The Monster didn’t get me

but it was a close run thing. This is why people drink.

I still don’t know what I feel, sometimes. There is a feeling, behind a wall. I don’t consciously know it is there. So on Tuesday before I didn’t go into the office I didn’t know I wouldn’t and even after I didn’t I didn’t know why.

No motivation.
Depressed.
Didn’t feel like it.

This morning I got up earlier and then when I had to get ready and go I put down my phone with which I was distracting myself and felt

fear.

The Monster will get me.It became clear to me. I feel real fear. I do not fear anything in the world, in reality, outside my skin, but looking bad to- something, either my mother introjected or my own judgment of what she wanted, but the fear is real.

As I cycled in I kept reminding myself.

What I fear is not in the world.
What I fear is not going to happen.

What I feared was being inadequate so disappointing my mother so death. This is a small child’s reaction controlling a woman of fifty-three.

When I got in I told Caroline this, just managing not to cry, and she hugged me. Her son had seen a terrible accident the day before, when someone died.

People are concerned for me and glad I am here, not hating and despising me. People are humans not monsters. Yet the fear was real, enough to keep me away, enough to hide from my awareness, enough to keep me distracted by my phone rather than facing the world.

I was tired before I could go home, less than five hours later.

What have I achieved? I have faced an illusion which terrified me. I have seen the truth enough to doubt the illusion and keep going.

I have cycled to an office four miles away with good-enough people in it, and done a bit of typing and photocopying.

I am proud of myself and my inner critic says that’s nothing, anyone could do far more, you’re still useless, and projects the judgment onto anyone reading this. But not well enough to stop me publishing this post.

I would love to universalise this, to make my human journey worthwhile by using my writing skills to give valuable lessons to others. Without that it feels so much struggle for so little result. But it is my struggle, and my result.

In other news, the GP referred me to a clinic for an NHS wig, and they refused, saying they provided them to people with cancer or a diagnosis of alopecia from a consultant. They suggested I contact the gender identity clinic.

My GP wrote to the GIC, and had a wonderful letter back:

She attracted a straightforward diagnosis of transsechalism… and a further appointment would be a grotesque waste, rather the same as a patient having to be re-examined to confirm that their leg is still amputated. I imagine that this patient would be likely to benefit from a wig in exactly the manner that you outline.

I hope it is enough to get me a wig from the local trust.

Character, aptitude, value

I am not worthless, useless and hopeless, however much it seems that way to me. Embrace the evidence to the contrary!

Awesome,” she said, and I explained laboriously how only the bridge was my contribution. “Awesome bridge,” she said. People build me up, and I see how much I need it. That woman denied she was creative, and I sought to persuade her otherwise. I might say, you have had problems in your life: have you ever found solutions? Does that emerge as an insight which amazes and delights you, or leaves you quietly satisfied?

With a range of people from, say, Ranjana Srivastava, seeking to improve life and alleviate suffering, and Jeffrey Epstein happy to destroy people for his momentary gratification or to increase his power, I am at the right end of that range.

I am creative. I can be persuasive. I speak well. I write well. I make up stories of possibility. If I were to go back to the Turbine Hall I might take down the top of one of those towers for a source of bricks and either build a series of wee houses two bricks high or a wall across the table. Or I might be inspired by other work to do something else.

I am caring and supportive. I can be a good listener and find ways to build others’ confidence.

When I devote myself to a task I devote myself entirely. I spend myself- we spend ourselves, accepting damage or deterioration in the service of what we most want, as a woman may be incontinent of urine after pregnancy.

These manifestations of who I am delight me. I am most myself, being myself, acting as befits me. It is fitting and right. It is affirming and powerful.

I can be anxious, making mistakes in a hurry, or I can be composed and thoughtful, taking steps in order, making connections and understanding, inhabiting my power.

I am damaged. I do not know what I feel, often. That mantra helps:

I am here. This is. I am.

I take time to appreciate my surroundings, their beauty, solidity, value, fittingness which is bringing me into an appreciation of my own. If I notice I am behaving as if I am confused or anxious, that may indicate that I am confused or anxious. How have I been behaving? The feeling, brought into consciousness, may help me reassess my desires and actions. The feeling suppressed below consciousness makes me make mistakes, judge myself harshly, and be more stressed and inclined to withdraw, or be obnoxious.

