Leftist fear-mongering

Stephen Crabb may stand for the leadership of the Conservative party. He is a noted homophobe, voting against equal marriage, and associated with the hate-group Christian Action Research and Education, which also pickets family planning clinics. However he never said, “Homosexuality is a sickness. It can be cured”.

Crabb meme

If he had done so, our situation would be considerably worse than it is now. His homophobia is open enough, but he has been forced to deny that he is prejudiced. That means that there is still enough disapproval of heterosexism that homophobes as prominent as he have to be quiet about it. When they can be open and unashamed, we should be frightened.

I don’t want to diminish the threat he poses. But claiming he poses a greater threat increases anger, fear and anxiety and makes a constructive response more difficult. After a victory for the thoughtless hatred of the Right, the Left should be clear-headed. We should inspire through hope, not fear, for love is always stronger than fear.

There have been two Winnie the Pooh memes. Both start the same. The first had Pooh saying yes we’re still friends, let’s go and get pissed. The second is rather longer.

Pooh meme

The point of the first is that Pooh and Piglet are friends. It is not worth breaking a friendship over this. But I have friends who considered voting Leave from a Left perspective, and even Friends who voted Leave from the Right, wanting Sovereignty and objecting to EU “waste”. They are not responsible for racist attacks. “You decided that other animals’ lives and security were collateral damage”. God. Just, no. We have to work together. The Quaker statement says “There is now a great need for bridge-building… we refuse to prejudge who is or is not an ally”. The meme gives a hit of self-righteousness but makes understanding, communication and reconciliation less likely.

Trump meme

This first surfaced weeks ago but is still going round. Once pointed out it is obvious that the “White” is added by photo-manipulation: see how regular it is. The other words bend, as the cloth they are printed on bends. The E in particular would not look like that.

Trump is monstrous, a racist fomenting anger fear and race-hatred. That is why we should tell the truth about him. The truth is quite damning enough. Lies and exaggerations muddy the issue and make it easier for his voters to defend him- he lies, but they turn their anger on ours.

I feel anger and fear for my future, and my country’s. I fear all the Tory leadership candidates. I will be more effective if I can find hope, and common cause with people to the right of me- the great majority is to the right of me. If we simply look inwards and encourage our own fears, we will repel most well-disposed people, and make ourselves more likely to lose. So this is the meme to end on:

Christian Muslim Forum meme

Stephen Crabb forced to deny he is homophobic.
Quaker statement on the referendum.
Laws the EU stopped the Tories from passing.

All’s fair

I hurt. The New York Times recommends Tylenol, which a quick Google tells me I would call Paracetamol. I have hesitated to call my hurt Love, as my reaction appears ridiculous to me, self-destructive, chemical, against reality and my rational mind. Neurons in my anterior cingulate cortex and insula start firing, the NYT informs me. Like Melissa Hill, I hate how much it hurts.

Yet I will call it Love, for I am beautiful and worthy of Love. And my reaction has been a reasonable one. My love has never been requited but always encouraged just enough to keep me simmering. Like that kiss: never a kiss on the lips, hugs allowed but not kissing, then we hugged just before I left and you kissed me on my bare skin, above the low neckline. Or that email, or that one- I would not suggest you did not mean the word “bravery”, nor that it meant love rather than friendship, but I printed it out and read it again and again.

I do not give up easily. At times there felt such a spark. We fit: without language for it, you like men like me. I like women like you. You have such wonderful charisma that I have definitely gained from your company.

Do I resent that encouragement? Yes. People push boundaries- you most of all, your freedom is delicious. If a woman is beautiful, vital and charismatic, men may resent her power. I must own my feelings, and not blame you for them, or imagine that they impose some obligation on you; and that kiss kept me coming back longer than was good for me. I call it encouragement. I knew I was getting little from this, and still I kept coming back: we agreed to meet, and I obsessed about it for a week until the time arranged. And eventually the pain got too much for me, and I gave up. It is a process rather than a decision.

