Anger and sadness, depression and motivation

-Part of you is dreadfully sad. You have this deep well of sadness in you. When you are motivated to do something that succeeds, you notice and hold that achievement. I am wondering what happens when you don’t, whether you judge yourself or care for yourself and feel the disappointment.

Of course I would like only success, and failure, sooner or later, makes me withdraw. “We tried that once and it didn’t work”- I have noticed people not trying something a second time when trying again seemed worthwhile to me, and I notice that I stop trying too. I could not bear yet another failure, so I stopped. Trying was too painful, but I needed to be screaming before I acknowledged the pain, and by then I could not try again.

-We can see the positives, achievement and celebration and success and doing is very much our culture, but not so good about seeing the other side of things, or fearing trying again, failing again. Fail better, said Beckett’s Krapp, showing the difficulty of it. I dwelt on this until we met again two weeks later. What stops me feeling the sadness, or the pain, is my anger. My anger is directed inwards, at me. What do I have to be sad about? I demand, disdainfully, contemptuously. It is like my other internal conflicts- the anger pushes down, the sadness pushes against it, I exhaust myself but do not move.

Richard Rohr wrote Your life is not about you– the ego at the centre of the Universe. It is about God. It is about a willing participation in a larger mystery. At this time, we do this by not rejecting or running from what is happening but by accepting our current situation and asking God to be with us in it. I thought, The spiritual lesson is learning the opposite of what you believed- I was worthless, not the centre of the Universe at all. Learning the different aspects of truth- my value as a unique being, my ordinariness as one among billions- I need a different corrective to the one Rohr administers.

What does the anger say? I sympathise more with the anger (as it is righteous, with something soft and weak). I am proud of it, so I bring it into consciousness and accept it. It seems appropriate. My anger tries to be stoic, accepting trouble and keeping on (except that it fails at that). I admire stoicism: Marcus Aurelius was seeking the Good Life, was the moral philosopher whether talking of getting out of bed or facing death. And my anger denies the sadness- go away and stop bothering me. It blocks the sadness from consciousness. Stop whining! it commands, and the whining becomes quieter though no less effective as a block to action.

The anger is inside me now, the anger is me, though it may be learned from the culture or the family, from voices outside. I don’t remember it, particularly, as an outside voice, condemning me- perhaps I learned it from others’ example.

Then I find the sadness, and I want to process it. I have the idea that if I could simply feel the sadness it would have told me all it needed to tell me, I would have learned from it all I needed to learn- not Don’t do that! but Take care doing that. And I have the idea that I am simply coaxing the sad part of me- I will listen to it for a time then say, that’s enough time now, come on- wheedling- coaxing- now take action. At which the sadness or the sad part digs its heels in again. It’s too painful right now. Rest a while more.

The anger is me. The sadness is me. Consciously I am more in the anger because it feels right, and it feels effective. Kicking my own backside was my way of motivation. Get on with it. It did actually work, for a while, it got me out of the house, going to work, achieving some things. Now if it works, if I get out of bed because I kick myself, I am wearied by it, it is heavy, an effort, it gives no joy. Anger and sadness are in stalemate.

-Where is your agency? she asks. Where’s the rest of you? I see your appreciation of culture and awe and beauty and there is something in you which wants to go and appreciate these things.

Well, that was my social training. My Dad showed me that culture required effort. We listened to Bartok string quartets expecting not to enjoy them- for them to be so alien, so complex, that my first feeling would be distressed boredom. Then with concentration and repeated listening the drama of the work, its progression and feeling, would reveal itself. I had this experience aged about 14 with The Silmarillion. I struggled through it, and found it weird, and the third time I read it I enjoyed it. Now I have The Mirror and the Light. It has huge sales, and I imagine more people will buy it than read it because they do not appreciate the effort it requires; but it will reward that effort. I am re-reading Bring Up the Bodies, knowing the characters better than I did. Its sequel is a 900 page novel which will be worth savouring.

In the same way I walked up the stairs in the National Gallery with a stool, because standing still too long is uncomfortable for me, turned right into the first gallery, turned left to the first painting and sat in front of it. That Veronese is fabulously beautiful. I retain it in my mind, and think of the legend of St Helena. And it is an effort. I need to concentrate, and I need to go and seek it out.

