Dropping into character, I learn things from them.

A couple weeks back, I put on some headphones with a character playmix on it. It was Areli. I sank into her, skulking down the subway. People uneasily slinked out of my way.

I can get advice. it ranges from "life's short - pursue your sexual interests" to "you are a lightweight, Vase has a drinking problem. Not a good mix."

I don't know if I'd like to be Areli or Vase. Not often anyways.

But two nights ago, I asked 

"So, what would I do if I were that version of myself that I feel drawn to?"

I listen to that, to her.

Now? Bitch is trying to get me killed. Or change me for my own health. Whichever.

 I am afraid of the actualized self; the intuition that says "you should do x now."

   Answer that email.
       Go to sleep.

Perhaps because actualization is habit-forming;
     the less I deny her, the less she will be denied.


Can I bring her out with character-work?

More trans stuff.
I mostly write this for myself, but you're welcome to read it. Especially if you need it.

I didn't write the following lyrics though: they're from "Feelin' Good" by Nina Simone

Fish in the sea
You know how I feel
River running free
You know how I feel
Blossom in the tree
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

Coming back from the Fed conference (which not only keep getting easier, but strangely always give me some sort of sociological insight and gendery resolution) and the surgical consultation, I feel that, when it comes to transition, I've hit the halfway mark.

Now, if I were to describe my body as a chart, most would now have reached a dim blue, like the "good" colour in headache commercials. It is in-line; well. I am pleased. Most of it. Most of my face and all of my genitals remain an uncomfortably bright white space. Some parts of the white fade into a light blue: they're near where they should be; others glow an angry red.

They are blank. Not present.
They are bright, glaring. Too present.

I am looking at mending these discontinuities. In my last entry, when I said I spoke to a surgeon, I was not talking about genital surgery, but facial surgery. This is something that I've been thinking about for a awhile but on which I have kept uncharacteristically quiet.

1. "Joking" is the point where the difficult fact becomes integrated.

I'm getting back to posting more gender-related stuff here. I think that it helps me, and I know that other enjoy it.

A lot of this is naval-gazing, but, to me, it's important naval-gazing that, for me is better left said - especially better left said for anyone else who in a similar situation. Otherwise, society will erase you.

I have the worry that "I'm talking about trans stuff too much." It's possible to develop an unhealthy obsession with transition, but I don't think that the rate at which I would like to bring up my observations on, or experiences, with gender is excessive or repetitive. I also want to get to the point where I can joke about it, and maybe other people can too.

2. Something solid (or soft) to hang your coat on.
While coming out, I said that I felt to be on the feminine side of androgyny, but past experiences have shown that the further I go into transition, and the more female my body feels, and the more easily I can pass as female, the more and more I feel comfortable presenting on the masculine side, and the less I feel comfortable presenting as feminine.

Read more... )

3. Rare, that
I had a long conversation with my prof yesterday - who is starting to become "my supervisor" in all respects but the official. After going over academic plans, we touched on the subject of this entry. Her experiences were in step with mine: while it's not difficult to find female-assigned people who identify as trans in ways that don't mean "I'm a masculine man who either has or wants all the bits now," finding anything vaguely resembling the equivalent for male-assigned people is a slow, frustrating, and isolating exercise. Read more... )

4. Comfortably Trans?
The split between the body and the social also explains my mixed relationship with the category "trans." I'm quite happy to be gender-variant, and I wouldn't have it any other way (unless the "other way" is living in a society where it was accepted as healthy and common - someone get me a  dream augmentor!). The transsexual part? I've come to the conclusion that I fucking hate this shit.Read more... )
I've been finding that, occasionally and unexpectedly, a sense of gratification, harmony or rightness surrounds me. This feeling of being happily embodied is new, and it tells me that I'm doing the right thing - whether that's "the right thing" is whatever I'm doing in the moment, or transition in general (probably both). This occurs most frequently at moments of genuine and often kinesthetic expression, unchecked by second-guessing; through movement, exertion, crying, creating art. It never occurs when looking in the mirror, nor has it come while pacing at a bus stop.

