Truthfulness

I asserted that I am creative, courageous and loving. Can I assert that I am truthful, truth-seeking, and have integrity? Is that my characteristic, or is it a tattered dirty rag I seek in vain to cover my nakedness with, the idea of myself as truthful?

A year ago, S told me he crossdressed: it felt like his unburdening. Last month, he upset me, and I would like to get back at him, leaking out his secret. That would affect my seeing myself as a person of integrity. But what do I owe him? Is it my appearance to myself that matters more than reality? All this questioning in the watches of the night. It really matters to me, and so I can assert,

I am truthful.

I stood about a yard from U in her kitchen, in that beautiful flat I have now visited five times, which she is leaving to live with D. We held eye contact, then I looked her over, appreciating her. Then those ridiculous tears well up in me. I want to hear and honour the feeling, and I want to Not Cry- no adult cries as much as I do, hardly any toddler. I close my eyes and with an effort over some seconds, regain my equanimity. “You broke rapport,” she says, and I explain. We hug. After scrambled egg, smoked salmon and coffee, the last of us leave. I have another top, again more eye-catching than my wont.

The sun is shining.
I cast a shadow.
Proof that I exist!

I made this crack to H, and she said, “even someone as fragile as you.” On the tube, the song Will sang last night runs in my mind:

How could I dance with another
When I saw her standing there?

I was repeatedly near to tears. It is one thing crying writing this, alone in my room, but alone in public? Consciously I centre myself, refresh my Qi, imagine that emotional being crying inside me without my external physical response, and manage not to cry. And I Decide- this highly strung, so responsive, Emotional Being that I have, that I am, is not a curse, a problem, a cause of weeping making me look ridiculous but my Blessing, my Gift, a beautiful thing.

U was with R for sixteen years. Last night at U’s party R came for the first time back to the flat they had shared, into the kitchen, and kissed U. “I chose this chair, I chose that table”- she is taking them away when U moves in with D. And no-one can understand how she feels about U moving in with a man. So I told her how I feel, and cried, and though it seemed ridiculous to me that she, the ex-partner, should be consoling me, she did.

U and others asked me about my expressed intention to move to London. Right now, this intense work of self-acceptance is all I can manage, the most important thing I have to do before anything else. I need to stay in my beautiful flat, here in the countryside, for a while yet.

 

On the train home, there is a woman with half a Union Flag on her jacket- so I interrupt her texting on her smart-phone to ask her about it. She is Andrea Green of the British Sitting Volleyball team (above, seventh from the right). I had not heard of sitting volleyball before- the net is one metre high, players manoevre around the court supporting themselves on their hands. She is classified as “minimally disabled”- she has a dropped left foot. A disc pressed on the nerve, preventing her contracting her ankle joint. By the time the nerve recovers, the muscle has atrophied. She signed her first autograph today- not sure why the girl wanted it but happy to oblige. She used to wear trousers to cover up the splint, but now does not mind. What will it be like to hear the cheers of the home crowd? she wonders: a Judo practitioner told her it was Wonderful. We discuss self-acceptance, diversity, “disability” and how everyone is making compromises and adjustments to live in the world, why make a special case of people who have to adjust to some, but not all, physical states of their bodies?

Party wear

I wanted to dress like a whore. Well, not quite.

I went to U’s party on 31 December, the memorable night she got together with D. Last night was her birthday party, and next week she will move in with him. At Hogmanay, I wore a mini skirt and a rather demure top. Yesterday I went shopping with my hostess S down Kilburn High St and got a lace front human hair wig for ÂŁ35, (amazing) and a black thing of lace, beads and sequins loosely tied between the breasts, showing off flesh around the navel, and a lace pair of shorts. Worn without a bra, it is not something to wear on the Tube if travelling alone.  Alas, no photographs.

I wanted to be out there. I wanted to celebrate myself as a sexual being. I wanted to show off my bare legs, and my midriff, because women tell me my legs are a good feature, and women are the people I want to attract. I do not want to hide myself away. I also wanted to experiment with this: it is just not the way I have dressed, before, even at tranny dos. N thought I looked as if I were trying too hard (she really dislikes my usual wig, too). U, whose long skirt beautifully shows shifting impressions of her legs, appreciated me, and leant me a chunky silver necklace, more suited than my Moonstone to the ensemble. “The bedroom is the place to be,” she said. “No, the place to be is the room I am in,” I replied.

