Gender fluidity. Kind of hard to deal with…

This post will not be about my art, so much as it is about why I’m not doing the art.  For better or worse, I’ve been asleep for the majority of the past two days.  Why?…I can imagine, but that is really what I think the rest of this post is about.

I did manage to work on the Morning Pages at about 6 AM today.  That much was good.  But I’ve been up and down all morning and afternoon, really.  While I was asleep…I’m thinking this was yesterday…I realized that one of the keys to my artistic block is that I’m afraid that if I work creatively and let my subconscious come into visibility, I’m going to see again that I want to be male.

That right there comes with a lot of baggage, because I’m gender-fluid, not stably trans* male.  This means that even if I did physically transition to male, my presentation and identity would not be male all of the time.  And that, then, puts me into a position where I’ll likely be seen at least part-time as a transgender woman of color, which is one of the most dangerous positions I could inhabit — even though I wasn’t assigned a male gender at birth.

That is, granted, that the feminine expression continues past the point at which my body starts to look passably male, and is not abandoned as simply a survival mechanism.  In my dream I was lamenting that I couldn’t have been offered hormone blockers earlier on to stop my chest from growing.  At this point, there’s no way to undo that damage except reconstructive surgery, which is something considered risky.

The alternative, which I keep thinking of and then not doing, is to be gender-fluid in a female body which is altered by exercise.  Logistically, this is a better position for me — I won’t be dependent on outside hormones for the rest of my life.  But it still leaves me with the easy slide back into “why can’t I be any form of woman,” because it’s easy for me to forget that I’m gender-fluid and at times want to be a woman…which I’m not.  Ever.  Even in my most feminine form, my gender is “femme (which could apply to males and females and intersex people),” not “woman.”  Going into the latter territory just messes with my head.

*sighs*

And it’s still hard to claim trans* male space, because of the machismo I’ve seen around that community.  That is, when I’m a man, I’m only temporarily so.  There is motion and flux involved between the poles of “male” and “female.”  I’m rarely ever stagnant…except when I’m not doing anything except sleeping.  Which, again, explains why I’ve been sleeping.  It’s an easy and temporary escape from having to deal with my body and life.

Maybe I should consider going back to one or more gender groups…just to remind myself that I am gender-variant on a masculine vector, and not entirely a woman…

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Trip to Point Reyes, bleeding into some thinking on socioeconomic and cultural realities, don’t mind me…

Once again, we have attempted a trip to Point Reyes National Seashore!  We actually made it to the lighthouse this time, but the lighthouse was closed…I did get a few shots of it, though, from the top of the stairs.

Point Reyes Lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse

Really, the ocean views are the draw, here.  From the cliffs overlooking the rocks below, it was easy to see little things that looked like glitter, moving around in the water in little trailing clusters.  Guess what those were?  Schools of fish!

I would try and post photo evidence, but they just look like little white spots in the water.  🙂  It’s different when you see the white spots all randomly glittering (I forgot I could take a video on my camera).  And apparently, the seabirds like them too, because the guano was …really smelling, at this lookout.  There was a infographic about Common Murres; I think it said that they nest on the side of the cliffs, here.  Apparently there are also Tufted Puffins, and the protected area extends west to the Farallones.  The latter are mostly inaccessible, by the way.  I know, I’ve thought of going there; there is an episode of California’s Gold where Huell Howser does make it onto the islands with a film crew, but these are off limits to the public, most of the time.

Right now there’s a really big fire burning to the northeast of this area (the Lake County fire, along with several other smaller fires), but when I tried to photograph the smoke plume, I couldn’t see it on my viewfinder.  Then again, a lot came out that I couldn’t see on that viewfinder.  It makes me wonder if I should have tried the shot I passed on, of plants growing on what seemed to be a cypress.  (It looked too dark to ever really come out, though I probably should have tried, anyway.)

Really, as one is driving to the lighthouse, before one hits the ocean, there’s nothing much to look at but grass and cows.