The anger is conscious, the sadness comes to consciousness. Partly it is an intellectual exercise, working out what might be there, partly it is trust in you as the expert who sees sadness in me, and partly it is inklings of feeling, peeking out from the woods, or surfacing briefly from the depths.

The anger is directed inwards, against myself, because I am weak and without status. If my anger is expressed outwards I will be squished. I got this from my family, and perhaps from their experience as human beings in the pecking order. I am at the bottom of the pecking order. Well, when I am sucking up to this admin worker, Oh, you lost a stone! How strong willed you are, how determined! What an achievement! Rather than about time, you’ll ruin your knees otherwise you fat slattern.

I have value only for what I can achieve, rather than in myself. So I need the opposite of Rohr’s lesson. I don’t blame my parents, it’s sins of the fathers, just the situation being passed on, like a mother rabbit bending to lick her kits, and the rabbit parasites march down her nose and onto them. It’s just what happens.

-Where is your agency? she asks again.

I have desire without action. I passionately want to be seen. And I want not to be seen, to hide away at home. My friend said it was as if I wanted to blend into the background in the most eyecatching way possible, which he might have wanted for himself. One of the best ways of hiding in plain sight is the steady achievement of the quiet efficient worker, who does what is expected.

-When do you feel these things rather than intellectualise about them?

When you talked about my sadness I felt irritation. Feeling the sadness- it’s too much to bear in consciousness, and I need to intellectually accept that, it’s part of the process of unearthing it.


-That does not feel real. It feels like an intellectual exercise.

Well, yes. I am acting. I can only say that within several sets of quotation marks, and you can hear the quotation marks in my voice- but I am acting myself. That is what I want to say to you, perfectly sincerely, and I can only say it as an act.

-What stops you being as opposed to acting?

Lack of practice. Uselessness and inadequacy. A deep lack of trust, in myself and in the world. Those are the things that come to mind immediately.

-Is the better self totally intellectual?

No. But the feeling self, anger and sadness, is tied in such knots I can barely perceive it. Or there are feelings flooding through me, and I cannot speak them. I might type or write them.

-Does this practice, of seeking art, music and literature out, and working on them, apply to anything else?

It applies to ideas. I read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Implicit Bias in order to understand implicit bias better. I found it a struggle. I want to understand. I’d like to walk down the street buying stuff, but I can’t see how to get to there from here. I want to meet people and get to know them, and I do, sometimes, talking to people with different experiences to see through their eyes. People learn what is fun by convention, then do that for fun because they don’t know any better, but by exploration we might find something rewarding.

The feminine self

I am smiling, though I feel intense misery: I smile because this is me, the most feminine part of me, speaking now. I definitely don’t have multiple personalities, and this is me, speaking naturally above the break, wearing earrings and enjoying the sensation of them in my ears.

The process, the whole animal, does not cry, and here am I, I, crying, and feeling the joy at being this feminine part of me, and surprising myself as I did not expect this. Another, perhaps more cynical or appraising rationalist part wants to break through and I don’t want it to.

I do not need looked after.
I do not need restrained.
The world is not dangerous for me, nor I for it.

I speak from this place when I stop fighting, relax and open out. I am exploring now, I don’t know what’s going on. I want to see the world from here, from this perspective, and I want to show it to other people. Normally I am more guarded than this.

In this feminine part is my appreciation of beauty. I look at the stems and leaves pattern on my net curtains. The curves are dancing. This feels more authentic than any other part of me and I don’t really know what she wants, what she does, what she can do, she has been despised for too long.

Going back to one of my myths: I wanted to build the dome, I wanted to do it quickly and efficiently, and well- out of fear of being useless, fear of being seen to be useless, and because it would prove my value, to me, and possibly to other people. I think doing it was valuable, I am not merely projecting. I don’t think it was just fear.

Fear and love, the two great motivators, running from or running to.

This is where my playfulness lives. This is where my ability to know other people lives, not analytical, though the analytical is not alien to this, rationality is a skill this can use. This is in no way an emotional part separate from my analytical power.

