Humiliation can be joyous. It is the moment when my understanding of the world and myself meets reality, and reality wins. With new understanding of the world, I function better, and with new understanding of myself cognitive dissonance and all-pervading dissatisfaction are resolved.

Of course it can break a spirit. The humiliation of torture is designed to break spirits. Punishment including imprisonment was designed to break spirits and prevent resistance or non-compliance. Some authorities attempt to mitigate punishment with rehabilitation, as it is better to persuade a person to comply, or heal their hurt and anger so that they are motivated to comply, but spirits are still broken in the prison system. Or torture can fail, and invigorate resistance with a sense of burning injustice. Seeing others tortured, some are frightened and some are empowered.

The good humiliation frees you from oppressive lies. The lie is that a human being should be a particular way, enforced by false pride in being that way, and terrible fear in case my pretense to being that way is found out. I invest all my sense of self, self-respect and belief in my safety in protecting the lie, so am oppressed and distorted, miserable and ineffectual. In humiliation, the lie explodes. It stands revealed- not a framework and firm footing, but a cage. Then comes freedom. I can see myself and other people. I can see what needs to be done, what is good and beautiful and to be desired, and my own reality and worthiness.

I flee in terror from what would liberate me.

Pride is necessary for human functioning. Self-respect motivates us to take care of our appearance, to appreciate the good we deserve and to seek it. Without pride existence becomes mere struggle for survival. Yet it has to be pride in matters worthy of pride: in real things, not illusions, in beauty and community and togetherness not isolation.

I transitioned because I wanted to fit in. My sexual desires humiliated me, so I acted to cut them off. I lacked the courage and faith to face the humiliation, and pass through it into joy.

It is not too late. I want things which are meaningless and worthless, to hide away, to not stand out or be noticed, to find a set of rules for living and fit them and know I am a good person because I fit them; and I want one good thing, which is my own survival. If I stopped fighting for these illusions which I can never gain, and which would never satisfy, what might I want instead? I self-punish, harshly judging myself: could I turn that aptitude to cleansing myself of the ties that bind me?


What I want VI

What counts as winning an employment tribunal? A lawyer who charged claimants directly might say, a decision that there was an unfair dismissal was a win. However, that can be made without compensation: the dismissal is technically unfair if certain procedures are not carried out, but the tribunal may award no damages if it considers the claimant would have been dismissed if there had been fair procedures. I would say you do not “win” unless your winnings cover your legal costs, and a reasonable amount for your time effort and stress in pursuing the claim. Claiming is effort, and if you don’t get money for that effort it is wasted. A decision that you were unfairly dismissed shows potential employers that you are a trouble-maker.

So there.

This has been running in my mind for a week. I could not persuade a particular claimant that their employment tribunal is ill-advised, and why would I want to? Because I would be doing her a good turn, perhaps. Caring for her. I won’t even tell her the argument, even though it is so clever and so clear. And yet, I think of it.

What do I want? I want to acclimatise myself to the slowly cooling weather so that I can spend less on heating but not be too uncomfortable. I want to scroll through facebook and check my blog stats. I want to watch television. What about a job? No. Really, really, No.

Whitman, for example, was the prophet of diversity. The point is not for all of us to approximate a single model or a fixed pattern of living. Instead, “the supreme goal of democracy is to promote the uniqueness of every individual” — for each person to be vibrantly distinct.

Democracy isn’t a political or legal bargain. It’s enchanted like romantic love, but on a larger scale. Each democratic citizen receives the love of her fellows as a gift to which the only appropriate response is gratitude and love in return. How might I find that vibrant distinctiveness in me? What I want, perhaps. I was groping for this quote- where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet– and my google attempt was where the worlds need and your heart’s deep hunger meet. Mmm. Gladness.

One thing that pleases me is to do something I consider generous or altruistic, and I like that characteristic in myself. It seems good for social bonding, and an appropriate characteristic in a social species. Then I read somewhere that it might arise from abuse- the beaten-down child tries to make the abuser happy, because that might make her safe for a moment. OMG!! My winsome characteristic just became a symptom?

Does that make it less winsome?

