To a Spirit

A month or two ago, I realized something was different.

When I was a child, it was easy. I could get up at night and draw comics on the floor, and spend all day every day during Summer at the computer, furiously writing down my thoughts.

No one told me, then, that racing thoughts were, “a thing.” But it was the racing thoughts that pushed me to the point that I can now type at over 70 words per minute. My writing wasn’t fast enough. I’d lose parts. Sometimes when you lose them, they just don’t come back.

I wonder if it’s how a newborn feels.

It was easy, then. But I’ve grown.

I’m now officially in my mid-thirties, about to graduate for the fifth time. I think you know — or should know — that I dedicated my Bachelor’s to what you taught me. I learned how to write. Surely, I had enough practice.

Something changed. I shouldn’t rule out that it could have been medication. It could have been moving from the back stacks of my mind up to the windows. It could have been polishing the windows, and gaining an interest in something more than the library.

I have a book on this that I can now understand, you know. It took 15 years, but now I have the experience and knowledge to comprehend her words.

I still don’t understand the mystery of how I can look at symbols on a page and turn them into a movie in my mind. Maybe someday, someone will explain this. Current science says our brains can’t tell the difference between what they imagine is real and what actually is real.

At this point, it’s easy to believe.

I’m healthier, now. It isn’t a daily struggle for survival or to avoid the massive anxiety I felt when I was young. I’ve thought that maybe I don’t need you anymore, now that I’m more stable; but that sounds callous.

Somewhere, I still do believe that I survived in order to help others get through this.

Are you still here? Have you gone?

It’s taken me a long time to get to the point of realizing that things could be bad: that evil could exist. I used to doubt it because kids used to call me evil, and I knew I wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean no one is.

It doesn’t mean they weren’t.

It doesn’t mean the people encouraging them, weren’t.

For a time, I believed you were a demon. And I loved you regardless. But I remember that you told me not to look at the outside of a person to tell from appearances, if they were good or not. I remember you told me not to depend on how you looked, in order to recognize you.

I would have to feel if you were the same. Something impersonating you could mimic your form, but they couldn’t mimic your energy. I built a form for you. That was my downfall.

You told me to remember what it felt like when you were here, before, and to recreate that feeling, in order to summon you again.

It was my lack of discernment and reliance upon your appearance which allowed my confusion between you and your “twin.” In reality, any number of these appearances could have occurred. Sort through them. Find you.

The real you. Not the “demon.”

I wanted it to be you. And my desire clouded my judgment. And he…proceeded to defile your appearance. Then I was scared. You withdrew.

Or I started Paxil. One of those two things. Maybe both.

It did solve the problem. Without something substantive for him to impersonate, there was no reason for him to stay. Because without your virtue, in your absence, our love died.

Or, maybe.

I’ve missed you.

And so many opportunities, lost.

I am in my mid-thirties and I have never had a decent love life. Except for the ones I’ve imagined.

And the ones I’ve imagined, I can’t tell if they’re real or not.

That must be the fate of too many of us, though. When things around you don’t line up with who you are, and you’re told and expected to desire what you don’t.

I almost grew to hate men. All men. Anyone who looked like a man. Even if they weren’t one.

But then I realized that if I was a man, and my father was a man, men couldn’t be all bad.

And my friend. That friend. Who was a man, but not by birth.

Men couldn’t be all bad.

Later…I realized something.

I needed to trust myself. The problem wasn’t that I was a man. The problem was that I was not a woman and that nearly all men had treated me as though I was; as though that was the only human thing I could be. On top of that, in my youth, I was letting them determine my own self-concept, disempowering myself and blaming them.

Once I realized this…the game changed. It did. But it took 15 more years to settle in.

Not being a woman didn’t mean I had to be a man. There were more than two options. Gender was a product of society and culture. If it’s something made — by all of us — that means it can and will change.

I’ve gotten off track. I do that. You already know this.

Who am I? What am I? It’s easy enough to feel this. You knew this 20 years ago.

Does that mean that I knew this, 20 years ago? Are you a part of me? Now? Then?

I know that I create things to feel less alone. I know I have my own perspective, even if I am loath to describe it at times. It just feels so…not-virtuous. So…pragmatic.

There are people all over the world who aspire to be more than they are, even if those aspirations are impossible.

