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Two years ago I watched my derby league head off to The Great Southern Slam and was annoyed that I didn't really have the resources to join them. I consoled myself with the idea that I'd be bouting at the next one. TGSS happens every two years so I'm watching Facebook posts from my league all thrilled about TGSS 2014 and remembering how much I had looked forward to it. I thought I was getting over this. I think in some ways I am but sometimes derby can still produce ugly broken-hearted sobbing and every time I'm shocked at the strength of those feelings.

So let's drag it all out and spread it on the table for another look. I suspect I need to do that to at least put this into context. I lost derby at the point when I was most invested in it. Nearly two years ago I posted this. That was my first and only scrimmage and in that evening I fell in love with derby properly. I loved the sport, I loved the people I did it with and I loved the things I could do with my body. Packing for the very next training session I felt something *wrong* in my knee and that was it. I clung to the hope that I could spend money, endure surgery and rehab and return but eventually I got to see the surgeon and found out that there simply wasn't a good surgical option for me. I'd damaged my knee permanently. Not especially badly but if I mistreated it, it would get worse and I knew that I'd hate myself in ten years time. So I made a sensible adult decision.

I very much did not want to make a sensible adult decision.

I had to stop NSOing. So I went to afterparties. I cried at every single one and eventually stopped going to those as well. I miss the sport. I miss the people. I miss the body that could skate and skate and skate for more than two hours and want to keep going at the end of it. I want to stand on the jammer line again and have a pack in front of me. I want to be part of that league, a skater with all the others, just like all the others.

Derby was many things to me. It made me feel strong and graceful and deft. It made me love my body. It put me in the midst of a group that gave me a degree of love and acceptance and validation that stunned me. I fell in love with it and with them and then had to walk away from it completely because I could not bear to watch it all happen without me. I've likened it to being around someone with whom I'd broken up but with whom I was still desperately in love and it seems that remains the case. Most of the time I put it out of my mind and kid myself that I'm getting over it. There are very few things that I've lost that I mourn so badly and so completely. So I still cry for it sometimes. I cry in ugly gulping sobs that shake my body and startle me.

I want it back.
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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?

Proud

Feb. 5th, 2013 11:13 pm
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I went to Pride March on Sunday and participated in the march with Vagine Regime, who are the queer community within roller derby. I had skates on from about midday right through until I eventually fell into my car again at about 9 o'clock that night. Despite the fact that there was a lot of sitting about, this meant that I had wheels on my feet for nine glorious hours and I now have a serious itch for more street skating.

The march itself was great. There was a lot of noise and a lot of happy people and a lot of people who were specifically stoked to see a bunch of queer women on skates making a spectacle of themselves in the middle of St Kilda. We collapsed in a happy sweaty pile under a tree for a while before more or less randomly dispersing. Myself and Kaylee wound up in the company of a lovely couple, one of which is a relatively recent addition to Northside and the other skates with East Vic. A comedy of errors culminated in a frenetic street skate in a pack of four down Flinders St, over the bridge and along Southbank and through to Crown Casino carpark. We were all comfy on skates and while the pace wasn't punishing, we were all smooth and moderately fast and there were few enough pedestrians that we could just open up and skate as hard as we wanted to without incident. We got to Crown sweaty and grinning and exclaiming over how amazing a skate it was. There was an interlude of not finding the car, giving up on being good by walking and donning skates again in order to search the carpark more quickly including an en masse descent of a ramp at speed to a lower level. Various losings of tickets to leave the parking spot and triumphant findings of ticket later we finally got out of there and paused for one last beer in a pub just off Chapel St before dropping new friends off at Malvern station.

I do like derbygirls.
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So I skated. Not for long and I don't think I can do it a lot at this point but after nearly four months of no skating at all it was the first rains after drought. So so SO good. I really do need skate time with my friends. A little, probably on a rink (rather than the up hill, down dale, variable surfaces, dodging traffic exercise that was negotiating the middle of Melbourne today) every few weeks will be a thing to keep me far happier than I have been. I can do this. I shall treat myself to new bearings and find my feet again.
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I spent Saturday evening surrounded by people telling me how much they like me. I can heartily recommend this as a way to spend a Saturday. It's taken me a while to genuinely internalise the fact that this is not simple politeness, I'm actually genuinely wanted there. So I'm totally overwhelmed by the derby love.