I sit here thinking, “What I want” does not seem to get me going, how can I coax myself into something better? Could I persuade myself to try small goals, to build belief in self-efficacy? Richard says that revulsion prompts him to tweet, blog, or sign and share petitions- that internet activism which anyone may dabble in- and a large proportion of people will vote for one Presidential candidate because they hate the other. That does not work for me. My basin is dirty. Yuck, I think, and turn away. Belief that it could be clean might attract me. Or, Reality. You have to get this clean- or this vagina dilated- and it takes as long as it takes as often as it takes. Get it clean or don’t, but don’t tell it that a particular amount of effort ought to be enough. “Sense of entitlement”.

Stop thinking, and do. Someone said law graduates with ordinary degrees were better, they got on with a task while the Honours grads sat and thought about it. Stop analysing in words and do what you want. Words might not get me from Who’ll be my role model? to angels in the architecture.

Work through the anger and grief and thereby come to Acceptance?

A stranger comes to the Quaker meeting and behaves suspiciously. You need not sit so close when there are so many empty seats- is he coming on to the older women, with that huge charm? Could he be preparing for a con? So we take reasonable precautions, recognising the possibility that he is bona fide and hoping precautions will not blind us to that, thinking it through. Sitting so close.

I hope that my slow thinking might make my fast thinking more useful.


There’s so much that I love here. “Your deep gladness” even if I thought it your heart’s hunger; the idea of distinct individual vibrancy growing and maturing in love; finding fulfilment through desire. I went looking for a George Orwell quote, my idea of it too vague for Google to find it. Something about the vast majority of people finding scraping a living all they could manage in life so that they wanted no more. I found this by Jack London:

The great mass of the working people was separated from the land. The old system of labor was broken down. The working people were driven from their villages and herded into factory towns. The mothers and children were put to work at the new machines.

Looking for it I found two other Orwell quotes:

If you live for others, you must live for others, and not as a roundabout way of getting an advantage for yourself.

And there is another feeling that is a great consolation in poverty. I believe everyone who has been hard up has experienced it. It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs–and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.

Ann said my thinking and analysis get in the way. Just be. Are you a visual person? No. Not at all. I am a verbal person. Thinking and analysis is what I do.

Anne suggested I had “grown up” more than she, which surprised me- what she identified was not wanting things. Something like ambition ends, and there is acceptance. Finding “what I want” might be a good aim, but not a panacea. I want a panacea, I want it to be easy, I want to understand, I want to be comfortable and not feel unpleasant emotions, I want conflicting things, I am here, now.


You are a perceptive introvert. You are a very thoughtful, reasonable, reliable and quiet person. You seek balance in life and you are very content being alone. You love reading books, learning new things, challenge yourself and have a good one-on-one conversation with an inspiring and knowledgeable person. People around you love your wise aura and enjoy seeking advice from you!

What I want V

I want a mature industrial democracy, where the workers by hand and brain, in full control of their means of production, exercise that control freely and generously for the common good: where they may provide comfortably for their families, and then give from the abundance to anyone in need. Where their work is sustainable, and they live without exploitation, caring for the world and all life on it.

From each according to their abilities, to each according to their need.

-But that’s Utopian. “No-place”-ish.
-Well, I am a Quaker. We seek to build the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth. And there is just a chance that I might be able to help build such an industrial democracy, by co-operating with those with that aim, who have taken steps towards it, not to be reached in my lifetime but with clear progress visible.

And- there is the ultimate goal, the full beauty, and the step to be taken now. It is difficult to see.

So they built as men must build
With the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.

There are no rules here. If I said, Do not look to the final goal- stare downwards, so that you may see the next step- that might seem sensible, and you might miss the next step. “We have faith that way will open,” say Quakers: we don’t know how, but believing that it is possible to make things better is necessary, in order to get out of bed. If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him- for knowing is possible but fleeting and uncertain, missteps are a constant risk, panaceas against missteps are so, so tempting illusion. That was the title of a book I read about fifteen years ago, amazed at its wisdom and how I was learning The Meaning of Life- but if I had kept it to read again now it would not give me the same feeling.