Driving through Marin County, on the other hand, to get to the protected area…there is some really beautiful terrain, there.  There’s one place I’d like to go back to, if it continues to thrive — this is Samuel P. Taylor State Park.  When we drove through here the first time, it was around noon, no clouds — and it was still very filtered light, almost dark, but beautifully dappled, by the stream that runs through the area, alongside the road.

If I weren’t allergic to mildew and mold, and if I thought I’d be able to stand my neighbors, I’d like to live in an area like this.  But because it’s relatively always dark and wet, even though it is cool, there will likely be a problem with mold indoors.

I guess I’m fortunate to live near a temperate rainforest anyway, though the serious temperate rainforest is Muir Woods — north of San Francisco.  It’s usually cool or cold, and foggy.  I haven’t been back there since a field trip in, I think, second grade — when one of our chaperones lost her keys in the latrine.  >_<

Maybe that’s why I haven’t been back…(my dad was the one to fish them out).

It would have been nice to get photos of Taylor Park, but I tried, and I really need to be stationary for that to work.  We didn’t stop in that area.  The trees are huge, and close — so it isn’t quite like taking shots off of Highway 1 onto the rocky shore — it’s more like zipping past giant close things at high speed.

So far as I can remember, the road we were on is focused on the boundary between the Pacific and North American continental plates, so there’s a steep valley there.  The stream that leads out into the marshes and Tomales Bay, to the north, runs through the rift valley, and the fault lines continue on north, under Tomales Bay.

The main deterrent for going into the forested areas are insects (I’m thinking mosquitoes, given the slow-moving water) and ticks.  The first can transmit West Nile Virus; the second, Lyme Disease.  But to me it is almost paradisical to be sheltered under those giant redwoods.  It’s a reason I started out at the college I did; because the setting was beautiful.  Little did I know that the politics were shot.  I’ve been told to expect it if I move out into a rural area.

This got me thinking about what I’ve been considering localized communities.  What I learned as I was growing up is that people used to de-facto segregate communities based on the race of the person looking to buy or rent property.  Today this translates into things like urban ghettos and Chinatowns and Marin County.  I’ve been coming up against a relatively interesting twist on this, though, which is, what happens to those areas when people who have the means to live outside of these areas, take up residence in these areas because they want to be around the people who live there?

Or, what happens when people who qualify to have upward employment mobility remain in jobs which pay less because they like the people they’re around?  That is, what happens when the importance of culture and community trumps getting rich?

I mean, people talk about “success” and “achievement”, but I can say from having been within both levels of the State University system, the Community College system, and briefly in postgraduate work (I stopped because it disgusted me), that the people who don’t have a lot of money aren’t necessarily any less “deserving” or any less capable than the people who have a lot of it.  It’s very possible to be doing the fundamental work that keeps the workplace afloat and not be compensated fairly for it, for whatever reason (perhaps because those with greater resources and fewer drains, economic and otherwise, are fewer and thus can staff the few high-paid positions).

Most of the difference of being in any of these three learning systems equates to the experience and quality of the faculty, and the overarching mindset of the college…which, on my own professional (Master’s Degree) level, seemed to be rather repulsive (everyone’s a leader!  even if they don’t want to be!).  Of course, when you look at who is being attracted to these positions (the ALA lamented as of 2012, IIRC, that there weren’t enough “minority” librarians, but didn’t seem to have taken the time to see that this is because the ALA has a subcultural mindset which is made up by its constituents, who are apparently historically White), the dynamics become easier to see.  Because you’re White, agree with our ideology, and are socioeconomically privileged to the point that you can obtain a Master’s degree, you should be a leader, is what the program seemed to say.

I’m working a job that a high-schooler could get.  I do it really well.  I get paid a little above minimum wage.  Without myself and others who work hard at their jobs (some of them actually being high-schoolers — I don’t knock them, I wish I’d been courageous enough to take a job in high school), the system would collapse.  But I’m still seen as lower-ranking than people whose jobs deal primarily with intellectual tasks.

