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No, I haven't posted for a while. Just over a year ago, I gleefully moved into my new unit and looked forward to the next chapter of my life. It's not been the best chapter. To cut to the chase, my health has deteriorated to a ridiculous degree. Work has become a horrific struggle to the point where even cutting back to four days a week has been useless. I took three months of long service leave and badgered doctors and other health professionals, hoping to find and answer, and maybe recover some health with rest. Two weeks after restarting work, I crashed so hard that I came home, fell into bed and slept for more than 20 of the following 30 hours. I saw my GP last Friday and she has referred me to a rheumatologist using terms like "fibromalgia", which, now I'm looking for it, fits horribly well.

People have told me that this isn't the end of the world. And no, it's not fatal. But I'm squinting at my finances, trying to work out how not to lose my unit while living on the DSP. (which provides no allowance for mortgages, unlike rent - apparently it's ok to pay off other people's mortgages while on a pension, but not your own.) This unit was effectively going to be my quality of life insurance for when I was expecting to retire in 20-30 years time. Now...this is going to require some epic juggling, and that in turn will require more juggling, just to find the personal resources to do the epic juggling. Walking more than a couple of hundred metres destroys me. I weigh nearly 120kg - 70kg me from 4-5 years ago would be beyond horrified. I am now morbidly obese, transfeminine, essentially disabled, middle aged and several flavours of queer. I am the living, complaining manifestation of the abject.

There are still good things in my life, but I am watching the latter half of my life dwindle to a tiny dessicated shadow of what I thought it might be. Having had the barest sniff of almost living in a body that fits me, that body has broken in several important ways. It's like opening a Christmas present only to find that someone has trodden on the exquisitely delicate contents before you got to them.

If you need me, just follow the sound of swearing.
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I have said in the past that depression is an insidious thing in that it does, by its very nature, make it awfully difficult to do anything about. It's a self-perpetuating condition in a lot of ways although obviously it's more complicated than that. Having said that, if you can get enough of a wedge in the gap that you can address some of the underlying causes, then your ability to continue to do things to cope with it increase enormously, or at least that seems to be what's happening with me. A new prescription for medication has made a real difference and acting on a blood test that showed me to be low on both vitamin B12 and vitamin D may well have helped quite a bit. I'm now cycling three days a week with every indication that I will be able to step this up in the near future. I've lost nearly 5kg (only another 20-25kg to go!) and cycling is already much easier. I'm finding socialisation much easier although it's still easy for me to become overstimulated and exhausted and a few relationships have become closer and more rewarding. I'm actually happy and feeling like I have agency. This is all extremely promising.

I had an almost-on-a-whim purchase recently. A friend was selling his very nice mountain bike and I'd regretfully decided that I couldn't justify spending $750 on a bike. Visiting him to check out his garage sale, we started talking again and the looking at bikes I'd done in the interim had made me realise just how good a buy this was. So I'm now the proud owner of a fastidiously modified and maintained Felt mountain bike. This will allow me much more rewarding trail rides and provide the impetus to do exactly that.

Flat hunting is becoming more prominent now that I have the mental space for it. I attended an auction yesterday and although the property was out of my reach, it always had a bit of a "too good to be true" aspect to it and in the end was so far beyond my limit that I wasn't even disappointed. There are other potential candidates and I will continue to hunt.

I didn't get the job I wanted. I'm a little dubious about why exactly I was turned down and it's very easy for me to be paranoid about this but others around me are agreed that it seems dodgy. I shall follow this up gently while also consciously going through the emotional process of letting go of that particular hope.

So a period of growth and change. 2014 was not my best year but 2015 could be really good. Onwards.

I'm back

Jan. 25th, 2015 11:44 pm
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It's been a while since I posted. Future me will be annoyed because although others read this and that fact is one of the things that makes this valuable, the primary reader of this journal is future me.

So where to begin?

