Oh joyous day

Aug. 28th, 2015 04:37 pm[personal profile] alee_grrl
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So today was a very good day for two reasons. One, I met with a potential new therapist whom I really like that works with many trans and genderqueer folks. Said therapist is also well versed in dealing with childhood trauma and abuse. Normally she likes to do three visits for both patient and therapist to be sure that it is a good fit. I see her again on Tuesday. So that is of the good.

Two is that I met with a trans/genderqueer gynecologist today. I'm going to put the rest of this under a cut for those who are triggered by discussions of reproductive organs and issues )

So that was my busy but very happy making day. I'm going to chill for the rest of the day, and if I have the energy tomorrow I might do a bit of thrift store shopping. See if I can find some more masculine clothes to add to my wardrobe to see how it feels to let my more masculine side out to play.
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
I love the power of music to lift the spirits. I head to the stereo and put on an entire Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Or I would, if the CD player on my stereo still worked. The radio is a crackly mess, and overall the thing is now reduced to a tape player, and I don't possess any tapes.

But that's by the by. Gilbert and Sullivan, now. Iolanthe, for preference. The trio in Act II that is all proverbs and little twiddly flourishes, and its reprise in the finale that's all puns. Even the introduction (dum-diddle-dee, dum-diddle-dee, dum pum pum dum pum pum) makes me smile.

In fact, it tends to be tiny little phrases that get me. That triumphant galumph down the scale in I feel fine ('she's tell-ing all the world'), or the sequence of two-steps-forward-one-step-back fourths in O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion ('lift up... thy voice... with strength...'). I will take a whole song to my heart for the sake of a couple of bars. And why not, when they hold such joy within them?

August Moon day 9: rendez-vous

Aug. 26th, 2015 09:00 pm[personal profile] kafj
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
Wednesday lunchtime, and a little group gathered to eat in the canteen. I made my excuses, deliberately vague. Going out. Didn't say where.

They probably knew, but they didn't know. I didn't, not really.

A rendez-vous. Meeting a new lover. Or, if you prefer, a meal with an old friend. Both. Neither. More.

I know a place. Secluded, set apart up a few broad stone steps. The door closed, and noise of the traffic melted away. A siren pierced the quiet, but it didn't disturb us.

Half an hour, that's all we had. And then I left. (Leaving, but not parting, not alone, you come with me, you are part of me, I am part of you). The traffic stopped for me. How could it do otherwise? Dashing back across the road, trailing sparks behind me. Sneaking in through the foyer, both relieved and disappointed that the receptionist failed to look up and see my shining face. For in that moment I felt luminous.

August Moon day 8: secrets

Aug. 25th, 2015 09:13 pm[personal profile] kafj
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
I sat outside and told my secrets to the moon.

This was her reply:

My love, you think I didn't know? You have no secrets from me.

That's not fair, I said. What was the point of talking to you?

She looked up into the sky above her and grinned. Well, she said, at least you know them yourself now.
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
I pull back the curtain and I see the ruled-out Venetian blind. Blurred white lines. The light gets in, but not much else. A sliver of damp drive, a laurel leaf or two. There's nothing much to see, really.

Never mind the curtains. What about the blinds? I love being the first one in the office. Last night the sun will have sunk low enough to shine directly into the eyes of my colleagues who linger until six or seven, and they will have shut the blinds.

When I raise the blinds the next morning the light washes in, and I, four floors up, have the trees at my feet. Resilient London planes, stolidly breathing in all the foul fumes of the Euston Road, spread a lush green carpet out before me. A church spire rises from the mass of leaves as if it were a freestanding pyramid.

I look across to the other office blocks (nobody there, yet), down on the roofs of the other buildings. Way down, below the trees, the buses line up in neat queues and swing around the corner each in turn. Buses aren't just red, seen from up here. I see their white roofs and their fleet numbers writ large across them. Pedestrians swim in and out of the green canopy, some swift and purposeful, some trailing unwieldy suitcases behind them.

I was one of them, only a little while ago. Now I've gone inside, and climbed four flights of stairs, and pulled up the blinds, and have found myself in a different city.

August Moon day 6: just a song...

Aug. 23rd, 2015 09:07 pm[personal profile] kafj
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
There is something about twilight that makes me feel nostalgic.

Perhaps it's those old parlour songs. Just a song at twilight/When the lights are low/And the flickering shadows/softly come and go... Perversely, it reminds me of a childhood joke book. What's a clown's favourite song? Jester song at twilight... Or In the gloaming, oh, my darling, when the lights are dim and low... We sang that one in my very first church choir, when I was eight or nine, far too young to be singing will you think of me and love me/as you did once long ago? I enjoyed it, all the same. I've always liked melodrama, and a comfortable, melancholy nostalgia. There's no real regret to it; it's a musical convention that goes along with the apassionata and the con molto sentimento. Loves are always lost, the singer is always mourning the days gone by. Even the Lost Chord flooded the crimson twilight. The Victorians loved the twilight, and I have an unashamed fondness for the Victorians.

