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It's been a while.

I'm continuing to settle in to this place and continuing to love it. It is a place that I can have to myself and a place that I can share with others and I've done precisely that. People come by, settle into the chair or couch and talk and drink and eat. One person in particular has done this more and more of late and now I can't get rid of her. Nor do I want to. This has been a gentle coming together; a slow teasing dance of ever decreasing circles that even now continues in an exploratory waltz as we work out how we feel about this thing that we're doing that holds new experiences and implications for both of us.

I cook more these days. I like my kitchen and I love sharing food with people, especially when I'm dating them. Food is a sensual thing that engages all of our senses in a deep and fundamental way. I'm not exercising well though so I am failing at losing weight. I'd say I will try harder but I've said that many times before and until and unless I make it the kind of habit where I twitch if I don't ride then it will be an uphill battle. I'm at that point in my life where my body is starting to degenerate purely due to age. It's a slow and fairly gentle process but noticeable. I picked up my first pair of prescription glasses just over a week ago and have been startled by just how much my eyesight had declined. There will be some grumpiness at my body but this is nothing new and I'm gradually getting better at making my peace with this sort of thing. There's also no reason why I have to just throw my hands up and surrender - I can still ride and there are other things I can do. I'm aging but I'm most certainly not old.

Still. For the first time in a very long while I find that no part of my life is fraught. I am making new friends who are lovely, I'm settling more comfortably into my home, my body, my community, and this new relationship, the precise shape of which is still shaking itself out.

I have my life back and I find myself fascinated to see how it turns out from here.
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So I've been here a month. That rather passed in a flash. I'm not sure I've ever liked living somewhere this much and the space is getting comfier all the time. There is a gentle ease to living here that means I actively like coming home and spending time here. I cook and relax and even just gentle pottering about the place doing housework has an aspect of defining this as my own space, I've had a few people drop by and I find that I like that a lot as well. This is all very good stuff.

It's been the catalyst for a lifestyle reboot as well. I've picked up my cycle commute again properly and apart from during the heat wave last week when it would hove been downright stupid, I've been out on the bike more days than not. It's starting to feel normal again even though it's still exceedingly hard going and I'm still disconcertingly slow. 18 months of sloth have taken their toll but I'm hoping I can regain a fair chunk of the fitness I once had fairly quickly. I'm also regaining my cooking mojo. Having access to the kitchen that's both physically and emotionally unfettered is a delight. I know what's in the cupboards, I know where it is and I can eat any of it any time I like. I'm gradually building stock again to the point where I have the basic dry and tinned staples that will allow me to make good food on an ad hoc basis as well as a a few special items like a selection of cheeses in the fridge, wine in the sideboard and random things like cacao nibs and muscovado sugar which just make me happy. I *like* mucking about in the kitchen. I still don't quite make the things in my head but often the results are pleasingly close. I consistently have lunchpacks of a good variety of leftovers in the freezer as a result so buying lunch is now the exception rather than the rule.

These are all little things but there's a sense of agency in the day to day aspects of my life which in retrospect had been missing. When none of the bills were in my name and I was hermiting in my bedroom it did rather feel like I was the teenage child of my housemates in some ways. This in no way reflects badly on them but the reality of moving into an established sharehouse is that the communal spaces have already been claimed, particularly when everyone else in the house is a family. So having all the bills in my name and having the running of the household entirely up to me gives me ownership of my home that lets me feel like a proper grownup again. That seems a silly thing for a 43 year old woman to say but reclaiming all those basic day to day aspects of my life make me realise how much I'd missed them and how much that sort of thing informs my sense of being responsible for myself.