Why is that?

I’m not saying that the glass ceiling isn’t a real issue, but why are we focused on the few ambitious people who get high enough to even threaten to break into a workplace enclave designed to exclude them, rather than the many people who just want to live their lives out of poverty and to have enough to keep them happy?  What happens when cultural richness becomes a draw to the inner city?  What happens when we see that all people — even the most marginalized — have something to offer, even if it is just to illuminate what of ourselves we need to change?

One thing I haven’t mentioned, which I probably should, is that Marin and San Francisco Counties are extraordinarily high-cost areas in which to live.  Thus, people like myself can only afford to visit there, not live there.  What I said above also reflects back on the idea of being outside of a “safe” enclave where things come to race, though the details on that are probably better, not to write of here.

The short of it is that I know that when I do fledge, I’m going to need to settle into an area with a strong Asian-American community, or I’m going to be really unhappy.  The problem that exists, and has existed since I was young, is the one of not being seen as a full human deserving of respect because one is different.  This is a reason why I would never visit certain areas within this country, and why I’m wary about moving to an area without cultural support.  The major problem I can see is that there are areas which certain other groups have staked out as “their own.”  And sometimes, that territory is a lot nicer than, say, the ghetto across the freeway…

Tired of real life.

Right now I’m listening to a song from Ghost in the Shell:  Stand Alone Complex OST 3.  Unfortunately I don’t know its name, because its name is written in kanji, and I can’t read most kanji yet.  From what I can make out, I think the title is “Mikansei (Incomplete) Love Story” (“Love Story” is written in katakana, so I can read that — Google helped with the rest).

I really love this song — it sounds like the main portion was played on one or more acoustic guitars.  I’m wondering if I should just forget about what skills are salable and not, and just do what gets me out of bed in the morning.  (I was in bed until fairly late in the evening today — probably out of depression.  There’s a lot of stuff in my life which doesn’t directly have to do with me, but which is going on around me.)  I’ve wondered if it would be worth it to play guitar, just to have something to do to occupy myself when I wake up in the morning.

The issue with playing guitar is that I still can’t read sheet music.  There are alternatives in place, like learning through tabulature — or writing my own music — or playing by ear.  What I had been doing was putting my hand in place to play a chord and then picking out single notes from those chords, in an attempt at Classical finger picking…

Anyway, though.  I’ve found that I’m getting back into the place of preferring dreams to waking reality.  If you could see and translate/understand the content and references of my dreams, you would understand why.  🙂  I have some really cool dreams.  🙂

And…again, I’m sounding kind of transgendered.  When I have to live this reality in this body…and I can live in a perfect world in my mind where it doesn’t matter and I’m free of this culture…(oppressive @#%#ing culture…)

When I was asleep this last time, I dreamed that I’d had a hysterectomy.  Which, aside from the rather painful healing, was all kinds of great for me — you mean I won’t have a period anymore?  I don’t have a need to worry about getting pregnant?  I don’t have to say I’m “female” anymore?

When I was waking up at about 5:30 PM, though, I realized that it was just a dream, and I was disappointed.

Right now I’m also listening to a song that I remember from the 1990’s called “La La La Love Song”.  I haven’t been able to find the original version, which Naomi Campbell helped sing, but there are tons of different cuts of it online.

It’s reminding me of when I was at my first University and taking Japanese classes…and was successfully able to use the “boku/kimi” forms of “I” and “you”…basically, this is the way a speaker would respectfully identify himself as a man to those around him, in the course of speaking.  Wikipedia says that these days, it can be used by feminine speakers as a status thing, though back when I was learning, it was definitely a more gendered thing…and a way to disclose that I was transgendered without having to explain myself.  Probably the big muscles and short hair helped, too.  🙂

I’ve realized that there has been something affecting me where it comes to core beliefs.  I probably mentioned it in backposts here — the idea that if anyone/everyone were to know who I actually was, they would hate me for it.  I mentioned this recently and was told that the opposite was also true:  I could open myself up and be loved and respected for it.  This possibility is obviously not stronger in my mind as things stand now (especially with all the information about anti-trans* discrimination coming across my feeds), but at least now I’ve realized it’s a core belief.