I would not want you to be other than you are- you are very beautiful, and I am glad of the opportunity to have got to know you.

I beat myself up. I should have seen. I should have protected myself. My reactions are ridiculous. Or I could treasure little hints in order to blame and resent you- “You held my hand! How did you think that would make me feel?” Anger inwards or outwards is pointless: it was as it was.

I have said, I do not want to see you in this way. I am on tenterhooks: will you respond? But I will take paracetamol, and recover.

Titian, Nymph and Shepherd

New York Times on falling in love and breaking up.

Coercive control

Domestic abuse is more than just physical violence: it is often an attempt to strip away the victim’s confidence, sense of self, and freedom. How may we understand it? Who are the experts?

Some of the experts are psychologists with PhDs. Here’s the Cedar Network, Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery. Note the delicacy of that title: human beings heal, and the healing process can be painful.

In Scotland, instead of using the term domestic violence, we use the phrase domestic abuse in order to emphasise that it is not about fights, that abuse is on-going and that it comprises much more than physical violence.  This is not to say that verbal and/or physical fights do not take place between partners, but it is important to distinguish between these and the social concern that is domestic abuse. It is dangerous to dismiss on-going abuse as a fight or a one-off act of violence.

However, some confusion remains, and even when we acknowledge the emotional, psychological, financial and sexual elements of domestic abuse we still focus primarily on acts of violence in our discussions and responses to domestic abuse. Talking about coercive control means that it is not only another phrase for domestic abuse but it helps us to rethink what constitutes domestic abuse.

It is a term and a concept developed by the academic and activist Evan Stark which seeks to explain the range of tactics used by perpetrators and the impact of those actions on victims/survivors.  In Stark’s own phrase, the concept explains ‘how men entrap women in everyday life’.

To my educated eyes, this is simple language assuming no knowledge, yet it does use long words. No: it explains the concept to someone who might think of the crime as Normality- who might not notice it as particularly objectionable in a friend’s relationship, or even in her own. People need awakened to this. People are manipulative because others can be manipulated.

Violence is used (or not) alongside a range of other tactics – isolation, degradation, mind-games, and the micro-regulation of everyday life (monitoring phone calls, dress, food consumption, social activity etc).  The perpetrator creates a world in which the victim is constantly monitored and criticised; every move is checked against an unpredictable, ever-changing, unknowable ‘rule-book’.

Or we can break it down into particular types of behaviour. This pdf is a checklist of behaviours the controlling partner may use to isolate the other, and monitor and control her personal activities, education, work, money, health, body, intimacy, and relationship with authorities or with children, making her feel afraid, threatening harm, or harming her. Does he- ask you detailed questions about your activities? Make demands about sex? Block you from taking exercise? Remember that people may be unconscious of this. Bringing it into consciousness is painful and necessary.

It is now a crime under the Serious Crime Act 2015. There are clear safeguards here against prosecution, except in severe cases: This offence is constituted by behaviour on the part of the perpetrator which takes place “repeatedly or continuously” . The victim and alleged perpetrator must be “personally connected” at the time the behaviour takes place. The behaviour must have had a “serious effect” on the victim, meaning that it has caused the victim to fear violence will be used against them on “at least two occasions”, or it has had a “substantial adverse effect on the victims’ day to day activities”. The alleged perpetrator must have known that their behaviour would have a serious effect on the victim, or the behaviour must have been such that he or she “ought to have known” it would have that effect. As with rape, most victims will not see a prosecution. The Crown Prosecution Service notes that perpetrators may be highly manipulative.

Victims may respond to abuse in a number of ways including consuming drugs or alcohol, and/or by showing signs of humiliation, detachment, anger, and retaliation. Victims may also interpret abuse very differently including expressing feelings of guilt; this might depend on their social or cultural context.

Oh, God. Guilt.

