And life resumes.

Tonight I turned in the last of my assignments for Summer. I don’t think they were perfect, but they’re off my plate, now.

The good thing is that I got full marks on the first two assignments, so I had 55% going into the last two weeks. This class is also only 1 credit, so a low grade isn’t going to ruin my GPA. (I am already in an Honors society, too, and can’t have that revoked…)

What can I say, but, IT’S OVER!

That class was so frustrating. At least if we had used a real programming language, I could have looked for help from someplace other than my Professor.

I also realized that my love of making things doesn’t necessarily extend to Programming, which is more like, “delivering instructions to a computer.” Not design or writing or crafting; because I’m not doing the work myself, the computer is doing the work.

Now I can return my attention back to work and my e-Portfolio, though to be honest, I’m thinking about doing some jewelry work (likely incorporating leather: I got the idea to make button loops with this so that the buttons wouldn’t be abraded by glass beads. There is also the option of knotting button loops (when using upholstery thread), though I’ve found that braiding them makes a more secure connection).

If I take out my 14g jewelry in the morning and put in light earrings; at the end of the day, I can still put the 14g jewelry back in. I am planning on exploiting this. 🙂 I also have a lot of earwires, so I can toy with designs all I want.

I am not sure yet what heavy earrings will do to my piercings (I’m thinking of a set of sunstone earrings in particular — my first attempt at chain tassels), but I would probably be in danger of losing them, from having the piercing stretched out. Luckily, I have a lot of earring stoppers (plastic stoppers to secure the backs of standard earring posts or earwires).

I am also not sure as to whether my piercings will in fact close up to a more normal size if I take the 14g earrings out, entirely. The problem with doing that, is that then I tend to miss them, and have to go through another cycle of wearing 18-16-14g, which takes at least 12 weeks to get back to the point at which the 14g earrings will again fit and not damage my lobes. It takes longer than that to get them to be able to move freely again.

No, I do think I’ll stay at 14g — but this is as thick as I’m going.

As long as we’re on the subject of appearances, I ended up trimming my hair instead of cutting it short; but I don’t know how long I’ll keep it like this. I mean, I actually look fairly pretty to myself, right now. I don’t know what changed except for beginning to use a different skin treatment. It also looks like my weight shifted. I don’t know what causes that.

At this point, the major issues I have with my hair are ongoing scalp health, and damage from heat styling. The heat styling is to prevent damage from snarling (which happens often enough with my hair wavy).

The only reason I know the heat has damaged it is that when combing it out in the shower with some kind of lubricant (it’s often difficult to comb, dry), I can feel it stretch when I hit a snarl. It’s not supposed to stretch. However, if I straighten it, I can keep it rolled up in a bun when I need to, out of the way and relatively clean. It’s also long enough to put the bun on the crown of my head, which minimizes pulling and discomfort (I often get a sore scalp if I even wear a tightly bound ponytail).

What’s good about this as well is that if I twist my hair down, I can wrap my hair in a scarf, and not worry about getting dust into it from my work.

On the employment front, I have a short amount of time to apply for a higher position, which I’m thinking is now appropriate (I’ve been getting a little antsy at work from not using my skills to their fullest potential). I still can’t drive on my own, though, and I need to get on that and get my license. If I had a license, I could be a substitute and not have to worry about balancing part-time work and full-time school along with having to arrange for transportation. But I am going into my last semester, so if I get hired next year, that will be cake.

I’m thinking that power issues may be tripping out some people I work with. It is probably past time to move up a rank.

I also spoke with someone today about support around getting back into creative writing. The meeting went really well.

The big thing for me about writing (particularly, fiction) is that it brings up a lot of issues that I still need to process, and it tends to bring them up all at once. So having someone to talk to about them, is really good. From what I heard, working through past issues with the writing is likely better than avoiding them by not writing.

It’s also something to take into account that the problems which bothered me before when I was writing, may not necessarily bother me now.  I mean, my last major extended experience in writing fiction was in undergraduate work. I was a lot less stable then than I am now, and beginning to write again now, doesn’t mean I’ll be going back to being like I was, before.

And, yeah…the person I was talking with did bring up the, “method acting,” tangent that I had also wondered about, but never looked up… In specific, the fear was that I’d get into character and then forget who I was. But I think for me, it times out after 3-4 days, even if I do lose my grip on myself.