Why would you fear being childish? Because it is vulnerable. Yet- vulnerable to what? The judgment which matters is my own. If I fear this I cannot show it to anyone. Yet they might accept me like this.

This is beautifully soft, and can be determined. I am determined now. I hunger to know how I may be when I am like this, because the lesson I have learned that being like this is dangerous is I think a childhood lesson which no longer applies. Other parts of me seek to protect me from the hostility of others by making me shut up and vanish, but I don’t think everyone would be hostile.

This is the part of me that writes poetry.

I often wonder how my analogues are doing in alternative universes. In how many am I dead? Do I have children? Fear and desire- in one, I present the most popular television programme, to millions of adoring fans. It is an hour-long interview in which I strip away the masks of others, my own authenticity inspiring theirs, generally as liberation and occasionally as complete humiliation- a politician would have to be very brave to accept the invitation. An hour long interview with someone revealing entirely who they are, any age from five to ninety.

Though while electrons are capable of quantum superposition, being a fuzzy cloud expanding to fill the whole universe, I am not.

This feminine self is where my hurt is. I had no access to this at all, because of the hurt, and there is still the possibility of hurt, though not the annihilation the child feared.

This is the part of me where my strength is. In part this is scared, and in part she has complete confidence.

A friend went over her handlebars into a ditch, and has been terrified of cycling since. I suggested she cycle in the carpark of a supermarket after it had closed, when she has an expanse of tarmac and no cars, so that she can learn to trust.

I can learn to trust. I have been hurt, and can practise on small things-

I want to show off, because I want admiration and affirmation- though since this experience I have been affirming myself. This is where the possibilities are. This is where any desire worth anything is.

I have hidden it, and fought for it, and had glimpses and occasional moments of being, my feminine self is still unrealised seventeen years after transition, often quickly submerged or suppressed.

Authenticity is possible.


Encountering others

How could we stop depersoning each other?

-Why did you edit yourself?
-Because she wanted affirmation, and I didn’t, actually. I didn’t need anything from that conversation and I don’t think she could have given it to me.

I hate to claim wisdom. I feel if I am claiming wisdom I am missing something. Surely I could not be in such a mature place. But. With respect to the local meeting I think, well that was that. There were bits which were really wonderful. There were bits which were painful. I think it’s their loss, but I really don’t think I could convince them of that. I told people what had happened without self-justification, and that felt liberating.

Oh God it hurts, and I have to live with it. There will be other delights.

We say we want the I-thou encounter, and just like other human beings we note the class and status indicators and see people by stereotype. These are shortcuts, which get in the way of knowing. As apes, part of our initial impression is of the other’s hair, as an indicator of health.

I feel I made a step forward and as always it’s hard to know what the step forward is because in some sense I have been like this forever, and in some sense this is entirely new. I feel my undressing, my exposure of myself, has value, increasing understanding for myself and others. I have not particularly felt it has a cost, either because I don’t understand how people see me, or can’t see that it might make them see me less positively. Tout comprendre est tout pardonner.

And before I was not concerned with reality, but how I could manage its appearance to a part of me that judged me. I may be considering reality more. My aim is to respond to reality rather than manage my own fantasies about reality. I would do something to manage the fantasy rather than achieve something in the real world. But my situation is such that I don’t know what I want to achieve in the real world, or how I might go about starting.

There’s the deep hurt, fear, perplexity. I don’t think there’s a great deal of resentment, this is just where I am. I have achieved a great deal, and it may help me to earn a living in the long run.

TERFs are often people I would really like, and might relate to well, were it not for this dispute. I like them, yet I know my loyalty is to me in 2001 desperate to transition and completely terrified of it, and to people in exactly that position now.

There is one thing I could do to get more human contact and the experience of a working routine, and do something worthwhile, and I just don’t want to. I found it too unpleasant. Why did people vote for Brexit? Because it was couched emotionally rather than rationally, in terms of taking back control, not being bothered by immigrants seeing things differently and getting things we don’t get, and a cheery wave from the milkman in the morning. A simpler world, where everyone was comprehensible.

Everyone and no-one is like me. We meet wearing masks, and the masks prevent us from meeting, but shared experience may let us share real parts of ourselves. I self-disclose here, endlessly, because I want to take off my mask.