It is a summer party, starting about five pm, and most people are dressed fairly casually. There are about 25 of us in the flat, about half of whom I know. Bloke in shirt and slacks comes up to me and says, “Hello, I’m Tim.” I’m Clare. “So, you’re trans then.” I was astounded, and not in a good way.

Later, I am chatting to Paul, a DJ with Jazz FM. “I’m Paul, by the way.” I’m Clare. “So, why did you choose that name, then?”

I was irked at that. Second mention, and I wonder if it has something to do with my way of self-presenting. He refused to admit that he had realised I had changed my name because I am trans. He started telling me that a lot of black people of his generation had changed their names from slave owners’ names to African names. I was so irked that I did not point out I am white- he can see that, after all. He says he interviews people. Monica, his seven-year girlfriend, joins us.

Third conversation: S tells me how she had a girlfriend 16 years older, twenty years ago. After they had been together for a year, she was looking through one of her partner’s books and a photo fell out of it. They fought over the photo but she ran with it to the bathroom, and there realised that it was her partner, presenting male before transition. S had not realised until then that she was TS. S found this a dealbreaker, thinking her partner had been dishonest, but the partner explained she had been advised by her therapist to put “her male life” completely behind her and live in the present moment. S left her. This shows that passing to an amazing extent- for a year in a lesbian relationship- is possible, making me feel worse.

Paul said I should have said to Tim, “No”, or, “What do you mean by that?” Well, I was a bit surprised when he said it. “What did you say?” I could not remember. Why should it matter, anyway? Because it is loaded. It means most to me, it is my life, but it means things to others as well. And he put me in a box.

Don't define me before you have even talked to me!

The day before, someone had chosen to unburden himself to me about his cross-dressing experiences. I tried to encourage him, saying it was alright, no big deal, if that is how you want to relax you go ahead- jumping to conclusions, really. Responding too quickly out of my stuff. His tone of voice had given some indication that was appropriate, but he might have wanted to celebrate it.

Around eleven, there is a mellow late evening feel. Eva comes with her friend Michael, a musician with a keyboard, and we jam, two guitars, a flute, and some of the rest of us singing voicelessly.

Energy returns. I dance close with U, and then with Jack. I feel wide open, and weep. The weeping helps me get into the present moment. Jack sees this. I feel he is giving me something beautiful, the space to seek to dance spontaneously in his arms, following not leading, rather than play-acting, assessing and judging how I am dancing and thinking through, intellectually, what I should do. This is an animal, feeling-based activity.  I am almost there- I weep again, in frustration.

Not quite a whore- a whore would wear a skirt rather than shorts. As N pointed out. If not all of it gave me pleasure, the party certainly gave me a worthwhile challenge.

_____________________________________________________________

What do I want from such a conversation. “So, you’re trans, then?” It is not safe to assume that this is a man to whom I can unload my own angst and be comforted, or even explain so that he will understand and affirm me. It would be easier if I had really internalised that being transsexual is a blessing. I do not want a sterile verbal joust, trying to get the other to state a position and then challenging it, but I would like to make it an exploration of his Stuff: “What do you mean by that? What do you think of that?” And be prepared to withdraw if necessary.

Agree to disagree?

Here is a blog which “deals with same-sex attractions (SSA) from a Christian [ie, hate-filled oppressor] perspective”. He writes,

To my readers who are happy, satisfied and fulfilled in their self-identity and sexual identity: Please respect the rights, needs and viewpoints of my other guests. Let us agree to disagree.

No.

Why not? I could complain about the phrase “Same-sex attraction (SSA)” which makes it sound like a disease, but we do need a noun for homosexuality, simply to refer to it. Gay is a word I can take pleasure in, it is Our word, but it is an adjective. So- Gayness? Queerness? Being gay? Any suggestions? SSA is the term coined by the ex-gay movement, can we do better?

Then I could object from a Christian perspective- here is this man telling untruths about God, humanity and the Bible- but then, he could say the same about me, and so his “Agree to disagree” becomes the best way to coexist.

My objection is that his position is used by the oppressors. Perhaps he has lived in a completely tolerant environment all his life, and converted to Christianity as an adult, and made a completely free choice of a hating church rather than an accepting church, and is gay himself, and so has some right to his opinion. However other gay people do not have such a free choice. They are forced, wrongfully, into self-abnegation. What he says gives aid and comfort to the Oppressors, and hurts and confuses their victims. So. Agree to disagree? Hell, no.

Let my people Go!

I would have left it at that, but then I had a look at the rest of his site.

Embracing a homosexual identity (or the gay culture) can be extremely dangerous and damaging to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and development.