I have a cat again. She was born on the 3rd of September and I picked her up on the 31st of October. She is wilful and talkative and a locus of chaos and beautiful and I love her. I spent some time trying to come up with a breathtakingly cool name for her before realising that she didn't need a clever name, just one that can easily be said with love. So I went with my first impulse which was Penelope. She will never be called that but is simply and always Penny. Also Pennycat, pretty one, scampercat, fluffmonster and when I'm feeling silly, Pfenig Hlepan Wollenbrek ForÞsdottir. (subject to me checking whether that's even remotely correct) She has an elegant sufficiency of fluff, beautiful markings and all the wonderful absurdity that any good kitten has. She is also probably the single best thing that happened to me in 2014.

A couple of weeks ago I got my second tattoo. It's an E H Shepherd illustration from Winnie the Pooh of Christopher Robin leaning back against Pooh pulling on his boots. The story behind it is that Pooh goes to visit Christopher Robin and finds him putting on his boots. He is excited because Big Boots mean Adventures. Christopher Robin had trouble getting his boots on and had to lean back quite hard on Pooh to manage it which made Pooh happy because he was already having a Useful Day. It turned out that Christopher Robin was preparing to head out to discover the North Pole. So it's a reminder that when setting out on a grand voyage of discovery, sometimes you need to lean quite hard on your friends. An acknowledgement and a reminder to pay it forwards. It's also a pretty thing and it makes me happy.

Mental health...lots there.

I started one lot of medication and found that while it took the edge off my anxiety, it also makes me tired and even less likely to be motivated to get things done than I used to be. It also didn't make me any more keen on socialising and if anything made that worse. So yesterday I got a new prescription and I'll see how that goes. Hermiting and disengagement remains an issue and I wound up deciding not to drink alcohol at all for the forseeable future as that was getting to the point of being distinctly unhealthy. I am resolved to try to get out of the house more. I really really ought to create things. It's become clear that body issue are a major part of my mental issues and this is not a single issue thing but rather a series of things that interrelate in a complex way that involve gender identity, sexuality, fitness, cultural expectations and myriad other things I haven't yet properly sorted through. I'm getting a clearer picture now though and starting to make plans to deal with this.

One of these will be exercise. Last week I went on a three day bike ride along a rail trail from Mansfield to Tallarook. It was a lovely ride and I did it in the company of several wonderful queer women who were mutually supportive and encouraging. This was a fortunate thing as it turned out that I had rather badly over-reached myself. On the dirt rail trails, my limit was about 30km before I essentially completely drained my body's reserves of energy and just had to stop. Given that we rode 60km on the first day and 40km on the third day, this presented difficulties. By the end of those days I had stopped thinking clearly by the time we got to where we needed to be, literally staggered thoughtlessly in circles, collapsed in the nearest convenient spot and cried, not because I was upset but just as a sheer physical reaction. Two days later I broke out in hives and I suspect I essentially crashed my immune system. If I had done this ride in early 2012, I would have romped through it easily. So my fitness is gone and I now weigh over 90kg. I've declared that I need to do something about this numerous times. Maybe I can make it stick this time. It really really hurt this time and I'm finding a host of reasons to hate what I've done to this body.

There are other things that I'll address another time but they involve work and a home and the process of reexamining those as well. Life is in flux. This is probably good.
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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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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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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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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.

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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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.
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Just over two weeks to go and there's a sense of too much to do and too little time in which to do it. This isn't actually the case but it feels that way and the temptation to procrastinate is perversely strong. I'm definitely starting to feel the stress. It's not so much that I'm consciously worrying about things but my body steps in and hits me with adrenal surges so sharp that I gasp like someone has poked me with a pin or I'll suddenly have to disappear from my desk at work and walk quickly and determinedly away so that I can burst into inexplicable tears in private. I'm also veering oddly between insomnia and finding myself falling asleep at inopportune time (ok, maybe the veering isn't so odd but it's inconvenient and disconcerting) I may need to be very conservative with my estimates of how much I can get done in a given amount of time in the final week.