Also, that mediumship thing about ending a session, I’m told, sounds applicable.

Alright, I should get some rest — I just realized that it’s now after midnight, and I’ve got stuff to do, tomorrow.

(and it’s not going to be graded.)

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Gently stretching earlobes…and one more piece of a business model.

…and I mean, very gently, stretching earlobes!

Today I was able to find a new set of 14g spirals to put into my piercings, which would be the first earrings I’ve ever gotten at this gauge which are especially meant to be decorative.

I meant to ask about whether I should be concerned that when I went up to 14g after having the 16g in for a few weeks, I was playing with my piercing (sliding it back and forth to lubricate the ring and separate it from the skin) and heard a “pop”…Luckily, there was no oozing, no bleeding, no pain, no infection. Just a sound, and just once.

I was originally pierced at 14g (which is maybe 1.5-2mm wide?) and had gone down to nothing (22g is my finest earwire) and slowly back up to 14g, several times (maybe 4-6 times over something like a decade), so I thought maybe it was safe to accelerate things if my 16g earrings were loose and fine. I didn’t anticipate that my skin or scar itself might get moody and expand and shrink on me (which is what I think it did).

I don’t think I’ll be doing that in the future.

I’ve also experienced the feeling of a hook digging into my piercing from playing with it, as well (as though my fingernail had caught and torn the skin) — but again, no pain after that, no oozing, no bleeding, no infection.

These both happened on the left side. The latter sensation I can attribute to the possibility of a snag on a rough part of the earring (the piercer’s plier marks on the ring: these were the same rings I had been pierced with) — which is why I got new earrings. The former…? Well, I’ve heard that it’s normal for many tiny fractures and microtears to happen when gauging up, and am assuming it is that.

From advice online, I probably should have gone back down to 16g and waited out a healing period, but I didn’t. I’m hoping I’m not going to pay for that with a weak spot in my piercing forevermore (or until I get someone to punch out the surrounding tissue so it can heal correctly).

It’s also possible that my body is working out damage made over years, of trying and failing to find the actual hole in my ear, with my (sharp, largely mass-produced) earwires. I’m fairly certain that there should be some gratuitous scarring, though I can’t remember if I always had trouble finding the piercing on the right side, or the left side…but I’m thinking it was the left.

But today, I made it out to a quality body jewelry/piercing/tattoo place and purchased the tactilely (is that a word?) gorgeous surgical steel spirals I have in, now. Well, actually, M got them for me! They were $22, and I love them. There’s a beauty about them that is missing when someone makes an earring and tacks it onto a cheap, sharp, thin earwire (granted, they’re not all cheap and sharp, only the worst ones are — and I’ve found rare limited options in heavier “wires” [sometimes — as in the case of bronze — these are more likely cast units, not wires] up to 16g, but I think the general jeweling community stops, at that point).

Trying to find information on stretched piercings (and jewelry for such) online has got me thinking about targeting the large-gauge earring market, in between conventional jewelry (22g) and plugs/tunnels (let’s just say 0g/8mm, for now). I’m not sure if I mentioned this too often, before, but I have taken some Jewelry (silversmithing) classes, and I’ve been beading since I was 14 years old, so I’ve been through some minimal ropes where it comes to design, and construction. I also have a much better idea of where I stand as regards Intellectual Property than I used to (technique is no one’s property, unless it’s patented, and it usually isn’t).

I already know where to find heavy-gauge sterling and fine silver wire, and I know how to file and round the ends of wire, in addition to forging, annealing, hardening, pickling, and polishing. I also know where I can learn beginning lapidary, though I wouldn’t be quick to jump on that…powdered rock from sources unknown isn’t the safest thing to deal with, although carving is alluring.

I didn’t end up going into jewelry, because it’s hard to make a good living at being a jeweler, unless one is a Fine Jeweler and dealing with gold (allowing one to drastically raise the price of the finished product, introducing a large profit margin)…and gold extraction is known for being terrible for the environment (unless things have revolutionized within the last 10 years). This is why the group, Ethical Metalsmiths, was formed.

One of the reasons I let my piercings shrink up to wear conventional jewelry is that I had a concern that large-gauge earring options would disappear in the West during my lifetime. But if I fill that gap myself, there really isn’t anything to be concerned about — for myself, at least. And I know that there is a market. When I wear my own jewelry, clients find me. They literally see my jewelry and stop me.

