National Theatre II

I find myself constantly close to Mindfulness. Perhaps it is my latest religious experience. Or it could be embracing my “disabled” status: I have nothing to prove, and may venture into the world. With hours to kill, I wandered off along the South Bank.

I could not remember who World Vision were, but looked around their display, two huts. In one, there was no ventilation for the cooking fire, and they said a child had died of smoke inhalation; in the other, there was a chimney, and much more light because the roof was now translucent corrugated plastic. They wanted £22 a month for child sponsorship, but took in good part that I could not pay but wanted to see what they had to say.

Waves break on a small patch of sand, and I stand by the railings to hear them.

Then I went to the Oxo Wharf, to look round little shops selling beautiful pottery, art work, jewellery and colourful velvet clothing. Then I wandered slowly back, and hung around the book-shop where people sat in chairs, reading. Then to eat.

The walnuts in the pasta have my full attention.

Are those two mother and daughter? The complexion could be the same age, but the hair style not, the “younger” making an attempt at fashion, the “elder” none. One looked out, and said “the trees are so beautiful at this time of year”. I looked out, and said, “I overheard. Yes, they are”. They were. They were worth looking at. We said nothing else to each other, but they gave me a brilliant smile and “goodbye” on leaving.

Then the Dorfman Theatre, formerly Cottesloe. A big man walks over, supported on a stick, slowly but surely. He asked if he could sit at my table, and I said I liked to talk to strangers. He assented. He is a retired television director. The BBC was very good to him. His companion, who will join him shortly, is an actress specialising in voice work: she does some audio description here. What do I do? “I am a recluse- [beat]- a very sociable recluse.”

-You say that with such simplicity.

He introduces me to V., who interrogates me. Why the book on mindfulness? Because that is where I am. She leafs through it. She has this picture on the wall of her flat in Paris.

-The original?
-If only.

She tells me how to pronounce the artist’s name. With her questions, I feel challenged.

-I had an experience on Monday of being suffused with Love; an intense sense of my own rightness and beauty as I am.
-You’ve never had that before?
-Intellectual acceptance, but never heart-felt.

The play is wonderful, and after I see them again. What did you think of it? His comment makes me see it as a whole, in a new light. We kiss cheeks.

I rush to St Pancras, and join a woman who has just been on the set of Midsomer Murders. She plays a chef, and describes a scene making a huge gout of flame with brandy. They kept telling her to make it bigger, and she is surprised her eyebrows survive. Her other job is as a freelance cook, principally to country house shooting parties. The houses tend to have huge Agas, and guests prop themselves in her kitchen, gently steaming. Once, the hostess rushed in, panicky- “We’ve got a Vegan!” A Vegan on a shoot? She made a quick risotto. So the train passed very pleasantly.

Next day, alone at home after voting, I mourn the loss of it. Bloody Willy Loman.

Gustave Caillebotte, the floor planers

Scunnered started my blog with the words “Last week, I pupated“. That was not true.

What I thought was pupating was realising that being transsexual is a blessing, not a curse. I still think it is a blessing, but sometimes it seems a blessing too bright and hot for me to bear.

Here am I looking at the blue sky through the net curtain-

I started this, the whine hot within me. I would go back to that realisation, and describe how the day before I had been rejected for a job after an interview, and how upset I was about that. And being unemployed, and hating that job, and that job, and the Flourish-contra-mundum with Quakers, and that– writing now, I might put the links in, might not-

I have even thought this morning of- not reverting, exactly, but going genderqueer. Take an androgynous name, Evelyn, Jocelyn, Hilary- Lyndsay, perhaps- dress in jeans and t shirt, leave the wig off, just as an experiment. I mused on that for a moment, and pictured myself talking to someone- anyone- studying their reaction in a panicked anticipation of any bad reaction to me. Any bad reaction, judgment, surprise. Of course getting on the bus outside my front door would be impossible.

Later. I have walked in the sunshine, and feel better. I had been going to go on to say how I have got so upset at not getting jobs after interviews that I have stopped looking, and that I appear to have three options-

  • snap out of it
  • carry on hiding away
  • find some other way of proceeding

-and none of them seem to work. What do I want? I don’t know. Though in the park I saw a little boy lagging behind his parents and being nagged to keep up- that strange notion of conventional recreational activities, which are not enjoyable.

