Not much has been happening, but I’m still stressed.

Well, I suppose I did sleep well, today. I also got in some exercise, and study. I’m not certain I can ask for more than that, especially when exercise has been pushed to the side so far, because I’ve been so busy.

Just now, I went and reviewed the assignment prompt for the rough draft of what I’m working on now, which is the finished version of an Instructional Design proposal. Thankfully, I can edit it down from what appears to be an academic paper into what appears to be an actual proposal. I’ve already cut down or cut out several sections.

The trouble is that, due to a glitch in the system, I only got one review on my work…and the Final is supposed to take into account the six or so reviews I was supposed to have in return.

So I’m just winging it. The Prof knows I only had one review, so I’m not sure what’s up.

Luckily, my increased hours at work don’t start for another week. So I have time to work on this.

I did think of photographing my work area, but realistically, I’m not sure if any of those images will or should make it online: it would just seem a bit…much. And a bit personal. It also seems like it could be a bit upsetting to people who don’t have access to the resources I do.

I’m also not totally happy about blocking off the clear fronts of my organizer drawers with labels. The organizers (Sterilite mini-drawer sets) were relatively cheap, it’s just that I feel like all the “stuff” I have in them is excessive (helped in no small part by taking years out of my Master’s program to finish an Art program).

However, the ArtBins and various other storage I’ve got underneath the craft table, definitely need labeling. I can’t tell what’s in most of those things, otherwise. There is one bin for “dusty” materials (charcoals, pastels, Conté crayons, White Charcoal), one for inks and (dip) pens, and a third for block printing (with little uncut linoleum blocks piled on top).

I’m still not sure about what to do with all the colored pencils. I’ve got some that actually came in trays (in sets, that is), in flat storage; but by far the biggest collection is of normal colored pencils, and they’re in rolls in a drawer. (A very large proportion of these were bought open-stock, and there are too many to fit into flat cases. But like I said a while ago, I have near-duplicates.)

I know I’ve got to do something about organizing these, but I don’t know what, at the moment. I’ve got three different brands: Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor, and Blick Studio. The Faber-Castells have good color harmony with other Faber-Castells; but the second two brands don’t necessarily harmonize with others within their own brand.

On top of that, the swatch tests I did years ago, look like either they have faded, or like I had a very delicate hand, back then.

I tried using a wallet to hold all of them, but there’s a problem with the elastic bands holding them so tightly that it’s easy to crush a lead, just trying to get the pencil out of the case. (I think it was this case, in the 120-pencil size.) Because of this, keeping them in that wallet actually discourages use.

Right now they’re in Niji roll-up cases, which isn’t the most efficient mode of storage, but at least they’re not loose in a giant clamshell pencil case, anymore.

There are also now some specialty pencils (including aquarelles) under the craft table.

I also really, seriously, need to clean up my office right now. There’s material from this semester and before, strewn everywhere. It’s a bit upsetting, not least because now I’ve got to figure out what is worth keeping and what isn’t.

Not to mention that I need to dust and vacuum my bedroom and change my sheets and wash a couple of blankets and let some fresh air in there.

I think I’ll schedule that for after Finals. And maybe I should be trying to get this stuff done as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the deadline to creep up on me.

After this Instructional Design task is over, all I’ll have to do is my Database Final…and then I will be relatively free (until Summer Session starts, at least!).

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Minor update: exercise

Not much to report today, but I felt the need to come back here and write. I did succeed in exercising, and have found that the elliptical machine will work well for a full body workout (I get too tired to go on after about 20 seconds on the first setting, largely due to the tops of my thighs. I’m not sure if this is because I had already gone a mile on the Exercycle).

I didn’t record my abdominal routine, but I was working to a count of 16 reps (8 on each side), then resting for a few seconds, then repeating until I eventually counted to 64. I also did leg lifts, which I think helped tighten my lower belly. The other thing I did was concentrate on doing the exercises right (i.e., pull the belly in before doing the exercise) instead of just getting through them.

I also tried jumping jacks in the middle of my mile, which weirdly gave me a rest.