This hasn’t happened with large-gauge earrings (it’s a rather obvious assumption that I can’t blacksmith and that spring-loaded rings are likely specially made), but I know that when I wear what I do have, others with large-gauge piercings, notice — and are especially kind to me! (Well, I’m thinking of one recent person in particular, but I know a lot of people with expanded piercings.)

I’m writing this post because I can see a potential future in this, even though it will take work — a lot of work. But I’ve found a market gap, which is something I didn’t see, before. And crafting earrings is something I knew I would have to do if I did go into jeweling, because there is a much shorter time-frame for execution and thus a lower labor cost than for something like a necklace, bracelet, anklet, etc.

There’s also a lower materials cost, before we get into things like matched cut gems (though…transparent sparklies aren’t really my main aesthetic, anymore…well…fire opals excluded, let’s say!…but those are kind of niche, in themselves).

Those two things together mean that I can sell at a lower cost. That would assist me in reaching my target market (Millennials/Gen X/Gen Y), who in turn will likely be willing to pay more for something they know they can’t find, normally. All of this together means that I have a better chance of a profit margin that is healthy enough to stay alive on…and maybe the possibility of making jewelry that I’m really into (earrings and not)!

If, that is, I can find my market, which likely means targeting tattoo and piercing parlors to sell my work. It will also likely mean remaining urban. And getting down with people I might like…jewelers, lapidarists, customers.

Yes, there is a community aspect of this, though it’s loose. (It’s always good when it’s loose!)

I wonder if I should do some market research? And maybe, if I make some prototypes and/or designs, consult with the place where I bought my jewelry, today?

Body issues — feeling better.

I have work to do, but I’m drawn to writing, again.

First, on the exercise and weight tangents: I’m feeling better. Recently I went through three days of (legitimately) forgetting to take the medication which is making me gain weight (I’m taking it every other day, now) and actually dropped a couple of pounds within those three days.

This is encouraging, because it means that when I get all the way off of this, I have a good chance of my body doing what it did before (where I mostly didn’t have to consider calories or fat or sugar, because I just didn’t gain weight [outside of highly stressful situations, like that first semester of grad school]).

I’m trying to tell myself, I only have 10 more days to go, and then I can consider fully stopping the Prozac — or calculate out when that should occur. In any case, everything will be done in two weeks, for better or worse.

Very recently, I did some exercise, outside of my regular routine. That could have also contributed to the weight loss, even though it was relatively simple and very gentle stuff. I also feel stronger, like my body is literally pulling itself together. I feel like my posture’s better, and everything’s better-contained, plus I’m not dragging myself around (I noticed myself picking my feet up lightly when moving at work, today).

I’ve also realized that I really was running myself ragged, before; but I hadn’t been sure if what I was feeling was normal. It wasn’t. After Thanksgiving, I gave myself time to recuperate, and it actually did help — a lot — to the point that I wasn’t dreading getting back to homework, anymore. I think a big part of the problem was the group project we assigned ourselves. That, on top of the constant work from my Digital Archives class…it wasn’t great.

And beyond that, I’ve realized that my textbook is again poorly-written, but I wouldn’t know that it was the book and not me, most likely, unless I was an English major (which I was, in undergrad). So it’s very possible to see when authors use the verb “to be” in their sentences, around 80-85% of the time (aiming for 30% of the time, isn’t bad). It’s not a crime to use the passive voice, but since I’ve been learning Japanese, I just see big “=” signs whenever some form of “to be” is used (which is basically what it means), and then I’m sitting there wondering how these people learned to write. That wouldn’t have flown in Creative Writing.

I’m trying not to be snarky. I’m learning that anonymity online isn’t really anonymity, and I’m learning it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to associate my thoughts with my (real-life) identity. But I don’t want to be insulting people out of callousness or poor word choice, and then have to go back and erase or hide it because suddenly my name is connected with the opinion.

Also…I’ve been writing about the gender tangent elsewhere, and I’m feeling a lot better, now. Essentially, I came out in one of my classes. Just being able to talk openly, and have people know I’m not a woman is a relief (I tend to slide back into being seen as one and then not correct others’ assumptions, which then often leads to hiding behind those assumptions).

