Hygiene highs; a day off. Taking care of myself.

Alright, so I didn’t get much done on the portfolio, today. I did go out on an excursion and brought back a couple of beading magazines. Although I don’t subscribe to any anymore, it’s good to view the ads.

I suppose I never really reported on the specifics of what beads I have recently picked up. I mentioned them close to the time, but no pics or anything. That isn’t great, for the reason that I forget what I have, if I don’t record it.

And then, there was the little macramé trial that I started and then ended…

Yeah, I want to do something with that! (It’s right next to me, now.)

Last night, I wanted to post about hygiene. Particularly, how good it felt to take a shower and wash my hair and dry the roots, getting everything done (including rubbing my face down with witch hazel, treating it, and brushing and flossing my teeth). I had to floss because I’d eaten raw fish for dinner (it will cause awful morning-after breath, otherwise — and don’t even think about going to bed with your teeth unbrushed — it’s horrific the next day), and I really had to wash my hair.

I put some sort of oil in it to protect the ends…but I’m not convinced that two drops (as the bottle said to use) was enough. I had to use the Clarifying shampoo because my hair was so gross, and that will eat through any oil or grease it touches at full strength. Because of that, I had some areas which were just fine (if not oily), and some areas which were squeaky-dry. I’ve found that it’s healthier to have it oily but clean, as versus dry and brittle.

I’m thinking of using a sulfate-free, very gentle shampoo, and just washing much more often. (I’ve heard that a vinegar rinse is good for getting rid of sulfate deposits in the hair [someone did one on me once], so I might use one just to soften it. I’m just not sure how exactly, to do it.)

I used the diffuser attachment for my hair dryer for the first time, last night. IT IS WONDERFUL. If I set it on “Cool” and High speed, it will get my roots dry, which is important to avoid mold and mildew. Avoiding that is important to avoiding dandruff and scalp itching, in turn.

As well, the “Cool” setting, doesn’t burn me.

I’m wanting to wash my hair and wear it the way it is when it’s wet and in what would be called, “ringlets,” if my hair was fully curly — it’s just in short waves, and I don’t know what the term is for that. But it’s nice that my hair texture has matured…it’s never been this consistent in texture, before. Rather, the texture varied depending on which area of my scalp the hair was growing from. (When I was very small, it was much straighter.)

It’s also never been as long as this at this texture, before. Right now, I can put it on top of my head, and it almost all stays (depending on what area of my crown it’s on)!

So…I’m thinking of continuing to grow it out, so I can get to the point where I can pile it all on top of my head. If I dry it with the diffuser, it should also be good to wear it down, while the rest of it dries. The diffuser actually adds lift to the root area, which helps it look alright.

I started out this post talking about beads and beadwork…

I suppose it’s OK if I don’t get work on my portfolio done, every day. I’ll only have one more class on top of this, for the foreseeable future. And even if I do get a better job, I shouldn’t have to work much more than 20 hours.

Also, so long as the portfolio project isn’t done, I’m thinking that it’s probably normal or good to keep it in the back of my mind, all the time. I should probably just not worry or stress over it too much — at least, not yet. After all, no matter what, it’s not going to be done for a while.

With the beadwork, I’ve based a color scheme around a number of ceramic beads, but have come to realize that the ceramic beads are likely too coarse for the design. I think the color scheme still works, though: warm aqua luster, violet vitrail, bronze.

And…I keep finding more beads, stashed away in plain sight. I need to get them all together. I remember looking for some for that scarab necklace (bright fuschia size 6° silverlined rounds), that I found a couple of days ago in a forgotten project drawer.

Anyhow. I haven’t been working on that today, either.

Seems like a lot of the stuff I have to do, has to do with organization. I think that’s accurate.

The thing I’m kind of irritated about is my lack of noting prices per quantity on the descriptions of my bead vials. Prices normally vary based on what’s in the glass, and what treatments have been applied to the glass. For example, pinks and deep reds (which aren’t just coated), generally have gold in the glass formulation, so they cost more. But something like a teal will generally be much less (I don’t know what makes it teal).