I spoke with the tattoo artist who's going to be doing my sleeve the other day. It seems the first half of this year is tied up with her dealing with already started pieces but true to her word, she's stuck me at the top of the waiting list for new large pieces which means it'll happen around June. I'll be seeing her for a consultation session in a couple of months and she made me realise that I can alter the existing image as much or as little as I like. I won't be playing about with it too much but I can feel free to do what is necessary to make it fit on my arm, not only spatially but pleasingly. I can play with the palette and mess about with some elements or even introduce new ones to make it work. It's going to be a bit horrifically expensive but I have bond coming back to me and have had a Medicare rebate for a potion of my surgery costs. Those two sums just about neatly cover what I expect this to cost so the universe is sort of providing in this instance. I am excited and impatient and very much looking forward to this. I adore my existing ink and have rather predictably been bitten by the tattoo bug. I like this bodymod thing, I think.

This is all very positive indeed. Let's see where this goes and what 2014 brings. It's about damn time my life settled a little.

Nesting

Dec. 23rd, 2013 01:16 pm
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A sudden explosion of life (not mine this time) has seen me move yet again. Actually, for all that moving is a fraught process, this isn't actually a bad thing. My once and former housemates are lovely people but that living arrangement carried with it the disadvantages which are simply inherent in moving into an established sharehouse. I've decided that it's worth the increase in living expenses to revert to living by myself. So I'm now living in a one bedroom unit not terribly far away from the last place and overall I'm very pleased with what I've ended up with. There are some repairs which need to happen and which I hope won't turn into a drama with the owner - interior doorhandles not fastened and the rear deadlock not usable as it's not possible to insert the key from inside as well as a cranky toilet cistern. I do love having my own space again though. I went on something of a household goods purchasing bender, both at the supermarket and Ikea. The place is starting to acquire a really pleasing character as I arrange my things inside it and I find myself looking forward to inviting people to visit me. While I love that this is my home and mine alone, this is also a space which I want to share regularly. this may have something to do with the fact that it will be the first home I've had without a cat since early 1998. I am the only living moving thing there which is slightly spooky.

Annoyingly, it's not spookily quiet. The walls separating me from the adjacent flat are not thick and there's one neighbour who doesn't know the meaning of "inside voice" and spends both morning and evening in conversations during which she shouts over the top of whoever else she's talking to with a kind of blustering posturing that will likely become wearing. She want people to know how dangerous and hardcore she is. I think I do but I suspect my impression isn't the one she hopes to give.

So, new home. Having my own space might prompt a lifestyle reboot and that's what I'm going to aim for but I've said that in the past and it hasn't happened. Let's see how I go this time.

Priorities

Nov. 18th, 2013 08:52 pm
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So I spotted yet a couple more articles this week about representation of women in the boardroom and in government and I found myself wondering if this is really the most important discussion we can be having. Don’t get me wrong, the ridiculous gender imbalances at the top levels of government and business are appalling but we seem to talk of nothing else. What we’re discussing here is, at best, the top 5% of earners in the population. Not the top 5% of women, mind you, The top 5% of the entirety of the adult population and I’m pulling figures out of my arse here so I’m being exceedingly conservative. I’d not be at all surprised to discover that we’re talking about a far more exclusive part of the community even than that.

So yes, the pay gap and superannuation gap is outrageous at those high levels but let’s pause for a moment. We’re talking about whether these women are driving a Volkswagon or an Audi and whether their superannuation will last them sufficiently far into their 80s. To a very great number of women the questions are more like whether they can afford a car at all and whether superannuation is anything that they can speak about in anything but a speculative sense. This is the end of the community where the pay gap bites the hardest. Where the degree of casualisation of workforce and job security changes markedly depending on whether the work in question is considered men’s work or women’s work. Where scarcity of childcare and other support services make them near impossible to find and when they are obtainable they eat such a huge chunk of income that it becomes genuinely debatable whether it’s actually worth going to work at all. Where that casualisation of work combines with so little discretionary income that failure to get those non-guaranteed shifts mean that being obscenely compliant to your employer is the only way to ensure that you’ll make rent and bills and still be able to eat this fortnight. Every. Single. Fortnight. This in turn leaves no leverage to negotiate rosters and conditions with an employer, much less introduce the phrase “work/life balance”. This is where the gender imbalance bites hardest and across the largest portion of the community. This is where genuine hardship arises from that imbalance. This is also where the least attention is paid while we discuss paying up to $75,000 per annum on maternal leave or indeed any paid leave at all to a handful scrambling to join “the elite”. We shouldn’t stop paying attention to the number of women in those top positions but we should be paying a great deal more attention elsewhere. We should be paying more attention to which work is valued and how much. We should be paying attention to the factors that make it a struggle to find work at all, much less struggle to the top.