My tactic of suppressing feeling helped me survive but in my adult self is weakness. The practice of mindfulness may bring me into my strength. It is liberating.

The self-concept, the imagined figure of who I imagine I ought to be, and the judgment, the idea that I am merely inadequate for not fitting it, are stripped away as I see who I really am now, respending in the moment to the actual situation.

This is particularly hard for a trans woman. We are fed an ideal of masculinity we cannot yet must fit, and seeing and valuing who we really are is a difficult task.

I am

PROUD

of this. How can you recognise your blind spots, what you cannot see, behind your illusions, what is not real? The illusion touches my perception as reality would. It is hard work, climbing out of Plato’s cave.

This sentence could only be in a Russian novel (in this case, Life and Fate) Her soul filled with the sense of life that is humanity’s only joy and most terrible pain. Or possibly Intensity- reality feels intense, far more so than illusion.

That image again, of coming out of a dark, cramped corridor, steadily getting darker and smaller, into overwhelming light and colour which I could not bear. I thought of it as coming out of my withdrawing from the world, or out of my shrinking into expressing my charisma, and just now of turning from illusion to reality and sensing my feelings. It is all of these. I have always known I must learn to bear the brightness or die.

Who am I?

Who am I?

I am Love.

The question “Who am I?” is a toddler’s question, and I approach it as a toddler. I did not learn this lesson well enough as a toddler- how blessed, to be able to go back to it!

I am Love. I am a human being, one of a social species, unable to live alone, needing a tribe, needing to bond. I am Love, which may have the advantage of promoting bonding but which I experience as delight in others and will for their good. I am Love, for God is Love, Love is God’s essence.

I am Will.

This is the toddler’s hardest lesson, which needs the best-adjusted, most loving parents to accomplish without some trauma. I want things which I do not have, even some, perhaps, which I cannot have. The parent can use this to teach deferred gratification, co-operation, sustained effort, hope and trust if the parent knows these things, but any difficulty the parent has with these will pass to the child. The sins of the fathers are visited on the children.

I am Playfulness.

I am joy, laughter, and delight. I have an affinity for every beautiful thing. We can bond and learn to know and trust each other in play. We can imagine new paths and possibilities. We can relax, completely.

I am Curiosity.

I am interested in life, and anything new or different. What is it? How could it be used for my purposes? Who are people, and what makes them tick? I want to know my world, to bless me and all whom I love.

I am Need.

I cannot live by myself, without the help of others. I cannot accomplish my desires. I have skills and gifts I may offer, but I cannot be independent. This too is a difficult lesson for a toddler. The parents can use it to dominate, to crush the child’s will. Yet it is part of being human- I would not want to be a polar bear, self-sufficient in the arctic ice.

I am in Meeting when I produce this list. I don’t know how it came to me, but I sat down about 10.10am reading a pamphlet on Love, noticed who is here, and found this around 10.40. This is who I am. I am certain of it. I wanted to know myself, and this is the foundation of knowing. There was one more lesson before the end:

I am Not worthless.

And I was pain. I was the pain of the lesson I learned as a baby, of my Worthlessness, the pain of carrying that lesson all my life, at first so deep in my essence that it affected everything in my life though I was not conscious of it it was just the truth part of the air I breathed or the reality I walked in. And then when I became conscious of it and found, intellectually, that it was not true, it was still there like a spider with its claws in my back, so that I could not shift it.

Now I have laid that burden down. I am Love, Will, Playfulness, Curiosity, Need. I am Not worthless. At best I have laid the burden down, at worst I have broken its back so that it may have some effect on me in the future but less and less. I am Not worthless. I am beautiful and true.

At home, I come up with a further characteristic.

I am Courage.

I will face down threats and go where I need to go. It is only human, after all.

Everything is beautiful II

I wrote on facebook,

Our mistakes, errors and failures
are beautiful

and Hazel wrote, “Mine aren’t.” Oh, Hazel!

Right now, consumed with shame, I wonder whether anyone has wasted her life and talents as badly as I. I have no job, house, children, savings, pension- prospects- I maunder away my life, bored and resentful, watching TV, dozing off, writing here.

(Attentive readers will notice the word “partner” is missing from that oft-repeated list. I have gone out a few times with someone. I would love to say “I am going out with” her, and only avoid that from fear of being presumptuous.)

