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…

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General update:

Yesterday, I realized that when I am bored and not knowing what to do, I should likely fill that time with work so that when I do have an idea of what to do, I will have the time to do it.

Right now, I’ve only got about 15 minutes to my name; apologies for this post not being entirely well thought-out.

I was able to organize a good deal of the paper storm in my computer room.  I think there was stuff lying around in there that dated back to this time last year.  I also was able to reorganize the tall bookshelf in there, and moved a bunch of the New Agey/energy work stuff to a smaller bookshelf.

I had the idea to play around with watercolor paint…but couldn’t think of any subject matter, so I went back to my Web Design homework.  Accordingly, I’m almost entirely done with my readings, there.  I should be able to complete my homework for that class, early:  then I can focus on my other two classes for the rest of the weekend.

Also:  I keep learning things about how to write and lay out and organize Web pages which let me know that I’m not doing it in an optimal manner (though how could I, really, without knowing this information?).  I’m concerned that all this knowledge will slip past me; so I’m considering creating a book which will hold notes containing “best practices” which I find in my readings.  As far as I know…that will date back to this last Summer with my User Experience class.  (I don’t think any of that information goes farther back than that.)

I will also, soon, have to figure out what classes to take in Spring…but that’s not terribly urgent, at this point.

All right, I should sign off right about now…

Finally got caught up!

I’m caught up with my studies!  😀

Earlier tonight, I lay down in bed to warm up and didn’t get back up until about 9:30 PM, meaning that it’s very possible that I won’t be able to fall asleep until after 2 AM.  😛  Given that, I’ve decided to let myself have a break, and chill here with my anti-blue-light glasses.  Of course, I’m kind of fragmented at the moment (too much chocolate, and disorganized sleep), so I keep moving in and out of this room to talk with people.  🙂  And playing around with my SUPA-cheap sketchbook.  😉  (Which I have some idea how to use, now, thanks to a lecture by Bill Buxton!  Again, I’m shown the difference between Art and Design…)

I know that I really need to clean and reorganize my office, and then clean and reorganize my bedroom.  Both spaces are very cluttered.  Though I roughly know what is in each pile, I may not remember where they are after I put them away!

I also need to reorganize the shelves in my office (not to mention, my files — I suspect there is much in there which is unnecessary to keep, at this point; and many folders can be migrated there).  I have been keeping copies of my textbooks…and the collection is growing.  It’s starting to get me to think that I’ll need to move some of the more esoteric stuff onto another shelf.  And I’m sure the receipt litter will get to me when things are mostly clear.

What’s really striking me, though…is that I’m really enjoying my Web Design and Web Usability classes, and have been able to cross-fertilize that with my Digital Archives class.  Not to mention, I’m fairly certain that keeping up this blog has prepared me for writing with relative ease, when I need to.  The difficult part of that is editing my copy down to something others won’t be too intimidated to read.  🙂  (I recently wrote 2+ single-spaced pages for an assignment on which most people spent two or three paragraphs.  No one commented; this is likely because no one read it.)  😛

Classes for next semester aren’t set for me yet, though I have some idea of what I’ll need to take if I want to be a competent Librarian, in addition to having Digital proficiencies.

Kind of a pain around this, though, is that I get the sense that one is never fully prepared to take on a new job when dealing with cutting-edge technology.  It seems there’s always something new to learn…not that this conflicts with my tendencies, but when foundational/recommended classes are changed out from under you, it’s kind of annoying.  (What would people graduating this semester in tech-heavy specializations feel, I wonder, knowing that people who came in later will learn something they won’t?)

It’s all relative, isn’t it?  Maybe I shouldn’t be too upset, and just plan on continuing education.  I did enter the program quite a while ago, after all…

The thing I had been upset about:  one class which has been recommended to newer admits into the program is inaccessible if one needs financial aid from the State to cover tuition and fees.  It just isn’t given to people who don’t have independent sources of cash.