I have…also, realized what my favored method of walking in the world is. (It’s not dresses, though those can be more physically comfortable when it’s hot.)

I’m not sure if I could explain it, but basically loose oversized shirts and jeans, help things. Long hair is good. Tight body is good. I want to, now (possibly), size up to 10g in my earrings — because I hardly ever wear the feminine earrings I’ve designed myself. I may have a lot of them, but I’m not strongly driven to wear them (or any jewelry, for that matter). In this case, it’s better to just keep the rings in my ears; that way, I don’t forget to put them in, and they make washing the piercings, easier.

It is nice to have the option of wearing a skirt, though. I just wouldn’t do it as a default.

And I want to get back into martial arts. I haven’t decided which, at this point, though I remember something coming over the radio which said that those who had the least fighting experience tended to overexaggerate their skills in a fight, the most. (I did think that was hilarious, though I have used my skills [observation and avoidance, aside] outside of the dojo very few times, to memory.)

I am actually thinking of something in the line of Tae Kwon Do…because I’m not scared of ruining my joints anymore. There’s a place I’ve found which teaches Kali, as well…but the students didn’t look very motivated. The major drawback to any of this is getting hit in the head while sparring, which will cause brain damage (something I’ve been told to avoid, with my condition). That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to spar, though. It looks fun, and more useful than what I learned in my first internal martial art.

Ah — now I remember the difference between soft and hard styles, and internal and external arts. I’m not sure I’m up to explaining it now, but at this point in my life, I’m after something practical (external) as versus spiritual (internal). Since I’m not that huge, a soft style (pins/joint locks & breaks/center-of-gravity manipulation) would be of more use to me than a hard style (brute force). So a soft, external martial art? Maybe I should run some searches on that…(Aikijutsu? Jujitsu?)

…though the high kicks in Tae Kwon Do…I miss that. At the time I left, I was just before the point at which I would have learned to do a roundhouse. There are intrinsic problems with depending on kicks, however.

It would also be great to get back into running. I miss the speed thrill I got when I was a kid, playing Tag. Though now I know I can severely damage myself doing it, it’s still awesome to accelerate from nothing to top speed (I just need to do it over a forgiving surface, like turf!). There’s just something that gets released, in sprinting (or in skating, for that matter) — as in martial arts, it requires total focus so you don’t mess yourself up.

I think I just want to be more physically capable than I currently am. It also wouldn’t hurt to tighten things up so my body is held properly, and my organs aren’t loose, and so that I’m more capable of defending myself. And it wouldn’t hurt to get buff again (in a functional way!) either.

This is a good start. It’s actually a really good start.

Gah, how many years has it been since I let out a full kiai?

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…

Bombarded with TG dreams, today

It’s taken me a while to get around to even writing this, but:  I’m feeling all right, right about now.  For a bit I was thrown off by a couple of dreams about gender transition, and myself as male.  I am guessing…this means that my gender identity is still fluid?

I think I actually had three gender-related dreams, over the last 24 hours.  I can’t remember all of it, though, save a reflection of myself with my hair down and my face dark and barely visible, with an eye partially blocked by blood.  The second was an insight that the major thing blocking me from testosterone (in the dream) was the idea that if I were male, I would have cultural limitations imposed on me (like not being permitted to wear dresses [without ridicule]) which would then require other manners of expression which I did not yet know.  The third thing was the insight that even if testosterone administration made me go bald, I’d still have extra facial and body hair to cancel it out…so I’d actually be growing more hair.  😉  (I was assuming that I’d eventually gain a full beard…which I shouldn’t bet on.)

And I am not sure about this, but…I found an old post relating to getting a casual linen blazer…for $60, which (at the time) I thought was too much.  (On top of this, it was dry clean only, and too casual for job interviews; and I wasn’t planning on going on any dates.)  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t pick it up, because it would likely not fit me, right about now.  But I’ve got an idea to go out and pick up something like it, plus an actual nice tie of my own.  I’ll have to have D show me again how to tie it, but it will be nice to have a (personalized!) dress shirt, jacket, and tie which I can wear with slacks.

I’ll have to remember to measure my neck and shoulders before shopping for a Mens’ dress shirt, though.  I wonder if my neck has now reached at least 14″ in circumference?  (This is the smallest size in Mens’ dress shirts in my country.)  Or — it is possible that there will be something comparable in the Womens’ section.  I just have not tried on too many Womens’ button-up dress shirts — they can be really expensive, and they tend to limit movement because of the shoulder construction; plus, they’re not made to wear with ties (meaning I can’t properly tighten the tie), and they fit closer to the body than I’m comfortable with.