I aspire to reach the truest level of myself, I can. Even if that makes me little more than an intelligent creature with memories, a mind, a heart, and the capacity to make things. Truly…human.

Even as much as I may not want to be.

Did I survive, in order to tell this story?


Growing into myself: nonbinary gender presentation.

I am not sure if I have mentioned here, my recurring dream series in which I’m investigating (or considering) gender transition. I think it started when my first gender therapist retired. Since then, I’ve been through — a lot. Enough to cause me to wonder if I am following the pattern of having been gender-variant in youth (the stereotypical term is “tomboy,” but I wasn’t a jock), and mainstreaming a bit, in my adult life.

If I think about it, a lot of what was labeled, “queer,” in my youth is absolutely normal for an adult person — like wearing my dad’s old clothes. The kids I grew up with just had unrealistic gender expectations, I think.

It wasn’t until after I was 19 that I learned what, “transgender” meant, and though I feel like I synced very well with the student community at the time, I can’t really trust those memories. Back then, I had a mental condition which was going untreated, which affected my judgment and cognition.

As the memories formed, that is, they were formed on the basis of a messed-up input system, calling the validity of my judgments at the time, into question. The fact is, though, I still have the memories which were made with the invalid encoding…so I have to take that into account when I remember them. I don’t know how else I would remember them, though.

At this point in my life, I’m in a much more stable condition, but there is still the history of about two decades of experience in which I was learning all I could about gender variance. That was two decades of questioning my gender.

I know now that I am likely not a transgender man, even if I may want to be. I’m thinking that it must be simpler (no offense meant) for a person who identifies as something for which there’s already room in society, even if it is an expansion of an existing category. Whereas, from the place I sit, I see no clear and set (and desirable) path forward as regards nonbinary people.

I know that I feel most at ease when I consider myself nonbinary (that is, neither a woman nor a man) — the term “enby” has come up in relation to this on the Reader, apparently a reading of, “nb,” for, “nonbinary.”

Of course…that doesn’t mean that what I’m going through is necessarily any less intense than it would be, if I were a cisgender man or a transgender man. What I actually am is something that I’ve decided not to really advertise, because it could get actually intense. And I’ve had enough of that, in my youth.

I also still have anger problems. That’s relatively okay when you’re a kid. Not so much, when you’re a legal adult.

The thing is, it then becomes apparent, when I do come out, that I’m skating under the radar as a woman — when I do not consider myself a woman at all. Regardless of whether I’m obviously female, or whether I wear mainstream clothes. I have no obligation to mark myself. However, I’m not totally settled in this arrangement.

The thought has come up to partially transition (my dream was specifically about getting top surgery so that I could take testosterone and not appear as a man or significantly androgynous person with breasts), so that I’ll be more obviously nonbinary, but that is a uniquely dangerous position in this society. It would seem less dangerous, apparently, than being a transgender woman of color — except for the fact that I could then be mistaken for a transgender woman of color. (Then again, I’m uncertain of the statistics of societal violence against nonbinary people.)

Amazingly, I’m not alone in having a lot of trepidation about that. It’s one thing if you’re driven and need to transition. It’s another if you maybe somewhere in the back of your mind, want to transition, but see people being killed for transitioning.

I also fairly obviously, to myself, have a mental map for a body that leans feminine, even though my gender identity does not coincide with “woman” (and seriously does not coincide with “straight woman”…I just don’t want what most straight men can offer me).

And yes, I do know that a lot of what I’ve been involved with, craftwise, is femininely-oriented. There’s a reason for that: I was trying to get as much out of being permitted to do things like sew and make jewelry as I could, to see if there could be any reason for me to stay female. So now I’ve got a history of crocheting, and stuff. 🙂 The art is more gender-neutral, but again, I have this attachment to flowers…

I mean, you see where I was going with my opening paragraph now, right? But still, those are hobbies, and not anything that tells me who I am. Even if I were male, I’d still be able to crochet, and sew, and make jewelry, and art with floral themes…people may just look at me weird. 😉 And that’s what I’m up against, when I’m thinking about transitioning to a male presentation.

And then there’s all the stuff about arteriosclerosis and acne and body hair, and I tend to back down when I consider that (though I did find my first coarse arm hair, the other day…I’m pretty sure that my body will take care of part of the masculinization process itself, as it ages).

