Just because it’s believed, doesn’t mean it’s real.

I know it’s time for me to start preparing for the night, but I’ve actually had some interesting thoughts to share.  One of them, is how much easier it is to talk and define oneself when one isn’t aware of exactly how crazy one sounds.  🙂

I have a tendency — a strong one, on reduced medication (I’ve started to get off of Prozac, which historically has helped clarify my thoughts) — to be creative and define myself in creative manners.  However, what has become clear to me is just how many versions of myself I can have…and that none of them may be entirely accurate.

It’s actually really easy to define (or redefine) oneself (especially if one is delusional; meaning that no matter what evidence is presented to one that the belief is untrue, one will continue to hold the belief despite it).  And it’s easy to believe these definitions of oneself are true:  it’s the brain’s way, to believe itself.

The hard part is sticking to these definitions, because when you’re trying to be anything you can conceptualize, there will inevitably be holes (the true self may be beyond conceptualization).  And after a while you realize that all these outgrowths are symptomatic of a deeper reality, which is that your tendency is to create and that given no creative outlet, you rewrite and re-iterate yourself, as versus your art projects or your crafts or your writing or music…or apps… 😉

(Water has been a strong theme in my life.  It will seek out holes and burst dams.  The more I try to hold it back, the more catastrophic the floodwaters can be.)

As I’ve moved forward in life, as versus paused to ascertain whether and how to just hold steady and avoid despair, I’ve not had time to devote to things like energy work or spiritual topics which may only hold a side-benefit of (supposedly) better health.

When I was a youth, I was drawn to Buddhist philosophies, because having a philosophy which recognized the existence of duhkha (popularly translated as “suffering,” but this is an inexact translation), and was based around relieving it, gave me some comfort.  It meant I wasn’t alone in my pain.

By now, I have integrated parts of Buddhist philosophy which can help:  but I don’t really think it’s…true, anymore.  (Pretty much, nothing classified as, “metaphysics,” “spirituality,” or, “religion,” fall into the “undisputably true” category, with me.  Even the category of “philosophy” is questionable [if you start out with the wrong givens, in philosophy, you can’t hope to follow them to truth] — although I do realize that this post is in essence, philosophical.)

People are creative — is something I’m taking as a given — and many more things can be thought of, than are true.  Buddhism is a creation which has been co-created by many people over more than two millenia, which has likely helped sustain a large number of lives over the years it has been in existence…but its functionality (its usefulness) doesn’t relate to its truth value.

That is, something can be useful, and not be true.  I may have, on this point, come to the realization of what is meant by the Buddhist concept of upaya (usually translated as “skilled means”).  Although all explanations I’ve heard of this concept seem condescending — I’m kind of understanding, at this point, that this is both an admission that doctrine itself may not be founded on truth, and that it is still important to address duhkha in life.

Earlier tonight, I realized one thing:  that people in certain spiritual communities (myself having been included among these at multiple times) have felt relatively free to say things, precisely because they felt those things with such certainty.  However, my experience with mental illness has made at least one thing clear:  a subjective feeling of certainty is not a determinant of truth value.  What do I mean by that?

I mean that just because we think and feel and “know” something is true, that doesn’t mean it is.  It’s the brain’s nature to “believe in” what it tells itself.  Now it is possible to have subjective (or internal) dissonance, and that also needs to be attended to:  oftentimes, it has been feelings like these which have let me know that I didn’t have both feet in reality.  (There does seem to be a spectrum of, “More True”-to-“Less True,” when it comes to seeking out who one is.)

And once you’ve been around long enough, it becomes apparent when others are attempting to manipulate you for their own gain.  (It’s one thing for a person to choose what to believe; it’s another for someone else to try and choose what they believe for them, in a manner that benefits the one doing the choosing and not the disempowered subject.)  Just because I recognize that I cannot fully grasp reality in my mind, doesn’t mean that I think anyone else can, either.

This has been the largest reason I’ve stayed away from spiritual institutions.  Although I do admit that I am now curious about attending Buddhist services.

The priest at my family member’s funeral was from a Pure Land sect:  Jodo Shinshu, to be exact.  But he seemed to have his head on straight, and to know what efficiently and urgently needed to be addressed.