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
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My arm hurts. It's inflamed and ridged and swollen and weeping a little. This is expected and I paid a couple of hundred dollar for it to be in that condition.

There's something surreal about sitting calmly and watching someone permanently alter your body. Granted, the alteration isn't that huge but it's still an irrevocable act or at least one of which the reversal is difficult, painful, expensive and imperfect enough that it might as well be. I did also wonder how the original creator of the main image would feel if they were to see what I'd done with it. From their tiny carving of a coin minting die 2000-2500 years ago a coin minted not long thereafter survived two millenia to be photographed, for that photograph to be digitised, for that digital image to be fiddled with in Photoshop by me and emailed to a tattoo artist who printed it onto stencil paper and transferred it to my arm in the form of ink. That last medium would be the only one they'd have any hope of recognising and even that involved electrically powered vibrating needles. Somehow the transference of that image through so many media over such a distance and time is hugely satisfying. The tiny movements of a hand thousands of years ago are magnified and preserved on my arm. I say preserved, even if the original coin greatly outlasts my arm, which it almost undoubtedly will.

I wonder what it is about altering my body, invariably painfully, that I find so satisfying. That's probably worth dwelling on as there's the potential for that to be a less than entirely healthy addiction. It really is a satisfying thing though. I expend money, time, discomfort and even a small measure of conventional respectability and gain in return not only a body more to my liking but the sense that I have somehow earned it. More and more, I have a body that I like and I can say, on several different levels, that I deserve it. This is mine.
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It occurred to me just now that one of the main differences between cisgender and transgender is the way in which they're questioned.

Cisgender is never questioned. Even when the assumptions of gender are destructive and restrictive there is no need felt to interrogate the gender of most people. It just is. Immediate and innate and self-evident to such a degree that it's processed without conscious thought.

Trans is always a question. Always a puzzle. Always something that demands interrogation and never something which can just be. And so with each person we meet we must decide what we tell or hide. Our lives are gender studies lessons, our love a fractured, disjointed mosaic of queer sexuality, even for the most straightforward of relationships. And because each new person hasn't had those conversations before, we have them again and again and again to validate ourselves afresh in each new acquaintance's eyes. The need to validate itself is invalidating though. It's incumbent upon us to make ourselves real and it needs effort with everyone who encounters us, just to make us even a fraction as believable and understandable as the person we're speaking to who can so comfortably assume that we will parse their identity and nature that they never even think about it.

I'm not sure where this goes, just a random thought for the evening occasioned by yet another instance of having someone describe the three genders, as they see it - male, female and transgender.
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I'm spending money. Possibly a little more than I should but, frankly, fuck it.

Last night's purchase was actually quite moderate but I think I'm very pleased. I bought a stereo amplifier years ago from a Cash Converter, choosing it from amongst those on offer by lifting each in succession and picking the one with the heaviest power supply. That served me well for years and years but died a couple of years ago when I moved into the unit in Caulfield. I bought a cheap replacement but it was rubbish. So I finally cleared my second room in this house and decided I wanted a stereo again. I put out a request on Facebook and an old old friend who also happens to be something of an audio gear nut. It turns out that what he sold me is an old mid-70s Luxman amp, the L80 to be exact.I don't usually get this excited and geeky about audio gear but this is a find. It makes luscious creamy effortless sound and I haven't been able to crank it yet but I don't think I'll be disappointed. For $120 I think this is solid value; a bargain in fact.