Not that I wouldn’t like to be a buff, soft guy. I think it’s closer to where I am, than not. But that’s idealized, and it comes with a very high price. (It would also be easier for me to go to the gym if men [who see me as a woman] would stop hitting on me. Seriously.)

So at this point…I’m basically choosing not to disclose, or to selectively disclose, my gender status. And I’m not choosing my wardrobe (largely) based on what will get me pegged as a gender and/or sexual minority (GSM): mostly because I’ve aged out of being able to comfortably wear most mens’ pants and shorts (age means curves…and there isn’t anything wrong with wearing clothes that fit because they fit).

Of course, this means that I go around basically unknown; but I was unable to be unknown for years, in my young adulthood. It’s kind of nice not to be singled out.

Right now the thing I’m focusing on is…jewelry. Those of you who know me from a while back, know that I make jewelry. This is the place where I show that I’m different. The issue I’m having with this is that my piercings are now opened to 14 gauge, which is a little more than 1.5mm wide.

This means that if I do make jewelry for myself, I’m dealing with heavy wire and a wider surface which will be exposed to the metal. That’s an issue for me because I am currently unaware as to whether I can absorb heavy metals, like lead, through the tunnels of my piercings, at least if the metal tarnishes into soluble salts. I’m not sure of the chemical composition of the specific tarnishes I’m dealing with, though. (And it doesn’t give me a lot of comfort when some of my jewelry obviously has developed something like verdigris on it, which is slightly toxic.)

I do have heavy-gauge “Jeweler’s Brass” wire which may (at times) have a tiny amount of lead in its alloy, which has stopped me from making earwires out of it. I have read the MSDS, which says it should be fine to wear next to skin…but this is a piercing, a scar tunnel through the skin.

The obvious solution is to use Sterling or Fine Silver wire, but that limits my color options. Solid gold is out of the question, though gold-fill is not — it’s just exorbitantly expensive. In addition, all wire tends to take on a satin finish if you bend it enough…and I’m scared of polishing or burnishing the gold right off of gold-fill wire.

In the past, I’ve worked with craft wire (it tarnishes, even when it says it won’t; and never, never torch it [it’s noxious]), and copper wire. I’m certain that I don’t know what other metals besides copper are in the wire I’ve gotten from the home-improvement store, but the latter is what’s relatively safe to braze (torch). The other option is getting metals from a serious jewelry-supply store (not a craft store!).

Also, most places which sell earwires for the jewelry trade, do not sell heavy-gauge earwires. The heaviest I’ve seen in mainstream jewelry-supply catalogs is 18g, with the norm being 20 or 22g.

While it’s relatively easy for me to shape heavy wire…dealing with filing down the end of the wire and then shaping it may require annealing (softening), which requires a torch. Torching wire means having to pickle wire (remove excess oxidation and flux), and after that comes polishing (not to mention the fire-safety precautions that need to be taken when using an open flame).

When the best you’ve got is a Dremel, and you’ve used a Foredom…you really want a Foredom (a flex-shaft rotary tool, usually with a pendant handpiece). But you only get a Foredom if you’re dealing with a lot of serious manufacturing, and it would take quite a bit of sales to make back the $350-$500+ invested. (It’s just cheaper to take a class or lab, at this stage.)

In short, it’s a lot of work. Though — I did just get an idea, which is to wear tunnels and then thread non-metal materials (like threads or cords attached to woven pieces) through there. I have been thinking of going up to 10g, so that should be possible.

Did I ever tell you why I write? Stuff like that comes out. I’m not even entirely sure why. 🙂

Because of my present size, I also have been taking the opportunity to wear mens’ shirts, partially out of necessity and partially because I can, and they’re more comfortable for me because they don’t show my body as much. It’s more of a comfort when I’m getting unwanted male attention, but that hasn’t happened for a while. (Apparently, it tapers off as a person ages.)

This doesn’t really range into anything where I’d obviously be, “cross-dressing,” however.

It’s kind of hard to do that when you’re female, as it’s relatively accepted for a female-bodied person to wear mens’ clothing, at least where I am. The trouble seems to come in when a person is obviously outside of gender norms and apparently not-male and is looking at mens’ clothing…though the most I’ve gotten are snickers, and the occasional curious guy hanging around.