There is more than just the stress of moving house and impending surgery to cope with. The loss of derby is still fresh enough for me to cry over under the right circumstances and while that's receding it's a sort of sour background fog that ties in with me being really fucking annoyed with my body, mostly because of the restrictions associated with my knee. This in turn relates to the way in which the impending reconfiguration of my body has me angry at myself for the indulgent comfort eating and excess of alcohol which in combination with almost no exercise has seen me gain 10 kg and lose a lot of hard won fitness. I worry about how to deal with that as I suspect I may be pushing too hard with that even now. It also has me re-evaluating aspects of my sexuality again which will place me even further into extravagant freak territory but which I cannot simply sweep under the rug and ignore - that bump is now too large. This will be part of how I contextualise myself in the future and not something I can ignore while actively trying to start dating again.

I've also made a tentative but enormous commitment which has a year long lead time and a lot of wrangling but would yet again turn my life upside down. It has a ratio of amazing and scary that probably means I absolutely have to do it if it's even remotely feasible but the very idea makes my brain fizz.

I can't actually effectively hold all of this in my mind at once. I'm trying very hard to focus on the important stuff that is happening really very soon now but the other things barge in and shout at me about how big and important and exciting and scary they are and how I need to think about them Right Now. This is not something that is calculated to promote calmness and rationality.

Still, there's not that much time left. As long as I do what I need to get done in the next couple of weeks, from that point I can just hang on for the ride and come out the other side with a much clearer mental and emotional landscape or at least one with a couple of huge and pressing elements removed. I just wish I could convince myself to put everything else aside until then.

Why am I doing this to myself?
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I didn't get that job I wanted.

I feel like I'm struggling to keep myself engaged with things at the moment. I have the occasional win, like the Einsturzende Neubauten concert last night which I genuinely enjoyed but the day to day stuff is a bit of a fuzzy blur. There are tears and moments when I just stop and lean against things or sit down and simply stop functioning for a minute or so and I'm starting to watch myself carefully because I worry that this has the potential to escalate. I'm due to see my therapist prior to surgery so that will present an opportunity to talk things through.

My life is still awfully good. I'm full time employed, mostly healthy and surrounded by friends. I do still somehow manage to feel awfully battered right now. I'm surrounded my images and references to the thing I've lost that I can't get rid of without cutting off a great many friends. I ache regularly and the fact that my clothes no longer fit reminds me that I'm not getting half the exercise I used to even pre-derby. I'm starting to feel fat, old and broken which I know doesn't make me special but I would have liked to have been able to explore my new life as myself in a body that hadn't already had all the juice squeezed out of it.

I'm not being particularly objective right now and I'm sure I'll gain perspective with time but right now I just want to throw things. And cry. I do find that I want to do that quite a bit right now.

I know the universe doesn't owe me a single thing but right now it feels like the scales are a touch out of balance.
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I had my consultation with the arthroscopic surgeon today and came away with just about the worst possible outcome, which is to say that my knee is untreatable and shouldn't be banged about more than can possibly be helped. This effectively kills derby for me.

Apparently cartilage doesn't do healing very well. In terms of medical science we're really still at the stage of cutting off the troublesome parts. I don't have flaps or lumps of cartilage getting in the way, I just have tears or "fissuring". Those can't be excised so there's not a useful surgical option. I will talk to other people and explore options thoroughly but the surgeon was horribly rational and made more sense than I wanted him to.

I have no idea what to do now. Hanging around derby as a maimed NSO or maybe referee has little appeal but I can't walk away either - the people are far far too important to me.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate my body?
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I'm feeling odd. Today was full of little adrenal panic attacks from the moment I woke. All I really wanted to do when they happened was lay down and stop moving or thinking and on a couple of occasions when I was assured of total privacy I did precisely that. I really hope that this is a short lived and unique thing that I don't have to deal with again. I made it through the day at work despite non-functional computer systems for half the day condensing my workload to an afternoon of crazed keyboard thumping.