I already have two classes lined up for next Summer (when the rules are different and I can take classes from this category); and they’ll likely be kickers.  I don’t think I’ll have the time to take a third (and still stay employed)…although I might be able to swing it in the Summer after graduation, before I’m too settled in a permanent job.

I do need to be thinking ahead to employment, though.  There is some more material I may have to give, here, but it’s on sketching and Design (quick/dirty/fast/iterative), and I’m not sure I can articulate it at this hour.

And then there are books…which I check out from the Library and then don’t read, because I’m too busy working through classes.  The nihongo-learning ones and the sewing one…I might be tempted by, but I am realistically not sure how much time I’ll have for either Japanese-language acquisition or sewing, until the start of Winter Break.

Well, I guess it isn’t as though I’m wasting my time.

I think the brain-fog is hitting me, so I’ll sign off, now…just a note, though:  I haven’t been able to keep to the schedule I’ve talked about recently, and still get my work done.  It’s ideal, and it works when I’m not busy…but I’m busy!

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.  ❤

 

Catching up, and trying to take care of myself at the same time.

I need to manage my time, better.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of my work, this semester, is from one class.  While I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, in effect, it is a lot of work.  It’s also kind of stressful in that it seems, whenever I take some time out for myself, I fall behind.

For instance, now.  I know that writing here doesn’t have much to do with my studies (other than being a warm-up for a written assignment:  it’s hard to start cold), but I don’t think I’ve realistically done much other than study, eat, go to work, and sleep, over the past 5 days.

Oh, wait, no.  I did play around with some beads to make earring focals, but that…that was intentional.  There was one day — Monday or Tuesday — in which I started studying when I woke up, and aside from dinner, did not stop reading for 9.5 hours, until I went back to bed.  But I’ve been catching up on three weeks of work, which went by I-don’t-know-how (other than the fact that the class with the surprise heavy workload was the class with the almost-no-workload earlier in the semester).

I need to change the pattern of not checking the Learning Management System when I need a break, because then I don’t know how much I’m falling behind.  Of course, not thinking about it is kind of the point; but when in other semesters this would have been a viable option because the amount of falling behind was negligible, this semester it is not.  I simply have too much work due too soon.

So…it really does look like my life is again circling around my career choice.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing? but I’m having to use disability accommodations in order to get through it all.  That’s largely because of the sleep issue.

Speaking of which, it’s been working relatively well to take medication at 9 PM, take care of hygiene, fall asleep around 11, and wake up randomly between 6 and 7:30 AM.  The problem is falling back asleep after I wake up, even when my alarms go off.  This happened today, and so even though I woke up at 6 AM (before sunrise), I repeatedly fell back asleep, and didn’t actually get up until 12 PM.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that I didn’t take medication last night until around 11:30 PM.  The later I take it, the more bombed-out I am the next day.  I think it would be best to stick to the 9 PM med time when I can, even though it feels like I’m wasting time in which I’m aware:  9 PM is early enough so that I’m not totally wiped out the next day.  And if I can manage to find a way to stay out of bed after I first wake up, this should be workable (it should be easier as my body gets used to going to bed and waking up at stable hours).

Of course, that means that I’ve got a little less than 8 hours left to get my homework done, today.

I’ll get to work.

Sorry, this entry is just logistical work. :)

I’m giving myself permission to write now, instead of mindlessly scanning my archives.  I have a couple more things I need to read before tomorrow evening, some backed-up readings in my Usability class, and some stuff to read for Web Design.  Tomorrow…should be full of reading, for me!

Luckily, reading isn’t the hard part.  Putting the pieces together after the reading is done, is the hard part.  The positive thing is that I should be working on all my classes tomorrow, and it should mostly be passive, meaning, relatively unintimidating.  Though I should also work on editing the document due Friday.

The day after that should be Monday, and I should be working intensively on my Web Design homework.  I think the other things that are due, aren’t due until Friday.

I also need to upload some images…not the most fun thing to do, but; when it needs to be done, you know, it just does.