What? Here, he is deliberately increasing self-hatred and doubt. This sort of lie has the potential to destroy a person’s confidence. It is evil. He goes on to say that it may be an illusion, and the person will realise in his twenties that he is not really gay. Well, no. He could be bi, and labels are reductive and inaccurate; dividing everyone into Gay/ Not gay is impossible and untruthful; but that does not mean that a gay attraction is worth any less than a heterosexual attraction. Worth spelling out: if in this moment I am attracted to a person, that has equal value whatever the gender of the person, and may be noticed and accepted. Though saying I am lesbian is a useful generalisation.

What are the risks? Suicide, depression, drug abuse- he blames gayness for the problems he himself causes. Then he goes on to say how angry he is with “gay-affirmative education” because it isolates those children who are defined as gay but do not want to affirm that. Total mindfuck.

Look at the site, to see how he steals the language of concern and freedom, and with half-truths and outright lies makes it Oppressive.

A significant percentage of people with SSA as adults had symptoms of Gender Identity Disorder in childhood that was not properly addressed.

How does he think gender dysphoria should be addressed? I am not Disordered or Deviant, I am Different and Diverse. But I have spent too long on this evil rubbish. I need a shower.

La Marquise de Citri

The Marquise had made a brilliant marriage, but detested people in high society so much that

Not only, at a soirée, would she pour scorn on everyone, but this mockery had something so violent about it that even her laugh was insufficiently acerbic and turned into a gutteral hissing.

Virtues can enable us to tolerate another’s failings. Lacking these virtues, the vices of others gave the Marquise great pain. She thought everyone an idiot, though she appeared more stupid than they.

She had so great a need to destroy that, once she had more or less  renounced society, the pleasures that she then sought after underwent, one after the other, her terrible powers of dissolution.

First she loathes social gatherings, then musical evenings and the music played- Beethoven, rebarbative!

Soon what was tedious was everything. Beautiful things, paintings, writing letters, in the end it was life itself that she declared to us was a bore.

It is important to me to find genuine pleasure. I may have seen anhedonia in a person, and it is not a pleasant sight. And Oriane de Guermantes suffers from the same malaise, though not in such a raging form. So, what gives me pleasure?

File:Burne-Jones ten virgins.jpg

Doing something which appears to be of use. Just after I was sacked as a solicitor, working my notice, I was sent after the Conveyancing partner who had forgotten a key. I drove eighteen miles to give it to her, and was amazed by the delight this service gave me: it took me time to recognise the delight for what it was. Now, I get some of that at the citizens advice bureau, and though we spend most of our time crafting the case record so that there may be not the shadow of a doubt that the query was answered fully and correctly- more important than engaging with the issue itself, especially as there is some confusion as to what the terrifying Auditor requires- I get a little of that pleasure, every time I go there.

Doing something which leads to my own self-improvement. There is a lot of work in that karate, and I enjoy some of the time there, though it is difficult.

Being present in the moment. Walking in the sunshine in the park, this afternoon, I saw a dragonfly alight on a twig, and fold its wings: the refraction of the light on the wings and body, and the strange, globular eyes, moved me. Paying that sort of attention takes awareness: at the moment I bring myself into it, self-consciously, with hand gestures which symbolise and for all I know manifest the refreshing of the Qi in me from the Spirit/Life-force/Whatever of the Universe. Paying that sort of attention to another human being might even give greater delight still-

And- that anger I posted on yesterday- these two posts come out of the same anguished weepy journaling session. I must give it my attention, and love, and even perhaps obedience sometimes, not for any ulterior motive but simply because it is me.

Fonts

 I really love this font. It is absolutely beautiful.
 

The comment I had when I changed my blog layout, what WordPress calls a 

"theme", was that the text size was too small and the lines too long. I can deal with 

that by paying to use a different font, perhaps this one (Pristina), or even a custom-

designed font from Adobe. The Adobe ones are beautiful, but I have not yet 

explored all the fonts I find on Microsoft Word, which I can access with a line of 

code, for free. Here is the line of code:



<pre style="font-family: Pristina; font-size: 30px; background-

color: white; color: #000000;">



At the end of my text, I put < /pre>. Now, I have to make my 

own line breaks: I am previewing to find how long the line is, then making a line 

break at the end of each line. It is not as easy as "just writing", but easy enough, and 

I like the result. And from the "dashboard" or control panel of my blog I can choose a 

colour, and the system works out what numbers make that colour. I can add links as 

easily as with the usual font, and even add pictures. It is more fiddly than 

blogging normally, but a lot easier than creating a web page was ten years ago, and 

worth doing occasionally.