Still hating my body. I'm fat and slow and fed up with both of these aspects. I have a consultation on Thursday about my knee which may explain the fit of nerves today. I *am* nervous about this because an unfavourable diagnosis could badly dent my lifestyle and ability to work with my body. Nervous isn't really a strong enough word - I'm scared that my current limitations could be permanent or that the limitations that will be permanent will be close enough to what I currently have to make no real difference. I'm kind of dealing with the things I can't do on the basis that they're something that isn't forever. If they are forever there will be tears.

Surgery is closer. Less fear and more excitement with this but still the trepidation that comes with a big life event. There will be pain and work to recover and a whole new round of coming to terms with myself and I have no idea exactly where that's going to leave me.

I also have a job interview tomorrow. I had an interview for the four week secondment that will cover the period up until they finalise the permanent placement but this one is for the permanent position. I want this position. So that's more nervousness.

Attendant to surgery in a way is the desire to move. I want that to happen before surgery or I'll be stuck here for a few months longer which I don't especially want. I need to start making that happen.

I think I would like one aspect of my life not to freak me out for a while. Something relaxing and comfortable. Right now I don't really have that which leaves me without a retreat. There we go - that's the insight that comes with typing stuff out like this. Now I know why I'm a twitching mess I might have a chance of working out what to do. Maybe. Fuck.
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The last couple of days have been difficult. Old insecurities have come out to play with additional tiny insights and incidents to spur them on. Maybe my usual trick of writing them down will make them more coherent.

My body hasn’t endeared itself to me of late. For reasons that I both have and haven’t covered here it’s not something which delights me at the moment. I’m also still feeling exceedingly single and badly missing the intimacies both large and small that come with a closer relationship than just friendship. The launch of the third iteration of Dude magazine over the weekend heightened that as its theme is partners. There was a great deal of discussion about the dynamics of relationships with trans people and that brought the whole issue into sharper focus for me.

While walking back to my car, a random guy sized me up and declared, “You look like a man.” He was part of a group walking in the other direction and once my gobsmacked mind had sorted itself out we’d both gone some way. Probably for the best...a group of drunken lads out on a Saturday night aren’t likely to react well to being called out by an uppity tranny.

It stung though. He had no investment in me whatsoever and was simply reacting to what he saw in front of him. This is unusual in my interactions with people. Most people I speak with know me, like me and want to support me. I’ve mentioned before the fact that phrases like “you’re gorgeous” refer to the person as a whole rather than their appearance and simply mean “You are a person who I like and value and want to support.” This clouds any opinion I receive from people partly because they’re perceiving the entire person and partly because there’s absolutely no way they’d tell me that frankly, I have a bit of a bloke-in-a-frock aspect for precisely the same reason that being told that by a random stranger in the street is considered to be so astoundingly rude. He was unusual simply because he had no compunctions in saying what he honestly thought.

I’ve had a good friend point out that a body is not a unique truth to read and it’s surely not a good indicator of gender but even if each person we interact with has a different impression of us, they *do*each read us visually in all sorts of ways that influence their impression of us and if there’s a dissonance there then it does register, whether it informs their opinion of our worth as a person or not. I know that *I* make those sorts of assessments. They don’t change my opinion of that person as someone I want to know but they do inform things such as attractiveness and if someone is unfortunate enough to have physical aspects wildly at odds with their gender I do think “Oh crap, you poor thing.” I hate myself when I find myself making those assessments precisely because I know it’s a thing I’m worried about myself. It informs more than just attractiveness; it affects how I’m positioned when I talk to people, it manifests in how I read people looking at me in public spaces, up to and including assessment of my personal safety.