We voted for Brexit because we are thirsty, and someone showed us a mirage. Big Ben won’t bong on Friday, as there was no plan to ring it until it was too late. However Mark Francois blames the deep state, writing on his Gofundme page that it was much cheaper than £500,000 to ring it before: £14,200 on Remembrance Day.

So, Leavers get to feel a bit of resentment at being thwarted, even on their day of greatest triumph as they fondle their commemorative 50p’s and anticipate their blue passports. That bongs could have been as cheap on Brexit day had Francois and Johnson planned to bong is brushed aside.

The propaganda value of this is enormous. Leavers never get their triumph, they are always tantalised that great things are around the corner and can be gained but for the Bad People. So their anger and fear and resentment are kept stoked, for political purposes.

all that there is of me

I was acting as if I still had male privilege- as if, after seventeen years, I did not know what transition means.

It is a vicious spiral. Once I lost my temper, that became the only important thing for them. I would not promise not to do it again, because having done it once I am not sure I am capable. This is humility rather than arrogance: I am saying “I don’t know I can” not “I don’t feel the need to try”. However it stops them listening, and makes it more difficult for me to feel understood, which is the thing most likely in the world to get me worked up.

Then, I am not sure. “I will try not to do it again” might not be good enough for them. I could ask them to think of it in terms of behavioural psychology: after I lost my temper, do they think behavioural psychology, preventing that response in the future by applying a sanction, works with me?

Mmm. I don’t think they trust me. I may be projecting.

“If I still had male privilege”? I have seen bullying amongst Quakers, and people refusing to be corrected even after others have pointed out where they are wrong. It’s always been by men, of high status in and out of Quakers.

So I offered to resign, and the next stage should be two people visiting me to try to restore unity. I suppose it depends what unity means. If they don’t think unity is restored, then they accept my resignation.

They could use my blog against me, I suppose. Even if I think, I have a high concept of truth, truth is complex and I cannot understand it so I write to find facets of it, they might ignore that and say, she wrote this so she must believe it, like a normal person, and therefore she is unacceptable. I write to try to find out what I think, or even to put an idea in words to push it as far as it will go, even to contradiction, and still.

I want- of course- to get away with as much as possible, I thought, but that is not quite it. I had the idea of the cardboard Quaker, who sits quietly in worship, is calm and polite, and never says or does anything that surprises or offends anyone else in the slightest. I think that is pointless.

I still see myself as a Quaker, so I take part in Quaker gatherings- I even hope to go to the yearly meeting gathering. I probably won’t be organising the Quaker worship at Greenbelt this year, but I wrote to a few people with the intent of ensuring it happens. Possibly, someone will organise it just so as to ensure I don’t.

I see myself as a good person! It is a good thing, and if someone else organises it all I get is some confirmation of my judgment. I think my judgment has value, that what I work on has value. I serve, and I want to continue serving. I fear that will indicate to them that I have not sufficiently taken to heart how bad I am.

My hurt was hard for my Friends to bear, but it was unbearable for me. And then in autumn 2016 I thought I should be bearing it, and not putting it on my Friends; and in autumn 2018 I made huge steps towards bearing it; and then I lost control, yet again, and that was the last straw.

I have apologised.

Should they have to bear the possibility that I get angry again? But then, can I guarantee not to?

I would rather be right than happy. What do you hope for? Possibly the wrong thing, because I can’t hope for anything better: isolated moments when I feel really, really right, even if isolated even more, rather than ongoing relationship. I am not sure what ongoing relationship would look like.

Again this is blogging! I say things to see where they go. This is not a final statement.

I think the problem with that Quaker meeting could be said to be another person, probably more than one, but I seem to have provoked a widespread agreement that the problem is me. I don’t know how not to be that which they find uncomfortable and problematic. I feel if they really knew me they would know I was worth all the aggravation.

I could have that on a t-shirt. I’m worth the aggravation! But they don’t want aggravation at all. I would say it is an inescapable part of human relationship.

There are degrees of connection, of relationship. Some people see each other very deeply and rawly, but most people don’t want that and couldn’t cope with it.