Tuesday will probably be taken up with finishing the Web Design homework and searching for information on a content management software package that I may need to know more about.

And, I think, Thursday will be when the next round of material is due in Usability.

This stuff just backs up when I take time for myself.  *sigh*  Actually, I’m fairly certain that staying up extra late on Wednesday night/Thursday morning even though I was tired and likely had been exposed to a virus, just basically ruined the following two days for me.  And I’m thinking that I’m going to need to learn to expect surprise extra assignments from being involved in group work.

On the bright side, I got some new shoes!

(…)

Okay, so…what makes sense, to do, right now?  Take a shower, take meds, get ready for bed and probably, go to sleep.

That doesn’t mean that I want to.  Even though I can wake up early tomorrow and just hammer away at this work.  What can I do to help myself stay out of bed, tomorrow morning?

I can eat, then check here…and maybe start in on my Web Design study.  I think that will help — I actually enjoy the work for that class.

Then I can work on my Archives readings, check in on my group work, and see where to go from there.

Weight gain and strategies to manage sleep without Prozac

It’s been a longstanding thing with me that I’ve wanted to get off of one medication in particular, due to weight gain.  When I began it a number of years ago, it was because I was having great difficulty with wakefulness — a side effect caused by another of my medications.

I realized that weight gain was a likely consequence, but I didn’t bet on constant, steady, highly sensitive weight gain, meaning that I would have to constantly monitor what I was eating and drinking (particularly with sugars; ironically, although I can drop weight with a high-fat, low-sugar diet, one Frappucino will make me gain about a pound), and whether I was moving around enough, just in order to maintain my weight at a relatively steady level.  This is even though I have a metabolism which is normally high, I’ve never before had to manage my weight or my food and drink in my life, and 135 lbs. was heavy for me, at one point (actually, my previous high was 120, but I was 20 years old, so that doesn’t count).

Recently, I unintentionally missed my morning dosage for three days in a row; and realized that the belly bulge I’ve been fighting, significantly flattened.  Although I have been maintaining my weight (just not putting back on the ~4-5 lbs. I lost when I was last sick — which is hard when your body thinks food is scarce and that it’s starving), I have been doing this without the benefit of constant exercise.  If I exercised more, I’m sure I would lose weight — but I’d lose a lot more of it if I stopped the troubling medication, and exercised.

Not to mention that I’ve recently lost the definition in my chin and throat.  The next step is to gain a double chin, and that is not what I want.  And although my blood sugar numbers have been good, I can’t bet on that continuing, if I continue to gain abdominal fat.  And I really, really don’t want to become insulin-resistant or diabetic, both of which can be caused by this medication.

Not to mention that it’s harder to exercise when you’re trying to move around 35 extra pounds and you get winded from walking up a slight grade.  My doctor had wanted me to go down to 135 from 145, last time I saw her.  Right now I’m at 161, to be gentle about it and not include the weight I’m at after I’ve consumed anything.

Against certain advice, I’ve written to my doctor about wanting to titrate off of this (i.e. gradually lessen my dosage until it’s nil), sooner rather than later; and I do admit to being angry about letting her convince me to stay on the medication, when I talked to her about stopping it six months ago.  The reason to talk to her is to gain her assistance in stopping this in a safe way.  I don’t want to relapse, which stopping cold-turkey invites.  I have titrated off of medications before, though.  I’m just not certain that taking it off-and-on (I only have one size caplet) is really the best way to reduce the levels of medication in my bloodstream.

If it is possible, though, it might be useful to take the pill on two days and off one day, and then reduce that to 50/50, then off two days and on one day, then totally off; or something similar.  (I’m just extrapolating this from past experience.)

