Being and doing

There is no “real you”. You are what you do. You may like to imagine what you would do in a particular situation, acting courageously, morally or with a particular ruthless self-interest, and just as you think of the clever retort too late to make it, you do not live up to your fantasies. The fantasy is a reassuring falsehood, not an underlying Reality which shows you have value. Your value is in your reality, not that falsehood. If you value the falsehood you will never match up to it, and never value yourself.

And- you have potential you deny and devalue. You need to accept it in order to discover it. Fortunately, you are what you do: shadow motivation, the strength of the parts you deny, will bring it to your attention, and the conflict you experience with that will end. The lies you were told and the suppression you suffered will melt away.

I can use any statement of fact or morality to beat myself up, and you are what you do is no exception: what do I do? Right now, nothing, so I am the coward equivocator who hides away and tells myself false stories in an attempt to console myself as I fritter away my life. Coward. Failure. Fool.

The answer is to see the truth in another way. You are what you do. All that courage and creativity. I fought till I broke, and I am still fighting though in a different way. I am still fighting in two ways:

the slave driver, for whom nothing is ever good enough, who will never accept me stopping to rest unless I fall over exhausted.

the creative explorer, seeking to understand.

And the thing which makes all their energy barely achieve my survival is my fear. My fear means that routine actions like going shopping can be terrifying.


My existential terror consumed me.

I made a mistake!
I cannot rely on myself!

I know I cannot rely on the world.

Therefore I shall die!

I have inside myself a terrified child. Argument is useless for consolation: I explain it is a small mistake, and a small loss, but even if she recognises that it does not lessen her fear. How to get her to see that? Don’t be so completely stupid! It is completely unimportant! Shut up and stop whining!

This does not make her feel better. However, even when I attempt to explain kindly, she discerns my intent. It is clear to me this is unimportant, and necessary that she accept that.

She says, You are seeking to manage and control me! Don’t try to manage and control me! I don’t trust you!

Trying to manage her will not make her trust. I can’t make her do anything, by force, reason, or trickery.

Only Love might help. There is the fear. The fear is a faithful reaction. I allow the fear. It passes through me, and the sharp insistence it needed to be heard against my “reasonableness” lessens. After, there is tiredness. Ruefulness. I need to understand, and my “reasonableness” is not sufficient for that. The fear is hypervigilant because it was not heard, and I was hurt. My reasonableness, never accepting my fear, was wrong.

I seek balance.


I tried taking Norethisterone, and it made my feelings more intense. I had a great high on Tuesday, and a horrific downer on Thursday after coming off it, and my terror on Saturday arose from it. Yet the fear is there, controlling me, all the time, and I must alleviate it, or live with it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”- or something like that.

Norethisterone IV

My dear friend Richard explained to me that I transitioned because I misunderstand what femininity is. Well, of course I do, but I feel he simplifies it worse. My father, a pansy, found a virago, and they were married for 33 years. Then 18 months after she died he found another, who is now his widow. He was happy.

We had some difficulty on finding the right word. I want to be- dominated? No, no, yuck, the connotations of leather, pvc, whips and chains revolt me. Subordinated, perhaps. Ruled, even. Those words will do. He says this is inauthentic, a cop-out from the existential duty Sartre called all human beings to. Yeah, right- so tell me again why Sartre had a fifty year relationship with a woman who was cleverer than he was.

I said that if I were a woman seeking a man, wanting to be dominated would be unremarkable, and at that he said no, only equality is acceptable within a relationship. Why should my father not be happy? Or I? He insisted, and then said I misunderstood femininity. He accepted it was cultural. Women are strong. I agree equality is a good model for a relationship, yet feel “Wives be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord” is OK if that fits the people involved- and the other way round, too, for some couples.

What would a gay man know about it anyway, I wondered. Possibly he was projecting, but as we were getting a little heated we agreed to change the subject, and went onto politics.

I have enough norethisterone to have ten nine-day sessions of it, at the dose I had been on. I find that it makes my emotions more intense, so came off it, and the endocrinologist said I should not take it, but I wanted to experiment. At times, more intense emotions could be fun or a learning experience. This is day three.

I arrived a little early, and phoned his house in case he had not left yet. When we had poured the tea, I noticed a tedious chord progression in the background music- I V VI IV repeated, eight semiquavers to each- so unimaginative- and complained about it. “That sounds like Batman”, he said, Nananana nananana… I put my hand up to stop him, embarrassed and peremptory. Ah. Possibly that’s the norethisterone. Its purpose with HRT is to prevent endometriosis, and as I have no uterus, it has no value. My needs and desires have greater immediacy, and then I find myself apologising and explaining.

Sartrean authenticity may be impossible.

Norethisterone III

How does synthetic progesterone, Norethisterone, affect my mood? I can only find out by varying what I take.

My retired doctor friend said an option would be to take norethisterone all the time. When my levels change, then my moods will. I could cut it out, continue on the current regime of twelve days in every four weeks, or take it all the time. The GP was happy to prescribe norethisterone: it is oestradiol which causes the elevation in risk of deep vein thrombosis and so heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism etc. I can do what I like with norethisterone.

The norethisterone I take is licensed as a contraceptive. I did not think my risk of pregnancy was that high, but there you go. It is a dose a third of what I was taking, so I have to take three pills: I heard that contraceptives had far higher doses of hormones than HRT, which is not true of these pills: you have to go into these things in great depth or just do what feels right, and trust. I don’t know that an in depth understanding of current endocrine theory would help me make better decisions. I also see that norethisterone is used to delay bleeds or mitigate heavy periods, which might seem to contradict what I had heard, that it is used in HRT to precipitate a bleed; but different doses may have different effects in different situations.

The first thing I decided to do was take it all the time. I wanted greater control; and I wanted to see what effects altering what I take might have; but I am not sure I want to reduce my emotional lability. When it’s good, it’s really good. My friend said that menopause was a relief, as she got her analytic mind back. During her period, it left.

I want the intensity of feeling, because it feels good, and may help me understand my desires. I find myself swayed by attraction and aversion rather than calm analytic thought, and that feels like me making the decisions.

And on Sunday night I sent off an email. I reacted rather than responding. I did not improve the situation, and may have made it worse. I made a politic decision: rather than saying “I am angry” I wrote “I am distressed”, because that gets more sympathy, even though as I read on facebook “Angry is Sad’s bodyguard” and my choice of word was calculated- analytic enough. The communication I had received was badly expressed, but it was a lot less offensive when it was explained to me than it had seemed. That is, there are risks; however my feeling angry sad or fearful is usually a good thing, and not to be feared.

Rousseau, Jungle at the Equator