Lovely blogs

I have been given the One Lovely Blog award, by Sugar-Coated Angel. She is 17, and shares valuable wisdom, self-knowledge, and jokes, well-written. I am fair pleased. I am supposed to praise my nominator then to write seven things about myself, but given that most of this blog is about me, it is all here. Let me tell you of some lovely blogs found recently. In no particular order:

Large Self– thoughts on energy and healing in the 21st century by Cathy Ulrich. I came across Cathy with her post on “Bumper-sticker philosophy, saying “Disrespect reality! It is just the outpicturing of your beliefs up to now.” Practically, I function like a naive realist, and these are the reminders I need, in a clear and humorous style. The photograph is hers.

I have just found Julie Hansen Intuitive, who writes on psychic phenomena, reading and perception of people and situations. Her word “Clairvoyant” disturbed me a little, but it simply means clear-seeing. These are skills I wish to develop. Part of the current spiritual revolution is the increasing verrecognition and valuing of such skills.

I found Mindy through a comment, and have posted on that. I find her blog beautifully expressed, wise, varied, and on interesting subjects.

Letting go takes a lot of work!

Or, maybe, it’s the holding on I’ve done till now that has taken so much energy.

Small Letters is full of good stuff like that.

Her comment was on Fairy Bear Confessions, which teaches me and stimulates my thought about God, from a Christian perspective.

Beth Zwecher is 57, and writes very movingly about caring for her mother at the end of life, in Middlescapes, “A blog about caregiving a frail elder, life in the middle years, the search for one’s inner athlete, and baking as a path to enlightenment”.

Novia Olam is Kenyan, still living with her parents. Her web address, Sapphiqueer, is bold, Out there, when gay lovemaking is illegal, so that gay people have little protection against violent bigots. Her coming out story is moving.

Also beautifully bold is Evelyn Ortiz. “Evelyn Ortiz has spoken”- I love that. If I say I love reading teenagers expressing how to get on in the world, that could seem frightfully condescending or sardonic, but I mean it literally and genuinely.

I value Tsena’s poetry, but it is this line that I love- “I used to shake my head at the people who would claim that major tragedy turned out to be a gift in their lives; I thought they were nuts. Now I join the ranks of those whom I called Nuts.” Such an about-face is a powerful move towards wisdom.

Fear no Weebles! Madame Weebles is a middle-aged Reiki master doing wisdom-stuff- all my kind of thing- with a lot more humour than I manage to cram in here.

All so far are women! Robert Moores writes on Basic Humanity from a rationalist perspective. He is currently reading and commenting on the Bible.

Duncan Aldridge, whom I met at the Field of Love, a 5Rhythms camp in East Anglia, is exploring masculinity. He says, “I only hope that the vulnerability is a channel through which we can come closer together relationally and emotionally as men and women.” Personally, I find my “vulnerability” my only source of strength.

That is eleven. Perhaps I can keep back four nominations for later.

Evidence

The American Medical Association has declared that

the conclusions by the leading associations of experts in this area reflect a consensus that children raised by lesbian or gay parents do not differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents.

I found that here. Debate over. Thank God, we can be left in peace, and possibly even permitted to marry like normal folks. However, here is a claim that “a study reveals that kids fare worse in same-sex households”, here is a claim that “a study suggests that traditional marriage promotes child welfare” and here is an assertion that the AMA’s claim “cannot be supported scientifically”, based on this article by Loren Marks. Oh, and here is a woman who has gay friends, but who when she wants to pluck from the air an example of sin, just happens to pick on homosexuality.

What should be compared? A straight couple who stay together throughout their child’s adolescence may produce better outcomes for the child than a gay couple adopting a child, but the true comparison is a straight couple adopting a child. And a gay woman having a child and having a partner should be compared to a lone parent who finds a new partner. So Loren Marks’ criticism of comparing with lone parent families is unjustified. They are the proper comparator. The “Marriage-based intact family” is increasingly rare.

Possibly a marriage-based intact family is the best environment for a child. This does not mean that public shaming should be used against other groups, or that parents who “stay together for the sake of the children” do not screw up their kids worse than loving gay couples. And my AMA quote does not refer to marriage based intact families, only to “heterosexual parents”.