I remember that a while back, the “Apollo” finish (a bright bronze-gold coating over clear glass) was new and stupid-expensive. It’s gone down in price, now.

But if I’m making anything to sell, the final price is based on the cost of production, ideally. Otherwise, I risk underselling myself, and not being able to hold the price of a certain item, steady. Unless, that is, I risk overcharging (which I probably should, as versus putting something out using a baseline price formula).

I think I feel a bit better now, making jewelry with the intention to sell (though I haven’t been doing it much, recently). It helps to know people into art (who value artistic labor), and it helps to have done it, before.

It also helps to know that I’m not undermining my integrity by doing something generally classified as feminine. I am female, but as regular readers here will know, I don’t see myself as a woman — or a man (feminine, is something different: I have found that just because I don’t see myself as a woman, that doesn’t mean I have to divorce myself from everything associated with women).

In my first round of making jewelry to sell, I didn’t know myself as well, and didn’t know why I liked to do it. At this point, I know it’s okay to sell something for personal decoration, even if no one absolutely needs it. I didn’t feel great taking money for something someone may want, but have no absolute life-or-death need for. Especially when they may have needs that they’re sacrificing for “wants”.

But other people’s money-management, really isn’t my business. And that’s a ground-rule I really need to keep up.

I’ve also found that I myself feel better when I know I look good. The attention I get for that isn’t the reason I do it — or even something I really desire — but I try to take compliments in stride.

After all, nothing says I can’t be a gender minority and gorgeous at the same time…

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Worked on Folkwear #112 some more.

At this point, I am wondering if I should have taken a Digital Libraries class over the Summer as well as Fundamentals of Programming, which is straightforward enough to leave me a lot of time. Which …I should be using to develop my portfolio.

Today…I could really feel that I had taken medication way too late, last night. I wasn’t really up and active until after 2 PM, but that’s because (for those new to this blog) my medication is sedating and I took it at least three hours late. Sometimes it will knock me out until around 5 PM the next day if I take it at 1 or 2 AM. (For some reason, it affects me for around 17 hours when it’s late, less than that when on time. I think it has to do with Circadian rhythms.)

The good thing is that, due to tracking when I actually do take it, I’ve realized what happens when I try to stay awake by not taking it. If I don’t have anything I have to do the next day (like a class meeting or work), that day is often wasted asleep. Which…then, causes me to want to stay up and again delay taking the medication (if I’m finally awake at 5 PM, I hate to re-take that stuff four hours later and get knocked out again in an hour and a half). Which causes the next day to also be a wash.

Kind of a vicious cycle. On the bright side, when I take the stuff at 9 PM, immediately get ready for bed, and go to sleep when I’m tired, I end up waking at like 5-6 AM…so the loss of having a day only 5.5 hours long is basically…better than the alternative. And I guess I have a tendency to wake up earlier, too, though I can’t really predict that.

Having to do that is one of those things that will make me feel disabled for real, though.

I did see someone today I hadn’t seen in a long time, though I wasn’t up for talking, much (unfortunately). In lieu of working with the new leather project (on which I’m basically still in the design stages), I opted to go back to the trial garment (or toile) from the Folkwear 112 pattern (monpe). I did get a good amount of work done, though at this point I’m questioning why I’m doing all this by hand when we have a sewing machine.

Of course, in the finished garment, I would be using backstitch for my seams, not a running stitch. Backstitch is actually more satisfying for me to do, but I don’t really know why, except for the fact that it actually takes advantage of the fact that I’m hand-stitching. It could also be superior in a way to machine-stitching, in that it’s more elastic.

I’ve also realized that I was premature in cutting down my pattern pieces: one step of the pattern (the one I’m on) says to take different seam allowances for the different sizes — AFTER having cut out different size pattern pieces.