In tandem with this state, I usually perceive a semi-conscious image of me-now; a visual flicker in my mind as if I'm seeing myself viewed from elsewhere. It is a harmonious image; squaring with how my body feels, but seeing myself from outside carries a measure of disassociation with it, and I wonder what that means.

I would like to make these moments more frequent, as they seem to point to "yes, what you're doing is right for you." I am not sure how to do this.

Exercise seems to set it off. It can be climbing a steep hill, or using all limbs to scale a pile of concrete road-markers, or even carrying heavy groceries. In all cases, it's oddly gratifying, drawing me into present awareness.

I need to do some kind of a sport, I guess. The rec centre strike is over. Maybe I should see what's available? Something that doesn't involve a lot of running (i.e. no Soccer) on account of my knee, but which still require exertion. Suggestions? Locations?

Oh, right, I was thinking of taking up paintball.
My dreams remain more vivid, but now my gender is being integrated into them. I'm male just under half the time and transitioning about half. Occasionally though, I'm female - usually I'm still trans, but it's a detail - here there is no doubt that I am a lass and shall (generally) be received as such. I like that feeling a lot, and have been trying to cultivate it in waking life.
I'm trying to follow Tim's fine advice about coming out: try a bunch of different stuff, see what works for you, find parts of your identity, and then see what you think of queer "norms."

Translasses have the option of presenting as visibly queer lasses. The advantage of this is that onlookers will be more likely to confirm their identity, as they'll write off the genderfucked appearance as some Sapphist side-effect ("enough Indigo girls and you just sprout stubble - it's true - so tell your teenage son to crank up The Watershed"). The disadvantage is that you always look queer.

The big advantage is that if you are a translass who is happy being obviously dykey (::the authour waves::), then this will make you happy. Otherwise it'll make you miserable - although some might find it better than being read as transsexual.

Anyhow, I cut my hair because it was "too long." Today I remembered what "too long" means.

"Too long" means "too feminine and not queer enough." (insufficiently Dykey) [Edit: tomboi-dykey]
"Too long" also means "it frames my face in such a way that it makes me look like a man in a dress." (overly Trans) [edit: transexual]

(note the connections in my head: dykey = good; trans = bad --- mmm?)

[later edit: masculine - good / feminine = bad?]

While I'm trying out things with my appearance, there's this nest of fears and hopes that yards me to one side or the other.

I'm afraid that if I look feminine, I'll look trans. I hate looking trans. I didn't ask to be born into the wrong sex, and I'm MtF because I have little other alternative to get where I want to go. Note the resentment? Part of this is due to the unpleasant experiences that I've had in meeting some other transwomen (in rapid sequence), and these were most of the first times that I'd met transwomen (at least that I'm aware of), so those fears of awkwardness, pariah status, overt social and phisical hostility, detriorating mental health and suicide, have stuck with me I guess. Living in a society that teaches us to hate femininity in men probably has something to do with it too.

I'm also afraid of looking decreasingly feminine and increasingly...  butch? Soft butch. Really soft, like squishy.

I'd hardly say that I'm a highly masculine person, but I'd also say that the more I look at queer female presentations, the more I feel drawn towards the masculine. It's comfortable. In fact it may be the first time I've felt comfortable behaving in a masculine fashion - without that grinding spirit-noise that it used to provoke, like a car with worn-through brake pads.

But to an extent, "comfortable" means "safe,"  and safe means "I want to hold back and turn to something familiar." And maybe some of it means "This will make me less of a man in a dress and more of a tomboi, because the latter form of gender transgression is more acceptable where I come from, and besides, it puts me one step further away from all the broken MtFs I've met."

On the other side. I'm also avoiding moving over to the masculine at all because it means that I'm breaking the norm for MtFs in two frightening ways. It could seriously undermine my attempts to justify to a psychiatric panel why I need the big switch (seriously - that's how getting genital surgery works) and so delay it. And "masculine MtF" it puts me so far outside the range of what most people, even those into queer issues, see as intelligible, and pretty much drops me outside the range of common experience. I mean, what the fuck is a squishy (i.e. really really soft) butch MtF? That's... what the fuck?