Ranty conversations with the Butchfemmetrans crowd and notes for later thought.

I started by thinking that sexuality and gender identity were completely separate. Then I decided that gender identity informs sexuality be defining one's attraction to a given person as heterosexual or homosexual. Lately I've been thinking that modes or affection, that is to say the ways in which we demonstrate affection, are strongly gendered. So body language that says you're attracted to someone also declares what gender you are and, in many cases, what gender the person you're attracted to is. I do wonder if sexuality is, to a certain extent, determined by the modes of affection that you feel comfortable demonstrating in as much that you want your partner to be receptive to your affection.

-------------------

Being socially privileged and experiencing discrimination due to a lack of that social privilege are viewpoints that can be mutually exclusive to the extent of being totally outside of the experience of each other. Harassment due to gender, race, sexuality and so on can literally be invisible to someone who neither experiences it nor perpetuates it because it's not something that they ever see. If our language lacks terms to describe that situation well then the person experiencing it moulds language to that situation as best they can but because the recipient of that description already has set ideas about what that language means, they receive a distorted impression of what is being said to them. There's a lot of dialogue that takes a great deal of repetition and negotiation before consensus is reached on what is actually being said and a broader understanding of the concepts involved is achieved.
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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.
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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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So it's getting on for 3am and I'm sitting and thinking and surfing random stupid stuff on the internet because for some reason the idea of going to sleep seems untenable. This has been my pattern now for over a month. I'm living on 3-4 hours of sleep per night and been an aching sleep deprived zombie at work which doesn't make for the most pleasant possible working days.

I have an appointment tomorrow at The Alfred hospital. Ostensibly it's because during my shoulder x-rays they saw a "spot" in my upper lung. They said that it's likely a transient thing but that they simply want to check it because if it *is* transient then it should have, well, transited by now. I've barely given it a thought and for some reason have been entirely successful in telling myself not to worry about it until a doctor says I should worry about it. What I'm planning to get done tomorrow is point out that while they looked at my shoulder and spine six weeks ago, I have a knee that aches even after only moderate walking and on which I'm now terrified to cycle or skate for fear of doing permanent damage and can we do an MRI scan now please? At this point I don't care what it costs. I want to know what's wrong. I want to know what I can do without causing permanent damage and I want to know what needs to be done to fix it so that I can arrange to have that done.

The first two point are to give me at least some use of my body back. I've gained about 5kg and dropped muscle mass at the same time. My clothes are getting tight and I"m starting to dislike how I look and feel self-conscious about it. My fitness has dropped to the point that I can feel it even with gentle walking...I'm not out of breath but I feel the difference in heart rate and effort and I do breathe harder than I used to and I feel it in the muscles of my legs where I wouldn't have even registered that I'd been doing anything before. My body is deteriorating in all sorts of ways and at this point I can't do a damn thing about it. I need to regain agency in this and to do that I need knowledge. Right then, let's do that. Once I have that knowledge I know what I can do without permanent damage. I don't *care* if it hurts, it's not like I've had much in the way of pain free moments for the past six weeks anyway so this will not be a big step.Just the knowledge that I'm reclaiming this body will be worth a very great deal of discomfort. The last point hopefully gets rid of the pain and puts me back on track to cycle commute (if I can't do that already anyway) and going back to train and work up to scrimmage. This will mean work but it will be such GOOD work and I so so so need to get started on it.

Of course all this is predicated on a good prognosis. I have no idea what the potential range of outcomes is and I'm so scared that it's going to be something that means I simply can't go back to the level of activity I've gotten used to. So I'm sleepless and not a little worried and at 3am there's not a single useful thing I can do except sleep. I have no idea why I'm so reluctant to do that and so I worry about that as well. This is not helpful.

This Saturday will be another round of testing. It should have been the day when I tested up to green star and became eligible to bout. Part of me really really doesn't want to be there and part of me is saying "Don't you *dare* walk away from scrimmage on a test day." They will need warm bodies there to NSO and there will be friends there testing. Honestly, too, there's part of me that really does want to be there.