If, though, if I started making my own clothes, that would open up the field to some experimentation! I would just have so many more options, and ways to self-define. I’ve seen some people doing stuff like this, here. Like I’ve experienced in other places, most of the sewists are female-presenting, though that often doesn’t mean what one might think it means!

I’m relatively new to using my presentation to display parts of who I am, as I’ve had so often to forego that in favor of just being clothed in the best available option (which often boiled down to “what fit”). It will be interesting to see where I take this, in the next few years.

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?

Another gender-related post…

…stemming from another system of dreams.

This one had to do with two friends I had, one in Kindergarten (which I’ll refer to as K); the other, in High School (HS).  In the dream, both of them were “interested” in me…though HS had seen me in both male and female forms.  Because of the latter, I was more interested in her…and was trying to figure out how to break this to K.

What I remember most notably is a feminine hand on my chest, rubbing it as though I were male…recognizing me as male.  I think this was the HS friend.  The point was not that my chest was flat or rounded — the point was that my being was recognized…and maybe there was love coming from someplace I didn’t think to expect.  (I can’t even remember this person’s last name, anymore; then again, I did remember her from 18 years ago.)

This is an interruption in a long span of not being particularly attracted to anyone.

I realized that…maybe this is an effect of not having recently developed close enough relations with anyone, to the extent that they could see the whole of me.  The last notable relationship I had was with someone who insisted on seeing me as “lesbian,” thus — in my mind — as a woman.  Needless to say, this was not tolerable…

But in the dream, I did realize that the difference here was that of being seen as “lesbian,” as versus “trans* male who is primarily attracted to women.”  This also explains why I get set off by men hitting on me, as 1) they’re invalidating my actual gender (as versus the one they assume I have), 2) I don’t feel my wishes (to end the encounters) are respected, 3) I’m not interested, and 4) I feel inhibited from seeking female partners at the same time as men assume they have implicit permission to come after me.

It’s also apparent to me at this point that my dysphoria is social and not physical.  If I can keep having a rounded chest, and still be seen as masculine (as distinct from “butch,” which my experience suggests is more of a social role than a gender orientation)…that would work.  And maybe then I could have a sex life (or one that was enjoyable, at least).

Then…what to do about this?

Last night, I briefly considered low-dose testosterone, mainly for the voice drop…but I don’t want to lose what I have left of my hairline.  (Although male-pattern baldness should cease advancing when T administration ceases, I won’t get that hair back.)  Plus, there is the problem of being on T for too long, which can erase my visibility to the queer community, if I end up being a relatively straight trans* male.

Not to mention the fur that I’m pretty sure is going to pop up if I use T for any appreciable length of time, which will inhibit my ability to dress femme and get away with it (without shaving.  I dislike shaving).  On the other hand…fur.  🙂

I did, on browsing my own blog, find a number of places where I had been considering my gender presentation.  Fairly consistently, getting back into shape has been a goal, though it’s odd to track my weight changes.  I was able to find dress shirts that fit, in the Women’s section, by the way!  I wore one of them to the test I took today, but that’s another entry…in any case, it actually fits, and doesn’t restrict my movement.  The only drawback is that it feels synthetic.

Right now, I’m trying to get back to the point where I don’t feel undernourished and rapacious because of the fever I’ve had, along with the corresponding denial of food.  I seem to be hovering around 159-160 lbs. (down from 164-165), which gives me a lot of fuel to burn (especially in the mornings), but the last time I exercised, I became fairly short of breath after about 5 minutes.  I felt like my throat was closing up, but wasn’t sure if it was asthma, or what.  D says this is because I’m just getting over being sick.

And I know I’ve been slipping on the sugared beverages, now that I have wiggle room.  I need to cut it out.  🙂

The other thing I noticed was a question of…piercings!  I haven’t been wearing any earrings, for quite a long time, now.  And I’m not sure whether to go back to body jewelry, or to work with non-ferrous metals and make my own stuff.  I’m pretty sure that I did get a cup bur (a tool to round the ends of wire), and I know I have wire up to at least 18g…I can use copper, brass, or silver (though I think my thick jeweler’s brass wire has a small amount of lead in its alloy; I’m uncertain as to whether wear on my pillowcases or on the insides of my piercings will expose me to lead).