He quoted Godel, Escher, Bach which I have not read: you may be conscious, and conscious that you are conscious, and conscious that you are con- in endless iteration. I counter with something I read somewhere, that you may either be conscious of a thing, or conscious of your consciousness, but not both: you switch your attention, and the thing outside yourself disappears, so that you are only thinking of yourself. This is philosophy and psychology: we build a picture and an illusion of perceiving it all, but pay attention to constantly changing small parts all the time, like the scanning of a cathode ray tube.

There is a science fiction novel- I heard this, I have not read it- where the Invaders take over the bodies of politicians, military personnel, business executives, and use them to further their invasion plot; and the original owners see all their captors see, hear what comes out of their mouth, unable to influence it. A vision of Hell.

What do you Want?

The phone rings. Fxxk.
-Can I speak to Clare Flourish?
-Who is it? (angrily)
-The Blood Transfusion Service. (I should not be unpleasant to them.)

So I told him that the reason I have given blood is that I want to imagine that I am a good person; that this does not work; and that therefore I want him to remove me from their records.

Chaos of thought and passion, all confused…

-That’s Pope.
-From An Essay on Man, III. (Actually I have just looked that up, in a paperback- I told him it was from “Know then thyself- presume not God to scan”.)
-You beat me. A quote I did not know.
-Oh! I did not want to beat you! (But I did, obviously, to show off my erudition and taste, or I would not have looked it up just now.)

What do you Want?

I don’t know. There are conflicting motivations in my brain and psyche, which may surface in consciousness or not; which I may misunderstand, which conflict, which may present themselves as something other to my consciousness. I want heughmagandie, and that part which wants it, wants it with no heed to consequence. Sometimes I find what I want when I see what I do: the want is too difficult for the conscious self-concept to admit.

“Let’s talk next week.” Oh, God. Only if I can get something from it. Only if I can feel slightly less desolate than I do now. What do I want? Impossible things, and the seeming of taking a step towards them; and if I seemed to move towards them, I would want more, so that I may never be satisfied. From the desolation of my dearth I offer illusion and false hope, distraction from the reality that we will all die, and are all alone. I betray myself, doing what seems to be a step towards WHAT I WANT, but it is delusion leading to misery.

This is good, actually- honest! I am understanding more, conscious more. Step by step…

Arshile Gorky, the liver is the cocks comb

Non-free media rationale: I wanted to pinch Arshile Gorky’s picture, so I did.

Amputees by choice

Should people who have a desire for the amputation of a healthy limb receive that treatment? In this paper Tim Bayne argues yes.

What causes the desire? Bayne distinguishes Body Dysmorphic Disorder from Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder: in BDD, the “wannabe” believes the limb is diseased or ugly, and in BIID the person’s identity does not include the limb. In both the wannabe knows the limb is part of their body, unlike in deafferentation, where people rationally recognise the limb is theirs but only know where it is from visual clues, so that learning to walk again is difficult. Some amputees have phantom limbs, even trying to use those limbs eg to answer the telephone.

A wannabe might have apotemnophilia or acrotomophilia, the sexual desire to have an amputation or attraction to amputees. The attraction may be a projection: few apotemnophiles form permanent relationships with amputees, as it is never the right amputation. There is overlap between devotees, those who pretend to have an amputation, and wannabes. In a survey of only 52 subjects, 87% admitted sexual arousal. Bayne suggests that some wannabes might have BIID, some BDD, even some both, and if there was a sexual component this does not invalidate the desire: Perhaps the sexual element is better conceived of as common, though not inevitable. Sexuality is an essential ingredient in most people’s sense of identity. Like Gender Identity Disorder, BIID might be importantly sexual without ceasing to be essentially concerned with identity.

What could justify a surgeon amputating? Harm minimisation: many will damage their limbs in a dangerous way. Autonomy: an individual’s conception of their good should be respected. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not forced to have blood transfusions. Whether it is morally relevant is that amputation is an act rather than an omission is questionable, especially where doctors have an obligation to promote health. Arguably wannabes are not competent to give informed consent, as they are deluded; but it is a specific individual delusion, they are otherwise rational, and given the delusion amputation is a rational response.

Some say an attempt to change the belief is an attempt to change their identity, who they are. Perhaps they have tried and failed: there is little evidence, but it is unclear another cure would work. There are feminist arguments against cosmetic surgery, that the desire for a different body is false consciousness, but people are allowed to seek it.