So when my friends say lovely affirming things to me, it slowly becomes obvious that each and every one of them talks about me as a personality and how they value me as a person, even when the topic is specifically my physical appearance. This brings me back to the horrible and I hope unwarranted impression that they’re all stepping around the issue at hand to try to say something nice because while they’ll talk about my personality, my abilities, how I dress and a number of other things about me, my physical appearance is rarely if ever mentioned and when it is, it’s about things that don’t address this such as my eye colour.

All of this comes back to the worry I’ve had since I started the process of transition, which is to what extent this winds up with me being considered “other” by *everyone* and how seriously or not my identity will be taken by those around me, both consciously and sub-consciously. This includes myself. I do get instances of imposter syndrome where I don’t feel that I can legitimately speak with a woman’s voice and that it will be resented if I try. I’m acutely aware of the fact that my acculturation is heavily masculine and while I’m scrambling awfully hard to catch up, I still feel thoroughly clueless in many respects. As I’ve said before, I’m also still carting around aspects of male privilege which, while I don’t feel that I need to apologise for it, distorts and fragments my perception of how I position myself. A nasty aspect of this is that some parts of the feelings that contribute to the sense of being an imposter are very much like the arguments presented by some transphobic radical feminists as to why I’m not a real woman but a deceitful, deluded, infantile, mutilated male. I run across these often enough that the ways in which they mirror my own internal dialogues are *extremely* unpleasant. As it happens I came across a particularly nasty example of the type this morning. This meant I spent the rest of the days in a state of mind where I simply shouldn’t be talking to people. I forbade myself from sending even the most mildly critical of emails (which is a part of my job – I provide coaching feedback relevant to the work I do) and left that for tomorrow.

The catch 22 in all of this of course is that there are very few ways in which I’m going to get any kind of validation regarding this one way or another. Collaring my friends and putting them on the spot is a serious imposition that I’m not prepared to explore. Going back looking at my last entry it’s obvious that this is an ongoing argh with a few extra triggers to bring it out in its full nauseating glory. I’m not sure I know yet how to tackle this particular set of ideas but however I do it, it has to be in a way that’s honest with myself. This is also part of the ongoing process of trying to call myself on my own bullshit. So I have to acknowledge that making this public *is* me shoving this under the noses of those around me and I’m totally aware of that and so I also have to acknowledge that nobody owes me the awkward conversation that thrashing this out implies. I have to be prepared to accept that there’s going to be an untidy resolution where some things are validated, others refuted and much not resolved at all in the near future and that each of those aspects may or may not be to my liking. Ultimately though, this is mostly to get this out of my head in a sufficiently coherent form that I can take at least one step back and see it more clearly than I have so far. Otherwise I’ll continue to rehash half-formed thoughts and reach half-baked conclusions.
sacredchao: (Default)
I felt like posting randomly from work (on my lunch break - I'm being good!). I felt awfully virtuous yesterday. Cycle commute to and from work and then straight to pilates as soon as I got home. Both of these exercises were actually really nice. Cycling was just what cycling always is and I thoroughly enjoy my commute. Pilates was hanging out with some of my derby league while running through a series of exercises which will surely do good things for me over time and left me feeling pleasantly sweaty and warm and with the sort of satisfying ache that just says I've used my muscles and which I've come to both like and miss. The exercise plus no trashy food has conspired to get me under 75kg. This is still far too heavy for my liking but represents good progress. The best part of all of this is that I'm finally in control of my body again and have some use of it. This is spectacularly good and I'm finally feeling something approaching optimism. There's still the question of what is going to happen with my knee but that hinges on what the surgeon has to say and is going to be something of a long term exercise. I've accepted that, even though the fact it will keep me from skating really bugs me and again, at least I have *some* access to my body.

It seems I actually really enjoy exercise which is something I would have found odd once. This can only be a good thing unless I lose it again. It seems I have both motivation and opportunity at the same time. I also have plans. Onwards then.
sacredchao: (Default)
I took the day off sick today. By the time the end of the day rolled around yesterday I was exhausted and sore from the coughing so I wanted medication. I got that, and more importantly, got the results from the x-ray and MRI. The shoulder is simply injured and still healing and is therefore uncomplicated.

