I'm back

Jan. 25th, 2015 11:44 pm
sacredchao: (Default)
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 For├×sdottir. (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.
sacredchao: (Default)
So I've been here a month. That rather passed in a flash. I'm not sure I've ever liked living somewhere this much and the space is getting comfier all the time. There is a gentle ease to living here that means I actively like coming home and spending time here. I cook and relax and even just gentle pottering about the place doing housework has an aspect of defining this as my own space, I've had a few people drop by and I find that I like that a lot as well. This is all very good stuff.

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

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

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

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


sacredchao: (Default)

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