I am going to fix this.
I am going to fix this.
I am going to fix this.
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And that's another weekend I've run out of and another curtailed in various ways by my injuries. I left the bout after party on Saturday sore enough to be in tears at one point and monumentally pissed off at having to cut the evening short. I did very little today.

I looks like the next stage with the knee is to get a MRI scan to see exactly what the damage is. This is apparently likely to cost something in the order of $300, private health insurance or not. I'll hit my insurance up to see what they're good for but either way, I suspect that this is going to cost me real money to resolve given that the scan will only give an idea what the actual treatment will have to be. Please please not surgery. I have to resolve it though...it's keeping me from both cycling and skating. This is fitness, body image, social life and chunks of my own identity all compromised because of this injury and I am getting progressively more and more upset about it.

I don't want to be sore.
I don't want to be inactive.
I don't want to watch from the sidelines.
I want my fucking body back and I want to have a reason to like it again.

I know a number of people who have been through those sentiments in spades and with sprinkles on top and with no hope of resolution. I wish this gave me a sense of perspective but to be honest, it doesn't. I'm just finding my mood getting progressively darker and I absolutely have to make sure that I'm actually doing something about it or the whole situation is going to get out of control.
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Derby made me cry yesterday. I can't skate but I go on Saturdays to function as an NSO for the two scrimmage sessions. I was feeling a bit emotionally sketchy and during the non-scrimmage training period between the two scrimmage sessions it became too much and I had an embarrassing teary meltdown. Of course everyone there was great and sympathetic. They keep telling me that they're surprised and thankful that I turn up while I'm injured to help out. The truth of the matter is that if I don't do that then I'm not going to be there at all and not being there at all just isn't something I think I could face. I guess my reaction was in large part due to being sore, having a wildly disrupted sleep cycle (I've been sleeping incredibly poorly and erratically since the bike accident) and a couple of other minor things that still had a real emotional impact.

So I slept for 12 hours (the clock says 13 but we started daylight saving last night) and had some moderately disturbing dreams which were probably occasioned by me moving in ways that tweaked my shoulder in my sleep. Today I'm sore and morose. I really hope I heal soon, I'm completely fed up with it making me miserable.
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Even though I can't skate, I can't tear myself away from it either. Saturday saw me driving up to Bendigo to see a couple of bouts. The ticket was $10, the petrol was probably more like $50. I'm still rather enjoying having a car again. I generally don't drive it during the week so when the weekend rolls around and I have it sitting there waiting for me, it's still a luxury that I haven't quite managed to take for granted yet, even though I unthinkingly plan with the assumption that I now have access to it. It was a truly lovely day so the drive up was delightful and I had a little time to kill which I did by idly wandering around Bendigo. I dropped into JB HiFi to get a giftcard for the person whose birthday party I was attending that evening and heard a really fun bouncy pseudoska track playing. "That sounds like Gwen Stefani" I thought and asked and sure enough it was the new No Doubt album. Sadly, that was the only track of it's type on the whole album. A bit of a disappointment but then I suppose I shouldn't have expected Tragic Kingdom all over again.

The derby was scrappy and most penalty laden but still entertaining. I was really going up there to avoid the star testing which happened at Northside that day in which I was not earning my orange star. *pouts* I am only a couple of weeks away from dropping a star level which will effectively end all hope of bouting before surgery. I will throw a tantrum, get over it and move on. There *will* be a tantrum though.

I made my way back to Gisborne and attended a quiet but pleasant birthday party for Michel and crashed on their couch. On the way home I conceived of a desire to finally try braising lamb shanks. One super market raid later and I had browned shanked resting on a plate and a mixure of leek, celery, carrot, fennel and apple making a sort o mirepoix in the same enamelled cast iron pot used the brown the shanks (and deglazing it a treat before I even added wine) along with oregano, fresh rosemary that I noticed poking through someone's front fence in great abundance so O nicked a couple of sprigs, zest and juice from a lime (yes, again - I love it) lots of pepper, a fair amount of salt and a little nutmeg. I had it all in the oven turned down as low as it would go before remembering that I had agreed to NSO for scrimmage at Kemizo this evening. I figured it would survive, invited my flatmate to help herself to a shank at about 7pm and drove up to Campbellfield.