Onywye. I reason myself out of my shame, and I feel my way out of it. I have always done my best. I could almost say, they are not mistakes, errors and failures, but attempts. They have been my best shot given my knowledge, understanding, levels of energy and motivation at the time. And if there is so much that I am not attempting, now-

my hurt is real. It is not, just, that I am weak, and should pull myself together. “I get on with life” said Neil, and I said, “Well, so did I, until I stopped”. That stopping, that Moment-

I thought I should cycle on the ball of my foot, rather than the instep, so put up my bicycle seat. Cycling felt wonderful. I noted that sometimes I was slipping my arse from side to side, and it felt like it could hurt my back- Dean later told me the seat too high can hurt the back, not necessarily for this reason. My metal pedals have a side with a bit of grip, so it will grip my toe rather than sliding down to the instep. Next day I climbed to the top of St Pauls, and that evening felt something go in the back of my ankle- I was frightened my ligament was damaged. The day after that, exuberantly I started pas de basque, and felt something go in my ankle again.

I watched other people cycling- not races on telly but people in the park, and the South Bank of the Thames, and ruefully saw that they all cycle on the instep. Though Dean says the power should come from the calf muscle.

Friday night I tried cycling. My ankle feels alright. I decided to leave the seat up, and do that nine mile run. I was monitoring my back, thighs, knees, legs, taking care, taking reasonable risk.

I showed courage. When my inner critic denies this- I know enough not to project her denial onto you-  I say I had experienced pain, and feared I had damaged myself, and doing the same thing scares me, quite reasonably. Yet I did it, safely enough. I am proud of myself.

How wonderful to learn to value myself and take care of myself! I am not just listening to the voice saying “Fucking get on with it you useless prick, there should be nothing to it for anyone not as worthless as you…”

How wonderful to achieve what I have, when I did not know this! That stopping, that Moment

It was the best thing I have ever done!

Topmost niche

Positively Clare

I have always faced the world with Courage, Love and Hope.

My mother said I was a good baby, quiet, giving little trouble, liking to be left under the trees to watch the light through the leaves. In delight she told of me singing to her. My beautiful self, soft, gentle, feminine, submissive yet playful and dramatic, was never accepted by her. She had me without wanting me, because it was the conventional thing, and was beset by fightings and fears, within, without. So she looked after my physical needs, and I looked after her hurts, curbing those parts of me which disturbed her, being the “good” child she wanted. She controlled me completely, making all my clothes- knitting socks and pullovers, cutting and sewing shorts. I supported her, caring heroically.

So my persona aged around 20 felt controlled. Others observed me as The Professor, pedantically explaining, or easily hurt, or sweet, which I recognise now, but I was unconscious of my feelings- and that was strong and beautiful, the best way I had found to cope with strong and difficult feelings. In my first job as a solicitor I found my delight in doing something useful and creative, my stubbornness, pushing on to my goals, and a love of country dancing.

I could not suppress all feeling. I bought and purged women’s clothes compulsively, so sought aversion therapy to control this.

In February 1999 I was born again, discovering my true self free and relating for the first time, and it felt like being someone entirely different. I recorded it in this verse, which frightened me at the time and which I now love: my poetry has been a way into my unconscious, and sometimes my conscious self has caught it up, understanding only later. Now, I am being that self more and more, and it feels like life made intense.

I decided it was time to rebel against my parents. I realised how I lied to myself to see myself as a good person, and set out to uncover my lies and blind spots, or my protections, my denials of what had been too painful for me to tolerate.

I transitioned in April 2002, and had my operation in February 2004, and gender recognition certificate on 30 January 2006: The above named person is, from the date of issue, of the gender shown. I am proud of my courage and determination in achieving this.

In the years since, I have found my true self and am more and more able to express myself as I am. Increasingly I accept my feelings and am conscious of them as they happen. I release my bonds of shame. I am my beautiful self. Myself I know.

I have always done what I needed to do to protect myself and advance my interests, and my world has been supportive, with beautiful friends. Sometimes it has felt precarious but I have always been warm enough and well fed. Increasingly I care for myself: I tidied my house yesterday and it is pleasanter to live in. I choose to liberate myself.

I have made this post without apology, stating the truth. I am made in the image of God, loving, creative, powerful, beautiful. I have responded to my circumstances as best I knew, in creativity and love.