Perhaps it's Anne of Green Gables. Nobody wrote twilight like L. M. Montgomery, and that's part of my dreamy, romantic adolescence. Perhaps it's simply that twilight was my own time. School done, supper done, and just enough time before bed to go and hide in the garden and enjoy the cool. Perhaps twilight has been nostalgic ever since God went walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Perhaps twilight has always told us of what we've lost, and has always reassured us that we are, none the less, safe without it. Night is falling, but you see the stars, and the lights in the windows?

This is the right time of year to enjoy twilight. It's still warm enough to sit outside as darkness falls, and darkness falls early enough to want to sit out there in the deepening blue, looking for the first star and the delicate nail-clipping moon. A week from now, my in-laws will be lighting the candles on the balcony and we'll be sitting out and quietly catching up with the family news - and the news of the town, because they've lived in the same place for long enough that my husband will have been at school with the person who was on the tills at Tesco today, who said had we heard that...? (I always feel slightly envious of that. It's a long, long time since I saw any of my first choir.) And old stories will be told, and new ones. It is good to be together when night falls.

Twilight, and evening bell, and after that the dark...
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
I could see a light in the distance but I wasn't sure if I could make it that far.

Or perhaps that's an overstatement. I knew that there was a light in the distance. Not even that. I trusted that there was a light. I thought that once, perhaps, I had seen the light, once, long ago, before the fog closed in around me. I kept stumbling on towards the place where I thought the light might be. It was, perhaps, slightly less dark in front of me than it was behind me. If I considered that for too long I became uncertain.

Anyway, I had to keep on in the direction of the light, and hope that I was indeed heading in that direction. The alternative was unthinkable: to sit down, and wait for the fog to lift, knowing very well that I didn't believe that it ever would.

The fog had been around me so long that I'd forgotten that it wasn't a permanent feature of the landscape. I hadn't just forgotten what the light looked like; I had forgotten about the trees and the grass and the sea. All I could see was the sodden ground under my feet. One step, and one step, and one step, and perhaps one day the fog would lift, or I'd reach the light.

I wasn't sure if I could make it that far. I had no idea how far I had to go.

Walking on sunshine

Aug. 20th, 2015 08:10 pm[personal profile] alee_grrl
alee_grrl: Happy mouse from Aristocrats nomming cookie.  Text reads: Cookies! (cookies)
New PCP was amazing. I think I spent a bit more than an hour with her. She was amazingly easy to talk with, listened to my complaints and issues, listened when I noted why a solution would not work for me, was willing to discuss multiple options of things. Plus she is Lyme literate and understands the protocol that I am on. She was able to explain why I've been having such issues with my cycle lately and offer a couple of solutions, including the name of a trans friendly gyno who can evaluate my candidacy for uterine ablation. She also had a great suggestion for a trans friendly counselor who deals with many of the issues I juggle on a regular basis. So I will be making calls tomorrow to see if I can set up appointments. She had some excellent suggestions on how to manage current hormonal and menstruation problems while we work on more permanent solutions. We set a follow up appointment for October (though I can go in sooner if something else arises).

I'm absolutely ecstatic and thanking my gods for such a good fit.
alee_grrl: Eddie Izzard pointing at his head.  Text: In my Mind. (in my mind)
I know I've been super quiet the past few months. I stepped up my Lyme treatment, which meant a lot of time spent resting. I also needed some time to focus inward and to process several things. Now I feel like I'm ready to start socializing again, and ready to catch folks up on what has been going on in my head and life. This is likely to be a long post. It is also likely to contain some fairly heavy topics. Content Warnings: Discussions of Grief and loss, discussions of mental and physical health issues, mentions of body dysphoria/body image issues, gender dysphoria, gender identity issues, abuse and trauma )

For those who do not have the spoons (emotional or otherwise) to read the whole post, I've been doing a lot of thinking and come to the realization that I'm genderqueer. Not sure where on the spectrum I fall, but I am finally comfortable acknowledging that I am genderqueer. Reasons for not acknowledging it earlier are many and discussed in depth above. The big take away is that I am okay with the realization and taking steps forward in exploring a more authentic version of myself. It's just been a lot to process. But in the end I'm gonna be just fine. I'm currently comfortable with they/them and she/her pronouns. I'll let folks know if the preferred pronouns change.

Wednesday What Are You Reading

Aug. 19th, 2015 07:30 pm[personal profile] kafj
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
Currently reading

Hotel New Hampshire (John Irving) - which is rather disturbing and probably requires warnings for pretty much everything, but then I've seen the film; I knew it was going to be disturbing. It is also really quite funny.

Picked up Frog Music (Emma Donoghue) again - it's very good, but extremely depressing and shows no signs of becoming less so.

I keep forgetting to mention [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan, which is a reliable delight. I am particularly fond of Mr and Mrs F-.