The other upcoming purchases are in some ways slightly less tangible but in others about as tangible as it's possible to be. I've been craving a tattoo for some time and specifically I want to get one NOW as a sort of emotional bookmark. I have a large piece chosen and I will still get it but the artist I want to do it can't fit me in until next year. So I conceived of this as an idea. The original is a Greek tetradrachm coin minted in honour of Athena some 2000-2500 years ago. Owls have always been an image that stick in my mind and there is some nice symbology associated with Athena so that will be inked into the skin in the inside of my left forearm in about two weeks. That will likely be a couple of hundred dollars.

The larger piece will be substantially more expensive. The plan is to have this done over my right upper arm as a half-sleeve. Mucha did a lot of four panel pieces (tetratyches?) and this was from his 1898 work "The Arts" There was Painting, Poetry, Music and Dance. Music was the obvious choice for me and besides I like the image. This style could easily be mangled and done awkwardly so I'm being super picky with the artist. Her preliminary drawing fee is $400 and then $220/hour for inking. The plus side is that her style sits well with art nouveau and even better she's excited enough about doing this piece to bump me up her waiting list, which is really rather long. So I'm looking at a couple of thousand for that which seems excessive but it's going to be a fantastic piece and something that I'll have forever.
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Nearly two weeks on and I think 'nise is gone. This has left me aware of the fact that her's was the sole unconditional love I've had for the past two to three years. She waited out the front of the house nearly every day to greet me when I returned home from work, sat with me in the evening, vetted and then adopted my friends as her own and was my constant companion. All my current relationships are in some way at arm's length. There has been nobody who has unreservedly wanted me in their life for about three years now. This is not to say that I don't value my friends. I very much do. They've kept me sane and safe and loved. But I miss having someone's face light up and their voice brighten when they see me at the same moment that I feel delight in being around them. I miss quiet unfussed intimacy. I miss being special. For all that she was just a stripy cat, Anise delighted me and was delighted by me daily. That deep reciprocal love from a person is all the more special and it's clearer to me now how badly absent that has been. The freakshow feeling is stronger just from contemplating that. People will let me in as a friend and will occasionally let me close physically. I wonder how much closer than that I'll get to someone.
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I spent some time on the bike both today and yesterday. This is still a special thing for me and I've had no notable discomfort from the admittedly modest amount of riding I've done. (10km yesterday, 15km today) So I think I'm back to my commute and from this point I'll be interested to see how my fitness progresses. It's dropped horribly in the past year and I am even slower than I was before surgery. There is a LOT of work to do. If I ride to and from work by default and treat the bike as my primary form of transport for most other things then I think it will work. It'll take time but that's unavoidable so I will just do and do and do and the doing will become easier. I'm hoping that this will also put me back on track as far as paring my weight back goes.

Mostly though, while it will do many good things for me, I just adore riding. I still feel deft and graceful on the bike and as my muscle tone returns, that will only get better and I'll get back the muscular and athletic thing as well. I loved having that and I absolutely WILL have it again. There's a hint of spring in the air and I think this is the perfect time to start cycling again. It will be wonderful.
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Nearly fifteen years ago I was sitting in a bedroom in a house in Cairns watching a kitten being born. She and her sister followed me through 14 instances of moving house, three long term relationships, including one marriage, half a degree and gender transition. She kept me sane and loved and provided me with the one constant in my life.

I haven't seen her for nearly five days.

This is unheard of for her. She greets me loudly when I come home, bugs me in the kitchen, sits on my bed and talks to me. I took her to the vet recently and the blood and urine tests they did showed that she has both hyperthyroidisn and kidney dysfunction, both moderate. On Saturday her breathing was laboured and I watched her closely but on Sunday morning she seemed fine again so I let her out as I left the house on Sunday morning because the weather was sunny. I have not seen her since.