If I could really get back on it with working out, I think it would help a lot.  I don’t mind appearing as a female bodybuilder, and identifying as male.  The problem comes with all the fat accumulation and growing hips and chest and belly and shoulders, which then happen to dictate what kinds of clothes I can wear while avoiding looking like a slob.  Unfortunately, most of these clothes appear in “feminine” styles because corporations assume that people with female frames and fat distributions want to look “feminine.”  (WHY?!?!)  When male clothing only rarely appears in Small sizes and even those may be too big (read:  every Mens’ jacket I’ve ever tried on), it kind of limits the &$*@ options.

The truth is that I’d rather be physically male, but nothing is going to get me to the point I want to be at without massive disfigurement.  I was born about 25 years too early to be able to have the opportunities that are being granted trans* children now (like having my breast buds cut out before they ever grew, or going on hormone blockers to delay puberty).  The best I can go for is breast removal and a hysterectomy and still be short, with genitals too small to do much of anything.  I’ll always be marked as having been female; I’ll have to take shots for the rest of my life for my body to continue to work at all.

Is having a perfect and intact and exercise-altered female body better than having a surgically and hormonally altered trans* male one?  When your mind is more male than not?  And people question why you would ever want to do weight training?  When random men ask for your name, like it’s theirs for the taking and surely you won’t mind?  When your body is continuing to put on weight and it’s enhancing your body’s feminine image?  When your breasts won’t stop growing?  When you can’t stand people calling you by your given Anglicized name because of its status as false cognate to something sickly sweet, but you know that if they tried to call you by your actual name, they wouldn’t ever be able to pronounce it?  When you’re afraid to dress femininely because you know it will attract unwanted male sexual attention, which may cause you to have to fight for your own safety?

I know that the safest long term path I can think of has me exercising to get my body back tight and muscular again, along with yoga for flexibility (avoiding ruptured tendons is a good thing) at the same time as I build strength and bulk, and meditation for my mind.  This avoids all surgery, has me looking like a quarterback, and is compatible with both masculine and feminine presentations.  But when I don’t do it, I remain stuck in the same place of continuing to get fatter, which causes me to feminize in both the clothes I wear, and in the way my body appears without clothes.

At the same time I have these issues with not wanting to face the world as a feminine or female person, because I know it makes me a target.  It would be nice not to have had to research martial arts to the point of finding some obscure internal martial art to try out.  It would have been nice not to have had to take five years of martial arts in order to train myself to be alert and aware of the possibility of an attack at any time from anywhere.  It would have been nice not to have to be trained as to where male weak points are (like I really want to touch any disgusting @*$% who tries to put his hands on me — but I can’t count on others to protect me).

I kind of feel like the variant of martial arts I majorly trained in is actually not a real martial art.  It focused more on discipline and spirituality than on what to do in an actual real-world attack (other than shock/disable and run away), and I still have some resentment over that.  At this point I have so much anger built up over the years, that I think anyone who attacks me is buying into a lot more than they can handle.  (Yes, I was taught how to enucleate an eye…eventually.  This was when I got into an actual real martial arts program which taught us as though it were a possibility that we would actually have to defend ourselves and maybe even *$^@ someone else up.)

I shouldn’t have to know this.  I shouldn’t have to walk around knowing that any day could be my last because of what I happen to be.  I shouldn’t have to feel that if people knew who I was, they would reject and hate me.  I shouldn’t have to deal with the question of what would happen if the neighbors saw me walking down the street as a gender other than the one they’ve come to know.  Or what would happen if I was seen as a male person who dared to look like a woman (WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS NOT MY BIRTHRIGHT BECAUSE I HAPPENED TO BE BORN MALE…oh, wait).

