How can I protect myself from that

how can I protect myself from that
is not the right question
This is a way of saying get up and get on with it
That is not an answer

Having despaired-

FUCKING get on with it
is all I can think of
Can’t be bothered
is my only answer

I really want a nice rhyming couplet to round this off
That is not an-

Get up or don’t.

 ♥♥♥

A tempting way to protect myself is to abjure hope. I imagine my bitterness and resentment would remain at similar levels, without the misery I feel when they seem to end, then return. Rather, they would increase endlessly, until more unbearable than at any previous time.

Coming at this from another angle-

that, that that that that and that, and perhaps that, were all really horrible and hiding is the best answer I have come up with. Looking back- yeah, that I might have done better, that was bad luck- I don’t see anything I could do better that would radically have changed things, and could have spotted without hindsight. I can’t protect myself from it. And- some of it was a bit weird, even ludicrous.

The stakes are not as high as they seem in my unconscious mind. The monster gets me, I die, all that. No. It is just all weird: with this and the other, people behave weirdly, inexplicably, not at all how I would, ludicrously. My ridiculous concepts of human motivation, some of which I label fairness or honour, do not seem to apply to others. My magic spells- be good, find the rules and obey them- do not protect me; but in reality I do not need protected. The monster is in my mind.

My dialogue is still,

-Fucking get up!
– don wanoo
-get up or don’t

but just perhaps,

if I might just

laugh…

Walt Kuhn, clown with a black wig

Trust issues

The idea of a film about my transition experience, with me as “creative director”, might seem ridiculous had it not been suggested by a TV producer. We discussed a programme he had made, which I remembered from some years ago. We met for a preliminary discussion and I produced one scene and some possible outlines.

It is not completely ridiculous. The personal growth stuff, in four born-again experiences, a story of self-acceptance, could interest more than just trans folk. It is a universal story: human beings suppress parts of ourselves for the sake of others and society.

To get two weeks later an answer phone message from a mutual acquaintance saying the idea was off was a blow. I have thought of checking out what other contacts I had- a friend knows an independent producer in Swanston, for example- but I have been unable to summon up the enthusiasm to do anything further on the project.

Why did I not want to write this post?

Oh, it is understandable. I too was on a wild emotional rollercoaster after the Essence process. He has other things to think about.

And- that woman. Is she just messing with me? At best, my old co-dependent ways will not work, and I will have to get new ones find saner ways of being. Though I dwell on this too much, because I have little else to do. Today I cycled into Swanston for tea with Richard. It was lovely. Tomorrow, I shall have coffee with Liz.

No, I really did not want to write this post. I consider other blows, such as my father giving away all his capital, a six figure sum, to con-men, or my work history, and still find this hard to bear. The point of this blog is hope- self-acceptance, greater understanding, greater ability to face the world, and I despair. I feel a fool. I wonder if I was merely foolish to believe in that film project when we were actually discussing it- of course it could go nowhere. I feel my foolishness is exposed and mocked, though I see that is a wrong way of perceiving it: other priorities, a change of mind. My trust in the world is low. My confidence, or trust in myself, is low. It paralyses me.

I think, I should accept that mobile phone contract. It will give a better service for less money. And I do not, because something will go wrong.

????????

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

What I want

On the bus-

I love the front seat on the upper deck of the bus. I never tire of it, as we judder and clank round Blaenau Gwent Road or past the landfill, looking down at the houses and cars and across the fields and valleys. “You see things differently from up here” said the woman. Yes. She was telling her friend about her relationship: “I’ve been alone for so long- six years or more”. Her new man has been very silly with debt. “I just don’t talk to him for a couple of days, and he comes running.”

“If I fall on the stairs don’t laugh” said the friend. The other caught my eye and smiled shyly- and stopped seeming a threat. When she got off the bus she told the driver it should have a lift, and he agreed. Risking them hearing my maleish, trans voice, I joined their conversation: “You could have a vacuum tube thing, to suck you upstairs,” I said. “And a fireman’s pole to come down.”

“That would be fun,” she said, smiling again.