And…I’m tired, and by that I mean I can’t think, so I’ll just go to bed.

YUS!

heyyyy. I got my paper turned in on time!

Despite my recent surprise at having mysteriously gained a couple of pounds (it was likely from two donuts, two ice cream bars, and juice over the past week — my metabolism is wrecked on Prozac)…I went and got some ice cream after work today.

It was THAT BAD, YO. I got a double scoop. it was THAT EFFING BAD. I’m like is this actually half a pint of ice cream? How the **** much ice cream is this–

I knew I was comfort-eating (in addition to dealing with crashed blood sugar), but I also knew that the ice cream would give me a break from my anxiety and allow me some time to collect myself. What I didn’t bet on was that it would keep digesting for a really long time (it’s still in there, not kidding). Because it takes so long to get into my system, the fat in the ice cream leveled off my blood sugar (unexpectedly). Now I may weigh three extra pounds tomorrow, or have stupid high blood lipid levels tonight, but I just need to exercise. Trying to manage my weight just by diet is going to make me angry.

(What’s weird is that it actually calmed me down, which I expected; but the calm continued way after I ate it. But I was working out a strategy to attack this paper, on the way home.)

Amazingly, yesterday I went 1.75 miles on the exercise bike (15 minutes), and my legs ARE NOT SORE. (I don’t know how.) Which means I can probably do a lot more than I think I can. (I should probably start stretching before going on the bike, too, as well as after; torn ACLs are not something to envy. Speaking of which, now that I look it up, an ACL isn’t in the same place as I thought…)

I don’t talk about it a lot here, but I’m vulnerable to blood sugar crashes, where I start feeling awful and thinking unclearly, if I don’t eat enough of the right things at the right times. Apparently, I didn’t eat enough in the morning, or at break, or at lunch…I did eat, I guess it just wasn’t enough.

So today I was super stressed out about having to write the paper I just turned in, anyway, because I didn’t think I’d make it in on time (and was planning to tough it out until 3 AM)…then there is my group project (which I’m behind on), and then a study guide I have to make. On top of that, I’m going to need to record an oral presentation within the next week. But the PAPER THAT WAS WORTH 25% OF MY GRADE IS NOW TURNED IN. Gah.

And I think I got a B, but anyway…it’s not a C. It would fit in with the rest of my grades, in that class.

So now I can concentrate on my group project, which isn’t terrible, especially as I volunteered to do data entry (I am not confident in my ability to implement databases, anymore). Can I take a back seat with this project? Can I actually give myself permission not to lead the intellectual work of this project?

It’s not something I’m used to.

But, let’s see…tomorrow I can get back on listening to the lectures, and work on what I’m going to present in my oral presentation (the scenario for which, I have to look up, still). If I get bored, I can start working on my Research Guide, but I think what I’ve mentioned will be enough.

And — and — I have remembered why I took the Digital Services pathway: because I wanted to get foundational skills in Web Publishing. Cataloging wouldn’t have focused on this. And it would have trapped me with skills only relevant in Library Science.

Seems like a lot of my life revolves around production and publishing, though…(informal as that may be, right now)…Art, English, blogging, Japanese, Web Design…

That is what I wanted to get out of it, even though Cataloging might be more practical (even if old).

Yeah, I’m starting to sound like a Young Adult, now…I wonder if it’s ever permissible to have an aspiration to be like the next generation…

I started this post freaking out over school, now it’s just over weight.

Yeah, there are things more important than classwork…

I suppose it wouldn’t be too much to admit that I am now somewhat seriously freakin’ out over the workload I’ve set out for myself.

It is, however, a good thing that I stayed home today to listen to the three hours (!) of lectures I had for one class, or else I’d really feel like I was drowning. Today, what I got done was that (yeh, I’m kinda changing up my writing voice, for now), and a good set of abdominal exercises (aiming for 60 reps balanced per exercise, 30 reps to either side per exercise) plus over a mile clocked on the Exercycle (where I actually surpassed [!] 9 MPH, tension level = 6 [that detail probably won’t matter to anyone else]).