Can they cope with my authentic self? Am I ever my authentic self? I am always in some mask or other, perhaps. Am I ever not my authentic self? I can hardly step out of myself and hand over control of my body to something which is not an aspect of me.

I can come out with phrases which I call wisdom-bollocks: short enough for a meme or facebook share. For example, One should take time to respond rather than reacting. That is simply true, and it is not always helpful to point it out. It misses something.

I can say that I know losing control is a bad thing and I don’t want to do it.

I know I cannot promise never to feel wronged. I might find better ways of dealing with it, more effective for me as well as more acceptable for others.

-You are too much for some people. You must find the ones that can actually hold the diverse parts of you.
-I can’t do that myself. But I will reject none of it.

I am drawn to the wisdom of much younger women sharing wisdom with their own age group. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

Pure and impure feelings

“I can’t feel what I am supposed to feel,” she said. Well, Duh.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches that we can feel differently if we tell ourselves things. We can speak to our emotional self cajolingly or sensibly, and despair at disasters can become a stoic acceptance and continuing useful action. So, Situation, Thought, Emotion, Behaviour: what I think is going on in this situation affects how I feel about it.

Or, we can see that we do not perceive or think correctly, and correct our thinking so our feelings are not so bad. Black and white thinking: it is either perfect, or it is a disaster. Well, no, things are usually in the middle. Do not be downhearted, it is not that bad.

Unfortunately this denies my feelings. Things are not perfect, and therefore I am terrified. That I am terrified of something illusory which is only in my own mind does not stop the terror. And I know what I am supposed to feel, quiet satisfaction that everything is going smoothly. I can’t feel that.

When I was a child, I was split in two and my two parts were set at war with each other. I have been liberating myself since. My freedom matters to me more than anything else. I have many voices on my inner committee, but I might call these two the Actor and the Prisoner: the Actor who felt, desired, reacted as she was supposed to, and the Prisoner who must not be seen even by herself.

Could the war be over? I don’t know. I do know that as an adult my old ideas of “how I am supposed to feel” do not apply. There is how I feel, now. If I imagine it is other than it is, I will be conflicted and disappointed. I will feel numb rather than feeling the appropriate feeling.

There are still Appropriate Feelings swirling around, in the culture and in particular groups and situations, and I may not pick those up; and as an empath those may overwhelm me; and I don’t know, and will not speculate further here.

I am concerned that words affect my feelings. If I see a situation in a particular way that will affect how I feel, and the world I have constructed through verbal understanding may obscure the world as it is. Impure feelings are a response to my previous understandings. Pure feelings are a response to the situation as it is now.

If I think, “They ought to be better than that! It’s no better than a glorified-“, the result is disappointment, resentment, peevishness. This does not advance my goals.

If I centre down, consider, seek out what I perceive, and what I feel about that, there might be some hope in the mix.

My own inadequacy and the terror that inspires is a strong habit. That seems to fit best with the Words, the description of how the world is and should be. I write down a possible verbal understanding of a particular situation, and realise that if I put a question mark after my two word summary my perception changes completely.

-What do you hope for?
-I hope for hope. I have seen what I can do, and I have done it. I hope I will see something I can do, and do it. I am not sure what it might be, now. I will see it is worthwhile and give it my energy.

What I want is to “flow like water” as Lao Tzu said, or “Pray continually” as Paul said, or to integrate as a whole human being, or to find my Inner Light or Reality or Freedom.

The world I inhabit includes others’ perceptions. I am sure the problem is not me, but others disagree.

Now, I feel gratitude and warmth. There has been an act of generosity towards me. I am surprised. She had suggested it and I had no expectation of it. It is an unaccustomed feeling. I was briefly tearful.

Right now, I have a common goal, getting the Labour vote out at the election, but that will end tomorrow, and become different goals requiring different action. My comrades are not my friends. We have this one thing of intense importance in common. We might make friendships in time.

I love Geertgen tot Sint Jans. I love the complete innocence of these faces. And Jesus apparently emerging from the tomb but still carrying the Cross is a powerful image I don’t recall seeing before. Other artists either have him carrying the cross, or hanging from it, or being lifted down from it dead, or Resurrected with the Cross behind him. Even the common image of Christus Victor, on the cross but robed and triumphant, arms wide in blessing, shows bare feet but not all that blood. I am not sure what to make of it.