That is what I want. Human contact, finding how we think and feel alike, and joking together. Hugs and cuddles are nice too. Last night I was back in the thick of old anger and misery, of how I had wanted a friendship with Emma and she had at first seemed enthusiastic then snubbed me and how I had not understood why the change. Feeling connected and hearing warmth and then, not. And the same recently. Not understanding makes it worse.

What else do I want? To avoid situations where I feel out of control or threatened. The prospective interview at the DWP about the “support available to me”- trying to find ways of stopping my benefit, so that I must support myself- frightens me. Working terrifies me. If I am to change this I need sympathetic holding and tiny steps. So- “To feel I am doing something worthwhile”? No, actually.

I loved walking in the sunshine on Monday.

In the Autumn I would have been judging this. I am not, now. I might have been less sure of it, or conflicted about it, and am not that either.

 ♥♥♥

I do not have to justify this to you, but it reassures me to justify it to myself.

I am Abigail. I no longer deny and suppress that, completely beyond consciousness; then I loathed, despised and feared it, and do not now do that, either; my contempt and anger at being Abigail, being that feminine, soft, gentle, peaceful, being who I am, lessened: now I do not even regret it.

I have emerged from a lifelong battle, and I am exhausted.

And the ways I have of understanding other people grew in the complex of lies I introjected to despise my natural organismic self; and they do not work. Being so intelligent, I pursued the impossible goal of understanding others: one may only know them.

I have had difficult experiences, and I fear the world. Then I read of the DWP’s deliberate programme of sanctions with the intent of destroying the benefits system as a safety net for vulnerable people. “There will be wars and rumours of wars”- the world has often been worse- and still I fear it.

And I rejoice that I feel that fear, and do not hate or reject it, and am not bullying myself, now, to fucking get on with it!!!

I am Abigail! At last, I am Abigail, and how cool is that?

 ♥♥♥

The man who accused me of being “condensating” is now one of my myths. The claimant had been a heroin addict, and had had her children taken away. Yet she had come off heroin, and they were now living with her. Probably, her claim was not granted because the TCO did not believe her, though they did not say that. I felt she had accomplished a great achievement, though still in a vulnerable state- just like me. I felt his great hostility, and my powerlessness, and it became a symbol for me of what my work was like: miserific, and pointless despite all my effort.

Marge was probably a more typical DWP HEO. She was completely fair and I could persuade her on occasion. In my work, I had some success. But I despaired. It might be good to come out of my despair. Perhaps I could.

Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Madame de Verninac

Poverty of Aspiration

Delightful conversation with Sylvia on the train. She is an academic micro-economist with a slight foreign accent, and I started us off by noticing that she was reading a paper on “poverty of aspiration”, and asking what that meant. It is the theory that the poor are so because they do not imagine they can do any better. At worst this is an excuse for the rich, a useful phrase to express that it is the fault of the poor that they are poor, they should just aspire more. But it can be an observation that at least some people might do better if they imagined they could, so that there are efforts to instil self-respect in schoolchildren, and they are taken on day trips to universities to encourage them to imagine they might go there.

-There is a crisis in Economics.
-Because of the crash and its aftermath.

Macro-economics looks at large groups, but micro-economics considers individuals, trespassing on the territory of sociology or psychology, but in a more mathematical way than those disciplines. Economics has always postulated rational actors, but we are not.

I say that I gain pleasure from altruistic behaviour. I think it is a character trait. Could such a trait evolve? she challenges. Well, yes, in my subsistence farming village of a hundred people, I am altruistic and they all love me for it.
– it is reciprocal, she agrees. But you could also have introjected it from your religious upbringing.

Yes. So we have two theories, and need to consider what observations might confirm or refute them.
-And we might consider what religious/moral beliefs are best for the good of society.

She is pleased to hear I am considering reading Thomas Piketty. It is written for the educated lay-person, she says. She recommends Esther Duflo on poverty. What do you do? I confess my personal interest in “poverty of aspiration”. I despaired. She speaks warmly. It is obvious from speaking to you that you have gifts and talents and you are attractive and able to engage. You must not despair!

Tramp smoking cigar

Despair

Two years ago, I despaired and withdrew. I had a series of bad experiences at work; some South Wales Quakers tried to disown me from the Society, and had I remained in South Wales they would have succeeded; and then after I lost my job my emotions went haywire, possibly because of unwise hormone adjustment, so that I was weeping and raging in the office where I volunteered. I lost the hope of getting around £60,000 which I could do with, actually, and I found myself more and more frustrated in that volunteer role. So I despaired and withdrew.