I just kind of feel like I’m on the outskirts as regards what’s known about gender, and I’m so far out there that no one has any recommendations on what to do.  What I know is that using testosterone will likely lead to my early death from cardiac complications.  I also know that my head is shaped weird, so if I went bald, it probably would be worse than it otherwise could have been.  Getting rid of my breasts and curves (and hair) would be getting rid of the only good things about this body (other than that it sustains life fairly well right now).  And testosterone wouldn’t replace this with much, other than facial hair which would probably be patchy, and the ability to get much stronger much more easily than I can, as things stand now.  Regardless of this, though, my frame is small, so I’m stuck with having to fight “smart” instead of fighting with brute force.

Maybe I should be training to run, as well — my body type is normally small/light/lithe, and so running is something that I can do well — at least when I’m not carrying a bunch of extra weight.  It will give me something to do in the daytime, too.  I’ve just got to time it so that I’m not using the track at the same time as the kids…who should be on Summer break right now, yea?

Just tired. And sick, and dealing with a load of work…

I am so tired.  Even though I haven’t been awake all that much, today.

I started screwing around with Zendoodles because I was trying to stay awake and my Art History homework was encouraging me to sleep.  😛  Reintroduction to a favored medium, right?  I’m thinking that I will end my stint with community college after the Art certificate is finished.  I’m not sure, though.  It could be the drowsiness and overwork talking.

I do have a little bit of a plan for Summer and Fall semesters.  I think it’ll turn out well — in this case I will likely only have a couple more classes to go before I can apply for certification.  If I can keep up with reading and writing, I should be fairly well equipped to deal with getting a job somewhere as a writer.  If I keep drawing, I might be able to push out a ‘zine in comic format — and I know a place that will sell them for me — but I’m not doing this to make money, primarily; it’s more of a getting-myself-out-there thing, and a cultural-enrichment (pay-it-forward-type) thing.

The biggest enrichment I think the Art training has given me is the knowledge that the same information can be expressed in many different forms.  But I’m not quite aiming to be an animator or musician or filmmaker.  The thing is, though? that I can use the Art to bridge off into Writing.  It can be my warm-up; there are invariably things that pop up in the process of creating an image that are good fodder for exploration in the written word.

And, right — the other big enrichment is that I’ve found that I don’t have to be afraid to show who I am and voice my opinion when I’m around the right people.

In the money-making sense, as regards jobs, I’d been aiming next for clerical specialist — which I can do within the Library system (I’m told that I almost fulfill all the requirements already).  Hopefully that will help with Clerk jobs outside the library, as well — I’ve been eyeing not-for-profits, in particular, as a type of group I might mesh well with.  I can see that maybe it would be a good idea to brush up on Excel and Access skills, though, as well as Basic Math.

Actually, I should take a look at job descriptions and functions before I start investing in study.

I think I’ll either go fall asleep now or work on more Zendoodles…I think I sound like I’m about to pass out…that’s about how I feel.  I’m just trying not to…

Classes are over…what to do, now?

Fall semester 2014 is now over.  I’m kind of having mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, I get to do what I wanted to do during the semester, but had no time to do.  If things go well and I am not pushed into doing things like household chores which I have prior-to been exempt from, I should be able to finish Bamboo and work on other projects, like that whole thing I started with the book, You Majored in What?

On the other hand, I think I’m really going to miss my classmates and my professor — for the Art class, I suppose I should make clear.  (What the Communications class showed me is that I really don’t want to be in a primarily social job.)  In addition, the structure that I got for two days out of the week is now no longer there, which makes me a bit apprehensive about where my sleep and work habits are going to go for (about) the next month, before classes restart.