I am so attached to the thought that I am Growing, Spiritually, and I come to see that instead I am learning discrete lessons and skills, which help. And my aim has always been to stop feeling uncomfortable emotions, and I come to see that it is my fear and anger at feeling fear and anger which makes them so uncomfortable.

A facebook exchange when someone shared this link. Someone commented that lesbian trans women are “filthy perverts” who “masquerade as transgender” and make life harder for the real trans women like her. When I challenged this she wrote “Glad to see your bleeding” so I asked her if she had meant the word “bleeding” as a gerund. Her later use of the word “your” indicated she had probably not.

At first I was angry, and later I found I File:Gustave Caillebotte 'Nature morte au Homard'.jpgcould work myself up into distress at how I had felt about the autogynephilia theory in 2001; but it is only the faintest echo, a ripple caused by a splash a very long way away. How am I now- the next day? A little anger, but I am no longer hurt by what Rachel said. I am not entirely proud that I drove her away by mocking her grammar: “Oh, you poor thing! Consumed by your hatred, you’re lashing out at people who could be friends!”

I have kept the title “scunnered” even though having only heard my father use it I thought it meant “frustrated”, and from googling I see it means “disgusted”. Oh well.

No pat on the head

He drove us home, and even sitting in the car behind him I could see his presence, his solidity. His spouse had told me three things of him, any one of which I would have found impressive. I had a moment when I compared myself, and felt I had achieved nothing, and was upset. Only a moment which passed. He is a nice bloke, too, as I would have expected.

What do I want? To hide away and not get noticed. And that’s it. To be useful, to do something worthwhile? Only so’s not to be noticed. Can I think of any motivation? Anything at all? It won’t last, of course, this, I can’t pay the rent unless I do something, and, well, I don’t defer gratification.

Yvonne asked if I had celebrated this great effort, this great achievement, of transition. Well, no. It was so difficult. There was all the fear, the fear it was wrong, the end of the slippery slope for the hopeless pervert. Autogynephilia. It was difficult before, and then after, being abused in the street, and with work difficulties, and other difficulties since.

Here is something that pleased me. I spoke in meeting on the 14th, about the homelessness initiative. “What could possibly go wrong? Lots of things, and we can deal with them.” Then R spoke in meeting on the 21st, yesterday, and said she had been thinking of that all week. So. Even if it were not “ministry”, even if it were just me thinking out of my own thoughts, something to say, it had value. It had value for her.

A positive contact.

One thing I wanted from seeing Yvonne- six weekly counselling sessions at the GP surgery on the NHS- was a pat on the head. I have done so much of this sodding personal growth stuff. Forgiving my Mother, for example, it was particularly difficult and I did it. Mmm. I want to be told it’s alright, I’m alright, that’s very well done. I had seen that in myself, and thought I had grown out of it. It is the heart of low self esteem. And, perhaps, not to be challenged to go further, which of course she did.

Why would I want to come back? Er-

To break the pattern. To get out of the house. That was enough, we arranged to meet again, before this post is published, actually, but there you go.

How do you go about developing positive self-esteem?

Gustave Caillebotte

Simply because I had not heard of him, I give you some Gustave Caillebotte:

I heard of him through Waldemar Januszczak’s TV programme, and the first two pictures are those he chose to discuss. I love the light on the backs of the men: while peasants had been shown before, these are the first urban workmen in a painting.

I love the buildings, but more the Haussman spaces between them which lets me see them. I love the great city at evening with just one wheeled vehicle. Wikimedia Commons has the handy category of Paintings of the Seine by Caillebotte. I find these comparatively dull. What do you think?

Here is a luxurious but claustrophobic bourgeois interior.

George Meredith:
Modern Love XXXIV: Madam Would Speak With Me

Madam would speak with me. So, now it comes:
The Deluge or else Fire! She’s well, she thanks
My husbandship. Our chain on silence clanks.
Time leers between, above his twiddling thumbs.
Am I quite well? Most excellent in health!
The journals, too, I diligently peruse.
Vesuvius is expected to give news:
Niagara is no noisier. By stealth
Our eyes dart scrutinizing snakes. She’s glad
I’m happy, says her quivering under-lip.
“And are not you?” “How can I be?” “Take ship!
For happiness is somewhere to be had.”
“Nowhere for me!” Her voice is barely heard.
I am not melted, and make no pretence.
With commonplace I freeze her, tongue and sense.
Niagara or Vesuvius is deferred.