I live in hope that I'll see her again but somehow I have a gut feeling that I won't and it's a horrible horrible feeling. I just hope she found somewhere comfortable. Fifteen years is a long friendship.

I love my stripyhead. I want her back.
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Nearly fifteen years ago I was sitting in a bedroom in a house in Cairns watching a kitten being born. She and her sister followed me through 14 instances of moving house, three long term relationships, including one marriage, half a degree and gender transition. She kept me sane and loved and provided me with the one constant in my life.

I haven't seen her for nearly five days.

This is unheard of for her. She greets me loudly when I come home, bugs me in the kitchen, sits on my bed and talks to me. I took her to the vet recently and the blood and urine tests they did showed that she has both hyperthyroidisn and kidney dysfunction, both moderate. On Saturday her breathing was laboured and I watched her closely but on Sunday morning she seemed fine again so I let her out as I left the house on Sunday morning because the weather was sunny. I have not seen her since.

I live in hope that I'll see her again but somehow I have a gut feeling that I won't and it's a horrible horrible feeling. I just hope she found somewhere comfortable. Fifteen years is a long friendship.

I love my stripyhead. I want her back.
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Yes, I know that complaining about bigotry not being overt enough is a fucked up thing. The way things are is surely better than being in receipt of outright abuse. I still want catharsis though.
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I unpacked trans at a friend last night. This fired my brain up which kept me awake and then there was more internal dialogue this morning. In the end, I didn't get to debrief with someone in the way I was sort of counting on and that meant overload and meltdown. I need to manage this process better because falling apart in the car on the side of the road is not my favourite thing.

So. Stuff.

Everything is gendered. Every. Damn. Thing. We interrogate gender from the moment we start to distinguish ourselves as actual people, separate from our parents. As soon as we start to do that though, we get feedback from our parents, our peers, everyone with whom we come into contact and the message is that there are aspects of gender identity which correspond to the gender that you don't belong to and these are never to be touched. I suspect this is especially strong if you're gendered as a boy - anything feminine is considered shameful. So there are some fairly basic aspects of gender identity which we explore at the age of 3-5 years which are denied to us and if we have to re-examine our gender later, this means is that 35-40 years down the track there are some of those aspects of gender which I never got to explore and which I never got to accept, reject or otherwise evaluate. That doesn't exempt me from having to pull that apart and look at it regardless. The same thing happens when you hit puberty and again when you hit early adulthood and start living genuinely independently. There are all sorts of gender aspects which we examine, explore, evaluate, push through a peer review process and otherwise generally integrate to a greater or lesser extent. Some of the behaviours associated with this process are generally viewed as being related to the age at which we usually do this stuff but I strongly suspect that some of it actually relates back to the aspects of gender identity which we're thrashing out at each of those stages. What that does mean though is that the behaviours you exhibit while exploring those aspects of gender are seem as being somewhere between juvenile and infantile. This in turn means that you have to conduct that part of the process entirely inside your own head and try very hard not to internalise the reflexive notions of shame and embarrassment that tend to surface when you engage in childish things that earnestly and seriously.

