A memory of my father

I am so embarrassed about this memory that I do not want to tell you it. Therefore, it will be worthwhile telling you. Empowering or something.

I don’t know myself innately, I work things out from clues. I know I would not hit anyone, because I have been in particular situations. I am not sure I could say why- perhaps “Cowardice” (bad) or “Restraint” (good). Perhaps confusion: the rules aren’t working, and I don’t know what’s going on.

-Exactly so, she says, and I wonder whether she helps me find insight or influences, even manipulates, me into seeing things a certain way. Are our words random, or some kind of joint inspiration?

So much of me is unconscious. That memory of my father, I was sitting on his knee, crying- it is always there, and it pops into consciousness every once in a while, every now and then. I started telling her of it as an illustration of how the unconscious is always there, and the conscious seems random, not a particular “I” I could know; but she asks of the memory. It embarrasses me. The child I was was so ridiculously stupid!

It should not be embarrassing. The child knew no better, and might not be expected to, at that age. I remember a fragment of conversation. I wanted to listen to a record, and he asked what.

-Can you remember what it was?
-I am not sure, but I think it was that actress in Mary Poppins [Julie Andrews] singing
a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down
in the most delightful way

and he said, but we don’t have that record.

And I took from this that I was stupid, and should have known this (which is why the memory embarrasses me. Wanting something impossible! Ridiculous and divorced from reality!)

and that he was kind.

Now, I think, well- impossible? There are shops, and there are libraries, quite close by. There is also the vague idea that Julie Andrews represented the left-liberal camp which was wrong, as we were Conservatives: that is adult language for it, that such entertainment would be Improper in some way, not our thing.

Is the memory important? I still feel confused. What can I do that is Good?

 ♥♥♥

I was a big fan of CS Lewis, and have read a lot of his work, since I sat on my father’s knee to hear The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My nephew sat on my knee to hear it. The foundation of my theodicy is his The Problem of Pain, and I read his space trilogy several times. I have been reading The Abolition of Man again, and find it appallingly bad. Either he has no conception of phenomenology, and attacks what he does not understand, or he has, and produces the crudest possible straw man, which he could not possibly see as in good faith unless he was convinced he could do no wrong.

He says any man, unless corrupted, would agree with him about morals, because the Natural Law is inscribed in every healthy boy. (He would not have valued inclusive language.) Education should enable the boy to recognise it in himself.

I read the book to see what in it I might agree with, but I reject it entire. I do not care if I am wrong, I believe THIS. All I could take from his morality is the value of the individual human- the value of Me.

I drift off into thinking of how I might be useful in the General Election.

 ♥♥♥

I am frightened by
the bigness and inexplicability of the World

and of myself

but that’s OK

Judgment

I sense she regularly judges me, as too stupid (it’s relative), blinkered or ill-read to understand her explanation, or be worth engaging with to educate or persuade. Of course she judges me. We meet, and we react to each other out of our knowledge of each other, which must involve judgment. It remains worthwhile for both of us. Why would you fear judgment? Relationship is impossible without it. It is nuanced, almost never merely that someone is “bad”.

How could I know others? Well they are human, therefore like me- to an extent. Possibly my judgment of others is unusually forebearing, making allowances, gentle, but not off the scale. And as Samuel Johnson said, If any man would consider how little he dwells upon the condition of others, he would learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself. Certainly the virulent, emphatic, black and white condemnatory judgment I have for myself is shared by few or none. I am not a murderer.

I started my counselling session pleased by my weekend away and social encounters, yet dissatisfied. There must be more to life than this. I work hard, on getting those photos, that one in particular, right, and especially on my writing. And thinking- when I am not writing, I am thinking things through. Ideas percolate within me.

I am hard on myself. Making this statement- I worked hard on that– I don’t know if I am learning to be less hard on myself generally, or in specific instances. Possibly both. “There must be more to life than this!” Well, I don’t see what, and don’t know if that is because my blind spots obscure it, or there is nothing there.

-Is there anything you would like to do again, or have a go at? she asks.
-No. Should there be?