Or we can know it through stories. I heard of a woman whose controlling partner objected to her being more educated than he, and using long words he did not understand. By the time she killed him she was monosyllabic, hesitant about saying anything. I met a woman who had been charged and acquitted of murder, after her former partner had broken into her house and attempted to rape her while she slept.

The first successful conviction in South Yorkshire was of Mohammed Anwaar, who abused Gemma Docherty. He told Miss Doherty who she could see, what she was allowed to wear and what not to eat. He forced her to use a treadmill every day, showing her pictures of other women’s bodies and telling her she did not look as good as they did… Abuse can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what they wear.

The paper also gives a voice to the woman. In part, anyway: Miss Doherty described how she no longer had any self confidence and was worried because Anwaar had a large family and she didn’t want to go out in case she saw them. “He ruined my daily life,” she said. Superintendent Natalie Shaw, force lead on domestic violence, said, “I would also like to praise the bravery of the woman involved in this case as well as the work of the officers, which combined has helped to bring about this successful conviction”.

These are the voices I want to hear. What is it like? How may we escape, or protect ourselves? How may we celebrate overcoming it? You can only hear the reality of the experience through the woman’s words. The Family Court Matters blog says, ANYHOW, so when someone male with a Ph.D. or who is published seems to “get” what “coercive control” IS, my mind is curious, say, who IS that dude? She knows he is an ally, and that he is helpful; and yet-

Or, it seems that such control is built gradually, insidiously. The victim is not to blame. Er, is that patronising-?

Cedar Network.

UK Government pdf on crime. Crown Prosecution Service guidelines. Report on Gemma Docherty.

Family Court Matters blog.

Signac, the lagoon of St Mark, Venice

The inner bitch

Find your inner bitch!

When I was doing tribunals, I took them all terribly personally. I had to win. And I thought, I do not really care about the Claimant, it’s personal but not for them. I was doing it for me. I saw that, and I did not understand it. Something to do with being worthless except for what I can achieve.

I want to see myself as a good person. Part of that is that I would not hurt a fly. Well, maybe a fly, but not a spider. I am soft, gentle, peaceful. Well, I am soft, gentle, peaceful and that is good and beautiful. I want to see myself as a nice person.

Yesterday I thought, turn the anger outwards, today I thought, Find your inner bitch! She acts in her own interests. And I don’t get this. It is not the full expression of what I was not doing or am doing now- yet the word “bitch”, seen as a good thing, is empowering. “It is alright for me to be a bitch”, I say to myself. You can do this. So I have done something- for the diary, not the blog- which is entirely my right to do, which I had been unable to do. And await the consequences.

It’s not that I don’t do selfish, or destructive, or ridiculous things- though those tend to be more by omission than commission- not that I am good, exactly, but that my actions are constrained by my self-image. I don’t get it. Yet I feel liberated, just as I did by “I am a trans woman”. I can be a bitch. A bitch can do this.

Signac, St Tropez

Voting to Leave

Boris Johnson has insisted the UK is not “turning its back” on Europe. He said the decision would not make the UK any less tolerant or outward looking and would not reduce opportunities for young people. There is a petition with over two million signatures asking for a rerun of the referendum- I signed it. I also signed this one to make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead. Mine was the 33rd signature: as if we do not imagine it possible. They would all be in gaol. If advertisers are not allowed to lie, why politicians? “Legal, decent, honest and truthful” said the Advertising Standards Authority- if it has not been privatised yet.

Boris Johnson, lying. Never forget:

Boris Johnson, lying

My facebook feed was full of people in mourning. I could not believe it. I cycled into Swanston in the sun to meet R for lunch, and the world felt different, though the street was so familiar: we had turned away from modern life in anger and despair, to demand walls.
All changed, changed utterly:
a terrible meanness is born.

I lay awake around four, so heard Farridge’s victory speech. He was shouting without a microphone, so of course his voice sounded harsh, but- it sounded really harsh. He was speaking for decent, ordinary people.