All is well, and all is well, and all manner of thing is well….

Profile picture

And now, I permit myself a little panic:

It has been so difficult and I always saw myself as completely inadequate and blown around by winds and powerless and under Threat and I was going to call it “My Struggle” a bitter allusion to mock and denigrate it and put in joky asides to show I did not really believe it it was an act for a purpose and I am so ashamed and the Granite Statues are all judging me and IT IS TRUE it is true it is true it is true it is

true

Grace Anarchy

It has been a long journey for me, away from my self-hatred and contempt. In the war within myself, religion has been on both sides. I love this:

It’s like we Christians love the idea of grace, but we don’t want it distributed indiscriminately- we want make rules about it and dole it out carefully and strategically. It’s like we’re worried that if everybody knows that she’s loved and accepted by God – it will be Grace Anarchy! I want that. I want Grace Anarchy. I want people to be free to be who they are. It makes sense to me that the free-er people are, the BETTER people are. I believe in people because I believe in God. I think God knew what God was doing when God made each of us.

Peter, who is over ninety, does not understand me. He asked me once whether F, who is lesbian and butch, was a man or a woman. I confuse him by arriving at the Quaker meeting in a cycle helmet then appearing later in my wig. Once, when I was overheated and he saw me without my helmet he thought I was a man. I was irritated. I thought, I do not want to explain to Peter. I could ask someone else to explain to him. So he came up to me, again, this morning, and said “I thought you were two people”. I told him I wear a wig, and took it off to show him. I did not start on being trans. Maybe later. Ernest, who is over ninety and nearly blind, mistakes my voice for a man’s.

It was much easier than I had feared. Just because he does not understand, does not mean he condemns. It has seemed to me he lives among so much that he does not understand, and I took that as an important lesson to keep as flexible in thought as I can, hearing the world view of the next generations: because I will still be around when the world is theirs.

My trust levels are low. I need to practise trust. It is alright. As I accept and trust others, I am freed. I could almost be glad that Peter asks: he is my example.

My friend confessed a compulsive obsession to me. I am so glad to hear it: it shows she trusts me. I am glad to be trustworthy.

Just for bloggers: I always use the useful editor, rather than the beep-boop, because the beep-boop does not always record posts, and is generally horrible. With The Penguin’s script, you can too. All links will go to the useable editor, rather than the beep-boop. WordPress is generally user-friendly, so its pointless, arrogant attack on its users irked me.

Eugénie Salanson-Marquise de Croix

Fear and courage

Why should going to the supermarket need courage?

I am in my best ever state of self-acceptance; femininity is OK. I am still entrapped by fear of the world and despair. Leaving my front door can take courage.

Well, what could go wrong?

Something completely dreadful, inexplicable, incomprehensible, could strike out of the blue, and I would die. At least I would be humiliated and crushed beyond repair.

Clearly, I am back in very small child territory. The monster will get me. I am doing my thing, and suddenly THE ANGRY MOTHER appears, and the bottom falls out of my world. I can only approach safety by only doing exactly what she wants, and I cannot always work out what that is. Better to do nothing than cause (for I am responsible) her anger. So I did. My life was constrained by her complete control.

Anything I want to do is equally dangerous.

Oh Wow. That is completely mindblowing. Here am I writing and I wish I could convey to you how I feel. It means that

if I can go to the supermarket,
then I can do Anything!

Or, to put it another way, the false barrier in my own head is the same for whatever action I might want to perform. If I can distinguish it from rational considerations and predictions of what might happen which I can produce as a rational adult, then I can gently pacify that hurting child.

It seems to be affected by my confidence level. When I lack confidence, perhaps because something bad has happened, I start to feel the monster will get me- perhaps because it feels like it has already. This may be what others call “overwhelm”. Or my procrastination may be exacerbated, because nothing can ever please the Monster. Whatever.

 The monster won't get me. 
There is no monster.

I have been doing some mirror exercises by Robert Holden. The world is your mirror- as you see yourself in the mirror, so you see the world seeing you. We see things not as they are but as we are. The first exercise is to declare to myself in the mirror, “I love you”. Yes. That is a lovely experience. I don’t have any of the self-judgments which others experience, about which Holden warns.

