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.

Chin up, lipstick on

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?

Gospel of Thomas, saying 114:

Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are
not worthy of Life.”
Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her
male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you
males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven.”

I saw the truth before I started my first job. I went down from the University of Aberdeen to a small solicitors’ office in Aberatholl, Perthshire, and wrote in my diary, “I cannot endure this job. I have to enjoy it.” Then I Endured. Strap down the emotions, stop feeling, get on with it. That has been my pattern for working since, a recipe for building fear and anger to intolerable levels.

J does not think of hers as a “woman’s blog”, but here she is discussing creativity with Julia Fehrenbacher, and a lot of what they say is about transcending the “I’m not good enough” thoughts, overcoming doubt, stopping the need for control and letting creativity flow: achieving these things, actually, but with the doubting criticising voices behind. That post led me to Soul Speak, another blog where most of the commenters are women, and another post on going into the creative space, away from the dark places of the doubting thoughts.

I am struck that the steps forward I imagine can feel both too small- inadequate, insufficient, not good enough- and at the same time too big, too frightening, requiring too much courage. Both these thoughts are illusion, both feel so real.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s concerns are different:

What are the habits and practices that will educate our passions and allow us to shape a credible narrative of the self, understood against the backdrop of some idea of what the “excellence” of human nature might consist in?

The basic question is how we most seriously and honestly turn our scrutiny on ourselves and how we become able to bear that scrutiny. In more traditional words, we need some vocabulary that evokes both repentance and absolution.

It is not generally true that men bullshit, but they do seem able clearly and forcefully to present their case and their ability and their recommendations. So, for Rowan, the question is how to get the person (man) to criticise himself, not how to get him to stop. Professor?

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!
There heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!
They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating,
vacillating, calculating, agitating,
Maddening and infuriating hags!

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic’ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Well, why can’t a woman be like that?
Why does ev’ryone do what the others do?
Can’t a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do ev’rything their mothers do?
Why don’t they grow up- well, like their father instead?

-etc, etc. From My fair lady.

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Beth, who is 57 and writes so movingly about caring for her elderly mother and end of life issues wishes to interview, and share the stories of care givers. Contact her at her blog.

The American Psychological Association has opposed the Defence of Marriage Act in court.

Shadow

There is a part of the self which is natural, spontaneous and free-flowing. She may be suppressed under a conventional conformity. When so suppressed, she appears evil, because she chafes against the conformity, and resists it, which the ego finds frightening. The ego has adopted conventionality under great pressure, and sees no other way. When she can be freed, the spontaneous self is powerful and beautiful, because she is loving and creative.