They are not all racists. The Guardian said the working class Leavers were in a protest vote about austerity, poor public services, uncertainty for their children- all the Left causes- but that is not what they were asked, and last year it seems they did not believe Labour could do any better. They voted to leave the EU. Some did not think that side would win, apparently, so they could protest with impunity, but others were turning away from integration. There will be many reasons and rationalisations for voting leave. We need to convince people we have better ideas. We need to give them hope: an angry protest for UKIP is a vote without hope. This post from the Political Economy Research Centre of Goldsmiths’, University of London, is worth a read.

Then again, my former Green candidate shared, Great Britain, a historic vote for people, believe in Britain – Brexit: UK votes to leave EU in historic referendum. Another Green Leaver wrote, what arprise, labour MP’s are having a strop because doing what the voters want is optional.

We want to see ourselves as nice, good people. They want to see themselves as realists. Perhaps these self-images have some relation to reality. I have a few fbfnds on the other side: one wrote, THE BRITISH KNOW BEST!! 🇬🇧 A Prime Minister resigned. The £ plummeted. The FTSE 100 lost significant ground. But then the £ rallied past February levels, and the FTSE closed on a weekly high: 2.4% up on last Friday, its best performance in 4 months. President Obama decided we wouldn’t be at the ‘back of the queue’ after all and that our ‘special relationship’ was still strong. The French President confirmed the Le Touquet agreement would stay in place. The President of the European Commission stated Brexit negotiations would be ‘orderly’ and stressed the UK would continue to be a ‘close partner’ of the EU. A big bank denied reports it would shift 2,000 staff overseas. The CBI, vehemently anti-Brexit during the referendum campaign, stated British business was resilient and would adapt. Several countries outside the EU stated they wished to begin bi-lateral trade talks with the UK immediately. If this was the predicted apocalypse, well, it was a very British one. It was all over by teatime. Not a bad first day of freedom. I need to hear other voices. Some of them delusional: Other countries need us more than we need them!!.. all scaremongering… we will become GREAT Britain again!!!.

Mmm. That word “Great”. “Leftie cry-baby traitors!” he fulminated. Meme: “I believe in democracy- until I don’t get my own way, then I have tantrums all over facebook!” Mick shared that meme too, after an animation of a boy with a puppy, and an article on “The genocide of the peoples of Europe”: Mass immigration is a phenomenon, the causes of which are still cleverly concealed by the system, and the multicultural propaganda is trying to falsely portray it as inevitable.

“People are throwing their toys out of the pram” shared Hetty. She dared Remainists to unfriend her, so I did.

On the Swanston LGBT page, someone posted, May i thank the LGBT Alliance for Organising the Wonderful Vigil on Tuesday evening. I was moved not only by the sensitivity with which all contributors spoke but that [Swanston] – as we all know- is a sassy, tollerant and accepting place. His profile picture is a Vote Leave meme.

The Leader of the House of Commons wants some major legislative changes before 2020, including taking real steps to limit immigration, to abolish VAT on fuel and tampons, and to end the situation where an international court can tell us who we can and cannot deport. Cheaper fuel, and hang climate change. Human Rights for the Nice people! And if you need human rights and cannot assert them, perhaps you were never Nice.

Signac, deux stylistes Rue de Caire

Ways of being

We saw two possibilities: transition, or distorting ourselves behind some manly mask; but then I met one like us who was attempting to be themself and authentic, showing emotional responses, without dressing female. Tina, a counsellor who specialises in our kind, said this was very difficult. Such a person would confuse others which usually means angering or distressing them. We don’t have the words concepts ideas for it. “Pansy” or “effeminate” men are expected to be gay. “Genderqueer” begins to approach it. For some of us, it might even be liberating to call ourselves men, and see another way of being: presenting as feminine men.

The problem is that some espousing this view argue we are not women, we are wrong to dress as women, and deluded and oppressed into losing our gonads as the price of grudging acceptance as trans women.