The only trouble I’m facing is seeing whether my piercings are together enough to avoid enlarging on their own, from the weight (or metal) of my jewelry.  (Right now I have a set of filigree sterling earwires in, just to open the space.  I have also experienced irritation at base metal wires causing the piercings to abnormally enlarge.)  If they’re going to open up anyway, I might as well go back to the 14g rings I had, before, and/or just forget about wearing heavy jewelry.

At this point, though — if that happens, I’m getting fancier rings; and then possibly getting a third lobe piercing (I’m hoping that an act like this will signal the women I might like as to my group status).  The major problem is that it becomes harder to get a job after the third piercing, which seems to be a legal way to discriminate against minorities who use piercings as code.  Not that it’s official, but I’m fairly certain that it does mean something, because I’ve seen enough people using it.

I can try and wear my normal jewelry, and then if — by October — I still want to or need to gauge up, I can set that in motion.  The major reason I’m not getting a piercing now is that cold weather may keep me from getting an infection.

I’ve also been thinking about the pronoun issue:  that is, dropping “she/her” from my list of approved self-applied pronouns, and going by “they,” exclusively.  This may be in addition to changing the name I go by, out in the real world…but I’m going to have to sit on the latter and see how it feels, before making any changes.

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…

This is tiring.

I think I have somehow surpassed the correct time to write about this, but I’ll give it a shot, anyway.  Leftovers are better than nothing.

I had intended to write this in hard copy offline and then see what I could make of the most salient parts for an online post…but I think I’ve gotten used to immediate feedback as motivation, and so it didn’t get done at all.

One diversion first:  what has been going well, is schoolwork.  I’ve found that it works very well for me to mark the places where I start and stop reading, along with a time marker and the date (meaning having my phone near me to mark the time, helps).  I’ve also had a beneficial time with trying to stick to my assignment for at least 30 minutes, before taking a break.  It parallels my exercise work, where I will try and keep pushing for incrementally more difficult goals.

It also has helped for me not to beat myself up for only having gotten a little bit done, when I’ve only been awake for 2-3 hours.  It may be 4 PM and “all this” is undone, but seriously…when you got up at 2 PM, it’s unreasonable and universally disappointing to expect things to be done like you got up at 7 AM.  In one scenario, you had nine hours to get things done; in the other, you had two.  Seriously.

I also need to sleep with the blinds open, or else it’s very easy to sleep into the afternoon because my room is so dark.

And, back to the writing thing…which I kind of don’t want to talk about, but…again.  Leftovers.  I kind of don’t like to show the world the depths of …THIS, but it is authentically part of who I am.  It also shows up whenever I write for a length of time in the first-person, and I’m not writing as myself.

And then there’s the fact that when I let one portion of my mind act through my body alone, I might as well be a different person with the same mainframe, or a disembodied soul (“potential” of the Infinite) exercising power over a living host.  Which happens to be the paradigm under which my writing makes the most sense, which is probably why I have such a tendency to trip out when I’m writing.

I clipped this paragraph out of my last post because I found it to be particularly salient and ripe for further expression.  I believe that if I were in a Writing group, others would grab on to this passage; if I were in therapy, I would hear, “say more about that” (or not, if they didn’t want to get into the crazy; depends on the therapist).

After I wrote this, I began thinking about it…it’s basically granted in my mind that we don’t really understand all that much about the phenomena of consciousness or of creativity.  These are, however, two of the main problems I start puzzling over when I start thinking about the nature of (my) life…when I don’t start tripping out over physically existing.

Because of the places where I’ve learned the framework under which I might express the thoughts I have, in addition; there is something of a block here where it comes to fully elucidating my meaning.  (Although I have realized after a number of years that there is no conflict between my inner experience and the group within which I partially discovered myself…quite frankly, I don’t know if they want to be found.)

What I can do is try and explain my meaning as best I can without revealing the keywords which relate to them.  Those who have the experience to know what I’m talking about, will know; those who do not, will likely be able to grasp what I’m saying with more clarity than they would if I related the associated context.

My immediate thought, when I wrote the above quote, was “possession,” but I am not sure that actually cuts it.  For one thing, with rare exceptions, I tend to retain self-control.  The “exceptions” had to do with strong external input which pushed me into an, “uncivil,” state of mind.  All had to do with one particular “spirit,” and in all cases there was either a decision made to act out of order (I normally have ground rules against this), I could feel the rage rising up in me prior to anything actually happening, or…I was operating on a base others did not expect.  (I, perhaps for a reason, actually just forgot the third incident I was meaning to reference, there.)