It's not as bad as this might make it seem. There is lots of time for experimentation.
It is however weird and new, and there is almost no support or reference for this kind of thing. Hence the long LJ posts, as you might have noticed.
Formative moments in my sociopolitical/epistemological paradigm:

"Grade Three"

The Rule:
"You must mark each-other's papers with a red pencil-crayon.
If you do not have a red pencil-crayon, borrow one from the child in front of you."

I remember noticing:
the red pencil crayons were defective, as the lead often popped out the back when you pressed on them
(b) the functional ones were in demand and wearing down;
(c) we were allowed one extra set per year
(d) our class of thirty children was down to two functional red pencil crayons, and this caused considerable delays during markng

So I started using orange.

Other kids noticed and followed my lead.

This did not go over well.

I recall other, similar, failed attempts at management.

I respect leaders that demonstrate their relative expertise. Others I do not so much rebel against as ignore. This is happening in Biology, where I do the labs more or less in the way that I see fit, while correcting mistakes on the handouts. My marks are okay.

I make sense of it by concluding that all this BS was a useful experience, much as outlined in this thesis on educating gifted children.

I've finally started to spin this into something I've wanted for a long time: being able to shrug off personal affronts. Someone can tell me off and I can address it, but in other cases, I can turn around and say "wow, that's... really weird - I guess that I'll igoner it." I think that some of this has to do with being in a supportive social environment; and some of it has to do with knowing that I can fix, ignore or complain as I see fit.

It's a good way to feel in a situation like this
(I am not asking for you to comment, let alone anonymously.).

Here, I am not just referring to the posts about me, or even the blog itself, so much as the "debate" surrounding the post-impeachment student society. The impeachment needed to happen, and it only succeeded because of the extended labour of about a hundred volunteers. Since then, I have heard many complaints. Perhaps a handful of people raise siginificant, thought-out qualms; others are simly deficient in information; but most of the objections make up for in vitriol what they lack in critical thought.

It's contstant and it's wearing. I can now ignore what pertains only to me (the gender comments confuse rather than offend), but when it touches on my social circle and the work we do, then I'm not sure how to deal with it. Guess that's the next thing I'm gonna learn.

Life: it never stops until it's over.

Queer Sh*t

Feb. 27th, 2007 08:20 pm
1. Out-Out Campus is doing super-cool Queer awareness week stuff. There is a drag show on the 16th. You have to go.
I mean that you actually have to. You don't have choice - we passed it at forum last week. There will be drag kings with fedoras, painted-on mustaches and tommy-guns arriving at your place of residence shortly. Sorry.

2. This gay marriage ad campaigns point out the obvious: a lot of gay couples are pretty straight except for the gay part. Turns out that it had already been done in Canada (it's on the left side of the screen when you scroll down). These ads are funny and accurate and I like them but fall short in two areas.

  a. Gay marriage bills can fail in some areas because gay is seen as a White issue.
  b. Many people, of any sexual orientation, find something alarming about being in a conventional marriage.

I still like them, but I would like to see a multiracial genderfucked six-person bloodplay and the tagline:
Don't worry, you don't have to be a part of this...
but you're thinking about it aren't you?

Just sayin'

3. A few people have been a bit surprised by my gender issues. I've heard that many people don't find me to be that feminine, and that this acts as a source of confusion. Cool.           (and long live Eris, goddess of dischord!)

Here's the short of it: much as trans folk aren't necssarily straight, by which I mean "attracted to the gender opposite their preferred one" (in fact, I think that trans folk are more likely to be non-straight than cisgendered folks), gender identity doesn't always square with mannerisms. There are nelly transguys, who may be gay, straight or bi. I know of one butch translass.