-Why are you bored?
-From lack of stimulus, and loneliness.
-Where might you find it?
-in Love. But I fear the outside world, everything outside my living room.
-Why?
-Because of experience.
-Any particular experiences?
-All of it, from childhood and adulthood.

This great amorphous mass of greyness frightens me in itself. Everything? Are there any shards of light in the gloom? As she points out, sometimes I overcome my fear because I want to do something. I engage with the outside world, and sometimes the experience is positive for me. It might be worth analysing and categorising my experience a little more.

-Have you seen the Jungle book vultures?

I have just been to look. Oops.

-Would you join a club?

I thought of joining a writers’ group. There is one in Swanston, and I have the email address of the man who runs it, but have not done anything about that.

-Of course not, because a writing group would open you to rejection and criticism. Reciting your poetry was a lesser risk. Do you critique others?

Yes, but in a spirit of offering possibilities, rather than dogmatism. I am gentle. My experience of the judgment of others does not fit my fear of it- I fear the Granite Statues, unbending, remorseless, utterly condemning. Others are not like that in my experience yet I still fear it.

She tells me that those who are afraid of the World are usually afraid of themselves. Once you accept yourself you can engage better. But, what are other people actually like? How could I ever know?

Fulfilment

I understand some people get pleasure from sex. Not everyone, and not all the time, but some people occasionally. It is not only a source of shame, self-loathing, misery and isolation.

My strongest term of condemnation has always been “self-indulgent”. It is the height of wickedness, the sin against the Holy Spirit from which all other sin proceeds. One could reframe self-indulgence as self-care, exploring or accepting.

“It is being creative,” says Tina.

Then again, some people find sex a burden, a compulsion they wish to escape. I escaped the compulsion with surgery. And then I found myself masturbating to climax. It took over an hour, and it did not happen often, but it happened. I used pictures of women in the trappings of Domination- leather, pvc, whips etc. I find my choice unobjectionable- everyone has quirks, “normal” is a moralistic not natural concept, ought not is. I like the DSM idea that a sexual predilection is only pathological if it disrupts the person’s life, or the lives of others.

Have you ever been to a kink session? she asked. She tells of an asexual colleague who went to a weekend gathering, with seminars on consent or techniques, and stalls. One had a “Wartenberg wheel”, used for stimulation. “Turn round,” he said, and ran it over the back of her neck- and “though I am asexual, I tingled all over,” she recounted.

The thought of being passive and vulnerable terrifies me. It makes me freeze.

I had nocturnal emissions as well, and then a couple of times, including a day or so ago, I have awoken after what I think is an erotic dream even though I have forgotten it, with no emission but a painful sense of pressure in the bottom. I understood the prostate gland drained into the urethra. I wondered if scar tissue from my slowly-healing neo-vagina was blocking its exit, and if that could cause a health problem. I should see a doctor, I hope to set my mind at rest.

Though “Will bad things happen?” is never a good question for expert or ignoramus. “Possibly, but not certainly” is usually the best answer. “Worry if they do.”

I think deferring gratification is a good thing, and can talk sensibly about it. One should just enjoy onesself sometimes. It is a balance, and which is right at any time depends on circumstances. One can be right enough- mistakes are often acceptable, as they do not have terrible consequences. I put a very high premium on talking sensibly.

I had deep pain and shame around sex, expected and experienced. There have been a few moments when I liked something, when I might have found a way into enjoyment- holding hands that time, that evening… To imagine that sex could be pleasurable, but that I could have no possible path to that pleasure, and that scar tissue might take even my faintest hope from me! It is alright to like what I like– only to realise that when it is too late! Finding a path could be impossibly complex and difficult! Only now do I see myself at all clearly, rather than repressing…

I value moderation. Moderation is not enough, she says, all parts of you need space and a voice and time. You cannot be moderately self-indulgent. It makes me think of the quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground (1864). The nameless narrator says,

I, for example, would not be the least bit surprised if suddenly, out of the blue, amid the universal future reasonableness, some gentleman of ignoble or, better, of retrograde and jeering physiognomy, should emerge, set his arms akimbo, and say to us all: ‘Well, gentlemen, why don’t we reduce all this reasonableness to dust with one good kick, for the sole purpose of sending all these logarithms to the devil and living once more according to our own stupid will!’ That would still be nothing, but what is offensive is that he’d be sure to find followers: that’s how man is arranged.

