Um…what? Oblivious family.

Today we did meet with extended family for the first time since coming back from — I guess I will likely have to say it eventually — Hawaii. I’m hoping they don’t decide to follow us there.

There’s a veil of confidentiality that I’ve been hesitant to break as regards myself and my family here, because — well, I’ve been fairly open with what is happening with me personally on this blog. I’ve said quite a lot here that no one in my extended family ever suspected was part of my experience. I’ve also said a lot here that no one outside of the Art program at my last community college, and outside of the Psych professionals I see, knows that I have experienced (it’s extremely difficult to make art while at the same time, not revealing anything about oneself).

Even my closest relatives (outside of M and D, and I am sure you can guess what that means) don’t know the whole story of what I’ve been through. That’s not to say that you all do — but I communicate more easily and more readily through text than I do through voice. There’s something to be said about being able to consider and think about what one wants to say (or write) before one says it (or writes it). And then there is the decision to be made about whether or not to actually make that writing public, which is separate.

I am just kind of ticked off right now. You see, my family tends to attract, and support, “clingers,” for lack of a better term. And because one member of my family has decided to co-dependently compensate for another person’s laziness (it is questionable as to whether he actually experiences what his (lying) ex said he experiences (he lies too, by the way): therefore we don’t know if he’s simply a bum or is chemically lacking motivation), I’m now finding others comparing me to the clingers.

Excuse me, I just spent three years in grad school so that I can become an Information Professional. Grad school. Three years. Like I would have put myself through that if I had plans to be a leech for the rest of my life on my family. (The context seemed to imply that I didn’t deserve to go to Hawaii, because I hadn’t earned the money to do so, myself; and not only that, but I would never be a productive member of society unless my parents stopped supporting me. From the guy who has no children. Sorry my parents care about me, brah.)

I also have to compensate for a legitimate, documented, legally protected, serious, stigmatizing disability. The choice to work was mine. The choice to go through a program to eventually obtain lifelong gainful employment so that I wouldn’t have to depend on Disability payments and Section 8 housing and live the rest of my life in poverty, was mine. The choice to treat my disability with medication and therapy and recover from a lack of basic functionality, was mine. The choice not to have children when I couldn’t even take care of myself, was mine.

If my uncle thinks that I’m not really employed because he’s all about money and has no experience with life difficulties or human relations and I’m too slow for him, that’s on him. It’s not my problem. I am doing the best I can, and right now honestly I want to slap him for implying that I don’t have a job because it doesn’t pay enough.

Or maybe he thinks that my “job” was to find a man and have children, which just disgusts me. It’s simply disgusting. Especially when you consider that I’m not even attracted to most men, which means that he would expect me to be a whore and sell out my uterus to survive.

But wait, maybe he doesn’t know that I have no interest whatsoever in being a wife or mother, and that I want to punch men who ignore that. (Plenty of men ignore that.)

EDIT: I have been bothered by the previous paragraph for a couple of days. Please see my next post for an elucidation on the actual situation.

Since ninth grade, when I realized that I was more attracted to girls than to boys (though that was a comparison of few:slight, and the boys I liked were either years older than me or not attracted to girls), that hasn’t been part of the program.

I assumed that I would need to make a living on my own. I also assumed that, given the amount of attention other girls were giving to their education, I might also have to support them in addition to myself. Because the high-school girls I knew were more interested in finding boyfriends than in being self-sufficient.

The major issue is that one of my family members passed away, a little longer than a year ago. He had a tendency to, as D says, “take in strays.” However, if you take a broad look at that generation of my family, everyone except D has also had a tendency to, “take in strays.” Whom…they then complain about, “having to,” take care of.

I am going to try not to go into their specific situations, just in case they (or their strays) find this blog in the future. However, I’m finding myself being compared to both my cousins in the same age range, which I find…beyond insulting, bordering on derogatory (you would know what I meant, if you knew their stories). It’s the same thing I had to deal with when growing up when my parents would equate me to my brother. Only now, my brother is not in the vicinity of my other family members, or myself, so the nearest examples they have of my generation are my cousins — and my cousins’ friends.

My cousins (and their friends) are their own mess (my cousins don’t have good taste). None of us in this closer age range are really self-sufficient, but at least I’ve been working on it. No, it doesn’t have immediate results to become more educated, but I have skills now that I didn’t have before. If libraries and the Internet still continue to be “a thing” in the future, I will have more doors open than there were.

Because I didn’t agree to work on the project family presented me (for no pay), doesn’t mean I don’t have skills. I am not worthless. But I am not compromising my own computer’s security to work on someone else’s website. For no pay. That’s like taking on random Graphic Design projects because, “it will look good on your resume!” Which is exactly the line of thought that leads to the devaluation of our skills and the undercutting of our wages…which, by the way, is a gigantic issue in Graphic Design.

For free. Psh.

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Getting this stuff out of the way…

WordPress says that three hours ago, I started working again on my Final for Instructional Design. (I opened a window here to vent thoughts which should not make it into my paper!)

The good part is, this is now mostly done…but I have realized that it’s easier to teach something I know little about and am learning about alongside others, than something I’ve accumulated knowledge about for well over a decade, and others know nothing. Or maybe it’s just a sensitive issue for me, due to the content and audience (the topic of my Instructional Design seminar is gender variance).

I suppose that if I hadn’t gone through what I have, though, I still might not know anything about LGBTQIA positionality, beyond the GLB portion of that. But I was pushed by necessity: something which most non-trans* people don’t seem to experience.

And I think I would rather not be teaching this stuff, but it’s something I have specialized knowledge about, and which I can see an obvious knowledge gap about.