So after I listened to the lectures for my database class, I then went through all four of them (the classes, that is) and noted everything due this next period. I’m kind of getting irritated (that’s not the word I’m thinking of) at being expected to schmooze for part of my grade. I just don’t do that, well. And I’ve got serious “stuff” to attend to, like analyzing freaking websites.

And…yeah, I’m kinda getting “dark” here, like not “dark” as in “lost” but “dark” as in “angry.” It’s likely due to stress and a reduced amount of medication (which would normally help me deal with the stress).

My weight is still going up, by the way, but I’m pretty sure that little bump on the scale means my muscles (particularly my thighs and abs) are building, not that I’m taking on a bunch more fat.

(My belly fat is continually shrinking, by the way. Yay for resetting metabolisms! I wouldn’t be concerned except for the fact that Prozac use is linked to Type 2 diabetes, which in turn is linked to abdominal fat. And I just lost someone from diabetes [ongoing kidney failure, necrotizing bacteria] and had a friend who also lost someone [if not two people] from diabetes, not to mention others I know who have to live with it.)

What I need to do, really, is likely just stop drinking juice like I restarted doing when I stopped the Prozac. That was the big thing that caused me to stop gaining weight when I was still taking it, and…realistically, I’ve got 35 pounds to drop before I’ll be at optimal weight (I did actually break the 170 barrier yesterday, though that was after food and drink, not first-thing-in-the-morning stuff; at minimum, I’m at 165, meaning 30 to drop).

Hey, if I could be stable at 165 and hourglass and strong and lose the fat from under my jaw, I’m not sure I’d have a problem with it.

Then there is the entire grad-school stress…thing. That also contributes to the weight gain.

Why am I in this? I am in this because it’s important to M that I get a Master’s degree. I don’t know why; it has something to do with some nightmare couched in the phrasing of not, “working at McDonald’s.” Which, you know, I never had to do, but the same can’t be said of others in my family. So, you know, maybe it’s something they “know” about that I don’t.

But also, how many other people do you know that go through grad-school horrors because their parents want them to?

Well, there you go. A’ight. Who wants to do this? (or be a doctor or lawyer [or banker or teacher]?)

Oh, right, the other people in my program…

…well…why?

I did have the option with Voc Rehab of choosing a blue-collar job for my “vocation,” (electrician!) but I just didn’t. I can’t even really remember why I chose this line of work anymore, except that I already had an English degree and wanted to monetize it — and, right — that I was considering work in Publishing. Library work keeps you around texts, at least for the present day. And I thought it would be quiet.

Ha!

Well, that, and I didn’t (and don’t, still) feel entirely comfortable taking money from people. But in Capitalism, that’s what you’ve gotta do if you’re gonna survive; the money has to come from someplace, even if it’s going into your old coffee cup (which I’m sure we wish it wouldn’t). And even if it’s coming out of taxes.

I have dreams for Publishing, but they’re probably about 15 years in the future. Pearson is doing some work on it, last I checked (interactive books). Though I’m thinking interaction paired with social media, that (due to abuse of the system, which is fairly likely with college students) could become a Public Relations nightmare fairly quickly.

And, right: I didn’t want to enter a majority-male field and have to deal with the, “but you have the wrong ‘bits,'” for the rest of my life. HOW CAN I LOVE METAL IF I HAVE THE WRONG “BITS?”

Okay, I’m going to stop now.

Hey, at least I’ve still got a sense of humor. That’s something.

I should likely schedule some time (no, I mean really, schedule) to work on something creative. I’ve just got to determine what exactly that’s going to be, and when it is going to be. And when I’m going to do everything else.

Also, I’m a bit concerned about what kind of food my parents did bring back from the produce market…I sacrificed those hours to work on readings, today, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve got a ton of apples and nothing else…

Yeah, I…I should get to bed…

Non-school-related:

So I’m entering the second week of classes, now. I’m not going to work as much as I was at the beginning of last semester…which is likely a good thing. A few things have come up.

Sleep hygiene.