The knee is less straight forward...it turns out that there are a couple of things going on there. I have a sprain of my posterior cruciate ligament which is half healed and coming along. That will just need physio work. I apparently also have "focal mid medial patellar facet high-grade partial thickness chondral fissuring" and this has earned me a referral to an arthroscopic surgeon. I likely won't get a consultation until next year.

My physio feels that I should be able to at least cycle at this point so I can start building my aerobic fitness up again. With that and pilates classes for core strength I should at least begin to get my body back. No contact skating for me though and I'm dubious about skating prior to consultation with the surgeon. This is going to take a while and will almost certainly overlap with reassignment surgery. I think it's time to settle in for some work and accept that skating will be a while away.

It's good to have a plan. I still wish I didn't need one though. There's going to be quite a bit of work and quite a bit of pain involved in this which doesn't exactly fill me with joy. I do have the option to get my body back though and so many people don't. This could be an awful lot worse. Deep breath time.
sacredchao: (Default)
Today marks two years on hormones. A quiet day, just a dinner and chat with a friend to mark its passing. It's now rather less than five months until surgery. I know I've said that surgery isn't transition, but it will mark something of an end point as far as the big stuff goes. The rest is just tidying up and settling into myself properly.

Hopefully from this point my relationship with my body moves back into reclaiming it. I have my MRI this Sunday and once I have the results, I can move forward with what exercise I can do without damaging myself further and whatever treatment is needed to get it properly healed. I can get my fitness back, drop this excess weight and have that kinesthetic part of my life back. If I can get some proper derby training back in before I go to surgery I might even start to properly reconnect with my league. They've been lovely but being on the periphery isn't the same as skating with them. Hell, I might even see some scrimmage. I don't think getting back up to yellow star is too crazy a goal. Summer is coming along as well. Cycling commuting in the early morning in summer is a simple but profound joy on some days. Everything is warm and you can smell so much more than car exhaust. It's all cut grass and warm bitumen and garden beds and wooden fences and the city gently exhaling - there's a *smell* to summer.

I've been contemplating getting ink lately. This is again partly an exercise in reclaiming my body and of all the times in my life, this may well be the perfect time to do it. I have several ideas about what I want, very few of which relate to actual content. This is fine. There is no timetable to this, if it happens at all but I'm enjoying the process of turning it over in my mind. Perhaps that will be my post-surgery present to myself to enjoy until I can get on skates again at which point I think an upgrade is indicated. I shall try on boots and peer at plates and get myself some properly stompin' wheels.

Muscle and ink. Girl parts and skates. That's an interesting combination and I think I like the sound of it. Never mind this summer, next summer should be amazing.
sacredchao: (Default)
I didn't get anything other than the scheduled CT scan done at the Alfred and I wasn't that surprised. I do now have an x-ray (for my shoulder which still aches when it shouldn't anymore) and an MRI scan (for my knee) booked for this coming Sunday. I'm both impatient and nervous about finding out what's going on with my knee.

Things are slowly coming to a head. The weekend after the one coming I start preparations for surgery which will be nastily uncomfortable but needful and really, it'll be such a concrete forward step that I'm nearly looking forward to it. Nearly.

No skating has prompted me to play guitar more again. I have neglected this badly and my fingers don't quite do what I ask of them. Hopefully this will get better over time.

Still hating my body right now. It's fat, unfit, sore, balky, fragile and has now managed to find itself a throat infection from somewhere just in case I was getting complacent. It's getting the hiding of its life once I know I can get away with it. My cycle commute is a distant memory as is derby training. This is going to hurt. It'll be constructive hurt though. I suspect that this will be a theme for a while. Frankly, getting gain with my pain will be a huge improvement and I can't wait.

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