I have re-checked out a bunch of books on trying to make it financially as a writer.  But truth be told, a lot of these books seem to focus on people who live writing — not, writing and art, or writing and music, or any other combination of traits.  Given that, the above book looks as though it will be very useful.

Of course, I should remind myself that one of my primary reasons for joining the Alumni Association at my alma mater, is the free career counseling (plus the library card).  I just feel a bit torn, though, because — well, I don’t have just one easily categorizable thing I want to do.  It would be easier if I hated Art or had no skill in it, because then I could devote myself to reading and writing.  Or if I hated Writing or had no skill in it, because then I could devote myself to visual literacy and Studio Art practice.

But the thing is, I’m very versatile, and it takes a lot for me to get the point that “I’m not good at this,” or “I dislike doing this.”  I see difficult things as challenges to overcome, not signs that I should try something easier.

I suppose the big exception to this has been my math classes, because prior to just recently, I hadn’t had a math class since 12th grade.  Accordingly, it takes a lot of strain for me to try and understand, say, Calculus, because my last math class was PreCalculus — but that was over a decade ago.  So jumping into things with teachers who can’t explain why they’re doing what they’re doing, and having forgotten simple bits of information like the Order of Operations, or what to do with fractional exponents…it makes things harder.  I tried Calculus and also Accounting, but felt like they were so difficult to grasp that I was jeopardizing my GPA (and my sense of myself as a good student) for basically no reason.  It would make sense to stick with the class if I were to become an Artisan Jeweler, because then I’d have to take costs and cost fluctuations and sales into account — but I’ve decided not to go that route.

My energies are also relatively unfocused, because I’ve been trying to work on things on so many levels at once.  I’ve been trying to fill in my deficits and build on my strengths, when maybe I should just abandon what I’m not good at and use the time to build on that which I both like to do and which I’m good at.

I don’t even like to write or draw all the time, though.  I guess that maybe, like any other job, there will be days when I don’t want to show up to work, but I have to do so anyway.  If I look at it from a distance, I generally like to write and I generally like to draw — but the content of what I’m writing or drawing actually matters to me.  It’s not like I’d jump at the chance at writing an instruction manual for a microwave oven, you know?  I don’t love writing anything or drawing anything.  I have limits, and I have ethics.  It isn’t the process I’m in love with; the content matters.

It’s like I don’t want to read just any book I’m given because I’m amazed at how I can decode language…not really.  I’m good enough at reading that, at least in English, I’m not wowed anymore that things can be communicated through symbols (though once in a while I do break words down into their constituent components and they cease to have intrinsic meaning).  Japanese, on the other hand — that’s newer to me, and I’m still fascinated with the differences in grammar, the kanji, the rules as to when what pronunciation goes where, etc.

But that’s in an entirely different category, due to the massive positively-skewed bigotry I’ve seen going on in and around Japanese culture — which was the major reason I decided that getting up at 5 AM to go to Japanese lessons wasn’t for me.  I didn’t want to deal with more people who thought it was “so cool” that I was part-Japanese.  It’s not just that, either.  But I probably shouldn’t get into it.

I really should have taken the opportunity to go, though.  It’s possible that I would have had to wake up at 5 AM because the professors figured that if class started at 7:30 AM, the bigots wouldn’t care enough to come.  I’m not sure what the reasoning behind it was, but fact of the matter is that I was getting to bed in the early morning hours as it was, anyway.  And I didn’t see any great job prospects waiting for me after graduation, if I majored in Japanese — I’m female and nikkeijin, and I’d probably read to men in Japan as “exotic.”  Ask me.  Do I want to deal with that?  I’m primarily attracted to women.  Do I want to deal with that?

Now maybe it wouldn’t have been that bad, but seriously…I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one delegated to serving tea to everyone else.  Especially not, when no protections exist against sexual assault or rape in Japan.