And I have been too close to that view. I am affected by my friend H who sees me as a man, and likes soft men as I like strong women, but “sees me as a woman” as far as possible relationship goes. If only I had kept my testicles! I am seeking love and acceptance again. I seek to fit in. Beware those who offer acceptance on their own terms!

Now, I reject that view. I am a woman, and chose gender surgery: I was happier than I had ever been. I could not have been a man in that way. I have been liberated.

And I have been too close to the view that we are not “really” women. Women are not like that. Well, the concept “woman” is broad enough to include me. Thank God.

I hear that stuff, and it sets off echoes of self-doubt from the time of transition, because the acceptance of trans women was grudging then. Am I right to do this, I wondered. I picked over every possible doubt- if I had found any reasonable doubt I would not have done it. I remain ashamed of myself- it is the echo of the shame I felt then.

Or-

I am persuaded. Apart from cultural expectation there is no difference between men and women apart from reproductive organs. It is all a huge con. We are men, and should express ourselves as soft, gentle men. Beta males, perhaps. I distort myself into a female form and am mutilated, because of Patriarchal oppression. Those who think they are trans should be saved from themselves, and prevented from any bodily alteration.

Or-

The reason I can’t admit that trans is a huge con is because I would have to admit I was wrong to choose to be mutilated.

But really-

I don’t know. I can’t decide. Differing loyalties, among other things, pull me different ways: I am with these people, who say this; or those, who think the opposite. It would be easier if I knew-

possibly

I am depressed, failing to value my current way of being and my decisions. I am where I am.

 ♥♥♥

This is the thing. When she says “I see you as a man” because of radical feminist theory, I could bear it; but when she “sees me as a man” except in the way of a possible partner, where she “sees me as a woman” and herself as simply heterosexual, I find myself regretting my op. Because I love her.

So I phoned the Samaritans, second time in two days, and was explaining the dynamic. The woman had not heard the word “harridan” which is entirely negative. “It’s not like ‘bitch’,” I explained. “‘Bitch’ can be positive. ‘Find your inner bitch’.”

And I thought, yeah. Find your inner bitch. Bitch can be positive.

I hated my body. I had it adjusted. And then I loved it.

-Lots of women have a great deal of fun with penises, I told a friend when I was considering the Op.
-Yes, but I would not want one of my own, she said.

Various people say, but penises and testicles are wonderful, part of your humanity, part of your beautiful body. Do not mutilate your body. They can’t understand it, and nor can I, for “I am a woman” is a rationalisation not an explanation, and their opinions affect mine, because I want to fit in- but we want this, and we have the right to make our own decisions.

I want to find my inner bitch, find my power. I am weightless, blown by the winds.

Signac, Femme a l ombrelle

Félix Fénéon

Félix Fénéon was an art critic and anarchist. Here is Paul Signac’s portrait of him:

Signac, portrait of Felix Feneon

Christophe André, in Mindfulness- 25 ways to live in the moment through art says This big spiral, so noisy and beautiful, intrusive and tyrannical, is like our consumer society with its powerful shimmer. It may hypnotise and enslave us, devouring our minds, unless we turn our eyes to the flower. The flower is all [Fénéon] sees.

I wish I knew better what the fashions mean, but to me the top hat, gloves and cane are high society, but the jacket, brown, loose, comfortable-looking, contrasts. Then I look at the line of his gaze- not at the lily, symbol of purity but above it. He is holding the flower out to someone. He holds their gaze, calm and reassuring. Perhaps the someone is me: I have wondered what the painting would look like if the man was holding the flower out towards the viewer, and it might not work.

The picture is very like a vision I had during the Hoffman process, which I have mentioned here before because it still means so much to me. I was in a dark, dingy, corridor, with doors off it. If I opened the doors, I saw incomprehensible swirls of bright, overwhelming colour which I could not bear, yet as I stayed in the corridor it got darker and more cramped. I could not bear that either. And still, for me, the colour is real life, unclassifiable, uncontrollable, yet beautiful. The corridor is rejection and control.

