Maybe fiction provides a safety vent.

There are a couple of things I’ve realized recently, or am in the process of realizing, though I’m not sure they all need to be written out for the world to see. Well, maybe they need to be written out for me to see, then.

One of the major realizations is that I can be healthier (and more myself) when I express myself through fiction writing. In the rest of my life, I find it relatively more difficult to break through and do something I normally wouldn’t. I feel like it’s as close as I would get to acting…at this point in my life, at least!

But I do kind of have this really…this side that I think of as deep, dark, and rich, that normally doesn’t see the light of day. I can’t maintain it continuously for more than 3-4 days at most, as well. This is part of what originally caused me to identify as gender-fluid. It also caused me a lot of confusion in my younger years, before I had enough context and experience to know I wasn’t transsexual and in denial.

These days, I feel solidly genderqueer, if anything. I’ve found that I’m relatively comfortable with my physical body, but…I’m not a woman or a girl, even if I take on femme (feminine, regardless of physical sex) attributes from time to time. And that doesn’t mean I have to be a man or a boy. Nor does it mean that I’m obligated to look like, or model myself into, a man or boy.

I fall into the category which is presently called “gender non-binary” in forward-thought U.S. culture. Even so, this term isn’t widely known: there is presently very little recognition that anyone like me could exist.

Anyhow, there are aspects of myself which are untenable in a normal, everyday environment. Fiction is one of the outlets I have in which to express character which can’t fit (in a cohesive/coherent or safe way) into my day-to-day persona.

That is, I have a lot of complexity in my character, and the embodiment of all of it in my daily persona would result in confusion in the outside world (not to mention cognitive dissonance within my own mind: say, from holding space for two or more realistic options to both be potentially valid [even though mutually exclusive] and operating on that). I believe I’ve tried this already…it’s not easy, especially when your future potential embodiment is at stake (I was considering testosterone at the time…long story [spanning about 20 years]).

What fiction allows me to do is let these portions of myself out to play in a controlled (and somewhat contained) environment. I have noticed my own tendency to take small cues and work off of those in fiction, as well. It’s kind of like a real-world Rorschach thing: seeing a shape on the wall which continuously looks like Q-Bert (I have one of these, I’m not kidding), but instead of visual interpretation as in a Rorschach test, the interpretation is of situations and motivations.

I used to have such strongly ingrained negative thoughts that I’d have trouble dealing with realistically considering any other option when they would arise by suggestion. They often (or inevitably) result in half-truths or false-truths that can make sense within the narrative, but might not (or would not, depending) be defensible in reality. This is why I like using unreliable narrators; though usually they aren’t outright lying, more than voicing something that won’t leave me alone, and of which I question the truth value.

But, as I have learned within the last decade, just because I (or anyone else) think(s) something, that doesn’t make it true — no matter how true it seems or how much you do or don’t want it to be true. (In fact, an enhanced sense that something is real [say, in hallucinations and delusions] can be a red flag that it may not be.)

I think I’ve gotten everything out, on that point, that I needed to.

There’s another question that has arisen for me recently, which is whether it is actually to my benefit to be a freelance writer instead of being on payroll. The major reason I’m in my LIS program is that due to my condition, I need a stable source of income, and benefits. I’ve just been thinking, though, about the amount of pressure a writer might face to write what their employer wants them to write, should they be salaried.

It just seems like as a freelancer, one retains a certain amount of autonomy, even though there is an exchange there where it comes to financial security.

I’m losing my train of thought, right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and post…


Solid footing…?

I’m thinking again about female-to-male gender transition, a.k.a. gender reassignment, a.k.a. gender confirmation.