I *like* playing NSO. I'm being useful, I learn lots and I'm hanging out with people that I really like. I also spend the whole time wishing that I was out there on wheels, banging hips and getting sweaty. Still yellow star, probably about to drop back to white due to absence. That will chafe.

Initial consultation with the surgeon tomorrow. I have no idea how I'll react so I've arranged to meet up for debriefing over coffee with someone who's also been through surgery (albeit not quite the same procedure, but close enough) with the same surgeon and also someone I have meant to catch up with again anyway. Fortunately I have Tuesday off so I can do whatever I like on that day rather than being distracted at work.

[addendum:] Dinner rather good. I was going to roast sweet potato to go with it but didn't have time. There was so much in the way of braising fixings in the pot that it proved entirely unnecessary though. I am pleasantly full.

Broken

Sep. 17th, 2012 08:16 pm
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I think I've hit the point where the effects of this injury have gotten properly under my skin. It's playing with my head on several levels and I think I'm beyond simply grumpy with it. I'm heavily invested in both cycling and skating. They're the activities where I feel graceful and strong and deft and actually like my body for what it can do. I'm also invested in being fit...getting fit and relatively lean has been the way in which I've been able to assert some measure of control over my body for the past year or so and that's really important to me. Now I've lost that control, my fitness has already declined sharply in one sedentary month, my clothes are getting tight and I'm finding now that I don't *trust* my body any more, nor am I completely sanguine that it's actually going to heal properly. I tried skating briefly yesterday just to see what the new outdoors wheels I have are like and I was uncertain and nervous and scared that I was going to fall and aggravate my knee further. I've started to take for granted that I'm comfortable on skates. Finding myself so wary and apprehensive was incredibly unsettling. Also, for all that I totally have the support of my derby team and I've been playing NSO, the fact that I haven't been training for that long has led to me feeling like there's a bit of a disconnect there. I'm being helpful and that's appreciated but I don't feel like a skater anymore because, well, I'm not. I want the use of my body back and I want to be able to trust and like it again. Right now there's not a damn thing about it that pleases me and I rather badly need to find *something* good about it.

I suspect that this is the key reason why I've been so SO angry at things lately. I'm noticing the ways in which I'm disenfranchised and seeing my friends similarly affected. Someone I know encountered blatant transphobic discrimination today. There's nothing ambiguous about being referred to as a "gender-bender". I've been distracted by it for the rest of the day and while I'd normally be thoroughly pissed off by it, it's not something that would have me physically twitchy and exhausted. I'm feeling thoroughly snarky at *everything* and I think I really do need to get some perspective or I'm going to wind up halfway burnt out. I'm grumpy and pessimistic about more or less everything in my life at the moment and that's not a good way to live.

on the mend

Sep. 2nd, 2012 10:22 pm
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A nice weekend. It started with face zapping on Saturday morning, This is not a nice thing, but at least I get to stop being bristly-chinned which is actually the worst part about electrolysis. They need to be able to pluck the hair after killing the follicle which means I need to let it grow out for a few days. Sporting a three day growth goatee on public transport is not my favourite thing. That done, I treated myself to yummy recuperative breakfast on Brunswick St before continuing to 1000£ Bend to meet up with the Genderqueer Australia folk for sociable beverage consumption and conversation. Kath appeared with Kaylee, both derbied up having apparently been out skating that morning. I was mightily jealous.

Kaylee and I went on the the VRDL vs SSRD bout at the showgrounds. Two of the best derby teams in the country merrily tearing into each other meant that expectations were high but we were definitely not disappointed. I was inspired all over again to get to a competitive level.

That confirmed my plan to go out to train with the fresh meat and white stars today. They don't do contact and I can beg off the stuff like falls and jumps. I also got to meet the new skaters properly. I think I'll do the same thing next week and do some social skating with them. I'm enthused about potentially training the fresh/white sessions which I'll be able to do once I test up another level and that will hopefully happen in November. September testing is not going to happen but I'm hopeful about November. Squatting to full knee flexion and standing up again is uncomfortable but no longer actually painful. The idea of getting new skaters moving and comfy and happy on skates appeals to me a great deal. It's an awfully liberating thing and facilitating that for our new skaters would be a rewarding thing indeed.
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I got the second psychiatric referral to the surgeon today. This essentially means all systems are go so once I see the surgeon I can confirm a date, hopefully in April next year. Beyond that it's just about putting the financial ducks in a row. This is the only part where I'm reliant on someone else but the time frame there is well before the surgery date so I'm confident there.