In the flower is truth and beauty- evanescent and yet simple. Here is a human contact with a beautiful man. There is sanity in that flower and in his gaze.

face of Felix Feneon

Here is a high definition version of the picture.

Feeling good

It was definitely my right of way on the roundabout. That car should have given way to me. It was approaching quickly, but it would slow down- however perhaps the driver did not see me at first, and I looked to my left seeing it bearing down on me. Had he not slowed down, he might have clipped my back wheel- as it was I escaped unscathed. I considered sharing my feelings with the pedestrian just beyond the roundabout- relief, anger, fear, bewilderment- but he did not look the empathetic type, so I did not.

Then I got home, glistening all over with sweat in the heat, and felt Wonderful. It could have been the weather, exercise, narrow escape from injury or anticipating lunch with Liz.

I have been feeling down. It could be the bitterness and falsehood of the Referendum campaign- neither leave nor remain feel like powerful choices. I was thinking of my job interview on Thursday:

-Do you want the job?
-No, you B*****ds, f*** you, give it to someone else, see if I care

-caring too much-

when I switched on my phone, and picked up the voicemail message from yesterday. The interview panel wanted to know where I was. I had checked how to get to Birmingham this morning, looked at Helen’s email to find where it was. I looked at the email again: it clearly says the interview is Tuesday (yesterday) not Thursday. I don’t know how I made that mistake. I feel utterly miserable. I am in a dreadful situation and cannot trust myself with the simplest thing to improve it. I cried.

I call the Samaritans. “I wanted someone to talk to.” “We’re not a chat-line,” Eve said. And I feel anger and resentment and I say something sarky,

and amazingly I feel energised, really good. Wow. What is that? Anger at you energises me- “Correlation is not causation, as they say”. I don’t know that it is that which causes it-

She would not say that. She has not heard it before. Well, some say post hoc ergo propter hoc. It should really be post hoc non ergo propter hoc.

What is causing this buzzing on the landline? To me it sounds loud, she hardly hears it. The landline has been buzzing for weeks. It could be the adsl filter, I unplug the modem-

and the buzzing continues. And I feel dreadful again. I cannot even deal with this!

The heart of my depression is lack of motivation. I cannot improve my situation: anything I attempt I will just do badly and fail. Not judging myself so harshly might do some good; so might behavioural activation. I have cleaned off some of the ingrained grime from my bathroom floor, which I have not properly cleaned for years. And I scrub at the wee black spots on the linoleum, and think, It is an improvement. Value all the improvement. It does not need to be perfect. And I do a bit, then stop, then go back to it. I have swept the hallway too.

And now I have phoned BT about the landline. There is a fault on the line, and they will deal with it. How last century, to have a BT landline! Well, I find it useful, for some things-

Signac, 1890

Vote Remain!

I’m voting Remain- for French, German and Polish friends; for co-operation across borders; for faith in the future, trust and hope; for the good of my country. I’m voting remain for co-operation not confrontation, for trust rather than fear, for patriotism rather than narrow, “Ourselves Alone” Nationalism.

Greener in 3

I wanted to write a positive post, giving reasons for not reasons against voting Leave, and I am so angry with the leave campaign that I won’t. Little Farridge posing in front of a poster of refugees marked “Breaking Point” which was exactly the same as images from a Nazi propaganda film inveighing against lesser races overwhelming us is only part of it. The whole Right-wing Leave campaign is a lie, from beginning to end, seeking to foment dissatisfaction with lies and hinted promises which they know could never be kept even if they wanted to, getting people to vote against their own interests. “Take back control” is the false slogan, when Farridge, Gove and the rest mean “Give us control” for their own hard-right, anti-union, anti-environment, anti-99% purposes.

There is grassroots dissatisfaction in this country, but it is misinformed. Liars are encouraging anger to prevent proper thought, then channelling it for their own purposes.