Yeah, I should try for Mens’.  Especially as I now wear a Mens’ M from the store I’m planning to visit, and have sized out of their Womens’.  I haven’t mentioned it, but I’m hovering around 161-162 lbs. right now.  (Though most of the belly weight which I have been concerned about, doesn’t look bad when I’m standing with good posture — it just looks terrible with poor posture.)  I’m sure that if I exercise more than I need to in order to simply stop the weight gain, and keep drinking water instead of sweetened drinks, I should actually go down in weight.

I’m starting to wonder if some of it is hormonal — I do deal with hirsutism (the reasons for this [other than a naturally high testosterone count and apparent predisposition to high testosterone sensitivity] have never been explained to me, but other people with hirsutism whom I’ve known, have had PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome]…which apparently, I don’t.  PCOS can cause people to become overweight [insulin resistant?], grow extra facial and body hair, and have acne, like myself).

The medications can’t be helping, though, either.  One of the major factors in my gaining weight, has been an unchecked amount of sweet drinks.  Eating ice cream and a conscious, sparing, mindful amount of candy will actually have less effect on me than drinking two or three sodas a week — or one Frappuccino — even though that sounds ludicrous.

I also have found older postings here related to working out for muscle mass…which sounds pretty good about now, as I do have a bench and weights, and it would be simple to add in upper body exercises to my routine.  It would be nice to have a couple of set days of the week to do this, though, so it isn’t just “whenever I feel like it.”  I started out working out about every other day (sometimes every day), but now it’s just like “whenever I see myself getting out of shape.”

Hopefully, I can get more motivated on gaining muscle mass, at least, even if I’m not going down in weight:  my fasting glucose numbers were fairly excellent, considering the medications I’m on.  So I shouldn’t have to worry too much about insulin resistance or diabetes, for now (to which weight gain from my medications can predispose one).  My counselor also wanted me to get out in the fresh air.  It would be nice to go walking or running, and it would help my cardiovascular development, as well as likely helping me get to sleep and feel better in the daytime.

And my hair…still hasn’t been trimmed.  I found that it is long enough for me to braid most of it back, however…which I haven’t done in a really long time.  I may do it more often, as it allays the fact that my ponytail insulates my upper back.  It will probably keep it cleaner at work, too.

I’ve found a trick that helps me braid my own hair as well:  basically, putting loose ponytail holders around two out of three bundles of hair, and sliding them down as I braid, eventually sliding one of them off and using the other to bind the end of the braid.  It’s not easy to braid my own hair without seeing it–! and it doesn’t help that it doesn’t get regularly taken care of, either.  Maybe I can have M actually straighten and trim it, if I’m going to wear it braided!

But anyhow…I’m doing okay.  If anything, I’ve found that my gender identity kind of wobbles, and it is nice to have a fully intact body.  But I super would like to get back to the version of myself with big muscles, and the physical power that goes with them, without trying to appear stereotypically male.  I think that — and wearing more clothes which fit, allow movement, and are masculine (whether from the Mens’ or Womens’ sections) — would actually go a long way toward helping me feel better.  Right now my hips are the biggest thing disallowing me from wearing long-hemmed Mens’ shirts easily, but I kind of like my hips.  I also like the long hems.

Yeah, that’s getting into TMI, but, well, you know–!

It isn’t as bad to gain weight there as it is to gain weight, some other places…

And I really do want to get back into running, as well…I’m missing the speed and agility of my youth…

Nonbinary thoughts…

Been a while since I did an identity post, eh?

I really should be working on homework, but for the majority of the day, I’ve been working…so…more work is not high on my list, right now.  Something did come to mind, last night, though — as I was attempting to fall asleep.  This is the fact that California has recently legally recognized a gender status other than F or M.  This information came to me through the following blog:

California recognizes legal non-binary status

This, in addition to the fact that I have been invited to a gender non-binary group (I have yet to explore this), and was thinking about alternative body modifications last night…plus the fact that I’m back in Library School (we’ll see for how long) and have recently found pay scales for library work…it’s just something that opens up a lot of possibilities.  Particularly so, as the Library community is really, really liberal where it comes to minorities.