Addendum that has nothing to do with the last bit:

I got back on both the bike and skates for the first time in about three weeks. No notable achiness has ensued but by the same token my knee still exhibits the same level of crankiness it did before. I'm comfy with gentle skating and cycling but I'm still going to dodge commuting by bike and training involving contact for a while. I might spend some time helping out with fresh/white training sessions though.
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I finally went and saw a physio. I don't know why I procrastinate so badly about some things, but I do. I seems that I have a tear to the medial meniscus in my right knee. He doesn't think it's bad but it's still something that will take weeks to come good. This put me out of star testing for September and probably for November as well. Given that I'll also drop a star level while absent, that means that it'll be impossible for me to bout before surgery. I probably shouldn't have gotten so invested in that as an idea but I was treating it as non-negotiable and now there's really no way it's going to happen and it's just now starting to sink in how much I wanted it. A year from now I might be thinking about putting skates on again post-surgery and there will be a *lot* of work to recover fitness and form. I'll be lucky to be bouting by the end of *next* year. I'm not giving up on this, it's one of the best things I've ever done but I am going to be beyond frustrated with it. I don't know how far into my 40s I can reasonably expect to bout competitively so losing over a year is significant. FML.
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A pleasing day today. I drove most of the way to the second place I planned to be today (derby training), left my derby gear in the car and caught the train from Regent station to the city. I bought a small but rather nice box of chocolates from Koko Black in Royal Arcade for She Who Gets Things Done™ at derby by way of thanks for going above and beyond to make things happen with regards to supplementary star testing. She's vegan so that was a slightly more involved process than usual. I then killed time tramping around the CBD, pausing for a coffee and walnut/fig cake that was small but decadently sticky.

I actually felt that I looked good today. I wound up feeling confident and attractive which is an awfully empowering thing whether it was warranted or not. I had a somewhat briefer time meeting with GQA peeps at 1000£ Bend than I would have liked but it was time to head off for my first scrimmage session!

Scrimmage is actually playing roller derby. The only difference is that this is played within our own team as a training exercise but it still comes down to us essentially running a full bout (and this after an hour of drills!) It was utter confusion. There's an awful lot going on all at once and you're trying to keep track of nine other people on the track at once and the interdependent roles that they play. It made my brain implode and I've rarely had so much fun in my whole life. So ludicrous multitasking while skating hard in close proximity to several other women while in turn hitting and being hit by them over and over again for an hour. At the end of it I felt marvelous. Yet again, I very much like this being fit thing. There's still plenty of room for improvement but I can ask my body to do really rather a lot before it tells me to fuck off and fetch a lemon, lime and bitter please. So this is yet another instance of being well pleased with my body. Athletic femininity is a very pleasing fit for me and I think I want to pursue it further. The intensity level of today's training was definitely up a few notches and I felt really challenged. Moving into that learning and development curve promises to be a very satisfying thing indeed.

After that I headed to Chadstone for dinner with a few friends. Quiet but pleasing and I chatted with someone I'd not actually had any sort of conversation with for some considerable time.

This is really an extension of my last post I suppose. I like my new transport option and the fact that I can successfully integrate it into my usual multi-modal transport regime rather than simply using it as a standalone thing and I like the fact that it is already opening up extra options to me. I'm pleased with moving up to the next level of derby and the fact that it really *has* brought a whole new dimension to the exercise.

I'm not sure I have any more purpose in my life but I have a great deal more *life* in my life.

Level up!

Aug. 3rd, 2012 12:09 am
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Well I picked up the car on Tuesday and there has been a certain amount of gratuitous combustion of fossil fuel. I'm really very pleased with it and now I need to make sure I don't overuse it. Fortunately there's absolutely no danger of me using it to get to work and I still love my cycle commute so I'm not going to degenerate into a single mode of transport user. Hell, I even still prefer the train for a lot of things. So this simply opens up a lot of options for me and means that there will be fewer things that I'll bow out of due to transport issues. What car ownership does to my budget remains to be seen.