Incidentally Bayne argues that transsexual surgery is less acceptable, because trans women conform to stereotypes- weak, helpless and obsessed by appearance. Here I wonder if he is motivated by empathy or perceived kudos for putting an unattractive argument convincingly.

The operation will have a therapeutic effect if (i) wannabes endure serious suffering as a result of their condition; (ii) amputation will – or is likely to – secure relief from this suffering; (iii) this relief cannot be secured by less drastic means; (iv) securing relief from this suffering is worth the cost of amputation.

One writer claimed the desire for amputation has its origins in attention seeking sparked by the deprivation of parental love. I find I am able to appear needy, and attract those who like helping, by less drastic means; and this disbelieves the subject. Why do you want the amputation? Simply for itself. “It is who I am.”

Many will feel repugnance, as shown by my initial choice of title, a poor joke to cover my embarrassment- “Off with their Legs!” That is not a ground for refusing the operation. Disgust is no reliable indicator of moral objectionability.

Monet three trees in grey weather

What I want IV

When I am thirsty, I drink. Except I don’t.

I was unemployed and went back to my parents. I drank at the conventional times we all drank: tea with breakfast, morning coffee, tea after lunch, afternoon tea, a glass of water with dinner and hot chocolate with two ginger biscuits to dunk in it, before bed. I still do: a pint or more of tea with breakfast, same with lunch, and hot chocolate before bed- three ginger biscuits now, take three from the packet in the kitchen and take them to the sitting room rather than taking the biscuit tin. Tea when I meet him, coffee when I meet her. Rarely, I feel thirsty at other times and have something to drink. Or not: people take water when hill-walking, but some do not, perhaps from a self-image of ruggedness. None of this namby-pamby for them.

I have this mechanism to keep me hydrated, and I bypass it. Now, I need to pee, and resist: I want to develop capacity. It is useful pelvic floor exercise. And sometimes very drunk people fall over, and their over-full bladder bursts, a serious, life-changing injury.

Sweet dreams are made of this, sang Annie Lennox. So much is unconscious. So much of what I do is unconsciously to placate my parents, learned when small. I still want to please them, perhaps to feel safe.

I delight in feeling present in the moment, with beauty around me. One answer to what do you want? is, what pleases me. The experience of being present with beauty, in a gallery, with a book; or with a thing to see and appreciate, which can be concrete or an empty tin can as well as a flower.

Yesterday I went to see a friend. I used her as a counsellor- she does not seem to mind- and that starts with “How are you?” I could not answer. I was stuck in some conventional mode of interaction, where the answer is “Well, thank you,” because I wanted to move into that present awareness, but was aware that if I did my distress would overwhelm me. I said, “Let me get present”, and she gave me the time, and we talked of less affecting things. Actually it did not overwhelm me: I was conscious of it, and exhibited it, but could proceed while feeling that.

What I want to avoid is so important; yet it is OK. I need not avoid conscious feeling, or even expression of it.

I feel there is something I might want which I might have to work for, something more than the instant experience, something in the future- “Where do you want to be in five years’ time?”

Two days ago I wrote, We get told what we ought to want, what is good to want, and we get told it so hard that our other wants become unconscious and we think we want what we ought to want but there is no fire in that, no love, no delight or true desire. Find what you want- it is harder than you are told it is. Find what fires you and follow that. I will too when I work out how. But then “what fires you” is also a conventional understanding of vocation. Conventional understanding gets in the way of knowing. Krishnamurti: We eventually learn that spirituality is not about leaving life’s problems behind, but about continually confronting them with honesty and courage. It is about ending our feelings of separation from others by healing our relationships with our parents, co-workers, and friends. It is about bringing heightened awareness and compassion to our family life, careers, and community service.

Er, actually, that bladder thing? It’s the kind of thing you remember. Yet other googling shows it is rare.

Rossetti, the day dream

On a rare cold day this warm not-winter, my fingertips were painfully cold cycling, so I went into the outdoor shop for warmer gloves. I don’t like the thick, black things- but the shop assistant brought these, with that embroidered detail. It is pretty. Those were the ones I wanted. I looked at unappealing thick socks for inside walking boots, and she brought the women’s ones: pink, baby-blue and grey. The first I choose to wear are the pink ones.