My attention has been drawn to my embodiment, recently, as I am back in Library School, and thus have to watch out for eating too much out of stress.  If I weren’t on medications, it likely wouldn’t be an issue; but small changes in my diet — like one sugared beverage a day — can cause me to gain weight, now.  Last night I was also paying attention to this because of my birth control:  my cycle has become so light on this, as to almost be nonexistent.  (Sorry, half the planet goes through something like this; so far as I’m concerned, talking about it should be considered normal.)

Last night was particularly tough, too, because it was hot, and I had ingested so much water (in addition to the problem of water retention, from my cycle) that it was causing a bit of pain.  I mentioned Spiro to M and D, who are relatively liberal on other medications, to the response that I don’t have to take a pill for everything (trust me, they take pills much more freely than I do).  Spiro is spironolactone; it reduces the levels of androgens in the body, but is also called a “water pill” because it causes one to have to use the restroom a lot.

Right now I’m still fighting with my acne and shaving my face at least once every two days.  I’m sure I wrote about this before:  I have a condition which causes my androgen (tested blood testosterone) levels to be high, which (along with feelings of security that I can’t be impregnated) is the main reason I’m on birth control.  The acne and the facial hair follow the high androgen levels; it doesn’t help that I seem particularly responsive to androgens.

I am not certain what is going on with my hormones, at the moment; I do know that no one besides me wants to test my testosterone again, even though my levels came up abnormally high when I had it done before I started birth control.  The facial hair hasn’t spread, but it’s still there, and will be there until I start doing something like threading or waxing or electrolysis (I think my skin is too dark for laser).

Given how many women I’ve seen go through permanent hair loss (lack of eyebrows) through plucking, though, waxing is a viable option.  The problem is becoming secure enough with having substantial hair on my face to give the wax something to stick to.  Before now, I haven’t touched it, because I have never really been certain I’d never go on testosterone, and if I went on testosterone, I’d want a full beard, not one which is thin in patches.

I know that if I do rev it up a bit and start exercising, this will increase my androgen levels…though that, in this case, with a higher metabolism and reasons to bathe more frequently, would likely be healthier than where I’m at right now.

The ideal case would have me working out to the extent that everything tightens up (in a good way) and I get a bit of muscular hypertrophy.  That is:  big muscles.  This, in addition to mens’ clothing (which I’d be able to wear better with less fat), and…maybe clearer skin and eyeliner…that would be ideal.  And at that point, facial hair wouldn’t even really look out of place.  It would be nice to be able to braid my hair back and be seen as a beautiful young man.  (It lasts until I talk.)

I know how to do this; the problem is getting it from the point of being an idea, to one of being a reality.  Right now I’m a little over 150 lbs — which is a weight that, at least, I feel secure at — though I’m told I don’t look it.  I’ve been told by members of the local Female-to-Male transgender community that working out for big muscles is stereotypical and doesn’t come close to actually living as a man.  The thing is, I’m not a man, and I don’t really want to live as a man.

I don’t really see myself as a woman, either, but it’s gotten to the point that I don’t correct people when they see what they see and it doesn’t match what I see.  I don’t need everyone else to agree with me.  What I need is some way to find my own way in the world and skirt the homophobes (some of whom are trans) and transphobes (some of whom are lesbian and gay) so that they don’t overly impact my life.

But wouldn’t it be interesting…to appear as a muscular and strong female in mens’ clothing, long hair, eyeliner, with multiple piercings and a non-binary license?  If I didn’t have to worry about negative repercussions, I could also do low-dose testosterone and go off of it after the voice drop:  but I have enough issues with body hair (and acne), already.  That stuff doesn’t go away, and it’s tough enough to empathize with other people who have it more profusely, without realizing I’d have to manscape if I did go on T.  Right now, at least, it’s manageable.  But I wasn’t blessed with the almost-no-body-hair gene.  Not to mention the party that’s going on, on my face.

And, my voice is already fairly low.

Then there’s what to do if I traveled out of state, or out of the country.  I’d think that being obviously genderqueer would kind of restrict travel options.

Changing tracks, a bit:

It was just recently that I realized that a significant number of abnormal reactions I’ve gotten from others on admitting I was attracted to them, may have been based on homophobia.  I don’t see myself as a woman, but it’s likely others see me as such.  In that case, I’ve got to be prepared to be a target of homophobia if I’m interested in someone of my sex, for more than friendship.