I used it to get to training tonight. There was a special session in Campbellfield run for the benefit of myself and three others who missed out on the recent star testing. True to form, there was plenty of support as other yellow star skaters turned up essentially to run through another testing session even though they'd already passed theirs. Each section of the testing is scored out of 5 with an average mark of 3 required to pass. I'm pretty pleased with my overall score of 4.7 and really, it's just passing that's the important part. So I'm now a yellow star which means I get to scrimmage (actually playing roller derby between our own skaters rather than just train) with the big girls now. So I'm very very pleased and I rather suspect that derby will take on yet another dimension as a result.

A less pleasing development is my secondment having ended I'm back in the call centre. This means every working day is filled to the brim with talking to people whose company I'd avoid if I had the choice. I realised this today while talking to a caller who I actually rather liked. On the positive side, I've been placed under the only team leader in the place who I actually prefer to my previous team leader who I like a great deal.

So overall there is positive development and I will watch with interest to see what I manage to build out of it all. Life is many things these days but I'm surely not finding it boring.
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A busy day yesterday. I got up bright and early to borrow a car from the lovely [personal profile] sjkasabi so that I could go shopping for my own. It turned out that the model that showed itself to be value for money at the price range was the late 90ish Holden Astra. I was looking at other things as well but in the end, party due to time constraints, test drove only two cars. The first was rather nice at first glance. A pleasing green and with a few extra bells and whistles. Once I started driving it though I immediately had a bad feeling about it - it really didn't quite feel right. I said non-committal things and continued on my way. At another car yard I found another Astra that was very nearly identical, albeit with few extra features. The main difference though was that it drove so very differently that I realised just how decrepit the first one had been and how mechanically good this second one felt. I did the usual round of driving tests and checked carefully for rust and accident damage (also remarkably clean in that regard) and promptly decided that this one was mine.

So I'm now very nearly the happy owner of a 1999 dark blue Holden Astra. I couldn't quite get a bank cheque on the day so my current plan is to get one tomorrow and then take that out to Mum's place (she lives just around the corner from the car yard) and see if she can't pick up the car on Tuesday. I can then drop by on the Tuesday evening and pick it up and still be on time for derby training as that doesn't start until 9pm.

It's been a long time since I've been car shopping, either for myself or anyone else. I don't think there's been anything that's come close to pointing up the differences in how I get treated these days. Secondhand car salesmen are generally not the most sophisticated of beasties and I was thoroughly bemused by just how remarkably different the experience was. It was occasionally hilarious...the first car didn't want to start and he tried to excuse it by saying that he'd accidentally flooded it. I pointed out that this was unlikely given that it's fuel injected and so has no throttle pump and delivers no fuel when the engine isn't running. The mixture of confusion and slight panic on his face was remarkable and I had to try awfully hard not to smirk at him. So there was a strange blend of solicitousness and condescension threaded through the whole experience. I realise that this is par for the course but there's still a great deal of novelty and validation in this for me so fascination still usually wins out over annoyance. I'm sure this will change and there were a couple of points when I didn't look half as closely at the contents of a car yard as I might have because the salesman seriously put me off.

Pleased with myself I headed off to derby. We didn't have training as such as it was fresh meat induction. 23 women turned up to have a go and I saw some real promise there, both amongst those who clearly already had some skating skills and the utter novices. A couple of them picked up suggestions that I made and integrated them really well despite being very uncertain on skates. I had some good chats with a few of them during the afternoon as well so I think Northside is going to gain some fantastic new members out of this group. After a couple of drinks at the Raccoon Club I headed home in a thoroughly good mood.

Today was spent servicing my sleep debt (which sounds so much better than "sleeping in" and does actually have an element of truth in it) and doing laundry. I have cooked very little lately so I went shopping and now have a bubbling pot of noms on the stove that I'm just about to have a bowlful of. I had an odd moment at the supermarket when the woman behind me at the checkout starting physically picking through my shopping on the conveyer belt at the checkout making comments about imported produce. Weird but in the end not worth getting invested in so I paid for my shopping and just left.