Moderation could be rational, and imposed from outside- a prison you would do anything to tear down- or organic, arising from within.

I value understanding, and being able to talk of these things intellectually.

I got that quote from the New York Times. I love the NYT, and read it a lot- fascinating topics and good writing style, with the occasional gorgeous sentence or trick of article construction.

Stating the problem IV

Like many pop songs, it has just one good line, but it is a very good line:

We are, we are driving
we are driving too fast
we are, we are driving
we could crash

starting fire
fire when we crash
starting fire
fire when we crash

Skype counselling session. I have my love intimacy and sexuality weekend coming up, I am going to see someone I have not seen since about 2001, and tell her not to transition, and I have lunch with Quakers tomorrow.

I love the Human Awareness Institute. I will find their weekend distressing, useful, challenging, wonderful. My aim is to pass through distress to enlightenment, to bring my repressed unconscious to consciousness. I love their slogan, “Creating a world where everyone wins”.

I will tell Hannah not to transition. Long term, it is a mistake, though short term it is wonderfully liberating.

I will ask those Quakers what they expected- that I would just vanish? I cycled on Sunday for 55 minutes to Kettering, about 55 minutes back, because Quakers are my main social outlet. I am sociable, and today my longest conversation has been buying apples, lettuce, grapes and plums at the fruit and veg stall. I want those, he wants £4.09, no other chat took place.

Life now is as good as I can imagine it. This is the best I can do. I don’t want to work, even though not looking makes me more vulnerable to the biggest threat in my life, losing my benefits. My life is in Limbo, and a kick up the arse might do me good? No, this is the best I can do. Work would be some of the time horrible, most of the time just unpleasant and dull.

I am in the best situation I can imagine, though it is not sustainable. In the future, when my benefits stop, the best will be worse than this- some horrible job- but all I could do is embrace that worse now, and that makes no sense.

-How do you think people will react to you turning up as a man?
-Some will think I’m an arse, some will see how beautiful and fascinating I am and like it and express that.
-Will you hear them?
-Yes. I am beautiful and fascinating.
-Why so distressed and angry and frustrated?
-Because beautiful and fascinating is not good enough, and I can’t achieve better than this.

Now, I am distressed, frustrated (in Limbo) and frightened, and I think of Rebekah. She lives in Tel Aviv. I met her in London, for less than half an hour, and at her suggestion we facebook friended. Most of her shares are in Hebrew, and pre-AI translate is poor, but she posted some wonderful pictures of her in a wedding dress, feeling delighted, and looking wonderful. She is paralysed and needs a motorised wheelchair but she is blissful.

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

-I am beautiful, fascinating, highly intelligent, creative, loving
-Unloved. I wish we had another hour to go further into this, she says.

We make another appointment. Perhaps work so revolts me because the only authority figure I can conceive is my mother: unjust, unyielding, capricious and wrong.

Integrating the self

I have not spoken to my counsellor for over a month, so have a lot of material to work with. I tell her of my dispute with Quakers, lunch with my friend, my holiday.

-I did a little light bullying.
-I don’t think anyone has ever said something like that to me. “How was your holiday?” “Oh, I did a little light bullying.”

I worked quite hard to make sure my friend had as good a holiday as possible, and when I could not find a way threw my weight around to make sure I got what I wanted from it. In particular I was not going to do boring things because conventionally they are supposed to be fun, especially as my companions had such limited ideas of what those were. And because he values my company so much, my friend has to take a certain amount of shit from me.

-You are very hard on yourself.

Yes. “Bullying” and “giving shit” are harsh words for me. I was kind. I was reasonably self-assertive. I was as creative as I could be. My judgment of myself is harsh, and I am allowing the judgment and trying to stop it preventing me doing what I want. Bullying is wrong. My inner critic calls my action bullying, yet I do it anyway. In unsatisfactory circumstances I am happy enough with my conduct.