It’s apparent that, at least if I’m operating in a heterosexual mode, I have close to no sexual attraction to anyone.  But have I ever truly operated in a mode where I was both unafraid of and considering possibilities of being together with someone of my own sex?  It’s gotten to the point where I’m not even sure if I’m bisexual or pansexual anymore.  My interest in males is minor, and I used to get mad at them for assuming they could flirt with me, while I felt barred from flirting with everyone to whom I was actually attracted.

On top of this, I’ve found that I am really only marginally attracted to genderqueer people who were assigned male at birth.  I don’t know what is behind this; I know it’s politically incorrect to have one’s set of attractions include female people (binary [cis and trans] women, female-assigned genderqueer, and female-assigned transgender people, excluding binary transsexual men), but not male people (most binary cis and trans men, most genderqueer people who were male-assigned).  My feelings toward transsexual women [included above in “women”] are more complicated, because in many ways I feel a commonality with them.  I don’t know why.

I don’t know why any of this, really.  I know it isn’t quite politically correct, but for me it’s a biological tendency that I don’t understand, and which can’t comprimise for the sake of politics.

Outside of being attracted to the above group…I’m pretty much asexual.  In the pursuit of discovering or recovering the above sexuality…I’m (tonight, at least) seriously considering again identifying as gay, so I can focus on healing this rift in emotional connectivity that began to tear loose when I was 14.

I wouldn’t be a binary gay person (I identify with the term “gay” over “lesbian”, even though I’m primarily attracted to women, because to me “lesbian” implies womanhood) — most of the time, I have seen the mainstream L and G communities represent themselves as comprised of binary (cis and trans) men and women…I’m not a King either…I’m just…genderqueer.  I’m who I am.

And if people are going to outright assume that I’m lesbian instead of what I actually am, maybe then I do have something in common with lesbian people — and can gain from that community, even though I am not binary.

As a last bit:  a post came up on my Reader recently about otherkin; particularly, the wolf subtype.  One commenter directed a different commenter to the following TEDx Talk (which I had little luck sifting through the TED website to find).  I did find it easily on Google, however.

I figured I should watch it, before writing this post.

As regards the otherkin thread, I’ll leave that where it lies, for now.  Granted that the otherkin and transgender communities do overlap a bit; I know some people who fall within this range (though not many in person).

The above Talk was somewhat…interesting, though the speaker only really went into “trans”-anything as feelings of being at home (or not) in one’s body.  In this way, he could have been using the term “transgender” as a synonym for “transsexual” (as I’ve seen to be common practice).

There is another level to this, which is one’s sense of self:  gender identity.  He really didn’t go into this level at all.  So for me — I don’t really know what it’s like to be, probably, most of the women I’ve met.  I know I don’t identify primarily as a woman.  My roles as creator and thinker and writer come first.

My body isn’t my biggest problem.  Though I do feel like I would have been better off as a (cis) man, I’m not even a trans man at this point — and I’m sure most people would think themselves better off as cis men!  Especially if one could wish for and be guaranteed comfort in performing a gender congruent with their changed body.  I am leery of the thought of transitioning to male and hoping everything will fall into place after that, really.  I don’t think who I will be will change, and I’m to the Yin side of things as they stand, anyway.

And anyway, who says that being a man is better than being me?  🙂

Unable to avoid being seen? I don’t know how to title this.

When I was almost literally falling to pieces at the end of my Creative Writing degree, M was still dreaming of me becoming a famous novelist.

I don’t think I’ve ever been after fame.  Quite the opposite, actually.  As I was growing up, I was unable to be invisible, and I think this has left its mark.  It took years for me to be able to understand that some people chose to be hidden for their own safety, and that their choice to be hidden ought to be respected.

I think that from the beginning, this is not an option I had, as a mixed-race child.  This is still not an option I have — at least where race comes into play.  My gender is still…uncertain, though.

Just recently I went out and bought a bunch of scarves for me to wrap my head in…if I were to be walking around outside, as has been suggested to counteract the weight gain caused by one of my medications, it would help not to have a head full of pollen when I got back.  But really, my hair — it’s been one of these things which unfailingly draws attention to me.  I wasn’t able to get away with it in school, at all.