This week marks the end of my secondment at work. I have Monday and Tuesday as my final days in that department and then back down to the contact centre on Wednesday. I really don't want to go back to the phones. The couple of short stints i did last week have reinforced this. Still, I get the impression that it's only a matter of time until I go back to business support. There was a departmental meeting on Friday and several people said really nice things about me and my work so if there's another opening up there I suspect that any expression of interest from me will be viewed favourably. Also, if things go to usual form, I'm also likely to get a degree of priority for other alternative duties. I may not like the work in the contact centre overmuch but I like the people and the company so for now I think it's time to suck it up and bide my time. The security and stability that this employer provides means that I'd have to be offered something an great deal better even to consider changing.
sacredchao: (Default)
Well this could be a touch confronting.

I've been contacted by another trans derby skater. She has in turn recently been contacted by the ABC who are making a series of documentaries, one of which examines trans people. They've talked with trans children and their parents, older trans people and so on and have decided that they want to talk to trans people who participate in sport and have decided that derby is the place to go for this.

So I'm essentially going ahead with this and it could well include me being interviewed on a show that will be broadcast nationally. Way to out myself, huh? The whole idea is a trifle daunting but there's nobody who I'd be mortified to have find out about this so aside from the potential for being accosted in the street by total strangers it's not that worrying. I like the potential for positives to be derived from this. I don't physically look like the popular stereotypical conception of a transwoman and I'll dress to push that. I'm not flamboyant, I'm not a drag queen and I'm not some dowdy bloke in his mum's old frock. I'm simply a woman and the less remarkable I can be in that respect (while still definitely striving for presentable) the better. Beyond that I get to provide a *positive* commentary on what is means to be trans, what it means to be gender diverse as an athlete and how that can be a positive experience for everyone involved. I can hopefully also somewhat puncture the idea that as a transwoman playing sport in a women's league I somehow derive unfair advantage from magical boy powers. So yes, there's discrimination out there, even in derby, but I've yet to personally strike it and the experience I've had is so overwhelmingly good that I think it should be given some time even if only to demonstrate that genuine acceptance and inclusion is very very possible. The sporting world as a whole could probably learn a lot from derby in that regard.

I am mindful of the fact that media regularly gets things badly wrong when it comes to portraying trans people. I plan to be very clear about the fact that I'm absolutely *not* ok with them broadcasting pre-transition images of me, regardless of how publicly available they are, nor am I ok with them making use of my old name. I'll also be clear about how I expect them to be consistent about pronoun usage, including when talking about me pre-transition. I haven't had many ideas beyond that but those are the things that usually make me twitch when reading articles about trans people. There will inevitably be things I'll be less than totally thrilled about but I'm prepared to suck that up and deal. I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that I was going to be out about this and I've increasingly come to want to be at least a bit publicly active with regards to the perception and treatment of trans people. This is the point where the opportunity to do exactly that has landed in my lap and I can either grasp that or walk away from it. This is one of those times when the fact that something is a bit scary probably means that it's worth doing.
sacredchao: (Default)
It seems entirely likely that I have whooping cough. Whether I actually do or not is more or less academic at this point. I'm taking the appropriate antibiotics and am quarantined at home missing several aspects of an awesome and in one respect rather important weekend. By the time I get the test results back, the moment will have passed and I'll no longer care beyond wanting to get better.

I seem to have dreadful timing with regards to health and roller derby. I injured myself two day before intake by coming off my bike and I just don't ever do that. This time around I'm a plague vector right on testing weekend for (in my case) yellow star. I'm watching people in my intake group sitting orange star this weekend and having to beat down the jealousy with a stick. Oh well, I live in hope that a solution can be found and that I'll not have to lose another eight weeks. The tricky part with all this is that if I tested and passed this weekend and also managed the same thing for the next two testing dates, I should be bouting by November or at least be qualified to do so. This is important because I go to surgery in the first half of next year which will put me out of commission for some months. I badly BADLY want to have some decent bouting time before that. This has become really very important to me and I've been treating it as non-negotiable. I was perfectly prepared to skate myself into a shuddering pile to pass that test today but I simply can't go. The only thing stopping me from throwing all the toys out of the cot at this point is the fact that I've been told that options will be looked at. The person doing the telling is someone who Gets Things Done™. She is awesome and one of the people who've made me so welcome at NSR. So more derby love felt.

At this point I guess I settle back, drink tea with honey and try not to bring up a lung.

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