At one point we reach a stop, and she says she has a question. Fire away.

-You said your internal policeman tasered you for not being sufficiently manly. Did he not get the memo?

We laugh. Apparently not. It is good to be conscious of him, though, rather than just being paralysed. I love the way I make her laugh. I am telling my stories as elegantly and quickly as I can, wanting to get the meaning over, but enjoying how I word them well.

Before lunch, H told me a coat would look good on me. I am playing control games. I like them. If that is her controlling me- what does that do for me? It is what I want. It gives me a sense of connection.

-Would you have bought the coat yourself?
-No. Never. But I love it.
-So she is appreciating a part of you which is usually silent, and giving it a voice.

I am addicted to attention. Or at least that is approaching the truth, one facet of it.
-You are being attractive, and valuing that.
-Crying in public could be that addiction. Yet it seems to me that when I cry my unconscious communicates to my conscious how strong my feeling is, and if I can fully accept my depth of feeling I need not show external symptoms. That can be useful.

She does not demur to that.

I have known I am screwed up and at war with myself all my adult life. I am closer to finding the cause of that than I have ever been, and to finding ways round it. My father was feminine, my mother liked that, they both knew it was utterly shameful and no-one must ever find out. I had one honest conversation with my father about it, three months before he died.

This is my work. It is intensely valuable, because I am valuable.

Being controlled, and passive. My best experience of sex so far was with a man who let me lie back, doing nothing, and with gentleness, empathy and generosity opened me up. I was curled up and self-protective, and he got me to open myself to him. He licked me out. “You taste Goood,” he said. I want to do none of the work, and be accepted.

Bullying. It is a harsh judgment. I am crying.

She says it is difficult to integrate the self when it is so repressed. At her request, I show her my yellow coat. It is very yellow.

We arrange another appointment, and then I watch Star Trek Deep Space Nine. I like it. It is decades-old SF entertainment for teenagers, and I still like it. It is beautifully done. I pause it to think.

Do I need it to be in some way objectively good, before I am allowed- can allow myself- to like it? Now I am weeping hard. NO! I like it! Yet this is an exceptionally good episode, ep 3/7, “Civil Defense”. I love the clever ways they come up with to reduce the threat, always making it worse until the end. I love the way the characters respond in ways like themselves: Quark and Odo flirt together beautifully, subtly showing their regard and care for each other as they bicker. It is funny. At the end, there is surely the tiredest cliché- the computer counts down the seconds to Self Destruct- and the tension of it grips me. I love their heroism: continually knocked back, everyone keeps buggering on. I loved the sense of the characters, and see it is the only DS9 writing credit of Mike Krohn- his only other credit is one TV movie, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct: Lightning. I may watch that episode again, however ridiculous the whole world might find such a complete waste of time.

A World of Women

I want a simpler world, where I might be given a task, see that it was worthwhile and that I could carry it out, and carry it out successfully achieving the desired goal, so that I would not feel so completely and entirely worthless.

Ah. “Worthless”, except for what I can achieve. This thought brings me to tears. It is an old understanding of myself- proof that merely understanding how my psyche works is not enough to heal it. A simpler world, for it is not possible in this one.

It is my feeling that this sense comes from maternal rejection in my first weeks of life, but I have no desire to debate that with anyone. I am satisfied enough of it. The inner critic does not like the idea, but it is rarely entirely right.

The NYT says one should not try not to think negative thoughts. Attempting to control them makes them more insistent. Instead, first notice that you are thinking negatively, and then challenge the thought, arguing with it. “I am worthless”- think of examples disproving this. I have achieved things. I have worthwhile qualities- I am intelligent, and kind. If a friend was so negative about herself, I would reassure her, and so should imagine the arguments I would use to another. That article recommends CBT, where it seems I am a conscious Grand Vizier with a particularly irrational, psychotic and power-crazed caliph, whom I must persuade and nudge into sane action.

I will not. Rather, I will Love myself around. The only thing I have to do, while my benefits continue, is ensure I don’t run out of food- or even, buy more before I starve. No matter of routine is essential. Managing myself into doing what external authorities or the culture or my rational self believes I ought to do will not affect that feeling of worthlessness; instead it will reinforce it.

