Resting ’til tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hmm.

Yeah, that sounds good. πŸ™‚

…really good. ^_^

What if (things had gone differently)? Math and Design:

I know I was told to stop blogging late at night, but it’s hard when you feel like you didn’t wake up too long ago. I did finally accomplish that shower, though, and I have taken medication already; so I should have a limited amount of time between now and the point where I can’t think in words, anymore.

Right now, I’m wondering how my proficiencies might have been different if I had continued within the Graphic Arts program, as versus the (Fine) Arts program, in community college. I am aware that the Master’s program I’m in now features various Design possibilities, but this is high-level stuff, and not all of it is related to Graphic Design.

For example: Instructional Design, Database Design, Web Design, Interface Design, Interaction Design, Design Thinking…

That’s much broader than I think they would have taught me at the place where I first started looking into Graphic Arts. There were three things that discouraged me from following through with it:

  • A comment from a teacher stating she thought I, “could do more,” than being a Graphic Designer. (I believe she meant Fine Arts or something along that line; by the time I was in her class, I already had a BA in Creative Writing.)
  • My then-dislike of dealing with people; I was told that what people ask you to do is generally not what they actually want done, and it would be my job to find out what they actually needed (much like the premise of a Reference Interview, but I wouldn’t know that until later).
  • The fact that I was told I would either need an apprenticeship or a graduate degree in order to be successful as a Graphic Designer.

And then, there was this bit:

  • Being harangued off of a (supposed) Graphic Design email list for not using my legal name.

At the time, I was not thinking about graduate degrees at all. My prior undergraduate experience (in Creative Writing) had been so stressful — mostly due to the fact that I had a disability that I was only beginning to realize the scope of, and treat — that I didn’t want to deal with the stress of assignments, grades, and tests, again.

Of course, though, work was a scarier prospect, especially as I knew I was starting out from a (theoretically) compromised position. (I have a bunch of intersecting minority statuses that together, well, they work out in the form of my being underemployed, now. Statistically, it’s not surprising.)

I did end up going back to school, but that was to community college. Initially it was to a bunch of art and computer-related classes. Then I got into a Vocational program because I wanted to be employed. I started the Master’s program in Library and Information Science, got culture-shocked, and withdrew for three years (it’s also likely that my symptoms flared because of the stress, now that I think about it).

During that time, I completed an Art degree from the aforementioned community college district, and made decent headway into a General Business certificate (which I decided to pull out of, after Microeconomics and Intro to Marketing caused me to wonder if my business model was actually viable, and what I was actually selling, if I was selling jewelry. At the time, I hadn’t done the introspection on the latter, and as for whether the jeweling angle was viable…it might have been, for someone who didn’t need health insurance, and was working in metal).

With support and about ten years down the line, I did go back to the Master’s program. I’m hoping to graduate this December. This is expressly for my own financial independence, leading to my physical independence. But I am finding that I like the, “Information Science,” portion of this, more than I expected. At this point, I’m wondering whether I will want or need further skills, and if so, in what?

Web Design? Information Science? Computer Science?

When I was younger, I did well in Math until doing well in Math contributed to making me a target of harassment and group exclusion. Because my experience was so horrible (it was: I would literally dissociate staring at my homework), I really didn’t want to take Math again in undergrad work (this is why I didn’t major in a Hard Science). I have dealt with Math four times since high school:

  • In Statistics (completed)
  • In Accounting (dropped)
  • In Calculus (dropped)
  • In Database Design and Implementation (in process)

…And I’m wondering whether to go back, in order to further work with computers.

As I’ve mentioned before, I only dropped Accounting because I got seriously ill during the class (I’m pretty sure it was the flu, and that I was not only sick but contagious) and did not feel I could catch up. I dropped Calculus because I had no idea if I was doing things right (and was too shy to engage the instructor for help during Office Hours).

It doesn’t help that I’ve been used to having so much Math homework that it was impossible to complete and check it all, within a night’s timeframe; so for a number of years when I was in Math, I just didn’t check my calculations. I’m also not certain I remember how to, anymore. (In addition, the utility of what we were being taught was never divulged; and I learned to play before working because the work would never end, otherwise. Not a great program.)

At this point I can see the usefulness of taking a gamble with one’s GPA in order to actually learn new things. But it feels easier to play it safe than to risk a poor grade. Of course, though, risking a poor grade also means that I might surprise myself with a spectacular performance, and I’d learn something I didn’t think I could.

I do suppose it depends on what I really want to do (or who I really want to be or become). Or what blocks I want or need to burst through.

I did just remember that there are a couple of places online where I can brush up on my Math skills. Plus, I work in the Library field: we have resources. If I want to enter a program on Information Science alone, I can see that I would need to work on this before taking a graduate entry exam. But what would I do with those skills? I can see being a Full-Stack Developer or something, but…

Hmm. I haven’t thought about it…