How wonderful!

Seeing both sides

“I’m shocked there is a process” for Quaker excommunication, disownment, whatever, she said.

“There has to be,” I said. That surprised her, and she stared at me for a few seconds.

“To see from so many aspects,” she said.

“It is a huge gift,” I said. I sympathise. I see where they are coming from. I simply want a solution to include me in the decision-making.

“They may be too frightened to take you back.

“How do you feel about it?”

My comfort zone has restricted to a point. I am a beaten cur cowering in a corner. I am frightened to go out. I do not want to see anyone.

Take that as a compliment. I trusted your unconditional positive regard so trusted enough to speak to you. I don’t want to see anyone else. I have phoned a couple of people.

I had the thought this morning, I passionately desire you not to disown, disfellowship, what’s the dry phrase- termination of membership. I want to remain a Quaker. I thought there was a possible explanation of that which would be unhealthy. I could not bear the judgment that I was so unbearable, so I needed them to affirm my value because I could not affirm it myself. I am pretty sure that is not my motive.

Oh wow. Can I say that? Is it true? I can!

I have worked out for myself I am acceptable.

After the low point of despising myself that I came to, reaching this point is pretty impressive.

I want to be in a Quaker meeting because I want the experience of worship. This is therapeutic, but that is a by product: I am seeking the Inner Light, that is, doing what I am supposed to be doing, though it is more difficult for me than some Quaker writings might seem to imply. The inner light is worth seeking.

Quakers give me my opportunity to be a contributing intellectual: for years the only times people have paid for my writing (though not paid me) has been in Quaker publications, and most of my audiences have been Quaker.

Having been disowned, or TM’d under 11.30c, I could still attend worship, but would feel compunction or constraint. Now I do it as of right, with equals, then I would feel tolerated (if that) and separate. The loss might stop me attending at all.

It is the Religious Society of Friends, and I want that friendship. I want to talk with my intellectual and spiritual equals and to stimulate and be stimulated. I know people value what I say, and even if one felt “collared inescapably” over coffee, others enjoy my company, even seeking me out. You can’t get on with everyone.

The beaten cur explores tentatively, glances round furtively. What might be possible?

“I hope you write,” she said. Of course. It is pouring out of me. It is my way of exploring. “I’m in awe of your writing ability,” said someone. Another told me I should write a book, though I still don’t see that as possible or worthwhile. What I write now, exploring from different positions, may not be what I come to eventually.

A stronger sense of self

My sense of self is stronger. I move towards health, strength and sanity.

A paradox: I find aesthetic, sensual delight through spiritual practice. My spirituality relates to my physical situation. It does not relate to a soul, being part of the human being, and rarified, heavenly concerns, but the haill human being, here and now. And that gives me a sense of exhilaration, as well as a stronger sense of where and who I am.

I am one creature being itself. That raised the question, am I ever not? Possibly when responding from introjects.

Two conversations after worship: in one I said something I could have said at any time in the last three years, yet it was relevant, the man thought it helpful, and I said it to fulfil my goal of being constructive. That is, I was myself, doing my thing, and I am in agreement with myself (that is, not conflicted). I saw what I had made, and it was good. In the other I was at the edge of my understanding, paying attention, and again being entirely myself.

Someone thought I would be disappointed to find all-age worship, and I said “it is important to me to emphasise the good in any situation”. My vehemence surprised me. The idea began in my late 20s, listening to sermons, that it is better to emphasise an idea I value than bits I dispute as a certain man did, and has widened out to much or all experience.

My doing emerges from my being. This is who I am, and it pleases me. This is new for me.

“You are in touch with your serenity,” says Tina. Yes. “The aesthetic and spiritual open different parts of you.” I’ll think about that, but disagree atm- both come from love.

I am concerned for appearances. That could be from Heaven- aplomb, authenticity, coming from love, or from Hell- pretense to conceal myself, out of fear.

I like commenting on The Guardian. It is not human contact, but the dopamine from up votes pleases me. I can get in early to get a lot of up votes, though I find I get more for a rhetorical flourish or a polemic point strongly made than for something more nuanced or complex. And someone told me I was wrong about sickness benefits, in such a way I thought was disinformation, a deliberate falsehood to deceive, though now think was just a mistake.