Tina explains self-worth is not the same as self-esteem. Self-worth is unconditional acceptance: I have this weakness, and that is OK. I am not a real man. I am not capable of work. I am unreliable on Quaker obligations. All this is OK. I am testing my own self-acceptance, and will not advance those Quaker desires, unless I want to. I, the beautiful, loveable core of me, which is not worthless, not the psychotic caliph.

I recall much of childhood as not feeling good enough, being frightened and confused and feeling excluded. How did I feel when my father died? Relief. A running sore was over. There was the thing about not being able to talk to him, and him giving away all his capital, down to the last thousand pounds, to investment scammers- had he lived, they would have come back every few months and harvested any pension he had accumulated-

and that moment in the hospital, when he awoke, delighted to be helpless, managed cared for and controlled by women, the nurses. “I awoke in a world of women”, he said to me, in a delighted conspiratorial way. That is my own feeling. I understood completely. I confessed this to Tina and in that moment wanted

not to exist

I wanted a completely different person with completely different characteristics occupying my space

I felt revulsion and-

delight???

confessing this. It could just be that my kernel, seen as the caliph but in reality myself is the part that is delighted.

breslau-die-leserin

Calm and in control

I hold myself in contempt because I let myself down. I did not keep myself safe. Though that was not my job, in the cradle. “I am the one whom I hold in contempt”- this is reassuring because I am conscious of being that person, and not ashamed of it, so no longer in denial.

This does not make everything easy, but it is moving forward.

I had the feeling of being sad, and later of being content, and these feelings did not seem bad, terrifying or desirable- they just were. They seemed to fit. Then I read this, in André’s book: We put our head down and keep going, one step at a time. We can act and go forward even when we can’t be sure there is any point. Even when nothing is certain, we can still disobey the orders to be powerless that come at us in waves. We can feel those old reflexes rising up from the past and trying to control us. And still we keep going.

His picture is Christina’s World:

andrew-wyeth-christinas-world

Reading that out to Tina I feel such guilt. I do: I make myself powerless, I retreat, I stop moving. I am stuck. I hated it, when I read it last night.

Am I merely shut away, not moving? I could rationalise a case either way- yet the Prosecution and Defence would be missing the point. I felt intense pain reading that. I acknowledged and did not suppress it. Whether I am guilty or not does not matter, does not affect where I am or my circumstances, changes nothing.

Do you want to change? Am I “shut away”?

I am in that moment aware and accepting of my Being. What do I want to do next? I want to go where I have feared to go, into my feelings desires and judgments, bringing them to consciousness. I want further to integrate myself.

The tears communicate to me how strong my feelings are.

Do you see these as equivalent:

Calm = in control
Emotional = impulsive

Mmm. Not sure. What do I fear? Sabotaging myself. Being impulsive, I will foul things up.

-A risk?
-No, a certainty.

When the lid’s off, I will be hurt. Yet now what hurts me are my own internal controls. “I would like to appear calm, my feelings not apparent,” I say, and instantly see it is not true: I can see that both calm and impulsive can have advantages in particular situations (intellectually, rationalising now) and that holding my feelings down for a semblance of calm- or restraint, which is powerless if arising from fear- is self harming. Sometimes calm, sometimes expressiveness, is appropriate, and people get it wrong all the time- it does not matter as much as I fear it does. It feels like a matter of life and death.

Christina really would have been better using crutches, or a wheelchair, or even a trolley like Porgy.

I am pulling myself forward. I strive to live authentically. Unlike hers, my legs may get stronger.

A man wants to make yet another short film about Quakers, and I fancy taking part. What is my work? Excavating, empowering, expressing this authentic feeling. I strive to live authentically.

What could I say on film to show my work has value?
-By valuing it yourself.

I do not submit to his judgment of me, but I would like to be part of this.

Childhood trauma

What is trauma? When the being fears dissolution, because it loses trust in its ability to save itself, or faces an unbearable threat from outside.

