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Well that didn't work. Nearly three weeks ago I ended the relationship that I thought I was pleased with the last time I posted here. I won't go into details because it wouldn't just be my laundry that I'd be airing but it actually wasn't working on several levels. It was not a bad experience though. I've learned more about myself, about what I want in a relationship, what I *need* in a relationship and what relationships can look like. I have many lovely people in my life and I'm not feeling a lack of love, even if I'm not sleeping with anyone.

Sleeping with people is tricky too these days...I've learnt that as well. In some ways my body is a tricky awkward thing now and it doesn't quite work like anyone else's. This will be a thing that needs thought, patience and understanding.

So where from here? Nowhere in particular right now, actually. There are people I have crushed on, people I could very easily crush on and even one or two who are pressing some buttons right now but I'm not chasing anyone. There's a part of me that is inclined to let my relationships with people be whatever they are. There are myriad different ways to engage with people: intellectual, emotional, romantic, sexual, sensual, tactile (yes those last three are all different) and they don't have to operate at the same level. Clever communicative people can work this stuff out and I've had some fascinating and provoking conversations of late about this sort of thing. So I shall just enjoy people's company and see where that leads.
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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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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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LJ cuts be bothered, I can't be arsed. If you don't want to read me talking about my body and emotions stop now. This is really just to remind me later.

We use the word "naked" to suggest that something is presented in its real, unadorned, unaltered form. We use phrases like "naked truth" to indicate that something is as honest and true to reality as possible. This is predicated on the idea that our bodies are entirely representative of us. This isn't always the case.

I have a thin and fragile veneer that I wear as a mask. It's constructed of clothing and shaving and a wig and shoving parts of my body about to present myself as I wish to be seen. A mask is usually something used to hide one's true self but in this case it's fairly representative of who I really am. Call it trivially truthful. It accords with my inner self, the identity that I've worked and sacrificed to tease out and understand and which is really who I am. Call that the non-trivial truth.

Between those two layers though is a persistent and nastily compelling lie. That would be my body. It's all the more insidious because the idea that our bodies accord with our gender is ingrained so completely in our culture. I hate seeing myself naked in the mirror. The lie is so compelling that it still catches me out and makes me recoil. I realised recently that I'm truly scared of being intimate with someone because of this. This idea of presenting someone with that lie and asking them not to believe it is incredibly confronting. I know that on some level they will internalise it as truth and the mask will forever after seem just that.

So I have a profound internal conflict. I want someone to be attracted to me as I am; to be able to resolve those deep dissonances in my physicality and still find me desirable but at the same time I want those dissonances gone (which they will never entirely be) and I want not to have to present the lie to someone I want to be close to. Whenever I find myself attracted to someone the thought "Oh god, what if it doesn't work out?" is immediately followed by "Oh god what happens if it *does* work out?" I try to convince myself that it will all be fine but I've discovered that it's all to easy to follow that into projecting desires and thoughts onto someone else which is fair on nobody and leads to me having stupid internal hissy fits which are entirely my own fault.

Should I simply decide that anyone I want to be that close to, I should be able to trust to deal with this or am I asking too much? I resent this. Other people have body image issues to deal with but their bodies don't actually make them appear deceitful. How much disclosure do I have to run through to avoid someone looking startled and slightly put off in the middle of what should be a moment of abandon?

I suppose this is one of those things that will have to be worked out on a case by case basis. I still have no idea how presentable I truly am though. I have friends all around me who tell me how great I look but I've heard those sorts of comments thrown around a lot and they're effectively code for "I like you and care about you and want to be supportive of you." which is nice but not informative. They're also generally produced by people who are safely disinterested in me.

Bleh. That's that train of thought written out anyway. Hopefully that will give me a base to build on.
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A couple of firsts this weekend. I had my first electrolysis session yesterday. This will ultimately have a good outcome but in the meantime I'm paying not insignificant sums of money for the sensation of licking a 9V battery with my entire face non-stop for an hour. This is not pleasant. It also means a few days of being bristly chinned and another day of part of my face weeping from sorely abused follicles. Overall I don't like it at all but I will like the outcome and I want it badly enough to continue so I shall continue to don my big girl pants and suck it up.

The other first was my first derby training session. This was altogether much better. I had expected to enjoy it but I hadn't anticipated skating better now than I did ten years ago right from the start. The only thing I can ascribe this to is less weight and better fitness but however it works the whole session was utterly brilliant and this will most certainly continue as an exercise. Training sessions are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week so this is a substantial commitment. I will still prioritise part singing every second Tuesday but it still means five days of training per fortnight.This will do good things for me, I'm sure.

Ponderings about sexuality )
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An odd day today. I went to a couple of gatherings, both of which involved nice socialisation. The weather was cold and wet which both literally and figuratively dampened the mood somewhat. There was odd emotional discomfort which is really nobody's problem but my own so I'm not sure exactly how to address that. It also seems I'm still having odd ambivalent feelings about being attracted to people.

Yay for Kerry Greenwood booklaunches, even if today didn't bring the wonderful sunnyt weather which usually accompanies such things. There was singing which was always good. I had a minor twitchy moment and moved on to the next gathering I was due to go to, and in truth only got there about half an hour early. There's a Melbourne genderqueer group which has some lovely people there. I feel like something of an old fart there but not too badly. Thence to Hares and Hyenas to grab a copy of this. I was amused by the fact that the central character is a transgendered cyclist called Salisbury Forth who lives in Melbourne. A solid array of coincidences that and the book itself looks fun.

Food is in the oven. I chopped onions and let them fry in the bottom of my lovely cast iron pot with garlic and turmeric and pepper and cumin and fresh coriander before dumping a tin of diced tomatoes, two tins of chickpeas, a goodly amount of chopped sweet potato, flaked almonds and caroway seeds which I'd just toasted, a little chilli oil, tarragon and a box of frozen spinach on top of it and transferring the lot to the oven where it makes nice smells and is stirred occasionally.

I have a small amount of a Pratchett novel to consume and then I think it'll be straight on to my latest acquisition. I'm not really sure how I feel at this point. Not bad, not good but a poorly stirred mix of the two.

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