I might have found these appealing when I was presenting male, though I could never have worn them; and still I resent my strong preference, as without it, it would be so much easier to fit in; and this feminist attacks meevery step forward where you embrace your femininity and consider being a woman needs a certain image leaves me moving one step backwards. I really do see how the pink would be offensive to a woman who wants another image and feels constrained into feminine, or judged for being unfeminine, yet I want the pink ones even though I wish I did not.

What I want III

I want to be safe. I do not and never have felt safe- this is not simply “because I am trans” and yet being trans has poisoned this, as everything else in my experience. I want to feel safe in the short term: medium/long term being less immediately important.

We were discussing Maslow’s hierarchy, and in this particular summary they are, Survival (food and water); Being safe; Feeling a sense of love and belonging; Having esteem; Self-actualisation; Knowing and understanding. Working with the homeless, said Eileen, knowing that they are not safe, she sees that they might consider the “higher” needs but only momentarily.

And so I retreat to my living room. This is only safe in the short term, and militates against “a sense of love and belonging” but has been the best I could do, given my false understandings of the world and my contempt for myself, and the way my other attempts at safety have been stripped from me as impossible and illusory. I wanted to fit in and support myself, and I could not.

I only sought work for safety. That is hardly unusual- I wonder how many people get beyond this stage if Maslow’s theory has any truth to it- but the safety I sought was against what will people think? in my particular false way of seeing that. My resentment is overwhelming: I resent being trans, even though I would not exist if I were not: this agglomeration of atoms as cis woman or cis man would be so entirely different from who I am. My rage and terror is greater.

I am not working towards medium or longer term safety because I do not see how: the effort will be too great, the chance of success too small. My old negativity has never gone away.

I get better. My contempt for myself lessens, as I realise its depth and bring it to consciousness. And now my contempt is conscious rather than the all-pervasive natural way things are, I may lessen it and consider my good qualities. Eileen did not understand why I needed to retreat, mentioning gifts including articulacy and intelligence. I can hear that, now. I would have heard it as a judgment- why do you not do something with them?- but not now.

Bringing this to consciousness I might start to consider medium-term safety rather than immediate safety.

Thinking, over the last three years I have been working as hard as I could, might bring me to amazed despair; or the hope that if I understand better I might manage more.

I want to be safe.
This is an entirely reasonable desire.

TItian, Diana and Callisto

At the Gender clinic IV

At Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic, Serra the psychotherapist grants me absolution over something which puzzles and shames me- or helps me find it for myself, which is better.

At the election, I felt it would be good to campaign for the Green Party. It seemed like a desire: to put leaflets through doors, to support our candidate, her motivation and her activity. Yet I did not, when others were doing it or on my own. I wondered at this. I have read that the best liars are the ones who believe their own lies, and wondered if this was me, pretending to a moral position others would find attractive without the reality of it. Nor was I certain how to distinguish a real desire from a fake one like this: I would like to place some reliance on conscious judgment as well as what I unconsciously do. I would feel more in control, even if that feeling was an illusion.

She called it the difference between what I want and what I feel I should want. It is alright to rebel against the Shoulds, to be myself. I am not conflicted, not really.

The day before, I saw Dr Lorimer, and asked him about the colo-vaginoplasty, which I had thought of asking since I first saw him twenty months ago. He said he might refer me to a surgeon. Oh! What do I feel about this? It is not the same as my previous surgery, as what I have now is so much better than what I had before that. Yet my opening scarcely accommodates two phalanges of a finger. It brings up old stuff, of the horrors of dilation and my sense of shame at failure.

I Want an opening in me, though I do not understand, though I am entirely gynaephile. It cannot be social pressure. I remember my mother’s adhesions after her bowel operation, for the removal of a cancer, and how sick they made her- but surgery has moved on a great deal in twenty years. Serra can help, giving me ideas about how to contact people who have had the operation. She herself has heard both good and bad experiences of this op from her patients.

I had expected Dr Lorimer to discharge me, and instead he referred me to his colleague Dr Lenihan. I thought, why should I see her, what good would that do me? My appointment is in November, and I may not attend. But I love to see Serra, who says lovely things, making me glow-
Because I believe them, she says-
and because I feel I am growing and changing and she helps.