Since I’m sizing this up to a 16, I’ve had to go beyond what the pattern has written (if the instructions are accurate)…and now have no room for a seam allowance on the outsides of the legs. Even though I already added 0.5″ to the edges of the pattern pieces (which stop at Size 14 — I have the old version of the pattern). That adds a total of 1″ in diameter. The seaming instructions would add another 1″ in diameter, making an additional 2″ in diameter, total.

I do have one option, since this is just a toile, which is to just whipstitch the edges of the fabric together (or something), then try the thing on and see if it fits. The only reason for me to be making a toile is to learn what is being asked of me and to fit the garment, that is. It doesn’t have to look nice. Or last.

Speaking of which, I found that a certain stitch I was using on a patch pocket in lieu of machine topstitch only works to catch the edges of the fabric (I can’t remember the name of the stitch right now, and am too tired to look it up: the needle travels for about 1/8″ in a fold and then catches a few threads on the other piece of fabric, then goes back into the fold for another 1/8″). I would need to work back around the edge of the pocket with something more secure, even if it’s embroidery. Otherwise, that pocket is not going to stand up to use, as it’s being held in by tiny stitches.

That same stitch, though, is fine for things that aren’t going to be stressed (like the hem at the top of the pocket).

Also, somehow, I messed up one of my shoulders. I don’t know exactly how that happened, but I have been typing in some weird positions lately, causing pains in places I’ve never had them before. (I thought I might have had appendicitis, yesterday, but the pain isn’t here today. The day before yesterday, the small of my back hurt on the other side of my spinal column.)

I also helped unpack bins at work yesterday. That could have something to do with it (it’s possible that this activity has injured others). But I was also doing a lot with that arm, including lifting and holding heavy stacks of books, which could also be the cause. It just feels like before, when I lifted something heavy and then turned my elbow outwards, and then at certain angles, it felt like my arm would fall off.

Speaking of injury, I’m also getting good enough at hand stitching that I only hit my left thumbnail twice with the needle today. Unfortunately, one of those times was enough to split off the upper layers, but I’m still mostly intact! Without the thimble!

And…I think my brain just stopped working…

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.

Recording this so I see it, later:

Well, my fever temporarily broke today…unfortunately, it then went back up to 99º F. Consistent with what I’ve been doing for the last several days, I’ve decided to stay in, today. I did break out the aquarelle pencils (I have one set of “Watercolor” pencils and one set of “Ink” pencils), and tried to get a start on swatching them (again — I didn’t feel like trying to find my old papers), until I realized I was again sweating, and should give it a break. I know that yesterday, I was so loopy that I was misreading clearly written text…

There’s something to be said, though, for the “wow” factor for me in even being able to draw two lines of different width on a big piece of Mixed Media paper. I think that, now, other than times when I am just trying out a paper (like the hot-press Fluid brand paper which I found, pills), it would actually be best to go for a larger pad, rather than a small one. I usually don’t use blocks — I prefer to tape the paper down to a piece of Masonite. That way, I can work on more than one project at once, and switch them out when I feel like it.

And rulers! I have been using a large aluminum ruler for a good amount of time, to cut and draw straight lines. What a timesaver! I kind of want to kick myself for even thinking about trying to hand-draw straight lines for my swatches (mostly because I didn’t want to go get the ruler)!

Right now I’m (again) in bed, and typing like this is probably not good for my spine — but I have realized a potential twist in the story I’ve been planning out. Parallel timelines: different universes. What one character believes to be a “past life” or spirit action may turn out to be the mental overlapping of two timelines.

This will enable me to have the “spirit” character not be perfect, to tell her story at the same time I’m divulging the co-main character’s, and to tell both the stories that have been bothering me for some time, within the same text. As a bonus, the female main character won’t have to die for the male main character’s story to begin, and they won’t have to take place on the same world or iteration of that world’s timeline. But the time flow issue — and the issue of psychic “alien” life — will be all screwy, which, gratefully, I’ve somewhat prepared for.

My major dilemma at this point is knowing that I want to work this out visually, and wondering how to work such an internal story out in image + text (as versus text only).