I know people deliberately spread disinformation. I feel repugnance. It weakens individuals, who cannot act well if they do not have proper information, and also trust between people, and therefore the community. It is destructive.

That is, others attack the community, a thing I cannot imagine doing. Imagining it is uncomfortable. It is close to though less than the discomfort I used to feel when I felt disoriented, the feeling that my belief or apparent perception was not evidence for or against the thing believed.

Or it is the discomfort at feeling at sea and out of the community, not getting what everyone else gets.

People imagine their understanding of How Things Are is correct, sometimes. I know mine is better than it was- yet that means it was deficient, and how could I be certain of it now?

Yet my deeds emerge from my being, or I am being rather than merely doing, or being and doing are one. It is not introject, or fear of being seen in a way I feel I am that is unacceptable to others; it is authentic.

This is a slightly different version of that Blake picture:

Sensing feelings

I decide to spend time in my counselling session sensing what my feelings are in the moment.

I feel affirmed, having organised the Greenbelt Quaker worship well. I was not affirmed before, in my choice to do it, at best tolerated. That was wearing.

I sense my value. I am strong. I have a lot to be sad about, and that is not everything.

What I say has value.

I am safe enough for the moment.

I feel-
My strong Intention, like a searchlight for truth.
Love. Self-love. I am on my own side.
Sadness, which manifests itself as thoughts of a woman whose father died recently, aged 51.
Interest in these feelings.
I want to manage my feelings and get that sense of being affirmed back.
I don’t need to-
It’s different. I feel Strong.

Where’s the worry, Tina asks. It’s a non-specific background noise. In the background there is attention to my money draining, all the time.

I look round. She complained of feeling seasick when I was holding my phone, so I placed it on the piano, then brought over a light and closed the curtains behind me so my face would not appear too dark. Those Monet Nymphiades- is the picture a moment in time captured, or an impression of more time in one image, ripples and movement? Or both?

-There are things you can’t do something about, but still worry, she says.

I note I am curled up, legs and arms crossed, bent over, self-protecting. I don’t feel it, it manifests itself in my posture.

The music next door is too loud, and I must deal with it.

I love living surrounded by fields. The wheat was harvested and the straw baled into this big beautiful wall:

Then the farmer spread muck to fertilize on the hottest, driest day and Eagle’s Nest smells of dung. It is all one.

Finding happiness

If I were not inadequate, I would be happy. I don’t believe that, not really, but the thought is tempting.

I am an outsider. Regretting my surgery, and advising against it, I don’t know of any possible better way- not transitioning? Transitioning without bodily alteration? None is acceptable. I am an outsider, and no choice will make me fit in. Trying to is death. So living with the discomfort of being myself is the best way. And, oh God, it is uncomfortable.

None will make me fit.
-Fit what? For who?
Well. Exactly.

Audre Lorde: Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. As members of such an economy, we have all been programmed to respond to the human difference between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals. As a result, those differences have been misnamed and misused in the service of separation and confusion.

“He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is half way there. He who blames no one has arrived.” Yeah. It’s facebook wisdom. There is something in it. Yet my self blame is reflexive, for everything, for being no use at all, so my self-blame does me no good.

So it felt like progress when I felt shame at having no money and wearing horrible old clothes. I want to present myself better. I got a Monsoon dress in a charity shop, so I will wear that- except it seems too dressy for the office. That’s lack of self-confidence, I can carry it off. I can do something about that shame, it’s not just wanting to be someone else.

Cathy, years ago. The birth mark on her cheek kept getting darker. She wore her hair long over her face but did not succeed in concealing it. Removal was possible, and she wanted it done, but never got round to it. It seemed to me that her birthmark was the symbol for her of her mediocrity and all the unsatisfactoriness of her life, and if she had it treated she would have to admit her life was still unsatisfying.

I wake at eight and reach for my phone. The Guardian opinion articles are on Brexit and white nationalist mass-shootings. People worked up about the thought that Muslims, Jews, Latinx, were replacing white people seem to be punching down, channelling their anger in a safe direction both for the oligarchs and for themselves. It is not a real threat. They face no risk for getting angry about it. They will not achieve beneficial change. They don’t fit their society either.