I start with Tina by talking of things which please me. I was proud of that AM. Without my contribution over three years it would not have been as beautiful as it was. And then I was-

I know the word. It is in my mind, and I started the sentence knowing that was what I would say, but I cannot say it. My inner critic shuts me down. I pull together the ability, and eventually say it-

brave.

Now I have to say what was “brave”. That exposes me to Tina’s judgment, and the inner critic projects on her that it will be unfavourable. And the inner critic has to have its cake and eat it: that I imagine the situation might be difficult shows that I am worthless, but even though I am so worthless as to find it difficult, facing it shows no bravery.

“It was an awkward situation,” she says. Yes. Certainly awkward, so I could face it or hide from it. If “brave” is too strong, the word “awkward” will do.

Much of my anger and fear comes from old stuff, and I have been pleased recently by moments that emotion seemed to flow healthily, a reasonable response to current circumstances. That past emotion does me no good now.

-It is judged- by the inner critic?

By me, actually. It does not serve me. It blocks my actions. It stops me meditating.

Do I need to name the trauma? No, she says, but I need to resolve it for my younger self. The younger self is still judged, and that prevents my integration- for I am that child as well as this adult.

And then it strikes me. I judged those feelings at their origin- I was not enabled to accept my anger and fear, because they were wrong. This is toddler or pre-toddler response. Then I suppressed my anger. It curdled, and it still sits in me. That small child remains angry and fearful. And I still judge the anger and fear, because it is relates to old stuff and it gets in my way- that is true, but unhelpful. If I could cease to judge it-

The memories might be so distant that you could not resolve the trauma or say why it is traumatic. A man she worked with brought it into awareness through lucid dreaming, not to relive it but to be with his younger self. He found he had not had a wholesome childhood, played unselfconsciously, or been happy- so he made one. He took the younger self on outings where it was not judged.

Trauma is about self-worth. (I am not worthless, but do not entirely believe that.) All parents give you all the faults they had. They say “Don’t be silly” and you believe that reaction silly, ever after.

After our last meeting, I felt I was not so much going in circles as turning on the spot. This feels much better. Much to do, but some chance of progress. It is not so that I can go back to work, or so that I can make a contribution, but-

so that I might be more effectual in achieving things I find worthwhile.

Oh, and that. I am pleased with that decision. I can frame it in words which judge it. I should not go back on my word. Well, no, I should not. And, I do not run away from things but face problems squarely– again, a virtue of the person of integrity- but these words don’t seem to fit the real situation. Seeing I can accomplish nothing I find of value, I withdraw. That seems to fit much better.

margaret-sarah-carpenter-selina-fitzwygram

Niagara and Vesuvius

I wait for R at the bus stop. A woman at the end of the shelter says, loudly, “No heating or hot water! How are we going to live without heating and hot water?”

I thought, I can tell you this, and got out pen and paper to take notes. The man near her seems to be phoning quietly to sort the matter, but she, despairing and angry, cries out in response to his quiet tone, inaudible to me. Then she takes the phone and harangues the other, possibly her mother.

It’s because I am racist. It’s because I am fucking English. We cannot judge the depth of wickedness of her racism, but clearly she does not know words to mitigate or conceal it, and possibly does not understand the charge. She listens a moment. I told them all that! I can’t have the baby there. She [social worker? Landlord’s rep? Housing officer?] says they want us out. I don’t know why they’re doing this. They wrote down all I said and I signed it. I don’t know what I signed. They reported us to the landlord before. They said we didn’t share the fridge. They make up bullshit and report us for nothing. They smoke in the room! £480 a month for that one room! No heating and hot water as well. They have come in to Swanston in an attempt to sort things out but apparently it has not worked. He takes her by the hand and pulls her away, along Church St. She does not seem to be resisting, only dilly-dallying.

I have lunch with R, then go to get the bus home. I am to talk to Tina at 4, but the bus does not come at 3, nor at 3.30, and though it should go the other way from the same stop, it does not. So I go for a taxi, which costs £11.50 plus 50p tip. I am pleased with this. My increasing frustration with a little anger moves me to solve my problem. I can afford the occasional taxi. I treated myself to the bus because when I cycled yesterday I was really cold, and this morning it was drizzling. I get the only taxi at the rank; another comes just after, and is taken almost immediately.