It’s apparent to me that we tell ourselves what we need to tell ourselves in order to simply function and stay alive.  In this sense, creativity in humans functions as a survival mechanism.  And is this why so many creative people deal with mental illness, as well (only the most creative, survived)?  I’m not sure.

It’s apparent to me as well, that religion is an outgrowth of creativity.

I’m not certain exactly what will happen if and when I succeed in entirely kicking Prozac.  What I do expect is that my creative faculties will become less muted.  In turn, I’ll probably become more eccentric than the way you’re used to seeing me behave.  I hate to say I can’t help it, but…it’s just the space I normally inhabit.

I just have to make sure I don’t box myself in too tightly with definitions and proclamations of “truth”…because words don’t matter where it comes to what’s real.

Advertisements

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…

Sometimes things just fit together and you get a glimpse of the big picture:

Although I didn’t absolutely need a break from study and work, today — or, at least, didn’t think I did — it’s been nice to disengage from the career/training thing, for a bit.  Tonight I took a cue from what I had been writing about in an earlier draft of this post, and set to work on a few earrings I’ve wanted to repair for months, if not years.  I had stashed them away, and chose not to work on them, for one reason or another — even though in one case, the repair was incredibly easy (switching out sharp, steel earwires, for higher-quality silver ones).

What I’ve realized — and I’ve just earlier this week read a really, really interesting paper on Intellectual Property (IP) which in effect told me that I wasn’t violating anyone’s IP — is that the beadwork thing that I’ve been involved with is relatively…well, it’s niche.  It’s kind of like lacemaking, just not that niche (…I don’t think?).  🙂  It’s a craft and creative pursuit where the things that are made are not necessarily groundbreaking, and as such are relatively unaddressed in IP law.

Since I stopped making and selling beaded jewelry largely because I did not understand where I stood in regard to this…and now I know it’s OK to use techniques I’ve learned from books (just not to use patterns from books if I’m selling them for profit, re:  community regulations), and have a sense of a framework and where I stand (as part of a community of practice)…it’s kind of spurred off an enthusiasm that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Another reading I did, further back in the semester (I think we’re about halfway through, now), stated that most costs in manufacturing could be attributed to labor.  This was another thing which gave me some heart, because creating beaded objects is relatively inexpensive so far as materials go.  The vast majority of the cost is taken up in the time and skilled labor needed to produce these objects…and then there is the time taken up in managing a small (tiny) business.

And as a craft jeweler based in the U.S., I can’t compete in the same market as people who make beaded jewelry in other countries, and sell their jewelry in the U.S. for what is, in effect, below cost here.  If I make beaded jewelry, I’ll need to be strategic about it — and be willing to sell it for what it’s worth, meaning that I’ll need to make sure that my jewelry — in quality and added value — merits the cost I’ll be charging.

So…there’s this, and also the fact that my experiments in suminagashi, plus my recent experiment (one, so far) with linoleum block printing, plus my training in Digital Imaging, is paying off in my Web Design course:  I own the rights to files I’ve produced, to use as graphics in my Web pages — and those graphics are not born-digital, which I feel gives me a certain advantage.

I’m starting to see a theme, here:  I think it’s highly likely that I would be best off in a job in which I get to be creative.  Thus, Web Design is highly viable, as is Web Development with a Design component.  And, I can do it in a library setting, if I really want to contribute to a Public Good.  That is, I don’t have to leave Art and Design behind for Librarianship or Information Science:  there are ways to merge these paths, particularly where it comes to Info Science, plus Art and Design and technology.  And it is worth it to continue the pursuit of Art and Design, because creativity is what I’m actually “about.”  (I’ll need to work on that phrasing for my Elevator Speech.)

Right now I’m working on a new earring design which I came up with a couple of nights ago.  I can see where it needs to be tweaked; I can also see where the beads I’m using are inferior.  I don’t have photos now, but I should be able to take some, soon.  Essentially, the bright metallic coating on some of my glass beads (SuperDuos) rubbed off in the short time I was handling them in order to weave the pattern!  Kind of disappointing…unless they’re meant to be fatigued (like stonewashed denim)?  I’m not sure.