I know the “smart” thing would appear to be not to divulge these notes, but I’ve had too many projects die without seeing the light of day because of my secrecy. And it’s not even like the execution was all that great, if I’m thinking back to when I was 12 and doing this stuff. The thing is that ideas are plentiful; but it’s the execution of the idea that makes it yours. It will likely be quite some time before I’m ready to show a concrete (non-changing/logically coherent) image of this story to the world, but what I can do with it and what someone else would do with it are two different things…

Distractions, distractions…

I have one day left to do my final assignment in User Experience, and I think the timeline has me freezing up, a bit.  Both today and yesterday, I was unable to go in to work; yesterday, because I was physically sick (any time I moved, I wanted to throw up), and today, because I was running a fever (higher than yesterday’s).  Most of today and yesterday has been spent in the bed.

Right now, I feel more capable of doing things without constantly sweating, and my spine is telling me that some time spent vertically would be a good thing.  Staying home, though, didn’t help me find out what I need to for the basis of my assignment…which, inconveniently enough, is based on interviewing people.  (Working with people is likely the most difficult part of both my job, and this program.)

After this next week, though, Summer Session will be over.  That will be a relief.  I think I should just try and do the assignment as best I am able, even knowing that I do not have the time or information to do things the way I am being asked to do them.

Design Thinking is an entire field; it is unreasonable to expect us to execute the assignment perfectly in one week based on material found online, especially when no lecture is given and we have only been introduced to it within that same week.

I do think that I would be better off working in Graphic Design than I would be working in Design Thinking, that is.  That said, it is good to at least be introduced to the latter concept (and to where to learn more if I so desire).

That said, here are the succulent babies I was talking about last time. 😛 Please forgive the color-fill background; I took this photo at a weird angle, then had to rotate the image…did I crop this before rotating it?  Hmm.  Got to remember that for next time…

succulents-w

I’m still unsure as to whether to claim my off days as sickleave…though as it is Summer, and I spend more money during Summer and Winter breaks (excluding clothing) than at any other time…(during Semesters, I don’t have time to work on Art), I’m thinking about it.  Right now I’m wondering if I got sick because I briefly touched the neck/cap of my water bottle with an unclean hand, and then drank from it later.  (I thought my mouth did not touch what my hand touched.  Maybe I was wrong.)

Anyway, that’s past.

One of my coworkers brought in some graphic work the other day, as well:  I’ve got to ask them what kind of markers they used!  From the looks of the color blending, I would think they were Chartpaks, but I’m not deep enough into markers to tell.

I am thinking of getting some new Chartpaks and seeing how they perform now (the ink may not be the same, and mine may be so old as to be drying out — they’re streaking, now, but when they were new I could not make them streak):  I got the idea for a graphic art piece dealing with the story that is in my head and not yet solidified enough on paper (or in bytes) for me to have a formed idea of what it will become.

But I was motivated enough to work on it in charcoal, earlier.  And I hate charcoal.  I haven’t photographed it yet because it’s nowhere near being done, and I really dislike working in black and white, anyway.

It is a given that if I work with the Chartpaks, I will have to do it in a well-ventilated area; I’m thinking the garage, or outside.  I’m not sure if the fumes will be strong enough to ignite via the furnace…if this is an issue, I may be better off sticking with Tombows or other water-based markers, and just making heavy use of a blending marker, or brush and water — I don’t know what the difference is, in water-based markers.  (I wonder if charcoal/pastel blending stumps dipped in water would work, or just turn into mush?)

I also have Copics (alcohol-based), but my co-worker and I have been fairly underwhelmed by the markers, at least.  (I like the fineliners.)  I haven’t yet tried using the blending marker, though.  The Copics I have, streak; though I’m not sure if that’s because of the quality of nearly every paper I’ve used (I think translucent marker paper helps, particularly Borden & Riley), or if it’s because I didn’t saturate the paper with solvent (from the blending marker).