The frustration moved me to sort my problem out, making a clear judgment of the situation- no bus will come in time- but anger is pointless. At whom? It is not the driver’s fault. There is nowhere to express it and no fight or flight to use it on.

And then I talk to Tina and it seems pointless. I cannot see a way of bettering my situation. The standard ways- get a job, get voluntary work to give me something worthwhile to do, repulse me. I like writing for my blog, with minimal editing, minimal judgment. I cannot see a way of bettering my situation. I do not want to write for publication elsewhere. At the bus stop frustration drove me to action but my frustration now makes me miserable without action. I beat myself up- I should be able to find something better- but forgive myself as well. I am miserable and inactive. Is it a “sense of entitlement”?

I had a moment of joy, seeing trees through the taxi window.

I quote Modern Love XXXIV by George Meredith.

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.

I am both these characters, locked together in my misery. Rage and flooding tears are alike useless.

-Can you remember when you first felt these things?

I can remember first being conscious of them, but not of first feeling them, presumably in childhood. So I say, No.

-Can we just stop and fix another time?
-Certainly.

-Then, tell me more about the dark side. “Contradictory chaos” sounds human. Not managing feeling but allowing it. I know you strive for gentleness.

So, what? Gentleness is not who I am? Not all I am, or not me at all (so being trans, “feminine”, is illusion)? I hear, strive for gentleness and think of ways in which that could be a bad thing.

 ♥♥♥

I do not want to be judged
because I cannot imagine myself not being found wanting
Even though others say things like, you have been a breath of fresh air and I realise the difficulties that you have faced and overcome.thomas-lawrence-mary-anne-bloxam

Desire and achievement

Our problems are intractable because they are solutions.

I had a good morning. I enjoyed taking those geese photos. I have produced something more than a mere snap, which takes effort, thought, and spending £200 on a proper camera rather than just using a phone. I have experienced the birds flocking, and created something beautiful. I found C strong, resilient, intelligent, outward looking and spiritual. I want her in my Quaker meeting. You know how when you see a characteristic in another, it means it is in you- that does apply to good stuff as well, doesn’t it? Tina laughs, and confirms, saying,

Our heroes tell us who we can be.

My paranoid fear meeting her was that she was from the DWP, sent to assess that I am fit for work. This is ridiculous, but I could not get it off my mind. Saying “I am not fit for work” is frightening. I’m just resting. Honest. I take a moment to sense my misery, pain, fear, sadness, loneliness. One can have too little self-pity.

I have to tolerate imperfection. It is all good.
-In whose eyes?
– God’s

…or mine…

which comes to the Same Thing-

That gets a laugh from her. I am enjoying this.

-Seeking attention can be a disorder. (That disturbs me).
-All disorders are aspects of personality, and a matter of culture. Disorders stop the organism. It strives to be healthy. The disorder derails it from society and community and forces it to focus on itself, impairing its functioning. It causes harm- so we see bestiality as a disorder, because animals are not seen as capable of consent. Though a bestialist said, if you think you don’t need a horse’s consent you don’t know horses.

My funders for this counselling imagine that it will get me out of the house, engaged and working. I doubt it will.
-And that bothers you, because you are ethical.
I am not sure, actually. I want to be higher functioning, to desire something and do it, but not necessarily to be useful. It has to be my desire.

That brings me back to “problems are intractable because they are solutions”. I am dissatisfied. Yet I have time and freedom to go to the park and take those geese photos.

I am going to be in a magazine in November. Not paid for it, but in print. Yet now I am not writing for publication at all, possibly because I cannot imagine being published even after experiencing it. It is a matter of belief, perhaps. I like taking photographs or writing for my blog- it gets a few likes.

-Would you write if you could imagine publication?

I am avoiding disappointment. Or anticipating it, even creating it.

I want to manage my own feelings. This is my first goal. I want them to be bearable. We will discuss this next week.

thomas-lawrence-sally-siddons