Tonight, for whatever reason — maybe because I’m feeling better, maybe because I slept so long, maybe because it’s becoming clearer life is transient…and the rebirth I’ve been hoping for in which I get to be male will never exist…

…and that my attempt to hold solidarity with all the people in the past who were female and did not feel themselves to be women; and with all the people now who feel the same way and don’t have the privilege of gender reassignment…

…and, because I’ve noticed relatively unhealthy coping mechanisms coming up (namely, the hope that having a girlfriend who can see me will be enough to fulfill me [usage, anybody?], but also that I compulsively try not to be “pretty” because I don’t want the attention [which usually invalidates my gender] and this is wrecking my body)…

…and because I’ve realized that I actually would rather have male parts than female, even though I don’t “hate” my body…nor do I know for a fact that being in between a fully male and fully female body will be inferior to what I’ve got now…

…and because I know that the reason to keep my chest the way it is, is to distract from my belly, when I don’t want either of them (and testosterone may actually help the belly flatten)…that is, the state I haven’t wanted to be in with a belly and breasts and apparently male, is the state I’m in now, as nominally female…

…and because being overtly MALE is a new thing…and would be a more vulnerable position than I’m in now…

…and because the main point of contention is that I don’t want to inject myself with hormones on a weekly basis for the rest of my life…(though this might be the “manly” route)…

…and because there is no way I want to be pregnant…

(…and because I did hear myself in a recording earlier tonight and realized that I don’t sound clearly male or female…)

…and because I don’t have to change my name…

I think I’ve realized…that this is serious. I have a very short jump to being fully legally, chemically male. Socialization comes after that. I have one year to get everything together before other issues may arise.

I first went into counseling specifically around gender, 15 years ago. (I haven’t yet actually taken testosterone, but it’s extremely fast-acting.)

The problem is that the situation is confusing and I was and am in the thick of it, without decent words to describe what I’m going through.

But I’m tired. I need sleep. The point of it or this is that I’m wondering if I am bordering being transgender and male as well as nonbinary, at least at this juncture.

I’m not certain getting further into this is warranted at this point, as I do notice my brain fogging up on me. I just wanted to note this. Before it went away.

(sorry for the partial sentences) 🙂

Weird dreams over the last 48 hours…

I have just been wiped out, today.  Work demands + school demands + poor time management + biology.  Speaking of which, I had another dream about going into Biology and living on my own after my Master’s was done, though this time it would have been in some kind of cognitive science (in order to complement Human-Computer Interaction work).

Somehow, though…I don’t think I would be good in Biology:  too much biohazardous and wet stuff.  But I think in the dream, I had been gaining Physics skills (I don’t know how or why — it doesn’t make sense in the broader context), but it would have made sense in light of that.

The night before, I had a rather disturbing dream which makes sense in light of Rick & Morty, Silent Hill, Attack on Titan, the Book of Enoch, and Warm Bodies:  I dreamt I had my heart, eyes, and brain removed (while I was alive/standing there) and placed into a dead body, which I then became.  (Yes, it is scary to have your heart and eyes and brain ripped out of you in a dream)

While I had superpowers (notably, I could fly), I was still a monster who was leading people around (to potentially become like I was — though I don’t know if they knew that), and seeing things no normal person would see (the graphic contents of which are too disturbing to relate, here).

It would be interesting to make that one into flash fiction.  I don’t know what the plot would center around, though.  I still don’t know the motives of the character who transferred me.  Maybe I could begin by trying to figure that out, if I do write this out.

And then today, there was another transition-related dream (related to the “disturbing” stuff I saw in the dream I just mentioned — part of which was desiring a male form)…the key point of which is that it would narrow, rather than broaden, my options.

The only reason to move forward with it, then, would be 1) to satisfy curiosity and thus know the right decision to make (after the fact, unfortunately), or 2) to understand that the narrowed options would be more comfortable for me (than broader unused options; however, I do still use these).

I was still curious about what testosterone would feel like, but — it isn’t a good idea, speaking from a waking perspective.  Health concerns make it unlikely that I would be able to stay on testosterone for life without it eventually killing me (I have family history of heart troubles).  I don’t know why I keep having these dreams, though — I’ve been having them at least since my first gender therapist retired.