Then, studies before 2000 generally used educated, high-earning lesbian couples as the homosexual parents. This is because they were the gay couples who could parent children. Also, there are no longitudinal studies of children brought up by gay parents, compared to equivalent straight couples, dealing with adolescent issues, educational attainment and salary at age 30. That is because it has been extremely difficult to live in a loving gay relationship in the 1970s, let alone bring up a child: 1% of couples in the 2000 US census were gay. As Loren Marks states, Southern California is not typical of the US. Well, go find a sample from rural Alabama, then. She criticises the small sample sizes. Qualitative research generally has small samples.

Then she describes a study by Sarantakos, from 1996 where children were assessed by teachers. 54 children of married couples, 54 of cohabiting couples, and 54 of gay couples were assessed, and the gay couples’ children came bottom in eight of nine categories. The APA has reasons to discount this study, and I am not aware of all of the reasons. Sarantakos published a book in 2000 on Same Sex Couples, stating:

children of homosexual parents report deviance in higher proportions than children of (married or cohabiting) heterosexual couples.

I would be interested to know the incidence of bullying of those children. This is my fall-back position: how would the children of gay couples fare in a society without prejudice? We cannot know.

Loren Marks refers to childrearing outcomes of concern to society:

intergenerational poverty, collegiate education and/or labor force contribution, serious criminality, incarceration, early childbearing, drug/alcohol abuse, or suicide

whereas the studies of gay couples’ children have considered such matters as emotional functioning, which generally affects these outcomes, or sexual orientation, necessary to refute a Scare story of the oppressors.

Her main criticism is that the studies are not large enough positively to support the statement that there is certainly no difference, rather than the much weaker statement that no difference has actually been found. Loren Marks gives a counsel of perfection. Yes, a larger longitudinal study considering outcomes would be of value. However, it would be difficult to find a representative sample, and costly. She asks:

Did any published same-sex parenting study cited by the 2005 APA Brief (pp. 23–45) track the societally significant long-term outcomes into adulthood? No. Is it possible that “the major impact” of same-sex parenting might “not occur during childhood or adolescence…[but that it will rise] in adulthood?

This is mere scaremongering. It is no argument for the societal prejudice against gay couples, and their legal restrictions, which are the problem and not the solution.

Here is Loren Marks’ conclusion:

Are we witnessing the emergence of a new family form that provides a context for children that is equivalent to the traditional marriage-based family? Even after an extensive reading of the same-sex parenting literature, the author cannot offer a high confidence, data-based “yes” or “no” response to this question.

She does not know. And so where that Catholic priest claims the APA statement has been “debunked”, Loren Marks’ article does not support his claim.

Of course I have an interest here. We do not know how children would fare, brought up by gay couples in a land without prejudice. That is an argument for eliminating prejudice, not for restricting child-rearing.

Being no more qualified than that priest to read scientific literature, and not having the time to read the studies themselves, I am reduced to the argument from authority. However, I think the support of the AMA and two APAs make a very strong argument from authority.

File:Pieter Bruegel d. Ă„. 041b.jpg

British conversations

British people talk about the weather. Particularly now, it is amazing how clued up we are getting on the Jet Stream, etc.

Yes, I linked that article before, but weather conversations are repetitive. We like to moan, as well. “It’s too hot!” we moan, on the second day of sunshine after complaining of the rain for a week. Onywye. Jet stream. If the Jet stream was around the North of the UK rather than over England, we would have high pressure and sun, and I would far rather be moaning about that.

Wettest April on record, we whine at each other. Wettest June! But not quite. Have a look at those stats again. Wales and Northern Ireland have had their wettest Junes on record, but not Scotland and England, where most of the population is. Much of Wales is hillside, barren, or summer grazing for sheep. England was wetter in 2007.

Apparently, the Jet Stream could be moved by hurricanes in the Caribbean. We discuss this, guiltily. No, I do not want hurricanes in the Caribbean. Hurricanes kill people! Er, actually… So we look at each other, sidelong, and admit our craving for hurricanes. Well, only over the sea, I would not want them to make land-fall-

I am sitting by the bus stop in the sunshine. “It’s nice when the sun’s out” says a man to his wife. Good to be able to agree on something. The black cloud moves over so quickly and we dodge inside the shelter. A young woman tells a young man of her plans. She’s going to Nottingham, where she’ll be so close to the city centre, with lots of shops and shit. She’ll work in a bar, doing cocktails and shit. What sort of cocktails? Not proper shaky cocktails, just mixing drinks. She hopes she’ll pass her driving test because she wants a car for her birthday. How beautifully her eyelashes are painted!