When you transition gender later in life you have to do that again. All of it. All at the same time. You do it for the most part without a peer group to bounce off. You do it without the cushioning expectation that this is what you're meant to be doing at that age. You effectively have the 5 year old, the 12 year old and the 19 year old all trying to dress your 42 year old self each morning and you have to mediate that process and reconcile the fact that you'll never be the magic sparkly fairy princess rockstar dyke that pops up in your mind as a result of those thought processes. It is of course, not just clothes. You run into every aspect of gendered differentiation (and I can't even begin to list those here) so the frustrations felt at each of those stages come out to play. And again, all of them. All at once. I've mentioned this in the past. You suddenly abandon male privilege, hetero privilege and cisgendered privilege and become aware of how fucked up and inequitable the world is. A little more thought and you start to be more aware of discrimination that doesn't apply to you. You get angry. You get angry like a child who has been told "You can't do that". You get angry like an angsty teenager, complete with hormonal flux. You get angry like someone in their early 20s and start flailing at your peers and shouting "THIS IS IMPORTANT!", which of course it is. But they've all done that 20 years ago and view it as angry young adult stuff, not as identity awakening stuff and regard you bemusedly. "Yes it is. Haven't you already done this?" No, actually. You got angry 20 years ago because this shit happened to you. It didn't happen to me and nobody explained it to me except occasionally in accusatory tones. I didn't get it. Now I do. And all the time you're *aware* of this, trying not to bleat the bleeding obvious, trying not to sound like a teenager, being embarrassed for yourself that you only just get this now, no matter that there are good reasons for that and trying to integrate all of it along with the other rather more specific homophobic and transphobic garbage that most of your peers didn't have to deal with and with every other aspect of gender identity that people fumble through haphazardly and mostly unthinkingly over the course of a decade or two. All whilst UNLEARNING half of what you internalised the first time around.

This is a touch overwhelming at times. Insidiously, it's really easy to wind up struggling with it all nearly as unthinkingly as you did the first time around. And all whilst fighting off the thousand tiny messages you get that say these efforts are futile, invalid, deluded and otherwise wrong. The problem is that most of the tranphobic stuff I receive in this culture isn't bald, overt aggressive bigotry. It's not deliberate. It's the unthinking wrong pronoun, the checkout chick unthinkingly calling you "Sir", the call centre operator flustered out of their scripted processes into awkward pauses and silences, the forms which don't fit you, the processes which assume that gender is immutable and very nearly every time this is thrust in your face, it's an actual person has to enact this stuff even if it's not their own thoughts which produce the awkwardness in the first place. Because they're all tiny incidents, it's just not reasonable to lose your shit. It's a little thing. One tiny straw upon the camel's back. I have found myself playing out persecution scenarios in my mind and I realised today is that what I want is for someone to overtly, unapologetically be a stinking, inexcusable transphobe to my face so that finally I have a legitimate excuse to pin them to a wall by their fucking throat and scream blue shrieking murder at them. I want someone to call on their bullshit, a face to put to it, not the tedious dribbling banal microaggressions that provide nothing on which to gain purchase. I have half a lifetime's worth of development and discrimination to resolve in a handful of years and no release valve.

Suddenly the self-harm and suicide attempt statistics of the trans community make horrible sense. Those times when I just curled into a ball and stopped functioning for an hour or three and wanted to the world to go away with no resolution have more meaning to them. It's about the lack of ability to confront the discrimination that exists because it presents no tangible representative to be challenged and that denies us the avenues of personal (as opposed to collective) defiance. I don't actually really want overt persecution, nobody genuinely wants that. But the separatist radfem dialogues and tranny crossdresser stereotypes and awkward hermaphroditic images and and and remain out there without a face to which I can tear all these misconceptions to pieces and shout "Don't you DARE tell me that you know who and what I am better than I do! Don't you DARE demand that your hastily constructed confection of kneejerk reactions and stereotypes deserve to be given equal weight to my daily, critical interrogated lived experience." This doesn't make me special. I have been watching dialogues around immigration and racial discrimination and in many ways those have driven these thought processes. There is discrimination which I will never face and can only dimly understand. The world is an inequitable and shitty place. What I want in this case isn't the means to fix that. I just want the catharsis of having someone to shout at about it. Without that available to me sometimes it just escapes randomly through the most convenient available emotional outlet. I worry that one day it'll be someone I don't want to scream at who gets it rather than me just messily curling into a ball for a bit. I very nearly did precisely that today.

I thought I was done with this. Silly me.