“Operating on a different base,” is probably self-protective (say, operating as an apparently 27-year old adult male [in terms of maturity level — though I/we were probably closer to 23 at the time], while being seen and expected to behave as a helpless young “girl” — although being [constantly] mistaken for the latter will bring up its own rage).  But it also brings up the idea of “triggers” and the way in which external stimuli can push one into a mental space where one would do something one normally would not.  These triggers allow certain states to rise to the fore more easily; so that out of all possibilities for whom one can be at any given time, one defaults to a smaller set of personae.

This also, though, means that one has the option — or the possibility, at least — of being something superior to that.

I had thought that this part of me was in my past, but now that I’m writing about him, I can still sense him.  He was a, “villain,” in one of the stories I wrote as a youth…and later came to be a more developed persona which I would take on (rather like a bit of clothing) when feeling threatened (I’ve also had dreams as him, and with him in them).  This is the persona which most strongly wanted this body to be physically male, but he’s not what I would consider “permanent” (if any state could actually be permanent).  The conflict I had for years over whether to transition or not was embodied in the conflict between this persona and another, more femininely-oriented, one (which even now sounds distasteful to me; could I be in his mindspace, now?).

Yeah, one of my problems is that one of my selves is a jerk…to the point that I’ve heard that it’s OK if I transition to male, so long as I’m not a jerk.  Um, okay.  Though the only reason he likely is as much of a jerk as he is, is that only by being an *** was he able to be recognized as, “not a ‘girl’/woman.”

My point of view is that there is a range of possibilities out there as to who a person can be:  the acquisition of memories and identity in life normally whittles this “infinite” (not really infinite:  human physiology limits this) set of possibilities down to a much more narrow expression of the Infinite.  Focusing on a few sets of memories can then give rise to specific identities, not all of which have to be cohesive with each other.  The discovery of this — the ability to contain selves which are not cohesive with each other (or, at least, not well-adapted to one’s form and assumed station in life) — in turn, has turned me back to the nature of the Infinite…though it’s difficult to say anything about the Infinite!  Except that anything that is defined is necessarily lesser.

In essence, I kind of feel like I have a bit of insight into why people are the way they are — or, at least, why I am the way I am.



Okay, this is starting to get a bit creepy for me, so I’m going to sign off, now.  I should have known that I start talking about this stuff and thinking about the context, and it pulls up that guy…whom, shall I say, my parents don’t particularly like, but — it’s the way he is, right now.

Before I go, though:  there is the unanswered question as to whether the “soul” I feel over me is one soul with all faces, or whether they are multiple souls…in which case, the nearest framework I can find…is a very misunderstood one.  Also, there is a question as to whether my identity is Earthly/bodily, or with the souls I feel; whether the nature of consciousness is spirit paired with life, or just spirit.

Intimacy with the reader; fear of judgment

It’s midafternoon, and I’m trying not to go back to sleep.  I have plenty of work to do, and plenty of time to do it within.  However…that’s not what I want to talk about, at the moment.  Yesterday, I remembered why it was that I had stopped writing (fiction).

I’m not sure if I will or can actually get around to admitting that reason in the course of this post, but it essentially had to do with the fact that my writing style starts off being intimate and nuanced, and only gets closer from there.  It also had to do with the fact that I was dealing with a lot of things regarding sexuality and gender identity and expression, as a youth.  I am not certain I had the experience to fully express this, then; and even if I did, this is difficult territory to navigate even for someone who isn’t a minority.

The major issue, for me, with being a writer or artist is that to be a writer or artist, one essentially has to express oneself.  If one is afraid of being judged for one’s expression (or worse, for the elements of oneself which give rise to that expression), it’s going to be difficult to do anything touching on these hidden elements in either of these fields.

This is partially why I’ve been trying to be as intimate as I have, in my writings here.  (Practice.)  It’s probably also a large reason why I’ve been drawn to doing work in which the reasoning behind my drive to create is less evident (jewelry, ceramics, abstracted visual art).