Furthermore, Transgender shit is an intense process of self-blah-blah-blah-blah. In this, and often in transsexual cases of doing awesomely psycho shit to your mind-body with hormones (we must be mentally ill if we want to go through puberty again), people often find that they don't wind up where they expected. There are even trans folk who were homosexual in their old gender and still are in their new one

Changed sex, still queer, sorry dad.

So's you know.
I have discovered the thing that many societies do not want anyone to know:
yes you can do that thing that you've always wanted to do, and no-one is going to stop you.

Or at least the cost of being stopped (death?) multiplied by its likelyhood is less than the projected mean benefits (like, "not dying from something else"). Most people, especially around here, don't give a shit, and those that do, aren't about to do anything about that.

Being me.

I am not sure who this person is, but it seems that as I immerse myself into an actualizing job, and as I molt the layers of inhibition, I am becoming her, revealing her, donning her armour like a Greek hero. I do not know how I feel about the gods she prays to, let alone the pictures that she draws in public, though I admit that both show a strong aesthetic sense, and an intuition that is keen not just by gift, but practice. Although I am impressed by her, especially by her wlllingness to shrug off misguided expectations, I sometimes find that I do not entirely like this person, most often in the way curt selfish arrogance leaps out of her. I think that I like her occasional deliberate carelessness, but she needs to know how to explain it's pattern and strange underlying maths to other people, 'cause it scares them.

She is much more red than I am now.
(I'm not trying to be cryptic, it's the best I can do)

This is, on the whole, a "(coin word here);" a thing around which to be optimistic.

Although at times, confusing and even mildly terrifying, it is not a bad thing: "a person" not only an arbitrary system boundary, but like a productive forest; neither static nor controllable, nor something best left uncultivated, nor something that must be paved. It is to be gently steered; Dao'd.

And there we are.
Surprised, I pause to reflect on how this seemingly fluffy video in this post by Jhayne manages to hit home on a lot of my gender issues.
(And it reminds me why I shouldn't be allowed to watch TV)

Ever had a day when you lean down with a pair of nail clippers and realize that your toenails don't need clipping, even though you swore they were getting too long last night, and that the only logical conclusion is that someone must have cut them while you slept?
I am having such a day.

I sound like... Rosencratz. That's odd, usually I sound like Guildenstern.

Chronic psychological shittyness led me to seek out a physician and now I've taken two 37.5 mg doses of effexor. The big reason for this is that I was having trouble sleeping and, throughout the last 24 hours, I've felt as if I've  just had  two cups of coffee.

This raises questions surronding the word "am." Is this an altered state of me? Or would some medicated-to-the-point-of-"health" state be me? Or are they both? Or is the question moot?

Is this nine-volt-to-the-wet-part-of-the-brain feeling the medication? Or is it the medication under specific circumstances? Or is it just feeling good to be back, with my friends, at school, sleeping with Erin, and away from a really crappy week of death in Kelowna?
On the subject of feeling wired, there's an interesting variant on the placebo effect that bears consideration. I don't know it's name, but it goes...

"The worse the side-effects, the more potent the medication is perceived to be."

    ...if you're on a drug for chronic knee pain and you feel normal, it may or may not actually be working, but if you're on a drug that makes you dizzy and unable to see the colour green, you can be assured it's doing something. Besides, if the side effects are this bad, it must be effective.
...and Gilgamesh lost his

The urge towards self-______ is here again.

Self what? Not self-destruction; but perhaps a shade of self-annihilation and some self-escape with aspects of self-transformation.

This happens from time to time: the urge to slip away like ice cream under a brick. The urge to shift, change (from least to most) my dress, routine, hair, skin, sex, mode of speech, name, home, work, hobbies, values, sense of humour; it all has to go, or rather change, or rather stay with the something (i.e. "me") that's left behind. At least it feels that way.
                                                                I'm such a conservative dresser.

That which no longer is cannot be wounded. An old skin, left behind, is no more than a place-marking curio, like an historical plaque. It will not bleed when cut. The new will have slithered off and is somewhere else being... different, getting injured and forming new scars, but the new snake shed those too.