I should try blending the Copics first, before going to the Chartpaks, though…the solvent of the latter is definitely something you don’t want to be breathing in for any length of time, or in a confined area; and when open areas have open flame in them…I don’t want to set the house on fire.  I think I could use these, though, in an actual open space — if I taped down the paper I was working on to protect from wind.

At least when I first began to use the Chartpaks, they were formulated with xylene as a solvent, which is carcinogenic; then they reduced the amount of xylene to a level where the markers no longer carried a Caution Label.  Obviously, though…if you can avoid xylene…it’s just one of those things that’s best not to come into contact with on a frequent basis.  I was already used to the smell from using watchmaker’s cement (G-S Hypo Cement, which also uses xylene as a solvent, and which I’d gotten plenty of, on my fingertips:  not good!).

But the Chartpak AD markers (I’m not referring to the Chartpak Spectra AD markers, which I just found tonight) blend and bleed beautifully, or at least they used to.  Like I said:  when my (old formulation) markers were new, I could not make myself get streaks, so what I used them on looked more like animation cels, than anything.

And then, there’s the possibility of using colored pencils and liquefying them with a blending marker or Gamsol, or of using aquarelles.  The negative thing about the latter that I immediately land on, however, is that it’s like using grainy (and sometimes dull) paint.  The aquarelle layers just don’t dissolve all the way, unless you use a really light touch when applying the crayon (I’m thinking Neocolor II) or pencil…which I might try, at least if the only other options are Tombows and Copics.  The exception to this that I can think of are the Caran d’Ache Supracolor aquarelle pencils…which liquefy beautifully, with intense colors, but which are also top-of-the-line for watercolor pencils.  (They are priced accordingly.)

Yeah, maybe I’ll try that.  Maybe…I will.  I have some aquarelles I can experiment with, here already.  Maybe I just need to use a light touch.  This — and/or actually using paint or acrylic ink (how could I forget all those FW acrylic inks I have?), seem like better options.

I was probably just wowed by my co-worker’s marker art.  🙂  I forgot that I’ve been building up to this, for a while.  I got out of trying to use markers because it’s so expensive to just increase a dilution level of the same ink, whereas with paint or bottled ink, you just add a little more water.  (It’s been a very long time since I used ground sumi ink.)

I had begun to get into the technique of utilizing transparent watercolor as a ground color for other colored-pencil work, on top of a fineliner drawing; it shouldn’t be hard to lay down initial colors as watercolor (with the option of using acrylic ink, instead), then layer aquarelle and then regular colored pencil over that…though the opacity of those colors is something to pay attention to.  I could wipe out my initial linework, if I’m not careful.  But then I might also be able to wipe out opaque colors on top of linework as well, or redraw them with ink and a brush…(regular colored pencil, being wax- or oil-based, can clog the nibs of fineliners and markers, so I’ve heard).

I’ve also gotten wowed with Derwent Graphik Line Painters, some of which I may have initially ruined in my attempts at use:  I mention them here because they look awesome on top of watercolor, and as they have Japan (hollow) nibs, I have less of an expectation that they will clog.  The problem I’m having is having depressed the nibs too far into the barrels; this means some of them (the ones I tried to use before I knew better), will leak.

I recently found a Strathmore Mixed Media paper (it almost feels like illustration board:  the latter of which I don’t know how to use properly with water-based media, by the way), which I want to try out…and all of this might work well, here.

Yeah, I think it’s time to break out the aquarelle pencils!  After, that is, completing this last assignment…gah…

Growing up?

I suppose I can start off this post with an apology for staying away too long.  There has been a recent death in the family, which is why I was unable to…I believe, do anything at all on the computer, yesterday (now that I think of it).

Actually, no — I did finalize my class schedule for Summer (if all goes well on their end, I am good to go), although I am hoping that this is going to be a class that I really want to take.  I still have yet to do anything about the required books, which I should get on as soon as I can, but until yesterday, I hadn’t been committed.  Right now I’m on a break — M said that going in to work would be helpful in getting my mind off of things.  I’m not sure if that’s correct (for me), but I only have a little more ways to go, anyway.  Right now, though, I’m skipping lunch to write this.