I have very thick, dark, lush, mostly-curly hair.  I didn’t know it was actually curly, though, until I cut the length of it off and saw what it did without all that weight and damage.  Prior to then, I just knew that it had way too much body and that it was usually frizzy and tangled or snarled.  In frustration at not being able to cut it off (I was forbidden to until I was about 18), I had a tendency to rip it off and out with the brush, especially as I became aware of how burdensome it was to me.  I didn’t even know that I shouldn’t have been using a brush at all, until after I got rid of the length.  Actually, I didn’t even know I had hair at my temples, then, because it always got ripped out before I could see any growth.  (Now, after it’s wet, I have tiny, fine corkscrews there — which still tangle easily.)

M doesn’t remember forbidding me to cut my hair off at 16, like I wanted to.  Nor do I know what she was afraid of…perhaps that I would become the target of the anti-gay slurs that I was already a target of?  (Not that anyone had any clue about my actual sexual orientation; I had no “significant other” throughout my primary and secondary-school careers, so all of the gay-bashing I got was primarily due to my gender presentation…and the fact that the vast majority of high-school boys were too immature for me [we were “girls” but they were “men”?].  The ones I wanted already had girlfriends, or they were attracted to other boys.)

In any case, I do wonder how much of my wishing to cover my hair has to do with not wanting to answer random intrusive questions about it; or to deal with supposedly-friendly uninvited touching of it which causes me to need to wash it when I get home.  (Seriously, I don’t know where their hands have been.  Or sometimes I do, and that makes it worse, because I know their hands were filthy.)

So anyway, the other day I spent around $50 on four new scarves with which to wrap my head.  They’ll work until I can either grow my hair out to the length I want, or decide how to cut it (and even then…I may want to cover it, just because I like the style).

My image seems to be changing as I age; it’s not unusual to see me now in heels and a skirt.  Though it was interesting — yesterday, when I dressed up to go to the produce market, and wrapped my hair up so that it was unobtrusive and so that I wouldn’t need to gel it (I dislike brushing hair with gel in it [which I can do, now that it’s short], and I dislike washing my hair [as it takes a long time to dry]), I looked very much (to myself) like I could have been a person of any gender, in a skirt.

It’s possible that this is partially because of the marks on my face from messing with my skin out of stress (a side effect of the scriptwriting class.  I find that acne tends to masculinize my image), and/or that my figure was obscured because I wore a button-front shirt.  Then there were the boots I’d mentioned before, which look like combat boots, but have a 2″ heel on them.  And, of course, I was promptly stopped at the produce market by an older woman who said I had an “awesome outfit.”  (She didn’t ask to touch my hair, though!)

The nice thing about this is that I’m actually dressing in a way that’s comfortable for me.  I find myself moving towards looser shirts, skirts, and wraps.  Not largely, “because that’s what women do,” but because it’s what works.  My body is continuing to try and fill out because of the medication and excess sugar (I’m off of sugared beverages again, having gone back up to 145 lbs. from a recent low of 139…it would be very nice to get back down to a muscular 125, though I think my official goal [from my doctor] is 135), so until I can get my hip size under control, it makes sense not to wear tailored clothing at my hips.

The largest drawback to this is a lack of “tops” to wear.  I’m used to wearing shirts — Mens’ shirts, with jeans.  But since my hips started widening and my belly got a little bigger, I can’t tuck these in or button them down as easily as I used to.  So, I’m making the transition over to collared shirts from the Womens’ department, which actually consider that one might be larger in their lower body.  I’ve found that skintight clothing looks terrible when it’s too small…not to mention when one’s posture is poor, so I’ve started buttoning these things up instead of wearing camisoles under them.

There is a beautiful boutique I went to the other day which is where I got the scarves from — it might be worth it to go back there and see what I can get which will go with loose, long skirts.  And, sweet — I just found some material which says that they do have some nice inexpensive clothing…

Yes, I think I’ll go back there.

First, though, I’ll see what I can wear which is light and which can go with the skirts which I already have…I also am wanting to find some shoes which can go with feminine skirts, and which won’t hurt or damage my feet if I have to stand in them for 9 hours at a time.  I’m hoping for something without a heel, due to the possibility that I might have to defend myself at work, though that possibility has been getting dimmer — thankfully.