Anyhow…I can now read this over, make any final changes, and submit it. I’m hoping to get this done by tonight or tomorrow so that I can get back to studying for my Database Final, and get that turned in tomorrow night. This is largely so I can stop thinking about it. I would like to get on with Summer, sooner rather than later.

Distractions

You know how I wrote that identity piece a couple of days ago?

Now I’m having issues with fantasy. It’s making it difficult to concentrate, so I thought I might write a bit here and see if I can get it out of my system (though maybe I should be writing out the story, offline). I won’t be writing the actual story, here, because I’m not sure if WordPress allows erotica.

The original basis of this was a story I began when I was — I think — in high school (I have records, but they’re on 3.5″ floppy disk[!], and the writing quality is probably horrible). The major issue I can see with it is that at the time, and even recently, I’ve had difficulty conceiving at least one of the relationships in the story as outwardly mutual. Emotionally, it is mutual; but that doesn’t translate to what one of the characters says.

Because I’ve needed to take several (?) Title IX trainings, by this point, I can see where this is problematic. The solution to this, however, is simple: my character just needs to realize that as long as he keeps saying, “no,” and backing away, nothing is going to happen.

It shows a measure of respect that his partner believes him and keeps withdrawing when he tells him to stop (even though the main character doesn’t really want him to stop, but he’s frightened and doesn’t want to take responsibility for the situation). If he did anything else, it would be a violation of safety, trust, and intimacy.

The tension, here, is largely focused on the main character, and it’s largely an internal conflict. I can foresee a resolution, but then: that can’t be all the story is about, right (unless it’s a one-shot type of thing)? The characters I’ve mentioned have a more overarching relationship. It would make sense for this to be one episode in a larger series, or a drawn-out conflict in the background of a series (I’m reminded of FAKE by Sanami Matoh.)

Anyhow, I think that came up because I had been thinking about the possibility of what might happen in my own life if people saw and respected me for who I actually am (as versus assuming who I am, based on what I look like).

I’ve gotta either get back to work, right now, or if I can’t do that, write some of this stuff out.

Loneliness?

Right now, I’m wondering if I’m actually just really lesbian, in a genderqueer way.  I generally don’t call myself “lesbian,” because to me that implies a “woman” gender identity…which I don’t have.  I’m gender-fluid with notable forays into femme presentation, but to me “femme” could be applied to persons of any sex status (femme men exist; but I don’t consider myself a man).  I have also been thinking about gender transition to trans* male, but I’ve been weighing that over about 15 years at this point.  I’m not doing it unless I have to, and I don’t think that social reasons are considered valid where it comes to gender transition (as society changes).  I could be wrong, though.

There are a few things going on here:

  1. Being irritated at men coming on to me (largely because they expect me to be a woman for them, and/or that the way I look says something about who I am).
  2. Experiencing strong feelings of attraction for someone I don’t know (repeated shock at their beauty every time I make eye contact:  maybe I’m not asexual; just “asexual” in a heteronormative context?), and not knowing what to do with them.  Also, I’m trying to deal with “what if’s” around whether I’m being perceived as predatory simply because I don’t know what to do in this situation, and I’m not perfect and I feel like I’m messing up and this is different if I’m being seen as male (or queer — I’m using this term in the U.S. reclaimed sense) as versus not.
  3. Not wanting to have my sex status shoved in my face, particularly where it could be used as a tool to try and subjugate me.
  4. Dealing with the after-effects of decades of sexual harassment.
  5. Trying not to take rejection as a personal failing or throw out vibes of frustration built up over long periods of isolation and unrequited crushes.
  6. Wondering what it would be like if it were OK for me to freely flirt with women on an equal-power basis, and about how my life might be different if they felt the same permission towards me.
  7. Wondering if I am socially lesbian (want an escape from heterosexual gender norms in my relationships) but not fully biologically lesbian (can still be attracted to men and masculine people so long as they don’t enforce or expect heterosexual gender norms in my relations with them).  I haven’t heard anyone express this point of view before me, though it could explain multiple phenomena.
  8. Identifying strongly with Vegeta…which probably won’t mean anything unless you’re a Dragonball (Z/Super) fan.  I’d probably have to explain it, anyway.

I’ll stop there.  I don’t think I’ll be able to touch on all this, tonight.

I haven’t been to my regular gender group in a while, so this stuff has been building up over…at least two weeks.  Chances are that I won’t be able to make it this next time, either.  The full version of this likely won’t get a chance to come out IRL, for another little while…so I thought that writing some of it out, would help.  I’m not sure at all, though, that actually publishing it will help…

I did talk to my folks about this, recently; they say that most people go through this stage (learning to deal with feelings other people don’t want to know you experience [in regard to point #2]) in high school.  I didn’t have the chance to go through this stage because of the massive sexual harassment and isolation and, pretty much, hostility that I had to deal with in that situation.  It just basically wasn’t safe for me to develop these skills, because it wasn’t safe to be anything other than cisgender+heterosexual.

Noting everything above…kind of explains where I’m at, right now.  I’m not sure if I need to go more into depth with it right now (it took enough effort to dig all that stuff out of my memory), but I will want to come back to it, later.

There is one thing that has come up, though:  and that is the possibility of trading out a gender-group night for a Ladies’ art night (I’m applying the term, “Lady,” loosely).  Right now I am not sure which I might need more…

I also think there are two separate Art Nights I can go to; one at a nearby cultural venue (much closer), and one at an artist-supply store.  I just am coming to feel like I need women, and I don’t know what that’s about.  I’ve never felt it, before.  But I guess I am getting into middle-age, and I do need to meet new friends, and rekindle old friendships…

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.