I didn’t want to get off on that leg, sorry.  But it’s pretty, well, common for me to run across anime fans and the like.  There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with Japanese animation, or with liking it, but I’ve found a lot of anime fans to want to be Japanese, valuing Japanese culture over their own culture, and I personally find it a bit disturbing when they fetishize me because of my racial and cultural background.  In that sense I feel like I’m being seen as an object, and no longer as a person.

I think, having worked in anti-oppression groups before (though granted, those were in relation to sexuality and gender) that this is actually a widespread problem (just recontextualize A/PI where “gender” goes).  I also, from being related to other female-assigned people of Japanese ancestry, have seen the destruction and dysfunction that these views can cause.

That’s not even to mention my personal engagement with this — what happened before I knew how awful this can be (that is, when I made efforts to befriend people who loved me for my Asianness and not because they were actually interested in me).

Anyhow, I should get going.  I’ll be back later — but there is hot food right now, and I don’t want to miss it.  🙂

talked to teacher about career path; feeling much better.

I probably should have written something about this right when I got home, but I think I only really got about 5 hours of sleep last night, and the bed was inviting.

I spoke with my Drawing teacher today, who told me that all kinds of organizations need good writers, for both internal and external communications.  Plus, having a degree in Creative Writing speaks to creativity and the ability to persuade.  The point to be stressed, is to let people know you have skills; and to be able to communicate the benefits they’ll gain if they hire you.  Which means, in effect, it’s a really good thing that I’m in this Communications class.  Which, you know, I’m not really hating as much as I thought I would.

It sounds like, basically, Art is one of these things like Creative Writing, where it’s hard to make a living doing solely and exactly that.  She said teaching positions were not common.

At this point, she very much encouraged me in my idea of using skills gained in a Business certificate to help out a nonprofit.  Plus, she agreed with my counselor, who said that the next step was to investigate places where I might be hired and find out their staffing levels, what positions they have, etc.  I also let her know that I’d like to work in some way on the back end of a nonprofit, like with bookkeeping or helping with grant writing, and I wouldn’t want to be the person who greets everyone as they come in the door (as I have to do at my present job).

There is also a class which she encouraged me to take next semester, about using art skills to help out a nonprofit.  This is not just because I’d expressed interest in doing so (or did I?), but because the teacher of that class is really well-connected among a lot of local nonprofits, and so it would be a good place to network.  In addition, not only should I look at local nonprofits within my general region, but looking at larger cities and smaller communities would be of use as well.

I feel like I should have taken more notes, but the takeaway is that if one only develops Art skills, it’s going to be difficult to make a living.  I do have other skills as evinced by my Creative Writing BA and my work in the Business track at my current college; and I shouldn’t lock myself in to depending on Art.  She also encouraged me to volunteer and see if I liked the work, as it would be a way to become seen and known by the people who run the nonprofit; which could eventually lead to a paying job, and ongoing development which would enable me to use more and more of my skills within that setting.  I’d also be able to see if I even liked the work, and if I didn’t, I could move on to another interest.

She also said that I came off as very confident (really? must be age) and that it sounded like I knew what I was interested in — particularly, helping out people in minority gender communities.  Which…was surprising, because to me it feels very much more like I have a lot of varied interests and varied skills…so I have a hard time focusing in and choosing a few to pursue initially.  I mean, I’d even mentioned the possibility of becoming a Professor of Eastern Philosophy, which indicated that I was interested in teaching, which if extended meant that I could help with education around gender issues.

I think it’s likely that my interests, abstracted, create a kind of constellation of my views and values and interests, and the goal is to integrate as many of these into my working life as I can.  Or, this is the vision my awesomely-creative teacher saw in what I told her.  After I spoke with her, she said that I could talk to her again later if I wanted or needed to.

I’m very glad I reached out to her.  I think it was qualitatively different than what would have happened if I’d gone to see a career counselor after I got out of class, which I was kind of on the fence about.  I will try and do so next time I get to school…but I think my choice of a source for help was right on, this time.