So I read what depresses and enervates me, and feel numb. “Numb” means there’s a feeling underneath which I cannot admit or recognise. I think it’s confusion. I should be able to sort all my problems myself. That I can’t is confusing. Unknowing is painful.

I go to meditate and feel delight in the moment, in the strength of that bush. Like it, I am alive! I am a living creature. I love the butterflies on the blossom. Meditating I am happy in the moment in the beauty where I am. I am not sorting my life out, instantly, certainly and painlessly but perhaps I am sorting it as best I can.

For whom would I want to fit in, to cease being an outsider? For me. If I want to fit in it is in order to feel safe. Then, what is the threat I fear? My mother? Her fears of the world? Mine? If I articulate the fears they seem silly but that does not take away their power, not am I certain I can articulate them. I am afraid of not understanding immediately what is going on. I am afraid of ridicule and contempt, and some are contemptuous of trans folk.

Someone calls me “he” but seems reasonably friendly, and I like her. And often in the past things have gone catastrophically wrong, in childhood and after.

Life is unbearable! I have no idea!

If I embrace how hard it is to bear, stop wishing it otherwise, might I learn to bear it?

Bullying myself- or inspiring myself

No one bullies me. I bully myself.

I get early to the office, and there is no one there. I can do scanning. However there is no scanner on M’s computer. I try S’s scanner, but M’s computer does not recognise it. As I move it, the paper feed mechanism falls off. I put it back, finding that tricky. I use S’s scanner on S’s computer but it chews up the paper. I swear at it.

D’s computer does not recognise my smart card. I use K’s computer: it works, but then she comes back and needs it herself.

I look at the paper feed and see how I did not put it back properly, so I fix it. After fifty minutes, I scan my first document.

I am upset because I am bullying myself. No-one else is expecting anything of me. The Wrong Thing I did was to swear, but apart from that I have behaved creatively and determinedly, dealing with each problem in turn. Yet I have internally berated myself, telling myself I should be able to deal with this with no problem, far more quickly than I do. J said if all that had happened to her she would just of gone home.

This is perfect, I decide. My purpose in being here is finding my blocks to work, and my bullying is such a block. How do I feel now? Hurt by my own bullying, and sad, and frustrated by the difficulty. Others complain of friction at work, problems with the processes that take much longer than they ideally would. I suppose that would be more stressful if I had more to do and only an ideal time to do it.

So I reassess my response to the morning’s challenges, decide that I responded well, and get on with the scanning.

I don’t know how I managed any work at all, bearing this taskmaster within. Especially as I was not fully conscious of it, just feeling bad because of it and feeling always inadequate. Finding it and seeing it has been a long journey, and I still have to think about it, take time to observe what I am feeling and consciously decide that I am working well enough.

Tina sees it differently. If I make an introject, part of me agrees with its view. It comes from the culture as well as my parents: it feels Scottish to her.

I did not ignore my emotional response, being sad at being bullied, but saw it as work and difficulty. My emotional being is something to cajole and manage, rather than to value as useful feedback. I am practised in exercising my intellect, but my emo side is hurting, lonely and distrusted.

The “bully” criticises, showing its terror. I think of it, too,  as a problem to be managed. When it orders me to “Get on with it” that is pain and loss. It makes my emotional side crumple. In fact it does not inspire or energise, but it tries. It wants to express my values of diligence and taking responsibility. It wants me strong and successful but the more it says the more crushing it gets.

If someone who takes no responsibility is 1 and sane responsibility is 8, I am 15: overwrought. I need dialogue with it so that it inspires rather than crushing.


Balance and dialogue.

I would hear and value and support the slave-driver (or inspiration, or sense of responsibility) and the emotional part.

She thinks the problem might be that I have been unable to show my intensity, there is no space for it. When we feel we cannot express some things we restrict ourselves. She asks,

What thrilled you as a child?
What made you giggle?
What did/do you do for fun?

I don’t know. However my task now is to perceive and value these lost, damaged parts.

Later, I wonder if the “bully” could ever be brought to inspire me. It seems to take no account of any difficulties I have.