Reboot

Jul. 2nd, 2013 11:56 pm
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This month will be one of abstinence (in some ways). I've started the detox diet and so I will have very real restrictions on what I can eat for the next three weeks. No booze, caffeine, wheat, soy or dairy. Nothing from the nightshade family which apparently includes potato, sweet potato, chilli, capsicum and eggplant. After that I'm going to try to keep my intake down and look at what exercise I might be capable of come August. The booze prohibition will lift come August but gently and with care.

I have an interview tomorrow for a permanent position doing what I'm doing now on secondment. I'm a pretty good chance to get this but I'm counting no chickens. I would like it though.

More annoyingly, I lost my purse on Saturday afternoon. The usual round of card replacement and swearing is ongoing. I discovered that it was gone just as I walked out the door on Saturday evening. It was especially annoying as I was feeling good about going out, especially after the particularly good night I had on Friday. Oh well. I'm at least feeling far more comfortable in myself and that can only be a good thing.
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Saturday was eventful. I had my last scheduled appointment with my therapist and it consisted almost entirely of me telling him how thoroughly happy I am. I first walked into his office about three years ago, a very nervous and confused and distressed person. I'm not that person anymore in so many ways that the me that used to be feels more like someone I used to know than someone I used to be. The disconnect is remarkable. The difference made by surgery is so much more than I'd expected and I'm still unraveling that but all of the entangled aspects of it are good. I feel now that I've done all the big stuff and I now have the head space for some fettling of myself and my life.

The cello is obviously one part and I love the thing. My body is still a bit of a focus though. It's coming on to a year since I had regular exercise and I've become fat and soft. The fact that my drinking habits have escalated over that period as well hasn't helped and that's a concern on a few levels. So it's time to do a bit more reclamation. I'm cutting back on alcohol and the plan is to drink none at all during July. I'm also doing a detox diet over the first three weeks. I don't know that the word "detox" is especially meaningful but the basic plan is to break a few bad habits and lose a few physical cravings like caffeine and refined carbohydrates. I probably won't stop drinking altogether but the way I approach it needs a significant rethink. Exercise will obviously have to wait a while - I'm still having to be careful about how much I walk at this stage, never mind anything more strenuous.

On a more superficial level I got a labret piercing on Saturday. I'm most pleased with it and had been getting really good responses to it as well. I'm also still craving ink. I have a fair idea what I'd like a tattoo to look like from a couple of metres away but I'm rather short on content. This needs to happen soon, I think. Now is the time in my life when I want it to happen.

I've done the broad brush strokes, now is the time to erase some smudged pencil lines, blot some excess ink, and fill in some detail. I am still my own project. This is fun.
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Another few weeks and I'm back at work and feeling more comfy. My secondment has been extended for another eight weeks which pushes it back to the end of August and the call centre is feeling very very remote. This is a good thing. Call volumes are out of control and the atmosphere in there is feeling rather toxic to the point where I'm feeling it from 9 floors up and through some rather remote channels.

I bought myself a cello last weekend. This is an amazing instrument and one of the most deliciously tactile things I own. It is huggable in a way that I don't expect from a musical instrument and rewards pretty much any kind of touch. It resonates and responds makes complex noises no matter what I do with it. My left hand kind of knows what's going on but the bow is a challenge. If I play it pizzicato the level of concentration needed is less than half of what I need with the bow and it engages me in an exhausting way. I like this. I like it a lot. I'll like it even more when I learn to make deep, sweet, toffee-coated sounds with it.

I'm finding that I can walk more and I'm starting to want to reclaim this body that I like so so much more than I ever have before. I still can't cycle or skate and that will take some time. I'm undertaking a detox diet with my housemate which was something she wanted to do and that dovetails with the intention I already had not to drink alcohol over the course of July. This might pull some of this excess weight off and give me a head start on doing some kind of real exercise heading into August. In the meantime I still have the opportunity to get to know this body in an awful lot of ways. Derby is receding into the background although I still have a lot of wonderful people in my life as a result of it but the resulting gap left by its absence and the fact that surgery no longer occupies so much space in my thoughts gives me a chance to introduce new things to myself. Cello is definitely one. Defining relationships with people and the communities in which I exist is another. The myriad mental projects which all seem to be converging on the notions surrounding the ways in which we see and treat those who are not like ourselves is yet another.