But what I wanted to write about here, really, was what I’ve learned about managing my sleep, during the time that the medication was ostensibly helping me not be groggy all the time.  I think I’ve been on this medication for at least three years, though I’m not sure of the details.  Over that time, I’ve learned strategies to manage my sleep and wakefulness cycles, which I didn’t know of when I started it:

  1. Take night medication at a scheduled time (9 PM) with the aim of waking up early the next day.  Taking sedating medication at 11 PM or later will ruin the next day by making me groggy until evening (~5 PM), which encourages staying up late (3-4 AM, at times) to try and catch up on all the functionality that was missed in the daytime.  That, in turn, throws off my Circadian rhythm.
  2. Get ready for bed immediately after taking medication.  I don’t have to go to bed directly after this, but getting knocked out by sedating medication (this is not the stimulant medication) often means that I become too tired to wash my face, shower, floss, or brush my teeth before collapsing.
  3. If the prior two things are set in place, I don’t have to worry about getting enough sleep, when to go to sleep, or my personal hygiene.  The medications will knock me out in about 1.5 hours (10:30 PM), most nights.  This also means that by 7:30 AM (the earliest I rise), I’ll have gotten a full 9 hours of rest.
  4. Leave the shades open a bit so that morning light can enter the bedroom as the sun comes up.  This is in lieu of a mood light (full-spectrum/daylight lamp) in Winter, though in the latter situation, I may need a daylight lamp on a timer.  The sunlight aligns my biological clock to help me be wakeful at or before the time my alarm goes off.
  5. Don’t stare at computer/e-reader/smartphone screens too long late at night; either this, or wear anti-blue-light lenses when working here late at night:  the blue light seems to make the brain think that it’s daytime when it isn’t.
  6. Don’t nap in the late afternoon (after ~4 PM), and don’t lay down for “just a rest” at 9 PM (especially without taking care of hygiene):  just go to bed, or try and tough it out until you do.  If I lay down late at night without planning to go to sleep, my body takes it as a power nap and may not fall asleep until 1-3 AM.
  7. Green tea (or oolong, if I’m really tired or want something brisk) is a good, gentle stimulant for me.  Paired with the sedating medications I’m on, it doesn’t stop me from falling asleep at night (or even in the day, sometimes), either.  It helps with energy and wakefulness.
    However, coffee and caffeinated beverages (e.g. cola) aren’t good for me — they can cause heart arrhythmia, palpitations, and nosebleeds.  And when I drink tea as a stimulant, I need to drink real tea, not bottled sweetened iced tea (it saves on calories) — and second-brewing and on is much lower in caffeine.  In addition…there are some teas, like fermented Pu-Erh teas, which are supposed to help avoid weight gain.
    Yes, this means I am using the tea especially for its medicinal/drug-related properties, although as I state above, caffeine alone does not have this effect.  I’m at peace with my use of this, at this point, though I have to remember not to overuse the tea:  it will cause cravings (sometimes at inappropriate times, like late at night/before dawn) and addiction.  To avoid caffeine addiction and keep the tea useful in helping with wakefulness, I need to abstain at times, even if it’s hard.
    A caveat:  it’s good to use a whitening toothpaste after drinking tea, because even green tea will stain one’s teeth (I haven’t tried white tea).
    Another caveat:  Holy Basil (Tulsi) tea also has stimulating properties, though may interact with certain medications.  If I get addicted to camellia sinensis tea, I think Tulsi acts along a different channel.
  8. To be wakeful in the daytime when it is hard to rouse oneself:  give yourself permission to do something other than work or sleep.  I’m surprised how often this one works.  Sometimes it’s not that I’m tired, so much as that I don’t want to face my work out of anxiety (and/or I’m hungry), and I feel bad overtly opting to do something other than work, or sleep.
    But doing something other than work gives me a reason to get out of bed, and may lead to work later on, after I’ve satisfied the drive to live (instead of work).  In any case, it’s better to be active in the daytime and asleep at night, if I can help it:  I don’t work night shift.

I’ll try and tag this in a way so I don’t forget it, or I could add it as a curated post to one of my Pages.

And yes, I do want to make a “Tea” entry now, but I think it’s best that I get ready for bed…