Now that I’m entirely off the Prozac, at the very least I will need to be more diligent about when I take my medication. Last night I lay down at 9 PM because I was tired, and slept until about 1:15 AM, when I then remembered to take the medication I should have taken at 9.

Consequently, I was tired in the daytime again, today; and although I did initially get up (and ready to leave) at a reasonable time, I wasn’t active until around 5 PM again because of sedation. There is a date set out for me to see my prescribing doctor, as my case manager said that sleeping until 5 PM was overly excessive.

This is why I started the Prozac in the first place (to stay awake, because of the sedation from the earlier-prescribed medication), but if the Prozac is going to put me on a road that leads to obesity and diabetes unless I continuously go out of my way to take action against it, I’d rather cut the sedating medication and see what that gets me. I’ve been on it since high school, when I was with a prescribing doc I didn’t like, and who may not have cared if I was functional. It may be that it’s time to either reduce or change it.

Going down from 14g to 16g.

I had been having intermittent discomfort in my left ear piercing, which I think is related to going up in gauge too fast. I mentioned this in a backpost (though at this point I think the tearing sensation was likely from dried crust being pulled through the piercing: it may have bled or oozed and I wasn’t aware of it). The solution to this is generally noted as going down one size, staying there for 6 weeks, and then attempting to go back up again. I actually went down in gauge yesterday, to 16g. It’s much more comfortable.

Right now I’m wearing a curved set of barbells previously belonging to M (I did clean them), which have a nice combination of metal thickness and weight. Based on what I’ve seen, I’ll want to stay at 16g until March 14, when I can try 14g again. I have two sets of earrings at this size, so even if I lose a threaded ball from the barbells, I will have a backup set of captive-ball rings.

New interest in my appearance.

Right now I’m taking the step to start looking nice (to myself). I had been distinctly sabotaging my appearance because I get upset/angry when men try to hit on me (I am not a heterosexual woman, regardless of what I look like)…but there is a way to rebel against that, which is to look nice despite them and just not play their games. Outside of criminality, the worst they can do is call me a b****, and D says to take that as a badge of honor, more than anything.

And yeah, it helps that I can fight in the vast majority of shoes I have. It also helps that I’m willing to fight.

Exercise makes me feel better.

Last night, I went a mile on the Exercycle, which really doesn’t seem like much (to me), but after about 2/3 of a mile, I got bored of going at 6 MPH and cranked it up to 9 MPH (eventually).

I just reached the point where it was more tiring to go more slowly than it was to push myself. I don’t think I’ve ever had a time where I was going at 9 MPH for over 15 seconds, until last night. (Of course, going faster means that I’ll be done with a mile sooner, so that is also an incentive.)

After that, I did a bunch of thorough stretching (mostly legs and trunk), and most of the abdominal exercises I can remember (I just excluded leg lifts). I did feel better after having done that. D said that it might be because I was oxygenating muscles. I’ve got to remember that my Tae Kwon Do stretches (for kicking) were the only things that started to relax the tendons in my inner thigh (as I found in my Butterfly Stretch).

Today I’m sore, but only a little. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get more exercise done. I try not to exercise the same muscle groups on consecutive days, because over the long term that can lead to muscle weakening, not strengthening — as in the case of my abs. They were probably shredded to **** by my high school Physical Education classes (which were in turn run by an ex-Army drill instructor, which doesn’t give me much security).

Shoes and clothes that fit, help.

As does, getting my hair trimmed. I suppose that it is the beginning of February, so the worst of the cold season is probably behind us (here). I think the big issue is going to be drought, for the rest of the year. We’ve basically got almost no snowpack, so it’s going to be tough (again). The bright side of this is that I probably won’t need to rely on my sweaters for much longer.

I did get a couple of new pairs of shoes, but the close-fitting ones I got are a bit large after having stretched out. M has taken them. I think I really needed a smaller size than the one I got (I normally wear a 9, but I think I needed an 8.5, in this case, and got a 9 on principle).

And…the sedation is kicking in again, so I’m going to sign off.

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?

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…