Recently finished

Beware of the Feast (Peter Danckwerts) - history of Robert Jowitt & Sons, which I read more for family gossip than for insight into the wool trade. Some family stories seem to have been a little distorted - the Jowitts were, for example, rocking the Quaker boat a good couple of generations before they actually disembarked from it, and honest doctrinal difference seems to have had as much to do with their conversion to the Church of England as a desire to conform. I'm rather enjoying picturing them among Madame C's milieu (I think they would have known the F-s professionally at the very least) though no doubt they would be horrified at the thought... But perhaps not: notwithstanding the title, there were plenty of black sheep in the Jowitt wool family.

Whispers Underground (Ben Aaronovitch) - I read these not so much for the plots (not that they're bad plots!) as for Peter Grant's infodumps. I don't usually enjoy infodumps, but these are the exception to the rule.

Seeking Sabbath (David Shepherd) - an account of the author's attempt to refrain from work every Sunday for six months, with light spiritual reflections attached. Worth reading, though rather superficial.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (Winifred Watson) - rather charming, apart from the casual racism and anti-Semitism in the middle. I did enjoy the sense of female solidarity. Also very good on the lack of self-confidence induced by casual horrible employment.

Up next

Not sure. I have been gazing idly at the bookcases and not finding anything much take my fancy.

Other media

BBC quiz shows, mostly. I have just watched a programme about orphaned jaguars on BBC4.

August Moon day 4: duologue

Aug. 18th, 2015 09:05 pm[personal profile] kafj
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
So I had a conversation with my shadow. Couldn't put it off any longer. I turned to face her, felt the sun on the back of my neck, said, 'So how come you're following me?'

'Oh, my dear,' she said, 'it's all down to you. I live for you; you must know that.'

I looked at her, lolling against the wall like some insolent chit, and I said, 'We're only joined at the feet, you know.'

'Not always,' she said, and I swear she'd have winked, if only I could have seen her eyes.

But I won't be made to blush like some Victorian miss by my own shadow, and so I agreed. 'Not always.' And sat down, to prove my point. It did very odd things to her legs, and her neck bent at right angles when she got to the wall, but she didn't seem to mind. 'Talk to me,' I said.

'I belong to you,' she said. 'Where you go, I follow.'

'You stretch,' I said, 'and you shrink. You're one,' I said, 'or you're many. You're sharp or you're fuzzy.'

'Ah, my dear,' she said, 'that all depends on you. If you go out in the morning I'm tall, and if you stand between two lamps then I'm twins.'

'You come out in the sun,' I said, 'and in the darkness you're not there at all. How can I trust you?'

'The darkness,' she said, 'belongs to me and all the shadows, and all the shadows are one. In the darkness,' she said, 'I'm no longer fixed to you, and I wrap around you like a blanket. In the darkness,' she said, 'you're quite safe.'

Sometimes I think that she's cleverer than I am. I don't quite see how that would work, but perhaps she knows.

Event: "How Are You? (in Haiku)"

Aug. 18th, 2015 10:10 am[personal profile] poetree_admin posting in [community profile] poetree
poetree_admin: Paper sculpture of bulbuous tree made from strips of book pages (Default)

Comm admin [personal profile] jjhunter is hosting another round of How Are You? (in Haiku) at her journal today. All are welcome and encouraged to drop by.
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.
Are you a member of [community profile] poetree? If you plan on hosting an online poetry event of some kind, please let the admins know by PM or mention in the weekly Sunday Picnic post, and we will post a short advertisement on your behalf to the comm.
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
It was a gloomy day, or perhaps it just felt that way because I did.

In fact, I'm not sure that I could tell you what the weather was doing. It wasn't raining; I'd have heard that. But I didn't go outside. The curtains stayed shut. I moved from bed to computer to bed to television. Only very late in the evening I looked out of the window and saw the last rags of sunlight just brushing the tops of the leylandii.

I was refusing to feel guilty about it. I was ill. Not seriously ill; just the irritating sort of sore throat that made it hurt to talk much, and the lethargy that made venturing outside the house an exhausting prospect. I could have pushed myself, I knew, but I would have suffered for it later. I'd done that through the working week, taken one sick day and ignored two others I knew I needed. Better a day of utter boredom than months of never quite being well, of always being tired.

This had happened the year before, you see. I'd gone away for a few days and been ill when I came back. And somehow I'd never got better, and before I knew it summer had disappeared and autumn was hurrying after it, and Christmas was a burden I couldn't shoulder. A year before, and here it came all over again. I couldn't face it. I went to bed and shut the curtains.

You'd like to know, wouldn't you, what was the end of the story. You'd like to know what would have happened if I'd dragged my shoes on, gone out to buy a loaf of bread. You'd like to know if I recovered faster because I let myself rest, or if I would have just got over it if I'd only pushed myself.

So would I. I don't know. It was only yesterday.


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