I am wanting to post some of my photos from the other day, under a Creative Commons license.  Basically, my hesitance to post anything at all has to do with not wanting to be ripped off or have to go to court to prove that I took the photos, therefore they are my intellectual property.  Creative Commons kind of works around that issue by acknowledging that anyone (including me!) can use them.  I’m not really a litigious type, but the concept of intellectual ownership of images (“I looked at it, it’s mine!” [?]) is kind of…well, a bit scary.  I don’t have the photos with me at the moment, but I can look them over once I’m back at my normal workstation.

It was actually really peace-inducing to go out, the other day.  The thing with photos, especially photos of flora, is that the light is never going to be the same again, and the plants are never going to be the same again.  It applies strongly to images of blossoms — they’re so temporary.  I have been giving thought to photographing the people in my life as well, though my life has been so full of staged photographs of loved ones that maybe it turned me off.  Most of my photos are of natural things (my aunt was telling me that one of the counters used in Japanese depends on whether something has blood or not, heh — I take pictures, mostly, of things “without blood”).

In any case, I’m doing probably better than would be expected.  It’s kind of difficult to know what to feel in these situations; I’ve been advised to just let myself feel what I’m feeling.  Of course, there is the fact that it’s hard to know exactly what happens when someone dies.  I’m just hoping that the person who is gone is in a better situation now than he was, before.

There is also the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties and not entirely independent, yet; which makes the prospect of my own family no longer being able to help me, be a scary thing.  I do have people around me who would help me out, though, even if one or both of my parents died.  I’ve been told that the conversations have already taken place, so not to worry.  It is weird, though, having memories from when my parents were half their current age!

I suppose I have lived a long time with them.  The time I spent in student housing at college was the only time I’ve lived alone.  It was…an experience, I guess?  😉  I was at a relatively strange school, so…

Right.

Right now, I suppose, all I can do is hold down my current job or get a new one, and try my best to graduate actually with the Master’s.  The good thing about taking a technology-oriented track is that there are some things I’ll be able to carry away with me, even if I somehow end up failing.

But, it’s hard to learn without taking risks.  And my Vocational program plus the grant I got last year are defraying the monetary risk, somewhat.  I’m still thinking that maybe I should be actually applying for scholarships, and engaging more with the school.

For instance, I have worked out a system under which I’ll be able to take everything I will need to, for the Digital Services track (though I am not sure this applies to my County’s Virtual Library positions — I might want to make some inroads to speak with the new person in charge of that).  However, I’m not sure it’s optimal — I have four semesters remaining during which my classes will all be valid — two Spring, and two Fall.

I know what to take in the Summer following this one, as well.  I’ve got the course rotations somewhat in hand, so I know what is given in only Fall, or only Spring.  I also have searched out what I can of course prerequisites, so that I should be taking one of the only courses I need which will open up new courses to me, this Fall.  The major issue is whether it’s optimally arranged.  As best I can envision it, I would have to email a copy of my spreadsheet to a Counselor.

I just…am shy, have been shy, that’s part of the reason I’m in an iSchool (besides the fact that doing otherwise requires relocation).  I mean, I didn’t even want to get the social media accounts that I had to, for the program.  This is the major reason why I’m not hot on being a Public Librarian — I’m ordinarily withdrawn, not gregarious, and some of my more outgoing coworkers even get strained by working Reference.

The Virtual Library sounds more like my style (I do worry about being attacked, at times — one of my coworkers in the past knew someone whom this had happened to), but I am not certain how many shifts they take, answering phone calls and chats.  And as technology continues to improve, the barrier between myself and my clients is likely to somewhat fall (for instance, video chat could become a norm).

Anyhow…I should get back to work.  And after that, it’s sure to be reading.  *sighs*

Nonbinary thoughts…

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

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

California recognizes legal non-binary status

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, my voice is already fairly low.

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

Changing tracks, a bit:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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