(I will change that. Avoiding putting the preposition at the end of the sentence feels clumsy and wrong. Which Holden warns about. Language is a living thing, and rules change, and I take refuge in this analysis

I’m back. The second exercise is to look in the mirror and say “Life loves you [or, ‘me’]”. Life, Existence, Being, God, whatever, but he says “Life”. Well, I am loveable- and when I say it I feel confused. Not uncomfortable, exactly. I think OK,,, yeah,,,

God loving me could be just me and God in our bubble. Life loving me is the beneficence of the World.

He says, “see if you can find the place where you can accept that life is not criticising or judging you, but is absolutely on your side.” If it is too much, say “Today, I am willing to let life love me”.

Perhaps my confusion is that I do not know what that love might mean. He says it is not about changing the World, but about noticing how the World is.

“Complete the sentence, ‘one way life is loving me today is…’.”

Basic trust is the realisation that you do not have to do life all by yourself. Support is everywhere.

David, 'Madame Récamier'I look in the mirror and say “Life loves me”, and am overcome by anger and misery. Well, it has a fracking awesome way of showing it. All this pain and loneliness! And if it is merely a matter of my “letting the Love in”-

how on Earth am I supposed to do that?

Courage

I am a woman of courage, and I did something courageous today. But first I want to say where I am.

I have lived my life trapped beneath self-contempt so deep that until I was 33 I loathed and denied who I am: I pretended to myself I was something else so hard that I believed it. And I still have contempt for myself, though it lessens.

And in my years as a recluse I have moved from despising my femininity, to celebrating it. What keeps me here is my fear of the world, and my despair. So it would behove me to deal with those, as well as recognising and celebrating my achievement in accepting my own femininity.

I have always felt

that each success was only to be expected
so nothing to be proud of
but each failure was a
DISASTER
again proving beyond doubt my worthlessness.

Not particularly healthy.

One of the gifts of the Hoffman Process was to see how much we follow patterns ingrained in our parents, unfree whether we copy them or rebel. During that week I identified one of my patterns and called it “Shit-hoovering”- collecting stories about how threatening the World is, in order to justify fleeing it. Hoffman says that once one sees the pattern, one is freed and at choice whether to follow it or do something else. Um.

How great my fear is!

So, what was the courageous act? I cycled down to the shop in Marsby for groceries, a two mile round trip.

I was even frightened of that. The inner critic pipes up with the “even”, so I reject it. I was frightened of it. I did not want to go. I did not want to leave my house. I did not want to speak to anyone. So in the shower at 3pm I bigged it up.

Because I fear it, 
This is something 
COURAGEOUS.
It is worthwhile, because it is caring for myself. 
I have denied my courage for too long.
I will celebrate my courage.

Indeed I thought of boasting of it here.

A woman stopped by the kerb to let me pass before she crossed the road, and as I passed her started to sing “I believe I can fly.” The song circled in my mind as I cycled on.

I will celebrate every single ACHIEVEMENT.
I am where I am. 
Monet, Camille

Pride

 

What do I have to be proud of? This is important: unemployed, not quite friendless, and much of the time hiding in my living room because that is the only thing I have control over, I need to trust myself, and for that I need pride in something. I had thought of doing posts on what can the British be proud of- the Empire, the War, Cool Britannia? Even my posts about other things are really posts about me. What may I be proud of?

Oddly enough, my web of illusion. As I seek, now, to free myself of it, I realise that I have created it myself, and that I created it to protect myself. It did its job. I am OK, comfortable, I have the time to find better ways of being in the World.

My growth and maturity and healing. For example, moving just recently from that emotional block against trusting my intuition. It was an emotional block, and it was very strong. And now I can accept intuitive promptings, without needing to construct an argument. “It is my intuitive prompting” is sufficient. That is a huge move for me. I am not just vegetating, I am healing and growing, as I have always been. That huge move last year from negative to positive– I am still working it through, and part of that is seeing challenges as opportunities-

no, I am not there-
Seeing the blessing, where I would just have seen difficulties. So all that foutering with the hormones (actually, I am sure the Scots word is linked to the French verb foutre) helps me to see and accept my emotions.

And transition took courage. Some people do not manage it. It took years of preparation, of learning: I can buckle down to something and worry at it- also illustrated by my skills on the piano. I am loving and caring. I am creative.

My inner critic is picking away at everything positive I say here. And I am still saying it. I had not come across Henri Rousseau before looking for an illustration for this post. I love his work.