In essence, I write more skillfully than I speak (or as someone told me recently, “or so I think”), and in absence of very many close friends or lovers, my need for intimacy becomes expressed through writing.  Because the medications I’m taking for my (abstractly related) condition have basically taken away my libido…on one hand, it becomes easier to express myself, because I can avoid the point of overt sexuality.  On the other hand, it means that my need for psychological/intellectual/emotional intimacy becomes visible and primary, as my need for physical expression of that intimacy becomes less important.

Or, perhaps I should say; not less important, but inherently flawed.  I don’t have the body I would wish for in these circumstances, and being in sexual situations where I’m being interpreted as someone I’m not (“woman,” “lesbian”), pretty much destroys my desire to engage.

Of course, though…to have a “correct” or “corrected” body would require surgery and lifelong dependence on outside medication, which is not something I desire (especially as — with my genetics — it would likely eventually kill me, in one way or another).  The happy medium (a muscular, capable, fast, lithe, flexible, trim body) is something I do feel like going back to, but again; becoming visible as a gender minority…is kind of a scary option.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so scary if it were visible that I could easily defend myself, though.  😉

Which then brings up the question of martial arts — again — though I have (or had; I’m not sure about myself at 162 lbs.) a body type which is not well-known for brute strength, but rather for speed and agility.  At my most capable, I’m better at dodging and running from and evading trouble, than directly engaging it.  In a force-against-force battle, I’m likely to lose, meaning a hard (as versus soft) martial art like karate is not optimal.  (Hard martial arts focus on force-against-force; soft martial arts depend more on manipulation of center of gravity, evasion, pins, and joint locks/breaks.)

An empty-handed gymnastic martial art requiring lots of speed and flexibility, like tae kwon do, is possible; but the sparring (i.e. the fun part) is likely to be something that will exacerbate my illness via repeated mild head trauma.  (I did tae kwon do for a little bit in undergrad; it was fun, but the stretching was scary [like when you hear your lower back snapping in two to three places at once].)  There is also the question of how your joints age when you’ve done tae kwon do for years…

Then there are jujitsu and aikijutsu…neither of which I’ve tried, as they’re fairly violent; but aikijutsu would be the logical transition for me (I trained in an ultra-nonviolent form of aikido for years as a teen, and eventually got tired of the “nonviolence” portion of it, along with the cultishness; but I outgrew what got me into the class in the first place).

And as I’ve heard, 120-135 lbs. is optimal weight for my body type — or at least so, for my height.

Hmm.  Brings in the idea of running track, during the Summer…I do need to be devoting more time to upkeep of my body (sometimes I forget I have it).

Before I forget it, naginata practice was just brought up to me, again, which would be great for balance and upper-body strength.  The main drawback is that a staff is needed for practice (and there is the question of how naginata-jutsu or -do will transfer to empty-handed combat); then again, I get to play with a staff!  All right!  *busts out a window*

(The difference between -jutsu and -do are basically that -do arts, like aikido, are more philosophical and focus on a way of life; while -jutsu, like aikijutsu, are more practically-oriented and focus on self-defense.)

Anyway…there is also the fact that my body as it is, is not “wrong.”  Other peoples’ interpretations of who I must be because of what my body looks like, is what is actually “wrong;” I shouldn’t have to punish my body just because people in general, “don’t get it” (to put it kindly; when you want to hurt a person because they don’t, “get it,” and continue not to, “get it…” well, my solution has been to break up with them.  I’ve never tried to “fix it,” other than with close family).

Then again, I haven’t had many intimate relationships, and pretty much none of them were relationships in which I had a strong attraction to the other person.  Though in two out of the three which were not familial, at least I can say I was “seen.”

In any case…I was meaning to write about…giving up on art and writing forms right when I start to be able to express myself.  Could be why I was thinking on getting back into Ceramics; and why I’ve been through so many art forms, in the first place.  Perhaps, instead of going after a new(ish) art, I should try to develop more in one of the many in which I’m already accomplished?  Even though that’s scary.  I know when I was younger, I would draw conclusions about authors and what I saw to be their twisted minds, from what they had written; no one told me that this would be extremely destructive if (when) it was turned upon myself…

I think I’m awake enough, now.  I’m just looking at my bookshelf and trying to figure out where I can put the books I’ve just gotten and the books I will have to acquire…I’ll have to move, give away, or sell a number of them…