I also asked him why take hormones, and he said, to avoid osteoporosis. Again, that makes little sense to me. People report a huge gain in energy on HRT, and it has seemed to affect my emotional lability. I should have challenged him, perhaps. Perhaps it is true.

I noted after that I said about that, how our unnamed understanding is real. (Today, Saturday, I feel such happiness having had a text from her.)

I make connections, I talk to people in the street, and that day I tried a high risk one: a woman, talking on her phone by the pedestrian crossing, said “He likes me!” I turned to her and said “Congratulations”. This merely confused her, it was not a good connection, and it will not put me off.

I told Serra of the Oresteia, and she said “I love hearing you on that play.” It was the right play at the right time for me. It made me understand it better.

Zhao Mengfu

Envy II

In December, I realised I have self-respect, for the first time in my life, and since then it has felt that I solidify. I am not at war with myself to nearly the same extent. I learn not to judge and deny my feelings. I grow and change. Then on Saturday I realised, that my question in this place, with these people, is not “How may I fit in?” but “How can I be myself, here, now?” It feels like one more liberation, on top of many.

I contain multitudes. There is so much of me that I have never accessed. One problem with associating with Quakers is that they tend to be highly intelligent, mature individuals who, while often profoundly counter-cultural still have the gifts for worldly success. So I hear of advanced degrees, and visit large houses: one woman apologised so prettily for the electric gates with camera, it was the previous owner’s idea and not hers, then showed off the huge kitchen, so beautifully appointed.

And I have thought that I am happy where I am, where I am is right for me, and these unsought gifts are so beautiful, and my healing is my labour and blessing. Now I feel upset when I hear Quaker ministry of how privileged we are, with our worldly success. Hmm. Upset- angry, sad- Envious. I was sitting on the Fulham Palace Road, outside a cafe, watching life go by, and I thought how much I want a car, to get where I want to go. I want that money.

I have no idea how to get it. I still feel bruised and hurt by work, which feels like it was an endless cycle of failure and humiliation ending in my despair and giving up. So, I am unsure how to deal with this;

and so, just possibly, my ministry in meeting on Saturday was ministry, for me and for others. Who could resist an audience like Meeting for Sufferings? There was that ministry about our privilege, and our large houses, and comfortable incomes, when we were reflecting on YM especially Minute 36.

I rose and said something like,

It is alright.
It is wonderfully liberating when you lose your dignity.
I am on the sick, on means-tested benefits.
I could lose all I have at any time (though so could most people)
There is the blessing. It is enough.

The minute was fairly dry, referring the matter to Arrangements Committee for more focused discernment at later meetings, but Isobel was moved by what I said, and would take it to Quaker Life Central Committee.

How strange, to say something so movingly Spiritual from a place of envy and desire for material things! That was Saturday, and I have only admitted my envy today (Tuesday) after further conversations on that Quakerly prosperity which I do not have. I admit it. It is me, and shame about it would do no good; though what I do about it may be good or bad.

Rembrandt, the descent from the cross

What I do

I heal, love, perceive, connect.

Imagining meeting people new to me, in two contexts in the coming week, I think of the “What do you do?” question, which I dislike- “What work did you do?” is worse. “I am a recluse,” I have said, and imagine other possibilities.

I fantasised, thinking of this post, a hostile questioner. Why should you imagine you are “hypersensitive”? What do you know of the feelings of others?  Most are not hostile. The challenge is from within myself, so I project it onto others.

My challenge is too harsh. Question with the desire of knowing, not of battering down.
-Never just accept!
-well, look for the truth in the assertion. What part is valuable? In tearing the wrapping from the present, do not damage the gift itself.

I have not learned to be comfortable with my feelings. I am not alone in this, and others feel inadequate, imagining everyone else has. I suppressed until I could not, then I fought and feared feelings, my fear making them more unmanageable. Now I seek to let them be, know them, use their energies: transmute my ball and chain into my chariot. Still I fear: I cannot show my feelings, or I will be Condemned.