I have a big blank canvas to play with. There's lots that's already defined but I have lots and lots of wriggle room. I *knew* this was coming and I knew full well that I was only going to be able to start the process of filling in the gaps once those gaps appeared. This is going to be fascinating.
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This new body just gets better all the time. This isn't just not wrong. I've had it brought home to me just how remarkably right it is. I keep saying this over and over - I wish I'd done this 20 years ago even though I know I wasn't ready and it would have been so much harder. The next step is to keep settling into it. This will take some time but the learning curve promises to be rewarding.
sacredchao: (Default)
Things are still getting better. My stress levels are down, I'm making and retaining good connections with people and more and more I'm settling into my body.

Cut for talk about girly bits and how they're progressing. )

So I'm relaxed and happy. I've cleared some huge stresses from my life and starting to find new food for thought with regards to my sexuality. There's nothing that's a notable departure from where I was before but the removal of such a significant dysphoric dissonance and being so pleased with how my new body is progressing makes contemplating such things much less fraught and so much more promising. I think perhaps I've hit a good part which is such a relief after the past few months.
sacredchao: (Default)
Just posting this so I get to keep it. I was talking to someone in my league yesterday. I've known her maybe a year and she, like everyone else there, knows that I'm trans. I mentioned "my wife" and there was a pause. "Oh, so you weren't married in this country?" She'd actually forgotten that I was trans. I live my life assuming that it stands out like I've got a gigantic flashing neon sign over my head and a couple of times I've had things happen that give me reason to believe that. A little moment like this one makes all the difference.
sacredchao: (Default)
Things are settling.

I've not yet made any inroads on unpacking. The boxes are heavy and awkward and I'm wary. I'll get there but I think I will need to dragoon the unwary.

For the rest of it, the swelling has reduced and the slight ongoing bleeding and disconcertingly firm places (feels like cartilage) was looked at by the surgeon today and declared to be not a thing worth worrying about. This was what I suspected, but worth checking. A side note to that is that I'm leaving out the inner form for a bit and using tampons for the seepage. It's silly but there was a little bit of joy in legitimately purchasing tampons for my own use, even if it could never be tied to actual menstruation.

I've had a couple of nice days of what might be called actually enjoying this annual leave I'm taking. Monday was cafe breakfast (middling, but still tasty) followed by the purchasing of a nice teacup from the T2 shop on Brunswick St, playing about at Gallin's Music and then home to tea in said new teacup and Thai food dinner with nice housemates. Today was the visit to the surgeon followed by a spectacular vegan breakfast at a local cafe. It turns out that smoked tofu is not only a thing, it's an amazingly good thing. So so tasty! That plus other tastinesses such as black beans and beetroot relish made it memorable. From there I went shopping for a half size guitar for Small Boy with Bonnie. Every time I've seen him pick up a guitar without thinking he's picked it up left handed and been apparently much more comfortable strumming with his left hand so I asked the guys at the guitar shop to string it left handed for us. We got home and of course he immediately picked it up right handed - seems it was the size throwing him off. Fine, I reversed the strings making it right-handed again and we'll see how that goes.

While we were waiting for the guitar to be restrung, we roamed Brunswick St and Bonnie showed me a place that sells old stock for a number of brands I like, including Dangerfield. I spotted a red wool felt trilby marked down from $34 to $19. I was pleased enough with that but doubly so when I received it back from the cashier with $15 change from the $20 note. Apparently that happens sometimes there - extra markdowns don't hit the floor stock fast or consistently enough. Still, a not bad at all hat for five dollars makes me happy.

Home to relaxation with the rest of the household for the evening. I like it here.

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