Getting some sense of the turf.

I just finished “finalizing” my schedule for Fall semester, though I’ve changed my classes so many times that it’s not even very hilarious at all.  😉  I was looking through the schedule at classes which I may want to take, given a Business major — or, at least, a program of study focused on Business, even if I don’t get the shiny piece of paper.  (It would be nice if it actually was shiny — now that would be kind of funny…)

From my study at the career counseling website I spoke of earlier, I’m thinking that if I do go into the Business field, I may be forced to supervise and/or manage people.  This is even though dealing with people in real-time is a weak point for me (I think it’s just assumed that this is not so because I have a degree in the Humanities).

So I actually, flukeishly, went and looked at classes in the Communications department.  One of them seemed relevant and fit my schedule perfectly, so I wouldn’t be putting my boss out to reorganize the work schedule more than they already are, and I wouldn’t be putting out my friend who wanted to take an Art class with me.

I’m not certain that Advanced Math is where I want to go.  It sounds fun from here, but my parents remember me crying over Honors Math as a kid (seriously), and I think they don’t want to repeat that.  I was basically traumatized enough by Math in high school that given the choice, I didn’t take it again until Statistics came up as I was studying to be a sociologist.  [sarcasm]Yes, see, pushing kids past their breaking point and giving them so much homework that they will never be able to finish it all really helps them excel and learn to put work first.[/sarcasm]

I really don’t recall what happened to throw me off the Social Sciences track anyway (probably the “social” part of it), but there you go.

But anyhow.  Either late last night or early this morning, after reading over some stuff, including my last post here, I decided to go the route of Business first, Computers second.  My classes will largely be drawn from Business, Computer Info. Systems, and Communications.  I’m told I won’t need Advanced Math, even if I do go the Accounting route — but the hardcore Accounting class I tried and then dropped (I missed a 4-hour class because of illness and then couldn’t make it up and didn’t know what to do) was so confusing for me that I’m thinking of taking the basic one next time, instead.  With a different professor.  Or I could try a different school…

Then we have classes which will help with an office job, though I probably don’t need to take those for college credit.  I’ve had a semester of MS Access already, though I don’t remember much of it now; and I can use Excel decently enough.  I’ll still have to find a couple of textbooks which will help me refresh those skills.  I’m not sure of PeachPit’s focus anymore, but I have good feelings surrounding their press, so I can look them up (and see if they still exist).  Word, I use constantly, so that’s not a problem.  PowerPoint, I can learn on my own.

Most of what I need deals with human relations, computer programming, and finance.  And that’s about it.  The other thing that I was thinking about was entering a paraprofessional program to take up a job as a Library Assistant.  I have a degree already, and taking the classes would open up the paraprofessional activity and salary level to me, which is decent enough to live on.  However, the program that I’d likely utilize is being revamped, so it will likely be a year or two at least before they can get the program together.

A deeper reason I’d want to be at Reference, though, is that I’d like to get the experience so that if I do work with an LGBTQIA nonprofit, I’ll have the experience of having worked in Information Services already.  I’m thinking that this would help, especially as regards determining what a user’s actual needs are (as versus what they think they need).

This also came up, back when I almost took my second Graphic Design class — the prof was saying that we needed to be able to discern what a client actually wanted/needed, as versus what they said they wanted/needed.  This was enough to scare me out of there.  But I’m thinking that if I can develop better people skills, this won’t be such a big handicap to me anymore.

I think I’ll probably have a hard time of things if I go through life trying to avoid human interaction.  And it’s not really a big mystery to me why I have trouble interacting with people:  until I entered the adult world with my first job, people in general had not been very kind to me.  I’m told that my interactions with the public in this job amount to “exposure therapy” as regards social anxiety.  And, I’m just hoping that the anxiety can progressively get better with experience.

On that note, I should probably get going, but it’s nice to be able to write, and be heard, here.  🙂