I heal. And I Love, seeing beauty, wanting to nurture it, not knowing how. I want to do this creative thing, and when I get the chance it delights me. I could search out people needing my Care: I have been aware of such Carers before, and of people who enthusiastically offer them the chance to Care. A fbfnd did this, now hates herself for it and calls it dumping her vulnerability on others by trying too hard to be protective/ over-helpful and other subtle configurations. Possibly she judges herself too harshly. She certainly did me good, and probably that other woman I saw her with, and if she made mis-steps or gained herself when blinded or thirsty it is still generous and lovely of her.

I am not the parasite I might imagine.

I perceive. “You have fantastic emotional intelligence” said Anthony and I treasure that comment. I don’t see people immediately, and castigate myself for it, but I grow to see them. Allowing myself the time for this would make me more comfortable.

I connect. In the gender clinic on Thursday- as I write, that’s tomorrow, I have written ahead because I have been (past, as you read this) in London having fun- I will start conversations, and learn about someone, and enthuse, value and sympathise. God is in these connections.

This is what I want, to release my remaining bonds, to give these gifts where I may because they nurture me. I heal. It is the work I do.


Walking in the park, I was imagining ways that phone call could go, trying out phrases to find what I wanted to express, and how to express it. It really matters to me. I want to hide the bits which might irk or upset her, to be that person who will captivate her: and it could all go completely wrong! This afternoon!

(exaggerating the thought into clear absurdity liberates me of it; and yet-

Thoughts turned to a particular case, in the DAT last century. It was all there, but it was my particular brilliance in putting the case together that got middle rate care- something like £40 a week, then. That thought shocked and moved me and I felt pride and anguish: repeating Me! Me! I did that! It was ME! Pride that I did it, and anguish that I had not valued myself for it. Really, I am the most beautiful, complex, wonderful thing I am aware of.

Is there any way I could get back into law?

Thoughts turned to the Green Party. I did no work at all for the Green Party in the election. I did not push a single leaflet through a single door, I did not support Marion in her work, I would not be a paper candidate in a ward. There is a disconnect. I see something good, imagine I would like to do it, and do not.

Misery. I do not know what I want to do!

Then- I wanted that. Not just to clerk a business meeting but to clerk it in that way with that result.

All these wonderful jobs! Don’t want any of them.

How will I support myself? What will I do? I don’t know. I pray a way might open, some time this year… next year…

EAF Prynne, Jesus is taken down from the cross

Desire, action, achievement

I discover what I want, when I observe what I do. That is, the desires I actually act upon are opaque to me until I look back and see what I have done, where I have gone.

For example, either two and a half years ago I went from almost complete inadequacy, applying for a few jobs, doing voluntary work badly, to utter complete inadequacy, moping round the house all the time; or, alternatively, I withdrew from the World in order to have time and space for my psycho-spiritual healing. I would rather believe the latter, and it makes some sort of sense. I have healed, having greater acceptance and less pain.

There was certainly no conscious intention behind it. It felt like a failure, being unable to go on any more. Yet I could say that my whole organism, unconscious as well as conscious, has benefited, and perhaps moved towards what she knew would benefit her. On one view, I have Failed, on the other I have Acted, for my own good. Which would you rather believe?

I would rather believe the truth: but belief in failure makes me despair; and belief in my action is at least arguable.

I shared on facebook the mystic cryptic phrase I learn what I want when I see what I do and Lena misinterpreted it, thinking I wrote about what I chose to learn, rather than learning as a matter of observing what was in front of me. Derek got it: his Psychosexual Somatics Therapy course was very much about shadow motivations.

I used to think that I thought things through, made a rational decision, then carried it out. However what I did for that rational decision often had no real motivation behind it, and I did not follow through. Rather, I achieve worthwhile goals; but I start pursuing them before I realise, consciously, what the goal is. This thought comes from Serra considering a particular incident. I wanted that, but did not consciously understand it immediately.

It was a shadow desire, to heal, not one I could consciously admit. Consciously, I imagined I needed to get a job, and could do it. I want to allow my desires to be conscious, like my emotions become. It is hard for me to kick against the goads, hard for me to have conscious and unconscious at war, mutually despising.

It is strange, taking pride in what shamed me so deeply: the old pain of that shame washes over me, and as I delight in the pride, joy weeps.

Cranach, Judith and Holofernes II