There is an upcoming bead show, but I’m uncertain as to whether I’ll actually be able to have the time to do it.  That’s all in the future, though:  for now, I’ll focus on what’s in front of me, and try not to deny myself too many opportunities for creativity.  ❤

 

Weird dreams over the last 48 hours…

I have just been wiped out, today.  Work demands + school demands + poor time management + biology.  Speaking of which, I had another dream about going into Biology and living on my own after my Master’s was done, though this time it would have been in some kind of cognitive science (in order to complement Human-Computer Interaction work).

Somehow, though…I don’t think I would be good in Biology:  too much biohazardous and wet stuff.  But I think in the dream, I had been gaining Physics skills (I don’t know how or why — it doesn’t make sense in the broader context), but it would have made sense in light of that.

The night before, I had a rather disturbing dream which makes sense in light of Rick & Morty, Silent Hill, Attack on Titan, the Book of Enoch, and Warm Bodies:  I dreamt I had my heart, eyes, and brain removed (while I was alive/standing there) and placed into a dead body, which I then became.  (Yes, it is scary to have your heart and eyes and brain ripped out of you in a dream)

While I had superpowers (notably, I could fly), I was still a monster who was leading people around (to potentially become like I was — though I don’t know if they knew that), and seeing things no normal person would see (the graphic contents of which are too disturbing to relate, here).

It would be interesting to make that one into flash fiction.  I don’t know what the plot would center around, though.  I still don’t know the motives of the character who transferred me.  Maybe I could begin by trying to figure that out, if I do write this out.

And then today, there was another transition-related dream (related to the “disturbing” stuff I saw in the dream I just mentioned — part of which was desiring a male form)…the key point of which is that it would narrow, rather than broaden, my options.

The only reason to move forward with it, then, would be 1) to satisfy curiosity and thus know the right decision to make (after the fact, unfortunately), or 2) to understand that the narrowed options would be more comfortable for me (than broader unused options; however, I do still use these).

I was still curious about what testosterone would feel like, but — it isn’t a good idea, speaking from a waking perspective.  Health concerns make it unlikely that I would be able to stay on testosterone for life without it eventually killing me (I have family history of heart troubles).  I don’t know why I keep having these dreams, though — I’ve been having them at least since my first gender therapist retired.

It seems that there’s a parallel memory thread going on in my brain which contains dream-related memories.  Hmm.

Anyhow…I should probably do something else, right now.  While it probably wouldn’t be best to spend the time researching the stuff in the horror dream…curiosity, you know…

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…

Maybe I need to write deep things sometime other than my lunch hour.

I think I recognize what has happened here:  I forgot that I am gender-fluid.  I seem to be rapidly flashing back and forth between (my own) gendered ideals.  I’m not sure how or why this happens…but I’ll get back to you after group.  I need to see if I can work this out in speech…

Sexual orientation? and me. :P

One of the reasons I posted what I did, last night, was to prepare myself for today…I have a meeting coming up, where I can talk about these issues.  What has come to light is that — I actually am wondering, now, if I am lesbian, but just have come to assimilate an inappropriate definition for the term.  Also:  I have been majorly socialized in the wider “queer” (LGBTQIA) community, with a focus on transgender and genderqueer experience…having been ostracized from lesbian groups early on.

While I don’t see myself to be “butch,” as who I am goes…really deep, deeper than it has in many of the butch women I’ve known (but not of the butch trans* men), I can relate to this experience, having both emulated and admired the people I knew and saw who were part of this really great queer community.  And I lived in that role for about two years, at least; though I think I was seen as butch and/or as trans*, long before that.

It’s just that I am thinking that chafing at men coming on to me, being asexual from a heterosexual reference point, and wanting to be recognized as masculine by a lady, that…that kind of sounds, well, more gay than trans.  It hasn’t helped, though, to have trans* men tell me that I’m “just a lesbian,” as I used to get in my mid-twenties.  It didn’t help for them to tell me that, disparagingly, like they were “more than lesbian,” you know?

I don’t think that the possibility of this has been…adequately explored, and explored with neutral power-levels.  While it’s very…apparent that I do have some male-leaning identity (my role models have always been drawn from a pool consisting of more than women), maybe it would be good to try and find some places to hang out where I could be exposed to women’s community.

I am aware that my socialization may cause some disturbance (it is different politically to fall in with women’s groups than with trans* or genderqueer groups), but maybe it’s still the best thing…