I have just had a leaflet this morning. It is sober white, its only illustration a simple 1″ square line drawing of a ballot box, marked Information about the Referendum on 23 July 2016.

The UK and the European Union:

THE FACTS

Oh, OK, I thought. I started reading: On 23 June, there will be a vote to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union, or leave and

take back control.

Those three little words. The first hint that this is a partisan publication. When will we have the first lie, I wondered. I did not need to wait long:

The UK joined the European Union in 1973. Back then, it was known as the Common Market. But over the past 43 years, the EU has taken control over more and more areas which don’t have anything to do with trade- such as our borders

Free movement of labour is integral to trade. Looking after refugees is a matter for separate human rights treaties.

our public services

Yes, TTIP could damage the principle of the National Health Service- but the Tories are doing all they can to privatise it before TTIP is even in force.

and whether prisoners have the right to vote.

Again European Convention on Human Rights, separate from the EU. I am glad prisoners are given the right to vote, because it is part of having a stake in society. Wanting to vote shows some faith in community and rehabilitation. Letting them vote shows some trust, to which they may respond.

The EU costs us £350 million a week. That’s enough to build a new NHS hospital every week of the year.

Leave do not care that what they say is transparent falsehood- they want their dupes to parrot it, and get angry when contradicted. And then, a nasty little end-note- at once appearing judicious and even-handed while attacking the conservative, risk-averse inertia which favours Vote Remain:

There are risks in voting either way. Experts, politicians and businesses are divided. [Economists are divided like geneticists are divided on Young Earth Creationism]. People have to weigh up the risks and potential benefits of each course of action for themselves.

eureferendumfacts.org is a lying façade for Leave propaganda.

I recognise that there are honest Conservatives who believe what they are saying and believe their policies are for the good of the country and all its people. The right-wing Leave campaign are not that. They are fraudsters and cheats, seeking to deceive us.

Who is wrong?

Marysia wanted me to pronounce her name correctly.
-MarIsha, I said.
-No! A soft sh, not a hard sh. Not sh, but sh!

However often she said it, I could not hear or replicate the difference. I asked her to explain how her teeth and tongue were when she made the sound, but she did not.

I still wanted to get it right, so I asked S. It’s not sh as in shoe, but sh as in shushing someone, she explained. The women at the next table, who had been speaking English with I think a Polish accent, stopped and stared at me as I practised. I can now make two sounds which sound quite different to me, my old one with the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and a new one with it pressed against the palate, just behind the teeth, which is easier if I smile as I sh; I hope that is right. It means I never said my aunt’s name correctly.

My German friend had difficulty with the particularly difficult th sound. She normally got it right, but in the middle of words when distracted she might say somesing, then kick herself. But she had been living in England for years.

I want to fit in. I want not to be noticed. I want never to offend anyone for any reason. All my anger and resentment- and I have quite a lot around my current circumstances- is aimed inside, at myself. I should be responding better, coping, bettering my situation. The white heat of my rage blinds me, so that I cannot differentiate what might be easy to change or not, or what is very Wrong in me from what might be acceptable. So, paradoxically, I am forgiving and tolerant of myself while deeply uncomfortable with that. In my own eyes I am always wrong and that stops me improving- or noticing if I do.

I touched her heart- a story for the diary rather than the blog. She wants to let go and be and escape words, and when we almost did she pulled back, and reasserted control. It distressed her. I want to escape words, to stop making sense, for words classifying things- sodomite, invert, gay, bear- don’t get the reality of a situation. It is Zeno’s paradox. It is the Quaker admonition “Thee should not have been thinking”. Perceiving and acting, rather than explaining to myself and planning- flying not plodding-

In tennis, one might work out the right return, but unless you simply do it spontaneously you have missed the time for it.

In meeting I might escape words. That might make it gathered. I might escape this dissatisfaction-

Signac femmes au puits