It seems that there’s a parallel memory thread going on in my brain which contains dream-related memories.  Hmm.

Anyhow…I should probably do something else, right now.  While it probably wouldn’t be best to spend the time researching the stuff in the horror dream…curiosity, you know…

Maybe I need to write deep things sometime other than my lunch hour.

I think I recognize what has happened here:  I forgot that I am gender-fluid.  I seem to be rapidly flashing back and forth between (my own) gendered ideals.  I’m not sure how or why this happens…but I’ll get back to you after group.  I need to see if I can work this out in speech…

Sexual orientation? and me. :P

One of the reasons I posted what I did, last night, was to prepare myself for today…I have a meeting coming up, where I can talk about these issues.  What has come to light is that — I actually am wondering, now, if I am lesbian, but just have come to assimilate an inappropriate definition for the term.  Also:  I have been majorly socialized in the wider “queer” (LGBTQIA) community, with a focus on transgender and genderqueer experience…having been ostracized from lesbian groups early on.

While I don’t see myself to be “butch,” as who I am goes…really deep, deeper than it has in many of the butch women I’ve known (but not of the butch trans* men), I can relate to this experience, having both emulated and admired the people I knew and saw who were part of this really great queer community.  And I lived in that role for about two years, at least; though I think I was seen as butch and/or as trans*, long before that.

It’s just that I am thinking that chafing at men coming on to me, being asexual from a heterosexual reference point, and wanting to be recognized as masculine by a lady, that…that kind of sounds, well, more gay than trans.  It hasn’t helped, though, to have trans* men tell me that I’m “just a lesbian,” as I used to get in my mid-twenties.  It didn’t help for them to tell me that, disparagingly, like they were “more than lesbian,” you know?

I don’t think that the possibility of this has been…adequately explored, and explored with neutral power-levels.  While it’s very…apparent that I do have some male-leaning identity (my role models have always been drawn from a pool consisting of more than women), maybe it would be good to try and find some places to hang out where I could be exposed to women’s community.

I am aware that my socialization may cause some disturbance (it is different politically to fall in with women’s groups than with trans* or genderqueer groups), but maybe it’s still the best thing…

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.

Can’t sleep. Rethinking situation for webcomic series.

Alright.  I took a nap from 7:30 to 9:30 PM and also ate a huge piece of pizza and two bowls of lentil soup, tonight.  Accordingly, I now have indigestion and can’t fall asleep.

Which is kind of a shame, because I’m really tired.

I’m also still recovering from whatever sickness this was that I caught…but I’m guessing this isn’t really necessary information for this post.  🙂  Point is, I’ve been tired all day.

I’ve been cruising around some tags tonight, notably the “webcomics” one on WordPress.  One of the things that I’ve realized from doing so is that writing — particularly for comics — doesn’t have to be as deep and involved as I’m getting into with my own most recent story.  This is a pattern going back into my history, though.

While I was laying here hoping for melatonin (the kind that comes from my brain, not a pill) to do its work, I realized that one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding fiction writing is that it seems escapist, where it comes to my own motivation to write.  Then I realize it sounds escapist, and recall myself back to the real world:  you know, the one in which I am constantly mistaken for a girl (I don’t consider myself a “girl,” or woman, for that matter) — and get depressed.

There is an easy fix for this where it comes to my current story, though:  keep it closer to reality.  This will probably be far more gritty, but actually more realistic and maybe easier to write.  Plus, it will likely ring less of escapist fantasy.  Will this end up being the only story I have to write?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  It’s worth a shot, though.  One story is better than none…but if I’m going to write, I need to protect myself from myself…

…and also I’ve got to decide what I’ll do if writing this makes me want to start T.

I’m going to try and fall asleep now.  It’s been 30 minutes since I got up.  I’m still burping up acid, but…I’m tired.