The catch is that snakes have to crawl everywhere.

Why this urge now? I feel death creeping up on me. It's custom to disguise yourself by inverting your clothes. Maybe death just hates exposed seams. Does anyone think it's strange that we wear the seams next to our skin?  I digress. It's good to digress.

Anyway. Change in the face of death.
Everyone here looks old, sick, worn out, worn down, worn away. Going. Eroding.
I don't want to be caught up in this, but I can feel it in me.

That's one explanation

Alternative or Conjuncitve explanation

Grandmother: dead. Job interview: done.  Current academic haits: unsustainable.

And so I think I'm going to dye my hair funny colours - baldness be damned.

Whether or not I take up street luge remains to be seen.
There are ramifications to this dissolution of boundaries. If who 'I am' is an arbitrary midpoint between a cell and an ecosystem, between a moment's stray thought and a universe alive with cognition, then 'my' existence or nonexistence is basically unimportant. "I" am a bucket full of water in an ocean, minus the physical bucket.

More to the point, if all thought and feeling are one then I am a component of a larger soul; a component predisposed to thinking of itself as separate. What am I praying to then? Is the left pinky kneeling before the rest of the body, hoping to receive a glimpse of its wisdom or power?

Death? Unimportant: an evolutionarily programmed fear of the termination of a self that really doesn't really exist. The point where homeostasis stops is akin to the point where you whang your head on alow door and it stings and you lose a brain cell or two. My memories and personality cease but those are not fundamentally different from what I have done in the world. "My" actions leave traces in this brain called mine and in the world around it. There is no oblivion nor an afterlife, just a self-obsessed leaf drying up and falling off.

Selfishness? Foolishness: a calculation based on mislayed boundaries. A mistake. Not evil, just stupid. Kind of like selling your left hand for money or trying to cheat your toes..

God? You, me, everyone, everything. What's left when you remove imaginary barriers. Admittedly, this leaves us without an infinitely wise or more powerful being, but it also puts it within touching distance. Hell, it puts it within circulation distance.

So then: what's been distracing me is a stab at a solution to that "God, Ethics and The Afterlife" question.

I and we

Nov. 2nd, 2005 10:57 pm
So, where I'm going with this talk of evolution and cognition, where I have gone with this, is what if our concepts of individualty are just... arbitrary? A paradigm of 'me' and 'you' and 'her' and 'him' and 'they' and 'y'all' and 'us' founded in our nature, circularly bolstered by a self-interest without a real self to back it up? It looks that way.
                                                        I do not exist. Neither do you.

So if all these words are just convenient handles, then what are we?
Or rather what is "we?" What meaning does it have? Where are the borders of identity? The KMM crowd? Humans? Sapient life-forms? An ecosystem with perceiving/affecting components? A universe with... whatever.
                                                  Walls fall, then the roof follows

Who am I? What is I? What is the fundamental unit of identity? My body? My brain? Parts of it but not others? This part here and this part there as one... or two seeparate? A waking day? A few moments of thought?
                                            Now I'm winking in...  (you see me)
                                                      ...now out      (you don't)

What are the edges of thought? Of feeling? Of soul? We are islands in the deep, yes. But islands like this are just the tips along vast ranges of mountains. The water is a barrier unless you can become a fish.
A few people mention him, usually in passing. Outside of my mother, I've only heard "you remind me of him" once.

So be it: a man takes his own life. He's one of many I suppose.

But... I want answers. That I'm so interested disturbs me. For someone who's so gung-ho on society before biology (adopt!) (before god?), why am I so intent? I'm twenty-five, he's been dead for over three-quarters of my life for fuck's sake.

                                    but I hear this is the age of asking questions,
                                            an age that precedes a life
                                                    of living in unknown answers.

Indeed, it is on the edge of now. And now, much to my surprise, I may be able to consult a necromancer, or what passes for one nowadays.

So, speak to the man with the secrets, conjure a shade and ask some questions. It worked for Saul.



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