The next day there were three police cars by the college. Inarticulate male shouting. “They’ve put him in the va-an”, sang a woman. The police cars drive off. “Oh well, that’s our entertainment over for the day.” The bus comes as the rain comes. Oh, look on the bright side Blessing of it- replenishment of reservoirs and aquefers, I am warm and dry in the bus, the Irish colours of the landscape… Lucrezia, my Romanian neighbour, tells me that now in Romania it is 40°, and in winter they have snow. What of Britain- an island, with no proper Summer, no proper Winter.

Real self

I have the idea that there is somehow a- Real Me, and if I can only liberate her I will achieve all I want to achieve and start to flow, gracefully- be all you can be, work where your deep gladness and the World’s deep hunger meet, etc, etc.

And yet there is all this stuff in the way. Anger. Fear. That stupid weeping.

The Monkey mind, the Id monster, the Inner Critic or Dark Side-

Oh!

 FUCK

Christianity,

FUCK

those useless shards of Buddhism I have picked up,

FUCK

the wisdom-bollocks spewed on facebook-

If I could get Mr Putin’s nuclear codes, Ha! I would do it!

There is energy there...
and if any of this stuff made sense,
it would not be my Stuff...

Sometimes, kneeling in my ritual space is a Delight. I do not think to meditate, to listen to my breathing, I seek to Perceive. I knelt, and felt delight this evening. Welcome, Anger. You are welcome here. Tell me what you want me to hear. Teach me what you want me to know.

Nourishing the Soul

Here is J on nourishing our souls. She wants us to

  • Live big and sweet and fearless and full.
  • Visit places you love, do stuff that stokes your inner fire, spend time with people who expand you.
  • Take pictures. (LOTS of pictures!)
  • Come back and use the “add your link” button below to post links to your photos.

I am perhaps living as fearlessly as I may, but that involved sitting at home yesterday rather than going to the Quaker meeting where I had voluntarily accepted a task. Though I had agreed to do it, someone else had to.

Here is Steve Hauptman on training to get fitter, or healing, or improving at anything. I have to push myself to do it; rest from pushing; and listen to my body or psyche to see what I really need, how the pushing is going. Steve is a workaholic and if he does not make an effort to rest and listen he will push endlessly.

If I have really decided to accept my feelings, perhaps I could check on what “nourishes my soul”, because I am not sure. This is the quest Marion Milner entered in “A Life of one’s own”. She sought to find what gave her pleasure. Just possibly, I can accept that I deserve a little pleasure.

Sometimes it seems as if rather than do what I want, I do what I have been told will give me pleasure. As a teenager I had internalised the message that classical music was better, and popular music was inferior, so if ever I had the choice I would choose classical music. Now I realise that a song can move me- “strange how potent is cheap music”- and I might prefer to listen to Kate Bush, or Celine Dion, rather than Beethoven. I was delighted to realise last Summer that I actually enjoyed the Joan Miro exhibition, rather than simply seeing it for self-improvement because it was Culture.

What about the Karate? Clearly that is self-improvement, improving my reactions, my spontaneity, my physical health etc- it is good to get sweaty, breathless and heart-racing. Physical and other self-improvement is a good goal. Do I enjoy the challenge of getting a move right, or the feeling of success when I have done? Er, not sure. Yes I am being intellectual and rational about enjoying stuff. That is because I seek rational justification for anything, and my feelings are most in evidence when I am resisting. No, I will not do that. No, I will not think further, I will switch off and plug myself into the Television.

What about that walk in the park? After the wettest April and June on record, all down to the Jet stream, the paths through the fields were completely waterlogged, as was the path to the ford. I passed a man with mud on his face, made smearing motions and we grinned at each other. A woman who had last been here four years ago said that path had been greatly improved, it used to be half the width and sometimes a foot deep in mud. I grimly squelched on, I would not let this defeat me: but if it is normal to walk for pleasure, I am not sure it gave me pleasure. That walk on dry paths would. So perhaps I am so disconnected that I do what I have decided will give pleasure, even though circumstances have changed, and it will not. British people at the seaside on a grey windy day, having ersatz fun. Here is Milepebbles, forthrightly refusing imagined Valuable Opportunities. Her clear Noes were one of the inspirations of this post.

It is U’s birthday party that I am getting round to, at which she will announce that she is moving in with D. Should I go? I am writing before, and publishing after. I really have no clue. I want to, and want not to. Try to work it out. Is it that I want to, like I want to walk on the muddy path, a disconnect between my fantasy of it and the reality? I can want to create or preserve human connection, perhaps, separately from the thought of Enjoyment. I do not think I will enjoy it. It will have its moments…