And- I found how negative I had been, and how much better being positive is; came to value being trans, first, and now value being as feminine as I am; forgave my mother, and having dredged the depths of my hatred for her came to value her; started to explore what I actually wanted to do, rather than imagined or had understood from others was expected of me, or would give socially-sanctioned pleasure. My heart is open.

I am better placed to face the world than I was, four years ago or arguably three months ago, and many of the causes of my despair remain. My CV is dreadful, I see other people better but still need practise with that, I have had bad experiences which have made me nervous.

It would be nice to know where I was going, and to take steps to get there, but I am just beginning to know what I want. I will live with my uncertainty. I want to stay on the sick. I may try some job applications, but if I need to check if I want to clean my teeth, I will not be able to tell if I want a particular career. Perhaps God within will cry out YES- and perhaps not.

Picture from despair.com, which sells demotivational posters, satirising motivational posters. Even the most ambitious little pebble will never grow up to be a big rock, they say.

I do not want to see the world in a way which will motivate me, or frighten me into withdrawal: I want to see it truthfully. After losing my shame at my feminine self, I find myself losing other shame. I need to be on the sick right now. I am not ashamed of doing what I need to do to remain on the sick, though I have been- it is more money, less prone to Sanctions, and I am entitled under the rules. My voices saying I should be more capable are less powerful.

Approval

That mother comes to mind again. She is the controlling parent, telling me the sensible thing to do, what people expect. How much better to realise that I am beautiful, and worth presenting at my best advantage, and presenting myself well because of self-care?  That became so real for me just over a week ago; and now, having coffee with Sabina, putting it into words again does me good, especially when she agrees. It is not a lesson I can just see the truth of, then put seamlessly into practice. It needs my attention.

I tell her something about which I feel guilt and shame. It took courage to tell her, getting over my projection: I imagined her face going blank and hostile, and turning from me. I imagine you doing the same. I know what I will do, I have a right to do it, and still I need absolution for it in one or two more conversations. The shame has poisoned my last two years. She tells me I am quite right; there is no need to be ashamed. I feel absolved.

-People need- word beginning with A. She could not think of it immediately.
-Acceptance? Absolution?
She was thinking of the word Approval. That is far more threatening. It gives away my power, appoints someone as my judge- and yet, it is attractive. I want someone to rely on, someone bigger than me who says “It’s going to be alright” and reassures me. I could I suppose fantasise one of a number of women I know. In my mind I tell her my problems and she looks at me gravely with those wise eyes which miss nothing, and nods: understanding, not condemning. Were I Catholic I might select one from the Lives of the Saints.

That moment of presence. I think now of a moment at Greenbelt where a branch and leaves caught my attention completely, and I was Present. Is it spiritual or neurological? I don’t think it matters- even if this was an effect of a neural circuit I share with all mammals, even all vertebrates, it gave me joy. Wanting that experience again would be resistance to the Now; but I could get the same feeling of perception and delight in the yellow of that taxi over there; or in our conversation.

The difference between synchronicity and coincidence is how you see it: meh, or joy. This is a choice.

The trouble with D’s idea of Spiritual Growth is that it is all so linear. You move from stage to stage, whereas I have learned some quite advanced lessons and am yet to learn simple ones- you too, though which lessons will differ. Another would think of them as life lessons, not spiritual at all.

We touched on this, and I still want an answer. My CV is comically dreadful.

-So, Miss Flourish, I see you worked as a solicitor. Wouldn’t you get bored working on the checkout?
-Doesn’t everyone?
Not an answer to endear me. Or,

-You want to work in law? You last worked as a solicitor in 1992, and I see that three times you have left a job with no job to go to. Even twice might be unlucky, but three times?
-Well, what I was doing in 2009 was sort-of legalish

So I keep on, with the spiritual lessons, and the analysis, and the ersatz human contact of facebook and wordpress. I despaired. No longer despising myself- WHAT TO DO, NOW?

So much laughter this morning! Delight, and communion!